Life After Coffee Review & Giveaway

Life After Coffee


New From: $7.38 USD In Stock

This book was pitched to me as a perfect laugh out loud book for stressed moms.  I immediately responded that I had to read it, since, clearly, they had me figured out to a T.  And if this is you, too, know while reading that there were a few times I forgot this was fiction.  Some of the dialogue reads like a memoir.

Life After Coffee is the story of Amy, a coffee buyer who travels for work months at a time out of the country.  When she is let go from her job, she finds herself at home with her family for the first time, well, ever.  And she doesn’t know how to be a mom after never having the chance to fully be present before.  As soon as she finds herself as the primary caretaker, her husband gets his turn to work and Amy is left with her children and clueless.

When their savings dips down to practically zero, she is forced to decide if she needs to go back to work to get their family back on their feet.  And when her ex walks back into the picture with a chance to save the day, Amy is left with a decision that can make or break her family.

Amy as a mother was very relatable to me.  I work from home and have two kids, and I get the stress and mess and dirty clothes and judgement.  And you know those moms who pass judgement before they make a sound.  Fans of Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty will also be amused with this story.

My only gripe was a 3-year-old who sounded more like she was 10 when she spoke.  I don’t know many 3-year-olds that hold conversations like those in this book.  A bit of a stretch.

Perfect to read with your own cup of coffee, you’ll quickly relate to the stress of being home with your children and find yourself chuckling at Amy’s struggle to get through her days.

img_1440About the author:

Virginia Franken was born and raised in Medway, Kent, the place where Henry the 8th sent his wives on holiday in the hope that they’d be eaten alive by mosquitoes and save him the trouble of beheading them. Most her childhood was spent wearing a dance leotard and tights, and at age 11 she attended the (sort of) prestigious dance school The Arts Education School, Tring.

After graduating from The University of Roehampton, she worked on cruise liners as a professional dancer before somehow managing to blag a job in book publishing. Getting fed up of having to choose between paying the rent or buying groceries, she eventually moved from London to Los Angeles where life was affordable and every time she opened her mouth she got to act all surprised and flattered when someone said they liked her accent.

These days she lives in Monrovia, near to Pasadena, with two kids, a dog, one ever-lasting goldfish and her bearded lover, in a house that’s just a little bit too small to fit everyone in quite comfortably. She gets most of her writing done when she should be sleeping.

LIFE AFTER COFFEE is her first novel. If enough people buy a copy, there’s a good chance she’ll write another…

imageThanks to TLC Book Tours, I have one copy to give away to a lucky reader.  U.S. and Canada only, please.  You can enter on the Rafflecopter.
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Fractured Review & Giveaway

Fractured


New From: $7.56 USD In Stock

Catherine McKenzie should stick to psychological thrillers.  Trust me, I’ve read some of her earlier novels and was wholeheartedly recommending Arranged to all my friends who loved chick lit.  But the speed at which Fractured reads was worth the wait for her writing in this genre.

I was able to devour chapters at a time so I could figure out how the mystery would play out.  Told from the point of view of Julie Apple, a writer, and her neighbor John Dunbar, the book alternates between past and present as to who is harassing Julie and her family when they move into a new neighborhood in Cincinnati after escaping a stalker from their time in the Pacific Northwest.

Who thought the story of a neighborhood could be so exciting?  I had a hard time putting this one down.  Julie and her family start receiving threats and with her husband at work while she writes at home, she is left without anyone to confide in.  That is until she meets John, a neighbor who was recently laid off and who she can run with.

All readers know from the outset is there is an accident in the present, and thr narrative past slowly builds up to its climactic ending.  A lot of this story reminded me of Paula Treick DeBoard’s last novel, The Drowning Girls, where moving to a new neighborhood could be a cause of so much disastree.  Fans of Mary Kubica and Heather Gudenkauf will fly through these pages and be thrilled they have a similar writer in style to follow.

As of this post, Kindle Unlimited members can read this book for FREE and everyone else can read for only $4.99!

And coming next month readers can download the actual book at the center of this story, The Murder Game written by Julie Apple.

I can’t wait for Catherine’s next book, especially if she writes another psychological thriller.  She is meant to write this way.

img_1434About the author:

A graduate of McGill University in History and Law, Catherine practices law in Montreal, where she was born and raised. An avid skier and runner, Catherine’s novels, SPIN, ARRANGED, FORGOTTEN, HIDDEN and SMOKE, are all international bestsellers and have been translated into numerous languages. HIDDEN was also a #1 Amazon bestseller and a Digital Bookworld bestseller for five weeks. SMOKE was named a Best Book of October by Goodreads, one of the Top 100 Books of 2015 by Amazon, and was a #1 Amazon bestseller.

Her first novel writing as Julie Apple (the protagonist of FRACTURED), THE MURDER GAME, will be published on November 1, 2016.

She is at work on her eighth novel.

And if you want to know how she has time to do all that, the answer is: robots.

Visit her online at her website, on Facebook, and on Twitter and Instagram.

imageThanks to TLC Book Tours, I have 1 copy of Fractured to give away to a lucky reader.  U.S. and Canada only, please.  Enter on the Rafflecopter.
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Deliver Her Review & Giveaway

Deliver Her: A Novel


New From: $6.00 USD In Stock

Imagine being 16 and in high school with your whole life ahead of you.  You have a close group of friends, and your family throws you a blowout party for your Sweet 16.  Later that night you get into a car accident where your best friend is killed.  And now you have to go on without her.  This is the premise of Patricia Perry Donovan’s debut, Deliver Her.

After Alex loses her best friend, she starts to withdraw, starts skipping school, and spends her time with not the best crowd.  Her mom, Meg, knows how upset she is but doesn’t know how to reach her to help.  When she brings up the idea of a change of scenery in a boarding school, Alex scoffs at the idea.  Fiercely determined to help her daughter, she goes behind her back to enroll her and hires a private company to take her there.  And that’s where the trouble begins.

Deliver Her is narrated from multiple points of view, including Alex, Meg, and the driver of the transport company, Carl.  While the point is to get Alex from Point A to Point B, secrets from each character’s past bubble up threatening multiple lives during the course of the book.

I could completely relate to the character of Meg.  While my daughter is still young, I know how it is to question each and every parenting decision you make, still unsure if you did the right thing days after the fact.  She was portrayed completely realistically.

If you like books filled with secrets or domestic dramas, Donovan alternates between a fast-paced thriller and a good character study of a family crumbling under a tragedy.  I’m eager to see what she comes up with next.

Thanks to TLC Book Tours and the author for a copy in exchange for an honest review.

imageAbout the author:

Patricia Perry Donovan is an American journalist who writes about healthcare. Her fiction has appeared at Gravel Literary, Flash Fiction Magazine, Bethlehem Writers Roundtable and in other literary journals. The mother of two grown daughters, she lives at the Jersey shore with her husband, with whom she has fond memories of raising their young family abroad in France. Connect with her on Facebook  and on Twitter. Learn more at her website.

imageThanks to TLC Book Tours, I have a copy available for one lucky reader.  Please head to the Rafflecopter to enter.
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Wednesday, October 5th: Just Commonly
Friday, October 7th: Books ‘N Tea
Monday, October 10th: Building Bookshelves
Wednesday, October 12th: Books a la Mode
Friday, October 14th: Kahakai Kitchen
Monday, October 17th: Kritter’s Ramblings
Wednesday, October 19th: Wall-to-Wall Books
Thursday, October 20th: From the TBR Pile
Monday, October 24th: Bibliotica
Wednesday, October 26th: Back Porchervations
Sunday, November 6th: Writer Unboxed

Triple Love Score Review

Triple Love Score


New From: $10.97 USD In Stock

As a book lover, I also happen to be a grammar nerd and word fiend.  Seems to go hand in hand, right?  So the premise of this new novel, about a poetry professor who creates a brand wirh Scrabble tiles, seemed to be a winner.

Here’s the synopsis:

What happens when you stop playing games?

Miranda Shane lives a quiet life among books and letters as a professor in a small upstate town. When the playing-by-the-rules poet throws out convention and begins to use a Scrabble board instead of paper to write, she sets off a chain of events that rattles her carefully planned world.

Her awakening propels her to take risks and seize chances she previously let slip by, including a game-changing offer from the man she let slip away. But when the revelation of an affair with a graduate student threatens the new life Miranda created, she is forced to decide between love or poetry.

This was a for sure 4 star read.  I found Miranda to be a risk-taker once that Scrabble board came out.  She spoke her mind, not caring what (or who) ended up in her wake.  It’s almost as if the game woke that part of her personality up.  What I loved was that it was her love of words that did it, not a man, even though romance readers will find plenty to love in this story.

With a storyline that takes the reader on a wild adventure, including a trip across the ocean, Brandi has fully developed characters with several surprises along the way.  You’ll be cheering for Miranda to get the career and love life she’s always dreamed of.

imageAbout the author:

Brandi Megan Granett is an author, online English professor, and private writing mentor. She holds a PhD in Creative Writing from Aberystwyth University, Wales, an MFA in Fiction from Sarah Lawrence College, a Masters in Adult Education with an emphasis on Distance Education from Penn State University, and her BA from the University of Florida.

Granett is the author of My Intended (William Morrow, 2000). Her short fiction has appeared in Pebble Lake Review, Folio, Pleiades and other literary magazines, and is collected in the volume Cars and Other Things That Get Around. She also writes an author interview series for the Huffington Post.

When she is not writing or teaching or mothering, she is honing her archery skills. She lives in New Jersey with her husband and daughter.

She can be reached on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and her website.

Thank you to Brandi for the copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

Home Field Review

Home Field: A Novel


New From: $5.23 USD In Stock

When I saw this book being called a mashup of My So-Called Life and Friday Night Lights, my teenage self got all giddy.  I had to get my hands on it, and the wonderful publicity department at William Morrow came through.

I was not disappointed.  Do you ever read a book that transports you to another time and place, where you’re so involved in the telling of the story that time disappears while reading?  This was that book for me.

I found myself at home in rural Maryland along with head football coach Dean, his stepdaughter Stephanie, and his two sons Robbie and Bryan.  They’re reeling after the suicide of their mother Nicole.  Stephanie is about to start college away from home.  Robbie has discovered a love of the arts.  And Dean is in constant fear he isn’t doing right by his family while focusing on his football team.

This book focuses a lot on the characters, alternating propelling the story forward between Dean and Stephanie narrating.  But the plot does not slow down.  We follow this family try to cope with Nicole’s death in their confused states, grieving in their own, unique way.

Hannah Gersen is an extremely talented writer, and it’s hard to believe this was her debut novel.  Each character was someone so well developed that at times it was almost like reading a memoir.  I had a tough time parting ways with this one, and I was tied to each character, hoping they each found peace in the year ahead.  I’ll be looking forward to whatever Gersen writes next.

Thank you to William Morrow for a copy in exchange for an honest review.

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About the author:

Hannah Gersen is a staff writer for The Millions, and her writing has been published in the New York Times, Granta online, and The Southern Review, among others.  Home Field is her first novel.  She lives in Brooklyn with her family.

 

The Things We Wish Were True Review & Giveaway

The Things We Wish Were True


New From: $7.30 USD In Stock

I am a sucker for books that promise secrets.  Whether from other characters or to the reader, count me in.  This domestic drama had lots of them.  Each main character had a secret, which made getting to the end even more fun to find the truth.

This story covers a close group of neighbors over the course of one summer.  After a tragedy at the local pool, the neighbors band together as relationships form and break, and secrets are revealed.

Our cast of characters include:

Jencey…moved away after high school suddenly and is back after her personal life takes a nosedive

Bryte…Jencey’s best friend from high school and now married to Jencey’s high school sweetheart

Zell…the neighborhood matriarch with empty nest syndrome

Lance…Zell’s next-door neighbor who is overworked and a newly single dad of two

Cailey…an 11-year-old struggling to fit in and needing a sense of security

I sure loved some of these incredibly unique names.  The whole time I was reading I was wondering how the author chose them since I hadn’t heard most before.

Slowly unraveling from start to finish, this was certainly a fun story that had me turning pages in order to find out how everything would play out.  I grew to bond with these characters quickly and I sure wouldn’t mind finding out what they all are up to in the future.  Wink, wink.

imageAbout the author:

Marybeth Mayhew Whalen is the author of The Things We Wish Were True and five previous novels. She speaks to women’s groups around the US. She is the co-founder of the popular women’s fiction site, She Reads www.shereads.org. Marybeth and her husband Curt have been married for 25 years and are the parents of six children, ranging from young adult to elementary age. The family lives in North Carolina. Marybeth spends most of her time in the grocery store but occasionally escapes long enough to scribble some words. She is always at work on her next novel. You can find her at www.marybethwhalen.com.

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Saving Phoebe Murrow Review

Saving Phoebe Murrow


New From: $7.33 USD In Stock

Everybody who is a parent knows that being a parent is hard.  There is no manual when you leave the hospital with your baby on how to care for them or discipline them.  In this day and age, there is no book on how to protect them from social media and cyberbullying.  And that is the exact premise of Herta Feely’s novel, Saving Phoebe Murrow.

The focus of this story is Phoebe, a teenager who just wants to fit in.  She doesn’t want her friends to turn on her or be the butt of their jokes.  She wants to be noticed and wanted by the boy that she likes.  Her mom, an attorney, sends her to private school in an attempt to make these things happen for her.  They are well-to-do and socialize with families of a similar stature.

Starting out with the main bullying incident, Feely works backwards in time to explain how everything came to be as told from many characters’ points of view.  If you think bullying is bad, the idea of cyberbullying is even worse.  No way to connect it to a certain person and it can go on for such a long time without anyone else knowing.  As a parent, that is my biggest fear.  And I sense that Feely wrote this story to make more parents aware of the signs and how to be more involved in what’s going on in their children’s lives.

It for sure opened my eyes to see how easily (and quickly!) it can happen and escalate.  I know I will never be able to completely shelter my children from computers and the Internet, but this book was eye-opening to the motivations behind teenagers’ actions and words and even adults’.  Fans of domestic dramas will enjoy it for sure.  And those hoping for a manual on raising teenagers.

 

image About the author:

Herta B. Feely is a writer and full-time editor. Her short stories and memoir have been published in anthologies and literary journals, including The Sun, Lullwater Review, The Griffin, Provincetown Arts, and Big Muddy. In the wake of the James Frey scandal, Feely edited and published the anthology, Confessions: Fact or Fiction? She was awarded the James Jones First Novel Fellowship and an Artist in Literature Fellowship from the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities for The Trials of Serra Blue. She has also received an award from American Independent Writers for best published personal essay for a piece on immigration. In Saving Phoebe Murrow, Feely continues her commitment to activism on behalf of children. A graduate of UC Berkeley and Johns Hopkins University, Feely is the co-founder of Safe Kids Worldwide, an organization dedicated to saving children from unintentional injuries, the leading killer of children in the United States. She lives in Washington, DC, with her husband and cats.

Connect with Herta on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and her website.

Thank you to Smith Publicity for a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

The Whiskey Sea Review & Giveaway

The Whiskey Sea


New From: $7.02 USD In Stock

If you’re looking for your historical fiction to add an element of adventure or a touch of romance, look no further.  Ann Howard Creel’s new novel does just that.  I learned about the lengths people would go during Prohibition for extra money.

After her mother’s death when she was just a child, Frieda and her sister, Bea, were taken in by a fisherman, Silver, when they had nowhere else to go.  He cared for them as if they were his own.  When he loses the ability after a health crisis to take care of himself or the girls, Frieda is left to pick up the pieces to take care of him and pave a way for a better life for Bea.

As a trained boat mechanic, an opportunity presents itself to help the rumrunners make nightly boat trips for liquor to sell in town.  As lucrative as it is, it’s extremely dangerous.  Not only to be caught by the guard boats and arrested, but to be captured and killed by pirates.

The book started and hooked me right away, as I haven’t read anything before about rumrunners during Prohibition.  I loved how Frieda was feisty and fought hard for what she wanted, unusual for these times.  While other girls went to school to study to become nurses or teachers, she knew she was meant to work on the sea.

I thought the middle of the book got a little bogged down with a new romance that seemed out of character for her.  But the ending also was a page turner.

For anyone who enjoys historical fiction, if you’re looking for a new-to-you subject, this is one to pick up.  The adventure is enough to hold your interest.

 

image About the author:

Ann Howard Creel is the author of ten published novels–four middle grade, three young adult, and three adult novels. Her children’s books have won numerous awards, and THE MAGIC OF ORDINARY DAYS was made into a Hallmark Hall of Fame movie for CBS.

Creel’s latest novel, THE WHISKEY SEA, a story about a female rumrunner, is available on Amazon as a Kindle book, paperback, audio book, and MP3 CD.

For more information, visit Ann’s website.

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The Regulars Review

The Regulars: A Novel


New From: $10.40 USD In Stock

In today’s society, we all know the value placed on being pretty.  Magazines are Photoshopped so even supermodels look better on the page than they do in real life.  Actors get styled and made up before television appearances and red carpets.  With the ability to see a picture taken immediately, how many of you have had a redo when the angle is wrong or you need to reapply your lipstick?

That is the concept Georgia Clark brings us in The Regulars.  It tells the story of three friends (Willow, Evie, and Krista) who are ordinary 20-somethings trying to navigate life in New York City. Willow is a photographer trying to make a name for herself outside of her famous dad’s shadow. Evie dreams of a life writing rather than editing the glossy Salty.  And Krista aspires to be an actress, if only she can make it to her next audition on time.

Until one day someone gives Krista a jar of Pretty, a magical elixir that will change the girls’ appearance to make them look like supermodels.  What will happen if they take it?

I was entertained by this book a lot more than I expected to be.  Think of it as a fairy tale for adults. After reading an interview about how this book came to be, I couldn’t help but suspend disbelief for the few days I was immersed in this story.  It made me think of the pressure placed on women today just based on looks.  Girls as young as preschool age putting way more thought than necessary into their clothes and their hair.  Little girls telling their moms they look fat when compared to their friends.  So what can we do to change it?

Unfortunately, I think we have a long way to go before red carpets become more about the roles women play in movies rather than what designer they’re wearing.  Props to Reese Witherspoon for starting the trend with #AskHerMore last year. Hopefully, the generation of young girls will start following Evie’s attitude from this book a lot sooner.

image About the author:

Georgia Clark is the author THE REGULARS (Emily Bestler Books/Simon & Schuster), and two YA novels, SHE’S WITH THE BAND and PARCHED. THE REGULARS is her debut adult fiction and is being released around the world.

Georgia was born in Sydney, Australia. Her BA in Communications (Media Arts & Production) saw her becoming active in the student movement and blow way too much money on making short films and music videos.

After graduating she became a professional hipster for a while as Editor of The Brag, an excellent weekly music street press magazine. This also involved being in a band, the seminal electropop trio, Dead Dead Girls. She went on to become an Online Producer for a soapie called Home & Away, and Online Writer for Fremantle Media Australia.

In 2008 her first novel, She’s With The Band was published by Australia’s largest independent publisher, Allen & Unwin. She’s With The Band was released in the U.S. and the U.K. in 2011. It attracted five-star reviews.

Georgia has worked as a freelance journalist and copywriter for ten years. She is published in Cosmo, CLEO, Daily Life, Sunday Life, Girlfriend and more. She has attended writers’ residencies in Martha’s Vineyard and Portugal, and has also received grants for her work.

Georgia moved to from Sydney to New York in 2009 just for fun. Here, she performs improv and enjoys meeting new and interesting cheese platters. She writes from the New York Writers Room, which involves macaroons and many, many cups of tea. She lives in Brooklyn and is hard at work on her next book.

Thank you to BookSparks and their #bestsummerever for the copy in exchange for an honest review.

The Monster’s Daughter Review & Giveaway

The Monster’s Daughter


New From: $4.23 USD In Stock

I applaud author Michelle Pretorius for this novel.  She managed to teach me about a completely new to me culture in an interesting way.  This novel takes place in South Africa from 1901 to the present.  For someone like me with no previous background on the subject, she wrote a historical thriller that managed to shock me at times.

There are dual storylines at play here.  We start out during war in 1901 with a doctor performing unethical medical experiments on people.  Fast forward to 2010 where we meet Alet, a constable for the Unie police, called to investigate a burned body.  The story alternates between Alet’s search for a current killer and the flashbacks of how this murder relate to what happened in the past.

At one point I gasped out loud with a twist I did not see coming.  Pretorius has a knack for pacing and knows just how to drop the right clues when, an amazing feat for a debut novelist.  It was incredibly researched.  However, this is not a novel to read when you are doing multiple things at once.  You need to pay attention and focus.  There’s a lot of characters and how they relate to each other is essential to your enjoyment of the story.

I did love the South African terms and titles I was unfamiliar with interspersed throughout the story.  Aside from the central mystery to solve, I was learning about scientific advancements, race relations, and politics of what seems to be a corrupt system in Africa.  Both storylines keep you glued to the page as the mystery unravels for both the reader and our protagonist.

imageAbout the author:

Born and raised in South Africa, Michelle received a B.A. at the University of the Free State in Bloemfontein. She has lived in London, New York, and the Midwest and holds an MFA in Fiction Writing from Columbia College Chicago. She is currently a doctoral student in creative writing at Ohio University.

Connect with Michelle
Website | Facebook | Twitter

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