Tuesday, November 22, 2011

New Author Blog Hop & Giveaway!

Of Thoughts and Words and Oh! For the Love of Books are hosting a New Author Blog Hop. Currently there are 45 sites signed up to participate, most are hosting a giveaway in conjunction with the event.

To see all the participating sites CLICK HERE.

Pick just one New Author - seriously?  I have read so many great books by new authors lately.  Hmmm.  Since I can't decide, lets quickly recap some New Authors:

Currently reading: Rock Star's Girl by J. F. Kristin (Loving it so far!! Review to come)

Synopsis: Emily Watts just wants a weekend break from the workaholic hours she's taken on to keep her business – a popular fashion-snark web site – up and running. What she gets is overnight celebrity and a career-killing media scandal.

While taking time out to attend a concert in support of friend Jesse Cinder, a struggling musician, Emily meets Cory Sampson, the lead singer of a chart-topping rock band. When she agrees to a date with Cory, making entertainment headlines is the last thing she expects. Even so, it's a minor surprise by comparison to her discovery that in the music world, media notoriety trumps all. Tabloid allegations erupt when Cory and fame-hungry Jesse use Emily for personal gain, and her tarnished image spells disaster – personally and professionally. To save the web site and writing career she's made her life and dream, Emily must go from being a pawn in the Hollywood headline game to becoming the media mastermind.

Just finished: Doctor and the Diva was super good.  I read this as part of my ROC book club.  We had a great discussion too!  I can't wait to share my review with you all (this weekend).
Synopsis: It is 1903, and Erika von Kessler has struggled for years to become pregnant. Resigned to childlessness, Erika-a talented opera singer and the wife of a prominent Bostonian-secretly plans to move to Italy to pursue her musical career. When the charismatic Doctor Ravell takes Erika on as a patient, he is mesmerized by her. Impetuously, he takes a shocking risk that could ruin them both.
Inspired by the author's family history, the novel moves from snowy Boston to the gilded balconies of Florence in a stunning tale of opera, longing, and the indomitable power of romantic obsession.
Recent reviews:
Her Sister's Shadow (CLICK HERE for review)
An emotionally powerful debut about two sisters who reconnect after nearly forty years of estrangement.

Proof of Heaven (CLICK HERE for review)
A mother’s faith, a child’s courage, a doctor’s dedication—a moving and thought-provoking tale of hope, love, and family.

Since I can't pick you get to!  One lucky winner will get to pick which of the four books above they would like!  Your choice can be traditional book or e-book!  What do you need to do?  Complete the following  to enter - 1 mandatory and a few extra entries!  Good Luck!

A Summer in Europe by Marilyn Brant

Imagine my surprise when I opened my mailbox and there was a brand new just released copy of my friend, Marilyn Brant's book, A Summer in Europe.  I have been waiting for the day to read A Summer in Europe.  I just love Marilyn's books.  Don't you just love that cover?

Synopsis:  Gwendolyn Reese prides herself on being cautious and reliable. She expects to marry Richard, her dependable boyfriend, and is disappointed when he doesn’t propose on her 30th birthday. But then Gwen’s aunt Bea surprises her with a monthlong European trip with Bea’s “S&M” club (sudoku and mah-jongg), and Gwen, reluctant at first, soon realizes how hard it will be to stick to her conventional routines abroad. She’s pushed even further out of her comfort zone when she meets the charismatic English brothers “Thoreau” and “Emerson” Edwards. Emerson introduces her to the pleasures of the continent, from gelato to music in the streets, while they do their best to keep their budding romance under control; Gwen still has a boyfriend in Richard (whose stuffiness pales in comparison to Emerson’s delight in the sensual). But Richard has a grand gesture up his sleeve—surprising Gwen in London at the end of her trip—and it throws her into turmoil. The trip has changed her, making her question what she wants out of life. Brant’s newest (after Double Dipping) is a retread of classic themes, but distinguishes itself with a charismatic leading man and very funny supporting cast, especially the wonderful elderly characters with their resonant message about living life to the fullest. 

I will be back later with a review!  Thank you so much Marilyn!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

12 Days of Christmas Blog Hop and Giveaway

I am thrilled to be participating in the 12 Days of Christmas Giveaway hosted by A Book Lovers Dream.

I am giving away a Christmas book by one of my favorite authors, Cecelia Ahern's, The Gift.

Ahern wades into the Christmas fiction fray with a winning tale of magic and redemption. Lou Suffern is a busy man, and his family's growing weary of constantly taking the backseat to his career. On a whim, he offers Gabe, a homeless man he meets outside his office, a low-level job, and the uncharacteristically kind gesture plays out in a very unexpected way when Lou learns that Gabe has the power to be in two places at once. As the holidays draw nearer, Gabe tries to make Lou realize the importance of his family, but slow-to-change Lou might not come around to Gabe's way of thinking until it's too late. Ahern's an accomplished storyteller, and her writing chops elevate this far above the normal holiday fare. There's magic, but it's not campy, and the sentiment is real. (from Amazon.com)

Complete the entries below to increase your chance to win! Contest ends on my blog November 26th!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Proof of Heaven - TLC Book Tour

Paperback: 336 pages
Rating: A Good Read

Synopsis: A mother’s faith, a child’s courage, a doctor’s dedication—a moving and thought-provoking tale of hope, love, and family
He might be young, but Colm already recognizes the truth: that he’s sick and not getting better. His mother, Cathleen, fiercely believes her faith will protect her ailing son, but Colm is not so sure. With a wisdom far beyond his years, Colm has come to terms with his probable fate, but he does have one special wish. He wants to meet his father who abandoned his beloved mother before Colm was born.
But the quest to find the dying boy’s missing parent soon becomes a powerful journey of emotional discovery—a test of belief and an anxious search for proof of heaven.
A magnificent debut novel, Mary Curran Hackett’s Proof of Heaven is a beautiful and unforgettable exploration of the power of love and the monumental questions of life, death, and the afterlife.
From BN.com

Why I wanted to read it: I LOVE being part of TLC Book Tours!
My Rating: 3 out of 5, a good read.
Book Cover Rating: 5 out 5. I find the cover to be very peaceful.  I don't relate the cover to the story as it reminds me more of a summer night, but I still love the cover.

My Review: Proof of Heaven is a pretty powerful book.  The characters are wonderful and pull you into the story.  If the first line doesn't grab....."Colm Francis Magee had died seven times before his seventh birthday," I am not sure what will.  I had to keep reading.  How could a child die seven times before turning seven?  The next paragraph takes you right into the first time Colm died.  I could not put the book down, it was unbelievable.  I felt like I was Cathleen going through the entire event.  Mary Curran Hackett's writing ability is incredible and she made me feel like I was experiencing everything as the story unfolds.  

I LOVED the end of the book as the author does a wonderful job bringing everything together for us readers.  The most amazing part for me, is that Mary writes this book based on her own life experiences.  I really enjoyed Proof of Heaven and would recommend to anyone who is looking for a good book to read.

Author: Mary Curran Hackett is an adjunct English professor at the University of Cincinnati. She lives with her husband and children in Cincinnati, Ohio. By the way, I love my Ohio authors, especially those from the Cincy area!  I moved from the Cincy/Dayton area 3 years ago and still miss it terribly.

This is a TLC Book Tour and I encourage you to check out the other reviews:

Wednesday, November 2nd: A Cozy Reader’s Corner
Tuesday, November 1st: Sara’s Organized Chaos
Friday, November 4th: My Heart’s Desire
Tuesday, November 8th: BookNAround
Wednesday, November 9th: Book Club Classics!
Wednesday, November 9th: Into the Hall of Books
Monday, November 14th: Reflections of a Bookaholic
Tuesday, November 15th: Reviews from the Heart
Wednesday, November 16th: Seaside Book Nook (me!)
Thursday, November 17th: A Bookish Libraria
Tuesday, November 22nd: The Lost Entwife

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Winner Monster Mash & Bash Blog Hop

Congrats to winner - Emma the Brave!  You get to pick any book up to $15!  Check your email and reply within 48 hours!

Winner of Spooktacular Blog Hop

Congrats Nedra!  You are the winner of Hex, A Witch and Angel Tale.  I will be mailing it out to you soon!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Picture of Lies - TLC Book Tours

Hardcover: 326 pages
Publisher: Gale Cengage Learning
Rating: Great Read

Synopsis:  Investigative journalist Keegan Thomas is living a nightmare of guilt and grief since her little girl Daisy was kidnapped practically in front of her eyes. When the police investigation dead ended, she turned her grief to anger and buried herself in her work. The result was an award winning series of articles on unsolved child abductions. Her entire life became shaped by a continual search for missing children, her own included.

On what is supposed to be a working vacation, Keegan travels to Monument Valley on the Navajo Indian Reservation seeking the whereabouts of people in an old photograph found in her grandfather’s belongings after his death. Her assignment? Write an upbeat human interest where-are-they-now feature story for Arizona OffBeat Magazine.

But the Indians do not welcome this prying stranger carrying a picture of their old ones, some of them dead. Archaeologist Dante Covelli, a walking wounded with secrets in his past, helps her navigate the mysterious ways of the Navajo, and eventually Keegan is told one of the children in the photograph was kidnapped by missionaries and taken to boarding school.

What follows is a web of deception that stretches back fifty years, and the truth Keegan learns about her own family is the most shocking betrayal of all. Nothing can prepare her for the danger she encounters when she becomes the target of a powerful senator who will do anything to stop her from telling what she knows about the PICTURE OF LIES.
“Similar in feeling to Harrison’s romantic suspense mystery, The Charmstone, also set in Monument Valley  … offers a nice combination of action, romance and Navajo lore.” –Kirkus Reviews
Why I wanted to read it:  I LOVE being part of TLC Book Tours!
My Rating: 4.5 out of 5, a great (+) read.
Book Cover Rating: 3 out 5. It is not what I typically like but 100% perfect for the story and where it takes place

My Review:  Picture of Lies is an awesome read!  I have never read anything by C.C. Harrison, but I am going to check out her other books.  Picture of Lies pulled me right in from the first chapter.  My stepmom was visiting while I was reading it and we were both "fighting" over reading time.  Picture of Lies has so many different twists and turns in the book you never can figure it all out with reading it!  I don't want to give the story and mystery away.  I would love to see C. C. Harrison write a follow up on Keegan's missing daughter.  For now, I am going to go stop by Barnes & Noble and purchase Running from Strangers by C. C. Harrison!  It looks really great too!

 Author:  C. C. Harrison lives in Anthem, Arizona. She is the author of hundreds of articles and short stories. When she’s not writing, reading, or working out at the gym, she can be found in the mountains of Colorado or in some far-flung corner of the Southwest.
Connect with C. C. Harrison online at her website, and on her blog.
This is a TLC Book Tour and I encourage you to check out the other reviews:
Monday, October 17th: As I turn the pages
Tuesday, October 18th: Iwriteinbook’s blog
Wednesday, October 19th: Cafe of Dreams
Friday, October 21st: Joyfully Retired
Monday, October 24th: Stephany Writes
Wednesday, October 26th: Life In Review
Friday, October 28th: Colloqium
Monday, October 31st: Sara’s Organized Chaos
Tuesday, November 1st: Book Nook Club
Wednesday, November 2nd: Seaside Book Nook
Thursday, November 3rd: Lesa’s Book Critiques

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

My Sister's Shadow - TLC Book Tours + Giveaway!!

Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
Rating: Great Read

Synopsis:  An emotionally powerful debut about two sisters who reconnect after nearly forty years of estrangement.
Renowned painter Lilli Niles is at home in her North London flat when she receives an unexpected call from her elder sister, Bea, who's at the family homestead in Whitehead, Massachusetts. Bea's husband has just died, and she'd like Lilli to fly home to attend the funeral. There are reasons Lilli moved all the way to England to escape her older sister, reasons that have kept them estranged for decades. But something in Bea's voice makes Lilli think it's time to return to the stately house in New England she loved as a child, to the memory of the beloved younger sister they both lost. With Bea more fragile than Lilli remembered, maybe she can finally forgive Bea for a long-ago betrayal that has simmered between them for nearly forty years.
From BN.com
Why I wanted to read it:  I thought it sounded fantastic when I read the synopsis and I LOVE being part of TLC Book Tours!
My Rating: 4 out of 5, a great read.
Book Cover Rating: 5 out of 5.  I LOVE any cover with a beach scene.
My Review:  Her Sister's Shadow has so many of the elements I love in a book: sisters, family secrets, the 60's(!), mystery, teen hormones, and romance.  The story is told in alternate settings - current day (2009) and the past (mid-1960). I love books that alternate between present and past where the past fills in the gaps and unfolds the present for us.  Her Sister's Shadow focus is Lilli and Bea, but there are two other sisters in the story, Charlotte and Dori.  So who is the "shadow?"  You must read to find out!

I have an older sister and younger sister.  We don't always see eye to eye, but we are always there for each other.  I can't imagine not seeing my family for approximately 40 years.  You must read Her Sister's Shadow to find out how sisters can be apart for so long!  I can guarantee you will become so engrossed in the book and the characters.

 Author:  Katharine Britton has a Master’s Degree in Creative Writing from Dartmouth College.  She teaches at Colby-Sawyer College, and at The Writer’s Center.  Her screenplay, Goodbye Don’t Mean Gone, was a Moondance Film Festival winner and a finalist in the New England Women in Film and Television contest. Katharine is a member of the League of Vermont Writers.
When not at her desk, Katharine can be found at her Norwich garden, waging a non-toxic war against the slugs, snails, deer, woodchucks, chipmunks, moles, voles and beetles with whom she shares her yard. Katharine’s defense consists mainly of hand-wringing, after the fact.

Connect with Katharine online at her website, www.HerSistersShadow.com, her blog, and on Facebook.
This is a TLC Book Tour and I encourage you to check out the other reviews:
Thursday, October 20th:  Savvy Verse and Wit
Tuesday, October 18th:  Life in Review
Thursday, October 27th:  Oodles of Books
Friday, October 28th:  Amused by Books
Tuesday, November 1st:  Seaside Book Nook
Wednesday, November 2nd:  Chocolate and Croissants
Thursday, November 3rd:  ”That’s Swell!”
Friday, November 4th:  Books, Movies, and Chinese Food
Monday, November 7th:  Luxury Reading
Wednesday, November 9th:  girlichef
Thursday, November 10th:  Colloquium
Monday, November 14th:  Peeking Between the Pages
Wednesday, November 16th:  A Bookish Affair
Thursday, November 17th:  A Cozy Reader’s Corner

Giveaway:  The publisher has kindly offered up one new copy to a lucky winner (US/CAN)!  Easy to enter - see below