The Fortune Café Blog Tour: Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Giveaway!

  Fortune Cafe Book Review Cover

The Fortune Café:

a novel in three parts

Blog Tour & Giveaway: Win $25.00 Amazon OR PayPal CASH!

MIS-FORTUNE: Emma, a waitress at The Fortune Café will do anything to avoid opening a fortune cookie. Each fortune is rumored to somehow magically come true. Being a girl grounded in reality, she doesn’t have time for that kind of nonsense. But when trying to prevent a food fight at the café, Emma accidently cracks open a fortune cookie: “Look around, love is trying to catch you.” If there is one thing that Harrison, her former best friend in high school is good at, it’s catching her unaware.

LOVE, NOT LUCK: Lucy has always been lucky . . . until her parents meet her fiancé’s parents at a disastrous lunch at The Fortune Café, and she breaks her lucky jade necklace. Even worse, her fortune cookie reveals that “True love is for the brave, not the lucky.” How is she supposed to read that? She’s always considered it lucky how she met her fiancé. But after breaking her necklace, Lucy’s luck takes a dive. And when her fiancé dumps her, the only person she can turn to is Carter, the unluckiest guy she knows.

TAKEOUT: Stella is content in her new life of taking over her mom’s jewelry shop. No more boyfriend to worry about, and as long as she stays busy, she doesn’t have to dwell on her non-existent love life. When Evan comes into the shop with his young daughter, Stella is charmed. But she is reluctant to complicate her straightforward life, so when she reads her fortune after ordering takeout from The Fortune Café, she completely ignores it. After all, how can a fortune as vague as “Do the thing you fear and love is certain,” apply to her?

Amazon * Barnes & Noble * Kobo

Fortune Café Blog Tour Paypal Cash Giveaway

About the Authors

Julie Wright Author

Julie Wright wrote her first book when she was only 15-years–old. More than a dozen books later, Julie is a Whitney Award winner. She enjoys speaking to writing groups, schools, and youth groups. Read and learn more about Julie: Blog  |  Twitter  |  Amazon

Melanie Bennett Jacobson Author
Melanie Bennett Jacobson is an amateur cook, champion shopper, and an avid reader. After meeting her husband online, she is now living happily married in Southern California with her growing family. Melanie is a former English teacher and a sometime blogger who loves to laugh and make others laugh. In her down time, Melanie writes romantic comedies and pines after beautiful shoes. Read and learn more about Melanie: Website |  Amazon  |  Twitter

Heather B. Moore Author
Heather B. Moore is a USA Today bestselling author of historical thrillers under the pen name H.B. Moore. Her latest book is Finding Sheba. Under Heather B. Moore she writes romance and women’s fiction. She’s the co-author of The Newport Ladies Book Club series. Some of her other titles include Heart of the Ocean, The Fortune Café, the Aliso Creek Series, and Timeless Romance Anthology Series. Read and learn more about Heather: Blog  |  Amazon  |  Twitter

giveaway mamanyc icon

$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Giveaway!

{Tour Schedule}

One lucky winner will have their choice of $25.00 Amazon Gift Card OR $25.00 PayPal cash! Ends on Ends April 30, 2014 @ 11:59pm (EST). The selected winning entry will be verified. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. Winner will be selected using Rafflecopter, announced on the widget, and emailed.

Winner has 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the authors. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

Good Luck & Happy Reading!


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Birth Plans For Dummies Book: Create a Baby Birth Plan Pregnancy Book

 Birth Plans For Dummies Book

Birth Plans For Dummies Book Review

Birth Plans For Dummies is an easy and trusted way to develop a birth plan for expectant moms. There’s a lot of information available and sometimes pregnancy and labor can be quite overwhelming and scary. Luckily, I have access to this ultimate resource guide to help me understand, develop, and implement a plan for the birth of my little girl.

Delivery is much more complicated than choosing between vaginal or caesarean section. Expectant mothers can find all of the information and options for labor and delivery to be stressful and complicated, which is why Birth Plans For Dummies is such an important and resourceful guide!

Birthing Plans Hospital Delivery

Now that we’ve reached December, I am getting very (VERY) close to my due date and have to start considering my options. My due date is on January 26, 2013 and I couldn’t be happier. Even though this is my second pregnancy, I can tell you that things do change and memories do fade. I’ve had to brush up on everything from remembering what foods I can and can’t drink, symptoms and how to relieve them, and now I am at a point where it is vital that I construct a birthing plan. 

There wasn’t exactly a "plan" set in place during my first pregnancy. I did all the research that I thought was necessary and decided to of course go with a vaginal delivery. I had no medical complications standing in my way or reasons to consider other avenues that were available at the time. We waited until my water broke (10 days late, by the way) and headed to the hospital. My son decided to lay on his umbilical cord after 13-hours of labor, which resulted in both of our heart rates and blood pressure levels reaching near death.

Labor Exercise Contractions

While my plan was intended for a normal vaginal delivery, I was rushed into an emergency c-section and met my little boy moments later. I learned that no matter what you intend to happen in life – always have a backup plan. Even though I couldn’t predict an emergency c-section, I never thought of devising a backup plan that would mentally prepare me for a situation such as mine. 

Since I am 33-weeks pregnant, I have scheduled a c-section delivery for my little girl on January 22nd. I’ve decided to do my research this time around – even though I have a pretty set-in-stone plan to casually walk into the hospital in 6-weeks and undergo surgery. Anything can happen, so I am going to make sure that I have weighed all of my options, understand the complications, and know what to do if my plan decides to change. 

Pregnancy Labor Day Joke

Birth Plan:  The birth plan is a list of your preferences to be used as a guide for how you would like your labor and delivery to go. It is a communication tool used for expectant mothers and all those involved in the delivery of a child to understand and explain the mother’s preferences for labor and delivery. As labor can be unpredictable, you should create a backup plan and understand other options available.Birthing Plans Book Labor

With so many methods, options, strategies, and techniques available for labor and delivery, it is very important for an expectant mother to understand what each entails and how complications can lead to a change in plans. Birth Plans For Dummies covers all of these issues and more, including instructions on how to write your birth plan and put it into action! 

** You can also download the first chapter for free to see what this book is all about before buying it! Birth Plans For Dummies’ Chapter 1 – Creating a Birth Plan: What It’s All About is currently available as a PDF sample chapter. Learn more about how to buy Birth Plans For Dummies below!*

Here is a list of various chapters/topics discussed:

♦ Creating a Birth Plan: What It’s All About 

♦ OB-GYN, Family Practitioners, Midwives, Oh My! 

♦ Leaving Home for a Hospital or Birth Center

♦ Natural Methods for Soothing Your Mind and Body 

♦ Helping the Baby Out: Interventions for Vaginal Birth

♦ Cesarean Section: Yes, You Have Options

♦ Nourishing Your BabyBirthing Plans Dummies Book

♦ Writing Your Birth Plan

♦ Allowing for Flexibility in Your Birth Plan and Recover

♦ Ten Ways to Preserve Birth Memories

Mama Says...

Buy It!

Head on over to the official For Dummies Store to learn more about Birth Plans For Dummies! This book is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Google Plan, Apple iBooks, Kobo, and many other online and offline retailers in your area.

* Download and read a sample chapter from the book: Chapter 1 – Creating a Birth Plan: What It’s All About 

Disclosure Policy Review




Ring of Fire Book Review – Heather Huffman Women’s Fiction Book Review

  Ring of Fire by Heather Huffman

Book Review: Ring of Fire

by: Heather Huffman

Ring of Fire by Heather Huffman is a love story that doesn’t quite feel like one. Joey and Alexandra don’t even like each other when they first meet, and throughout the adventure they get under each other’s skin in a way that is reminiscent of a middle-school crush. From the first few pages of Ring of Fire, you are thrown into a dizzying race to stay ahead of the villains trying to end Alex’s career and the life of her young Princess friend, Lani.

Alex is a brilliant scientist who is studying clean-energy alternatives on Lani’s South Pacific Island, when a big oil company in the U.S. catches wind that valuable minerals are in the soil that Alexandra is studying. The powerful company stops at nothing to make that island theirs.

The chemistry between Alex and Joey, Lani’s keeper, smolders through the every chapter. Although they annoy each other unlike anyone else can, they also possess an insane desire for one another. Because so much is at stake, however, they cannot indulge those kinds of feelings. Instead, they must focus on keeping Lani safe and her island out of the hands of the greedy oil company. There is no time for love when you’re trying to stay alive and find the answer to the geological mystery that could save the island. The romantic tension builds with each turn of the page!

I found myself cheering for each character as they pursue a true solution that works for all involved. Except, maybe, for the crooked gem hunters. After reading this, you will definitely find yourself a Heather Huffman fan and seeking out her other titles!

Author Heather HuffmanHeather Huffman writes novels featuring strong and smart female characters who are relatable and real. She uses her passion for writing to make a positive impact on the world. Working to create awareness of modern-day slavery, a portion of all of her royalties goes to support organizations that fight human trafficking. 

Disclosure Policy Review

What To Expect When You’re Expecting, First Year & Second Year Review

What To Expect Baby Book Review

What To Expect When You’re Expecting

Plus.. What To Expect The First Year & Second Year Book Reviews!

Finding out that I was pregnant with my son was a very exciting, happy, and cheerful time in my life. My jaw (literally) dropped and I stood in amazement as I gazed at the positive pregnant test. Was this really going to happen in 7-8 months? Would I make a great mother, or fail because I had NO clue about changing diapers or mixing baby formula with water (you mix it with water, right?).

As the worry and nervous energy began to set in, I remember feeling a huge weight lift off my shoulders as my best friend handed me a copy of What To Expect When You’re Expecting by Heidi Murkoff, which is truly the bible of pregnancy – hands down!

Every woman (and man, too!) has heard of "What To Expect" and every woman that has ever carried a baby has read this book – front to back! I knew that I should expect to read the book and know EVERYTHING I had to know once I was done. As someone that had not cared for a baby in years (big sister to two little brothers and babysitting in junior high still didn’t constitute knowing how to be a mother though…), I needed something to lead me through the next few months.

I was only pregnant for 4-6 weeks and already felt mentally exhausted from using Internet search engines to diagnose every ache, pain, and movement that I felt in my belly. I needed a COMPLETE guide to tell me what I was going through. What To Expect When You’re Expecting gave me all that I needed – and then some! I felt fulfilled and prepared to undergo pregnancy with munch more confidence than before.

I received small bits of advice and knowledge from my mother and a friend, but my mom was giving me 20+ year old advice and I only had ONE girlfriend with a child so far. I was seriously lacking the experienced pregnant woman advice that women need during this scary and new time as their bodies change. Thankfully, I had What To Expect.

What To Expect When Expecting

I recently received THREE books from the famed What To Expect line that I couldn’t wait to share with all of you! Firstly, I received What To Expect When You’re Expecting. Although I had previously owned a copy, I still found myself reading it again!

My son is ONLY 3-years-old, but it’s been a few years and I don’t know about all of you – but my memory is burnt! We could all use a refresher even during our 2nd, 3rd, or 4th pregnancies. I am sure you will find me reading this book again should we have a 3rd child!

My favorite part of What To Expect When You’re Expecting? It’s simple enough to read in one seating (okay, maybe a few seatings – but I mean from start to end!), easy enough to browse and jump around, and even better to skim to find what you are going through for tips and advice. I love to skip around and reveal what is bound to happen in the next few weeks to months, but I also leave a bookmark to keep track of my current stage/week of pregnancy so that I know where I am at and what is coming next. 

VBAC Cesarean Section

Since my first pregnancy ended in an unplanned emergency c-section, I am starting to consider and decide what I will do in January as I give birth to my 2nd child. Do I want to plan a cesarean section? Would I like to consider a VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean)? These are the issues that are becoming quite relevant and important as I read What To Expect When You’re Expecting this second time around. 

Next up is What To Expect The First Year and What To Expect The Second Year. I haven’t had a chance to browse either of these books in the past, so I am really enjoying them now! Even though my son is 3-years-old, I am still finding a lot of amazing tips, knowledge, and parenting advice that will forever be a vital component and tool as a parent. I’ve picked up tips, such as using a toilet paper roll to determine if a small toy or part is safe for my child. 

Toddler Toy Safety Tips

"Anything that can fit through a toilet paper roll can present a choking hazard to young toddlers"

Advice such as this toilet paper roll tip is useful and something I never considered in the past. I’ve always wondered if THIS or THAT is appropriate for my little man, but I never thought about what size of an item would constitute a safe or unsafe measurement to prevent choking hazards in the playroom!

What To Expect First Year   What To Expect Second Year

Expect Second Year Maternity Books

Following along with the same basic premise and appearance as What To Expect When You’re Expecting, the First Year and Second Year parenting guide books from Heidi Murkoff are laid out well enough for any parent to flip through and diagnose, assist, relieve, or educate themselves just as fast as their little one can run across the room!

It’s no wonder why Murkoff has planned her books out in such an easy to use manner; she understands that we are constantly on-the-go. We don’t have the time that we WISH we had to sit down and read an entire parenting novel just to figure out the right formula. When we need to know why our child is pulling on their teeth – we want to know 5-minutes ago!

These three books are a primary source of parenting advice and knowledge that will definitely remain an important part of my book collection! While I have a good amount of parenting books that have collected dust over the years, I can promise you that the What To Expect series will avoid dust for sure! These books are a must for any expectant mother all the way through raising and parenting your children. Logo

In addition to the extensive "What To Expect" book series, I am also a huge fan of the website,! The site offers much more than one would expect and has become a vital component and tool to my everyday parenting and pregnancy needs.

You’ll find specific topics for every sort of parenting and maternity dilema, symptom, cramp, pain, behavioral issue or medical advice from preconception through toddler! I recently referred one of my girlfriends to the What To Expect forum and advice columns since she was seeking advice for conceiving a baby. She had NO idea this was available; she assumed "What To Expect" was only for pregnancy through baby, which is furthest from the truth!

Mama Says...

Buy It!

All three of these books are available on the Bookstore website. 

Be sure to "Like" What To Expect on Facebook and "Follow" @WhatToExpect on Twitter for additional product information, news, updates, and promotions. Keep up to date and find out what you should expect when you’re expecting direct from the source!

 Win It!

What To Expect Books

MamaNYC is giving away TWO sets of all three books included in this review! TWO lucky winners will receive: What To Expect When You’re Expecting, What To Expect The First Year, and What To Expect The Second Year! ($48.00 value/each winner). Open to residents WORLDWIDE; 18+. This giveaway will end on September 11, 2012 @ 11:59pm (EST). 

Good Luck & Happy Parenting!

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Disclosure Policy Review

Riversong by Tess Hardwick – Women’s Fiction Book Review

Riversong by Tess Hardwick Book Review

Riversong by Tess Hardwick

Women’s Fiction Book Review

Riversong by Tess Hardwick is an amazing page-turner that will have you staying up way past your bedtime just to read a few more paragraphs! We get a glimpse into Lee Tucker’s harsh small-town Oregon upbringing with an alcoholic mother and absent father. She feels invisible and unloved and spends her time planning an escape.

After high school she finally has a chance to leave the small town behind and heads to Seattle where she works hard to create the life of which she had only dared to dream. Her determination pays off and she achieves all that her heart desired – wealth, stability, respect, and control are all hers. That is, until her world is suddenly shattered.

Her husband unexpectedly commits suicide before she can tell him that she’s pregnant and she is left with an obscene amount of debt of which she had no previous knowledge. Her creditors are shady, violent, and demanding. When she is unable to pay them off her only choice is to run; right back to the place to which she’d sworn she would never return.

Upon revisiting her old home, the memories of her late mother and lonely chill of the past flood her. She determines to do whatever it takes to fix up the homestead and sell it to pay off the goons that are after her, and then get out of there as fast as she can. She never expected to find family, friendship, acceptance and love, but that is exactly what she gets. It is her willingness to look again at the small town and her past that allows her to find true love and forgiveness.

This book really tugs at your heartstrings! Anyone who’s ever felt like an underdog will cheer for Lee as she makes her way through dangerous encounters, steamy love run-ins, and bold business deals. I don’t think there’s a woman alive who can’t relate to her on some level. This is a perfect Summer read and will have you dying to know what happens next. Tess Hardwick author Riversong

Tess Hardwick lives in Washington, but like Lee, she is from a small southern Oregon town. She is a novelist, playwright, blogger, and mother.

Riversong was published in April 2011, and in October 2011 it became the #1 Nook Book of the week! Tess is currently writing a 1930’s historical fiction inspired by her great-grandmother. You can purchase Riversong on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.



Disclosure Policy Review

Yawning Yoga: by Laurie Jordan ~ Children’s Bedtime Book Review

Yawning Yoga by Laurie Jordan Book Review

Yawning Yoga Exercise Children's Book

Yawning Yoga by Laurie Jordan, {Illustrations by Aaron Randy} is a sweet children’s bedtime story that is fun for both the child and the reader. Laurie Jordan is a New York-based yoga instructor and the creator of Little Sprouts Yoga for Kids and the Director of Kids Programming at Kaia Yoga. She based this book off of her successful bedtime yoga series "Yawning Yoga"!

Each page describes a yoga pose in fun sleepy-themed rhyme accompanied by a colorful and imaginative illustration. Children are encouraged to stretch their bodies and relax their minds as they get ready for resting. The premise is that by incorporating this easy practice into your child’s evening routine, you can help prepare your child for a calm and restful night’s sleep. If the poems and artwork aren’t enough to define the pose, the author has included explanations and photos in the back of the book along with tips on establishing a bedtime routine.

Yawning Yoga Exercise Children's Book

I thoroughly enjoyed reading Yawning Yoga with my 20-month old son! As someone who really appreciates yoga, I was genuinely impressed by the authors interpretation of these simple yoga poses for children. The book progresses from active poses that encourage wiggling and stretching to more relaxing poses and breathing exercises. I found it impossible to read this without doing the moves along with my child. Bonus points for sneaking in a bit of exercise!

I think what really makes this book special is its ability to meet children at their age and ability. My son is a little young still to grasp much of the relaxation portion of this, but he still benefits from the movement and the rhymes. As he gets older, this book and the yoga practice it teaches will grow with him and become a natural part of his evening routine. I highly recommend this book as an addition to any child’s bedtime book collection!

Learn More

Head on over to to learn more about Yawning Yoga and Laurie Jordan! You can purchase Yawning Yoga for only $15.00 and help your little one get a good nights rest tonight!



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Blooming Buddies in the Garden [Book Review & Sponsor Spotlight]


Blooming Buddies In The Garden

Blooming Buddies in the Garden: A Blooming Book of Verse

by Deborah Donner & Wendy Peterson

Blooming Buddies in the Garden is a double award winning picture book for children. Written by Debbie Donner and Wendy Peterson, Blooming Buddies is a magical story of flower friends along side short verses that will teach your child how to have respect for others and other important values such as kindness!

Let’s go into the garden

Put a smile on your face

We’ll get to know each other

It’s a Blooming Buddies place

The illustrations are paired perfectly in this children’s book, magical pictures to match the magical verse that carries through each page of this book. Blooming Buddies recently won The National Parents Center Seal and the Parent Tested Parent Approved Seals of Approval. I am not surprised that these awards have been given to this book as it teaches many different lessons of being a respectable, well-behaved individual. Children learn how to have values as they develop reasoning skills and empathy throughout the pages of this magical story.  

I have a feeling this book is sure to become a classic! The story is unique and the illustrations feature vibrant watercolors that are sure to catch your little ones attention. Perfect for reading aloud with early readers, or the expert reader in your family!

Learn More

Head on over to to learn more about this wonderful children’s book! You can also download a free printable coloring page. Purchase Blooming Buddies in the Garden for only $16.95! Plus, sells beautiful studio prints and fine art prints!

Studio Prints: 8.5×11 inch watercolor images that are printed on high quality glossy art paper, ready to frame. 

Fine Art Prints: Limited edition, large-sized prints that will make a bold statement. Printed on high quality art paper. 


Happier Holidays Special:
Save 50% off the retail price until Dec. 31, 2012 with promo code: Bloom12


Product Details:

Blooming Buddies In the Garden: A Book of Blooming Verse
by Debbie Donner and Wendy Peterson
Published by Pixie Land, Inc. 2010
8" x 10" hard bound w/dust cover, 32pps, $16.95
ISBN 978-0-9825819-0-2

Blog Bash Christmas Giveaway Hop Win It!

I am pleased to announce that Blooming Buddies will be ONE of the many sponsors I will be announcing for the Blog Bash Christmas giveaway hop! The event will begin on Thursday, December 1st at 12:01 AM! Be sure to stop by MamaNYC at midnight for a chance to win a copy of Blooming Buddies for little one – PLUS many more prizes!  The winner will be receiving a HUGE prize package valued over $180+! You aren’t going to want to miss this one!


Asleep In Heaven’s Nursery [Tommy Mann] – Book Review


Asleep in Heaven's Nursery Tommy Mann

Coping with the loss of a child is devastating. Who will understand what you are going through? How can you live on without your little one in your arms? Why did God choose to take your perfect angel? With so much evil in the world, wouldn’t someone else deserve this more than your family?

Although a difficult topic to cover, Tommy Mann has put together an excellent book that does more than help those that are dealing with the loss of a child.  Asleep in Heaven’s Nursery provides answers to tough questions that a parent may have during the difficult times following a miscarriage, abortion, infant mortality, or stillborn death. Tommy lost three children to miscarriages, which helps the reader connect with the writer. Tommy has been there and understands what you are feeling and experiencing. 

A girlfriend of mine lost her baby a little over a year ago to a stillborn birth. This was her first child and her excitement over pregnancy was beautiful. She made sure to share her joy with others on a daily basis, which was not a difficult task since she wore a cute "bun in the oven" or other pregnancy t-shirts every single day. She decorated her unborn child’s nursery all by herself, which was quite simple as she is an interior designer. The nursery was filled with love and all it needed was a baby to call it home

I’ve seen what she has gone through over the past year. We celebrated her daughters birthday this past August – "One Year in Heaven". I wish I had Tommy Mann’s book on me during the solice, yet beautiful ceremony that we held to commemorate her very short life. My girlfriend has defeated some of her depressive feelings, but always seeks out extra comfort to help her understand what SHE did to deserve this pain.

Asleep in Heaven’s Nursery comes from Tommy Mann Ministries, which is located in South Carolina. Tommy spreads the message of Jesus Christ in his book in order to comfort and console those who have suffered the loss of a child. He uses stories from others that have suffered the loss of a child to help the reader understand that they are not alone. Although painful, confusing, and traumatic, the loss of a child is shared with others and hearing other experiences will help you understand how to cope. 

The book will help parents answer questions like… What will my baby look like in Heaven? Is God punishing me? Can I be forgiven for my abortion? Is my baby really in Heaven? These topics are difficult to talk about, but a parent that is going through the loss of a child wants the answers – but needs to understand the reasoning more so.

For a deeper understanding of this heart-healing and supportive book, check out the book description that comes directly from Tommy Mann’s official website:

Have you experienced the loss of a child? Tommy Mann felt the heartrending grief of losing three children to miscarriages. Beginning his ministry as a pastor, he struggled to be strong for his wife and understand for himself why they had to endure so much loss. In the midst of the pain, God brought peace and eventual joy through the birth of a daughter.

Asleep in Heaven’s Nursery includes the personal story of losing a child and offers comfort for grieving parents, addressing questions such as the following:

– When is a baby considered a life?

– Is my baby really in heaven?

– What will my baby look like in heaven?

– Is there an age of accountability?

– Is God punishing me?

– Is adoption really a good alternative to abortion?

– Can I be forgiven for my abortion?

Each issue is thoroughly addressed and given concrete scriptural and logical support. As one who has found hope picturing his lost children Asleep in Heaven’s Nursery, Tommy Mann brings a powerful message of renewal and consolation.

Purchase & Learn More!

Purchase Asleep in Heaven’s Nursery [$13.00] 

Blog: Follow Tommy Mann Ministries!

Shop: Purchase Asleep in Heaven’s Nursery & check out other products from Tommy Mann Ministries!

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Thanksgiving Tales: True Stories of the Holiday in America [Book Review]

  Thanksgiving Tales - Book Review at MamaNYC

If your family is anything like mine, holiday gatherings are more than just a meal. Memories are created, pictures are taken, laughs are shared, and stories are told. We don’t realize it is happening, but we are actually going to laugh about ‘this’ for years to come. Remember that year that Uncle Frank broke the wooden chair and fell on his rear end? How about the Thanksgiving when Aunt Mary burned the turkey and we all had to eat spaghetti and meatballs? These are the memories we may cry over as they are happening, but we will laugh about them next year. 

Thanksgiving Tales: True Stories of the Holiday in America (Edited by Brian D. Jaffe) is a wonderful collection of stories and memories written by 48 different writers across the United States. We will all sit down and (hopefully) enjoy a nice Thanksgiving meal next week, but whose turkey won’t make it out of the oven? Whose cranberry sauce will wind up on the ceiling? Thanksgiving Tales brings us from the NYC rush that I get to experience every year on Thanksgiving: Wake up, get dressed, run to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade, run home, get showered, get dressed – eat, eat, eat. Sleep. (Yes, this is a true NYC Thanksgiving) Other stories bring us into middle America for a country farmhouse-style Thanksgiving. 

One of my favorite stories in this book is titled "Not Just Another Thanksgiving", which is a tale of an Iowan family that is forced to experience a NYC Thanksgiving. Their daughter is a college student in NYC and decides the trip back home for only four short days isn’t worth it. Mom, dad, and brother take the journey to NYC – it is the only right thing to do, after all! I was laughing at the writers explanation of NYC and her expectations as an Iowa resident versus what he actually received in Manhattan:

 "…in New York, ‘roomy with two queen beds’ translates to ‘one bed and a blow-up mattress crammed next to it on the floor,’ for anyone from out-of-state. We were thankful that it was oh, so . . . cozy. We were really thankful it included a tiny private reading room with a toilet."

Although the family doesn’t seem to have a wonderful experience here in New York City for Thanksgiving, I think stories like these are memories we can take on forever. I have a handful of terrible holiday stories that I cherish. While some people sit and mope over the turkey burning or another event that seems like the ‘end of the world’, I actually enjoy these happenings (call me crazy, if you must!). 

From Some of the humorous and funny Thanksgiving stories describe chaos and mishaps of meal preparation, family arguments and first-time hosts—all disasters then, but now looked upon with laughter. Other inspirational Thanksgiving stories recount family traditions, meaningful moments, memorable guests and hosts, remembering those no longer with us and being alone for the day. There are even some stories about out-and-out hating the holiday. Thanksgiving Tales is a reflection of Americans, as much as it is a look at the holiday.

It is a testament to the importance of the holiday that Americans will go to great lengths for Thanksgiving—spending money to travel long distances or taking days to prepare meals, sometimes only to find themselves seated next to the weird cousin or sick all night from bacteria-laden food. Yet, it’s done all over again the next year.

What kind of holiday will you have this year? Whether your Thanksgiving or Christmas meal is perfect or destroyed, remember that we are building memories. Head on over to and purchase your own copy of this book to read more hilarious stories. You will laugh, cry, and shake your head because the stories are either A) exactly like your family; B) helping you appreciate your family even more!

Thanksgiving Tales: True Stories of the Holiday in America is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or eBook format for Kindle, iPad, and Nook!





Gratitude Giveaways: Francesca of Lost Nation [Ends 11/27]

  Gratitude Giveaways Blog Hop

Francesca of Lost Nation by Lucinda Sue Crosby

Welcome to Gratitude Giveaways! This giveaway hop event includes 318 different blog participants. There are PLENTY of amazing prizes to be won and I hope each of you has the time to go through the entire list. You will not only have a lot of fun, but also increase your chances to win a lot of great prizes that each blog has up for grabs! This event will run from November 17 – 27, 2011 @ 11:59PM. Giveaway is open to residents in the US & Canada; 18+. 

One lucky winner is going to receive a copy of Lucinda Sue Crosby’s latest book, Francesca of Lost Nation. Click here to read my full review of this heartwarming, captivating, and perfectly written book by Lucinda. Or, read below for a small snippet just to get an idea of this prize. 

Lucinda Sue Crosby, former Hollywood actress (Pretty Woman, Beaches, Frankie & Johnny, and more), has recently published Francesca of Lost Nation, which has most recently won three literary awards. Lucinda is also known as a recorded Nashville songwriter, professional athlete, award-winning journalist, commissioned poet, and winner of various environmental awards. Plus, she is also Roy Roger’s Goddaughter, which is just another perk to her already fantastic resume of experience and qualifications. 

Francesca of Lost Nation is the story of a 59-year old woman and her granddaughter, Sarah, during the summer of 1947 "with the wounds and sacrifices of World War II still too fresh in everyone’s minds". The story is set in a small village called Lost Nation, Iowa. We are introduced to these characters and learn of their close friendship as best friends. 

This story is told from Sarah’s viewpoint as she spends her summer with her grandmother. Her parents have won a trip to Europe and she will gain a great deal of knowledge, experience, and understanding while staying with her grandmother, Francesca. As a young woman that considers herself to be especially close and best friended with her own grandmother, I found this story to be remarkably heartwarming, close-to-home, and impressive. Book Description: "Unconventional, daring and intelligent Francesca, and her resourceful 10-year old granddaughter, Sarah, embrace the adventures of a lifetime over the summer of 1947 in Lost Nation, Iowa. Together, they enchant barnstorming pilots,  wow Clinton County Fair goers, confront an escaped felon, conquer the skies, discover how Lost nation got its intriguing name and demonstrate to one another the greatest truth about love. 

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