Thursday, December 2, 2021

Guest Book Review: A Conspiracy of Mothers

By Marisa Appleton

Set in 1994 South Africa, A Conspiracy of Mothers is a story of three different mothers all trying to protect their children. At a time of political turmoil, with the government election looming, we meet Rachel, Yolanda, and Elsa. Rachel leaves her home on a mission. Elsa crosses lines and boundaries to protect her son. Yolanda reflects on the illegal relationship that resulted in a baby daughter, Ingrid. We follow Ingrid’s journey of self-discovery as she learns the truth about her family and searches for her father. There is a sense of time running out when almost all the characters in the novel collide with disastrous consequences. When the three mothers’ stories intertwine, the story reaches its violent climax.

This gripping story by Colleen Van Niekerk is her debut novel. It focuses on the tensions in South Africa during and following the years of apartheid which separated people into three categories: Blacks, coloured and whites. In the author’s note at the start of the novel, Van Niekerk provides the political background to the story, specifying how and why she has referred to the segregated racial groups. These groups were kept separate in almost every way, with the white people holding the position of power. We see three generations of the same family who have all been affected by the apartheid in different ways. Yolanda reflects on her relationship with Stefan, which was illegal due to the Prohibition of Mixed Marriages Act 1949. This relationship left her whole family in turmoil, leaving Rachel to raise Ingrid alone. Following the revelation of family secrets, Ingrid takes off in search of her father with her new friend Litha in tow. Litha demonstrates how the oppressed can also be the oppressor through the racism he is subjected to by the other groups. Elsa is a higher-class white person; she employs a black maid but also quietly disagrees with the ‘new South Africa’. Her main aim is to protect her son, Stefan, although this turns out to be quite misguided. In the story, her character is used to demonstrate the oppressor’s way of thinking. Stefan doesn’t need protecting from what Elsa is afraid of. Van Niekerk has created engaging characters, even creating a sense of sympathy for the characters we are meant to hate. 

This novel is written from many different perspectives which allows us to see different world views. This forces the reader to piece together how the stories will come together and how they are all connected. I personally love this method of storytelling; it allows you to feel involved in the story. In this story, you, as a reader, are forced to solve the mystery alongside the characters. The story comes to a head when all the different stories collide. It is a gripping story, I read it in one sitting – I just couldn’t put it down! This story is definitely worth the read!

Thanks to Shreve Williams PR for the book in exchange for an honest review.

Marisa Appleton lives in Sheffield, England. She is currently studying an English Literature Degree at Sheffield Hallam University while also working in a supermarket part time. When she is not reading for university, she is reading for pleasure. Aside from that she enjoys working out, eating out and travelling with her friends. One day, she aspires to work in the Publishing or Marketing industry in London.

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Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Book Review: Funny Face...plus a special giveaway

By Cindy Roesel

I just finished reading a delightful book which I hope you get to pick up. It’s called Funny Face: A Memoir by Peggi Davis (Archway Publishing) . Peggi puts it all out there on the page and her memoir makes for a really great read. She’s seventy, has had work done, and believes she was good before, but knows she’s great now. That is fabulous!

Peggi’s narrative takes us on the journey of resetting and reinventing her life. She looks back over the years somewhat with hesitancy, at all times humor and total hope. I was hooked at page one as she shares about going to Radio City Music Hall. I have fond memories of going to Radio City Music Hall as a little girl around the Christmas holidays. For Peggi, it was the first time she saw Audrey Hepburn up on the screen and fell in love with her “funny face.”

Memories fade, people pass through our lives and objects are reminders of Peggi’s experiences in her stories and essays. She shares the shock of moving from New York City to Texas with her family. I could totally relate. When I finished college in NYC, my first TV reporting job was in Tyler, Texas. Shocking experience doesn’t even begin to describe what that was like. Texas is where she first experiences, and is horrified by, racism and learning things are not always as they seem.

I found reading Funny Face was as if I was sitting down having a chick-chat with a girlfriend over a nice glass of wine. She loves writing alliterations. I imagine that comes from her background in advertising. I do the same thing and chock it up to years working in the television industry.

Covid-19 affects her perspective on life. She finds peace, patience, positivity during a world pandemic and ultimately, her voice. With age comes forgiveness and acceptance along with a self-awareness, she never knew.

You have to love Peggi’s phrase, “think pink and you’ll never be blue.” My new mantra. Thank you, Peggi.

Thanks to Peggi Davis for the book in exchange for an honest review. Peggy has a copy of her book and some swag for a lucky reader!


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Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Lighting the Menorah with Jean Meltzer...plus a book giveaway

Photo by Lisa Damico
Introduction by Melissa Amster

With all the Christmas themed chick lit novels out there, it was refreshing to see that one about Hanukkah was now available. I added it to my five-book Kindle queue as soon as I got it and was excited to read it, based on all the recommendations. I really enjoyed it and contacted Jean Meltzer afterward to invite her to CLC for a post during Hanukkah. I also started sending her pictures of funny Hanukkah items, like the ones from Bed, Bath, and Beyond that tend to mix up Hanukkah and Passover. Jean is absolutely delightful and I found out that we live a short distance from each other, so I hope to meet her in person one of these days. 

I will be reviewing The Matzah Ball soon, but here is my Bookstagram post. This is Jean's debut novel and she has another one coming in 2022 that also looks delightful. Jean is here today to talk about her Hanukkah decorations that also have a Christmas vibe. Thanks to Mira, we have TWO copies of The Matzah Ball to give away!

Jean Meltzer studied dramatic writing at NYU Tisch and has earned numerous awards for her work in television, including a daytime Emmy. Like her protagonist, Jean is also a chronically-ill and disabled Jewish woman. She is an outspoken advocate for ME/CFS (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome), has attended visibility actions in Washington DC, meeting with members of Senate and Congress to raise funds for ME/CFS. She inspires 9,000 followers on WW Connect to live their best life, come out of the chronic illness closet, and embrace the hashtag #chronicallyfabulous. Also, while she was raised in what would be considered a secular home, she grew up kosher and attended Hebrew School. She spent five years in rabbinical school before her chronic illness forced her to withdraw, and her father told her she should write a book―just not a Jewish one because no one reads those. 

Visit Jean online:
Website * Facebook * Instagram

Synopsis:

Oy! to the world.

Rachel Rubenstein-Goldblatt is a nice Jewish girl with a shameful secret: she loves Christmas. For a decade she’s hidden her career as a Christmas romance novelist from her family. Her talent has made her a bestseller even as her chronic illness has always kept the kind of love she writes about out of reach.

But when her diversity-conscious publisher insists she write a Hanukkah romance, her well of inspiration suddenly runs dry. Hanukkah’s not magical. It’s not merry. It’s not Christmas. Desperate not to lose her contract, Rachel’s determined to find her muse at the Matzah Ball, a Jewish music celebration on the last night of Hanukkah, even if it means working with her summer camp archenemy—Jacob Greenberg.

Though Rachel and Jacob haven’t seen each other since they were kids, their grudge still glows brighter than a menorah. But as they spend more time together, Rachel finds herself drawn to Hanukkah—and Jacob—in a way she never expected. Maybe this holiday of lights will be the spark she needed to set her heart ablaze. (Courtesy of Amazon.)

“A love letter to Judaism and an utterly charming romance. With two irresistible leads, a scene-stealing bubbe, and plenty of holiday magic, The Matzah Ball is a luminous celebration of all types of love, threaded with the message that everyone is worthy of it.”
—Rachel Lynn Solomon, author of The Ex Talk

"A laugh-out-loud treat. Written in bright, witty prose and with a heroine to root for, it's a light holiday concoction that delivers a deeper message about love and acceptance at the same time. The perfect addition to your holiday reading!"
—Anita Hughes, author of Christmas in Vermont

“Grab a jelly doughnut and get ready for a holiday rom com unlike any other! The Matzah Ball by Jean Meltzer brings the fun while also delivering an important message about being true to yourself. A refreshing and delightful read."
—Brenda Janowitz, author of The Grace Kelly Dress

WHY I DECK MY HOUSE OUT IN HANUKKAH DÉCOR

By Jean Meltzer

I remember the first time I brought home a Christmas tree. 

I was standing in Kohl's, passing that small section of electronics and candles, when I noticed the seasonal holiday display. There, smack-dab in the middle of the aisle, like it was made for me, was a tiny two-foot silver Christmas tree, with pre-lit white lights, and small blue ornaments. All at once, my heart began pounding inside my chest. Beads of sweat pooled around the nape of my neck. I told myself all the reasons why it was wrong, why it was unnecessary, why it went against all the beliefs and values I had been raised with. And then … I picked up that Christmas tree and threw it into my cart. 

Oh, the feeling of excitement that met me when I brought home my first-ever Hanukkah bush. Unwrapping the box, figuring out how to set up a Christmas tree, I plugged my purchase into the wall. The lights turned on. The tiny glow of silver and blue caused my heart to swell. I felt unadulterated joy. Love at first twinkle. And then, just as quickly as I had purchased it, I hid that Hanukkah Bush in my office.  

I was in my early thirties. Married. I lived in my own apartment, far away from the influence of my parents, but it didn’t matter. I had been raised a nice Jewish girl. And in my house growing up, among the many rules we were raised with, was this: there would be absolutely no celebration of Christmas. That also included Hanukkah décor that mimicked Christmas decorations. 


Traditional and observant Jews will tell you that this prohibition stems from a Jewish law which prohibits mimicking your foreign neighbors. In simpler terms, or as Tevye reminds us in the opening act of Fiddler on the Roof, what keeps us Jewish is our traditions. Like separating Shabbat from the rest of the week, Jewish law is designed to keep Jewish people distinct and different. And yet, as the author of The Matzah Ball—a book which explores the juxtaposition of these tensions—I am spending a lot of time answering questions about my Hanukkah decor. 

It’s a fair inquiry. Over the last decade, that one single Hanukkah Bush has morphed into eight. My love of Christmas decor has become an all-out weirdo Hanukkah swag collection, featuring a Santa wearing a prayer-shawl and a llama menorah. But it wasn’t until I began decking out the exterior of my house—with blue and white lights, giant inflatable menorahs, and twinkling dreidels—that I understood something important about my mini Hanukkah revolution. 

It was never about Christmas. 

Why don’t Jews decorate their houses for Hanukkah? It would make sense that we do. Jews are commanded to publicize the miracle of Hanukkah, to place our menorahs in our windows, and boldly announce to the world the celebration of our faith. And yet, growing up, there was something about that act which felt dangerous. Indeed, I still remember my grandmother warning me in the car one evening, when I questioned her directly about why we couldn’t have lights, that putting them up would attract too much attention. 


What she really meant, of course, was unwanted attention. The world can be a dangerous place for Jews. And so, like many Jewish children, I learned to keep my Jewishness on the down low, to announce only when the act was safe, to code-switch between communities. There was a way I could behave with Jewish people, and a way I could behave with non-Jewish people, and never the two should mix. 

I understand why these lessons were ingrained in me. As a Jew in America, I am no stranger to anti-Semitism. I have lived in more than one city which has been vandalized by swastikas and cruel words. I have been harassed, both in person and online, for being Jewish. I grew up with Holocaust survivors at my kitchen table, and I knew someone, personally, in the Tree of Life shooting in Pittsburgh. I am well aware of the dangers of living authentically in our world. And yet, every year… my Hanukkah collection grows  

I suppose if you could boil my life down to one theme, it would be this: I don’t like feeling silenced. It’s why I began to write. Putting words on the page gave me a safe space to talk about all the things I could not say aloud. I became an advocate for ME/CFS (myaglic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome) for the same reason. As a patient, I realized that no one was going to speak out for me. And when I look at what propelled my love of Hanukkah decor—really analyze that question of where it stems from and what it means—I think it comes from that same instinct. 

I don’t want to be afraid of being Jewish. I don’t want to feel ashamed for something that is part of my authentic and essential self. We all have the right to live freely, and safely, in our truth. And though I appreciate my parents, and the traditions I was raised with, I now see my Hanukkah décor for what it truly is. Not an act of rebellion. Not some effort to center my identity around Christmas or other—but a defiant act of courage.

I love being Jewish.  

And every holiday season, my front lawn and home reflects that.  


Thanks to Jean for visiting with us and to Mira 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 December 5th at midnight EST.

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Monday, November 29, 2021

Book Review: Toni's Blind Date


By Sara Steven

Toni Spielman and Will Thomas have no plans to date -- anyone -- but when fate throws them together on a TV dating show, they have to smile, pretend, and rethink their plans. (Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads)

This is my first trip through a Rosie Dean book, and it was totally enjoyable! Written from behind-the-scenes of a potential up-and-coming dating show, and told from both Toni’s and Will’s perspectives, we learn that Toni is there due to familial obligations, and Will is there because of possible future career endeavors, and the same puppet master is pulling the strings! As time progresses and they get to know each other even better, the reader wonders what’s beyond the dating show. If Toni and Will might have a chance at a real relationship, or if it’s all for the cameras.

I loved the background scenery. When they’re out and about at restaurants or skiing together down snow-covered hills, the camera crew are often right there with them, making sure to get their best angles, conversation, and sweet moments of a budding romance. It made the situation feel realistic. I imagine in most reality tv shows, the same thing happens--cameras want to show the most heightened moments that will create the most buzz for the viewers. But it was nicely balanced out with scenes where Toni and Will can be themselves without the cameras around, and that’s when we really get to see where all of this might go. 

Due to the puppet master I’ve mentioned earlier, both characters can’t divulge their reasons for going on the show. And this creates a potential lack of trust between the couple. But given the short length of time they’re tied to one another, is any of it worth it? Maybe it’s destined to be something that is short and sweet, an endearing memory they can both look back on with fond memories, never meant to turn into forever. 

I liked the banter between Toni and Will. I also liked Toni’s snarky attitude and how she stands up for herself and will often tell it like it is. Over time, we see that there is a lot more going on for this couple, particularly with past hurts and responsibilities, that really fleshes them out and makes them more than just some two-dimensional duo on the page. They felt like living, breathing people. It was a sweet, fun adventure, and a worthy five-star read!

Thanks to Rachel's Random Resources for the book in exchange for an honest review.

Purchase Toni's Blind Date.

Rosie Dean writes romantic fiction with a sense of humour and, sometimes, a sense of the ridiculous; because we all know life and love aren't exactly how we'd like them to be. 

She has won a Readers' Choice Award from Ancient City Romance Authors (part of Romance Writers of America) and been a finalist in the 2017 Maggie Awards for Excellence. 

Before writing novels, Rosie wrote training courses and marketing copy for the corporate world - a far cry from teaching Art and Pottery, where her career began.

She lives on the Isle of Wight, within sight and sound of the sea, with her partner and her dog.

Visit Rosie online:
Website * Facebook * Twitter * Pinterest

Giveaway to win a paperback copy of Toni’s Blind Date and a 200ML Coco Mademoiselle Body Lotion by Chanel (UK Only)

*Terms and Conditions
 –UK entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within seven days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organizer and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  We are not responsible for dispatch or delivery of the prize.

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UK only. Giveaway ends December 2nd.

Visit all the stops on Rosie's blog tour: 

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Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Book Review: We are the Brennans

By Melissa Amster

When twenty-nine-year-old Sunday Brennan wakes up in a Los Angeles hospital, bruised and battered after a drunk driving accident she caused, she swallows her pride and goes home to her family in New York. But it’s not easy. She deserted them all—and her high school sweetheart—five years before with little explanation, and they've got questions.

Sunday is determined to rebuild her life back on the east coast, even if it does mean tiptoeing around resentful brothers and an ex-fiancé. The longer she stays, however, the more she realizes they need her just as much as she needs them. When a dangerous man from her past brings her family’s pub business to the brink of financial ruin, the only way to protect them is to upend all their secrets—secrets that have damaged the family for generations and will threaten everything they know about their lives. In the aftermath, the Brennan family is forced to confront painful mistakes—and ultimately find a way forward, together. (Synopsis courtesy of Amazon.)

I had received We Are the Brennans through a promotional giveaway the publisher was doing on Facebook. When it arrived, I just put it on my shelf for a while, as I had a lot in my TBR already. Then I started seeing recommendations, so I added it to my five-book pile. I am glad I gave it a chance, as it was a really well-written debut! 

The story was interesting throughout and told in an engaging fashion. I liked seeing the variety of perspectives and enjoyed getting to know Sunday and her brothers, as well as some other characters, this way. The descriptions and dialogue brought the story to life in a genuine way. I felt like I was in the middle of all the family drama throughout. I was also trying to guess at what the family secrets would turn out to be. While some parts felt predictable in that regard, there were a lot of surprises too. I like how a quote at the end of each chapter would lead into the next chapter. I also loved how Sunday and her brothers all looked after each other. It reminds me of the kind of bond my kids have now and I hope they will continue to have that as they get older. 

Overall, I'm glad I read this novel. Fans of family sagas will really like it and it was just the right length, even though each chapter was long. 

Movie casting suggestions:
Sunday: Hari Nef
Jackie: Joe Keery
Vivienne: Brianne Howey
Theresa: Ali Cobrin

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

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Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Becoming friends with Sara Goodman Confino...plus a book giveaway

Introduction by Melissa Amster

I recently found out about Sara Goodman Confino and her debut novel from a friend. As it turns out, Sara and I have a few things in common: We're Jewish moms who live in the same county and we both have sons, as well. Her answer to our Thanksgiving question is another similarity! (And just like our review associate, she spells her name without an H.) Her novel, For the Love of Friends, sounds like a lot of fun (I love the cover, as well) and I'm excited to read it soon, now that it has been added to my five-book pile! (I saw that she has another one publishing next year.) Sara took the time to answer some questions today and she has THREE copies of her book for some lucky readers!

Sara Goodman Confino teaches high school English and journalism in Montgomery County, Maryland, where she lives with her husband, two sons, and miniature schnauzer, Sandy. When she’s not writing or working out, she can be found on the beach or at a Bruce Springsteen show, sometimes even dancing onstage. 

Visit Sara online:
Website * Facebook * Twitter * Instagram


Synopsis:
Lily Weiss is her mother’s worst nightmare: thirty-two and single—the horror! She’s also a talented writer but hides behind a boring job at a science foundation. To her friends, she’s reliable and selfless, which is how she winds up a bridesmaid in five weddings in six weeks. Anything for her three best friends and two (younger) siblings, right? Even if her own love life is…well, she’d rather not talk about it. To keep her sanity, Lily needs a safe place to vent.

And so her anonymous blog, Bridesmania, is born. The posts start pouring out of her: all the feels about mom-zillas, her vanishing bank balance, the wicked bridesmaids of the west, high-strung brides-to-be, body-shaming dress clerks, bachelorette parties, and Spanx for days, not to mention being deemed guardian of eighty-eight-year-old Granny (who enjoys morning mimosas in the nude) for her brother’s destination wedding.

So far the blog has stayed anonymous. But as everyone knows, few things online remain secret forever…

When all is said and done, can Lily help all five couples make it to happily ever after? And will her own happy ending be close behind? (Courtesy of Amazon.)

“Whether you’ve been a bridesmaid a dozen times or somehow avoided the whole mess, For the Love of Friends is not to be missed. Funny and touching, Sara Goodman Confino has created a story that’s as wild as a good bachelorette party and as romantic as a first dance. I gobbled it up like wedding cake!” 
—Kelly Harms, Washington Post bestselling author of The Overdue Life of Amy Byler

“When Lily Weiss agrees to be a bridesmaid in five weddings over six weeks, she finds herself and her bank account stretched to the breaking point in this hilarious novel filled with bridal meltdowns, handsome and obnoxious groomsmen, meddling mamas, wayyyyy too much Spanx, and one supposed-to-be-anonymous blog that allows Lily to vent. Sara Goodman Confino hits every note just right, with pitch-perfect dialogue and a healthy, fun dose of snark, along with plenty of love and warmth. A laugh-out-loud read.” 
—Maddie Dawson, Washington Post bestselling author of Matchmaking for Beginners

“Amid a flurry of ‘I dos,’ bridesmaid Lily Weiss navigates five weddings in six weeks—her saving grace the Bridesmania blog she writes exposing the high stakes and high costs of wedding culture for those in the throes and woes of love. With Lily’s love life woven throughout, our bighearted heroine’s misguided attempts at bridesmaid wizardry will engage readers invited to attend this rollicking—and at times emotionally bruising—march down multiple aisles. Say yes to this story about self-reflection, forgiveness, and, ultimately, courageous leaps of faith, written with wit and razor-sharp truth. A real gem of a bridesmaid tale!” 
—Julie Valerie, bestselling author of Holly Banks Full of Angst and The Peculiar Fate of Holly Banks
  

In one sentence, what was the road to publishing like for you? 
There were a lot of bumps along the road, as I self-published two books in the 2010s, but once I wrote For the Love of Friends, everything kind of just fell into place. 

How is Lily similar to or different from you?
Lily definitely has pieces of me in her, but she is a little less self aware (at the beginning at least) than I hope I am. She has my sense of humor and love of writing. And she’s a people pleaser who has trouble saying no--which was me for a long time. It took the process of getting published and working on my next book for me to get to the point where I learned to prioritize myself and say no when there’s too much on my plate, which is a lesson that Lily learns as well. She’s far from perfect, but she tries hard, which I would say about myself. But the blog ventures into passive-aggressive territory, and I’m a lot more aggressive-aggressive in that I speak up when something is bothering me. 

If For the Love of Friends was made into a movie, who would you cast in the leading roles
I had the idea of Emma Stone in mind while I was writing because she can do comedy so well (honestly, she can do anything well!). I think she’d be able to capture the descent from wanting to help her friends no matter what to passive-aggressive outrage and back to redemption. Of course, casting her makes my Alex choice a little awkward, as I could see Andrew Garfield being awesome in that role. (John Kraziniski is my real choice, but he’s too old for it.)
I think Margot Robbie would be AMAZING as Caryn. Annie Murphy would be a great Megan. Margaret Qualley as Amy. Catherine O’Hara as Lily’s mom. And Shirley MacLaine as Grandma!

Side note from Melissa: After seeing Tick, Tick, Boom recently, it will be interesting to picture Andrew Garfield when I read this book.

What is something you have learned about yourself during the pandemic? 
I always knew that I worked well under pressure (my mother once said that if you gave me a deadline and coffee I could take over the world), but I experienced a whole new level of pressure during the pandemic. I signed my deal with Lake Union in May 2020, right when everything was at its scariest, then had my second baby at the end of that month. And I spent the following school year teaching from home with a baby and writing my next novel at night after the kids went to bed. I’d always done my writing during the summer before because I didn’t think I had time during the school year. But I learned this year that when something is important enough, I can find a way to accomplish it, no matter how daunting or impossible it seems. My second novel, She’s Up to No Good, is due out this summer and while I still don’t know how I wrote it while teaching full time with a baby in the middle of a pandemic, I’m extremely proud of it!

If someone were to visit you, what are some must-see places you would take them to check out?
That’s actually a hard question! I’m in the DC area, so there are just SO many must-see tourist spots. In spring, the cherry blossoms are absolutely worth a visit (despite the crowds), and the Smithsonian museums year-round. I’m a sucker for the American History museum (despite the fact that they won’t let me try on the ruby slippers), but I also like to brag at the Air and Space museum because my dad assembled their Saturn V rocket launcher. Because I have kids who are too young to be vaccinated, we stick to outdoor activities like the zoo and walking the canal tow-path these days, but I can’t wait until the little one is old enough to mask so we can start taking advantage of more of what DC offers. (And pre-kids, I’ve been known to make out-of-towners climb the Exorcist steps!)

What is your favorite thing about Thanksgiving? 
Being with family, of course. But beyond that, I love to bake, so I’m always in charge of desserts for my family and I think the preparation for that is one of my favorite parts. I love planning out my menu and trying new recipes that I don’t have a reason to make the rest of the year. And my four year old loves helping me bake--it’s a lot more work and a lot messier with him, but sharing that with him is really special, especially because I learned to bake with my mother and grandmother.

Thanks to Sara for visiting with us and 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 November 28th at midnight EST.

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Monday, November 22, 2021

Cover Reveal and Book Review: A Royal Farce

By Sara Steven

Lila needs to pay her soul-crushing debt. Pierre needs a wife. Maybe they can help each other.

Once she finishes these renovations, Lila can finally sell her money pit and get back on her feet. But on box store wages, that’ll take decades. Then her friend Pierre proposes the perfect solution: he needs a green card. If Lila marries him, he'll pay for the job.

One problem: who is going to believe the gorgeous, brilliant investment banker fell for little Lila? Everyone, if they have any say. Not even their closest friends can suspect the truth. Lila fakes the walk of shame, feigns shock at Pierre's staged public proposal, and plans their wedding with a single-minded determination rivaled only by her Yorkie begging for treats.

Their fake relationship is so perfect, Lila starts to wish it was real. Then Pierre's brother drops a bombshell: they are royalty, princes to a tiny island nation, and Lila isn't princess material. Now, instead of studs and sandpaper, Lila finds herself worrying about titles and tiaras. Will she get her happily ever after, or will Lila's prince decide she's not so charming after all? (Synopsis courtesy of Amazon)

A Royal Farce was a little bit like the movie Green Card, sprinkled with a little bit of Coming to America, added with a lot of Heffernan’s witty dialogue and charm!

Lila had a tiny bit of a crush on Pierre when she first noticed him in her apartment building, but never thought anything could ever come from it. He’d been dating a model at the time, which sets the stage for the type of women she felt he would go for. Namely, not someone like her. But friendship-wise, they connect in so many ways, so how could she say no when he proposes marriage in order to keep him in the country? 

From the get go, I wondered what would happen over time for Lila and Pierre. It’s hard to hold back on the feelings you might have for someone, and even harder when you don’t think the feelings will ever be reciprocated. And in so many moments, she waits to hear some sort of recognition of that, yet over and over, it never happens. I appreciated the struggle we get to see within Lila; she wants to help her friend, yet at the same time, she’s trying to preserve her heart. 

The bombshell comes at a great moment in the story, when Lila discovers that Pierre hasn’t been who he said he is, preferring to keep her in the dark. And Pierre’s brother Henri is a piece of work! I’m not sure why, but I have a sneaking suspicion that he could be in the second installment in the Retail to Riches series. No matter who we’ll get to discover next-- I’ll definitely read it! Heffernan has a way with the back-and-forth banter that I love to read between characters, and what I really like is when the protagonist discovers new things about themselves that really creates the character evolution I hold so dear to my heart. Maybe she'll let herself fall for Pierre, or maybe she won't. But ultimately, it will be on her terms. This really was a sweet, funny, five-star experience!

Thanks to Laura Heffernan for the book in exchange for an honest review.

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