Saturday, January 23, 2016

Glory Over Everything, Beyond The Kitchen House

I just had to share this with you all because I am so excited.  As you may remember, I absolutely LOVED The Kitchen House (My Review Kitchen House).  My ROC MOM bookclub read it so long ago.  However, I could never get the book out of my head.  So I reached out to the author Kathleen Grissom and started emailing with her every few months.  She would always give me an update regarding her next book and promised me an advanced copy.

Imagine my surprise when I got a package that contained Glory Over Everything inside.  I have two more books that I need to read, but have been carrying Glory Over Everything around for a week.  I want to crack open the cover SO, SO, SO badly.

Also, Kathleen sent out an email, so I thought I would share it with you all.  Kathleen is just too cool for words!  Keep a look out for my review.  I will post it as soon I am finished!

A note to all of my wonderful blogger and bookclub friends:

Along with sending my best wishes for 2016, I want to thank each of you for your incredible support of The Kitchen House. Over the past few years, I have been truly overwhelmed with gratitude with all of the notes I’ve received, book club invitations extended, and the genuine connection you have made with me and the Kitchen House characters. I truly feel blessed.

With your enthusiasm and encouragement spurring me on, I have now completed my second novel, Glory Over Everything, set to be released April 5, 2016 and I simply can’t wait for you to read it and to hear what you think!

In this second book, it is 1830 and we find Jamie, Belle’s son from The Kitchen House, assuming a secret identity, living the life of a wealthy aristocrat in Philadelphia society, passing as white. Compelled by a promise he made to the man who saved his life when he was a runaway slave, Jamie is led back to Virginia, down to North Carolina and finally into the complex twists of the underground railroad and the Great Dismal Swamp.

What made the publication of The Kitchen House so special for me were the personal conversations that I had with so many of you during our book club meetings. You shared so openly with me how the characters touched you. I often felt that we shared a family history. So now, I present to you Jamie and his extended family in Glory Over Everything. I hope you will love them as much as I do.

Always, with deepest gratitude,


Thursday, January 21, 2016


~ I received no compensation and opinions are 100% my own or my family. ~

Synopsis:  Andres and C lara’s lives are about to change. Will their determination be powerful enough to help them through what lies ahead? Will they discover that their hopes are only illusions or will they find that dreams really do come true....sometimes.

Children's literature is broadening its horizons with the publication of Sometimes, a story about a family immigrating to the U.S. Written by Texas elementary school teacher Hugo Ibarra and expert ELL educator John Seidlitz, Sometimes is based on first-hand stories from their students and parents as well as Ibarra’s own experience immigrating to the U.S. at 25.

Published by Canter Press, the publisher of Seidlitz Education, the leading provider of staff development and training materials for teachers of English learners, Sometimes comes straight from those who know how to teach immigration best. English and Spanish language editions help start a timely conversation about immigration, emphasizing the importance of adult encouragement for children in a time of transition.

Written for 4-8 year olds, Sometimes follows the journey of Andrés and his sister, Clara, as they immigrate from Mexico to the United States. They see many strange sights for the first time -- the border filled with cars, a strange U.S. town -- and wonder why they had to leave their mother behind. As Andrés starts at a new school, he receives encouragement from a beloved teacher, buoying his hopes until he and his sister are finally reunited with their mother.
Teaching a valuable lesson about holding on to hope, the book shows the impact of the courage, strength and hope parents and teachers provide to help children through a time of uncertainty. A story of a family’s close bond above all, Sometimes is relatable for any child. 

One (or more) Sentence Summary: I have to be honest...I didn't like the kids having to leave their mom.  I have no doubt this is reality when it comes to immigration, but it doesn't mean I have to like it.  I did like the close bond the children had with other family members and in the end they are reunited with their mother.  

I would like to think that immigrations issues are related to states bordering other countries, however, if you look past your front door, going inside a public school, go to a local church, you will see that is just a myth.  Here are few training tips the author put together:
  • The important leadership role teachers play for children in transition (stable role model, offer encouragement, see an aspect of child’s behavior that parents may not)
  • Why all parents should discuss immigration with their kids (helps children understand America’s history, prevents bullying by making the unfamiliar familiar)
  • The respectful way to talk to your neighbors who immigrated (don’t ask for their passports, don’t assume what their native language is, offer help to navigate US culture)
  • How teachers can learn more and train to help children in transition.

John Seidlitz is founder and CEO of Seidlitz Education, a company that provides training and support to educators and leaders of English Language Learner programs across the state of Texas and beyond. John began his work with ELLs as a social studies teacher, after which he served as a program coordinator, and a regional education specialist. He has authored several books, including: 7 Steps to Developing a Language-Rich Interactive ClassroomTM and Sheltered Instruction Plus: A Guide for Texas Teachers of English Learners. Sometimes is his first children's book.

Hugo Ibarra immigrated to the United States when he was 25. After studying immigrant children for his thesis, he received a Masters of Education in Educational Leadership from The University of Texas at Tyler and began his career as a Bilingual Education Teacher in Longview, Texas. Ibarra is currently the an elementary school principal in Bryan, Texas. Sometimes is his first children’s book. 

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Ally Hughes Has Sex Sometimes

~ I received no compensation and opinions are 100% my own or my family. ~

Synopsis (from Amazon): When a buttoned-up professor and her unbuttoned daughter fall for the same irresistible man, a delightful, subversive comedy begins. . . .
Life isn’t easy for single mother Ally Hughes. Teaching at Brown, her class load is huge and her boss is a menace. At home, she contends with a critical mother, a falling-down house, and a daughter who never misses a beat. Between taking care of the people she loves, teaching full time, and making ends meet, Ally doesn't have time for a man. She doesn’t date. She’s not into flings. But then she meets Jake, an eager student, young in years but old in soul, who challenges his favorite professor to open up her life, and her heart, to love. It doesn't work. In fact, his urging backfires.

Ten years later, Ally's still single. Jake reappears and surprises her in a brand-new role: He's dating Ally's now-grown daughter. In this hilarious, heartrending tale, Ally is finally forced to concede (not only to herself) that an independent, "liberated" woman can still make room in her life for love.

One (or more) Sentence Summary: Ally Hughes Has Sex Sometimes is a fantastic story with steam, crazy twists, great characters, Absolutely loved the book from page one and it just kept getting better with each turn of the page.  The book goes back and forth about 10 years and present day.  Can there PLEASE be a sequel?

Favorite Character(s):  Ally go girl!

Fast read/slow read:  Super-duper fast.  Very easy, very funny, very hot....

Would I Read Other Books by the Author:  I would love, love, love to read another book by Jules.  This is Jules' first novel.  I sure hope she is writing her second one FAST.

Jules Moulin has a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University. She spent her twenties writing the Golden Globe and Emmy Award winning series Party of Five and The West Wing. She left Hollywood five years ago in order to work as a full-time mom and splits her time between New York City and Pasadena, California. This is her first novel.

Monday, January 11, 2016


~ I received no compensation and opinions are 100% my own or my family. ~

Synopsis (from Amazon): For 29-year-old Brooke Mortimer a man is a non-essential survival item—more like something forgotten at the bottom of her purse. In Brooke’s world work comes first, second, and last. She runs a successful self-help business and doesn’t have the time for much else—least of all messy, unpredictable love. 

Her pursuit of success pushes her to woo corporate America. Enter tall, tanned, and toned Logan McManus. He’s everything she’s looking for—a big brand with an even bigger checkbook—and something she didn’t see coming, something that will put her views on love to the test. But there’s more to Logan than Brooke’s bargained for. When their worlds collide her life is thrown into total disarray, forcing her to consider re-writing her own self-help survival guide. 

Is Brooke ready to risk everything and get into bed with corporate America? 

Escape to beautiful New Zealand in this sexy, feel-good romantic comedy. 

The Heartbroker is a romantic comedy / contemporary romance set in New Zealand. It's a sequel to Styling Wellywood, but can be read as a stand-alone story. 

** Warning: this book has some SSM—Seriously Sexy Moments—so suits readers over 18 

One (or more) Sentence Summary: I enjoyed Heartbroker very much.  The characters really make the book.  I really liked Logan and was so shocked...can't say anymore or it will spoil it.  I liked the Brooke we get to know in Heartbroker as compared to the Brooke we met in Styling Wellywood.  I also enjoy the setting - New Zealand.  I would love to visit.  Great chic-lit with a great story and steamy chapter!

Fast read/slow read:  Extremely fast read.  I read this on my kindle.

Cover:  I liked it. It goes great in the Wellywood Series.

What Others Are Saying:  

Would I Read Other Books by the Author: Yes, this is my second book by Kate O'Keeffe.  See my review on Styling Wellywood.  I can't wait for the next book to come out this spring, Falling For Grace.  Keep in mind each book can be read independently and do not need to be read in order.

I write sexy, feel-good romantic comedies. I've loved rom coms, romance, and chick lit since I first encountered Bridget Jones as a young, impressionable writer. It really was a match made in chick lit heaven.

I've been a teacher and a sales executive, but am now content as a mother and writer, madly scribbling all the ideas I've accumulated during my time on this planet we call home.

I live and love in beautiful New Zealand--where my novels are all set--with my wonderful family and my two very scruffy, naughty dogs. 

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Written On My Heart

~ I received no compensation and opinions are 100% my own or my family. ~

Synopsis (from Amazon): The marriage of Florine Gilham and Bud Warner is a cause for celebration down on The Point, the Maine fishing village where they grew up. Yet even as the newlyweds begin their lives together, Florine is drawn back into the memory of her mother, Carlie, who vanished when Florine was twelve. As unexpected clues regarding her fate begin to surface, Florine and Bud face the challenges of trying to solve an old mystery while building a new marriage and raising a family. Morgan Callan Rogers’s Written on My Heart will delight readers who love feisty, poignant characters and the beautiful, unforgettable Maine coast.

One (or more) Sentence Summary:  I have never read a book set in Maine that I haven't liked and Written On My Heart is no exception.  The book focuses on Florine and Bud and their new life together.  However, they can't escape the past and what is unsolved.  I never figured the ending out so it hit my square on.  Great story and keeps you wanting more.

Favorite Character(s):  This is a tie between Ida and Florine.  Of course Florine being the main character and it is hard not to like her.  The two are so similar (and different) in so many ways.  Both are very strong, independent, tough, family first type of women.  This type of person usually rates pretty high in my book. They remind me of my mother.

Setting:  The coast of Maine - one of my favorite places.

Fast read/slow read:  Pretty fast.

Cover:  I love it! If you love the coast and/or Maine, its perfect! 

Would I Read Other Books by the Author:  I would love to read another book by Morgan.  In fact, I would love to read her first novel, Ruby Red Heart in the Cold Blue Sea. What I didn't know was that Written On My Heart is the sequel.  You do not need to read the first book.

Morgan Callan Rogers, a generations-back native Mainer, grew up in Bath, Maine, a historic shipbuilding city located on the mighty Kennebec River. She has a BA in English from the University of Southern Maine in Portland, Maine, and a MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Southern Maine's Masters in Creating Writing program. Morgan currently lives in Portland, Maine. This is her second novel.

I have to share something in common with Morgan.  My husband is family Bath Maine.  His Aunt and Uncle, Sister and one nephew still live there.  I love the quaint downtown of Bath.  I got my MBA at University of Maine (Orono) and love Portland, especially Old Port.  I so enjoyed all the references to the area/Maine.  We are hoping to head up this summer...hint, hint Morgan.  Want to meet for tea?