Saturday, August 1, 2015

The Canterbury Sisters - Review & Giveaway

Review by KT Sullivan
Che Milan’s longtime boyfriend dumps her in a letter shortly after her mother, Diana, dies. To fulfill a promise to her, Che embarks on a pilgrimage from London to Canterbury Cathedral like the characters in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. She joins a tour group of American women, Broads Abroad, walking the sixty miles. The shrine is thought to be the site of miracles fulfilled and the women decide to tell stories on their journey. Some are true, others false. Some are famous stories, others too painfully personal. Love, loss, regret, and funny, everyone listens and shares. One’s story asks a question: “What does a woman desire?” It’s a loaded question and not easily answered. The storyteller says sovereignty: the ability to chart one’s own course and lead the life she wants. All agree the power to choose one’s own path is essential. Many wish they had chosen a different road, but life goes on.

The stories are interesting and very relatable to any woman. The saddest was Steffi’s story regarding weight and the merciless scale with its needle that never moves, no matter how much she sacrifices. Becca is a teenager on the trip with her mom. She says, “virgins are unchosen.” At her age, boyfriends are the sign of achievement. First kisses are the stories her peers swap. The age range between the women on the journey spans sixty years. Many life experiences shared and discussed. Excellent read.

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About the Author:
Kim Wright is the author of Love in Mid Air and The Unexpected Waltz and has been writing about travel, food, and wine for more than twenty years for many magazines, including Wine Spectator, Self, Travel & Leisure, and Vogue. She has twice won the Lowell Thomas Award for travel writing. The Canterbury Sisters is her third novel, and she also ballroom dances competitively. Kim lives in Charlotte, North Carolina.

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Gallery Books is giving 1 lucky winner a print copy of
The Canterbury Sisters by Kim Wright
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Friday, July 31, 2015

The Witch of Bourbon Street - Review #SRC2015

Review by Marlene Engel
Set in the bayou of New Orleans, this book seamlessly goes from past to present as the Sorrow family seeks healing, forgiveness and moving on. The women in the Sorrow family come from a long line of seers, witches and healers.  In 1901 is when their suffering started with Sister Vesta Grace’s confession.  It was rumored that she had something to do with the death of all but one member of the once well-known Sorrow family.  However, some believed that it was Rosella, the voodoo witch.  For over a century, this mystery goes unsolved. 

Frances Sorrow was looked at as the person who would bring back the honor to the Sorrow family.  However, she had other thoughts.  Instead she took off and had a short lived marriage to Danny Amore.  When she returned home, she was introverted and kept away from the outside world.  Then, her son disappears.  As she goes in search of finding her son, she comes on secrets that tell of the mysteries of the past while also setting free the ghosts that haunt the family.

The Witch of Bourbon Street is a magical story about family and forgiveness.  With a cast full of amazing characters and a story that will draw you in from the first page, this book is one for your To-Be-Read List.

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About the Author:
Suzanne Palmieri is the internationally bestselling author of The Witch of Little Italy, The Witch of Belladonna Bay, and The Witch of Bourbon Street. She is the co-author of I’ll Be Seeing You and Empire Girls as Suzanne Hayes. Her novels have been translated into five different languages and have earned stars from Kirkus and Booklist. She lives in a haunted farm house by the ocean with her husband and three darling witches, and is currently hard at work on her next novel. 

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Thursday, July 30, 2015

Up To I Do - Promo & Giveaway

About the Book
Emerson Sinclair, twenty-seven year old hotel heiress, has said yes. With just over a year to plan her extravagant, over the top nuptials to Logan Worthington, it’s all hands on deck with the wedding plans. A Sinclair marrying into the Worthington family is the talk of their small New Hampshire town, and ideas include filming the wedding for a TV segment. But as the items get checked off the list, plans start to go ... not as planned. From not getting a designer dress to a selfish bridesmaid and unaccountable best man, Emerson is afraid her wedding will be more a joke than anything. 

When both her mother and sister seemingly begin to lose interest in her wedding plans in favor of their own personal lives, Emerson fears her big day will turn into the forgotten wedding. With the pressure to pull off a beautiful and elegant event that everyone expects from their respectable families, Emerson starts to forget the reason why she is saying I Do in the first place.

Book Links

Author Bio
Samantha March is an author, editor, publisher, blogger, and all-around book lover. She runs the popular book/women’s lifestyle blog ChickLitPlus, which keeps her bookshelf stocked with the latest reads and up-to-date on all things health, fitness, fashion, and beauty related. In 2011, she launched her independent publishing company, Marching Ink, and has four published novels—Destined to Fail, The Green Ticket, A Questionable Friendship, and Up To I Do. When she isn’t reading, writing, or blogging, you can find her cheering for the Green Bay Packers. Samantha lives in Iowa with her husband and Vizsla puppy.

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Samantha is giving away a $10 Gift Card to each of the following:
Amazon, Target, Ulta & Bed, Bath & Beyond
$40 Total!

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Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Pretty Much Screwed - 12 Things About Jenna & A Giveaway

Known for her “hilarious and spot-on”* memoirs I’ve Still Got It…I Just Can’t Remember Where I Put It and If It Was Easy, They’d Call the Whole Damn Thing a Honeymoon, Jenna McCarthy turns her comedic talents to fiction with a novel about picking yourself up out of the gutter when life kicks you to the curb…

“I don’t love you anymore.”

For Charlotte Crawford, the worst part about being dumped after twenty years of marriage is that her husband, Jack, doesn’t want another woman; he just doesn’t want her.

Forty-two and clueless, Charlotte is a fish out of water in a dating pool teeming with losers. Just when she thinks she’s finally put her failed marriage behind her, it comes back to bite her in the ass…hard. Without warning, Charlotte finds herself staring down the barrel of a future she wouldn’t (she would totally) wish on her worst enemy.

Engaging, fearless, and relentlessly funny, Pretty Much Screwed is a story of love, loss, friendship, forgiveness, turtledoves, taxidermy, and one hilariously ill-placed tick.

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“12 Things About Jenna McCarthy”

1.    In a long-ago life, I was an FM radio DJ. The highlight of that career was probably the time I pumped breast milk on the air. That or having my giant face plastered across the backs of buses all over town. You can choose for me.

2.    If someone is going to get hurt doing something, it will be me. My husband calls me Grace because of this. 

3.    I have three tattoos: a dolphin on my ankle that I got in Amsterdam when I was 20, before tattoos were even really a thing unless you were in a motorcycle gang; a sun on my hip bone that I got with my dad when I came back from Amsterdam and he was pissed that “his daughter got a tattoo before he did” (he got an anchor on his arm); and an anchor on my foot, because he died way too young and I miss him all day every day so it makes me happy.

4.    I have to walk on the left side of people. This doesn’t seem to bother anyone I know except my husband. Go figure.

5.    My guilty pleasure is America’s Funniest Videos. There, I said it.

6.    I can recite, flawlessly and on command, the Pythagorean Theorem, the Letter of Paul to the Philippians I delivered on parent’s day in third grade, the complete list of English prepositions in alphabetical order (aboard, about, above, across, after, against, along, amid, among…) and the entire “is this a dagger which I see before me” soliloquy I memorized in high school. Ironically, I can never, ever find my phone, my keys or my car in the parking lot at Trader Joe’s.

7.    I am destined to become a crazy old cat lady. 

8.    I went on a few dates with the guy who played Skippy on Family Ties. When he left town, I gave him my favorite FSU sweatshirt. I’m positive he still has it.

9.    I hate Halloween but I love costume parties.

10.I drink coffee through a straw, and no, it’s not because I’m concerned about white teeth. (Not that I’m not concerned about them; that’s just not why I drink coffee through a straw. I have no idea why I do it, in fact. I’m sure therapy could shed some light on this.)

11.My husband and I bought and renovated a house and the whole thing was documented on TV. That was in 2006 and the damned show still airs with unsettling frequency.

12.If I wasn’t a writer, I’d be a professional organizer or an interior decorator. Or a mermaid.

Author bio:
Jenna McCarthy is the internationally published writer of I’ve Still Got It…I Just Can’t Remember Where I Put ItIf It Was Easy, They'd Call the Whole Damn Thing a Honeymoon, and The Parent Trip, former radio personality, and recovering leopard-print addict. She lives in Santa Barbara, California, with her husband, two daughters, and lots of dog and cat hair.

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Berkley is giving one lucky winner a print copy of
Pretty Much Screwed by Jenna McCarthy
US Only

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Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Sisters of Heart and Snow - Review & Giveaway

Review by KT Sullivan
Rachel, age thirty-eight, and Drew, age thirty-four, Snow are sisters caught between their parents. Rachel was kicked out of the house at sixteen for being a rebellious teenager, failing to be an Olympic swimmer, and sticking up for her mother. Drew plays the viola and is her father, Killian’s favorite, meaning he doesn’t complain about her as much as the others. Their mother, Hikari, was a mail order bride from Japan. She says little and spends her time sewing quilts. When Hikari develops dementia and is hospitalized, she gives Rachel power of attorney which enrages Killian. Rachel is married with two children and Drew is floating from job to job. She moves in with Rachel’s family and tries to reconnect with her mother and sister. They are the Snow sisters, but need work on the Heart. Everyone avoids toxic Killian. He has spent their lives playing them against each other and their mom.  In a moment of clarity, Hikari wants a book from her sewing room. The sisters sneak into the father’s house to retrieve it. It’s in Japanese and they find a translator. It’s the story of a twelfth century female warrior, Tomoe, and how she deals with discrimination, tragedy, friendship, and loss. The sisters channel strength from the story to deal with their own problems. Killian’s pettiness is constant through the story, even after Hikari dies. He’s held a shameful secret over her head their entire marriage. When Rachel finds out, she feels closer to her mother and finally done with Killian.

The characters are well-written, especially the one who will never be redeemed. Killian is a jerk throughout the entire book. He’s mean and cruel to his wife, children, granddaughter, and complete strangers. The story of Tomoe is fascinating and helpful. Learn to do the best with what you have been given. She’s a role model to the sisters and they follow her advice to happiness.

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About the Author:
Margaret Dilloway is the award-winning author of SISTERS OF HEART AND SNOW, THE CARE AND HANDLING OF ROSES WITH THORNS and HOW TO BE AN AMERICAN HOUSEWIFE, all published by Putnam Books.

She lives in San Diego with her husband and three children and Gatsby the Goldendoodle, who looks like a giant teddy bear. 

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Website* Facebook * Twitter

G.P Putnam’s Sons is giving two lucky winners a print copy of
Sisters of Heart and Snow by Margaret Dilloway
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Monday, July 27, 2015

Tiny Little Thing - Review & Giveaway

Review by KT Sullivan
In the summer of 1966, Christina “Tiny” Hardcastle is part of an up and coming power couple with her husband, Frank. He’s planning to run for Congress then on to the Presidency. On the outside everything is perfect, inside not so much. An envelope arrives, addressed to her, with incriminating pictures taken by her true love. Frank’s cousin, Caspian, met Tiny right before her wedding and they had a passionate affair. They didn’t reveal too much about themselves and had no idea about the connection to Frank. After, Cap left for Vietnam and she married Frank. Now, Cap is back, a wounded decorated veteran, campaigning for Frank. Tiny’s sister, Pepper, has decided to stay with Tiny for an indefinite time. She’s pregnant and unemployed. Pepper notices the coolness between Tiny and Frank. He’s not home very much and the whisper of an affair with a staffer upsets Tiny. “I was the good daughter.” Tiny did her part for her family; she followed the rules and married well. Now, she questions all her life choices. Cap is still in love with her and her with him. After finding out the truth about Frank’s lover and who’s blackmailing her, Tiny decides to live for herself and not others. Happiness can’t be bought or manufactured.

This is a timely topic. I thought of the show House of Cards while I read this book. The main character there is named Frank too. Lots of secrets and payoffs are in this story. What will people sacrifice for power and infamy? Everything regardless of the cost. Excellent read.

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About the Author:
A graduate of Stanford University with an MBA from Columbia, Beatriz spent several years in New York and London hiding her early attempts at fiction, first on company laptops as a corporate and communications strategy consultant, and then as an at-home producer of small persons.

She now lives with her husband and four children near the Connecticut shore, where she divides her time between writing and laundry.

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G.P. Putnam’s Sons is giving one lucky winner
A print copy of Tiny Little Thing
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Friday, July 24, 2015

The Husband's Secret - Review & Giveaway

Review by Deb Czajkowski
Decision; decisions.  It is estimated that we make as many as 35,000 decisions every day.  Granted, most are small decisions, inconsequential in the scheme of things: Grab an energy bar on your way out the door or stop for a latte and muffin? Workout at noon or run in the park after work?  Stay up to watch Nashville or DVR it for later in the week?

Some decisions deserve varying degrees of thought, contemplation, even soul-searching: What do I want to be when I grow up (still thinking!)? Which college is best for me?  Should I go on for a master’s degree or law degree?  Some of these decisions can turn out to be life-changing decisions.

Affecting ourselves in our personal decisions is generally a given, but often our decisions affect others as well─sometimes intentionally, sometimes inadvertently; sometimes positively, sometimes negatively.  It’s those negative occurrences that start us playing the What If game; a dangerous and fruitless game to play!
What if I’d grabbed that energy bar; I wouldn’t have hit that car in the Starbucks parking lot.  What if I’d opted for the noon workout; I wouldn’t have tripped over that tree branch and sprained my ankle.  What if I’d decided to DVR Nashville and just gone to bed; I wouldn’t have overslept and been late to work.  It can drive us crazy, this What IF game, if we let it.

Author Liane Moriarty, in her novel the Husband’s Secret, gives us an example of one decision, one action, that caused a ripple effect that encompassed many lives and many years.  One might suspect from the book title the Husband’s Secret that John-Paul─the husband with a secret─started the domino effect. Arguably, a case could be made for either Janie or John-Paul. Either way, a decision was made, and the snowball began to roll, driving a whole series of people in its path crazy!  The questions are:  How many lives were affected by this one decision, this one action; and to what degree were these lives altered?

Moriarty got my attention and piqued my interest right from page one.  Then, chapter by chapter, she introduces each main character and disclosed information pertinent to that character’s dilemma.  The plots continue to thicken until a conglomerate of single decisions masterfully collide, creating a picture that screams What IF!

That’s life: 35,000 decisions per day.  Make one of those decisions to read the Husband’s Secret.  Then you decide:  Janie or John-Paul? Or someone else?!

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About the Author:
Liane Moriarty is the Australian author of six internationally best-selling novels, including Three Wishes, The Last Anniversary, What Alice ForgotThe Hypnotist's Love Story and the number 1 New York Times bestsellers, The Husband's Secret and Big Little Lies.

The Husband's Secret has sold over 2 million copies worldwide and is set to be translated into over 35 languages. CBS Films has acquired the film rights.
With the launch of her most recent novel, Big Little Lies, Liane became the first Australian author to have a novel debut at number one on the New York Times bestseller list. Film and television rights have already been snapped up by Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon.

Writing as L.M.Moriarty, Liane has also written a series of books for children.

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Berkley is giving one lucky winner
A paperback copy of Liane’s book
The Husband’s Secret
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