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October Releases

Monday, November 4, 2013

Easter's Lilly Blog Tour - Interview + Review + Giveaway: Easter's Lilly (The Easter's Lilly Series #1) by Judy Serrano






Author: Judy Serrano
Series: The Easter's Lilly Series
Number in Series: 1
Release Date: December 16, 2010
Pages: 298
Publisher: Black Rose Writing
Presented by: As You Wish Tours
Banner Made By: Camelia Miron Skiba
Genre: Contemporary Romance/Romantic Suspense/Thriller



Synopsis from Goodreads
It was Easter Sunday; the day Lilly's life went from safe and comfortable to dangerously unfamiliar. Her transformation takes her from a small town girl having an affair with a low ranked gangster in the Montiago crime syndicate, to a woman of grace and fortitude married to the head of the organization. Easter's Lilly is an inspired journey from the idyllic to the darker side of self-discovery. Read as the over-privileged brothers embark on their journey that twists and turns down the road of unbridled passion in this first book of the series.


Buy here:
Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble  |  Kobo 
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Interview with Judy Serrano


Welcome to Offbeat Vagabond, Judy!

  1. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Hi Diana, thank you so much for having me on your blog today. I am the mother of four boys and have been happily married for 17 years. I teach developmental writing at a local college, I do editing for indie authors, and have a BA in English. I am currently pursuing my master’s degree in English and I substitute teach, when time permits at my children’s ISD. I also write for CBS Local, Believe.com, and Examiner.com. I have six books published by Black Rose Writing and am getting ready for a new release that I am publishing myself, called “Ivy Vines, Visions.”

  1. When did you discover your love for writing?
I have always loved to write. I play guitar and sing, and have been writing songs and poems since I was very young. As a matter of fact, I wrote my first novel at 12 years old. It may have been about the adventures of superhero’s and magic carpets, but the title of the book was, “I am an author.” My mom found it in a storage closet no too long ago and dusted it off. I didn’t even know it existed.

  1. What first attracted you to Thrillers and Romance?
This is an interesting story. I grew up with dyslexia, so reading was always difficult for me. I began writing my first novel, Easter’s Lilly, while I was going to college. I noticed that all the girls in my classes were reading Twilight. I had to know what all the excitement was about, so I bought the book. I became instantly addicted from that moment on, and I began to read like an addict.

  1. What authors influenced you when growing up? Who is on your bookshelf right now?
Like I said, I didn’t read much as a child. I remember reading Judy Blume when I was very young. Her books were simple, written in the first person, and I enjoyed them. Authors like Stephanie Tyler, Maya Banks, and Nora Roberts, were certainly influences of mine. I love the thrill of Tyler and Banks and the tasteful romance of Roberts. That being said, I really prefer books written in the first person, although all three of them are 3rd person writers (to my knowledge). I loved, Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire, and Thoughtless by S.C Stephens. But every now and again, I need to rev up the thrill and head back to my reliable lovers of action, and I download whatever’s new on their websites. As I open my Kindle I see up on deck, Hidden Away, by Maya Banks and I am currently reading, Dead as a Doornail, by Charlaine Harris. Gotta love that Sookie Stackhouse.

  1. Can you tell us what Easter's Lilly is about and what we should know?
Easter’s Lilly is about a young girl who inadvertently finds herself married to the kingpin of the Mexican Mafia. He marries her as a sort of business deal and ignores her for the first part of the relationship. She is pregnant by someone else and Diego, the mob boss, tells her he will marry her and take care of her. She then falls in love with his younger brother, Max. There is a lot of deceit and action and the reader will be continuously surprised throughout the experience.

  1. Where did the idea of the book come from?
I have no idea. My characters take me for a ride when I sit down and put my fingers on the keyboard, not the other way around. I sat down, hoping to write a book about successful marriages, and came back with romance, betrayal, and murder. Go figure…

  1. Who is your favorite character in the book and why?
Hector is my favorite character in Easter’s Lilly. Although his part is small in this particular novel, it gets much bigger as time progressive. He is sexy, comical, and wildly irresistible. My husband was even a little jealous of him when he first came to light. You will love him too.

  1. Do you have any muses for any of your characters?
I will never tell.

  1. What was the most challenging thing you had to face when getting your book published?
Finding a publisher was rough. You have to first find an agent, who will change your book around, and send it to a publisher. This can take a while. I found an independent publisher who took my book just the way it was, so I was very excited about that. But I would say that finding the right fit can be a challenge.

  1. How did you celebrate when your book was published?
I usually open a bottle of champagne and celebrate with my husband. He is my best friend, after all. Can’t think of anyone better to share the joy with.

  1. I saw that you are a singer and songwriter in your spare time. When did you discover your love for music? What is your favorite song you have written and why?
My mother says that I have been singing since I learned to open my mouth. I sang all over the country for many years. Obviously I was never famous, but I did give it my best shot. I LOVE country music. I do also love Christian worship tunes. I don’t know that I have a favorite. I just love to write, and once you get me on stage, it feels like home.

  1. Last but not least, are there any new projects you are working on? Is there a sequel to Easter's Lilly in the works?
There are five books out already in The Easter’s Lilly Series. My latest, The Lost Years, was just released last month. It is a young adult spin-off of the series, featuring Lilly’s son, Junior. The books are very dependent on each other, so it is best to start with Easter’s Lilly and then go to Brother Number Three and so on. I released a new book in August called Linked, which is a paranormal romance and will be releasing, Ivy Vines, Visions, also a paranormal romance, in the next few weeks.

Thank you so much for visiting Offbeat Vagabond, Judy! Can't wait to have you here again.


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     Easter's Lilly is an interesting read that follows a young woman's spiral into the mob world. Lilly is young and doesn't have a lot of life experience. She falls for a guy named Johnny that has quite the record. He is a drug dealer and quite possibly, a murderer. She has been warned to stay away from him from her father (who is a cop), that he is very dangerous. But her not listening has major repercussions. She is quickly sucked into a world she never thought she would enter. A world where drugs and murder are the norm. Lilly is now on the run for her life and who she is running from is the last person she would expect.

     Oh boy. Talk about 180 degrees (maybe not a complete 180, but it is better from where I started). My feelings for this book went from one extreme to another.  I have to say I ended up liking it, but it took a while to get there. This book was very close to being my very first DNF (Did Not Finish). Why, you may ask? I will tell you why. Lilly! Freaking Lilly! I couldn't stand her. I could probably write an essay on all the notes I wrote when she did something stupid and man, there were a lot. You guys know Bella Swan is the bane of my existence, Well, Lilly made Bella look like a genius. I understand she was naive, but there is a thin line between naive and stupid, and I think Lilly crossed it quite a few times. She was selfish as hell and I just couldn't put up with her anymore. Something awful happens to the man she supposedly loves and instead of crying or asking questions like a normal person, her first thing to say is. "I am all alone". This was ridiculous since she still had family who she abandoned (after a near miss), but again, it was all about a man, She just never acted the way someone would in extreme situations. After the incident, she turns around and starts thinking about the two other men that immediately enter her life after that. Her head always seemed to be in the clouds or something. But I stuck with this book even though I couldn't stand Lilly.

    Close to the halfway point, the book started to change because we started to focus on other characters. Enter the most interesting and dangerous family ever, the Montiago brothers. We meet the men that are meant to protect Lilly. Hector, Max and Diego. Diego is the most dangerous one and the leader. He is married to Lilly now and wants her protected by his brothers, Hector and Max. Her and Max develop quite the connection in the book. As a matter of fact, she has great connections with all the men in this book and I don't get it. Lilly gets easily confused and falls in love with whoever is in her personal space. I didn't understand why the men were fighting over her. Even Hector (who I am so in love with), points out the things I am thinking. He talks about how confused Lilly can get and how she doesn't seem to understand certain situations. I loved all the men even Diego who you will hate and for good reason. The men carried this book well. Their mob life was scary and insane. Even amongst all their chaos, I love that they had personalities and were able to joke around, Hector and Max especially. Lilly doesn't deserve any of them, she just doesn't.   

    Like I said, the story kicks up nearly halfway when things with Diego really go south and we meet Jorge, who is also a fellow criminal (a very scary criminal). Things between Lilly and Max heat up and they know that if Diego found out, someone will definitely be dead. The FBI are now involved with their life and better yet, Lilly's dad is involved. They are on the run and Diego and Jorge are on their tracks. People are dropping like flies and worse yet, it seems as though they can't trust a lot of their friends. Someone has ratted them out and has been spying on them. It was quite a thrilling read to say the least. I couldn't believe where the book went. My mouth hit the floor.
  
    I could go on all day about Lilly. Now I will say, she slowly starts to show some spine later on in the book. The book really is about self-discovery, but Lilly does have some ways to go. I don't dislike her quite as much as I did in the beginning, but I am still not a fan. She still makes some very dumb decisions for me. Like I said, the men were amazing. This book would have gotten 5 stars if we followed them instead of Lilly. They were just so entertaining. They can be badasses one second and have me smiling the next. This book was thrilling and intriguing. I am glad I didn't give up on it like I thought I would. As much as I am not a fan of Lilly's, I did feel for her and her story.  Serrano managed to make this book frustratingly fascinating. I have never seen anything like it. I would recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a romantic suspense featuring some insanely sexy mobsters. But be warned, if you like strong females, you will have some issues here like I did. I know this all is a growing experience for Lilly, so I am looking forward to seeing her snap out of it and know what she wants in the future. I am very curious about this series. This book ends on quite a cliffhanger and I do want more. 


Rating:







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Judy Serrano Bio


Judy Serrano graduated from Texas A&M University, Commerce with a BA in English. She is a substitute teacher at her children’s school district and teaches developmental writing at a local college. She is also a freelance writer for certain on-line periodicals and does editing for indie authors. She is the author of The Easter’s Lilly Series, which falls under romantic suspense, and The Linked Series, which is paranormal romance.

Although she is originally from New York, she currently resides in Texas with her husband, four children, (all boys) and five dogs. She is also a singer/songwriter in her spare time.

Connect with Judy Serrano
Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble  |  Blog  |  Facebook  |  Goodreads  |  LinkedIn  |  Twitter  |  Website


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GIVEAWAY TIME!!!
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Due to the daily spam comments I have been getting lately and to avoid the annoying word verification, Anonymous comments are no more. I do not want bargains on bags, watches, jerseys, boots and other crap. Geez, they could at least spam me with book and movie stuff, I would be somewhat interested LOL! Thank you :D