Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Go-to-Gay: Watch what you read

We're glad to have Go-to-Gay Keith Stewart back at CLC this month to talk about our theme...TV. He had fun with this topic and it shows. He even gave some inspiration for our next theme month...

We'll leave you in Keith's capable hands now. Please feel free to answer his questions in the comments.

When Books Become TV: Keith’s List of Top Television Shows Based on Books

I was happier than a kid on the last day of school when I find out the topic of this month’s post was “Television.” Television and I go back a long way. From the days of the RCA with a bunny-eared antenna sitting on a rickety stand in our 1970’s family room, to the current sleek 70-inch flat screen hanging on my living room wall, I have always been a TV watcher.

I know this is primarily a book lovers website, but I must admit, just between us squirrels, nothing gets on my nerves more than someone who says she doesn’t even OWN a television.

WHAT FRESH GARBAGE IS THAT?!

I always want to go after that snoot who says those words to me at a party or a gathering. I mean, COME ON. What kind of person doesn’t need and use—at least occasionally—a television? A barbarian, that’s who.

My own husband is almost one of those people. Thankfully, the rise of the do-it-yourself and home improvement channels saved our marriage. I don’t think I could have survived another twenty years of never seeing him veg-out on the couch for a Sunday afternoon. I am so grateful he never uttered the words, “I’d rather experience life’s adventures rather than watch them on TV,” to me. That would have been marital suicide.

There are so many things I love about television—24-hour news cycle, constant pop culture, entertainment, education—it was hard to narrow down what to write about this month. In fact, I think this is television’s Golden Age. With the onset of binge-watching and a broader variety of production companies getting into the industry, watching TV has never been better. There is something for everyone, and it is GOOD.

Because I know we are all bibliophiles, I decided to make a list of the top television shows that are based on books. When I started researching, I surprised to see how many there are out there! So, to narrow it down I only selected shows that I watched. For instance, BONES is a popular show based on a book series written by Kathy Reich, but I have never watched it, so it didn’t make my list. That said, here is the list.

Keith’s Top Television Shows Based on Books

1. Game of Thrones


Game of Thrones may be, and let me put this in a way that I don’t oversell it, THE BEST ON TELEVISION EVER. It is based on A SONG OF FIRE AND ICE book series by R. R. Martin. So freaking good. Plus, one word: DRAGONS.

2. Little House on the Prairie


How could Little House on the Prairie NOT be on this list? I think I have seen every episode at least five times. So much of my childhood was spent with Mary, Half-Pint, and the younger one—who I never really liked—that I feel like they are family (except for the one whose name I can’t remember). The show was, of course, based on the autobiographical book series by Laura Ingalls Wilder.

3. The Handmaid’s Tale


This show, based on Margaret Atwood’s iconic book of the same name, is truly a must-watch in these uncertain and ever-changing climates. Although the book is a scary look at what society could become, seeing it on the screen in this day and time is TERRIFYING.

4. True Blood


OK, one thing you need to know about me is that if there is a vampire show available, I will choose it for all my lists. Sure, it isn’t as thought provoking as some, or as morally educating as others, but once you see the vampire Eric Northman you won’t care about anything else ever, you will be a fan. The show, based on the Southern Vampire Mysteries book series by Charlaine Harris, is actually really good, so don’t knock it if you haven’t tried it.

5. Orange is the New Black


Based on the autobiography ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK by Piper Kerman, this show is riveting. It is a nice change from the old women prison television shows, such as Prisoner: Cell Block H (Surely, I am not the only one who remembers that show?). The story lines are intense, and the acting is superb.

Honorable Mentions:

Big Little Lies


Based on the same-named novel written by Laine Moriarty, this is one of my favorite new shows on television right now. It would have made the full-fledged list had it been on for more than one season. It is one reason I say this is the Golden Age of television. Plus, the same guy who plays the vampire Eric Northman in True Blood is in this.

Vampire Diaries


Sorry, I couldn’t help it. Vampires. What can I say? The show is based on the Vampire Diaries book series by L. J. Smith.

So, how did I do? Do you agree or disagree? What would you have chosen? What can’t you believe I left off the list? Let me know in the comments!

Keith Stewart is the author of Bernadette Peters Hates Me – True Tales of a Delusional Man. A native of Appalachia, he splits his time between his hometown of Hyden and nearby Lexington, Kentucky. His blog is www.astrongmanscupoftea.com. You can find him on Twitter at @Shiglyogly and Facebook at @AMSCOT (A Strong Man’s Cup of Tea). He is a regular contributor to HumorOutcasts.com and the GoodMenProject.com. He lives with his husband, Andy, and their two dogs, Duke and Dudley.

Book Review: Campaign Widows

By Jami Deise

There’s a common saying that Washington, D.C. is Hollywood for ugly people, and if you’ve ever seen a coterie of pretty young staffers orbiting around a fat wrinkled white man that folks call “Mr. Speaker,” that’s only half of it. The Hollywood part comes in when players are more concerned with the game they’re playing than with the people whose lives are affected by the laws that are passed or blocked on Capitol Hill.

Two novels about politics that hit the shelves this summer are getting a lot of press: romance writer Aimee Agresti’s Campaign Widows, and Jo Piazza’s Charlotte Walsh Likes to Win (review coming soon). Piazza’s book is for those who know the difference between a primary and a caucus; Agresti’s is for readers who like all the romance and drama of the race but might not be able to articulate the difference in the platforms of the two major political parties. It’s good to have choices!

The concept behind Campaign Widows is a look at the people who are left behind when their significant others hit the road during a presidential campaign. That road starts in January in Iowa and doesn’t end until November, leaving bodies and marriages along the way. The person left behind is in the odd position of wanting their significant other’s boss to win, but knowing that if the boss loses, life returns to normal.

The characters in this dilemma are Cady, a TV producer whose new fiancé works for a candidate; Jay, an internet producer whose boyfriend is a reporter assigned to another candidate; Reagan, a mother of toddler twins whose husband works for a third candidate; Madison, married to a Trump-like fourth candidate; and Birdie, a fundraiser with interest in all the campaigns and a husband who has his own life.

Campaign Widows is a funny book that follows the presidential election year, with events occurring at a fast clip—some predictable, some inspired. However, I had a lot of trouble keeping straight who was who. With multiple third-person points-of-view, the reader not only needs to remember each character’s storyline, but also their significant other, and which candidate the significant other works for. And there are other people in the main characters’ orbits as well to keep track of. Reading the book requires such a mental juggling act that I completely missed that Jay’s significant other, Sky, was male until I was almost done with the book. (However, I wholeheartedly approve of the completely blasĂ© approach Agresti takes to same-sex relationships.)

Part of the reason why the book is difficult to follow is that Agresti takes care to never use the words “Democrat” or “Republican.” While that keeps the narrative from taking sides, it also prevents the reader from slotting characters into one camp or the other, which might have made it easier to keep track of everyone.

Although the story takes place in an alternate 2016, Agresti has created candidates that are more outlandish than the reality TV billionaire who became president of the United States. And it made me wonder, will 2020 bring a return to presidential candidates who were governors and senators… or will it be a contest between Kim Kardashian, Oprah, and Elon Musk?

When reality is more unbelievable than fiction, thank goodness we have authors like Agresti to escape with.

Thanks to Graydon House for the book in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Sharing screen time with Louise Miller...plus a book giveaway

Photo by Nina Subin
We are so excited to have Louise Miller at CLC to celebrate the publication of her sophomore novel, The Late Bloomers' Club. Her debut, The City Baker's Guide to Country Living was one of Melissa A's 2016 favorites. Does Late Bloomers measure up? See her review to find out! Louise is here today to share some of her favorite TV shows. Thanks to Viking, we have a copy to share with a lucky reader.

Louise Miller is a writer and pastry chef living in Boston, MA. Her debut novel, THE CITY BAKER’S GUIDE TO COUNTRY LIVING was selected as an Indie Next pick by the American Booksellers Association, a Library Reads pick by Librarians across the U.S., and was shortlisted by the America Library Association’s Reading List Council for best women’s fiction in 2017.  Louise is an art school dropout, an amateur flower gardener, an old-time banjo player, an obsessive moviegoer, and a champion of old dogs. (Bio courtesy of Amazon.)

Visit Louise online:
Website * Facebook * Twitter * Instagram


Synopsis:
A delightful novel about two headstrong sisters, a small-town's efforts to do right by their community, and the power of a lost dog to conjure up true love.

Nora, the owner of the Miss Guthrie diner, is perfectly happy serving up apple cider donuts, coffee, and eggs-any-way-you-like-em to her regulars, and she takes great pleasure in knowing exactly what's "the usual." But her life is soon shaken when she discovers she and her younger, free-spirited sister Kit stand to inherit the home and land of the town's beloved cake lady, Peggy Johnson.


Kit, an aspiring--and broke--filmmaker needs to generate funding for her latest project, and is particularly keen when they find out Peggy was in the process of selling the land to a big-box developer before her death. The people of Guthrie are divided--some want the opportunities the development will bring, while others are staunchly against any change--and they aren't afraid to leave their opinions with their tips.


Time is running out, and the sisters need to make a decision soon. But Nora isn't quite ready to let go of the land, complete with a charming farmhouse, an ancient apple orchard and clues to a secret life that no one knew Peggy had.


Troubled by the conflicting needs of the town, and confused by her growing feelings towards Elliot, the big-box developer, Nora throws herself into solving the one problem that everyone in town can agree on--finding Peggy's missing dog, Freckles.


When a disaster strikes the diner, the community of Guthrie bands together to help her, and Nora discovers that doing the right thing doesn't always mean giving up your dreams. (Courtesy of Goodreads.)

Top 5 from when I was a kid/teen:

1. The Muppet Show. I lived for Sunday Nights—Jiffy Pop and The Muppet Show. Fozzie the Bear was my favorite.

2. The Waltons. I loved—love, if I am being honest—everything about this show. I wanted to live on Walton’s Mountain. John Boy was one of my first crushes. I still think that John Walton is the best dad on television. People think of The Waltons as a syrupy-sweet show, but it was actually was quite human, and often dealt with difficult topics. But I watched it because I wanted to be a part of that big, rambling family.

3. Cheers. Maybe it was because I grew up in Boston in a working-class family, and all the characters felt familiar to me, but I was obsessed with Cheers as a kid. Sam and Diane were the first couple I seriously shipped.

4. Gilmore Girls—I added this to my “kid” list, even though I watched it in my 20’s. How could I not love this show? More than any one character, the thing I loved the most about Gilmore Girls was the town of Stars Hollow. It made me want to create my own town. I was thrilled when Bon Appetit Magazine compared my debut novel, The City Baker’s Guide to Country Living with Gilmore Girls—a dream come true.

5.Guiding Light. Some people were General Hospital people, but we were strictly a Guiding Light family. We all watched it. My sister. My dad. My grandmother. Misty, our cocker spaniel. Don’t get me wrong, I love streaming, but I miss those days when you had to get together to watch a show when it aired.

Top Five now:

This is actually pretty difficult—there is SO MUCH good programing out there, and I feel super behind on shows I want to watch. But here are the shows I carve out time for:

1. Project Runway. I have never missed a season. There is something so wonderful about watching people make things. It is such a satisfying show to watch. And I love Tim Gunn with my whole heart. Judge I always agree with: Nina Garcia. She is a badass.

2. Great British Bake Off. Come for the baking, but stay for the kindness the contestants show each other. Plus it gave us the word scrummy, which is basically the best adjective ever.

3. The Good Fight. This is THE BEST SHOW (not) on television. The only way to watch this The Good Wife spinoff is streaming on NBC All Access. It is worth the $10/month that the show is on. The writing is so, so good. The cast is amazing. And the casting director obviously has NYC theater connections, because almost every character actor/guest star has been on Broadway.

4. Two book adaptations:
  • Dietland. I loved Sarai Walker’s subversive debut novel Dietland, and am obsessed with the television adaptation. It is so creatively filmed, and the star, Joy Nash, is incredible. The whole cast is.
  • Sweetbitter. Another fantastic novel adaptation, which has me convinced that television is the best medium to translate books into. Both the book and the television show are the most honest and accurate depictions of what life is like in a restaurant. Beautifully made.
5. The Good Place. This show was 100% not what I expected. Funny, weird, philosophical, smart, and totally surprising.

Thanks to Louise for visiting with us and Viking for sharing her book with our readers.

How to win: Use Rafflecopter to enter the giveaway. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us. If you have trouble using Rafflecopter on our blog, enter the giveaway here


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Giveaway ends July 22nd at midnight EST.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Book Review: The Summer Wives

By Sara Steven

In the summer of 1951, Miranda Schuyler arrives on elite, secretive Winthrop Island in Long Island Sound as a naive eighteen year old, still reeling from the loss of her father in the Second World War. Although a graduate of the exclusive Foxcroft Academy in Virginia, Miranda has always lived on the margins of high society. When her beautiful mother marries Hugh Fisher, whose summer house on Winthrop overlooks the famous lighthouse, Miranda is catapulted into a heady new world of pedigrees and cocktails, status and swimming pools. Isobel Fisher, Miranda’s new stepsister—all long legs and world-weary bravado, engaged to a wealthy Island scion—is eager to draw Miranda into the arcane customs of Winthrop society.

But beneath the Island’s patrician surface, there are really two clans--the summer families with their steadfast ways and quiet obsessions, and the working class of Portuguese fishermen and domestic workers who earn their living on the water and in the laundries of the summer houses. Uneasy among Isobel’s privileged friends, Miranda finds herself drawn to Joseph helps his father in the lobster boat, but in the autumn he returns to Brown University, where he’s determined to make something of himself. Since childhood, Joseph has enjoyed an intense, complex friendship with Isobel Fisher, and has a catastrophe that will shatter Winthrop’s hard-won tranquility and banish Miranda from the Island for nearly two decades. (Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads.)

The time transition between who Miranda had been in the 1950’s, and who she becomes nearly two decades later was well written and well explained. I could sense the growth and maturity, while still feeling the yearning she has for the past she left behind. The same distinct details work for the other primary characters as well, like with Isobel and particularly with Joseph. Real depth and sincerity when it comes to the passing of time, and given what each person has had to endure over so many years, they seem to find themselves when Miranda comes back to the island. It felt true to the situation.

I was transported back in time, back into an era I’ve always wanted to be a part of. The scenery, the way the characters communicate with one another, the way they dress and behave felt very reminiscent to what those decades would have been like, the years of prosperity and protest. And there are so many intricacies to The Summer Wives, beginning with the multiple story lines of various characters, stories that ultimately weave and blend in together, creating a masterpiece of subtle mystery. It felt like skipping a rounded pebble into a still lake, the wake of it undulating into everyone and everything. Hidden secrets and lies that are better left unsaid and untold, but as is the case with secrets and lies, the truth will eventually come out.

This island, it's like a secret society, and I’d been given the privilege of looking inside and discovering why the relationships are dissolving, why there is so much contention and hidden motivations, the kind that ultimately leads to everyone’s undoing.

Thanks to Bookperk for the book in exchange for an honest review.

More by Beatriz Williams:


Friday, July 13, 2018

Karan Eleni's TV nostalgia


Happy new release to debut author Karan Eleni! Book three in the Launching Love series, SEVEN DAYS TO PARADISE, is out now! 

Karan is here today to talk about her favorite TV shows from when she was growing up...and now (although some things never change!)


Release Blitz Signup || Karan Eleni – Seven Days to ParadiseSeven Days to Paradise by Karan Eleni

Series: Launching Love #3

Published by Kindred Ink Press LLC on July 11, 2018

Genres: Sweet Romance, Romantic Comedy

From debut author Karan Eleni comes book three in the Launching Love novella series from Kindred Ink Press – a sweet romance about making time to relax, letting love find you, and dealing with trouble in paradise. 
Lorilynn Matthews has been in the same dead-end job for six years and is ready for a break. When her recently-dumped best friend suggests a girls’ week on a cruise through the Caribbean, Lori is hesitant but accepts the invitation. 
As his brother’s best man, Clayton Weldon agreed to co-organize a joint bachelor/bachelorette party. What he didn’t agree to was reliving his honeymoon with his ex-wife. When someone else’s drama lands in his lap, he wants to avoid it, but it gives him an opportunity to escape his own, if only for a moment. 
Will a chance meeting, seven days on a cruise ship, and drama at every turn make for the excursion of a lifetime or create the need to reach for life preservers to ride out the end of the trip?

About Karan Eleni


In no particular order, Karan Eleni is a bookworm, blogger, reviewer, publisher, author services wizard, former band manager and merch girl, crocheter, proud auntie to two mini bookworms, momma to two spoiled black cats, and newly published author.

She lives in Central Minnesota and spends a majority of her time living in the book world until her family drags her kicking and screaming from her house (unless they bribe her with tacos).

Follow Karan on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and Goodreads at @karaneleniwrite. If she ever logs in, she’ll thank you and follow back.


Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Instagram | Pinterest | Newsletter Signup | Street Team

Big thanks to Melissa A and the Chick Lit Central crew for letting me invade their blog today! I LOVE that July is TV month and will be watching the blog for new-to-me shows to binge when I get a break from the book world. Melissa asked for my top five favorite TV shows from when I was a kid (or teen) and my top five now, but I had to add some bonus shows after I sat and thought about it longer than I should have. I wasn’t just a bookworm, but I loved watching 80's and 90's TV too. And still do! Without further adieu...

Top 5 favorite shows as a kid/teen (that I still watch now):
Blossom
● Clarissa Explains It All
● Punky Brewster
● Full House
● Saved by the Bell

But then I remember watching shows with my parents like:
Family Ties
● ALF
● Diff'rent Strokes
● Who’s the Boss?
● Growing Pains (I’ll stop here, but there are at least five more I could name!)

Top 6 now (that aren’t exactly new, but I watch regularly):
Friends (This is the only reason I have Netflix now.)
Will & Grace (Original & new)
Charmed
Good Witch (the series and the movies)
Doctor Who (Original & new)
Fuller House

And now I’m off to binge watch...something!

About Kindred Ink Press

Kindred Ink Press is an independent publisher of (almost) all things romance. From romantic comedy to cozy mystery, historical to contemporary real-life romance, we’ve got a bit of romance for just about everyone. Our books range from quick reads to those of epic length and can be found in digital and print formats with audiobooks coming soon.

Sign up for the Kindred Insider email newsletter to receive new releases, sales, and exclusive content in your inbox! http://kindredinkpress.com/insider




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Thursday, July 12, 2018

Spotlight and Giveaway: All Your Perfects

Today we are featuring Colleen Hoover's latest novel, All Your Perfects. Thanks to Atria, we have one copy to give away!

The #1 New York Times bestselling author of It Ends with Us—whose writing is “emotionally wrenching and utterly original” (Sara Shepard, New York Times bestselling author of the Pretty Little Liars series)—delivers a tour de force novel about a troubled marriage and the one old forgotten promise that might be able to save it.

Quinn and Graham have a perfect love story, but their unique connection is threatened by their imperfect marriage. The memories, mistakes, and secrets that they have built up over the years are now tearing them apart, day by heartbreaking day. The one thing that could save them might also be the very thing that pushes their marriage beyond the point of repair. So do they risk it? Is their history worth saving?

All Your Perfects is a profound novel about a damaged couple struggling with a relatable issue – infertility – whose potential future hinges on promises made in the past. In Colleen Hoover’s inimitable style and brilliant narrative voice, this heartbreaking page-turner asks: Can a resounding love with a fairytale beginning survive a lifetime between two imperfect people?


Colleen Hoover is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Slammed, Point of Retreat, This Girl, Hopeless, Losing Hope, Finding Cinderella, Maybe Someday, Maybe Not, Ugly Love, Confess, November 9, It Ends with Us, and Without Merit. Colleen has won the Goodreads Choice Award for Best Romance three times—for Confess in 2015, It Ends with Us in 2016, and Without Merit in 2017. Confess was adapted into a seven-episode online series. In 2015, Colleen and her family founded The Bookworm Box, a bookstore and monthly subscription service offering signed novels donated by authors. All profits are given to various charities each month to help those in need. Colleen lives in Texas with her husband and their three boys. Visit ColleenHoover.com.

Visit Colleen online:
Website * Facebook * Twitter * Instagram

How to win: Use Rafflecopter to enter the giveaway. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us. If you have trouble using Rafflecopter on our blog, enter the giveaway here

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Giveaway ends July 17th at midnight EST.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

July and August 2018 Book Giveaway

Every two months, we're featuring EIGHT books we're interested in checking out. (We know there are many, many more, but we're just highlighting a few that haven't received their time in the spotlight yet.) Here are the books we've chosen for July and August. There is one copy of each book available to give away and we will choose FOUR winners to each receive TWO books at random.

See our previous bi-monthly posts for some other great reads you might have missed.

(Mini teasers/synopses are all courtesy of Amazon.)

July:

No One Tells You This 
by Glynnis MacNicol (July 10th)

Intimate and timely, No One Tells You This is a fearless reckoning with modern womanhood and an exhilarating adventure that will resonate with anyone determined to live by their own rules.

*Thanks to Simon & Schuster for the giveaway copy


Her Pretty Face by Robyn Harding 
(July 10th)

The author of the bestselling novel The Party returns with a chilling new domestic drama about two women whose deep friendship is threatened by dark, long-buried secrets.

*Thanks to Gallery for the giveaway copy.


Every Time You Go Away 
by Beth Harbison (July 24th)

A heartfelt, emotional story about healing a tragic loss, letting go, and coming together as a family.

*Thanks to St. Martin's Press for the giveaway copy.


Ghosted by Rosie Walsh (July 24th)

Seven perfect days. Then he disappeared. A love story with a secret at its heart.

*Thanks to Viking for the giveaway copy.




August:

Goodbye Paris by Anstey Harris 
(August 7th)

Filled with lovable, quirky characters, this poignant novel explores the realities of relationships and heartbreak and shows that when it comes to love, there’s more than one way to find happiness.

*Thanks to Touchstone for the giveaway copy.

The Daisy Children by Sofia Grant (August 7th)

Inspired by true events, in Sofia Grant’s powerfully moving new novel a young woman peels back the layers of her family’s history, discovering a tragedy in the past that explains so much of the present. This unforgettable story is one of hope, healing, and the discovery of truth.

*Thanks to William Morrow for the giveaway copy.

Mr. and Mrs. American Pie 
by Juliet McDaniel (August 7th)

Maxine has one problem: to win the crown she’ll need to find—or build—a family of her own.

*Thanks to Inkshares for the giveaway copy.



Rush by Lisa Patton (August 21st)

Achingly poignant, yet laugh-out-loud funny, RUSH takes a sharp, nuanced look at a centuries-old tradition while exploring the complex, intimate relationships between mothers and daughters and female friends. Brimming with heart and hope for a better tomorrow, RUSH is an uplifting novel universal to us all.

*Thanks to St. Martin's Press for the giveaway copy.



How to win: Use Rafflecopter to enter the giveaway. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us. If you have trouble using Rafflecopter on our blog, enter the giveaway here

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Giveaway ends August 8th at midnight EST.