Thursday, February 11, 2016

Spotlight and giveaway: The Middle of Somewhere

Today we're proud to feature The Middle of Somewhere by Sonja Yoerg. She has TWO copies to share with some lucky US readers!

A young woman, widowed and troubled, hikes from Yosemite Valley deep into the wilderness to elude her shameful past in this emotional page-turner from the author of House Broken.

​ ​With her thirtieth birthday looming, Liz Kroft is a heading for the hills—literally. Her emotional baggage weighs her down more than her backpack, but a three-week trek promises the solitude she craves—at least until her boyfriend, Dante, decides to tag along. His broad moral streak makes the prospect of confessing her sins more difficult, but as much as she fears his judgment, she fears losing him more. Maybe.


​ ​They set off together under blue skies, but it’s not long before storms threaten and two strange brothers appear along the trail. Amid the jagged, towering peaks, Liz must decide whether to admit her mistakes and confront her fears, or face the trail, the brothers and her future alone.

Advanced Praise:

"The perfect blend of self-discovery and suspense."

​--​Kate Moretti, New York Times bestselling author of Thought I Knew You

"Beautifully written, it paints a vivid portrait of the wilderness and a woman in peril. "

​--​Eileen Goudge, New York Times bestselling author of Bones and Roses

"Yoerg skillfully explores how the weight of remorse makes the search for personal redemption a test of not just the will, but the heart...stunningly descriptive prose."

​--​Susan Meissner, author of Secrets of a Charmed Life

"By the time you finish this wonderful novel--driven by a pulse of dark secrets and looming danger--you'll feel as if you've hiked the John Muir Trail."

-​​-Kristin Harmel, International Bestselling author of The Life Intended

"[This] book is part finding yourself, part modern romance and part heart-thumping thriller, all under the majesty of Yosemite National Park."

​--​Cathy Lamb, author of What I Remember Most


Sonja Yoerg grew up in Stowe, Vermont, where she financed her college education by waitressing at the Trapp Family Lodge. She earned her Ph.D. in Biological Psychology from the University of California at Berkeley and published a nonfiction book about animal intelligence, Clever as a Fox (Bloomsbury USA, 2001). Her novels, House Broken (January 2015) and The Middle of Somewhere (September 2015) are published by Penguin/NAL. Sonja lives with her husband in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. Visit Sonja at her website, Facebook, and Twitter.

Special thanks to Sonja 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


US only. Giveaway ends February 16th at midnight EST.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

My #firstworldproblem

By Melissa Amster

Hi. My name is Melissa and I am a book hoarder. I need an intervention. Seriously. I have way way way too many books. I know I get a lot of them as review copies in exchange for honest reviews right here at CLC. However, that doesn't stop me from buying more books and entering giveaways. (Side note...I recently found out that I won The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend and I am super excited about that!) My husband knows I have this problem and made me go through the bookshelves in the storage room of our basement. (Since there's not enough room for all of them upstairs.) I did and it was painful to part with some of them, but I know that if I read them and they're just sitting on my shelf waiting for someone else to have a turn, or I have kept them around too long and have no intention of reading them (ex. books that were sent to me unsolicited or books I got at the thrift store because there was a massive sale and I thought I might eventually read them but then I changed my mind).
Books in my basement
In any case, I have more books than I can even keep track of. I have a hard time letting go of them too. I keep thinking I'll do the "does it give me joy?" method, but that just means holding onto books even though I have no time to re-read them anymore and someone else could benefit from a book I loved. I do book giveaways. I donate them. I loan them out to friends with no due date. Still, for every book that leaves my shelf, five new ones appear in its place.

This leads me to my second problem...I WANT to read all these books but my time is limited. I only have so many hours in a day and they're split between motherhood, marriage, work, chores, blogging, watching my shows, keeping in contact with my friends, etc. I read while exercising, eating breakfast, and eating lunch (most of the time). I also read a lot on Shabbat. Still, it seems like I can barely make a dent in my TBR collection. I have some methods, like book multi-tasking. I read one on my Kindle and one print book at the same time. My Kindle library is just as immense as my print library, if not more! For my print books, I have a pile of five that stay in my room. When I take one off the top, I add another to the bottom. It always stays a pile of five this way. This pile isn't always strictly chick lit. Sometimes I toss something in from a different genre that I've been wanting to read. My Kindle is far less organized though. I also have book club reads to take in consideration.

Current TBR pile
Back to the issue of time. If I want to read all the books I currently own or plan to own/borrow in the future, I need a sabbatical. I need to go off by myself to an island with a bunch of books and just read non-stop for several months. That is not very realistic though. Having said that, I would appreciate it if no one asked me when I was going to read their book. I find other ways to feature books at the blog so that they all get their time in the sun. I have a team of reviewers, as well. Still, they all have lives outside of reading (although I'm sure they're not as overwhelmed by the abundance of books out there). I only ask directly for books that I really want to read. If they are sent to me unsolicited, I might take them into consideration, but they are not high priority. (And usually they are not a fit for the blog anyway.) I am trying to stick to my sanity-preserving policy of reading what I want, when I want to read it. I don't want the blog to feel like a job. Even if I weren't blogging, I think I'd still feel overwhelmed with the amount of books I have and still hope to get around to reading.

My section of the living room bookshelf
Did you know that I have not read two of Jodi Picoult's books that came out in recent years (House Rules and Sing You Home, to be exact)? I love Jodi's writing and I keep intending to read them, but then some other book "distracts" me from doing so. All I know is that I need some other system in place to go back and read books I was hoping to read a while ago and kept pushing aside. There are also so many authors I haven't even had a chance to try out yet. I only just read my first Debbie Macomber book this past month. I have never read a book by Elin Hilderbrand, Claire Cook, Diane Chamberlain, or Beatriz Williams. I have them on my shelf, but again have been "distracted" by authors I already know and love.

With this all in mind...
  • Does anyone have tips for how to fit in books from several years ago or from authors who are "new" to me? I feel like my current plan is working but is still stressing me out somehow....
  • Does anyone else (who ISN'T a book blogger) feel overwhelmed by their book collection?
  • Does anyone else (who IS a book blogger) want to chime in about their own experiences with managing their TBRs?
I'd love to hear your thoughts and feelings on this matter. You all know I love to read and am not going to give that up anytime soon. However, my favorite past-time shouldn't feel overwhelming!

**Side note: I also addressed this issue at my personal blog in a post titled "The Ugly Truth about Being a Book Blogger." You can even see how my pile of five books started out.**

Since I still have a lot of books waiting for a new home, I'm going to do a quick giveaway here for a set of random books. There may be some other genres included to shake things up a bit. (US/Canada only.)

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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US/Canada only. Giveaway ends February 15th at midnight EST.

Book Review: Breaking Wild

By Sara Steven

When you’ve reached your breaking point, and feel as though you can’t go on, what motivates you? What inspires you to never give up, even when you’re faced with the toughest challenges of your life? That’s what I asked myself countless times, while reading Breaking Wild.

It is the last weekend of the season for Amy Raye Latour to get away. Driven to spend days alone in the wilderness, Amy Raye, mother of two, is compelled by the quiet and the rush of nature. But this time, her venture into a remote area presents a different set of dangers than Amy Raye has planned for and she finds herself on the verge of the precarious edge that she’s flirted with her entire life.

When Amy Raye doesn’t return to camp, ranger Pru Hathaway and her dog respond to the missing person’s call. After an unexpected snowfall and few leads, the operation turns into a search and recovery. Pru, though, is not resigned to that. The more she learns about the woman for whom she is searching, and about Amy Raye’s past, the more she suspects that Amy Raye might yet be alive. Pru’s own search becomes an obsession for a woman whose life is just as mysterious as the clues she has left behind.

As the novel follows Amy Raye and Pru in alternating threads, Breaking Wild assumes the white-knuckled pace of a thriller laying bare Amy Raye’s ultimate reckoning with the secrets of her life, and Pru’s dogged pursuit of the woman who, against all odds, she believes she can find. (Synopsis courtesy of Amazon.)

Amy Raye finds herself lost and alone in the wilderness, with only her wits and survival skills to guide her to safety. Only, there is no safety when you’re stuck in severe blizzard conditions, trying hard to find a way to protect yourself from the elements. I couldn’t get over the utter despair and pain she feels, trying desperately to hold onto the glimmer of hope she has in thinking someone may find her, will rescue her.

At the same time, Pru is doing everything she can to find the missing hunter, even when mostly everyone else has given up. With such rough terrain and terrible weather conditions, it’s not a safe environment for anyone, yet that doesn’t stop Pru from trying. At her side is her trusty companion, Kona, a rescue dog who is trained in search and rescue missions, yet even Kona is having a very difficult time in finding Amy Raye. There is so much snow, all tracks and traces have been covered, scents erased.

What I found most intriguing, was how both characters are dealing with survival. While Amy Raye is going through it on more of a literal plane, Pru is having to survive metaphorically, trying hard to move on from her past and embrace what may be in store for her, in the future. For Amy Raye, she also has a lot of personal baggage to sift through, leading her to the physical struggle she finds herself in.

Through all of it, there is the constant thread of hope that holds everyone together, even when it feels like there’s nothing left to hope for. It’s a true testament to the human spirit, how strong we can be, even in times of strife, and how we never give up, especially when we know what’s out there, when we know what we’re up against. I found both Amy Raye and Pru to be quite admirable, showcasing real grit and courage, both well-versed in the wilderness and how to survive in the great outdoors. It was nice to see such strong female characters. For me, this was a definite page turner, hands down!

Thanks to Berkley/NAL for the book in exchange for an honest review.

More by Diane Les Becquets:


Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Nothing ordinary about Suzanne Redfearn...plus a book giveaway

One of the things I enjoy most about being a part of Chick Lit Central is getting to learn more about the authors whose books we feature. Each one has their own unique story that lead them to their writing career. Today’s featured author is no exception.

Before becoming a published author, Suzanne Redfearn was an architect specializing in residential and commercial design. She graduated summa cum laude from California Polytech University. Originally born on the east coast, Suzanne moved to California when she was fifteen and currently resides in Laguna Beach with her husband, two kids, a Coockapoo named Cooper and a cat named Motley. She enjoys spending her free time with them. Her family owns a restaurant called Lumberyard.  Suzanne is the author of Hush Little Baby, which was chosen as a Target Recommends selection and Target’s Emerging Authors program. This month, Suzanne’s second novel, No Ordinary Life, was published and we couldn’t be happier to have her visit us to mark the occasion. She has one copy of No Ordinary Life to give away to a lucky reader in the US or Canada!

So please give a warm Chick Lit Central welcome to Suzanne Redfearn! You can find her at her website, Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.


Synopsis:
Faye Martin never expected her husband to abandon her and her three children . . . or that she'd have to struggle every day to make ends meet. So when her four-year-old daughter is discovered through a YouTube video and offered a starring role on a television series, it seems like her prayers have been answered. But when the reality of their new life settles in, Faye realizes that fame and fortune don't come without a price. And in a world where everyone is an actor and every move is scrutinized by millions, it's impossible to know whom to trust, and Faye finds herself utterly alone in her struggle to save her family.

Emotionally riveting and insightful,
No Ordinary Life is an unforgettable novel about the preciousness of childhood and the difficult choices a mother needs to make in order to protect this fragile time in her children's lives.



How would you describe your writing style?
Heartfelt and emotional but with characters that have a sense of humor, so there is always also a bit of levity. Both Hush Little Baby and No Ordinary Life are about moms protecting their children, so the topic lends itself to drama and, because there are kids, there are also lots of endearing moments of family. Both novels were written present tense, first person, which is also a unique style of storytelling that creates tension, the action unfolding as the protagonist is witnessing it.

Which author(s) inspire you as a writer?
Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged had a profound influence on me when I was a teenager. It was the first time I realized how much a story can touch your soul and change your life. I also fell in love with The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway and The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay. Any book that makes me think and moves me inspires me.

What advice would you give someone who is in the process of writing their first manuscript?
Write. Write, write, write. Get the words on the page. I think so many writers stymie themselves by trying to make it perfect, when what they need to do is not worry about the perfection, but instead worry about what it is they want to say. They need to get the story out, then they can go back and clean it up. And if, when they finish, it turns out to be lousy, so what? Move on to the next story. I have half a dozen novels that are unpublished. Each one led me to the next. Each one made me a better writer. Hush Little Baby wasn’t necessarily my best story, but it was the one that got published. The more you write, the more chance you have for success.

On the "About" section of your website, you list watching Reality TV as a guilty pleasure. What is your current Reality TV obsession?
I am almost too embarrassed to answer this question. I, of course, love the tried-and-true standbys: Survivor, The Amazing Race, The Voice, The Biggest Loser, but my daughter has also turned me on to Are You the One? and it is so awful that it is impossibly good.

Where is your favorite place to visit?
San Francisco. It is the city of food and it is so alive with energy.

What is your favorite social media addiction?
TED.com. Whenever I have a spare moment, I log in and get inspired.

Thanks to Suzanne for visiting with us and sharing her book with our readers. You can also enter to win a copy from SE Reviews and Reads (US/Canada only). It's included in Confessions of a Bookaholic's BIG giveaway, as well. (Worldwide. Ends 2/19.)

~Introduction and interview by Tracey Meyers


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


US/Canada only. Giveaway ends February 14th at midnight EST.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Book Review: A Sudden Crush

By Gail Allison

Joanna Price has got it all. She’s just gotten married to the love of her life, she has the best job in the world, and she’s on her way to the most romantic honeymoon she can imagine. Except for one tiny thing, everything seems to be coming up her way. Her brand new husband is absolutely dashing. A bestselling novelist, Liam met Joanna over her desk (she’s a very successful editor who is obsessed with finding amazing books), and fell head over heels. Now they’ve just been married and are headed off into the proverbial sunset for their honeymoon. The only blip on the radar: Joanna didn’t realize she could pre-book her seats online, and the only two seats left on their six-hour flight are most certainly not next to each other. When Joanna gets situated and frantically asks her seatmate if he will trade seats, burly rancher Connor Duffield flat-out refuses. Joanna decides to remedy the situation herself and go ask Liam’s seatmate to trade, only to be met with the sight of Liam already deep in conversation with his seatmate, who is apparently a Victoria’s Secret model. Joanna slumps back to her seat, thinking things can’t get much worse when the plane begins to experience some crazy turbulence.

The next thing Joanna knows she’s waking up in a tree still buckled in to her seat with her bag tied to her seat. This is where we get to suspend reality a little bit and just fall in to the story. Joanna and Connor have somehow fallen out of the plane and their seat has gotten wedged in the branches of a tree on a deserted island. Connor starts getting ready to stay there for the long haul, and luckily the island they have landed on has a freshwater pond on it, luckily neither one of them is injured, and luckily Joanna has a solar cell phone charger in her purse. That has survived the crash. And stayed in her purse that she still has.

I know you can probably all hear my rolling my eyes at this point, and I do have to admit the number of wonderfully lucky coincidences in this book do force you to suspend logic for awhile, but the story is quite enjoyable nevertheless, and written in a way that makes you want to keep reading....so you do!

After 143 days Joanna and Connor are rescued, and they go back to real life. This part surprised me, as they were rescued about halfway through the book. I was curious to see what the last half would be about, but it actually was quite enjoyable. As Joanna gets resettled back into her life, she finds that things have changed quite a lot actually. Liam, her loving and wonderful husband, has moved on. Yes, already. He’s gone and married the Victoria’s Secret model. Joanna is absolutely crushed, but soldiers on. I’m not going to give away the rest of the book, suffice to say it’s definitely a feel-good novel that end by making all the disbelief throughout worthwhile.

The only real drawback that I found in this novel was that occasionally the dialogue felt a little choppy. The author, at times, chose to use full words rather than the contractions occurring in everyday English, and it caused a bit of bumpy reading for me. I’m one of those people that when something interrupts the flow of a good book, it takes me a paragraph or two to get back into it, and when my eyes were getting hung up on some of the wording it just felt a little awkward at times...never enough to make me put the book down though. The story line was just so much fun!

I would definitely recommend A Sudden Crush by Camilla Isley. It’s completely adorable, and a great novel to have tucked into your travel bag. Just maybe don’t read the first half during turbulence...

Thanks to Camilla Isley for the book in exchange for an honest review and Hello...Chick Lit for including us in Camilla's blog tour.




Visit all the other stops on the tour:


02.08.16
Grass Monster- @Lost801_Oceanic – Review
Live, Laugh & Love Books – http://livelaughandlovebooks.wordpress.com – Excerpt
Literary Chanteuse - www.literarychanteuse.blogspot.ca – Promo
Around the World in Books - http://www.aroundtheworldinbooks.ca/ - Excerpt
02.09.16
Bookmyopia - http://bookmyopia.wordpress.com – Review
Calico Gifts Blog - Www.calicogiftsblog.WordPress.com – Review
Judging More Than Just the Cover - www.judgingmorethanjustthecover.blogspot.com – Author Q&A – Review
Pretty Little Book Reviews - http://www.prettylittlebookreviews.com – Review
Just a Book Lovin’ Junkie - http://jabooklovinjunkie.blogspot.com – Promo
Bookish Escapes - http://bookishescapes.weebly.com - Review
02.10.16

T & L Book Reviews- http://tasz1976.wordpress.com – Promo
Romantic Reads and Such - http://romanticreadsandsuch.worpdress.com – Review
Boundless Minds - www.boundlessminds.org – Author Q&A
Ali – The Dragon Slayer - http://cancersuckscouk.ipage.com/ - Review
Hello…Chick Lit – http://hellochicklit.com - Review

02.11.16
On My Bookshelf - http://www.onmybookshelf.blog.pl – Review
Liz Ellen- http://lizellyn.com – Review
The Nest of Books Review - http://www.sparklyword.com/  - Author Guest Post
ItaPixie’s Book Corner - https://www.facebook.com/itapixiesbookcorner/ - Review
I Heart Fictional People - http://iheartfictionalpeople.com/ - Review

02.12.16
Vvb32 Reads - http://vvb32reads.blogspot.com/ - Review
One Book at a Time – http://Booksandwinearelovely.blogspot.com – Promo
A Writer’s Ramblings - https://www.corinnedesjardins.wordpress.com – Excerpt
Book Groupies - http://bookgroupies2.blogspot.com/ - Promo
Stormy Nights Reviewing & Bloggin’ - http://stormynightbloginandreviwing.blogspot.com/ -Promo
Hey Said Renee - http://heysaidrenee.blogspot.com.au - Review


Friday, February 5, 2016

What's in the mail

Melissa A:

The Thing Is by Kathleen Gerard from
Red Adept Publishing (e-book)

One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid from Atria (e-book via Edelweiss)

The Goodbye Year by Kaira Rouda from BookSparks

Black Rabbit Hall by Eve Chase from Putnam

The Perfect Neighbors by Sarah Pekkanen from Atria (e-book via Edelweiss)

Second House from the Corner by
Sadeqa Johnson from St. Martin's Press

I'm Glad About You by Theresa Rebeck from Putnam

The Two-Family House by/from
Lynda Cohen Loigman

Wilhelmina and the Willamette Wig Factory by/from Whitney Dineen

Love, Luck, and Lemon Pie by Amy E. Reichert from Gallery (e-book via NetGalley)

Melissa A and Amy:

Everything's Relative by Jenna McCarthy from Penguin





Amy:

Somewhere Out There by Amy Hatvany from Atria

The Ramblers by Aidan Donnelly Rowley from William Morrow
**Enter to win a trip to NYC and lunch with Aidan (US only).**

Under the Influence by Joyce Maynard from William Morrow

The Hating Game by Sally Thorne from William Morrow

Sara:

Branching Out by Kerstin March from Kensington

Breaking Wild by Diane Les Becquets from Berkley/NAL (e-book via Netgalley)

Becky:

The Butterfly Summer by Harriet Evans from Headline Review

Who's That Girl by Mhairi McFarlane from Harper Collins

Denise:

14 Days by Lisa Goich from
Post Hill Press

Book Review: A Place For Us

By Melissa Smoot

From the moment I discovered Harriet Evans and her book Going Home, I was hooked. I've read everything she's written and have loved every single page of every book. Harriet has a way of weaving her characters lives together in a realistic and emotional way. Her stories always have depth and warmth at the heart of them, and a sprinkle of humor and fun, to make the perfect balance.

A Place For Us is no exception and I am grateful that I get to review her latest great read.

The story takes place in the English countryside at a place called Winterfold. The descriptive way that Evans paints the large rambling home, and the family that lives there, gives a clear picture to the imagination.

Martha is the mother of three children. Bill is a doctor and considered the "golden child", Florence is a professor in Italy and is considered eccentric and a wanderer, and then there is Daisy...the so called "black sheep" of the family.

Martha and her husband, David, have been keeping a family secret for decades. One summer morning, Martha sits down to write out the invitations to her 80th birthday celebration. She knows she needs to finally come clean, but how will the family react and will it tear them apart?

This book kept me guessing from the beginning, I had no idea what the big secret could be and enjoyed learning about all of the characters and the history that led up to the fateful moment. Whether you're already a fan of Evans as I am, or you have yet to discover her storytelling talents, this book should definitely be high on your "must read" list. You'll laugh, you'll cry, and you'll feel for the family in this story.

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

More by Harriet Evans: