Spotlight/US Giveaway: The Lost Carousel of Provence by Juliet Blackwell

THE LOST CAROUSEL OF PROVENCE by Juliet Blackwell

Berkley Trade Paperback Original; September 18, 2018; $15.00

Historical Fiction; Women’s Fiction

Description:  An artist lost to history, a family abandoned to its secrets, and the woman whose search for meaning unearths it all in a sweeping and expressive story from the New York Times bestselling author of Letters from Paris.

Long, lonely years have passed for the crumbling Château Clement, nestled well beyond the rolling lavender fields and popular tourist attractions of Provence. Once a bustling and dignified ancestral estate, now all that remains is the château’s gruff, elderly owner and the softly whispered secrets of generations buried and forgotten.
 
But time has a way of exposing history’s dark stains, and when American photographer Cady Drake finds herself drawn to the château and its antique carousel, she longs to explore the relic’s shadowy origins beyond the small scope of her freelance assignment. As Cady digs deeper into the past, unearthing century-old photographs of the Clement carousel and its creators, she might be the one person who can bring the past to light and reunite a family torn apart. (publisher)


About the author:

Juliet Blackwell is the pseudonym for the New York Times bestselling author of Letters from Paris and The Paris Key. In addition to writing the beloved Witchcraft Mystery series and the Haunted Home Renovation series, she also co-authored the Agatha Award nominated Art Lover’s Mystery series with her sister.


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Spotlight/US Giveaway: The Stolen Marriage by Diane Chamberlain

Thanks to Katie Bassel at St. Martin’s Press I have a trade paperback copy of THE STOLEN MARRIAGE by Diane Chamberlain to give away to one of my US readers. I reviewed the hardcover edition last year. You can read my take here.

The Stolen Marriage by Diane Chamberlain

Published by St. Martin’s Griffin – August 2018

Giveaway copy courtesy of the publisher

Publisher’s description:

It is 1944. Pregnant, alone, and riddled with guilt, twenty-three-year-old Tess DeMello abruptly gives up her budding career as a nurse and ends her engagement to the love of her life, unable to live a lie. Instead, she turns to the baby’s father for help and agrees to marry him, moving to the small, rural town of Hickory, North Carolina. Tess’s new husband, Henry Kraft, is a secretive man who often stays out all night, hides money from his new wife, and shows her no affection. Tess quickly realizes she’s trapped in a strange and loveless marriage with no way out. It seems that everyone knows something about him that Tess does not, and when tragedy strikes, Tess finds herself even more isolated. But Tess has a gift as a nurse, and with a polio epidemic looming, she begins to find purpose and meaning at the newly built hospital. Yet at home, Henry’s actions grow more alarming by the day. As Tess works to save the lives of her patients, can she untangle the truth behind her husband’s mysterious behavior and find the love – and the life she was meant to have?


About the author:

Diane Chamberlain is the international bestselling author of 24 novels. She lives in North Carolina with her partner, photographer John Pagliuca, and her shelties, Keeper and Cole.

Visit her online at http://www.dianechamberlain.com


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Review/US Giveaway: Improper Cross-Stitch by Haley Pierson-Cox

Improper Cross-Stitch by Haley Pierson-Cox

August 7, 2018 – St. Martin’s Griffin

Crafts & Hobbies

Review copy courtesy of the publisher

Description:

A fun, witty, nerdy, and irreverent craft book for the modern cross-stitcher.

Sometimes it’s good to be a little…improper. Profane, funny, and smart, Haley Pierson-Cox’s IMPROPER CROSS-STITCH invites the modern crafter to bring personality and humor to their cross stitch projects. From a fully designed “Damn it feels good to be a crafter” to the beautiful Art Deco inspired “f***,” Haley’s patterns are fresh, lively and just what the crafter ordered.

In this book, she’ll introduce readers to the joys of stitching the naughty, the profane, the irreverent, and the just plain awesome. First, she starts with a basic lesson in cross-stitch technique, no previous experience required. Then, once readers know your way around an embroidery hoop and a skein of floss, the books moves on to the designs—35 in total, ranging from hip, to nerdy, to ironically domestic—where Haley encourages crafters to embrace their inner snark with gleeful abandon.

Her easy to follow instructions and colorful designs can make a cross stitcher out of anyone. In all her years of crafting, Haley’s learned many things, but this simple fact remains one of the most important: There is absolutely nothing in this world quite so satisfying as enshrining something deeply inappropriate within the delicate stitches of a cross-stitch sampler. It’s truly one of life’s great delights! (publisher)

My take:  This isn’t the type of book I usually feature but I used to do a lot of cross-stitch so I was interested when the publisher offered a copy. Until my eyes changed and needed a stronger prescription along with bifocals I always had a work in progress.

Pierson-Cox gives the reader, beginner stitcher or one who needs a refresher, a clear and easy look at cross-stitch tools, floss, fabric, and general basics. There’s certainly enough info for anyone to head to the craft store and get started on a project.

Pattern themes include:

  • Hipster Snark
  • Ironically Domestic
  • Talk Nerdy To Me
  • Alphabets

There’s even instructions on how to create your own pattern. So, although I wouldn’t spend my time stitching the F word, there are several patterns that appealed to me. If you’re a cross-stitcher or someone who wants to try the craft this book would be a fun place to start.


About the author:

Haley Pierson-Cox is a designer and craft writer with a focus on fabric and fiber crafts, including sewing, needlework, knitting, crochet, and geek crafts. Her hobbies include organizing things, speaking to her cat as though he’s a person, and mining the pages of old books for antique expletive. Check out her blog, Red-Handed Scissors!


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Spotlight/US Giveaway: The Summer I Met Jack

The Summer I Met Jack: A Novel by Michelle Gable

St. Martin’s Press – May 2018

Description: (provided by the publisher)

“[The Summer I Met Jack] offers an alternate Kennedy family history that will leave readers wondering whether America knew the real JFK at all.” —Kirkus Reviews

New York Times bestselling author imagines the affair between John F. Kennedy and Alicia Corning Clark – and the child they may have had.

Based on a real story – in 1950, a young, beautiful Polish refugee arrives in Hyannisport, Massachusetts to work as a maid for one of the wealthiest families in America. Alicia is at once dazzled by the large and charismatic family, in particular the oldest son, a rising politician named Jack.

Alicia and Jack are soon engaged, but his domineering father forbids the marriage. And so, Alicia trades Hyannisport for Hollywood, and eventually Rome. She dates famous actors and athletes and royalty, including Gary Cooper, Kirk Douglas, and Katharine Hepburn, all the while staying close with Jack. A decade after they meet, on the eve of Jack’s inauguration as the thirty-fifth President of the United States, the two must confront what they mean to each other.

The Summer I Met Jack by Michelle Gable is based on the fascinating real life of Alicia Corning Clark, a woman who J. Edgar Hoover insisted was paid by the Kennedys to keep quiet, not only about her romance with Jack Kennedy, but also a baby they may have had together.


About the author:

Michelle Gable is the New York Times Bestselling author of A PARIS APARTMENT, I’LL SEE YOU IN PARIS and THE BOOK OF SUMMER. Her fourth book, THE SUMMER I MET JACK, is based on the real-life romance between Jack Kennedy and Alicia Darr.

Michelle grew up in San Diego and attended The College of William & Mary, where she majored in accounting, as most aspiring writers do. After a twenty-year career in finance, Michelle now writes full-time. She lives in Cardiff-by-the-Sea, California, with her husband, two daughters, and what is quickly becoming a menagerie: one cat, one bunny, and a lab/jindo mix recently rescued from the dog meat trade in Thailand.

Michelle can be reached at www.michellegable.com or on Instagram, Twitter, or Pinterest at @MGableWriter.


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Spotlight/US Giveaway: The Book of M by Peng Shepherd

Morrow, on sale 6/5/18, ISBN: 9780062669605, $26.99

About The Book of M: (content courtesy of the publisher)

Set in a dangerous near future world, THE BOOK OF M (Morrow, on sale 6/5/18, ISBN: 9780062669605, $26.99) tells the captivating story of a group of ordinary people caught in an extraordinary catastrophe who risk everything to save the ones they love—a sweeping debut that illuminates the power that memories have not only on the heart, but on the world itself.

One afternoon at an outdoor market in India, a man’s shadow disappears—an occurrence science cannot explain. He is only the first. The phenomenon spreads like a plague, and while those afflicted gain a strange new power, the magic comes at a horrible price: the loss of all their memories.

Ory and his wife, Max, have escaped the Forgetting by hiding in an abandoned hotel deep in the woods. Their new life feels almost normal, until their greatest fear happens to them, and Max’s shadow disappears too. Knowing that the more she forgets, the more dangerous she will become to the person most precious to her, Max runs away while Ory is out foraging for supplies—but he refuses to give up what little time they have left together. Desperate to find Max before her memory disappears completely, Ory follows her trail across a perilous, unrecognizable world, braving the threat of roaming bandits, the call to a new war being waged on the ruins of the capital, and the rise of a sinister cult that worships the shadowless.

As they journey, they search for answers: for Ory, about love, about survival, about hope; and for Max, about a mysterious new force growing in the south that may hold the cure.

This haunting, thought-provoking, and beautiful novel explores fundamental questions of memory and love—the price of forgetting, the power of connection, and what it means to be human in a world turned upside down.  THE BOOK OF M has the unique post-apocalyptic world building of Station Eleven, the dangerous quest for salvation of The Passage and the stunning magical realism and incredible love story that made Exit West a finalist for the Man Booker Prize.


About the author:

Prior to her earning her Creative Writing MFA from NYU on a full scholarship, Peng earned an MA in International Studies and Diplomacy from the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London. She worked for several years in the private security industry in both London and Washington DC, where she helped provide protective services to companies operating in hostile environments and war zones, even completing a short-term deployment to Iraq. This experience has given Peng a diverse perspective that she uses to highlight compelling, complex characters from around the globe—India, Iran, etc.—to create a dynamic cast.

 


Praise for The Book of M

“… Sheperd’s debut is graceful and riveting, slowly peeling back layers of an intricately constructed and unsettling alternate future.”— Publishers Weekly 

“Eerie, dark, and compelling, this will not disappoint lovers of The Passage (2010) and Station Eleven (2014).” — Booklist

“First-time novelist Shepherd has crafted an engaging and twisty tale about memory’s impact on who or what we become. For aficionados of literary dystopian fiction such as Emily St. John Mandel’s Station Eleven or those who enjoy stories of cross-country travel.”    — Library Journal

“I was both disturbed and inspired by Max’s and Ory’s journey through apocalypses large and small. Peng Shepherd has written a prescient, dark fable for the now and for the soon-to-be. The Book of M is our beautiful nightmare shadow.” — Paul Tremblay, author of The Cabin at the End of the World

The Book of M is exciting, imaginative, unique, and beautiful. Shepherd proves herself not just a writer to watch, but a writer to treasure.” — Darin Strauss, bestselling author of Half a Life

The Book of M does a million smart things, but the smartest is to entertain us at the highest level. Peng Shepherd has written a brilliant story that takes the hours and breath away. As you chase Ory and Max, it’s hard to pin down just what makes this book so satisfying—a voice that’s as emotionally compelling as Gone Girl, a novel that’s as thrilling as The Stand.  Prepare to fall in love with your own shadow. And to lose sleep. Shepherd is urgently good, and has written one of those books that makes you look up at two in the morning, to a world that’s new, newly scary, and freshly appreciated: what all the great stories do.” — David Lipsky, New York Times bestselling author of Absolutely American


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Spotlight/US Giveaway: Before I Let You Go

Description: (content provided by the publisher)

From USA TODAY bestselling author Kelly Rimmer, BEFORE I LET YOU GO is an emotional and profoundly moving new novel that explores addiction, motherhood, the failures of the justice system, and the unbreakable bond of sisterhood.

Lexie is a successful doctor, engaged to a handsome fellow physician, and leads a picture-perfect life— at least that’s what it looks like from the outside. What people don’t see is that Lexie has little family to speak of: even years after the fact, she still grieves the untimely death of her beloved father, and she has little contact with the mother who, shortly after being widowed, tried to raise her daughters in a religious cult. Perhaps most devastatingly, Lexie hasn’t seen her troubled sister, Annie, in over two years. But when Annie contacts her out of the blue asking for help, Lexie must confront all that has happened to her bright and bubbly little sister. Annie is now drug addicted, living in a squalid trailer park, and has a baby on the way. Lexie promised her father she’d always protect Annie, but now she’s not sure she’ll be able to and wonders, as her own heart breaks, if it’s too late for Annie to turn her life around.

Annie has hit rock bottom more times than she can count, but this time, she finally has a reason to try to pick herself up: the life and well-being of her unborn daughter. With Lexie’s help, she’s finally committed to overcoming the devastating opioid addiction that has taken over her life—she wants, more than anything, to be a better sister, a good mother and the best version of herself. But doctors tell Annie she must wait to give birth before she can enter a rehab program, and before she can do either, Annie is tracked down by social services and charged with chemical endangerment of her own child. Just as she’s prepared to turn over a new leaf, Annie faces the prospect of a harsh sentence and decades in prison. Now she must fight not only for sobriety but also for her very freedom and custody of her child.

Dark secrets and shattering revelations emerge with the arrival of Lexie and Annie’s estranged mother and their stepfather, the leader of the religious cult that both girls escaped and tried to leave behind years ago. Lexie discovers that what she knows about Annie’s history of substance abuse only scratches the surface, and Annie herself harbors a deep and buried secret that has haunted her for decades—and it’s one that just might kill her.

BEFORE I LET YOU GO is extraordinarily timely and explores the current opioid crisis through the eyes of a young and desperate mother. With great empathy and nuance, it explores the complexities of addiction and reveals how substance abuse often stems from deep and hidden traumas. It calls into question the ways in which society often fails addicts and how the justice system punishes them with harsh and disproportionate sentences. Above all, it is a call for compassion, a recognition of our common humanity and fallibility, and a demonstration of the hope and rebirth that are possible even in the darkest of times.


Early praise for BEFORE I LET YOU GO:

“A heartbreaking book about an impossible decision. Kelly Rimmer writes with wisdom and compassion about the relationships between sisters, mother and daughter, aunt and niece. She captures the anguish of addiction, the agonizing conflict between an addict’s best and worst selves. Above all, this novel is about the deepest love possible.”

—Luanne Rice, New York Times bestselling author

“Get ready for fireworks in your book club…One of the best books for discussion that I’ve read in years.”

—Diane Chamberlain, bestselling author of The Stolen Marriage

“A heart wrenching story about the love between sisters, the complexities of women, and the lengths we’ll go for those close to us. Thought provoking and deeply affecting.”

—Karma Brown, New York Times bestselling author of In This Moment


ABOUT KELLY RIMMER:

Kelly Rimmer is the USA TODAY bestselling women’s fiction author of five novels, including Me Without You and The Secret Daughter. She lives in rural Australia with her husband, 2 children and fantastically naughty dogs, Sully and Basil. Her novels have been translated into more than 20 languages.

ABOUT THE BOOK:

BEFORE I LET YOU GO On Sale: April 2018 $16.99 U.S. / $21.99 CAN. Trade Paperback ISBN-13: 978-1525820847


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Spotlight/US Giveaway: All The Beautiful Lies by Peter Swanson

Description: (provided by the publisher)

Days before his college graduation, Harry Ackerson is devastated by the news of his father’s death in a freak accident. Harry returns to his father’s home in Maine to help his stepmother Alice with the funeral arrangements and provide a shoulder for her to lean on. Harry had always considered Alice beautiful, after all, she was much younger than his father and closer to him in age and it was almost impossible to not be physically attracted to her.

Trying to get his father’s affairs in order, Harry meets a mysterious young woman named Grace McGowan at the bookstore his father owned. Though she claims to be new to the area, Harry begins to suspect that Grace may not be a stranger to his family.

Meanwhile, the more time he spends with Alice, the closer they become. When Alice suddenly crosses the line, coming on to Harry, in an enticing, clearly sexual way, Harry is shaken, unsure of his true feelings for Alice.

Mesmerized by these two women, Harry finds himself falling deeper under their spell. Yet the closer he gets to them, the more isolated he feels, disoriented by a growing fear that both women are hiding dangerous – even deadly – secrets…and that neither one is telling the truth.

All The Beautiful Lies is a diabolically clever tale of passion, obsession, revenge, and cold-blooded murder – a sly and brilliant guessing game of a novel and Peter Swanson at his best. Not since Alex boiled a bunny in the classic hit film Fatal Attraction has a slow-burn thriller so vividly pinned the agony and ecstasy of pure magnetism grown into obsession. Peter Swanson has created an evocative and sensual world with a plot that builds on the sexual tension created from stolen glances and discreet embraces to create a crescendo that will shock even the most perceptive reader.

On sale April 3, 2018


About the author:

Peter Swanson is the author of three novels: The Girl With a Clock For a Heart, an LA Times Book Award finalist; The Kind Worth Killing, winner of the New England Society Book Award, and finalist for the CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger; and his most recent, Her Every Fear. His books have been translated into 30 languages, and his stories, poetry, and features have appeared in Asimov’s Science Fiction, The Atlantic Monthly, Measure, The Guardian, The Strand Magazine, and Yankee Magazine. A graduate of Trinity College, the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and Emerson College, he lives in Somerville, Massachusetts with his wife.


Early praise for ALL THE BEAUTIFUL LIES:

“Suspense lovers will devour this deliciously duplicitous read, which is chock-full of twists, turns, lust, greed, and dishonesty.” – Library Journal

“Swanson’s fourth psychological thriller is a gripping exploration of delusion and deceit; sure to please readers of Laura Lippman’s stand-alones.” – Booklist

“There are many twists and turns, and quite a few surprises along the way…All The Beautiful Lies is very much character-driven and stronger on psychology…A solid, twisty work of suspense.” – PCA/ACA Mystery & Detective Fiction Reading List


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