Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Reluctant Wife - Guest Post and Giveaway!



Synopsis:  Abby Taylor walked out on her irresistible husband three years ago. Now she has no choice but to return to Italy to ask him for a favor. To pay for her grandmother's heart operation she needs his money, but it comes with strings attached.

Conte Dante Lombardi has it all—an Italian villa, a successful family business, and a noble title. But he needs a child to carry on his legacy and time is running out. He also hopes to satisfy the desire Abby rouses in him. 

As Abby uncovers why he’s in such a hurry for a child, she falls in love with him again … just as she realizes it might be impossible to keep her end of the deal.

...an intense, passionate rollercoaster of a love story—just perfect!
USA TODAY bestselling author Natalie Anderson

Chatting with Bronwen Evans:  Hi Seaside Book Nook Followers! 

I’m waving frantically from New Zealand. Jill kindly invited me over to introduce my latest release, THE RELUCTANT WIFE, Entangled Publishing Indulgence December 2012. So sit back and look at my seaside view and let’s get to know each other.

Everyone asks me why I set my book in Italy. A few reasons really, but the biggest reason was because one afternoon, when I was thinking about the characters who would be in this tale, Dante Lombardi, an Italian Conte, popped into my head. 


I wanted a story that dealt with something very personal to me (read the book to understand that comment), and I love tall, dark and handsome, and anything Italian – food, wine, culture, history and fashion. I immediately knew he was my perfect hero. He was as near as could be to Italian royalty and very dignified; a man who had huge responsibilities and no one to share his dreams and fears. Everyone needs someone!

Secondly, I guess when I think of romantic countries, Italy comes immediately to mind. Images of Venice, the city of love, flood into my head. I remember the scene from Casino Royale (which I loved), where Daniel Craig (James Bond) learns Vesper, his lover, has betrayed him, and then she dies in his arms. It’s all set in Venice. Why? Because it makes the scene worse. Venice is the city of love and she betrays him and dies while apologizing!

Something about Italy screams romance, perhaps the classical culture or the warm weather and historic buildings, or the language, which is like poetry. However, I have a sneaky suspicion it comes down to the Italian men. I’m very partial toward tall, dark and handsome men who are not afraid to show their emotions.


I have to admit that New Zealand men are not romantic. They are brought up on rubgy, haka’s and what we in NZ call number eight wire mentality (farming euphemism) where ‘we’ll be right’ is the catch cry. Give them a sports channel and a beer and they are happy. NZ men hate public displays of affection, think Valentine’s Day is the name of a cocktail (when they only drink beer), and their idea of foreplay is to turn the light out. Cruel but true!

Italian men on the other hand, love women and fashion. (Sigh). They wear clothes that you see on the pages of GQ magazine, instead of sandals, shorts and a t-shirt. They would prefer to woo a woman, to take her to dinner, to show her the sights, and of course make love to her all night, then watch sports. After all, Casanova was Italian.

I have travelled several times to Italy. The first time I was in Italy was in 1989 when I was in my mid-twenties. I’m blonde and green eyed, not very common in Italy. I got the most amazing and scary experience of my life. Italian men followed me everywhere. One of them got down on his knees by the coliseum with a bunch of flowers and proposed marriage! I’d only just met him. Needless to say, for a girl from New Zealand, used to NZ men who hate holding hands, this type of attention was head spinning. Seriously, if you want an ego boost, visit Italy.

So I could picture what Abby (who is also blonde and green eyed) would have experienced on her first trip to Italy and meeting Dante. A tall, sexy, wealthy Italian who could literally sweep her off her feet. She didn’t stand a chance and I’m not surprised she readily agreed to marry him and then when she walked into his family, it scared her, overwhelmed her. So she fled.

But Abby is forced to return to Dante, her husband, and this time she finally sees past this outer perfection to the fact he’s simply a man. A man with hopes, dreams and fears. This Dante she can love.
Read the book to see the journey to happy ever after that these two take.

Excerpt from The Reluctant Wife:

Abby had completely deceived him. He’d thought her naïveté would make her easy to manage. He’d quickly learned that Abby had more backbone than any woman he’d ever met. Her readiness to challenge him seemed to add to her allure. Now, again, here she was asserting her wishes, taking command…
Abby licked her lips. “I don’t owe you anything. And, as we’re divorcing, I’m the last woman you should have a child with. Besides, I don’t care what you do in your personal life.”
She lied. Her arms were folded across her stomach as if she were warding off a blow.
“You care. You know I could always read your body as well as a blind man reads braille.”
Abby shook her head, the emphatic movement flinging her thick blond hair over one shoulder. Her eyes narrowed. “Can you read what I’m thinking now?”
He searched Abby’s drawn face, recognizing the marks of strain in the bluish shadows beneath her eyes and the set of her delicate jaw. She had the strength of fine bone china, and the fragility.
“I know exactly what you’re thinking.” He tilted his head and tapped his chin with a finger. After a theatrical pause he spoke deliberately. “You wish you’d waited until the morning to meet with me. You’re angry with yourself for still wanting me, and you’re wondering whether one kiss from my lips can still make you come.”
He felt rather than saw her body tremble across the room, and heard her soft gasp.
“Of all the arrogant, conceited…”
“Most of all, you’re remembering the first night you were in this room, how you let me seduce you, how I made love to you into the small hours of the morning.”
The hazel of her eyes glittered almost golden as he watched her fight tears. He tried to keep his heart unresponsive, but the beauty of her pale face, the dark circles under her eyes, and above all her stricken look of profound loss assailed his protective barrier.
“You want a favor from me. I want a favor—or two—from you. I’d call it a mutually beneficial business proposition. I know you need money and I’m happy to help. For a price. You are my wife, this is where you belong.” A traitorous pulse flickered fast just below her collarbone, calling attention to the delicate skin of her throat. His body shuddered into life, with total recall of the addictive taste of her skin.
She quivered as his eyes roamed her small frame. Every detail screamed at him—the dark of her dilated pupils, the flush on her cheeks, the moist pink of her parted lips. She wanted him and though she shook with the effort, she couldn’t hide the giveaway signals. Cursing inwardly, he felt his body respond to the recalled pleasure of their days and nights of intimacy.
“But I’m not yours. Not anymore.”
 “Legally you are still mine!”
“I am not a possession, Dante. As I said four years ago, I’m a flesh-and-blood woman with feelings and desires.”
“Come here.” He patted the couch beside him. “I’ll satisfy those feelings and desires.”

Connect with Bronwen:  New Zealander Bronwen Evans grew up loving books. She’s always indulged her love for story-telling, and is constantly gobbling up movies, books and theatre. Her head is filled with characters and stories, particularly lovers in angst. Is it any wonder she’s a proud romance writer?

She writes both historical and contemporary sexy romances for the modern woman who likes intelligent, spirited heroines, and compassionate alpha heroes. Her debut Regency romance, Invitation to Ruin won the RomCon 2012 Readers Crown Best Historical and was an RT Reviewers’ Choice Nominee Best First Historical 2011. To Dare the Duke of Dangerfield was a FINALIST in the Kindle Book Review Indie Romance Book of the Year 2012. 

Bronwen loves hearing from avid romance readers at romance@bronwenevans.com
and you can keep up with Bronwen’s news by visiting her website www.bronwenevans.com


Purchase It:  You can purchase The Reluctant Wife for $2.99 on line at Amazon (Kindle version) or at Barnes & Noble (Nook version). 

Giveaway: Now, tell me what country you’d most like to visit and I’ll draw one lucky winner who’ll receive a copy of my May 2012 Regency historical, Invitation to Scandal, in book or eBook format.  Winer will be picked February 7th!


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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Driving Alone - TLC Book Tours



SynopsisA gritty, Southern Gothic morality tale, this novel reveals that the high cost of hard living is brutally hard dying. Billy Keyhoe’s luck just ran out: after beating his girl to a bloody pulp and being shot by the clerk at Earl’s 66, he takes off in his daddy’s beat-up ’65 Caddy, leaving all his troubles in the rearview. At a crossroads on the way toward West Texas from Georgia, he picks up Feather, a beautiful hitchhiker who seems to know more about Billy than he knows about himself. The farther they go, the more he is drawn to Feather; but he unfortunately discovers that even true love cannot save him and he may have gone too far to ever make it back.


My Review: A hot southern summer day turns into a nightmare for Billy.  He has a fight with his girlfriend and decides to rob a store on the way out of town.  This is where the plot twists.  As Billy heads to the “Big Easy” he comes across Feather who makes him look at his life and his wrongs.  Driving Alone lacks depth, as the plot is superficial and relies on clichés of the South.  A gas guage that never moves just doesn’t work as a compelling feature.  

You all know this hard for me to give this rating.....so, I want you know that on Amazon, Driving Alone's average rating is 5 stars.  That is pretty big.  So, please if Driving Alone sounds interesting to you, I would encourage to pick up a copy today and give it a read!  It was an extremely fast read (about 102 pages).   


Meet the Author:  Kevin Lynn Helmick, the author of such works as The Lost Creek Journal, Clovis Point, Sebastian Cross, Heartland Gothic, and Driving Alone was born in December, 1963, in Fort Madison IA. He now lives in the Chain O Lakes, near Chicago IL.  In the spring of 2012 Helmick signs with Blank Slate Press for Driving Alone, a dark modernist novella set in present day deep south.

Known for gritty dialogue, accomplished, fast paced prose with complex themes and characters, that challenge the reader with moral subjects of race, prejudice, organized religion and political correctness. His body of work stands as unique, original and as thought provoking as fiction can come.  He is currently at work on his fifth novel, a dark western tale of justice, The Rain King.

Connect:  You can connect with Kevin on his blog, The Write Room Cafe, where he keeps other short stories and commentaries.

Purchase It:  You can purchase Driving Alone online at Amazon for $12.95  ($4.99 Kindle 
version).



TLC Book Tours:  Please check out the other blogger's reviews.

Tuesday, January 29th:  Seaside Book Nook
Wednesday, January 30th:  Under My Apple Tree
Thursday, January 31st:  House of Crime and Mystery
Monday, February 4th:  Fiction Addict
Friday, February 8th:  Unabridged Chick
Monday, February 11th:  Pornokitsch – guest post
Tuesday, February 12th:  Crime Fiction Lover
Wednesday, February 13th:  Book Hooked Blog
Friday, February 15th:  Book Reviews by Elizabeth A. White
Monday, February 18th:  Raging Bibliomania
Wednesday, February 20th:  Bibliophiliac 
Friday, February 22nd:  Luxury Reading
Monday, February 25th:  Jen’s Book Thoughts


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Thursday, January 24, 2013

Yours Affectionately, Jane Austen - Guest Post



Synopsis:  Was Mr. Darcy real? Is time travel really possible? For pragmatic Manhattan artist Eliza Knight the answer to both questions is absolutely, Yes! And Fitzwilliam Darcy of Pemberley Farms, Virginia is the reason why!

His tale of love and romance in Regency England leaves Eliza in no doubt that Fitz Darcy is the embodiment of Jane Austen’s legendary hero. And she’s falling in love with him. But can the man who loved the inimitable Jane Austen ever love average, ordinary Eliza Knight?

Eliza’s doubts grow, perhaps out of proportion, when things start to happen in the quiet hamlet of Chawton, England; events that could change everything. Will the beloved author become the wedge that divides Fitz and Eliza or the tie that binds them?



A Word With The Author, Sally Smith O'Rourke:   2013 is the 200th anniversary of the publication of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, considered by some to be the ultimate romantic novel but for Jane Austen her books had nothing whatever to do with romance. In fact, when someone suggested she write one she responded:

“I could no more write a romance than an epic poem. I could not sit seriously down to write a serious romance under any other motive than to save my life; and if it were indispensable for me to keep it up and never relax into laughing at myself or other people, I am sure I should be hung before I had finished the first chapter.”                            From a letter of 1 April 1816


In  Jane Austen’s time romance in books generally involved women in peril saved by heroic men, often times using supernatural means or in adventurous situations. The gothic romances of the eighteenth and early nineteenth century were filled with scandal and monsters (human and otherwise). Often the two young lovers in these stories are kept apart until the end and only after much terror, horror and heartache can they be together. And there are times they don’t end up together at all.

In Austen’s Sense & Sensibility, Eleanor’s love for Edward is intensified when she learns he is doing the honorable thing by accepting responsibility for the rash actions of his youth and marrying Lucy. His love for Eleanor is compounded by her desire to make life easier for him and his intended spouse when she relays Colonel Brandon’s offer of a living. For us Eleanor and Edward coming together is very romantic. But for Jane it is simply two respectable and honorable people who belong together and are able to wed because others were not so honorable or respectable.

Equalitarianism is a common thread in all her books. To Jane everyone was the same no matter their birth right. Northanger Abbey has the wealthy and well-connected Henry Tilney disobeying his father to ask for Catherine Morland’s hand. Only in Emma are the lovers equal for their day.

In Mansfield Park Austen shows how the upper class, the so called ‘best people’ can be and often are common, corrupt, amoral and downright immoral. Fanny, born into the harshness of poverty is, on the other hand, demure, modest and morally upright. Ultimately she marries her wealthy but pious cousin, Edmond.

Persuasion may be the ultimate romance. Anne Elliot who is the daughter of a Baronet is initially persuaded not to marry Mr. Wentworth as she is to inherit wealth and he is but a lowly sailor. However, years later their roles are reversed since Anne’s father has lost his money and the now Captain Wentworth has become very wealthy. Anne has never loved another and is brought together with Captain Wentworth again when he declares, “Dare not say that man forgets sooner than woman, that his love has an earlier death. I have loved none but you. Unjust I may have been, weak and resentful I have been, but never inconstant. You alone have brought me to Bath.” They walk off into the sunset.

Today in Pride & Prejudice, Darcy’s first proposal, at least part of it, is thought to be exceedingly romantic (“You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you”) and even though Elizabeth takes what follows as an insult, as does today’s reader, in Jane’s time the girl would have over looked the slight and been honored for a proposal from a man so obviously her superior. Which is what Darcy is expecting so is stunned by Elizabeth’s refusal. Angry and humiliated that he followed his heart and not the rational part of his brain he exists.

For Jane Austen the scene typifies the arrogance of Darcy’s class. Elizabeth’s comment later to Lady Catherine ‘…he is a gentleman; I am a gentleman’s daughter; so far we are equal’ is how Jane truly felt; that class and situation should have no bearing on a match.

Humbled by Elizabeth’s rejection, Darcy determines that he wants to be a man capable of pleasing a woman worthy of being pleased and when he realizes that Elizabeth is his intellectual and moral equal she is the woman he wants to please. Elizabeth sees that she was judging on first impressions not on substance and that Darcy is a man of honor and integrity. And so they marry.

This was not romantic for Jane Austen, it was simply the way it ought to be. That marriage should be based on love and partnership; on mutual understanding and respect; not on money, land and connections.

Her gift of making ordinary life entertaining is what keeps her as alive today as she was in 1813. We can all imagine or at least wish ourselves to be Elizabeth Bennet, Anne Elliot or Emma Woodhouse with men who loved us unconditionally. The thing that makes Austen a romantic for modern times is that Jane’s men love the women, even the young Catherine and demure Fanny, because they are independent in thought and strong in character; not in spite of those traits.

Jane Austen’s ability to create characters and situations we can all relate to even two hundred years later is the reason she is considered one of the greatest writers of romance in the world. Something, I believe, that would make her laugh. And she would consider it absurd that anyone even remembers her. But we do and I suspect will for another two hundred years.

I try and capture her spirit in Yours Affectionately, Jane Austen a ‘what if’ story about who Mr. Darcy might have been, maybe even was.



Connect with Sally Smith O'Rourke:  You can connect with Sally online at her blog, Facebook, Twitter and the everything Austen site.

Purchase:  You can purchase Yours Affectionately, Jane Austen online at Amazon for $14 (kindle version $5.99).





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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Dying to Run Tour Stop #2! + Giveaway

$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash from Author Cami Checketts
3 Sets of iFrogz Earbuds & Armbands
Ends 1/31/13




Dead Running

Cassidy Christensen is running.
Running from the mercenaries who killed her parents.
Running from a scheming redhead intent on making her life miserable.
Running from painful memories that sabotage her dreams of happiness.

With two very tempting men competing for her attention, she hopes she'll finally have someone to run to, but can she trust either of them? When secrets from her past threaten her family, Cassidy decides to stop running and fight for her future.

Dying to Run

Cassidy Christensen wants to run.

Captured by the traffickers who killed her mother, her only hope is Dr. Tattoo, a man she loves but nobody trusts. When she finally gets a chance to run, someone else she cares about is taken. Running might be her only chance at survival, but she won’t allow another family member to be killed in her place.

This must-read sequel to Dead Running will have you laughing, biting your nails, and hoping for more.


Book Excerpt

A barrage of bullets assaulted the bedroom door. I hit the floor, pulling Nana down with me. The dresser banged into us. I forced myself to sit up and dig my feet in again. My legs were cramping and my back ached, but I wasn’t about to give up. 
“Stop shooting my house,” Nana yelled over the noise.
“They’re going to kill us! Who cares about the house?”
Nana studied me like it was the last time she might see me breathing. “I won’t let them kill you.”
I just stared. We both knew who they were after, but she was crazy thinking she could protect me. These men worked for the jerks who had murdered my mother, repeatedly tried to kill my father, and two weeks ago almost succeeded in taking me out at the St. George Marathon. They weren’t going to listen to an old woman or be sweet-talked by her famous snickerdoodles.
The dresser moved another few inches. I didn’t dare make a sprint for the window and hope Nana could follow. I had to focus on keeping her safe until the police got here. I pushed—legs quivering, wood digging into my back, the floor getting sticky with my sweaty palms. The ugly barrel of a gun inched through a hole they’d made in the wall.
“Nana!” I screamed, knocking her to the floor as they started shooting again. My head banged against Nana’s, light swam in and out of focus, the deafening barrage of bullets adding to the pounding in my head. Nana scurried away from the door and around the edge of the bed. I crawled after her, the hard floor digging into my knees.
The dresser slammed against the bed as the door splintered from its frame. Dozens of bullets smacked into the old plaster walls. Dust showered us. It reeked of mold. I sneezed and pushed Nana towards the window as she tried to do the same thing to me. “Open it and climb out,” I said.
“You first,” she shot back.
“Stop shooting,” a man yelled. Within seconds the only sound was Nana and I panting for breath. They were going to rip us from our hiding spot any second.
“We want this one alive.”


Purchase



Author Cami Checketts

Cami Checketts is married and the proud mother of four future WWF champions. Sometimes between being a human horse, cleaning up magic potions, and reading Bernstein Bears, she gets the chance to write fiction.

Cami graduated from Utah State University with a degree in Exercise Science. Cami teaches strength training classes at her local rec and shares healthy living tips on her fitness blog: http://fitnessformom.blogspot.com.

Cami and her family live in the beautiful Cache Valley of Northern Utah. During the two months of the year it isn't snowing, she enjoys swimming, biking, running, and water-skiing.


Links




Blog Tour Giveaway!

$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash from Author Cami Checketts
3 Sets of iFrogz Earbuds & Armbands
Ends 1/31/13

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer http://iamareadernotawriter.blogspot.com and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.




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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Y: A Novel, updated with my Review!




Synopsis:  “Y. That perfect letter. The wishbone, fork in the road, empty wineglass. The question we ask over and over. Why? . . . My life begins at the Y.” So opens Marjorie Celona’s highly acclaimed and exquisitely rendered debut about a wise-beyond-her-years foster child abandoned as a newborn on the doorstep of the local YMCA. Swaddled in a dirty gray sweatshirt with nothing but a Swiss Army knife tucked between her feet, little Shannon is discovered by a man who catches only a glimpse of her troubled mother as she disappears from view. That morning, all three lives are forever changed.


Bounced between foster homes, Shannon endures abuse and neglect until she finally finds stability with Miranda, a kind but no-nonsense single mother with a free-spirited daughter of her own. Yet Shannon defines life on her own terms, refusing to settle down, and never stops longing to uncover her roots—especially the stubborn question of why her mother would abandon her on the day she was born.

Brilliantly and hauntingly interwoven with Shannon’s story is the tale of her mother, Yula, a girl herself who is facing a desperate fate in the hours and days leading up to Shannon’s birth. As past and present converge, tells an unforgettable story of identity, inheritance, and, ultimately, forgiveness. Celona’s ravishingly beautiful novel offers a deeply affecting look at the choices we make and what it means to be a family, and it marks the debut of a magnificent new voice in contemporary fiction.

My Review:  I REALLY enjoyed Y, A Novel.  I wish I could put my finger on it and explain in words....I feel like I am going to struggle with this review and not do the book justice.  Here I go...

I thought Y was beautifully written.  I really liked the main character, Shannon and her foster family.  The story is told to us from her point of view through her first 18 years.  The story alternates every now and than back to her birth mother and what led up to her abandoning Shannon.  It is some crazy stuff!

Shannon ends up meeting the man who found her, connects through letters with her birth father and mets her birth mother and grandfather.  Through it all her foster family is by her side.  She learns what family really means. It is truly a beautiful story.  



Meet the Author:  Marjorie Celona received her MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where she was an Iowa Arts Fellow and recipient of the John C. Schupes fellowship. Her stories have appeared in Best American Nonrequired Reading, Glimmer Train, and Harvard Review. Born and raised on Vancouver Island, she lives in Cincinnati.

Marjorie - I moved from the Cincinnati area to NY four years ago.  I still want to move back.  I miss it so much.

Purchase it:  You can purchase Y a novel online at Amazon for $24.99 (Kindle version $11.99).

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Monday, January 21, 2013

Inside Out and Back Again

Synopsis:  For all the ten years of her life, Ha has only known Saigon: the thrills of its markets, the joy of its traditions, the warmth of her friends close by, and the beauty of her very own papaya tree. But now the Vietnam War has reached her home. Ha and her family are forced to flee as Saigon falls, and they board a ship headed toward hope.
This is the moving story of one girl's year of change, dreams, grief, and healing as she journeys from one country to another, one life to the next.

Patrick's Review:  Ha is a ten year old girl living in South Vietnam. She planted a papaya seed and has watched it grow over the years. She loves the papaya fruit. Ha gets teased by her three older brothers. Her Ma is raising all four kids by herself and works two jobs to be able to feed her family. Her Dad has been captured by North Vietnam. Her country has been divided into South and North Vietnam. Ha and her family leave in the middle of the night on a Navy ship, to escape South Vietnam. The next day, North Vietnam takes over South Vietnam. 

After weeks at sea, they arrive in Guam. They only stay in Guam a few days and are sent to Alabama. The Cowboy sponsors Ha’s family. He hires her oldest brother Quang to work at his auto shop repairing cars in exchange for an apartment. Ha and her brothers Vu and Khoi must repeat the last grade they attended in Saigon. School is very hard for Ha as she doesn’t speak English and the kids are very mean to her. She doesn’t fit as her skin is not black or white, but is olive. She has different shaped eyes, straight hair that doesn’t hold curls and a flat face. 

Ha and her family stick together learn how to become a stronger family in Alabama. They get Baptized in Cowboy’s church, learn how to be grateful for food they don’t like, and learn how to speak English. Ha becomes friends with two other kids in school. Her brother Vu teaches her how to defend herself against the bully, “Pink boy.” Her brother Khoi takes her to school on his bike and picks her up at the end of each day. Her mother finds a job making clothes. Ma loses her purple marriage ring and Ha and her family realize that her Dad has died. They all agree that the next year will be better for them as they celebrate Tet, the Vietnam’s new year.


Meet the Author:  Thanhha Lai was born in Vietnam. At the end of the war, she fled with her family to Alabama. There, she learned English from fourth graders. She then spent the next decade correcting her grammar. Starting her writing life as journalist, she worked at The Orange County Register. She switched to fiction, leading to an MFA from New York University and short story publications in various journals and anthologies. Lai lives with her husband, daughter and a little white dog in New York City.  Thanhha Lai is an American writer of the children's literature. She won the 2011 National Book Award for Young People's Literature and a Newbery Honor for her debut novel, Inside Out and Back Again, published by HarperCollins.

You can connect with Tanhha at Goodreads.

Purchase It: You can purchase Inside Out and Back Again online from Amazon for $7.99.







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Sunday, January 20, 2013

Please Welcome a New Reviewer!



I am so excited to let you all know that I will periodically have reviews written by my son, Patrick.  He really seems to have gotten bit by the reading bug lately....and I am happy.  He is very athletic and most of the books he is reading involve sports.  I am just excited he is enjoying a good book.  I tell all of my kids, I will always buy books for as long as you read them.  Once we are done, they get donated to their school or our local library.

Patrick's first review will post Monday!  I am so excited for him!
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Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Y: A Novel


My Rating:  Oh, this is so good and I have about 100 pages left to read.  It is driving my crazy that I can't find time to read this time of year.  

Synopsis:  “Y. That perfect letter. The wishbone, fork in the road, empty wineglass. The question we ask over and over. Why? . . . My life begins at the Y.” So opens Marjorie Celona’s highly acclaimed and exquisitely rendered debut about a wise-beyond-her-years foster child abandoned as a newborn on the doorstep of the local YMCA. Swaddled in a dirty gray sweatshirt with nothing but a Swiss Army knife tucked between her feet, little Shannon is discovered by a man who catches only a glimpse of her troubled mother as she disappears from view. That morning, all three lives are forever changed.


Bounced between foster homes, Shannon endures abuse and neglect until she finally finds stability with Miranda, a kind but no-nonsense single mother with a free-spirited daughter of her own. Yet Shannon defines life on her own terms, refusing to settle down, and never stops longing to uncover her roots—especially the stubborn question of why her mother would abandon her on the day she was born.

Brilliantly and hauntingly interwoven with Shannon’s story is the tale of her mother, Yula, a girl herself who is facing a desperate fate in the hours and days leading up to Shannon’s birth. As past and present converge, tells an unforgettable story of identity, inheritance, and, ultimately, forgiveness. Celona’s ravishingly beautiful novel offers a deeply affecting look at the choices we make and what it means to be a family, and it marks the debut of a magnificent new voice in contemporary fiction.

My Review:  I will post a review as soon as I finish Y.  I really wish I could stay awake more than 5 minutes at night....this book is too good!  


Meet the Author:  Marjorie Celona received her MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where she was an Iowa Arts Fellow and recipient of the John C. Schupes fellowship. Her stories have appeared in Best American Nonrequired Reading, Glimmer Train, and Harvard Review. Born and raised on Vancouver Island, she lives in Cincinnati.

Marjorie - I moved from the Cincinnati area to NY four years ago.  I still want to move back.  I miss it so much.

Purchase it:  You can purchase Y a novel online at Amazon for $24.99 (Kindle version $11.99).

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Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Goodnight, Brian Guest Post




Brief Synopsis: 
Fate was working against little Brian Mauretti. The food that was meant to nourish him was poisoning him instead, and the doctors said the damage was devastating and absolute. Fate had written off Brian. But fate didn’t count on a woman as determined as Brian’s grandmother, Angela DiMartino – who everyone knew as Mama. Loving her grandson with everything she had, Mama endeavored to battle fate. Fate had no idea what it was in for.

An emotional tale about the strength of family bonds, unconditional love, and the perseverance to do our best with the challenging gifts we receive, Goodnight, Brian is an uplifting tribute to what happens when giving up is not an option.
 


Author Bio:  Steven Manchester is the published author of the #1 best seller, Twelve Months, as well as A Christmas Wish (the holiday prequel to Goodnight, Brian). He is also the Pressed Pennies, The Unexpected Storm: The Gulf War Legacy and Jacob Evans, as well as several books under the pseudonym, Steven Herberts. His work has appeared on NBC's Today Show, CBS'sThe Early Show, CNN’s American Morning and BET’s Nightly News. Recently, three of his short stories were selected "101 Best" for Chicken Soup for the Soul series. 

Connect:  You can connect with Steven Manchester online, at Sunlife and Facebook.  

Purchase It:  You can purchase Goodnight, Brian online at Amazon (paperback and kindle version available) or Barnes and Noble/Nook version.


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Monday, January 7, 2013

Release Me Guest Post & Giveaway!



Synopsis:
For fans of Fifty Shades of Grey and Bared to You comes an erotic, emotionally charged romance between a powerful man who’s never heard “no” and a fiery woman who says “yes” on her own terms. 
 


He was the one man I couldn’t avoid. And the one man I couldn’t resist. 
 


Damien Stark could have his way with any woman. He was sexy, confident, and commanding: Anything he wanted, he got. And what he wanted was me. Our attraction was unmistakable, almost beyond control, but as much as I ached to be his, I feared the pressures of his demands. Submitting to Damien meant I had to bare the darkest truth about my past—and risk breaking us apart.
 
But Damien was haunted, too. And as our passion came to obsess us both, his secrets threatened to destroy him—and us—forever.



Release Me is an erotic romance intended for mature audiences.


Meet the Author:  J. Kenner is the pen name of USA Today bestselling author Julie Kenner (who also writes as J.K. Beck).  Release Me, an erotic romance, goes on sale today in the U.S. and the U.K., and in over a dozen other countries later in 2013. 


Julie writes a range of stories including quirky romances, sexy contemporaries, young adult novels, suspense, paranormal mommy lit, and (soon!) darker urban fantasy.

Guest Post from Julie:  Comfort Reads and Comfort Food
Thanks so much to Seaside Book Nook for hosting me on today’s stop of the Release Me blog tour.  Thanks to everyone who’s bought the book or told their friends about it!  I’ve been thrilled by the response so far and really appreciate all the support and the great word of mouth.  Thank you!

About a week ago, I was fighting a cold and decided to spend the day on the couch reading.  I went up to our game room where we have two walls covered with Ikea bookshelves and started to peruse the titles to find something to read.  We have zillions of books, many of which I haven’t yet read, but none appealed to me.  No, I was feeling crappy and I wanted a comfort read.  Something tried and true.  Something I knew with absolute certainty that I would enjoy.
I feel the same thing about food.  If I feel truly awful, then food’s not going to be on the agenda at all.  But if I’m just having a lazy day or a crappy day, then it’s not about fancy meals or expensive cuisine.  I want comfort food.  Ice cream slathered in chocolate sauce.  Chips and salsa.  Or my absolute favorite, frozen blueberries thawed for 30 minutes and then drenched in heavy cream (try it…it’s yummy!).
So what did I end up eating and reading on that day when I decided to veg and pamper my cold?  Well, I went with my berries, because, well, yum.
And as for the book – I couldn’t decide.  So I ended up snuggled on the couch with Outlander by Diana Gabaldon.  Thick enough to last all day; fun enough to keep me comfy and happy!
How about you? What are your comfort foods? Your comfort reads? 
Connect:  You can hang out with J.K., learn more about Release Me and her other novels, or just poke around and see what catches your eye at her website, Facebook and Twitter.
Win It:  You can win your own copy of Release Me!  Complete the Rafflecopter form below!  Contest ends 1/14/13 at midnight EST!  Good Luck!
Buy It: You can buy Release Me online at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Indie Bound for $8.98.

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