Saturday, November 30, 2013

MISS TAKEN by Cleo Scornavacca (Kindle Promo)

Love........................The Ultimate Loss of Control


Published by Cleo Scornavacca; September 30th 2013
ebook; 262 pages; romance

$ 0.99 through Monday December 2nd!!!

About the book
Rain and Raven Medici are identical twins. Although they come from a loving close-knit family their childhoods couldn’t have been more different. Raven went to school and was exposed freely to the outside world. Rain on the other hand was born with a blood disorder and denied many normal childhood experiences.

Once grown, Raven becomes a lawyer at their dad’s firm Kane & Medici in NYC. Rain along with her only childhood friend Tommy Conte, builds a very successful business as professional photographers. Traveling between Europe and Manhattan, and enjoying a world that was kept from her, Rain vows never to be controlled again.

Dominick Kane is a product of his upbringing. He’s powerful, self-assured and knows he can achieve anything he desires. Nothing gets in his way. There is only one thing he has ever failed at. A relationship with his father Vincent Kane. Upon his father’s death, Dominick vows revenge. The events he sets in motion put him on a collision course he himself will be unable to control.

In a bizarre twist of fate, Dominick kidnaps Raven as part of his plan for revenge. Only to discover afterward, he has taken Rain by mistake. Rain knows she can never survive being confined again. So she strikes a bargain with the devil and agrees to help Dominick get back what he feels rightly belongs to him. His father’s share of Kane & Medici.

Dominick decides to use the strong attraction growing between Rain and himself to control her in every way imaginable. Too bad no one ever taught Dominick you can’t control the heart. Nothing could have prepared him for the effect Rain would have on his.
Will this plan of revenge turn into unconditional love? Or will Dominick and Rain’s need for control ultimately destroy them and any possibly chance for a real future together.......

***Content suitable for a mature audience, 18+ (strong language and sexual content)

Friday, November 29, 2013

PERSONAL STATEMENT by Jason Odell Williams

Published by In This Together Media; August 2013; 217  pages
Young Adult, Humor, Realistic Fiction
Add it on Goodreads
Buy it on Amazon
4 out of 5 stars

"The average student uses 400 sheets of paper during the college application process."

The road to Harvard is paved with ____ intentions. Getting into college has never been harder. Can't rely on that perfect SAT score or a 5 on your AP Mandarin exam. And field hockey or basketball? Please. The real sport is Volunteering. This year, seniors all over Connecticut are positively euphoric over a natural disaster that's promising epic opportunities. Let the game begin!

My review
Smart book! Wry social commentary disguised in young adult fiction and served with a healthy dose of humor makes for some refreshing read. Personal Statement is the irreverent portrayal of three ambitious college-bound students who will transform a natural catastrophe into an opportunity to boost their resumes and enhance their chances to be accepted by prestigious universities. 

Anyone who's applying to a top college can sport outstanding report cards, perfect test scores, leadership, sports, and volunteering, but what really separates a college application from the rest of the pile is a killer personal statement. Our young protagonists need an epic opportunity, a 'frontline' life experience that will turn their personal essay into a touching representation of their unique personalities.  And that opportunity presents itself in the form of a hurricane heading for Connecticut. Being part of the volunteer rescue effort is the wild card Emily, Rani, and Robert were hoping for in order to stand out over a crowd of college applicants. The problem is that the crowd of pre-college students they were trying to leave behind had exactly the same idea. 

Nudged by their parents, spurred by individualism, or motivated by an unhealthy obsession for academic excellence, Emily, Rani, and Robert rush to the place where Calliope will make landfall, just to find out what really defines them and makes them happy.

Williams' characters belong to a world of wealth and privilege, nuveau riche and old money: it won't be easy for everyone to relate to their status and background, although that very elitism  provides the author with an hilarious  foil for his social satire. Clearly Personal Statement strikes a chord as it ridicules the absurdity of college admissions, a process that nowadays borders a mania at best, a real nightmare at worst. For many high-school students (and their parents), college application is an angsty and stressful experience: when a model of education values achievement over real knowledge, and trades love of learning for cut-throat values and an impossible ideal of perfection, we undermine our children's mental sanity and happiness. Not a promise of a bright future.

*Review copy generously offered by the publisher in return for an unbiased and honest opinion


About the author
Jason is an Emmy-nominated writer and producer of National Geographic's  hit television series "Brain Games", as well as an award-winning playwright. He lives in New York City with his actress-director-producer wife, Charlotte Cohn, and their daughter, Imogen, who is working  on her hyphenated as we speak. Personal Statement is his first novel. Visit his website for more details.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Blog Tour: Review Of WOMAN ON TOP By Deborah Schwartz

Author: Deborah Schwartz
Release Date: June 8, 2013
Publisher: Laudan Press
Edition: Paperback, 335 pages
Genre: chick lit, women's fiction, romance
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Add it on Goodreads
Buy it on Amazon 

"From the moment Jake died, I became the widow with her nose pressed against the window of life. […] The meaning of my life though was […] to be found […] within me. It is framed by choices to have the strength to keep going and to aim for the top."

Blurb -  Kate, after the heartbreaking loss of her husband, falls prey to a very wealthy Wall Street banker who tries to acquire her heart as he has successfully completed all of his other deals - pouncing on the vulnerable and taking control.

This is the captivating story of how Kate struggles with the heady lure of the enormous money, excitement, glamour, greed and power of life in New York and whether she can ultimately rescue herself. Will she allow her heart to be reclaimed by a good man?

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.  

My review - Deborah Schwartz started on top with a moving and poignant story of self-empowerment. I was riveted by the quality of her narrative: the main character's emotions are so raw and authentic, her voice and perspective so clear and defined, that I wonder where fiction ends in this novel and the author's intimate familiarity with real characters and events begins.

Kate is a strong and smart young woman. Her joy is infectious. But when at age thirty-five she loses her sweet and kind husband to cancer, she is physically and emotionally drained. She will spend the following five years trying to provide her two children with financial stability and the most normal life a single mother can possibly grant to her fatherless kids. When Kate allows herself to start the dating game again, she gets involved with a consummate business man with a steely and arrogant personality. 

With his wealth and power, Len fares in a world of domination, where marriages are contracts, wives are trophies, and relationships are ruled by the same deal-making mentality he applies to his business. Len's steely spine and empty soul clamorously clash with her first husband's amiable and saintly personality. Life with Jake was real and happy, made of love, trust, mutual respect and cooperation. Life with 'big-ego' Len is perfectly constructed, a bubble of high-society, big money, and weekends in Paris. Why would a genuine and compassionate, smart forty year old woman like Kate step in Len's shallow environment and let a domineering man destroy her self-confidence?

If you ask the therapist who helped her through the loss and grieving process, the reason why Kate chooses the wrong man and sticks around him despite the numerous red flags, is a way to sabotage any possibility of moving on past her beloved first husband. Len and Jake are worlds apart, they could never compare, physically and emotionally. The author's use of alternating time lines and flashbacks from Kate's former married life mark the stark contrast between the two men. With Len around, Jake's memory will always be safe and intact.

If you ask Kate, her answer will be simple: fear. Fear of being alone. Fear she will never be able to recapture the excitement of her love affair with Jake. She enjoys her reflection in Len's eyes: "The flattery from him was constant and filled with words like fun, smart, fabulous mother, sexy and sweet. It felt hard to resist that reflection, given that I had not seen, or at least had not been willing to acknowledge, such desire and flattery since Jake."

Schwartz appears to be a great observer of human behaviors and her ability to capture their essence in her story-telling with a writing that is emotional, luminous and altogether eloquent, shows great sensibility and psychological insight.  Kate's arc is an exciting journey, albeit a mercurial and, at times, heartbreaking one: reading how she finds in her vulnerable but optimistic nature the way to reconstruct herself was for me an uplifting and gratifying experience. 

***Review copy graciously offered by the author in return of an unbiased and honest opinion. Read my author interview here.

About the author - 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 her website, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads .

Follow the tour
So Many Precious books Nov 7 Spotlight, Guest Post & Giveaway
From L.A. to LA Nov 8 Review
Paperback Writer Nov 8 Guest Post
Chick Lit Central Nov 11 One Week Feature
Deal Sharing Aunt Nov 12 Review
Teena In Toronto Nov 13 Review
Bookalicious Travel Addict Nov 13 Spotliight
Rainy Days & Mondays Nov 14 Review
Celtic Lady Nov 15 Review
Mom in Love with Fiction Nov 18 Review
Sweeps 4 Bloggers Nov 19 Review & Giveaway
Mina’s Bookshelf Nov 25 Review
Mina’s Bookshelf Nov 21 Interview
Most Happy Reader Nov 21 Review
Most Happy Reader Nov 22 Interview & Giveaway
Saving for Six Nov 25 Review
Every Free Chance Nov 25 Guest Post  & Giveaway
Romance & Inspiration Nov 26 Review
Joy Story Nov 27 Review

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

"Woman On Top" Blog Tour: Author Interview With Deborah Schwartz

In Deborah Schwartz's captivating debut novel, Woman On Top, 35-year-old Kate struggles, after the death of her husband, to keep control amidst the detour of a tempestuous romance with Len, a very wealthy Wall Street banker. As witness to a world of power and greed that life in New York offers to a vulnerable woman, Kate will find inner strength in her quest for a reaffirmation of life. I fell in love with this book the moment I read the synopsis and I am savoring every single chapter  of it. The author graced my blog with the favor of an interview: welcome to my book den, Deborah, and thank you for taking the time to answer my questions.

Q. Deborah, I read in your bio that you are an healthcare attorney, a mother, a mountain climber. Was becoming a published author always in your bucket list? What inspired you to become a writer? A book, an author, your professional background?

A. Becoming a writer had to happen at the right time in my life. That time was when my kids were grown and I could take the risk of writing full-time. I’ve always loved writing but I really waited till I felt compelled to write this book and had the time.

Q. What's the inspiration behind Woman On Top? Is there any part of the story or a character that is based on your real life?

A. Woman on Top was definitely inspired by my life.  But the book is fiction because I wanted to broaden the story to inspire more readers. And I don’t want to say what’s really based on my life because readers take what they want and need from a book. It really doesn’t matter how much is my story. It becomes their story.

Q. Somebody, I think Mark Twain, said that in order to succeed as an author you should write what you know and build the world you would like to live in. Do you see yourself as a character of your novels? Do you identify with any of them?

A. I found that in writing the book that I did want to write about what I know. But then in the process of writing, the book grew into something more.  Do I identify with Kate? Maybe.

Q. Are you a plotter or a pantser? Did you carefully outline each chapter of Woman On Top or let the characters lead the way?

A. I’m definitely not a plotter. The story carried itself and only at the end did I carefully define chapters and organize the book itself.

Q. Any important lesson you have learned from your first experience as a novelist? Any tip you want to share with aspiring author?

A. Lots of people have told me that they’d love to write a book but that they work full-time. I don’t think I could have written this book until I was free to spend many hours every day writing. But that’s just me. And being a writer means being in your head – alone, a lot. But I learned so much doing it. That’s why I loved it. It’s a great experience. I just think if you feel compelled to write, just do it! It’s so rewarding.

Q. Are you active on social media networks? Do you think it is better for a writer to avoid the clamor of Facebook, Twitter etc., or you'd rather keep a direct line with your readers?

A. I am active on social media. There is nothing better than hearing from readers – whether through my website or whatever way they choose!

Q. Reviews are an important asset for a writer, when they provide a constructive feedback. Do you read them? How do you react to the negative ones?

A. I definitely read them and love to hear constructive feedback. If the negative review makes sense, then I’m listening. 

Q. Any work in progress? What can your readers expect from you in the future?

A. Yes. Readers have encouraged me and asked me to keep going. Some want a sequel. 

Women's Fiction, Chick Lit
Laudan Press, May 2013
Print & ebook, 346 pages
Be on the look out for my review on this blog

Book description
Kate after the heartbreaking loss of her husband, falls prey to a very wealthy Wall Street banker who tries to acquire her heart as he has successfully completed all of his other deals-pouncing on the vulnerable and taking control. 
This is the captivating story of how Kate struggles with the heady lure of the enormous money, excitement, glamour, greed and power of life in New York and whether she can ultimately rescue herself. Will she allow her heart to be reclaimed by a good man?
While following her quest for reaffirmation of life and love including a surprising adventure, Kate's story touches on the unexpected pleasures, detours and decisions we face throughout our lives.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Liebster Award Nominations

I have been nominated for the Liebster Award by blogger extraordinaire Holly U @ Part Of That World. I would like to thank her wholeheartedly for her kindness and answer her questions. This is a re-post, since I was nominated by other bloggers weeks ago: I have added Holly's link for you all to check her wonderful blog and read my answers.


The Liebster Award is a way to help blogs you like with less than 200 followers to expand their audience. It's a way to give them some deserved attention so our followers can discover them as well. Some wonderful bloggers nominated me for this award and I cannot even start to tell you how humbled and honored I am. Many thanks to:

Chene Sterckx @ Mean Who You are
Irene Van Benthem @ The Ice Queen Bookshelf
Samantha Clark @ Bakey's Book Blog 
Monique LeBlanc @ Mo Books 
Holly U @ Part Of That World

Girls, thank you for your nominations! You rock!!!


  • Link back the blogger that tagged you
  • Nominate 10 others and answer the questions of the one who tagged you
  • Ask 10 questions for the bloggers you nominate
  • Let your nominees know of their award.
Holly U from Part Of That World has some very intriguing questions

1. What made you decide to start blogging?
When a passion of yours turns into a serious hobby, you get to the point where you need to give it some structure. Reading, writing book reviews, giving authors and publishers a feedback, needed an outlet. So, Mina's Bookshelf came to life.

2. Love triangles: yay or nay?
I would say nay. I like to see my fictional characters completely gratified in the end. Unrequited love is not my favorite trope.

3. What's your favorite genre to read?
Historical. You can serve this 'dish' to me in all kinds of sauces and fashions - romance, mystery, suspense, thriller, paranormal. The past has an incredible charm.

4. What book or series would you recommend everyone read?
Talking about the historical genre , I would like to recommend Trilogia Victoriana by an exceptional Spanish writer, Felix J. Palma. The first two installments are The Map Of Time and The Map Of Sky and they are an excellent combination of history, science fiction, time travel, mystery, steampunk, and a touch of romance. H.G. Wells is the main character. You can check them out on Goodreads.

5. Who is your favorite book boyfriend?
Too many to mention :) I have a soft spot for the brooding kind, your typical Mr. Darcy (Pride And Prejudice).

6. What's the best book you've read so far in 2013?
Me Before You by Jojo Moyes...I've cried for days. The Ocean At The End Of The Lane by Neil Gaiman, because he can spellbind with his words like no other.

7. If you had to pick, what world would you want to live in the most?
Victorian England, but then I think about all the amenities I would have to do without...I am fine where I am.

8. If you could hang out with one character for the day, who would it be?
Bridget Jones. I think her and I could strike quite a friendship.

9. Who is your favorite heroine?
Jane Eyre. “Do you think, because I am poor, obscure, plain and little, I am soulless and heartless? You think wrong! - I have as much soul as you, - and full as much heart!" I love her.

10. Why do you love blogging?
Blogging is a conversation that I have with myself and with an audience of people who share my love for reading. That sense of community is what keeps this blog going. 

Chene from Mean Who You Are asked me a few questions too, which I am more than glad to answer.

1. What are you currently reading and what are you planning on reading next?
I am hooked line and sinker on an international thriller by Allan  Topol,  The Russian Endgame. I am trying to choose my next read among The Book Of Someday, The Girl You Left Behind, and The Infatuations...a nice dilemma to have.

2. If you could only pick one book/series to be stranded on an island with, what would it be?
Considered that I don't know for how long I am going to be stranded on this hypothetical island (hopefully in the Pacific Ocean), I would pick the Wallflowers, gorgeous historical romance series by lovely Lisa Kleypas. I love her!

3. If you could have one ability (Magical or skills), what would it be?
Witchcraft, of course! But the good one. I wish I could concoct potions and cast spells. 

4. What inspired your blog's name and theme?
Throughout my entire life my bookshelves have always been full - comics, novels, short stories, illustrated books, academic texts aplenty. Books are my constant companions, source of delight and inspiration. Hence, Mina's Bookshelf

5. What made you want to start a blog?
Basically, the desire to give form and structure to my passion for reading and reviewing. I love the idea of being able to provide a 'book venue' to all those readers who rely on reviews and word of mouth before picking their next read.

6. Who is your favorite author? 
I have a soft spot for Jane Austen, Charles Dickens and Henry James. Realism, irony, and psychological insight are the qualities that I most admire in an author.

7. Do you have any weird bookishly ways?
Kids + crayons + unattended books = Unwanted doodles on the pristine pages of your favorite novel. I am very protective of my books. What I am reading follows me around the house.

8. What has been been you favorite moment of blogging so far?
Every time I hit 'Publish' and my review goes live.

9. Who is your favorite character you identify with?
"Jo March" from Little Women (Louisa May Alcott). Incredibly similar lives and personalities.

10. What is your favorite movie/series that was based on a book?
Joe Wright's adaptation of Jane Austen's masterpiece Pride and Prejudice, starring Keira  Knightley and Matthew MacFadyen (2005). I am also a sucker for BBC costume dramas: I think I'll never get tired of watching the tv series rendition of North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell (BBC 2004) and Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens (BBC 2008).

Now, to my 10 nominations for the Liebster Award:

To my nominees I would like to ask
1.  Best book(s) you've read this year?
2.  Upcoming release(s) you anticipate the most? 
3.  Favorite author(s)?
4.  Is fan-fiction something you would consider as a reader or a writer?
5.  Would you like to write a sequel for a book you loved? 
6.  Is there any author you would like to meet?
7.  What would you ask him/her?
8.  Your favorite reading nook? Bed, sofa, a bench at the park?
9.  Book or e-reader?
10 Which novel would you like to see on the big screen and who would you cast for the lead roles?