Saturday, May 15, 2021

This OR That #Giveaway Week 14 ~ A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman OR The Guest Book by Sarah Blake #AManCalledOve #TheGuestBook

   

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 loved this book, A Man Called Ove. I started out not liking it, and not liking Ove. But he grows on you and becomes a loveable friend. My book club read it and we all loved it as well. 

A Man Called Ove
by Fredrik Backman
Paperback ~ Pub date May 2015

A grumpy yet loveable man finds his solitary world turned on its head when a boisterous young family moves in next door.

Meet Ove. He’s a curmudgeon—the kind of man who points at people he dislikes as if they were burglars caught outside his bedroom window. He has staunch principles, strict routines, and a short fuse. People call him “the bitter neighbor from hell.” But must Ove be bitter just because he doesn’t walk around with a smile plastered to his face all the time?

Behind the cranky exterior there is a story and a sadness. So when one November morning a chatty young couple with two chatty young daughters move in next door and accidentally flatten Ove’s mailbox, it is the lead-in to a comical and heartwarming tale of unkempt cats, unexpected friendship, and the ancient art of backing up a U-Haul. All of which will change one cranky old man and a local residents’ association to their very foundations.

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The Guest Book is a memorable story covering three generations, and a lot of controversial topics of the times. You can read my thoughts HERE
 
The Guest Book
by Sarah Blake
ARC ~ May 2019

An unforgettable love story, a novel about past mistakes and betrayals that ripple throughout generations, The Guest Book examines not just a privileged American family, but a privileged America. It is a literary triumph.

The Guest Book follows three generations of a powerful American family, a family that “used to run the world”.

And when the novel begins in 1935, they still do. Kitty and Ogden Milton appear to have everything—perfect children, good looks, a love everyone envies. But after a tragedy befalls them, Ogden tries to bring Kitty back to life by purchasing an island in Maine. That island, and its house, come to define and burnish the Milton family, year after year after year. And it is there that Kitty issues a refusal that will haunt her till the day she dies.

In 1959 a young Jewish man, Len Levy, will get a job in Ogden’s bank and earn the admiration of Ogden and one of his daughters, but the scorn of everyone else. Len’s best friend Reg Pauling has always been the only black man in the room—at Harvard, at work, and finally at the Miltons’ island in Maine.

An island that, at the dawn of the 21st century, this last generation doesn’t have the money to keep. When Kitty’s granddaughter hears that she and her cousins might be forced to sell it, and when her husband brings back disturbing evidence about her grandfather’s past, she realizes she is on the verge of finally understanding the silences that seemed to hover just below the surface of her family all her life.

An ambitious novel that weaves the American past with its present, The Guest Book looks at the racism and power that has been systemically embedded in the US for generations. Brimming with gorgeous writing and bitterly accurate social criticism, it is a literary tour de force. 

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Since I will be out of town and away from my computer when this goes live, I'll answer my question here. Leave your answer in the comments. 

Our travel life has been greatly affected by COVID. We are now just starting to go places. My current travels this weekend are to Nebraska from South Dakota (not that far, I know) to celebrate my mother-in-laws 90th birthday. 

Tell me about the latest out of town/state/country trip that you have taken.  

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Thursday, May 13, 2021

Seven Perfect Things by Catherine Ryan Hyde ~ My Thoughts #SevenPerfectThings #NetGalley


Seven Perfect Things by Catherine Ryan Hyde
Contemporary Literary Fiction, 318 pages
Published May 4th 2021 by Lake Union Publishing

Thirteen-year-old Abby Hubble lives in an unhappy home in the Sierra Nevada foothills where her father makes life miserable for her and her mother, Mary. One day Abby witnesses a man dump a litter of puppies into the nearby river. Diving in to rescue all seven, she knows she won’t be able to bring them home. Afraid for their fate at the pound, she takes them to an abandoned cabin, where all she can offer is a promise that she’ll be back the next day.

To grieving widower Elliot Colvin, life has lost meaning. Looking for solace, he retreats to the hunting cabin he last visited years ago, before his wife’s illness. What he discovers is not at all what he expected: seven puppies and one determined girl with an indomitable heart.

As Abby and Elliot’s friendship deepens, Abby imagines how much better her life—and the puppies’ lives—would be if her mother were married to Elliot instead of her father. But when Abby’s father moves the family hundreds of miles away, Abby and her mother must decide how long they’re willing to defer happiness.

Seven Perfect Things is a story about joy, where to find it, how to know it when you see it, and the courage it takes to hang on to it once you have it. 


My thoughts about Seven Perfect Things ~~

(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—"When Elliot opened the door, the woman on his welcome mat struck him as bizarrely young. For a moment he doubted whether she was the volunteer he'd been waiting for."

Everyone loves puppies, right? So how can you not fall in love with this cover with these adorable puppies? I know I did!

And I always know when I start a book by Catherine Ryan Hyde, that I'm going to love it too. Seven Perfect Things is the perfect story about love, friendship, respect, growth, determination, and plenty of puppy love. I love and admire the character of Abby, such a mature 13 year old. She rescues those seven adorable puppies even while she and her mom need rescuing too. 

This is a book filled with caring, kind, and considerate people (well, except for one), which is trademark for Catherine's stories. This one will not disappoint if you are looking for more of her standard fare, full of goodness, growth, and love. 

Catherine is a must-read author for me and I highly recommend Seven Perfect Things!

I received an ARC of Seven Perfect Things via NetGalley and this is my honest opinion.

About the author

Catherine Ryan Hyde

I am the author of more than 30 published and forthcoming books, including ALLIE AND BEA, SAY GOODBYE FOR NOW, LEAVING BLYTHE RIVER, ASK HIM WHY, WORTHY, THE LANGUAGE OF HOOFBEATS, TAKE ME WITH YOU, WHERE WE BELONG, WHEN I FOUND YOU, WALK ME HOME, SECOND HAND HEART, DON'T LET ME GO, and WHEN YOU WERE OLDER.

I'm an avid hiker, traveler, equestrian, and amateur photographer, and have released my first book of photos, 365 DAYS OF GRATITUDE: PHOTOS FROM A BEAUTIFUL WORLD.

I am co-author, with fellow author and publishing industry blogger Anne R. Allen, of HOW TO BE A WRITER IN THE E-AGE: A SELF-HELP GUIDE.

My novel PAY IT FORWARD was adapted into a major motion picture, chosen by the American Library Association for its Best Books for Young Adults list, and translated into more than 23 languages for distribution in over 30 countries. The paperback was released in October 2000 by Pocket Books and quickly became a national bestseller. Simon & Schuster released PAY IT FORWARD: YOUNG READERS' EDITION in August of '14. It is suitable for kids as young as eight. A special Fifteenth Anniversary Edition of the original PAY IT FORWARD was released in December of '14. ~ Goodreads

Connect with Catherine

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Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Release Day! Lowcountry on My Mind by Ashley Farley ~ My Thoughts #LowcountryOnMyMind

 Happy Release Day!!

Congrats Ashley
on the release today of
Lowcountry on My Mind!

Lowcountry on My Mind by Ashley Farley  
Series: Palmetto Island #3
May 11, 2021 by Leisure Time Books

Childhood friends reunite in an explosive tale of family dysfunction and romance gone wrong.

Amelia has been plotting to escape her abusive husband for years. When her mama’s untimely death provides an unexpected opportunity, she hops on the next bus to the South Carolina Lowcountry. Her husband will eventually come for her. But she’s prepared. Her freedom has given her confidence to face her uncertain future. She settles in at her family’s oceanfront estate to await her destiny. But a visit from Amelia’s past presents danger in a different form.

After a string of disastrous blind dates, Max falls for the first guy who expresses an interest in her. As the weeks wear on, her attraction to Ron wanes. But he’s living in her apartment. And he won’t be so easy to get rid of.

Jump on board for a wild ride of adventure with the continuation of the bestselling Palmetto Island Series. Be sure to download Muddy Bottom, the series novella prequel, for FREE

      

My thoughts about Lowcountry on My Mind ~~

(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 line—"Amelia circles the block three times before entering the parking garage and locating a vacant space on the top deck."

I love Ashley's stories and particularly adore this Palmetto Island series of hers. And each book is better than the one before. Such exciting stories!

Lowcountry on My Mind brings together three best friends who have lost touch with one another. Amelia just disappears out of her friends lives years ago but comes back home to get away from her husband, at least for a little while. As the friends reconnect, life gets crazy and a little bit out of control. 

This one definitely has a more intense storyline that kept me going, flipping those pages to make sure everyone was going to be okay. All sorts of bad stuff happens to this group of friends. But there is plenty of good, as well.

I loved this story and am super excited to read book #4 which comes out in August. Ashley has created a wonderful world on Palmetto Island and I love visiting there. I highly recommend Lowcountry on My Mind and this whole series!

I received an ARC of Lowcountry on My Mind from the author and this is my honest opinion.

Muddy Bottom 
(Palmetto Island Book prequel novella)
 is FREE!

Change of Tides
Read my thoughts HERE.

Sail Away
Book #4 coming August 3rd

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About the author

Ashley Farley

Ashley Farley writes books about women for women. Her characters are mothers, daughters, sisters, and wives facing real-life issues. Her bestselling Sweeney Sisters series has touched the lives of many.

Ashley is a wife and mother of two young adult children. While she's lived in Richmond, Virginia for the past 21 years, a piece of her heart remains in the salty marshes of the South Carolina Lowcountry, where she still calls home. Through the eyes of her characters, she captures the moss-draped trees, delectable cuisine, and kindhearted folk with lazy drawls that make the area so unique. For more information, visit www.ashleyfarley.com ~ Goodreads

Connect with Ashley


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The Truth About Rachel by Deanna Lynn Sletten ~ My Thoughts and a #Giveaway! #TheTruthAboutRachel

 Happy Release Day!!


Congrats Deanna
on the release today of
The Truth About Rachel!

The Truth About Rachel by Deanna Lynn Sletten
Women's Crime Fiction, 158 pages
Published May 11, 2021 by Deanna Lynn Sletten

Everyone believes Rachel is dead. But she’s very much alive.

Rachel Scott Emery’s life unravels when she comes upon an old news article online that states she was killed thirty-five years ago at the age of eight. Even more shocking is her murderer was her then sixteen-year-old brother.

Realizing she must untangle the mess, Rachel leaves her Tallahassee, Florida home and goes back to Casita, California to prove she is still alive. But going home again isn’t easy. Believing that her parents had relinquished custody of her years ago to her beloved aunt and uncle, she slowly learns what really happened. And unearthing the truth, when so many in town want to leave it buried, becomes a daunting and dangerous task. 

What really happened the day little Rachel left town? And who is the little girl buried in the grave? 


Be sure to enter the giveaway below.
You could win a copy!

My thoughts about The Truth About Rachel ~~

(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—"August 1985. Rachel pushed back her long, dark hair as she concentrated on braiding a friendship bracelet."

Wow! I loved this story! I've been a huge fan of Deanna's for years and I've loved all of her books. When I found out she was branching out and trying her hand at writing a mystery, I was excited to see what she had created. Once again, she has written a winner!

I really liked the Rachel character in this story and boy does she have to go through a lot. She's basically living her best life when she finds out that she was 'murdered' thirty-five years ago. What the heck?

Uncovering the truth of her past is the driving force in the story and you will relish the twists that Rachel discovers as she tries to get to the bottom of things. Who does she believe? Who can she trust?

And I love how there are still questions to be answered at the end and that the possibilities in Rachel's life are wide open—that means that there'll be more to come. That's right, Deanna plans to make this a series and I, for one, am super excited about that!

I highly recommend The Truth About Rachel—publication date May 11, 2021. It's the perfect start to what I hope is a long, exciting series!

I received an ARC of The Truth About Rachel from the author and this is my honest opinion.

About the author

Deanna Lynn Sletten

Deanna Lynn Sletten is the author of Maggie's Turn, Finding Libbie, One Wrong Turn, Miss Etta, and several other titles. She writes heartwarming women's fiction and romance novels with unforgettable characters. She has also written one middle-grade novel that takes you on the adventure of a lifetime. Deanna believes in fate, destiny, love at first sight, soul mates, second chances, and happily ever after, and her novels reflect that.

Deanna is married and has two grown children. When not writing, she enjoys walking the wooded trails around her home with her beautiful Australian Shepherd or relaxing on the lake in the summer.

Deanna loves hearing from her readers. 
Connect with her here—

Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Amazon

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Monday, May 10, 2021

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? May 10, 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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This is two week's worth of reads for me. I was out of town last weekend for my niece's wedding and just didn't have time to get a post ready before I left. I flew to Texas by myself, which was a little scary but everything went well. I even got to witness a good ol' cattle branding party on Sunday, with the bride branding their cattle in her beautiful wedding dress. 馃槻 But a good time was had by all! 

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

What I'm currently reading

The Clover Girls
by Viola Shipman
Pub date 5/18
I love this author's stories!

Wonderment in Death
(In Death #41.5)
by J.D. Robb
Narrated by Susan Ericksen
Listenin' my way thru the series.

What I recently finished

The Newcomer
by Mary Kay Andrews
My thoughts will be posted later this week.

Devoted in Death
(In Death #41)
by J.D. Robb
Narrated by Susan Ericksen

Lowcountry on My Mind
(Palmetto Island Book 3)
by Ashley Farley
Pub date 5/11
Love this series! My thoughts will be posted tomorrow.

Seven Perfect Things
by Catherine Ryan Hyde
Another heartwarming story by an amazing author!

The Woman with the Blue Star
by Pam Jenoff

What I am going to read next

Daughters of the Sea
by H.R. Mason 
Pub date 5/22

I really love my reading life!

What are you reading this week?

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Saturday, May 8, 2021

This OR That Giveaway! The New Husband by D.J. Palmer OR Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi #TheNewHusband #UnravelMe

  

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'm a huge fan on D.J. Palmer - he writes amazing thrillers. I have an extra ARC of The New Husband. You can read my thoughts about this mind-blowing story here.

The New Husband
by D.J. Palmer
ARC ~ Pub date April 2020

What makes Simon Fitch so perfect?

-He knows all her favorite foods, music, and movies.
-Her son adores him. He was there when she needed him most.
-He anticipates her every need.
-He would never betray her like her first husband.

The perfect husband. He checks all the boxes.

The question is, why?

Nina Garrity learned the hard way that her missing husband, Glen, had been leading a double life with another woman. But with Glen gone—presumably drowned while fishing on his boat—she couldn't confront him about the affair or find closure to the life he blew apart.

Now, a year and a half later, Nina has found love again and hopes she can put her shattered world back together. Simon, a widower still grieving the death of his first wife, thinks he has found his dream girl in Nina, and his charm and affections help break through to a heart hardened by betrayal. Nina's teenage son, Connor, embraces Simon as the father he wishes his dad could have been, while her friends see a different side to him, and they aren't afraid to use the word obsession.

Nina works hard to bridge the divide that’s come between her daughter and Simon. She wants so badly to believe her life is finally getting back on track, but she’ll soon discover that the greatest danger to herself and her children are the lies people tell themselves. 

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I previously read book #1, Shatter Me, (read my thoughts here), loved it, and always meant to read more of this series. My taste in genres has changed since then and I'm going to let this one go. I know someone else is going to love it!

Unravel Me
(Shatter Me #2)
by Tahereh Mafi
Paperback ~ February 2013

The thrilling second installment in New York Times bestselling author Tahereh Mafi’s Shatter Me series.

It should have taken Juliette a single touch to kill Warner. But his mysterious immunity to her deadly power has left her shaken, wondering why her ultimate defense mechanism failed against the person she most needs protection from.

She and Adam were able to escape Warner’s clutches and join up with a group of rebels, many of whom have powers of their own. Juliette will finally be able to actively fight against The Reestablishment and try to fix her broken world. And perhaps these new allies can help her shed light on the secret behind Adam’s—and Warner’s—immunity to her killer skin.

Juliette’s world is packed with high-stakes action and tantalizing romance, perfect for fans of the Red Queen series by Victoria Aveyard and the Darkest Minds trilogy by Alexandra Bracken.

Ransom Riggs, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, raved: "A thrilling, high-stakes saga of self-discovery and forbidden love, the Shatter Me series is a must-read for fans of dystopian young-adult literature—or any literature!"

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Thursday, May 6, 2021

Book Blitz! Text Wars: May the Text be With You … by Whitney Dineen & Melanie Summers ~ Excerpt and Giveaway! #TextWars

Text Wars

Text Wars: May the Text be With You …
Whitney Dineen & Melanie Summers
Publication date: May 4th 2021
Genres: Adult, Comedy, Contemporary, Romance

May the text be with you…

Seraphina Lopez is not your typical airy-fairy astrology fanatic. First and foremost, she’s a businesswoman who happens to have a fascination with the stars. Her lifestyle app, “Live for Your Star Sign” is blowing up, and when she’s asked to be a guest on New York’s most watched Morning Show, she knows the exposure will launch her app into the stratosphere.

Astrophysicist Ben Williams just landed his dream job at NASA’s Goddard Institute, Not only is he heading a multi-disciplinary team in search of habitable exo-planets, he’s also been tapped to be the spokesman for the project. While he’d much rather be crunching the numbers to pinpoint the location of Earth II, he also has to sell the concept to the American public.

When Seraphina and Ben meet on the set of the Morning Show, sparks fly! Sera is there to show viewers how to dress for their star sign. Ben is there in the name of science. Their explosive chemistry sets records for the network’s viewing audience. As such they’re asked to host a regular segment–together.

Ben and Sera hate each other so much, they resort to texting instead of talking when they’re off air (and sometimes on). Yet somewhere in the haze of dislike, they start to realize they have more in common than they thought possible. Is love written in the stars or will it burn up on impact?

Find out in the Text Wars, the third installment of the deliciously funny and romantic Accidentally in Love Series.

Goodreads | Amazon

EXCERPT

Ben

Once I’m dragged off into the Green Room with all the gorgeous women, I sneak a peek at myself in one of the full-length mirrors propped against the wall. Who am I? And where is astrophysicist Ben Williams under all that hair gel and bronzer? This is going to be the single most humiliating experience of my life. Not only am I dressed like a banana for his first day of school, my manhood is on display like it’s about to be auctioned off to the highest bidder. How is anyone going to take me seriously?

They won’t. That’s how.

Not to mention, everyone I know, including my co-workers, will be watching. NOOOO!!! I have to stop this. Panic starts to build inside of me until my chest cavity feels like it’s about to explode.

The bossy woman who made me take my underwear off loudly declares, “You all look great! This is going to be an amazing show!”

I have no idea what she’s talking about, but I don’t have time to ask because someone else comes in and says, “You’re on next. Follow me.”

I tug at these ridiculous pants in hopes they’ll magically grow three sizes and turn black. Or a nice brown, even. That would be good too. Although I don’t know if brown would go with this awful green vest.

Oh, for pity’s sake, Ben, it doesn’t matter! Your pants aren’t going to change color so forget it. Unless …what if I change into normal pants? Yes, that’s the answer. As we march down the hall and pass my dressing room, I decide I’m going to put on my own clothes no matter what anyone says. As I open the door to dressing room three, I hear Serafina demand, “Where are you going?”

She doesn’t wait for an answer. Instead, she takes my hand and leads me to the third spot in line. “There. You’re right behind our Taurus.”

Grinning broadly, she says, “Okay, everyone, you look fabulous. Just get out there and strut your fine selves.”

Strut my fine self? What in the world is she talking about?

“Listen, I-I think there’s been a mistake,” I call out to her.

“I know, the pants aren’t exactly the right fit, but you can really get away with it, trust me.” She boldly winks which causes me even more distress.

“No, not that …”

That Justin intern rushes over and says, “Ms. Lopez, you’re on!”

I try to get his attention, but he disappears, leaving me with no one to ask for help. I wait for what feels like forever, but I’m sure is only a couple of minutes, before Justin comes back and starts to lead us backstage. “When I point to you, walk onto the stage, turn left at the X, strut down the catwalk toward the studio audience. Pause for a count of two, then spin back around and go out the other way.”

He points to the woman in front of me. As she goes, I watch her carefully, trying to memorize what she’s doing. Okay, that doesn’t look so hard. It’s just walking, right? I can walk. Do they introduce all of their guests like this? My confusion equals my horror. I should have watched an episode of this show, so I knew what I was getting into.

When the woman turns back my way, she’s not smiling. Are we not supposed to smile? Do we pout? Yes, pouting seems right. How do you pout?

Turning to the woman behind me, I say, “Does this look right?” then I push my lips out and try to look like I’m really angry about something. Which is actually true because I’m going to lose it on Dev when I see him.

She wrinkles up her nose and answers, “You look like you’re trying to poop.”

Well, that was rude. I’m trying to learn. I give her a glare and she snaps her fingers. “Perfect! Now you’ve got some serious smolder going on.”

“Gemini Guy! Gemini Guy!” Justin whisper-yells.

I spin around, realizing he means me. He points to the stage wearing a completely disgusted look. As I walk by, I hear him say something about models with rocks for brains into his headset. Models? I’m not a model.

My heart is thumping like a rabbit surrounded by a pack of bears as I walk, trying to keep time with the music which is some airy-fairy crap that doesn’t even have a beat. That bossy Serafina person is sitting on a chair next to the show’s hosts talking … about me … it turns out.

“Geminis absolutely love to be the center of attention, almost to a fault. They’re known to be intelligent, passionate, fun, but also sometimes unreliable and are even called flighty.”

I keep walking toward center stage while I glare at her, causing me to miss the big X on the floor.

“As you can see, our model truly is a flighty Gemini. He just missed his mark.”

I hate this woman. I hate her with every cell of my being.

Hal lets out a laugh. “Other way, buddy!”

“Wow, those are some tight pants!” Lacey inserts. “I can see his center of attention!”

The audience laughs as I scramble to find the damn X. It’s actually quite large and is in bright green tape, so it’s pretty hard to miss. I stalk down the catwalk feeling like a piece of poorly-dressed meat. The audience—mainly older women—start to hoot and whistle and, I swear to God, one woman is waving a five-dollar bill at me.

How the hell did I end up here? I have my PhD. I work for NASA.

I head back toward the hosts while that awful Serafina woman talks about astrology. I’m so busy trying to make sure I land on the X this time I almost don’t hear Hal say, “Geminis really must be flighty because our other guest, Dr. Ben Williams, didn’t bother to show up for Star Day. I understand he’s a Gemini as well.”

I stop in my tracks and stare at him, sweat trickling down my back.

Hal looks at me while making a scooting gesture with his hands. “You can go now.”

Astrology girl gives me an urgent head nod toward the exit. Now is my only chance to fix what has gone terribly, terribly wrong. “I’m Ben Williams.”

All three of them stare at me like I’ve just said I’m from planet Zorbits. Lacey gives me a sympathetic look, as though she feels so bad for the male model who’s so dumb he doesn’t know his own name. “Um, no. Ben Williams is a rocket scientist. You’re a model.” She says this slowly like it’s the only way I’ll be able to understand her.

I wait while the audience has a good laugh at my expense while ignoring Justin and some other woman with a headset who are frantically waving at me. “I’m not a rocket scientist.”

Giving me a condescending look, Hal says, “We know you’re not, buddy. But you’re still special, okay? Now, off you go!”

The fashion show music stops, and the audience becomes so still you’d think they were waiting for me to perform a magic show. Off to the side, I see two security guards at the ready. I swallow hard, then keep going. “There’s no such thing as a rocket scientist,” I say. “What you’re thinking of is actually called an aeronautical engineer or an astronautical engineer. Rocket scientist is a dumbed down word for the job.”

“Wow,” Lacey says, blinking at me. “You know a lot about rocket science.”

I shut my eyes at her inane statement, then open them and say, “That’s because I’m an astrophysicist.”

The astrology “expert” (and I’m using that term lightly) seems to be the first one of the three geniuses to figure out who I am. “Wait, if you’re Dr. Williams, why are you masquerading as a male model?”

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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 

Website | Goodreads | Facebook 

 Twitter | Instagram

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Wednesday, May 5, 2021

On Tour! The Woman with the Blue Star by Pam Jenoff ~ My Thoughts and an Excerpt #TheWomanWithTheBlueStar #NetGalley

The Woman with the Blue Star


Congrats Pam
on the release of
The Woman with the Blue Star!

The Woman with the Blue Star by Pam Jenoff
On Sale Date: May 4, 2021
9780778389385, 0778389383
Trade Paperback
$17.99 USD, $22.99 CAD
Fiction / Historical / Jewish
336 pages. Published by Park Row Books

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Lost Girls of Paris comes a riveting tale of courage and unlikely friendship during World War II.

1942. Sadie Gault is eighteen and living with her parents in the Krak贸w Ghetto during World War II. When the Nazis liquidate the ghetto, Sadie and her pregnant mother are forced to seek refuge in the perilous tunnels beneath the city. One day Sadie looks up through a grate and sees a girl about her own age buying flowers.

Ella Stepanek is an affluent Polish girl living a life of relative ease with her stepmother, who has developed close alliances with the occupying Germans. While on an errand in the market, she catches a glimpse of something moving beneath a grate in the street. Upon closer inspection, she realizes it’s a girl hiding.

Ella begins to aid Sadie and the two become close, but as the dangers of the war worsen, their lives are set on a collision course that will test them in the face of overwhelming odds. Inspired by incredible true stories, The Woman with the Blue Star is an unforgettable testament to the power of friendship and the extraordinary strength of the human will to survive.


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My thoughts about The Woman with the Blue Star ~~

I find myself drawn to historical fiction covering the WWII time period. For some reason that time and what people had to endure fascinates me. The Woman with the Blue Star took me in a bit of a different direction from the usual stories I've read, covering two young women living out their lives in the same area, but in very different ways. 

Sadie escapes the Nazis and has to take to the sewers with her family. I can't even imagine. Ella is living a cushy life among the German, but is it really all that good? 

The Woman with the Blue Star is an insightful story, showing the reader what life was like at that time. It's also an emotional, heartbreaking but heartwarming, story. As with Pam Jenoff's other books, this one will stay with me for a long time and make me think about the hardships that the people had to endure. It was an extremely tough time period, but her words personalize the people and their stories for me and make them memorable. 

I loved The Woman with the Blue Star and highly recommend it for all fans of historical fiction. I know you'll love it as much as I did!

I received an ARC of The Woman with the Blue Star and this is my honest opinion.

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Excerpt

Krak贸w, Poland

June 2016

The woman I see before me is not the one I expected at all.

Ten minutes earlier, I stood before the mirror in my hotel room, brushing some lint from the cuff of my pale blue blouse, adjusting a pearl earring. Distaste rose inside me. I had become the poster child for a woman in her early seventies—graying hair cut short and practical, pantsuit hugging my sturdy frame more snugly than it would have a year ago.

I patted the bouquet of fresh flowers on the nightstand, bright red blooms wrapped in crisp brown paper. Then I walked to the window. Hotel Wentzl, a converted sixteenth-century mansion, sat on the southwest corner of the Rynek, Krak贸w’s immense town square. I chose the location deliberately, made sure my room had just the right view. The square, with its concave southern corner giving it rather the appearance of a sieve, bustled with activity. Tourists thronged between the churches and the souvenir stalls of the Sukiennice, the massive, oblong cloth hall that bisected the square. Friends gathered at the outdoor caf茅s for an after-work drink on a warm June evening, while commuters hurried home with their parcels, eyes cast toward the clouds darkening over Wawel Castle to the south.

I had been to Krak贸w twice before, once right after commu­nism fell and then again ten years later when I started my search in earnest. I was immediately won over by the hidden gem of a city. Though eclipsed by the tourist magnets of Prague and Berlin, Krak贸w’s Old Town, with its unscarred cathedrals and stone-carved houses restored to the original, was one of the most elegant in all of Europe.

The city changed so much each time I came, everything brighter and newer—”better” in the eyes of the locals, who had gone through many years of hardship and stalled progress. The once-gray houses had been painted vibrant yellows and blues, turning the ancient streets into a movie-set version of them­selves. The locals were a study in contradictions, too: fashion­ably dressed young people talked on their cell phones as they walked, heedless of the mountain villagers selling wool sweaters and sheep’s cheese from tarps laid on the ground, and a scarf-clad babcia who sat on the pavement, begging for coins. Under a store window touting wi-fi and internet plans, pigeons pecked at the hard cobblestones of the market square as they had for centuries. Beneath all of the modernity and polish, the baroque architecture of the Old Town shone defiantly through, a history that would not be denied.

But it was not history that brought me here—or at least not that history.

As the trumpeter in the Mariacki Church tower began to play the Hejna艂, signaling the top of the hour, I studied the north­west corner of the square, waiting for the woman to appear at five as she had every day. I did not see her and I wondered if she might not come today, in which case my trip halfway around the world would have been in vain. The first day, I wanted to make sure she was the right person. The second, I meant to speak with her but lost my nerve. Tomorrow I would fly home to America. This was my last chance.

Finally, she appeared from around the corner of a pharmacy, umbrella tucked smartly under one arm. She made her way across the square with surprising speed for a woman who was about ninety. She was not stooped; her back was straight and tall. Her white hair was pulled into a loose knot atop her head, but pieces had broken free and fanned out wildly, framing her face. In contrast to my own staid clothing, she wore a brightly colored skirt, its pattern vibrant. The shiny fabric seemed to dance around her ankles by its own accord as she walked and I could almost hear its rustling sound.

Her routine was familiar, the same as the previous two days when I watched her walk to the Caf茅 Noworolski and request the table farthest from the square, sheltered from the activity and noise by the deep arched entranceway of the building. Last time I had come to Krak贸w, I was still searching. Now I knew who she was and where to find her. The only thing to do was to summon my courage and go down.

The woman took a seat at her usual table in the corner, opened a newspaper. She had no idea that we were about to meet—or even that I was alive.

From the distance came a rumble of thunder. Drops began to fall then, splattering the cobblestones like dark tears. I had to hurry. If the outdoor caf茅 closed and the woman left, every­thing I came for would be gone.

I heard the voices of my children, telling me that it was too dangerous to travel so far alone at my age, that there was no reason, nothing more to be learned here. I should just leave and go home. It would matter to no one.

Except to me—and to her. I heard her voice in my mind as I imagined it to be, reminding me what it was that I had come for.

Steeling myself, I picked up the flowers and walked from the room.

Outside, I started across the square. Then I stopped again. Doubts reverberated through my brain. Why had I come all of this way? What was I looking for? Doggedly, I pressed onward, not feeling the large drops that splattered my clothes and hair. I reached the caf茅, wound through the tables of patrons who were paying their checks and preparing to leave as the rain fell heavier. As I neared the table, the woman with the white hair lifted her gaze from the newspaper. Her eyes widened.

Up close now, I can see her face. I can see everything. I stand motionless, struck frozen.

The woman I see before me is not the one I expected at all.

Excerpted from The Woman With the Blue Star @ 2021 by Pam Jenoff, used with permission by Park Row Books.

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About the author


Pam Jenoff is the author of several books of historical fiction, including the NYT bestseller The Orphan's Tale. She holds a degree in international affairs from George Washington University and a degree in history from Cambridge, and she received her JD from UPenn. 

Her novels are inspired by her experiences working at the Pentagon and as a diplomat for the State Department handling Holocaust issues in Poland. She lives with her husband and 3 children near Philadelphia, where she teaches law.

Connect with Pam


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