Monday, July 8, 2019

Book Review: Secrets of the Chocolate House by Paula Brackston


Hi all,

I fell in love with Paula Brackston’s novels a few years ago when I was reading her “Witch” novels – The Witch’s Daughter, Return of the Witch, The Silver Witch, The Midnight Witch, and The Winter Witch. She has such a beautiful way of writing that I was thrilled when she began a new series starting with The Little Shop of Found Things. This latest one is the second book in that series, and is just as amazing as the first. Here is more about this novel and my thoughts.


Secrets of the Chocolate House


Paula Brackston



Book Description:

The second novel in a bewitching series "brimming with charm and charisma" that will make "fans of Outlander rejoice!" (Woman's World Magazine)

New York Times bestselling author Paula Brackston’s The Little Shop of Found Things was called “a page-turner that will no doubt leave readers eager for future series installments” (Publishers Weekly). Now, Brackston returns to the Found Things series with its sequel, Secrets of the Chocolate House.
After her adventures in the seventeenth century, Xanthe does her best to settle back into the rhythm of life in Marlborough. She tells herself she must forget about Samuel and leave him in the past where he belongs. With the help of her new friends, she does her best to move on, focusing instead on the success of her and Flora’s antique shop.
But there are still things waiting to be found, still injustices needing to be put right, still voices whispering to Xanthe from long ago about secrets wanting to be shared.
While looking for new stock for the shop, Xanthe hears the song of a copper chocolate pot. Soon after, she has an upsetting vision of Samuel in great danger, compelling her to make another journey to the past.
This time she'll meet her most dangerous adversary. This time her ability to travel to the past will be tested. This time she will discover her true destiny. Will that destiny allow her to return home? And will she be able to save Samuel when his own fate seems to be sealed?



Coming October 22, 2019
Preorder Now:



My 5-Star Review:

Charming, magical, delightful! Author Paula Brackston does not disappoint in this second novel in the Found Things series, Secrets of the Chocolate House.

In this sequel to The Little Shop of Found Things, the reader returns to Xanthe and Flora’s antique shop in their quaint little village. With her special power to time-travel, Xanthe hears the song of the copper chocolate pot and knows she must follow its call. But when it brings her back to a familiar time, and familiar people, she finds herself embroiled in another dangerous adventure that may change the course of her life forever.

Secrets of the Chocolate House is another wonderfully woven tale by the talented Ms. Brackston. I enjoyed this story immensely, and look forward to the next one. If you love fiction with a magical touch, you’ll enjoy this story.


About the Author:

Paula Brackston lives in a wild, mountainous part of Wales. She has an MA in Creative Writing from Lancaster University, and is a Visiting Lecturer for the University of Wales, Newport. Before becoming a writer, Paula tried her hand at various career paths, with mixed success. These included working as a groom on a racing yard, a travel agent, a secretary, an English teacher, and a goat herd. Everyone involved (particularly the goats) is very relieved that she has now found a job she is actually able to do properly. 

When not hunched over her keyboard in her tiny office under the stairs, Paula is dragged outside by her children to play Swedish tennis on the vertiginous slopes which surround them. She also enjoys being walked by the dog, hacking through weeds in the vegetable patch, or sitting by the pond with a glass of wine. Most of the inspiration for her writing comes from stomping about on the mountains being serenaded by skylarks and buzzards.

In 2007 Paula was shortlisted in the Creme de la Crime search for new writers. In 2010 her book 'Nutters' (writing as PJ Davy) was shortlisted for the Mind Book Award. Last year she was selected by the BBC under their New Welsh Writers scheme.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Cover Reveal: The Women of Great Heron Lake by Deanna Lynn Sletten


Cover Reveal!

I am so excited to share with you the cover of my upcoming historical fiction novel, THE WOMEN OF GREAT HERON LAKE. It’s a sweeping story of two women, decades apart, living parallel lives. Here is the beautiful cover designed by Deborah Bradseth of Tugboat Design.


Created by Tugboat Design




Book Description:

Two strong women, generations apart, living parallel lives.

When Marla Madison’s husband dies, she realizes her life has become very small. Her daughter is grown and Marla has spent the past two decades focused on his friends, his interests, and his home. Feeling lost, she throws herself into fixing up the one-hundred and fifty-year-old family manor on the lake. She soon discovers an old journal in a secret drawer and is instantly intrigued. The handwritten book tells the tale of another Mrs. Madison from over a century ago, the first woman to live in the lake manor. As Marla reads the journal, she discovers that her life parallels that of the woman who wrote those words decades ago and Marla finds inspiration from her strength.

1875 - Alaina Carlton was content to become a spinster until her beloved father introduces her to Nathaniel Madison, one of the most prosperous men in St. Paul, Minnesota. Even though she values her independence, Alaina is intrigued by this man who pursues her. When they marry, she believes she’s found a man who will treat her as an equal, but soon realizes that isn’t entirely true. From their mansion on the illustrious Summit Avenue to their manor at Great Heron Lake, where the rich and powerful play, her life is no longer her own. But fifteen years and two children later when Nathaniel grows ill she takes her rightful place where women weren’t allowed in order to secure her children’s inheritance and her future.

An inspiring family saga of two determined woman who found meaning in their lives by following their passions and not allowing society, or propriety, to hold them back.



Release Date: September 10, 2019

Women’s Historical Fiction/Family Saga

PREORDER NOW!


Coming Soon in Paperback and Audiobook


This book has been a labor of love and I hope you will preorder your copy so you can enjoy it on release day!

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Book Review: Mrs. Everything by Jennifer Weiner



Book Review


Mrs. Everything

Jennifer Weiner



Book Description:

From Jennifer Weiner, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Who Do You Love and In Her Shoes comes a smart, thoughtful, and timely exploration of two sisters’ lives from the 1950s to the present as they struggle to find their places—and be true to themselves—in a rapidly evolving world. Mrs. Everything is an ambitious, richly textured journey through history—and herstory—as these two sisters navigate a changing America over the course of their lives.

Do we change or does the world change us?

Jo and Bethie Kaufman were born into a world full of promise.

Growing up in 1950s Detroit, they live in a perfect “Dick and Jane” house, where their roles in the family are clearly defined. Jo is the tomboy, the bookish rebel with a passion to make the world more fair; Bethie is the pretty, feminine good girl, a would-be star who enjoys the power her beauty confers and dreams of a traditional life.

But the truth ends up looking different from what the girls imagined. Jo and Bethie survive traumas and tragedies. As their lives unfold against the background of free love and Vietnam, Woodstock and women’s lib, Bethie becomes an adventure-loving wild child who dives headlong into the counterculture and is up for anything (except settling down). Meanwhile, Jo becomes a proper young mother in Connecticut, a witness to the changing world instead of a participant. Neither woman inhabits the world she dreams of, nor has a life that feels authentic or brings her joy. Is it too late for the women to finally stake a claim on happily ever after?

In her most ambitious novel yet, Jennifer Weiner tells a story of two sisters who, with their different dreams and different paths, offer answers to the question: How should a woman be in the world?

Release Date: June 11, 2019

Women’s Fiction



My 4-Star Review:

When I first started reading this book, I wondered if I even wanted to finish it. Having grown up in the 1960s and 1970s, I knew the drill. Cold mother, loving but hardworking father, no one understands you, everything is changing around you. Those of us who experienced those turbulent times can certainly identify with how difficult life was for women in those days and the limited choices we had then compared to now. I did continue to read it because I wanted to know what happened to Jo and Bethie as they went through their transformations.

As expected, the book is well-written, the time period is realistic, and the characters were intriguing. Ms. Weiner is a talented writer, no doubt. But I thought that maybe these sisters went through too many changes, had a few too many tragedies, and the story came off as a bit too unrealistic to me. Any one or two of the tragedies they suffered seemed plausible, but all of it? I guess the book does give the reader a lot of drama for their money. All in all, though, it was an interesting read and I did enjoy how it followed the family for generations.

A good story for those who love the fifties, sixties, and seventies time period and books with a lot of family drama.


About the Author:

Jennifer Weiner is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of fourteen books, including Good in Bed, The Littlest Bigfoot, and her memoir Hungry Heart: Adventures in Life, Love, and Writing. A graduate of Princeton University and contributor to the New York Times Opinion section, Jennifer lives with her family in Philadelphia. Visit her online at JenniferWeiner.com



Sunday, May 19, 2019

Book Review: The Nearest Exit May Be Behind You by Amulya Malladi


I enjoyed this book so much that I had to share it with you. Be sure to preorder your copy!


The Nearest Exit May Be Behind You

Amulya Malladi


Book Description:

Set amid the world’s international airports and glamorous (and sometimes not so glamorous) hotels, the bestselling author of “The Copenhagen Affair, brings you story about what it really means for professional (but still human!) women to tackle the corporate world, scale the leadership ladder, and lean in to the lives they’ve always wanted, and truly deserve—Up in the Air meets 9 to 5 for today’s Pantsuit Nation.

Asmi knows that CPH (Copenhagen, Denmark) is the best airport to shop for clothes, and ATH (Athens, Greece) the best for shoes. The best Zara store is in BCN (Barcelona, Spain). The best airport to buy whiskey at is ARN (Stockholm, Sweden). When stopping at CDG (Charles de Gaulle Airport, Paris), you must have a long layover because of those damn funiculars; and never forget that the international terminal in ORD (Chicago) has no food after ten in the evening. Airplanes, airports, and hotel lobby bars make Asmi feel just as much at home as her apartment in Laguna Beach does.

A marketing director in a biotech company, Asmi rose through the corporate ranks and never really took the time to think about couple-hood. She has good friends, a terrific sister who lives close by, and a married on-again, off-again lover in Paris she sees while she travels around the world for work.

But as Asmi reaches the big 4-0 and contemplates making some life choices; her boss announces he is retiring, and she is suddenly thrown into a corporate Hunger Games against her nemesis Scott Beauregard III to win a promotion.

Worried that her inability to commit to a real relationship with a man is a personality flaw and afraid that she’s unqualified for the job she desperately wants, Asmi must learn to lean in to have the career and life she wants and deserves, without worrying about what society expects from her.
 


Publication Date: July 1, 2019
Preorder now:



My 5-Star Review

Every woman will be able to relate to the trials and tribulations that Asmi endures in the workplace as she struggles to climb the corporate ladder in this smart, witty novel. 

 Asmi is a successful woman who holds a high-powered position in a global corporation that allows her to travel all over the world. On the flip side, she is forty, unmarried, childless, and has no immediate prospects for a permanent relationship. She worries that she may have put too much emphasis on her career and too little on her personal life, and just as she begins to question her choices, she finds herself in the middle of a corporate Hunger Games (her words) between her and a male colleague for a position she fears she isn’t even qualified for. And so, let the games begin.

In The Nearest Exit May Be Behind You, author Amulya Malladi (Bestselling author of The Copenhagen Affair) draws the reader into the high-powered corporate world where Asmi works hard to walk the tightrope of being a woman in a male-dominated world. With sharp wit and intelligent dialogue, we observe Asmi in her work relationships, friendships, and with family, and see how she tries to balance it all while feeling she may not be balancing it very well. You’ll find yourself cheering Asmi on as she makes decisions that will affect her personal and professional life in her quest to find out if a woman can really have it all. A truly intelligent novel by a highly talented author.


About the Author:

Amulya Malladi is the bestselling author of seven novels, including The Copenhagen Affair. She knows her airports well because in her "spare time," she works full-time as a marketing executive for a global company. After fourteen years of mostly bad weather in Denmark, she moved to Southern California a few years ago, where she now lives with her husband and two sons. She drives an impractical convertible with the top down, even in the winter. 


Amulya loves meeting with book clubs, so please contact her at author@amulyamalladi.com if you want her to call into your meeting.

Connect with Amulya:

facebook.com/authoramulya
www.amulyamalladi.com  

The Romance Reviews

The Romance Reviews