Guest Post by Author, Kristy Woodson Harvey & International Book Giveaway-Dear Carolina

Blogger Note:
While I haven’t read this book yet, I am very excited to present to you, Kristy Woodson Harvey.  I was first introduced to her by fellow blogger at Traveling with T.  T and I have similar book tastes and when I read the synopsis, it made me even more eager to read it ( my review will be posted later).  Kristy has graciously offered 1 copy of her book to a reader!  Take some time to read her guest post and down below, you will find information on the book giveaway.
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Guest Post by Author, Kristy Woodson Harvey

Hi, Books in the ‘Burbs readers! I am so excited to share with you about my debut novel, DEAR CAROLINA. I was thrilled when Lisa invited to me to be with y’all today on her FABULOUS blog. (I can say ‘y’all’ here, right? Southern novel, Southern blog… It’s bound to happen, isn’t it?) It has been one of my favorites for a long time!

Another one of my long-time favorites is historical fiction, even though I write Southern women’s fiction. In fact, I read the first historical novel that really hooked me years before I had ever even thought of being a writer myself. It was Philippa Gregory’s The Other Boleyn Girl. (I’m actually kind of horrified to realize that I was fifteen when I picked that up… Seems like yesterday!) I’d heard it was wonderful, but I was hesitant to start it because I already knew what happened. I might not remember all of the history behind some of the historicals that I read. But pretty much everyone knows that Anne Boleyn loses her pretty head. (Yikes!)

But, oh my gosh, despite knowing the outcome, I was HOOKED. I remember thinking what an interesting feeling it was to know what was going to happen in the book already but to still be totally captivated by it, to be so interested in it all the way until the end, to feel on the edge of my seat despite knowing the final outcome.

The more I read and the savvier of a reader I became during my teenage years, I started to realize that it wasn’t too hard to figure out how most of the books I read were going to end, at least if you picked up on the clues.

I’ve heard it said so many times that there are only seven real stories and that they are told over and over again in different ways. So, if you’re an avid reader, you probably have some idea of what might happen right from the get go.

When I sat down to write DEAR CAROLINA, I figured I was probably going to be telling some semblance of one of those seven stories. No matter how I framed the lives of Khaki and Graham and Jodi and baby Carolina, readers weren’t going to be fooled. So I decided to take a risk. I decided that, instead of making the readers of DEAR CAROLINA wonder whether Khaki and Graham adopt baby Carolina from Jodi, I would just tell them right off the bat.

Because, in reality, how else was that story going to end? Would I just leave that baby with an unfit mother? Probably not. And readers were going to realize that pretty quickly.

I figured it’s kind of like how people always love hearing about how couples met. They’re married. You already know the ending. But finding out how they got there is almost as fun as the end result!

I spent some nights awake after DEAR CAROLINA had gone to print wondering if I had done the right thing. Was giving away my major plot point in the first chapter too risky of a move? Despite the fact that there are other mysteries to be solved, would it take away the enjoyment of the book for the readers?

Fortunately, five weeks later, it seems that readers have really connected to DEAR CAROLINA, that they have found reasons to keep reading. The gamble paid off.

DEAR CAROLINA isn’t historical fiction, of course. But it’s a family’s history. It is its re-telling, the way that baby Carolina will know for the rest of her life where she came from, how she got where she is now, and all the people that loved her along the way.

It isn’t Anne Boleyn and it certainly isn’t Philippa Gregory, but some messages are worth sharing right away. That you can never have too many people who love you just might be one of them!

Thank you again for having me, Lisa! I can’t wait to see who wins DEAR CAROLINA!

About the Author (Bio taken from blog):

Welcome! It’s so nice to meet you. I can’t wait to get to know you!

I’m Kristy, wife to the boy whose eye caught mine across the restaurant nearly a decade ago. I pronounced him my husband and haven’t looked back since – or doubted my intuition ever again! We have the most incredible two-year-old boy that is pure joy. (And, yeah, the occasional tantrum.)

I’m a Southerner through and through, a North Carolina girl who loves all four seasons – especially fall in Chapel Hill, where I went to college (Go Tarheels!) and summer in Beaufort, where we spend every free moment. (I’m sitting at my desk in Beaufort in this picture!)

I blog at Design Chic about how creating a beautiful home can be a catalyst for creating a beautiful life. And I’m blogging right here about absolutely everything else!

My first women’s fiction novel is forthcoming from Berkley (Penguin Random House) in Spring 2015. My dream of being a published author is finally coming true and I. Can’t. Believe. It. What’s your dream? (You know, that one you’re afraid to say out loud?) I just know it’s about to come true!

Book Information: 

Dear Carolina, A moving debut novel about two mothers—one biological and one adoptive—from a compelling new voice in Southern women’s fiction.
One baby girl.
Two strong Southern women.
And the most difficult decision they’ll ever make.
Frances “Khaki” Mason has it all: a thriving interior design career, a loving husband and son, homes in North Carolina and Manhattan—everything except the second child she has always wanted. Jodi, her husband’s nineteen-year-old cousin, is fresh out of rehab, pregnant, and alone. Although the two women couldn’t seem more different, they forge a lifelong connection as Khaki reaches out to Jodi, encouraging her to have her baby. But as Jodi struggles to be the mother she knows her daughter deserves, she will ask Khaki the ultimate favor…
Written to baby Carolina, by both her birth mother and her adoptive one, this is a story that proves that life circumstances shape us but don’t define us—and that families aren’t born, they’re made…
“Characters with rich, complicated lives…beautifully shows how a family comes to be.”—New York Times bestselling author Jodi Thomas
“Southern fiction at its best… Beautifully written.”—New York Times bestselling author Eileen Goudge
Connect with the Author:
Giveaway
Book Details:
Open internationally. One random winner will be selected to receive a copy of the book. Simply fill out the comment form. Extra entry opportunities will be provided.
Giveaway ends July 1, 2015
*Please note:  All information on the comment form is not visible to anyone but me (the blogger).  No information will be given to anyone else, except the name and address of the winner to the author, who is mailing the book directly to the winner.

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3 Book Giveaways!

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You read the title correctly!  Books in the Burbs is hosting 3 individual book giveaways, in the month of June.  They can easily be found on the sidebar, but to make it even easier, I have added the links below.

Throughout the summer, be on the lookout, as I host more giveaways.  I’ve always said that best part about book blogging is sharing.  This means, sharing some fantastic books with you!  The entry forms are rather simple and discreet, so what are you waiting for? Jump on in!

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Book Spotlight & Giveaway: The Appetites of Girls by Pamela Moses

Book Details:

A wisely-observed and beautifully-wrought debut novel, Pamela Moses’s THE APPETITES OF GIRLS (Berkley Trade Paperback; June 2, 2015; $16.00) traces the lives of four young women—college roommates—as they find strength to overcome struggles that have defined them since adolescence and eventually grow into the women they are meant to be. Told from each woman’s distinct vantage point, their interlocking stories revolve, subtly and compulsively, around food and the dangerous preoccupation with body image that so often shapes women’s perceptions and actions from an early age. This “terrific novel…exposes and illuminates the ways in which women use food as a proxy weapon in battles with others and themselves,” says Martha Moody, bestselling author of Best Friends. “And, most hauntingly, it shows how even young women with clear advantages…must struggle to recognize and accept their own intrinsic powers.”

An intimate baby shower for Ruth reunites the former roommates and provides the narrative springboard for each woman’s girlhood story and the memories that have shaped her since. Plump and self-doubting as a child, Ruth is raised by a mother who uses food as affection as well as control. Opal longs for attention from her nomadic single mother and determines to achieve it by imitating her mother’s use of feminine wiles with men. Francesca grows up in a Park Avenue penthouse with a mother obsessed with appearances; and Setsu, adopted as a toddler from an orphanage in Japan, shows a rare talent as a violinist but is too ready to sacrifice her gifts to please a jealous older brother.

When the four women are assigned as suitemates at Brown, they seem to come from different worlds. But from their friendship—which grows discordantly at times and tentatively at first—Ruth, Opal, Francesca, and Setsu find strength to triumph individually as well as together.

“An important book for our times—and for our friends, daughters, and ourselves” says Sarah Pekkanen, author of The Best of Us. As it delves into the complex relationship between woman and food, this impressive debut novel explores deeper issues about the challenges all women face as they navigate through life.

About the Author:

Pamela Moses grew up in New Jersey.  She attended Brown University and received a master’s in English from Georgetown.  After graduating, she moved to Manhattan to teach English at a girls’ school.  She now lives outside New York City with her husband and two children.  The Appetites of Girls is her first novel.

Connect with the Author:

Website

Facebook

 

Praise for The Appetites of Girls:

“Moses’s debut is perfectly timed for summer.”—Publisher’s Weekly

“I so enjoyed this intelligent novel. At times it seemed to double as a riveting sociological study as it delved into the complex relationship between women and food. An important book for our times—and for our friends, daughters, and ourselves.”—Sarah Pekkanen, author of The Best of us

“I think this is such an important novel for women to read. It is a vivid, multilayered portrayal of friendship and the earnest, often heartbreaking search for a true sense of self.  I enjoyed it immensely.”—Heather Gudenkauf, New York Times bestselling author of The Weight of Silence

 In honor of Pamela Moses’ book, The Appetite of Girls, being released in paperback on June 2, 2015, the publisher has graciously offered a book giveaway.  

Book Giveaway Details:

One winner will be selected to win a copy of this book. Open to US readers.

The winner will receive an email and will have 48 hours to reply.  If no response is given, another winner will be selected.  The book will be mailed directly from the publisher, Penguin Random House.

Giveaway ends June 19, 2015.

 

TLC Book Review & Giveaway: The Mapmaker’s Children by Sarah McCoy

Book Details:

Title: The Mapmaker’s Children
Author: Sarah McCoy
Publisher: Crown
Publication date: May 5, 2015
Pages: 320
Genre: Historical fiction
Synopsis:

When Sarah Brown, daughter of abolitionist John Brown, realizes that her artistic talents may be able to help save the lives of slaves fleeing north, she becomes one of the Underground Railroad’s leading mapmakers, taking her cues from the slave code quilts and hiding her maps within her paintings. She boldly embraces this calling after being told the shocking news that she can’t bear children, but as the country steers toward bloody civil war, Sarah faces difficult sacrifices that could put all she loves in peril.
Eden, a modern woman desperate to conceive a child with her husband, moves to an old house in the suburbs and discovers a porcelain head hidden in the root cellar—the remains of an Underground Railroad doll with an extraordinary past of secret messages, danger and deliverance.
Ingeniously plotted to a riveting end, Sarah and Eden’s woven lives connect the past to the present, forcing each of them to define courage, family, love, and legacy in a new way.

My Review:

From the very first page, I was hooked. I read a little over 100 pages the first night and didn’t sleep until I finished it, on the second night. Yes, it’s that amazing!

The story alternates between past and present, shedding light on Sarah Brown (a young woman during the UGRR movement) and Eden ( a young woman married with some scars of her own).  Eventually, their stories intersect and show how much the past can shape the future, while also bringing closure and peace to the past.

Sarah is the daughter of abolitionist, John Brown, and uses her talent of artistry to help with the UGRR movement.  Eden finds a porcelain head with unusual drawings, a key, and a button that place that doll in the time frame of when Sarah was visiting the Hill family and helping them with those trying to flee the South.  Sarah is a strong woman, who is extremely courageous and intelligent.  She becomes even more vigilant to help the UGRR after her father is caught and hung for his “crimes”.  It was interesting to learn the ways people communicated back then and the code words they had to use to share news.  Time was a factor, too, so that messages had to be changed and revised often.  There were many times that I felt that I couldn’t read fast enough, as I was eager to know what was happening next in Sarah’s life and those of her loved ones.

Eden is a woman, who is married and feels she has reached the end of the road in her marriage.  After her last miscarriage, Eden’s husband gets her a dog, named CricKet.  Worried she won’t bond with the dog, Eden’s husband hires a little girl to take care of the dog.  Cleo is a young, vibrant, spunky, and super charming little girl.  She helps Eden adjust to the new town, helps with the baking of some CricKet BisKits, and teaches her some valuable lessons along the way.

This book is so much more than just another story about slavery and the crusade that the Brown and Hill family fought.  It’s about forgiveness, finding the silver lining, friendships, lost loves, and new beginnings.  Many have heard of John Brown, but not many know about his daughter, Sarah Brown, and the courage she had to continue his work.  John Brown’s death didn’t stop the family and others from pushing forward.  Sarah is strong, courageous, and goes against tradition and expectations for women of that time period.  Through her artistry, she is determined to finish her father’s work and be part of the fabric of change.

Sarah McCoy flawlessly brings these two very separate and individual women together, showing how the past helps the future and how history can help mend relationships, too.  Most importantly, this novel shows two brave women, who are not defined by their pain and struggles, rather, they use it as a catalyst to do something greater and bigger than even they imagine.  While Sarah works at saving her family and friends, Eden’s challenge is learning to trust people to join her inner circle of friends and family, too.

I loved the historical nuggets that Sarah McCoy includes in novel, along with some pictures.  I am so glad she chose to write their story, as these women certainly had a lot to share!  Sarah even shares the recipes to CricKet BisKits, which plays a big part in how everyone comes together and builds relationships with each other.  Those who love historical fiction will love this book! It also makes for a great book club pick because the discussions will be endless!  Overall, this is a book that I didn’t want to end! I know this is a book that will be discussed for many years to come and will be appreciated by those who love a great story about heroines, who were at one time forgotten.

P.S. As a fan of the tv show,” Shark Tank”, I laughed when I read Cleo’s suggestion!  You will just have to read the book to know what I’m talking about.

supreme cupcake rating 6    *This book was provided by TLC Book Tours for review consideration.

SARAH McCOY is the  New York TimesUSA Today, and international bestselling author of The Baker’s Daughter, a 2012 Goodreads Choice Award Best Historical Fiction nominee; the novella “The Branch of Hazel” in Grand Central; The Time It Snowed in Puerto Ricoand The Mapmaker’s Children (Crown, May 5, 2015).

Her work has been featured in Real Simple, The Millions, Your Health Monthly, Huffington Post and other publications. She has taught English writing at Old Dominion University and at the University of Texas at El Paso. She calls Virginia home but presently lives with her husband, an Army physician, and their dog, Gilly, in El Paso, Texas. Sarah enjoys connecting with her readers on Twitter at @SarahMMcCoy, on her Facebook Fan Page or via her website, www.sarahmccoy.com.

Sarah McCoy’s Book Tour Schedule:

Tuesday, April 21st: Savvy Verse & Wit

Wednesday, April 22nd: My Book Retreat

Thursday, April 23rd: BookNAround

Monday, April 27th: Man of La Book

Tuesday, April 28th: 100 Pages a Day…Stephanie’s Book Reviews

Wednesday, April 29th: Always With a Book

Thursday, April 30th: Booksie’s Blog

Monday, May 4th: The Book Binder’s Daughter

Tuesday, May 5th: Books on the Table

Wednesday, May 6th: West Metro Mommy

Thursday, May 7th: Bibliotica

Friday, May 8th: Peeking Between the Pages

Monday, May 11th: Patricia’s Wisdom

Tuesday, May 12th: A Bookish Way of Life

Wednesday, May 13th: A Chick Who Reads

Thursday, May 14th: FictionZeal

Friday, May 15th: Bookshelf Fantasies

Monday, May 18th: Kritters Ramblings

Tuesday, May 19th: Svetlana’s Reads and Views

Monday, May 25th: Diary of an Eccentric

Tuesday, May 26th: Walking With Nora

Wednesday, May 27th: Raven Haired Girl

Thursday, May 28th: Reading Reality

Friday, May 29th: Thoughts On This ‘n That

Monday, June 1st: Doing Dewey

Tuesday, June 2nd: Ms. Nose in a Book

Wednesday, June 3rd: Books in the Burbs

Thursday, June 4th: Drey’s Library

Tuesday, June 9th: The Book Bag

Wednesday, June 10th: Bibliophiliac

Thursday, June 11th: Literary Feline

Friday, June 12th: Broken Teepee

Monday, June 15th: Staircase Wit

Tuesday, June 16th: Kahakai Kitchen

TBD: 2 Kids and Tired Book Reviews

TBD: Readers’ Oasis

Giveaway

Fill out the entry form.

One winner will receive a copy of the book.  It’s open to US and Canada.

Giveaway ends June 12, 2015.

Guest Post & Giveaway from Author, Kathryn Craft!

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Kathryn Craft is the author of The Art of Falling and The Far End of Happy. Long a leader in the southeastern Pennsylvania literary scene, she loves any event that brings together readers, books, food and drink, and mentors other writers through workshops and writing retreats. A former dance critic, she has a bachelor’s in biology education and a master’s in health and physical education from Miami University in Ohio. She lives in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, and spends her summers lakeside in northern New York State.

The Social World of Writing

by Kathryn Craft

Most think of writing as a lone pursuit. It is true that you must put in plenty of long hours on your own, dreaming up and shaping a story. The introvert within me adores this opportunity for deep focus. But beneath the same skin lives an extrovert who has found a way to lead a writing life that is remarkably social.

Let me count the ways.

  1. Writing organizations. Fifteen years ago, after drafting my first novel, I walked into my first writers’ group meeting to steep in the group’s storytelling mojo. Storytelling was a weakness in their programming, though. To align group goals with my own I accepted leadership positions, rolled up my sleeves, and initiated programs that brought me the high-quality mentors I sought—all while helping others. In time, my storytelling weakness became a strength and passion, which led me to start a developmental editing business in 2006.
  2. Informal groups. When lectures and workshops failed to sate my hunger to connect with other writers, I founded a program that encouraged local writers to compare dreams, cheer successes, analyze failures, and share resources. I liked the idea so much that when a similar program formed in a different community, that as a bonus offered no-holds-barred access to published authors, I attended that as well. And you know what? Those authors seemed a lot like me. Because they’d hung in there longer, they had valuable advice to share.
  3. Writing conferences. Writers who attend conferences have worked hard to figure out what their writing has to offer and are eager to talk about it to agents, editors—and other conferees. This aura of dedication, vulnerability, and nervous sharing can forge fast friendships as conferees cheer one another on. I love the vibe so much that for twelve years, in addition to sampling a handful of conferences across my state and country, I chaired two conferences and served on two different conference boards.
  4. Online writing groups. Facebook, LinkedIn, Yahoo Groups, group blogs, member-supported organizations—I belong to so many. But it is the groups committed to meeting in person that net the strongest relationships. Once frozen in airbrushed profile pics, faces animate and inspire with human imperfection; thoughts set in type morph and grow within dynamic discussions.
  5. My local independent bookstore. I go to any events I can to meet new authors. Period. I want to support the industry that I hope will support me.
  6. My neighborhood. After moving a few years ago, I attended my first social event—a baby shower at which I and a few other middle-aged women migrated toward the sushi tower—and walked away having started what became a supportive kaffeeklatsch of writers in my new community that saw me through many revisions of the memoir material that would become The Far End of Happy. A month later, a conversation at the gym resulted in an invitation to join the neighborhood book club as well, whose members have heartily supported (and discussed and debated) my first two novels.
  7. My grocery store. For several years I’ve met every Wednesday in the café of a local Wegman’s with a group of other women. We witness efforts as we tap on our computers all morning, and then solve problems and share tips over lunch. You can’t argue with the results: in the three years we’ve been together, four of us have gotten agents, six have published, and another got her MFA.
  8. My living room. If it weren’t for my winter Craftwriting workshops in PA and the summer writing retreats I host in NY, I would never force myself to devise writing prompts or write pieces based on them. The activity stretches me to think about craft anew and the array of creative results prompted never fails to impress: in this great wide world of writing, there is room for us all.
  9. My head. All of these interactions define my world. More than a “platform” or “network,” these are friendships that lift me up when I’m struggling, cheer me on when I taste success, advise me when I’m clueless, and spread the word when I have a new release. That’s invaluable. But my social writing world nurtures my relationships with the characters in my head who are crucial to the work of producing a novel.

Speaking of which, I think I hear them calling now…

Connect with Kathryn Craft:

Facebook:    https://www.facebook.com/KathrynCraftAuthor?fref=ts

Twitter:        @kcraftwriter

Website:      http://www.kathryncraft.com

Goodreads:          https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6986139.Kathryn_Craft

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Click on book cover for synopsis.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nhh5cxMCTVY

Book Giveaway Details:

One winner will be selected to win a copy of this fantastic book!

Including your email address, what did you like most from Kathryn’s post?

US entries only, please.

I look forward to reading your comments!!

Giveaway ends: June 25, 2015.

**A Special thanks to Suzy Missirlian for connecting me with Kathryn Craft.  Suzy and I share a lot of similar book interests, so I truly value the quality of authors and books she shares with me and others on social media.  I’m excited for Kathryn Craft and the success of her novel, which I know will be  a fantastic read this summer!!

For PR inquriries, please contact Suzy @Suzy4PR!

 

 

 

Short Stack Reviews & Book Giveaway!

SHORT STACK REVIEWS

While I haven’t been blogging a much, I have been reading.  Although, not as fast as I would like, I’m still a bibliophile and love to share good reads with you! Don’t forget to click on each book title to read the synopsis and add them to your TBR list!

My Review:

The storyline has a great premise: sisters on different paths come back together for one summer that will surely change their life courses.  The story moves rather quickly in the beginning, so that it was hard to feel a connection or compassion for Paul, who wants a divorce from Iris.  However, the story really focuses on unfinished business with sisters, family, and lost loves.  It’s a simple read, a little predictable, but a good storyline that will keep you engaged.

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My Review:

This is a book that had been on my TBR list since its release.   When I saw it at the library on audio, I immediately checked it out and downloaded it to my iPhone so that I could listen to on a road trip.  Well, that didn’t turn out well.  You can read why here

I’m really glad that I decided to buy the book and read it on my reader.  First, the audio did skip, so I wasn’t listening to the story in the order of the chapters.  Secondly, there is too much information and the characters are complex that it would have been difficult for me to listen and understand their role within the story.  Thirdly, there were many times I would reread a quote or a page, and that would have been too difficult and not realistic to do with an audio.

This story is magical, complex and has stories within a story, that it is beyond words to actually describe.  The descriptive writings to explain an outfit or a scene were so amazing that I wish this book had been written with colorful illustrations! This novel could have easily been made into a trilogy because there were so many stories within it.  It is a novel that stayed with me for a long time and definitely makes me appreciate the life of a traveling artist much more!

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swirlMy Review:

This is a sequel to Firefly Lane, which I read in January.  You can read my review here.  I really loved the first book and like anyone who loves a great story, I jumped on the chance to read the sequel.  This novel, Fly Away, is really for those readers who want to know about “TullyandKate”.   While the novel did share about what happens to Kate’s family, it really is about Tully and her inability to forgive herself and move on from Kate’s death.  This novel reminded me a little of A Christmas Carol, with Kate being the ghost.  Overall, it was a good book that explores friendships, forgiveness, and second chances.

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*With the exception of The Night Circus, the other books were provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

copyright 2015

Time for a Giveaway!

If you managed to read my mini-reviews, then I think you deserve a free book!

Giveaway

Win a copy of:

The Girl with a Clock Heart by Peter Swanson!

This is going to be an easy giveaway. Simply enter your email in the comments below and let me know if you read any of the books I’ve reviewed. I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Giveaway is open until May 28, 2015. 

Open internationally!!

Yes, I’m going to mail these books across the oceans, if you are randomly selected! I know I have quite a few followers outside the US and Canada, so I want to include them, too!

One winner will be randomly chosen and I will contact that winner via email.  The winner will have 48 hours to reply, if not, another winner will be selected.  I don’t announce winners because it takes too much time and energy on my part, however the winner knows and is more than welcome to post their winnings on social media :D

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TLC Book Tours Book Review & Giveaway: Dog Crazy by Meg Donahue

• Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (March 10, 2015)

The USA Today bestselling author of How to Eat a Cupcake and All the Summer Girls returns with an unforgettably poignant and funny tale of love and loss, confronting our fears, and moving on . . . with the help of a poodle, a mutt, and a Basset retriever named Seymour.

As a pet bereavement counselor, Maggie Brennan uses a combination of empathy, insight, and humor to help patients cope with the anguish of losing their beloved four-legged friends. Though she has a gift for guiding others through difficult situations, Maggie has major troubles of her own that threaten the success of her counseling practice and her volunteer work with a dog rescue organization.

Everything changes when a distraught woman shows up at Maggie’s office and claims that her dog has been stolen. Searching the streets of San Francisco for the missing pooch, Maggie finds herself entangled in a mystery that forces her to finally face her biggest fear-and to open her heart to new love.

Packed with deep emotion and charming surprises, Dog Crazy is a bighearted and entertaining story that skillfully captures the bonds of love, the pain of separation, and the power of our dogs to heal us.

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My Review:

HUGE DISCLAIMER:  I did not read this as a therapist, do not recommend therapist’s read this as a therapist, nor for non-therapists to assume that therapists provide therapy this way.

Dog Crazy is a light read that covers some heavy topics: grief, fear, anxiety, and sadness.  However, Meg Donahue writes this story in such a way that makes the issues so laden with heaviness and makes the book just as cozy as those cute dogs, who have personalities that many who are dog lovers will relate with.

A mystery (Maggie helps find a missing dog), adjusting to a new city, dealing with her own loss and family issues, Maggie is a woman many will relate with and find compassion towards.  She is a woman with a huge heart, one that has been broken, and while she ventures into a practice to help others-she finds that there is healing for her, too.

This was a quick read for me, but still had me shed a few tears.  Don’t let the cover fool you- it’s not all warm and fuzzy.  It deals with some heavy topics that people face everyday and will give hope…which always makes for a great ending!!

Overall, I enjoyed the book and am sharing this with one lucky winner!

 

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Giveaway Details:

One person will receive a paperback copy of Dog Crazy by Meg Donahue.

To enter, please fill out the comment form.  Information entered on the form is only visible to me and will not be displayed online.  All information is confidential and not shared with anyone.  No P.O. Boxes, please.

Open to the US & Canada

Giveaway ends April 28, 2015

“What You Said?”-The Failings of a Bibliophile With Audio Books

Photo Courtesy of LDS.org

Photo courtesy of LDS.org

 

When my son was about 2 years old, and needed us to repeat something, he would ask, “what you said?”.  It was so cute, but of course, we’d correct him.  I can guarantee you, at 19, he no longer says that.  Anyhow, that’s our saying at home when we are being goofy, and I thought this was quite fitting for my experience listening to an audio on the road. About a couple of weeks ago, I was able to check out the audio for this book. I downloaded it onto my computer, so that from there I could download it to my iPhone.  My plan was to listen to the book, while on the road to a conference.  Because I was transferring the cd’s onto my laptop, then transferring them to my iPhone, and I had never done that before, it took me about 4 hours to figure it all out and finish the task.

So, on my road trip I went.  I had created a playlist, with the book title, of course.  However, it played in alphabetical order of each title, rather than the order of the book.  Not a problem.  I played it by “author” setting,  for the story to be read out loud in the correct order.

However, I failed miserably.  Here’s why:

1.  Concentration: I am a proactive driver. I am constantly looking at sides, driving cautiously, which means I didn’t always remember what was being said and which character the narrator was talking about.

2.  Pause and Play: For some reason, if I stopped and turned the van off, my iPhone wouldn’t remember where I was at in the story, and it would either start over or just pick a random spot.

3.  Squirrel!:  I’m a visual person and the drive was beautiful.  I’d be looking at the scenery or reading the billboard signs, then I’d completely forget what was being said.  Unlike a book, I just can’t turn back a few pages.  I had to  rewind a whole chapter, which wasn’t fun!

4.  Who? When?:  I don’t know when or how, but as I’m driving, the storyline went back and forth on the timeline: past and present.  It was simply hard to remember which time period was being told. I found myself getting confused.  It wasn’t until I stopped at my destination that I looked down and saw that somehow the story was being “shuffled”.   For example, I’d be in chapter 1, then move onto chapter 11, and had no idea.  While I am a sign reader, I don’t look down at my phone.  It wasn’t until I was at a full stop that I realized what had been happening.   I still don’t know if the novel naturally goes back and forth from past to present, and even if it did, I simply couldn’t keep up.

5.  Mindless: While the narrator is phenomenal, I realize I just need some music I can sing to, because it doesn’t matter if I know every word, and it helps me stay calmer and more focused.  The narrator for this novel has a very distinguished voice and I loved when he would talk in the different character voices.  However, it was too hard to stay focused on the audio version of novel, no matter how interesting it was.  Granted, it was playing in random order, so that impacted my experience tremendously.

From what I do remember, I really liked the novel and plan to read the book.  Some people are able to listen to books with no problem. I am apparently not one of them.  My husband loves using the service from Audible.com.  He loves the ease of it and how quickly it just transfers to his phone, like I love the easy format with my e-readers.

When people tell me they can’t use e-readers, I can completely understand them.  Just like having a variety of genres to choose from, there are a variety of different ways to read a book. I’m a visual learner, and it makes perfect sense that I prefer reading to listening.  It also makes perfect sense that I don’t always know the words to a song unless I read them, and that’s okay.  I’m really great at humming and ad-libbing!

Which do you prefer: audio, e-books, or a physical copy?

Sound below!

Giveaway

Click here for giveaway details!

 

copyright 2015

 

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Review & Giveaway: Walking on Trampolines by Frances Whiting

Synopsis:

Tallulah de Longland,’ she said slowly, letting all the Ls in my name loll about lazily in her mouth before passing judgement. ‘That,’ she announced, ‘is a seriously glamorgeous name.’

From the day Annabelle Andrews sashays into her classroom, Tallulah ‘Lulu’ de Longland is bewitched by Annabelle, by her family, and their sprawling, crumbling house tumbling down to the river.

Their unlikely friendship intensifies through a secret language where they share confidences about their unusual mothers, first loves, and growing up in the small, coastal town of Juniper Bay. Their lives become as entwined as Annabelle’s initials engraved beneath the de Longland kitchen table.

But the euphoria of youth rarely lasts, and the implosion that destroys their friendship leaves lasting scars and a legacy of self-doubt that haunts Lulu into adulthood.

Years later, Lulu is presented with a choice: remain the perpetual good girl who misses out, or finally step out from the shadows and do something extraordinary. And possibly unforgiveable.

It’s not how far you fall, but how high you bounce.

My Review:

This is a book that grew on me.  As I turned each page, I became more immersed in the story of Tallulah de Longland.  When it ended, I simply wanted it to go on. The story spans a few decades, with Tallulah (Lulu) reflecting back on the past and sharing her story of the present.

It starts out with Lulu meeting Annabelle at their Catholic school, St. Rita’s.  Soon, they become the best of friends, developing their own language and creating a dictionary.  Both come from eccentric families, with Lulu’s mom struggling with a mental illness that is never defined (but includes bouts of severe depression).  While her mom, Rose, has her quirks, she loves her daughter immensely and loves to bake!  Lulu has twin brothers, who aren’t main characters in the storyline, but still show how resilient children can be, in a home where someone is mentally ill.  Both, Rose and Harry, are a couple who do what they can to provide for their children and help move them along to create their own adventures.

Lulu experiences first love with Josh, and the three of them (Annabelle, Lulu, and Josh) become inseparable.  Something happens and Lulu’s life stalls.  Annabelle and Josh move on, and it isn’t until Lulu moves in with a friend, that she meets the infamous Duncan.  Lulu develops her own voice and draws the line (so to speak), with Duncan, which sparks a life long friendship that is so endearing and heartfelt!  Duncan has his own issues, one being that he loves women with the letter “K”.  It is through Duncan’s own journey, that Lulu comes into her own and embraces who she is.

Because Lulu grew up Catholic, it made sense to see how much Lulu struggles to accept happiness and gifts from others.  However, through the course of the book, she learns to forgive herself, forgive those she loves, and embrace the adventures that her family and Duncan very much want for her life.

Frances Whiting is a debut author, who wrote this book, with the setting being in Australia.  So, there is some Australian lingo, mate.  However, it doesn’t come across confusing or difficult to follow.  This story has so many beginnings and endings, throughout the novel, that it really seems like this novel could have been a sequel of sorts.  Reading the interview at the back of the book, I was simply amazed that this book was a labor of love that took 7 years to write!!  The novel doesn’t show this at all, as it is seamless, quite relevant, and has a great rhythm to it.

While it could easily have been a “girl meets boy” tale, Frances takes the story even deeper and brings forth issues that happen in real life-which makes it quite relatable to anyone.  Frances also raises serious issues about friendships, boundaries, infidelity, health issues, starting over, and finding love.  Frances shows that everyone has flaws, have  journeys that sometimes intersect with their past, and above all, that everyone deserves a second chance.

This was a beautiful novel that I enjoyed.  I cried, laughed, and simply loved the way every character has his/her own personal challenges to overcome, yet no one is ever truly alone to experience those.  The title didn’t make a whole of sense to me, until I read the interview Frances gave.  Then, it made perfect sense.  Like a trampoline, there are dips, falls, and times you are soaring in the air!  Overall, an excellent book that I highly recommend!

P.S. I do hope Frances considers writing a sequel to this novel! There are so many adventures for Lulu and her family and friends to share with all of us!!

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*This book was provided by the publisher and NetGalley. No forms of compensation were given.

Book Giveaway!

The publisher has graciously offered 2 copies of this book!! 

Simply fill out the form and 2 winners will be randomly selected. 

This giveaway is open to US & Canada readers.

Giveaway ends March 10, 2015.

Please Note:  This is a 2 part process! 

1) Fill in the comment form (it will not be visible to anyone but me, Books in the Burbs.

2) There is a question in the comment form.  Answer it below this post, where the general comments are listed.

****In order for your entry to be valid, both parts must be answered.  This includes your mailing address.  It takes time to receive word back from winners and I am on a deadline to submit both winner’s information to the publicist.  Thank you!   

copyright 2015

Book Giveaways Galore!

giveawaysgalore2014

I love this time of year, when bloggers are hosting a lot of their end of year giveaways.  This is also my 5 year blogger anniversary, so it seemed rather fitting to have more than one giveaway this month.  While many of the giveaways end this week, you still have time to enter and win some fantastic books.  I’m hosting quite a few, so take a peek and see which ones interest you the most!

Choose from 3 Gift Packs!

Giveaway ends December 18, 2014

Giveaway ends December 22, 2014

Giveaway ends December 20, 2014

Giveaway ends December 19, 2014

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