Saturday, July 24, 2021

This OR That #Giveaway Week 21 ~ Love at First by Kate Clayborn OR Spring Fever by Mary Kay Andrews #LoveAtFirst #SpringFever

 

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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I'll bet you thought I had fallen off of the face of the earth. Or....maybe nobody missed me? 😏

Anyway, our family has been dealing with the declining health of my MIL and she ended up passing away last week. She just celebrated her 90th birthday in May so it wasn't unexpected but it happened quickly. And then we had to deal with getting rid of her 90 years of accumulated stuff. Oh my! So I was busy with all of that and pretty much offline for a couple of weeks. 

But I'm back and here we go again with another 
This OR That Giveaway! 
Good luck!

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Love at First is a sweet, emotional, character-filled story that I just loved. You can read my thoughts here.

Love at First
by Kate Clayborn
ARC ~ Pub date February 2021

Sixteen years ago, a teenaged Will Sterling saw—or rather, heard—the girl of his dreams. Standing beneath an apartment building balcony, he shared a perfect moment with a lovely, warm-voiced stranger. It’s a memory that’s never faded, though he’s put so much of his past behind him. Now an unexpected inheritance has brought Will back to that same address, where he plans to offload his new property and get back to his regular life as an overworked doctor. Instead, he encounters a woman, two balconies above, who’s uncannily familiar...

No matter how surprised Nora Clarke is by her reaction to handsome, curious Will, or the whispered pre-dawn conversations they share, she won’t let his plans ruin her quirky, close-knit building. Bound by her loyalty to her adored grandmother, she sets out to foil his efforts with a little light sabotage. But beneath the surface of their feud is an undeniable connection. A balcony, a star-crossed couple, a fateful meeting—maybe it’s the kind of story that can't work out in the end. Or maybe, it’s the perfect second chance...

A sparkling and tender novel from the acclaimed author of Love Lettering, full of bickering neighbors, surprise reunions, and the mysterious power of love that fans of Christina Lauren, Sarah Hogle, and Emily Henry will adore.

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You can never go wrong with a story by MKA. I know I'm in for a treat when I start one of her books. Spring Fever is another great read! You can read my thoughts here.

Spring Fever
by Mary Kay Andrews
Mass market paperback ~ Pub date June 2012

First husbands

Annajane truly believes she is over her ex-husband, Mason. They've been divorced for four years, she's engaged to a terrific new guy, and she's ready to leave the small North Carolina town where she and Mason had so much history. She is so over Mason that she has absolutely no problem attending his wedding. But when fate intervenes and the wedding is called to a halt as the bride is walking down the aisle, Annajane begins to realize that maybe this happened for a reason. And maybe, just maybe, she wants Mason back...

Second chances

But there are secrets afoot in this small Southern town, and soon Annajane discovers that change can bring out the worst in people-even her own friends and neighbors-and uncover family scandals. Happiness could be hers for the taking...and the life she once had with Mason could be in her future. But first Annajane must find out what she's really made of, and what really matters most.

"A winsome love story and compelling family drama; an idyllic small-town setting and surprising twists and turns."-Booklist

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Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Release Day! The Therapist by B.A. Paris ~ My Thoughts #TheTherapist #NetGalley

  Happy Release Day!

The Therapist

The Therapist by B.A. Paris
Domestic Thiller, 320 pages
Published July 13th 2021 by St. Martin's Press

The multimillion-copy New York Times bestselling author B.A. Paris returns to her heartland of gripping psychological suspense in The Therapist--a powerful tale of a house that holds a shocking secret.

When Alice and Leo move into a newly renovated house in The Circle, a gated community of exclusive houses, it is everything they’ve dreamed of. But appearances can be deceptive…

As Alice is getting to know her neighbours, she discovers a devastating secret about her new home, and begins to feel a strong connection with Nina, the therapist who lived there before.

Alice becomes obsessed with trying to piece together what happened two years before. But no one wants to talk about it. Her neighbors are keeping secrets and things are not as perfect as they seem… 


My thoughts about The Therapist ~~

(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—"My office is small, perfect and minimalistic. It's decorated in calming shades of gray, with just two chairs; a cocoon-style gray one for my clients and a pale leather one for me."

BA Paris has done it again. She has created an edge-of-your-seat thriller that will keep you guessing and enthralled until the very end. As with her other books, The Therapist grabbed me from the very first chapter and kept me in it's clutches until the very last page. I am never disappointed in her stories. 

This is a book full of relationships, most of them strained and troubled. Alice has to work hard to try to find the good ones and to try to figure out who she can trust—who is on her side and who isn't? And then there are all the secrets. What aren't her neighbors telling her? 

I totally loved the mystery, suspense, and secrets of this story. The Therapist is a spell-binding thriller that I know you will love as well.

I received a copy of The Therapist from the publisher via NetGalley and this is my honest opinion.

About the author

B.A. Paris

B A Paris is the internationally bestselling author of Behind Closed Doors, The Breakdown, Bring Me Back and The Dilemma. Having sold over a million copies in the UK alone, she is a New York Times bestseller as well as a Sunday Times bestseller. Her books have been translated into 40 languages. Having lived in France for many years, she and her husband recently moved back to the UK.

Her fifth novel is out in 2021 ~ Goodreads

Connect with B A

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

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Monday, July 12, 2021

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? July 12, 2021 #IMWAYR

      

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week. It's an opportunity to visit other blogs and to comment on their reads. And ... you can add to that ever growing TBR pile! So welcome everyone. This meme started with J Kaye's Blog and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date. And here we are! 

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We had a busy weekend with lots of family time, pizza, Legos, sleepovers, baseball games, and Arts in the Park. I loved it and marvel about how different this summer is from last summer when we were all sheltering in place because of COVID. So far, things are good in our state but I hope cases don't start to go up again. How is it where you live? 

Thanks for stopping by. I hope you all have a good week. 
Happy reading!

What I'm currently reading

Love, Laughter & Happily Ever After
20 authors! 20 stories!
Pub date 7/20
I've been asked to read/review Sophie-Leigh Robbins' story – Take a Hike. Looks like a fun anthology!

Devil's Creek
(Bittersweet Hollow #2)
by Aaron Paul Lazar
Narrated by Gwendolyn Druyor

What I recently finished

Secrets of the Chocolate House
(Found Things #2)
by Paula Brackston 

Snow In Summer
(Yellow Wood #2)
by Laura Kemp

What I am going to read next

Death Becomes You
(Rachel Emery #2)
by Deanna Lynn Sletten
Pub date 8/10
I read and loved book 1, The Truth About Rachel and am excited to continue the series. 

I really love my reading life!

What are you reading this week?

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Saturday, July 10, 2021

This OR That #Giveaway Week 20 ~ Easter Bunny Murder by Leslie Meier OR Honey-Baked Homicide by Gayle Leeson #EasterBunnyMurder #HoneyBakedHomicide

 

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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This week, I've got two different cozy mysteries. Both are from very popular series. I have to admit that I have not read either of these series. Have you? 

Easter Bunny Murder
by Leslie Meier
Hardcover ~ Pub date January 2013

Spring has sprung in Tinker's Cove, and Lucy Stone has a mile-long to-do list. From painting eggs with her grandson, to preparing the perfect Easter feast, to reviving her garden after a long, cold winter, she hardly has time to hunt for a killer with a deadly case of spring fever... 

Lucy has always loved covering the annual Easter egg hunt for the Pennysaver. Hosted by elderly socialite Vivian Van Vorst at Pine Point, her luxurious oceanfront estate, it's a swanky event where the grown-ups sip cocktails while their children search for eggs that are as likely to contain savings bonds as they are jelly beans. But when Lucy arrives with her three-year-old grandson, VV's normally welcoming gates are locked, and a man dressed as the Easter Bunny emerges only to drop dead moments later… Lucy discovers that the victim is Van Vorst Duff, VV's grandson, and soon learns that not all is as it seems at idyllic Pine Point, where the champagne and caviar seem to be running dry. 

Always a social butterfly, VV has been skipping lunch dates with friends, and her much-needed donations to local charities have stopped with no explanation. Maybe she's going senile, or maybe her heirs are getting a little too anxious to take over her estate… As Lucy gathers a basketful of suspects, she's convinced someone's been hunting for a lot more than eggs, and she'll have to chase the truth down a rabbit hole before the killer claims another victim…

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Honey-Baked Homicide
by Gayle Leeson
Mass market paperback ~ Pub date December 2017

The owner of a delightful Southern cafe tastes the sharp sting of suspicion in this delectable comfort food mystery . . .

It's fall in Winter Garden, Virginia, and business at Amy Flowers' Down South Cafe has never been better. So when struggling beekeeper Stuart Landon asks Amy to sell some of his honey, she's happy to help. The jars of honey are a sweet success, but their partnership is cut short when Amy discovers Landon's body outside the cafe early one morning.

As Amy tries to figure out who could possibly have wanted to harm the unassuming beekeeper, she discovers an ever-expanding list of suspects--and they're all buzzing mad. She'll have to use all of her skills--and her Southern charm--to find her way out of this sticky situation... 

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Friday, July 9, 2021

New Release! A Cup of Silver Linings by Karen Hawkins ~ My Thoughts #ACupOfSilverLinings #NetGalley

A Cup of Silver Linings

A Cup of Silver Linings by Karen Hawkins
Series: Dove Pond #2
Magical Realism, 352 pages
Published July 6th 2021 by Gallery Books

From New York Times bestselling author Karen Hawkins comes another book in her Dove Pond series—and this time Ava’s famous tea leaves spell trouble ahead.

Ava Dove—the sixth of seven daughters of the famed Dove family, and owner of Ava’s Landscaping and Specialty Gourmet Tea—is frantic.

Just as she is getting ready to open her fabulous new tearoom, her herbal teas have gone wonky. Suddenly, the tea that is supposed to help people sleep is startling them awake with vivid dreams; the tea that infuses romance back into tired marriages is causing people to blurt out their darkest secrets; and the tea that helps people find happiness is making them spend hours staring into mirrors.

Meanwhile, living four doors down the road from Ava, sixteen-year-old Kristen Foster’s life has just crashed down around her. After her mother’s death, Kristen’s grandmother Ellen has arrived in town to sweep Kristen off to a white mansion on a hill in distant Raleigh. But Kristen has had enough ‘life changes’ and is desperate to stay with her friends in her beloved hometown of Dove Pond. But to do so means Kristen must undertake a quest she’s been avoiding her entire life—finding her never-been-there-for-her father.

With the help of an ancient herbal remedy book found in her attic by her sister, Ava realizes that Kristen holds the key to fixing her unstable tea leaves. So Ava throws herself into Kristen’s search, even convincing Kristen’s grandmother Ellen to help, too. Together, the three embark on a reluctant but magical journey of healing, friendship, and family that will delight fans of Alice Hoffman, Kate Morton, and Sarah Addison Allen. 


My thoughts about A Cup of Silver Linings ~~

(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—"Standing beside her daughter's open grave, Ellen Foster dug her fingernails into her palm as the annoying sound of a kazoo wafted through the wintery, pine-scented air."

I absolutely loved the first book in the series, The Book Charmer, and anxiously waited for book 2 to come out. This one did not disappoint and I love it just as much!

I am truly fascinated by the idea of inanimate objects being magical or mystical—whatever you want to call it—coming to life or offering healing and insight to the people and things around them. This Dove Pond series does just that, with books that communicate with the librarian and tea that knows just what people need. 

In A Cup of Silver Linings, Ava mixes up a bad batch of tea and things really start going wrong for her, and for others in the community. As she struggles to right the wrong that has happened, a young girl, Kristin, has had her whole world turned upside down. Can the books, the tea, and the community come together to make it all right again? 

I really love this whole series and hope that this author has many more stories to tell. I'm pretty sure the ending of this story sets up the beginning of the next book. Yay! 

I highly recommend A Cup of Silver Linings, as well as The Book Charmer, if you like a touch of magical realism in your reading world. 

I received a copy of A Cup of Silver Linings from the publisher via NetGalley and this is my honest opinion.

The Book Charmer

Book #1


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About the author

Karen Hawkins

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Karen Hawkins writes novels that have been praised as touching, witty, charming, and heartwarming. A native Southerner who grew up in the mountains of East Tennessee where storytelling is a way of life, Karen recently moved to frosty New England with her beloved husband and multiple foster dogs. 

The Dove Pond books are a nod to the thousands of books that opened doors to more adventures, places, and discoveries than she ever imagined possible. 

To find out more about Karen, follow her at: FACEBOOKTWITTERINSTAGRAMPINTEREST

If you'd like to keep up with Karen's crazed and hectic schedule, win free books, find out about her coming releases, or just want to engage in some easy on-line snooping, sign up for Karen's amazing newsletter! ~ Goodreads

Connect with Karen

Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter

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Tuesday, July 6, 2021

Release Day! No More Words by Kerry Lonsdale ~ My Thoughts #NoMoreWords #NetGalley

 Happy Release Day!

No More Words

No More Words by Kerry Lonsdale
Series: No More #1
Women's Psychological Fiction, 327 pages
Published July 6th 2021 by Lake Union Publishing

From the Amazon Charts and Wall Street Journal bestselling author comes the first book in a trilogy about love, betrayal, and the secrets families keep.

Forced to choose between abortion or adoption, Olivia Carson’s younger sister, Lily, runs away from home. Sixteen and pregnant, she never returns. But she writes. Once a year, Lily mails a picture of her son, Josh, to Olivia until his thirteenth year. Then it’s Josh himself who arrives at Olivia’s house, alone, terrified, and in possession of a notarized declaration from Lily. It begins, “In the event I go missing…”

Josh has difficulty talking. He can’t read or write, but he’s a prolific artist, exhibiting skill beyond his age. His drawings are as detailed as they are horrific. Olivia soon realizes Josh’s artwork tells a story. There’s more to his arrival and to Lily’s untimely disappearance than it seems. Using the drawings as a road map, Olivia traces Josh’s path back to his mom. Each drawing sheds light on Lily’s past and reveals a darkness that forces Olivia to question everything she thought she knew about her family.


My thoughts about No More Words ~~

(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—"Summer of '95—Charlotte and Dwight Carson unloaded their three children at the Whitmans' lakeside cabin like a courier with a cardboard package."

I love Kerry's stories and am always excited when she has a new book out. No More Words is the first book in her amazing new trilogy. Her stories are always full of caring, interesting people with just the right amount of unexpected twists. There's never a dull moment in one of Kerry's stories, that's for sure.

No More Words starts out innocently enough, with Oliva and her siblings staying at a friend's cabin for the summer, something they did every year... until they didn't. Years later, when Olivia's nephew shows up on her doorstep all by himself, her life changes as she starts the search for her long lost sister.

I loved everything about this story and found myself racing through the pages, loving the drama and suspense as well as the complicated, satisfying relationships. Kerry's characters are always so likeable and down-to-earth, just like good friends would be.

I'm not sure where the next story, No More Lies, is going to take us but I'm excited to find out. The hard part is that we have to wait until next summer for the next book in the series. But that's okay, I know it'll be worth the wait! 

I highly recommend No More Words for an exciting summer read!

I received a copy of No More Words from the author and publisher via NetGalley and this is my honest opinion.


Coming May 2022!

No More Lies 
(book 2)

About the author


Kerry Lonsdale is the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Amazon Charts & #1 Kindle bestselling author of standalone and series-based emotionally charged domestic drama with over twenty-seven foreign language translations. She lives in Northern California with her husband, college-aged kids, and two cats.

Hang out with Kerry inside her private Facebook group, Kerry's Tiki Lounge.

Connect with her in Instagram: @kerrylonsdale

Get her latest books news right in your inbox: Kerry's newsletter

Connect with Kerry


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Release Day! Shoulder Season by Christina Clancy ~ My Thoughts #ShoulderSeason #NetGalley

  Happy Release Day!

Shoulder Season

Shoulder Season by Christina Clancy
Coming of Age Fiction, 336 pages
Published July 6th 2021 by St. Martin's Press

Named a Best Book of Summer by Good Morning America • Parade • EW • Travel & Leisure • PopSugar • Brit & Co • SheReads • Women.com

A dazzling portrait of a young woman coming into her own, the youthful allure of sex, drugs, and rock and roll, and what we lose—and gain—when we leave home.

The small town of Lake Geneva, Wisconsin is an unlikely location for a Playboy Resort, and nineteen-year old Sherri Taylor is an unlikely bunny. Growing up in neighboring East Troy, Sherri plays the organ at the local church and has never felt comfortable in her own skin. But when her parents die in quick succession, she leaves the only home she’s ever known for the chance to be part of a glamorous slice of history. In the winter of 1981, in a costume two sizes too small, her toes pinched by stilettos, Sherri joins the daughters of dairy farmers and factory workers for the defining experience of her life.

Living in the “bunny hutch”—Playboy’s version of a college dorm—Sherri gets her education in the joys of sisterhood, the thrill of financial independence, the magic of first love, and the heady effects of sex, drugs, and rock and roll. But as spring gives way to summer, Sherri finds herself caught in a romantic triangle—and the tragedy that ensues will haunt her for the next forty years.

From the Midwestern prairie to the California desert, from Wisconsin lakes to the Pacific Ocean, this is a story of what happens when small town life is sprinkled with stardust, and what we lose—and gain—when we leave home. With a heroine to root for and a narrative to get lost in, Christina Clancy's Shoulder Season is a sexy, evocative tale, drenched in longing and desire, that captures a fleeting moment in American history with nostalgia and heart. 


My thoughts about Shoulder Season ~~

(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—"Palm Springs, 2019 -- Sherri stands outside the employee entrance of the Palm Springs Art Museum and stares at the scrubby mountain behind the building."

I really wasn't sure what to expect when I started Shoulder Season. It starts out innocently enough. We get to observe Sherri, a very successful women, as she meets with clients and works through her morning appointments. Later, as she goes though her emails, she finds one from an old friend, telling her it's time to return home to deal with the past, something she dreads having to do. 

Then we are thrown back almost 40 years, back to 1981, to watch Sherri's life unfold, observing all the good and bad decisions she makes and all of the ups and downs she goes through. Almost on a fluke, she ends up becoming a Playboy bunny. The reader gets an inside look at what the women had to endure to be a bunny, the glamour as well as the pitfalls of the lifestyle. I thought it was interesting to get this behind-the-scene look because I was there in that era when Playboy Clubs were very popular. 

Christina does a wonderful job of capturing the time and making the reader feel the joys and struggles of the lifestyle that Sherri was living. She definitely didn't have an easy life but she persevered and got through it, learning from her mistakes and coming out the other side a better person—even though her journey took her down a very rocky road. 

I loved this book just as much as I loved her previous one, The Second Home. Christina writes eloquently with words that just flow into your mind. Both of her books have been stories to treasure and I highly recommend Shoulder Season

I received a copy of Shoulder Season from the publisher via NetGalley and this is my honest opinion.

About the author


In addition to writing, I teach spin classes (the sweating, not the weaving kind) and I taught English at Beloit College for almost a decade. My short stories and essays have appeared in The New York Times "Modern Love" column, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, The Sun Magazine, and in literary journals like Glimmer Train Stories, Hobart, Pleiades, The Minnesota Review and on Wisconsin Public Radio. I have a PhD in Creative Writing from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

I live in Madison, Wisconsin with my very tall husband. We have two children, Olivia and Tim.

You can find out more about me on my website, http://www.christiclancywrites.com

Connect with Christina


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Monday, July 5, 2021

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? July 5, 2021 #IMWAY

      

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week. It's an opportunity to visit other blogs and to comment on their reads. And ... you can add to that ever growing TBR pile! So welcome everyone. This meme started with J Kaye's Blog and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date. And here we are! 

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Howdy all! This is two weeks worth of reads this time. I was on vacation last week. My daughter, DIL, and I were in Deadwood for one of my favorite author's (Ann Charles) yearly fan parties. This was our first time attending and we had a blast. She is a hoot and what's not to love about The Hills? 

I didn't get much reading in–hardly any at all, as a matter of fact–while we were out there, but made up for it when we got home. I really fell behind on my Goodreads goal but I'm now pretty well caught up. I've also got a lot of reviews to get posted. 😊

Thanks for stopping by. I hope you all have a good week. 
Happy reading!

What I'm currently reading

Snow In Summer
(Yellow Wood #2)
by Laura Kemp

Devil's Creek
(Bittersweet Hollow #2)
by Aaron Paul Lazar
Narrated by Gwendolyn Druyor

What I recently finished

The Forest of Vanishing Stars
by Kristin Harmel
Pub date 7/6

In the Pink: How I Met the Perfect (Younger) Man, Survived Breast Cancer, and Found True Happiness After 40
by Susan McBride

Echoes in Death
(In Death #44)
by J.D. Robb
Narrated by Susan Ericksen

The Therapist
by B.A. Paris
Pub date 7/13

A Cup of Silver Linings
(Dove Pond #2)
by Karen Hawkins 
Pub date 7/6

What I am going to read next

Secrets of the Chocolate House
(Found Things #2)
by Paula Brackston 

I really love my reading life!

What are you reading this week?

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Saturday, July 3, 2021

This OR That #Giveaway Week 19 ~ All Summer Long by Dorothea Benton Frank OR Goodnight Nobody by Jennifer Weiner #AllSummerLong #GoodnightNobody

  

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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I've got a great summer beach read up first. I read and reviewed this when it came out in 2017. You absolutely can't go wrong with a beach read by DBF!

 
All Summer Long
by Dorothea Benton Frank 
Paperback ~ Pub date March 2017

Filled with her trademark wit, poignant themes, and rich characters, the perennial New York Times bestselling author returns with a sensational novel that follows the travels of one couple though a tumultuous summer. 

Dorothea Benton Frank s magical stories take us deep into the heart of her beloved Carolina Lowcountry. In her novels, this lush landscape comes alive in all its vibrancy and color. She ignites all of our senses with her vivid descriptions of landscape and atmosphere. In her novels you hear the ocean washing the shore on different islands so profoundly that you can nearly hear the sea gulls squawking, too. 

This is a story of people whose lives are changing a southern gentleman returning home to lead a more peaceful life and his talented New York wife who is not quite sure she is ready to make the transition. They are moving north to south, fast pace versus slow pace, downsizing. And while they are doing this, they are getting glimpses into other people s lives over the course of a summer, holidays that will amuse, shock and transform them. 

This irresistible story is home to captivating characters as funny, complicated, and real as our best friends husbands and wives, mothers and daughters, friends and family who wrestle with the complexities, pain, and joys familiar to us all. Finally, we ll come to recognize the face of love, the kind that deepens and endures but only because one woman makes a tremendous leap of faith. That leap changes them all. 

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This second book is by the ever popular, ever funny Jennifer Weiner. Her books offer a hilarious getaway every time. 

Goodnight Nobody
by Jennifer Weiner 
Hardcover ~ Pub date September 2005

Goodnight Nobody is bestselling author Jennifer Weiner's attempt at writing a mystery, with a healthy dose of the author's chick lit sensibilities thrown in for good measure. While this Desperate Housewives meets Sex in the City murder mystery won't make readers shake in their Manolo Blahniks, it will provide the obligatory humor and compassion to which fans of Weiner's Good in Bed, In Her Shoes, and Little Earthquakes have grown accustomed.

Kate Klein is a feisty, charmingly insecure Connecticut housewife who trades in a life of late-night karaoke sing-a-longs and West Village brunches with her best friend Janie for a world of mini-vans and Mommy and Me pilates classes. Life in Upchurch, Connecticut, heats up when Kate discovers picture-perfect wife and mother Kitty Cavanaugh dead on the pickled maple hardwood floor of her recently remodeled kitchen. A former chronicler of celebrity gossip, Kate takes it upon herself to solve the mystery of Kitty's murder and the disappearance of Lexi Hagen-Holdt, another Upchurch supermom. Along the way, the mysteries and disappointments in Kate's personal life begin to unravel, including her marriage to the kind-yet-uptight Ben, and her unresolved crush on Evan McKenna, a former neighbor with whom a one-night tryst ended in disaster. Thrown in for comic relief, and perhaps to show the depth of Weiner's talents as a writer, are Kate's twin boys and adorably sophisticated 5-year old daughter Sophie ("Sophie was sitting on the toilet, applying lipstick and waiting her turn...").

Goodnight Nobody is chock full of plot twists and turns which can be overwhelming and superfluous. However, Weiner's charm and grace are usually enough to rescue readers from these moments of confusion, and reaffirm our commitment to this endearing contemporary voice. -- Gisele Toueg

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Thursday, July 1, 2021

The Devil Inside by Susan K. Hamilton ~ Spotlight, Interview, & #Giveaway! #TheDevilInside #Quill #BooksForward

The Devil Inside

The Devil Inside by Susan K. Hamilton
Paranormal Angel Romance, 322 pages
Published May 11, 2021 by Quill 

Mara Dullahan is a devil with a knack for sniffing out corrupt souls.

Taunted for centuries about her lack of devilish wings, Mara has something to prove—and she’s determined to become Hell’s top Sales & Acquisitions devil. But her biggest rival, Kemm, will stop at nothing to steal the coveted top spot, including uncovering her darkest secret.

When Mara meets a handsome angel stuck in a dead-end job, she knows he’s the kind of trouble that could ruin all of her ambitions. After all, rumor has it that Lucifer will rip the wings off any devil who falls for an angel. But Mara’s never been one to play by the rules.

As their affair intensifies, Mara’s secret life gets more and more complicated, especially when Kemm starts to suspect that there might be more than one way to bring his competition down. Cornered, Mara is forced to take drastic measures to protect her secrets—and her angel—before all Hell breaks loose.


An Interview with Susan Hamilton

Can you tell us about how this story began? You mentioned it started as a collection of short stories -- how and why did you decide to turn it into a novel?

Up until recently, I hadn’t written many short stories and as part of National Novel Writing Month a few years ago, I decided to challenge myself to write a series of short, interconnected stories instead of the traditional novel. But the more I wrote, the more I realized my main character WAS the story not the thread that connected the smaller ones.

What inspired the character of Mara?

There wasn’t one single inspiration. Mara grew and evolved as the project grew. As I was writing those short stories, I wanted a thread to connect all of them. A character who would have a cameo in each one, and Mara was supposed to be that thread. That’s when Mara started to take shape in my imagination. At first I saw her as very business-like, very corporate, as opposed to the stereotype of the debauched devil tempting the innocent. I wanted my devil to not so much corrupt the innocent, but to find those already heading down a dark path.

But Mara took on a life of her own and wanted nothing to do with corporate and stuffy. She wanted to be ambitious and brassy, confident and a little snarky. But I also wanted some of that brass and sass to be a front. Many of us feel we aren’t good enough, smart enough, fast enough and I liked the idea that a devil (or angel) could have the same flaws and insecurities.

I actually used Irish and Scandanavian folklore to create her name--a mara brings you nightmares, and a dullahan collects the souls of the dead. So Mara Dullahan seemed like a perfect name for my devil who wants you to sign on the dotted line!

You manage to balance a full-time job and a writing career - how do you do it? Do you have any advice?

It is a lot of effort. Sometimes it feels like two full time jobs -- plus all the other things you need to do! I try to do a little writing each day, whether it is at lunch or in the evening before I go to bed. That does mean, sometimes, that it is hard to feel like you’re making progress on your writing but small steps add up to long distances. The advice I’d offer is to be kind to yourself -- there are days when you won’t get to your writing. And as disappointing as that might be, it doesn’t mean you’re a bad writer or not disciplined. It means you had a tough day. You have to just cut yourself some slack and then get back at it the next day.

Is it difficult to create a setting that is so otherworldly? Did you draw inspiration from other works of art as you created your version of Hell?

I didn’t find it that difficult, actually. I think in conceptual terms, Heaven and Hell are what you make it--and what is heavenly for one person could be hellish for another. For some parts of the Hell I created, I tried to stick to the traditional dark pit of fire and brimstone. But at the same time, for many people, the idea of spending your whole life in a little tiny corporate cubicle is hellish, too. And that’s what got me thinking about the “business” end of Hell--and how it just might run like a corporation.

Mara is definitely a character who embodies being a strong woman. Are you hoping this book and this protagonist can empower others who are struggling to accept themselves?

I think we’re all struggling to accept ourselves to some extent, and downplay things we assume others would judge us for. If Mara’s story can help someone be more comfortable in their own skin, I think that’s an amazing outcome. But I also hope that people see that Mara is more than just a tough outer shell, that the things she hides are not flaws but strengths--and that you don’t have to be perfect, you just have to be you.

About the author


Susan K. Hamilton is the award-winning author of epic, dark, and urban fantasy books including Shadow King, The Devil Inside, and Darkstar Rising. Her short stories have been featured in the ESCAPE!, DECEPTION!, and Passageways anthologies from Writing Bloc.

Her current work-in-progress is a women's fiction manuscript titled Stone Heart.

Horse-crazy since she was a little girl, she loves pretty much every furry animal on the planet (other than spiders). She also loves comfy jeans, pizza, and great stand-up comedy. Susan lives near Boston with her husband and a cat who runs the house like a boss.

Connect with Susan


 
First of all ~ isn't this cover absolutely amazing! I love it!!

Second ~ I want to give a  huge shout-out and thank you to Books Forward - Literary Publicity for offering a copy of this fabulous book for one of you to win! 

How awesome is that?


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