Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Review: Summer Secrets by Jane Green

The cover of Summer Secrets by Jane Green screams summer and Nantucket to me...blue hydrangeas, blue representing the blue ocean, summer, blue skies. That is what I visualize when I hold this book in my hands and gaze at the cover, the perfect summer read. I have to admit that I am in love with this book cover. It makes me want to go to Nantucket and walk the streets and meander the shops on the island. I have not visited there...yet, but I have visited Martha's Vineyard which I loved. It's on my bucket list...one day, I will get there. I digress...I loved this book. I just started reading Jane Green's novels this year and immediately devoured 3 books in a row starting with Saving Grace. Summer Secrets is Jane Green's 17th novel.  

I have to say that I loved Cat, the main character, her flaws and honesty felt raw and real to me as a reader. The book opens in 2014 with Cat living in London, looking back on her life and the choices she has made, the choices that were made that affected her and the path that has led her to where she is now at peace in her life. Cat is in her 30's sober, divorced, making up for the past with her teenaged daughter. The story goes back and forth between the present in 2014, Cat's childhood and life in her 20's.  In her 20's, a truth is revealed about her father and she connects with family in Nantucket where one fateful summer night catapulted her future in many ways. Cat has the opportunity to confront her past in the process of making amends and returns to Nantucket in her 30's in 2014. 

Cat's story is emotional, deeply honest and touching. I felt like I was reading the story of a friend, one that I could see being friends with. We are all flawed, all have paths in our lives that are not perfect and the only way we can change is to face our battles and the truth. It's hard, life is not easy for everyone and we can never know what someone has endured unless you walk in their shoes. I have not experienced what Cat has although I have friends that have walked the road she travelled.  Jane Green is a talented writer who understands womens issues. In Summer Secrets, she has written a story that shows the strength and spirit of women and how we can overcome our battles and come out on a different side that we never thought imaginable. I loved this book and can't wait until Jane Green's 18th book! 

Check out Jane Green's Website here

Review copy provided by Tandem Literary 

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Sunday, July 26, 2015

Review: TIny Little Thing by Beatriz Williams

Tiny Little Thing  opens in  the summer of 1966 at the family estate on Cape Cod. Christina, known as "Tiny" to her family and friends, is at a precipice of unveiling secrets surrounding her. Tiny and her husband Frank, present the picture perfect Kennedy-esque couple. Frank is destined for politics, his plan to run for a Senate seat with his father pushing him down this path. Tiny, with grace and style in her petite frame of elegance has been raised to marry a man of power and leadership. 

Tiny, has a secret of her own that she doesn't want revealed.  Envelopes containing incriminating photographs keep appearing in her mail with notes of blackmail.  Two visitors appear, Tiny's sister Pepper and Frank's cousin Vietnam war hero Caspian who knows more about Tiny's inner life than Frank. As the story unravels, the reader is taken back and forth in time between 1964 to 1966 to connect the dots of the story.  I found this style engaging and kept reading as secrets were revealed. As most of us know, secrets eventually will be revealed in life. 

I enjoy reading about family secrets and dramas along with historical fiction. If you enjoy these as well, Tiny Little Thing will pull you in as a reader. Ms. Williams tells an intriguing, entertaining story intertwined with factual details of this time period. I liked Tiny's character and how she developed throughout the novel.  Her innocence and bravery to face the truth of her life showed great character. 

If you are looking for an enjoyable summer and/or beach read, I highly recommend Tiny Little Thing by Beatriz Williams. 

Review copy provided by Netgalley and Penguin Group Putnam

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Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Spotlight/US Giveaway: The Gates of Evangeline by Hester Young

Today, the spotlight is on Putnam’s biggest debut of the Fall 2015 season, Hester Young’s THE GATES OF EVANGELINE, which comes out on September 1, 2015  It's described as an addictive first book in a fantastic new series introduces the unforgettable Charlotte “Charlie” Cates, a heroine whose dark visions bring to light secrets that will ultimately heal or destroy those around her". 

Quick Take: Sometimes a dream is simply a dream, a manifestation of daytime adventures and anxieties. But dreams can also deliver premonitions, a phenomenon eerily familiar to writer Hester Young. In fact, Young’s grandmother had an inexplicable premonitory dream of her four-year-old’s tragic and fatal fall and decades later, Young’s own dreams would foreshadow a local tragedy. These fascinating slices of real family history are the inspiration behind THE GATES OF EVANGELINE. When grieving mother and New York journalist Charlie Cates begins to experience vivid dreams about children in danger she’s sure that she’s lost her mind. Yet these are not the nightmares of a grieving parent, she soon realizes. They are messages and warnings that will help Charlie and the children she sees, if only she can make sense of them. After a little boy in a boat appears in Charlie’s dreams asking for her help, Charlie finds herself entangled in a thirty-year-old missing-child case that has never ceased to haunt Louisiana’s prestigious Deveau family. Armed with an invitation to Evangeline, the family’s sprawling estate, Charlie heads south, where new friendships and an unlikely romance bring healing. But as she uncovers long-buried secrets of love, money, betrayal, and murder, the facts begin to implicate those she most wants to trust—and her visions reveal an evil closer than she could’ve imagined.

About the AuthorHester Young holds a Master’s degree in English with a Creative Writing concentration from the University of Hawai’i at Manoa, and her work has been published in literary magazines such as The Hawai’i Review. Before turning to writing full time, she worked as a teacher in Arizona and New Hampshire. She lives with her husband and two children in New Jersey. 


Thanks to Putnam/Penguin Random House, I have TWO copies to give away. 

To Enter, Click Here and fill out the form.  Giveaway is open to those with a US address only.  One entry per person. Ends July 24, 2015

Giveaway has ended.

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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Imagination Will Take You Everywhere by Samantha Snyder (Doodle Art Alley Books)

I must admit I enjoy coloring, doodling and quotes so this new book Imagination will take You Everywhere packages these all together in a wonderful and fun book.  The size of this paperback book is perfect, and the drawings and quotes are inspiring. This book is pure fun....therapeutic, relaxating and inspirational all packaged into one. I like to color Mandalas and do journal art so I have a collection of watercolor colored pencils, Crayola Twistables and markers to choose from. 

If you enjoy coloring or want to give it a try, this is a fun and relaxing way to spend some down time. It's a definite stress reliever and I often put on some music or listen to an audio book and escape into the comfort of coloring. With this book, you also have the added bonus of quotes to inspire you. I look forward to spending more time with this book and I've already bought a gift copy and sent it to my cousin in Germany. I sent her some pictures of what I was working on and she loved it, so it's a perfect gift as well. 

If you want to try your hand at coloring, or even share with your kids for a fun summer activity, the author's website has free printable summer coloring pages on her website, go here

About the book:

Explore the Magic of Doodle Art. 
Imagination Will Take You Everywhere shares 50 doodle art images of inspiring sayings, quotes, and words printed on one side of the page for all ages to color. 
Quotes from famous authors include Emily Dickinson, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Benjamin Franklin, John Keats, Abraham Lincoln, Eleanor Roosevelt, William Shakespeare, and more. The book also includes sayings and words from Be Kind, Courage, and Dream Big to Enjoy the Journey, Faith, and Hope. 
Each doodle art image has been carefully selected to provide plenty of enjoyment, inspiration, and relaxation.

About the author: 

Samantha Snyder has been doodling her whole life. While teaching elementary school, she often drew up coloring pages and printables for her students and fellow teachers. She decided to start sharing her creations and in 2008, Doodle Art Alley was founded. Doodle Art Alley is dedicated to giving those squiggly lines the proper credit they deserve. Who would have thought that such a small and simple idea could possess so much potential? There are lots of fun art activities, tips and information to read through and enjoy. 
Author Website: Doodle Art Alley

Review copy provided by Word Slinger Publicity  in exchange for an honest review.
No compensation was received.

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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.

Giveaway has ended

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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. 

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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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