New Release Review and Giveaway! I’LL HAVE WHAT SHE’S HAVING by Erin Carlson


A backstage look at the making of Nora Ephron’s revered trilogy–When Harry Met SallyYou’ve Got Mail, and Sleepless in Seattle–which brought romantic comedies back to the fore, and an intimate portrait of the beloved writer/director who inspired a generation of Hollywood women, from Mindy Kaling to Lena Dunham.

In I’ll Have What She’s Having entertainment journalist Erin Carlson tells the story of the real Nora Ephron and how she reinvented the romcom through her trio of instant classics. With a cast of famous faces including Reiner, Hanks, Ryan, and Crystal, Carlson takes readers on a rollicking, revelatory trip to Ephron’s New York City, where reality took a backseat to romance and Ephron–who always knew what she wanted and how she wanted it–ruled the set with an attention to detail that made her actors feel safe but sometimes exasperated crew members.

Along the way, Carlson examines how Ephron explored in the cinema answers to the questions that plagued her own romantic life and how she regained faith in love after one broken engagement and two failed marriages. Carlson also explores countless other questions Ephron’s fans have wondered about: What sparked Reiner to snap out of his bachelor blues during the making of When Harry Met Sally? Why was Ryan, a gifted comedian trapped in the body of a fairytale princess, not the first choice for the role? After she and Hanks each separatel balked at playing Mail’s Kathleen Kelly and Sleepless‘ Sam Baldwin, what changed their minds? And perhaps most importantly: What was Dave Chappelle doing … in a turtleneck? An intimate portrait of a one of America’s most iconic filmmakers and a look behind the scenes of her crowning achievements, I’ll Have What She’s Having is a vivid account of the days and nights when Ephron, along with assorted cynical collaborators, learned to show her heart on the screen.



If you love When Harry Met Sally Sleepless in Seattle You’ve Got Mail , or all three, then this book is a must-read! I’ll Have What She’s Having takes you behind the scenes at all three movies, sharing how they each came to be, including the origins of some of our favorite lines and scenes. (When Harry Met Sally originally was supposed to have a different ending. Can you imagine the injustice?)

Light and fun, gossipy and occasionally a bit rambly and slightly repetitive (the addition of a nude marble statue at Nora’s New York apartment building comes up twice, or example–why?) this was a whole lot of fun to read for a fan of rom-coms as well as movies in the nineties in general. A bit more time was spent on WHMS than the others, though this only felt right since it was the first (and the one I can recite the most lines from–though SIS is a darn close second; obviously I need to spend more screen time with YGM). Where the plot ideas originated from and how they developed over time, how Rob Reiner really felt about his mother reciting one of the most famous lines ever in movies, and whether or not Jonah, Sam, and Annie really met on top of the Empire State Building (they didn’t–it was a set created on a naval base on the other side of the country)–all this and more is revealed in this book, and darned if it doesn’t all make you want to watch and re-watch all three films (and maybe a few others of Nora’s) right now.

And then maybe re-read the book…or at least a few parts of it…

Rating: 4 stars / A-

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.


Purchase Links:

Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble


About the author:


Erin Carlson is a journalist who has covered the entertainment industry for 13 years. She worked as a staff editor and writer at the Hollywood Reporter and established herself early on in her career as a reporter covering arts and entertainment at the Associated Press in New York City. She has written for GlamourFortuneVanity Fair, and the Daily Beast. She lives in San Francisco.

Follow author Erin Carlson on Twitter!

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New Release! THE DEAD INSIDE: A TRUE STORY by Cyndy Etler

The Dead Inside: A True Story
Author: Cyndy Etler
Sourcebooks Fire
On-sale: April 4, 2017
Young Adult, Hardcover


For readers of Girl Interrupted and Tweak, Cyndy Etler’s gripping memoir gives readers a glimpse into the harrowing reality of her sixteen months in the notorious “tough love” program the ACLU called “a concentration camp for throwaway kids.”

All Cyndy wanted was to be loved and accepted. By age fourteen, she had escaped from her violent home, only to be reported as a runaway and sent to a “drug rehabilitation” facility that changed her world.

To the public, Straight Inc. was a place of recovery. But behind closed doors, the program used bizarre and intimidating methods to “treat” its patients. In her raw and fearless memoir, Cyndy Etler recounts her sixteen months in the living nightmare that Straight Inc. considered “healing.”


Note to Reader

You’re not going to believe this. Seriously, nobody does. But this stuff happened, right here in America. In the warehouse down the street.

The warehouse had a name: Straight, Incorporated. Straight called itself a drug rehab for kids, but most of us had barely even smoked weed. Take me, for example. In September, at age thirteen, I smoked it for the first time. I tried smoking again in October. In November, I got locked up in Straight—for sixteen months. The second we entered the building, we all stopped being kids. We stopped being humans. Instead, we were Straightlings.

Other than my father and me, each person you read about here has a fake name. Many of the Straightlings are smooshed-together versions of different people, but everything happened exactly how I describe it. If you want proof, hit the epilogue. There you’ll find court records, canceled checks, newspaper reportage, and Straight, Inc. internal documents. Want more proof? Go online and read all of the survivor stories that are just like mine.

And to my fellow Straightlings? Put your armor on. You’re going back on front row.



Something weird is going on. Something even weirder than the regular daily freak show. I can feel it. I can hear it. I just can’t see it yet.

Other than Amanda showing up, it’s been a normal day—people singing stupid songs; kids sharing about their druggie pasts; the teen staff strutting to the barstools like they’re on the red carpet. But then the side doors open, and all these kids I’ve never seen before come flooding in. They stand around the edges of group, wedged tight at the shoulder in a human fortress. It’s creepy and just…wrong.

A half hour later, on some invisible cue, they swarm around us, claw us up from our seats, and carry us across the group room. The door goons are gone, so they march us right through the back doors and into this empty room. The walls are bare brick and the carpet is new-jeans blue. We’re tugged into rows, because with no talking allowed and no chairs, how do we know where we’re supposed to sit? We should know, though. I can tell by the way my carrier is yanking me around. She practically tears my belt loop off.

Once we’re all positioned and sitting cross-legged—with the boys’ side so close, if I whistled, I’d ruffle their bangs—the bad guys show up: Matt King and the mean blond smiler.

“Family rap!” Matt yells.

The people around me start motivating and I do it too, because I don’t want a fucking demon at my back. Without anyone telling me, I put my arms up and shake them around. And that’s what gets Matt’s attention. He’s scanning the tightly packed room, and his eyes sear into me. They look even darker than yesterday.

“Cyyyyndy,” he goes.

The blond staff snaps her head my way. Her smile blinks to life.

“Oh! Y-yeah?” I say back.

My fists are still up by my ears. This isn’t what I was motivating for. I didn’t actually want to be called on.

“Stand up!” he says, fake friendly.

Everyone’s palms do the upward air shove.

My rubbery legs make it hard to stand. It’s silent except for the rustle of my clothes.

“So…?” Matt says from his barstool.

“What?” I say back. But I say it confused, not snotty.

What? What. What is that this is family rap. You need to tell us about an incident from your past, an incident involving your family.”

Four hundred eyes and chins are leveled at me. They make it hard to think.


“Were you a good girl in your past, Cyndy? Were you nice and sweet to your family?”

“Well, they—”

“I’m not asking about them. Were you nice and sweet to your family?”

“Um, no?”

“That’s right, Cyndy! You’re doing great. Now tell us about an incident with your family where you acted like your druggie self.”

I just stand there. I don’t have a family. I have a mother and a sister and a stepthing who’s the devil, plus his kids. And “an incident”? I have no idea what I’m supposed to say.


My whole name. He says my whole name. Like he has some…ownership of me.


“We’re waiting!”

“I—I don’t know.”

I might be starting to cry a little.

He’s still staring at me, his eyebrows pointed into sharp little horns.

“I thought I’d give you another chance, Cyndy. But you’ve wasted enough of this group’s time. Have a seat.”

I can’t sit down fast enough, so I fall instead. My hand catches a girl’s shoulder, but she jerks it off like she hates me. I feel it, like a heat.

The group starts to yell a “Love ya—” at me, but Matt cuts them off. “No!”

Next the girl who hates me stands up, to share how she made her father beat her. “I remember, this one time?” she starts out.

That’s Straight code for, Here’s why my parents hate me enough to leave me here.

“I remember saying to my dad, ‘Maybe if you didn’t drink so much, Mom wouldn’t need therapy.’ I said that to my dad. I ended up in the hospital with a broken arm after that sweet nothing. And I deserved it, one hundred percent. He fed me and clothed me and kept a roof over my head, and that’s the thanks I give him? I can’t believe he’ll even still look at me.”

Matt doesn’t just let the group tell her Love ya, he leads it. Before she even sits, he’s all, “Love ya, Sammie!” so loud it rattles the doorknobs.

At the end of family rap, Lucy tells us what song she wants to hear—one of those ones from Sunday school. It goes, “They will know we are Straightlings by our love, by our love. They will knoooow we are Straightlings by our love.”

The next slap of weird comes when they push us back into the never-ending beige of the group room. The linked chairs are still in rows, but they’ve been turned around to face an ocean of gray folding chairs. There’s enough seats for all of Communist China. It’s like a chair warehouse, which, ding! That’s what this place is! It’s a warehouse, literally. It’s a giant storage locker where, for a fee, parents can disappear their fuckups and rejects.

That’s another reason I’ll be outta here tomorrow. No way does my mother have the money for this place, when she can barely put five dollars of gas in her car. Twenty-four hours, and I’ll be on my way back to Jo’s; forty-eight and I’m in Steve’s room. How could their parents not let me stay with them, when they hear what I’ve been through?

I can feel my Levi’s on my thighs, my denim on my back. Just thinking about Levi’s feels so good, I barely notice that I’m picking up a dinner tray and getting pushed back to the chairs. In my mind I’m like, one hundred percent in Levi’s…until the hand in my pants lets go while I’m still standing.

“Uh?” I kind of grunt, turning my head to the demon behind me.

“Go down the row,” she says. “Sit in that first open seat.”

Feeling like the balloon some little kid let go of, I look down the row, and oh my God! It’s not the front row! I’m out of the bull’s-eye!

“Thanks,” I say.

I get a mean Shhh! for a reply, but it’s drowned out by this earsplitting screech. Since I’m standing, I can see what’s going on. But, God. I wish I couldn’t.

It’s Amanda. She’s surrounded by demons, and she’s fighting them all at once. Crouched at her back is the biggest guy you’ve ever seen. He loops his arms around her from behind, linking his hands in a hate hug. But even worse is what they’re doing to her arms. Two guys are gripping her wrists, Jacque style. Matt King style. They’re spreading them like airplane wings, out and down and fast. Tomorrow she’ll have handcuff bruises. She’s telling them she hates them with animal sounds, not words. I don’t know if I’m more scared for her or for them.

A fist hits my spine, so I move down the row. I’m trying not to hear it all: the screams, the thwap of flesh on flesh, the shriek of metal as a kicked chair scrapes across the floor. When I get down to my seat, I can’t help it. I look back at Amanda right as the big guy snaps his hand over her mouth. He’s—he’s gagging her. Her face is red, and it’s getting redder. Her eyes bulge out, and she slams her head forward, then back.

There’s a crack as her skull hits his, and a shree! as Amanda throws opens her throat. She head-cracked the gagger. She got his hand off her mouth.

“Gimme my fucking Doc!” she screams.

She rips her bare foot away from the guy who was pinning it; he lunges and tackles her shin. Other guys are running at her. That’s when I sit down. I sit and pray for somewhere to put my tray, so I can plug my ears. Amanda’s noises are shredding me. It’s like she knows what she’s doing, fighting off all these guys. This is why she needs armor clothes. I don’t want to see or hear or know that it’s happening again.

“Intake room! Sit on ’er!”

It’s our hero, Matt King. He’s striding across the room. He’s calm, he’s casual. He’s happy.

There’s more fleshy struggle sounds, more running feet.

“Group. Look,” Matt says, in a voice you don’t ignore. “This could be you, if you try to run.”

We spin around to watch Amanda, who’s being carried across the room by six guys. She’s a human casket. She’s got one boot on, and her body’s rippling, trying to shake the boys off her. And she’s howling.

“Gimme my Doc Marten, you cock-fucking bastards! I’ll kill you! I’ll—”

Another guy runs over and jams a hand over her mouth. His teeth glint through his smile.

In English class, one of Mrs. Skinner’s vocab words was “maxim,” which is a wise little phrase about life. She gave us this example they use in Japan, to make sure everybody acts the same as everybody else: “The nail that sticks up gets hammered down.” Amanda is the sticking-up nail. But she’s not smooth and straight, like a regular nail. She’s all knotted up. They can’t hammer her flat, so they’re killing her instead.

The funeral procession ends as the boys carry Amanda through a door to the left of the kitchen. It’s a beige door, painted to match the walls, like they don’t want anyone to know it’s there. The door slams; the group room’s silent. It sounds like the end of the world.


About the author:

A modern-day Cinderella, Cyndy Etler was homeless at fourteen, summa cum laude at thirty. Currently a young adult author and teen life coach, Etler spent sixteen years teaching troubled teens in schools across America.

Before she was paid for teaching Etler did it for free, volunteering at public schools and facilities for runaway teens. Today she speaks at fundraisers, schools and libraries, convincing teens that books work better than drugs.

Social Media:


Release Day! WRITE NAKED by Jennifer Probst

Today we are celebrating the release of WRITE NAKED: A Bestseller’s Guide to Writing Romance and Navigating the Path To Success by Jennifer Probst. This is a nonfiction title aimed at writers of romance and women’s fiction. Check out the teaser and buy links below!


WRITE NAKED: A Bestseller’s Secrets to Writing Romance & Navigating the Path to Success by Jennifer Probst


Learn how to transform your passion for writing into a career. New York Times best-selling author Jennifer Probst reveals her pathway to success, from struggling as a new writer to signing a seven-figure deal. Write Naked intermingles personal essays on craft with down-to-earth advice on writing romance in the digital age. Probst will teach you how to:

  • Commit to your current work-in-progress, get focused, and complete it on schedule
  • Reveal raw emotions and thoughts on the page to hook your readers
  • Assemble a street team to promote and celebrate your books
  • Overcome writer’s block with ease
  • Develop themes that tie together your books and series
  • Write the most difficult elements of romance–including sex scenes–with skill and style
Regardless of the genre, every novelist faces a difficult task. Creating authentic characters and an engaging plot are challenging enough. But attempting to break into the hotter-than-ever romance genre, which is constantly flooded with new titles and fresh faces? It can feel impossible. This is where Probst’s Write Naked comes in. To survive–and thrive–you need the help and wisdom of an expert.
Written in Probst’s unmistakable and honest voice, Write Naked is filled with the lessons and craft advice every writer needs in order to carve out a rewarding career.

Purchase Now:
Amazon | B&N | Kobo | iBooks


Jennifer Probst
Jennifer Probst wrote her first book at twelve years old. She bound it in a folder, read it to her classmates, and hasn’t stopped writing since. She took a short hiatus to get married, get pregnant, buy a house, get pregnant again, pursue a master’s in English Literature, and rescue two shelter dogs. Now she is writing again.

She makes her home in Upstate New York with the whole crew. Her sons keep her active, stressed, joyous, and sad her house will never be truly clean.

She is the New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of sexy and erotic contemporary romance. She was thrilled her book, The Marriage Bargain, was ranked #6 on Amazon’s Best Books for 2012. She loves hearing from readers. Visit her website for updates on new releases and her street team at


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The Girls of Murder City: Fame, Lust, and the Beautiful Killers who Inspired Chicago
by Douglas Perry



The true story of the murderesses who became media sensations and inspired the musical Chicago

Chicago, 1924.

There was nothing surprising about men turning up dead in the Second City. Life was cheaper than a quart of illicit gin in the gangland capital of the world. But two murders that spring were special – worthy of celebration. So believed Maurine Watkins, a wanna-be playwright and a “girl reporter” for the Chicago Tribune, the city’s “hanging paper.” Newspaperwomen were supposed to write about clubs, cooking and clothes, but the intrepid Miss Watkins, a minister’s daughter from a small town, zeroed in on murderers instead. Looking for subjects to turn into a play, she would make “Stylish Belva” Gaertner and “Beautiful Beulah” Annan – both of whom had brazenly shot down their lovers – the talk of the town. Love-struck men sent flowers to the jail and newly emancipated women sent impassioned letters to the newspapers. Soon more than a dozen women preened and strutted on “Murderesses’ Row” as they awaited trial, desperate for the same attention that was being lavished on Maurine Watkins’s favorites.

In the tradition of Erik Larson’s The Devil in the White City and Karen Abbott’s Sin in the Second City, Douglas Perry vividly captures Jazz Age Chicago and the sensationalized circus atmosphere that gave rise to the concept of the celebrity criminal. Fueled by rich period detail and enlivened by a cast of characters who seemed destined for the stage, The Girls of Murder City is crackling social history that simultaneously presents the freewheeling spirit of the age and its sober repercussions.


I recommend this book if you like Chicago and/or true crime–if you like both, then you definitely should read it! I had no idea that the musical was 1) based so closely on actual events or 2) adapted from a play written in the 1920s by a reporter who witnessed and reported on the events and trials herself.

Too cool! And fascinating, in a train wreck, I-can’t-believe-this-really-happened kind of way.

Not to mention aggravating–if you were pretty enough (or figured out how to dress better and do your hair and makeup on time to make a difference in front of the all-male jury) you literally could get away with murder in Chicago. If you were “ugly”, not originally from America, or not white, however? There was a good chance you would not only be convicted, but you could get the death penalty.

Yeah. Justice.

My only complaint about the book? I listened to it on audio (the recording itself very well done–narrator did a great job) and it was a little hard to keep track of all the people discussed as the story went on. There are so, so many people in the story, murderesses and others. I seriously needed a cheat sheet. Fortunately I listened to it with Mini Moe #2 and we managed to help each other (mostly) keep everyone straight. I just might have to check the book out of the library, though, just to double check who is who again (and look for pictures… ;))

Rating: 4 stars / B+


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The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary
by Simon Winchester


Hidden within the rituals of the creation of the Oxford English Dictionary is a fascinating mystery. Professor James Murray was the distinguished editor of the OED project. Dr. William Chester Minor, an American surgeon who had served in the Civil War, was one of the most prolific contributors to the dictionary, sending thousands of neat, hand-written quotations from his home. After numerous refusals from Minor to visit his home in Oxford, Murray set out to find him. It was then that Murray would finally learn the truth about Minor – that, in addition to being a masterly wordsmith, he was also an insane murderer locked up in Broadmoor, England’s harshest asylum for criminal lunatics. The Professor and the Madman is the unforgettable story of the madness and genius that contributed to one of the greatest literary achievements in the history of English letters.


A fascinating read! I was put on the trail of this one in library school–a quick little lesson in my Reference and Information Services class on the Oxford English Dictionary concluded with the note “and if you find this at all interesting, you should check out The Professor and the Madmanand so I did! Thank you, Dr. Willson! 🙂

I never even considered the fact that there was a time before dictionaries–what a concept! I know, I know, obviously there had to be, but when Simon Winchester made a point of telling us that Shakespeare wrote, well, everything he ever wrote without being able to grab a dictionary off the shelf and check that he was using a word correctly because such a reference book hadn’t yet been invented?

That was it. Mind. Blown. Just like all those people in the commercials. Yeah, that was me when I read that bit. Poof!

Mr. Winchester gives us a brief history of the very first dictionaries, and the thought process behind the decision to create the OED. Interesting stuff on its own…and then he turns his attention to the two men he’s going to focus on for the bulk of the book–Professor James Murray, the man who will lead the project for a good chunk of time (but sadly will die before it’s finished–because seventy years) and Dr. William Chester Minor, the completely insane American convicted of murder and institutionalized in England who contributed thousands of quotations to its publication.

(If you’re not familiar with the OED, check it out here. My university subscribes, so I’ve played around with it a bit–but even if your library doesn’t subscribe, there are still a few things you can look at on the site. One thing the dictionary prides itself on is trying to match up each of the various definitions of a word with the earliest possible examples of its use in that context. Many, many, many volunteers were needed to find those quotes–this is what Dr. Minor helped with.)

The words “completely insane” in reference to Dr. Minor are not at all hyperbole. He was absolutely off the deep end. Every time I started to think, oh, he can’t really be all that bad, surely? he’d go ahead and do something like chop off a body part.

Seriously. He did that. A part your typical guy is rather fond of.

So, yes, crazy.

But he also had tons of old and first edition books (he had two rooms in the asylum; TWO. One was his “library”), and tons of time on his hands. So finding the earliest and sometimes most obscure uses of a word in those books? Yeah, he could do that.

Mr. Winchester writes about the two men’s lives in a parallel fashion, which outlines their similarities and differences nicely. He gives us snippets of how the dictionary is put together (if you’re going to read this looking for a scholarly look at how to make this epic reference manual from start to finish, this isn’t it, sorry!) but spends the bulk of his time on the two men, their lives, and how they eventually came to intersect.

The one bit it’s hard to keep a hold of in your head is Minor’s victim–a father of seven (soon to be eight) who was on his way to work one morning when he was chased down by Minor in the street and shot until he was dead. Minor didn’t know him, and in fact the two had never met–his death was a consequence of coincidence, spectacularly bad timing, and Minor’s extreme paranoia. There isn’t even any marker signifying this poor man’s grave today–just tragic. Winchester, fortunately, doesn’t forget about the poor man, because he manages to bring our attention back to him again at the end, giving the story a tragic, if appropriate, feeling of symmetry.

One part that I really liked is how every chapter began with a (related to some way to the events of that chapter) word and its OED entry–great touch! The audio version concludes with an interview with the author that is nearly as interesting as the entire rest of the book; hopefully it is included in the print version as well.

Two enthusiastic thumbs up! If you’re a fan of the English language, words, history, or the OED, you should definitely give this one a try.

Rating: 4 1/2 stars / A

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New Release and Giveaway! GIRL WORLD: HOW TO DITCH THE DRAMA AND FIND YOUR INNER AMAZING by Patricia Ottaviano

Because being a girl IS harder than it looks!


Book Information:

Title: Girl World: How to Ditch The Drama and Find Your Inner Amazing

Author: Patricia Ottaviano

Release Date: August 4, 2015

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire



The guide every girl needs to survive the pitfalls of teen-dom

Mean stares. Hurtful whispers. The cold shoulder. Being a girl is harder than it looks. In a world where gossip, drama, and rumors seem to be never ending, it’s not easy to navigate the halls of middle school or high school without earning a few battle scars.

But what if you could change all that? With practical advice for how to fearlessly stand your ground, hold your own, and dictate your own happiness, Girl World will help you move beyond the bad attitudes and transform your insecurities into strengths. From friendship conflicts to the ugly side to social media, learn how to ditch the drama and kick your inner critic to the curb so you can truly start appreciating yourself.

Every day is a new day. Embrace it!


Excerpt from Girl World:

Dear Girls,

Being a girl is harder than it looks. On one hand, we have our best friends by our sides to boost our happiness, give us a sense of belonging, lift us up on a bad day, and make us laugh until our stomachs hurt. Let’s be real for a sec…it isn’t always that pretty. Who hasn’t experienced how downright mean girls can be? Who hasn’t witnessed the judgment and negativity that can consume female conversation?

In a world where gossip, drama, and rumors seem to be never ending, of course there are going to be times when you doubt your friends, doubt yourself, and seriously start thinking that moving to a foreign country doesn’t sound half bad.

What happens when you don’t know who your friends are anymore? Or when you don’t know who to trust? Have you ever felt like insecurities, nerves, and uncertainties were ruling your world? Ever feel like everyone seems to have the missing piece to the puzzle but you? What about being the center of a hurtful rumor…has that happened to you? Or how about experiencing some major FOMO (fear of missing out)? How do you pick yourself up after feeling torn down, left out, or straight-up rejected by girls you thought were your friends?

What if I told you that I’ve created a handbook, specially crafted for you, with lots of love, to navigate all of these circumstances and more?

Well, this is that book! It will guide you through Girl World, one sticky situation at a time, while pausing for advice breaks, some killer action steps, and perhaps an occasional dance party.


  • How to transform insecurities into strengths when feeling like you don’t fit in or are the odd girl out.
  • What to do if you feel nervous and intimidated by certain girls or when you don’t trust your friends.
  • Step-by-step ways to keep drama to a minimum when confrontations, conflicts, or arguments arise.
  • How to handle the ugly side of social networking sites.
  • How to fearlessly stand your ground, hold your own, and not allow others to dictate your mood.
  • How to kick your inner critic to the curb and start appreciating yourself.

…and the list goes on.

Oh, and did I mention that you will love yourself a whole lot more by the end?

So you’re probably wondering, “Who is this Trish chick, and how is she going to help me?”

First, I’ve been there. I’m just a few years older than you, so I totally know what’s up. Second, I’m constantly traveling from state to state, getting the lowdown from middle school and high school girls about what is bothering them in their friendships. You see, I’m the founder of the nonprofit organization Sister-Soldier—Stand Up for Each Other, a school assembly and empowerment program for girls. Our mission is to alleviate the pain caused by the often mean and hurtful ways that girls treat one another and also treat themselves. Pretty rad goal, right?

One of my favorite parts of an assembly is afterward, when I get to hang out with you girls and talk more in depth about your specific situations. There is never enough time to cover all of the important topics. This book can. It has specific advice about what to do in a number of different—yet common—situations, and it offers solutions, action steps that will make you feel way better about yourself and the junk that’s bringing you down.

This is your book, your way out of the craziness and into the awesomeness that is Girl World. Cherish it like you would your phone, your celebrity crush, or those sweet new shoes you’ve been saving up for. It contains all the answers you will need. You’ll feel more confident and secure. You’ll develop strong, fulfilling friendships that lift you up rather than tear you down. And you’ll discover a renewed sense of self-love.

All right, my friend. I invite you to hop aboard the love bus, because your ride is about to get wayyy better.

Peace, Love, & Some Serious Upgrades,




Goodreads Link

Buy Links:


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About the Author:

Patricia Ottaviano is the 23-year-old founder of Sister Soldier—Stand up for Each Other, a nonprofit dedicated to stopping girl-on-girl bullying in all of its forms through school assemblies and outreach. A graduate of Michigan University, she is currently pursuing a doctorate in Clinical Child Psychology at Yeshiva University. Learn more at


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New Release Excerpt Tour and Giveaway! HEARTS BENEATH THE BADGE by Karen Solomon (Excerpt #9)

Don’t forget to enter the giveaway! Comment on every post on the tour to earn 5 extra entries!

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Title: Hearts Beneath the Badge
Author: Karen Solomon
Publisher: Missing Niche Publishing
Pages: 247
Genre: Nonfiction
Format: Hardcover/Paperback/Kindle/Nook

About the Book:

Hearts Beneath the Badge is a unique compilation of interviews with officers across the country. It’s not about the crimes they witness or the judgment they face; it’s about them – Damien, Danny, Frances, Ken, Pamela, Brian, and more. Their thoughts, their fears, their proud moments and their heartbreak. It’s about the people we often don’t see because we are blinded by the uniform.

They are among the hundreds of thousands that are unseen each day, the men and women that go back for more no matter the personal cost. They provide meals, rides, lifesaving breaths and prosthetic legs. Yes, even prosthetic legs. There is much more to them than meets the eye-or the news camera. By reading this book, you will open yourself to a world of people you may have forgotten existed. You will see the names, families and some of the faces of the police officers that don’t make the news.

Hearts Beneath the Badge is a book about the good deeds officers perform. There is a pressing need for people to see more than just the officer’s hearts; they need to see their souls. Society as a whole needs to accept police officers for who they are – mere mortals. In order to do that, they must look through the layers of the officer’s lives and see the heartache and joy, the same heartaches and joy we all experience. Society also needs to know that, whether we want to admit it or not, there is a price to be paid for pursing the love of the law.

90% of all sales will be donated to National Law Enforcement Memorial Fund, Safe Call Now, Concerns of Police Survivors (C.O.P.S.) and PoliceWives.

Hearts Beneath the Badge 2

Book Excerpt:

Excerpt 9:

Note: This section was written by the officer himself.


I followed a trail of blood up the concrete steps as deja vu overtook my thoughts.

I’d been here before, just a few short months ago, doing the same exact thing, following a trail of blood to an open front door. On this night, just like then, there had been a call for shots fired, the sound coming from the street.

A trail of blood, an open door and no body to be found.

Again, just like last time, the person was taken to the hospital by a friend, so we waited to hear from the hospital when they made the mandatory call about somebody coming into the emergency room with bullets in their body.

As I was checking the house for another injured or dead person, I couldn’t help but notice that the house was exactly as it had been before. There was no furniture in the living room and there was trash all over the place. Paper plates with leftover food and cigarette butts littered the kitchen counter. The upstairs was where the televisions and furniture were kept. When you live in fear of drive-by shootings, upstairs is the safer place to spend most of your time.

As I was leaving the kitchen, my eyes were drawn to the floor by a cockroach scurrying over a button, the kind that you can pin to your shirt to announce things like, “I voted” or “I gave blood!” This button had a picture of Michael Brown on it and the words “Justice for Mike Brown” or some similar message around the photo.

There was something queer about the button being on this particular kitchen floor on this particular night, surrounded by roaches and drops of blood and dog shit.

I shook my head and left the house satisfied that nobody was dead or injured inside.

For More Information:

About the Author:Karen Solomon

Karen Solomon is interested in the feelings of law enforcement and whether or not they have someone that will listen to them, most of them do not. Most books on the market are written by the police officers themselves, in almost textbook fashion relating protocol and situations with the orderliness of a police report. Her books are different from every book out there because the officers bare themselves to her; many of the interviews end in tears because they have opened up something that is very difficult to close. Karen Solomon is a graduate of Eckerd College and blogs as The Missing Niche. Her writing has been featured on and To Write Love on Her Arms. She lives in New England with her husband, 2 children and 2 dogs. Proceeds of her latest book, Hearts Beneath the Badge, will be donated to law enforcement charities.

For More Information:


Giveaway Details:

Karen Solomon is giving away a $50 Amazon Gift Card!  Leave a comment on all the book excerpt blog stops and win 5 extra entries each time!
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Book Blast and Giveaway: WIDOWS 101: How Not to Eat Moldy Bread by Susan Barber

Is it wrong that I really, really like the subtitle on this one?



Title: Widows 101
Author: Susan Barber
Publisher: iUniverse
Pages: 108
Genre: Self-help
Format: Kindle

Purchase at AMAZON

About the book:

Becoming a widow isn’t like becoming a wife. Becoming a wife requires major planning. But becoming a widow is often a surprise, and even with advance planning some people are still stunned. It’s difficult to prepare for widowhood. In Widows 101, author Susan Barber uses her personal experience with her husband’s death to provide practical tips for surviving the death of a spouse.

Delivered with a gentle, lighthearted approach, Widows 101 touches upon core elements widows will need to address after losing their husbands, such as

remaking yourself and redefining what you want;
dealing with grief;
making adjustments in your personal and social life;
handling your spouse’s personal effects;
attending to the details of your new life alone;
communicating your wishes for your own funeral.

Widows 101 helps you prepare for the changes in your life as you confront widowhood. Learn how to make the changes work for you instead of against you as you navigate one of life’s most difficult periods.

Widows 101

About the author:

Susan Barber and her husband owned their own business for thirty years. They raised four children in a small Utah town. When she became widowed, she sold her business to her son. In order to retain her business relationship with her clients, she serves the community through the Rotary , the Chamber of Commerce and other civic organizations. Her friends and family keep her very busy. Susan is often still surprised at the misinformation people have about widows. ” Our husbands have stopped living, we haven’t.”

Susan is giving away a $25 Amazon gift card on this tour.
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Tour Schedule:

July 1

3 Partners in Shopping

Confessions of a Reader

July 2

I Heart Reading

What is That Book About

July 3

Review From Here

Literal Exposure

July 4

My Devotional Thoughts

Becky on Books…and Quilts

July 7

My Life. One Day at a Time.

I’m Shelf-ish

July 8

The Writer’s Life

As the Pages Turn

July 9

Books, books the Magical Fruit

Between the Covers

July 10

Beyond the Books

Plug Your Book

July 11



July 14

The Dark Phantom

July 15

The Book Rack