How About Never – Is Never Good For You? By Bob Mankoff

how about never - is never good for you?

  • Title:  How About Never – Is Never Good For You? My Life in Cartoons
  • Author:  Bob Mankoff
  • Genre:  Memoir
  • Published:  March 2014 – Henry Holt and Co.
  • Dimensions:  10.3 x 8.3 x 1.2 inches
  • Source:  Publisher

My take:  If you read The New Yorker then you’re familiar with the cartoons in each issue. They are subtle reflections of daily life that are mostly relatable to the majority of readers (I would guess). I’m a fan.

Bob Mankoff is the “longtime cartoon editor” of The New Yorker. How About Never is his story of turning a love of drawing into becoming a contributor to the magazine and finally its cartoon editor. Sprinkled with anecdotes and more than 250 cartoons, How About Never is an enjoyable memoir that also includes tips on how to get your cartoon accepted for the magazine and how to win the cartoon caption contest – neither are easy to do.

Mankoff has a playful, self-deprecating style that had me chuckling as I turned the pages. If you enjoy cartoons (especially those in The New Yorker) and amusing stories about the cartoon biz you’ll want to read this memoir.

Recommended. It’s on my gift list this year. My thanks to the publisher for sending a review copy.

 

Blog tour/Giveaway: The Idea of Him by Holly Peterson

Idea-of-Him-199x300

Publisher: William Morrow  (April 1, 2014)
Category: Contemporary Fiction/ Women’s Fiction
ISBN: 978-0062283108
Tour Dates: April/May, 2014
Available in: Print & ebook, 384 Pages

Book description:  In the fabulous and intrigue-packed new novel from Holly Peterson, the New York Times bestselling author of THE MANNYTHE IDEA OF HIM explores the dangers of falling for the idea of a person, and why facing reality is more liberating than we ever dreamed it could be. For anyone who’s let the fear of being alone keep them from seeing who someone really is, THE IDEA OF HIM is an inspiring, action-packed story of what happens when we embrace our own power and allow the truth to finally set us free.

Allie Crawford has the life she always dreamed of—she’s number two at a high-profile P.R. firm; she has two kids she adores; and her husband is a blend of handsome and heroic. Wade is everything she thought a man was supposed to be—he’s running a successful newsmagazine and, best of all, he provides the stable yet exciting New York City life Allie believes she needs in order to feel secure and happy.

But when Allie finds Wade locked in their laundry room with a stunning blonde in snakeskin sandals, a scandal ensues that flips her life on its head. And when the woman wants to befriend Allie, an old flame calls, and a new guy gets a little too close for comfort, she starts to think her marriage is more of a facade than something real. Maybe she’s fallen in love not with Wade—but with the idea of him.

Captivating and seductive, told in the whip-smart voice of a woman who is working hard to keep her parenting and career on track, The Idea of Him is a novel of conspiracy, intrigue, and intense passion—and discovering your greatest strength through your deepest fears.

My take:  Since the tragic loss of her father Allie had been trying to find a replacement – maybe she wasn’t aware of that but the reader can see it. She thought Wade was the guy to love her, keep her safe, and create a family. When she slowly realizes all is not what it seemed Allie starts figuring out what Wade is involved in and considering her own options.

I was slow to warm to this story but when I did the pages almost turned themselves. Like Allie, I wasn’t sure who to trust most of the time. One thing I knew for sure early on – she needed to get herself and her children out of her marriage. On the surface it seemed Wade was a family man and loved Allie but, in reality, the only one Wade loved was Wade. She now finds herself on shaky ground at best and the future is not looking good. Will Allie be able to create a new future? Will she figure out that she doesn’t have to rely on the likes of Wade for her own happiness – that she’s responsible for it herself? I’m telling you, I wanted to give her a good shake and yell “Snap out of it!” more than once!

I ended up liking  The Idea of Him. It is filled with interesting characters (some larger than life) and has an intriguing plot that grew on me. I look forward to seeing what Holly Peterson comes up with in her next book. Keep reading – there’s a giveaway!

You can see what others are saying about THE IDEA OF HIM here.

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Holly Peterson is the author of the New York Timesand international best seller, The Manny. She was a Contributing EditorHolly-Peterson-213x300 for Newsweek and editor-at-large for Tina Brown’s Talk magazine. She was also an Emmy Award–winning producer for ABC News for more than a decade, where she cov­ered global politics. Her writing has been published in the New York Times, Newsweek, Talk, the Daily Beast, Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, and other publications.

Website: www.HollyPeterson.com

Facebook:https://m.facebook.com/HollyPetersonny?id=275564372549939&_rdr
Twitter: https://mobile.twitter.com/hollypetersonny
Instagram-http://instagram.com/hollypetersonny
Pinterest-http://www.pinterest.com/hollypetersonny/pins/

Buy The Idea of Him:

Amazon
Barnes and Noble
Book Depository

Tour schedule is here.

GIVEAWAY

Idea-of-Him-199x300

One copy to a reader from the US or Canada

Please click here and fill out the form

GIVEAWAY IS CLOSED

vabt-highresolution

Down By the River by Lin Stepp

down by the river by L. Stepp (May27)

  • Title:  Down By the River
  • Author:  Lin Stepp
  • Genre:  Women’s Fiction; Christian Fiction
  • Published:  May 27, 2014 – Kensington
  • Source:  Publisher

Synopsis:  While on a visit to the Smokies, Grace Conley makes a stunning decision: she’s going to walk away from her busy life in Nashville to move to tiny Townsend and open a bed-and-breakfast. There’s a beautiful old inn for sale along the Little River that will do perfectly. Of course, Grace’s family is scandalized. After all, she’s a middle-aged widow! And as a career homemaker, she’s always been available for babysitting, chauffeuring, and generally being the peacemaker among her grown children. Has Grace lost her mind? She begins to wonder the same thing once she finds herself attracted to the local ladies’ man. But the surprises don’t stop there…

To further complicate her move, Grace’s daughter, Margaret, has grudgingly come to live with her. Having just graduated from college, remote Townsend is not where she envisions her future. Yet the handsome young minister next door is convinced he and Margaret are meant for each other. As life choices abound, soon both women will discover that the biggest decisions require confidence, a sense of humor—and a deep, abiding faith.  (publisher)

My take:  The serene cover and then the synopsis are what first drew my attention to this novel. I’m pleased to tell you I enjoyed Lin Stepp’s story as well. I like a book with main characters in my age demographic (50s) who are smart, strong and fairly confident in themselves – not ditzy comic relief or overbearing parents.

After making the move to Townsend both Grace and her daughter Margaret begin to find themselves on the road to love and deeper faith – Grace with the local ladies’ man Jack Teague and Margaret with the young minister Vincent. I found their stories quite entertaining. There’s also a storyline involving a stalker that, while it added mystery, I’m not sure was necessary. Maybe that’s because I don’t enjoy the mystery genre all that much. Other readers may like this aspect.

Overall, I enjoyed Stepp’s characters and their romantic and faith journeys. This is Christian fiction and is heavier on the Christian than other books of the genre I’ve previously read. I enjoyed it very much. I would definitely read more by this new-to-me author. My thanks to the publisher for sharing a review galley.

Note:  There is a readers’ guide included.

Sunday Post

Book arrivals:  (linked to Mailbox Monday)

the possibilities (May13)  the house on mermaid point

Last week on Bookfan:

Currently reading:

  • The Never Never Sisters by L. Alison Heller

Happy reading!

and

Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there :)

Spotlight/US Giveaway: The Widow’s Guide To Sex And Dating: A Novel by Carole Radziwill

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Synopsis: Claire Byrne is a quirky and glamorous 34-year-old Manhattanite who is nicely married to the renowned sexologist, Charles Byrne. He’s a man of contradictions: equal parts Alfred Kinsey and Warren Beatty; pompous yet charming; loyal yet unfaithful, and a firm believer that sex and love can’t coexist. Even though Charlie does little to hide his affairs, Claire can’t deny that her life with him is interesting. In a bizarre and comedic twist of fate, on an unassuming Monday, Charlie—fresh from a lover’s bed—is struck dead on a city sidewalk by a falling Giacometti statue.

With this deliciously irreverent opening, Claire sets out to reinvent herself and find the answer to a vexing question – Are widows the new virgins? The Widow’s Guide to Sex & Dating: A Novel is a wry take on death, sex and love, in that order, by New York Times best-selling author Carole Radziwill.

Taking place over the course of a year, Radzwill’s protagonist Claire sees two shrinks and an oracle, hires a “botanomanist,” follows a griot, eats too little, drinks too much, dates a hockey player and a billionaire, and has a heady affair with the movie star Jack Huxley. As she grieves for Charlie and begins to find her footing, Claire comes to realize that she has an opportunity to find something bigger and better than she had before: real, authentic, passionate love.

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REVIEWS

“One of the richest, most deeply satisfying stories I’ve read in a long time…[Radziwill's] spare writing and wry voice make The Widow’s Guide an exhilarating, insightful and moving story about loss and identity.”
—BookPage

“Witty and charming, Carole Radziwill’s first novel is a delight. I fell in love with the character of Claire—a modern-day Holly Golightly.”
—Candace Bushnell, author of Sex and the City and The Carrie Diaries

“Carole Radziwill writes like a cross between Sophie Kinsella and Christopher Buckley. Widow’s Guide is a sharp, flamboyant New York novel that revels in the tragicomic absurdities of the city. It’s a smart take on Hollywood, too, with gorgeous movie stars and a quirky cast. Cautiously romantic, unexpectedly moving, and funny!”
—Susan Sarandon

“Glib, comic… [a] novel about a young Manhattan widow looking for love in all the wrong places… This may be a grief and recovery story for the privileged, but sharp-fanged Radziwill can be pretty funny…. Think Sex and the City in black.”
—Kirkus

“Claire never thought about the odds of losing her husband. But after a freak accident abruptly ends her husband’s life, she is forced to wrestle with the question, “What next?” For the next year, Claire’s life takes a wild turn… and somewhere in the middle of the madness, she begins to realize that her old life wasn’t so perfect and perhaps this is all a blessing in disguise—a second chance at life and love. Verdict: Fans of authors such as Jane Green and Madeleine Wickham will enjoy this.”
—Library Journal

“Radziwill’s delicious debut novel… is a poignant tale of love and loss.”
—Publishers Weekly

“The book’s witty humor and Didion-esque raw language provide for a gripping read that triumphantly announces a profound new voice in literary fiction.”
—Popbytes.com

“A hilarious account of a young widow’s journey to find herself and re-establish her identity.”
—PW Show Daily

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Carole Radziwill grew up in upstate New York and earned a BA at Hunter College and an MBA at New York University. She spent more than a decade at ABC News, reporting from around the world, and earned three Emmys. Her first book, What Remains, a memoir, spent over twenty weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. She has written for many magazines, including Marie Claire, Harper’s Bazaar, Glamour, Town & Country and Porter. She currently is a star of and “the voice of reason” on Bravo’s The Real Housewives of New York. – See more at: The Widow’s Guide to Sex & Dating.

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US Giveaway

One copy for a US reader

Please click here to fill out the form

GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED

 

Finding Perfect by Susan Mallery

finding perfect audio

  • Title:  Finding Perfect
  • Series:  Fool’s Gold, #3
  • Author:  Susan Mallery
  • Narrator:  Tanya Eby
  • Published:  August 2010 – Brilliance
  • Source:  purchased

Synopsis: When Pia O’Brian’s best friend dies, Pia expects to inherit her cherished cat. Instead, the woman leaves Pia three frozen embryos. With a disastrous track record in the romance department and the parenting skills of a hamster, Pia doesn’t think she’s meant for motherhood. But determined to do the right thing, Pia decides to become a single mother – only to meet a gorgeous, sexy hunk the very same day. A former foster-care kid now rich beyond his wildest dreams, Raoul Moreno runs a camp for needy children in Fool’s Gold, California. After his last relationship, Raoul thought he was done with women and commitment. Still, he can’t get sweet, sexy Pia out of his mind — and proposes a crazy plan. But can such an unconventional beginning really result in the perfect ending?  (publisher)

My take:  So the only reading challenge I joined this year is the 2014 Finish the Series challenge and the Fool’s Gold series is first on my list to finish. Trouble is Susan Mallery keeps adding to the series! Good thing I’ve enjoyed all the books I’ve read so far – I don’t mind knowing there are a lot to be read. This is the third book but I don’t think you’d miss much by not reading the previous books. That said, the first book introduces the reader to the town and that’s worth reading!

The frozen embryo inheritance aside (I mean, really?!), I liked this book a lot. I found Pia and Raoul to be both charming and sympathetic characters. If Pia wasn’t so nice and good-hearted she’d come off kind of flaky but we find out she has grown through her experiences in life up to this point. The same could be said for Raoul. Both have been deeply affected by people disappointing them and/or leaving them. So they need to get past the inclination to not commit. Enter one sweet little boy who makes them reconsider everything including their definition of home and a perfect family.

I enjoyed Tanya Eby’s narration. Her rather staccato performance of Pia added to the kind of flaky impression I had of the character. She also did a nice job with Raoul’s voice and young Peter’s as well as those of the supporting characters.

Sunday Post

Book arrivals (linked to Mailbox Monday)

An Unwilling Accomplice  Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000038_00071]  a sweet life boxed set

  • An Unwilling Accomplice by Charles Todd  (for review)
  • Stolen Grace by Arianne Richmonde  (purchased)
  • A Sweet Life - boxed set of Fourteen Contemporary Romances by Bestselling Authors to Benefit Diabetes Research (purchased).  The sale of this set coincides with the Brenda Novak Annual Online Auction for Diabetes ResearchThis is a cause near and dear to my heart because our youngest child was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when she was six years old – she’s now twenty-seven. I hope you’ll check out the auction – lots of items for booklovers!

Last week on Bookfan:

Currently reading:

  •  Save the Date by Mary Kay Andrews
  • The Great Escape by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

Spotlight/Giveaway (US): Looking For Me by Beth Hoffman

One of my favorite books of 2013 was LOOKING FOR ME by Beth Hoffman. You can read my review here. The trade paperback edition was released on Tuesday, April 29.  If you haven’t read it yet you can enter the giveaway at the end of this post.  Note:  It’s a US only giveaway.

looking for me (trade)

ABOUT THE BOOK:
Teddi Overman loves her family and the simple life they share on their Kentucky farm, but when high school graduation nears and her mother pushes her towards secretarial school, Teddi knows it’s time to strike out on her own and pursue her dream of working with antiques. Gifted at refurbishing furniture and possessing an uncanny knack for uncovering the beauty and history in what other people discard, Teddi leaves Kentucky in the middle of the night and makes her way to Charleston, South Carolina. There, Teddi builds a new life for herself, and makes her dream come true in a small antiques shop frequented by a cast of quirky customers and friends. But each time Teddi, now thirty-six years old, leaves Charleston and visits the farm of her youth, she’s drawn to the mysterious beauty of Red River Gorge, where her brother went missing at the age of seventeen. Though everyone believes that her beloved brother is dead, Teddi never gives up hope of finding him. When circumstances lead her to clean out the old barn, Teddi makes a discovery that challenges her in ways she never could have imagined. And while trying to fit together the pieces of her family’s shattered past, Teddi unwittingly finds herself among the ruins. 

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PRAISE FOR LOOKING FOR ME:
“Hoffman’s novel of a woman putting the pieces of her family’s secrets together combines a deep dramatic impact with Southern charm.”
Publishers Weekly

“Hoffman has a good ear for dialogue, and Teddie and her friends are realistic, appealing characters. Perfect for fans of family-centered women’s fiction, this book will have special appeal to readers interested in antiques and ‘shabby chic’ style.”
Booklist

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beth hoffman

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Beth Hoffman was the president and co-owner of an interior design studio before becoming a full-time writer. Looking For Me is her second novel. She lives with her husband and two cats in Kentucky.

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Available from your local bookseller and all online book retailers:

Hardcover, Audio CD, Large Print, and E-Books

ISBN: 9780670025831  Pamela Dorman Books – Viking/Penguin

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Beth Hoffman’s Spring/Summer 2014 Tour:
NAPERVILLE, IL, Anderson’s Bookshop, May 1
WICHITA, KS, Watermark Books, May 6
KANSAS CITY, MO, Unity Temple (with Rainy Day Books), May 8
WOODSTOCK, GA, Foxtale Book Shoppe, May 13
FAIRHOPE, AL, Page & Palette, May 15
EVANSVILLE, IN, Vanderburgh Public Library, June 15

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US Giveaway

Please click here and fill out the form

Giveaway ended

How to Lose a Duke in Ten Days by Laura Lee Guhrke

how to lose a duke in 10 days

  • Title:  How to Lose a Duke in Ten Days
  • Series:  An American Heiress in London, #2
  • Author:  Laura Lee Guhrke
  • Genre:  Historical Romance
  • Published:  April 2014 – Avon
  • Source:  Publisher

Synopsis:   They had a deal… From the moment she met the devil-may-care Duke of Margrave, Edie knew he could change her life. And when he agreed to her outrageous proposal of a marriage of convenience, she was transformed from ruined American heiress to English duchess. Five years later, she’s delighted with their arrangement, especially since her husband is living on another continent. But deals are made to be broken… By marrying an heiress, Stuart was able to pay his family’s enormous debts, and Edie’s terms that he leave England forever seemed a small price to pay. But when a brush with death impels him home, he decides it’s time for a real marriage with his luscious American bride, and he proposes a bold new bargain: ten days to win her willing kiss. But is ten days enough to win her heart? (publisher)

My take:  Ok, so it’s only May but this may be my favorite historical romance so far this year. Laura Lee Guhrke had me from page one. I loved Edie and Stuart and I loved Guhrke’s handling of the marriage-of-convenience trope.

After being ruined in America Edie simply wants to find a titled man in England who needs her money and will agree to leave her alone once they marry. Stuart, the Duke of Margrave, is just the man and since he wants to go back to Africa he’s happy to take her offer. Stuart is used to getting his way – either by pure charm or because he’s the Duke. When he returns five years later it’s as a wounded man who needs someone to care for him. Definitely not what Edie signed up for! She refuses to accept him as her husband and threatens divorce or at least separation. He gets her to agree to give him ten days to convince her to stay in the marriage. He has no idea how difficult this challenge will be.

Along the way we find out how Edie was ruined and the effect it has had on her life. She slowly reveals the details to Stuart which only increases his resolve that he and Edie should be together. He also reveals what brought him back from Africa. That scene was so well-done and evoked a lot of emotion which is part of the reason I loved this book. Another part is the epilogue. Not your average “oh look, they have a baby” epilogue. One of the story lines is wrapped up beautifully. That’s all I’ll say about it.

This is the second book in the An American Heiress in London series. I didn’t read the first book but, given my enjoyment of this book, I don’t think it was necessary. Still, I look forward to reading the first: When the Marquess Met His Match.

Spotlight and US Giveaway: Monday, Monday: A Novel by Elizabeth Crook

monday, monday
Monday, Monday: A Novel
By Elizabeth Crook Published by Sarah Crichton Books Hardcover: 352 pages April 29, 2014; $26.00 US/$30.00 CAN; 9781621451457

Description: In this gripping, emotionally charged novel, a tragedy in Texas changes the course of three lives

On an oppressively hot Monday in August of 1966, a student and former marine named Charles Whitman hauled a footlocker of guns to the top of the University of Texas tower and began firing on pedestrians below. Before it was over, sixteen people had been killed and thirty-two wounded. It was the first mass shooting of civilians on a campus in American history.

Monday, Monday follows three students caught up in the massacre: Shelly, who leaves her math class and walks directly into the path of the bullets, and two cousins, Wyatt and Jack, who heroically rush from their classrooms to help the victims. On this searing day, a relationship begins that will eventually entangle these three young people in a forbidden love affair, an illicit pregnancy, and a vow of secrecy that will span forty years. Reunited decades after the tragedy, they will be forced to confront the event that changed their lives and that has silently and persistently ruled the lives of their children.

With electrifying storytelling and the powerful sense of destiny found in Ann Patchett’s Bel Canto, and with the epic sweep of Jess Walter’s Beautiful Ruins, Elizabeth Crook’s Monday, Monday explores the ways in which we sustain ourselves and one another when the unthinkable happens. At its core, it is the story of a woman determined to make peace with herself, with the people she loves, and with a history that will not let her go. A humane treatment of a national tragedy, it marks a generous and thrilling new direction for a gifted American writer.

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Author Bio Elizabeth Crook, author of Monday, Monday: A Novel, is the author of three novels, The Raven’s Bride, Promised Lands, and The Night Journal. She has written for anthologies and periodicals, including Texas Monthly and the Southwestern Historical Quarterly, and has served on the council of the Texas Institute of Letters. Currently she is a member of the board of directors of the Texas Book Festival. She lives in Austin with her husband and two children.

For more information please visit http://elizabethcrookbooks.com and follow the author on Facebook.

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Reviews: “This rapturous novel starts with one of the most heinous shootings in history, yet every page shines with life. Crook follows three students who endured the tragedy as they grapple with the past, struggle to navigate their futures, and discover that who and what saves us is nothing like what you imagine. Brilliantly realized and so vivid the novel seems to virtually breathe, Monday, Monday is a stunning achievement.” – Caroline Leavitt, New York Times bestselling author of Is This Tomorrow and Pictures of You

“Elizabeth Crook has written an extraordinary novel — an eloquent love story born from an act of random violence, a tale of destruction and redemption. It’s about making a whole life out of a damaged one, and about holding on and letting go. The characters are as real as people you know; their story is subtle, startling, and wise.” – Sarah Bird, author of The Yokota Officers Club and Above the East China Sea

Monday, Monday begins by throwing us into the midst of one of the worst mass murders in American history, a scene painted with such harrowing exactitude that it leaves you wondering how the characters can possibly survive and how the author can possibly sustain such a high level of narrative momentum and emotional insight. And yet Elizabeth Crook pulls it off. This is a brilliant and beautiful book.” – Stephen Harrigan, author of The Gates of the Alamo and Remember Ben Clayton

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Giveaway

I have one copy for a lucky reader from the US

Please click here for details and fill out the form

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Review/Giveaway: Just Destiny by Theresa Rizzo

Just Destiny (April 26)

  • Title:  Just Destiny
  • Author:  Theresa Rizzo
  • Genre:  Fiction
  • Published:  March 2014 – Smashwords
  • Source:  Author

Synopsis:  What would you do if your whole world fell apart? Jenny Harrison made some poor choices in the past, but marrying Gabe was the best thing she’d ever done. They had the perfect marriage, until a tragic accident leaves Gabe brain dead and her world in ruins. Devastated by grief, she decides to preserve the best of their love by conceiving his child, but Gabe’s family is adamantly opposed, even willing to chance exposing long-held family secrets to stop her. Caught in a web of twisted motives and contentious legal issues, Jenny turns to best friend and attorney, Steve Grant. Steve wants to help Jenny but he has reservations of his own. When something so private and simple turns public and complicated, will Jenny relent? What is Steve willing to sacrifice to help Jenny?

My take:  Theresa Rizzo’s novel is an emotional tale that made me ask myself “what would I do?” or “would I do that?”. For that reason I think  Just Destiny would be a good book group choice. Discussion questions are provided at the end of the book.

Jenny is caught in an ethical and, some might say, moral dilemma. She faces tough choices throughout the months following her beloved husband’s death. It’s bad enough she has to learn to live without Gabe but then to have people in her life make things even harder is disheartening.

Just Destiny’s layers are revealed at a good pace. Filled with characters that are believable (and many are flawed) it certainly held my interest as I wondered what would happen next in Jenny’s tumultuous  life. This book has romance, suspense, and courtroom drama so if those fit your preferred genres you’ll want to read Just Destiny.  I’m glad I had the chance to read it.

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About the author:

Theresa Rizzo is an award-winning author who writes emotional stories that explore the complexity of relationships and Theresa_2013_0279families through real-life trials. 

Born and raised in Grosse Pointe, Michigan, she currently lives outside of Boulder, Colorado with her husband of thirty years. She’s raised four wonderful children who are now scattered across the country. Theresa’s debut book, He Belongs to Me was a finalist in the General Fiction Category of The 2013 USA Best Book Awards!  Her second book, Just Destiny, was released March 31, 2014. Find Theresa on the web at www.theresarizzo.com, or connect with her on Facebooktwitter or Goodreads. Purchase Just Destiny at Amazon,  Barnes, NobleiBookstore & Smashwords.

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Giveaway

Theresa Rizzo has generously provided a digital copy of Just Destiny for one lucky reader.

Please click here and fill out the form.

Giveaway has closed

Sunday Post

Book arrivals:  (linked to Mailbox Monday)

delectable  Save the Date  stargazey point  Vintage

Last week on Bookfan:

  • Review:  The Memory Child by Steena Holmes
  • Review:  When the Cypress Whispers by Yvette Manessis Corporon
  • Review:  When We Met by Susan Mallery

Currently reading:

  • The Idea of Him by Holly Peterson
  • The Beekeeper’s Ball by Susan Wiggs

Happy reading!

 

When We Met by Susan Mallery

when we met (April29)

  • Title:  When We Met
  • Series:  Fool’s Gold; #13
  • Author:  Susan Mallery
  • Genre:  Contemporary Romance
  • Published:  April 29, 2014 – Harlequin HQN
  • Source:  Publisher

Synopsis:  New York Times bestselling author Susan Mallery invites you back to Fool’s Gold, where a newcomer to town might finally meet the man she never knew she needed… 

Angel Whittaker earned his scars the hard way, but the scars that can’t be seen are the ones that haunt him the most. Since he moved to Fool’s Gold, California, he’s cobbled together a life for himself as a bodyguard trainer. If he’s not exactly happy, at least his heart is safe. 

Working with pro-football superstars taught tough-talking PR woman Taryn Crawford one thing—she can go toe-to-toe with any man. But then dark, dangerous former Special Ops Angel targets her for seduction…and challenges her to resist his tempting kisses. Even in four-inch heels, Taryn never backs down. Unless, somehow, Angel can convince her that surrender might feel even better than victory.

My take:  This is the story of two people who vow never to give themselves over to a relationship. Taryn because of the devastating rejection she felt as a young girl and Angel because of the unimaginable loss he suffered in the not so distant past.

Taryn and Angel are very likable characters. They are confident yet also vulnerable. Determined to just enjoy dating, will they be able to keep it at that level?  I enjoyed Susan Mallery’s latest addition to the Fool’s Gold series. I couldn’t help but feel sympathy for both Angel and Taryn. Their reluctance to give themselves over to a chance for love was understandable yet I hoped for more. Mallery didn’t disappoint. She also added comedy in the form of Angel leading a group in a local organization. At the time he volunteered he had no idea his group would be made up of 7 year old girls. It was a fun storyline. There’s exciting drama near the end of the book that kept me turning the pages. All in all, if you’re a fan of the series I think you’ll like When We Met.

When the Cypress Whispers by Yvette Manessis Corporon

when the cypress whispers (april)

  • Title:  When the Cypress Whispers
  • Author:  Yvette Manessis Corporon
  • Genre:  Women’s Fiction
  • Published:  April 2014 – Harper
  • Source:  Publisher

Synopsis:  The daughter of Greek immigrants, Daphne aspires to the American Dream, yet feels as if she’s been sleepwalking through life. Caught between her family’s old-world traditions and the demands of a modern career, she cannot seem to find her place. 
Only her beloved grandmother on Erikousa, a magical island off the coast of Greece, knows her heart. Daphne’s fondest memories are of times spent in the kitchen with Yia-yia, cooking and learning about the ancient myths. It was the thought of Yia-yia that consoled Daphne in the wake of her husband’s unexpected death.
After years of struggling to raise her child and pay the bills, Daphne now has a successful restaurant, a growing reputation as a chef, and a wealthy fiancé—everything she’s ever wanted. But across the ocean, Yia-yia can see through the storybook perfection of Daphne’s new life— and now she is calling her back to Erikousa. She has secrets about the past to share with her granddaughter— stories from the war, of loyalty and bravery in the face of death. She also has one last lesson to teach her: that security is not love, and that her life can be filled with meaning again.  (publisher)

My take:  This is a lovely novel that mixes mythology and old world tradition with modern success. But what is success for one person is not for another. What makes for a happy life is not necessarily what Daphne thought as she grew up trying to leave the old-fashion ways of her parents and older relatives back in Greece. She decides to be married in Greece so her grandmother can be there. After a few days back Daphne remembers the simple pleasures of summers spent on Erikousa when she was younger. She also sees her young daughter come to life again as she learns the old stories and experiences the wonders the island has to offer.

I loved reading Yvette Manessis Corporon’s book. The characters, setting and story completely engaged me. I’d love to see a film version. There’s no doubt tourism in Greece would increase exponentially! I say if you can’t travel to Greece the next best thing would be to read When the Cypress Whispers.

Blog tour: The Memory Child by Steena Holmes

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Synopsis:  The story of a married couple, Diane and Brian, that learn they are pregnant with their first child has come at an unfortunate time.  Brian is thrilled with the news since he has patiently waited for twelve years to become a father, however Diane is unsure of her excitement.  With her family’s dark past, her recent promotion, and Brian being called away to London for work parenthood has arrived unexpectedly.  When a year has passed and Diane is completely head over heels in love with her precious baby girl, Grace, Brian has still not returned from London.  Diane’s dark past collides with her mysterious new life and the surreal family drama is unveiled.

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the memory child

  • Title:  The Memory Child
  • Author:  Steena Holmes
  • Genre:  Women’s Fiction
  • Published:  March 2014 – Lake Union Publishing
  • Source:  Publisher/Book Sparks PR

My take: The Memory Child is the first book by Steena Holmes I’ve read. Holmes kept me guessing and turning the pages to find out what was going on in this story. That’s saying a lot because character driven novels aren’t always my cup of tea. Not so with this one. It quietly got inside my brain and didn’t let go until I turned the final page.

My opinion of the characters changed more than once as the story progressed.  I liked that the novel wasn’t predictable and played with my brain a bit.

It’s an eerie and emotional story. If the publisher’s synopsis and my take make it seem like a novel you’d like to read then go get a copy! I’m glad I had the chance to read The Memory Child.

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Steena Holmes grew up in a small town in Canada and holds a bachelor’s degree in theology. She is the author of image001eleven novels and novellas, including Finding Emma, for which she was awarded a National Indie Excellence Book Award in 2012. She currently lives in Calgary with her husband and three daughters, and loves to wake up to the Rocky Mountains each morning.