Friday, August 31, 2012

What's in the a giveaway

**Giveaway is now closed**

Melissa A:

"Finding Emma" by Steena Holmes from the author (e-book)

"My Life, Made Possible by Pop Culture" by Danielle Turchiano from the author

""The Mystery of Mercy Close" by Marian Keyes from Penguin UK

"The Things I Do For You" by Mary Carter, won from Chick Lit is Not Dead

"The Runaway Princess" by Hester Browne from Gallery Books

Free for Kindle from Amazon (these may not still be free at this time):

"Love Regifted" by Stephanie Haddad

"Reaching for the Stars" by Janice Horton

"Dysfunctional Romance" by Derick Hudson

"Haole Wood" by Dee DeTarsio


"What more Could You Wish For" by Samantha Hoffman from the author (Cindy got this from St. Martin's Press)

"The Baker's Daughter" by Sarah McCoy from Random House

"Blackberry Winter" by Sarah Jio from Penguin


"India's Summer" by Thérèse from BookSparks PR (Melissa A got this free from Amazon)

"I Kill Me" by Tracy H. Tucker from the author.

"The School Run" (re-release) by Sophie King from Great Stories with Heart (e-book)


"Painting Naked" by Maggie Dana from the Momentum Books (e-book)

"Hearts on the Line" by Marla Martenson from CupidPress


"The L.A. Commandments" by Gillian Duffy from Book Republic (e-book)


"Grace Unexpected" by Gale Martin from Booktrope

"Happily Ever Before" by Aimee Pitta and Melissa Peterman from the authors (e-book)

What could be in YOUR mail:
Random House has FIVE copies of "The Baker's Daughter" by Sarah McCoy for some lucky US readers!

How to win:
Please tell us about something funny that happened when you were baking a dessert item OR tell us your favorite bakery treat. (One entry per person.) Please include your e-mail address or another way to reach you if you win.

US only. Giveaway ends September 5th at midnight EST.

Chick Lit Lovers’ Labor of Love!

For four days over the US Labor Day weekend, EIGHT of your favorite chick lit writers are offering their books for $.99 to say a huge thank you to all the readers who’ve supported them over the years. Elle Lothlorien, who has coordinated the chick lit lovelies, says, "We’ve had such amazing support from readers over the years. They’ve posted reviews, friended us on Facebook, helped us procrastinate on twitter and sent emails telling us how much they appreciate our work. As a little thank you for all that love, we wanted to give something back to them."

From Friday, August 31st through Monday, September 3rd, all of these books are $.99 on You can also spread the love to your friends through Amazon’s ‘give as a gift’ button.

"The Frog Prince" by Elle Lothlorien

It was his pheromones that did it. With one sniff, sex researcher Leigh Fromm recognizes that any offspring she might have with the mysterious stranger would have a better-than-average chance of surviving any number of impending pandemics.

But when Leigh finds out that the handsome “someone” at her great aunt’s wake is Prince Roman Habsburg von Lorraine of Austria, she suddenly doubts her instincts—not that she was intending to sleep with the guy. The royal house of Habsburg was once completely inbred, insanity and impotency among the highlights of their genetic pedigree. (The extreme “bulldog underbite” that plagued them wasn’t called the Habsburg Jaw for nothing.)

It doesn’t matter that his family hasn’t sat on a throne (other than the ones in their Toilette) since 1918, or that Austria is now a parliamentary democracy. Their lives couldn’t be more different: Roman is routinely mobbed by paparazzi in Europe. Leigh is regularly mocked for having the social skills of a potted plant. Even if she suddenly developed grace, charm and a pedigree that would withstand the scrutiny of the press and his family, what exactly is she supposed to do with this would-have-been king of Austria who is in self-imposed exile in Denver, Colorado?

"One Pink Line" by Dina Silver

Can the love of a lifetime be forever changed by one pink line? Dina Silver's tender, absorbing novel, "One Pink Line," is the warmhearted, wry story of love, loss and family, as seen through the prism of one singular, spirited young couple who find themselves in a predicament that changes the course of their lives, and those closest to them.

Sydney Shephard, a sweet-tempered, strong-natured college senior is young, in love with an exceptional man, and unexpectedly pregnant. Faced with a child she never planned for, she is forced to relay this news to her neurotic mother, relinquish her youth, and risk losing the love of her life. Then there's Grace, a daughter, who believed she was a product of this great love, grows to realize her existence is not what she assumed, and is left with profound and puzzling questions about who she really is.

Spanning generations and every imaginable emotion, "One Pink Line" reveals how two points of view can be dramatically at odds, and perhaps ultimately reconciled.

See Amy's review here.

"Build a Man" by Talli Roland

Slave to the rich and the rude, cosmetic surgery receptionist Serenity Holland longs for the day she's a high-flying tabloid reporter. When she meets Jeremy Ritchie -- the hang-dog man determined to be Britain's Most Eligible Bachelor by making himself over from head to toe and everything in between -- Serenity knows she's got a story no editor could resist.

With London's biggest tabloid on board and her very own column tracking Jeremy's progress from dud to dude, Serenity is determined to be a success. But when Jeremy's surgery goes drastically wrong and she's ordered to cover all the car-crash goriness, Serenity must decide how far she really will go for her dream job.

See Melissa A's review here.

"Single in the City" by Michele Gorman

Take one twenty six year old American, add to a two thousand year old city, add a big dose of culture clash and stir.

To think Hannah ever believed that Americans differed from Brits mainly in pronunciation, sophistication and dentistry. That’s been the understatement of a lifetime. She lands upon England’s gentle shores with no job, no friends and no idea how she’s supposed to build the life she’s dreaming of. Armed with little more than her enthusiasm, she charges headlong into London, baffling the locals in her pursuit of a new life, new love and sense of herself.

See Kathryn's review here.

"Kissed in Paris" by Juliette Sobanet

“You are in Paris, the City of Love. You must not be so controlled. Here, have another glass. I promise you, it will not hurt.”

When 29-year-old event planner Chloe Turner wakes up penniless and without a passport in the Plaza Athénée Hotel in Paris, she only has a few fleeting memories of Claude, the suave French man who convinced her to have that extra glass of wine before taking all of her possessions and slipping out the door. As the overly organized, go-to gal for her three drama queen younger sisters, her anxiety-ridden father, and her needy clients, Chloe is normally prepared for every disaster that comes her way. But with her wedding to her straight-laced, lawyer fiancé back in DC only days away and a French con-man on the loose with her engagement ring, this is one catastrophe she never could have planned for.

As Chloe tries to figure out a way home, she runs into an even bigger problem—the police are after her due to suspicious activity now tied to her bank account. Chloe's only hope at retrieving her passport and clearing her name lies in the hands of a rugged, undercover agent named Julien who has a few secrets of his own. As Chloe follows this mysterious, and—although she doesn't want to admit it—sexy French man on a wild chase through the sun-kissed countryside of France, she discovers a magical world she never knew existed and has to decide if the perfectly ordered life she’s built for herself back home is really what she wants after all.

"Romantically Challenged" by Beth Orsoff

When L.A. entertainment lawyer Julie Burns becomes convinced that finding The One is "just a numbers game," she sets out to increase her numbers by any means necessary. From chance meetings and blind dates to dating services and the wonderful world of the internet, Julie will try anything to meet her man. And in the process, she discovers a secret or two about the single life: Sometimes love sneaks up on you when you least expect it--and even the worst first impressions can have surprising results.

"Wendy and the Lost Boys" by Barbara Silkstone

When a deathbed promise to a friend leaves Wendy Darlin, feisty Miami real estate broker for billionaires, trapped on a super-yacht with Ponzi-king, Charlie Hook, she’s forced to join him on a quest to recover his hidden treasure. Along for the danger-filled adventure are an undercover SEC Investigator, who kindles a spark in Wendy with his ‘Johnny Depp’ eyes and Hook’s young female helicopter pilot who befriends Wendy as they sail the high seas, one step ahead of modern day ruthless pirates.

"The Merry Go Round" by Donna Fasano

When Lauren divorces her husband, she has one thought on her mind...stepping off the merry-go-round. However, her life quickly turns into a three-ring circus: her hypochondriac father moves in, her ex is using her shower when she’s not home, and her perky assistant is pushing her out into the fearsome dating world. She also has to decide if the dilapidated barn and vintage merry-go-round she was awarded in the divorce settlement is a blessing or a bane. As if Lauren’s personal life isn’t chaotic enough, this slightly jaded attorney is overrun with a cast of quirky characters who can’t stay on the right side of the law. What’s a woman to do? She can allow life to spin her in circles forever. Or she can reach out and grab the brass ring.

And writers from other genres have joined them to offer their fantastic books for $.99, as well, through September 3rd. Click here for the full list.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Books of the Week - August 30th

Thanks for checking out our newest feature...Books of the Week! There are seven of us and we can't keep up with the many review requests we receive, even though we'd love to read everything sent our way. Therefore, we have decided to give some books their time in the spotlight and introduce you to them through this new blog feature. We will be featuring two books a week. We hope you will take the time to check these books out. (Click the titles to find them on Amazon.) If you read them and want to write a guest blogger review for us, please e-mail us and we'll be glad to work with you!

Authors: We will let you know whether or not we'll be able to review your book upon your request, and hope you'll be interested in this feature as an alternative.

“What the Heck, Dec?”
By Elizabeth Dudak

Marti Karnawski fidgets in the front office of Noteah Middle School anxious to land her first teaching position, not a man.   Yet one casual glance at Declan Reed - the droolicious candidate waiting to be interviewed for the school’s social worker position - and she can’t help but fall head over heels in crush.   Her infatuation for the man with the bad boy looks and cocky attitude grows as they begin to work together.  The fact Declan returns Marti's interest, despite the other woman on his arm, poses a problem.  Marti spent a lifetime trying to forgive a philandering father and understanding a mother in constant denial.  She will not be the other woman - not even for one Declan Reed.   Now all she has to do is convince her heart.

Elizabeth Dudak can be found on Facebook and Twitter.

“Remember Tomorrow”
By Tricia Merritt

When Alannah Greer’s brother Zach is killed in a senseless hit-and-run accident in Hong Kong, she grieves but has no reason to suspect something more may be involved. But when she escapes a catastrophic plane crash on the way to his memorial service—by reappearing in the Seattle airport not long before she left—she has new questions and suspicions about Zach’s death. “Remember Tomorrow” is a high-speed race from Seattle to Hong Kong… and through the fabric of time itself.

“Remember Tomorrow” is 99 cents for Kindle.

Lucky to know Kristyn Kusek a book giveaway

**Giveaway is now closed**

Today we consider ourselves lucky to introduce you to Kristyn Kusek Lewis, debut author of "How Lucky You Are" (reviewed here). Her novel is as intriguing as she is and we think you'll really enjoy getting to know her.

Kristyn Kusek Lewis holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts, and has worked in magazines for over 15 years. She has written for the New York Times, O, The Oprah Magazine, Real Simple, Glamour, Allure, Good Housekeeping, Self, More, and Redbook, among other publications. The topics she covers both in her fiction and her magazine work, reflect what she's most curious about in her own life, such as navigating modern-day motherhood and obtaining a thoughtful, fully realized life while enjoying the journey that goes along with it. Kristyn lives in North Carolina with her husband, daughters, and two big dogs.

Thanks to BookSparks PR, we have one copy of "How Lucky You Are" for a, shall we say, "lucky" US reader.

You can find Kristyn at her website, as well as Facebook and Twitter.

First off, tell us about your awesome book, "How Lucky You Are," and what inspired you to write it…
When Publishers Weekly recently reviewed the book, they said that it explored the “consequences of accrued secrets and growing pains of long-lived friendships” and I just loved that. I set out to write a book about old friends and the way that our relationships can change as we grow older, and the story concerns three women: Waverly, a bakery owner; Amy, a stay-at-home mom; and Kate, a politician’s wife. Several secrets unfold throughout the book, so I’ll keep it at that!
I’d actually just finished writing another book when I started it. I knew that that story wasn’t "The One," and when a close friend and fellow writer challenged me to do National Novel Writing Month, an annual event where you spend the month of November writing a 50,000 word novel, I thought it was as good a time as any to get started on the next one.

At what age did you discover writing?
I’ve wanted to be a writer for as long as I can remember. In middle school, we had to write a poem based on Joyce Kilmer’s "Trees" poem, and I distinctly remember sitting on the front stoop of my childhood home, very earnestly attempting to get inspired—ha! I was always a big reader as a kid—Judy Blume, Beverly Cleary, "Sweet Valley High," all of that stuff—and I started crawling into bed with a notebook and pen when I was probably 12 or 13. I’d stay up late and write for hours. I moved to New York a week after I graduated from college and got a job at Glamour magazine. After a few years of editing and doing freelance writing on the side, I bit the bullet and started freelance writing full-time for national magazines and newspapers. It’s really all I’ve ever done.

Describe your writing in three words.
Honest, emotional, sensory.

Which authors have inspired you?
Nora Ephron has been my forever answer to “Who’s your favorite writer?” I just admire her ability to write about relationships in such a smart, funny way. Also, Mary Karr, E.B. White, Grace Paley, Anna Quindlen, Abigail Thomas, Toni Morrison, Jhumpa Lahiri, Susan Orlean, Stephen Dunn, Maya Angelou, Tom Wolfe, Kate Chopin, Jennifer Weiner…I can go on and on.

If "How Lucky You Are" were made into a movie, who would you cast in the lead roles?
What a fun question! For Waverly, maybe Christina Applegate or Kate Winslet. For Amy, I’d go with Reese Witherspoon or Jennifer Garner—somebody very all-American. And for Kate, definitely Gwyneth Paltrow.

(CLC: Melissa A. had completely different ideas in her review, but could easily see why Kristyn made these choices. All fabulous actresses!)

If you could live anywhere in the world, besides where you’re currently living, where would it be, and why?
I know that I should say something more exotic, but honestly? Cape Cod. Growing up, I spent a lot of time there and I was lucky enough to spend three weeks there this summer. I just love everything about it—the quaint towns, the style of the homes, the peaceful beaches, the weather (yes, even in the wintertime!), and, of course, endless opportunities to eat lobster rolls.

What is your theme song?
I’m working on my second book so probably “Everyday I Write the Book” by Elvis Costello or “Paperback Writer” by the Beatles. That said, I’ve always joked that if I became a major league baseball player, my at-bat song would be “Tootsie Roll.” Guilty pleasure!

What is your go-to breakfast item?
Well, I can’t not say doughnut muffins—they figure prominently in the book!

I usually drink a smoothie--frozen berries, unsweetened almond milk, a banana, a scoop of chocolate protein powder, and a handful of baby spinach or a scoop of kale powder. I’m not going to pretend that I’d pick it over a plate of eggs benedict, but it’s my perfect “busy weekday morning” meal.

Special thanks to Kristyn for chatting with us and to BookSparks PR for sharing "How Lucky You Are" with our readers.

How to win "How Lucky You Are":
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 are you jealous of and why? (You don't need to share names if you don't want to.)
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 September 4th at midnight EST.

Book Review: How Lucky You Are

By Melissa Amster

I have been told on many an occasion (usually by the same person) that I'm "lucky." I seem to refute this statement. I'm thankful for what I have, but I don't consider it a matter of luck. I also feel like one should really try living a day in my life before telling me I live in some sort of charmed bubble. That is why the title of Kristyn Kusek Lewis' debut novel, "How Lucky You Are," really stood out for me, and why the content inside made me feel like she really "got" me.

Waverly has been living with her boyfriend for the last ten years without a ring on the horizon and she owns a bakery that is on the brink of financial ruin. She's the glue that keeps her friends together, even when they don't like each other much, leaving her to worry about their problems without much support. Her best friend, Kate, is married to a politician and playing the role of socialite until she receives a rude awakening. Her other best friend, Amy, is a suburban stay-at-home mom, hiding a horrible secret. As life's pressures become a threat to her friendships with both women, Waverly has to make some decisions that may not always lead to a desirable outcome. Can she stay true to herself while trying to balance her life's problems with her friends' even more pressing issues?

I'll admit that I initially was bothered that the story was all from Waverly's point of view. I wanted to know what Kate and Amy were thinking from their own perspectives. However, I came to relate to the lack of control Waverly was feeling about everything happening in her friends' lives and how she couldn't predict whether they'd even want to stay friends with her when push came to shove. Waverly was a great narrator overall and easy to sympathize with. We also got a lot of background from her friends, even without them sharing their side personally. The dialogue was extremely realistic and moved the story along at a nice pace. The use of detail brought their Washington DC area neighborhood to life. Considering that I live somewhat nearby, I enjoyed that the story took place there and that Kristyn was able to capture the feel of the area so well. She also realistically portrayed the women's age, which is close to mine. I felt they were even easier to relate to as a result.

Throughout the novel, there was great use of emotional strength between the characters, even at their weakest moments. I like how Kristyn portrayed the concept of the grass not always being greener. The three friends thought one another had it easier, but end up being surprised at what they didn't know was really going on. There were plenty of honest and heartfelt moments between the women.

Since I love casting books as movies and could definitely see "How Lucky You Are" on the big screen, I want to share my actress choices for the three women. When you read Kristyn's interview, you'll be as surprised as I was as to how different our choices are. However, I think you'll see a bit of both of our choices in each character as you read the story.

Waverly: Piper Perabo
Amy: Amy Adams
Kate: Either Rachel McAdams or Isla Fisher

Kristyn did a fantastic job with her debut novel and I know it will stay with me for years to come. I look forward to reading future novels from her. (And I wouldn't mind trying one of Waverly's doughnut muffins...or at least getting the recipe.)

Thanks to BookSparks PR for the book in exchange for a fair review. They're also giving away a copy to one "lucky" US reader during our interview with Kristyn.

You might also enjoy:

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Winners of "Finding Emma"

To find our winners, we assigned a number to each entry (from only those that included contact info) and asked to choose TWO numbers.

Congrats to:
8-susieqlaw (chocolate fudge brownies)
73-Dolly (coke float with chocolate ice cream)

Here's a message from Steena Holmes:
A huge thanks to Chick Lit Central for hosting my 'heart' book "Finding Emma." I can't say enough how much it means to me to have others support me in this journey. It's been amazing!

Now ... to all those who commented and shared their favorite chocolate treat - imagine we're all sitting at a huge table filled with sweet chocolate desserts! Reading everyone's comments about their chocolate addiction (we're all soul mates, btw) was like coming home to find my living room full of girlfriends!

From one chocoholic to another - may you always be favored with sweet kisses and delectable hugs - preferably the ones wrapped in Hershey :)
xoxo Steena Holmes

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 talking about chocolate with us. There are several chocoholics at CLC and this was just eye "candy" for us!
Thanks to Steena for chatting with us and to SparkPoint Studio for sharing "Finding Emma" with our winners.

Check out our latest giveaways and also enter ones from other blogs and websites on our giveaways page.

Book Review: The Language of Sisters

By Amy Bromberg

Not even halfway through reading "Best Kept Secret" (the first novel I read by Amy Hatvany), I knew I would want to devour all of her books. Was I surprised that I also loved "Outside The Lines?" Absolutely not! I’m sure you see the common thread here and can predict I will say that "The Language of Sisters" is a beautiful and stunning novel.

Ten years ago, Nicole Hunter left her troubled home behind her, unable to cope with the demands of a life with her disabled sister, Jenny. Though her search for happiness—both in career and in love—has fallen short of her dreams, Nicole pretends that all is well. Then a shattering event turns her world upside down, and suddenly, she is back in her hometown, caring for her pregnant sister and trying to heal her embattled relationship with her mother.
Reunited with her family and forced to confront the guilt that haunts her, Nicole finally has the chance to be the sister she always wished she’d been. And when she is faced with the most difficult choice of her life, Nicole rediscovers the beauty of sisterhood—and receives a special gift that will change her life forever. (Synopsis courtesy of Amazon.)

"The Language of Sisters" is a beautifully written and powerful novel. Throughout the pages the reader experiences emotions of joy, sorrow, happiness and grief all rolled into one.

From when they were babies Nicole and Jenny’s mom always spoke of Jenny as being the “angel” or “perfect” child and Nicole was anything but. Because I’m an only child, I cannot imagine what it’s like to be considered second and always hearing praises only towards a sibling and not yourself. This constant comparing only leads to self-doubt and negativity in the child. I personally wouldn’t be able to handle it. What I can only imagine being equally as difficult was the fact that Nicole's tending to and taking care of her sister always came before playing with her friends and just being able to be a kid. You only get to be a kid once and those years are the most precious and carefree times a person has. It’s kind of like being robbed of your youth, you know? But on the flip side it made Nicole a stronger person. Perhaps if she didn’t go through these times she wouldn’t have been able to take on the challenge that she did later on in her life by returning to her childhood home.

I love how Amy portrayed and wrote Nicole as the heroine. I admire Nicole because somewhere deep down inside she realized that this shattering event was a sign to go home and work through all of the painful memories from her childhood. I’m not sure everyone could just pick up and move away from their established lives, where their job, friends and significant others are. But apparently inner callings from siblings are pretty strong and cannot be ignored. I don’t know this personally, but it’s pretty vivid in this story. I also admire how Nicole stuck to her guns even when the going got tough. Can you imagine how difficult it must be taking care of her pregnant sister with special needs? One who basically cannot do anything for herself? Several times Nicole thought to herself: “I can’t do this.” “Why did come here and decide to do this?” But as the reader sees she didn’t quit, working hard instead to try to reunite with her family.

Amy’s writing and use of words has a way that makes her characters come to life, like page pop-ups in children’s stories. Unfortunately I am not in a book club, but I can say with certainty that this would be a fantastic pick. I fell in-love with this book and couldn’t put it down. I hope you all will too!

Oh, by the way, at the end of the book there is an exclusive first look at "Heart Like Mine," Amy's next novel coming out in March 2013, which I CAN’T wait to read!

Thanks to Atria for the book in exchange for an honest review.

For anyone who is interested in learning more about Rett Syndrome, the disorder that Jenny has, watch this documentary narrated by Julia Roberts, where Amy’s mother and father are interviewed.

You might also enjoy:

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Winners of "Free Gift With Purchase"

To find our winners, we assigned a number to each entry (from only those that included contact info) and asked to choose THREE numbers.

Congrats to:
103-Jeryl M.

Here's a message from Jackie Pilossoph:
Hi girls. I just wanted to let everyone know how much fun this was for me! I really enjoyed flashing back to all the episodes of Sex and the City, and reading your thoughts about four of my favorite characters of all time: Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte and Miranda. What I truly adored about that show was its ability to make every girl who watched that show feel like she is not alone in her quest for Mr. Right, and that a great way to get through life is to add humor to everything and just laugh. Laugh, girls!!

I think that's what I try to do in all of my novels: get women to laugh. I want women to get joy and happiness and a hopefulness from my books. I want them to be inspired. And, I want women to realize that although all of our problems are different, everyone has something, and there's only so much we can do to fix it. BUT, we CAN fix a lot of things. So much is in our power when it comes to grabbing the life we want. Perseverance, a good attitude, ethics, making good, healthy choices and my favorite, self love. Don't focus on what you can't control. Focus on what you can. It took me a long time to figure that out.

I want to congratulate the winners of my book and let you know that as soon as Melissa gives me your email addresses, I will send you "Free Gift With Purchase." And to everyone, thanks again for reading the interview and participating in this fun, fun contest.

I wish you all the best, with lots and lots of FREE GIFTS!

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 talking about Sex and the City with us! Remember, it started out as a chick lit novel!
Thanks to Jackie for entertaining us and sharing her book with our winners!
Check out our latest giveaways and also enter ones from other blogs and websites on our giveaways page.

Susan Wiggs is full of heart and has a book to give away

Interview and introduction by Tracey Meyers

**Giveaway is now closed**

Blunt scissors, pages from a Big Chief tablet, a borrowed stapler and a Number Two pencil ....  Those were the items Susan Wiggs used at the age of eight to create the first book she ever published.

Sadly, her first "novel" wasn't well-received by her public, and didn't go on to win any awards. However, that didn't deter this talented writer from pursuing her aspirations.  But the road to writing greatness wasn't necessarily a direct one.  Prior to the fateful night she would yet again pick up a Big Chief Tablet and pen her first novel, she used her "left brain" to teach math.

Today she is an acclaimed writer with 35 books to her credit, with her 36th (!!!) and latest installment of the Willow Lake series, "Return to Willow Lake," due out in September.

To learn more about Susan, visit her at Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and her website and blog!

Thanks to Beyond Novel, we have a copy of  "Return to Willow Lake" to give away to one lucky CLC reader anywhere in the world!

Of all the books you’ve written, which is your favorite and why?
The next one. The one I haven’t ruined for myself by writing it. Of my published books, I love Return to Willow Lake because it's still fresh in my mind, the characters near to my heart. Sonnet, the main character, really resonated with me. She's very prickly in some ways, but she has a huge heart. It gets broken over the course of the book, but she survives.

Which part of the writing process takes the longest for you?
Revisions! They never seem to end. I have a bad habit of picking things to death, taking a story apart and putting it back together again.

In 2011, you published a memoir with your daughter, Elizabeth Wiggs, called “How I Planned Your Wedding: The All-True Story of a Mother and Daughter Surviving the Happiest Day of Their Lives.”  In what way(s) was the writing process for this book different from the ones you had previously published?  In what way(s) was it the same?
Writing is always the same. But this book was so different in so many words. First, we had to tell the truth, since it’s a memoir. Even the painfully funny truth. Working with my daughter was a hoot. She’s hilarious, we respect each other, and Google Documents helped us coordinate the master document.

What three traits do you feel a successful writer should possess?
1. A heart.
2. A work ethic.
3. A patron of the arts. :)

The bio section of your website mentions your approach to writing was like skydiving… "by taking a blind leap and hoping the chute will open."  Have you ever been skydiving?  If so, describe the experience.  If not, would you ever try skydiving?  Why or why not?
I’ve never been. I’d love to, though, and I hope to get to one day.

Describe your personal version of paradise:
It would look a lot like an endless library, except it would come equipped with an ice cream dispenser, a latte machine and a fantastic stereo system. In my paradise there would be no war or suffering, just great books, good conversation, friends and family all around me.

What is one thing you’ve done that people who know you best would say doesn’t fit your personality?
Jumped in my swimming pool in February (in the Pacific northwest). I did it right after my literary agent called to tell me my book had hit #1 on the New York Times bestseller list.

If you were to live in another country, which country would you want to live in?
France, in a little vintage flat in Rue Bachaumont. I just love it there.

A heartfelt thanks to Susan for a wonderful interview and to Beyond Novel for sharing a copy of "Return to Willow Lake"  with our readers.

How to win a copy of "Return to Willow Lake":
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. Describe your personal version of paradise.
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 September 3rd at midnight EST.

Book Review: What the Dog Ate

By Jami Deise

President Harry S. Truman’s most famous quote is, “If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog.” The irony is, he never actually said it – it’s a paraphrase from a play about Truman. Nevertheless, not only is the sentiment true in Washington, but in these days of starter marriages, telecommuting, 24/7 jobs and helicopter parenting, it’s true everywhere. The only friend who’ll stick by you through thick and thin is the four-legged one who barks. It’s a lesson that Maggie Baxter, the heroine in Jackie Bouchard’s novel “What the Dog Ate” learns the hard way.

San Diego-based Maggie’s best friend is a chocolate lab named Kona, who’ll eat anything (more on that later), goes ballistic at certain trigger words (requiring his owners to utilize pig Latin), and is up for any adventure. And he does Maggie an enormous favor by eating a certain pair of panties -- panties that aren’t Maggie’s.

Maggie is an accountant who’s been working 24/7 for the past few years as her company prepares what could be a blockbuster drug for diabetes. Once the drug gets FDA approval, the stock price will explode, giving Maggie a windfall that will allow her to retire and finally start that bike-tour business with her husband, Dave.

Instead, after being gone for several days at a conference, Maggie comes home to find a strange woman’s panties in her dog’s digestive tract. And while she’s prepared for a huge fight and for Dave to grovel for forgiveness, what she isn’t prepared for is Dave’s declaration that he’s leaving. (or eaving-lay, since “leaving” is one of Kona’s trigger words.) Yes, Dave is leaving Maggie for Jessica, the grade school teacher he met four months ago at the gym.

The sudden break-up of her marriage sends Maggie into an understandable tailspin. She quits her all-consuming job for a part-time position, and celebrates by holing up with Kona and the single woman’s two favorite men (Ben & Jerry’s). She fights early-morning insomnia with vodka.

A further spiral into depression is halted when Maggie’s brother Kevin moves in, fresh off his own break-up. With his encouragement, Maggie takes up yoga (where she meets her new best friend, Helen), begins a regular biking routine with Kevin’s friend Russell, and starts volunteering one night a week at the museum. She even resumes making her famous smoothies.

All these changes result in a thinner, happier Maggie. But the divorce is getting contentious (Dave wants half of everything, including her stock) and Dave is still with the other woman. As Maggie begins to embark on dating, she vows to see life the way Kona does, and treat every opportunity as a chance to say yes.
In “What the Dog Ate,” Bouchard has created a heroine who finds herself in what could be clichéd situations, but she completely avoids clichés. Her discovery of her husband’s adultery is funny but heartbreaking. Reading these scenes felt like getting kicked in the stomach. I was furious with Dave and wished I could go into the novel and shake him. At the same time, Maggie’s specific situation is unusual. Most of the time it’s the husband who’s working 24/7, and he leaves his wife (and usually their children) for his skinny, childless colleague.

Maggie’s recovery from the hurt and shame is slow and realistic. She and Dave met in college, and he was her “one and only.” Even as she takes steps to get on with her life, and even as she continues to fume at his behavior, she still grieves over the death of the relationship.

Bouchard has also created supporting characters who are real and three-dimensional. Each of these characters is fully his or her own person. Their actions reveal who they are, rather than descriptions and explanations from the protagonist. She is subtle enough as a writer that the reader can make decisions about the characters independent of Maggie’s judgment.

The book’s flaws are few and insignificant. The sense of urgency Bouchard establishes in the beginning of the book flags after the mid-point. I found Maggie’s instant friendship with Helen to be a tad unbelievable. And I was surprised that Dave didn’t seem to have any regrets over ending his marriage to a woman he’d known for 20 years to be with a woman he’d known for 20 weeks. After Maggie had made all the changes he’d been longing for, shouldn’t he have been a little bit interested? I wanted to know more about their relationship; for instance, why did they end up not having children?

“What the Dog Ate” is a book about divorce that elicits all the emotions that a divorce does – heartbreak, anger, relief, amusement, acceptance. Read this book…. But do not read it if your husband is around!
Oh, and the chapter titles are really funny, too.

Thanks to Jackie Bouchard for the book in exchange for an honest review. "What the Dog Ate" is currently $2.99 for Kindle.

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Monday, August 27, 2012

Winners of "The Secret Ingredient"

To find our winners, we assigned a number to each entry (one per person, from only those that included contact info) and asked to choose FIVE numbers.

Congrats to:
15-Bonnie K
19-Margaret Literary Chanteuse
27-Lucie Simone

Here's a message from Dianne Blacklock:
Congratulations to the winners of a copy of my book, "The Secret Ingredient." I LOVED reading your 'secret ingredients' as they came in - they gave me lots of good ideas! I hope you enjoy my secret ingredient – do let me know, I'd love to hear from you. And I want to thank Chick Lit Central for having me on their fabulous site. I have a very loyal readership in Australia, but it's hard to get your name out there in the big wide world, and Chick Lit Central is such an amazing supporter and promoter of authors and the stories we all love. Thank you so much!

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 their secret ingredients. Saw a lot of "garlic" and "chocolate." Thankfully not together! :)
Thanks to Dianne for visiting with us and to Macmillan Australia for sharing "The Secret Ingredient" with our winners!

Check out our latest giveaways and also enter ones from other blogs and websites on our giveaways page.

Calling all artists!

After a little over two years, we have decided that it's time to revamp our logo. Therefore, it's time for a new contest!

We want YOU to design our new logo. It just needs to be a picture, around the size of our current one. (Height=296, width=200.)

1. It must be your own original design. Please send pictures of the logo in process (take some photos of the sketch as you're in the stages of working on it) before the end result. This is to prove to us that it is not copied from someone else's page and is truly your design.
2. It can include our name, but that's not required.
3. Anyone from anywhere can enter.
4. Deadline is September 10th at midnight EST.
5. Please send sketches and final entries to

Judging will take place the week of September 10th and a winner will be determined later in the week. All judging will be based on anonymous information. Only one person on our team will know who has entered so Amy and the Melissas can make a decision together.

The prize will be:
1. A book or multiple books of the winner's choice, totaling $20 in price OR a prize package with a lot of surprises (US only for the package option).
2. The winner will be featured in a blog post and everyone will get to know them better.
3. The winner will also have a place on our "About Us" page and be credited as our logo designer.

So...get your art utensils ready! Good luck!

Book Review and Giveaway: Loving David

By Kathryn Hamilton

**Giveaway is now closed**

There is so much to love about “Loving David.”

Charlotte Taylor is a 40-something divorcee/widow romance writer. David King is a hotter than hot movie star with a sexy British accent just barely into his 30s (I think of Jake Gyllenhaal or Ryan Gosling if they were British). Their two worlds collide when Charlotte is on her way to an annual writer’s retreat and unknowingly ends up with David as a hidden passenger when he tries to escape the paparazzi. In the isolation of the retreat, sparks fly between Charlotte and David, despite Charlotte’s reservations. Can their relationship survive the real/Hollywood world and the resurgence of David’s ex?

Gina Hummer is a former actress-turned family woman-turned writer who brings us the glorious debut novel “Loving David.” As soon as readers set their eyes on the cover with its picturesque lake sparkling in the sunshine surrounded by lush green forestation (a key setting throughout the novel), they are sure to be drawn into what promises to be a splendid love story. Although Ms. Hummer is like an artist with her descriptions of the physical surroundings, I still found myself picturing that the story takes place in England, not California (I’m sure this is more due to reading several novels lately that have had an English setting and not anything the author has/has not done). Strangely enough, for some reason, I also kept thinking that Charlotte is in her 30s and I’m not sure what contributed to that; she is certainly not immature by any means. I believe that Ms. Hummer has simply created a character that readers can relate to and for me that is someone in my age bracket. Ms. Hummer brings humanity and realism to all her characters. Even Olivia, who could easily be made into an over-the-top villain, is shown to be a flawed individual who has insight into her actions. At times I wondered if perhaps Charlotte just had that ability some people do to bring out the positive aspects in others. Readers will instantly adore Charlotte and David and root for them to have a successful relationship. David is every woman’s dream come true: Sexy, famous star that has a heart of gold and seems relatively unaffected by Hollywood. Charlotte is an every-woman, and while she has been affected by heartbreak and tragedy, she never dwells on this. I simply enjoyed reading their story and getting to know them. The supporting characters are also fantastic, and if you’re like me, you’ll find particular enjoyment in Emma, the feisty octogenarian who reminds me of a fictional Betty White. Charlotte’s relationship with these various women is an excellent demonstration of why friendships are so vital in our lives; they support us and challenge us when needed, and strong friendships, while tested during a disagreement, cannot be broken.

There is nothing I can honestly say that I did not like about this novel, except that it ended. I did have a small bone of contention with the ending, but do not want to give anything away, so I’ll keep it to myself. Once you’ve given it a read, give me a shout and we can discuss. I will say this though, I haven’t had a novel bring out the emotions like this one did in a long time.

With its raunchy and descriptive love scenes and fantasy-affirming storyline of ordinary woman meets Hollywood star, in one aspect the best way to describe this novel is to say that it is Harlequin romance meets chick lit. This label does not do this novel justice. Above all else, this story is about the power of love and the exquisite beauty that comes with discovering the one love you were destined to find and whether or not love is enough.

Thanks to Smith Publicity for the book in exchange for an honest review. And thanks to Gina Hummer for offering signed copies of "Loving David" to THREE lucky readers in the US or Canada.

How to win "Loving David":
Please tell us: What is your biggest fantasy involving a celebrity? (Keep it PG rated.)

One entry per person.

Please include your e-mail address or another way to reach you if you win.

US/Canada only. Giveaway ends September 3rd at midnight EST.

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Friday, August 24, 2012

Book Review: The Cell Phone Lot

By Jami Deise

I’m not the type of person to use the cell phone lot. I rarely end up having to pick up someone at the airport, and when I do I usually get there late and pull up right to the terminal. I know there are people who get to airports a half hour before their loved ones’ flights arrive, and those cell phone lots are life-savers. To them I say, “There’s no reason to get there so early! You’re doing them a favor! Let them wait!” But if you insist on being the good guy and getting to the airport early enough to catch a flight of your own, I recommend you take along Stephanie Elliot’s novella, "The Cell Phone Lot." It’s a short, quick read that will keep you entertained even if your passenger’s flight is delayed. And it may lead you to give a second or third look to those drivers parked around you. And why not? You already know they’re reliable enough to pick up people at the airport and get there early.

Set in snowy Chicago, the cell phone lot is inhabited by Grant, who’s there to pick up an online could-be girlfriend from LA (Melissa), and Bridge (not Bridget!), who’s there to pick up her sister. Everyone else in Chicago is much better at time management, so they have the lot to themselves. When Bridge’s phone dies – and then her car – Grant comes to her rescue. The two decide to trek up to the airport in Grant’s Jeep, and when they discover both flights have been delayed, proceed to get to know each other better. But with Melissa jetting her way across the country to meet Grant, do he and Bridge really have a chance?

I liked the story, although I found Bridge to be a little flaky and Grant a little too obvious. But in a novella, the writer doesn’t have the space to delve into her characters’ complexities. And Elliot does preview Grant’s misgivings about Melissa before he meets Bridge, so he doesn’t seem like a creep for hitting on one girl while another is flying in to meet him.

Elliot creates a feeling of destiny between the two characters that lends a movie-type feel to the story. Fans of movies like Sleepless in Seattle or Serendipity will definitely enjoy “The Cell Phone Lot.”

"The Cell Phone Lot" is 99 cents for Kindle. Stephanie Elliot can be found at her blog, "Booking with Manic," where she celebrates chick lit and does tons of giveaways. 

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Thursday, August 23, 2012

Books of the Week - August 23rd

Thanks for checking out our newest feature...Books of the Week! There are seven of us and we can't keep up with the many review requests we receive, even though we'd love to read everything sent our way. Therefore, we have decided to give some books their time in the spotlight and introduce you to them through this new blog feature. We will be featuring two books a week. We hope you will take the time to check these books out. (Click the titles to find them on Amazon.) If you read them and want to write a guest blogger review for us, please e-mail us and we'll be glad to work with you!

Authors: We will let you know whether or not we'll be able to review your book upon your request, and hope you'll be interested in this feature as an alternative.

Side note: This week is our version of "The Hills" :)

"Saving Grace"
By J.M. Hill

Grace Burke doesn’t need a thing. She enjoys her quiet life in Fall Rivers, Colorado—running a bookstore and coffee shop with her cousin, Kate. The two have a successful business, a small circle of friends, and each other. What more could she want? When the Anderson brothers move into the house across the street, it doesn’t take long for her to realize exactly what she’s been missing. At first sight the youngest brother, Michael, captures Grace’s heart, and her quiet life is disrupted.

Then it turns upside down. Grace isn’t the only one with eyes for Michael. Nina Sandler, one of Michael’s clients, threatens to come between them. When Nina can’t get Michael’s attention, she focuses on Grace—in a very dangerous way. Love is never easy and if the best things in life are worth fighting for, then Grace must find the courage to fight. Not just for love and happiness, but for her very life.

Two families find each other and bond into an extended family most people only dream of, while unexpected lessons are learned about friendship, family, love, and the depth of true beauty.

"Saving Grace" is $3.99 for Kindle.

J.M. Hill can be found on Facebook.

"Idol Hands"
By Cynthia Hill

Tara’s life has not gone the way she thought it would: she had big plans for university, and a career, but instead, at thirty-two she’s a community college drop-out, married to a washed-up high school athlete, and working in a dead-end retail sales job. She can pinpoint the moment that everything in her life changed: it was when she fell in love with Aidan Forrest – who just happened to be a part of the biggest boy band in the world, Idol Hands. In a relationship that always had to be a closely-guarded secret, she spent two years hiding from the media to protect his career, until he broke up with her, and broke her heart in the process, leaving behind a secret that Tara has never shared.

When she sees Aidan on a television documentary about the now-defunct band, saying that breaking up with her was a mistake, and that he still loves her, she makes a life-changing, spur-of-the-moment decision that will change her life, and the lives of everyone around her.

Cynthia Hill can be found on Facebook and Twitter.

Steena Holmes is "choc" full of talent and has a book to give away

Introduction and interview 
by Tracey Meyers

**Giveaway is now closed**
Once upon a time, I was a chocoholic.  To say I LOVED chocolate is an understatement.  However, about a year and a half ago I stopped eating it.  (Shudder...I know!) 

I only bring this up because when I ventured over to Steena Holmes' website, the first thing I saw was an image of two chocolate candy hearts next to a cup of coffee.  As I poked around more, and looked at some of her favorite recipes the first item listed was "Chocolate Mousse - from The Mask." (If I ate chocolate, I'd totally try this!) The temptation was definitely a challenge to resist!

The fact that Steena is a chocoholic wasn't the only thing I learned about this dynamic author during my visit to her website; I was also pleasantly surprised to see that she also designs book covers, and is a book reviewer, as well.

With so many diverse talents, it's no wonder her latest novel, "Finding Emma" won the 2012 National Indie Excellence Award for Fiction. 

Thanks to SparkPoint Studio, we have some copies of  "Finding Emma" to give away to TWO lucky CLC readers located in the US or Canada. If you can't wait until the end of the giveaway to read it, good's only $2.99 for Kindle.

To learn more about Steena, visit her at Facebook, Twitter and her website!

Which of your characters have you connected with the most, and why? 
I love Jack. He reminds me of my grandfather and father rolled into one. I think it's his gruff exterior but teddy bear heart that drew me in as I uncovered who he really was and how important he was to the story. 

In your opinion, what makes a book (fiction or non-fiction) truly great? 
A great book is one that has the heart involved. When I walk away emotionally invested and the story stays with me - that's when the book goes from good to great (for me). 

Besides being a writer, you also design book covers.  Do these two talents influence one another?  If so, how? 
One thing I've learned in this journey is how crucial a cover is when it comes to marketing! From a writers point of view - I can understand what the author is wanting and with my designer eye - I can help them to create a cover they need. It's a fine line - what we want for our story and what is needed to sell.  

What author has had the greatest influence on your writing style?
I have a few. Ted Dekker who writes thrillers is one. Diane Chamberlain who writes contemporary fiction is another. They both have unique writing styles that draw me.  

You are self-professed chocoholic, what is your favorite chocolate treat? 
Please don't tell me I have to pick only one! I have a decadent chocolate caramel cake that I LOVE to make -it's my go-to cake for celebrations, 'just because' moods and anything else. But then ... I love to make a chocolate chip cheesecake as well. Oh - and don't forget chocolate dipped strawberries .... you know, I think I'm in the mood to do some baking now! 

What is your favorite summertime memory? 
This is easy! Summer time as a kid growing up by the beach. The sound of seagulls, the smell of french fries and the taste of ice cream. The feel of sand between my toes and being surrounded by laughter. In my home town they have a 'scottish band' that walks down the main street every Saturday night during the summer - people would line the streets and then join in behind the band as they walked through downtown - so much fun! 

Three words that sum-up my personality are:
Quiet. Stubborn. Friend. 

Three things I must have with me at all times: 
Chocolate. My cell phone. Lipgloss.

Special thanks to Steena for a wonderful interview and to SparkPoint Studio for sharing "Finding Emma" with our readers. 

How to win a copy of "Finding Emma":
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: What is your favorite chocolate treat?
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/Canada only. Giveaway ends August 28th at midnight EST.