November Road Review & Giveaway

11/22/63 by Stephen King is one of my all-time favorite reads, and what I immediately think of when I hear “the Kennedy assassination.” King’s endorsement of this novel, now in paperback, sealed the deal, especially because I was such a big fan of Berney’s earlier novel, The Long and Faraway Gone.

This crime story features Frank Guidry, lieutenant to a mob boss who may know too much about Kennedy’s death in Dallas. Then we have Charlotte, eager to escape her marriage and make a better life for her and her children.

What’s most surprising about this story is the tenderness used as a backdrop to the gritty mob world because of the love story — two people struggling in their current situations who find each other at just the right time.

The characters shine through the pages in their words, but even more so in their actions and expressions, as Berne’s described them.

I felt an immediate connection to Charlotte, who constantly wondered if she was doing right by her children, a question most mothers face, no matter the time period.

This book should be a hit for everyone, whether you enjoy historical fiction, crime, romance, or learning more about the early ‘60s and the Civil Rights movement.

I can easily see this taking shape on screen, so I was thrilled to read the film rights have already been secured. I’m eager to read whatever Berney cooks up next.

My thanks to the publisher and TLC Book Tours for the opportunity to read and review. You can follow the tour here. Order your own copy via HarperCollins.

I have one copy to share with a lucky reader. U.S. only, please. Enter on the Rafflecopter.

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The Perfect Fraud Review & Giveaway


The Perfect Fraud: A Novel (Hardcover)


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It’s always tough as a debut author to break through the mold and make a name for yourself. So imagine the pressure when you’re being compared to Jodi Picoult and Gillian Flynn. But LaCorte puts herself on the map here —the cover had me at “hello” and I was intrigued when first reading the synopsis.

I will say it’s less of a thriller, as it is marketed, and more of a psychological deep dive. We have Claire, who was born into a family of psychics but doesn’t believe she truly possesses the gift. And Rena, a mother fighting with every ounce of her being to determine what is making her young daughter, Stephanie, so sick.

While the story was pretty predictable, I was eager to get the end so I could find out the outcome and the journey the author led me on to get there. It was a quick read, as the chapters are short, and the narration flips back and forth between the two main characters. However, I learned very early on my dislike of Rena and how she treats others. Claire was a tough sell at the beginning but I came around about halfway through. This made it a little tougher to read since I wasn’t concerned how these two ended up. But my heart broke for Stephanie and I was really rooting for a happy ending.

With a unique take on tarot card readings and frauds, I think this would translate well to screen with Katherine Heigl as the perfect Rena.

My thanks to the publisher for the review copy. They’ve also generously shared a finished copy for a giveaway. U.S. only, please. Enter on the Rafflecopter. a Rafflecopter giveaway

Have You Seen Luis Velez Review & Giveaway


Have You Seen Luis Velez? (Paperback)


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Nobody writes stories of intergenerational friendship better than Catherine Ryan Hyde. She did an exceptional job with it in Allie and Bea and again with this new release.

Aside from the story, which includes a mystery, character growth, and fun supporting cast, you get some humdingers of life lessons, brought to you by 17-year-old Raymond Jaffe and 92-year-old Millie Gutermann. These characters balance each other so perfectly and just set the stage for a heartwarming plot, even amidst the few bouts of tragedy.

Raymond is a character I won’t soon forget. I hope my son grows to be as equally kind and good intentioned as he is. I love how even in his youth, he was able to teach Millie a thing or two about his generation.

With elements thrown in of Pay it Forward, readers who still need to be told there is good in this world need to pick this up. With so many current events shared constantly via social media that are hard to stomach, this book, when finished, should put a smile on your face and be one you want to pass along and share with others.

My thanks to Little Bird Publicity and Lake Union for the review copy.

I have one copy to share with a lucky reader. U.S. only, please. Enter on the Rafflecopter.

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Park Avenue Summer Review & Giveaway


Park Avenue Summer (Paperback)


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I’ve long been a fan of Renee Rosen and how she transports the reader to a small section of history and ignites her story from there. Park Avenue Summer is her newest standout and what I consider her best novel to date.

In this novel, Rosen brings longtime editor and author Helen Gurley Brown to live, as told through her fictional secretary, Alice Weiss. Alice heads to New York City to chase her mother’s dream and longs for a career in photography. Granted, this is 1965 and the men are still running the show, including Cosmopolitan, which they consider to be for housewives and stay-at-home mothers. Until Brown is handed the reins and wants to do things her way.

I couldn’t flip the pages fast enough, which generally happens for me only while reading thrillers and suspense. It’s compulsively readable and each night I couldn’t wait to dig in to see how everything would end up.

Kudos to both Alice and Helen for being strong-minded women who didn’t think twice about standing up for themselves and what they believed in, especially considering the time period. That’s so refreshing to see these days in literature.

If you enjoy history, magazines, pop culture, strong women, or are just looking for an incredible read, this one is highly recommended. A true 5 stars.

Thanks to the publisher, I have one copy to give away to a lucky reader. U.S. only, please. Enter on the Rafflecopter.

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In Another Time Review & Giveaway


In Another Time: A Novel (Paperback)


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I am someone who has the hardest time suspending disbelief, especially when reading or watching something contemporary. Then I got my hands on 11/22/63 by Stephen King and sped through all 849 pages at a pace I couldn’t believe. Last year I read The Dream Daughter by Diane Chamberlain and thought it was her best book to date.

Cantor, like King, manages to create not only a love story involving time travel, but kept historically accurate by writing about real events, just using fictional characters. Readers, suspend your disbelief, because this is a book you too will end up loving.

Yes, it’s a love story between Max and Hanna. But it’s also a love story between Hanna and her violin. I can’t say classical music generally gets me giddy and excited but I felt the love for this instrument. It brought the characters peace and in one case, was the difference between life and death.

When I first read Margot by Cantor, I knew I’d be a huge fan of hers moving forward. She is able to be inventive while holding true to history, all of which can be said with her newest story.

If you like historical fiction, characters that come alive off the page, and books where the pages keep turning, you’ll want to make this your next read.

My thanks to Get Red PR for the review copy.

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The Songbird Review & Giveaway

The Songbird (Hardcover)


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I started this book in the midst of a super blizzard through the Chicagoland area.  Snow coming down about 1-2” per hour and all I could see was white.  Just the cover was such a sight.  It made me dream of warm weather and spring.  All the light colors and fresh green turned my frown upside down, as they say.

Marcia Willett is a new-to-me author and was put on my radar by the kind publicity team at St. Martins Press.  Reading this novel reminded me of why I love Maeve Binchy books.  The characters are fully fleshed out, the setting, so descriptive.  These characters felt like they could walk off the page to my home, and we could sit down to tea and have a lengthy conversation.

The story starts with Tim, who confides in his coworker Mattie that he needs a sabbatical from work and home.  She recommends her family’s estate of Brockscombe.  It’s where her sister’ lives with her husband and child and his parents reside.  Tim finds immediate comfort and quickly becomes an extended family member.  As you read along, you discover secrets these characters are holding.

I will say that this is not a plot-heavy or plot-driven novel.  Yes, things happen, secrets are revealed, and we learn more about the characters.  It’s a gentle read, perfect for curling up in bed with a cup of tea over the weekend.

My thanks to the publisher for the review copy.

About the author: The Songbird is MARCIA WILLETT’s eighteenth novel to be published in the U.S. Her novels are available in seventeen countries around the world. She lives in Devon, England.

Thanks to the publisher, I have one copy to give away to a lucky reader.  U.S. only, please.  Enter on the Rafflecopter.
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How to Get Your Screen-Loving Kids to Read Books for Pleasure Review & Giveaway

This is a book I’m keeping on my keeper shelf because I know I’ll reach for it time and time again.  It’s a great resource and reference for any parent or educator who is frustrated with screen time and is just out of ideas on how to proceed.

When presented with the opportunity to read this book, I wasn’t sure right away as I saw it was written for middle schoolers and adolescents.  I have much younger kids but still see them on a screen way too often.  And as someone who works full-time, I admit that occasionally it becomes a babysitter while I’m in a meeting or have to finish a task.  My 6-year-old has lost his love for toys now that he has an iPad available at all times.  But at the same time, I don’t want to shove a book in his hand and take away his willingness to want to read.  So I figured it could be adapted to the younger crowd.

And it was.  I love how it’s written for parents who have no background in education.  I mean, I’m a book blogger and refuse to fall asleep unless I read first.  My daughter has started to do this too.  My son is harder to get through to.  Now that he has started learning to read and can get through Dr. Seuss and Mo Willems, it’s more common but I still would like less screen time.

There’s a ton of recommended books that Newton provides no matter what subject matter or interest the child has.  I even wrote a few down that sounded right up my alley.  And she definitely provides outside-the-box strategies for encouraging reading at all times, even when driving in the car or there’s a group of kids together.

This book can easily be read in 2 hours and will even give you ways to encourage speaking about reading and gives gift suggestions.  It can also appeal to those who love screens by making a movie date out of a book that is just recently adapted.  I definitely recommend having it available or gifting it to a special teacher for the holidays.

About the author: Kaye Newton lives outside Nashville, TN with her husband, three kids, and two lively dogs. “Incision Decisions”, her first book, won a silver medal at the 2017 Readers’ Favorite Awards.

My thanks to the author for the review copy and for providing a copy for a giveaway.  U.S. only, please.  To enter, leave a comment answering “What is your struggle with screen time?”  One random commenter will be chosen on Sunday, October 28.

Evergreen Tidings from the Baumgartners Review & Giveaway

 

 

‘Tis the season of pumpkin spice, apples fresh off the trees, and the chance to open our windows and let the cool air in.  While I love that about fall, I also get excited about books moving from the beach to the holidays.  Give me a fluffy blanket and a mug of something hot and I’m in heaven.

This debut novel had me in stitches and will be a fun read for you this fall.  It is drama mixed with humor, heart, and scenes straight out of a Ben Stiller movie.

While the title might have you thinking this is a straight-up Christmas read, have no fear if that’s not what you’re looking for.  It is not holiday centered.  The holidays make an appearance but the story focuses on The Baumgartners: matriarch Violet, newly retired patriarch Ed, and their daughter, Cerise, who has a secret she’s been keeping from her parents.  Add in friends, lovers, and a weather girl, and you have a recipe for hilarious hijinks.

If you enjoyed This is Where I Leave You or the show Brothers & Sisters starring Sally Field, definitely get yourself a copy of this book.  As I was reading, both of those kept popping into my head.  So it’s obvious how well this book will translate to screen if given the opportunity.  I will save the casting director some time and recommend Kelly Bishop for the role of Violet.  She reminded me so much of Emily Gilmore and would just be perfect for this part.

I also loved the articles and letters between chapters.  It had a Young Jane Young feel to it and was a fresh break from the main plot line.

My thanks to TLC Book Tours and the publisher for the review copy.

Thanks to the publisher, I have one copy to give away to a lucky reader.  U.S. only, please.  Enter on the Rafflecopter.  And be sure to follow the tour for more chances to win!
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About the author: GRETCHEN ANTHONY is a Minnesota-based writer and humorist whose work has been featured on scarymommy.com, medium.com and thewritelife.com. She’s also spent decades as a ghostwriter and has written for some of the best personal brands in the United States, from CEOs to doctors and start-up superstars to BBQ pros. Evergreen Tidings from the Baumgartners is her first novel.

Connect with Gretchen

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Go On, Girl Review & Giveaway

There seems to be a new genre of books being published lately.  Ones with moms being the central focus.  All of the drama and cattiness that you’d see in a kindergarten classroom I’m reading about in fiction among mothers.  But it’s realistic as can be.

Liane Moriarty brought it back in Big Little Lies and Laurie Gelman made it laugh-out-loud funny in Class Mom.  Hilary Grossman’s new novel brings it center stage as the Forest River PTA dishes out more drama than you’d find in a Meryl Streep movie.  For those without children (yes, you’ll enjoy it too), I’m almost afraid to admit that some moms do act this way.

Go On, Girl tells the story of Sydney Clayton who is basically coerced into joining the PTA or else she runs the risk of her daughter losing her friendships.  Welcome to a drama-filled year.  Amidst it all, there are touching moments between friends and relationships built.  I really enjoyed the dialogue between Sydney and her husband, Craig.  It felt so relatable to me since I am also a working mom dealing with the kids  AND everything that goes with that — after-school activities, sports, homework, etc.

This is a perfect book to read while waiting in the carpool line or in between doctors’ appointments.  It was a nice palate cleanser between some heavier reads.

You can now read all of Hilary’s books digitally for $3.99 or less!

My thanks to the author for a review copy.

About the author: By day, Hilary Grossman works in the booze biz. By night she hangs out with her “characters.” She has an unhealthy addiction to denim and high heel shoes. She’s been known to walk into walls and fall up stairs. She only eats spicy foods and is obsessed with her cat, Lucy. She loves to find humor in everyday life. She likens life to a game of dodge ball – she tries to keep many balls in the air before they smack her in the face. She lives on Long Island. To find out more of what Hilary is up to check out her Facebook page  or find her on Twitter.

Thanks to the author, I have one ebook copy to give away to a lucky reader.  Click on the Rafflecopter to enter.
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When Elephants Fly Review & Giveaway

This could easily be my favorite YA novel of the year.  While it deals with heavy subjects including mental illness, acceptance, and animal conservation and abuse, it also features a kick-ass protagonist who grows through the novel and becomes a woman who puts her life second, behind saving the one creature she’s grown to love.

It is cliche to say you will laugh and cry while reading this book but it’s absolutely true.  T. Lily Decker is a high school senior who is terrified of developing schizophrenia, just like her mother.  While interning at the local paper, she heads out on assignment to cover the story of a new baby elephant born at the zoo.  As Lily knows firsthand, being abandoned by your mother is not easy.  So when the calf, Swifty, is rejected by its mother, Lily learns she can’t quite give up the story or the animal.

I loved how through her journey, Lily learned that the world was bigger than just her and her fears.  Not only that, but she was able to inspire others to fight for her cause.   When the story ended, I had a hard time letting go of these characters.  I could have easily followed them for months longer.

Please don’t skip this just because it’s classified as YA.  It only is because some of the main characters are in high school.  If you enjoyed The Life She Was Given by Ellen Marie Wiseman or All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven, you will also love this novel.  This book will have you laughing one minute, crying the next, and aching for a Swifty of your own.

My thanks to the publisher for the review copy.

About the author: Nancy Richardson Fischer is a graduate of Cornell University, a published author with children’s, teen and adult titles to her credit, including Star Wars titles for Lucas Film and numerous athlete autobiographies, such as Julie Krone, Bela Karolyi and Monica Seles. She lives in the Pacific Northwest.

Thanks to the publisher, I have one copy to give away to a lucky reader.  U.S. only, please.  Enter on the Rafflecopter.
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