Book Promotion (NEW RELEASE): Be Free by T.S. Woolard

Be Free
By TS Woolard

The Southern Tale Spinner is back with a cult unlike any other. Most who leave behind their lives and make a break for Green Bay Community in Green Bay, West Africa believed to be leaving behind a world riddled with ungodly temptations and sinful lusts. Upon committing to the sanctuary as a member, they swore off money, sex, and anything deemed unfit for members to participate in. They were fed and all had necessary jobs around the commune to make this little piece of paradise move through time in synchrony. Women were subservient to the men and were treated as such by all male members of the community. However, once you join, and no matter what you are told, you can never leave. Your freedom comes at a price and many are ready to make a deal with the devil. Join those at Green Bay Community to taste that luxury… and be free

You can find the book here: KINDLE US




Blog Tour (REVIEW): Avatars Inc: A Sci-fi Anthology edited by Ann Vandermeer

Published March 13th 2020 by XPRIZE

Avatars Inc
ISBN: 139781734336214
Edition Language: English
Praise for CURRENT FUTURES: A SCI-FI OCEAN ANTHOLOGY“Ann VanderMeer’s outstanding Current Futures: A Sci-Fi Ocean Anthology, is a selection of stories about climate change and the future of our oceans, all by some of the best writers working today…on the XPRIZE’s website, it is as indispensable as anything on this list.” —Jonathan Strahan, Reviews Editor, Locus

“Ann VanderMeer’s Current Futures: A Sci-Fi Ocean Anthology is a required-reading, online-only “sci-fi ocean anthology” sponsored by XPRIZE.” —Liza Goren Trombi, Editor-in-Chief, Locus

**In 2020 the most recent anthology from XPRIZE, Current Futures: A Sci-Fi Ocean Anthology, was named to the Locus Recommended Reading list of 2019**

**4 Short stories from Current Futures: A Sci-Fi Ocean Anthology were included in the Short Stories section of the Locus Recommended Reading List of 2019**

Mars 2080

While on a mission to mars in the year 2080, a young astronaut encounters a decommissioned robotic Avatar unit, partially buried in the Martian dust.

She poops open the cranial casing to find its central processing chip, still intact. She holds the chip up to her visual display unit to reveal its contents. Within moments, she is flooded with what-seem-to-be “memories” from the life of the avatar.

This is Avatar Inc’s 24th successful mission, as part of an overall campaign to physically retrieve, preserve and archive the memory cards from their most valuable robotic avatar unitis.

They searched the world, and deep into the solar system, to acquire the chips that contain avatar memories spanning the 21st century.

These are those memories.

CREATOR: Eric Desatnik
SL Haung, Sarah Pinsker, JY Yang, Kelly Robson, Nino Cipri, Jeffrey Ford, K Chess, Indrapamit Das, Robert Reed, Paul McAuley, Julianna Baggot, Ken Liu, Merc, Fenn Wolfmoor, Pat Cadigan, Tom Sweterlitsch, James S.A. Corey, Adrian Tchaikovsky, Johanna Sinisalo, Tade Thompson, Dr. Harry Kloor, Charles Yu, Aliette de Bodard, Julie Novàkovà, and Madeline Ashby


I received a copy from the publisher via Jean Book Nerd for an honest review. What follows is my opinion and mine alone. There was no compensation for this review.

I’m not a big Sci-Fi fan. There have been some books I like, but most of the time it’s a hit or miss. I’m saying this because I feel I may not be the best judge for sci-fi fiction for this reason. That isn’t to say that I found this book boring. Actually, I found it refreshing.

Oftentimes, we see sci-fi as the destruction or inevitable end of mankind. There are cataclysmic natural disasters, governments taking over, or the idea that artificial intelligence will one day rule you. Rather bleak, right?

I like sci-fi that pokes fun, is an adventure story set so far in the future the humans in them would be the same as King Arthur with his knights, or the stories that are human first and technology second. Avatars Inc is the third one.

Comprised of many different stories, but each one important. I’ve seen humans struggle, persist, and love in this anthology. It isn’t bleak, it embraces all that makes humans human. There were some stories I devoured quickly and others I had to take a moment to mull through. But each one was unique and helped me see the world through the eyes of a machine.

The Avatars in this book are machines made for people to plug-in like a virtual reality system and explore the world. With it, a pregnant woman in labor can climb the mountains and preserve the environment or a paralyzed adult can visit a dying parent. It had me thinking about how it would be a great thing for people today to visit family during COVID-19.

There was a pause in that point in my reading. It was a bittersweet pause, filled with the pent-up anxiety being at home causes, but it didn’t take away from the book. If you love human stories but need a little extra, check out this anthology. If you like Sci-fi and are tired of the bleak messages, check out this anthology.

All in all, I enjoyed this book and am glad I said yes to reviewing it.

Final Rating: 3/5

Photo Content from AnnVanderMeer

Over a 30-year career, Ann VanderMeer has won numerous awards for her editing work, including the Hugo Award and World Fantasy Award. Whether as editor-in-chief for Weird Tales for five years or in her current role as an acquiring editor for, Ann has built her reputation on acquiring fiction from diverse and interesting new talents. As co-founder of Cheeky Frawg Books, she has helped develop a wide-ranging line of mostly translated fiction. Featuring a who’s who of world literature, Ann VanderMeer’s anthologies include the critically acclaimed Best American Fantasy series, The Weird, The Time Traveler’s Almanac, Sisters of the Revolution, and the forthcoming Big Book of SF (Vintage).

MAY 25th MONDAY Insane About Books REVIEW
MAY 26th TUESDAY A Dream Within A Dream SPOTLIGHT
MAY 28th THURSDAY Reading Adventures of a Book DragonSPOTLIGHT 
MAY 29th FRIDAY Casia’s Corner REVIEW
MAY 30th SATURDAY Crossroad Reviews REVIEW
MAY 31st SUNDAY Movies, Shows, & Books REVIEW
*JBN is not responsible for Lost or Damaged Books in your Nerdy Mail Box*

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NERD BLAST: Deeplight by Francis Hardinge

Print Length: 432 pages
Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1419743201
Publisher: Amulet Books (April 14, 2020)
Publication Date: April 14, 2020
Sold by: Amazon Services LLC
Language: English

Praise for DEEPLIGHT★“Equal parts dazzling fantasy, swashbuckling adventure, and tender coming-of-age tale.”—Publishers Weekly, starred review

★“Monsters and mortals collide in this fantasy adventure that explores the hypnotic allure of fear, the adamant grip of the past, and the redeeming power of stories.”—Kirkus Reviews, starred review

“Glorious thematic complexity inhabits a wildly inventive world, with the menacing roils of a dangerous sea threatening the archipelago and touches of steampunk rounding out the fantastical elements.” —Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

“Chilling and provocative, this dark fantasy will appeal to thrill seekers and cerebral tweens.” —Booklist


This is a Nerd Blast, you will post the promotional info we provide you with, including the giveaway. No reviews required. Please mark your Calendar.


Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea meets Frankenstein in Frances Hardinge’s latest fantasy adventure

The gods are dead. Decades ago, they turned on one another and tore each other apart. Nobody knows why. But are they really gone forever? When 15-year-old Hark finds the still-beating heart of a terrifying deity, he risks everything to keep it out of the hands of smugglers, military scientists, and a secret fanatical cult so that he can use it to save the life of his best friend, Jelt. But with the heart, Jelt gradually and eerily transforms. How long should Hark stay loyal to his friend when he’s becoming a monster—and what is Hark willing to sacrifice to save him?

You can purchase Deeplight at the following Retailers:


Photo Content from Frances Hardinge

Frances Hardinge is the winner of the Costa Book of the Year for The Lie Tree, one of just two young adult novels to win the major UK literary prize. Known for her beautiful use of language, Hardinge has written many critically acclaimed novels, including Cuckoo Song, Gullstruck Island, Fly by Night, Verdigris Deep, and Fly Trap. She lives in England. Visit the author at



*JBN is not responsible for Lost or Damaged Books in your Nerdy Mail Box*


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Asian Pacific Heritage Month Spotlight: Pippa Park Raises Her Game by Erin Yun

This month is American Asian Pacific Islander Heritage Month. It is a month that means something to me even though I struggle with it on one level.

Growing up, I didn’t recognize that I was a part of the Asian community. My grandma was grandma, but I didn’t really know my Filipina background. Even now, I’m sure I am messing up how to say it. Suffice to say, I am a quarter Filipino but I have very little knowledge about it.

I remember the day I learned I was considered Asian Pacific. I had glanced at the attendance list in my fifth grade and was confused about that one child on the Asian Pacific Islander listing. I was curious about it and asked mom, because moms know everything. It was then I learned I was that number.

The thing is, I am still unsure about my culture. Or at least most of the history of my family and the culture through that. As a child, there wasn’t much literary representation to base me in that.

Enter Pippa Park Raises Her Game. This book is a middle grade book that is not only relevant for middle schoolers, but features a Korean American lead. On top of that, it is a Great Expectations retelling (one of my favorite novels from Dickens, just saying). Right now, my copy is on its way to my house.

Do I plan on reading it this month? You bet

Do I plan on having Bug read it? Absolutely.

“Pippa is a magnetic heroine, funny and good-hearted.”―Booklist

Readers will cheer on Korean American Pippa Park in this compelling middle grade reimagining of Great Expectations. Navigating friendships and cyberbullying at a new school, Pippa reinvents herself and discovers who she really is.

Life is full of great expectations for Korean American Pippa Park. It seems like everyone, from her family to the other kids at school, has a plan for how her life should look. So when Pippa gets a mysterious basketball scholarship to Lakeview Private, she jumps at the chance to reinvent herself by following the “Rules of Cool.”

At Lakeview, Pippa juggles old and new friends, an unrequited crush, and the pressure to perform academically and athletically while keeping her past and her family’s laundromat a secret from her elite new classmates. But when Pippa begins to receive a string of hateful, anonymous messages via social media, her carefully built persona is threatened.

As things begin to spiral out of control, Pippa discovers the real reason she was admitted to Lakeview and wonders if she can keep her old and new lives separate, or if she should even try.

YouTube Notes: Different Fiction Formulas

In case you didn’t know, I have a YouTube channel. I am still trying to learn how to make videos and what kind of content I want to dive deep into, but currently, I am doing writing tips.

A part of this is because I love talking about writing and I feel I may have something to add on to all the other numerous YouTube authors out there. Another reason is that the other stuff I want to talk about will take some time.

That said, I wanted to be able to share my notes and outlines for the videos on here for viewers as well as for anyone who would like to have them but not watch the videos. Because that happens. I am very late in sharing my notes in my most recent video. For that, I am sorry. But, here they are!



  • “Shaking Up Formulas” Recap:
    • In my “Shaking Up Formulas” video, I defined what a fiction formula is and how you can shake it up to make your story stronger and uniquely yours. This video is on the specific formulas and how they are broken down. If anyone is interested in a more in-depth video addressing a specific formula, not just the generalizations, I will be happy to do that later on. Just comment below.
  • Different Genres Have Different Formulas
    • Each genre has its own formula. If you read the same genre and only that genre, you will begin to notice the trends, tropes, and eventually the genre’s formula. I tend to binge read a genre which then impacts my writing. My horror can end up looking like a YA fantasy or romance and then I’m either blocked or stuck rewriting everything. So, be careful if you binge read genres. Having a reading palette cleanser on hand helps.
  • Hero’s Journey
    • Quite possibly the oldest formula. It’s seen in folklore, film, television, plays, and novels. Most seen in fantasy novels, but it is possible to apply this formula to almost every written work.
    • It’s easily the number one formula taught and can be described in a video all on its own.
    • In its most basic formula, you have:
      • The hero or “chosen one” being thrust or deciding to join a quest.
      • The mentor dies
      • The hero goes into the underworld to undergo a self-discovery and more strength (sometimes a new mentor is given in this point)
      • The hero fights the big bad and everything is resolved.
    • Examples of a Hero’s Journey are:
      • Beowulf
      • Odyssey
      • Star Wars
      • Harry Potter
    • Romance
      • Quite possibly the most ridiculed formula. It is simple but effective. There is a reason why romance is one of the highest-grossing fiction out there and it isn’t just because of female readers.
      • Its formula is this:
        • Character A
        • Character B
        • Some kind of internal struggle and sometimes an outside force preventing a relationship.
        • Love is made
      • Examples of a Romance formula:
        • Jane Austen
        • Nora Roberts
        • Basically all romance authors
      • Urban Fantasy
        • Urban Fantasy is an umbrella genre with little pockets of other genres mixed in. You can find paranormal romance in this genre as well. For this video, I am addressing the more popular version of Urban Fantasy, the one with a mystery and protagonist solving the crime.
        • Its formula involves:
          • Basically, you can have your base formula and add fantasy elements.
          • Be sure to weave them in though!
        • Examples of Urban Fantasy:
          • Dresden Files
          • P. Sloan
          • Melissa Olson
          • Seanan McGuire
          • A ton of Urban Fantasy Indie authors
        • Mystery/Cozy Mystery
          • Mystery is another umbrella genre. In its most basic, you have a regular mystery, but there are of course the Urban Fantasy Mystery and a very common mystery genre, the Cozy Mystery.
          • Mystery’s most basic formula is this:
            • Victim
            • Crime
            • Perpetrator
            • Detective/PI/Agent/etc.- a professional crime solver
          • Cozy Mystery is a bit different. Where the main character and the motivation for solving the crime can be different. Here is its formula:
            • Victim
            • Crime
            • Perpetrator
            • Amateur Sleuth- oftentimes a baker, candy maker, librarian, bookstore owner, read a book once where it was a gamer
          • Examples of Mysteries:
            • James Patterson (author)
            • David Baldacci (author)
            • Sherlock Holmes
            • Wilkie Collins (author)
          • Examples of Cozy Mysteries:
            • The Cat Who books
            • Joanne Fluke
            • Krista Davis
          • Closing Statement:
            • You might have noticed how the last few formulas I addressed were of a similar vein with minor differences, this is because formulas can be mashed together and changed. Think of it like genetics. You have half of your mother’s DNA and half of your father’s, they, in turn, have half of each of their parents. A Fiction Formula is like the genome of your story. You can pull different genetic material from one genre to make a whole new and exciting story that is uniquely your own. This, and with what I touched on in “Shaking Formulas Up”, is what makes a story a good story.



We’ve got a whole history of f–k-ups. Deleting History is the second book in a second-chance romance series from international best-selling author Hanleigh Bradley.

You can’t delete the past. You can’t avoid it, either. If you do, eventually, it will slap you right across the face.

Clara’s been avoiding her past for years, but when it’s exposed, what will she do? More than that, how can she keep the people she loves safe from scandal? Will she sacrifice her own happiness to keep everyone’s history buried? And, will Andrew let her give him up?

Deleting History is the second book in a four-book complete series from internationally best-selling author Hanleigh Bradley. The banter is quick-witted, unprofessional, and downright naughty, as this pair try to find out if they have a future together despite their past.

Buy Now →
We’ve got a whole history of fuck ups.
Written by Hanleigh Bradley and Narrated by Leanne Woodward
You can’t delete the past. You can’t avoid it either. If you do, eventually it will slap you right across the face.
Clara’s been avoiding her past for years, but when it’s exposed what will she do?
More than that, how can she keep the people she loves safe from scandal?
Will she sacrifice her own happiness to keep everyone’s history buried?
And will Andrew let her give him up?
Audible →
iTunes → 


Hanleigh loves books more than nearly anything in the world; whether its reading them or writing them, Hanleigh just can’t get enough. She relishes in the way authors can create worlds with the words they put in their books. She loves the way your imagination introduces you to a new world when you read a book. It may well be a world completely foreign to the one you live in. That world is brought to life; inspires you to dream, captivates your imagination, entices your senses.
Hanleigh first took to reading as a small child reading Dr Zeus. She then fell in love with romance literature when she first read Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen; when she first swooned over Mr Darcy. She’s read more books than she can count and owns more books than some libraries.
Although born in Scotland, she sometimes wishes she could live inside the world that she can create inside her mind, but since that isn’t possible she puts pen to paper and shares that world with this world instead. There is something addictive about being able to mould your words into something that causes the reader to fall into your mind. When you put pen to paper and create a world, it’s exhilarating. Every word has meaning. You know every character intimately. You know every secret, every whisper, every smell, every look,; as the author you know the world you created and more so than even the most avid of readers you can get lost in your own creation.

BLOG TOUR (Review): Last Girls by Demetra Brodsky

Hardcover: 368 pages
Publisher: Tor Teen (May 5, 2020)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1250256526
ISBN-13: 978-1250256522

Praise for LAST GIRLS

“A riveting, pulse-pounding story about family, love, and what happens when the end of the world turns out to be the beginning. I loved the fierce, funny, and fantastic Juniper sisters.” ―Kathleen Glasgow, New York Times bestselling author of Girl in Pieces

“ABAO: All bets are off in this intense, action-packed thriller. Last Girls is both a sister story with heart and a deep-dive into Doomsday Prepper culture that will keep you up all night turning pages.” ―Kelly deVos, author of Day Zero

“Last Girls is a harrowing view into a world where sisterly bonds are sealed in blood, and doomsday is only a breath away. Demetra Brodsky’s portrayal of three girls living on the fringes of society, learning to question authority, identity, and the definition of family, kept me riveted until the final page.” ―Gillian French, Edgar Award nominated author of The Missing Season and The Lies They Tell

“Tense and compulsively readable. . . I won’t be forgetting the Juniper sisters any time soon.” ―Kara Thomas, author of The Cheerleaders

“This gripping thriller laced with dark family secrets had me tearing through the pages. …. prepare to stay up late reading this one!” ―Emmy Laybourne, international bestselling author of the Monument 14 trilogy

“Brodsky weaves a suspenseful tale reflective of the current political landscape, interwoven with Shakespearean subtext . . . this is a story of survival and figuring out who to trust in a world where the characters have been taught to trust no one.” ―School Library Journal

“[this] effective mix of mystery, romance, and strong, capable young women is a real page-turner and will send fans back to Brodsky’s first novel, Dive Smack (2018).” ―Booklist

Cover Artist: Dana Lédlová

No one knows how the world will end.

On a secret compound in the Washington wilderness, Honey Juniper and her sisters are training to hunt, homestead, and protect their own.

Train for every situation.

But when danger strikes from within, putting her sisters at risk, training becomes real life, and only one thing is certain:

Nowhere is safe.

You can purchase Last Girls at the following Retailers:
I received a copy of Last Girls for an honest review. What follows is my opinion and mine alone. There was no compensation for this review.
The sheer fact of not getting a lot of information in the blurb is what caught my attention. I had a few suspicions as to what the book was going to be about. After all, it mentions a prepper compound and the end of the world. Of course I would think about the inner politics of a compound being the big thing.
Suffice to say that first impressions can be deceiving. And that is also the case inside the book. You think one thing about a character and another thing pops up instead, leaving the reader in a suspense-filled book all the while trying to grapple with the high energy of a compound and the disturbing current events around the world.
This is probably not a book to be reading when you are having a rather stressful quarantine, but that isn’t to say the book is bad. Oh no. Demetra Brodsky weaved a good story with great pacing all the while insisting that the arts are equally as important as survival skills. Which, actually, is very much what is going on today. So many artists are coming out of the woodwork because of being stuck at home.
I don’t know if Brodsky saw this coming and wrote a story with similar themes about today, but I applaud her.
Honey was a bit rough around her edges, but as the story goes not only does she begin to soften, but the reader begins to see her as who she is. Each Juniper sister had a quality to them that made them different but also connected them in a way that only being family can. And I want to add, I absolutely love how Shakespeare is played into this and the more I think about it, the more I see how Brodsky really wove it in. I’d say something, but it’s a spoiler, but oh man, it has my desire to analyze.
I am definitely going to be reading more from Demetra Brodsky.
Final Rating: a solid 4/5
Photo Content from Demetra Brodsky

DEMETRA BRODSKY loves to write twisty thrillers about dark family secrets. She is an award-winning graphic designer & art director turned full-time. A first-generation Greek American and native of Massachusetts with a B.F.A from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design, Demetra now lives in Southern California where she’s always exploring and researching, hunting for clues that might feed into her next book. Dive Smack, her debut YA Thriller, was a 2018 Junior Library Guild Selection, and an (ALAN) Pick (The Assembly on Literature for Adolescents of NCTE).



MAY 6th WEDNESDAY Movies, Shows, & Books EXCERPT
MAY 6th WEDNESDAY Bookishaestha REVIEW
MAY 7th THURSDAY A Court of Coffee and Books REVIEW
MAY 8th FRIDAY Casia’s Corner REVIEW
MAY 8th FRIDAY Lenissahh ReadsREVIEW 
MAY 11th MONDAY Life Within the Pages REVIEW
MAY 12th TUESDAY Nay’s Pink Bookshelf REVIEW
MAY 13th WEDNESDAY Pages and Pugs REVIEW
MAY 13th WEDNESDAY A Bella Fairy Tale REVIEW
MAY 14th THURSDAY Reading Adventures of a Book Dragon REVIEW
MAY 14th THURSDAY A Bookish Dream REVIEW
MAY 15th FRIDAY Twirling Book Princess REVIEW

*JBN is not responsible for Lost or Damaged Books in your Nerdy Mail Box*

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NERD BLAST: The Shadow Wand by Laurie Forest

Series: The Black Witch Chronicles (Book 3)
Hardcover: 640 pages
Publisher: Inkyard Press (June 9, 2020)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1335015299
ISBN-13: 978-1335015297

Praise for THE BLACK WITCH Chronicles “I absolutely loved The Black Witch and will have a very hard time waiting for the second book! Maximum suspense, unusual magic–a whole new, thrilling approach to fantasy!” ―Tamora Pierce, #1 New York Times bestselling author on The Black Witch

“This briskly paced, tightly plotted novel enacts the transformative power of education, creating engaging characters set in a rich alternative universe with a complicated history that can help us better understand our own. A massive page-turner that leaves readers longing for more.” ―Kirkus Reviews, starred review on The Black Witch

“Fans of Harry Potter and Tamora Pierce will gobble down the 600-plus pages and demand the sequel.” ―Booklist, starred review on The Black Witch

“…fans will be delighted and begging for the next title-and the cliff-hanger ending promises us there will be one.” ―Booklist on The Iron Flower



This is a Nerd Blast, you will post the promotional info we provide you with, including the giveaway. No reviews required. Please mark your Calendar.



Elloren Gardner hides the most powerful secret in all of Erthia – she is the Black Witch of Prophecy, and destined to triumph…or be used as the ultimate weapon of destruction.

Separated from everyone she loves, isolated and hunted, Elloren must turn to the last person she can trust, her fastmate, Commander Lukas Grey. With the Mage forces of Gardneria poised to conquer all of Erthia, Elloren has no choice but to ally with Lukas and combine their power to keep herself out of the hands of the Gardnerian leader Marcus Vogel…the holder of the all-consuming Shadow Wand.
With just weeks to train to become a warrior, and no control over her magic, Elloren finds unexpected allies among those under orders to kill her. It’s time to step up. To fight back. And to forge onward through the most devastating loss yet.

You can purchase The Shadow Wand at the following Retailers:


Photo Content from Laurie Forest

Laurie Forest lives deep in the backwoods of Vermont where she sits in front of a wood stove drinking strong tea and dreaming up tales full of dryads, dragons and wands. The Black Witch (Book 1.0, The Black Witch Chronicles – OUT NOW) & Wandfasted (Book 0.5, The Black Witch Chronicles Prequel) are her first published novels. Coming in 2018 are Light Mage (Book 1.5, The Black Witch Chronicles) & The Iron Flower(Book 2.0, The Black Witch Chronicles). She is currently ensconced in the woods, hard at work on The Shadow Dryad (Book 3.0, The Black Witch Chronicles).



*JBN is not responsible for Lost or Damaged Books in your Nerdy Mail Box*


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Blog Tour (Excerpt): The Sweeney Sisters by Lian Dolan

Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: William Morrow (April 28, 2020)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0062909045
ISBN-13: 978-0062909046


“This is a big-hearted belly-laugh of a book, told with wit and poignancy. Family secrets, laughter and tears, shocking reveals, and an uplifting ending make this a story to savor–and share.” —Susan Wiggs, New York Timesbestselling author of The Oysterville Sewing Circle

“Dolan uses her experience in podcasting with her own sisters to craft believable women characters who worry about real problems and use wry humor to push through dark moments . . . . A warmhearted portrait of love embracing true hearts.” —Kirkus

An accomplished storyteller returns with her biggest, boldest, most entertaining novel yet—a hilarious, heartfelt story about books, love, sisterhood, and the surprises we discover in our DNA that combines the wit of Jonathan Tropper with the heart of Susan Wiggs.

Maggie, Eliza, and Tricia Sweeney grew up as a happy threesome in the idyllic seaside town of Southport, Connecticut. But their mother’s death from cancer fifteen years ago tarnished their golden-hued memories, and the sisters drifted apart. Their one touchstone is their father, Bill Sweeney, an internationally famous literary lion and college professor universally adored by critics, publishers, and book lovers. When Bill dies unexpectedly one cool June night, his shell-shocked daughters return to their childhood home. They aren’t quite sure what the future holds without their larger-than-life father, but they do know how to throw an Irish wake to honor a man of his stature.

But as guests pay their respects and reminisce, one stranger, emboldened by whiskey, has crashed the party. It turns out that she too is a Sweeney sister.

When Washington, DC based journalist Serena Tucker had her DNA tested on a whim a few weeks earlier, she learned she had a 50% genetic match with a childhood neighbor—Maggie Sweeney of Southport, Connecticut. It seems Serena’s chilly WASP mother, Birdie, had a history with Bill Sweeney—one that has remained totally secret until now.

Once the shock wears off, questions abound. What does this mean for William’s literary legacy? Where is the unfinished memoir he’s stashed away, and what will it reveal? And how will a fourth Sweeney sister—a blond among redheads—fit into their story?

By turns revealing, insightful, and uproarious, The Sweeney Sisters is equal parts cautionary tale and celebration—a festive and heartfelt look at what truly makes a family.

You can purchaseThe Sweeney Sisters at the following Retailers:


 “Does this come in teal?”

Liza looked up from her computer and tried not to make any noise that would indicate her disdain. In the decade since she’d opened the Sweeney Jones Gallery, she’d heard them all before—Doesthis come in teal? Do you have this one in a larger size? Can you find me something that goes with chocolate brown?—questions that indicated the customer had a limited knowledge of art, but quite possibly an unlimited budget for it. These two, staring at the front of the gallery, must be empty nesters with time, money, and a few blank walls, Liza guessed. She didn’t want to embarrass the tan woman in the bright yellow sundress. Or her companion, the man in the golf shirt embroidered with the company logo of a local hedge fund (Olympus? Pegasus? Icarus? They were all the same). But Liza didn’t have to indulge them, either; she wasn’t concerned about her Yelp rating for customer service.

As the owner of the gallery, Liza had an obligation to her artists and to her own reputation. Was Liza going to discover this generation’s Basquiat painting sailboats and golden labs somewhere in coastal Connecticut? Of course not. But she wasn’t managing a Pier One, either.

“I can’t say that we have that exact oil in teal,” Liza said, rising from behind her desk and making her way over to the couple near the entrance of the gallery. “The artist is Anna Oakland. She lives in the area and much of her work involves the natural world, capturing Long Island Sound, the marshes, the wetlands, our flora and fauna. But her gift is truly abstracting the traditional landscape or still life. This piece is a study of the dogwood trees that bloom here in May, hence the pinkness of the piece. So, no, the piece doesn’t come in blue because dogwoods don’t come in blue. But we have more of her work in the gallery, including several paintings of Southport Harbor. They’re . . . teal-ish. You might find what you’re looking for upstairs. Let me show you.”

“Oh, thank you. We’re visiting from Jacksonville. I mean, my husband’s here for work and meetings and such . . .”

“Honey, she doesn’t need our whole life story,” the husband said, cutting off his wife as Liza imagined he’d done a thousand times.

“I want her to know that we’re visiting but adore her little town. It’s like a postcard, but better. I thought a sweet little painting in our guest bathroom would be a lovely souvenir.”

Southport was a postcard to the untrained eye: two-and three-hundred-year-old historic homes, most in pristine condition with expensive paint jobs; glorious landscaping and water views; built around a charming harbor, once of importance during the time of the Revolution. Its antiques shops, art galleries, a gourmet food market, a classic pharmacy, and beloved restaurants and bars had remained impervious to chain stores and financial ups and downs. Even the fire hydrants, painted like Colonial sailors in blue jackets and tricorn hats, were Insta-perfect. From the outside, the town hadn’t changed since the 1700s. Inside the pre-Revolutionary saltboxes, the Greek Revivals and the Victorians, though, it was a different story altogether.

“What a lovely idea,” Liza responded, as if Lady Jacksonville had single-handedly cracked the Code of Decorative Arts. In truth, about 20 percent of Liza’s business was exactly this: aspirational purchases by visitors from all over the country who found themselves smitten by what this Connecticut town promised—tradition and propriety—fiercely protected and quietly preserved. “Where New York meets New England,” as the town’s website declared. It was exactly why she represented artists like Anna Oakland who could take the familiar (New England) and push it slightly forward toward the edge (New York). And a thousand-dollar sale is a thousand-dollar sale, Liza thought, moving confidently toward the staircase. Not bad for a Wednesday morning.

Liza was, as a lifelong resident of Southport who had taken several years of art history courses in college (okay, the University of Vermont and she didn’t technically graduate, but still), an expert with ten years of experience curating a collection of tasteful contemporary oils, watercolors, lithographs, and the occasional mixed media piece that hit the sweet spot where abstract art meets interior design. She had a good eye, a deep respect for her artists, and the cultured veneer her clientele trusted. Liza understood the importance of this combination of assets.

She had been raised well and married better, at least in terms of financial stability. Her business was a success and not the tax write-off her husband, Whit, expected when he gave her a lease and seed money as a Christmas gift, thanks to his particularly large bonus that year. As Whit handed her the keys to the front door, he said, “Here’s a little something to keep you busy.” Liza did get busy, creating a space for art that the townspeople could point to as a sign of their impeccable taste and which she could use to establish her own identity outside of her father’s well-known reputation or her husband’s centuries-old local heritage.

So, no, Liza didn’t have to indulge her visitors, but she also understood, after ten years in sales, that you never really knew who had money and who didn’t. She’d made that mistake early in her career, judging a client by his brand of shoes and letting him walk out the door, learning later that he was a newly minted billionaire. Never again would she let her unconscious bias against cheap footwear or loud clothing cloud her business practices. Just then, her cell phone rang. The screen flashed the name “Julia Ruiz,” her father’s housekeeper, a title that didn’t even come close to describing the services and the peace of mind she’d provided over the last two decades. Julia was more like an entire home-care agency in one: housekeeper; day nurse; cook; dog groomer; plant waterer; and life coach. She had come to work for the Sweeney family when Liza’s mother was sick and never left. After Maeve died, she cared for Liza’s younger sisters, Maggie and Tricia, and now, for her aging father.

Liza had been Julia’s point person since day one; the two of them kept the Sweeneys on track. It was unusual for Julia to call in the middle of the workday. She usually communicated via text or fridge Post-it note. “Excuse me, please,” Liza said to her new best friend, who was headed to the second floor. “I have to take this. Feel free to poke around on your own upstairs. I’ll meet you in a minute.”

What Liza would remember when she thought back on that phone call was the pleading in Julia’s voice, so unlike her usual softly accented pragmatism, as if rushing to the big house on Willow Lane could have made a difference. Liza would remember the whoosh of panic that swept through her, giving way to complete focus, allowing her somehow to explain to the Floridians that she had to close the gallery immediately due to a family emergency.

The man in the golf shirt looked concerned. “Is there anything I can do to be of service?”

Apologizing while ushering them out of the door of Sweeney Jones, Liza reassured them, “It’s nothing serious, only something that needs my attention. I understand you’re leaving Southport, but please, let me get your contact information. I’ll have my assistant send you photos this afternoon of some paintings that would be perfect for your guest bathroom. We’ll cover the shipping as a thank-you.”

While the husband handed Liza a card, the wife asked if she could let them know the paint color of the gallery door, as long as she was going to be emailing them. “This is the kind of blue I’m looking for.”

“It’s Benjamin Moore Kensington Blue,” Liza said so automatically she startled the wife.

“Well, thank you. Honey, can you put that in your phone?” She turned to Liza with her own surprise, a warm hug that Liza accepted.

“I hope everyone in your family is fine. God bless you.”

“God bless you” was something that Liza could never pull off saying in a million years, but coming from the petite blonde in the yellow sundress, Liza found the sentiment comforting. It allowed her to take a deep, deep breath to steady her hands so she could lock the door of the gallery. She didn’t even bother with the alarm. She’d call her assistant Emily or her Sunday saleswoman Jenny once she got to Willow Lane.

But first, Elizabeth Sweeney Jones had to call her sisters.


From THE SWEENEY SISTERS by Lian Dolan, published by William Morrow. Copyright © 2020 by Lian Dolan. Reprinted courtesy of HarperCollinsPublishers

Photo Content from Lian Dolan

Lian Dolanis a writer and talker. She’s the author of two Los Angeles Times best-selling novels, Helen of Pasadenaand Elizabeth the First Wifepublished by Prospect Park Books. Her next novel, The Sweeney Sisters, will be published in 2020 by William Morrow. She’s a regular humor columnist for Pasadena Magazine and has previously written monthly columns for O, The Oprah Magazine and Working Mother Magazine. She’s also written for TV, radio and websites.

Lian is the producer and host of Satellite Sisters, the award-winning talk show she created with her four real sisters. On Satellite Sisters, she’s interviewed everyone from Nora Ephron to Madeleine Albright to Big Bird. Satellite Sisters began life as a syndicated radio show and is now a top-rated podcast for women. The recent book by the Satellite Sisters, You’re the Best: A Celebration of Friendship, is popular with book clubs.
A popular speaker who combines humor and heart, Lian has appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show, CBS Sunday Morning and The Today Show and many local TV stations. She’s been a featured speaker at the LA Times Festival of Books, the Santa Barbara Celebrity Authors Lunch, the Literary Guild of Orange County Festival of Women Authors and dozens of other events at libraries, book stores, schools and women’s organizations across the country. In 2020, she’ll be on the faculty of the Erma Bombeck Writers Workshop.

Lian graduated from Pomona College with a degree in Classics. She lives in Pasadena, California with her husband, two sons and a big German shepherd.

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Blog Tour (Excerpt): Lark’s Labyrinth by Cathy Cash Spellman

Print Length: 674 pages
Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1461177367
Publisher: The Wild Harp & Company, Inc. (November 28, 2017)
Publication Date: November 28, 2017
Sold by: Services LLC
Language: English


“Politics and religion collide as Spellman delivers another fast-paced, suspenseful, and totally enjoyable thriller… The author constructs a blistering story–replete with political and religious intrigue–that never slows down and will keep readers turning the pages of this spectacular thrill ride.” Publisher’s Weekly


“…Almost impossible to put down. The Author has the ability to produce one powerful scene after another and the action draws you helplessly on…” ―Publisher’s Weekly on So Many Partings“…A cross between The Thorn Birds and Ragtime…” ―ALA Booklist on So Many Partings

“Flows along with an inexorable narrative current that propels the readers from one involving episode to the next.” ―Booklist on So Many Partings

“An energetic plot that never takes a breather.” ―Kirkus Reviews on Paint the Wind

“A western extravaganza.. a plot teeming with outsize characters.” ―Publishers Weekly on Paint the Wind

“I have never read a book or connected with an author who has touched me so deeply – as a mother, a grandmother, and another psychic kindred soul!” ―Elizabeth Taylor on Bless the Child

“This book has really touched my heartstrings as both a mother and grandmother. And Cathy Cash Spellman is one hell of a writer!” ―Maureen Stapleton on Bless the Child

“With a seductive, at times spellbinding style, author Spellman (An Excess of Love) incorporates ancient myths into an entrancing romantic thriller.. Spellman succeeds in capturing the reader’s close attention as an unrelenting sense of foreboding drives the narrative forward with power.” ―Publisher’s Weekly on Bless the Child


The Spear that pierced Christ’s side on the Cross has played a secret, but major role in history. Charlemagne, Constantine, Otto the Barbarian, The Knights Templar and Adolf Hitler all owned it… and believed it gave them the power to rule the world.

What if they were right?

The first time Dr. Cait Monahan ever heard of the Spear of Longinus was the night her husband was murdered because of it. That was when the terror began.

…right before the U.S. Government, the CIA, Neo Nazis, the Vatican and a secret cabal of 13 powerful global manipulators sent their assassins after her and her 9 year old.

 …just before a lethal secret propelled her across Europe following a riddle that hadn’t been solved since the Holocaust.

…just before Cait Monahan became entrapped in an interdimensional labyrinth that her own husband may have helped design.

Now she’s a player in a game that has led to mystery, magic, mayhem and murder for over 2000 years, and only the help of a tribunal of long dead men may be able to save her.

Vibrant and cerebral, filled with intrigue, Conspiracy Theory and more ancient secrets than the Dead Sea Scrolls, Lark’s Labyrinth pits characters you’ll care about against a mystery you’ll want to solve.

Inside Lark’s Labyrinth is a secret men have killed for …now a woman, her sister, her child and their small band of friends are all that stand between us and the dark, insidious power that’s a hairsbreadth away from ruling the world.

You can purchase Lark’s Labyrinth at the following Retailers:



Cait Hears her Husband Shot Over the Baby Monitor


The baby monitor in her pocket exploded into sudden sound, catching Cait totally off guard. She strained to hear what the voices were saying, but they were too far from the transmitter.  Words static’d in and out maddeningly.  Guns?  The Spear of who?  Some foreign words?  Her heart was pounding so hard she could hardly breathe, never mind hear.  She thought she heard Jack say he wanted the guns out of their house.  She definitely heard him threaten to call the police.  A burglar must have caught him as he was locking up.  She picked up the phone with trembling hands to dial 911, but there was no dial tone.  Ice water shot through her and she grabbed Lark up from the bed, moving swiftly through the connecting door to the master bedroom.  She slid the lock into place, a terrible pang reminding her that Jack was now on the other side of that lock.


(you could end it here, Jean, for a better word count)


For an instant she leaned her head against the door to clear it.  Have to get control! she admonished herself.  Have to figure out what to do!  She forced her breathing to steady, willed her heart to stop pounding in her ears.  Cait set Lark down on the bed and shook her awake.  Where the hell was her cell phone?  Oh, shit!  It was in the car where she’d left it when she went to the drugstore.

“Lark!” she whispered urgently, shaking the child gently awake.  “Baby, you’ve got to pay attention to everything I say, now.  We may be in big danger and I really need your help.”

Lark struggled to wake up.

“Mommy?” she whispered, scared by what she was seeing. “What’s the matter? Where’s Daddy?”

Cait looked right, left, everywhere, assessing the possibilities, fear lapping at her like a predator.  Her pistol was in the gun safe in her bedroom closet, but the key was on the keyring in her purse, left on the sideboard at the bottom of the stairs.

“There are burglars in the house, baby,” Cait said as steadily as she could.  “I’m trying to figure out how to get us out of here and you’ve got to stay awake for me!

Copyright © 2017 by Cathy Cash Spellman

Photo Credit: Dakota Cash

Multiple New York Times and International Bestsellers, a Paramount Movie, book sales in 22 countries, Cathy Cash Spellman writes stories about love, friendship, adventure, and history. Known for her big sprawling sagas and memorable characters, Cathy writes the kind of stories women like to lose themselves in, and then remember long after the book is done.

Her books range through several genres: contemporary, historical, mystery, mystic and romance. Several take place in two time-frames, both current and historical.

Bless the Child was a Paramount movie in 2000, starring Kim Basinger and Jimmy Smits, and Paint The Wind has been optioned for film and TV.

Cathy is an Astrologer, Martial Artist (Black Belt Goju Ryu Karate) and has expertise in Chinese Medicine, several alternative healing modalities and many metaphysical disciplines.

She has written for Self, Harper’s Bazaar, Town & Country, Mademoiselle, Cosmo, Penthouse, Mode, Kung Fu and many other magazines about women, health, empowerment, sexuality, spiritual philosophy and Astrology. She blogs for The Huffington Post and The New York Times.


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