Friday, August 31, 2018

What's in the mail

Melissa A:
Kismet by Luke Tredget from Little, Brown (e-book via NetGalley)
Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty from Flatiron
All that Doesn't by/from Tracy Krimmer (e-book)
A Year of Extraordinary Moments by Bette Lee Crosby from SparkPoint Studio (e-book via NetGalley)

One Day in December by Josie Silver from Crown (e-book via NetGalley)
Heartbreaker by Claudia Dey from Random House
Unbroken Threads by Jennifer Klepper from Suzy Approved Book Reviews (e-book)
The Lost Girls of Paris by Pam Jenoff from Harlequin (e-book via NetGalley)
The Size of Everything by Erin Cole with/from Jenna McCarthy (e-book)

Relatively Normal by/from Whitney Dineen (e-book)
Last Call by/from Libby Kirsch (e-book)

The Lies We Told by Camilla Way from Berkley (e-book via NetGalley)
Go to My Grave by Catriona McPherson from Minotaur Books (e-book via NetGalley)

Reviews at Amazon - July/August 2018

We're posting some reviews at our Amazon account, as either they've been sitting in queue for a while and deserve their time in the sun, fall under our featuring policy, or they're new reads that we couldn't wait to post at the blog. You can check them out at the links below. Hope we can help you find your next favorite book!

Melissa A:




Thursday, August 30, 2018

Sarahlyn Bruck's movie a book giveaway

We welcome Sarahlyn Bruck to CLC today. Her debut novel, Designer You, publishes tomorrow! We had our "designs" on it since we first heard of it months ago. Sarahlyn is here to finish out movie month and has a signed paperback, bookmark, postcard, and a Designer You measuring tape/level to give away.

Sarahlyn grew up in the Bay Area, and as an adult has bounced around the country a fair bit, finally landing in Philadelphia the summer of 2007, where she lives with her husband, daughter, and their dog, Jazzy.

Although lately her energy has been focused on writing novels, some of her short fiction can be found in publications such as Flash Me Magazine, Daily Flash Anthology, and Boston Literary Magazine. She is currently working on her next book.

When Sarahlyn is not writing, she teaches writing and literature full-time at Bucks County Community College. She likes working there quite a bit and feels pretty lucky to have the opportunity to do what she does. She also coaches writers for Author Accelerator, an online program that helps authors draft, revise, and pitch their books. The added bonus? She finds working with others on their writing helps me with my own. (Adapted from Sarahlyn's website.)

Visit Sarahlyn online:

Pam and Nate were a couple who just couldn't get away from each other, sharing not only their bed, but also a successful lifestyle empire as DIY home renovators, bloggers, podcasters, and co-authors.

When Nate dies in a freak accident, Pam becomes a 44-year-old widow, at once too young and too old--too young to be thrust into widowhood and too old to rejoin the dating pool.

Now the single mother of a headstrong and grief-stricken teenager, Pam's life becomes a juggling act between dealing with her loss and learning how to parent by herself. On top of all that she also must reinvent herself or lose the empire that she and Nate had built so carefully.

It is time for Pam to seize the opportunity to step up as a mother, come out from behind Nate's shadow, and rise as the sole face of the Designer You brand, and maybe, possibly, hopefully, find love again.
(Courtesy of Amazon.)

As a child of the 1980's, narrowing down my favorite movies to the top five was HARD! OK, here they are:
  • Raiders of the Lost Ark
  • The Breakfast Club
  • Back to the Future
  • The Princess Bride
  • The Karate Kid
And horror movies:
  • The Shining
  •  Poltergeist
  • A Nightmare on Elm Street
  • Night School
  • The Lost Boys (not certain it's horror, but I found it scary!).
Thanks to Sarahlyn for visiting with us and sharing her book (and swag) with our readers!

How to win: Use Rafflecopter to enter the giveaway. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us. If you have trouble using Rafflecopter on our blog, enter the giveaway here

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Giveaway ends September 4th at midnight EST.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

CLC Goes to the Movies

Since we talked about TV shows last month, we're sharing our favorite movies from various genres this time around. See what Melissa A and Jami recommend from some of their favorite genres!

Melissa A:

Top 5 Musical Movies

1. The Greatest Showman: Seeing it once is "never enough for me."

2. Little Shop of Horrors: I only like the theatrical release with the happy ending. Rick Moranis and Ellen Greene are perfect in the lead roles.

3. Grease: It's hard NOT to sing along with all the songs. I like Rizzo better than Sandy though.

4. Chicago: Fantastic adaptation of the stage production that added a new layer to the story.

5. Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again: I loved it enough to see it twice. And I sing the songs all the time.

Top 5 Movies Based on Books

1. Where the Heart Is (Billie Letts): One of my favorite movies of all time! It's such a comfort film too.

2. Wonder (R.J. Palacio): See my review.

3. Love, Simon (Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli): I loved the book and the movie did a great job bringing the characters to life. Nick Robinson was perfect as Simon. Some scenes and characters were left out or changed, but I enjoyed it overall.

4. Bridget Jones's Diary (Helen Fielding) The book was hilarious and the movie did it justice. Colin Firth was swoon-worthy. The first time I saw this movie, I was inspired to tell off a guy who had hurt me (emotionally).

5. Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (Ann Brashares): I never read the book, but I loved the movie! I cried so much from it too.

I haven't seen Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society yet, but am excited to check it out soon.


Horror/thrillers and rom coms are my favorite genres in books and movies! Here are my top five in each:

For horror/thriller, I’m very particular. I don’t like slasher films like Saw, and I need a strong supernatural/paranormal component. In the order I saw them:

1. The Exorcist. Saw this on TV as an 11-year-old and it started my life-long love of all things supernatural. I even watched and loved the Fox series The Exorcist (sadly canceled), with Geena Davis playing a grown-up Regan. There’s nothing more disturbing than an evil child.

2. The Changeling. This 1980 film stars George C. Scott as a grieving composer who unwittingly moves into a haunted house. The reason why it’s haunted make it one of the most chilling movies in the genre.

3. Pet Sematary, 1989. Stephen King’s scariest book became his (in my opinion) most well-adapted film. I can only hope the new version is half as good.

4. The Sixth Sense. M. Night Shyamalan’s first and best twist. The horror is both the supernatural and the human.

5. Stir of Echoes. This film came out the same year as Sixth Sense and, with similar elements, got somewhat overshadowed, but the combination of supernatural and human horror makes this a strong genre offering.

All five of these films feature creepy, possessed, dead and reanimated kids. Hmmm.

And the romcoms (not in chronological order):

1. When Harry Met Sally. The most quotable rom-com ever, it was written by two screenwriters who wanted to write a movie about two singles who helped each other find their new loves. Surprise, the new loves turned out to be each other! With a stellar supportive performance by Carrie Fisher, this film features my favorite line ever: “When you decide you want to spend the rest of your life with someone, you want the rest of your life to start right now.” (Sadly, the inverse is also true.)

2. 13 Going on 30. Did you notice the house Matt and Jenna move into at the end is a real-life version of the dollhouse he gives her? This movie works on so many levels.

3. Never Been Kissed. Who wouldn’t want to go back to high school and do it all over again, this time knowing everything you missed back then?

4. Peggy Sue Got Married. See above.

5. Groundhog Day. Who wouldn’t want to live the same day over and over again, knowing…. Oh, never mind. I’m starting to sense a theme here.

Shakespeare once wrote that love is not love which alters when it alternation finds, but I think the real lesson here is, try to find a way not to make the same mistake twice!

Book Review and Giveaway: Counting on You

By Sara Steven

Math teacher Haleigh Parde has no desire to change her single status until she receives an invitation to her high school reunion. With her ex spreading rumors she needs a date and fast. Desperate times call for desperate measures and Haleigh finds herself meeting a blind date at a neighborhood bar called Amarillo Sour...

After watching Haleigh crash and burn, app developer Ian Henning makes her a proposition. If she'll provide honest feedback on his new dating app, he'll guarantee her a date to knock the socks off her former classmates. Even better, he—and the other Amarillo Sour regulars—will help her navigate the rocky road of dating.

Through setups ranging from awkward to absurd, Haleigh discovers her matchmaker might just be better than the matches. And Ian wonders if she's the answer to everything he's worked for professionally. Or is she something much, much more...
(Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads)

I enjoyed the unique story line to Counting on You; the need for a date for Haleigh’s reunion, her use of a newly developed dating app, all while forging new friendships within the type of bar that felt reminiscent of the Sam Malone days at Cheers. It was fun to see her break out of her shell while going on various dates, mostly cringe-worthy, scenarios that are carefully monitored by Ian. It’s in the crash and burn moments that we get to really see who Haleigh and Ian are as characters, and as potential love interests.

I could see spending time with the both of them, right there at the Amarillo Sour. They’re the type of characters who feel true to life, a skill Laura Chapman excels at. A subtleness into the budding relationship between them, an honesty that develops over time. The kind of relationship that we need to root for. And having gone to my own ten and twenty year reunions, I know how stressful and awkward it can be. Usually, the first thing out of a former classmate’s mouth is, “What do you do for a living?” followed by, “Are you married?” Haleigh feels the pressure of not feeling as though she measures up to certain standards where her love life is concerned, and it doesn’t help that her ex will be there.

Initially, we’re introduced to Haleigh and the situation with her ex as merely a rumors situation- he’s spreading them, she’s working hard at dodging them. As the story unfolds, we learn more on why this particular failed relationship was so damaging for Haleigh. Another string of moments that felt real, and honest. While the central romantic theme to this story is incredible, watching Haleigh transform took the prize for me, with serious character evolution that many of us can easily recognize, and identify with.

Thanks to Lola's Blog Tours for the book in exchange for an honest review. 

This is our stop during the book blitz for Counting on You by Laura Chapman. Read on for more information about of this book and there's an US only giveaway (through the tour). This book blitz is organized by Lola's Blog Tours. It runs from August 27th through September 2. See the tour schedule here.

Counting on You banner

Counting on You (Amarillo Sour #1)

By Laura Chapman

Genre: Romantic Comedy

Age category: Adult

Release Date: 28 August 2018

You can find Counting on You on Goodreads

You can buy Counting on You here:

- Amazon
- Barnes & Noble
- Kobo
- Google Play
- iTunes

Laura ChapmanAbout the Author:
Laura Chapman is the author of sweet and sexy romantic comedies. A born and raised Nebraska girl, she loves watching football, traveling, crafting, and baking. When she isn’t writing her next story, she is probably working at a museum by day and binge-watching Netflix with her cats Jane and Bingley at night. So, basically, she’s living large.

You can find and contact Laura Chapman here:
- Website
- Facebook
- Twitter
- Goodreads
- Amazon
- Instagram
- Newsletter


There is a tour wide giveaway for the book blitz of Counting on You. One winner will win a Amarillo Sour Starter Kit, that includes two shot glasses, two coasters, a bottle opener and pens with the bar’s logo on them plus a $10 Amazon card. US Only.

For a chance to win, enter the rafflecopter below:

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Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Kristina McMorris breaks box office a book giveaway

We're pleased to have Kristina McMorris back at CLC today to celebrate the publication of her latest novel, Sold on a Monday. We've enjoyed her previous novels and are excited to read this one soon. Kristina is here to talk about movies today and she has one copy of Sold on a Monday to share with a lucky reader!

Since her debut, Letters From Home, released in 2011, Kristina McMorris' published works have expanded to include the novels Bridge of Scarlet Leaves, The Pieces We Keep, and The Edge of Lost, in addition to her novellas in the anthologies A Winter Wonderland and Grand Central. Her forthcoming historical novel, Sold on Monday, will be released September 2018. Rights to her books have also been sold to numerous foreign publishers, Readers Digest, Doubleday, the Literary Guild, and more.

A frequent guest speaker and workshop presenter, McMorris holds a B.S. in International Marketing from Pepperdine University. For her diverse achievements, she has been named one of Portland's "Forty Under 40" by The Business Journal. She lives with her husband and two sons in Oregon, where she is still sleep deprived but eagerly working on her next novel. (Bio adapted from Kristina's website.)

Visit Kristina online:


The sign is a last resort. It sits on a farmhouse porch in 1931, but could be found anywhere in an era of breadlines, bank runs and broken dreams. It could have been written by any mother facing impossible choices.

For struggling reporter Ellis Reed, the gut-wrenching scene evokes memories of his family’s dark past. He snaps a photograph of the children, not meant for publication. But when it leads to his big break, the consequences are more devastating than he ever imagined.

At the paper, Lillian Palmer is haunted by her role in all that happened. She is far too familiar with the heartbreak of children deemed unwanted. As the bonds of motherhood are tested, she and Ellis must decide how much they are willing to risk to mend a fractured family.

Inspired by an actual newspaper photograph that stunned the nation, Sold on a Monday is a powerful novel of love, redemption, and the unexpected paths that bring us home.
(Synopsis courtesy of Amazon.)

Check out the book trailer, giving more info about the heartbreaking newspaper photo that inspired the book.

My top five favorite movies from my childhood:

Goonies: I mean, really. Who doesn't remember the Truffle Shuffle, One-Eyed Willy's cool ship, Data's gadgets, the skeleton pipe organ, or Sloth's obsession with Baby Ruth? The fact that it was filmed on the beautiful Oregon coast, just a few hours from my childhood home, made it all the better.

The Dark Crystal: From emaciated, murdering birds and gigantic cockroach-like soldiers to enslaved pod creatures who get their liquid "essence" sucked out, the elements of this Jim Henson film wasn't exactly made for the Muppet Show crowd. But the movie was visually stunning and wholly captivating. I absolutely loved it.

E.T. the Extra Terrestrial: Admittedly, after seeing this one as a kid, I started making Reese's Pieces trails through the house and even tried to rig my Speak & Spell to contact cute, squatty aliens in space. But then, who didn't?? Seriously, though. The first time I saw Elliott on his bicycle while soaring past that enormous, glowing moon, with that perfect score playing in the background, I was spellbound.

The Sound of Music: Every Thanksgiving weekend for years and years, I remember this sweet, corny, wonderful musical playing on TV. (With commercial breaks back then, it must have taken a hundred hours to watch.) To this day, part of me still wants to dance the Laendler with Captain VonTrapp, leap through the gazebo like Liesl, and pull strings in the Lonely Goatherd puppet show. In fact, a few years ago I even won the costume contest at a Sound of Music sing-a-long movie night. My fabulous character? The "Girl in the Pale Pink Coat" puppet, thankyouverymuch.

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory: I really, really wanted that golden ticket, folks. And to drink magical, floaty bubbles. And to watch Violet turn violet. But most of all, I just wanted to dance with the Oompa Loompas.

My top five favorite stupid movies:

Blades of Glory: This truly is the epitome of a great stupid movie. The "Fire and Ice" figure-skating routine alone is virtually impossible to watch without smiling and giggling, even as you're steadily losing IQ points.

Better Off Dead: Quotes from this classic have become staples in our house. Lines like: "Franch toast and franch fries." "Gee, I'm real sorry your mom blew up, Ricky." And our absolute fave: "I want my two dollars!"

Step Brothers: Yep, another Will Farrell movie, because ohmygoodness is that man funny. No matter how many times I see the collapsing bunk-bed scene, I burst into laughter, sometimes to the point of tears.

This is 40: Watching this right around forty years old, I found so many scenes utterly hilarious given the truth in them. I convinced my youngest sister and her husband to watch it too. At just thirty and with their first baby on the way, they declared it a horror flick capable of inducing severe depression and have apparently been cautious of my recommendations ever since.

Galaxy Quest: Here's yet another one that is just so silly, but how can anyone not laugh throughout it? Plus, the cast was phenomenal, Alan Rickman most of all.

Thanks to Kristina for visiting with us and sharing her book with our readers!

How to win: Use Rafflecopter to enter the giveaway. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us. If you have trouble using Rafflecopter on our blog, enter the giveaway here

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Giveaway ends September 3rd at midnight EST.

Monday, August 27, 2018

Spotlight: The Things We Leave Unsaid

Is it the things we don’t say that haunt us the most?

Clare is anxious to start a family with adoring husband, Pete. When she takes on the seemingly simple task of obtaining her late mother’s birth certificate, she finds herself in a family history search that will challenge everything she thought she knew about her life.

Scarred by her parents' ill-fated marriage, Tessa lives by three rules – dating unavailable men, building her café into a food empire, and avoiding her father. However, when her carefully planned life is thrown into chaos, Tessa is forced to decide which of these rules she’s willing to break.

As Clare and Tessa’s paths cross and their friendship grows, can they both finally unlock their family secrets in order to realise their futures?

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

Megan Mayfair is a Melbourne-based writer who draws inspiration from her beautiful hometown and regional Victoria to create contemporary women's fiction, containing a big dash of romance and a spoonful of family intrigue.

With a background in public relations, copywriting and higher education, Megan is passionate about words and loves to bring them to life on the page. Megan holds a Master of Arts in professional communication and is a member of Romance Writers of Australia and Writers Victoria.

Megan is married with three children, loves a good cup of coffee and believes you can never have too many scarves. Visit Megan at her website and on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Friday, August 24, 2018

Book Review: Soul of Stone

By Sara Steven

Danielle Lyndon, owner of a 200-year-old bookstore in Greenville, Alabama, has built a fortress of suspicion around her heart. A tragic fire has taken the lives of her beloved Grandmother and mother, leaving her with nothing but an ancient collection of magical books.

Facing what seems like an eternity of loneliness and abandonment, her life is inexorably altered late one night when a runaway teenage girl breaks into her store and Danielle receives a mysterious text message…from her dead mother.

The only person who can help her is Aaron Donnell, a reckless, tormented drifter with haunting silver-blue eyes who is searching for the burglar, his younger sister. Aaron somehow holds the answers to the mysterious texts, but he’s arrogant, dangerous, and is clearly no good for her. The problem is . . . . she’s falling in love with him.

Consumed with Aaron’s mysterious darkness and the prospect of locating the source of the texts, Danielle allows him to unwittingly drag her into an insane, mystical world where human trafficking is the usual, black magic reigns supreme, and inhuman power lasts forever. (Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads.)

Traci McDonald combined so many of my favorite elements and genres within Soul of Stone, with touches of fantasy and mystery, romance and magic, told with eloquence and intrigue. It started out with such a great hook, and an excellent way of introducing Danielle to its readers. I felt I learned a lot about her with just that first chapter, and it made me want to continue reading about her life, the bookstore, and the important role she has to play in its survival. She never imagined that would extend out into her own survival, as well.

I loved the heat between Aaron and Danielle. It reminded me of a yo-yo, where, as much as they try to put distance between them, some invisible force brings them back together, over and over again. There is the shared interest of finding Aaron’s sister and trying to figure out why Danielle is receiving texts from her deceased mother, but the chemistry between these two becomes its own plot twist, a constant fight that blends into and over everything.

I appreciated the research aspect to Soul, that the supernatural elements were well-described. I don’t know if what was incorporated regarding some of the more mystical characters was “real” or not, but it felt real, and that’s what mattered most to me. Not once did I feel the need to look up a ritual or description mentioned in this story. It was laid out for me perfectly, easy to understand and follow, allowing the author the ability to give her own artistic liberties, while allowing the reader to fully see the picture she’s trying to paint.

This is the first book in the Ice and Stone series, and I very much look forward to reading the next one when it’s available!

Thanks to Traci McDonald for the book in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Spotlight and Giveaway: Smothered

We're pleased to share Smothered by Autumn Chiklis (her last name makes us think of Chick Lit) today, as we've heard lots of great buzz about it. Thanks to St. Martin's Press, we have TWO copies to give away!

Eloise “Lou” Hansen is graduating from Columbia University summa cum laude, and she's ready to conquer the world. Just a few minor problems: she has no job, no prospects, and she’s moving back into her childhood bedroom. Lou is grimly determined to stick to a rigorous schedule to get a job and get out of her parents’ house. Shelly “Mama Shell” Hansen, on the other hand, is ecstatic, and just as determined to keep her at home. Who else will help her hide her latest binge-shopping purchases from her husband, go to SoulCycle with her, and hold her hand during Botox shots?

Smothered is a hilarious roman à clef told via journal entries, text messages, emails, bills, receipts, tweets, doctor’s prescriptions, job applications and rejections, parking tickets, and pug pictures, chronicling the year that Lou moves back home after college. Told from Lou’s point-of-view, Smothered tells the story of two young(ish) women, just trying to get it right, and learning that just because we all grow up doesn’t mean we necessarily have to grow old. (After all, what is Juvaderm for?)

Photo by Karen Ray
Autumn Chiklis is a recent graduate of the University of Southern California, where she studied theater and screenwriting. She’s an actor (The Shield), stand-up comedian, and contributor to The Huffington Post. She currently resides in Los Angeles, California. Visit Autumn on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

How to win: Use Rafflecopter to enter the giveaway. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us. If you have trouble using Rafflecopter on our blog, enter the giveaway here

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Giveaway ends August 28th at midnight EST.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Go-to-Gay: Book a movie date!

We loved Keith's books-to-TV post last month SO much that we asked him to do the same for our movie theme this month. And he did NOT disappoint! Grab your popcorn and check out some of these titles. Let him know in the comments if you agree with his choices or have any of your own to share.

Hollywood, Here I Come!
Last month, I wrote about books transformed into great television shows. This month, I am going bigger and moving on to books that were made into feature films. When I started looking at different movies for this post, it became apparent Hollywood needs more screenplay writers. It doesn’t seem there are very many original screenplay movies these days. They are all adapted from books!
I know nothing I just wrote makes any sense. In reality, the only thing Hollywood needs less than more actors wandering around is more writers in the muck. There is also still an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay, so apparently some successful movies are made each year that don’t depend on a book for their backbone.
However, many of my favorite movies are adaptations from great books, and in my own mind, it’s all about me, so that puts us back on firm ground. I think I am getting a good feel of how our current administration just talks about both sides of each issue until you are so confused, you just shake your head and agree so they will hush talking. It works!
Since you are now confused whether I am for or against adaptations, I present to you the following:
Keith’s Favorite Films Adapted from Books
Interview with the Vampire (1994)
Image result for interview with the vampire
Let’s go ahead and get the vampire listing out of the way. We all know there was going to be one listed, but this one is legit, y’all.
Anne Rice published Interview with the Vampire in 1976, and her lush, rich language and history was transformed gorgeously to the big screen. The Vampire Lestat, played by Tom Cruise, and his cohort, Louis, played by Brad Pitt, are perfect in their roles. The film does vary a little from the book, but both are worthy of being on every list ever.  
Crazy Rich Asians (2018)
Image result for crazy rich asians
Crazy Rich Asians was just released last weekend and topped the box office rankings, making the first Asian-American based film in over 25 years a huge success. Based on the 2013 book by the same name written by Kevin Kwan, the movie is funny, complex, and makes us look how many of decisions, even our most personal ones, are influenced by our family. The books are a trilogy, hopefully the movies will follow suit.
Love, Simon (2018)
This coming-of-age story is adapted from the book Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli. It is the first major studio film to focus on gay-teenage romance, and it does it in such a way, that everyone falls in love with the story. And Simon.
The Zookeeper’s Wife (2017)
The Zookeepers Wife.jpeg
This movie is the perfect WW2 flick for lovers of animals and war dramas. The amazing story of Antonina and Jan Zabinsk first was captured from Antonina’s unpublished journals by author Diane Ackerman in 2007. This true story shows how the Zabinsk’s saved hundreds of Jews in Poland by hiding them from the Germans in their Warsaw zoo. Stories like this never grow old.
The Hours (2002)
A movie packed with A-list stars and a plot that surrounds a Virginia Woolf novel is the perfect movie for all us Chick Lit Central fans! The movie is based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning 1998 novel by Michael Cunningham. I loved everything about this one. If you haven’t watched it, do it tonight!
Two Films Adapted from Books that Keith Thinks are STINKERS

A Wrinkle in Time (2018)

Image result for a wrinkle of time

C’mon, man, it had OPRAH it in it! It was a beloved young adult book. It had a huge budget. WHAT HAPPENED? I think the movie-makers cut off more than they could chew. Madeleine L'Engle wrote a phenomenal sci-fi book in 1954, but the 2017 movie was too ambitious, and it just didn’t pull together. Sorry, Oprah, I still love you, though.

Serena (2014)


As an Appalachian writer, seeing one of our most revered authors, Ron Rash, get a big-time movie deal was HUGE. Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper star in a movie based on such a great southern Appalachian story. The movie, though? It just stank. So much acting talent, such a good story, but a terrible movie. I’m sorry, Brad and Jen, I still you both!

How about you? What are your favorite/least favorite movies adapted from books? What book would you like to see adapted to a movie? Let us know if then comments below!

Keith Stewart is the author of Bernadette Peters Hates Me – True Tales of a Delusional Man. A native of Appalachia, he splits his time between his hometown of Hyden and nearby Lexington, Kentucky. His blog is You can find him on Twitter at @Shiglyogly and Facebook at @AMSCOT (A Strong Man’s Cup of Tea). He is a regular contributor to and the He lives with his husband, Andy, and their two dogs, Duke and Dudley.

Spotlight: Excess Baggage

Today, we're pleased to feature Excess Baggage: One Family's Around the World Search for Balance by Tracey Carisch. Learn more about the book and author right here!

Tracey Carisch thought she had it all. As a wife, mother, and successful executive, she seemed to be living the modern American dream. But one night, a panic attack sent her tumbling into a midlife crisis and questioning everything. That’s when she and her husband made a decision that shocked their family and friends: they sold everything they owned, pulled their three young daughters out of school, and became a family of wandering

Loaded with hilarious mishaps as well as deeply meaningful revelations, Excess Baggage chronicles the Carisch family’s extraordinary eighteen-month adventure across six continents, bringing to mind the spiritual journey of Eat Pray Love and the comical mishaps of National Lampoon’s Vacation.

Through Tracey’s insightful, funny, and poignant narrative, the reader will discover the life lessons of an around-theworld
journey without leaving home.

Tracey Carisch is a leadership consultant, professional speaker, and author. In 2014, her travel blog chronicled her family’s around-the-world, nomadic journey and gained a widespread international following.

Tracey graduated from Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business and began her career as a consultant with an international consulting firm, where she advanced to a leadership position within the organization’s professional education team. She received her MBA from the University of Utah in 2002 and soon began her own independent consulting business, specializing in organizational effectiveness and project management.

Her facilitation work with business-education partnerships led to a prominent position in the STEM education initiative. Tracey served as the Managing Director of the STEM Innovation Hub, collaborating with stakeholders from school systems, nonprofits, businesses, universities and government agencies to pioneer groundbreaking workforce development programs. This role engaged Tracey in the areas of education research and early learning neurology as she worked alongside pedagogical and andragogical experts to develop successful K-12 teaching strategies and adult learning initiatives.

Since returning to the United States, Tracey has expanded her leadership development career to include motivational speaking. Her presentations blend the breathtaking imagery of travel photography with important themes for parents, children, educators, and business leaders. By incorporating leadership best practices and conflict management concepts, Tracey’s talks inspire audiences while also leaving them equipped with successful practices for setting intentions and improving relationships.

Visit Tracey online:
Website * Facebook * Twitter * Instagram

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Release Blitz and Giveaway: All That Doesn't

All That Doesn't banner

This is my stop during the book blitz for All That Doesn’t by Tracy Krimmer. This book blitz is organized by Lola's Blog Tours. The book blitz runs from August 20th-21st. See the tour schedule here.

All That Doesn'tAll That Doesn’t (All That #2)

By Tracy Krimmer

Contemporary Romance/ Women’s Fiction

Age category: Adult

Release Date: August 20, 2018

After a devastating end to her marriage, Dory Walker has rebuilt her life in her hometown of Sycamore Bay. She’s left her music career behind and is only looking forward to her future with her rekindled love, Harris Malone.

Single dad Harris is doing his best to guide his young daughter and take the reins of his soon to be retired dad’s hardware store. With Dory by his side, he can do anything.

But just when Dory thought she had it all, a surprise visitor turns her world upside down with a revelation that threatens to tear her family apart. She turns to Harris for help, but he’s caught up trying to save his relationship with his daughter. Can the bond between Dory and Harris survive these turbulent times?
You can find All That Doesn’t on Goodreads

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First book in this series

All That Glitters

“A has-been country music star. A divorced dad from a small town. Almost a decade of bottled up passion...”


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All That series graphic

Tracy KrimmerAbout the Author:

Tracy Krimmer loves coffee, popcorn, Drew Barrymore, and the movie Saving Silverman. She enjoys reading great books (of course) and writing realistic characters for you to enjoy. When she listens to music she prefers the 80s and 90s music she grew up on. In a typical day you’ll find her writing at one of her favorite spots--on the couch, at the kitchen table, or at her favorite hometown coffee shop.

You can find and contact Tracy here:

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There is a tour wide giveaway for the book blitz of All That Doesn’t. One winner will receive a Bath & Body Works gift set. US Only.

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Monday, August 20, 2018

Book Review: The Other Woman

By Jami Deise

Psychological thrillers and chick lit don’t seem to have a lot in common at first glance, but a deeper look reveals that the two genres have many overlapping features. They usually feature female protagonists, and the build from unease to discomfort to terror mimics the build from attraction to complications to true love. One aspect that the genres do not share is that psychological thrillers tend to use heavier language, with lots of details about rainy weather and many heavy interior monologues. Chick lit treads lightly in this department, glancing over details to focus on dialogue and relationships.

In her debut thriller, The Other Woman, author Sandie Jones plays with this expectation, delivering a mystery that’s written in the light touch of a chick lit novel. When Emily meets Adam and quickly falls in love, she has no idea that her biggest rival for his affection is not an old girlfriend, but his mother, Pammie. Widowed at an early age, Pammie clings to Adam in a most dysfunctional way, and Emily is the only one who can see it. When Adam is around, Pammie is as sweet as pie to Emily, but when they’re alone, the cutting remarks begin.

As Emily and Adam head toward marriage, Emily becomes even more determined to beat Pammie and win Adam for herself once and for all. In this way, the book is structured much like a classic love triangle, and some of Pammie’s games are almost funny. At other times, Emily questions her sanity: Could she be the real problem? Maybe she’s just misunderstood Pammie’s attempts at friendship?

There are a few plot holes—for instance, I wondered why Emily didn’t use her cell phone to record Pammie’s insults when they were alone—and a major reveal that Emily sweeps under the rug. Mostly I wondered why Emily, a very likable chick-lit type protagonist with a gay male BFF, an interesting job, and a loving family, wanted to marry into Adam’s dysfunctional family.

I had my predictions about the ending, which Jones pulls off in a way that feels like an earned twist, not a last-minute reveal. And she subtly changes her voice so that when the stakes get higher, the language evolves with it.

The Other Woman is a quick, light page turner that I gulped up in two sittings. It’s highly enjoyable for fans of domestic thrillers, chick lit, and both.

Thanks to Busy Bee PR for the book in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, August 17, 2018

Excerpt: Four Last First Dates

Promo Signup || Kate O’Keeffe – Four Last First DatesFour Last First Dates by Kate O'Keeffe

Series: Cozy Cottage Café #4

Published by Wild Lime Books on August 9, 2018

Genre: Romantic Comedy

What do you do when you’ve agreed to a pact with your friends to get married, but neither you nor the guy in your sights is quite ready to fall in love?

Bailey De Luca is the last of her friends to complete the Last First Date pact—to marry the next guy she dates. But lady luck must be in a bad mood, because so far, it's all come to nothing.

Everywhere she looks people are in love. Everyone except her. Is she fundamentally unlovable? Or is it that she’s already found—and lost—The One? Whatever the reason, one thing's for sure: Bailey never expected to be alone at thirty.

When one of her friends announces her engagement with a rock that could eclipse the sun, Bailey throws herself into a new business. Starting up Cozy Cottage Catering seems like the perfect way to bury her head in the sand. But fate has other ideas, and soon Bailey is swept off her feet by the oh-so cute Ryan Jones.

Ryan may seem like the perfect combination of Prince Charming meets Thor (without the hammer), but is Bailey ready to be with him?

Or will the ghost of her past love prevent her from finding happiness again?

Escape to New Zealand in this fun, feel-good sweet romance.

Books in the Cozy Cottage Café series:

Kate O’Keeffe is a bestselling author of fun, feel-good romantic comedies. She lives and loves in beautiful Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand with her family, two scruffy dogs, and a cat who thinks he’s a scruffy dog too. He’s not: he’s a cat. When she’s not penning her latest story, Kate can be found hiking up hills (slowly), travelling to different countries, and eating chocolate. A lot of it.

Kate has written the Amazon bestsellers the Cozy Cottage Café series, the popular chick lit stories, the Wellywood Romantic Comedy series, as well as some standalone titles.

The next “speed date” was so nondescript and dull, not even my list of probing and unusual questions helped. And I wasn’t here for nondescript and dull. I was here to find “The One.”
Well, that was the plan at least.
As I sat half listening to Nondescript Guy carry on about how important his health was and how he liked to have granola each morning to keep himself “regular”—talking about bowel movements on a date? Really?—I did my best to stifle a yawn.
I scanned the room. I could see Fake Jamie-slash-Fabio chatting up some new victim, and Adam talking with Perky Blonde at the adjacent table. Marissa waved at me from the bar, catching my eye. She shrugged, her palms face up as she nodded at my current “date.”
I gave my head one shake to indicate Nondescript Guy was a non-starter, and she scrunched her face up.
I stole another glance at Ryan. He and Paige were deep in conversation, and he didn’t look my way.
“. . . and you see, that’s why the flora of your gut is so important,” Nondescript Guy said, an earnest look on his face. “Not a lot of people know that, but it’s vital for good health.”
“Absolutely,” I replied, having no clue what he was talking about. Wasn’t flora a word scientists used for plants? I thought remembered it vaguely from high school biology.
“I’m glad you understand. That’s important to me, to have a partner on the same health journey as me.”
I blinked, unsure how to respond. A “health journey” didn’t exactly sound like something I could get on board with. You see, I had a bit of a cake habit. Baking, eating, the lot. And I had a great excuse—my café was known for its cakes. We always had a variety to suit most tastes, even offering a couple of gluten-free options lately, too.
Although I’m not sure Nondescript Guy and his “health journey” would approve of even those.
Fortunately, the bell sounded, so I didn’t have to pass comment. Instead, I smiled and said, “Nice to meet you.”
He got up and moved on to Perky Blonde. I heaved a sigh of relief.
I looked up to see a small, bespectacled man standing by my table. He was dressed in a button-down shirt and khaki pants. He looked more than a little nervous.
“Hi,” I said brightly, trying to put him at ease. Although he didn’t look like they type of guy I’d dated in the past, I knew I needed to keep an open mind. “Please, take a seat.”
“Oh, I err  . . . okay.” He pulled a pad and pencil out from his back pocket and sat down opposite me.
I glanced at his name tag. “Your name is Reg? Is that short for Reginald?”
He nodded. “Lieutenant Reginald Barclay the third, actually.”
Lieutenant? Very formal. He didn’t look much like a military man, with his slim frame and lack of stature. But who was I to judge?
“Nice,” I said with a smile, trying not to let on what I was thinking.
“It’s not ‘nice.’” He scowled at me as though I’d insulted him. “Lieutenant Reginald Barclay is the most underrated member of the Starship Enterprise.”
The what now?
“Oh.” Not for the first time tonight, I didn’t know quite what to say.
“It’s all Captain Kirk and Spock, the superstars of the series.”
“This is a Star Wars thing?”
Star Wars?” he spat, his features forming a disapproving scowl.
You’d think I’d insulted his mother.
Star Trek.” He shook his head, his lips forming a thin line. “Reginald is a crew member of the Starship Enterprise.”
“Gotcha.” I didn’t at all.
“He needs his time in the spotlight, too, you know. He was a technical genius, not one of those ‘look at me, I’m an alpha male’ types.” He glared at me as though I was personally responsible for this Reginald Whatshisname’s lack of superstar status. “Beta males are just as important for the procreation of the species.”
I cleared my throat. Is this guy for real?
I glanced down at his notepad, landing on a way to move the conversation on. “You’ve come prepared.”
“Yes, I . . . have some key questions I’m looking for answers to.”
“Okay,” I replied, steeling myself for what was to come.
He flipped the notepad open and studied his notes.
I waited and waited.
And waited.
I shot my friends a desperate look I hoped they could read. It went something like “get me the heck out of here!”
“Ah, excuse me, Reg?”
He looked up at me as though I were some sort of irritation to him. “What?”
“We only have four minutes together. You know that, right?”
“Yes, yes.” He waved his hand in the air at me.
I knitted my eyebrows together. This was feeling less like a date and more like a visit to the school principal.
“Aha!” he exclaimed, making me jump.
“You’ve found your question?”
“Yes, I have.”
“What is your bust measurement?”
My mouth dropped open. “My bust measurement?”
“Yes.” His tone was matter-of-fact tone. “Your bust measurement, otherwise known as the circumference of your . . .err chestal area.” He made a circular motion in the air with his hands.
I crossed my arms on the table in front of my “bust.” I cleared my throat. “Why do you want to know that?”
“Because I assessed you as you arrived, and you have the proportions I am most invested in.”
What? Invested? Proportions? What was this guy, a freaking mad scientist? Or, worse yet, a serial killer?
“Invested in for a date?” I asked, really not wanting to know the answer.
“Of course!” he replied a little too loudly. “Why else would I be here? There isn’t any other explanation. I’m here for the dating. I want to meet someone to date.”
I wasn’t buying it. I glanced down at his notepad. There were numbers scrawled over the page. I let out a laugh, hoping to lighten the mood. “I don’t know. Maybe you’re doing some research or something?”
He pursed his lips and glared at me. “Who said that?” His eyes darted around the room in accusation.
I shifted in my seat. “Ah, me?”
He let out a puff of air. “I’m here for the dating, and as part of that, I would like to know what your bust measurements is, thank you.”
To my astonishment, he half-stood and reached into his front pocket, pulling a blue plastic measuring tape out in a long coil.
“You’re serious?” I guffawed. I shot a nervous look over at my friends. They all had incredulous looks on their faces, watching the bizarre speed date with “Reg”—allegedly the most underrated of the Starship Enterprise crew—unfold before their eyes.
“I thought I’d made that clear already. Do you have an objection?”
I crossed my arms. “Actually, I do.”
His glasses slid down his nose, and he pushed them back up his face with his index finger. “Well, in that case, I will need to hug you.”
“Hug me?”
This was getting more and more perverse.
“Yes. That way I can assess you, since my measuring tape appears to be so abhorrent to you.” His tone suggested I was slow on the uptake and he needed to explain things more clearly. “It won’t be as accurate, of course, but if you won’t provide me with your consent, I shall have no choice.”
That was it. I’d had enough. I placed my hands palm-down on the table. “Look, Reg—or whatever your actual name is. I’m not interested in being assessed or measured or anything. So, can you please refrain from asking me again?”
He slumped in his chair. “But you’re the best one.”
“The best one for what?”
Why oh why did I have to ask?
He let out a puff of air. “I’m designing something, even if Father thinks it’s a ‘waste of my education.’” He did air quotes, his face contorted in bitterness.
“What are you designing?”
My mouth was clearly disconnected from my brain at this point.
“The perfect woman, only robotic so she won’t have any of the challenges of a real woman.”
Oh, no.
“She’s going to be incredible. Beautiful, loving, flexible, do whatever you want . . .”
I held my hands up. “Stop!” I’d heard more than enough. I slid out of my chair and stood up.
Reginald Barclay III looked up at me in surprise. As I stepped around the table, he also stood and attempted to swing his measuring tape around me.
I grabbed a hold of one end of it and snapped it away from him. “You have got to be kidding me.” I smacked the tape down on the table, turned and walked away, just as the bell sounded for the next round of “dates.”
But there would be no more “dates” for me. I’d had more than enough Jamie wannabes and sicko mad scientist guys to last me a lifetime. I was done.

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