Friday, November 29, 2013

BB: Not My Mother's Son by R. K. Avery with Giveaway

Not My Mother’s Son 

R. K Avery

About the Author:

As a recent graduate of the Institute of Children’s Literature, R. K. Avery has written numerous, unpublished, children’s picture books, but her true passion is writing adult fiction.

“Having the ability to make people laugh or cry, just by using the written language, is a gift so powerful and I hope, one day, my name will be among those who possess it” ~ R.K. Avery

After Be Careful What You Wish For achieved near-instant eBook best-seller success even before its print release, Avery had re-signed with Brighton Publishing LLC for her second novel, Not My Mother's Son. Sure to send chills down readers’ spines, Avery’s brilliant new thriller is now available for sale in both e-Book and paperback wherever fine books are sold.

R. K. Avery lives in Northeast Ohio with her husband, two kids, and four dogs.  She often jokes instead of sign that says, “Don’t let the dogs out” she has a sign that says “Don’t let any more dogs in”.

Visit her website at

Connect & Socialize!

About the Book:

Devious.  Conniving.  Deceitful.  Insidious.  David Miller thought he knew his mother.  He thought kidnapping three children was the most appalling and horrendous thing any human being could do and she couldn’t possibly do anything more monstrous.  He thought there was nothing else she could do or say that would astound him.  How wrong he was.

After Beatrice Miller, David’s serial kidnapping mother, is sentenced to thirty years, David moves to Phoenix, Arizona; and with the help of a trust fund and an old friend, he starts the Never Give Up foundation, an organization dedicated to finding and returning exploited and missing children safely to their families.  With all the wicked things his mother had done, David feels it is his unspoken duty to do something worthwhile.

Hesitant at first but after reading his mother’s journal, David is determined to mend their dysfunctional relationship.  Every time David visits Bea in prison, she seems deranged insisting that people are trying to kill her.  She ends each brief encounter with a chilling statement, “Remember David, things aren’t always what they seem.” 

As word about the foundation spreads, the services of Never Give Up are requested time-and-time-again to help where other agencies have failed.  That is, until the police come knocking on David’s door and arrest him, taking him back to Bunting Valley, North Dakota, for the murder of a newborn baby boy.

Forced to shut down Never Give Up, David is amazed at how quickly the entire world turns their backs on him.  The trial begins and his mother’s testimony is the only thing that can save him.  Telling the truth is as foreign to Beatrice Miller as giving up drugs is to an addict.  As everyone in the courtroom holds their breath, you will too.  Remember, things aren’t always what they seem.
Purchase your copy at AMAZON

Book Trailer:


Pump Up Your Book and R.K. Avery are teaming up to give you a chance to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive one $25 Amazon Gift Certificate and an autographed paperback copy of Not My Mother's Son.
  • This giveaway begins November 25 and ends December 20.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on Monday, December 23, 2013.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.
Good luck everyone!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Review: Taking Root in Provence by Anne Marie Simons

Taking Root in Provence

Anne-Marie Simons

Release Date: March 1, 2011 by Distinction Press
Format: Paperback
Pages: 212
ISBN 978-0-9802175-7-5
Genre: Non Fiction, Travelogue


Two expatriates left Washington DC in search of the ideal place to retire where climate, culture, accessibility and natural beauty all had a role to play. Curious about the vaunted quality of life in the south of France, they traveled the length and width of Provence where, preferring the city to the countryside, they decided to settle in the ancient town of Aix-en-Provence. That was in 1998 and Taking Root in Provence is the story of their slow integration into the French mainstream — both easier and more difficult than expected but ultimately successful.

In a series of vignettes Anne-Marie Simons gives us a warts-and-all picture of life among the French and with warmth and humor shares her lessons learned. Contrary to most publications about Provence, this book focuses on life in the city rather than the quiet countryside, and promises to be both informative and revealing to those who want to spend more than a passing holiday here. [From the author's website]

Author Information:

Anne-Marie Simons has worked as a translator, teacher, journalist, sportswriter (covering Formula 1 races), and director of corporate communications.

Her Argentine husband, Oscar, left a career in international development banking to become an expert on Proven├žal cooking and other local pleasures. [From the publisher’s website]

Author Links:

Book Links:

My thoughts:

A green eyed monster will appear when you begin to read Taking Root in Provence.  He is of course, jealousy and he grows larger and larger with every page. 

Taking Root in Provence shares the journey of a couple who, blessed with early retirement, decide to settle in Europe and ultimately make their home in Aix-en-Provence.  Unfortunately, the couple themselves remains rather remote and the reader learns little about them themselves and more about their experiences.

The tone of the book is factual and observational.  At times it is difficult to remember that Taking Root in Provence it is the story of an actual couple's major life decision to move abroad, which one would imagine is wrought with all sorts of emotions that are never expressed within the book.  Rather it is a description of the day to day life season after season for those living in Provence.  The reader is provided with a wonderful description of seasonal life and the activities for those living, and visiting, the region.  

Ultimately, Taking Root in Provence is about a move that became a love affair with Aix-en-Provence.  If you know anything about the Provencal region of Southern France none of the descriptions are difficult to image.  This is where the jealousy and envy come in, or at least they did for me, because the couple remained aloof and mysterious their relation of living in this idyllic spot was annoying at times and completely unapproachable.  Nevertheless, it does give the reader a guide to the region for travel though through a very focused, unidentified lens.

And while the book is not bad it is just not enough for anyone outside of the author's close circle of friends to relate to and for this reader, having briefly traveled in the region I was left envious of people that remain a mystery to me.  The magic of the book is the magic that is within Provence itself.  It has that certain je nais se quois.  Taking Root in Provence does not.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Cover Reveal: Out of the Ashes by Diana Gardin

Out of the Ashes 

by Diana Gardin

(The Ashes Series #1)
Publication date: December 12th 2013
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance


Out of the frying pan and into the fire…
Paige Hill is discovering who she is again after losing everything she loves in a tragic fire. She’s endured a long road to recovery with the help of her best fiend Gillian and is finally beginning her life again: college, a job, and a blossoming love she never even saw coming.

Clay Forbes is the notorious campus playboy. He’s a star athlete, a senior architecture major, and the only son in a family with power and money back in his hometown. When he crashes into Paige, his whole perspective on life shifts, and his world as he knew it becomes nonexistent. He’s wrapped up in her.

They’re both learning how to love, but Clay’s ex-girlfriend Hannah won’t make it easy for them. She puts a target on Paige’s back, and won’t stop until she’s derailed their budding romance once and for all. Who will be left standing after the ashes settle for the second time?

Author Bio:

I'm a wife of one and a mom of two. Writing is my second full time job to that, and I love it! I write Contemporary Romance in the Young Adult and New Adult categories. I'm also a former Elementary school teacher. I love steak, sugar cookies, and Coke and I hate working out. Look for more Contemporary Romance Titles from me soon, including Out of the Ashes (Ashes 1) and Wanted (Nelson Island 1).

Author links:

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Review: Mary's Christmas Knight by Moriah Densley

Mary's Christmas Knight

by Moriah Densley

Could a rogue be her knight in shining armor?

Mary Cavendish’s corset is already too tight. All the lovely Christmas food is tempting her, and that’s bad news for her dream of attracting a “knight on a white charger” — not that volunteering at the parish hospital is how she expects to meet him. Enter a mysterious Christmas Eve patient, who is none other than the famous Shakespearean actor Sir Wesley Samuel Darcy. Mary finds him arrogant, too forward… and maddeningly handsome.

When Mary learns Sir Wesley has been invited to spend Christmas with her family at Rougemont, she vows to resist the charming London rogue. Wesley thinks finding the perfect present for Miss Cavendish will tempt her — she’s not as prim as she pretends to be. Mary turned down six proposals last Season, and she’s not about to give in to a rake. But if Mary can’t resist the sugarplums, how can she resist the dashing Sir Wesley?

Get the ebook for $.99!

My thoughts:

I can't think of a more wonderful way to spend a few hours on a cold winter than reading Moriah Densley's novella Mary's Christmas Knight.   Those familiar with Densley's work will remember Mary Cavendish from Song for Sophia, but fortunately Mary's Christmas Knight stands on its own as well - though I can't promise it won't leave you begging for more. 

Chronologically Mary's Christmas Knight fits perfectly between Song for Sophia and the soon to be released The King of Threadneedle Street (due on 12/13/13).  The story was funny and light and a truly lovely read.  Sir Wesley Darcy, a famous actor, is injured after being robbed and goes to the hospital on Christmas Eve where Mary Cavendish is working.   This isn't love at first sight however as Mary finds Darcy arrogant but she is nevertheless tempted by his je nai sais quoi. Read this wonderful novella to find out what happens to Mary Cavendish, a wonderful character a reader cannot help but fall in love with.
Moriah Densley

Mary's Christmas Knight, as all of Moriah Densley's work, is filled with wonderful human characters that immediately captivate the reader and invest you in the outcome of their lives.  Densley is able to set these human characters in an approachable historical context and leaves the reader to enjoy the ride.  Mary's Christmas Knight is a must read for this holiday season and a wonderful way to get into the holiday spirit, but I would suspect The King of Threadneedle Street will make it onto many lists this year.    

Monday, November 25, 2013

Interview with J. Boyce Gleason, author of Anvil of God

Interview with J. Boyce Gleason

author of 
Anvil of God

The Most Happy Reader is fortunate to welcome J. Boyce Gleason, author of Anvil of God, Book One of the Carolingian Chronicles, who has graciously agreed to answer some questions for us regarding both Anvil of God and his work as a writer.  Boyce thanks so much for taking the time to speak with us on both the Anvil of God and your career as a writer.  

Welcome to The Most Happy Reader.

On Anvil of God:

Give us an insight into your one of your main characters from Anvil of God. What does he/she do that is so important to the novel as a whole?

I think Trudi (Charles the Hammer’s daughter) is the most pivotal character in the story.  She is a strong character, yet every bit as vulnerable as her 18 years would imply.  Her journey to escape an arranged marriage to find love amongst her father’s enemies flips her (and the reader’s) perspective of her family, her religion, power and the impact they have had on her world. 

The Carolingian Empire is not a widely known period, even in many academic circles, what brought you to this time period and place?  Do you have a background in history?

I was a history major at Dartmouth College and studied the period under a great professor named Charles Wood.  I was drawn to the story of Charlemagne and in particular an epic poem of the time (much like Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey) called the Song of Roland.  I had originally planned to write the story about Roland, but the more I researched Charlemagne, the more I fell in love with his family’s story – in particular how they came to power.   

Most people know, or have heard, of Charlemagne.  His restoration of the Holy Roman Empire during the midst of the Dark Ages was a feat that rulers throughout Europe (like Napoleon, for example) have tried to emulate for over a thousand years.  The family’s rise to power, however, began with his grandfather, Charles the Hammer who is best known for saving Christianity by stopping the advance of the Muslim armies as they swept into Europe from Northern Africa and Spain in the mid-eighth century. 

It was a pivotal time in the history of Western Civilization – for religion, for cultural identity, for military conquest and for the centralization of power.  It seemed like a natural place to explore many of the same issues we grapple with as a society today. 
Despite that, Anvil is a story about what happens to Charles the Hammer’s family when he dies.  It’s the story about a family; struggling with the death of their father…only this family’s choices have consequences for an entire continent.

Your thoughtful and informative Author’s Note gives some insight into your research, but how much research do you undertake, both primary and secondary?  I would like to add that I enjoyed your honest plot outline and character descriptions for their clarity in what was history and what was fiction.

I have to admit that the research was, at time, a heavy lift.  There is not a lot that has been written about this time period and much of what I thought I knew was incorrect.  Even after, I had created a timeline of all the major events; I had to recreate a clear picture of who ruled what territories at that moment in time (how old they were, what their histories entailed, who they were allied with, why they supported or opposed the Carolingians etc.).  It was more than I expected. 

I also travelled to each of the locations covered in the book trying to find some evidence of the time period.  Needless to say, there is not much left standing from the eighth century.  Every once in a while, however, I was surprised to find critical pieces to the puzzle that helped me ground the time period in a physical location.

Having said that, once the pieces started to fall into place, I felt like I began to know the characters as people – not unlike how we look at major political figures in the world today.  I understood their perspective and the motivations for their actions.  I like to say that we know what happened in history, but I write historical fiction to find out why.

Is the second installment of the Carolingian Chronicles in the works?

Yes.  I’m about halfway through it.  The current title is “Wheel of the Fates” and it picks up the family’s story about two months after Anvil ends.  

On Writing:

When did you decide to become a writer?

Although it is my second career, I always hoped that someday I would write this book.  It was a “bucket list” sort of thing (before we called them bucket lists).  I don’t think I had the courage or confidence to pursue it earlier in my life.  I also had to provide for my family and writing isn’t a very lucrative field to pursue. 

That said, my first career required a great deal of writing and I found writing (whether opinion columns for the local newspaper, poetry, or short stories) was a creative outlet for me.  As I grew older, my confidence grew as well – both that I could write and that I had something to say.

What made you decide to sit down and actually start something?

About twelve years ago, I decided to take a stab at it. I toyed with writing a short story that pitted a young Charlemagne against the last of the Merovingian Kings.  As the scenes began to unfold, I gave the characters their head and let them dictate where the story went. Somewhere along the way, the real world disappeared and the words poured out of me. Four hours later, I stopped writing.  I was dripping in sweat and the scene I had written was so disturbing, I wouldn’t show it to anyone for weeks.  Deep down, I knew then that I would be a writer.  There was something about that purge that was both exhilarating and terrifying.  (It was also the last time I let my characters fully dictate where the story goes). 

Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?

Since I work in historical fiction, I know where the history takes the story.  So, in that sense, I am working against an outline.  And I do sketch out where the personal conflicts are between characters and try to follow a storyline.

It never works out that way, however.  I find myself surprised by what happens on a regular basis. I am always revising based on where the characters take the story.  And if they take it too far afield, somewhere that is contrary to the history, I’ll have to go back and change the character – build in a new backstory that shifts their priorities and motivation – otherwise he or she wouldn’t be true to character. 

Is there anything else you would like to add that I haven’t included?

Some people look at this story and think the history is going to be a heavy lift.  I often hear people say, “I didn’t study that period in history” or “I don’t know enough about that time period.”
While this is a novel set in history, it is really just a story about a family in crisis.  I once saw an interview with John-john Kennedy who was asked (for the gazillionth time) what it was like to grow up in the White House with such iconic figures as Jack Kennedy and Jackie O.  John-john rolled his eyes and said, “to you, those people were mythical figures out of Camelot.  To me, they were Mom and Dad.”  That’s the way I wanted to tell this story – from the perspective of the sons and daughters, wives and brothers – it’s the story of their lives more than it is a history lesson.

How can readers discover more about you and you work?
Facebook: J. Boyce Gleason
Twitter: @JBoyceGleason
Amazon Author Page:

Boyce, many thanks for an informative interview on your novel, Anvil of God, and on your career as a writer.  I appreciate your again for taking the time to share your thourghts with  The Most Happy Reader.  I for one anxiously await The Wheel of the Fates, Book Two of the Carolingian Chronicles. 

Cover Reveal: The Druid's Doorway by S. G. Daniels

Cover Reveal Party The Druid’s Doorway

We’re happy to celebrate the cover reveal party today for “The Druid’s Doorway”, a YA urban fantasy novel by author SG Daniels.  Without further ado, here is the cover…

About The Druid’s Doorway

Jake Reese thinks he’s just a screwed-up high school kid living in a small town isolated in the Arizona desert. Traumatized at an early age by his mother’s sudden death—and believing he might have had something to do with it—he’s allowed his guilt and lack of self-confidence to rule his life.

Hailey is the fiery little redhead that sees Jake as more than a just a good friend. When she invites him as her date to a school function, it brings down the walls he's built to protect his heart, and sets off a series of events that threaten not only Jake’s life, but that of everyone around him.

The discovery of a portal on the outskirts of town brings Jake face-to-face with death and reveals a closely guarded secret about his mother. No longer is his memory of her the only thing that haunts him. Something evil from her past has escaped through the portal, and nothing will prevent it from trying to steal Jake’s future.

Can Jake overcome his fears to keep Hailey safe? Will the decisions he's forced to make destroy everyone he knows and loves? And he strong enough to live with those choices?

Author Bio

S.G. Daniels lives in rural Central Illinois with her husband of thirty-one years, and two spoiled cats, Payne and Jenks. She works full-time in a local medical facility as a patient accounting refund specialist. Most of her evenings she can be found in front of her computer, working on story ideas, or learning the ins and outs of the writing world. On the weekends, if she’s not spending time outside, she’s usually found nose-deep in a book. When S.G. unleashes her inner daredevil, she usually takes off through winding timber trails or country roads on the ATV. Her weaknesses are iced tea and pretzels, especially when she’s working on a story.


Twitter: @SGDanielsAuthor

Saturday, November 23, 2013

VABT: Review of Woman on Top by Deborah Schwartz

Woman on Top

by Deborah Schwartz

Publisher: Laudan Press (May 30, 2013)
Genres: Women’s Fiction, Contemporary Fiction, Literary Fiction
Tour Dates: November 2013
Available in: Print & ebook, 346 pages


A Woman’s Struggle To Find Herself After Losing Everything She Believed Was Important.

We hear a great deal in the media about women who become victims of wealthy and powerful men. Like a breath of fresh air, the heroine in Deborah Schwartz’s inspiring book, Woman on Top, does escape becoming yet another casualty… literally…all the way to the top of a mountain!

New York, NY, September 4, 2013 - One has to wonder has anything changed since Nora slammed the door over a hundred years ago in Ibsen’s iconic play A Doll’s House? Deborah Schwartz made sure that they did in her timely novel, Woman on Top (Laudan Press).  Like a breath of fresh air, the heroine in Deborah Schwartz’s inspiring book, Woman on Top shows the way things have changed…all the way to the top of a mountain!

Book Description:

Falling prey to Len, a very wealthy Wall Street banker who is hell-bent on acquiring her as his next deal, Kate struggles after the death of her husband to keep control amidst the detours of a tempestuous New York romance. As witness to a world of power and greed that life in New York offers to a vulnerable woman, can Kate ultimately rescue herself from the lure that is Len’s world?

Throughout this compelling story, which is inspired by actualevents from the author’s own life, Schwartz cleverly weaves self-empowering thoughts into her heroine’s exploits, making it less the ‘damsel in distress’ and more the infinitely successful ‘woman on top!’ In this amazing look at a woman’s journey to finding herself, readers will both laugh and cry as they relate to Kate and her decisions, emotions and experiences.

While following her quest for a reaffirmation of life and love, including a surprising adventure, Kate’s story touches on the unexpected pleasures and decisions we face throughout our lives. Readers who have dreamed of, or survived, a “Len” in their lives, will recognize themselves in Kate as she searchesto find what matters most in her new life. What does a 35 year-old woman who seems to have it all do when the rug is pulled out from under her? Kate’s struggle to find inner strength on her journey down a slippery slope with a Wall Street man leaves readers wondering and rooting for her to land as the ‘woman on top.’

Praise for Woman On Top:

“Every now and then you find a book that you have difficulty putting down. Last month, I had that experience with the novel Woman on Top, released May 30, 2013 by first time author Deborah Schwartz. Readers may snicker about the title assuming this is a poorly written shallow romance novel; however, quite the opposite is true. The title is a double entendre and refers to the empowerment of a woman.”- Kristin Meekhof, Huffington Post

“The reader will go through a range of emotions but will not want to put this book down since Woman on Top is inspirational, entertaining, and heartbreaking as Kate straddles two completely different worlds.”- Elise Cooper, Working Mother

“The writer Deborah Schwartz, in her novel “Woman on Top,” demonstrates her writing chops by the way she deftly shifts between two literary genres: romance and pathography. The language she uses and the tones she creates align with the chapters covering the stormy romance of the main character and the intense and ultimately tragic illness experience of the main character’s husband.  In this way, the author makes the reader feel deep sympathy for the main character as the story concerns her husband’s plight, yet feel great frustration with the main character as the story concerns her romance. The author makes us wonder how someone who is so clear and soulful can also be so vulnerable and superficial. She’s probably telling us that we’re just stuck with these seemingly contradictory attributes and characteristics. We’re all capable of manifesting a range of behaviors that work against our self interests and that are determined by circumstances beyond our control. Thus, while Woman on Top tells the excruciatingly sad story of an untimely death and the story of a tempestuous romance with its own pathology, the novel has more to tell about us humans.”- JRT, Amazon Reviewer

“You know those great books that from the first sentence (and the cool cover art) grab your attention, and make you want to read it? Well, this is one of those. Settle in, and get ready for a great ride. Schwartz alternately made me laugh and cry out loud over and over in this funny, sad, sexy, entertaining novel. A psychotherapist, I found myself cheering for Kate, as she brings us with her on her journey , refusing to abandon her true self while rebuilding her life after tragedy. Schwartz also deftly paints a picture of the ups and downs of monied NY dating that makes us non-east coast people shake our heads in wonder in this absorbing and fun summer treat.”- littlesrink, Amazon Reviewer

“The most life-affirming book I’ve read all year! “Woman on Top” is a testament to all women who have overcome adversity (in life and in love) through strength of character and a sheer zest for living. After losing the love of her life, Kate finds herself in the arms of a powerful New York banker who prides himself on being able to give a woman everything she could want, and more. But can he? Schwartz’s book speaks to an essential ingredient for happiness–finding your inner strength. “Woman on Top” will make you laugh and cry and laugh and cry again. If you are in danger of losing faith in true love…or in yourself, read this book now!”- lilybrat, Amazon Reviewer

About Deborah Schwartz:
Born and raised in New York, Deborah Schwartz graduated from Tufts University and then obtained her Masters in History at Columbia University where she wrote a thesis on “Feminism in Eighteenth Century England.” She received her J.D. from Boston University School of Law. Today, Deborah’s passion is writing and she incorporated her achievement of having reached the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro in 2011 into her debut novel. A New Yorker to the core, Deborah is most grateful to be the mother of her two grown children.  

For more information, please visit: 

My thoughts:

If you love NYC, a sexy and alluring city full of promise and heartbreak, then you are sure to love Deborah Schwartz’s debut novel Woman on Top.  Set amidst the glamour and excess of NYC Kate struggles to cope after the death of her husband when she finds herself suddenly vulnerable in this city controlled by power and greed.

Lonely without her husband Kate gives in to the charms of the stereotypical Wall Street shark, Len and finds herself immersed in a world she neither knows how to navigate or escape. 

Woman on Top is a compelling story, made more so when you realize that it is inspired by the author’s life.  Deborah Schwartz, using her own experiences and struggles, reminds every woman that the road to self-empowerment is journey.  Often an uphill one on its best days, but the struggle to find oneself and emerge from a woman on top is definitely worth the struggle.  Women every will relate to Kate, her emotions, her decisions, her experiences and her mistakes.

Schwartz definitely reminds her reader that life is a journey more than a destination and it is in finding the adventures along the way that is essentially what life is all about.  I believe that readers will easily relate to Kate’s unexpected pleasures as well as her often-heartbreaking missteps along her journey of self discovery and at times recall the moments that took their breath away, both for the good or for the bad, in their own life experience.

I truly enjoyed Woman on Top and relishing the privilege of sharing Kate’s journey and especially the memories reading the novel evoked in myself.  I found myself cheering Kate on as she relentlessly pushes forward refusing to abandon her true self while rebuilding her life after tragedy.

For more information on the Woman on Top virtual book tour 
please click on the banner below:

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