Monday, September 23, 2013

The Wedding Gift - 5 Stars!

~ I received a copy of this book from the publisher or author to facilitate this review.  I received no compensation and opinions are 100% my own or my family. ~

Synopsis (from Amazon): When prestigious plantation owner Cornelius Allen gives his daughter Clarissa’s hand in marriage, she takes with her a gift: Sarah—her slave and her half-sister.  Raised by an educated mother, Clarissa is not a proper southern belle she appears to be with ambitions of loving who she chooses and Sarah equally hides behind the façade of being a docile house slave as she plots to escape. Both women bring these tumultuous secrets and desires with them to their new home, igniting events that spiral into a tale beyond what you ever imagined possible and it will leave you enraptured until the very end.

Told through alternating viewpoints of Sarah and Theodora Allen, Cornelius’ wife, Marlen Suyapa Bodden's The Wedding Gift is an intimate portrait that will leave readers breathless. 

My Review: 

One (or more) Sentence Summary:  My biggest fear....I can't do justice to The Wedding Gift in a review. I absolutely loved this book: the setting, story, characters, time period, alternating between two views.....everything.  What a SHOCKING last chapter.  I didn't see it all. 

Favorite Character(s):  Sarah is my favorite character.  She was so incredibly strong and smart. The book would not be the same with her and all she achieved.  I really like Theodora as well.  I believe she tried to do the right thing and was a good person.  Given the time period, she held no power and treated as badly as the slaves her husband owned.  All the characters are fantastic and together make a great story, but Sarah is my favorite.

Setting:  A plantation in South, the terrible brutality suffered by slaves, the inside view of how non-plantation/slave owners were treated....eye-opening. Without this realistic setting, the book would not be the same.  I can't imagine that world. 

Fast read/slow read:  Very fast.  I couldn't get enough.  I got so frustrated when I had to stop reading and get ready for work.  I was always left wanting more.  I was amazed at what I learned from The Wedding Gift.


Cover:  I like the version I received (the one at the top), but I also really like the one on the left.  They are so perfect for the story.

What Others Are Saying: “Fascinating, intriguing—a great story!” —Kathleen Grissom, New York Times bestselling author of The Kitchen House

“If I were you, I wouldn’t make any plans for the rest of the day.  You have in your hands a story of the tangled motives and self-destructive passions when whites and blacks became this close during the time of slavery—all told at a pell mell pace.”—Tom Wolfe, New York Times bestselling and Award-winning author of Back to Blood

Would I Read Other Books by the Author: Wild horses couldn't stop me!  YES, absolutely!  Please write another book!  I would LOVE to chat with her over coffee.  What an amazing author and person.

Meet the Author: Dr. Marlen Suyapa Bodden is a lawyer at The Legal Aid Society in New York City, the nation's oldest and largest law firm for the poor. She has more than two decades' experience representing poor people and low-wage and immigrant workers, many of whom are severely underpaid, if paid at all. She drew on her knowledge of modern and historical slavery, human trafficking, and human rights abuses to write THE WEDDING GIFT, her first novel. 

The University of Rhode Island awarded Marlen an honorary Doctor of Laws degree in May 2012, when she delivered the commencement speech. Marlen is a graduate of New York University School of Law and Tufts University.

Connect: You can connect with Marlen's on line at her website for the history behind The Wedding Gift in photographs, illustrations, maps, and a bibliography!

Purchase it: You can purchase The Wedding Gift online at Amazon for $25.99 ($11.04 Kindle version).

Thursday, September 5, 2013

The Fault in Our Stars

Synopsis (from Amazon):  Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten.

Insightful, bold, irreverent, and raw, The Fault in Our Stars is award-winning-author John Green’s most ambitious and heartbreaking work yet, brilliantly exploring the funny, thrilling, and tragic business of being alive and in love. 

My Review: 

One (or more) Sentence Summary:  A teenage love story, that has such a sad ending.

Favorite Character(s):  It is a tie between Hazel and Augustus.  I loved them both and their story.  

Fast read/slow read:  Super fast!

Cover:  Sorry, but I don't get it.

What Others Are Saying: TIME Magazine’s #1 Fiction Book of 2012!
The Fault in Our Stars is a love story, one of the most genuine and moving ones in recent American fiction, but it’s also an existential tragedy of tremendous intelligence and courage and sadness.” —Lev Grossman, TIME Magazine

Would I Read Other Books by the Author: I would read another book by John Green.

Meet the Author: John Green is a New York Times bestselling author who has received numerous awards, including both the Printz Medal and a Printz Honor. John is also the cocreator (with his brother, Hank) of the popular video blog Brotherhood 2.0, which has been watched more than 30 million times by Nerdfighter fans all over the globe. John Green lives in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Connect: You can connect with John online at his website.

Purchase it:  You can purchase The Fault in Our Stars online at Amazon for $17.99 ($3.99 Kindle version).

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

The Rockin' Chair

~ I received a copy of this book from the publisher or author to facilitate this review.  I received no compensation and opinions are 100% my own or my family. ~

Synopsis (from Amazon): Memories are the ultimate contradiction. They can warm us on our coldest days – or they can freeze a loved one out of our lives forever. The McCarthy family has a trove of warm memories. Of innocent first kisses. Of sumptuous family meals. Of wondrous lessons learned at the foot of a rocking chair. But they also have had their share of icy ones. Of words that can never be unsaid. Of choices that can never be unmade. Of actions that can never be undone.

Following the death of his beloved wife, John McCarthy – Grandpa John – calls his family back home. It is time for them to face the memories they have made, both warm and cold. Only then can they move beyond them and into the future.

A rich portrait of a family at a crossroad, The Rockin' Chair is Steven Manchester’s most heartfelt and emotionally engaging novel to date. If family matters to you, it is a story you must read.

My Review: 

One (or more) Sentence Summary: Nicholas Sparks + Richard Paul Evans = The Rockin' Chair!  

Favorite Character(s):  Grampa John, of course.  He was the healer of the family. However, I really liked Elle.  She was such a rock to the whole family.  

Setting:  The story takes place in Montana, but I kept placing the story in my head in Vermont.  I can't really say why, except I have never been to Montana.

Fast read/slow read:  Good pace.

Cover:  Perfect. Once you read the story, it will make so much sense.  

Would I Read Other Books by the Author: Yes, I have Goodnight Brian on my kindle!

Meet the Author: Steven Manchester is the author of The Rockin' Chair, as well as the #1 best seller, Twelve Months (2013 San Francisco & 2013 DIY Book Festivals award winner). He is also the author of A Christmas Wish (Kindle exclusive) and the award-winning novel, Goodnight, Brian. His work has appeared on NBC's Today Show, CBS's The Early Show, CNN's American Morning and BET's Nightly News. Recently, three of Steven's short stories were selected "101 Best" for Chicken Soup for the Soul series. When not spending time with his beautiful wife, Paula, or his four children, this Massachusetts author is promoting his works or writing. Visit:

Connect: You can connect with Steven online at his website and Facebook.

Purchase it:  You can purchase The Rockin' Chair online at Amazon for $14.95 (6.49 for Kindle version).

Monday, September 2, 2013

Cooking Up a Storm, Author Interview

Synopsis (from Amazon): When newly single Sarah Peterson rents a cottage on Kit Roseberry’s country estate and swops cooking supper for rent, she isn’t expecting TV producer, Magda Holmes, to fall for Kit and his culinary skills, or offer him a slot on her TV show.

Kit can’t boil water, but he’s got the look and needs the money. Magda is keen to go for a traditional feel, happy families, picnics on the beach and birthday teas, so Sarah - along with her two boys - finds herself as undercover cook, and an instant wife and family for Kit’s TV debut.

But what will that do to Sarah's fresh start, her new man, ex-husband and the rest of her life? Is it a recipe for disaster or does it have all the ingredients of a great romance?

Cooking up a Storm is a classic Rom-Com, and includes recipes for all the dishes cooked by Sarah and Kit.

Meet the Author:  I am so excited to bring you all this interview with author, Sue Welfare.

Sue, thank you so much for taking the time for this interview!

Thank you for inviting me. What a great place you’ve got here.  I brought some banana bread and some blueberry cupcakes as I wasn’t sure what you’d like.

Favorite color, food, drink and animal? 
I love autumn colors – burnt oranges, shades of brown, rusts and tans – I had my colours done a few years ago as part of a makeover for a book promotion, and the lady who did it said I should wear colours which are ‘ warm, deep and soft ‘ – which is also pretty much how I live my life!

Food? Oh I love everything!!!! I love to cook, and so does my husband Phil – I’ve put on around 28 pounds since letting him loose in my kitchen.

We often have friends over for supper and I like to cook big generous simple food that means we can concentrate on the company rather than the kitchen – so big stews with crusty bread or bowls of pasta and sauce or chilli and rice – this time of the year I love Italian meats served with salads and good bread.

And, yup, I’m an animal person. I grew up with dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, chickens, a pony, goats – you name it  -
We currently have two dogs, Jake and Beau and I would love to have a cat, but we live close to a busy road and I think it would be too big a risk of being run over – and I’m not keen on the idea of indoor cats, so that idea has had to be shelved.

What do you enjoy doing in your free time? 
I’m not very good at doing nothing. I sing in a local choir. I like to garden and grow my own vegetables (Phil does the flowers – I like to eat what I grow.) I make rag rugs and run workshops for other would-be rug makers, and the last few months I’ve started making mosaics – which is huge fun too. I like to read, and we walk a lot with the dogs. Oh and I’m just starting to learn to speak Italian after a great holiday in Sorrento.

When/Why did you start writing? 
I love books, love stories, films, TV. I have been making up stories for as long as I can remember, but it took me ages to realize as a child that all those books I loved so much were written by a real live person, and as soon as I found out you could do that, I wanted to do it too – mind you, my other ambitions (aged about 7) were to be a teacher and run a shop where you got to weigh things!

My first book was accepted for publications in the mid 90’s after I’d spent several years writing articles, freelance, for all kinds of magazines. I’ve got four sons and writing was a good way to be home for them while still building a fledging career. While they were little I’d write at night when they were in bed, and then later while they were at school before writing full time.

What is your favorite writing spot? 
These days I have a little office in the house, but it is very tiny, and Jake and Beau, our two dogs, like to be in there with me, so it’s more like a kennel with a keyboard! I always carry a notebook for jotting down ideas and notes when I’m out and about but my real writing is always done in the office.

Do you have writing routine? 
Oh yes - I write every weekday (and some weekends if I’m on a deadline or the story just won’t leave me alone) from around 8am till lunchtime. Mornings begin with admin and catching up on emails, and then editing what I did the day before, before starting on new work.

After lunch I write till around 6 pm in the summer, 3 pm in the winter and then walk the dogs – they’re great company and the ideal companions to bounce plot ideas off. In the winter I’ll come back and do some more work, but in the summer I try and finish and get out of the office.

Who are some of your favorite authors?
How long have you got?! Thrillers are my first love – and I love the work, worlds and characters created by Karin Slaughter, Kathy Reichs, Lee Childs, Chelsea Cain & Carol O’Connell – but I read widely and feel bereft if I haven’t got at least one book on the go.

Can you read other books while writing your own? 
Yes, mainly because I’m always writing something - although I read outside my genre, along with a lot of non-fiction.

What are currently (or last read) reading now? 
Karin Slaughter’s  latest ‘ Unseen’ – she is just brilliant at creating complex, authentic, characters and I love how she revisits them –  it’s a very compelling read.

What is your favorite genre? 
Thrillers, action adventure, detective fiction .

What is your favorite(s) song/movie/play/TV show? 
Currently I’m in love with the Passenger Album:  ‘ All the Little Lights’,  but I love music, in my head my whole life has a sound track!

Movie? The first one that springs to mind is ‘The Usual Suspects’. Kevin Spacey’s performance still lingers in my memory, years after I first saw the film.

TV Show: Elementary; the American interpretation of the Sherlock Holmes story blew me away when I first saw it – nicely done – beautifully observed.

If you could go anywhere for vacation/holiday, where would you go? 
I’ve just come back from Italy and it just made me want to see more of the whole of

Which would you pick:
Ocean/beach or pool –  Ocean every time – and not just for the beach, but for the coves, the rocks and rock pools, and long bracing walks.
Coffee or tea: Tea – lol - but then again I’m English!
Fruit or candy:  I’d like to say fruit but I adore chocolate….
A book or e-book:  Both.
Computer or tablet/smart phone:  Computer – my fingers are way too big for smart phones and I hate the tiny screen.
Camping or Hoteling: Hotels – and Apartments/ Villas. I camped for years when my boys were small and loved it, but now I’m older the ground seems a long long way down for sleeping and I really do prefer a decent bathroom!
Driving or Flying:  Flying – I love being above the clouds and seeing the countryside from a bird’s eyes view.

Connect:  Connect with Sue on Facebook.

Purchase it:  You can purchase Cooking Up a Storm online on Amazon for $13.99 ($4.49 Kindle version).

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Lessons from a Kindred Sister

~ I received a copy of this book from the publisher or author to facilitate this review.  I received no compensation and opinions are 100% my own or my family. ~

Synopsis (from Amazon): A delightful tale of dishy drama, feel-good inspiration, and sassy humor.

Intelligent, fun-loving Sarah Evans is in need of a glass of wine.  After all, being unceremoniously dumped by your fiancé who leaves you with a ridiculously expensive apartment that makes you even more of a slave to a job you hate can really put a damper on things.  (If you think that last sentence was a lot to take in, try living it...hmmm, better make that two glasses of wine.)  As her sips turn to gulps, Sarah receives a journal from a mysterious Parisian woman known only as a 'kindred sister'.  What lies inside has the power to change her life forever.  Before Sarah's world can begin to sparkle like champagne, things take a decidedly vinegary twist when she learns of a dear friend's horrible betrayal.  Will the journal be enough to keep Sarah's life from fully uncorking, or will her glass of cabernet be relegated to being forever half-empty?

My Review: 

One (or more) Sentence Summary: GREAT ADVICE with a fantastic story. There are 10 wonderful lessons in the book.  I loved them all.  I will share one (yes only one) with you....Stop Complaining and Get Some Perspective.  "If you are a complainer - STOP!"  

Favorite Character(s):  Sarah was the main character and I loved her from the start.  Her side-kick Jen was such a strong "chic."  She was just what Sarah needed.  Christopher was my knight in shining armor! Wouldn't we all like a "Christopher" in our lives!

Setting:  Seattle!  This is my 3rd book recently set in Seattle.  It must be the new NYC.  The setting works that is for sure!  

Fast read/slow read:  Gobbled it up.....very fast!

Cover:  It works for me, but I didn't really pay much attention to it since it was e-book.

Would I Read Other Books by the Author: Yes....Neeta let me know as soon as your next book is available!  I want to be on the "RUSH" list!

Meet the Author: Neeta Nahta, aka The Smart, Sassy Goddess, uses the term Chick-Sass Lit to represent her genre of fiction - a combination of Chick Lit Women's Fiction and Personal Development. Her writings interweave whimsy with wisdom, indulgence with introspection.  They also feature some pretty kick-sass women! Her first novel, Lessons from a Kindred Sister, is the first volume in her Sisters in Life Series. 

Check out my interview with Neeta here!

Connect:  You can connect with Neeta on her blog, The SSGsFacebookFB PageTwitterPinterest and GoodReads

Purchase:  You can purchase Lessons From a Kindred Sister online at Amazon for $13.95 ($4.99 Kindle version).