The Songbird Review & Giveaway

The Songbird (Hardcover)


New From: $16.56 USD In Stock
Release date: December 4, 2018.

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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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Hot Mess Review

Hot Mess (Paperback)


New From: $10.99 USD In Stock
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Good girl + bad boy + the food scene in my favorite city, Chicago = an entertaining and fun read.

Perfedtly titled, as it describes the characters and plot, Hot Mess focuses on 25-year-old Allie Simon, an up-and-coming social media guru dating Chicago’s ultimate bad boy chef, Benji Zane, a genius in the kitchen with a drug addiction in his past.  When Benji and general manager, Angela, want to open a brand-new restaurant, Here, they convince Allie to invest, just to get them started.

I loved the planning and prep part of the story for when Allie and Angela were focused on getting Here ready to open.  I learned so much about what goes on behind the scenes of a restaurant, everything from sourcing vendors to ordering dishes and hiring staff.  Belden had great dialogue so that I learned a lot while still getting a kick out of everything happening.

I wish Allie wasn’t so naive.  Granted, she’s young, and I absolutely appreciated her growth throughout the novel, but she still made some less-than-smart choices.  The romance added a little sizzle to the story.  Given today’s obsession with Instagramming your entree and Tweeting your experiences, I loved how Belden incorporated all of that into the running of Here.

This would be a perfect read for a trip to the beach or a long plane ride.  The antics of the characters along with the trials and tribulations of opening a restaurant will keep you happily turning the pages.

About the author: Emily Belden is a food journalist, social media marketer, and storyteller. She is the author of the novels Hot Mess and Husband Material, and of Eightysixed: A Memoir about Unforgettable Men, Mistakes, and Meals. After she tiled her bedroom floor in over 60,000 pennies – all heads up for good luck – she was a guest on The Today Show and her story was covered by media outlets across the country. A Chicago native, Emily lives with her rescue dog in the West Loop, conveniently close to many of the city’s best restaurants.  You can reach Emily on her website, Facebook, and Twitter.

Be sure to follow the tour for more reviews!  My thanks for the review copy from TLC Book Tours and the publisher.

The Secret Life of Mrs. London Review & Giveaway

When I started this book, I had no information about the famous author, Jack London.  He wrote such classics as The Call of the Wild and White Fang.  But this book is more the story of Jack told from his wife’s point of view, Charmian.  What a fascinating person she was.  I believe the word used in the book was “pluck.”  Never afraid to speak her mind or

As Jack’s typist and editor, Charmian is at his beck and call whenever the inspiration strikes.  His sister runs his estate and employs hundreds of helpers.  When the famous couple meet the Houdinis for the first time, Charmian feels an attraction to both the magician and his wife, Bessie, just for a friend to talk to.

I loved reading Houdini’s magic scenes, as I’m such a fan of illusionists, and I felt like I was in the audience watching.  The socializing and witty banter when they all got to drinking also propelled the book along.  I mean, this husband and wife boxed each other first thing in the morning.  With boxing gloves.  Can you imagine? And, oh, the scandals!  Like reading a soap opera back in the early 1900s.

Rosenberg put a lot of research into this book and it shows.  She knows what she’s talking about down to the minute details.  Fans of historical fiction or those wanting to learn more about the famous men and their wives will get a kick out of this story.  Grab a cocktail and thank me later.

My thanks to the publisher and Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours for a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About the Author

A California native, Rebecca Rosenberg lives on a lavender farm with her family in Sonoma, the Valley of the Moon, where Jack London wrote from his Beauty Ranch. Rebecca is a long-time student of Jack London’s works and an avid fan of his daring wife, Charmian London. The Secret Life of Mrs. London is her debut novel.

Rebecca and her husband, Gary, own the largest lavender product company in America, selling to 4000 resorts, spas and gift stores. The Rosenbergs believe in giving back to the Sonoma Community, supporting many causes through financial donations and board positions, including Worth Our Weight, an educational culinary program for at-risk children, YWCA shelter for abused women, Luther Burbank Performing Arts Center to provide performances for children, Sonoma Food Bank, Sonoma Boys and Girls Club, and the Valley of the Moon Children’s Home.

For more information, please visit Rebecca’s website and blog. You can also find her on Facebook and Goodreads. Visit the Facebook page for The Secret Life of Mrs. London.

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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2017 Fictional Valentines

Whether you’re a fan of Valentine’s Day or not, I know you all enjoy reading books.  And who hasn’t imagined a fictional character in a book treating you the way you deserve, whispering sweet nothings in your ear?

I have to admit that I’ve never read Pride & Prejudice, so no Mr. Darcy here.  Here are 6 newish releases I picked for this year’s fictional Valentines.  Men only and no YA.  Thought that might be a little awkward.  So without further ado…

Josh from The Hating Game

Currently $7.99 on Kindle

A workplace love-hate relationship that turns quickly to love.  You’ll enjoy the funny banter between the characters and whip through this read.

Alexander from The Bronze Horseman

Currently $1.99 on Kindle

This soldier will go to any length to protect his true love during war.  A sizzling romance follows in Book 1 of this epic trilogy.

Pat from Center Ring

Currently $4.99 on Kindle

A Hollywood actor who spends his days with the most beautiful women on the planet falls for a PR executive and treats her like royalty.

Dominic from Falling

Currently $12.99 on Kindle

You’ll discover that family comes in all shapes in sizes when this single father landlord falls for his new tenant.

 

Patrick from I Let You Go

Currently $11.99 on Kindle

While only in this book for a short time, he’s the one that treats Jenna as she deserves, without asking questions of her past and judging her.

Andy from Who Do You Love

Currently $11.99 on Kindle

From first meeting Rachel as a child, Andy realizes throughout his life that love at first sight can happen at any time.

 

So who did I miss?  Who would be your fictional Valentine?  Please let me know!  Happy Valentine’s Day!

 

Conjuring Casanova Review

Conjuring Casanova (Paperback)


New From: $16.95 USD In Stock
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The synopsis: Lizzy has been wounded by the men in her life far too often, which is why she spends herfree time immersed in the memoir of the legendary lover, Giacomo Casanova. After a child in her care tragically dies, Lizzy escapes to Venice for a needed break to work through her life crisis. One morning, Casanova appears beside her on the hotel rooftop. The time gap and culture clash sets in motion an attraction that spans centuries. Witty and charming, Casanova is
Casanova—in a frenzy of love for women. Who better to teach modern, guarded Lizzy about
love and life than an eighteenth-century Libertine?

Page by page, Rea engagingly sets our modern mores into sharp focus, giving readers a
great romp through time. Lizzy’s friends are seduced—literally and figuratively—by the open,
and curious high mind of Casanova. He loves modern technology and imaginative experiences.
Seeing life through his eyes, Lizzy has new epiphanies, struggles and surprises, as she rethinks
her life and supposed liberty.

For lovers of love, humor and sharp banter, Conjuring Casanova is an entertaining and
touching read. Rea dishes up the perfect romance—spicing it up with a taste of history and a
time-slip, and delivers a delicious story about love and being human.

My thoughts: This book came at a perfect time, as I had just finished a heavy and emotional read.  It was a light book but still had me flipping pages.  The unique storyline was one I couldn’t stop reading because I had to know how Casanova appearing in 2016 would end up for Lizzy.

For fans of romance, be sure to add this to your reading list.  The humorous dialogue and situations add an extra dimension of fun to this book.

I loved the descriptions of Venice and Paris.  Being a couch traveler, Rea made it feel as if you were walking the streets with the characters.  And having known nothing about Casanova prior to this read beside his reputation as the world’s greatest lover, it was interesting to see what a smart and endearing man he was.

img_1456About the author:

Melissa Rea has a degree in psychology with a minor in French, is an amateur Casanovist. A dedicated researcher, she has read Histoire de Ma Vie many times in English and in its original Archaic French. She traveled to Paris to see the handwritten manuscript when it was displayed for the first time in over two hundred years, and has stayed in the hotel in Venice that was Giacomo Casanova’s home for nine years. Originally from Louisiana, Rea has a degree in dentistry from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. She practices in St. Louis where she lives with her husband, and is at work on her third novel. When not drilling, reading or writing, she is in search of the next Madmen/50s era dress and a matching bon mot.  She can be reached on Facebook, Twitter, and her website.

Thank you to Quatrain PR for a copy in exchange for an honest review.

Book Spotlight: The Adjustments

The Adjustments (Paperback)


New From: $16.99 USD In Stock
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In the postcard Connecticut town of Cannondale, financial status is followed closely by social standing. Nowhere is this battle more fiercely contested than among the housewives of Fairfield County. THE ADJUSTMENTS (FULL FATHOM FIVE), a debut romance/women’s fiction title by Ann Lineberger, airs the deliciously dirty laundry hidden behind one town’s picture-perfect facade.

In Cannodale, attending yoga classes at the trendy studio in town—taught by the sexy and mysterious Yogi Jack—is part of every elite woman’s routine. But the inner peace that yoga brings is only part of the appeal: many of the women come only for Jack and his seductive in-class adjustments. And in his private sessions, Jack provides services far beyond the usual realm of warrior pose, downward-facing dog, and shavasana.
Drama, jealousy, and intrigue will emerge as readers delve into the town’s greedy underbelly, and when one dark secret finds the light of day, it will threaten to change everything.
Fans of Desperate Housewives and Revenge will find a romance/women’s fiction story with an unhealthy dose of dirty scandal; yogis will find themselves yearning for their own kundalini awakening; and as a veritable realty expert, Lineberger’s layers of architectural detail will have design junkies salivating with property lust.

A yoga teacher with a dark side; broken families hidden within impeccable McMansions; and an insightful take on the importance of authenticity—in THE ADJUSTMENTS, Lineberger has deftly weaved a compelling story that touches on one inescapable truth: nobody is perfect, and nothing is ever what it seems.

This novel contains mature content.

ADVANCE PRAISE FOR THE ADJUSTMENTS

Ann Lineberger cooks up a devilishly delicious blend of yoga, sexcapades, McMansions, videotapes and a roaring bonfire of intrigue in The Adjustments, as she rips open the underbelly of contemporary suburban life. This scalding novel speaks to one indelible truth: people are rarely who or what they seem to be. ~ Mark Rubinstein, award winning author of The Lovers’ Tango

Eastern holistic practice collides with Western materialism in Fairfield County! Ann Lineberger’s keen awareness of the insecurities that quake behind wealthy facades allows her to both tweak and empathize with her subjects. Yoga isn’t the only thing tying the women of Cannondale in knots in this saucy, sexy, and insightful debut novel. ~ Jacques Lamarre, Playwright and Director of Communications, The Mark Twain House & Museum

Are those well-heeled suburbanites flocking to their fancy yoga classes because they’re honestly searching for inner peace–or for something more exciting? You’ll find the scandalous answer in The Adjustments, a scorching page-turner that shows how a Connecticut town can be as hot as L.A. or Miami. ~ Alan Deutschman, author of A Tale of Two Valleys: Wine, Wealth, and the Battle for the Good Life in Napa and Sonoma.

It’s often said that good fiction is grounded in reality and Ann Lineberger’s first novel is no exception. Set in Cannondale, a picturesque bedroom community in Fairfield County, CT, The Adjustments is anything but sleepy. Ann seductively captures the loneliness and drama that boil directly beneath the surface when husbands commute an hour each way into the city to maintain a lavish lifestyle of decorators, charitable balls, fancy schools and personal trainers. In each perfectly manicured home resides a perfectly manicured woman hiding her own imperfect story. The only place the women of Cannondale feel truly “recognized” is at the local yoga studio of handsome Yogi Jack. However, the women soon find that awakening they seek under the spell of Yogi Jack is anything but spiritual. One by one each woman learns that fantasy is just fantasy until someone finds out. Then they understand that dirty laundry is even more unsightly when in a picture perfect place like suburban Cannondale. ~ Annie Heisler, Founder of Fairfield County’s Hello Yoga

imageAUTHOR INFORMATION

Ann Lineberger is the author of New Spaces, Old World Charm (McGraw-Hill) and has worked as a reporter, editor, and writer for numerous publications, including Fortune, Entertainment Weekly, Cottages & Gardens, and Home Remodeling. She earned a master’s degree in journalism and mass communication from New York University and an associate’s degree from the New York School of Interior Design. Her independent studies program undergraduate degree is from Providence College. In addition to writing, Ann is an interior designer and Halstead Property realtor. She lives in Connecticut with her husband, two daughters, and two very silly dogs.  You can connect with Ann on her website.