Friday, February 26, 2021

Reviews at Amazon-February 2021

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

Melissa:

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

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



By Sara Steven

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Purchase Links:
Amazon US * Books2Read

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

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

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

Visit Camilla online:
Facebook * Twitter * Instagram

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

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


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Giveaway ends March 8th.

Visit all the stops on Camilla's blog tour:


Thursday, February 25, 2021

Spotlight and Giveaway: The Marriage Pass

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

Can you really have the best of both worlds?

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

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

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

Visit Briana online:
Website * Facebook * Twitter * Instagram

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

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Giveaway ends March 2nd at midnight EST.

 

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Book Review: Shiver

By Jami Denison

If my recent reading list is any indication, the “locked room” mystery/thriller is back in full force. Agatha Christie’s bestseller And Then There Were None may be the earliest-known example of this genre, which features a small number of people who are trapped together in a building (or on an island) and who one-by-one start to die. The escape room craze may have started the latest rendition; The Escape Room by Megan Goldin was published in 2019. Ruth Ware’s version of this story, One by One, came out this past September. Now Allie Reynolds joins this impressive group, with her locked-room debut, Shiver, that prompted a ten-publisher auction. 

One by One and Shiver both take place in the French Alps, and both feature a cast of characters that is trapped by weather and circumstance. Although Ware is the more experienced writer, Reynolds crafts a more complex plot, dealing with past and present timelines and characters outside the norm. While the plot points are similar, the execution is not. Both books are incredibly compelling, and reading one right after the other would be better than a skiing vacation.

Shiver’s protagonist is Milla, a former snowboarder who dedicated her teens and early adulthood to training. Ten years ago, she was preparing for the competition that would determine her future. Instead, twin tragedies among her friend group derailed her completely. Now she’s been invited to a reunion with those friends, at the same resort where they trained together. It’s off-season, and Milla, her former lover Brent, her former crush Curtis, and married couple Heather and Dale are the only ones there. The occasion: Curtis has finally had his missing sister Saskia declared dead. It was Saskia who disappeared ten years ago; aggressive, bewitching Saskia who was Milla’s best friend and most dangerous rival. But when the reunion kicks off, it’s clear that the event is more than just rehashing old times. An anonymous game implies that someone in the group killed Saskia, and someone else knows where her body is. When their phones are stolen and the lift is locked, the stakes get very high very quickly. 

The book goes back and forth between present day and ten years ago, as Milla, in her first-person account, details her complicated relationships with the other snowboarders. In the burgeoning sport, only other competitors can truly understand and appreciate the challenges. But there are only so many spots in a competition, so many sponsorships. Saskia, who is as talented as she is self-centered, recognizes this instinctively, alternatingly befriending and sabotaging Milla. Estranged from her family and non-snowboarding friends, Milla has no choice but to stay in the group, even if it costs her everything. 

The mystery of what happened to Saskia dominates the book; Milla did something to her rival that she feels guilty about, but she refuses to spell it out to the reader. As the danger increases, the reader wonders whether Saskia has returned from the dead, or whether one of Milla’s friends is attempting a delayed revenge.

I found the novel somewhat confusing at first. It kicks off in the present, so the reader needs to quickly keep track of a bunch of different characters while at the same time deciphering the specific snowboarding vocabulary. I’m a Florida girl who gets cold when it’s under seventy degrees, so that took awhile for me. But after Milla spends some time in the past, getting to know the other characters individually while starting her training, the book hits a very quick stride. While the ending didn’t work for me—parts of it were unintentionally comical—it was definitely a fitting climax.

It’s going to be a long, cold winter, folks. Spend it by the fire with books like Shiver. The heart-pounding that results will count as exercise! 

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


Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Spotlight and Giveaway: Honey Girl

Today we are celebrating the publication of Honey Girl, Morgan Rogers' debut novel. Thanks to Park Row, we have TWO copies to give away!

Debut author Morgan Rogers had a problem. As a queer, millennial woman of color, she noticed that there were few stories that featured people like her, and many of those stories, instead of reflecting the experiences she and her friends were going through, were instead steeped in tragedy.

Where were the stories of young women of color trying to find themselves after graduation while bristling against society’s demand for Black excellence? Where were the books about lesbians having meet-cutes and falling in love through a series of wacky mishaps, and finding safety in each other’s arms? Where were coming of age novels on millennials getting a reality check as they try (and fail) to move smoothly into adulthood and face making choices that are best for them as people, but maybe not for their futures? Enter Rogers’ stunning #ownvoices debut....

HONEY GIRL (Park Row Books) is a charming, lyrical, and introspective romantic comedy about Grace Porter – millennial, Black woman, astronomy PhD – who wakes up after a wild night in Vegas married to a woman she doesn’t know. Strait-laced and structured all her life, Porter now faces life without a plan for the first time ever.
 
Between her disappointed military father, the competitive job market, and a consuming sense of aimlessness, finding and falling in love with her wife across the country seems to be the only right answer. But Porter’s problems are just as big in Brooklyn as they are anywhere else, and she realizes she’s going to have to face adulthood whether she’s ready or not.

Morgan Rogers
is a queer black millennial. She writes books for queer girls that are looking for their place in the world. She lives in Maryland with her five dogs. 

Visit Morgan online:




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.

Monday, February 22, 2021

Brianne Davis's addictive novel...plus a book giveaway

Today we welcome Brianne Davis to CLC to talk about her debut novel, Secret Life of a Hollywood Sex and Love Addict. Before you ask if it's erotica, we can assure you that it isn't. It's just a different kind of chick lit. Given Brianne's stellar career, we have no doubt that you will want to check it out. Brianne has one signed copy to give away!

Brianne Davis is a Hollywood actress, writer, producer and director. She can be seen as an actress in Lucifer, Casual, True Blood, the History Channel’s series Six, and the film Jarhead starring Jake Gyllenhaal. Brianne has produced three films with her production company, Give & Take Productions. She has directed two films, The Night Visitor 2: Heather’s Story and Deadly Signal

Brianne has over a decade of recovery as a sex and love addict. Inspired by her life experience, she is the host of the popular Personal Journals podcast Secret Life. Her article “I’m a Sex and Love Addict. Here’s How I Realized I Had a Problem.” was published in Huff Post Personal’s March 2020 issue and received over a million views. Brianne lives in Los Angeles with her husband, Mark Gantt and son, Davis.

Visit Brianne online:

Synopsis:

Imagine if Sex and the City's Samantha discovered she was a sex and love addict. Go on a hilarious, inspiring and, at times, shocking journey as Roxanne conquers her fears, changes her ways, gets closer to healthy relationships and begins loving herself a little more each day. 

What if you realize you're an addict and your drug of choice is MEN? After years of working as an image-obsessed actress in Hollywood, Roxanne finds herself at rock bottom from a disease that is anything but glamorous. In her first year of recovery, Roxanne has to take accountability for her past. From tales of being mistaken for a prostitute at the Hotel Bel-Air to botching a threesome attempt with an A-list celebrity, Roxanne must face the truth about herself and stop playing the victim.

Roxanne's odyssey of using sex and love—as destructive and beguiling as an alcoholic reaching for a bottle—is a veritable rollercoaster of ups and downs, laughter and tears, and a true testament to facing your absolute truth and conquering your fears. 

Secret Life of a Hollywood Sex & Love Addict has the vibrant, relatable vibe of chick lit, the soul-baring honesty of a memoir and the wisdom of a self-help book. It’s a vulnerable, humorous and sometimes outrageous look into the world of addiction. So take a front-row seat into this complex world and the 10 RULES Roxanne learns along the way. 

In one sentence, what was the road to publishing like for you?
I felt very empowered but extremely vulnerable and uncomfortable the whole time during the process.

How is Roxanne similar to or different from you?
At first, the book was a memoir, but it took on a life of its own. I knew I wanted to write a book that entertained non-addict readers. I also wanted to educate the reader on the reality of the disease of sex and love addiction. Secret Life is definitely a unique roman √† clef novel that combines memoir, self-help and elements of a chick lit book. Roxanne and I are similar and yet completely different. I would say it’s about a 50/50 split. I definitely put a lot of my past drama in Roxanne’s tale, but she developed into her own character as I wrote. I’d wake up in the middle of the night with crazy dreams of scenes that I needed to add to the book. I say that everyone may have a little Roxanne in them. She could be your mother, father, sister, brother, daughter, or even your boss. 

If Secret Life were made into a movie, who would you cast in the leading roles?
People often ask if I would want to play Roxanne. I have no desire to relive my addiction. Although, I would love to play Alice, Roxanne’s sponsor. I love that she’s ballsy and to the point like both of my sponsors in SLAA (Sex & Love Addicts Anonymous). On the flip side, she works in the public school system and deals with elementary kids. For Roxanne, I think Dakota Fanning or Shay Mitchell would rock the part. I would love an actress that you’d never expect to see them coming out as a sex and love addict. Lastly, I would jump for joy if Octavia Spencer or Jane Fonda would play Dr. Kath. That would be utterly amazing!

Which TV series are you currently binge watching?
Nothing! I wish I could watch television right now. With the book launch, Secret Life Podcast  writing the follow-up book, a three-year-old toddler at home (thank you, Covid), my podcast and producing partner/husband, Mark Gantt, are taking turns juggling multiple projects. We seem to have no time for anything. I think the last thing we watched was The Octopus Teacher on Netflix and HBO’s Succession. 

What is something you’ve learned about yourself during the pandemic?
I think the power of time management and being present for the little things. I have gotten more things done during this pandemic than before. I have my SLAA meeting every morning, I write every day and record interviews for the podcast and press. Oh yeah, and I’m self-taping myself for acting auditions. It’s all about scheduling, which is necessary because I want to stay present with my son now that he’s around all the time. I definitely love being a working mom, but it can be challenging. I’m blessed to have a great husband who shares all the household responsibilities. The biggest lesson, though, is the willingness to “just be” in the present moment with what is. I don’t find myself future-tripping or living in my past mistakes. Instead, I try to really appreciate my life on a much higher level. 

What is the funniest thing that has happened to you recently?
Oh my gosh, it’s so true that toddlers say the darndest things. My son and I were sharing a bowl of fruit and homemade whip cream. I was in the middle of a bite when he decided it was time for me to workout. He loves it when I exercise in the living room, and he joins me and climbs all over me. It’s a fun game to him and he was ready to play. He turned to me and said, “Mama, that’s enough. We workout now, no more, save some for later.” I started dying laughing that this not even three-year-old acted like my trainer and demanded I needed to workout. I even got it on video and posted it on TikTok, it’s hilarious and he is so cute. 

Thanks to Brianne 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 February 28th at midnight EST.

Friday, February 19, 2021

What's in the mail

Melissa:

Where the Grass is Green and the Girls Are Pretty by Lauren Weisberger from Random House (e-book via NetGalley)
The Seven Day Switch by Kelly Harms from Amazon
No Regrets by Tabitha Webb from Harper 360  (e-book via NetGalley)
Gone Too Soon by Dani Atkins from Bookouture  (e-book via NetGalley)
Mom Walks: Getting Crushed by/from Rebecca Prenevost (e-book)
The Other Me
by Sarah Zachrich Jeng from Berkley (e-book via NetGalley)
Deeper Than Dreams by/from Jessica Topper (e-book)
The Two Week Wait by Lucy J. Lewis from Matador (e-book via NetGalley)
The Clover Girls by Viola Shipman from Harlequin (e-book via NetGalley)
The Girls Are All So Nice Here by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn from Simon and Schuster (e-book via NetGalley)
Lizzie and Dante by Mary Bly from Random House (e-book via NetGalley)
Take Me Home Tonight by Morgan Matson from Simon and Schuster (e-book via NetGalley)
The Forest of Vanishing Stars by Kristin Harmel from Gallery (e-book via NetGalley)
I Thought You Said This Would Work
by/from Ann Garvin (e-book via NetGalley)
That Summer by Jennifer Weiner from Atria (e-book via NetGalley)
The House Guests by Emilie Richards from Harlequin (e-book via NetGalley)
Yolk by Mary H.K. Choi from Simon and Schuster (e-book via NetGalley)
She Wouldn't Change a Thing by Sarah Adlakha from Tor/Forge (e-book via NetGalley)

Sara:
Flying Duo by Zoe May from Rachel's Random Resources (e-book)
All That Fall by Kris Calvin from Kaye Publicity (e-book via NetGalley)
The Layover by Lacie Waldon from Putnam  (e-book via NetGalley)

Jami:
The Women of Chateau Lafayette by Stephanie Dray from Berkley (e-book via NetGalley)

Book Review and Giveaway: The Memory Keeper

By Cindy Roesel

Plans for Hannah Townsend’s 35th birthday celebrations are about to be sidelined. In bestselling author, Jenny Hale’s new novel, THE MEMORY KEEPER (Harpeth Road Press) plans for a special trip to Barbados are cancelled when she sees her boyfriend kissing another woman and a snowstorm moves into New York City shutting down all airports. While waiting to decide what’s next, she gets a call from mom telling her 95-year-old grandmother is really sick in Franklin, Tennessee and she must come at once.

What’s a girl to do? She cries for a bit before realizing she has to ride share with someone, anyone. Of course, she meets two fellow stranded companions and they’re off to Tennessee. Turns out Liam is an old sort-of friend from high school going to pick up his son, Noah. Georgia is searching for her birth parents and carries around a friendly chihuahua named Jerry in a purse.

Once in Franklin, Hannah sees how frail her gran is and she learns her flower shop, The Memory Keeper, has fallen into disarray.

“Every time I create a bouquet for someone, I’m creating a memory.”

Author Jenny Hale is known for writing heart-warming stories about close-knit friends and families. Her feel good romance novels make you just want to sit down with a cup of hot chocolate and read. THE MEMORY KEEPER is a warm and fuzzy that hooked me at the start. Her characters are the kind of delightful people you’d love to know. Two of Jenny’s novels have been adapted into Hallmark Channel original movies. I for one, would love to see a movie made of her new novel, THE MEMORY KEEPER.

Thanks to Author Marketing Experts for the book in exchange for an honest review. Thanks to Jenny Hale for sharing THREE signed copies 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.

More by Jenny Hale:

Thursday, February 18, 2021

Book Review: The Family Ship

By Sara Steven

Chesapeake Bay, 1980. Eighteen-year-old Verity Vergennes is the captain of the USS Nepenthe, and her seven younger siblings are her crew. The ship—an oyster boat transformed into a make-believe destroyer—is the heart of the Vergennes family, a place both to play and to learn responsibility. But Verity’s had it with being tied to the ship and secretly applies to a distant college. If only her parents could bear to let her go.

Maeve and Arthur Vergennes already suffered one loss when, five years earlier, their eldest son, Jude, stormed out and never returned. Now Maeve is pregnant again and something’s amiss. Verity yearns to follow her dreams, but how can she jump ship now? The problem, and perhaps the answer, lies with Jude.

When disaster strikes and the family unravels, Verity must rally her sibling crew to keep the Nepenthe and all it symbolizes afloat. Sailing away from home, she discovers, is never easy—not if you ever hope to find your way back. (Synopsis courtesy of Amazon)

This was a truly unique experience. From the get go, the reader is brought into a world that has been created by the Vergennes children, cleverly written in a way as to showcase that even in a world of make-believe, there are real-life truths that lie buried within the ship and its inhabitants. Told from various children’s perspectives, many of which who begin their chapters as though writing notes into a captain’s log, the story progresses from Verity and her need to reach out and apply herself by trying to enroll at a college that would not be acceptable for her parents, to discovering what really happened with Jude, and why he left the family home. Moments of chaos and frustration are also seen from the younger Vergennes, and I felt as though Yoerg did a great job in making sure that each voice matched the age and personality of the child who is reflecting. 

The large family dynamic felt realistic, too. The need for help from the older siblings lends into Arthur’s fear in even thinking of the possibility of Verity going away to college, especially when Maeve is faced with health concerns. I could feel for both sides, considering the age Verity is (eighteen), and the fact that she is old enough to make her own decisions. Yet she feels bound to her family, especially with Jude gone, and the guilt in wanting to leave adds to the layer of guilt her father places on her. Not to mention long-ago events in her past that only complicate matters.

So much of The Family Ship showed all the little nuances and layers that go into not only making a family work and function, but how quickly and easily various obstacles can lead to dysfunction. It showed what grief can do, how it can extend out like ripples and affect each character in different ways, all fitting for who each person is and what they already experienced and have been through. But it also showed how family can be there for one another, when it’s least expected and in the most serious of situations, at times, life and death.

I really enjoyed the Vergennes family, and The Family Ship. The experience was well worth the five stars I’ve given it.

Thanks to Tall Poppy Writers for the book in exchange for an honest review.

More by Sonja Yoerg:

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Taking a walk with Rebecca Prenevost...plus a book giveaway

Today we are pleased to have Rebecca Prenevost here. Melissa recently enjoyed Mom Walks: Starting in 5th (see her review) and is excited to read the second book in this series, Mom Walks: Getting Crushed. Rebecca has one set of both e-books for a lucky reader!

Never in a million years did Rebecca think she’d be a writer. But she was looking for fiction books that reflected her everyday struggles of parenting tween girls, and she couldn’t find them. She wanted something light, heart-warming, and relatable. So she tried writing one, and she had a blast.

If you liked The Baby-Sitters Club books when you were younger and enjoyed Gilmore Girls not too long ago, her books could be perfect for you. (Bio courtesy of Rebecca's website.)

Visit Rebecca online:


Synopsis:
Dawn feels very lucky. Her daughter Kayli is a solid student, has good friends, and is a leader on the basketball court. So when a supposedly innocent crush starts chipping away at Kayli’s self-esteem, Dawn’s struggles with what to do. Although her mom friends encourage her to intervene, Dawn hesitates. She’s inserted herself into Kayli’s social dynamics in the past, and it’s jeopardized their close mother-daughter relationship. But when she tries letting Kayli handle the precarious relationship on her own, the problems worsen and Kayli’s confidence plummets. 

As Dawn’s heart breaks watching her daughter shrink into a meeker version of her former self, a memory from her own past resurfaces. Dawn finally realizes she must reclaim her own voice in order to prevent Kayli from losing hers.

Mom Walks: Getting Crushed is the second book in a women’s fiction series that follows a mom and her two best mom friends as they navigate the chaotic trenches of parenting tweens. If you enjoy light, heart-warming stories about mother-daughter relationships and friendship, these books are for you.

In one sentence, what was the road to publishing like for you? 
Writing and publishing the Mom Walks series has been an absolute blast.

How are you similar to or different from Dawn? 
My family structure is identical to Dawn’s: I have a husband and two tween daughters, and we live in a MN suburb. I also have some very close mom friends who I go on regular walks with. But the specific scenarios in the books haven’t happened to me or my kids. They are either versions of stories I’ve heard or things I just worry about happening. 

If Mom Walks were made into a TV series, who would you cast in the leading roles? 
I don’t watch a lot of television, so I don’t know very many actresses, but I picture someone like Jennifer Garner for Dawn, Beyonce Knowles for Meg, and Joanna Gaines for Naomi. 

What is the last movie you saw that you would recommend?
I’m not a big movie watcher either, but I do really enjoy watching women’s basketball. My favorite teams are UConn, the MN Gophers, and the MN Lynx. 

What is something you've learned about yourself during the pandemic?
 I’ve learned that I really enjoy writing and being a part of the writing and bookish communities. 

What is the strangest dream that you've had recently? 
I’m actually an extremely horrible sleeper, so it’s a rare day when I can remember a dream. I don’t think the pandemic is helping either:) 

Thanks to Rebecca 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 February 22nd at midnight EST.

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Spotlight and Giveaway: Serena Singh Flips the Script

Today we are featuring Serena Singh Flips the Script by Sonya Lalli. It sounds like a fun story and the location definitely is of interest to Melissa. Thanks to Berkley, we have one copy to give away!

Things are going according to plan for Serena. She’s smart, confident, and just got a kick-ass new job at a top advertising firm in Washington, D.C. Even before her younger sister gets married in a big, traditional wedding, Serena knows her own dreams don’t include marriage or children. But with her mother constantly encouraging her to be more like her sister, Serena can’t understand why her parents refuse to recognize that she and her sister want completely different experiences out of life.
 
A new friendship with her co-worker, Ainsley, comes as a breath of fresh air, challenging Serena’s long-held beliefs about the importance of self-reliance. She’s been so focused on career success that she’s let all of her hobbies and close friendships fall by the wayside. As Serena reconnects with her family and friends--including her ex-boyfriend--she learns letting people in can make her happier than standing all on her own.

Photo by Ming Joanis
Sonya Lalli is a Canadian writer of Indian heritage. She studied law in her hometown of Saskatoon and at Columbia University in New York, and later completed an MA in creative writing and publishing at City, University of London. Sonya has a black belt in tae kwon do and loves travel, yoga, and cocktail bartending. She lives in Toronto with her husband.

Visit Sonya 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 February 21st at midnight EST.

Monday, February 15, 2021

Book Review: The Juggle


By Jami Denison

It may be unfair, but any book centered around a mother who’s trying to balance kids and career will be compared to the grandmother of Mom Lit, Allison Pearson’s I Don’t Know How She Does It. Although it’s been more than twenty years since I attempted this high-wire act myself, I loved Pearson’s book (and especially its sequel, How Hard Can It Be?) so much that I’ll look at any novel with a similar plot. (I may be the only person looking forward to the COVID versions of this story.) My latest read in this genre, Emma Murray’s The Juggle, doesn’t have the gravitas of Pearson’s work, but it’s an enjoyable escape all the same. 

In a suburb of London, writer Saoirse’s biggest worry is her unspoken competition with the “Organics” – the judgmental ubermums at her four-year-old daughter Anna’s school. But when her husband David loses his job, Saoirse steps in as the main breadwinner by agreeing to ghostwrite a book with eccentric inventor Sebastian. The fifty thousand pounds he fronts her seems like a windfall—but if she can’t produce the book, she has to give it all back. Soon enough, Saoirse realizes that Sebastian’s world-changing invention is more revolting than revolutionary. Will she be able to write the book anyway?

The Juggle is a quick, fun read. It didn’t infuriate me the way I Don’t Know How She Does It did—mainly because David is a good husband and father, and his relationship with Saoirse is filled with love and laughter. But because that relationship isn’t a source of conflict, the book does feel a little unfocused. Similarly, Saoirse’s job with Sebastian represents only a portion of the novel. Saoirse spends a lot of time getting involved in other people’s dramas, such as her best friend Bea’s issues, David’s dealings with his adoptive and birth mothers, the Organics and other school mums, etc. Since the title implied that the book would center around the work/motherhood conflict, I was a little disappointed in all the tangents. 

Before I picked up the book, I wasn’t aware that The Juggle was actually a sequel to Murray’s first book, Time Out. And it does read like a sequel, as many important events that happened in the back story are referenced. Readers who are interested in Murray’s work may want to start with Time Out before reading The Juggle. Either book will be a good escape from the chaos of COVID.   

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

Purchase Links:
Amazon UK * Amazon US

Emma Murray is originally from Co. Dublin and moved to London in her early twenties. After a successful career as a ghostwriter, she felt it was high time she fulfilled her childhood dream to write fiction.

Visit Emma online:
Website * Facebook * Twitter * Instagram

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Visit all the stops on Emma's blog tour:


Friday, February 12, 2021

Book Review: The Dog Sitter


By Cindy Roesel

Becky thought she was leaving London for the Lake District to house and pet sit. She didn’t plan on finding herself in the middle of a custody battle over the loveable dog named Bella. In Zara Stoneley’s, novel, THE DOG SITTER (One More Chapter/HarperCollins), all Becky is looking for some time to chill and do her artwork. Becky is also using her time alone to break up with her controlling boyfriend, Teddy. When she arrives, there’s an unexpected hunk named Ashley James claiming Bella is his and not Georgina’s, the woman Becky made arrangements with.

Georgina is an influencer who uses Bella as a subject on her Instagram account, in order to get freebees. She’s quite successful, but her ex, Ashley believes she’s exploiting Bella. She’s made it clear she doesn’t want Ash near Bella, but it’s obvious Bella loves him. 

As time goes on, Georgina regularly contacts Becky to remind her of her rules, but Ash keeps making it more difficult to keep Bella away from him. One thing leads to another and soon Becky is falling for both Bella and Ash. Or is it Ash and Bella?

THE DOG SITTER is about much more than taking care of a pet. It’s about finding yourself and learning that making concessions to be considerate of others is one thing, but it’s another to try so hard you lose who you are and what you want. It’s a cute rom-com you’ll read quickly.

Bella is the star of THE DOG SITTER. She’s a happy, energized dog sensitive to everyone’s feelings. I really liked the characters of Becky and Ash. Becky was honest and able to see both Georgina and Ashley’s perspectives. Ash is a really delicious hunk that readers will fall in love with. Georgina reminded me of a spoiled brat, but she was necessary in this story. The take away for me is if you’re going to house and pet sit, make sure the rules are really discussed and agreed upon.

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

Purchase Links:
Amazon US * Amazon UK  

Zara Stoneley
is the USA Today bestselling author of The Wedding Date.

Born in a small village in the UK, she wanted to be a female James Herriot, a spy, or an author when she grew up. After many (many) years, and many different jobs, her dream of writing a bestseller came true.
She writes about friendship, dreams, love, and happy ever afters, and hopes that her tales make you laugh a lot, cry a little, and occasionally say 'ahhh'.

Zara now lives in a Cheshire village with her family, a lively cockapoo called Harry, and a very bossy (and slightly evil) cat called Saffron.

Zara’s bestselling novels include The First Date, Bridesmaids, No One Cancels Christmas, The Wedding Date, The Holiday Swap, Summer with the Country Village Vet, Blackberry Picking at Jasmine Cottage, and the popular Tippermere series - Stable Mates, Country Affairs, and Country Rivals.


Visit all the stops on Zara's blog tour:


Thursday, February 11, 2021

Spotlight and Giveaway: The Four Winds

Today we are thrilled to feature The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah. Melissa says it was incredible from start to finish and that you won't be able to put it down. Check out her five star review. Thanks to St. Martin's Press, we have FIVE copies for some lucky readers!

From the number-one bestselling author of The Nightingale and The Great Alone comes a powerful American epic about love and heroism and hope, set during the Great Depression, a time when the country was in crisis and at war with itself, when millions were out of work and even the land seemed to have turned against them.

“My land tells its story if you listen. The story of our family.”

Texas, 1921. A time of abundance. The Great War is over, the bounty of the land is plentiful, and America is on the brink of a new and optimistic era. But for Elsa Wolcott, deemed too old to marry in a time when marriage is a woman’s only option, the future seems bleak. Until the night she meets Rafe Martinelli and decides to change the direction of her life. With her reputation in ruin, there is only one respectable choice: marriage to a man she barely knows.

By 1934, the world has changed; millions are out of work and drought has devastated the Great Plains. Farmers are fighting to keep their land and their livelihoods as crops fail and water dries up and the earth cracks open. Dust storms roll relentlessly across the plains. Everything on the Martinelli farm is dying, including Elsa’s tenuous marriage; each day is a desperate battle against nature and a fight to keep her children alive.

In this uncertain and perilous time, Elsa—like so many of her neighbors—must make an agonizing choice: fight for the land she loves or leave it behind and go west, to California, in search of a better life for her family.

The Four Winds is a rich, sweeping novel that stunningly brings to life the Great Depression and the people who lived through it—the harsh realities that divided us as a nation and the enduring battle between the haves and the have-nots. A testament to hope, resilience, and the strength of the human spirit to survive adversity, The Four Winds is an indelible portrait of America and the American dream, as seen through the eyes of one indomitable woman whose courage and sacrifice will come to define a generation. (Synopsis courtesy of Amazon.)


Photo by Kevin Lynch
Kristin Hannah is an award-winning and bestselling  author of more than 21 novels including the international  blockbusters, The Nightingale, The Great Alone, as well as Winter Garden, Night Road, and Firefly Lane

The film of Hannah’s much loved novel, The Nightingale, (published in 43 languages) starring Dakota Fanning and Elle Fanning, is slated for December 2021, and Netflix released a 10-part series based on Firefly Lane in the past week. Her last novel, The Great Alone, has also  been optioned for the screen. 

Kristin is a former-lawyer-turned writer who lives in the  Pacific Northwest with her husband. She can’t imagine  a better career than writing every day and doesn’t miss  practicing the law—or wearing high-heels to work. Kristin writes because it frees something in her and allows her to  be the wife, mother, and friend she wants to be. 

Kristin’s work touches millions of people. Her novel, Firefly Lane, became a runaway bestseller in 2009, a touchstone  novel that brought women together, and The Nightingale, in 2015, was voted a best book of the year by Amazon, Buzzfeed,  iTunes, Library Journal, Paste, The Wall Street Journal, and The Week. Additionally, the novel won the coveted Goodreads and People’s Choice Awards. The audiobook of The Nightingale won the Audiobook of the Year Award in the fiction category. Her #1 New York Times bestselling  novel, The Great Alone won the 2018 Goodreads Best Historical Novel of the Year and appeared on numerous “Best Of” lists. Renowned for her strong women characters, Hannah’s books are read, discussed, and revered  by book clubs all over the country. 

Visit Kristin online:
Website * Facebook * Instagram


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

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Giveaway ends February 16th at midnight EST.