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Monday, August 25, 2014

Spotlight: Cracks in the Sidewalk by Bette Lee Crosby

Bette Lee Crosby is on Spotlight with her book, Cracks in the Sidewalk. These are the Literary Awards for Cracks in the Sidewalk -
  • Amazon Family Saga Bestseller
  • FPA President’s Book Award
  • Royal Palm Literary Award

Cracks in the Sidewalk
by Bette Lee Crosby

Genre: Contemporary
Connect: Website | Facebook | Twitter
Purchase the Book: Amazon  | Barnes & Noble | iTunes | Kobo
A powerful story that is a heart-wrenching reminder of how fragile relationships can be. Cracks in the Sidewalk is based on a true story.

Claire McDermott is a wife, a mother, a grandmother... Her only daughter is gravely ill... Her son-in-law is resentful and angry... Her grandchildren are missing...

After years of writing letters, hoping to find the children, hoping to bring them back, Claire receives a reply...a dog-eared gray envelope is stuffed into her mailbox, but will it bring hope or simply put an end to the waiting?

Can a single letter change the lives of four people? Claire McDermott and her grandchildren are about to discover letters are a journey of the heart which can ultimately deliver people to their destination.

Reviews for Cracks in the Sidewalk
Reviewed By Samantha Rivera for Readers' Favorite  
Elizabeth is a woman whose sole purpose in life is to be a good wife and mother. She has no care in the world, but to accomplish these goals and she works hard at them despite the treatment she is given at the hands of her husband. When Elizabeth falls ill suddenly during her pregnancy with their last child, her husband determines to have nothing to do with her. Unfortunately, that means her children (including her newborn son) will also have nothing to do with her. It's almost a year before Elizabeth is finally able to see her young children again, but even then things are not what they might seem in Cracks in the Sidewalk.
Cracks in the Sidewalk is the type of book that you can't stop thinking about long after you put it down. Elizabeth is a woman that any woman would be proud to be. She is able to roll with the punches and even when people behave in a reprehensible way towards her, she is incapable of truly hating them and can only feel sorry for the love they don't have. Her plight is one no mother would ever want to find herself in, but at the same time it is one that will draw you in. This is a heart-wrenching story, but it is also a beautiful one of love and devotion and forgiveness. For Elizabeth's children and her mother, it is also a story of miracles and of overcoming any obstacle life may put in your way. An excellent book by Bette Lee Crosby.

A moving, emotional story... When I read this book I felt so moved, I was crying at the end... The writing flowed beautifully... Depth of characters and insight kept me turning pages. -Bria Burton

A compelling story... Well written, with a realistic, compassionate telling, Cracks In the Sidewalk will bring readers into the family, happy to be a part of it.-Angie Mangino

Friday, August 15, 2014

On Tour: The Achilles Heel by Karyn Rae - Review + Excerpt

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Karyn Rae is now on tour with CLP Blog Tours with her book, The Achilles Heel. Please visit her page for more blog stops and a chance  to win a $20 Amazon gift card.

The Achilles Heel (Achilles, #1)
by Karyn Rae

Genre: Adult, Chick Lit, Contemporary, Mystery, Romance
Publication: April 2014
Format: ebooks
Source: ARC, CLP Blog Tours
Connect: Website
Buy: Amazon
Annie Whitman’s ordinary Midwest life is shattered with the sudden death of her husband Jack. Thirty-five and failing at life as a widow, she turns to the comforts of vodka in an attempt to camouflage the cold sheets of an empty bed. The necessary inebriation helps her to cope with Jack’s death, but proves to be a deterrent in recovering any sense of normalcy. After spending several months at the bottom of a bottle, Annie stumbles upon a lockbox in the crawl space of her basement. Opening this box also opens her eyes to the likelihood that Jack Whitman might not have been the honest and doting man she married.

Annie embarks on a mission to the Virgin Islands to uncover the truth about her husband’s past and seek safety from her brother-in-law, who seems to be the captain of his own sinking ship. While settling into paradise, she meets the wickedly handsome, but surprisingly reserved Kessler Carlisle, who is struggling with his retirement from country music superstardom. With Kessler’s help, Annie discovers the heart’s uncanny ability to heal, and the possibility that dead men don’t always keep their secrets-even if they’re buried in the Caribbean waters of St. Croix.

The Achilles Heel delves into the formidable fact that everyone harbors darkness, and some will go to the depths of the ocean to keep their

I received a copy of The Achilles Heel by Karyn Rae from the author/CLP Blog Tours as part of the book tour.

When Annie's husband is killed in a car crash, she was devastated. She started to drink a lot and smoked. While Annie was getting some decoration or her niece and nephew, she found a box that she knew nothing about. Annie unlocked the box and found a picture that led her to St. Crox. Annie then found out that her husband might not be who she thought he was.

The Achilles Heel would be perfect for those who love mystery/romance. The story was a bit slow paced at the beginning. But the mystery was well written. I enjoyed Annie’s adventure as she found more clues about her husband.   At first, I was a bit confused and worried with how Kessler’s story going to fit with Annie’s. But, things work out in the end. Although, I do think that the romance between Annie and Kessler was a little too quick. 

Overall, The Achilles Heel was a good read if you enjoy a good mystery romance.


Don’t put your hat on. Please don’t put your hat on.

Crossing my fingers like a grade school child wishing for a snowstorm in August, I watched him take his time as he gathered what looked to be papers, but I wasn’t quite sure. He took in a deep breath and let it out slowly while grabbing his hat from the dashboard. For some reason, I had the notion if he didn’t put on the hat to complete his uniform, this visit would be somewhat less official. He noticed me standing in the sliver of the window framing my front door. He paused, shut his car door, and straightened his trousers a tad- when one goes from sitting to standing and is between pant sizes. Finally, he put on that goddamn hat.

As he walked towards the door, gravel from the driveway crunched under his heavy black boots. Streaks of sweat ran down his sunlit glistened face. His heavily starched shirt sported a soaking wet “V” on the chest connecting to the wetness under both arms. With record high temperatures in Kansas City reaching 106 during the first week of June, I was secretly glad he was hot, and it almost made me happy to think he might be suffering a bit. Our eyes made contact when he reached the red-brick porch steps, and I knew. He could have turned around, got back in his police car and never said a word to me; his eyes told me the whole story. Maybe his eyes didn’t tell me the entire story, but they certainly implied the most important part- the ending. As he stood on the opposing side of the window, the glare from his name badge which read GRADY shone in my right eye, causing me to wince.

“Ma’am,” he asked through the double paned glass. “Are you all right?”

I just stood there, staring blankly. Why is he here to ask me if I’m okay? Is this guy a fucking idiot? What cop comes to someone’s front door, scares the hell out of them, and opens with a question like, “Ma’am, are you all right?” I was doing just fine before he pulled into my driveway.

“Ma’am,” he started again, as he tapped on the window trying to get my attention and break the paralyzing trance holding me motionless. “Are you okay? You’re bleeding!”

At that moment, I tasted the blood. As I mentally calculated his every move from the car to the door, knowing he wasn’t here to give me stellar news (cops don’t randomly show up at your house for no reason) I hadn’t noticed I was biting down on my lip. It must have been hard, because the blood was now running down the side of my chin.

I tried to answer, but only felt air pass between my lips; my voice lost in translation. I nodded my head up and down in a “Yes” motion.

Officer Grady asked, “Are you Annie Whitman, the wife of a Mr. Jack Whitman?”

Again with the up and down, “Yes,” motion.

“Could you please open the door?” he asked. “I’d like to come in and speak with you for a moment.”

I reluctantly but automatically obeyed, and the creak of the screen door was synonymous with a horror movie. Apparently, I was the main character.

“Ma’am, your husband was in an accident on the highway this morning. There were no survivors. We believe he was killed upon impact and have launched an investigation into the crash, but unfortunately, we don’t know many details yet. I’m so very sorry to bring you this devastating news. Is there someone you can call to come be with you right now?”

“No, no, you’re wrong,” I croaked, with a broken and raspy voice like someone infested with the forty-eight hour flu. “My husband is at work, and this is a mistake.” I tried again, but only fragments of sound spit into the air. I wasn’t forming recognizable words. “I’ll just call him, and we can clear this up. You’ll see it’s just terrible mistake,” I stammered, as I pulled my cell phone off the deep-chested entry table and tried to will my hands to stop shaking enough to dial the number.

“Oh, no, Jack, no,” I whispered through gritted teeth when the call went straight to his voicemail.

I dialed again. “Shit. No. Please, no,” my voiced squeaked as I paced back and forth. With my right hand barely sturdy enough to hold the phone to my ear and my left hand tucked tightly under the opposing armpit, I filled my fingers full of skin, pinching down as hard as possible in an attempt to divert the pain of feeling my heart rip apart.

Officer Grady extended his arms and shifted his feet each time I shuffled near him, initiating words of comfort, but quickly realizing his efforts were powerless when dealing with someone who’s rapidly sinking in the quicksand of denial.

Finally, he stepped into my path, and with a tight grip on both slumping shoulders, softly turned me around to face him.

The fact that I had bitten entirely through a small portion of my bottom lip seemed to startle him, and while the stream of blood continued to remain constant, he gently took control of my breakdown. “Mrs. Whitman,” he whispered. “Who should I call? You need someone with you right now. Please, is there someone I can call for you?”

This time a small and childlike “Yes,” escaped through my bloody lips. I felt like it shouldn’t take so much effort to say one little word, a word we use a hundred times a day, but it was hard and completely exhausting. It was as if the sound from this three letter word had held my lips apart just long enough for my soul to escape.

He pulled out a bandana, applying pressure to my mouth, and in exchange, I handed him my cell phone with the contact name Jamie lit up in blue letters on the screen. Someone would need to tell my brother-in-law that his older brother Jack was dead.

As Officer Grady took the phone from my hand, a tiny, purple orb slowly drifted past my line of vision and across his chest. Confused, my eyes followed the speck, only to see it suddenly multiply a thousand times, and then each orb began to swell. The purple color faded to the outside of the circle and a bead of light replaced the center like the dimmer switch on an LED bulb. Trying to blink the beacons away only seemed to make them brighter, and within moments the fluorescent illumination blinded me. The weight of my body became too burdensome for my legs, even my hair felt heavy. As if I were riding on a roller coaster and cresting the highest peak, I closed my eyes to the brightness just as I felt myself plummeting to the ground.

My name is Andrea Whitman and those were the last moments of this life as I knew them.

Author Bio:

Karyn Rae is an emerging Romantic-Suspense author. Her debut novel, The Achilles Heel was released in May 2014. She is a member of the Romance Writers of America, and the Columbia Chapter of the Missouri Writers Guild. Karyn resides in Missouri with her husband, son, daughter, and chocolate lab- Augusta Mae. The first part of Karyn's life was spent in the South, and the last fifteen years have played out in the Midwest, but she's still holding on to a shred of her Southern roots. She is a wife, mother, daughter, and sister who has made it her mission in life to carve out a career for herself, while keeping the husband and the children happy.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Review: Right click (Click, #3) by Lisa Becker

Right click (Click, #3)
by Lisa Becker

Genre: Chick Lit, Romance, Drama, Friendship, Humor
Publication: May, 2014
Format: ebooks
Source: ARC
Connect: Facebook | Goodreads
Love. Marriage. Infidelity. Crises of identity. Death. Cupcakes. The themes in Right Click, the third and final installment in the Click series, couldn't be more pressing for this group of friends as they navigate through their 30's.

Another six months have passed since we last eavesdropped on the hilarious, poignant and oftentimes inappropriate email adventures of Renee and friends. As the story continues to unfold, relationships are tested and some need to be set "right" before everyone can find their "happily ever after."
I received a copy of this book from the author to provide an honest review.

When I started reading the first book of the book, Click, I was having a hard time to get into the format because it was written in the email form. But once I got used to the format, I found myself enjoying the book.

Right Click is the continuation of the Click Series. It focused on Renee’s email exchange with her friends – Ethan, Shelley, Ashley and Mark. I really like the group. I love how they were always looking after each other. What a beautiful friendship they shared!

Reading the Click series by Lisa Becker kind of makes me feel like I’m prying into somebody else’s business /life because it was written in the email form.  And it was fun. The Right Click was an easy and quick read. It was very hard to put down the book because I really enjoyed it. There were friendship, romance, humor, and drama – all in the same book and the series.

Right Click (and the other books in the series) is definitely a must read for those who were looking for something sweet, short and easy read.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Review: Yes, Chef! by Lisa Joy + Q&A

Yes, Chef!
by Lisa Joy

Genre: Chic k Lit, Romance, Drama
Publication: July 14, 2014
Format: ebooks, 195 pages
Source: Netgalley
Connect: Website | Twitter
Sassy foodie Becca Stone is over her job taking reservations in one of London's most successful restaurant empires. So when she is unexpectedly catapulted into working as PA to celebrity chef, Damien Malone, it seems like the opportunity of a lifetime.

Becca is quickly caught up in an exciting whirlwind of travel, reality TV and opening nights, and even her usually abysmal love life takes a turn for the better. But as Becca is slowly consumed by the chaos of life in the spotlight, she begins to lose touch with her friends, her heart and even with reality. Working with Damien has its challenges and she is soon struggling with his increasingly outrageous demands and sleazy advances, all while managing the ridiculous requests of his self-centered wife. It takes a disastrous trip to Italy for Becca to realize that she may have thrown away exactly what she's been looking for all along.

Inspired by real-life adventures, this deliciously funny and romantic story reveals a tantalizing glimpse of the trendy restaurant scene: a world where chefs are treated like rock stars, and cooking isn't all that goes on in the kitchen.
I’m a sucker for chick lit with a culinary theme book. When I saw the cover and the title for Lisa Joy’s Yes, Chef!, I knew that I have to add this book into my tbr list.

Becca Stone worked with the reservation department for one of London’s successful restaurant empire.  She was pushed to work for as a PA for Damien Malone, a famous celebrity chef, when his PA, Abigail was going on a vacation. Becca learned that working as Damien’s PA isn’t as exciting as she thought it would be. Becca had to cope with Damien’s (and his wife) demands, while struggling to keep up with her friends, and finding her happiness. 

Yes, Chef! was definitely a good debut by Lisa Joy. The book wasn’t what I was expecting to read, judging from the blurb. But it was interesting to read how Becca Stone was going to survive working as the Damien’s PA. Becca was a great character. I have to admit that she wasn’t very likable at first, but I slowly start to like her as I watch how she grew up and finding out what she really want throughout the story.

My only complain is that the story was a bit rushed towards the end. I do think that the book could be, and should be longer. I wish there were more moments/scene of Becca working with Damien. I’d love to know more about how was it to work as a celebrity chef’s PA. All that juicy drama and stuff.

Overall, Yes, Chef was an enjoyable read. I would recommend this book to those who love a book with a hint of culinary theme.

Disclaimer: I received an ARC through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Q&A with Lisa Joy

1. Please introduce yourself and your book.
Hello! I’m Lisa Joy and I live in Melbourne, Australia which is a wonderful foodie city. Yes, Chef! is my debut novel and it was inspired by my years working in the restaurant industry as a manager, reservations coordinator, host, waitress and PA. In addition to writing novels I still work part time as PA to a well known Melbourne chef but fortunately for me he is not like the bully celebrity chef in my book. I’ve never worked in the kitchen but I do love to bake and I live on a farm that supplies vegetables and berries to some of Melbourne’s top restaurants.

2. What inspired you to write?
I love the feeling of being taken out of your ordinary existence and experiencing something extraordinary that reading gives you. I had a teacher in high school that encouraged my short stories but I didn’t consider writing as a profession until about five years ago. Writing makes me feel at peace and gives me a rush all at the same time so it’s something I would do even if my stories weren’t published.

3. Can you relate yourself to any of the characters? Did you experience anything Becca had experienced?
I can certainly relate to the feeling of uncertainty the heroine Becca Stone feels in regards to her career and love life. The angst and bitterness that comes from not knowing your passion in life and experiencing a run of bad dates with scoundrels. I can also relate to the profoundly comforting feeling that comes when you do finally find someone that loves you just as you are.

4. What is the biggest challenge in working in restaurant business?
The hours are long and unless you are dating someone in the industry it’s difficult to find time to spend with your partner. I think one of the hardest things is meeting the customers’ expectations, which in our foodie culture, can sometimes be unrealistic. Some chefs say food is art but ultimately it’s just diner.

5. And what is the biggest challenge in writing this book?
I’d struggled with another novel before Yes, Chef! because I placed so much pressure on myself to become published that I forgot to enjoy the process of writing. With Yes, Chef! my biggest challenge was to drive all thoughts of publication from my mind and write the story as though I were writing it for my good friends. In the end it worked because not worrying so much about becoming a publish author freed up my writing and allowed me not only to finish the book in less than six months but also to really enjoy writing it.

6. Grade your book. How many stars out of a perfect score of 5 stars? Please give the reason too.
I’m not sure if I can do this! I’ve always been very aware that novels are subjective and what I consider to be 5 stars someone else may only rate 1 star. But if I must rate my book, I would like to give Yes, Chef! 5 stars because it brought me so much happiness and enjoyment and I have had so many messages from readers saying it did the same for them.

7. What are you working on right now?
I’m doing lots of promotion work for Yes, Chef! which I love. I’m so pleased readers are taking an interest in the book. I’ve also begun working on my next novel, another foodie adventure-romance set in England and Italy. This book will again touch on the theme of discovering what you truly want from life, even if it’s not what others expect of you. I’m taking a break from restaurants to explore the lush farms of the Italian countryside and the peace and happiness cooking and eating can bring.

8. Anything you would like to say to your readers?
Thank you! I really hope you enjoy reading Yes, Chef! as much as I enjoyed writing it. If you’d like to read more about the research for my next book, news from my farm and life as a writer or recipes from some of the worlds top chefs please visit my journal

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Review: Bridesmaids by Jane Costello

by Jane Costello

Genre: Chick Lit, Romance, Drama
Publication: May 2008
Format: Paperback, 419 pages
Source: Own
Connect: Website | Twitter | Facebook
With less than an hour to go before her best friend, Grace, is to walk down the aisle, Evie is attempting to fulfil her most important bridesmaid role: to deposit the bride at the start-line at the appointed time. But with a bride famed for her chaotic sense of time, and the bride's daughter busy mashing Molton Brown into the expensive hotel carpet, minus underwear, the odds are stacked against her . . .

At least she has her new 'chicken fillet' boob-enhancers to make her feel special. That is, until these are spotted poking over the top of her dress. So spotted by Jack - the most ruggedly attractive man Evie has ever laid eyes on. Evie is twenty-seven; a sparkly, down-to-earth journalist. She has never been in love and has started to fret that she never will be. Small wonder, then, that the prospect of being bridesmaid at no less than three impending weddings is one that fills her with trepidation.

Things get worse when Evie learns that Jack is her friend Valentina's date. Valentina is beautiful, shallow and self-obsessed. Her dates tend to be mirror-images. Which can mean only one thing: Jack can't possibly be as good as he seems. But as they sit together talking late into the night, Evie finds herself yearning to believe he's all real.
In Bridesmaids, Evie has never really been in love. Her relationships with her exes doesn’t last very long. And this year, she’s the bridesmaid at three weddings. It was on Grace, her best friend’s wedding that she met the handsome Jack. Then she found out that Jack was her friend, Valentina’s date. Knowing the type of guy Valentina tend to date, surely Jack can’t possibly be as good as he look. But when Evie constantly met Jack at different weddings, Evie learned that Jack was not what she thought he might be.

This book was very enjoyable. It was hard to put it down once I start to pick it up. It kinda reminds me of why I started to read chick lit years ago. The romance, the humor (yes, I’m a big fan of rom com) and the characters. Evie was a wonderful character. I love most of her dialogue.  They are mostly funny. And even though there are a few embarrassing moments for Evie, it doesn’t sound too forced. Bridesmaids had the right amount romance, humor and drama. I love the friendship between Evie, Grace, Georgia and Valentina, although Valentina usually drives me crazy. I would definitely recommend Bridesmaids to those who were looking for a light and humorous read.

buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery


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