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Archive for the ‘woman’s fiction’ Category

ABOUT THE BOOK

Adam Craig, a forty year-old stock trader in Chicago, finds his marriage teetering on the rocks and his life at a standstill. Desperate and on the edge of personal collapse, Adam takes the advice of a therapist and travels to his childhood family compound on Black Bear Lake with hopes of making peace with his past. Stepping onto the northern Wisconsin property, he relives the painful memories of the summer of 1983, his last summer at the lake. 

In August 1983, a self-conscious fifteen year-old Adam carries a world of worry on his shoulders as he arrives at Black Bear Lake for a month long family reunion. Between anger and fear of mother’s declining health as she quietly battles a quickly spreading cancer and his cherished cousin’s depression over her parents’ bitter divorce, Adam is swept up in smothering familial love among the multiple generations and heartbreaking misunderstanding and betrayal. The arrival of a sensual but troublesome babysitter throws the delicate balance of his family into a tailspin. Blinded by his attraction to the newcomer, Adam fails to see his cousin’s desperate cries for help and the charged electrical current running through his family’s hierarchy. Crushed in the middle of it all, Adam is forced to learn that there’s a fine line between self-preservation and the strength of family blood, all the while unaware of the impending tragedy that will ultimately change his life forever.
 
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
 
Leslie Liautaud is the author of Midnight Waltzes (2006), He Is Us (2008), The Wreck (2009), SALIGIA (2011), The Mansion (2012) and Summer Nights and Dreams (2012). She is also the author of the coming-of-age novel, Black Bear Lake (CreateSpace Independent Publishing, 2014).
Leslie is originally from Kansas City, MO where she worked in the performing arts. Currently, she divides her time between between Key Largo, FL and Champaign, IL with her husband, three teenage children and three rambunctious dogs.
Follow the rest of Leslie’s tour HERE

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HamsterIsland_medTitle: Hamster Island

Genre: Memoir

Author: Joan Heartwell

Website: www.joanheartwell.com  or www.hamster-island.com

Amazon / B&N / OmniLit

Book description:

Hamster Island is Heartwell’s story of growing up ordinary in family that embodied dysfunction. Her childlike shame for her special needs siblings is balanced by a fierce love that, occasionally, enabled her to shed her diffidence and perform extraordinary feats of pluck and valor. Funny and heartbreaking simultaneously, Hamster Island is a coming-of-age in the tradition of such darkly comic memoirs as Mary Karr’s The Liars Club and Augusten Burroughs’ Running with Scissors; it delights while exploring issues of identity, transformation, and responsibility.

My thoughts…

I was impressed by this talented author and her attention to detail as she takes us back to the sixties, as a teenager living amidst a truly dysfunctional family composed of an indifferent father, a religious fanatic mother, a kleptomaniac grandmother, and two special-needs siblings.

With her deft pen, the author offers the reader a glimpse into the heart and soul of a sensitive girl and her conflicting, contradictory emotions which range from intense rage to chilling sadness to heart-breaking love, and then some. At times painful, at times humorous, Joan paints a vivid picture of her world and her struggles as she tries to survive among unfit adults who instead of being there for her, supporting and guiding her, as they should, turn her universe into one where she herself must become the grown-up and caretaker.

Joan’s prose is smooth and fluid, often witty and at times truly beautiful. Her tone is dark, which fits the story and subject well. So many themes are explored in this memoir…religious fanaticism, duty, freedom, compassion, sacrifice. Hamster Island is a memoir that makes the reader ponder about life, the people we don’t like but whom we love, and the sacrifices that we must make for our family. Highly recommended for fans of memoirs!

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AVGL LS in libraryLynn Steward is a successful business woman who spent many years in New York City’s fashion industry in marketing and merchandising, including the development of the first women’s department at a famous men’s clothing store. Through extensive research, and an intimate knowledge of the period, Steward created the characters and stories for a series of five authentic and heartwarming novels about New York in the seventies. A Very Good Life is the first in the series featuring Dana McGarry.  

About the Book

Although Lynn Steward’s debut novel, A Very Good Life, takes place in 1970s New York City. it has a timelessness to it. Dana McGarry is an “it” girl, living a privileged lifestyle of a well-heeled junior executive at B. Altman, a high end department store. With a storybook husband and a fairytale life, change comes swiftly and unexpectedly. Cracks begin to appear in the perfect facade. Challenged at work by unethical demands, and the growing awareness that her relationship with her distant husband is strained, Dana must deal with the unwanted changes in her life. Can she find her place in the new world where women can have a voice, or will she allow herself to be manipulated into doing things that go against her growing self-confidence?

A Very Good Life chronicles the perils and rewards of Dana’s journey, alongside some of the most legendary women of the twentieth century. From parties at Café des Artistes to the annual Rockefeller Center holiday tree lighting ceremony, from meetings with business icons like Estée Lauder to cocktail receptions with celebrity guests like legendary Vogue editor Diana Vreeland. Steward’s intimate knowledge of the period creates the perfect backdrop for this riveting story about a woman’s quest for self-fulfillment.

Purchase on Amazon.

Interview

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000037_00031]Q: Congratulations on the release of your book, A Very Good Life. What was your inspiration for it? 

A: I always enjoyed business-related writing and thought a non-fiction self-help book, with life-lessons I learned along the way, would be a fun project.  But, as often happens when you put yourself out there, I discovered another path and took it: I developed a TV pilot about New York in the seventies because, as they say “Write what you know” and I know New York. I’m a native of Long Island, and between attending school and working, I spent twenty-two years in Manhattan. I was so overwhelmed with ideas, the TV series expanded to five seasons! Appropriately placed in the New York City of 1975, which was International Women’s Year, the plots in the series intermingle fashion legends, business icons, real events, and untold stories, providing a behind-the-scenes look at inspirational women in the worlds of art, fashion, and business.

After meeting with professionals in the entertainment industry, I realized that the main character needed more drama and the plots had to be developed, and I felt the best way to do that was to convert the pilot into a novel.  A Very Good Life is the first in a five-book series inspired by the TV show and featuring Dana McGarry.

Q: Tell us something interesting about your protagonist.

A: Dana initially comes across as an underdog. She is extremely likeable, has a soft demeanor,  and tries hard to please, but she is being treated shabbily by her husband at home and her superiors at work.  Readers start routing for her immediately, hoping she will succeed in her quest for self-fulfillment. Can she find her place in the new world – International Women’s Year – where women can have a voice, or will she allow herself to be manipulated into doing things that go against her growing self-confidence?

Q: How was your creative process like during the writing of this book and how long did it take you to complete it? Did you face any bumps along the way?

A: I started developing the TV show approximately three years ago, spending the first year and a half researching historic facts, places,  and events from the period, and creating the characters.   I did not have writers block or any  bumps along the way. The story just kept writing itself.  Characters I thought would play an important role, never made it to the page, and others that I least expected became my favorites.

Q: How do you keep your narrative exciting throughout the creation of a novel?

A:  I again go back to “Write what you know.”  New York City, especially Murray Hill, is home to me.  As a child I was often in Manhattan visiting my grandparents in their Italian neighborhood on 106th St Street.There is so much to draw on when writing about a place or topic that is familiar, or part of your soul. I lived many years a few blocks from B. Altman, and I was in the store practically every day, as well as Mary Elizabeth’s tea room, the lectures at the Metropolitan Museum with Rosamond Bernier, and, of course, the exciting costume exhibits at the Met staged by Diana Vreeland.  I have great affection and enthusiasm for the real and fictional characters, and the period, and I think that is translated to the page.

Q: Do you experience anxiety before sitting down to write? If yes, how do you handle it?

A: No anxiety at all. I think it helps to be prepared with good research, photos for inspiration, and organized files, readily available when an idea is sparked at the keyboard. I think, no matter your subject, organization is key. Your mind cannot possibly keep everything neatly filed and available when you need it. My iPad has been tremendously helpful for note taking, and I constantly use it in conjunction with my computer.

Q: What is your writing schedule like and how do you balance it with your other work and family time? 

A: My favorite time to write is early in the morning, preferably around 5:30 a.m., when my mind is clear, it is peaceful, and there are no interruptions. I won’t allow myself to even peek at e-mails, I don’t want anything to distract me for at least three hours. I am always surprised and disappointed how fast that time goes.

Q: How do you define success? 

A: Being at peace with one’s self, happy to face a new day.

Q: What advice would you give to aspiring writers whose spouses or partners don’t support their dreams of becoming an author?

A: I believe that may be a problem. I quickly learned that writing becomes an all-consuming passion; you effortlessly and selfishly  block out everything and everyone.  I find author interviews in The Paris Review give good and interesting insight into the minds and lives of writers, and, while all are very different people, they share an intensity that even I, at my inexperienced level, could relate. With that being said, I think if you really long to get that story on paper, you will find a way;  structure a routine, a time of day to be alone. It’s difficult to write many hours straight, so you will welcome the company of family and loved ones.  Just try to curb your enthusiasm and don’t expect others to care what your favorite character did in the last chapter; trust me, they rather wait to read the book!

Q: George Orwell once wrote: “Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand.” Do you agree?

A: Orwell got the driven part right, but I did not have a horrible experience; surprisingly exhausting, considering I was seated in one spot for hours and not running a marathon. But, yes, the editing is stressful and tedious; you pull one thread, and everything else falls apart. The passion, however, or as Orwell said, the demon, returns you to the same place the next day.

Q:  Anything else you’d like to tell my readers?

A: I have met the most wonderful people on this new journey: kind, helpful, and patient. I have had two high energy careers, and I am enjoying the peaceful world of not only writing, but of writers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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bangkok banner

ABOUT THE BOOK

bangkok

Bangkok: a sizzling, all-embracing, exotic city where the past and the present intertwine. It’s a place where anything can happen… and anything really does happen. The paths of seven people cross in this metropolis. Seven seekers, for whom this city might be a final destination. Or perhaps it is only the start of a new journey? A successful businessman; a celebrated supermodel; a man who is forever the outsider; a young mother who suddenly loses everything; a talented surgeon, who could not give the woman he loved all that she desired; a brothel’s madam; and a charming young woman adopted at birth. Why these seven? Why did they come to Bangkok now, at the same time? Do chance encounters truly exist?

Bangkok Transit is a Central European best-seller. The author, Eva Fejos, a Hungarian writer and journalist, is a regular contributor to women’s magazines and is often herself a featured personality. Bangkok Transit was her first best-seller, which sold more than 100,000 copies and is still selling. Following the initial publication of this novel in 2008, she went on to write twelve other best-sellers, thus becoming a publishing phenomena in Hungary According to accounts given by her readers, the author’s books are “therapeutic journeys,” full of flesh and blood characters who never give up on their dreams. Many readers have been inspired to change the course of their own lives after reading her books. “Take your life into your own hands,” is one of the important messages the author wishes to convey.

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EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT OF BANGKOK TRANSIT

‘Simon had wanted to spend New Year’s Eve modestly and with restraint. Instead, he got totally wasted, and if Eva hadn’t been there to dab his forehead with a wet washcloth, perhaps he never would have lived to see another year. But Eva, the wife of his best friend and colleague, Ralf, had helped him survive the night.

The next day, when he woke up sticky with sweat in their living room on the leather couch, repulsed by the horrible taste of his own mouth, he realized that he had to go. Otherwise, he would drink himself senseless with vodka the following night too, and the night after, and things still wouldn’t be any better. Nothing would change at all. And he would wreck his health in the process.

He felt himself hitting rock bottom over the course of the past few months. After the initial shock, he had curbed himself, trying to repress the pain, trying to live with her as before. He tried not to think about what had happened, tried to stay strong, tried to concentrate on his patients, tried to learn new surgery procedures, tried to be better at tennis by hiring a new trainer and pushing himself, jogging every day at dawn, punishing his body so that maybe his soul would find peace in the meantime. But his soul just hurt even more, and Simon had reached the edge of a total breakdown a good two months earlier. There was no other solution than to move away from her, even though he wanted to stay, because he kept seeing the same look of accusation in her eyes, even when there was perhaps no real trace of it. He moved out, but things didn’t get any better. How could they? He was unable to control what was happening to him, and despite his efforts to be disciplined during the day, he couldn’t keep his nights under control. He had never turned to alcohol in the past, had always been sporty, and as a doctor he knew very well that drink was only a temporary pacifier. Still, he chugged down the vodka and waited for the pain to ease up, waited for the day when he could forgive himself, but he couldn’t. His best friend, Ralf, who was pretty in tune to what was going on, set up an “accidental” meeting for him with one of the hospital’s psychiatrists, but Simon didn’t want the help. He thought he must face what had happened on his own, and that no one could help him.

Then, one day, he felt that perhaps it might help if he went off on this trip. He would have to wait for the first workday after the holiday in order to book a ticket, and had to pay a substantially high surcharge if he wished to travel immediately, but he didn’t mind. He had loads of accumulated vacation time, since he only ever took time off to visit conventions and to take an annual vacation with her… but that was all in the past now. His direct superior was also the director of the clinic, and he knew what Simon had recently been through; moreover, about six months ago, when Simon had still been apparently keeping it together by being strict with himself, his boss kept asking if maybe he should take a vacation. So when Simon told him that he would be away for at least four weeks, his boss simply nodded acquiescently.

Now he was here in the City of Angels in the Patpong district, dying for some vodka, and answering the Thai girls who called to him on the street (and who were clearly prostitutes, but at the moment, this did not bother him in the least).

“What’s your name?”

“John,” he answered without hesitation.

What was he thinking? And why didn’t he just tell them his real name? He didn’t understand why he was acting this way.

“Come in, John, and look at our show!” said two girls, linking arms with him. He shrugged and went along with them. Why not?’

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

eva

Eva Fejos worked in one of the largest Hungarian women’s magazines, Nők Lapja (Women’s Journal), as a journalist from 2001 until 2012. She was the recipient of both the Award for Quality Journalism and the Award for Excellence.

She is tremendously fond of traveling. Her many experiences give a personal touch to her exciting, propelling, and exotic novels. Fejos’s first Hungarian best-seller book, Bangkok transit, reached the top of the best-seller list within one month of its publication.

Following the initial publication of this novel in 2008, she has gone on to write twelve other best-sellers, making her a publishing phenomena in Hungary. According to the many accounts given by her readers, the author’s books are “therapeutic journeys,” full of flesh and blood characters who never give up on their dreams. Many readers have been inspired to change the course of their own lives after reading her books. “Take your life into your own hands” is one of the important messages the author wishes to convey.

Visit the author’s Website

Eva’s Facebook

Eva’s Goodreads

Eva’s Twitter

This tour is brought to you by Worldwind Virtual Book Tours!

To view the entire Bangkok Transit Tour, click HERE

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The Seacrest 3D Image Of CoverBook description…

They say it’s better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.

Finn McGraw disagrees.

He was just seventeen when he had a torrid summer affair with the girl who stole his heart—and then inexplicably turned on him, just before being sent to boarding school. Finn may have moved on with his life, but he’s never forgotten her.

Now, ten years later, he’s got more than his lost love to worry about. A horrific accident turns his life upside down, resurrecting the ghosts of his long-dead family at the same time it takes the lives of the few people he has left.

Finn always believed his estranged brother was responsible for the fire that killed their family—but an unexpected inheritance with a mystery attached throws everything he knows into doubt.

And on top of that, the beguiling daughter of his wealthy employer has secrets of her own. But the closer he gets, the harder she pushes him away.

The Seacrest is a story of intrigue and betrayal, of secrets and second chances—and above all, of a love that never dies.

My thoughts…

This book was such a pleasant surprise. I had read some of this author’s well-written mysteries in the past, but I was sceptical about him pulling off a love story. Was I wrong!

The Seacrest is a fabulous read! Lazar’s voice is honest and intimate, emotional without being melodramatic. His style is fresh and engaging. This story is a wonderful portrait of a young man who falls in love and never gives up in spite of all the barriers and tragedies that destiny brings his way. The characters are genuine and excellently drawn; the family dynamics poignant and compelling.

Themes of love, forgiveness, and redemption further add insight to this fabulous tale. If you love the work of Richard Paul Evans and Nicholas Sparks, you’ll love the work of Aaron Lazar. Highly recommended!

PURCHASE ON AMAZON

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Christmas is in the Air Anthology 2

This is the second Christmas romance anthology from Books to Go Now that I have read this month. I loved the first one,Christmas Romance, and this the second one didn’t disappoint. Four talented romance authors, four sweet stories that will warm your heart this holiday season. And just like in the first one, there are dogs in this one, too!

In “Red Soles at Night Christmas Delight,” by Cary Morgan Frates, Audrey Wells is out of her wits when a dog jumps on to the deck of her boat and in the process throws her super expensive Louboutin shoes into the lake. The dog’s handsome owner has no choice but to dive into the freezing cold water to rescue them. Of course, Audrey ends up making sure he doesn’t get pneumonia. In a turn of fate, they end up spending Christmas Day together. A humorous and sexy story.

In “Yuletide Bride,” by Danielle Lee Zwissler, reporter Mary Simms is out on a mission. She wants to prove that the town’s Magic of Christmas Festival, where perfect couples are “matched” for life, is a sham. Will she have the courage to uncover the truth and destroy people’s belief in the tradition, even if it means destroying the happiness of some of the old couples involved? And what about James, the handsome lawyer who asks her not to go ahead with her story, and for whom she’s developing some serious feelings? Will Mary learn to have faith? An original, delightful story with a touch of mystery.

In “Christmas Gift that Keeps Wagging,” by Jennifer Conner, we meet Julian Barrows, a single dad with a kindergarten son who suffers from seizures; and Hannah, the beautiful trainer who specializes in seizure-detecting dogs. Their paths touch when Julian tries to get her dog for his son. The problem is, it’s incredibly expensive. Fate has other plans, and the magic of Christmas works its way into their lives…A heart-warming story with an ending that will pull at your heart strings.

The last story is “One Horse Open Sleigh Race,” by Karen Hall, where we’re transported to 1819 London, and where, after a most unexpected encounter, a wealthy earl and the feisty twin of the new clergyman find true love thanks to a Christmas sleigh race and an adorable “match-making” Scottie. Lovers of historical romance will relish this one.

This anthology has a tantalizing, charming cover. That’s the first thing that pulled me to the book, and it adequately illustrates the inside content. The four stories in this anthology are all about strong yet vulnerable heroines and sensitive, yet forceful heroes; about the spirit of the Christmas season and the magical effect it can sometimes have on people; about the hope and faith for true love and the attainment of that love.

Through the authors’ imaginations, I was transported to different places and times, relishing the characters’ fictional worlds and predicaments. I also love how the authors incorporate humor into their stories, and how the dogs play their important roles. Christmas Is in the Air is an upbeat, thoroughly enjoyable read, and one I’m sure readers of sweet romance stories will enjoy.

Find out more on Books to Go Now and  Amazon.

My review was originally published in Blogcritics Magazine. 

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18749222 (1)For fans of inspirational love stories, Christmas Romance is a wonderful anthology to cuddle up with this holiday season. Written by four best-selling romance authors, these stories will warm your heart and leave you with a cozy upbeat feeling that will linger for days.

In “Christmas Wishes,” readers will meet Lee Llewellyn, who’s lost all hope of finding happiness due to her young son’s death and the bitter divorce that followed… until she meets a handsome stranger in the cemetery on Christmas Eve, and her life takes a bright, unexpected twist. A soulful story about re-claiming joy.

In “Central Bark at Christmas,” Tennyson has just been dumped by her arrogant and insensitive lawyer boyfriend. She swears to stay away from men, believing they’re nothing but bad luck. But then, while walking her dog she meets Par, who, aside from spending time with his dog, seems only to have time for work. But fate has plans for them. They find an abandoned dog and as they care for it and try to find him a home, their destinies become intertwined… Dog lovers will love this one.

In “Halo’s Wish,” undercover pet detective Halo Ann’s dream is to have a big family and a house in the country surrounded by pets, but she denies herself these things by focusing on her career – even if that means staying away from a sexy veterinarian who keeps bumping into her. While working on a case, things go terribly wrong and she ends up with a lump on her head, a broken ankle, a bruised hip, and a demolished car. The first thing she sees in the hospital when she opens her eyes is the vet’s face. Will Christmas work its magic and make her realize she can have both a fulfilling relationship and a career? This was such a cute story with endearing protagonists.

In “Christmas Hope,” Clara is trying to lift from the ground a tasting party business called The Perfect Place — not easy when her self esteem is low due to a failed marriage and various failed businesses. One day while watching TV she discovers Sam Richards, a fourth-generation farmer from upstate New York…and she has an idea that brings her to his very doorstep. There’s only one problem: he’s super grumpy and has not interest whatsoever in collaborating with her. Will Clara succeed in melting the ice from his Scrooge heart?

What I loved most about this anthology is that it’s full of pets: dogs, puppies, kittens. As an animal lover, I really enjoyed the way the authors incorporated critters into their stories, and how the animals, in a way, had a role in uniting the characters. The protagonists are sympathetic, their troubles and concerns ones that most women can relate to. The heroes are ones to fall in love with. There’s a generous share of humor as well. These four heart-warming stories are about moving forward and start living again, about the magic of the Christmas season, about trusting our hearts and having hope. Most of all, about believing and finding true love. Recommended!

Find out more on Amazon and Books to Go Now.

My review was originally published in Blogcritics.

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