Saturday, December 26, 2015

Book Review: Reckless Hearts by Melanie Benjamin


Hi all,

I just read this wonderful short story by Melanie Benjamin and had to share it with you. She is also the author of The Aviator’s Wife, and the upcoming novel The Swans of Fifth Avenue.  Even though it is a short story – it is worth your time to read. I loved it and I hope you do too. Here is more about the story and my five-star review.

 
Reckless Hearts

Melanie Benjamin


Book Description:

(Please Note: This is a short story, not a full-length book)

Melanie Benjamin introduces readers to the lavish, heady world of her novel The Swans of Fifth Avenue with this exclusive ebook short story! In this enchanting prequel, New York society and Hollywood royalty collide during the doomed and decadent life of Ernest Hemingway.

Spain, 1959. Slim Hawks Hayward likes to think she doesn’t get jealous. But when her dear friend Lauren “Betty” Bacall learns that Papa Hemingway has come to watch the bullfights and insists that Slim make introductions, she can’t help feeling protective. Slim has known Papa for years. He always makes her feel like the most beautiful woman in the room—even when his wife is standing right beside him. Truth be told, Slim could have learned to love him all those years ago, in the streets of Havana or the mountains of the American West. Now, Slim is sure that Papa will fall for Betty. What she doesn’t anticipate is the feeling that Papa himself has changed—and their relationship will never be the same.

 
Buy Now on Amazon:

 Kindle $0.99

 

My Five Star Review:

 
Pure and simple – I loved this short story. It is a wonderful teaser to Melanie Benjamin’s upcoming novel The Swans of Fifth Avenue. Having already read the aforementioned novel courtesy of NetGalley, I already knew that this short story would be amazing. Ms. Benjamin’s silky smooth writing style and the way she so skillfully develops characters draws you into the story immediately and keeps you interested. Her ability to take real-life characters and spin a story combining fiction with reality is second to none. This is a story not to be missed.

 

 About the Author:

 
Melanie Benjamin was born in Indianapolis, Indiana. An avid reader all her life--as a child, she was the proud winner, several years running, of the summer reading program at her local library--she still firmly believes that a lifetime of reading is the best education a writer can have.

While attending Indiana University--Purdue University at Indianapolis, Melanie performed in many community theater productions before meeting her husband, moving to the Chicago area and raising two sons. Writing was always beckoning, however, and soon she began writing for local magazines and newspapers before venturing into her first love, fiction.

By combining her passion for history and biography, she has found her niche writing historical fiction, concentrating on the "stories behind the stories." Her most recent novel, THE AVIATOR'S WIFE, a novel about Anne Morrow Lindbergh, is a New York Times, USA Today and Indiebound best seller. Her first historical novel, ALICE I HAVE BEEN, was a national bestseller; this was followed by the critically acclaimed THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF MRS. TOM THUMB. THE SWANS OF FIFTH AVENUE, a novel about Truman Capote and his high society "Swans," will be published in January 2016.

She and her family still live in the Chicago area; when she's not writing, she's gardening, taking long walks, rooting for the Cubs--

And reading, of course.


 

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Don’t miss out on this expertly written short story!

 
You can read my review of The Swans of Fifth Avenue here.

 

Cheers,

Deanna

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Book Review: Ask Him Why by Catherine Ryan Hyde

Hi all,

After having read the novel Worthy by Catherine Ryan Hyde, I've become a big fan of this author. So when the opportunity through NetGalley came to read her latest novel, I jumped at it. Here is more about Ask Him Why by Catherine Ryan Hyde as well as my review.


Ask Him Why

Catherine Ryan Hyde

 

Book Description:

Ruth and her little brother, Aubrey, are just teenagers when their older brother ships off to Iraq. When Joseph returns, uninjured, only three and a half months later, Ruth is happy he is safe but also deeply worried. How can it be that her courageous big brother has been dishonorably discharged for refusing to go out on duty? Aubrey can’t believe that his hero doesn’t have very good reasons.

Yet as the horrifying details of the incident emerge, Joseph disappears. In their attempts to find him, Ruth and Aubrey discover he has a past far darker than either of them could imagine. But even as they learn more about their brother, important questions remain unanswered—why did he betray his unit, his country, and now his family? Joseph’s refusal to speak ignites a fire in young Aubrey that results in a disastrous, and public, act of rebellion.

The impact of Joseph’s fateful decision one night in Baghdad will echo for years to come, with his siblings caught between their love for him and the media’s engulfing frenzy of judgment. Will their family ever make their way back to each other and find a way to forgive?

 
Buy now on Amazon



 
My 5 Star Review:

 
10 Years Ago - When Joseph comes home from Iraq after only three-and-a-half months there, the family knows something is terribly wrong. In a matter of days, they find out just how bad things are, and by then, Joseph has disappeared. Over the months, the family endures pressure from the media and ridicule from the entire country. And the glaring question on everyone’s mind remain unanswered. Why did Joseph desert his company and his country?

 
Told through the eyes of Joseph’s teen siblings, Ruth and Aubrey, this story explores a family that was already broken long before Joseph’s betrayal. We see all that these two young people endure as they come to grips with this life-changing experience. And the question remains—why did Joseph do it—yet no one bothers to ask.

 
Ten years later, they come face-to-face with their brother again. But will it be easy to forgive and forget?

 
Ask Him Why is a realistic, thought-provoking story filled with interesting characters. This is no Leave it to Beaver family. It’s a family with real problems which become even larger because of what Joseph did. You don’t fall in love with these characters, you feel for them, and that is the sign of a true storyteller. Catherine Ryan Hyde has created a story and characters that will haunt your thoughts long after you’ve finished reading.

 
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I hope you will pick up this story. It’s one you will certainly think about for a very long time.

 
See my review of Catherine's other novel, Worthy.

Cheers,

Deanna

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Reader Appreciation Holiday Giveaway!

Reader Appreciation Holiday Giveaway!
 
 
 
Giveaway is now over. Thank you for entering.
 
 
Congratulations to the Winner Ruth B.
 
BE SURE TO CHECK BACK FOR ANOTHER GIVEAWAY VERY SOON! 
 
 
I love my readers! Especially my loyal newsletter subscribers. So, I'm having a giveaway just for them!
 
The good news is if you aren't a newsletter subscriber yet - you can be by simply clicking the link below and joining. It's that simple! Once you subscribe, you are entered to win!
 
Are you already a newsletter subscriber? Perfect - you are already entered to win!
 
What's the prize?
 
I'm giving away a brand new
 
Kindle Fire 7" Display Tablet - Wi-Fi capability - 8GB
 
 
So join my newsletter now and enter to win!
 
 
 
Contest runs now until December 24, 2015. Open to all U.S. and Canadian residents only.
Winner will be chosen on 12/24/2015.
 
Good Luck!
 
 
 


Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Book Review: The Swans of Fifth Avenue by Melanie Benjamin


Hi all,

I have just finished the most amazing novel and I just have to share it with you. If you love being swept back in time (well, to the 60s & 70s) and read about the beautiful people – the rich, the famous, the infamous – then you will love this latest novel by Melanie Benjamin. So here it is – The Swans of Fifth Avenue.

 
The Swans of Fifth Avenue
Melanie Benjamin

 

Book Description:

The New York Times bestselling author of The Aviator’s Wife returns with a triumphant new novel about New York’s “Swans” of the 1950s—and the scandalous, headline-making, and enthralling friendship between literary legend Truman Capote and peerless socialite Babe Paley.

Of all the glamorous stars of New York high society, none blazes brighter than Babe Paley. Her flawless face regularly graces the pages of Vogue, and she is celebrated and adored for her ineffable style and exquisite taste, especially among her friends—the alluring socialite Swans Slim Keith, C. Z. Guest, Gloria Guinness, and Pamela Churchill. By all appearances, Babe has it all: money, beauty, glamour, jewels, influential friends, a prestigious husband, and gorgeous homes. But beneath this elegantly composed exterior dwells a passionate woman—a woman desperately longing for true love and connection.

Enter Truman Capote. This diminutive golden-haired genius with a larger-than-life personality explodes onto the scene, setting Babe and her circle of Swans aflutter. Through Babe, Truman gains an unlikely entrĂ©e into the enviable lives of Manhattan’s elite, along with unparalleled access to the scandal and gossip of Babe’s powerful circle. Sure of the loyalty of the man she calls “True Heart,” Babe never imagines the destruction Truman will leave in his wake. But once a storyteller, always a storyteller—even when the stories aren’t his to tell.

Truman’s fame is at its peak when such notable celebrities as Frank and Mia Sinatra, Lauren Bacall, and Rose Kennedy converge on his glittering Black and White Ball. But all too soon, he’ll ignite a literary scandal whose repercussions echo through the years. The Swans of Fifth Avenue will seduce and startle readers as it opens the door onto one of America’s most sumptuous eras.

 

Publish Date: January 26, 2016

Delacorte Press

Preorder on:



Or at a bookstore near you.

 
My Five Star Review:

 
Beautiful. Captivating. Spellbinding. The Swans of Fifth Avenue by Melanie Benjamin is all that, and much, much more.

As someone who’s read the biography of Truman Capote (Capote: A Biography by Gerald Clarke), the writings of Truman Capote, and countless other biographies of the people who appear in this novel, it’s not surprising that I was thrilled at the opportunity to read this fictional novel about these real-life characters. I was not disappointed. Melanie Benjamin brought all these amazing characters back to life and the reader is submerged quickly into a time period of glamour, beauty, and dark secrets.

Truman Capote was able to slip his way into high society by means of his friend, Babe Paley and her powerful husband, Bill. She and her friends – The Swans – all find the outrageous Truman interesting and entertaining. Even before his successes, Truman was first and foremost a storyteller, and the stories he told (gossipy ones) kept the ladies asking for more. But more than that, Truman, who so desired the love that his mother denied him, and Babe, the lonely trophy wife, found between them a connection deeper than physical love – they each found what was lacking within them in each other. What Babe did not ever even once consider is that her dearest of friends – her True Heart – would betray her and her circle of friends with a swipe of his pen.

 
This is more than just a novel about friendship and betrayal. This novel brings you back to a time when money, power, and titles meant everything, when the beautiful people were put on pedestals and not allowed to be knocked off. They were society’s best and brightest, most powerful and most beautiful, and everyone wanted to be them. No one knew of the dark secrets that stained their lives, because all the world wanted to see was their beauty. And then there was Truman Capote – brilliant, young, promising, and so, so talented. He took their breath away, until he shared their secrets and lost them forever. With a mixture of fact (timeline details) and fiction, Ms. Benjamin was able to recreate these interesting characters and take us deep inside their lives. She tells a story that is so rich, so dark, and so haunting. This book will stay with you long after you’ve read the last page.

 
(I received an advance copy of this novel from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for my honest review.)

 

 
About the Author:

Melanie Benjamin was born in Indianapolis, Indiana. An avid reader all her life--as a child, she was the proud winner, several years running, of the summer reading program at her local library--she still firmly believes that a lifetime of reading is the best education a writer can have.

While attending Indiana University--Purdue University at Indianapolis, Melanie performed in many community theater productions before meeting her husband, moving to the Chicago area and raising two sons. Writing was always beckoning, however, and soon she began writing for local magazines and newspapers before venturing into her first love, fiction.

By combining her passion for history and biography, she has found her niche writing historical fiction, concentrating on the "stories behind the stories." Her most recent novel, THE AVIATOR'S WIFE, a novel about Anne Morrow Lindbergh, is a New York Times, USA Today and Indiebound best seller. Her first historical novel, ALICE I HAVE BEEN, was a national bestseller; this was followed by the critically acclaimed THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF MRS. TOM THUMB. THE SWANS OF FIFTH AVENUE, a novel about Truman Capote and his high society "Swans," will be published in January 2016.

She and her family still live in the Chicago area; when she's not writing, she's gardening, taking long walks, rooting for the Cubs--

And reading, of course.

Connect with Melanie:

Website

Facebook

Twitter


I hope you will give this book a try - I loved it! Pre-order now! :)

Cheers,
Deanna


 

The Romance Reviews

The Romance Reviews