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Join the Hump Day Blog Hop. Win a #freebook!


“On Hump Day About Books”

WEDNESDAY (Jan 28, 2015) to WEDNESDAY (Feb 4, 2015)

Welcome to the January 2015 Hump Day Blog Hop. Always the last Wednesday of the month, always a great time.

My dog, Chloe, checking out Sonja Yoerg's debut novel, House Broken.

New this month – the addition of a free book giveaway. Sonja Yoerg’s début novel, HOUSE BROKEN. Published by NAL Trade, recently released on January 6th. Contest open to anyone and everyone. Win this great book by clicking on the first image in the blog hop below.


Easy to join.

1. Link-up. Click on the blue “Add your link” button on bottom left side of this post to add your name and link. There isn’t a “theme” assigned to this hop, so feel free to use an existing post of your choice, but choose a post blog hoppers will enjoy. NOTE: No spamming or advertising. Please do not link to your book on Amazon.

2. Link back to the blog hop list. Add this sentence to your blog post so hoppers can find their way back to the blog hop list of links and keep hopping:

Like to party? Hop along the Hump Day Blog Hop on Julie Valerie’s Book Blog. Click here to return to the Hump Day Blog Hop.

NOTE: If the embedded link in the above sentence does not transfer when you copy and paste it, the URL to use with this sentence is:

3. Be social. If you add a link, please take time to visit others and comment on their posts. (Come on, folks. It’s good etiquette.) Tweet and retweet others using the Wednesday hashtag: #HumpDayBooks

So. Enough of all that. Let’s network. LET’S HOP! 

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#Win a Signed Copy of HOUSE BROKEN by Sonja Yoerg

My dog, Chloe, checking out Sonja Yoerg's debut novel, House Broken.

My dog, Chloe, checking out Sonja Yoerg’s début novel, House Broken.

Thanks for hopping along the January 2015 Hump Day Blog Hop.

This month’s book giveaway is a signed paperback copy of HOUSE BROKEN by Sonja Yoerg.


Good Luck.
Thanks for Hopping.
Happy Hump Day. Wednesday. Halfway to the weekend. Woo-Hoo!

Like to party? Hop along the Hump Day Blog Hop on Julie Valerie’s Book Blog. Click here to return to the Hump Day Blog Hop.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

House Broken by Sonja Yoerg @SonjaYoerg

My dog, Chloe, checking out Sonja Yoerg's debut novel, House Broken.

My dog, Chloe, checking out Sonja Yoerg’s début novel, House Broken.

Did you make #timetoread during Saturday’s first annual National Readathon Day? I did. I read a bit of Tolstoy and the Purple Chair: My Year of Magical Reading by Nina Sankovitch (Harper Perennial). I also read a bit of Stranded by Jeff Probst, host of the television series Survivor (Puffin Books/Penguin) with my son. A great day, indeed. (Hover over that #timetoread hashtag to see event-related happening on Twitter.)

Not realizing it until now, I suppose it’s been a Penguin weekend for me. I participated in their sponsored event (the Readathon) and read a book (Stranded) by one of their imprints, Puffin Books. Today, I’m reviewing a title from their NAL imprint, House Broken by Sonja Yoerg.

penguinWhy the Penguin-dense weekend? I dunno. Maybe because Tuesday was a day to celebrate actual penguins and I got carried away. They’re such cute little animals. Round bellies, tuxedos, the way they wobble. Love penguins? More about Penguin Awareness Day held every year on January 20th.

Today, I’m thrilled to bring you House Broken by Sonja Yoerg, a début novel I received as an advance reader copy (ARC) from NAL Accent, an imprint of New American Library, and a division of Penguin Group.

The day the ARC arrived, I shared the cover with my English Labrador, Chloe. That’s Chloe in the photo that opens this post. She didn’t exactly cooperate when I tried taking her picture. Chloe’s photo bloopers are at the bottom of this post below the Rafflecopter giveaway. 

About the book:House Broken

In this compelling and poignant début novel, a woman skilled at caring for animals must learn to mend the broken relationships in her family.…

For veterinarian Geneva Novak, animals can be easier to understand than people. They’re also easier to forgive. But when her mother, Helen, is injured in a vodka-fueled accident, it’s up to Geneva to give her the care she needs.

Since her teens, Geneva has kept her self-destructive mother at arm’s length. Now, with two slippery teenagers of her own at home, the last thing she wants is to add Helen to the mix. But Geneva’s husband convinces her that letting Helen live with them could be her golden chance to repair their relationship.

Geneva isn’t expecting her mother to change anytime soon, but she may finally get answers to the questions she’s been asking for so long. As the truth about her family unfolds, however, Geneva may find secrets too painful to bear and too terrible to forgive.

At Sonja Yoerg's Fountain Bookstore book signing in Richmond, VA.

At Sonja Yoerg’s Fountain Bookstore book signing in Richmond, VA.

Sonja Yoerg’s Book Signing at Fountain Bookstore:

I enjoyed this début novel so much, when I heard the author was signing books at my local indie bookstore, Fountain Books, I stopped in to say hello. Great news! I picked up two signed copies of House Broken during my visit. (I never step foot inside an indie bookstore without buying something.) I’m giving away one of those books as part of this post (Rafflecopter entry below), and another this Wednesday during my monthly Hump Day Blog Hop.

Buy House Broken by Sonja Yoerg from any bookstore or online retailer or (an even better idea!) the same indie bookstore I purchased my copies from: Fountain Bookstore

My review of House Broken by Sonja Yoerg:

Loved it. Told in third-person from the viewpoint of three characters, this multi-generational story will captivate readers of all ages, but especially those of the baby boom generation tasked with caring for a parent while still raising children at home. Each chapter is dedicated to one woman from each generation giving readers insight into each character’s backstory, fears, and motivations as the story unfolds.

Helen, Geneva’s alcoholic mother, is a difficult woman with an interesting and tragic marriage to a man named Eustace. It’s Helen’s vodka-fueled car accident that opens the novel and incites the action as main character, Geneva, takes Helen into her care as Helen recovers. With a relationship that has been strained for many years, Geneva holds Helen at a distance while discovering much (including her own form of forgiveness) during Helen’s time in her home. Ella, Geneva’s 16-year-old daughter, plays a minor role to Helen and Geneva’s story until a turn of events after a school event that propels all the characters in the novel into unchartered waters.

A vast, powerful story with characters who are both tragic and flawed but who find their own personal resolutions in the aftermath of devastating events. Play close attention to the dogs in the story. The author is well-versed in animal behavior (take a peek at her bio) and writes wonderful, fully drawn dogs that hold clues to the story and characters worth discovering.

Really looking forward to the second book by this author – due out this fall. I sure hope she returns to Fountain Bookstore for another book signing.

Sonja Yoerg headshot 1

About Sonja Yoerg:

Sonja Yoerg grew up in Stowe, Vermont, where she financed her college education by waitressing at the Trapp Family Lodge. She earned her Ph.D. in Biological Psychology from the University of California at Berkeley, and studied learning in blue jays, kangaroo rats and spotted hyenas, among other species. Her non-fiction book about animal intelligence, Clever as a Fox (Bloomsbury USA) was published in 2001.

While her two daughters were young, Sonja taught fine arts, computer skills and science in their schools in California. Now that they are in college, she writes full-time.

She currently lives in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia with her husband. Together they run, garden, remodel houses, cook, eat, drink wine, then run some more.

HOUSE BROKEN is her first novel.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

My dog Chloe – NOT cooperating during the photo shoot:

ChloeMessUp4 ChloeMessUp3ChloeMessUp2ChloeMessUp1

National Readathon Day: Make #timetoread


Today’s Date: Wednesday, January 21, 2015
Today’s Topic: Book Event Inspiration & National Readathon Day

It’s Wednesday – Happy Hump Day. We’re halfway to the weekend and that’s something to celebrate! Today, I’m talking about book events. Specifically, the first annual National Readathon Day.

Why am I talking about this today and how does this benefit you?

1. You might want to participate in this year’s event.
2. You might want to save the date then get really involved in next year’s event.


3. You might be inspired to design then organize reading events in your community. Canvas these ideas to see how they are run then design your own event to foster literacy and reading where you live.


Make #timetoread this Saturday, January 24, 2015 by celebrating the first ever National Readathon Day. This nationwide 12-4 pm readathon celebrates literacy in America and includes an optional fundraising component to support National Book Foundation’s reading programs. (P.S. See that #timetoread hashtag at the beginning of this paragraph? Click on it for a glimpse of what’s happening on Twitter right now. Snazzy feature, eh?)

This first annual National Readathon Day is supported in part by Penguin Random House, Goodreads, and Mashable.

Highlights of supporting events:

From Penguin Random House: “Our Authors Talk About National Readathon Day” includes a video and if you expand the blog post – you’ll come to downloadable .jpgs that you can use to promote National Readathon Day on your website and social media sites.

Want to get social? List of participating venues in your state. Or check-out the timelined countdown on Penguin Group USA’s Facebook page.

Tolstoy and the purple chairFrom Goodreads: In keeping with my 2015 Reading Challenges post from two weeks ago (if you missed it, it includes 100+ Reading Challenges on my Pinterest board), I took the Goodreads pledge and will be reading Tolstoy and the Purple Chair: My Year of Magical Reading by Nina Sankovitch. (All of my January posts have “themed” Pinterest boards and all center around resolutions for the new year – challenges to read more, challenges to write more…)

From Mashable: Join Mashable for a Readathon event at their New York headquarters. RSVP.

More about the National Book Foundation – organizers of the event:

The folks at the National Book Foundation bring us not only this national day of reading, but these great programs:

National Book Awards – Many of you already know about this prestigious award so I won’t go into much detail (click on ‘National Book Awards’ at the opening of this paragraph for a list of winners) but what I especially like is the Teen Press Conference in which area middle and high school students are each given copies of the award-winning books to prepare interview questions which they then use to interview the NBA Finalists at a special event.

BookUp – Working in underserved neighborhoods, the NBF hires acclaimed, local authors to lead after-school reading groups designed to improve students’ social, emotional, and literacy skills. Each middle schooler in the BookUp program is also taken on field trips to local libraries and bookstores, where they’re provided $50 a semester to spend on books of their choosing.

Innovations in Reading Prize – The National Book Foundation’s 2015 Innovations in Reading Prize will award $10,000 to an individual or institution—or partnership between the two—that has developed innovative means of creating and sustaining a lifelong love of reading. In addition, the Foundation will select four honorable mentions. Applicants should be VITAL demonstrating Vision, Ingenuity, Transformation, Achievement & Leadership. (Deadline to enter: 2/28/15. Winner announced 5/4/15.)

5 Under 35 – National Book Awards Week begins with an annual celebration of five authors under age 35 selected by past National Book Award Winners and Finalists.

NBA on Campus – Through this program, National Book Award Finalists talk books at college campuses.

Okay, so. That’s enough about the National Book Foundation and it’s programs. What do you think? Are you going to make #timetoread this Saturday and participate in the first annual National Readathon Day?

Has any of the above events inspired you to “give back” to your local community by hosting a special book event? It’s not hard to stir-up some fun with a book event. See what Seasons of Reading is doing with their Winter’s Respite Read-a-thon. #WintersRespite

Leave me a comment about all this readathon stuff. I’d love to hear your thoughts!

And I’d love to know what you’re currently reading.


SAVE THE DATE: Next Wednesday is the last Wednesday of the month and you know what that means.

Time for the Hump Day Blog Hop! Woo-Hoo!

I love to party. Link-up. Be social. Ain’t that why we’re all on social media?

P.S. If you enjoyed this post, would ‘ya mind sharing it with your friends? That would be amazing. Thank you. :) And if you’d like to see my 60+ Readathon pins on Pinterest, here it is:

Follow Julie’s board Readathons on Pinterest.

Note: To insure accuracy, some of the content describing the various programs at the National Book Foundation was cut-and-paste from their website and does not reflect original writing from me. Just thought you’d like to know. :)

50+ Pins on my #WritingPrompts Pinterest Board



TODAY’S TOPIC: Writing Prompts

January feels filled with resolutions to read and write as much as possible in 2015. Last week’s post was dedicated to reading more with a focus on 2015 Reading Challenges. This week’s post highlights writing more with special attention paid to writing prompts.

TONS of great writing prompts on my Pinterest board

Continuing with my January theme of pinning writer-friendly pins to my Pinterest board (last Wednesday, I pinned 100+ “2015 Reading Challenges” to my board), this week I’m pinning writer prompts. Want to see my “Writing Prompts” Pinterest board? Okay, here you go:

Follow Julie’s board Writing Prompts on Pinterest.

Facing a blank page?


Writer’s Digest

Writer’s Digest has a page on their blog with writing prompts that have generated a gazillion stories in their comment section. The Open Window prompt prompted 830 people to write stories. Caught Pants Down prompted 682. Stop by their website for a good read, or perhaps, write your own story. Interested in that pretty blue Writing Prompts book? Here it is.

iTunes app

iTunes has a Writing Prompts app by 21×20 Media, Inc., that spits out writing prompts based on current events, scene elements, words, sketches, colors, genres and writing types. Oh, and the app boasts over 600 text prompts. Not free, but less than two bucks should you need a kick in the pants to jumpstart your writing.

Language Is A Virus Games

The writing prompt generator at Language Is A Virus spits out writing prompts with the touch of a button – but I like their writing games page for fun, interactive ways to play with language. Games I like to play? Visual Poetry, definitely. And while the Cut-Up Machine will entertain only briefly, the brief history of Cut Ups written below the game button is fascinating. I couldn’t quite get the WTF-O-Vision game to produce anything of merit to justify my goofing-off with a writing game rather than actually writing, but I sure love the name! WTF-O-Vision. Hysterical!

Categorized Prompts

And before your eyes glaze over and you think, categorized writing prompts? Blah, blah, blah… Yeah Write offers categorized writing prompts and some of the categories are really useful and downright cool. The first sentence prompts, the girl prompts (great for women’s fiction writers), and the character prompts are my favorite.

How’d they do that?

This website presents its writing prompts in a creative way: A home page filled with numbers that you hover over. (I’d love to know how they built that webpage. Does anyone know?)


Similar to NaNoWriMo, check-out NaBloPoMo. National Blog Post Month. Monthly writing prompts to help you generate writing ideas for your blog posts. Stop quickly at the NaBloPoMo Unofficial Guide to understand what it is and how it works, but then head to BlogHer’s Main NaBloPoMo page. You’re going to love it.


So here’s a question: Do you have a writing prompt you’d like to share? Leave it in the comment section of this blog post. I can’t wait to read and be inspired by them!

Join us Wednesday, January 28, 2015 for the Hump Day Blog Hop. Always the last Wednesday of the month, always a great time. Why bother? Here’s your answer: Blog Hops: Comprehensive List of Benefits. Want to see how one works? All of the links remain “live” on every blog hop I hold so you can click through any link at any time to connect with other book-loving sites on the web. (Therefore, if you add a link to your website during one of the Hump Day Blog Hops – you’ll forever have an out-going link from this website. Search engines love that.) Here’s a peek at the first Hump Day Blog Hop held March 2014. Want to see more? Checkout the “Blog Hops” category listed on the right side of my home page. New in 2015: Every Hump Day Blog Hop will now feature a Rafflecopter book giveaway of a title released during the month of the blog hop. Woo-Hoo! Now that’s a reason to celebrate. So let’s get hopping.

For me, one of the highlights of the last few months of 2014 was the launch of a 100-word flash fiction series called the “Home Sweet Teeny Tiny Home” Project. I’m still collecting teeny tiny 100-word stories about a teeny tiny home should you be tempted to pen a teeny tiny tale. This post explains the call for submissions for the 100-word flash fiction “Home Sweet Teeny Tiny Home” Project. Want to learn more about flash fiction? Flash Fiction – Sources to Get You Started.

OKAY! Enough of that. Time for me to sign-off.

Happy writing.

And happy Wednesday, by the way.
Hump Day.
Halfway to the weekend.


(P.S. Leave a writing prompt in the comment section – I’d love to read it and welcome the inspiration!)

Twin Piques by Author @TracieBanister, Co-Moderator at @ChickLitChatHQ #ChickLitChat

Congratulations to Tracie Banister on her third book release in the chick lit genre. In just five days since its January 7th release, Twin Piques is stirring-up all kinds of crazy great attention on social media.

You already know Tracie as the author of In Need of Therapy (reviewed on this book blog) and Blame It On the Fame but she also runs a ChickLitChatHQ Facebook Group and is co-moderator of the Thursday 8-9pm EST Twitter Chat:  @ChickLitChatHQ.

Tracie is a hardworking leader in social media – no wonder news of her third book release is flying around social media. We’re all happy to “share the love” and support this wonderful woman who gives so much to the writing community. Congratulations, Tracie. You go, girl!

SmTwinPiquesCoverArtAbout Twin Piques by Tracie Banister:

Forensic accountant Sloane Tobin and kooky pet psychic Willa may have the same face, but that’s the only thing these identical twins have in common.

How she can read the hearts and minds of animals has always been a mystery to Willa, and her rotten luck with men is equally baffling. Although she’s been looking for “The One” for what feels like forever (A teenage marriage to a French mime and dating a guy named Spider seemed like good ideas at the time!), optimistic Willa refuses to give up on love. When she meets Brody, the handsome rose expert hired to save her grandmother’s garden, she’s instantly smitten, but why does he keep sending her mixed signals? Does he return her feelings, or is their attraction all in her fanciful head?

Unlike her twin, Sloane has zero interest in romance. Her passion is her job, where she uses her gift for numbers to take down slimy embezzlers and asset-hiding spouses. When she’s assigned two high profile cases, Sloane feels confident the promotion she’s been angling for is within her grasp. But will her plan to climb the corporate ladder be thwarted by difficult clients, her co-worker-with-benefits, or – most surprisingly of all – her own sister? And how’s she supposed to stay focused on the drama at work when her childhood friend, Gav, moves in next door and the spark between them becomes impossible to ignore?

To get what they both want, can Willa and Sloane band together and rely on each other’s strengths? Or will their differences drive them apart once and for all?

Buy Twin Piques (Amazon US)
Buy Twin Piques (Amazon Global)

SmTBHeadShotAbout Tracie Banister

An avid reader and writer, Tracie Banister has been scribbling stories since she was a child, most of them featuring feisty heroines with complicated love lives like her favorite fictional protagonist Scarlett O’Hara. Her work was first seen on the stage of her elementary school, where her 4th grade class performed an original holiday play that she penned. (Like all good divas-in-the-making, she also starred in and tried to direct the production.)

Tracie’s dreams of authorial success were put on the backburner when she reached adulthood and discovered that she needed a “real” job in order to pay her bills. Her career as personal assistant to a local entrepreneur lasted for 12 years. When it ended, she decided to follow her bliss and dedicate herself to writing full-time. Twin Piques is her third Chick Lit release. The pet psychic character in this novel was inspired by Tracie’s rascally rescue dogs. She’d love to know what goes on in their heads!

Tracie Banister’s Social Networking Links



Teapot by @PaulineWiles #Flashfiction

Love flash fiction? Micro fiction? How about teeny tiny fiction?
The following teeny tiny story (100-words or less) about a teeny tiny house is part of the “Home Sweet Teeny Tiny Home” Project.

Learn more at:

Teapot (99 words)

This party was a huge mistake. The guy in the hat is clearly deranged. And the girl in blue looked friendly, but hasn’t stopped arguing. I’m yawning profusely and if it wasn’t for that heavenly aroma of cake, I’d have scampered ages ago.

“You’re leaving, Alice?” The hatted eccentric is momentarily distracted, and I seize my chance.

With a pounce, I prise up the teapot lid and wriggle. As I drop down into the dark sanctuary, the comforting clink of china sounds above my head.

The hatted voice is reduced to a soft rumble. “Where did the dormouse go?”

* * * * *

AUTHOR’S NOTE: This one is fan fiction and will probably make sense only to those who have read Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

* * * * *

pauline wilesPHOTOBritish by birth, Pauline Wiles moved to California nine years ago and, apart from a yearning for afternoon tea and historic homes, has never looked back. Her work has been published by House of Fifty, Open Exchange and Alfie Dog Fiction. Pauline’s debut novel, Saving Saffron Sweeting, was published in 2013, with Secrets in the Sky coming in spring 2015.

Twitter: @paulinewiles

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