When We Last Spoke Book Review and Giveaway

Having grown up in a rural area, with grandparents who played heavy roles in my upbringing, I was quickly drawn to When We Last Spoke by Marci Henna.  I'm pleased to offer my review of this book--and to offer one reader the opportunity to win a copy of the book in the giveaway at the end of this post.

I received a complimentary copy of this book for use in my review.  All opinions are my own. 

Quick Summary of When We Last Spoke by Marci Henna.  With the heart and humor of Fannie Flagg’s Fried Green Tomatoes and Rebecca Wells’s Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, author Marci Henna introduces you to the Cranbournes—a mostly lovable and undoubtedly nutty family who’ve had more than their fair share of hard times.

A beautiful blend of tears and laughter, When We Last Spoke tells the tale of sisters Juliet and Evangeline, who are dropped off by their Broadway-bound mother at their paternal grandparents’ Texas ranch in 1967. After their cherished father is killed in Vietnam, the girls are orphaned. Still mourning their son’s death, grandparents Walt and Ruby accept their role as guardians, only to be surprised soon after by another permanent houseguest’s arrival—Walt’s kooky mother, Itasca.
Fast-forward to the present, where the warmhearted home in which the girls grew up is now just a faint memory. The estranged sisters are in need of a good dose of Walt’s famous stargazing wisdom: “You’ve got to look real close. Pay attention to what’s around you in this life. You’re liable to miss something important if you don’t.”

Packed with plenty of quirky characters and hilarious escapades, this must-read novel also digs in deep to the things that matter most—family, friends, love, and forgiveness.

When We Last Spoke Hits a Lovely Note with Memoir Fans.  While this series is fictional, this novel reads like a memoir--and fits its setting in both time and place perfectly.  The cast of characters, with their quirks and their interactions--and the small town, Southern atmosphere certainly seem like the creations of a person reliving their past.  If you like the style of a memoir, where the author generally pulls in random memories from different times and people from the past, then, you will fall into stride with this book.  If you need a consistent flow of story from beginning to end--the style of this novel may require a little patience at times.

When We Last Spoke Offers Quite a Cast of Characters--Just like Life.  Sometimes, we fail to realize the the roles that many of our life's characters play in the "making" of who and what we become.  Small town life often offers fewer characters than city living--but, they are generally far more memorable in their own rights.  Henna does a wonderful job creating characters to dot the girls' memories of years gone by.  Readers will likely find more than a few characters with which to identify from their own pasts (especially if they have grown up in the South or even the rural Midwest).

Would I recommend When We Last Spoke by Marci Henna?  Readers will not find an action packed mystery or an over the top, fictional tale on the pages of this book.  Instead, they will find a heartwarming story of friends and family and life's journey.  Sometimes, we find a point in our life where we need to re-ground ourselves and seek out the past to make peace with the present.  This book follows two sisters as they find some peace in who they were and who they have become.  I would recommend it to memoir fans--or to readers who simply enjoy a homespun, life story filled with food, life's ups and downs and memories of the past.

Buy the Book on Amazon

Meet the Author
Marci Henna is a novelist living in Austin, Texas, with her husband. She holds a BA in literature from the University of Texas and spent many years serving as a trustee on various nonprofit foundations, several of which attended to children’s needs. Although she’s resided in Texas and New Mexico for most of her life, Henna has also lived in Kenya with the Wakamba.

Enter to Win a Copy of When We Last Spoke 
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Disclosure:  Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway.  Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation.  I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post, but all opinions are my own.

Dragon's Quest Book Release Spotlight Tour and Giveaway

This fantasy novel was just released this week by urban fantasy author, Cyci Cade.  The first book of the Dragon Princes Series, Dragon's Quest, is in our book spotlight today.  Learn about this new fantasy series, meet the author and enter to win a copy of the book in the book release tour giveaway at the end of this post!

Dragon's Quest
Dragon Princes Book 1
by Cyci Cade
Genre: Fantasy

Three lives separated by time and land, connected by curse.
Two princes from the Dragon ́s Dynasty, Liu and Wei, are cursed and condemned to live as dragons. After two centuries their fate changes when Kate appears in their lives and they are able to return to their human form. However, the curse isn ́t broken yet.
To break the curse, the princes must recover the eyes and heart of the Great Dragon. As Liu, Wei, and Kate embark on a journey to the Palace of Jade in search of the first eye, they ́ll have to face mythological creatures and immortal warriors. They ́ll have to face death too, and prove that they are honorable men to save Kate ́s life.
They ́ll be tested as never before. They ́ll discover feelings they never imagined existed. They ́ll have to fight like wild warriors.
A curse can be broken... But at what cost?

**Released Feb 15th, 2017!!**

I´m Cyci Cade and I write urban fantasy and fiction novels for young adult.

I´ll never forget the first time I wrote a story; I was in fifth grade. That experience enchanted me. What should be an insignificant composition became a four pages flash story. My teacher didn´t like it very much, but who cared? She did.
Well, I had to shorten my compositions. However, it didn´t discourage me; on the contrary, it made me try harder. I like a good challenge. I like to try new things; some of them don´t work as I expect, but it doesn´t matter. I always learn new things.
I started writing articles for magazines, newspapers, and blogs. I wrote my first book in 2010 and published it in 2012. It was so amazing that I didn´t stop anymore. Writing makes me happy.
I have received 5 stars reviews from professional websites, and remarkable comments that have encouraged me.
During my free time, I like reading, watching TV series, and movies.
I live in Brazil and I have a cat named Angel. I love cats too.
Welcome to my world!


40 Something Book Tour and Giveaway

Not that I'm 40-Something..or anything--but, this collection of stories about various women, facing some of the challenges encountered by women, from author Shannon Peel caught my eye this week.  This morning, we have 40 Something in the spotlight--and you can enter to win the collection of Peel's 40-Something, chick-lit stories in the giveaway at the end of this post!  Note that if you have read Peel's 40-Something ebook stories--this novel is actually a compilation of those 5 e-books. 

40 Something
by Shannon Peel
Genre: Chick Lit, Contemporary Fiction
Five women navigate life while juggling careers, children, family, and the men in their lives.

Charlie is bored with the family tradition of Sunday Dinner so she brings a friend her family won't approve of to spice things up a bit. Will this friend go too far and cause too much damage?
Rose only wants to do what is right and keep her family safe. How can she do that when the world is so dangerous and her teenagers so willful. Will helping a friend invite trouble into her perfect world?
Lindsay loves to have fun and enjoys the company of men. She is a modern playgirl who will stop at nothing to get a man's attention. Will she find what she's looking for or something unexpected?
Sophie wants to keep the peace and keep everyone happy, especially her ex-husband, so her children will live with her full time. Will she lose the children if she can't afford to take care of them?
Justine wants to escape her perfect life, she just doesn't realize it. Will she find the passion that is missing or will she continue to hide behind her computer screen?  

Shannon Peel grew up in Enderby, BC where her family's root run deep. Growing up where television was either non existent or very limited she relied on books & imagination to escape into the world beyond. 

She went to UBC to study and earn a general studies BA with a concentration in Political Science and Economics. Macro analysis of world events, social justice and human motivations became a passion of hers. This passion is a driving force in all her stories, which have political, economic, and social justice undercurrents. 

After a career in the financial field she decided to stay home and raise her two children until school age. In 2007 she return to the workforce as a sales / marketing / advertising professional. She currently resides in BC's Lower Mainland with her two teenage children. 

Shannon Peel is a creative, intelligent professional with a 20 year proven track record in sales, marketing, customer relations, project management, presentations, and communication. 


The Woods of Rural Oklahoma Offer a Variety of Outdoor Possibilities

If the rat race is getting you down, it may be time for a much needed vacation. But where are you headed off to? Even if you have a bucket list of sites you'd love to visit, you may not have the budget to accomplish your goal. However, this doesn't mean that you need to keep putting off your long overdue vacation. There are plenty of fantastic places for you to visit that are located directly in your own back yard. The woods of Oklahoma are waiting for you.  Oklahoma?  If you are like me--you may not have thought about Oklahoma for that next big family trip--but, rural Oklahoma offers a lot of outdoor travel possibilities.

Find a Peaceful Spot to Relax That is Practically in Your Own Back Yard.  Did you know that log cabin rentals in the Big Bend area are available? If not, you should also know that these rentals are well within the scope of your budget. If you've never had an inkling that the woods of Oklahoma might just be the best place for you to find peace of mind, now is the time to find out. Instead of paying thousands of dollars to journey far from home, why not relax in your own back yard? The peace and tranquility you find there is sure to astonish and delight you.    

Enjoy a Quiet Evening of Peaceful Relaxation in the Oklahoma Woods.  You can rent a cabin in the woods of Oklahoma and enjoy a few days and nights of pure peace and quiet. If you've gone too long in the city without these precious qualities, you're long overdue for a refreshing spell of pure tranquility. You can get this by checking out the excellent new series of Broken Bow cabins that are available now for you to rent. This is an excellent offer that you should look into if you're ready to relax.

A Quiet Night in the Woods is a Night To Treasure. A quiet night, alone in the woods of rural Oklahoma, is an experience to treasure. You don't have to break your budget in order to make it happen. Contact Beavers Bend Log Cabins for more information concerning this excellent offer. This is one experience you can't afford to miss out on. The peace and tranquility that you will enjoy in the woods of Oklahoma can't be underestimated. The sooner you come out here to experience it for yourself, the sooner you'll understand what life in the woods is all about.


Chick Lit Blogger Girl Series Book Blast and $10 Sephora Gift Card Giveaway!

Happy Valentine's Day!  Today, I have a fun series of chick lit novels in the book spotlight--and I have the opportunity for one lucky reader to enter for a chance to win a $10 Sephora gift card!  Enjoy learning about the Blogger Girl series, meet the author--and enter for a chance to win that gift card in the book blast giveaway at the end of the post!

"Sassy, sexy, endlessly entertaining, and full of laughs (as well as some heart-wrenching moments), Blogger Girl is one of those books that keeps you up at night because you can't wait to see what happens next." - Tracie Banister, Author of Mixing It Up

Quick Summary of Blogger Girl.  What happens when your high school nemesis becomes the shining star in a universe you pretty much saved? Book blogger Kimberly Long is about to ?nd out. A chick lit enthusiast since the first time she read Bridget Jones's Diary, Kim, with her blog, Pastel is the New Black, has worked tirelessly by night to keep the genre alive, and help squash the claim that "chick lit is dead" once and for all. Not bad for a woman who by day ekes out a meager living as a pretty, and pretty-much-nameless, legal secretary in a Manhattan law ?rm. While Kim's day job holds no passion for her, the handsome (and shaving challenged) associate down the hall is another story. Yet another story is that Hannah Marshak, one of her most hated high school classmates, has now popped onto the chick lit scene with a hot new book that's turning heads--and pages--across the land. It's also popped into Kim's inbox--for review. With their ten-year reunion drawing near, Kim's coming close to combustion over the hype about Hannah's book. And as everyone around her seems to be moving on and up, she begins to question whether being a "blogger girl" makes the grade in her offline life.

Buy on Amazon / iBooks / Nook / Kobo

“A great chick lit book: a strong and confident heroine, a sexy boyfriend you can crush on, supportive friends, and plenty of conflict leading to comical results, culminating in a very satisfying ending.” – Erin Brady, Bestselling Author of The Shopping Swap Feisty New Yorker Kimberly

Quick Summary of Novelista Girl.  Long runs the most popular chick lit book blog on the web, loves playing house with her sexy lawyer boyfriend, Nicholas, and is finally pursuing her lifelong dream of becoming a published author. At first glance, her life is worthy of five pink champagne flutes. But is there more to the story than meets the eye? After hearing the phrase “chick lit is dead” more times than she’s read The Devil Wears Prada, Kim is driven to desperate measures, seeking advice from up-and-coming chick lit author, Hannah Marshak, her high school nemesis and resident “mean girl.” As if Kim doesn’t have enough on her plate balancing her secretarial duties with her blog, Pastel is the New Black, shrugging off the growing pile of agent rejections, and keeping her best friend from turning green over Kim’s budding friendship with Hannah, Nicholas is so blinded by his career ambitions, he doesn’t see that their home sweet home could use more than a dash of sugar. This is the year when all of Kim’s dreams—professional and romantic—are supposed to come true, but will her story have a happily ever after or will Kim end up unpublished and all alone?

Buy on Amazon / iBooks / Nook / Kobo

About the author 

A born and bred New Yorker, Meredith Schorr discovered her passion for writing when she began to enjoy drafting work-related emails way more than she was probably supposed to. After trying her hand penning children’s stories and blogging her personal experiences, Meredith found her calling writing chick lit and contemporary women’s fiction. She secures much inspiration from her day job as a hard-working trademark paralegal and her still single (but looking) status. Meredith is also the co-founder of BookBuzz, a live author/reader event held annually. She is a loyal New York Yankees fan and an avid runner. Novelista Girl is her fifth novel.

Follow on Social Media Blog / Facebook

Enter to win a $10 Sephora Gift Card from Author Meredith Schorr. 
Open to US residents 18+