Tuesday, June 26, 2018

All We Ever Wanted - release day review & giveaway

Review by Melinda Garza
In Emily Giffin's novel, All We Ever Wanted, we come to meet Nina, who is subjected to choose between her family and her values. Nina and Kirk Browning live a very wealthy life after Kirk sold his software company. Together they have a son named Finch. Finch recently was accepted into Princeton University. They were "that" couple and to everyone; they looked perfect yet something was off about them. As a matter of fact, Finch spoke very little to Nina and she suspected Kirk was cheating on her. One night, Nina and Kirk attended an event but what happened during that event at a totally different location changed the Brownings’ lives forever.

That night, Finch attended a party. Also in attendance at the party was Lyla. Lyla is the daughter of single parent Tom. Tom works multiple jobs so as to give Lyla a better life. She also attends the same prestigious school as Finch. Unlike Finch, she attends on scholarship as they cannot afford tuition outright. She has a crush on Finch but he is dating Polly. At the party, in which Lyla was not given permission to attend, a picture was taken of her and was uploaded onto the Internet. She was half naked in the picture and drunk. A racist comment was also posted with the picture. The post came from Finch's phone.

Finch gets in trouble with his school for doing such a thing and his college admission could be jeopardized. He has to have a hearing as to what his consequences will be but Kirk attempts to give Tom hush money. Tom then returns the money to Nina when they secretly meet. After meeting up with Tom, Nina has personal battles to deal with as to whether to believe Kirk and Finch's story or follow her own morals and convictions. Is this horrible incident one that Nina and Kirk can survive?  Does Nina want their relationship to survive?  Did Finch really take Lyla's picture and post it? 

Emily Giffin, again, does not disappoint with this novel. Her characters are complicated and the story is powerful and intriguing. This is a definite page turner, one you cannot put down.

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About the author:
Emily Giffin is a graduate of Wake Forest University and the University of Virginia School of Law. After practicing litigation at a Manhattan firm for several years, she moved to London to write full time. The author of seven New York Times bestselling novels, Something Borrowed, Something Blue, Baby Proof, Love The One You're With, Heart of the Matter, Where We Belong, and The One & Only, she lives in Atlanta with her husband and three young children.

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All We Ever Wanted by Emily Giffin

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Monday, June 25, 2018

The Perfect Family - release week giveaway

Relentlessly twisting, Samantha King’s debut novel is a dark and brilliant slice of psychological suspense in which even the happiest family can awake to a nightmare . . .
Maddie Castle is broken. Ever since the tragedy that struck on her twins’ tenth birthday, she’s been trying to fit the pieces together, to get back to the life she led before. Maddie, her husband, Dom, and their children, Aidan and Annabel, lived in a comfortable home on a quiet street in a London suburb. Life was busy and satisfying. They were happy. Weren’t they?
Now, a disoriented and grieving Maddie floats like a ghost through each day, hardly sleeping, eating, or speaking. It’s easier to stay locked in her own head than to torment herself by reliving what happened. And yet, the harder Maddie tries to pin down her memories, the more they slip out of reach. Is her guilt and remorse justified? Is it Maddie’s fault that everything was ripped apart?
Or could it be that the real terror is still to come?

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About the author:
Samantha King is a former editor and a qualified psychotherapist. After her childhood in the south‑west of England, teenage years spent in the north‑east and student days somewhere in between, she finally settled in west London where she enjoyed a career publishing other people's books, before going freelance and surrendering to a long‑time urge to write her own. She lives with her husband and two young children, who inspired her to write her debut novel. An English graduate and lifelong bookworm, Samantha is always fascinated to hear readers’ opinions.

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The Perfect Family by Samantha King

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Tuesday, June 19, 2018

California Summer - release day review & giveaway

Review by Melinda Garza
Anita Hughes brings to life Rosie Keller in California Summer. Rosie met Ben Ford while in college and they live together in LA. Together they have one Indie film under their belts. Ben directed the film and Rosie was the associate producer. As a couple, they had three goals -- get married, go to Africa, and buy a house. To Rosie, Ben seemed like the perfect partner. He was a sleeping giant, never raised his voice, and hardly ever disagreed with Rosie.

One day Rosie came home and found that Ben had slept with MaryBeth Chase, a producer. After admitting that he slept with her, Rosie moved to Montecito for the summer. Montecito was the home of her friend Angelica's parents, Estelle and Oscar. Everyone was friendly there and made Rosie feel welcome. Estelle enforced into Rosie to love what you do and throw out the rule book.

After the breakup, Rosie learned that Ben was going to direct To Catch A Thief and his lover, MaryBeth, was going to be the executive producer. They even had a new production company called MB&B.  In order to keep busy and attempt to move on, Rosie opened up her own taco shop, Rosie's Tacos. She even personalized it to her style. The white sign of the taco shop had her name written in cursive letters. The lettering was done in deep red which was the same color of her favorite Bobbi Brown lip gloss. Rosie even had a heart placed over the I in her name and a red rose after the word Tacos.

At Montecito, she met many people, including Josh and Colby. She and Josh got quite close and at Estelle and Oscar's annual 4th of July party, they kissed. Their romance blossomed.  She and Colby, a famous musician, became good friends. He even wrote a song about her. He titled the song “Rosie.” The song was about breaking free of the fast track and doing what you love. The song made her restaurant famous and super busy. Colby, soon after, offered Rosie to expand her business with him. At the time, she turned down his offer due to Josh. Will she change her mind?
Ms. Hughes did it again with California Summer. She gives us a beautiful and charming love story.  It's a captivating read that is a curl up in bed, beach, or just about anywhere read. I would highly recommend it.

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

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

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

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California Summer by Anita Hughes

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Monday, June 18, 2018

The Lost For Words Bookshop-release week review & giveaway

Review by Deb Czajkowski
True or false:  Loveday Carlew has spent the better part of the last seven years hiding in the lost for words bookshop.  If you are defining hiding as being concealed or hidden from sight, then false.  Okay, it is true that, occasionally, Loveday does try to hide amongst the bookshelves during her work day (she loves books; people, not so much). But the truest part of that statement is metaphoric: Loveday has spent the better part of the last seven years in the lost for words bookshop hiding from life ─ her past, her present, and her future.  And this is the Loveday we meet today ─apprehensive and introspective.

True or false: Archie Brodie has lived many lives.  If you are defining lived like reincarnation, than false. To hear him tell it, he has traveled the world, associated with royalty of all kinds, lived a lifetime of wild, weird, and wonderful adventures, being whomever he wanted to be in the moment.  The true part is, again, metaphoric.  Now he is the owner and proprietor of the lost for words bookshop.  Archie is also Loveday’s boss (he is the owner), her friend (unspoken), and her guardian (secretly).

True or false: Nathan Avebury enters the lost for words bookshop to reclaim his lost (and found by Loveday) copy of Grinning Jack by Brian Patten. You know this cannot be as simple as just true or false, right? So yes, it is true that the Brian Patten book is Nathan’s. He did accidentally drop it on the sidewalk, and he does want it back. But it is Loveday’s pithy ‘lost and found’ sign in the window that really draws him into the bookshop ─and to Loveday herself.

To quote Harper Lee, “You can choose your friends but you sho’ can’t choose your family, and they’re still kin to you no matter whether you acknowledge ‘em or not.”  You also can’t choose your childhood. Given these two statements, I propose one more true or false statement: Despite your family and/or your childhood, you can, as an adult, choose your own future.

Trick, right? That statement does not ─cannot!─  have a “one size fits all” answer.   It is personal to each person, to each life. Every person, thus every story, is different. Author Stephanie Butland uses unique and quirky Loveday’s narrative in lost for words bookshop to skillfully illustrate one path, one life, one answer.  Using the present to move the Loveday’s story forward, Butland alternatively takes us back in time to live with Loveday the events of her past that accumulate to shape the twenty-five-year-old woman we meet at the beginning of Butland’s book.

When Butland ends her telling of Loveday’s life, where does she stop? Is Loveday still hiding amongst the books and bookshelves in the lost for words bookshop? Has Loveday found a way to navigate people  ─Customers?  Friends? Family? ─ into her solitary life of books?

I can suggest two ways to find out:  1. Stop by the lost for words bookshop (fyi… it’s in London) and ask for Loveday; or 2. Read Stephanie Butland’s lost for words bookshop.  Either way, I can assure you that you will enjoy meeting captivating, intriguing, inquisitive Loveday.

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About the author:
Stephanie Butland is a writer, who is thriving after breast cancer. (She used to say she was a survivor, but that was a bit lacking in joie de vivre.)
Although she’d never have chosen it, her dance with cancer has changed her life in many positive ways. Now she is happier, healthier, and more careful with her precious life and the precious people and things in it.

Her writing career began with her dance with cancer, and now she is  a novelist.

Aside from writing, she works as a speaker and trainer, and she works with charities to help raise awareness and money in the hope that cancer will soon be about as scary as a wart.

She lives in Northumberland.

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1 lucky winner a print copy of
The Lost For Words Bookshop

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Tuesday, June 5, 2018

The Patchwork Bride - release day giveaway

Ellen is putting the finishing touches on a wedding quilt made from scraps of old dresses when the bride-to-be―her granddaughter June―unexpectedly arrives and announces she’s calling off the marriage. With the tending of June’s uncertain heart in mind, Ellen tells her the story of Nell, a Kansas-born woman who goes to the High Plains of New Mexico Territory in 1898 in search of a husband.
Working as a biscuit-shooter, Nell falls for a cowboy named Buddy. She sees a future together, but she can’t help wondering if his feelings for her are true. When Buddy breaks her heart, she runs away.
In her search for a soul mate, Nell will run away from marriage twice more before finding the love of her life. It’s a tale filled with excitement, heartbreak, disappointment, and self-discovery―as well as with hard-earned life lessons about love. Another stunning, emotional novel from a master storyteller.

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About the author:
A journalism graduate of the University of Denver, Sandra began her writing career as a reporter with Business Week. A staff member for twenty-five years (and the magazine’s first female bureau chief,) she covered the Rocky Mountain region, writing about everything from penny-stock scandals to hard-rock mining, western energy development to contemporary polygamy. Many of her experiences have been incorporated into her novels.

Sandra lives in Denver and Georgetown, Colorado, with her husband, Bob. She is the mother of two daughters, Dana, a lawyer in New Orleans, and Povy, a photographer in Golden, Colorado.

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One lucky winner a print copy of
The Patchwork Bride by Sandra Dallas

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