Whisper Beach by Shelley Noble

WhisperVanessa Moran has been gone from Whisper Beach for many, many years and still wouldn’t be going back if not for the funeral of her cousin’s husband.  Vanessa did not leave on good terms and, in fact, many people actually think she’s dead.  They are in for a bit of a shock but not to worry because she has no intentions of staying past this funeral.  She has a well earned vacation planned for herself instead … but as always plans never really go as planned.

Van left home for many reasons but among them was the death of her mother, an alcoholic father, an old boyfriend, and a secret she was trying hard to keep hidden.  Instead of staying she went on to become a successful Manhattan organizer so while she can’t always keep her own life in check she excels in helping others do so.  Despite wanting to leave town immediately after the funeral she manages to get sucked in by old friends into spending her vacation in Whisper Beach.  Being around old friends and old boyfriends brings up a lot of unresolved issues for Van.  Is she going to run this time or stay and tackle them?

While I felt the first part of this novel dragged a bit for me the second half was really good.  The setting of Whisper Beach is wonderful and as usual I’m always a little envious of those in a small community even though everyone knows your business.  I liked the characters too and the author weaves a complex relationship between them all.  There’s Dorie who was like a mother to the teens who worked in her restaurant when they were young.  I liked her.  She’s a no nonsense type of woman who worked hard at keeping the now adult women in line.  Then there is the interesting dynamic between the rest of the women – Van, Dana, Suze, and Gigi and a secret is revealed that had been the catalyst for so much that happened when Van left town.  Then of course there is the old love interest for Van – is it ever to late to rekindle an old flame?

Whisper Beach is an enjoyable read.  I liked the message that you can always go home.  Home is about friendship, love, and forgiveness.  Recommended for fans of women’s fiction!

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Source: Digital review copy provided by the publisher for an honest review. No compensation was received.

Celebrating the paperback release of Sisters of Treason by Elizabeth Fremantle & Giveaway (US only)

I’m so excited to share another of Elizabeth Fremantle’s books with all of you.  Sisters of Treason, the second book in The Tudor Trilogy, released in paperback on June 30 and to celebrate I’m going to give away a copy to one lucky reader!  Read on to learn more about the book…

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About the Book

From the author People called “a must-read for Philippa Gregory fans,” a “terrifically entertaining” (The Sunday Times, London) novel about two sisters who must survive life in the Tudor court after the execution of their sister Lady Jane Grey who was queen for just nine days.

Early in Mary Tudor’s turbulent reign, Lady Catherine and Lady Mary Grey are reeling after the brutal death of their elder seventeen-year-old sister, and the succession is by no means stable. In Sisters of Treason, Elizabeth Fremantle brings these young women and their perilous times to vivid life.

Neither sister is well suited to a dangerous career at court. Flirtatious Lady Catherine, thought to be the true heir, cannot control her compulsion to love and be loved. Her sister, clever Lady Mary, has a crooked spine and a tiny stature in an age when physical perfection equates to goodness—and both girls have inherited the Tudor blood that is more curse than blessing. For either girl to marry without royal permission would be a potentially fatal political act. It is the royal portrait painter, Levina Teerlinc, who helps the girls survive these troubled times. She becomes their mentor and confidante, but when the Queen’s sister, the hot-headed Elizabeth Tudor, inherits the crown, life at court becomes increasingly treacherous for the surviving Grey sisters. Ultimately each young woman must decide how far she will go to defy her Queen, risk her life, and find the safety and love she longs for.

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Praise for Sisters of Treason

“If you love historic royal fiction (with a dash of romance) you’ll want to pick up Elizabeth Fremantle’s Sisters of Treason, about two sisters reeling after the execution of their teenage sister, having been on the throne for just days.”– PopSugar

“Fremantle manages to combine pacey storytelling with superb background…terrifically entertaining.”– The Sunday Times

“Tudor fiction fans will enjoy Fremantle’s fresh take, marked by solid writing and absorbing detail, on a rather well-told tale.”– Library Journal

“Inventive, finely detailed.”– Kirkus Reviews

“An enthralling story of love and tyranny, Sisters of Treason brings the Tudor Courts to life again, in all their romance and horror.”– Leanda de Lisle, author of Tudor: The Family Story

“Passionate, compassionate, intricate, sharp, clever and utterly compelling.”– M.C Scott, author of Rome: The Art of War

“Fremantle’s story is vivid and tense, rich in all the drama that defined the Tudor Era, particularly the question of its future.”– AreCafe.com

“Sisters of Treason is thrilling historical fiction… Well-paced and highly entertaining…nearly impossible to put down.”– CompassBooksRatings.com

“Fantastic…engrossing…Elizabeth Fremantle does a superb job, giving us a rich, psychological dimension to all the characters in this novel…displays the hidden, rich lives of women…which are sometimes…left understated in the history books.”– A Bibliophile’s Reverie

About the Author

photo: Poppy Miyonga

photo: Poppy Miyonga

As a child I was the one in the corner with my nose in a book who wanted to be a writer, but with the onset of a turbulent adolescence I left school, under a cloud, aged fifteen with nothing more than a fistful of O Levels and a hapless sense that things would somehow work themselves out. Eventually, after working in various dodgy dives – I’ve served grey scrambled eggs to squaddies at 5.30am; I’ve served vintage champagne to raucous hoorays; I’ve pulled pints for all and sundry – I managed to find myself, much in the way Forrest Gump always landed on his feet, working as a dogsbody on a fashion magazine. Over a decade, I worked for titles such as Vogue, Elle and The Sunday Times and contributed to many others. Marriage took me to Paris, a stint at French Vogue and the birth of my two gorgeous children but divorce saw me back home in London where I have happily remained. Fuelled by frustration with a fashion world that does no favours to women, I decided to complete my truncated education as a mature student which led, in a long and roundabout way with many frustrating impasses, to my fulfilling that childhood dream to become a novelist.

Elizabeth has a first in English and an MA in creative writing from Birkbeck, University of London. She has contributed to various publications including The Sunday Times, Vogue, Vanity Fair, The Financial Times and the Wall Street Journal. She also reviews fiction for The Sunday Express.

Elizabeth has contributed to The Tudor Times, in their edition about Penelope Devereux.

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A Day in the Life of Author Elizabeth Fremantle

Spend a day at home with historical fiction author Elizabeth Fremantle reading, writing, and editing, surrounded by Tudor art and artifacts.

 

GIVEAWAY – OPEN TO US RESIDENTS ONLY
1 paperback copy up for giveaway
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Draw Date July 18/15

 

 

Source: Post information taken from Simon & Schuster website along with the author’s website. Giveaway sponsored by the publisher. No compensation was received.

Her Sister’s Shoes by Ashley Farley & Rafflecopter Giveaway (US/Canada)

shoesHer Sister’s Shoes by Ashley Farley was such a great read for me and I literally flew through the pages of this book. This is the kind of book that makes you want to curl up in your favorite chair and read all day. Set in the Lowcountry of South Carolina, Her Sister’s Shoes is a beautiful story of the love, loyalty, and healing power of family.

The novel is told through sisters Samantha, Jackie, and Faith. They are all very different from each other but all agree that Sam is the one who holds their family together at all times.

What happens though when that person hits their limit and can’t deal with another thing. That’s where Sam finds herself. She’s a single mom, her son is in a wheelchair, and life and Sam’s sense of self are spiraling out of control.

Jackie is the oldest sister and she’s always held herself at a distance from everyone including her own husband and sons. Then something happens that makes Jackie take a hard look at who she has become and she finds that she doesn’t like that person at all. She’s been so self-absorbed and she hopes that she’ll have a chance to make it up to everyone.

Faith is the youngest sister and in an abusive relationship with an out-of-control jerk. When she finally shares her troubles with Sam she of course wants only to help Faith. However in doing that Faith puts her whole family in danger and that’s one thing she can’t live with.

On top of it all it appears that their mother Lovie is showing signs of Alzheimer’s and now the sisters have to figure out what’s best for their mother. With everything else going on in their lives the sisters are overwhelmed with this and obviously can’t agree on what to do.

I really enjoyed this book. I liked all of the sisters and could easily see sitting down with a tall glass is iced tea with any of them. All of the sisters had struggles but they were all able to look inside themselves and try to put themselves into the others shoes and and move forward.  The message:  until you’ve walked in another person’s shoes you can’t really place judgement – you just have to be patient, understanding, and do the best you can to help.

Her Sister’s Shoes is a wonderful story of the deep love of family that I thoroughly enjoyed. For fans of women’s fiction this is one you don’t want to miss. Highly recommended!

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Prizes: Enter to win one of 3 prizes: 1st prize: Beach bag with goodies that includes a beach towel, Stay Calm and Buy more Shoes t-shirt, set of cosmetic bags with samples, and an insulated cup. 2nd prize : $25 Amazon gift card, 3rd prize: $25 Amazon gift card (Open to USA & Canada) Ends July 25

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Source: Digital copy received from the publisher for an honest review. Giveaway via tour company. No compensation was received.

Guest Post with Janel Gradowski, author of Doughnuts & Deadly Schemes & Summer Drinks Prize Pack Giveaway (Open Int’l)

Good day folks.  We’re back to yet another Monday.  Time stands still for no one.  We’re still roasting away here in our summer heat wave.  Looking at the wonderful guest post Janel Gradowski, author of Doughnuts and Deadly Schemes (my review – I loved it!), has written for us I have to say that coffee is by far my favorite beverage but right now I’m seriously considering making it iced instead of hot!  I hope you enjoy the guest post from Janel and be sure to enter the giveaway for some summer beverages and sweet chocolate!

Essential Beverages for Writing by Janel Gradowski

When I am working on a writing project I stay well hydrated. Not because I make a conscious effort to drink a lot of fluids. No, part of my creative process involves incessantly sipping whatever beverage is near my computer. I guess it’s a sort of drinking meditation for mulling over plot problems. I’ve seen other writers talk about red licorice, chocolate and various other snacks as essentials for their writing.  Me…I’m an obsessive sipper instead of snacker. So here is my list of favorites:

Coffee – Judging from the amount of coffee shops now, I’m sure I’m not alone in my undying love for this caffeinated brew. I’m lost without my programmable coffee maker, which has hot coffee ready and waiting when I get up every morning. That jolt of caffeine is a great way to jumpstart a sluggish writing muse who just wants to go back to sleep.

Tea – I’m not as obsessed with tea, like I am with coffee, but I still love it. I adore the aroma of Earl Gray so much I once bought perfume in that scent. Celestial Seasonings Tension Tamer blend is my favorite herbal variety. While I’ll drink it hot or cold, I don’t use sweetener or cream/milk. Straight up, please. The one exception is an Arnold Palmer, half tea, half lemonade – a perfect drink for summer.

CitrusAde – I make single servings with whatever citrus I have on hand, usually limes. Squeeze the juice of one lime or half of a lemon into the bottom of a glass. Add liquid sweetener – stevia, agave nectar or simple sugar syrup (equal parts sugar and water heated until the sugar dissolves). Add cold still or sparkling water. Gently stir and check to see if it needs any more sweetener. Tip: I buy cans of LaCroix flavored sparkling water. They’re the perfect size to make these drinks and there is no excess to go flat. Plus you can add another layer of flavor to your drink. Lime juice with coconut LaCroix is my favorite.

Water + Mint ­ Every summer I plant a big pot of mint that lives near my back door. An area herb farm always has a variety of flavored mints, so I try a new one every year. There is chocolate, pineapple, apple and orange mint to name a few. It’s a great way to make water a bit more appealing. Just pick a small sprig with 3 or 4 leaves. Rinse, put in a glass, bruise leaves a bit with a spoon to release the flavor, then fill the glass with water. The longer it sits the stronger it will taste.

Water Kefir – This is a probiotic (similar to the live and active cultures in yogurt that makes it good for your digestive system) beverage made out of sugar water. It’s sort of like kombucha – if you are familiar with that, but without the tea. I have just been making water kefir for about a month, but I love it. It’s sort of like weak lemonade on its own, but when juice is added and it’s allowed to ferment a second time the kefir turns fizzy. A kind of natural soda pop that’s good for you.

Rum – I rarely imbibe in alcohol when I’m writing, but I do love a good rum cocktail sometimes when I’ve finished my work for the day. My favorite spirit is rum, especially the dark or spiced varieties. Excellent in a Dark & Stormy – rum, ginger beer (like gingerale, but with a stronger ginger flavor) and a squeeze of lime. If you replace the rum with vodka, then you have a basic Moscow Mule.

So that’s the list of beverages that I usually cycle through while I’m writing. I do have soda pop once in a while, I love Faygo Rock & Rye or Cream Soda, but I try to stay away from so much sugar.

Is there anything you think I should add to my list of drinks? What is your favorite beverage?
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About Doughnuts and Deadly Schemes

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Amy Ridley’s best friend, Carla, is getting married, and Amy is delighted to be recruited as the head wedding planner—even if Carla’s demands are less than conventional. Case in point: Carla insists on a tower of doughnuts in place of a wedding cake. But navigating the world of nuptials becomes the least of Amy’s problems when the owner of a menswear shop is found dead, and Carla’s fiancé is assigned to the case. With the honeymoon in jeopardy, Amy and Carla vow to help track down the killer…but they soon discover there are even more sinister happenings affecting the businesses in downtown Kellerton, Michigan. If Amy doesn’t figure out who is behind the deadly schemes, the nearly newlywed detective may just be solving another murder—hers!

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About the Author

JanelGThere are hundreds of fictional characters living in my mind. I love to let them out to play in my stories. I have written about everything from an insane ghost to a jealous wife with an explosive personality. Over the past few years many of my flash fiction and short stories have been published both online and in print. I have also been designing and publishing beadwork patterns for over 10 years. In 2012 I began publishing ebooks in my 6:1 Series. Each volume has six stories based on one theme. In 2013 I will begin publishing a culinary fiction series based in my home state of Michigan. While I love writing flash fiction, this new series will include novellas, novelettes and longer short stories as well as flash fiction pieces.

My favorite place to write is in my recliner, nestled into the corner of the living room. I can glance over my laptop screen and watch the wildlife perusing the field across the road. Everything from deer to turkeys and pheasants pass by as I wrestle the characters out of my head and onto the page. My almost constant companion and writing buddy is my beloved Golden Retriever, Cooper. He’s a great listener and always reminds to get up a stretch once in awhile, on the way to his treat jar. Besides my fur baby my family consists of two wonderful children and a fantastic husband.

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GIVEAWAY – OPEN INTERNATIONALLY
1 Summer Drinks Prize Pack up for giveaway! (includes a bag of Donut Store Blend ground coffee, lemon & ginseng green tea, liquid stevia and a package of milk chocolate bars)

Janelgive(click on the photo for a closeup view)
*CLICK HERE* and fill out the form to enter
Draw Date July 15/15

 

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Source: Post information received from the author and obtained from the author’s website with permission. Giveaway sponsored by the author. No compensation was received.