Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Release Day! The Santa Suit by Mary Kay Andrews ~ My Thoughts #TheSantaSuit #NetGalley

Happy Release Day!!


Congrats Mary Kay
on the release today of
The Santa Suit!

The Santa Suit by Mary Kay Andrews
Christmas Women's Fiction, 224 pages
Published September 28, by St. Martin's Press

From May Kay Andrews, the New York Times bestselling author of Hello, Summer, comes a novella celebrating the magic of Christmas and second chances in The Santa Suit.

When newly-divorced Ivy Perkins buys an old farmhouse sight unseen, she is definitely looking for a change in her life. The Four Roses, as the farmhouse is called, is a labor of love—but Ivy didn't bargain on just how much labor. The previous family left so much furniture and so much junk, that it's a full-time job sorting through all of it.

At the top of a closet, Ivy finds an old Santa suit—beautifully made and decades old. In the pocket of a suit she finds a note written in a childish hand: it's from a little girl who has one Christmas wish, and that is for her father to return home from the war. This discovery sets Ivy off on a mission. Who wrote the note? Did the man ever come home? What mysteries did the Rose family hold?

Ivy's quest brings her into the community, at a time when all she wanted to do was be left alone and nurse her wounds. But the magic of Christmas makes miracles happen, and Ivy just might find more than she ever thought possible: a welcoming town, a family reunited, a mystery solved, and a second chance at love.


My thoughts about The Santa Suit ~~

(I love to note the first lines of the books I'm reading. First lines can really grab a reader's attention and I love seeing where the author takes the reader after their first lines.)

First lines—"'There it is!' Ivy Perkins pointed at the weather-beaten sign hanging from a dented mailbox nearly obscured by a stand of overgrown dead shrubbery. 'Four Roses Farm, Punkin. See it?'"

I love holiday stories. I look forward to reading some every year. And I love Mary Kay Andrews' stories. Put those two elements together, MKA and Christmas, and I know I am going to be in my happy place! 

The Santa Suit is magical and everything I want in a holiday story—great characters, love, growth, and a wonderful, loving community that opened it's arms to a stranger. I loved my journey to the Four Roses Farm and loved watching Ivy embrace the spirit of the place and get into the joy of the season. 

This is a book that you will definitely want to enjoy this holiday season. The Santa Suit is a feel-good tale that will take you on an escape to a delightful place. I highly recommend it!

I received an ARC of The Santa Suit via NetGalley and this is my honest opinion.

About the author


Mary Kay Andrews is the New York Times bestselling author of 28 novels (including The Newcomer; Hello, Summer; Sunset Beach; The High Tide Club; The Weekenders; Beach Town; Save the Date; Ladies’ Night; Christmas Bliss; Spring Fever; Summer Rental; The Fixer Upper; Deep Dish; Blue Christmas; Savannah Breeze; Hissy Fit; Little Bitty Lies; and Savannah Blues), and one cookbook, The Beach House Cookbook.

A native of St. Petersburg, Florida, she earned a B.A. in journalism from The University of Georgia. After a 14-year career working as a reporter at newspapers including The Savannah Morning News, The Marietta Journal, and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, where she spent the final ten years of her career, she left journalism in 1991 to write fiction.

Her first novel, Every Crooked Nanny, was published in 1992 by HarperCollins. She went on to write ten critically acclaimed mysteries under her real name, Kathy Hogan Trocheck. In 2002, she assumed the pen name Mary Kay Andrews with the publication of Savannah Blues. In 2006, Hissy Fit became her first New York Times bestseller, followed by twelve more New York Times, USA Today and Publisher’s Weekly bestsellers. To date, her novels have been published in German, Italian, Polish, Slovenian, Hungarian, Dutch, Czech and Japanese.

She and her family divide their time between Atlanta and Tybee Island, GA, where they cook up new recipes in two restored beach homes, The Breeze Inn and Ebbtide—both named after fictional places in Mary Kay’s novels, and both available to rent through Tybee Vacation Rentals. In between cooking, spoiling her grandkids, and plotting her next novel, Mary Kay is an intrepid treasure hunter whose favorite pastime is junking and fixing up old houses.  ~ Goodreads

Connect with Mary Kay


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Sunday, September 26, 2021

Book Blitz! Mistle Text by Whitney Dineen & Melanie Summers ~ Excerpt and #Giveaway! #MistleText

Mistle Text

Mistle Text: ‘Twas the Text Before Christmas …
Whitney Dineen & Melanie Summers
(An Accidentally in Love Story, #5)
Publication date: September 25th 2021
Genres: Adult, Comedy, Contemporary, Holiday, Romance

Twas the text before Christmas…

Twenty-eight-year-old Holly Snow is the only mother her four-year-old niece remembers. Three years earlier, when her sister and brother-in-law were killed, Holly’s dream of becoming an international flight attendant was put on hold so she could be home for baby Faith. Holly is doing everything she can to keep the rent paid, including working as an online travel agent, filing medical claims, and cleaning apartments in her building. When her friend Maggie tells her that her boss needs someone to buy his Christmas gifts, she leaps at the opportunity.

Tall, dark and Scroogy, investment banker, Archibald Harrington is too busy to do his own Christmas shopping. When his assistant tells him she knows of a professional shopper, he happily checks another dreaded task off his holiday list. The last thing Archie is expecting is for his hired elf to text him insistently to find out more about the people on list. The last thing Holly expects is to develop feelings for grumpy man who’s stealing her Christmas spirit.

Will there be a Holiday miracle, or will Holly and Archie miss their chance at love? Find out in the fifth installment of the Accidentally in Love Series.

Goodreads | Amazon

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EXCERPT:

“My boss needs a personal shopper for Christmas, and I’ve already told him I know the very best one in Manhattan.” Toni gives me an open-mouthed smile, clearly expecting me to jump up and down.

“Your boss. As in Archibald Snooty Pants the Forty-Second?” I ask, pursing my lips.

She opens her mouth, but I cut her off with one finger in the air. “You complain about the man all the time.”

“It’s not like he’s a horrible person, he’s just a one trick pony—all work and no play. Plus, it’s not like you’ll have to work side-by-side with him or anything. You probably won’t even have to see him.”

“I’m not a personal shopper,” I tell her. “Unless his family and friends want ramen noodles or discount t-shirts from the guy who sells them out of his trunk in front of my apartment building, I would have no idea what to buy.”

“Yeah, well, Archie doesn’t know that.” She pumps her eyebrows up and down like a comedian.

“Toni, you told me the guy was a rich stuck-up preppy from the Hamptons. While I would love nothing more than to make some extra money, I don’t have the foggiest notion how to shop for rich people.”

“So watch some holiday episodes of Real Housewives and see what they buy each other. He’ll tell you how much to spend on each person. Come on, Holl, it’s not brain surgery. It’s shopping. You know how to shop. And you need the money.”

“What if he hates me?” I despise feeling so pathetic, but I’m totally out of my league here.

“Then he hates you. So what? Believe me when I tell you, Archibald Harrington only thinks about work. You can’t take anything he says personally.”

Dread slams into me like a wrecking ball. “How much do you think I can make?”

“Enough to pay for Christmas and at least the next three months of Faith’s preschool tuition. How can you pass that up?”

The answer is, I can’t. And if it means working for a cranky billionaire, then Toni is right. I’ll do whatever I have to do in order to take care of Faith. I just can’t guarantee I’ll like it.

“Fine,” I tell her. “How many gifts am I supposed to buy?”

“He’ll need all of his family gifts, which include his godfather’s family. He’s spending Christmas with them in Newport. He wants you to cover his business gifts, as well. The VIPs are starred, meaning those particular gifts need to be extra-amazing. I’ve also made you a list of everything that I want, so I don’t wind up with another Monte Blanc pen. I’ve already sold three of those suckers on eBay and I only get a fraction of what they’re worth.”

“I don’t even know what a Monte Blanc pen is.” My chest tightens like I’m not getting enough oxygen.

She hands me a piece of paper. “This is a list of websites to check out. You can order everything and have it delivered here.”

“Why can’t I just have everything sent to his office? What am I going to do with it?”

After taking a healthy swig of white zinfandel, Toni says, “You’re going to wrap everything up and make it look like Santa himself cracked the whip on the gift-wrapping elves. Once you have everything purchased and ready, I’ll send a car to pick the gifts up.”

“You’ll send a car, will you?” I tease.

“Yeah, well, I can do those fancy things in the name of my boss.”

“How am I going to pay for everything?” I ask. “I have about two hundred dollars of credit left on my card. I don’t think that’s going to cut it.”

Toni opens her purse and hands me a shiny black credit card. “There’s no limit, so if you don’t mind doing a little jail time, you could have a lot of fun.”

“No limit? I can’t imagine such a thing.” I fantasize about what damage I could do with plastic like this. Not only could I pay for Faith’s school for the rest of the year, but I could also get my mom into one of those nursing homes that has a hair salon and restaurant. I could upgrade to a two-bedroom apartment so Faith doesn’t have to sleep in the closet anymore, and I could even splurge and buy myself some real leather gloves.

“You’re imagining, aren’t you?” Toni jolts me out of my daydream.

“I most certainly am. The first thing I’d do is buy Faith whatever winter coat she wanted and then I’d take her out to a nice restaurant.”

Toni rolls her eyes. “If you’re going down for a crime, you’ve got to think bigger.”

I stare at the card for a second, then look back up at Toni. “How can you stand working for someone who has so much? Don’t you just want to steal cash out of his wallet once in a while?” I don’t really have the heart of a felon, I’m just tired of always being broke.

“The nice thing about Archie is that even though he has the personality of a killer shark, he’s generous. He has a Friday lunch catered for his staff every week, and he makes sure to float us enough extras that none of us are tempted to steal from him. He’s a good businessman.”

“Even though he’s a stuck-up preppy?” I ask for clarification.

“Exactly.”

I look at the list of stores she thinks I should shop at—Tiffany’s, Saks Fifth Avenue, Harrods, The House of Bijan … “What’s my budget?”

She hands me another piece of paper. The handwriting isn’t hers, so I’m guessing it’s Archie’s. “He wants me to spend four thousand dollars on his mother?!”

“Yup. He wants her to have two gifts. One of them needs to be the main. The other can be fancy ass chocolates or something.”

“Right, but probably not gas station chocolates.”

“Quit stressing, Holls, you’ve got this.”

I don’t know why, but for the life of me I can’t see this ending well…

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About the authors



Whitney loves to laugh, play with her kids, bake, and eat french fries -- not always in that order.

Whitney is a multi-award-winning author of romcoms, non-fiction humor, and middle reader fiction. Basically, she writes whatever the voices in her head tell her to.

She lives in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with her husband, Jimmy, where they raise children, chickens, and organic vegetables.

Gold Medal winner at the International Readers' Favorite Awards, 2017.
Silver medal winner at the International Readers' Favorite Awards, 2015, 2016.
Finalist RONE Awards, 2016.
Finalist at the IRFA 2016, 2017.
Finalist at the Book Excellence Awards, 2017
Finalist Top Shelf Indie Book Awards, 2017 

Connect with Whitney

Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

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Melanie Summers also writes steamy romance as MJ Summers.

Melanie made a name for herself with her debut novel, Break in Two, a contemporary romance that cracked the Top 10 Paid on Amazon in both the UK and Canada, and the top 50 Paid in the USA. Her highly acclaimed Full Hearts Series was picked up by both Piatkus Entice (a division of Hachette UK) and HarperCollins Canada. Her first three books have been translated into Czech and Slovak by EuroMedia. Since 2013, she has written and published three novellas, and eight novels (of which seven have been published). She has sold over a quarter of a million books around the globe.

In her previous life (i.e. before having children), Melanie got her Bachelor of Science from the University of Alberta, then went on to work in the soul-sucking customer service industry for a large cellular network provider that shall remain nameless (unless you write her personally - then she'll dish). On her days off, she took courses and studied to become a Chartered Mediator. That designation landed her a job at the R.C.M.P. as the Alternative Dispute Resolution Coordinator for 'K' Division. Having had enough of mediating arguments between gun-toting police officers, she decided it was much safer to have children so she could continue her study of conflict in a weapon-free environment (and one which doesn't require makeup and/or nylons).

Melanie resides in Edmonton with her husband, three young children, and their adorable but neurotic one-eyed dog. When she's not writing novels, Melanie loves reading (obviously), snuggling up on the couch with her family for movie night (which would not be complete without lots of popcorn and milkshakes), and long walks in the woods near her house. She also spends a lot more time thinking about doing yoga than actually doing yoga, which is why most of her photos are taken 'from above'. She also loves shutting down restaurants with her girlfriends. Well, not literally shutting them down, like calling the health inspector or something--more like just staying until they turn the lights off.

She is represented by Suzanne Brandreth of The Cooke Agency International.

Connect with Melanie 


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Saturday, September 25, 2021

This OR That Giveaway Week 30! Orphan #8 by Kim van Alkemade OR 29 Seconds by T.M. Logan #Orphan8 #29Seconds

  

I have sooooo many books! 

The This or That Giveaway! feature that I post every Saturday is a way for me to clear my shelves and to share some of the many books I have. It's a way for me to cull my collection and give someone else the chance to enjoy these treasures.

Good luck and be sure to stop back next week!

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Orphan #8
by Kim van Alkemade
Paperback ~ August 4th 2015

In this stunning new historical novel inspired by true events, Kim van Alkemade tells the fascinating story of a woman who must choose between revenge and mercy when she encounters the doctor who subjected her to dangerous medical experiments in a New York City Jewish orphanage years before.

In 1919, Rachel Rabinowitz is a vivacious four-year-old living with her family in a crowded tenement on New York City’s Lower Eastside. When tragedy strikes, Rachel is separated from her brother Sam and sent to a Jewish orphanage where Dr. Mildred Solomon is conducting medical research. Subjected to X-ray treatments that leave her disfigured, Rachel suffers years of cruel harassment from the other orphans. But when she turns fifteen, she runs away to Colorado hoping to find the brother she lost and discovers a family she never knew she had.

Though Rachel believes she’s shut out her painful childhood memories, years later she is confronted with her dark past when she becomes a nurse at Manhattan’s Old Hebrews Home and her patient is none other than the elderly, cancer-stricken Dr. Solomon. Rachel becomes obsessed with making Dr. Solomon acknowledge, and pay for, her wrongdoing. But each passing hour Rachel spends with the old doctor reveal to Rachel the complexities of her own nature. She realizes that a person’s fate—to be one who inflicts harm or one who heals—is not always set in stone.

Lush in historical detail, rich in atmosphere and based on true events, Orphan #8 is a powerful, affecting novel of the unexpected choices we are compelled to make that can shape our destinies. 

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29 Seconds
by T.M. Logan
ARC ~ Pub date 9/10/19

From the bestselling author of Lies comes 29 Seconds, a sensational new thriller that explores what happens when a split second thought of revenge takes on a life of its own.

“Give me one name. One person. And I will make them disappear.”

Sarah is a young professor struggling to prove herself in a workplace controlled by the charming and manipulative Alan Hawthorne, a renowned scholar and television host. The beloved professor rakes in million-dollar grants for the university where Sarah works—so his inappropriate treatment of female colleagues behind closed doors has gone unchallenged for years. And Sarah is his newest target.

When Hawthorne's advances become threatening, she’s left with nowhere to turn. Until the night she witnesses an attempted kidnapping of a young child on her drive home, and impulsively jumps in to intervene. The child’s father turns out to be a successful businessman with dangerous connections—and her act of bravery has put this powerful man in her debt. He lives by his own brutal code, and all debts must be repaid. In the only way he knows how. The man gives Sarah a burner phone and an unbelievable offer. A once-in-a-lifetime deal that can make all her problems disappear.

No consequences. No traces. No chance of being found out. All it takes is a 29-second phone call.

Because everyone has a name to give. Don’t they?

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Thursday, September 23, 2021

Champagne Widows by Rebecca Rosenberg ~ My Thoughts #ChampagneWidows

Champagne Widows

Champagne Widows: First Woman of Champagne, Veuve Clicquot by Rebecca Rosenberg
Historical Fiction, 325 pages
Published August 17, 2021 by Lion Heart Publishing

Champagne, France, 1800. Twenty-year-old Barbe-Nicole inherited Le Nez (an uncanny sense of smell) from her great-grandfather, a renowned champagne maker. She is determined to use Le Nez to make great champagne, but the Napoleon Code prohibits women from owning a business. When she learns her childhood sweetheart, François Clicquot, wants to start a winery, she marries him despite his mental illness.

Soon, her husband’s tragic death forces her to become Veuve (Widow) Clicquot and grapple with a domineering partner, the complexities of making champagne, and six Napoleon wars, which cripple her ability to sell champagne. When she falls in love with her sales manager, Louis Bohne, who asks her to marry, she must choose between losing her winery to her husband, as dictated by Napoleon Code, or losing Louis.

In the ultimate showdown, Veuve Clicquot defies Napoleon himself, risking prison and even death.


My thoughts about Champagne Widows ~~

(I love to note the first lines of the books I'm reading. First lines can really grab a reader's attention and I love seeing where the author takes the reader after their first line.)

First line—"Reims, Champagne. France, 1797. Grand-mère sways over the edge of the stone stairs into the cavern, and I step between her and eternity, dizzy from the bloody tang of her head bandage."

I am confident when I start one of Rebecca's stories that I will be learning a whole lot about a subject that I know very little about. This time I embraced the history of champagne, France, Napoleon, and the Veuve Clicquot. What an interesting journey. 

This is a story of hard times and a hard life but it's so beautifully written that it was such a pleasure to read. What a strong woman Barbe-Nicole was and what amazing things she did with her winery. I loved my escape to her world and the world of beautiful France. Like I said, I learned so much while also enjoying an amazing story. 

Honestly, you need to read Champagne Widows and enjoy a little trip to France like I did.

I received a copy of Champagne Widows from the author and this is my honest opinion.

About the author


Rebecca Rosenberg is a triple-gold award-winning author of Champagne Widows, lavender farmer, champagne geek, champagne tour guide, and cocktail creator for Breathless Wines. She is the moderator of Breathless Bubbles & Books and American Historical Novels.

Rebecca writes novels about history’s real-life women of substance who made an indelible mark on the world. Her latest novel begins a series about the true champagne widows, the first of whom was Veuve Clicquot. (Vueve is French for widow.)

Rebecca is a University of Colorado alumni and holds a Stanford University novel-writing certificate. Her novels have garnered many awards including IBPA, IPPY, and starred Publisher Weekly reviews for her novels, The Secret Life of Mrs. London (Lake Union 2018) and Gold Digger, The Remarkable Baby Doe Tabor (Lion Heart 2019). As lavender farmer and founder of the largest lavender products manufacturer in America, Rebecca’s debut book was Lavender Fields of America

Rebecca has researched Champagne Widows through a decade of trips to the Champagne region of France, consulting with champagne historians and champagne wineries for delicious exploration. ~ Goodreads

Connect with Rebecca



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Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Release Day! Hello, Rest of My Life by Rick Lenz ~ An Interview #HelloRestOfMyLife

 Happy Release Day!!


Congrats Rick
on the release today of
Hello, Rest of My Life!

Hello, Rest of My Life by Rick Lenz
Literary Fiction, 372 pages
Published September 21, 2021 by Chromodroid Press

Time travel novel invites you to choose: love or success?

The Midnight Library meets You Again in timeless tale of romance, regret, and the choices we make--and would make again, given the chance

VALLEY GLEN, CA – If you could go back in time and pursue a successful career or a flourishing relationship, which would you choose? Award-winning author Rick Lenz has penned a dazzling novel about second chances and the choices that create a meaningful life, Hello, Rest of My Life, (Sept. 21, 2021, Chromodroid Press). This romantic journey through time is loosely based on the author’s real-life Hollywood career and love story with his wife and 40-year sweetheart, who changed his life with each encounter through the decades.

The novel follows Danny Maytree, an ambitious film actor who abandons his dreams of Tinseltown stardom after meeting Samantha on a blind date and falling in love. Fast-forward decades later to 2021: the couple are married and in their seventies, and Danny is spending his time reminiscing and writing a novel about time travel--when he receives a call from a mysterious, velvet-voice acting agent.

Suddenly, he is literally transported back to 1974: Danny is twenty-seven again, bewildered, but with a second chance at his Hollywood dream. A sharkish agent helps him navigate Hollywood’s rocky shoals, a worldly-wise teen and a New Age fortuneteller offer spiritual advice, and a sexy wicked witch throws a monkey wrench in his path. 

Will he fight his way back to the love of his life, or stay in a new reality where his career can flourish? 

Heartfelt and magical, here is an enchanting exploration of choosing between living the life you’ve always imagined, and the life you didn’t know you couldn’t live without.


An Interview with Rick Lenz

You had an excellent career as an actor. What made you want to make the shift to focus on writing? 

When my highschool football career ended due to a more than averagely breakable body, the only other way I could see to draw girls’ attention was acting in school plays, which led to summer stock, which led to a theatre major at University of Michigan. However I’d always loved writing too. When acting roles became less rewarding (I was no longer trying to please anyone but Linda and myself), it was a natural transition to move to writing. I’d written plays all my life. But what I read was mostly novels. So, I wrote a memoir of my acting career and my life to that point and then moved on to writing novels. When you’re writing, no one ever says, “faster, louder,” etc. I’d shifted from one creative passion to another. 

This book is based on your relationship with your wife, Linda. How has your relationship shaped you and this book?

There is not a day of my life that I don’t find my mind coming to rest on the subject of my incredible good fortune in having found and spending the last half of my life with Linda. A line from the book (Danny about Samantha): “A smart friend of mine said, ‘Why don’t you join a church group or something, meet a girl that way?’ I thought he was crazy and tossed that idea out, but the drift of his advice floated around in my mind and I understood what he meant. He thought as I looked for someone to be with … for life that I should do it not only on the basis of physical attraction, but also that it might be a good idea if she was--what a concept--a nice person.” 

Was there any particular moment in the book that you pulled directly from your own life?

Many moments are similar to moments in my life. Some parts of Danny’s and Samantha’s conversations were lifted from my real life with Linda. Many aspects of Danny’s acting career in the early seventies coincide with my own history. 

The book takes place in two different time periods. Did you do any research to make sure you were portraying things authentically?

I can answer this briefly. My research of the periods in the story consists of having a pretty good memory and living through both “eras.” Yow.

If you could travel back in time and have a do over on one aspect of your life, would you do it and what would it be?

From where I am now, I probably wouldn’t change a thing. But if I could travel back in time, unaware of a future with Linda,  I would do my best to practice love and kindness, much sooner. I would try to do all those things and behave in the ways that coincide with “As you sow, so shall you reap.”

About the author


Rick Lenz is a graduate of the University of Michigan, past member of the Actor’s Studio, and active member in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. He is a veteran Broadway, television and film actor who first came to national attention when he repeated his Broadway role in Cactus Flower, in the film version—opposite Goldie Hawn, Ingrid Bergman and Walter Matthau. He went on to appear in a long list of television series and movies, and to act opposite many of the entertainment industry’s biggest stars—Peter Sellers, Jackie Gleason, Maureen O’Hara, John Wayne (in Wayne’s final film, The Shootist), and many more. 

He is also a playwright and author (The award-winning The Alexandrite and more recently, Impersonators Anonymous). His memoir, North of Hollywood has recently been published in its second edition. You can find out more about him and his journey to becoming a writer on his website https://www.RickLenz.com

Connect with Rick


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