Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Beach House for Rent - Pub Day Giveaway

When Cara Rutledge rents out her quaint beach house on Isle of Palms to Heather Wyatt for the entire summer, it’s a win-win by any standard: Cara’s generating income necessary to keep husband Brett’s ecotourism boat business afloat, and anxiety-prone Heather, an young artist who’s been given a commission to paint birds on postage stamps, has a quiet space in which to work and tend to her pet canaries uninterrupted.

It isn’t long, however, before both women’s idyllic summers are altered irrevocably: the alluring shorebirds—and the man who rescues them—begin to draw Heather out of the shell she’s cultivated toward a world of adventure, and maybe even love; at the same time, Cara’s life reels with sudden tragedy, and she wishes only to return to the beach house that had once been her port amidst life’s storms. When Heather refuses to budge from her newfound sanctuary, so begins the unlikeliest of rooming situations. While they start out as strangers, as everything around the women falls apart they learn that the only thing they can really rely on is each other.

And, like the migrating shorebirds that come to the island for the summer, these two women of different generations must rediscover their unique strengths so by summer’s end they, too, can take flight in ways they never imagined possible.

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About the author:
Mary Alice Monroe is the New York Times bestselling author of more than a dozen novels, including The Summer GirlsThe Summer WindThe Summer’s End, Last Light Over CarolinaTime Is a RiverSweetgrassSkywardThe Beach House, Beach House Memories, Swimming Lessons, The Four Seasons, and The Book Club. Her books have received numerous awards, including the 2008 South Carolina Center for the Book Award for Writing, the 2014 South Carolina Award for Literary Excellence, the 2015 SW Florida Author of Distinction Award, the RT Lifetime Achievement Award, and the International Book Award for Green Fiction. An active conservationist, she lives in the lowcountry of South Carolina.
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Tuesday, June 13, 2017

The Identicals - Pub Day Review & Giveaway

Review by Melinda Garza
Elin Hilderbrand's latest novel, The Identicals, features identical twins, Harper and Tabitha. The story goes back and forth between two islands, Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard. Harper and Tabitha are identical twins but are so different and live two very different lives. When their parents divorced, they played rock, paper, scissors to see which daughter went with which parent.  Harper won and chose to go with their dad, Billy Frost, in which Tabitha was very upset about. Tabitha had to live with their mother, Eleanor Roxie Frost (ERF). Tabitha has not been able to forgive Harper for choosing to go with Billy and she having to live with her mom.

Harper and Billy lived on Martha's Vineyard. At 73 years old, Billy dies. His doctor, Dr. Zimmer, is Harper's lover.  Dr. Zimmer is also married to Sadie. She owns The Upper Crust. The night of Billy's death, Harper and Dr. Zimmer (Reed) decide to meet and Sadie catches them.  The whole island is talking about their love affair. Harper also has another boyfriend by the name of Drew. She isn't really into him as he is someone she dates in order to make Reed jealous.

Harper has to contact her mother and sister when Billy dies in order to notify them of his death and services. Meanwhile, Tabitha and Eleanor live in Nantucket which is a fancy upscale haven for billionaires. Eleanor is a woman of refinement and owns a clothing store. Tabitha had no real youth as she became pregnant as a young woman. Due to living with Eleanor, Tabitha has adopted her mom's taste, is snobby and uptight, and lives in Eleanor’s shadow. She works for her mom at her shop. Tabitha later becomes pregnant with a 2nd child who was born prematurely. Her first born is named Ainsley and is a wild rebellious teenager who hates her mom and is selfish. Tabitha was having a difficult time adjusting and taking care of her kids shortly after her son was born and released from the hospital so Harper went to help. On the last night of her stay, Harper insists Tabitha and she go out for a fun night. That very night, Tabitha's newborn son dies.  Tabitha blames Harper. If Harper had not insisted they go out she would have been home and might have prevented his sudden death. They, unfortunately, haven't spoken in 14 years since that tragic night.

When Tabitha, Eleanor, and Ainsley attend Billy's services, drama occurs so they leave early. Upon arriving home, Eleanor falls and breaks her hip. Tabitha goes with Eleanor to the hospital but Ainsley continues to give Tabitha trouble. Harper goes to help out with Ainsley despite Tabitha not wanting anything to do with her or her help. Tabitha then decides to go take care of Billy's home despite Harper wanting to sell it as is. Basically, they switch lives and islands.

Are Harper and Tabitha able to reconcile?  Are they able to overcome their bitterness with each other and love each other again?  Are they able to help each other out with Ainsley, Eleanor's store, and Billy's home?  What happens with Harper and Reed?  What about Tabitha - is she able to find love again, forgive, accept her past, and be the mother she wants to be to Ainsley?

Elin Hilderbrand wrote this page turning novel with lots of twists and surprises. It is a great summer read about an unforgettable summer that will change the identical twins forever. I could not put this book down even while on my own beach vacation. This is a definite must read.

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About the author:
Elin Hilderbrand is six minutes older than her twin brother, Eric. She spent time on Martha's Vineyard (summer 1989) before she ever discovered Nantucket (summer 1993), the island she has called home for twenty-four years. Hilderbrand is the mother of three busy teenagers (pause and consider what a miracle it is that this novel even exists). The Identicals is her nineteenth novel.

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Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Summer Dance - Giveaway

When Liam Tate was seven years old, his uncle Cooper opened his heart and his Nantucket home to him. In the intervening decades, Liam has found both love and loss on the island, and since learning of his son Levi’s existence, a new kind of happiness. Yet one piece of his family history remains elusive—the long-ago romance between his uncle and Sally Adams. Now Sally has a revelation that sets the whole town abuzz: She’s publishing a book about what happened during the summer when she and Cooper first met, painting a picture so vivid it feels like yesterday . . .

In 1969, Winston Ellis Cooper III lands on Nantucket with only a duffel bag and a bottle of Jack Daniels. He finds a sparsely furnished beach cottage, about as far from Vietnam as he can get. But even here, Cooper can’t withdraw from the world entirely. Especially once his eyes meet Sally’s in the flickering lights of a summer dance. The effects of that fiery affair can still be felt decades later. And as the story unfolds, there are new lessons for all to learn about life’s triumphs and heartaches, and about loving enough to let go.

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About the author:
Nan Rossiter was born in Mount Vernon, New York. She grew up in Pelham, New York, and in Barkhamsted, Connecticut. From a young age she loved to draw. After high school, she attended Rhode Island School of Design and graduated with a BFA in illustration.
After working in the freelance field and creating art for internationally recognized companies such as Viking, MasterCard, and UPS, Nan began writing and illustrating books for children. She is the author-illustrator of several children’s books, including, most recently, The Fo’c’sle: Henry Beston’s "Outermost House".
Nan lives in rural Connecticut with her husband and two handsome sons. When she’s not working, she enjoys hiking with her family or reading a good book. 

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Tuesday, June 6, 2017

The Good Widow - Review & Giveaway

Review by Deb Czajkowski
Today was the last day of school before summer vacation for elementary school teacher Jacqueline “Jacks” Morales. An exciting day, to be sure. But in the grand scheme of things, it is really just another day in Jacks’ life ─an ordinary day, really.  She goes home and, as she does multiple times each day, calls her sister, Beth, to regale her with funny stories from her day. Still chatting with Beth, there’s a knock on her door, and Jacks finds two police officers waiting on the other side. And her day isn’t ordinary any more.

First, they tell Jacks that James, her husband of eight years, has been killed in a car accident in Maui. Yeah, that’s seriously bad, collapse-on-the-floor shocking bad news. Wait. Did the officer say Maui? James was away on business, yes, but in Kansas.

“Are you sure it’s my husband, James?”  “Yes, Ma’am.”

“And the accident was in Maui?”  “Yes, Ma’am. And, um, he wasn’t alone.”

Jacks is still trying to grasp that she is now a widow, but even harder still, to comprehend the other stunning information ─James was having an affair?  He was in Maui with her? His last days, his last minutes on this earth were with her? ─when there’s another knock on her door.   The man identifies himself as Nick Ford, the fiancé of Dylan Matthews, the woman with James in Maui, the second victim in that fatal car accident.

Nick says he wants more information and his idea for getting it is to go to Maui, to retrace the steps that James and Dylan took.  He’s thinking that Jacks must feel the same way, and he’s hoping that Jacks will go with him. Jacks’ first reaction is that he’s crazy!  This idea is crazy!  It is, right?  Seriously, she doesn’t even know this man!

But Jacks’ desire to be where James was in his last moments, to learn what she can about this woman he was with when he died, and to (hopefully) get some closure wins out.  Is closure actually possible, given what she knows, what she doesn’t know? Can she trust Nick, a man she just met? One way to find out: Jacks and Nick are off to Maui.

In The Good Widow authors Liz Fenton & Lisa Steinke start the novel right off with the problem. In truth, Jacks has two problems: sudden widowhood and James’ mistress. Then the journey ─surely a painful and heartbreakingly difficult one for Jacks and Nick ─begins.  The journey to get answers, to find the truth. The journey to understand. The journey to reach the other side of tragedy and grief.  

So sad, I know, but we’re going to Maui (if only through the pages of this book)! As we, along with Jacks and Nick, follow the itinerary that James and Dylan took, we meet people who remember ‘friends’ James and Dylan.  With each observation or conversation that is disclosed, more and more pieces of the puzzle are added.

Fenton and Steinke do a wonderful job of moving The Good Widow forward in present time, but also taking us back into the past to fill in the before story. Just when I thought I knew where the future was going, something from the past would come to light to surprise me.  I very much enjoyed the Maui site-seeing adventures, but the unfolding drama of Jacks’ and Nick’s exploration really kept me turning the pages.

Think you got it all figured out?  Maybe, but maybe not! You’ll only know for sure if you read the book. And you do want to read The Good Widow!

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About the authors:
Liz Fenton & Lisa Steinke are the authors of the forthcoming suspense novel, The Good Widow, to be published by Lake Union on June 1, 2017. You can pre-order it here! Liz and Lisa have been best friends for over 25 years.  They created this website to celebrate books women (and men!) love and to have a place to talk shit about reality TV stars.  They have also published three novels with Simon & Schuster/Atria Books. Your Perfect Life is a hilarious and heartwarming story of two childhood best friends who switch bodies at their twenty-year high school reunion. The Status of All Things, is a cautionary tale of a woman who realizes she can change the course of her entire life by what she writes in her Facebook status. And The Year We Turned Forty follows three women who get the chance to relive the year they turned forty, a year they each made decisions that altered the course of their lives.  But a lot happened before their first publishing deal…

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Wednesday, May 31, 2017

No One But You - Pub Week Giveaway

Struggling to make ends meet after a messy divorce, Sadie Harris is at the end of her tether. Her waitressing gig isn't enough to pay the bills let alone secure primary custody of her son, Jayden, a battle she refuses to lose. Desperate, she accepts a position assisting Dawson Reed—the same Dawson Reed who recently stood trial for the murder of his adoptive parents. Joining him at his isolated farm seems risky, but Sadie is out of options. 
Dawson has given small town Silver Springs plenty of reasons to be wary, but he's innocent of the charges against him. He wants to leave his painful past behind and fix up the family farm so he can finally bring his dependent sister home where she belongs. 
As Sadie and Dawson's professional relationship grows into something undeniably personal, Sadie realizes there's more to Dawson than the bad boy everyone else sees—he has a good heart, one that might even be worth fighting for.

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About the author:
New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Brenda Novak has penned over 45 novels. A two-time Rita nominee, she's won The National Reader's Choice, The Bookseller's Best, The Bookbuyer's Best and many other awards. She runs an annual online auction for diabetes research every May at www.brendanovak.com. To date, she’s raised over $2 million. Brenda considers herself lucky to be a mother of five and married to the love of her life.

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Wednesday, May 17, 2017

It's Always the Husband - Pub Week Giveaway

Kate, Aubrey, and Jenny first met as college roommates and soon became inseparable, despite being as different as three women can be. Kate was beautiful, wild, wealthy, and damaged. Aubrey, on financial aid, came from a broken home, and wanted more than anything to distance herself from her past. And Jenny was a striver―brilliant, ambitious, and determined to succeed. As an unlikely friendship formed, the three of them swore they would always be there for each other.
But twenty years later, one of them is standing at the edge of a bridge, and someone is urging her to jump.
How did it come to this?
Kate married the gorgeous party boy, Aubrey married up, and Jenny married the boy next door. But how can these three women love and hate each other? Can feelings this strong lead to murder? When one of them dies under mysterious circumstances, will everyone assume, as is often the case, that it’s always the husband?
A suspenseful, absorbing novel that examines the complexities of friendship, It’s Always the Husband will keep readers guessing right up to its shocking conclusion

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About the author:
Michele Campbell is a graduate of Harvard College and Stanford Law School and a former federal prosecutor in New York City who specialized in international narcotics and gang cases.  A while back, she said goodbye to her big-city legal career and moved with her husband and two children to an idyllic New England college town a lot like Belle River in IT’S ALWAYS THE HUSBAND.  Since then, she has spent her time teaching criminal and constitutional law and writing novels.  She has had many close female friends, a few frenemies, and only one husband, who – to the best of her knowledge – has never tried to kill her.

Michele currently lives in New Hampshire.

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Wednesday, May 10, 2017

After the Fall - Giveaway

When an unfortunate accident forces Honor back into the lives of her widowed daughter-in-law, Jo, and her only granddaughter, Lydia, she cannot wait to be well enough to get back to her own home. However, the longer she stays with Jo and Lydia, the more they start to feel like a real family. But each of the three women is keeping secrets from the others that threaten to destroy the lives they’ve come to know.
Honor’s secret threatens to rob her of the independence she’s guarded ferociously for eighty years.
Jo’s secret could destroy the “normal” family life she’s fought so hard to build and maintain.
Lydia’s secret could bring her love―or the loss of everything that matters most to her.
One summer’s day, grandmother, mother and daughter’s secrets will be forced out in the open in a single dramatic moment that leaves them all asking: is there such a thing as second chances?

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About the author:
JULIE COHEN grew up in Maine, USA, and studied English at Brown University, Rhode Island and Cambridge University in England. She moved to the UK permanently to research fairies in Victorian children’s literature at the University of Reading, and then taught English at secondary level. She now writes full time and is a popular speaker and teacher of creative writing. She lives with her husband and their son in Berkshire. She is also the author of Dear Thing and Where Love Lies.

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Tuesday, May 9, 2017

It Happens In The Hamptons - Release Day Giveaway

When Katie Doyle moves across the country to the Hamptons, she is hoping to find summer employment, new friends for her young son, and a chance to explore a new love affair with George, a dazzling investor. What she finds is a strange cocktail of classes, where society’s one-percenters vacation alongside local, hardworking people who’ve lived in the Hamptons for generations. Though she’s looking forward to her move, Katie is wary about mingling in her boyfriend’s East Coast elite circles. She soon discovers Southampton isn’t all that it seems to be on the surface—and neither are the people who live there.

As George takes Katie on a whirlwind tour of country clubs, haute couture, and lavish events, Katie is amazed to witness sudden whims becoming dire needs, extramarital affairs blossoming right and left, and people purchasing friends and loyalties like a pair of shoes. Even the middle-class townspeople maintain determined façades while maneuvering like sharks among the wealthy summer invaders.

The more Katie becomes immersed, the more she learns the stories of both the upstairs and downstairs, the upper crust and middle of the road. The combustion between classes becomes explosive as the summer tears on. Betrayals, a sexual predator, and a missing person lost in murky waves drive the reader on a racing Learjet through impossible twists and turns before landing at the shocking conclusion. When Katie meets Luke, a marine biologist and teacher, he makes her what it is she really wants as she understands the life she’s begun for herself is built on shifting Hamptons’ dunes.

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About the author:
Holly Peterson is the author the May 2017 social satire fiction release, It Happens in the Hamptons. In 2016, she curated an outdoor cooking book, Assouline's Smoke and Fire: Recipes and Menus for Outdoor Entertaining. In 2014, she published The Idea of Him and of the New York Times bestseller The Manny in 2007.  She was a Contributing Editor for Newsweek, an Editor-at-Large for Talk magazine and an Emmy Award-winning Producer for ABC News, where she spent more than a decade covering everthing from trials of the century to global politics. Her writing has been published in the New York Times, Newsweek, Town and Country, The Daily Beast, Vogue, Harper's Bazaar, Elle Decor, Departures and numerous other publications.

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Monday, May 8, 2017

The Book of Summer - Pub Week & Giveaway

The ocean, the wild roses on the dunes and the stunning Cliff House, perched atop a bluff in Sconset, Nantucket. Inside the faded pages of the Cliff House guest book live the spellbinding stories of its female inhabitants: from Ruby, a bright-eyed newlywed on the eve of World War II to her granddaughter Bess, who returns to the beautiful summer estate.
For the first time in four years, physician Bess Codman visits the compound her great-grandparents built almost a century before, but due to erosion, the once-grand home will soon fall into the sea. Bess must now put aside her complicated memories in order to pack up the house and deal with her mother, a notorious town rabble-rouser, who refuses to leave. It’s not just memories of her family home Bess must face though, but also an old love that might hold new possibilities.
In the midst of packing Bess rediscovers the forgotten family guest book. Bess’s grandmother and primary keeper of the book, Ruby, always said Cliff House was a house of women, and by the very last day of the very last summer at Cliff House, Bess will understand the truth of her grandmother’s words in ways she never imagined.

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About the author:
New York Times bestselling author of A Paris Apartment and I'll See You in Paris, MICHELLE GABLE graduated from The College of William & Mary. After a twenty-year career in finance, she now writes full time. Michelle lives in Cardiff-by-the-Sea, California, with her husband, two daughters, and one lazy cat.

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The Book of Summer by Michelle Gable

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Thursday, May 4, 2017

The Distance Home - Pub Week Review

Review by Darcie Czajkowski
There’s more to everyone than meets the eye. That’s the lesson that Emma Metz learns when she returns to her Maryland hometown following the sudden death of her father. As an only child, Emma is tasked with sorting through her father’s house and affairs. In the course of preparing his apartment for sale, Emma finds letters between him and someone she was close to during her childhood. She is shocked to find real emotion in the correspondence, something that was sorely lacking between her and her father throughout her life. And she starts to wonder: Is everything she thought she knew about her father a lie?

While Emma tries to make sense of her relationship with her father, she also revisits Jumping Frog Farm, the place where she fell in love with horses. The farm was her safe haven during her childhood. Until the accident. Until she was sent away. Emma is now forced to confront fractured relationships, the horses she left behind, and her current fast-paced life in Chicago.

And she must decide: Is the life she has the one she wants, or did she make a wrong turn somewhere along the road?

In “The Distance Home,” Orly Konig brings to life issues to which many of us can relate: the revelation of a long-held family secret, confronting a broken friendship, the death of a parent or loved one, and internal conflict about one’s path in life. Though I found the ending to be foreseeable, it also felt right given Emma’s journey. This story is filled with laughter and tears, real emotion, and genuine characters. The author does a wonderful job of creating vivid imagery, placing the reader at the place and time of the characters. You don’t have to love horses like Emma to appreciate the lessons taught in “The Distance Home.”

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About the author:
After years in the corporate world (most of it in the space industry), ORLY KONIG took a leap into the creative world of fiction. She is the founding president of the Womens Fiction Writers Association and an active member of the Writers in the Storm blog. She lives in Maryland with her family. The Distance Home is her first novel.

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Tuesday, May 2, 2017

The Beach House Cookbook - Pub Day Giveaway

You don’t have to own a beach house to enjoy Mary Kay Andrews’ recipes. All you need is an appetite for delicious, casual dishes, cooked with the best fresh, local ingredients and presented with the breezy flair that make Mary Kay Andrews’ novels a summertime favorite at the beach.
From an early spring dinner of cherry balsamic-glazed lamb chops and bacon-kissed green beans, to Fourth of July buttermilk-brined fried chicken, yuppie potato salad, and Coca-Cola cake, to her New Year’s Day Open House menu of charcoal-grilled oysters, home-cured gravlax, grits n’ greens casserole, and Meyer lemon bar trifle, this cookbook will supply ideas for menus and recipes designed to put you in a permanently carefree coastal state of mind all year long.

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12 Things About Mary Kay Andrews

1.      My first successful dish was cinnamon toast—made by me when I was home sick from school in second grade. Still love me some cinnamon toast. The brownies made from Hershey’s syrup and flour were not quite as big a success.

2.     I have no sense of direction and literally get lost looking for my hotel room. Every. Time. Thank Gawd for my phone’s GPS.

3.     I’m the only person I know who didn’t get her driver’s license the minute she turned sixteen. Taking driver’s ed made me terrified to drive! So I didn’t get my license until my parents forced me to, the summer I turned twenty.

4.     I married my high school sweetheart, Tom. Forty years later, we’re still bickering over who gets the remote control.

5.     The secret reason I have two beach houses? Hoarding tendencies. With the exception of new appliances and new mattresses, I was able to completely furnish both houses with estate sale, Craigslist, and junk store finds.

6.     Both our Tybee Island beach houses, Breeze Inn and Ebbtide, are named after the fictional beach houses in my novels. The Breeze Inn was the name of a rundown motel in SAVANNAH BREEZE, and Ebbtide was the name of an oceanfront Nags Head house in SUMMER RENTAL. P.S. Both houses are vacation rentals, so you can stay there too.

7.      Food phobias: Lima beans, liver, canned peas, Easter peeps.

8.     My husband and son are rabid fishermen, but I have a deep-seated aversion to fish. See #9.

9.     If I have a super power, it’s my sense of smell.

10.  Math is my kryptonite. I couldn’t balance a checkbook if my life depended on it.

11.   My husband thinks he’s a better cook than me. He might not be wrong.

12.  Hate to fry. Love to bake.

Author bio:
MARY KAY ANDREWS is The New York Times bestselling author of The WeekendersBeach Town, Save the Date, Ladies’ Night, Christmas Bliss, Spring FeverSummer Rental, The Fixer Upper, Deep Dish, Blue Christmas, Savannah Breeze, Hissy Fit, Little Bitty Lies, and Savannah Blues. A former journalist for The Atlanta Journal Constitution, she lives in Atlanta, Georgia.

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