Thursday, October 31, 2019

Lindsey Kelk is Ohana...plus a book giveaway

We're thrilled to have Lindsey Kelk back at CLC today. Her novels are fun and flirty, which always makes for a great fit here! Today she's here to talk about Hawaii in honor of the latest novel in her I Heart series. Thanks to HarperCollins, we have FIVE copies to give away!




Lindsey Kelk is a Sunday Times bestselling British writer, who was born in Doncaster, went to university in Nottingham, moved to London, then New York and now lives in LA. So far, she has written quite a few books, including the bestselling I Heart series, and many thousands of tweets. Lindsey has been published in more than twenty-five languages around the world and sold more than a million books. It sounds like a lot but her cats aren’t impressed. Classic cats.

As well as her ‘witty, funny, warm and clever books’ (thanks, Marian Keyes), Lindsey is the co-host of two podcasts; Full Coverage, where she and makeup artist, Harriet Hadfield, chat about all things beauty and Tight and Fights, a wrestling podcast on the Maximum Fun network. No, really. Lindsey is also working on a series of children’s books, writes various things for print and the internet and spends too much time playing around on social media. Oh, and Channing Tatum called her a unicorn. Make of that what you will. (Bio adapted from Lindsey's website.)

Visit Lindsey online:
Website * Facebook * Twitter * Instagram


Synopsis:

**May contain spoilers for previous novels in the series**


When you’re running away from real life, there’s only one place to go...

When Angela Clark’s best friend Jenny invites her to join a press trip to Hawaii, three days of sun, sea and sleep sounds like the perfect antidote to her crazed life.

At work in New York, she’s supposed to be the face of Having It All. But the only thing Angela feels she excels at is hiding in the printer cupboard, eating Mini Cheddars and watching Netflix on her phone and if this is living the dream, she's more than ready to wake up.

A few days away with Jenny sounds like exactly what she needs but Angela’s talent for getting into a scrape guarantees nothing goes to plan – and not even the most beautiful beaches, blue skies and daiquiris will get her off the hook...
(Courtesy of Amazon.)



I first visited Hawaii seven years ago when I was researching my book, About a Girl. I wanted a tropical, fantasy island that was far away from grey, wintery London to use as a backdrop for the story and settled on a trip to Oahu with a friend. I was expecting palm trees and Mai Tais, sun, sand and SPF, what I wasn’t expecting was to fall completely and utterly head over heels in love with the islands. I’ve always been a city girl, growing up in the British countryside, I yearned for the hustle and bustle of the big cities I read about in my favourite library books, and I never had a lot of interest in the beach. The sun has never been my friend, I’m altogether too pale for any kind of sunbathing and I would happily take a city break adventure over sand in every crevice any day of the week.

Until Hawaii.

There’s something completely magical about being a speck on a speck, floating on a tiny island in the middle of the ocean, where everyone just seems so happy. In fact, I loved it so much, I ended up setting second book on the islands, the aptly titled, I Heart Hawaii. And so, even though it was a struggle, I’ve narrowed down a very long list to my five favourite things about my favourite islands. Enjoy!

1. The air. This is going to sound crazy, I’m sure, but as someone who has lived in London, New York and LA for the last ten years, there is something about getting off the plane in Hawaii, on any one of the islands, and taking a deep breath. You immediately know you’re on vacation. There’s the salty ocean, the fragrant flowers and, if you’re really lucky, fresh kalua roasting somewhere nearby for your dinner…



2. Swimming with the fishes… as someone who has watched a lot of mafia movies, this one might not make a lot of sense right away but I don’t mean metaphorical fish, I mean actual fish! As a die-hard bleach blonde, it takes a lot to convince me to put my head underwater, especially in swimming pools and salt water, but when I’m lucky enough to be in Hawaii, you cannot get me out of the ocean. On Oahu, I love to visit Hanauma Bay, a protected beach that only allows a certain number of visitors onto the sands each day. Because the bay is so well cared for, marine life flocks here and even the most inexperienced swimmers and snorkelers are guaranteed a show. On Maui, it’s Baby Beach outside of Lahaina, so named because ancient Hawaiians built a sea wall to slow the waves and create a safe place for their children to learn to swim and sail canoes. It’s a perfect place to hang out if you’re looking for a quiet, calmer option, away from the water sports offered at many of the other beaches.

3. The stories. Now, it very possible to go to Hawaii, flake out on the beach, wake up for food and drinks and do absolutely nothing else. If that’s what you’re after, you’ll have a hell of a time but if you’re interested in history and ancient cultures or any kind of storytelling, Hawaii really is a dream destination. Ancient Hawaiians had a story for everything, a tradition the current population holds very dear – why are there fewer hours of sunlight in winter? Blame Maui. Why did no one live on the island of Lanai for centuries? Obviously, it was because of the ghosts. There are a million great tour guides who will drive you around the islands but we prefer to use a self-guided GPS tour via an app on our phones. When you’re surrounded by so many stories, it’s almost impossible not to be inspired.

4. The cats. Now, if you’re not a cat person, you might want to skip to point five because this one is all kitties, all the time. A short ferry ride from the Lahaina marina on Maui is the island of Lanai. As I mentioned, it was uninhabited for a long time because of a bunch of murderous ghosts but the good news is they’ve all been driven away now so it’s safe for you to go and visit the greatest cat café of all time, the Lanai Cat Sanctuary. The outdoor sanctuary is home to more than 600 rescued cats, all from the island. The kitties are taken care of fixed, fed and loved by dozens of volunteers and full-time staff and, most importantly, daily visitors! Visiting the sanctuary is free but I heartily recommend you make a donation or purchase the kitties a gift from their Amazon wish list. They’re so modern! The island itself is fascinating so make sure you book a tour, it’s not big so it won’t take long.




5. The language. I guess it goes without saying but I’m a word nerd. I love words. I love learning new ones, I love using old ones and honestly, any opportunity to get my etymology on and I’m a happy gal. What I love most about the Hawaiian language is how much of it is filled with love and compassion and a genuine sense of sharing. When someone says ‘aloha’ or ‘mahalo’ to you, it isn’t the same as getting a ‘hi’ or a ‘thanks’ anywhere else. The love and respect that runs through the history of these words truly warms the cockles of your heart. And sure, everyone who’s seen Lilo and Stitch (and that’s all of us, right?) knows that Ohana means family but once you’re in the islands, it feels like so much more. Overall, Hawaii feels like a hug. A beautiful, happy, chicken-filled hug. Did I mention the chickens? Wow, I’m going to need to do this all over again…

Thanks to Lindsey for the armchair adventure and to HarperCollins 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 5th at midnight EST.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Go-to-Gay: The "tricks" vs. the treats

Today our Go-to-Gay, Keith Stewart, is here to get us into a Halloween mood by telling us what he hopes to see in his trick-or-treat bag and what he'll be re-distributing to fellow trick-or-treaters. (Admit it...we all "re-gift" the candies we don't like.)





The Candy Man

Halloween season is here. Finally. It is the celebration that really kicks off the Holiday Season. We get the ball rolling with scary stories, dressing up in costumes, and eating tons of candy. How could one improve on that? It is just about perfect.

However, you have be careful. As adults, we can’t just blow our entire caloric budget on any willy-nilly piece of trick-or-treat candy. I mean, a few careless bite-sized Baby Ruth’s and you have filled up on nothing but a minor-league, not-ready-for-prime-time piece of candy.

Don’t worry, I am not going to start harping on nutritional value. I hate those people who post pictures of how many minutes of exercise you must do in order to burn off each fun-sized chocolate bar. “Fun-sized calories don’t count, Karen. It’s Halloween. Look it up.”

Instead, I am going to rank my favorite and least favorite Halloween candy for you. That way, if you are unsure what to splurge on this year, you can check the list and see if what you are about to gorge on is worthy or not. Let’s get started.

KEITH'S LEAST FAVORITE HALLOWEEN CANDY

Candy Corn



Why is this still a thing? No. Just no. Never have I seen anyone sit down and eat a bag of this, and if I ever do, I think I will gouge my eyes out.

Whoppers



In my opinion, malted milk balls are made by the Devil. It is a cruel joke he plays on people, luring them in with the promise of a chocolate candy. Then, he smacks them in the face with the taste of crap and texture of chalk. NOT TODAY, DEVIL, NOT TODAY.

Jelly Beans



Look, I get it. I do. Jelly beans are good, and they have their place in the candy world. JUST NOT AT HALLOWEEN. There is nothing more disappointing to a trick-or-treater than seeing a baggie of these dropped into their goodie bag.

Circus Peanuts



I don’t know why I am still having to talk about these things, but they are still being sold, so here we are. They are so, so, so bad. They even look disgusting. If you find one of these in your trick-or-treat bag, you have been tricked. Big time.

Any Off-Brand, No Label, Wrapped in Foil Candy



These candies always taste like the leftovers from the candy factory. They have an artificial flavor, and usually have random bits and pieces of dirt and grime clinging to the foil. Always a disappointment to see this handed out on Halloween. Always.

Honorable Mentions in Least Favorites: Smarties, Tootsie Rolls, Dum-Dum Suckers

KEITH’S FAVORITE HALLOWEEN CANDY

First off, let me say that I am not selecting the big boys of candy in my favorites. Snickers, Hershey’s, Reese’s, Three Musketeers. We all love them. They are always a favorite, but I wanted to pick some of my favorites that were not so popular.

Peanut Butter Chews


Courtesy of Grocery.com

I love these! I don’t even think they have a real brand name of any sort. The only time you can find them is Halloween, which makes them even more valuable. If you are a fan of peanut butter, this is your chew candy.

Bit-O-Honey



Oh, Bit-O-Honey, how much do I love, thee? Let me count the ways: 1. You taste like no other candy out there. 2. Chewy, but not sticky enough to pull out my teeth. 3. Honey. What else needs said?

Anything Homemade


Popcorn balls, candy apples, caramel apples, Rice Krispy treats. Any of the old-time treats that used to be given out during Halloween are heaven sent. You just can’t get any better than that.

Honorable Mentions in Favorites: Nerds, Sweet Tarts, Twizzlers

I hope this helps you navigate the tricky waters of Halloween binge eating. Do you agree with the list? Disagree? Let me know!

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: The Trouble With Becoming a Witch

By Sara Steven

Veronica thinks she’s happy. But with fight after fight, night after night, she knows that something isn’t right anymore. Then her husband busts her researching witchcraft―and her picturesque suburban life is turned upside down. As her marriage falls apart, she knows that for her own sake and for the sake of her small daughter, something has to change.



The Trouble With Becoming A Witch is about what happens when a woman decides to stop living the life everyone has told her she is supposed to lead and starts living a life true to her desires. But seizing your own magic isn’t easy―and as Veronica’s marriage spirals downward, she’s forced to look deeply into who she wants to be-come. Is risking the security of life as she knows it worth becoming the witch―and woman―she knows she truly is? (Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads)

It’s mentioned a few times within The Trouble with Becoming a Witch, but it’s worth mentioning here that Veronica and her experiences remind me of the experiences the actresses had in The Craft. I always enjoyed that movie during my teen years, so reading about Veronica and how she’s branching out into witchcraft brought me back to those days. The excitement, the hesitancy, her visit to a metaphysical shop that begins to awaken something that has lied dormant in Veronica for so long. In her search for trying to better her life by use of witchcraft, the reader discovers that there is much more beneath the surface.

In the moments shared with her husband, I could feel the frustration and hurt. Many times I wanted to become a third character in the scene, wishing for an opportunity to interject and stand ground against him. Just when Veronica gains the strength to do that for herself is when he deflates her power, leaving her second guessing on the choices she’s made in her life, and what the future holds for her and for this marriage. One particular scene that really represented their dynamic is when he tells her she is no longer allowed to answer the door when someone rings the door bell, or knocks. When she questions it, he tells her yet again that she is not allowed to be a grown-up within their home, but instead of standing her ground, she throws out catty remarks, much like a child would.

While this book mentions Veronica’s renewed interest in witchcraft and focuses from time to time on that, what it is really about is a woman’s need to regain her power. It’s a means to helping her find her way, while also attempting to be the type of role model she would like to be for their child, a young daughter. In order to stop the borderline abusive patterns, she has to rise up. It reminds me of one of the final scenes in The Craft, where one of the witches has to hit bottom, on the cusp of death, before she finds her way. While Veronica isn’t brought to anything that resembles the severity of death, in some respects it could be a death of her own former ideals and opinions, of the shackles she’s allowed to be placed on her psyche, in order to find a way towards the light. In order to essentially do what is right for her and for her daughter.

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

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

We're all about Cathy Lamb...plus a book giveaway

We're pleased to welcome Cathy Lamb back to CLC today and to celebrate the publication of her latest novel, All About Evie. Check out our interview, as she is really interesting and funny. Cathy has one copy of All About Evie to share with a lucky reader!

Cathy Lamb is the author of No Place I'd Rather Be, My Very Best Friend, The Language of Sisters, Such a Pretty Face, and many more compelling novels. She started her career by freelance writing about 200 articles on homes, home décor, people and fashion for a local newspaper.

Cathy suffers from, "I Would Rather Play Than Work Disease" which prevents her from getting much work done unless she has a threatening deadline. She likes to hang with family and friends, walk, eat chocolate, camp, travel, and is slightly obsessive about the types of books she reads. She also likes to be left alone a lot so she can hear all the odd characters in her head talk to each other and then transfer that oddness to paper. The characters usually don't start to talk until 10:00 at night, however, so she is often up 'til 2:00 in the morning with them. That is her excuse for being cranky.

She adores her children and husband, except when he refuses to take his dirty shoes off and walks on the carpet. She will ski because her children insist, but she secretly doesn't like it at all. Too cold and she falls all the time.

She is currently working on her next book and isn't sleeping much. (Bio adapted from Amazon.)

Visit Cathy online:
Website * Facebook * Twitter * InstagramPinterest



Synopsis:
As a child, Evie Lindsay was unnerved by her premonitions. As an adult, they have become a simple fact of life—sometimes disruptive but also inescapable, much like her quirky, lovable family. Evie’s mother, Poppy, and her aunts, Camellia and Iris, are well known on San Orcanita island for their free-spirited ways and elaborately decorated hats. Their floral shop and Evie’s bookstore draw streams of visitors all summer long. This season promises to be extra busy: Evie’s sister, Jules, is getting married on the island.

As Jules plans her unconventional wedding, she arranges to do a DNA test with her mother, sister, and aunts, to see how much accepted lore about their heritage holds true. The results blow apart everything Evie has grown up believing about herself and her family. Spurred on by the revelations, Evie uncovers the real story of her past. But beyond her feelings of shock and betrayal, there are unexpected opportunities—to come to terms with a gift that has sometimes felt like a curse, to understand the secrets that surrounded her childhood, and to embrace the surprising new life that is waiting for her... (Courtesy of Amazon.)


What is a favorite compliment you have received on your writing?
I have had a number of women tell me that they laughed so hard they cried while reading different scenes in my books. Or, they laughed at one scene, then the next scene made them tear up. It’s interesting how laughing and crying often go together in life, isn’t it?

What were the most rewarding and challenging aspects of writing All About Evie?
I set All About Evie in Orcas Island in the San Juan Islands. That was my family’s vacation spot for decades. My parents, my sisters and brother, and our two very bad dogs, would camp there every year in a rickety tent trailer. Very sadly my mother died in 2002 of cancer and my father, also of cancer, in 2007. I have not been back since my father died because I knew it would be too hard, I knew it would hurt like hell. But now, I would like to go. I would like to return with my sisters and my brother and go to the lake, the campsites we stayed in, the bookstore, Olga café, and the ferry dock. I would like to take the hikes we all took as a family. I think the memories would bring pain, but joy, too, as we had such a fun, funny time there as a family. We laughed and talked. Orcas feels like a second home to me, maybe the home of my heart. Writing about Orcas brought it all back – it was rewarding and challenging, both.

If All About Evie were made into a movie, who would you cast in the leading roles?
Well, my favorites, of course! Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock. The mother and the aunts? Shirley MacLaine, Maggie Smith, Betty White. The sister? Jennifer Aniston.

What TV series are you currently binge watching?
I am an HGTV addict, I’ll admit it. Bring on Property Brothers, Flip or Flop, Hidden Potential, Love it Or List It and, my favorite, even though there are only re-runs, Fixer Upper.

What is the funniest thing that has happened to you recently?
My husband and I were going through the drive-thru for coffee. He is well known at this particular coffee shop because he gets coffee there every day before work. Well, one of our cars broke down, so I’m driving him to work. The barista, cheerful and fun, said to us, “Now what are you two lovebirds doing today?” That cracked us up. Lovebirds. We are well into middle age. We have been together for 28 years. We were set up on a blind date by a mutual friend who was an undercover vice cop busting drug dealers, and that was it. We have three grown kids and two odd cats. To be called ‘lovebirds’ was so funny to us. So, my husband said to her, “Well, we’re working today but this weekend we’re going to do some ‘love birding.’” I smacked him on the chest while I laughed. Love birding!

Maybe this story is only funny to me…could be!

What is the strangest thing currently residing in your purse/handbag?
Oh geez. Let me look. Wallet. Kindle. Lipstick. Pen. Pictures of Adventurous Singing Daughter, Rebel Dancing Daughter, Darling Laughing Son and Innocent Husband…ah ha! Nails. I have nails in a baggie in my purse because we moved one of our kids to college a couple of weeks ago and we needed nails to hang up stuff on her walls. I suppose that’s not so strange. I wish I could say something exciting like, “AN AIRPLANE TICKET TO KENYA SO I CAN RESEARCH PRE-HISTORIC BEETLES!” Or, “A SMALL, ORNATE STATUE I FOUND IN THE WALLS OF MY OLD HOUSE THAT IS WORTH MILLIONS!” or, “A PURPLE LIZARD WEARING A HAT.” But no, I can’t.

Thanks to Cathy for visiting with us and 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 4th at midnight EST.

Monday, October 28, 2019

Spotlight and Giveaway: The Poison Garden

We're starting off Halloween week with a new thriller! The Poison Garden is A.J. Banner's latest novel and it sounds intriguing. We are excited (and a little bit scared) to see what's behind that cryptic cover. Thanks to Kathleen Carter Communications, we have TWO copies to give away!

Reminiscent of classic thrillers in which a character’s home becomes a threatening and dangerous place, THE POISON GARDEN is set in a beautiful Victorian home on an island in the Pacific Northwest, surrounded by lush gardens. Elise, the novel’s protagonist, appears to have it all—a happy marriage, lovely home, and dream job running her late mother’s herbal boutique. Working in her mother’s space, with the plants she cultivated from her gardens, brings a sense of comfort and pride to Elise. Despite her grief, she’s never been happier.

But on the eve of her first wedding anniversary, Elise makes a shocking discovery. One that leaves her questioning everything she thought she knew—about her marriage, her mother’s death, her friends, and even herself. With every passing day, she treads deeper into dangerous territory and she is forced to wonder: Is her whole future at stake? Or is paranoia getting the best of her? If she is to believe what she sees, Elise has every reason to fear for her life…

Chilling and atmospheric with a shocking conclusion, THE POISON GARDEN is dizzying tale of deception that questions the bonds of love and loyalty, obsession and greed, and betrayal and forgiveness.

“A fast-paced ride that leaves you guessing until the last page. The Poison Garden is sure to please fans of Banner’s work. Engrossing and fun, I read it in one sitting.”
—Catherine McKenzie, bestselling author of The Good Liar and I’ll Never Tell

“A. J. Banner has crafted yet another wonderfully dark tale of love and loss with The Poison Garden, a fast-paced, twisted ride into the depths of obsession and deceit.”
—Victoria Helen Stone, bestselling author of Jane Doe

Photo by Carol Ann Morris
Born in India and raised in North America, A. J. Banner received degrees from the University of California, Berkeley. Her previous novels of psychological suspense include the bestsellers The Good Neighbor, The Twilight Wife, and After Nightfall. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and six rescued cats.

Visit A.J. online:
Website * Facebook * 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 November 3rd at midnight EST.

Friday, October 25, 2019

Book Review: Let It Be Me...plus a special giveaway

By Sara Steven

Professor James Mitchell has a rock star reputation. With a waitlist for all his classes, a best-selling book, and the requisite leather jacket, the university and publisher are eager to capitalize on this British sensation. But after his girlfriend leaves him for another man, James goes from rising scholar to spiraling bad boy. Forget contracts and tenure, James wants out—of his job, his book deal, and, better still, the country. He’s well on his way when his boss’s daughter walks into his favorite bar . . .

Aspiring filmmaker Ali Ferguson-Day doesn’t scare easily. She’s been given the means to make a film of her own—on the condition she tames the professor. As the daughter of a famed documentarian and a renowned historian, she’s more than ready to step out of her parents’ shadows and shine on her own. She won’t let anyone—not even an unexpected charmer—get in her way.

James and Ali butt heads from the start, but it isn’t long before their sparring gives way to attraction. There’s the promise of even more, if they can get past the fear of history repeating itself to let love in. (Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads.)

A novel by Laura Chapman always reminds me of my Nebraskan roots. The chilly Midwestern background becomes an important backdrop, a key character supporting James and Ali, and the central Amarillo Sour bar that they frequent. In many ways, it’s like a return home for me.

James is a character full of contradiction. A best-selling author and professor, he does not fit the image of one who is knee-deep in academia. With his leather jacket and devil-may-care attitude, I pictured someone with James Dean-like qualities, but it’s the contradictions that really draw you in. He projects an image of someone who doesn’t care, but he cares very much, as evidenced by his backstory. I could really feel his struggle where matters of the heart are concerned, and in doing what is right, versus doing what he needs to do in order to escape the clutches of an ex who has an obvious hold on him. (Chapman did a great job of showing that)

Ali is a strong character, as mentioned in the synopsis, but there are many layers to her and in some ways, she’s also a contradiction. If someone consistently feels the need to be in control at all times, it can say a lot about what’s really going on beneath the surface of their world. There’s a false sense of security in that, and a means to not moving forward. It was nice to see a character who can be strong, yet vulnerable too, endearing me to her and ultimately, to Ali and James as a team, and what they represent.

James wants to return to his own country, and Ali wants to go out on her own and fulfill her own creative ventures. Yet when they are together, they are like magnets, throwing a wrench into their plans. I loved the constant back and forth, the witty banter, the obvious attraction that is shut down from time to time out of a means of protection- it’s that give and take and push and pull that kept me hooked, because I wanted to see where it would take them. Is there a way to hold onto dreams and aspirations, without giving in to outside sources that threaten to derail it all? And, if they do- is it such a bad thing?

As with the first novel in the Amarillo Sour series, I loved Let It Be Me, as well. There’s really something special about the characters, and as I’d mentioned in my review of Counting on You (Amarillo Sour #1), there is a Cheers-like feel to the ambiance of the bar, and the people within it. Couple that with the Midwestern scenery that really sets the tone for all involved, it’s proof that in some ways, I really can go home again.

Thanks to Lola's Blog Tours for the book in exchange for an honest review.

This is our stop during the book blitz for Let It Be Me by Laura Chapman. This book blitz is organized by Lola's Blog Tours and runs from October 21st through 27th. See the tour schedule here.



You can find Let It Be Me on Goodreads.

You can buy Let It Be Me here:
- Amazon
- Barnes & Noble
- Kobo
- Apple
- Google Play   


Check out book 1 in this series: Counting on You

Is love worth the risk?

You can find Counting on You on Goodreads

You can buy Counting on You here:

- Amazon
- Barnes & Noble
- Kobo
- Google Play
- iTunes


Laura ChapmanAbout the Author:
Laura Chapman is the author of sweet and sexy romantic comedies. A born and raised Nebraska girl, she loves watching football, traveling, crafting, and baking. When she isn’t writing her next story, she is probably working at a museum by day and binge-watching Netflix with her cats Jane and Bingley at night. So, basically, she’s living large.

You can find and contact Laura Chapman here:
- Website
- Facebook
- Twitter
- Goodreads
- Amazon
- Instagram
- Newsletter

Giveaway
There is a tour wide giveaway for the book blitz of Let It Be Me. One winner will win a $20 Amazon gift card.

For a chance to win, enter the Rafflecopter below:

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Thursday, October 24, 2019

Book Review: The Summer Springsteen's Songs Saved Me



By Sara Steven

Coming home to catch her husband with his face between the long, silky legs of another woman is the last thing Sofia expects—and on today of all days. But, after scratching an expletive into his Porsche and setting the cheating bastard’s clothes on fire, she cranks up her beloved Bruce and flees, vowing to never look back.

Finding solace in the peaceful beachside town of Bradley Beach, NJ, Sof is determined to start over. And, with the help of best friends, new acquaintances, a sexy neighbor, and the powerful songs of Springsteen, this may be the place where her wounds can heal. But, as if she hasn’t faced her share of life’s challenges, a final flurry of obstacles awaits.

In order to head courageously toward the future, Sofia must first let go of her past, find freedom, and mend her broken soul.
(Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads)

While I’m not a huge Springsteen fan, I’m a huge fan of this novel. From the get go, the reader is projected into a horrific situation that immediately clings in all the painful places. It’s enough to set anyone off. Yet there are layers to the pain Sofia feels, and we begin to discover a little bit at a time where she’s coming from, and why she still feels an attachment to her husband, even with the way he treats her. So much of it stems from past tragedies, and Barbara Quinn showed us that in such an eloquent way.

Sofia is a beautifully flawed character. In her moments of vulnerable honesty are moments where I questioned how I would have handled a similar situation. It’s a constant three steps forward, two steps back- even after she thinks she’s taken the reigns of her life. I felt the same disgust she feels when she tries to say goodbye to her husband, but I also felt the love, too, when she remembers what it was like when there were happier times. More layers. More depth to really paint a realistic look at what can happen when a marriage begins to crumble.

In her newfound friendships and in the neighbor next door, we begin to see growth and change. While Springsteen’s words of wisdom are a backdrop, filling Sofia with inspiration and strength at various times, essentially it’s the allowance of letting others in that makes all the difference. Those steps aren’t easy, either, particularly with the neighbor. I wanted to see where this potential relationship would or could go, but as with most everything for Sofia, it’s a work in progress, one she’s not even sure she wants to dive into.

There’s fear in starting over, in leaving the past behind. In many respects, Sofia showcases that the fear is a normal reaction to change. I couldn’t help but feel inspired by her story. I was also attracted to the premise of an older woman who is starting her life over, considering so many stories of earth-shattering events focus on the younger crowd. I could better relate and identify with that struggle. This was a deep story of forgiveness, love, and friendship, three scenarios worthy of five stars!

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

Purchase Links:
Amazon US * Amazon UK * Barnes & Noble * Waterstones

Barbara Quinn is an award-winning short story writer and author of a variety of novels.

Her travels have taken her to forty-seven states and five continents where she’s encountered fascinating settings and inspiring people that populate her work.

Her many past jobs include lawyer, record shop owner, reporter, process server, lingerie sales clerk, waitress, and postal worker. She’s a native New Yorker with roots in the Bronx, Long Island, and Westchester. She currently resides with her husband in Bradley Beach, NJ and Holmes Beach, FL. She enjoys spending time with her son and his family and planning her next adventure. She wants to remind everyone that when you meet her, SHE’S NOT SHOUTING, SHE’S ITALIAN.

Visit Barbara online:
Website * Twitter * Facebook * Goodreads  


Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Tracy Krimmer's trick-or-treat time travel...plus a book giveaway

We're pleased to welcome Tracy Krimmer back to CLC today. Her latest novel, Mistletoe Mishap published this week. To celebrate, she is giving away a copy of her previous winter holiday romance, Something Just Like This! Even though her book is about Christmas, with Halloween around the corner, we asked her to share about her favorite costumes. Maybe they'll inspire you with almost a week left until the holiday...

Tracy Krimmer loves coffee, popcorn, Drew Barrymore, and the movie Saving Silverman. She enjoys reading great books (of course) and writing realistic characters for you to enjoy. When she listens to music she prefers the 80's and 90's music she grew up on. In a typical day you’ll find her writing at one of her favorite spots–on the couch, at the kitchen table, or at her favorite hometown coffee shop.

Visit Tracy online:
Facebook * FB Reader GroupTwitter * Instagram * Bookbub

Synopsis:

What was meant to be a fling turns into a love they both thought they’d never have or deserved...

Alexis Paige did not make a habit of drunkenly booking travel for herself on the internet. But after the worst breakup ever, she's going wherever the wind, and her widowed dad, urges her to go. Now Alexis is on a plane to Colorado and Mistletoe Manor. The guy seated next to her is easy on the eyes, and oddly charming, but he's also obnoxious. She's relieved she never has to see Grayson Wells again. She's had enough of indecipherable men.

Until she walks into Mistletoe Manor. Grayson's aunt runs the rustic bed and breakfast, and it's his annual holiday spot. He knows the town well and wants to show Alexis all it has to offer. She's leery, especially of a guy like Grayson who's a little too smooth, but she can't find a reason to say no. One kiss under the famed mistletoe and it's almost too easy to say yes. She tells herself that Grayson is a fling, but it hurts to say goodbye only a few short weeks later. Darn that mistletoe…

Back at home, Alexis finds everything shifting—career, her childhood home on the market, and oh yeah, her dad's marital status. She's thrilled her father has found love, but it's too much at once, especially when she's still missing her mom and feeling like her romantic life is doomed. When her dad announces the nuptials will take place at Mistletoe Manor, she fears the trip will just make her sad over what might have been. But when Grayson turns up and puts it all on the line, will Alexis give in to love or will she regret that mistletoe kiss?


Growing up I lived in a small neighborhood. I loved Halloween and my mom would often drop me and my friends off in different subdivisions for trick or treating. Yes, the candy was always awesome, but nothing beat a fabulous costume. Here are my top 10 favorite costumes in no particular order.

1. Jem
If you don’t know Jem and the Holograms make sure to look them up. This cartoon ran from 1985-1988. I loved the show and the music so of course I dressed up as her!



2. Garbage Woman
I believe I was in 6th grade when I dressed up as a garbage woman. I wore my mom’s uniform and used a garbage bag to collect my candy!
3. Cabbage Patch Kid
Hey, I’m a child of the 80s. Of course I loved Cabbage Patch Kids. When I was seven I roamed the neighborhood with two vampires and a gangster collecting candy!



4. Care Bear
I went as this twice. Once as a kid and another as an adult. When I dressed up as an adult, though, it was for a work function. I’m not even sure if it was for Halloween! But our entire department dressed up as Care Bears.
5. Rain cloud
This was my first and last Pinterest costume! I made a wig that looked like a cloud and attached felt raindrops from string. People thought it was fun. While true, it wasn’t exactly the best craft. I’m not too good at those! I tried to find a picture but can’t. If I do, I will post it on my website.
6. Strawberry Shortcake
I loved Strawberry Shortcake as a little girl. Sometimes I can still smell the dolls! So, of course, I went trick or treating as her. According to the back of my photo I was five.



7. Widget
Have you heard of the kid’s show Wow Wow Wubbzy? I’m not sure what kind of character he is, but my son loved him. So one year he dressed up as Wow Wow Wubbzy, my husband as his sidekick Walden, and I took on the role of Widget, a mechanical genius (so not me) who owned a fix-it shop!
8. Dora the Explorer
I think this will be a big costume this year with the movie out. I dressed up as her for work one Halloween. I used to watch Dora and Go, Diego, Go with my cousin’s son so it was a fun costume.
9. Wonder Woman
My gosh I loved Wonder Woman as a little girl. I dressed up as her all the time. My mom even made me Amazon bracelets out of aluminum foil. And yes, I even had Wonder Woman underwear.
10. A cow
In 2002 I needed a costume in a pinch. Somewhere I picked up one of those onesie-like costumes and it was a cow, udders and all. (That’s my husband in the picture and I told him to hold the udder!)


I love handing out candy every Halloween and seeing all the fun costumes. The one costume I want to make but haven’t been successful as is a Kindle. Wouldn’t that be a fun costume?

Thanks to Tracy 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 October 28th at midnight EST.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Elizabeth LaBan's sweet tooth...plus a book giveaway

We're glad to have Elizabeth LaBan back at CLC today to celebrate the publication of her latest novel, Beside Herself. Melissa A really enjoyed it and recently reviewed it at Goodreads. Thanks to Kathleen Carter Communications, we have THREE copies for some lucky readers!

Elizabeth LaBan lives in Philadelphia with her restaurant critic husband and two children. She is the author of The Restaurant Critic’s Wife and Not Perfectwhich were published by Lake Union, the young adult novel The Tragedy Paper, published by Knopf, which has been translated into eleven foreign languages, and The Grandparents Handbook, published by Quirk Books, which has been translated into seven foreign languages, and Pretty Little World, which she co-authored with Melissa DePino. 

She is a freelance writer and editor whose work has appeared in The Philadelphia Inquirer, New York Newsday and The Times-Picayune, among other publications. She also ghost writes a weekly column, and has ghost written two books.


Elizabeth has a master’s in journalism from Columbia University, and a bachelor’s in English from Trinity College in Hartford. Elizabeth was an NBC Page, worked at NBC News in New York, taught journalism at a community college in New Orleans, and was a reporter at a number of small to mid-sized newspapers including The Riverdale Press before she began writing books.


Visit Elizabeth online:

Website * Facebook * Twitter * Instagram

Synopsis:
When she finds out her husband cheated, Hannah Bent thinks her marriage is over. Isn’t that what happens after an affair? But she’s seen friends divorce, and it’s not pretty. Plus, she and Joel have kids and an otherwise-happy life, and she still loves him, although begrudgingly.

Furious and feeling stuck, she suggests having her own affair to even the score. Joel, desperate for forgiveness, agrees. But does she really want to go through with it? And how exactly does a married mother of two get back in the dating pool? Many awkward dates follow until she finds a deep and unexpected connection where she was least looking for it.

Just as she thinks she’s made a decision, her journey to happiness is waylaid by storms of doubt. But the important thing is that she’s finally figuring out what she truly wants for herself, and she understands that whatever choice she makes must be hers and hers alone.
(Courtesy of Amazon.)


What was your inspiration for writing Beside Herself?
A few things come to mind here. The first is that at the core of this book is the idea that if two people are lucky enough to be married for a really long time, it is likely that something unexpected will come up that they will have to deal with – and the question is, how will they handle it? I am fascinated by marriage, and why some people are able to push through certain circumstances that might be a deal breaker for others. In Beside Herself, Hannah Bent finds out that her husband Joel had an affair. She is completely blindsided, she did not see any signs. And that is the beginning of her journey to decide if her marriage can be salvaged and what attempting to do that might mean to her and to her family. The other thing that comes to mind with this question is the title – with this book the idea for the book and the title came to me pretty much at the same time, which has not been my usual experience. With both The Restaurant Critic’s Wife and Pretty Little World I had to work to find the right title, and I considered a fair number of other titles along the way. With Not Perfect I would say the title almost came before the fully formed story. But with this one they came together, they fit, and I think that contributed to the inspiration for the novel.

How are you similar to or different from Hannah?
I guess I am similar to Hannah in the sense that I would like to think that if I am ever faced with something difficult like this, and of course I hope I never am, that I would be able to thoughtfully consider my options and the possibility that it would not be the end – though of course so many details and circumstances go into that choice that it is hard to imagine it is ever the same for any two people. Mostly, though, Hannah is different from me. She is much better at exercising than I am – she swims regularly – and she is bolder in some ways, suggesting a radical change to her company’s business plan that I probably would not have even thought to suggest.

If Beside Herself were made into a movie, what are some songs that would be on the soundtrack?
I am never good at answering questions like this, but I can’t help but make the joke that the theme song from Jaws could play as the train leaves Penn Station just before Hannah makes her big discovery.

What is the last book you read that you would recommend?
I recently read Fleishman Is In Trouble by Taffy Brodesser-Akner, and I loved it. It was one of those books that I just wanted to be in for as long as I could be, I did not want to miss a single word. There were three or four quotes in the book, I won’t list them here because I don’t want to give anything away, that just rang so true that I still find myself thinking about them regularly. It was a great, great book! Everyone should read it!

With Halloween around the corner, what is your favorite kind of candy?
You would think this would be an easy question to answer, but I actually love candy, my husband often tells me I am like a little kid in this respect, so I can’t possibly answer this in one word or sentence. I will say it depends on if I want chocolate, which I love, or a sugary candy. If I go with chocolate, you can’t beat a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup or a Hershey Bar. I also love a Milky Way. As far as non-chocolate treats go, my top four are Twizzlers, Sweet Tarts, Gummy Bears, and Sour Patch Kids. I’ll just tell a quick family story here to support my long answer. A few summers ago we were on a family trip and my sister-in-law said, “I’m so glad there isn’t any candy I like.” I looked at her like she was absolutely crazy and asked what in the world she was talking about? There are SO many candies to like. As I started to list my favorites, all mentioned above, she stopped me to explain she didn’t mean in general, she meant at that moment in the cabin where we were staying. My family still gives me a hard time about that!

What is your favorite thing to do in the fall?
When it comes to the fall, I am truly a walking cliché. I love everything about it, the colorful leaves, the smell of wood smoke, the downed Ginkgo nuts on the Philadelphia streets, pumpkins and pumpkin spice, and all the autumn holidays (including my husband’s birthday and my son’s birthday). But my absolute favorite thing to do in the fall is to decorate our block for Halloween. I live on a small street in Center City, Philadelphia lined with row homes. There is no parking on our street, it is too small, which means we spend a lot of time standing in the middle of it talking to our neighbors. For most of the year we come together as a block and put white lights up on all of our trees. When October comes around, we switch those white lights to orange lights. Almost everyone participates by decorating their own houses with fake spider webs, skeletons, ghosts, pumpkins or gourds on every stoop, you name it. And when October 31st rolls around, hundreds of kids from all over the city come to our block to trick-or-treat. It is one of my favorite nights of the year.

Thanks to Elizabeth for visiting with us and to Kathleen Carter Communications 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 October 27th at midnight EST.

Monday, October 21, 2019

Wicked Good Hop



It's that frightfully fun time of year, and Chick Lit Chat HQ has a few tricks along with a whole lot of treats coming your way this Halloween season. So, join us for a spooktastic time at our first ever Wicked Good Hop on Facebook. From Monday, October 21st through Sunday, October 27th, there will be hours of ghoulishly delightful entertainment at our Haunted Headquartersotherwise known as our Facebook events page.

Over forty Chick Lit and RomCom authors will be giving away a pumpkin patch full of prizes, including books, swag, gift cards, and Halloween/fall-themed goodies. Plus, on the events page, you can enter to win one of FIVE Grand Prizes*, which will be custom 6-packs of scrumptious Wicked Good Cupcakes. These cupcakes in a jar come in a variety of mouthwatering flavors, including seasonal delights Caramel Apple Streusel, Chocolate Pumpkin (Oh My Gourd!), Mocha Madness, Pumpkin Spice, Reverse Chocolate Boo-Day, and Reverse Vanilla Boo-Day.







So, grab your broomstick and fly on over to the party on Facebook where your fave authors, both new and old, will be unleashing some serious hocus pocus. Don't forget your black cat! 


*The giveaway for our Grand Prizes is open to US residents only. However, ALL of the individual author giveaways are open internationally.

~Schedule~

Monday, October 21st
Traci Andrighetti
Tracie Banister (Host)
Angie Ellington
Shanna Hatfield
Beth Labonte
Martha Reynolds
Carol Maloney Scott
Melanie Summers

Tuesday, October 22nd (Jayne Denker - Host) 
Rich Amooi
Rachael Eliker
Crystal Estell
Christina Hovland
Diane Michaels
June Moonbridge
Julie Mulhern

Wednesday, October 23rd 
Glynis Astie (Host)
Gigi Blume
Christina Boyd
Lizzie Chantree
Dylann Crush
RosaLinda Diaz
Jenny Gardiner
Nikki LeClair

Thursday, October 24th (Becky Monson – Host)
Beth Carter
Laura Kenyon
Tracy Krimmer
D.E. Malone
Barbara Plum
Sophie-Leigh Robbins
Sara Whitney

Friday, October 25th 
Maggie Aldrich
Emkay Connor
Karen M. Cox
Amy Gettinger
Hilary Grossman (Host)
Susan Hatler
Skye McNeil
Kate O’Keeffe

Saturday, October 26th 
Holly Kerr
Jennie Marts
Kirsty McManus
Robyn Neeley
Natalina Reis
Holly Tierney-Bedord (Host)
Barbara Valentin