FRIENDS WITH ISSUES by Meredith Berlin — Featured New Release

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FRIENDS WITH ISSUES

Meredith Berlin


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fwiThree-time-Emmy nominee and former editor-in-chief of “Seventeen Magazine” and “Soap Opera Digest” Meredith Berlin is releasing her debut contemporary fiction, Friends With Issues (January 24, 2023, Warren Publishing), which follows three glamorous, self-made women in their 40s who gamble with love, sex and their careers in NYC and L.A., as one charismatic man captivates them all. 

Friends With Issues follows Brooke, Elizabeth, and Susan, three friends who have made their mark on Manhattan but who now struggle with the daily balancing act of career, friendship, and intimacy. Brooke thought she married the man of her dreams, but now she’s questioning her marriage as she embarks on a new venture to Hollywood. Elizabeth’s sex life is incredible, but only on her husband’s terms–and after a shattering diagnosis, she attempts to remake herself in order to recover some semblance of her identity. Susan should be ecstatic when her media mogul husband catapults them into financial security, but as her uncertainty about their relationship grows, she opens a Pandora’s box of new passion by finally admitting that her sexual and romantic preferences do not lie exclusively with men.

In Meredith Berlin’s provocative debut, these women discover that their relationships to sex, love, friends, and personal identity can transform at any age–and money doesn’t protect you from the unimaginable. Fans of Big Little Lies, The Manhattan Girls, Valley of the Dolls, and novels by Taylor Jenkins Reid and Jessica Anya Blau will devour this absorbing drama to its powerful end.

Buy Links:

Amazon          Barnes & Noble          Kobo


ABOUT MEREDITH

Meredith BerlinMeredith Berlin was the editor-in-chief of several magazines, including Soap Opera Digest and Seventeen. Her freelance articles and profiles have appeared in dozens of newspapers and magazines. Meredith is a three-time Emmy-nominated executive producer and has been a regular on-air contributor to television news and entertainment shows. Like a few of her characters, she worked as a jeweler and lived in the northern suburbs of New York City. Meredith was diagnosed with MS over twenty years ago. She has been active on MS boards and feels privileged to advocate for others who have the disease. Meredith has been married for over thirty years and has three adult children and one perfect granddaughter. Like many former New Yorkers, she currently lives in Florida. This is her first novel. Read more at meredithberlin.com.

Follow Meredith Berlin on social media:

Instagram: @meredith_berlin | Facebook: @meredithberlin


AN INTERVIEW WITH MEREDITH

  • How has your professional life, working as editor-in-chief for Seventeen Magazine and Soap Opera Digest, influenced your writing? 

Soap Opera Digest not only taught me about that particular community of actors and actresses. More importantly, it taught me about the art of storytelling. Daily soap scripts are the length of most movies. No reruns. Soaps are where writers learned about arcs and long form storytelling. They’ve been around since the early days of radio. Seventeen, is considered a national treasure. A girl’s first real magazine. It taught me about fashion, respect for teens, what is current and on the minds of girls. It taught me how to capture a reader and not let go.

  • How has your MS diagnosis impacted you and your writing?

MS taught me that I have to respect my body. It’s a disease that doesn’t allow you to “push through” When you need to rest, you must rest. Because I look fine, with no outward symptoms, it’s also called on me to be more of an advocate for myself. My disability is not seen but I must communicate that I have one, IF the situation calls for it. It’s taught me about self advocacy in general.  I have learned to accept what my body tells me and listen to it.

  • What made you decide to return to writing, and how has your life changed since you have?

I saw a movie on TV 20 years after I wrote the book and said, “That’s my book!” Of course it wasn’t, but the relationship between the women, the fact that they were wealthy but also self made, had strengths, weaknesses, love problems, children problems and relied on each other, made me realize that my book’s themes were evergreen. I was enthused to return to it. And finishing the book became a fever goal. My family pushed me on. 

  • Let’s talk about your characters. You mention that people are not just “one thing”. How does this show up in your characters?

I can expand more fully! If you see a well dressed, wealthy woman, you can come up with an idea of what kind of life that person lives. If you talk to someone who’s confrontational, and rude, you want to stay away. If you meet someone with a wrenching disease, you imagine that their life is a struggle. But you don’t know their backstory. It’s only by listening and investing the time in someone else that you might learn, ie, that the confrontational person, ie, has been severely emotionally crippled in their past and it colors what they say and do. Listening, giving people second chances and believing that everyone has a story is, for me, a more connected way to live. Doesn’t mean you have to like them. It’s just interesting to remember that most of us have layers and reasons for what we do. 

  • How does this book show the truth of life – that we all struggle and have to adapt? 

Yes, it’s a good subject to expand on. Well, the most recent example of that is that my entire family has come down with CoVid and I’m on deadline. I’m here in Massachusetts, meant to take care of my granddaughter, while being slayed with the virus. Didn’t plan on it. I’m exhausted, anxious, worried. I want to push through but I can’t. So what to do? Ask for help, lower my expectations, believe that I will still show the world the best book I can write and rely on family and friends to support me when I tell myself a million times a day, “Oh God, what if I can’t?”

  • As somebody who has interviewed a lot of celebrities – who was your most interesting interview?

The first interview I ever conducted was with the most famous man in the world — Muhammad Ali. It was also the easiest because he did all the talking. I was 20 years old and scared to death! I was also paid the “ridiculously high fee” of $25 for for writing the story for my local newspaper. How I got the interview and why Ali said yes is a story of persistence, fear, and the generosity of an incredible boxer.

  • What do you want readers to take away from your book?

I want them to relate to my characters. I want them to see themselves or someone they know in them. I want them to know that we–as humans–have inner strength to get us through the worst. I hope they see that humor, love and support can help us through the good times and bad.

JOANNE EASLEY NOVELS: Multi-Book Blitz and Giveaway

SWEET JANE, JUST ONE LOOK,
&
I’LL BE SEEING YOU
by
Joanne Kukanza Easley
SCROLL DOWN FOR THE GIVEAWAY!

SWEET JANE

2019 Wisdom-Faulkner Award finalist
2020 Adult Fiction winner Texas Author Project
2020 Sarton Award Finalist
2020 Eric Hoffer Award Short List

A drunken mother makes childhood ugly. Jane runs away at sixteen, determined to leave her fraught upbringing in the rearview. Vowing never to return, she hitchhikes to California, right on time for the Summer of Love. Seventeen years later, she looks good on paper: married, grad school, sober, but her carefully constructed life is crumbling. When Mama dies, Jane returns for the funeral, leaving her husband in the dark about her history. Seeing her childhood home and significant people from her youth catapults Jane back to the events that made her the woman she is. She faces down her past and the ghosts that shaped her family. A stunning discovery helps Jane see her problems through a new lens.

Family Saga / Women’s Fiction / Historical Fiction
Publisher: Red Boots Press
Pages: 279 pages
Publication Date: September 17, 2022

JUST ONE LOOK

May 2022 Pulpwood Queen Book Club Pick
2020 Shelf Unbound 2021 Notable 100 Best Indie Books
2020 Recommended by US Review of Books
In 1965 Chicago, thirteen-year-old Dani Marek declares she’s in love, and you best believe it. This is no crush, and for six blissful years she fills her hope chest with linens, dinnerware, and dreams of an idyllic future with John. When he is killed in action in Viet Nam, Dani’s world shatters. She launches a one-woman vendetta against the men she seeks out in Rush Street’s singles bars. Her goal: break as many hearts as she can. Dani’s ill-conceived vengeance leads her to a loveless marriage that ends in tragedy. At twenty-four, she’s left a widow with a baby, a small fortune, and a ghost—make that two. Set in the turbulent Sixties and Seventies, Just One Look explores one woman’s tumultuous journey through grief, denial, and letting go.
Family Saga / Women’s Fiction / Historical Fiction
Publisher: Red Boots Press
Pages: 293 pages
Publication Date: September 17, 2022
CLICK TO PURCHASE!

I’LL BE SEEING YOU

The new release from Joanne Kukanza Easley, the multi-award-winning author of Sweet Jane and Just One Look

A saga spanning five decades, I’ll Be Seeing You, explores one woman’s life, with and without alcohol to numb the pain.

Young Lauren knows she doesn’t want to be a ranch wife in Palo Pinto County, Texas. After she’s discovered by a modeling scout at the 1940 Fort Worth Stock Show Parade, she moves to Manhattan to begin her glamourous career. A setback ends her dream, and she drifts into alcohol dependence and promiscuity. By twenty-four, she’s been widowed and divorced, and has developed a pattern of fleeing her problems with geographical cures. Lauren’s last escape lands her in Austin, where, after ten chaotic years, she achieves lasting sobriety and starts a successful business, but happiness eludes her.

Fast forward to 1985. With a history of burning bridges and never looking back, Lauren is stunned when Brett, her third husband, resurfaces, wanting to reconcile after thirty-three years. The losses and regrets of the past engulf her, and she seeks the counsel of Jane, a long-time friend from AA. In the end, the choice is Lauren’s. What will she decide?

Family Saga / Women’s Fiction / Addiction & Recovery / Historical Fiction
Publisher: Red Boots Press
Pages: 227 pages
Publication Date: August 28, 2022
CLICK TO PURCHASE!

Review_preview

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Spanning nearly five decades, I’ll Be Seeing You tells the incredibly riveting story of Ruby/Lauren Eaton. In this genre crossover between women’s fiction and historical fiction, Ms. Easley takes Lauren back and forth between Texas and New York from 1938 to 1985 – working, loving, winning, losing, learning, failing, and altogether living a fascinating life uniquely her own.

For all that this book covers forty-seven years of Lauren’s life, it was actually a quick read because it was so engaging. I found myself transported to the time periods and settings skillfully described in the story. Having just visited Pearl Harbor before reading this, I connected best with the scenes depicting events during World War II. Those showed excellent research and came across as lived experiences.

One of the things I liked most about this story is the constancy of the element of friendship in Lauren’s life. From Clare to Milly to Harold to Alice to Helen and to Jane, Lauren always had some kind of support system. It’s especially important because of her estrangement from her family and her lack of success in love.

Another aspect of this book I really liked is how diverse the mix of characters is in terms of ethnicity, gender identity, and political affiliation. It seems reflective of society even in the past.

Lauren’s struggle to overcome alcoholism was quite an effective plotline. It would resonate with many readers looking for main characters who are flawed yet still trying to become the best version of themselves.

Huge thanks to Lone Star Lit for including me in the blog tour and to Ms. Easley for providing me a copy of the book to review.
4 out of 5 stars

A retired registered nurse with experience in both the cold, clinical operating room and the emotionally fraught world of psychiatric hospitals, Joanne lives on a small ranch in the Texas Hill Country, where she writes fiction about complicated, twentieth-century women.

Her multi-award-winning debut, Sweet Jane, was named the adult fiction winner at the Texas Author Project and shortlisted for the Sarton Award and Eric Hoffer Award, among others. Just One Look, Joanne’s second novel was a May 2022 Pulpwood Queen Book Club Pick. I’ll BeSeeing You, her third novel, features characters from Sweet Jane. Her prize-winning short stories and poetry have appeared in several anthologies.
***
GIVEAWAY! GIVEAWAY! GIVEAWAY!
THREE WINNERS!
Each receives an eBook of
SWEET JANE or
JUST ONE LOOK or
I’LL BE SEEING YOU
(U.S. only; ends midnight, CDT, 11/17/22)

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SOPHIE GO’S LONELY HEARTS CLUB by Roselle Lim – Featured New Release

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SOPHIE GO’S LONELY HEARTS CLUB

Roselle Lim


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Sophie Go


REVIEW

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Sophie Go’s Lonely Hearts Club is my new favorite of Roselle Lim’s books so far. This early, I’m declaring it as one of my Top 22 Reads of 2022.
Weaving filial piety, magical realism, found family, friendship, the Beatles, food, and romance into a cohesive story requires mad skills and loads of talent. Ms. Lim has those in abundance.
Sophie Go is relatable, sympathetic, and lovable. Her interactions with her parents made my heart ache and helped me appreciate my own more, especially my mother who is as loud in declaring how proud she is of me as Irene Go is in denouncing her daughter.
20220807_031030927_iOSSophie’s long-distance friendship with Singapore resident Yanmei resonated loudly with me as I have similar tight friendships in the same country, Thailand, Indonesia, and the Philippines. The kind of brutally honest, steadfast support they have is something to aspire for.
The slow build-up of her romance with a certain Mr. who hired her to matchmake for him was sweet and almost satisfied my romantic requirements in a story. I say almost because I always want more. Can never have enough romance.
Finally, the most entertaining, the most heartfelt, and the best part of this book–Sophie’s connection with the Old Ducks, the seven septuagenarians who became her matchmaking clients, her friends, and her family. Ms. Lim gave each man such wonderfully distinct personalities, they really came alive in my mind. I think someone should adapt this book into a movie just to showcase these amazing characters.
4 Four-half-stars

COMFORT ZONE by Kimberly Fish–Book Blog Tour: Reviewapalooza and Giveaway

COMFORT ZONE
A Comfort Stories Book
by
KIMBERLY FISH
Genre: Contemporary / Second Chance Romance / Women’s Fiction
Publisher: Fish Tales Publishing
Date of Publication: November 1, 2021
Number of Pages: 289 pages 
Scroll down for Giveaway!

The award-winning author of Comfort Songs, Comfort Plans, and Comfort Foods digs into the life of single-mom Anna Weber, an appraiser who gives value to other people’s found treasures. On assignment to research a handwritten sheet of music, Anna helps a stranded motorist, only to discover she’s rescued retired NFL quarterback Jack Moses. His confidence and fascination for solving problems makes him impossible for Anna to ignore even as they both dart along separate deadlines to save the finances at an inner-city school. Little does Anna know that as she wrestles with secrets from her past and a suspicious approach to people, Jack is running too—dodging women, pro athletes, and a future with no definable end zone.
As a nemesis threatens Anna’s young daughters, these two unlikely partners discover that it’s in stepping back from years of self-sufficiency that Anna and Jack can find the best treasure of all: a series of sweet, second chances.
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PRAISE & AWARDS
“Kimberly Fish’s Comfort books are wonderful, charming stories set in the Texas Hill Country. Fans of small towns family relationships will enjoy these feel-good books. Two thumbs up!” – Jan Moran, USA Today bestselling author of Seabreeze Inn.
Comfort Zone is a Literary Titan Gold Award winner and a Reader Views Bronze Award winner in romance. It was also a runner-up in the regional fiction category of the New England Book Festival awards.
CLICK TO PURCHASE!
Amazon


Perfectly titled, Comfort Zone left me feeling a warm glow inside after reading it. With her latest book, Kimberly Fish welcomes her eager readers back to Comfort, Texas– a place of solace and support, a place where you’ll feel safe and at ease. For those reasons, Anna Weber calls it her forever home.

Not at first, though. Not until her past caught up with her and brought danger to herself and her twin daughters. What was a place to hide became special because of friends gathering around to get her back on her feet and a new man proving his worth to her with his actions, making her consider opening her heart once again.

We’re living in days not promised … We can’t treat these gifts lightly.”

While in pursuit of information to turn a handwritten sheet of music into a funding vehicle for a charter school, Anna and former NFL Quarterback Jack Moses get thrown together by chance and by well-intentioned manipulation care of Jack’s best friends Jo Jo and LaDonna. From San Antonio to Dallas to Tyler and to Comfort, the scenes showing the burgeoning attraction between Anna and Jack elicited some of the widest smiles and the most satisfied sighs from me. I loved the romance in this story. It developed naturally and was paced properly.

… you need to spend time in the workshop of your soul. It’s in getting out and doing things, serving others, that you get your real livelihood.”

One of the things I appreciate about Ms. Fish’s writing is her ability to manage a multitude of secondary characters. She gives them distinct personalities without having them overshadow the leads. Jo Jo and LaDonna are notables. As are Lacy, AJ, and Kali. For future books, I’d like to see the author explore beyond the binary. She has done so well in seamlessly incorporating a multicultural cast, I’m sure she’ll excel in further inclusion.

Live in the present because it is …”

Outstanding sense of place, compelling storyline, impeccable characterization, a wonderful balance of humor and angst. I’m grateful to Kimberly Fish and Lone Star Lit for the opportunity to review this delightful story.

4 Four-half-stars


Kimberly Fish has been a professional writer in marketing and media for over thirty years, with regular contributions to area newspapers and magazines. As an accidental historian, she wrote two novels, The Big Inch and Harmon General, both based on factual events in Longview, Texas that changed world history. Kimberly also offers a set of contemporary women’s fiction, based in the Texas Hill Country, that reveal her fascination with characters discovering their grit and sweet, second chances; all four of these novels have won distinguished awards.
WEBSITE  ◆  FACEBOOK
TWITTER AMAZON
————————————–
GIVEAWAY!  GIVEAWAY!  GIVEAWAY!
 ONE WINNER! 
Autographed copy of Comfort Zone,
hand-painted note card from artist Elaine McMillan,
and NFL official Silver Series football signed by Jack Moses

(US only; ends midnight, CDT, 4/29/2022)

STAND FOR UKRAINE — A Collection for Charity from The New Romance Café

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♥️🌻♥️🌻♥️🌻

STAND FOR UKRAINE

I am proud to contribute to this charity anthology collected and published by The New Romance Café. My story Songkran is the prologue to Samui Heat, Book 3 of the fun and steamy multicultural contemporary destination romance series Carpe Diem Chronicles

It’s now available. I hope you’ll check it out and lend your support to this worthwhile cause — https://books2read.com/StandForUkraineCharityAntho


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Protect the innocent.

Provide for families.

We stand with Ukraine.

Across the globe, authors have come together to provide stories filled with hope, heart, and understanding, inspired by the events of February 2022.

STAND FOR UKRAINE is a collection of romance, women’s fiction and poetry. Proceeds go to Save the Children’s efforts to provide Ukrainian children with food, warmth, shelter, and psychological support.


AUTHORS

Ally Vance, Amanda Cuff, A McCarty, Pandora Snow, Anna Klein, Anne Mercier, Annee Jones, April A. Luna, April D. Berry, M.A. Lee, A.M. Roark, Sarah Stein, Riana Everly, Lesley Hoover, C.A. Rene, Caraway Carter, Cassie Simon, Corinne M Knight, Dakota Willink, Danielle Pays, Dawn McGraw, Debra Elise, Demelza Carlton, Diane Jones, Sharon A. Mitchell, EmKay Connor, Eva Moore, Ginger Ring, Dylan Quinn, Gwen Dylan, Caia Daniels, Harlow Layne, Harper Michaels, Heather D’Agostino, Heather Scarlett, Helena Novak, Carol Van Den Hende, Jakki Frances, Jane Suen, Jen Stevens, Jennifer M. Miller, JCC Downing, Tasha Blythe, J. P. Uvalle, K Leigh, Karigan Hale, Kari Ganske, Kasey Hill, Élodie Garroway, Katherine Moore, Katie Rae, Kimberly Halstead, Kristie Leigh, Olivia Rhymer, Lisa Wells, M.Culler, S.C. Principale, Maida Malby, Mandy Bee, Maria Macdonald, Megan Ryder, M Jameson, Lissa Lynn Thomas, Merrie Destefano, Chele Maccabe, Michelle Iannarelli, Maya Lemaire, Leila Coltyn, Kathleen Ryder, N.J. Ember, Aarti V Raman, A.R. Bell, Renee Dahlia, RJ Gray, Robin Andrews, Rosie Wylor-Owen, Rubi Jade, Liz Martinson, Candace Sams, Guinevere Jordan, Shannon O’Connor, Miranda Jameson, Simone Leigh, Skye MacKinnon, Skye Turner, Sofia Aves, Jo Seysener, J. T. Silver, Suki McMinn, Tanya Dawson, Tanya Nellestein, Taya Rune, T.R. Weatherly, T Wells Brown, Tina Glasneck, Tracy Broemmer, Tracy Reed, Trinity Wood, Yolanda Olson, Zoey Indiana, Iuliana Foos, Melissa Riddell, Bria James, Remy Reigns, Emily Rose, Sabrina Silvers, Margaret Madigan, Andie Bale, Dakota Star, Jeanette Taylor Ford, Jenny Fenshaw, Anna Volkin, D.A. Nelson, Susan Horsnell, Sloane Nicole, Kristin T. De La Garza, Leann Castellanos, Cass K, Faith Justice, Nina Knight, Michelle L. De La Garza, Daniel Cade Quinn, Lisa Acerbo.

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AFTER PERFECT by Maan Gabriel – Featured New Release

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AFTER PERFECT

Maan Gabriel

 

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9781647422035_fcThirty-six-year-old Gabriella Stevens is living quietly and contently as a devoted housewife to Simon—just as her traditional Filipino mother has always told her to do—when, after sixteen years of marriage and twenty years together, he tells he wants a divorce.

With New York City as her backdrop, Gabby—single for the first time since she was a teenager—goes back to school, gets her first real job, and faces unfamiliar reality with determination. But when she unexpectedly falls in love with her mysterious but utterly beautiful creative writing professor, Colt, she learns he is battling demons of his own: a tragic past that may have made him incapable of love. Is Gabby destined for another heartbreak—or will her connection with Colt be what unbreaks her?

 

Buy Links:

Amazon          Barnes & Noble          One More Page

 

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Advance Praise:

  • “A heartfelt debut, After Perfect depicts a woman’s healing after divorce with grace and empathy. Maan Gabriel is an author to watch in contemporary women’s fiction.” ―Tif Marcelo, USA Today best-selling author of In a Book Club Far Away and The Key to Happily Ever After
  • “At once relatable and unexpected, AFTER PERFECT is the story of one woman’s quest to learn to live—and love—on her own terms after heartbreak. Maan Gabriel is a refreshing new voice in women’s fiction.” —Camille Pagán, bestselling author of Don’t Make Me Turn This Life Around
  • “Maan Gabriel’s After Perfectis the story of a marriage and a divorce and the complexities of both. Gabriel explores how cultural expectations may not only inform decision-making but determine it. In clear prose and through vivid scenes, Maan Gabriel shows us this irony―often through relationships, we come to know ourselves.” ―Corie Adjmi, author of Life and Other Shortcomings

ABOUT MAAN

MaanMaan Gabriel is a mom, wife, dreamer, writer, and advocate for women’s stories in literature. She earned her BA in communications from St. Scholastica’s College in Manila and MPS in public relations and corporate communications from Georgetown University. She has lived in Manila, Brussels, Dakar, and Mexico City. During the day, she works in strategic communications. Gabriel, along with her husband and son, currently calls suburban Washington DC home. After Perfect is her first novel.

 

Learn more at www.maangabriel.com


REVIEW

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From its pain-filled opening scene to the sigh-worthy hopeful ending, After Perfect is one highly evocative read. Maan Gabriel’s wonderfully polished debut involves the reader in newly-divorced Gabby Stevens’ journey to self-discovery amidst heartbreak and uncertainties.

After being cosseted most of her life, Gabby resolves to start over, go back to school, get a job, move into a small place, open herself up to new experiences, and stand on her own. Along the way, she maintains the support of her parents and best friend while creating meaningful relationships with new people. 

I like how Ms. Gabriel made Gabby so real and relatable by giving her balance in both long-held insecurities and newfound strengths. I love how she made Gabby’s Filipino heritage integral to her identity. I admire the way she drew her characters with dimensions, with light and shade. Thomas is, of course, a favorite as well as Gabby’s parents and her best friend Felicity. They provide the humor necessary to counter the angst in the storyline. As for Simon and Colt, I can see the attraction and approve of the final choice. They’re both important but this book is all about Gabby.

Other things I love: 

  • The inclusiveness and diversity of the characters reflect the society we live in today.
  • The great sense of place in both New York City and Washington DC locations
  • Everything that has to do with books (Thomas’s bookshop!!!), the writing and reading of them 
  • All the food

Some of my favorite quotes:

The thing about writing … It defines who you are as a person. It evolves and revolves around you, around how you feel, or around how you perceive life.”

If I become light, then darkness cannot overpower me. You can’t extinguish the light from the sun.”

When you have a book, you have been everywhere.”

Love is nobody’s fault. Love is someone’s magic. And no one should feel guilty for loving.”

Content notes: adultery, on-page miscarriage, deaths (narrated), body image issues

4 Four-half-stars

 

IT TAKES HEART by Tif Marcelo – Featured New Release

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IT TAKES HEART

by

Tif Marcelo

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it takes heart paperback

From romance author Tif Marcelo comes a heartwarming story about taking a second chance on love at a family-owned couples resort.

Heart Resort, a private resort in the Outer Banks, is a romantic getaway for couples but a hotbed of family drama for its proprietors, the Puso family. Brandon Puso, the youngest of the four siblings, prefers life on his own as a licensed contractor in DC after a falling-out with his eldest brother.

After a hurricane plows through the Outer Banks, Brandon has a change of heart. He returns to the resort to help with the grand reopening but encounters his big sister’s best friend, designer Geneva Harris, who’s there to do the same thing. But Geneva and Brandon have a secret. Years ago, they had a secret romance that ended in heartbreak.

With the resort’s future at stake, Brandon and Geneva decide to put the past aside and to keep peace with the family. But as their mutual attraction heats up, they have to decide if history will repeat itself—or if this time, love gets a second chance.

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Buy links: 

Tif’s Website
Amazon


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Tif Marcelo is a veteran US Army nurse and holds a BS in Nursing and a Master’s in public administration. She believes and writes about the strength of families, the endurance of friendship, heartfelt romances, and is inspired daily by her own military hero husband and four children. She hosts The Stories to Love Podcast, and is the USA Today bestselling author of In a Book Club Far AwayOnce Upon a SunsetThe Key to Happily Ever After, and the Journey to the Heart series.

Follow her here:

Website | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook

2021 books


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To follow.


Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links and if you go through them to make a purchase I will earn a commission. Keep in mind that I link these companies and their products because of their quality and not because of the commission I receive from your purchases. The decision is yours, and whether or not you decide to buy something is completely up to you.

IN A BOOK CLUB FAR AWAY by Tif Marcelo – Featured New Release

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IN A BOOK CLUB FAR AWAY

by

Tif Marcelo

SYNOPSIS

9781982148096From the author of Once Upon a Sunset and The Key to Happily Ever After comes a heartwarming and moving novel following three Army wives—estranged friends—who must overcome their differences when one of them is desperate for help.

Regina Castro, Adelaide Wilson-Chang, and Sophie Walden used to be best friends. As Army wives at Fort East, they bonded during their book club and soon became inseparable. But when an unimaginable betrayal happened amongst the group, the friendship abruptly ended, and they haven’t spoken since.

That’s why, eight years later, Regina and Sophie are shocked when they get a call for help from Adelaide. Adelaide’s husband is stationed abroad, and without any friends or family near her new home of Alexandria, Virginia, she has no one to help take care of her young daughter when she has to undergo emergency surgery. For the sake of an innocent child, Regina and Sophie reluctantly put their differences aside to help an old friend.

As the three women reunite, they must overcome past hurts and see if there’s any future for their friendship. Featuring Tif Marcelo’s signature “enchanting prose” (Amy E. Reichert, author of The Coincidence of Coconut Cake) and the books that brought them together in the first place, In a Book Club Far Away honors the immense power of female friendship and how love can defy time, distance, and all old wounds.

Buy links: 

Tif’s Website
Bel Canto Books
Indiebound
Amazon
B&N
Kobo
Book of the Month

REVIEW

20210406_022548605_iOSI always sound like a broken record when it comes to my reviews of Tif Marcelo’s books. It’s because I see myself in her characters. For one, there’s always a Filipina in her stories. And Filipino food, of course.

With this book in particular, I see myself in all three women–Regina, Adelaide, and Sophie. I’m a military spouse (Air Force, not Army) and a founding member of a book club initially comprised of military spouses. We set it up in a military city when our service members were all still active duty or working at the base/fort. Alongside discussions about our book of the month, we also talked about our experiences of military life. I relate closely with the strong friendship that developed among such like-minded people. Three years after I’ve left that city, I still belong to the book club and I remain great friends with many of the members. This is why this book resonated with me greatly.

However, one doesn’t have to be a military spouse to relate to this story of a fractured friendship and reconciliation. As long as you appreciate good storytelling, compelling diverse characters, great sense of place, intelligent conversations, and evocative real-life situations, you’ll enjoy this book too.

4 Four-half-stars

ABOUT TIF 

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Tif Marcelo is a veteran US Army nurse and holds a BS in Nursing and a Master’s in public administration. She believes and writes about the strength of families, the endurance of friendship, heartfelt romances, and is inspired daily by her own military hero husband and four children. She hosts The Stories to Love Podcast, and is the USA Today bestselling author of In a Book Club Far AwayOnce Upon a SunsetThe Key to Happily Ever After, and the Journey to the Heart series.

Follow her here:

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Tif Heartwarming Fiction

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links and if you go through them to make a purchase I will earn a commission. Keep in mind that I link these companies and their products because of their quality and not because of the commission I receive from your purchases. The decision is yours, and whether or not you decide to buy something is completely up to you.

COMFORT FOODS by Kimberly Fish – Book Blog Tour: Review and Giveaway

 

COMFORT FOODS

A Comfort Stories
Stand-Alone Novel

 

 
by
Kimberly Fish
 
Categories: Contemporary / Second-Chance Romance
Publisher: Fish Tales Publishing
Date of Publication: October 7, 2020
Number of Pages: 385 pages
 
 
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From the award-winning author of Comfort Plans and Comfort Songs comes a story of two rising stars blitzed by social media. Lacy Cavanaugh and single-dad Rudy Delgardo live a hundred miles apart but meet in the worst possible way. Working at a weekly paper and creating social media for area businesses helps Lacy connect with locals who open her mind to a perspective beyond Instagram. In launching a food-and-wine festival to support Comfort’s new event center, she discovers surprising skills bubbling over, much like the food she’s attempting to cook.

Rudy, on the brink of his restaurant’s takeover, struggles to improve time management so he can create a better relationship with his daughter. Distracted by Lacy and her invitation to the festival, he’s tempted by her beauty, wit, and courage, but as a chef, he rarely gets to enjoy life outside the kitchen. Enemies, illness, and exes add unwelcome spice to the dish they’re concocting—one that will teeter with misunderstanding until the very end.

Will Lacy and Rudy embrace their second chances and discover the perfect seasonings of family, resilience, and grace to create a handwritten recipe of love that will stand the test of time?

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20210105_163710123_iOSRelevant and current, Comfort Foods is a feast of a read. Gobble it up in one sitting or savor for several days, you’ll end up satisfied either way. 
 
When I saw the opportunity to review this book, I jumped at the chance. Food and romance are two of my favorite things. As I said when I requested it, foodie romance is my jam, pun fully intended. 
 
Comfort Foods lives up to my expectations. Lacy and Rudy’s story, taking place in two locations (Comfort and Austin), is rich and filling. Lacy’s journey of self-discovery after her fall from grace is especially fascinating and touching. Her scenes with Frank Bachman, the publisher of the newspaper she works for, provide moments of both laughter and tears. In doing service for her sister and for others in the community, Lacy finds her worth beyond the superficial beauty and fashion she was previously famous for. Rudy’s grappling with too many pots on the stove–his restaurant Stella, his daughter Luna, and his attraction to Lacy–is realistic in today’s world and highly relatable. His bewilderment in his search for balance amid man-made obstacles is endearing and admirable.
 
But life is more than a shiny ball. It has edges, holes, and deep caves. Make a choice on where you feel most grounded.
 
Ms. Fish created fully-fleshed-out characters that are sympathetic and likable and oh-so-real with their all-too-human failings. I love that she included multicultural characters that’s reflective of the society at present. She spun a tale filled with humor, angst, insider knowledge of the restaurant and publishing businesses, and the weighty concern of human trafficking. The themes of found family and close-knit community are ones I often seek out and are entrenched in this book and in this series. And then, there’s the food. There’s enough to make a reader’s mouth water and head to the kitchen to recreate the dishes mentioned in the book. 
 
Food is a necessary element of living, and there is real beauty in the process of preparing it and serving people who appreciate the effort.
 
I enjoyed the slow burn of Lacy and Rudy’s romance from their awkward first couple of meetings to cooking together, to the impromptu bridal photo shoot, and to their eventual happy ever after.  I wish though that they have more scenes together and that they communicated more frequently, and collaborated on resolving their issues. Rudy’s declaration at the end seems too quick for a relationship that’s not fully developed because of so much distance. 
 
Love is a recipe worth every effort.
 
As always, huge thanks to Kimberly Fish and to Lone Star Literary Life for the copy of the book to review.
 
 
 
4 out of 5 stars
 
 
 
 
 

Author Kimberly Fish resides in Longview, Texas, and enjoys writing contemporary fiction set in the Hill Country. During the seven years she lived in San Antonio, wandering in and around Comfort, Texas, provided endless space for her imagination to develop stories of women discovering their grit. She studied the small Texas town that had seemingly dug its heels into the limestone and refused modern development and thought that was fertile ground for stories about women remodeling their lives. It made a juxtaposition of place and purpose that was hard to ignore. Plus, anything that takes intentional effort has a much higher value than the things that come easily—Comfort personifies this, and the novels remind readers that anything worth having is worth the work.

Comfort Foods is the third full-length novel in the set, Fiction from the Texas Hill Country, and follows behind the award-winning novels Comfort Plans and Comfort Songs. A novella, Emeralds Mark the Spot, is available as a free eBook download to subscribers of the incredibly sporadic newsletter at kimberlyfish.com and is the original story from which all other Comfort novels grew.

 
 
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ONE WINNER
GRANDPRIZE (US only):
Signed copy of COMFORT FOODS +
Ina Garten’s MODERN COMFORT FOOD
Ends Midnight, CST, January 22, 2021
 
 

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FOR DIRECT LINKS TO EACH POST ON THIS TOUR, UPDATED DAILY,
or visit the blogs directly:
 
1/12/21 Guest Post Hall Ways Blog
1/12/21 Review Sydney Young, Stories
1/13/21 Excerpt Forgotten Winds
1/14/21 Review Jennie Reads
1/14/21 Author Interview Texas Book Lover
1/15/21 Review The Clueless Gent
1/16/21 Review Jennifer Silverwood
1/17/21 Guest Post All the Ups and Downs
1/18/21 Review Momma on the Rocks
1/18/21 Character Interview StoreyBook Reviews
1/19/21 Review Book Bustle
1/19/21 Guest Post That’s What She’s Reading
1/20/21 Review Carpe Diem Chronicles
1/21/21 Review It’s Not All Gravy
1/21/21 Review Bibliotica
 
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THE SECRET OF YOU AND ME by Melissa Lenhardt – Book Blog Tour: Review and Giveaway

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THE SECRET OF YOU AND ME

by

MELISSA LENHARDT

Genre: Women’s Fiction / Romance
Publisher:  Graydon House (Harlequin)
Date of Publication: August 4, 2020
Number of Pages: 352

 

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Synopsis

TSOYAM book cover

True love never fades—and old secrets never die . . . 

Nora hasn’t looked back. Not since she fled Texas to start a new life. Away from her father’s volatile temper and the ever-watchful gaze of her claustrophobically conservative small town, Nora has freed herself. She can live—and love—however she wants. The only problem is that she also left behind the one woman she can’t forget. Now tragedy calls her back home to confront her past—and reconcile her future.

Sophie seems to have everything—a wonderful daughter, a successful husband, and a rewarding career. Yet underneath that perfection lies an explosive secret. She still yearns for Nora—her best friend and first love—despite all the years between them. Keeping her true self hidden hasn’t been easy, but it’s been necessary. So when Sophie finds out that Nora has returned, she hopes Nora’s stay is short. The life she has built depends on it.

But they both find that first love doesn’t fade easily. Memories come to light, passion ignites, and old feelings resurface. As the forces of family and intolerance that once tore them apart begin to reemerge, they realize some things may never change—unless they demand it.

PRAISE FOR THE SECRET OF YOU AND ME:

“Lenhardt convinces in her portrayal of the conflict between desire and control.” —Publishers Weekly

“A compelling story of second chances and being true to yourself.”
Harper Bliss, bestselling author of Seasons of Love

“At turns sweet, sexy, and always respectful of these characters and their journeys to their most authentic selves, Lenhardt’s wonderful book is highly recommended for all fiction collections.” —Booklist

 

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A portion of royalties are going to the It Gets Better Project.
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Review_preview

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There was a question in one of my Facebook groups about which book I’d want to see made into a movie and I responded with a favorite title. Now, I have an additional candidate — The Secret of You and Me. The story of Nora and Sophie’s passionate second-chance journey to their happy-ever-after despite small town prejudices and past hurts lends itself highly adaptable to film. All the elements are there: fully fleshed-out characters, complicated relationships, well-described small town setting, timely subjects, and involving storytelling.

I loved how Ms. Lenhardt developed the characters of Nora and Sophie. Both are imperfect, broken people who, through the course of the story, have to learn things about themselves that they needed to address separately in order to forge a future together.

While Nora was able to live her truth elsewhere, Sophie has a more difficult time accepting her real identity within the narrow confines of her conservative town. A bigoted mother, a husband with political ambitions, and a teenage daughter she doesn’t want to lose if she came out all contribute to Sophie’s  quandary in making a choice. Similarly, Nora has her own internal conflicts to resolve with a family responsibility, a sick aunt, and a life in DC that’s hard for her to walk away from.

I also appreciate the balance of both opposing and supportive characters. For Nora’s always-complaining sister Mary there’s a mothering Emmadean. For Sophie’s heinous mother Brenda there’s her stalwart sponsor Todd.

Some serious topics are discussed in this book. Homosexuality, bisexuality, homophobia, PTSD, and alcoholism being the most prominent ones. For the most part, they’re treated with sensitivity and provide a positive representation of the LGBTQ community.

My main gripe is the overabundance of cheating. Sophie and Nora picking up where they left off eighteen years ago is an essential plot point but puts a tawdry element to their affair that can’t be erased by their true love for one another. Fidelity is an important issue (for me) in romance and the lack of it here gives me a little pause in an otherwise engaging story.

Overall, an entertaining read that highlights the message that love is universal.

4 out of 5 stars

 

AboutTheAuthor

TSOYAM Author photo

Melissa Lenhardt is a women’s fiction, mystery, and historical fiction author. Her debut mystery, Stillwater, was a finalist for the 2014 Whidbey Writers’ MFA Alumni Emerging Writers Contest, and Sawbones, her historical-fiction debut, was hailed as a “thoroughly original, smart and satisfying hybrid, perhaps a new sub-genre: the feminist Western” by Lone Star Literary Life. The New York Times called her sixth novel, Heresy, “An all-out women-driven, queer, transgender, multiracial takeover of the Old West”. The Secret of You and Me, her seventh novel and her first contemporary women’s fiction novel, was published on August 4, 2020.

 When Melissa isn’t writing, she’s thinking, “I really should be writing,” and eating Nutella or peanut butter straight out of the jar. A lifelong Texan, she lives in the Dallas area with her husband, two sons, and two Golden Retrievers.

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TWO WINNERS each get a signed hardcover copy of the book and their choice of
either a FaceTime call or virtual book-club visit with the author.
August 11-21, 2020
(U.S. Only)

TSOYAM giveaway

Click on the photo to enter.

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CLICK TO VISIT THE LONE STAR LITERARY LIFE TOUR PAGE
FOR DIRECT LINKS TO EACH POST ON THIS TOUR, UPDATED DAILY.

Or, visit the blogs directly:

8/11/20 Author Interview All the Ups and Downs
8/11/20 Review Tangled in Text
8/12/20 Review Momma on the Rocks
8/12/20 BONUS Post Hall Ways Blog
8/13/20 Review Carpe Diem Chronicles
8/14/20 Top Six List Texas Book Lover
8/14/20 Review Bibliotica
8/15/20 Excerpt StoreyBook Reviews
8/16/20 Guest Post The Page Unbound
8/17/20 Review Missus Gonzo
8/17/20 Review Rainy Days with Amanda
8/18/20 Audio Spotlight Book Bustle
8/19/20 Review Chapter Break Book Blog
8/19/20 Review Reading by Moonlight
8/20/20 Review It’s Not All Gravy
8/20/20 Review That’s What She’s Reading

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