Friday, May 28, 2021

What's in the mail

A Cup of Silver Linings by Karen Hawkins from Gallery (e-book via NetGalley)
What a Happy Family by Saumya Dave from Berkley (e-book via NetGalley)
Under the Whispering Door by T.J. Klune from Tor Books (e-book via NetGalley)
If Only by Angela Marsons from Bookouture  (e-book via NetGalley)
Stalling for Time by Christy Hayes from Write On Cindy (won in a giveaway)
The Bloom Girls 
by Amy Pine from Forever (e-book via NetGalley)
Between You and Me by Carol Mason from Amazon UK  (e-book via NetGalley)
Fault Lines by Emily Itami from William Morrow (e-book via NetGalley)
It Takes Heart by Tif Marcelo from Montlake (e-book via NetGalley)
Catch Us When We Fall by Juliette Fay from William Morrow (e-book via NetGalley)
Perfect Timing by Owen Nicholls from Ballantine (e-book via NetGalley)
Delia Suits Up
by Amanda Aksel from Berkley  (e-book via NetGalley)
Ghosts by Dolly Alderton from Knopf  (e-book via NetGalley)
Reasons for Avoiding Friends by Megan Leavell from Cedar House Press (e-book via NetGalley)
We Are the Brennans by Tracey Lange from Celadon

A House Full of Windsor by Kristin Contino from Get Red PR (e-book via NetGalley)
Courage Without Grace by Jeannie Zokan  from Red Adept Publishing (e-book)
Do Not Disclose by Leora Krygier from SparkPoint Studio (e-book)
The Necklace by/from Matt Witten (e-book via NetGalley)
Peeps by/from Erin Gordon (e-book)
Vicissitudes by Kim Green from Andréa Córdova (e-book)

In My Dreams I Hold a Knife by Ashley Winstead from Kaye Publicity (e-book via NetGalley)
How to Kill Your Best Friend by Lexie Elliott from Berkley (e-book via NetGalley)

Book Review: An Invincible Summer

By Cindy Roesel

“Friendship is complicated. Families are complicated. Love is complicated.”

The occasion of their fortieth high school reunion brings three women together who were BFFs, those many years ago. In Mariah Stewart’s new novel, AN INVINCIBLE SUMMER (Montlake Romance), Maggie, Emma and Lydia pick up their friendship in Wyndham Beach on the coast of Massachusetts just where they left it.

The girls catch up over margaritas and the gossip, belly laughs and stories begin. Maggie left Wyndham Beach after high-school and got married in Pennsylvania. She has two daughters and her husband has been dead for several years. But Maggie left behind a secret none of her friends or daughters know about.

Emma’s husband has passed. For years he fought with their son who wanted to have a career in music. Well now Chris is a rock star and Emma is lonely in her big house. 

Lydia, known at Liddy, lost her daughter to suicide. Her marriage crumbled shortly after.

AN INVINCIBLE SUMMER is about friendship, marriage, mothers and daughters, forgiveness and starting over. All ingredients for a delicious, curl up in a big cozy chair read. Mariah Stewart does such an incredible job creating characters you want to know and spend time with. This is the beginning of a new series and I can’t wait to see what happens next in Wyndham Beach.

Thanks to Amazon Publishing for the book in exchange for an honest review.

More by Mariah Stewart:

Thursday, May 27, 2021

Viola Shipman gets into the a book giveaway

Today we are thrilled to have Wade Rouse back at CLC to talk about his latest novel, written as Viola Shipman. The Clover Girls published last week and it's such a fun and nostalgic story that you will all enjoy. Check out Melissa's review. Wade's post will make you want to dig out your 80s mix tapes (we know you have at least one) and watch John Hughes films. He has a signed copy of The Clover Girls and some jelly bracelets for one lucky reader!

Wade Rouse is the internationally bestselling author of ten books, which have been translated into nearly 20 languages. Wade chose his grandmother’s name, Viola Shipman, as a pen name to honor the woman whose heirlooms and family stories inspire his fiction.

Wade’s novels include The Charm Bracelet, a 2017 Michigan Notable Book of the Year; The Hope ChestThe Recipe Box, The Summer Cottage, and The Heirloom Garden.

Library Journal writes that Wade has “hit upon the perfect formula to tell heartwarming, intergenerational family stories by weaving together the lives, loves and history of family through cherished heirlooms.” 

Wade's books have been selected multiple times as Must-Reads by NBC’s Today Show, featured in the New York Times and on Chelsea Lately and chosen three times as Indie Next Picks by the nation’s independent booksellers. His writing has appeared in a diverse range of publications and media, including Coastal Living, Time, All Things Considered, People, Good Housekeeping, Salon, Forbes, The Washington Post, Writer’s Digest and Publisher’s Weekly.

Also a noted humorist of four memoirs, Wade was a finalist for the Goodreads Choice Awards in Humor (he lost to Tina Fey) and was named by Writer’s Digest as “The #2 Writer, Dead or Alive, We’d Like to Have Drinks With” (Wade was sandwiched between Ernest Hemingway and Hunter Thompson).

Wade earned his B.A. from Drury University and his master’s in journalism from Northwestern University. He divides his time between Saugatuck, Michigan, and Palm Springs, California, and is also an acclaimed writing teacher who has mentored numerous students to become published authors. (Bio adapted from Viola's website.)

Visit Viola online:
Website * Wade's website * Facebook * Twitter * Instagram

Elizabeth, Veronica, Rachel and Emily met at Camp Birchwood as girls in 1985, where over four summers they were the Clover Girls—inseparable for those magical few weeks of freedom—until the last summer that pulled them apart. Now approaching middle age, the women are facing challenges they never imagined as teens, struggles with their marriages, their children, their careers, and wondering who it is they see when they look in the mirror.

Then Liz, V, and Rachel each receive a letter from Emily with devastating news. She implores the girls who were once her best friends to reunite at Camp Birchwood one last time, to spend a week together revisiting the dreams they’d put aside and repair the relationships they’d allowed to sour. But the women are not the same idealistic, confident girls who once ruled Camp Birchwood, and perhaps some friendships aren’t meant to last forever… (Courtesy of Amazon.)

The Clover Girls-Word Up!
by Wade Rouse

“How do you explain your childhood to your children? How do you explain what John Hughes movies meant to you growing up? It’s like explaining rotary phones, TV antennas, Walkmans, mood rings, typewriters and handwritten directions. 

They meant everything. And even more now.”

So begins my new novel, The Clover Girls, about four very different girls who meet and become best friends at summer camp in the 1980s. It’s an ode to our forever friends, forgiveness and the fragility of life. It’s also an ode to the 1980s.

I came of age in the 1980s, and I owned it!  If you were an ’80s kid like me and The Clover Girls (Emily, Veronica, Rachel and Liz), then you remember all the fashion do’s and don’ts: Feathered hair (that’s ME in the photo!), permed hair, Aqua Net, popped collars, jelly bracelets and jelly shoes, friendship pins, Drakkar Noir, Love’s Baby Soft, Gunne Sax prom dresses, Jordache and Calvin Kleins, deck shoes, Vans, Dynasty, MTV, The Facts of Life, John Hughes movies, malls, Orange Julius, Chess King, Spencer’s … shall I go on?

But music reigned supreme. It was the soundtrack to my life, just as it is to The Clover Girls, who – as girls and women – have an ’80s song to match every emotion and mood. 

Do you remember making mix tapes? 

I used to spend endless hours in my bedroom – staring at the posters of Rick Springfield and Cyndi Lauper on my wall – creating mine. I made them for friends to play in their own bedrooms, or to blast in their cars. I made them for myself to channel my own happiness, sadness, angst, unrequited love. 

I found an old mix tape while writing The Clover Girls. It was squirreled away in an old crate, along with some high school yearbooks, jelly bracelets, a bunch of friendship pins I used to wear on my shoelaces and buttons I used to wear on my favorite jean jacket. I called a friend and listened to it with her, and I nearly cried listening to Whitney and the Cure. All the teen emotions were still there! 

So I decided to make my own mix tape for The Clover Girls (most of the songs are featured in the book). I know I missed a lot of favorites, but I think it’s pretty darn Pretty in Pink memorable. Here’s mine. 

*"Open Arms"-Journey (I sang it for the longest time, “Oh, now you come to me…with broken arms…!”

*"Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go"- Wham!


*"Take on Me"-A-ha

*"Total Eclipse of the Heart"-Bonnie Tyler 

*"Walk Like An Egyptian"-The Bangles 

*"Billie Jean"-Michael Jackson 

*"Don’t You (Forget About Me)"-Simple Minds 

*"I Wanna Dance with Somebody"-Whitney Houston

*"Hungry Like the Wolf"-Duran Duran 

*"The Safety Dance"-Men without Hats 

*"Blister in the Sun"-Violent Femmes

*"Addicted to Love"-Robert Palmer 

*"Love Is A Battlefield"-Pat Benatar

*"Word Up"-Cameo

*"Don’t You Want Me?"-The Human League 

*"I Want to Know What Love Is"-Foreigner

*"Don’t Stop Believin’"-Journey

What would your ‘80s mix tape sound like?

BONUS: For everyone who orders a copy of The Clover Girls this week, I will, as a thank-you, mail you a complimentary, personalized bookplate for your copy PLUS some jelly bracelets (to channel the ‘80s nostalgia and to wear while you dance to your jams)! Just email gary [at] violashipman [dot]com. 

I truly hope you love The Clover Girls and that, like a true friendship and the music of the ‘80s, it will remain in your soul forever. 

Thanks to Wade for visiting with us and for sharing Viola's book with our readers.

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

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Giveaway ends June 2nd at midnight EST.

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Colleen Oakley makes us feel a book giveaway

Photo by Sarah Dorio
We're so glad to have Colleen Oakley back at CLC today. Her latest novel, The Invisible Husband of Frick Island, published this week. See why Melissa gave it five stars. Colleen is here today to talk about it and share some other fun information about herself...and she has one signed copy to give away!

Colleen Oakley is the USA Today bestselling author of You Were There Too, Close Enough to Touch, and Before I Go. Colleen’s novels have been longlisted for the Southern Book Prize twice and Close Enough to Touch won the French Reader’s Prize. Her books have been translated into 21 languages, optioned for film and have received numerous accolades including:

*Top 21 Books of 2020 by O Magazine

*People magazine Best New Book

*Pop Sugar’s Books We Can’t Wait to Read

*Real Simple’s Best Books List

A former magazine editor for Marie Claire and Women’s Health & Fitness, Colleen’s articles and essays have been featured in The New York Times, Ladies’ Home Journal, Women’s Health, Redbook, Parade, Woman’s Day, Fitness, Health, Marie Claire, and Martha Stewart Weddings. A proud graduate of the University of Georgia’s school of journalism, Colleen currently lives in Atlanta with her husband, four kids, four chickens, two guinea pigs, and one fish. (Bio adapted from Colleen's website.)

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

Piper Parrish's life on Frick Island—a tiny, remote town smack in the middle of the Chesapeake Bay—is nearly perfect. Well, aside from one pesky detail: Her darling husband, Tom, is dead. When Tom's crab boat capsized and his body wasn't recovered, Piper, rocked to the core, did a most peculiar thing: carried on as if her husband was not only still alive, but right there beside her, cooking him breakfast, walking him to the docks each morning, meeting him for their standard Friday night dinner date at the One-Eyed Crab. And what were the townspeople to do but go along with their beloved widowed Piper?
Anders Caldwell’s career is not going well. A young ambitious journalist, he’d rather hoped he’d be a national award-winning podcaster by now, rather than writing fluff pieces for a small town newspaper. But when he gets an assignment to travel to the remote Frick Island and cover their boring annual Cake Walk fundraiser, he stumbles upon a much more fascinating tale: an entire town pretending to see and interact with a man who does not actually exist. Determined it’s the career-making story he’s been needing for his podcast, Anders returns to the island to begin covert research and spend more time with the enigmatic Piper—but he has no idea out of all the lives he’s about to upend, it’s his that will change the most.

USA Today bestselling author Colleen Oakley delivers an unforgettable love story about an eccentric community, a grieving widow, and an outsider who slowly learns that sometimes faith is more important than the facts. (Courtesy of Amazon.)

"A gently told story of grief, community and ambition, The Invisible Husband of Frick Island is imaginative, lovely and full of surprises."
—Kristan Higgins, New York Times bestselling author of Always the Last to Know

"The Invisible Husband Of Frick Island is a fricking delight! An awkward newcomer travels to a tiny, remote community whose residents cling as tightly to their way of life as they do to their secrets, even as climate change threatens to sweep the whole charming island out to sea. Part mystery, part romance, and full to the brim with heart and hope, Colleen Oakley's latest is the perfect summer read."
—Amy Poeppel, author of Musical Chairs

“Let Colleen Oakley take you away to the enchantment of Frick Island, where a nostalgic past and inevitable present collide in this romantic story of more than meets the eye. The Invisible Husband of Frick Island is headed straight for my favorites shelf!”
—Kelly Harms, bestselling author of The Seven-Day Switch

What is a favorite compliment you have received on your writing? 
Any compliment is a good compliment, but I think my favorite is when someone says they cried at something I wrote. It's not that I like making people cry (I don't! I swear!), but being able to move people to emotion with words is powerful. It feels like I've done my job as an author.
How is Piper similar to or different from you?
I grew up in a small town where people had lived for generations—everyone knew each other and the teachers I had, had taught my friends' parents, or gone to school with them. I was a transplant, in that my parents had moved us there and we didn't share the history of the other people in the town. So I do understand what it's like to be an outsider. But I also understand what it's like to be completely brought into the fold and loved by your community. Though I don't live there anymore, my hometown friends are the first in line to buy my book, and when I go back for events they fill the room.

If The Invisible Husband were made into a movie, who would you cast in the leading roles?
I generally never know the answer to this, but when I was writing Frick Island, my husband and I were binging the Santa Clarita Diet and as soon as I saw Skyler Gisondo on screen I KNEW he was Anders. Not only was he charming and self-effacing, he just looked exactly how I had pictured Anders in my mind. It was like casting at first sight. Is that a thing? 

Which TV series are you currently binge watching?
I recently finished WandaVision, which was incredible—a masterclass in storytelling. And I'm loving the final season of Younger—I just hate waiting a week between episodes!

What is something you learned about yourself during the pandemic?
That I did not miss my calling to be a homeschool teacher to my four children. They agree.

What is your go-to breakfast item?
I love a veggie/potato hash with a fried egg, but if I'm feeling lazy, I just blend a pre-frozen smoothie. And I mainline coffee.

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

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

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Giveaway ends June 1st at midnight EST.

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Spotlight and Giveaway: Talk Bookish to Me

Today we are excited to feature Kate Bromley's debut novel, Talk Bookish to Me. From what we're hearing, it sounds like she's hit it right out of the park. Thanks to Graydon House, we have one copy to give away!

Kara Sullivan is definitely not avoiding her deadline. After all, it's the week of her best friend's wedding and she's the maid of honor, so she's got lots of responsibilities. As a bestselling romance novelist with seven novels under her belt, she’s a pro and looming deadlines and writer’s block (which she definitely doesn’t have) don't scare her. She's just eager to support Cristina as she ties the knot with Jason.

But who should show up at Cristina and Jason's rehearsal dinner but Kara's college ex-boyfriend, (the gorgeous and infuriating) Ryan? Apparently, he’s one of Jason's childhood friends, and he's in the wedding party, too. Considering neither Kara nor Ryan were prepared to see each other again, it's decidedly a meet-NOT-cute. There is nothing cute about this situation, and a bit of notice to mentally prepare would’ve been nice, Cristina! However, when Kara sits down to write again the next day, her writers' block is suddenly gone. She has to wonder what’s changed. Are muses real…? And is Kara's muse...Ryan?

Talk Bookish to Me is a smart, hilarious, and uplifting feel-good story; a rom com about an unexpected creative and personal reawakening. 

"TALK BOOKISH TO ME is your new favorite comfort read! More than a romance novel, it's an ode to the genre itself. With loveable characters, charming banter, and sizzling sexual tension, TALK BOOKISH TO ME is an adorable escapist romp that's sure to put a smile on your face." 
—Kristin Rockaway, author of She's Faking It

"TALK BOOKISH TO ME is a sexy, funny, and emotional second-chance love story with a killer premise: romance author Kara is fighting a wicked case of writer's block and the only cure is hooking up with her ex Ryan. Kate Bromley's writing is as sharp as it is heartfelt. Add this book to your TBR list immediately!"
—Sarah Smith, author of Faker and Simmer Down

Photo by Samantha Rayward,
City Headshots
Kate Bromley lives in New York City with her husband, son, and her somewhat excessive collection of romance novels (It’s not hoarding if it’s books, right?). She was a preschool teacher for seven years and is now focusing full-time on combining her two great passions – writing swoon-worthy love stories and making people laugh. Talk Bookish to Me is her first novel.

Visit Kate online:
Website * 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 May 31st at midnight EST.

Monday, May 24, 2021

Spotlight: The Break-Up Book Club

Breakups, like book clubs, come in many shapes and sizes and can take us on unexpected journeys as four women discover in this funny and heartwarming exploration of friendship from the USA Today bestselling author of Ten Beach Road and My Ex-Best Friend’s Wedding.

On paper, Jazmine, Judith, Erin and Sara have little in common – they’re very different people leading very different lives. And yet at book club meetings in an historic carriage house turned bookstore, they bond over a shared love of reading (and more than a little wine) as well as the growing realization that their lives are not turning out like they expected.

Former tennis star Jazmine is a top sports agent balancing a career and single motherhood. Judith is an empty nester questioning her marriage and the supporting role she chose. Erin’s high school sweetheart and fiancé develops a bad case of cold feet, and Sara’s husband takes a job out of town saddling Sara with a difficult mother-in-law who believes her son could have done better – not exactly the roommate most women dream of.

With the help of books, laughter, and the joy of ever evolving friendships, Jazmine, Judith, Erin and Sara find the courage to navigate new and surprising chapters of their lives as they seek their own versions of happily-ever-after. (Synopsis courtesy of Amazon.)

Purchase link: Amazon

“The Break-Up Book Club is a glorious celebration of female friendships and empowerment. Once again, Wendy Wax, the queen of women's fiction, hits a homerun. She shows us what it means to be let down, only to be lifted up, higher and more determined than ever.… A heartfelt lesson in the beauty of book clubs, where people of every age, race, and social status unite behind their love of words, and ultimately, each other. Every town should have a Break-Up Book Club!”
—Lori Nelson Spielman, New York Times bestselling author 

"A joyous tribute to female friendship and book clubs everywhere, Wendy Wax weaves the lives of diverse women (and a few charming men) together in an unputdownable story. Just try not to fall in love with every single character in The Break-Up Book Club.”
—Amy E. Reichert, author of The Kindred Spirits Supper Club

"The Break-Up Book Club is everything we've come to expect from Wendy Wax—a heartwarming, witty and compulsively readable tale that makes you feel like you're spending time with your best girlfriends. I loved it!"
—Colleen Oakley, Author of You Were There Too

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution says USA Today bestselling author Wendy Wax “writes with breezy wit and keen insight.” Her contemporary women’s fiction explores family, friendship and self-discovery and has been compared to that of Jennifer Weiner, Jane Green, and Mary Alice Monroe. Her books, A Week at the Lake, While We Were Watching Downton Abbey, and her Ten Beach Road novels—Best Beach Ever, One Good Thing, Sunshine Beach, The House On Mermaid Point, Ocean Beach, and Ten Beach Road—have been featured in national media such as USA Today, Ladies’ Home Journal, and Woman’s World.

A former broadcaster and the mother of two grown sons, Wendy lives in Atlanta with her husband where she’s traded in her picket fence and gardening gloves for hi-rise living and a desk with a view from the 37th floor. (Bio adapted from Wendy's website.)

Visit Wendy online:

Friday, May 21, 2021

Book Review: The Hunting Wives

By Jami Denison

When it comes to comparisons of predators and prey, men are almost always likened to the former and women to the latter. In relationships, men are supposed to be the pursuers and women the prize. And where crime is concerned, men are the instigators and women the victims. Lord help the man who claims of a physically abusive woman.

In her novel, The Hunting Wives, author May Cobb turns that expectation around. In this book, women are the ones with the guns, the ones using men as playthings, the ones with the power. And they’re the ones with the most to lose.

Sophie O’Neill has given up her career and big-city Chicago life to move back to her small Texas hometown with her incredible husband and gorgeous toddler son. It was supposed to be a dream-come-true, but Sophie’s bored. She quickly becomes obsessed with Margo Banks, a rich beautiful socialite with a group of equally glamourous friends. Margo initiates Sophie into the Hunting Wives. Every Friday night they tell their husbands they’re going out to Margo’s lake house for target practice – a wholesome, uniquely Texas hobby. What they don’t tell the men is that afterwards, they hit the nightclubs to hunt for attractive young men for hook-ups. “But we never go all the way,” Margo tells Sophie. 

Rather than being turned off by this behavior, Sophie is drawn in. She becomes more and more obsessed with the group, alienating her husband and oldest friend, and continually pushing boundaries. But when a teenage girl is found dead near Margo’s property, it looks like Sophie could end up becoming the fall girl. 

The Hunting Wives hits on a fundamental truth—that friendship is vitally important, that it’s harder to make friends as an adult than as a child, and that even adults will do the wrong thing to fit in with the in crowd. Even so, I often had a hard time understanding Sophie’s actions. Her husband is kind, loving, and thoughtful. She finds him boring. Perhaps I just kissed too many frogs before I found my prince, but I found myself shaking my head at the dismissive way Sophie treated her husband. She has an amazing life with her husband and child and she’d rather go hunting on Friday nights than spend time with them. I just couldn’t get it. 

The unlikeable protagonist is a common complaint in fiction, and sometimes keeps otherwise good books from being published. It seems to be a problem uniquely for female protagonists. However, I wouldn’t say that Sophie was unlikeable, but perplexing. If I knew her in real life, I wouldn’t dislike her; I’d shake her by the shoulders and try to drum some sense into her.

The plotting and the structure of The Hunting Wives are both superb. As Sophie gets in deeper and deeper with the wives, it’s like watching a train wreck in slow motion. The subplots of the man hunting and the dead girl tie together much more closely that the blurb implies. Supporting characters are fleshed out fully, plot twists are shocking but set up well, the ultimate villain is obvious only in hindsight, and the ending is earned. Not only was I immensely entertained as a reader, but as a writer I was taking notes about the lessons I learned for my own work. 

The ultimate lesson is one we should all take heart: Be grateful for what you have, be it good health, a boring but steady partner, or a homebody childhood best friend. Because too often, we don’t know what we’ve got till it’s gone. 

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

Purchase links:
Bookshop * Amazon * B&N * Apple Books

Add The Hunting Wives on Goodreads

Thursday, May 20, 2021

Lizzy Dent doesn't have to a book giveaway

© Kerstin Weidinger 2020
We are pleased to welcome Lizzy Dent to CLC. Her debut adult novel, The Summer Job, sounds clever and entertaining; a perfect way to kick off the season. Thanks to Putnam, we have TWO copies to give away!

Lizzy Dent (mis)spent her early twenties working in Scotland in hospitality. After years travelling the world making Music TV for MTV and Channel 4, and creating digital content for Cartoon Network, the BBC and ITV, she wrote three Young Adult novels as Rebecca Denton published in the UK. This is her debut adult novel. Now in her late thirties she lives between London, Austria, and New Zealand with her young family.

Visit Lizzy online:

Beach Read meets Sweetbitter in this laugh-out-loud and ultimately heartwarming debut of a good friend's very bad decision and the summer job that stands to ruin or make her life.

What if you could be someone else? Just for the summer...

Birdy has made a mistake. Everyone imagines running away from their life at some point. But Birdy has actually done it. And the life she's run into is her best friend Heather's. The only problem is, she hasn't told Heather.

The summer job at the highland Scottish hotel that her world class wine-expert friend ditched turns out to be a lot more than Birdy bargained for. Can she survive a summer pretending to be her best friend? And can Birdy stop herself from falling for the first man she's ever actually liked, but who thinks she's someone else?

One good friend's very bad decision is at the heart of this laugh-out-loud love story and unexpected tale of a woman finally finding herself in the strangest of places. (Courtesy of Amazon.)

“Engaging, heart-warming and so much fun. I bloody loved it.” 
—Marian Keyes, author of Sushi for Beginners

“I really looked forward to getting into bed each night to dip back into The Summer Job, what a welcome escape from lock-down. It’s witty and funny and it packs an emotional punch, too, which is really tricky to pull off. I was willing Birdy/Heather on, knowing all along that her ticking-bomb secret was going to have to blow at some point. Which of course it did, in a spectacularly satisfying way! Loved it, I’m in the queue for more Lizzy Dent.”
—Josie Silver, #1 New York Times bestselling author of One Day in December

“With a gorgeously picturesque setting, an utterly charming cast, and a hilarious protagonist, Lizzy Dent’s The Summer Job is my perfect summer read! Sure to be one of the sweetest, funniest, and sexiest books of the year. As soon as I finished it, I wanted to read it again. Do not miss this one!” 
Emily Henry, New York Times bestselling author of Beach Read

What is a favorite compliment you have received on your writing?
I love it when people tell me they love Birdy because there is so much of myself in her, they are basically telling me they love me. JUST KIDDING (sort of).  I think I’m always surprised and delighted when someone tells me the like my prose. I don’t consider myself to be a very sophisticated writer and so it’s thrilling to know that a reader has been caught up in the setting and wants to be whisked away to my fictional locations.  

What was it like going from writing young adult novels to writing an adult novel?
It was just about being truer to my current voice really. I loved writing young adult characters, but it’s *cough* been a while since I was a young adult myself and I did find myself struggling to keep the stories truly contemporary. I do think The Summer Job has a young adult feel to it, and Birdy’s story is really a late-coming-of-age novel so I think YA will always be a big influence on how I write and the stories I like. 

If The Summer Job was made into a movie, who would you cast in the leading roles?
In my very early drafts, I cast Felicity Jones as Birdy and Richard Madden as James in my head. It was also titled LOVE HIGHLAND. I’d love someone like Emma Thompson to play Irene! 

What is the last movie you saw that you would recommend?
I just finished Promising Young Woman and it was AMAZING. I highly recommend it. But on the lighter side, I really enjoyed a re-watch of When Harry Met Sally last week. I read Emily Henry’s You and Me on Vacation, which was inspired by that film, and I had to go and have a re-watch. It’s really stood the test of time. 

What is the worst job you've ever had?
Working in hospitality is great. Working in hospitably and having to deal with rude customers is the absolute worst. The whole pleasure of hospitality is serving people and showing them a wonderful time – if they’re mean it becomes one of the most thankless jobs in the world! 

What is the last thing you had a good laugh about?
I have just been writing a scene in my new book about lip fillers gone wrong and I’m cackling with laughter as I write. My poor main character is embarking on the world’s most misguided life make-over…. Watch this space for more. 

Thanks to Lizzy for visiting with us and to Putnam 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 May 25th at midnight EST.

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Book Review: Invisible

By Sara Steven

Alice Bloom has shut herself away from the world for years. But all that changes when three men come into her life. Firstly there's the rather disgusting Karl, who has the key to her problems but turns her stomach. Then there's smooth and sexy Ethan, whom Alice falls head over heels for, but she just can't seem to get time alone with him. And finally there's her lovely, supportive friend Dan, if only they could ever actually get to meet. Because the biggest problem of all is: Alice is invisible.

The complications become more and more hilarious as Alice tries to steer her way through her conflicting emotions and find her way to happiness. Will she succeed or will life always get the better of her?
(Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads)

Alice is invisible. That one line alone would have caught my attention, yet everything else that encompasses Alice’s experiences kept me on the hook, to where I had a really hard time in putting Invisible down. 

Her invisibility isn’t just a physical manifestation. It’s a metaphorical one, too. After dealing with tragedy, she has a hard time letting anyone else in, which is why she’s made the decision to close herself off from everyone else, and from everything else that has the capacity to hurt her. A chance encounter with Karl shows her that there is potential in being seen again, yet it’s in all the wrong ways and with the wrong person. 

As the synopsis indicates, there are hilarious moments in which she is tied to Karl, because without him, she can’t be seen. When she “pops into the loo” she worries that others will freak out at seeing a random stall door open on its own, and she reflects on how she’s had to deal with screams before when she uses the water from the sink while washing her hands. There are mad caper moments where Alice has to orchestrate scenarios just right so that she’ll remain visible, and part of me wonders if there is a deeper meaning here. As funny as it is, she can’t be “whole” without someone else to make her feel that way, presenting the ultimate lesson she needs to learn: Her strength in being seen must lie within her own need for visibility. 

The conversations she had with Dan were a huge highlight for me. I loved the  back and forth banter, forming a relationship before ever having a chance to meet in person. And there’s a pretty epic scene between Alice and a loathsome woman named Emily, that felt like a long time coming, but well worth the wait. Dialogue between characters was pretty amazing, too, making me feel like I was sitting in and part of the scenes and situations. It’s all used as a way to really show who Alice is, even if she goes unseen.

Invisible was a really unique experience, with equal parts comedy and charm, yet showcasing what it means to not feel seen, and the various ways one woman tries to find her new normal and become part of the scenery again. A well-deserved five-star read!

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

Purchase Links:
Amazon UK * Amazon US

Author Bio:

I'm a British author who lives in Warwickshire with my husband and cat. I've had a lifelong passion for writing, starting off as a child when I used to write stories about the Fraggles of Fraggle Rock.

Knowing there was nothing else I'd rather study, I did my degree in writing and I've now turned my favourite hobby into a career.

 I write love stories with a twist, always leaving readers guessing right until the end. They're far from your normal romance stories, but a love story runs through the heart of all my books, with a sprinkling of something weird thrown into the mix.

When I’m not writing novels, I’m a Marketing Consultant specialising in copywriting, so words really are my world!

Visit me online:
Website * Facebook * Twitter * Instagram

Visit all the stops on Lindsay's tour:

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Checking in with Elyssa a book giveaway

Photo by Brian Marcus
We're pleased to welcome Elyssa Friedland back to CLC today, to celebrate the publication of Last Summer at the Golden Hotel. Two years ago, Elyssa took us on a cruise with The Floating Feldmans. Now she's taking us to the Catskills with her latest novel. She's here to share a fun and entertaining background story and thanks to Get Red PR, we have one copy to give away!

The author of four novels, Elyssa Friedland attended Yale University, where she currently teaches creative  writing, and is a graduate of Columbia Law School. Her work has been published in The  Washington Post, McSweeney’s, POPSUGAR,, Bustle, Modern Bride, New  York magazine, Columbia Journalism Review, CBS, Yale Alumni Magazine, and Your Prom. Her previous novels have been praised by People, “SkimmReads,”  Cosmopolitan, Bustle, Good Housekeeping, National Geographic, Woman’s Day, Woman’s  World, Kirkus, Publisher’s Weekly, Library Journal, Booklist, and more.

Visit Elyssa online:

A family reunion for the ages when two clans convene for the summer at their beloved getaway in the Catskills—perfect for fans of Dirty Dancing and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel—from the acclaimed author of The Floating Feldmans.

In its heyday, The Golden Hotel was the crown jewel of the hotter-than-hot Catskills vacation scene. For more than sixty years, the Goldman and Weingold families – best friends and business partners – have presided over this glamorous resort which served as a second home for well-heeled guests and celebrities. But the Catskills are not what they used to be – and neither is the relationship between the Goldmans and the Weingolds. As the facilities and management begin to fall apart, a tempting offer to sell forces the two families together again to make a heart-wrenching decision. Can they save their beloved Golden or is it too late?

Long-buried secrets emerge, new dramas and financial scandal erupt, and everyone from the traditional grandparents to the millennial grandchildren wants a say in the hotel’s future. Business and pleasure clash in this fast-paced, hilarious, nostalgia-filled story, where the hotel owners rediscover the magic of a bygone era of nonstop fun even as they grapple with what may be their last resort. (Courtesy of Amazon.)

“Chock full of charm and wit, Elyssa Friedland’s Last Summer at the Golden Hotel is the  only family drama you need this year! Set in a ramshackle Catskills hotel and featuring a  vibrant cast of characters, it’s a laugh out loud funny novel with a heart of gold.” 
—Karma Brown, bestselling author of Recipe for a Perfect Wife 

“You will laugh out loud at the antics of the delightfully dysfunctional Goldman and  Weingold families as they fight, share secrets, and fall in love in the once-prosperous  Catskills hotel that they own. Once again, Friedland brilliantly wields her rapier wit – if  Dorothy Parker and Joan Rivers wrote a book, this would be it!” 
—Fiona Davis, New York Times bestselling author of The Lions of Fifth Avenue 

“Prepare to laugh. Take a trip to the Catskills with Last Summer at the Golden Hotel and  bask in the hilarity and chaos that make Elyssa Friedland the queen of the family drama.”  
—Jane L. Rosen, author of Eliza Starts a Rumor 

Research on the Reformer 
By Elyssa Friedland

I’ve been a devoted Pilates fan for the past ten years, holding onto a precious Thursday at ten am session for dear life. As a writer, I spend a lot of time sitting on my a**, which leads to a creaky and stiff lower back. Stretching and strengthening my limbs on the Pilates equipment, which eerily resembles medieval torture devices, has saved me from walking with a stoop and needing to unfold my back like origami when I climb out of bed. 

In the pre-Covid world, every week when I met with my trainer at her small studio on the Upper East Side, there was an elderly lady with the same session time as me. She would arrive escorted by the same younger woman every time, who would sometimes join in on the sessions or otherwise wait out the hour on the side. 

I’m not sure exactly why, but I found myself drawn to this older woman who shared my time slot. She always wore her hair arranged in a short bob with neat bangs, trailed in with a heavy scent of perfume, and wore track suits that made me want to hug her and watch a Golden Girls marathon together. One time I showed up for my training session and she wasn’t there. I found myself nervous. Had something happened? But this was also my opportunity to find out about her. 

“Everything okay with the older lady who’s usually here?” I asked my trainer, Jen. 

Jen looked thrilled by my question, as if she’d been dying to talk about her all along. 

“Yes! She had a doctor’s appointment. Do you know who she is?”

I flipped on my side, nearly forgetting my feet were suspended in leather loops securing my body to the mat. “No, who?”

“That’s Bunny Grossinger. Of Grossinger’s! It’s this…” 

I cut my trainer off. 

“I know Grossinger’s. I know the Catskills. I’m writing a novel about the Borscht Belt at this very moment.” I couldn’t believe it. For research, I had read several rather dry non-fiction books about the region and watched Dirty Dancing and A Walk on the Moon half a dozen times each. To think I had the living embodiment of the Catskills next to me every week and I didn’t know it.

“Do you think she’d be willing to talk to me?” I asked. It turned out she was. Bunny stopped being able to come into the studio for sessions shortly after I found out who she was, but she continued her Pilates in home. I visited her there, where she welcomed me with a hug and more stories about the Catskills than I could have ever hoped her. Bunny is the daughter-in-law of the famous Jennie Grossinger, who was the public face and the chief operator of the once-reigning (but now-defunct) resort in the Catskills. Jennie hosted all manner of celebrities and politicians and athletes at the hotel, and Bunny was more than happy to share stories with me. 

It turned out that the young woman who brought her to Pilates was one of her grandchildren. On one of my visits, I befriended her grandson Brandon, who runs in charity named Bunny’s Flowers in her honor. I had never been around a woman as beloved as Mrs. Grossinger. Her phone rang off the hook each time we were together – at least three times the volume of texts I was receiving. It was always a friend or another grandchild calling to check on her. She exhibited warmth and love to everyone who called, echoing the spirit of the hotel whose name she bears. I could see why people returned to Grossinger’s year after year. Like being with Bunny, the hotel made people feel at home. Bunny’s charm, kindness and warmth came to represent the Catskills to me, and I tried to put as much of that spirit into my novel. 

I owe a lot to Bunny Grossinger. Her real-life experience of spending every summer at the hotel, with her behind-the-scenes look at management and intimate knowledge of the staff and guests, made my novel richer and truer. I’ve dropped off a signed copy of my book at her apartment. Hopefully she will have time to read it in between phone calls from her fans. In the meantime, I will think of her every time I perform a teaser. Those in the Pilates-world know what that is. It’s a difficult move, but if Bunny Grossinger – nearly sixty years my senior – can get herself to work out, I can too. 

Please join me “in the Catskills” today with Last Summer at the Golden Hotel. And please toast Bunny with a glass of Manischewitz while you read. 

Thanks to Elyssa for sharing this post with us and to Get Red PR 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 May 23rd at midnight EST.

Monday, May 17, 2021

Book Review: The Secret Stealers

By Jami Denison

Female spies in occupied France is a captivating subgenre of World War II historical fiction. With books like The Alice Network (and a similar follow-up by author Kate Quinn, The Rose Code) and A Woman of No Importance, fans of the genre have lots to choose from. In her third novel, author Jane Healy explores this territory with The Secret Stealers, about a young American widow who becomes a spy for the Allies. 

Anna Cavanaugh is adrift after the death of her husband Connor. Although their marriage wasn’t working, she’s out of sorts and directionless. Fluent in French and German, rather than returning to her former job as a French teacher, she signs up to work as the personal assistant for OSS’s General Donavan, a personal family friend. Becoming fast friends with the other women who work there, Anna learns of overseas posts available. Having spent a year in France, she longs to return there to reconnect with old friends and a man who was more than a friend. But first, Anna needs to prove herself in D.C. She’s smart and she speaks three languages, but does she have what it takes to go undercover?

The Secret Stealers is a fast-paced, plot-driven adventure. Written in first person from Anna’s point-of-view, the voice is uncomplicated and breezy. Anna is determined to prove herself; having been married to a man who wanted her to play second fiddle, she wants to be taken seriously and run her own life. At the same time, her various romantic entanglements—and those of her friends—are just as important as the war that has set the world on fire.

Although The Secret Stealers is a fun, fast, quick read, for me, it was missing the gravitas that most books in this genre deliver. Anna is definitely a heroine to root for, but her motivation seems to be more about proving what she can do rather than helping to relieve the suffering of millions. While there are a few lines about the starving children in France and the work camps in Poland, author Healy spends little time having Anna grapple with the unimaginable horror of what the Nazis were doing. She is not a character who would tell an ex-lover that, “It doesn't take much to see that the problems of three little people don't amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world.”

The Secret Stealers is not Casablanca, or The Nightingale. It will not make you cry for days on end after you finish it. But if you’re looking for a quick WWII read with a spunky, courageous heroine, The Secret Stealers could be it. 

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

More by Jane Healey:

Friday, May 14, 2021

Book Review: Just Get Home

By Jami Denison

No place is truly safe in the United States. Here in Florida we have hurricanes and flash floods. In the north, blizzards. And in California, wildfires and earthquakes. The thing about earthquakes is, with every other type of natural disaster, there’s a warning. We have days to drive away from hurricanes. But earthquakes—you never know one is coming until it’s too late to do anything but pray. 

Residents of California have worried about the Big One for decades, and it’s the subject of author Bridget Foley’s second novel, Just Get Home. In it, we follow two third-person protagonists who are stranded in downtown L.A. after a major earthquake strikes. Fifteen-year-old Beejie is on a bus headed back to her alcoholic foster mother. Single mom Dessa has just left a club, and is looking for her car in order to drive home to her three-year-old daughter. Then the shaking starts, roads buckle, buildings collapse, and suddenly we’re in Thunderdome territory. 

With cell phone towers down and her car destroyed, Dessa has no choice but to try to walk the twenty miles to her apartment in Van Nuyes. When a series of coincidences put Beejie in her path, the two team up to try to get home safely. 

On the surface, Just Get Home is a fast-paced, “unputdownable” thriller about two women trying to get through the night in a dangerous city when all the usual lifelines are cut. Look deeper, though, and it’s about much more. A victim of a horrible foster care system, Beejie is a Black girl who has learned her body is not her own, and she’s continually punished for the choices of people who treat her like she’s less than human. And Dessa’s single motherhood is not by choice, although it doesn’t become clear until near the end of the book what the situation is with her daughter’s father. They have more in common than it first seems. Racial tension also factors in; Dessa is a white woman wearing diamonds and a sparkly dress trying to get through a mostly Black neighborhood, trying not to judge people based on skin color (but not always succeeding.) And Beejie has been let down by a series of white women before; why would Dessa be any different?

Foley paints a vivid description of a Los Angeles that quickly becomes post-Apocalyptic. As Dessa tried to find her way home, walking on broken L.A. highways and sidewalks, I couldn’t help but picture my own neighborhoods and streets, wondering if I’d be able to find my way home if stranded twenty miles away. In Florida we’re told to stock up on supplies in a hurricane kit as soon as hurricane season starts. After reading Just Get Home, you’ll want to buy a disaster-preparedness kit for your office, house, and car. Comfortable walking shoes are a must. 

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

More by Bridget Foley:

Thursday, May 13, 2021

Spotlight and Giveaway: Imagine Summer

The days are getting longer and warmer, so summer is almost upon us. What better way to kick it off than with Shelley Noble's latest novel, Imagine Summer. Thanks to William Morrow, we have one copy to give away!

As a child, Skylar Mackenzie’s imagination always got her in trouble. Now it’s making her a fortune. She owns Imagine That, a toy and bookstore and creativity center in a small Rhode Island beach town where children, and adults, can use their imagination free from judgment.

Skye is about to embark on her biggest venture yet, a weekend retreat of family exploration. But it begins to unravel when she finds her estranged half-sister Amy on the doorstep. And Amy’s not alone.

She’s brought Skye’s first love, Connor Reid—the boy who broke her heart; the man who could break it again.

Amy claims she wants to make amends—but how can Skye trust her? It was Amy’s lies that drove her from home fifteen years before. Suddenly, Skye’s perfectly imagined summer is in jeopardy. Not to mention her perfectly ordered life. Or her beloved town’s financial future.

With Amy back to her old trouble-making ways, and Connor making Skye wonder what might have been, Skye makes a decision that may cost her everything.

Imagine Summer is a story of discovery, trust, and the courage to dream. (Synopsis courtesy of Amazon.)

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

Visit Shelley online:
Website * Facebook * Twitter * Instagram

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

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Giveaway ends May 19th at midnight EST.