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The Golden Hour: A Review

It seems like forever since I’ve written a review, hasn’t it? I am doing my best to get better with that. This year has been rough reading wise for me, which sucks. But I will get there. I’m doing my best for now. Anyway! Onto the good stuff. 🙂

The Bahamas, 1941: Newly-widowed Lulu Randolph arrives in Nassau to investigate the new Governor and his wife for a New York society magazine. After all, American readers have an insatiable appetite for news of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, that infamous couple posted to this colonial backwater during World War II after their marriage nearly brought the British monarchy to its knees. What more compelling setting for a magazine feature than a wartime Caribbean paradise, a playground for kingpins of ill-gotten empires?

Or so Lulu imagines. But as she infiltrates the Duke and Duchess’s social circle, and the powerful cabal that controls the islands’ political and financial affairs, she uncovers evidence that beneath the glitter of Wallis and Edward’s marriage lies a complex—and even treasonous—reality. In fact, Windsor-era Nassau roils with spies, financial swindles, and racial tension, and in the middle stands Benedict Thorpe: a scientist of magnetic charm and murky national loyalties. Inevitably, the willful and wounded Lulu falls in love.

Then Nassau’s wealthiest man is murdered in one of the most notorious cases of the century, and the resulting cover-up reeks of royal privilege. Benedict disappears without a trace, and Lulu embarks on a journey to London to unpick his complicated family history: a fateful love affair, a wartime tragedy, and a German mother, the baroness Elfriede von Kleist, from whom all joy is stolen.

Thread by thread, the stories of Lulu and Elfriede weave together in this remarkable tour de force of espionage, sacrifice, human love, and courage, set against a shocking true crime… and the rise and fall of a legendary royal couple.

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Beatriz Williams is one of those authors to whom I’m late to the party in reading. I’ve heard many good things, even own two of her other books, but I hadn’t yet read them, given that I found myself busy reading other things. But as I’ve been in the midst of this dreadful book rut, I picked this one up through Book of the Month club. What a delight! It’s so rare that when I’m in a book rut, that anything grabs my attention. Now, I admit…I found the beginning slow and I did find Lulu’s way of speaking a tad…frustrating. I just couldn’t click with it, if that makes sense. I found myself more drawn to Elfriede’s story rather than Lulu’s. Elfriede is in a sanitarium because she feels absolutely nothing towards her new baby. It’s what we know today as postpartum depression. Her timeline is WWI, whilst Lulu is in WWII. It was amusing to see a mention of Pearl Harbor–nowadays, everyone would know within a second. But as Lulu was in the Bahamas, the news took a bit to reach there.

I also enjoyed learning about the unsolved murder and reading about the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. If you thought they were the main focus, I am sorry to disappoint. This isn’t to say they’re not part of it–they’re just more secondary figures. (And yet…still feel larger than life.) They’re amongst some of my favorite figures in history; so very maligned and so fascinating. They were controversial and remain so, but perhaps that is what makes them intriguing.

I’m not the biggest fan of split storylines, but Lulu and Elfriede’s stories came together quite nicely. I wasn’t entirely sure how that would work, but when it clicks, it clicks. I haven’t read Ms. Williams ‘Schyuler Sisters’ novels (no, not the ones from Hamilton), but apparently, there’s a surprise tie in? A fun tidbit for the hardcore followers. (Thanks to my pals for pointing that out to me! <3)

Regardless, I’d give this a solid three stars. I may reread it when I’m out of this rut, but for now, I am simply grateful it held my attention to get me back to doing what I love most.

PS: Isn’t that cover beautiful?

 

 

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A Well-Behaved Woman (A Review)

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So, you guys have seen how excited I have been for this one. I’ve brought it up in several different posts over the last few months and well, here we are! It was released yesterday and I’m over the moon. I had the pleasure of reading an advanced copy and I’m delighted to tell you that I wasn’t disappointed, I enjoyed the read. The author was truly brilliant, the book well researched and the world lively enough for me to lose myself for a while. Whilst I wish certain parts were a little faster paced, it didn’t take away from the book for me.

Ms. Fowler painted the portrait of turn of the century beautifully. I loved reading about the rules of society and what one had to do or know to get accepted into it. When one hears the name Vanderbilt, one doesn’t think if a family who has to struggle for acceptance. They are part of that legendary echelon that most of us will never be part of. Yet, it was quite a different time and I was not at all disappointed in learning about the maneuvering to attain and keep the desired status. Reading about Alva’s privileged life was certainly one of interest for me. I liked reading about the different balls and events, how she dealt with things. She was a strong woman, even though occasionally I did find her being docile when she shouldn’t have been.

You may find that the book is slow in places, that you’re left wanting. However, I attributed that to the fact that most women’s lives were like that. There were rules and one was meant to follow them. To have a woman like Alva, who is headstrong and thinks for herself, was quite uncommon. In a time when divorce was unheard of, Alva did it. She was an outcast for a time but recovered nicely. When she wasn’t granted a box in the Academy of Music, she founded The Met. Yes, that self-same Opera House in New York. (And I don’t know about you, but I damn love a level of petty. Who’s ever heard of the Academy of Music? Well, maybe a lot of people have, but The Met! C’mon!) Alva’s influence is still very present in this day and age. Her spirit and reach lives on, nearly a century after her death.

This isn’t to say that you will love her at every moment in the book. Despite nearly being destitute and facing a life where she might have needed to work for a living, Alva is surprisingly unsympathetic to the poor in certain moments. She also, for being rather progressive on some things, was a bit backward in how she raised her daughter. Despite not enjoying the silliness of one needing a husband, she was quick to try to get her daughter with the highest bidder, so to speak. She dominates this book and I found she was very well developed. I’d have liked a bit more on her best friend, Consuelo, who became Duchess of Manchester.

Also, ladies, she was a huge part of the suffrage movement. So when you vote next month, think of Alva.

So if you want a fast pace tone, this may not be the read for you. Don’t let that hinder you though, I really think you’d enjoy this. Especially if you like historical fiction. If you love The Gilded Age and reading about those prominent families of New York, like the Astors, the Roosevelts, the Rockefellers, and of course, the Vanderbilts, you’ll enjoy this. I enjoyed her Ms. Fowler’s previous work on her book about Zelda Fitzgerald, this was no different.

  • I’d give it ★★★★ stars.
  • I received this in exchange for an honest review. (Thank you!)
  • I would recommend this to a friend.

Amazon || Indie Bound || Barnes & Noble || Books-A-Million

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Therese Anne Fowler (pronounced ta-reece) is the third child and only daughter of a Version 2couple who raised their children in Milan, Illinois. An avowed tomboy as a child, Therese protested her grandmother’s determined attempts to dress her in frills, and then, to further her point, insisted on playing baseball even though Milan had a perfectly good girls’ softball league. She was one of the first girls in the U.S. to play Little League baseball.

After a too-early first marriage and a stint as the single mother of two terrific (now grown-up) sons, she went on to earn a BA in sociology/cultural anthropology and an MFA in creative writing, both from North Carolina State University.  Her first novel was published in 2008.

A book’s fate is almost entirely outside its author’s control. Some are published with a lot of marketing and publicity support, but most are not. After the publication of three contemporary novels, each of which sold fewer copies than the previous one, Therese faced a hard truth: her career was in a nosedive. Her editor at the time felt she should take on a pen name and try again with the same sort of book, but Therese was not persuaded. She decided, instead, to write a biographical historical novel about Zelda Fitzgerald, Z, which was published in 2013.

Therese’s work has been translated into more than twenty foreign languages and is published around the world. Z is now available as an original dramatic series for Amazon Studios starring Christina Ricci, with Killer Films producing. (Amazon has elected not to continue with its order for a second season.)

What Therese has discovered is that she has an affinity for badass women from history whose stories have been either mistold or are largely untold. Her next novel centers on Alva Smith Vanderbilt Belmont, a determined, opinionated, compassionate, often amusing woman from America’s Gilded Age. A Well-Behaved Woman, a kind of homage to Edith Wharton with a dash of affection for Jane Austen for good measure, will be published by St. Martin’s Press on October 16, 2018.

Therese has been a visiting professor at North Carolina State University and occasionally teaches fiction writing at conferences and workshops. A member of Phi Beta Kappa and PEN America, she is married to award-winning professor and author John Kessel. They reside in North Carolina.

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Panic! At The Book Tag?!

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I can’t say that I’m a hardcore Panic! At the Disco fan, but I do enjoy their music. When I saw this tag on Jemma’s blog, Fantastic Books and Where to Find Them (endlessly jealous of the name!!), I decided to take part. I am listening to their new album as I write this and well, I think I may rectify my not listening regularly! I remember the first time I got a glimpse of Brendon Urie, in the ‘I Write Sins Not Tragedies’ video. He’s so whimsical and fun. Anyway…

1. The Death of a Bachelor – A Romance book
I don’t read a lot of romance books, honestly. They don’t really appeal to me. I admit, I like when there’s a little romance in a book, but the whole thing? Nah. I just…I can’t quite get into that. I’m probably the only chick I know who doesn’t really dig it.

EDIT: Me Before You.
It was bittersweet. I cried.

2. High Hopes – A book you’re really excited for
I am really excited for Sarah J. Maas’s Catwoman book and also the next in the Stalking Jack the Ripper series.

3. Miss Jackson – A book with betrayal.

I’d say Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince where Snape kills Dumbledore. I mean, it got explained but damn, the rage I felt was real!

. Girls/Girls/Boys – A LGBTQ+ book
I am looking for a good one! Please use my contact form and recommend some to me? Or comment below!

5. I Write Sins Not Tragedies – A book featuring a wedding

C’mon, Game of Thrones weddings are legendary. 😀

6. Don’t threaten me with a good time – A book featuring a partying protagonist or a party scene

Gone With The Wind! Where Scarlett is at the Bazaar and Rhett bids on a dance with her. But she was in widow’s weeds and technically wasn’t allowed to dance, as it would go against society’s rules. They danced the whole evening and it was wonderful.

7. Say Amen (Saturday night) – A book with an unapologetic narrator

The gospel of Loki. Hands down. Loki gives no f**ks, he knows he’s a bit of a butt sometimes and he lives with it, even when he realises his choices and treatment of others have pretty much caused fire to rain from the sky and his world to be destroyed he totally owns it.

Holy shit. Someone else read this book. I am leaving Jemma’s answer because that’s perfect! I can’t wait for the next in the series.

8. This is Gospel – a book from a trilogy

Miss Peregrine and the Home For Peculiar Children. I read the book in one sitting and I may read the whole series again before Book 4 comes out this fall. I’m absolutely delighted for it. I loved the series and I was sad that it ended. I hope we get a bit more of Miss Peregrine herself. I will never not picture her as Eva Green now. I think the cast was perfect, actually. I read the books after the movie came out, but I only saw the movie just the other day.

Despite the changes from book to film, I still enjoyed it greatly. I hope maybe to see it back on screen.

9. Emperor’s new clothes – A hardback that looks beautiful naked.

Honestly, I seldom look at the covers of my books. Isn’t that terrible?

10. Victorious – An empowering book
The Exact Opposite of Okay. This book felt super empowering and helped me to address a lot of issues I think I had previously tried to ignore for the sake of pleasing everyone. This book made me realise I can’t do that and I shouldn’t have to.

Again, this is Jemma’s answer but it’s on point!

11. Impossible Year – A really sad book

Me Before You.
Goddamn you, Will Traynor.
How dare you get into mine and Lou’s hearts and then…ugh.

12. King of the Clouds – A prize-winning book

I pick…The Alice Project by Kate Quinn. I copied the honors from Amazon. The book was out of this world; absolutely brilliant. I think she ought to have gotten more awards, but there’s always hope for the next one! 🙂

One of NPR’s Best Books of the Year!
One of Bookbub’s Biggest Historical Fiction Books of the Year!
Reese Witherspoon Book Club Pick!
The 2017 Girly Book Club Book of the Year!

13. Hey look Ma, I made it – A debut author

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Lies. (An ARC Review!)


  • Hardcover: 432 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
  • Publish Date: September 11, 2018


WHAT IF YOUR WHOLE LIFE WAS BASED ON LIES?

A gripping new psychological thriller of secrets and revenge, perfect for fans of Harlan Coben and Tom Bale

When Joe Lynch stumbles across his wife driving into a hotel car park while she’s supposed to be at work, he’s intrigued enough to follow her in.

And when he witnesses her in an angry altercation with family friend Ben, he knows he ought to intervene.

But just as the confrontation between the two men turns violent, and Ben is knocked unconscious, Joe’s young son has an asthma attack – and Joe must flee in order to help him.

When he returns, desperate to make sure Ben is OK, Joe is horrified to find that Ben has disappeared.

And that’s when Joe receives the first message . . .

Gripping, unputdownable and packed with twists and turns from the first page to the very last, this stunning thriller will make you question whether we can ever really trust the ones we love . . .

I am not one to read books set in today’s day and age, nor do I often read mysteries. It’s a bit ironic since I have loved mystery series on television since I was a kid. (Murder, She Wrote, Columbo, Magnum P.I, Perry Mason, and Matlock. Law and Order SVU as well.) Seeing it on TV is one thing but I have a hard time picturing it in my head.

Well, let me tell you. I am a fan. This is a short review, I know. But this one of those books where if I tell you too much, you’ll probably think i”m a liar or you’ll sort it all out and I don’t want to disappoint you.

I will say that this is a mindblowing read. Whatever you think? It’ll change. If you figure it out before the book is done, then you’re a detective or Sherlock Holmes, haha. It is a truly brilliant read.

Mr. Logan has done what I thought was damn near impossible. He wrote in this present era and he kept my interest. Better than that, he kept me on my toes the entire time. I was intrigued, enthralled and quite frankly, awestruck by the time I got to the end.

I didn’t see it coming. I really and truly didn’t.

I did not expect that twist–or any of them, actually. I was quite delighted by how clever the author is. It was really a fascinating story and it leaves you thinking.

It makes you wonder if you really know people as well as you think.

TM Logan was born in Berkshire to an English father and a German mother. He studied at Queen Mary and Cardiff universities before becoming a national newspaper journalist. He currently works in communications and lives in Nottinghamshire with his wife and two children.

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Book Blast: The Daughter of River Valley!

The Daughter of River Valley by Victoria Cornwell

Publication Date: July 17, 2018
eBook; Choc Lit; 313 Pages
AudioBook; Soundings
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Cornish Tales #3

Beth Jago appears to have the idyllic life, she has a trade to earn a living and a cottage of her own in Cornwall’s beautiful River Valley. Yet appearances can be deceptive …

Beth has a secret. Since inheriting her isolated cottage she has been receiving threats, so when she finds a man in her home she acts on her instincts. One frying pan to the head and she has robbed the handsome stranger of his memory and almost killed him.

Brought together by unknown circumstances, and fearful he may die, she reluctantly nurses the intruder back to health. Yet can she trust the man with no name who has entered her life, or is he as dangerous as his nightmares suggest? As they learn to trust one another, the outside threats worsen. Are they linked to the man with no past? Or is the real danger still outside waiting … and watching them both?

Amazon UK | Amazon USChapters

About the Author

Victoria Cornwall can trace her Cornish roots as far back as the 18th century and it is this background and heritage which is the inspiration for her Cornish based novels.

Victoria’s writing has been shortlisted for the New Talent Award at the Festival of Romantic Fiction and her debut novel reached the final for the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s Joan Hessayon Award.

Victoria likes to read and write historical fiction with a strong background story, but at its heart is the unmistakable emotion, even pain, of loving someone.

She is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association.

For more information, please visit Victoria Cornwall’s website and blog. You can also connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and Goodreads.

Book Blast Schedule

Wednesday, July 4
100 Pages a Day

Thursday, July 5
Maiden of the Pages

Friday, July 6
Clarissa Reads it All

Saturday, July 7
Encouraging Words from the Tea Queen

Sunday, July 8
The Book Junkie Reads

Monday, July 9
SilverWoodSketches

Tuesday, July 10
To Read, Or Not to Read

Wednesday, July 11
A Darn Good Read

Thursday, July 12
Passages to the Past

Friday, July 13
Trisha Jenn Reads
History From a Woman’s Perspective

Sunday, July 15
Donna’s Book Blog

Giveaway

During the Blog Tour we will be giving away a signed copy of Victoria Cornwell’s previous novel, The Thief’s Daughter! To enter, please enter via the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on July 15th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open INTERNATIONALLY.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

The Daughter of River Valley

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Ecstasy: A Review.

Ecstasy
by Mary Sharratt

Publication Date: April 10, 2018
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Hardcover & eBook; 400 Pages

Genre: Historical Fiction/Literary

READ AN EXCERPT.

 

Available in Hardcover & eBook:

Amazon | Amazon UK | Barnes & Noble | Books-a-Million | Indiebound

Also in AudioBook:

Amazon UK | Barnes & Noble | Books-a-Million

 

 

 

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The name Alma Mahler quite literally meant nothing to me before I read this book. I hate to plead ignorance but with Gustav Klimt mentioned, I confess that had me fascinated but the synopsis gained my attention too. At the turn of the century, women were expected to be wives and mothers. Simply put, they weren’t meant to be fascinating figures in the very male-dominated world. Alma was not content with this, wanting to become a composer. She wasn’t going to be a dull housewife and she didn’t want to give up her work for any man.

She was extraordinary for her time frame.
Headstrong and bullheaded, a reader of Nietzsche and a devotee of being a “new woman”, Alma has the odds stacked against her. She is limited by her sex and everyone seems to remark upon her talents but think them wasted because “she’s just a girl.” Aren’t those the most infuriating words?!
I found reading about those who loved her interesting and I found the condition upon her marriage to be slightly devastating. I would not have been able to do it. That would be like my future husband telling me I could no longer read my books. Him or the books? Bye boy. But, Alma seemed to love Mahler enough to make the sacrifice.
Reading and learning about Alma was a fun and educational experience for me.  I loved the peek into her life and learning about her. I loved reading of her determination to succeed in a world seemed hellbent on quashing her talent as one would a cigarette beneath their shoe. She was certainly a fascinating woman and I was entirely emersed the entire time. I do appreciate that there was no apology made for Alma and who she was. She really was ahead of her time.
From beginning to end, I was spellbound by Ms. Sharatt’s in-depth descriptions of things and the rich way she blended Alma’s world to come to life. I always very happy with this book an I recommend it to anyone who likes to read about figures they may not know and just to anyone who loves art and music and history because they all are weaved together splendidly.

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Additional Notes:

  • I’d give it ★★★ stars.
  • I was provided a copy in exchange for my honest review. 😀
  • would recommend this to a friend!

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About the Author

MARY SHARRATT is an American writer who has lived in the Pendle region of Lancashire, England, for the past seven years. The author of the critically acclaimed novels Summit Avenue, The Real Minerva, and The Vanishing Point, Sharratt is also the co-editor of the subversive fiction anthology Bitch Lit, a celebration of female antiheroes, strong women who break all the rules.

Her novels include Summit Avenue, The Real Minera, The Vanishing Point, The Daughters of Witching Hill, Illuminations, and The Dark Lady’s Mask.

For more information, please visit Mary Sharratt’s website. You can also connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Blog Tour Schedule

Tuesday, April 10
Review at Broken Teepee

Wednesday, April 11
Feature at Passages to the Past

Thursday, April 12
Review at Bookfever
Review at Unabridged Chick

Friday, April 13
Interview at Unabridged Chick
Review at View From the Birdhouse

Saturday, April 14
Review at Clarissa Reads it All

Monday, April 16
Review at Cup of Sensibility

Tuesday, April 17
Review at Based on a True Story

Wednesday, April 18
Review at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!

Thursday, April 19
Review at History From a Woman’s Perspective

Friday, April 20
Review at Linda’s Book Obsession

Sunday, April 22
Review at Carole Rae’s Random Ramblings

Monday, April 23
Review at A Bookaholic Swede

Tuesday, April 24
Interview at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!

Wednesday, April 25
Review at A Literary Vacation

Thursday, April 26
Guest Post at A Bookish Affair

Friday, April 27
Review at Ageless Pages Reviews

Monday, April 30
Review at Caryn, the Book Whisperer

Tuesday, May 1
Review at A Bookish Affair

Thursday, May 3
Interview at The Writing Desk

Monday, May 7
Review at What Cathy Read Next

Wednesday, May 9
Review at Svetlana’s Reads and Views

Thursday, May 10
Review at Writing the Renaissance

Friday, May 11
Interview at Writing the Renaissance

Monday, May 14
Interview at Let Them Read Books

Wednesday, May 16
Review at Jorie Loves a Story

Thursday, May 17
Review at Nicole Evelina

Friday, May 18
Interview at Nicole Evelina

Giveaway

During the Blog Tour we will be giving away a paperback copy of Ecstasy! To enter, please enter via the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on May 18th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to US residents only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

Ecstasy

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Upcoming Kennedy Releases.

One of my favorite subjects to read about is the Kennedy family. There isn’t a whole lot about them in the realm of fiction–at least that I’ve found–but there’s some coming up later this year! Given that this weekend is the premiere of the film ‘Chappaquiddick’, I thought I would share some Kennedy related goodness. Let’s begin by showing the trailer since I mentioned it.

The story is about Ted Kennedy, the younger brother of slain President John F. Kennedy and slain Attorney General, presidential hopeful, Robert F. Kennedy.

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Now…here’s two upcoming historical fiction novels about the family.

 

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This title will be released on May 29th, 2018.

 

“[The Summer I Met Jack] offers an alternate Kennedy family history that will leave readers wondering whether America knew the real JFK at all.” —Kirkus Reviews

New York Times bestselling author imagines the affair between John F. Kennedy and Alicia Corning Clark – and the child they may have had.

Based on a real story – in 1950, a young, beautiful Polish refugee arrives in Hyannisport, Massachusetts to work as a maid for one of the wealthiest families in America. Alicia is at once dazzled by the large and charismatic family, in particular, the oldest son, a rising politician named Jack.

Alicia and Jack are soon engaged, but his domineering father forbids the marriage. And so, Alicia trades Hyannisport for Hollywood, and eventually Rome. She dates famous actors and athletes and royalty, including Gary Cooper, Kirk Douglas, and Katharine Hepburn, all the while staying close with Jack. A decade after they meet, on the eve of Jack’s inauguration as the thirty-fifth President of the United States, the two must confront what they mean to each other.

The Summer I Met Jack by Michelle Gable is based on the fascinating real life of Alicia Corning Clark, a woman who J. Edgar Hoover insisted was paid by the Kennedys to keep quiet, not only about her romance with Jack Kennedy, but also a baby they may have had together.

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New York Times bestselling author of A Paris Apartment, MICHELLE GABLE graduated from The College of William & Mary. When not dreaming up fiction on the sly, she currently resides in Cardiff by the Sea, California, with her husband, two daughters, and one lazy cat.

 

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This title arrives on October 2nd, 2018.

 

A captivating novel following the exploits of Kathleen “Kick” Kennedy, the forgotten and rebellious daughter of one of America’s greatest political dynasties.

London, 1938. The effervescent “It girl” of London society since her father was named the ambassador, Kathleen “Kick” Kennedy moves in rarefied circles, rubbing satin-covered elbows with some of the 20th century’s most powerful figures. Eager to escape the watchful eye of her strict mother, Rose, the antics of her older brothers, Jack and Joe, and the erratic behavior of her sister Rosemary, Kick is ready to strike out on her own and is soon swept off her feet by Billy Hartington, the future Duke of Devonshire.

But their love is forbidden, as Kick’s devout Catholic family and Billy’s staunchly Protestant one would never approve their match. When war breaks like a tidal wave across her world, Billy is ripped from her arms as the Kennedys are forced to return to the States. Kick gets work as a journalist and joins the Red Cross to get back to England, where she will have to decide where her true loyalties lie—with family or with love . . .

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Kerri Maher is also the author of This Is Not A Writing Manual: Notes for the Young Writer in the Real World under the name Kerri Majors. She holds an MFA from Columbia University and founded YARN, an award-winning literary journal of short-form YA writing. For many years a professor of writing, she now writes full time and lives with her daughter in Massachusetts where apple picking and long walks in the woods are especially fine.

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Spotlight: Boardwalk Summer

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What happened on that long-ago summer? In this riveting novel from the author of The Dressmaker’s Dowry, an aspiring Hollywood actress makes a shocking choice in 1940, and seventy years later, a young mother sets out to discover what happened …

Summer, 1940: When Violet Harcourt is crowned Miss Bathing Beauty in her hometown of Santa Cruz, she’s determined to see herself on the silver screen. But Violet’s pageant victory comes with a price—cracks appear in her seemingly perfect marriage…and she quickly discovers Hollywood is not the glittering escape she dreamed of. So she makes a shocking choice, leaving her name in headlines and creating a mystery surrounding her fate.

Summer, 2007: Single mother Marisol Cruz lives in a charming seaside cottage that belonged to her grandfather, Ricardo, once a famed performer on the Beach Boardwalk. Drawn to the local history of her town, Mari discovers her grandfather’s connection to a beauty queen who died too young. She embarks on a journey that uncovers his lifelong secret—Ricardo’s connection to Violet…a story of tragedy and courage that will forever transform her.

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Meredith Jaeger is the author of BOARDWALK SUMMER and THE DRESSMAKER’S DOWRY. She’s a native of the San Francisco Bay Area and she wrote her debut novel while working for a San Francisco startup.

THE DRESSMAKER’S DOWRY has been called “deliciously satisfying” and “impossible to put down” by New York Times bestselling author Lori Nelson Spielman and “A compelling debut novel that sent me racing to its final, revealing pages” by New York Times bestselling author Kristina McMorris.

BOARDWALK SUMMER has been praised by author Jillian Cantor as “by turns a gripping mystery, a richly-detailed exploration of history and family, and a beautiful love story” and described as, “a compelling story that channels both the glamour and big dreams of old Hollywood with the charm and thrills of Santa Cruz’s boardwalk” by author Elise Hooper.

Meredith lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband, their toddler, and spoiled English Bulldog. Follow her on Instagram @meredithjaegerauthor

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Tag! I’m It! The #AnythingButBooks Tag

I was tagged by the fabulous Lola at Lola Et La Vie. Be sure you drop by and tell her I sent you! ❤ Alright, shall we go?

Name a cartoon that you love.

I am all about the old cartoons. I was going to pick a Disney film, but I’m actually going to go with Duck Tales. Not the new one. Don’t get me wrong, I love David Tennant, but the new animation is lacking for me.

Sing with me now–Duck Tales, Woo-Ooh!!

What is your favourite song right now?

Right now, it’s ‘Perfect’ by Ed Sheeran. I love his original version, the version with Beyonce and Andrea Bocelli. The one with Andrea is my constantly being replayed. I love the video too. It’s fun to see Ed sort of fanboying and to see how Andrea records music. I loved seeing his family too.

What could you do for hours that is not reading?

Sleep. I love to sleep. It’s ridiculous, haha. I also just love being on IM and talking to my friends, doing stuff in Photoshop. Put me in a bookshelf and I can browse for hours. It doesn’t count as reading! I also love to watch the ID channel; true crime is fascinating to me.

What is something that you do that your followers would be surprised by?

I play Assassin’s Creed. I don’t know if that’s surprising, but well, there you go. I love to play on my XBox360. I also play Second Life; it’s like the Sims only cooler.

What is your favourite, unnecessary thing to learn about?

History. It’s not necessary for me to know as much as I do, but I do.

What is something unusual you know how to do?

I know how to touch my nose with my tongue, haha. I know; it’s weird.

Name something you have made in the last year.

The year is young! I’ve made a mess of my closet. No? That doesn’t count? Shoot.

What is your most recent personal project?

I am working on something for my Auntie Pat. Well, I will be soon. However, my main personal project is mainly to keep this blog active and all of that good stuff.

Tell us something you think of often.

I think about what life would be like if I wasn’t such a worrywart. If I’m not worrying about something, that usually makes my friends nervous.

Tell us something that is your favourite, but make it oddly specific.

My mother’s chicken parm is perfect because she gets the cheese to melt all over it. Her grilled cheese is like that too.


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Tagging: 

Siobhan  @I  Am A Book Drunkard

Jen @ The Bibliofile Book Reviews

Kiersten @ Once Upon A Spine

Uncategorized

The Ultimate Book Tag

I found this book tag challenge as I was perusing the web and I liked it a lot. So as I sit here, dozing off and watching Murder, She Wrote, I figured I would give it a whirl. It seems like a lot of fun; the questions are certainly different. So, to quote my favorite Doctor…

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1. Do you get sick while reading in the car?
I don’t. I can read anywhere, thankfully.

2. Which author’s writing style is completely unique to you and why?
I think that Alice Walker is unique. She wrote ‘The Color Purple’ and she wrote as her characters would speak.

“Here’s the thing,” say Shug. “The thing I believe. God is inside you and inside everybody else. You come into the world with God. But only them that search for it inside find it. And sometimes it just manifest itself even if you not looking, or don’t know what you looking for. Trouble do it for most folks, I think. Sorrow, lord. Feeling like shit.”

“It?” I ast.

“Yeah, It. God ain’t a he or a she, but a It.”

“But what do it look like?” I ast.

“Don’t look like nothing,” she say. “It ain’t a picture show. It ain’t something you can look at apart from anything else, including yourself. I believe God is everything,” say Shug. “Everything that is or ever was or ever will be. And when you can feel that, and be happy to feel that, you’ve found It.”

3. Harry Potter Series or the Twilight Saga? Give 3 points to defend your answer.

Dude. First. Harry Potter is a series with so many twists and turns and it’s not focused on a love story that seems kind of forced. Everything has a reason and is connected somehow.

Second. Bella is kind of a boring narrator. She’s quite…one note. I will admit, Rosalie Hale was my favorite character in Twilight along with the Volturi. I’d say Bella is a Mary Sue.

Lastly, there are many lessons to be had in the HP series. In Twilight, it’s ‘find a vampire, live forever.’ It’s a vapid sort of series, but to Stephenie Meyer’s credit, it’s massively better than 50 Shades and it has young women (and men) reading more. So go for it.

4. Do you carry a book bag? If so, what is it in (besides books…)?
I have a literal book purse. I bought it on Etsy from Novel Creations! Karen, the proprietor, is absolutely lovely. You can ask for any book and she’ll use it. I wrote about her four years ago; check it out. She is still on Etsy and I’m sure she is as lovely now as she was then. 🙂

5. Do you smell your books?
As I buy a lot of used books, yes! I find the older a book, the more lovely the smell. It’s hard to describe it to someone who doesn’t love books like I do.

New Books have a nice smell too; but nothing like an older book.

6. Books with or without little illustrations?

I love little illustrations! Bring ’em on. 😀

7. What book did you love while reading but discovered later it wasn’t quality writing? 
I haven’t really come across a book like that. I mean, I started 50 Shades of Gray (my friends were obsessed!) and I cackled at how badly written it is.

I suppose the joke is on me since EL James is a multi-millionaire and I’m not.

8. Do you have any funny stories involving books from your childhood? Please share!

My aunt and uncle used to visit my family and I in the Poconos. When they’d come, they always brought me to the bookstore. They always let me carry a book with me, so I’d be reading, instead of paying attention to where we were and didn’t give directions, so we’d end up in New Jersey instead of the way home, haha!

9. What is the thinnest book on your shelf?
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10. What is the thickest book on your shelf?

It is probably one of Margaret George’s books. Cleopatra and Henry VIII are both long.

11. Do you write as well as read? Do you see yourself in the future as being an author?
I do write. I do so on roleplayer.me. I have two profiles, two different characters. I love to write. I don’t think I’ll ever be an author, but I enjoy the hobby.

12. When did you get into reading?
My parents read to me from the day they brought me home. So I’ve always been surrounded by books and they became my friends, so to speak.

13. What is your favorite classic book? 
Gone With The Wind.

14. In school was your best subject Language Arts/English?
I always did well in those, but my best was Art Class.

15. If you were given a book as a present that you had read before and hated…what
would you do?

I’d be gracious and accept. Wait awhile and I’d probably donate it to the library. Actually, no. That’s wrong. I would likely tell the person I’d read it and they’d exchange it. My friends and family are fantastic that way.

16. What is a lesser known series that you know of that is similar to Harry Potter or the Hunger Games?

I’d say the Divergent series. They aren’t appreciated enough given that the movies sucked.

17. What is a bad habit you always do (besides rambling) while filming?
I don’t film…this isn’t a booktube, but I bite my nails when I read.

18. What is your favorite word?
Rubbish.

19. Are you a nerd, dork, or dweeb? Or all of the above?
I think I’m a mix of a nerd and dork.

20. Vampires or Fairies? Why?
Vampires!
eric-promo-eric-northman-8414227-320-160I have always found the lore and history fascinating. The Vampire Chronicles by Anne Rice are amongst my favorites. I have a recent new found love for True Blood and Alexander Skarsgard.

I should watch True Blood at some point. But until I do, I’ll enjoy the gifs and video clips I see on Tumblr all the time.

21. Shapeshifters or Angels? Why?
Neither. Can I pick Demon? Because Demons are bad ass. She’s in a comic, but Mazikeen from the Lucifer comics (and the tv show) is a freaking boss.

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22. Spirits or Werewolves? Why?
Eh…I’m meh on both.

23. Zombies or Vampires?
Vampires, didn’t we answer this already? Screw Zombies, man. Brain eating knuckleheads.

As for a Zombie Hunter? Negan. 😉
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24. Love Triangle or Forbidden Love?
Forbidden love. I hate love triangles.

25. AND FINALLY: Full on romance books or action-packed with a few love scenes mixed in?
Action packed, please! Ugh, romance novels drive me mental.

 

I’m not tagging anyone, but please feel free to do this! I found these on Chapter Chicks‘ YouTube page. So carry on! Let me know if you choose to answer these! xx