Mug O’Comfort Swap-Sign Me Up!

Last month, I participated in a Books ‘n’ Bloggers Swap, and loved it! So, of course, I had to join this swap, too! 

I am really looking forward to this, since I have new found love for my Keurig.  It has been extremely cold lately, in Texas.  Crazy, right? Since I don’t drink coffee, I have been drinking hot cocoa!  Yummy! Naturally, I’m also loving using my Christmas mugs (because hot cocoa is magical to me), but I can always use another fantastic mug!  If you want to join in on the fun, look at the info below and I hope to see you there! Who knows, I may even be partnered with you!!

Your Swap Objective:

Get to know your fantastic partner and send them an awesome package that has a mug and other mug-related goodies.  Goodies can include things like treats, cocoa, coffee, tea, etc.

Dates to Remember:

  • Sign-Ups Start:Monday, February 9th.
  • Sign-Ups End:Monday, February 16th.
  • Giveaway Ends:Tuesday, February 17th.
  • Partners Assigned:Wednesday, February 18th.
  • Packages Ship: by or on Saturday, March 7th.
  • Show-Off Link Opens:Wednesday, March 11th.

You can click on the image above and will directed to Chaotic Goddess Swaps!

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2014 Book Review: Landline by Rainbow Rowell

My Review:

I absolutely fell in love with Rainbow’s book, Eleanor and Park, so I was extremely excited to read her latest book. This book is definitely not YA, and is a modern twist to the movie, “Back to the Future” and “Scrooge”. What would happen if you could go back in time and rework your troubled marriage? Would you make the same choices? Would the ending still be the same? These are the questions Georgie finds answers to, as she faces the possible demise of her marriage.The story follows Georgie and her husband, Neal, as Georgie connects with her past through the yellow old rotary phone hidden in her childhood bedroom closet. Georgie is at a crossroads and is faced with the decision of: spending Christmas with her family or meeting a deadline and pitching a new show. As many women willidentify with:career vs. family, Rainbow raises interesting questions as readers follow Georgie over the course of 1 week.

Told through Georgie’s point of view, Rainbow gives reader a well-rounded character and helps readers see how quickly work can become the other person in a marriage, and ultimately the cause for breaking a relationship up.Rainbow Rowell gives readers an inside glimpse into Georgie’s interesting family: her mom is a sexy Cougar, her sister is “hiding in the closet”, and Georgie is stuck in the 80’s. While the story kept me glued to each page, it would have been interesting to have had the book told by Neal’s point of view, too, and to have had a little more story development about her sister, Heather.

I loved the way the book all tied up nicely at the end, although it would have been great had Neal given more clues about knowing something magical happened between the two of them, while both rekindled their romance on a landline.

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*This was a guest review I posted on another site, which has since been shut down.  However, I wanted to give this review a home, since I did enjoy this book, so it’s here at Books in the Burbs (where it belongs)!

 

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TLC Book Tours: One Step Too Far by Tina Seskis

Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: William Morrow (January 27, 2015)

The #1 international bestseller reminiscent of After I’m Gone, Sister, Before I Go to Sleep, and The Silent Wife—an intricately plotted, thoroughly addictive thriller that introduces a major new voice in suspense fiction—a mesmerizing and powerful novel that will keep you guessing to the very end.

No one has ever guessed Emily’s secret.

Will you?

A happy marriage. A beautiful family. A lovely home. So what makes Emily Coleman get up one morning and walk right out of her life—to start again as someone new?

Now, Emily has become Cat, working at a hip advertising agency in London and living on the edge with her inseparable new friend, Angel. Cat’s buried any trace of her old self so well, no one knows how to find her. But she can’t bury the past—or her own memories.

And soon, she’ll have to face the truth of what she’s done—a shocking revelation that may push her one step too far. . . .

My Review:

This is a book that has a dark and gloomy feel about it.  It’s not until the very end, that there is a little ray of sunshine.  Emily leaves her husband and family behind, choosing to go by the name “Cat”, as she starts a new life in London.  She is determined to hide who she is to this new world, while there are moments the reader is brought to the past to shed light into the world of Emily and who she is.  Emily is the oldest twin, with her younger one (Caroline) being the reckless one.  It is shared that Caroline was not expected, as having twins was a surprise for their mom.  As a result, Caroline was treated differently from the very beginning, while Emily was the child that was loved and nurtured.

Told in alternating viewpoints, the reader gets to know what Emily and Caroline’s parents felt and experienced, Ben (Emily/Cat’s husband), Angel (Cat’s friend), as well as Emily/Cat’s perspective.  I would have loved to have known Caroline’s point of view because she is so central to this storyline.  However, the reader is left to speculate what she felt and why.

Emily is married to a loving man and has 1 child, pregnant with another.  She is a successful attorney and has the support of her family and friends.  Then, abruptly, she leaves to run away from her past and the reader slowly puts the pieces together to figure out what would make Emily leave the comfort of her home and wonderful family to start anew. Cat is rather reckless as she ventures into the world of drugs and partying.  She meets a friend, named Angel, who becomes quite close with her.  However, never close enough to know Cat’s secret.

This is a novel that I absolutely enjoyed reading. It’s a novel that will keep you guessing, wondering what’s happening next and what happened in the past.  As it all unfolds, the reader can’t help but have compassion and happy to see a silver lining at the end.  While it isn’t addressed as openly in the novel, it’s quite certain that Emily suffered from PTSD, which explained the alter-ego and the spiral towards self-destruction.  It’s simply a great novel that kept me guessing until the very end. It’s a great read that I truly enjoyed!

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*My thanks to TLC Book Tours and the publisher for giving me the opportunity to read and review this novel! No forms of compensation were given.

About Tina Seskis

© Laila Hegarty

Tina Seskis grew up in Hampshire, England, and after graduating from the University of Bath spent more than twenty years working in marketing and advertising. One Step Too Far is her debut novel, and was first published independently in the UK, where it shot to the #1 spot on the bestseller list. Her second novel is forthcoming. She lives in North London with her husband and son.

Find out more about Tina at her website, and connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.

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Tina’s Tour Stops

Tuesday, January 27th: Bibliotica

Wednesday, January 28th: Kahakai Kitchen

Thursday, January 29th: Fuelled by Fiction

Monday, February 2nd: BoundbyWords

Tuesday, February 3rd: A Bookworm’s World

Wednesday, February 4th: A Bookish Way of Life

Thursday, February 5th: Svetlana’s Reads and Views

Friday, February 6th: Books in the Burbs

Monday, February 9th: The Well-Read Redhead

Tuesday, February 10th: Vox Libris

 

copyright 2015

CG Books ‘n’ Bloggers Swap Reveal

This is my first swap with Chaotic Goddess Swaps, and by far, the most fun I’ve had with a swap!  I was teamed up with Miss Angie, who has a blog: My So-Called Chaos.  I truly enjoyed getting to know her through email and Twitter!!  I love her sense of humor, love her style, and she has just ventured into the world of photography!  So, it’s been awesome to see some of the pictures she has taken on Instagram!

Because I tend to read more on my e-readers ( I have a Nook and Kindle), she was quite gracious to gift me two books for my Kindle!  This time around, there were about 35 bloggers, who participated!  It is has been quite fun and exciting hopping over to other blogs to see what everyone received and what they gave!

This swap was based on giving 3 books:

  1. A book you love
  2. A book you haven’t read but are interested in
  3. A book from your partner’s wish list

The book that Miss Angie loved and wanted to share with me:

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The paperback, The Fault in Our Stars.

The Fault in Our Stars, by John Green. I actually have already read the book, but love it so much, that I am glad to have it in paperback!  He is my new favorite author, as I have just recently purchased all of his books on my Kindle.

A book that Miss Angie was interested in reading, and is actually on my wish list is, The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey.  A fellow blogger listed this book as one of her favorite books for 2014 and it sounds like an excellent book, so I can’t wait to start reading this one!

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Downloaded this onto my iPad, so that you can see how pretty the cover is!

Lastly, the book that was on my wish list and I’ve been wanting to read is a favorite amongst many bloggers.  It’s, All The Bright Places, by Jennifer Niven.  I’ve been seeing this book on my Twitter feed a lot and bloggers are raving about it, plus it’s adding a great discussion about mental health and suicide-which are both near and dear to my heart, since I am a family therapist and have lost a friend to suicide.  So, I’m eager to read the book and join the discussion!

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I downloaded this also onto my iPad, so that you can see how awesome this cover is! Doesn’t it look like real post-its?

Miss Angie was also so sweet, as she added some delicious chocolate treats, a pretty book mark, and a note pad that will fit perfectly in my purse to jot down blog post ideas!!  I actually use my phone right now, but I don’t type as fast as I think!  So, it’s actually a very fitting gift!! She even included a handwritten card, which was quite sweet!

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Here’s a picture of all the great goodies and awesome books I received! Thanks, Miss Angie!

I truly enjoyed this experience and loved meeting a fellow blogger!! I had a blast shopping for her, although I will admit, it was hard!! I wanted to find the perfect books and goodies, so I spent a lot of time at Barnes and Noble, which is always a treat for me!!  Of course, I had to order my favorite Starbucks drink: White Chocolate Mocha, while I shopped!  However, I am hoping she will love all the goodies and know I enjoyed every moment of it!!  It was like Christmas all over again!  I love giving gifts, more than receiving, so this was a treat for me!  I definitely will be participating in these swaps and hope you will consider joining me, too!!

 

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TLC Book Review: City of Liars and Thieves by Eve Karlin

About City of Liars and Thieves

On Sale: January 13, 2015
Pages: 266
Published by : Alibi

A crime that rocked a city. A case that stunned a nation. Based on the United States’ first recorded murder trial, Eve Karlin’s spellbinding debut novel re-creates early nineteenth-century New York City, where a love affair ends in a brutal murder and a conspiracy involving Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr erupts in shattering violence.

It is high time to tell the truth. Time for justice. . . . How she was murdered and why she haunts me. It is not only Elma’s story, it’s mine.

On the bustling docks of the Hudson River, Catherine Ring waits with her husband and children for the ship carrying her cousin, Elma Sands. Their Greenwich Street boardinghouse becomes a haven for Elma, who has at last escaped the stifling confines of her small hometown and the shameful circumstances of her birth. But in the summer of 1799, Manhattan remains a teeming cesspool of stagnant swamps and polluted rivers. The city is desperate for clean water as fires wreak devastation and the death toll from yellow fever surges.

Political tensions are rising, too. It’s an election year, and Alexander Hamilton is hungry for power. So is his rival, Aaron Burr, who has announced the formation of the Manhattan Water Company. But their private struggle becomes very public when the body of Elma Sands is found at the bottom of a city well built by Burr’s company.

Resolved to see justice done, Catherine becomes both witness and avenger. She soon finds, however, that the shocking truth behind this trial has nothing to do with guilt or innocence.

My Review:

The title itself truly depicts what this novel is about.  With so much corruption, lies, and scandal, this novel is wrapped in historical truths about the unsolved murder of a woman, Elma Sands, who is found at the bottom of a well.  What is most interesting about the book is the politics and maneuvering big business and prominent leaders will do for money and power.  While Elma Sands story is not truly known, Eve Karlin shines light on who she was and the possibilities of what happened, through the voice and lens of Elma’s cousin, Catherine (Caty).

Caty is a fascinating character to me.  She is Quaker and struggles to find her identity, adjusting to a large city, while trying to hold onto the values of her faith.  Her journey was most interesting to me and her determination to find out what happens to her cousin.  I found Caty to be a wonderful character in the story and her struggles and challenges is what made this book stand out for me.

The story doesn’t truly pick up speed until Elma’s disappearance.  Keeping in mind that this story is based on some historical fact, it was intriguing to learn how the judicial system worked back then.  All of this happened during a time when there wasn’t mass communication, social media, cellphones, etc.  So, I was simply fascinated with the way the investigation (albeit-it’s not told in very much detail), happens.  I was also fascinated with the way the court system worked back then, too!  Jurors actually had to sleep on the floor, at the courthouse…imagine that!  One thing is for certain, Eve Karlin shows how corruption infiltrates businesses, courthouses, families, and friends.  Sadly, finding justice for the death of one woman is simply part of what happens when someone gets in the way of business deals.

Overall, it was a good book!

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About Eve Karlin

Eve Karlin was born and raised in New York City. She is a graduate of Colgate University, where she studied literature and creative writing with Frederick Busch. Karlin worked in publishing for more than a decade in marketing, at Random House, Newsweek, and, later, as a foreign book scout with clients in the United Kingdom, Italy, Holland, Brazil, and Japan. She has had several short stories published in The East Hampton Star and has been a contributing writer for Patch.com. She lives in East Hampton, New York, with her husband and their sixteen-year-old triplets. City of Liars and Thieves is her first book.

Eve Karlin’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS:

Tuesday, January 6th: Mystery Playground

Wednesday, January 7th: Bibliophilia, Please

Friday, January 9th: Fiction Zeal

Monday, January 12th: Omnimystery News – author guest post

Tuesday, January 13th: Dwell in Possibility

Tuessday, January 13th: Kritter’s Ramblings

Wednesday, January 14th: No More Grumpy Bookseller

Friday, January 16th: Reading Reality

Monday, January 19th: From the TBR Pile

Tuesday, January 20th: Sarah’s Book Shelves

Wednesday, January 21st: A Fantastical Librarian

Thursday, January 22nd: Chew & Digest Books

Monday, January 26th: History from a Woman’s Perspective

Tuesday, January 27th: Tales of a Book Addict

Wednesday, January 28th: Staircase Wit

Thursday, January 29th: 100 Pages a Day… Stephanie’s Book Reviews

Friday, January 30th: Books in the Burbs

TBD: Back Porchervations

 

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Questions to Ruin An Author Interview

 

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Having been a book club organizer before, I had the privilege of meeting authors, long before my book blogging days.  Some authors attended our book meets, while others Skyped with us.  As a book blogger, I’ve had the opportunity to talk with authors and some have answered questions for this blog.  I have even started attending author events, which I absolutely enjoy!  I love getting to know a different side of authors because it gives me a deeper sense of who they are.  I also learn interesting tidbits about their book, which always add an another dimension to the book.  However, there have been times when I’ve read author interviews or been in the room, where someone has asked those cringe worthy questions-that makes me think, “did you just really ask that?!?”.

I decided to make a list of questions that make me cringe, when a reader is at an author event,  and asks the author:

1.  What’s your book about?  Seriously.  That has happened at a book club meet, where the author was on Skype with the group.  The author actually replied back-“did you read the book?”.  Bam!  Yes, she did!  Never ask that question!  Read the synopsis, at least!

2.  Which character did you love most? I realize this is a typical question.  However, I always view this question as “Sophie’s Choice”.  It’s like asking a parent which child they love first.  Regardless of how “evil” or horrible a character is, authors spend countless hours on research, writing, and developing each character.  Sometimes, the author may actually love a character that isn’t the main one, but each character is just as important.

3.  When is your next book being released?  First, not all authors are writing books right after another.  Again, I liken books and characters to parents and children.  You would never ask a new mom, who is still in the hospital, “so, when are you having your next baby?”.  It sounds ridiculous, right? You want to enjoy and savor the moment with the new mom and baby, not start looking at months down the road…right?  That is the same with authors and their books.  The authors want to enjoy the moment with that particular book.  Even if the author is working on another novel, has one about to be released the following day-let the author enjoy that moment with that specific book being discussed.  It’s so much pressure for authors to write a novel, add to that, the stress of wondering how the book will be received, the book promotions and tours the author has to participate in…it’s all quite overwhelming.  So, don’t add extra pressure by asking about that next book.  Some may not have anything planned because they simply want to enjoy that moment, focus on the current book, and recharge, before even considering writing another book.

I remember being in at a book club meet and an author had written the sequel to her first book.  She was working on a trilogy and the question was asked about her “next” (last) book.  The remainder of the time was spent on talking about the “phantom” book and not the book that the author had intended to talk about.  To this date, that author has not released the last book.  Yet, so much time was spent on a concept, rather than the book we all had read, loved, and planned to discuss.

4.  What are you currently reading? Sounds like an innocent question, doesn’t it? However, the author is there to promote their book…not someone else’s.  While authors love to support each other, and are quite open about that on social media- at a book event, author signing, or meeting, where the author is intended to talk about his/her book-don’t use that time to talk about other books.  Don’t overshadow their moment by putting the author on the spot.  Allow that author to have his/her moment and talk about the intended book.

5.   Can I give you some suggestions?  First of all, the book has already been written. Secondly, you are not the expert.  Don’t attempt to change their storyline.  Unless the author is asking for suggestions, don’t offer them.  Your intentions may be purely innocent and well meant, however, in that particular moment-it’s simply rude.

Note: These are questions that are cringe-worthy at a book event, where the author is attending (in person or Skype) to promote a specific book or talk about that particular book.  This doesn’t apply to conferences, meetings, or social media, where authors are more laid back and talking about a variety of topics, books, authors, etc.  On social media, authors love to receive feedback on their books, storylines, characters, and are always sharing and supporting other authors and their work!!

Are there any questions that have made you cringe or feel uncomfortable for the author? I’d love to know your experience!  Sound off below!

Also, don’t forget about the current Books Giveaway I am hosting!!  Click here for details.

 

copyright 2015

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First Book of the Year & Giveaways!

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During the month of December, I didn’t have any major tours I was reviewing for.  So, it gave me a chance to catch up on books that had been on my reader, waiting patiently to be read.  About a few days before January 1, I started reading, Firefly Lane, by Kristin Hannah.  I finished about a week after.

Make no mistake, this is a big book!  At 479 pages, the paperback can look quite intimidating.  Thankfully, I read it on my Kindle and it wasn’t as overwhelming holding a rather large book.  This is a story that is truly about friendship and how it evolves over time, distance, different career/life paths, and love.

While I have read other books from Kristin Hannah, this one tugged at my heartstrings the most.  Because Kristin and her mom both worked on this novel, while her mom was in the hospital, I couldn’t help but think of them and wonder which parts of themselves were in this book.  I am always intrigued by the people behind the actual book, so I was quite excited to read this novel…although, sad, too.

This is a story that certainly shows how people change, but that the values they are raised with, certainly impact them into adulthood.  While Tully didn’t have a father figure in her life and had a mother that was drug addicted, she has a wonderful grandmother that loves her and cares for her.  Kate has the 2 parent home, with a mom that wants her to find friends and worries for her, as Kate is the outcast at school…until Tully shows up.

I loved how Kate’s family loved Tully as their own.  Kate’s children love Tully and embrace her into their lives.  So much so, that some challenges arise between Katie and Tully because of the relationship Tully has with Marah.  As things usually do-everything comes full circle as Kate sees how much her own mother wanted a relationship with her, just as she wants with Marah.

Kate has the marriage, the children, the doting husband, and loving parents.  Tully has the world.  Tully is a first rate reporter and travels the world in search of great stories that will catapult her career to match that of Barbara Walters.  However, that lifestyle comes with a price.  Travelling, being away for long periods, and working past deadlines, leaves Tully going to an empty home.  Both want a part of each other’s world, and it isn’t until Kate is faced with a health issue, that both realize the importance of friends, family, and forgiveness.

This book reminded me a bit of the movie, “Terms of Endearment”, particularly with the relationship Kate has with her children.  Be prepared to cry, there are moments that I simply had to put the Kindle down and just grieve for each character.  Kristin Hannah works her magic in this book, as she writes a story that spans 30 years, and keeps the reader engaged throughout.

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Enter to win your copy of Firefly Lane AND Fly Away (the sequel) by Kristin Hannah!

Including your email, answer these questions:

Which book was your first read for the year? What made you choose that one?

Giveaway open to US readers only. Giveaway ends February 18, 2015.

copyright 2015