Monday, September 18, 2017

Review - Not Afraid of the Fall: 114 Dyas Through 18 Cities in 15 Countries by Kyle James

After purchasing one-way flights from New York City to Paris, Kyle James and his girlfriend Ashley quit their day jobs, planned futures, and their daily paradigms to see as much of the world as they could. In 114 days, they trekked across 15 countries and 38 cities with nothing but their backpacks, their smartphones, and each other. Not Afraid of the Fall is the unvarnished story of their off-the-cuff journey: From cliff-jumping on Croatia's untouched coasts to bathing with rescued elephants in Thailand; from crashing mopeds on mountainous gravel roads in Santorini, to hitchhiking with strangers in rental cars in Hungary.

Part travelogue memoir, part love letter to those staring at the walls of a corporate cubicle, Not Afraid of the Fall is an inspiring book that captures both the sweet mysteries of life on the road as well as an empowering narrative for anyone who has ever uttered the words "maybe next year."

My Thoughts 
What an amazing journey from beginning to end.  I love Kyle's raw yet simple style.  He tells it like it is.  He doesn't sugar coat their journey and make it sound like sunshine and rainbows from beginning to end.  He talks about the amazing waterfalls and the crystal clear beaches but he also talks about how sick he was on one part of the journey in INTRICATE detail (if you know what I mean) as well as talking about some of the dirty places they stayed along the way that would make your skin crawl. 

He talked about their amazing journey through so many distant cities I have never even thought of seeing but are now on my bucket list - Croatia sounds truly magical and who wouldn't want to bath with rescued elephants, HELLO sign me up!

I wish I had the ability and the courage to just drop everything and travel the world for several months - it sounds like a dream that someday needs to be made a reality.

Drink Selection
Kyle and Ash LOVE beer!  They especially loved to try beers that were native to their currently location.  Here are some great suggestions:
Rating
I have to get this straight to the point travel memoir 5 wine glasses!  I really enjoyed every part of it!  



About the Author
Kyle James grew up in Chapel Hill, North Carolina and is an avid Tar Heel fan. He studied marketing, economics, and exercise science at Appalachian State University. He currently lives and writes in Asheville, North Carolina. Not Afraid of the Fall is his debut book.

Link to Purchase







Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Review - Emma in the Night by Wendy Walker

From the bestselling author of All Is Not Forgotten comes a thriller about two missing sisters, a twisted family, and what happens when one girl comes back...

One night three years ago, the Tanner sisters disappeared: fifteen-year-old Cass and seventeen-year-old Emma. Three years later, Cass returns, without her sister Emma. Her story is one of kidnapping and betrayal, of a mysterious island where the two were held. But to forensic psychiatrist Dr. Abby Winter, something doesn't add up. Looking deep within this dysfunctional family Dr. Winter uncovers a life where boundaries were violated and a narcissistic parent held sway. And where one sister's return might just be the beginning of the crime.
 

My Thoughts 
I will not give too many of the twists and turns away from this story.  For those who have not read it, each page is a new clue, a new piece of evidence, a new psychological look into Cass and each member of the family.
Just when I thought I knew what happened Wendy changed course on me and sent my mind into a whole new direction.
The premise of the story is that Cass and Emma have been brought up in a very difficult life.  There father left their mom (who cheated) at an early age, their mother was (is) a real piece of work and they had very interesting (to say the least) relationships with some of their family members.  
One night the two girls disappeared, never to be seen again.  What happened?  Were they kidnapped? Then one day Cass just reappears after 3 years, out of the blue.  She starts to talk of being trapped on an island and not being able to escape.
Dr.Winter, a forensic scientist, little by little loses faith in Cass's story.  There are pieces that aren't adding up and she spends every waking moment working this case.
The end will surprise you and wonder when Wendy's next book will be out!

Drink Selection
I am lucky to live near the Finger Lakes Wine Region and have gone on several wine tours and Salmon Run Riesling is delish!  
Rating 
I loved every minute of this book from beginning to end!  Amazing and well written and believable!  5 wine glass rating hands down!


About the Author 
Wendy Walker is a former attorney and investment banker in Fairfield County, Connecticut who began writing while at home raising her three sons. Her debut thriller, All Is Not Forgotten, has become an international bestseller and was optioned for film by Warner Brothers with Reese Witherspoon set to produce. The paperback will be released July 18, 2017, followed by her second thriller, Emma In The Night, on August 8. 

Link to Purchase






Sunday, September 10, 2017

Review - Final Girls by Riley Sager

Ten years ago, college student Quincy Carpenter went on vacation with five friends and came back alone, the only survivor of a horror movie–scale massacre. In an instant, she became a member of a club no one wants to belong to—a group of similar survivors known in the press as the Final Girls. Lisa, who lost nine sorority sisters to a college dropout's knife; Sam, who went up against the Sack Man during her shift at the Nightlight Inn; and now Quincy, who ran bleeding through the woods to escape Pine Cottage and the man she refers to only as Him. The three girls are all attempting to put their nightmares behind them, and, with that, one another. Despite the media's attempts, they never meet.

Now, Quincy is doing well—maybe even great, thanks to her Xanax prescription. She has a caring almost-fiancé, Jeff; a popular baking blog; a beautiful apartment; and a therapeutic presence in Coop, the police officer who saved her life all those years ago. Her memory won’t even allow her to recall the events of that night; the past is in the past. 

That is, until Lisa, the first Final Girl, is found dead in her bathtub, wrists slit, and Sam, the second, appears on Quincy's doorstep. Blowing through Quincy's life like a whirlwind, Sam seems intent on making Quincy relive the past, with increasingly dire consequences, all of which makes Quincy question why Sam is really seeking her out. And when new details about Lisa's death come to light, Quincy's life becomes a race against time as she tries to unravel Sam's truths from her lies, evade the police and hungry reporters, and, most crucially, remember what really happened at Pine Cottage, before what was started ten years ago is finished.


My Thoughts 
I don't even know where to begin.  There were some parts that were a little slow for me but overall the suspense was there, the characters were interesting and I couldn't stop reading.  I had to know what happened next.
A final girl - a girl that is the LONE survivor of a horrific crime and somehow seems to go on and live life (sort of) while all others die that night.
10 years previously Quincy went on vaca with her friends to Pine College and she was the only one  to return.  Lisa was also a member of this famed group after her sorority was all killed and Sam who survived the terrible night at the Nightlight Inn.
Even though these ladies have their own special club they have never officially met.
Quincy is doing well except for her addition to painkillers to get through any part of her day.  She has a handsome boyfriend, a baking blog, a nice place in the city and no memory of that night.
Then Lisa is found dead...and Sam located her.
What is happening? She thought she had put this all behind her and moved on.  Obviously someone else has different plans.
Little by little Quincy starts to remember that night...who will Him turn out to be?  Can she handle the truth?

Drink Selection
We have to pair this read with Mystery Red Wine...perfect companion to Final Girls.
Rating
I would give this book a 4.5 overall.  I really did enjoy the story and the characters drew me in.


About the Author 
Riley Sager is a pseudonym for an author who has been previously published under another name. A native of Pennsylvania, Riley is a writer, editor and graphic designer who now lives in Princeton, New Jersey.

Riley's first novel, FINAL GIRLS (called "The first great thriller of 2017" by Stephen King), will be published in 2017 in the United States, the United Kingdom and more than twenty countries around the world.

Visit Riley at www.rileysagerbooks.comwww.facebook.com/rileysagerbooks and on Twitter @Riley_Sager.
 


Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Review - Where the Sweet Bird Sings by Ella Joy Olsen

In this provocative new novel, the author of Root, Petal, Thorn offers a powerful story of resilience, hope, and the secrets that, no matter how deeply hidden, can shape and ultimately unite a family. What connects us to one another? Is it shared history? Is it ancestry? Is it blood? Or is it love?

People respond to tragedy in different ways. Some try to move on. Some don't move at all. A year after her young son's death due to a rare genetic disease, Emma Hazelton is still frozen by grief, unable and unwilling to consider her husband Noah's suggestion that they try to have another child.

As the future Emma once imagined crumbles, her family's past comes into sharp relief. Searching for the roots of her son's disease, Emma tries to fit together the pieces in her genealogical puzzle. Hidden within an old wedding photograph of her great-grandparents is an unusual truth Emma never guessed at--a window into all the ways that love can be surprising, generous, and fiercely brave . . . and a discovery that may help her find her own way forward at last.


My Thoughts 
I seemed to connect to Emma from the very beginning.  Being a mother I think if I was put into her situation I would feel and act the exact same way.  She is still stuck in grief mode, after her son died of a rare genetic disorder.  Where does she go from there? She struggles to know where her place is in life going forward.
Her husband's way of coping is to suggest trying to have another child.  Is he crazy?  All she can think about minute after minute is the chance, even the slightest one, of a newborn having the same health issues...could she bare losing another in the same way?
Emma tries to pass the time by cleaning out her dear grandfather's home, he just recently passed as well.  She starts going through pictures and starts to wonder who some of these people are?  She decides to go on a quest for more information and maybe just maybe she can figure out where this rare gene came from that was passed down to her poor little one.
Emma starts to unravel an interesting chain of information, not only is it keeping her busy but it is also sparking interest into who she is and where she came from?
I couldn't put this novel down, the past has always intrigued me and I love how a tangled web of humans in our lives can create a story that we never knew. (I have to add the library full of  knowledge was amazing, I must visit!)

Drink Selection
This piece is perfectly match with a delish bottle of Pinot Noir - called Mysterious.  Very fitting I might add.
Rating 
Well deserving of a 4 wine glasses rating, a little bit of sadness, mystery and family mixed into a good read!


About the Author 
Ella Joy Olsen was born, raised, and currently resides in Salt Lake City, Utah – a charming town tucked against the massive Rocky Mountains. Most at home in the world of the written word, Ella spent nearly a decade on the Board of Directors for the Salt Lake City Public Library System (and four decades browsing the stacks). She is the mom of three kids ranging from barely-teen to barely-flown-the-nest teen, the mama of two dogs, and the wife of one patient husband.

Though she’s crazy about words, Ella is also practical, so she graduated from the University of Utah with a degree in Finance. After years spent typing boring stuff, Ella eagerly gave up her corner cubicle and started writing fiction. She has also lived in Seattle, Washington & Savannah, Georgia.

She is a member of Tall Poppy Writers, Women’s Fiction Writers Association, Historical Novel Society, Binders, the Badass Writers, and the best book club ever: Salt Lake Bibliophiles.

ROOT, PETAL,THORN is her debut novel. And coming in September 2017: WHERE THE SWEET BIRD SINGS. To find out more visit www.ellajoyolsen.com, @ellajoyolsen (on Twitter).              

Link to Purchase



Sunday, September 3, 2017

Review - The Finishing School by Joanna Goodman

In this suspenseful, provocative novel of friendship, secrets, and deceit, a successful writer returns to her elite Swiss boarding school to get to the bottom of a tragic accident that took place while she was a student twenty years earlier.
How far would you go to uncover the truth?

One spring night in 1998 the beautiful Cressida Strauss plunges from a fourth-floor balcony at the Lycée Internationale Suisse with catastrophic consequences. Loath to draw negative publicity to the school, a bastion of European wealth and glamour, officials quickly dismiss the incident as an accident, but questions remain: Was it a suicide attempt? Or was Cressida pushed? It was no secret that she had a selfish streak and had earned as many enemies as allies in her tenure at the school. For her best friend, scholarship student Kersti Kuusk, the lingering questions surrounding Cressida's fall continue to nag long after she leaves the Lycée.

Kersti marries and becomes a bestselling writer, but never stops wondering about Cressida's obsession with the Helvetian Society—a secret club banned years before their arrival at the school—and a pair of its members who were expelled. When Kersti is invited as a guest to the Lycée's 100th Anniversary, she begins probing the cover-up, unearthing a frightening underbelly of lies and abuse at the prestigious establishment. And in one portentous moment, Kersti makes a decision that will connect her to Cressida forever and raise the stakes dangerously high in her own desire to solve the mystery and redeem her past.


My Thoughts 
Wow!  What a great read!  Goodman leads you through the crazy, twisted, sexy, turbulent mindset of those individuals that attended that elite boarding school - from students to teachers to administrators.  A tragic event - Cressida's plunge from a fourth floor balcony - takes place and it shapes the lives of all involved or thought to be involved.  Kersti has let the events of that night be pushed to the back of her mind for many years, but now she has been asked to come back as a speaker at the 100 year anniversary of Lycee and it has brought all of those events and suspicions to the surface.

Was Cressida's death a suicide or was she pushed?  What would bother her enough to make her want to take her own life?  Were there signs that Kersti missed?

Little by little Kersti puts the pieces together into an ending you may or may not have seen coming.  Can Kersti save Cressida's reputation and bring the right individual(s) to justice?

Drink Selection
The Finishing School would pair perfectly with a pinot noir Swiss wine. Delish!
Rating 
Cheers to Joanna for an amazing read that really pulls the reader in from beginning to end.  Excellent story worth a 5 wine glass rating!


About the Author
JOANNA GOODMAN is the author of three previous novels. Her stories have appeared in The Fiddlehead, The Ottawa Citizen, B & A Fiction, Event, The New Quarterly, and White Wall Review, as well as excerpted in Elisabeth Harvor’s fiction anthology A Room at the Heart of Things.
Originally from Montreal, Joanna now lives in Toronto with her husband and two kids, and is the owner of the Canadian linen company Au Lit Fine Linens.

JoannaGoodmanAuthor.com    

Link to Purchase
            






Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Review - Cake Therapy by Cindy Arora

When single mom and journalist, Olivia, sets out to find romance, she gets a little help from her friends and more than a few slices of cake to coax her off the couch and into the arms of a truly great love.

My Thoughts
Fun story to grab and read while sitting by the pool!  I really enjoyed the story line and it had me wanting more!
I will not go into detail, being a novella and all! 
Enjoy chick lit?  You'll love Cake Therapy!

Drink Selection
Grab a glass of Proseco and sit back and enjoy!
Rating
Fun from beginning to end, 4 wine glasses for sure!





Book Spotlight - The Best Day Ever by Kaira Rouda

I glance at my wife as she climbs into the passenger seat, and I am bursting with confidence. Today will be everything I’ve promised her…and more…

Paul Strom has the perfect life: a glittering career as an advertising executive, a beautiful wife, two healthy boys and a big house in a wealthy suburb. And he’s the perfect husband: breadwinner, protector, provider. That’s why he’s planned a romantic weekend for his wife, Mia, at their lake house, just the two of them. And he's promised today will be the best day ever.

But as Paul and Mia drive out of the city and toward the countryside, a spike of tension begins to wedge itself between them and doubts start to arise. How much do they trust each other? And how perfect is their marriage, or any marriage, really?

Forcing us to ask ourselves just how well we know those who are closest to us, Best Day Ever crackles with dark energy, spinning ever tighter toward its shocking conclusion. In the bestselling, page-turning vein of The Couple Next Door and The Dinner, Kaira Rouda weaves a gripping, tautly suspenseful tale of deception and betrayal dark enough to destroy a marriage…or a life.

My Thoughts
To begin, THAT COVER!  I LOVE it!  It just draws you in and makes you want to know what is on the other side!
This book was constantly challenging me.  When I thought I figured it out, then Kaira threw another surprise my way.
I hated Paul so much that I loved him.  He was so charming and devilish and just plan crazy!  He reminds me on one of those creepy clowns - he stares at you, thinks evil thoughts about you and at the end will kill you and laugh about it.  Such a weird comparison I know but it describes him perfectly.
On the other hand, Mia, I was impressed!  I don't think I could ever keep the plans to myself and not crack or freak out or heck even go through with it all to begin with!
The roller coaster ride will have you guessing all the way till the very last page!
I would say more but I don't want to give it all away!

Drink Selection
Pop open the bubbly, I want to celebrate this read with some delish glasses of Champagne! 


Rating
I could read this book over and over again!  LOVED it!  5 wine glasses all the way!




Review - All the Best People by Sonja Yoerg

Vermont, 1972. Carole LaPorte has a satisfying, ordinary life. She cares for her children, balances the books for the family’s auto shop and laughs when her husband slow dances her across the kitchen floor. Her tragic childhood might have happened to someone else.

But now her mind is playing tricks on her. The accounts won’t reconcile and the murmuring she hears isn’t the television. She ought to seek help, but she’s terrified of being locked away in a mental hospital like her mother, Solange. So Carole hides her symptoms, withdraws from her family and unwittingly sets her eleven-year-old daughter Alison on a desperate search for meaning and power: in Tarot cards, in omens from a nearby river and in a mysterious blue glass box belonging to her grandmother.

An exploration of the power of courage and love to overcome a damning legacy, All the Best People celebrates the search for identity and grace in the most ordinary lives.


My Thoughts
I felt the story was hard for me to grasp at times and maybe a little slow to begin. 
I will say that I enjoyed the balance of the family dynamics and each of the characters personalities together as well as on their own.
It was hard for me to imagine what it must have been like for Carole to have her mind playing such tricks on her.  I wouldn't know if I could trust myself?  Could I trust those around me? 
Withdrawing from her family is the last thing she should do and sending her daughter on a hunt to get answers to questions, is a little rough in my opinion.  I don't think I would have done that to my family.
All in all, I really did like the premise of the story.

Drink Selection
At times when the story was slower, I could use a few glasses of Riesling to get me back on track! 
Rating
I would have to rate All the Best People 3 wine glasses, I enjoyed the concept, it was just hard for me to really get close to the characters and keep my focus.




Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Excerpt - Little Gray Dress by Aimee Brown


A Bad Dress

“It won’t zip.” I look over my shoulder trying to see just how much of a gap there is in the zipper.

The seamstress pulls open the curtain and peeks in. “Ohh…” She taps her lips with her forefinger. “Maybe a corset will help?”

“A corset? Like, what they used to wear in the 1800s?” I ask, worried that instead of just looking fat I’ll end up with crushed ribs as well.

“They aren’t quite as excruciating as they were back then. I’ll just go grab one.”

“A corset, Lily!” I yell through the curtain at my best friend. “Did you hear that? I’m so fat that I need to cinch it all in with a corset.” I stick my face out of the edge of the curtain, only to see Lily’s nod.

“I don’t know what you’re complaining about, Ems. I wear Spanx every day of my life.” She rolls her eyes at me. Spanx isn’t an option for me; I need the big guns of underwear to make this dress even a tiny bit presentable.

I peel the dress off and drape it over the small chair in the fitting room. The dress could be described as ‘daring’, but a more fitting word would be ‘repulsive’. It could cause the ugly swan dress Bjork wore to the Academy Awards to bow its head in shame. Which I think is what it was doing that night, anyway. Hannah must have lost her mind to create this disaster as a bridesmaid’s gown. Maybe the dress itself isn’t that terrible, but on me… it’s appalling.

“Here we go!” The seamstress holds up a white corset. “We’ll just get you tied into this and we should be good to go.”

If only it was that easy. It takes ten minutes of pulling, pushing, and adjusting. I wish I could say that the superstrength, agonizingly uncomfortable corset does the trick. It nearly does, but to really drive home the fact that I still look terrible, we also opt for high-waisted Spanx-like underwear that hits me just below the breast. Then the corset itself, and I swear at one point it felt as if the seamstress has a foot on my back as she pulled the strings as tight as they could go to get it on. Then, as if two pairs of smoothing and self-shrinking underwear aren’t enough, we add some kind of full-length slip to smooth out the uh… lumpy areas. Which give me a bit more flare at the bottom of the skirt, in an attempt to achieve that hourglass shape that this dress so desperately needs, as opposed to the pear shape I seem to have taken on recently.

Sadly, the biggest problem I’m going to have at this wedding isn’t even the fact that I’ll be wearing a lot of bodycinching underwear underneath an ugly, far-too-snug dress created by my almost sister-in-law, Hannah.

My biggest concern is Hannah’s brother: Jack Cabot. My ex-fiancé.

Jack and I dated for five years, and for the last one of those years we were engaged. In all honesty, it was the best five years of my life, right up until that last day. That day is forever burned into my brain and has ruined so many parts of me. That was the day he shattered my heart, and I still haven’t found all the pieces.

I probably shouldn’t have put off the first fitting. Maybe my reflection in the dress wouldn’t be so shocking if I’d started the alteration process a month ago. Or maybe not. I’m sure the whole experience, no matter when I started it, would be just as traumatizing as it feels right now.


About the Author
Aimee Brown is a writer and avid reader, often blogging her thoughts on chick lit books. Little Gray Dress is her first novel published. She’s currently studying for her Bachelor’s degree in English Writing. She spends much of her time writing her next book, doing homework, raising three teenagers, binge watching shows on Netflix and obsessively cleaning and redecorating her house. She’s fluent in sarcasm and has been known to use far too many swear words.

Aimee grew up in Oregon but is now a transplant living in cold Montana with her husband of twenty years, three teenage children, and many, many pets.

She would love to hear your thoughts on Little Gray Dress! If you want to chat with her she’s very active on social media. Find her over at Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest or her author website – http://www.authoraimeebrown.com. Continue checking her website for information on her next book release!        

Link to Purchase
        


Book Spotlight - Little Gray Dress by Aimee Brown

 
Title: Little Gray Dress
Author: Aimee Brown
Release Date: August 2nd, 2017
Publisher: Crooked Cat Books
Genre: Romantic Comedy/Chick Lit
GoodReads: add Little Gray Dress to your to be read list

Book Blurb: Emi Harrison has avoided her ex-fiance, Jack Cabot, for nearly two years. Her twin brother Evan’s wedding is about to end that streak. From bad bridesmaid’s dresses, a hyperactive sister-in-law, a mean girl with even meaner secrets, and too much to drink, nothing seems to go right for Emi, except when she’s wearing her little gray dress. When she speed-walks into Liam Jaxon’s bar, things get more complicated. He’s gorgeous, southern, and has no past with Emi. He may be exactly what she needs to prove for the last time that she doesn’t need or want Jack! Her favorite little gray dress has made an appearance at nearly every major event in Emi’s adult life. Will it make another when she least expects it?

AmazonUSeBook – $2.99 | print – $9.99
AmazonUKeBook – £1.99| print – £6.99
Barnes & Nobleprint – $9.99
 

 I have the cutest Giveaway for the tour - pictured here <-- & opened worldwide.
Included is a 'create' coffee cup, some dark & handsome K-cup pods, a cute Life is Short, Eat Cake wall art, some tiny macaroons, a Little Gray Dress bookmark & postcard!
Enter here:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Aimee Brown – author bio: Aimee Brown is a writer and an avid reader. Little Gray Dress is her first published novel. My second novel is in the works now. She’s currently studying for her Bachelor’s degree in English Writing. She spends much of her time writing, doing homework, raising three teenagers, binge watching shows on Netflix and obsessively cleaning and redecorating her house. She’s fluent in sarcasm and has been known to utter profanities like she’s competing for a medal. Aimee grew up in Oregon but is now a transplant living in cold Montana with her husband of twenty years, three teenage children, and far too many pets. She would love to hear your thoughts on Little Gray Dress! If you’d like to chat with her she’s very active on social media. You can find her at any of the networks below. Stop by and say hello! Facebook | Twitter Instagram | Pinterest | Website/Blog | GoodReads | Amazon Page | Newsletter
Weds – August 2nd Blog on the Run – Book Review/Author Guest Post after 2nd Books and Photographs – Book Review Judging More Than Just the Cover – Book Review/Author Interview Nicole Evelina – Book Review/Guest Post The Novel Girl Reads – Book Review/Excerpt/Author Q&A
Thurs – August 3rd Chick Lit Central – Author Interview NovelGossip – Book Review Hey Said Renee – Author Guest Post Romantic Reads and Such – Book Excerpt Steamy Book Mama – Book Review
Fri – August 4th BrizzleLass Books – Book Review O.D. Book Reviews – Book Excerpt He Said Books or Me – Author Guest Post Corinne Desjardins – Book Spotlight Where Dragons Recide – Book Review/Author Q&A
Sat – August 5th JenaBooks – Book Review Sylv.net – Spotlight Post Got Books, Babe? – Author Guest Post The Writing Garnet – Book Review
Sun – August 6th I Read Novels – Book Review It's my Life – Book Excerpt RaeReads – Book Review Keelee Morris – Author Guest Post GrassMonster – Book Review
Mon – August 7th Living Life with Joy – Book Review/Giveaway/Author Q&A The Belgian Reviewer – Author Guest Post Book Lover in Florida – Book Excerpt Haddie’s Heaven – Spotlight Post Books in my Opinion – Book Review Literature Goals – Book Review/Excerpt/Author Q&A Tue – August 8th Reading to Unwind – Book Review Kristin's Novel Café – Book Excerpt & Giveaway/Book Review Key of Dee – Author Guest Post FrankyBrown – Book Excerpt Smokin’ Hot Reads Book Blog – Book Reviews (3)
Weds – August 9th Ink, Maps and Macarons – Giveaway/Author Q&A Heartalefix – Book Review Tea Party Princess – Author Guest Post/(possible) Review One Book at a Time – Book Excerpt/Spotlight
Thurs – August 10th ItaPixie’s Book Corner – Book Review/Excerpt Rosa Temple Writes – Author Guest Post Life at 17 – Spotlight Post Daily Waffle – Book Excerpt/Author Q&A
Fri – August 11th Pretty Little Book Reviews – Book Review Sparkly Word – Book Review Books and Readers – Book Review/Excerpt/Giveaway/Guest Post Ali the Dragon Slayer – Book Review Katie Lady Reads – Book Review Rambling Lisa's Book Reviews – Book Review/Book Excerpt
Sat – August 12th Life of a Simple Reader – Book Review/Excerpt Karlita – Goodreads/Social Media – Book Review KD Reads – Book Review/Giveaway/Guest Post D.K. Hamilton – Book Review/Author Q&A 20CC Reviews – Book Review TrashyBibloBlog – Book Review/Excerpt

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!