Friday, February 27, 2015

Book Tour, Reviews, and Interview: Murder & Mayhem in Goose Pimple Junction and Heroes & Hooligans in Goose Pimple Junction by Amy Metz

Murder & Mayhem in Goose Pimple Junction

by Amy Metz

Genre: Cozy Mystery




Murder & Mayhem in Goose Pimple Junction:

When Tess Tremaine starts a new life in the colorful town of Goose Pimple Junction, curiosity leads her to look into a seventy-five-year-old murder. Suddenly she’s learning the foreign language of southern speak, resisting her attraction to local celebrity Jackson Wright, and dealing with more mayhem than she can handle. 

A bank robbery, murder, and family tragedy from the 1930s are pieces of the mystery that Tess attempts to solve. As she gets close to the truth, she encounters danger, mystery, a lot of southern charm, and a new temptation for which she’s not sure she’s ready. 


*** 5/5 Stars! ***

This book was excitingly cute and quirky. The town is full of charm, goofballs, and some stodgy, questionable characters. After her divorce, Tess moves into an home that belonged to one of the town's old family's. While fighting her attraction to Jackson, a mystery/murder writer, odd and dangerous things start to occur around Tess and her home. Delving into a decades old murder, and ahem lots of romance, the pair and their slew of quirky side kicks and friends end involved in a murder, kidnapping, and insanely old secret.

I enjoyed this book a ton and it sure kept me entertained. It's full of southern charm, drawl, and sayings. Thankfully, translation for their southern speak is included.


Heroes & Hooligans in Goose Pimple Junction



Goose Pimple Junction is just recovering from a kidnapping and a murder, its first major crimes in years, when trouble begins anew. Life is turned upside down in the quirky little Southern town with the arrival of several shifty hooligans: A philandering husband intent on getting his wife back, another murderer loose in town, a stalker intent on frightening Martha Maye, and a thief who’s stealing the town blind of their pumpkins, pies, and peace. Together, they’re scaring the living daylights out of the residents and keeping the new police chief busier than a set of jumper cables at a redneck picnic. Suddenly, he has his hands full trying to apprehend a killer, stop a stalker, and fight his feelings for the damsel in distress. 



*** 5/5 Stars! ***

Book number two of this cozy little southern mystery takes readers into the life of Martha Maye, who is being stalked by a creepy admirer, chasing off her no good soon to be ex husband, and the welcome romantic attentions of the new police chief. Petty thefts around the town are keeping the small police force busy. A sudden gruesome murder out on Martha's lawn causes the town's gossipy eye to be focused on her and her romantic interest, Johnny, the chief of police.

Just as cute and quirky as book numero uno, this book was very entertaining and very fun. I seriously did not know who dun it until the author revealed it at the end.




Chapter 1




Marry in haste, repent in leisure.

~Southern Proverb



Lenny drove to his neighborhood bar with the windows wide open and Johnny Cash blaring on the radio, but he was oblivious to both. He was thinking about the phone conversation he’d just had with his ten-year-old daughter Carrie. It made him crazy the way her mother’s family called her “Butterbean.” What kind of a name was that for a child? But today he was crazy for a whole new reason. Jealousy and anger tore through him faster than small-town gossip. His daughter had spilled everything, and just when he thought he’d finally gotten a break, she said, “Mama kinda had a boyfriend but not anymore.” And: “Mama was kidnapped, but she’s back now.”

He pulled into the parking lot of the bar thinking, Boyfriend? We literally aren’t even divorced yet and she had a boyfriend? He pounded his fist against the steering wheel. He knew she’d been cheating on him. And now she’d done it right in front of their daughter. No doubt about it, he was going to have to do something about this Martha Maye situation.

Pulling into a primo spot at the front door, he looked up at the old rusty sign that had been over the entrance for years: Teetotalers ain’t welcome here. He winced at the loud screech announcing his car door opening, followed by the same screech when he slammed it shut. He glanced around the parking lot and saw the same cars that were there every night. His feet crunched on the gravel as he walked, and he remembered waking up three months earlier and slowly realizing his wife and daughter weren’t there.

The familiar bacon and coffee smells were gone. Cartoons weren’t blaring on the TV. His wife’s clothes were missing, along with his daughter’s, her teddy bear, and her dolls. The bookshelves were dotted with bare spots where Martha Maye’s favorite knickknacks and paddywhacks had been. And then he saw the note on the kitchen table that said she was divorcing him and that he shouldn’t try to find them. The realization that she’d left him in the middle of the night and taken their daughter seared through him like a red-hot poker.

Pretty stealthy for a woman who could literally be outwitted by a jar of marshmallow fluff. If she thinks she can literally run out on me and then humiliate me by going out with some scumbag before we’re even divorced, she has another think coming. I’ll show her. I’ll put on the charm and win her back.

Country music blasted as he opened the door, turned his head, and spit in disgust. She literally can’t be let her out by herself. Just look where it got her: kidnapped and almost killed.

His daughter had told him they’d been staying at his mother-in-law’s house. He should have figured. He’d always known Louetta to be a meddlesome old biddy. She lied to me when I called looking for my wife and daughter. She aided and abetted a woman leaving her husband. She allowed nefarious suitors to court my wife. Both of them must have literally stopped to think and forgotten how to start again.

And then there was his no-account, good-for-nothing brother who, upon learning of the impending divorce, wanted to know if Lenny would mind if he dated Martha Maye. Boy, I’m gonna slap you so hard, when you quit rolling your clothes’ll literally be outta style. My baby brother and my wife. Yeah. Over my dead body. How could he even ask such a thing? Both of them were nothing but a bunch of backstabbing traitors.

He hitched up his jeans under his overflowing beer belly, swaggered into the bar, and ordered a Colt 45. The jukebox was playing, “I Want a Beer as Cold as My Ex-Wife’s Heart,” and he thought that was pretty darn perfect for his life at the moment.

Looking around the room, he spotted a hot blonde giving him the eye. He sucked in his gut—a move that didn’t yield the desired result—and looked back, waggling his eyebrows suggestively. She brazenly smiled back at him.

How dare Martha Maye leave me? I can literally get any woman I want. And two on Saturday.

A football star in high school, homecoming king, and voted best looking his senior year, Lenny was used to women coming onto him, not leaving him. He put the bottle to his lips and downed half of it.

That woman was literally lucky to have me. Sure, I’ve put on a little weight, but only in the gut. I practically have to fight women off with a stick. Looking around the room again, he saw female eyes on him from several tables in the room. Yessirree, sir, I still got it.

Lenny started to lift his bottle to his mouth again but halted midway when two men sat down heavily on barstools on either side of him; they looked capable of eating their young. Both men were muscular and tough. One was as tall as a telephone pole. One was as short as a gnat’s tail. The taller man had black eyes under bushy eyebrows, and the other man wore aviator sunglasses on a flat, wide nose. He pushed the glasses to the top of his head to give Lenny his best glare.

“We’ve been looking all over Hell and half of Georgia for you, boy.” Eyebrows scooted his stool in close, crowding Lenny.

“Shoot.” Lenny’s hand automatically moved to his ankle holster, checking for his knife. “That don’t surprise me none. You literally couldn’t find oil with a dipstick.”

“Solly says he’s had about enough of you,” Eyebrows said.

“Yeah,” Mr. Gnat joined in, “he’s had about enough of you.”

Lenny snorted. “You can tell Solly to blow it out his butt,” Lenny said boldly, more boldly than he felt. He shelled a peanut, popped it in his mouth, and threw the shell into Mr. Gnat’s face.

“Solly says not to let you off the hook this time.”

“Yeah, not to let you off the hook.” Mr. Gnat’s left eye twitched.

“What’s with Mr. Echo over here?” Lenny pointed his thumb at the short man.

The telephone pole ignored him and said, “Solly says you’ve screwed him over for the last time.”

“Yeah, the last time.”

“I didn’t screw him over the first time.” Lenny drained his bottle. He felt like his mouth was full of cotton. “Solly wouldn’t tell the truth to save his life from dying.” Lenny tried to stand up, but the men had him penned in.

“You can’t talk about Solly that way.”

“Yeah, not that way,” Mr. Gnat echoed.

Eyebrows looked behind Lenny to his friend. “This boy has the mental agility of a soap dish, Joey.”

“Yeah, a soap dish.”

Lenny leaned in real close to Joey, who said, “Whatta you think you’re doing?”

“Just wondered if I got close enough if I could literally hear the ocean.”

“Boy, what you need is an education,” Eyebrows said.

“Yeah, an edj-ee-cation.” Gnat strung the word out.

The men grabbed Lenny’s arms, lifting him off his stool. The song on the jukebox had ended, and Lenny heard the crunch of peanut shells as the men propelled him toward the door.

“Boys, y’all best not be messing with me,” Lenny snapped, trying to break free.

“That’s mighty big talk for a punk like you.” They stepped aside as someone came through the door, and then they threw Lenny through it. He landed on the ground but sprang right back to his feet, his dukes up, ready to fight.

Eyebrows was fast. He knocked Lenny to the ground again with a left hook. Joey followed up with two kicks to the ribs.

Lenny pulled himself into a ball, both to protect himself from further harm and to have better access to his ankle holster. But Joey saw the knife and kicked it away as Lenny drew it from his pants leg.

The men both grabbed Lenny by an arm again, pulling him upright, and Eyebrows punched him in the gut, causing him to double over. They double-teamed him and left him on the ground bloody and beaten, as cars whizzed past on the road in front of the bar.

Right before Lenny passed out, he thought: Tomorrow I’ll pack up and head for Goose Pimple Junction to reclaim what’s rightfully mine. I’ll literally be a devoted husband and father and get my family back. I ain’t gonna let that woman leave me. Nobody leaves Lenny Applewhite.



Tell us a bit about yourself. 
I grew up in Louisville, Kentucky, where I still live. I taught first grade before I had  two sons — my oldest is married and my youngest is a freshman in college. I’m a semi-retired mom, completely retired wife (divorced), and full-time writer. I love photography,  baking, and sweet tea. 

When did you begin writing? 
I started writing as therapy when my mother was diagnosed with dementia and I became her caretaker. It was therapeutic, but it was also stressful to relive the experiences, so I began writing a humorous southern mystery as an escape from real life. I found I really like living in imaginary worlds and talking to imaginary people, 

Have you ever been discouraged in regard to your writing ability and if so, how did you get past it and move forward? 
Yes. I've had some negative reviews that hurt and caused me to question myself as a writer: " I can't imagine how this got published." Another person said the book was "idiotic and sadly offensive." Luckily, the good reviews outnumber the bad. When someone says something hurtful, I just go read the good ones again. 

What's your favorite thing about writing? 
Getting lost in another world. 

What is your writing style? Do you like to outline or just write as you go? 
Both. With Murder & Mayhem, I knew how I wanted it to end, and I just wrote the book until I got there. I felt like the characters were telling me what to write. With Heroes & Hooligans I had a harder time and ended up outlining. I'm outlining with the third book also. 

Do you have a favorite spot where you like to write? 
Not really. I write on a laptop, so I can work anywhere. One thing I have to have is a lot of light. Preferably natural light. 

What is something you've written that will never see the light of day? 
Possibly a thriller I started writing. I got stuck on the plot and put it aside three years ago. 

What is your writer food? 
Sweet tea and M&Ms. Sometimes Mtn. Dew and jellybeans. 

What's the hardest thing about writing for you? 
Figuring out a complete plot. 

What inspires you to write? 

How many books have you written and which is your favorite? 
I have written three complete books, but my favorite is always the one I'm currently working on. 

What are some of your favorite books? 
I love all three series that Robert B. Parker wrote. My next favorite is David Rosenfelt's Andy Carpenter series, Michael Connelly's Bosch series,  and . . . I could go on and on. 

What authors do you like to read? 
In addition to the above authors, I like Harlan Coben, Laura Lippman, John Sandford, Michael Lee West, Chris Knopf, Rick Bragg, and Dr. Seuss . . . there's a never ending list. 

What inspired you to write Heroes & Hooligans in Goose Pimple Junction? 
The characters. They had more to say and do. 

Would you say you relate to any of your characters? If so, which one and why? 
I relate to Tess in that we're both writers, both divorced, and we both can trip over a cordless phone. I relate to Martha Maye in that I'm too trusting and now doubt everyone. 

This or that. 
Sweet or Salty? Sweeet 
Naughty or nice? Nice 
Cats or dogs? Dogs 
Vanilla or chocolate? Chocolate 

If you were deserted on an island, which author would you want to be stranded with? 
David Rosenfelt. He would keep


Amy Metz is the author of Murder & Mayhem In Goose Pimple Junction. She is a former first grade teacher and the mother of two sons. When not actively engaged in writing, enjoying her family, or surfing Facebook or Pinterest, Amy can usually be found with a mixing spoon, camera, or book in one hand and a glass of sweet tea in the other. Amy lives in Louisville, Kentucky.


Social media:

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Review: There’s Always Love By: Joycie Russ

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Title: There's Always Love
Published: August 7th 2014
Pages: 332
Format: eBook
Buy the Book

Jade, a young homicide detective has strange dreams that lead her into reopening a cold case. As she searches for answers, she discovers old family secrets and a world she never knew existed.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Book Tour: Depression and Your Child: A Guide for Parents and Caregivers by Deborah Serani

Title: Depression and Your Child: A Guide for Parents and Caregivers
Author: Deborah Serani
Publisher: Rowman and Littlefield 
Pages: 232
Genre: Self-Help/Psychology, Parenting
Format: Hardback/Paperback/Kindle

Seeing your child suffer in any way is a harrowing experience for any parent. Mental illness in children can be particularly draining due to the mystery surrounding it, and the issue of diagnosis at such a tender age. Depression and Your Child is an award-winning book that gives parents and caregivers a uniquely textured understanding of pediatric depression, its causes, its symptoms, and its treatments. Author Deborah Serani weaves her own personal experiences of being a depressed child along with her clinical experiences as a psychologist treating depressed children.2013 Gold Medal Book of the Year Award – IndieFab (Psychology Category) 2014 Silver Medal Book of the Year Award – Independent Publishing (Parenting Category)

Book Excerpt
When you held your child for the very first time, you were likely brimming with pride and joy. Your heart swelling with enormous love, you’re swept away with streams of thoughts for what your child needs in this immediate moment – as well as plans and dreams for the future. You expect there to be wondrous adventures your child will experience, as well as bumps in the road along the way. And that’s okay you say, because you know that life isn’t always an easy journey.           

But one thing you probably never considered was how an illness like depression could take hold of your child. And why would you? Up until recently, it was never believed that children could experience depression. Long ago, studies suggested that children and teenagers didn’t have the emotional capacity or cognitive development to experience the hopelessness and helplessness of depression.                                                                                                     
Today, we know that children, even babies, experience depression. The clinical term is called Pediatric Depression, and rates are higher now than ever before. In the United States alone, evidence suggests that 4% of preschool aged children, 5% of school-aged children and 11% percent of adolescents meet the criteria for major depression.
“Depression and Your Child” grew out of my experience of being a clinician who specializes in the treatment of Pediatric Depression. I wanted to write a parenting book to raise awareness about depressive disorders in children, teach parents how to find treatment, offer tips for creating a healthy living environment and highlight important adult parenting matters such as self-care, romance and well-being.                                                                                                    
I also wrote this book because I have lived with depression since I was a child. As is the case with pediatric depression, my own depression didn’t hit with lightening like speed. It was more of a slow burn, taking its toll in gnaws and bites before hollowing me out completely. After a suicide attempt as a college sophomore, I found help that finally reduced my depression. Until then, I accepted the sadness, despair and overwhelming fatigue “as the way my life just was.” I never realized, nor did my parents or any other adults, that I had a clinical disorder. I’ve since turned the wounds from my childhood into wisdom and believe that sharing the textures of my experiences will help parents realize what their own depressed child is going through.                     
More than anything else, I want this book to offer hope. As a clinician, proper diagnosis and treatment can be life changing and life-saving. As a person living with depression, I have found successful ways to lead a full and meaningful life. I want parents and children who struggle with depression to feel this hope too – and in these pages, that’s what you’ll find.
I’m a teacher at heart. Just about everything I do in my personal and professional life has some aspect of nurturance to it. When writing, I want readers to be able to take what’s in these pages and apply them to their life. The chapters herein will give you all the necessary requirements needed to parent you child with depression with confidence and success.                              

You’ll learn about the normative patterns and stages of child development, from physical, verbal, cognitive, emotional, and social development. I’ll teach you how to observe your child, how to spot potential concerns and give you the insight needed to help diagnose depression. As you read further, I not only outline traditional treatments for pediatric depression, I delve deeply into holistic methods too. I’m a great believer that there’s more than one way to treat illness – and finding what works for you and your child will be vital. In the pages of this book you’ll also find how to tap school resources for additional support and what kinds of specialists you need to advocate for your depressed child. I discuss the scariest subject matter related to depression, suicide and self- harm, in a manner that is candid and frank, yet hopeful. I want parents to know what to expect from medication if it’s needed, from hospitalization if it’s necessary and what kinds of realistic expectations to have regarding what psychotherapy can and can’t do when it comes to depression.                                                                                          
A significant emphasis in “Depression and Your Child” is making sure you, as a parent, carve out time for yourself and time for your love life. Chapters include tips for intact families, single parents and co-parenting arrangements, as well as caregivers who may need to plan for future caregiving for their depressed child. And because stigma features strongly in the life of anyone who lives with mental illness, a section of myths, facts and ways to address such stigma is featured. Furthermore, a list of almost 400 high profile people, from athletes, actors, musicians, scientists and world leaders, will help you and your depressed child see that people who have depression can lead meaningful lives.          
To broaden the understanding of what’s covered in this book, I’ve included a case study at the end of each chapter. Though the names and other identifying information have been changed to keep confidentiality, reading the stories of these selected cases will help you understand theories, treatments and techniques.                                                                                 
Finally, worldwide resources to advocacy websites, mental health organizations, parenting associations, suicide hotlines and pharmacology agencies round out “Depression and Your Child,” making this truly a guide book for parents.  

Wow! Talk about a fantastic book dealing with a sensitive subject. I am a licensed social worker and work with kiddos of all ages. This book was extremely helpful in helping me to understand the origin of diagnosing depression in pediatrics, the different types, and the plethitude of treatments open to children and their families. She gives great case examples at the end of each chapter. The reader does not need to be a professional and have any experience regarding depression or its related symptoms and treatments. The book is explicitly written for parents and caregivers of children with depression. The author does an excellent job of breaking the subject down into multiple chapters that build on each other. She is honest, concise in her facts, and has a lot of common sense and scientific back up. I highly, highly recommend this for parents, caregivers, or professionals who deal with any aspect or have a relationship with a kiddo suffering from/suspect suffering from depression. 

Dr. Deborah Serani the author of the award-winning books “Living with Depression” and “Depression and Your Child: A Guide for Parents and Caregivers.” She is also a go-to media expert on a variety of psychological issues. Her interviews can be found in ABC News, Newsday, Women’s Health & Fitness, The Chicago Tribune, The Daily Beast, The Associated Press, and radio station programs at CBS and NPR, just to name a few. She writes for Psychology Today, helms the "Ask the Therapist" column for Esperanza Magazine and has worked as a technical advisor for the NBC television show Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. A psychologist in practice twenty five years, Dr. Serani is also a professor at Adelphi University.

For More InformationVisit Deborah Serani’s website.Connect with Deborah on Facebook and Twitter.Find out more about Deborah at Goodreads.Visit Deborah’s blog.More books by Deborah Serani.Contact Deborah.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Cover Reveal (middle school fiction): Extraordinary Sam & the Adventurers Guild by Kevin A. Springer

“This box may seem empty, But there’s more than meets the eye…” Sam Miller seems like an ordinary 12-year-old boy, until he discovers a mysterious box. Suddenly, he lands in a magical world in which he must battle deadly pirates, savage warriors, giant man-eating spiders, and a fire-wielding tyrant. To survive, Sam must overcome his fears, solve riddles, and most of all, be extraordinary.
Releasing March 2015 by Bookfish Books! 

 Buy Link: 

Kevin A. Springer grew up on a farm in Maryland where his imagination knew no limits. As a husband and father, he reconnected with his creativity while telling bedtime stories to his two young boys. One such story evolved into his debut book, Extraordinary Sam & the Adventurers’ Guild (March 2015, Bookfish Books LLC.), which tells the tale of an ordinary boy who finds a hatbox and discovers a world of adventure and self-discovery. Kevin is a self-proclaimed dreamer and a kid at heart. When he’s not writing or reading, he is coaching soccer or helping with homework. He lives outside of Atlanta with his wife, two extraordinary boys, and dogs. He is also a co-founder of the Middle Grade Mafia blog. Author Links: @kevinaspringer,,

Book Review & Giveaway: Mean Streak by Sandra Brown


Mean Streak by Sandra Brown
Published by: Grand Central
Publication date: August 19th 2014
Genres: Adult, Romance, Suspense

Dr. Emory Charbonneau, a pediatrician and marathon runner, disappears on a mountain road in North Carolina. By the time her husband Jeff, miffed over a recent argument, reports her missing, the trail has grown cold. Literally. Fog and ice encapsulate the mountainous wilderness and paralyze the search for her.

While police suspect Jeff of “instant divorce,” Emory, suffering from an unexplained head injury, regains consciousness and finds herself the captive of a man whose violent past is so dark that he won’t even tell her his name. She’s determined to escape him, and willing to take any risks necessary to survive.

Unexpectedly, however, the two have a dangerous encounter with people who adhere to a code of justice all their own. At the center of the dispute is a desperate young woman whom Emory can’t turn her back on, even if it means breaking the law.

As her husband’s deception is revealed, and the FBI closes in on her captor, Emory begins to wonder if the man with no name is, in fact, her rescuer.



*** 4/5 Stars ***

"Mean Streak" is a fast paced and twirl of deception and suspicion. Emory (love her name!) is a well known pediatric doctor married to Jeff who works in finance. Childless and down to loveless, the couple of on the rocks. Emory heads out to train for a charity marathon while Jeff completes a cheat-a-ton. Emory disappears and is suddenly a not so willing, kind of willing resident in a cozy cabin with an imposing stranger. While treated kindly, she kinds a few mysterious clues to and tries to ferret out her mysterious rescuer's past and identity.

The story fast forwards the Emory's return to the world and the ultimate betrayal. I didn't see the twist at the end. Fair warning, the bad guy isn't who you might guess at first. Roles will be reversed. The supporting characters, a few quirky detectives and a searching FBI agent, add to the general melay and intriguing storyline. Sometimes boggled down by details, this was still a good romantic suspense that deals with some modern day issues.



Sandra Brown is the author of more than sixty New York Times bestsellers, including DEADLINE(2013), LOW PRESSURE (2012), LETHAL (2011), TOUGH CUSTOMER (2010), SMASH CUT (2009), SMOKE SCREEN (2008), PLAY DIRTY (2007), RICOCHET (2006), CHILL FACTOR (2005), WHITE HOT (2004), & HELLO, DARKNESS (2003).

Brown began her writing career in 1981 and since then has published over seventy novels, bringing the number of copies of her books in print worldwide to upwards of eighty million. Her work has been translated into over thirty languages.

A lifelong Texan, Sandra Brown was born in Waco, grew up in Fort Worth and attended Texas Christian University, majoring in English. Before embarking on her writing career, she worked as a model at the Dallas Apparel Mart, and in television, including weathercasting for WFAA-TV in Dallas, and feature reporting on the nationally syndicated program “PM Magazine.”

In 2009 Brown detoured from her thrillers to write, Rainwater, a much acclaimed, powerfully moving story about honor and sacrifice during the Great Depression.

Brown recently was given an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Texas Christian University. She was named Thriller Master for 2008, the top award given by the International Thriller Writer’s Association. Other awards and commendations include the 2007 Texas Medal of Arts Award for Literature and the Romance Writers of America’s Lifetime Achievement Award.

Author links:

href="" target="_blank">


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Book Review & Giveaway (blog exclusive ebook giveaway): Bueno by Christy Esmahan


All three books in the series is on sale for $2.99 through the end of February!!

Free on Kindle Unlimited. 




*** 5/5 Stars! ***

"Bueno" is the first of a three book series about Harvey, an American, and his tenacious and sometimes naive leadership as a headmaster in Spain of an international school. Harvey is an extremely likeable and pluckable character who battles through a new culture and a school bogged down with personal politics and favoritism.

I was immediately drawn into the story and had a hard time putting it down. I grew up with a ton of different cultures here near Houston, Texas, but the international school scene was new to me. Being transported to that world and being dumped straight into the struggles and drama that Harvey faced was eye opening. The "brujahs" (witches in Spanish) is a word, an excellent one at that, used to describe the clandestine group of tenured staff at the school that rule its inner workings. Harvey is hired on tentatively and strives to do what's best for all involved and steps on some grumpy toes. The story goes through his personal losses, the sheer nastiness and lengths that people will go to keep change out, and his blossoming relationship.

Harvey is an extremely likeable guy and I winced, gritted my teeth, and laughed with him through the story. The author does an amazing job of weaving a fun, contemporary, and fictional story that goes to show people don't change that much- even across the globe.

In need a good break from reality or just a plain good story? Start this amazing series and be sucked right in.



Interview questions for A Little Bit of R&R

Tell us a bit about yourself

Well, I lived in Spain for 12 years as an adult which really helped me to write the Cantabria American School series, of which Bueno is the first book. I also love science and birding. And I love to read—often I’m devouring 3 or 4 books at a time. I love to travel. And I love to cook, but I don’t like following recipes.

When did you begin writing?

I have been writing poetry all my life but I began my novels in 2008, shortly after I retired from teaching.

Have you ever been discouraged in regard to your writing ability and if so, how did you get past it and move forward?

Yes, definitely. I almost gave up writing completely. But my husband was very encouraging, and then I stumbled on a wonderful blog by a talented writer and writing coach named Lauren Sapala. Her blog posts were uplifting and reminded me of the joy of writing.

What's your favorite thing about writing?

When the characters come alive and the novel writes itself—that’s my very favorite part. I’ll go into a scene expecting to write one thing and something completely different will occur. It’s magical.

What is your writing style? Do you like to outline or just write as you go?

I’ve changed. I used to just write as I went, but it made for a very messy and incoherent plot. Now I outline. I still give myself the freedom to deviate if needed, but then I document the deviations.

Do you have a favorite spot where you like to write?

No, though I do all my writing on the computer now.

What is something you've written that will never see the light of day?

Probably my poetry.

What's the hardest thing about writing for you?

Sometimes I’ll get stuck and not know where to go with a story—that’s really hard. I find, though, that if I keep returning to it and keep plodding along, I become unstuck.

What inspires you to write?

Goodness, I can’t NOT write now. What inspires me to breathe? What inspires me to open my eyes in the morning—it’s all kind of the same thing.

How many books have you written and which is your favorite?

I have written 4 books—the fourth will be published in just a few weeks (by March 2015). Usually, whatever I’m currently working on is my favorite. My newest book is called THE LAPTEV VIRUS and it’s about a large virus discovered in the Arctic which becomes a human pathogen. I’m very excited about it.

What are some of your favorite books?

The list is tremendously long! In the realm of general fiction, I love the Dickens books most of all. The funniest books are the Nursery Crime and Thursday Next series by Jasper Fforde. I have read The Lord of the Rings at least 6 times in its entirety. And there are tons of other terrific books that have moved me. I use a shelf in my Goodreads profile to highlight the best books I’ve read.

What authors do you like to read?

Charles Dickens, Jasper Fforde, Alexander McCall-Smith, Liane Moriarty, JoJo Moyes, Anthony Doerr, Jeffrey Eugenides, etc.

What inspired you to write Bueno?

I felt like I had a story to tell. I was a teacher and an administrator in a small international school in Spain and I wanted to write about my experiences, but I also wanted to convey my love for Spain and the sense of adventure I felt when I lived there.

Would you say you relate to any of your characters? If so, which one and why?

Well, I kind of relate to bits and pieces of each of them—they’re my characters, after all. I mean, certainly some of them misbehave pretty badly, doing things I would never do, but that makes the story much more interesting.

This or that.

Sweet or Salty? Salty

Naughty or nice? Definitely nice. Too nice most of the time, which is why it’s fun to write about not nice—gives me a chance to live vicariously.

Cats or dogs? Dogs—I’m allergic to cats. Though I do watch an inordinate number of funny cat videos.

Vanilla or chocolate? Chocolate, preferably with nuts.


Wonderful news: Bueno is a semi-finalist in the Elixir Press Fiction Award competition of 2014!

I owe my early passion for writing to my high school English teacher, who, like one of the characters in my new series, was very inspiring. She believed in me and I've never forgotten that. I took a circuitous road toward authorship, working first as a researcher in the field of molecular biology, then as a science and math teacher, then as an administrator, and finally as a technical translator. As I progressed along the path of completing my novels, I swerved out and published a children's book, which 3-year-olds seem to love, and then returned to literary fiction, my first passion. My 11 years living in Spain also heavily influenced my desire to write. I loved my time there and wanted to share that beautiful world with everyone. I hope you enjoy my novels!



Author Website:


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, February 9, 2015

Book Review & Tour: Stillness of the Sky by Starla Huchton

The Stillness of the Sky Blog Tour Banner

The Stillness of the Sky
Title: The Stillness of the Sky
Author: Starla Huchton
Series: A Flipped Fairy Tale
Genre: Fantasy /YA
Publisher: Self Published
Release Date: Feb 2 2015
Edition/Formats: eBook & Print
"Once upon a time, my life was certain: it was insignificant, and it was cruel. But I refused to let it define me, no matter how great the cost.
Once upon a time, I made a wish. The world I knew grew wider than the sky and higher than the stars, and I listened to the voice within me, reaching out for freedom.
Once upon a time, my wish became my fate, and my destiny the hardest lesson to learn: kindness may be the most difficult path, but it can save entire kingdoms.”




*** 5/5 Stars! ***

This is my second book to review by this author. I LOVE her writing style and stories. They are fairy tale sweet but lifelike in their realism and presentation. In this novel, she mixes up traditional fairy tales and delivers them on a lovely platter of lyrical fantasy.

Jack, Jacqueline, is our main hero. This chick is sweet, vulnerable, and kind. She also has an uber power hidden within herself that is unleashed once she sets out on an adventure to escape her abusive home life. Giants, magic, princes (selfish and not), inn keepers, a rideable raven... and our lovely protagonist is in for a whole lot more than she bargained for. Love, adventure, sorrow, and discovering her true family ends for a happily tied up ever after.

Please, if you're a lover of fantasy or anything in a similar genre, pick up Ms. Huchton's books. They make for excellent reads and her newest release does not fail to entertain!



It took my vision a few moments to adjust to the sudden brightness, but when I did, I couldn’t believe the sight in front of me. Stunned, I staggered backwards, all but falling down as my gaze drifted up from the base of the enormous plant that had sprung up overnight.
The bottom was easily twenty feet wide to either side of me, with massive leaves bursting from curled vines thicker than a man’s shoulders were broad. It seemed to be not a single plant, but three twisted around each other, leading up and up into the sky. I followed the trail of leaves spiraling around it like a giant staircase until I lost sight of them in the clouds obscuring the top.
What, by the spirits, was that thing, and how had it come to be there so instantaneously? What enchantment conjured it? Even more, how long would it remain? Eventually someone would notice it and ask all sorts of questions, and I wouldn’t have any answers for them.
I paused, hitting on one word swirling in my mind: enchantment. In running from the wolves, I’d dropped the beans. While I couldn’t prove it myself, I was fairly certain they were some sort of magic. Therefore, the only reasonable explanation, even though it was the most outlandish thing I’d ever entertained, was that the plant before me was the result of the three beans being exposed to soil and water.
“Either you’ve hit your head very hard, lost your mind completely, or found something amazing, Jack,” I said out loud, hoping that talking through the development might bring me some clarity. “As you’re not in terrible pain, let’s discount the first one for the time being.”
My feet moved without my thinking, and I carried on my monologue, trying to puzzle it out. “You might be talking to yourself, but nothing up until this moment has ever given you cause to doubt the reliability of your brain. That leaves one option.”
I stopped walking, marveling at the turn of events. As I watched, a single leaf uncurled from the base of the humongous beanstalk, spreading out on the ground before me like a carpet. Was it a greeting? That leaf led to another slightly above it, and a third and fourth after that. Each was perfectly positioned, one leading to the next.
If ever I’d been given an invitation to anything, that was it.
Not entirely sold on it, I wandered back to where I’d woken, retrieving my pack and cap from between the layers of leaves. The hat was a bit soggy when I placed it on my head, but I was sure it would dry quickly with the heat of day already growing rapidly. Again at the leaf that unfurled before me, I lifted my gaze up, following it once more into the clouds.
“I wonder how high it goes?”
The thought of being at such an elevation, looking out over everyone and everything, cemented my decision. People climbed mountains only to say they’d done it. They built larger and larger structures for no better reason than gaining a closer perspective on the stars. Why should I be any different? How many could say they’d encountered a plant such as this, and how regretful would they feel for having passed up the opportunity?
Tentatively, I set my foot upon the leaf, unsure if it would even hold me. It gave some, but easily supported what little weight I carried. A large man might find it impassable, but for me, a girl of sixteen with years of hunger under her belt, I’d have no cause to worry.
Well, no cause pending the strength of the greenery held out all the way to the top.
As many times as I’d looked to the sky, never before had it seemed so full of promise.
With a firm nod, I started up. After all, what was the worst that could happen? If nothing else, I’d finally know what it felt like to fly.


A geek of all trades, Starla Huchton has been crafting stories in various genres since 2007. Her first novel, The Dreamer’s Thread, was released as a full cast audiobook podcast, becoming a double-nominee and finalist for the 2010 Parsec Awards. After releasing short fiction of steampunk, noir fantasy, and other varieties, she released the first three books of the Sci-Fi Romance Endure series in 2013. All three books of the Evolution series, a New Adult Superhero Romance series, were released in 2014, as well as a Steampunk Fantasy novel, Master of Myth (the Antigone’s Wrath series, book 1), which was the first place winner of the Crested Butte Writers’ contest, The Sandy, in 2012. Shadows on Snow, a gender-flipped retelling of Snow White, releases in November 2014.

When not writing, Starla trains three Minions, a black lab, and a military husband whilst designing book covers for independent authors and publishers at

Author Links

Amazon Author Page


Facebook Author Page





Other Works by Starla 

Evolution Series

Evolution Angel #1

Evolution Sage #2

Evolution HEX #3

The Evolution Series Omnibus

The Endure Series

Maven #1

Nemesis #2

Progeny #3

Paradigm #4 (WIP)

The Antigone’s Wrath Series

Master of Myth #1

Master of Machines #2 (WIP)

Stand Alones

The Dreamer’s Thread

A Flipped Fairy Tale

Shadows on Snow

The Stillness of the Sky (Coming Late Winter)