LONG BRIGHT RIVER by Liz Moore – Review & Giveaway

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LONG BRIGHT RIVER (Riverhead) by Liz Moore will easily will be one of my favorite novels of 2020!

Mickey Fitzpatrick is a tough cop working the Philadelphia streets. She’s seen it all, but fears finding her sister, Kacey a prostitute and drug addict showing up dead on her watch. Both were raised by their bitter grandmother, after their father left and mother ODd and they don’t speak anymore.

Kacey disappears the same time a serial killer is on the loose targeting prostitutes and junkies. Mickey’s determination to find her sister takes her into some very crime ridden neighborhoods, even ones the cops avoid, risking her own death to find her sister before it’s too late.

The novel felt too close at times, since I have sisters. Just the not knowing, while having the power to find the truth had me on the edge of my seat. I liked the way Moore created the character driven novel, while keeping it a family drama. I appreciate how she was able to create compelling unlikable characters without any judgement. It was a true example of how childhood trauma carries throughout our lives.

LONG BRIGHT RIVER is full of tension, plot twists and has a reveal worth waiting for. It’ll be on your mind long after you’ve read the final page.

liz moore

Her first novel, The Words of Every Song (Broadway Books, 2007), centers on a fictional record company in New York City just after the turn of the millennium. It draws partly on Liz’s own experiences as a musician. It was selected for Borders’ Original Voices program and was given a starred review by Kirkus. Roddy Doyle wrote of it, “This is a remarkable novel, elegant, wise, and beautifully constructed. I loved the book.”

After the publication of her debut novel, Liz obtained her MFA in Fiction from Hunter College. In 2009, she was awarded the University of Pennsylvania’s ArtsEdge residency and moved to Philadelphia.

Her second novel, Heft, was published by W.W. Norton in January 2012 to popular and critical acclaim. Of Heft, The New Yorker wrote, “Moore’s characters are lovingly drawn…a truly original voice”; The San Francisco Chronicle wrote, “Few novelists of recent memory have put our bleak isolation into words as clearly as Liz Moore does in her new novel”; and editor Sara Nelson wrote in O, The Oprah Magazine, “Beautiful…Stunningly sad and heroically hopeful.” The novel was published in five countries, was long-listed for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, and was included on several “Best of 2012” lists, including those of NPR and the Apple iBookstore.

Moore’s short fiction and creative nonfiction have appeared in venues such as Tin House, The New York Times, and Narrative Magazine. She is the winner of the Medici Book Club Prize and Philadelphia’s Athenaeum Literary Award. After winning a 2014 Rome Prize in Literature, she spent 2014-15 at the American Academy in Rome, completing her third novel.

That novel, The Unseen World, was published by W.W. Norton in July of 2016. Louisa Hall called it “fiercely intelligent” in her review in The New York Times; Susan Coll called it “enthralling . . . ethereal and elegant . . . a rich and convincing period piece” in her review in the Washington Post. The Unseen World was included in “Best of 2016” lists by The New Yorker, the BBC, Publishers Weekly, Vox, Google Play, and Audible.com, among others.

She lives with her family in Philadelphia and is a faculty member of the MFA program in Creative Writing at Temple University.

Thanks to Riverhead Books we have one copy to giveaway.

THE WIVES by Tarryn Fisher – SPOTLIGHT & Giveaway

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Imagine that your husband has two other wives.

In Tarryn Fisher’s latest novel, THE WIVES (Graydon), you’ve never met the other wives. None of you know each other, and because of this unconventional arrangement, you can see your husband only one day a week. But you love him so much you don’t care. Or at least that’s what you’ve told yourself.

But one day, while you’re doing laundry, you find a scrap of paper in his pocket—an appointment reminder for a woman named Hannah, and you just know it’s another of the wives.

You thought you were fine with your arrangement, but you can’t help yourself: you track her down, and, under false pretenses, you strike up a friendship. Hannah has no idea who you really are. Then, Hannah starts showing up to your coffee dates with telltale bruises, and you realize she’s being abused by her husband. Who, of course, is also your husband. But you’ve never known him to be violent, ever.

Who exactly is your husband, and how far would you go to find the truth? Would you risk your own life?

And who is his mysterious third wife?

There’s been a lot of buzz about this book, but I personally found it tedious and I couldn’t finish it. I rarely don’t finish books. This is just my experience. Perhaps yours will be different.

*****

tarryn

New York Times & USA Today bestselling author Tarryn Fisher is cooler than you, but not one to rub it in your face. She graduated first in her class at Hogwarts school of Witchcraft and Wizardry. She is a lover of human nature, and a real life villain (House of Slytherin). Her heart is dark, but she loves you with it anyway. Currently she lives in Washington with her family.

We have one copy of THE WIVES to giveaway. Just tell us what book you’re looking forward to reading in 2020? We’ll announce a winner soon. Good luck.

GIVEAWAY: USA only please

 

THE VINEYARDS of CHAMPAGNE by Juliet Blackwell – Spotlight & Giveaway

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Juliet Blackwell was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, the youngest child of a jet pilot and an editor. She graduated with a degree in Latin American studies from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and went on to earn master’s degrees in anthropology and social work. While in graduate school, she published several articles based on her research with immigrant families from Mexico and Vietnam, as well as one full-length translation: Miguel León-Portilla’s seminal work, Endangered Cultures. Juliet taught medical anthropology at SUNY–Albany, was producer for a BBC documentary, and served as an elementary school social worker. Upon her return to California, she became a professional artist and ran her own decorative painting and design studio for more than a decade. In addition to mainstream novels, Juliet pens the New York Times bestselling Witchcraft Mysteries and the Haunted Home Renovation series. As Hailey Lind she wrote the Agatha Award–nominated Art Lover’s Mystery series She makes her home in northern California, but spends as much time as possible in Europe and Latin America.
http://www.julietblackwell.net
Thanks to Berkley we have a copy to giveaway. Just tell us how your New Year is going so far. Best wishes for a rockin’ 2020! 
GIVEAWAY: USA only please.

A MAN CALLED SMITH by Tanya E. Williams – SPOTLIGHT & GIVEAWAY

AManCalledSmith

A battle-scarred father. A disillusioned daughter. Can a grieving widower rebuild his splintered family to find peace at last?

A MAN CALLED SMITH takes place in South Dakota, 1949. WWII veteran John Smith longs for the life he lost after the tragic death of his wife during childbirth. But in the desperation to provide for his two small children, he is manipulated into an unsuitable marriage by a young woman with a dark neurosis. Tormented by his own grief and the ravages of war, John is blind to his children’s turmoil and pain. Washington State, 1964. John’s sixteen-year-old daughter Calla dreams of a life beyond her vindictive stepmother. Forced to care for her younger siblings with a list of household demands larger than she is tall, Calla knows it’s only a matter of time until she can escape the abuse and begin anew at college. But her dreams crumble when her heartless stepmother claims the college
fund for her own selfish purposes. As John fears he is too late to stop the war within his home, Calla vows to build a new life worth living. Can John survive the consequences of war on the home front? Can Calla find the strength to rediscover the meaning of family?

tanya

A writer from a young age, Tanya E Williams loves to help a reader get lost in another time, another place through the magic of books. History continues to inspire her stories and her insightfulness into the human condition deepens her character’s experiences and propels them on their journey. Ms. Williams’ favourite tales, speak to the reader’s heart, making them smile, laugh, cry, and think.

http://www.tanyaewilliams.com

Thanks to Suzy Approved Book Reviews we have one copy to giveaway. Just tell us how your New Years Resolution is going. We’ll announce a winner soon. Good luck.

GIVEAWAY: USA only please.

** FIRST GROUP of 2020 WINNERS ** FIRST GROUP of 2020 WINNERS **

Happy New Year THOUGHTS ON THIS ‘n THAT blog followers! Now that the Holidays are over it’s back to reality, but before you think that’s boring let’s tell you about our first group of 2020 winners!

SANDRA M. wins THE JOY of COOKING

TRACY W. wins MAMA HISSA’S MICE

TENA wins MORE THAN

SYLVIA D. wins SPLIT LEVEL

JANELLE W. wins THIS IS NOT HOW IT ENDS

ELIZABETH R. wins NOTHING TO SEE HERE

JODIE C. wins MERCY ROAD

JANET F. wins THE LAST AFFAIR

ALICIA H. wins STEALING KISSES IN THE SNOW

EVELYN H. wins HOLLY BANKS FULL OF ANGST

CORI R. wins MEG & JO

SARA S. wins BODY LEAPING BACKWARDS

LINDA W. wins COMING HOME FOR CHRISTMAS

LISA M. wins FAMILY UPSTAIRS

LEEZA S. wins A WEDDING IN DECEMBER

RAVE O. wins OLIVE, AGAIN

SALLIE Co. wins STAY

TRACY W. wins WEDDING IN DECEMBER

DEANA D. wins MEET ME AT LOVE LANE

WILNA W. wins A TALE OF TWO CHRISTMAS LETTERS

CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL OF OUR WINNERS! KEEP COMING BACK FOR MORE CHANCES TO WIN! HAVE A GREAT DAY!

** My favorite 12 novels of 2019 ** My favorite 12 novels of 2019 **

2019 was an eclectic year for readers. Psychological thrillers seemed to be the most popular, but for those of us looking for a little something else, the shelves were full. FYI: These are some of my favorites, listed in alphabetical order.

ASK AGAIN, YES  (Scribner) by Mary Beth Keane

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ASK AGAIN, YES was by far the most compelling novel I read this year. It’s about two families who live next door to each other in the 70’s. Both fathers are rookie cops in the same New York City precinct and live in the suburbs. ASK AGAIN, YES is a domestic novel and what makes it so profound is how Keane creates such well-developed and acutely sensitive characters in such ordinary circumstances –  which turn out to be anything but. A violent act happens between the families and readers follow how they miraculously reconnect. It’ll have you thinking long after you’ve finished the novel and hoping Keane’s next novel is published soon.

THE CHILDFREE SOCIETY CLUB (Self) by Jaclyn Jaeger (Originally pub. 12/18 but not promoted until 2019) 

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What I loved about THE CHILDFREE SOCIETY CLUB is how author, Jaclyn Jaeger wrote a totally unique novel. I mean, doesn’t everyone want to be a parent? Apparently not and for reasons that might surprise you. The writing isn’t outstanding, but the well developed characters and story line touched my heart in many ways. I tried my best to think of another novel that tackles this issue and couldn’t come up with one. If you think of one, please email me.

INVISIBLE AS AIR (HarperCollins) by ZOE FISHMAN 

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Zoe Fishman focuses on an issue ripping apart the heart of our country in INVISIBLE AS AIR – the opioid epidemic. She writes about a family that could be any one of us easily falling into this disease and then trying to cope and possibly, get well. What I appreciated most in Fishman’s novel is how she tackled the subject in such a non-judgmental way. It would be easy to think “this couldn’t happen to my family,” but the truth is, we’re all only a pill away.

KEEPING LUCY (St.MartinsPress)  by T. Greenwood 

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How much would you be willing to sacrifice to help a child you didn’t know? KEEPING LUCY is an emotional roller-coaster to be read with an open heart. A woman gives birth to a child with Down’s Syndrome in the 60’s, and her family institutionalizes her baby without her knowledge. She eventually finds her own voice and courage allowing her to risk everything to get her baby back.  This was a heart-aching novel, that made me mad at the injustices in this world. How much power do you really have? You have to fight for it.

LITTLE FIRES EVERYWHERE (PenguinRandomHouse) by Celeste Ng 

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LITTLE FIRES EVERWHERE (PenguinRandomHouse) will be turned into a limited series on Hulu March 18th by Kerry Washington and Reese Witherspoon and I’m so excited. The novel by Celeste Ng takes readers to Shaker Heights, Ohio, which could be your neighborhood. We have the Richardson and the Warren families who come together through odd circumstances and then their families begin to co-mingle. These are ideal ingredients for misunderstandings, jealousy, anger and envy rearing its ugly face. LITTLE FIRES EVERYWHERE is a perfect excuse to think your family is “normal” after all.

MONTAUK (St.MartinsPress) by Nicola Harrison

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I was so thrilled to read MONTAUK (St.MartinsPress) written by Nicole Harrison, who I was in writing workshop with. Not only was I completely immersed into 1938, the characters and the landscape are so well developed. Montauk takes place when the country is on the brink of war. Montauk is a place where the wealthy NYC set spend their summers. Harrison explores both women’s inequality and issues of class. I am so looking forward to reading her follow-up.

PARK AVENUE SUMMER (Berkley) by Renee Rosen 

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PARK AVENUE SUMMER (Berkley) by Renee Rosen is just a gem of a novel. It’s loosely based on the life of Helen Gurley Brown, the founder of Cosmospolitan Magazine, in the 60’s. It’s a fictional story of a midwestern gal who comes to the big city and becomes HGB’s assistant. It took me away to another time when women were just coming into their own. It also resonated with how important it is to follow your dreams, despite the inevitable difficulties.

PLASTIC (RareBirdBooks) by Frank Strausser

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PLASTIC (RareBirdBooks) by Frank Strausser is just a fun book that happened to come out in time for Halloween. A young Hollywood “It” girl is disfigured and a well-known Hollywood plastic surgeon is brought in to reconstruct amidst some troubling circumstances. It reminded me of a cross between FX’s old show “Nip Tuck” and E’s “Botched.” Just plain fun, not trying to make some huge statement.

THINGS YOU SAVE IN A FIRE (St.MartinsPress) by Katherine Center

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THINGS YOU SAVE IN A FIRE (St.MartinsPress) by Kathleen Carter is a warm fuzzy of a book. Cassie Hanwell is a woman firefighter always trying to prove herself in a firehouse of men. She comes up against several problems that’ll question whether or not this is the profession for her. It’s one of those heartfelt novels that touches on life, love and in this case, courage.

THE GIRL HE USED TO KNOW (St.MartinsPress) by Tracey Garvis Graves

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THE GIRL HE USED TO KNOW (St.MartinsPress) by Tracy Garvis Graves … just have a box of Kleenex nearby. What would you do if you had a second chance at first love? I loved how Annika and Jonathan reconnect fully understanding the meaning of true love. It was a old premise told in an entirely unique way. It made me look back at a part of my life growing up.

THEY COULD HAVE NAMED HER ANYTHING (LittleA) by Stephanie Jimenez

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THEY COULD HAVE NAMED HER ANYTHING is Stephanie Jimenez’ debut novel and it’s an examination of race, class and betrayal. Maria, a Latina girl daily travels from Queens to the Upper East Side of NYC to attend high-school. She’s a scholarship girl trying to find her place in this sea of white privilege.  As Maria and white wealthy Rocky, get closer their jealously and desire to live the other’s life becomes deeper and uglier. THEY COULD HAVE NAMED HER ANYTHING could have easily become a YA coming of age novel, but it has more grit to it so that adults and teens will both enjoy.

THE WARTIME SISTERS (St.MartinsPress) by Lynda Cohen Loigman

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THE WARTIME SISTERS is about sisters and I think nothing has more potential for story than stories about sisters. In THE WARTIME SISTERS two sisters must reconcile their past in order to survive. It’s about secrets we keep and those that set us free. The  novel is also about sibling rivalry, betrayal and friendship. THE WARTIME SISTERS is beautifully written and full of of WWII history.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

 

#Scribner  #HarperCollins   #St.MartinsPress  #LittleA  #RareBirdBooks  #Berkley  #PenguinRandomHouse @MaryBethKeane @JaclynJaeger @ZoeFishman @TGreenwood @CelesteNg @NicolaHarrison @ReneeRosen @FrankStrausser @KatherineCenter @TracyGarvisGraves @StephanieJimenez @LyndaCohenLoigman

 

** A TALE of TWO CHRISTMAS LETTERS by Cathy Gillen Thacker – Spotlight & Giveaway **

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Merry Christmas. Now that you’ve opened all the packages and are stuffed with your holiday feast, why not sit down in a big comfy chair with a romance novel. According to Harlequin Romance, here are some reasons why:

  1. Get rid of stress: That’s right. To do good, its important to feel good. Reading can reduce your stress about 68%.
  2. Girl Power: Romance novels are typically written by and for women. Best genre to celebrate Girl Power in the 21st century!
  3. Recharge: Take some me time. Even as little as ten minutes can re-energize you.
  4. Be Merry: In life and love we all love happily ever afters. In a romance novel, it’s guaranteed.

We’ve been featuring a holiday book and giveaway this season and today we have Cathy Gillen  Thacker’s A TALE of TWO CHRISTMAS LETTERS.(HQNSpecialEd).

letters

Will a single dad and three little girls fulfill her secret Christmas wish?

Rehab nurse Bess Monroe is mortified that she accidentally sent the wrong Christmas letter to her boss! And so now Jack McCabe, widowed surgeon and father of three little girls, offers his friendship to get through the holidays. But their pact soon turns into something more. Can a woman who’s been burned by love open her heart to Jack for the holidays—and maybe forever?

*****

Thanks to Harlequin Romance novels,  we have one copy of A TALE of TWO CHRISTMAS LETTERS  to giveaway. Just tell us your favorite Holiday memory.  We’ll announce a winner soon. Good luck.

GIVEAWAY: USA only please