The Marriage Charm by Linda Lael Miller

  • the marriage charm (Jan27)Title:  The Marriage Charm
  • Series:  The Brides of Bliss County #2
  • Author:  Linda Lael Miller
  • Genre:  Contemporary Romance
  • Pub. Date:  Jan. 27, 2015 – HQN Books
  • Source:  Publisher

Synopsis:  The women of Bliss County have a pact—to find husbands. The right husbands. 

One already has: Hadleigh Stevens, who married rancher Tripp Galloway a few months ago. Now Melody Nolan thinks it’s her turn. Melody has recently found success as a jewelry designer, and her work is the focus of her life. She’s not exactly unhappy, but she wants more. She’s always been attracted to Spence Hogan, the local chief of police, but she’s convinced that Spence, a notorious charmer, isn’t what you’d call husband material. 

Spence is a good cop who isn’t scared of anything—except love. And he’s done everything he can to preserve his reputation as a womanizer—a reputation that keeps marriage-minded women, including Melody, at bay. And yet…there’s something about Melody he can’t forget. Something his heart can’t ignore.  (publisher)

My take: It’s been a while since I’ve read one of Linda Lael Miller’s books. The Marriage Charm reminded me why I enjoy her romances.  The characters are regular people and they deal with fairly normal life situations.

You can tell Miller knows her setting – the descriptions of small towns and rural mountain areas made me feel like I was right there. There’s a bit of mystery and drama in the crime Spence is trying to solve that involves many of the town’s citizens.

It all added up to an enjoyable way to spend a few hours reading. I’ll probably go back and read the first book (The Marriage Pact) in the series and look forward to reading the next.


Praise for Linda Lael Miller

“Linda Lael Miller creates vibrant characters and stories I defy you to forget.”
—#1 New York Times bestselling author Debbie Macomber

“Miller’s name is synonymous with the finest in western romance.”
—RT Book Reviews

“Miller’s masterful ability to create living, breathing characters never flags….[The] romance won’t disappoint.”

THE MARRIAGE CHARM LINDA LAEL MILLER February 2015
$7.99 U.S./$9.99 CAN. ISBN-13: 978-0373778928


Miller_Linda Lael_09

The daughter of a town marshal, Linda Lael Miller is a #1 New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of more than one hundred historical and contemporary novels, most of which reflect her love of the West. Raised in Northport, Washington, the self-confessed barn goddess now lives in Spokane, Washington. Linda hit a career high in 2011 when all three of her Creed Cowboys books—A Creed in Stone Creek, Creed’s Honor and The Creed Legacy—debuted at #1 on the New York Times bestseller list.

Linda has come a long way since leaving Washington to experience the world. “But growing up in that time and place has served me well,” she allows. “And I’m happy to be back home.” Dedicated to helping others, Linda personally finances her “Linda Lael Miller Scholarships for Women,” which she awards to those seeking to improve their lot in life through education.

More information about Linda and her novels is available at http://www.lindalaelmiller.com. She also loves to hear from readers by mail at P.O. Box 19461, Spokane, WA 99219.

Sunday Post

Book arrivals (linked to Mailbox Monday)

Spring Shadows #3  the sweetness of forgetting  candle's christmas chair

Last week on Bookfan:

PlusOneCvr1_Final  migratory animals  unfaded glory (Oct28)  The Gift

Currently reading:

Little Beach Street Bakery (3:31:15)  candle's christmas chair

#FitReaders Weekly Update and a review: The Gift by Margaret Mallory

FitReaders2015Fitbit steps:

  • Sat:   10,814
  • Sun:   7,967
  • Mon: 11,816
  • Tue:   9,820
  • Wed:  11,375
  • Thu:   6,838
  • Fri:    11,437

I was able to get a couple of walks outside last weekend. We had temps near 40°F – balmy :)


Read while on the treadmill:

The Wednesday Group (March3)   Hero (Feb3)


 

  • The GiftTitle:  The Gift: A Highland Novella
  • Author:  Margaret Mallory
  • Genre:  Historical Romance
  • Published:  December 2014 – Margaret Mallory
  • Source:  Author Newsletter win

My take:  Lily is a healer who flees London when the burning of witches is becoming commonplace. She trusts no one but herself and fears she’ll be mistaken for a witch so she disguises herself and heads north.

Roderick has been sent on an errand for his chieftain. On his way home he discovers a boy on the side of the road, almost frozen and near death. He then discovers the boy is a woman, Lily, and takes her with him to his home. Could it be she’s the one with “the gift” his grandmother predicted he’d find? And will he be able to convince Lily to stay?

I thoroughly enjoyed Margaret Mallory’s Highland novella. Her descriptions and well-paced plot made the characters and setting come to life and kept me turning the pages. This is a stand alone story but, as noted by the author at the end, has appearances of characters from past novels. Recommended.

Unfaded Glory by Sara Arden

  • unfaded glory (Oct28)Title:  Unfaded Glory
  • Series:  Home to Glory #2
  • Author:  Sara Arden
  • Genre:  Contemporary Romance
  • Published:  January 27, 2015 – Harlequin HQN
  • Source:  Publisher

Synopsis:  In Glory, Kansas, a fairy-tale wedding has local tongues wagging. But through this false engagement, can a wounded warrior and the woman he’s protecting find true love? 

Byron Hawkins doesn’t want to be responsible for anyone ever again. The former Black Ops soldier is better at taking lives than saving them. But on a mission in Tunisia to deliver a package to safety, Byron is dismayed to find that the precious cargo is actually a hostage rescue, and that his orders are to take Damara Petrakis back to U.S. soil and hide her in plain sight—as his newlywed wife. 

Back in Byron’s hometown of Glory, Kansas, petite, fierce Damara keeps surprising him; she may be royalty, but she’s fully trained in martial arts and will sacrifice anything for her country. As the town rallies around the returning hero and his bride-to-be, he’s finding that it’s way too easy to play the part, and after the hell he has seen, that terrifies him. Byron didn’t want another life to save, but the passionate beauty he’s sworn to protect might just turn the tables and save him instead.  (publisher)

My brief take:  Unfaded Glory started off at breakneck speed and kept up the pace for much of the book. The synopsis tells you what you need to know.

I thought Sara Arden did a terrific job with conveying Byron’s internal struggle to go on living when the rest of his special forces team didn’t. Little did he know that Damara would be able to make him want to live – and by doing so, he would save her.

Unfaded Glory is a story about love, trust and courage. Recommended to fans of the series and Sara Arden.

Spotlight/US Giveaway: Migratory Animals by Mary Helen Specht

migratory animals

When Flannery, a young scientist, is forced to return to Austin after five years of research in Nigeria, she becomes torn between her two homes. Having left behind her loving fiancé without knowing when she will return, Flannery learns that her sister, Molly, has begun to show signs of the genetic disease that slowly killed their mother.

As their close-knit circle of friends struggles with Molly’s diagnosis, Flannery must grapple with what her future will hold: love and the pursuit of scientific discovery in West Africa, or the pull of a life surrounded by old friends, the comfort of an old flame, family obligations, and the home she’s always known. But she is not the only one wrestling with uncertainty. Since their college days, all of her friends have faced unexpected challenges that make them reevaluate the lives they’d always planned for themselves.

A mesmerizing debut from an exciting young writer, Migratory Animals is a moving, thought-provoking novel, told from shifting viewpoints, about the meaning of home and what we owe each other—and ourselves. (publisher)


About the author:

Mary Helen Specht‘s work has appeared in numerous publications, including the New Mary Helen Specht ap1York Times and Bookslut.  A winner of the Richard Yates Short Story Award, among other prizes, she is a former Fulbright scholar to Nigeria and Dobie Paisano writing fellow.  She earned a MFA in creative writing from Emerson College and now teaches creative writing at St. Edward’s University in Austin, Texas.


Praise for Mary Helen Specht and MIGRATORY ANIMALS

“A finely wrought first novel. . . . Specht weaves fascinating details on snowflakes, weaving, birding, genetics and engineering, plus a spot-on-portrait of Austin.”
— Kirkus

“Specht’s vivid debut probes the nature of family, the notion of home, and the tender burdens of both. . . . Specht’s distinctive prose — rich with sharp observations, nimble language, and lyrical imagery — makes the novel a quirky and memorable read.”
— Publishers Weekly 

“An ambitious, highly accomplished debut novel. . . . Specht moves among a deep cast of characters and corresponding perspectives with absolute mastery. This is the best kind of novel, one that’s filled with knowledge–about America, Africa, climate change, weaving, and snow, just to name a few of the core concerns of this fine book. But most important, and impressive, is Specht’s sure handling of the interior life, and the ways in which we help to make or break those around us.”
— Ben Fountain, author of Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk

“A novel of tremendous scope and insight that succeeds both as an exploration of larger global concerns and an acute examination of the most intimate parts of our lives. Mary Helen Specht is a terrific writer — passionate and generous, wry and insightful — and Migratory Animals is a wonderful and very moving debut.”
— Molly Antopol, author of The UnAmericans

“Mary Helen Specht’s lyrical novel reminds me of the work of both Claire Messud and Barbara Kingsolver. Migratory Animals is a luminous debut about a group of young friends finding their place in the world. Rich with love and heartbreak, it’s the book I’ll be wanting to share with all my friends.”
— Amanda Eyre Ward, author of How To Be Lost

“This emotionally nuanced debut shimmers with all the intricate, singular beauty of the snow crystals that beguile Flannery, one of the novel’s many unforgettable characters. The men and women of Mary Helen Specht’s imagination inhabit a world of breathtaking vividness, where life’s pains and pleasures ripple through to marvelous effect. A heartbreaking, edifying, and resonant work of art.”
— Keija Parssinen, author of The Ruins of Us

“In prose as quirky and elegant as its characters, Specht proves that — after confusion, missteps, even denial — a village can embrace you. Each of these characters set on saving the world in his or her fine-tuned way is forced to face the bad news life inevitably delivers. One by one, they lower their sights and love each other fiercely, protectively, making a community more beautiful than the one they first envisioned because it’s real. This big, dreamy novel flies by as swift as time.”
— Debra Monroe, author of On the Outskirts of Normal

“A beautifully precise group portrait in which Mary Helen Specht manages to capture not just a particular set of characters but a generational mood and moment. Without forcing any answers, it asks a powerful, probing question: how should you behave when life suddenly gets real?”

— Stephen Harrigan, author of Remember Ben Clayton


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migratory animals

Spotlight/US Giveaway: Plus One by Christopher Noxon

PlusOneCvr1_Final About the book:  Alex Sherman-Zicklin, former punk ‘zine pioneer, is a mid-level marketing executive in Los Angeles whose wife Figgy’s fourteenth TV pilot attempt becomes a huge Emmy-winning hit. Overnight, she’s sucked into a mad show-business vortex, while Alex–who has quit his job to become the family’s domestic first responder–falls in with a posse of “plus ones,” a group of men uniquely able to school him in his new role. In this wickedly honest debut novel, Christopher Noxon taps into his own experience as the husband of an acclaimed Hollywood writer/producer to deliver a story about fatherhood, fame, marriage, and a modern family in the fast lane.


CN-headshotAbout the author:  Christopher Noxon is an author, journalist, and illustrator. His debut novel PLUS ONE grew out of his experience raising three children and managing a household after his wife, TV producer Jenji Kohan, created the programs Weeds and Orange Is the New Black. He’s also the author of the nonfiction book Rejuvenile: Kickball, Cartoons, Cupcakes and the Reinvention of the American Grown Up. As a journalist, he has written for the New Yorker, Details, New York Times Magazine, Los Angeles Magazine, and Salon. He has also covered the Democratic National Convention for Reuters; lived as a patient with recovering addicts for a Playboy feature about troubles with drug rehab; and was the first journalist to report on actor Mel Gibson’s ties to an ultraconservative Catholic splinter group in a feature for the New York Times Magazine. He lives in Los Angeles.


Advance Praise

“A funny, sharply observed novel about a guy with a first-world problem-a wife who’s a hugely successful TV writer and producer-and the identity crisis that goes along with it. Christopher Noxon has reimagined the Hollywood novel from a whole new perspective.”
–TOM PERROTTA, author of Election, Little Children, and The Leftovers
*
 “Behind every great man there’s a great woman… and in Noxon’s telling, behind every great woman there’s a charming, deeply conflicted guy (sometimes holding a very expensive handbag). Hilarious and unflinching, PLUS ONE is a funny, sharply observed, heartbreaking look at love, power, and happily-ever-after in Hollywood.”
–JENNIFER WEINER, author of All Fall Down, The Next Best Thing, and Good in Bed
*
 “A smart and funny novel about Hollywood, but where it truly shines is in Noxon’s stunning and painfully accurate depiction of the complex rhythms and growing pains of a marriage.” –JONATHAN TROPPER, author of This is Where I Leave You and One Last Thing Before I Go
*
 “Well observed, honest, and laugh-out-loud funny, PLUS ONE deftly tells a story from the inside of show business about being on the outside.” –MATTHEW WEINER, creator of Mad Men
*
“A page-turning peek into the world of TV and families and money, this is Hollywood L.A. as seen from a newcomer’s ambivalent perspective. I found it both fun and fascinating and unsettling to delve into this world, built convincingly by Noxon’s gift with scenes and voices.” –AIMEE BENDER, author of The Color Master and The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake
*
 “The emotional and socio-demographic details are so rich and hilarious, it’s almost as if Christopher Noxon himself had some kind of incredibly successful Hollywood wife.”
–JOEL STEIN, Time columnist and author of Man Made
*
 “A sweet, savvy domestic comedy wrapped in Hollywood tinsel – Christopher Noxon captures, with humor and pathos, the plight of the ultimate red-carpet orphan.”
–GIGI LEVANGIE, author of The Starter Wife
*
 “Welcome to the New Hollywood, where the women are in charge and their spouses are on the guest list. Christopher Noxon knows this world first-hand, and his novel is warm, funny, and, most importantly, honest.” –NEAL POLLACK, author of Alternadad
*
“Hilarious and whip-smart, with a big beating heart at its center. I love this book, and so will you.” –DANA REINHARDT, author of We Are the Goldens and The Things a Brother Know
*

“For fans of Rainbow Rowell and similar keenly insightful truth tellers, this fresh male take on modern relationships is too smart, focused, and funny to pass up.” –LIBRARY JOURNAL


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#FitReaders Weekly Check-in: Jan. 17, 2015 (and a brief review)

FitReaders2015Fitbit steps:

  • Sat:    6,115
  • Sun:   5,517
  • Mon:  11,021
  • Tues:  11,870
  • Wed:  12,237
  • Thur:  11,574
  • Fri:  13,371

All treadmill exercise this week. I keep meaning to add some resistance training but somehow never get around to it. Maybe next week…  In addition to finishing The Martian I also completed One Wish and Hearth Stone.


 

  • the martian (audible)Title: The Martian: A Novel
  • Author:  Andy Weir
  • Narrator:  R.C. Bray
  • Genre:  SciFi; Thriller
  • Published:   2014 by Crown
  • Source:  Purchased

Synopsis:  Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first men to walk on the surface of Mars. Now, he’s sure he’ll be the first man to die there.

It started with the dust storm that holed his suit and nearly killed him, and that forced his crew to leave him behind, sure he was already dead. Now he’s stranded millions of miles from the nearest human being, with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive–and even if he could get word out, his food would be gone years before a rescue mission could arrive. Chances are, though, he won’t have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment, or plain-old “human error” are much more likely to get him first.

But Mark isn’t ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills–and a relentless, dogged refusal to quit–he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. But will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him? (publisher)

My brief take:  I read/listened via whisper sync (Kindle/Audible). RC Bray’s narration is perfect and made the book almost unputdownable (yep, I used that word).

I was totally out of my reading comfort zone when I picked up this book and now I’d recommend it to anyone. At the end, when certain characters were pacing, I was up and pacing with them. The Martian is interesting, funny, thrilling and a great read. That’s all I’m going to say. Except, if you haven’t read it put it on your list!

It’s no surprise The Martian was voted Best Science Fiction book in the 2014 Goodreads Choice Awards. It was also a 2014 Audie Award Finalist, Science Fiction. Highly recommended.

Note: At the end of the book (but not the audiobook) there’s a Reader’s Guide and an Author Q&A. My Kindle edition also has an essay by Andy Weir: How Science made Me a Writer. Not sure if that’s in the paper edition. Anyone?

First Frost by Sarah Addison Allen

  • First Frost (1:20:15)Title:  First Frost
  • Series:  Waverly family #2
  • Author:  Sarah Addison Allen
  • Genre:  Magical Realism; Contemporary Fiction
  • Pub. Date:  Jan. 20, 2015 – St. Martin’s Press
  • Source:  Publisher

Synopsis:  From the New York Times bestselling author of GARDEN SPELLS comes a story of the Waverley family, in a novel as sparkling as the first dusting of frost on new-fallen leaves…

It’s October in Bascom, North Carolina, and autumn will not go quietly.  As temperatures drop and leaves begin to turn, the Waverley women are made restless by the whims of their mischievous apple tree… and all the magic that swirls around it. But this year, first frost has much more in store.  (partial synopsis from the publisher)

My take:  First Frost picks up ten years after we left the Waverly family in Garden Spells. Once again Sarah Addison Allen enchanted me with her characters, setting, and story.

Claire has a successful candy business but longs for something more. She’s just not sure what that might be.

Sydney also has a longing. She wants to have a baby with her husband. All attempts have failed and she’s not sure what to do. Also on her mind is daughter Bay, now a high school student. Sydney worries that Bay will repeat mistakes from her own past and wonders if she can prevent that from happening.

One day a stranger arrives in town bringing with him the goal of changing things for a certain Waverly. Will he be successful? No spoilers here!

As usual, I was charmed by Sarah Addison Allen’s storytelling. It’s a tale about allowing yourself to be who you know you are and not what others say you should be. I loved it all and hope for another Waverly story someday soon.

Note:  If you haven’t had the pleasure of reading Garden Spells I recommend you do so before First Frost. You’ll meet the Waverlys and discover their secrets and gifts from the beginning. 

A Royal Experiment by Janice Hadlow

  • a royal experiment (H.Holt 11:14)Title:  A Royal Experiment: The Private Life of King George III
  • Author:  Janice Hadlow
  • Genre:  Biography
  • Published:  November 2014 – Henry Holt
  • Source:  Publisher

Synopsis:  To Americans, King George III has long been doubly famous – as the “tyrant” from whom colonial revolutionaries wrested a nation’s liberty and, owing to his late-life illness, as “the mad king.” In A Royal Experiment, he is also a man with a poignant agenda. He comes to the throne in 1760, at age twenty-two, determined to be a new kind of king, one whose power will be rooted in the affection and approval of his people. He is equally resolute about being a new kind of man, a husband able to escape the extraordinary family dysfunction of his Hanoverian predecessors and maintain a faithful, companionable marriage and domestic harmony.

… His wife, Queen Charlotte, shares his sense of moral purpose, and together they can raise their tribe of thirteen sons and daughters in a climate of loving attention. But in a rapidly more populous and prosperous England, throughout years of revolution in America and in France, the struggle to achieve a new balance between politics and privacy places increasing stress on George and Charlotte as their children grow into adulthood. The story that roils across the long arc of George’s life and reign is high drama – tragic and riveting.  (from the book flap)

My take:  If you’re a fan of books about anything royal you’ll want to read A Royal Experiment. Author Janice Hadlow’s meticulous research of the Hanoverians is obvious and presented in a way that the reader feels she is missing no detail about their lives. You’ll get an insider’s look at the ups and downs of being one of the family. I was dismayed and, at some points, even felt sympathy for all involved.

At 600+ pages this is a big book and the print is not large (think textbook) – so be prepared. For that reason alone it’s one to consider for the eReader. I was glad to see a section that included portraits of all the principals. Also helpful is a family tree.  A Royal Experiment is an interesting work that almost begs for its own cable series. I would definitely tune in!

Sunday Post

With frigid temps and several new inches of snow we stayed at home most of the week. I read a lot and watched a Netflix dvd: The Railway Man – anyone see it? Colin Firth and Nicole Kidman star. It’s based on the true story (and memoir of the same title) of Eric Lomax.

Book arrivals:  (linked to Mailbox Monday)

Rescue Me, Maybe  This Heart of Mine (Mar31)  Hearth Stone (Feb24)

Last week on Bookfan:

housemaid's daughter-pbkmech.indd   finding hope (Jan5)

Currently reading:

One Wish (Feb24)  the martian (audible)

#FitReaders Weekly Check-in: Jan.10, 2015

Fitbit steps:FitReaders2015

  • Saturday:  10,203
  • Sunday:  10,784
  • Monday:  12,274
  • Tuesday:  12,251
  • Wednesday:  11,315
  • Thursday:  14,179 
  • Friday:  10,137

Snow and frigid temps kept me on the treadmill this week. The silver lining was more reading time – but I really miss walking outdoors.

While walking I read on the iPad and finished First Frost by Sarah Addison Allen, The Marriage Charm by Linda Lael Miller and started reading One Wish by Robyn Carr.

First Frost (1:20:15)   the marriage charm (Jan27)   One Wish (Feb24)

I hope all #FitReaders were able to get some exercise and can avoid the nasty flu and other bugs going around the US. If it’s summer where you live, I’m a bit jealous at the moment ;)

Have a good week!

Finding Hope by Stacy Finz

  • finding hope (Jan5)Title:  Finding Hope
  • Series:  Nugget #2
  • Author:  Stacy Finz
  • Genre:  Contemporary Romance
  • Published:  January 2015 – Lyrical Press
  • Source:  Publisher

Synopsis:  The small mountain town of Nugget, California, is way off the beaten path. But somehow it helps the lost and lonely find a new beginning in life—and in love…

One solitary day at a time is the only way cookbook writer Emily Mathews can restart her life—and cope with consuming loss. Still, the former city girl is finding all kinds of odd inspiration and advice from Nugget’s proudly eccentric residents on everything from new recipes to opening her heart again. Especially when it comes to her rugged rancher landlord …

His no-drama new tenant is the first break Clay McCreedy has had in a long time. He’s got his hands full enough dealing with his wife’s scandalous death and his sons’ unresolved grief. Clay can’t help but be drawn to Emily’s quiet understanding and strength. When their fragile trust turns into passionate healing, he longs for much more. And when both their pasts come calling, he’s determined not to walk away…  (publisher)

My brief take:  Stacy Finz’s story is one of people trying to move forward after experiencing life-altering loss. Separately, Emily and Clay are barely hanging on but once they get  together they find support, compassion and the possibility of a new life.

Clay’s sons figure prominently in the novel. They too are working through the fall-out from the loss of their mother. I thought Finz wrote a realistic look at grief from a child’s perspective as well as the adults.

I haven’t read the first book in the series yet but by the end of this second book I felt caught up with the previously featured characters and many secondary characters. I look forward to reading the third book in the series.

Spotlight/US Giveaway: The Housemaid’s Daughter by Barbara Mutch

housemaid's daughter-pbkmech.indd

Barbara Mutch’s stunning first novel tells a story of love and duty colliding on the arid plains of Apartheid-era South Africa

When Cathleen Harrington leaves her home in Ireland in 1919 to travel to South Africa, she knows that she does not love the man she is to marry there —her fiance Edward, whom she has not seen for five years. Isolated and estranged in a small town in the harsh Karoo desert, her only real companions are her diary and her housemaid, and later the housemaid’s daughter, Ada. When Ada is born, Cathleen recognizes in her someone she can love and respond to in a way that she cannot with her own family.

Under Cathleen’s tutelage, Ada grows into an accomplished pianist and a reader who cannot resist turning the pages of the diary, discovering the secrets Cathleen sought to hide. As they grow closer, Ada sees new possibilities in front of her—a new horizon. But in one night, everything changes, and Cathleen comes home from a trip to find that Ada has disappeared, scorned by her own community. Cathleen must make a choice: should she conform to society, or search for the girl who has become closer to her than her own daughter?

Set against the backdrop of a beautiful, yet divided land, The Housemaid’s Daughter is a startling and thought-provoking novel that intricately portrays the drama and heartbreak of two women who rise above cruelty to find love, hope, and redemption.


Barbara Mutch_by Dawson Strange Photography

BARBARA MUTCH was born and raised in South Africa, the granddaughter of Irish immigrants. She is married with two sons and divides her time between Cape Town and London.


“If you loved The Help, try The Housemaid’s Daughter…The friendship at its center will leave your heart singing.” – Good Housekeeping UK

 

“A shared love of the piano brings two women together across the racial divide of apartheid South Africa in Mutch’s debut novel…her setting is a fascinating one, and she does an excellent job of showing the horrifying effects of apartheid law on individual lives…Readers who loved Kathryn Stockett’s The Help may also appreciate this historical tale of female friendship across racial lines…”

–Library Journal

 

“Mutch’s sprawling debut spans five decades of South Africa’s richest—and most painful—history…a vividly drawn setting and Ada’s consistent, special voice drive the story and keep the pages turning.”

Publishers Weekly


US Giveaway

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Sunday Post

Book arrivals:  (linked to Mailbox Monday)

the lupus book  Inside the O'Briens (Apr7)

Last week on Bookfan:

Makin' Miracles (Dec30)  Saving Grace by Jane Green  First Frost (1:20:15)

Currently reading:

First Frost (1:20:15)  Girl Before a Mirror (Jan27)Vine  a royal experiment (H.Holt 11:14)


FitReaders2015

I’ve had a Fitbit for almost two years and have found it to be an amazing motivator. Although my steps took a nose dive a few months ago I’m feeling much better lately and they’re on the uptick again. Yay! So, here are my stats for my first week with the #Fitreaders:

  • Sat:  12,071
  • Sun:  12,455
  • Mon:  11,564
  • Tues:  10,475
  • Wed:  12,513
  • Thurs:  12,473
  • Fri:  6,010

I think I’ll go to a separate post for Fitreaders starting next week. I think it deserves its own post :)  Have a great week!

First Book of 2015: First Frost by Sarah Addison Allen

first book 2015



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Description

From the New York Times bestselling author of GARDEN SPELLS comes a story of the Waverley family, in a novel as sparkling as the first dusting of frost on new-fallen leaves…
It’s October in Bascom, North Carolina, and autumn will not go quietly.  As temperatures drop and leaves begin to turn, the Waverley women are made restless by the whims of their mischievous apple tree… and all the magic that swirls around it. But this year, first frost has much more in store.
Claire Waverley has started a successful new venture, Waverley’s Candies.  Though her handcrafted confections—rose to recall lost love, lavender to promote happiness and lemon verbena to soothe throats and minds—are singularly effective, the business of selling them is costing her the everyday joys of her family, and her belief in her own precious gifts.
Sydney Waverley, too, is losing her balance. With each passing day she longs more for a baby— a namesake for her wonderful Henry. Yet the longer she tries, the more her desire becomes an unquenchable thirst, stealing the pleasure out of the life she already has.
Sydney’s daughter, Bay, has lost her heart to the boy she knows it belongs to…if only he could see it, too. But how can he, when he is so far outside her grasp that he appears to her as little more than a puff of smoke?
When a mysterious stranger shows up and challenges the very heart of their family, each of them must make choices they have never confronted before.  And through it all, the Waverley sisters must search for a way to hold their family together through their troublesome season of change, waiting for that extraordinary event that is First Frost.
Lose yourself in Sarah Addison Allen’s enchanting world and fall for her charmed characters in this captivating story that proves that a happily-ever-after is never the real ending to a story. It’s where the real story begins. (from the publisher)
First Frost (1:20:15)
I waited to start reading this book until today. I’m so excited because it is a follow-up to Garden Spells – the first book I read by Sarah Addison Allen. I was an instant fan.

Spotlight/US Giveaway: Saving Grace by Jane Green

Saving Grace by Jane Green

From the number one bestselling author of Tempting Fate and The Beach House comes Jane Green’s stunning new novel about a shattered marriage and a devastating betrayal

A perfect stranger wants her perfect life.

Grace Chapman has the perfect life, living comfortably with her husband, bestselling author Ted, in a picture-perfect farmhouse on the Hudson River in New York State.

Then Ted advertises for a new assistant, and Beth walks into their lives. Organized, passionate and eager to learn, Beth quickly makes herself indispensable to Ted and his family. But Grace soon begins to feel sidelined in her home–and her marriage–by this ambitious younger woman.

Is Grace just paranoid, as her husband tells her, or is there more to Beth than first thought?

Filled with Jane’s own recipes–she trained as a chef at the French Culinary Institute–SAVING GRACE also explores the misdiagnosis of mental illnesses, and the dangers of handing out drugs which are supposed to cure, but end up causing more harm.


“Green spins a dark romance, recalling All About Eve, where intimacy masks betrayal.” –Kirkus Reviews

“Green tackles serious issues such as emotional abuse and over-prescribing of drugs while still managing to keep the pages turning at a rapid rate.”  –Booklist

“Fans of Green get everything they have come to expect and love in this psychological domestic drama: it’s fast paced and emotionally satisfying.” –Library Journal 


Jane Green headshot small
ABOUT JANE GREEN
Jane Green’s sixteenth novel, Saving Grace, will be published on December 30th, 2014; she is the author of fifteen previous New York Times bestselling novels. Initially known for writing about single thirty-somethings, she has gone on to write mature stories about real women dealing with all the things life throws at them, with her trademark wisdom, wit and warmth.
A former feature writer for the Daily Express in the UK, Green took a leap in faith when she left, in 1996, to freelance and work on a novel. Seven months later, there was a bidding war for her first book, Straight Talking, the saga of a single career girl looking for the right man. The novel was an immediate top-ten bestseller in England, and Green was an overnight success.
Now in her forties, Green has graduated to more complex, character-driven novels that explore the concerns of real women’s lives, from marriage (The Other Woman) to motherhood (Another Piece of My Heart) to divorce, stepchildren, affairs, and most recently, midlife crises (Family Pictures and Tempting Fate).
She joined the ABC News team to write A Modern Fairytale – their first enhanced digital book – about the history of Royal marriages, then joined ABC News Radio as a live correspondent covering Prince William’s wedding to Kate Middleton. She has written a micro-series for Dove starring Alicia Keyes, many short stories, and has contributed to various anthologies, as well as regularly appearing on television shows including Good Morning America, The Martha Stewart show, and The Today Show.
Together with writing books and blogs, she contributes to various publications, both online and print, including Huffington Post, The Sunday Times, Cosmopolitan, and Self, has taught at writers conferences, and does regular keynote speaking.
A foodie and passionate cook, Green filled one of her books, Promises to Keep, with recipes culled from her own collection. She says she only cooks food that is “incredibly easy, but has to look as if you have slaved over a hot stove for hours.” This is because she has six children, and has realized that “when you have six children, nobody ever invites you anywhere.”
Most weekends see her cooking for a minimum of twenty people in her home in Westport, Connecticut, where she lives with her husband and their blended family. When she is not writing, cooking, gardening, filling her house with friends and herding chickens, she is usually thanking the Lord for caffeine-filled energy drinks.
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Saving Grace by Jane Green