Trailer and Cover Reveal: The Leafwing, by Deborah J. Copeland

Today Deborah J. Copeland and Rockstar Book Tours are revealing the cover for THE LEAFWING, her YA Fantasy book which released on June 21, 2020! Check out the awesome trailer and enter the giveaway!

On to the reveal! 



Author: Deborah J. Copeland

Pub. Date: June 21, 2020

Publisher: Crown Royal Books

Formats: Paperback, eBook

Pages: 372

FIND IT: GoodreadsAmazonKindle

They walk amongst us pretending,
but I can see them.
I know what they are.
I can hear you inside my head.
I know what you are.
Funny. I think you know
what I am too.

Amelia Ricci remembers when being plain and nerdy was safe.

But everything changed the day she discovered that monsters disguised as teenagers attend her school. In fact, one befriends her, and her entire world is changed forever when he reveals what she really is; that she’s not just a mundane girl at school.

Now Amelia has the chance to solve the puzzle to the questions that have plagued her for years.

As she embraces her true identity, Amelia, along with her monster friends, are zapped into ancient worlds where butterflies talk, gnomes become spies, and allies turn into enemies as she seeks to discover the truth.



Debbie Copeland is a native New Yorker. She grew up on Hering Avenue in the North Bronx. Gifted as a child Debbie has been writing short stories, novellas, plays, and poems since the age of seven. Throughout her childhood, she wrote plays that she and her friends performed every summer for the entire neighborhood. She is the author of The Kids at Latimar High, which received great reviews, including one from Deborah Gregory, best-selling author of The Cheetah Girls.

Her new YA fantasy book, THE LEAFWING, is the first book in the Leafwing trilogy. She currently resides in Los Angeles where she is working on the second book in the LEAFWING  trilogy. Debbie’s other loves are reading YA fantasy and historical novels, musical theater, vintage fashion, and arts & crafts.


WebsiteFacebook |  Instagram |  Goodreads

Giveaway Details:

1 winner will receive a $10 Amazon Gift Card, International.

Rafflecopter link:



Cover Reveal: Elements of Power, by Kate Stoessel

It is my pleasure to be a part of the cover reveal for Elements of Power by Kate Stoessel. The cover is gorgeous. This looks like an intriguing read. Thank you to Sara Slattery at YA Bound Book Tours for inviting me to participate in this cover reveal.

Cover Designer: Lauria 


Genre- YA Urban Fantasy

The Council of the Harvest Moon was established to maintain peace among the witches, fairies, vampires, and mermaids of the United States. However, old feuds die hard and as the powers of fairies wane with the destruction of natural environments, the witches rise with a rigid societal structure designed to assert their supremacy as the most powerful supernatural beings in the modern world. 

As the descendant of two prominent New England witching families, Khlorie Lethestone’s life was destined to fit into the neat, color-coded boxes established by the American Continental Coven (ACC).  When it is discovered that Khlorie has “extra elemental powers” beyond that of a typical witch, she is sent to Spindlewick College, a secret institution designed to help witches develop non-conforming gifts into tools for the greater good of witching society.  Once there, she meets the attractive, but distant Perry Prentice, who is assigned to help her understand her gifts. But becoming one of the most powerful witches in the world means that you are watched closely, and Khlorie learns that there are secrets she must keep hidden to survive.

Goodreads linkhttps://www.goodreads.com/book/show/56797258-elements-of-power

PreOrder Link: https://www.amazon.com/Elements-Power-Council-Harvest-Moon-ebook/dp/B08TV7VMSC/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=elements+of+power+kate+stoessel&qid=1611683184&sr=8-1


 Kate Stoessel is a Middle Grades and Young Adult author specializing in Fantasy. She wrote her first novel, Erine Pershings and the Golden Lyre, because she could not find interesting and informative historical fiction that explored the daily lives of women and children in Ancient Athens. The Council of the Harvest moon series represents Kate’s first foray into Young Adult Fantasy, her favorite genre as a reader. She knows how transportive a fantasy story can be, and hopes to give her readers the same experience of wonder and escape. Whether Middle Grades or YA, Kate is committed to creating characters that feel as authentic and real as the students she works with everyday as a classroom teacher.


Website: https://katestoessel.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/edukatemuseums

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kate_e_stoessel/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14622941.Kate_Stoessel 


Virtual Valentine’s Day Party

Valentine’s Day is almost here. It’s the perfect season to check out some new sweet romance titles. Happily Ever After Stories – Sweet Romance – Reader Group on Facebook is hosting a virtual Valentine’s Day party tonight from 7-11pm. Join the fun and be sure to enter for a chance to win a prize.



Valentine’s Day Favorites

My fondest Valentine’s Day memories are those spent in Grades K-5 with a decorated paper bag full of valentines and candy from my peers. I think many adults would agree that the holiday loses its charm after elementary school. This year, the joy of an old-fashioned classroom valentine exchange will be eliminated in many schools due to the current pandemic. Perhaps a bit of that fun can be found between the pages of a book. Here are a few of my all-time favorite Valentine’s Day children’s books in no particular order. As a parent and teacher, I’ve never tired of reading these stories and the children continue to love them each year. Let me know if you feel I’m missing a title!

A Charlie Brown Valentine, by Charles M. Schulz: I never tire of the Peanuts gang and this tale of Charlie Brown working up the nerve to talk to the little red-haired girl always delights.

Junie B. Jones and the Mushy Gushy Valentine, by Barbara Park: A secret admirer for Junie B. Jones? Who would have thought? Kids will read and laugh along as she tries to figure out who sent her a mushy valentine.

Roses Are Pink, Your Feet Really Stink, by Diane de Groat: Gilbert the Opossum must write valentine cards for everyone in his class – even the kids who are less then nice to him. When he writes a few unfriendly valentines, he needs to find a way to make up for the hurt feelings he’s caused.

Love Is, by Diane Adams: A little girl finds a duckling that has waddled away from the park and brings it home. She cares for her new pet until he grows into a duck and must return it to the pond. Children’s hearts will smile when the girl learns that she has not been forgotten.

Happy Valentine’s Day Little Critter, by Mercer Mayer : Share Little Critter’s excitement for his classroom’s Valentine’s Day celebration. Cupcakes, decorations, mailboxes, and a special valentine equal a fun filled read.

Nate the Great and the Mushy Valentine, by Marjorie Weinman Sharmat: Nate’s not a fan of anything mushy and is surprised to find a valentine attached to Sludge’s doghouse. Can he solve the mystery and put an end to mushy valentines for good?

Cupid Doesn’t Flip Hamburgers (The Adventures of the Bailey School Kids), By Debbie Dadey and Marcia Thornton Jones: The grown-ups are never quite who they seem in Bailey City. Is the new cook in the cafeteria at Bailey Elementary really cupid? Her Valentine’s Day cookies seem to have caused an epidemic of lovesickness. The Bailey School Kids will find out if her recipe is actually a love potion.


Book Tour: The Rising Star, by Michele Kwasniewski

I am thrilled to be hosting a spot on the RISING STAR by Michele Kwasniewski Blog Tour hosted by Rockstar Book Tours. Check out my post and make sure to enter the giveaway! 

About The Book:


Author: Michele Kwasniewski

Pub. Date: October 20, 2020

Publisher: Rand-Smith LLC

Formats: Paperback, eBook

Pages: 268

Find it: GoodreadsAmazon, Kindle, B&N, iBooks, Kobo, TBD, Bookshop.org

In the first book in THE RISE AND FALL OF DANI TRUEHART series, RISING STAR, fifteen-year-old Dani Truehart is living a life that is not quite her own. Driven by her mother’s desire for fame and fortune, she has spent her childhood dutifully training for a career as a pop star. On the brink of discovery, doubts begin to creep into Dani’s mind as she questions her own desire for fame, and she wonders whether she can trust the motivations of the adults who are driving her forward.

Following a brilliant audition arranged by her vocal/dance coach and former ’80s pop icon Martin Fox, Dani is thrown full-force into the music industry. She leaves her friends, family and scheming mother behind to move with Martin, who has become her legal guardian, into the Malibu compound of her new manager, Jenner Redman. Jenner, the former swindling manager of Martin’s boy band, leverages what’s left of his depleted fortune to launch Dani’s career.

Isolated from her life at home and trying to stay apace with her demanding schedule, Dani struggles to keep in touch with those she loves, connect to her withholding mother and find her voice as an artist. With Martin and Jenner at odds over their rocky past and finding herself unprepared to handle the pressures of her future singing career, Dani’s debut album and future stardom are at risk of falling apart.

About Michele:

Michele Kwasniewski, is an entertainment industry insider who has seen what the Hollywood machine can do to people – having worked for many years in film and television production on such films and TV shows as Primal FearIndependence DayEvita, Face/OffBig Brother, and many TCL, HGTV, and Discovery series including: Meet the Pandas, Adoption Story, Wedding Story, and Extra Yardage. 

With her book, she shares the glamour and excitement of fame as well as the hard work it takes to achieve success and the price of living life in the public eye.  Everyone wants to be famous, but most people have no idea what that really means.  Michele has seen it firsthand.  She is an active member of the Producers Guild of America.

Michele’s colorful experiences in the industry inspired her to write THE RISE AND FALL OF DANI TRUEHART series. Michele lives in San Clemente, California with her husband, their son, and their disobedient dachshund. RISING STAR is her first novel.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | TikTok | Amazon | Goodreads

Giveaway Details:

3 lucky winners will win a signed copy of RISING STAR & RISING STAR pencils, US Only.

Giveaway Link:



Author Interview – Wayne Zurl

I’m thrilled to share my interview with author Wayne Zurl. His Sam Jenkins mystery series is not to be missed. Today, he is promoting “A Bleak Prospect: A Sam Jenkins Mystery” and offering a free copy of the first book in the series, “A New Prospect”.

What was the inspiration behind your latest release?

I was a cop in New York for twenty years. After I retired, a serial killer showed up leaving bodies all along the south shore of Long Island. These cases have never been solved. I contacted my former partner, other retired detectives and supervisors and kicked around a theory I had with those people who still lived on Long Island or had close ties with more PD personnel than I. With this information in hand, I formulated a fictionalized story that, in essence, presents my solution to clear the multiple murders. I’m very pleased that I finished my manuscript, had it copyrighted and under contract with my publisher six months prior to an attorney, representing one of the victim’s families, and his investigator voiced a similar theory.

Where do you get your ideas? 

As I mentioned before, I was a police officer for twenty years. In that much time all cops come away with a trove of “war stories” any mystery fan might like to hear. I began writing using cases I investigated, supervised or just knew a lot about as starting points for a piece of fiction. More recently, I’ve taken interesting cases that are still unsolved and added my own ideas and some of the more important elements of good fiction to make a novel. I’m borrowing an idea from TV’s Law & Order here: Sort of a “ripped from the headlines” piece of fiction.

Do ideas for plot or characters appear first?

A simple answer is the plot, but in many cases the characters go hand in hand, because the book is based on an actual incident. But, sometimes I cheat and toss in a few extra characters that had nothing to do with the real life incident because they add valuable elements to the story. Let’s be honest. Real police work is not always a thrill a minute. Most people would not want to read a strictly factual report on a routine or even complicated police investigation. Everything sounds better when you add some glitz, a little extra tension and maybe that bit of conflict most readers love.

Have you ever travelled when researching information for a book?

I never do much research for my stuff, because I had firsthand knowledge of much of the police angles. When I need information on up to date forensics, the ever-changing scientific aspect of police work, I speak to a friend who is a local crime scene investigator. I’ve also tapped into my former partner’s memory for details on old cases and for things he worked on after I retired. They provide me with almost priceless vignettes that really add to a story. So, I guess I’m more of a “virtual” traveller using a telephone or email.

When did you begin writing?

When I retired, I took a volunteer job at one of the Tennessee state parks where, among other things, I wrote publicity for their living history programs. One thing led to another and I ended up selling twenty-six non-fiction magazine articles. But after ten years I began feeling a bit burned out and could think of nothing new and thrilling to say about the 18th century French and Indian War in the south. Then, in 2006 I read Robert B. Parker’s Jesse Stone novel NIGHT PASSAGE. The premise was that Stone, a former LAPD detective, took a job as police chief in a small Massachusetts town. I loved the book and began thinking. Why couldn’t I create a retired NY detective who becomes a chief in a small Tennessee town? I could cover the old author’s maxim of ‘Write what you know.”—police investigations and the Smoky Mountain region of East Tennessee where I now live. Easy, huh? Then I learned the differences in selling magazine pieces and getting novels traditionally published. Was I surprised.

What has been your biggest challenge?

That’s easy. The writing was fun, the post-publication marketing was too much like work. And in today’s market my old-fashioned ideas on how to peddle something made me look like a used dinosaur salesman. I had to learn the whole new world of doing things the 21st century Internet way. I spent a lot of money arranging “virtual book tours” and other promotions before I found a fairly simple (it seems that way now, anyway) method of getting my books out there and building a base of faithful fans for Sam Jenkins and the girls and boys of Prospect PD.

What does literary success mean to you?

I’m never going to sell millions of books like one of the best selling writers represented by one of the big 5 publishers, so I settle for thousands.

Royalty checks are nice. I kid around by saying, “I make so much money writing books that I can now afford to take my wife to a Chinese buffet once a month.” That is, of course, just silly. I make enough to go twice a month. But the things that really spell success to me are favourable and intelligent reviews written by people who appreciate reading about AUTHENTIC police work presented in a REALISTIC manner. I refuse to write one of the “police fantasies” that are circulating out there, and love to hear from readers who like my stories and the recurring cast of characters. I truly thank them for taking their time and telling the folks at Amazon or Goodreads or wherever how much they liked one of my books.

What writing tips or marketing advice would you like to share?

The best practical advice I can offer a new writer isn’t my original thought. I learned this reading an interview with Robert B. Parker. When asked why his books were so popular, Parker gave a simple answer, ‘Because they sound good.’ Most of my novelettes were written for audio books and had to sound good when read by an actor. So, I knew exactly what Bob Parker meant.

Here’s my recommendation on how to produce a world-class piece of work. When you think your story, novelette, novella, novel, or epic is finished, when you truly believe you’ve found and corrected all the typos and nits and it’s ready to sell, go back and read it aloud to yourself. Pretend you’re the star of your own audio book. Read it slowly and professionally as an actor would. Then, ask yourself, does it sound good? Do all the paragraphs smoothly transcend to the next? Does each sentence contain the right number of syllables? Does each word flow into the next without conflict?  Does it have a pleasing rhythm? Basically, does it sing to you? For a guy who doesn’t dance very well, I have a great need for rhythm in my writing. If you notice any “bumps,” go back and rewrite it. Smooth everything out. If something bothers you now, it will annoy the hell out of you in the future and someone else will probably notice it, too.

With that accomplished, you’re finished, right? No. Now you’re ready to hand it off to a freelance editor or proof-reader—whomever you can afford if you’re self-publishing, or to the editor assigned to you by your traditional publishing house. A second pair of eyes is essential for ANY writer.

Which authors inspire you?

For books in the genre I write in, I read people like James Lee Burke, Robert B. Parker, Michael Connelly, John Sandford, Robert Crais, and that “other guy” from Long Island who writes about cops: Nelson DeMille. For historic fiction, I love just about anything from Bernard Cornwell. I try to learn elements of good writing from them. Each one seems to have a special and unique quality.

What project are you currently working on?

I’m about 35,000 words into a novel about the suspicious death of a doctor who died by a gunshot wound to the head. It was originally called an accident, but I think that was just sloppy police work. Suicide—which would negate any life insurance payoff—or murder? That last one would again open up a can of worms for Sam Jenkins.

Upcoming books, events, appearances, giveaways:

I’ve convinced my publisher to adapt a marketing scheme inspired by the successful drug dealers of the world. We give you a free taste of something, get you hooked and then you’re on your own to feed your habit. So, the first book in the series of Sam Jenkins mysteries, A NEW PROSPECT, is always free from any of the usual booksellers. Links to all my author pages are shown below, but the easiest way is to visit http://www.melange-books.com/authors/waynezurl/newprospect.html where direct links are all shown in one spot.

Book Blurb: A Bleak Prospect

A serial killer dubbed The Riverside Strangler by the Knoxville press corps has murdered eight Internet prostitutes in East Tennessee, the most recent found floating in Prospect’s Crystal Creek.

Chief Sam Jenkins joins a task force led by the county’s chief deputy, Ryan Leary, a cop known for his flamboyant police work and questionable methods.

When investigators hit a stone wall in the case, the killer strikes again—or was it a copycat? The type of victim and location follow the Strangler’s pattern, but some details are significantly different.

During the investigation, Leary is charged in a bizarre and seemingly unrelated case of police brutality and relieved of duty. Sam is faced with assuming command of the task force or turning over responsibility to the FBI.

The outcome of the case and subsequent actions taken by the Prospect City Council affect everyone at Sam’s police department and suggest that life there will never be the same.

Author Bio:

Wayne Zurl grew up on Long Island and retired after twenty years with the Suffolk County Police Department, one of the largest municipal law enforcement agencies in New York and the nation. For thirteen of those years he served as a section commander supervising investigators. He is a graduate of SUNY, Empire State College and served on active duty in the US Army during the Vietnam War and later in the reserves. Zurl left New York to live in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee with his wife, Barbara.

Wayne has had nine Sam Jenkins novels traditionally published. Twenty-eight of his Sam Jenkins novella or novelette mysteries have been published individually as eBooks and many produced as audio books. Five anthologies are currently available, putting all of these stories in print or as collections in all the usual eBook formats.

He has won Eric Hoffer and Indie Book Awards, and was named a finalist for a Montaigne Medal and First Horizon Book Award. He is a regular member of the International Thriller Writer’s Organization.

For more information on Wayne’s Sam Jenkins mystery series see www.waynezurlbooks.net. You can read excerpts, reviews and endorsements, interviews, coming events, and see photos of the area where the stories take place.

Social Media Tags:

Website: http://www.waynezurlbooks.net 

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/waynezurl

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/#!/waynezurl

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/author/waynezurl

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4158372.Wayne_Zurl

Purchase Links:

B&N author page: http://barnesandnoble.com/s/wayne-zurl

Smashwords author page: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/WayneZurl  and https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/WZurl

Melange Books, LLC author’s link: http://www.melange-books.com/authors/waynezurl/index.html

Lulu author page: (for hardcopies)  https://www.lulu.com/shop/search.ep?keyWords=Wayne+Zurl&typ=

Kobo author page: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/search?query=Wayne+Zurl


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Genres include: Sweet Romance, Cozy Mystery, Mystery, Romantic Comedy, Holiday Fiction, and Chick-Lit.

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Guarding the Bootlegger’s Widow: A Sweet Historical Roaring Twenties Novel (Moonshine Madness Book 2) – Denise Devine

Happy New Year!

Thank you to Denise Devine for a copy of this book in exchange for an unbiased review.


Charlotte LeDoux is struggling to pick up the pieces of her shattered life. Her late husband, Gus, has left her a lot to deal with–his sprawling business empire, his enemies and an ex-mistress who desperately needs a friend. It’s tough for a woman to compete in a man’s world and even though it’s a never-ending uphill battle, she is determined to succeed.

Char gets a new Model T and is excited when William Van Elsberg offers to give her a driving lesson. She’s attracted to the handsome private detective, who, in many ways, is the polar opposite of Gus. Will takes her out for a spin in the car and instructs her how to drive, but at the same time, teaches her how to love again. She’s never been so happy!

Meanwhile, Gus’ enemies are circling like vultures. An anonymous note threatening Char’s life forces Will to become her personal bodyguard. He’s highly qualified, but Char’s stubborn belief in her own independence makes it the most difficult job he’s ever taken. Can he keep her safe or will he lose her in the most dangerous fight of her life?


  • I loved that I was beyond excited to read the second book in the Moonshine Madness Series and it didn’t disappoint.  Once again, I was immediately swept up into the glamour of the Roaring Twenties and an action packed love story.
  • I loved that, even though this is Book 2, it could also be read as a stand-alone.  Details from Book 1 were expertly woven in at just the right moments to ensure that anyone who hadn’t read the first installment would be eager to do so.
  • I loved joining the rollercoaster ride of Charlotte’s life.  Her fierce determination to succeed in legitimate business ventures is impeded by continuously finding one foot heavily entrenched in her late husband’s bootlegging world.
  • I loved seeing Charlotte in her roles as new mother, guardian for her teenage sister, and potential friend to her late husband’s mistress.  Each role added a new layer to an already three-dimensional character. 
  • I loved the highs and lows of Charlotte’s developing relationship with her bodyguard.  Would he be willing to commit to her and her complicated life always fearing for her safety?
  • I loved that, once again, this book read like a movie I’d like to watch.  This thoroughly entertaining story has it all: a heroine who continues to evolve as she learns exactly what she’s capable of and a romance hanging in the balance as she weighs one dangerous decision after another.
  • I love knowing that the next book in this series is forthcoming.  I look forward to following Charlotte as she continues on her journey.


Book 2 in the Moonshine Madness Series is not to be missed.  Whether meeting Charlotte LeDoux for the first time or picking up where she left off, readers will be swept up into the glamour of the Roaring Twenties and the rollercoaster ride that is Charlotte’s life.  She leaps off the page with a fierce determination to succeed in legitimate business ventures while impeded by the one foot she continues to find heavily entrenched in her late husband’s bootlegging world.  The highs and lows of Charlotte’s developing relationship with her bodyguard will keep readers guessing as to whether he will commit to her and her complicated life despite the constant fear for her safety. 

This thoroughly entertaining story has it all: a heroine who continues to evolve as she learns exactly what she’s capable of and a romance hanging in the balance as she weighs one dangerous decision after another.  The characters and setting are so well developed that the book reads like a movie playing out on the screen.  As the story comes to an end, readers can delight in the fact that the next book in this series is forthcoming and look forward to following Charlotte as she continues on her journey.




Denise Devine, USA Today Bestselling Author  



Find Me in the Snow – Pamela Q. Fernandes

Thank you to Pamela Q. Fernandes for a copy of this book in exchange for an unbiased review.


When Althea meets Morgan Hunter at Muldoon’s pub for the first time, she thinks he’s a handsome, ego tripping, prissy-pants executive. She quickly rebuffs him only to find him thundering at her in the operation theater, the very next day. He’s dogged in his censure of her, but not immune to her allure. Through a snowy December Morgan courts Althea and wins her heart but not her trust.

When she travels with him at his request for Christmas to his home in Finesse, a tumble in the snow leads to the discovery of Morgan’s missing ex-girlfriend. Dead. Morgan pushes Althea away and she doesn’t understand his reasons.

Althea returns to build the new rural clinic in Finesse. She discovers the truth about Morgan’s heritage, the murdered ex-girlfriend and the secrets about the Hunter clan.

Can she save the man she loved from going to prison?


  • I loved that this story felt like the perfect mashup of holiday romance and cozy mystery with a hint of medical drama sprinkled throughout.
  • I loved that this read like a modern-day gothic.
  • I loved that this book provided an entertaining diversion from the many Hallmark-esque reads I’ve been favoring this season.
  • I loved that, despite the mention of Christmas, this is a perfect read for any season.
  • I loved the wealthy family with secrets storyline.  I was compelled to keep turning pages to find out what they were hiding.
  • I loved the well-rounded cast of characters consisting of co-workers, friends, and family.  Each personality shined through and created a three-dimensional story world.
  • I loved the twists and turns that kept me guessing who murdered Morgan’s ex-girlfriend and that not one of my suspects was correct.
  • I loved that the pacing was well developed.  Each chapter ended with me wanting to read on to find out what would happen next.
  • I loved that there were several times when I had to restrain myself from reading ahead.  It all came together beautifully at the end and was worth waiting for.


This story is perfect for readers looking for a holiday/medical romance combined with a cozy mystery and elements of gothic fiction.  It provides an entertaining diversion from the expected romances novels of the season.  When Morgan invites Althea to his family’s home for Christmas, she finds herself entangled in a family’s web of lies and secrets.  Readers will feel compelled to keep those pages turning until all is revealed.  An intriguing cast of characters keeps the story moving at a fast pace and will have readers guessing up until the very end.  Be prepared to want to read ahead! 


Amazon ebook-https://amzn.to/3ly6EvV

Amazon print-https://amzn.to/38HFJKx






Holiday Favorites

Remote learning has meant hours and hours of screen time. Give the kids’ eyes a break from the Zoomiverse with some good old fashioned hand held books. No Wi-Fi necessary! Here are a few of my all-time holiday favorites in no particular order. As a parent and teacher, I’ve never tired of reading these stories and the children continue to love them each year. Let me know if you feel I’m missing a title!


The Polar Express, by Chris Van Allsburg: A young boy is invited to join a magical train ride to the North Pole. This Caldecott Medal Winner evokes the spirit of Christmas with wishes and sleigh bells. A must read prior to viewing the delightful movie version.


The Snowy Day, By Ezra Jack Keats: Peter bundles up in his snowsuit to enjoy the wonder and joy children experience when stepping into a snow covered world. Another Caldecott Medal Winner that continues to charm from one generation of readers to the next.

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A Charlie Brown Christmas, by Charles M. Shulz: The Peanuts characters must help Charlie Brown discover the true meaning of Christmas. This is a holiday book that has it all: ice skating, a Christmas pageant, and a tree that needs a bit of help.


Jingle Bells, Homework Smells (Gilbert the Opossum), by Diane de Groat: Gilbert is a champion procrastinator. He puts off completing his weekend homework in favor of decorating Christmas cookies, choosing a tree, watching holiday specials, and playing with friends. When Monday morning rolls around, he has some explaining to do.


How Murray Saved Christmas, by Mike Reiss: A story that will have the kids laughing out loud! Santa is knocked out by a Jack-in-the-Box. Murray, a deli owner, fills in for him. He doesn’t smell like gingerbread or fit the suit, but with help from an elf and a little boy, he doesn’t disappoint.


Eight Wild Nights: A Family Hanukkah Tale, by Brian P. Cleary: A delightful, rhyming tale of a family celebrating the eight days of Hanukkah as friends and relatives visit.


How the Grinch Stole Christmas, by Dr. Seuss: A beloved tale of finding the true meaning of Christmas.

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The Trees of the Dancing Goats, by Patricia Polacco: A young girl and her family find it challenging to enjoy their Hanukkah feast while their neighbors are plagued by scarlet fever. Her grandfather’s idea to deliver trees to their friends inspires Trisha to decorate them with the gifts he’d made for her and her brother. A beautiful story of giving and friendship.


The Night Before the Night Before Christmas, by Natasha Wing: A fun version of the classic “The Night Before Christmas”. On December 23rd, a family is scrambling to prepare for the holiday.

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Snowmen at Night, by Caralyn Buehner: A charming story for every child who ever wondered what their snowman did at night. The illustrations vividly detail the fun of drinking cold cocoa, playing baseball with snowballs, sledding, and several other wintery activities.

Santa Paws (Santa Paws, #1)

Santa Paws, by Nicholas Edwards: A homeless puppy’s bravery leads him to his new family. This story pulls at the heartstrings and will warm readers’ hearts.


June B. First Grader: Jingle Bells, Batman Smells! (P.S. So Does May), by Barbara Park: Junie B. at her festive best! Laugh along as she finds a way to deal with Tattletale May while trying to enjoy the holiday fun in Room One.


Christmas Come Back (to me) – Caroline Akervik

Thank you to Caroline Akervik for a copy of this book in exchange for an unbiased review.


Erik or “Erik the Wall” Engen, formerly one of the most feared and admired goalies in the International Hockey League, now an executive in his family’s holiday ornament company, has returned to his hometown of Noelle, Wisconsin during its annual Nutcracker Festival. It’s his job to evaluate the prospects of the Engen Nutcracker Factory, the company founded by his beloved grandfather.

After travelling the world creating murals, artist Stella Larson has returned to Noelle as well. Erik and Stella soon realize the old feelings between them linger, but she can’t seem to forget or forgive him for breaking her heart a decade before.

With a little hope and some Christmas magic, can Erik make his way back to the woman he always carried with him in his heart?


  • I loved that this story was set during a small-town Wisconsin Christmas.  Perfect for a December read!
  • I loved the Hallmark movie feel.  Sweet, romantic, uplifting.  Every page was a delight.
  • I loved how the author’s vivid details brought the story to life.  I felt enveloped by the Christmas season as the characters made their way through town from holiday festivities in school, to a ski lodge I’d love to visit, and finally to the Nutcracker Ball.
  • I loved that the characters were well developed.  Stella’s career as an art teacher rang true for me.  Erik’s past as a hockey goalie impacted the dedication and discipline required for his role as a business executive.
  • I loved that Stella didn’t immediately succumb to Erik’s attention despite their history.  Her reluctance to dive back in was realistic.
  • I loved the concept of a high school romance ending to allow Erick and Stella to see the world and pursue their dreams until they finally met again with those experiences shaping who they became as adults.  The flashbacks to their younger days allowed me to get to know them and the events that led to their current goals.


A wonderful holiday romance!  Pour a cup of tea, curl up in front of a fire, and enter the Christmas season in the small town of Noelle, Wisconsin.  This story has everything readers want this time of year:  snow, lights, ice skating, parades, ski lodges, and even a Nutcracker Ball.  Stella’s reluctance to take a second chance with Erik years after he ended their high school relationship will ring true for readers.  But the time spent apart as they saw the world and pursued their dreams clearly shapes the adults they become.  These fully formed characters come alive in this heartwarming story.  Each page is a wintery, festive delight.


Caroline I. Akervik
Middle Grade and YA Author of A Horse Named Viking, White Pine, and Halcyon
https://www.facebook.com/HorseNamedViking/ @CAkervik


Author Spotlight with Winter Lawrence

A huge thank you to Winter Lawrence for including Homemakers’ Christmas in her December Book Recommendations and for taking the time to interview me for her Author Spotlight this month. Be sure to drop by and check out the other books included on the recommendation list. Each one of them looks like a fantastic read for the season!




Virtual Holiday Party

It’s that time of year when many of us would like to be spending our weekends hopping from one holiday party to the next. Don’t allow the pandemic to cancel the fun. Happily Ever After Stories is hosting a virtual holiday party for sweet romance readers and authors tomorrow night. Join the fun and be sure to enter for a chance to win a prize.



Lyrical Embrace – Amber Daulton

Thank you to Amber Daulton for a free copy of this book in exchange for an unbiased review.  This is the second book of Amber’s that I’ve had the pleasur e to read.


Out-of-work violinist Erica Timberly decides enough is enough. She leaves her abusive boyfriend and flees the big city, but then her car breaks down in the middle of the night. Though wary of men, she accepts help from Dylan Haynes, a stranger driving by on the road, and soon recognizes him as the sexy former drummer of her favorite indie rock band. Maybe, just maybe, her run of bad luck is finally turning around.

Music teacher Dylan Haynes knows Erica is in trouble, and her black eye is only the first clue. The stubborn yet vulnerable woman needs a friend, but he’s determined to give her everything she deserves.

Will Erica listen to the music in her heart and trust Dylan, or will her past always threaten her future?

Love List:

  • I loved that this is part of a series.  I had gotten to know Dylan and Erica briefly in “Harmony’s Embrace” and was excited to see how they came together.  This is another entertaining story from the Deerbourne Inn series.
  • I loved the summertime Vermont setting.  As the temperatures dropped in my neighborhood, I stepped into July sunshine.  The close knit, small town added additional warmth. 
  • I loved the backstory about Dylan being a once semi-famous rock star.  There was just enough prior success to pique interest while also making his career change and new life believable.
  • I loved that Erica’s strength leapt off the pages.  She forced herself to remain resolute in her choice to leave an abusive situation despite the trauma and fear that continued to haunt her.
  • I loved that I genuinely wanted to see Dylan and Erica find happiness at my first introduction to them.  I need to care about the characters’ futures in order to finish a book.  For that to happen, I need to forget that they are characters and begin to believe they are real people.  The author accomplished this beautifully.

Review Summary:

This is the perfect read for anyone who loves a small-town romance.  Dylan’s backstory will pique readers’ interest as they learn why he left his band to return to his Vermont hometown and a new career as a music teacher.  Erica’s strength leaps off the pages as she forces herself to remain resolute in her choice to leave an abusive situation despite the trauma and fear that continue to haunt her.  Readers will root for her to allow Dylan and the warm welcome from his family and close-knit community to rebuild her trust in people.  Dylan and Erica are three dimensional characters brought to life beautifully by the author.  Be prepared to become invested in their journey to happiness, love, and a new path in life.

Purchase Links

Amazon – https://amzn.to/2ChIhNT
Barnes and Noble – https://bit.ly/2ChIhgR
iBooks – https://apple.co/2M3T9mW
Kobo – https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/lyrical-embrace
Google Play – https://bit.ly/2DqXlsV
Scribd – https://www.scribd.com/book/398892365/Lyrical-Embrace
Universal link – http://books2read.com/u/m0MYaVAudio/Audible – https://adbl.co/36q03LL

Social Media Links

Website – https://amberdaulton.wordpress.com/
Facebook Author Page – https://www.facebook.com/amber.daulton.author
Twitter – https://twitter.com/AmberDaulton1
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/amberdaultonauthor1/
Newsletter – https://emailoctopus.com/lists/9d60a166-f2ea-11ea-a3d0-06b4694bee2a/forms/subscribe

Author Bio

Amber Daulton is the author of the romantic-suspense series Arresting Onyx and several standalone novellas. Her books are published through The Wild Rose Press, Books to Go Now, and Daulton Publishing, and are available in ebook, print on demand, audio, and foreign language formats. She lives in North Carolina with her husband and demanding cats.


Guest Post with Viviana MacKade

I’m excited to share a link to my guest post, “Thankful”, on Viviana Mackade’s website.

Follow the link below for the post, but stick around for some excellent book reviews, author interviews, and Viviana MacKade’s Crescent Creek Series.

Many thanks to Viviana for including me!


Inside the Grey – Bobbi Groover

Thank you to Bobbi Groover for an ARC copy of this book in exchange for an unbiased review.


Brayden Wakefield is quickly losing faith that hostilities between the states will end peaceably. He and his neighbors, Fletcher Stedman and Royce Carlyle, seems to be in the minority in their belief that a war would not end in a few months. They know any clash would be long and brutal. But their loyalty to one another supplants their reluctance, and they are drawn into the politics and atrocities of war to save their kidnapped comrade, Caleb Jenkins.

Nothing is as it seems, however. The gentlemen, turned raiders, squirrel behind enemy lines. Brayden uncovers lies and intrigue on both sides but as he and his fellow raiders execute their audacious plan, as they torch the layers of the conspiracy, Brayden finds love hidden among the ashes.


  • I loved that each character was fully developed.  Each personality shined through with well written dialogue.
  • I loved that Brayden came from a place of hurt and regret and channeled those emotions into writing.  Snippets from his journal allowed me to gain a truer sense of who he was.
  • I loved that the heroine was in disguise for a large part of the book.  I read in anticipation waiting for one character after another to learn her true identity.
  • I loved that Kawley’s backstory wasn’t fully revealed immediately.  This kept me wanting to learn more about her as the story progressed.
  • I loved that the action scenes were fast paced and brought each event to life.
  • I loved that unexpected secrets were revealed at varying intervals.  The twists and turns held my attention.
  • I loved Kawley’s bravery.  The idea of not wanting to become too dependent on someone else would resonate with many readers.


This read as a true saga.  Every character was fully developed and will leave readers feeling like they know each personality inside and out.  Brayden will break your heart with his hurt and regrettable loss.  Kawley will have readers cheering her on as she tackles every obstacle and overcomes past trauma.  Disguises are worn.  Secrets are held.  Friendships are made.  At any given moment, anything can happen.  This is a well told story of remorse, determination, surprises, friendship, and love. 



I was raised on the East coast, enjoying many years wandering the fields and freedoms of a beautiful working farm. Been writing stories of all kinds as long as I can remember. Inside the Grey is my third romance with many of the favorite characters from Season of The Shadow and The Inn at Little Bend. I also have a ‘coming of age’ juvenile adventure, Fun In The Yellow Pages.



Guest Post with Amber Daulton

I’m excited to share a link to my guest post, “Social Media and the Introverted Author”, on Amber Daulton’s website.

Follow the link below for the post, but stick around to check out her books. You may have caught my recent review for Harmony’s Embrace. I’m looking forward to following up with some of her other titles. Amber’s site also includes book reviews that may point you in the direction of your next read.


Many thanks to Amber for including me!


The Bootlegger’s Wife – Denise Devine

Thank you to Denise Devine for a copy of this book in exchange for an unbiased review.


Charlotte LeDoux’s nine-year marriage to bootlegging kingpin, Gus “Lucky” LeDoux, is falling apart. The same day Char learns she’s pregnant, she catches Gus in the act of adultery and it’s clear he has no intention of ending the affair. Soon after, their night club is raided by Federal agents. As she flees from the chaos, Char becomes separated from Gus and she’s faced with a choice: search out her fugitive husband or change her identity and disappear. With her life in shambles and her future in doubt, she knows what she must do to protect her child.

Char alters her appearance and takes a job in domestic service for a private investigator. At first, living in Will Van Elsberg’s home is quiet, comfortable and safe, but everything changes the day Gus seeks out Will to find his missing wife. As Will’s investigation closes in on her, Char must once again make a decision. Should she run away again or face her violent husband and fight for her freedom? With her back to the wall, Char discovers she has more strength and determination than she ever thought possible.


  • I loved that this book takes place during the roaring twenties.  The mention of any story from this era turns my head.  The expertly detailed setting had me feeling like I’d immediately been transported back in time.
  • I loved that the first chapter was action packed and ended on a cliffhanger.  There are few things greater for a book addict than knowing they need to read a book to the end.
  • I loved the disappearing and reinvention arc of Charlotte LeDoux.
  • I loved that every prediction I made about where the story would veer next was completely wrong.
  • I loved the pacing of this story.  There was never a dull moment.  When I had to put the story down, I could not wait to pick it up again.  Every chapter ended with me wanting to read ahead.
  • I loved never being totally certain of Will’s intentions.  Keep me guessing and I’ll keep reading.
  • I loved the bits of Charlotte’s backstory that were deftly woven in.  It was just enough to make me hope for a prequel.
  • I loved that there were so many different elements to the story.  There was heartbreak, hope, drive, and danger.
  • I loved that this book read like a movie I’d like to watch.
  • I loved that this is the first book in a series.  Charlotte’s new life was just beginning and I wasn’t ready to say good-bye to her.  Good storytelling is the art of creating characters the reader cares about.  Denise Devine accomplished this beautifully.


This story starts off strong and will keep readers transfixed until the last page.  The vivid details create an overwhelming sense of being transported back in time to 1925.  There was never a dull moment.  Every chapter will leave readers needing to know what will happen next.  Throw your predictions out the window.  Charlotte is full of surprises – right up until the end of the book.  The pacing was excellent with twists and turns.   This multi-faceted story offers a tale of heartbreak, hope, drive, and danger.  As the story ends, Charlotte’s life is just beginning.  Readers won’t be ready to say good-bye to her.  Good storytelling is the art of creating characters the reader cares about.  Denise Devine accomplished this beautifully.  Thankfully, this is only the first in the Moonshine Madness Series.


Author Interview with This Writer’s Life

Thank you to Susan Palmquist at This Writer’s Life for including me as a guest blogger this week. I continue to be amazed at the positive author support I’ve encountered in the writing community!

This is a site worth checking out. Each week you’ll find articles on motivation, writing prompts, and tips on writing and publishing.



Harmony’s Embrace – By Amber Daulton

Thank you to Amber Daulton for an ARC copy of this book in exchange for an unbiased review.


Divorced dad Birley Haynes is raising two children and running his family’s music academy. This leaves little time for romance until his high school sweetheart, Harmony Holdich, returns home to Willow Springs, Vermont for Christmas.

After the death of her unfaithful husband, Harmony plans to move across the
country for a fresh start once the holidays are over. Birley presents an unexpected complication to those plans.

As Birley tries to convince her to stay, an outside threat jeopardizes the safety of
his family and business.


  • I loved that this story grabbed my attention immediately.  Generally, if this doesn’t happen, I have difficulty finishing a book.  Harmony’s Embrace held my full attention from the first page until the last.
  • I loved the instant familiarity between Birley and Harmony.  Their prior history as high school sweethearts woven throughout left me with a sense that I knew them as teenagers as well as adults.  Seeing their growth over the years gave me all the more reason to root for them as a couple.
  • I loved that the setting was a small Vermont town during the Christmas season.  It’s a perfect read for this time of year.
  • I loved that, although this is a romance novel, there was also a focus on family.  Birley’s roles as father, brother, and son brought him to life on the page.  Readers will become invested in wanting to see Harmony fully immerse herself in his world.
  • I loved the element of danger infused throughout the story.  It provided an extra dose of excitement and kept the pages turning.
  • I love that this book is part of a multi-author Deerbourne Inn series.  It can be read as a stand-alone, but leaves the reader wanting to delve into the lives of other characters as well.
  • I love that the end of the book gifted me with a few deliciously appealing recipes.


This story will grab your attention immediately and hold it from the first page until the last. The familiarity between Birley and Harmony, stemming from their high school sweetheart history, will have you rooting for them from their first meeting on the page. The reader grows to know them as teenagers and adults, thereby gaining a true sense of their growth over the years. The element of danger infused throughout the story provides an additional dose of excitement as the pages keep turning. There’s nothing like setting a romance novel in a small Vermont town during the holiday season to evoke a festive spirit. This is a fantastic book to kick off your holiday reading list!

Available for pre-order now

Purchase Links

Amazon – https://www.amazon.com/Harmonys-Embrace-Deerbourne-Amber-Daulton-ebook/dp/B08L73TB9C/
Universal link – https://books2read.com/u/bPX6kR

About the Author

Amber Daulton is the author of the romantic-suspense series Arresting Onyx and several standalone novellas. Her books are published through The Wild Rose Press, Books to Go Now, and Daulton Publishing, and are available in ebook, print on demand, audio, and foreign language formats. She lives in North Carolina with her husband and demanding cats.

Social Media Links

Website – https://amberdaulton.wordpress.com/
Facebook Author Page – https://www.facebook.com/amber.daulton.author
Twitter – https://twitter.com/AmberDaulton1
Pinterest – https://pinterest.com/amberdaulton5/
Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6624921.Amber_Daulton



Looking for a heartwarming Christmas romance to get you in the holiday spirit? Grab a cup of tea and cozy up with the ladies of Lamplight Lane for an uplifting story of love with a sprinkle of secrets. They don’t favor day dresses and aprons, but they know how to make a house feel like home at Christmas.

Now available at the sites below.


Guest Review for Viviana MacKade

I’m excited to share a link to my guest post on Viviana Mackade’s blog. The spotlight is on Rebecca, by Daphne du Maurier. It’s just in time for the soon to be released movie version of this classic.

Follow the link below for the post, but stick around for some excellent book reviews, author interviews, and Viviana MacKade’s Crescent Creek Series.

Many thanks to Viviana for including me!


Book Promo With Chicks, Rogues, and Scandals

A huge thank you to Frankie at Chicks, Rogues, and Scandals for promoting “Homemakers’ Christmas”! You can check out the post at https://chicksroguesandscandals.wordpress.com/2020/10/13/homemakers-christmas-by-jill-piscitello-bookpromo-homemakerschristmas-sharethebooklove/

Tour the blog for exciting new releases, countless book reviews, and author interviews.


Halloween Favorites

I’m an avid fan of great children’s read alouds. Here are a few of my all-time seasonal favorites. Let me know if you feel I’m missing a title!

Happy Halloween Little Critter, by Mercer Mayer: Little Critter and Little Sister go to a Halloween party.

Trick or Treat Little Critter, by Mercer Mayer: Yes, there is a pattern here. I adore this series. Trick or treat surprises with Little Critter and Little Sister always delight.

Which Way to Witch School, by Scott Santoro: A school for witches whipping up lessons.

It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, Charles, M. Shulz: Does this really need an introduction. One of the greatest Halloween stories ever told. At least, according to me. It never grows old.

The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything, by Linda Williams: Spooky sounds abound as the little old lady makes her way along a moonlit path.

Room on the Broom, by Julia Donaldson: A witch and her cat need some help retrieving the items they’ve dropped while flying around on their broomstick.

The Berenstain Bears Trick or Treat, by Stan Berenstain: A trick with the treats doesn’t go so well for Brother and Sister Bear. Another well-loved favorite!

Little Witch, by Anna Elizabeth Bennett: An oldie, but goodie tale of a little witch sneaking into a school with humans and all of the fun that ensues.

The Best Halloween Ever, by Barbara Robinson: Welcome to the third book in the Herdman series. As a child, I couldn’t get enough of their antics. Is Halloween truly cancelled because of the trouble they’ve caused in the past?

Junie B. Jones, Boo… and I Mean It, by Barbara Park: A hilarious tale of Junie B. trying to overcome her fear of trick-or-treating.

The Witches, by Roald Dahl: I look forward to reading this EVERY year. Grandmamma teaches her grandson how to spot real witches.


Authors Supporting Authors

A huge thank you to Jacquie Biggar for mentioning “Homemakers’ Christmas” on her blog! I love that a USA Today Best Selling author is willing to support fellow authors. You can check out the post at https://jacqbiggar.com/2020/10/11/newrelease-homemakers-christmas-by-jill-piscitello-holidayromance-read-piscj18/

Be sure to look around – her book covers alone are enough to make you want to start reading!


Seven Books Worth Reading Twice

Every so often, a book read years ago (sometimes decades ago) calls me to return to its pages for a variety of reasons. The love list below includes multiple genres and is in no particular order. It is, most definitely, not finite.

A Woman of Substance, Barbara Taylor Bradford (1979): Emma Harte rises from poverty to immense wealth through sheer determination, strength, and sacrifice. Despite her success, she struggles to find love and must overcome devastating betrayals and revenge. I read this for the first time at eighteen and bought my daughter a copy for her eighteenth birthday. It must still be relevant today; she couldn’t put it down either. When she finished, I picked it back up.

The Stand, Stephen King (1978): A tale of good versus evil amid the apocalypse. In my humble opinion, no one has ever done it better. Given current circumstances, it might be time for a third read.

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, Lisa See (2005): A moving story of friendship set in nineteenth-century China. I don’t know anyone who, after reading the book, didn’t declare a dear friend to be their “old same”. Snow Flower and Lily are paired at seven years old and share a lifetime of joy and sorrow until their relationship is shaken to its core.

Circle of Friends, Maeve Binchy (1991): Benny and Eve are inseparable as children. University in Dublin introduces Jack and beautiful Nan to round out their circle. Friendships are tested as betrayals are revealed.

Sarah’s Key, Tatiana de Rosnay (2008): It is July 1942 in Paris, France. Sarah, ten years old, hides her brother from the French police. It is sixty years later and an American journalist is researching the story. Everything that happens before, during, and after is told in haunting detail.

Eat, Pray, Love, Elizabeth Gilbert (2007): On the surface, Elizabeth had it all. Until she realized she didn’t want it at all. Her journey across Italy, India, and Bali is mesmerizing.

The Power of Now, Eckhart Tolle (2004): As a psychology major, I had heard the word “ego” countless times. It wasn’t until I read this book that I understood there could be a separation from the ego. I still have yet to master the art of living in the “now”. The past continues to haunt and the future keeps calling. But, every once in a while, I’m able to remind myself that the present is all we have.


Book Reviews

Review Policy

I’m an avid reader happy to review books from the following genres: Sweet Romance, Holiday Romance, Cozy Mystery, and Chick Lit. My review will include a brief description and a list of what I loved about your story. Please contact me if you would like me to consider your book for a review. A sample (snippet) review from one of my favorite novels can be on my Love List.


A New Project

I have never once in my adult life stopped at a yard sale. It’s nothing personal. I simply prefer to keep the “stuff” in my house to a minimum. That all changed last weekend when I passed this masterpiece on the side of the road. Now to find the spare time to restore it to its former beauty…