Category Archives: Chicklit

Zoe and the Moment of Zen by Cat Lavoie ~ A Review

4638354When coffee shop owner Zoey Everwood takes her obsession with ex-boyfriend Braden too far, everyone—except Zoey—is convinced a bit of fun in the sun at the Moment of Zen Wellness Resort will help her get over him once and for all.

But Zoey’s relaxing vacation turns out to be anything but peaceful when she meets Shane Lawson, a resort guest who bears a striking resemblance to Braden. And things get even more complicated when the resort’s owner starts spilling secrets about Zoey’s aunt Nessa, the woman who raised her. Add a snarky Wellness Coordinator and Nate Holmes—Shane’s grumpy friend—to the mix, and you’ve got the recipe for a perfect tropical storm.

When Zoey comes back home with a new husband instead of tacky souvenirs, she must convince everyone she hasn’t completely lost her mind. As Zoey and Shane struggle to keep the magic alive outside the resort, Zoey discovers that she isn’t the only one having trouble letting go of the past. And when Nate drops a bombshell that changes everything, Zoey must decide if the old saying is true—what happens at the Moment of Zen stays at the Moment of Zen.

~*~*~*~ The Review ~*~*~*~

Cat Lavoie has a great sense of screw ball humor presented as everyday life. Or maybe I see so much of myself in her characters that it only *seems* like everyday life.

After a family and friend intervention of the boyfriend kind, Zoe is shipped off to the Moment of Zen resort where she meets her ex’s doppelganger. Of course she kicks up a relationship with him that has *nothing* to do with her former boyfriend and from there things just go crazy.

Zoe and the Moment of Zen is a humorous story with moments poignancy and forgiveness. But Zoe also teaches us something on her journey. Life can get crazy and it’s some kind of ride, but don’t miss what’s right underneath your nose while looking back at what you’ve left behind. Or maybe it’s what you left behind can be more important that what you’re doing now. No, that’s not quite it either.

Oh, I know! Be careful of what you *think* you want. There may be something better out there and you’ll miss it wallowing in the mistakes. Well, just read the book and you’ll see!

~*~*~*~ More About Cat Lavoie ~*~*~*~




Mad World: Desperation by Samaire Provost ~ A Review

mad world desperationForget what you thought you knew about this story, because everything is about to change.
With Alyssa near death, Luke, Jacob and their companions make a desperate attempt to reach Boston with the final ingredient needed for the plague antidote. They must travel through the Canadian wilderness, some of the roughest country in North America. Along the way they are joined by new friends and old as they fight to reach their destination and save Alyssa. What they don’t know is that something is hunting them.
Something evil is lurking, waiting to strike when they least expect it.
After years of fighting courageously against the living plague, they’d thought they knew their enemy. They’d believed their wits, bravery and strength would be enough to win this fight against the threat that had overrun so much of the world they once knew. But they were wrong.
Now Luke, Risa, Jacob, DeAndre and Jonathan face their most dangerous trials yet as they battle the ever-present zombie threat, along with a new challenge they never saw coming. How many ways can this plague try to kill them? Find out, in the latest installment of the Mad World series.

~*~ The Review ~*~

Sometimes I’m not sure what goes through my mind when I say yes to a review. As my Daddy would say, “Ain’t no telling.” So I sat down with Mad World Desperation and shook my head at myself. A Zombie book? What was I thinking? I don’t like zombie books, or any type of ‘dark paranormals’. But I had promised a review and a fair review I was going to give. So I braced myself for guts and brains and mayhem and began reading.

My plan was simple: read the book, check out the writing style, the voice, the congruence of the story and review based off of things I do know about. (I don’t read zombie books so I couldn’t form an opinion based off past knowledge.) I was going to skim the book (sorry Samaire, but it was self preservation to keep myself from having nightmares.)

But my plan fell apart as I begin to read. Mad World: Desperation is a fantabulous book! The writing style is great, fresh and easy to read. The characters are likable and sympathetic. Instead of skimming, I found myself truly reading. What a surprise for me! I don’t like zombie books! LOL

My only regret is that I wish I had started the series at the beginning. The book explains some of what was in the first three books, but I would have preferred to read it firsthand.

I never thought I would say this but go out and get this zombie book! You’re going to love it!

~*~ Author Bio ~*~

Samaire ProvostSamaire Provost is a novelist living in California.  Author of the Mad World trilogy: EPIDEMIC ~ SANCTUARY ~ DESPERATION.  Her upcoming work is a vampire thriller slated to be released in early 2014.

~*~ Connect with Samaire ~*~

Facebook –

Twitter –

Goodreads –

Amazon author page –

Amazon book page

Blog –

**Everyone who leaves a comment on the tour page will be entered to win a $20 Amazon gift card! Anyone who purchases their copy of Mad World: Desperation before  December 16 and sends their receipt to Samantha (at) ChickLitPlus (dot) com, will get five bonus entries.**

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Dandy Day by Annie Wood

dandy dayDay is a thirty-five year old free-spirited, commitment-phobic, Venice Boardwalk roller skating waitress. When Dandy is suddenly dumped by her therapist, right when they were on the brink of figuring out why her relationships last only a whopping three months, Dandy decides to take her relationship issues into her own hands. With the reluctant help of her lifelong best friend, Simon, Dandy tracks down her exes one by one and does a relationship autopsy on each of them in order to get to the bottom of her relationship challenged life.

A short novel about love, friendship and grown ups (sort of) growing up (sort of).

~~~ The Review ~~~

 Dandy Day by Annie Wood is a quirky read as expected, (What else would come from a book about a 35 year old roller skating waitress?) but that’s not to say that it’s predictable. Far from it.

Once I got past the unprofessional fill-in therapist, Dandy Day became a fun and over the top look at relationships and life on Venice Beach–a world that seems too colorful to believe and few of us ever get to experience. Take an interesting setting, a fun premise, and a quirky yet lovable heroine and you have Dandy Day.

I think there’s a little bit of Dandy in all of us, that never-quite-grew-up child that scratches to get out from time to time. Just another reason why Dandy is irresistible!

Animated Excerpt:
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~~~ Author Bio ~~~

annie woodAnnie was born in Hollywood, raised in the valley. She avoided the valley girl accent by speaking backwards for the first 15 years of her life. As an actress she has guest starred on several TV shows. You may remember her best in her recurring role onBecker with Ted Danson, Lara in Good Luck Chuck and as the host of her own nationally syndicated dating show, BZZZ! which she also co-produced. As a writer, she is a produced and published playwright and recently had a comedic scene in the NBC/UNIVERSAL showcase. Her web-series, Karma’s a B*tch was chosen by Virgin America as BEST OF

THE WEB and season 2 is now in the works. Her books of comedic scenes, Snapshots! & Act Up & Make a Scene have been performed on Hollywood stages and is available on Amazon. She lives in Los Angeles with her charming, Italian husband and her equally charming, Jewish/Buddhist/Italian dog, Lucy.

~~~~ A Word (or two) from Annie ~~~ 

I Will

(a poem about writing by Annie Wood)

  one day

when i am older;

and slower;

i will sit in my favorite chair

and i will write what pleases me.

i will not worry about them.

i will not feel the need to climb;

to fight;

nor will i wish with all my might;

for jobs.

for opportunities.

for money.

i will find comfort in the stillness.

i will find peace within the knowing.

i will smile to myself and remember only what i choose to remember.

and i will be joyous.

and i will be abundant.

and i will be successful beyond my wildest dreams.

in fact, why not start practicing now?

i will now sit in my favorite chair

and i will now write what pleases me.

 ~~~ Connect with Annie~~~
Blog: I only occasionally blog at SheWrites:
And my dog, Lucy, blog’s when we travel each year to Italy, where my husband is from.
Facebook page:
~~~ Buy the Book ~~~
~~~Annie on Tour ~~~
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It Ain’t Easy Being Jazzy by Quanie Miller ~ A Review

It Ain't Easy Being JazzyJazzy secretly wants to get back together with her ex-boyfriend, Curtis, so when he calls and reveals that he’s got something important to tell her, she’s got no idea that he’s about to propose—to her first cousin and bitter rival, Mercedes.

The annual family dinner is coming up, and fearing that she will spend the evening seething while Mercedes flaunts her four carat engagement ring in her face, Jazzy asks Reggie, an Adonis she met at the mall, to accompany her. As fate would have it, not only did Reggie and Mercedes used to date; that backstabbing, leopard print wearing cow is still carrying a torch for him! Revenge. It’s never been so sweet.

But falling for Reggie? Holy crap! That wasn’t part of the plan! She’s got enough on her plate as it is; restaurant shootouts, a neurotic boss, a mother who spies on the neighbors, and a sister and best friend with man problems that could land them on Jerry Springer. Who has time to fall in love? So when Curtis comes sniffing around again—this time, with an accusation that sends her blood pressure shooting through the roof—the one good nerve that Jazzy’s got left has just about run its course.

~*~*~*~ The Review ~*~*~*~

When I sat down to write the review for It Aint Easy Being Jazzy by Quanie Milller, I had a little bit of an advantage: I had already read her author interview (which I included at the end of this post). But what a wonderful advantage for me to be able to tell you, Quanie Miller has done exactly what she set out to do. It Ain’t Easy Being Jazzy is a fun, fun time from being to end.

Told in first person in a voice too real and snarky to resist, It Ain’t Easy Being Jazzy recounts the times of Jasmine (otherwise known as Jazzy) and she tries to make it in her crazy life. She’s trying to get over her boyfriend, accept that he’s engaged to her rival cousin, and somehow make him jealous with a cute guy from the mall. Add in her sister, her wacky neighbors and her nosy mother and Jazzy is your wildest day times five.

I love the writing, I loved the premise and I loved the all around fun time to be had in reading this book!  It Ain’t Easy Being Jazzy will make  you laugh and just as the author wishes, you’ll get up  from reading it saying,  “Honey, I done had me a good time!”

~*~*~*~ The Interview ~*~*~*~

Where did the story idea come from/how did it come about?

I sat down to write a paranormal story about this woman who gets a job as a nanny and discovers the children’s new step mother has mystic powers. But when I started writing this funny voice took over and I had to step back and ask myself if I wanted to scrap what I had and rework the story so that the tone would be consistent with a paranormal story, make the nanny story funny, or extract that funny main character from there and create a whole new story. And I decided to create a whole new story. So glad I did because the novel was so much fun to write.

One thing you want the reader to walk away with after reading this book.

I want them to have laughed so much that they are gasping for air. When they’re done with the book I want them to say, “Honey, I done had me a good time!”

Why did you choose your genre?

For this particular novel, it was accidental, because even though I set out to write something paranormal, this funny voice took over that steered me in another direction story wise. So for me, my characters dictate genre.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging about writing?

The most challenging thing is learning to believe in yourself. Doubt creeps in at every stage; the outline stage, the drafting stage, editing. But at the end of the day you have to just shake it off and remind yourself why you write. And if you write because you love it then you’ll always find your way back to it.

What advice would you give to writers just starting out?

Study your craft. Definitely. Whether it’s reading novels, books about writing novels, taking writing workshops, or joining a critique group. Study, study, study. And find your voice. Don’t try and be like anybody else. Tell your story from your point of view. The world wants to hear it!

Do you ever suffer from writer’s block?

Not in the sense of “I’m sitting at the computer and oh my goodness I just can’t write!” It’s not like that. It’s more like “something about this story isn’t working and I can’t figure out what right now.” So I don’t really have periods of time where I can’t write; only periods where I’m trying to figure out what about the story isn’t working and during those times I take a break from writing until I can figure it out.  Sometimes I take a day. Sometimes I take a week or two, but I always go back knowing what to fix.

What tools do you feel are must-haves for writers?

Something to write on. That’s pretty much it. Well, that and your coffee! But other than that I don’t think there are any must have tools except for your imagination.

~*~*~*~ Author Bio ~*~*~*~

quanie millerQuanie Miller grew up in New Iberia, Louisiana. She fell in love with reading at an early age and spent most of her time at the Iberia Parish Library discovering new authors like R.L. Stine and Christopher Pike (she was often found walking back home from the library with a stack of books that went up to her chin). She holds degrees from Louisiana State University and San Jose State University. She has been the recipient of the James Phelan Literary Award, the Louis King Thore Scholarship, the BEA Student Scriptwriting Award, and the Vicki Hudson Emerging Writing Prize. She loves writing humorous stories about strong willed, sassy women who can’t keep themselves out of trouble. She lives in Charleston, South Carolina with her husband and is currently, as always, working on another novel.

To find out more about Quanie and her works in progress connect with her online:


 ~*~*~*~ Buy the Book ~*~*~*~

~*~*~*~ Quanie on Tour ~*~*~*~

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Unscripted by Jayne Denker

unscriptedOne of Hollywood’s hardest working women is about to discover there’s a lot more drama behind the camera than in front of it. . .

Faith “Freakin’” Sinclair probably shouldn’t have called her boss a perv. . .or grabbed his “privates.” But as creator of the hit dramedy Modern Women, she’d had enough of his sexist insults. Now she’s untouchable in the industry–not in a good way. The only way to redeem herself is to convince Alex, the wildly popular, wildly demanding former star of her show, to come back. But there’s one obstacle in her way–one very handsome, broad-shouldered obstacle. . .

Professor Mason Mitchell is head of the theater department where Alex is studying “real” acting. The only way he’ll let Faith anywhere near Alex is if she agrees to co-teach a class. It’s an offer she can’t refuse–and as it turns out, the professor just might end up teaching Faith that there’s more to life than work–and that real-life love scenes are way more fun than fake ones.

**** The Review ****

“You can’t judge a book by its cover” has to be one of the dumbest things ever said. How else are you going to judge a book? By looking at the cover of Unscripted by Jayne Denker a reader would expect a fun and sassy read, and that’s exactly what they get!

Faith Freakin’ Sinclair is the woman I want to be. She’s confident, smart, and generous. She’s also in a heap of trouble with her boss. The only way she  can get her job back is to woo a former star back to the show she’s just been booted from. Alex (whom you find out is a male) is hiding at a small community college working on his “craft.” But more than ego stands in Faith’s way of getting Alex to return to Modern Women. There’s Jamie (Faith’s lovable step-brother), Kaylie (who has her own agenda where Alex is concerned), Mona (Faith’s mother and a Hollywood diva/legend in her own right), and the sexy professor (Mason Mitchell).

Unscripted is my favorite kind of story. A comedy of errors that never ends. Things go from bad to worse for  Faith as she attempts to work her magic on the handsome Alex. From confiscated credit cards to a bout of food poisoning-cum-nasty stomach virus, Faith battles to get her life back. Oh, and have I mentioned the sexy professor?

Unscripted is a fabulous chick-lit novel with just enough romance and Hollywood to keep things interesting. Look out Bridget Jones, here comes Faith Freakin’ Sinclair!


Jayne_Denker (1)**** Author Bio ****

Jayne Denker is the author of three contemporary romantic comedies, By Design, Unscripted, and Down on Love, and is hard at work on a fourth. She lives in a small town in western New York, USA, with her husband, son, and one very sweet senior-citizen basement kitteh who loves nothing more than going outside, where she sits on the front walk and wonders why she begged to go outside. When Jayne’s not hard at work on another novel (or, rather, when she should be hard at work on another novel), she can usually be found frittering away stupid amounts of time online.

**** Connect with Jayne ****



Twitter: @JDenkerAuthor

**** Buy the Book ****


Barnes and Noble:


(Also available on iTunes)

**** Jane’s Tour ****

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Royal Secrets by Kathleen Irene Paterka

Royal-Secrets-ROYAL SECRETS is the story of the Royal Wedding Chapel in Las Vegas, and of Lily Lavender, whose family is distantly descended from the British royal family. Immersed in the regal world of weddings and romance, Lily grew up believing in brides, grooms and happily-ever-afters. It seemed her destiny and royal birthright to someday assume a position as wedding coordinator in their family-owned wedding chapel business. But when her mother Mimi’s third marriage eventually fails, Lily’s dreams of her own happily-ever-after quickly fade. She’s no longer interested in a life of assisting brides walk down the aisle into a life of disillusionment and possible divorce. Lily turns her back on The Royal Wedding Chapel and leaves Las Vegas to fashion a life of her own. Years later, Lily—now a single mom—discovers her teenage daughter has run off to Las Vegas, lured by Mimi to help run the chapel. Determined to save her daughter from the broken dreams of Sin City and the nonsensical world of which family fairy tales are made, Lily returns to Las Vegas. But nothing prepares Lily for the royal drama which awaits her… or the sins and secrets she stumbles across that threaten to close the chapel and ruin her family forever.

~~~The Review ~~~

Royal tiaras, secrets that are decades old, and more brides than you can shake a stick at, Royal Secrets by Kathleen Irene Paterka has all this and more. Set in Sin City with a dysfunctionally functioning family, Royal Secrets is sure to please.

At first I have to admit that I didn’t like Lily. I didn’t *dis*like her, she just wasn’t a sympathetic enough character for me. She made choices that made me  frown and decisions that made me shake my head. But Kathleen Paterka pulled it off by the end of the book and made me not only sympathize with her, but like her as well as cheer for her happily ever after.

Personally I would have *adored* this book if it had contained a little more of genre romance elements. Not that it isn’t fabulous just the way it is (my confession is, I would like most books better if they contained more romantic elements.)

All in all, this is a book about people, an almost a slice of life that is larger than life as well. Lovers of the royal family and family secrets are in for a great ‘American’ read.

~~~About Kathleen~~~

kathleen irene paterkaKathleen Irene Paterka is the author of numerous women’s fiction novels which embrace universal themes of home, family life and love, including ROYAL SECRETS and the James Bay series (FATTY PATTY, HOME FIRES, LOTTO LUCY and FOR I HAVE SINNED). Kathleen is the resident staff writer for Castle Farms, a world renowned castle listed on the National Historic Register, and co-author of the non-fiction book FOR THE LOVE OF A CASTLE, published in 2012. Having lived and studied abroad, Kathleen’s educational background includes a Bachelor of Arts degree from Central Michigan University. She and her husband live in the beautiful north country of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula.


Contact Kathleen:



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**Everyone who leaves a comment on Kathleen’s tour page will be entered to win a $20 Amazon gift card! Anyone who purchases their copy of Royal Secrets before  August 12 and sends their receipt to Samantha (at) ChickLitPlus (dot) com, will get five bonus entries.**

~~~ Kathleen on Tour ~~~

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Meltdown by Tara Thompson

Meltdown-by-Tara-ThompsonNYSSA, internationally renown supermodel, is accustomed to turning heads. As a young girl, her flawless face attracted the wrong kind of attention. She escaped an abusive father and successfully navigated life’s seedy underbelly to become a runway renegade, although not without leaving her share of enemies behind. Lately she’s caught the eye of….STEVE, handsome hometown hero and soon-to-be Governor of Texas. Unfortunately he’s already married. As Steve publicly dumps his perfect, former Miss Texas wife for Hollywood’s latest ‘It’ girl, his state faces the biggest financial crisis since the Great Depression. Will he be able to turn things around, or is he too embroiled in his political sex scandal? His good friend and business partner….DEMETRI, sexy hedge fund manager, is at the top of his professional game and tries to save his friend from near financial ruin. Yet he’s distracted by Steve’s new girlfriend, who just happens to be  Demetri’s old flame. Years ago, Nyssa ran from him and he’s never forgotten her. But why is he still interested? Demetri’s dating…. AISLINN, a woman as brilliant as she is beautiful. Enjoying all the perks of having a billionaire boyfriend, she’s falling fast for Demetri and has no idea that she might be the one getting played. Although she bets big on Wall Street, the largest casino in the world, nothing is more risky than giving her heart away. In this fun, juicy, glamorous novel, no one is exactly who they appear to be… And all of them are heading for a MELTDOWN. Who will rise from the ashes?
~~~The Review ~~~

I love being on vacation. Not that taking a vacation provides a great deal of change in my life. No matter where I go, I have my computer, I check Facebook, I tweet. So more than actually taking a trip, I rely on the books that I read to take me to a different place. Meltdown  is a book that definitely transports the reader to another world–a world of sophisticated models, tycoons, and international playboys. Normally I prefer a more romantic read–one guy, one girl, and a guaranteed happy ending. The feel of Meltdown is grittier than a romance by definition, yet has a polished feel where everything glitters. If I could change one thing about the book, it would be to make it a little more about action than back story. I would have loved to have walked the streets with Nyssa, been there with Steve as he married Johanna, and experienced first hand how Demetri fell for Nyssa so long ago. But all in all, Meltdown is a satisfying read with interesting characters and a love square (yes, it is a square) whose outcome will have you guessing until the end.

~~~Author Bio~~~

Tara ThompsonI am a married thirty-something with three awesome kids and a sweet, workaholic husband.  We had two dogs but about the time I was feeling completely overwhelmed, they abandoned my chaotic house for doggie heaven (for their sakes, I hope no children are chasing them anymore).  In my former life I attended Washington University in St. Louis and Columbia Business School in New York, and worked on Wall Street and Main Street before giving up on both.  I thoroughly enjoyed my twenties and am quite content settling down to a much quieter life in Suburbia, USA.  For me, writing is a much welcome respite from the reality of running to the bus stop, pediatrician, food store, gym, soccer games, tennis lessons, etc. etc etc.  My family and I recently moved from Garden City, Long Island to Wilton, Connecticut and couldn’t be happier.

~~~Buy the book~~~

~~~Tara on Tour~~~

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Eleusis by Genevieve Fairbrother

eleusisMacy needs a break to sort out her life. Her parents are dead and now a moody trespasser has set up camp on the property she has inherited. When the stranger confesses himself to be an ageless sea-god and tells Macy she has been guarding a secret she never knew existed, her simple life takes a drastic turn. Just when she thinks it can’t get any stranger,  a back door to the Underworld opens up and it’s time to run like hell.
This fast-paced adventure romance novel explodes as the dark forces tracking Macy surface to capture her. In the transatlantic chase that follows, she learns of her forgotten past and an ancient connection to the sea-god who helps her escape.
As events challenge Macy, she must come to grips with her past, determine what she wants in life, and become a force in her own right. Family betrayal, sinister plot twists, and unlikely friends fill this exhilarating story of one woman’s journey to forge her own path as she learns her true identity.
She soon realizes that to gain real freedom and become legend, she must reject her assigned place in history and risk everything in the process.

 ~~~ The Review ~~~

Lovers of Greek mythology, this book is definitely for you. After the death of her parent’s Macy retreats to the country to the land she has inherited only to find Jason, son of Poseidon. I don’t want to give anything away, but I don’t think it’s clear from the blurb how entwined with mythology the story truly is. Fabulous research and interesting characters round out this interesting tale.

The only problem I had was with the wordiness of the story. To me, it was a bit distracting, I kept wondering where the idea came from instead of simply reading. Perhaps it was the amount of description that pulled me away from the story. Though beautifully written, I didn’t feel that I needed all the surrounding details about the forest  and the lake and especially the poison in Jason’s various wounds. (yuck!) I would have preferred a bit more about the mythological tales than the ordinary surroundings.

All in all, Eleusis is a unique tale and an interesting take on the gods and what has happened to them as the world has changed around them.

genevieve fairbrother

~~~Author Bio ~~~
The author lives in Atlanta with her husband and two teenagers. She attended Wellesley.  

~~~Connect with Genevieve ~~~



 Goodreads author page:


Book trailer:

 ~~~ From Genevieve ~~~

Advice for new authors…

The story that draws you in is the one to write. Writing is a selfish pastime. If you don’t enjoy the story or if is tedious to write it will be deadly to read. Your passion will be self evident.

If a passage doesn’t read well you have to be persistent and keep editing until works. Edit your work, be ruthless, edit again. Poor editing is as detrimental as poor writing. A professional editor is well worth the money.

If a passage doesn’t move the story forward get rid of it. Don’t be sad, it wasn’t a waste of your creative energy. You are merely moving it into a hidden backstory that further informs your character’s actions or feelings.

Consider how you want your characters to evolve. The actions of your characters to the situations that you create are mere shadows. You must understand the deeper issues that produce the conflicts in your book. The deeper issues drive the story and through conflict produce a maturing change in the participants. This is what is worth the reader’s time.

~~~ Genevieve on Tour ~~~

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**Everyone who leaves a comment on the tour page will be entered to win a $20 Amazon gift card! Anyone who purchases their copy of Eleusis before  June 17 and sends their receipt to Samantha (at) ChickLitPlus (dot) com, will get five bonus entries.**

Chronicle of the Mound Builders by Elle Marie

chronicle of the mound builders (1)Archaeologist Dr. Angela Hunter discovers an ancient codex at a Mississippian Indian dig site in the St. Louis area. Knowing the Mississippians, or Mound Builders, had no written language, she is determined to solve the mystery of the 700-year-old, perfectly preserved codex.

In the early 1300’s, an Aztec family is torn apart. A judge rebelling against the Aztec tradition of human sacrifice is cursed and escapes his enemies with his 12-year-old son. They travel from the Gulf of Mexico up the Mississippi River to settle in the thriving community of Migaduha, modern-day Cahokia Mounds, Illinois.

Angela recognizes the symbols as Aztec pictograms and begins to translate the story. However, other forces also want the codex and will do anything to get it. Can she learn the secrets of the chronicle before the tragic events of the past are repeated today?

~*~*~*~ The Review~*~*~*~

I love to read indie books because they give a new perspective in reading. However, this one was a little more than I had bargained for. And I mean that in the best possible  way.

Chronicle of the Mound Builders is a long book filled with a great many historical facts and details about archaeological digs all wrapped up in a complex story.The  book is told from two different time perspectives: the early 1300s and present day. The chapters go back and forth, present to past and back to present again all the while building the story of the Aztec-esque urn and the codex it contains.

As a former history major I discovered something about myself while  reading this book: ancient history is not my favorite. Not by a long shot. But in all fairness to Elle Marie and the undeniable work she put into this book, I went to amazon and read the reviews there.  Unorthodox, I know, but as a reviewer of indie books and an author for a small house, I know what kind of work goes into a novel of this length and I wanted to be as fair as possible. Elle Marie spent her time (and possibly money) to get this book out for others to read. She put her heart out there and that alone deserves commendation.

What discovered is that Chronicle of the Mound  Builders is just not my kind of book. That doesn’t mean that it’s not well  written, or poorly formatted. It was neither of those things. As I said before, it is very complex,almost too much so for my distracted brain. But…I know a great many people who would fall head first into such a detailed and intricate tale and not emerge until the very last page.

That said, if you love deep books, with involved plots cleverly woven through historyand fact, then this is the book for you!

~*~*~*~ Author Bio ~*~*~*~

elle marie (1)Elle Marie started writing at the urging of her husband, who always believed she was destined to be an author. After first publishing a nonfiction book, Living the Thin Life, she turned to fiction.

A visit to Cahokia Mounds sparked a fascination with the mysterious Mound Builders, about whom so little is known. What was their culture like? How did ordinary people live in the 14th century? What caused the civilization to vanish, seemingly overnight? She put her imagination to work and came up with a story line that put it all together.

By day, Elle works in the information technology field at a large financial services firm. She is a graduate of the Missouri University of Science & Technology and lives in the St. Louis area with her husband. Chronicle of the Mound Builders is her first novel.


  ~*~*~*~ Connect with Elle ~*~*~*~


~*~*~*~ Buy the Book ~*~*~*~


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~*~*~*~ Elle Marie on Tour ~*~*~*~

Eighty-eight Keys by Catherine Lavender

eighty eight keysLeah is a young woman who is trying to break free from a strict religious background and pursue her dream as a pianist in the world of show business. While trying to find her independence her heart is held captive by Jason Rowe, a local basketball star who established an organization to help troubled youth. When Jason is found murdered in his home, Leah is determined to get answers from a closed investigation. During her state of emotional turmoil, Leah finds comfort not only in the melody of her music, but in the arms of a married man named Calvin. With her dreams at her fingertips, Leah is tangled in a web of lies and deceit. Despite the fear of learning the truth, Leah has to realize that only the truth can set her free.

A dead lover, with a trail of broken hearts…
A married man, with a double-life…
A dream chaser, with a killer at her heels…
A piano, with eighty-eight keys…

~*~*~*~ The Review ~*~*~*~

The terrible thing about the labels we tag onto books is that according to those succinct little words we form opinions and preconceived notions about the book’s content. Such was the case for me with Eighty-eight Keys by Catherine Lavender. The label said suspense and that’s what I expected. But as far as suspense novels go, Eighty-eight Keys was disappointing. However, if you were to disregard the labels and sit down expecting a book about complex relationships between well-developed yet flawed characters, then Eighty-eight Keys is the book for you.

I loved the play between the characters, the relationships and entanglements both beneficial and unhealthy. And honesty I wish there had been more–more of what had happened between Jason and Leah, more between Calvin and Marla, even more between Mrs. Jacobi and Leah.

But all in all, Eighty-eight Keys is a homerun. This won’t be the last book I read from Catherine Lavender.

And now, a little more from Catherine Lavender:

Staying Positive

Have you ever met a person who just seemed to radiate positive energy regardless of what situation they were going through? Even when facing serious life challenges, they were still happy and smiling. This is an example of a person who has learned that having a positive attitude towards life will help overcome any fear and anxiety.

Everyone faces challenges, heartaches, disappointments, and shattered dreams at different points in life. Some people dwell on negative situations and cannot seem to find any peace during these difficult times. They become stressed out, sad, and burden down by negative energy.

Other people adopt a more optimistic perspective when challenges arise. They refuse to allow situations and people to dictate their moods and outlook. They do not allow negative thoughts to control their lives and they surround themselves with positive people. They may also invest in their own spiritual growth by listening to positive people and reading inspiring and motivational literature.

Catherine Pulsifer once said, “Your attitude can take you forward or your attitude can take you down. The choice is always yours!” She understood that our attitude is something that we can learn to have control over regardless of the situation.

Most people who have an optimistic perspective on life believe that valuable lessons can be learned from the obstacles that we face in life. For example, I know a woman who got laid off from a mental health position and instead of complaining and stressing about it; she took the opportunity to begin her own business as a Life Coach. She could have surrounded herself with negativity and complained about how life was unfair but she chose to turn a negative situation into a positive outcome.

If you struggle with negativity, you should try re-training your thought process by observing your thoughts. When a negative thought comes, immediately change it to a positive thought. If the thought, “I’m nothing but a failure” comes, simply change it to, “I’m successful in many areas”. Using positive affirmations daily will help you filter away negative thoughts within time. Remember having a positive attitude will make a huge difference in your life and can help you achieve incredible things.

~*~*~*~ Author Bio ~*~*~*~

catherine lavenderCatherine Lavender is from Baltimore, Maryland but now resides in Tampa, Florida with her miniature schnauzer name Ripken. She is an animal activist, as well as a supporter of the organization First Book which helps supply literature for underprivileged children. In her spare time, Catherine enjoys reading classic literature and playing the acoustic guitar.

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