The Supreme Macaroni Company by Adriana Trigiani — 4.5/5 stars

I don’t know where I’ve been and why I’ve not heard of Adriana Trigiani but here is an author I can’t get enough of. Actually, I think I have read her before, but until I re-read her Big Gap book, I’m not positive. Funny how that happens. This book was kind of surreal for me because it mentioned places I had actually been while traveling from Indiana to New Jersey. And this is the same time I read the book. I spent the night in Youngstown, Ohio on my journey there and back and that’s where the Macaroni Company ends up being. So odd for it to mention several other locations I actually knew about. Ever have that happen? And it also has scenes in Italy. Which is one of my fantasy vacation spots. And then there’s the patient, older, Italian husband who is romantic and an excellent lover. <sigh> Anyway, as secular market books go, I loved this one. What’s not to love about shoes and romance and pasta? I love reading about families who have strong ethnic ties. Being very, very, very American, I don’t have those types of traditions. So I enjoy living vicariously through those who do in books. This isn’t a book I’d normally pick up and I wasn’t sure I’d like it. And to be honest, I was thinking, if a new author wrote it, no one would publish it. It’s not hooky for one thing. And it doesn’t have a spell-binding plot. But there’s just something about the main character, Valentine, that makes you want to know what happens to her next. I’m excited to read more of Trigiani’s books. I’m packing seven or so of them to take with me on vacation week after next. For one thing, she writes southern fiction, too, which made the fact that this book (and I think this is a sequel to some others) are set in NYC. I’ll let you know how it goes. There’s nothing I like more than books. And I absolutely love southern fiction. Next to books I love shoes. This book was a perfect fit. Tweet This: Who knew macaroni and shoes had so much in common?              ...

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The All-Girl Filling Station’s Last Reunion by Fannie Flagg — 5 out of 5 stars

I’m a long, long, long-time Fannie Flagg, author fan. One of my all-time favorite movies is Fried Green Tomatoes. Fannie Flagg wrote that. I love books that explore the lives of women. That’s one of the reasons I wrote my novel, The Pastor’s Wife Wears Biker Boots. I yearn for good girlfriend relationships, but I think they’re really difficult. I think women’s lives are complex as they wrestle with their identity and who they are besides mom and wife. This book is just as funny and fresh as I expected it to be. It’s set in the south, and I  adore southern fiction. (Another reason why I set my novel partly in the south and why my current work in progress is set on the Mississippi.) The main character in this book, Sookie Simmons Poole, has a difficult relationship with her overbearing mother, Lenore. After her children are grown and she’s caring for her aging mother who lives a few houses down, Sookie gets a letter that makes her question everything she knows about herself. The letter introduces us to the Jurdabralinskis of Wisconsin, whose girls were WASPS and flew bombers in WWII! (I never knew women flew bombers in WWII but they did! Stateside, but still!) Not only is the book full of hilarious moments, hearing Flagg read it on the audio version is a treat in itself. I hope it wins a Grammy. I didn’t want the story to end. And when you don’t want a book to end, it’s a jolly good read. I give it 5 out of 5 stars. The only thing I didn’t particularly like is the title. I don’t think it captures the full nature of the book. But maybe they named it this for marketing reasons. I think Sookie’s Journey or The Incredible Journey of Fritzie and Sookie or some such moniker as those would have been a better fit. I hope they make this book into a movie. It’d be swell. Tweet this: Fannie Flagg’s Filling Station book earns 5 out of 5...

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Today is my birthday!

Today is my 53rd birthday! In some ways it freaks me out that I’m heading toward old lady status, but in some ways I’m happy because I know a lot of people don’t get to live this long on earth! I’m thankful today that I’m still alive and healthy. In honor of my birthday I’m giving away a free copy of my book, The Pastor’s Wife Wears Biker Boots. I know some of my readers already have a copy, so maybe you’d like to win a copy to give to someone else? I am giving away the format of your choice — autographed print or digital. Click to order Here’s how you can win. You get an entry for each item you complete: 1. Sign up for my newsletter. You can do that on my homepage in the upper right-hand corner. 2. Sign up for my blog posts. You can do that on this page in the upper right-hand corner. 3. Tweet about this giveaway by clicking the tweet below. 4. Post this post on Facebook using the Facebook link below. 5. Pinterest this post on Pinterest by using the Pinterest button below. 6. Google+ this post using the Google+ button below. 7. Post this on on LinkedIn using the LinkedIn button below. 7. Blog about this on your blog and post the link in your comments below. If your link isn’t allowed in the comments, email them to me at kkakins@gmail.com 8. In the comments below, let me know how many of the above items you participated in. I’ll trust you! Please allow three to four weeks for delivery of your prize as I will be out of town until mid-June. Have fun! And thanks for helping me celebrate my 53rd birthday! Tweet this: Help @KarlaAkins celebrate her birthday by winning a free...

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Introducing inspirational author, Paula Mowery

From the time I met Paula online, I’ve felt a kinship with her as a pastor’s wife and homeschool Mama. I’m very pleased to have the opportunity to introduce my readers to her wonderful writing! Paula is a pastor’s wife and a former homeschool mom to a daughter who just started Liberty University Online. She works part-time as an assistant in a Pre-K and is a published author, speaker, and acquisitions editor for Prism Book Group. Paula, I’m so happy to have you here today on my blog. Please tell my readers about your writing space! (I don’t know why I’m intrigued by people’s writing caves but I am!) Where do you write? My husband calls it my writing hole. I have a wonderful L-shaped desk in a back extra bedroom. It is somewhat like being in a hole since it is at the end of the house away from everyone and most distractions. On one side of the L is my laptop. On the other side is stacked notes and lists of my present projects for writing and editing. Sounds fantastic. What is your process? (Spreadsheets, Snowflake, Lists/Outlines, Seat of the pants?) I’m what you might call a combo writer, meaning that I’m not totally seat of the pants but also not a big outliner. I normally get an idea and scratch it out on a piece of paper, putting it into a file. As I have other ideas for that story, I will add notes to that file. I usually make a short list about what the story is about, who it is about, and where it is headed. When I’m ready to start writing, I skim my lists and notes and then take off. I’m categorized as old-school because I write out my stories first in spiral notebooks. The only things I can compose directly on the computer are articles and blogs. I just can’t write a novel that way. I use notebooks, too, but usually when I’m on the run. Tell us about your book, Be The Blessing. My novella, Be The Blessing, released on September 13th. The main character in this book is a pastor’s wife named Addy. She wants to follow what God would have her to do but struggles when God asks her to be a blessing to others even when she is suffering through trials of her own. Another title, Brave New Century, released November 14th. This is an anthology of four stories set in cities in the 1900’s. My story is called “Forgiven” and is particularly special to me because of a scene that I included that really happened to my paternal grandfather. Why will readers want to read these?...

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