Excerpt Reveal: Hate Notes by Vi Keeland & Penelope Ward

HATE NOTES – EXCERPT REVEAL

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A standalone romance novel published by Montlake Romance

By: New York Times Bestselling Authors Vi Keeland & Penelope Ward

Release Date: Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Add to Goodreads ➜ http://smarturl.it/xys920
Amazon ebook➜ https://amzn.to/2Q1U6xa
Amazon Print (Currently on sale!) ➜ http://smarturl.it/x5h99h
Amazon Audio ➜ https://amzn.to/2zR81AE
Amazon print UK (Currently on sale) ➜http://hyperurl.co/32k3q7 

Please Note: Because Hate Notes is published by Montlake Romance, a division of Amazon, the ebook and paperback will only be available on Amazon. If you are an Amazon Prime or Kindle Unlimted member, you should NOT pre-order the eBook. The Hate Notes ebook will be free for both Prime and KU members on release day!

Hate Notes coming November 6th

Grabbing my laptop, I searched my history and called up the last website I’d visited. Eastwood Properties is one of the largest independent brokerage firms in the world. We connect the most prestigious and exclusive properties with qualified buyers, assuring the utmost privacy for both parties. Whether you’re in the market for a luxury New York City penthouse with a view of the park, a waterfront Hampton estate, or an enchanting chateau escape in the mountains, or you’re ready for your own private island, Eastwood is where your dreams begin.

There was a link to search properties, so I typed in the name of the place the woman had mentioned in the voice mail: Millennium Tower. Sure enough, the penthouse popped up for sale. For only twelve million dollars, I could own an apartment on Columbus Avenue with sweeping views of Central Park. Let me write you a check.

After drooling through a video and two dozen photos, I clicked on the button to make an appointment to view the property. An application popped up, the top of which read: For the privacy and safety of our sellers, all prospective buyers are required to complete an application to view properties. Only buyers that meet our stringent prequalification criteria will be contacted.

I snorted. Great prequalification criteria you have there, Eastwood. I wasn’t sure I had enough money to take the train uptown to get to that swanky place, much less buy it. God knows what I’d written that had qualified me.

I closed the website and was just about to shut my laptop and go back to bed again when I decided to take one more peek at Mr. Romantic on Facebook.

God, he was gorgeous.

What if . . .

I shouldn’t.

No good ever came out of ideas formulated while drunk.

I couldn’t.

But . . .

That face . . .

And that note.

So romantic. So beautiful.

Sign up for Penelope & Vi’s mailing list now and be the first one notified when it goes live!

➜ https://www.subscribepage.com/Vi&Penelope

Congrats, Mats & Sara!

ImageMany of you know that I am a huge fan of Sara Elfgren and Mats Strandberg’s Engelsfors series that started with Cirkeln. Well, 30,000 youth voted and their choice was clear: Eld is was voted the best YA book of 2012 for Bokjuryn. I am so happy for them!

I first heard about the Engelfors series from my dear friend Pär, who designed the cover. Pär did such a good job of filling me in on the plot that I knew I had to read Cirklen. Since then, I’ve been hooked. 🙂 If you aren’t fluent in Swedish, get Cirkeln in English. Eld, or Fire as it’s known in English, will be available in English translation in September of this year and it’s definitely worth the wait! Pre-order it if you can. 🙂

Congratulations, Mats & Sara! You two deserve this honor for your amazing book! 😀

My Spring 2013 reading list

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No blossoms yet in Stockholm, but soon!

Spring has finally arrived in Stockholm, Sweden–the air is getting warmer, the ice on Brunnsviken has finally melted, I could actually go out without a thick scarf and hat on. You know what that means–now I get to tell you what books I plan on reading (or am already reading).

So what’s on the list this time? One oldie and lots of new books. 🙂

  • The Mating Rituals of the North American WASP by Lauren Lipton. Now, I read this book a few years ago and loved it. I was feeling nostalgic and decided to read it again.
  • The Husband Diet by Nancy Barone. Nancy is one of my fellow Matera brainstormers and this is one of the books we brainstormed together. Can’t wait to finally read it. I’ve preordered it. 🙂
  • Damocles by S.G. Redling. Sheila is another Matera brainstormer and Damocles is another book we all brainstormed. I loved the plot when she told us about it. I think this is going to be another hit like her previous novel, Flowertown. Different genre, complete different story but I’m sure it won’t disappoint.
  • The Lost Daughter by Mary Williams. Williams is an African-American woman who was adopted by actress Jane Fonda. The Lost Daughter is her memoir about growing up in Oakland in the 1970s and what brought her to the camp Fonda and then-husband Tom Hayden ran. It’s also a story about self-discovery and knowing when you can go home again.
  • Leftovers by Stella Newman. I loved Newman’s Pear Shaped--even when her main character was driving me crazy with being submissive to an emotionally-unavailable man. According to the back cover blurb, Leftovers is about friendship, love and enjoying what’s left on the table. I’ve already got it on my Kindle…soon I’ll dive in. 🙂
  • Hemlock Grove by Brian McGreevy. Every now and then, I need a dose of paranormal, and it looks like this time it will be the werewolves of Hemlock Grove who give me my dose. 🙂
  • Lessons in French by Hillary Reyl. Set in Paris in 1989, this is a story about a woman rediscovering Paris and her past. It’s also about what happens when life begins to spiral out of control. I can’t wait to dig into this one! 😀
  • Banker’s Death: Temptation in Florence #3 by Beate Boeker. Beate’s a fellow Matera brainstormer and, as I posted earlier, I love her sense of humor and her quirky cast of characters.
  • Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Theresa Anne Fowler. Having read so much by and inspired by  F.Scott, it’s great to finally find a novel about Zelda. This one is sure to be enthralling!
  • Woman on the Run by Lisa Marie Rice. Rice is the pseudonym for one my fellow Matera Brainstormers. She writes great romantic and erotic suspense and this is one of her books which I haven’t read yet. I think I will take this one with me to Copenhagen in a few weeks! 🙂

That’s it for now. I am anxious to get working on Maybe Baby again. I’m revising Chapter 7. Five more chapters to tighten and then I will feel ready to release it. 🙂

Happy reading (and writing)! 🙂

Forget Twilight, You Need to Read Blood Shadows

ImageEver since I was a child, I’ve always loved vampires. I blame it on all the Hammer Horror films I watched on channels 17 and 48 (if you’re from the Philadelphia area and you grew up in the 1970s/80s, you’ll know exactly what I mean). Many Saturday afternoons were spent watching movies like the Horror of Dracula, the Vampire Lovers or the Satanic Rites of Dracula. I devoured any books I could find that featured vampires. When I was older, my taste in vampire movies changed a bit–I liked the idea of the sexy vampires–the Lost Boys, Near Darkand the Hunger were high on my list of favorite films. Then came the Twilight vampires. I was not a big fan of the books. The movies didn’t do much for me either. By this point in my life, I still wanted sexy vampires, but I also wanted them to have a dangerous edge. I didn’t want sappy vampires who sparkled.

Now I have a new favorite book to add to my list of vampire novel–Lindsay J. Pryor’s Blood Shadows, the first book in the Blackthorn series. It’s a dark, gritty paranormal romance that’s thrilling, sexy and a definite must-read.

Blood Shadows is set in a dystopian world where humans rule and vampires (and other supernatural beings) are second-class citizens. Enter into this world Caitlin Parish, a shadow reader for the Vampire Control Unit, who is on a quest to find the creature that killed her parents. She uses her VCU mission to hunt down master vampire Kane Malloy, who’s trying to get retribution for his sister’s murder, to further her search. Already from the onset, there is a palatable tension between Caitlin and Kane and as this attraction grows, the reader is pulled in–you know they’re enemies, you know they shouldn’t be together at all and yet you long for it. Perfect!

One thing I hate is when books are too simplistic or when everything ties up a little too neatly, especially suspense or horror novels. I want action, I want complications, I want to be sitting on the edge of my seat. Blood Shadows delivers on all three counts. As Caitlin gets closer to the truth, the pace quickens and the plot twists catch you unawares. I was sucked in, reading well into the night when I should have been sleeping. And I don’t regret it one bit!

After all the Twilight hype and the Twilight copies, I’d begun to lose faith in vampire novels. Now I can say my faith has been restored. Lindsay J. Pryor’s Blood Shadows is the sort of page-turner you never want to end. I can’t wait to read the next book in the series. And I think you’ll be hooked too.

Reminder: Giveaway ends on August 24

This book could be yours…

Just a little reminder that you only have 10 more days to win a copy of The Circle, the phenomenal YA paranormal novel that’s taken Sweden by storm.

All you have to do is tell me a story about your spookiest experience ever and you could be one of the lucky winners. I’ve already received a few good entries…and I can’t wait to read more! 🙂

Leave a comment here with your story or send it via email to kimtalksbooks@gmail.com.

The 2 spookiest stories win! And this is an international giveaway–so *everyone* can enter. So what are you waiting for? 🙂

Something wicked this way comes…

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So you know how I love Cirkeln by Sara Elfgren and Mats Strandberg…and how excited I was when it  came out in English? Well, now I can share The Circle (Cirkeln‘s title in Englsih) with you. Mats and Sara have kindly given me two copies for my very first kimtalksbooks giveaway. So what do you have to do to score one of the copies?

Tell me about the spookiest thing that has ever happened to you. You can write about a place, a person or something completely unexplainable that you’ve personally experienced. The two people with the spookiest stories will win! And best of all, this giveaway is open to everyone, no matter where in the world you live.

Send your entries to me at kimtalksbooks@gmail.com by Friday, August 24. I’ll read through the entries and pick the two I think are spookiest. Remember: only one entry per person, and I’ll announce the winners on September 6th.

Give Books as Gifts for Christmas – Part One

I am one of those people who always appreciate receiving books as gifts. I am also picky when it comes to what books I want. I think most book lovers are the same. We love it when people think enough of us to give us books; we don’t really like it when people don’t actually know what type of books we like and give us something we would never read in a million years. An old boyfriend once asked me , “Would you like some books for Christmas?” I said yes and, when he asked if I could tell him what I hadn’t already read but wanted to read, I wrote down a list of titles for him. I thought this was a good start. Unfortunately, on the day after Christmas when we finally had time to meet, I unwrappped the box and found he’d bought Tom Clancy and Jackie Collins books for me when I’d wished for titles by Milan Kundera, Toni Morrison and Jay McInerney. Luckily there was a gift receipt so I could take all the books back and exchange them for books I really wanted to read. Hollywood Wives and the Hunt for Red October weren’t really very high on my list of must-read books. Nor was anything by H.P. Lovecraft.

So to help you avoid making the same mistake, let’s take a look at some books your book lovers might like. I know I am already drooling over a few of these titles. They may end up being my Christmas presents to myself…

If you have any thriller lovers on your list, then Robert Harris’ latest offering, the Fear Index, should tickle their fancy. This time Harris focuses on an artificial intelligence that tracks human emotions, which enables it to predict movements in financial markets, and what happens when its creator, the ultra-rich. Dr Alex Hoffmann discovers someone has breached the security of his home and finds himself in a nightmare of paranoia and violence. I don’t know about you, but I am all ready hooked. I think I may have to treat myself to that one…:)

For the teenagers (and adults) on your list who prefer their Kindle to “normal” books, check out Forget the Past and Reclaim the Present, Books 1 & 2 of Claude Nougat‘s Fear the Past trilogy. Both books have the perfect blend of the paranormal, time travel, romance and historical fiction to hook readers from the first page. So what’s it about, you ask? At 17, our protagonist, Tony, is a gifted video game creator suffering from burnout. He goes to Sicily (his deceased father’s home) to recover and to rediscover his roots. One day, he finds himself drawn to an abandoned palazzo and is drawn into a strange world where the ghosts of his ancestors await Judgment Day. He also falls in love–with the ghost of the Duchess of Floridia. But can this love transcend time…? Well, you’ll have to read it to find out. 🙂 I’ve read book one and loved it. Going to order book 2 ASAP!

For the food lover on your list, I recommend the Food52 Cookbook. I am a big fan of Food52’s blog and I had to order this cookbook for myself. I am still trying to figure out which recipes I’m going to try but they all sound so scrumptious that I may find myself cooking a lot during the holidays. If you’ve never heard of Food52 or its blog, go there now and discover why it’s one of the best food blogs around.

Want to really splurge on your favorite Norman Mailer or  Marilyn Monroe fan? Then chuck down £650 (yes, that’s the correct amount) on Marilyn Monroe by Norman Mailer and Bert Stern. Taschen has combined Norman Mailer’s original text from his 1973 biography of Monroe with Bert Stern’s gorgeous photographs. You might remember a few years ago he recreated these very images with Lindsay Lohan but nothing beats the beauty and intimacy of the original sessions. I doubt I will ever chuck down so much money on a book but maybe one of you will and I can live vicariously through you.

That’s it for now but I’ll be back later this week with more gift ideas for the rest of the book lovers on your list…

My Autumn-Winter 2011 reading list…

Photo: Rymdborje

It’s officially autumn in Stockholm, Sweden though it feels more like winter. In northern Sweden, they’ve already had their first snowfall. I don’t even want to think about snow yet so I figured instead it was time to let you know what I want to read as I prepare to cocoon for the winter… There are a lot of good books out (or soon to be released), making it difficult to pick only a few…

I spent part of Monday evening trawling online bookstores looking for intriguing titles. Here are five books I think I will read as winter chill and darkness settles upon Stockholm:

I love a good ghost story and Justin Cronin’s review Chris Bohjalian’s The Night Strangers (on Amazon.com) intrigued me. Set in rural New Hampshire, the novel tells the story of Chip Linton, a pilot suffering from survivor’s guilt, and what happens when he and his family move into a rambling Victorian house in northern New Hampshire. One day they discover a door bolted with 39 locks…why 39 locks? And does it have anything to do with the 39 people who died in the plane crash Chip survived? This could be the perfect creepy story to get me in the mood for Halloween.

I am a sucker for books set in my hometown of Philadelphia and books with recipes incorporated in the plot. Angelina’s Bachelors by Brian O’Reilly (with recipes by his wife, Virginia O’Reilly) satisfies both of my guilty pleasures! The novel is set in South Philly and is described as a Capraesque (even better! I love Frank Capra!) story about a young widow who, following the sudden death of her husband, finds herself cooking for seven unlikely bachelors. According to many reviewers, O’Reilly really captures the vibe of South Philly. I wonder which version of South Philly we get… well, I will just have to order this book and discover it for myself. I have fond memories of times spent in South Philly with my high school and college friends.

Now granted the Silver Spoon is not a book one reads… it’s more a book for drooling. It is the bible of Italian food. Tord and I already have a copy of this amazing cookbook but this new edition has photographs–something our edition doesn’t have–and I do love a bit of food pornography. I can’t help it…especially not when Italian food is involved. So this one is on my list even though what I will probably do is mark recipes and coo at Tord until he fixes them for me, which is one of his favorite things to do at the weekend. And if you want to learn to make proper risotto or cacciatore, then you need this cookbook. And if you don’t want to learn how to cook but you like looking at pretty pictures of yummy food…then you should definitely buy this edition of the Silver Spoon.

I loved Martha Southgate‘s Third Girl From the Left so I was very happy when I heard she had a new novel coming out. Her new book is called The Taste of Salt and tells the story of two generations of an African-American family and how a legacy of addiction affects them. At the centre of the story is Josie, who has chosen to exile herself from her family and finds an escape from it with her profession as a marine biologist. When her mother asks her to come home and pick up her brother from his second stint in rehab, Josie must come to terms with her past and with complexities of her family. I have the feeling this will be one of those books that makes me cry so I will have to prepare myself (and Tord) for bouts of weepiness.

Finally, there’s Ellen Sussman’s French Lessons. I first heard about this book back in July. A clerk at Waterstones in Harrods told me about it but they didn’t have it in stock. I thought about ordering it when I returned to Stockholm but it kept slipping my mind. Now I’ve written it on my list so I have to buy it!

French Lessons is a novel about three Americans and the experiences they have in Paris via their French tutor. It’s also about language, love and how lives intersect in the most unexpected of ways. I was intrigued (still am!) so I think this could be my sit-in-cafés-dreaming-of-a-weekend-trip book for the winter.

So now that you know what I’ll be reading, why don’t you tell me what you’ll be reading this autumn-winter… Drop me a line! Let’s compare notes!

And don’t forget: you can follow my blog if you enjoy reading it. Just click on the “Follow” tab in the lower-right corner of your screen and enter your details. You’ll be notified whenever I update kimtalksbooks–which will be fairly often during the month of November since I’ll be keeping you abreast of my Nanowrimo progress and posting the very rough drafts of my Nano chapters.

 

 

 

 

 

What I bought in London…

Normally when I am in London I go to Waterstone’s near Piccadilly Circus and spend way too much money. However, when I was in London last week, I spent most of my time in South Kensington and didn’t really feel like battling the other tourists and the Tube and the humidity. Yes, it was humid and warm though a tad bit rainy on occasion. And heat, humidity and the Tube are not a great combination. Last summer, when I was in London for the weekend, it was around 30C (86F) and taking the Tube was awful in the heat. So I walked everywhere this time and ended up at Harrod’s, where there is a Waterstone’s on the third floor. It’s not as massive as the one at Piccadilly but it has a good selection so I bought four books while I was there. And what did I buy…?

"My Last Duchess" by Daisy Goodwin

My Last Duchess by Daisy Goodwin. The US version of this book is called The American Heiress. I’ve already started reading this one, which tells the story of an American heiress named Cora Cash (whose life is loosely based on that of Consuelo Vanderbilt, the American heiress of her time and who ventured to the UK and married  the land-rich but cash-poor Duke of Malrborough) whose socially ambitious mother is determined to find a titled husband for her. Within the first week of arriving in England, Cora meets and becomes engaged to Ivo, the Duke of Wareham.

There’s also a very interesting subplot with Bertha, Cora’s black maid, and the duke’s valet, Jim. Here we get to see how Bertha experiences culture clash, racism and a sense of liberation. Cora, on the other hand, feels more and more stifled by the title she now bears and there are a lot of things she still doesn’t know about the man she married… It’s a page turner.

Cover of "Vaclav & Lena" by Haley Tanner

Vaclav and Lena by Haley Tanner. Vaclav and Lena meet as children in an ESL class in Brooklyn. Vaclav dreams of becoming a magician while Lena takes comfort in Vaclav’s adoration of her and in his family who welcome her.

Then one day Lena disappears and Vaclav tries to figure out what may have happened to her and why she left him. For the next seven years, he says goodnight to her and wonders if she is somewhere doing the same. On the eve of Lena’s 17th birthday, he finds out the truth.

I haven’t started reading this one yet but I opened it to a random page before buying it and was hooked.

 

"The People Next Door" by Christopher Ransom

The People Next Door by Christopher Ransom. This one was sort of an impulse buy. It sounds like a horror novel about what happens when Mick and Amy Nash’s new neighbors–who seem perfectly normal at first glance–turn out to be not at all what they pretend to be. Mick finds out there is something very wrong with the neighbors and is determined to find out the truth.

Supposedly, The People Next Door is “…the most terrifying, unforgettable novel you’ll read all year”. I’ve read some reviews online that say otherwise. However, I will give it a try. I haven’t read a horror novel in a while. I’ll let you know if I was terrified by it or if it was indeed unforgettable.

 

"A Visit from the Goon Squad" by Jennifer Egan

And finally, A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan. I think everyone has already heard quite a lot about A Visit from the Goon Squad–it having won the 2010 National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction and the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction as well as being adapted by HBO for a TV series.

A Visit from the Goon Squad is essentially a novel-in-stories, i.e. a collection of stories that are connected and can either be read like a novel or as stories in their own right. I am looking forward to diving into this book so I may do that as soon as I finish reading My Last Duchess.

Of course, I now have A Storm of Swords and A Feast of Crows (books 3 & 4 in the Song of Ice and Fire series, a.k.a Game of Thrones series) by George R.R. Martin so I may be tempted to start with them instead. I didn’t buy these two in London–I’d already ordered them a few days before I left Stockholm. Well, I think I have enough books to keep me busy for a while. 🙂