Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Name 3 things with Portia MacIntosh

Please welcome Portia MacIntosh, author of Truth or Date, as she lets us into her life with our Name 3 Things interview!



About Portia:

Portia MacIntosh has been 'making stuff up' for as long as she can remember - or so she says. Whether it was blaming her siblings for that broken vase when she was growing up, blagging her way backstage during her rock chick phase or, most recently, whatever justification she can fabricate to explain away those lunchtime cocktails, Portia just loves telling tales. After years working as a music journalist, Portia decided it was time to use her powers for good and started writing novels. Taking inspiration from her experiences on tour with bands, the real struggle of dating in your twenties and just trying to survive as an adult human female generally, Portia writes about what it's really like for women who don't find this life stuff as easy as it seems.



Connect with Portia:
 Website      Facebook     Twitter    Goodreads

Portia MacIntosh on Name 3 things:


Name three things one wouldn’t normally expect to find…

 In your fridge

Chocolate, because I like it chilled. Milk, for my Coco Pops. Cheese, because cheese.
  
In your purse

Perfume. Portable iPhone charger. A selection of lipsticks, glosses and balms that could rival Boots.

In/On your bedside table

A lava lamp, obviously. A pile of books. Inexplicably, a Christmas card.

In your car

Sweets. iPhone charger. Emergency hoody.
   
On your desk/writing spot

Earphones. Too many notebooks. A cup of tea (usually cold).
  
In the "junk drawer"

A backstage pass from my favourite tour. An edible candy bra so old it should not be eaten. A Nokia 3310.
In your closet/garage/storage room

A pair of limited edition shoes that I love more than certain members of my family. All my clothes from when I was a fat teenager that I just can’t seem to part with. All my stuffed animals, because I hide them to pretend I’m a grown-up.

In your music or movie collection

Almost Famous. Closer. The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

On your bookshelf

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath. The Naughty Girl's Guide To Life by Sharon Marshall and Tara Palmer-Tomkinson (yes, really). How to Walk in High Heels by Camilla Morton.




Truth or Date

Ruby Wood is perfectly happy playing the dating game – until she has a red-hot dream about her very attractive flatmate, Nick. He might spend every day saving lives as a junior doctor, but he’s absolutely the last man on earth that fun-loving Ruby would ever date!

The solution? Focus on all of Nick’s bad points. And if that fails, up her dating antics and find herself a man! So what if she manages to make disapproving, goody two-shoes Nick jealous in the process…

Only, after a series of nightmare first dates, there’s still just one man on Ruby’s mind. Maybe it’s time to admit the truth and dare to ask Nick to be her next date?

Available at:
Kindle  

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Before the Fall by Noah Hawley

5 Star

On a foggy summer night, eleven people-ten privileged, one down-on-his-luck painter-depart Martha's Vineyard on a private jet headed for New York. Sixteen minutes later, the unthinkable happens: the plane plunges into the ocean. The only survivors are Scott Burroughs-the painter-and a four-year-old boy, who is now the last remaining member of an immensely wealthy and powerful media mogul's family. 

With chapters weaving between the aftermath of the crash and the backstories of the passengers and crew members-including a Wall Street titan and his wife, a Texan-born party boy just in from London, a young woman questioning her path in life, and a career pilot-the mystery surrounding the tragedy heightens. As the passengers' intrigues unravel, odd coincidences point to a conspiracy. Was it merely by dumb chance that so many influential people perished? Or was something far more sinister at work? Events soon threaten to spiral out of control in an escalating storm of media outrage and accusations. And while Scott struggles to cope with fame that borders on notoriety, the authorities scramble to salvage the truth from the wreckage. 



Sabrina-Kate - 5 Star

I had never read a novel by Noah Hawley before, but I have to say, I definitely will be again! An obvious talent, this book was no exception to that. Based on a tragic event and alternating between before and after and also different character's stories, this book had me hooked from the beginning. I absolutely loved how fast paced it was and it remained so throughout. 

The main character, Scott, was an interesting guy and I really liked how realistic his life was portrayed. No rose colored glasses as far as his life was concerned! I also found the parallels between his own life and the tragedy to be subtle but very much there which helped tie it all together in a very pleasing way.

One of the main strengths of this book were the very unique stories each character had to tell and how they were woven together so adeptly while remaining so intrinsically original. It was also nice to get a bit of a background on each of the characters and to get to know them, so the stories they told were not just in the recent past before the event. 

I cannot fathom having lived through such an event as the plane crash, which is the central focus of this book. Whether being like Scott or JJ and actually having been there, or being a loved one affected by the aftermath, this book made me ponder such things which are unfortunately not that uncommon in our day and age.

From a great beginning to an unexpected ending, Before the Fall was an absolute treat to read, drawing me in and kept me coming back for more. I can't wait to read something else by Noah and I will make sure that happens soon.


Thank you to Grand Central Publishing for our review copy. All opinions are our own.

Connect with Noah Hawley:
Website     Facebook     Twitter     Goodreads






Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Modern Girls by Jennifer S.Brown

4 Star

In 1935, Dottie Krasinsky is the epitome of the modern girl. A bookkeeper in Midtown Manhattan, Dottie steals kisses from her steady beau, meets her girlfriends for drinks, and eyes the latest fashions. Yet at heart, she is a dutiful daughter, living with her Yiddish-speaking parents on the Lower East Side. So when, after a single careless night, she finds herself in a family way by a charismatic but unsuitable man, she is desperate: unwed, unsure, and running out of options.

After the birth of five children—and twenty years as a housewife—Dottie’s immigrant mother, Rose, is itching to return to the social activism she embraced as a young woman. With strikes and breadlines at home and National Socialism rising in Europe, there is much more important work to do than cooking and cleaning. So when she realizes that she, too, is pregnant, she struggles to reconcile her longings with her faith. 

As mother and daughter wrestle with unthinkable choices, they are forced to confront their beliefs, the changing world, and the fact that their lives will never again be the same…. 




Kathryn - 4 Star

I have a thing for historical fiction set around WW2. It doesn’t have to be European or American or any particular theme or story line but something about it makes me think of my grandparents and their real existence during this time period.

Modern Girls has two strong female leads, mother and daughter, whose stories alternate in real time with some of the mother’s past given to us as well.  There aren’t any direct male voices which is interesting in itself in a time period that is just on the brink of women joining the work force etc. I love that Dottie flits between the traditional daughter, who helps at home, to modern girl out with her friends.  The descriptions of both are so vivid and it made it so easy to envision her life.  Rose is also very vibrant and her personality comes through with every internal thought and voiced opinion. I love her sense of self despite her traditional role as mother and wife which always seems to incorrectly imply a lack of personality.

Their shared secret was wonderfully played out- I felt for Dottie when she couldn’t decide the best way to move forward and empathised so much with Rose about her frustration with not being able to help her daughter- she was also trying to work through so much personally.  I was so touched with the scenes between Rose and her husband. They seemed to respect each other so much that I kept hoping one of the prospective partners for Dottie would suddenly become so enlightened.  I’m not sure if any of them would have had the same long-lasting love.

The real story comes down to family and the links that tie them, from parents and children to siblings and friends. Modern Girls was entrancing and I loved reading it.


Thank you to Penguin Random House for our review copy.  All opinions are our own.

Connect with Jennifer S.Brown:
Website     Facebook     Twitter     Goodreads


Sunday, June 19, 2016

Would you rather with Charise Olson

Please welcome Charise Olson, author of Lemon Twist.


Charise Olson:

 

Leo Colson is the pen name for Charise Olson's historical fiction. She writes California fiction. It's a lot like Southern fiction, but without all that humidity. Charise resides in the Santa Cruz Mountains where the redwoods bask in the Pacific Ocean breezes.

Thank you for reading.






Connect with Charise:
Would You Rather... 
with Charise Olson

Chips, chocolate or cheese?

Today, I’ll say chips. But this is definitely a “depends on the day” and mostly I’d say, I’m an inclusive sort so why choose at all—all of the above!

Bridget Jones, Becky Bloomwood or Carrie Bradshaw?

I think I’m a hybrid of Carrie and Bridget. I don’t think I have the daring fashion sense of Carrie, but I do like cute shoes.

Wine, beer or vodka?

Vodka—for all the Lemon Twists (of course!). A very very cold dirty martini is my drink of choice.

Camping or spa vacation?

Spa vacation. My tent camping days are over.

Water or mountains?

I live near both, but I’d pick mountains.

Zombies or vampires?

Neither. Dead? Stay dead. Your turn is over.

Dogs or cats?

Dogs. Don’t tell my cat. Or my dogs, it’ll go to their heads and there will be no dealing with that level of ego.

Coke or Pepsi?

Diet Coke. I gave up soda and was told I’d soon lose the taste for it. Well, it’s been over a year and I still miss it.

Coffee or tea?

Coffee. Coffee. Coffee.

Dine out or take away?

Dine out. If I’m not cooking, I don’t want to have any dishes either.

High heels, sneakers or flip flops?

Hmmm…well, I’ll just eliminate flip flops. I don’t like that thing between my toes. I can’t pick between sneakers and heels. By heels, nothing over 2 inches.


Physical Book or ebook?

I read both but without the convenience factor, I prefer a real book.

Paperback or Hardcover?

Paperback. I have no idea.

Pen or pencil?

Pen. Blue. Only blue.

Mad Men, Downton Abbey or Breaking Bad?

Downton Abbey. I do wish Mary had had to curtsy to Edith in that last episode.

Drama or comedy?

I like comedy that can make you laugh so hard and realize a new truth.

Twilight or Hunger Games?

Neither. I do like Jennifer Lawrence but I didn’t get into either of these series.

Lipstick, lipgloss or chapstick?

Lipgloss. I always lose my lipgloss tubes. There’s a big stash of pink lip gloss somewhere.

Facebook or Twiter?

Facebook. I can’t think in Tweets.

Plot your entire novel or fly by the seat of your pants?

I’m more of a pantser, but I do know where I’m headed. Eventually.


Lemon Twist

“How bad would it be if we didn’t get married?”
Audrey is planning her perfect wedding for her perfect life and perfect future as Dr. Gregory Smith’s wife. Right up until he calls with the news his chilly feet have gone icy cold.
With an unworn dress (that was just a few salads away from fitting), a lost promotion, and living in her best friend’s spare room it’s no wonder her therapist is on speed dial.
With help from great friends, some divine intervention, and a few Lemon Twist martinis, Audrey deals with her commitment phobic fiancĂ©, her boss’ roving eye, and the decision to chuck what’s left of her life state-side and head for volunteer work in Costa Rica.
In Costa Rica, Audrey learns Spanish, the perils of raw coffee beans, and how man trouble can find you even in the rain forest.
Because while Audrey might have left a lot behind, she still manages to bring along plenty of baggage.


Available at:

Amazon Kindle Nook Kobo 

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Pronouncing Enzo by Aimee Bealer

3 Star

Hester Hastings is the best dialect coach in Hollywood. The hottest actors pay her top dollar to help them master accents that will wow the critics. She would never offer free lessons to an ex-con from South Central L.A. and let him live in her pool cabana…until her best friend challenges her to a crazy bet.

In only three months, Hester must transform the ex-con so he can dazzle Hollywood royalty posing as an up-and-coming British actor. 

Enzo Diaz just got out of jail. He is determined to get a good job and turn his life around. But with a criminal record and an accent straight from the streets, his job prospects aren’t looking good. When Hester offers to polish his English and give him a place to stay it’s a no-brainer. Enzo is desperate for a chance at a better life.

Hester didn’t count on finding out Enzo’s rough exterior hides a heart of gold. But just when she starts to fall for him, she discovers his shocking secret. 

Forget winning the bet. Does Hester have the courage to win at love?



Kaley - 3 Star

Makeover stories are not new but there was something about Aimee Bealer’s novel Pronouncing Enzo that intrigued me. I ended up liking the book and the characters Bealer created but I was a bit disappointed because I felt that the novel could have been oh so much better.

Even though this isn’t really a very long book, it felt long. There were stretches where I just wanted to skim the pages so I could move on to the next part of the book that actually moved the story along. I found there was just a bit too much teaching Enzo dialect or manners and it got pretty boring, quickly. This is a shame because I’ve never read a book about a dialect coach before and, for the most part, I really did find it interesting.

I also didn’t love the fact that it took Hester way too long to realize that she was treating Enzo poorly and unfairly. She wasn’t mistreating him or anything like that but she was extremely judgemental and didn’t seem him as a person. This was another part I wish had been sped up because I was tired of Hester being, well, an idiot and I wanted her to see that Enzo as a good man who was doing his best because he knew this was his only shot out of a crap situation.

I really liked that the book was told from alternating perspectives. Hearing both characters’ perspectives gave the story so much more depth because I could understand their motivations for why they were acting the way they were (even if that way was ridiculous). Having Enzo’s POV also allowed Bealer to show how his speech was being altered throughout the course of the story. It was a bit annoying to read his sections at first because it was filled with slang and improper speech but as he learned Standard American English, his parts got easier to read.

Overall, Pronouncing Enzo was a good read. Aimee Bealer’s story didn’t blow me away but it was still enjoyable. I wish there had been some more editing – I felt there were too many unnecessary sections – because then I probably would have given it a higher rating. Still, the novel provided a new spin on a makeover story and is worth a read if you think it sounds interesting.


Thank you to the author for our review copy.  All opinions are our own.

Connect with Aimee Bealer:
Website     Facebook      Goodreads

Monday, June 13, 2016

Would you rather with Cara Sue Achterberg

Please welcome Cara Sue Achterberg, author of Girls' Weekend.


Cara Sue Achterberg:

 

Cara Sue Achterberg is a writer and blogger who lives in New Freedom, PA with her family and an embarrassing number of animals. Her first novel, I’m Not Her, was a national bestseller. Cara’s nonfiction book, Live Intentionally, is a guide to the organic life filled with ideas, recipes, and inspiration for living a more intentional life. Cara is a prolific blogger, occasional cowgirl, and busy mom whose essays and articles have been published in numerous anthologies, magazines, and websites. Links to her blogs, news about upcoming publications, and pictures of her foster dogs can be found at CaraWrites.com


Connect with Cara Sue:
Would You Rather... 
with Cara Sue Achterberg

Chips, chocolate or cheese?

Cheese, of course, provided there will be plenty of wine.

Bridget Jones, Becky Bloomwood or Carrie Bradshaw?

Is it terrible that I had to google Becky Bloomwood? I have to go with Bridget Jones, simply because I did read that book and I couldn’t resist the movie with Renee Zellweger and Hugh Grant and Colin Firth. Book was better, though.

Wine, beer or vodka?

Wine, wine, wine, wine, wine.

Camping or spa vacation?

I’m a nature girl. Love camping.

Water or mountains?

Water in the mountains would be the ideal.

Zombies or vampires?

The zombie thing has gotten too far out of hand. The eyes freak me out. I’ll have to go with vampires.

Dogs or cats?

For a very long time it was cats, but now I’ve gone overboard for dogs. (I’m currently fostering a momma dog and her nine – yes, nine – puppies.)

Coke or Pepsi?

Back in the day, I was a Coke girl, but now I have to say neither.

Coffee or tea?

Oh, tea! Love my tea. I can’t write without my tall mug of White Chocolate-Coconut Latte flavored green tea. I even grow my own mint for mint tea.

Dine out or take away?

If I’m going out to eat, I want to be waited on.

High heels, sneakers or flip flops?

Sneakers definitely. I fall down in heels and flip flops are no good going down hill. Besides that, I like to be ready to run.

Physical Book or ebook?

Physical book for sure. I like to write in my books.

Paperback or Hardcover?

Paper back – much lighter in the purse.

Pen or pencil?

Pen – can’t write fast enough with a pencil.

Mad Men, Downton Abbey or Breaking Bad?

Mad Men. John Hamm. Enough said.

Drama or comedy?

Drama. So many comedies these days have horrible humor – offensive or stupid or way too obvious.

Twilight or Hunger Games?

Twilight. I can’t stand the premise of Hunger Games. The idea of killing children horrifies me- even if it’s pretend.

Lipstick, lipgloss or chapstick?

Lipstick – I feel naked without it.

Facebook or Twiter?

I used to love Facebook, but of late I’m really into twitter. Love connecting with people all over the world.

Plot your entire novel or fly by the seat of your pants?

I’m a pantser all the way.

Girls' Weekend

Dani, Meg, and Charlotte have bonded over babies, barbeques, and backyards, but when they escape for a girls weekend away, they can't bring themselves to return to lives that don't seem to fit anymore.

Harried Dani can't explain why she feels so discontented until she meets a young gallery owner who inspires her to rediscover the art that once made her happy.

Dependable Meg faces up to a grief that threatens to swallow her whole and confronts a marriage built on expectations.

Flamboyant Charlotte, frustrated with her stagnated life and marriage, pursues a playboy Irish singer and beachside business opportunities.

All three of these women thought they would be different. None of them thought they'd be facing down forty and still wondering when life starts. What they do when they realize where they're headed is both inspiring and wildly entertaining. 


Available at:

Amazon Barnes & Noble Kindle Nook Kobo 


Friday, June 10, 2016

The Ones Who Matter Most by Rachael Herron

4 Star

After her husband dies unexpectedly, Abby Roberts comes across something startling: wedding photographs of him with another woman, along with pictures of a baby boy. Shocked, Abby does something utterly impulsive: She embarks on a journey to discover the family her husband apparently left behind.

Money has always been tight for single mom Fern Reyes, and never tighter than now. But this month, in place of a child-support check, her ex's pretty, privileged wife appears on her doorstep with far too many questions. Unfortunately, her young son is so taken with Abby that Fern doesn’t have the heart to send her away.

What begins as one woman’s search for truth becomes a deep bond forged between the unlikeliest of people, and the discovery that there are many ways to make a family—as long as you take care...




Kathryn- 4 Star

The plot in The Ones Who Matter Most held some surprises from the beginning with Abby’s relationship with her husband and I really liked the strength that Rachael Herron strove for in her characters from the start. Abby was a woman who knew her mind, she may have been slightly nervous but her heart was certainly telling her that her marriage was over- she just wasn’t expecting any of the things that happened next.

I immediately liked Abby, she was obviously intelligent and determined but she was also a little bit flaky on daily life and organisation and her quirks made me warm to her.  By contrast it took me a touch longer to warm to Fern as her very nature was a bit stand-off’ish. As her story comes out through the novel you can see why she’s guarded and careful.  The link between the two women, though somewhat obvious, was actually still a surprise to me!  I loved the way the author had Abby discover the relationship between Fern and her husband and let each detail out slowly over time. There were so many layers to uncover about their past and then the many intricacies of their becoming friends themselves spread out through the rest of the plot.

Each relationship in this book was poignant. The sweet bond between Fern and her son, the fun-loving relationship between Matty’s grandfather and his partner and the way Fern cares for them both, the sibling bond between Fern and her brother… the list of beautiful ties goes on and Abby becomes another link in their solid chain. I loved the intricacies of the bonds created by Rachael Herron.


Thank you to Penguin Random House for our review copy.  All opinions are our own.

Connect with Rachael Herron:
Website     Facebook     Twitter    Goodreads


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