Review: A Winter’s Tale by Carrie Elks

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A heartwarming, sexy and funny holiday romance.

What would you do if you’ve been trying to find an internship for ages but your shyness seems to get in the way? That’s Kitty Shakespeare’s predicament when, instead of an internship, she’s offered the chance to be a nanny over Christmas to the son of a hot (though notoriously difficult) Hollywood star. Not an ideal situation, but Kitty takes it and hopes it will help her get her foot in the door. What she isn’t counting on is totalling her rental car once she arrives in West Virginia. Luckily, a sexy but taciturn stranger comes to her rescue….he’s a bit of a jerk, but at least he gets her to her destination. That stranger turns out to be Adam Klein, documentary filmmaker and estranged brother of her employer. Yes, sparks are going to fly and you’ll love it.

A Winter’s Tale is the second story in the Shakespeare Sisters series and it’s a wonderful Christmas love story set in the Blue Ridge Mountains (which are beautifully described in the novel). When I was reading A Winter’s Tale, I forgot I was reading a book—I felt like I was immersed in one of my favourite Christmas movies. I loved it. I started picturing Tom Hardy as Adam Klein…yes, my imagination got the best of me. 🙂 It’s a great opposites attract story that’s heartwarming, funny and sexy at the same time.

I loved the scenes between Kitty and Annie, the housekeeper who keeps all the Klein family secrets, and little Jonas is such a sweetie you wish you could give him a hug through the pages. But the very rugged Adam Klein is deliciously sexy—yes, you’ll wish you could spend Christmas with him.

So should you read A Winter’s Tale? Absolutely! And will you love it? Yes, I am pretty sure you will! And even though A Winter’s Tale is the second book in the series, it reads like a standalone, so it’s okay if you haven’t read the first book (Summer’s Lease), but I think you’ll want to read it too.

My rating? Five stars, without a doubt.

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Note: I received an ARC from the publisher, which I voluntarily chose to review.

Release Tour: Cupcakegasm by Rhiannon Jean

 

Cupcakegasm
by Rhiannon Jean
Genre: Romantic Comedy

Cover Designer:  Imagination Uncovered

Release Date: September 29, 2017

 

 

Mabel has finally made her and her late Gran’s dreams come true: she has her very own organic cupcake shop, Hazel’s Hints of Heaven. For the most part, she’s content. There’s her daily visits to Cherry’s Coffee Roasters, hanging with her two best friends, Max and Corinda, and baking her heart out. Alas, she aches for a little human contact (wink, wink). She’d even settled for one-night stands from her favorite hole in the wall bar, but, when she meets two mouth-droppingly, eye-poppingly gorgeous men, things get complicated.

There’s Gavin, the tattooed, pierced, dark haired, blue-eyed devil who reeks of sin and needs a job in a pastry kind of way. And Henry, the tall, blond, green-eyed Greek god who borders on rude and tight-assed and needs sweet treats—and fast. As Mabel gets to know each man, her heart chooses one, while her body chooses another.

When push comes to shove, with a little help from fate, Mabel finally makes the choice that satisfies her heart…and her Cupcakegasm.

 

 

 

 

Special Release Day Pricing – Only 99¢

 

 

Hailing from the Midwest, Rhiannon Jean has finally decided to listen to the voices in her head and put their stories on paper. She loves cats, cupcakes, Netflix, tequila, writing, crafting, music, singing too loudly with the car radio, dancing, shoes, tattoos and correcting people’s grammar.

 

Email:  authorrhiannonjean@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

 

3 Recent Reviews: Something New, The Lover and New Years in Stockholm

It’s been a while since I posted reviews here. I’ve remembered to post them on Goodreads and Amazon, and then I forget to share them here. Naughty me! Let’s catch up with three recent book reviews. 

Screen Shot 2017-07-27 at 07.14.57Something New by Lena Hart

Release Date: 25 July 2017

Even though I am a big city girl, I love a good small town romance. I like reading about towns where everyone knows one another and there’s a good vibe. Lena Hart delivers this milieu and a charming love story in Something New, the second book in the Brides of Cedar Bend series.

This is an opposites attract story, with the initially haughty Savannah meeting the down-to-earth Damian meeting thanks to car trouble and a rainstorm. Actually, Damian comes to the rescue twice and it’s pretty obvious there’s chemistry between the two. Savvy’s in town to help her cousin prepare for her wedding and also trying to get rid of the gold digger reputation hanging over her. When she and Damian end up in a fake engagement…well, I won’t say more. I don’t want to spoil the story for you.

I really enjoyed following their path to love. It was a fun summer read and the set up gives the story the perfect rom-com-wish-this-were-a-movie feel. I really liked the cast of characters and the setting, and I thought the story flowed really well. So why four stars and not 5? If only I could give it a 4.5. My only reason for giving the story a four instead of a five is that it took me a while to warm up to Savvy. I was all-in with Damian from page one. But this is a wonderful romance and a great summer read. Highly recommended.

Note: I voluntarily read and reviewed an ARC of this book.


Screen Shot 2017-07-27 at 07.27.20The Lover by Nia Forrester

Release Date: 18 June 2017

What happens when two people who don’t necessarily believe in love agree to have a baby together? Love, of course. 🙂 And what’s at stake when their secrets threaten to derail them? That’s the conundrum Ryann and Spencer face in Nia Forrester’s The Lover.

This is one of those books you want to savor. It’s a page turner–there’s no doubt about that, but you don’t want to rush. Especially not when the story is so rich and so emotionally satisfying. So what makes it so satisfying? Forrester touches on real-life issues and uses the drama and conflict to create a compelling dynamic between the sometimes emotionally distant and sometimes reluctant to commit Ryann and the sexy former bad boy who doesn’t realize he’s looking for something have and hold Spencer.

Should we talk about characterization? Of course we should. Forrester excels at creating multifaceted characters who are imperfect, who fuck up and who still pull at your heartstrings –and she does this without resorting to clichés. Ryann is not an easy character to love. She holds so tight to her secrets and the carefully constructed facade she uses as her defense against the world. But little by little we see there are chinks in her armor that reveal the real Ryann, the one who wants to be loved and doesn’t always know *how* to love. And with Spencer–he has his own issues he needs to deal with, but one thing is certain: beneath that sometimes a bit too much of an Alpha male facade, his capacity for love is great and what he wants most is to be with Ryann, even when it scares him.

There’s also the fact that this book is beautifully written. Nia Forrester is a consummate author. Her choice of words, the way she describes settings and the emotional depth of her characters…it’s magical. I am never disappointed when I read one of her books, and The Lover definitely does NOT disappoint.

Definitely a recommended read. Five stars!


Screen Shot 2017-07-27 at 07.38.11New Years in Stockholm by Rebecca Hunter

Release Date: 13 July 2017

The fourth and final episode of the One Night in Stockholm series by Rebecca Hunter starts with Alice showing up at Jonas’s doorstep on Christmas Eve–a few days earlier than planned. The Jonas she gets is not what she expected. He hates Christmas and is not in the best mood or shape when she arrives. What could have become a complete fiasco flares into something much hotter and than Alice imagined–but she’s disappointed when Jonas announces he needs to leave for a few days to sort things out with his father.

As with the rest of the books in this series, New Years in Stockholm is a very sexy read. Jonas is as intense as ever, and Alice’s unquenchable desire for him practically jumps off the pages. The key difference with this episode is the emotional clarity and complexity. Jonas and Alice are on the cusp of what could be something amazing or could go horribly wrong. The question is will fear of fucking up prevent them from having what they both so desperately want? Well, you’ll have to read it to find out. 🙂

It may be winter in New Years in Stockholm, but this book is definitely a must-read of this summer. My recommendation? One-click it ASAP and enjoy!

Getting to know…Karen King

I thought life would calm down a bit in November, but it’s been even more hectic than October. It started with NaNoWriMo, add to it a crazy blizzard here in Stockholm, then a death in the family, add a few more unexpected events and you get a month that has made me want to hibernate. But now I am trying to find my bearings again. Whew.

We’re back with another instalment of Getting to know… and today we’ve got author Karen King with us. Karen writes sassy, contemporary romance just right for reading on the beach. ‘I do – or do I?’ is her first chick-lit for Accent Press and has recently been nominated for the RONA (Romantic Novel of the Year Award). She has also written several short stories for women’s magazine and had 120 children’s books published.When she isn’t writing, Karen likes travelling, watching the ‘soaps’ and reading. Give her a good book and a box of chocolates and she thinks she’s in Heaven. So let’s get to know….Karen King!

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Author Karen King

So tell me, Karen, what is your favorite part of being a writer? 

Getting a letter or email from someone who’s enjoyed reading my book. That makes my week! It’s so heartening to think that someone has not only read my book and enjoyed it, but also taken the time to write and tell me so. I really appreciate that.

I know what you mean! Sometimes fan mail can make up for all the times I’ve wanted to give up on a difficult story or character. Or when my writing day hasn’t gone as planned. What would you say is the most difficult part of being a writer and how do you deal with it?

Finding time to write down all the ideas that are whizzing around in my head. I have notebooks everywhere, failing that I’ll write on anything, receipts, serviettes, the back of my hand.

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Karen’s latest novel, I Do? …Or Do I?

I agree. Sometimes it feels like there aren’t enough hours in a day. I try to jot plot ideas down as soon as they pop into my head. Sometimes I lose the notes and have to try to remember them…well, it happens sometimes. 🙂 So tell me, with all the ideas buzzing around, are you a plotter or pantster?

A bit of both. I like to know my characters really well before I start so I’ll write character profiles for them, and then do a basic outline of the story. After that I start writing and let it flow.

It’s the same for me. Started off as a pantser, but now I am a little of both. By the way, I love the cover of I Do…Or Do I? I just want to take a minute to share with my readers the blurb: 

Local journalist Cassie is getting married to hot-shot lawyer, reliable Timothy, and his mother Sylvia, who Cassie has nicknamed ‘Monster-in-Law’, wants to plan the entire wedding. When Sylvia books the exclusive ID Images to take photographs of the extravagant do, Cassie has no idea what she’s walking into. 



The elusive JM, ID Images’ newest photographer, just so happens to be Jared, Cassie’s first love and ex-fiancé, who broke off their engagement to travel and take photos of far-reaching wonders. He’s back to pay for his next wild adventure. 



Cassie decides it’s best to pretend not to know him, but when she’s asked to write an article for her newspaper, she’s tasked with a column surrounding all things wedding related. When Cassie jokingly writes a column meant for herself depicting her situation, a co-worker submits it in place of the real article and it’s soon making headlines, with readers asking the age old question – Who Will She Choose? 

Sounds like the perfect book for this Thanksgiving weekend!  So, readers, if I Do?…Or Do I sounds like your cup of tea, make sure you pick up a copy. Get your copy here:

Amazon – Accent Press – Waterstones – Book Depository – W.H.Smith 

What’s your typical writing day like? Do you write full-time? 

I switch on the computer as soon as I’m showered and dressed, then it’s butt on chair, fingers on keyboard. I answer urgent emails, do a bit of social media then start writing. I’ll carry on writing all day, with the occasional coffee and social media breaks. Often, I’ll write for a couple of hours in the evening too. But I only get a couple of actual ‘writing days’ a week, other days I’m marking assignments (I’m a writing tutor), running courses, visiting schools and other stuff so might write in the evenings.

I write whenever I can snatch away time for it. Still working full-time, but hoping to eventually write full-time. When you write, do you imagine any particular actors or actresses as your leads? Or do you find inspiration elsewhere?

I don’t imagine actors or actresses as my leads but I do look through magazines and cut out pictures of people similar to how I imagine my heroine and hero to look. I also do a Pinterest board of work in progress and pin pictures of things related to my plot on it. For example, for ‘I do?…or do I?’ I pinned lots of wedding related pics, as well as pics of France and Venice which both feature in the story.

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Karen’s writing room – organised chaos 🙂 

Another Pinterest enthusiast! I do the same. I love Pinterest. I even have a board for my dream writing space. Right now, I do most of my writing in my messy home office/guest bedroom, while sitting on my living room couch or in cafés. What abut you? Do you have a favorite writing space?

I’m lucky enough to have my own room to write in. It’s usually very messy, but it’s organized chaos and I know exactly where everything is. If I tidy up I’ve had it, I can’t find anything for weeks.

I am with you there! Whenever I clean my writing space, I can’t find any of the things I need. But when I don’t clean it, the chaos can sometimes overwhelm me. Let’s talk reading. What are you reading now?

I’m reading The Pact by Jodi Picoult.

I read that one a few years ago and loved it. She is one of my favourite authors. Are there any subjects that are taboo for you when it comes to reading or writing?

Horror – I scare easily.

Once upon a time, I wanted to write horror. Nowadays, I prefer writing love stories. Now what about social media? Some people say we authors can’t survive without it.What’s your take on social media? Do you think it’s vital for us?

Yes, I think it is. One well known publisher told me they wouldn’t even consider a book unless the author had over 1,500 followers on Twitter. I like Social Media, it’s a great way to interact with people but it’s easy to while away hours reading the latest Facebook posts or chatting on Twitter so I try to restrict myself. Twitter is my favourite platform, then Facebook and Instagram. I’m on Google+ and Pinterest too but am not as active on them.

What was the best piece of writing advice you ever received?

It was back in the early days of my writing career when I was writing for several children’s magazines and had to come up with story ideas at very short notice, sometimes having to write one in a couple of hours. An editor told me to ‘give a character a problem and solve it’. I added ‘in an unexpected way’ to that and it’s been the basis of my stories ever since.

What advice would you give to novice writers?
Stop faffing about and get that first draft down. Then you can go back and reread, revise and rewrite. If you don’t write something you have nothing to hone.

Thanks again for joining us, Karen! Readers, make sure you follow Karen so you can keep up with the latest! Follow Karen here:

FacebookTwitterGoogle+InstagramPinterest

 

Review: Once Upon a Royal Christmas by Robin Bielman

screen-shot-2016-11-02-at-07-23-22I love holiday romances and I love reading stories about royalty and commoners falling in love, so Robin Bielman‘s Once Upon a Royal Christmas was a good fit for me. Set in the small town of Marietta, Once Upon a Royal Christmas tells the story of how Rowan and Prince Theo meet and fall in love.

It’s got the makings a of perfect holiday romance–the hunk of a hero who just happens to be a royal, the feisty heroine who is a little clumsy but still a charmer. It’s a smartly written romance with great banter that reminded me of the romantic comedies of the past starring Katherine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy or even Jimmy Steward and Donna Reed. I like how Bielman gives the characters a chance to get to know one another as their attraction grows. It makes for a very nice build up to their passion.

My only quibble is that, since this was my first time reading a Robin Bielman novel, I felt like I needed to know a little more about what exactly Rowan did that disgraced her at the local newspaper. I didn’t really understand it since we didn’t get enough info to make it feel plausible. However, I loved how she described the town of Marietta, so I think I’ll be reading a few more Marietta stories before the year is out.

A fun holiday read!

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Note: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher, but was not required to write a review or influenced in terms of my review.

Getting to know… Laurie Ellingham

Welcome back for another instalment of Getting to Know… Today we have author Laurie Bellingham with us. Laurie  is the author of The Reluctant Celebrity and How to Throw Your Life Away. She lives on the Suffolk/Essex border in the UK with her husband, two children and a cute cockerpoo. I think she loves coffee just as much as I do. 🙂 

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Author Laurie Ellingham

Laurie, tell us a little about yourself. Where are you from originally? 

Firstly, thanks Kim for having me here today. Such a treat to get virtually out and about as a writer. I’m grew up in Rayleigh, Essex and featured Rayleigh in my second novel How to Throw Your Life Away. I called the town Henley in the book so I could add a bit of creative license. I studied Psychology at Hull University and lived in East London for many years. I now live on the Essex/Suffolk borders with my hubby and two children who are six and five and both happily settled at the village school.

When I’m not ferrying the kids to clubs, cheering on the sidelines of football matches, cooking (which I don’t really enjoy), tidying and cleaning (I HATE), then I’m running in the countryside, writing and reading. Oh and I like chocolate too.

I love chocolate too. It’s one of my favourite things in the world… Now tidying and cleaning…hate doing them, but one must do what one must do. 🙂 When did you first know you wanted to be an author?

I had my first rejection letter when I was 10. I sent a story about a family of peas to the Oxford Press. They sent back a very nice letter and lots of stickers. I miss getting stickers with rejection 🙂

So you could say that I’ve always wanted to be an author. From a very young age I became interested in people and why they behave in certain ways, and filtered this into storytelling.

Imagine if every rejection letter came with nice stickers! That would make them a bit nicer to receive! 😀  Fast-forwarding to now: as a writer, are you a plotter or pantster?

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Oh, definitely a plotter, which is madness because the rest of my life is generally rather messy and chaotic *husband nods from over my shoulder.*

At the start of the year I read Stephen King’s On Writing and was taken with his suggestion to wing it and enjoy where the story takes me. I wrote the first 20,000 words of my latest novel like this but I had to stop and plan and get all my characters sorted out. Once the plan is in place I don’t go back and look at it, not once, but it’s comforting to know it’s there, and I’m happy to change direction if I have a great big light bulb moment when I’m brushing my teeth.
Q: Are you working on a new book now? Can you give us a sneak peek of the plot?
I am. It’s book two for my publisher, Carina (Harper Collins). I’m expecting the first draft finished in a couple of weeks and I cannot wait for the world to see it. Here’s my draft blurb and title (it all might change still)…
The Stranger on the Boat.
‘My name is Abigail Rose Wick. My parents are Sarah and Michael Wick. And I’ve been missing for fourteen years.’
A missing girl returns unharmed. A family torn apart by tragedy begin to heal.
But strange things begin to happen to the Wick family. The media are tipped off, throwing them into a spotlight they cannot hide from. DNA results go missing. Holes begin to appear in the girl’s story.
Is the mysterious girl Abigail Wick?
Who is the stranger on the boat who took Abigail?
What happened fourteen years ago?
Only one person knows the truth.

I sat down expecting this novel to be a fast-paced thriller, but it’s not that at all. I love it.

I know that feeling! I once started working on a book thinking it would be literary fiction and it suddenly veered into a holiday romance. But, wow, I really like the premise of your story!  I would definitely add this to my TBR list.

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Laurie’s writing space

So when you’re writing, do you have a favorite writing space? 

Here it is.

It used to be an entrance hall and front door, then it got an internal door and became a space to stash the dog when he gets under our feet, and now the dog has to share it with me. It smells like musky dog most of the time and doesn’t have a view, but it’s one of my favorite places to be.

I’m fortunate to live in the countryside so anytime I get a bit stir crazy I just take my notebook to the meadow behind our house and write outside for while.

By the way, which titles are on your must-read list this year?

Being part of a fantastic online book community for authors and bloggers (Book Connectors) I see so many amazing books I’m desperate to read. Next up I’m reading The Mountain in My Shoe by Louise Beech. I’m saving it for when my first draft is finished so I can give it the attention it deserves.

And what are you reading now?

Right now I’m reading A Suitable Lie by Michael J Malone. It’s the kind of book that stays with you long after you’ve put it down. For me it is compelling, gripping, and uncomfortable all in one.

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Her adorable dog, Rodney

So which authors would you recommend to people looking for someone new to read?

S.E Lynes or B.A Paris for a fabulous thriller, and Louise Beech and Catherine Miller for some amazing women’s fiction with depth.

What’s a typical day of writing like for you?

I like to sit down and crack on in the mornings, which means getting the kids off to school and being back at my desk for 9am. By 10.30 I’m ready for a break and Rodney (here’s a pic) is ready to go out so we either run or walk together for an hour.
Then it’s right back to my desk with more coffee and some chocolate (usually a Twix) until it’s time to collect the kids. These are the best days and I usually hit my daily word count of 1000 words with time to spare, but for every day like this there’s a day when life gets in the way and I’m up until late still tapping away at my laptop.

Sounds enviable. 🙂 So on these days when you’re writing,  do you imagine any particular actors/actresses as your leads? Or do you find inspiration elsewhere?

Yes. In fact, one of the first things I do when planning my novel is search Google Images for photos that fit with the images of the characters in my mind. I find it helps to look at these pictures at the start of each chapter as it reminds me of their different mannerisms as well as their personalities.

I do something similar with Pinterest and Google Images. I’ve got a few favourites who’ve become my muses and some characters I absolutely adore. What about you? Which of your characters is your favourite?

There is a character in my first book called Guy Rawson. He’s this brooding model turned singer, and hopelessly flawed. I missed him so I found a part for him in a later novel – Three Months to Live (out in April 2017). Although the two novels are nothing a like – the Reluctant Celebrity is a romantic comedy and Three Months to Live is edgy women’s fiction – Guy slotted in nicely for a little guest appearance.

screen-shot-2016-10-22-at-12-07-19One of the things I love about writing is when the story first begins to form in my head. What about you? What’s your favourite thing about being a writer?

I love creating a story in my head and characters that feel as real to me as anyone; this is the amazing thing about being a writer. I like hearing that people are enjoying my books as well but that comes later. Mostly though, writing is when I feel most like myself. I’m a mum and wife and a friend and a daughter and a sister, and that’s great, but when I’m writing I’m me.

What would you say is the most difficult part of being a writer and how do you deal with it? 

Loneliness and self-doubt.

The first is less of an issue in recent years because social media has opened up many wonderful writing communities which means I now feel part of something amazing.
The self-doubt is a harder fix. It can hit anytime and completely out of the blue. I try and just see it as the rough with the smooth as there are as many days I’m excited by what I’m writing.

I know exactly what you mean! But, just to change the subject a bit…a lot of people say they read to escape. They don’t want to be reminded of the harsh reality  of the world when they sit down to read a book. What’s your take on this? Should fiction address topical social issues? 

Absolutely. A skilled author can write about topical social issues whilst still offering the escapism of well written characters. Michael J Malone has done just this by writing about domestic abuse with the female as the abuser. It was uncomfortable at times but it had all the elements of a great read too. I feel richer for having read it.

I so agree with you. I think reading shouldn’t simply be about escaping, even if sometimes that’s all I want. Usually I  want to see things from another perspective, even if it means that the writer makes me feel uncomfortable. 

So tell me, what was the best piece of writing advice you ever received?

Read lots of books in lots of different genres. It keeps your mind focused on writing and novels and opens your eyes to other writing styles.

Before we close up, what advice would you give to novice writers?

Firstly, write. Then write some more. Prioritise writing in your life. If you wait until all your other jobs are done, you’ll never get any writing done.
And at the same time read. Then read some more.

Thanks so much for sharing with us today, Laurie! And readers–make sure you connect with Laurie and check out her novels! 🙂 

Connect with Laurie Ellingham

WebsiteTwitterFacebook – Goodreads

5 books I’m going to read by the end of summer

By this time next week, I will be in my dear-old hometown of Philadelphia, most likely sweating profusely and wondering why I left the not-very-humid, mild Stockholm behind. But I need my annual dose of America. I never travel without my Kindle, and I’ve already begun stocking it with books that I’m itching to read. So what’s on my list?

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I’ve heard a lot of good things about In Black & White by Catherine Lavender, so I’ve already 1-clicked it for my Kindle. 

Micah Winters always knew that she was different. It was the pigment of her skin and the texture of her hair that revealed that she was a woman from biracial parents. For five decades, Micah’s African American mother has remained silent about Micah’s estranged father (Sidney Irving). It is not until after Sidney Irving’s death that Micah learns that she is the daughter of the legendary novelist and screenwriter. Now with her mother’s memory fading away from Alzheimer’s disease, Micah can only rely on a novel that was written from her father years ago to understand her parents’ past during the time of segregation in the United States. Micah’s once simple life is not so simple anymore as she tries to make sense of an unfamiliar world as she inherits her father’s wealth and private past. With an abandoned heart, Micah must forgive the past in order to discover who she really is.

Screen Shot 2016-07-09 at 23.45.14I’ve been a fan of Kathleen Tessaro since I read her debut novel, Innocence. Her latest novel, Rare Objects, sounds like the perfect read for a historical fiction fan like me. It’s set in Depression-era Boston centers around an unlikely friendship  and a secret. I’m already hooked. 🙂

Maeve Fanning is a first generation Irish immigrant, born and raised among the poor, industrious Italian families of Boston’s North End by her widowed mother. Clever, capable, and as headstrong as her red hair suggests, she’s determined to better herself despite the overwhelming hardships of the Great Depression.

However, Maeve also has a dangerous fondness for strange men and bootleg gin—a rebellious appetite that soon finds her spiraling downward, leading a double life. When the strain proves too much, Maeve becomes an unwilling patient in a psychiatric hospital, where she strikes up a friendship with an enigmatic young woman, who, like Maeve, is unable or unwilling to control her un-lady-like desire for freedom.

Once out, Maeve faces starting over again. Armed with a bottle of bleach and a few white lies, she lands a job at an eccentric antiques shop catering to Boston’s wealthiest and most peculiar collectors. Run by an elusive English archeologist, the shop is a haven of the obscure and incredible, providing rare artifacts as well as unique access to the world of America’s social elite. While delivering a purchase to the wealthy Van der Laar family, Maeve is introduced to beautiful socialite Diana Van der Laar—only to discover she’s the young woman from the hospital.

Reunited with the charming but increasingly unstable Diana and pursued by her attractive brother James, Mae becomes more and more entwined with the Van der Laar family—a connection that pulls her into a world of moral ambiguity and deceit, and ultimately betrayal. Bewitched by their wealth and desperate to leave her past behind, Maeve is forced to unearth her true values and discover how far she’ll to go to reinvent herself.

Screen Shot 2016-07-10 at 00.01.08I love Dorothy Koomson’s novels and I 1-clicked her latest, When I Was InvisibleWhen I Was Invisible, a few weeks ago. I haven’t started reading it yet, but it’s probably going to be one of my Philly reads.

‘Do you ever wonder if you’ve lived the life you were meant to?’ I ask her.

She sighs, and dips her head. ‘Even if I do, what difference will it make?’

In 1988, two eight-year-old girls with almost identical names and the same love of ballet meet for the first time. They seem destined to be best friends forever and to become professional dancers. Years later, however, they have both been dealt so many cruel blows that they walk away from each other into very different futures – one enters a convent, the other becomes a minor celebrity. Will these new, ‘invisible’ lives be the ones they were meant to live, or will they only find that kind of salvation when they are reunited twenty years later?

Screen Shot 2016-07-10 at 00.17.07Rowan Coleman‘s We Are All Made of Stars sounds like the sort of book that will make me weepy (which I love!), so I’ve 1-clicked it! Rowan is also known as Scarlett Bailey (who has written some of my absolute favourite Christmas novels). Looking forward to diving into this decidedly non-Christmasy book! 🙂

A dedicated nurse, Stella finds comfort at the hospice where she works the late shift, especially since her husband returned from Afghanistan—cold, distant, and shattered by painful memories he refuses to share. The hospice at night is another world, where the dying receive closure by creating the letters that Stella helps them write. The pages are filled with love and humor, sometimes regret, and, occasionally, even instructions for a perplexed husband on how to run appliances. There’s one rule: The letters are mailed only after the patient has passed.

Suddenly Stella is faced with a dilemma: A woman under her care, Grace, has written a confession to the son she abandoned many years before. The letter clearly needs to be read before Grace dies. But if Stella mails it now, she breaks the rule—and risks tampering not only with Grace’s wishes but also with fate.

Navigating passion and grief, loyalty and loss, and a marriage threatened by silence and secrets, Stella discovers that letters hold a special power: granting solace, saving memories, nurturing relationships. As the words endure, love redeems.

Screen Shot 2016-07-10 at 00.30.23Finally, I still haven’t had a chance to read Pulling Doubles by Christina C. Jones, so I need to remedy this before the end of the summer.

All Devyn wants – besides a tall, fine husband and eventually a few babies to fulfill her “about to turn thirty, running out of time, cute black family” dreams – is to finish her yearlong internship at University Hospital. She’s excited about the experience, eager to learn, glad to help wherever she can… it should be easy, right?

Well, it would be… if it weren’t for arrogant, know-it-all, always-got-something-to-say Dr. Joseph Wright. Devyn can’t stand him, and if his attitude is any indication, the feeling is mutual… or is it?

Joseph doesn’t “do” doctors. Or nurses. Or patients. Or anybody else who has anything to do with the hospital, for that matter. University Hospital has infiltrated enough of his life, and the last thing he needs is a blurring of the lines between professional and private.

… until smart, sexy, sassy Nurse Devyn Echols comes along, and stomps all over those lines.

When you’re pulling doubles with the person you hate to want so bad… something is bound to ignite.

That’s it for me today! Next week, I’ll be writing to you from Philadelphia and I’ll be sure to share with you my bookstore finds!  

Which books have you 1-clicked this summer? Share your recommendations in the comments and one lucky commenter will win a $10 Amazon gift card. Hurry! I’ll be choosing + announcing the winner on Monday, July 18th. 

 

 

Sales Blitz: A Matter of Trust by Q.T. Ruby


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A Matter of Trust will be only 99c for June 1-3.

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Amazon US  Amazon UK  Amazon CA   

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She’s stuck in a rut, stuck in life and stuck in an elevator with Hollywood’s hottest actor. And of course she’s just come from the gym.

Claire Parelli just can’t seem to catch a break, well, except for heartbreak, that is. After a lifetime of following the rules, she winds up heartbroken, unfulfilled, and hiding from life. But she can’t hide for long.

After getting stuck aboard a broken elevator with Hollywood It-Boy, Daniel Chase, they begin a secret romance that pries Claire out of her element, out of her shell, and out of her sweatpants. But when their romance accidentally goes public, Claire’s life implodes, leaving her to choose to hunker down in the safety of her sweatpants, or risk her fragile heart on a chance at life, love, and the pursuit of better clothing.

He nods. “Fair enough. So . . . when might I see you again?”

See me again?  With a cautiously optimistic smile, I say, “You’re the one flying across the country. You tell me.”

“Well, I leave for L.A. after some meetings tomorrow, and my schedule is insane this week, but I believe I have a couple of days off at some point coming up in the next couple of weeks. I forget the exact dates. Anyway, maybe we’ll see each other then?”

“But you’ll be in L.A.”

“It’s not that far by plane.”

I shake my head. “I can’t call out of work.” I won’t blow off work to take a trip. Not for a guy. I’m smarter than that.

He nods. “Maybe I’ll fly back, then.”

My heart launches into my throat. “You’d fly back to see me? You must have a million girls at your disposal on the West Coast.” I’m teasing—sort of.

“True . . . but I’m running out.”

I laugh, enjoying how quickly he can make me laugh. “Oh, so I guess it’s time to move on to the East Coast women?”

He peers down at me through his long lashes, his full lips tugged up on one side. “Or woman.”

My heart flips and flops in my throat, but I won’t let myself buy it. “ ‘Woman,’ huh?”

He rolls his eyes. “Claire, really, how many women’s bedrooms do you think I just hang around in?”

I raise a “do you really want an answer?” eyebrow.

He shakes his head and chuckles. “For your information, if I was merely here for one thing, I’d have had you undressed long ago.”

I raise my eyebrows, smiling. “You think so, huh?”

“Yes, I do. I’m just . . . too polite.”

“Too polite?” I nearly bust out laughing.

“Or maybe I’m just an idiot.”

We both burst into laughter, releasing the tension in the room, and that’s when our eyes lock, speaking the same language, craving the same thing. The atmosphere shifts once again, this time instantly growing tight and thick with heat.

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Daydream believer and homecoming queen (Monkees anyone?), Q.T. Ruby, can now add writer to her resume, which includes thinking in song lyrics. She began her writing career as a child, channeling her ideas into songs she wrote and performed for a bedroom full of Barbies and stuffed animals. She now serenades her children with her songs, like “Just Eat What’s On Your Plate” and “You Are the Cutest, but Pick Up Your Stuff.” Q.T. Ruby loves her mom’s homemade rice pudding, pizza and movie night at home with her family, and is lucky enough to teach middle school in Connecticut where she was born and raised.

Author links

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3 reviews for Rebecca Hunter’s Stockholm Diaries series

Stockholm Diaries, Caroline (Stockholm Diaries #1)Stockholm Diaries, Caroline by Rebecca Hunter

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I stumbled upon the Stockholm Diaries–Amazon recommended it to me since I’ve written two novels and a novella set in Scandinavia–and am I glad I listened to them. The Stockholm Diaries: Caroline is a great love story about a young American expat trying to figure out what she wants in life and a Swedish former NHL hockey player trying to keep his personal and public lived separate. Fate pushes the two of them together early one morning during the magical days of Swedish summer–when the sun never properly sets and you feel like almost anything could happen.

Rebecca Hunter does a great job of capturing the attraction and passion between Caroline and Niklas. I especially loved how she wrote about Caroline’s friendship with fellow expat Veronica, with whom Caroline shares all of her secrets and fears. Hunter excels at describing Stockholm and the city becomes more than just a setting. It becomes a character as well.

I loved reading the Stockholm Diaries and I can’t wait to read the rest of the series!

View all my reviews


Stockholm Diaries, Caroline 2Stockholm Diaries, Caroline 2 by Rebecca Hunter

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

After reading the first book in the Stockholm Diaries series, I absolutely had to read Book 2. Now we catch up with Caroline and Niklas at the tail end of their travels and real life is looming before them. For Caroline, it means finally deciding if she’ll go back to Stockholm with Niklas or stay in Detroit for a while and try to make a name for herself as a travel photographer. For Niklas, it’s about either staying in Detroit to play for the Red Wings (even though he’s not really so keen on the idea of returning to the team after allegation that he’d abused a woman when in reality it was one of his teammates who was the culprit, but it would mean he and Caroline could be together) or returning to Sweden to play for Djurgården, his former hockey team who’ve offered him a one-year contract.

Throughout the book, we see the struggle both Caroline and Niklas are having with trying to have a life together in Detroit. Her ex- is there and he’s a nasty piece of work. And being back in Detroit suddenly has Caroline feeling like she cannot be the person she wants to be. But she is afraid to take the plunge and leave the security of what she knows. Niklas, on the other hand, is willing to do whatever it takes for them to be together, but he wants to know that Caroline is all-in. And sometimes it feels like she isn’t, which plays into his insecurities.

I really like how this series shows the pitfalls of being in a multicultural relationship as well as what’s so wonderful about it. I also like how Rebecca has created an alpha male in Niklas without turning him into an asshole. I *really* hate this alpha male as jerk trend. I don’t care how good they are in bed, a jerk is a jerk. And Niklas is NOT a jerk. I also found Caroline’s fear of giving herself to Niklas completely to be believable. She has had such a sheltered life–with her parents trying to make decisions for her, then Brad taking over her life and making her set aside her dreams, so it’s understandable that she is afraid of the same thing happening with Niklas.

I missed more of Stockholm in this story, but I knew it would mostly take place in Michigan. Really enjoyed this story and it was wonderful to see Caroline and Niklas come full circle. Now I wonder if they’ll go to Mexico together, to meet her family there. 🙂

View all my reviews


Stockholm Diaries, Melanie (Stockholm Diaries, #3)Stockholm Diaries, Melanie by Rebecca Hunter

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Rebecca Hunter has succeeded again in capturing Stockholm summers, this time focusing her attention on the archipelago, the group of islands in the Baltic Sea to which Stockholmers love to escape from the city. This time, we focus on American Melanie, who is writing a biography of her father–a famous Swedish poet who has been a mystery to her since he left her life when she as a child–and Henrik, a very handsome Swede who happens to have his own connection to her father and an aversion to relationships.

I really loved how, despite the attraction Melanie and Henrik feel for one another almost from the very beginning of the story, they try to maintain a professional relationship (since he’s helping her with translating her father’s journals from Swedish to English). But the pull between them is just too much for either to ignore and the island isn’t really big enough to justify keeping their distance. Melanie and Henrik’s story is intriguing and very sexy–very hot scenes between the two of them and my favourite takes place in the tiny cabin of his boat. I also loved how Melanie was determined to find out why her father left her life when she was so young, even if she knew that she might not like the answers she’d find.

Another winner! So happy to have found another writer writing about Americans finding love in Scandinavia! 😀

View all my reviews

My 10 fave books of 2015 and 5 I’m anxiously awaiting in 2016

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Heaven is a stack of good books! And a glass of wine!

 

Some people get excited about new handbags or shoes or guys with tattoos. I am such a book nerd. I get more excited about books. Though if you give me a hottie lumbersexual reading Garcia Marquez or some novel that I am also reading, well, I might get excited about that.

Anyway, I read a little over 50 books in 2015, so I thought I’d share with you ten of them that resonated with me.

  1. Haunted by Christina C. Jones
  2. Addicted Allison by Noelle Black
  3. Kilted for Pleasure by Melissa Blue
  4. Maldeamores by Mara White
  5. Love Is by Tia Kelly
  6. Falling Stars by Xio Axelrod
  7. Ivy’s League by Nia Forrester
  8. Coming Down by Carrie Elks
  9. Brunch at Ruby’s by D.L. White
  10. In the Nothing by Nia Forrester
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Yes, I am just as excited as this little cutie! Photo credit: forharriet.com

And which titles am I anxiously awaiting? You know there are more than five I can’t wait to read, but these are five that I am super excited about. 🙂

  1. Starlight by Xio Axelrod
  2. When I Was Invisible by Dorothy Koomson
  3. City of Mirrors by Justin Cronin
  4. Lily in the Middle by Nina Perez
  5. Getting Schooled by Christina C. Jones

So tell me: which titles are you anxiously awaiting in 2016? And which were your favorites of 2015?