Monday, 30 January 2023

The Key to Circus-Mom Highway by Allyson Rice


Book Details:

Book Title:  The Key to Circus-Mom Highway by Allyson Rice
Category:  Adult Fiction (18+) ,  270 pages
GenreContemporary Fiction, Women's Fiction
PublisherThe Total Human Press
Release date:   Jan 3, 2023
Content RatingPG-13 + M because one of the characters swears a lot, and she drops some f-bombs. Also, there are short flashback scenes that reveal the mom's history and it includes rape (not graphically depicted in the novel)
Book Description:

In an attempt to secure an unexpected inheritance—and hopefully find a few answers—two estranged sisters and their newly discovered brother embark on a comically surreal trip through the Deep South to retrace the life of the mother who abandoned them as infants.

On a Tuesday afternoon, sisters Jesse Chasen and Jennifer McMahon receive a phone call notifying them that their birth mother has died, leaving behind a significant inheritance. But in order to obtain it, they must follow a detailed road trip she designed for them to get to know her—and that includes finding a brother they never knew existed.

For the next week, this ill-assorted trio treks across Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia to meet their mother’s old friends, from circus performers to a juke joint owner, each of whom delivers a shocking vignette into the life of a young mother traumatized by loss and abuse. Along the way, these three siblings—Jesse, whose fiery exterior disguises a wounded, drifting musician stuck in a rut; Jennifer, whose carefully curated family life is threatened by her husband’s infidelity; and Jack, whose enigmatic Jackie, Oh! persona in the New Orleans drag queen scene helps him escape the nightmares of Afghanistan that haunt him at night—must confront their own demons (and at least one alligator). But in chasing the truth about their real mother, they may all just find their second chance.

​This uproarious debut novel is a reminder that sometimes, the family you’d never have chosen may turn out to be exactly what you need.
Buy the Book:
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add to goodreads

I'm a sucker for a quirkily titled novel and Allyson Rice's The Key to Circus-Mom Highway certainly fits the bill on that score. A tale of familial and of self discovery, it follows a week long treasure hunt across the southern USA as Angie's now-adult children follow in her life's footsteps, learning about the mother who abandoned them many years before. For such a seriously themed story, The Key to Circus-Mom Highway was a surprisingly engaging read. It has a light humour that counters dark episodes (which some readers could find triggering). Having had no contact with their mother and having received minimal information about her from their adoptive parents, the children have preconceived ideas about why Angie chose not to be a part of their lives. These, of course, turn out to be inaccurate and I appreciated how the story ably demonstrates the need to walk in someone else's shoes before second-guessing their motivations.

Meet the Author:

Allyson Rice is a writer, mixed media artist, and a producer with Atomic Focus Entertainment, currently splitting her time between Los Angeles, CA, and Rehoboth Beach, DE. She’s a graduate of Northwestern University with a Bachelor of Science in Communication. After spending many years as an actress on stage and on television, she left acting and spent the next decade running yoga/meditation retreats, women’s retreats, and creativity retreats around the country. After that, she pivoted to focus on her own creative work. In addition to her writing and art, she’s also a photographer.

Some random bits of Allyson trivia:
  1. She’s been skydiving, paragliding, bungee jumping, ziplining through a rainforest, and scuba diving with stingrays;
  2. she has an extensive PEZ dispenser collection;
  3. she played Connor Walsh on As the World Turns for seven years;
  4. she’s been in the Oval Office at the White House after hours;
  5. she’s related to the Hatfields of the infamous Hatfield/McCoy feud; and
  6. her comedic rap music video “Fine, I’ll Write My Own Damn Song” won numerous awards in the film festival circuit. 

Also available from Allyson is her line of women’s coloring books (The Color of JoyDancing with Life, and Wonderland), and The Creative Prosperity PlayDeck, an inspirational card deck about unlocking and utilizing your creative energy in the world. They’re available on

She’s currently at work on her second novel and her fourth women’s coloring book.

Also, anyone who signs up for Allyson’s periodic author newsletter on her website will be entered in a drawing to have a character in her next novel named after them, and a free book will be given away in each newsletter to a subscriber!

connect with the author: website Allyson Wonderland ~ twitter ~ facebook ~ instagram ~ instagram ~ instagram pinterest ~ goodreads bookbub

Enter the Giveaway:
Win a signed copy of The Key to Circus-Mom Highway by Allyson Rice (one winner) (USA only) (ends Feb 24)
The Key to Circus-Mom Highway by Allyson Rice Book Tour Giveaway

Thursday, 26 January 2023

BLOOMING ROSE BLASTS OFF! by Lauren Piland + Author Interview

Book Details:

Book Title:  BLOOMING ROSE BLASTS OFF! by Lauren Piland
Category:  Children's Fiction (Ages 3-7),  38 pages
Genre:  Children's Picture Book
Publisher:  Mascot Books
Release date:   Jan 10, 2023
Content Rating:  G for all kids.
Book Description:

Rose loves to write, draw, and play―but what happens when she has to face a project she’s never done before?! With encouragement from her best friend, Brady, and some brainstorming with Dad, does Rose’s rocket launcher project turn out to be less than stellar or out of this world?!

Meet the Author:

As a former second grade and elementary art teacher, Lauren Piland is a Louisiana native turned Texas homesteader who knows the importance of engaging read-alouds both in class and at home. After taking a step back from the classroom to raise her second child, she realized the gap some campuses face between the undersupported emotional struggles of students and the overwhelming responsibilities of teachers. “When we can use tools such as books and relatable characters to open up those more meaningful conversations, both at home and in the classroom, it aids in that process of peeling back layers of getting to know each other better and building trust,” says Piland. “Children need to feel seen, feel heard, and feel protected. And we do that by tapping into our emotions.”

Piland also wanted to further support teachers by including ready-to-use, curriculum-based exercises to go along with each book that focus on learning objectives such as reading comprehension strategies, vocabulary building and word mechanics exercises, writing prompts, whole group projects and STEM exercises with differentiated versions for students in Pre-K all the way to fourth grade.

connect with the author: website ~ facebook ~ instagram ~ pinterest ~ youtube

Author Interview with Lauren Piland

Q. What do you think readers would like most about this book?
A. I hope readers like a lot of things about this book! But if I had to pick one take away, it would be that they can relate to our character Rose, and that’s it’s ok not to be the best at everything, or have every project come easily. Hard work is worth the time, patience, and effort in achieving something new!

Q. What are some discussions parents can have after reading your book?
A. As a teacher, we’re taught prompting techniques to ask students before, during and after reading a text, and I thought they were so valuable to enhance comprehension and connections when reading a story like this, that I decided to include prompts and conversation starters in the beginning and end of the story. Mainly asking if there was a time that they’ve felt in a similar situation, how did they handle it, and if they could go through it again, would they react the same way, etc…

Q. What is the next book in your series? 
A. Up next for our series is Blooming Rose Finds Her Jam. Growing up and even now, I’ve always felt a strong connection to music, and the ways it can elevate or ease your moods depending on how you’re feeling. I think it’s nice hearing lyrics of someone who’s felt similar to the way you might be feeling, or simply being able to let the beat move through you. In this story Rose and her best friend Brady experience just that - the power of music! 

Q. What has been the most surprising thing along this publication journey? 
A. The biggest surprise along this journey has been the overwhelming support and camaraderie among picture book authors, in particular self- or hybrid- published authors. We’re small business owners. And we’re having to navigate this steep learning curve, with not only writing and publishing, but marketing and financing, and everything in between, and I’ve come across nothing but positive, helpful and supportive authorpreneurs along the way! And timelines. Everything takes longer than you think! ;) 

Q. What’s a favorite hobby of yours?
A. The older I get the more I love and appreciate the time I get to take for myself. Whether it’s doing yoga, getting a massage, reading a couple chapters of a book, listening to my fav crime podcast (Crime Junkie), or just treating myself to an iced coffee from a small town shop, I really try to turn my mom/author brain off when I can and just rest & relax in the moment. So yea, basically any time I get to do that!  

Thank you, Lauren!

Enter the Giveaway:
Win a Signed copy of Blooming Rose Blasts Off. Open to the USA only until the 6th February.

Thursday, 19 January 2023

Lulu and Malek sail off to sea! by June Foster and Rob Scheer

Book Details:

Book Title:  Lulu and Malek Sail Off to Sea! by June Foster and Rob Scheer
Category:  Children's Fiction (ages 3 to 7), 32 pages
Genre:  Children's Book
Publisher:  Hubble & Hattie
Release date:   August 23, 2022
Content Rating:  G.  The book is designed for children between 3-7 years of age.
Book Description:

Adventurous friends Lulu and Malek make fantastic discoveries, take care of our planet, and meet new friends as they explore the wonders of the world under the sea. With vibrant illustrations and endearing characters, this fun-to-read rhyming book is sure to be a children's favorite that they will want to read over and over again! Add this fun-filled and inspiring book to your home or class library! It will be enjoyed by children who love adventure, a good laugh, and want to learn more about the sea and conservation.
Buy the Book:
Amazon B&N ~ BAM
Indigo AbeBooks IndieBound
add to Goodreads
Meet the Authors:

Just a bit about me. I live in Arizona, but for most of the year, I travel across our beautiful earth as a deckhand and yoga instructor in the yachting industry. I love the serenity of the sea, exploring treasured caves, hiking through lush green forests, immersing myself in different cultures, and meeting new friends. I recently launched an online retail store ( that offers conservation and yachtie inspired designs through my Sea Our Love and Silent Whispers Collections. You can also purchase a Personalized Signed Copy of my books on my online store, or please visit to learn more!

​My co-author, Rob Scheer and I have completed two beautifully illustrated, heartfelt children's books. Rob is the Founder and CEO of Comfort Cases. Since 2013, Comfort Cases set out on a mission to eliminate the use of trash bags and provide children entering the foster system with brand new essential and comfort items. To date, Comfort Cases has positively impacted over 110,000 children, and has recently opened a chapter in the United Kingdom. For each book purchased of Lulu and Malek Sail Off to Sea, we will donate one book to Comfort Cases.

connect with the authors: website twitter facebook instagram instagram ~ goodreads

Author Spotlight:  Rob Scheer by June N. Foster
Did you know my co-Author, Rob Scheer was named one of CNN’s Heroes in 2018? 

Rob’s journey to this well-deserved award is truly inspirational and I’d love to share with you a few insights. Sadly, the story of his youth is heartbreaking. As a child, his parents were drug users, drinkers and abusers. They thought it funny holding a gun up to young Rob’s head.
At 12 years old, Rob was sent to foster care. The authorities asked him to pack up his belongings in a trash bag. Rob was alone, scared and felt similar to the trash bag he held in his small hand. At 18, he had aged out and his foster family kicked him to the sidewalk. Rob survived day-by-day, never knowing when his next meal would be or where he would sleep at night. Yet, despite his tragic childhood, something deep inside Rob kept his hope and perseverance alive. He joined the US Navy and launched a successful corporate career. Many years later, he met his husband Reece and soon they welcomed five children from the foster care system.
Horrific memories came back to Rob upon seeing his children arrive with trash bags in hand. He wondered how this could still be happening 30 years later. It touched him to the core. The below quote moved me deeply and puts into perspective how a foster child may feel carrying a trash bag, with the devastating possibility that he or she may feel “disposable.” 
“It’s just not acceptable that any child should carry their belongings in something that we all throw our trash in and dispose of.” - Rob Scheer
In 2013, the Scheer family set out on a mission to eliminate the use of trash bags in the foster care system and provide children entering the system with brand new essential and comfort items. To date, Comfort Cases has provided comfort and care to over 200,000 children in the foster care system in the United States and the United Kingdom.

“Every child deserves to pack their belongings in a special bag that they can call their very own. Every child deserves to have a cozy new pair of pajamas, a brand-new warm blanket, and a new stuffed animal to hug during the traumatic transition into foster care. -
Today, Rob travels the country to share his story and advocate for youth in foster care. Rob and Comfort Cases has been featured on The Ellen Show, The Today Show, The View and NBC Nightly News. In 2018, he published his memoir in 2018: A Forever Family: Fostering Change One Child at a Time. 
I was virtually introduced to Rob many years ago by a mutual friend who gave me a copy of Rob’s book. After reading his story, and learning more about Rob and Comfort Cases, I reached out to him. I wanted to help by providing a children’s book for each comfort case for young children. Together we wrote Lulu and Malek Sail Off to Sea! For each book purchased, we donate one to Comfort Cases. The theme of the story was inspired by our shared love of the sea, conservation, and keeping our planet green. Each child is precious, and the thought of our story being read by children fills our hearts with immense happiness. For more information about Comfort Cases, please visit:
Please share with us the Non-Profit organization that you support – We would love to hear!

Enter the Giveaway:

Win a signed copy of LULU AND MALEK SAIL OFF TO SEA and a $100 American Express Gift Card (one winner) (USA only) (ends Feb 3)

Lulu and Malek Sail Off to Sea! Book Tour Giveaway

Tuesday, 10 January 2023

Leave Your Sh*T Here: Write, Release and Destroy by Jackie Wallace & Elizabeth Reed

Join us for this tour from Jan 10 to Jan 23, 2023!

Book Details:

​Book Title:  Leave Your Sh*T Here: Write, Release and Destroy by Jackie Wallace & Elizabeth Reed
Category:  Adult Non-Fiction (18+),  64 pages
Genre: Self-Help
Publisher:  Yorkshire Publishing
Release date:  January  2023
Content Rating:  PG
Book Description:

Leave Your Sh*T Here received a glowing, 5-star review from Readers’ Favorite

Leave Your Sh*T Here is a workbook that helps people to understand that it's normal to face adversity in life and that in the end, everything will be just fine. The workbook also provides a safe space to release those feelings in confidence and dispose of them in a manner the reader chooses, releasing all emotions privately into the universe, ridding them of all toxic thoughts and feelings.

Besides being a book with facts and best practices with highlighted topics, Leave Your Sh*t Here provides teachable moments covering subjects such as inner strength, how to face emotions, self-reliance, and investing in yourself.
Amazon ~ B&N
Meet the Authors:

Jackie Wallace is a serial entrepreneur, author, and podcaster. With over 35 years of leading and coaching people and over 250 interviews as a podcaster, she enjoys exploring how everyday people figure out their purpose and pursue it. Her superpower is curiosity which makes her an avid learner. Wallace has embraced her failures and learned to rewrite the narratives acknowledging the blessings in the lessons. In addition to business, she is a wife and mother of three.

connect with the author: facebook