Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Winners of "Jackpot!"

To find our winners, we assigned a number to each entry and had random.org pick four numbers.

For the e-book, it chose 12 and 18.
Congrats to KevinLohxx and Kristen (Kly.327)!

For the hardcover, it chose 3 and 17.
Congrats to Sheena and Allison!

Here's a message from Jackie Pilossoph:

If your mother offered you $8 million to have a baby, would you do it?

Most of us would say yes, but you have to wonder. I originally came up with the idea for "Jackpot!" because I heard a TRUE story about a very wealthy woman in my area who gives her children $1 million dollars every time they have a child. I wanted MY story ("Jackpot!") to be about people with new money, though, people who have never had money. People often do crazy things when they are desperate, and in Jackpot! the two main characters really are loveable people, but they are frantic for their mother's lottery winnings, and because of that, they go to extremes! Laugh out loud extremes!

If you won a copy of "Jackpot!," congratulations! If not, I hope you take the time to read it. Even with its hilarious scenes, there are a lot of very sentimental, tender family moments in this book, and I guarantee, you will tear up at least once or twice.

If you've read "Jackpot!" and you liked it, please recommend it to your friends! I'm still new at this whole author thing, ("Jackpot!" is my second novel) and could use all the free advertising I can get!

Please check out my website and learn more about my books and read reviews.

Thanks again to Chick Lit Central for having me!


Reminder: If you have won a book, you have about 48 hours to claim it by sending your contact information. (You will be e-mailed if you have won, as well.) After that time, a new winner will be picked.

Thanks to everyone for participating and telling us what you'd do with a financial windfall.
Thanks to Jackie for giving Amy a chance to review her book and sharing her book with our readers.
Thanks to Amy for a great review of what looks like a very entertaining story!

Don't miss out on our latest giveaways:

600 Follower holiday gift giveaway
Ends 12/15 at midnight EST


"The 'What if' Guy" by Brooke Moss (e-book)
Ends 12/5 at midnight EST

"Recession Proof" by Kimberly S. Lin
US only
Ends 12/4 at midnight EST

"I Heart Vegas" by Lindsey Kelk
Ends 12/4 at midnight EST

We now have 600 followers...time for a holiday giveaway!

**Giveaway is now closed**

We started off 2011 with over 200 followers and are ending with over 600! Thanks for being part of this big number! We love all your enthusiasm, participation, interest in our posts and everything else you bring to the table. We wouldn't reach this point without you!!! Therefore, we are getting into the holiday spirit and offering a special surprise gift as a giveaway.


Rules for this giveaway:
1. Open worldwide.
2. You have until December 15th at midnight EST to enter.
3. Tell us what your favorite Chick Lit novel of 2011 is and leave us an e-mail address or another way to reach you.
4. Only one entry per person.
5. You must be a follower of our blog to enter. Please let us know how you follow us and what name you use in order to qualify. (It's not too late to follow us, so please do so if you haven't already.)

Good luck and happy holidays!

Lucy-Anne Holmes gets us into the holiday mood!

December is almost here, so Lucy-Anne Holmes has arrived to get us into the holiday mood before the season really kicks off!

Lucy-Anne grew up in Chalfont St Peter, about 20 miles northwest of London. She's devoted to her lovely parents, a beautiful older sister to whom she dedicated "Unlike a Virgin," and a lovely brother who's a farmer. Her degree is in English Literature, which was started in Cardiff, ended in London with a detour to Miami in the middle. Lucy-Anne started a blog called "A Spinster's Quest" just before her 30th birthday (probably as a result of white wine). As a result of the blog, she got a literary agent and produced her first novel, "50 Ways to Find a Lover." That was followed by "The (Im)perfect Girlfriend" and now "Unlike a Virgin" (reviewed here). Her "loves" range from her mum's roast dinner to vintage clothes to a good costume drama. She also loves open fires, which are good for roasting chestnuts! (Check out her list!) Lucy-Anne is here to answer some fun holiday questions and share her favorite holiday recipe.

If you want to know more about Lucy-Anne, visit her on Facebook, Twitter and her website.

Author photo courtesy of Charlie Hopkinson

What is your favorite winter holiday themed novel?
Oh, I am so sorry, I won’t be winning any prizes for originality but it has to be Bridget Jones’s Diary. I love the way it starts with her list of New Years Resolutions. The novel brilliantly captures that feeling of being out of control with the over indulgences of the Christmas season, whilst also rampantly planning to give up all vices in the New Year.

What is your favorite winter activity?
Well, I adore dusk in winter. I find it such a dreamy time, when the day hovers before merging into night. My parents live in a coastal town called Eastbourne, on the South coast of England. I love walking along the seafront at dusk in the winter there, the air is crisp, the Christmas lights are on and I’m all snuggly wrapped up in a wooly hat and scarf.

What is your favorite winter holiday song?
Oh dear, I am thoroughly unoriginal again! But it has to be The Pogues and Kirsty McCall, "Fairy Tale of New York." I never tire of listening to it, which is just as well, because for about 6 weeks over Christmas in London you can’t move two steps without being ambushed by it. It’s a great song to sing along to and I do rather a good Shane McGowan, if I do say so myself.

What is your favorite winter holiday tradition?
I am a huge fan of the cold turkey sandwich with Branston pickle. One year, at Christmas dinner we ate all the turkey, so there was none left over for sandwiches. It really was very upsetting.

What is your favorite winter holiday movie?
It has to be Love Actually. Uh oh! The Unoriginality Police have just turned up with a warrant for my arrest! But it’s just the perfect Christmas rom-com. I always get teary at the end and Bill Nighy’s faded rock star Billy Mack singing "Christmas Is All Around" is genius. Quite often I watch the opening scene of the film, where he records the song in the studio, on Youtube, as a little two-minute writing break. It never fails to make me laugh.


Easy Quick Yummy Healthy Pancakes

My friend Danielle introduced me to these delicious devils, but they are the brain-child of Jamie Oliver, who my mother and I have quite a man sized crushes on!

1 mug self raising flour
1 egg
1 mug milk
1/2 mug raisins
Either 1 apple or 1 pear grated into batter mix
1 knob of butter

Beat it all together.
Heat griddle pan.
Add a knob butter.
Drop spoonfuls of mix into pan.
Turn them when the bubbles burst on surface.
Serve with plain yogurt, maple syrup and blueberries and a nice cup of tea.
Bon apetit!

*You may have to find the right conversions for "mug" and "knob."

Special thanks to Lucy-Anne for visiting with us today and to Hannah Hargrave at Little, Brown for facilitating the interview.

Book Review: Whispers from the Heart

By Amy Bromberg

"Whispers from the Heart" by Heather Hummel is part one of the Journals from the Heart Series, and explores the aftermath of an emotionally disheartening relationship. Ms. Hummel writes a heartwarming and emotional novel. I felt as though I was right there with Madison as she went through several emotional roller coasters, including love, loss and heartache. She vividly portrays each character, and hooks you into the story right from the start. Her talent with words makes the story come alive. Through Madison's self discovery journey, we learn that trust is vital in any relationship, especially a romantic one. In addition to trusting your partner, you have to trust yourself.

I 100% relate to never wanting to fall in love again after a bad relationship. You know the expression "blinded by love?" This describes my two relationships before I found my husband, one where my boyfriend was an alcoholic, and the other where my boyfriend, when we were talking about getting married, put his family first instead of me.

I feel the story lacked flow in a couple of areas. I didn't see the correlation between the death of a student and the rest of the story line. It doesn't seem as if it belongs. That being said however, I admire how Madison dealt with the tragedy, learned more about herself, and how she helped her students cope by writing in their journals. I felt one of the big characters was taken out of the story too abruptly, especially since Madison lets her guard down and learns to love again in this relationship. However this being a short book (the first part of a three book series), I understand why it can't be that long.

I recommend this story to anyone, not just Chick Lit lovers. It's a perfect blend of romance, mystery, sadness, hope, and last, but definitely not least, love.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Winner of "Thank You for Flying Air Zoe"

To find our winner, we assigned a number to each entry and had random.org pick one number. It chose 3.

Congrats to Marthalynn!

Here's a message from Erik Atwell:
First and foremost, I want to extend a massive thank you to the entire Chick Lit Central team for their tremendous effort and generosity in helping me get my debut novel, "Thank You For Flying Air Zoe" airborne. You are all, as I no doubt would’ve said back in ’87, “like, totally awesome!” It’s been a pleasure contributing to your way cool website, and I hope you enjoyed having me as much as I’ve enjoyed being here.

To the giveaway winner, congratulations, and I hope you have a wonderful flight aboard Air Zoe. If you do, please feel free to shout out reviews from the rooftops of cyberspace, as Air Zoe is but a humble airline that remains aloft only through the good word of its passengers...or some such silly flight analogy!

To everyone else who left comments, thanks so much for your entertaining answers! If you’re still interested in winning a copy of my novel, I will be hosting a Holiday giveaway on my Facebook Author Page in December, so please stop by and like me – it’ll be good for my fragile author ego!

Thanks again to all for helping to propel my fledgling career (last flight analogy, I swear). If anyone has any questions or comments about either the novel or its humble author, please find me on Facebook, Twitter, or my website and send me a note -- I’d love to hear from you.
Happy holidays, everyone!


Reminder: If you have won a book, you have about 48 hours to claim it by sending your contact information. (You will be e-mailed if you have won, as well.) After that time, a new winner will be picked.

Thanks to everyone for participating and taking us back to the 80's with your music choices!
Thanks to Erik for telling us how he gets inside our minds to write what looks like a great story and for sharing that story with our winner!

Don't miss out on our latest giveaways:

"The 'What if' Guy" by Brooke Moss (e-book)
Ends 12/5 at midnight EST

"Recession Proof" by Kimberly S. Lin
US only
Ends 12/4 at midnight EST

"I Heart Vegas" by Lindsey Kelk
Ends 12/4 at midnight EST

"Jackpot" by Jackie Pilossoph
E-book is worldwide
Hardcover is US only
Ends tonight at midnight EST

Book Review: The Puppy That Came for Christmas

By Becky Gulc

I know there are a lot of fellow dog lovers who both follow and write reviews for this blog. I therefore felt very privileged to be able to review Megan Rix’s memoir, "The Puppy That Came for Christmas." The UK version has such a sweet cover, the US version even sweeter, how could you go wrong with those adorable eyes on the cover?! Lovely.

In this memoir, Megan tells the story of her and her soulmate/husband Ian and their desire for children. With the couple meeting and marrying in their early forties this hope for children is something which they may struggle to achieve. Whilst we follow the couple as they do indeed struggle to conceive and ultimately consider IVF and fostering, this desire to have a child is gently interwoven throughout the main story of the couple’s experiences of being Puppy Parents for trainee helper dogs over a year-long period.

We live-out the whole process of being a Puppy Parent through Megan, from the joy, excitement and nerves of taking the first puppy home for the first time, through to the sheer grief but ultimate pride as the puppies leave the couple to go on to their next stage of training elsewhere a few months later. We get to know Emma and Freddy their foster puppies really well as well as the various other puppies and demonstration dogs and their owners that pop up along the way.

Before reading this book, I was someone who aspired to do similar voluntary work with puppies in the future (when retired, or if I win the lottery!) so I found it really fascinating to learn the highs and lows of what this is like. I also have a Labrador and so enjoyed all the memories Megan’s tales brought back for me of when my dog was a very active, mischievous and hungry puppy! (He’s not changed much).

I thought this was a really well-written book. It was moving (I cried several times!), joyful and funny and I read it over two days. Megan incorporates stories throughout of those who the Helper Dogs ultimately are placed with, these were really touching and I’d be interested to read more. It was great to see that once they’d left her, Emma and Freddy popped up again! The whole book left me with a very warm feeling inside. It reaffirmed what I already knew, dogs are the best, they can bring people together and dogs can make a family, be there children or not.

The day after I finished this book I walked past an assistance dog and their owner, the dog was clearly enjoying some free time rolling around on the grass, how I smiled knowing how special and talented such dogs are and how much love goes into their training.

A thoroughly recommended read from me. Although it mentions ‘Christmas’ in the title it’s a book that’s definitely worth a read any time of year as it simply follows a year in the life of the couple from pretty much one Christmas to the next.

For anyone who does read this book and wants to see more pictures (there could never be too many cute pictures could there?) Megan has a good few more on her website.

(Top left, US cover. Bottom right, UK cover.)

You might also like:

Brooke Moss brings "Autumn" to us in winter...plus a book giveaway

By Amy Bromberg

**Giveaway is now closed**

Today we welcome the fabulous and funny Brooke Moss, and her debut novel "The 'What If' Guy."

Brooke writes complex, character-driven stories about kismet, reunited lovers, first love, and the kind of romance that we should all have the chance at finding. She prefers her stories laced with some humor just for fun, and enough drama to keep her readers flipping the pages, and begging for more!

When Brooke isn't spinning tales, she spends her time drawing/cartooning, reading two books a week (ask her who her faves are), watching movies then comparing them to books, and, of course, wrangling four kids, one hubby she lovingly refers to as her "nerd", and attempting to conquer the Mount Everest of laundry that is the bane of her existence.

Thanks to Entangled Publishing, we have one e-book of "The 'What If' Guy" to giveaway to a lucky reader anywhere in the world.

You can visit Brooke on Facebook, Twitter, her website, blog and Goodreads.

Hello, and thanks for hosting me here on Chick Lit Central!
I’m so excited to tell you all about my debut novel, "The 'What If' Guy." It tells the story of single mother Autumn Cole, who is reluctantly returning to her hometown to assume the role of the daughter of the town drunk. Things become even more complicated when she realizes that her son’s history teacher is none other than Henry Tobler, who is the college sweetheart she left behind but never stopped loving. Check out this excerpt!
What was your inspiration behind writing "The 'What If' Guy?"
I wanted to write a story about my hometown of Fairfield, Washington, and also to tackle the subject of a “what if guy”. Every woman has one, but often times he is a secret we keep to ourselves. I wanted to see what would happen if Autumn’s “what if guy” showed up while she was available…but at her lowest point.

What were some challenges you faced with this being your first book?
I had no idea how much personal publicity and marketing is required for an author. This is hard work, and you can’t slack or relax at all! You have to keep your name and book out there, so that it remains fresh and interesting in the reader’s mind.

What essentials do you need for writing? (snacks, music, etc.)
I always have a playlist for every book I am working on, as well as a cup of cocoa to sip. Oh, and I’ve got this ugly green sweater that used to belong to my mom. I wear it because I’ve convinced myself that it provides good luck!

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
It would be a three way tie between Liza Palmer, because she’s freaking hilarious; Jane Porter because she writes amazing chick-lit; and then Kristan Higgins, because she is amazingly talented in every way.

What are two books you have read recently that have made you laugh?
Oh, wow….I recently read Kristan Higgins, Until There Was You, and it was incredible. Funny, sexy, cute, silly, poignant. I loved it. And probably one of my CP’s books, Jessie’s War, because her voice is hilarious. It’s not published yet, but will be. I’d put my money down on that.

What are three things readers may not know about you.
I collect anything that has an ugly, retro owl on it; I don’t drink or smoke; and I was once a florist who focused primarily on wedding work.

If "The 'What If' Guy" were made into a movie, who would you cast in the lead roles?
Oh, what a question! How I love thee. Um, let’s see…either Gerard Butler or Eric Bana as Henry Tobler; and Isla Fischer for Autumn Cole. (I’m dreaming big….why? Because that’s how I roll).

Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
That I need to write what is in my heart and on my mind, and not what is selling right now. Granted, an author needs to write what is sellable, but not at the cost of her voice and the heart in the story. If you’re just putting words on paper, you’re doing your fans a disservice. I would rather put my heart into whatever I put out, instead of cranking out books at the speed of a breeding rabbit. I owe my fans that much. :)

From looking at a few pictures on your website it's safe to assume you like cupcakes. What is your favorite kind and where is your favorite cupcake bakery?
There is a bakery near my house in eastern Washington called Love@First Bite Desserts, and it is phenomenal. My favorite is the Elvis Presley. PB&J and bacon? Um…wow. But my all time favorite is lemon cupcakes. Yum!

Any current or future projects you can share with us?
I am currently working on edits on a trilogy that is coming out next summer. Think “My Best Friend’s Wedding” with a dark twist. And I have a manuscript on submission right now that is all about a romance between a rich girl and a local carny. I also have a novella coming out in April, which involves a hot pastry chef, a’la Johnny Iuzzini, who was my inspiration. And I am starting to plot out a YA that has been nagging me for months. We’ll see what happens with that…

Thank you so much for having me. I am excited to be sharing an eBook with your blog readers! I hope they enjoy it.
XXOO,
Brooke Moss.

We are thankful to Brooke for sharing her thoughts with us and her e-book with our readers.


How to win "The 'What If' Guy":
Please comment below with your e-mail address. (Please note:Entries without an e-mail address will NOT be counted. You can use AT and DOT to avoid spam. Or provide a link to your facebook page or blog if you can receive messages there.)

Bonus entries (can be listed all in one post):
1. Please tell us: If you could create the perfect "guy" or "girl" what would you three top ingredients be?
2. Follow this blog and post a comment saying you are a follower (if you already follow, that's fine too).
3. Follow Brooke Moss on Facebook and Twitter. Tell us your name/handle for each follow.
4. Post this contest on Facebook or Twitter or in your blog, and leave a comment saying where you've posted it.
5. Join Chick Lit Central on Facebook. Edit settings if you don't want to receive a lot of messages at your e-mail account. Please read our posting guidelines, as well. (If you're already a member, let us know that too.)
6. Add a friend to our Facebook group. (Tell us who you added.) Be sure to remind them to edit their settings.

Giveaway ends December 5th at midnight EST.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Winners of "Hidden in Paris"

To find our winners, we assigned a number to each entry and had random.org pick three numbers. It chose 34, 38 and 58.

Congrats to Na, Poof...books! and Candice Coghill!

Here's a message from Corine Gantz:
Congratulations on winning a copy of "Hidden in Paris" on Chick Lit Central, and thank you for participating. "Hidden in Paris" is a story of friendship, love and disfunction set in the City of Light. I hope you enjoy your virtual time in Paris! You can read a chapter of the novel, reviews, and get in touch with me on my website at www.corinegantz.com. When you go to the website, don't forget to sign up for the upcoming cookbook featuring the recipes in the novel. It is free to the readers of "Hidden in Paris" and should come out before the end of the year.

Take care,

Corine Gantz


Reminder: If you have won a book, you have about 48 hours to claim it by sending your contact information. (You will be e-mailed if you have won, as well.) After that time, a new winner will be picked.

Thanks to everyone for participating. If you're interested in reading some amazing books involving widows, check out "P.S., I Love You" by Cecelia Ahern, "Before Ever After" by Samantha Sotto and "Good Grief" by Lolly Winston. There are many others, as well. We hope you'll check out "Hidden in Paris," even if you didn't win a copy from us.

Thanks to Corine for her creative guest post (or script) and for sharing her book with our winners! And speaking of cookbooks (as she mentioned above), December is holiday recipe month at CLC so start stocking your fridge with ingredients and get ready to cook up a storm!

Don't miss out on our latest giveaways:

"Recession Proof" by Kimberly S. Lin
US only
Ends 12/4 at midnight EST

"I Heart Vegas" by Lindsey Kelk
Ends 12/4 at midnight EST

"Jackpot" by Jackie Pilossoph
E-book is worldwide
Hardcover is US only
Ends 11/29 at midnight EST

"Thank You for Flying Air Zoe" by Erik Atwell
Ends tonight at midnight EST

Kimberly S. Lin is "proof" that chick lit is cool and she has a book to give away

By Amy Bromberg

**Giveaway is now closed**

Today we welcome Kimberly S. Lin, and her debut novel, “Recession Proof” (reviewed here). Kimberly grew up in California and graduated from University of California, Irvine, in Economics. She then moved to Los Angeles and worked as a financial writer and hedge fund analyst, all the time dreaming of writing women's fiction. She writes stories that are funny, uplifting and that every modern woman can relate to. Currently she is the publisher of Minted Magazine and is working on her second novel. She lives in Orange County, CA.

Kimberly is here to share with us the inspiration behind her debut novel, and has ONE copy of “Recession Proof” to give away to a lucky reader anywhere in the US.

You can visit Kimberly at her website and Facebook.

Check out her video introduction to “Recession Proof”:

How did you come up with the idea for “Recession Proof?”
I wrote Recession Proof as a way to express how I felt as a young female working professional during these current economic times. At the time, I felt I was settling in my career and my relationship and writing the book was almost therapeutic for me. In my heart, I knew that life was about truly living it.

Tell us 3 authors who have inspired you and why.
Emily Giffin (Something Borrowed): Emily has been my greatest source of inspiration because she writes in a way that's incredibly intelligent and deep, which are two things somewhat lacking in our genre. She also writes about real women's issues in a way that's easy to digest. Also, I find her own author's journey incredibly inspiring.
Ayn Rand (The Fountainhead): I am a big philosophy buff. And even though I don't entirely agree with her philosophy- I still love what she stood for. "Achievement of your happiness is the only moral purpose of your life, and that happiness, not pain or mindless self-indulgence, is the proof of your moral integrity, since it is the proof and the result of your loyalty to the achievement of your values."
Hamilton Wright Mabie (Essays on Work and Culture): Like I said, I'm a huge philosophy buff. This book sums up everything I believe in. I constantly read it to remind myself of what I stand for.

What are your biggest motivations to write? What keeps you going?
Writing to me is as natural as breathing. Writing itself keeps me going. I would do it even if I didn't get a penny from it.

What was the hardest part of writing “Recession Proof?”
At some points it was focusing since jotting down 80,000+ words isn't easy! But the hardest part has to be editing. It can drive you nuts!

Without giving too much away, what's your favorite part of the book and why?
The parts where Helen is with Nate because I'm a sucker for unabashed romance. And he's hot.

Who is your celebrity crush? (writer, actor, musician, etc.)
Makua Rothman (pro-surfer). My boyfriend and I met because of it, which is a whole other story!

If “Recession Proof” were to be made into a movie, who would you cast in the lead roles?
Helen: Anne Hathaway
Sophie: Mila Kunis
Jamie: Emma Stone
Nate: Garrett Hedlund (if he dyed his hair brown)
Mark: Joseph Gordon Levitt

What are two books that have made you laugh?

Are you currently working on anything new you can tell us a little bit about?
I am the publisher for Minted Magazine, launching in January 2012. It's a digital magazine empowering the young career woman. And I'm working on my second novel titled, Thirty-Something.

We are thankful to Kimberly for chatting with us and sharing her book with our readers.


How to win "Recession Proof":
Please comment below with your e-mail address. (Please note: Entries without an e-mail address will NOT be counted. You can use AT and DOT to avoid spam. Or provide a link to your facebook page or blog if you can receive messages there.)

Bonus entries (can be listed all in one post):
1. Please share your favorite tip for saving money.
2. Follow this blog and post a comment saying you are a follower (if you already follow, that's fine too).
3. Post this contest on Facebook or Twitter or in your blog, and leave a comment saying where you've posted it.
4. Join Chick Lit Central on Facebook. Edit settings if you don't want to receive a lot of messages at your e-mail account. Please read our posting guidelines, as well. (If you're already a member, let us know that too.)
5. Add a friend to our Facebook group. (Tell us who you added.) Be sure to remind them to edit their settings.

US only. Giveaway ends December 4th at midnight EST.

Friday, November 25, 2011

What's in the mail today?

Melissa A:

Got this from Sarah Jio, care of Penguin Books:



I'm reading it now and it's already captivating!

Amy also got this book. :)

Got this from Mandy Baggot:




Amy:

Got this from Dana Silver:



It's also available for $2.99 in Kindle format.

Becky:

Got this from Simon and Schuster:

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Winner of "Pug Hill"

To find our winner, we assigned a number to each entry and had random.org pick one number. It chose 62.

Congrats to Kathleen Higgins-Anderson!

Reminder: If you have won a book, you have about 48 hours to claim it by sending your contact information. (You will be e-mailed if you have won, as well.) After that time, a new winner will be picked.

Thanks to everyone for participating and sharing your pet peeves.
Thanks to Alison Pace for sharing her thoughts with us and for sharing her book with our winner!

Don't miss out on our latest giveaways:


"I Heart Vegas" by Lindsey Kelk
Ends 12/4 at midnight EST

"Jackpot" by Jackie Pilossoph
E-book is worldwide
Hardcover is US only
Ends 11/29 at midnight EST

"Thank You for Flying Air Zoe" by Erik Atwell
Ends 11/28 at midnight EST

"Hidden in Paris" by Corine Gantz
US/Canada only
Ends 11/27 at midnight EST

Blogs of the week

Our recent feature is "Blogs of the Week." Each week, we feature a reader blog (which has to be sent to us) and an author blog (which can either be sent to us, or we'll pick one at random). Please check out the blogs we are sharing. We're sure the bloggers would love some friendly comments on their posts or a follow.

To have your blog featured for a future shout out, please e-mail us. The blogs can be anything: personal, book themed or something else you're interested in that you write about (movies, fashion, pets, career, etc.)



Reader:

momarock-A Mom on the Run

Sara is a 30-something mom of two, who enjoys fitness and being healthy. Her passion comes from running- and she hopes to keep running. She tries to post every day with her thoughts about whatever is on her mind. She likes to read and sometimes references to books will show up in her posts, as well. She would love more followers, as it is her Christmas wish.

Author:

D.D. Scott-ville

D. D. Scott is a Bestselling Romantic Comedy and Comedic Caper, Humorous Mystery Author and a Writer’s Go-To-Gal for Muse Therapy, plus the #1 Amazon Bestselling Author of "Muse Therapy: Unleashing Your Inner Sybil" and the co-founder of The Writer’s Guide to E-Publishing, your destination site for Everything E-Publishing. Her romantic comedies are a bit chick lit with a gone-country twist...and now a humorous mystery, comedic caper twist too. Her Bootscootin’ Books (a combo of "Sex and The City" and "Urban Cowboy")– debuted August 2010, on Amazon’s Kindle (most are available for 99 cents), Barnes & Noble’s Nook and at Smashwords, with BOOTSCOOTIN’ BLAHNIKS, followed by STOMPIN’ ON STETSONS and BUCKLES ME BABY. Now, The Bootscootin’ Characters are gettin’ “cozy”...as in Comedic Caper cozy, with the release of THUG GUARD and LIP GLOCK, Books One and Two of her new Cozy Cash Mysteries, featuring all of your fave Bootscootin’ characters plus tons of quirky new characters too. Her first two short stories - The Mom Squad Mini-Mayhem Mysteries – FLUID FULFILLMENT and LICENSED FOR LOVE – were released in October 2011, and a D. D. Scott Special Edition Ebook Boxed Set will follow in November 2011, which will include all three Bootscootin’ Books plus the first two Cozy Cash Mysteries. The first Cozy Cash Mystery Christmas Novella – HULLABALOO AND HOLLY TOO – will be included in the over-the-top-spectacular 2011 Christmas Anthology MADNESS UNDER THE MISTLETOE with superfab authors Tonya Kappes, Lee Lopez and Talli Roland. She has 16 new releases coming in 2012, as well! You can find her on Twitter and Facebook.

Book Review and Giveaway: Jackpot!

By Amy Bromberg

**Giveaway is now closed**

What would you do if your mother offered you EIGHT MILLION dollars to have a baby? That question gets answered in "Jackpot!," Jackie Pilossoph's latest novel.

All Frankie Jacobson, a long time widow, wants is to have grandchildren. It seems as though every weekend, at synagogue, she’s celebrating yet another friend’s grandchild’s birth. She gets singled out because everyone knows her two children, Jaime and Danny, have not settled down yet, and it looks like they never will. Due to Jaime Jacobson’s lousy history with men, the only thing she seems to love these days is her pair of Jimmy Choo shoes. Danny is your stereotypical guy who has commitment phobia. He seems to only care about picking up women, and his teaching career. When their mother wins the lottery, she hires a lawyer to draw up a contract, for both Danny and Jaime, indicating if they produce for her a grandchild, within one year, they will receive 8 million dollars.

After a short while of shock from their mother’s proposal, Jaime and Danny become obsessed and determined to get the money. Jaime attempts to use her co-worker, Drew, who’s been hitting on her for over two years. But in the middle of the second date, she starts to develop real feelings for him. Danny meets up with previous girls he’s had flings with, and then bumps into Courtney. In the process of trying to seduce and get her in bed, he falls in love with her.

In the beginning of the story, both Jaime and Danny have no interest in settling down or raising a family. This is the only thing Frankie, their slightly overbearing Jewish mother, wants. Each attempt of hers to get them to realize this is like talking to a wall, and this wall keeps getting thicker. Frankie becomes so desperate, that she’s willing to bribe them with money. My first thoughts were that this is a bit over the top, and not very realistic. But hey this is fiction, so I went with it. Looking back at the story, Jackpot would make one hilarious movie. Many of the obstacles and hiccups Jaime and Danny “bump” into (no pun intended), brings a great deal of comedy to the book. I enjoy how Jackie tells the story, alternating between Jaime and Danny’s points of view. She does a great job of character development, specifically Jaime and Danny’s journey from the beginning of the story to the end. This is first novel I’ve read where an author has been so in tune with the male psyche. In different ways the characters, including Frankie, are selfish at first. But when love comes into the equation, and the family receives heartbreaking news, we see them become better people, putting others first, and being content with life just as it is.

It’s important to realize you can’t force love: It will come when you least expect it. Also you can’t force people to do something they don’t want to do. On the other hand, as much as family members might annoy you, they do have your best interests at heart, especially parents who took care and provided for you.

I felt the book lagged a bit over the course of the chapters where Danny is meeting up with past flings to hopefully get them pregnant. But overall, Jackpot is a great epitome of chick lit. I related to Jaime and Danny because I too have an overbearing Jewish mother. When she annoys and nags me, I have to try to remember that she just loves me, and only wants the best for me. It also made me realize that even though crappy things happen to us in life, a lot of these make us think... is this the best way to go about our lives? The book brings to light how money does not buy happiness, nor solve all of life’s problems. I recommend this to anyone looking for a light-hearted, funny, moving and “happily ever after” read.

As an added bonus, Jackie Pilossoph is giving away FOUR copies of "Jackpot!" Two e-books worldwide and two hardcovers to US residents only.

How to win "Jackpot!": Tell us what you would do with eight million dollars! Please include your e-mail address (or another way to reach you) and let us know where you're located. One entry per person.
Giveaway ends 11/29 at midnight EST.

Waking up in Vegas with a book giveaway!

**Giveaway is now closed**

We have a couple of treats for you today! One of our associate reviewers, Gail Allison, is here to talk about why she "hearts" Las Vegas. And Lindsey Kelk, care of HarperCollins UK, has FIVE copies of her upcoming novel, "I Heart Vegas," to share with some lucky readers anywhere in the world! It will be available on December 8th, so take a gamble you can't lose and make sure to buy yourself an early holiday treat (if you don't win a copy here first). You can even pre-order it for your Kindle!

Vegas, Baby!
By Gail Allison


You know that tingly feeling that starts in your fingertips and runs straight down your spine when you know something wonderful is about to happen to you? Your face gets warmer, you can’t help grinning like an idiot, and you want to high-five whoever is sitting next to you. You’re inclined to raise your glass to anything at all, and the least little bit of good news makes you want to break into applause and cheers. And that feeling is exponentially multiplied when you know everyone around you is feeling the exact same way. The air crackles with excitement that practically lights up the inside of the airplane.

Welcome to a flight landing in Las Vegas. I’m not kidding.

What other town can boast long-term headliners ranging from Frank Sinatra to Elvis Presley to Garth Brooks? Where else can you find mega-casinos with real live lions in the lobby? I saw two grown men shoot each other in the face in Las Vegas and they both lived!! (Admittedly, they were Penn and Teller, and it was part of their magic act at the Rio, but still!) I defy you to find me anywhere else in the world that I can (for a price, of course) head outside to the dolphin pools to be a dolphin trainer for the day, wander over and check out the white tigers when I’m done, and finish up with a four star dinner, all within minutes of each other. Oh…and then go dancing (with a very real chance of a celebrity sighting) at one of the upscale nightclubs nearby. And then bungee jump off the top of a hotel just up the street. Just another day in Vegas.

That being said, it’s probably not for everyone. My mom, for one, doesn’t seem to be impressed by the glittery fa├žade of the strip (although I still wonder if she’d be more impressed if I hadn’t come home a few years ago from Vegas proudly sporting my first tattoo). But I still maintain that if she just took a deep breath and plunged headfirst into the glitz, she’d be awed. There’s really nothing else you can be when your plane is landing in the middle of the desert at night, and all you can see is the shimmering strip cutting through the middle of the city. The sheer magnitude of the strip is breathtaking.

Last time I was in Vegas, my husband and I were down there with a friend. Just to give you a sense of how wonderfully, ridiculously grandiose the properties are there, I decided that we could easily walk down to Caesar’s Palace for breakfast (What? Serendipity 3 is there! I had to! The frozen hot chocolate was calling to me!). We were staying at Treasure Island. The only hotel between the two is the Mirage, and they’re all on the same side of the street. The stroll from TI to Caesar’s took us fifteen minutes. I’m not kidding. FIFTEEN minutes to leave one hotel, go past another, and into the next one. Yes, we are all still on speaking terms, but if breakfast hadn’t been so incredibly delicious, it might not have turned out so well. Everything is bigger and shinier and just a little more dazzling in Vegas for no reason other than “we wanted it like this, so we made it like this”.

Oh...and it’s hot there. Being from a city where winter runs from October to March (at the very least), the heat is a big kicker for me. The fact that I was walking around in flip-flops and capri pants last time I was there (mid-October) practically made me giddy. That we got to drink from the world’s largest margarita may or may not have contributed to the giddiness. I can’t really say. I guess I’ll have to go back again just to make sure, right?

And that’s why I heart Vegas.


We are thankful to Gail for sharing her thoughts about Vegas with us and to Lindsey and HarperCollins for sharing "I Heart Vegas" with our readers!

How to win "I Heart Vegas":
Answer ONE of these three questions (only one entry per person):
1. What is your favorite thing about Vegas? (If you've never been there, what is the first thing you'd do if you went.)
2. What is your favorite Vegas themed movie, song or TV show?
3. Have you ever gambled (playing the lottery does count)? What are your thoughts on gambling?

Please make sure to include your e-mail address or another way we can find you if you win!

Open worldwide! Giveaway ends December 4th at midnight EST.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Winners of "What Came First"

To find our winners, we assigned a number to each entry and had random.org pick two numbers. It chose 32 and 79.

Congrats to Laura Kay and jmndowning!

Reminder: If you have won a book, you have about 48 hours to claim it by sending your contact information. (You will be e-mailed if you have won, as well.) After that time, a new winner will be picked.

Thanks to everyone for participating and sharing your thoughts about Hooters.
Thanks to Carol for a lovely interview and for sharing her book with our winners!

Don't miss out on our latest giveaways:

"Thank You for Flying Air Zoe" by Erik Atwell
Ends 11/28 at midnight EST

"Hidden in Paris" by Corine Gantz
US/Canada only
Ends 11/27 at midnight EST

"Pug Hill" by Alison Pace
US/Canada only
Ends 11/22 at midnight EST

Book Review: When Love Isn't Enough

By Gail Allison

What feels right versus what is right: it’s a predicament that none of us ever want to be stuck in, but most of us have been at one time or another. In "When Love Isn’t Enough," Stephanie Casher weaves the two together in a realistic, sometimes heartbreaking novel of growth.

Samantha Merrick is a train wreck waiting to happen. She’s partying like there’s no tomorrow, getting drunk and stoned every night, and waking up next to strangers on a semi-regular basis. Since her ex betrayed her and broke her heart, she’s been trying everything she can think of to numb the pain. When she goes out onto a cliff in Santa Cruz early one morning to watch the sun come up (a comforting ritual that she turns to throughout the book), she runs into Tony. Soon she discovers that he has been watching her come out to admire the sunrise for a number of days, and has just today decided to join her.

With the blazing sunrise as a backdrop, Sam and Tony get to talking, and realize that they have more than just their backgrounds in common, and for the rest of the day, conversation flows like water between them. Sam is brought back to reality quickly though, as Tony confides that he does have a girlfriend back in Los Angeles: Angela. Sam starts spending more and more time with Tony, falling deeply in love with him, when Angela decides that she’s had enough and needs Tony back in LA with her, Tony has to decide whether he’s going to go back to his needy, obsessive girlfriend and try to fix what’s left of their relationship, or stay with Sam and leave Angela to deal with her self-destructive ways.

Ms. Casher writes an interesting tale of choices that have to be made, and why they turn out the way they do. It’s not a predictable love story, by any means. It’s painful at times, and there were parts where I wished I could reach into the book and shake the characters and ask them why they had done such a thing. Having a novel play on my emotions like that doesn’t happen often, and I commend Ms. Casher for the power of her writing. The interesting thing about this book is that it forces you to examine consequences. It’s easy to sit back and say “well, I wouldn’t have made that choice,” but there are so many details mapped out in this novel that right away you realize how making one tiny choice differently could easily end in drastic shockwaves felt by others.

All in all, "When Love Isn’t Enough" was quite an enjoyable book. Some more conservative readers may be put off by the casual drugs and drinking in the book, but if you can get past that, it’s an interesting spin on growing up and learning some difficult lessons. I was quite surprised by the ending, and in retrospect was stunned how my opinion of the characters had evolved throughout the book. Ms Casher makes effective use of language, doesn’t pull any punches, and brings forward a great story. The ending neatly leaves room for a follow-up novel, which I would certainly pick up. As an added bonus, "When Love Isn’t Enough" is a great deal right now...only $0.99 for Kindle! Expect to get pulled in by this one when you do pick it up. It grabs you and doesn’t let go until long after you’ve closed it and put it aside.

Erik Atwell "flies" to Venus and has a book to give away!

**Giveaway is now closed**

A couple of weeks ago, we got a "dude's" perspective on chick lit. Now we have another "dude" at CLC to tell us how he gets inside the mind of a woman! Meet Erik Atwell and his novel, "Thank You for Flying Air Zoe."

A few months ago, Erik was doing a giveaway of "Thank You for Flying Air Zoe" at Goodreads and Melissa A. asked him how he gets into the mind of a woman. She was so fascinated by his answer that she asked him to elaborate right here at our blog. And that he did! He's also giving away one copy of his book right here to a lucky reader anywhere in the world!

Erik Atwell started his writing career in grammar school, when a one page history class assignment ballooned into a forty page fictional account of a politically controversial silversmith in Boston circa 1776. From there, he wrote short stories while living in New Hampshire, screenplays upon moving to Los Angeles, then finally novels when he ultimately landed in Seattle. He now lives in Seattle with his rock star wife and his four-month-old son, whose only musical claim to fame thus far is sleeping through an entire Go-Go's concert. But in his defense, he was three weeks old, and the stage was a quarter-mile away. "Thank You For Flying Air Zoe" is his first novel, and he hopes to write a second novel before the little guy treks off to college.

You can find Erik at Facebook, Twitter and his blog.

Men Are From Mars, Many Visit Venus

Back in college, my first fiction profs taught us fledgling Pulitzer winners that the best writing stems from our own experiences.

This is why twenty years later, I wrote a novel about a woman who was once a drummer in an all-girl garage band.

As you can probably guess, I was a so-so student.

Kidding aside, I very much believe that empirical knowledge of a subject allows writers to more directly connect with their material, which ultimately helps them draw in their readers. So this begs the question... If men are from Mars and women are from Venus, what exactly is a Martian like me doing writing a novel with a distinctly Venusian spirit?

Here’s a well kept secret among authors. Men have actually been writing chick lit long before the genre even existed. Take, for instance, Nathaniel Hawthorne’s 1850 novel about a woman with a penchant for monogrammed fashion, "The Scarlet Letter." So really, I’m just following legendary literary footsteps. See, I’ve inexplicably been writing stories with female protagonists since those ambitious college years. And after years of being heartbroken and tossed aside by my many leading ladies, my novel "Thank You For Flying Air Zoe" recently had the fortune of being published.

I often get asked how I go about getting inside the mind of my female characters. Sometimes I casually joke that any success I have depicting women in my writing is solely due to an extensive study of romantic comedies that dates as far back as the Meg Ryan era. So too do I often cite a more simple explanation – women are awesome, and I’ve spent a great amount of time paying attention to them. Some of my best friends are women. Some of my best enemies are, too, but that’s irrelevant, right?

Still, none of this speaks to the heart of how I as an author try to access the mind, body, and soul of a female narrator. And I guess the only way I can explain it is this.

I don’t try.

I think that actively trying to write from a female perspective would be inauthentic, and it would cheapen both the character and her story. The voice would come across as too manufactured and too forced. Yes, my fictional superstars are eighties’ ladies to their Aquanet and Jordache core, but their hopes, fears, and grand life philosophies are timeless and universal. "Thank You For Flying Air Zoe" may be a story about a group of forty-something women seeking to reunite their band. But at its heart, it is also an homage to anyone looking to recapture the dreams of their youth, or reignite a spark in their lives that may have flickered out.

Over the course of my lifetime, the gap between male and female archetypes in both literature, as well as society itself, have lessened dramatically. As a writer, I aspire to tell a story that’s accessible to a reader regardless of their gender. Thus far, "Thank You For Flying Air Zoe" seems to be connecting with readers who typically don’t even dip their toes into the waters of chick lit or women’s fiction.

You know who I’m talking about, right?

Yup. Martians. "Air Zoe" has actually won a few of them over – who knew!

This thrills me to no end. However, the ultimate thrill is when I hear a woman say that they enjoyed the story. This tells me that I’ve done what I set out to accomplish, which was to do both a genre and a gender their due justice. Trust me, when my novel was first released, I was terrified that I’d be crucified by readers. Sure, my wife had assured me that I’d written a thoughtful and entertaining story, but she’s pretty much required to say that by marital law, no? Like most authors, I secretly craved third-party validation, particularly from female readers, who are the very engine that keeps the chick lit machine churning in an age when many highbrow lit critics seem super eager to pull the trigger on the genre. But this is another hot-button topic for another time, isn’t it?

If I was in fact lucky enough to succeed at gracefully and accurately write a female main character, it was not because I was able to crawl inside the mind of a woman and understand their innermost thoughts. It was because I saw her as no different from me – apart from body parts and chromosome patterns, of course. With "Air Zoe," I subversively stayed in my comfort zone. I wrote what I knew internally, not externally.

Without a doubt, I would have a difficult time writing within this genre if my heroine was in the final trimester of a pregnancy, or going through any sort of intensely personal and gender specific experience. But could I write a chick lit novel if my heroine got all nostalgic over the 1980s and wanted to reunite her teenage garage band?

Oh yeah, this I could do.

Like, totally.

We are thankful to Erik for sharing what's on our minds and for giving away a copy of his book to one of our readers.

How to win "Thank You for Flying Air Zoe":
Please comment below with your e-mail address. (Please note: Entries without an e-mail address will NOT be counted. You can use AT and DOT to avoid spam. Or provide a link to your facebook page or blog if you can receive messages there.)

Bonus entries (can be listed all in one post):
1. Please tell us: Who is your favorite singer or band from the 80's?
2. Follow this blog and post a comment saying you are a follower (if you already follow, that's fine too).
3. Post this contest on Facebook or Twitter or in your blog, and leave a comment saying where you've posted it.
4. Join Chick Lit Central on Facebook. Edit settings if you don't want to receive a lot of messages at your e-mail account. Please read our posting guidelines, as well. (If you're already a member, let us know that too.)
5. Add a friend to our Facebook group. (Tell us who you added.) Be sure to remind them to edit their settings.

Giveaway ends November 28th at midnight EST.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Winners of "Fake Perfect Me"

To find our winners, we assigned a number to each entry and had random.org pick three numbers. It chose 9, 18 and 39.

Congrats to Stephanie (Skk25), Kristen (kly.327) and Denise!

Here's a message from Cari Kamm:
Congratulations to the winners and a HUGE thank you to everyone who participated. Your support is the biggest compliment and truly appreciated with my debut novel, "Fake Perfect Me." I’m honored to be a part of Chick Lit Central and a group that embraces and celebrates authors, readers and Chick Lit! "Fake Perfect Me" is a marriage of "Sex & The City" and "Eat Pray Love." I hope it entertains you, inspires you to live your truth, and empowers you to love yourself. I’m overwhelmed with the love that readers have shared with me regarding my protagonist, Isabella Reynolds. Thank you for cheering her on! To learn more about the theme of "Fake Perfect Me" and hear how readers were inspired by the story, please visit my website and check out the “What’s Fake Perfect About You?” documentary. Again, thank you all for being a part of this journey. The release of my second novel will be in 2012.
Xo – Cari


Reminder: If you have won a book, you have about 48 hours to claim it by sending your contact information. (You will be e-mailed if you have won, as well.) After that time, a new winner will be picked.

Thanks to everyone for participating and sharing your restaurant recommendations.
Thanks to Cari for her interview and for sharing her book with our winners!

Don't miss out on our latest giveaways:

"Hidden in Paris" by Corine Gantz
US/Canada only
Ends 11/27 at midnight EST

"Pug Hill" by Alison Pace
US/Canada only
Ends 11/22 at midnight EST

"What Came First" by Carol Snow
US/Canada only
Ends tonight at midnight EST

Winner of "The Whole Package"

To find our winner, we assigned a number to each entry and had random.org pick one number. It chose 13, which is a lucky number for once!

Congrats to Nina!

Here's a message from Cynthia Ellingsen:
Thank you, everyone who entered "The Whole Package" giveaway! It's been so fun seeing the comments and responses about friendship on Chick Lit Central. I hope that you'll all read The Whole Package and share it with all of your BFFs. Congratulations Nina, on winning a copy of "The Whole Package." My email is on my website - stay in touch and let me know what you think!

Reminder: If you have won a book, you have about 48 hours to claim it by sending your contact information. (You will be e-mailed if you have won, as well.) After that time, a new winner will be picked.

Thanks to everyone for participating. Our readers are who truly make CLC the whole package!
Thanks to Cynthia for her beautiful guest post about friendship and to Penguin Books for sharing her book with our winner.

Don't miss out on our latest giveaways:

"Hidden in Paris" by Corine Gantz
US/Canada only
Ends 11/27 at midnight EST

"Pug Hill" by Alison Pace
US/Canada only
Ends 11/22 at midnight EST

"What Came First" by Carol Snow
US/Canada only
Ends tonight at midnight EST