Thursday, March 4, 2021

Book Review: The Particulars of Peter: Dance Lessons, DNA Tests, and Other Excuses to Hang Out with My Perfect Dog

By Cindy Roesel

Is it possible to be too obsessed with your dog? To love your dog so much that it hurts? Author Kelly Conaboy shares in her memoir, THE PARTICULARS OF PETER (Grand Central Publishing), that she can’t remember what life was like before she adopted her dog, Peter. He is the center of her existence. And she isn’t alone. My shih tzu, Sunshine is the love of my life, as I often share in my posts.

Once Kelly adopted Peter (which was a headache and too long to write about here), she decided to write her memoir focusing on him. The first thing she did was buy Peter a bunch of stuff he didn’t need. That’s one of the facts of being a dog owner; you’re constantly purchasing items your dog will either ignore or destroy. Kelly tried giving Peter puzzle toys, large noisy balls, a fancy bed, clothes and booties for walking in cold weather. FORGET ABOUT IT! But Kelly purchased a fleece blanket for herself, which quickly became Peter’s.

In THE PARTICULARS OF PETER, Kelly interviews experts about almost all there is to know about having a pet. Do you know you can get your dog’s DNA? That became possible in 2005 and it allows you to find out what kind of breed your dog REALLY is. It can also help you fine tune her diet or predict health problems. German folklore has it that dogs can speak on Christmas Eve. There’s a huge business in pet psychics. Try Googling “pet psychics” and you’ll be overwhelmed; it’s quite the lucrative business. You can also teach your pet how to become a ghost hunter. Peter didn’t take to that or dance lessons. He did well with competitive canine agility contests, as long as he was allowed to do what he wanted to do.

Here are some statistics Kelly shares to prove her point. Eighty-seven million, that’s 67% of families, all own pets. We dog owners spent about $75 billion, with a B on our furry friends. Of that, $480-million is spent on Halloween costumes. Peter doesn’t like to dress up.

The main thing we learn in Kelly’s book is that the love we receive from our dog is unconditional and all of us can use that.

Thanks to Grand Central Publishing for the book in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Book Review: Flying Duo



By Sara Steven

London lawyer Rachel Watson has wound up in an Indian ashram with hippy heartthrob lover, Seb.

A high-achiever, Rachel has always lived life according to her Life List, ticking off goals along the way. But now that she's in India, Rachel is going with the flow, or at least trying to...

Rachel's visa is running out and it's time to decide whether her relationship with Seb is a holiday romance or built to last.

The pair embark on a trip to Nepal for an Everest base camp trek, but will their relationship survive this gruelling expedition or is it time to part ways? (Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads)

Oh, the leeches!

Zoe May does an excellent job at providing just the right amount of description and imagery to her stories, and Flying Duo is no exception. The hike Rachel takes through the Everest base camp with Seb, along with the turbulence she experiences with other hikers, and surprising leeches--I had no idea you might find leeches at Everest!--really added to the chaos that Rachel feels. She’s not entirely sure where her relationship with Seb is heading, or where she wants to be in her own life. 

Given I’m more like Rachel, I could really understand her need to find stability. She loves to create goals for herself and cross them off her list, while Seb is the complete opposite of that. He is much more of a “take the days one at a time” kind of guy, and waits to see where he ends up. With two opposing personalities, I could see how it could add tension in the relationship, something that is highlighted even more during the hiking excursion. I wondered if Rachel would be able to help Seb find more of his focus, and if Seb could help Rachel to relax and take joy in the little things, and as the synopsis indicates, whether the relationship will survive, or if it will be best for them to go their own separate ways.

The landscape is another strong character within Flying Duo. I loved the descriptions of the Indian ashram and the trip they went on to Nepal, and the experiences they have while out in nature. I love hiking, and I could clearly picture and see the environment they’re in while trying to prove something to themselves as individuals, and as a couple.

I’ve read quite a few of Zoe May’s books, but realized after reading this one that I haven’t read Flying Solo, the book meant to come before this one, where we learn more about how Rachel and Seb found one another. While I appreciated that Flying Duo can be read as a standalone, I’m interested in gaining more of a backstory, and will be adding Flying Solo to my to-be-read pile.

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

Purchase Links:
Amazon UK * Amazon US 

Zoe May is an author of romantic comedies. Zoe has dreamt of being a novelist since she was a teenager. She worked in journalism and copywriting in London before writing her debut novel, Perfect Match. Having experienced the London dating scene first hand, Zoe couldn't resist writing a novel about dating since it seems to supply endless amounts of weird and wonderful material!

Perfect Match was one of Apple's top-selling books of 2018. It was also shortlisted for the Romantic Novelists' Association's Joan Hessayon Award, with judges describing it as 'a laugh out loud look at love and self-discovery - fresh and very funny'.

As well as writing, Zoe enjoys walking her dog, painting and, of course, reading! She adores animals and if she's not taking a photo of a vegan meal, she's probably tweeting about the dairy industry. She is half Greek and half Irish and can make a mean baklava. Zoe has a thing for horror films, India, swimming, hip hop and Radiohead. She has an encyclopaedic knowledge of handbags having spent several years working in fashion copywriting and could probably win Mastermind if this was her specialist subject!

Visit Zoe online:
Website * Facebook * Twitter * Instagram

Visit all the stops on Zoe's blog tour:


Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Spending the day with Sarahlyn Bruck...plus a book giveaway

Today we're pleased to welcome back Sarahlyn Bruck to celebrate the publication of her sophomore novel, 
Daytime Drama. It sounds like a great story and we're excited for you to learn more about it, as well as about what makes this author tick. Sarahlyn has one signed paperback, along with some swag, to give away!

Sarahlyn Bruck is also the author of Designer You (2018), which won the Indie Star Book Award for 2019 and was included on the 2018 “35 Over 35” list. When she’s not writing novels, Sarahlyn moonlights as a full-time writing and literature professor at a local community college. A California native, she now lives in Philadelphia with her husband, daughter, and cockapoo.

Visit Sarahlyn online:

Synopsis:

Soap opera star by day, harried, single mom by night, Calliope Hart’s life is a delicate balancing act. When the network cancels her show, Callie’s world crumbles and she must decide whether it’s more important to fight to save the show or take a risk and start over from scratch.

By day, for 25 years, soap opera fans have known actress Calliope Hart as Napa Valley’s resident diva, Jessica Sinclair. By night, Callie is a flustered breadwinner, scrambling to provide for her 12-year-old son and her mother. So when the network announces that her show will be canceled, Callie is beyond shocked—she doesn’t know who she is anymore.

At first, driven by financial concerns for her family that include blackmail payments to her son’s biological father, she rallies fans to save the show. But is that what she really wants? When she learns that her mother has been driving her son to auditions she’s strictly forbidden—and worse, that he’s been offered opportunities—Callie sees her own child’s youth and drive in competition with her age and experience. Set in modern-day Hollywood,
Daytime Drama is a story about having the guts to reach for the sky. Callie must decide whether to play it safe or summon the courage her son displays to risk her lucky meal ticket and reinvent her career—and, for the first time, test her mettle as an actress and a mom. (Courtesy of Sarahlyn's website.)

What is a favorite compliment you have received on your writing?
When readers tell me that they relate to the characters is such a thrill. Those connections are why I write and why I read.

How is Callie similar to or different from you?
Callie is mostly different from me. She’s far more charming than me and is comfortable being the center of attention. But she can also be very stubborn, which unfortunately, is totally me.

If Daytime Drama were made into a TV series, who would you cast in the leading roles?
Hmmm…maybe Katie Holmes as Callie—she can glam it up and play it down. Joseph Gordon-Levitt would make a great Paul, Callie’s boyfriend. I can see Jamie Lee Curtis as Karen, Callie’s mom. And Jonah? Hmmm…I am not up to date on 12-year-old actors. I’m taking suggestions!

What is the last movie you saw that you would recommend?
We just saw Nomadland last weekend. It was awesome and beautiful and heartbreaking. Frances McDormand was amazing in it. I loved it. Wish I could have seen it in a movie theater.

What is something you learned about yourself during the pandemic?
When I think about my family during this pandemic, I think we’re all more resilient that we thought we were. We are definitely lucky—both my husband and I can work from home. And our daughter is taking online school in stride and performing really well. But you know, we’re stuck in a house all day together. Sure, we get annoyed with each other sometimes. But at the same time, I’m learning to cherish these extended moments of togetherness because we probably won’t have them again anytime soon. My daughter will leave for college in a couple of years, and our lives will change drastically once again. So, I’m just going to try to enjoy all this together time while I’ve got it.

What is your go-to breakfast item?
Coffee. That’s breakfast, right? But if we’re talking food, it’s eggs for me. I like a little protein along with the caffeine to kickstart my brain in the morning.

Thanks to Sarahlyn 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.

a Rafflecopter giveaway



Giveaway ends March 7th at midnight EST.

Monday, March 1, 2021

Book Review: Float Plan

By Cindy Roesel

Trish Doller's debut rom-com, FLOAT PLAN (St. Martin's Griffin) is about learning to live with sadness and happiness side by side.  Since the suicide of Anna's fiancĂ©, Ben she has been emotionally paralyzed by grief. She gets an alert about a sailing trip they planned together, but now Ben's gone. Without thinking about potential problems, she sets sail in their Alberg 37 from Fort Lauderdale to the Caribbean. 

On her first leg to Bimini she nearly gets demolished by a cargo container freighter and upon arrival decides she needs to sail with someone more experienced to Puerto Rico. 

Enter Keane Sullivan, an expert sailor who has a prosthetic leg, and sailed races in huge boats before his accident. He's from Ireland and good looking, but Anna is still grieving. They take shifts sailing, but when they leave Providenciales they come into really bad weather making sailing painful and miserable. Anna is tossed into the ocean and sees her life pass before her when Keane saves her. She has a gash on her cheek, a head injury, possibly a concussion and a dislocated shoulder. She goes to a clinic in Puerto Rico and gets fixed up.

At this point I don't want to tell you anymore, except you might need a couple of tissues. FLOAT PLAN is a metaphor for facing your fears and moving on. I thought the main characters, Anna and Keane were written so well, it felt like they were real people. Anna was a compelling character. We, the readers, feel her grief and watch her slowly heal. I read it in one sitting and loved it. I'm sure you will too and the ending is just delightful.  

Thanks to St. Martin's Press for the book in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, February 26, 2021

Reviews at Amazon-February 2021

We're posting some reviews at our Amazon accounts, as either they've been sitting in queue for a while and deserve their time in the sun, fall under our featuring policy, or they're new reads that we couldn't wait to post at the blog. You can check them out at the links below. Hope we can help you find your next favorite book!

Melissa:

Review
Review
Review
Review*
Review
Review

Review
Review

Review
Review


*Reviewed in January, but somehow didn't make it into the January post.

Book Review: Opposites Attract...plus a special giveaway



By Sara Steven

Single mom Vivian has been burned by love once before, and her job as a divorce lawyer has presented enough evidence to convince her there are no good men left in New York City.

The worst offender is her new neighbor: Dr. Lucas Keller, a couple’s therapist whose piercing blue eyes and flawless dark hair are just as annoying as his bad temper.

But when Luke starts poaching Vivian’s clients by saving their marriages, she makes it her mission to force him out of the building to save her practice. But it’s Luke who gives her the perfect opportunity when he proposes an unexpected bet.

With their offices at stake, Vivian and Luke play the field of love in a fierce battle of wits that quickly turns hot and personal, especially when Vivian’s daughter gets involved. Now, taking down Luke has become more than business for Vivian. It’s become a pleasure—and soon, Vivian and Luke will realize how pointless it is to fight the laws of attraction.
(Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads)

I really enjoyed the back and forth banter between Vivian and Luke. It seemed like it was going to be a disaster right from the start, when the two of them are forced to play nice as office neighbors, and the battle of wits felt like an epic game that I never wanted to end! 

Vivian, as mentioned in the synopsis, has her ideas on men and relationships. It’s what has lended into her job as a divorce lawyer. Yet, beneath the gruff and tough exterior lurks a hopeless romantic who thinks romance is meant for everyone else, but not for her. On the flip side is Luke, a glass half full kind of guy who works on repairing marriages as a couple’s therapist, but for him, he’s become a bit cynical due to his own past baggage regarding personal relationships. It was fun to witness what they both present to the outside world, yet through their own points of view, we get to delve deeper into what has ultimately made both characters steer clear of relationships. 

The bet the two of them takes on goes against everything they stand for, only raising the stakes of the story. The various scenarios both Vivian and Luke go through in order to “win” was so entertaining and fun to read. There were moments involving Vivian’s daughter that brought on some teary-eyed moments for me, too, which really helped to balance out the battle going on for Vivian and Luke and made the plot and everything within it feel well-rounded and real. Even though they’re working to fight the laws of attraction, the question is, what happens next? What goes beyond that? And ultimately, can there be a happily-ever-after?

The fast-paced witty romantic disasterly mayhem behind Opposites Attract kept me going, from page one until I was done, and if I could give this battle of wits six stars, I really would!

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

Purchase Links:
Amazon US * Books2Read

Opposites Attract is available for FREE as an e-book!

Camilla Isley is an engineer turned writer after she quit her job to follow her husband on an adventure abroad.

She’s a cat lover, coffee addict, and shoe hoarder. Besides writing, she loves reading—duh!—cooking, watching bad TV, and going to the movies—popcorn, please. She’s a bit of a foodie, nothing too serious. A keen traveler, Camilla knows mosquitoes play a role in the ecosystem, and she doesn’t want to starve all those frog princes out there, but she could really live without them.

Visit Camilla online:
Facebook * Twitter * Instagram

Giveaway to Win 3 x e-copies of the Beach Reads box set (Open Internationally)

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide 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 fulfillment 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.


a Rafflecopter giveaway 

Giveaway ends March 8th.

Visit all the stops on Camilla's blog tour:


Thursday, February 25, 2021

Spotlight and Giveaway: The Marriage Pass

Today we are pleased to feature The Marriage Pass by Briana Cole. Thanks to SparkPoint Studio, we have one copy for a lucky reader!

Can you really have the best of both worlds?

He's rich, successful--and has been faithfully married to his longtime girlfriend for nearly one grueling year. Because for Dr. Dorian Graham, too many women is never too much--no matter how loyal his wife, Shantae, has been since their college days. So when she proposes they both celebrate their first anniversary by spending a no-questions-asked, no-consequences night with their greatest temptation, Dorian is shocked, but can't resist. Especially since Shantae's wild-card younger sister, Reagan, is gorgeous, uninhibited--and the one who got away...

It turns out one sizzling night with Reagan isn't enough. Yet the more Dorian takes, the more she demands--and the more he suddenly has to lose. Soon, with his mind games being used against him and his every move checkmated, Dorian will be forced to go all-in on one last desperate play to win. But winning might just be another way to crash and burn... (Synopsis courtesy of Amazon.)

Briana Cole is an acclaimed author, motivational speaker, sex educator and actress. Her novels are known for exploring unconventional relationships and making readers question all expectations about love, lust, and monogamy. An Atlanta native, she graduated cum laude from Georgia Southern University and is a proud member of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority. Her motto and ultimate drive toward success is a famous quote from Mae West: "You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough."

Visit Briana 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.

a Rafflecopter giveaway



Giveaway ends March 2nd at midnight EST.