Review: A French Adventure by Jennifer Bohnert

A French Adventure

 

About the book, A French Adventure A French Adventure cover

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Boldwood Books (February 20, 2024)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 272 pages

When your old life ceases to exist, its time to build a new one…

It’s early summer on the French Riviera when Vivienne Wilson arrives for a one-woman writers’ retreat after learning that her philandering husband or 30 years, wants a divorce. There to collect the shell-shocked Vivienne is recently widowed Maxine Zonszain, who is struggling to come to terms with her empty life. To add insult to injury she receives another knockout punch with a letter from her very estranged first husband…. Florist extraordinaire, Olivia Murray, shares the Villa that Vivienne is renting. She’s content with life – but sad to add another failed relationship to her growing list and longs to meet ‘The One‘. Life under the summer sun in Antibes becomes a challenging time for all three women as secrets are shared, problems halved as they forge unexpected friendships and embark on new adventures. Sometimes life’s surprises turn out to be unwanted but just sometimes the ‘new normal’ makes for a happier life than the one lost.

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About the author, Jennifer Bohnert Jennifer Bohnert

Jennifer Bohnet is the bestselling author of over 12 women’s fiction titles, including Villa of Sun and Secrets and A Riviera Retreat. She is originally from the West Country but now lives in the wilds of rural Brittany, France.

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My Thoughts Melissa A Bartell

In the middle of the February doldrums comes an effervescent read from Jennifer Bohnert. A French Adventure is a delightful novel. It’s a quick read, and a light one, but it’s not fluffy. Rather, it’s a positive, sometimes funny, always very real, look at female intergenerational friendship and creating a new lifestyle.

 

As a “mature” reader myself, I gravitated more toward Vivienne and Maxine, who are closer to my age, but as someone who retains her youthful energy, I also enjoyed the perspective the younger character of Olivia brought to the table. I loved that each of these women was independent and fully formed, but that their stories intertwined to form a strong support system for each other.

 

Opening with a shock for Vivienne, the story then follows a chain of events that leads all three women to a vacation on the French Riviera – who wouldn’t want to escape there after their life was upturned?

 

Author Bohnert handled the three points of view of these characters most ably, shifting focus to highlight each woman’s story while weaving them into a cohesive whole. I liked that while the friendship among the three was the central relationship, there was room for romance as well. The love story of Olivia and Thierry was particularly enjoyable, and I cannot say enough about Gilles, who helped Vivienne discern what she really wanted in her post-divorce life.

 

Overall, A French Adventure is a charming read, and one I highly recommend.

 

Goes well with: strawberries and champagne.


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Book Spotlight: The Knotted Ring by Myra Hargrave McIlvain

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I’m thrilled to be spotlighting this book today. It looks like a moving story rich in history and character.

About the book, The Knotted Ring Cover The Knotted Ring

  • Genre: Historical Fiction / Family Saga / Historical Romance
  • Publisher: Next Chapter
  • Page Count: 412
  • Publication Date: December 7, 2023
  • Scroll down for Giveaway!

Susannah Mobley, expecting a baby by her lover, a slave owned by her family, submits to an arranged marriage to Hezekiah James who is headed to Texas to claim a Spanish land grant. Caught in a series of lies about the origin of a beautiful ring woven from her red hair and the circumstances of her pregnancy, Susannah embarks on the harsh trip to Texas, grieving for her lost love and determined to control her destiny.

On the wagon train journey, Hezekiah is tested by his beliefs and strengths with his slaves and Native Americans, as well as a strange Mad Stone. His determination to build a plantation as fine as Susannah’s home place and to make the best decisions for Susannah fails. Susannah will have to decide if she can live with the consequences of her lies and open herself to this man who shows every form of contrition or if she will allow longing for what she cannot have to destroy her life.

The Knotted Ring is currently a semi-finalist in the Laramie Awards for Western and Americana Fiction.

Praise for this book:

“An often engrossing and well-handled story of the 19th century.” —Kirkus Reviews

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About the author, Myra Hargrave McIlvain Author Photo McIlvain

Myra Hargrave McIlvain, a sixth-generation Texan, is a storyteller who has written Texas historical markers (yes, real people write those things lining Texas highways), articles for newspapers and magazines such as Texas Highways, and six nonfiction books about famous and infamous Texas characters and places.

McIlvain found her real love when she wrote her first historical fiction. All her tales take place in Texas during major periods of its history. However, The Knotted Ring was inspired by an old family story, and in her search to understand what may have happened, she imagined their lives set in a time that she knew well––the establishment of the first Anglo colony.

McIlvain views history as the story of a people; the people she knows best have made Texas home.

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Book Spotlight: Amethyst, The Shallows by Kellye Abernathy

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I’m so excited to be bringing you this spotlight for Amethyst, The Shallows, the companion novel to The Aquamarine Surfboard. I read the first book last summer, and fell in love with the writing, the imagery, and the characters, so I know this book will be just as charming and dynamic.

About the Book: Amethyst, the Shallows Cover Amethyst, The Shallows

(The Companion Novel to The Aquamarine Surfboard)

  • Genre: Young Adult / Magical Realism / Coming of Age
  • Published: Atmosphere Press, February 6, 2024
  • Pages: 296 pages

“This is a night for being brave.”

In the aftermath of a devastating sickness that shatters their close-knit beach town, six lonely kids are drawn together during the unpredictable autumn equinox. Among them are fourteen-year-old Lorelei, who yearns to be an oceanographer, and her peculiar younger brother, Tad, who possesses an otherworldly curiosity.

When Lorelei has a strange and almost deadly encounter in a sea cave, her loyal boyfriend, Casey, cannot reconcile her fantastical experience with the rational world. Condi, Lorelei’s best friend, understands ocean magic but isn’t free to share what she knows. Kait, a girl from Ireland, regrets her impulsive move to America-all because of an odd occurrence involving her deceased boyfriend’s lost surfboard. When tides turn and the moon shifts, Isaac, the new kid in town who despises the ocean, is forced to face the truth-a profound and powerful magic lives in the deep.

Guided by a wise surf master, mystical old women known as the Beachlings, and an open-hearted grandmother, six kids embark on transformative adventures that challenge their beliefs about possibilities and the intense nature of love.

Amethyst, The Shallows is the brand-new companion novel to The Aquamarine Surfboard.

Praise for this book:

Amethyst, The Shallows’ sensitive and potent prose stirs the reader, leaving a lasting impression. Although this novel is the second installment in a series, it stands strong independently, welcoming newcomers and returning readers alike.” Literary Titan

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About the Author, Kellye Abernathy author photo Abernathy

Kellye Abernathy’s passions are writing and serving trauma survivors as a yoga teacher and practical life skills advocate. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Secondary English Education from the University of Kansas. Her home is in land-locked Plano, Texas—where she’s dreaming of her next trip to the sea!

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Review: The Fixer-Upper by Phoebe MacLeod

The Fixer Upper

About the book, The Fixer-Upper The Fixer Upper cover

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Boldwood Books (February 3, 2024)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 288 pages

Finding a man is like buying a house: sometimes you have to look beyond the exterior to see the potential underneath.

As an estate agent, Alex’s job is to create happy-ever-afters. It’s just a shame she can’t work the same magic on her own life. Her long-term boyfriend Thomas still lives with his mother, and her hopes of them taking the next step are dashed when he announces he’s spending all his savings (savings she’d quite hoped he’d want to put towards their future home) on an ‘artist retreat’ in San Francisco.

With Thomas thousands of miles away, getting a little too friendly with his fellow artistes, Alex strikes up a friendship with her new neighbour, Callum. Taciturn, grumpy and nerdy, Callum couldn’t be more different to Alex’s bubbly personality…. So why is he the one she wakes up wanting to talk to?

As they get to know each other, Alex starts to wonder if the answer to all her problems might be closer to home than she thinks…

Buy, read, and discuss this book:

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About the author, Phoebe MacLeod PhoebeAvatar

Phoebe MacLeod is the author of several popular laugh-out-loud romantic comedies. She mainly sets her books in her home county of Kent and her first new title for Boldwood will be published in November 2022. They will also be republishing her existing titles from August this year.

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My Thoughts MissMeliss - 2023

How refreshing it was to fall into the pages of The Fixer-Upper, Phoebe MacLeod’s latest romantic comedy, where friendship remains a pillar and shocking events don’t drive the plot. Rather, it’s a novel that lets us meet the main characters, sit with them a while, and watch them develop new and healthy relationships without any back-stabbing or scandal.

Alex and Emma are best friends who buy a flat together, and in typical rom-com fashion, fall for the boys next door – well, really across the hall. What follows is a sweet and often hilarious story about how confident real estate agent Alex and less confident Emma find themselves in a quest to find true – or at least lasting – love.

I enjoyed the tease of the title that persisted through the opening chapters, for the “fixer-upper” isn’t the flat that Emma and Alex buy. It’s their next door neighbor Callum, and even he doesn’t really need fixing so much as he needs a style consultant and a confidence booster.

Watching Alex process her changing feelings for her long-term boyfriend Thomas, especially after he moves to San Francisco for an artists’ retreat, is much like watching my own self in my twenties as I learned what I wanted, what I didn’t, and what wants were really needs, and it’s that universality that really makes this book shine. We’ve all had to re-examine our choices at one time or another. We’ve all had the focus of of our relationships change – at times the most important person is our best friend, while at other times it’s our partner. Those shifts are a normal part of our evolution into stable adults, and author MacLeod captures them brilliantly.

While I loved the Alex and Callum thread in this novel, and enjoyed the Emma and Mark thread, the character I felt was a bit underserved in this story was the other best friend, Michelle, who is a tower of support for Alex, especially when Emma’s focus changes.

If you’re looking for accidental sleuths, scandal, or mayhem, this is not the book for you. If, on the other hand, you’re looking for a relatable, feel-good romance with well-drawn characters who feel like the people you might meet in the local cafe, run to your nearest source of books, and get a copy of The Fixer-Upper. You won’t regret it.

Goes well with: coffee and anisette toast.


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Cover Reveal and Pre-Order Opportunity: To Rescue a Witch by Lisa A. Traugott

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I’m so excited to be introducing the cover to Lisa A. Traugott’s forthcoming book, To Rescue a Witch,
which will be released on March 1 2024. It sounds like an excellent read, so don’t miss your chance to PREORDER THIS BOOK.

About the book, To Rescue a Witch COVER Tease To Rescue a Witch

  • Genre: Historical Fiction / Action & Adventure / Fantasy
  • Published: Coming March 1, 2024
  • Scroll down for the cover reveal

It’s 1739. An abused girl accused of witchcraft must be defended by a man married to an actual witch.

William MacLeod, a fierce Scottish lawyer with a kind heart, takes on a daunting task—rescue young Annaliese from the clutches of her tormentors in the untamed wilds of Virginia colony and deliver her safely to her aristocratic father in London. But lurking in the shadows are enemies eager to expose MacLeod’s own wife, Fiona, as a witch with a dark secret.

Their perilous journey takes an unexpected turn when their ship wrecks, and Annaliese’s haunting nightmares and unexplained “Devil marks” trigger suspicion among the crew. Tension peaks when MacLeod must become Annaliese’s unwavering protector in a witch trial, where Fiona’s clairvoyance and a murder are unveiled.

To Rescue a Witch navigates themes of betrayal and redemption, in a spellbinding narrative that blends history, magic and the unyielding resilience of the human spirit.

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About the author, Lisa A. Traugott author photo Traugott

Lisa A. Traugott is an award-winning author and World Championship public speaker semifinalist — who also spoke five lines on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. She lives in Austin with her husband, two kids and English bulldog, Bruno.

Connect with Lisa:

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And Now, Here’s the Cover!

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Book Excerpt: Spanish House Secrets by Susan Gray

Spanish House Secrets

 

About the Book, Spanish House Secrets Spanish House Secrets Cover

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ UK Book Publishing (February 8, 2023)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 335 pages
  • Scroll down for an excerpt from this book!

In 2019 Grace’s memories from childhood are stirred by the sound of a melody. Her home in 1950’s England was a Spanish House. A house with secrets.

1920’s England…loveable, likeable Simon receives a letter on the eve of his twenty-first birthday. A letter that will change the course of his life.

Dainty, demure Olivia has so much to be thankful for: a doting husband, a beautiful house and a thriving business…but a nagging doubt. In the last years of the Roaring Twenties this doubt is compounded by the discovery of a discarded item.

Elise has known many harsh blows in her young life. Returning to her home in Madrid in 1922, she knows she must pick herself up and move on. Can she continue to live in this Spanish House? The arrival of a visitor creates a new dimension for her.

Spanish House Secrets is a story of love, life, loss, jealousy and forgiveness set in the twentieth century.

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About the Author, Susan Gray Spanish Sussan Gray

Susan Gray lives with her husband in northeast England. She has a son and daughter, both married, two granddaughters and a grand dog. After a career in primary teaching, she embraced retirement fulfilling her ambition to travel, attend Wimbledon and write a novel. She enjoys reading, walking, crafting, doing puzzles, catching up with friends over a coffee and being a gran. She has written several novels – Spanish House Secrets is the first to be published.

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Read an Excerpt from Spanish House Secrets

Spanish House Secrets Excerpt

SIMON’S DOUBLE LIFE

Simon returns to his hometown in England, from his six weeks visit to Spain in 1922, where he has learned of his unexpected inheritance. His former sheltered life is now a thing of the past – but how much of his newly acquired wealth should he convey to his family?

 

Simon was never sure when his double-sided life began. He never set out to be secretive, but he just knew on that beautiful day in May, when he returned to Newcastle station, the Spanish side of his life must remain largely secret. Before taking the train to Loftam he needed to make some arrangements. So, he made his way to the premises of Hodgson, Smith and White where he had first learned of his legacy last autumn. The events of those months were mind blowing. His intention was to make an appointment with Mr Hodgson, but the lady behind the desk informed him Mr Hodgson was no longer with them, having retired due to ill health. His clients were being handled by another solicitor, new to the firm called Mr Adams. This information suited Simon, as he had found Mr Hodgson rather imposing. He made a future appointment with Mr Adams then took the train home to Loftam.

In the bubble that was Simon Guilder’s world, he expected a welcoming homecoming – a celebration meal and Serena jumping around eager to hear all his news. Instead, he entered an almost empty house – no father, no Serena, no cosy fire in the drawing room – only Mildred, in the kitchen finishing off the cold buffet for tonight’s evening meal.

“Oh, Mr Simon, it’s so good to see you, sit down – you seem to have been away for ages. I’ll get you a cuppa,” she said.

“Where is everybody?” Simon asked, grabbing a biscuit.

“Serena’s at the store, busy with her new venture, but I’ll not steal her thunder – she’ll be wanting to tell you all about it. Serena and Olivia have been in ecstasy – they’ve been like two busy bees – she only went home today.”

Simon stopped munching his biscuit and asked, “Olivia?” sounding very puzzled.

Mildred replied, “Oh, you must remember her, Mr Simon – she stayed over after the funeral with her grandmother. She lives in York.”

Olivia…Olivia… thought Simon, trying to sift through the many, many, people he’d met in recent weeks, and then there she was in his mind’s eye…an attractive young lady, someone he thought was worth a second meeting, something about her eyes intrigued him, as he recalled.

“Well, that’s me done. I’ll be off now,” Mildred called, retrieving her coat and hat from the hall. Mildred’s words pulled Simon back from his faraway thoughts.

“Your bed is newly made up and I opened the window to let some air in this morning. Cheerio. Mr Simon…it’s so good to have you home,” she called, walking out the back door.

Simon climbed the stairs to his room. The sun was still shining, and the garden was bursting with life, as he looked out of the window.

Everything was normal for Loftam…but in the six weeks since he had gone off to Spain, Simon knew life would never be normal for him again. This is where I take off ‘Spanish Simon’ and put on ‘English Simon’, he thought. Then he went to take a bath and change for dinner.

That was how Simon’s secret Spanish life started. He was never deceitful – just careful with the truth.


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Hang On To Your Bookshelf: a Guest Post from ElaineRobertson North, author of I’ve Been Waiting for You

I've Been Waiting for You

 

About the book, I’ve Been Waiting for You Ive Been EN_IBWFY_Front Cover Artwork FINAL

  • Publisher: Independently published (January 22, 2024)
  • Language: English
  • Paperback: 319 pages
  • Scroll down for a guest post from the author

Esther grew up with a violent criminal father and suffered the loss of her mother at just fourteen.

When her brother, Matt, turns up after another long unexplained absence he falls for Esther’s friend, Abi. Two months into their relationship, Abi is dead and Matt is missing.

Now Esther must do everything she can to find Matt but doing so means opening herself up to a past she has worked hard to escape.

Esther knows she has no choice and must act quickly.

Matt’s life could depend on it.

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About the author, Elaine Robertson North Ive Been Elaine Robertson North

Elaine spent twenty-five years working in marketing and communications in the media and entertainment industries. This included seven years marketing national newspapers, running the publicity campaign for three Red Nose Days and a number of years working in entertainment PR. She held senior communications roles at Capital Radio and UKTV, and latterly, she was the MD of a small marketing agency. It was all fast and furious and a fantastically rich source of material.

Having harboured a desire to write for many years, Elaine finally made this her focus once she’d hung up her corporate hat, publishing her first book, I Can’t Tell You Why in 2019. Her second book, Bring Me To Life, followed in 2022.

Today Elaine lives in North London with her husband and their two sons. When she’s not writing, she can be found looking harassed on the school run, on the side lines of her sons’ football matches, or singing her heart out with her local branch of Popchoir.

Connect with Elaine:

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Guest Post – Hang On To Your Bookshelf!

lesly-juarez-EW2cPMEp0mI-unsplashI’m so excited to bring you this guest post from Elaine Robertson North. All authors begin as readers, after all, and what to DO with all those books is a never-ending dilemma. After you read her thoughts on this very important subject, I’m certain that you’ll want to add her book, I’ve Been Waiting for You, to your bookshelf. I know I did!

I can’t imagine living in a home without a bookshelf, or more likely, shelves. Apart from an obvious love of books, my bookshelves tell a story of their own from my changing tastes in fiction to the poetry I love, and from my travel aspirations to the people who’s lives I’ve wanted to know more about. Without exception, all of them say something about me and my interests. I still have a small collection of my favourite children’s books too so those slices of wood that adorn my living room walls go way beyond a functional or decorative addition to the room; they hold a collection of memories, hopes and dreams, and so much more. In fact I can’t think of another collection of items in the home, other than perhaps photographs, where each one represents a physical link to a past moment in time.

I think the same goes for everyone who keeps and displays their books. The first time I visit someone’s house, I love a discreet browse of the bookshelves, knowing they will offer some immediate insight into that person’s personality and passions. There’s always at least one book that immediately becomes a talking point; a book you’ve read and loved, one you want to read but haven’t yet, something rare and beautiful that you’re almost afraid to even touch, and so it goes on.

These days, most of my reading is done on a Kindle so it’s a while since I’ve added a new book to a shelf which is starting to cause me concern. Is this the beginning of the end for my bookshelves? Will there come a point where they lose their poignancy and relevance? But it’s not just the way we read books that’s changing. Ebooks may be super popular, and audio books too, but paperbacks are still big business and are by no means out of style. In fact, I’m pretty sure sales of paperbacks still far outweigh those of ebooks. But one difference today is that we’re quite rightly encouraged to recycle whenever we can so lots of people I’ve spoken to no longer keep books they’ve read but instead pass them on to friends, or donate them to charity shops which is a great way to give a book a second lease of life and raise money for great causes at the same time. All very positive but once again, it does sadly mean less books for the shelf!

Recycling aside, there are of course other benefits to having a house filled with books. Lots of people find comfort in the presence of their old books. I read someone describing them like old friends which I particularly liked. And an extensive study found the mere presence of books in the home increases children’s academic success and also their vocabulary development which has to be reason enough to find room for a home library!

So if I promise to reread the books I keep every now and again so that they continue to serve a genuine purpose, I hope it’s still okay to hold on to them. I’m in no doubt that my living room would be completely soulless without them.


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Review: The Girls from Sandycove by Sian O’Gorman

The Girls From Sandycove

About the Book, The Girls of Sandycove

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Boldwood Books (January 23, 2024)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 328 pages

THE GIRLS FROM SANDYCOVE hi 4 boldwood.A mother and daughter adrift, a friend in need, and a village to call home…

When Kate O’Hare discovers she’s pregnant, she is determined to return to her hometown of Sandycove in Dublin.

On the other side of the Atlantic, her estranged mother, international superstar, Lola, is heartbroken following the loss of her soulmate, Paulie. On hearing Kate’s plan, Lola follows her, seeking a second chance at motherhood.

Kate discovers her best friend, Flora, is back in her childhood bedroom, her marriage and self-esteem in tatters following her husband’s public betrayal.

Flora now finds herself with no husband, home, or future, while her own mother Patsy is stepping out of her comfort zone into the world of interiors. Can Patsy’s new life reignite Flora’s talent and creativity?

And what of the O’Hare family secret which has the power to unlock a pathway to greater mutual understanding? And will music and the magic of Sandycove be enough to empower the women through such challenging times?

An emotive story of forgiveness, new beginnings and happy-ever-afters…

Buy, read, and discuss this book:

Purchase Link | Goodreads


About the Author, Sian O’Gorman Sian O'G

Sian O’Gorman was born in Galway and now lives just along the coast from Dublin. She works as a radio producer alongside writing contemporary women’s fiction inspired by friend and family relationships.

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My Thoughts MissMeliss - 2023

This was my first “visit” to Sandycove, but it definitely won’t be my last.

In The Girls from Sandycove, author Sian O’Gorman has given us a story about mothers and daughters, exploring both the mother-daughter dynamic and exploring each role on its own. Her subject matter is universal, and her characters are relatable – who hasn’t run home to mom (at least figuratively) when their life has gone sour? Who hasn’t sometimes felt overshadowed by a particularly successful parent? (My own mother freely  admits that she prefers to always be the center of attention.)

So, this story of Flora and Patsy, Kate and Lola is written with realistic dialogue and mostly plausible situations. I liked that each mother-daughter pair had conflict but also drew strength from each other, and I loved that all of this was centered around Sandycove, a village “near Dublin.”

As someone who never really had a hometown, I’ve always been drawn to “hometown stories,” and this novel is no exception. There’s a special kind of magic in returning to the place where you grew up – nostalgic on one level, but a bit like a faded postcard on another – and O’Gorman has captured all of it, making Sandycove its own character.

If you like heartwarming family drama, strong female characters, and a story where people struggle but ultimately grow, read The Girls from Sandycove.

Goes well with: a sunny day, sandy feet, and sharing a bottle of prosecco with your mother, your daughter, or both.


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Book Spotlight & Giveaway: Porter & Midge: Paws and Playtime by Jennie Chen and Giselle Nevada

BNR Paws & Playtime

 

I’m so excited to be part of this book blitz spotlighting the newest Porter & Midge book, Paws and Playtime. My own dogs, Teddy and Piper give it two tails wagging!

Cover Paws and PlaytimeAbout the book: Porter & Midge: Paws and Playtime

  • Genre: Children’s Picture Book / Pet Care / Dog Training
  • Series: Porter and Midge series
  • Publisher: Raise the Woof Press LLC
  • Page Count: 32 pages
  • Publication date: December 12, 2023
  • Scroll down for Giveaway!

Discover the enchanting world of Porter and Midge: Paws and Playtime – a rhyming children’s book that follows the heartwarming bond between two furry friends, Mastiff Porter and Greater Swiss Mountain Dog Midge, and their devoted companions, CJ and Lora.

On a sunny day, CJ’s thoughtful idea sets the stage for a joyful exploration of new ways to make Porter and Midge’s days even brighter.

Through rhythmic verses, follow their journey as they uncover imaginative games, canine enrichment activities, and thrilling dog sports, all while strengthening their unbreakable connection.

Buy, read, and discuss this book:

Purchase Link | Goodreads


Watch the trailer for Porter & Midge: Paws and Playtime


About the authors, Jennie Chen and Giselle Nevada

Author Photo Giselle NevadaGiselle Nevada has owned several mastiffs, acquired both from reputable breeders and via rescue. Fostering rescued mastiffs and helping them work through their issues led to a keen interest in socialization as a means of preventing future issues. She loves working with her dogs and has dabbled in carting, conformation, agility, rally, trick dog, nose work, and many other canine sports. Her puppy Porter is a testament to early socialization – he has achieved many performance dog titles and has done commercial work. He also has a role in a movie called Match Me If You Can directed by Marian Yeager.

Author Photo Jennie ChenJennie Chen is a homesick Austinite who founded Keep Austin Dog Friendly. Over the last 20 years, Jennie has owned Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs and Lowchen. She has earned numerous titles in conformation, competitive obedience, rally, herding, animal assisted therapy, and more. She is passionate about the relationship people build with their beloved canines, and she has been an advocate for people living with disabilities who need a service dog to live independently. She is active in various dog clubs and can be seen on AKC.TV from time to time.

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In Their Words: CG Fewston, author of Conquergood & the Center of the Intelligible Mystery of Being – with Giveaway

BNR Conquergood

 

I’m so excited to be sharing an interview (scroll down to read it) with the author of this book. It seems like a fantastic read, and his writing process really made me want to dig out MY old moleskines and get back to writing more in longhand.

About the book: Conquergood & the Center of the Intelligible Mystery of Being Cover Conquerwood

  • Genre: Science Fiction / Dystopian / Steampunk
  • Publication Date: October 17, 2023
  • Pages: 381
  • Scroll down for Giveaway!

One of resilience and transformation, Conquergood’s life-changing discovery explores the depths of family, memory, love, and the mysteries that lie at the heart of the universe.

In 2183, Jerome Conquergood is an outcast roaming the abandoned and crumbling skyscrapers of Old York City outside the Korporation’s seductive and dizzying headquarters, a post-apocalyptic security-city for the mega-rich. Despite his hatred for the techno-optimism and the Korporation, Conquergood is compelled to save his mysterious twin brother Vincent by joining the Korporation, a mega-corporate and governmental entity in a world oppressed to peace.

Buy, read, and discuss this book:

Purchase Link | Goodreads


About the author, CG Fewston Author Photo Fewston credit Thor

The American novelist CG FEWSTON has been a Visiting Scholar at the American Academy in Rome (Italy), a Visiting Fellow at Hong Kong’s CityU, & he’s been a member of the Hemingway Society, Americans for the Arts, PEN America, Club Med, & the Royal Society of Literature. He’s also been a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA) based in London. He has a B.A. in English, an M.Ed. in Higher Education Leadership (honors), an M.A. in Literature (honors), and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing & Fiction. He was born in Texas in 1979.

Fewston is the author of several short stories and novels. His works include A Father’s Son, The New America: Collection, The Mystic’s Smile ~ A Play in 3 Acts, Vanity of Vanities, A Time to Love in Tehran, Little Hometown, America, A Time to Forget in East Berlin, and Conquergood & the Center of the Intelligible Mystery of Being.

Connect with CG:

Website | Instagram | Facebook | BookBub | Goodreads | Amazon | LinkedIn

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Author Interview: CG Fewston on the Writing Life

How do you write? Any backstory to your choice?1215 MELISSA Author Interview 2 of 5

I prefer to write longhand using a black uni-ball pen with a Moleskine notebook the size of my palm. In the front of the small notebook, I write the story. In the back, I write down notes and tidbits of research that I want to include later on in the story.

Writing longhand allows me more room to create and rework (fixing, editing, and smoothing out) the language and the flow of the dialogue and events of the narrative dream. I always read aloud what I write by longhand and if there’s something flawed or the wrong word choice, I’ll correct or change it and read again and again and again until the flow is sufficient for my level of perfection — until I am satisfied that the fictive dream flows without stumbling or breaking.

After many of these small notebooks have been filled, I will go to typing them and then printing the typed pages out (having the pages bound like a book) so I can then read and edit many times over, reading aloud as I go through the entire manuscript. I will have read the book aloud hundreds of times over before I am ready to let the book go out into the world.

 

Are you a full-time or part-time writer? 1215 MELISSA Author Interview 3 of 5

I’m a full-time writer who spends his days working on novels. First and foremost, however, I am a proud stay-at-home father who focuses on his son. I wake at 4:30 in the morning to do some writing before my son wakes up. Then as he showers, I make his breakfast and spend time with him. Then I take him to school and return home by about 8:30 am to focus on my writing; this includes writing new fiction for my novels. Usually this is either one or two novels because if I get stuck or slowed on one, then I switch to another and continue writing — in this way I can keep writing and remain productive.

I also work on author interviews or writing up blog posts about the books I’ve read and publish these on my author website. I enjoy sharing with the world the books I’ve read and it also helps me to reflect and have a deeper understanding of the books I’ve read. In the afternoon, I get my son from school and spend the rest of the evening and night focusing on him and family. I strive for balance between writing and family, and enjoy a more family-centered routine.

 

What did you find most useful in learning to write for publication? What was least useful or most destructive? 1215 MELISSA Author Interview 4 of 5

The most useful piece of knowledge I learned in writing for publication came from my mentor (if I’m allowed to call him that) the American novelist John Gardner. Through his amazing books discussing the craft and art of writing — On Moral Fiction (1978), The Art of Fiction (1983), On Becoming a Novelist (1983), and On Writers and Writing (1994) — John Gardner taught me the importance of the “fictive dream” and how writers should do everything to maintain that fictive dream throughout the story.

The most destructive aspect to writing would be for a writer to care too much about what’s going on in the world (at the time they are creating the story and writing it down) and what critics actually say or think about your work. Fiction should stand alone from critics and the events of the world. If the fiction does parallel, then let the fiction do that on its own. Writers should give little time and attention and energy to good or bad comments or reviews of their fiction. Strive to do your absolute best, don’t compare, and then let the fiction speak for itself.

 

Do you have any strange writing habits or writing rituals you’d like to share with your readers?

I have the ability to lose myself inside my work. Five hours can quickly become five minutes. When I’m writing, I’m connected to something greater than myself and Time becomes somewhat different. That’s when I know I’m doing what I was meant to do.

 

What does your perfect writing spot look like? Is that what your ACTUAL writing spot looks like? 1215 MELISSA Author Interview 5 of 5

The perfect writing spot, for me, is the spot that is most conducive to my writing, creating a productive writing session with the most ease. Now, it’s the kitchen table at 4:30 in the morning or my leather writing chair when no one is home.

So, yes, my perfect writing spot is my actual writing spot — it cannot be any other way. I’m not trying to make a million dollars. I’m trying to write a beautiful work of art. So, I take my writing seriously and with a fierce intensity that goes completely unnoticed because I write in solitude and in silence. And I love it that way.

 

 


Giveaway

GIVEAWAY!GIVEAWAY!GIVEAWAY!

SIX WINNERS:

1st: $100 Amazon card + eBook or paperback of Conquergood

2nd: $50 Amazon card + eBook or paperback

3rd: $25 Amazon card + eBook or paperback

4th: Book Lover’s gift bundle + eBook or paperback

5th: Book Lover’s blanket + eBook or paperback

6th: Book Lover’s tote bag + eBook or paperback

(US Only; ends 12/21/23)

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Visit the Other Great Blogs on This Tour

Click to visit THE LONE STAR LITERARY LIFE TOUR PAGE for direct links to each post on this tour, updated daily, or visit each blog directly:

12/11/23 Sybrina’s Book Blog Excerpt
12/11/23 The Real World According to Sam Review
12/11/23 Hall Ways Blog BONUS Stop
12/12/23 The Page Unbound Notable Quotables
12/12/23 LSBBT Blog BONUS Stop
12/13/23 Boys’ Mom Reads Review
12/14/23 It’s Not All Gravy Review
12/14/23 Book Fidelity Review
12/15/23 Bibliotica Author Interview
12/15/23 Librariel Book Adventures Review
12/16/23 Forgotten Winds Scrapbook Page
12/17/23 StoreyBook Reviews Author Interview
12/18/23 Rox Burkey Blog Review
12/18/23 Rebecca R. Cahill, Author Scrapbook Page
12/19/23 Chapter Break Book Blog Review
12/19/23 Reading by Moonlight Review
12/20/23 Jennie Reads Review
12/20/23 The Plain-Spoken Pen Review

 

Note: The links in the above schedule are general links and go to each blog’s home page only.

 

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