#MarchMadness Through the Eyes of a Writer #amreading #books

Hello & Welcome!

Three things come to mind when I think about the month of March: St. Patrick’s Day in Chicago, Spring Break at the beach, and March Madness—the road to the Final Four!

Growing up in Southern Indiana, March was all about basketball. So I thought I’d have a little fun and fill out my brackets using a book to go along with each team. I put this together before the tournament started. These books have something to do with the state or region the basketball team is from. If watching college basketball isn’t really your thing, you can always dig into a good book. Here are a few of my favorites.


March Madness.jpg

Let’s take a closer look at each bracket…

The West Bracket

Lizzi Tremayne

A Long Trail Rolling

51USqahmVOL.jpg Escaping her father’s killer, Aleksandra rode the Pony Express–full speed into the middle of the Indian Paiute War.

She didn’t expect to become a target…
but she is one now.

Aleksandra is alone and running to prevent her father’s killer from discovering their family secret.  Disguised as a Pony Express rider in 1860’s Utah, she winds up in even deeper trouble when she rides full speed into the Paiute Indian War. Can she and Xavier, her California boss, escape the Indians on the warpath, as well as evade the man who’s already killed Aleksandra’s father–and set his sights on her?

Magdalena Scott

Emily’s Dreams (Serendipity, Indiana Book 2)


Emily Kincaid was seriously injured in a car wreck (Small Town Christmas). Now she has to figure out how to live instead of simply surviving. Her past includes a series of broken relationships and dead-end jobs, but her future is a giant question mark. Everybody wants to help–the nurse aide Emily can’t stand, Emily’s grandmother who had the perfect marriage and wants Emily to find the right man, and her teenage sisters who are eager to get her out of their way. David Standish wants to help too, but he’s the guy Emily can never have. He’s older, and cosmopolitan while she’s small town boring…

And on top of all this, there’s the voice in Emily’s head that keeps giving her advice she can’t understand.

Come to Serendipity, and believe in the magic of Love!



The Road Not Taken (Serendipity, Indiana Book 6)

Franci51VUn0UxcAL.jpge Standish Carrington and husband Brad are spending Christmas in her hometown of Serendipity, but it’s no vacation. There are marital problems, career decisions, and a major change on the horizon for the Standish family Christmas tree farm.
Can Francie find a way through all this, to a happy ending for anyone?





Carol DeVaney

Perfect Match

An inspirational story of learning to forgive and deal with the death of a spouse.51g9ZpEqC0L.jpg

 Twenty-seven-year-old Cali Weston, has no inclinations of becoming romantically involved again. When Cali’s summoned to Crossroads, Tennessee, she breezes into the town she hasn’t been back to in fifteen years, to settle her estranged father’s affairs. Things begin to happen. She’s rescued from an accident by an old school-girl infatuation, Trace Robbins. The home she’s just inherited from her father, is broken into three times. Someone is after her. For her safety, she’s thrown together with Trace and his seven-year-old son, Dylan. She is not happy.

It’s been a year since the death of Trace’s wife, Jena. Trace faces raising his son, Dylan, alone. He blames himself for both the accident and Jena’s death. Now her memory haunts him. Neither romance, love or marriage is an option.

As attraction grows between Cali and Trace, Cali fails to keep her heart intact concerning both Trace and Dylan. Sparks fly when Cali realizes Trace’s interests are centered not on her, but on two-hundred acres of prime farm land, she’d acquired from her father.
Cali struggles with meeting obligations of the art studio, and coming to grips with why her father hadn’t contacted her in fifteen years. Trouble brews when Trace can’t let go of his deceased wife’s memory and Cali won’t play second fiddle to a ghost. Cali can’t forgive her father and Trace can’t forgive himself. Each reject forgiveness in their lives for different reasons. Can they put aside their stubbornness and commit to each other?

Kristy Tate

A Ghost of a Second Chance (Rose Arbor series Book 1)

On the eve of his funeral, Laine Collin’s grandfather disappears and a stranger fills his coffin. Laine isn’t th51CNWOWZy3L.jpge only one concerned. A woman claiming to be Laine’s long dead grandmother is demanding to know what has become of her missing beloved. Laine’s search takes her to the tiny town of Rose Arbor, her grandfather’s hometown and the place of her grandmother’s death.
As Laine unravels the mystery of her grandparents’ marriage she is forced to confront her own estranged husband and answer one more question of the heart—can love live even after it has died?
If you like Susanna Kearsley or Mary Stewart, you’ll love this gothic romance by award-winning author, Kristy Tate.


The East Bracket

Shaila Patel

Soulmated (Joining of Souls) 

514xCyncbYL.jpg**Winner of the 2015 Chanticleer Book Reviews Paranormal Awards in YA**

Two souls. One Fate.

Eighteen-year-old Liam Whelan, an Irish royal empath, has been searching for his elusive soulmate. The rare union will cement his family’s standing in empath politics and afford the couple legendary powers, while also making them targets of those seeking to oust them.

Laxshmi Kapadia, an Indian-American high school student from a traditional family, faces her mother’s ultimatum: Graduate early and go to medical school, or commit to an arranged marriage.

When Liam moves next door to Laxshmi, he’s immediately and inexplicably drawn to her. In Liam, Laxshmi envisions a future with the freedom to follow her heart.

Liam’s father isn’t convinced Laxshmi is “The One” and Laxshmi’s mother won’t even let her talk to their handsome new neighbor. Will Liam and Laxshmi defy expectations and embrace a shared destiny? Or is the risk of choosing one’s own fate too great a price for the soulmated?

Jennifer Theriot

Out of the Box Everlasting

Recently engaged Ash Harper and Olivia Petersen are returning home from two romance-filled weeks abr512FHojDM9L.jpgoad, confronted by tragedy and chaos.

A terrible accident in the Seattle harbor has hospitalized one of Ash’s children and skeletons are about to come out of the closet because of it. Dark secrets Ash had sworn to take with him to the grave will have to be told to get his son the treatment he needs.

As if that’s not enough, a thoughtless decision could destroy his relationship with Olivia. Forever.

While they have the love and support of family and friends, and they’ve made it through some of life’s toughest obstacles already, life just threw them a real curveball. No one is sure if their love will be strong enough to survive this one.

Burdened with feelings of betrayal and uncertainty, Olivia finds herself returning to familiar ground. On the outside, she and Ash seem like the perfect couple, but everyone has demons from their past. To work through the vestiges of these demons, she seeks the professional help of Dr. Trenda Silverman in Galveston, Texas. Hard questions will be asked. Harder answers will be realized.
With a Presidential election on the horizon, what better elements to add than murder, intrigue and a political conspiracy theory.

Follow Ash and Olivia on this emotionally poignant journey as they capture Everlasting. Sometimes you have to go to Hell before you can get to Heaven.
Out of the Box Everlasting is the third in the bestselling Out of the Box series, a women’s contemporary romance about fate and second chances at love.
Contains adult language and situations, and is intended for readers over the age of 18.


Gina Ardito

Waiting in the Wings (The Afterlife Series Book 3)

Winner of the 2015 Paranormal Romance Guild’s Reviewers Choice Award!

In the third and final installment of the award-winning Afterlife Series, she’s got nothing left to lose; he has everything to gain…510cLezyW7L.jpg

A longtime resident of the Afterlife, Xavia Donovan has vowed to do whatever it takes to get out of the realm of the dead and move on. She didn’t expect “whatever it takes” to mean counseling the baddest bad boy to cross her path—in life or death.

On Earth, Osiris Cavanaugh spent lifetimes betraying his country, betraying his compatriots, and betraying the one person now assigned to help him become a better soul: Xavia.

With the help of an unusual child on Earth, they’ll conquer their pasts. But now that they’ve come together, will their futures tear them apart?


E. Ayers

Montana Sky: Loving Matilda (Kindle Worlds) (Creed’s Crossing Historical Book 3)

Matilda “Matt” Berwyn, forced to live disguised as a boy in a mining town, longs to escape and blo519h8OognrL.jpgssom into the female she’s always wanted to be. But her desire to leave Morgan’s Crossing escalates when she realizes she’s being stalked.

Stockyard hand Zeke Hillerman knows her secret and has fallen in love with her. He helps her flee to his parents’ home in the east to learn to be a lady, while he struggles to start his own ranch. As Matilda grapples with Victorian expectations of young women, Zeke’s plans for their future unravel, and he realizes that the cost of her ticket out of Morgan’s Crossing may have been his own heart.


*This book has a connection to Germantown, PA


The Midwest Bracket



The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum

***If you don’t know who Dorothy is…what planet have you been living on? You should immediately read this classic.

It recounts the adventures of a girl called Dorothy and her dog Toto in the Land of Oz after they are swept away from a Kansas farm by a cyclone.


Liza O’Connor

A Furtune to Die For (White Oak – Mafia Series Book 1)519U6jK1BJL.jpg

Megan Clarke had a good life until she wins the Mega Times Lottery and discovers the prize comes with a curse. Worse than the many money-hungry suitors, a serial killer has her in his sight. She changes her name and moves to Iowa with plans to buy their last major forest of white oaks and turn it into a State Park. Unfortunately, the Lottery Curse doesn’t stop at state lines and someone there wants her dead, as well. Good thing a disturbingly handsome law officer is just as determined to keep her alive.





Gina Ardito

Nobody’s Business (Nobody Romances)

After the death of her husband, professional competitive skier Brooklyn Raine has shunned the press. Living as Lyn Hill, bed-and-breakfast owner in a quaint Vermont mountain town, Brooklyn keeps a low profile and avoids any link to her former celebrity status. Now, her famous older sister has arrived with her children and fiancé in tow, and the spotlight threatens to burn bright on Brooklyn once again.

411DUjz5yHL.jpgSports reporter Douglas Sawyer sustained a devastating loss in Iraq and no longer cares about his career, much less his future. At the insistence of friends and family, he becomes the first civilian participant in Ski-Hab, a winter sports rehabilitation program for war veterans and amputees. After he discovers that pushy Lyn Hill is actually former ski star Brooklyn Raine, his instincts sense the perfect story line to thrust him back into the journalism world. Despite interference from other skiers, the local cab driver, and Brooklyn herself, Doug is determined to chronicle the life of the former ski champ.

But when their secrets are revealed, each will face a hard choice. Will Brooklyn and Doug abandon the easy trail to take a chance on the more challenging slope to love?

Susan R. Hughes

Forever Your Valentine (Eastport Book 3)51UXhZYSAJL.jpg

Faith Kinley would rather forget all about Valentine’s Day. Last February 14th, she caught her husband with another woman. This Valentine’s Day takes a turn for the better when Faith runs into dead-sexy Cole McKenna. Attraction crackles between them, but Cole’s a confirmed bachelor whose career as a hockey scout keeps him on the road most of the year. With her heart still mending from her divorce, Faith resolves to keep her relationship with Cole strictly platonic—a pledge that becomes harder to keep as they grow closer. Will one night together ruin their friendship, or could they be falling in love?



The South Bracket

Lizabeth Scott

Sweet Surrender (A Royal Vow Novel Book 1)


Small town waitress, Mari Roe, can’t believe the tall, dark, and tasty guy that just
walked into her restaurant. There is something about him that makes her lose all reason. When he invites her to join him on the remainder of his business trip, Mari puts her foot down. Someone like him is only interested in someone like her for one reason.

Prince Kiliad SuMartra can’t believe his eyes when a feisty harem girl accosts him in the parking lot of a greasy spoon restaurant. Mari excites him in ways that he has never experienced before. He is totally smitten by her gentleness and innocence. Keeping his identity from her is a decision that he may live to regret.


Magdalena Scott

A Piece of Her Soul (Serendipity, Indiana Book 7)

51TnrKkumBL.jpgSweet romance meets light paranormal in this Halloween story of second chances.

Jacqueline is back in Serendipity to help her mother (Reba Markland–EMILY’S DREAMS) recuperate after being injured in a fall. The little town hasn’t changed much–the gossip tree still has branches and roots everywhere, most folks remember the town’s past better than they can imagine its future, and the autumn colors are more beautiful than anywhere she’s traveled in the years since she left.

When the special gift that drives every facet of her life compels her to get close to Nick Marshall, any tranquility she might have hoped for is out the window. Now Jacqueline is not only helping Reba and reconnecting with friends, but little by little, dealing with her past with Nick, and the burden of being “different,” that has haunted her for so long.


John Anthony

The Journey of Joseph Winter: A Christmas Fairy Tale

A heartwarming Christmas story in the tradition of the holiday classics It’s a Wonderful Life and A Miracle on 34th Street.41TwU5Xuc3L.jpg

A magical Christmas fairy tale to warm your heart!

Joseph Winter is a good and gentle man, but he carries with him the pain and regret of a childhood mistake.

When a package mysteriously arrives on his doorstep, he is invited on a path to redemption.

Traveling far from his cozy little home in St. Paul, Minnesota, into the snowy landscapes of the Arctic, his touching Christmas journey takes him in search of the one man who may be able to help him find peace—Santa Claus.

An inspirational family Christmas tale in the style of the classic Christmas stories shared by families every holiday season, The Journey of Joseph Winter: A Christmas Fairy Tale is the inspiring story of a man in search of Santa Claus, his childhood, and ultimately—himself.

Jill James

The Lake Willowbee Series

The Lake Willowbee Series contains 3 previously published novellas, available as individual eBooks.51Fyee8eaUL.jpg

Divorce, Interrupted
Trapped in a mountain cabin, newly-divorced Todd and Lisa Miller are forced to confront a flood, her infidelity, and a lifetime of memories that still ignite a spark between them.

Dare To Trust
Trust does not come easy to Evie Grimes who is stalked by her ex-husband. Brady Jackson will do anything to protect Evie, but does she dare trust that he wouldn’t commit murder to do so?

Defend My Love
Falsely accused embezzler, Megan Kirby wants her lost years in prison back, to be a wife to Daniel, and a mother to Daisy, a child she doesn’t know. But she won’t be truly free until she proves she was setup.

J.M. Maurer

Seeking Love (Emerging From Darkness Book 1)

Three years after a bitter divorce, Jessica Winters isn’t sure she’s ready—SLAmazon.jpgor capable—to move on. The thought of another relationship terrifies her, but things quickly change when she meets the playfully witty and handsome sex therapist Matthew Moi. At first, she tries to ignore him, but something in the way he levels his sultry gaze on her awakens her soul.

Secretly in love with Jessica, Matthew has been giving her the space she needed to heal. Incapable of waiting any longer and eager to work his way into her broken heart, he seizes an opportunity to have their paths cross. But when her painful past resurfaces, revealing truths that threaten their future, Matthew must prove to Jessica that a shot at true love is worth the risk.

Seeking Love is the first book in the Emerging From Darkness trilogy, and as such, is not intended to be a standalone. The trilogy reads as: Seeking Love, Seeking Redemption, & Seeking Hope.

Adult Contemporary Romance 18+

I had fun playing with these brackets, and I want to thank the authors who graciously allowed me to use their covers. Hugs to all of you! I’ve tremendously enjoyed reading your books!!

If you’re wondering how I could grow up in a basketball-mad state and not give Purdue University a book…well, it’s because I graduated from the downstate rival school that has 5 NCAA title banners hanging from the gymnasium rafters—Indiana University.

I’d love to know what book(s) enter your mind when you scan the teams that made it into this year’s March Madness tournament. Who do you have winning it all?

Clearly my bracket is done…I will kindly go back to reading now. 🙂


And as always…thanks for stopping by!




23 thoughts on “#MarchMadness Through the Eyes of a Writer #amreading #books

    • Thanks, Susan! If you would have played me in 6th grade, I would have been the tallest girl on the team. 7th grade…the shortest. Since my feet didn’t really like to move, my basketball career didn’t last very long either.

      Liked by 3 people

        • My team (Indiana) didn’t make the big dance this year. And my brackets (as usual) are toast. So…time for a good book. Hope you’re enjoying these last few games. Good game coming up with UNC & Kentucky! 🙂


  1. I just don’t watch or follow basketball, not even the college teams. I do know that Villanova has been a perennial force in men’s basketball as well as U. of Conn women’s. (That’s about the extent of my knowledge. LOL) But I think it was fun that you paired me to Villanova. So many of my Catholic friends went there.

    I loved writing Loving Matilda because of my family ties to Germantown, PA and its proud history. Thanks for picking me and Villanova as the winner. 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

    • I thought this year was Villanova’s. Like others who play the bracket game, I was shocked Villanova got knocked out the first round. But that’s the fun of filling out a bracket…seeing how well or, as in my case lol, how not so well your picks do. I almost went with UCLA winning the whole thing and only for the fact that their coach played at Indiana University!

      Liked by 3 people

      • I did ask a friend who knows about brackets because I was lost. So he explained how everything can go to a bracket.(It was like having the collapse of a star explained to me.) He’s also a walking encyclopaedia for sports. He said you did a great job with your bracket, and said Villanova was the favorite to win. Unfortunately Villanova didn’t see your bracket. 😦

        In spite of the fact that I now live in Virginia, it seems most of my friends here bleed NC blue. 🙂

        Liked by 3 people

        • LOL. I don’t have a very good track record with picks. But that’s the fun of it all. My sister is in S.C. and they are all about Duke! Some good basketball and baseball out of that region. You know, for when you’re not reading a book. 😉

          Liked by 1 person

  2. Very clever, Jackie!
    I’m a March Madness fan from way back–I’m a UConn alum and I’ve been watching the women’s tournament this year–Go Huskies!
    BTW I think it would be much harder to pick the winning books from this line up than the winning teams!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Hi, Stephanie! UConn almost always has a very strong team. And I agree with picking books…good thing I only needed to pick basketball teams. 😉


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