Tuesday, November 7, 2017

The Boyfriend Swap - Pub Day Review

You’d think the holidays the perfect time to bring home a new boyfriend to meet the family.  For Robyn and Sidney, that couldn’t be further from the truth. 

Robyn tends to attract a certain type.  A type that her parents aren’t particularly fond of.   So when she starts dating Perry, a struggling actor, she can already predict the reaction her family will have of him.

Then there’s Sidney who works with her father.  Since he’s already so involved in her professional life, she is hesitant to bring Will home to the family. 

After discussing their conundrum, Sidney suggests that they swap boyfriends for the holidays.  I mean, what could possibly go wrong?

If you’re looking for the perfect book to get you in the holiday mood, look no further.  The Boyfriend Swap is a fun, enjoyable read.

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About the author:
A born and bred New Yorker, Meredith Schorr discovered her passion for writing when she began to enjoy drafting work-related e-mails way more than she was probably supposed to. After trying her hand penning children's stories and blogging her personal experiences, Meredith found her calling writing romantic comedy, women's fiction, and contemporary young adult fiction. She secures much inspiration from her day job as a hard-working trademark paralegal and her still single (but looking) status. Meredith is a loyal New York Yankees fan, an avid runner, and an unashamed television addict.

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Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Bless Her Heart - Release Day Review & Giveaway

Review by Deb Czajkowski
Lark was eighteen when she left her home in the South for California, where she quickly became part of the 1960’s hippie culture. A few years later she reappeared at her mother’s doorstep, no longer alone: She had with her a daughter named Posey.  Over the years Lark continued to retain her hippie lifestyle way too much for Posey, who was often bullied, humiliated, and pitied (bless her heart!) because of it.  Today Lark and her mother still live together, but now Granny has Alzheimer’s and it’s Lark who is taking care of her.  The tables are about to be turned once again for Lark. And her reaction is…?

Ten years ago Chad proposed to Posey, offering her, through marriage, the stability and security she hadn’t had growing up but had always wanted. She just didn’t know that the price would be her freedom. In the end, that wasn’t all Chad took from her: he left her penniless and homeless when he ran off with another woman. And her reaction is…?

Life now comes full-circle as Posey is forced to turn to her mother for a place to live ─and for a temporary job. Oh, and then she takes a go at the Seven Deadly Sins ─perhaps Posey’s version of her mother’s hipster youth? And the reaction is…?

So now we have Granny ─who’s more “out” than “in” (bless her heart); and Lark ─who’s still unconventional (bless her heart) but also living in the real world; Posey ─who’s breaking more than a few rules (bless her heart) as she struggles with finding a comfortable balance in her life; and, oh, did I mention that Posey also has a younger sister still living at home?  Sure, bless her heart as well.

Yep, four women living under the same roof. Hear that? That’s rumbling and thunder and laughter and fun. And a whole lot of ‘bless her hearts’ coming from their community!

The common Southern phrase “bless her heart” has always made me (unlike Posey) laugh.  Perhaps that’s because my experiences with the phrase are all anecdotal (also unlike Posey), who seems to have had it directly at her far too often.  While it can be a sincere expression of sympathy or concern, it is generally used to, ah, soften an insult. For example: “Every day that girl brings the weirdest stuff for her lunch, bless her heart.”  Or “That girl can’t walk across a room without breaking something, bless her heart.” You see why this is so annoying and exasperating for Posey? I can tell you, if those comments were directed at me, I also would find them really unkind, insulting even, despite ─or maybe because of─ the ‘bless her heart’ added at the end!

It’s also why you will laugh out loud at author Sally Kilpatrick’s comedy of circumstances in bless her heart. While Kilpatrick is mainly telling Posey’s story in her novel, she finds many human as well as humorous ways to meld together situations of all four of these women, all at different stages in their lives ─ lives full of questions, concerns, hurdles, and hindrances, but also hope. bless her heart will pull you into the drama and dilemmas, but it will also bless your heart ─in a good way─ from beginning to end.

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About the author:
Born and raised in West Tennessee, Sally Kilpatrick graduated from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, with a BA in English. At UT she met and married a Georgia boy. Now they live in Marietta, GA, with their two kids. She holds a Masters in Professional Writing from Kennesaw State University and taught high school Spanish for eight years before taking a sabbatical to write and mother full time. In addition to reading and writing, Sally likes traveling, historic house tours, running, religious studies, and all things geek. 

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One lucky winner a print copy of
Bless Her Heart by Sally Kilpatrick

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Monday, October 30, 2017

Home For Christmas - Pub Week Giveaway

In a charming Maine seaside town, a single mother longs to create a memorable Christmas for her two daughters—and receives a chance to make her own wishes come true . . .
 
At first glance, Nell King’s cozy home in Yorktide seems a step down from the impeccably decorated Boston house she shared with her husband. But in the six years since he abruptly left to marry another woman, Nell and her almost-grown daughters have found real happiness here. Now, faced with what may be their last Christmas together, Nell feels anxious. She gave up her own ambitions when she married. With the daily obligations of motherhood coming to an end, what role is left for her to fill?
 
Twenty-one-year-old Molly worries about sacrificing her independence the way her mother did. Should she stay in Maine with her dependable boyfriend, or move to the city and prove herself? Felicity, meanwhile, is torn between loyalty to Nell and wanting to spend time with her glamorous stepmother. Nell is eager to make this holiday picture-perfect. But there’s a complication—and an opportunity . . .
 
Nell’s first love, now a successful novelist, is in town for a book signing. As the two rekindle their friendship, Nell confronts the choices she once made in the name of stability. And as the days unfold with revelations and unexpected gifts, this Christmas promises to herald a bright new beginning.

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About the author:
Holly Chamberlin was born and raised in New York City. After earning a Master’s degree in English Literature from New York University and working as an editor in the publishing industry for ten years, she moved to Boston, married and became a freelance editor and writer. She and her husband now live in downtown Portland, Maine, in a restored mid-nineteenth-century brick townhouse with Betty, the most athletic, beautiful and intelligent cat in the world.

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One lucky winner a print copy of
Home for Christmas by Holly Chamberlain

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Tuesday, October 24, 2017

The Beautiful Ones - Release Day Giveaway

In a world of etiquette and polite masks, no one is who they seem to be.
Antonina Beaulieu is in the glittering city of Loisail for her first Grand Season, where she will attend balls and mingle among high society. Under the tutelage of the beautiful but cold Valerie Beaulieu she hopes to find a suitable husband. However, the haphazard manifestations of Nina’s telekinetic powers make her the subject of malicious gossip.
Yet dazzling telekinetic performer and outsider Hector Auvray sees Nina’s powers as a gift, and he teaches her how to hone and control them. As they spend more and more time together, Nina falls in love and believes she’s found the great romance that she’s always dreamt of. But Hector’s courtship of Nina is deceptive.

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About the author:
SILVIA MORENO-GARCIA is the author of the critically acclaimed novels Signal to Noise and Certain Dark Things and the short story collection This Strange Way of Dying, which was a finalist for the Sunburst Award in Canada. She was a finalist for the Manchester Fiction Prize and a recipient of the Gloria Vanderbilt/Exile Award for Best Emerging Writer. She lives in Canada.

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The Beautiful Ones by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

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Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Christmas in London - release day review & giveaway

Review by Deb Czajkowski
Since she was a young girl baking in the kitchen with her mother, Louisa has wanted to own her own restaurant that specializes in delicate pastries and unusual desserts. Beyond experience, that requires a commercial-sized sink full of cash.  Thus, twelve hour shifts at a bakery on Manhattan’s Lower East Side are the norm for Louisa, especially the week before Christmas. Louisa is just finishing up the trays of treats for the morning’s Christmas special (cinnamon rolls) when Noah dashes in for a shelf full of ─pause─ cinnamons rolls.

Noah is working his way through law school as a cooking show assistant.  Making problems ─poof!─ disappear is what he’s paid to do.  That includes dashing out in the rain when the show burns the cinnamon rolls they were supposed to film that day.  Or finding a substitute host ─“Please, Louisa! Pleeeease be our host!”─ for their annual Christmas Eve Dinner TV special at Claridge’s in London when the cooking show host has an allergic reaction to the secret ingredient (nutmeg) that was in Louisa’s prize-winning cinnamon rolls.

Of course Louisa must do it! After all, this predicament is (sort of) her fault.  And think of the publicity! So Louisa is off to London.  But will this trip prove delicious or disastrous?
The show’s producer, Kate, a graduate of St. Andrew’s in Scotland, is no stranger to London’s corner of the world. And it’s a small world after all when, on her first night in London, she runs into her college best friend, Trevor, while she’s dining at Claridge’s.

Both Kate and Trevor are currently unattached, and their secret attraction for one another still hovers under the surface. But their college years were fraught with misunderstandings and youthful heartaches. More than one heart was broken at graduation.  Although it’s now ten years later, the obstacles Kate and Trevor experienced in college are still there, and they appear to be just as insurmountable today as they were ten years ago. Even the sugar plum fairies see the dilemmas disturbing their dreams. Isn’t that indication enough to let the past be the past?

Anita Hughes’ novel, Christmas in London, is set in a magnificent city in which to be during the Christmas season. Hughes’ lovely descriptions of London sparkle with Christmas traditions and holiday cheer so magical that I both felt like I was there at Christmas but also dreamt of experiencing it all live and in person. Buckingham Palace, The Nutcracker at Covent Garden, the Tower of London, Trafalgar Square, Harrods, just a few ‘musts’ to whet your site-seeing appetite and get you dreaming.  And that’s not even talking food!  Ah, the sweet treats the author describes will have your mouth watering and your fingers googling recipes.

Are you thinking, “Is Christmas in London a travel book?”  No, that’s just a bonus. Anita Hughes’ novel focuses on one week in the lives of two young women, Louisa and Kate. It’s a week filled with fun, fabulous food, and fairy tales. It’s a week marked with mistakes, mishaps, and misunderstandings. We glimpse visions of the future and visit haunts of the past. It’s a week that changes lives.

Should you wait for the holidays for Christmas in London. No need! Pour yourself a relaxing cup of hot tea, help yourself to a flaky, raspberry scone, and enjoy.  It is, after all, tea time somewhere!

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About the author:
Anita Hughes was born in Sydney, Australia and had a charmed childhood that included petting koala bears, riding the waves on Bondi Beach, and putting an occasional shrimp on the barbie. Her writing career began at the age of eight, when she won a national writing contest in THE AUSTRALIAN newspaper, and was named "One of Australia's Next Best Writers." (She still has the newspaper clipping.)

She received a B.A. in English Literature with a minor in Creative Writing from Bard College, and attended UC Berkeley's Masters in Creative Writing program.

She lives in Dana Point, CA with her family, where she interrupts her writing to watch the glorious sunsets.

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Christmas in London by Anita Hughes

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Monday, October 2, 2017

Winter Solstice - pub week giveaway

Raise one last glass with the Quinn Family at the Winter Street Inn. 

It's been too long since the entire Quinn family has been able to celebrate the holidays under the same roof, but that's about to change. With Bart back safe and sound from Afghanistan, the Quinns are preparing for a holiday more joyous than any they've experienced in years. And Bart's safe return isn't the family's only good news: Kevin is enjoying married life with Isabelle; Patrick is getting back on his feet after paying his debt to society; Ava thinks she's finally found the love of her life; and Kelly is thrilled to see his family reunited at last. But it just wouldn't be a Quinn family gathering if things went smoothly. A celebration of everything we love--and some of the things we endure--about the holidays, WINTER SOLSTICE is Elin Hilderbrand at her festive best. 

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About the author:
Elin Hilderbrand has a twin brother who is not a bestselling novelist. She does her best writing on the beaches of Nantucket, as well as on the charming streets of Beacon Hill in Boston. She has three magical children who beg her not to sing along to the radio or dance in public.

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Winter Solstice by Elin Hilderbrand

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Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Virtually Perfect - Pub Day Review & Giveaway

Review by Deb Czajkowski
People are saying Lizzie Glass is washed up, a ‘has been’, not marketable anymore, and Lizzie can’t very well disagree with them.  It’s been five years since she had her successful television show and her cookbook deal.  Today she’s no longer a celebrity, no longer in demand.  Invitations to parties and events stopped arriving ages (and ages!) ago.  And now her magazine column is being canceled.

Unemployed and seriously in need of income ─and some distance between her and New York would be a breath of fresh air as well─ Lizzie accepts the only paying job on her proverbial (kitchen) table: personal chef for wealthy Jim and Kathryn Silvester at their beach house ─correction: beach mansion!─ on the Jersey Shore.

Creative challenges are Lizzie’s specialty, thank goodness, because the Silvesters have very specific requirements. Jim loves meat but shouldn’t have it.  He’s only at the beach house on weekends, so that’s a help, but every weekend the Silvesters seem to throw a theme party.  Kathryn “I only eat paleo” seems to live for her parties, keeping everyone’s glass (especially hers) full. Son Nate supposedly only eats pizza and not the paleo kind! Daughter Zoe has her one gluten free cupboards that apparently have invisible do-not-touch signs on them.  But that’s not her only obsession. Zoe also has a website she calls The Clean Life, but the entire site smells more than a little fishy.

Lizzie soon discovers that challenge ─the verb─ may be the key word for this summer. Look out Lizzie!  Look out Silvesters!  The gauntlet(s) will be thrown down!

Virtually Perfect is a smorgasbord for reader. The life of the rich (if not famous). Great food menus for foodies (I do love good food!). Family drama (always good fodder for laughs). Intrigue (Who doesn’t love a mystery?). And romance (duh!). Author Paige Robert’s novel has it all.

No matter the month, reading a good book is always in season.  But as the temps drop and the leaves begin to fall, this is a great time to read Virtually Perfect. Just maybe it’ll remind you of the fun times you had this summer; help you laugh over family mishaps; encourage you to seek out fall flavors for fabulous foods; show you that life is messy ─everyone’s life─ at one time or another; make you smile as only love can do.

Fun and funny. Tasty and tempting. Drama and dilemma. Life and love.  Virtually Perfect.

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About the author:
Paige Roberts is a writer, journalist and author of the forthcoming novel, VIRTUALLY PERFECT. A graduate of Yale University and Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism, she lives outside Philadelphia with her family and an ever-expanding collection of cookbooks.

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A print copy of Virtually Perfect by Paige Roberts

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