Archives for July 2015

Beach Reads In August Giveaway Hop 2015


Welcome to my stop on the Beach Reads In August Giveaway Hop!! I started thinking about which book I would give away for this hop about a week or so ago. And I had a tough time picking one book, and here’s why: I don’t think there is one perfect beach read. I think the perfect beach read is whatever you’re in the mood for. I just returned from a beach vacation and my reads were rather diverse, and if you compared them to my husband’s . . . Wow. (I’m more fiction, he’s more non-fiction/philosophy. We have very different reading preferences.) It got me thinking that everyone likes different things. So, with that said, I’m giving away a book of YOUR choice (up to a $20 value, open INT so long as the Book Depository ships to you). That’s right, you get to pick whatever book you would like to read while sitting in the sand, listening to the waves, having a cold drink.

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Don’t forget to visit the other blogs participating in this awesome hop!!

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Melissa’s Review: The Universes Inside the Lighthouse by Pam Stucky

The Universes Inside the Lighthouse

The Universes Inside the Lighthouse 
written by Pam Stucky
published by Wishing Rock Press, 2014

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble, AmazonGoodreads

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange  for an honest review.

Did I enjoy this book: 
The Universes Inside the Lighthouse reminds me of a Madeline L’Engle book, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It’s a neat little story, and though the science is a bit wibbly-wobbly, I’m sure young readers won’t mind much. I’m not sure I’d give this a Young Adult label—although the characters are identified as 17- to 18-year-olds, I’d argue they’re written closer to the 12–13 year range. They’re lovely and sweet, but immature. While I’d imagine a 5th grader’s first thoughts about a cute boy might involve planning an arctic honeymoon, I seriously doubt a 17-year-old young woman’s would be quite so G-rated.

I’m hoping the next installments of the series involve some more in-depth characterization to go along with the time-and-universe travel, and I’d love to read them!


Would I recommend it: Madeline L’Engle fans will enjoy this book; pick it up today!


About the book – from Goodreads:

Two teenagers on a summer vacation on an unassuming island …
A mysterious girl who appears in photographs taken decades apart …
A science lab set up in a place that exists both nowhere and everywhere …
A storage closet that is far more than it seems …
A parallel Earth, exactly like our own …
A universe made up entirely of ghosts …
An entity that is taking over innocent lives and infiltrating the universes …

Adventure, mystery, travel through space and time to find a man who seeks to rip the universes apart. Reminiscent of A Wrinkle in Time with just a dash of Doctor Who

and it all begins … inside the lighthouse.

“Aliens, infinite universes, ghosts AND time travel … a winning literary combination if ever there was one.” — Just One More Chapter reviews

Seventeen-year-old Emma and her twin brother Charlie think they’re in for a boring summer vacation. That is, until Emma notices something unusual in the lighthouse lobby. Unraveling this mystery proves to be just the beginning of an adventure that will take Emma, Charlie, and their unlikely new friends to distant planets, throughout the multiverse, and to a place where everything is possible … and will ultimately lead Emma to discover the unfathomable powers that reside within her own mind.

“Reminded me of Christopher Pike’s wonderful series Spooksville (one of my all time favourites growing up) …. The plot was full of twists and turns … it was suspenseful and exciting, a perfect children’s adventure story and a compelling read. I would recommend this to anyone with teenagers that enjoy adventure stories of any kind, and I can’t wait for the second in the series.” — Alison, Chapter One Reviews

“I never grew tired of seeing what [the author] might come up with next…. What would it be like to visit other planets? As someone who has often wondered about this, I was intrigued by all of the places that these characters see. Earth is unique in many different ways. It was nice to see this subtly acknowledged before the author went on to show the amazing range of possibilities.I would have liked to visit (almost) all of them.” — Astilbe, Long and Short Reviews”



Summer Reading Challenge: The Witch of Bourbon Street by Suzanne Palmieri (Chrissy’s review)


The Witch of Bourbon StreetThe Witch of Bourbon Street
written by Suzanne Palmieri
published by St. Martin’s Griffin, 2015

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble, Amazon, iBooks, Book Depository, Goodreads

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange  for an honest review.

Did I enjoy this book: 
I really did. I enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed Ms. Palmieri’s other book, The Witch of Belladonna Bay (see my review here), and I have The Witch of Little Italy sitting on my bookshelf, waiting for me.

The Witch of Bourbon Street has magic and mystery. It has heartache and Sorrow. It is a slow read that hooks you and slowly reels you in. You want to know what happens, and you want to know what happened. Frances, Sippie, Jack, and all the other characters will have you sucked in before you know it. There’s magic, family secrets, family legends, healing, forgiveness, searching, and so much more. And the French Quarter and bayou as the setting. There’s nothing else needed.


Would I recommend it: Yes.

About the book – from Goodreads: 
When Frances Sorrow returns home to the now dilapidated Sorrow Estate to restore her birthright, she finds herself haunted by a 100-year-old mystery only she can unravel

Set amidst the charming chaos of The French Quarter and remote bayous of Tivoli Parish, Louisiana, Suzanne Palmieri’s The Witch of Bourbon Street weaves an unforgettable tale of mystery and magic.

Situated deep in the bayou is the formerly opulent Sorrow Estate. Once home to a magical family, the Sorrows, it now lays in ruins, uninhabited since a series of murders in 1902 shocked the entire community. When Frances Green Sorrow is born, the family is on the brink of obscurity and the last remaining Sorrows cling to the hope that she is the one who will finally resurrect the glory of what once was.

However, Frances has no wish to be the family’s savior. Disillusioned, she marries young, attempting an “ordinary life,” and has a son, Jack. When her marriage fails and she loses custody of her boy, she runs away to live a quiet life on the dilapidated Sorrow Estate, where she practices solitary magic amid ghosts and gardens. But when Jack disappears, she is forced to rejoin the world she left behind and solve the century-old murder that casts a long shadow over Tivoli Parish and its inhabitants in order to find her son.

The Witch of Bourbon Street is a story of love, family, redemption and forgiveness. It’s a story that bridges the nostalgia of time, and brings those that are separated back together again.





Release Day Blitz: by Kathye Quick (spotlight, giveaway)

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Welcome to the release event for by Kathye Quick! is a contemporary romance novel that released July 29th from the Wild Rose Press and is now available for purchase.


perf5.000x8.000.indd (Bachelors Three Series, Book 1)
written by Kathye Quick
published by Wild Rose Press


find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Goodreads


About the book: Jack Reeves has loved Kinley Adams since the day he rescued her computer from a fatal blue screen. In the two years since, the computer programmer has fantasized about a life with her.  Kinley, an Engineering Assistant, has come to think of Jack as more than just a friend. One night, just when each had finally decided to reveal their feelings are deeper than friendship, a terrible automobile accident puts their confessions on hold.

Doctors have no choice but to rebuild Jack’s face, and the result changes everything. Can Jack and Kinley overcome his transformation from geek to chic, a secret double life, and a horde of willing women who have discovered the new Jack Reeves? Will the frog ever become the prince and ride off with his princess to live happily ever after?

About the author: Kathye Quick has been writing since she used #2 pencils and Catholic School lined paper. She originally wanted to be President of the United States or an Organic Chemist, but somehow life got in the way and she got married right out of high school and had a set of twins two years later.  The Presidency seemed out of reach and night school to get her Ph.D. to create new molecule that would ultimately result in the betterment of humankind seemed a little time consuming while trying to raise twins, so she decided to write instead.


First published in 1999, she has 20 books in print in several genres, and is working on an Urban Fantasy Series as P. K. Eden with partner, Patt Mihailoff. Their urban fantasy, FIREBRAND, won two Reviewer’s Choice Awards and has earned 5-Star reviews.  Kathye is a founding member of Liberty States Fiction Writers and is a member of Romance Writers of America. In her non-writing life, she works in county government, and is married to her real-life hero, Donald.  Kathye and Don have 3 grown boys, all happily married and having adventures of their own.




Winner can either choose a backlist ebook or one $20 Amazon gift card (INT)

Ends August 12th

Prizing provided by the publisher, hosts are not responsible.

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This event was organized by CBB Book Promotions.






Melissa’s Review: The Coming Woman by Karen J. Hicks

The Coming Woman

The Coming Woman 
written by Karen J. Hicks
published by Sartoris Literary Group, 2014

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Goodreads

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange  for an honest review.

Did I enjoy this book: 
It’s interesting, but not my style. It’s tough to write (and read) in present tense, and I often felt like I was reading a stage play or screenplay rather than a novel. It’s my own issue—the writing otherwise is wonderful—but I struggled to stay invested in the book because of it.

I also had a bit of an issue with the cover art—it’s beautiful, but it certainly doesn’t match with a novel set in the 1800s—feminist or otherwise.

Content-wise it’s lovely, but again, historical fiction isn’t really my thing. Someone with a more in-depth appreciation for history (feminist or otherwise) would likely rate this book higher than I’m going to.


Would I recommend it: It’s a worthwhile read, but not something I’d recommend to those who typically enjoy reading the same things I do.


About the book – from Goodreads: 
“The Coming Woman” is a novel based on the life of feminist Victoria Woodhull, the first woman to run for U.S. President, 50 years before women could even vote!

Running for President wasn’t Victoria’s only first as a woman. She was also the first to own a successful Wall Street firm, the first to publish a successful national newspaper, and the first to head the two-million-member Spiritualist Association. She was the first woman to enter the Senate Judiciary Committee chambers to petition for woman’s suffrage, her argument changing the entire focus of the suffragist movement by pointing out that the 14th and 15th Amendments already gave women the vote.

In her campaign for the Presidency, Victoria Woodhull boldly addressed many of the issues we still face today: equal pay for equal work; freedom in love; corporate greed and political corruption fueled by powerful lobbyists; and the increasing disparity between the rich and the poor, to name only a few. Her outspoken and common-sense ideas may shed a new perspective on the parallel conundrums of today’s world.

This bold, beautiful, and sexually progressive woman dared to take on society and religion. To make an example of the hypocrisy in what Mark Twain dubbed The Gilded Age, she exposed the extramarital affairs of the most popular religious figure of the day (Henry Ward Beecher). This led to her persecution and imprisonment and the longest, most infamous trial of the 19th century. But it did not stop her fight for equality.

Victoria’s epic story, set in the late 1800s, comes to life in a modern, fictional style, while staying true to the actual words and views of the many well-known characters.



Release Day Blitz: Up To I Do by Samantha March (spotlight, giveaway)

Up To I DoUp To I Do
written by Samantha March
published by Marching Ink LLC, 2015

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble, AmazonGoodreads

About the book: Emerson Sinclair, twenty-seven year old hotel heiress, has said yes. With just over a year to plan her extravagant, over the top nuptials to Logan Worthington, it’s all hands on deck with the wedding plans. A Sinclair marrying into the Worthington family is the talk of their small New Hampshire town, and ideas include filming the wedding for a TV segment. But as the items get checked off the list, plans start to go … not as planned. From not getting a designer dress to a selfish bridesmaid and unaccountable best man, Emerson is afraid her wedding will be more a joke than anything.

When both her mother and sister seemingly begin to lose interest in her wedding plans in favor of their own personal lives, Emerson fears her big day will turn into the forgotten wedding. With the pressure to pull off a beautiful and elegant event that everyone expects from their respectable families, Emerson starts to forget the reason why she is saying I Do in the first place.




marchsamanthaAbout the author: Samantha March is an author, editor, publisher, blogger, and all-around book lover. She runs the popular book/women’s lifestyle blog ChickLitPlus, which keeps her bookshelf stocked with the latest reads and up-to-date on all things health, fitness, fashion, and beauty related. In 2011, she launched her independent publishing company, Marching Ink, and has four published novels—Destined to FailThe Green TicketA Questionable Friendship, and Up To I Do. When she isn’t reading, writing, or blogging, you can find her cheering for the Green Bay Packers. Samantha lives in Iowa with her husband and Vizsla puppy.

Find Ms. March here: webBlogFacebookTwitterInstagramYoutube, Goodreads


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Boost It Tuesday! – July 28, 2015


Have you noticed that despite ALL of your Facebook “Likes” you are only “reaching” a very small portion of those followers? Does that bother you? It bothers us, and we want to boost each other up. Link up with Every Free ChanceCandace’s Book Blog, & If These Books Could Talk for  Boost It Tuesday!


What is Boost It Tuesday, you ask? Well, we want to help each other out. We are a great community of bloggers and authors, and we should be supporting each other. Share your Facebook address below, then visit the Facebook pages, like 3-5 posts, share or comment on 1 or 2 posts. That’s it. You don’t have to “like” the page if you don’t want to, just “like” some posts. Let’s help expand each other’s page reach. Who knows! You may find a new blog or author to follow along the away. Please be aware that any non-Facebook links will be deleted.


Here are some tips for Boosting. A big thanks to Kate at If These Books Could Talk for the image!

Boost It Poster


As an added bonus, Candace, Kate, and I will be hosting a giveaway each week just to say thanks for the boost!


For this week’s giveaway, head over to the If These Books Could Talk Facebook page and answer the question in the Boost It post!


Remember: Like, comment, and share!  Let’s all give each other a boost!

 if these books could talk


DNF: Seducing Excel by Sofia Santiago

Seducing Excel Volume 1: Ooh La La, Quickies!: Enjoy the Sexy Features of Microsoft Excel 2010 That Men Wish Women Had Too

Seducing Excel 
written by Sofia Santiago
published by Createspace, 2014

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble, AmazonBook Depository

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange  for an honest review.

Where I stopped reading: I only made it through the first several pages.

Why I stopped reading: I’m clearly not the target audience for this book; not only do I not have enough working knowledge of Excel to make sense of Santiago’s tips, but I was also horrified at the blatant sexism she uses to explain things. I was expecting an “Excel for dummies with a feminine twist” sort of thing, and instead I had to keep reminding myself I’m allowed to vote. Disappointing.



What others have rated this book:  There was one 3-star review on Amazon. Just because I didn’t finish this book doesn’t mean you won’t.

About the book – from Book Depository: Are you a Microsoft Excel 2010 user who would rather spend time with Excel(r) than with your spouse? Do you have a love-hate relationship with your spreadsheets? Here’s why: Excel(r) is FEMALE. And she’s better than any other woman you’ve ever met. Learn why… And get her to do anything you want! This book is a compilation of the best tricks and time-saving techniques that will impress even the most advanced users. Take your game to the next level by reading it cover to cover, or use it as a reference. The author’s 20+ years experience delivering advanced Excel training, reflected in this fully illustrated step-by-step book, make it an easy and fun read. Who said learning Excel has to be boring? Learn by example. This book will teach you: ** Some of the sexiest features Excel(r) 2010 has that men wish women had too ** How to make Excel speak… Most importantly, how to have her shut up when you want her to! ** How to navigate the sheets like a top banana ** How to invite Word(r) for a menage-a-trois ** The secrets of Control Mustache ** Unusual hot spots you’ll enjoy double-clicking ** The WOW things you can do with “The Thingy” ** Excel’s multiple OMGs (yes, multiple, you read it right!) ** How to create spin buttons, form controls, and drop-down lists ** Where to find the Control G Spot. Explore it and your life will never be the same ** Custom styles, date math, sparklines, charting best practices… And a lot more! Whether you’re a basic or an intermediate level Excel(r) 2010 user you’ll be less frustrated and you’ll have more spare time to do what you really want. Stop feeling like a dinosaur or a leech on your coworkers, and build the confidence you need. Oh, and don’t go to a bar and buy a drink for that girl who probably won’t go home with you; for less jack, take this book home and learn to communicate better with the hottest chick around.




Spotlight: Does This Beach Make Me Look Fat? by Lisa Scottoline and Francesca Serritella (giveaway)

Does This Beach Make Me Look Fat? 
written by Lisa Scottoline and Francesca Serritella
published by St. Martin’s Press, 2015

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble, Amazon, iBooks, Book Depository, Goodreads

About the book – from Goodreads: The unstoppable, irreverent mother-daughter team presents a new collection of funny stories and true confessions that every woman can relate to. From identity theft to the hazards of bicycling to college reunions and eating on the beach, Lisa and Francesca tackle the quirks, absurdities, and wonders of everyday life with wit and warmth. As Lisa says, “More and more, especially in the summertime when I’m sitting on the beach, I’m learning not to sweat it. To go back to the child that I used to be. To see myself through the loving eyes of my parents. To eat on the beach. And not to worry about whether every little thing makes me look fat. In fact, not to worry at all.”

So put aside your worries and join Lisa and Francesca as they navigate their way through the crazy world we live in, laughing along the wa.


About the author: Lisa and her daughter, Francesca Serritella, have teamed up to bring their hilarious and witty perspective on the everyday life as mother and daughter in their weekly essays which you can find in their latest collection, out now, Does This Beach Make Me Look Fat? With stories that will have you laughing out loud one minute and tearing up the next, Lisa and Francesca connect with readers on a deeply emotional level because of the honesty they bring to their stories and by the time you turn the last page you will feel like you just found two new best girlfriends. Earlier collections include Have a Nice Guilt Trip, Meet Me at Emotional Baggage Claim, Why My Third Husband Will Be a Dog, My Nest Isn’t Empty, It Just Has More Closet Space, and Best Friends, Occasional Enemies.

Find Ms. Scottoline here: web, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads

Find Ms. Serritella here: web, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads

giveawayYou have until August 4th at midnight to win this handmade pillow AND a signed copy of Does This Book Make Me Look Fat?! Enter once a day using the Rafflecopter widget below!

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Gina’s Review: The Blondes by Emily Schultz

The Blondes

The Blondes 
written by Emily Schultz
published by Thomas Dunne Books, 2012

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble, AmazonBook Depository, Goodreads

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange  for an honest review.

Did I enjoy this book: 
It was certainly entertaining, and I kept trying to guess what would happen next. The whole plot of the story intrigued me when I first read about The Blondes. My husband would probably tell me that “Blonde Fury” is what I have when I don’t get enough sleep or the kids have been extra feisty. I would say it’s when I don’t have my morning coffee. However, that’s beside the point.

Hazel, the main character, leaves much to be desired when it comes to character development. I felt sorry for her, but I was never rooting for her, which was not something I expected from a dystopian novel. Shouldn’t you root for any person’s survival? Hazel’s character fell a little flat for me but still managed to carry the story. I like that she told us about the outbreak from her point of view and we saw the whole picture. There were not bits and pieces left out that left us trying to put it all together.

Sadly, I will say for me the end was just “eh.” The book kind of just ended and I didn’t feel disappointed or satisfied.



“But women are civilized animals. We have something to prove, too, but we’ll swirl our anger with straws in the bottom of our drinks and suck it up, leaving behind a lipstick stain.”

“It’s not that I believe they brought out the worst in each other; I believe they just got lost from each other.”




Would I recommend it: Eh, maybe.


About the book – from Goodreads: Hazel Hayes is a graduate student living in New York City when she learns she is pregnant from an ill-advised affair with her married professor. More worrisome than the shock of this discovery is the apocalyptically bad timing; random but deadly attacks, all by women with light hair, have begun terrorizing the city’s inhabitants. As the days pass, it becomes clear that the attacks are symptoms of a strange contagion that is transforming blondes from all walks of life–whether CEOs, flight attendants, students, accountants, television personalities, or academics–into rabid killers. Hazel–confused, desperate, almost penniless and soon visibly pregnant–flees the city and sets out to cross the border into Canada where she will find the one woman who just might be able to help her in a world gone awry.