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The Garden on Sunset: A Novel of Golden-Era Hollywood

Book Bub hit gold again with this recommendation: The Garden on Sunset: A Novel of Golden-Era Hollywood by Martin Turnbull. And, as Book Bub loves to do, they introduced me to yet another series I must finish.

I still haven't finished the Infinite Series, but I'm trying to prolong that series, because the final book Infinite Salvation, will not be out for a few more months at least.

Have you ever wanted to climb into a time machine and visit Hollywood during its heyday?
Right before talking pictures slug Tinsel Town in the jaw, a luminous silent screen star converts her private estate into the Garden of Allah Hotel. The lush grounds soon become a haven for Hollywood hopefuls to meet, drink, and revel through the night. George Cukor is in the pool, Tallulah Bankhead is at the bar, and Scott Fitzgerald is sneaking off to a bungalow with Sheilah Graham while Madame Alla Nazimova keeps watch behind her lace curtains.
But the real story of the Garden of Allah begins with its first few residents, three kids on the brink of something big.
Marcus Adler has a lot to prove after his father catches him and the police chief's son with their pants down. He flees Pennsylvania for Hollywood with his mouth shut and his eyes open, and begins to write the lines all those starlets will say out loud. Can a smart, sensitive guy find his own voice in a town that's just learning to talk?
Kathryn Massey's childhood was a grinding routine of auditions, but she couldn't care less about being a movie star. When she takes off with her typewriter, determined to become a newspaper reporter, she finds that breaking into the boys' club is tougher than breaking free of her bossy mother. To make it in this town, she'll need some serious moxie.
Gwendolyn Brick is a sweet Southern beauty who's come a long way to try her luck on the big screen. She's hoping the same succulent lips the guys want to kiss will land her more than a bit part on a casting couch. She's going to need some help keeping everyone in line.
Nobody gets a free pass in Hollywood, but a room at the Garden on Sunset can get your foot in the door.
"The Garden on Sunset" is the first in installment in the Hollywood's Garden of Allah saga, a series of historical novels set in Hollywood's heyday. If you like authentic and richly-detailed history, compelling and memorable characters, and seeing fiction and history seamlessly woven together, then you'll love Martin Turnbull's authentic portrayal of the City of Angels.
Flip through the pages to see Hollywood's history come to life before your eyes.
Martin Turnbull's Garden of Allah novels have been optioned for the screen by film & television producer, Tabrez Noorani.

This novel, is a short, mostly lighthearted summer read. It is less than 300 pages, and honestly, I read it all in the span of less than 24 hours.

Although this book is set in the 20's, it's quite reminiscent of today's society. In it, they talk about the taboo of being gay (or queer as they say in the novel), and the taboo of abortions. With women's rights and LGBT rights so often in the news these days, it's fascinating to see how the world took these point of views in the 20's and 30's.

These topics, however, are a very small part of the entire novel.

I loved reading the journey of Marcus, Kathryn, and Gweyndolyn. A writer, journalist, and actress, struggling to get their big break in Hollywood. Marcus is a Pennsylvania Dutch young man who ran away from home. Kathryn is a Hollywood native running from her mother's dream of her being an actress. And Gwendolyn is a southerner chasing her dream to become an actress.

Each chapter is told from one of their point's of view. Having three different point's of view may seem tiresome or confusing, but Turnbill did an amazing job intertwining their stories.

As many of you know, I love historical fiction. This is an era I have not read many novels from, but it is truly fascinating. In this novel, you will hear about the first talking motion picture, the Great Depression, and the 1933 Long Beach Earth Quake.

This novel is suitable for most audiences. There are a few, quick sex scenes, so be aware before passing this novel along to any less mature audiences.

This was a free read through my Nook, and it's not a  book you should miss out on! Go get your copy of The Garden on Sunset, book one of  Hollywood's Garden of Allah series today!

Facebook Insights Guide

You have great content. You create meaningful, insightful posts. You consistently post to Facebook, but you aren't seeing any rewards from your effort.

What if I told you Facebook provides a great tool to help you understand your audience?

The Insight Tool.

First, How do you find the Insight Tool?

Start by going to your business's Facebook Page. At the Top, choose Insights. Here you will find a vast amount of information.

We will specifically be talking about the Posts tab on the left hand side. Click that, and this will give you so much information about your Fan Base.

First, When Should You Post?

When you choose the Posts tab, a graph will appear at the top. This data tells you what time your Fans are online.

At the top, you'll see Days. If you hover over the days, the chart will change, showing you the hourly breakdown for that day. Look at the numbers on the top.

Whichever number is the highest will tell you the day of the week to post your BEST content. For the pages I run, Tuesday and Wednesday are the most popular days.

Next, look at the chart itself. This shows you how many people are on at each hour of the day. You want to pick times with the highest amount of fans online.

In order for people to see your posts, they must be online.

If you hover at a certain time, the chart will give you an exact number of how many people are online at that time.

Although professional research will tell me to post between 1-3 pm, my Facebook insights tell me to post between 8-9 pm. 

After testing this approach, I have seen a 20% increase in likes, comments, and shares of my Page's posts. It works people. It really works.

Next, What Should You Post?

This tool will only be helpful if you've shared a variety of posts. This includes: Videos, Shared Videos, Photo, Links, and Statuses. You can still look at this information if you haven't shared a variety of posts, but it will be more helpful if you've shared them all.

To find this information, at the top of the graph, you will see When Your Fans Are Online is currently selected. Choose Post Types.

When this loads, you have a choice between Show All Posts and Exclude Targeted Posts on the top. I suggest looking at both results.

Here you will find the Type of Post, Average Reach, and Average Engagement. Reach will be yellow, Post Clicks will be blue, and Reactions, Comments & Shares will be purple.

On pages I run, I have found any kind of video, uploaded by me or Shared, is the most popular Type of post. Statuses without images or links are my least popular posts.

Anything Else to Learn?

The final option at the top next to Post Types is Top Posts from Pages You Watch.

Think about it. Is there another page in your niche that you inspire to be like? Do they have tons of interaction? Are they your role model page? You can add this here.

This tracks the progress of up to 5 pages you admire. You can see how many likes they get each week, times of posts for the week, what the post was, and the engagement. This is great information if you want to model yourself like other pages.

Of course, don't just copy what the other pages do. This is just a tool to help you use their pages as inspiration.

Do you use the Insight tool for anything else? 

Your Business needs a blog

Your business needs a blog.

Even if you don’t sell online services? Yes. Your business needs a blog.

Even if your website only shows photo of inventory? Yes. Your business needs a blog.

Even if your business….? Yes. Your business needs a blog.

A blog humanizes your brand.
A blog gives an overall picture of the company.
A blog goes more in depth when a photo doesn’t do it justice.

The importance of a blog with your company’s social media.

When your company has a blog, each post instantly becomes great content for your social media.

Write the post, add a stellar picture, and promote it on your social media accounts.

This gives your viewers more things to read from you, and another insight into the brand.

If you’re looking for fresh content for your social media accounts, a blog is the way to go. Blog posts can be promoted multiple times on Twitter, once every six months on Facebook, and once or twice on Instagram. If your blog post has an eye-catching image, you can promote a post on Pinterest as well.

Boost that SEO.

Each blog post is another page in a search engine. Although it may not improve your Google ranking, it will help your website be noticed more by Google. A blog is much friendlier to search engines because of the new content offered by blog posts.

More Publicity controlled by YOU!

Each blog post is publicity and advertising for your company. It is written by you for your benefit. The more content you provide customers, the more advertising you’re giving them.

This drives traffic to your website.

A blog is a great way to drive new traffic to your site. After reading an article, they are more likely to look through other parts of your website, and in turn, you may possibly make a sale.

If that blog post was never there, that potential customer would’ve never ended up on your site.

What other benefits do you think having a blog brings to your business?

A Simple Guide to Beating the Facebook Algorithm

You post a great, engaging post to your business page, only to later hear none of your followers saw the post. You don't want to pay to boost every single post just so your current customers can see it. So, what is this Facebook algorithm, and how can you get your followers to see your posts?

First, what is the Facebook algorithm:
This is something an outsider can't define, and a Facebook employee won't tell. This article is the only, vague information we get from Facebook.

What we do know, Facebook caters the News Feed based on an user's interactions with friends, pages, and groups. Even your most loyal fans won't see your page unless they interact with it.

So, how do I beat it?
This is a great question. I'm going to give you a few ways to get your Fans to see your posts more often.

1) Ask your fans to turn on notifications or to see first in their News Feed
If your fans turn on notifications, they will get notified every time you post on your page. You can also ask them to choose to See you First on their feed. Both of these actions will help your posts get more views, and in turn, interactions.

You may want to make this your pinned post so that new fans always see this option.

Choose your wording carefully. Make sure you explain to your fans how this will benefit them.

2) Make your fans want to interact with you
Ask questions. Share funny pictures. Ask them to tag friends in posts.

For example:

Does your desk look insane on Monday's? Take a quick shot of your work space and say, "My desk on Mondays are CRAZY! Do you keep your desk neat or messy?"

Find an inspiring quote you can relate to your business. Create a great image to place the quote on. Then say something like, "Just what I needed to hear. Tag a friend who needs this message."

Are you thinking about offering a new product, or are you stuck between 2 ideas? Ask your fans for their votes.

2b) Ask some of your friends who are also your fans on Facebook to help out by answering the questions or responding to the posts. People don't want to be the first to comment usually. So, it never hurts to get your friends involved, at least until more people start regularly commenting on your page.

3) Respond to your fans
Your fans want to know they won't be ignored. If they have a question, respond promptly. If they ask a great question, ask their permission to answer their question in a post for other fans to see. If you get a message, respond promptly.

What else do you like to do to beat the Facebook Algorithm? Respond below with your best tips!


Exciting news!! I'm moving into my new apartment this weekend!! I am very excited to be living on my own again (love you Mom & Dad). But with this excitement, I've come across a few #bookwormproblems.

Packing Books Suck!

First off, I thought I could donate a few books, but of course, while I'm trying to choose, I mentally created a new list of books I want to reread. I did manage to donate a few though... mostly books I own multiple copies of.

Books overall are easy to pack into boxes. They're nicely shaped, and can be stacked easily. Almost like a fun game of Tetris. But, if you pack the box all the way.... it's a heavy box. 

And this brings me to...
I have to carry these heavy boxes UPSTAIRS!

I currently live in a one story house. But when I move this weekend, I'll be living on the second floor of my apartment building. Which means stairs.

And HEAVY boxes full of BOOKS to carry up those stairs? Ugh!

Of course, my least favorite problem...

I am in book jail.

Not because I packed all my books (I have a nook I haven't packed yet), but because if I start a book, I'll be useless when packing, moving, and unpacking. 

I finished an amazing book last week. It's part of a three part series, and I can't read the other two books yet.

  • If I get the next books, I won't want to put them down.
  • If I don't put the book down, I won't finish packing.
  • If I don't put the book down, I'll have trouble driving to my new apartment (jokes! never read and drive!).
  • If I don't put the book down, I'll have trouble carrying boxes (of books!) upstairs.
  • If I don't put the book down, it will be impossible to unpack.
So basically, if I get the next books, I'll never move into my new apartment.

Hence: book jail.

One I get out of book jail, I'll begin my next book, and my next review. So until then, enjoy my #bookwormproblems.

Infinite Sacrifice by L.E. Waters

Sometimes you finish a book, and immediately want to download the rest of the series because. WOW! Oh my goodness! What an AMAZING read!

But then you realize, you're moving next weekend, and that this weekend is the only time you have to finish packing. And you know, if you download the series now, you will be a worthless excuse for a packer because you'll either be reading or thinking about reading.

Does this happen to anyone else, or just me?

Let me tell you, I just finished Infinite Sacrifice by L.E. Waters. This book is the most creative story I've read in a VERY VERY long time. I loved every minute of it. It's historical, thought provoking, mysterious. It has love, passion, action, adventure. It's just simply amazing.

This was one of my free eBook finds through Barnes and Noble. It is book one of a four part series, and believe me, as soon as I finish packing, I'm downloading the next three. The next three are fairly inexpensive($4.99 to $5.99), and if they're half as good as the first book, I may have found my new favorite series.

Maya’s shocked to discover it’s not the heaven she imagined;in fact, a life of adventure begins the moment you die.
Zachariah, her faithful spirit guide, explains the rules of the dead: in order to regain complete awareness and reunite with loved ones all souls must review their previous lives.
Maya plunges warily into her turbulent pasts as a sociopathic High Priest in ancient Egypt; an independent mother protecting a dangerous secret in glorious Sparta; an Irish boy kidnapped and enslaved by Vikings; and a doctor’s wife forced to make an ethical stand in plague-ridden England.
All the while, Maya yearns to be with those she cares about most and worries that she hasn’t learned all of heaven’s most vital lessons. Will she be forced to leave the tranquility of heaven to survive yet another painful and tumultuous
life? Or worse, accept the bitter reality of having to go back alone?Source
Stories of reincarnation has always fascinated me. The idea that you have to live multiple lives, hopefully becoming a better person in each life, in order to go to Heaven is such an interesting plot.

Don't let the crown of throne like reference on the cover sway you to believe this is a Christian novel. This novel is good for all people, religious or not.

This book is suitable for most audiences. Anything sexual or overly violent is skimmed over quickly, using sparse details. The last life in this book, in plague-ridden England is a little gross if you get squeamish over illness, but it's manageable.

I imagine this book to be the perfect book to read in a high school English class. It is full of strong repeating characterism, themes, and symbolism. Each section is easily digestible in a short period (me, in one day, but for less avid readers, I'm sure each life could be read in a week easily).

Seriously, go download your free eBook on your Nook of Infinite Sacrifice by L.E. Waters. You won't be disappointed! Click here to go to the Barnes and Noble site for your download!

The Substitute by Denise Grover Swank

Last week I stumbled across my new favorite way to find FREE Nook Books! It's on the Barnes and Noble site directly. At the top, they have some of their most popular FREE eBooks, and below that, you can search by genre. See what I'm talking about here.

When I finished looking through these titles, I had 4 books in my cart.

I finished my first one Monday night.

The Substitute by Denise Grover Swank is one of a 3 part series (how do I keep coming across series? I don't know) called The Wedding Pact.

Honestly, I haven't read a romance novel since my high school days. It was easy to get back into the swing of things though. These novels, although at times predictable, are always a nice, feel good read (even if tears are involved).

Megan Vandemeer meant to tell her parents about her broken engagement, but a month and a half later she finds herself boarding a plane home to her wedding. Having stretched avoidance to its limits, it's to come clean--a terrifying prospect since her mother is sure to blame her rather than her cheating, emotionally frigid ex. A couple of drinks and two Dramamine later, Megan finds herself spilling her sob story to the tall, dark, and handsome stranger in the seat next to her.

With only one week left to save his business, Josh McMillan boards a plane to Kansas City in a last-ditch effort, leaving the details to chance. An unexpected answer is delivered in the form of the beautiful brunette beside him. Though she's completely loopy, her honesty, openness, and humor charm him. So when she passes out before landing, he helps her off the plane--a good deed that leads to a colossal misunderstanding. Her parents assume he's her fiancé. In a twist of fate, the mix-up might help Josh save his business, so he plays along, figuring he can help Megan too. All he has to do is stage a public break up convincing enough to appease her mother.

Josh is only supposed to be a substitute groom, but the more time he and Megan spend together, the more their pretend engagement starts to feel real...and the less they want to break it off. Can a relationship that began as a farce turn into happily ever after?Source
This novel I would not recommend for children. There are two or three sex scenes that are not super raunchy, they are raunchy enough to have kids asking questions.

Some of the characters lacked development. Megan's best friends, Libby and Blair especially. They were written to be polar opposites with very little back story. I felt the same about Josh's brother, Noah. I wish there were more depths to their characters.

On the other hand, I love Megan's grandma! She is hilarious, and a great comedic relief in the story. Just imagine, a semi-nudist grandma strutting her stuff around right before a wedding. Yes! She's a perfect addition to the book.

The lack of character development, by no means takes away from the overall story. I would recommend this to anyone for a fun, vacation on the beach read. This is the perfect summer read, and since Texas can't decide what season it wants to be, I can read summer reads in January!

I don't plan on continuing the series just yet, but maybe one day.

If you have a Nook or the Nook app, click here to get your free copy of The Substitute.