Thursday, May 28, 2015

Under the Same Blue Sky

~ I received no compensation and opinions are 100% my own or my family. ~

Synopsis (from Amazon): From the USA Today bestselling author of When We Were Strangers and Swimming in the Mooncomes a lush, exquisitely drawn novel set against the turmoil of the Great War, as a young German-American woman explores the secrets of her past.
A shopkeeper’s daughter, Hazel Renner lives in the shadows of the Pittsburgh steel mills. She dreams of adventure, even as her immigrant parents push her toward a staid career. But in 1914, war seizes Europe and all their ambitions crumble. German-Americans are suddenly the enemy, “the Huns.” Hazel herself is an outsider in her own home when she learns the truth of her birth.
Desperate for escape, Hazel takes a teaching job in a seemingly tranquil farming community. But the idyll is cracked when she acquires a mysterious healing power—a gift that becomes a curse as the locals’ relentless demand for “miracles” leads to tragedy.
Hazel, determined to find answers, traces her own history back to a modern-day castle that could hold the truth about her past. There Hazel befriends the exiled, enigmatic German baron and forges a bond with the young gardener, Tom. But as America is shattered by war and Tom returns battered by shell-shock, Hazel’s healing talents alone will not be enough to protect those close to her, or to safeguard her dreams of love and belonging. She must reach inside to discover that sometimes the truth is not so far away, that the simplest of things can lead to the extraordinary.  
Filled with rich historical details and intriguing, fully realized characters, Under the Same Blue Sky is the captivating story of one woman’s emergence into adulthood amid the tumult of war. 

One (or more) Sentence Summary: I really enjoyed Under the Same Blue Sky.  The characters pulled me from the very beginning.  Hazel, the main character is so strong.  We get to experience what it was like to be German-American during the Great War.  I loved Hazel's "healing touch" and how much she grew/matured during the story.  Her father took the war so personally and her mother emerged as such a strong person. All the characters made the story so real and added something special to story in different ways.  

I do think Under the Same Blue Sky is a book that will stick with you after you have completed it.  It will make you think and reflect.  It would be a great book for a book club!

Favorite Character(s):  No doubt it is Hazel, however, I really liked the Baron too.  The relationship that Hazel and the Baron had was very special.  They both need each other for different reasons and had so much respect for one another. 

Setting:  Pittsburgh and Dogwood during the Great War.

Fast read/slow read:  I was very surprised, it was a super fast read.

Cover:  I LOVE IT!

What Others Are Saying:  Make sure you visit others on TLC Book Tour to see what others are saying about Under the Same Blue Sky.

Wednesday, May 6th: Staircase Wit
Wednesday, May 13th: Kritters Ramblings
Friday, May 15th: Peeking Between the Pages
Monday, May 18th: Ageless Pages Reviews
Tuesday, May 19th: Raven Haired Girl
Wednesday, May 20th: Broken Teepee
Thursday, May 21st: Good Girl Gone Redneck
Tuesday, May 26th: West Metro Mommy
Thursday, May 28th: Seaside Book Nook
Thursday, May 28th: Silver’s Reviews
Monday, June 1st: Lavish Bookshelf
Monday, June 8th: Mom’s Small Victories

Would I Read Other Books by the Author: Yes!

Pamela Schoenewaldt lived for ten years in a small town outside Naples, Italy. Her short stories have appeared in literary magazines in England, France, Italy, and the United States. She now lives in Knoxville, Tennessee, with her husband, Maurizio Conti, a physicist, and Jesse, their dog.
Find out more about Pamela at her website, keep up with her on her blog, and connect with her on Facebook.

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Thursday, May 21, 2015

13 Little Blue Envelopes

Synopsis (from Amazon): Inside little blue envelope 1 are $1,000 and instructions to buy a plane ticket.

In envelope 2 are directions to a specific London flat.
The note in envelope 3 tells Ginny: Find a starving artist.
Because of envelope 4, Ginny and a playwright/thief/ bloke–about–town called Keith go to Scotland together, with somewhat disastrous–though utterly romantic–results. But will she ever see him again?
Everything about Ginny will change this summer, and it's all because of the 13 little blue envelopes.
Ages 12+

One (or more) Sentence Summary: I didn't click with 13 Little Blue Envelopes.  First it seemed very unrealistic (and yes, I know it is fiction, but it still needs to be believable) to me that Ginny would travel internationally by herself at her age to follow instructions in envelopes left to by her Aunt.  Not once, but twice she hops on a plane.  The adventure she has along the way was enjoyable and funny at times.  I would not let a 12 year old read this book though.  I would think it would be more appropriate for 18+.  It just wasn't my cup of tea.

Fast read/slow read:  Okay speed.  Not too fast and not too slow.

Cover:  Adorable.

Would I Read Other Books by the Author: Probably not, and I hate to type it.

Maureen Johnson was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Like a lot of people who end up writing books, she was always reading. This paid off in the end, but also resulted in her not playing any sports, so she is spectacularly uncoordinated, and is easily injured by harmless household objects, like endtables.

She studied writing and theatrical dramaturgy at Columbia University. Before she could spend all her days writing, Maureen served up hamburgers in the company of mad scientists and talking skeletons in New York, tended bar in Piccadilly Circus, nervously worked alongside live tigers in Las Vegas, and once got mixed up with the entire cast of a major West End musical.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Styling Wellywood

~ I received no compensation and opinions are 100% my own or my family. ~

Synopsis (from Amazon): A humorous chick lit - romantic comedy novel about friendship, romance and overcoming your past. 

Jessica Banks is dragged kicking and screaming from her fabulous and carefree London life back to her New Zealand hometown and into the arms of her uptight mother. 

She starts up a personal styling business with one of her friends, hoping to bring some of her London glamour to the city. 

Things begin to look up when she meets Scott Wright, tennis coach, and serious contender for the hottest man on the planet. But is it a love match? 

When her best friend disappears and her high school arch nemesis rears her perky head, Jessica’s new life begins to come undone. 

Even her best friend, Ben, can’t protect her from her demons. 

Eventually, she realises she needs to face her darkest fear – the one she’s successfully drowned in cocktails for the last four years. 

Can Jessica overcome her past and find love and romance in unexpected places? 

With Wellington - the world’s coolest little capital city and New Zealand’s answer to Hollywood - as the backdrop, Styling Wellywood: A fashionable romantic comedy is a laugh out loud, entertaining romp in the world of contemporary women’s chick lit romance. 

If you love the humor found in Sophie Kinsella or Helen Fielding's Bridget Jones's Diary, or the women undone (and put back together) themes of Marian Keyes, you'll love this new contemporary women’s story filled with romantic humor! 

One (or more) Sentence Summary: Great read, with great characters.  I want to go to New Zealand and have Jessica help me with my wardrobe.  Heck, I would meet her in London too!  I like that Styling Wellywood brings in all of Jessica's friends from school.  It allows us to get to know her and her life.  Her mother is too funny. Her hippie father…peace out!

Favorite Character(s):  Ben was my favorite character.  It isn't often that I pick the guy, but Ben was very cool and a great friend.  

Setting:  Back in Jessica's home town in New Zealand. Yes, you can go back home!

Fast read/slow read:  Fast read

Cover:  Chick shopping.LOVE it!

What Others Are Saying:
"Part Bridget Jones's Diary and part Eat, Pray, Love, O'Keeffe's book blends multiple styles to form a novel that is all its own. At first glance, the book presents like a light, summer beach read. The pacing is fast and there are many romantic conundrums and slapstick snafus. However, underneath the apparent light-hearted fluff are several weighty issues, which O'Keeffe treats with sensitivity, finesse and just the right touch of humor... The story's circuitous path and the meatiness of the underlying issues are sufficient to set this book apart. It is worth escaping to a quiet spot to read O'Keeffe's engrossing tale."

Would I Read Other Books by the Author: Yes, I want to read Wedding Bubbles!

Deciding long ago that feel good stories and happy endings shouldn't be limited to just children's books and fairy tales, Kate O'Keeffe decided to create such worlds through her writing. She has loved romantic comedies since she first encountered Bridget Jones as a young, impressionable writer. It really was a match made in chick lit heaven. Kate likes to take on serious subject matter and wrap it up in warmth, wit, and humor. And of course, apply the all important feel good factor and happy ending. Kate lives and loves in New Zealand, with her wonderful family and two very scruffy dogs.

Monday, May 18, 2015

The Selection

Synopsis (from Amazon): For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in a palace and compete for the heart of gorgeous Prince Maxon.

But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn't want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks.
Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she's made for herself—and realizes that the life she's always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.

One (or more) Sentence Summary: I really liked the Selection.  I think it is a great young adult book.  I really like America's spunk and the way she sticks up for everyone regardless of class.  She is not afraid or intimidated by Prince Maxon. They become fast friends and develop a special relations.

Setting:  In the future, but I am not sure when or maybe in the past.  I just know it is a make believe world.

Cover:  Love it! Reminds of a great party or prom! 

Would I Read Other Books by the Author:  Absolutely.  I need to read the rest of the series!

Kiera Cass is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Selection series and The Siren. She is a graduate of Radford University and currently lives in Christiansburg, Virginia, with her family. Kiera has kissed approximately fourteen boys in her life. None of them were princes.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Beyond Believing

~ I received no compensation and opinions are 100% my own or my family. ~

Synopsis (from Amazon): When Olivia gets news of her best friend Dan’s fatal car accident, her life is shattered. Consumed with grief and struggling to find any meaning or purpose to life, she trudges along with a gaping void in her heart. Finally, when her frustration reaches its peak, Olivia decides to put her trust in the depth of friendship the two of them shared. That trust finally allows him to breakthrough to her, and Dan begins to guide Olivia through the twists and turns of her life, leading to something new and entirely unexpected.

When Olivia exposes a gigantic internal scandal at work, her career implodes. With no job and nowhere to turn, she escapes to Palm Springs for the sympathy and care of her beloved cousin, Garrett. However, with only weeks left before the opening of his newest store, “Gin and Tonic,” Garrett isn’t quite the comfort Olivia had expected. She yet again tries to find her way, and in the process meets someone who begins to fill that void in her heart. She’s never before experienced a love like this; it heals her soul and rekindles her spirit – and just may have been the design of her dearly departed friend all along.

Beyond Believing is a sweet, funny, and romantic story that touches the heart, serves up delicious twists and turns, and shows the reader that there’s no such thing as “coincidence.” Author D.D. Marx regards this book as her “love letter to friendship,” written in memory of her best friend, Dan.

One (or more) Sentence Summary:  ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT!  I was hooked from page one.  I can't wait for next book (yes, there are two more!!! Beyond Love and Beyond Forever).  Beyond Believing is a modern day story that takes us quickly from high school, to college, the loss of a friend, the loss of a spouse - the real world.  The book is has two different stories going on for most of the book.  Olivia's up and downs of life after losing a best friend and entering the work world and Finn's ups and downs, love, career and loss in Paris.  Their paths cross unexpectedly leaving us wanting more.  Oh….sigh…..I just loved it.

Favorite Character(s):  I could really relate to Olivia.  I felt she was the "real world." What she went through, reality of life and what we go through all told in an very entertaining way.  I loved the signs from Dan, the hard decisions she had to make, and her independence. 

Fast read/slow read:  I read Beyond Believing so quickly.  I just couldn't get enough of it.

What Others Are Saying:  Check out what others are saying on the tour 
April 27 - StoreyBook Reviews - review / giveaway
April 27 - 
The Autistic Gamer - review
April 27 - 
Coffee, Books & Art - book spotlight / giveaway
April 28 - 
Readers' Muse - review / author interview
April 28 - 
Elizabeth McKenna Romance Author - book spotlight
April 29 - 
Souls Readers - guest post / giveaway / book spotlight
April 29 - 
Griperang's Bookmarks - review / author interview / giveaway
April 30 - 
The Things We Read - review
May 1 - 
Book Loving Hippo - review / giveaway / author interview
May 4 - 
Girl With Camera - review / giveaway
May 4 - 
Deal Sharing Aunt - review
May 5 - 
Christa Reads and Writes - book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
May 6 - 
Romance Novels for the Beach - review
May 7 - 
Rockin’ Book Reviews -  review / giveaway / author interview
May 8 - 
Bound for Escape - review / giveaway
May 11 - 
3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, & Sissy, Too! -  review / giveaway
May 12 - 
A Blue Million Books - book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
May 12 - 
Allthingsbookie - review
May 13 - 
Deal Sharing Aunt - review
May 13 – 
Walking with Nora - review / giveaway
May 14 - 
Library of Clean Reads - review
May 15 - 
The Phantom Paragrapher - review
May 15 - 
Did YOU Hear About the Morgans? - review
May 15 - 
Seaside Book Nook - review
May 15 - 
Jessica Cassidy - review / author interview / giveaway

Would I Read Other Books by the Author: I can't wait for the next two books: Beyond Love and Beyond Forever.

D.D. Marx is a contemporary romantic fiction writer and blogger, as well as a lover of all things social. She is a graduate of the University of Dayton, as well as the Second City program in Chicago, where she currently resides. A proud aunt and self-described hopeless romantic, Marx has always has a knack for humorous and engaging storytelling. Her pen name is a dedication to her beloved friend Dan, who continues to guide and inspire her in her daily life.  Connect with D.D.:  Website  ~  Facebook