BeachReads · Blog Tour · Book Reviews · Booksparks · Fiction · Romance · RomCom · WomensFiction

Online Book Tour for ‘Kiss My Cupcake’ by Helena Hunting

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QOTD: Do you have a sweet tooth? (I totally do!) Well, have I got a book that will get your taste buds tingling & your heart swooning!

Thank you @booksparks & @readforeverpub for my gifted copy of Helena Hunting‘s latest rom-com, ‘Kiss My Cupcake‘! This book published on 8/11 by Forever Publishing.

*As two neighborhood shop owners battle for business, they prove opposites attract in this outrageously funny romantic comedy from the USA Today bestselling author of ‘Meet Cute, ‘The Good Luck Charm‘ & over a dozen other novels.

Blaire Calloway has planned every Instagram-worthy moment of her cupcake & cocktails shop launch down to the tiniest detail. What she didn’t plan on? Ronan Knight & his old-school sports bar next door opening on the very same day. He may be super swoony, but Blaire hasn’t spent years obsessing over buttercream & bourbon to have him ruin her chance at success.

From axe throwing (his place) to frosting contests (hers), Blaire & Ronan are constantly trying to one-up each other in a battle to win new customers. But with every clash, there’s also an undeniable chemistry. When an even bigger threat to their business comes to town, they’re forced to call a temporary time-out on their own war & work together. And the more time Blaire spends getting to know the real Ronan, the more she wonders if it’s possible to have her cupcake & eat it too.

We actually have one of those axe throwing bars in the next town over & I am still dumbfounded by the very fact that axe throwing while consuming alcohol exists! Cupcakes & adult bev’s, on the other hand…now THAT I am down with!

I just received ‘Kiss My Cupcake‘ a couple days ago & I started reading it that same night! I will probably finish it later today, but so far I am LOVING it! It is hilarious, charming, sexy & very engaging! Hunting does such a great job of creating a sense of place, you can practically smell the buttercream frosting (& bourbon)! I can’t wait to get back to reading it this evening! (& the flavors of cupcakes Blaire whips up in the book will make you drool with confectionery delight!) ‘Meet Cute‘ is also a super engaging, romantic, fun read that I definitely recommend & I will be reading ‘The Good Luck Charm‘ soon, too!

Kiss My Cupcake‘ & Helena’s other books are available now. Look for it at your local indie bookstore today!
(PS: Did you know this Sat is National Independent Book Store Day? What better way to help them celebrate than to support your local (or an online) indie bookstore! You can use BookStoreLink to locate indie bookstores. (PS…Today is the last day to enter the Murderino Monday giveaway on Instagram. Click HERE to go to that post.)

Click HERE to read more about ‘Meet Cute”
Click HERE to read more about ‘The Good Luck Charm’

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Helena Hunting lives outside of Toronto with her amazing family and her two awesome cats, who think the best place to sleep is her keyboard. She writes all things romance — contemporary, romantic comedy, sports and angsty new adult. Helena loves to bake cupcakes, has been known to listen to a song on repeat 1512 times while writing a book, and if she has to be away from her family, prefers to be in warm weather with her friends.

BeachReads · Book Reviews · Fiction · OwnVoices · Romance · RomCom · YAbooks

Book Review: ‘Dating Makes Perfect’ by Pintip Dunn (pub 8/18)

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Thank you @entangledteen for my gifted copy of ‘Dating Makes Perfect‘ by Pintip Dunn! (pub date 8/18)

QOTD: Do you like reading YA fiction or rom-coms? Which one’s did you love the most & recommend? (Please leave a comment. I love to see other readers recommendations!)

The Tech sisters don’t date in high school. Not because they’re not asked. Not because they’re not interested. Not even because no one can pronounce their long, Thai last name—hence the shortened, awkward moniker. But simply because they’re not allowed.
Until now.

In a move that other Asian American girls know all too well, six months after the older Tech twins got to college, their parents asked, “Why aren’t you engaged yet?” The sisters retaliated by vowing that they won’t marry for ten (maybe even twenty!) years, not until they’ve had lots of the dating practice that they didn’t get in high school.

In a shocking war on the status quo, her parents now insist that their youngest daughter, Orrawin (aka “Winnie”), must practice fake dating in high school. Under their watchful eyes, of course—and organized based on their favorite rom-coms. ’Cause that won’t end in disaster.

The first candidate? The son of their longtime friends, Mat Songsomboon—arrogant, infuriating, and way too good-looking. Winnie’s known him since they were toddlers throwing sticky rice balls at each other. And her parents love him.

If only he weren’t her sworn enemy…

Told in an authentic, Thai-American #ownvoice , ‘Dating Makes Perfect is a contemporary YA rom-com that will warm your heart, make you laugh & sigh out loud, & you may even find yourself GrubHub’ing some local Thai take-out after reading some of the drool-worthy chapters! Culturally immersive, richly layered in emotion, wit, & realistic family dynamics, these complex, well-fleshed out characters will make your heart swoon! And you will adore Winnie & the rest of her sisters!

Overall, a feel-good, coming of age, family dram-com & second chances at love story that you don’t have to be a young adult to enjoy! A perfect summer read!

Click HERE to add ‘Dating Makes Perfect’ to your Goodreads TBR.
Click HERE to visit Pintip Dunn’s website.
Click HERE to visit Pintip’s Instagram page.
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What others are saying about ‘Dating Makes Perfect:

“Dunn, a first-generation Thai American, takes on the enemies-to-lovers romance trope with punchy dialogue and adorable twists while paying tribute to the culture’s prioritization of food and family. A laugh-out-loud YA romance with a smart cast.” – Kirkus Reviews, starred review
 
“Sweet, spunky, witty, and wise – I feel in love with Winnie and her sisters. Pintip has a rare knack of blending action and adventure into a contemporary rom-com that keeps the pages turning.” – Abigail Hing Wen, New York Times bestselling author of LOVEBOAT, TAIPEI
 
“A witty culturally immersive romance with enthralling dialogue and captivating characters… A masterful story about family obligations, first crushes, and second chances.” – Nisha Sharma, award-winning author of MY SO-CALLED BOLLYWOOD LIFE
  
This book made my Thai-American heart soar. Every detail–from the mouth-watering foods to Winnie’s tight-knit but strict Thai family–serve to tell a story that is authentic, layered, and rings so true.“- Christina Soontornvat, author of A WISH IN THE DARK

“A smart, funny, and endearing portrayal of budding romance, the power of sisterly love, and the pressure to be the perfect daughter.” – Farrah Rochon, USA Today Bestselling author of The Boyfriend Project 
 
“A delicious rom-com concoction that immerses readers in a Thai teen drama they’ll adore. Add a pinch of sister envy, the cute guy you love to hate, immigrant parent dynamics, a few kaffir lime leaves, and you’ll get a dish that’ll keep you entertained until the last page.” – Lydia Kang, award-winning author of Young Adult Fiction 
 
“Bubbling over with charisma and charm, DATING MAKES PERFECT is a swoontasm of adorable characters, sparkling wit, and captivating Thai culture. You will totally want to date this book!” – Darcy Woods, award-winning author of SUMMER OF SUPERNOVAS
 
“An absolute feast for readers. The characters are deliciously complex, the family dynamics are rich and intense, and the tension between the main character Winnie and her enemy Mat is drool-worthy. This book will completely quench your hunger for a believable enemies to lovers rom-com!” – Becky Wallace, author of STEALING HOME and FAR FROM NORMAL

“So. Much. Fun! Pintip Dunn’s rom-com is an authentic, hilarious and irresistible love letter to Thai culture–not to mention desserts. Foodies, be warned–don’t read this on an empty stomach!” – Vanessa Barneveld, award-winning author of THIS IS YOUR AFTERLIFE and THE ABDUCTION 
 

A first-generation Thai American, Pintip Dunn grew up in a tiny town in Kansas. She went on to graduate from Harvard , magna cum laude, with an A.B. & to receive her J.D. at Yale Law School.
Pintip is a two-time RITA® award winner & a NYTimes bestselling author of young adult fiction. Her books have been translated into four languages, & they have been nominated for numerous awards, including the Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award & a Kirkus Best Book of the Year.
She’s obsessed with penguins, & her childhood dream was to marry someone whose last name was “Gwynn”―so that her name could be “Pin Gwynn.” Alas, she got stuck with Dunn instead, but her husband & 3 children are worth the sacrifice. They all visit Thailand yearly in order to stay connected with her family.

BeachReads · Book Reviews · Fiction · RomCom

Book review: ‘Loathe at First Sight’ by Suzanne Park

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Thank you @booksforwardpr @avonbooks for my gifted copy of ‘Loathe at First Sight‘ by Suzanne Park! (pub 8/18)

Melody Joo is thrilled to land her dream job as a video game producer, but her new position comes with challenges: an insufferable CEO; sexist male coworkers; & an infuriating—yet distractingly handsome—intern, Nolan MacKenzie, aka “the guy who got hired because his uncle is the boss.”

Just when Melody thinks she’s made the worst career move of her life, her luck changes. While joking with a friend, she creates a mobile game that has male strippers fighting for survival in a post-apocalyptic world. Suddenly Melody’s “joke” is her studio’s most high-profile project—& Melody’s running the show.

When Nolan is assigned to Melody’s team, she’s sure he’ll be useless. But as they grow closer, she realizes he’s smart & sexy, which makes Melody want to forget he’s her intern. As their attraction deepens, she knows it’s time to pump the brakes, even with her Korean parents breathing down her neck to hurry up & find a man.

With her project about to launch, Melody suddenly faces a slew of complications, including a devastating trolling scandal. Could the man she’s falling hard for help her play the game to win—in work & in love?

So, this book is not really what it appears to be from the blurb or cover. It’s about 15% funny, rom-com about a Korean woman in the gaming  industry w/ a charming enemies-to-lovers story woven in.

The other 85% is more “let’s get the reader fired up w/ some real, hard hitting, serious issues” such as: toxic work environment, racism, harassment, discrimination, humiliation by co-workers, stalking, online trolls who threaten violence, cyberbullying & misogyny. (The photo comment above & below from the publisher are somewhat misleading. Smart- yes! Hilarious- here & there, maybe.)

I enjoyed ‘Loathe at First Sight’, but it did make me angry & triggered memories from the past where I, too, dealt w/ several of the above issues. I am not a gamer (wait, does Words w/ Friends count?), so learning about the industry was fun. Overall I thought the book was well-written, insightful, & very thought-provoking & I really rooted for Melody & her fight against the patriarchy in a male dominated work place.

Also featured in my Instagram post (pictured at top of blog post) is Park’s other 2020 new release, ‘The Perfect Escape‘, which published in April from Sourcebooks Fire.

The Perfect Escape‘ is a hysterical comedy about a teen boy who teams up with his crush to enter a survivalist competition, only to discover that love is its own battlefield.

Nate Jae-Woo Kim wants to be rich. When one of his classmates offers Nate a ridiculous amount of money to commit grade fraud, he knows that taking the windfall would help support his prideful Korean family, but is compromising his integrity worth it?

Luck comes in the form of Kate Anderson, Nate’s colleague at the zombie-themed escape room where he works. She approaches Nate with a plan: a local tech company is hosting a weekend-long survivalist competition with a huge cash prize. It could solve all of Nate’s problems, and she needs the money too.

If the two of them team up, Nate has a real shot of winning the grand prize. But the real challenge? Making through the weekend with his heart intact…

A great pick for readers who want:

  • comedy books for teens
  • books for teen boys
  • multicultural books for teens

Editorial reviews for ‘Loathe at First Sight’:

Loathe at First Sight bursts with humor, heart, and great energy. I loved it! Park is a hilarious new voice in women’s fiction.” (Helen Hoang, author of The Kiss Quotient)

“Hilarious and poignant, Park’s debut sparkles as a great addition to the new voices of the rom com renaissance.”

(Roselle Lim, author of Natalie Tan’s Book of Luck and Fortune)

“Park gives us the story that only she could create. It’s hilarious, smart, and the rom-com we need!” (Alexa Martin, ALA Award-winning author of Intercepted)

“Park has created a wholly original, smart, fierce heroine (with a hilarious inner voice) who takes on an industry hell-bent on underestimating her…Just like the “entertaining, fresh, snarky” video game she conjures in her novel, Suzanne Park has written a fast and fun debut, putting females in the lead.” (Amy Poeppel, author of Musical Chairs and Small Admissions)

“A smart, funny workplace romance set in the world of video game design.” (Popsugar)

“[A] punchy adult debut set in the world of video game design. Park makes tough topics go down easy by couching them in wry humor and lighthearted romance, and her fierce, snarky heroine is irresistible. This smart rom-com is a winner.” (Publishers Weekly (starred review))

“Park’s first book for adults is a funny and feminist geek novel… Readers into both gaming and women’s fiction will scramble for this fast-paced charmer.” (Booklist)

“Melody’s characterization and voice shine throughout. Smart, punchy, and memorable.” (Library Journal)

Suzanne Park is a Korean-American writer who was born and raised in Tennessee. As a comedienne, she was selected to appear on BET’s “Coming to the Stage.” Suzanne was also the winner of the Seattle Sierra Mist Comedy Competition, and was a semi-finalist in NBC’s “Stand Up For Diversity” showcase in San Francisco.

Suzanne graduated from Columbia University and received an MBA from UCLA. She currently resides in Los Angeles with her husband, female offspring, and a sneaky rat that creeps around on her back patio. In her spare time, she procrastinates. Loathe at First Sight is her adult debut. (‘The Perfect Escape’ is her YA debut.)

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BeachReads · Book Reviews · Fiction

Book Review: ‘A Star is Bored’ by Byron Lane (pub 7/28)

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Thank you @henryholtbooks for my gifted copy of ‘A Star is Bored‘ by Byron Lane! (pub 7/28)

A hilariously heartfelt novel about living life at full force, & discovering family when you least expect it, influenced in part by the author’s time as Carrie Fisher’s beloved assistant.

Charlie Besson is about to have an insane job interview. His car is idling, like his life, outside the Hollywood mansion of Kathi Kannon. THE Kathi Kannon, star of stage & screen & People magazine’s worst dressed list. She needs an assistant. He needs a hero.

Kathi is an icon, bestselling author, & an award winning actress, most known for her role as Priestess Talara in the iconic blockbuster sci-fi film. She’s also known for another role: crazy Hollywood royalty. Admittedly so. Famously so. Fabulously so.

Charlie gets the job, & embarks on an odyssey filled with late night shopping sprees, last minute trips to see the aurora borealis, & an initiation to that most sacred of Hollywood tribes: the personal assistant. But Kathi becomes much more than a boss, & as their friendship grows, Charlie must make a choice. Will he always be on the sidelines of life, assisting the great forces that be, or can he step into his own leading role?

Laugh-out-loud funny, & searingly poignant, Byron Lane’s ‘A Star is Bored‘ is a novel that, like the star at its center, is enchanting & joyous, heartbreaking & hopeful.

I adored Carrie Fisher, not only as an actress, but as an author, way back to her early novels, ‘Postcards From the Edge’ (’87) & ‘Surrender the Pink’ (’90). So to read a (fiction) book authored by someone who was her personal assistant for 3 yrs was intriguing, to say the least. You can 100% picture Fisher as ‘Kathi’ even though Lane has stated that the story is a work of fiction.

At times this book was absolutely heartbreaking, but mostly it was laugh-out-loud hilarious! (And the books depiction of mental health struggles was very realistic & not exploitative. ‘A Star is Bored‘ is quirky, engaging, heartfelt, & amusing…anything but boring. I highly recommend this fun book which is available now!

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Click HERE to find this & any other books at an independent bookstore using BookStoreLink.

What others are saying about ‘A Star is Bored’:

“Wildly funny and irreverent… Lane’s writing lifts the novel far above its gossamer Hollywood setting, suffusing [the novel] with a complex sensitivity.”
― The New York Times Book Review

“The fun summer read so many of us are craving.”
― USA Today

“A sweet goodbye and an ode to friendship… it delights”
― NY Post

“Ingenious and very droll… Lane turns out to be such a good writer, so funny and rapier sharp…He’s made a fascinating character out of his perennially bored star, a pill-popping, foul-mouthed creature at once cynical and sentimental, self-loving and self-hating, with a lust for life and a self-destructive streak as wide as Santa Monica Boulevard… [Lane] gives us the best of both worlds, savage satire leavened with compassion…This reader was rarely bored.”
― L.A. Times

“With prose in turns incandescent and uproariously funny, as well as poignantly tender and sweet, Lane’s novel is a love letter, not only to Carrie Fisher, but also to the ridiculous, bizarre and oft-magical world of Hollywood.”
― Variety

“Carrie Fisher’s spirit animates this funny, dishy, and deeply affectionate roman à clef by her former personal assistant. The force is with him.”
People “Must-Reads for Summer”

“Lane debuts with a fizzy roman à clef about a celebrity assistant, playfully alluding to his experience working for the late actor Carrie Fisher. Lane begins with Charlie Besson’s job interview…an assistant to Kathi Kannon, famous for playing the beloved Priestess Talara in the science fiction epic Nova Quest. Lane brings wit and tenderness to Kathi’s mostly acerbic personality, and her attachment to Charlie is potent and palpable… Lane’s affecting tale would show how the real Charlie found his own superpower―as a novelist.”
― Publishers Weekly

“Aside from being laugh out loud funny, brazen, charming and exquisitely observed, ASIB is romantic, soulful and filled with tender sweetness. For those of us who knew Carrie and Byron it all brings back chokingly funny and necessarily sad memories of a uniquely beautiful and deranged ménage, but it will make every reader feel at home and a part of it too.”
― Stephen Fry

“I’m in love with this hearty story of a hilarious Hollywood friendship. It’s fierce and funny and will warm your heart in these often frigid times. This is some queer chicken noodle soup for my soul, honey.”
― Jonathan Van Ness, New York Times bestselling author of Over the Top

“I didn’t go into this expecting a love story, but the one here between a Hollywood assistant and his famous, hilarious and deeply lonely boss came very close to breaking my heart.”
― Julia Claiborne Johnson, bestselling author of Be Frank With Me

“Byron Lane has written a book that will touch you on so many levels. I was prepared for the laughs, but didn’t expect the poignant story of a relationship both difficult and wonderful at the same time. A terrific read.”
― Laurie Gelman, bestselling author of Class Mom and You’ve Been Volunteered

“A Star is Bored is an absolute knockout. Riotously funny and wickedly tender. The pitch-perfect absurdity and sharp heartbreak of this story come to life so vividly that the last page left me aching. Completely outrageous and positively lovely.”
― Taylor Jenkins Reid, New York Times bestselling author of Daisy Jones and the Six

Byron Lane is an author, playwright, & screenwriter. His debut novel, A STAR IS BORED, is about a celebrity assistant struggling to manage his eccentric & hilarious movie star boss, inspired in part by Lane’s time as assistant to beloved actress Carrie Fisher. The novel has been featured in Entertainment Weekly, OK Magazine, & People Magazine which hails: “Funny, dishy, deeply affectionate… the force is with him.”

Lane also wrote and co-stars in the play TILDA SWINTON ANSWERS AN AD ON CRAIGSLIST, a comedy hit having sold out runs in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, London, and Edinburgh Fringe. It’s been critically praised by The Guardian, British Theatre, & Broadway World which says, “Hysterical… Lane has written a brilliant tour de force.”

Lane wrote & co-stars in LAST WILL & TESTICLE, an award-winning web series about his testicular cancer diagnosis which screened at festivals around the world, was called “fearless” by Cosmopolitan Magazine, & named “New York Television Festival Pilots to Put on Your Radar” by NBC Out. He wrote & co-stars in a feature film called HERPES BOY, starring Academy Award winner Octavia Spencer, which won Best Comedy at Comic Con & an Audience Award from Austin Film Festival. And he wrote & produced a trailer for a series called GAY DIVORCE which was a finalist in Project Greenlight’s See Yourself contest.
​​
Lane is a regional Emmy Award winner from his time as a TV News journalist. He’s originally from New Orleans & lives in Los Angeles with his boyfriend, best-selling author Steven Rowley, and their rescue dog, Tilda.

BeachReads · Book Reviews · Romance · RomCom

Book Review: ‘RomeAntically Challenged’ by Marina Adair (pub 7/28

Thank you @kensingtonbooks for my gifted copy of ‘RomeAntically Challenged‘ by Marina Adair! (pub 7/28). Click HERE to go to my Instagram post & give it LIKE.

Growing up the lone Asian in a community of WASPs, Annie has always felt out of place. Her solution? Start a family of her own. Not easy when every man she’s dated, including her ex-fiancé, finds “his person” right after breaking up with Annie. Even worse than canceling the wedding eight weeks beforehand? Learning the “other woman” plans to walk down the aisle wearing her wedding gown.

New plan—find a fresh, man-free start. Too bad her exit strategy unexpectedly lands her working at a hospital in Rome, Rhode Island, rather than Rome, Italy, & sharing a cabin with a big, brooding, & annoyingly hot male roommate.

Home on medical leave after covering a literally explosive story in China, investigative photojournalist Emmitt embarks on his most important assignment—cementing his place in his daughter’s life. Three men & a baby might work in the movies, but with a stepdad & devoted uncle competing for Paisley’s attention, Emmitt has lost his place at the family table. Then there’s the adorably sexy squatter in his cabin, who poses another problem, one he’d very much like to solve up close & personal. But he can’t win—Annie has sworn off men, Paisley’s gone boy crazy, & Emmitt’s estranged father reappears with a secret that changes everything.

Annie & Emmitt are about to discover love comes in many forms, & sometimes the best families are the ones we make.

I really loved this book! It’s the perfect staycation, escape from CoVid chaos, sit by the pool with a iced bevie read! (That’s how I enjoyed reading it anyhow…) ‘RomeAntically Challenged‘ is a nicely layered story with humor, emotion, drama & romance, & even better, book 2 in this ‘When in Rome’ series, ‘Hopeless Romantic‘, comes out in Jan 2021! 6 short months! (unless CoVid has other plans for that release date like so many others…Let’s hope not! I’m anxious to read the next installment!)

RomeAntically Challenged‘ by Marina Adair is charming, uplifting, endearing & swoon-worthy with loveable characters you will enjoy getting to know. Look for this book this Tues, 7/28 at your local indie bookstore.

Click HERE to add ‘RomeAntically Challenged’ to your Goodreads.
Click HERE to add ‘Hopeless Romantic’ to your Goodreads.
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Click HERE to look for this book & others using BookStoreLink.

‘Hopeless Romantic’ (When In Rome #2) (pub 1/26/21)
Set against the breezy backdrop of coastal Rhode Island, the latest novel from bestselling author Marina Adair asks whether two of a small town’s biggest hearts can learn to put themselves first–in the name of love…
As caregiver for her autistic brother, Beckett Hayes knows how meaningful a little extra help can be when life happens. Which is why she runs Consider It Done, a personal concierge service in her small town. Her job also gives her the flexibility to follow her passion, being Rome, Rhode Island’s unofficial special needs advocate, training emotional support companions in her spare time. There’s not much of that, though, and certainly not enough for serious dating. It’s always been family first for Beck. But one unquestionably gorgeous, good-natured man is suddenly a temptation that’s getting tougher to resist…

Sixteen years ago, Levi Rhodes was ready to sail off into the sunset–literally. But then his father’s death and his sister’s unexpected pregnancy postponed his sailing scholarship and the adventures he had planned. Running the family marina and bar was the least he could do for his grieving mother. Plus, his niece needed a father-figure. But now that she’s in high school and has her bio-dad in her life, Levi’s wondering if it’s time to get his sea legs under him again…until curvy, caring Beck showed up in his bar, and then in his dreams…

Marina Adair is a #1 nationally bestselling author whose fun, flirty contemporary romances have sold over a million copies. In addition to the When in Rome series, she is the author of the Destiny Bay series, the Heroes of St. Helena series, the Sugar, Georgia series, & the St. Helena Vineyard series, which was the inspiration behind the original Hallmark Channel Vineyard movies: Autumn in the Vineyard, Summer in the Vineyard, & Valentines in the Vineyard. Raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, she holds a MFA from San Jose University & currently lives in Northern California with her husband, daughter, & two neurotic cats. Please visit her online at MarinaAdair.com & sign up for her newsletter at http://www.MarinaAdair.com/newsletter.