Friday, February 5, 2016

Missing Pieces - 12 Things About Heather & A Giveaway

Summary:
Sarah Quinlan's husband, Jack, has been haunted for decades by the untimely death of his mother when he was just a teenager, her body found in the cellar of their family farm, the circumstances a mystery. The case rocked the small farm town of Penny Gate, Iowa, where Jack was raised, and for years Jack avoided returning home. But when his beloved aunt Julia is in an accident, hospitalized in a coma, Jack and Sarah are forced to confront the past that they have long evaded. 

Upon arriving in Penny Gate, Sarah and Jack are welcomed by the family Jack left behind all those years ago—barely a trace of the wounds that had once devastated them all. But as facts about Julia's accident begin to surface, Sarah realizes that nothing about the Quinlans is what it seems. Caught in a flurry of unanswered questions, Sarah dives deep into the puzzling rabbit hole of Jack's past. But the farther in she climbs, the harder it is for her to get out. And soon she is faced with a deadly truth she may not be prepared for.

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12 Things About Heather Gudenkauf
                        
1.    I’m the youngest of six siblings. I have the best big brothers and sisters ~ they have always looked out for me. And still do!
2.    My parents have been married for 57 years. Everything good about being a spouse and parent I’ve learned from my mom and dad.
3.    I’ve been told I have a pretty serious addiction to Diet Coke. This may be true. My Diet Cokes have to be fountain pop with lots of ice and a skinny straw. Is that weird? Yeah, I know.
4.    My favorite book of all time is Willa Cather’s My Antonia. I reread it every year and it continues to enthrall me.
5.    The night I met my husband he dropped a crawdad in my drink and didn’t notice for a half an hour. I married him two years later.
6.    All five of my novels are set in my home state of Iowa. Many people don’t realize how beautiful and diverse the Iowa landscape is and I love sharing
7.    We have an incredibly sweet and gentle German shorthaired pointer called Lolo. We named her after Olympic medalist and Iowa native, Lolo Jones.
8.    In college I met one of my favorite novelists, John Irving, at a University of Iowa Hawkeye basketball game. After I gushed about how much I loved his books, Mr. Irving was kind enough to sign the back of my ticket and offer kind words of encouragement about pursuing my own writing dreams.
9.    In addition to be a writer, I’m also a Title I Reading Coordinator for my local school district.
10. I have three children, two of whom attend The University of Iowa, my alma mater. I’m working on getting my third child to consider going to school there once she graduates high school. No pressure ~ Go Hawks!
11.One of my favorite pastimes is hiking through the woods. We have several nature preserves near my home and I find it incredibly relaxing and reinvigorating to be able to take Lolo for long walks surrounded by nature. This is where I work out the twists and turns of my novels.
12.I begin all my novels in longhand. I buy myself a beautiful journal or notebook and start writing. Eventually I transfer what I’ve written to the computer.

About the Author:
Heather was born in Wagner, South Dakota, the youngest of six children. At one month of age, her family returned to the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota where her father was employed as a guidance counselor and her mother as a school nurse. At the age of three, her family moved to Iowa, where she grew up. Having been born with a profound unilateral hearing impairment, Heather tended to use books as a retreat, would climb into the toy box that her father’s students from Rosebud made for the family with a pillow, blanket, and flashlight, close the lid, and escape the world around her. Heather became a voracious reader and the seed of becoming a writer was planted.

Heather Gudenkauf graduated from the University of Iowa with a degree in elementary education, has spent her career working with students of all ages and continues to work in education as a Title I Reading Coordinator.
Heather lives in Iowa with her husband, three children, and a very spoiled German Short-haired Pointer named Lolo. In her free time Heather enjoys spending time with her family, reading, hiking, and running. She is currently working on her next novel.

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MIRA Books is giving one lucky winner a print copy of
Missing Pieces by Heather Gudenkauf

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Thursday, February 4, 2016

The Flood Girls - Pub Week Giveaway

Summary:
Welcome to Quinn, Montana, population: 956. A town where nearly all of the volunteer firemen are named Jim, where The Dirty Shame—the only bar in town—refuses to serve mixed drinks (too much work), where the locals hate the newcomers (then again, they hate the locals, too), and where the town softball team has never even come close to having a winning season. Until now.

Rachel Flood has snuck back into town after leaving behind a trail of chaos nine years prior. She’s here to make amends, but nobody wants to hear it, especially her mother, Laverna. But with the help of a local boy named Jake and a little soul-searching, she just might make things right.

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About the Author:
I live in Missoula, Montana, and have worked in case management and direct care for adults with developmental disabilities most of my adult life. I’m the proud father of three rescue dogs, and they rescue me on a daily basis. I garden, cook, clean, and decorate, all obsessively—I am my own trophy wife.

When I’m not engaging in all things domestic, I leave my house to teach creative writing at the University of Montana and a memoir workshop for women of a certain age. I am proud to volunteer at the Zootown Arts Community Center, the Western Montana Gay & Lesbian Community Center; I coach softball, direct hip hop videos, spend an inordinate amount of time husband hunting, and am honored to be an active member of our local recovery community. All my life, I’ve been a writer, and have published in Cedilla, The Global City Review, Teacup, and Outwords. My stage plays have been performed at the University Of Montana and the Crystal Theater. Once, I attempted to write a screenplay, and although “XL Ave” was chosen for the final rounds of the Sundance Institute, I highly doubt the film will ever be released in a theater near you. (Ultimately, they said it was too weird, but I consider that a badge of honor.) Most recently, my short story “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” was shortlisted for The Bristol Prize, and published in their anthology. If you want to know more about me, feel free to ask!

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Simon & Schuster is giving one lucky winner a print copy of
The Flood Girls by Richard Fifield

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Tuesday, February 2, 2016

No Ordinary Life - Pub Day Review, Interview & Giveaway

Review by Marlene Engel
Faye’s life is quickly upended when her husband takes off on a road trip and never returns, leaving her to care for their three children and move in with her mother until she can get back on her feet.  While looking for a job at the mall, her four year old daughter is discovered, so to speak.  And so begins the whirlwind of ups and downs that’s associated with childhood stardom. 
                                                                                         
Now Faye and her children and plunged into the life of fame and money, but also the dangers that come along with it.  And at what cost is she willing to feed her child to the sharks?  She’s not sure who she can trust and even wonders if she can trust herself.

We all hear stories of rags to riches or people coming into money/fame/etc and the effects it has on not only them, but their family.  Many are willing to sell their soul for five minutes of fame, but what if it was your child?  Could you handle going from little to a lot practically overnight and not allow it to consume you?  We would all like to say we could, but do you really know until you’re thrust into that world?

The author brings us a story that takes us through so many emotions and forces us to think.  The ‘what ifs’ and ‘what would I dos’ were constantly at the forefront of my mind as I read this book.  Another brilliant novel by Suzanne Redfearn that I would recommend to all.

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“12 Things about Suzanne”

1. One of my bucket list goals is to see a game in every Major League Baseball park with my daughter before I’m sixty. There are thirty stadiums in eighteen states and Canada. So far we’ve been to eight.

2. I’m addicted to Sudoku. There’s something so satisfying about figuring it out. I love the absoluteness of knowing I got something perfectly right (so unlike writing where nothing is ever perfect).

3. I was on a game show called Brain Surge with my daughter. We won the first round then got flushed down the Brain Drain in the next round.

4. I invented shoelaces called Wonder Laces. They are a better shoelace—healthier for your feet, more comfortable, and they have six times the knot strength of normal shoelaces. They are sold on the internet.

5. My secret guilty pleasure is watching cheesy reality television with my kids. I especially love Survivor and Are You the One (so bad, it’s irresistibly good).

6. I had no idea I wanted to be a writer. I sat down to write down an idea that I thought might make a good story (after a couple of glasses of wine with a girlfriend), and the words poured out of me faster than I could type. The writing was terrible, but the plot and characters were cool. Seven months later I had my first novel and I was hooked. It was an amazing discovery, like figuring out you could play the piano without ever before having touched a key. That first novel got me my agent, but it was my fifth novel, HUSH LITTLE BABY, that got published.

7. Be careful what you say around me. A lot of the ideas in my stories come from my experiences. My friends and family are starting to realize that—if it’s interesting, there’s a good chance it will end up in my next book.

8. I am a geek and a dabbler. Everything interests me a little bit, so I am constantly trying things and getting half-good at them before I get distracted and start dabbling in something else. I dabble in painting, surfing, SUP-ing, kickboxing, yoga, golfing, gardening, and inventing. I am also one of those annoying people that actually stops to read the information signs on monuments and landmarks. I can’t help it, minutia fascinates me.

9. I write in my car. It is strange but effective. There are no distractions and it is oddly comfortable. I sit with a Mead notebook and write stream of consciousness then type it into my computer when I get home.

10. I can sing all the words to the theme song of Gilligan’s Island. “Just sit right back and you’ll hear a tale, a tale of a fateful trip…”

11. My favorite word is serendipity. My favorite book is THE POWER OF ONE by Bryce Courtenay. My favorite movie is Forrest Gump.

12. I have an amazing husband, two amazing kids, an amazing dog named Cooper…and a not so amazing cat named Motley, but we love her anyways.

About the Author:
Suzanne Redfearn was born and raised on the east coast and moved to California when she was fifteen. She currently lives in Laguna Beach with her husband and two kids where they own a restaurant called Lumberyard. Her debut novel HUSH LITTLE BABY was chosen as a Target Recommends selection and RT Book Reviews nominated as Best Mainstream Fiction for 2013. Prior to becoming an author, Suzanne was an architect specializing in residential and commercial design. In her free time she likes to watch baseball, hang out with her kids, play golf, surf, and ski. 

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Grand Central Publishing is giving one lucky winner a print copy of
No Ordinary Life by Suzanne Redfearn

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Monday, February 1, 2016

In Another Life - 12 Things About Julie Christine & AGiveaway

Summary:
Historian Lia Carrer has finally returned to southern France, determined to rebuild her life after the death of her husband. But instead of finding solace in the region's quiet hills and medieval ruins, she falls in love with Raoul, a man whose very existence challenges everything she knows about life--and about her husband's death. As Raoul reveals the story of his past to Lia, she becomes entangled in the echoes of an ancient murder, resulting in a haunting and suspenseful journey that reminds Lia that the dead may not be as far from us as we think. 

Steeped in the rich history and romantic landscape of the Languedoc region, In Another Life is a story of love that conquers time and the lost loves that haunt us all. 

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Twelve Things About Julie Christine Johnson

1.    Salt is my thing. I can easily give up sweets. But salty, crunchy? Get out of my way. Food Should Taste Good ® Olive Tortilla chips are the devil. SO GOOD.

2.    Like Lia, In Another Life’s central character, I am acutely claustrophobic. I’ve walked up (and, um, down) twenty flights of stairs to avoid an elevator. I call ahead to hotels to make certain I can access my room via stairs.

3.    Publishing my first novel is amazing, but being able jump back from bakasana (Crow) pose to chaturanga is my most recent personal triumph. Yogis will know what I’m talking about. It finally just clicked. And I was all, Woman! I do it every chance I get. In grocery store aisles. At crosswalks, waiting for the pedestrian signal to change. Pumping gas. People have gotten hurt.

4.    When we moved to New Zealand in the late 2000s, my husband and I downsized from a three-bedroom, two-bath house and all the furniture that filled it, plus two cars and two jobs, to fifteen boxes filled mostly with packing peanuts. No jobs, no home waiting for us on the other end of the world. It was exhilarating. Bound to do it again someday.

5.    Speaking of marriage, we’ll celebrate our twenty-fourth anniversary this September. How did that happen? I’m still just twenty-three. Okay, twenty-eight. I’m so crazy-grateful for my sweet man. We met in a French literature class at university. This first novel of mine, set in France, belongs to him.

6.    In 2002 I went to Ireland for the first time. I fell hopelessly in love with the country and I’ve returned several times to hike different regions. In 2014 I wrote a novel set on Ireland’s Beara Peninsula, which I’d hiked during that first journey in 2002. The novel was inspired in part by the work of an Irish poet who grew up on the Beara Peninsula: Leanne O’Sullivan. Last summer, I returned to the Beara to study poetry with Leanne. Life can be so breathtakingly beautiful, can’t it?

7.    Oh, and that novel, The Crows of Beara, will be published September 15, 2017 (Ashland Creek Press).  I’m astonished and proud.

8.    I’m a friendly introvert. Not shy and—surprise, surprise—I enjoy public speaking. But I need A LOT of alone, quiet, private time. I rarely go out. I finally dropped book club because the once-a-month commitment was too much for me.

9.    On the other hand, I’m crazy for karaoke. I’m such a ham behind a microphone. But I rarely sing anything written after 1985. And I need to be home by nine o’clock. That’s bedtime.

10.Like many introverted writers, I am very thin-skinned. It makes sharing my work with the world and being public person excruciating at times. But I don’t want to grow a thicker skin. I want to feel everything, and feel it deeply. That’s part of what makes the writer I am.

11.My favorite quote is by writer Barry Lopez: 'Everything is held together with stories. That is all that is holding us together, stories and compassion.'

12.I lead writing workshops and I’ve recently started a freelance editing/writer coaching business, which is a dream come true. My goal is to weave storytelling, my experiences as a writer, and my love for teaching into helping the vulnerable and unheard, particularly women and girls in developing countries, to share their stories with the world.

About the Author:
Julie Christine Johnson is the author of the novels In Another Life(February 2016, Sourcebooks Landmark) and The Crows of Beara(September 2017, Ashland Creek Press). Her short stories and essays have appeared in several journals, including Emerge Literary Journal; Mud Season Review; Cirque: A Literary Journal of the North Pacific Rim; Cobalt; River Poets Journal, in the print anthologies Stories for Sendai; Up, Do: Flash Fiction by Women Writers; and Three Minus One: Stories of Love and Loss, and featured on the flash fiction podcast No Extra Words. She holds undergraduate degrees in French and Psychology and a Master’s in International Affairs. Julie leads writing workshops and seminars and offers story/developmental editing and writer coaching services.

A runner, yogi, and wine geek, Julie makes her home on the Olympic Peninsula of northwest Washington state with her husband. In Another Life is her first novel.

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Enter to win a print copy of
In Another Life by Julie Christine Johnson

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Thursday, January 28, 2016

Fishing With Rayanne - Spotlight & Giveaway

Synopsis:
RayAnne Dahl goes fishing for a different life, catching much more than she’d bargained for...

Having fled the testosterone-soaked world of pro fishing to finally settle in her Minneapolis fixer-upper, thirty-something RayAnne unexpectedly lands at the helm of the first all-women fishing and talk show. Between her dad's falling off the wagon, unwanted advice from Mom—a life coach to the menopausal rich—and her clingy dog, she needs the advice of her beloved grandmother more than ever.

With the show’s surprise success, producers press for celebrity appearances, but fans tweet support for RayAnne and her quirky guests, real women with unique stories and something to say. And though handsome Hal tempts RayAnne, he is a sponsor, rocketing him to the top of her don’ts list.

Just when she’s shedding uncertainty, RayAnne’s world nearly capsizes, and she’s faced with gut-wrenching choices. Will she live by the rules, or by her heart?

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Author’s Bio:
Hi,
I'm Ava Finch. As my character RayAnne says, 'I'm a woman, I fish. Deal with it.' But RayAnne's story doesn't begin and end with 'Fishing With RayAnne' - I'm working on other books and other characters I hope readers will love as much as they seem to love RayAnne. You'll meet her again! Confession: Ava is actually the soul-twin and pen name of novelist Sarah Stonich. She's decided to adopt the name Ava to expand her writing life and go places she might not otherwise. Besides - who wouldn't want a chance to refer to themselves in the third person, AND be someone else now and then? 


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BookSparks is giving 1 lucky winner a print copy of
Fishing With Rayanne by Ava Finch


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Wednesday, January 27, 2016

We've Gone To The Dogs With These Pet Friendly Books & A Giveaway

Earnest Summary:
From the bestselling author of An Unexpected Grace comes a richly insightful novel of matters of the heart—both human and canine—in an uplifting story of love, loyalty, and new beginnings…

Earnest. It’s the perfect name for a sweet, eager-to-please yellow Labrador retriever. Anna and her boyfriend Jeff fall for him the minute they see those guileless eyes gazing up from behind his gate at Seattle’s Best Friends Shelter. In no time at all, they’re a pack of three, with Earnest happily romping in their condo on Gamble Island.

During the day, Earnest keeps Anna company in her flower shop, located in a historic gingerbread Victorian on the island’s main street. Anna hopes to buy and restore the house, once owned by her beloved grandmother. But when that dream is threatened by Jeff’s actions, Anna’s trust is shattered. For so long, the house has encompassed all her ideals of security, home, and family. Yet Earnest’s devotion to his two people, and theirs to him, make it impossible for them to walk away from each other. And when a crisis hits, it’s Earnest—honest, stubborn, and uncannily wise—who will help Anna reconcile her past and embrace what the future can bring…

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About the Author:
Kristin von Kreisler was born on October 4, the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi.  All her life she has loved and rescued animals.  She has written bestselling books about them and has spoken about their welfare on Coast to Coast to 560 U.S. cities and on the Voice of America to 123 million people.
Her most recent novels are Earnest, about a couple in conflict over custody of their beloved Labrador retriever, and An Unexpected Grace, about a woman and a golden retriever helping each other recover from violence and abuse.  A memoir, For Bea, tells the story of Kristin’s beagle, who came from a medical lab and influenced her to become an animal writer.  Her books have been translated into ten languages, and her first book, The Compassion of Animals, was a Book of the Month Club Selection.

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Pet Friendly Summary:   
Todd Dwyer, a successful app designer, wasn’t planning to adopt a dog, but when his Uncle Bertie dies and leaves his little mutt Archie homeless, Todd can’t help welcoming the pooch home.

Archie could charm the marrow out of a bone, but Todd’s girlfriend Gwen is less than impressed with the instant bond the fluffy white ball of fur makes with her boyfriend. When things go awry the first night, she insists that Todd give Archie to his sister, Claire, whose rural home is a day’s drive away.

Todd and Archie hit the road, but circumstances compel them to make a detour to a quaint hotel run by Todd’s childhood friend, Emma Carlisle. As it happens, the hotel is hosting a colorful group of ghost hunters in town for a paranormal conference, and when Archie starts howling into the air vent, it isn’t long before their road trip turns bumpier than an unpaved country lane.

But with Archie’s unerring canine instincts and loyal heart, he may help Todd and Emma see the happiness that’s waiting just under their noses . . .

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About the Author:
Sue Pethick is an award-winning writer whose short stories have appeared in Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine and Murderous Intent. The author of two books published under pen names, Sue’s life-long love of animals inspired her to write PET FRIENDLY, the story of a little dog with a big heart and an instinct for true love. Born in San Diego, California, she now lives in Vancouver, Washington.

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Kensington Books is giving one lucky winner a print copy of
Earnest by Kristin von Kreisler & Pet Friendly by Sue Pethick


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Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Noah's Wife - Pub Day Giveaway!

Summary:
When young minister Noah and his dutiful wife arrive at their new post in the hills, they've reached a gray and wet little town where it’s been raining for as long as anyone can remember. Noah’s wife is determined to help her husband revive this soggy congregation but soon finds her efforts thwarted by her eccentric new neighbors, among them an idiom-wielding Italian hardware store owner, a towering town matriarch, and a lovelorn zookeeper determined to stand by his charges. Overwhelmed, Noah’s wife fails to realize that Noah, too, is battling his own internal crisis.

            Soon the river waters rise, flooding the streets of the town and driving scores of wild animals out of the once-renowned zoo. As the water swallows up the houses, the telephone poles, and the single highway out of town, Noah, his wife, and the townspeople must confront not only the savage forces of nature but also the fragile ties that bind them to one another, all before their world is washed away.

            Full of whimsy and gentle ironic humor, Noah’s Wife is a wise and poignant novel that draws on the motifs of the biblical flood story to explore the true meaning of community, to examine the remarkable strength of the human spirit, and to ask whether hope can exist even where faith has been lost.

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About the Author:
Lindsay Starck was born in Wisconsin and raised in the Milwaukee Public Library. She went on to earn her B.A. in literature from Yale and her M.F.A. from Notre Dame. She currently writes and teaches in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, where she lives with her husband and their dog. Noah's Wife is her first novel. 

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Website * Facebook * Instagram

G.P Putnam’s Sons is giving three lucky winners
A print copy of Lindsay’s debut novel
Noah’s Wife (US only)

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