Excerpt, Giveaways, Interviews, Teaser Excerpts

Interview of Kristie Booker, author of Blooming into Life w/a rafflecopter giveaway! @kristiebooker #womensfiction

Blooming into Life

by Kristie Booker

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GENRE: Women’s Fiction

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BLURB:

Growing up on a farm in Brockville, Illinois, did not prepare Colleen O’Brien Adler to be the wife of a wealthy entertainment lawyer living in Chicago. It certainly didn’t prepare her to be Dinah Adler’s daughter-in-law. The stay-at-home mother of two has more than she’s ever wanted—a personal stylist, a prestigious country club membership, a multimillion-dollar home—but she finds herself not only struggling with depression and body image but also failing as a parent and fearing for her marriage. Her life is about to change when an invitation to a wellness meeting arrives in her inbox. With some coaxing from personal coach Kory Stone, she commits to a new beginning. But will she be able to overcome the things that are holding her back?

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Excerpt Two:

“After several weeks on the medication, some weight loss is expected,” Dr. Bradley had assured her. She had weighed herself that morning. After she removed all of her clothing, emptied her bladder, removed her ponytail holder, blew her nose, emptied her bladder again, spit until she had nothing left to spit, she finally stepped on her brand-new Weight Gurus smart body fat scale. The digital number was as hateful as it had been a week earlier. Dr. Bradley told her to be patient. Colleen felt she was running out of time.

She unzipped the beige garment bag that held her social future. The hand-stitched embroidered silver stars exploded against the dark silk fabric. The two-toned navy silk gave the illusion of wide stripes draping down the skirt of the dress.

“The A-line cut and the tonal stripes create a wonderful slimming effect,” the sales associate had told her. If Colleen could jam herself into the reserve Raina Rose, she was going to stand out. For once, she would be better dressed than Ashley Barr and Victoria Heller. That night, Fourth of July would be the day of reckoning. She would let Jay and Dinah and the entire club see how beautiful she looked. She would finally be socially accepted within the country club circle, and then she would confront Jay about the woman in Los Angeles. Dinah would think twice about sending Colleen’s invitation late next year.

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Welcome, Kristie Booker! Please start off by telling us a little about yourself.

 

I’m a wellness coach that also loves to write fun women’s fiction. I love coaching and inspiring women through my writing as well as through my coaching practice. I live in Chicago with my husband and two teenage sons. When I’m not writing or coaching, I spend a lot my time driving my boys to their various sporting activities. I enjoy quiet dinners at home or at one of our neighborhood restaurants. I begin every day with a great cup of coffee and let the day unfold the way it needs to. 

Is Blooming Into Life a single title, or part of a series?

 

Blooming Into Life is a single title. I have considered using the wellness coach in another story but haven’t made up my mind. 

What were your inspirations for the story?

 

My work as a wellness coach inspired my story. I began noticing how many women (myself included) measure their self-worth by the number on the scales, the price tag of their clothing, and the status of the social group they belong to. I realized this was all in the name of acceptance. So, I decided to write a story about a woman searching for acceptance.



Please share your setting for Blooming Into Life. Have you ever lived or visited there? If so, what did you like most?

 

The two places that the story takes place are both places I have lived. I currently live in Chicago. Brockville is a fictional town that is similar to my hometown of Chrisman, IL. The thing I like most about Chicago is exploring the various neighborhoods. Each one has something different to offer. If Brockville was real, I would really enjoy sitting on front porch of Farm Five Thirty Five.

When did the writing bug first bite?

 

After I graduated college, I began reading a lot of women’s fiction and slowly developed an interest in writing. Once I quit working to be a stay-at-home mom, my interest in writing lead me to take a writing workshop. I loved it and was thrilled when my instructor liked my writing. 

Who are your favorite authors, book/series?

 

Some of my favorite authors include Sue Monk Kidd, Ann Patchett, Barbara Kingsolver, Elizabeth Berg, Elizabeth Gilbert, Barbara Delinsky, Judy Bloom, Jennifer Weiner, Liane Moriarty, Fannie Flagg, Kristin Hannah, John Grisham, John Irving, and Stephen King. I have so many favorite books. Most recent favorites are The Nest, Commonwealth, State of Wonder and Nightingale.

If you could have an author roundtable discussion with any authors, who would you invite?

 

Stephen King, Barbara Kingsolver, Sue Monk Kidd and Elizabeth Gilbert. I understand that Stephen and Barbara are friends and used to play in a band together. I would like to hear more about that and their friendship. Sue Monk Kidd would bring a lot of depth to the conversation and Liz Gilbert would keep things entertaining.

Do you have any hobbies or special things you like to do in your spare time?

 

I love to be outdoors. I walk outside every day (as long as it is above 20 and not raining). I enjoy planting flowers and growing vegetables in containers on my patio. I also enjoy listening to music while cooking and sipping on a nice glass of wine. And, of course, reading. I love reading great stories.



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

Put money aside for good editors. Whether they decide to traditionally publish or self-publish, they will need to pay for their own editing before submitting. Writing a book isn’t cheap, but writing a book takes a while so put money away to prepare for when you’re finished.  


 

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

 

Kristie Booker is the author of Blooming Into Life, a blogger and a Wellness Coach. She enjoys coaching and inspiring women through her writing as well as in person. Kristie is a wife and mother of two sons. She grew up in rural Illinois, but now lives in Chicago.  

 

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B079T5LMYV?ref_=pe_2427780_160035660

https://www.instagram.com/kristiebooker/

https://www.pinterest.com/kristiebooker/

https://www.facebook.com/Kristie-Booker-151006384978340/

 

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GIVEAWAY INFORMATION and RAFFLECOPTER CODE

 

Kristie will be awarding a $25 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Excerpt, Giveaways, Reviews

#Review of Reel Love by Elizabeth Hartey w/a rafflecopter giveaway! #romance #fantasy #women’s fiction @drliz5

Reel Love

by Elizabeth Hartey

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GENRE:   romance/women’s fiction/fantasy

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BLURB:

Annie Caslo is a successful, young doctor, but when she begins rethinking the career choices she’s made, she makes a decision to find a way to stay focused and achieve her true ambitions – that is until fate steps in and she is thunderstruck by Colt Ballard. He’s six foot three inches of heart-stopping hotness, an adept, roguish soccer star and also one of her interns. But he’s a player – on and off the field – and Annie has better things to do. Still, the combustible chemistry between them is impossible to resist – Colt brings out feelings she never knew existed and Annie’s swept off her reluctant feet.

When she continues to second-guess her life choices, opportunities and obstacles begin piling up higher than the greasy Mexican food stacks she hates to admit loving. While in a state of emotional turmoil, she gets a celestial visit from a hunky, Hollywood heartthrob, lookalike, who claims to be her guardian angel. He takes her on a magical road trip to self-discovery with the help of several, dearly departed film icons.

Drawn into the excitement of a life she’s always dreamed of, this new life threatens to shatter the LIFE and love she already has—unless her quirky angel can help her find a way to have it all.

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Excerpt Three:

Right, so dinner,” the angel stated, coming out of his trance and moving back a few steps. “Tell you what, how about I surprise you?”

He opened the refrigerator and stared. He’s probably willing the ingredients to march out and place themselves into his hands. Annie smirked. “Surprise me?”

“Yeah, I’ll make something special for our first dinner.”

“Whatever you say,” she relented, “but I don’t think you could possibly surprise me anymore than you already have.”

“Annie, never underestimate the power of an angel.” He turned and gave her what could ironically be called a devilish grin.

Annie moved to one side, out of his way, and his alluring scent. She watched as he moved skillfully around the kitchen. He knew exactly where to find everything he needed, as though he had been there many times before.

“Why don’t you put some music on? I could go for something romantic,” he commented without looking up from his preparation of the food.

“Romantic? Um, you mean like harp music or, um … what would be romantic to you … I mean, to an angel?”

“Harp music is pretty romantic, but most of the music in the world would be considered soothing and romantic to us. We’re not stuck strictly on harps.”

“Really?”

He moved across the room toward Annie. As he came closer, she once again found herself pinned against the countertop by his prevailing presence.

“You know, we angels are some of God’s most romantic creatures,” he whispered, so close his lips brushed her cheek.

“Really?” Annie repeated, this time in a dreamy slur that sounded and felt as if she were dissolving into a puddle in front of him.

“That’s right,” he said in a nonchalant tone, and then moved back to the refrigerator. “We’re overflowing with love and understanding.” He grinned, again somewhat mischievously.

Annie caught herself just before her weakened legs allowed her to slide to the floor.  This is ridiculous. He’s an angel for heaven’s sake … precisely, she thought, giggling. She slipped her coat off and threw it over the back of a chair as she walked across to the cabinet that housed the high-tech stereo equipment Colt had installed.

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What can I say?  Women’s fiction/romance/fantasy book?  Harlie, are you feeling okay?  Flu bug got you?  No to all those questions.  I fell in love with the “guardian angel” angle.  I know, I’m a sap for anything about angels.  Shocked?  You should be because I don’t share that one with anyone.  But let’s get back to the review, shall we?  At first, when I started reading, I was a little creeped out about the whole teacher/student thing until I just couldn’t stop reading about Colt and Annie’s relationship.  I will tell you that their build-up to romance is fast paced but it makes sense.  This book isn’t about the fairytale romance that we read so much about in romance books but the journey to be fulfilled in that relationship and figuring out if the dream is still there with that one person.

Evan, the angel is a hoot.  I missed him every time that he wasn’t on the page.  He brought common sense to Annie and also humor to her situation.  Sounds confusing, it really isn’t.  He’s not there to tell her what to do but to make her see what could happen or the consequences of her actions.  Everyone needs someone to be the voice of reason and that’s what Evan is to Annie.  Again, I missed him when he wasn’t on the page.

Evan, the movie star.  I really wanted to fall in love with him but at times, he was really pushy with Annie.  It was almost like he was the snake charmer or even worse, the con artist in the ways that he could manipulate Annie into the situations that she was in at times.  Don’t get me wrong, Annie was right along with him but it wasn’t until the ending of the book that I really fell in love with him.  I really, really hope that Dr. Hartey writes a sequel to this book.  I would love for Evan, the movie star to find that special person just for him.  There is a hint and that’s all I’m going to say about that.  Yes, I went there with a movie quote.  They play a huge part in the book and of my gosh…Vivian Leigh.  One of my all-time favorite actresses makes the book, too.  *sigh*

Colt is a dream and he’s almost too good to be true once he and Annie are married.  As this is a women’s fiction book, he isn’t in that much but he doesn’t need to be.  While the book is told in alternating POV’s, Colt’s disappears for a while.  It’s not until the end that we finally see him at his wit’s end with Annie and Evan’s so-called relationship that he got my true respect for him.

Overall, I really enjoyed the book.  It’s not my usual fare and I’m glad that picked it up.  Of course, now I must have some conclusion with Evan, the movie star.  But hey, that’s just me.  If you are looking for a true romance book, this isn’t it.  It’s there but just remember, it’s about Annie’s journey of self-discovery that fills the actual story.  And angel named, Evan.

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

As a lover of the northeast US, Elizabeth moved with her husband to the Poconos several years ago to open a Chiropractic Clinic. Four children and a menagerie of animals later, she has finally found time to fulfill her lifelong dream of writing novels. A dreamer at heart, romance is the genre she spends most of her time writing and reading into the wee hours of the morning. When not juggling work responsibilities and writing, she enjoys hiking the beautiful hills and woods around her home, swimming, knitting, traveling, and spending time with her family.

 

Website: https://www.elizabethhartey.com

FB              www.facebook.com/EHarteyauthor

Twitter       @drliz5

Newsletter http://eepurl.com/cZCEuL

Goodreads http://bit.ly/ReelLoveGR

Amazon   https://www.amazon.com/Reel-Love-Elizabeth-Hartey-ebook/dp/B074HTD645/

Barnes and Noble http://bit.ly/2vnjPJt

Kobo                        http://bit.ly/2vncc5C

Smashwords:         http://bit.ly/2wqY5ZU

Crimson Cloak Publishing  http://bit.ly/2w7HtqG

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GIVEAWAY INFORMATION and RAFFLECOPTER CODE:

Elizabeth Hartey will be awarding $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Excerpt, Giveaways, Reviews

#Review of The Congressman’s Wife (the Congressman’s Trilogy #1) by Arie Paulou & Charlene Keel w/a rafflecopter giveaway! #Review #Woman’s Lit #giveaway

The Congressman’s Wife

by Arie Pavlou & Charlene Keel

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GENRE:   Contemporary Women’s Fiction

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BLURB:

All Eden Bancroft has ever been to her high-profile politician husband is a trophy wife, born and bred for the part.  She believes she has no choice but to play it—until she meets a talented chef and restaurant heir who shows her the real meaning of love. 

The more her husband uses and belittles her, the more deeply Eden falls for Kaleb.  Even with Mitchell’s congressional campaign in full swing, the lovers manage to find brief stolen moments together. When her husband is wounded by a bullet from an angry lobbyist, Eden must stay by his side.  What she learns can set her free, if she has the courage to take a stand.

The beautiful wife of a would-be congressman falls for a sexy chef in this steamy debut novel . . . A spicy outing that should feed readers’ hunger for romance.”
Kirkus Reviews

The Congressman’s Wife is a thrilling roller-coaster ride from beginning to end: fast-paced, sizzling with sex, yet constantly balanced on the edge of disaster . . . This is unquestionably one of the best books I have read . . .”
ReadersFavorite.com
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Excerpt One:

Kaleb had been standing close enough to hear it all—not that he’d intended to eavesdrop.  He only wanted to try and give her some kind of signal—to beg, if necessary—to get a moment alone with her.  When he heard her husband’s caustic words, Kaleb wanted to punch him.  He wanted to take Eden’s hand and lead her out of there, away from the complete jackass her husband seemed to be.

Instead, he followed her into the room where coats were checked for the evening.  The maid who’d taken them was nowhere about, and Eden was digging through the racks when Kaleb walked in.  She looked up, surprised.

“We need to talk about it,” he said.

“About what?”  She found her wrap and Mitchell’s Brooks Brothers overcoat, draped them over one arm and turned to face him.

“About this thing between us.”

“That’s not very original.”

“I feel it and I know you feel it.”

“Look, I’m very flattered,” she began but he cut her off.

“We don’t have much time.”  He moved closer, aching to touch her.  “Your husband will come looking for you any minute.  Just tell me when and where I can see you again.  Alone.”

“You can’t,” she said.  “My husband is running for congress.  It’s . . . it would be impossible.”

“No,” he insisted.  “I don’t know why we met or how we’re going to pull this off but I do know one thing.”  He was speaking so softly now that she had to move closer to hear him.

“What?” she asked, her lips just inches from his own.  They were of equal height and he could see how well, how perfectly, they would fit together.

“I won’t give up.  I want to make love to you.”

“At least once?” she countered.

He moved closer still.  “Once will never be enough for us.  You know that, too.”

She sighed, lightly, and her sweet breath lingered on his cheek for a moment before she moved away and broke the spell.

“My husband is waiting for me,” she said.  “You’re a little crazy, you know?  You need to forget about this.  I’m married.  I have kids.  I don’t have time for an affair.”

“Have lunch with me.”

“Sorry—too busy.”

“Just let me talk to you.  Give me two hours—maybe over the weekend.  Then if you never want to hear from me again, that’ll be it.  I swear.”

She didn’t say anything for a moment, as if she was considering it.  “As intriguing as that sounds, I’m afraid it’s impossible.  I’m going to the season opening at the Village Resort up in Hunter this weekend, with my best friend.”

“Your husband going too?” Kaleb persisted.

“No.  He has a previous engagement.  Not that it’s any of your business.”

He opened his mouth to answer but Mitchell’s voice rang out in the foyer.  “Edie—let’s go.  Where are you?”

She flashed Kaleb a warning look and called out softly, “Coming, Mitchell.”  Then she left, quickly, before her husband could see Kaleb standing in the shadows.

You know Harlie HATES cheating in a book.  Ugh!  But with this book, she gave it a chance.  And she is sure glad that she did.  Beautifully written, excellent plot, twists and turns and a couple that you truly wanted to be together.  Yes, she really wanted them to be together.  Here are her top reasons for liking/disliking the book:

LIKES

  1.  Eden – She could have come across as weak and in some ways, she was in the beginning.  There were children in the marriage and didn’t want to upset that part of her life.  She also didn’t really see a way out of her marriage with Mitchell.  Plus, where would she go?  Plus, when she met Kaleb she honestly didn’t know what true love was or even experienced it.  *sigh*
  2.  Kaleb – He never gave up on her.  Never.  Sure, he knew that she was married and to whom but he didn’t care.  He saw and heard they way Mitchell treated her and knew that she deserved so much better.
  3. The category that this book is in is Woman’s Lit.  I know, but there is a romantic element to it and some smexy times, too.  But overall, I think the category is corrected.  It’s about a woman’s journey to finding out what true love is about and going for it.
  4. I loved the political intrigue.  It kept me glued to the pages of the book.  I love a good political thriller so I’m in.
  5. The food.  Yes, the food.  Kaleb can cook and I swear I was famished when I finished the book.

DISLIKES

  1.  Mitchell – You are supposed to hate him but he took it to another level for me.  I can’t stand when a husband belittles his wife.  Douche!
  2. At times, I really felt like the book put me on a rollercoaster with all the political intrigue.  Yes, I like it but at times, I really wanted the romance between Eden and Kaleb.
  3. That this book is part of a trilogy.  I knew that going in but once I finished I really wanted to continue reading about Eden and Kaleb.  I went to Ms. Keel’s website and there is nothing in regards to the next book.  *sad face*
  4. The food.  Seriously, I was hungry throughout the whole book.  *winks at Arie*  Evil man
  5. That it ended.  Most of the times, I can finish a book and move on to the next one.  Not this one.  I want more.

Overall, this is one of the better political romance books that I’ve read in a very long time.  It’s timely, pertinent and suspenseful.  Plus, the romance between Eden and Kaleb is believable.  And yes, this is a cheating book but I highly recommend it.  Go figure!  🙂

 

Only because I want more of their story. 🙂

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AUTHOR Bio and Links:

 

Charlene Keel has written over a dozen novels and how-to books as well as multiple episodes of popular TV shows such as Fantasy Island and Days of our Lives.  Her Dell book, Rituals, was the basis for the first made-for-syndication soap opera.  Recently she co-authored The Tracks, a YA supernatural trilogy.  Shadow Train, the final installment, won a Paranormal Romance Guild Reviewer’s Choice Award.  Keel has also written screen adaptations of novels by bestselling authors, and has worked as editor or managing editor for a few international magazines.  In her spare time she ghostwrites books and screenplays for celebrities, doctors, corporate moguls, spies, strippers and anyone who has an interesting story to tell. 

 

For more information:

Website: CharleneKeel.net

Follow Charlene on Twitter

Charlene Keel on Facebook

Blog: Red Sky Book Blog

 

Arie Pavlou is a popular chef who attended Le Cordon Bleu in Paris and then perfected his craft at some of the top-rated Michelin restaurants in France and New York.  He has lived and worked in France, Cyprus and the U. S. and is an avid world traveler who speaks five languages.  He enjoys all sports and has a talent for knife-throwing, which he perfected at Le Cordon Bleu.  Currently Chef de Cuisine at the renowned Bridgehampton Inn in New York, his specialties include Caramelized Baked Alaska, Winter Salad, Roast Lamb Fondue, Wild Game and Poached Pears with Mint Ice Cream.  The Congressman’s Wife is his first novel, and he’s currently writing a cookbook. 

 

For more information:

Arie Pavlou on Facebook

 

Purchase The Congressman’s Wife (The Congressman Trilogy Book 1)

 

The book is on sale for $0.99.

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GIVEAWAY INFORMATION and RAFFLECOPTER CODE

Arie Pavlou & Charlene Keel will be awarding a $10 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.
a Rafflecopter giveaway