Sunday, May 29, 2016

Dear Thing by Julie Cohen

4 Star

After years of watching her best friends Ben and Claire try for a baby, Romily has offered to give them the one thing that they want most.

Romily expects it will be easy to be a surrogate. She's already a single mother, and she has no desire for any more children. But Romily isn't prepared for the overwhelming feelings that have taken hold of her and which threaten to ruin her friendship with Ben and Claire-and even destroy their marriage.

Now there are three friends, two mothers and only one baby, and an impossible decision to make...





Kathryn - 4 Star

I was expecting Dear Thing to have a much sadder tone than it did and while I did feel the sadness emanating from Claire and Ben initially I was actually more buoyed up by their hopefulness during most of the story.

Their path to a family and children of their own wasn’t going according to plan, in fact they were at the end of the road in some ways and I could honestly feel both their positions through the words of Julie Cohen. The frustration from Ben and the exhaustion from Claire were both clear… So when Romily presented herself as a possible surrogate the whole novel’s feelings became more hopeful (at least from Ben) and excitedly wary from Claire.  Perhaps that was the crux of the story- there are highs and lows constantly being felt when faced with infertility, no matter what stage you’re in or what your current treatment is.

I was so hopeful for them and yet kept myself guarded throughout the story because I was worried about Romily. Not just because she was doing this thing for her friends without really considering the implications but also because she just seemed so unsettled and there was always this underlying tension between herself and Claire. I was thrilled when their friendship solidified because they both needed the support and you could tell that there could be true love between them if they would just accept each other. 

The tension in the plot was intense throughout- there wasn’t a moment until the end that I was relaxed about the outcome- and even then I was surprised.  Perhaps the most grounding force in Dear Thing though was Posie, Romily’s daughter, who presented herself so honestly and with such poise that I relied on her to keep the novel on steady ground.

Dear Thing was a very well thought out novel that moved quickly with many, many emotions portrayed by the author with grace.

Thank you to St.Martin's Press for our review copy.  All opinions are our own.

Connect with Julie Cohen:
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Thursday, May 26, 2016

T.A. Williams Stranded on a desert island

Please welcome T.A.Williams, author of What happens in the Alps..., as he tackles our Desert Island Interview!





About T.A.:

Firstly, my name isn't T A. It's Trevor. I write under the androgynous name T A Williams because 65% of books are read by women. In my first book, "Dirty Minds" one of the (female) characters suggests the imbalance is due to the fact that men spend too much time getting drunk and watching football. I couldn't possibly comment. Ask my wife...
I've written all sorts: thrillers, historical novels, short stories and now I'm enjoying myself hugely writing humour and romance. Romantic comedies are what we all need from time to time. Life isn’t always very fair. It isn’t always a lot of fun, but when it is, we need to embrace it. If my books can put a smile on your face and maybe give your heartstrings a tug, then I know I’ve done my job.
I‘ve lived all over Europe, but now I live in a little village in sleepy Devon, tucked away in south west England. I love the place. That’s why you’ll find leafy lanes and thatched cottages in most of my books. Oh, yes, and a black Labrador. 
I've been writing since I was 14 and that is half a century ago. However, underneath this bald, wrinkly exterior, there beats the heart of a youngster. My wife is convinced I will never grow up. I hope she's right.

Connect with Trevor:
 Website     Twitter    Goodreads

T.A.Williams Stranded on a Desert Island

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

I suppose the best book would be “How to survive on a Desert Island”, but I can’t find that on Amazon. Although I write fiction I don’t read a lot of it so I’d opt for something non-fiction and long. At the moment I’m hooked on the First World War so maybe Mark Thompson’s excellent “The White War”.

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

If a windsurfer counts as a luxury, then a windsurfer. I love the sport and it might even help me get round the island without getting eaten by a shark.

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

The kind of massive, sharp knife that Crocodile Dundee carries round with him. Would help with food, construction, defence…

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


Although I thoroughly enjoy myself if I’m at a party, I quite enjoy solitude. So, no, I don’t think it would drive me any crazier than I already am.

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

My wife. She’s a clever woman and a very practical person.

What modern technology would you miss the most?


My computer, so I could carry on writing.

What food or beverage would you miss the most?

Probably wine. 

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

Psychologically I reckon I could manage a fairly long time. Of course, if the food was terrible I might crack sooner!

What is the first thing you would do when rescued?

Open a bottle of ice cold champagne and write a book about my experiences.

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

“What Happens on a Desert Island” coming out in three months time. Pre-order now.”


What happens in the Alps...



UP IN THE MAGICAL, SNOW-KISSED MOUNTAINS…

Two years ago, Annie Brewer’s life was turned upside down when her adrenaline-junkie husband died in a tragic climbing accident. So she’s hoping that moving to the beautiful village of Santorso in the Italian Alps will finally put her life back on track!

…ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN!

She might be going into business with her oldest friend – notorious lady-charmer Matt Brown – but men are definitely out of the question for Annie! That is, until she bumps into tall, dark and delicious Alessandro Lago on the ski slopes…and spontaneously says ‘Yes’ to a date!

It must be the crisp, mountain air but suddenly, anything seems possible. The only trouble is, chivalrous Matt is looking more gorgeous than ever…


Available at:
Kindle Kobo Nook 

Monday, May 23, 2016

That's What Friends Are For by Marcie Steele

3.5 Star

Best friends tell each other everything… right? 
Sam and Louise have been best friends since they hung their coats side by side on the first day of primary school. Now in their thirties, they’re just as close, but life is a little bit more complicated… 

On the outside, thirty-something Sam seems to have it all; the gorgeous husband, the beautiful home and the flourishing business. But things are not quite as rosy as they seem. So when handsome stranger, Dan, walks into her life, Sam finds his attentions hard to resist. 

Louise might seem like life and soul of the party, but her outgoing exterior hides her sadness about the heartbreak in her past. She just wants someone to love – but all Louise gets left with is a quick fumble with an ex at the end of the night. 

When a glamorous face from the past returns to shake things up, things get even more complicated for Sam and Louise. And just when they need each other the most, they’ve reason to wonder whether they ever really knew each other at all. 




Kathryn - 3.5 Star

At first I had a hard time keeping the characters straight in That’s What Friends Are For because the names seemed to run together and there were a number of primary and secondary roles. I also found it tricky to place them in the town they lived in at the start- not sure quite why though?  It became much more visual to me though once we were given the scenes within the market which is when I started to connect the people, places and their relationships.

The novel has a softer image for the cover than I would have expected from the content. There are a number of challenges within the plot that certainly don’t make this novel exclusively a “light” read and while the two main women, Sam and Louise, are indeed best friends they spend much of the novel at odds with each other and are certainly not in each other’s pockets.  They both have some residual heartache that is haunting them and are not entirely comfortable with each other.  It was as if they were remaining friends out of habit rather than need. 

I found Sam to be the likeable one of the two main characters. I warmed to her and her difficulties within her marriage and she generally had my empathy throughout the story. Louise, though quirky and fun, was much more frustrating. Her daughter’s needs were so far out of her spectrum that I began to actually dislike her- while I understood somewhat how she arrived at her “disinterest” in Charley, I just couldn’t accept her indifference.  She also used Matt as a babysitter without giving him any friendship (it seems) in return and this rubbed me the wrong way also quite apart from her treatment of Sam.

On the whole though I quite liked the story and did find that I enjoyed the novel!


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



Connect with Marcie Steele:
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Friday, May 20, 2016

Father's Day by Simon Van Booy

4 Star

When devastating news shatters the life of six-year-old Harvey, she finds herself in the care of a veteran social worker, Wanda, and alone in the world save for one relative she has never met—a disabled felon, haunted by a violent act he can’t escape.

Moving between past and present, Father’s Day weaves together the story of Harvey’s childhood on Long Island and her life as a young woman in Paris.

Written in raw, spare prose that personifies the characters, this remarkable novel is the journey of two people searching for a future in the ruin of their past.






Sabrina-Kate - 4 Star

I loved this book. From the cover to the very last page, this book moved me in many ways. I lost my Dad a couple years ago and not a day goes by that I don't miss him. This book was an emotional read that brought back so many wonderful memories and also showed just how difficult being a parent is, no matter the circumstance that brought you to being one.

This was a sad story at times, and given the tragic circumstances that brought Harvey and her uncle together to become a family, that was only to be expected. I did enjoy the power of redemption type theme that I felt the uncle's life brought to the story and I definitely loved that the social worker involved was such a hero.

The story was one that moved me in many ways as there are always those people who become our family when they may not have wanted to or may not have been expecting to. This story demonstrated that in epic proportions. I think it is a true tribute to the ties that bind us as to how this story played out.

A great read, but a bit slow at times, I was captivated by the tale of a family that came to be and the love they shared.


Thank you to Harper Collins for our review copy.  All opinions are our own.

Connect with Simon Van Booy:
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Tuesday, May 17, 2016

David Meredith Stranded on a desert island

Please welcome David Meredith, author of The Reflections of Queen Snow White, as he tackles our Desert Island Interview!




About David:

David Meredith is a writer and educator originally from Knoxville, Tennessee. He recieved both a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Arts from East Tennessee State University, in Johnson City, Tennessee as well as a Tennessee State Teaching license. On and off, he spent nearly a decade, from 1999-2010 teaching English in Northern Japan, but currently lives with his wife and three children in the Nashville Area where he continues to write and teach English.

Connect with David:
 Website      Facebook     Twitter    Goodreads

David Meredith Stranded on a Desert Island

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

Neither of them are my favorite books, but in the name of pure utility, perhaps My Side of the Mountain or Hatchet. The Official Boy Scout Handbook might not be a bad idea to have around either.

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

Perhaps a private jet, but I suppose that would rather defeat the purpose of being stranded in the first place, so maybe a really comfortable bed.

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

You mean, besides a volleyball with a face on it? I suppose the most important would be a sturdy knife… or maybe an ice skate.

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

In general, I enjoy solitude so I don’t suppose it would be all that bad. I’m not a misanthrope though, so it would probably get to me eventually.

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

I suppose the easy answer is my wife, but if you are talking famous or literary figures probably Bear Gryllis. He might feed me grubs, mold, and fungus, but at least I’d survive.

What modern technology would you miss the most?

I’m sure it would be my computer. I’ve rushed off to work without my laptop a time or two and I might as well have been marooned on a desert island. Those made for really long days.

What food or beverage would you miss the most?

Well, since Bear is out spearing fish in our lagoon, I’d be free to get the coconut rum distillery up and running, so I think I’d be good. ;)

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

The thing about coping with tragedy and hardship of any kind is that you never know how much of it you can handle until you are forced to handle it. For most people, that amount is almost always far more than they previously believed they could ever endure.

What is the first thing you would do when rescued?

Bath, shave, and haircut.

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

Well… I’m back! Spalding didn’t make it.  #railsonraftnexttime

The Reflections of Queen Snow White




What happens when "happily ever after" has come and gone? 

On the eve of her only daughter, Princess Raven's wedding, an aging Snow White finds it impossible to share in the joyous spirit of the occasion. The ceremony itself promises to be the most glamorous social event of the decade. Snow White’s castle has been meticulously scrubbed, polished and opulently decorated for the celebration. It is already nearly bursting with jubilant guests and merry well-wishers. Prince Edel, Raven's fiancĂ©, is a fine man from a neighboring kingdom and Snow White's own domain is prosperous and at peace. Things could not be better, in fact, except for one thing: 

The king is dead. 

The queen has been in a moribund state of hopeless depression for over a year with no end in sight. It is only when, in a fit of bitter despair, she seeks solitude in the vastness of her own sprawling castle and climbs a long disused and forgotten tower stair that she comes face to face with herself in the very same magic mirror used by her stepmother of old. 

It promises her respite in its shimmering depths, but can Snow White trust a device that was so precious to a woman who sought to cause her such irreparable harm? Can she confront the demons of her own difficult past to discover a better future for herself and her family? And finally, can she release her soul-crushing grief and suffocating loneliness to once again discover what "happily ever after" really means? 


Only time will tell as she wrestles with her past and is forced to confront The Reflections of Queen Snow White. 



Available at:
Kindle  

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Still Mine by Amy Stuart

4 Star

WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU VANISH FROM YOUR LIFE AND LEAVE NO STORY BEHIND?
SOMEONE WILL MAKE ONE UP FOR YOU.

Clare is on the run. 
From her past, from her ex, and from her own secrets. When she turns up alone in the remote mining town of Blackmore asking about Shayna Fowles, the local girl who disappeared, everyone wants to know who Clare really is and what she's hiding. As it turns out, she's hiding a lot, including what ties her to Shayna in the first place. But everyone in this place is hiding something from Jared, Shayna's golden-haired ex-husband, to Charlie, the charming small-town drug pusher, to Derek, Shayna's overly involved family doctor, to Louise and Wilfred, her distraught parents.
Did Shayna flee? Was she killed? Is it possible she's still alive?




Sabrina-Kate- 4 Star

I truly enjoy a good suspenseful book and this one was quite well written. I really dislike it when I can figure a book out before the ending and this one kept me guessing until the very end. I kept making assumptions about things and was not able to quite figure things out. I kept trying to guess, especially about the relationship between Clare and Shayna. One assumes that they were connected somehow or that they knew each other due to the way Clare speaks and thinks about her.

I still don't fully understand everything that happened or maybe I question why certain things happened as they don't necessarily make sense to me. I am not sure why Clare was so easily persuaded to go on this mission but I could definitely understand her need to escape her abusive husband.

The book was pretty dark and even made me feel uneasy at times. I was never quite sure who had what intention and even who could be trustworthy. To be honest, I even had my doubts still after finishing the book. I enjoyed that aspect because it makes me continue to think and ponder and hopefully that also means that there will be a sequel.

For a debut novel, it was pretty well thought out and had a lot of intriguing moments. Some parts were not as straightforward as I could hope that they would be so that is why I didn't give it a perfect rating. However, I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it for anyone who likes this genre of story.


Thank you to Simon & Schuster for our review copy.  All opinions are our own.



Connect with Amy Stuart:
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Wednesday, May 11, 2016

The Year We Turned Forty by Liz Fenton & Lisa Steinke

4 Star

If you could repeat one year of your life, what would you do differently? 
Jessie loves her son Lucas more than anything, but it tears her up inside that he was conceived in an affair that ended her marriage to a man she still loves, a man who just told her he's getting remarried. This time around, she’s determined to bury the secret of Lucas’ paternity, and to repair the fissures that sent her wandering the first time.
Gabriela regrets that she wasted her most fertile years in hot pursuit of a publishing career. Yes, she’s one of the biggest authors in the world, but maybe what she really wanted to create was a family. With a chance to do it again, she’s focused on convincing her husband, Colin, to give her the baby she desires.
Claire is the only one who has made peace with her past: her twenty-two year old daughter, Emily, is finally on track after the turmoil of adolescence, and she's recently gotten engaged, with the two carat diamond on her finger to prove it. But if she’s being honest, Claire still fantasizes about her own missed opportunities: a chance to bond with her mother before it was too late, and the possibility of preventing her daughter from years of anguish. Plus, there’s the man who got away—the man who may have been her one true love.
But it doesn’t take long for all three women to learn that re-living a life and making different decisions only leads to new problems and consequences—and that the mistakes they made may, in fact, have been the best choices of all… 




Kathryn - 4 Star

Recently I read my first novel by these great writers- The Status of all Things, and I was happily attached to all the characters very quickly in that book.  The Year We Turned Forty has a similar magical aspect as in The Status of All Things- there is some sort of trigger or action that gave the characters the ability for a “re-do”.  It was a little disappointing that the same idea was taken into the next novel but as I enjoy their writing so much I quickly overlooked the similarity.  

The Year We Turned Forty is compelling from a character and plot stand point.  Many of us would be interested in finding out if our lives would have been different if we’d just chosen a different path or made another choice and the women in this story are given the chance to go back and redo everything that happened to them from their 40th birthdays for a whole year. 

What was interesting were the three best friends who have not only completely different lives but also have different attitudes to life.  They are so close and yet very different and I couldn’t help but wonder how they’d remained so close throughout the years. We are given a snapshot of a period in their friendship and only a few glimpses at the past that have brought us to this moment. I wish we’d had a bit more of their past to connect them in the present.   

The plot was well weaved as it comprised the three different voices into a very well-paced storyline. All the characters were realistic and most importantly, for me, were the ages of the characters- they were experiencing different things than those in their 20’s – older children with teenage issues or new adult issues, the illness and loss of parents and the career versus motherhood aspect of life. 


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

Connect with Liz Fenton & Lisa Steinke:
  Website     Facebook    Twitter   


Monday, May 9, 2016

Would you rather with Carol Maloney Scott

Please welcome Carol Maloney Scott, author of Accidental Makeovers.

Carol Maloney Scott:

 

Carol Maloney Scott, author of the Rom-Com on the Edge series, is a frazzled new bride and wiener dog fanatic. She is a lover of donuts, and a hater mornings. Recently unearthing a childhood passion for writing, she can once again be seen carrying around a notebook and staring into space. Her stories are witty, fresh and real, just like life.

Join her on “The Edge” for giveaways, cover reveals, excerpts, contests and members-only content at https://carolmaloneyscott.com.


Connect with Carol:
Website    Facebook     Twitter   Goodreads


Would You Rather... 
with Carol Maloney Scott

Chips, chocolate or cheese?

Chocolate. Everything is better with chocolate, except pickles. There is no hope for pickles.

Bridget Jones, Becky Bloomwood or Carrie Bradshaw?

Bridget was one of the first chick lit characters to make me laugh out loud and embarrass myself in public. So, definitely Bridget.

Wine, beer or vodka?

Wine. Vodka is too strong, and beer reminds me of pee.

Camping or spa vacation?

This one is spa times a billion. However, in a few weeks I am going camping – pray for me.

Water or mountains?

Water wins, but mountains are a close second. A mountain lake is ideal, but I am a beach girl, too.

Zombies or vampires?

Vampires. They are glamorous and mysterious, and zombies are just…yucky. I especially hate that noise they make – you’re dead, shut up!!

Dogs or cats?

Dogs all day long. They provide endless entertainment, unconditional love and comfort. But I must say I have seen some damn cute kittens recently. I just prefer animals that actually like me. Also without claws.

Coke or Pepsi?

Coke. But I REALLY need to stop drinking soda! Never mind vampires or zombies – hunchbacks will need to be my new favorite characters, when I turn into a pretzel from osteoporosis, due to a lifetime of drinking sugary acid. Okay, rant over.

Coffee or tea?

Neither. I am secretly not a real grown up. Except for the wine.

Dine out or take away?

I enjoy both, depending on how much I feel like sitting upright and waiting for my food while watching other people…never mind, take away.

High heels, sneakers or flip flops?

High heels, even though the same bones that fear becoming a hunchback also politely ask that I favor the other two choices a little more often.

Physical Book or ebook?

I used to be staunchly loyal to physical books, but if I continued down that path I would be buried in fiction right now. My husband bought me a Kindle a couple of years ago, and it is my new best friend.

Paperback or Hardcover?

Hardcovers are archaic, and a complete waste of money.

Pen or pencil?

Pen when I am journaling, pencil in my calendar book, and when plotting my novels. Feelings can be permanent, but plans need to be flexible.

Mad Men, Downton Abbey or Breaking Bad?

Breaking Bad. The tension was incredible.

Drama or comedy?

Even though I have come to love some quality dramatic series and movies, comedy will always be my favorite. Laughter is essential to my well-being. Plus so many things are so hilarious!

Twilight or Hunger Games?

I hate both equally.

Lipstick, lipgloss or chapstick?

I used to be lipstick all the way, but I’ve recently discovered gloss can also be fun. Chapstick is for children, men and nuns.

Facebook or Twiter?

Facebook. Twitter is just too limiting for me – I am a wordy chick!

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

I plot the whole thing, and then make a million changes, just like in my real life. I’m a flexible planner.

Accidental Makevers

Twenty-something, single mom Bianca yearns for more. The cosmetology license she worked so hard to get is collecting dust while she waitresses for her mother’s catering business, but she has no clue how to turn her dreams of being a makeup artist into reality. Adding to her unhappiness is her dead-end relationship with her immature, video game-obsessed baby daddy, Max. Although he runs a successful business and Bianca still gets a thrill whenever she sees him play the drums in his cover band, Chain, she can’t deny that he’s starting to feel like her big, tattooed second child.

In desperate need of a life makeover, her fortune takes a positive turn when she crosses paths with an impulsive, runaway bride who has the connections to help Bianca achieve her goals. Suddenly, doors are being opened for her and she has a fabulous, new job that’s reigniting her zest for life. Too bad Max isn’t on board with these changes, and he starts acting like a jealous jerk, which brings their faltering relationship to a boiling point just about the time Bianca meets Eric, a sexy and charming financial manager. Eric comes from a different world, but one Bianca is increasingly eager to join. 

Bianca expects her friends and family to be supportive of her budding romance with Eric, but to her surprise, they’re all on Team Max and they rally behind him when he launches a campaign to win her back. Nothing wrong with bar fights, fake girlfriends, and strategically placed rodents when they're all in the name of true love, right?

Will she be lured back to her familiar life, or will a successful career makeover beautify her love life?


 Kindle 


Friday, May 6, 2016

Neverending Beginnings by Mary Chris Escobar

4 Star

Kate is alarmed to find out that her best friend Amy is getting married after dating for only six months. Her alarm turns to shock when she learns that the groom-to-be is Kate's old college ex. As the big day approaches, Kate's inability to hide her feelings is threatening to ruin her friendship with Amy.

Kate’s last minute, vodka-fueled wedding toast has her wishing she could turn back the clock and make things right. Imagine her surprise when she wakes up the next day and finds out she can.

Forced to relive one of the most painful weeks of her life, Kate slowly works to repair the damage she has done. In the process, she learns a lot about herself and the cynically charming best man, Ben. 





Kaley- 4 Star

We all have days and moments we would love to do over. Maybe you embarrassed yourself or hurt someone else. Or maybe you just made a really stupid decision. No matter the reason, we may wish for another chance to make things right even though we know it’s never going to happen. But Mary Chris Escobar’s heroine, Kate, gets that chance in Neverending Beginnings. Yep. Thanks to a truly awful bridesmaid’s speech, Kate gets to relive the week before her best friend’s wedding all over again. And again. And again.

On the one hand, I’m glad Kate lived the week over so many times because every time gave more insight into her, as a character, and gave her some much needed self-introspection as well. Some weeks allowed for getting to know minor characters more fully. There’s one week she lives that she goes to visit her dad and we learn more about her childhood and how she has (not) been dealing with her mother’s death.  On the other hand, I almost got a little bored after yet another instance of Kate waking up after the wedding and realizing she had to relive the week again. Overall though, every week gives the reader more information and strengthened what we already knew. I didn’t really find the story too repetitive, which is a surprise for a book that is about a character living the same week over and over again!

It can sometimes be hard for me to read books where the main character makes really stupid, cringe worthy decisions. Kate made a lot of those. A lot. There were times I wanted to smack her upside the head because she wasn’t realizing what needed to be done to get her out of this Groundhog Day-esque situation (clearly I see myself as an expert because of all the movies and books I’ve watched or read with a similar story line). But she was a really endearing character and I loved reading about her.

Even though Neverending Beginnings has a storyline that has been done before – having to relive the same event over again until you get it “right” – Mary Chris Escobar’s novel felt fresh. I was pretty captivated and invested in the story and definitely had a bit of a book hangover when I finished it. It might be why I immediately hopped online to download Delayed, which is a novella about a minor character from the novel. I need to see how the Happily Ever After was going! Neverending Beginnings is sweet, funny, and a great read. I definitely recommend it!


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

Connect with Mary Chris Escobar:
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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Would you rather with Diane Barnes

Please welcome Diane Barnes, author of Waiting for Ethan.


Diane Barnes:

 
Though she always dreamed about being the shortstop for the Boston Red Sox, Diane Barnes is a marketing writer in Massachusetts. She participates in two monthly writing groups and attends novel writing workshops in Boston and Worcester, Massachusetts. 

She started “Waiting for Ethan” as a challenge to participate in National Novel Writing Month. The original story was about a character who dated a string of freshly divorced men who all had issues with their ex-wives. She won’t say if that idea came from her dating experiences.

In 2012, Diane was one of eight writers who attended the Boston Writers’ Studio, an exclusive four-day intense writing workshop taught by bestselling author Elizabeth Berg. Diane says having her idol read her work was a moment she’ll never forget.

When not crafting novels, Diane spends her time playing tennis, going to the beach or watching her beloved Red Sox. She completed her first half marathon in 2014 (to combat her love of chocolate) and lives in central Massachusetts with her husband Steve; they often fantasize about moving to Turks and Caicos – for the winter months at least. 

Connect with Diane:
Website    Facebook     Twitter   Goodreads


Would You Rather... 
with Diane Barnes

Chips, chocolate or cheese?

Without a doubt CHOCOLATE

Bridget Jones, Becky Bloomwood or Carrie Bradshaw?

Bridget Jones!

Wine, beer or vodka?

Wine, preferably red!

Camping or spa vacation?

Spa, camping would be hell!

Water or mountains?

Water!

Zombies or vampires?

I’d run from both!

Dogs or cats?

Dogs, my favorite is a Golden Retriever named Colby!!

Coke or Pepsi?

Pepsi, I often conducted taste tests at the beach as a kid.

Coffee or tea?

If I have to choose one, tea, but really hot chocolate!

Dine out or take away?

Dine out.

High heels, sneakers or flip flops?

Flip flops.

Physical Book or ebook?

Physical book.

Paperback or Hardcover?

Hardcover because that means I probably couldn’t wait for it to go to paperpack.

Pen or pencil?

Keyboard! I think better when I'm typing!


Mad Men, Downton Abbey or Breaking Bad?

Downton Abbey.

Drama or comedy?

Comedy.

Twilight or Hunger Games?

This is tough. I will go with Hunger Games

Lipstick, lipgloss or chapstick?

Lipgloss!

Facebook or Twiter?

Facebook.

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

Fly by the seat of my pants!!

Waiting for Ethan

When Gina Rossi was in junior high, her best friend’s psychic grandmother got everything right—from predicting that Gina would break her arm and travel to Italy, all the way to leading police to a missing neighborhood child. The one time Gina didn’t listen to her, she almost got herself killed. So when she says that Gina will marry a man named Ethan—but she will have to wait for him—Gina believes her, and waits…

Now thirty-six, Gina’s Mr. Right is nowhere in sight—until the day she’s stranded in a snowstorm, and rescued by the last type of Ethan she expected. It’s very romantic, yet surprisingly not. This Ethan is sexy, and clearly her hero. Still, instead of her “Aha” moment, Gina’s confused. And when Ethan is happy to discover she’s single, does Gina dare tell him, It’s because I've been waiting for you? But the bigger question is, does she dare question destiny—by taking it into her own hands? And is she brave enough to handle what happens once it’s time to stop waiting—and start living?

Monday, May 2, 2016

No Ordinary Life by Suzanne Redfearn

5 Star

Suzanne Redfearn delivers another gripping page-turner in her latest novel, a story about a young mother's fight to protect her children from the dangerous world of Hollywood. Faye Martin never expected her husband to abandon her and her three children . . . or that she'd have to struggle every day to make ends meet. So when her four-year-old daughter is discovered through a YouTube video and offered a starring role on a television series, it seems like her prayers have been answered. But when the reality of their new life settles in, Faye realizes that fame and fortune don't come without a price. And in a world where everyone is an actor and every move is scrutinized by millions, it's impossible to know who to trust, and Faye finds herself utterly alone in her struggle to save her family. Emotionally riveting and insightful, NO ORDINARY LIFE is an unforgettable novel about the preciousness of childhood and the difficult choices a mother needs to make in order to protect this fragile time in her children's lives. 




Kathryn - 5 Star

No Ordinary Life completely engrossed me from the start. I was immediately drawn to adorable Molly. (Cute as a button, you could picture her sprinkling her sweetness all over the place.)  I was also happy Suzanne Redfern initially introduced us to the characters in the town they came from because the novel rapidly moved to LA and a completely different existence.  In this case their original surroundings gave a good grounding for the people that they had been before their lives changed- without it I don’t think I would have found them so realistic nor empathised with them so much.

I’ve often wonder what kind of person it takes to live the life of a star like this? It seems like so much work, so much planning and then so much boredom. It’s also a false sense of reality for a child to grow up in this way- the adoration juxtaposed with the isolation.  One of the older actresses on the set quite clearly tries to warn Faye of the difficulties while still trying to show her it’s possible to have a good life.

The children were written really well, you could tell Redfern had given them as much thought as the adults in the novel. They behaved exactly as one would expect and even the budding relationships between the teens were perfectly enacted.

The one character I didn’t really understand was Sean. As the father of the children I never grasped if he was on their side of if he was simply out to get money?  His role in the novel seemed to be unfocussed and he behaved completely out of character than the man we were initially introduced to (who simply couldn’t cope with being a father) .

There are a good many people to follow throughout No Ordinary Life but they melded together and were all there for a reason. The story is perfectly executed and I was fully drawn in from the very start.


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

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