Thursday, November 20, 2014

The Tree of Water Guest Post





Synopsis (from Amazon): The epic voyages continue in The Tree of Water, the fourth adventure in bestselling author Elizabeth Haydon’s acclaimed fantasy series for young readers, The Lost Journals of Ven Polypheme.

As Royal Reporter of the land of Serendair, it is the duty of young Charles Magnus "Ven" Polypheme to travel the world and seek out magic hiding in plain sight. But Ven needs to escape the clutches of the nefarious Thief Queen, ruler of the Gated City, whose minions are hunting for him. His friend, the merrow Amariel, has the perfect solution to his dilemma: Ven and Char will join her to explore the world beneath the sea.
As they journey through the sea, Ven finds himself surrounded by wonders greater than he could have ever imagined. But the beauty of the ocean is more than matched by the dangers lurking within its depths, and Ven and his friends soon realize that in order to save thousands of innocent lives, they may have to sacrifice their own. For everything in the ocean needs to eat…


Interview with Elizabeth Haydon, documentarian, archanologist and translator of Ven’s journals, including The Tree of Water

SBN:  The main character in The Lost Journals of Ven Polypheme series is Charles Magnus "Ven" Polypheme. Tell us about him.

EH:  Ven was an interesting person, but he really didn’t think so. He and his family were of a different race than the humans who made up most of the population where he lived, the race of the Nain. Nain are an old race, a little shorter and stockier than most humans, with a tendency to be on the grumpy side. They live about four times as long as humans, are very proud of their beards, which they believe tell their life stories, don’t like to swim or travel, and prefer to live deep in the mountains.Ven was nothing like the majority of Nain. He was very curious, loved to travel, could swim, and longed to see the world. He was actually a pretty nice kid most of the time. He had the equivalent of a baby face because only three whiskers of his beard had grown in by the time The Tree of Water took place, when he was fifty years old [around twelve in Nain years]. He had a great group of friends, including the merrow and Char, who were mentioned earlier. It is believed that his journals were the original research documents for two of the most important books of all time, The Book of All Human Knowledge and All the World’s Magic.The only copies of these two volumes were lost at sea centuries ago, so finding the Lost Journals is the only way to recover this important information.

SBN: What is/are the most difficult part or parts of writing/restoring the Lost Journals?


EH: Here’s the list, mostly from the archaeological digs where the journals have been found:
1] Cannibals
2] Crocodiles
3] Sunburn
4] Sand flies
5] Dry, easily cracking parchment pages
6] The horrible smell of long-dead seaweed
7] Grumpy members of the archaeological expedition [I could name names, but I won’t]
8] Expedition food [when finding and retrieving the journal for The Tree of Water,we ate nothing but peanut butter and raisin sandwiches, olives and yellow tea for six months straight]
9] When salt water gets into your favorite fountain pen and clogs it up. This is very sad.
10] Unintentionally misspelling a word in the Nain language that turns out to be embarrassing [the word for “jelly” is one letter different from the word for “diarrhea,” which caused a number of my Nain friends to ask me what on earth I thought Ven was spreading on his toast.]

SBN: What do you enjoy about this series that cannot be found in any of your other books? 

EH:Getting to write about a lot of cool magic stuff that used to exist in our world, but doesn’t anymore. And getting to travel to interesting places in the world to see if maybe some of it still does exist. Also getting to show the difference between merrows, which are real, interesting creatures, and mermaids, which are just silly.

SBN: What do you hope readers take away from this book? 

EH: I hope, in general, that it will open their eyes to the wonder of the sea, which takes up the majority of our planet, but we really don’t know that much about it down deep. There is a great deal of magic in the sea, and I hope that if and when people become aware of it, they will help take care of it and not throw garbage and other bad stuff into it. I have a serious dislike for garbage-throwing.Probably the most useful secret I learned that I hope will be of use to readers is about thrum. Thrum is the way the creatures and plants that live in the ocean communicate with each other through vibration and thought. As Ven and his friends learn, this can be a problem if you think about something you don’t want anyone to know about when you are standing in a sunshadow, because everyone gets to see a picture of what’s on your mind. Imagine how embarrassing that could be.

SBN: Are there more books coming in this series? 

EH: Well, at least one. In the archaeological dig site where The Tree of Water was found was another journal, a notebook that Ven called The Star of the Sea. We are still working on restoring it, but it looks like there are many new adventures and different kinds of magic in it. The problem is that it might have been buried in the sand with an ancient bottle of magical sun tan lotion, which seems to have leaked onto some of the journal’s pages. This is a very sad event in archaeology, but we are working hard to restore it. As for other books, it’s not like we just write them out of nowhere. If we haven’t found one of Ven’s journals, there can’t be another book, now, can there? We are always looking, however. We’ve learned so much about ancient magic from the journals we have found so far.

SBN: Tell us where we can find your book and more information about where you are these days. 

EH: You can find The Tree of Water anywhere books are sold, online and in bookstores. There are several copies in my steamer trunk and I believe the palace in Serendair also has one. I also sent one to Bruno Mars because I like his name.At the moment, I am on the beautiful island of J’ha-ha, searching for a very unique and magical flower. Thank you for asking these interview questions—it has improved my mood, since I have only found weeds so far today. I am hoping for better luck after lunch, which, sadly, is peanut butter and raisin sandwiches, olives, and yellow tea again.






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Friday, October 31, 2014

Christmas at Tiffany's ~ TLC Book Tour

~ I received a copy of this book from the publisher or author to facilitate this review.  I received no compensation and opinions are 100% my own or my family. ~


Synopsis (from Amazon): In the wake of a heartbreaking betrayal, a young woman leaves the Scottish countryside to find her destiny in three of the most exciting cities in the world—New York, Paris, and London—in this funny and triumphant tale of fulfillment, friendship, and love.


Ten years ago, a young and na├»ve Cassie married her first serious boyfriend, believing he would be with her forever. Now, her marriage is in tatters and Cassie has no career or home of her own. Though she feels betrayed and confused, Cassie isn’t giving up. She’s going to take control of her life. But first she has to find out where she belongs . . . and who she wants to be.
Over the course of one year, Cassie leaves her sheltered life in rural Scotland to stay with her best friends living in the most glamorous cities in the world: New York, Paris, and London. Exchanging comfort food and mousy hair for a low-carb diet and a gorgeous new look, Cassie tries each city on for size as she searches for the life she’s meant to have . . . and the man she’s meant to love.



One (or more) Sentence Summary: What a great read. I get the title, but this is not a Christmas book. It is a book about great friends always being there for each other with romance (good and bad) tossed in. Great chick lit all year long!
I have to give a shout out to Henry and his lists!  Loved him as part of the book. 

Favorite Character(s):  I can't pick one, so I declare it a four-way tie between Cassie, Anouk, Kelly and Suzy. It would be so great to have such great friends (that live in such great cities!!)

Setting:  Paris, London and New York City - Perfect!

Fast read/slow read:  Just the right reading pace.  Christmas at Tiffany's kept me 100% engaged and wanting to come back for more, when I had to put it down (darn work)! 

Cover:  I just love it.  The little "Tiffany Blue" bag ties it all together!
What Others Are Saying:  Check out the other TLC Book Tours stops to see what other bloggers are saying.


Wednesday, October 29th: No More Grumpy Bookseller
Friday, October 31st: Seaside Book Nook
Monday, November 3rd: Words by Webb
Tuesday, November 4th: My Bookshelf
Wednesday, November 5th: Becca Rowan
Thursday, November 6th: BoundbyWords
Tuesday, November 11th: Tina Says …
Wednesday, November 12th: Spices Latte Reads
Thursday, November 13th: A Chick Who Reads
Monday, November 17th: A Bookish Way of Life
Thursday, November 20th: Books in the Burbs
Thursday, November 20th: For the Love of Words
Friday, November 21st: Svetlana’s Reads and Views

Would I Read Other Books by the Author: Yes, I want to read Players first and than Prima Donna!


Karen Swan began her career in fashion journalism before giving it all up to raise her three children and an ADHD puppy, and to pursue her ambition of becoming a writer. She lives in the forest in Sussex, writing her books in a treehouse overlooking the Downs. Her first novel, Players, was published in 2010, followed by Prima Donna and Christmas at Tiffany’s in 2011.


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Monday, October 27, 2014

Life ~ It Is What It Is

~ I received a copy of this book from the publisher or author to facilitate this review.  I received no compensation and opinions are 100% my own or my family. ~



Synopsis (from Amazon): We expend massive amounts of energy in pursuit of perfection. If only we could never make mistakes or encounter unpleasant obstacles, oh, wouldn't life be just perfect? Maybe, but it would also be static, unfulfilling, and really, really boring.

Humorist Lisa Sugarman knows that life is a work in progress. She knows what we all suspect—life is at its best when it's fluid, unpredictable, and gloriously imperfect. And if this means life sometimes turns ugly and unpleasant, it only makes the good times that much sweeter.
Author of opinion column It Is What It Is, Lisa embraces reality, not perfection. We're supposed to be imperfect. We're meant to screw up, make bad decisions, and lose our way. We can't control everything that life throws at us, but we can control how we react to it.
With the right attitude and a little guidance from Lisa, anyone can be happy and fulfilled most of the time. Her collection of funny, inspiring, and sometimes poignant columns reminds us that life is not a straight line, even on the best of days, and it's the twists in the road which make the journey so beautiful.


One (or more) Sentence Summary: A collection of writings from Lisa's column of the years that had me laughing and relating to every column.  It took me a while to figure out "Aunt Flo Exposed." After a few paragraph's in, I laughed until my sides hurt. 

Fast read/slow read:  A very fast read. Life: It Is What It Is, is easy to pick up and put down.  You can read one "column" at a time and work your way through the book.  There were so many columns that I could relate too or insert a different name and the column would be my life.  

Cover:  Loved it!

Would I Read Other Books by the Author:  Yes, and I signed up for Lisa's blog!


Lisa Sugarman works, lives, and writes in Marblehead, Massachusetts, a small town of twenty thousand people crammed onto a small peninsula. She knows just about everyone in town, giving her a unique perspective as an opinion columnist for the local newspaper.

Lisa received her bachelor of arts with honors from Salem State University in 1991. She has authored the semi-regular opinion column It Is What It Is for The Marblehead Reporter and other GateHouse Media, Inc. since 2009.
Married to Dave, her high-school sweetheart, Lisa has two daughters, Riley and Libby.

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Monday, September 22, 2014

A Brief Moment of Weightlessness TLC Book Tours + Giveaway

~ I received a copy of this book from the publisher or author to facilitate this review.  I received no compensation and opinions are 100% my own or my family. ~

Giveaway:  One lucky reader will win their very own copy of this book! If you’re interested, please just let me know in a comment below. Please be 13 years or older and have a U.S. mailing address. Please leave your email.  Winner will be randomly selected 9/30/14. Good luck.

Synopsis (from Amazon): A BRIEF MOMENT OF WEIGHTLESSNESS is a collection of short stories that illuminate the beauty and extraordinariness of "ordinary" lives. Each explores the human desire for connectedness and grace. The stories range from large upheavals such as how a marriage shifts when a spouse loses a limb or how a girl reconfigures her world when her father goes to jail, to smaller moments such as when a woman experiences wonder again on a visit to a nursing home with her child and their dog, or when a man finds redemption in the midst of tragedy after being bitten by his dying dog. These illuminating, heartbreaking, poignant, astute stories take on serious issues of death/dying, injury, infidelity, aftermath of war, estrangement and more, but without a sense of gloom that could overwhelm them. They often, though not always, find that glimmer of hope or opportunity without feeling forced, and they are told in a voice that can cut to the quick of a character or conflict, with endings that don't always resolve neatly. If it is the small moments that make up a life, then these stories, explore, dissect and celebrate those small moments that make all of our lives extraordinary.


One (or more) Sentence Summary:  Beuatifully written.  I have no idea how one would come up with such stories, but they really made me think about relationships and life.

Fast read/slow read:  Really fast read. 

Cover:  Beautiful, calming, weightlessness - perfect!
What Others Are Saying:  Check out what others are saying on the TLC Book Tours:
Monday, September 15th:  Bibliophiliac
Wednesday, September 17th:  Kahakai Kitchen
Thursday, September 18th:  A Bookish Way of Life
Monday, September 22nd:  Seaside Book Nook
Wednesday, September 24th:  A Lovely Bookshelf on the Wall
Thursday, September 25th:  Suko’s Notebook
Monday, September 29th:  Book Snob
Wednesday, October 1st:  Bookchickdi
Thursday, October 2nd:  Knowing the Difference
Monday, October 6th:  Svetlana’s Reads and Views
Wednesday, October 8th:  Patricia’s Wisdom
Thursday, October 9th:  Lit and Life
Monday, October 13th:  The Things You Can Read
Tuesday, October 14th:  Under My Apple Tree
Wednesday, October 15th:  5 Minutes for Books

In addition to writing short stories, Victoria Fish is pursuing her Masters of Social Work. Her stories have appeared in numerous literary magazines, including Hunger Mountain, Slow Trains, Wild River Review, and Literary Mama. She lives with her husband and three boys in the hills of Vermont. A BRIEF MOMENT OF WEIGHTLESSNESS is her first book.

Purchase Links

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Tuesday, September 9, 2014

The Heiresses: A Novel





Synopsis (from Amazon): From Sara Shepard, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Pretty Little Liars, comes The Heiresses—a novel about the Saybrooks, a diamond family blessed with beauty and fortune yet plagued by a string of tragic and mysterious deaths.

The only thing more flawless than a Saybrook’s solitaire is the family behind the diamond empire. Beauties, entrepreneurs, debutantes, and mavens, the Saybrooks are the epitome of high society. Anyone would kill to be one of them. But be careful what you wish for, because if you were a Saybrook, you’d be haunted by secrets and plagued by a dark streak of luck.

Tragedy strikes the prominent family yet again on a beautiful morning in May when thirty-four-year-old Poppy, the most remarkable Saybrook of them all, flings herself from the window of her office. Everyone is shocked that someone so perfect would end her own life—until her cousins receive an ominous warning: One heiress down, four to go.

Was it suicide . . . or murder? And who will be next: Aster, the beautiful but reckless girl who’s never worked a day in her life—and who’s covering up her father’s darkest secret? Her older sister, Corrine, whose meticulously planned future is about to come crashing down around her? Perhaps it will be Natasha, the black sheep of the family who suddenly disinherited herself five years ago. Or maybe the perpetually single Rowan, who had the most to gain from her cousin’s death.

A gripping, edge-of-your-seat thriller about heiresses who must uncover a dark truth about their family before they lose the only thing money can’t buy: their lives.



One (or more) Sentence Summary: I absolutely LOVED The Heiresses.  There better be a second novel coming soon.  It reminded me of the Kennedy family meets Sex in the City.  

Favorite Character(s):  Oh, I can't possibly have a favorite.  They are all great and perfect for the book and setting.

Fast read/slow read:  Super FAST!  The best of chick lit!

Cover:  Can't imagine a different cover!  Just right.

What Others Are Saying:  
“A smart, delicious suspense novel filled with money, murder and well-heeled heiresses up to no good. Warning: You’re going to be up late tonight!” (Kate White, author of The Sixes)

The Heiresses is absolutely riveting, with more twists than a labyrinth and one of the most vivid cast of characters in contemporary fiction. Sara Shepard’s smart, funny voice--already beloved by legions of fans--shines brighter than ever. I’m recommending this book to everyone I know.” (Sarah Pekkanen, author of Catching Air)

“Sara Shepard has created a Pretty Little Liars for adults. . . . Perfect for a light beach read.” (Kirkus Reviews)

Would I Read Other Books by the Author: Yes, PLEASE write a sequel and publish it ASAP!


Sara Shepard is the author of the #1 New York Times bestselling series Pretty Little Liars. She graduated from NYU and has an MFA from Brooklyn College. Sara has lived in New York, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Arizona, where the Lying Game series is set.

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Saturday, September 6, 2014

Beyond Hollywood Strip - TLC Bood Tours + Giveaway

~ I received a copy of this book from the publisher or author to facilitate this review.  I received no compensation and opinions are 100% my own or my family. ~

Giveaway:  One lucky reader will win their very own copy of this book! If you’re interested, please just let me know in a comment below. Please be 13 years or older and have a U.S. mailing address. Please leave your email.  Winner will be randomly selected 9/14/14. Good luck.

Synopsis (from Amazon): Callie Lambert is the hottest starlet in Hollywood. With a hit TV show under her belt, the tabloid-targeted actress--christened one of “The 20 Most Tantalizing Angelenos”--leads a charmed life, hobnobbing with fashionistas in Paris and industry bigwigs in Los Angeles . She's sexy, sassy, and unsinkable....and currently unemployed. 

Beyond Hollywood Strip offers an inside look into the realities of being famous and beautiful, following Callie as she navigates the seedy underbelly of the entertainment industry. Juggling hunky ex-boyfriends, battling lawsuits from rival actresses, staying one step ahead of the press, organizing a charity event to honor her murdered friend…Callie’s got it all under control. But when she receives a mysterious letter from a young woman claiming to be her long-lost sister, Callie’s world begins to crack around the edges and all bets are off. 

An ode to the literary popcorn of Jacqueline Susann, Beyond Hollywood Strip is a steamy, action-packed ride down Sunset Boulevard. Better buckle your seat belt…it’s going to be bumpy... 


One (or more) Sentence Summary: I really liked that Beyond Hollywood Strip included both the "Hollywood" scene and "normal" life stuff.  The connection Callie had to her grandmother..loved it.  Finding out she has a sisterloved it.  Her lustful mistakeso real!

Favorite Character(s):  Callie was my favorite character.  She seemed to have it all together and didn't get caught up in the "Hollywood" scene.

Fast read/slow read:  I found Beyond Hollywood Strip to be an okay paced read.  I think if my "work life" was not so crazy at this time, it would have been a fast read.

Cover:  LOVE it!  So perfect for the book.
What Others Are Saying:  Check out what others are saying on the TLC Book Tours
Monday, August 18th: From the TBR Pile
Wednesday, August 20th: Steph the Bookworm
Thursday, August 21st: Mom in Love with Fiction
Monday, August 25th: Bewitched Bookworms
Thursday, August 28th:  The Suburban Eclectic Review – Book Spotlight
Wednesday, August 27th: Harlie’s Books
Monday, September 1st: Read – Love – Blog
Tuesday, September 2nd: Sveltlana’s Reads and Views
Wednesday, September 3rd: Shelf Pleasure -author guest post, “The Godmother”
Thursday, September 4th:  Three Girls and a Book Obsession
Friday, September 5th:  Seaside Book Nook
Wednesday, September 10th:  Traveling with T


Would I Read Other Books by the Author: Yes, in fact, I didn't know that Beyond Hollywood Strip was the sequel to Hollywood Strip.  I am going to read the first book.

The chronicles of Callie Lambert are loosely based on author Shamron Moore’s real life experiences as an actress and model. Shamron left her home state of Michigan to pursue the excitement of Los Angeles. She has appeared in numerous commercials, television shows and feature films. FHM named her one of the 100 Sexiest Women in the World. Nowadays, she prefers to focus on writing, one of her lifelong passions. Beyond Hollywood Strip is her second novel.

Connect with Shamron

Website | Facebook



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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Lucky Me - A Must Read!!


~ I received a copy of this book from the publisher or author to facilitate this review.  I received no compensation and opinions are 100% my own or my family. ~




Synopsis (from Amazon): After breaking a chain letter, can superstitious Megan find a way to turn her luck around?

Meghan McGlinchey is the most superstitious girl in her family—and probably in the entire state of Delaware. When she receives a chain letter from a stranger in Ireland, Meghan immediately passes it on, taking only a tiny shortcut in the directions.

But after a disastrous day, made complete by losing the election for class president and embarrassing herself in front of the entire school, Meghan realizes that tiny shortcut was a big mistake. Thankfully, her family was already headed to Ireland on spring break, and Meghan makes it her mission to find the original sender and break her extremely unlucky streak.

With the help of an eccentric cast of characters—and one very cute Irish boy—can Meghan figure out a way to stop her bad luck? Or is she cursed forever?



One (or more) Sentence Summary:  My Mom and I read Lucky Me together and I am not sure who liked in more; me or her.  It doesn't really matter because we both LOVED it.  

I had never heard of a chain letter (of course my mom did), but I would love to start one now.  My mom said she use to get them all the time as a kid.   How cool is getting mail, right?

Megan is absolutely hilarious, as are her sisters.  The book is 100% funny.  

Favorite Character(s):  Megan, Finn and Carissa were the best.  I think Mrs. Buck was so funny.  She would make an awesome grandmother!

Setting:  Mostly in Ireland traveling the country side trying to find the links to the chain letter.  Ireland is one of my top 5 countries I would LOVE to go visit. It is in my Mom's top two!

Fast read/slow read:  I couldn't wait for my Mom to get home from work so we could read together for 20 minutes.  We often went way past the 20 minutes, since we both loved the story.

Cover:  I just love Megan's shirt.  I have one very similar.  The cover is perfect for the story.

Would I Read Other Books by the Author:  My Mom has read Lost in London (click here for the review).  My Mom and I would both love to read more books by Cindy Callaghan.



Cindy Callaghan grew up in New Jersey and attended college at the University of Southern California before earning her BA in English and French, and MBA from the University of Delaware (Megan in the book is from Delaware!).

She is the author of three tween novels all published by Simon & Schuster, JUST ADD MAGIC (2010), LOST IN LONDON (2013) and LUCKY ME (2014). The ebook JUST ADD A FAMOUS TV CHEF is available for download from www.cindycallaghan.com.


Amazon |  Barnes & Noble | Book Depository


I have to share my two cents….Lucky Me is just too cute for words.  It is perfect for 5th grade up.  It is clean and a very funny story.  Hard to find these days!  It reminded me of Meg Cabot/Sophia Kinsella for kids.  Absolutely adorable with so much humor!  Well done Cindy, well done!

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