Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Book Blitz: SMP Holiday Romance Book Blitz


St. Martins Press is celebrating their latest holiday romances and I am thrilled to be a part of it. 
Holiday romances are some of my favorite types of books to read and I look forward to them each year. Just like the holidays they bring me comfort and joy. And these sound perfect for curling up on a cold fall or winter night.
So keep reading to learn more about SMP’s new historical and contemporary holiday romances.


CHRISTMAS AT TWO LOVE LANE
By Kieran Kramer
St. Martin’s Paperbacks
Publication Date: October 3, 2017

Synopsis:
The best gift of all is the one you share with someone else. . .
From the moment he strode through the iron gate and into the offices of Two Love Lane on a crisp December day, it was obvious that Deacon Banks was something different. He wasn’t a Charleston native, not with that adorable Yankee accent. And unlike the usual client at the elegant matchmaking agency, he had no interest in finding a woman to marry—just a few no-strings dates while he was in town. 
Macy Frost takes her professional services very seriously—how could she not, when she’s rumored to be a direct descendant of Cupid? Tech entrepreneur Deacon says he’s just trying to make his social-climbing aunt happy by being seen out and about with a few prominent beauties, but Macy insists she can make her client fall in love…for real. And Deacon can’t help but think she might be right. As charming as the palmetto trees and magnificent harbor may be, it’s the beautiful, breath-of-fresh-air Macy who’s become Deacon’s favorite part of the scenery. But can the hopelessly romantic Southern belle stop trying to fix him up and just let Cupid do his work on her own heart?
Buy Link:
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DECK THE HALLS
By Donna Alward
Swerve
Publication Date: October 3, 2017

Synopsis:
With shades of It’s a Wonderful Life, one man must face his past to find his future this Christmas.

In the last year, George's life has drastically changed. The formerly homeless veteran now has a job he likes, a family in the residents of Darling, VT, and for the first time in years, a home. But while his present is good, he's still haunted by the past, a past that appears shortly before Christmas when the older sister of his brother-in-arms hunts him down and finds him in Darling, working at the Ladybug Garden Center.

Amy’s looking for closure for her family after her brother's death in the Middle East, but the serious man she finds working in Vermont doesn’t resemble the soldier she remembers from years before. This man is hardened and yet somehow fragile, too, and in her desire to find out what really happened to her brother, she learns more about George than she ever expected.

With a little Christmas magic and the whole town supporting them, can these two bruised hearts make a future together?
Buy link:
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A SEASON OF YOU 
By Emma Douglas
St. Martin’s Paperbacks
Publication Date: October 3, 2017

Synopsis:
It’s Christmastime in the quaint island town of Cloud Bay, where love is always in season... 
Will has believed in love at first sight since the day he first laid eyes on Mina Harper five years ago. There was only one problem: She was happily married. Then, when Mina’s husband was killed by a drunk driver, Will figured she’d want nothing to do with a guy who owns a whiskey distillery. So he’s kept his feelings locked away, knowing that not even a Christmas miracle would be enough to melt Mina’s heart. . . 
Mina believes her days of true love are behind her. Since losing her husband she’s kept to herself, content to do her own painting and stay out of the limelight that comes with her famous family. But when, after a freak accident, Will comes to her rescue, Mina can’t quite get him out of her mind. As curiosity turns into a fling during Cloud Bay’s first Christmas Festival, she finds it harder to convince herself that her feelings for Will are just mistletoe-inspired. Could Mina be ready to lay the past to rest and finally admit that what she really wants for Christmas—and forever—is Will?
Buy Link:
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WITH THIS CHRISTMAS RING
By Manda Collins
Swerve
Publication Date: October 3, 2017

Synopsis:
A wallflower determined to fulfill a dying promise, the rogue she jilted years ago, and an orphaned baby are all brought together amidst the magic of Christmas in this new novella from Manda Collins.

Miss Merry Parks makes a deathbed promise to a schoolfriend that her infant daughter will be taken to her absent father. There’s only one problem—to find the baby’s father, she’ll have to consult his cousin, Viscount Wrotham, the man she jilted five years ago. The man she couldn’t forget.

Alex Ponsonby, Viscount Wrotham, is stunned to find Merry Parks—looking more lovely than ever--on his doorstep with an infant in her arms. His shock soon turns to dismay when he learns his own cousin William is the man who abandoned his wife and child. As head of the family he’s duty bound to see right is done. But he can't let this opportunity pass. He’ll take Merry and the baby to his cousin, but he’ll woo her back in the process.

Merry agrees to travel with Alex and the baby to Wrotham Castle, where the entire Ponsonby family has gathered for Christmas, but her plans to see the baby settled then leave are ruined by a snowstorm. After five years apart, Alex and Merry will spend the week getting reacquainted. Perhaps it’s the spirit of the holiday, or the magic of the season, but there could be something else in the air this Yuletide…A Christmas Reunion.
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HOPE AT CHRISTMAS
By Nancy Naigle
St. Martin’s Griffin
Publication Date: October 10, 2017

Synopsis:
Sydney Ragsdale is divorced, but her husband is still calling the shots. In an attempt to shake free from his hold, she and her daughter, RayAnne, head for tiny Hopewell, North Carolina to the only asset her ex has no control over – a decaying farmhouse that once belonged to her grandparents. She finds solace at The Book Bea, the bookstore she’d loved as a child during her summer stays. 

Kevin MacAlea, Mac to his friends, is the local high school history teacher and baseball coach. Father of a twelve-year-old son, he’s Hopewell, North Carolina’s most sought after bachelor. His young bride abandoned him and his son just before Christmas and has never come back. It has left his son bitter about Christmas which is hard for Mac who loves the magic of the season. He’s been the Santa here in Hopewell since the year Seth was born.

When a catastrophe forces The Book Bea to close before the end of the year, everyone in the small town is feeling the loss. While Sydney is already off-balance by the bad news, her ex-husband breaks a promise to their daughter that sends Ray Anne running away. As Sydney tries to figure out what her next steps are she discovers all of the answers are right here in Hopewell..

Buy Link:
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THE CHRISTMAS COWBOY HERO
By Donna Alward
St. Martin’s Paperbacks
Publication Date: October 31, 2017

Synopsis:
New York Times bestselling author Donna Grant returns to Texas, where a small-town legend just might find the greatest gift of all. . .

’Tis the season for ex-Navy SEAL Clayton East to come home for the holidays—even if the mood at home is anything but festive. His father is ill. The East Ranch is in financial trouble. And now it’s on Clayton, the prodigal son, to make sure his family doesn’t lose everything. 

Headstrong Abby Harper is like a mother to her younger brothers, who she’s helped raise since she was a teenager. Keeping them in line is no small task while she’s also working toward her college degree. And now that one of her brothers has been arrested for stealing cattle at the East Ranch, Abby is at her wits’ end. But there is a silver lining: Clayton East. He believes in second chances, and is willing to give one to her brother this Christmas. Letting beautiful Abby—and the inescapable longing in his heart—off the hook, however, is a whole ’nother story. Could it be that the woman of this local hero’s dreams has been back at home all along? 
Buy Link:
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CHRISTMAS IN KILTS
By Terri Brisbain, Lecia Cornwall, Brownwen Evans, Lavinia Kent, May McGoldrick
Swerve
Publication Date: October 31, 2017

Synopsis:
Tis the season to fall in love! These five bestselling authors bring you great tiding of highlanders and romances this holiday season!

A HIGHLANDER'S HOPE by Terri Brisbin
A village harlot who would never dream she could have a different life meets a Highlander who visits for the holidays and brings with him an offer and hope.

A HIGHLAND CHRISTMAS WAGER by Lecia Cornwall
When a snowstorm forces a charming lass hiding a broken heart to take shelter in a castle with three fine Highland lairds just days before Christmas, there’s a game afoot—who will be the first to win a kiss and maybe her heart.

A SCOT FOR CHRISTMAS by Bronwen Evans
She's ready to embrace her life and future as a spinster, he's trying to have one last hurrah before he gives into his family's wishes and proposes marriage to his neighbor, but fate has other ideas when the lady and the Scot meet at a holiday house party in the wilds of Scotland.

LEFTOVER MISTLETOE by Lavinia Kent
What happens when a highlander finds himself stranded, maybe kidnapped, with an English lady around Christmas... maybe the mistletoe will help answer that question.

SWEET HOME HIGHLAND CHRISTMAS by May McGoldrick
An encounter between an English officer and a desperate aunt trying to keep custody of her young niece leads to a little magic during the holidays.
Buy Link:
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All of these books sound so good and there's a little something for everyone.
See any that catch your eye???






Friday, October 13, 2017

Book Spotlight: Never Say Never, Alex Rider by Anthony Horowitz



Today’s Spotlight is on the latest in the Alex Rider series…Never Say Die!

Alex Rider is back in action! His new mission? Rescue an entire bus filled with children belonging to wealthy families. At stake are not only the lives of each child, but the very future of the terrorist organization known as SCORPIA. Thrilling action and pulse-pounding heroics make the pages fly.

The world's greatest teen spy is back in action in a thrilling new mission: destroy once and for all the terrorist organization SCORPIA. Following the events of Scorpia Rising, Alex relocates to San Francisco as he slowly recovers from the tragic death of his best friend and caregiver, Jack Starbright, at the hands of terrorists working for SCORPIA. With Jack gone, Alex feels lost and alone, but then, out of the blue, he receives a cryptic email--just three words long, but enough to make Alex believe that Jack may be alive. Armed with this shred of hope, Alex boards a flight bound for Egypt and embarks on a dubious quest to track Jack down. Yet SCORPIA knows Alex's weakness. And the question of whether Jack is alive soon takes a backseat to a chilling new terrorist plot--one that will determine the lives of many. From Egypt to France to Wales, from luxury yachts to abandoned coal mines, Alex traverses a minefield of dangers and cryptic clues as he fights to discover the truth. The #1 New York Times bestselling series, perfect for fans of James Bond and Jason Bourne, is back with a vengeance! 
Anthony Horowitz (anthonyhorowitz.com) is a world-renowned screenwriter for film and teĆ»uulevision, having received multiple awards. And he is, of course, the author of the #1 New York Times bestselling Alex Rider novels, which have spawned a major motion picture and a line of graphic novels. Anthony was also commissioned by the Conan Doyle Estate to write two Sherlock Holmes novels, the critically-acclaimed The House of Silk and Moriarty. Most recently he was commissioned by the Ian Fleming Estate to write the James Bond novel Trigger Mortis, incorporating never-before-published material from 007's creator. Anthony lives with his wife in London, England; they are parents to two grown boys. He will be touring the US for the publication of NEVER SAY DIE.

Be sure to Check Out the other books in the series!



Monday, October 9, 2017

Blog Tour: The Memory Trees by Kali Wallace…Review, Favorite Quotes, & Giveaway!


Excited to tell you all about The Memory Trees by Kali Wallace today!
Keep reading to learn more about this hauntingly beautiful read…


The Memory Trees
by Kali Wallace
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Release Date: October 10th 2017
Genre: Young Adult, Magical Realism, Fantasy, Paranormal

Synopsis:

The Memory Trees is a dark magical realism novel about a mysterious family legacy, a centuries-old feud, and a tragic loss that resurfaces when sixteen-year-old Sorrow returns to her mother’s family orchard for the summer.

Sorrow Lovegood’s life has been shaped by the stories of the women who came before her: brave, resilient women who settled long ago on a mercurial apple orchard in Vermont. The land has been passed down through generations, and Sorrow and her family take pride in its strange history. Their offbeat habits may be ridiculed by other townspeople—especially their neighbors, the Abrams family—but for the first eight years of her life, the orchard is Sorrow’s whole world. 

Then one winter night everything changes. Sorrow’s sister Patience is tragically killed. Their mother suffers a mental breakdown. Sorrow is sent to live with her dad in Miami, away from the only home she’s ever known.

Now sixteen, Sorrow’s memories of her life in Vermont are maddeningly hazy; even the details of her sister’s death are unclear. She returns to the orchard for the summer, determined to learn ore about her troubled childhood and the family she left eight years ago. Why has her mother kept her distance over the years? What actually happened the night Patience died? Is the orchard trying to tell her something, or is she just imagining things?

Buy Links:

Kali Wallace studied geology and geophysics before she decided she enjoyed inventing imaginary worlds as much as she liked researching the real one. Her short fiction has appeared in Clarkesworld, F&SF, Asimov's, Lightspeed Magazine, and Tor.com. Her first novel, Shallow Graves, was published by Katherine Tegen Books/HarperCollins in 2016. Her second novel, The Memory Trees, will follow in 2017. She lives in southern California.



Filled with emotion and heart, Kali Wallace’s The Memory Trees is a beautiful story of one girl’s return to her childhood home and search for answers about the night her sister died and the mystery that surrounds her family.

Sorrow Lovegood comes from a long line of independent, determined, and gifted women each with secrets of her own. Each generation has found solace and at times experienced heartache in the family’s apple orchard in a small New England town. Eight years after the death of her sister Patience at the orchard, Sorrow is experiencing gaps in her memory. In order to move on and heal, she hopes that returning to the orchard will provide her with answers and fill in the missing pieces. She cautiously makes the journey back to her childhood home town where her mother and grandmother still live and where the centuries-old feud with the neighboring Abrams family is still going strong.  Once there Sorrow learns and experiences much more than she ever expected.

Mysterious deaths, feuding neighbors, complicated mother-daughter relationships, family secrets, surprising revelations…there is a little bit of everything in The Memory Trees and so much I could talk about.  Kali Wallace has created some truly fascinating characters and a setting that we slowly learn about as this mysterious and heartbreaking story unfolds. It all leads to a surprising conclusion.

Kali Wallace has a way with words and I was entranced by her beautiful, lyrical writing.  With each vivid description, I became lost in Sorrow’s world and experiences and couldn't wait to see what we’d learn next. I became as curious as Sorrow and with every new discovery she made or unexpected memory that would surface, I wanted to know more about this complicated story and characters.

The matriarchal family structure of the Lovegood family fascinated me and I enjoyed the little glimpses we got of a few of Sorrow’s ancestors as the present was interspersed with moments from their point of view throughout the book as well as with flashbacks from Sorrow’s past as memories resurfaced.  Through the ancestors’ stories we learn more about the family’s history on the orchard and their kinship with nature or more specifically trees as well as the feud. And Sorrow’s flashbacks also give a glimpse of life as a Lovegood and the unique and often troubled relationships the women share with each other and with the world they live in.  

The Lovegood women share a past filled with heartache and isolation as they have all suffered losses and neighbors have shunned them for being different while making accusations of witchcraft for centuries.  My heart ached for all of them as we learned about the history of the Lovegood and Abrams feud and its devastating results for both families. And as a side note the Lovegood women also have unique names such as Charity, Devotion, Pride, Joyful, and Perseverance…I’d actually love to see the Lovegood family tree.

The Memory Trees was a heartbreaking as well as fascinating, slow journey through the past and present of a unique family that led to some unexpected and surprising revelations and I enjoyed every word of it.
*I received a free digital ARC in exchange for an honest review.*

In The Memory Trees, Kali Wallace's writing is so beautiful and there are so many quotes and passages that I could have shared. It was a struggle to narrow it down and to pick ones that did not spoil the story.  In fact, I'd recommend just reading the entire book.
But if you want to know a few of my favorites, here you go...






1 signed hardcover copy of THE MEMORY TREES by Kali Wallace (US Only)



Also, There is a preorder giveaway: anybody who preorders by 10/10 can get a signed bookplate and some bookmarks if they send an email to thememorytrees@gmail.com

Be sure to checkout the other stops on the Tour.





Saturday, October 7, 2017

Blog Tour: The Nowhere Girls by Amy Reed...Review, Favorite Quotes, & Giveaway!


Today I am happy to tell you about The Nowhere Girls by Amy Reed.
Keep reading to learn more about this powerful book and be sure to enter the giveaway!
The Nowhere Girls
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: October 10th 2017
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary

Synopsis:

Three misfits come together to avenge the rape of a fellow classmate and in the process trigger a change in the misogynist culture at their high school transforming the lives of everyone around them in this searing and timely story.

Who are the Nowhere Girls?

They’re everygirl. But they start with just three:

Grace Salter is the new girl in town, whose family was run out of their former community after her southern Baptist preacher mom turned into a radical liberal after falling off a horse and bumping her head.

Rosina Suarez is the queer punk girl in a conservative Mexican immigrant family, who dreams of a life playing music instead of babysitting her gaggle of cousins and waitressing at her uncle’s restaurant.

Erin Delillo is obsessed with two things: marine biology and Star Trek: The Next Generation, but they aren’t enough to distract her from her suspicion that she may in fact be an android.

When Grace learns that Lucy Moynihan, the former occupant of her new home, was run out of town for having accused the popular guys at school of gang rape, she’s incensed that Lucy never had justice. For their own personal reasons, Rosina and Erin feel equally deeply about Lucy’s tragedy, so they form an anonymous group of girls at Prescott High to resist the sexist culture at their school, which includes boycotting sex of any kind with the male students.

Told in alternating perspectives, this groundbreaking novel is an indictment of rape culture and explores with bold honesty the deepest questions about teen girls and sexuality.

Buy Links:

Amy Reed was born and raised in and around Seattle, where she attended a total of eight schools by the time she was eighteen. Constant moving taught her to be restless and being an only child made her imagination do funny things. After a brief stint at Reed College (no relation), she moved to San Francisco and spent the next several years serving coffee and getting into trouble. She eventually graduated from film school, promptly decided she wanted nothing to do with filmmaking, returned to her original and impractical love of writing, and earned her MFA from New College of California. Her short work has been published in journals such as Kitchen Sink, Contrary, and Fiction. Amy currently lives in Oakland with her husband and two cats, and has accepted that Northern California has replaced the Pacific Northwest as her home. She is no longer restless. Find out more at amyreedfiction.com.

First, I feel I must mention that the book deals with rape and sexual assault so if you are triggered by this topic, I just felt that I should let you know.

Now onto my thoughts…

The Nowhere Girls is a powerful and emotional book that broke my heart and slowly put the pieces back together...a few times.  What starts out as a story about three very different high school teenagers, soon became so much more than I expected as girls at a high school band together to stand up for themselves against a sexist culture within their town.

As for the girls who got the ball rolling...Rosina is Mexican-American with a large extended family that count her for everything from child-sitting to waitressing at her uncle’s restaurant. She dreams of escaping their small and forming a band…oh, and she's a lesbian.  Then there’s Erin who has Aspergers making it difficult to read the faces and emotions of others, but she's trying.  She also has a fondness for Star Trek and identifies with an android character from the show.  Last we have Grace, the new girl in town who happened to move into the former town pariah’s room where she finds messages of despair and desperation carved in small places throughout the room. She has moved to town following her preacher mother’s firing from her old church and becomes friends with the interesting Rosina and Erin.  Their friendship grows even closer when they begin to discuss Lucy Moynihan, the former town pariah.

So who is Lucy Moynihan? Well, despite the fact that most of her presence in the story comes from the thoughts and discussions of others, she is a very important character in The Nowhere Girls.  Lucy and her family left town shortly after Lucy was gang-raped at a party. Nobody believed her, not even the adults who questioned her actions that night.  Grace has moved into her old house and longs to know what happened exactly to her and becomes determined to get justice for her and other girls like Lucy.

After learning and observing how much the guys at school get away with when it comes to their sexist behavior and after seeing a disgusting website where guys discuss their “lays” and tips are given on how to basically date rape a girl and a whole lot of sexist stuff that just sickened me, Rosina, Grace, and Erin decide to create for an anonymous group for girls which becomes known as The Nowhere Girls.

This group empowers fellow female classmates and encourages them to stand up for themselves and each other.  All of them are surprised to learn that they are not alone and we learn more about our main characters as well as their female classmates. Soon their group becomes more than any of them had expected as they gain strength and become a support system.

While the story might focus on a set of girls at a small high school and what happens there, it could easily be about girls anywhere. This happens everyday, somewhere.  And there's always a girl too scared to say anything or a guy who wrongly thinks, “Well, I'm a guy. It’s what guys do.”  And sadly there are also adults who will turn a blind eye…they don't want to acknowledge it, they victim-blame, or they simply don't believe it happened.  But for each of these girls, guys, and adults, there are also one’s who feel the opposite…so there is hope.  And I enjoyed how the author demonstrated this type of environment and left readers with a sense of strength and hope, or at least this reader.

Amy Reed did a wonderful job of giving her three main characters three distinct voices, personalities, and backgrounds.  I could identify with a little bit in each of them.  Alternating POVs only added to my enjoyment of the story and characters as we got a look at the thought processes and home lives of the girls.

Interspersed throughout the story we also get a glimpse at the thoughts of other girls as well as snippets from the disgusting, sexist website the boys post on.  While the girls’ thoughts intrigued me and showed how girls can feel isolated even though many have similar thoughts they don't share, I could hardly stomach reading the website post that's how awful and sadly realistic they were.  It's just sad to know that this is how many guys and girls think.

Amy Reed did a wonderful job with this book and topic. The Nowhere Girls is an emotional and powerful story with a hopeful ending.  It was also a roller coaster ride of emotions reading this one as I felt everything from anger to sadness to joy to pride to frustration and more. And I really felt for and connected with all of the characters, but especially Erin. I don't know enough to feel comfortable commenting on the author’s portrayal of Aspergers, but Erin is the character who touched me the most especially as things from her past come back to the surface as she helps the group. 

I could really keep writing because there is so much more that I want to say, but I better wrap things up, but just know that I loved this book and feel like it is an important read for today’s society.

*I received a complementary digital ARC in exchange for an honest review.*
There were so many passages and quotes that I wanted to share from things Grace's mother says in her sermons to observations Erin makes about life, I couldn't include them all so I narrowed my long list down to the following.
Here are a few of my favorite quotes from the book…








1 copy of THE NOWHERE GIRLS (US ONLY)


Be sure to check out the other stops on the Tour!