Hello, Summer

Hello, Summer by Mary Kay Andrews

Published:  May 5, 2020 – St. Martin’s Press

Review copy courtesy of the publisher, Tandem Literary, NetGalley

Description:

It’s a new season…

Conley Hawkins left her family’s small town newspaper, The Silver Bay Beacon, in the rearview mirror years ago. Now a star reporter for a big-city paper, Conley is exactly where she wants to be and is about to take a fancy new position in Washington, D.C. Or so she thinks.

For small town scandals…

When the new job goes up in smoke, Conley finds herself right back where she started, working for her sister, who is trying to keep The Silver Bay Beacon afloat—and she doesn’t exactly have warm feelings for Conley. Soon she is given the unenviable task of overseeing the local gossip column, “Hello, Summer.”

And big-time secrets.

Then Conley witnesses an accident that ends in the death of a local congressman—a beloved war hero with a shady past. The more she digs into the story, the more dangerous it gets. As an old heartbreaker causes trouble and a new flame ignites, it soon looks like their sleepy beach town is the most scandalous hotspot of the summer. (publisher)

My take: I’d intended to read this book on the beach in Florida but the universe had other plans. I’m happy to say this book is the perfect escape during these days of quarantine. I love how it started with Conley’s going away party in Atlanta – only to find out the job she was going to Washington D.C. for has disappeared before she had a chance to head north. Her only choice is to head home to the small Florida town where she grew up. Her grandmother lets Conley know that she is expected to pitch in and help her sister at the struggling weekly newspaper owned by her family. Hello, Summer is filled with family dynamics, quirky characters, a juicy political story for Conley to chase, and a flame from her past. Which is to say it’s my kind of book. A perfect beach read, quarantine read, or wherever read. I really enjoyed it and recommend to fans of Mary Kay Andrews.


 

US Giveaway: Becoming Mrs. Lewis paperback release

Becoming Mrs. Lewis by Patti Callahan

Paperback release:  March 24, 2020 – Thomas Nelson

Giveaway copy courtesy of Tandem Literary

The new expanded edition includes:

  • a map of Oxford
  • an expanded discussion guide with 20+questions for book clubs
  • a timeline of Jack and Joy’s lives
  • Joy’s (imagined) letter to Jack
  • 10 Things You May Not Know About Joy Davidman and C.S. Lewis’s Love Story
  • A behind the scenes essay: Oxford – The City

Description:

From New York Times bestselling author Patti Callahan comes an exquisite novel of Joy Davidman, the woman C. S. Lewis called “my whole world.” When poet and writer Joy Davidman began writing letters to C. S. Lewis—known as Jack—she was looking for spiritual answers, not love. Love, after all, wasn’t holding together her crumbling marriage. Everything about New Yorker Joy seemed ill-matched for an Oxford don and the beloved writer of Narnia, yet their minds bonded over their letters. Embarking on the adventure of her life, Joy traveled from America to England and back again, facing heartbreak and poverty, discovering friendship and faith, and against all odds, finding a love that even the threat of death couldn’t destroy. 

In this masterful exploration of one of the greatest love stories of modern times, we meet a brilliant writer, a fiercely independent mother, and a passionate woman who changed the life of this respected author and inspired books that still enchant us and change us. Joy lived at a time when women weren’t meant to have a voice—and yet her love for Jack gave them both voices they didn’t know they had. (publisher)

My take:  Becoming Mrs. Lewis is about Joy Davidman and C.S. Lewis – how they met, became friends (kindred spirits, really) and eventually married. It’s a fascinating story that pulled me in and left me a bit emotional as I turned the last page. Theirs was a cerebral relationship that grew passionate in time. Davidman and Lewis had much in common, not the least being a spiritual conversion – the reason for Davidman’s first letter to Lewis, which he answered, much to her surprise. When she travels to England on the advice of her physician Davidman finally meets Lewis in person. The rest, as they say, is history. Patti Callahan’s novel is well-researched (as detailed in her author’s note at the end of the book). I’m a fan of historical fiction and love when an author motivates me to read more about the subject. That was the case with Becoming Mrs. Lewis. I’ve added titles by Davidman and Lewis to my TBR list. Recommended to fans of the genre and Joy Davidman and C.S. Lewis. (originally posted on Bookfan on December 26, 2018)


About the author:

Patti Callahan Henry is a New York Times best-selling author of fifteen novels, including the (Historical Fiction) BECOMING MRS. LEWIS – The improbable Love Story of Joy Davidman and C.S. Lewis. Now a USA TODAY, Publishers Weekly, and The Globe and Mail bestseller. Her latest novel, THE FAVORITE DAUGHTER, (Southern Contemporary Fiction) was released June 4, 2019, and is available now. A full-time author and mother of three children, she now resides in both Mountain Brook, Alabama and Bluffton, South Carolina with her husband.

Connect with Patti Callahan

Website:  patticallahanhenry.com

twitter:  @pcalhenry

Instagram:  @pattichenry

Facebook:  @AuthorPattiCallahanHenry


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Our Better Angels by Jonathan Reckford

Our Better Angels by Jonathan Reckford

Published:  October 2019 – St. Martin’s Essentials

Book courtesy of the publisher and Tandem Literary

Description:

Inspiring and insightful, Our Better Angels: Seven Simple Virtues That Will Change Your Life and the World celebrates the shared principles that unite and enable us to overcome life’s challenges together.

“When the waters rise, so do our better angels.”—President Jimmy Carter

Jonathan Reckford, the CEO of Habitat for Humanity, has seen time and again the powerful benefits that arise when people from all walks of life work together to help one another. In this uplifting book, he shares true stories of people involved with Habitat as volunteers and future homeowners who embody seven timeless virtues—kindness, community, empowerment, joy, respect, generosity, and service—and shows how we can all practice these to improve the quality of our own lives as well as those around us.

A Vietnam veteran finds peace where he was once engaged in war. An impoverished single mother offers her family’s time and energy to enrich their neighbors’ lives. A Zambian family of nine living in a makeshift tent makes room to shelter even more. A teenager grieving for his mother honors her love and memory by ensuring other people have a place to call home. A former president of the United States leads by example with a determined work ethic that motivates everyone around him to be the best version of themselves.

These stories, and many others, illustrate how virtues become values, how cooperation becomes connection, and how even the smallest act of compassion can encourage actions that transform the world around us. Here are tales that will make readers laugh and cry and embrace with passion the calling of our better angels to change the way we take care of ourselves, our families, our communities, and the world. (publisher)

My take:  The message is simple: kindness, no matter how big or small, will make a positive difference in the world. Time or treasure, no matter how much, will have an effect that is larger than you’d imagine. And its not just felt by the recipient. This compact book is divided into sections: Kindness, Community, Empowerment, Joy, Respect, Generosity, Service. Also included is a helpful resource guide for anyone who wants to get involved in Habitat for Humanity. One could read Our Better Angels all at once but I enjoyed reading a chapter a day.

Put Our Better Angels on your gift list this holiday season – for anyone.


About the author:

Jonathan T.M. Reckford has served as chief executive officer of Habitat for Humanity International since 2005. Under his leadership, the global housing organization has grown from serving 125,000 individuals per year to more than 7 million people in 2018 alone. A graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Reckford earned his MBA from Stanford and went on to hold managerial positions at a variety of Fortune 500 companies. Reckford also served as executive pastor of Christ Presbyterian Church in Edina, Minnesota.


Praise for Our Better Angels:

Our Better Angels brings to light the basic virtues of kindness, generosity, respect, empowerment, community, joy, and service that we all have within us. We are grateful to Jonathan Reckford for sharing such moving stories about transformation, and for showing how easy it is for all of us to choose to help and strengthen others, rather than to hurt and weaken them. This book is for humanity: Read it whether you’re a kid, a grandparent, or anyone in between. It will spark an instant realization of how even the smallest acts of kindness or respect can fundamentally change someone’s path for the better.”

Drew and Jonathan Scott, The Property Brothers

 

“It has been our honor to work with Habitat for Humanity and see these seven virtues in practice. When we look outside of ourselves, we experience a glimpse of who we can be. Jonathan’s book reminds us to love one another. Amazing things happen when we do!”

Trisha Yearwood and Garth Brooks


 

The Perfect Love Song by Patti Callahan Henry

The Perfect Love Song by Patti Callahan Henry

Published: Oct. 2019 – Thomas Nelson

Book courtesy of the publisher and Tandem Literary

Description:  Brothers Jimmy and Jack Sullivan live a nomadic life doing what they love: touring with their band, The Unknown Souls. But Jack’s recent engagement to Kara has everyone looking forward to a Christmas destination wedding in Ireland.

Unlike his brother, Jimmy never expected to fall in love. But he feels a sense of peace and happiness whenever he’s around Kara’s best friend, Charlotte—which has him wondering what he’s missing. Over Thanksgiving, Jimmy and Charlotte write a song while sitting together on the back porch. When the band sings it at a Christmas concert the next night, Jimmy insists it’s the perfect love song—but a manager for another famous duo is adamant that it’s the perfect Christmas song. Before Jimmy knows what’s happening, he’s on tour with the hottest country band around and suddenly everyone knows his name.

But fame isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, and Jimmy finds himself far away from those he loves—especially Charlotte. Only a Christmas miracle—or two—will be able to lead Jimmy back to Ireland, to his brother, and to love. (publisher)

My take:  Grab a cup of tea and curl up with this love story.  If you read the author’s novel When Light Breaks you’ll be pleased to know that characters from that book are in The Perfect Love Song. Brothers Jimmy and Jack Sullivan are musicians on the rise to fame.  They also happen to love Charlotte and Kara who are best friends. One Christmas Jimmy’s gift to Charlotte is a song that he wrote. That song eventually attracts attention from a concert producer which changes things for the brothers, their band, and most importantly, Jimmy and Charlotte.

This is a light tale of love and forgiveness and the chance that is taken by being open to both.  I enjoyed the magical, almost mythical, tone of the novel. I wasn’t sure who the narrator was until the end but it made sense and made me smile.

If you’re looking for a bit of an escape during the busy holidays, this could be the the right book for you. It was originally published in 2010 and has been brought back with a gorgeous new cover – perfect for gift-giving this season.


About the author:

Patti Callahan Henry is a New York Times bestselling author. Patti was a finalist in the Townsend Prize for Fiction, has been an Indie Next Pick, twice an OKRA pick, and a multiple nominee for the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance (SIBA) Novel of the Year. Her work has also been included in short story collections, anthologies, magazines and blogs. Patti attended Auburn University for her undergraduate work, and Georgia State University for her graduate degree. Once a Pediatric Clinical Nurse Specialist, she now writes full time. The mother of three children, she lives in both Mountain Brook, Alabama, and Bluffton, South Carolina, with her husband.


Praise for The Perfect Love Song:

“I fell in love with both Patti Callahan Henry and her work. The Perfect Love Song is a lyrical and heartwarming tale of love and forgiveness. Patti takes you to those places in the heart you didn’t even know you wanted to go.” Pat Conroy, New York Times bestselling author of The Prince of Tides and South of Broad 

“Patti Callahan Henry’s The Perfect Love Song is a wonderfully romantic and inspiring novel about love and redemption that sings with emotional truth. An essential read by a master storyteller.” —Cassandra King, New York Times bestselling author of Same Sweet Girls 

“Patti Callahan Henry is quickly becoming one of my favorites.” -Debbie Macomber, New York Times bestselling author


 

Spotlight/US Giveaway: Once Removed by Colette Sartor

Once Removed by Colette Sartor

Published: September 15, 2019 – University of Georgia Press

Book provided by the publisher and Tandem Literary

Description: Women drive the narrative in ONCE REMOVED. They carry the burdens imposed in the name of intimacy: the secrets kept, lies told, disputes initiated and the joy that can still manage to triumph. A singer with a damaged voice and an assumed identity befriends a silent, troubled child; an infertile law professor covets a tenant’s daughterly affection; a new mother tries to shield her infant from her estranged mother’s surprise Easter visit; an aging shopkeeper hides her husband’s decline and a decades-old lie to keep her best friends from moving away. With depth and an acute sense of the fragility of intimate connection, Colette Sartor creates characters that resonate with familiarity and emotional complexity. Some of these women possess the fierce natures and long, vengeful memories of expert grudge holders. Others avoid conflict at every turn, or so they tell themselves. For all of them, grief lies at the core of love. #onceremovedstories.


About the author:

COLETTE SARTOR teaches at the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program as well as privately and is an executive director of the CineStory Foundation, a mentoring organization for emerging TV writers and screenwriters. Her writing has appeared in Carve magazine, Slice magazine, the Chicago Tribune, Kenyon Review Online, Colorado Review, and other publications. Among other awards, she has been granted a Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction, a Glenna Luschei Award, a Reynolds Price Short Fiction Award, and a Truman Capote fellowship from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where she completed her MFA.

Twitter:
https://twitter.com/colettesartor
https://twitter.com/UGAPress

Instagram:
https://www.instagram.com/colettesartor/
https://www.instagram.com/ugapress/

Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/colettesartorauthor/
https://www.facebook.com/UGAPress/

Praise for ONCE REMOVED:

“Colette Sartor’s stories shimmer with a radiant, unsettling light. She strips away the veils that we hide behind and exposes our deepest fears and desires, revealing who we inescapably are. The stories are laced with dark humor and raw, earned emotion, and they proceed from page to page with a beautiful urgency. Her prose sings and her wounded characters linger in readers’ memories like people you’ve known, people you could have been had luck gone the other way. This is trenchant, gorgeous fiction, the voice of a writer you’ll follow anywhere, everywhere.” —Bret Anthony Johnston, author of Remember Me Like This

“These are short stories the way they were meant to be told, from a writer who, tale after tale, proves her mastery of the form. Peopled with characters that are bracingly complex, these stories tease out the subtleties of human relationships, especially when they’ve gone awry. I was absorbed and moved from every first sentence to the last.” —Cristina Henriquez, author of The Book of Unknown Americans

“Lordy, what a wallop each of these stories delivers—to the heart and the head, sure, but also to the conscience and the soul, not to mention to the myths of family that we embrace and to the vital lies peculiar to love that we cleave to. Equally stunning is Ms. Sartor’s command of craft—no cleverness for its own sake, no peekaboo, no ‘Look, Ma, no hands.’ Instead, with enviable humility and no little grace, she has subordinated herself to the needs, wishes, desires, and dreams of characters who have galvanized her imagination and engaged her empathy. Bravo.” — Lee K. Abbott, author of All Things, All at Once: New and Selected Stories

Once Removed is that rare book that succeeds on both micro and macro levels; the stories focus on the specific intimacy of individual lives yet also participate in the larger project of a whole world made of these stories—dependent on them, in fact, supported and enlarged and sustained by them. Sartor’s women suffer the internal and external scarring of the dangerous terrain they navigate: love, family, self, community. They ask uncomfortable questions, both of themselves and of the reader; it’s hugely satisfying to reach the end of the book and feel the resonant strength of the answers it proposes.” — Antonya Nelson, author of Bound


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Spotlight/US Giveaway: The Dream Daughter by Diane Chamberlain

The Dream Daughter by Diane Chamberlain

Paperback published June 4, 2019 – St. Martin’s Griffin

Book courtesy of the publisher and Tandem Literary

Description: When Caroline Sears receives the news that her unborn baby girl has a heart defect, she is devastated. It is 1970 and there seems to be little that can be done. But her brother-in-law, a physicist, tells her that perhaps there is. Hunter appeared in their lives just a few years before—and his appearance was as mysterious as his past. With no family, no friends, and a background shrouded in secrets, Hunter embraced the Sears family and never looked back.  

Now, Hunter is telling her that something can be done about her baby’s heart. Something that will shatter every preconceived notion that Caroline has. Something that will require a kind of strength and courage that Caroline never knew existed. Something that will mean a mind-bending leap of faith on Caroline’s part.

And all for the love of her unborn child.

A rich, genre-spanning, breathtaking novel about one mother’s quest to save her child, unite her family, and believe in the unbelievable. Diane Chamberlain pushes the boundaries of faith and science to deliver a novel that you will never forget. (publisher)

My take: (originally published October 1, 2018)

What would you do to save your unborn child, the last connection to your husband who was killed in the war? Caroline (Carly) Sears’ answer is “anything”. And that is why she agrees to travel to another time to get medical help for her daughter’s heart. If she doesn’t, her baby doesn’t have much hope of survival after her birth. Carly will do whatever it takes to give her daughter a chance at life.

So the question I began with led to other questions such as could I place trust in a friend like Carly did in Hunter, her brother-in-law? Could I be as brave as Carly? Would I be able to travel alone to a place where I knew no one and then deal with life-altering issues? After finishing I don’t have an answer for every question but I would aspire to be as courageous as Carly.

Diane Chamberlain’s time-travel story is very accessible to readers who normally don’t go in for that sub-genre. That would include me! This novel is a true page turner that had me looking forward to getting back to the story whenever I had to set it down. It’s an emotional story that covers several decades from the 1960s to the 2020s. I enjoyed it all and recommend it to fans of Diane Chamberlain.


Praise for THE DREAM DAUGHTER:

“This mind-bender of a novel will keep you glued to the page.”—People Magazine

“We may forget how different life was in 1970, but imagine being thrust from those days to 2013. Diane Chamberlain does in this terrific novel.”—NJ.com, Top Ten Books of 2018

“Chamberlain stretches her sense of familial relationships with toe-curling suspense in new directions, weaving in elements of trust, history, and time as she explores the things we do for love. With a little tension and a lot of heart, The Dream Daughter will delight.”—Booklist

“Chamberlain writes with supernatural gifts akin to those she chronicles in the book, seamlessly weaving time travel and global events into a credible and gut-wrenching family saga. Fate, destiny, chance and hope combine for a heady and breathless wonder of a read.”—Pam Jenoff, New York Times bestselling author of The Orphan’s Tale**

“Can a story be both mind-bending and heartfelt? In Diane Chamberlain’s hands, it can. The Dream Daughter will hold readers in anxious suspense until the last satisfying page.”—Therese Fowler, New York Times bestselling author of Z*

“Rich and breathtaking.”—Woman’s World

The Dream Daughter is a heartwarming and exciting page turner.”—Augusta Chronicle 

“Chamberlain’s exciting and heartfelt novel is a page-turning crowd-pleaser.”—Publishers Weekly

“The story is well-paced and the ending satisfyingly sweet.”—Kirkus Reviews

“An entertaining chick-lit adventure.”—Wilmington Star-News


About the author:

Diane Chamberlain is the international bestselling author of 25 novels. She lives in North Carolina with her partner, photographer John Pagliuca, and her sheltie.

Connect:

Website: https://dianechamberlain.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Diane.Chamberlain.Readers.Page
Twitter: https://twitter.com/d_chamberlain
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/chamberlain_diane/


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The Favorite Daughter by Patti Callahan Henry

The Favorite Daughter by Patti Callahan Henry

Berkley Trade Paperback Original; June 4, 2019

Book provided by the publisher and Tandem Literary

Description:

Ten years ago the unthinkable happened. Lena Donohue experienced the ultimate betrayal by her sister—and on her wedding day, no less. A betrayal so profound and painful that the only way she knew how to survive it was to run, something she hasn’t stopped doing since. Now, having reinvented herself as a travel writer based in New York, it feels like she might be able to avoid her past forever. But of course, history has a way of returning to the present.

When her father’s health begins to fail, Lena must return to her hometown of Watersend, SC, where she has no choice but to put aside her own heartbreak and work with her estranged sister and younger brother to prepare for the worst. As Alzheimer’s rapidly claims their father’s precious memories, the siblings find themselves in a race against time to learn all they can about his life before it’s too late. But things take an unexpected turn when they stumble upon a life-shattering secret from his past that none of them could have predicted. (publisher)

My take:   I’ve read a few novels that touched on Alzheimer’s disease but none made me feel like I did while reading The Favorite Daughter. That may be because I’m now going through what the Donohue siblings experienced. I can tell you it is spot on. My siblings and I have had the same conversations, almost word for word! So I credit Patti Callahan Henry for getting it right.

The Favorite Daughter is an honest look at a terrible disease. More than that, it’s about memories and how we all remember differently. It’s about how our past shapes us. It’s about being willing to forgive. And it’s about home – where it is and who it is.  Recommended.

About the author:

Patti Callahan Henry is a New York Times bestselling author whose novels include The Bookshop at Water’s EndThe Idea of LoveDriftwood SummerThe Art of Keeping Secrets, and Between the Tides.

 


 

Spotlight/US Giveaway: Tiny Hot Dogs: A Memoir in Small Bites by Mary Giuliani

Tiny Hot Dogs: A Memoir In Small Bites by Mary Giuliani

April 2019 – Running Press

Description: Tiny Hot Dogs is a collection of hilarious essays detailing high-profile event planner Mary Giuliani’s winding path from awkward Italian-Catholic school girl in an all-Jewish enclave on Long Island, where she dreamed of being an actress (in addition to having a bat mitzvah like all her friends), to one of New York City’s most prominent food entrepreneurs, dubbed “Caterer to the Stars” by the press. Told in Mary’s easy, relatable voice, we hear of comical celebrity encounters alongside her not-so-easy journey to motherhood. And with the memorable stories come party foods worth celebrating, including the pigs in a blanket Mary loves so much, and the realization that even though her big break didn’t come on Broadway, it did come, because she’s been at the center of the party since!


About the author:

Mary Giuliani is an author, party and lifestyle expert, and founder and CEO of Mary Giuliani Catering and Events. Mary has appeared on The Barefoot Contessa, The Today Show, Good Morning America, and is a regularly featured guest on The Rachael Ray Show. Her first book, The Cocktail Party (Eat, Drink, Play, Recover) came out in 2015. A graduate of Georgetown University, Mary resides in New York City and Woodstock, NY. Connect with Mary on her websiteFacebookTwitter, and Instagram.


Praise for Tiny Hot Dogs:

“Giuliani’s entertaining memoir is packed with satisfying stories and recipes that readers will guiltily enjoy.”Publishers Weekly


“Giuliani has chutzpah to spare in these life-filled, rib-sticking (and-tickling) stories.” Booklist


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Sunset Beach by Mary Kay Andrews

Sunset Beach by Mary Kay Andrews

Pub. date:  May 7, 2019 – St. Martin’s Press

ARC provided by the publisher, Tandem Literary, NetGalley

Description:

Pull up a lounge chair and have a cocktail at Sunset Beach – it comes with a twist.

Drue Campbell’s life is adrift. Out of a job and down on her luck, life doesn’t seem to be getting any better when her estranged father, Brice Campbell, a flamboyant personal injury attorney, shows up at her mother’s funeral after a twenty-year absence. Worse, he’s remarried – to Drue’s eighth grade frenemy, Wendy, now his office manager. And they’re offering her a job.

It seems like the job from hell, but the offer is sweetened by the news of her inheritance – her grandparents’ beach bungalow in the sleepy town of Sunset Beach, a charming but storm-damaged eyesore now surrounded by waterfront McMansions.

With no other prospects, Drue begrudgingly joins the firm, spending her days screening out the grifters whose phone calls flood the law office. Working with Wendy is no picnic either. But when a suspicious death at an exclusive beach resort nearby exposes possible corruption at her father’s firm, she goes from unwilling cubicle rat to unwitting investigator, and is drawn into a case that may – or may not – involve her father. With an office romance building, a decades-old missing persons case re-opened, and a cottage in rehab, one thing is for sure at Sunset Beach: there’s a storm on the horizon.

Sunset Beach is a compelling ride, full of Mary Kay Andrews’ signature wit, heart, and charm. (publisher)

My take:  Drue Campbell is a thirty-something woman at loose ends.  Her mother recently died, she lost her job, and an injury has ended her favorite hobby. Just when it doesn’t seem like life can get any worse she is forced to accept a job offer from her estranged father. On the bright side, she discovers that she’s inherited her grandparents’ cottage on Sunset Beach. So at least she has a roof over her head – or a partial roof. Working at her father’s personal injury law office could expand Drue’s horizons and perhaps her non-existent dating life. She’ll find a future she’d never thought possible. Mary Kay Andrews filled her latest novel with interesting characters, a sunny Florida Gulf Coast setting, and a mystery or two that might involve someone close to Drue. I really enjoyed Sunset Beach and hope for a sequel. The possibilities for Drue and company are endless.


About the author:

Mary Kay Andrews is The New York Times bestselling author of The High Tide Club, The Beach House Cookbook, The Weekenders, Beach Town, Save the Date, Ladies’ Night, Christmas Bliss, Spring Fever, Summer Rental, The Fixer Upper, Deep Dish, Blue Christmas, Savannah Breeze, Hissy Fit, Little Bitty Lies, and Savannah Blues. A former journalist for The Atlanta Journal Constitution, she lives in Atlanta, Georgia.

 

Connect with MKA:

Website: https://marykayandrews.com
Newsletter: https://marykayandrews.com/newsletters/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/marykayandrewsauthor
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/marykayandrews/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/mkayandrews
GoodReads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/21387.Mary_Kay_Andrews


 

Spotlight/US Giveaway: Button Man by Andrew Gross

Description:

Following up The One Man and The Saboteur, Gross’s next historical thriller brings to life the drama of the birth of organized crime in 1930s New York City from the tale of one family.

After a string of New York Times bestselling suburban thrillers, Andrew Gross has reinvented himself as a writer of historical thrillers. In his latest novel, Button Man, he delivers a stirring story of a Jewish family brought together in the dawn of the women’s garment business and torn apart by the birth of organized crime in New York City in the 1930s.

Morris, Sol, and Harry Rabishevsky grew up poor and rough in a tiny flat on the Lower East Side, until the death of their father thrust them into having to fend for themselves and support their large family. Morris, the youngest, dropped out of school at twelve years old and apprenticed himself to a garment cutter in a clothing factory; Sol headed to accounting school; but Harry, scarred by a family tragedy, fell in with a gang of thugs as a teenager. Morris steadily climbs through the ranks at the factory until at twenty-one he finally goes out on his own, convincing Sol to come work with him. But Harry can’t be lured away from the glamour, the power, and the money that come from his association with Louis Buchalter, whom Morris has battled with since his youth and who has risen to become the most ruthless mobster in New York. And when Buchalter sets his sights on the unions that staff the garment makers’ factories, a fatal showdown is inevitable, pitting brother against brother.

This new novel is equal parts historical thriller, rich with the detail of a vibrant New York City in the 1920s and 1930s, and family saga, based on Andrew Gross’s own family story and on the history of the era, complete with appearances by real-life characters like mobsters Louis Lepke and Dutch Schultz and special prosecutor Thomas Dewey, and cements Gross’s reputation as today’s most atmospheric and original historical thriller writer.


About the author:

Andrew Gross is the author of the historical thrillers The One Man and The Saboteur, as well as the New York Times and international bestsellers  The Blue Zone, Don’t Look Twice, and The Dark Tide, which was nominated for the Best Thriller of the Year award by the International Thriller Writers, Reckless, Eyes Wide Open, and One Mile Under. He is also coauthor of several number one bestsellers with James Patterson, including Judge & Jury and Lifeguard. He lives in Westchester County, New York, with his wife, Lynn.

CONNECT WITH ANDREW:

THE Button Man TOUR:
Sept 17 — NEW YORK, NY — B&N, Upper West Side, 7pm
Sept 18 — RICHMOND, VA — Fountain Bookstore, 6:30pm
Sept 20 — DALLAS, TX — Interabang Books, 7pm
Sept 21 — HOUSTON, TX — Murder by the Book, 6:30pm
Sept 23 — WINNETKA, IL — The Book Stall, 2pm
Sept 24 — SCOTTSDALE, AZ — The Poisoned Pen, 7pm
Sept 25 — ORANGE, CA — Book Carnival, 7:30pm
Oct 4 — ROCKVILLE CTR, NY — Turn of the Corkscrew, 7pm
Oct 14 — WESTPORT, CT — Westport Library, 3pm


Praise for Button Man:

Button Man is a compelling, fast paced historical thriller that paints a rich portrait of the rise of Jewish organized crime in 1930’s America. Fans of Boardwalk Empire and Dennis Lehane will love it.” ― Kristin Hannah, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Nightingale

Button Man is a riveting piece of historical fiction, mixed with family saga, exposing the Jewish mob of the 1930’s who preyed on the garment industry and the brave few who stood up against them. This book is a heart-stopper. I loved, LOVED it!” — Linda FairsteinNew York Times bestselling author of Deadfall and Terminal City

“A highly satisfying story of family loyalty, persistence, courage, and crime.” Kirkus Reviews

“A gut-wrenching, noirish portrait of Jewish organized crime and labor unionism in 1930s New York…These are characters you won’t forget… Alternately frightful and fascinating, the story viscerally describes the era, exposing the motives and fears that drive each character and play out on the streets.” — Booklist (starred review)

“The strength of this suspenseful novel lies in its dark humor and characterizations of the brothers…The sometimes gritty, sometimes swanky settings of Button Man bring a tumultuous time and place to brimming life.” — Historical Novel Society 

“Andrew Gross is in top form with this beautifully haunting novel that mixes history seamlessly with fiction. Button Man is an epic journey of struggle, hope, death and life. Riveting to the very last page.” — NY Journal of Books


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Rush by Lisa Patton

Rush: A Novel by Lisa Patton

Pub. date:  August 21, 2018

St. Martin’s Press

Review copy courtesy of St. Martin’s Press; Tandem Literary

Description:  Cali Watkins possesses all the qualities sororities are looking for in a potential new member. She’s kind and intelligent, makes friends easily, even plans to someday run for governor. But her resume lacks a vital ingredient. Pedigree. Without family money Cali’s chances of sorority membership are already thin, but she has an even bigger problem. If anyone discovers the dark family secrets she’s hiding, she’ll be dropped from Rush in an instant.

When Lilith Whitmore, the well-heeled House Corp President of Alpha Delta Beta, one of the premiere sororities on campus, appoints recent empty-nester Wilda to the Rush Advisory Board, Wilda can hardly believe her luck. What’s more, Lilith suggests their daughters, both incoming freshman, room together. What Wilda doesn’t know is that it’s all part of Lilith’s plan to ensure her own daughter receives an Alpha Delt bid—no matter what.

For twenty-five years, Miss Pearl—as her “babies” like to call her—has been housekeeper and a second mother to the Alpha Delt girls, even though it reminds her of a painful part of her past she’ll never forget. When an opportunity for promotion arises, it seems a natural fit. But Lilith Whitmore slams her Prada heel down fast, crushing Miss Pearl’s hopes of a better future. When Wilda and the girls find out, they devise a plan destined to change Alpha Delta Beta—and maybe the entire Greek system—forever.

Achingly poignant, yet laugh-out-loud funny, RUSH takes a sharp nuanced look at a centuries-old tradition while exploring the complex, intimate relationships between mothers and daughters and female friends. Brimming with heart and hope for a better tomorrow, RUSH is an uplifting novel universal to us all. (publisher)

My take:  The publisher’s description will tell you about Rush better than I can. What I can tell you is that I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. It reminded me a bit of The Help at times. Although I’ve never been part of the Greek system experience, one of my daughters has and she read the book before I did. It was fun to discuss her take on the book. She really liked it and will recommend it to some of her ‘sisters’. Lisa Patton’s characters were memorable – even the over-the-top Lilith Whitmore – but my favorites were Miss Pearl, Cali and Ellie. Pearl was the shining beacon that signaled goodness and faith to the young women of Alpha Delta Beta. Cali and Ellie are the new generation of students who see things a bit differently than some of those before them – and aren’t afraid to show it. If you’re looking for a good read in the last few weeks of summer this could be the book for you. I’m glad I had the chance to read it.


Praise for RUSH:

“There’s not a better Southern author today than Lisa Patton. Her delightful new book is a modern look at what is perhaps the most sacred of all Southern rituals: sorority rush at ‘Ole Miss.’ Happily for us, Patton captures to absolute perfection the hilarity, hysteria and heartbreak of it all. Funny, touching and full of twists and turns, I couldn’t have loved it more.” – Fannie Flagg, New York Times bestselling author of Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe

“You are in for a treat as the astute Lisa Patton takes you on a hayride through sorority life in the American south. Written with humor, reverence and enough treachery to make it read, RUSH is a magnificent story about mothers and daughters, legacy and tradition and the abiding strength of the sisterhood. Grab the punch bowl and the mixed nuts as this animal house goes crackers. You will love it!” – Adriana Trigiani, New York Times bestselling author of Kiss Carlo

“RUSH transports us smack dab into the middle of the secret world of sorority rush. We find ourselves behind the scenes with a provocative peek into the world of sorority sisters and the beloved House staff who work tirelessly on their behalf. Lisa Patton has penned a powerful and relevant story infused with raw emotion and the beating heart of her sassy humor.” – Patti Callahan Henry, New York Times bestselling author of The Bookshop at Water’s End


About the author:

Lisa Patton is the bestselling author of Whistlin’ Dixie in a Nor’easter, Yankee Doodle Dixie, Southern as a Second Language, and Rush. Born and raised in Memphis, Tennessee, Lisa spent time as a Vermont innkeeper until three sub-zero winters sent her speeding back down South. A proud graduate of the University of Alabama, Lisa is the mother of two sons, and a furry daughter named Rosie. She and her husband live in the lush, rolling hills of Nashville.


 

The High Tide Club by Mary Kay Andrews plus US Giveaway

Description:  When ninety-nine-year-old heiress Josephine Bettendorf Warrick summons attorney Brooke Trappnell to her 20,000 acre barrier island home, Brooke is puzzled. Everybody in the South has heard about the eccentric millionaire mistress of Talisa, but Brooke has never actually met her. Josephine’s cryptic note says she wants to discuss an important legal matter, but why enlist Brooke and not the prestigious Atlanta law firm she has used for years? Brooke travels to Shellhaven and meets the cagey Josephine, whose home is a crumbling pink mansion at the edge of the turquoise sea.

Over the course of a few meetings, Josephine spins a tale of old friendships, dark secrets, betrayal, and a long-unsolved murder. She is hiring Brooke for two reasons: first, to protect her island from those who would despoil her land, and second, to help her make amends with the heirs of the women who were her closest friends, the girls of The High Tide Club—so named because of their youthful skinny dipping escapades—Millie, Ruth, and Varina. To fulfill a dying woman’s wishes, Brooke must find Josephine’s friends’ descendants and bringing them together on Talisa for a reunion of women who’ve actually never met. But in doing so, Brooke unleashes the makings of a scandal that could make someone rich beyond their wildest dreams…or cause them to be in the crosshairs of a murderer….

The High Tide Club is Mary Kay Andrews at her Queen of the Beach Reads best: a story shrouded in mystery, Spanish moss, verandah cocktails, 1940s dinner dances, love lost, and possibly…love found. (publisher)

My take: The High Tide Club by Mary Kay Andrews is the story of a group of women who are connected by secrets. When the group widens to include a new generation of women those secrets may be exposed and could have devastating consequences for all – or maybe the truth will set them free. The dual-storyline alternates between events of 1941 and present day. The historical backdrop and social construct of the 1940s give depth to the novel. There’s a big mystery to be solved as well as a few smaller ones. I appreciated the occasional twist in the plot. I also enjoyed the characters – some were quite colorful and made me laugh. All in all, an entertaining read that I can recommend.


Praise for The High Tide Club:

“Andrews creates a story that is at turns suspenseful, sad, and hopeful, with plenty of surprising twists.Her dialogue is natural and funny,and even her minor characters are fully drawn with unique voices…Another satisfying summer read from the queen of the beach.” —Kirkus

“A compelling novel about the people and places that shape a life and the secrets that create ripples for generations. With a unique setting, mysterious flashbacks, romance, and a surprising twist, this book will not disappoint readers looking for a juicy escape.” —Booklist

“Andrews has crafted a smart and wonderful beach read with a lot of rich Southern and historical details.” —RT Book Reviews

“Nothing says the start of summer like a new book from Mary Kay Andrews…An irresistible story of love, friendship, and skinny-dipping.” —PopSugar, Best New Books for Spring

A Southern Living Beach Books recommended read!


About the author:

MARY KAY ANDREWS is The New York Times bestselling author of The Beach House Cookbook, The Weekenders, Beach Town, Save the Date, Ladies’ Night, Christmas Bliss, Spring Fever, Summer Rental, The Fixer Upper, Deep Dish, Blue Christmas, Savannah Breeze, Hissy Fit, Little Bitty Lies, and Savannah Blues. A former journalist for The Atlanta Journal Constitution, she lives in Atlanta, Georgia.

Connect with Mary Kay Andrews:

 


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The Lemonade Year by Amy Willoughby-Burle

Description:
LOVE. LOSS. AND SECOND CHANCES.

Nina’s once-sweet life has unexpectedly turned sour. Her marriage is over, her job is in jeopardy, and her teenage daughter is slipping away from her. Then her father dies and issues with Nina’s mother come to a head; her estranged brother, Ray, comes home; and her sister, Lola, is tempted to blow a big family secret out of the water. They say the truth will set you free, but first it will make a huge mess of things.

All Nina’s got left is her final photography assignment shooting images for the book 32 Ways to Make Lemonade. Well, that and the attention of a younger man, but Oliver’s on-again-off-again romantic interest in her ebbs and flows so much she is seasick. And then Jack, her ex-husband, shows up, wanting to get back together.

As Nina struggles to find a way through her complicated relationships and to uncover her true path, she discovers just how valuable a second chance at life and happiness can be.

My take:  I think anyone who has waded through grief will, on some level, be able to relate to the characters in Amy Willoughby-Burle’s novel. Whether it’s the loss of a loved one, a relationship, or an expected life path, the characters in The Lemonade Year must come to terms and move forward in their new reality. Nina’s internal dialogue moved the plot along as she acted and then questioned those actions. It was an honest and straightforward perspective of people who learn to slowly face their fears with the goal being the possibility of getting a second chance – even though it might not be the second chance they expect. Recommended to fans of novels involving messy family dynamics.


“The Lemonade Year is a smart, satisfying romance that balances life’s sour moments with its sweet ones.” –Foreword Reviews 


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Amy Willoughby-Burle is a writer and teacher living in Asheville, North Carolina, with her husband and four children. She writes about the mystery and wonder of everyday life. Her contemporary fiction focuses on the themes of second chances, redemption, and finding the beauty in the world around us. She is the author of a collection of short stories entitled Out Across the Nowhere and a contributor to the anthology Of Mist and Magic.

Connect with Amy online:
Website: https://amywilloughbyburle.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AmyWilloughbyBurle/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/AmyWBurle
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/amywritesfiction/

THE LEMONADE YEAR
by Amy Willoughby-Burle
(Shadow Mountain/Deseret Books, 4/3/18)
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Beach House For Rent by Mary Alice Monroe

  • Title:  Beach House For Rent
  • Series:  Beach House #4
  • Author:  Mary Alice Monroe
  • Genre:  Contemporary Fiction
  • Pages:  416
  • Published:  June 2017 – Gallery Books
  • Source:  Publisher; Tandem Literary

Description:  New York Times bestselling author Mary Alice Monroe returns to her beloved Isle of Palms to tell the poignant, charming story of two women, one summer, and one very special beach house.

When Cara Rutledge rents out her quaint beach house on Isle of Palms to Heather Fordham for the entire summer, it’s a win-win by any standard: Cara’s generating income necessary to keep husband Brett’s ecotourism boat business afloat, and anxiety-prone Heather, a young artist who’s been given a commission to paint birds on postage stamps, has a quiet space in which to work and tend to her pet canaries uninterrupted.

It isn’t long, however, before both women’s idyllic summers are altered irrevocably: the alluring shorebirds—and the man who rescues them—begin to draw Heather out of the shell she’s cultivated toward a world of adventure, and maybe even love; at the same time, Cara’s life reels with sudden tragedy, and she wishes only to return to the beach house that had once been her port amidst life’s storms. When Heather refuses to budge from her newfound sanctuary, so begins the unlikeliest of rooming situations. While they start out as strangers, as everything around the women falls apart they learn that the only thing they can really rely on is each other.

And, like the migrating shorebirds that come to the island for the summer, these two women of different generations must rediscover their unique strengths so by summer’s end they, too, can take flight in ways they never imagined possible.  (publisher)

My take:  Beach House For Rent is the story of two women who find themselves at an unexpected crossroads in their respective lives. Heather is a gifted artist who also lives with an undercurrent of guilt and anxiety.  Cara has been knocked hard by a loss she didn’t see coming. Her calming, lovely beach cottage will play a part in the future of both women as each figures out a path to take. I love how Mary Alice Monroe weaves an environmental theme through her novels. In this book the shore birds take center stage, as well as the loggerhead turtle. The parallels drawn between the wildlife and the women drew me through the story to the promising conclusion. I’m hoping there will be another book to follow in the Beach House series. Recommended to fans of the author and novels with a gorgeous shore setting with a sweet romance.

Note:  Even though this is the fourth book in the Beach House series it’s the first book I’ve read. No worries – it can stand alone. That said, I’ll be sure to read the previous three books soon because the first book is now being adapted to a Hallmark Hall of Fame movie by the Hallmark Channel, starring three-time Golden Globe nominee Andie MacDowell, who is also an executive producer.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

MARY ALICE MONROE is the award-winning, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of twenty novels (A Lowcountry Wedding, A Lowcountry Christmas, The Summer Girls, The Summer Wind, The Summer’s End, The Beach House, Beach House Memories), and was recently named a 2018 inductee into the South Carolina Academy of Writers Literary Hall of Fame. She is an active conservationist and lives in the lowcountry of South Carolina. Learn more at maryalicemonroe.com.


Praise for BEACH HOUSE FOR RENT & Mary Alice Monroe 

“Mary Alice Monroe writes gorgeously, with authority and tenderness, about the natural world and its power to inspire, transport, and to heal. Readers will love this story of two unforgettable women—one reeling from an unexpected tragedy, the other drawn into a daring and passionate new love.”
Susan Wiggs, #1 New York Times bestselling author

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“Readers interested in environmental fiction highlighting endangered birds, turtles, and lands will delight in this latest novel featuring women who need the healing power of nature.” —Library Journal, starred review
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“Mary Alice Monroe understands that a house is never just a house. As we revisit The Beach House, we  are immersed in the heartbeat and pulse of her South Carolina Lowcountry as never before. Monroe’s singular ability to blend the natural world with the emotional world allows for a gorgeous novel, wondrously bittersweet and life-affirming. No one else tells an insightful and powerful story quite like Mary Alice Monroe—and in BEACH HOUSE FOR RENT, you won’t be able to stop reading—for even that glass of sweet tea.” —New York Times bestselling author Patti Callahan Henry
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“There is no way to describe Monroe’s writing style other than to say it is uniquely wonderful. She has a heart for the lowcountry and the talent to bring it to life.” —Huffington Post
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“Every book Mary Alice Monroe has written has felt like a homecoming to me.” —New York Times bestselling author Pat Conroy


SUMMER 2017 TOUR DATES:

Thursday, June 15 — Spartanburg, SC
Friday, June 16-18 — Nantucket, MA
Monday, June 19 — Charleston, SC
Tuesday, June 20 — Charleston, SC
Tuesday, June 20 — Kiawah Island, SC
Wednesday, June 21 — St. Simon’s Island, GA
Wednesday, June 21 — Savannah, GA
Thursday, June 22 — Bluffton, SC
Thursday, June 22 — Florence, SC
Friday, June 23 — Pawleys Island, SC
Friday, June 23 — Ocean Isle Beach, NC
Saturday, June 24 — Mt. Pleasant, SC
Saturday, June 24 — Isle of Palms, SC
Sunday, June 25 — Summerville, SC
Tuesday, June 27 — Augusta, GA
Tuesday, June 27 — Decatur, GA
Wednesday, June 28 — Peachtree City, GA
Wednesday, June 28 — Woodstock, GA
Thursday, June 29 — Kingsport, TN
Thursday, June 29 — Knoxville, TN
Friday, June 30 — Chattanooga, TN
Saturday, July 1 — Vero Beach, FL
Sunday, July 2 — Wellington, FL
Tuesday, July 4 — Rehoboth Beach, DE
Wednesday, July 5 — Collegeville, PA
Thursday, July 6 — Brielle, NJ
Saturday, July 8 — Strongsville, OH
Thursday, July 13 — Westerville, OH
Saturday, July 15 — Mt. Pleasant, SC
Thursday, July 27 — Santa Clarita, CA
Friday, July 28 — Signal Hill, CA
Saturday, July 29 — Palos Verde, CA
Tuesday, August 1 — Huntington Beach, CA