Wednesday, August 16, 2017

The Salt House by Lisa Duffy

The Salt House by Lisa Duffy   is part of the SheReads Fall book selections.     She Reads is a community of bloggers that as a group help promote specific books.   We share reviews, thoughts, and our feelings after reading books suggested to us by the wonderful people who run the She Reads Organization. 

Paperback, 304 pages
Published June 13th 2017 by Touchstone

In the tradition of Jodi Picoult and Lisa Genova, this gorgeously written, heartbreaking, yet hopeful debut set during a Maine summer traces the lives of a young family in the aftermath of tragedy.

In the coastal town of Alden, Maine, Hope and Jack Kelly have settled down to a life of wedded bliss. They have a beautiful family, a growing lobster business, and the Salt House—the dilapidated oceanfront cottage they’re renovating into their dream home. But tragedy strikes when their young daughter doesn’t wake up from her afternoon nap, taking her last breath without making a sound.

A year later, each member of the Kelly family navigates the world on their own private island of grief. Hope spends hours staring at her daughter’s ashes, unable to let go. Jack works to the point of exhaustion in an attempt to avoid his crumbling marriage. Their daughters, Jess and Kat, struggle to come to terms with the loss of their younger sister while watching their parents fall apart.

When Jack’s old rival, Ryland Finn, threatens his fishing territory, he ignites emotions that propel the Kelly family toward circumstances that will either tear them apart—or be the path to their family’s future.

Told in alternating voices, The Salt House is a layered, emotional portrait of marriage, family, friendship, and the complex intersections of love, grief, and hope. 

My Thoughts…

The Kelly Family is suffering from grief.    The problem is that they don’t suffer together.   Each member is suffering in their own way and trying to come to terms accepting the loss of their baby sister/daughter.    

I felt that Lisa Duffy was able to portray the grief in realistic ways that made the family true to life.  I cannot imagine dealing with the loss of a daughter, much less a baby.   Hope tugged at my heart while watching her try to keep her family together.   She worked hard just to keep her head above water and keep her family “normal” especially for the other daughters.     While Jack, the father, kept his grief quiet, inside himself.     He struggled just like the rest of the family yet he kept it bundled up inside.     Add to this grief the return of an old rival and he is just set to implode.  

This is a debut author for Lisa Duffy and I am excited to read more from her.     The characters came to life, the emotions were realistic, and the story was beautiful.
I recommend finding a quiet place and sitting back to enjoy The Salt House.  Once you start you won’t be able to put it down.

Thank you to the She Reads Organization and Leah Morse at Touchstone Books for a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. 

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Monday, August 14, 2017

Single-Minded by Lisa Daily

Hardcover, 304 pages
Expected publication: June 27th 2017 by Thomas Dunne Books
Alex has planned and executed her life with laser focus since she first met her future husband at the play-doh table on the first day of kindergarten. They have a terrific life, a gorgeous house on the bay, and fantastic careers they love. There's only one problem: Alex's husband Michael is gay, a fact he neglected to mention in the 23 years since they first met.

Now, Alex's perfectly planned life has completely fallen apart, her biological clock is starting to feel like the timer on a nuclear device, and she finds herself drooling over her completely-dreamy-but-definitely-off-limits client, a star chef opening a hot new restaurant. Armed with dating guidance from her oddball collection of advisers including her gay ex-husband, a foul-mouthed political consultant, a perkily masochistic yogi, and a pot-smoking octogenarian Alex navigates the booby-trapped world of modern dating, in her search for a second chance at love.

My Thoughts…

Single-Minded is an emotional book.    A woman, Alex, marries the love of her life since kindergarten then finds out he is gay.      A divorce and getting back into the dating world are all a lot to handle.   Much less her friends telling her she has to date the Naughty Nine, 9 guys to sleep with before she finds Mr. Right, it is no wonder that she is overwhelmed in life.   

While there are a lot of different emotions in the book it is also funny and enjoyable.    I love how quick her friends are to jump to help her no matter the situation she finds herself in.   Darcy always seems to have the most crazy ideas and never fails to share them and pull the rest of Alex’s friends, including her ex-husband, into the schemes.  

This is a book that threw me back on my heals a couple times with the emotions that rocked Alex and then in the next paragraph I was giggling at the men she met, the way her friends were acting, or just her life in general.   I enjoyed every page of Single-Minded and recommend picking up your own copy.

Thank you Jessica Lawrence and Kristopher Kam at St. Martin’s Press for a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.  

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Lisa Daily can tell you why he didn’t call, the color you should never wear on a first date, and even where to snoop for evidence if you think your guy’s been fooling around.  Millions read her dating advice column or tune in to see her every week on Daytime, and the early buzz on her debut novel Fifteen Minutes of Shame says it pops with the same signature quirky humor and fresh, irreverent voice that made her dating advice book,
Stop Getting Dumped! a bestseller.
Women from 16-60 flock to Lisa’s popular Dream Girl Academy at the Learning Annex in New York City and events across the US.  Lisa is a dating coach, speaker and popular media guest  -- she has done more than 2000 interviews on top radio and television shows, including iVillage Live, MTV Live, Entertainment Tonight  and top UK national morning show, This Morning, and she appears as a real-life dating expert on the HITCH movie DVD starring Will Smith.  A frequent source for reporters, Lisa has been quoted in hundreds of publications, from the New York Times, Washington Post and Chicago Tribune to Cosmopolitan, Glamour, Men’s Health, Christian Science Monitor and US Weekly Magazine.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Fated for Love: Love in Bloom: The Bradens Written by: Melissa Foster Narrated by: B.J. Harrison

Fated for Love: Love in Bloom: The Bradens

Publisher's Summary

Librarian Callie Barnes has visions of reading and relaxing - and maybe having a few too many drinks on her girls' weekend away. Her hopes are crushed when her friends pull into a dude ranch instead of a spa, and she refuses to say longer than one night. That is...until she realizes the ranch is owned by sinfully sexy, and dangerously rugged, Wes Braden - the subject of her late-night fantasies.
Fearless rancher Wes Braden thinks he's the luckiest guy on the planet when the sweet, sexy librarian from his hometown shows up at his ranch. Their connection is white-hot, making it impossible for either to ignore their carnal desires. Wes is more than willing to convert sweet Callie from chick lit to a world of erotic romance, but Callie ties sex to love, and Wes avoids commitment like the plague.
Callie is thrust into physically demanding activities that ignite her deepest fears. Luckily, Wes is as tender as he is strong, and he's there every step of the way to help her find her inner strength. With Callie's influence, Wes might even discover that he's been nursing a few fears of his own. Passion pulls Callie and Wes from their safe, comfortable lives into each other's arms, and they're about to find out just how alike they really are.

My Thoughts…

I have listened to all the Braden’s books so far and all the Love in Bloom books. They are only getting better and better. Wes is a confirmed bachelor until he meets Callie. I loved the hot looks in the library, the ruse of needing books to read and Callie picking them out for him, and the control they both have until they hit the ranch. I usually love the anticipation of the getting them together. With this book the anticipation was not held off for very long and I am so glad. The steam and sparks between Callie and Wes was evident from their first meeting and quickly got hotter and hotter with each scene.

My favorite part of this book was actually Callie’s girlfriends. The fact that they tricked her into going to the ranch, knowingly putting her in a position where she would be uncomfortable and forced to face some of her fears, showed how much they loved her and wanted her to step out of her comfort zone. I loved their shared laughs and private jokes. They way they could raze each other one minute and the next be laughing and smiling showed just how deep and real their friendships are

If you have not ever read a Melissa Foster book you are seriously missing out on some amazing stories. I highly recommend her as an author and this series as a fun and easy read.

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Friday, August 11, 2017

Legally Ours by Nicole French COVER REVEAL

Title: Legally Ours
Series: Spitfire Trilogy #3
Author: Nicole French
Genre: NA Contemporary Romance
Release Date: September 14, 2017


Skylar Crosby knows betrayal. She knows the deep stab when those closest to you deceive your fragile trust. And she knows what it's like when your secrets cost you everything––including the love of your life.

Now kidnapped, scared, and alone, Skylar has no reason to believe in her rescue. Not when she can still see the look on Brandon's face when she smashed his heart to pieces. Even if Skylar can get out of her physical prison, can she escape the cage created by her guilt?

Brandon Sterling spent the last fifteen years desperately trying to reinvent himself: as a lawyer, a businessman, and now a candidate for public office. But as these daily stressors mount alongside a dangerous threat to his family and loved ones, the old Brandon reemerges: a ruthless hoodlum who'd rather use fists than brains to solve his problems.

Now, when the one he loves most is taken, can Brandon move past her deceit in order to find her? And if he does, will Skylar still want the man he's become in order to protect her? 

This is the third book in the Spitfire Trilogy. Readers will enjoy it most if they have already read Legally Yours (Book 1) and Legally Mine (Book 2). 

Also Available


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Author Bio

Nicole French is an East Coast/West Coast hybrid creature, Springsteen fanatic, hopeless romantic, and complete and total bookworm. When not writing or teaching about writing, she is hanging out with her family, playing soccer with the rest of the thirty-plus crowd in Seattle, or going on dates with her husband. In her spare time, she likes to go running with her dog, Greta, or practice the piano, but never seems to do either one of these things as much as she should.

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Thursday, August 10, 2017

The Book of Emma Reyes by Emma Reyes Promo and GIVEAWAY

A literary discovery: an extraordinary, posthumously published memoir of a Colombian woman’s harrowing childhood

A Memoir
by Emma Reyes
Translated with an Introduction by
Daniel Alarcón

“This gem of a book . . . is a triumph of hope and resilience.”
Julia Alvarez, bestselling author of
How the García Girls Lost Their Accents

“A diamond in the rough . . . You’ll wonder how it is that some children survive their childhood, and you’ll surely be thankful for your own.”
Ana Castillo, author of So Far from God

“What an astonishing book—I read it in a single gulp. Emma Reyes had a childhood of staggering deprivation, but her humor and resilience shine through, and suddenly we have a modern classic.”
Deborah Moggach, New York Times bestselling author of The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

“A truly heroic account . . . There’s not a drop of sentimentality in it—just the kind of courage born of the most desperate adversity.” —Edith Grossman, translator of Don Quixote and author of Why Translation Matters

A literary discovery and instant classic when first published in Colombia in 2012, THE BOOK OF EMMA REYES (Penguin Classics Hardcover; On-sale: August 8, 2017; $24.00; ISBN: 9780143108689) chronicles the harrowing childhood of Emma Reyes before she escaped poverty and life in a Catholic convent to become an artist and intellectual with friends such as Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera.

Comprised of letters written over the course of thirty years, and translated and introduced by acclaimed Peruvian-American writer Daniel Alarcón, THE BOOK OF EMMA REYES describes in vivid, painterly detail the remarkable courage and limitless imagination of a young girl growing up with nothing. Emma was an illegitimate child, raised in a windowless room in Bogotá with no water or toilet and only ingenuity to keep her and her sister alive. Abandoned by their mother, she and her sister moved to a Catholic convent housing 150 orphan girls, where they washed pots, ironed and mended laundry, scrubbed floors, cleaned bathrooms, sewed garments and decorative cloths for the nuns—and lived in fear of the Devil. Illiterate and knowing nothing of the outside world, Emma escaped at age nineteen, eventually establishing a career as an artist and befriending European and Latin American artists and intellectuals, among them Jean-Paul Sartre, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Alberto Moravia, and Elsa Morante.

Emma was illiterate when she escaped the convent and yet went on to recount her childhood in letters that compelled her compatriot Gabriel García Márquez to be her champion. Far from self-pitying, the portrait that emerges from this clear-eyed account inspires awe at the stunning early life of a gifted writer whose talent remained hidden for far too long.

Book Links

About the Author:
EMMA REYES (1919-2003) was a Colombian painter and intellectual. Born in Bogotá, she also lived in Buenos Aires, Montevideo, Jerusalem, Washington, and Rome before settling in Paris. She dedicated most of her life to painting and drawing, slowly breaking through as an artist and forging friendships with some of the most distinguished European and Latin American artists, writers, and intellectuals of the twentieth century. The year she passed away, the French government named her a Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters.
About the Translator and Introducer:
DANIEL ALARCÓN (translator/introducer) is one of The New Yorker’s “20 under 40” best fiction writers. His books include the novel At Night We Walk in Circles, which was a finalist for the 2014 PEN/Faulkner Award; the story collections War by Candlelight and The King Is Always Above the People; the novel Lost City Radio; and the graphic novel City of Clowns. His writing has appeared in The New YorkerThe New York Times MagazineGrantan+1, and Harper’s Magazine. Alarcón teaches at the Columbia University Journalism School and is the executive producer of Radio Ambulante, an award-winning Spanish-language podcast distributed by NPR.

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Wednesday, August 9, 2017

My Dear Hamilton by Stephanie Dray & Laura Kamoie COVER REVEAL & GIVEAWAY


From the New York Times bestselling authors of America’s First Daughter comes the epic story of Eliza Schuyler Hamilton—a revolutionary woman who, like her new nation, struggled to define herself in the wake of war, betrayal, and tragedy. 

Haunting, moving, and beautifully written, Dray and Kamoie used thousands of letters and original sources to tell Eliza’s story as it’s never been told before—not just as the wronged wife at the center of a political sex scandal—but also as a founding mother who shaped an American legacy in her own right.

We’re celebrating Eliza Schuyler Hamilton’s Birthday today and you get the gift! Don’t miss the beautiful cover below and a special giveaway, and don’t forget to pre-order your copy today!


About My Dear Hamilton: A Novel of Eliza Schuyler Hamilton (Coming 4.3.2018):

Wife, Widow, and Warrior in Alexander Hamilton’s Quest to Form a More Perfect Union

From the New York Times bestselling authors of America’s First Daughter comes the epic story of Eliza Schuyler Hamilton—a revolutionary woman who, like her new nation, struggled to define herself in the wake of war, betrayal, and tragedy. Haunting, moving, and beautifully written, Dray and Kamoie used thousands of letters and original sources to tell Eliza’s story as it’s never been told before—not just as the wronged wife at the center of a political sex scandal—but also as a founding mother who shaped an American legacy in her own right.

A general’s daughter…

Coming of age on the perilous frontier of revolutionary New York, Elizabeth Schuyler champions the fight for independence. And when she meets Alexander Hamilton, Washington’s penniless but passionate aide-de-camp, she’s captivated by the young officer’s charisma and brilliance. They fall in love, despite Hamilton’s bastard birth and the uncertainties of war.

A founding father’s wife...

But the union they create—in their marriage and the new nation—is far from perfect. From glittering inaugural balls to bloody street riots, the Hamiltons are at the center of it all—including the political treachery of America’s first sex scandal, which forces Eliza to struggle through heartbreak and betrayal to find forgiveness.

The last surviving light of the Revolution…

When a duel destroys Eliza’s hard-won peace, the grieving widow fights her husband’s enemies to preserve Alexander’s legacy. But long-buried secrets threaten everything Eliza believes about her marriage and her own legacy. Questioning her tireless devotion to the man and country that have broken her heart, she’s left with one last battle—to understand the flawed man she married and imperfect union he could never have created without her…


Pre-Order on 

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To celebrate Eliza Schuyler Hamilton’s Birthday today, we have a surprise for you! Share the cover of MY DEAR HAMILTON and fill out the Rafflecopter below to receive an Exclusive Excerpt!

New York Times bestselling author, Stephanie Dray is an award-winning, bestselling and two-time RITA award nominated author of historical women’s fiction. Her critically acclaimed series about Cleopatra’s daughter has been translated into eight different languages and won NJRW's Golden Leaf. As Stephanie Draven, she is a national bestselling author of genre fiction and American-set historical women's fiction. She is a frequent panelist and presenter at national writing conventions and lives near the nation's capital. Before she became a novelist, she was a lawyer, a game designer, and a teacher. Now she uses the stories of women in history to inspire the young women of today.      

Stephanie’s Website | Facebook | Twitter | Newsletter

  New York Times bestselling author, Laura Kamoie has always been fascinated by the people, stories, and physical presence of the past, which led her to a lifetime of historical and archaeological study and training. She holds a doctoral degree in early American history from The College of William and Mary, published two non-fiction books on early America, and most recently held the position of Associate Professor of History at the U.S. Naval Academy before transitioning to a full-time career writing genre fiction as the New York Times bestselling author, Laura Kaye. Her New York Times bestselling debut historical novel, America's First Daughter, co-authored with Stephanie Dray, allowed her the exciting opportunity to combine her love of history with her passion for storytelling. Laura lives among the colonial charm of Annapolis, Maryland with her husband and two daughters.    

Laura’s Website | Facebook | Twitter | Newsletter Sign-Up

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A Mother Like Mine (Hartley-by-the-Sea #3) by Kate Hewitt

Paperback, 384 pages
Expected publication: August 8th 2017 by Berkley Books

Welcome to England's beautiful Lake District, where a reluctant reunion forges a new bond between a daughter and her wayward mother....

Abby Rhodes is just starting to get her life on track. After her fiance's unexpected death, she returned with her young son to the small village where she grew up and threw herself into helping her ailing grandmother run the town's beach cafe. Then one evening, her mother, Laura, shows up in Hartley-by-the-Sea and announces her plan to stay. After twenty years away, she now wants to focus on the future--and has no intention, it seems, of revisiting the painful past.

Laura Rhodes has made a lot of mistakes, and many of them concern her daughter. But as Abby gets little glimpses into her mother's life, she begins to realize there are depths to Laura she never knew. Slowly, Abby and Laura start making tentative steps toward each other, only to have life become even more complicated when an unexpected tragedy arises. Together, the two women will discover truths both sad and surprising that draw them closer to a new understanding of what it means to truly forgive someone you love.

My Thoughts…

A story of second chances, finding peace, and accepting life.     Laura and Abby are mother and daughter that have virtually no relationship.      Laura left Abby to be raised by her grandmother at age 2 and never looked back.   Now they are back in the small town they both grew up in and trying to find a way to establish a relationship.     

I loved that both Laura and Abby are looking to find peace and happiness and that it doesn’t mean they need a man in their lives.   They are trying to find it themselves.    They both had/have dreams and are trying to find the way to make them happen.    

To say that Abby does not trust Laura is an understatement.     Not only does Abby worry about Laura leaving her but now she has to worry about her young son getting attached to his Nana and her leaving him also.     I liked that Abby was cautious.    There was no doubt that she wanted a relationship with her mother but she knew that she had more than herself to think of.  

There were many twists and turns that I did not see coming and I loved each one of them.  Kate Hewitt wrote a book that I fell into.   The small town, the complex relationships, and the love was all part of the perfect story.

Thank you Roxanne Jones at Berkley Publishing and NetGalley for a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.  

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