Thursday, August 31, 2017

Pump Up Your Book Book Review: The Mentor




Title: THE MENTOR
Author: Lee Matthew Goldberg
Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books / St. Martin’s Press
Pages: 336
Genre: Thriller / Suspense / Mystery

Kyle Broder has achieved his lifelong dream and is an editor at a major publishing house.
When Kyle is contacted by his favorite college professor, William Lansing, Kyle couldn’t be happier. Kyle has his mentor over for dinner to catch up and introduce him to his girlfriend, Jamie, and the three have a great time. When William mentions that he’s been writing a novel, Kyle is overjoyed. He would love to read the opus his mentor has toiled over.

Until the novel turns out to be not only horribly written, but the most depraved story Kyle has read.
After Kyle politely rejects the novel, William becomes obsessed, causing trouble between Kyle and Jamie, threatening Kyle’s career, and even his life. As Kyle delves into more of this psychopath’s work, it begins to resemble a cold case from his college town, when a girl went missing. William’s work is looking increasingly like a true crime confession.

Lee Matthew Goldberg's The Mentor is a twisty, nail-biting thriller that explores how the love of words can lead to a deadly obsession with the fate of all those connected and hanging in the balance.

PRAISE FOR THE MENTOR:
From Booklist - A junior editor at a Manhattan publisher reunites with his college mentor with disastrous results in Goldberg's second thriller (after Slow Down, 2015). Kyle Broder has just acquired a probable best-seller for Burke & Burke publishing when he hears from his former literature professor, William Lansing, who pitches the still-unfinished opus he’s been working on for 10 years. Lansing’s book is not only badly written, it’s also disturbing, featuring a narrator literally eating the heart of the woman he loves. Lansing turns vengeful when his "masterpiece" is rejected, but Broder’s concerns about his mentor are dismissed both at home and at work: Broder’s girlfriend considers Lansing charming, and a rival editor feigns interest in Lansing’s book. Broder revisits his college and delves more deeply into the cold case of a missing ex-girlfriend, and as the plot darkens and spirals downward, it’s unclear who will be left standing. The compelling plot is likely to carry readers with a high enough tolerance for gore to the final twist at the end.

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FROM FAR AWAY the trees at Bentley College appeared as if on fire, crowns of nuclear leaves dotting the skyline. Professor William Lansing knew it meant that fall had firmly arrived. Once October hit, the Connecticut campus became festooned with brilliant yellows, deep reds, and Sunkist orange nature. People traveled for miles to witness the foliage, rubbernecking up I-95 and flocking to nearby Devil’s Hopyard, a giant park where the students might perform Shakespeare, or enter its forest gates at nighttime to get high and wild. William had taken a meandering hike through its labyrinthine trails that morning before his seminar on Existential Ethics in Literature. It had been over a decade since he’d entered its tree-lined arms, but today, the very day he was reaching the part in his long-gestating novel that took place in Devil’s Hopyard, seemed like a fitting time to return. 
            His wife Laura hadn’t stirred when he left at dawn. He slipped out of bed and closed the mystery novel propped open on her snoring chest. He often wrote early in the mornings. Before the world awoke, he’d arm himself with a steaming coffee and a buzzing laptop, the wind from off the Connecticut River pinching his cheeks. His chirping backyard would become a den of inspiration, or he’d luxuriate in the silence of Bentley at six a.m. when the only sound might be a student or two trundling down the Green to sleep off a fueled night of debauchery.
            He’d been at Bentley for over twenty years, tenured and always next in line to be department chair. He refused even the notion of the position for fear it might eat into time spent writing his opus. His colleagues understood this mad devotion. They too had their sights set on publications, most of them well regarded in journals, only a few of them renowned beyond Bentley’s walls like William dreamed to be. Notoriety had dazzled him since he was a child—a time when his world seemed small and lifeless and dreams of fame were his only escape.  
            His colleagues often questioned him about this elusive manuscript he’d been toiling on for years, but he found it best to remain tight-lipped, to entice mystery. It was how he ran his classroom as well, letting only a few chosen students get close, keeping the rest at enough of a distance to regard him as tough and impenetrable but fair. Maybe he’d made a few students cry when a paper they stayed up all night to finish received a failing grade, or when his slashes of red pen seemed to consume one of their essays on Sartre’s Nausea, which he found trite and pedestrian; but that only made them want to do better the next time. They understood that he wanted his kingdom to be based on fear, for creativity soared in times of distress.
            William’s legs were sore after his hike that morning through Devil’s Hopyard. The terrain was hilly and its jagged trails would challenge even a younger man, but he kept fit, wearing his fifty-five year old frame well. He was an athlete back in school, a runner and a boxer who still kept a punching bag in the basement and ended his day with a brisk run through his town of Killingworth, a blue-collar suburban enclave surrounding Bentley’s college-on-a-hill. He had all his hair, which was more than he could say for most of his peers, even though silver streaks now cut through the brown. He secretly believed this made him more dashing than during his youth. Women twenty years younger still gave him a second glance, and he often found Laura taking his hand at department functions and squeezing it tight, as if to indicate that she fully claimed him and there’d be no chance for even the most innocent of flirtations. He had a closet full of blazers with elbow patches and never wore ties so he could keep his collar open and expose his chest hair, which hadn’t turned white yet. He had a handsome and regal face, well proportioned, and while his eyes drooped some due to a lifetime of battling insomnia, it gave him the well-worn look of being entirely too busy to sleep. People often spoke of him as a soul who never enjoyed being idle, someone who was always moving, expounding, and expanding. 
            “Hi, Professor Lansing,” said Nathaniel, a tall and gangly freshman, who after three weeks into the semester had yet to look William in the eye. Nathaniel’s legs twisted over one another with each step. William guessed that the boy had recently grown into his pole-like body and his brain now struggled with how to move it properly.
            “Nathaniel,” William said, wiping the sweat mustache from his top lip. He could smell his own lemony perspiration from the intense jaunt through Devil’s Hopyard. “How did your paper on The Stranger turn out?”
            Nathaniel’s eyes seemed to avoid him even more. They became intent on taking in the colorful foliage, as if it had sprouted overnight. 
            “Well…” the boy began, still a hair away from puberty, his voice hitting a high octave, “I’m not totally sure what you meant about Meursault meeting his end because he didn’t ‘play the game’.”
            William responded with a throaty laugh and a shake of his head. He placed a palm on Nathaniel’s shoulder.
            “Society’s game, Nathaniel, the dos and don’ts we all must ascribe to. How, even if we slip on occasion, we’re not supposed to admit what we did for fear of being condemned. Right?”
            Nathaniel nodded, his rather large Adam’s apple bobbing up and down in agreement too. He stuffed a bitten-down nail between his chapped lips and chewed away like a rat, leaving William to wonder if the boy was on some new-fangled type of speed. He liked Nathaniel, who barely spoke in class, but once in a while would give a nervous peep filled with promise. The students he paid the most attention to weren’t the heads of the lacrosse team or the stars of the theater productions, those students would have a million other mentors fawning over them. He looked for the hidden jewels, the ones who were waiting for that extra push, who’d been passed over their whole lives but would someday excel past their peers. Then they would thank him wholeheartedly for igniting a spark.
            “Is that why Camus didn’t personalize the victim that Meursault killed?” Nathaniel asked, wary at first, as the two entered the doors of Fanning Hall past a swirl of other students. “So we sympathize with him despite his crime?”
            William stopped in front of his classroom, its cloudy window offering a haze of students settling into their desks. He stood blocking the door so Nathaniel had no choice but to look in his eyes.
            “Did you sympathize with him?”
            “Yes…umm, it’s hard to penalize someone for one mistake,” Nathaniel said. “I know he shot the Arab guy, but…I don’t know, sometimes things just happen. I guess that makes me callous.”
            “Or human.”
            William stared at Nathaniel for an uncomfortable extra few seconds before Kelsey, a pretty sorority girl with canary yellow hair, fluttered past them.
            “Hey, Professor,” Kelsey said, without looking Nathaniel’s way. William could feel the boy’s sigh crowding the hallway.
            “Come, Nathaniel, we’ll continue this debate in class.”
            William led the boy into the room. The students immediately became hushed and rigid as he entered.
            Nathaniel slumped into a chair in the back while Kelsey cut off another girl to get a prime seat up front.
            William placed his leather satchel on the table, took out a red marker, and scribbled on the board, I didn’t know what a sin was. The handwriting looked like chicken scratch and the students had to squint a bit to decipher it; but eventually the entire class of twenty managed to correctly jot down the quote. They had gotten used to his idiosyncrasies.
            “At the end of the novel, Meursault ponders that he didn’t know what a sin was,” William said. “What does that mean?”
            A quarter of the class raised their hands, each one eager to be noticed. Kelsey clicked her tongue for attention, as if her desperation wasn’t obvious enough. She looked like she had to pee. In the back, Nathaniel was fully absorbed in a doodle that resembled Piglet from Winnie the Pooh.
            “Nathaniel,” William barked, sending the pen flying out of the boy’s hand. Nathaniel weaved his long arms around the desk to pick up the pen and then gave a slack-jawed expression as a response.
“Why does Meursault insist to the chaplain that he didn’t know what a sin was?” William continued.
            Nathaniel silently pleaded for William to call on someone else. He let out an “uuuhhhhhhh” that lasted through endless awkward seconds.
            Kelsey took it upon herself to chime in.
            “Professor, while Meursault understands he’s been found guilty for his crime, he doesn’t truly see that what he did was wrong.”
            William turned toward Kelsey to admonish her for speaking without being called on, a nasty habit that happened more and more with this ADD-addled generation than the prior one, but a red-leaf tree outside the window captured his attention instead, its color so unreal, so absorbing. The red so vibrant like its leaves had been painted with blood.
            “Professor…professor.”
            The sound came from far away, as if hidden under the earth, screaming to be acknowledged.
            “Professor Lansing?”
            Kelsey waved her arm in his direction, grounding him. She gave a pout.
            “Like, am I right, or what, Professor? He doesn’t truly see that what he did was wrong.”
            William cleared his throat, maintaining control over the room. He smiled at them the same way he would for a photograph.
            “Yes, that’s true, Kelsey. Expressing remorse would constitute his actions as wrong. He knows his views make him a stranger to society, and he is content with this judgment. He accepts death and looks forward to it with peace. The crowds will cheer hatefully at his beheading, but they will be cheering. This is what captivates the readers almost seventy years after the book’s publication. What keeps it and Camus eternal, immortal.” 
            Kelsey beamed at the class, her grin smug as ever.
            William went to the board, erased the quote, and replaced it with the word IMMORTAL in big block letters, this time written with the utmost perfect penmanship.




Lee Matthew Goldberg’s novel THE MENTOR is forthcoming from Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin’s Press in June 2017 and has been acquired by Macmillan Entertainment. The French edition will be published by Editions Hugo. His debut novel SLOW DOWN is out now. His pilot JOIN US was a finalist in Script Pipeline’s TV Writing Competition. After graduating with an MFA from the New School, his fiction has also appeared in The Montreal Review, The Adirondack Review, Essays & Fictions, The New Plains Review, Verdad Magazine, BlazeVOX, and others. He is the co-curator of The Guerrilla Lit Reading Series. He lives in New York City.

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

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Review: I don't always read thrillers, but when one has such a great premise as this one, I have to dive in, and OMG this one was fabulous.

This is a literary thriller. I have to say I love books about people who create books or get books to readers. Books about books = joy.

The principal characters are all intriguing. Kyle and his backstory are exceptionally so, especially as you see his life tied in to the novel that Professor Lansing wrote.  As the story goes on, you really sit on the edge of your seat to find out what happens next.

This is really the type of thriller that you can't put down. There was only one point in the novel that really bugged me. There was an animal that was killed, and that's one thing I have a hard time dealing with as an animal lover. I had to step back from the book for a bit then, because animal deaths bug me.

I finished this book in one day, so that should say something.  There was manipulation and murder and so much stuff that really made me shudder. This wasn't a typical tale of a murderer or a psychopath.

Professor Lansing was the most amazing kind of villain.

I can't begin to say how awesome this book was and how many hours of sleep I lost because Lansing was so creepy!

The ending just blew me away.

Rating: 5 flowers



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Wednesday, August 30, 2017

TLC Book Tours Book Review: I'll Have What She's Having

About I’ll Have What She’s Having: How Nora Ephron’s Three Iconic Films Saved the Romantic Comedy

Hardcover: 352 pages
Publisher: Hachette Books (August 29, 2017)
A backstage look at the making of Nora Ephron’s revered trilogy–When Harry Met SallyYou’ve Got Mail, and Sleepless in Seattle–which brought romantic comedies back to the fore, and an intimate portrait of the beloved writer/director who inspired a generation of Hollywood women, from Mindy Kaling to Lena Dunham.
In I’ll Have What She’s Having entertainment journalist Erin Carlson tells the story of the real Nora Ephron and how she reinvented the romcom through her trio of instant classics. With a cast of famous faces including Reiner, Hanks, Ryan, and Crystal, Carlson takes readers on a rollicking, revelatory trip to Ephron’s New York City, where reality took a backseat to romance and Ephron–who always knew what she wanted and how she wanted it–ruled the set with an attention to detail that made her actors feel safe but sometimes exasperated crew members.
Along the way, Carlson examines how Ephron explored in the cinema answers to the questions that plagued her own romantic life and how she regained faith in love after one broken engagement and two failed marriages. Carlson also explores countless other questions Ephron’s fans have wondered about: What sparked Reiner to snap out of his bachelor blues during the making of When Harry Met Sally? Why was Ryan, a gifted comedian trapped in the body of a fairytale princess, not the first choice for the role? After she and Hanks each separately balked at playing Mail’s Kathleen Kelly and Sleepless‘ Sam Baldwin, what changed their minds? And perhaps most importantly: What was Dave Chappelle doing … in a turtleneck? An intimate portrait of a one of America’s most iconic filmmakers and a look behind the scenes of her crowning achievements, I’ll Have What She’s Having is a vivid account of the days and nights when Ephron, along with assorted cynical collaborators, learned to show her heart on the screen.
“[Erin Carlson] offers a breezy, detailed rehearsal of three successful romantic comedies from the 1980s and ’90s…. A large bag of buttery popcorn that goes down oh so pleasantly.”Kirkus Reviews
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Review:  If you are a fan of Sleepless In Seattle, You've Got Mail and When Harry Met Sally, you'll want to read this book.

I don't usually venture much out of fiction, unless its something special about someone I truly love, but Nora Ephron is such a well known name that I had to give this a go and I'm glad I did.

It isn't a tell all type biography, but a light easy to read book that sometimes felt like you were reading a novel. At times it doesn't even feel like a bio of Nora's but more like a bio of her movies, because you get little bits and pieces of the actors and actresses in her films as well, particularly Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks.

The book revolves around the making of Ephron's three iconic romcoms. I have to admit, I've never seen any of them in their entirety, but I've seen parts of each. The only film of Ephron's that I did see was her last, Julie/Julia, which was fabulous.

This book gives you a little insight into film making and some of the dramas that happen in the process.

If, like me, you haven't watched these films, by the end of the book you'll want to, along with some of the films that inspired them and Ephron.




Rating: 4 flowers



About Erin Carlson

Erin Carlson has covered the entertainment industry for The Hollywood Reporter and AP. Her work has appeared in Glamour, Fortune, and the LA Times. She compiled and wrote an oral history of You’ve Got Mail for Vanity Fair. She holds a masters in magazine journalism from Northwestern, and has been profiled in the New York Times.
Follow Erin on Twitter.

TLC Book Tours Book Review: A Mother Like Mine


About A Mother Like Mine

Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Berkley (August 8, 2017)
Welcome to England’s beautiful Lake District, where a reluctant reunion forges a new bond between a daughter and her wayward mother….

Abby Rhodes is just starting to get her life on track. After her fiancĂ©’s unexpected death, she returned with her young son to the small village where she grew up and threw herself into helping her ailing grandmother run the town’s beach cafĂ©. Then one evening, her mother, Laura, shows up in Hartley-by-the-Sea and announces her plan to stay. After twenty years away, she now wants to focus on the future—and has no intention, it seems, of revisiting the painful past.
Laura Rhodes has made a lot of mistakes, and many of them concern her daughter. But as Abby gets little glimpses into her mother’s life, she begins to realize there are depths to Laura she never knew. Slowly, Abby and Laura start making tentative steps toward each other, only to have life become even more complicated when an unexpected tragedy arises. Together, the two women will discover truths both sad and surprising that draw them closer to a new understanding of what it means to truly forgive someone you love.
“With lush coastal imagery and well-drawn characters, Hewitt immerses the reader in the deeply personal struggles and triumphs of Rachel and Claire. At turns introspective and exhilarating, this novel proves that it’s never too late to start over.”—Booklist
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Review:  If you are a fan of emotional reads, A Mother Like Mine should be at the top of your list. I read this book in one day! Yes, you read that right, one day. That seldom happens for me. I was so taken in by the characters that I could not put this book down for very long.

Its the story of a Mother and her daughter, who have been separated for years. Laura, the mum, has not been a mother to Abby, who is now a mom of 5 year old Noah.

So there's family drama.

Then there's Gran, Mary. She's not your typical Gran figure either. She's not well and Laura's return gives her hope that everyone can reconcile.

This was such a wonderful story of two women who were really nothing to each other except that they are mother and daughter.

I liked how they slowly built a new relationship, though not one that is too sweet and gooey that it is unbelievable, but one that is comfortable and loving, and most of that grew from Laura coming to love and care for her grandson. (And Laura the type of woman that would make a good gran)

These women go through so much in this story, loss and rehashing of the past, all while trying to build a life of her own.

Abby and Laura are two very different women and at times you loved them and other times you hated them, but no matter how you felt, you were cheering for them.

I didn't realize when I started this book that it was part of a series. There is no need to start from the beginning these are stand alone novels. You don't want to miss this book. It is truly a wonderful novel of family and second chances. I hope to revisit Abby and Laura's lives in a future book.

Rating: 5 flowers



About Kate Hewitt

Kate Hewitt is the USA Today bestselling author of more than fifty books, including the Hartley-by-the-Sea novels Rainy Day Sisters and Now and Then Friends, and more recently, the Willoughby Close series. A former New Yorker, she now lives in Wales with her husband five children. She also writes as Katharine Swartz.

Connect with Kate

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Tuesday, August 29, 2017

TLC Book Tours Book Review: The Daughters of Ireland

About The Daughters of Ireland


• Paperback: 576 pages
• Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (August 15, 2017)

Ireland. 1925.

The war is over. But life will never be the same...

"Everything Santa Montefiore writes, she writes from the heart,” says JOJO MOYES. See why in this unforgettable story of love, loss, and life, perfect for fans of DOWNTON ABBEY and KATE MORTON.

In the green hills of West Cork, Ireland, Castle Deverill has burned to the ground. But young Celia Deverill is determined to see her ruined ancestral home restored to its former glory — to the years when Celia ran through its vast halls with her cousin Kitty and their childhood friend Bridie Doyle.

Kitty herself is raising a young family, but she longs for Jack O’Leary — the long-ago sweetheart she cannot have. And soon Kitty must make a heartbreaking decision, one that could destroy everything she holds dear.

Bridie, once a cook's daugher in Castle Deverill, is now a well-heeled New York City socialite. Yet her celebrity can't erase a past act that haunts her still. Nor can it keep her from seeking revenge upon the woman who wronged her all those years ago.

As these three daughters of Ireland seek to make their way in a world once again beset by dark forces, Santa Montefiore shows us once more why she is one of the best-loved storytellers at work today.

Purchase Links


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Review: The Daughters of Ireland is what I call a chunker. It is much longer than most books I read, cos I have a short attention span, but this book is so worth it.

I have a love for family sagas, and this one was fabulous. It was kind of like a Downton Abbey set in Ireland. It is also the second book in a series. (Which as I learned has different titles in the UK from the US) I will be ordering book 1 because this book was so wonderful. I could easily see it becoming a tv program. I think that should be a huge hint for the BBC or Sky and PBS.

The characters are so wonderfully fleshed out and each one has their own drama.  Its the kind of book that keeps you turning the pages because you want to know what's going to happen next. Kitty is a character that you can be sympathetic too. Celia is ditzy and just fun. Bridie is the character that you have to hate.

Oh and there are ghosts. (I have to admit I loved that touch of paranormal in this book)

This was one of the best historical novels I've read this year.

Rating: 5 flowers




About Santa Montefiore


Santa Montefiore was born in England. She went to Sherborne School for Girls in Dorset and studied Spanish and Italian at Exeter University. She has written sixteen bestselling novels, which have been translated into thirty different languages and have sold more than two million copies worldwide.

Find out more about Santa at her website, and connect with her Facebook. You can also join the Facebook group dedicated to her books.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

TLC Book Tours Book Review: The Sworn Virgin

About The Sworn Virgin


• Paperback: 352 pages
• Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (August 8, 2017)

Dukes's gripping historical novel tells the tale of a desperate Albanian woman who will do whatever it takes to keep her independence and seize control of her future...even if it means swearing to remain a virgin for her entire life.

When eighteen-year-old Eleanora’s father is shot dead on the cobblestone streets of 1910 Albania, Eleanora must abandon her dream of studying art in Italy as she struggles to survive in a remote mountain village with her stepmother Meria.

Nearing starvation, Meria secretly sells Eleanora into marriage with the cruel heir of a powerful clan. Intent on keeping her freedom, Eleanora takes an oath to remain a virgin for the rest of her life—a tradition that gives her the right to live as a man: she is now head of her household and can work for a living as well as carry a gun. Eleanora can also participate in the vengeful blood feuds that consume the mountain tribes, but she may not be killed—unless she forsakes her vow, which she has no intention of ever doing.

But when an injured stranger stumbles into her life, Eleanora nurses him back to health, saving his life—yet risking her own as she falls in love with him...

“It’s hard to believe that the culture Dukes describes was ever real, but the amount of research she put into this book definitely shines through. The story remains fascinating throughout; readers will definitely find it difficult to put this novel down.”—San Francisco Book Review

Purchase Links

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Review: I read this book after reading a pretty amazing chicklit novel. Sure that one was light and fluffy and fun, so when I started this one it was like culture shock, because there was nothing light and fluffy about this book at all

The Sworn Virgin is a book you have to give time to. Its by no means an easy read. I had a hard time getting to know Elenora, Fran ad Meria because the pacing of the story was exceptionally slow at the start, and I didn't feel we got to know the characters properly.

Eleanora is a strong heroine, the kind that you don't often find in books. I loved learning about the "Sworn Virgins" of the area. It was a concept I hadn't heard of before and it was fascinating. Though there isn't enough explanation of what they were to be totally satisfying. There was one Sworn Virgin that Eleanora met after her father was killed who likely was a lesbian.  Sworn Virgins live like men.

I didn't know how to feel about any of the characters in this book. You will feel a myriad of emotions for all of them. You will feel pity for Eleanora as well as frustration. She lost her father, and felt it was her fault, but she was terribly selfish about her life.

Meria tried to be a good wife and mother, but she really wasn't the right person to be with Fran or to raise his daughter.

This book deals with the laws of the mountain people of Albania, which in 1910 seem to be centuries behind the rest of the world. It was perfectly acceptable to kill Eleanora's father for some dishonor he did to another, and the murderer gets away with it? Unbelievable!!

And then when she discovers a man injured in the mountains, she falls in love. Things get really tricky there and that's where this book disappointed me, especially the ending. It made sense in some ways but it was also unsatisfying.

Rating: 3 flowers






Kristopher Dukes was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. She has been a nationally published writer since she was in high school. Her work has been featured in the bestselling book series Written in the Dirt and fashion bible WWD. She has been profiled in Vogue.fr, NY Times.com, Fast Company, Forbes.com, and WWD. The Sworn Virgin is her debut novel. She lives in Manhattan Beach, California, with her husband, Matt, and Doberman, Xena.

Connect with her on Facebook.

Monday, August 21, 2017

TLC Book Tours Book Review: The Awkward Path To Getting Lucky

About The Awkward Path to Getting Lucky

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: MIRA (July 25, 2017)
In thirty-four days, it will have been exactly two years to the day since I’ve had sex.  
Having sex wasn’t exactly high on Kat Carmichael’s priority list while her successful bakery was taking off, especially since things hadn’t been working very well in that department. And the last time she and her boyfriend, Ryan, even attempted the act, they found it to be physically impossible—resulting in pain and disappointment for Kat instead of sunshine and orgasms.
With just over a month until their four-year anniversary, Kat calls for a break in her relationship with Ryan, encouraging him to see other people while she throws herself into physical therapy. Yet even with the well-intentioned (but wildly inappropriate) attempts at help from her best friends, Kat quickly discovers that a solo mission may not be the best approach.
Fortunately, physical therapist Ben Cleary, the shop’s best (looking) customer, volunteers to help out—strictly as a friend, of course. But as the line between love and friendship begins to blur, Kat stands to lose much more than a functioning set of lady bits if she can’t figure out what to hang on to…and what to let go.

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Review:  If you are having a bad day. Read this book. If you like to laugh out loud when you read. Read this book. If you are just looking for a really good, fun read. Read this book

This book was so funny. Kat has vaginismus,which is a disease of the hoo ha that I have never heard of until I read this book. I had to look it up to make sure that this was a real thing. Then I immediately started to wonder why an author would want to write a story about a woman with a broken hoo ha, or as Kat comes to call hers, her "Special." (Which got me thinking that it could have been "My precious")

So poor Kat has a vagina that is broken and she hasn't been able to have sex in two years and she really hasn't done anything about it. (I can honestly understand that). She takes a break from her longtime boyfriend to fix herself.

This is where the real hilarity ensues. Getting Kat's "Special" working involves a lot of crazy stuff.

Enter, Ben, a physical therapist who quickly becomes something to Kat, though for awhile no one is sure what.

I don't think I've ever laughed so much during one book.  This book was wonderful and Kat's friendships are really what made this book so good. Everyone should have friends like Liz, Butter and Shannon. They keep things real when things get crazy and/or real, which is quite often.

I highly recommend this book!

Rating: 5 flowers


Friday, August 18, 2017

TLC Book Tours Sweetbriar Cottage

About Sweetbriar Cottage

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson (June 13, 2017)
When Noah and Josephine Mitchell discover their divorce was never actually finalized, their lives are turned upside down.
Following his divorce, Noah gave up his dream job, settling at a remote horse ranch in the Blue Ridge Mountains of northern Georgia, putting much-needed distance between himself and the former love of his life. But then Noah gets a letter from the IRS claiming he and Josephine are still married. When he confronts Josephine for the first time in months, they discover that she missed the final step in filing the paperwork and they are, in fact, still married.
Josephine is no happier about the news than Noah. Maybe the failed marriage—and okay, the botched divorce—was her fault, but her heart was shattered right alongside his, more than he would ever believe. The sooner they put this marriage behind them, the better for both of their sakes.
But when Josephine delivers the final paperwork to his ranch, the two become stranded in his cottage during the worst spring snowstorm in a decade. Being trapped with Josephine is a test of Noah’s endurance. He wrestles with resentment and an unmistakable pull to his wife—still beautiful, still brave, and still more intriguing than any woman he’s ever known.

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Review: I always find second chance romances to be some of the very best stories. I've heard wonderful things about Denise Hunter. I swore I read one of her books before, but I couldn't find any record of it in Goodreads, so I guess she was always an author I wanted to try.

The cover of this book is simply stunning and that alone would be enough to draw me to the book.

I like that the story of Josephine and Noah involved real life issues, because people, even good god-fearing Christians have bad things happen to them. They even do things that might not be considered Christian, because no one is perfect.

That's how I saw Josephine. Noah was more the character you felt sorry for.

This was a stunning read.

Rating: 5 flowers


Wednesday, August 16, 2017

TLC Book Tours Book Tours Book Review with Excerpt: The Innkeeper's Secret

About The Innkeeper’s Sister

Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: HQN Books (July 25, 2017)
Welcome to Honey Ridge, Tennessee, where Southern hospitality and sweet peach tea beckon, and where long-buried secrets lead to some startling realizations… 
Grayson Blake always has a purpose—and never a moment to lose. He’s come home to Honey Ridge to convert a historic gristmill into a restaurant, but his plans crumble like Tennessee clay when the excavation of a skeleton unearths a Civil War mystery…and leads him back to a beautiful and familiar stranger.
Once a ballet dancer, now co-owner of the Peach Orchard Inn, Valery Carter harbors pain as deep as the secrets buried beneath the mill. A bright facade can’t erase her regrets any more than a glass of bourbon can restore what she’s lost. But spending time with Grayson offers Valery a chance to let go of her past and imagine a happier future. And with the discovery of hidden messages in aged sheet music, both their hearts begin to open. Bound by attraction, and compelled to resolve an old crime that links the inn and the mill, Grayson and Valery encounter a song of hurt, truth…and hope.
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Excerpt: Valery had always been a free spirit, maybe a little on the wild side, although that was the skewed view of a fifteen-year-old adolescent who’d seen her kissing a college boy at the July Fourth fireworks display. He’d been crushed.

He moved to the enormous stainless-steel fridge and found the cream, poured a dollop and leaned back against the gran­ite counter to sip. “Excellent brew.”

“Are you a coffee snob?”

“Not at all. You?”

She shook her head. “My sister is. Only the best for our guests, freshly ground and carefully brewed.”

He saluted with the cup. “This guest appreciates it.”

She treated him to a smile, soft around the edges. “Catch me up, Grayson. What have you been doing since I saw you last?”

“Nothing special. Went to college. Started a business. And here I am.”

She pulled open a cabinet and took out a large oblong cas­serole dish, then moved to the refrigerator for eggs, milk and ham. “I’m sure there’s more to the story than school and busi­ness.”

A few broken, insignificant relationships and membership in too many business organizations weren’t scintillating con­versation. “Sadly, no. What about you?”

She lifted a shoulder, focused on the casserole. “The usual small-town tale. Julia and I bought this house and became innkeepers.”

She didn’t sound all that thrilled about it either.

A memory of her niggled at the back of his brain, but he was too tired and hungry to bring it forward. Maybe later he’d remember what she was leaving out.

“The attention to detail in this renovation is exceptional. Do it yourself or hire it done?”

“Most of it on our own. The property is an ongoing project, but the inn itself is complete. The work was hard and time-consuming, but Julia’s better now, and that’s what mattered.”

Before he could ask what she meant, the blue-speckled dog ambled into the kitchen and looked up at Valery.

“What are you doing in here?” she asked and then to Grayson, “He must have come inside searching for Alex when Mama left. He’s lost without his boy.”

Grayson tilted his head in question.

“Alex, my sister’s stepson. He’s seven now and such a little sweetheart. That dog watches him as if he’s afraid he’ll dis­appear, too.”

“Too?”

She shot him a look, bit her full bottom lip. “Everyone in Honey Ridge knows, so I forget that guests don’t. Julia’s son was abducted nearly nine years ago and never found. Mikey.”

He lowered the coffee mug.

“Seriously? Abducted here in Honey Ridge?” The town where kids hung out in the park, rode bikes all over town and chased lightning bugs long after dark? Or they had when he was a boy.

“Unbelievable, isn’t it? We’ve never given up hope but…” Her voice drifted away, leaving the worst unsaid. Nine years was too long.

Grayson pushed off the counter and moved closer. “I’m re­ally sorry.”

“Thank you. It was horrible for all of us, but especially Julia.” She slathered butter on a stack of bread slices. “Still is, of course.”

“Not something you’d get over.”

“No. But she recently remarried and is finally happy again. Eli’s a good man.”

He sipped, held the cup close to his lips and watched her over the rim. “What about you? You’re still a Carter, and I don’t see a ring.”

She placed the bread into the pan in perfect rows, the way his grandmother had laid out quilting blocks. “Single and not looking.”

“I hear that.”


Review: Linda Goodnight is one of my favorite "Inspirational" writers. I have always loved her books from the Love Inspired line. This book is the third in the Honey Ridge series. I wish I would have found this series sooner, because I really like the town.

It is definitely one that can be read as a stand alone, so you don't have to worry about feeling lost.

It's part mystery and part romance that mixes contemporary and historical elements. These are my favorite types of books too and it is so well written that you won't have a preference between the two tales.

I loved Grayson and Valery's story. It was a slow growing love, which always works best in these types of books. Both characters have issues from their past that need to be resolved. Valery is a character who has things that need to be dealt with. Lots of things. Things you wouldn't expect to find in a novel by a "Christian fiction" writer.

I have to admit I'm surprised at how "real" Linda made Valery. You don't see many heroines in Christian novels have drinking problems and Valery is drinking to take away her pain. The pain is part of her mystery. You get little snippets of what it might be, but it takes awhile to find out what happened and when you do....wow! You really feel sorry for her. She is a woman that is holding so much inside, and it is killing her psyche.

I loved the historical aspect of the story as well. It was really fascinating to discover how the body came to be inside the old mill. In doing that you learn more about the family that once owned Peach Orchard during the days after the Civil War.

This is really a lovely read.

Rating: 5 flowers


Book Review: Vangie Vale and the Murdered Macaron




Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – Montana
Hummingbird Books (July 21, 2017)
Paperback: 362 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1548024437
E-Book ASIN: B073ZLKBZT





Book Blurb: Small towns and gossip go together like flaky crust and sweet pastry cream. Between the police scanners, social media, and the senior center, it’s like a zombie apocalypse where the undead consume people’s secrets instead of living flesh.
But Vangie Vale wants nothing more than to stay under the radar…especially the police radar.

So when her new bakery becomes linked to a murder investigation, nothing will stop the gossip mill from connecting her to the dead body. Can’t have that.

Forced into the role of investigator, this new-in-town bakery owner has to become the very thing she hates–a nosy, small-town gossip–in order to clear her good name, and keep her face off the front page. But when a dating debacle brings her face-to-face with the Sheriff, Vangie can’t ignore the fact that one of her macarons was involved in a murder. She has to find the who-dun-it.

Review: Vangie Vale quickly became one of my favorite cozy mystery heroines. Vangie is a pastor and a baker and just an all around fabulous character.  Oh and she's more than just a baker, she's a Matchbaker. She can match you with the kind of food you want to eat. She also loves Sherlock. (Yay, me, too)

I loved this book so much I've already pre-ordered book 2 Vangie Vale and the Corpseless Custard, and I don't often do that.

This book was smartly written and by that I mean, Vangie isn't one who falls into trouble, though she does manage to get herself knee...nah neck deep in it several times. She's a wonderfully kind woman, especially when it comes to some rather unkind people, especially Henry's agent, Scarlet, who really doesn't deserve any kindness. (She became a little more easy to handle as the story went on)

I particularly liked the primary murder suspect, Henry. (Somehow I kept picturing looking like Ioan Gruffudd, though I'm not sure why because he's not blonde) He was a man with secrets, but he was really a lovable guy.

It is through these two people that Vangie gets drawn into the murder of a former citizen of Saint Agnes who has lots of secrets of her own.

There are so many twists and turns in the plot that it really keeps you on your toes guessing who the killer was, all the while hoping that Vangie doesn't get into trouble thus resulting her losing her job as pastor. She had some past issues that resulted in her being assigned to this small Montana town. (I wish her back story was more developed, so we really knew why her job was on the line.)

This is a great start to a new series.

Rating: 5 flowers



Tasty Book Tours Release Blast: Once Upon A Lady


All it takes is Fate to entice him with the very thing he never wanted.


ONCE UPON A LADY
The Soul Mate Tree
Addie Jo Ryleigh
Releasing Aug 16, 2017
Soul Mate Publishing


Respectable Lady Katherine Baxton, striving to meet the requirements of her station, has become the ultimate dutiful daughter. And now, the Duke of Blackthorn’s betrothed. Far from a love match, Kate is nevertheless determined to do as expected and marry. That all changes the night she panics at her impending future and runs, stumbling upon a private grove, a mysterious tree. . . and a half-naked man.

The youngest son of a viscount widely thought to have purchased his title, Jackson Cooper demonstrates his disdain for the aristocracy by affording himself every luxury available—drinking, wenching, and gambling—while eschewing anything representing the ton. Jackson has little care for his reputation and no desire to marry. His escape from London is all but complete.

Until fate—in the form of a beautiful, mysterious lady—interrupts his plans, enticing him with the very thing he never wanted.




Addie Jo Ryleigh writes historical regency romances that feature rakish heroes and strong feisty heroines. 

Addie Jo has lived in the same cold-winter-hot-summer area of Minnesota her entire life. Sharing in the raising of her three extremely rambunctious boys is her very understanding husband who endured being dubbed “The Duke” by his co-workers. Keeping Addie Jo company while she writes (besides her wonderfully loud children) is her yorkipoo, Bella, who is never far from her side. And recently the newest addition to their family, a black lab named Max.

Addie Jo has always had a love and passion for romance books and became engrossed in historical romance (particularly Regency) soon after graduating from Lurlene McDaniel’s young adult books. Currently, she reads any genre that has a great emotional story that keeps her reading into the early hours of the morning.

Addie Jo has a bachelor degree in accounting and is a financial coordinator when not playing chauffeur for her hockey-playing boys, cuddled up with a good book, or writing her next story.



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