Friday, February 28, 2020

What's in the mail

Melissa A:
The Laundress by Barbara Sapienza from Get Red PR
The Binder of Lost Stories by/from Cristina Caboni (e-book)
Stranger in the Lake by Kimberly Belle from Harlequin (e-book via NetGalley)
Big Summer by Jennifer Weiner from Atria (e-book via NetGalley)
That's Not a Thing by Jacqueline Friedland from SparkPress (e-book via NetGalley)
Adult Conversation by Brandy Ferner from She Writes Press (e-book via NetGalley)
Last Tang Standing by Lauren Ho from Putnam
In Case of Emergency by E. G. Scott from Kathleen Carter Communications
How the Penguins Saved Veronica by Hazel Prior from Berkley (won from Goodreads)
Matzah Ball Surprise by Laura Brown from Entangled Publishing (e-book via NetGalley)
Until I Find You by Rea Frey from St. Martin's Press (e-book via NetGalley)
Rules for Moving by Nancy Star from Kathleen Carter Communications
Hello, Summer by Mary Kay Andrews from St. Martin's Press

You and Me and Us by Alison Hammer from SparkPoint Studio (e-book via NetGalley)
Master Class by Christina Dalcher from Berkley (e-book via NetGalley)

That Night in Paris by Sandy Barker from Rachel's Random Resources (e-book via NetGalley)

Book Review: From Thailand With a special giveaway

By Sara Steven

Travel photographer Winter Knowles and archeology professor Logan Spencer dislike each other at first sight. Stuck together into the wild, these two unwilling teammates will bicker and banter their way through a laugh-packed treasure hunt.

After years of searching, a new mapping technology has given Logan a clue to the location of the legendary Lost City of Gold. A discovery that could make his career. So the last thing he needs on this life-changing expedition is for his team to get distracted by a pair of long legs.

When Winter accepted the assignment on a tropical island she didn’t sign up for a brooding team leader who’d clearly prefer to run a boys-only club. Never one to back down from a challenge, Winter is ready to show him she’s no damsel in distress.

But when a treasure like no other is uncovered and ruthless enemies will want to keep it for themselves, it’ll be up to the two of them to save the day. Left alone to fight in the jungle, they will soon discover their lives might not be the only thing at stake—their hearts could be too.
(Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads)

A story that could easily be a combination of National Treasure and Romancing the Stone, From Thailand with Love is an action packed adventure from the get go, taking its reader along for the ride while Logan and Winter not only try to figure out the wilds of the jungle, but their own jumbled, crazy mess of feelings for one another.

I appreciated the character development. Logan is a no nonsense professor, with the primary goal of finding the Lost City of Gold, a place he’s been working towards for most of his career. His personality was the perfect antithesis to Winter, a woman who prides herself on living an unconventional life, her photography business sending her all over the world. Where they meet in the middle is their zest for adventure, and it was fun to witness the fun unfold slowly as they both begin to let their guards down and really see one another for who they are, not just their perceptions. This type of relationship provided a lot of zany moments and quips that not only showed characterization, but kept the banter exciting.

The best parts are when they find themselves trapped in the jungle, trying to fight their way back even with all of the obstacles that are thrown their way. This was fast-paced and really kept me engaged, and I found it hard to put the book down because I needed to know what would happen and how they’d get themselves out of the mess they’re in. It was awesome to see both Logan and Winter step outside of themselves in order to save their skins.

Winter is the perfect bad-ass. As the synopsis indicates, she’s no damsel in distress, which made me like her all the more. It’s nice to see a female character showcase their braveness and ability to hold their own, even when faced with mortal danger. From Thailand with Love really is a wild ride, and well worth the five stars I’ve given it!

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

Purchase Links:
Amazon * Apple Books * B&N  * Kobo * Google Play

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

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

Visit Camilla online:
Facebook * Twitter * Instagram
Goodreads * Bookbub * Pinterest

Giveaway to Win a From Thailand With Love Tote Bag (Open Internationally)

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

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Thursday, February 27, 2020

Camille Pagán tells it like it a book giveaway

We're glad to have Camille Pagán back at CLC today during the publication week of her latest novel, This Won't End Well. To help us celebrate our 10-year blogiversary, she wrote a letter to herself from 10 years ago. Check out what she had to say and enter to win a signed paperback copy of This Won't End Well!

Camille Pagán is the #1 Kindle and Washington Post bestselling author of six novels, including This Won’t End Well, I’m Fine and Neither Are You, and Life and Other Near-Death Experiences, which has been optioned for film. 

Visit Camille online:
Website * Facebook * Twitter * Instagram

No new people: that’s Annie Mercer’s vow. It’s bad enough that her boss sabotaged her chemistry career and her best friend tried to cure her with crystals. But after her fiancé, Jon, asks for space while he’s gallivanting around Paris, Annie decides she needs space too—from everyone.

Yet when Harper moves in next door, Annie can’t help but train a watchful eye on the glamorous but fragile young woman. And if keeping Harper safe requires teaming up with Mo, a maddeningly optimistic amateur detective, who is she to mind her own business?

Soon Annie has let not one but two new people into her life. Then Jon reappears—and he wants her to join him in France. She’s pretty sure letting anyone get close won’t end well. So she must decide: Is another shot at happiness worth the risk?
(Courtesy of Amazon.)

Dear circa 2010 Camille,

Oh my gosh, you just sold your first novel! Congratulations—now buckle up, because you’re in for the wildest ride. But before you go, here are five things you should know:

1. Yep, mean people are the worst. You’re going to get a couple of reviews that are so nasty that you won’t just question your own writing—you’ll worry for the future of humanity. Some people will even go out of their way to email crazy things to you … just because they can.

Guess what? Ten years from now, that stuff will still hurt. But it will hurt so much less than it does at the beginning, because you’ll have long since realized that it’s not why you’re writing. What’s more—and you won’t believe this now, but it’s totally true—you’ll actually be grateful for the meanies, because they’ll give you thicker skin. And that’s key, because the only way to succeed—and I do mean only—is to keep going. Thick skin makes that easier.

2. Write books that delight you. Not your aunt, not your neighborhood book club; not even your editor. Sure, it’s nice when people you know (well, some of them) read your novels. But they’re not your real reader.

Who’s that, you ask? Well, your real reader is the complete stranger who takes the time to email you or message you on Facebook to tell you that she came across your novel at the exact right time. She’s the person who approaches you after a library event to say you helped her get through a tough time in her life. She’s the Instagram friend who’s read every single one of your books (!) and tells you to type faster, because she can’t wait for the next one.

You won’t find those readers if you try to emulate someone else’s voice or career—so write from the heart. Yes, that can be super uncomfortable. Sometimes you’re going to feel so vulnerable that you’d rather run around town in your underwear than let your book hit the shelves. Trust me on this one: do it anyway.

3. Your kids will grow up so fast. Seriously, that old cliché is unshakable because it’s true. Hug them, read to them before bed, go to all their soccer games—but don’t feel bad about taking time away from them to write. You’re actually doing them a favor (stay with me here). As an introvert who doesn’t know a thing about child development, you’re not going socialize them half as effectively as their preschool teachers will.

More important: Writing is going to make you a better mom and a happier person. And you know what kids want more than almost anything in the world? Happy parents. They’re going to see your joy when you’re holding a copy of your hard work in your hands. And when they ask if they can write a book one day, too—or whatever else their big dream may be—they will actually believe you when you look them in the eye and say, “Yes, you can.”

4. You will inevitably end up pouring tears and time into stories that won’t sell and may never see the light of the day. That’s not just okay; it’s the secret of your success. Think of those stories as your personal MFA. Every single manuscript will make you the writer you become, and though it’s going to take a while, you’re going to be really proud of yourself one day.

5. If you have the opportunity to connect with people who’ve read your books—whether it’s at an in-person event, at a book club over Skype, or through social media—take it. They are why you write.

See you in ten years!


Thanks to Camille 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 March 3rd at midnight EST.

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Book Review: The Cottage on Wildflower Lane

By Sara Steven

Esther's life isn’t perfect (whose is?) – but she’s happy enough living in her little flat with her boyfriend, Josh. But that’s about to change. Bored out of her mind in work, she wishes that something, anything, would happen to liven her life up. Unfortunately, her wish comes true when Josh calls her from the airport to tell her he’s going to work in a bar in Spain, and she’s not invited, Esther is devastated, and her unhappiness is compounded when she discovers she can actually view the bar via a webcam link and watch him chatting up other girls. But when she inadvertently clicks on a link to another webcam which shows a pretty cottage and the rather hunky man who lives in it, her interest is piqued and she wishes she could get to know him. Wishes don’t really come true, though – do they...? (Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads)

We never really know at times why (or how) people will come into our lives, and The Cottage on Wildflower Lane is further proof that even the most unconventional ways can be the most beneficial! I would have never thought to look at webcams or anything of the sort and having that experience lead to potential love. But it’s what Esther experiences, during a time in her life where love is the furthest thing from her mind, given what happens with her ex.

And what a cold way to drop someone. Too much of a coward to cut ties with Esther, he tells her by phone that he’s moving away to work in a bar in Spain, and that he’s not coming back, and that she’s not invited. Which prompts Esther to try and keep tabs on him through the webcam. Much like the type of person who becomes obsessed with looking up someone’s social media pages until they drive themselves sick, the webcam becomes a bit of an obsession for Esther, up until she discovers another site that falls under an entirely different category. What is this, and is this stalking?

There were a ton of sweet innuendos and near misses in this story, particularly where Esther and the mystery man from the pretty cottage (Kit) are concerned. I really enjoyed the story slowly unfolding, usually from the same vantage point but from an entirely different point of view, whether that be Esther’s or Kit’s. The way it all is laid out was done organically and didn’t feel rushed or totally out of place, either. I could imagine these scenarios happening for someone in the real world. It brought an element of realism to everything.

It appears that both characters here aid in helping one another move on from past hurts in their lives, and while there is the sense of hesitancy, due to trust, it added to that realism in that, we’re all a bit cautious after we’ve had our heart hurt. Along for the ride is the beautiful scenery that is mentioned, particularly that pretty little cottage on Wildflower Lane. When I read scenery like that, it makes me want to physically be part of it. This really was a delightful read!

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

Purchase links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

Liz Davies writes feel-good, light-hearted stories with a hefty dose of romance, a smattering of humour, and a great deal of love.

She’s married to her best friend, has one grown-up daughter, and when she isn’t scribbling away in the notepad she carries with her everywhere (just in case inspiration strikes), you’ll find her searching for that perfect pair of shoes. She loves to cook but isn’t very good at it, and loves to eat - she’s much better at that! Liz also enjoys walking (preferably on the flat), cycling (also on the flat), and lots of sitting around in the garden on warm, sunny days.

She currently lives with her family in Wales, but would ideally love to buy a camper can and travel the world in it.

Visit Liz online:
Website * Facebook * Twitter

Visit all the stops on the blog tour:

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Margarita Montimore is ahead of her time

Photo by David Swanson
We're pleased to have Margarita Montimore at CLC, as we celebrate the publication of Oona Out of Order. Melissa A loved this novel and can't stop thinking about it. Check out her review

After receiving a BFA in Creative Writing from Emerson College, Margarita Montimore worked for over a decade in publishing and social media before deciding to focus on the writing dream full-time. She's blogged for Marvel, Google, Quirk Books, and When not writing, she freelances as a book coach and editor. Born in Soviet Ukraine and raised in Brooklyn, she currently lives in New Jersey with her husband and dog.

Margarita writes upmarket fiction that tends to be left of center and flirt with multiple genres. She loves all things dark, strange, and surreal, but is also optimistic—verging on quixotic—and a pop culture geek, so her work tends to incorporate all those elements to varying degrees.

In 2018, she self-published Asleep from Day. Her proper debut, Oona Out of Order, will be published in the UK/Commonwealth on March 5th as The Rearranged Life of Oona Lockhart. (Bio adapted from Margarita's website.)

Visit Margarita online:
Website * Facebook * Twitter * Instagram

Just because life may be out of order, doesn’t mean it’s broken.

It’s New Year’s Eve 1982, and Oona Lockhart has her whole life before her. At the stroke of midnight she will turn nineteen, and the year ahead promises to be one of consequence. Should she go to London to study economics, or remain at home in Brooklyn to pursue her passion for music and be with her boyfriend? As the countdown to the New Year begins, Oona faints and awakens thirty-two years in the future in her fifty-one-year-old body. Greeted by a friendly stranger in a beautiful house she’s told is her own, Oona learns that with each passing year she will leap to another age at random. And so begins Oona Out of Order...

Hopping through decades, pop culture fads, and much-needed stock tips, Oona is still a young woman on the inside but ever changing on the outside. Who will she be next year? Philanthropist? Club Kid? World traveler? Wife to a man she’s never met?

Surprising, magical, and heart-wrenching, Margarita Montimore has crafted an unforgettable story about the burdens of time, the endurance of love, and the power of family.
(Courtesy of Amazon.)

What were the biggest challenges and rewards with writing Oona Out of Order?
The biggest challenges came as I revised the manuscript. Given the time travel, changing one small aspect of the story could involve rewriting larger sections of the book. And changing major parts of the story created these tough plot puzzles for me that sometimes took weeks or months to figure out. I ended up rewriting a good third of the novel over the course of at least a dozen revisions. Those revisions brought numerous rewards along the way, like discovering how seemingly small things (a ring, a watch, etc.) could have an unexpected and meaningful impact in the story. Ultimately, the most rewarding thing was having the book improve with each iteration until the pieces coalesced, and seeing the positive early responses to the story.

How are you similar to or different from Oona?
We’re similar in that we both have stubborn streak and tendency toward sarcasm. Music was a key part of both our lives in our teens and early 20’s. We’re different in that Oona has stronger innate sense of self-confidence, which is what allows her to handle the time travel with more boldness than I ever would. At the same time, she’s also more impulsive, and some of her reckless moments are more extreme than anything I’d ever do.

If Oona Out of Order were made into a movie, what are some songs that would be on the soundtrack? 
Music factors heavily into Oona’s character and certain aspects of the story (plus, each section is named after a song), so that’s something I thought about a lot. I often wrote scenes envisioning how they’d play out on the screen, mentally developing a soundtrack as I went along. So it made sense to create an Oona Out of Order Spotify playlist. It includes songs by Kate Bush, Roxy Music, Radiohead, Bowie, Depeche Mode, and others.

If you could write a letter now to give to yourself 10 years ago, what is one piece of advice you would give yourself from the future?
The things that stress you out the most will work themselves out, so don’t spend so much time worrying. Focus that emotional energy in more positive and creative ways. (Also, to be totally honest, like Oona, I’d want to give myself stock tips, but at the very least I’d advise myself to contribute the maximum amount to my 401K).

What is the last movie you saw that you would recommend?
Marriage Story. I’m a huge fan of Noah Baumbach, and Kicking and Screaming will forever be one of my favorite movies, but his latest is his masterpiece. I haven’t been so deeply emotionally affected by a film in over a year (since I saw Call Me By Your Name, which had a similar effect on me).

What is your favorite way to escape?
Going on an overnight trip to Atlantic City with my husband. At the casino, I’ll navigate us to a three-card poker table, order champagne, and hope the night brings good cards and interesting characters playing alongside us.

Thanks to Margarita for visiting with us and to Flatiron Books for coordinating the interview.

Monday, February 24, 2020

Cristina Caboni has an epic story to a book giveaway

Photo courtesy of Goodreads
Today we welcome Cristina Caboni to CLC. She was introduced to us by Kristin Harmel, who speaks highly of her. Her latest novel, The Binder of Lost Stories, was recently translated to English (and has such a gorgeous cover). Thanks to Laura Ceccacci Agency, we have TWO copies to give away (one print, one e-book)!

Cristina Caboni is the international bestselling author of The Secret Ways of Perfume. One of Italy's best-loved authors, she has sold more than one million copies of her books worldwide. The Binder of Lost Stories is her second novel to be translated into English. When Cristina is not writing, she devotes herself to her family's beekeeping business. She currently lives in the province of Cagliari with her husband and three children. (Bio courtesy of Amazon.)

Visit Cristina online:
Facebook * Twitter * Instagram

From international bestselling author Cristina Caboni comes an exquisite and engrossing novel of two women, centuries apart, bound by a love of books and a longing for self-discovery.

With her delicate touch, Sofia Bauer restores books to their original splendor. In this art she finds refuge from her crumbling marriage and the feeling that her once-vibrant life is slipping away. Then an antique German edition takes her breath away. Slipped covertly into the endpapers is an intriguing missive, the first part of a secret…from one bookbinder to another.

Two hundred years ago, Clarice von Harmel defied the constraints of family and society to engage in a profession forbidden to women. Within three separate volumes, Clarice bound her own hidden story filled with pain, longing, and love beyond all reason. A confession that now crosses centuries to touch the heart of a stranger.

With the help of book collector Tomaso Leoni, Sofia connects the threads of Clarice’s past, page by page, line by line, town by town. She’s determined to make Clarice’s voice heard. With each new revelation, Clarice is giving Sofia the courage to find her own voice and hope for the future she thought was lost.
(Courtesy of Amazon.)

What did you learn from writing your debut novel that you applied to The Binder of Lost Stories?
I learnt that feelings are important. Being emotionally involved gives you the chance to get into the story.
I always first envisioned the scenes before putting them on paper. In this world perfumes, sounds, colors and everything that surrounds us are main characters.

What is a favorite compliment you have received on your writing?
Readers often tell me that reading my stories is like living them, they feel personally involved as if what they read was really happening to them. I think this is one of the best compliments a writer can receive. A book is a magic world and giving the readers the keys to get into it is a great accomplishment.

If The Binder of Lost Stories were made into a movie, who would you cast in the leading roles?
This is a really witty question because I always think about my characters as actors before starting the writing process, it helps me focus. I look at them and understand what they want. Tomaso Leoni is the epic Tom Hardy, whom I love. For Sofia Bauer, I had Jennifer Lawrence in mind, she’s perfect for the role. Clarice Von Harmel and Christian Philippe are the real-life couple Michael Fassbender and Alicia Vikander.

If we were to go to Cagliari right now, what must-see places would you take us to visit?
The Castle of the city, before anything else. It’s the oldest part of the city built on a hill overlooking the city, it’s where nobles use to live and where the royal palace is still today. Climbing beautiful stairs, you get to an ancient rampart of white marble and from there you can see the city below and the sea touching the coast. The sea in Cagliari is of a deep blue and it melts with the sky on the horizon. Il Poeto is a beach you have to see. A long walk on fine white sand. At night, you can enjoy an astonishing sunset sat at one of the many small local restaurants, that fiery sky frames unforgettable memories.

What sparked your interest in beekeeping and what is your favorite thing about it?
My family has run a beekeeping company for years, beekeeping runs into our veins. Bees are family to me. My great grandmother used to sing for bees, and the bond we share with these insects has always been strong. They make me feel peaceful, the way they take care of flowers, so tireless and calm, so careful to their community’s needs fascinates me, the hive to them is a sacred and precious place.
They taught me how to be patient because there’s a time and a place for everything, and they remind me that nature has to be preserved and protected. That’s what bees do, they don’t waste, they cherish and preserve and that’s what we should do, too.

What is your go to breakfast food?
I usually drink aromatic tea, a few cookies, the evergreen honey on bread, all sided by a chat with my husband before the day gets started.

Thanks to Cristina for visiting with us and to Laura Ceccacci Agency 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 March 1st at midnight EST.

Friday, February 21, 2020

Spotlight and Giveaway: So Lucky

Today we are featuring So Lucky by Dawn O'Porter. The delicious doughnut on the cover captured our attention, and the synopsis was just the icing on top! Thanks to HarperCollins, we have FIVE copies for some...ahem...lucky readers!

Is anyone’s life as perfect as it looks?

Beth shows that women really can have it all.
Ruby lives life by her own rules.
And then there’s Lauren, living the dream.

But it just takes one shocking event to make the truth come tumbling out…

Beth hasn’t had sex in a year.
Ruby feels like she’s failing.
Lauren’s happiness is fake news.

Fearless, frank, and for anyone who’s ever doubted themselves, So Lucky is the straight-talking new novel from the bestselling author of The Cows.

Photo by Hailey Simone Porter
Dawn O'Porter
is a broadcaster, novelist, and print journalist who lives in Los Angeles with her husband Chris, cat Lilu, and dog Potato. Dawn is the critically acclaimed author of The Cows, Paper Aeroplanes and Goose. She is also a highly prolific Tweeter  and manages her own website (currently under construction). Dawn is obsessed with vintage clothing and recently set up her own clothing label, BOB (she also has a bob…).

Visit Dawn online:
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 February 26th at midnight EST.

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Spotlight and Giveaway: The Sun Down Motel

Today we are pleased to feature Simone St. James's latest novel, The Sun Down Motel. Thanks to Berkley, we have one copy to give away!

Something hasn’t been right at the roadside Sun Down Motel for a very long time, and Carly Kirk is about to find out why.

Upstate New York, 1982. Viv Delaney wants to move to New York City, and to help pay for it she takes a job as the night clerk at the Sun Down Motel in Fell, New York. But something isnʼt right at the motel, something haunting and scary.

Upstate New York, 2017. Carly Kirk has never been able to let go of the story of her aunt Viv, who mysteriously disappeared from the Sun Down before she was born. She decides to move to Fell and visit the motel, where she quickly learns that nothing has changed since 1982. And she soon finds herself ensnared in the same mysteries that claimed her aunt.

Photo by Lauren Perry
Simone St. James is the USA Today bestselling and award-winning author of The Broken Girls, Lost Among the Living, and The Haunting of Maddy Clare. She wrote her first ghost story, about a haunted library, when she was in high school, and spent twenty years behind the scenes in the television business before leaving to write full-time.

Visit Simone online:
Website * Facebook * Twitter * Instagram * Pinterest

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 February 25th at midnight EST.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Book Review: The Neighbours

By Becky Gulc

‘To get up from rock bottom, you’ve got to take the stairs…

Some women have it all. Others are thirty-four and rent a tiny flat alone because they recently found their long-term boyfriend in bed with their boss. Ginny Taylor is certain her life can’t get any worse. But then she meets her downstairs neighbour…

Cassie Frost was once a beloved actress, but after a recent mishap she desperately needs a new publicist. And Ginny is a publicist who desperately needs a job – but can she be persuaded to work for the prickly woman who lives below her floorboards?

Ginny and Cassie are two very different women, but they have more in common than they’d care to imagine (or admit). And when their worlds collide, they realise that sometimes – just sometimes – bad neighbours become good friends…’ (Synopsis courtesy of Amazon UK.)

The Neighbours is the debut novel by Nicola Gill and it sounded like the kind of novel I’d be drawn to and enjoy. So what did I think?

Ginny isn’t having a great time of it when we meet her, she finds her boyfriend cheating on her with her boss, cue loss (or good riddance) of the boyfriend and her job in PR, how can she face her boss every day now? With her best friend/flatmate moving abroad too she’s left to face the turmoil pretty much on her own.

Ginny has never really touched base with her famous actress neighbour before, Cassie Frost. But after a damaging stint on reality show I’m a Celebrity…, Cassie is slowly realising she’s not the in-demand actress she once was, what she needs is some good PR, and who better to provide this than her out of work neighbour and newfound kind-of-friend Ginny?

Without a doubt for me, it was the unlikely friendship between Ginny and Cassie that made this novel great. It was a lovely exploration of forming a new friendship later in life, when you’re meant to be in someone’s life when on the face of it you may not have much in common; it’s just fate. These women seem to know what the other wants and needs than they do themselves. Their story was beautiful. It was so funny at times, I loved Cassie; sassy, says it as it is even if she shouldn’t sometimes! And Ginny is a lovely character whom I warmed to instantly.

There are dark times in the novel and I found these very moving and well-written, the struggle to help a friend navigate mental health issues, I felt as helpless as the friend. There is a lot of kindness and warmth from the central, as well as some of the supporting characters, and it was lovely to read.

This is a great debut novel. I wasn’t quite ready to say goodbye to these two women and I think that says it all. The Neighbours is funny, moving, and full of love and that’s said without even considering the ‘love story’ elements of the novel (which are also strong). Loved it!

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

Visit the stops on Nicola's blog tour:

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Kimmery Martin has the antidote for your book a book giveaway

Today we welcome Kimmery Martin to CLC to celebrate the publication of her sophomore novel, The Antidote For Everything! It sounds like a fascinating story and we look forward to checking it out. Thanks to Berkley, we have one copy to give away!

Kimmery Martin is an emergency medicine doctor-turned novelist whose works of medical fiction have been praised by The Harvard Crimson, Southern Living, The Charlotte Observer and The New York Times, among others. A lifelong literary nerd, she promotes reading, interviews authors, and teaches writing seminars. She’s a frequent speaker at libraries, conferences, and bookstores around the United States. Kimmery completed her medical training at the University of Louisville School of Medicine and the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. She lives with her husband and three children in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Bio courtesy of Kimmery's website.)

Visit Kimmery online:
Website * Facebook * Twitter * Instagram * Pinterest

Georgia Brown’s profession as a urologist requires her to interact with plenty of naked men, but her romantic prospects have fizzled. The most important person in her life is her friend Jonah Tsukada, a funny, empathetic family medicine doctor who works at the same hospital in Charleston, South Carolina and who has become as close as family to her.

Just after Georgia leaves the country for a medical conference, Jonah shares startling news. The hospital is instructing doctors to stop providing medical care for transgender patients. Jonah, a gay man, is the first to be fired when he refuses to abandon his patients. Stunned by the predicament of her closest friend, Georgia’s natural instinct is to fight alongside him. But when her attempts to address the situation result in incalculable harm, both Georgia and Jonah find themselves facing the loss of much more than their careers. (Courtesy of Amazon.)

What is something you learned from writing The Queen of Hearts that you applied to The Antidote for Everything?
I learned I need an editor! I’d keep writing endlessly if no one reined me in. Also, sometimes my sense of humor is quite stupid.

How are you similar to or different from the main characters of The Antidote?
I think most authors incorporate something of themselves into their protagonists, whether consciously or unconsciously. I did deliberately give both Georgia and Jonah some features you could accuse me of possessing— I’m a bossy science geek, like Georgia, and I gotta admit some of Jonah’s goofiness hits close to home. (And I always have at least one character in my novels who hails from the great state of Kentucky!) But obviously, the more you write a character the more they take on a life of their own. I’m very fond of these two, warts and all.

If The Antidote were made into a movie, who would play the leading roles?
We have a term for this exercise in the writing biz: casturbation. It’s super-fun. Here are my choices:

Georgia the Urologist/Narrator: Jennifer Lawrence is one of my favorite actresses and like me and Georgia, she’s a native Kentuckian. But also maybe a redhead, like Rose Leslie or Emma Stone.

Jonah the Family Medicine Doctor/Best Friend: Godfrey Gao would be sweet! I love his acting.

Mark the Love Interest: Danny Pino or Ryan Reynolds

Darby the Rehab Doctor/Southern Belle: Reese Witherspoon or Kristen Bell

Donovan the Anesthesiologist/Complicated Villain: Paul Bettany. I think it’s mandatory that he play the villain in all movies.

Edwin the Hot Security Guy: Colton Haynes

What is the last movie you saw that you would recommend?
I really liked Booksmart. In a general I am a big fan of Nerd Fiction.

What is the strangest dream you remember having?
For years I had a recurrent dream about a tiny blond brown-eyed girl who bossed me around. I don’t believe in the supernatural but my first child personifies this dream person pretty well, even down to her appearance.

If you could travel through time, would you go to the past or to the future?
No question at all: I’d go to the future. I’m absolutely fascinated by the way technological advances will alter society over the next decades and centuries. We are living on the cusp of the most impactful evolution in human history and I want to know how it turns out.

Thanks to Kimmery 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 February 23rd at midnight EST.

Monday, February 17, 2020

Book Review: From Here to Nashville

By Sara Steven

Rachel Hardy dreams of being a successful country music singer in Nashville’s Music City, four thousand miles away from her lonely life in Dorset.

When Jackson Phillips, an independent record label owner, encourages her band to audition for a nationwide ‘Open Mic’ competition, she decides they have nothing to lose.

But when she starts to fall in love with Jackson, the stakes suddenly get higher and she finds herself with a great big dilemma on her hands. Should she abandon her dream and take the easy way out or should she leave the life she has always known behind and take a gamble on a man who has personal demons of his own?

Follow Rachel and Jackson as they learn to trust in love again and to see whether music really can bring them together. (Synopsis Courtesy of Goodreads)

While I’m not a huge country music fan, Rachel’s story still resonated with me, and I had an enjoyable time while reading about her trials and efforts in attempting to make it big in Nashville. There’s something almost whimsical about her as a character. She injects a never ending drive to go for your dreams, and I felt like I’d been elevated by that spirit. The scenes where Rachel and her band are playing shows, I felt like I was right there with them, part of the action- as a band member, or someone there to watch the show. It was nice to have both perspectives in order to get a better understanding of the band dynamics and how it all works into Rachel’s future goals.

When Jackson enters the picture, there was no doubt in this reader’s mind the kind of attraction and draw Rachel has to him. He seems almost too perfect for paper, so I can understand her hesitancy in believing in him and what he represents. I could also see how scary it was for Rachel to consider completely leaving everything she knows in order to move thousands of miles away and take a chance on something that is unknown. Having been in those shoes before, it’s always a crap shoot. I felt those emotions were really explained well and there was no confusion on how she felt.

Told from both Rachel and Jackson’s perspectives, it was nice to see what each primary character is feeling and thinking, as well as what their motivations are as the story progresses. This becomes even more helpful when Rachel finds herself in a bit of a love triangle situation, one that the reader isn’t at first privy to, unfolding gradually. It lends into her indecision on whether she should move or not, not entirely sure on what the right decision should be.

This is the first book in the From Here to You series, and with two more books in the mix, I’m interested in seeing what’s next for this group of characters!

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

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

Julie Stock writes contemporary feel-good romance from around the world: novels, novellas and short stories. She published her debut novel, From Here to Nashville, in February 2015 and her second novel, The Vineyard in Alsace in March 2017. Over You (Sam's Story) and Finding You (Jenna's Story), her follow-up novellas to From Here to Nashville were published in 2018, making the From Here to You series complete. She has also published a boxed set of the From Here to You trilogy of books.

The Bistro by Watersmeet Bridge was published in August 2019, followed by Bittersweet, a collection of 12 Short Stories for Modern Life in September 2019.

Julie is a member of the Romantic Novelists' Association and The Society of Authors.

Julie is married and lives with her family in Bedfordshire in the UK.

Visit Julie online:
Website * Facebook * Twitter * Instagram

Giveaway to win a signed paperback copy of From Here to Nashville, a bookmark and a guitar magnet (Open to UK Only)

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

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Friday, February 14, 2020

Sara and Melissa talk about....Romance!

We recently started a new column series to get more personal with our readers. This month, we're talking about romance, since it's Valentine's Day! We're open to topic suggestions, so please don't hesitate to share those in the comments. We'd also love to know if you can relate to anything we've said or hear your own thoughts on the topic. So don't be shy. :) We look forward to getting to know you as much as we're letting you get to know us. You can find our first post here, in case you missed it last month.

Melissa Amster:

As of last week, my husband and I have been together for 18 years. Our 16-year wedding anniversary is next month. When it comes to romance, we don’t rely on flowers and chocolate. Instead, it’s the little things we share that keep our marriage thriving. The number one most important thing in our relationship is laughter. We engage in humor all the time, whether it’s sending funny articles and videos that we know the other will enjoy, sharing inside jokes, doing impressions, joking about something our kids said or did, etc. We love being able to make each other laugh. It’s a natural high for us. Even when there are tough times or someone is having a bad day, just sprinkling some laughter in is enough to buoy us.

Our wedding...16 years ago!

In the beginning, there were typical romantic gestures, like a special date night surprise, going dancing together, making bubble baths, doing stuff for each other’s birthdays, etc. For a date early in our relationship, my husband took me for a carriage ride around downtown Chicago and then for dinner at Signature Room at the top of the John Hancock building. For our one-year wedding anniversary, he re-created that special date and also gave me a necklace he designed and had a jeweler make. (I still wear it all the time.) I also had surprises in store for him on our anniversary. I planned activities that would remind us of our honeymoon, like going to a restaurant similar to Benihana--prior to us keeping Kosher (there was one at our resort), playing billiards, going dancing, and having drinks at Bahama Breeze (although mine wasn’t alcoholic at that time because I was pregnant with our first child).

Nowadays, we go on dates, but we usually just get dinner and go bowling or to see a movie. (Sometimes we’ll see live theater performances, as well.) However, I planned a surprise activity for his birthday this past winter. We went to an escape room for the first time and it was a lot of fun. It brought back an element of excitement from early in our relationship and we also got some inside jokes out of it. Now that our oldest child can babysit his siblings, we get out a lot more often and even go on double dates with other couples sometimes.

I am in love with my husband and the spark in our relationship is still going strong. I’m thankful for him every day.

Since this is a book blog and we are celebrating Valentine’s Day right now, I wanted to mention a few romantic novels I’ve enjoyed in recent years, as well as one that slipped under the radar a long time ago.

1. The Bride Test by Helen Hoang
2. One Day in December by Josie Silver
3. Waiting for Tom Hanks by Kerry Winfrey
4. The Boyfriend Swap by Meredith Schorr
5. Sparing the Heart by Tracy Krimmer
6. Things You Save in a Fire by Katherine Center
7. A Girl’s Guide to Moving On by Debbie Macomber
8. Twin Piques by Tracie Banister

Slipped under the radar:
Room for Love by Andrea Meyer.
It published in 2007. I loved it and I don’t think it got the attention it deserved. (Probably because I didn’t have a book blog back then.)

I would love to hear about your favorite romantic novels. Please share them in the comments section below.

Sara Steven:

I’ll be honest- I’m having a bit of a bah humbug Valentine’s Day holiday this year. Having dealt with health issues since the beginning of the year, and still ensconced within the throes of it, visions of red hearts and pink “I love yous” has taken a back seat to doctor’s appointments and medical exams. It’s funny how quickly a moment or an event can change one’s perspective on things. In researching ideas on how I wanted to approach this month’s topic, I found correspondence between my husband and I circa 2008. This was from before the wedding, before the second child. Before the health issues:

From me, to him:

I love to watch you. I love to watch your habits and the little things you do. Like the way you hold your fork and the 5 seconds it takes you to actually taste food in your mouth, and the facial expression that comes after it. That's a classic Kevin, right there. When you walk away from me or towards me, I love to watch the type of gait you have. It's this self assured step with a little bit of boy mixed in there. It's really cute. I love that you always have to be touching me, in some way, when we are together, whether it's a hand on my back, or entwined in my hand, or when we are on the couch, not even cuddling, our feet have to be touching. You are an AMAZING man baby. Thank you for being the way you are, and thank you for being mine. :)
I love you. Have a good day at work today. :)

And from him, to me:
What I love about YOU, Sara, is that you can send something like this to me, and it's so touching and wonderful that I have no idea how to respond to it. I'm sure there were a few things I did yesterday that you could add to this list, but those things along with all the other things you mentioned here, are all because of you. You are the reason I'm the way I am. This morning I was reflecting on how good I feel and how much more like myself I have been lately. I realized, though, that I'm not like myself at all. I can't say that I'm feeling like I used to so many years ago, because I'm feeling better. Way better. I have all of the same silly playfulness and fun-loving spirit that I used to have, but I also have much more confidence, and resolution, and respect in myself and others. Most of all, though, I have love. I have love that I never knew existed, and cannot live without. I'm complete and happy and healthy and I feel so incredible. I owe that all to you. You are my best friend, my partner, my girlfriend, my lover, my're my everything. As sappy as it sounds, I don't think a word exists for what you mean to me. I think there's just a feeling that exists for it, and I'm so happy that you feel it too, so you know what I'm talking about. I love you Sara. Thank you for completing me.

Our honeymoon, almost 11 years ago!

It’s not that I don’t still feel that way. I hope he does, too. Only, time has progressed us, catapulted us into an entirely different dimension than 2008. Sweet love notes have been replaced by sticky notes, or notes sent through text. Responsibilities have compounded, with moves and new jobs and two children. Our date night for Valentine’s Day this year will be his accompaniment to another doctor’s appointment, this one roughly an hour from where we live, not counting the Phoenix rush hour traffic. We still hold hands, and while we don’t whisper sweet nothings into one another’s ear nearly as much as we used to, I don’t know anyone who can deliver a much-needed joke when I need it, not like my husband can. He’s Wit On Tap. He’s also stepped up, picking up where I’ve had to slack, steering the kids and making dinners and doing as much as he’s able to, to help me out. My visions of red hearts and pink “I love yous” is knowing I have someone in my life who would literally do all he can for me, in order to ensure that I’m healthy and all right because I am that important to him. To me, that’s the real deal, right there. And really, what’s more romantic than that?

Whether you’re in a new, budding relationship, or one that’s seen a few miles, or maybe you’re spending time with your girls on a Galentine’s Day extravaganza, any and all of it- I hope you have a wonderful time spending the 14th of February with the people who mean the most to you.

Your turn! Please share your thoughts with us in the comments section. We look forward to hearing from you.

Excerpt: The Single Best Thing

**May contain spoilers for the Singles series**

Almost four years have passed since Melv followed Eve back to England refusing to throw away their long awaited chance of lasting love and happiness. Much has happened in that time. No longer a tour manager for Travel Together, Eve is enjoying unexpected success in her new career. Has she forgiven him for hurting her so deeply? Was her love for him simply enough? And what about her own dark secret?

Provoking smiles and tears, this glimpse into Eve’s future brings the Singles’ Series to its final conclusion


The Single Best Thing is set four years into the future from the end of Singles, Set and Match (the fifth book in the Singles’ Series). Here is the opening to it...

June 2023

‘Keep back behind the cordon, please.’

The burly security guard waved his arm and flashed a toothpaste ad movie-star smile that took the sting out of his authoritative tone. Feet shuffled as everyone complied with his request, smiling at each other, some starting up conversations with those standing next to them, others standing quietly, smiling to themselves in silent, eager anticipation.

‘It’s her!’

A loud, excited murmur rippled down the long line as those towards the back looked behind them and saw their idol approaching flanked by another security guard whose biceps were the size of a prize-pig’s thighs.

‘Here she is!’

‘She’s coming!’

‘She’s shorter than I thought.’

‘She looks great.’

‘Love her dress.’

‘She don’t look Greek.’

The object of their attention and appreciation smiled shyly and nodded to them all as she walked to the front of the queue and took her seat on the ready-made stage in the centre of the busy shopping mall.

‘Morning! Good morning!’

In her navy blue trouser-suit and pale pink shirt, hair and makeup immaculate, Eve may have looked confident and sure of herself as she greeted them but her stomach was churning. She chided herself for her nerves, after all these people were here to see her because they were her fans.

My fans!

She smiled inwardly at the thought that she had fans. And so many. She glanced across at them again. Security guards were changing the cordons so the queue now zig-zagged back and forth in an attempt to take up less space. Eve thought there must be several hundred people there. And they had all come to meet her! Her tummy gave another little flutter at the thought and she felt herself blushing. She hoped she wouldn’t break out in a sweat; she was permanently warm these days. Menopause seemed to be going on for ever.

Purchase Links:
Amazon UK
Amazon US

Elaine Spires is a novelist, playwright, screenwriter and actress. Extensive travelling and a background in education and tourism perfected Elaine's keen eye for the quirky characteristics of people, captivating the humorous observations she now affectionately shares with the readers of her novels. Elaine has written two books of short stories, two novellas and seven novels, five of which form the Singles Series - Singles’ Holiday, Singles and Spice, Single All The Way, Singles At Sea, and Singles, Set and Match. Her play Stanley Grimshaw Has Left The Building was staged at the Bridewell Theatre, London in May 2019. Her short film Only the Lonely, co-written with Veronique Christie and featuring Anna Calder Marshall has been shown in film festivals worldwide and she is currently working on a full length feature film script. Only the Lonely won the Groucho Club Short Film Festival 2019! Elaine recently returned to UK after living in Antigua W.I. She lives in East London.

Visit Elaine online:
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