Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Size Matters - Booksparks #FRC2016

John Frederick is a man of considerable substance, in every sense of the word. Rich, intelligent, reclusive, and very large, John Frederick lives to eat. His everyday needs are tended to by Mrs. Floyd, his house manager, and by a never-ending parade of personal chefs. 

Enter Lexie Alexander, the latest applicant for that once-again vacant position. A young woman of magical sensibilities, fresh out of culinary school and still recovering from a recent personal tragedy, Lexie lives to cook. As time passes, a love of food, musical comedy, and tea begins to weave a connection between John Frederick and his new chef―but then a major medical crisis completely turns life at Frederick House upside down, threatening the bond John Frederick and Lexie have forged.

Size Matters is the story of how people interact with each other and with the world, and what happens when the structure of a person’s life, their self-image, and all their familiar coping mechanisms are shattered.

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About the author:
Cathryn Novak has had a love affair with words that began as soon as she could read. After graduating with a degree in Communications and Public Policy from U.C. Berkeley, Cathryn did a stint in advertising before devoting the rest of her professional career to public service. During that period she wore many hats including speech writer, policy analyst, and investigative report writer. Her monograph on the Los Angeles Police Commission, The Years of Controversy, was published by the Police Foundation in Washington, D.C. Now retired, Cathryn has returned to her first love, the world of fiction. Size Matters is her first novel.

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Learn more about the BookSparks 2016 Fall Reading Challenge #FRC2016 HERE

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Thursday, November 10, 2016

The Survivor’s Guide to Holiday Madness Tour & Giveaway


Change Maker is Rebecca Austill-Clausen’s story of her discovery that she could communicate with her brother after he died. Following this realization, a world she never imagined opened up to her—even as she doubted her sanity and feared she would lose the respect of her colleagues, as well as the love and support of her family. Austill-Clausen struggled with how her spiritual awakening and eventual spiritual transformation could mesh with the practical everyday world—the one where she had a rapidly growing rehabilitation business to run, and where she was known as a knowledgeable, science-based expert in the field of occupational therapy. 

Each chapter of Change Maker explores spiritual beliefs and understanding, includes an original black-and-white illustration by Micki McAllister, and ends with an “Illumination”—guidance, suggestions, encouragement, and inspiration for readers who wish to pursue their own spiritual journey. The end result is a book that blends the best of memoir, self-help, new-age philosophy, and inspiration.

Purchase the book at:  Amazon * Barnes&Noble

In a society that deeply values productivity, speed, and external rewards, we often find ourselves with less of what we really long for: space, clarity, connection with others, and a sense of well-being. Our attempts to improve our lives and bottom lines by adding more to our calendars, expanding our to-do lists, and constantly being plugged in to technology is backfiring. Instead of getting more done, our minds are spinning, leaving us stressed, disconnected, and unable to focus. 

Drop In challenges our assumptions about the effectiveness of our busy lives and offers a compelling alternative approach to living and leading by inviting people to “drop in” to the present moment. Deepening our awareness of the present moment, asserts Sara Harvey Yao, is the most efficient and sustainable way to navigate the complexities of work and life and to access our clarity, connection, and courage so we can lead your life more powerfully. Full of practical tools, Drop In will help busy professionals get out of the spin cycle of their minds—and tune in to their already-existing wisdom and clarity that resides within all of us.

Purchase the book at:  Amazon * Barnes&Noble

While Jennifer Monahan has always felt connected to the spirit world, she didn’t fully realize how it had been orchestrating her life until a spur-of-the-moment trip to Yucatan, Mexico and a chance meeting with a Mayan shaman changed her life forever. 

This is the true story of Monahan’s journey to finding and living her life purpose as a shaman. Filled with wisdom from her spirit guides and teachers that can benefit others looking for their life purpose, This Trip Will Change Your Life: Shaman's Story of Spirit Evolution shows how finding her true path made all the synchronistic “threads” in Monahan’s life come together into a beautifully woven tapestry and life purpose that she could have never imagined on her own.

Purchase the book at:  Amazon * Barnes&Noble


Baggage! We all carry it with us through life.

It comes in a wide variety of styles, shapes, and colors—more than enough to accommodate the stuff that we accumulate through life. And no matter how we dress it up, it’s frustrating, inconvenient, and slows us down. In fact, it’s downright disruptive. 

This book is about offloading emotional baggage—something that’s especially important when we realize that we don’t just pack for one; we pack for seven. Each of the seven selves—self-preservation, self-gratification, self-definition, self-acceptance, self-expression, self-reflection, and self-knowledge—has characteristics, wellness types, and shadows. Each plays a vital role in harmony, overall health, and well-being.

Chock full of real-life emotional examples, as well as “keys” at the end of each chapter offering actionable tips, techniques, and exercises designed to help you unlock baggage, examine it, and offload it permanently, Note to Self will help you discover a lighter, joy-filled you!

Purchase the book at:  Amazon * Barnes&Noble


Booksparks is giving one
lucky winner a print copy of all 4 books!

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Tuesday, November 8, 2016

One Snowy Night - Promo & Giveaway


One Snowy Night
Heartbreaker Bay #2.5
By: Jill Shalvis
Releasing November 8, 2016
Avon Impulse

Blurb

New York Times bestselling author Jill Shalvis returns to Heartbreaker Bay with a fun and festive holiday novella!

It’s Christmas Eve and Rory Andrews is desperate to get home to the family she hasn’t seen in years. Problem is, her only ride to Lake Tahoe comes in the form of the annoyingly handsome Max Stranton, and his big, goofy, lovable dog Carl.

Hours stuck in a truck with the dead sexy Max sounds like a fate worse than death (not), but Rory’s out of options. She’s had a crush on Max since high school and she knows he’s attracted to her, too. But they have history… and Max is the only one who knows why it went south.

They’ve done a good job of ignoring their chemistry so far, but a long road trip in a massive blizzard might be just what they need to face their past… and one steamy, snowy night is all it takes to bring Max and Rory together at last.

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

Author Info
New York Times bestselling author Jill Shalvis lives in a small town in the Sierras with her family and far too many assorted quirky characters. Any resemblance to the quirky characters in her books is, um, mostly coincidental.

Look for Jill's latest, SWEET LITTLE LIES on shelves and e-readers now, and get all her bestselling, award-winning books wherever romances are sold.

Visit Jill's website for a complete book list and daily blog detailing her city-girl-living-in-the-mountains adventures.

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Giveaway for a print set
of the first two Heartbreaker Bay Novels
SWEET LITTLE LIES and THE TROUBLE WITH MISTLETOE

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Thursday, November 3, 2016

London Belongs to Me - Review #FRC2016

Aspiring to be a playwriter, shortly after graduating Alex heads to London.  She’s always been fascinated by that part of the world and just knows that it’s the perfect place to start a new life.  After her boyfriend’s deception, with enough money to hold her over for a year, Alex packs up and head across the pond to stay with a friend and focus on her writing.  But the second she steps foot off the plane chaos ensues.  It takes no time at all for Alex to realize that this move is going to be a bit more difficult than she thought. 

You can’t help but fall in love with Alex.  She is such a kindhearted person, even na├»ve at times.  She can be so over giving of herself that she is an easy target of being taken advantage of.  But her trip to London is a good one filled with self-discovery and following one’s dreams.

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About the author:
Jacquelyn Middleton is an award-winning freelance writer with articles published by several of the most popular magazines, newspapers, and websites in North America including Canadian Living, Best Health, National Geographic Travel, the Toronto Star, Reader's Digest, Chatelaine, Today's Parent, and Flare. She previously worked in television broadcasting, and lives in Toronto. When she's not writing, you can find her hanging out in London, waiting in a comic con line with her husband, or chasing after her bossy Schipperke. LONDON BELONGS TO ME is her first novel.

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Learn more about the BookSparks 2016 Fall Reading Challenge #FRC2016 HERE

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Tuesday, November 1, 2016

The Other Sister - Pub Day Promo and Giveaway

Would life be better without Ali? Probably. At least then people might think about Morgan. Ali's always gotten everything ― she doesn't even realize how much Morgan resents her.
Ali also doesn't realize that when she shuts Morgan out entirely, she will unleash a chain of events that show just how dangerous the underside of love really is. As their lives spin toward something neither one of them can control, a terrifying crime reveals how those who know us best can destroy us...or save us.

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About the author:
As a television writer Dianne Dixon (winner of the Humanitas Prize for Excellence in Screenwriting and double Emmy nominee) regularly received glowing reviews: “Her characters dance off the page.” (Jane Hewland/Sky Television, UK) “An enormously gifted writer.” (LaVerne McKinnon/CBS Television)  “Her knowledge of storytelling is both clear and articulate.” (Nate Hopper/Sony Pictures). Now Dianne is receiving equally enthusiastic response to her work as a novelist: “Captivating, fascinating.” (Seattle Post-Intelligencer) “Absorbing and provocative.” (Huffington Post) “Convincing prose, particularly the dialogue.” (Kirkus) “An exciting new writer, capable of creating a well-paced, emotional page-turner of the best kind.” (Katie Crouch, New York Times bestselling author of Girls in Trucks and The Magnolia League).

Dianne is a former Visiting Professor of Creative Writing at Pitzer College in Claremont, California, a nominee for the Mary Routt Chair of Writing at Scripps College, and has taught screenwriting at the Dodge College of Film & Media at Chapman University in Orange, California.

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Sourcebooks is giving one
Lucky winner a print copy of
The Other Sister by Dianne Dixon

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Thursday, October 27, 2016

Behind Closed Doors - #FRC2016 Review

Review by Marlene Engel
Jack is a handsome, successful attorney who fights for the rights of those involved in domestic violence.  Grace spends a lot of time traveling as a buyer for Harrods.  But things change drastically shortly after they marry. While on their honeymoon, Grace learns who the real Jack is.  The one with a violent, criminal past, the one who’s controlling and abusive, and the one who is plotting to kill her special needs sister. 

To the outside world they appear to be the perfect couple: living in a beautiful house, hosting nice dinner parties.  While around friends Jack always plays the role of doting husband; always at Grace’s side and even agreeing to allow Grace’s sister to come live with them after graduation.  But her friends start getting concerned when she’s constantly turning down lunch invites.  Of course Jack has the perfectly scripted answer:  she’s anxious about having her sister stay with them.  But they aren’t buying it. 

Since being married she no longer works, is unreachable (as she has no cell phone or email address) and seems to hole up in her house with no contact with the outside world.  What they once thought was a storybook marriage, they are now beginning to question …

Behind Closed Doors is a heart pounding, psychological thriller debut novel by B.A. Paris.  To think that things like this happen in real life is terrifying, but the author writes it in a way that captivates you.  With complex characters and a hauntingly addictive storyline, this is a book that will be talked about for a long time to come.

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About the author:
B A Paris grew up in England but has spent most of her adult life in France. She has worked both in finance and as a teacher and has five daughters. Behind Closed Doors is her first novel.

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Learn more about the BookSparks 2016 Fall Reading Challenge #FRC2016 HERE

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Tuesday, October 25, 2016

The Survivor's Guide to Family Happiness - Pub Day Review & Giveaway

Review by Deb Czajkowski
Thirty-five-year-old Nina Popkin is the daughter and only child of school teachers Francis and Josephine Popkin. Today Nina would say “was.”  Now orphaned, Nina feels she has been left again.  Her father died when she was young, her husband, Dan, left her for another woman less than a year after they were married, and today cancer claimed her mother’s life.  But there’s also that first leaving: Nina’s birth parents.

That she was adopted was no secret. Nina also knew that Frank and Josephine desperately wanted her and dearly loved her.  But growing up in their quiet, strict home, with not even one extended family member, Nina has always felt alone, like she didn’t belong. And Nina wants to belong ─at least to someone.  Above all, though, Nina wants a family story, family history. 

So now, with the blessing of Josephine and the name of someone who can help her, Nina begins the search for her birth mother.  Easy-peasy?  Hardly!  Her first obstacle is the law that forbids the adoption agency from disclosing any information at all about her birth parents.  However, that same law does not include siblings. And Nina has one ─ her very own blood sister!

Lindy McIntyre is so not interested in being found!  Lindy already has five siblings with her adoptive family and she does not need nor want another one. Not even one who shares her blood.  And Lindy certainly, most definitely, is not interested in searching for their birth mother. 

Phoebe: the woman who gave birth to Nina and Lindy and also gave them up for adoption. Her story is hers alone to tell.

Easy-going, ever cheerful Carter Sanborn rescues Nina from a car-eating snowbank and is now attempting to also rescue her heart. At first Nina finds his Life-is-always-good!/Let it happen! attitude equal parts endearing and infuriating.  For grounded Nina, that scale soon tips (way) more to infuriating than endearing ─not good news for Carter!

Fifteen-year-old Indigo (a.k.a. Kayla) is as different from her father, Carter, as she can be, with her combat boots, torn mini skirt, and haphazard, purple-tinted hair. Add to that her sassy rain-cloud, My-life-is-not-good! attitude…. Well, you get the picture.  Ah, but that’s just one picture of Indigo. You really do need to see more to get the full, uh, picture!

Finding one’s birth family is tricky business. It must surely be kept in mind that sometimes people don’t want to be found (hint: sister).  And when people disappear, they just may not want to be forced to reappear (hint: birth mother).  Do you keep trying, keep pushing? Even when those same people keep pushing you away?  What to do, what to do? Tricky business indeed.

Is author Maddie Dawson’s novel The Survivor’s Guide to Family Happiness a great story for people who’ve been adopted?  Absolutely. Is The Survivor’s Guide to Family Happiness a great story for people who have not been adopted?  Absolutely!  I was not adopted, but I loved Dawson’s telling of Nina’s ─and Lindy’s and Phoebe’s─ stories.  Dawson’s stage-setting prologue with its cliff-hanger ending captivated me from the very beginning, and her laugh-out-loud humor kept me constantly turning the pages.  I loved how the chapters vacillated between the main characters, being told at each point from that character’s perspective, saying exactly what she was really thinking ─like “Did I say that out loud?” It made me feel like somehow I was actually sitting right there with every one of them, listening to every word.

How realistic is The Survivor’s Guide to Family Happiness? In my opinion, it’s as realistic as your family story or mine.  Adopted verses not adopted is really not the story here.  It’s finding your place in life, and that includes all of us.  Find a place for The Survivor’s Guide to Family Happiness in your life. I predict you’ll be happy you did.

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About the author:
Maddie Dawson grew up in the South, born into a family of outrageous storytellers. Her various careers as a substitute English teacher, department-store clerk, medical-records typist, waitress, cat sitter, wedding-invitation-company receptionist, nanny, day-care worker, electrocardiogram technician, and Taco Bell taco maker were made bearable by thinking up stories as she worked. Today she lives in Guilford, Connecticut, with her husband. She’s the bestselling author of four previous novels: The Opposite of Maybe, The Stuff That Never Happened, Kissing Games of the World, and A Piece of Normal.

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One lucky winner a print copy of
The Survivor’s Guide to Family Happiness

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