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Book Review: Girl Unbroken

Sometimes, it helps to understand what someone else may have been through; sometimes, it helps to read about someone who has survived in the most dire of circumstances.  In Girl Unbroken by Regina Calcaterra and Rosie Maloney, we follow the lives of five siblings with five different fathers and an alcoholic mother through their abusive upbringing. There are parts of this book that made me angry, and there are parts of this book that really warmed my heart. The hardest part is when the siblings are separated and Rosie’s fate becomes much darker and scarier. The book celebrates strength – emotional and physical, and it celebrates continuing to fight to get through the violence and abuse to come out the other side stronger, and unbroken.

This is another book I recommend without reservation. You won’t be able to put it down. 


About Girl Unbroken

• Paperback: 416 pages
• Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (October 18, 2016)

In the highly anticipated sequel to her New York Times bestseller Etched in Sand, Regina Calcaterra pairs with her youngest sister Rosie to tell Rosie’s harrowing, yet ultimately triumphant, story of childhood abuse and survival.

They were five kids with five different fathers and an alcoholic mother who left them to fend for themselves for weeks at a time. Yet through it all they had each other. Rosie, the youngest, is fawned over and shielded by her older sister, Regina. Their mother, Cookie, blows in and out of their lives “like a hurricane, blind and uncaring to everything in her path.”

But when Regina discloses the truth about her abusive mother to her social worker, she is separated from her younger siblings Norman and Rosie. And as Rosie discovers after Cookie kidnaps her from foster care, the one thing worse than being abandoned by her mother is living in Cookie’s presence. Beaten physically, abused emotionally, and forced to labor at the farm where Cookie settles in Idaho, Rosie refuses to give in. Like her sister Regina, Rosie has an unfathomable strength in the face of unimaginable hardship—enough to propel her out of Idaho and out of a nightmare.

Filled with maturity and grace, Rosie’s memoir continues the compelling story begun in Etched in Sand—a shocking yet profoundly moving testament to sisterhood and indomitable courage.

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Regina CalcaterraAbout Regina Calcaterra

Regina Calcaterra, Esq. is the bestselling author of Etched in Sand: A True Story of Five Siblings Who Survived an Unspeakable Childhood on Long Island, which has been integrated into academic curriculums nationwide. She is a partner at Wolf Haldenstein Adler Freeman & Herz and is a passionate advocate for children in foster care.

Find out more about Regina at her website, connect with her on Facebook, and follow her on Twitter.

Book Review: Carry On


Sometimes, you want to read a book that knocks you on your feet with the story it tells. When I agreed to review Carry On, I was excited because the story sounded so good. I’ve always been a big fan of books and films that let you get to know someone – either fiction or biography – to the point where you feel that you know that person. Lisa Finn’s Carry On is one of those books. 

The only constant was the black canvas duffel bag Dartanyon carried with him, large enough to fit a child. Having worked as a detention officer in the juvenile justice system, McKinney knew what that bag meant. ‘Nobody needs to carry a bag that big unless they are carrying everything they own, to a destination unknown,’ McKinney said. Dartanyon was transient.

Kerry McKinney was a wrestling coach who wound up in one of Ohio’s most impoverished schools. When he came into the gymnasium, he learned that most of the kids were barefoot and that the team only had two pairs of shoes for seven kids. He recruited Dartanyon to be on the wrestling team due to his size, and noted his skill for learning the wrestling moves. He moved smoothly…and then…McKinney learned Dartanyon was blind.  

From the first pages, Carry On draws you in. From Torry Robinson taking over the team and meeting Leroy Sutton, a “Lower-extremity double amputee” to the piecing together of a family born of love rather than blood, this book is beautiful in its storytelling as well as the story itself. Fenn does a majestic job of showing these two phenomenal athletes and telling their stories. 

strongly recommend this book. It’s possibly the best I’ve read thus far this year.


Carry On coverAbout Carry On

• Hardcover: 320 pages
• Publisher: Harper Wave (August 16, 2016)

In the spirit of The Blind Side comes a deeply moving memoir about the unexpected bonds that would transform three lives.

Lisa Fenn produced human-interest features for ESPN for over a decade, but one particular story came into her life and never left. After seeing a newspaper image of two young wrestlers from one of Cleveland’s tougher public high schools, Lisa followed a hunch and flew back to her hometown to meet the boys that very day. What she found caused her spirit both to sink and to soar.

Leroy Sutton, who lost his legs in a childhood train accident, could often be found riding on the back of Dartanyon Crockett, who was legally blind and had no permanent place to call home. Initially drawn together by their handicaps, the boys soon developed a brother-like bond. When one wrestled, the other sat on the edge of the mat, and their cheerful friendship was a source of inspiration throughout the halls of their high school.

As Lisa filmed her feature about this remarkable friendship for ESPN, she grew to understand the suffering Leroy and Dartanyon had endured, and she fought for their trust and their confidence. The three formed a surprising and meaningful connection—and once the television story ended, Lisa realized she couldn’t just walk away.

Though Leroy’s and Dartanyon’s futures were limited by abject poverty, Lisa resolved to give them the chance she knew they deserved. She worked tirelessly to see them through school and athletic pursuits, broken hearts, phantom limbs, and the bewildering obstacles that, at every turn, tested their individual strengths even while strengthening the bonds between them.

More than a story of two underdogs overcoming innumerable hardships, Carry On is a touching tale of an unlikely family forged through barriers of race, class, and disability. It is a powerful memoir about grit, love, hope, and faith—and the courage to carry on, even in the most extraordinary circumstances.

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Photo by ESPN

Photo by ESPN

About Lisa Fenn

A three-time winner of the Edward R. Murrow Award and a six-time Emmy Award—winning feature producer with ESPN for thirteen years, LISA FENN interviewed every big name in sports. Today she is a sought-after public presenter, speaking on leadership, poverty, and trans-racial adoption, in addition to her Christian faith and its relevance in both her media career and her daily life. Lisa received her BA in communications from Cornell University. Her work has been featured on ESPN,Good Morning America, and World News Tonight. She continues to produce sports stories and write about the redemptive power of love. Lisa resides in Boston with her husband and two young children.

Connect with Lisa on Facebook.

#DrinkPink with OneHope Wines

#DrinkPink OneHope Wines

It’s October. That means it’s time to start thinking about breast cancer awareness, but it’s also time to start thinking about the holidays. What if I told you that you can stock up on great wine while also helping breast cancer research? You can, by purchasing OneHope Wines #DrinkPink campaign wines and products. In addition to supporting various causes, when you make a purchase from OneHope, you’re also supporting an entrepreneur looking to build her business. 

Be sure to read through to the end, where you’ll find a giveaway for a Drink Pink water bottle (worth $33, and big enough to hold an entire bottle of wine – not that I advocate that kind of thing – wink). 

What Are OneHope Wines?

shareable_miniglitterbrutcasesThe OneHope vineyard is in the Rutherford AVA in Napa Valley. There are plans for developing an on-site winery with a tasting room. The company was founded by eight individuals who wanted to allow people to enjoy wine while also helping their communities. They consult w,ith Rob Mondavi, son of wine mogul Michael Mondavi, to make their quality wines. 

With each sale of OneHope Wines, donations are made to various causes. According the about page on their website:

“To date we have made more than $2 million* in donations, providing over 2,600* clinical trials for cancer patients, 13,000* forever homes for shelter animals, 1.1* million meals for children, 33,000 life-saving vaccines and much more.”

That’s a lot of really good things being helped along through the sales of wines. When I spoke with representative Christine Kinney, and I learned about both the variety of wines available and OneHope’s mission, I knew I had to share information about this company with my readers. You can learn more about the wines by watching this video.

ONEHOPE Wine Brand Video from Billy Kostka on Vimeo.

What Types of Products Are Available?

giftingshare2OneHope offers a variety of wines from a 2011 Reserve Pinot Noir to a 2015 Lodi Symphony wine (I have notes on another Symphony wine that I need to share with you soon). Sales of two bottles of the 2013 Pink Glitter Edition California Chardonnay go to fund a clinical trial for one woman who has breast cancer. This wine has aromas of apple and pear pie, butterscotch, vanilla, and toffee, making it a wonderful white wine for fall. The glitter bottle makes it a festive addition to a girls’ night. 

enter-to-winIn addition to wines, OneHope offers coffee and gift products.  OneHope coffee proceeds go to help small businesses in developing countries (in fact, the sale of one of the gift boxes available, the Good Karma Gift Box), funds a microloan. Other products include aprons and oven mitts, bestie wine glasses, and dog bowls. All product sales support various causes. It’s a pretty neat company. I’m looking for Baby 4’s arrival in May for many reasons, but I’ll  be able to taste some of their wines then. 

Enter to win a #DrinkPink Water Bottle

Enter to win a water bottle that can hold an entire bottle of wine – er – water! Meanwhile, if you’re able to, support this great effort to combine two things I love – wine and philanthropy. 

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This is a sponsored post. All opinions are my own.

GUEST POST: The 6 Best Oktoberfest Celebrations in America

Oktoberfest Celebrations

Please enjoy this guest post courtesy of Harry Parsons from Arcadia Publishing.

Germany isn’t the only country that looks forward to Oktoberfest every year. It’s just as popular here in America, and it’s not hard to see why. To begin with, many Americans are of German descent themselves. Also, what red-blooded American doesn’t love a good reason to eat fantastic food, drink delicious brews of all kinds, and celebrate life in excellent company?

Even so, not all Oktoberfest celebrations are necessarily created equally, and you don’t need to shell out the cash for a plane ticket to Munich to experience a great one. The following are just a few of the most epic Oktoberfest celebrations that take place every year right here in the United States of America. Some might say they’re so exceptional that they are worth traveling for! Consider adding one or more to your end-of-summer to-do list if you’re still deciding where and how to celebrate this year.

1. Wurstfest (November 4th – 13th)

If you live in the Austin, Texas area (or are planning to be there this November), you really might want to consider giving Wurstfest a gander. This is no modest weekend celebration, by any means. It’s a full 10-day festival that celebrates Bavarian culture in all the best ways. Family friendly activities include multiple carnival rides, a polka competition, and plenty of live music. Sample Bavarian fare to please any palate, and drink your fill of plenty of different beers as well.

Also, you should know that the entire town of New Braunfels magically transforms into a different place during those ten days, so don’t just limit yourself to the festival grounds. Enjoy special wurst-themed comedy performances at the Circle Arts Theatre. Check out Kunstalle as well, which is a seasonal arts and crafts market that sets up shop right next to Wurstfest itself.

2. St. Alphonsus Oktoberfest (September 23rd – 25th)

Chicago is already well known for its long-standing ties to beer, brewing, and all things German, thanks to the high numbers of German-American citizens who have called it home over the years. That said, it’s probably not surprising to learn that it’s also home to more than 25 different Oktoberfest celebrations over the months of September and October.

However, the St. Alphonsus Oktoberfest really stands out for taking place in and around the historic Lakeview church for which it’s named. Are you a craft brew enthusiast? You won’t want to miss Craft Beer Night, a golden opportunity to meet and greet more than 20 regional brewers, as well as sample their very best beers. Planning on bringing the little ones with you? You’ll love Kinderfest, a family friendly event complete with face painting, dance parties, and plenty of delicious German food that’s sure to please younger palates, as well as adult ones.

3. Oktoberfest Zinzinnati (September 16th – 18th)

Oktoberfest Zinzinnati isn’t just one of the most famous American Oktoberfest celebrations. Over half a million people attend each and every year, so it’s also the largest one in the entire United States. Naturally, it’s the place to be if you feel Oktoberfest is all about the food. Enjoy best loved staples like real German bratwurst, sauerkraut balls, potato pancakes, strudel, pretzels, and – of course – a wide array of German and domestic beers.

The entertainment is also top-notch here. Take in some live music at any one of the seven stages you’ll find set up within the festival grounds. Watch a beer stein race featuring traditional German waitresses. Check out a real live barrel roll as well.

Best Oktoberfest Celebrations

4. Oktoberfest by the Bay (September 23rd – 25th)

If you’re located on the west coast, then you’ll definitely want to consider making a trip to beautiful San Francisco for Oktoberfest by the Bay. It’s well known for its Old World ambiance and traditional feel. Plus, what could possibly make a cold beer and a perfectly salted pretzel taste better than a gorgeous ocean view from Pier 48?

Join an eclectic mix of festival goers from all walks of life in a toast to all things Bavarian. Enjoy the stylings of the locally based, 21-piece Chico Bavarian Band. Indulge in second helpings of all your favorite German dishes – everything from soft pretzels, to juicy sausages, to strudel. Don’t forget to join in the non-stop singing and dancing as well!

5. Oktoberfest Denver (September 23rd – 25th and September 30th – October 2nd)

Oktoberfest Denver isn’t quite the biggest celebration in the country, but it certainly comes close, with more than 350,000 people in attendance every year. Denver is also nothing if not a completely unique city with its own special vibe, so you can rest assured that their approach to Oktoberfest stands out as well.

For instance, there’s a variety of unique activities to be enjoyed. They include the incredible Stein Hoisting Competition, the Keg Bowling National Championship, and the Long Dog Derby (yes, an actual wiener dog race). That’s in addition to an abundance of cheerful traditional music, concerts from award-winning artists, mouth-watering German cuisine, and as much delicious beer as you could possibly hope for.

6. Leavenworth Oktoberfest (September 30th – October 1st, October 7th – 8th, and October 14th – 15th)

If you’re the type of person who wants your Oktoberfest experience to be as authentic as possible, then look no further than Washington’s Leavenworth Oktoberfest. Those who list it among their favorite celebrations describe it as the next best thing to celebrating in Munich itself.

Enjoy an impressively expansive selection of traditional German foods, a large collection of beers from around the world, and non-stop live music of all kinds (including traditional music from German bands flown in from the motherland). For those who can’t picture Oktoberfest without a good parade, there’s a wonderful one through the town each Saturday. Don’t forget to stick around for the mayor’s Keg Tapping Ceremony! It happens just after the parade and marks the official start to each weekend of the festival.

Of course, these are just a few of the many incredible Oktoberfest celebrations taking place all across the United States throughout the late summer and fall. Consider adding a few to your own itinerary or Oktoberfest bucket list!

Shadows of the Forest Cover Reveal

Shadows of the Forest
Emma Michaels
Publication date: November 5th 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult

Everyone is dying to live in the Shadows of the Forest.
They gave me three rules to follow in exchange for my brother’s life:
1. Do not enter the West Wing;
2. Do not go outside after darkness falls; and
3. There is only one exit; The Gates.

This is what happened when I broke them…

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Author Bio:

Emma Michaels is the award winning author of the Society of Feathers series with over 15 publications under her belt. With a love for all things story-telling this bibliophile plans to take over the world one cup of coffee at a time. A rule breaker who isn’t afraid to have uncommon opinions she is an avid lover of mathematics and stand out fiction which transcends both its genre and format whether books, games, movies, or otherwise. A good story is a good story. When she isn’t online she is out dancing in the Washington rain or seeking new adventures.

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An Announcement…

Be sure you watch this video aaaaaaaaaaall the way through.

You watched the video, right?

With that announcement, comes the announcement that I’ll be needing a few guest bloggers to write about favorite wines between now and June.  I have several review notes ready myself to post, but it would be great to have others’ voices as well. If you’re interested, read my guest-posting guidelines and drop me a line with your ideas. 

Book Review: Do Your Om Thing

Do Your Om Thing cover

I definitely need to learn how to chill out more. When I saw that there was a call by TLC Book Tours for people to review Rebecca Pacheco’s new book, Do Your Om Thing, I was excited to volunteer.  The book, after all, promised to be a way for me to not only learn more about yoga, but also a way to learn more about how to meditate and retreat from the stresses of every day life.

I received a copy of the book in exchange for my review.  In addition to Pacheco including a lot of information about the practice of yoga and the practice of meditating, she has a lot of suggested exercises to help readers think more about their lives and about how yoga can be seen not just as something that is done for exercise but something that can help us stress less, reconnect with our bodies more, and get away from those pesky devices that keep wanting to pull us in. 

Pacheco starts off the book fairly early by talking about “the eight limbs of modern life.” These are:

  • Yamas: attitudes toward the world
  • Niyamas: attitudes toward self
  • Asanas: yoga postures
  • Pranayama: breathwork
  • Pratyhara: withdrawal of the senses or turning inward
  • Dharana: concentration
  • Dhyana: meditation
  • Samadhi: enlightenment (p. 14) 

For each of these limbs, Pacheco goes through and describes different yoga aspects and asks readers to consider some things. For example, questions asked after the section “Practice Kindness” include:

In what ways do my thoughts, words, and actions cause harm? […]

What’s one negative thought pattern (samskara) that I need to change to create more peace in my life and the world?

Instead of being a martyr/victim, how can I respectfully hiss to protect myself? (p. 21)

While at times, the book got a bit hippie-dippy for me, in all, I found it an interesting and well-thought out grounding in the philosophy behind yoga. Later in the book, she discusses yoga postures and practices to help readers become more spiritual. All of this provides the reader (in this case, me) with handy tools to help when stress strikes. 

About Do Your Om Thing

• Paperback: 288 pages
• Publisher: Harper Wave (September 6, 2016)

Sometimes an hour-long yoga class is the only chance we get to connect meaningfully with our bodies and our minds during an otherwise hectic week. For a brief moment we’re able to let our worries melt away and feel relaxed, centered, and fully ourselves. Have you ever wondered how it would feel to bring that experience out of the yoga studio and into your everyday life?

In Do Your Om Thing, master yoga teacher and creator of the popular blog Rebecca Pacheco shows us how to do just that. The true practice of yoga, she says, goes deeper than achieving the perfect headstand—it is about bringing awareness and intention to every part of our lives. In her warm, personal, and often hilarious prose, Rebecca translates yogic philosophy for its twenty-first-century devotees, making ancient principles feel accessible, relatable, and genuinely rooted in the world in which we live today.

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About Rebecca Pacheco

Rebecca Pacheco is an acclaimed yoga teacher, writer, speaker, and creator of the popular yoga blog She has been practicing yoga for nearly two decades and began teaching while studying English Literature at the University of Richmond. Previously a master teacher at the Baptiste Power Yoga Institute, Rebecca now offers her signature Om Athlete and creative Vinyasa yoga classes. A longtime runner and Boston Marathon finisher, she is also the resident yoga expert for Runner’s Worldmagazine.

In addition to teaching internationally, Rebecca has had the honor of leading the first-ever yoga class on the field at Fenway Park. She lives in Boston with her fiancé, Dan Fitzgerald.

Find out more about Rebecca at her website, and follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

Book Review: A Cunning Plan by Astrid Arditi

This week has been book-heavy, I know. I promise you, there will be some exciting news soon, and I’m planning on posting a fun fall craft tutorial for tomorrow. For now, I’d like to introduce you to A Cunning Plan by Astrid Arditi. I’m glad to be participating in the Masquerade Book Tours project again, because I get to encounter new authors and new books via their program. 

When I read the description for A Cunning Plan, I knew I had to participate in the tour for the book. It sounded like a lot of fun, and with all the seriousness going on in the world, something that would be fun and distracting was most welcome. 

Silly and light definitely describe this novel. It’s a very quick and entertaining read, and from the get go, you know something isn’t quite right with main character Sloan. Yup, I get that she would be angry with her husband’s (Tom’s) decision to leave her or another woman – but man this woman is…well…she stalks him. Of course, Kate (Tom’s new love interest) has attracted other attention – from an IRS agent who wants to investigate Kate’s boss. 

All of this gets crazy, messy, and hilarious really quickly. I think that Arditi does a good job of pacing the story so you get swept up in it. If you’re looking for a good book to distract you from all the sad stuff going on in the world right now, this one does a good job of it.




A Cunning PlanTitles: A Cunning Plan

Author: Astrid Arditi

Publication Dates: June 8, 2016

Genre: Romantic Suspense


Determined to put her family back together, Sloane Harper stalks her ex husband and his annoyingly stunning mistress, Kate Stappleton. But she’s not the only one.


Handsome IRS agent Ethan Cunning is surveying Kate too, but for entirely different reasons. He is attempting to nail Kate’s playboy boss.


Ethan and Sloane decide to help each other, which sends Sloane’s wobbly life spinning out of control. She’ll have to face danger, humiliation, and – scariest of all – the dating scene, to lure her daughters’ father home.


Losing control was the best thing to happen to Sloane…until it turned lethal.




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astrid-arditiAstrid Arditi was born from a French father and Swedish mother. She lived in Paris and Rome before moving to London with her husband and daughter back in 2013.


After dabbling in journalism, interning at Glamour magazine, and teaching kindergarten, Arditi returned to her first love: writing.


She now splits her time between raising her kids (a brand new baby boy just joined the family) and making up stories.


A Cunning Plan is Arditi’s first published work.


Website | Twitter | Facebook | GoodReads




Giveaway:  There is a giveaway for this tour. Two (2) $25 Amazon G.C. Ends 9/30. Open Internationally. Void where Prohibited.

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Book Blitz & Giveaway: The Surrendered

The Surrendered
Case Maynard
Published by: Blaze Publishing
Publication date: September 20th 2016
Genres: Dystopian, Young Adult

After a financial collapse devastates the United States, the new government imposes a tax on the nation’s most valuable resource—the children.

Surrendered at age ten—after her parents could no longer afford her exorbitant fees—Vee Delancourt has spent six hard years at the Mills, alongside her twin, Oliver. With just a year to freedom, they do what they can to stay off the Master’s radar. But when Vee discovers unspeakable things happening to the younger girls in service, she has no choice but to take a stand—a decision that lands her on the run and outside the fence for the first time since the System robbed her of her liberty.

Vee knows the Master will stop at nothing to prove he holds ultimate authority over the Surrendered. But when he makes a threat that goes beyond what even she considers possible, she accepts the aid of an unlikely group of allies. Problem is, with opposing factions gunning for the one thing that might save them all, Vee must find a way to turn oppression and desperation into hope and determination—or risk failing all the children and the brother she left behind.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Kobo


A sinking feeling washes over me. “We’re going to Meadowood.”

He responds without opening his eyes, “I want answers.”

I start to argue that this will be a fool’s errand, but in truth, I want the same answers he does. “Do you think the man who rescued Oliver was with the Southies?”

“I don’t know who else it could’ve been.” He sits up and stretches. “It must’ve been them, and I want to know why they changed the plan without informing us. The Master and his Regulators got to the rooftop very quickly after I fired that shot. I have to wonder if someone told them we were there.”

“You think the Southies took Oliver to get the combination and then set the Regulators on us? Why would they do that?”

He rubs his face. “It doesn’t make any sense. But something’s not adding up.”

I ponder this, thinking about my brother’s strange plea. “I know you think I’m insane, but I can’t help but feel like Oliver knew someone was going to take him; I swear it felt like he was speaking to me when he said not to interfere. But that doesn’t make any sense, either. He’s been behind the fence for years.”

Cason yawns and tries to shake off the effects of the Papaver. “I don’t think you’re crazy; his message did seem odd for someone who was about to hang for a crime he didn’t commit. I don’t know, but hopefully he’ll be at Meadowood and you can ask him yourself.”

My mood elevates as I realize I may only be hours away from a reunion with my brother. The pain in my arm forgotten, I try to concentrate only on this knowledge, confident we’ll have our answers soon enough. “I didn’t get a chance to thank you for earlier. You could’ve just turned me over to the Master and walked away, but you didn’t. I’m grateful for that.”

I feel a little embarrassed as soon as the words leave my mouth. Normally I’m not one to share my feelings, but the Papaver Flower makes me breathless and lightheaded and loosens my tongue.

He reaches for me, careful not to jostle my splinted wrist, and pulls my face to his. “I’m probably going to ruin that sentiment by telling you the Master would never have let me go anyway, but know this—” he runs the pad of his thumb along my lower lip and meets my eyes “—if everyone else in the entire world leaves you to fend for yourself, if your father, your mother, your brother disappoint you, if God himself decides you aren’t worthy . . . you’ll still be able to count on me. I’ve got your back, Vera.”



Author Bio:

With over 20 years’ experience in the legal and medical fields, Case Maynard decided to trade in her briefs and reports to write the stories that have been floating around in her head since childhood. She lives with her two teenagers and husband in South Georgia, while maintaining a long-distance liaison with her oldest daughter and partner in crime in Alaska. When not writing, she enjoys reading as often as possible, binge watching anything good on Netflix, and all things NCAA football (Go Noles!). You can learn more about Case and her stories on her website.

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Book Blitz & Giveaway: Dotz

Angie M. Brashears
Publication date: October 1st 2016
Genres: Adult, Contemporary

This is a story about two strangers with nothing but grief in common.

Mason is great at connecting dots in other people’s life’s, but not so much in his own. His website, The F#ck it List, is all about connecting sexual requests. Matching never have I ever’s like a pair of socks. Efficiently. All in an effort to raise money for charity. That’s all he wants, to give. Why is that so hard?

Chloe’s in denial, but that’s not going to make the cancer go away. When her doctor gives her an expiration date, she can’t deny it any longer. It’s time to break the news to family and her best friend. She thought she’d have more time. There’s things she needs to say. She needs to be heard, but not by her loved ones. They’ve got enough on their plates with the diagnosis.

Two Months? Not long enough to do anything except…dig the hole.

It’s time.

This is Chloe’s story and how she copes with the end.

Just as there is a song for every occasion, Chloe has a friend for every occasion.

A pity party friend.
A truth friend.
A fixer friend.
And an end friend. Mason.

Mason and Chloe have nothing in common but grief. Two dots, floating in a sea of sorrow.

He’s lost his mother. She’s losing the fight.

When the end is near, is it too late for a new friend?

One woman’s end journey. Even when it’s time to get your affairs in order, it’s never too late for an “end” friend. Someone that will listen? Share your burden, so the family doesn’t have to. Help with the mess she’s created by keeping secrets. Be there for her best friend, a shoulder to cry on when the time comes.

It’s one thing to donate money to a cause.

What about your time, heart and soul? How much should you be expected to give?

If a stranger asked, could you be an end friend?

Goodreads / Amazon / Angie M. Brashears Pre-Order Form

Until October 1, 2016 50% or 5.00 from each print book goes to Avon Walk for Breast Cancer!


All your weight, it falls on me. It brings me down.
Truer words have never been spoken. My family and their feelings, that’s the weight of my world on my shoulders right now. How am I supposed to tell my overprotective mother, who freaks out over a sniffle…that, I’m…dying? My brother, Ronny, out doing his job, protecting us, battling on the front lines. Is it fair to distract him from his task at hand? Maybe he gets killed, or maybe his buddy takes a bullet? Why, so I can feel better? What about dad? Thoughts of the man that stuffs a pink can of mace and rape whistle in my stocking every year, and my burden just got heavier. And last but not least, my best friend, Lola. We’ve been the odd couple since the tampon video in fourth grade. Neat as pin, she never has loose ends, never commits to anything, no tangles no mess. That’s where I come in. I’m a friggin mess. Everything I touch gets smudged. Or at least, I’ve been told that, since as far back as I can even remember leaving a mess. Possibly, Lola’s bored with her muted tones life, maybe that’s why she steps into my sunshine and rainbows. Cluttered with dust motes, dancing on sun rays, like spritely fairies. Could be. So, what happens when I tell her I’m taking the sun with me? Some days, I can’t get off this sagging futon. Between the pain, the isolation, the guilt, the secret… I just can’t. I look at the website again. The F#ck It List. A place to put your Never have I ever… and you’ll be matched with the right person for you. I’m not interested in the sexual stuff. I’m so over that, and besides, my boyfriend, well, not boyfriend, stops by twice a week and we’re compatible enough as it is. And he’s another one. I broke up with him, so I wouldn’t have to paste a smile on twice a week and pretend like my world’s not falling apart. I love him, but man, does he need a lot of coddling. I haven’t brought myself to click past the privacy screen. That’s not what I’m interested in. The thing my nurse keeps talking to me about. My chemo nurse, Courtney, whispered to me. “You need someone to talk to, get things off your chest. I know you don’t want to burden your family, Chloe, but who takes your burden?” I shrugged, not really caring one way or the other. “I’ll be dead soon, so who cares? They can bury it with me.” She smacked my hand, the one without the IV. She was the one who had to poke around for an hour to find it, so she was protecting it like gold. But her words were kind. “Just like that. Who do you get to say those things too? You’re too worried about acting normal for your chemo buddy over there.” Em’s on her phone. She hates needles. I do too. “You need someone to hear you and not your cancer, you got me?” Her eyes look so compassionate, so loving I nod. She rests her hand on top of mine. I didn’t realize I was crying. “It’s my first time, I’m still a rookie.” I blubber out. She produces a tissue box from thin air and rubs my hand. “I have a friend; grandson has a website.” She lowers her voice. “It’s like a sex something or other,” then she’s back to full volume, “but that’s just to raise money for charity. I know she said he’s always looking for people with illnesses to help. “I guess my face must look funny, because she feels the need to add, “not like murder or anything like that.” I laugh. “Honestly, I was just wondering when this nausea would start to go away.” She nods, and squeezes my hand. “It doesn’t.” Later, when I’m pumped full of poison, she presents me with a gift bag. It’s got Band-Aids and syringes all over it. “Wow, Courtney how’d you know it was my birthday?” She laughs, “Well it kind of is. It’s your Chemo-day. You’re very first. Congratulations, kiddo, you made it through. Enjoy. Inside is the softest, most luxurious cashmere blanket. Pink, with raised dots. “Very chic, Courtney. I love it!” She hugs me and wraps it around my shoulders. “For the chills,” she whispers in my ear and I nod. She reaches in the bag and takes out a box of masks. “Remember your nadir.” There’s hard candies to suck on, for when my mouths dry. And an oral bag! With a rainbow toothbrush. “Thanks so much, I would’ve never thought of any of this. On the very bottom, a free month membership to Netflix. “For when you can’t make it out, but still want to watch something.” “I’m touched, really.” I use my new blanket, to wipe away a tear. “But I’ll have to read up on the rules, I don’t know a thing about Netflix.” As I leave, in search of my chemo buddy, who I haven’t seen in the last thirty minutes, Courtney calls out to me. “Chloe, did you want me to check on that thing, Mason’s website?” I think about it. I’ve got nothing better to do. “Sure.” That was four months ago. I’ll never see her again, chemo’s done dude. I’ll miss her. But not in the add another brick to the pile way. No, I’ll miss having someone who listens with their whole self. Two dots, connected by Courtney.


Author Bio:

Angie M Brashears is a lover of everything books. When not writing, she’s reading anything she can get her hands on. She grew up in Southern California, and loves the mountains, hiking with her dogs, the beach, and of course, Disneyland! She loves music, and loves singing along to the radio, loud and off-key, performing for anyone unlucky enough to be in the passenger seat.

Angie loves dark and twisted, which she refers to as Dark Ever After books, but is known to read an occasional HEA story as well. When she’s not writing, she working, saving lives. A busy Trauma ER nurse for over twenty years, she gets enough reality in her life, and is always looking for a story to take her away from the harsh reality of Emergency Nursing.

If there’s football on, she sure to have a huge party going on to cheer her team on…Go Patriots!

As a new author, she’d love to hear from you!

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