Tuesday, May 31, 2016

The One That Got Away - Pub Day Review & Giveaway

Review by Marlene Engel
With a husband, two young children and a job that makes her crazed, Abbey’s life is hectic at best.  When she makes a frivolous purchase for a bag that is way out of her budget, thoughts of bills that need to be paid guilts her into returning the bag.  On her way back to the store she falls, only to wake up in another life.  A life where she is not struggling financially, she’s married to wealthy Alex van Holt and living in the lap of luxury. 

We have always wondered “what if”.  What if we dated that guy?  What if we took that job?  What if we did (fill in the blank)?  This book takes us on a journey of Abbey’s “what if’s”.  How would her life differ if she had accepted a date from Alex van Holt all those years ago?  And would money really cure all of her problems?

This is a light, fun read.  I would definitely describe this book as an escape novel.  Much of it is predictable, but a book worth reading none-the-less.

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About the Author:
Author Leigh Himes has spent fourteen years working in the public relations field. Born and raised in Greensboro, North Carolina, she now lives just outside of Philadelphia with her husband and their two children. This is her first book.

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Hachette Books is giving one lucky winner a print copy of
The One That Got Away by Leigh Himes

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Monday, May 30, 2016

Don't You Cry - Spotlight #SRC2016

New York Times bestselling author of The Good Girl and Pretty Baby, Mary Kubica returns with an electrifying and addictive tale of deceit and obsession.

In downtown Chicago, a young woman named Esther Vaughan disappears from her apartment without a trace. A haunting letter addressed to My Dearest is found among her possessions, leaving her friend and roommate Quinn Collins to wonder where Esther is and whether or not she's the person Quinn thought she knew.

Meanwhile, in a small Michigan harbor town an hour outside Chicago, a mysterious woman appears in the quiet coffee shop where eighteen-year-old Alex Gallo works as a dishwasher. He is immediately drawn to her charm and beauty, but what starts as an innocent crush quickly spirals into something far more dark and sinister than he ever expected.

As Quinn searches for answers about Esther, and Alex is drawn further under the stranger's spell, master of suspense Mary Kubica takes readers on a taut and twisted thrill ride that builds to a stunning conclusion and shows that no matter how fast and far we run, the past always catches up with us in the end.

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About the Author:
Mary Kubica is the New York Times bestselling author of THE GOOD GIRL and PRETTY BABY. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, in History and American Literature. She lives outside of Chicago with her husband and two children and enjoys photography, gardening and caring for the animals at a local shelter.

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To learn more about BookSparks Summer Reading Challenge 2016 click HERE!  

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Friday, May 27, 2016

The House of Bradbury - #SRC2016 Spotlight


About the book:
Mia Gladwell’s life is going nowhere. The media has skewered her debut novel, her fiancĂ© Carson, a successful Hollywood producer, has jumped ship, and now she’s living in her sister’s carriage house―unattached, unemployed, and uninspired. Then she learns that the Los Angeles estate of iconic author Ray Bradbury is up for sale, and she feels an immediate urge to buy the wonky old house, convinced that moving into the late author’s home will inspire her to create her best work yet.

Life in the Bradbury house is not what Mia imagined, however. Soon after moving in, to fulfill a debt she owes to Carson, she agrees to take in a pill-popping young actress as a tenant, and suddenly she finds herself in a balancing act between her needy ex, an unpredictable starlet, and her disapproving sister, who’s keeping a close eye on her. Add to this a series of mysterious sketches left at her doorstep by a stranger, and Mia’s life is more complicated than ever. As she searches for clues, though, Mia discovers insights into her own life. Maybe moving into Bradbury’s house was a big mistake―but maybe not.

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About the Author:
Nicole is a native Southern Californian who pulled up roots and moved to the Pacific Northwest. Because of this, her happy places include both the beach and the mountains.
After a career in advertising and spending time at home with her three kids, she chose to return to her first love, writing. Since then she’s enjoyed working as a freelance travel and lifestyle writer for several Oregon publications. And because she’s a self-proclaimed “travel girl,” she spends her free time fulfilling her wanderlust and blogging about it at HaveToteWillTravel.com.

Nicole lives in Oregon with her husband and children who kindly put up with her crazy spurts of creativity and writerly determination.

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To learn more about BookSparks Summer Reading Challenge 2016 click HERE!  

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Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Discovering You - Pub Week Review & Giveaway

Review by Hope Smith
After India’s husband is killed at the hands of her ex, she moves to Whiskey Creek to start a new life for her and her daughter.  The last thing she needs is to be attracted to resident bad boy and neighbor, Rod Amos.  But as she deals with her loss and starts building a new life for her and her daughter, it’s Rod who’s the rock when she needs someone to lean on.  As she struggles with his bad boy image, something that has caused her too much pain in the past, the chemistry is too strong to deny.  And when India comes to Rod’s aid, he realizes that, with all she has going on in her life, there’s no way he’s going to allow her to do it alone. 

At first glance, Rod is the quintessential bad boy:  tattoos, rugged good looks and has a past to back it up.  But there is so much more to him that it’s almost impossible not to fall in love with him.

Leave it to Brenda Novak to give us a story with so many layers.  The way she seamlessly combines suspense, romance and trepidation is a true testament to her exquisite writing ability.

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About the Author:
Brenda and her husband, Ted, live in Sacramento and are the proud parents of five children—three girls and two boys. She juggles her writing career with her children’s softball and soccer games, field trips, carpool runs and homework sessions.

When she’s not spending time with her family or writing, Brenda is usually working on her annual fundraiser for diabetes research—an on-line auction held at her website May 1st – May 31st. Her youngest son, Thad, has diabetes, and Brenda is determined to help him and others like him. She also enjoys traveling, watching sporting events and biking–she rides an amazing 20 miles every day!

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Tandem Literary is giving one lucky winner a print copy of
Discovering You by Brenda Novak

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Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Gridley Girls - Promo & Giveaway

Sometimes you have to go back before you can move forward.

Meg Monahan was born to be a secret keeper. From the moment she became a peer counselor in high school, Meg has been keeping her friends secrets – from sordid family drama to their sex lives – that she never wanted to know. Flash forward to adulthood when Meg is a recruiter for the world’s hippest (and most paranoid) high-tech company – and now Meg is a professional secret keeper.

When sudden tragedy strikes before Meg hosts the wedding of her childhood BFF, Anne Calzaretta, the women are forced to face their past – and their secrets – in order to move on to their future.

In 1978, Meg, Anne, Jennifer, and Tonya were such close friends, they were known as “The Group” in their hometown of Gridley, California. But in ninth grade, their lives were changed forever. Loss, lies, and secrets separated them, but could not break their bonds of friendship.

Thirty years later, Meg and Anne reminisce about those days―dealing with parents, school, boys, sex, love, and betrayal. Anne remembers their freshman year as an easier time, but Meg, still feeling guilty about a betrayal of Anne’s trust, is haunted. Even now, Meg is keeping a secret she’s not prepared to face, let alone share.

In her debut novel, based on true events, Meredith First tells a timeless story about the bonds of friendship, loss, and betrayal―and the forgiveness that is within everyone.

Can anyone really keep a secret forever?

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About the Author:
MEREDITH FIRST left an insanely great recruiting career with Apple, Inc., to write books for anyone who survived high school with a little help from friends. After studying abroad at the University of London, she received a B.A. in Communications/Broadcasting from Oregon State University. Through her books and website, www.MeredithFirst.com, and the donation of 10% of all profits of GRIDLEY GIRLS to children's charities, she hopes to help young people who struggle with similar issues that she experienced. She lives with her family in Minneapolis and Sacramento and is hard at work on GRIDLEY GIRLS REUNITED, book two in the GRIDLEY GIRLS series.

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Booksparks is giving one lucky winner a print copy of
Gridley Girls by Meredith First

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, May 20, 2016

Appetite - Review #SRC2016


It’s not uncommon for one’s parents to have reservations about a boyfriend/girlfriend.  Or to feel that no one will fully be good enough for their child.  For Jenn, who returns from India with a man claiming to be a guru and who she’s planning on marrying, her parents are on red alert from the moment they learn of Arun.  Skeptical of his talents and concerned that he may be taking advantage of their only daughter, their mission is to rid their daughter of her rose colored glasses and reveal Arun for the person they feel so strongly that he is.

It’s no secret that we all want what’s best for our children.  Sometimes we let our love for them muddy up reality.  But in the end it’s their well-being and happiness that every parents desires.

Written with such emotion and honesty that it’s impossible not to relate to the characters, Appetite is a most satisfying read.

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About the Author:
Toward the end of her forty-year career as a creator of science museums, Sheila Grinell began to write fiction. Born in a taxi in Manhattan, she studied at the Bronx High School of Science, Harvard University, and the University of California, Berkeley. She lives in Phoenix with her husband and dog.

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To learn more about BookSparks Summer Reading Challenge 2016 click HERE!  

Thursday, May 19, 2016

We're kicking off BookSparks' #SRC2016 with a review of The Assistants


Review by Marlene Engel
Being an executive assistant to a billionaire CEO may seem glamourous to some, but to Tina it’s anything but.  She has spent too much money and time on her education to be some rich man’s servant; slicing limes, pouring coffee and booking his travel.  Her dismal salary and small apartment does not reflect all that she does for Robert.  And she has been known to say as much on several occasions.  Complaining of the inequality educated women tend to receive at the hands of rich, powerful men.  

When Tina receives an expense check for a large sum of money, she assumes that an error must have been made.  Knowing that the likelihood of anyone finding out is slim, she uses the money to pay off her college debt.  But it’s when another employee gets wind of the check, she chooses to not turn Tina in, but instead benefit as well.  So begins a chain of fraudulent activity that does not stay contained between the two ladies, but spreads like wildfire throughout the company.

The book reads like a movie script, written so well, it’s hard to believe that this is the author’s debut novel.  And for those of you old enough to remember the movie 9 to 5, this reminds me of a modern-day version. 


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About the Author:
Camille Perri is the author of The Assistants. She has worked as a books editor for Cosmopolitan and Esquire. She has also been a ghostwriter of young-adult novels and a reference librarian. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from New York University and a master of library science degree from Queens College. Perri wrote the first draft of The Assistants while working as the assistant to the editor-in-chief of Esquire.

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To learn more about BookSparks Summer Reading Challenge 2016 click HERE!  

Friday, May 13, 2016

Get Beach Ready With a Beach Town Goody Bag from Mary Kay Andrews

We’re celebrating the mass market paperback release of Spring Fever (released March 1) and trade paperback release of Beach Town (released May 3) by Mary Kay Andrews with a special Beach Town Goody Bag Giveaway.  Included in the giveaway are:


Copy of BEACH TOWN in trade paperback
Copy of SPRING FEVER in mass market paperback
Two different Mary Kay Andrews bookmarks
A recipe card featuring two recipes from MKA’s kitchen
BEACH TOWN sunglasses
BEACH TOWN lip balm with SPF 15

Mary Kay has a new release coming May 17 with The Weekenders.  

Pre-order a copy at:  

Purchase Beach Town at:

Purchase Sprint Fever at:

About the Author:
Mary Kay Andrews is the New York Times bestselling author of BEACH TOWN, SAVE THE DATE, LADIES’ NIGHT, CHRISTMAS BLISS, SPRING FEVER, SUMMER RENTAL, THE FIXER UPPER, DEEP DISH, BLUE CHRISTMAS, SAVANNAH BREEZE, HISSY FIT, LITTLE BITTY LIES and SAVANNAH BLUES. Her 24th novel, THE WEEKENDERS is coming from St. Martin’s Press on May 17, 2016.

A native of St. Petersburg, Florida (and a diplomate of the Maas Bros. Department Store School of Charm), she started her professional journalism career in Savannah, Georgia, where she covered the real-life murder trials which were the basis of MIDNIGHT IN THE GARDEN OF GOOD AND EVIL.
She has a B.A. in newspaper journalism from The University of Georgia (go Dawgs!), and is a frequent lecturer and writing teacher at workshops including Emory University, The University of Georgia’s Harriet Austin Writer’s Workshop, the Tennessee Mountain Writer’s Workshop and the Antioch Writer’s Workshop.
Married to her high school sweetheart, Tom, she has two adult children and two grandchildren. After a three-year hiatus in Raleigh, NC, she and her husband moved back to their old neighborhood in Atlanta. She also owns two restored beach cottages on Tybee Island, GA, both of which are named for fictional locations in her novels.

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a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Lawyer for the Cat - Pub Day Promo & Giveaway

About the book:
Sally Baynard is one of the best lawyers around. In the years since her divorce from Family Court Judge Joe Baynard, she dedicated herself to representing the worst and craziest Charleston, S.C. had to offer. But none of the murderers, burglars, or angry divorcing clients compared to Sherman, the dog her ex-husband appointed her to represent. Although the miniature Schnauzer found his way into her heart (and brought his handsome vet Tony along too), his case was a thorny one. With that business out of the way, Sally is happy to move back to non-canine clients... until a probate judge asks her about a cat.

Agreeing to represent Beatrice, a black cat who's the beneficiary of a multi-million dollar trust and a plantation, Sally must put her wit, charm, and brains to the test, choosing among three colorful potential caregivers while dodging the former owner's angry son. Meanwhile, Sally must juggle the demands of the court with those of her aging mother and make a decision about Tony, who wants to get more serious. Lawyer for the Cat is Southern women's fiction at its most delightful, featuring strong, smart characters, a charming setting, and plenty of adorable critters.

Purchase the book at:

About the Author:
Lee Robinson practiced law for over 20 years in Charleston, South Carolina, and was the first female president of the Charleston County Bar.  She teaches at the Center for Medical Humanities and Ethics at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio.

Her novel, Lawyer for the Dog was published by Thomas Dunne Books and was chosen by the San Antonio Express-News as one of the 25 best books of 2015. The sequel, Lawyer for the Cat is forthcoming in May 2016. Booklist says of Cat: “Robinson…doesn’t dummy-down the legal ethics or professionalism of her heroine in this legal caper that engages the intellect as much as the emotions.”

She and her husband, Jerald Winakur, were co-recipients of the 2009 Literary Excellence Award from Gemini Ink, San Antonio’s center for the literary arts.  Lee is a three-time winner of the S.C. Arts Commission’s Fiction Prize for short stories.
She lives on a ranch in the Texas hill country.

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Thomas Dunne Books is giving one lucky winner a print copy of
Lawyer for the Cat by Lee Robinson

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, May 6, 2016

A Lowcountry Wedding - Pub Week Promo and Giveaway

Wedding season has arrived in New York Times bestselling author Mary Alice Monroe’s next novel in the “distinct, complex, and endearing” (Charleston Magazine) Lowcountry Summer series, set against the romantic, charming Charleston Lowcountry.

Nothing could be more enchanting than a summer wedding—or two!—in Charleston’s fabled lowcountry. A centuries-old plantation, an avenue of ancient oaks dripping moss, a storied ballroom, a sand dune at sunset…

Yet when a stranger arrives, a long held family secret could silence the bells ringing for the Muir sisters. Scandals surface, family bonds are questioned, and promises are broken and renewed. In A Lowcountry Wedding Monroe delves into the heart of marriage, commitment, and family ties.

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About the Author:
New York Times bestselling author Mary Alice Monroe found her true calling in environmental fiction when she moved to coastal South Carolina. Already a successful author, she was captivated by the beauty and fragility of her new home. Her experiences living in the midst of a habitat that was quickly changing gave her a strong and important focus for her novels.

Mary Alice Monroe writes richly textured books that delve into the complexities of interpersonal relationships and the parallels between the land and life.

Monroe lives with her family on a barrier island outside Charleston, South Carolina. She is an active conservationist and serves on the Board of the South Carolina Aquarium, The Leatherback Trust, and Charleston Literacy Volunteers. She is a frequent speaker at book festivals, conferences, and private events. Monroe is also a frequent contributor to magazines and blogs.

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GalleryBooks is giving one lucky winner a print copy of
A Lowcountry Wedding by Mary Alice Monroe

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Wedding Girl - Pub Week Promo and Giveaway

You’ve Got Mail meets Julie & Julia in the new foodie fiction from the author of Recipe for Disaster.

Top pastry chef Sophie Bernstein and her sommelier fiancĂ© were set to have Chicago’s culinary wedding of the year…until the groom eloped with someone else in a very public debacle, leaving Sophie splashed across the tabloids—fifty grand in debt on her dream wedding and one-hundred percent screwed on her dream life. The icing on the cake was when she lost her job and her home…
 
Laying low, Sophie moves in with her grandmother, Bubbles. That way, she can keep Bubbles and her sweater-wearing pug company and nurse her broken heart. But when Sophie gets a part-time job at the old-fashioned neighborhood bakery, she finds herself up to her elbows in dough and reluctantly giving a wedding cake customer advice on everything from gift bags to guest accommodations. Before she knows it, she’s an online wedding planner. It’s not mousse and macarons, but it pays the bills. But with the arrival of unexpected personal and professional twists, Sophie wonders if she’s really moving forward—or starting over from scratch...

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About the author:
Stacey Ballis is the author of several novels, incuding Inappropriate Men, Sleeping Over, Room for Improvement, The Spinster Sisters, Good Enough to Eat, Off the Menu and Out to Lunch, and Recipe for Disaster. Her first cookbook, Big Delicious Life is out in a digital edition, and she co-authoring a new cookbook called Cooking for You: Wellness in the Kitchen with Dr. Francis Ardito, which was released in 2015. She is also a contributing author to the anthologies Girls Who Like Boys Who Like Boys, and Everything I Needed to Know About Being a Girl I Learned From Judy Blume, and Living Jewishly. 

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Berkley is giving one lucky winner a print copy of
Wedding Girl by Stacey Ballis

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

The Blue Bath - Pub Week Promo & Giveaway

Kat Lind, an American expatriate living in London with her entrepreneur husband and their young son, attends an opening at a prestigious Mayfair art gallery and is astonished to find her own face on the walls. The portraits are evidence of a long-ago love affair with the artist, Daniel Blake. Unbeknownst to her, he has continued to paint her ever since. Kat is seduced by her reflection on canvas and when Daniel appears in London, she finds herself drawn back into the sins and solace of a past that suddenly no longer seems so far away.

When the portraits catch the attention of the public, threatening to reveal not only her identity, but all that lies beyond the edges of the canvases, Kat comes face to face with the true price of their beauty and with all that she now could lose.

Moving between the glamour of the London art world and the sensuous days of a love affair in a dusty Paris studio, life and art bleed together as Daniel and Kat's lives spin out of control, leading to a conclusion that is anything but inevitable.

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About the Author:
Mary is originally from New York.  She has a B.A. in Literature and Rhetoric from Binghamton University and later studied writing at Stanford University’s Continuing Education program. 

As expected of all good English majors, she began her career in publishing before moving to San Francisco where she worked in investor and public relations.  She spent twelve years as an expatriate in London, working in investor and corporate communications and traveling extensively.

She currently lives outside of Boston with her family.  The Blue Bath is her first novel. 

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St. Martin’s Press is giving one lucky winner a print copy of
The Blue Bath by Mary Waters-Sayer

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

The Goodbye Year - Pub Day Review & Giveaway

Review by Marlene Engel
I’ve always found the word goodbye to be an oxymoron.  Seldom is a goodbye an actual good thing.  In The Goodbye Year, Kaira Rouda chronicles the lives of five families.  She explores the relationship between husband and wife, parent and child and between friends.  The struggles we face when our children are about to leave home, when someone we love has been unfaithful and when substance abuse takes over one’s life.  The situations in this book are so relatable and things that happen to people on a daily basis, it makes you realize that no one is immune to personal angst.  Behind closed doors, we all deal with our own goodbyes.

For me, personally, I was afraid of my “goodbye year.”  My boys’ high school graduations were fast approaching and the thought of being an empty nester was terrifying.  Not wanting to be without children in the house when I was only in my late 30s, we made the decision to adopt a baby girl.  That bought me 18 more years before I had to worry about it again!

Written with such emotion and honesty, The Goodbye Year is destined to be a bestseller!
                                               
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About the Author:
Kaira Rouda is a USA TODAY bestselling, multiple award-winning author of contemporary fiction that sparkles with humor and heart including HERE, HOME, HOPE and IN THE MIROR. Her latest novel, THE GOODBYE YEAR, will be released in May of 2016. Her modern romance novels are set on beaches, including the Laguna Beach series, the Indigo Island series and coming soon, the Malibu series.

She lives in Southern California with her family and is at work on her next novel. After living in Columbus, Ohio, for most of her life, she now enjoys the beach whenever possible.

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Booksparks is giving one lucky winner a print copy of
The Goodbye Year by Kaira Rouda

a Rafflecopter giveaway