Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Eight Hundred Grapes - Review & Giveaway

Review by Melinda Garza
In Laura Dave's novel, Eight Hundred Grapes, one will discover all kinds of secrets. They are secrets that one shares and ones that one hides but we all know, secrets are really never secrets. Georgia grew up on her family's very respectable vineyard with her parents and twin brothers. Their family is complex yet as things start to fall apart, the love they encompass and the strength they hold is tested.
                                
For one, Georgia's engagement to Ben is definitely tested when she learns first hand of a secret he has kept from her for a long time. What she can't believe is that she learned of it a week prior to their wedding and their move out of the country. Can Georgia accept and forgive this secret and still marry Ben or does she walk away?

Secondly, she becomes aware of another secret her mom holds, the truth behind the family vineyard, and news about her dads health.

Lastly, she also learns about her brothers troubling relationship and an event that can potentially tear the twins apart.

What becomes of this family and their imperfections? Mrs. Dave's novel brilliantly conveys the power of family and love and that with a families love, one can deal with the deepest of secrets.
This book, for me, was a page turner and I was hooked to this story from page one. Just as one thinks the story is going one path, one is turned towards another. It's raw but very much real. This is one read that definitely will not disappoint any reader.

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About the Author:
Laura Dave is the international bestselling author of Eight Hundred Grapes, The First Husband, The Divorce Party and London is the Best City in America. Her novels have been published in fifteen countries and three of them, including Eight Hundred Grapes, have been optioned as major motion pictures. Dave's writing has appeared in The New York Times, Glamour, Self, Redbook and Cosmopolitan. She lives in Santa Monica.

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Monday, June 29, 2015

Finding Lucas - New Cover Reveal & Giveaway

Review by Marlene Engel
Thirty two year old Jamie Ross has been in a stale relationship with Derek for three out of the last five years.  The carefree man that once wanted to travel the world with just a passport and the clothes on his back was now the poster boy for metro sexual men everywhere!  It’s amazing how much one person can change when their controlling mother comes sauntering back into their life.  Traits that were once considered endearing to Derek were now just plain annoying.  But Jamie makes no apologies for her taste in discount clothing, her job as an assistant producer for one of Chicago’s sleaziest talk shows or for her family’s eccentric lifestyle.  With the support of her family and friends, Jamie decides to put her big girl panties on and leave the safe lifestyle that she has been living with Derek.  And that’s exactly what it was … Derek’s lifestyle. 

With Derek no longer in her life, Jamie sets out to find her long lost love, Lucas.  Okay, maybe love is a bit of an exaggeration.  Sex buddy is more of an operable term for it.   Although she hasn’t seen or talked to him in ten years, he has made a lasting impression on her.  But how would she find him?  Where would she start?  Then an idea came to her.  She was in the process of searching for long lost loves for a segment on the talk show she works for.  Why not use the same resources to find Lucas?   Of course there are some concerns.  Will he be the same guy she remembers?  Will he be disappointed when he sees her?  Will they rekindle what they had?  Come join Jamie on her adventure to find Lucas. 

Finding Lucas is author Samantha Stroh Bailey’s debut novel.  It is a laugh out loud, funny, and extremely enjoyable book.  You will fall in love with Jamie and her zany family and friends.  Each character has their own quirky attributes which makes them so loveable, relatable and fun.  I could easily see my friends and myself doing something like this.  Jamie and I have similarities right down to our shared love for discount clothing.  Our friends are very similar whereas they are fun, down to earth and always there for us.  The book was extremely well written and I really enjoyed the comedic aspect of it.  I hated having to put the book down and couldn’t wait to find out what happened next.  I look forward to reading future novels from this author and would definitely recommend this book to others.  I give this book a five out of five star rating!  Go out and get this book.  You will not be disappointed!

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About the Author:
SAMANTHA STROH BAILEY has been writing stories ever since she was old enough to pick up a pen. Her first manuscript was rejected when she was ten years old, but a lifelong passion was born. Born in Toronto, she received her B. Ed from McGill University in Montreal and M. Ed from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education. As a freelance journalist and professional writer/editor, Samantha owns Perfect Pen Communications and her work has appeared in Now Magazine, The Village Post, Oxford University Press, Abilities Magazine, Kobo Writing Life, and many other publications. Samantha is also co-editor of the fiction anthology, A Kind of Mad Courage, to which she contributed the short story “Hide and Seek” and co-founder of the author/reader live event “BookBuzz.” When not writing and editing, she’s devouring books, listening to people’s conversations, and watching as much television as she can in the name of character development.

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One lucky winner will receive an e copy of
Finding Lucas by Samantha Stroh Bailey
Open Internationally!

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Thursday, June 25, 2015

Summer Secrets - Review #SRC2015


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.
A story that could only be told by the likes of Jane Green.  This book portrays how one’s actions can change the course of their life.  It’s both dramatic and a perfect reflection of relationships, betrayals, forgiveness and coming to accept what we can’t change, but finding the strength within ourselves to change the things we can.  And, through it all, having the courage in yourself to ride out he waves that life throws at you.

Another amazing book by the talented Jane Green that’s sure to be on just about everyone’s To Be Read list!

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About the Author:
She is published in over 25 languages, and has over ten million books in print worldwide. 

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 realized 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 survivor who also lives with Chronic Lyme Disease, she believes gratitude and focusing on the good in life is the secret to happiness.

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Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Worthy - Review #SRC2015

Review by KT Sullivan
Virginia works in a diner and lives for the times Aaron comes in with his four year old son, Buddy. It’s silly to have a crush at her age, but she can’t help it. They have yet to have an actual date, but Virginia dreams of marrying him. The diner is suddenly for sale and Virginia is afraid about losing her job. Buddy suggests she buy it and run it herself. On the way home, Aaron is killed in an accident and Buddy is injured. His maternal grandparents come to pick him up from the hospital to live with them. Nineteen years later, Buddy, whose real name is Jody, is back living in the secluded cabin of his youth with his senile grandfather. Jody is at his wit’s end about his grandfather’s care. Jody’s unemployed and not well. Being back makes him uneasy and the sight of the diner scares him, but he doesn’t know why. The winter weather makes the roads icy. Jody goes out in search of firewood and sees a truck pull up by the lake. A man drags a dog out and leaves him to freeze to death. Jody stumbles his way down, saves the dog, and takes him home. T-Rex is Virginia’s dog and Lloyd is her soon to be ex-fiancĂ©. Virginia posts signs around town reporting T-Rex missing. Jody’s grandfather dies, leaving Jody and Worthy, T-Rex’s new name, alone in the cold. When the police come to help, one notices the dog. A chain of events brings Jody and Worthy to Virginia’s diner in a terrible storm. They discover their shared past and plan a future together.

This is a sweet story because Worthy brings two lonely people together. Jody needs a parent’s help and Virginia has always wanted children. The town rallies around both of them and makes for a heartwarming read.



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About the Author:
Catherine Ryan Hyde is the author of 30 published and forthcoming books.  An avid hiker, traveler, equestrian, and amateur photographer, she has just released her first book of photos, 365 DAYS OF GRATITUDE: PHOTOS FROM A BEAUTIFUL WORLD. She is founder and former president (2000-2009) of the Pay It Forward Foundation, and still serves on its board of directors. As a professional public speaker she has addressed the National Conference on Education, twice spoken at Cornell University, met with Americorps members at the White House and shared a dais with Bill Clinton. 

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Monday, June 22, 2015

Untamed - Excerpt & Giveaway

Excerpt:     

Chapter 1
It took forever to get anywhere, Stanton Rourke fumed. He was sitting at the airport on a parked plane while officials decided if it was safe to let the passengers disembark. Of course, he reasoned, Africa was a place of tensions. That never changed. And he was landing in Ngawa, a small war-torn nation named in Swahili for a species of civet cat found there. He was in the same spot where a small commercial plane had been brought down with a rocket launcher only the week before.
He wasn’t afraid of war. Over the years, he’d become far too accustomed to it. He was usually called in when a counterespionage expert was wanted, but he had other skills, as well. Right now he wished he had more skill in diplomacy. He was going into Ngawa to get Tat out, and she wasn’t going to want to let him persuade her.
Tat. He almost groaned as he pictured her the last time he’d seen her in Barrera, Amazonas, just after General Emilio Machado had retaken his country from a powerful tyrant, with a little help from Rourke and a company of Ameri­can mercs. Clarisse Carrington was her legal name. But to Rourke, who’d known her since she was a child, she’d al­ways been just Tat.
A minion of the country’s usurper, Arturo Sapara, had tor­tured her with a knife. He could still see her, her blouse cov­ered with blood, suffering from the effects of a bullet wound and knife cuts on her breast from one of Sapara’s apes, who was trying to force her to tell what she knew about a threat­ening invasion of his stolen country.
She was fragile in appearance, blonde and blue-eyed with a delicately perfect face and a body that drew men’s eyes. But the fragility had been eclipsed when she was threatened. She’d been angry, uncooperative, strong. She hadn’t given up one bit of information. With grit that had amazed Rourke, who still remembered her as the Washington socialite she’d been, she’d not only charmed a jailer into releasing her and two captured college professors, she’d managed to get them to safety, as well. Then she’d given Machado valuable intel that had helped him and his ragtag army overthrow Sapara and regain his country.
She did have credentials as a photojournalist, but Rourke had always considered that she was just playing at the job. To be fair, she had covered the invasion in Iraq, but in human-interest pieces, not what he thought of as true reporting. After Barrera, that had changed.
She’d signed on with one of the wire services as a foreign correspondent and gone into the combat zones. Her latest foray was this gig in Ngawa, where she’d stationed herself in a refugee camp which had just been overrun.
Rourke had come racing, after an agonizing few weeks in Wyoming and Texas helping close down a corrupt politician and expose a drug network. He hadn’t wanted to take the time. He was terrified that Tat was really going to get her­ self killed. He was almost sweating with worry, because he knew something that Tat didn’t; something potentially fatal to her and any foreigners in the region.

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About the Author:
Diana Palmer, AKA Susan Spaeth Kyle, was born in 1946 in Cuthbert, Georgia, the eldest daughter of William and Eloise Spaeth. She and her younger sister, Dannis, were raised in Chamblee, where Susan graduated from Chamblee High School in 1964. The family moved to Cornelia, Georgia, in 1965. Susan married James Kyle in 1972. They have a son, Blayne, who is married to the former Christina Clayton. They are both graduates of Piedmont College in Demorest, Georgia. They live in Tennessee and have a daughter, Selena Marie Kyle, born in February, 2009.

In 1991, Susan returned to college and graduated Summa Cum Laude from Piedmont College in Demorest, Georgia, in 1995. She continues to work on her master’s degree in history as time permits. Her first novel as Diana Palmer was published in 1979. She has over 115 novels in print. She has written historical novels as well as contemporary romance, and has produced science fiction, with her novel THE MORCAI BATTALION appearing in hardcover in 2007. Two sequels to this book have been released as eBooks. THE MORCAI BATTALION: The Recruit and THE MORCAI BATTALION: Invictus are both available from all eBook retailers now. Her latest hardcover novel is INVINCIBLE by HQN, released in August 2014 and mass market paperback novel is WYOMING STRONGby HQN, released November 2014.

Susan’s hobbies are gardening, knitting, crocheting, astronomy, archaeology, and animals. She has dogs, cats, birds and lizards. She enjoys getting mail from her readers, but is slow to answer it.

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Friday, June 19, 2015

Healed By Love - Review & Giveaway



Healed By Love
The Bradens at Peaceful Harbor # 1 (The Bradens #13)
By: Melissa Foster
Releasing June 11th, 2015
World Literary Press

Blurb
The Bradens at Peaceful Harbor are the newest addition to the award-winning Braden series and the Love in Bloom family, joining the Snow Sisters, the Bradens, the Remingtons, & Seaside Summers, (Voted BEST BOOK SERIES by Supportive Business Moms, UK).

Fall in love with Nate Braden & Jewel Fisher in Healed by Love.

Nate Braden has loved his best friend’s younger sister Jewel for as long as he can remember, but between their age difference and his respect for Rick, he’s always kept his feelings at bay. Now he’s back in Peaceful Harbor, and Jewel is no longer sixteen years old—but there’s an even bigger obstacle standing in his way. Nate and Rick joined the military together eight years earlier. Nate came home a hero, but Rick didn’t make it out alive.

Buy Links:  Amazon | B & N | iTunes | Kobo | Publisher

Review by Marlene Engel
For as long as he can remember, Nate has been secretly pining after Jewel.  But being the little sister of his best friend, Rick, he always felt like she was off-limits.  When they were overseas serving in the war, there were many times when Nate wanted to ask Rick’s blessing to date his sister, but it never seemed like the right time.  Then, when Rick was gunned down by a sniper, Rick’s dying words were for Nate to watch after his family.  But, before he could profess his love for Jewel, Rick took his final breath.

Now, back home and out of the military, Nate is more conflicted than ever.  He’s determined to keep his promise to Rick, but his feelings for Jewel are still strong.  He also has a secret that’s been haunting him for years now.  A secret that could keep him and Jewel from ever being more than friends.  A secret that may have her considering if she even wants that from him. 

This book was so emotionally charged.  From coping with death, guilt and an internal battle of right versus wrong where love is concerned, this book takes you on an emotional roller coaster.  I found myself rooting for Nate in his quest to tell Jewel how he feels.  And, at the same time, crying at both the physical and emotional pain that not only he, but Rick’s family faced throughout the years.  Powerful and riveting, yet consumed with love so strong that it’s palpable, Healed by Love is a story that could only be told by the likes of Melissa Foster.

Author Info
Melissa Foster is a New York Times & USA Today bestselling and award-winning author. She writes contemporary romance, new adult, contemporary women’s fiction, suspense, and historical fiction with emotionally compelling characters that stay with you long after you turn the last page. Her books have been recommended by USA Today’s book blog, Hagerstown Magazine, The Patriot, and several other print venues. She is the founder of the  World Literary CafĂ© and Fostering Success. When she’s not writing, Melissa helps authors navigate the publishing industry through her author training programs on  Fostering Success. Melissa has been published in Calgary’s Child Magazine, the Huffington Post, and Women Business Owners magazine. 

Melissa hosts an Aspiring Authors contest for children and has painted and donated several murals to The Hospital for Sick Children in Washington, DC. Melissa lives in Maryland with her family.

Visit Melissa on social media. Melissa enjoys discussing her books with book clubs and reader groups, and welcomes an invitation to your event.

Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads


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Thursday, June 18, 2015

Anchored - Cover Reveal, Interview & Giveaway


How do you stay anchored when you’re attracted to your co-anchor?

Barbara King’s dream is to become the next Barbara Walters.  But for now, she’s anchoring at the fledgling Phoenix news channel, covering car chases and interviewing drunken showbiz has-beens.  If she can just out-fox the conniving anchors at her cable channel and move up to its prime-time line-up, she’ll be able to fly the coop and ascend to a real news network.  

Enter Jack Stone, Barbara’s dynamic, witty—and did she mention sexy?—new co-anchor. Another potential competitor, Jack’s attitude is chilly toward Barbara at first, but it’s not long before a genuine friendship forms. Soon they find themselves finishing each other’s sentences, discovering all they have in common and, ultimately, attempting to ignore how wildly attracted they are to each other. Meanwhile, on the set, under television’s bright lights, they sit just inches apart, their chemistry even apparent to the quirky cast of characters in the gossiping newsroom.

Will Barbara give in to her attraction to Jack and betray her husband, Ben, her sweet-souled moral compass? When a life-altering news event propels the Phoenix to the #1 news channel in the nation, will Barbara sell her soul to become a prime time star?  

How do you stay true to yourself when you’re being seduced by stardom—and your co-star? 

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Today we have former news anchor and current radio show anchor, Brigitte Quinn chatting with us at Book Mama Blog.  She has a new book coming out called Anchored and will also be a part of BookSparks Summer Reading Challenge for the week of August 10.

Welcome Brigitte!  What was your biggest inspiration while writing your book?

Every time I got fed up or frustrated, I looked at the fortune cookie message taped to my computer:  “Never Quit.”  Far more inspiring than the one that read:  “You will be hungry again in an hour.”

What is usually on your nightstand?

My “old school” print copies of The New Yorker (I try to read more than just the cartoons!) and Rolling Stone (I never read more than the articles about music).

And my trusty Kindle. I used to joke with my kids that the day I started reading “one of those gizmos” would be the day “robots ruled the world.”  But I love having a whole library in there and secretly being able to make the font an inch tall if I need to.

Which authors have most influenced your writing?  

After discovering Naked, I read just about everything David Sedaris has written.  I don’t think my husband appreciates it when he asks me, “What’s so funny?” and I can’t read him a passage without snorting or crying with laughter.

Are any characters in your book based on a real person?

Rip is an amalgam of some of the very cool, smart guys I’ve worked with over the years. I want readers to have their own picture of Jack, but I was watching a lot of Mad Men and couldn’t help think Don Draper has the perfect look and voice for a news anchor.  But he’s not real, right?

Where is your favorite place to write?

In my kitchen, with some 70s music playing in the background.  But it has to be early in the morning, before my three kids, husband, and mom wake up and start scrounging for breakfast.  (Although I have been known to ignore them when I’d deep into a scene.)

What did you want to be when you grew up?

My dad wanted me to be a “stewardess” so he could “travel the world.”  After seeing the movie Airport as a kid, I quickly smothered his dreams.  And after I covered my first student council meeting for my high school newspaper, all I wanted was to be a writer/reporter.  

If you could co-write a book with any author, who would it be?

Tina Fey.  I would love to get her brilliant spin on Barbara’s further adventures in cable news.

What is your favorite scene in your novel?

The sushi scene with Barbara and Sloane.  I say no more.  Finish the book.

Thank you so much for taking time out of your busy schedule to chat with us!  Your book sounds wonderful.  I can’t wait to read it!

About the author:
Brigitte Quinn has worked in broadcasting for more than thirty years, and was a television anchor at the Fox News Channel, MSNBC and NBC.  She holds an MFA in writing from Sarah Lawrence College and a BS from Cornell University.  She lives in Connecticut with her husband and three children, and is currently anchoring mornings at 1010 WINS radio in New York City.  

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BookSparks is giving one lucky winner a print copy of
Anchored by Brigitte Quinn
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