THE MATCHMAKER’S LIST by Sonya Lalli & Giveaway

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In THE MATCHMAKER’S LIST (BerkleyPublishing) by Sonya Lalli, one devoted modern girl + a meddlesome, traditional grandmother = a heartwarming multicultural romantic comedy about finding love, where you least expect it.

I found it ironic to receive this book the same week I purchased tickets to the musical, FIDDLER ON THE ROOF. I’m always amazed by the tradition of fixing up couples to marry and especially, since it still happens today.

Raina Anand agrees in to family pressure and to let her grandmother play matchmaker, but that doesn’t mean she has to like it–or that she has to play by the rules. Nani always took Raina’s side when she tried to push past the traditional expectations of their tight-knit Indian-immigrant community, but now she’s ambushing Raina with a list of suitable bachelors. Is it too much to ask for a little space? Besides, what Nani doesn’t know won’t hurt her…

THE MATCHMAKER’S LIST is all about family, traditions and even romance and what it takes to make all of that work together. Half way through the novel, there’s a reveal that may surprise and even annoy readers. Keeping in mind the traditions involved, I gave it a pass. Read, enjoy and have some fun!

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Sonya Lalli is a Canadian writer of Indian heritage. She studied law in her hometown of Saskatoon and at Columbia University in New York, and later completed an MA in Creative Writing and Publishing at City, University of London. Sonya has a black belt in Tae Kwon Do and loves travel, yoga and cocktail bartending. She lives in Toronto with her husband.

Thanks to Berkley Publishing we have one copy to giveaway. Just tell us your thoughts about matchmakers. We’ll announce a winner soon. Good luck.

GIVEAWAY USA only please.

HUSBANDS and OTHER SHARP OBJECTS by Marilyn Simon Rothstein & Giveaway

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Here’s the dealio: I met Marilyn back in May at BookExpo and found her to be quite witty. Now with her second book, HUSBANDS and OTHER SHARP OBJECTS (LakeUnionPublishing), the laughs just keep on coming. It’s full of non-stop clever humor with a complimentary light story lines. At times, I felt as if I was reading/hearing a stand-up routine, and expected drum beats to follow.

After a lifetime of marriage, Marcy Hammer is ready to get herself unhitched—just as everyone else in her life is looking for a commitment. Her new boyfriend, Jon, wants to get serious, and her soon-to-be ex-husband, Harvey, is desperate to get back together. When her headstrong daughter announces a secret engagement to Harvey’s attorney, Marcy finds herself planning her daughter’s wedding as she plans her own divorce.

Now with two huge events on the horizon, the indomitable Marcy soon realizes that there’s nothing like a wedding to bring out the worst in everybody. From petty skirmishes over an ever-growing guest list to awkward confrontations with her sticky-fingered new in-laws, pulling off the wedding is going to be a challenge; seeing her divorce through is going to be a trial. And trying to make everyone happy might prove to be impossible—because in the end, Marcy alone must make a choice between something old and something new.

I’m looking forward to what Marilyn comes up with next. On a side note, I think she’s the queen of self-promotion. She comes up with wickedly funny ways to get the word out about her books. That takes talent, too, folks!

*****

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Marilyn Simon Rothstein is the author of Lift And Separate, winner of the Star Award presented by the Women’s Fiction Writers Association for Outstanding Debut, LIFT AND SEPARATE.

Marilyn grew up in New York City, earned a degree in journalism from New York University, began her writing career at Seventeen magazine, married a man she met in an elevator, and owned an advertising agency for more than twenty-five years. Marilyn received an MA in liberal studies from Wesleyan University and an MA in Judaic studies from the University of Connecticut. She enjoys speaking at book festivals and community events.

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Thanks to SUZY APPROVED BOOK TOURS we have one copy to give away. Just tell us what’s the funniest book you’ve ever read. We’ll announce a winner soon. Good luck.

GIVEAWAY: USA only please.

#SuzyApprovedBookTours    #LakeUnionPublishing #MarilynSimonRothstein #Marriage #humor #funny

 

THE FORGOTTEN HOURS by Katrin Schumann & Giveaway

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Ten years ago, the absolute worst thing that could happen, happened to Katie Gregory. Her father was accused and convicted for raping her best friend and sentenced to six years in prison. In Katrin Schumann’s novel, THE FORGOTTEN HOURS (LakeUnionPublishing) the prose go back and forth from when the crime occurred and her father’s release. THE FORGOTTEN HOURS tackles complex characters and issues.

At twenty-four, life is looking up for Katie Greogry: she’s snagged a great job in New York City and is falling for a captivating artist—and memories of her traumatic past are finally fading. Katie’s life fell apart almost a decade earlier, during an idyllic summer at her family’s cabin on Eagle Lake when her best friend accused her father of sexual assault. Throughout his trial and imprisonment, Katie insisted on his innocence, dodging reporters and clinging to memories of the man she adores.

Now he’s getting out. Yet when Katie returns to the shuttered lakeside cabin, details of that fateful night resurface: the chill of the lake, the heat of first love, the terrible sting of jealousy. And as old memories collide with new realities, they call into question everything she thinks she knows about family, friends, and, ultimately, herself. Now, Katie’s choices will be put to the test with life-altering consequences.

Schumann’s novel comes at a relevant time. The #metoo movement and topic of consent is in the news. The novel invites readers to question loyalty within a family and one’s best friend. THE FORGOTTEN HOURS hooked me on page one, and I couldn’t stop reading until the end. Once finished, I pondered my own feelings for some time.

*****

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KATRIN’S WORDS:

I was born in Germany and grew up in Brooklyn and London—as a consequence, most of my writing explores our search for a sense of belonging, and the struggle to define ourselves in the context of our circumstances. I now live in Boston and Key West, and will soon be taking over as Program Coordinator of the Key West Literary Seminar and Workshops.

My novel THE FORGOTTEN HOURS was a hard book to write and I’m hoping it will spark a million conversations. It has been called “gut-wrenching,” a “brilliant debut” with a “heart-pounding finish.” I’m also the author of a novel set in post war East Germany about loss and redemption (coming in 2020), as well as several nonfiction books.

My work has been featured multiple times on TODAY and in Woman’s Day, The London Times and on NPR, as well as other national and international media. For the past ten years I’ve been teaching writing, most recently at GrubStreet and at local prisons through PEN New England. Many moons ago, I was granted the Kogan Media Award for my work at National Public Radio and received academic scholarships to Oxford and Stanford Universities. More recently, I’ve been awarded writing residencies at the VCCA, the Norman Mailer Writers Colony and Vermont Studio Center.

Thanks to Lake Union Publishing, we have one copy to giveaway. Just tell us about your first best friend. Are you still BFFs? We’ll announce a winner soon. Good luck.

GIVEAWAY: USA only please.

THE WIDOWS by Jess Montgomery & Giveaway & Pie Recipe

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In Jess Montgomery’s THE WIDOWS (MintaurBooks), it’s Kinship, Ohio, 1924. It’s Lily Ross learns that her husband, Daniel Ross, the town’s widely respected sheriff, is killed while transporting a prisoner, she is devastated and vows to avenge his death.

Hours after his funeral, a stranger appears at her door. Marvena Whitcomb, a coal miner’s widow, is unaware that Daniel has died, and begs to speak with him about her missing daughter.

From miles away but worlds apart, Lily and Marvena’s lives collide as they realize that Daniel was not the man that either of them believed him to be–and that his murder is far more complex than either of them could have imagined.

Inspired by the true story of Ohio’s first female sheriff, this is a powerful debut about two women’s search for justice as they take on the corruption at the heart of their community. Have to love a novel with rich, strong female characters. Get ready to a wild ride!

This is the first book in the Kinship series.

 

Purchase Links

Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble

We Got the opportunity to chat with Jess about her new  novel.

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  1. THE WIDOWS is inspired by a true story …. tell us what interested you to write a novel? 

The inspiration for THE WIDOWS is Ohio’s true first female sheriff, Maude Collins, in 1925. She was asked to fulfill her husband’s term after he was killed in the line of duty during a traffic stop. In 1926, she was re-elected—in a landslide—as sheriff in her own right. Of course, this is a fascinating story, particularly for a woman in law enforcement in that era. But there is not any mystery to her story. There was no doubt as to who killed her husband—plenty of witnesses saw the tragedy take place. I’m a story-teller, so soon after I learned of this true story, I started wondering… what if? What if a sheriff was murdered, but no one bore witness? What if his wife was told that everyone thinks he was killed by a prisoner he was transporting, and the prisoner ran off? What if, knowing her husband as well as she does, she finds this highly unlikely? What if she then agrees to fulfill his term as sheriff, but in order to investigate on her own his murder? What if she’s faced with a difficult choice: justice for her husband (and personal vengeance) or justice for her community? As I contemplated all of those questions, Lily Ross—inspired by but wholly different from the true-life Maude—emerged as a compelling character.

  1. Your novel delves deep into what is social justice? Is achieving social justice that much different from the time of your novel, to today?

I think social justice questions—about individual rights, respect for individual humanity, and community needs—are part of any era in any time. How those questions play out, or are answered, shifts continually depending on the circumstances of time and place. In THE WIDOWS, for example, the coal miners clearly want, and need, safer working practices and fairer wages. The owner of the coal mining company argues that allowing unionization and making these changes will cut into company profits—a selfish-sounding argument, but he would say that cutting profits means fewer jobs and hurts the community. And yet, the community is clearly suffering because of deaths and injuries related to unsafe coal mining operations. My father was a union leader, and so I am supportive of unions. But these particular questions are tricky and complex, and mirror Lily’s own conflicted feelings about her individual wishes and her community’s needs.

  1. What interests you about writing historical mysteries?

I’m fascinated by any overlooked, quirky or unusual bit of history. Historical fiction gives us the chance to not only look back, but to look at where we are—and where we’re headed—through the lens of past experiences. And I love the suspense and puzzles of mysteries. So the combination for me is irresistible—both as a reader and a writer!

  1. Your books have strong protagonists. Why is that important?

I love to read about strong protagonists, particularly strong women. The strong women from father’s side of my family of origin served as inspiration for me—and for many of the supporting female characters in THE WIDOWS. My female friends are all strong women who I greatly admire. Being strong doesn’t mean being perfect, or indomitable, or unbendable, or even tougher than everyone else around you. It does mean squaring your shoulders in the face of adversity and finding the courage to continue on even when it’s tempting to simply sit down and give up. But who does that really help? So I love to write about women who are strong because they find strength, again and again, to go on in challenging situations—and come out of the experience not just stronger as individuals, but stronger in relationships and in their communities.

  1. You love to bake pies. What is your favorite pie and can you offer us a special recipe? 

I do love to bake pie! I think my favorite is buttermilk pie, for several reasons. One is that I first tasted the pie at a local bakery, Woody’s, that went out of business. I couldn’t find anywhere else to find a slice of delicious buttermilk pie, so I did some research and came up with my own recipe to recreate the pie. I also love that the pie is sweet but has some tang to it, and is super simple to make but has complex flavors. Many people first react with skepticism to the notion of liking buttermilk pie, but most people do like it after they give it a chance. I like the persistence and creativity that went into developing the recipe, and the notion that if you love something, you work hard for it (like writing!)

Here is my recipe:

1 unbaked pie shell
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons flour
2 cups buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs, beaten
2 tablespoons melted butter
Nutmeg

Combine sugar and flour. Add beaten eggs, buttermilk, melted butter, and vanilla extract. Beat together (by hand or with mixer) until smooth. Pour into pie crust. Sprinkle with nutmeg. Bake at 350-degrees (F) for 35 minutes, or until pie filling is firm like a pudding/creme pie. (Protect pie crust rim with aluminum foil near end if needed.) Let pie cool and set before slicing. Yummy as is or topped with blackberries, raspberries or strawberries.

Delicious! I’m heading into the kitchen now to do a little baking.

 

About Jess Montgomery

JESS MONTGOMERY is the Literary Life columnist for the Dayton Daily News and Executive Director of the renowned Antioch Writers’ Workshop in Yellow Springs, Ohio. Based on early chapters of The Widows, Jess was awarded an Ohio Arts Council individual artist’s grant for literary arts and the John E. Nance Writer-in-Residence at Thurber House in Columbus. She lives in her native of Ohio.

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Thanks to TLC book Tours, we have one copy to giveaway. Just tell us what you appreciate about historical fiction. We’ll announce a winner soon. Good luck

GIVEAWAY USA only please.

MAID: Hard Work, Low Pay, and A MOTHER’s WILL TO SURVIVE by Stephanie Land & Giveaway

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“I was overwhelmed by how much work it took to prove I was poor.” MAID
I want to tell you about a book that’s being published today. I believe it’s a very important book. It’s called MAID (HachetteBookGroup) by Stephanie Land. I had the opportunity to meet Stephanie at BookExpo in May and have been dying to share her story with you, my readers.
“People I talked to rarely assumed I needed food stamps to survive, and they always said “those people” in conversations. Yet “those people” were never people like me. They were immigrants, or people of color, or the white people who were often referred to as trash.” MAID
People you know are on government assistance, or welfare as its commonly known. Many of those receive food stamps, as well. Almost a fifth of our population gets some kind of help from our government, and mostly because they need it. Welfare was created after the Great Depression and at no time in history, has it put a sour taste in many Americans mouths. We live in a time, where its popular to have someone to look down upon or to bully. We often forget that our country was founded by people trying to escape the terror, prejudice and ignorance of those in power. We see it happening on our border today. “They” are trying to take over our country. It’s the parents fault “they are coming into our country.” I’m not arguing for open borders here, I’m suggesting we have some empathy and compassion. I’m suggesting that we who are fortunate to have roofs over our heads and food to eat regularly, so that we don’t go to bed hungry, look upon “the least of my brethren.”

The compassion that Stephanie Land writes about was rarely offered to her and her toddler, Mia. She had to keep her “dirty little secret” of accepting public assistance, by working herself to the point of illness with no healthcare to turn to. Some might read MAID and think it’s nothing but whining and Land knows that might be the feeling some readers come away with. But it’s her story and her struggle. In addition to the contempt she experienced, Stephanie was blessed to come across compassionate Americans – the true America.

The next few paragraphs are provided by Hachette Book Group to describe MAID:

“My daughter learned to walk in a homeless shelter.”

While the gap between upper middle-class Americans and the working poor widens, grueling low-wage domestic and service work–primarily done by women–fuels the economic success of the wealthy. Stephanie Land worked for years as a maid, pulling long hours while struggling as a single mom to keep a roof over her daughter’s head. In Maid, she reveals the dark truth of what it takes to survive and thrive in today’s inequitable society.

While she worked hard to scratch her way out of poverty as a single parent, scrubbing the toilets of the wealthy, navigating domestic labor jobs, higher education, assisted housing, and a tangled web of government assistance, Stephanie wrote. She wrote the true stories that weren’t being told. The stories of overworked and underpaid Americans.

Written in honest, heart-rending prose and with great insight, Maid explores the underbelly of upper-middle class America and the reality of what it’s like to be in service to them. “I’d become a nameless ghost,” Stephanie writes. With this book, she gives voice to the “servant” worker, those who fight daily to scramble and scrape by for their own lives and the lives of their children.

*****

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It’s been ten years since I escaped an abusive relationship and moved with my then nine-month-old daughter, Mia, into a homeless shelter.

I had two hundred bucks in my pocket and about the same amount in food stamps, and a family who couldn’t help me. Not only that, I was in the middle of a fight for custody of my daughter, and had to fight all over again for child support, all while trying to figure out what I was going to do in this new identity as a single mother.

Eventually I found work cleaning houses, a job that afforded me little money to spend on clothes, even for work. I worked through illnesses and brought my daughter to day care when she was sick, and should have been home with me. There was no sick pay, no vacation days, no foreseeable increase in wage, and yet I begged to work more. Wages lost from missed work hours could rarely be made up, and if I missed too many I risked being fired. My car’s reliability was vital, since even a flat tire could throw us off, knock us backward, and send us teetering toward homelessness again. We lived, we survived, in that careful imbalance. This was my unwitnessed existence, as I polished another’s to make their’s appear perfect.

Those times that we really struggled, when I went to bed exhausted, cold, and hungry, I felt suffocating amounts of guilt. Every time my car broke down or I lost a day of work, I felt incredibly guilty for pursuing an education–especially an art degree. I felt like our life couldn’t afford me this notion of being a writer. But one of my professors, the one who assured me my essay “Confessions of the Housekeeper” would be a book, said that knowing I wanted to be a writer since I was ten-years-old was really incredible, and a version of dedication she’d never seen before.

For years, for almost a decade, we barely  scraped by like that as I worked my way through college. In May, 2014, I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Montana, and eventually started a career as a freelancer, supporting my family purely from writing words. A year later, my essay about cleaning houses was published on Vox. It went viral, catching the attention of Jeff Kleinman, an agent at Folio Literary Agency. In 11 months, I accepted an offer from Hachette Books to publish my memoir MAID.

As a full-time freelancer, I write from personal experience on issues surrounding poverty. I’ve worked with Barbara Ehrenreich, author of Nickel and Dimed, through her Economic Hardship Reporting Project, who said in her foreword for MAID, “If this book inspires you, which it may, remember how close it came to never being written. Stephanie might have given into despair or exhaustion; she might have suffered a disabling injury at work. Think too of all the women who, for reasons like that, never manage to get their stories told. Stephanie reminds us that they are out there in the millions, each heroic in her own way, waiting for us to listen.”

Currently, I continue to work as a freelancer and as a writing fellow through both the Center for Community Change and EHRP. My writing has appeared in The New York Times, The New York Review of Books, The Washington Post, The Guardian, Salon, The Nation, and many other platforms. I remain active in fighting to change stigmas surrounding people in poverty, especially single mothers. I know now, more than ever, my story of making ends meet despite low wages, high costs of housing, and a broken system of government assistance, needs to be told. Please know how sincerely grateful I am for everything you have done and will do to help me share my story. Thank you.

Please connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

*****

Thanks to Hachette Book Group we’re able to provide one copy of MAID for one reader. Just tell us your experience with either hiring or being a maid.

We’ll announce a winner soon. Good luck.

Say a prayer or send good thoughts out to our fellow Americans, government employees, so the government is shut down again.

GIVEAWAY: USA only please.

THE LIAR’S ROOM by Simon Lelic & Giveaway

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THE LIAR’S ROOM (Berkley) takes place over the course of one therapy session, in which neither patient nor therapist are who they claim to be. Two liars. One room. No way out.

Susanna Fenton has a secret. Fourteen years ago she left her identity behind, reinventing herself as a therapist and starting a new life. It was the only way to keep her daughter safe. But when a young man, Adam Geraghty, walks into her office, claiming he needs Susanna’s help but asking unsettling questions, she begins to fear that her secret has been discovered.

Who is Adam, really? What does he intend to do to Susanna? And what has he done to her daughter?”

I found the premise for THE LIAR’S ROOM brilliant, but I must admit I started getting a bit claustrophobic in the office. Both Susanna and Adam’s characters dialogue flows, which was essential for a book where the two characters basically talk. Put THE LIAR’S ROOM in your TBR list of thrillers. It won’t disappoint.

SIMON LELIC’S OWN WORDS:

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I was born in Brighton in 1976 and, after a decade or so living in London and trying to convince myself that the tube was fine, really, because it gave me a chance to read, my wife and I moved back to Brighton with our three young children. That Barnaby, Joseph and Anja’s grandparents happened to live close enough by to be able to offer their babysitting services was, of course, entirely coincidental.

As well as writing, I run an import/export business. I say this, when people ask, with a wink but I fool no one: I am more Del Trotter than Howard Marks. My hobbies (when I have time for them) include reading (for which I make time, because I can just about get away with claiming this is also work), golf, tennis, snowboarding and karate. My weekends belong to my family (or so my wife tells me), as does my heart.

I studied history at the University of Exeter. After graduating I was qualified, I discovered . . . to do an MA. After that I figured I had better learn something useful, so took a post-grad course in journalism. I know, I know: so much for learning something useful. After working freelance and then in business-to-business publishing, I now write novels. Not useful either, necessarily, but fun and, in its own way, important.

In half a page, then, that’s me. My wife wanted me to add that I am not as mean as I look in my author pic. That was the publisher’s doing: they wanted austere. But now I’ve gone and ruined it.

http://www.simonlelic.com

Thanks to Berkley Publishing, we have one copy of THE LIAR’S ROOM to giveaway. Just tell us your experience with liars. We’ve all encountered at least one. We’ll announce a winner soon. Good luck.

GIVEAWAY: USA only please.