This year I wanted to pick somewhere I’d never been to for my birthday dinner and I’ve been passing Carnivale’s West Loop sign on the expressway for years wondering what it was all about. Chicago’s Carnivale Restaurant is Latin infusion from the Coconut Mojito to the Carnivale Ice Cream Cake! Located at 702 West Fulton, Chicago, IL 60661, CARNIVALE has a festive, vibrant, and happening atmosphere.

The lavish interior glows red and runs the gambit from a large vaulted dining space to alcoved areas with booths and small tables for more intimate dining. The bar overlooks the expressway and is fashionably decorated with leopard print tufts and French hooded canopy chairs which is both funky and fun. Here’s my daughter in one of the fabulous chairs!
My husband and I started with Sangria and my girls had a virgin Coconut Mojito and Pina Colada. For appetizers we had the Oxtail Empanadas & the Octupus a la Plancha which had papas bravas. The papas bravas which is similar to a potato pancake but in a thicker form and deep friend, were to die for. 

For dinner I had the Paella which had so much seafood I could only eat about half of the serving and the bomba rice was seasoned to perfection. My husband had the Churrasco steak & caramelized sweet plantains. The girls shared the Creek Stone Farm Prime New York Strip, which was built with two in mind.
At this point we were stuffed but with all the fabulous desserts parading by and an acute desire to have something to stick the Happy Birthday candle in we trudged ahead, ordering the Banana Cream Pie and the Carnivale Ice Cream Cake with vanilla bean, guava and pistachio ice cream. Wow!
Carnivale is certainly a carnival of flavors for your palate and we’ll be back again soon.


FOOD              4.5  STARS

SERVICE          3.5  STARS

OVERALL            4  STARS


Who’s tired of winter? Looking forward to some beach reading? Or sitting on your favorite patio and listening to the hummingbirds while you read?

I am giving away a paperback copy of all five of my titles to one lucky winner!!!

All you have to do to enter to win is:

1) GO to my FACEBOOK AUTHOR PAGE & give it a 


2) Share the BOOKLOVERS post pinned to the top of my page! Look for this icon:


This contest is open to U.S. residents, if you’re international and you’d like to enter feel free but you will get ebook copies of all the titles. I’ll select one international and U.S. winner once I reach 5500 Likes on my Facebook author page. You must still be following me at the time that the winner is selected.

Happy Reading & Reviewing,
Elizabeth Marx


29 Talented Chick Lit Authors have banded together to offer you a spectacular Christmas Giveaway! One lucky reader will win all 29 of these AUTOGRAPHED CHICK LIT TITLES*!

All you have to do is click on the Rafflecopter below and like one of our Facebook Author pages to be entered to win! Like more than one author page for additional entries. Please spread the word about this wonderful Christmas giveaway!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Also, I am excited to tell you that my book, 
BINDING ARBITRATION is featured on as a Holiday gift pick this season! 

You can see my  book here: Women’s Fiction for Romance Lovers. I would very much appreciate it if you could take a minute to check out my book, and share this link with your friends and family. Thanks

My book was featured on
Wishing you all a joyous Holiday Season!
Elizabeth Marx

*Contest open to U.S. Residents only!


It’s cover reveal time. The very talented Laura Chapman has a debut novel coming December 11th…

Drum Roll Please . . . Hard Hats and Doormats
Lexi Burke has always been a stickler for following rules and procedures. As a human resources manager for a leading Gulf Coast chemical company, it’s her job to make sure everyone else falls in line, too.
But after losing out on a big promotion––because her boss sees her as too much of a yes-woman––Lexi adopts a new policy of following her heart instead of the fine print. And her heart knows what it wants: Jason Beaumont, a workplace crush who is off limits based on her previous protocol.
While navigating a new romance and interoffice politics, Lexi must find the confidence to stand on her own or face a lifetime of following someone else’s orders.
Who says nice girls have to finish last?

Add this to your TBR List on GoodReads

To celebrate the cover reveal for her debut novel, author Laura Chapman is sharing behind-the-scenes tidbits about the making of Hard Hats and Doormats here and on other blogs with her “Hard Hat Confessions.”

Here’s # 17
About the Author

Laura Chapman found a way to mix her love of romance and humor as a women’s fiction author and blogger. A 2008 graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Laura studied journalism, English and history. She traveled across the United States as a writer/photographer before settling into a career in communications. She also maintains Change the Word, a blog devoted to promoting women’s fiction and documenting her experiences as a writer. Born and raised in Nebraska – in a city, not on a farm – she is a devoted fan of football, British period drama, writing in bars and her cats, Jane and Bingley. Hard Hats and Doormatsis her debut novel.
Connect with Laura

 Thanks for stopping by! Per Laura’s confession: what’s the one thing people say to you at work that drives you bonkers??? 



I’m looking for a little love in all the wrong places…nah, just kidding, but I am giving away a paperback copy of all of my titles to one lucky winner!!!


Win an autographed copy of all 5 of my titles!


1) GO TO my AUTHOR page & give it a like! 


2) SHARE the post like the one below on your

    Facebook page!


This contest is open to U.S. residents, if you’re international and you’d like to enter feel free but you will get ebook copies of all the titles. I’ll select one international and U.S. winner once I reach 5500 Likes on my Facebook author page. You must still be following me at the time that the winner is selected.

Happy Reading & Reviewing,
Elizabeth Marx

The Paradise: Cast of Characters Even Dickens Would Applaud!

I’m happy to introduce you into the world that is The Paradise. A period drama filled with characters even a literary icon like Dickens would applaud!

Masterpiece Classic’s new period drama about the first department store The Paradise is based on Emile Zoile’s novel with the same name. The story centers on a Country girl, Denise Lovett, who takes a job at large department store owned by John Moray. The series takes place in 1875 and has all the makings of a Dickensesque drama. Among the trappings and allure of the store Denise finds employment after her uncle’s drapers shop can’t employ her because all the other businesses on High Street are fading under the impressive footprint of the more glamorous Paradise.

Zoile’s characters have a Dickens appeal sure to lure viewers through all the departments and the lives of the inhabitants of The Paradise.

Arthur a young boy, apparently a foundling, who performs all manner of odd jobs at The Paradise seems to be the moral compass of out story, telling Denise that anything she needs he can arrange for her and then the next second indicating where he was born on the premises with no mention of who his parents are. Throughout English literature the name Arthur was given to first-born sons, I won’t make any conjectures here but he has to be someone’s child, the question is whose?

Almost immediately we are introduced to the ‘clandestine’ Mr. Jonas who seems to be the one armed watchdog of our Byronic hero, John Moray. Mr. Jonas lurks, writing in his little black book and is the epitome of the sinister gothic henchman. 

John Moray exhibits all the classic Byronic symptoms, a single-minded determination toward his goal, a wife dead under mysterious circumstances, he captures and then enraptures any females he comes in contact with, and has a list of past sexual discretions. Moray is a gambler and salesman whose job is to utterly hypnotize any one who even peaks through his beautifully embellished storefront window. As a matter of fact that’s exactly where he catches his first glimpse of the slightly disheveled young Denise. Moray’s motto ‘A stitch does not make the blood rise,’ certainly applies here.

Miss Audrey is in charge of the women’s department and the stern matriarch who says things like, “Quickly now, to the haberdashery,” as if a customer’s life or death hangs on them acquiring the proper assortment of hats. She is witty and observant, but she wasn’t a marketing major and without Denise’s assistance she’s completely clueless about how to market the promotion of Miss Pink Paradise.

Dudley a young man who grew up with Moray and acts as his assistant tries to be the voice of reason when Moray doubles the inventory for a one day sale. Moray believes that the sale will establish him as the foremost retailer and also get him the loan he requires from Lord Glendenning, his patron. Dudley
is a practical businessman of the day and acts as a counterpoint to Moray’s idea to tempt them with ‘cheaper and cheaper’.

Katherine Glendenning is a spoiled socialite used to having her way. Moray is financially dependent on her father, Lord Glendenning. Katherine is conniving and determined to marry Moray, we haven’t really seen why she’s so in love with him, it’s as if she saw him in a store window and must have him. Katherine asks her father for her mother’s engagement ring so she can give it to Moray and ask Moray to ask her to marry him. I know, what kind of woman would do that? A pushy one! Lord Glendenning says of his daughter, “Darling, I wish your traps weren’t so delightful.” BUYER BEWARE Katherine Glendenning has set a trap for Moray and she even let him rip open her bodice in the dining room to set the snare.

We have an assortment of minor characters: the sarcastic, manipulative nemesis Clara who we soon learn had a thing for Moray and she probably should be taking some Prozac as a result. Sam, the kindhearted counter boy whose generosity soon lands him in trouble. Pauline the fun loving girl just looking to land a husband, any husband would do. And finally, Edmund Lovett, Denise’s disgruntled uncle whose sales philosophy of selling person to person is just a side effect of his dwindling draper business.

Last but not least, we have our heroine Denise Lovett from small town of Peebles. Taking a job at The Paradise, Denise is seen by Moray as a rising star to the annoyance of head of ladies fashion Miss Audrey and shop girl Clara. She is good at what she does even selling Katherine her first ready to wear dress, making fashionable displays that entice customers, and continually saving the day with fresh marketing ideas. When the one day sale is a huge success and Moray is handing out everyone’s bonuses Denise looks on adoringly, Pauline notices and reiterates her thoughts that Denise is indeed interested in Moray. Denise’s response, “I don’t want to be his wife, I want to be him.” Denise is genuine to her self as any true Dickens heroine would be.

We have to wait and see just how long Denise can withstand the most seductive allure The Paradise holds, for Moray has a way of utterly hypnotizing all under his sway.

Join us each week as another author wraps up a week of The Paradise!

Episode 1 – First Hour – Elizabeth Marx
Episode 1 – Second Hour – Martha Reynolds
Episode 2 – Julie Valerie (Coming on Oct. 14th
Episode 3 – Laura Chapman (Coming on Oct. 21st
Episode 4 – Sara Palacios (Coming on Oct. 28th
Episode 5 – Tracie Banister (Coming on Nov. 5th
Episode 6 – Tracey Livesay (Coming on Nov. 11th
Episode 7 – Lauren Clark (Coming on Nov. 18th

Make sure you see the Paradise Launch Party in the post below and enter our CONTEST!

Happy reading, reviewing, and drama making!

Elizabeth Marx


Ladies let the shopping begin! If you enjoy shopping and high drama then you have to shop at The Paradise!!!!

Some period drama-loving friends and I are throwing a big online party to celebrate Masterpiece airing season one of The Paradise. 

There will be a premiere night Twitter chat, weekly recaps, and to kick things off . . . a fun contest involving one of our favorite pastimes – SHOPPING! This seemed appropriate as The Paradise is a Victorian-era department store where plucky heroine Denise Lovett is employed in the Ladieswear Dept. 

Read on to find out how you can enter this exciting contest and be eligible to win several FABULOUS prizes! 

1) Take a photo (camera pix are fine) of yourself shopping for one (or more) of the following items: 


I was supposed to stalk the Hosiery department, but I got sidetracked by the slippers!!! I’ve narrowed it down to these two pairs!

Let me know in the comments if I should go with the grey or the black and white with pink bow! 

This is how you can enter the contest!!!

You will receive ONE entry per picture of an item listed above (up to 8 entries.) You can earn a bonus FIVE entries if you submit a photo of yourself with a cute/crush-worthy shop employee. (Male or female.) 

2) You may submit your contest photos via Twitter or Facebook. Twitter – Tweet your picture(s) to @ParadiseParty2 Facebook – Post your pictures to the Facebook group, Paradise Party. Note: You will have to join the group in order to post to the forum. Join the FB Group: Paradise

3) This contest is open to residents of the United States ONLY.

4) Contest will begin on Friday, October 4th, 2013 and end at midnight on Sunday, November 17th, 2013. Winners will be announced on Monday, November 18th, 2013. 

5) Prizes are as follows: 

(1) Grand Prize – A $50 Macy’s gift card, which can be used online or in-store. The winner of this prize will be selected by the True Random Number Generator at 

(1) Bonus Prize – The Funniest Photo – A Kindle copy of The Ladies’ Paradise by Émile Zola (this is the classic novel that the TV series is based on.) The winner of this prize will be selected by the 8 authors/bloggers participating in The Paradise online event. 

(1) Bonus Prize – Item We Most Want Photo – An audio CD of The Paradise TV Soundtrack. The winner of this prize will be selected by the 8 authors/bloggers participating in The Paradise online event. 

 So, you can earn up to 13 entries and there are THREE great prizes up for grabs. Cleverness and originality count with these pix, so have fun and be creative! 

Be sure to check out the shopping finds from these fellow Paradise Party bloggers: 
Tracie Banister
Laura Chapman
Lauren Clark
Tracey Livesay
Sara Palacios
Martha Reynolds
Julie Valerie

Hope you’ll stop by Sunday evening for the Twitter chat and all things The Paradise.

Happy reading and reviewing,


It’s my favorite time of year—FALL. I love the color of the changing leaves and the crunch of nuts under my feet when I hike through the forest preserve. The light shines and shifts a little differently through the windows around my house and gives a comforting glimpse of things to come. Beckoning the excitement of Halloween, the thoughtfulness of Thanksgiving and sheer joy of Christmas morning for a child.

So I’ve decided to send out a quarterly newsletter. The contents of the first one are below. Please let me know what you think. There are directions if you’d like to get the newsletter delivered to your mailbox and how you can enter to win the fall prize pack pictured at the bottom of this post.

October gave a party;

The leaves by hundreds came -

The Chestnuts, Oaks, and Maples,

And leaves of every name.

The Sunshine spread a carpet,

And everything was grand,

Miss Weather led the dancing,

Professor Wind the band.

~George Cooper, “October’s Party”

I don’t know about your neck of the woods, but here in Chicago the leaves are starting to fall. As the colors begin to change and the warm days of summer give way to cozy sweaters and your favorite pair of jeans, I thought I’d take a moment to update you what’s going on in my world. Most of you know me as an author, and we’ll get to that a bit later, but today I wanted to bring you something special in my first quarterly newsletter. Don’t worry you’ll only hear from me a couple times a year and I hope to share something on every visit from my first love, decorating.
The picture above is the front stoop of my house. I decorate it every fall, and in a couple of weeks I’ll make it a little more Halloweenish, but until then the focal point is always the pumpkin topiaries. Yes, those are real pumpkins.

How to your own pumpkin topiary.
Supplies: You’ll need three pumpkins in large, medium, and small sizes, wooden/bamboo kebab skewers, hammer, and decorative accents, i.e. fall leaves, beads or garland.
Make sure the bottom pumpkin, or the largest one is large enough to fit in your urn, at least part of its weight should rest in the soil. Place the base pumpkin in the urn, you do not have to cut or gut this pumpkin and do no remove its stem.
Select your middle pumpkin, make sure you have one with a nice stem, cut a circle in the BOTTOM of the pumpkin large enough that it can fit over the stem of the base pumpkin, remove all the seeds and guts from the pumpkin. Now place this second pumpkin on top of the base pumpkin and hammer the long kebab skewers into the second pumpkin until the skewer reaches the base pumpkin. Take your time and hammer the skewer all the way in, it will secure the second pumpkin to the base pumpkin. I usually use about six skewers around the perimeter.
Now repeat the same process to secure the top pumpkin as you did for the middle one, cutting out the BOTTOM and gutting it before securing this top pumpkin to the middle one with skewers. Now add plastic leaves, cattails, branches or Halloween tinsel around the base and fall colored garland for the in between layers. 

So take your family pumpkin hunting! These are my girls last years after we hauled a truckload home! Yes, I buy them by the truckload! The girls were smiling because it was finally over and they could have some Caramel Apple Dip!

Super Quick Caramel Apple Dip
            16 ounces, weight Philadelphia 1/3 Less Fat Cream Cheese, Softened
            ½ cups Powdered Sugar
            16 ounces, weight Old Fashioned Caramel Apple Dip (I Used Marzettis)
            1 cup Heath Bits-O-Brickle Toffee Bits
                        4 Large Granny Smith Apples, Sliced Thick
Preparation Instructions
In a medium bowl, beat together cream cheese and powdered sugar until fluffy. Spread mixture evenly onto a platter. Spread caramel apple dip on top of the cream cheese layer. Sprinkle the top generously with toffee bits. Serve with thick slices of Granny Smith apples.

I hope you’re all looking forward to fall’s celebrations. This was last years Thanksgiving Day Table at my house, the final celebration of fall!
Fall Prizes
As a thank you for subscribing to my newsletter I’m giving away this little Halloween prize pack. All you have to do is subscribe and LIKE my Facebook Author page so you can keep up with me. To subscribe to the newsletter go to my FACEBOOK PAGE leave a like and hit the envelope button next to READ THIS BOOK to sign up for the quarterly newsletter!
*prize pack open to U.S. residents, by entering to win you give me permission to add your name to my mailing list, but you’ll only get 4 newsletters a year with seasonal decorating ideas and what’s new in my book world.


Hop on the Three Sips Blog Tour for a chance to win a $100 worth of Amazon gift cards! Gather your blogger friends and check out this new type of blog tour!

Blogger prizes:
1 $50 Amazon gift card & 2 $25 Amazon Gift Cards

Big prize pack for tour!

Rules and sign up here: Three Sips Blog Hop Blog Tour

Happy Reading and Reviewing!

Feel free to TWEET this!


Please join me on Tuesday August 20th for the VIRTUAL launch party for STAINED. Starting at 9 a.m and going to . . . well . . . possibly, till the cows come home, or the cock crows, or until we get tossed out of Three Sips Distillery!

I hope you’ll join us. We are going to have all sorts of events. I’ll introduce you to some of the characters that reside in Crossroads, especially Revell, Scarlett, and the Sisters. You have got to meet the Sisters, the hundred year old cherokee triplets, Miss Ruby, Miss Pearl, and Miss Sapphire are wise women you don’t want to let down, and only Scarlett is allowed to call them Red, White, and Blue. 

I’ll answer questions about STAINED, have contests, including a Rafflecopter with a huge prize pack. Talk about all things Southern, show you some of my grandmother’s homemade quilts, and pictures of my daughters dressed as Southern belles in costumes I made for them. Who knows what else might happen once we start passing the moonshine around?


Look forward to seeing you there! Until then, Happy Reading & Reviewing,
Elizabeth Marx