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

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

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

Dewey’s 24-Hour Read-a-thon Giveaway!

This is my first time to participate in the 24 Hour Read-a-thon, this Saturday! I am very excited and have already selected my read: The Ice Cream Queen of Orchard Street by Susan Jane Gilman.  It’s a book that I’m reviewing for Book-alicious Mama, and I haven’t been able to read it until now.  I love the cover and title, and the synopsis is equally as great! I have read great reviews for it and look forward to reading it this Saturday.

I’m also very excited to offer my first International Giveaway!!  If you don’t live in the US or Canada, then you will want to participate in this giveaway!

 

My gift is:Click on the picture for synopsis.

This book will be part of the hourly giveaways, so you won’t want to miss it! For a list of the giveaways, click here.

I hope you will stop by and post comments here to encourage me on my reading.  I won’t be able to read for the full 24 hours, as I already committed to spending the day with my daughter and her friend.  My daughter and I will be taking some pictures that morning, in a pumpkin patch.  Then, we are going to a quaint tearoom for lunch, followed by watching a ballet!! We are seeing Sleeping Beauty, and we can’t wait!!

Don’t forget, I have a giveaway this month that is for US residents! Click here for more information.

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Where Are You?

This is the question that I have been asked the most, by my fellow blogger friends and online followers: Where are you???

I know….I should have checked in.  Reading is my passion and blogging is a natural extension of what I love.  However, my teenage sons are quite adamant that I keep their personal lives away from my blog and social media.  Although, I do post little snippets of them on FB ;)

So, how do I balance maintaining their privacy and keeping my blog relevant to what my life encompasses, besides books?

I’ve thought of having more book giveaways, as a thank you to all of you for following my humble, small blog.  I’ve also thought of having a “Topic” day post throughout the week, but I don’t want my first love to become second: blogging before books.

I’ve even thought of just following some of the great blogs I follow and piggy backing off their topic days, too.

On top of what to do with my blog, it is quite difficult managing all the different social media platforms, supporting my fellow bloggers and authors I love, being relevant, and promoting books that I love!  I realize I can’t do it all, and mind you-this is a “hobby blog”, meaning I don’t get paid and I certainly don’t receive revenues on any links or ads.

I primarily cross-post on Twitter and FB, but do use Pinterest, Bloglovin’, Google+, etc.  However, many of those have taken a back seat.  I just can’t manage that all, with the amount of time I have.

BUT- I LOVE BOOKS!!  The reason why I created this blog was because I wanted a place to share great books with readers, and connect authors with readers.  I  love and follow many blogs,  have met wonderful bloggers (who have become great friends), and I enjoy reading about their daily adventures, their non-bookish topics, and anything else they want to share: especially giveaways! I’m a follower of blogs, just like you!! Yes, I love free books, too!!

So, I have decided to keep this blog as I first intended: book reviews, books listed by genres (on my side bar) so that readers can click on a genre they love and choose their next great read, and continue to promote authors and their work.

I’ll leave all the other great topics and ideas to my fellow bloggers, who are already doing a great job!  One more blogger doing the same or choosing not to, won’t alter the universe, won’t make my blog any less relevant, and all will be okay!

To give you a huge thanks for following my little blog, I am offering a book giveaway!  Thanks for understanding that when I’m not posting a book review, giveaway, or author/book promotion, it’s because I’m just being a mom of 3 and taking care of my household.  You can follow me on Twitter or FB to see some of my family pics and read some of my crazy comments and posts that are not always book related, or my FB page, where I love to post free Nook books-because let’s face it…Kindle and Amazon get lots of attention already!

Just know…even when I’m not visible on my blog, I am still reading!

 Simply enter your name, email address, and answer this question:

What’s one non-book thing you enjoy doing?

Giveaway ends: June 20, 2014.

One random winner will be selected.

US & Canada entries accepted.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Book Giveaway: The Comfort of Lies by Randy Susan Meyers

 

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THE COMFORT OF LIES

by Randy Susan Meyers

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 My Review:

This is a FANTASTIC book to read!! It makes for the PERFECT book club book to discuss, too! Oh, the many topics you could chat with amongst book members and the points of view each of the member would support/not support. I would love to be a fly on a wall to hear what everyone has to say.

This is also a fantastic s we all know someone that has had an affair at one time or another. This is a very raw and emotionally charged book.  The author really did her homework and truly left no stone uncovered with the emotional, physical, and relational m not talking about the pregnancy/baby.

Even before the baby, just having the affair really left everyone involved vulnerable and the author addresses every s point of view is also explored, through her so her questions are going to be more basic than those of the adults, which I loved.   t saturate the little girl with so much complexities and thoughts that are really beyond a child so young. She kept each character as realistic and vulnerable as possible, while showing the good/bad parts to each relationship and how they all move past the affair.

I could not put this book down and thought this was a perfect book for anyone that loves contemporary fiction. Their is mystery, drama, and such an authentic realness, that it almost read like a non-fiction book.

Scroll further down for the giveaway details!

“Sharp and biting, and sometimes wickedly funny…Meyers writes beautifully about a formerly good marriage.”

The Boston Globe

“Meyers’ complex characters feel familiar yet flawed, and this sharply woven tale demonstrates her uncanny ability to explore and illuminate the nuances of life’s most thorny dilemmas.”

The Brooklyn Daily Eagle

 “Meyers’ carefully told story is a satisfying examination of the imperfect paths we all walk.”

BookPage

 

“The characters crackle with both intelligence and wit…Meyers’ women resonate as strong, complicated and conflicted, and the writing flows effortlessly in this sweet yet sassy novel about love, women and motherhood.”

Kirkus Reviews

“Meyers has crafted an absorbing and layered drama that explores the complexities of infidelity, forgiveness, and family”

Booklist

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Since the release of her debut The Murderer’s Daughters in 2010, international bestselling author Randy Susan Meyers has earned glowing critical praise, award nominations, and a devoted readership around the globe for her thought-provoking, emotionally-resonant novels.

Now available in an affordable paperback format, Meyers returns with her bestselling second novel, THE COMFORT OF LIES (Washington Square Press/Atria Books; On-sale: January 28, 2014; $16.00), a richly textured story that explores the complications of love and collateral damage of infidelity, as well as universal themes of motherhood, identity, trust, and forgiveness.

Told in alternating points of view, THE COMFORT OF LIES reveals the darkest and most private thoughts of three very different women all connected to a five-year-old girl: Tia, the birth mother; Caroline, the adopted mother; and Juliette, the wife of the birth father. The year their lives collide, the women must confront their choices while discovering sobering truths about their relationships and most importantly, themselves.

Five years ago, Tia fell into obsessive love with a man she could never have. A married man and a father, Nathan was unavailable in every way. When she became pregnant, he disappeared and Tia gave the baby up for adoption. Five years later, she struggles with the decision and yearns to connect with her daughter—and her former lover.

Caroline, a dedicated pathologist, had always been a bit ambivalent about motherhood, much preferring the freedom of her childless, work-addicted lifestyle, but attempting to please her husband, she agreed to adopt, hoping her misgivings would disappear. However after five years, she’s questioning whether or not she’s really cut out for a domestic life.

Juliette thought she had it all—a loving husband, two healthy sons, and a successful business. Then she discovered Nathan’s affair. He promised he’d never stray again and she trusted him. Five years later, when Juliette intercepts a letter meant for Nathan containing photos of his daughter, her world crumbles, again. How could he keep this from her? What else is he hiding? Most importantly, how could he deny his daughter?

Desperate for the truth, Juliette goes in search of the little girl. Her quest leads her first to Caroline, then Tia, and before long, the women are on a collision course with consequences none of them could have predicted.

THE COMFORT OF LIES: A Novel

By Randy Susan Meyers

Washington Square Press/Atria Books || January 28, 2014 || $16.00 || Paperback

ISBN: 978-1-45-167302-9

Photo credit, Jill Meyers.

I was born in Brooklyn, New York, where I quickly moved from playing with dolls to incessantly reading, spending most of my time at the Kensington Branch Library. Early on I developed a penchant for books rooted in social issues, my early favorites being Karen and The Family Nobody Wanted. Shortly I moved onto Jubilee and The Diary of Anne Frank.

My dreams of justice simmered at the fantastically broadminded Camp Mikan, where I went from camper to counselor, culminating in a high point when (with the help of my strongly Brooklyn-accented singing voice), I landed the role of Adelaide in the staff production of Guys and Dolls.

Soon I was ready to change the world, starting with my protests at Tilden High and City College of New York . . .. . .  until I left to pursue the dream in Berkeley, California, where I supported myself by selling candy, nuts, and ice cream in Bartons of San Francisco. Then, world weary at too tender an age, I returned to New York, married, and traded demonstrations for diapers.

While raising two daughters, I tended bar, co-authored a nonfiction book on parenting, ran a summer camp, and (in my all-time favorite job, other than writing) helped resurrect and run a community center.

Follow Randy Susan Meyers

Facebook/ Twitter/ Goodreads/ Blog

Giveaway Details:

Enter your name & email address in the comment section.

Answer the following question: What interests you most about this book?

1 random winner will be selected and notified.

The book will be mailed directly to the winner by the publisher.  US entries only. Sorry!!

Giveaway ends: February 14, 2014.

Closed the Cover Virtual Book Tour: Interview with Author, Kat Latham of Mine Under the Mistletoe

Goodreads Synopsis:
Thanks to a transatlantic house swap, California girl Ashley Turner is finally going to fulfill her lifelong dream of a proper English Christmas. Her holiday plans did not include a sexy stranger climbing into her borrowed bed in the middle of the night. But in the light of day, Ashley can’t help but wonder if Santa has delivered early…Game designer Oliver Stansfeld can’t wait to leave dreary London—and all its difficult holiday memories—for sunny San Diego. But a freak ice storm and a grounded plane have forced him back to his already-occupied flat. To make up for the mix-up, the least he can do is show his pretty houseguest where to get the perfect Christmas tree before he leaves.

The more time they spend together, the more their attraction grows, and soon Ashley is tempting Oliver to give in to the spirit of the season and snuggle up for the rest of the winter. As the ice melts and flights start taking off again, he must choose between giving in to the past or risking his heart on a chance at love.

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About The Author:
Kat Latham writes sexy contemporary romance set all around the world. Her debut novel, Knowing the Score, is out now.  She’s a California girl who moved to Europe the day after graduating from UCLA, ditching her tank tops for raincoats. She spent several years teaching English in Prague followed by several more working for a humanitarian organization in London. She now lives with her British husband and baby girl in a small town in the rural Netherlands surrounded by miles and miles of green pasture, canals and Shetland ponies. Kat’s slowly adjusting to life in a place where bicycles and cows seem to outnumber people.  With degrees in English lit and human rights, she loves reading and writing stories that reflect the depth, humor and emotion of real life. She’s been fortunate enough to win some contests, including the Golden Pen and Ignite the Flame, though her Mom is most proud of Kat winning the sex-scene contest, Between the Sheets.  Through her British husband (Dr Smarty Pants, PhD), Kat’s gained a keen appreciation for rugby, cricket, and the sound of a pucka English accent saying words ending in ‘-er’. He inspired her to write a series about hot rugby players with incredibly sexy voices. The first in the series, Knowing the Score, was published by Carina Press in summer 2013.  Kat’s other career involves writing and editing for charities, and she’s had the privilege of traveling to Kenya, Ethiopia, Bosnia and Northern Ireland to write about the heroic people helping their communities survive poverty, inequality and hunger.  When she’s not traveling, reading or writing, Kat can be found sharing overly personal things on her blog, Twitter and Facebook.
Kat, your author bio is fascinating.  You moved to Europe immediately after
graduating from UCLA, taught English in Prague, worked for a humanitarian
organization in London and now live in the Netherlands. Talk to us a little
about your travels.  Which location has been your favorite?
I love to travel. When I was a kid, I used to dream of traveling the world, but I was
quite shy and fearful of unfamiliar things. I started traveling as a way of challenging
myself and building my self-reliance. It worked!  My favorite location? Hmm…that’s really tough. There’s a town a couple hours south of Prague calledČesky Krumlov, which has beautifully preserved medieval architecture and is a really chilled-out place. I tried to go there every few months when I lived in Prague.  A few years ago, my husband and I went to Japan to visit his brother’s family (my husband is British, but two of his brothers are married to Japanese women, so I have nieces and a nephew who speak Japanese as their mother tongue). I fell in love with Hiroshima. I think I expected it to be a very somber, depressing place, but it was a vibrant and startling example of what people can endure and overcome.
What can you tell us about the humanitarian organization that you worked for
in London?  What kind of work does the organization do and how did you first
become involved with them?
I worked for the British Red Cross for nearly five years. After living in Prague, my
husband and I moved to London so I could get my MA in Human Rights. Once I’d
finished that, I got a job as a writer in the Red Cross’s communications division. A
year later I was promoted and became their first web editor.  I feel really lucky to have worked for the Red Cross—and in such an interesting role.  I got to interview people from across the organization and hear about what they went through to save lives in some of the most awful disasters. I have friends who relocated to Haiti after the earthquake, for example. They have amazing stories, and that was how I started writing my debut novel,
Knowing the Score, which features an aid-worker heroine and a rugby-playing hero. People say write what you know, and I’ve spent so much time around aid workers that the heroine came easily to me. The hero…he was more of an enigma—but one I really enjoyed figuring out.
I know that you write contemporary romance, like Mine Under the Mistletoe, but you also state that you have travelled to Kenya, Ethiopia and India to write about the heroic people helping their communities survive disasters. What can you tell us about that writing and where could interested readers find out more?
Sure. My trip to Kenya was in August 2011. I went to Turkana, in rural northern
Kenya on the border with South Sudan, to write stories about the drought and food
crisis people there were suffering and how the Kenyan Red Cross was distributing food and working on water and health projects.  Here are a couple of my favorite
stories from that trip.  I’ve been to Ethiopia a couple of times. Once was for the Foundation I work for, which funds UNICEF projects in Africa; I visited several schools that were being rebuilt. Right now, I’m on my way back from my second trip to Ethiopia. I’m actually answering this while I have a layover at Istanbul airport on my way from Addis Ababa to Amsterdam. This time I went there to lead workshops on writing, blogging and social media for African journalists who write stories for the International HIV/AIDS Alliance.  Last year I went to India with the Foundation I work for, again to visit UNICEF projects we fund.  It was a very inspiring trip, but I had just found out I was pregnant—I was seven weeks pregnant, in fact—and I’ve never felt so sick as I did on that trip. Traveling on bumpy dirt roads in monsoon rain while the driver dodges cows is really not good for helping a pregnant lady keep her breakfast down.
I know it’s hard to imagine but if you were not a writer what other pastime
would you use to fill your time?  Is writing your only creative outlet or are you
also a musician, painter, illustrator? 
Ooh…I love to sew. I’m not one of those ultra-creative types who can whip up a dress without a pattern. I always have to have a pattern. But I’ve made quilts for friends and for their babies, and there are a whole load of people I feel like I owe quilts to. They just take so stinkin’ long!  I made a quilt for my daughter when I was pregnant, and I’ve made one for one of my nieces. That means I have two more nieces and two nephews I haven’t made anything for. Perhaps by the time they get married…
I love how you brought your characters together in Mine Under the Mistletoe.
It’s a nice change from the usual plots and the idea of a trans-atlantic house
swap is very unique.  Can you tell my readers about what a trans-atlantic
house swap is?  Have you ever participated in a house swap?  If you did,
where would you go? 
A house swap is where you use a website to exchange houses with someone so you
can have a homey place to stay on vacation. It’s trans-atlantic because my heroine’s from San Diego and my hero’s from London. Ashley has always wanted a traditional Christmas—the kind with snow and scarves and hot chocolate like she’s seen in movies. Ollie’s grieving and wants to escape Christmas cheer; he figures a warm climate and beaches will help him forget it’s the holiday season. But when they’re both stuck in London together, they figure out that the holiday has more in store for them than they’d anticipated.  I’ve never done a house swap. I don’t own my own home, and I doubt any of my landlords would’ve reacted well if I’d said, “I’d like to let some strangers spend a
couple of weeks in your house so I can save on hotel bills.” *shrugs* Maybe one day…
3 Fantastic Authors come together for 1 Christmas Anthology!
Edition: First Edition

Format: eBook
Publication Date: December, 2013
Publisher: Carina
#ChristmasAnthology
Included Novellas:

Tinsel My Heart by Christi Barth

Season of Second Chances by Brighton Walsh

Mine Under the Mistletoe by Kat Latham

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Click here to enter the book giveaway!

Click here to enter the book giveaway!

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Tour Schedule

November 29, 2013 Closed the Cover – Tour Kick-Off Post & Giveaway Tome Tender – Book Promo Kelly P’s Blog – Author Q&A with Kat Latham, Brighton Walsh & Christi Barth November 30, 2013 Oh My Books! – Book Review December 3, 2013 Closed the Cover – Guest Post by Christi Barth December 4, 2013 Not Drinking Coffee – Book Promo
December 5, 2013 Nerd Alert Book Love – Book Review & Q&A with Brighton Walsh Listful Booking – Book Review
December 6, 2013 Wicked Book Addict – Guest Post by Kat Latham & Excerpt of Mine Under the Mistletoe
December 7, 2013 Stark Raven Mad – Radio Interview
December 8, 2013 Books in the ‘Burbs – Q&A with Kat Latham For the Love of Books – Book Review & Promo
December 9, 2013 My Nook, Books & More – Book Review & Guest Post by Brighton Walsh
December 10, 2013 Books, Books & More Books – Book Spotlight & Excerpt of Tinsel My Heart
December 11, 2013 Curse of the Bibliophile – Q&A with Christi Barth & Promo  My Tangled Skeins Book Reviews – Book Review Twin Opinions – Book Review
December 12, 2013 Love Romance Books – Book Review & Excerpt of Season of Second Chances Smut & Bonbons – Book Promo and Giveaway December 13, 2013 My Life. One Story at a Time – Book Review

Freedom to Read Giveaway Hop: July 2-July 9th!

 

Click here to visit other blogs!

Let Freedom Ring!!

I Am a Reader, Not A Writer and Bookhounds are hosting this giveaway hop!

I’m absolutely excited to participate, because this is a way for us to give books to readers, and also to meet fellow bloggers and readers!

This is by far, one of the largest hops I’ve ever participated in! I hope you will join me and hop around to other blogs and enter their giveaways!

Win this Book!

I thought it was quite fitting to give this book away for Freedom to Read Giveaway Hop!

The genre is YA/Dystopian Fiction, that deals with suppression and control.

Click on the icon for my full review.

How to Enter:

Simply enter your email address in the comment form.

One winner will be randomly selected on July 10, 2013.

Have fun and hop around to other blogs!

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Have you checked out my other giveaway? Click here for details!

Want a free book? Click here for details!

Armchair BEA-Wrapping Up the Week!

I have come across some fantastic books, written by Indie authors!  Because e-books exist now, it has become quite easy for these self-published and/or authors working with small, independent publishing companies to get their books into the hands of readers.  I must admit, I have come across some great books that were free on my Nook and have met great authors requesting book reviews.

Here are some of the books I’ve read from Indie authors:

I came across Heather Wardell’s book a couple of years ago, and loved this book.  It was my first book in the chick-lit genre that I enjoyed!  As a gift to her readers, this book has continued to be free for e-readers and her other books are about .99 cents.  A fantastic buy!!

Judy Leslie is another fantastic writer.  This is her first book, which is Historical fiction.  I absolutely love her writing style, loved the book, and have found her to be a charming and sweet person to get to know.  In my opinion, working with Indie authors, I have been able to get to know the authors on a more personal level and find them more interactive with bloggers.

While I have also met fantastic authors, who aren’t Indie, I do find that I often have to go through their publicist or publishing company.  The authors are just stretched thin with book tours, so that is why I’ve also signed up for more tours this year, too.

This was my first year to ever participate in Armchair BEA.  Thanks to Judy Leslie, author of For the Love of Ireland, for letting me know :D

I think this is the first time I’ve ever posted every day for a week!!  Well, it will be a week tomorrow-when I announce the winners for the book giveaway ;)

I’m actually tired-brain tired, but I’ve enjoyed every moment!  It was a lot of fun meeting bloggers and being introduced to different genres, books I’d never read, and just overall the interactions with everyone!

Here’s my Weekly Wrap-Up:

Day 1:  Weekly Introductions & Classical Literature

Day 2:  Genre Fiction

Day 3:  Book Giveaway! (ends at midnight, today!)

Day 4: Non-fiction

Day 5:  Genre-Picture Books to Young Adults

Thanks to all those that helped with Armchair BEA!! It was quite fun and I hope to be back next year!

TLC Book Tours-Review & Giveaway: Into the Darkest Corner by Elizabeth Haynes

About Into the Darkest Corner

• Paperback: 432 pages

• Publisher: Harper Paperbacks (January 2, 2013)

 

When young, pretty Catherine Bailey meets Lee Brightman, she can’t believe her luck. Gorgeous, charismatic, and a bit mysterious, Lee seems almost too perfect to be true.

But what begins as flattering attention and spontaneous, passionate sex transforms into raging jealousy, and Catherine soon discovers that Lee’s dazzling blue eyes and blond good looks hide a dark, violent nature. Disturbed by his increasingly erratic, controlling behavior, she tries to break it off; turning to her friends for support, she’s stunned to find they don’t believe her. Increasingly isolated and driven into the darkest corner of her world, a desperate Catherine plans a meticulous escape.

Four years later, Lee is behind bars and Catherine—now Cathy—is trying to build a new life in a new city. Though her body has healed, the trauma of the past still haunts her. Then Stuart Richardson, her attractive new neighbor, moves in. Encouraging her to confront her fears, he sparks unexpected hope and the possibility of love and a normal life.

Until the day the phone rings . . .

My Review:

This is a psychological thriller that will keep the reader engrossed in the novel until the very end.  It starts with a bang and ends with chills running down your body.  It’s that good!  The story begins with a court hearing, then moves to a murder scene. After that, each chapter alternates with flashbacks from the past and the present.  Eventually, the past catches up with her present and the story stays in the present.  While it was a bit confusing at first, once the story fell into place, it wasn’t difficult to make the mental shift.

Catherine (the past) is a vibrant, confident, who loves to go partying with her girlfriends.  One night, she meets Lee and they quickly develop an intimate relationship.  While Catherine loves everything about Lee, with time, she starts to see a darker side to him that keeps her on her toes.  Coming home to find that he’s been there, seeing small insignifcant items moved, feeling that she’s being followed, and having to tell him everything she does so that he won’t freak out on her begins to take its toll on her mental well-being.  She becomes jumpy and scared that she will provoke him to hit her or become sexually violent with her.

Lee is a charmer and not only seduces her, but begins to tell her friends things that aren’t true about Catherine, to make excuses for her bruises, scratches, and somber attitude.  Soon, her friends begin to believe him and she is isolated from her social circle and feels alone and unable to escape from him.  Because of his charisma and line of work (special units police officer), he begins to play mind games with her and she soon realizes that her only way of escaping is leaving the country.  Because of Lee’s abuse of power, Catherine is kidnapped, raped, mutiliated, and is slowly dying.  However, a neighbor notices something and saves Catherine from any further torment….or so she thinks.

Present time Cathy (Catherine) is suffering from PTSD, OCD, and becomes so paranoid that she isolates herself from anyone and limits her time away from her apartment.  Because of her past, Cathy doesn’t trust anyone in authority, doesn’t trust her own instincts, and is always on high alert that Lee is watching her even though he is in jail.  Living in a flat with 2 other neighbors, she meets Stuart, a psychologist.  He is recovering from a failed engagement, she is recovering from the trauma and abuse she endured with Lee.  Both begin a very “safe” and slow relationship,with Stuart encouraging Cathy to seek treatment for her OCD.  While in outpatient therapy, Cathy  begins to address the trauma, learns coping skills, and slowly begins to reclaim her life.  I loved the Cognitive-Behavioral techniques addressed in the book.

While this book isn’t a self-help book, it does address in detail the ways Cathy was taught to overcome her anxiety and no longer fear the unknown or the illusion of Lee.  This helps Cathy handle Lee differently and the situations she finds herself in, as she reconnects with an old friend and soon has to confront her fears.  This is a creepy, psychological thriller that readers may identify with.  We’ve all had “bad” relationships, hopefully not near as bad as Catherine’s….but enough to make the reader sympathize with her.  Lee was a charmer and the more he scared Catherine, the more turned on he becomes, which in turn equates to the level of violence he demonstrates.  Abuse of power and his charasmatic attitude means that he will do anything to keep Catherine under his thumb, isolated from friends, and dependent on him.  Having Stuart in her life, Cathy learns what it’s like to have a healthy relationship, slowly learns to let her defenses down around him, and begins to face her anxiety and fears.

I loved this book and read it in one day! This hasn’t happened in a very long time, but I just had to keep reading to find out what happens next.  The ending was chilling and sinister because it leaves the reader wondering if Lee’s letter and “gift” is really trying to show how he is ready to take responsibility or if it’s a threat to what will happen to her when he gets out.  Cathy only shows the first part of the letter to the detective and wants to hold on to the ending for herself, until she sees his “gift”.  I wondered why she wanted to keep it, but it is obvious that she will always feel connected to him in some way.  After mutilating her body, in my opinion, it’s the later, going along the lines, “if I can’t have you, no one else can”.  In Lee’s mind, Catherine is his and only time will tell what he means by that….I look forward to hearing your thoughts about the book, once you read it!

5 plus more

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Book Giveaway Details:

Along with your email address, please leave a comment answering this question:

“What interests you about this book?”

1 random winner will be selected.  The winner must live in the U.S. for this book giveaway.

Giveaway ends: March 1, 20133.

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About Elizabeth Haynes      

ELIZABETH HAYNES is a police intelligence analyst. She started writing fiction in 2006 with the annual challenge of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) and the encouragement of the creative writing courses at West Dean College. She lives in a village near Maidstone, Kent, with her husband and son.

Visit her at elizabeth-haynes.com, connect with her on Facebook, and follow her on Twitter.

tlc book tours

Elizabeth’s Tour Stops

Wednesday, January 2nd: Mockingbird Hill Cottage

Thursday, January 3rd: Booked on a Feeling

Monday, January 7th: Peppermint PhD

Tuesday, January 8th: Drey’s Library

Thursday, January 10th: The Blog of Lit Wits

Thursday, January 17th: Sara’s Organized Chaos

Monday, January 21st: All Grown Up?

Tuesday, January 22nd: Kristina’s Favorites

Wednesday, January 23rd: Seaside Book Corner

Thursday, January 24th: Bookworm Meets Bookworm

Monday, January 28th: Kelly’s [Former] France Blog

Tuesday, January 29th: Proud Book Nerd

Wednesday, January 30th: Literary Feline

Thursday, January 31st: It’s a Crazy, Beautiful Life

Monday, February 4th: Books in the Burbs

Tuesday, February 5th: Book Journey

Wednesday, February 6th: Tina’s Book Reviews