Monday, October 31, 2022

Spotlight and Giveaway of Smart Wedding Planning by Edna Dratch-Parker & Jeri Solomon




My wife and I have been working in the wedding industry for well over a decade and this is by far the best wedding planning book we have come across! Wedding planning can feel like a full time job but Edna and Jeri clearly have a wealth of knowledge that will help you plan your wedding more efficiently and probably save you money as well! If I was planning my own wedding all over again the first thing I would do is start with this book as a guide, even after working in the industry for many years there were a lot of surprises when we planned our own wedding but this book seems to cover all of those things we never thought about and a lot more to help you plan the wedding of your dreams. 
Reviewed in the United States on October 13, 2022
I can’t put into words how much this book has helped with my wedding planning. The authors have been doing weddings for years and you can tell. The advice is so useful. They will tell you exactly where to start, what to do first and how to deal with the stress of weddings. They have included everything you need to make big decisions. There are worksheets, lists & charts and even an email template! Beyond that, this book talks about why weddings are overwhelming (money, family, the stress of THE BIG DAY) and it teaches how to handle all that difficult stuff. It’s an amazing resource. As I was reading I could feel myself relax and finally start to get excited about my wedding!

If you are wedding planning or know someone engaged, buy this book! It’s honestly the greatest gift you can give someone (or yourself) who is planning a wedding.
Reviewed in the United States on October 18, 2022
Most Leveled Headed Guide I've Seen
"Guide to Smart Wedding Planning" by Jeri Solomon is an invaluable guide for any couple to start planning their wedding and follow through. I loved when near the beginning Solomon breaks down how to form your committee... and how that differs from your wedding party. Having been on multiple sides of planning a wedding (bride, sister and actual wedding planner), I believe this would have been a useful tool to have had to keep expectations/plans/budget/organization in check. I love the activities at the end of the chapter that couples are to do together -- it increases an understanding of expectations, limitations and priorities the pair have.

I have a sister who is recently engaged and have already sent her a copy to use as she and her fiance figure out what the next steps look like for them.
Reviewed in the United States on October 20, 2022  
The Real Deal Wedding Insiders® Guide to Smart Wedding Planning gives you practical and actionable steps to take control of your wedding planning, make the best decisions, and keep your sanity along the way.

You’ll learn how to:

* Navigate stressful relationships
* Create a vision that represents you both
* Understand and build a realistic budget
* Choose the right venue and vendors
* Stay present and enjoy your wedding day




Being engaged is one of the most exciting times in your life, but it can cause some unexpected challenges, and at times it can get downright chaotic. So, let’s help you get organized and get into a more manageable mindset.

Your life is already busy, and now you’ve emotions and multitude of details that come with it. We know you want to make wise choices from the get-go. And that’s what we’re here to help with.

SMART Wedding Planning

A lot needs to happen in order for you to realize your ideal wedding, no matter how big or small it may be.

To get there, you’ve got to be SMART about your decisions. Your choices should be:

S – Specific to your priorities and needs
M - Manageable within your budget, time frame, and comfort zone
A - Articulated clearly communicated to family and vendors
R - Realistic of expectations
T -Timely made with enough information and with enough time to execute them

This book gives you the SMART approach to develop and refined your wedding vision, bring it to life within your particular budget and timeline, and manage your family and vendors to get the best results.

Real Deal Fact #1

Planning a wedding can be extremely stressful. There’s no other period in your life where the expenditure of time, money, and emotions churn together to create a perfect storm as much as when you’re trying to create The Most Important Day of Your Life!

SMART wedding planning includes the Three Cs of what it really takes to produce the wedding you want:

Communication, Comprehension, and Calculation

You will need to:

-Communicate with your family and partner, as well as your vendors.

- Comprehend what it takes to produce the wedding you envision.

-Calculate the real cost of your wedding.

Almost from the moment you announce, “We’re engaged!” the tension starts to mount.

Within days (or hours), the questions start coming: 

When’s the date? 

What’s your color scheme? 

Do you have a venue/photographer/dress?

Your stress level rises as to-do lists swirling in your head. Your first instinct might be to try to get a head start by making appointments to try on dresses or visit venues. 

Our advice? 

The first thing you should do is press pause.

Wedding planning requires you to look at the big picture. 

Every decision you make, from the venue you choose to the size of your guest list to the number of bridesmaids, will affect other decisions down the road. 

This road may be new to you, and it’s difficult to know what lies ahead,
so it’s important to take your time and plan your journey.

Real Deal Fact #2

If you’re going to have the wedding you envision, then shopping for your dress or finding your venue is not step one. 

These are all exciting and important aspects of planning but prioritizing, budgeting, and research need to be done before those steps are started.



With a combined 30 years and hundreds of weddings produced, Edna Dratch-Parker, founder, and creative director of EFD Creative—Event Planning & Design, and Jeri Solomon, owner of Jeri Solomon Floral Design, bring their depth of knowledge and real-life experiences to help couples avoid common mistakes, reduce stress, and truly enjoy the wedding planning process.







Handles to tag:



Author Marketing Experts tags for social media:

Twitter: @Bookgal
Instagram: @therealbookgal







-The Book 

-A Branded Mug 

-Some Edible Treats to go with the winner’s favorite beverage.


Please follow me here on my blog and on Instagram if you enter -



Saturday, October 29, 2022


Have you joined LITSY? 

There's an APP and Website? 

It is a VERY book-friendly place.

Friday, October 28, 2022

Crazy to Leave You by Marlyn Simon Rothstein

Will Eric ever call and explain or apologize?

The day of her wedding was actually HER wedding Eric.  

Lauren was left in her gown and a room full of guests but no groom.

His excuse was he wasn’t ready, but why wait until the day of the wedding.

We follow Lauren as she goes to work the very next day and goes on an eating binge.

What will happen to this jilted bride?  You will find out when you read this funny, lighthearted read.

CRAZY TO LEAVE YOU is very enjoyable and focuses on family and doing what’s right for yourself. 

You will love the characters especially Rudy who is featured on the cover.

Not my usual genre, but I laughed out loud at some parts of the book, and I know you will too as you are reading.  5/5

This book was given to me by the author for an honest review.


Thursday, October 27, 2022

The Forgotten Bookshop in Paris by Daisy Wood

What fun to bring a bookstore from WWII back to life.
Juliette and her husband’s trip to Paris ended in their separation, but it turned out to be a new start for Juliette.

Juliette needed a place to stay and found an apartment above a bookstore and decided to restore the bookstore even though a friend’s grandmother ZiZi who is 97 told her to not dig up the past.

Could this be the same apartment and bookstore that Jacques had owned during WWII? 

Yes it is…Jacques and his wife lived in that very apartment above the bookshop while Jacques kept the peace with the Germans by selling books to an officer, but his wife Mathilde was in the resistance and got herself in trouble.

The bookstore sounded lovely and had a hidden room and lots of other secrets...will Juliette find out these secrets?

THE FORGOTTEN BOOKSHOP IN PARIS goes from 1940 to present day. 

I always enjoy when there are connections from the past and present.

Could there be a connection between the bookshop and the characters from 1940 and 2022?

A lovely read that has some romance, mystery, history, and a chance to enjoy the city of lights both past and present.

Truly enjoyable for historical fiction fans and women's fiction fans. 5/5

This book was given to me by the publisher via NetGalley for an honest review.

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Spotlight of As They Are by Phyllis M Skoy


Phyllis M Skoy's As They Are unfolds against the backdrop of Ataturk’s sweeping changes to the nation of Turkey. 
It follows the story of a village girl struggling to become a woman as the decimated Ottoman Empire struggles to become a republic.


"The most important aspect of a story or novel is the writing itself, and it is here that Skoy's book warrants the highest praise. Skoy captures the gritty pain involved in being a woman in Turkish culture-[and] the book is so well researched that the story and the characters are plausible, painful, and real." -Thomas H. Ogden, M.D., author of The Hands of Gravity, The Parts Left Out, & This Will Do

"...this story of turmoil leads us through women's servitude to the breakdown and triumph of the matriarch in a family. You MUST read this unusual and brilliant book!" -Hilda Raz, author of Letter From a Place I've Never Been: New and Collected Poems

"Set in Turkey against the background of two world wars, As They Are is a magnificent and meticulously-researched story of three generations of women and how the sufferings of one give shape to the challenges the next will endure." -Joan Schwighardt, author of RIVERS trilogy:  Before we Died, Gifts for the Dead, and River Aria

"As a Turkish reader, born and raised in Turkey, I fell Skoy depicts Turkish culture and its people with a sensibility that is genuine and that brings me back to my home." -Muhsine Aykac, M.Ed/LOTE-T Teacher



Generous and ingenious, Fatma wants to give her descendants a chance at a better life, one that bears more risk than she may take for herself. 
Fatma is born a child of rape, deep in the fairy cave dwellings of Cappadochia in the central Anatolia regions of Turkey. 
At the moment of her birth, Mustafa Kemal (Ataturk, future founder of the Republic of Turkey), is driving Allied forces from the Gallipoli peninsula.

Set against the backdrop of Ataturk's sweeping changes, 
As They Are follows the story of a village girl struggling to become a woman as the decimated Ottoman Empire struggles to become a republic. 
Fatma aspires to become a journalist when her life is upended by the threat of blindness.

She grapples with life-paralyzing depression that threatens her sanity after the birth of her first child. She must face the secrets that have undermined the truth about her life.

As an elder, wise woman, Fatma is the nearly blind widow of a potter, running a small empire with her sons, leading a simple life in not-so-simple times. 
Yet one question remains: What would you sacrifice so that your descendants could live a better life? 



Phyllis M Skoy is the author of two novels set in Turkey, What Survives, and its prequel, As They Are. 
She is currently writing the third in the series, A Coup, to complete A Turkish Trilogy. 
She is also the author of Myopia, a memoir.


Tuesday, October 25, 2022

Spotlight of Vanishing Hour by Laura Griffin


When a cold case in Texas leads to a sinister string of disappearances, a newcomer to the small town helps the deputy sheriff piece together the clues in this new romantic thriller from New York Times bestselling author Laura Griffin. 
Known for her signature mix of swoon-worthy small-town romance and pulse-pounding suspense, Laura Griffin is a must-read author for fans of Lisa Gardner, Karen Rose, and Jayne Ann Krentz. Griffin’s latest standalone release, VANISHING HOUR, is a captivating romantic suspense perfect for readers new to her writing and those who already know and love her work.
Berkley | On Sale October 25, 2022


"An emotional, exciting page-turner. Griffin deftly balances the mystery and the love story."The Washington Post
"I love smart, sophisticated, fast-moving romantic thrillers, and Laura Griffin writes them brilliantly. Last Seen Alone is a terrific example of her signature style: intriguing characters; sharp dialogue; and a tight, well-researched plot."New York Times bestselling author Jayne Ann Krentz
"Top-notch romantic suspense! Fast pace, tight plotting, terrific mystery, sharp dialogue, fabulous characters."New York Times bestselling author Allison Brennan

"A gripping, white-knuckle read. You won't be able to put it down."New York Times bestselling author Brenda Novak

Corporate lawyer Ava Burch has had enough of the big city and the daily grind. 
She grew up with her father, who raised search-and-rescue dogs, in rural Texas and has moved to the small town of Cuervo to spend time in the dry, rugged wilderness near Big Bend National Park. 
When she and her dog, Huck, discover an abandoned campsite on a volunteer search-and-rescue mission, she’s perplexed, but she carefully photographs it all the same.
All Deputy Sheriff Grant Wycoff can see when he looks at Ava is a city slicker—with her designer jeans and expensive car—who has no business on a serious team made up of seasoned outdoorsmen and retired cops. 
But when she tells him of her discovery on the trail, he sees there’s more to her than meets the eye.
Ava’s discovery reminds Grant of the unsolved case of a young woman who went missing two years ago. 
As they look into the campsite further, another woman disappears under odd circumstances. With time running out, Ava and Grant must work against the brutal heat from both the Texas sun and their own electric chemistry to solve the case.


Missing children are an emergency. Always. Their little bodies are less able to regulate temperature, so they're especially vulnerable to exposure. And in a place as vast and rugged as Silver Canyon State Park, additional hazards abounded: rattlesnakes, coyotes, hundred-foot cliffs. Even the anemic little creek that Ava had been following was terrifying. A child Noah's size could drown in a bathtub.

Ava glanced up at the relentless sun that sucked moisture out of everything beneath it. She looked ahead at Huck, who trotted back and forth in front of her in his zigzag pattern. He was working the wind, as he'd been trained, tirelessly sniffing the air with his powerful nose, which could pick up anything with human scent on it, from a candy wrapper to a dropped article of clothing.

So far, nothing.

Ava checked her watch. Two long hours since she'd left the trailhead. Sweat stung her eyes, and she wiped her forehead with the back of her arm. She paused beside a boulder and dropped her pack on the dusty ground to retrieve one of her water bottles. Huck needed some, too, but right now he was intent on his work.

She took a lukewarm sip and scanned the scrub brush lining the canyon wall. Young children had a tendency to wander aimlessly until they found a place to curl up for a nap. Some would even hide from search teams, afraid of getting in trouble for being lost. So Ava had been incessantly scanning pockets of brush.

Huck halted in front of her, his nose lifted in the air. Ava froze and watched. But then his head dropped down and he resumed his zigzags. Ava tucked the water bottle away and pushed off the boulder to continue her trek.

She watched Huck, amazed by his energy. Even in this heat, he loved working, and when he had his vest on, he didn't have an off switch. As he bounded around in front of her, she thought of the other teams, especially the canine one. She was surprised they hadn't found something close to camp.

Of course, the parents had been there, which might have been a problem. Frantic parents threw off a lot of scent, which could have overpowered Noah's smell and possibly confused the dog. Also, the temperature rising in the canyon could have wafted the scent up, well above the dog's nose. Yet another challenge here was that young children didn't throw off as much scent as adults. And still bodies-ones that were either asleep or unconscious-threw off less scent, too.

So there were all kinds of factors in play, especially in a park this size.

Ava checked her watch again and sped up her pace, unable to shake the feeling of dread that had been settling in her stomach as the hours ticked by. Scanning the canyon wall, her gaze caught on something beige and triangular.

A tent? No.

A tarp. She climbed onto a boulder for a closer look. About halfway up the slope of the canyon was a sand-colored canvas tarp that had been stretched taut to create a patch of shade. It looked like a primitive fort-just the sort of thing that would attract a kid's attention, and her pulse quickened as she climbed closer. Nearing the tarp, she spied a small yellow tent tucked in the shade beneath it.

She glanced around for Huck, but he was sniffing along at the base of a rockslide.

Grabbing hold of a juniper tree, Ava levered herself onto the ledge. She ducked under the tarp and paused a moment for her eyes to adjust. The little tent was unzipped. Hope ballooned in her chest as she pulled back the flap and poked her head inside.

Her hope disappeared as she scanned the interior. No sleeping child curled up in the dimness. The air was utterly still, and everything was coated with a thin layer of dust, as though no one had been there in weeks, maybe months. A pile of gear in the corner included a cookstove, a hiking boot, and a blue bedroll with a carabiner clipped to it. Attached to the carabiner was a black key fob.

A chill snaked down her spine. Who would leave their car key out here? The fob seemed odd. Ditto for the hiking boot. Where was the other one? And where was its owner?

On impulse, Ava took out her phone and snapped a couple of pictures. As part of her SAR training, she'd learned to document crime scenes. She couldn't pinpoint why, exactly, but that was what this felt like. She ducked out and snapped a shot of the exterior. A faint bark pulled her attention back to the mission. She couldn't afford to get sidetracked, even though this place felt creepy. She put her phone away as she skimmed the surrounding area for the missing boot, or any sign of the boot's owner. She glanced up the canyon, looking for evidence of a fire pit or any other camping equipment.

A soft whimper had her turning around.

Huck sat beside a rock pile, his ears pricked forward and his gaze fixed on hers. Ava's heart skittered. This was his sit alert letting her know he'd found something.

"Show me," she commanded, and he sprang into action, bounding across the creek bed. She climbed down the rocks and jogged after him, frantically searching the clumps of trees. Huck darted around a giant prickly pear cactus and behind a line of mesquite trees. Amid the fluttering green leaves, she caught a flash of red.

"Please, please, please," she murmured.

Huck disappeared beneath the brush and barked. Ava spied a small white sneaker and a pudgy leg.

Huck danced in a circle, drunk on success and eager for his reward.

"Good boy, Huck! Good boy! Good boy!" She filled her voice with praise, even though her heart had lodged in her throat. The little body wasn't moving. Oh God.




Laura Griffin is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of more than twenty-five books and novellas. 
She is a two-time RITA Award winner, as well as the recipient of the Daphne du Maurier Award.