Monday, November 30, 2015

Book Spotlight: Pieces on Earth by Cathy Bryant, an Excerpt, and a Couple of Giveaways!

Pieces on Earth

Pieces on Earth by Cathy Bryant
Print and e-book, 123 pages
Published November 17, 2015 by WordVessel Press

As the wife of a naval aviator in sunny Pensacola, Florida, Liv Tulley eagerly anticipates the first Christmas in several years with her husband, daughter, and extended family. Then her husband is unexpectedly deployed for an undetermined amount of time, smashing her white Christmas dreams.

Can she find God's peace in the midst of life's pieces?

                             Print | Kindle


Liv finished filling out the necessary paperwork in the medical clinic waiting room, doing her best to keep her fears at bay.

She rose to her feet and carried the clipboard with the completed paperwork to the receptionist. The harried woman took the clipboard without so much as a glance her way. "Have a seat. A nurse will call you back momentarily."

Liv trudged back to the worn gray chairs and slumped into one of them, once more cognizant of her reason for being here. October marked her second month without her period. For most women her age, that would be a sign of promising things to come, but no such luck in her case. She'd known since her daughter's birth that having more children just wasn't in the cards for her. A fact that made Chesney's life even more miraculous.

She gnawed the inside of her lip and watched a little boy--probably about two years old--playing in the floor with a toy car. Without warning, the fear returned, bringing with it only one thought. Was it possible that she'd somehow inherited the gene that lead to the ovarian cancer that claimed her grandmother's life? Was that the reason for her current symptoms?

Liv pressed her lips together and forced her thoughts to happier ones. How wonderful it would be to add a fourth member to their clan. Chesney would make such a great big sister, and Jeff would be ecstatic to have another child. Since being promoted to lieutenant a few months ago, he had qualified for a stateside assignment as an instructor pilot at Pensacola NAS. How wonderful would it be to be able to raise a child with his or her parent actually around to help out? Even the few short months of having her daddy at home had made a huge difference in Chesney.

A pent-up sigh whooshed from her lungs. This current line of thought was landing her nowhere except in the dumps. There wouldn't be another baby. She grabbed her large sack of a purse and rummaged inside until she found an old envelope. Forcing the baby blues away, she started a to-do list of things to accomplish for her family's first Christmas together since before Chesney was born.

Get the Christmas shopping done. Well, that was a no-brainer. But this year it was especially important, since they'd also be buying gifts for nieces, nephews, siblings, aunts, and uncles. How fun it would be to have both sides of the family all together again in the mountain cabin vacation rental her mother had located online.

Now happy thoughts wound their way through her insides. Liv leaned her head back against the Plexiglas partition and allowed the happiness to wander unchecked. Warm sweaters, cups of cocoa, a gigantic tree stuffed with presents, laughter of loved ones, and fluffy white snow.

Though she loved the sunny weather of Pensacola where Jeff was stationed, during the holidays she always yearned for the cold weather and snow of her Colorado upbringing. This year it would finally become a reality.

She straightened in her seat, checked the clock above the receptionist window, and returned to her list. Buy Chesney some cold weather clothing. Hmm, maybe she could order a ski bib online, since there was very little to no chance that she'd find one in Pensacola.

One thought led to another, and Liv scribbled as quickly as possible, unwilling to let even the smallest detail escape. A few minutes later, she brushed some escaped frizzy hair from her face and once more scanned her list. Yeah, that should do it. Now if she could just get these health concerns out of the way so she could concentrate on more pleasant tasks.

Liv glanced at the clock once more. Unbelievable. She'd been here for a half hour already. At this rate, she'd never make it to Chesney's preschool in time to pick her up. She grabbed her cell phone and hit speed dial for Darcy, one of many military wives in her group who all looked out for each other.

Her friend picked up immediately. "Hi Liv. What's up?"

"My blood pressure."

Darcy's contagious giggle sounded through the phone. "Let me guess. You're still waiting to see the doctor."

"How'd you guess?"

"Umm, 'cause I've been there and done that. Need me to pick up Ches?"

"Yeah, if you don't mind. And if a miracle occurs and I get out of here in time, I'll shoot you a text."

"Sounds good."

Liv had just dropped the phone back into her purse, when a short blond nurse in pink scrubs called her name from the doorway that lead to the exam rooms. She followed the nurse through the door where the dreaded scales awaited. After getting off the scales, fresh resolve took root in Liv's mind to cut back on carbs and lose those ten extra pounds that had plagued her since Chesney was born. Four years was way too long to lug around the unwanted weight. She followed the woman down the hallway and dutifully entered the room to which she motioned.

The nurse smiled and pulled the door toward the closed position. "Dr. Amy will be with you soon."

Liv perched on the edge of the exam table, once more on pins and needles about the potential problem. Lord, please let me be okay, and please, please, please, don't let this affect our Christmas plans.

About the author

Amazon best-selling author Cathy Bryant loves to write heart-stirring stories of God's life-changing grace, and has done so through six Miller's Creek novels, two Bible studies, one Christmas novella, and two devotional books written in collaboration with other Christian authors. She's also written for The Upper Room devotional magazine.

When she's not writing, you'll find her rummaging through thrift stores, romping in the great outdoors, or up to her elbows in yet another home improvement project in the mountain cabin she shares with her minister husband of over thirty years.

You can connect with Cathy in the following online spots, including her website, where you can download a free eBook copy of one of her novels.

Connect with Cathy

Giveaway #1

In celebration of the release of Pieces on Earth, Cathy is giving away a $200 Amazon Gift Card. The contest closes on December 21, 2015. Winner will be announced via social media channels and on Cathy's Reader's Group Newsletter.

Click here to enter!

Giveaway #2

Cathy has also generously donated a Kindle or Nook e-book of Pieces on Earth for one lucky person here at The Book Bag!

Thank you, Cathy!

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Cover Reveal: Novelista Girl by Meredith Schorr

Novelista Girl

Novelista Girl by Meredith Schorr
Expected publication date: Early 2016 
Published by Booktrope Editions

Readers first met sassy Kimberly Long in Blogger Girl, and now the feisty New Yorker is back in a sequel packed with quick wit, friendship, heartache, and, of course, romance.

Kim runs the most popular chick lit book blog on the web, loves playing house with her sexy lawyer boyfriend, Nicholas, and is finally pursuing her lifelong dream to become a published author. At first glance, her life is five-pink-champagne-flutes worthy. 

But is there more to the story than meets the eye?

After hearing the phrase “chick lit is dead” more times than she’s read Bridget Jones's Diary, Kim is driven to desperate measures, seeking advice from up-and-coming chick lit author, Hannah Marshak, her high school nemesis and resident “mean girl.” As if Kim doesn't have enough on her plate balancing her secretarial duties with her blog Pastel Is the New Black, shrugging off the growing pile of agent rejections, and keeping her best friend from turning green over Kim’s budding friendship with Hannah, Nicholas is so blinded by his career ambitions, he doesn't see that their home sweet home could use more than a dash of sugar. 

This is the year when all of Kim's dreams—professional and romantic—are supposed to come true, but will the story have a happily ever after, or will Kim end up unpublished and all alone?

This novel can be read as a sequel or as a standalone and is best accompanied by a cocktail, preferably a pink one.

Read my thoughts here.

About the author

A born and bred New Yorker, Meredith Schorr discovered her passion for writing when she began to enjoy drafting work-related emails way more than she was probably supposed to. After trying her hand penning children’s stories and blogging her personal experiences, Meredith found her calling writing chick lit and contemporary women’s fiction. She secures much inspiration from her day job as a hard-working trademark paralegal and her still single (but looking) status.

Meredith is also the co-founder of BookBuzz, a live author/reader event held annually. She is a loyal New York Yankees fan and an avid runner. How Do You Know? is her fourth novel.

Connect with Meredith 

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? November 30, 2015

Hello! Welcome to It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? This weekly meme, hosted by Book Date, is where we share what we have read this past week and what our plans are for the upcoming week. It’s a great way to see what others are reading and to discover books to add to your own To Be Read list. You never know where that next great read may come from!

Click on the book image to read more on Goodreads.

What I'm currently reading/listening to

The Life List
by Lori Nelson Spielman 
This is our book group selection for this week.

Ashley Bell (Ashley Bell #1)
by Dean Koontz 
Love Koontz and love that he has a new series out.

Christmas Bliss (Weezie and Bebe Mysteries #4)
by Mary Kay Andrews
I love Christmas stories! Enter my giveaway to win it.

What I recently finished reading

Esther's Gift: The Lei Crime Series: (Kindle Worlds Novella)
by Bette Lee Crosby 
I love Bette's stories and this was another wonderful one.

Stories of Singularity #1-4 Box Set
by Susan Kaye Quinn
My thoughts will be posted soon. 

What I am going to read next

Life and Other Near-Death Experiences
by Camille Pag├ín 
I've heard so much about this book.

I really love my reading life!

What are you reading this week?

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Sunday, November 29, 2015

A Dictionary of Mutual Understanding by Jackie Copleton

A Dictionary of Mutual Understanding

A Dictionary of Mutual Understanding by Jackie Copleton
Print and e-book, 299 pages
Expected publication: December 1st 2015 by Penguin Books

In the tradition of Memoirs of a Geisha and The Piano Teacher, a heart-wrenching debut novel of family, forgiveness, and the exquisite pain of love.

When Amaterasu Takahashi opens the door of her Philadelphia home to a badly scarred man claiming to be her grandson, she doesn’t believe him. Her grandson and her daughter, Yuko, perished nearly forty years ago during the bombing of Nagasaki.

But the man carries with him a collection of sealed private letters that open a Pandora’s Box of family secrets Ama had sworn to leave behind when she fled Japan. She is forced to confront her memories of the years before the war: of the daughter she tried too hard to protect and the love affair that would drive them apart, and even further back, to the long, sake-pouring nights at a hostess bar where Ama first learned that a soft heart was a dangerous thing. Will Ama allow herself to believe in a miracle?

My thoughts about A Dictionary of Mutual Understanding ~~

I love stories about Japan, something about the Japanese culture has always fascinated me. I also love stories centering around the time of the war; the stories of people's strength and resilience. How could this book not capture my attention?

A Dictionary of Mutual Understanding is a wonderful, well written story of the life of Ama, a woman who survives the bombing of Nagasaki. She loses her daughter and grandson in the blast and she and her husband move to America to try to escape the memories. Years later, a man shows up on her doorstep, claiming to be her grandson, the grandson who she is sure did not survive Nagasaki.

This story show us how the past, the present, and the future are all so connected and intertwined, so much more than we can even imagine. Memories come flooding back to Ama as she tries to understand who this man is who shows up on her doorstep.

A Dictionary of Mutual Understanding is Jackie Copleton's first book and she has written an amazing debut novel. I am excited to see what comes next from her!

I received a copy of this book from First to Read 
in exchange for my honest opinion.

About the author

Jackie Copleton studied English at Cambridge University before teaching in Japan for three years. She has worked in local, regional and national newspapers in the UK and abroad. A Dictionary of Mutual Understanding is her first book and is inspired by her time living in Nagasaki.

Connect with Jackie

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Saturday, November 28, 2015

Book Spotlight Giveaway! Christmas Bliss by Mary Kay Andrews

This week's Book Spotlight Giveaway is for the audiobook (CD) of Christmas Bliss by Mary Kay Andrews. I am listening to it right now. I have not read any of this series before but I don't feel like I am missing anything. I am loving the characters and the story all on it's own. And this is a great one to give away right now, just in time to get you in the mood for Christmas. I have read other books by MKA and I am a big fan of her stories.

Good luck and be sure to stop back next week!

Christmas Bliss

Christmas Bliss by Mary Kay Andrews
Series: Weezie and Bebe Mysteries #4
Audio CD, 6 discs
Published October 15th 2013 by Macmillan Audio

From the New York Times bestselling author of Summer Rental comes a novella that celebrates love, the holidays, and antiques. Christmas is coming, but Savannah antique dealer Weezie Foley is doubly distracted both by her upcoming wedding to her longtime love, chef Daniel Stipanek and also by the fact that her best friend and maid-of-honor BeBe Loudermilk is due to give birth any day and is still adamantly refusing to marry her live-in-love Harry.

Listeners have come to love these characters in Mary Kay Andrews three previous Savannah novels: Savannah Blues, Savannah Breeze, and Blue Christmas. Christmas Bliss offers Andrewss legions of fans the best of many things: familiar characters, a new novella for Christmas, and a celebration of Mary Key Andrewss own favorite pastime-antiquing. Blue Christmas was a fan favorite, and now Christmas Bliss is sure to fly off store shelves and into the hands of Andrews's fans in bestselling numbers.

About the author

Mary Kay Andrews is the pen name of American writer Kathy Hogan Trocheck, based in Atlanta, who has authored a number of best-selling books under the Andrews pen name since 2002.

Trochek graduated from the University of Georgia with a journalism degree in 1976. She worked as a reporter at a number of papers, and spent 11 years as a reporter for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution before leaving to write fiction full-time in 1991. She published ten mystery novels under her own name between 1992 and 2000, and switched to the Andrews pen name in 2002 to author Savannah Blues, which marked a change in her style to more Southern-flavored themes.

Connect with Mary Kay

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Thursday, November 26, 2015

On Tour: Riverview Series by Melissa A. Hanson, a $.99 Sale and a Giveaway!

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Welcome to my stop on the Riverview Series by Melissa A. Hanson Blog Tour! Today, I will be featuring both A Healing Heart and A Healing Spirit.

I have read both of these books and loved them. Read my thoughts here (A Healing Heart) and here (A Healing Spirit).

Be sure to check out the special sale being offered by Melissa in honor of this tour!

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On a bitter cold winter night Bailey Walsh’s family was killed in a traffic accident. Two years later as she lives with her aunt and uncle in Southern California, Bailey is still plagued by the nightmares of that terrible night. Everywhere around her are reminders of what she lost. Even her aunt, in a cruel twist of fate, is not just her mom’s sister, but her identical twin.

Babysitting Riley, a spunky two-year old, is a sweet distraction and one constant light in her life. One day as she takes Riley to the park she meets Collin McKenna, a senior at her high school and her life is changed forever as he helps her find herself and realize her life is worth living.

As the romance between them grows her broken heart begins to heal. However, still nagging in the back of her conscious is the fear that her newfound happiness could come crashing down and she could lose everything she loves, yet again. Outside forces begin to tear them apart and Bailey must learn to trust in herself and realize that she is worthy of happiness. That sometimes love and healing comes in unexpected forms.

A Healing Heart is a story about first love, life’s unexpected tragedies, and the miracles that make it possible to move forward.

E-books Only $0.99 or Signed Paperbacks Just $6!

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ebook cover

A freak ski accident brings nineteen-year old Mia Kinney within minutes of death. Hurt and scared, Mia is calmed by the southern drawl and clear green eyes of her rescuer.

Twenty-one year old Dylan Blackburn is one of the first Ski Patrol members on the scene. As his patient is airlifted to the local trauma center, he can’t shake her from his thoughts.

As Mia fights for her life, Dylan, is haunted by the blonde hair beauty, and knows he needs to make sure she’s going to be okay.

With a troubled past Dylan has vowed never to completely open himself up to another girl, but Mia continues to knock down every wall he’s constructed. When his past arrives at his front door and threatens once again someone that he loves, will Dylan be able to save Mia yet again? Or will he be too late this time?

A story of love, friendship, and the determination to turn a horrible experience into something worthwhile.

E-books Only $0.99 or Signed Paperbacks Just $6!

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A Peek Inside the Books

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About Melissa

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Melissa A. Hanson lives in Southern California with her husband and two sons. Growing up in Southern California, inspiration for the city of “Riverview” is based on her hometown. Melissa enjoys scrapbooking and reading when time permits.

A Healing Heart was her first completed novel, and book 1 of the Riverview Series. It is Bailey & Collin's story.

A Healing Spirit, book 2 has now been released and is book 2 of the Riverview Series. It is Mia & Dylan's story.

Each book is a stand-alone novel.

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Riverview Series Tour Giveaway

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