The Glass Kitchen

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“The Glass Kitchen” by Linda Francis Lee

Blurb: Portia Cuthcart and her two sisters find their way from Texas to Manhattan over the years, the heiresses to a dilapidated brownstone on the Upper West Side. Portia is running from a bad divorce and the knowledge that she has always been a little bit different, a little bit strange: the talented cook who knew exactly what to serve on what occasion, even to the point of predicting events that hadn’t even happened yet. But she doesn’t cook anymore. She has tamped down this “knowing.” It has caused her way too many problems. When she meets twelve-year-old Ariel Kane, she sees a girl in desperate need of a mother and a family in dire need of fried chicken, biscuits, and strawberry rhubarb pie. Widowed Gabriel Kane has his hands full with two daughters on the cusp on womanhood, plus the Kane family have so many secrets and rivalries of their own. Ariel, especially, must find a way to bring them all together with the help of Portia: the non-cook, the non-believer in happy endings. Portia, who just might have to rethink the pages of her own story and take a few chances to claim what she wants deep down inside…

My Review: My original date for this review wasn’t supposed to be until July, but when I started this book on a lazy Friday night, I couldn’t put this book down, nor did I want to. I was quickly hooked by Portia’s “knowing” with food, wondering where it would take her along her journey.

I loved the characters that the author created, as they held my attention, and I couldn’t get enough of them. It’s obvious that Portia and Gabriel have chemistry from the moment they met, but it’s also easy to see that he tries his best to ignore it. To some, he might come off as a jerk, but after reading more about him and his past, it was easy to understand why he acts how he does. As for his daughter, Ariel, I loved her. She acts way beyond her years, but that’s something I liked about her, and it seemed to add mystery to the story, too.

As for the “knowing”, I found it to be a very refreshing storyline. Nothing in this book has been overused, nor have I read anything like it. “The Glass Kitchen” had it all — intrigue, romance, mystery, and a happy ending, (I even got a little sappy during the last chapter).

This is my first book to read by Linda Francis Lee, and it don’t be my last. If you’re looking for a page-turner, which would make for a great beach read, you will love this book.

I give “The Glass Kitchen” 5 stars!

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About author, Linda Francis Lee: Linda Francis Lee is a native Texan now living on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. The author of twenty books that are published in twenty countries, when Linda isn’t writing she loves to run in Central Park and spend time with her husband, family, and friends.

**Contact Linda: Website   Facebook   Twitter

Honeymoon in Paris

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“Honeymoon in Paris” by Juliette Sobanet

Blurb:

The sassy heroine of Sleeping with Paris is back! And this time, chocolate-covered French wedding bells are in the air…

It’s only been a month since Charlotte Summers reunited with her sexy French boyfriend, Luc Olivier, and he has already made her the proposal of a lifetime: a mad dash to the altar in the fairytale town of Annecy. Without hesitation, Charlotte says au revoir to single life and oui to a lifetime of chocolate in bed with Luc. She’s madly in love, and Luc is clearly the one, so what could possibly go wrong?

As it turns out, quite a lot…

On the heels of their drama-filled nuptials in the French Alps, Luc whisks Charlotte away to Paris for a luxurious honeymoon. But just as they are settling into a sheet-ripping, chocolate-induced haze, a surprise appearance by Luc’s drop-dead gorgeous ex-wife brings the festivities to a halt. Luc never told Charlotte that his ex was a famous French actress, or that she was still in love with him. Add to that Charlotte’s new role as step-mom to Luc’s tantrum-throwing daughter, a humiliating debacle in the French tabloids, and the threat of losing her coveted position at the language school—and Charlotte fears she may have tied the French knot a little too quickly.

Determined to keep her independence and her sanity, Charlotte seeks out a position at Bella magazine’s new France office while working on a sassy guidebook to French marriage. But when Luc’s secret past threatens Charlotte’s career and their future together, Charlotte must take matters into her own hands. Armed with chocolate, French wine, and a few fabulous girlfriends by her side, Charlotte navigates the tricky waters of marriage, secrets, ex-wives, and a demanding career all in a foreign country where she quickly realizes, she never truly learned the rules.

My Review: 

After I read “Sleeping with Paris” by Juliette Sobanet, I was in instant fan, so I was very excited to read “Honeymoon in Paris”.

This book was easy to get started reading, as I was happy it picked up not too much later after the prequel ended. I missed Juliette and Luc together, and I especially missed reading Luc’s sexy accent.

The characters were very well written, funny, and very intriguing, especially the new characters. There was a lot of mystery in this one (maybe a little too much), and I wished there would’ve been more of was more interaction between Charlotte and Luc. In the end, it made sense why there wasn’t, but with all the interaction they had in “Sleeping in Paris”, I wanted more passion. With all the twists and turns in this book, I was pulling for the newlyweds, hoping that it would end well. Thankfully, I was very happy with how the book ended, mainly because I really think Charlotte and Luc had something special.

In closing, Juliette Sobanet is a terrific author who draws readers into the lives of her more than likable characters. While I don’t speak French, she made it easy to understand what was saying. This was my second book by Juliette, and I cannot wait to read more by her, as this book did keep me interested. I’d recommend this book to anyone who wants a sexy, cute, mysterious read.

I give this book 4 stars!

**Due to personal issues, this is a late review**

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**Click HERE to see more stops on Juliette’s Indie Sage Blog Tours**

JulietteSobanetPic2**About author, Juliette Sobanet:

Juliette Sobanet earned a B.A. from Georgetown University and an M.A. from New York University in France, living and studying in both Lyon and Paris. She worked as a French professor before turning a new page in her career, penning romantic women’s fiction with a French twist. She is the author of six Paris-based romances, including the bestselling Sleeping with Paris. Her upcoming Confessions of a City Girl series will release in 2014. Today she lives in San Diego, where she devotes her time to writing, eating chocolate, and dreaming about her next trip to France.

**Contact Juliette: Website   Facebook   GoodReads   Twitter

In the Mirror

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“In the Mirror” by Kaira Rouda

Blurb: 

What choices would you make if you knew you might die soon?

From the multi award-winning, best-selling author of four books, including Here, Home, Hope, a gripping and heart wrenching novel about a young mother who has it all. The only problem is she may be dying.

In her previous works including All the Difference, Rouda’s characters “sparkle with humor and heart,” and the stories are “told with honest insight and humor” (Booklist). “Inspirational and engaging” (ForeWord), these are the novels you’ll turn to for strong female characters and an “engaging read” (Kirkus).

In the Mirror is the story of Jennifer Benson, a woman who seems to have it all. Diagnosed with cancer, she enters an experimental treatment facility to tackle her disease the same way she tackled her life – head on. But while she’s busy fighting for a cure, running her business, planning a party, staying connected with her kids, and trying to keep her sanity, she ignores her own intuition and warnings from others and reignites an old relationship best left behind.

If you knew you might die, what choices would you make? How would it affect your marriage? How would you live each day? And how would you say no to the one who got away?

My Review: It brings me great joy to share this review on the release day of In the Mirror, (CONGRATULATIONS, Kaira!). I had never read anything by Kaira Rouda, so I was beyond ecstatic when she asked me if I would read and review her newest book. Instantly, I jumped at the chance, as I’ve seen her books and have heard such amazing things about how they draw you in.

Right from the start, I was, in fact, drawn in, and was pursued by Kaira’s main character, Jennifer. Even though she was in a serious state of her cancer, Jennifer was a fighter, who wanted to keep her life as normal as possible. Since she’s in a treatment center with other patients, she has become friends with a wonderful man, who, at times, I thought was a little too forward, but I understood why he acted the way he did, along with the significance of his character, but only at the end.

Jennifer appears to have a loving marriage, and two children she adore her, even if she can’t be at home with them. Along with them, she also has a sister who seems a little too mysterious (something was off about her from the beginning), a mother who cares, yet has a hard time of showing it, and a father who loves her. What more could one want, right? Well, from the moment her ex is mentioned, I got not such a good feeling about him, and that only strengthened when he went to visit Jennifer…and took her away, (nope, no spoilers, but let’s just say I was holding my breath the whole time).

While reading In the Mirror, I laughed and cried, but not only that, I got angry, too, and wanted to protect Jennifer from any evilness that would come her way.

The last paragraph of the book did have me wounding a lot — did Jennifer die, or did she fall asleep. As of now, I’m still debating what really happened, but I think that’s what Kaira wanted her readers to do — to think about the situation, and all that Jennifer went through.

Like I mentioned above, this was my first book by Kaira Rouda, and it won’t be my last. She’s an amazing author, who leaves you wanting more, both from her characters and her books. If you’re looking for a book that is a fast, quick read, one you can’t put down and will tug and melt your heart along the way, added with a little mystery at the end, I highly recommend In the Mirror!

I give this book 5 stars!

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INTERVIEW

Describe your writing style in five words: for my women’s fiction novels like In the Mirror and Here, Home, Hope: funny, heart-warming, sweet, insightful. And when I’m writing romantic suspense, like All the Difference, adventurous and suspenseful!

Writing has always made you feel…: happy. It is my favorite form of expression, always has been.

What was your inspiration for “In the Mirror”? Unfortunately, knowing too many young mothers facing the terrible diagnosis of breast cancer. In particular, a close friend who was the definition of grace under pressure as she battled the disease, and who remains an inspiration to everyone who knew her.

What is you’re writing/editing/publishing process like for writing a book? It’s actually quite different for each novel, depending on the amount of research needed. And the publishing process – well, that, too, has been different for each book. It’s like the wild west out here in publishing land, but I’m enjoying the ride – as long as readers continue to enjoy my stories, that is all that matters.

Do you ever experience writer’s block? If so, what’s your solution? Last year – all of 2013 – was the worst writer’s block year for me. It was horrible. I couldn’t find a solution so I hope it doesn’t come back again like that! The only thing that helped me was the calendar changing to 2014!

KairaRouda-DogPicDo you have any writing rituals? My favorite writing ritual involves having my dog, Tucker, nestled inside the top drawer of my desk as I write. Not kidding. I took out all of the desk stuff – pens, stapler, paper clips etc. – and put his dog bed in there. He’s a six pound shitzu-poodle mix, so he fits perfectly!

What do you want readers to take away from your books? I love it when my readers are entertained, perhaps learn a little something or feel a bit inspired. In the end, I would like my stories to linger with you, in a good way of course.

At the end of “In the Mirror,” readers are left wondering if the main character dies or falls asleep. What do you think happened to Jennifer, and what made you write it that way? I know as much as you do! Obviously, Jennifer is tired after finally having the party. I do find it interesting, readers’ assumptions about what happens to Jennifer. She is clearly weaker at the end of the novel, but she had a good reason to be, don’t you think?

If you weren’t an author, what would you be? A creative director at an advertising agency.

What’s the best advice you’ve been given? Just keep writing.

What are you working on now? A summer short story. And I’m looking forward to the release of my next romantic suspense, Lines in the Sand, this August!

KairaRoudaPic**About Kaira Rouda: Kaira Rouda lives in Laguna Beach with her husband, kids, three dogs and a fish named Phil. Please visit her website, KairaRouda.com, her Facebook page and follow her on Twitter. She really loves Pinterest, too! She loves to Skype with book clubs!

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!