Thursday, April 22, 2021

04.22.2021 AN INVINCIBLE SUMMER BY: MARIAH STEWART @TLCBOOKTOURS



Publisher : Montlake (May 1, 2021)
Publication date : May 1, 2021
Language : English


It was a lifetime ago that recently widowed Maggie Flynn was in Wyndham Beach. Now, on the occasion of her fortieth high school reunion, she returns to her hometown on the Massachusetts coast, picking up right where she left off with dear friends Lydia and Emma. But seeing Brett Crawford again stirs other emotions. Once, they were the town’s golden couple destined for one another. He shared Maggie’s dreams—and eventually, a shattering secret that drove them apart.

Buying her old family home and resettling in Wyndham Beach means a chance to start over for Maggie and her two daughters, but it also means facing her rekindled feelings for her first love and finally confronting—and embracing—the past in ways she never thought possible. Maggie won’t be alone. With her family and friends around her, she can weather this stormy turning point in her life and open her heart to the future. As for that dream shared and lost years ago? If Maggie can forgive herself, it still might come true.

MY REVIEW:

I had been craving some easy and light summer reads with a plot line that will keep me engaged and entertained, so it was fortuitous to have come across an opportunity to read and review Mariah Stewarts' newest book for a blog tour. 

Mariah Stewart is a beloved author that writes amazing contemporary romance, mysteries, romantic suspense, and women's fiction with a fabulous fan base - and I have yet to read one of her 41 published books. There was no better time, and I was so glad I did. This first book in a series, An Invincible Summer was also part of the Amazon's first reads for April 2021. 

This story is about recently widowed Maggie Flynn who returns to her hometown of Wyndham Beach on the Massachusetts Coast to attend her fortieth high school reunion. Looking to start over, she finds her old family home for sale, which means a chance to start over for Maggie and her two daughters. Her friends Lydia and Emma could not be happier but does it also mean another chance with Brett Crawford? 

I found the writing to be engaging and readable. I loved the characters and the friendships that surround Maggie. Though this was about a middle aged woman, I found that the perspectives and point of views of Grace and Natalie made this read relatable for a wide variety of audience. I have always enjoyed a great second chance story, reading about complex family dynamics, revealing deeply hidden family secrets, friendships, forgiveness, and a great dramatic plot like those written in this book that had me turning those pages. I am definitely a fan of Mariah Stewart's writing and look forward to reading some of her back list. 

This book certainly was a great start to a fantastic series and I look forward to reading the next book in this series.

AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT:




Mariah Stewart is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of forty-one novels and three novellas and has been featured in the Wall Street Journal. She is a RITA finalist in romantic suspense and the recipient of the Award of Excellence for contemporary romance, a RIO Award for excellence in women's fiction, and a Reviewers Choice Award from Romantic Times Magazine. A three-time winner of the Golden Leaf Award presented by the New Jersey Romance Writers, Stewart was recently awarded their Lifetime Achievement Award (which placed her in their Hall of Fame along with former recipients Nora Roberts and Mary Jo Putney — very excellent company, indeed!)

After having written seven contemporary romance novels, Stewart found true happiness writing murder and mayhem. She considers herself one lucky son of a gun to have landed the best job in the world: getting paid for making up stories. At home. In sweats and J. Crew flip flops. Could life be sweeter?


Wednesday, April 21, 2021

HOT STEW by Fiona Mozley @algonquin @fionamozley

 



Publisher : Algonquin Books (April 20, 2021)
Language : English
Hardcover : 320 pages
ISBN-10 : 1643751557


FROM THE AUTHOR OF THE BOOKER PRIZE FINALIST ELMET

Named One of the Most-Anticipated Books of 2021 by:
The Millions, BuzzFeed, The Stylist, The Guardian, and more

“Enjoyable and impressive on every page.” —Steph Cha, USA Today

In the middle of the bustle of London's Soho, among the theaters and sex shops and pubs, sits a building. It isn’t particularly assuming. But it’s a prime piece of real estate, and a young millionaire, Agatha Howard, wants to convert it into luxury condos as soon as she can kick out all the tenants.

The problem is, the building in question houses a brothel, and Precious and Tabitha, two of the women who live and work there, are not going to go quietly. And another problem is, just where did Agatha’s fortune come from? The fight over this piece of property also draws in the men who visit, including Robert, a one-time member of a far-right group and enforcer for Agatha’s father; Jackie, a policewoman intent on making London a safer place for all women; Bastian, a rich and dissatisfied party boy who pines for an ex-girlfriend; and a collection of vagabonds and strays who occupy the basement. In this much-anticipated follow-up to Fiona Mozley's brilliant debut, Elmet, as these characters—with surprising hidden connections and shadowy pasts—converge, the fight over the property boils over into a hot stew.

Entertaining, sharply funny, and dazzlingly accomplished, Hot Stew confronts questions about wealth and inheritance, gender and power, and the things women must do to survive in an unjust world.


MY REVIEW:

HOT STEW is a riot of a read that is highly entertaining, addictive and propulsive. The story begins in the neighborhood of SoHo London where the dilapidated building’s owner Agatha, wants to rebuild to make room for high-end restaurants and luxury apartments. That means that the brothel and all the tenants are going to be evicted. Well, they are not going without a fight and the stir causes a hot stew of a situation.

I enjoyed this fast paced and thought-provoking read that brought these amazing and quirky characters together. The varying POV’s of the story brought a glimpse into the lives of these diverse and eccentric characters, that I found engaging. The writing was witty, and the characters were weaved together and connected brilliantly. The story in its core was about the haves and have nots, the gentrification that affects communities, the unscrupulous landlord vs tenant issues, gender roles, class and inequality. Mosley’s sophomore novel sure packed a punch and was quite the unique and compelling read.


AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT:







Fiona Mozley grew up in York and went to King's College, Cambridge, after which she lived in Buenos Aires and London. She is studying for a PhD in medieval history. Elmet is her first novel and it has been shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2017.



04.21.2021 THE VENICE SKETCHBOOK BY RHYS BOWEN @TLCBOOKTOURS @RHYSBOWEN @LUAUTHORS @AMAZONPUB






Publisher : Lake Union Publishing (April 13, 2021)
Language : English
Paperback : 411 pages
ISBN-10 : 154202711X

Love and secrets collide in Venice during WWII in an enthralling novel of brief encounters and lasting romance by the New York Times bestselling author of The Tuscan Child and Above the Bay of Angels.

Caroline Grant is struggling to accept the end of her marriage when she receives an unexpected bequest. Her beloved great-aunt Lettie leaves her a sketchbook, three keys, and a final whisper…Venice. Caroline’s quest: to scatter Juliet “Lettie” Browning’s ashes in the city she loved and to unlock the mysteries stored away for more than sixty years.

It’s 1938 when art teacher Juliet Browning arrives in romantic Venice. For her students, it’s a wealth of history, art, and beauty. For Juliet, it’s poignant memories and a chance to reconnect with Leonardo Da Rossi, the man she loves whose future is already determined by his noble family. However star-crossed, nothing can come between them. Until the threat of war closes in on Venice and they’re forced to fight, survive, and protect a secret that will bind them forever.

Key by key, Lettie’s life of impossible love, loss, and courage unfolds. It’s one that Caroline can now make right again as her own journey of self-discovery begins.



“Bowen’s vivid storytelling style holds readers enrapt…Bowen has written a tender, poignant story balancing dark and light.” ―Historical Novel Society

“The Venice Sketchbook is that rare book, both epic and personal, and utterly compelling. Two women, decades apart, escape to Venice, each forced to grapple with the influence of world events on her own life. This is a tale brimming with secrets, romance, and possibilities, cast against the colorful setting of irresistible Venice. I was utterly captured.” ―Barbara O’Neal, bestselling author of When We Believed in Mermaids and The Lost Girls of Devon




MY REVIEW:
First of all I want to admire the beautiful sketches inside this beautiful book, it’s a wow!

I just loved this dual time line story, with the first focused on carefree Juliet in 1928 as an eighteen year-old in Venice, and the other with Caroline, Juliet’s great niece set in 2001 England and New York. This is a story about families, secrets, star-crossed love, relationships, the tragedy of wars in the 40’s and the terror attacks in ‘01, and the courage of these women to face what life has given.

Overall I enjoy historical fiction books set in WWII and this one had a nice mystery twist which I found entertaining and a delight to read. A fun escape read that was immersive and highly intriguing.


About the Author:




Rhys Bowen is the New York Times bestselling author of more than forty novels, including Above the Bay of Angels, The Victory Garden, The Tuscan Child, and the World War II–based In Farleigh Field, the winner of the Macavity and Left Coast Crime Awards for Best Historical Mystery Novel and the Agatha Award for Best Historical Mystery. Bowen’s work has won twenty honors to date, including multiple Agatha, Anthony, and Macavity Awards. Her books have been translated into many languages, and she has fans around the world. A transplanted Brit, Bowen divides her time between California and Arizona. To learn more about the author, visit www.rhysbowen.com.

April 20, 2021 THE DARK LORD CLEMENTINE BY SARAH JEAN HORWITZ @ALGONQUINYR

 





Publisher : Algonquin Young Readers (April 20, 2021)
Language : English
Paperback : 336 pages
ISBN-10 : 1643751336


Dastardly deeds aren’t exactly the first things that come to mind when one hears the name “Clementine,” but as the sole heir of the infamous Dark Lord Elithor, twelve-year-old Clementine Morcerous has been groomed since birth to be the best (worst?) Evil Overlord she can be. But everything changes the day the Dark Lord Elithor is cursed by a mysterious rival.

Now, Clementine must not only search for a way to break the curse, but also take on the full responsibilities of the Dark Lord. As Clementine forms her first friendships, discovers more about her own magic than she ever dared to explore, and is called upon to break her father’s code of good and evil, she starts to question the very life she’s been fighting for. What if the Dark Lord Clementine doesn’t want to be dark after all?


MY REVIEW:


I just loved reading this fun middle grade book THE DARK LORD CLEMENTINE.


This book is about twelve-year-old Clementine Morcerous who had been groomed to be an heir as the Evil Overlord and evil deeds are what she does best. Things suddenly change when her father, the Dark Lord Elithor falls victim to a curse and Clementine must find a way to break the curse.


I enjoyed this so much more than I thought I would for the wonderful character and the great moral in the story. This was such a well-written book though written for middle grade, this certainly can be enjoyed by all ages. The writing was so creative, funny and totally quirky I really had a hard time putting this book down. So fun!


I highly recommend this book.


Thank you @algonquinYR for having me in this tour and providing me a free copy of the book. All opinions are my own.


AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT:







Sarah Jean Horwitz is the author of the middle grade fantasy books CARMER AND GRIT and THE DARK LORD CLEMENTINE. Sarah grew up next door to a cemetery and down the street from an abandoned fairytale theme park, which probably explains a lot. She currently lives near Boston, MA.

Monday, April 19, 2021

04.19.2021 LITTLE PIECES OF ME BY ALISON HAMMER




Publisher : William Morrow Paperbacks (April 13, 2021)
Language : English
Paperback : 400 pages
ISBN-10 : 0062934872


Following her acclaimed debut novel, You and Me and Us, Alison Hammer offers a deeply moving story of family and identity. When a DNA test reveals a long-buried secret, a woman must look to the past to understand her mother and herself.


When Paige Meyer gets an email from a DNA testing website announcing that her father is a man she never met, she is convinced there must be a mistake. But as she digs deeper into her mother’s past and her own feelings of being the odd child out growing up, Paige begins to question everything she thought she knew. Could this be why Paige never felt like she fit in her family, and why her mother always seemed to keep her at an arm’s length? And what does it mean for Paige’s memories of her father, a man she idolized and whose death she is still grieving?

Back in 1975, Betsy Kaplan, Paige’s mom, is a straightlaced sophomore at the University of Kansas. When her sweet but boring boyfriend disappoints her, Betsy decides she wants more out of life, and is tired of playing it safe. Enter Andy Abrams, the golden boy on campus with a potentially devastating secret. After their night together has unexpected consequences, Betsy is determined to bury the truth and rebuild a stable life for her unborn child, whatever the cost.

When Paige can’t get answers from her mother, she goes looking for the only other person who was there that night. The more she learns about what happened, the more she sees her unflappable, distant mother as a real person faced with an impossible choice. But will it be enough to mend their broken relationship?

Told in dual timelines, Little Pieces of Me examines identity and how the way we define ourselves changes (or not) through our life experiences.

MY REVIEW:

TITLE: Little Pieces Of MeAUTHOR: Alison Hammer
PUB DATE: April 13, 2021 Now Available

This book had all of Alison Hammer’s trademark all over it for the immersive story line that is gripping, complex yet believable, thoroughly thought-provoking, and deeply moving.

This is another winner read for me and no one does complex family relationships like Alison does in a way that the build up of the story line captures you, and then the unraveling of the story from multiple point of views is just brilliant storytelling.

Told in two timelines, the present in 43 yo Paige’s point of view who is still reeling from the loss of her father, while a DNA test revealing her biological father, and in the past circa 1975 when Paige’s mother Betsy and Andy during their college years.

With very distinct story lines, we grapple with families and long buried secrets, challenging relationships, and the meaning of families in its biological and genetic sense, or otherwise.

What a great ride to read this amazing and most satisfying novel.


AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT:







Founder of Every Damn Day Writers, Alison Hammer has been spinning words to tell stories since she learned how to talk. A graduate of the University of Florida and the Creative Circus in Atlanta, she lived in 9 cities before settling down in Chicago. During the day, Alison is a VP Creative Director at FCB Chicago, but on nights and weekends you can find her writing upmarket women's fiction. Alison is represented by Joanna MacKenzie of Nelson Literary Agency. Her debut novel, YOU AND ME AND US is out now, and her second novel, LITTLE PIECES OF ME, will be out on April 13th, 2021 from William Morrow (HarperCollins).


04.19.2021 No Pain, No Gaines: The Good Stuff Doesn't Come Easy @thomasnelson @chipgaines #NoPainNoGaines #nonfiction #personalgrowth #selfhelp @tlcbooktours

 




Chip Gaines likes to sweat.

That’s been true ever since he was a little pint-sized hustler selling candy and Capri Suns down at the public tennis courts in northeast Texas. You’ve probably seen him sweat on his television show, Fixer Upper. Deep in his bones he has always known that hard work yields great results, even when there’s little observable evidence of it. On the cusp of launching into what might be the hardest work he and his wife, Joanna, have ever done—building a network—Chip realized that none of it would be possible without his network of people.

Call it a network, a community, a home team. We’ve all got one. Today it might be made up of your family, your neighbors, the people you work with. But if you want a network that will pull you into a life of meaning, a life of joy and connection, you need to be intentional about choosing the people in it. People who are enlivened and electrified by the power of living according to their purpose, who are always in pursuit of lifelong learning, and who have a sincere belief that relationships are more than transactions. Chip Gaines has been building that kind of network his whole life, and he can tell you, it doesn’t come easy.

To say it requires sweat equity would be an understatement. It requires faith in people. It requires hope. And it requires a willingness to grow even when it hurts. From hard-won lessons and personal stories from Chip, No Pain, No Gaines is a by-the-bootstraps manual for building a network you can count on.


Purchase Links
Thomas Nelson | Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Connect with Chip
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

MY REVIEW:


This book is about building a network in every sense of the word. A network of people, community, friends and family. It’s also a little bit about the beginnings of Magnolia Network and the courage to close one door to open an even bigger door of opportunities, hopes and dreams.

Part memoir and part self-help, but one hundred percent inspiring and motivating, this book is how a man who didn’t conform to the status quo, and stayed authentic to his true self found success by not following the path of least resistance, instead embracing his uniqueness and passions.

I highly recommend this book! This book would also make for a fantastic gift for the people in your lives looking for inspiration and motivation in order to build a successful life.


AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT:


Bornin Albuquerque, New Mexico
November 14, 1974

Website
https://magnoliamarket.com

Twitter
chippergaines



Raised in Dallas, Texas, Chip Gaines is the host of HGTV’s Fixer Upper along with his wife Joanna Gaines. Chip and Joanna are both graduates of Baylor University. They flip, remodel and fix up homes together as owners of Magnolia Homes in Waco, Texas. Chip manages the construction and realty side of Magnolia. Their businesses include a real estate company, construction company, design firm and residential subdivision, Magnolia Villas. Chip and Joanna have five children and live in Waco, Texas.

Sunday, April 18, 2021

04.18.2021 DUCHESS IF YOU DARE (The Maidens of Mayhem #1) @RARARESOURCES

 


Duchess If You Dare



From the glittering ballrooms of the ton to the city's grittiest corners, London has no shortage of wrongs in need of righting--and the Maidens of Mayhem are prepared for the challenge. United by secrecy and sisterhood, these daring women from all walks of life aim to fight injustice wherever it takes them--even into the arms of unexpected love. This feminist take on Regency-era Robin Hoods from USA Today bestselling author Anabelle Bryant is destined to storm readers' hearts!

Scarlett Wynn's tragic childhood taught her that life can be cruel to women with little power. So when a local seamstress disappears, Scarlett vows to find out why. Armed with a weapon and her courage, Scarlett scours London for clues--and crosses the unlikely path of Ambrose Cross, the Duke of Aylesford, at an unlikely place: an upscale brothel. The Duke is trying to solve a mystery of his own, and Scarlett is sure they can help each other--if she can resist the attraction that draws them together...

As Duke of Aylesford, Ambrose is duty-bound to protect his family name from scandal no matter the cost. But Scarlett's fearless spirit forces him to look beyond his world of privilege. Scarlett is as intoxicating as she is dangerous, igniting a fire in him like no other. When the pair learn both mysteries they're trying to solve are tied to a string of missing women, the tangled scheme they uncover may put their lives, and their growing love, in mortal danger--and lead them to search their hearts like never before...

"A delightful historical romance with a liberal dash of adventure, plenty of sizzling heat, and a heart of pure gold. A superb start to Bryant's new Maidens of Mayhem series"

--Lenora Bell, USA Today bestselling author

"Duchess if You Dare is a fantastic read that kept me up late and has me anxiously awaiting the next book in the series."

--USA Today Bestselling Author Renee Ann Miller


MY REVIEW:

Duchess If You Dare is a well -written historical fiction romance and mystery with a head strong and courageous heroine, Scarlett the Maiden of Mayhem, who was investigating the disappearance of an acquaintance. The mystery leads to a brothel where she runs into Ambrose, who was also investigating the disappearance to protect his family's reputation after his brother's shenanigans and indiscretions. I found that the mystery and the build up a slow burn that lead to a romance neither expected. 

I found the read to be exciting and I was invested in the characters as well as seeing how the other lives lived who are not a part of the ton. I thought that part of how the horrific conditions of women and those who are not part of the society lived were  very well researched. 

I thought the pacing though slow build, was great and I did enjoy this read. I had been looking to reading more Regency era books in both romance and mystery, and this definitely delivered for me. I look forward to the next book in the series, and learning more about the backgrounds of the characters. 

Anabelle Bryant did a phenomenal job in this first book in the series that left me wanting more - more mystery, more sleuthing, more romance, and definitely more mayhem!

Historical Fiction readers, do not miss this one.

Purchase Links

UK Amazon Link: https://rb.gy/emdsdw

US Links:

Amazon: https://rb.gy/ytoy31

Barnes & Noble : https://rb.gy/ebpuvi

Kobo: https://rb.gy/mpgh91

Author Bio –



USA Today Bestselling author Anabelle Bryant began reading at age three and never stopped. Her passion for reading soon turned into a passion for writing and an author was born. Happy to grab her suitcase if it ensures a new adventure, Anabelle finds endless inspiration in travel; especially imaginary jaunts into romantic Regency England, a far cry from her home in New Jersey. Instead, her clever characters live out her daydreams because really, who wouldn't want to dance with a handsome duke or kiss a wicked earl?

Anabelle's books have been translated into several languages including Japanese and Russian, but writing isn't all that keeps her busy. Building miniatures, baking and photography are other favorite pastimes. Often found with her nose in a book, Anabelle is just as happy in a room full of people. She enjoys meeting readers, attending conferences and book signings. She has earned her Master's Degree and is ABD for her Doctorate Degree in education.

A firm believer in romance, Anabelle knows sometimes life doesn't provide a happily ever after, but her novels always do. Visit her website at AnabelleBryant.com

Social Media Links –

Anabelle Bryant Links

Website: http://www.anabellebryant.com

Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/AnabelleBryantAuthor 

Newsletter: http://www.anabellebryant.com/contact-anabelle-1.html

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AnabelleBryant

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/anabelle-bryant

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/26491397-anabelle-bryant

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/anabellebryant/