Tuesday, September 13, 2016

*Blog Tour* Guest Post, Review & Giveaway: Saving Phoebe Murrow by Herta Feely

Saving Phoebe Murrow by Herta Feely


A timeless story of mothers and daughters with a razor-sharp 21st century twist, this heart-wrenching debut for fans of Kimberly McCreight (Reconstructing Amelia) and Liane Moriarity (Big Little Lies) will make you question how you and your family spend time online.
With Saving Phoebe Murrow, acclaimed writer and longtime children’s activist Herta Feely introduces readers to Isabel Murrow: a suburban mother precariously balancing her busy career as a D.C. lawyer and her family, who she would do anything to protect. In a world of bullies and temptations, all Isabel wants is to keep her thirteen-year-old daughter, Phoebe, safe. But with her hectic schedule, Isabel fails to recognize another mother’s mounting fury and the danger her daughter faces by flirting with a mysterious boy online. A cyber-bulling incident aimed at Phoebe, with horrific consequences, finally pushes Isabel to the edge.
Smartly paced and equal parts shocking and sadly familiar, Saving Phoebe Murrow is a riveting addition to the contemporary women’s fiction landscape that will resonate with parents, teens, and anyone compelled by timely and beautifully crafted stories.


Saving Phoebe Murrow [Upper Hand Press, September 2 2016] is available in paperback and e-book formats via all online and select brick-and-mortar book retailers. Get your copy today on Amazon.


written by Herta Feely

These days it’s so easy to dash off an email or a text to someone, even someone you hardly know. That’s probably how many affairs begin. Somewhat innocently. And very privately. As I wrote about the affair that one of the characters began to have with another character (I can’t reveal their names without spoiling the story), I realized how much easier it’s gotten when you don’t have to use landlines. And maybe, just maybe, you’re not really thinking when you send that text or email that commits you to a meeting. Or maybe you are. But the point is that in this age of social media there are so many ways to communicate “under the radar.”

First, you connect on Facebook. Just as “friends.” Then you send or receive a private message. Next you connect by email or text, because you’ve asked or been asked for that information. You set up a “date” or a meeting place. If the person isn’t someone you actually know, you really don’t know who you’re going to meet. And when you stop to think about it, that’s incredibly dangerous. Or could be.

And that’s part of the premise behind Saving Phoebe Murrow. A young man friends 13-year-old Phoebe on Facebook and almost immediately she’s smitten by his handsome looks. He flirts with her and she flirts back. She’s dying to meet him despite her mother’s admonitions. Who is he? And what does he want, her mother wonders.

A similar story in the Washington Post eight years ago captured my attention (the Megan Meier story). That didn’t end well, because the “boy” wasn’t who he claimed to be and after a cyber-bullying episode the girl committed suicide. In part because of the mob mentality that reigned during that incident. Lots of pent-up frustration can be directed at someone from behind the safety of a computer.

Recently, in Virginia a young girl named Nicole Lovell (13) friended a boy through a Facebook group called Teen Dating and Flirting. That young man, David Eisenhauer (18), later was arrested and charged with her murder.

With the Internet, we are offered connections with people around the world, but we are also faced with entirely new challenges, and that includes questions about how to protect our children, especially as they grow older and become more independent and less likely to listen to their parents. But even for adults the lines of how to conduct ourselves sometimes grow blurred. It’s all worth talking about, and my hope is that Saving Phoebe Murrow will open the door to some of these conversations.  


First of all, seeing as September is Suicide Prevention and Awareness month, this book's release date is entirely on point. Everyone knows that bullying leads to many suicides unfortunately.

I was very excited to read Saving Phoebe Murrow, and I have been reading a lot of different books on bullying this month. The cover is beautiful with the butterfly and the rain hitting the window with the colors dripping down. I don't typically read Domestic dramas, and I have found that I like that genre now!

I thought at first this story would mainly be about the daughter being bullied, but there is so much more! Infidelity, work stress, the difficulties of raising children, past relationships and the influence they have on your life, and the struggle between being a good mother and a good wife.

I flew through this book, and I couldn't put it down. Each chapter ended with my curiosity being peaked and I lost a few hours of sleep! 

At times, the mother, Isobel, really got on my nerves. However, I understood also why she was that way. I thought about my own mother, and how she handled my teenage years. Ron, the husband, was also disappointing as someone I wanted to like at first. Sandy reminded me of some women I have come across and stay away from! I liked Phoebe most of the time, but there were a few times when she gave her mom a lot of grief. Despite liking them or not, they were all relate-able characters. 

The ending to the book was touching, and was a perfect fit. 

I do want to put a warning that there may be triggers affecting some readers, since self-mutilation is involved in the story.

I give this book 5 out of 5 stars, and I recommend it to all adults! 

Thank you to UpperHandBooks, Sarah Miniaci, and of course Herta Feely for a copy of this book for my honest opinion and for the blog tour. 


Herta Feely is a writer, full-time editor, and the co-founder of Safe Kids Worldwide. Her short stories and memoir have been published in anthologies and literary journals, including The Sun, Lullwater Review, The Griffin, Provincetown Arts, and Big Muddy. In the wake of the James Frey scandal, Feely edited and published the anthology, Confessions: Fact or Fiction? Awarded the James Jones First Novel Fellowship and an Artist in Literature Fellowship from the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities for The Trials of Serra Blue, she has also received an award from American Independent Writers for best published personal essay for a piece on immigration. Feely is a graduate of UC Berkeley and Johns Hopkins University. She has two grown sons and lives in Washington, DC, with her husband and cats. Connect with Herta on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads and her website: http://www.hertafeely.com/


One paperback copy of Saving Phoebe Murrow by Herta Feely 
US and Canada only

Blog Tour & Playlist: The Tokyo Cover Girls by Jackie Amsden

The Tokyo Cover Girls

Jackie Amsden

(The Tokyo Cover Girls , #1)

Publication date: April 28th 2016

Genres: Mystery, Young Adult

New York has Jacobs, Paris has Chanel, Milan has Versace and Tokyo has . . . Hello Kitty toilet plungers? With its cute-obsessed catalogue and magazine market, anyone who is anyone knows that modeling in Japan means being at the bottom of the fashion industry. Blake, Jess, and Hailey are doing their best to survive yet another casting where pigtails and toddler-impressions are a must when they stumble upon the opportunity of a lifetime. The prestigious Satsujin company has selected them to compete for a campaign that will transform the winner from commercial nobody to haute couture superstar faster than you can say Vogue Italia.
Of course, nothing is ever what it seems in the fashion world. Just ask all those dead girls . .

The Tokyo Cover Girls Playlist

1. Runaway (u and i) -Galantis
2. Faded - Alan Walker
3. This is how we do - Katy Perry
4. Lips are movin - Megan Trainor
5. Applause - Lady Gaga
6. Secrets - One Republic
7. Handclap - Fitz and the tantrums
8. Hot Tonight - Tokyo Police Club
9. Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots – The Flaming Lips

Author Bio:

Jackie Amsden worked as a fashion model in China, Japan, and Taiwan before retiring at the age of eighteen after one too many agent threats, nude photo shoot requests, and self-loathing-induced Pocky binges. If you’d like to learn more about her decent into the darker side of Asia’s candy-coated modeling industry sign up for free installments of her upcoming memoir and get updates about the sequel to The Tokyo Cover Girls at www.jackieamsden.com. 


One (1) ebook copy of The Tokyo Cover Girls. Open internationally.

Release Day Celebration: Poppy Mayberry, The Monday by Jennie K. Brown with Giveaway


Welcome to the Release Day Celebration for
Poppy Mayberry, The Monday by Jennie K. Brown
presented by Tantrum Books/Month9Books!
Be sure to enter the giveaway found at the end of the post!

Happy Book Birthday, Jennie!

Poppy Mayberry Cover

Poppy Mayberry, The Monday by Jennie K. Brown Publication Date: September 13, 2016 Publisher: Tantrum Books

What if your teacher could read your mind just because she was born on a Thursday? Or the kid next to you in class could turn back the clock just because he was a ‘Wednesday”? In the quirky town of Nova, all of this is normal, but one thing is not—Poppy Mayberry. As an almost-eleven-year-old Monday, she should be able to pass notes in class or brush her dog, Pickle, without lifting a finger. But her Monday telekinesis still has some kinks, and that plate of spaghetti she’s passing may just end up on someone’s head. And if that’s not hard enough, practically perfect Ellie Preston is out to get her, and Principal Wible wants to send her to remedial summer school to work on her powers! It’s enough to make a girl want to disappear…if only she were a Friday.
add to goodreads


Excerpt 1 From Chapter 1

The first time I knew for sure I was a Monday was sitting in one of Mrs. Flannagan’s boring English lessons last year in fourth grade. She wanted to know if anyone could tell her the difference between smiles and meteors (that’s what it looked like when I glanced at the board).
Of course, there was no way I could have possibly known the answer because I hadn’t been paying attention. Mark Masters had been picking at his nose for like the last ten minutes, and that always distracted me a little. Total gross fest. Mark’s in my class again this year and I feel sorry for him. Not because he still picks his nose, which he does, but because he is a Saturday. And Saturdays don’t have any special powers.
“Who can tell me?” Mrs. Flannagan asked for the third time now, pushing her bright purple glasses up her bulbous nose. Her face grew pinker by the second.
From the corner of my eye I watched Ellie Preston’s perfect little manicured hand shoot up. She always has the right answers. That’s because she’s a Thursday. And Thursdays read minds. Once, I thought that I wanted to be one too, but decided it would get exhausting always being in other people’s thoughts. Plus, I wouldn’t want to share Thursday with Ellie. I’d rather be forced to spend my evenings at Power Academy, or eat fried cockroaches with anchovy sauce. Yuck. Heck, I’d rather be a Saturday.

Excerpt 2 from Chapter 1

That’s when it got weird. What I imagined actually happened.
In like a millisecond after my thought, the sparkly headband literally flew off her head, without a push, shake, or anything. It smashed on the SMART Board directly behind Mrs. Flannagan. The pieces scattered across the floor. A few of them even hit grossy Mark. His dirty finger immediately pulled out of his nose.
“Who did that?” Ellie’s head whipped around and her hair smacked Veronica in the face. Ellie’s eyes searched down the rows, one by one. She was using her powers on us yet again. But at that point, who was I to comment on using powers? I put her in this position in the first place by using mine. I thought so, at least.
Before she got into my head, I quickly changed to thoughts of my dog Pickle. If Ellie looked in, she would see dog poop and dirty fur. Nothing that could incriminate me for what just happened.
But someone knew it was me. Veronica smirked. I winked back.
“Poppy Mayberry!” Mrs. Flannagan’s nostrils flared as she stomped toward me like a big red bull charging. “How dare you use your powers in this classroom!” Her pudgy hand pointed about a foot above the door to a plaque stating the number-one rule of Nova Elementary: No power usage!
Although I should have been ashamed of the awful trick I had just played, I couldn’t stop the giant smile from spreading across my face. Finally! My telekinesis was here. That’s when I knew that I, Poppy Rose Mayberry, was officially a Monday.

Excerpt 3 Chapter 4

Ellie slouched in the chair and stared at the clock above his head. “I guess I can try to do a better job with them,” she said unconvincingly while twirling a few strands of brown hair around her finger.
Mr. Wible laughed. “You’re going to have to do a little more than try, Ellie. And I’m going to see that you do so.”
He slid the binder across the large desk, and I could now make out the cover. An audible laugh escaped from my lips.
Ellie rolled her eyes, yet again, and sat back up to reach for the binder. “Ohhhh, no, no, no, no, no.” She stood up with hands firmly planted on her hips. “There’s nooo way I am going there.” Her filed finger wiggled at Mr. Wible and then she leaned down and rummaged through her purse. I assumed she was looking for the new rhinestone cell phone she showed off to our entire class last week.
“No use calling them, Ellie. Your parents are in complete agreement,” he said, totally using his own Thursday mind-reading powers on her. “You’re already enrolled in the Academy.”
Her breath came out in quick, short bursts. “I can’t leave my friends behind. There is no way I am going to that place …” she stuttered, “… alone.”
“Oh, you won’t be attending Power Academy alone,” Mr. Wible reassured her. That’s when his beady eyes meet mine. I panicked, sure of the words that were about to fly from his mouth. Knowing that I, too, needed a whole lot of work in the whole Monday power department.
“Poppy Mayberry will be joining you.”
Ugh. These were going to be the longest weeks of my life. 

jennie-k-brownJennie K. Brown is a high school English teacher by day, freelance magazine writer by night, and middlegrade/young adult author by late-night and weekend. When she isn’t teaching or writing, Jennie can be found reading a good book, traveling, or spending time with her awesome husband, amazing son and super-spoiled yorkie.In 2010, the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) named Jennie the Pennsylvania English teacher of excellence, and she currently serves as President of the Pennsylvania Council for Teachers of English and Language Arts (PCTELA). She is also an active member of SCBWI, NCTE and ALAN.

Complete the Rafflecopter below for a chance to win!

Giveaway Information: Contest ends September 30, 2016

One (1) winner will receive a scrabble tile book cover charm (US ONLY)
Five (5) winners will receive a digital copy of Poppy Mayberry, The Monday by Jennie K. Brown (INT)

Release Day Celebration: Operation Tenley by Jennifer Gooch Hummer with Giveaway


Welcome to the Release Day Celebration for
Operation Tenley by Jennifer Gooch Hummer
presented by Month9Books!
Be sure to enter the giveaway found at the end of the post!

Happy Book Birthday, Jennifer!

Operation Tenley cover

Operation Tenley (The Fair City Files #1) 
by Jennifer Gooch Hummer 
Publication Date: September 13, 2016 
Publisher: Month9Books

Meet Tenley Tylwyth, an Elemental Teen born with the power to produce weather. Cool? Not really. Elementals who can create weather make Mother Nature angry. It’s time she got rid of them. Only one thing is standing in her way—Fair Ones. These ancestors of fairies keep kids like Tenley safe, but when rookie Fair One, Pennie, fails to do so, she’s forced to travel to Earth—a place where no Fair One wants to go. Now, Pennie has forty-eight hours to convince Tenley to give up her power. It won’t be so easy. Tenley’s got a way with wind. And after falling deep into Mother Nature’s gardens, where trees grow upside down and insects attack on command, a little wind might be just what Tenley needs to survive. Even if it kills her.
add to goodreads



Chapter 15

Mrs. Tylwyth stepped into Tenley’s room. “Actually, it’s a good thing you called. I forgot my catalogues anyway. Have you seen them anywhere?”
“You mean these?” Tenley looked up from the other side of the bed. Two pom-poms made of shredded paper were clutched in her hands. She clapped them together.
Tenley. You said you had to come home because you ate a bad waffle.” Mrs. Tylwyth crossed her arms and frowned. “I left the store halfway open.”
“I’m sorry, Mom. But I didn’t think you’d let me come home if I told you the truth.”
“Which is?” Mrs. Tylwyth smoothed down the end of Tenley’s bedding before she sat.
“Cheerleading auditions. They’re today and I needed pom-poms. I didn’t want you to have to go buy me some real ones, so I made these. I might even use them in my nail tutorials.”
“Cheerleading? Why would they be holding auditions at the end of the school year?”
It was a little weird, considering it was June. “All I know is that this really cute guy was setting up auditions with Mr. Frimpy and told me I could audition too. Anyway, it’s the perfect place to get more votes.”
“Honey,” Mrs. Tylwyth started.
“Don’t worry, Mom,” Tenley brushed out a pom-pom. “I’m going to get it.”
“This is a small town, Tenley. These teens that you’re watching, the ones that actually get onto the show and win the nominations, they’re from big cities. ANMIT only takes one teen from each state. And these kids have moms and dads who work in big companies where they can get lots of votes, not at their own antique shop. I might only get one or two walk-ins a day, honey, and even though I put your signs up, well, I just don’t want you to be heartbroken.”
“I’m not going to be heartbroken; I’m going to be nominated.” Tenley clapped her pom-poms and stood. “I made these out of your Secret Antique Finds catalogues. I mean, am I inspirational or what?”
“A paper tutu, too?” Mrs. Tylwyth chuckled.
Tenley swiveled her hips. “Cool, huh?”
“How did you know how to make all that?”
“YouTube, Mom. DIY.”
Mrs. Tylwyth couldn’t help but look impressed.
“So you’re not mad at me?”
“No, I’m still mad, Tenley. And you’ll have to pay me back for those catalogues. But you are pretty clever.”
“Can you take me back to school now please?”
“Let’s go.” Mrs. Tylwyth walked to the door. “I hope this rain stops soon or I’m afraid you’ll be wearing a soggy ball of paper for a tutu.”
“It won’t rain on us,” Tenley said glancing out the window confidently. “I promise.”

Chapter 18

Something sharp was jabbing into her side. Pennie opened her eyes.
Poking her.
Real branches.
The kind that could only be found on Earth.
Pennie jolted upright and hit the ground.
She moaned. She’d landed in a tree. The one she’d just fallen out of.
Her head felt like it was splitting down the middle. She reached for her tool belt before remembering she didn’t have it. She lifted her wrist to look at her stopwatch, before remembering she didn’t have that either.
“Gavron?” Pennie whispered. “Gavron?”
But Gavron was not there. And there weren’t any slurps or drools coming from anywhere, either.
She tried to stand, but must have forgotten about the house on her back. Or maybe it was a small meteor. Something very heavy was preventing her from standing. She pushed against the ground with all her might and got to her knees.
Gravity, she remembered. That’s what it was.

Chapter 23

Tenley blew a quick breath. A gust of air swirled around Pennie’s hands. “Tenley! Stop!” Pennie pulled her hands back.
“It’s just wind. What are you so afraid of?” Tenley put the screen in place again.
“It’s not just wind. This is exactly why I’m here. You need to stop doing this.”
Tenley grabbed her phone. “Okay, look. I’m sorry that for some reason I can make the wind blow. It’s weird, I know. But it’s also awesome. I’m not hurting anybody. I’m just drying my nails and stuff. So I don’t know why you have to go and get all freaked out about it.”
“Because.” Pennie lowered her voice. “Every time you create wind, you’re putting yourself in danger.” She tapped on her temple, careful not to smudge her nails. The hologram form appeared in front of her. “You need to sign this.”

Chapter 36

Above them, a gigantic pink petal, the size of a hula-hoop, was creaking downwards. Halfway to them, it jerked to a stop. Then it started again. Just as it looked like it was going to land directly on top of Tenley, the petal jerked violently, swung to the right and then to the left, and finally slammed against the tree trunk across from them, nestling itself inside a branch.
“Snail secretions!” a voice from inside yelled. “Need a filter change!”
“Yeah. Um, hello?” Holden ventured.
The same voice fell into a coughing fit.
“Lame-alarm,” Tenley whispered, rolling her eyes.
The petal shifted around until an antique-looking woman, four feet tall at most and wearing a wilted crown of purple flowers and dead branches, popped up.
“You’re so old,” Tenley said.
“Tenley,” Holden warned, except she was right. The woman’s face looked like it had been sketched in with pencil and her faded red hair was piled high under the wilting crown.
The old woman squinted back and forth at both of them. “Fair One or sipLip?” she asked in a raspy voice, pointing a crooked finger.
“Ah—” Holden hesitated.
“Wait. Did you say Fair One?” Tenley asked.
“Which one are you?” the old woman demanded.
“I’m a kid?” Holden answered.
“And you?” She pointed to Tenley.
“A more popular kid?”
The old woman considered them. “Humans. How did you get into my gardens?”
“Yeah, about that,” Holden said. “We don’t know. We were on the Log Ride in another part of the park, and she was about to fall over the edge,” he nodded to Tenley, “the next thing we knew we landed in here instead. Somewhere down there, to be specific.” He pointed through the trees.
The old woman narrowed her eyes. “What do you seek?”
“A lemonade?” Holden smiled. “I’m dying.”
“How convenient,” the old woman said.
Tenley frowned. “I don’t want some stupid lemonade. I got my hair ripped out and my Uggs muddy. I just want to get back to our bus and wait for this whole thing to be over. I have a big night tonight.” She checked on her sash and noticed the new gash in it. “No!” she cried.

Chapter 37

Pennie pulled herself up from the ground and sat on a fallen tree trunk. “Laraby. Where are we? What happened?”
“I can’t be sure,” Laraby answered, brushing himself off and standing. He had a smear of dirt on his face and a few rips in his robes. “But I think we might be in one of her gardens.”
Her? You mean, her her?” Pennie looked around. “We’re in Mother Nature’s garden?”
“I believe so.”


jennifer-gooch-hummerJennifer Gooch Hummer is the award-winning author and screenwriter of her debut novel, Girl Unmoored (SparkPress). Girl Unmoored has also been published in German (Carlsen). Jennifer has worked as a script analyst for various talent agencies and film studios. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and three daughters.

Complete the Rafflecopter below for a chance to win!

Giveaway Information: Contest ends September 30, 2016

One (1) winner will receive a scrabble tile book cover charm (US ONLY)
Five (5) winners will receive a digital copy of Operations Tenley by Jennifer Gooch Hummer (INT)