28 January 2017

Celtic Fire: Blitz & Giveaway

Celtic Fire
Liz Gavin
(Highland Celts Series, #1)
Publication date: January 31st 2017
Genres: Adult, Historical, Paranormal Romance
This is a standalone, historical/paranormal romance. Its mature themes – violence, religious war, and pagan rituals – might not be appropriate for audiences under 18.
When ancient gods ruled and Druids kept Faith alive, the Celts thrived as a democratic, matriarchal society. Then savage Roman soldiers swept across Europe, killing and enslaving. The Celts did not succumb without a fight. Their Old Ways survived centuries of ruthless domain until another menace loomed: a tortured god worshiped in cold stone buildings. The sacred shores of Avalon began to drift away, the mists threatened to hide the island from mortal eyes forever.
Against the bleak backdrop of war, the gorgeous Scottish Highlands stood tall, sheltering its inhabitants from greedy invaders. Yet the reach of the eagle banners was long and the highlanders turned to the Goddess for protection. However, the sacred groves felt silent and grim as Avalon faded away. Once sad, pealing bells began to sound strangely comforting while the high walls of monasteries offered an alluring barrier from violence. Caught in the middle of this centuries-old war, a young High Priestess might be Avalon’s last chance.
Wise beyond her years and powerful like no other Priestess in her lifetime, Rowen had served the Goddess faithfully, forsaking her family and the company of her soulmate. When the Lady of the Lake asks for another sacrifice, it might be one too many for her scarred heart. How could she obey the Goddess without betraying Caddaric? Could she trust Eochaid, who embodied everything she despised and hated? Would she be able to fulfill her duties without losing her soul?
Caddaric had been Rowen’s companion in countless lives; but, now, they existed in different realms. Beautiful Rowen lived in the mortal world while sweet Caddaric remained in the sacred isle of Avalon, watching over her. Could he step aside to allow another man – a flesh and blood man – to become her protector?
Eochaid had sworn to protect the Old Ways. The rude warrior never quite understood his faith yet his loyal heart belonged to the Goddess. A gorgeous, fiery High Priestess was not in his plans. He would risk his life to protect Rowen; but, would the Goddess safeguard his heart? Could he defend the bewitching maiden from himself?
When stakes were so high that a simple mistake could cost their very world, a priestess, a Druid, and a warrior must learn to trust each other and the mysterious ways of the Goddess. Their success would save Avalon. Their failure would tear the island from the human realm forever, condemning it to oblivion.
Failure was not an option.

27 January 2017

This Piece of My Soul: Blog Tour & Giveaway

Title: This Piece of My Soul
Author: Robyn M. Ryan
Publication Date: Jan. 24, 2017
Find: Amazon | Goodreads | iTunes | Kobo
Other Books in Series: Goodreads

They believe love conquers all.

One of pro-hockey’s golden couples, Andrew and Caryn Chadwick live in the limelight reserved for elite professional athletes. On their second anniversary, Andrew receives an unexpected contract offer to join the Tampa Suns. As they look forward to a new adventure, neither foresees an event that challenges their love and threatens their marriage.

Until it doesn’t.

A sudden and senseless accident threatens Andrew’s life and inexplicably drives a wedge between the couple. Shattered by the incident, paralyzed by fear that it could happen again, Caryn finds herself at odds with her husband and unable to provide the support he needs—at the time he is most vulnerable.

As their perfect world crumbles, each makes choices that take Andrew and Caryn further apart. Distrust, fears, and secrets construct walls. This Piece of My Soul follows the joint and separate paths the couple navigate as each hopes to rediscover the love that can conquer all.

Although This Piece of My Soul is the second book in the Clearing the Ice Series, it can be read as a standalone novel.

By the time she was an eight-year-old tomboy growing up in the suburbs of Chicago, Robyn M. Ryan definitely knew what she wanted to do when she grew up—play major league baseball or write. She wrote throughout elementary and high school, first composing novels featuring favorite TV and music personalities, and then venturing into sports writing.

Attending UGA’s journalism school launched her career in public relations, which included an internship with the Atlanta Flames NHL hockey team. With the encouragement of a writers group on twitter—WritersThatChat—This Piece of My Heart, a hockey romance, and the first book in Robyn’s series Clearing the Ice was published May 2016. The second book in the series, This Piece of My Soul, introduces the Tampa Suns professional hockey team.

Besides writing, Robyn’s passions include following the New York Rangers, NASCAR, and the Atlanta Braves; splitting time between homes in Atlanta and Palm Coast, and visiting Paris as often as possible. Two brilliant Westies rule both homes.

As do many writers, Robyn chooses to write using a pseudonym—hers is a combination of her sons’ names, a contribution from her youngest nephew.

Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter

His lead nurse had just completed taking Andrew’s vital signs when Caryn turned the corner into the room. She saw his eyes brighten as he waited for the nurse to take the thermometer from his mouth, and he nodded in appreciation as his eyes swept over her. Caryn felt the warmth creep up her neck when he winked at her. She set the duffle bag on the floor near one of the chairs, then took the containers of food and set them on the counter. She stole a glance over her shoulder. His bright blue eyes still had the power to make her stomach flutter, even four years later, and the heat that radiated from them at that moment stirred intense longings. She leaned against the counter as her legs threatened to buckle, and as soon as the nurse removed the thermometer, a knowing grin spread slowly across his face.

The nurse glanced at Caryn, then at Andrew and held her hand up with a soft chuckle. “Just another minute and I’ll be out of your way.”

Caryn felt her cheeks burn, and watched as Andrew shifted on the bed, patting the space beside him as the nurse entered information into his electronic chart. She wracked her brain for the nurse’s name, but Andrew’s gaze left her incapable of thinking.

“And I’m done and on my way out.”

“Thanks, Julie,” Andrew said. The woman pulled the curtain shut as she left, and Andrew laughed softly as he beckoned Caryn to his side. He grasped her hand and pulled her toward him until she perched on the side of the bed. “Have I told you how… delicious… you look?” Careful of the various wires that connected him to monitors, as well as the IV, he pulled her against him, his mouth finally claiming hers.

It was a kiss unlike any they’d exchanged since the accident, sweeping Caryn into a world she never wanted to leave. She shifted, so she could pull her legs up on the bed. Andrew’s hands tangled in her hair, urging her closer, and Caryn clutched his shoulders as his lips traveled to that special spot beneath her ear.

She could barely whisper his name as she slipped her arms around his neck, avoiding the bandaged area. She reclaimed his lips, shivering as he ran his fingers over the skin left bare by her top. His arms held her against his chest, and she relished the warmth of his body pressed against hers, his fingers dancing on her skin. He brushed his hand along the hem of her dress, and Caryn could not contain the low moan that escaped her lips.

“Drew,” she managed as he found her inner thigh, sending sparks of electricity racing to her core. She felt his desire, wanted to shed her inhibitions, right here in the room with only a curtain separating them from the bustling activity on the other side.

Reluctantly, she pulled back, saw her desire reflected in his darkened eyes, and shook her head with a small smile. “You do realize what you’re doing to me?”

“Same thing you’re doing to me.” His voice was raspy, as he playfully pushed her skirt further up her thigh. “You know what that dress does to me when you wear it.”

“Just making sure you remembered,” Caryn whispered as she kissed him softly. She looked over her shoulder toward the curtain. “Anyone could just walk in.”

“They could.” Caryn saw the devilish gleam in his eyes. “Remember our flight to Paris?”

“As if I could ever forget.” She felt her face flush as she saw the unspoken challenge in his eyes. “Is it even safe for you physically?”

He shrugged with a grin, while at the same moment one of the monitors began beeping. “Busted.”

Caryn managed to stand on shaky legs, doing her best to straighten her dress and pull the skirt back over her hips. Her eyes on the curtain, she ran her hand through her tousled hair. “What monitor is it?”

She turned as Andrew pointed to a machine displaying a string of numbers. “I think you got my heart beating a tad too fast. No doubt the blood pressure’s higher than usual.”

“Hey, don’t put that on me!” Caryn laughed as she tried again to smooth her hair. She cringed as she heard the curtain open, stepping back to get out of the way.

“You’re fine. Don’t move.” It was Julie. Their eyes met and Caryn saw the amusement in the nurse’s expression. She quickly muted the beeps, and then checked the various wires connected to the machine. “Looks like a false reading to me. Your numbers are normal now, Andrew.”

His not-so-subtle wink caused Caryn’s cheeks to burn in embarrassment. Julie pretended not to notice, and Andrew asked, “So, at what point do I get a door with a lock?”

“That would be up to your doctor. If he’d seen the numbers that machine was blaring, he’d probably have you back in ICU. Can I get either of you anything? Dinner should be here shortly.”

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26 January 2017

The Unwanted: Blog Tour & Review

Title: The Unwanted (Blackwater Tales #2)
Author: JeanNicole Rivers
Publication Date: Mar. 31, 2016
Find: Amazon | Goodreads
Other Books in Series: The Secret Keepers
In the remote, eastern European town of Borslav there is St. Sebastian orphanage, a place where people discard their unwanted children. For the American, Blaire Baker, it’s the perfect place to volunteer her services. Paired with a cheerful volunteer nurse, Blaire is enthusiastic about the possibilities, but is quickly discouraged when she encounters the nefarious nature of the staff and the deplorable conditions of the facility and the children. 

Upon arrival, one of the children informs Blaire, “There’s something in the basement.” It isn’t long before strange things begin happening, including Blaire’s flashbacks of the accident that killed her parents. The children soon suffer injuries that Blaire, first, fears may be the deeds of the callous workers but she soon thinks the abuse may originate from a source that is less than human, something unwanted. 

The unwanted is coming but in order for Blaire to fight it, she must dig into St. Sebastian and herself in search of truth. Blaire wants nothing more than to help the children, but when she discovers the tragedy that happened in the basement and learns that the same evil forces are still at work, it will be Blaire who needs help…There’s something in the basement.

JeanNicole Rivers is a great lover of reading and writing. Though she loves reading and writing varied genres, horror/thriller is her favorite. JeanNicole has been writing poetry and short stories since she was a child, but has always aspired to master the art of storytelling through novels. The Unwanted is the second story in her series of Black Water Tales, following The Secret Keepers.

Jean Nicole was awarded 3rd place in the National Black Book Festival’s 2013 Best New Author competition and she enjoys the honor of having written featured articles for popular reader websites and blogs, such as Digital Book Today and The Masquerade Crew.

Jean Nicole Rivers graduated from Florida International University with a bachelor of arts in philosophy, and she lives in Houston, Texas.

Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

That fall was one of the coldest Black Water had ever seen. Blaire could not have been more
than eleven years old. Sabrina Langford had asked her if she wanted to go walking up to the
Grammercy Bridge. Grammercy had once taken trains safely from one side of the river to the
other and on through the picturesque town of Black Water, but that was long ago. It was a place
of little interest to two young girls and, from what Blaire had known at her innocent age, it was,
at most, a place where the older kids went to kiss on Friday nights. When Sabrina suggested it as
a play place that day, Blaire wanted to object, but hesitated at the thought of turning off her
newfound friend.
Long ago the bridge had become lifeless, but it still gave an endless series of death breaths as the
girls walked along it. The water flowed rapidly, and the sound of the swishing and churning
made Blaire shiver. After throwing a couple of rocks into the river, a series of familiar faces
emerged. Lacey Wright, Sharla Hig, Kiana James, and Elizabeth Morrow claimed territory on
the bridge, creating a poignant image that Blaire would never forget. A pang of fear sliced
through Blaire’s stomach: seppuku. Nothing involving Lacey, Sharla, Kiana and Elizabeth could
be good for her because the Frightening Four were perpetrators of horrendous kiddie crimes. Just
the week before they surrounded a girl on the playground, who they teased relentlessly until she
cried and admitted she was a “slut” as they kept calling her. It was a word that Blaire knew
vaguely from hearing it in R-rated movies that she snuck to catch glimpses of from time to time,
although she would have been hard pressed to define the word if asked. Against her better
judgment, Blaire stepped into the circle of doom on the playground and screamed at all of them
to leave the helpless girl alone. Within seconds of hearing the commotion, Mrs. Bennett,
infiltrated the mob of minors with a series of inquiries and instructions that made Lacey roll her
eyes. The kids scattered but not before Blaire received a malevolent glare from the hellion gang’s
little hierarch. The four of them were relentlessly brutal BFFs, who stopped at nothing when they
craved the blood of another in the form of utter humiliation and in the name of pure adolescent

I wasn't really sure about going into this story without reading the first in the series. Let me reassure you--if you have the same concern--there's no need to worry about that!

Many times, when I start a thriller or horror story, I have a difficult time getting sucked into the story due to a lack of ascension as it goes on. Also, there's oftentimes a failure to construct a world that I feel like I'm a part of. But, from the first pages of The Unwanted, I could feel the foreboding coming through every word. Starting with a description of the quaint town of Borslav to the subtle malevolence of St. Sebastian (home for unwanted children) that was crafted by Ms. Rivers.

From there, the story just got better. I enjoyed how realistic and dark the characters were. From the beginning I wasn't sure which side characters would be the "villain" in this story.
I was always rooting for Blaire, however. Poor Blaire who came to Borslav with an evil already following her.

Because this book has children in it, I already figured it would take "creepy" and raise it to "harrowing". Aaaaand, I was right. It may seem counter-intuitive, but I can't wait to go back and read the first in the series.

If you, or someone you know, find yourselves wanting a terrifying read with engrossing characters, look no further than The Unwanted.

25 January 2017

Living in the Shallows: Blog Tour & Giveaway

Title: Living in the Shallows
Author: Tani Hanes
Publication Date: Oct. 28, 2016
Find: Amazon | Goodreads
Other Books in Series: Diving Deep
Aileen Foster is half Japanese, rocky smart, brilliant at the piano, and really, really poor. She also likes to keep herself to herself; “an arm’s length sort of girl, with a very long arm”, as someone describes her in Living in the Shallows. Through her professor, she gets an amazing job for the summer in Japan as an interpreter for popular boyband UK Crush, who are making a movie. 
When she meets the boys, she’s shocked by their openness, kindness, and frank physicality. She’s never met anyone like these guys before, who live so raucously, emotionally, and they awaken feelings she’s never had, particularly Theo, the acknowledged flirt and womanizer of the band. She travels with them as they film the movie, falling more and more under the spell of these amazing boys, who themselves are charmed by the presence in their midst of an intelligent, articulate female who isn’t a crazy fan; who hadn’t really even known who they were before this job:
Gethin, the ginger Welshman, who keeps his feelings to himself, but won’t hesitate to throw a punch if he thinks someone he cares about is being hurt;
Matthew, the gentle Scot, who is so beautiful that it almost hurts to look at him sometimes;
Ronan, the fun loving Irishman who loves to laugh;
Theo, the emotional English boy who loves with his whole heart, but seems to bounce from one beautiful woman to the next.
Eventually, Tink, as she’s known to the boys, realizes that she has to make some decisions about life and living that she never thought she’d have to make. Classical piano has been her whole life, and she is woefully unprepared to deal with the river of emotions released by being with these boys, Theo specifically. How can she give her heart to someone, anyone, when she never ever, thought she’d have to, let alone want to?

My name is Tani Hanes, and I am a 51 year old substitute teacher. I'm from central California and am a recent transplant to New York City. The most important things to know about me are that I'm punctual, I love grammar and sushi, and I'm very intolerant of intolerance. The least important things to know about me are that I like to knit and I couldn't spell "acoustic" for 40 years. I've wanted to write since I was ten, and I finally did it. If you want to write, don't wait as long as I did, it's pointless, and very frustrating!

Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter | Tumblr | Pinterest | Wattpad

Character MLT (Most Likely To)...

MLT be the first to have kids: Matty. He’s so loving and kind, not into the glamorous life at all. He’d drop all that stuff in a red hot minute to be the best father in the world.

MLT listen to classical music? Again, I have to go with Matthew. He’s the most introspective, and has a background and family in classical things in general.

MLT suddenly become poor? Probably Ronan lol! I could see him just donating all his money to some charity and not caring. I think he enjoys his money, and taking care of his family, but he could definitely get along without it. All of the boys could, I think. 

MLT watch romantic movies? Ronan all over. He’d spend all day sitting with Tink watching RomComs if he could.

MLT be a drama queen? Teddy, unfortunately! He overthinks everything, and tends to act first and think about the consequences later. He’s very emotional about everything, including himself.

MLT die of something stupid? Ronan, our hapless Irishman lol. The boy just doesn’t think, sometimes. 

MLT get in a fist fight? That would be Gethin, the hotheaded ginger from Wales. He’s more of a physical person, involved in the viscera of life. He’s probably given and received a few punches in his life.

MLT become a high school teacher? I think Tinker Bell on this one. She’s the most rooted in real life, and would have the most desire to reach out to young people.

MLT talk to animals? Ronan. I actually have a scene in a later book where Tink comes across him talking to her dogs, and it makes her cry.

MLT skydive? Gethin would definitely be up for this.

MLT forget something really important? Probably Teddy. He’s kind of all over the place, not very organized.

MLT be hungry 24/7? This is Tinker Bell for sure. She’s always loved food, and would never deny herself something delicious over weight issues or anything.

MLT to say something stupid? Ronan does this, all the time. As Teddy says at some point, his mouth should be a national monument, it’s so huge!

"No, don't do that, little one, not yet." "I fell, right?" I asked. "Teddy came in, he was drunk, he said—he said some things, you got mad at him—" I looked upat Gethin, "Matty hit him, then I ran over tothem and tripped and hit myheadon the edgeof the table." "What?" Matty exploded. "Tinker Bell, Theo hit you! He was aiming for me, I mean, I assume he was aiming for me—" this with another glare at Teddy, "but he took a swing ashe was going down andhe hit you in the face, bloodied your fucking nose!" "Dammit, Matthew, of course I was aiming for you!" Teddy shouted. "Why would I want to hit her? You'd just clocked mein the face! She just gotin between usat the wrong moment, and I was going down at the time, that's why I swung so low! Don't you think I'd cut my own arm off before I'd hit her?""Actually, I think he hit mein the jaw," I said, again reaching for my face. "Could you take a look?" Geth leaned in, turning myhead gently so he could see. "Jesus Christ, she has a cut, just under her ear, along her jawline, a pretty deep one, too," he said, horrified. "Guess we didn't notice it with all the blood from her nose, but this looks awful." He turned and looked at Teddy, and his silence was worse than any words he could have spoken. "What's wrong with you?" asked Ronan tearfully to Teddy. "

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24 January 2017

Harmful Rush: Cover Reveal & Giveaway

Harmful Rush
Debra Doxer
(Remedy #3)
Publication date: April 2017
Genres: Paranormal, Romance, Young Adult

Skylark Samuels has a secret. She’s not a normal teenager, although she plays one in real life. Pretending to be something you’re not isn’t easy, especially in high school where gossip is gold. For years, Sky manages to hide her uniqueness, until one fateful day when she exposes her gift, her curse, and all her fears come to pass. Now instead of going to college near home like she planned, she has to leave town and go someplace where the rumors can’t follow. The plan when she gets there: keep to herself and stay under the radar.

But blending into the background is impossible when local heartthrob Dylan Parks notices her. Even though Sky keeps her distance and doesn’t act like one of Dylan’s adoring fans, he goes out of his way to talk to her. Her. The girl who wants to be invisible.

Sky isn’t immune to Dylan’s charm, but getting close to him is a bad idea. It goes against the promise she made to herself. Besides, if Dylan knew the truth, he wouldn’t want her. If he discovered her secret, he’d treat her differently and possibly fear her. It’s happened before. But the more Sky gets to know Dylan, the harder it is to resist him, until fate intervenes.

A tragic event forces Sky to reveal herself to the one person she’s come to care for, and his reaction is unexpected. For the first time, she doesn’t feel so alone. But what she doesn’t realize is that she’s never been alone. When she finally lets her guard down, someone comes along who threatens to unravel everything, because being normal was never Sky’s destiny.

Harmful Rush is a standalone, full-length novel set in the Remedy world. You do not have to read the first two books to read this book. (Keep You from Harm, Remedy #1, To Have and to Harm, Remedy #2)

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Other books in the series:

Author Bio:

Debra Doxer was born in Boston, and other than a few lost years in the California sunshine, she has always resided in the Boston area. She writes fiction, technical software documents, illegible scribbles on sticky notes, and texts that get mangled by AutoCorrect. She writes for a living, and she writes for fun. When her daughter asks when she’ll run out of words, her response always is, “When I run out of time.”

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23 January 2017

Seasons Within: Blog Tour & Giveaway

Seasons Within
Lele Iturrioz
(Acorn Publishing)
Publication date: December 15th 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Most teenage girls know their name, where they came from, who they are. Not G, a beautiful redhead with unusual markings on her wrist. She gets her name from a silver locket she keeps around her neck, unaware the engraved letter “G” on its front holds the secret to her past.
G’s life before the age of six has been a mystery to her. Each night for the last twelve years she’s been haunted by the same nightmare—a war. Horrendous beasts, warriors able to wield the four elements, and a boy who saves her by means of blue fire taunt her memory. But on her eighteenth birthday, G’s life begins to unravel. When she meets her new Chemistry professor, a man with an uncanny resemblance to the boy who saves her, she knows there must be more to her dreams.
It’s dangerous not knowing who you are, what you’re capable of, and what future awaits you. Especially when the darkness that slaughtered your entire world, just found you.

Author Bio:
Major geek by day, hermit writer by night! Love books, sugar gliders and everything that comes in a delicious taco.

I’m the author of the YA fantasy series, Seasons Within
I spend my time writing, planning on writing, reading, drinking coffee like there was no tomorrow, MMA and chilling with my friends and loved ones.

Guest Post...

I saw on your website that there came a point in your life, after a health scare, that you decided to go for your dreams--which led to writing "Seasons Within". You mentioned a 'bucket list', and I was hoping you might share a few other items from that list. Maybe some that you've accomplished and/or some that you'll achieve some day.

I remember starting my bucket list when I was 15 but it was forgotten for many years, after all I was young and had all the time in the world. Only, I almost didn’t. After my heart attack the word “later” turned into “Why not now?”
So when I moved to LA, I drew on my living-room wall a bunch of stuff from my bucket list and every time I did one of them I colored it and the people who did it with me signed their names right under the drawing. At the end it turned into a huge painting full of memories. It looked beautiful.
As for the list, it has some little things like:
- Getting on a train
- Have a white Pomeranian teacup and name it Dumbledore
- Do an Iron Chef week where every night you pick an ingredient and cook everything with it (note to readers… don’t choose chilly as your ingredient. Trust me! Chose cheese instead! Love cheese)
- To dress up like a princess and go to Disneyworld. Actually, when I did it and dressed like Rapunzel, people around Disney constantly congratulated me for my sweet 16… I didn’t have the heart to tell them I was actually 25.- thanks mom for giving me a baby face (– . – )
- Go to Ellen DeGeneres show!! Funny story there, after three years of trying I managed to go with my awesome roomie Mayra and a friend named Bridget to see Ellen’s show. I was so excited and super happy but unfortunately we got front row…I know must people would think that’s a great row but it wasn’t. I have an extreme fear at cameras and there where 4 of them pointing at us, woops… I got so anxious and stressed over the cameras that 10 min onto the show my heart gave up, I passed out and woke up surrounded by paramedics and they shoved me in an ambulance… the end… I guess watching the show was not in my destiny. Lol.

Moments before the episode…. Little did we know… jejeje

It also has big dreams like publishing an entire book series, writing a movie, have a family, live alone in a different country, doing something good for the planet, help women who have been emotionally abused by their partners and jump from a plane. Well… every time I look at that last one my heart whispers “Mmm… maybe not.”
I guess I could say that my bucket list is a mix of dreams, notes, wishes and ideas. Some are big and some are smaller but it’s the people that help me crossing them what makes all of them important.


22 January 2017

Talking As Fast As I Can: Review

Title: Talking As Fast As I Can
Author: Lauren Graham
Publication Date: Nov. 29, 2016
Find: Amazon | Goodreads
Other Books by Author: Someday, Someday, Maybe

In this collection of personal essays, the beloved star of Gilmore Girls and Parenthood reveals stories about life, love, and working as a woman in Hollywood—along with behind-the-scenes dispatches from the set of the new Gilmore Girls, where she plays the fast-talking Lorelai Gilmore once again.

In Talking as Fast as I Can, Lauren Graham hits pause for a moment and looks back on her life, sharing laugh-out-loud stories about growing up, starting out as an actress, and, years later, sitting in her trailer on the Parenthood set and asking herself, “Did you, um, make it?” She opens up about the challenges of being single in Hollywood (“Strangers were worried about me; that’s how long I was single!”), the time she was asked to audition her butt for a role, and her experience being a judge on Project Runway (“It’s like I had a fashion-induced blackout”).

In “What It Was Like, Part One,” Graham sits down for an epic Gilmore Girls marathon and reflects on being cast as the fast-talking Lorelai Gilmore. The essay “What It Was Like, Part Two” reveals how it felt to pick up the role again nine years later, and what doing so has meant to her.

Some more things you will learn about Lauren: She once tried to go vegan just to bond with Ellen DeGeneres, she’s aware that meeting guys at awards shows has its pitfalls (“If you’re meeting someone for the first time after three hours of hair, makeup, and styling, you’ve already set the bar too high”), and she’s a card-carrying REI shopper (“My bungee cords now earn points!”).

Including photos and excerpts from the diary Graham kept during the filming of the recent Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, this book is like a cozy night in, catching up with your best friend, laughing and swapping stories, and—of course—talking as fast as you can.

An American actress, producer, and debut novelist best known for playing Lorelai Gilmore on Gilmore Girls and Sarah Braverman on Parenthood.

Graham's debut novel, Someday, Someday, Maybe is a work based on a fictionalization of her experiences in the New York acting scene in the mid-1990s.In May 2013, the book entered the New York Times best seller list.

Graham signed a deal with Warner Bros. Television and Ellen DeGeneres' production company A Very Good Production to adapt it into a TV series. The script will be written by her.

Knowing that I already love Girlmore Girls as much as I do, I knew that Talking As Fast As I Can would be an enjoyable read for me.

I haven't read many autobiographies because I tend to get bored with them easily. But, Lauren Graham is just as funny without as a script as she is with one. This leads me to believe that her two favorite characters of mine--Sarah Braverman of Parenthood and Lorelai Gilmore of Gilmore Girls--have as much of Lauren Graham as I assumed they did.

I could almost hear Graham's voice inflections as she jokes and reminisces about her time on Gilmore Girls. It was a lot like getting an extra episode of my favorite show.

There was more to Talking As Fast As I Can, however. I enjoyed the peak into Graham's past as she shares her journey on how she came to be the entertainment virtuoso that she is now. I was able to laugh out loud at her hilariously endearing hiccups along the way.

I haven't yet read her Someday, Someday, Maybe. Even knowing that it's not a biographical look at Graham's life, I'm eager to read it just to get another morsel of Lauren Graham's winning charisma.

Book Spotlight: Riven

Title: Riven
Author: Jane Alvey Harris
Publication Date: Aug. 25, 2016
Find: Amazon | Goodreads | B&N
Which Reality Would YOU Choose?

Seventeen year-old Emily’s dad is in prison for securities fraud and her mom's strung-out on pain meds, leaving Emily to parent herself and her younger brothers and sister. She’s got things mostly under control until a couple weeks before Dad’s release, when voices start whispering in her head, and Gabe, the hot lifeguard at the pool, notices the strange brands engraved on her arm...the ones she's trying desperately to hide. Emily doesn't know how the symbols got there or what they mean. They appeared overnight and now they're infected and bleeding. She's pretty sure she's losing her mind.

Stress, insomnia, and her wounded egos drive Emily to self-medicate, which has to be why the nightmares from her childhood have resurfaced, why they're commandeering her conscious even when she's awake. It has to be why the fairytale creatures she created as a little girl insist they need her help.

Triggered by the return of her childhood abuser and unable to cope with reality, Emily slips completely inside her elaborate fantasy world. She's powerful in the First Realm, maybe even more powerful than her attacker. It would be so easy to stay there, to lose herself in enchantment...to lose herself in love. But something sinister lurks in the forest shadows. Emily soon discovers her demons have followed her inside her fairytale. They're hunting her. With the help of the Fae, she frantically searches for the weapons she needs to defeat her greatest fears and escape back to reality before the man who tortured her can prey on her younger brothers and sister, too. Time is running out...

I have a Humanities degree from Brigham Young University with emphases in Art History, Italian Language, and Studio Art. I'm CRAZY about the visual and performing arts! I enjoy playing classical piano, painting & sketching, singing & acting, and especially writing poetry & prose.

But my real passion is PEOPLE. I love to watch and study what makes us tick as human beings. I'm definitely a dreamer, and my favorite thing to do is weave together sublime settings and stories for characters to live and learn in...myself included.

I currently live in an enchanted fairy-princess castle in Dallas, Texas, with my three often-adorable children and their three seldom-adorable cats.

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Frequently Asked Questions

1. What inspired you to create Riven and the My Myth Trilogy series?

Honestly, when I began writing Riven, I was just looking for relief. I was struggling through a really dark time in my life and was doing therapy with an amazing counselor who encouraged me to write. I didn’t have a synopsis or even an outline; I was just writing scenes from my head and connecting them together. It took me a couple years to get the first draft out and even longer to realize what the story was really about.

Somewhere in the middle of undoing myself in therapy, the narrative in my writing transformed. It matured from a pretty fairytale to a hard-hitting, issue-driven documentation of a survivor’s journey to make peace with her wounded egos and achieve self-acceptance. It was dark, but it felt important. More than that, in the act of weaving my tale I realized I was laying my hands directly on the tattered pieces of a buried map leading to rich interior landscapes I’d never acknowledged or explored before, because I considered them ugly, worthless, and humiliating.

It was about this time that other people in my life began sharing their long-guarded accounts of abuse with me. I was overwhelmed by sorrow at their suffering, but also inspired by their confidence in me, which helped me understand I wasn’t alone. With the help of my therapist and my editor, who both prompted me to dig deep and tell the real story, I gained new purpose, new confidence. I learned that I was brave, that I was strong. I realized that my writing might actually help others who struggled.

2. Your main character, Emily, is a seventeen-year-old who finds herself in difficult circumstances. What is her situation in the story and how did she get there?

The story opens at the end of July, the summer before Emily has to repeat junior year of high school. Her dad’s been in prison for ten years, and her mom, a school teacher, becomes increasingly dependent on prescription pain meds. She loses her job and basically stays in bed all day, relying on Emily to parent her two younger brothers and younger sister. Still, Emily thinks she’s got things mostly under control. But as the date for her dad’s release from prison gets closer, Emily’s stress levels increase exponentially. She finds herself unable to cope with her reality and slips into a fantasy world she created as a little girl.

3. What are the main themes in Riven and how are they developed in the story?

Riven is all about hard hitting social issues, including mental illness, feminism, and rape culture, to name a few. But the main theme is one of self-acceptance. My goals were to illustrate the damage that buried guilt and shame have on the psyche and demonstrate how acknowledging personal truth is the first step in healing from trauma.

4. There are a number of fantastical elements to Riven, including the imaginary world of the First Realm. What role does fantasy play in the story, and how is important to the development of the book’s characters?

Okay, this is juicy stuff. First, like Emily, many victims of childhood abuse use fantasy to escape a reality they can’t cope with. Not only is it key in the backstory, as a plot device, and in Emily’s growth throughout the book, it also adds layers of depth which engage readers on different levels.

Fantasy keeps the readers on their toes, too. Emily is an unreliable narrator, to say the least. She questions her own sanity, and as her stress increases throughout the first half of the book, she starts to self-medicate. At times, she’s unable to distinguish between fantasy and reality. The reader experiences this fracturing along with her, catching glimpses of the past, and is sometimes plunged into the fantasy First Realm without warning. Ultimately, it’s up to each reader to decide what is really real.

Mixing fantasy elements with gritty contemporary realism also adds action, adventure, and gave me the perfect opportunity to play with some really gorgeous settings. I’m a huge fan of Guillermo Del Toro’s Pan’s Labyrinth. On one hand, fantasy is whimsical and innocent. It lightens some of the darker themes of Riven. On the other hand, juxtaposing the ethereal with horror heightens poignancy of tragedy and psychological distress.

Most importantly, it is through the world of imagination that Emily is able to envision herself as a powerful individual. She creates a Realm where she’s able to accept and forgive herself.

5. Much of Riven is based on your own real-life experiences. How does your personal story inform the novel and, more-specifically, Emily’s character?

Well, Emily basically has my personality. The book began as a love story to my three children, (Jacob, Aidan, and Claire, who you’ll meet in the book) at a time I was very vulnerable in my life. So, if the strength of the sibling relationships seems super-real, it’s because that’s really them, and Emily is really me. Lots of the dialogue I’ve taken directly from real life. While I don’t claim all of Emily’s experiences, I will say they are true, a combination of stories and experiences which have been shared with me, along with a healthy dose of my dreams and imagination.

6. Riven deals with serious issues for teens, including abandonment, drug use, cutting, and sexual abuse. How do novels like yours help survivors and supporters with awareness and solutions for these issues?

Issues like these continue to be such a huge problem, because they make people uncomfortable and because they’re difficult to talk about. It’s easy to sweep the topic of childhood sexual abuse, and the many destructive behaviors which result from it, under the rug, because it just isn’t comfortable. The vast majority of survivors never reveal their experiences because of guilt and shame. How can we heal if we hide? My hope is that telling this story will help to normalize people. Not just victims of abuse, but anyone who struggles with negative self-image.

While I wrote Riven to be as entertaining and immersive as possible, my main purpose was to shed light on darkness and ugliness that don’t have to be life sentences of suffering. There is hope. There are resources. There are networks of supporters waiting to help. My dream is that Riven and the My Myth Trilogy will spark discussion and help people heal, while calling the rest of us to action as supporters. If we educate ourselves and abolish buried guilt and shame, we can end the cycle of abuse.

7. Are you working on the next novel in the series and, if so, what can you tell us about it?

Yes, and I’m SO EXCITED! The second book in the trilogy is called Secret Keeper. While Riven deals with the nature of legitimate victimhood, Secret Keeper is all about what comes next. Self-acceptance is just the very first step in recovery; Emily still has to do all the work of telling her truth in the real world if she wants to protect her siblings. And what happens when you speak that kind of truth? How do people react? How do you stop being a victim? How do you protect yourself from repeating the cycle of abuse? The pendulum swings in the completely opposite direction from victim in Secret Keeper, though not necessarily in a healthy way. There’s a lot of bad-assery afoot. I’m having a blast writing and meeting new characters, and I know readers will love them!