The Champagne Diet


Book review of “The Champagne Diet”

TheChampagneDietPic“The Champagne Diet” by Cara Alwill Leyba

Book Description:

This book is for the woman who wants to feel good about herself and her body, and learn how to start incorporating healthy habits into her life. It’s for the woman who doesn’t want to trade in her champagne for skinny jeans. It’s for the woman who is done with dieting, and ready to start paying attention to her health before that number on the scale. It’s for the woman who is ready to stop letting her weight define her, and is ready to understand why it always did. This is not a diet book. This is a lifestyle guide. This book will change the way you view your weight and yourself forever. You will walk away feeling empowered, inspired, and downright sexy (and probably craving a glass of bubbly). You will learn how to celebrate yourself and your body. You will learn to make your health a priority, always. And most importantly – you will learn to love yourself, exactly as you are. So get ready to embark on a complete dieting and lifestyle overhaul, sister. You are now on The Champagne Diet!

My Review:

As a champagne lover, I loved the title of Cara’s book! To have the words champagne and diet in the same sentence was music to my ears, so I was very eager to read it. The healthy tips are a lifestyle change that any type of woman could use — especially if they’re wanting to start off the new year the right way. The Champagne Diet emphasizes on choosing the right foods and living happy life, without feeling bad about yourself. Not only does it give tips on showing how sexy you can be, but also gives you tips on feeling sexy, too.

While this book was a good read and it did motivate me to be healthy while feeling sexy (with a glass of bubbly, of course), the only negative thing I can say about The Champagne Diet was that there was a lot of repetition.

I would recommend this book to anyone who loves champagne, and wants a fancy and fun lifestyle change.

I give this book 3 stars!

CaraAlwillLeybaPic**About Cara Alwill Leyba:

Cara Alwill Leyba is a best selling author and life coach from New York City who encourages women to live their most effervescent lives and celebrate themselves. She runs an international private coaching practice where she works with women who are ready to make their happiness a priority. Through loving guidance, support and an expert perspective, Cara empowers women to be the change agent in their lives.

Her blog, has been featured in Glamour, Shape, Marie Claire UK, Cosmopolitan South Africa, and a host of other publications worldwide. Cara’s writing has been featured in The Huffington Post, Marie Claire, xoJane, Mind Body Green, and many other sites.

Cara is the author of two books: Sparkle: The Girl’s Guide to Living a Deliciously Dazzling, Wildly Effervescent, Kick-Ass Life, which was a #1 Amazon best seller in the Happiness and Self-Esteem categories, and The Champagne Diet: Eat, Drink, and Celebrate Your Way to a Healthy Mind and Body, which was a #2 Amazon best seller in Self-Esteem.

When she’s not popping bubbly and blogging, Cara spends her days leading a digital advertising team at MTV Networks. She lives in Brooklyn, New York with her husband and dog.

**Contact Cara: Facebook   Instagram   Pinterest   Twitter

**Buy “The Champagne Diet”: Amazon – Kindle   Amazon – Paperback

**Click HERE to see other stops on Cara’s Chick Lit Plus Blog Tours!

In Need of Therapy


Book Review of “In Need of Therapy”InNeedOfTherapyCover

“In Need of Therapy” by Tracie Banister

Book Description:

Lending a sympathetic ear and dispensing sage words of advice is all part of the job for psychologist Pilar Alvarez, and she’s everything a good therapist should be: warm, compassionate, supportive. She listens, she cares, and she has all the answers, but how’s the woman everyone turns to in their hour of need supposed to cope when her own life starts to fall apart?

While working hard to make a success of her recently-opened practice in trendy South Beach, Pilar must also find time to cater to the demands of her boisterous Cuban family, which includes younger sister Izzy, an unemployed, navel-pierced wild child who can’t stay out of trouble, and their mother, a beauty queen turned drama queen who’s equally obsessed with her fading looks and getting Pilar married before it’s “too late.” Although she’d like to oblige her mother and make a permanent love connection, Pilar’s romantic prospects look grim. Her cheating ex, who swears that he’s reformed, is stalking her. A hunky, but strictly off-limits, patient with bad-boy appeal and intimacy issues is making passes. And the sexy shrink in the suite across the hall has a gold band on his left ring finger.

When a series of personal and professional disasters lead Pilar into the arms of one of her unsuitable suitors, she’s left shaken, confused, and full of self-doubt. With time running out, she must make sense of her feelings and learn to trust herself again so that she can save her business, her family, and most importantly, her heart.

My Review:

“In Need of Therapy” has been on my TBR list for quite a long time, so as book reviews dwindled down, I finally found time to start it. When I finished it, I finally knew what all the hype was about this charming and delightful read, by the lovely author, Tracie Banister.

At first, I wasn’t too sure about the main character, Pilar, because she was a little too nice, but I quickly learned to adore her. She was a hardworking woman who was just trying to do the best she could to help anyone out, no matter who, or what the situation was, and I liked her for that. Whether it was dealing with her family (I loved her sometimes-overbearing mother, and care-free sister, Izzy), Pilar’s up and down relationship troubles were a constant saga, especially with her ex. So, between him, the handsome man who can talk to her about his troubles, and of course, the delightful man across the hall from her (who was my favorite), there was constant wonder who she would end up with. But, when all was said in done, I was a little surprised by the ending, but was satisfied with it.  (No, I’m not going to spoil it for you).

If you’re looking for a light-hearted, lazy weekend read, you’ll fly right through “In Need of Therapy,” you won’t be disappointed. This was my first book by Tracie Banister, and it won’t be my last!

I give this book 4 stars!

Always Something There to Remind Me


Book review of “Always Something There to Remind Me”AlwaysSomethingThereToRemindMeCover

“Always Something There to Remind Me” by Beth Harbison

Book Description:

Can you ever really know if love is true? And if it is, should you stop at anything to get it?

Two decades ago, Erin Edwards was sure she’d already found the love of her life: Nate Lawson. Her first love. The one with whom she shared everything–dreams of the future, of children, plans for forever. The one she thought she would spend the rest of her life with. Until one terrible night when Erin made a mistake Nate could not forgive and left her to mourn the relationship she could never forget or get over.

Today, Erin is contentedly involved with a phenomenal guy, maneuvering a successful and exciting career, and raising a great daughter all on her own. So why would the name “Nate Lawson” be the first thing to enter her mind when her boyfriend asks her to marry him?

In the wake of the proposal, Erin finds herself coming unraveled over the past, and the love she never forgot. The more she tries to ignore it and move on, the more it haunts her.

Always Something There to Remind Me is a story that will resonate with any woman who has ever thought of that one first love and wondered, “Where is he?” and “What if…?” Filled with Beth Harbison’s trademark nostalgia humor and heart, it will transport you, and inspire you to believe in the power of first love.

My Review:

I rarely buy books at bookstores anymore, but when I was at my local B&N a few weekends ago, I saw this book, read what it was about (I’m a huge sucker for when Heroines wonder about their first love), and bought it.

“Always Something There to Remind Me” was easy to get into, and I found the characters to be likable most of the time, no matter what their ages were. I liked how the reader got a picture of what Erin and Nate were like as teens and as adults. Though, at times, I found Erin to be a little absorbed with herself, but by the time the book ends, she seems to have changed, which was good. I took it as a sign that she’d finally grown up.

This was my first time reading anything by Beth Harbison, and it won’t be my last. She’s a gifted writer who makes you fall in love with the characters and story. With twists and turns, and a shocking revelation, I laughed and cried, and loved how it ended! (Without any spoilers, I loved Erin’s daughter). I recommend this book to anyone who still wonders about their first love, especially if you’re considering marrying someone else, but can’t seem to get him out of your mind…

I give this book 5 stars!

Dangerous Flames


Book Review of “Dangerous Flames”


“Dangerous Flames” by Wendy Ely

Book Description:

Back from spending her teen years in Italy, Gabrielle Medini wants answer to the hard questions. She quickly learns that the Mafia still has a hand in controlling society and her father is the Don of the largest mob organization in the area. When a hit order is taken out on her father and one of his members will be doing the killing, Gabi’s mother demands Gabi’s disappearance. For good. This time she refuses to go alone.

The Mafia doesn’t seem so glamorous any more. Not sure what Mik’s role in her father’s crime family is but sure he is involved, Gabrielle has reason to believe that her secret love’s safety is in jeopardy too.

Mikolas Russo is one hit away from becoming part of the Medini crime family. But is this what he really wants? Killing people for money is what he has been trained to do even though he’d give anything to trade the nightmares for sweet dreams of the forbidden Gabrielle. Thinking he has the chance to reveal his feelings to her, he arrives at her house to find her brandishing a loaded gun, ready to take control.

Will the truth fulfill her desires, or will Mikolas be the one to shatter everything?

My Review:

This is my second book I’ve read by Wendy Ely, so I was excited to read “Dangerous Flames”. It began quickly and almost immediately, the story had me in suspense. Whether I was hoping for Gabrielle’s safe escape to her father’s cabin (along with the person she brings with her…no spoilers ;)), and for her and Mikolas to get together, I was on the edge of my seat.

I liked all the characters, especially Gabi, and thought the book ended as it should have. My only concern was that I would have liked to have seen more of who Gabrielle and Mikolas were before she left the country. However, the passion between them since she’s been back, and even when they’re disagreeing, is very obvious.

Wendy Ely is an amazing author who has written a steamy love story between Gabriella and Mikolas, one I really enjoyed, and I can’t wait to read more of her books! If you’re looking for a steamy and mysterious weekend read, I highly recommend “Dangerous Flames”.

I give this book 4 stars!

His Fantasy Maid


Book review of “His Fantasy Maid”HisFantasyMaid

“His Fantasy Maid” by Susan Blexrud

Book Description:

On the eve of Jake Sinclair’s bachelor party, his best man surprises him with a fantasy maid named Amy. Clad in a bikini, she cleans his house and jump starts his heart. She’s beautiful, smart, and compassionate. Why is a woman like this working as a fantasy maid? A few days later, with thoughts still distracted by the enigmatic Amy, Jake crashes his car and wakes in the hospital emergency room where his fantasy maid is now wearing scrubs and wielding a stethoscope. Is she a hallucination, or is his fantasy maid a doctor?

My Review:

Every once in a while I need something spicy to read, so the cover is what drew me to”His Fantasy Maid”. It was an easy book to get into and I liked the characters, especially Jake who was a stand up guy throughout the book. I liked how he was with his friends and of course, with Amy as well. While Amy was okay in the beginning (I liked her better when she was a doctor than a maid), I came to like her even more in the end, and it was easy to see there was something between her and Jake from the start. Through the ups and downs, I thought the ending was a little predictable and some dialogue I didn’t think was necessary. Also, I wanted more of an ending because I wanted to know they would stay together — maybe not forever, but just enough for a reader to be satisfied.

While this book was considered “spicy,” I didn’t think the scenes were all that hot. There were very little parts that made me blush, but there was nothing that I really considered to be as sexy as the cover leaves you to believe. However, I liked the book a lot, and if you’re looking for a short weekend read that will make you blush ever so slightly, I recommend “His Fantasy Maid”.

I give this book 4 stars!

SusanBlexrud**About Susan Blexrud:  Susan Blexrud grew up in Orlando, Florida, and now lives in Asheville, North Carolina, with her husband of 27 years, John, who proposed to her on New Year’s Eve 1985 on the Venice-Simplon Orient Express, halfway between Paris and Vienna.  Their son Chris lives and works in Manhattan, and daughter Allison is a college junior. Susan has a Chihuahua named Baby and a cockatiel named Romeo. She is an avid reader, and she leads two monthly book clubs in Asheville.  She is a walker and Yoga enthusiast. She enjoys quilting and bird watching (loves hummingbirds), and most of all, writing her next story.

**Contact Susan: Website   Blog   Facebook   Publisher

**Buy “His Fantasy Maid”: Amazon

**Click HERE for a chance win a $50 Amazon gift card!

**Click HERE to check out other stops on Susan’s Chick Lit Plus Blog Tours!

Blogger Girl


Book review of “Blogger Girl”


“Blogger Girl” by Meredith Schorr

Book Description:

What happens when your high school nemesis becomes the shining star in a universe you pretty much saved? Book blogger Kimberly Long is about to find out. A chick lit enthusiast since the first time she read “Bridget Jones’s Diary,” Kim, with her blog, “Pastel is the New Black,” has worked tirelessly by night to keep the genre alive, and help squash the claim that “chick lit is dead” once and for all. Not bad for a woman who by day ekes out a meager living as a pretty, and pretty-much-nameless, legal secretary in a Manhattan law firm. While Kim’s day job holds no passion for her, the handsome (and shaving challenged) associate down the hall is another story. Yet another story is that Hannah Marshak, one of her most hated high school classmates, has now popped onto the chick lit scene with a hot new book that’s turning heads—and pages—a cross the land. It’s also popped into Kim’s inbox—for review. With their ten-year high school reunion drawing near, Kim’s coming close to combustion over the hype about Hannah’s book. And as everyone around her seems to be moving on and up, she begins to question whether being a “blogger girl” makes the grade in her off-line life.

My Review:

Around the chick lit world, there has been a lot of praise for Meredith Shorr and her first two books. So, when I was offered to read her third book “Blogger Girl,” I jumped at the chance. This would be my first time reading anything by her and I was excited to start.

…and once I did, I couldn’t put it down. From the first sentence to the last word, I was hooked. Seriously, for a day and a half, this book was all I thought about it. If I wasn’t reading, I was thinking about this book!

Not only did Kimberly’s story intrigue me, so did her struggles — working her day job on her reading/blogging time, practically being forced to read her a book by her high school enemy, and in the end, realizing that you want more out of life and that it’s time make your dreams come true. I loved how her friends and family (yes, even including her sister) were there for her and encouraged her. I cheered for “Kimmy” and knew that she could succeed in not just her work life, but in her personal life too, which I must say that I loved the ending! (Nope, no spoilers — read the book). :) There were several laugh out-loud moments, and yes, I cried at the end because I saw myself in her.

Meredith’s writing style is so easy and it’s easy to see she’s a gifted author. As a blogger and lover of chick lit, Meredith couldn’t have painted a more clear picture of someone like us.

Like I said before, this was my first time reading anything by Meredith Schorr, and definitely not my last! This book was truly amazing and is going down as one of my top 5 reads for 2013! (I would love to see this turned into a movie!)

I give “Blogger Girl” 5 stars!

Reaching Out For You


Book review of “Reaching Out For You”


“Reaching Out For You” by S. Moose

Book Description:

Adam and Sophia were best friends but when tragedy strikes it’s more than Adam can handle and he leaves Sophia alone in the dark.

Four years later, Adam and Sophia are reunited and the sparks between them return but is it too late?

Sophia is happy again and has let go of the darkness. She has great friends and a sweet boyfriend name Kyle. Now that Adam is back how will she be able to balance her boyfriend and her best friend?

My Review:

I’m a sucker for male and females being friends in books, especially with the possibilities of it turning into more. So, when I decided to read and review this book, I was really excited. However, this book was not what I expected…

The beginning was really good and I liked the fact that Sophia (love that name) was seeking help for all her issues, past and current. She seemed like a really bright girl and I liked her a lot. As for her boyfriend Kyle, he’s nothing but a jerk and is mentally, physically and sexually abusive to her. It broke my heart to read such a nice girl be hurt like that.

And then came Adam to save the day. I wondered where he’d been and what he’d been up to for the past four years, but it’s not really mentioned. I really liked the way his character was really a hero. There seemed to be a mystery about him that reminded me of the Edward Cullen from the “Twilight” series. While we know there was an accident that he was involved in (and I think her mother too), I wasn’t really sure about it, but I’m thinking that in S. Moose’s next book (yes, there’s a next book) we’ll find out more. Thank goodness!

There were parts where the abuse got to me a little too much, and some words and feelings were overused, but it made me wonder if I would do and say the same things if I were in Sophia’s place. With all the twists, turns, and heartbreak that this was in this book that I couldn’t stop reading because I had to know what happened next.

For writing a debut novel like this, S. Moose is brave, but I love that she took the chance because I got really invested in these characters, especially Sophia’s, who I probably won’t forget.

I give “Reaching Out For You” 4 stars!

Royal Secrets


Book review of “Royal Secrets”


“Royal Secrets” by Kathleen Irene Paterka

Book Description:

ROYAL SECRETS is the story of the Royal Wedding Chapel in Las Vegas, and of Lily Lavender, whose family is distantly descended from the British royal family. Immersed in the regal world of weddings and romance, Lily grew up believing in brides, grooms and happily-ever-afters. It seemed her destiny and royal birthright to someday assume a position as wedding coordinator in their family-owned wedding chapel business. But when her mother Mimi’s third marriage eventually fails, Lily’s dreams of her own happily-ever-after quickly fade. She’s no longer interested in a life of assisting brides walk down the aisle into a life of disillusionment and possible divorce. Lily turns her back on The Royal Wedding Chapel and leaves Las Vegas to fashion a life of her own. Years later, Lily—now a single mom—discovers her teenage daughter has run off to Las Vegas, lured by Mimi to help run the chapel. Determined to save her daughter from the broken dreams of Sin City and the nonsensical world of which family fairy tales are made, Lily returns to Las Vegas. But nothing prepares Lily for the royal drama which awaits her… or the sins and secrets she stumbles across that threaten to close the chapel and ruin her family forever.

My Review:

I have been a huge fan of Kathleen ever since I read “Fatty Patty” (such a great book), so I was eager to start “Royal Secrets”. Being a huge fan of the Royal Family, I really enjoyed this book, and even the references to Kate. There were a lot of twists and turns, which made for a page-turner. While the beginning seemed a little slow and there were parts that seemed to drag on a bit, it definitely picked up in the middle. I was constantly wondering what would happen next.

I thought the characters were written really well, but my favorite was Tori. She was mature and smart, and I liked how she challenged her mother. My main issue with this book was Lilly’s character. From the beginning, she seemed really upset with her mother for having a stroke. It like she was put out for having to take care of her. I also thought Lilly needed to step in take over for Tori, who seemed to take better care of Mimi.

Kathleen’s writing was witty and fun! Like I mentioned above, this wasn’t my first book by her, and I know it won’t be my last!

I give “Royal Secrets” 4 stars!


Describe yourself in five sentences: I’m a published author, with five women’s fiction novels and one non-fiction work available both digitally and in print. I’m wife to Steve (33 years and counting), a mother to our daughter Abby (31 yrs.), and grandmother of 3 yr. old twin boys. I have a day job I love as resident staff writer at a fairy tale castle in Northern Michigan. I’m in love with my husband, devoted to my family, loyal to my friends, and happy in what I do. Most of all, I love my life and wouldn’t trade it for anything.

When did you begin writing? I started scribbling stories down as soon as I could hold a pencil and string words together. Growing up, I thought everyone was like me ~ living with a stream of stories and ideas, and people chattering away in their heads. Little did I know that ‘normal people’ weren’t necessarily like that. But I’ve always loved making up things. Nowadays, I get paid to put that imagination to good use.

How do you come up with the titles of your books? My first novel, FATTY PATTY, is about an elementary school teacher named Patty who’s struggling to lose weight. I was a fat teenager (I weighed 300 lbs. when I graduated from high school) and they called me ‘Baby Huey’ on the playground. That got me thinking, “What would Patty’s nickname be?” Thus, the name (and title) FATTY PATTY was born. My latest novel, ROYAL SECRETS, is about a Las Vegas wedding chapel (the Royal Wedding Chapel) owned by a family of women who are distantly related to the British royal family. The novel contains plenty of intrigue and drama, plus plenty of secrets! Seemed like a no-brainer. Royalty + Secrets = ROYAL SECRETS.

Walk us through your writing/editing/publishing process: I love writing the rough draft. It’s my favorite part of the entire process. By the time I begin, I’ve been dreaming about the characters for a good six months. I know where the story begins and where it will end. For me, the fun part is discovering the story magic in the middle. I’m a very slow writer. My current work in progress is due to my editor next March. By the time it arrives in her In-Box, I’ll already have a cover design back from my graphic artist, plus a formatting time-slot booked. From start to finish, the entire process takes about eighteen months.

Do you get writer’s block? If so, how do you overcome it? I’ve never had writer’s block, and it’s something I prefer not to think about, thank you very much! Perhaps I’m afraid I’ll jinx myself? However, I did quit writing once, for several years. My younger sister (my only sibling ~ a 37 yr. old single mom with five young children) had just been diagnosed with an extremely rare and aggressive form of breast cancer. I was four chapters into a new novel, but I just couldn’t concentrate. After a few weeks, I made the decision to quit writing and concentrate solely on my family. My sister died nine months after being diagnosed. Looking back, I’m so glad I made the decision to put my writing aside for that time in my life. I have no regrets. I believe that being there for her when she needed me, helping out with my nieces and nephews, making memories that will last forever, strengthened me as a person, as a woman, and as a writer. It took a good three years following her death before I finally picked my writing up again. But when I did, it was with a renewed determination, and I vowed to never quit again. Life is too short not to follow your dreams.

Are any of your characters based on someone you know? Each of my heroes contains certain core elements of my husband Steve’s personality. He’s such a wonderful man and the most positive person I’ve ever met in my life. How could I not help being influenced by him when it comes to creating the perfect guy? The only male character Steve complained about (and disliked) was Sam Curtis, the overweight hero in FATTY PATTY. At the time I wrote the novel, Steve had been struggling to lose a few pounds. He didn’t like being compared to Sam. (Interesting side note: women readers adored Sam! But I say, “Too bad, ladies… he’s taken!”)

Where is your favorite writing location? I have a home office. The walls are red, my desk is a beautiful antique rubbed walnut, and my computer monitor is the largest I could find that would fit on my desk. My eyes aren’t the greatest and I need that visibility on the screen!

If you’re not working, then you’re probably…Watching episodes of HBO’s THE NEWSROOM (with Jeff Daniels). It’s my favorite show on television ~ the new season begins this month! I’m psyched! I also love going to the movies with Steve, or losing myself in a good book. TV, movies, books… can you tell I love escaping reality?

What is your favorite word? Perseverance.

What would you be if you weren’t a writer? A talk show hostess! (not that I believe for one minute that any network would hire me- LOL). But I love interviewing people, finding out about their lives and discovering why they do the things they do. People are so interesting. The situations some of them find themselves in make for wonderful stories!

What is the best advice you’ve been given? Never give up. That applies to everything in life, whether it’s writing, marriage, children, or anything. Work at it long enough and you will succeed (or, at least, things will improve). A person cannot survive without hope. Hope is the thing that keeps us going. I try every day to fill my life with hope.

Can you tell us about any of your upcoming projects? I’m three chapters into a new work of women’s fiction. The story evolved from a horrible event I experienced in my life a few years ago. My husband had been hospitalized for a heart condition. Early one morning I was sitting by his bed and woke with a start to the oddest noise. Little did I know that it was the infamous ‘death rattle’. My Steve had just taken his last breath. Thank God he was in the cardiac unit. A skilled team of doctors and nurses rushed to his side with a crash cart and zapped him back to life. But that experience got me to thinking. What if Steve hadn’t been in the hospital? What if we’d been home and asleep in bed? He would have died. One thought led to another, resulting in my current work in progress, a women’s fiction story I callELEANOR (for want of a better title). It’s the story of a woman who wakes from a sound sleep by a curious sound coming from her husband of 38 years next to her in bed. Then she goes back to sleep… only to waken the next morning to find him dead beside her. A shocking secret he’s been keeping is exposed upon his death, destroying the idyllic life they’d built together, leaving a stunned Eleanor alone to figure out how in the world to begin putting her life back together.

My novel ROYAL SECRETS was released on July 1, 2013. It’s the story of the Royal Wedding Chapel in Las Vegas, and of Lily Lavender, whose family is distantly descended from the British royal family. Immersed in the regal world of weddings and romance, Lily grew up believing in brides, grooms and happily-ever-afters. It seemed her destiny and royal birthright to someday assume a position as wedding coordinator in their family-owned wedding chapel business. But when her mother Mimi’s third marriage eventually fails, Lily’s dreams of her own happily-ever-after quickly fade. She’s no longer interested in a life of assisting brides walk down the aisle into a life of disillusionment and possible divorce. Lily turns her back on The Royal Wedding Chapel and leaves Las Vegas to fashion a life of her own. Years later, Lily—now a single mom—discovers her teenage daughter has run off to Las Vegas, lured by Mimi to help run the chapel. Determined to save her daughter from the broken dreams of Sin City and the nonsensical world of which family fairy tales are made, Lily returns to Las Vegas. But nothing prepares Lily for the royal drama which awaits her… or the sins and secrets she stumbles across that threaten to close the chapel and ruin her family forever.

KathleenIrenePaterkaPic**About author, Kathleen Irene Paterka: Kathleen Irene Paterka fell in love with writing (and food) at a very young age. By the time she graduated high school, she’d completed her first manuscript and she weighed 300 lbs. Though the extra pounds have long since disappeared, Kathleen still carries the emotional scars of being a former fatty. FATTY PATTY was born from the cruel teasing she endured on the school playground. Kathleen is the author of numerous novels which embrace universal themes of home, family life and love, including the Women’s Fiction series, “The James Bay Novels”. Kathleen is the resident staff writer for Castle Farms, a world renowned castle listed on the National Historic Register, and co-author of the non-fiction book FOR THE LOVE OF A CASTLE, published in 2012. Having lived and studied abroad, Kathleen’s educational background includes a Bachelor of Arts degree from Central Michigan University. She and her husband live in the beautiful north country of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula. Kathleen loves hearing from readers. You can contact her via her website at or follow her on Facebook at

**Contact Kathleen: Website   Facebook   ScribBLING Divas Blog

**Buy “Royal Secrets”!: Amazon   Barnes & Noble   Smashwords

**Click HERE to check out other stops on Kathleen’s Chick Lit Plus Blog Tours, and enter to win a prize!

Between Friends


Book review of “Between Friends”


“Between Friends” by Amanda Cowen

Book Description:

The only way to have a friend is to be one…especially between the sheets…

When neurotically challenged and unlucky in love Megan Daniels is propositioned by her life-long friend Ben Romano with a coin toss (heads, they sleep together, tails, they don’t) the night before they are about to attend a destination wedding, she drunkenly accepts his challenge. But when Megan wakes up the next morning with a bad hang-over and Ben in her bed, she is more than mortified. It isn’t until the tropical heat begins to ignite emotions Megan never believed or thought she could possibly have, when she starts to question if risking their friendship is the answer to finding true love.

A cute and contemporary debut novel, BETWEEN FRIENDS faces one girl’s struggle between the fine lines of friendship and love and the risk of opening up her heart to the possibility of forever.

My Review:

When I picked this book up, it reminded me of one of my favorite movies, “When Harry Met Sally,” where we all wonder if men and women can truly be friends. The subject highly interests me, because I did marry a guy who I, for years, considered to be a friend, so I was eager to read this book.

I found Megan and Ben’s story in “Between Friends” to be a cute, likable one. Would I ever participated in the coin toss, probably not, but that’s what I liked about their friendship — they were willing take a chance (even after having a few drinks), even Megan who tended to over think and worry.

During the weekend of friendly wedding festivities, I thought their alone time was special, and it seemed like they really cared for each other, especially when nobody was looking. I liked how Ben seemed to take charge, even though he had a temper at times, and punched a guy, it was understandable to see where he was coming from. However, I thought Megan’s girlfriends were very immature, and weren’t supportive, especially when a secret is found out a secret about one of the them girls and Ben…(no, I’m not going to spoil it for you).

Overall, “Between Friends” was a fun, and enjoyable, weekend read. While, at times, somewhat predictable, I loved the happy ending!

I give this book 4 stars!


Writing New Adult Contemporary with Mature Content

Sex, sex and more sex? Isn’t that what’s it all about? Not really, but it sure does keep things spicy.

Although writing New Adult Contemporary Novels with Mature Content gives the author the ability to heighten their story between the sheets, trust me, it is so much more than that. Having a protagonist in the 18 -25 age bracket opens up a whole new world for a writer, and allows their characters to tackle all those coming of age issues such as, breaking out into the job market, starting college, weddings and engagements, and living away from home for the first time etc. And along with those many things that plague us in early adulthood, it is also our sexuality and figuring out who we are, when it is at its peak.

As an author who writes in this genre, New Adult Contemporary Fiction is able to capture life and it’s not so pretty moments when it comes to love, sex and relationships. I love the whole “coming of age” bit and being able to incorporate mature content into my writing. For me, it is just a perk to share my characters intimate moments through sexual encounters to help develop their chemistry.

AmandaCowenPicAbout author, Amanda Cowen:

Amanda Cowen can be found eating cupcakes, singing off-key, or watching a good RomCom when she isn’t trapped on her computer writing stories and delighting her imagination. She has been writing since the ripe age of twelve about ponies and princesses in brightly colored duo-tangs with metallic pens. Thankfully, she now has a Mac with a keyboard where she can write about love, sex and relationships. She is an “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” fanatic, a hater of roller-coasters and a country music junkie. She lives in Thunder Bay, ON where the summers are short and the winters are long.

Amanda loves to hear from her readers! You can contact her via her website, http://www., become a fan on Facebook, follow her on Goodreads, or visit her blog.

Buy “Between Friends”!:  Amazon   Smashwords

**Click HERE to see other stops on Amanda’s Chick Lit Plus Blog Tour

**Everyone who leaves a comment on the tour page will be entered to win a $20 Amazon gift card! Anyone who purchases their copy of Between Friends before  August 19 and sends their receipt to Samantha (at) ChickLitPlus (dot) com, will get five bonus entries.**

Finding Lucas


Book review of “Finding Lucas”


“Finding Lucas” by Samantha Stroh Bailey

Book Description:

Can you ever really go back to the past?

After five long years of living with Derek, her former bad-boy-turned-metrosexual boyfriend, Jamie Ross finally reaches her breaking point. She’s had enough of his sneering disdain for her second hand wardrobe, unusual family and low-paying job as the associate producer of Chicago’s sleaziest daytime talk show. When her new boss plans a segment on reuniting lost loves, Jamie remembers Lucas, her first love and the boy she’d lost ten years earlier. Spurred on by her gang of quirky friends, Jamie goes on a hilarious, disastrous and life changing hunt to track Lucas down. But are some loves best left behind?

My Review:

“Finding Lucas” has been on my TBR list for quite a while, so between reading reviews for Chick Lit Plus Blog Tours, I decided to start the book I’ve heard so much about.

I love how the book started out where we get a clear image of Jamie and Derek’s relationship. (Wow, what a jerk, and his mother…what a witch!) Once Jamie ended it (thank goodness), a sigh of relief rushed over me, thankful that she was finally free from both of them. It seemed that Jamie was already on her way out before the reader met them, which explained why she didn’t really miss him, especially since she was with him for so long.

When Jamie begins to be friends with her new boss, Andrew, while working together on the show of finding lost loves, I liked their friendly and, sometimes, flirty banter. I was focused more on her journey of finding Lucas, and wondered why she didn’t tell him about being on the show herself, but at the end, I’m so glad she didn’t. (No, I’m not going to spoil it for you). One thing I really liked, and appreciated, was the friendship Jamie has with her family. I was laughing when Andrew met her mother and her partner, and her sister. That was hysterical. I could only imagine being a fly on the wall when her mother’s partner gives him a back massage. While the loving family is filled with quite a gene pool, it was obvious how much they all care for each other.

Jamie’s journey of finding Lucas is quite a funny one and I couldn’t put it down, even though I was reading two other books along with this one. I laughed and cried, but the best part was the ending. I was surprised how it ended, but that’s what I liked the most of “Finding Lucas.” It is interesting to wonder what happened to our long-lost loves, and when we see them, hoping to get another chance, we all wonder what we’ll do and say in that moment. Why I won’t say if Jamie found Lucas, I do think she ended up with the right man. :)

I would recommend this book to anyone who wonders what happened to or wonders where their long-lost love is, and it would make for a wonderful book for a day at the beach. This was my first book by Samantha Stroh Bailey, and I know it won’t be my last!

I give “Finding Lucas” 5 stars!

**Click HERE to learn more about Samantha Stroh Bailey, read my interview with the author!