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Sunday, August 28, 2016

Mailbox Monday and It's Monday, What Are You Reading? Aug 29 Edition



Mailbox Monday was created by Marcia who now blogs at To Be Continued. It is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house last week. Mailbox Monday now has a permanent home on its blog. Link up to share your MM.

My kids start school this week so we've been packing in as many activities as possible in the last two weeks. Looking forward to a regular routine again before I drop dead!

I'm looking forward to reading this series. Thanks to the author for sending me the whole series! Book 4 is being released in October.

The Hesitant Heiress (The Everstone Chronicles Book 1) by Dawn Crandall

After being unjustly expelled from the Boston Conservatory of Music, Amaryllis Brigham sees her dreams of founding a music academy in her hometown of Seattle, Washington, disappearing before her very eyes. Now, the only way to achieve her goal comes with high stakes for someone set on avoiding men as much as possible: Marry within the year to inherit the immense fortune of her estranged grandmother. Amaryllis reluctantly moves in to her aunt's Boston home and rubs shoulders with fashionable society. Despite her own misgivings, she soon finds herself quickly falling in love with the most unlikely of men--Nathan Everstone, the envy of every eligible female, whose father has haunted her dreams for the decade following her mother's tragic death. However, Nathan turns out to be much more than he seems...and everything she never knew she wanted. But just as everything Amaryllis has recently hoped for comes to fruition, it all falls apart when she finds that the real culprit who has been managing her life isn't who she thought at all.



The Bound Heart (The Everstone Chronicles Book 2) by Dawn Crandall

One accidental kiss from Lawry Hampton. That was all it took to throw Meredyth Summercourt's world upside-down. Determined to marry the ever-elusive Vance Everstone, she simply doesn't have the time or the desire to fall for her best friend. But with Vance out of the country, and with Lawry at her side nearly every day, teaching her what the world is like through the eyes of a little orphan girl named Wynn--Meredyth can't deny that what's holding her to Vance is nothing more than a desire to redeem herself from her past. Will she marry Vance once he returns from Europe? Or will she be strong enough to break free from the tangled web she's convinced she deserves, and accept that God's plan for her life includes redemption...and, quite possibly, Lawry Hampton?





The Captive Imposter (The Everstone Chronicles Book 3) by Dawn Crandall

For her own protection following the murder of her brother Will, hotel heiress Estella Everstone assumes the alias of Elle Stoneburner and takes a job as companion to an elderly widow. Never did she imagine that her position would lead her back to her beloved Everston, a picturesque resort property tucked away in the rugged mountains of Maine. Living below her station in a guise of anonymity has its struggles, but her spirits are buoyed by a newfound friendship with the hotel manager, Dexter Blakeley. And his distaste for the spoiled socialites who frequent his hotel causes her to take a close look at her own priorities and past lifestyle. When Estella finds herself in need of help, Dexter comes to the rescue with an offer of employment she can't refuse. As the two interact and open up to each other, Estella feels a growing attraction to Dexter; and increasing discomfort over concealing her identity. Yet, in spite of the false pretense she's putting forth, she's never felt freer to be herself than in his presence. But will he still love her when he learns the truth about who she is?


The Cautious Maiden (The Everstone Chronicles Book 4) by Dawn Crandall

Violet Hawthorne is beyond mortified when her brother Ezra turns their deceased parents' New England country inn into a brothel to accommodate the nearby lumberjacks but when Violet's own reputation is compromised, the inn becomes the least of her worries. In an effort to salvage her good name, Violet is forced into an engagement with a taciturn acquaintance Vance Everstone. As she prepares for a society wedding, Violet learns that her brother had staked her hand in marriage in a heated poker game with the unsavory Rowen Steele, and Ezra had lost. Now Rowen is determined to cash in on his IOU. With danger stalking her and a new fiance who hides both his emotion and his past, Violet must decide who to trust and who to leave behind.







It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week. It's a great post to organise yourself. It's an opportunity to visit and comment, and er... add to that ever growing TBR pile! So welcome in everyone. This meme started with J Kaye's Blog and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date.



Wednesday, August 24, 2016

The House of Kane by Barbara Casey (Review and Giveaway)


I was immediately drawn into this story because it centers around the world of publishing. With readers more in touch with authors than ever before, this was a great inside look at what happens when a manuscript lands in the hands of a NY publishing company.

Book Details:

Book Title: The House of Kane by Barbara Casey
Category: Adult Fiction, 198 pages
Genre: Mystery / Suspense
Publisher: ArcheBooks Publishing
Release date: February 2014
Tour dates: Aug 15 to 26, 2016
Content Rating: PG-13 + M (There is some light profanity.)

Book Description:

Aislinn Marchánt, a writer and editorial consultant, is hired by the major New York publishing company, Kane Publishing House, to help determine why several submissions sent to them have mysteriously disappeared only to be published later by another publisher. Are the editors at Kane simply not being diligent enough with the in-coming material, or is there something more sinister going on? Working from her West Palm Beach home, Aislinn quickly becomes involved with the House of Kane as well as with Caldwell Kane, the man who hired her.

As Aislinn works toward uncovering the various layers of truth of her former husband, her elderly neighbor, and Kane Publishing House, she continues to research her own novel, the story of a love between two people that becomes fractured because of the misunderstandings created by two different cultures. Her research takes her to a botanica where a Santerian priest reveals the truth in her own life and a destiny that is joined to that of Caldwell Kane.

Praise for The House of Kane:

Simultaneously wise and poignant, exotic and suspenseful, House of Kane is a fascinating story of loyalty, treachery and the power of destiny. With an insider's view into the world of high stakes publishing, Barbara Casey weaves a masterful story that haunts the reader long after the final page.
​- ​Nancy Steinbeck, Author of The Other Side of Eden: Life with John Steinbeck

Barbara Casey's House of Kane is a touchingly tender love story, set in an intrigue-riddled
​publishing industry. Her characters are interesting and varied. Her story is refreshing and engagingly told. Aspiring writers will want to read House of Kane to tap her wisdom about getting into print.
​- ​John DeDakis, Former CNN Senior Copy Editor, Author of Fast Track

Buy the Book: Amazon ~ Barnes & Noble



My Review
Reviewed by Laura Fabiani

I was immediately drawn into this story because it centers around the world of publishing. With readers more in touch with authors than ever before, this was a great inside look at what happens when a manuscript lands in the hands of a NY publishing house.

The author Barbara Casey has written ten books in various genres in both both fiction and non-fiction, and has been involved in the publishing industry for over twenty-five years. Her experience in the field transmits well to this novel where our heroine, Aislinn Marchánt, who is a writer and editorial consultant, is hired by a major NY publishing company. That's when things get interesting.

The story flows smoothly and we get to meet a varied cast of characters that, in their own way and through their personal stories, allow the reader to understand the inside world of writing and publishing. I liked both Aislinn and Lottie's stories, but especially Lottie's. Aislinn is smart, kind and self-sacrificing. She was also a reserved character and I didn't always know what to expect from her. Especially with her love life. Each character is well drawn out and I smiled at the portrayal of an older man who is suddenly smitten and begins to act like a star-struck teenager. Funny!

The whole plot around stolen manuscripts was good, if a little predictable, but it brought up a great topic that is hot today with so many books being published independently and in ebook format. I loved the whole publishing world setting, of course, and this was well portrayed.

If you like books that revolve around the book publishing field with a good cast of characters then this is an easy and fast read. It mixes intrigue, mystery and romance and has a feel-good ending.

To read more reviews, please visit Barbara Casey's page on iRead Book Tours.


Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy from the author in exchange for an honest review. I was not told how to rate or review this book.


About the Author:



Barbara Casey is a partner in Strategic Media Books, and president of the Barbara Casey Agency, representing authors throughout the United States, Great Britain, Canada, and Japan. She is also a manuscript consultant and the author of numerous articles, poems, and short stories.

Her award-winning novels have received national recognition, including the Independent Publishers Book Award. Her novel, The House of Kane, was considered for a Pulitzer nomination, and The Gospel According to Prissy, also a contemporary adult novel received several awards including the prestigious IPPY Award for Best Regional Fiction. Her most recent young adult novel, The Cadence of Gypsies, received the Independent Publishers Living Now Award and was reviewed by the Smithsonian for its list of Best Books.

Ms. Casey makes her home on the top of a mountain in northwest Georgia with her husband and three dogs who adopted her: Benton, a hound-mix, Fitz, a miniature dachshund, and Gert, a Jack Russel terrier of sorts.

​Connect with the author: Website



Enter the Giveaway!





Tuesday, August 23, 2016

There Once Was a Cat: Limericks for Cat Lovers of All Ages by Mary Jane Cogan






This book is designed to appeal to many types of readers: cat fanciers, poetry lovers, and especially young readers.
There Once Was a Cat: Limericks for Cat Lovers of All Ages by Mary Jane Cogan
ISBN: 9781503007147
Published: November 26, 2014
Published by: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Trade paperback: 34 pages
Content rating: G

Book Description:

THERE ONCE WAS A CAT is designed to appeal to many types of readers: cat fanciers, poetry lovers, and young readers. This book combines the antics of cats and the silliness of limerick poetry into a colourful, education, and fun-filled reading experience. The book contains twenty-six amusing limericks written about cats. The cats are named alphabetically, starting with A for Anna and ending with Z for Zipper. Each limerick is presented with a watercolor illustration. Within each illustration is the first letter of the cat's name. For example, on the page about Anna, the young reader can search for all the A's in the illustration, count them, and check the total with the answer page. Young readers, then, gain experience in alphabet, letter recognition, and counting skills.

My Review:
Reviewed by Sandra Olshaski

I was completely enchanted by this book that is equally entertaining as it is educational. I had forgotten what is a limerick and was happy to be reminded that it is:"a short poem that rhymes, has a bouncy rhythm, and is usually silly. The rhythm pattern makes a limerick fun to read aloud and fun to memorize."

The author has written and illustrated 26 limericks about cats, each one having a name beginning with the letters of the alphabet. The young reader learns their ABC's in a fun-filled way. There are upper case and lower case letters in each illustration. The author has creatively incorporated in each chapter letters that correspond to the name of the cat. The reader can find and count the letters, then check the total with the answer page at the back of the book. A youngster can gain experience in the alphabet, in letter recognition and in counting skills.

I highly recommend this multi-faceted book for poetry lovers and cat lovers alike. It's a wonderful teaching tool for parents to use as they read with their children.

Sandra Olshaski's disclaimer: I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.


 About the author:


Mary Jane Cogan holds a master's degree in education. She drew from her experiences as a cat-lover, artist, and reading teacher to create this multi-faceted book.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Haven: Chronicles of Warshard by Katherine Bogle (Review, Interview and Giveaway)



Book Details:

Book Title: Haven (Chronicles of Warshard #1) by Katherine Bogle
Category: YA fiction, 208 pages
Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: Friesen Press
Release date: May 2016
Content Rating: PG-13 (graphic and gruesome violence in the form of battle scenes, death and torture)

Book Description:

Princess Haven was never meant to be Queen.

Her immortality has saved her time and time again, but when the last of her royal family dies at her feet, she is next in line to rule a nation on the brink of war. With no formal training on how to be Queen, Haven must rise to the occasion with the help of her best friends, and personal guard, or risk losing everyone she has ever loved.

With war to the West, and no escape to the East, the evil tyrant Kadia sets her sights on the six kingdoms. Haven's neighbors are quick to fall under the swords of Kadia's shadow soldiers, leaving a sea of bodies and a clear path to Haven's only home. Haven must make a choice; take her people and flee to the foreign Republic across the sea or lead a last stand against a powerful dictator.

Buy the book: Amazon ~ Barnes & Nobles ~ Book Depository Indigo Chapters



My Review

Reviewed by Laura Fabiani

Every year I find a few books that are hidden gems. Haven is one of those books for me. It is YA historical mixed in with some fairy tale and magical elements. I was swept away by this story and enjoyed the unique aspects that Katherine Bogle brings out, making me understand why her book won second place in World's Best Story.

Haven is a strong character who becomes queen of her kingdom when her parents and brothers are killed by the evil Queen Kadia. Unlike any of her family members, she is also immortal and cannot be killed, although her enemies have tried. But Haven sees this more as a curse than a blessing until she uses this power to save her people and those of the neighboring six kingdoms.

The author beautifully explores this internal dilemma that Haven faces and we see how she grows from an insecure young woman to a powerful queen who faces her fears even after torture and deep loss. She also allows herself to finally fall in love.

The world-building is well done although I would have liked more details about their journey in the tunnel to Seaburn. The themes of loyalty, friendship and facing one's fears are well explored and I think are essential in a YA novel. This book is filled with action and adventure and the pacing is good. It's a clean novel with no sex or profanity, but there is graphic and gruesome violence in the form of battle scenes, death and torture.

Although this is the first book in a trilogy, the ending was satisfying and it left me with anticipation for the next book, which I look forward to reading. If you like YA historical novels with a strong female protagonist, this one delivers with high-stakes action and plenty of fantastical elements!

To read more reviews, please visit Katherine Bogle's page on iRead Book Tours.

Disclosure: Thanks to the author for sending me this book for review. I was not told how to rate or review this product.


Our Interview with Katherine Bogle


LCR: Can you describe your book's story in 20 words or less.

KB: Haven must defend her kingdom and only home against an evil tyrant bent on possessing her immortal power.

LCR: Your novel Sanctum placed 6th in the World’s Best Story contest 2014 and Haven placed 2nd in the World’s Best Story 2015. How has this impacted your life as a writer?

KB: Coming so close to winning the World’s Best Story contest 2 years in a row has definitely been an amazing experience. It took me from a wannabe author to a published indie author in only 2 years! Sometimes I still can’t believe it!

LCR: You write YA and NA sci-fi and fantasy novels. What has sparked your love of these genres?

KB: I’ve always been a long time fan of fantasy and sci-fi, from Lord of the Rings, the Hobbit and Narnia, to Stark Trek and Star Wars, I think it was only a matter of time before I dived right in to both genres.

LCR: Do you attend comic-con and who are your favorite authors?

KB: Unfortunately I haven’t had the pleasure of attending comic-con yet! It has been a long time dream of mine, and I do hope to one day be able to attend. My favorite authors currently are Lindsay Buroker, Susan Dennard, Shilin Huang and Kristin Cashore.

LCR: As a writer, what is your advice to aspiring writers?

KB: Just write. It is as simple as that. Whatever free time you have, use it to write as much as you can. Even if you don’t think it’s publishable, even if it’s fan fiction or roleplaying, do it. Those years of writing and story telling will help you develop not only your skill but your career as well.

LCR: If you could travel back in time, where would you go?

KB: Honestly, I’d really love to visit prehistoric times and check out some dinosaurs. I love Jurassic Park and Terra Nova!

LCR: If there was one thing you would want readers to remember about you, what would it be?

KB: I’d want readers to remember I write strong women. I think it is very important to include women in all aspects of literature and showcase how diverse we are. 

LCR: Thanks for taking the time to chat with us, Katherine!



About the Author



Katherine Bogle's debut young adult novel, Haven, came second in the World's Best Story contest 2015. She currently resides in Saint John, New Brunswick with her partner in crime, and plethora of cats.

Connect with the author: Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook

Mailbox Monday and It's Monday, What Are You Reading? Aug 22 Edition





Mailbox Monday was created by Marcia who now blogs at To Be Continued. It is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house last week. Mailbox Monday now has a permanent home on its blog. Link up to share your MM.

Spent one week in Wildwoods, New Jersey and loved every minute of it. I was greeted by this view every morning when I walked 2 hours along the shore. But my vacation was too short! I'm already planning my winter escape to the Caribbeans.



Four books in my mailbox. Two are being showcased here and the other two on Essentially Italian.

This one is on tour with iRead Book Tours from Sept 12 to 23.

There's Been A Change of Plans, A Memoir About Divorce, Dating and Delinquents in Midlife by Amy Koko

Blogger Amy Koko bears her soul in her witty, bittersweet memoir, There's Been A Change of Plans: Divorce, Dating & Delinquents in Mid-life. Expecting a trip to Italy, Koko is blind-sided by her husband’s confession that he’s been putting his shoes under a much younger and prettier woman's bed. After twenty-seven years of marriage and four children, she faces the unimaginable: her life as she knows it is unraveling around her and her family’s future is anything but certain.

In the literary tradition of Nora Ephron's Heartburn and Jenny Lawson's Let's Pretend This Never Happened, Koko’s memoir details her journey from hearing the news that her husband is in love with a blonde, thirty-something Swiss pastry chef to trying everything from thong underwear to a mini-facelift to save her marriage, only to see it die in the parking lot of gas station.

With incredible honesty and humor, Koko takes the reader on a wild ride through the tough, emotional times of starting over through divorce, mid-life, finding a job, and Internet dating, all the while trying to keep her four teenagers out of jail.

There’s been a change of plans, and that’s just the beginning.


I bought this one at a used book store in Wildwoods. I've read so many good things about it I couldn't pass it up. 

The Lavender Garden by Lucinda Riley            

An aristocratic French family, a legendary château, and buried secrets with the power to destroy two generations torn between duty and desire.

La Côte d’Azur, 1998: In the sun-dappled south of France, Emilie de la Martinières, the last of her gilded line, inherits her childhood home, a magnificent château and vineyard. With the property comes a mountain of debt—and almost as many questions...

Paris, 1944: A bright, young British office clerk, Constance Carruthers, is sent undercover to Paris to be part of Churchill’s Special Operations Executive during the climax of the Nazi occupation. Separated from her contacts in the Resistance, she soon stumbles into the heart of a prominent family who regularly entertain elite members of the German military even as they plot to liberate France. But in a city rife with collaborators and rebels, Constance’s most difficult decision may be determining whom to trust with her heart.

As Emilie discovers what really happened to her family during the war and finds a connection to Constance much closer than she suspects, the château itself may provide the clues that unlock the mysteries of her past, present, and future. Here is a dazzling novel of intrigue and passion from one of the world’s most beloved storytellers.




It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week. It's a great post to organise yourself. It's an opportunity to visit and comment, and er... add to that ever growing TBR pile! So welcome in everyone. This meme started with J Kaye's Blog and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date.


Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Fresh Brewed by Pamela Ford (Review and Giveaway)


Fresh Brewed is the second book in the Continental Breakfast Club series and once again this was a fun, light-hearted hilarious story. 

Book Details:

Book Title: Fresh Brewed (The Continental Breakfast Club, Book Two) by Pamela Ford
Category: Adult fiction, 260 pages
Genre: Romantic comedy
Publisher: Aine Press
Release date: June 2016
Content Rating: PG 13 (No sex or violence, but some f-words, shits, hells, and damns!)

Book Description:

Breanna Mitchell is on her way to a relaxing vacation at the ocean. Maybe she'll even have a beachside fling to help her get over a recent breakup.

But when a tropical storm makes her destination hotel uninhabitable, a chance encounter at continental breakfast delivers a fabulous option—with a catch. She and her friends can stay at a privately-owned, three-story oceanfront home—if she pretends to be the girlfriend of the owner's heartbreaker grandson, Ethan. Since he won't even be there, how hard could it be?

Everything is going swimmingly until Bree drinks too much wine and regales the family with romantic tales about her relationship with Ethan. His adorable brother Adam gets suspicious. His marriage-minded grandma gets engagement fever. The beautiful woman next door gets teary-eyed.

And then, Ethan unexpectedly arrives. Suddenly Bree is about to get everything she's ever wished for—but is it what she really wants?

Buy the book: Amazon ~ Barnes & Noble



My Review
Reviewed by Laura Fabiani

Fresh Brewed is the second book in the Continental Breakfast Club series and once again this was a fun, light-hearted hilarious story. (Feel free to also read my review of the first book Over Easy.) The series introduces us to three close friends. Over Easy focused on Allie, whereas Fresh Brewed is about Bree's madcap romantic adventure. They are stand-alone novels.

I think I liked Fresh Brewed even more than Over Easy because it was set during the three friends vacation at the ocean, making this a perfect summer read. This time the adventure starts at a continental breakfast after a tropical storm changes the girls' plans and they meet Kristin who is travelling to her parents' oceanfront home. Kristin hits it off with the three girls and before you know it, Bree is talked into pretending to be the girlfriend of Kristin's brother Ethan who is currently away in China.

Bree, a romantic at heart, takes this a little too far when she invents all kinds of stories about this nonexistent relationship and has the family enthralled about their wayward son finally tying the knot. Once again, Pamela Ford ups the stakes, making her protagonist go deeper and deeper into trouble until you wonder (and flip the pages quicker) to find out how she is going to get out of it.

Although this series is a light read, the themes of friendship, family and clean romance are strong. The characters are good hearted as is Bree when she is willing to ruin her reputation by telling the whole truth for the benefit of others. I liked that there was a spunky romantic grandma is this story too.

So if you like romantic comedy, this book was good clean fun, with the exception of some profanity (some f-words). It's funny and endearing, with a screwball romantic adventure set at the beach, making this an entertaining summer read.

To read more reviews, please visit Pamela Ford's page on iRead Book Tours.

Read my interview with Pamela Ford.

Disclosure: Thanks to the author for sending me this book for review. I was not told how to rate or review this product.


Meet the Author:



Pamela Ford is the award-winning author of contemporary and historical romance. She grew up watching old movies, blissfully sighing over the romance; and reading sci-fi and adventure novels, vicariously living the action. The combination probably explains why the books she writes are romantic, happily-ever-afters with plenty of plot - and often lots of laughter.

After graduating from college with a degree in Advertising, Pam merrily set off to earn a living, searching for that perfect career as she became a graphic designer, print buyer, pantyhose sales rep, public relations specialist, copywriter, freelance writer - and finally author. Pam has won numerous awards including the Booksellers Best, the Laurel Wreath, and a gold medal IPPY in the Independent Book Publisher Awards. She is a Kindle Book Awards finalist and a two-time Golden Heart Finalist. She lives in Wisconsin where she is working on her next novel.

Connect with the author: Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Goodreads


Enter the Giveaway!


a Rafflecopter giveaway


Monday, August 15, 2016

The House of Kane by Barbara Casey (Book Spotlight, Author Interview and Giveaway)



Today I'm kicking off the blog tour for The House of Kane! I love books whose plot centers around the theme of book publishing. Well, this one has it all: intrigue, betrayal, suspense and romance. The pages fly as you read it! The House of Kane was considered for a Pulitzer Award Nomination in 2007 and is currently being considered for film/TV options.

Look out for my review next week on Aug 24. And be sure to scroll down to read my interview with talented author Barbara Casey who's been involved in the publishing industry for over twenty-five years. Enter the giveaway too!

Book Details:

Book Title: The House of Kane by Barbara Casey
Category: Adult Fiction, 198 pages
Genre: Mystery / Suspense
Publisher: ArcheBooks Publishing
Release date: February 2014
Tour dates: Aug 15 to 26, 2016
Content Rating: PG-13 + M (There is some light profanity.)

Book Description:

Aislinn Marchánt, a writer and editorial consultant, is hired by the major New York publishing company, Kane Publishing House, to help determine why several submissions sent to them have mysteriously disappeared only to be published later by another publisher. Are the editors at Kane simply not being diligent enough with the in-coming material, or is there something more sinister going on? Working from her West Palm Beach home, Aislinn quickly becomes involved with the House of Kane as well as with Caldwell Kane, the man who hired her.

As Aislinn works toward uncovering the various layers of truth of her former husband, her elderly neighbor, and Kane Publishing House, she continues to research her own novel, the story of a love between two people that becomes fractured because of the misunderstandings created by two different cultures. Her research takes her to a botanica where a Santerian priest reveals the truth in her own life and a destiny that is joined to that of Caldwell Kane.

Praise for The House of Kane:

Simultaneously wise and poignant, exotic and suspenseful, House of Kane is a fascinating story of loyalty, treachery and the power of destiny. With an insider's view into the world of high stakes publishing, Barbara Casey weaves a masterful story that haunts the reader long after the final page.
​- ​Nancy Steinbeck, Author of The Other Side of Eden: Life with John Steinbeck

Barbara Casey's House of Kane is a touchingly tender love story, set in an intrigue-riddled
​publishing industry. Her characters are interesting and varied. Her story is refreshing and engagingly told. Aspiring writers will want to read House of Kane to tap her wisdom about getting into print.
​- ​John DeDakis, Former CNN Senior Copy Editor, Author of Fast Track

Buy the Book: Amazon ~ Barnes & Noble




Interview with Barbara Casey


LCR: Can you describe your book's story in 20 words or less.

BC: Aislinn Marchánt, a writer and editorial consultant, is hired by the major New York publishing company, Kane Publishing House, to help determine why several submissions sent to them have mysteriously disappeared only to be published later by another publisher.

LCR: How long have you been working in the publishing industry? What do you love about it? What do you not like about it?

BC: I have been involved in the publishing industry for over twenty-five years. There are several things to love about it—such as the feeling of accomplishment when something you have written gets published. But over the years I have really enjoyed working with others, both as an agent and as a manuscript consultant, in helping them get published. That is very rewarding for me personally.

LCR: Are any of the events in the book based on true stories?

BC: I lived in West Palm Beach for a number of years, which is where my main character, Aislinn, lives. And like Aislinn, I did research on the ancient religion, Santeria, for a book I was writing. The House of Kane itself revolves around the publishing industry, so my years of experience certainly gave me the knowledge to write about it. Beyond that, however, the story is based on my research of lightning-strike victims, homeless military veterans, and my imagination.

LCR: The House of Kane is so engrossing and fast-paced that readers are tearing through the pages to get to the end. One reader lent it to her friend who devoured it in one day and then that reader lent it to another friend who did the same. What does it take to produce a book that is engrossing and recommended to friends?

BC: You are so nice to say that, Laura. Thank you. The highest compliment a writer can receive is that people love your book so much, they want their friends to read it as well. I honestly don’t know what it takes. All I know is what I like, and if it tears at me emotionally and keeps me awake at night thinking about it and worrying about my characters, then I know I am writing something worth reading because it has become real to me.

LCR: The House of Kane was considered for a Pulitzer Award. That's quite an honor. Can you describe to us what that meant to you as a writer? An agent?
BC: It makes me feel that others like what I write. It is a confirmation that I am a writer. Every writer is different, but I tend to keep everything within. I don’t even share what I am writing with my husband until the book is actually published. Then he gets to read it. So, to get acknowledged in such a way is certainly an honor, but at the end of the day, I write because I love writing and not for any recognition or award.

LCR: You have written several genres from middle grade, YA and adult fiction and non-fiction. Which do you find the easiest to write? Hardest? And why?

BC: My first love is writing fiction for adults. However, when my publisher asked me if I would be interested in writing a nonfiction book for a line he was publishing, I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it. I picked Kathryn Kelly to write about, the wife of “Machine Gun” Kelly during the Prohibition Era. I really enjoyed doing the research, finding small, tiny details about Kathryn and how she was behind all of their illegal activities, exploring the FBI “Vault”, and just learning about that period in history. In nonfiction, all of the facts are there. The writer just needs to creatively put them all together into a good story.

In fiction, there is also research involved and facts need to be accurate; however, it is more liberating in that the imagination plays such a key part in the process. Incidentally, Kathryn Kelly was published in February of this year, and it has been optioned for a television mini-series and major film.

LCR: As a writer, what is your advice to aspiring writers?

BC: Write about what you are interested in and write about something that hasn’t been written about already. Be original rather than try to write something similar to what is already published.

LCR: As an agent, what is your advice to aspiring writers?

BC: First impressions really do count. So if you are going to submit something to an agent or a publisher, make sure it is as perfect as you can write it. Check the submissions’ guidelines of the agencies and publishers you want to contact, and follow those guidelines. Also, referring to your previous questions, when Dan Brown’s The DaVinci Code was published, my agency received over 1000 manuscripts to consider with the word “Code” in the title.

LCR: If you could travel back in time, where would you go?

BC: I have traveled throughout Europe, and I especially loved visiting Italy as well as Great Britain. Perhaps I would travel back to the Elizabethan Era—the Golden Age.

LCR: If there was one thing you would want readers to remember about you, what would it be?

BC: I think I would rather they remembered my books, and that they really enjoyed reading them.

LCR: Barbara, thank you so much for taking the time to chat with me!

BC: Laura, thank you again for your interest and for taking the time to interview me. My very best to you and your bloggers.


About the Author:



Barbara Casey is a partner in Strategic Media Books, and president of the Barbara Casey Agency, representing authors throughout the United States, Great Britain, Canada, and Japan. She is also a manuscript consultant and the author of numerous articles, poems, and short stories.

Her award-winning novels have received national recognition, including the Independent Publishers Book Award. Her novel, The House of Kane, was considered for a Pulitzer nomination, and The Gospel According to Prissy, also a contemporary adult novel received several awards including the prestigious IPPY Award for Best Regional Fiction. Her most recent young adult novel, The Cadence of Gypsies, received the Independent Publishers Living Now Award and was reviewed by the Smithsonian for its list of Best Books.

Ms. Casey makes her home on the top of a mountain in northwest Georgia with her husband and three dogs who adopted her: Benton, a hound-mix, Fitz, a miniature dachshund, and Gert, a Jack Russel terrier of sorts.

​Connect with the author: Website


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Friday, August 5, 2016

Need a clean YA book? Grab a free e-copy of Between Now & Never by Laura Johnston


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A convict’s daughter should never fall for an FBI agent’s son, certainly not a fiery teenager like Julianna Schultz who is furious over her mother’s incarceration and the injustice of it all. But that’s exactly what seventeen-year-old Julianna finds herself doing when Cody Rush, the cocky son of the FBI agent who put her mom behind bars, moves into her hometown of Gilbert, Arizona.

Cody Rush—studious, principled, athletic, good looking and blond to boot—is everything Julianna hates, or so she thinks. Yet a series of ill-fated events one night brings them dangerously close, entangling the futures of two people who were never meant to be.



Thursday, August 4, 2016

Spotlight on Author Dane Cobain

 

Today I'm spotlighting the literary works of Dane Cobain, a talented UK author who is a poet, musician and writer. Here are two of his books. He also wrote a poem especially for Library of Clean Reads. He asked me to give him five random words and he would write me a poem using them. Well, I tossed these five words his way: sunshine, scarf, lion, impulsive, peach. Scroll down to see the poem he created! Tell me what you think.

But first, here's some info on his books:

Eyes Like Lighthouses When the Boats Come Home

Eyes Like Lighthouses is Dane Cobain’s first book of poetry, distilled from the sweat of a thousand memorised performances in this reality and others. It’s not for the faint-hearted.

I’ve never seen anyone do a stream of consciousness piece as talented as that. Very impressed.” – Mark Allard-Will, author of Saskatch-A-Man and co-founder of Cuckoo’s Nest Press

Dane’s poetry is a multi-layered spiral of the macabre, quirky humour and disjointed imagery. Not only does he make you think, he captures the small forgotten moments of everyday life.” – Nikki Dudley, co-editor of Streetcake Magazine

“…[Dane] combines concrete detail with socioeconomic concerns.” – Lorna Wood, associate editor of Gemini Magazine

Buy the Book: Amazon


Former.ly: The Rise and Fall of a Social Network

When Dan Roberts starts his new job at Former.ly, he has no idea what he's getting into. The site deals in death - its users share their innermost thoughts, which are stored privately until they die. Then, their posts are shared with the world, often with unexpected consequences.

But something strange is going on, and the site's two erratic founders share a dark secret. A secret that people are willing to kill for.

Buy the book:  Amazon


So here's the poem Dane created with these five words I sent him: sunshine, scarf, lion, impulsive, peach.


Roll Up, Roll Up

I might run away
and join the circus.

I don’t have much talent
and I can’t bend my body
or fly through the air
without hurting myself,
and I can’t tame a lion
or ride a unicycle;
I don’t even like kids,
because they’re sticky
and not yet finished,
they won’t discuss Nietzsche
with anyone.

I can’t smash watermelons
in the sunshine,
but people stare
when I cross the road
and nearly get runover,
hey that’s gotta be worth some currency
from someone or other.

My friends think I’m impulsive,
a compulsive flunkie
with too many fingers
in too many pies;
I can see the fire in their eyes
when they lie to me,
they try to blind me
with ice cream
and too many trees
to see the forest.

They say life is a peach
with a stone in it,
and I broke my teeth
when I was seventeen;
now I’m choosing life
over anything,
so I scarred my scarf
and put my gloves
on a burning bush,
like a snowman
melting
in the sunshine.

I might run away
and join the circus;
they could use
a clown like me.


About the Author:


Dane Cobain (High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, UK) is an independent poet, musician and storyteller with a passion for language and learning. When he’s not in front of a screen writing stories and poetry, he can be found working on his book review blog or developing his website, www.danecobain.com. His debut novella, No Rest for the Wicked, was released in the summer of 2015.

 
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