Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Leah Mercer has some words to share...plus a book giveaway

We're pleased to have Leah Mercer back at CLC today to celebrate the publication of her latest novel, Ten Little Words. Melissa is a fan of her writing and is excited to read this novel soon! Leah has TWO print copies for some lucky readers!

Leah Mercer was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia, on the east coast of Canada. Her first ambition was to be a journalist, but after completing a master’s in journalism, she soon realized she preferred anything other than reporting the news. After trying her hand at public relations, teaching and recruitment in various countries around the world, she finally settled in London and returned to writing… fiction, this time. Her first two novels, Who We Were Before and The Man I Thought You Were, were shortlisted at the UK’s Romantic Novelists’ Association Awards. Leah loves books, running and visiting historic houses with her husband and their son.

Visit Leah online:
Website * Facebook * Twitter * Instagram


Synopsis:
I am always with you. I will always be here.

This was the promise Ella’s mother betrayed thirty years ago when she walked into the sea, leaving her five-year-old daughter alone in the world. Ella’s been angry ever since, building up a wall to protect herself. But that all changes the day she opens a newspaper and finds those ten little words printed in a classified ad.

Ella refuses to believe her mother could still be alive—that would mean she did want to live, just not with her daughter. So she throws herself into finding out exactly what happened all those years ago, determined to extinguish even the tiniest flame of hope—for Ella, hope is torture.

But rather than settling things once and for all, what Ella discovers shatters her world. As she pieces together the truth behind her mother’s disappearance, she learns that the words are not what she thought.

Now she knows the truth. Is it possible that Ella can allow herself to love—and be loved—once again?
(Courtesy of Amazon.)



Dear Future Me,
I hope 2030 is treating you well! Here in 2020, life has been a little . . . strange. Could you ever have imagined living through a global pandemic? Being locked down in London, trying to home-school your seven-year-old son whilst also writing a novel? Allowed out just once a day for an hour of exercise, for months at a time? I almost can’t believe it now, and I’m still in the thick of it.

I’m sure you remember how the bells from the centuries-old church on the corner – the bells that were the soundtrack to your London life, ever since arriving – stopped ringing. How the shops shut down, one after one, and how the ever-busy buses emptied. How the bustling high street right outside your window drained of life, looking like a sad shell of its former self. How you’d even start longing for the accordion-playing busker you once cursed to reappear and fill the silent air.

But despite the unexpected and all the horrors that came with it, I hope you recall the moments of happiness and togetherness that accompanied this trying time. How every Thursday night, your very cosmopolitan neighbours in central London flung open their windows, banged pot and pans, and clapped for all those in our healthcare system who were there when we needed them most. The determination and goodwill of your son’s school, keeping everything ticking over during patience-trying Zoom calls with a class of lively boys. How the nearby parks became giant playgrounds when the actual play areas closed, covered with chalk drawings and rammed with bicycles and scooters. The rainbows of hope and encouragement that appeared in windows around city, and the unexpected hidden passages and unfamiliar corners uncovered during your neighbourhood explorations.

It wasn’t easy, but you managed to finish a novel by getting up at five a.m. every day to work for a few hours before morphing into teacher. Explaining fractions and deciphering what on earth a tetrahedron is might not have been on your agenda, but you learned a lot, too! It’s impossible to picture my young son as a future seventeen-year-old. Does he still need me, I wonder? Despite craving every little bit of space at the moment, I hope I manage to steal a hug and a cuddle.

I know I’m still writing; there’s no need to even ask. It’s my outlet, and even though it can sometimes be torturous, I need it to keep me sane. How many novels have I written now, and how has the publishing world changed? I can’t wait to see how new innovations and technology play a part in making books accessible to everyone.

So much can happen in ten years, yet so much can also stay the same. The world around you can shift in the blink of an eye – I’ve learned that this year – but I’ve also realised that no matter the changes, the important things remain: love, friendship, togetherness. Wherever I am in ten years’ time, that much I know is true.

Thanks to Leah 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 July 13th at midnight EST.

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

At the movies with Kerry Winfrey...plus a book giveaway

We're so glad to have Kerry Winfrey here to celebrate the publication of her latest novel, Not Like the Movies! It's a follow-up to Waiting for Tom Hanks, which was one of Melissa's 2019 favorites. Not Like the Movies was equally spectacular and Melissa gave it a five-star review. Thanks to Berkley, we have one e-book (via NetGalley) for a lucky reader! (While this can be read as a stand-alone, there are spoilers for Waiting.)

Kerry Winfrey is also the author of the young adult novels LOVE AND OTHER ALIEN EXPERIENCES and THINGS JOLIE NEEDS TO DO BEFORE SHE BITES IT, both from Feiwel and Friends. When she’s not writing, she’s most likely baking a pie or watching far, far too many romantic comedies. She lives with her husband, son, and dog in the middle of Ohio. (Bio adapted from Kerry's website.)

Visit Kerry online:
Website * Facebook * Twitter * Instagram


Synopsis:
Chloe Sanderson is an optimist, and not because her life is easy. As the sole caregiver for her father, who has early-onset Alzheimer’s, she’s pretty much responsible for everything. She has no time—or interest—in getting swept up in some dazzling romance. Not like her best friend, Annie, who literally wrote a rom-com that’s about to premiere in theaters across America . . . and happens to be inspired by Chloe and her cute but no-nonsense boss, Nick Velez.

As the buzz for the movie grows, Chloe reads one too many listicles about why Nick is the perfect man, and now she can’t see him as anything but Reason #4: The scruffy-bearded hunk who’s always there when you need him. But unlike the romance Annie has written for them, Chloe isn’t so sure her own story will end in a happily-ever-after.
(Courtesy of Amazon.)


What is a favorite compliment you have received on your writing?
Any time someone says a book of mine made them actually laugh out loud. Or when someone says a book of mine made them cry. Maybe it’s weird to be happy about making people cry, but any time I can elicit a strong emotion, that’s a great compliment!

Which character is more similar to you, Annie or Chloe? Why?
Even though Annie and I are both huge rom-com fans, we’re not much alike at all. I’ve never made any real life decisions because of romantic comedies, and I’m actually not very romantic. But I do have a lot in common with Chloe! I’ve been known to schedule my emotional breakdowns, kind of like Chloe’s Five Minute Cries, and I love bright colors. Oh, and her love of yacht rock is absolutely from me. Every song she loves in the book is a personal favorite of mine.

If you could cast Not Like the Movies for the big screen, who would play the leading roles?
This is such a fun question, but hard because I rarely have actors in mind when I’m writing. I see the characters as the made up people in my head, and I can’t really picture them as actors. But I LOVE when readers “cast” the book for me!

What is your favorite rom com movie of all time?
My favorite classic is You’ve Got Mail. I love that the stakes are high and the emotions are big, and I always cry at the end. My favorite underrated romantic comedies are What If (Zoe Kazan and Daniel Radcliffe!) and Just Wright (Queen Latifah and Common!).

What is something that would surprise people to learn about you?
I would love to write a super creepy mystery novel. Unfortunately I’m very easily scared so I’m not sure I can ever make it happen.

What is the funniest thing that has happened to you (or that you have witnessed) recently?
Most of the funny things that happen to me involve my three year-old. The other day he asked me, “Do you remember that time you got a haircut? Do you think…someone could give you another one?” I mean, I already knew I needed a haircut, but three year-olds love to roast you. They don’t hesitate to let you know if they don’t like your clothes, your hair, or the food you made them.

Thanks to Kerry for chatting with us and to Berkley for sharing her book with our readers.

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

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Giveaway ends July 12th at midnight EST.

Monday, July 6, 2020

Book Review: A Sunset in Sydney


By Sara Steven

How far would you go in the name of love?

Sarah Parsons has a choice ahead of her. After the trip of a lifetime she’s somehow returned home with TWO handsome men wanting to whisk her away into the sunset.

Pulled in two directions across the globe, it’s making life trickier than it sounds. Her gorgeous American Josh, wants to meet Sarah in Hawaii for a holiday to remember. Meanwhile silver fox James plans to wine and dine her in London.

It’s a lot to handle for this Aussie girl, who had totally sworn off men!

Join Sarah after her adventure in One Summer in Santorini, for the heart-warming and uplifting third book in The Holiday Romance trilogy. (Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads)

I’ve read two of the three books in the Holiday Romance series, and even though I haven’t read One Summer in Santorini, the beginning to Sarah’s story, I never felt lost or like I didn’t understand the premise behind A Sunset in Sydney. This could totally be a standalone reading experience, and it was a great one.

I appreciated how Sarah finds herself in the midst of two potential budding romances. The men represent two opposing personalities that appeal to her sensibilities, bringing out various characteristics that make up who Sarah is, as a whole. That’s what makes it so hard. At times, I felt as though I’d delved head-first into scenes reminiscent of Sex and the City, an exciting and whirwind adventure and even Sarah has no idea on where she’ll end up, or with whom. On the one hand, I could see the need to remain neutral, in order to not push any buttons or demand more than what she feels they’re willing to give her. Yet, on the other hand, she deserves more than just a “vacationship”, a word I’d never heard of until hearing it from Sarah!

The adventures are shrouded in fun and excitement, yet all good things come to an end, and what comes after that? That’s the question. I could see from Sarah’s experiences that she’s not entirely sure on what she wants, or what she needs, not to mention her worries and self doubts that creep in. She isn’t sure she’s enough for James, or maybe Josh won’t be enough for her. She has a hard time believing that either man would be interested in her, and this comes off as a really strong presence when she’s trying to appreciate and be in the moment with both of them. While we eventually learn what the right choice is for Sarah, we’re also watching her grow and change and evolve, as well. It’s so much more than Sarah’s romantic escapades.

Another strong character within A Sunset in Sydney are the gorgeous scenic moments the reader is introduced to, from the tropical backdrops of Hawaii, to the bright sunny skies of Sydney, with cool languished breezes in London, and beyond. It made me want to be there, or reminded me of my own adventures depending on where I’ve been in my life, in this case, Hawaii. The scenery was always another love for Sarah, the safety net who would never let her down. It was also nice to meet up with Cat again, Sarah’s sister and the main protagonist in the second book in the Holiday Romance series. I love it when we get to see former characters from other books, making it feel as though I get to reacquaint myself with an old friend. Ultimately, this was a fun read, and a welcome respite this summer!

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

Purchase Links:
Amazon UK * Amazon US * Google Play * Waterstones * Kobo

Sandy Barker is an Australian writer, traveler and hopeful romantic with a lengthy bucket list and a cheeky sense of humor. She’s also an avid reader, a film buff, a wine lover and a coffee snob.

Many of Sandy’s travel adventures have found homes in her writing, including her debut novel, a contemporary romance set in Greece, which was inspired by her true-life love story.

Visit Sandy online:
Website * Facebook * Twitter * Instagram

Visit all the stops on the blog tour:

Thursday, July 2, 2020

Spotlight and Giveaway: Lucky's Beach

Today we are featuring Lucky's Beach by Shelley Noble. The cover looks so inviting and the story sounds fun and interesting. Thanks to William Morrow, we have THREE copies to give away!


Lucky’s Beach follows Julia Barlow, who wants more from her life than her staid teaching job. After being denied a much-coveted educational leave of absence, she feels she's stuck in her same, boring rut. When a trip to the beach with her oldest friends is immediately derailed by a phone call from her mother, Julia ends up at a surf shack on the Delaware coast, looking for her absent Uncle Lucky.

What was meant as a pit stop soon turns into a destination as a series of mishaps befalls the friends and Uncle Lucky still hasn't shown up. While trying to make the best of it, certain that he'll appear any day, Julia attempts to enjoy what's left of her summer vacation, especially if that includes a handsome, bespeckled bartender.

Shelley writes a heartfelt novel that takes her characters — and readers — through an emotional journey of love, sacrifice and the power of forgiveness.


Shelley Noble is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of Whisper Beach and Beach Colors. Other titles include Stargazey Point, Breakwater Bay, Forever Beach, Lighthouse Beach, and four spin off novellas. A former professional dancer and choreographer, she lives at the Jersey shore and loves to discover new beaches and indulge in her passion for lighthouses and vintage carousels. Shelley is a member of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, and Women’s Fiction Writers Association.

Visit Shelley online:
Website * Facebook * Twitter * Instagram

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


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Giveaway ends July 7th at midnight EST.

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Reviews at Amazon--May/June 2020

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 (Goodreads)
Review (Goodreads)
Review 

Review 
Review
Review 

Review 
Review 
Review 

Review 
Review (Goodreads)
Review (Goodreads)


Spotlight: The Name of Red...plus a special giveaway

The Name of Red banner


This is our stop during the book blitz for The Name of Red by Beena Khan. This book blitz is organized by Lola's Blog Tours. The book blitz runs from July 1-7. See the tour schedule here.


The Name of RedThe Name of Red
By Beena Khan
Genre: Literary Fiction/ Contemporary Romance
Age category: Adult
Release Date: 15 May, 2020
Synopsis:
Two strangers on the same path.

Survivors. Companions.

They will be each other’s salvation.


On a rainy, winter night, a mysterious woman in a red dress seeking shelter comes inside the restaurant Kabir was busy working in —primarily the bar— and night after night, drink after drink, she comes back to the same spot. That is where he sees her for the first time. 
Hundreds of patrons around her try to speak with her daily, but she dismisses them. It appears she wants to remain in a blissful peace alone with her booze and books. After seeing the mysterious woman reading a book, and because of his shy nature, Kabir gains entrance into her life by anonymously leaving books with notes for her.

The Name of Red is the story of two strangers, two different personalities who meet on a winter, rainy night who challenge each other. They have a connection which blossoms into a friendship due to their fondness of books. But they both have secrets that can bind them together or threaten their newfound relationship forever.
You can find The Name of Red on Goodreads

You can buy The Name of Red here:
Amazon US * Amazon UK * Amazon CA
Amazon AUS * Barnes & Noble

You can watch the trailer for The Name of Red on Youtube



Beena KhanAbout the Author:
Beena Khan lives in a suburb in Queens, New York in her apartment. She is 27 years old from Azad Kashmir, Pakistan. She is an immigrant who moved to New York when she was five years old. She currently holds a Masters Degree in Developmental Psychology from Cuny School of Professional Sciences. She enjoys reading, writing, and netflixing. This is her debut novel.

Her website is www.beenakhan.com. Sign up for her newsletter where you can subscribe for book news, writing tips, upcoming releases, and exclusive content!

You can find and contact Beena Khan here:
Website * Facebook * Twitter * Goodreads
Amazon * Instagram * Newsletter

Giveaway:
There is a tour wide giveaway for the book blitz of The Name of Red. One winner will win a $5 Amazon gift card.

For a chance to win, enter the Rafflecopter below:

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Giveaway ends July 13th.

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Kristin Rockaway is keeping it real...plus a book giveaway

We're pleased to welcome Kristin Rockaway to CLC today, to celebrate the publication of her latest novel, She's Faking It. Melissa really enjoyed this story, as you can see from her review. Thanks to Graydon House, we have one copy to give away!

Kristin Rockaway is a native New Yorker and recovering corporate software engineer. After working in the IT industry for far too many years, she finally traded the city for the surf and chased her dreams out to Southern California, where she spends her days happily writing stories instead of code. When she’s not working, she enjoys spending time with her husband and son, browsing the aisles of her neighborhood bookstores, and trying to catch up on sleep. Her previous novels are How to Hack a Heartbreak and The Wild Woman’s Guide to Traveling the World. (Bio adapted from Kristin's website.)

Visit Kristin online:
Website * Twitter * Instagram


Synopsis:
Bree Bozeman isn’t exactly pursuing the life of her dreams. Then again, she isn’t too sure what those dreams are. After dropping out of college, she’s living a pretty chill life in the surf community of Pacific Beach, San Diego…if “chill” means delivering food as a GrubGetter, and if it means “uneventful”.

But when Bree starts a new Instagram account — @breebythesea — one of her posts gets a signal boost from none other than wildly popular self-help guru Demi DiPalma, owner of a lifestyle brand empire. Suddenly, Bree just might be a rising star in the world of Instagram influencing. Is this the direction her life has been lacking? It’s not a career choice she’d ever seriously considered, but maybe it’s a sign from the universe. After all, Demi’s the real deal… right?

Everything is lining up for Bree: life goals, career, and even a blossoming romance with the chiseled guy next door, surf star Trey Cantu. But things are about to go sideways fast, and even the perfect filter’s not gonna fix it. Instagram might be free, but when your life looks flawless on camera, what’s the cost?
(Courtesy of Amazon.)


What is a favorite compliment you've received on your writing?
Just the other day, someone told me that reading my book helped her through a really dark, difficult time in her life. To me, this was the ultimate compliment. I write fun, funny stories with “HEAs” because I want to make people laugh, to ease their burdens, and to provide them with a temporary escape. Whenever someone tells me that my book made them happy and allowed them to forget their troubles for a while, then I know I’ve done my job.

How are you similar to or different from Bree?
In some ways, I was similar to Bree in my twenties. I’d been chugging along with my life, unsure of what I was doing or why I was doing it, allowing others to dictate my goals instead of defining them for myself. While I certainly don’t claim to have it all figured out by now, I’ve at least determined what’s important to me and why, and I always strive to work toward becoming the best possible version of myself I can be.

Also? Just like Bree, I’m afraid of the ocean. I’ve lived in San Diego for close to twelve years now, and though I go to the beach quite often to lay on the sand, I rarely venture out into the water past my ankles.

If She's Faking It were made into a movie, who would you cast in the lead roles?
This is always such a tough question for me! But I’ll give it my best shot:
Bree: Kaitlyn Dever
Natasha: Alexis Bledel
Trey: Diego Boneta
Mari: Francia Raisa
Rob: Lucas Hedges
Demi: Jennifer Connelly

What is your go-to social media app?
Instagram, and that’s almost completely because of the #bookstagram community. Bookstagrammers have really built a strong, supportive group, posting gorgeous photos and thoughtful reviews that foster a love of the written word with everyone who follows them. Through Instagram, I’ve been able to connect directly with readers, including participating in Instagram Live chats. Plus, I’ve found a lot of book recommendations, and discovered new authors!

Who is the most famous person you've ever met face-to-face?
The most meaningful celebrity encounter I’ve ever had was with Meg Cabot. I met her during a book signing at a writers’ conference last year, and she was extremely kind when I told her that she’s one of the reasons I decided to write the kinds of books I do. Her Queen of Babble series is classic chick lit gold.

What is something people would be surprised to learn about you?
I’m a pretty advanced knitter. I’ve made everything from socks to sweaters to Estonian lace shawls. While it’s been hard to find the time lately to work on any substantive projects (momming + writing = no knitting!), it’s one of my goals to get back into it this summer after I’ve turned in a draft of my next manuscript.

Thanks to Kristin for visiting with us and to Graydon House for sharing her book with our readers.

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

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Giveaway ends July 6th at midnight EST.

Monday, June 29, 2020

Spotlight and Giveaway: The Last Train to Key West

Today we are pleased to feature Chanel Cleeton's latest novel, The Last Train to Key West. Thanks to Berkley, we have one e-book (via NetGalley) for a lucky reader!

In 1935 three women are forever changed when one of the most powerful hurricanes in history barrels toward the Florida Keys in New York Times bestselling author Chanel Cleeton's captivating new novel.

Everyone journeys to Key West searching for something. For the tourists traveling on Henry Flagler's legendary Overseas Railroad, Labor Day weekend is an opportunity to forget the economic depression gripping the nation. But one person's paradise can be another's prison, and Key West-native Helen Berner yearns to escape.

The Cuban Revolution of 1933 left Mirta Perez's family in a precarious position. After an arranged wedding in Havana, Mirta arrives in the Keys on her honeymoon. While she can't deny the growing attraction to the stranger she's married, her new husband's illicit business interests may threaten not only her relationship, but her life.

Elizabeth Preston's trip from New York to Key West is a chance to save her once-wealthy family from their troubles as a result of the Wall Street crash. Her quest takes her to the camps occupied by veterans of the Great War and pairs her with an unlikely ally on a treacherous hunt of his own.

Over the course of the holiday weekend, the women's paths cross unexpectedly, and the danger swirling around them is matched only by the terrifying force of the deadly storm threatening the Keys.

Photo by Chris Malpass
Originally from Florida, Chanel Cleeton grew up on stories of her family's exodus from Cuba following the events of the Cuban Revolution. Her passion for politics and history continued during her years spent studying in England, where she earned a bachelor's degree in International Relations from Richmond, The American International University in London, and a master's degree in Global Politics from the London School of Economics and Political Science. Chanel also received her Juris Doctor from the University of South Carolina School of Law.

Visit Chanel online:
Website * Facebook * Twitter * Instagram

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

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Giveaway ends July 5th at midnight EST.

Friday, June 26, 2020

What's in the mail

Melissa A:
Well Played by Jen DeLuca from Berkley (e-book via NetGalley)
The Detour by/from Jennifer Ammoscato (e-book)
The Assignment by Liza Wiemer from Delacourte Press (e-book via NetGalley)
Well-Behaved Indian Women by Saumya Dave from Berkley (e-book via NetGalley)
Golden Poppies by Laila Ibrahim from Lake Union (e-book via NetGalley)
The Lion's Den by Katherine St. John from Grand Central Publishing (e-book via NetGalley)
She Gets That From Me by Robin Wells from Berkley (e-book via NetGalley)
The Wife's Choice by Emma Davies from Bookouture (e-book via NetGalley)
With or Without You by Drew Davies from Bookouture (e-book via NetGalley)
Recommended for You by Laura Silverman from Simon and Schuster (e-book via NetGalley)
Someone Else's Secret by Julia Spiro from Kathleen Carter Communications


Sara:
In a Pickle by Cindy Dorminy from Red Adept Publishing (e-book)
As Luck Would Have It by Zoe May from Rachel's Random Resources (e-book)
Wife Support System by Kathleen Whyman from Rachel's Random Resources (e-book)
Under a Siena Sun by T.A. Williams from Rachel's Random Resources (e-book via NetGalley)

Jami:
The Search Party by Simon Lelic from Berkley (e-book via NetGalley)
A Woman Alone by Nina Laurin from Grand Central Publishing (e-book via NetGalley)

Spotlight: The Mash-Up Summer

Introduction by Melissa Amster

I have yet to meet a Tracy Krimmer novel that I don't like. She grabbed me with Sparing the Heart and I've enjoyed everything she's written since then. Her "All That" series was fabulous and I still miss it!  Between all the television (such as Jane the Virgin), movie (such as Grease 2), music (such as anything from the eighties), and celebrity (such as Drew Barrymore) interests we have in common, I feel like she knows me and that her books are written with readers like me in mind! Therefore I'm excited to read The Mash-Up Summer soon. It published this past week and is only $2.99 for Kindle. Don't miss out on what could be your first Tracy Krimmer experience, unless, of course, you're a big fan like I am!

A childhood game leads Sadie to love. Will she follow the path?

Sadie Sherman just finished another year of teaching first grade. She loves her students and her job, but she is ready for summer break. She plans to go to Paris and live her best life, hopefully with a Parisian named Jacques. But her summer plans take a back seat to her parents’ recent request.

With her parents retired and ready to downsize, it falls to Sadie to clean out all her childhood memories that are stored in their attic. As she goes through boxes of school projects, journals, stuffed animals, and games, she comes across an old MASH game.

Teacher. Haletown. Red Ford. House. Zero kids. Zero pets. Marry Joey Bates.

Sadie is surprised that all the predictions have come true. All except one: marry Joey Bates. But as luck would have it, she runs into Joey one evening while out with some friends. Could this be fate fulfilling her MASH destiny? Or will a long-standing feud between their parents put an end to it before it even begins?


Tracy Krimmer loves coffee, books, and naps, and not necessarily in that order. She's convinced Drew Barrymore is her best friend--Drew just doesn't know it yet. Besides reading, she loves 80s and 90s music and binge-watching a great show on Netflix or Hulu.

Visit Tracy online:
Website * Facebook * Twitter * Instagram

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Spotlight and Giveaway: Head Over Heels

Today we are pleased to feature Hannah Orenstein's latest novel, Head Over Heels. Melissa enjoyed her first two novels and is excited to check this one out soon. Thanks to Atria, we have one copy for a lucky reader!


Named a best beach/summer read by O, The Oprah Magazine, Cosmopolitan, Parade, PopSugar, Marie Claire, Bustle, and more!

From the author of the Love at First Like and Playing with Matches, an electrifying rom-com set in the high stakes world of competitive gymnastics, full of Hannah Orenstein’s signature “charm, whimsy, and giddy romantic tension” (BuzzFeed).


The past seven years have been hard on Avery Abrams: After training her entire life to make the Olympic gymnastics team, a disastrous performance ended her athletic career for good. Her best friend and teammate, Jasmine, went on to become an Olympic champion, then committed the ultimate betrayal by marrying their emotionally abusive coach, Dimitri.

Now, reeling from a breakup with her football star boyfriend, Avery returns to her Massachusetts hometown, where new coach Ryan asks her to help him train a promising young gymnast with Olympic aspirations. Despite her misgivings and worries about the memories it will evoke, Avery agrees. Back in the gym, she’s surprised to find sparks flying with Ryan. But when a shocking scandal in the gymnastics world breaks, it has shattering effects not only for the sport but also for Avery and her old friend Jasmine.

Perfect for fans of Emily Giffin and Jasmine Guillory, Head Over Heels proves that no one “writes about modern relationships with more humor or insight than Hannah Orenstein” (Dana Schwartz, author of Choose Your Own Disaster).

Photo by Sylvie Rosokoff
Hannah Orenstein is the author of Playing with Matches, Love at First Like, and Head Over Heels, and is a former competitive gymnast. She is the senior dating editor at Elite Daily and was previously a writer and editor at Seventeen.com. Her work has appeared in The Washington Post, Cosmopolitan, Marie Claire, Refinery29, and more. She lives in New York.

Visit Hannah online:
WebsiteTwitter * 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 June 30th at midnight EST.

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Book Review: Tell That To My Heart



By Sara Steven

Jemima Dewberry wears her heart on her sleeve. Her weakness for bad boys, coupled with her track record for making bad decisions has led to endless heartbreak. The only trouble is, she can’t seem to kick the habit.

On top of that, her “dream” job at Yorkshire Portions magazine hasn’t turned out to be what she’d hoped, and she seems to have developed the knack of annoying her boss without even trying. It doesn’t help that the new girl seems to have taken an instant dislike to her. All that’s keeping her there are her best friends Anna-Lisa and Aidey, who have picked up the pieces of her shattered heart more times than they care to remember.

When Jemima’s latest boyfriend turns out to be no better than the rest, the hurt and humiliation is almost unbearable. She declares she’s finally through with love, and swears off men for life. But when charismatic Caspar De Verre walks into the office with his dangerous good looks and mesmerising smile, she’s utterly captivated, and her promises to Anna-Lisa and Aidey not to let her heart rule her head are soon forgotten.

But is Caspar all he seems? Anna-Lisa and Aidey have their doubts. And Herbert, the happy-go-lucky black Labrador Jemima’s looking after, doesn’t seem to like him either.

As Jemima falls for Caspar’s charms she finds herself being forced to confront the struggle between her head and her heart. But which one will prove the most powerful?

And will Jemima get the happy-ever-after she so desperately craves? (Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads)

I couldn’t help but feel for Jemima, or “Mim” as she’s known to her friends and family. She is a sweetheart of a character who does her very best where relationships are concerned, yet she can’t seem to find someone who will treat her the way she deserves to be treated. Add to that the constant contention with her boss, as well as the new girl Honey, who is the complete opposite of Mim. If I had a list of contemptible characters, Honey would be a quick addition to it. Mim’s work life would be completely volatile if not for her best friends, Anna-Lisa and Aidey. They provided a nice balance to the drama Mim finds herself in at nearly every turn.

It doesn’t get much better after Caspar is in the picture. While Mim falls head over heels for the new man in the office, Anna-Lisa and Aidey have a lot of issues with him. Even Mim has doubts that mingle with the obvious attraction she feels for Caspar. There are layers of intrigue and questionable opinions on who he really is and what he is about. She also questions his loyalty and the ultimate outcome he’s looking for when it comes to their relationship. I felt the utter confusion and profound murkiness that can only come from an undefined beginning. Mim isn’t quite sure where she stands.

There were plenty of scenarios within Tell That To My Heart that clearly defined who Honey is. I felt like I was on a roller coaster ride, with highs and lows for Mim. On the one hand, she can’t seem to escape the clutches of Honey, and then on the other hand, she doesn’t really want to escape the clutches of Caspar and wonders why she feels that way. She walks a fine line that only blurs into thinner margins the more in depth the storyline goes, and it made me wonder where her pressing point would be. How far will she go before she can’t take anymore? The catalyst comes by way of something sinister and completely unforeseen.

While I appreciated the ending and was glad to see how everything had come to fruition for Mim, I felt like it ended a bit abruptly. I would have liked to see a bit more. With that said, however, I enjoyed her story and really, her opportunity in making choices that might ultimately change the course of her life forever. And this has to be said: Herbert the black Labrador? A great character addition. He appeared life-like and lovable and made me yearn to add another pet to my family!

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


Purchase links:
Amazon UK
Amazon US

Eliza J. Scott is proud to be a member of the RNA. She lives in a 17th-century cottage in a village in the North Yorkshire Moors with her husband, their two daughters and two mischievous black Labradors. When she’s not writing, she can usually be found with her nose in a book/glued to her Kindle or working in her garden, fighting a losing battle against the weeds.

When she's not reading or gardening, Eliza also enjoys bracing walks in the countryside, rounded off by a visit to a teashop where she can indulge in another two of her favourite things: tea and cake.

Her biggest weakness is ginger biscuits dunked in tea.

Eliza is inspired by her beautiful surroundings and loves to write heartwarming romance stories with relatable female characters. She enjoys exploring the dynamics of female friendship, with a key feature of her books being how women pull together and support one another when things get tough.

Eliza's novels will always have happy endings.

Visit Eliza online:
Website * Facebook * Twitter * Instagram

Visit all the stops on Eliza's blog tour:

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Robyn Harding's latest thrill ride...plus a book giveaway

We're glad to have Robyn Harding back at CLC today to celebrate the publication of her latest novel, The Swap. Melissa has enjoyed Robyn's previous novels and is excited to check this one out soon. (It's next in her e-book queue.) Robyn is here to share a letter to the version of herself from 10 years ago and she has one copy of The Swap for a lucky reader!

Robyn Harding is the internationally bestselling author of The Arrangement, Her Pretty Face, and The Party, which was a finalist for the Arthur Ellis Award for best crime novel. She has also written four novels of contemporary women’s fiction, a young adult novel, and a comedic memoir with an environmental focus. Robyn is the screenwriter and executive producer of the independent film The Steps, which premiered at TIFF and was the closing gala film at the Miami International Film Festival. She lives in Vancouver, BC with her family. (Bio adapted from Robyn's website.)

Visit Robyn online:
Website * Facebook * Twitter * Instagram


Synopsis:
Low Morrison is not your average teen. You could blame her hippie parents or her looming height or her dreary, isolated hometown on an island in the Pacific Northwest. But whatever the reason, Low just doesn’t fit in—and neither does Freya, an ethereal beauty and once-famous social media influencer who now owns the local pottery studio.

After signing up for a class, Low quickly falls under Freya’s spell. And Freya, buoyed by Low’s adoration, is compelled to share her darkest secrets and deepest desires. Finally, both feel a sense of belonging...that is, until Jamie walks through the studio door. Desperate for a baby, she and her husband have moved to the island hoping that the healthy environment will result in a pregnancy. Freya and Jamie become fast friends, as do their husbands, leaving Low alone once again.


Then one night, after a boozy dinner party, Freya suggests swapping partners. It should have been a harmless fling between consenting adults, one night of debauchery that they would put behind them, but instead, it upends their lives. And provides Low the perfect opportunity to unleash her growing resentment.


Robyn Harding brings her acclaimed storytelling, lauded as “fast-paced, thrilling, gut-wrenching” by Taylor Jenkins Reid, New York Times bestselling author of Daisy Jones & The Six, to this dark and suspenseful thriller for fans of Megan Miranda and Lisa Jewell. (Courtesy of Amazon.)


Dear Robyn,

It’s 2010, and you have been publishing novels for six years. There have been some really big ups and some soul crushing downs. While you still love writing, you’re wondering if you need to change direction. A couple of your books have been optioned for film, and you’re intrigued by the medium and the industry. You’ve just started writing scripts. Don’t get your hopes up, baby. It’s going to be a tough journey.

But screenwriting will teach you a lot: about structure, dialogue, subtext, and character motivation. It will also teach you that, compared to the film world, publishing is a picnic! After a lot of fruitless hard work, you’re going to get a film made. It’s going to be an amazing process. You’ll meet famous actors. You’ll get to go to TIFF. You’ll be nominated for an award. Ultimately, you’ll realize that you’re not cut out for the film industry.

In fact, you’re going to think you’re done with writing, that it’s time to try something new. In 2016, you and a friend will decide to open an ice cream shop. You’ve always wanted to explore your entrepreneurial side, and it’s exciting to take on a new challenge. There’s just one manuscript still sitting on your computer that you want to finish and submit. That manuscript is for THE PARTY. And it’s going to change everything.

It turns out, that owning a business is not for you. (You thought writing was stressful and relentless. Ha!) THE PARTY will launch your career as a thriller writer. You’ll enjoy exploring your dark side and you’ll have a new appreciation for the publishing industry. And when the pandemic hits (2020 is going to suck), you’ll be one of the fortunate few whose job is not impacted. After all your experiences over the past ten years, you now feel solidified as a writer. Your imposter syndrome is still there, but it’s significantly less. Because now you know that you have never “arrived”. You have to keep learning, keep growing, and be open to change.

I really hope you’ll still be writing in ten, twenty, thirty years!

Love,
Robyn in 2020

Thanks to Robyn 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 June 28th at midnight EST.

Monday, June 22, 2020

Book Review: Agony Auntics




By Jami Deise

The advice column has changed a lot since the days of "Dear Abby," and syndicated columnists have dedicated fans who often log in for weekly online chats. While I don’t participate in the live versions, I do follow the Washington Post’s Carolyn Hax, Slate’s Dear Prudence; one of my favorite books of 2019 was therapist Lori Gottlieb’s Maybe You Should Talk to Someone. While British rom-com author Julie Butterfield’s latest, Agony Auntics, doesn’t quite scratch the itch to read about the plethora of life problems that the columnists cover, it’s a fun, light story all the same.

Ellie Henshaw is in love with Logan MacDonald. Only issue is, he doesn’t know she exists. They work for the same company, and she has fallen in love with him by staring at the back of his head in the elevators. She’s too bashful to actually talk to him. So she writes to Fliss Carmichael, the “agony aunt” for The Digital Recorder. Ellie’s letter brings back sweet memories for Fliss on how she fell in love with her husband Jasper twenty years ago at their workplace. It also makes Fliss realize how far she and Jasper have drifted apart. Ruminating about her marriage, Fliss accidentally sends Ellie a very personal reply wondering about the future of her relationship. Thus begins a pen pal relationship of sorts, as the women cheer each other on and offer advice about their respective love lives.

Agony Auntics features the usual comedy of errors that fans of the genre will appreciate—ex-boyfriends who can’t get the hint, well-meaning best friends who only make things worse, romantic rivals. And there’s a subtext that goes unexplored: Is true love the fluttery feeling in the stomach, the rose petals on the bed? Or is it the long-time partner who shows up on time, does the dishes, picks up the kind of bread your mother likes? Butterfield seems to be heading in one direction, only to change course near the end.

While the main characters seem to have the maturity levels of the average seventh grader, Agony Auntics is a quick, fun read. It may not have the drama of today’s, “How do I survive COVID now that my husband’s mistress is quarantined with us” type of issues, but sometimes a lack of drama is just what the reader needs.

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

Purchase Links:
Amazon UK
Amazon US

Julie Butterfield belongs to the rather large group of 'always wanted to write' authors who finally found the time to sit down and put pen to paper - or rather fingers to keyboard.

She wrote her first book purely for pleasure and was very surprised to discover that so many people enjoyed the story and wanted more, so she decided to carry on writing.

It has to be pointed out that her first novel, Did I Mention I Won The Lottery is a complete work of fiction and she did not, in fact, receive millions in her bank account and forget to mention it to her husband - even though he still asks her every day if she has anything to tell him.

Visit Julie at her website and on Twitter.

Visit all the stops on the blog tour:

Friday, June 19, 2020

Book Review: Breakup Boot Camp

By Sara Steven

After weeks of training to whip Joanna Kitt into shape for her big day, her picture-perfect engagement to her high school sweetheart is torn in two, and Joanna is left out on her perfectly toned rear end. To put the past and her heartache behind her, she sets off for two weeks at the renowned Retreat House Breakup Boot Camp in Topsail Island off the coast of North Carolina.


Despite her sadness, Joanna throws herself into the experience hoping surfing, yoga, spa treatments, meditation, and talk therapy will be enough to help her get over the one man she’s ever loved. But she soon learns the Boot Camp is only the first step to healing her broken heart. Joanna will have to come to terms with the career she abandoned, the loss in her life she never fully accepted, and the role she played in the ending of her relationship.

When she meets Todd Aldrich, the handsome and mysterious hotel chef, she has the chance to take her renewed heart out for a test drive and see if she is ready for new beginnings and new love. (Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads)

Having read and thoroughly enjoyed Beth Merlin’s Campfire series, I looked forward to reading Breakup Boot Camp, and it was another five-star experience! The premise behind the Retreat House in Topsail Island felt unique and fresh, not like anything I’ve ever read before. Joanna takes off for the coast of North Carolina in order to heal her broken heart, and I couldn’t help but wish for that type of place when I’d gone through my own heartbreaks in life. While the words “boot camp” are part of the title of the program, it feels more like a means in finding one's self again, in making lives whole. Where’s a Retreat House when you need one?

In attempting to rediscover who she is, Joanna discovers Todd, the hotel chef. I appreciated Todd as a character, considering he goes against what one would imagine him to be typecast as. There was an instant need inside me to see these two together, despite the damage done by Joanna’s ex. There’s also a conflicting sense of loyalty where he’s concerned. Having a relationship with the high school sweetheart means several years’s worth of time and commitment. That was felt deeply when reading between the lines of what Joanna wanted, vs. what she really needs.

Along with the romantic experiences are tight woman bonds that are formed at Retreat House. They are unlikely friendships, but just what Joanna needs, what they all need. While I appreciated the focus on Todd, I felt the bigger focus was on the amazing women Joanna meets along the way, friendships that I know will carry on in the lifetime of this character.

I thought it was clever of Merlin to add touches of her Campfire series into Breakup Boot Camp. Experiences like that always thrill me, because I feel even more connected to the new characters, by bringing out some of my favorites from the past. However, even if a reader hasn’t had the pleasure of reading the Campfire series yet, this novel can be read as a standalone, easily. But it will most certainly make you want to read the other books by Merlin. An inspiring, top notch read!

Thanks to Beth Merlin for the book in exchange for an honest review.

More by Beth Merlin: