Current Giveaways!

Watch this space!

Monday, April 30, 2018

TLC Book Tours: My Oxford Year by Julia Whelan

Title: My Oxford Year
Author: Julia Whelan 
Format: ARC
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Publish Date: April 24, 2018
Source: TLC Book Tours and HarperCollins






What's the Story?:

From Goodreads.com: "American Ella Durran has had the same plan for her life since she was thirteen: Study at Oxford. At 24, she’s finally made it to England on a Rhodes Scholarship when she’s offered an unbelievable position in a rising political star’s presidential campaign. With the promise that she’ll work remotely and return to DC at the end of her Oxford year, she’s free to enjoy her Once in a Lifetime Experience. That is, until a smart-mouthed local who is too quick with his tongue and his car ruins her shirt and her first day.

When Ella discovers that her English literature course will be taught by none other than that same local, Jamie Davenport, she thinks for the first time that Oxford might not be all she’s envisioned. But a late-night drink reveals a connection she wasn’t anticipating finding and what begins as a casual fling soon develops into something much more when Ella learns Jamie has a life-changing secret.

Immediately, Ella is faced with a seemingly impossible decision: turn her back on the man she’s falling in love with to follow her political dreams or be there for him during a trial neither are truly prepared for. As the end of her year in Oxford rapidly approaches, Ella must decide if the dreams she’s always wanted are the same ones she’s now yearning for."


My Two Cents:

"My Oxford Year" is a great story about ambition and romance. Ella has always been ambitious and she has dreamt of becoming a Rhodes scholar and going to the storied Oxford University for years and years. Now she finally finds herself there only to have another opportunity at home that could set her on a fast track to become one of the top picks to run political campaigns. Ella wants it all and she thinks she can handle it. Can she chase both dreams and a romance on top of it all?

I was drawn to this book because I love books about strong characters, especially strong female characters. Ella definitely fits into this category. Whip smart, she is super sure of herself and is never afraid to take the biggest leaps in life. I really liked seeing how she handles both a great program at Oxford and a political campaign. It's not always pretty but she works so hard! She would be annoying if she weren't so darn likeable. I was rooting for her throughout the book!

Oh, and I have to mention the romance. Ella bumps into Jamie and has an utterly embarrassing first encounter where they both seem to dislike each other but it is just well-disguised chemistry. It's not the most original story line ever but the author does a great job of making it fresh and giving the reader butterflies! I know I had them throughout the book.

I really enjoyed this one! It was a fun read!


 


Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Guest Post: Genevieve Graham, Author of "Come From Away"

I am thrilled to welcome Genevieve Graham, author of "Come From Away."




Historical Fiction Bored Me to Death. Now It’s My Passion.

When I tell people that I used to despise history, they can’t understand why I write what I do. To me, it makes perfect sense.

Growing up, I fell asleep quite frequently during history class. In my mind it was nothing more than names, dates, and places I needed to memorize for exams. Only once was I fully intrigued by history during school. That was in grade ten, and the subject was the Holocaust. My teacher was passionate about the subject – in fact, he has gone on to be a university professor specializing in the Holocaust. Even more importantly, he was passionate about engaging us, in helping us see the true experience of humanity’s past. After that class ended, I read more about the subject ... but over time my fascination faded and I forgot the relevance and importance of history in our present day.

Around fifteen years ago, I was given a copy of “Outlander”, and everything changed. Here was adventure and romance like I craved, but it was combined with incredible facts both immense and trivial. The stories were about “real” people … which is ironic, because in a lot of historical fiction (including mine), characters are often the only things that aren't real in the story. I was completely swallowed up by the genre and spent a great deal of my time thinking, “I had no idea.” After reading the series seven times (as well as books of other historical fiction authors like Wilbur Smith, Sara Donati, Penelope Williamson, Susanna Kearsley, and more) I decided to try a little writing of my own. I started with 18th century Scotland, since that was where Ms Gabaldon’s stories put me, but the more I read, the more I became intrigued by the history of other places. I now am focused entirely on the history of my own great country, Canada.

My family and I moved from Calgary to Nova Scotia in 2008, and everything about this place was new to us. We'd never lived by the ocean, never known any lobstermen, didn't understand about the tides, the red clay, the fog that came in so thick you could cut it. And the people? Well, they were friendly and welcoming, but they were different from people we'd known before, too. Many of the folks along our Eastern Shore tell stories of their grandparents fishing the Atlantic, of their great grandparents building the original homestead out here. I started to wonder who else might have lived here … in a fictional sense.

One hundred years ago last December, 1900 people were killed in a blast that levelled the city. Hundreds were blinded by flying glass, and over twenty-six thousand were left homeless. The Halifax Explosion was the largest manmade explosion before Hiroshima, and it happened right here! How is it that no one in my family had ever heard of it? Not even my kids, who were attending school right here in Nova Scotia? What stories there must be! Everyone I asked had one about a great aunt who remembered the windows shaking miles away from the blast, or a grandfather who was supposed to be in Halifax that morning for work but who had stayed home for whatever reason. The busy port had been hopping that day, crowded with sailors and soldiers headed in and out of the war … and that grabbed my interest as well. Imagine surviving that war then having your home blown out from beneath you. What physical, mental, and emotional scars took over their lives? And what of the people they loved? Without all the technology and know-how of the 21st century, how did they live? From those questions was born “Tides of Honour”. One of that book’s greatest accomplishments (in my opinion) was being included in the Halifax Regional School Board’s “Teacher Recommended Reading List” for high schools. I hope teachers will choose to pick it up and share the story with our next generation.

A few summers ago, my husband and I took a two-hour drive to Grand Pré, Nova Scotia and went to the historic site to learn about the Acadian Expulsion. Once again, I knew absolutely nothing about this incredible event in our history, and it was not being taught to our children—or if it was, the lesson made no impact on them. They were sleeping through history just as I had. I walked through the Grand Pré museum and tour in a trance then returned home to dig deeper. Who were the Acadians? Why do so many people still celebrate them up here more than two hundred years later? Who were the British soldiers who ripped over 10,000 people from their homes and families? What happened after the bewildered and terrified Acadian people were dumped in the bowels of so many rotting, rented ships and sent adrift? From this came “Promises to Keep”, which was just published this April by Simon & Schuster Canada.

Canadian history is rich with little known or untold stories. America and Europe are the most prolific storytellers, and we have all read about their past, I am sure. But what about up here, in Canada? “Come From Away” returns to the Eastern Shore of Nova Scotia, to the same family from “Tides of Honour” but twenty-five years later, during WWII. Our little corner of the earth was teeming with German U-Boats, spies, and secrets. As the busiest Canadian port, the Halifax harbour bustled with thousands of sailors, soldiers, the Merchant Navy, the WRENs (Womens Royal Navy Service), and more. So many stories! After that I will get back to work on three more books which are already partially written – the first features the beginnings of the Mounties and includes the Klondike Gold Rush. The next revolves around more than 100,000 children who were scooped off the streets of London and sent to Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa and given the promise of a better life—but most ended up living difficult, sometimes horrible lives as indentured servants. Do we know a lot about them? Unless you’re a historian, I imagine not. I promise that if you read my books, that will change.

My agent once told me the secret to successful publishing is to “write a really great book.” Well, I want more than that. I want to write a good book and I want to bring history back to life … so no one sleeps through class anymore.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Review: Swimming Between Worlds by Elaine Neil Orr

Title: Swimming Between Worlds
Author: Elaine Neil Orr 
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Berkley Books
Publish Date: April 3, 2018
Source: Publisher



What's the Story?:

From Goodreads.com: "Kate, a recent college graduate, is still reeling from the deaths of her beloved parents when the discovery of hidden letters forces her to re-examine everything she knew about her family. Tacker, a young engineering student and all-around boy-hero, has returned from a West African odyssey where he fell in love with the local culture but was sent home in shame. Kate's and Tacker's stories come together when, on the same day and in different moments, they encounter a young African-American man named Gaines. The relationship that develops between the three is complicated, as each one searches for love, freedom, and new beginnings."

My Two Cents:

"Swimming Between Worlds" is the story of Tacker, Kate, and Gaines. Tacker left the United States for Nigeria to build schools but was sent home in shame. Kate is a hometown girl trying to find her place in the world. Gaines is an African-American man confronting the difficulties of racism in their small town. These three characters will be thrown together with surprising results.

This book started quickly for me before it started to drag a little towards the middle and picked back by the end of the book. The book takes place in the late 1950s where American towns are still grappling with segregation and racism in a big way. Some of the most interesting parts of the book to me were where Tacker was realizing the juxtaposition between how different Nigeria and the United States were in this matter. His time in Nigeria really opened his eyes and made him realize that the things that he was taught at home don't necessarily mesh up with everything outside of the small town that he grew up in.

Overall, this was a good rumination on where the United States was in comparison to places far away during a hard time in our collective history.


 

Monday, April 23, 2018

TLC Book Tours: The Fox Hunt: A Refugee’s Memoir of Coming to America by Mohammed Al Samawi

Title: The Fox Hunt: A Refugee’s Memoir of Coming to America
Author: Mohammed Al Samawi
Format: ARC
Publisher: William Morrow
Publish Date: April 10, 2018
Source: TLC Book Tours and HarperCollins






What's the Story?:

From Goodreads.com: "Born in the Old City of Sana’a, Yemen, to a pair of middle-class doctors, Mohammed Al Samawi was a devout Muslim raised to think of Christians and Jews as his enemy. But when Mohammed was twenty-three, he secretly received a copy of the Bible, and what he read cast doubt on everything he’d previously believed. After connecting with Jews and Christians on social media, and at various international interfaith conferences, Mohammed became an activist, making it his mission to promote dialogue and cooperation in Yemen.

Then came the death threats: first on Facebook, then through terrifying anonymous phone calls. To protect himself and his family, Mohammed fled to the southern port city of Aden. He had no way of knowing that Aden was about to become the heart of a north-south civil war, and the battleground for a well-funded proxy war between Iran and Saudi Arabia. As gunfire and grenades exploded throughout the city, Mohammed hid in the bathroom of his apartment and desperately appealed to his contacts on Facebook.

Miraculously, a handful of people he barely knew responded. Over thirteen days, four ordinary young people with zero experience in diplomacy or military exfiltration worked across six technology platforms and ten time zones to save this innocent young man trapped between deadly forces— rebel fighters from the north and Al Qaeda operatives from the south."


My Two Cents:

"The Fox Hunt" is the story of Mohammed who dreams of making his home country of Yemen a better place where more young people can succeed and be safe. Yemen is embroiled in a brutal civil war where the lines between the various sides and outside influence from brutal terrorist groups are blurred. Mohammed finds himself in a situation where he needs to desperately get out of the country where there seems to be no clear exit. He will largely have to rely on fate and the kindness of almost strangers to help him get out alive.

This is a truly amazing story that often reads more like a thriller than a true story. Al Samawi spins a great yarn about what his country is facing and what he is facing as an individual. He is one of the lucky ones. There are so many others in his country that have been felled by the violence and never had the chance to even begin to think about escaping the violence. One thing that I kept thinking about throughout the book is how many other Mohammeds are there out there? Individuals with immense promise to make an impact that because of their circumstances are never given the chance to succeed. It's staggering to think about that!

Even for an avid newshound like me, there is still so much that I don't know and am not tracking. The Yemen civil war is one of those subjects that I don't fully understand. This book dives into a little of the history to show how the country got to where it is and made it a lot clearer for me. It's a very sad situation that doesn't seem to be getting a lot of airtime in light of other things going on in other countries in the region.

This is the perfect book to give you more background on the situation on Yemen as well as a harrowing escape story that ends with a lot of promise!


 

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

TLC Book Tours Review: How We Work: Live Your Purpose, Reclaim Your Sanity, and Embrace the Daily Grind by Leah Weiss

Title: How We Work: Live Your Purpose, Reclaim Your Sanity, and Embrace the Daily Grind 
Author: Leah Weiss 
Format: Hardcover
Publisher: Harper Wave
Publish Date: May 13, 2018
Source: TLC Book Tours and HarperCollins 






What's the Story?:

From Goodreads.com: "A practical guide to bringing our whole selves to our professional work, based on the author’s overwhelmingly popular course at the Stanford Graduate School of Business."

My Two Cents:

"How We Work" is a how to manual on taking big topics like mindfulness and compassion and to utilize them in the workplace. If you're into these things already (I try very hard to use mindfulness and related tools and to expand my practice every day). Work doesn't need to be a pain when you make a point to try and expand all of these really good things that this book is filled with.

Much of this book was not rocket science. These are tools that you might be familiar with but applied in a new way. I think it's always good to practice things like mindfulness and compassion but they are known areas for me already. This book is about using those tools in a real life situation that causes stress for so many people: work.

If you are new to these practices, this book would be a great start for honing all of the good things these practices can do for you. However, if you are not a beginner, this book makes for good practice but probably isn't going to be too shocking or new. 



Monday, April 16, 2018

TLC Book Tours Review: You All Grow Up and Leave Me: A Memoir of Teenage Obsession by Piper Weiss

Title: You All Grow Up and Leave Me: A Memoir of Teenage Obsession
Author: Piper Weiss
Format: ARC
Publisher: William Morrow
Publish Date: April 10, 2018
Source: TLC Book Tours and HarperCollins






What's the Story?:

From Goodreads.com: "Piper Weiss was fourteen years old when her middle-aged tennis coach, Gary Wilensky, one of New York City’s most prestigious private instructors, killed himself after a failed attempt to kidnap one of his teenage students. In the aftermath, authorities discovered that this well-known figure among the Upper East Side tennis crowd was actually a frightening child predator who had built a secret torture chamber—a "Cabin of Horrors"—in his secluded rental in the Adirondacks.

Before the shocking scandal broke, Piper had been thrilled to be one of "Gary’s Girls." "Grandpa Gary," as he was known among his students, was different from other adults—he treated Piper like a grown-up, taking her to dinners, engaging in long intimate conversations with her, and sending her special valentines. As reporters swarmed her private community in the wake of Wilensky’s death, Piper learned that her mentor was a predator with a sordid history of child stalking and sexual fetish. But why did she still feel protective of Gary, and why was she disappointed that he hadn’t chosen her?

Now, twenty years later, Piper examines the event as both a teenage eyewitness and a dispassionate investigative reporter, hoping to understand and exorcise the childhood memories that haunt her to this day. Combining research, interviews, and personal records, You All Grow Up and Leave Me explores the psychological manipulation by child predators—their ability to charm their way into seemingly protected worlds—and the far-reaching effects their actions have on those who trust them most."


My Two Cents:

"You All Grow Up and Leave Me" is the true crime story of Gary, a seemingly harmless man that weasels his way into the lives of many of Manhattan's elite families through tennis. He teaches female students how to be successful tennis players and his services are in high demand. He is hiding a very dark side and abuses multiple young girls in a monstrously systematic way and the way it ends for seems like something out of a horror movie.

It took me a little bit to get in the book. At first it seems like the book is very much as simply a memoir of someone who was a teenager in the early 90s. We see Weiss with her friends and what she was doing inside and outside of school. We see the tumultuous relationship with her mother and the friction that permeates their home. Eventually once we get to Gary and into the things he did and the dissection of why he did what he did, the book really picked up for me.

Not only does Weiss explore who Gary was but she was a victim herself - one of Gary's girls. This makes for an especially haunting recounting of Gary's horrible crimes. Weiss seems to go back and forth between really wanting to understand what happened and pushing it away. While this was a little frustrating as a reader, I do think it captures the things that go through a victim's head, especially one so young. Understanding doesn't necessarily change things. I thought it was interesting to see what Weiss found in interviewing some of the other victims and made for a really unique read.

This book stars slowly but ends up with a wild ride. 


 


Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Giveaway and Giveaway Winners!



Today, I am pleased to give away a copy of "I've Been Thinking" by Maria Shriver (U.S. only, please)! Want to win a copy, just fill out the form below!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

I am also pleased to announce the giveaway winner for "The Confessions of Young Nero" by Margaret George:

Danielle H.


Monday, April 9, 2018

TLC Book Tours: My Dear Hamilton: A Novel of Eliza Schuyler Hamilton by Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie

Title: My Dear Hamilton: A Novel of Eliza Schuyler Hamilton
Authors: Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie
Format: Paperback
Publisher: William Morrow
Publish Date: April 3, 2018
Source: TLC Book Tours and HarperCollins



What's the Story?

From Goodreads.com: "A general’s daughter…

Coming of age on the perilous frontier of revolutionary New York, Elizabeth Schuyler champions the fight for independence. And when she meets Alexander Hamilton, Washington’s penniless but passionate aide-de-camp, she’s captivated by the young officer’s charisma and brilliance. They fall in love, despite Hamilton’s bastard birth and the uncertainties of war.

A founding father’s wife...

But the union they create—in their marriage and the new nation—is far from perfect. From glittering inaugural balls to bloody street riots, the Hamiltons are at the center of it all—including the political treachery of America’s first sex scandal, which forces Eliza to struggle through heartbreak and betrayal to find forgiveness.

The last surviving light of the Revolution…

When a duel destroys Eliza’s hard-won peace, the grieving widow fights her husband’s enemies to preserve Alexander’s legacy. But long-buried secrets threaten everything Eliza believes about her marriage and her own legacy. Questioning her tireless devotion to the man and country that have broken her heart, she’s left with one last battle—to understand the flawed man she married and imperfect union he could never have created without her…"

My Two Cents:

"My Dear Hamilton" is the story of Eliza Schuyler Hamilton, a woman who came from a storied family who goes on to marry one of America's founding fathers. It would be easy to define Eliza as simply Alexander's wife but she was so much more than that. I have been obsessed with the Hamilton musical for awhile now and Eliza has always struck me as a particularly interesting character. It was this that originally made me interested in reading this book but once I got into the book, I found that Eliza's voice that made this book worth reading!

I am always excited about new releases but there are some books where I feel like I have been waiting forever for. This is one of those books and I was definitely not disappointed! One of the reasons that I love historical fiction is that the books often tell the stories of people, places, and things that don't often make it into the history books. There are so many things that don't make it into our history books and while I wish it were different, at least there are authors out there that are willing (and capable, oh, so capable of telling) these stories.

I loved that this book was told from Eliza's first person point of view. I loved seeing how she thought about the different things that were going on throughout the book. We see how she felt about her father's disgraced legacy, how she felt being compared to her sisters, how she felt first meeting Alexander, and so many other things that she goes through in this book. I also loved reading about her opinions on some of the more well known names of the day. It's always interesting to me to read about other people's personal perspectives on all of the names that do get a chance to be seen in the history books. The authors really give Eliza such a true voice that this book feels as if you are talking to a friend who is letting you in on some of her innermost secrets and rich inner life. 

The pacing of this book was great! At over 600 pages, it would be easy for a book like this to lose steam but it never does. Eliza draws you to keep going and the action throughout the book keeps at a steady pace. Even after getting to the end, I was ready for more!

This is a great book for anyone that loves the hidden stories in history and is looking for a great character to fall for!


Happy National Library Week!

This week is National Library Week and if you're anything like me, you love the library. I am always at the library and it is one of my favorite places. Here's another great way to celebrate: Harry Potter Alliance - Accio Books - HPA is looking to send thousands of books to Boys & Girls Clubs throughout Puerto Rico this spring. 10% of all Harry Potter related items sold on outofprint.com during National Library Week will be donated to this effort.

Here's a little more information from an interview I did with Out of Print founder, Todd Lawson:




Why is Out of Print partnering with The Harry Potter Alliance?

The HPA is one of our favorite charity partners. They are a group of awesome people inspired into activism by Harry Potter books. We first ran into them at a festival a few years ago and immediately fell in love with how they go about raising awareness for and supporting great causes. We've been working with them on various projects ever since. One highlight is fully supplying a school library in Uganda with books and computers in 2016.

Why is this partnership so important to Out of Print?

We share similar values and both feel that doing good should be fun and meaningful. Out of Print is a community of readers supporting readers. The HPA is takes the wonderful and unifying messages of J.K. Rowling to make the world a better place.

Can you tell us a little more about what The Harry Potter Alliance will be doing this year?

They have project year round. Most current is an annual book drive called Accio Books. This year we are partnering for National Library Week (April 8th-14th) to raise money to send books and supplies to libraries damaged by the hurricane in Puerto Rico. For every limited edition HPA x Out of Print shirt sold this week a portion of sales will be donated to restore access to books in some of the communities hit hardest in the hurricane.

What's the best way for people to help with this effort?

To help the cause, you can visit the HPA's site to learn how to directly donate books and/or money (https://www.thehpalliance.org/success_stories_accio_books). Secondly, you can shop at outofprint.com during National Library Week. We recommend you do both!

If you could bring three people, fictional or non-fictional, with you to a deserted island, who would you bring and why?

Superman - to fly me away if I felt the need to get off the island
Aquaman - to teach me to breath under water and talk to all those critters under the sea
Captain Planet - because our world really needs the help right now.

Friday, April 6, 2018

2018 Reading Challenge March Progress



As a reminder, I'm doing two challenges this year: The PopSugar Ultimate Reading Challenge and My Friends' Favorite Books Challenge.

PopSugar Ultimate Reading:
28 out of 50 books (6 in March)

Friends' Favorite Books Challenge:
5 out of 73 70 books (2 in March)

I finally hit my first DNF in the friends' challenge: Dragonflight by Anne McCaffrey. I may try later but for right now, not reading the series has knocked 3 books off of my list.


Interested in what I've read? Check out my tracker!

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Review and Giveaway: I've Been Thinking: Reflections, Prayers, and Meditations for a Meaningful Life by Maria Shriver

Title: I've Been Thinking: Reflections, Prayers, and Meditations for a Meaningful Life
Author: Maria Shriver
Format: Hardcover
Publisher: Pamela Dorman Books
Publish Date: February 27, 2018
Source: Publisher



What's the Story?:

From Goodreads.com: "As a prominent woman juggling many roles, Maria Shriver knows just how hectic and stressful everyday life can be. In this candid and heartfelt book, Shriver offers up the lessons she's learned along the way, and the meditations she's kept by her side as a touchstone for the challenges that arise. The quotes, scriptures, prayers, and reflections within are meant to encourage empowerment, accomplishment, and forward mobility in women of all ages.

I've Been Thinking . . . is an intimate devotional, ideal for those transitioning into the prime of their lives, who want to slow down, breathe, and take life one day at a time. Whether you're devoting attention to finding a cure for Alzheimer's, beginning a new career, starting your own business, or something in between, this slender, accessible book is for anyone who needs a reminder that taking a moment (or two!) to center yourself is the first step on that path."


My Two Cents:

"I've Been Thinking" is a glimpse into how Maria Shriver is able to make the most out of life. This book is the literary equivalent to having a huge cup of tea with a really good friend. It is thoroughly comfortable and satisfying.

I think it's always important to keep in mind that books like this about people's ways of finding themselves in the world may not work for everyone. Shriver is up front with this in this book: her way may not be the right way for everyone but it works for her. I saw that a lot of her methods and the things that she thinks about could be molded to my own life.

One of the things that stuck out most to me were her ruminations about mothers. She had an incredibly strong mother and Shriver herself seems to be a pretty strong mother. She mothers sometimes in a different way and sometimes in the same way as her mother. Mothering has been my most difficult job and it seems to carry such a huge responsibility. One day, these little people that I am raising are going to be out in the world. How do I set them up for success? Shriver gives a little insight and a little grace to the conversation.

This book is probably best if read little by little over a period of time. While it was satisfying to read it in one fell-swoop, I am already finding myself wanting to go back and read this book a little slower in order to more thoroughly digest some of the tidbits and great life lessons that this book offers.




Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Review: The Runaways by Sonya Terjanian

Title: The Runaways
Author: Sonya Terjanian
Format: Ebook
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Publish Date: April 3, 2018 (Yesterday!)
Source: Publisher



What's the Story?:

From Goodreads.com: "Ivy is on the run. She is finally ready to trade in a dead-end future of college debt and family obligations for the thrill of a fresh start. But when she finds herself in an isolated cabin in the Poconos, she realizes that starting over is more difficult than she thought.

Especially when a stranger stumbles into her hiding place.

Mary Ellen is attempting to reinvent herself. Dissatisfied with her career and family life, Mary Ellen is finally pursuing art, something she has put aside for years. So, when she arrives at a cabin in the woods for an artist's retreat and finds a teenage girl instead, she realizes this is her chance to start new."

My Two Cents:

"The Runaways" is the story of Ivy, a teenaged girl who is running away from her problems, which include a sick mother and wanting something more from her small life. Mary Ellen who is also running away from her life. She has a husband who is drifting through life with little purpose and twin daughters who will soon leave them empty nesters. Mary Ellen is trying to figure out what life looks like after that happens. These two characters will be thrown together with surprising results. 

It took awhile for me to get into this book. It has a very slow start with a lot of set up for who both of our main characters are, especially Mary Ellen. The book goes a lot into Mary Ellen and her newfound love for actually practicing art. I wished that the introduction would have been streamlined a little more and I wish that we had gotten to see both of the characters together more quickly. The main characters don't meet until almost a half of the book is over!

That being said, once we finally get to the characters meeting and interacting with each other, the book really picks up. It becomes a reflection of what happens when you have the opportunity to meet kind people and how life has a certain way of giving us people in our time of need. Once you can finally see where the story is going, I came to like and understand the characters a little bit better!


Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Happy Launch Day to "My Dear Hamilton!"

   

Wife, Widow, and Warrior in Alexander Hamilton’s Quest for a More Perfect Union

From the New York Times bestselling authors of America’s First Daughter comes the epic story of Eliza Schuyler Hamilton—a revolutionary woman who, like her new nation, struggled to define herself in the wake of war, betrayal, and tragedy. Haunting, moving, and beautifully written, Dray and Kamoie used thousands of letters and original sources to tell Eliza’s story as it’s never been told before—not just as the wronged wife at the center of a political sex scandal—but also as a founding mother who shaped an American legacy in her own right.

 

MY DEAR HAMILTON is available now! Grab your copy today!

   

A general’s daughter…

Coming of age on the perilous frontier of revolutionary New York, Elizabeth Schuyler champions the fight for independence. And when she meets Alexander Hamilton, Washington’s penniless but passionate aide-de-camp, she’s captivated by the young officer’s charisma and brilliance. They fall in love, despite Hamilton’s bastard birth and the uncertainties of war.

A Founding Father’s wife...

But the union they create—in their marriage and the new nation—is far from perfect. From glittering inaugural balls to bloody street riots, the Hamiltons are at the center of it all—including the political treachery of America’s first sex scandal, which forces Eliza to struggle through heartbreak and betrayal to find forgiveness.

The last surviving light of the Revolution…

When a duel destroys Eliza’s hard-won peace, the grieving widow fights her husband’s enemies to preserve Alexander’s legacy. But long-buried secrets threaten everything Eliza believes about her marriage and her own legacy. Questioning her tireless devotion to the man and country that have broken her heart, she’s left with one last battle—to understand the flawed man she married and imperfect union he could never have created without her…

 

✭✭✭ PICK UP YOUR COPY OF MY DEAR HAMILTON TODAY✭✭✭ Amazon | B&N | GooglePlay | iBooks | Kobo | Autographed Paperback

Add to Your Goodreads

Get a FREE Bonus Book – through April 9!

Join Stephanie and Laura’s VIP mailing list

        EXCERPT: The fashion was now all empire waistlines and sheer fabrics à la Grec, which would have left me feeling naked without gloves and shawl. “I am dressed to be seen in society, sir!” With the tip of his quill pen, he flicked my flimsy shawl to the floor. “And now you are not.” He gave his most irresistible smile.“Your country needs you. I need you. You are my good genius of that kind which the ancient philosophers called a familiar.” His eyebrows nearly waggled. “And you know that I am glad to be, in every way, as familiar as possible with you.” Smitten by his flirtation, I gave a helpless shrug. “Oh well, for the country then . . .” I forgot about the dinner party. I forgot everything but the familiar thrill of matching minds with the man I married. “Not that line,” I remember telling him. “That business about the ignorance of facts and malicious falsehoods will be taken harshly.” “That’s the president’s line, not mine,” Alexander protested. “Nevertheless, it portrays him as a partisan in the mud,” I argued, and our debate went well into the night. In truth, it went on for days as Alexander worked on the address, scribbling words and crossing them out. Eventually, he removed the line to which I objected. That and many others, taking into consideration my suggestions, leaving me awed with the magnitude of the masterpiece. I knew, even then, that the Farewell Address was a moving and worthy tribute to the United States and its people. A plea for unity. A statement of purpose and guidance for the nation George Washington helped bring into being. And because of Alexander Hamilton, I had the great and everlasting fortune to be a part of its shaping.    
      About Stephanie Dray: Stephanie Dray is a New York Times bestselling author of historical women’s fiction. Her award-winning work has been translated into multiple languages, illuminating women of the past so as to inspire the women of today. She is a frequent panelist and presenter at national writing conventions and lives near the nation’s capital.      

Stephanie Dray Website |Newsletter | Facebook |Twitter | Dray & Kamoie Website

About Laura Kamoie: Laura Kamoieis a New York Times bestselling author of historical fiction, and the author of two nonfiction books on early American history. Until recently, she held the position of Associate Professor of History at the U.S. Naval Academy before transitioning to a full-time career writing genre fiction under the name Laura Kaye, also a New York Times bestselling author of more than thirty novels.        

TLC Book Tours Review: That's What She Said: Wise Words from Influential Women by Kimothy Joy

Title: That's What She Said: Wise Words from Influential Women
Author: Kimothy Joy
Format: Hardcover
Publisher: Harper Wave
Publish Date: April 3, 2018 (Today!)
Source: TLC Book Tours



What's the Story?:

From Goodreads.com: "An artist and activist committed to the empowerment of women and girls has created a gorgeous illustrated volume, blending watercolor and short biography to showcase the contributions of more than fifty influential female leaders whose words and actions are a passionate call to arms.

Distraught by the results of the 2016 election and the realization that the nation was not ready for its first female president, Kimothy Joy found herself poring over the biographies of brave women throughout history—those who persisted in the face of daunting circumstances—to learn from their experiences.

Turning to art, Joy channeled her feelings to the canvas, bringing these strong women to life in bold watercolor portraits surrounded by inspirational hand-lettered quotes. With each creation, Joy found catharsis and hope. She shared her watercolors with her online community and encouraged everyone to raise their own voices and recharge for the battles ahead."

My Two Cents:

I rounded out my "Women's History Month" with this great, inspirational read from Kimothy Joy. Joy paints stunning pictures of women along with quotes from them in this book. She also includes a mini-biography of each woman. There are so many great people in this book. Some are more familiar than others but all are very inspirational. 

The illustrations are what makes this book really special. They are beautiful and Joy does a great job of capturing the persona of each woman. They are very pretty paintings!

This is a great book to read little by little so that you can fully digest all of the goodness in this book. This would also make a really nice gift book for someone you think needs an infusion of inspiration!


Happy Launch Day to "The Secret to Southern Charm!"

Today's the day!


The Secret to Southern Charm is available from your local bookstore, Amazon, Barnes & Noble Target, Books-a-Million, Indiebound and wherever books are sold! It is being simultaneously released in paperback, hardback, e-book and audio, so check out your favorite version!
“A major new voice in southern fiction.” --Elin Hilderbrand, New York Times bestselling author 
One of the hottest new Southern writers.” —Parade.com

"Writers come and writers go, but Kristy Woodson Harvey is here to stay. The warmth, wit, and wisdom of this novel pave her way into the exclusive sisterhood of southern writers.” —The Huffington Post

“The Secret to Southern Charm is a compelling, beautifully drawn tale of love, hope and small town secrets... solidifies Kristy Woodson Harvey’s spot as a rising star of Southern Fiction.” --Mary Alice Monroe, New York Times Bestselling Author of Beach House for Rent.

Leaving fans “practically [begging] for a sequel” (Bookpage), critically
acclaimed author Kristy Woodson Harvey returns with the second novel in
her beloved Peachtree Bluff series, featuring a trio of sisters and their
mother who discover a truth that will change not only the way they see
themselves, but also how they fit together as a family.

After finding out her military husband is missing in action, middle sister
Sloane’s world crumbles as her worst nightmare comes true. She can barely
climb out of bed, much less summon the strength to be the parent her
children deserve.

Her mother, Ansley, provides a much-needed respite as she puts her
personal life on hold to help Sloane and her grandchildren wade through
their new grief-stricken lives. But between caring for her own aging
mother, her daughters, and her grandchildren, Ansley’s private worry is
that secrets from her past will come to light.

But when Sloane’s sisters, Caroline and Emerson, remind Sloane that no
matter what, she promised her husband she would carry on for their young
sons, Sloane finds the support and courage she needs to chase her biggest
dreams—and face her deepest fears. Taking a cue from her middle daughter,
Ansley takes her own leap of faith and realizes that, after all this time,
she might finally be able to have it all.

Harvey’s signature warmth and wit make this a charming and poignant story
of first loves, missed opportunities, and second chances and proves that
she is the next "major voice in Southern fiction” (Elin Hilderbrand, New
York Times bestselling author).

Monday, April 2, 2018

Title: The Secret to Southern Charm by Kristy Woodson Harvey

Title: The Secret to Southern Charm
Author: Kristy Woodson Harvey
Format: ARC
Publisher: Gallery
Publish Date: April 3, 2018 (tomorrow!)
Source: Author



What's the Story?:

From Goodreads.com: "After finding out her military husband is missing in action, middle sister Sloane’s world crumbles as her worst nightmare comes true. She can barely climb out of bed, much less summon the strength to be the parent her children deserve.

Her mother, Ansley, provides a much-needed respite as she puts her personal life on hold to help Sloane and her grandchildren wade through their new grief-stricken lives. But between caring for her own aging mother, her daughters, and her grandchildren, Ansley’s private worry is that secrets from her past will come to light.

But when Sloane’s sisters, Caroline and Emerson, remind Sloane that no matter what, she promised her husband she would carry on for their young sons, Sloane finds the support and courage she needs to chase her biggest dreams—and face her deepest fears. Taking a cue from her middle daughter, Ansley takes her own leap of faith and realizes that, after all this time, she might finally be able to have it all."

My Two Cents:

"The Secret to Southern Charm" is the story of Ansley and her three grown daughters: Caroline, Sloane, and Emerson. It is the second book in the Peachtree Bluff series and while you can read this one as a standalone, I would not suggest it. You will get so much more out of this book if you read the first book of the series: "Slightly South of Simple," which was great and really introduces the family a little more.

I loved getting back to these characters. The last book really focused on Caroline but this book really follows Sloane, who is married to Adam who is Missing in Action from the Army. Sloane hopes that he is okay but not having a firm answer is absolutely devastating to the point where she can barely get out of bed. Luckily, her family is there to help her with her two young boys. She is fearful of what is to come and allows her fear to strangle her ambition at first. Can she get back on her feet with the help of her family?

I love stories of tight knit families and the secrets they still keep from each other. As we see in this book, the motivation can be for really different reasons. I don't want to give anything away but I loved seeing all of the secrets unraveled throughout this book, especially the one between Ansley and Jack.

This was a good read that was thoroughly comforting. I can't wait to get back to Peachtree Bluff!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...