Dangled Carat

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“Dangled Carat” by Hilary Gorssman

Blurb: Hilary had gotten used to dating the commitment-phobic Marc, thirteen years her senior. They had a great relationship–why rush into things? She saw no need to pressure him for marriage, believing that when the time was right, he would propose. But after they had been together for four years, their friends decided to take matters into their own hands, pushing Marc to propose and making Hilary realize how much she really did want to marry the man that she loved. Unfortunately, Marc still wasn’t ready–and their friends’ meddling in the form of a faux engagement party led to a disastrous New Year’s Eve that brought their relationship to an inevitable turning point.

My Review: After I featured an excerpt of “Dangled Carat” as part of a Chick Lit Plus Blog Tour, (click HERE to see the excerpt), I received an email from the author asking if I’d like to read and review this book. With my review schedule, I didn’t think I would be able to get a review out until May. However, it was a lazy weekend, so I decided to start “Dangled Carat”, even though I was reading two other books. Once I did, I literally could not put this book down, and was sad when I had to stop to go to dinner with friends that night. All I wanted to read was this book, wanting to see if Marc would finally propose.

The blurb hooked me right away. My fifth wedding anniversary is coming up, but I was with my husband for 6 years (YES, SIX) before he proposed, so I felt that I could relate to the main character, Hilary. It turns out that she and I are very similar. We both loved our men, they just wouldn’t put a ring on the finger, no matter how many times their friends nudged them about it.

There were some scenes where I cringed (the New Year’s Eve party especially), feeling sorry for Hilary, but she handled it like a pro, (I wouldn’t have). Hilary and Marc’s characters are very believable, and written very well. I liked that the author wrote scenes during their years together, making it nice to see how their relationship evolved over the years. The only thing that I thought this book was missing was more of Hilary and Marc together — I wanted to feel physical chemistry between them during the present time, because at times, I felt like they were just roommates, not lovers who have been together for so long.

If you’re looking to read an awesome book, one that you won’t want to put down, I highly recommend “Dangled Carat”! No matter what stage you’re at in your love life, you will truly enjoy this book!

I give this book 5 stars!

**Reviewer note: While “Dangled Carat” is a memoir, it doesn’t read like one, and you will not be disappointed! :)

HilaryGrossman**About Hilary Grossman: Hilary Grossman dated a guy so commitment-phobic that she was able to write a book about their relationship. She is currently the CFO of a beverage alcohol importer and lives on Long Island.

Fun After the Fire

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“Fun After the Fire” by Madeleine Lakewood

Blurb: When Briana and her roommate Dan are left alone at the bonfire, their feelings–kept hidden since she first moved in–finally erupt. Can Briana resist the temptation, or are she and Dan in for a steamy night?

“Fun After the Fire” is a short 2500-word romp that’s sure to tease and please.

My Review: Madeleine Lakewood reached out to me, offering to send me her book for an honest review. I instantly downloaded it, and began reading.

Briana and Dan hooked up pretty quickly, which I didn’t mind at all because they weren’t strangers, and found there to be an innocence about their lovemaking. For any good erotica, I feel that there must be very vivid descriptions, and this book was just that — quite descriptive, but not overly done, and I felt that I was still able to use my imagination, too. Very well-written, Madeleine Lakewood!

If you’re looking for a spicy and erotica read that you can read during lunch, before bed, or perhaps to help you get in the mood, I recommend “Fun After the Fire.”

I give this book 4 stars!

MadeleineLakewoodPic**About author, Madeleine Lakewood:

Madeleine Lakewood is an upcoming erotic romance author. She likes to write stories about unrequited lust gone requited, naughty roommates, and women learning to express themselves. When she’s not writing, she indulges in tea — especially chamomile — and first kisses with naughty boys. “Fun After the Fire” is her first foray into self-publishing, with many more to come.

**Contact Madeleine: Website   Facebook   Twitter

**Buy “Fun After the Fire”: Amazon   Smashwords

We’ll Always Have Paris

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“We’ll Always Have Paris” by Jennifer Coburn

Blurb: Jennifer Coburn has always been terrified of dying young. It’s the reason she drops everything each summer on a quest to travel through twelve European countries with her daughter, Katie, before it’s too late. Even though her husband can’t join them, even though she’s nervous about the journey, and even though she’s perfectly healthy, she spends three to four weeks a year jamming Katie’s mental photo album with memories. In this heartwearming generational love story, Jennifer reveals how their adventures helped relinquish her fear of dying…for the sake of living.

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My Review: After reading “Tales from the Crib” by Jennifer Coburn, I was a huge fan, and have been ever since. Naturally, I was excited to start “We’ll Alway Have Paris.” Right away, Jennifer’s writing captured me, and sometimes I felt like I was on traveling along with them. I loved how Jennifer and Katie talked to each other, and found their honesty toward each other to be refreshing.

I liked “We’ll Always Have Paris,” but this one just didn’t get me like other books by Jennifer Coburn usually do. In ways of a book, I really wished I could have got more out of it, but didn’t. I really, really wanted to like it, but nothing seemed to really happen, and I found it to be more like a journal.

If you’re one who likes traveling memoirs, then I highly recommend “We’ll Always Have Paris.”

I give “We’ll Always Have Paris” 3 1/2  stars.

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“I’m profoundly in love with Jennifer Coburn’s memoir We’ll Always Have Paris!  From Coburn’s picture-perfect travelogue to her hilarious observations, she’s woven together a powerful narrative with a heartfelt and thoughtful examination of what truly makes a family.  I was enthralled from the very first page and I cannot recommend this book highly enough.  I want to read this again, tell all my friends about it… and then renew my passport.” –Jen Lancaster, NY Times best-selling author of Bitter is the New Black, Here I Go Again, and the Tao of Martha.

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Excerpt:

Katie and I found the Shakespeare & Company Booksellers on the Left Bank across the river from Notre Dame. On la Rue Bucherie, at the edge of the Latin Quarter, stood a seventeenth-century monastery that housed Europe’s largest collection of English language books for sale.

New and used books lined every wall, cluttered and haphazardly organized. A mirrored wall included photos of authors who had visited, including Henry Miller, Anaïs Nin, and Allen Ginsberg. A cat snuggled in the corner under a corkboard listing literary events and readings. It was a cozy haven that made me long for a pot of tea and a thunderstorm.

Painted over a threshold of the three-story bibliophilic heaven were the words “Be not inhospitable to strangers, lest they be angels in disguise.” Discreetly placed in the landscape was evidence that Shakespeare & Company lived this philosophy. Small cots, bedrolls, pillows, and backpacks were tucked between bookshelves.

“Do people sleep here?” eight-year-old Katie asked the clerk, a young woman with Bettie Page bangs, a vintage dress, and Doc Marten Mary Janes. I imagined her name was something like Prudence or Cleo.

In a posh British accent, Cleo explained that travelers were welcome to sleep at the bookstore if they worked a few hours during the day. These guests were endearingly called “Tumbleweeds” and could stay anywhere from a few nights to several months.

Tapping on her computer, Cleo continued, “Or, if you’re a writer, you can stay as our guest in the studio.”

“My mom’s a writer!” Katie exclaimed, standing on the toes of her white sandals. “Google her.”

Katie’s face begged for the sleepover.

Fear of dying young isn’t an altogether bad thing. Sometimes it makes you try what you might otherwise delay. I found myself agreeing to Katie’s requests, justifying that my indulgence would solidify fond memories.

“Check-in is at midnight,” Cleo told us before returning to her work.

At the appointed hour, Katie and I sat on a bench next to a half-dozen disaffected youth with pierced faces and unnaturally black hair. Their stained canvas backpacks sported logos of bands with names like Blistered Anus.

“Ouch,” Katie commented to a fellow Tumbleweed.

“They’re crap since they lost their drummer,” he returned in a sweet English accent.

In her pigtails and Bedazzled tank top, Katie shrugged. “That can happen.” She had absolutely no idea about how a change of musician could affect a group, but pursed her lips as though she’d been through it a few times herself. I admired her immediate acceptance of and connection to life around her.

Another mother and her young daughter knocked on the locked door apologizing for being late for check-in. Looking like characters from Les Miserables, the mother and barefoot Cosette explained they lost track of time in the Bastille Day festivities.

As we were shown to the Writer’s Studio, I had three thoughts about spending the night in the same bed where Henry James slept. One, they hadn’t changed the sheets since. Two, Katie’s bed was actually a yoga mat on top of a door that was resting on two file cabinets. These cabinets, I should add, were not of equal height. And three, Andy Griffith looked awfully young on that box of Ritz crackers in the corner.

A tornado of gnats came from the water spigot. Our window did not open more than a few inches. The room was situated directly above a row of trash receptacles.

Katie squealed with delight, “We have a view of Notre Dame!”

I, on the other hand, just smelled hot garbage. “Don’t touch a thing!” I warned Katie.

“Isn’t this the best, Mommy?”

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**If people pre-order the book any time before April 8th, through any book seller, I will donate my royalties from the first thousand books to the American Cancer Society. Click HERE to pre-order “We’ll Always Have Paris” on Amazon!

Jen-with-tree**Contact Jennifer:

Website   Facebook   Twitter

 

The Golden Apple

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“The Golden Apple” by Faerl Marie

Blurb: MEET POPPY PARKER, a recent widow who knows she must move forward but has no idea which direction to take. To start fresh, Poppy moves from her idyllic home in Georgia to the grimy glamour of New York City to open up her own boutique and find a way to live and love without her husband.

Austin Bandy has been in love with Poppy since the moment he laid eyes on her years ago, right before her wedding. Now she is back, grieving and broken hearted by her nearly-perfect husband’s death—not Austin’s ideal romantic situation. He needs to wait for her to recover but not so long that someone else has the chance to move in and sweep his dream girl off her feet and keep him as a “good friend” forever.

Poignant, hopeful and fresh, Faerl Marie’s enchanting debut novel will have you hooked and ready to pursue your own hopes and dreams the moment you turn the final page. The Golden Apple is a charming and fashionable novel about loss, love and moving on without betraying your self, your past or those you love.

My Review: Words cannot describe how much I enjoyed this book. It started quickly, and before too long, I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough.

After Poppy moved to New York, her adventure with starting a new life and finding herself started right away. I liked that she had a girlfriend who she could rely on, and seemed to take to Austin almost immediately. While I wouldn’t have been as aggressive as she was (sleeping with him in the same bed, and staying at his home on most nights), I liked how Faerl didn’t make Poppy’s and Austin’s relationship based on sex, but rather romantic and innocent.

There were times when I wanted Poppy to stop thinking, and go with what I thought she wanted all along, which was to be with Austin, but I think that’s what made the book even more dramatic. (I won’t give you any spoilers). :)

Faerl Marie is a very gifted author who has written a wonderful heartwarming and memorable book, and I cannot wait to read what she’ll come out with next.

I give this book 5 stars!

Excerpt: 

“Well,” Vivian hadn’t said a word until then. “That’s quite a morning the two of you had.” After leaving Austin’s Poppy had gone to Vivian’s and took a long shower, soaking away the puffy redness around her eyes. Now she sat across from Viv in a nearby café dressed in a lilac and white striped seersucker dress feeling refreshed and sane.
“Tell me about it.” Poppy swirled a purple grape around in her palm like a marble. It was hot outside even under the shade of the black and white striped awning that covered them. They were the only occupied table and as such had their water and tea glasses refilled after nearly ever sip.
“The thing is Viv, I really thought it was him. When he turned and I saw his face and knew that it wasn’t, I felt okay about it. It didn’t hurt like I would have thought.” She laughed to herself ironically. “Until I broke down in a puddle of tears on the side of the street.” She popped the grape in her mouth and looked at her oldest friend.
“I think if it’s okay with you I’ll leave this bit out of the weekly report card your mom calls for.” Vivian raised one eyebrow and took a bite of her sandwich.
“Does she still do that? It’s been two months.”
Poppy moved her hair behind her shoulder. “What have you told her so far?”
“That you’ve gained at least ten pounds and a dress size,” She raised that eyebrow again, “lie. That you’ve made loads of new friends and stay out late having fun, partial lie.” She took another bite of her sandwich and swallowed. “That you go shopping all the time and spend money so frivolously you can’t afford to move out of my living room. Lie and lie.” She took a drink of her sparkling water. “Oh yeah, and that you’re sleeping at some guy’s house and thinking of opening your own vintage boutique.”
“Well two out of six isn’t bad. Whenever she calls me I just tell her that I think of Josh less often each week and that I don’t fall asleep crying every night, which actually, now that I think about it is true. I didn’t cry at all at Austin’s.” They both looked up from their lunches smiling and said simultaneously, “Except for today.” Poppy rolled her eyes and Vivian laughed.
“I’m sorry Pop.” Vivian looked serious for a moment. “I don’t mean to laugh. I know it’s rough.”
“Oh Viv. It’s either something to laugh about or something to cry about and lock me away in an asylum for.” She smiled. “I’d rather be laughing.” They both finished their lunches before she said, “I do feel pretty bad for Austin. Poor guy, sleeping on his own couch and dragging around a sobbing mess on his weekend.” Poppy dug around in her purse for cash.
Vivian was serious again as she moved crumbs around her plate with the tines of her fork. “He’s in love with you. You know that, right?” Poppy looked back down at the bills in her hand.
“I know he likes me. Love seems like a strong word to come from someone who barely knows me.” She ran one hand through her blonde waves.
“No, he loves you. He’s loved you since that first trip when you came out here and loitered around that photo shoot. You’re different Pop. Different from ‘city girls’,” she raised her hands in air quotes. “You’re different from all girls. I think it broke him when I told him you were about to be married. His jaw literally dropped. I’ve never seen anyone look so disappointed in my life. I’ll never forget that.” She looked away a moment before continuing. “I figured he’d gotten over it until a year or so ago.” She took a sip of her ice water. Poppy waited for her to continue.
“I ran into his sister, London, at some party and we started talking. She wanted to know whom this girl was that occasionally flitted into the city to break her brother’s heart again and again. Every time you came to visit he tried to make an appearance. At least once a year he’d ask if you were still married.” She set her fork down and looked into Poppy’s eyes, blue meeting blue.
“He told me, right after I’d asked if he’d pick us up from the airport, that he would wait as long as it took but that he would be there the moment you were ready. You think all this is just happenstance but really it’s Austin taking every opportunity he sees to be with you.” Vivian gave a half smile. “He’s a really good guy Poppy and I just think you should know.” She laughed then, “But please God! Don’t tell him I told you any of that.” They both stood up and Poppy checked her watch, unsure of how to respond to such a heavy confession.
“Oh! I need to get back to the apartment and change for dinner.”
“Your hot date! What are you going to wear?” Vivian and Poppy had been planning outfits since they were in grade school and started coordinating their scrunched velvet jazz pants and floral leotards.
“I’m thinking elegant-casual with glam accessories.” Poppy wanted to look attractive but not necessarily desirable or sexy.
“Oh,” Vivian’s face fell, “I was thinking sexy-glam with sassy accessories or at least some color. I didn’t even know you owned so much black.”
“I wear color!”
“Only when you’re jogging and you have that super serious runner face which is like the blackest of all faces you can wear,” Vivian retorted.
“Alright,” Poppy conceded. “I’ll wear color as part of my elegant-casual look.” Poppy showered and dressed hurriedly when they arrived back at the brownstone.
“Okay, How do I look?” She stood with one hand on her hip. An eggplant sheath dress skimmed over her body gracefully. A coral skinny belt drew in her waist.
“You look great. I love that dress, it’s the blackest purple I’ve ever seen.”
“This is eggplant!” Poppy adjusted the belt. “Is the dress too short? Am I showing too much skin?” She twirled around for Vivian to see.
“Are you kidding me? The front comes up to your neck and it’s long sleeved.”
“These are three-quarter length sleeves and the hem is pretty short.” Poppy pulled at the dress.
“No, the hem is great and those coral heels aren’t so high. I love the low scoop back; it’s the right amount of sexy.” Vivian looked her over again. “What jewelry are you wearing?”
“These.” Poppy slipped on a pair of gold chandelier earrings that almost brushed her shoulders. “How’s the back of my hair?”
“Good. Did you braid it or just twist it?” Vivian tucked a few strands of Poppy’s hair back into the twist with a bobby pin.
“Both. Is it too… secretarial?” She patted the chignon.
“It’s perfect. You look beautiful.” Vivian put her hands on Poppy’s shoulders. “Are you nervous?”
“A little, but not as much as I would have thought.” She checked her watch. “I better go down and get a cab. Have a good night.” She gave Viv a quick kiss on the cheek.
Vivian stood in the door and called after her, “Have fun Poppy!”
Poppy pulled the belt of her trench tighter as she stepped out of the cab. The restaurant was open except for a few tables and Greg was easy to spot in dark jeans and a striped button up shirt. He stood as Poppy approached the table.

Faerl Marie**About Faerl Marie: Faerl Marie is a graduate of the University of New Mexico with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and minors in English and Social Welfare. She has worked as a style consultant, personal shopper and wardrobe curator, among other things. Faerl Marie spends her days writing, dreaming about new stories and characters, walking her dog and adoring her husband. She lives in the idyllic mountains near Santa Fe, New Mexico. “The Golden Apple” is her first novel.

**Contact Faerl: Website   Facebook   Twitter

**Click HERE to see other stops on Faerl’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 a copy of The Golden Apple by April 7 and sends their receipt to Samantha (at) ChickLitPlus.com will receive 10 bonus entries!**

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Jane Green

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About author, Jane Green: Jane Green is the author of fourteen New York Times bestselling novels. She has been featured in People, Newsweek, USA Today, Glamour, and Cosmopolitan. She lives in Connecticut with her family.

INTERVIEW

Describe your writing style in five words: Warm, real, honest, descriptive, clear.

Did you always want to be a writer? If not, what changed? As a child I always thought I would be an artist, even though the only place I could ever be found was buried in a book. I went to University for Fine Art, then fell into journalism, and found I loved writing.

You’ve now written 15 books, what’s the difference between your 1st, “Straight Talking,” and your 15th, “Tempting Fate”? Everything! Straight Talking, as with most first novels, was very raw. I did have a voice then, but my voice has changed – mellowed and softened with age and experience. I rarely write in the first person now, and have learned enormous amounts about the craft of writing.

Describe your writing/editing/publishing process: Writing is quick – I am enormously disciplined and write between three and five thousand words a day now at home, then take myself off to a writing retreat a couple of times a year where I write 10,000 words a day. When home, I leave the house and go to a writer’s room – the routine is integral to my life, and trying to write at home has been disastrous. The editing now takes months. I go through at least three drafts, the first of which is generally a huge rewrite.

Which do you prefer, the term “women’s fiction” or “chick lit,” and which category do you think you fit in? Enormously proud to have been one of the founders of chick lit, however I was twenty seven at the time, and writing about being single. Now, at forty five, I have graduated into women’s fiction, and truly defy anyone to refer to me as a ‘chick’ these days.

What was it like to cover Prince William and Kate Middleton’s wedding? Fascinating – the research threw up so many historical facts about the royal weddings and romances that I didn’t know,  and I adored being on the ABC News radio team on the actual day. Years ago I had my own radio show, and it is still my favorite thing to do.

If you could meet any other author, who would it be? Armistead Maupin. Huge fan. I suspect words would fail me.

Where do you get your ideas from? Life, friends, stories I hear, stories I read about.

What is your favorite word? Ghastly. It makes me feel very english. In Tempting Fate I devoted a few paragraphs to the word – one of the things taken directly from my life.

Social media, a help or a bother? Both. I love the fact that I can easily interact with my readers – it has been truly wonderful, but… it does require a tremendous amount of time, and between writing two books a year, going on tour, being a mother, wife, friend, running a house, and living enough of a life in order to have something to write about, it’s very hard. I’m not a huge fan of twitter but do like Facebook, and am attempting to train myself to use Instagram (@janegreenauthor)!

What is one thing that people would be surprised to know about you? I have a very tiny tattoo of a dolphin. I am deeply regretful, but too lazy to get it removed.

What are you working on right now? I am just finishing the final edits on Saving Grace which will be out in December. It’s the tale of a couple who take on the perfect assistant, who very slowly but deliberately starts to ruin their lives.

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“Tempting Fate” by Jane Green

About “Tempting Fate”: From the New York Times bestselling author of such beloved novels as Jemima JThe Beach House, and Another Piece of My Heart comes an enthralling and emotional story about how much we really understand the temptations that can threaten even the most idyllic of relationships….

Gabby and Elliott have been happily married for eighteen years. They have two teenaged daughters. They have built a life together. Forty-three year old Gabby is the last person to have an affair. She can’t relate to the way her friends desperately try to cling to the beauty and allure of their younger years…And yet, she too knows her youth is quickly slipping away. She could never imagine how good it would feel to have a handsome younger man show interest in her-until the night it happens. Matt makes Gabby feel sparkling, fascinating, alive-something she hasn’t felt in years. What begins as a long-distance friendship soon develops into an emotional affair as Gabby discovers her limits and boundaries are not where she expects them to be. Intoxicated, Gabby has no choice but to step ever deeper into the allure of attraction and attention, never foreseeing the life-changing consequences that lie ahead. If she makes one wrong move she could lose everything-and find out what really matters most.

A heartfelt and complex story, Tempting Fate will have readers gripped until they reach the very last page, and thinking about the characters long after they put the book down.

My Review: “Tempting Fate” was my first book by Jane Green, and I loved it. I’ve read books about infidelity, but never one as powerful as this was. The Elliot/Gabby/Matt triangle was an interesting one. There were times I found myself pulling for Gabby and her husband to stick together, but I was highly charmed by Matt’s seductive suaveness, so I was torn most of the time.

There was a consequence when Gabby acted out, but I only think that it enriched the story, giving the readers something that they could maybe identify with. I liked it though, and even how it turned out to be a blessing.

I started this book late on a Saturday night, and ended it the next night. Jane’s writing was witty and emotional. Now only were the characters actions were very well written, so were the descriptions, and I’d love for it to be turned into a movie! While I don’t relate to Gabby’s character, I sympathized with her, and understood her need for wanting to tempt fate. The only thing I would change was to add a little more detail about how she and the man she ended up with make it work, (sorry, no spoilers).

“Tempting Fate” was an unforgettable book–one I won’t forget! Like I mentioned, this was my first book by Jane Green, and it won’t be my last.

I give “Tempting Fate” five stars!

**GIVEAWAY**

Post a comment telling us when you’ve wanted to tempt fate. To be eligible to win a hardcopy of “Tempting Fate,” please leave your email address (this is so I can contact you that you’ve won).

A winner will be selected on Friday, March 28th!


There’s Cake in My Future

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Book review of “There’s Cake in My Future”

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“There’s Cake in My Future” by Kim Gruenenfelder

Book Description:

After listening to her closest friends’ latest travails in love, parenting, and careers, superstitious bride-to-be Nicole (Nic) believes she has the perfect recipe for everyone’s happiness: a bridal shower “cake pull” in which each ribboned silver charm planted in her cake will bring its recipient the magical assistance she needs to change her destiny.  Melissa (Mel), still ringless after dating the same man for six years, deserves the engagement ring charm.  The red hot chili pepper would be perfect for Seema, who is in love with her best male friend Scott, but can’t seem to make their relationship more than platonic.  And recently laid off journalist Nic wants the shovel, which symbolizes hard work, to help her get her career back on track.  Nic does everything she can to control who gets which silver keepsake – as well as the future it represents.  But when the charmed cake is mysteriously shifted from the place settings Nic arranged around it, no one gets the charm she chose for them. And when the other party guests’ fortunes begin coming true, Mel, Seema, and Nic can’t help but wonder…. Is the cake trying to tell them something?

My Review:

I received Kim Gruenenfelder’s book, “Keep Calm and Carry a Big Drink,” for Christmas. Since it’s part of a series, like always, I wanted to start with the first book that revolves around the lives of Nicole, Melissa, Seema, and Scott. It turned out that I already had the first one, “There’s Cake in My Future,” so I immediately began reading.

Nicole (Nic): At first I wasn’t too sure about Nic’s character, but I loved her at the end. As an engaged woman, she seemed like a stuck-up bridezilla. But after she marries the man of her dreams and is now the step-mother of his children, something about her character changed. While she complained to her friends about her honeymoon, which wasn’t what she thought it would be, the early mornings with her step-daughters, there was a part of me that thought she really wanted to embrace it more than she wanted to let on to others (including herself), which she did! Without any spoilers, at the end it seemed that marriage and motherhood suited her just fine.

Melissa (Mel): From the beginning to the end, I felt sorry for Mel. From dating a man who she loves, to desperately (and humorously) trying out new dating adventures, Mel just wanted what any other woman wants, and that’s to be loved. There were times I found her to be too needy, but other times I’d find her to be strong and courageous. She redeemed herself to me at the end when she finally gained confidence in herself.

Seema and Scott: To this day the question is wondered about by many…can men and women just be friends? I loved the friendship between Seema and Scott. From the beginning, they seemed like a couple, always calling each other nicknames and taking care of each other. One of my favorite parts about this friendly couple was when they watched When Harry Met Sally(what girl doesn’t love that movie?). After they have a similar WHMS moment, I was curious as to how they would be with one another, especially Seema. I won’t give any spoilers, but I’m happy to say that things worked out just fine for both of them…including the woman who Scott was seeing.

Having a “cake pull” as the center of a chick lit book was a great idea, which was one of the things that drew me in to begin with. For the characters, there was definite distinction between them, and they weren’t predictable either. “There’s Cake in My Future” had me laughing from the first page to the last. I often stayed up late reading because I wanted to know what was next for each character.

This was my first book by Kim Gruenenfelder, and it won’t be my last, (I’m currently reading “Keep Calm and Carry a Big Drink”). She is an amazing author who has written a comical, witty, and memorable book, which has reminded me why I love the chick lit genre. Kim Gruenenfelder is my new favorite author, and I can’t wait to see what she’s coming up with next.

“There’s Cake in My Future” is a story about love and friendship, along with being a wonderful example of demonstrating that the things you think can be controlled, simply can’t. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who loves chick lit and wants to read a page-turner that could easily be read during a lazy weekend.

I give this book 5 stars!

Chocolate for Breakfast

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Book review of “Chocolate For Breakfast”

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“Chocolate for Breakfast” by Martha Reynolds

Book Description:

Young Bernie (Bernadette) Maguire is in for the journey of a lifetime when her junior year abroad takes her to Fribourg, Switzerland. Ripe for love and adventure, she is seduced by a handsome Swiss banker, but is horrified when she discovers she’s pregnant. Protected and befriended by those who help to keep her secret for as long as possible, this moving rite-of-passage tale will warm the heart as a young woman struggles with an all-too-familiar dilemma. Yet after an unexpected death and the discovery of her pregnancy by a classmate, Bernie’s life takes some unexpected turns that will take decades to resolve.

My Review:

“Chocolate for Breakfast” has been on my TBR list for a long time, so I was very eager to start this book.

I planned to only read the first chapter of this book since I was on the treadmill, but I ended up reading more than that because the book captured my attention with Bernie taking off for Switzerland.

All the characters had their own personalities, but Bernie was my favorite. As a young woman who was eagerly wanting to be a grown up, not only did she seem mature, she appeared to know what she wanted. During her adventures in Switzerland, Bernie had several life changing events. From thinking she’s in love with a banker and losing her virginity to him, becoming pregnant, and losing a family member that she’s close to, Bernie had quite a lot on her plate. With the help of her friends (old and new), she survived it all.

There were a lot of twists and turns, some that I didn’t expect, which made it a quick read. One thing that I liked about the end was that I got to see where Bernie was years later in her life, which was interesting to me because she was very different. Though it was sensed, the only thing that I wish there could’ve been more of was seeing more tension between Bernie and her mother.

Martha Reynolds is a very talented author who has written an unforgettable book about a young woman’s journey during her time away from home. I cried, laughed, and cried more. This was the first book I read by Martha Reynolds, and it’s not my last. Right now I’m reading the next book in Martha’s Chocolate Series, “Chocolate Fondue”. If you’re looking for a wonderful, quick read, with a lot of heart, I recommend “Chocolate for Breakfast”.

I give this book 5 stars!

Weightless

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Book review of “Weightless”

WeightlessCoverPic

“Weightless” by Michele Gorman

Book Description:

Annabel’s not surprised when nobody recognizes her at her 10 year reunion. The spotty fat teen nicknamed AnnaBall by the school bullies is long gone. But standing on the edge of the popular crowd, she still feels like that girl. That is, until Jack, her teen crush, starts flirting with her. Much to her amusement, he has mistaken her for Christy Blake, Annabel’s chief tormenter before she moved to France in their last year.

It’s just a bit of fun at first, letting Jack believe she’s Christy. After all, he was nuts about her before she said au revoir to England. And when he asks Annabel out, the fun becomes something even more interesting. The more they date the deeper they fall for each other. So what if Annabel has to fib a little to keep up the façade?

As the lies start compounding, and she realizes that they’re falling in love, she has to tell him who she really is. But she’ll lose the love of her life if she does.

My Review:

“Weightless” by Michele Gorman was a cute and whimsical short story, (64 pages). There were a lot of twists and turns that I didn’t expect and that’s what I liked most. The end surprised me a lot, making it anything but predictable. Annabel’s (Christy’s) character was very well written and I liked her quite a bit. Jack’s character was also very intriguing, up until the very end. (Nope, no spoilers!)

If you’re looking for a quick book that you can read in a few short hours, “Weightless” is the book for you. Michele Gorman is a very talented author and I cannot wait to see what she comes up with next!

I give this book 5 stars!

*****

“WEIGHTLESS”

CHAPTER ONE

‘Ow.’ My beer bottle clinked against my teeth as I felt a hand gently grasp my shoulder from behind.

‘Oh my god, Christy, is that you? How great to see you!’

‘I’m not-’… Christy, I was about to say. But then I turned and saw whose hand it was. ‘Hi.’

‘Ten years, can you believe it?’ asked Jack as his smile threw me back to our last year in school.  ‘You look… different but I’d still recognize you anywhere. Did you come from France or are you based here now? Wait, we both need another drink and then we can have a proper catch-up.’ He pointed to my bottle. ‘Another beer? I’ll be right back. Don’t go anywhere, okay?’

He loped off to the bar where our former classmates jockeyed for the overworked barman’s attention. And I admit it, dear Reader. I ogled him. I took in his broad shoulders beneath the fitted black jacket, his long jeans-clad legs and wavy blonde mop of hair.

Jack Winslow, my unrequited love, had actually just spoken to me. He was buying my beer! … All right, so he thought he was buying Christy’s beer, but still, beggars shall not be choosy about free drinks.

When the reunion invitation arrived with the school’s annual newsletter I chucked it into the bin. Those newsletters arrived every year in December, as welcome as a urinary tract infection. They’d wheedled my mailing address from my Dad and I didn’t have the guts to ring them to opt out for fear that they’d extort me for a donation for the playing fields or something. I’d been miserable on those fields. I hated every rain-soaked blade of grass that slipped me up and each ankle-twisting rut.

Jack returned with our drinks. He set my empty bottle on a nearby table for me. ‘Cheers. To old times,’ he said.

‘Cheers. Jack Winslow, I can hardly believe it’s you. Here’s to new times, eh?’

His grin faltered, then widened. Great work, Annabel. Two minutes into the conversation is just the right time to suggest a future together.

‘Believe it,’ he said. ‘So tell me what you’ve been doing for the last decade. Are you living in London now?’

I nodded. ‘I live in Notting Hill. Well, according to the real estate agents anyway. My closest Tube is Shepherd’s Bush though. Where are you living?’

‘Well as long as we’re speaking in real estate agent, then I’m in South Hampstead. If we’re being honest then I’m off Finchley Road.’ He stared at me. There were tiny lines around his grey eyes and his lashes were darker than I remembered. ‘I’m really happy you’re here.’

I smiled, surprised that he even knew who I was. Then I remembered that he didn’t. To him I was Christy. Of course he’d be happy to see her. Christy and Jack were our school’s answer to Brangelina, though I don’t think they actually went out together. They just swanned around the school in their own golden glow, the central figures in our teenage romantic fantasies.

Jack and I stood at the edge of the room together watching the crowd. Five minutes ago I was just Annabel Markham, aka AnnaBall, Annabell-end, all-round bully fodder and soft target. Suddenly I was promoted to head of the class.

What a difference short-sightedness makes.

‘Do you wear glasses?’ I asked before taking a swig of my beer.

His brow furrowed as he hesitated. ‘Ah, well, no. Why?’

‘Oh, well, I guess I remembered you with specs, that’s all. I wasn’t implying that you need them.’ Please shut up, Annabel.

‘Oh, you mean reading glasses. Yes, I did sometimes, for my astigmatism. But that’s been corrected now.’

He kept staring at me like he had more to say. Surely he’d figured out that I wasn’t Christy. Aside from being among the tallest girls in our year, we looked nothing alike. My hair had been much darker, for one thing. And my waistline had been much bigger for another.

But he really did seem to think I was Christy. Which wasn’t at all how I imagined my night would go when I’d first walked in.

I nearly didn’t turn up at all. Who willingly goes back into the bear pit once they’re freed? Someone who’s flippin’ out of her mind, that’s who.

My heart started rattling in my chest before I’d even set foot through the Richmond pub’s door. Upstairs, a table was set up beside the function room’s entrance. Two women waited to label the alumni but I didn’t recognize them and it was easy enough to sidestep their markers and Scotch Tape. I was well-practiced in the art of creeping about.

I should never have let Kate convince me to come. Of course all the feelings I’d packed away over the years wouldn’t stay neatly stowed. They’d wait till I was surrounded by my classmates to spring their locks.

To my relief, at least there was no break in conversation when I stepped in to the room. A few faces turned curiously but, recognizing neither friend nor foe, quickly turned away again. After twenty minutes I was still alone on the fringes of the party. I may as well have been sixteen again.

Actually, that’s not quite true, because I was rarely left alone then. Given the alternative, this was a bit better.

So Jack’s chattiness came as quite the surprise. He’d said about ten words to me during the whole of secondary school.

‘Do you see any of the old crowd yet?’ he asked, scanning the room.

My skin suddenly crawled with dread. What if Christy herself was somewhere in the room? Or her friends? They’d know in a second that I was an imposter. Then they’d single me out in front of the whole room and it’d be eleventh grade all over again.  ‘No, no, I don’t see anyone.’ I started edging toward the door.

‘Me neither. But I might not recognize some of them. People can change a lot in ten years.’ He glanced again at the crowd. ‘Isn’t it odd? When you’re in school you can’t wait to get away from everyone and when you’ve left you’re excited to see them again.’

Speak for yourself. ‘Surely you didn’t hate school though. What’s there to hate when everyone loves you and you’re the teacher’s pet?’

He laughed before catching himself. ‘You’re exaggerating. I was never the teacher’s pet.’

‘But everyone did love you, so there’s no use denying it.’

‘What about you? The school went into mourning when you moved to France. Seriously, they flew the flags at half-mast. Bereavement counsellors were called in.’

I could think of at least one girl who wasn’t in mourning when Christy moved away. ‘No black arm bands?’

‘They changed our uniforms. Head to toe widow’s weeds for the girls and black suits for the boys.’

‘Well that was a long time ago,’ I said. ‘They probably renamed a building or something and went back to the usual uniforms eventually.’

He touched his beer to mine. ‘Immortalized in concrete. That’s my dream. Hey, what do you say we get out of here? No one else is here that we know anyway.’

‘Definitely! Let’s go.’ Before Christy sodding Blake turned up.

I’d tell him later about the confusion.

CHAPTER TWO

To my relief, we left Richmond completely. The last thing I needed was for poor Jack to see Christy sodding Blake and think he was having a doppelganger moment on the sidewalk. Though I still couldn’t believe we actually looked alike.

The Christy I knew had cold blue eyes. Cold-as-a-shark, dead-soul blue eyes. This detail was burned into my memory because she never looked away when she tormented me. That girl had not one ounce of shame in her.

My eyes were green. Dad said they were beautiful, like cat’s eyes, but he had a parental duty of kindness.

People can change a lot in ten years and small details get forgotten or misremembered. So Jack didn’t seem to notice the color change as we chatted all the way into Soho. I was surprised when he pointed to his office on Soho Square. I’d always pegged him as the City type.

‘You really work for Fox?’ I said as we found a tiny corner table in the crowded pub nearby. ‘Oiling the great wheels of Hollywood? Do you get to walk down the red carpet and get papped falling out of nightclubs with your knickers showing?’

He looked uncomfortable as he sipped his winter ale. ‘I’m not an actor, or Paris Hilton, despite the tiny dog I like to carry around in my gym bag.’ He saw my face. ‘Joking,’ he said as I laughed. ‘I don’t go to the gym.’

‘You don’t really have a-’

‘Dog? No. And I’m just a lowly marketer. I’m the cog inside the cog inside the cog inside the great wheels of Hollywood.’

‘Do you like it?’

‘I love it! What’s not to love about getting to see new releases before everyone else?’

‘Are you the one who hires the cheesy voiceover man? One man, one banana, one unholy love story,’ I intoned in my best radio announcer voice.

‘I wish I was, but they’re cheesed up before I get my hands on them. We’re the ones who create the marketing for Europe. It’s not glamorous but I work with a lot of nice people. What about you? Did you stay in France after school?’

Uh oh. There was really no way to answer his question without fibbing. A guilty pang made my stomach lurch. Was this where I had to tell Jack the truth, and watch that friendly, open smile fade as he realized we didn’t really have a history together? I knew what would happen then. The easy banter we’d shared all evening would dry up. It wouldn’t matter that it had nothing to do with who we’d been ten years before. Then he’d quickly finish his ale and make some excuse to leave.

I didn’t want that to happen. Not when we were having so much fun.

I could, however, tell him the truth about me. At least then it was just one omission rather than a series of lies that he’d hate me for.

‘I went to university here. In Leeds. I’ve been in England all along. How about you?’

He hesitated. Maybe when he said “school”, he meant university. Christy probably kept in touch after she moved, wrote him long letters that were definitely not postmarked Leeds. I steeled myself for his next response.

‘I took a year out and then went to Edinburgh,’ he said. ‘What a great city. Have you been?’

Relief flooded through me. Then I remembered that it was only a momentary stay of execution. ‘I’ve been up for the Fringe a few times,’ I said. ‘It is a great city. Did you travel the world on your year off, just you and your backpack and your little dog?’

‘Something like that, minus the dog and the backpack. What are you doing now?’

I told him about my dietetics practice. Like Jack, I loved my work. Unlike him, my job was about as far from glamorous as you could get without cleaning motorway lavatories for a living. ‘I’m really glad we ran into each other,’ I said as we sipped our drinks. My tension was easing away with distance from our old classmates. I was having a tremendous time, the kind of time I’d dreamed of all through school. There was no harm in carrying on the charade for a bit longer, just until I found a natural way to introduce the fact that I was another person altogether. No big deal.

‘I nearly didn’t go to the reunion,’ I said. ‘I didn’t-’

‘How could you even think about not going? You were the most popular girl in school!’

I clamped my mouth shut on my next words. I was about to tell him about not wanting to see the girls who’d bullied me. Girls like Christy. Must remember you are Christy. Obviously I’d make an excellent secret agent. Lips as secure as Fort Knox, that’s me.

‘It’s fate,’ he continued. ‘I mean really, what are the chances?’ He was staring into my eyes with a look that I’d begun to recognize in the past few years, since losing seventy pounds and gaining a social life. It wasn’t fate on Jack’s mind.

‘Well, it was a gathering of former classmates,’ I said, not daring to believe what I was seeing. ‘It would have been more fateful if we’d run into each other randomly in London.’

I hadn’t just had a crush on Jack in school. I truly thought I could love him one day, if only he knew I was alive. But I was about three miles below his radar, which was ironic since in those days I was probably visible from space. So I gathered bits of him wherever I could. His every utterance, and the cloying, spicy scent of his AXE Fusion, were committed to memory. I went to all his home football matches, even when it rained, even when I was almost the only one standing there, sodden at the edge of the hated playing field.

‘Well, fate or not, this is fantastic,’ he said.

He was doing it again. Looking at me like I was the last handful of Doritos in the bag. I nodded, not trusting my voice.

‘Could I see you again, do you think?’

Again I nodded. I wondered how he felt about muteness in a date. Wait a minute. Was he asking me on a date?! ‘I’d love that.’

Gently he leaned forward and put his warm lips to mine. It was a deal with the Devil, sealed with a kiss. By the time we traded cell numbers and said good night, I was floating about six inches above the London sidewalk.

*****

**From February 11th to February, get “Weightless” for FREE on Smashwords, using the coupon code: ZH34Q (not case-sensetive)**

**Buy “Weightless”: Amazon – US   Amazon – UK   Barnes & Noble

MicheleGormanPic**About author, Michele Gorman:

Michele Gorman is the #1 best-selling author of Bella Summer Takes a Chance and the Single in the City series. She also writes upmarket commercial fiction under the pen name Jamie Scott. Born and raised in the US, Michele has lived in London for 16 years.

Michele is represented by the Hardman & Swainson Literary Agency (www.hardmanswainson.com).

Michele can sign eBooks for yourself or as gifts through http://www.authorgraph.com/authors/expatdiaries. The personal inscription goes straight to the email or kindle of your choice.

**Contact Michele: Website   Blog   Facebook   Twitter

**For enquiries please contact michelegormanPR@nottinghillpress.co.uk**

Storm in a B Cup

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Book review of “Storm in a B Cup”

StormInABCup

“Storm in a B Cup” by Lindy Dale

Book Description:

“It’s my funeral. If I want you to play Bon Jovi as they wheel my body away to be cremated you’ll do it.”

The horrified look on Brendan’s face says he’ll do anything but. “People will laugh.”

“I want them to. I want a funeral where everyone stands around and remembers the funny things I did, and then they get really pissed.”

Sophie Molloy has Breast Cancer. She didn’t think it was cancer to begin with, she thought it was another cyst. She also didn’t think it would be the catalyst for a series of life changing events, none of which involved chemotherapy. Within months of her diagnosis, Sophie loses not only her right breast but her boyfriend of three years, her house and her best friend. Her life spirals from great to bad, then ugly. Nothing can make it better, not even the crazy care packages her mother keeps sending from Melbourne.

To make matters worse, Sophie fears she’s developing a crush on the plastic surgeon that will be reconstructing her breast. Dr. Hanson has the bedside manner of an angel and the looks to match. He’s so caring and compassionate, Sophie begins to believe he cares about her in a most non-doctor-patient kind of way. But he doesn’t, of course. He’s merely her doctor. Or does he?

A fictional tale, based on the author’s medical journey with the disease, Storm in a B Cup is a warm-hearted glimpse into the world of a Breast Cancer sufferer that will have you laughing out loud.

My Review:

I was hesitant about reading this book because breast cancer is such a serious topic that I didn’t think an author could write so comically about, but Lindy Dale proved me wrong. I started it on a lazy Saturday and finished it the next day. I didn’t want to put it down. From the beginning, I really enjoyed Sophie’s journey with breast cancer. It was interesting to see how people treated her (a boyfriend, her son, parents, and coworkers), how relationships change, and that just because one man might not be strong enough to handle it, another can.

While I loved all the characters that Lindy created (even Sophie’s ex boyfriend), Sophie was my favorite. One minute she was a wreck (understandably so), the next she was positive and level-headed, and not ready to give up on her battle. That was one thing that I loved about her, she seemed real. From the medical descriptions to the discussions that Sophie has with her doctors were written in layman’s terms and easy to understand, so I wasn’t intimidated by any kind of doctor talk.

I’ve never read anything by Lindy Dale before, but I can say that I’m now a huge fan of hers. Whether you or a friend has or had breast cancer, I highly recommend this “Storm in a B Cup”. For dealing with such a serious topic, “Storm in a B Cup” will make you laugh and cry. It was a wonderful book that I won’t forget.

I give this book 5 stars!

LindyDale**About author, Lindy Dale:

Lindy lives on acreage in country Western Australia where she spends her days teaching, writing, walking and looking after orphan lambs. (See Daisy Darling)

She’s a hopeless U2 and Bon Jovi fan – as judged by her collection of tour t-shirts. She’s also rugby union fanatic, coffee and champagne lover, chocoholic, over-exaggerator, trashy TV, music and iPhone addict.

Lindy has been writing in the genre of Chick Lit & Women’s Fiction for the past ten years but has also tried her hand at a paranormal romance in the book, Angel’s Bend. Chick Lit remains her main love.

**Contact Lindy: Website   Facebook   Goodreads   Twitter

**Click HERE to buy “Storm in a B Cup” on Amazon!

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

**GIVEAWAY**

Click HERE to enter to win a $35.00 Amazon Gift Card!

Hard Hats and Doormats

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Book review of “Hard Hats and Doormats”

Hard Hats and Doormats

“Hard Hats and Doormats” by Laura Chapman

Book Description:

Lexi Burke has always been a stickler for following rules and procedures. As a human resources manager for a leading Gulf Coast chemical company, it’s her job to make sure everyone else falls in line, too.

But after losing out on a big promotion–-because her boss sees her as too much of a yes-woman––Lexi adopts a new policy of following her heart instead of the fine print. And her heart knows what it wants: Jason Beaumont, a workplace crush who is off limits based on her previous protocol.

While navigating a new romance and interoffice politics, Lexi must find the confidence to stand on her own or face a lifetime of following someone else’s orders.

Who says nice girls have to finish last?

My Review:

Being an online friend of Laura Chapman’s, I’ve eagerly been waiting to read her much-anticipated debut novel, “Hard Hats and Doormats.” As some might remember, Chick Lit Goddess did a post sharing her cover reveal, (see that HERE). The cover had me highly intrigued!

From the beginning, I really liked Lexi’s character. She seemed like a fun girl, had good friends, a job she enjoyed and was good at, but the one thing she seemed to lack was having confidence. At times, I wish she would’ve stop thinking about her job so much or feel obligated to what her boss wanted her to do, but that’s what made Lexi’s transformation through the book a fun read. I did find it interesting that when Jason was around her, he always seemed to give her the confidence she needed, and helped push her in the right direction. As a reader, I felt the chemistry between them — even the night he helped her home after drinking. Jason’s character played the classic hero!

“Hard Hats and Doormats” was very entertaining. Being from Texas, and having family in Houston, I was familiar with some of the small towns along the way, and I loved the country music references, too. Like I said above, I liked Lexi and Jason, the storyline moved at a fast pace, and I especially enjoyed how it ended–thank goodness Lexi made a decision that made herself happy. While Lexi and Jason both traveled a lot, when they were home together, the only thing I wish I could’ve seen more of was more of them together, in their homes — the more day-to-day aspects of a relationship.

It is obvious that Laura Chapman is a very talented author, and I cannot wait to see what she comes up with next!

I give this book 4 stars!