The Revolving Book: Let Joanna D’Angelo Help You Promote Your Novel!

One of the great things about being active on Facebook is that you get to connect with some fantastic people with whom you have much in common who really want to help others.  One of those people is Joanna D’Angelo who founded the LOVE ROMANCE NOVELS group – for romance and women’s fiction in 2008.  The group has been very successful (one of, if not the largest Romance Fiction group on Facebook) and each week Joanna has posted a revolving book feature with a synopsis of the book and a picture of its cover for its author (who is usually a member of the group) to help promote the book.  There have also been some great giveaways as well!

Due to the recent changes to groups on Facebook, and the subsequent rollover into the new format, Joanna decided to launch a LOVE ROMANCE NOVELS Facebook PAGE – and hopes that the almost 3,000 member group (and many new book lovers too) will join her there.

Joanna has also launched THE REVOLVING BOOK website at  which will feature romance novels, but will also include mysteries, thrillers, and paranormal romance too.

If you’re interested in a Revolving Book feature for your novel, here’s what Cdn$25 (payable via PayPal) will buy you:

  • a posting for a week on the LOVE ROMANCE NOVELS group wall – along with a message that goes out to all the members (3,000+)
  • a posting on THE REVOLVING BOOK website
  • postings on Joanna’s own Twitter and Facebook pages where she has more than 3,000 friends/followers

Joanna has had great feedback from authors who tell her that their sales have gone up and/or traffic on their website has increased as a direct result of the Revolving Book posting.

Here’s what author Morgan Karpiel had to say:

“Joanna provides an incredible resource for romance authors. After my first novella, THE INVENTOR, appeared in the REVOLVING BOOK feature, my sales on Amazon skyrocketed by 50% and made it to 55th place on the top 100 in Romance Anthology! It has since earned the 46th slot. I am very happy with the results of promotion with Romance Novels.”

Joanna will also sell ad space on her blog, The Pop Culture Divas.  Your ad would be posted in a prominent position – either upper left or right for 4 weeks for a cost of Cdn$50.

If you are an interested author, this is the info that Joanna will need from you:


Joanna will work out a posting date with you and is currently booking from March 2012 onwards so contact her now!

Happy Hour by Michele Scott Goes Down Smooth Like Fine Wine!

Book Review
Title: Happy Hour
Author: Michele Scott
Publisher: D Vine Press
Released: 2009
Pages: 318
ISBN-10: 1449505570
ISBN-13: 978-1449505578
Stars: 3.5

Happy Hour, by the author of the Wine Lover’s Mystery Series, Michele Scott, is a Sex and the City style (minus the fashion) chicklit novel featuring four female forty-something best friends who live in the Napa Valley and meet every Sunday for “friendship, good food and great wine.” The book opens three years before the story really begins, giving the history of each main character, so that we know what they’ve been through up until present day. Each chapter is dedicated to one of the four women: Kat, Alyssa, Danielle and Jamie and Jamie’s chapters occasionally offer one of her columns from the magazine she edits. There is a bonus section at the back of the book that includes each woman’s favourite recipe (I think I’m going to try Kat’s Fettucine, Goat Cheese and Pancetta!) and complementary wine mentioned in the story, an interview with the author, and book club discussion questions.

Kat McClintock is a sommelier who owns a restaurant with her second husband Christian. Together they endure the challenges that come with a blended family including Christian’s less than perfect connection with Kat’s sons from her first marriage, Jeremy and Brian, the addition of Christian’s young daughter Amber into their household, and Kat’s estranged new age mother, Venus who had left her father to find herself many years before.

Alyssa Johnson, an artist and gallery owner, is keeping a deep dark secret from her best friends. She left her fiancé Terrell three years earlier when she discovered that his best friend James was someone from her past who had changed her life forever. Now she must find the courage to let the skeleton out of the closet in order to overcome a life and death situation and decide who she really wants to spend her future with.

Danielle Bastillia is a divorced vintner whose rebellious teenage daughters Shannon and Cassie just can’t seem to communicate with her. Danielle’s high school crush Mark Murphy, who is now a doctor, reappears in her life just as she is shaken to her core when Shannon admits that she is pregnant and they later discover that her baby has Down’s syndrome.

Jamie Evans, the editor-in-chief of Wine Lover’s Magazine, is raising her young daughter Maddie alone after her husband Nathan died of cancer. Jamie, who finds herself financially challenged, is also stuck looking after her doddering mother-in-law Dorothy and understandably has trouble moving forward with her life. However, with the help of Maddie’s horseback riding coach, the handsome Tyler Meeks, Jamie slowly begins to join the land of the living once again.

These are strong female characters that you can truly empathize with and root for but there is no Mr. Big among the men. With the exception of Tyler Meeks, none of the men were particularly appealing to me and weren’t written with a lot of detail.

Together, these women find the strength to deal with the hardships of life within the protective bonds of their friendship and in the end it would seem that everyone gets to enjoy fine wine (Pinot Grigio for me please!) and live happily ever after which makes for good escapism. It was as hard for me to pick a favourite among them as it was with Sex and the City, which coincidentally, I just finished watching all 6 seasons of, back to back on DVD.

This is the first book I’ve read by San Diego’s Michele Scott and while I enjoyed it and think that the characters were well developed, the dialogue authentic, and the contemporary pop culture references very relatable, there is something about the flow of her writing style (somewhat staccato) that just doesn’t quite live up to the quality I’ve found in other contemporary women’s writers like Helen Fielding, Jane Porter or Maggie O’Farrell. However, I would read more of Scott’s work and can certainly identify with her personal philosophy and sense of humour. She left me wanting to take a trip to the Napa Valley with my best girlfriends so that we can enjoy our own Happy Hour. Cheers, Michelle!

Through The Fire: Colonial Frontier Romance by Beth Trissel

Book Review
Title: Through The Fire
Author: Beth Trissel
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Released: 2008
Pages: 332
ISBN-10: 1601544715
ISBN-13: 978-1601544711
Stars: 3.0

First of all, I’d like to apologize to Historical and Paranormal Romance Author Beth Trissel for the ridiculous amount of time she’s had to wait for this review. She’s a lovely person with quite a respectable following and has written no less than 8 books that are available through The Wild Rose Press. I am not a huge fan of traditional romance novels – I prefer contemporary chick lit or historical romantic adventure novels like those of Diana Gabaldon – so I’m an admittedly tough critic in this instance, but I’ll share my thoughts with you and let you decide for yourself.

Through The Fire is an old-fashioned colonial frontier romance set in June 1758 in the Allegheny Mountains of Western Virginia. Its heroine is a feisty, stubborn and beautiful blond-haired, blue-eyed English lady named Rebecca Elliot. Rebecca is an unusual woman for her time, and along with her younger sister Kate, they escape the clutches of their abusive, alcoholic father in England by traveling to the New World with Rebecca’s husband, Captain John Elliot, Lieutenant McClure and a group of British soldiers.

The story opens with them trekking through a forest near the Shenandoah Mountain in Western Virginia, en route to join Rebecca’s uncle, Henry McCutcheon, in the safety of a nearby fort before either the French or the Indians take them prisoner or worse. Rebecca is grieving the recent loss of her husband but before you know it (page 6), a tall, handsome, black-haired Indian warrior jumps right in front of her path and is so taken with her fair beauty that he’s driven to distraction. It doesn’t take long for Rebecca – who falls from her horse – to become separated from Kate, while a Shawnee clan who is allied with the French, take Rebecca and her escorts, prisoner.

Shoka, a half-Shawnee, half-French warrior, speaks perfect English. He was a guide for them and was taught many of their ways by the mysterious Father Andrew, who we come to know a bit better, along with the white wolf “Gabe” near the end of the story. While he’s a loin-stirring character, the relationship between Shoka and Rebecca develops so quickly that it’s a bit unbelievable. At first, Shoka’s plan is to sell Rebecca to the French for the cost of a new rifle, but after a few blood-boiling arguments stoked with sexual tension and many tears shed by Rebecca, she is falling into his arms, kissing him and declaring her love for him, all during what seems to be only a couple of days. Their entire relationship is carried out on their trek to the fort and there’s only one somewhat sizzling love scene between them in the entire book (to be fair it was quite good) while during the rest of the story they’re either fighting off a rival tribe of Catawba Indians, the French, their own English soldiers, or arguing amongst themselves.

“Shoka knew he shouldn’t be off by himself with Rebecca Elliot, let alone holding her. The last thing he wanted was to lose his head and already shredded heart to yet another beautiful woman…this one with blindingly blue eyes. So why was he sitting her cradling her? He knew that too. Even wrapped in a blanket, she was so soft and curved. Sweet perfume clung to her, but she’d given him a blistering taste of her fury. Not only that, she was English. Worse – a lady and totally unsuited to his way of life.” (pg. 19)

Rebecca’s character waffles between being outspoken and assertive and scared to death and ready to faint at any moment. Every man who comes into contact with her is seemingly unable to resist her beauty and if they don’t outright fall for her – letting her get away with scandalous behavior from a lady of that time – they want to steal her away from Shoka with brute force. Shoka nicknames her Peshewa (the devil cat) and by Chapter 2, Rebecca is already stirred by her emotions for him although he maintains that he must make her his wife before he can bed her.

Rattlesnakes, freezing cold streams, torrential downpours, soaked petticoats, and evil Catawba warriors are just some of the trials and tribulations faced by Rebecca and Shoka on their journey to the fort. We are led to believe that Rebecca’s strength in the face of adversity comes from her having endured cruel beatings by her drunken father who left her back covered in scars. Shoka is a more interesting character and I would have liked to have known more about his history. There are also a couple of secondary characters that are interesting including Meshewa, Shoka’s young cousin who succumbs to Rebecca’s spell, Capitane Marc Renault, a charismatic French soldier who wins the totally naïve Kate’s heart, and Tonkawa, a fierce Catawba warrior whose mission it is to kill Shoka and claim Rebecca for himself. We know none of their histories either. I can’t help but feel that the book needed to be considerably longer in order for Trissel to have the opportunity to fully realize these characters.

Through The Fire, for me, was tedious at times but Beth Trissel writes well (her descriptions of the scenery were vivid and visceral), if not cautiously and conservatively, and over all, the story isn’t bad, it’s just not great. There’s nothing unique or exciting about it that makes it memorable and the ending gets a little preachy for my liking. Traditional romance fans will probably appreciate this book more than I did.

Fifteen Minutes of Shame by Lisa Daily

Fifteen Minutes of Shame by Lisa DailyBook Review
Title: Fifteen Minutes of Shame
Author:  Lisa Daily
Publisher: Plume
Released: 2008
Pages: 304
ISBN-10: 0452289130
ISBN-13: 978-0452289130
Stars: 3.5

Fifteen Minutes of Shame by “experienced dating expert and virgin novelist” Lisa Daily is chick lit at its guilty pleasure finest. It’s the equivalent of enjoying People magazine’s Sexiest Man Alive issue (usually the only issue I buy all year) in that it’s clearly style over substance, but it’s undeniably delicious. It won’t really stimulate your intellect but it will make you laugh and reminisce about your own dating exploits.

TV dating expert Darby Vaughn has just been dumped by her once seemingly perfect celebrity publicist husband Will Bradley, and his ex-wife, reality show actress Gigi Bissanti, who informs the media that she is getting back together with her husband and their two children so that they can be a family again. Darby is informed of this as she’s about to be interviewed by Matt Lauer on The Today Show for her latest book about how to snag a man called The Dreamgirl Academy (based on Lisa’s real life Dreamgirl Academy classes for women) and promptly vomits into a chrysanthemum arrangement on the coffee table before fainting on national television.

So much for Darby’s marriage, family, career, or reputation! Or is it? With the help of her weasel-like husband’s ex-assistant Kendall who takes over as Darby’s publicist, her “dreamgirl” best friends, and one of Sarasota, Florida’s finest divorce attorneys: the handsome, integrity-laden Holt Gregory, Darby slowly picks up the pieces of her shattered life.

Fifteen Minutes of Shame is well-written and exceedingly funny with dating tips from the Dreamgirl Academy or advice columns by Darby Vaughn published at the end of each chapter. However, I wanted to like Darby more than I did, and I found it just a bit of a stretch to believe that she would risk everything she had ever worked for to fight for custody of Will’s children, even though she had raised them for 3 years while Will and Gigi concentrated on their respective careers. It was interesting to consider the rights of step-parents in custody cases and I can understand how a step-parent can fall in love with someone else’s children, but what I couldn’t understand was how Darby managed to have such a successful career of her own, up until she discovered Will’s infidelity, and still found time to be the primary caregiver of his children.

Darby’s career never really falls apart as she begins taping a reality dating show within weeks of her public humiliation, and while you feel sorry for her in the beginning, it doesn’t take long for your empathy to dissipate because she just doesn’t really have to struggle much to pull her life together in the aftermath.

The development of her relationship with her attorney was predictable and the whole, rather clichéd story felt like a series of segments on Entertainment Tonight – which is okay, if that’s what you’re looking for.

Even though by the end of the book we see some growth in Darby’s emotional intelligence, she’s just not the kind of woman I could realistically cheer for. I didn’t think she deserved Holt Gregory (who really was written as the perfect man) and couldn’t understand why a man like him would fall for her because she didn’t seem to be deep enough for him. But then again, what do I know? I’m still single and am probably in dire need of Lisa Daily’s dating advice!

I just don’t play games of any kind when it comes to relationships with men and I don’t think that anyone else’s list of rules about the dos and don’ts of dating can apply to women in a universal fashion. But can they make you laugh? Hell, yes!! I mean, isn’t the fact that “in 80% of marriages, at least one partner will have an affair” a side-splitter?! Call me cynical; it’s okay. I confess.

Mrs. Perfect by Jane Porter

Book Review
Title: Mrs. Perfect
Author:  Jane Porter
Publisher: 5 Spot
Released: May 5, 2008
Pages: 432
ISBN 10 – 0446699241


I didn’t think I was going to love Mrs. Perfect by Seattle author Jane Porter as much as I loved her preceding work, Odd Mom Out, but as it turns out, not only did I love it as much, I love it more! When I started reading the book, I had a preconceived notion of who the main character, Taylor Young, was. She was introduced in Mom Odd Out and appeared to be Marta Zinsser’s complete opposite, not to mention nemesis.

Taylor Young is a beautiful trophy wife with control issues who lives in a fairy-tale world with her handsome, high-earning, ex-quarterback husband, Nathan – in the dream home she decorated – with their three exquisite little girls, Jemma, Brooke and Tori in Bellevue, Washington. To anyone who looks at her from the outside, Taylor is Mrs. Perfect. However, as we read this book, we watch in amazement at how Jane Porter peels back the layers of Taylor’s character to reveal a woman that I didn’t loathe, but rather fell in love with, just like I did with Marta Zinsser in Odd Mom Out.

Taylor’s perfect life has begun to unravel when her husband takes a job in Omaha after finally admitting to her that for the past year he hasn’t been working, and because they’ve been spending way beyond their means for a very long time, they are now millions of dollars in debt and are going to lose their dream home. Taylor Young not only rises to the challenge of a very difficult situation, but she shows everyone around her what she’s truly made of. Even though she’s falling apart inside, she manages to make the most delicious lemonade out of the hairy lemons in her life. She matures on a visceral, cerebral, and spiritual level before our eyes and we love her for sharing her difficult journey with us.

“You’re bad. I silently repeat the last one as I load the dishwasher, knowing these voices are part of that horrible, hollow feeling inside of me. But I’m not hollow, and I’m not horrible. For all my mistakes, I do love my girls, and I try my best to take care of them. For all my flaws and my vanity and pride, I do love Nathan, and I love him with all my heart. The truth is, I do try. I always try.

Maybe Marta’s right about something else. Maybe trying your best, and doing your best, even if it’s not perfect, is enough.

Maybe it’s unrealistic to think I can be perfect.

Or to put it in Marta-speak, that’s why we have religion. God’s perfect. We’re human.”

Jane Porter knows how to write a meaningful, emotional story for women. She knows how to find the chord that connects us all and how to tug on it to get our attention. She reminds us that many other people in this world are in the same boat as we are and she makes us feel as if we have a cheerleading team behind us, letting us know that we’re going to be better than fine…that things are going to turn out great!

Her contemporary style is flawless and she speaks my language, fluently. She moved me to tears again with this book and in the three books of hers that I’ve read, she’s managed to climb very close to the top of my favourite authors list. Don’t let the candy-coloured book covers fool you. These books are much more substantial than a box of chocolates or a slice of cake. I can’t wait to go and buy her latest 5 Spot release, Easy on The Eyes. It’s at my local bookstore and I know exactly the shelf it’s on.

If you’re looking for a wonderful read with marvelous characterization and relevant contemporary themes, look no further than the divine Ms. Jane Porter.

Sexiest Man Alive by Diana Holquist

Sexiest Man AliveBook Review
Title: Sexiest Man Alive
Author:  Diana Holquist
Publisher: Forever
Released: 2007
Pages: 352
ISBN-13: 978-0446617987
ISBN-10: 0446617989
Stars:  3.5

Well folks, the Hachette Book Group USA (Grand Central Publishing) have done it again! I have liked every book I’ve read that they have published and they’ve become my leading source for smart, fun chick lit. The latest absolutely, entertaining and, as addictive as fine Belgian chocolate gem I’ve read, is Sexiest Man Alive by the hilarious Diana Holquist. From the moment I picked up the book with its bare-chested stud muffin in a plush red towel lustily draped by perfectly manicured hands with cherry-coloured fingernails, I knew I was in for some fun! With the tag, “Every woman’s dream just became her reality”, I immediately flashed to my own fantasy with People magazine’s current sexiest man alive, Hugh Jackman, and shuddered with the possibilities! What woman hasn’t fantasized about getting it on with a famous movie star? If there is such a woman who exists out there, I’d like to know!

Sexiest Man Alive is the story of painfully shy, unknown costume designer, Jasmine Burns; a woman who becomes sick with shyness in the presence of attractive men and a very likeable character whom you find yourself rooting for all the way from the first pages. The unique thing about Jasmine is that she has a zany, psychic gypsy sister named Amy whose only power is that she can sometimes tell a person the name of their One True Love (when her spirit guide “Maddie” feels like telling her!) and the name of Jasmine’s O.T.L. is the same as People magazine’s Sexiest Man Alive, actor Josh Toby. It just so happens that movie star Josh is in New York City – incognito -to try to gain respect as a serious actor. He’s preparing for his stage debut in the role of Romeo in Romeo and Juliet in an off-Broadway production of the famous play by Willy Shakespeare.

Josh Toby happens to be in an arranged, fake relationship with his best friend/otherworldly beautiful superstar, Cleo Chan, who is really in love with him, and as Jasmine doesn’t realize the relationship is fake, she doesn’t think she’d ever stand a chance in hell with Josh.

Meanwhile, there is another Josh Toby…a librarian at the New York Public Library who would be much more suited to Jasmine’s shy personality, so Jasmine has to arrange to meet both of them and try to figure out which Josh Toby is her One True Love. Hilarity and cold showers ensue!

This book is fast-paced, funny, well-written, and a perfect summer beach read. If you’re going to write trash, make sure it’s excellent trash – Diana Holquist is Queen Trashionista. Sexiest Man Alive is as guilty a pleasure as Mayan Chocolate Häagen-Dazs and the sex scenes are almost as delicious! I was actually a little bummed out when I finished it!

At the end of Sexiest Man Alive you’ll find the Prologue for Diana’s next book, Hungry For More, and after reading it, I’ve decided that I will likely read everything this woman has to offer because her books are just way too much fun!

Odd Mom Out by Jane Porter

Book Review 
Title: Odd Mom Out
Author:  Jane Porter
Publisher: 5 Spot
Released: September 27, 2007
Pages: 432
ISBN 10 – 0446699233


As a single, independent woman who has trust issues with men, Seattle author Jane Porter’s Odd Mom Out struck a thundering chord with me and helped me to remember that I really do want to be loved and in order to be loved, I must open myself up to receive it. For that Jane, I thank you, from the bottom of my heart. Something has definitely been triggered here. I just finished reading the book and am still in tears. Any novel that has the power to move me to tears is a memorable one and Odd Mom Out is just that. It is an honest, moving, accessible and beautifully well-written story about being true to yourself, and it’s not just for Moms, it’s for every woman.

From the very first two pages of this book, I fell totally and completely in love with the main character, Marta Zinsser (even though I am not a Mom). I loved that Marta drives a Harley and loves motorcycles and can relate to her love of the freedom of the open road and seeing everything you pass more clearly. I loved that Marta decided from an early age that it was okay to be different and that the most important thing was that she was true to herself. It is also true that where men were concerned, she got lost along the way, but without giving up the plot I’ll just say that when one gets lost they shall almost always ultimately be found. It’s part of the Yin and Yang of life.

As Marta struggles to be the best mom she can be to her nine year old daughter Eva, while juggling a career, a mother slowly slipping away from Alzheimer’s, trying to fit in amongst the snobby affluent women of Seattle and Bellevue, and accepting and trusting a new love interest (Luke Flynn) who she is terrified of losing herself to, I empathized with her more and more after every page. I want to be friends with this woman and she’s only a fictional character! I didn’t want the book to end. I haven’t read a lot of Chick or Mom Lit yet, but I loved it that much! If you are a fan of the genre, this is a MUST READ!

My favourite quote from Odd Mom Out is:

“…One hundred years ago, Virginia Woolf wrote that women need a room of their own. But Virginia’s wrong. Women don’t need a room of their own. What they need to do is get out of the goddamn building.”

You got that right, Jane Porter!

If you’re looking for an easy, delightful and yet emotional read to keep you occupied with while you snuggle up indoors this winter, choose Odd Mom Out. And if you want to connect with this wonderful, open, caring and talented woman, Jane Porter, and learn more about her exceptional books, please visit her at her website at or on Facebook or MySpace.

The YouTube trailer for Odd Mom Out (which really doesn’t quite do it justice):

At A Loss For Words by Diane Schoemperlen

At A Loss For WordsBook Review
Title: At A Loss For Words
Author:  Diane Schoemperlen
Publisher: Phyllis Bruce Books
Released: January 17, 2008
Pages: 160
ISBN 10 – 0002008815
ISBN 13 – 978-0002008815
Stars:  3.5

I wrote this review for HarperCollins early this year.

As a single, forty-something female, it’s frightening how much I relate to fellow Kingstonian, Diane Schoemperlen’s excellent new novel (January 2008), At A Loss For Words (A Post-Romantic Novel). I could swear this is a work of non-fiction, allowing readers a peak into Schoemperlen’s real life because it’s so full of truth. I figure that if I am deeply moved by it because of having had such a similar experience in dealing with a long distance relationship with a man who very quickly into our getting to know each other (after we had slept together of course) suddenly became so busy and had so many excuses as to why he wasn’t calling, emailing or driving the two hours east to see me – then I’m sure there are many women out there who feel the same way.

This is a WONDERFUL, well-written, humourous book about the desperate nature of human relationships and how we all question our sanity when we’re in love. Diane has managed to write just about everything that I felt about my most recent relationship (and others), although I’m sure I wasn’t quite as obsessive about writing to him as her unnamed character is! It was smart to write the characters without names because the reader can insert whatever name she or he want and suddenly, the story could be theirs. Remarkably, I even had the same Mr. Wonderful doll that my best friend gave me. However, after ending the relationship – because I found out that I wasn’t the only woman he was dating, but in fact he was sleeping with at least three other women at the same time which shed a bright light on his many excuses: why he was tired so often, couldn’t find the time to spend an entire day with me and was a pretty lousy lay – I threw out Mr. Wonderful because I realized that he doesn’t exist.

All men lie to the women in their lives. All of them. And we lie to them too. Diane knows that and has managed to maintain a sense of humour about the sad truth of it all. The way in which she writes about ideas to cure writer’s block and her use of references to horoscopes, websites and music all add to the contemporary realism of this story.

I will recommend this book to every woman that I know who is out there dating or thinking about it! How the human race manages to evolve, I do not know. Diane, call me! I’m sure we could talk!