Excerpt, Giveaways, Reviews

#Review of Miracles are Golden by Catherine Lanigan w/a rafflecopter giveaway! @Cathlanigan


On Tour with Prism Book Tours

Miracles are Golden
By Catherine Lanigan
Women’s Fiction, Christmas
ebook, 100 Pages
February 2, 2016

This heartwarming story is about eight-year-old Jimmy Longwood, who has fallen in love with a Golden Retriever puppy. When his parents explain that their condo does not allow pets, Jimmy is heartbroken. While skiing in Aspen the entire family is killed in an avalanche. Jimmy goes to heaven and meets an angel who decides to send Jimmy back to earth as the very Golden Retriever he’d wanted for his own and to learn the one lesson all human beings must learn…unconditional love.

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EXCERPT

The day after Christmas Jimmy was roused early, taken out the front door to potty in the bushes and then given breakfast, all before daylight.

What’s up with these people? Don’t they sleep in? What’s the rush?

“Here you go, Beau. Yum. Doesn’t this smell good?” Robin asked placing a dish of canned dog food in front of him.

Jimmy sniffed the food and jumped back.

They don’t expect me to eat this stuff do they? How about a rasher of that bacon? Or maybe a smidgeon of that hot cinnamon bun?

Jimmy quickly skitted over to the kitchen table where the family was sitting down to breakfast. He licked his mouth.

“Look, Mommy! I think Beau wants some bacon.”

“Oh, Robin, the breeder said not to give a puppy table scraps. It’s bad for them. It could make him throw up.”

Throw up? Throw up? Is she kidding? That barf material in the bowl will make me throw up!

Robin sat down at the table holding his puppy in his lap. “But I can tell he doesn’t like that food. He wouldn’t even sniff it and he should be hungry by now. After all he didn’t eat a bite yesterday.”

Daphne came down the stairs with her rolling suitcase and entered the kitchen. It was obvious to Jimmy that she was going back to New York and very soon. Just thinking about New York Reminded Jimmy of his parents. As his mother’s face flashed across his puppy mind, he felt a pang in his heart. I miss you, Mom.

“He was just getting used to his surroundings, Robin,” Daphne said pouring a cup of coffee and sitting at the table.

Hal nodded. “I agree with you though, Robin. Beau should be hungry by now. You can give him a half a piece of bacon. If he vomits, you clean it up.”

“Hal! I just told Robin not to feed him.”

“Becky, this way they’ll both learn a valuable lesson.”

Robin broke a piece of bacon in half. As hungry as he was, Jimmy remembered his mother, Melanie, telling him that table manners were a most important asset for a child. I need to play this cool. Jimmy sniffed the bacon first.

“What’s he doing? Seeing if it’s poisoned?” Hal laughed.

Jimmy gently took the bacon and chewed it.

“Manners?” Robin’s mother gasped. “Why, I can’t believe I’m seeing what I’m seeing.”

Daphne put her coffee cup down. “He’s a real New Yorker. Through and through,” she smiled smugly.

“Now put him down on the floor, Robin and see if he keeps it down,” Robin’s father said.

“Okay.” Robin gently placed Jimmy on the floor.

Wow! That was great. I bet I can con them out of some sweet roll, too.

Jimmy sat on his back paws quietly huffing, never taking his eyes from the food on the table. Yet never backing away either.

As they ate, all eyes were on Beau.

“See, Mom, he’s not sick at all.”

“I understand, Robin, but you need your nourishment, too. We have a big day today.”

Suddenly, Robin’s shoulders slumped. He lost interest in eating and in watching Beau’s performance.

“I don’t want any more chemotherapy,” Robin said lowly.

“But, Robin. It will save your life. You have to go,” Hal said.

Chemotherapy? Oh, so that’s why he’s bald. Oh, Robin, I was afraid you were that sick. I thought…well, I don’t know what I thought.

Instantly, Jimmy scooted over to Robin’s chair and put his paws on the top of the chair. He whined until Robin picked him up and put him in his lap. Jimmy licked Robin’s hand, hoping the gesture would give him comfort.

“Did you see that, Mommy? It was as if Beau understood what we were saying.”

“It’s not the words he understands, Robin. It’s our voices. All our voices become concerned and sad when we talk about the cancer.”

Robin petted Beau.

Jimmy shook his head. I understood the words, Robin! I’m not like other dogs. I’m a kid caught in a puppy’s suit, that’s all. I’m here because they wouldn’t let me die yet.

“Look, he’s saying ‘no’,” Robin said excitedly. “I really think he understands me.”

Jimmy leapt up and licked Robin’s face.

“You see that! He does understand words.”

“Robin, there’s no such thing as a dog understanding human language other than a few command words.”

Daphne held up her finger. “That’s not exactly true, Becky. Mr. Lenza, the man who sold me Beau, said that Goldens understand 750 words nearly as much as a German Shepherd who only know twenty more.”

“Yes,” Hal sighed, “ well, that may be true. But that doesn’t mean they understand them all strung together in sentences and paragraphs.”

“Well, Beau does. He’s just smarter than the average Golden is all.” Robin picked him up and held him close so that he could peer into the puppy’s eyes.

“Hal, I saw on the Pet Psychic program on the Animal Channel

that…” Daphne began.

Hal held up his hand. “Please, Daphne, I don’t need any of your metaphysical mumbo jumbo. Not today.”

“Sorry. It’s Christmas. I promised Becky I’d spare you.”

“Thanks.”

Robin looked at Beau. “I can see it in his soul, Daddy. Beau is special.” He hugged his pet. “You’ll see.”

We all have that go-to author that no matter what they write it will be good.  Ms. Lanigan is that writer for me.  I choose this book because it had no romance in it and I was intrigued.  Plus, it featured a dog and child.  I’m a sucker for both.  What really caught me by surprise was how much I needed this book right now.

I read this book over the Thanksgiving holiday and it gave me a perspective that I needed and shared with my son.  She reminded me that unconditional love is given, not earned.  And not just from our pets either.  We tend to just think we can not have unconditional love with our family or friends; that it is just reserved for our pets.  Ms. Lanigan proves that you can.  Can we not like something that they have done?  Sure.  But to unlove someone?  I don’t think that’s possible.

Beau/Jimmy is a trip.  He provides us with the humor, insight and perspective throughout the book.  His parents are the typical overworked and don’t have a lot of time to spare for Jimmy and it showed.  Jimmy/Beau’s angel is good, too.  He provides Jimmy the guiding hand that is needed.

Overall, I loved this book.  I think everyone should read it and discuss it with their family, friends, church group, etc.  Ms. Lanigan could re-write the phone book and I would read it.  Seriously.  She is that good.

 

About the Author

Catherine Lanigan is the international bestselling and award-winning author of over forty-five published titles in both fiction and non-fiction, including the novelizations of Romancing the Stone and The Jewel of the Nile. Ms. Lanigan’s novels have been translated into over twenty-four languages. Lanigan was tasked by the NotMYkid foundation to pen a collection of compelling and informative true stories of teen addicts. Ms. Lanigan’s SHORES OF INDIAN LAKE series for HARLEQUIN HEARTWARMING includes LOVE SHADOWS, HEART’S DESIRE , A FINE YEAR FOR LOVE, KATIA’S PROMISE, FEAR OF FALLING, SOPHIE’S PATH, PROTECTING THE SINGLE MOM, FAMILY OF HIS OWN, HIS BABY DILEMMA, RESCUED BY THE FIREFIGHTER and MY RACING HEART (2019).

Ms. Lanigan is a frequent speaker at literary functions and book conventions as well as inspiring audiences with her real stories of angelic intervention from her Angel Tales series of books. She is an outspoken advocate for domestic violence and abuse and was honored by The National Domestic Violence Hotline in Washington, D.C. She has been a guest on numerous radio programs including “Coast to Coast” and on television interview and talk show programs as well as blogs, podcasts and online radio interview programs. She writes a monthly blog for Heartwarmingauthors.blogspot.com.

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Tour Schedule

November 26th:
Launch
It’s All About the Romance
Andi’s Book Reviews
November 27th:
Among the Reads
Wishful Endings
Book Lover in Florida
November 28th:
E-Romance News
Rockin’ Book Reviews
Hearts & Scribbles
November 29th:
Uplifting Reads
Harlie’s Books
Colorimetry
November 30th:
Heidi Reads…
underneath the covers
December 1st:
Grand Finale

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Ends December 5, 2018

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Excerpt, Giveaways, Interviews, Spotlight

Interview of debut author Olivia Castillo featuring Song of the Boricua w/a rafflecopter giveaway! @oliviacauthor

Song of the Boricua

by Olivia Castillo

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GENRE:   Fiction

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BLURB:

Puerto Rico an island of contradiction, serves as an enchanting backdrop following three generations of women.

Elena:  Resilient and ambitious, but trapped by duty to her children.

Maria:  Passionate and headstrong, but married to a man she does not love.

Josephina: Optimistic and romantic, but in love with an alcoholic.

Isabella: Clairvoyant and spiritual, but denies her heritage and roots.

Like the land these women are held hostage, unfulfilled and unable to find their happiness. Each generation like the land is cursed. Can they defy the powerful bond of the curse and free themselves to find love everlasting?

New Author, Olivia Castillo, like the jibaros of the past weaves a tale of sorrow and joy. Castillos’ fiction is timely, offering a glimpse into the islands rich history and offering insight into the story that has plagued women for all of time, the search for true love and acceptance of self.

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Excerpt Two:

Maria

Bronx, NY, February 1957

As Maria glanced around she spotted the most gorgeous guy she had ever seen. He was tall and broad-shouldered, with thick brown hair pulled back in a shiny pompadour. He had olive skin and his eyes were a deep onyx. Under a letterman’s jacket he was wearing a tight-fitting sweater.

She watched him from across the room, unable to look away. When he looked up, their eyes met. She felt a shiver go down her spine; he smiled at her, flashing dimples. Maria, trying to be nonchalant, walked over to the table and poured herself a glass of fruity punch, aware of his eyes still on her. She kept her eyes down and swayed to Elvis singing

“Jailhouse Rock.” Only seconds later she felt someone step beside her.

“Hi, doll,” the dark-haired guy said to her. “Are you new? I’m Rick, by the way.” He held out his hand in a friendly gesture.

Wow, he is tall! Maria thought in awe. Giving him her most beguiling smile she said, “I’m Maria, and no, I’m not new, but this is the first school dance I’ve ever been to.”

“Boss,” Rick said enthusiastically, showing dimples again, and brilliant white teeth. “So, who are you here with? Or rather, where is he?” Rick asked, looking around.

“No boyfriend,” Maria admitted, laughing a little. “My mother would flip. Unfortunately, I am here with my little sister,” Maria said raising her voice so Corinna could hear. Corinna, who had not gone too far, looked up upon hearing her name and waved.

 

  1. Please share your setting for Song of the Boricua.

 The setting for the book is Puerto Rico.

 2.  Have you ever lived or visited there? If so, what did you like most?

  I lived there as a child for two years. What I liked the most was the freedom I had. We got to play long hours and we had a treehouse.

 3.  When did the writing bug first bite?

 I first started writing in first grade. First for school, then I had diaries and journals. 

 4.  Who are your favorite authors, book/series?

 My favorite authors are F. Scott FitzGerald, Margaret Mitchell, Leo Tolstoy, and the Bronte sisters.

 5.  What is the one thing that you would tell an inspiring writer to do?

 I would tell them don’t wait for it all to be perfect to take the plunge.

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AUTHOR Bio and Links:

 

Olivia Castillo is a New York native. After going to the prestigious Fiorello H. Laguardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts, she went on to study graphic design at Otis Parson’s College in Los Angeles. Along with being an entrepreneur, she is the mother of three children, and grandmother of two. When not writing or spending time with her family, she travels the world and paints. Song of the Boricua is her first novel.

 

Author website and blog:  www.oliviacastillo.org

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/songoftheboricua/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/oliviacauthor

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

Buy on Amazon now:  https://amzn.to/2P63Wh9

 

The book will be on sale for $0.99.

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GIVEAWAY INFORMATION and RAFFLECOPTER CODE:

 

Olivia Castillo will be awarding a $10 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

 

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Excerpt, Giveaways, Interviews, Reviews

#Review of Island Life Sentence by Carrie Jo Howe w/a rafflecopter giveaway! @carriejohowe

Island Life Sentence

by Carrie Jo Howe

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GENRE: Adult Fiction, Humorous, Romantic comedy

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BLURB:

Peg Savage has contractually agreed to move to Key West, Florida. The smudged signatures on the damp cocktail napkin are irrefutable proof.

“An adventure…” her husband Clark says.

Peg can’t swim; she’s afraid of bridges (there are 42 of them); and she doesn’t want to leave her friends. However, after a bottle of Cabernet, a move from Chicago to the southernmost city in the United States seems like the best decision ever.

But now Clark has taken a long term job in Cuba and she’s on her own.

Neither her dog Nipper, nor the ghosts in the attic, offer up any good advice. But how hard can it be living in paradise?

Peg dives into island life but the more effort she makes, the wider her wake of catastrophes. She is tortured by a paddle board, a giant poisonous toad, the local Conservation group, and the patron saint of hurricanes. Not to mention the persistent sweat rash under her left breast.

A tropical depression descends on the island – one that can’t be cured with medication. Peg must gather her strength if she has any hope of surviving the storm.


Welcome Carrie Jo Howe! Please start off by telling us a little about yourself.  Hi and thank you for hosting me! I’m a Chicago transplant to Key West, Florida. The island is the southernmost part of the United States and closer to Havana than a Target store.  My husband took a job transfer five years ago. I thought it was going to be fairly temporary, yet we’re still in Paradise. We have three grown boys and a 13 year old Vizsla. The dog is the boss of us all.

Is Island Life Sentence a single title, or part of a series? The book, is the first part of a trilogy. I’m working on the second book now.  

What were your inspirations for the story? Well, Peg is a fictional Mid-western woman who moves from Chicago to Key West. It sounds familiar, doesn’t it? Peg’s (mis)adventures are based on true stories. Yes, my dog was nearly poisoned by a deadly Bufo Toad. Yes, my house is haunted by haints (Key West ghosts). Yes, I survived a category five Hurricane named Irma.  

Please share your setting for Island Life Sentence.  Key West is a lush tropical island at the bottom of the chain of the Florida Keys.  It is aptly named “the end of the road” for its location and for the fact that it attracts some lively characters.  There’s some funky evolution going on down here–Darwinism at its finest.

When did the writing bug first bite? I think of myself as more of a storyteller.  I like to write about funny or strange events. For example, my first book, Motherhood is Not for Babies, tells about my shock at the effort it takes to raise a family.  I was surprised at how uncooperative they all were. It is therapy to write about it–makes it seem less overwhelming.

Who are you favorite authors, book/series?
The Florida writer, Carl Hiaasen  is an an ex-journalist who writes about Florida and all of its anomalies. Before I moved to Florida, I thought he exaggerated his humorous tales…I’ve since learned that, in reality, he’s quite factual.  My favorites of his books are Tourist Season and  Razor Girl.  

I’m a fan-girl of Tina Fey’s Bossy Pants and Amy Poehler’s Yes Please. These two friends are strong and funny. In my dream world, I’m sitting at a table with them in a restaurant and not getting arrested for stalking.

 

Do you have any hobbies or special things you like to do in your spare time?  I love my teachers at the Pilates Studio of Key West. They know their stuff and make the classes demanding but entertaining.  That’s saying a lot since the exercise program uses torture terms like, “reformer”, “straps” and “chair”. I also volunteer as a mentor for a high school student for the program Take Stock in Children.  TSIC provides college tuition for low-income, academically minded students. I’m proud to be part of such a well run and necessary organization.

What’s the strangest thing you’ve heard or seen?  Hmmm, let’s see…since it’s Key West, that’s tough to narrow down. Would you mind if I shared a photo of Happy Hour last Friday?  Words can’t do this justice.

Is it okay to say that while I read this book I almost peed my pants?  There are parts of this book that had me laughing out loud and often.  Other parts, I wanted to shake Peg and tell her to put on her big girl panties and suck it up.  Yes, at times, Peg came across as the Too Stupid to Live heroine but once she finally figured out stuff, her brilliance shined.

The situations that she finds herself in are at times funny and then, farfetched but they are meant to be.  She is a true “fish out of water” when it comes to living in Key West.  I’ve never been but I have been to Chicago many times, so her life back in Chicago resounded with me.  I couldn’t imagine moving from Chicago to Key West but it would be an adventure for sure.  I did like the fact that the author had the same experiences that Peg did, Clark not withstanding.

Her husband is a douche.  I could use a stronger word but I’ll keep it PG at best.  The ending of the book is definitely poetic justice but I really did want to know what Peg was going to do now.  I understand the sequel is being written and I can’t wait to read more about Peg and her dog, Nipper.

Randolph, Trudy, Bernie, Nipper, the ghosts and even the setting are perfect secondary characters.  Ms. Howe has written a great chick lit book with heart, humor, a bit of ridiculous but overall a great read.

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Excerpt Two:

“Sunshine state… my soggy ass.”

It was dark. The power and the air conditioning had gone out hours ago. Peg hugged her dog under the makeshift bed-tent, clutching him to her sweaty pajama’d breasts.

An engraved locket pinned to Nipper’s blue life vest dangled under his pirate dog collar. Hurricane rain pummeled the bedroom window – the violent wind shook the glass panes. Peg wondered about the moaning sound until she realized it was coming from her own throat.

She shrieked at the sudden crash on the metal roof. Several days of binge drinking without proper oral hygiene, or any hygiene for that matter, produced noxious vapors in the tent. Nipper’s nostrils flared as he took in the odors and licked her fluorescent orange, cheesy, tear-stained fingers.

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AUTHOR Bio and Links:

After raising three boys in the suburbs of Chicago, Carrie Jo Howe now lives in Key West, Florida with her husband and her dog. Her latest novel, Island Life Sentence, is a fictional account of an American Midwestern woman who feels like an alien in the “one human family” of Key West. Carrie Jo’s first book, Motherhood is NOT for Babies, received a rave review (thanks Mom), and works wonderfully as a form of contraception. Her blog Florida Keys Crime Report, tells of all the goings on in the Keys, where bank robbers get away on bicycles, and perps caught with undersized, pinched, out-of-season lobsters get more jail time than drug runners. She is currently working on the sequels to Island Life Sentence.

 

Website: www.carriejohowe.com

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/carriejohowe

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/carriejohoweauthor

Blog: https://carriejohowe.blogspot.com/

Amazon link: https://www.amazon.com/Island-Life-Sentence-Carrie-Howe/dp/1911586521

 

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GIVEAWAY INFORMATION and RAFFLECOPTER CODE

 

Carrie Jo Howe will be awarding a $10 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

a Rafflecopter giveaway