Sunday, July 23, 2017

Review - The Wild Woman's Guide to Traveling the World by Kristin Rockaway

Objectively, Sophie is a success: she's got a coveted job at a top consulting firm, a Manhattan apartment, and a passport full of stamps. It isn't quite what she dreamed of when she was a teenager dog-earing pages in exotic travel guides, but it's secure. Then her best friend bails just hours after they arrive in Hong Kong for a girls' trip, and Sophie meets Carson, a free-spirited, globetrotting American artist.

In the midst of their whirlwind vacation romance, Carson invites Sophie to join him on his haphazard journey around the world. While the brief international jaunts she sneaks in between business trips don't feel like enough, Sophie is far too practical to throw away her five-year plan on a whim. Yet Carson's offer forces her to question whether the reliable life she's chosen is really what she wants--and she soon discovers that his feelings for her run deeper than she realized.


My Thoughts
I hands down think this book is one of the best I've read in 2017!  From the traveling to the love story of two strangers who meet for the first time, I couldn't put this book down! 
Sophie has the world at her fingertips - the perfect job, an apartment in the greatest city in the world, all the traveling she could wish for but why isn't she truly happy?
Personally I would take a job and make myself love it if it meant that I could travel all over the world and see wonders I have only read about in travel guides.
Next stop - HONG KONG!  And this time she has a travel companion - her best friend!  But it didn't last long and her friend was homesick for her boyfriend and left her the next morning.
Well Sophie decided to do what Sophie does best and that's travel alone.

Then she meets a handsome guy named Carson - he's a free spirited artist with no set plan in life - he quit his job to travel the world.  Throughout the journey they fall more and more in love.  He asks her to quit her job and travel the world with him.  How could she just drop her 5 year plan on a whim?
But in the end she does go back to NYC, she doesn't have it in her to remain in the world with no plan.

Will Sophie and Carson ever see each other again?  Will the connect again one day in another part of the world?  You will have to pick up a copy and find out!  From sexiness to travel to love - you will never be bored on this WILD ride!


Drink Selection
Doesn't that look delish?  Um YES!  It's a very popular drink in Hong Kong!  It's the blending of whisky, honey, maple syrup, lemon juice, cinnamon and lemon oil, the sweet and sour in perfect harmony.

Rating
5 wines glasses all the way!  I can't wait to read more books by Kristin in the future!


Author Bio
Kristin Rockaway is a native New Yorker with an insatiable case of wanderlust. After working in the IT industry for far too many years, she traded the city for the surf and chased her dreams out to Southern California, where she spends her days happily writing stories instead of software. THE WILD WOMAN'S GUIDE TO TRAVELING THE WORLD is her first novel. When she's not writing, she enjoys spending time with her husband and son, and planning her next big vacation.

Link to Purchase



Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Happy Pub Day - Return to Summer by Melissa Baldwin

Happy Release Day to Melissa Baldwin! RETURN TO SUMMER is out now!!!

Title: Return to Summer
Author: Melissa Baldwin
Series: Seasons of Summer #4
Release Date: July 19, 2017
Genre: Romantic Comedy
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35381340-return-to-summer
Amazon: https://books2read.com/mbrts

About RETURN TO SUMMER
Summertime has arrived and things aren’t only heating up outside for Summer Peters. After a rocky spring, Summer thinks she’s finally moved on from the heartache of last year. She’s found a new place to live, her company has new clients, and her relationship with Alexander Williams is going strong, despite the desperate attempts by others to sabotage it. Just when Summer thinks everything is finally falling into place, she receives another crushing blow, and this time it could even affect her business. Summer knows it’s finally time to put a stop to the one thing that threatens her happiness, even though it requires a difficult decision in order to do this. Will this season bring her everything she’s always wanted or will history repeat itself?
Find out how Summer’s one-year journey ends in this final installment of the Seasons of Summer Novella Series.


Read the first three SEASONS OF SUMMER novellas!
FALL INTO MAGIC - https://books2read.com/mbfim
WINTER CAN WAIT - https://books2read.com/mbwcw
TO SPRING WITH LOVE - https://books2read.com/mbtswl


Meet MELISSA BALDWIN

Melissa Baldwin is an avid runner, planner obsessed, and has always had a love for writing. She is a wife, mother, and avid journal keeper who took her creativity to the next level by fulfilling her dream with her debut novel, An Event to Remember...or Forget. Melissa writes about charming, ambitious, and real women and is now a published author of nine Romantic Comedy novels and novellas.

Where to Find MELISSA

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Review - The Address by Fiona Davis

Fiona Davis, author of The Dollhouse, returns with a compelling novel about the thin lines between love and loss, success and ruin, passion and madness, all hidden behind the walls of The Dakota—New York City’s most famous residence.

After a failed apprenticeship, working her way up to head housekeeper of a posh London hotel is more than Sara Smythe ever thought she’d make of herself. But when a chance encounter with Theodore Camden, one of the architects of the grand New York apartment house The Dakota, leads to a job offer, her world is suddenly awash in possibility—no mean feat for a servant in 1884. The opportunity to move to America, where a person can rise above one’s station. The opportunity to be the female manager of The Dakota, which promises to be the greatest apartment house in the world. And the opportunity to see more of Theo, who understands Sara like no one else...and is living in The Dakota with his wife and three young children.

In 1985, Bailey Camden is desperate for new opportunities. Fresh out of rehab, the former party girl and interior designer is homeless, jobless, and penniless. Two generations ago, Bailey’s grandfather was the ward of famed architect Theodore Camden. But the absence of a genetic connection means Bailey won’t see a dime of the Camden family’s substantial estate. Instead, her “cousin” Melinda—Camden’s biological great-granddaughter—will inherit almost everything. So when Melinda offers to let Bailey oversee the renovation of her lavish Dakota apartment, Bailey jumps at the chance, despite her dislike of Melinda’s vision. The renovation will take away all the character and history of the apartment Theodore Camden himself lived in...and died in, after suffering multiple stab wounds by a madwoman named Sara Smythe, a former Dakota employee who had previously spent seven months in an insane asylum on Blackwell’s Island.

One hundred years apart, Sara and Bailey are both tempted by and struggle against the golden excess of their respective ages—for Sara, the opulence of a world ruled by the Astors and Vanderbilts; for Bailey, the free-flowing drinks and cocaine in the nightclubs of New York City—and take refuge and solace in the Upper West Side’s gilded fortress. But a building with a history as rich—and often tragic—as The Dakota’s can’t hold its secrets forever, and what Bailey discovers in its basement could turn everything she thought she knew about Theodore Camden—and the woman who killed him—on its head.

With rich historical detail, nuanced characters, and gorgeous prose, Fiona Davis once again delivers a compulsively readable novel that peels back the layers of not only a famed institution, but the lives—and lies—of the beating hearts within.


My Thoughts 
What a beautifully written story.  I would have to say that this is one of my favorites for 2017.  Fiona captured the essence of the time period of 1885 and 1986 perfectly and I loved how the characters melded together.

I love historical fiction and a storyabout a piece of history that is alive and well in NYC, The Dakota.  It will be a must see stop on my next trip to the city!
Sarah Smythe, after a chance meeting with Theodore Camden, is offered a job in America to work as a managerette at The Dakota.  She jumps at the chance and leaves for America immediately to begin her new life.

Fast forward to 1985 - Bailey Camden is trying to find her way again after a rehab stay due to drugs and alcohol.  She has lost her job at amazing interior designer in the city and has hit rock bottom.  Then she is given the chance to redesign the Dakota for her cousin Melinda.  She jumps at the chance and accepts the roof over her head.

As she works, Bailey (and Renzo) are finding out more and more about Sara Smythe and Theodore Camden.  Between the affairs, the incarceration for stealing of Sara Smythe on Blackwell Island and so many more pieces, Bailey is truly starting to reconsider who her true family is and where Theodore Camden falls into the equation.

Through the ups and downs of The Dakota, Bailey Camden, Sara Smythe, Theodore Camden - you will be able to paint a clear picture of love, hate, demise, murder and family. 

Drink Selection
A Southern Comfort Manhattan seems like a fitting drink to pair with this book!
About the Author 
Fiona Davis was born in Canada and raised in New Jersey, Utah, and Texas. She began her career in New York City as an actress, where she worked on Broadway, off-Broadway, and in regional theater. After ten years, she changed careers, working as an editor and writer, and her historical fiction debut, THE DOLLHOUSE, was published in 2016. She's a graduate of the College of William & Mary and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, and is based in New York City. 
Link to Purchase
Amazon 

Rating
I can't give enough praise for The Address!  Five wine glasses all the way!  I can't wait to read more of Fiona's books!






Review - To Spring with Love (Seasons of Summer Novella, #3) by Melissa Baldwin

Summer Peters is thrilled to be done with the frigid winter. Spring is in the air, and she’s ready for a fresh new start. Her career is thriving, she’s searching for a new place to live, and she’s finally ready to take her relationship with Alexander Williams to the next level.

What she doesn’t expect is to be blindsided by Alexander’s assistant, Melanie, who seems to be up to her old tricks, even stooping as low as dating Summer’s ex-boyfriend, Jake. Once again, Summer is faced with the dilemma of having to share Alexander with a woman who’s out to destroy their relationship.

To add to these challenges, she receives devastating news from her best friend, Angie. At a critical time when she may need her best friend the most, she learns Angie may not be there for her. She quickly realizes that she may need to lean on someone she never expected during this time of change.

My Thoughts 
Did I ever say how much I love this series?  Ok I know I have - at least once or twice!  They are fun quick reads - grab and read by the pool!

Poor Summer, not only is annoying Melanie trying to ruin her and Alexander's relationship, she is also dating her ex-boyfriend Jake.  Summer can't shake the feeling that there is an evil plot behind this scheme but she needs to get proof.

Not only is she dealing with that drama, but her best friend Ang has sprang some news on her, how will she be able to handle all of this turmoil, one thing after another!

Who will she lean on for support?  Will her and Alexander take the next step in their relationship or will they crash and burn?

Drink Selection
We will go with one of my favorite fruity concoctions, Sex on the Beach!  Tasks great but always a little awkward to ask for!  HAHA
About the Author 
Melissa Baldwin is an avid runner, planner obsessed, and has always had a love for writing. She is a wife, mother, and avid journal keeper who took her creativity to the next level by fulfilling her dream with her debut novel, An Event to Remember...or Forget. Melissa writes about charming, ambitious, and real women and is now a published author of seven Romantic Comedy novels and novellas.

When she isn't deep in the writing zone, this multi-tasking master organizer is busy spending time with her family, chauffeuring her daughter, traveling, running, indulging in fitness, and taking a Disney Cruise every now and then. 

Link to Purchase
Amazon

Rating
Another 5 wine glasses rating for this fun series!








Review - The To Hell and Back Club by Jill Hannah Anderson

When you've been to hell...
new friends can bring you back.

In this inspiring debut from Jill Hannah Anderson~ Peyton Brooks, a newly-empty nester with a comatose marriage, loses her three best friends in a car crash, and reaches out to women in the To-Hell-And-Back Club, hoping they’ll help resuscitate her life.

Through the “Hell Club”, Peyton learns that it’s never too late to begin again. These been-there-felt-that women use their sense of humor, strength, and support to help pull her off the couch and back to living her life.

She puts an end to her troubled marriage and rebuilds the life she’d put aside two decades ago. But when Peyton digs up time capsules she and her friends buried years ago and uncovers secrets about those she loved, she struggles to keep her own life-changing secret buried.

The “Hell Club” women help remind Peyton of the strength within her. She finds a renewed hope in life and love when she faces the mistakes and guilt that have troubled her for years. When Peyton’s secret is discovered, she’s going to need the “Hell Club” women more than ever.

The To-Hell-And-Back Club is an inspiring book that reminds us that it’s never too late to start over, and that living a life of regrets is no life at all.


My Thoughts 
The book begins in tragedy and ends with hope.  I wasn't sure what to expect when I first began but I could relate to Peyton's story in some ways and it really helped me process my feelings from my past and find ways to move on, grow from your mistakes and see that there really is life at the end of the tunnel...Now if only I could find my own local branch of The To Hell and Back Club life after this story would be complete.
Peyton is going through a lot at the moment.  Her children are all moving out and in to their own lives, her husband doesn't speak to her anymore and moved out and to top it all off she loses her three best friends in a horrific car crash.

Then at the point when she needs the support the most, she reaches out To The Hell and Back Club and these "new" friends change her life forever.  She has people to go out with, share her feelings with and new friends to go through the remainder of her life with.

There are secrets that come out little by little in time capsules that her and her three friends had buried years back.  She find the courage to go through them one by one.

Then there are her children's tribulations that Peyton learns the right way to support them through, her filing for divorce and even has the chance to date the man that will give her butterflies again and make her life whole.

This story is uplifting and you won't be able to put it down.

Drink Selection
I am pairing this read with a Pink-A-Colada, does this look to die for or what?! 

About the Author 
Voted “Most Imaginative” in high school, Jill assumed everyone else looked at life with “what-if” questions too. She lives on a lake in Minnesota with her husband in their rarely-empty nest, where they enjoy their six adult children and ever-increasing number of grandchildren when they come to visit.

Jill has worked at a communications company for two decades, and also writes part-time for a Minnesota women’s magazine. Her first women’s fiction novel, THE TO-HELL-AND-BACK CLUB, will be published in May, 2017. She is a member of Women’s Fiction Writers Association (WFWA), and is currently at work on her second women’s fiction novel, CRAZY LITTLE TOWN CALLED LOVE, featuring a character from her first novel. When she isn’t working, writing, or reading, you’ll find her running, curling, biking, and enjoying the great outdoors.

Connect with Jill through her website at: www.JillHannahanderson.com, or on her social media pages: Facebook ~ www.facebook.com/jillhannah.anderson/, Twitter ~ https://twitter.com/JillHannahA, or Instagram ~ @jillh.anderson
 
Link to Purchase
 
Rating
This book is 5 wine glasses all the way...I loved it from beginning to end!
 



Review - Winter Can Wait (Seasons of Summer Novellas, #2) by Melissa Baldwin

Following a fabulous fall, Summer Peters is not looking forward to the frigid winter. Much to her dismay, she knows this winter is a time for many changes in her life, including moving on from the heartache of the past.
Her professional life is flourishing, especially after her company is hired to decorate a trendy New York City restaurant. Summer sees this as a fantastic opportunity to build her clientele. However, she doesn’t anticipate the few surprises she encounters along the way, some of which could threaten her future.
Although her relationship with superman-lookalike Alexander Williams seems almost perfect, she finds it more and more difficult to compete for his time with his possessive personal assistant. To make matters worse, she doesn’t expect the return of Helena, his supermodel ex-wife who many say is his soul mate.
On the big opening night of the restaurant, she’s faced with making yet another difficult decision. She knows it’s time to take her life in the right direction; although in order to do this, she may need to let go again. 


My Thoughts 
And we are back with another fabulous tale of Summer and Alexander.  
But how can their relationship compete with his career and his overly pushy and down right mean personal assistant?
And to top it all off Alexander's ex-wife pops back into the picture, how can she even fathom competing with Alexander's "soul mate"?  On top of the fact that she is a successful model, talk about tall orders to meet!
With Helena's return, comes the signing of her contract to have Summer renovate her apartment...sheesh...what has Summer just signed on for?
Then it all seems to change in one night or does it?  
Grab your copy today and continue in this fun series!

Drink Selection
I am going to introduce a yummy summer concoction...Pimm's Cucumber Cooler, yum!
About the Author 
Melissa graduated from the University of Central Florida with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications; she has always had a love for writing. An avid journal keeper, she took her creativity to the next level by fulfilling her dream with her debut novel, An Event to Remember . . . Or Forget. Since then, she has written and published four more novels, Wedding Haters, Not Quite Sheer Happiness, See You Soon Broadway and Friends ForNever.

Melissa resides in Florida, with her husband and young daughter. When she isn't writing, this multi-tasking master organizer is busy being a mother, wife, chauffeur, PTA President, and Fitness Trainer.

When she has free time, she enjoys traveling, running, fitness, fashion, and taking a Disney Cruise every now and then.

Like me on Facebook!
www.facebook.com/authormelissabaldwin


Link to Purchase
Amazon

Rating 
5 wine glasses all the way, I loved the continuation of Summer and Alexander's love story.




 


Review - That Map That Leads to You by J.P. Monninger

“Romantic and unforgettable.” —Nicholas Sparks
Two strangers take the road less traveled...
Heather Mulgrew’s world is already mapped out: she is going to travel abroad with her friends after college, come back to a great career in September, and head into a life where not much is left to chance. But that was before an encounter on an overnight train introduces her to Jack, a passionate adventurer who changes the course of her journey and her life.
Throwing Heather's careful itinerary to the wind, they follow Jack's grandfather's journal through post-World War II era Europe: Vienna, Budapest, Turkey—exotic places that serve only to heighten their feelings. As September looms, Jack urges Heather to stay with him, to keep traveling, to give in to the romance of their experience; Heather convinces him to return to the United States.
Jack has a secret that could change everything. And Heather’s world is about to be shaken to the core.

My Thoughts 
Get a box of Kleenex ready, this one will tug at your heart strings 1000%.  Hands down one of the great romantic stories of the year and I couldn't agree more with Nicolas Sparks - romantic and unforgettable.
Heather decides to take time for herself and her friends before she dives in head first to her career.  She wants to find herself and be free even though it was against her fathers wishes.
But then she meets Jack and her world changes for the better and for the worst depending on which way you look at it.
They can't get enough of each other and eventually Heather joins him on his adventure to reconnect with his grandfather's past through his journal.
Jack asks Heather to stay a little while longer and against the wishes of her father she does.  Who would pass up this adventure if it was at your fingertips?
But then Heather feels it's time to return to her life in New York and asks Jack to come with her, after a few disagreements and a few make ups he says yes.
Heather is home and waiting for Jack to arrive and then something happens...
Grab your copy of this amazing read and be transported into Heather and Jack's world and you will be very happy that you did...

Drink Selection
We are going to go with a yummy summer drink called Coastal Skies, Delish!
About the Author 

Joseph Monninger has published novels for adults and teens and three works of nonfiction. The New York Times Book Review has said of Monninger that he “comes to writing with his five sense wide open”. His work has appeared in American Heritage, Scientific American, Readers Digest, Glamour, Playboy, Story, Fiction, The Boston Globe, Sports Illustrated and Ellery Queen, among other publications. He has twice received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and has also received a fellowship from the New Hampshire Council for the Arts. He served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Upper Volta, now Burkina Faso, from 1975-77. He is a Professor of English at Plymouth State University in New Hampshire where he lives in a converted barn near the Baker River. 

Link to Purchase
Amazon 

Rating 
Although this book may have started out a little slow for me, I enjoyed it and highly recommend it to all.  4 wine glass rating for this romantic read.