Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Catherine McKenzie Stranded on a Desert Island

Please welcome Catherine McKenzie, author of Spun, Spin, Hidden, Arranged and Forgotten as she braves our Desert Island Interview.


First, a bit about Catherine:

A graduate of McGill University in History and Law, Catherine practises law in Montreal, where she was born and raised. An avid skier and runner, Catherine’s novels, SPIN, ARRANGED, FORGOTTEN and HIDDEN are all international bestsellers. Her fifth novel, SPUN, will be released on April 29th, 2014 in Canada and the US. Her novels have been translated into French, German, Czech, Slovak and Polish. And if you want to know how she has time to do all that, the answer is: robots.
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Connect with Catherine:
Website   Facebook   Twitter   Goodreads   Google+



Catherine McKenzie Stranded on a Desert Island!

If you could only have one book with you, what would it be?

The collected works of Jane Austen. Ha. See what I did there? I have all six novels in one volume so that would keep me occupied for a while.

What one luxury item would you want to be stranded with? 

Is soap a luxury item? Then, soap please.

What is the one practical item you would want to have with you to use?

A headlamp with a battery that recharges with the sun so I always have light.

Would you enjoy the solitude, even briefly, or would it drive you crazy?

I’d like it briefly, but I’m sure it would drive me crazy. Unless, of course, I had Wilson from that Tom Hanks movie. That would keep me sane, for sure.

If you could be stranded with one other person, who would you want it to be?

A complete stranger so I haven’t heard any of their stories yet. And they haven’t heard any of mine.

What modern technology would you miss the most?

My iPhone.

What food or beverage would you miss the most?

Diet Coke.

How many days do you think you would cope without rescue?

Depends on whether I had food and water. Those are kind of essential.

What is the first thing you would do when rescued?

A long, hot shower. While eating a cheeseburger.

What would be your first Tweet or Facebook update upon your return?

The news of my death has been greatly exaggerated. Or wait, maybe Twitter and Facebook would be done by then? Mmmm…


Spun

Life has been rough for starlet Amber since leaving rehab. She’s been two years sober, but no one seems to believe her -- not the gossip media, not casting agents, and most certainly not her spotlight-loving parents. With her friendships ruined by betrayal and her career at a standstill, Amber’s just trying to get her life back on track. It doesn’t help that her former love, movie star Connor Parks, keeps trying to draw Amber back in, not just to their relationship but to his hard-partying ways. One fateful night, Amber breaks down and agrees to join him on board his private jet as it readies for take-off -- a decision that will change her life forever and expose her to a whole new level of scrutiny and heartbreak.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Cathy Bramley - Would You Rather

Please welcome Cathy Bramley, author of Conditional Love

About Cathy:

Cathy Bramley is a British author of women’s feel-good fiction. Conditional Love, a romantic comedy is her debut novel. Her new title, Ivy Lane is being serialized as four ebooks this year and will be released as a paperback in 2015.

Cathy has spent most of her working career in the crazy world of marketing. After graduating from University in Nottingham, she plunged herself into corporate world, working on high-powered projects such as testing the firing range of SuperSoaker water guns and perfecting the weeing action of Tiny Tears. In 1995  she set up her own marketing agency, Apples & Pears Marketing, but now most of her marketing activities involve promoting her books.

She lives in an idyllic Nottinghamshire village with her husband, two daughters and a dog called Pearl.


Connect with Cathy:
Website     Facebook     Twitter     Goodreads     Google+


Would You Rather... with Cathy Bramley

Chips, chocolate or cheese? 

Chocolate please.  At around three o’clock in the afternoon usually! 

Bridget Jones, Becky Bloomwood or Carrie Bradshaw? 

BRIDGET JONES! This is one of my all-time favourite chick-lit books. I have it on my kindle and re-read it regularly.

Wine, beer or vodka? 

Chilled white wine. Sauvignon blanc, preferably. Although I do adore Cherry-flavoured vodka which I discovered on a trip to Poland last year and now I keep a bottle in the freezer!

Camping or spa vacation?

Oh crumbs! Spa every time. The thought of camping gives me nightmares.

Water or Mountains?

Water I think. Mountains are lovely, but there is something so soothing about being next to the sea. 


Zombies or Vampires?

Do you know what? I couldn’t care less about either of them. I really don’t get fantasy or sci-fi at all. Give me a gritty crime or a lovely love story any day!

Dogs or Cats?

We had two lovely cats called Beano and Dennis, they were brothers from the same litter and we adored them. They are no longer with us sadly, but now that I work from home we have a dog and she is great company. So I’ll say dog, but really I love them all.

Coke or Pepsi?

Lemonade – with bits in. Yum.

Coffee or tea?

Cappuccino with an extra shot and cinnamon sprinkles

Dine out or take away?

Dine out. I spend all day at home!

High heels, sneakers or flip flops

I am quite short so really need high heels, but the reality is that I spend most of my time in slippers! I have around five pairs of flip flops and have just bought a new pair with the American flag on them… I’m not answering the question very well, am I? Let’s just say NOT sneakers.

Physical book or ebook?

Physical book because I always refer back to passages that I enjoyed and it’s hard to find those in an ereader.

Paperback or Hardcover?

Paperback. I don’t see the point of hardcovers and besides, I often fall asleep reading in bed and don’t like dropping a hardback on my face!

Pen or Pencil?

Pen. I have thousands. Although there never seems to be one that works when I need one urgently!


Mad Men, Downton Abbey or Breaking Bad

Blushes* I’ve only seen one episode of Downton Abbey and none of the other two shows. I don’t watch much TV. So, er… Downton Abbey.

Twilight or Hunger Games? 

I haven’t read either of these series but my daughters both loved Hunger Games. I’ve seen the Hunger Games movie and enjoyed that, Twilight is not my thing, I’m afraid.

Lipstick, lipgloss or chapstick? 

Lipstick

Facebook or Twitter

Personally, I prefer Twitter, it seems to be more instant and user-friendly. 


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

Plot, plot, plot! I plot each chapter before I start, but then of course, change it as I go along!


Conditional Love


Meet Sophie Stone, a thirty-something serial procrastinator. Tesco knickers, Take That and tea with two sugars is about as exciting as it gets. Sophie’s life is safe and predictable, which is just the way she likes it, thank you very much.

But when her boyfriend dumps her on Valentine’s Day and a mysterious benefactor leaves her an inheritance, Sophie has to accept that change is afoot. There is a catch: in order to inherit, Sophie must agree to meet the father she has never seen.
With interference from an evil boss, bickering flat mates, warring parents and a sexy ex-boyfriend, Sophie has plenty to contend with without an architect who puts his foot in it every time he opens his mouth.

She will have to face the past and learn some uncomfortable home truths before she can finally build a future on her own terms.


Available at:
Amazon Kindle

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, April 28, 2014

Driving Lessons by Zoe Fishman

3.5 Star

When Sarah and her husband trade in a crowded commute, cramped apartment, and high stress New York City jobs for life the slow lane in Farmwood, VA, the pressure is on to have a baby. 

At thirty-six Sarah knows it's time to get started, but the urgency motivating her to reach this pinnacle of self-fulfillment looms large. Meanwhile, her best friend Mona, a single and successful editor who's always wanted children, is diagnosed with cervical cancer. At the same time, Sarah's younger and seemingly perfect sister-in-law has just given birth to her son, Franklin. 

When Sarah uproots her new life with her husband in Virginia to return to New York and care for Mona, the three women will help each other navigate their new realities.


Kathryn - 3.5 Star

I quite enjoyed Driving Lessons for its simplicity with depth- if that makes sense?  Zoe Fishman gave us quite straight forward characters with a fairly direct story line but also made the people feel realistic and their situations plausible.  We could probably have done with a little less of the small town stereotypes , it took something away from Sarah’s character on occasion, but perhaps Fishman was trying to leave a contrast between the stereotype and the genuine and likeable people that Sarah befriends in her new home town.

Sarah and her husband’s interactions were realistic and sweet. I sometimes wished that Sarah wasn’t quite so close lipped about her fears on motherhood, we are given an explanation about her own relationship with her mother to explain her fears, but I still felt a bit frustrated that she was managing to keep all these things inside without Josh having a clue.  The remainder of their interactions were honest and open so this seemed a bit off character for them both.  I mostly appreciated Sarah’s bravery in deciding to abandon her career and make a new start. She was clearly supporting her husband’s new job despite fumbling around for a while and trying to figure out what she wanted to do next. There was a good balance of feeling sorry for herself and trying to get on with it!

My favourite scenes were actually between Sarah and her best friend Mona as well as the emerging closeness between Sarah and her sister-in-law.  I thought they were fresh and honest and made me smile even while Mona’s cancer diagnosis was so raw.

Driving Lessons wrapped up with ease, it did not bring any real surprises but I enjoyed the novel and there was a fresh voice to be found in it.


Thank you to William Morrow for our review copy. All opinions are our own.

Connect with Zoe Fishman:


Sunday, April 27, 2014

House of Glass by Sophie Littlefield

4 Star

Jen Glass has worked hard to achieve the ideal life: a successful career, a beautiful home in an affluent suburb of Minneapolis, a seemingly perfect family. But inside the Glass house, everything is spinning out of Jen's control. Her marriage to her husband, Ted, is on the brink of collapse; her fifteen-year-old daughter grows more distant each day; and her five-year-old son barely speaks a word. Jen is on the verge of breaking, but nothing could have prepared her for what is to come.

On an evening that was supposed to be like any other, two men force their way into the Glasses' home, but what begins as a common robbery takes an even more terrifying turn. Held hostage in the basement for more than forty-eight hours, Jen and Ted must put aside their differences if they have any hope of survival. They will stop at nothing to keep their family safe;even if it means risking their own lives. A taut and emotional tale of a family brought together by extraordinary forces, House of Glass is a harrowing exploration of the lengths a mother will go to protect her children, and the power of tragedy to teach us what truly matters.


Sabrina-Kate - 4 Star

House of Glass was a fast paced, incredibly engrossing novel about a family taken hostage in their own home. The story had a lot going on because of the actual events taking place but there was also a lot of underlying tension and emotions that brought about interesting actions on the part of the characters involved- especially between the parents.

Sometimes I felt like I was being taken away on a tide of uncontrollable action that was like a runaway train. I was so pulled into the story that I wanted to do anything I could to help this poor family but obviously there was nothing I could do which felt frustrating and made me almost anxious. The story obviously had a great impact on me because I even felt some physical reactions to what was going on while reading it.

Despite not having a lot of outside descriptions of other locations to use to tell the story House of Glass did not grow stagnant or dull at any point. The interactions and point of view of the characters were all so unique and well written that you couldn't help but be completely drawn in. 

Unsettling, suspenseful and almost creepy and upsetting at times, this book was a great read for anyone into this genre.


Thank you to Harlequin MIRA for our review copy. All opinions are our own.

Connect with Sophie Littlefield:
Website     Facebook     Twitter     Goodreads



Fiona Valpy Stranded on a Desert Island

Please welcome Fiona Valpy, author of The French for Love and The French for Always as she braves our Desert Island Interview.

First, a bit about Fiona:

Fiona Valpy lives in France, having moved there from theUK in 2007. She left behind a career in Marketing and PublicRelations to explore new avenues and now teaches yoga,writes, and runs a successful B&B.Having renovated an old rambling farmhouse with her husband, she has developed new-found skills in cement-mixing and interior decorating, although her preferred pastime by far is wine-tasting.
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Connect with Fiona:
Website   Facebook   Twitter   Goodreads


Fiona Valpy Stranded on a Desert Island!

If you could only have one book with you, what would it be?

Pride and Prejudice – I read it about once a year because it’s where chick-lit began.

What one luxury item would you want to be stranded with? 

A pen and notebook (oops, sorry, that’s two!) so I could write the book of my adventures as a castaway.

What is the one practical item you would want to have with you to use?

One of those penknives that has gazillions of different blades, including a nail-file for manicures and a pair of scissors  for DIY hair trimming sessions, to keep the split ends under control after all that sun and sea. As with all good chick-lit heroines, standards would need to be maintained!

Would you enjoy the solitude, even briefly, or would it drive you crazy?

I think I’d love it! I’m very self-sufficient. And I’d lose myself in my writing.

If you could be stranded with one other person, who would you want it to be?

A gorgeous older man with a great sense of humour – so my husband, of course. (But if he’s not reading this then please can I have Bruce Willis?)

What modern technology would you miss the most?

Access to the internet. I’d miss being able to keep up with what my sons are up to.

What food or beverage would you miss the most?

Digestive biscuits – I do love to dunk!

How many days do you think you would cope without rescue?

Well, that all depends on whether I’m stranded with my husband or with Bruce...

What is the first thing you would do when rescued?

Have a long soak in a hot bath with lots of beautiful-smelling products. And then the second thing would be a cup of tea accompanied, of course, by a large stack of Digestives. 

What would be your first Tweet or Facebook update upon your return?

You’ll never guess who I was just stranded with!!!


The French for Always

Five Weddings. The perfect venue. One little hitch...

Leaving the grey skies of home behind to transform a crumbling French Château into a boutique wedding venue is a huge leap of faith for Sara. She and fiancé Gavin sink their life savings into the beautiful Château Bellevue – set under blue skies and surrounded by vineyards in the heart of Bordeaux.

After months of hard work, the dream starts to become a reality – until Gavin walks out halfway through their first season. Overnight, Sara is left very much alone with the prospect of losing everything.

With her own heart breaking, Sara has five weddings before the end of the season to
turn the business around and rescue her dreams. With the help of the locals and a little courage can she save Château Bellevue before the summer is over?

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The Herbalist by Niamh Boyce

3.5 Star

When the herbalist appears out of nowhere and sets out his stall in the market square he brings excitement to Emily's dull midlands town. The teenager is enchanted - the glamorous visitor can be a Clark Gable to her Jean Harlow, a Fred to her Ginger, a man to make her forget her lowly status in this place where respectability is everything.

However, Emily has competition for the herbalist's attentions. The women of the town - the women from the big houses and their maids, the shopkeepers and their serving girls, those of easy virtue and their pious sisters - all seem mesmerised by this visitor who, they say, can perform miracles.

But when Emily discovers the dark side of the man who has infatuated her all summer, once again her world turns upside down. She may be a dreamer, but she has a fierce sense of right and wrong. And with the herbalist's fate lying in her hands she must make the biggest decision of her young life. To make him pay for his sins against the women of the town? Or let him escape to cast his spell on another town?

The Herbalist is a riveting story about the shadow side of Irish life - the snobbery, the fear of sex, the tragedy of women destroyed by social convention and the bravery of those who defied it. It is an unforgettable story from a rare new talent.


Amazon     Kindle    Kobo

Kathryn - 3.5 Star

I read The Herbalist and then was asked if I liked it?  I can’t honestly say I liked it, no.  It was well written and the plot lines were brought together and Boyce created a good build up, the main characters were defined and the story was logical and interesting.  But there wasn’t much in the novel I liked.  The lives of the people in The Herbalist were full of so much despair that I was in a constant state of anxiety reading it. I wanted to pluck them out of their miserable lives, dust them off and send them back to another reality. 

I was hoping that there would be more surrounding the herbalist’s job, his concoctions and remedies but instead he was dark and frightening and there wasn’t much about the creation of his wares at all.  Emily is inexplicably drawn to him though her voice seemed to have more underlying sense than to fall for a stranger.  All the women’s narratives were somewhat confusing to me but Emily’s was the most contradictory.  She seemed strong and forthright and yet couldn’t see sense when it came to this man.  I also was perplexed that no one seemed to notice her running around town in the middle of the night.  The time period suggests that this would not have been at all appropriate.  Her father being mentally absent was one thing but she appeared to have a decent relationship with her brother who ought to have had some candid conversation with her about her choices- even if just brotherly concern for her well-being?  I had a bit of a tough time keeping all the secondary characters straight but there were a few of them that I liked a lot and would have been interested in hearing more from them.

In a nutshell I didn’t really enjoy The Herbalist but, despite my misgivings, I did think it was an interesting novel.

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

Connect with Niahm Boyce:

Monday, April 21, 2014

For Today I Am A Boy by Kim Fu

5 Star

Peter Huang and his sisters—elegant Adele, shrewd Helen, and Bonnie the bon vivant—grow up in a house of many secrets, then escape the confines of small-town Ontario and spread from Montreal to California to Berlin. Peter’s own journey is obstructed by playground bullies, masochistic lovers, Christian ex-gays, and the ever-present shadow of his Chinese father.

At birth, Peter had been given the Chinese name Juan Chaun, powerful king. The exalted only son in the middle of three daughters, Peter was the one who would finally embody his immigrant father's ideal of power and masculinity. But Peter has different dreams: he is certain he is a girl.





Sabrina-Kate - 5 Star

I honestly loved absolutely everything about this book. I couldn't put it down and was truly surprised that this was a debut novel. Everything about For Today I Am A Boy resonated with me in a very deep way despite obviously not having a life situation anything like the main character's and that really proved the power of this author's written word.

The story was heartbreaking and yet also such a triumph at the same time. I couldn't help but cheer for the main character, Peter, and wish all his dreams and desires would come true. I felt like his inner conflict and hopes were so powerfully captured in their description that I could feel how he was feeling.

This author stunned me with the absolutely fantastic way she gripped me and made me want to continue reading long into the night, searching for the next details eagerly. Every little part of the book, every nuance, every word was just so perfectly executed. I finished this book a couple weeks ago but haven't stopped thinking about it since.

I believe part of the power was that Kim Fu has a large part of this book set in Montreal, where I live, and without over-describing it, she was able to capture the heartbeat of the city in a very realistic way.
My heart broke for the Huang children and all of their struggles and difficulties. The story made me care very much about them and I felt like I was able to watch them grow up and become who they were meant to be. 

This was definitely one of my favourite books of this year and though we are not very far into 2014, I am pretty sure that it will remain one of the top reads for me.

Thank you to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for our review copy.  All opinions are our own.

Connect with Kim Fu:


Saturday, April 19, 2014

Would You Rather with Lucy Robinson

Please welcome Lucy Robinson, author of A Passionate Love Affair with a Total Stranger

About Lucy:

The Unfinished Symphony of You and Me - out July 31st 2014 - will be Lucy Robinson’s third book and follows on from the tremendous success of The Greatest Love Story of All Time and A Passionate Love Affair with a Total Stranger. 

Prior to writing Lucy earned her crust in theatre production and then factual television, working on documentaries for all of the UK’s major broadcasters. Her writing career began when she started a dating blog for Marie Claire about her fairly pathetic attempts at Internet dating.

Lucy was brought up in Gloucestershire surrounded by various stupid animals. She studied at Birmingham University and lived in London for many years before disappearing off to South America to write her first two novels. 


Connect with Lucy:
Website     Facebook     Twitter     Goodreads


Would You Rather... with Lucy Robinson

Chips, chocolate or cheese? 

But . . . But . . . But I want all of them! Can't I? Please?

Bridget Jones, Becky Bloomwood or Carrie Bradshaw? 

I have a nasty penchant for singing Celine Dion songs when I'm alone. So, sadly, Bridget. 

Wine, beer or vodka? 

Wine, of course. In a huge and fabulous glass that makes me feel really cultured and worldly.

Camping or spa vacation?

Camping - I love the outdoors - but I'll probably check in for a spa day afterwards if that's ok. 

Water or Mountains?

Mountains. They are humbling and beautiful. 


Zombies or Vampires?

I think vampires, because The Count from Sesame Street was a vampire and he is the greatest invention of all time.

Dogs or Cats?

DOGS! There is nothing and nobody on earth who can make me laugh quite like a dog. They are so ridiculous and happy and hilarious. 

Coke or Pepsi?

Well of course I only drink herbal tea and filtered water . . .  Oh go on then. Coke. 

Coffee or tea?

I like a big cup of steamed milk that tastes vaguely of coffee. With a slice of cake please. 

Dine out or take away?

Dine out. As a writer I do a lot of dining in alone, particularly at lunchtime. It's surprisingly exciting to get out for lunch with girlfriends.

High heels, sneakers or flip flops

I recently moved to a very hilly city in the UK (Bristol) where the wearing of heels would lead to serious injury. So I'm all about sneakers now. 

Physical book or ebook?

Physical. I love the portability of an eBook but nothing beats the smell and feel - not to mention the sight - of a beautiful book. 

Paperback or Hardcover?

Paperback. My handbag is quite heavy enough thank you.   

Pen or Pencil?

Pen. A really old-fashioned fountain pen with cartridges full of thick velvety ink. Lovely.


Mad Men, Downton Abbey or Breaking Bad

Mad Men I think. The clothes the girls wear make me feel weak with longing. Why don't we dress like that any more?

Drama or Comedy?

Drama.

Twilight or Hunger Games? 

Oh no . . . I've never seen either. Can we still be friends . . ?

Lipstick, lipgloss or chapstick? 

Currently, lipstick. It's a sort of candy pink. But I tend to rotate between the three. 

Facebook or Twitter

Facebook. I'm incapable of saying anything in 160 characters. 


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

The more I write, the more I've had to accept that it does need planning. When I don't plan it all goes wrong and I go a bit mad.


A Passionate Love Affair with a Total Stranger

Charley Lambert has put considerable effort into achieving a perfect life. She has The Job. The Wardrobe. And The Flat. Her womanising, junk food-loving housemate Sam lowers the tone a bit but that aside, things are peachy. Then she breaks her leg in three places, watches her unrequited love propose to someone else and - worst of all - is forced to hand over her job to her nasty deputy while she recovers. Workaholic Charley fears that she will soon go mad. Desperate for something to do, she discovers her talent for helping the lovelorn online. And then William arrives in her inbox. Within hours of his first email, her world starts to change. Helpless, she watches herself fall in love with this man and begins to realise that she's not who she thought she was. But will she be brave enough to turn her back on her old life - all for a total stranger? 

Available at:
Kindle

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Vintage by Susan Gloss

3 Star

At Hourglass Vintage in Madison, Wisconsin, every item in the boutique has a story to tell . . . and so do the women who are drawn there.

Yellow Samsonite suitcase with ivory, quilted lining, 1950s...
Violet Turner had always dreamed of owning a shop like Hourglass Vintage. Though she knows the personal history behind each precious item she sells, Violet refuses to acknowledge her own past. When she is faced with the possibility of losing the store, she realizes that, as much as she wants to, she cannot save it alone.

Taffeta tea length wedding gown with scooped neckline and cap sleeves, 1952...
Eighteen-year-old April Morgan is nearly five months along in an unplanned pregnancy when her hasty engagement is broken. When she returns the perfect 1950s wedding dress, she discovers unexpected possibilities and friends who won't let her give up on her dreams.

Orange sari made from silk dupioni with gold paisley design, 1968...
Betrayed by her husband, Amithi Singh begins selling off her old clothes, remnants of her past life. After decades of housekeeping and parenting a daughter who rejects her traditional ways, she fears she has nothing more ahead for her.


Kathryn - 3 Star


Violet has a lot invested in her vintage clothing store and it made me a little nervous that she seemed to have few links to her past- there are times throughout Gloss’ novel when Violet’s grandmother is mentioned but not a lot about parents or friends from her home town.  Her fleeing from the place she grew up was blamed solely on her ex-husband so I wished there had been more positive glimpses into her past. 

The vintage clothing shop is much more than a business and that is the basis of the novel’s story.  Each woman than touches the store has a bigger story to tell than the small moment that relates to the clothing item she brings in and I liked that Gloss introduced or reminded us of the characters by using the clothing they were selling. On occasion the link between item and person seemed a bit stretched and I didn’t think the item was really worthy of the chapter that unfolded, but, on the whole I liked the idea of the piece being a part of the woman and therefore bringing with it a moment or memory of her life. 

While I enjoyed this novel I did find it a bit slow and meandering…and though Vintage was a fun read I didn’t take away anything particularly spectacular except the concept itself. My instinct is to suggest that the secondary character of Betsy might have been a better third main character than Amithi or that Amithi needed to become a stronger presence in the story as it unfolded.  And while Violet was likeable I didn’t find much to relate to for me.

Vintage is on the whole a good chick lit novel with likeable characters and inter woven relationships but it didn’t linger with me like some other recent reads.


Thank you to William Morrow for our review copy. All opinions are our own.

Connect with Susan Gloss:


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Would You Rather with Hilary Grossman

Please welcome Hilary Grossman author Dangled Carat

About Hilary:

Hilary Grossman dated a guy so commitment-phobic that she was able to write a book about their relationship. She is currently the CFO of a beverage alcohol importer and lives on Long Island.


Connect with Hilary:
Website     Facebook     Twitter     Goodreads





Would You Rather... with Hilary Grossman

Chips, chocolate or cheese? 

Cheese, please!  Especially the spicy kind...

Bridget Jones, Becky Bloomwood or Carrie Bradshaw? 

Carrie Bradshaw!  What I would do for an hour in her closet....Especially her shoe closet!

Wine, beer or vodka? 

Wine! It is essential for survival :) I actually detest beer. I think I can count on one hand the number of beers I’ve had in my life.

Camping or spa vacation?

After surviving Hurricane Sandy and the aftermath I learned I would make a very good camper. However, camping by choice?  No way!  I am not a spa fan either though. I only had one massage in my life and it was done by a depressed masseuse.  It took me days to recover from the stories she told me....

Water or Mountains?

Water!  I am a total beach bum!


Zombies or Vampires?

Vampires... There is something sexy about them.

Dogs or Cats?

I used to be team dog all the way, but now I am more of a cat girl.... About a year ago I adopted a kitten, Lucy. I swear she is the feline version of me!

Coke or Pepsi?

Diet Coke.  I never drink regular soda. I hate to waste the calories on it. I would rather save them for wine.  After all, see #3 - Wine is essential for life!

Coffee or tea?

Coffee!  I mainline it every morning and end up drinking at least half a pot.  But I am a coffee snob. I grind my own beans every morning.

Dine out or take away?

Dine out.  I really don’t like to take away, unless it is sushi.  But I really enjoy cooking.

High heels, sneakers or flip flops

High heels. I love the way they make me feel!

Physical book or ebook?

Ebook! I do most of my reading on the run. I love the convenience of an ebook!  I also love that you never have to worry about not having a book with you. You can just download another.

Paperback or Hardcover?

Paperback.  

Pen or Pencil?

Depends on my mood.... But just for the doodle-ability. If you sit me down with a piece of paper and a pen or pencil I can’t help but draw.  I find sitting still very difficult. Doodling helps me focus. You should see my notebooks at work.  I have elaborate drawings with some notes scattered in.


Mad Men, Downton Abbey or Breaking Bad

I hate to admit I haven’t watched any of them. I really don’t watch much TV - although I do love to fall asleep to Criminal Mind reruns.

Drama or Comedy?

Comedy.  Laughter is the best medicine!  But although I lean towards Rom Com’s give me a good mafia flick any day.... 

Twilight or Hunger Games? 

I am ducking my head in shame (again). I haven’t read or watched either.

Lipstick, lipgloss or chapstick? 

Chapstick.  I look funny with lip color...

Facebook or Twitter

It took me a while to fall in love with it, but now I love Twitter!  I adore how you can really search for stuff. I have learned a lot on twitter... 


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

Totally by the seat of my pants (and in the shower). I get my best ideas there!


Dangled Carat

Hilary had gotten used to dating the commitment-phobic Marc, thirteen years her senior. They had a great relationship--why rush into things? She saw no need to pressure him for marriage, believing that when the time was right, he would propose. But after they had been together for four years, their friends decided to take matters into their own hands, pushing Marc to propose and making Hilary realize how much she really did want to marry the man that she loved. Unfortunately, Marc still wasn't ready--and their friends' meddling in the form of a faux engagement party led to a disastrous New Year's Eve that brought their relationship to an inevitable turning point.

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Saturday, April 12, 2014

Safe with Me by Amy Hatvany

5 Star

A novel about two mothers and one daughter who are linked by tragedy and bound by secrets, from the acclaimed author of Heart Like Mine. Now, in the provocative Safe with Me, Amy Hatvany explores controversial and timely issues with astonishing emotional complexity.

The screech of tires brought Hannah Scott’s world as she knew it to a devastating end. Even a year after she signed the papers to donate her daughter’s organs, Hannah is still reeling with grief when she unexpectedly stumbles into the life of the Bell family, whose child, Maddie, survived only because hers had died. Mesmerized by this fragile connection to her own daughter and afraid to reveal who she actually is, Hannah develops a surprising friendship with Maddie’s mother, Olivia.

The Bells, however, have problems of their own. Once on the verge of leaving her wealthy but abusive husband, Olivia now finds herself bound to him as never before in the wake of the successful transplant that saved their fifteen-year-old daughter’s life. Meanwhile Maddie, tired of the limits her poor health puts upon her and fearful of her father’s increasing rage, regularly escapes into the one place where she can be anyone she wants: the Internet. But when she is finally healthy enough to return to school, the real world proves to be just as complicated as the isolated bubble she had been so eager to escape.


Sabrina-Kate - 5 Star

I will make no secret of the fact that I have long been a fan of Amy Hatvany and consider her one of my favourite authors. Safe with Me was no exception so I was very pleased to be reading it and even felt blessed at times. 

The story has many gripping facets and I believe I read it in a day or, at most, two. What I love most about Amy`s characters is that they are people you care about intensely and almost immediately. The story was a difficult one in many ways as it dealt with loss and organ donation, abuse and the ramifications. Yet the characters made you love them and hope for them despite or maybe because of these very things.

This book felt so brutally honest and true that it was difficult to read at times yet so compelling and heartfelt. I often had tears in my eyes and a lump in my throat while reading this. As much as I wanted to just keep reading this book and finding out what was going to happen next, at times I had to put it down and take a few breaths which shows just how powerful it is.

I am definitely counting Safe with Me as one of my favourite reads of this year and highly recommend it to anyone who loves an emotional and satisfying read.

Thank you to Washington Square Press for our review copy. All opinions are our own.

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