Sunday, June 21, 2015

Giveaway: Summer Secrets by Jane Green

Would you like a great summer read? I've got a copy of Jane Green's newest book to giveaway, Summer Secrets! It will be released on June 23rd and is already showing up on summer must read lists and getting pre-pub raves! 

About the book:

When a shocking family secret is revealed, twenty-something journalist Cat Coombs finds herself falling into a dark spiral. Wild, glamorous nights out in London and raging hangovers the next day become her norm, leading to a terrible mistake one night while visiting family in America, on the island of Nantucket. It's a mistake for which she can't forgive herself. When she returns home, she confronts the unavoidable reality of her life and knows it's time to grow up. But she doesn't know if she'll ever be able to earn the forgiveness of the people she hurt.
As the years pass, Cat grows into her forties, a struggling single mother, coping with a new-found sobriety and determined to finally make amends. Traveling back to her past, to the family she left behind on Nantucket all those years ago, she may be able to earn their forgiveness, but in doing so she may risk losing the very people she loves the most.
Told with Jane Green's keen eye for detailing the emotional landscape of the heart, Summer Secrets is at once a compelling drama and a beautifully rendered portrait of relationships, betrayals, and forgiveness; about accepting the things we cannot change, finding the courage to change the things we can, and being strong enough to weather the storms.

About the author: 
Jane Green’s seventeenth novel, Summer Secrets, will be released in the US on June 23rd and on July 2nd in the UK. She is the author of sixteen previous New York Times Bestselling novels, including The Beach House, Jemima J, and most recently Saving Grace which is due out in paperback in early June.  
She is published in over 25 languages, and has over ten million books in print worldwide. She joined the ABC News team to write their first enhanced digital book— about the history of Royal marriages, then joined ABC News as a live correspondent covering Prince William’s wedding to Kate Middleton.  A former journalist in the UK, she has had her own radio show on BBC Radio London, and is a regular contributor on radio and TV, including as well as regularly appearing on television shows including Good Morning America, The Martha Stewart show, and The Today Show.
Together with writing books and blogs, she contributes to various publications, both online and print, including anthologies and novellas, and features for The Huffington Post, The Sunday Times, Cosmopolitan and Self. She has taught at writers conferences, and does regular keynote speaking. A graduate of the French Culinary Institute in New York, Green filled two of her books, Saving Grace and Promises to Keep, with recipes culled from her own collection. She says she only cooks food that is “incredibly easy, but has to look as if you have slaved over a hot stove for hours.” This is because she has five children, and has realised that “when you have five children, nobody ever invites you anywhere.” 
She lives in Westport, Connecticut with her husband and their blended family. When she is not writing, cooking, gardening, filling her house with friends and herding chickens, she is usually thanking the Lord for caffeine-filled energy drinks. A malignant melanoma surivor who also lives with Chronic Lyme Disease, she believes gratitude and focusing on the good in life is the secret to happiness.

Thanks to Tandem Literary , I have one copy of Summer Secrets to giveaway. To Enter, click here and complete the form. Contest is open to those with a US address only. One entry per person. Contest ends July 1, 2015. 

 © Copyright 2015- All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Review: Eight Hundred Grapes by Laura Dave

What is a girl to do a few weeks before her wedding when she finds out that her fiance is keeping a big secret from her? A secret so big that she has to run away. For Georgia Ford, she returns to her family home and vineyard expecting the comfort of her parents, her brothers and all that is familiar. Georgia realizes that while growing up on the idyllic family vineyard on Sonoma, she learned a lot about secrets. She just didn't realize that her fiance Ben is not the only one keeping secrets.  Georgia must learn how to take care of herself and not fix and take care of everyone else. She has to learn how to make a decision that will effect her future in so many ways and trust her heart.

I enjoyed the beautiful setting of the Sonoma vineyard and the details shared about wine making. This may appear to be a typical family drama although it is much deeper than that. The author delves into real feelings and emotions that many readers can relate to, I certainly did. Eight Hundred Grapes is a story that sends a message of how important it is to face the imperfections in life, to listen to your heart and pay attention to what those most important to you are telling you through their actions. And lastly, the significance of having a place that you connect with and call home.  Recommended for fans of womens fiction, family dramas and wine. 

Review copy provided by Edelweiss and Simon & Schuster

 © Copyright 2015- All Rights Reserved

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Review: The Killer Next Door by Alex Marwood

I bought The Killer Next Door as a Daily Deal on Audible this month. The narrator, Imogen Church was fabulous with the variety of voices, female and male as well as her fantastic British accent. 

Publishers Summary

Everyone who lives at 23 Beulah Grove has a secret. If they didn't, they wouldn't be renting rooms in a dodgy old building for cash - no credit check, no lease. It's the kind of place you end up when you you've run out of other options.The six residents mostly keep to themselves, but one unbearably hot summer night, a terrible accident pushes them into an uneasy alliance. What they don't know is that one of them is a killer. He's already chosen his next victim, and he'll do anything to protect his secret.

This is a pretty creepy psychological thriller, all the neighbors are renting a room in a boarding house in London. A variety of interesting characters from all walks of life, some hiding secrets, and little do they know that there is a killer among them. There are many edge of your seat moments that are thrilling...and some scenes (be forewarned) that are gross and creepy that will make you want to cringe. The narrator truly made the story come alive for me as a reader/listener. This is a true page turner and keeps you wanting to know more until the grisly truth is revealed! Be forewarned, some scenes are not for the faint of heart. I'm not a big horror fan so this book doesn't fit into that category for me. Recommended for fans of psychological thrillers and suspense. 

© Copyright 2015- All Rights Reserved

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Review: Orphan Number Eight by Kim van Alkemade

Rachel Rabinowitz a young Jewish girl of immigrant parents living in New York City. When Rachel was  a precocious young girl of only 4 years old, a tragedy separates her and her only brother Sam.  They are both sent to the orphaned Hebrews home where they each stay in separate sections until they are later reunited. Rachel was kept in an infants hospital where she was subjected to medical research and experiments including x-ray experiments which left her with life long side effects.  The novel takes the reader through alternating chapters of Rachel's life and experiences from the orphanage through her coming of age and then full circle into adulthood. In adulthood, she is  a nurse, 40 years old, and working at the Old Hebrews home where the doctor who conducted the medical experiments when she was a child is now her patient. Rachel is confronted with a moral dilemma, she struggles along a fine line of revenge and retribution and a choice between forgiveness and retribution. She learns that choices, even unexpected can truly shape our destinies. 

Orphan Number Eight by Kim van Alkemade is a beautifully crafted and compelling debut novel.  The style of narration and fluidity of writing eases the reader along and held my attention completely. Although this is a fictional account, what was fascinating to me as a reader is that the book is related to true family history and research that the author stumbled upon. Kim van Alkemade's website is full of background and pictures from her research and true stories that inspired Orphan Number Eight. 

I received an advanced reading copy E-galley provided by Edelweiss and Harper Collins for review.  

Orphan Number Eight will be released in August 2015

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Sunday, June 7, 2015

Hello...I'm Back!!

“It isn’t what you have, or who you are, or where you are, or what you are doing that makes you happy or unhappy. It is what you think about.  ~Dale Carnegie

Hello Everyone!!

It certainly has been awhile since I have last written anything here. I've decided to start blogging again. I've missed it. I want to give everyone an update...for those who still follow or any new readers. I believe that I had blogger burnout, I even developed a bit of writers block. The blog felt like a chore, something that I had to do and I wasn't enjoying it very much. I loved connecting with authors, bloggers and readers. I love books and reading and still do. I have not stopped reading...I cannot imagine my life without books in them. I fell in love with books and reading in the first grade and that has not changed. I'll forever be a reader, booklover, and maybe one day a writer.

I just finished reading:

Orphan Number Eight by Kim van Alkemade 
(compliments of Edelweiss and Harper Collins for review)
It will be available July 2015
I will be writing a review soon and have to share that it was exceptional 
It will definitely be in my top favorite books of 2015. 

I look forward to reconnecting with everyone and plan to start visiting your blogs soon. Hang in there with me while I figure out the next steps for my blog. 

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Sunday, September 29, 2013

Catching Up On A Sunday ~ September Update

I had high hopes of blogging more this summer while I had more free time. Life got in the way and blogging had to be put aside. Instead, my summer was focused on family crises and health issues. My mother in law had a heart attack and fortunately she got to the hospital in the last window of opportunity as it could have turned fatal. That was frightening to even think about and hard to write about. She was a bit stubborn and ignored the symptoms, as the pain moved around and she didn't realize how serious it was. She is 81 and in fairly good health, living independently with my father in law in their own home. She did have two blocked arteries and had stents put in. She then was in and out of the hospital due to blood clots in her legs. We were on pins and needles for weeks. It's one of those moments in time that made my husband and I realize how we are one of the few to have both of our parents still living at this stage of our lives. 

My son started his freshman year of high school last month. It's amazing how fast time flies. Everyone reminds you of this when your children are babies but when it comes to fruition it makes you stop and pause. He is active in the orchestra and plays the Bass. This year, will be more challenging as there are more concerts and a competition. He's already learning life lessons after his required >$100 graphing calculator (that is supposed to last through all 4 years of high school and college) was stolen or lost. I've heard from other parents that sadly, this is an issue that kids are stealing other kids calculators. The theory one parent shared is that either kids have lost their own calculator and are fearful of telling their parents so they steal another student's calculator or,  they are selling them. 

I have been reading although I am very behind in sharing reviews here on my blog. I plan to do that as I have several wonderful books to share with you. I'd like to get back to blogging and book reviews as well as visiting other blogs. I'm working on how to do that with the balance of life, family and work. How is everyone able to do that? Whether you are a blogger or not, how are you finding that balance for all that you need and want to do?! 

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Friday, July 12, 2013

Review: A Spear of Summer Grass by Deanna Raybourn

A Spear of Summer Grass by Deanna Raybourn
Publication Date: April 2013
Format: Paperback, 384 pages
Source: France Book Tours/Author 

              A Spear of Summer Grass Synopsis

Paris, 1923

The daughter of a scandalous mother, Delilah Drummond is already notorious, even among Paris society. But her latest scandal is big enough to make even her oft-married mother blanch. Delilah is exiled to Kenya and her favorite stepfather's savanna manor house until gossip subsides.

Fairlight is the crumbling, sun-bleached skeleton of a faded African dream, a world where dissolute expats are bolstered by gin and jazz records, cigarettes and safaris. As mistress of this wasted estate, Delilah falls into the decadent pleasures of society.

Against the frivolity of her peers, Ryder White stands in sharp contrast. As foreign to Delilah as Africa, Ryder becomes her guide to the complex beauty of this unknown world. Giraffes, buffalo, lions and elephants roam the shores of Lake Wanyama amid swirls of red dust. Here, life is lush and teeming—yet fleeting and often cheap.

Amidst the wonders—and dangers—of Africa, Delilah awakes to a land out of all proportion: extremes of heat, darkness, beauty and joy that cut to her very heart. Only when this sacred place is profaned by bloodshed does Delilah discover what is truly worth fighting for—and what she can no longer live without. [sex and violence present but not graphic]

A Spear of Summer Grass is set in the 1920's where scandal can easily have a woman sent away due to the embarrassment to herself and her family. Delilah falls into this situation through her impulsive, selfish and immoral choices deemed unacceptable for a woman during this time period. Delilah is not a likeable character initially her experiences change her and allow her heart to be opened as she forced to face her fears. She is sent to Africa, which is nothing like the posh surroundings she is used to in Paris or England. She is a glamorous and beautiful woman who brings her finery with her to a country full of danger, culture and politics. She finds new social connections with expats whom she knows some of them and creates her own lifestyle without fear of repercussions.  She experiences the beauty of the land, the people, the tribes and the animals and learns to appreciate the amazing landscape full of wild animals and folklore. She continues to be wild and carefree and morally her choices continue to put her in trouble. She learns through the danger and fear that she can open her heart to Africa and the love she feels she does not deserve. 

This is the first book that I've read by Deanna Raybourn who has a gift for writing about complex characters, surroundings and the setting in Africa was stunning. Highly recommended. 

Author bio:

As a sixth-generation native Texan, I grew up in San Antonio, where I met my college sweetheart. I married him on graduation day and went on to teach high school English and history. During summer vacation when I was twenty-three, I wrote my first novel. After three years as a teacher, I left education to have a baby and pursue writing full-time.
Fourteen years and many, many rejections after my first novel, I signed two three-book deals with MIRA Books.

"Sex, lies and awesome clothing descriptions" is how one reader described my debut novel, Silent in the Grave,published in 2007. The first in the Silent series, the book follows Lady Julia Grey as she investigates the mysterious death of her husband with the help of the enigmatic private enquiry agent Nicholas Brisbane. From the drawing rooms of the aristocracy to a Gypsy camp on Hampstead Heath, Silent in the Grave was my love letter to Victorian London.
The series continues with the second book, Silent in the Sanctuary (2008), a classic English country house murder mystery with a few twists and turns for Brisbane and Lady Julia along the way, while the third book, Silent on the Moor (2009), is set in a grim manor house on the Yorkshire moors. My favorite part of writing Moor was getting to spend time in Yorkshire, one of the most wildly beautiful places I have ever been.

March 2010 saw a departure from the series with the release of The Dead Travel Fast, a mid-Victorian Gothic thriller that chronicles the adventures of novelist Theodora Lestrange as she leaves the safety and security of her Edinburgh home for the dark woods and haunted castles of Transylvania. I returned to Lady Julia and her companions with Dark Road to Darjeeling (October 2010), this time delving into my most exotic setting yet in the foothills of the Himalayas. The fifth series book, New York Times bes
tseller The Dark Enquiry (July 2011) saw Lady Julia back in her beloved London again, while a digital holiday novella, Silent Night (November 2012) highlighted the March family festivities at Bellmont Abbey.

But 2013 introduces a new setting to my work—1920s British East Africa. In A Spear of Summer Grass (May 2013), disgraced flapper Delilah Drummond is sent to Africa to weather the storm of her latest scandal. There she meets Ryder White, a local legend for more reasons than one—and the perfect man to teach her about the continent he loves. Ryder was introduced to readers in the digital prequel novella Far in the Wilds (March 2013).

 I am thrilled that 2014 will see another 1920s release, City of Jasmine (May 2014), and I am hard at work on my next project in my little pink study in Virginia with a doodle draped over my feet as I write.

You can find me blogging a few days a week at Be sure to sign up for my monthly newsletter, check out my contests and book trailer videos, and find me on Twitter and Facebook

Check out the tour schedule for A Spear of Summer Grass through France Book Tours and enter the giveaways to win a copy of the book. 

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