Monday, September 4, 2017

P.S From Paris - promo & giveaway

On the big screen, Mia plays a woman in love. But in real life, she’s an actress in need of a break from her real-life philandering husband—the megastar who plays her romantic interest in the movies. So she heads across the English Channel to hide in Paris behind a new haircut, fake eyeglasses, and a waitressing job at her best friend’s restaurant.
Paul is an American author hoping to recapture the fame of his first novel. When his best friend surreptitiously sets him up with Mia through a dating website, Paul and Mia’s relationship status is “complicated.”
Even though everything about Paris seems to be nudging them together, the two lonely ex-pats resist, concocting increasingly far-fetched strategies to stay “just friends.” A feat easier said than done, as fate has other plans in store. Is true love waiting for them in a postscript?

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About the author:
Marc Levy was born in France. When he turned eighteen, he joined the Red Cross, where he spent the next six years. In 1983, he created a computer graphics company based in France and the United States. Six years later, he co-founded an interior design and planning company with two friends; the company soon became one of the leading architecture firms in France.

At thirty-seven, Marc Levy wrote a story for the man that his son would grow up to be. In early 1999, his sister, a screenwriter (now a film director), encouraged him to send the manuscript to a French publisher, who immediately decided to publish If Only It Were True. Before it was published, Steven Spielberg (Dreamworks) acquired film rights to the novel. The movie, Just like Heaven, starring Reese Witherspoon and Mark Ruffalo, was a #1 box office hit in America in 2005.

After If Only It Were True, Marc Levy began writing full-time. Since then, he has written 18 novels. His work has been translated into 49 languages and has sold over 40 million copies worldwide. 

Marc Levy currently lives in New York City.

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Thursday, August 31, 2017

The Chesapeake Bride - promo & giveaway

ABOUT THE BOOK:
New York Times bestselling author Mariah Stewart returns to the cherished Maryland shores of St. Dennis with THE CHESAPEAKE BRIDE the charming story of a jaded architect who meets the one man who could finally melt her heart—if she’s willing to let him in.

Cassidy Logan has sworn off good-looking adventurers, having just divorced the one she’d married. Now working with her father’s construction company to build ecologically friendly, historically accurate homes on the Chesapeake Bay, she’s designing them for Cannonball Island. Knowing there’s been no new construction on the island in almost one hundred years, Cass is sensitive to the heritage and history of the sparsely populated island, and has come up with plans so perfect she’s determined to buy one for herself to live in. Even the fact that Owen Parker—whom she dismisses as a lightweight and a player— seems to be everywhere she goes isn’t enough to deter her from building her dream house.

Owen is and always has been sinfully handsome and wickedly clever, a magnet for mischief as well as the girls in St. Dennis. He’s also a rolling stone, going and doing whatever appeals to him, from flying a mail plane in Alaska to working on a cattle ranch in Australia and a shrimp boat in Louisiana, to surfing and diving in Costa Rica. When an old friend offers him a job salvaging a sunken ship in the Chesapeake, Owen gladly accepts. Something’s been telling him it’s about time to head home to Cannonball Island, and a job is as good an excuse as any. He’s totally smitten with the pretty architect, but it seems he’s finally met a woman who’s immune to his charms. Sooner or later, Owen will have to face the reason why he always runs, because this time, leaving just might be harder than staying.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Mariah Stewart is the award-winning New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of numerous novels and several novellas and short stories.  A native of Hightstown, New Jersey, she lives with her husband and two rambunctious rescue dogs amid the rolling hills of Chester County, Pennsylvania, where she savors country life and tends her gardens. 

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The 10th book in The Chesapeake Diaries Series

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Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Where the Sweet Bird Sings - Review, 12 Things About & a Giveaway

Review by Deb Czajkowski
To say that today is a difficult day for Emma Hazelton would be the proverbial understatement.  Today Joseph Barlow ─ Grandpa Joe to Emma─ was buried.  Emma’s parents divorced when she was young, after which her father moved to California. Since then, Emma spent most of her non-school hours with Grandpa Joe, arguably making Grandpa Joe the most important male in Emma’s life. So, yes, today is a hard day for Emma.

But on this very day, 12 months ago, Emma buried her four-year-old son.  Joey died from a rare genetic disease, paralyzing Emma on the day he died and still immobilizing her today, one year later. That’s the “proverbial understatement” part of the difficult day.

One may argue that life still goes on for the living. Emma’s husband, Noah, though deeply saddened by his son’s death, has moved on ── to the point where he is talking about trying for another child.  In Emma’s world that is SO not in the realm of possibilities. Not just today, but ever!  Doesn’t Noah understand that they both carry a genetic gene that created a child born with only the ability to breathe and pre-destined for an early death?  How can he ask her to do this again? To carry and give birth to another disabled child that she must daily watch slowly die?

How quickly Emma’s outlook on life turned from hopeful to helpless.  Is her future truly to be so dismal? Childless and husbandless? Because isn’t setting Noah free the right thing to do, so that he can marry someone else and have the family he wants? The one she can’t give him?

To distract herself from the fateful future realities that she envisions, Emma begins a genealogy search for the familial link to Joey’s disease.  An old wedding photograph of her great-grandparents plays into her search in an unexpected way, giving her a key that unlocks more than one door ─doors that Emma didn’t even know existed!

You may have noticed above that I delineated only one character ─Emma Hazelton─ from author Ella Joy Olsen’s novel Where the Sweet Bird Sings. That’s because this whole novel is really Emma’s story, and everyone else in the book primarily facilitates her journey. In Emma’s life, Olsen beautifully braids together three strands: 1. Grief from losing a child; 2. Genetic diseases; and 3. Genealogy ─the potential for hidden secrets and surprises.  Three separate facets are cleverly combined into one piece, one journey, one life. Emma’s journey.  Emma’s life.

Historians study the past for many reasons, one being that we can often forecast the future from the past. In a very real way, that was true for Emma.  By looking into her family’s history, she gains knowledge and information that answer unspoken questions and satisfy a heartbreaking yearning.  It gives her hope again for her future in a unique and unforeseen way.

Finding hope and sweetness in your life in not always easy.  One place to find them both is Where the Sweet Bird Sings. Listen!  Do you hear it?  A Sweet Bird is singing just for you: Read me!

Deb’s Note:  Where the Sweet Bird Sings is Ella Joy Olsen’s second novel.  Her first novel is Root, Petal, Thorn.  It is not at all necessary to read her first novel before reading this novel.  However, if you have read Olsen’s first novel, connecting parts of Where the Sweet Bird Sings will be more meaningful to you.  Be hopeful.  Be happy. Enjoy.

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Twelve Things About
WHERE THE SWEET BIRD SINGS
By Ella Joy Olsen

1)    Where the Sweet Bird Sings is my second novel. It’s “linked” to my debut, Root, Petal, Thorn. What’s a linked book, you ask? It’s not a sequel but it does have one or two characters in common. When you meet them on the page it will be like unexpectedly running into a friend from your book club while you’re on a beach vacation. A pleasant surprise! Each book adds richness to the other (and answers a few burning questions)…but they can be enjoyed in either order, or as a stand-alone read.

2)   The initial premise behind Where the Sweet Bird Sings is admittedly sad. Emma and Noah Hazelton have recently lost their young son to a rare autosomal recessive genetic disease, called Canavan Disease. It’s one of the Ashkenazi Jewish Genetic Diseases, and is similar to Tay-Sachs. Both Emma and Noah carry one copy of the mutated gene, but are both are symptom free.

3)   Because Canavan Disease is so rare, many couples don’t anticipate, or aren’t tested for a genetic predisposition. Such is the case for Emma and Noah. The book begins with Emma wondering how this disease appeared, seemingly from nowhere, to affect their child. She is compelled dig down to the roots of the condition, so to speak. So yes, there are some heartbreaking scenes…but the book is ultimately about hope and cobbling together a family from many places.

4)   Meanwhile, buried deep in an old roll-top desk, Emma discovers an antique wedding photograph of her great-grandparents. Right away she realizes her extended family isn’t quite what she believed it to be. Then, when her brother claims he’s long believed he was adopted, Emma knows she has a few things she needs to figure out. All this drives her to spend hours at the Family History Library trying to puzzle through her genealogical puzzle.

5)   The Family History Library is owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the Mormons) and was specifically created for ancestral research. The materials available for public consumption are mind-blowing. Ancestry has long been big business for the Mormon Church but these days it’s huge everywhere. What is one of the first things people look for when researching their ancestry? They want to know if they’re related to anyone famous, most specifically, royalty.

6)   During my research I took a DNA test through the company 23andMe to authenticate the process. I didn’t discover anything too damning about my own genetic code, but here’s a secret. I am 3% Neanderthal. Don’t judge. And hand me that leg of mutton.

7)   While reading the 23andMe educational materials, I learned tons about human migration across the globe. How can a dribble of spit reveal your country of origin? Here’s the simplified version: Mutations in the genetic code occurred naturally over thousands of years as people migrated.  Since people didn’t go very far or very fast, those mutations are most common to certain geographical areas. The percentage of a specific mutation you have in your code, the more Northern European (or whatever) you are. Of course human migration is on super-speed now. People can go globe-trotting and find a mate on Tinder in hours. I’m not advocating this approach.  I’m just saying it’s an option.

8)   The title of the novel, Where the Sweet Bird Sings, is a nod to the concept of family trees. So, where does the sweet bird sing? In a tree, of course.  Actually, the title is a riff from a line in a Shakespearean sonnet, “Where Late the Sweet Bird Sang”.  I think the cover art riffs on I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou. Both fantastic literary references.

9)   My main character, Emma, learns much about life at her beloved Grandpa Joe’s side. Many of the textural details of their relationship I stole from my own relationship with my Grandpa Ralph. The Butter Rum lifesavers, the hours of Solitaire he’d play at the kitchen table, the out of date mid-century modern home.

10)     There is an intense hospital scene in the book. I spent a fair amount of time in the hospital having my entire large intestine removed (but that’s another story), so I felt I could write about the hospital experience authentically. Even still, I sent the manuscript on to my good friend, Talli, who is an Emergency Room nurse to get all of the details right. I named the nurse in the book after her, as a thank you.

11)       I love to name a character or two after someone who helps me tremendously in the writing process. In Root, Petal, Thorn, Nathaniel is named after the son of one of my best readers.  It’s the least expensive, and most lasting, way to say thank you.

12)      I love to dress thematically for my book launch parties. I had a gorgeous “rose” dress for the launch of Root, Petal, Thorn. Now I’m on the hunt for a fabulous dress featuring a sweet bird singing. I may have to settle for a hat…

About the author:
Ella Joy Olsen was born, raised and currently resides in Salt Lake City, Utah, a charming town tucked at the base of the massive Rocky Mountains. Most at home in the world of the written word, Ella spent nearly a decade on the Board of Directors for the Salt Lake City Public Library System (and four decades browsing the stacks). She is the mom of three kids ranging from just-barely-teen to just-flown-the-nest-teen, the mama of two dogs, and the wife of one patient husband.

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Where the Sweet Bird Sings by Ella Joy Olsen

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Monday, August 28, 2017

No Place I'd Rather Be - Pub Week Review & Giveaway

After being gone for two years, Olivia returns to Montana.  But she’s not alone.  She brings with her two girls that she is hoping to adopt.  The girls had been living with their grandmother, a neighbor of Olivia’s, while their drug addicted parents were serving time in jail.  Olivia had become close to them, so it only made sense that when their grandmother passed that she took them in.  However, their mother is due to be released from jail soon and she plans on reclaiming the children she feels rightfully belongs with her.

While home, Olivia finds an old cookbook in the attic.  Being a chef, she’s intrigued.  But more than that, she’s surprised when it causes her grandmother, a person who has kept her past hidden from the family, starts opening up about life-long secrets.  It doesn’t take long to put some of the puzzle pieces together.  After all, we know that her grandmother is Jewish and from Germany.  But it isn’t necessarily just about the secrets.  It’s the strength that the family has to keep moving forward despite the obstacles in their way.

Throughout the book, I found myself laughing and crying.  But an aspect that I really enjoyed was all of the baking.  There didn’t have to be a reason to bake, it was more of an excuse to get together and have what they called Martindale cake therapy.

No Place I’d Rather Be was a deliciously written book with an eccentric group of characters.  And one I would recommend to all.

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About the author:
Cathy Lamb was born in Newport Beach, California. As a child, she mastered the art of skateboarding, catching butterflies in bottles, and riding her bike with no hands. When she was 10, her parents moved her, two sisters, a brother, and two poorly behaved dogs to Oregon before she could fulfill her lifelong dream of becoming a surfer bum.

She then embarked on her notable academic career where she earned good grades now and then, spent a great deal of time daydreaming, ran wild with a number of friends, and landed on the newspaper staff in high school. When she saw her byline above an article about people making out in the hallways of the high school, she knew she had found her true calling. 

Cathy suffers from, “I Would Rather Play Than Work Disease” which prevents her from getting much work done unless she has a threatening deadline. She likes to hang with family and friends, walk, eat chocolate, camp, travel, and is slightly obsessive about the types of books she reads. She also likes to be left alone a lot so she can hear all the odd characters in her head talk to each other and then transfer that oddness to paper. The characters usually don’t start to talk until 10:00 at night, however, so she is often up ‘til 2:00 in the morning with them. That is her excuse for being cranky.

She adores her children and husband, except when he refuses to take his dirty shoes off and walks on the carpet. She will ski because her children insist, but she secretly doesn’t like it at all. Too cold and she falls all the time.

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Thursday, August 24, 2017

Emerald Coast - Review & Giveaway

Review by Melinda Garza
Emerald Coast by Anita Hughes introduces us to Lily and Oliver. Lily is a 32-year-old business woman who owns home furnishing stores on three continents. She’s recently divorced from Oliver, her husband of 10 years. Oliver is a restaurant critic for the New York Times.  She and their daughter, Louisa, live at their restored Connecticut farmhouse. Lily and Oliver were 22 years old when they met and fell in love but later in their marriage, things were impossible. They each made silly mistakes and betrayals and the pain just wouldn't go away. They stopped making each other happy. Oliver lied to Lily about where he was one night and then she let her guard down and did something she regretted. These occurrences caused their marriage to unravel.

After their divorce, Lily traveled to Sardinia while leaving six-year-old Louisa with her parents. Sardinia is one of the sexiest coastlines in the world. Lily was staying at Hotel Cervo, a 5-star hotel, on the Emerald Coast. She was there for the grand opening of her newest store, Lily Bristol Sardinia. All of Lily's employees are women. What Lily didn't remember was that the reservation was made prior to the divorce. Unbeknownst to Lily, Oliver was also there, using their reservation. He was there to review the grand opening of Nero's, Porto Cervo's hottest new restaurant. Porto Cervo has charming, quaint fisherman’s cottages and beautiful galleries. Once Lily realized what occurred she asked for a different accommodation but the only thing available was the room right next to Oliver’s.

Lily and Oliver always seem to end up near each other, always at the same places at the same time. Is this a coincidence or not? What happens with Lily and Oliver?  Are they able to overcome their past and become friends or even date again?

Anita's latest book was a summer read that I could not put down. It is the perfect beach read or a curl up in bed read. It captivated me from page one and I continue to be a huge Anita Hughes fan.

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About the author:
Anita Hughes was born in Sydney, Australia. At the age of eight, she won first prize in a nationwide writing contest sponsored by THE AUSTRALIAN, Australia's most prestigious newspaper. She graduated from Bard College with a B.A. in English Literature and a minor in Creative Writing, and attended UC Berkeley's Masters in Creative Writing Program. She lives at The St. Regis Monarch Beach, where she is at work on her next novel. 

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Emerald Coast by Anita Hughes

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Wednesday, August 23, 2017

A Mother Like Mine - Review & Giveaway

Review by Hope Smith
Single mom Abby has returned to the small town of Hartley-by-the-Sea, a Lake District in England, after her fiancĂ©’s untimely death.  There Abby and her son move in with her grandmother to help run the family cafĂ©. 

After being raised by her grandmother, and having no contact with her mother since she was two, Abby’s mother, Laura, shows up unexpectedly after twenty years away in hopes of reconciling with her family.  But if she’s expecting to be welcomed back with open arms, she’ll be sorely disappointed.  But despite Abby’s reluctance to allow her mother back into her heart and life, they slowly forge forward at rebuilding their relationship.  Despite the pain and hurt that Abby has held like a shield for so many years, will she be able to put the past behind her and learn to forgive her mom?

This was a well-written story about family pain and learning to let go of the hurt to allow for healing.  Although it’s the third book in the series, it can easily be read as a stand-alone without any confusion or feeling like you’re missing anything.

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About the author:
Kate Hewitt is the bestselling author of over 50 novels of romance and women's fiction, including the Hartley-by-the-Sea series set in the Lake District, the Willoughby Close series set in the Cotswolds, and Tales From Goswell written as Katharine Swartz.

She lives in a small market town in Wales with her husband and five children. You can read about her experience as an ex-pat on her blog, katehewitt.blogspot.co.uk. 

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A Mother Like Mine by Kate Hewitt

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Thursday, August 17, 2017

Exposed - Pub Week Promo & Giveaway

A BATTLE FOR JUSTICE PITS PARTNER AGAINST PARTNER...

Mary DiNunzio wants to represent her old friend Simon Pensiera, a sales rep who was wrongly fired by his company, but her partner Bennie Rosato represents the parent company. When she confronts Mary, explaining this is a conflict of interest, an epic battle of wills and legal strategy between the two ensues―ripping the law firm apart, forcing everyone to take sides and turning friend against friend.

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About the author:
LISA SCOTTOLINE is a New York Times bestselling and Edgar Award–winning author of more than twenty-five novels. She has 30 million copies of her books in print in the United State, she has been published in thirty-five countries, and her thrillers have been optioned for television and film. Lisa also writes a weekly column with her daughter, Francesca Serritella, for The Philadelphia Inquirer, and those stories have been adapted into a series of bestselling memoirs, the first of which is entitled Why My Third Husband Will Be a Dog. Lisa lives on a Pennsylvania farm with an array of disobedient pets.

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