Wednesday, December 13, 2017

A Crazy Kind of Love by Mary Ann Marlowe

A Crazy Kind of Love
by Mary Ann Marlowe

Find out more about this book and author:
Amazon
Goodreads
BookExcerpt
Website
Blog
Facebook
Twitter

Just released: November 28, 2017
Publisher: Kensington
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Paperback: 297
Rating: 4

Flirting with Fame series:
Some Kind of Magic
A Crazy Kind of Love
book 3 - tba

First sentence(s):
Stalker. When you put it that way, what I did for a living sounded despicable.

In this irresistible new novel by Mary Ann Marlowe, one woman's up-close and sexy encounter with a tabloid sensation reveals the dizzying--and delicious--dilemma of dating in the spotlight . . .

Celebrities hold zero interest for photographer Jo Wilder. That's a problem, since snapping pics of the stars is how the pretty paparazza pays the rent. So when Jo attempts to catch a money shot atop the broad shoulders of a helpful bystander, the only thing she notices about the stranger she straddles is that he's seriously hot. Only later does Jo learn that he's also Micah Sinclair--one of rock's notorious bad boys...

Soon Jo is on the verge of getting fired for missing a Micah Sinclair exclusive. Until she's suddenly being pursued by the heartthrob himself. But how can she be sure the musician's mind-blowing kisses are the real deal? Her colleagues claim he's a media whore, gambling on some free PR. But something has Jo hoping Micah's feeling the same powerful pull that she does. A pull so strong, she can't resist becoming his latest love, even if it means she might become the media's latest victim...


My two-bits:

Love's ups and downs amongst the paparazzi and celebrities. It was interesting to learn about some of the inside scoop of what it may be like to be on the periphery of the "it" crowd and to actually be in it as well.

This couple learn and navigate their unique relationship with the issues they each have to deal with.

~*~

* review copy courtesy of author


Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Winner for December


Here is the winner for a giveaway that
ended December 11, 2017

Thanks to all contestants!

~*~

Have You Met Nora?
by Nicole Blades
-Women's Fiction
Amazon | Goodreads | Giveaway

Winner: Mary Preston

~*~

* I will email winners for mailing addresses within two weeks.
Winners, feel free to contact me with your info if you don't get my email
or if you are just too darn excited and want to let me know -- like NOW ;-D

* contest policy

* if not this time, maybe next time

--> check out the current giveaways and upcoming events on my sidebar

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Lovely Books and Things - 12.9.17

Lovely Books and Things
My Weekly Books and Films Update

Linking up with:
Stacking the Shelves (details)
Sunday Post (details)
Mailbox Monday (details)

~*~

Been spending time holiday making and watching films moreso than reading these days. Just not in the mood. Also, I am finding it hard to carve out some quiet moments to just sit and read. Thus, so sorry to say that I am behind on some reviews. ACK!

NOTE TO SELF: do not accept requested book reviews due in November and December

Current happy things:

1. Eggslut's Fairfax Breakfast Sandwich (here) - used Sir Kensington's Sriracha Mayonnaise which was just as good - YUM

2. Holiday/christmas movies. I am going through this writer/book themed list created by Entertainment Weekly (here):

A Christmas Cruise (ION, Dec. 16)
an aspiring novelist finds love at sea

The Mistletoe Inn (Hallmark, Nov. 23)
a romance novelist attends a writing retreat in Vermont

A Joyous Christmas (HMM, Nov. 26)
a best-selling author returns to her hometown for a book event

Snowed Inn Christmas (Lifetime, Dec. 16)
centers on two online journalists given a holiday writing assignment

The Christmas Train (Hallmark, Nov. 25)
tracks a journalist who encounters an ex on a cross-country train ride

Christmas Getaway (Hallmark, Dec. 23)
focuses on a freshly single travel writer who has to share a cabin with a toothsome widower.

3. Everyday is Christmas! by Sia on YouTube. I like how they are original songs that are pretty catchy. The corresponding videos are a hoot too!


~*~

Bought:


JOURNALS with writing prompts have captured my attention for inspiration on leading a more creative life. No Goal Was Met Without A Little Sweat is a guided fitness journal | Amazon. Experience Passport: 45 Ways to Broaden Your Horizon suggests ways to explore the world around you. | Amazon.


For Review:

Pucked
by Helena Hunting
-New Adult, Romance
courtesy of Romance Read-of-the-Month Club -Thanks!
BarnesNoble | Amazon | Goodreads


OTHER things (kinda book-related):

Book Blogger Hop
features a book related question
Sponsored by The Coffee Addicted Writer (details)

This week's prompt: If you celebrate Christmas, do you feel the need to stop reading anything but Christmas-themed romances as the holiday season starts?
(submitted by Maria @ A Night's Dream of Books)

THIS is something I have wanted to do, but because of requested reviews (in the past) and holiday festivities and outings I have not had a chance to actually do holiday reading. I do have a stack of holiday romance novels on my nightstand in case I get some free time. I seem to get at least one to add to the stack each year - such festive covers.

AND watched: in theatre

Lady Bird (2017)
Director/Writer: Greta Gerwig
Stars: Saoirse Ronan, TimothΓ©e Chalamet, Odeya Rush
-Comedy, Drama | imdb | my rating: 4

In the early 2000s, an artistically-inclined seventeen year-old comes of age in Sacramento, California.

LOVELY coming of age story based in the town of Sacramento which is a portrayed as a character as well.

Alice in Wonderland (2017)
Director: Christopher Wheeldon
Based on book by: Lewis Carroll
Stars: Lauren Cuthbertson, Steven McRae, Federico Bonelli, Laura Morera, Christopher Saunders, James Hay
-Drama, Fantasy, Music, Ballet | imdb | my rating: 5

Follow Alice down the rabbit hole in choreographer Christopher Wheeldon’s exuberant ballet, inspired by Lewis Carroll’s much-loved book. At a garden party on a sunny afternoon, Alice is surprised to see her parents’ friend Lewis Carroll transform into a white rabbit. When she follows him down a rabbit hole events become curiouser and curiouser…. As Alice (Lauren Cuthbertson) journeys through Wonderland, she encounters countless strange creatures. She’s swept off her feet by the charming Knave of Hearts (Federico Bonelli), who’s on the run for stealing the tarts. Confusion piles upon confusion. Then Alice wakes with a start. Was it all a daydream? Wheeldon’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland first burst onto the stage in 2011 in an explosion of color, stage magic and inventive, sophisticated choreography. Joby Talbot’s score combines contemporary sound worlds with sweeping melodies that gesture to ballet scores of the 19th century. Bob Crowley’s wildly imaginative, eye-popping designs draw on everything from puppetry to projections to make Wonderland wonderfully real. This production, to be recorded live in 2017, shows The Royal Ballet at its best, bringing together world-class dance with enchanting family entertainment.

FUN, beautiful and romantic rendition of the Alice story. The music was wonderful.

AND watched: on Netflix

Big Eyes (2014)
Director: Tim Burton
Writers: Scott Alexander, Larry Karaszewski
Stars: Amy Adams, Christoph Waltz, Danny Huston
-Biography, Crime, Drama | imdb | my rating: 5

A drama about the awakening of painter Margaret Keane, her phenomenal success in the 1950s, and the subsequent legal difficulties she had with her husband, who claimed credit for her works in the 1960s.

COOL kitschy pop art story. Amazing woman. Makes me want to revisit Keane Eye's art gallery at Ghirardelli square.

A Christmas Horror Story (2015)
Directors: Grant Harvey, Steven Hoban, Brett Sullivan
Writers: Jason Filiatrault, Sarah Larsen, Doug Taylor, Pascal Trottier
Stars: William Shatner, George Buza, Rob Archer
-Fantasy, Horror, Mystery, Christmas | imdb | my rating: 5

Interwoven stories that take place on Christmas Eve, as told by one festive radio host: A family brings home more than a Christmas tree, a student documentary becomes a living nightmare, a Christmas spirit terrorizes, Santa slays evil.

GOOD amount of Christmas and horror with bits of folktale, ghosts, Santa and contemporary elements. Loved Shatner.

AND watched: online

The Mistletoe Inn (2017)
Director: Alex Wright
Writer: Richard Paul Evans (based on a book by)
Stars: Alicia Witt, David Alpay, Lucie Guest
-Comedy, Drama, Romance, Christmas | imdb | my rating: 5

Kim Ross (Witt), an aspiring romance novelist, finds herself unceremoniously dumped by her soon-to-be-published romance novelist boyfriend, Garth. She decides to take a leap and signs up for a romance writing retreat at a quaint Vermont Inn shortly before Christmas. There, a top romance novelist is scheduled to attend. Shortly after Kim's arrival she meets Zeke, whom she finds to be intrusive. As luck would have it, he ends up being her assignment partner and worse yet, the ex-boyfriend is also at the retreat. Despite various bumps Kim manages to step outside her comfort zone, surprising herself. Even more surprising is the unstoppable attraction that seems to be building between her and Zeke, that will change her life in ways she never imagined.

I read this book in 2015 and loved it back then. I love this movie version as well.

AND watched: on DVD

Creed (2015)
Director/Screenplay: Ryan Coogler
Screenplay: Aaron Covington,
Based on characters created by: Sylvester Stallone
Starring: Michael B. Jordan, Sylvester Stallone, Tessa Thompson
-Drama, Sport | imdb | my rating: 5

The former World Heavyweight Champion Rocky Balboa serves as a trainer and mentor to Adonis Johnson, the son of his late friend and former rival Apollo Creed.

For post-Fall Film challenge bonus round: fifteen. outlander. Graham McTavish

GREAT hero coming into his own with a formidable mentor.

In the Line of Fire (1993)
Director: Wolfgang Petersen
Writer: Jeff Maguire
Stars: Clint Eastwood, John Malkovich, Rene Russo
-Action, Crime, Drama | imdb | my rating: 4

Secret Service agent Frank Horrigan couldn't save Kennedy, but he's determined not to let a clever assassin take out this president.

For post-Fall Film challenge bonus round: twenty-two. veep. Gary Cole

INTERESTING perspective of the president's secret service team with romance thrown in.

Brideshead Revisited (2008)
Director: Julian Jarrold
Writers: Andrew Davies, Jeremy Brock
Based on the novel by: Evelyn Waugh
Stars: Matthew Goode, Patrick Malahide, Hayley Atwell
-Drama, Romance | imdb | my rating: 4

A poignant story of forbidden love and the loss of innocence set in England prior to the Second World War.

For post-Fall Film challenge bonus round: three. the crown. Anna Madeley

I haven't seen the 1981 tv series. So can't compare. I enjoyed this sad tale with its updated look. The scenes and costumes were beautiful. Great cast.

Paterson (2016)
Director/Writer: Jim Jarmusch
Poems by: William Carlos Williams, Ron Padgett
Stars: Adam Driver, Golshifteh Farahani, Nellie
-Comedy, Drama, Romance | imdb | my rating: 5

A quiet observation of the triumphs and defeats of daily life, along with the poetry evident in its smallest details.

For post-Fall Film challenge bonus round: five. elementary. Chasten Harmon

Beautiful, quiet and poetic film. Makes me want to read some William Carlos Williams.

Get Out (2017)
Director/Writer: Jordan Peele
Stars: Daniel Kaluuya, Allison Williams
-Horror, Mystery, Thriller | imdb | my rating: 5

It's time for a young African American to meet with his white girlfriend's parents for a weekend in their secluded estate in the woods, but before long, the friendly and polite ambience will give way to a nightmare.

PERFECTLY smart, creepy and twisty-like.

~*~

* comment and TELL me what you have acquired for your shelves recently

:-)

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Lovely Books and Things - 12.2.17

Lovely Books and Things
My Weekly Books and Films Update

Linking up with:
Stacking the Shelves (details)
Sunday Post (details)
Mailbox Monday (details)

~*~

Spent the week wrapping up the month of November to make way for December and its holiday festivities. The first holiday party happens next Friday.

Also, been thinking of what I want to do with this blog in the next year. I want to read more books from my shelves. There are so many good books there that I have neglected. Which means I may have to do less requested reviews.

Reading is slow going. And may continue to be so until January. Too many fun things to do.

Current happy things:

1. Yin Yoga - a slow-paced style of yoga with postures, or asanas, that are held for longer periods of time
2. Warm evenings for night walks
3. Pizza with BBQ chicken topping -first time to try this combo and it was delish :-)

~*~

Bought:

Murder Under the Fig Tree
by Kate Raphael
-Mystery, LGBTQ, Palestine
Amazon | Goodreads

LIKED the first book in this series and wanted to read more with this female detective.

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
by Philip K. Dick
-SciFi, Cyberpunk, Dystopia
Amazon | Goodreads

WANTED to read this as it inspired the making of the film Blade Runner.


For Review:

A Crazy Kind of Love
by Mary Ann Marlowe
-Contemporary Romance
courtesy of author -Thanks!
Amazon | Goodreads

THE premise sounds fun.

Beautiful Redemption
by Jamie McGuire
-New Adult, Romance
courtesy of Romance Read-of-the-Month Club -Thanks!
BarnesNoble | Amazon | Goodreads

LOVED the first book in the series and looking forward to reading more about the other characters.


UNBOXING:

From Owlcrate package (details & signup):
OwlCrate is a subscription service that sends you magical monthly boxes tailored to a chosen theme. Each OwlCrate will contain one new Young Adult novel, as well as 3-5 other bookish treats to help you get your nerd on. @owlcrate


NOVEMBER Box includes:
theme: Castles, Courts and Kingdoms

- Owlcrate spoiler card (not pictured)
- The Glass Spare by Lauren DeStefano
- Signed bookplate, letter and Gemstone Tattoos from author
- Harry Potter “Expecto Patronum” Winter Beanie
- A Court of Thorns and Roses – “Don’t Let the Hard Days Win” Notebook by Stella's Bookish Art
- The Grisha Trilogy inspired Brooch from Juniper and Ivy Designs
- Game of Thrones theme Lip Balm from Geek Fire Labs
- Elven Bread Soap (Hobbit theme) from Fizzy Fairy Apothecary

The Glass Spare
by Lauren DeStefano
-Fantasy, YA
Amazon | Goodreads

The first in a new fantasy duology, The Glass Spare is a gorgeously told tale of love, loss, and deadly power from Lauren DeStefano, the bestselling author of the Chemical Garden series. Perfect for fans of Shannon Hale and Renee Ahdieh.

Wilhelmina Heidle, the fourth child and only daughter of the king of the world’s wealthiest nation, has grown up in the shadows. Kept hidden from the world in order to serve as a spy for her father—whose obsession with building his empire is causing a war—Wil wants nothing more than to explore the world beyond her kingdom, if only her father would give her the chance.

Until one night Wil is attacked, and she discovers a dangerous secret. Her touch turns people into gemstone. At first Wil is horrified—but as she tests its limits, she’s drawn more and more to the strange and volatile ability. When it leads to tragedy, though, Wil is forced to face the destructive power within her and finally leave her home to seek the truth and a cure.

But finding the key to her redemption puts her in the path of a cursed prince who has his own ideas for what to do with Wil’s power.

With a world on the brink of war and a power of ultimate destruction, can Wil find a way to help the kingdom that’s turned its back on her, or will she betray her past and her family forever?



OTHER things (kinda book-related):

Book Blogger Hop
features a book related question
Sponsored by The Coffee Addicted Writer (details)

This week's prompt: What is your favourite Christmas-themed read?
(submitted by Kristin @ Lukten av Trykksverte)

NONE. I do not have one. Yet. I have not read enough in the genre to come across a book that I came to really love.


AND watched: on Netflix

Mudbound (2017)
Director/Screenplay: Dee Rees
Writer: Virgil Williams
Screenplay: Virgil Williams
Based on book by: Hillary Jordan
Stars: Garrett Hedlund, Carey Mulligan, Jason Clarke, Rob Morgan
-Drama | imdb | my rating: 5

Two men return home from World War II to work on a farm in rural Mississippi, where they struggle to deal with racism and adjusting to life after war.

REALLY got the setting, location and feeling of being stuck/unstuck.

AND watched: in theatre

Darkest Hour (2017)
Director: Joe Wright
Writer: Anthony McCarten
Stars: Gary Oldman, Lily James, Kristin Scott Thomas
-Biography, Drama, History | imdb | my rating: 4

During the early days of World War II, the fate of Western Europe hangs on the newly-appointed British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, who must decide whether to negotiate with Hitler, or fight on against incredible odds.

HISTORICAL bit that pairs well with the film Dunkirk which came out this summer. Gary Oldman captures Winston so well.

Bright Star
Written and composed by: Steve Martin, Edie Brickell
at the SF Curran Theatre
-Musical | my rating: 4

Set in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina in 1945-46 with flashbacks to 1923. The musical is inspired by their Grammy-winning collaboration on the 2013 bluegrass album Love Has Come for You.

GREAT gothic southern storyline. There was not any particular song that stuck. Loved the instrumental pieces though with the banjo and mandolin solos.


AND watched: on DVD

Crazy, Stupid, Love. (2011)
Director: Glenn Ficarra, John Requa
Writer: Dan Fogelman
Starring: Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, Julianne Moore
-Comedy, Drama, Romance | imdb | my rating: 4

A middle-aged husband's life changes dramatically when his wife asks him for a divorce. He seeks to rediscover his manhood with the help of a newfound friend, Jacob, learning to pick up girls at bars.

For Fall Film challenge bonus round: fourteen. ncis. Liza Lapira

LOVED the scene where everything clashes. Got some on-screen chemistry between Ryan and Emma which is renewed in La La Land.


A Million Ways to Die in the West (2014)
Director/Writer: Seth MacFarlane
Writers: Alec Sulkin, Wellesley Wild
Stars: Seth MacFarlane, Charlize Theron, Liam Neeson
-Comedy, Romance, Western | imdb | my rating: 3

As a cowardly farmer begins to fall for the mysterious new woman in town, he must put his new-found courage to the test when her husband, a notorious gun-slinger, announces his arrival.

For Fall Film challenge bonus round: two. the big bang theory. Kaley Cuoco

CUTE take on western movie stereotypes.

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)
Director: George Roy Hill
Writer: William Goldman
Stars: Paul Newman, Robert Redford, Katharine Ross
-Biography, Crime, Drama | imdb | my rating: 4

Two Western bank/train robbers flee to Bolivia when the law gets too close.

For Fall Film challenge bonus round: seventeen. dr. quinn, medicine woman. George Furth

THIS one has charismatic outlaws with a kind of bromance thing going on. Such loyalty to each other. The Raindrops song was an odd choice, but I loved that bicycle scene.

Annie Hall (1977)
Director/Writer: Woody Allen
Writer: Marshall Brickman
Stars: Woody Allen, Diane Keaton
-Comedy, Romance | imdb | my rating: 4

Neurotic New York comedian Alvy Singer falls in love with the ditzy Annie Hall.

For Fall Film challenge bonus round: twenty-five. the young pope. Diane Keaton

WELL made analysis of a couple's relationship.

Chef (2014)
Director/Writer: Jon Favreau
Stars: Jon Favreau, John Leguizamo, Emjay Anthony
-Adventure, Comedy, Drama | imdb | my rating: 4

A head chef quits his restaurant job and buys a food truck in an effort to reclaim his creative promise, while piecing back together his estranged family.

For Fall Film challenge bonus round: nineteen. sex and the city. Amy Sedaris

HAPPY doses of father/son bonding, road trips and foodie scenes.

The Bourne Legacy (2012)
Director/Screenplay/Story: Tony Gilroy
Screenplay: Dan Gilroy
Based on the novel series by Robert Ludlum
Stars: Jeremy Renner, Rachel Weisz, Edward Norton
-Action, Adventure, Mystery | imdb | my rating: 3

An expansion of the universe from Robert Ludlum's novels, centered on a new hero whose stakes have been triggered by the events of the previous three films.

For Fall Film challenge bonus round: twenty-one. the unusuals. Jeremy Renner

LOTS of action scenes which Renner does well. Not my favorite Bourne film. Probably because I was missing Bourne. But got to know more about the "project".

~*~

* checkout the sidebar for current giveaways

* comment and TELL me what you have acquired for your shelves recently

:-)

Friday, December 1, 2017

Happy Release: Perfectly Summer by Robin Daniels (with giveaway)

Perfectly Summer
by Robin Daniels
-Romance, YA
Release date: November 28, 2017
Amazon | Goodreads

Summer vacation is Levi London’s favorite time of the year. Each summer, he and his brothers are shipped off to Florida to stay with their grandparents. For ten weeks everything is perfect. He has freedom, fun, and Summer West—the cute and spunky girl across the street—for whom he’s planned to confess his giant crush. Right before the London boys are scheduled to leave, a scandalous family situation causes their mom to accompany them on vacation. Not only does Levi’s fun quotient promise to take a nose dive, but all the drama has him feeling less than his normal happy self. Summer decides that Levi needs a distraction, in the form of a prank war. But he gets more than he bargains for when his older brother Lucas is both better at pranking and determined to date Summer too. Levi is a peacekeeper, but he isn’t sure he can mediate his family’s struggles or strike the right balance between mischief and romance. Especially when Lucas keeps reminding him that all is fair in love and war.

Excerpt:

“So, your birthday is coming up soon. The big 1-6. We need to do something epic. I’m thinking a huge party…” I trailed off, knowing she’d shoot me down. There’s only one thing she’s ever wanted to do for her sixteenth birthday. That was to go on her first date.

Summer’s parents only had one formal rule—that I knew of, at least. No dating until you’re sixteen. I was surprised the first time I heard it, because her parents never seemed to care that I was always in her bedroom. I mean, we didn’t shut the door or do anything dodgy, but still. Hunter broke that rule all the time, but Summer had stayed obedient. She’d yet to go on an official date. I think the reason she didn’t push it the way Hunter did was because she was scared and a little naΓ―ve. But, regardless of the reason, the waiting had built up a lot of anticipation for her sixteenth birthday.

“You know me better than that by now.” Summer smiled. “I don’t want a party.”

I winked at her. “I know you don’t. The real question is, who do you want to take you on your very first date?” I tried to play it off like I didn’t care, but I already knew the answer. “Let me guess, you want me to pull some strings so my dopey older brother will ask you out?”

“Don’t be ridiculous, that’s never going to happen.” She waved me off, then got quiet, like she was nervous. Summer looked down at the stuffed animal she was holding. “Actually, I was hoping you’d take me on my first date.”

“Me?” I was beyond surprised.

Summer grinned and said, “Yes, you. Who else would I want to take me?”

Something exploded in my chest, and my body got warm and tingly. I’d been out on plenty of dates, kissed my share of girls, too. But the thought of doing either of those things with Summer made my emotions do a happy dance. She wanted me to take her on her first date. Maybe by default because she didn’t think Lucas was an option, but I’d take it. This would be the perfect opportunity to show her why Lucas sucked and I should be the man of her dreams.

“I’d be honored,” I replied coolly, trying to hide how giddy I was. I didn’t want to look like a desperate chump. “Do you have anything specific that you want to do?”

“Nope. I trust you to make it amazing and unforgettable.”

“Geez, no pressure or anything.”

Summer laughed. “Of course not. No pressure at all. I’ve only got a full page reserved for the event in my scrapbook.”

“Do you really?”

“What do you think?” she countered, but I couldn’t tell if she was being serious or not. Forget one page. Honestly, I could see her making a whole “first date scrapbook”.

“I’m invoking my right to plead the Fifth Amendment on this matter.”

“I think you’re smarter than Lucas gives you credit for,” she replied.

About the author:

Robin Daniels is married to an amazing guy and has five equally amazing but crazy kids. When she’s not chasing children or writing books, she’s probably coaching volleyball or working with her church youth group.

She tries to read as much as possible, especially if she’s got housework to do. And if she’s not home during the day, you’ll likely find her hanging out at her sister’s house—where they mostly talk about writing and reading books. Robin loves long naps, yummy food, Diet Coke and being outside in the Arizona winters.

Find out more about this book and author:
Amazon
Goodreads
Website
Facebook
Instagram
Twitter

--~ Giveaway ~--

WIN a signed copy of each book in the Perfect Series along with a Christmas/Holiday card containing a $20 Amazon gift card. Winner can keep for themselves or choose to gift the prize.

Offer ends: December 10, 2017

Signup to win (here).


Thursday, November 30, 2017

Giveaway: Have You Met Nora? by Nicole Blades

Have You Met Nora?
by Nicole Blades
-Women's Fiction
Amazon | Goodreads

First sentence(s):
Nora opened her eyes and stared through the darkness at the ceiling.

She’s blossomed from wealthy surgeon’s beautiful daughter to elegant socialite to being the top fashion stylist in the country. And Nora Mackenzie is only days away from marrying into one of New York’s richest, most powerful families. But her fairy tale rise is rooted in an incredible deception—one scandal away from turning her perfect world to ashes...

What no one knows is that Nora is the biracial daughter of a Caribbean woman and a long-gone white father. Adopted—and abused—by her mother’s employer, then sent to an exclusive boarding school to buy her silence, Nora found that “passing” as a white woman could give her everything she never had. Every golden opportunity she seized and every deception she worked kept that powerless, forgotten girl forever in the past.

Now, an ex-classmate who Nora betrayed many years ago has returned to her life to even the score. She’s a woman who won’t be bought off, reasoned against, or pleaded with. Her machinations are turning Nora’s privilege into one gilded trap after another. Running out of choices, Nora must decide how far she will go to protect a lie or give up and finally face the truth.


Q&A with the author:

What inspired you to write Have You Met Nora? Are there other works of fiction or nonfiction that serve as sources for your inspiration?

I've always been deeply interested in identity, more specifically, how someone organizes their entire spirit around being something and claiming all that goes with it out loud—a chef, an activist, a runner, a writer, a survivor. In so many instances, claiming your title involves a significant moment when it becomes undeniably clear how essential it (running, cooking, writing, etc.) is to who you are and how you want the world to view you. For so many people, that capital-M moment involves stepping out of a comfort zone and putting your faith in this identity, ready to decent it to those who may doubt your assertion, question your selfhood. "I don't care what anyone says, this is me." That—the person who moves through the world with that level of commitment to their identity, to their vocation—that's what intrigues me.

Nor is a flawed heroine. What do you think is her biggest strength?

I like flawed characters. I like digging around their broken parts and trying to trace where the first cracks started. Nora is carrying around all of these shattered pieces, some of them barely held together by string. But as wounded as she is, there is also resilience to her. That she's made it to her late 20s despite everything that happened in her life—both of her making and at the hands of others—shows incredible fortitude. Another strength is her ability to fully give and receive love from her fiancΓ© Fisher Beaumont. Considering her background, there's bravery in that act alone.

Find out more about this book and author:
Amazon
Goodreads
BookExcerpt
Website
Blog
Facebook
Instagram
iTunes
Twitter

--~ Book Giveaway ~--

WIN a review copy of this book!

Open to all.

Offer ends: December 11, 2017

TO DO: (2-parts)

1. ADD this book to your Want To Read list on Goodreads (here).

2. LEAVE a comment.

AND, leave your email.

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Contest has ended - (winner is here)

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Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Dangerous to Know: featuring Brooke West (Henry Crawford) -with giveaway

Dangerous to Know: Jane Austen's Rakes & Gentlemen Rogues
edited by Christina Boyd
-Historical Romance, Anthology, Jane Austen
Release date: November 15, 2017
Amazon | Goodreads
Playlist | Publisher's Weekly/Book Life

"One has all the goodness, and the other all the appearance of it." --Jane Austen

Jane Austen's masterpieces are littered with unsuitable gentlemen--Willoughby, Wickham, Churchill, Crawford, Tilney, Elliot, et al.--adding color and depth to her plots but often barely sketched. Have you never wondered about the pasts of her rakes, rattles, and gentlemen rogues? Surely, there's more than one side to their stories. It is a universal truth, we are captivated by smoldering looks, daring charms ... a happy-go-lucky, cool confidence. All the while, our loyal confidants are shouting on deaf ears: "He is a cad--a brute--all wrong!" But is that not how tender hearts are broken...by loving the undeserving? How did they become the men Jane Austen created?

In this romance anthology, eleven Austenesque authors expose the histories of Austen's anti-heroes. Dangerous to Know: Jane Austen's Rakes & Gentlemen Rogues is a titillating collection of Georgian era short stories--a backstory or parallel tale off-stage of canon--whilst remaining steadfast to the characters we recognize in Austen's great works. What say you? Everyone may be attracted to a bad boy...even temporarily...but heaven help us if we marry one.


Authors included:
Karen M Cox
J. Marie Croft
Jenetta James
Lona Manning
Christina Morland
Beau North
Katie Oliver
Amy D'Orazio
Sophia Rose
Joana Starnes
Brooke West

Excerpt:

“The Last letter to Mansfield” by Brooke West

SEPTEMBER 1809, THE DARK HORSE, TROWBRIDGE, WILTSHIRE

Henry woke to the sounds of wardrobe doors being flung open and slammed shut. For the first time since spring, he felt a spark of hope. Dragging himself from bed, not even bothering to smooth down his hair or find a shirt—anything to further shock or dismay that woman—he leaned in the doorway between his sleeping room and the suite’s sitting room. Maria, as perfectly put together as ever, was throwing gowns and hats into chests and boxes.

He yawned loudly, stretching his bare arms high above his head. Her head snapped up to glare at him. He knew he cut a fine figure. That Maria’s gaze did not stray from his face told him precisely her state of mind. Any other day, her eyes would roam over the planes of his muscles. The spark of hope grew a bit brighter.

“I am done with this charade!” Every word rang with anger. Her eyes burned. Her face contorted into a scowl the likes of which he had never seen.

At last. Relief flooded him as he recognized in her countenance the same hatred he had felt towards her for weeks. “I trust you’ve enjoyed your holiday.”

Maria cried out sharply, like a startled hen, twisting the silk gown in her hands. Henry laughed out loud at her explosion of fury. She complained nearly daily about the boredom and indignity she endured being sequestered in the inn and would beg often to be taken to Everingham. The society was no better at his Norfolk estate. Indeed, there was even less at his home to keep a young, lively woman entertained. The travelers who came through the inn brought with them their own dramas and histories, and Henry’s only enjoyment in recent weeks came from conversing with them at dinner or around the fire with a brandy. Maria seldom left their rooms.

Henry suspected that it was more the lack of an enviable standing in society that grated on her. Back at Mansfield Park, she held reign over all as the eldest Bertram daughter. As Mrs. Rushworth, she had an idiot husband and household to rule with thousands of pounds at her disposal to convince others of her value in society. But here, in The Dark Horse, Maria’s continued residence only raised questions amongst the locals, forcing her to steep in the scandal she so clearly desired that morning in early May when she appeared on Admiral Crawford’s doorstep demanding to see Henry.

She was not one to suffer consequences with grace, Henry found.

He had no intention of ever allowing Maria Bertram Rushworth to breathe the air at Everingham. Henry had chosen this esteemed, venerable inn in Wiltshire to keep her as far away as possible from his home without having to spend an unbearable amount of time in a carriage with her when they left London. With every complaint, he would point out that she could leave under her own power at any time—to which Maria would spit back that she had nowhere else to go. The satisfaction he drew from seeing her suffer was bitter indeed when coupled with his misery at being in her presence.

Anger colored her cheeks a flattering pink. Her bosom swelled prettily with each quick breath. A single curl had escaped from her loose coiffure as she had tossed her clothing about. It brushed at the gentle curve of her slender shoulder and graceful neck. He stared at that curl, remembering how his lips had been just there when his world tilted, upending his plans and destroying his happiness.

He wondered at what drew him to her so many months ago at Mansfield Park. Henry could not fail to recognize her beauty, even now, but he could no longer help but see past it to the creature beneath: the callous, selfish woman who was incapable—or unwilling—to consider anyone but herself.

Despite what Maria had promised that day at his uncle’s home, there had not been a single happy moment together once they left London. Henry did not intend to be happy with her and would not allow for her happiness with him. He intended for them both to be quite miserable. While all the world would see Henry as the scoundrel who ruined a gently bred woman, Henry could only think of Maria as the vixen who willfully parted him from his love. Many times, he was tempted to saddle a horse and leave her at the inn to find her own way out of the muddle she created. Henry would own a great many failings of character, but he was not so callous as to leave a woman without protection. Until she grew tired of their games and decided to leave, or her family came for her at last, Henry was stuck in this Wiltshire purgatory.

Upon learning that knowledge of his and Maria’s absence was widespread, his first instinct had been to ride immediately to Fanny, to bare all to her, to let her goodness and kindness absolve and cleanse him. Half his impulse, he knew, was to vex Maria and remind her that she was not wanted, not preferred, would not be his wife. He had not smiled at her since she displayed herself in that garish gown at Hill Street in May, when she took away any power he had to free himself from her. He would not take meals with her and seldom returned to the inn before she slept. When he did return to find her awake, he would silently take her to bed—or on the divan, or by the fireplace—wherever he found her. There was no tenderness or passion between them any longer, yet Maria never once turned him away. Henry marveled at her brash hopefulness in those moments when nearly every night he could hear her crying herself to sleep.

Knowing that inconsequence was worse than hatred to Maria, Henry would not let his elation at her imminent removal show. Instead, he affected boredom as he lifted a pastry from the breakfast tray. “When do you leave?”

“Immediately.”

Henry was silent as he stuffed the morsel into his mouth. He watched her as he chewed. For just a moment, her chin quivered, betraying her unreasonably tenacious love for him. His chest tightened for a single heartbeat. Anger he could counter—tears were more difficult to resist. There was no joy for him in hurting another, but he could not soften or she would sense it, and then they would become locked in this cycle of never-ending misery.

He licked the sweetness off his fingers as they watched each other.

“My aunt Norris has arrived for me. She is waiting below.”

Henry wondered that her father or one of her brothers had not come. Lucky break, I suppose. He did not relish the thought of the posturing and accusations that would be involved in a meeting with her male relatives. He had never fought a duel and intended to keep that record clean. Edmund did not worry him, and Tom was not often sober enough to hold a pistol. But he was a gentleman, and Fanny would not like it.

He grabbed two more pastries from the tray. “Give her my best,” he called over his shoulder as he shut the door to his bedroom.

He perched on the edge of his bed, tense, listening to the sounds of her packing. Muffled sobs reached his ears but not his heart. He felt no regret at her leaving, no emptiness at the loss of an admirer. He felt, for once, whole within himself. He was enough and did not yearn for another’s adulation and attention. Awareness crept over him, the understanding of what it means to be a steady man, reliable, and self-possessed. To be the man a woman like Fanny needs and deserves. The irony of his situation was not lost on him.

Henry waited until all noise from the adjoining bedchamber ceased and he was certain Maria was gone, truly gone, before moving to his writing desk.

M—
The pigeon has, at long last, flown with the old crow. I am coming home, my sister.
H.C.


About the author:
BROOKE WEST has always loved the bad boys of literature and thinks the best leading men have the darkest pasts. When she’s not spinning tales of rakish men and daring women, Brooke spends her time in the kitchen baking or at the gym working off all that baking. She lives in South Carolina with her husband and son and their three mischievous cats. Brooke co-authored the novel The Many Lives of Fitzwilliam Darcy and the short story “Holiday Mix Tape,” which appears in the anthology Then Comes Winter.

Find out more about this book and author:
Facebook
Twitter @WordyWest.

--~ Blog Tour Giveaways ~--

Open to all.

Offer ends: December 30, 2017

Winners announced: January 2, 2018


WIN prize pack #1 - 15 paperback books from the authors of this anthology.
To enter for this prize fill out the rafflecopter form (here).


WIN prize pack #2 - #RakesAndGentlemenRogues Pleasures pack includes:

‘Pride & Prejudice’ Print, autographed by Colin Firth & Jennifer Ehle
Bingley’s Teas (Willoughby & The Colonel)
Jane Austen playing cards; set of 6 Austen postcards
‘The Compleat Housewife’ notecards set.

To enter this giveaway leave a comment on the blogs participating in the tour. (All guest comments will be entered in drawing to win. Comment at each site to increase your odds.)


THE #RakesAndGentlemenRogues BLOG TOUR

πŸ’— Monday, November 6: REVIEW: Margie's Must Reads

πŸ’— Thursday, November 9: REVIEW, Obsessed with Mr. Darcy

πŸ’— Monday, November 13: REVIEW, Austenesque Reviews

πŸ’— Tuesday, November 14: REVIEW, Olga of ROSIE AMBER team

πŸ’— Wednesday, November 15: (release day) REVIEW, Just Jane 1813

πŸ’— Thursday, November 16: REVIEW, Diary of an Eccentric

🎩 Monday, November 20: FEATURE w/Katie Oliver (George Wickham), From Pemberley to Milton

🎩 Wednesday, November 22: FEATURE w/Joana Starnes (Willoughby), Babblings of a Bookworm

🎩 Friday, November 24: FEATURE w/Sophia Rose, (General Tilney), Herding Cats & Burning Soup

🎩 Monday, November 27: FEATURE w/Amy D'Orazio (Captain Tilney), My Jane Austen Book Club

🎩 Wednesday, November 29: FEATURE w/Brooke West (Henry Crawford), VVB32 Reads - this post!

🎩 Thursday, November 30: FEATURE w/Lona Manning (Tom Bertram), Lit 4 Ladies

πŸ’— Friday, December 1: REVIEW, Lit 4 Ladies

🎩 Monday, December 4: FEATURE w/Beau North (Colonel Fitzwilliam), Obsessed with Mr. Darcy

🎩 Thursday, December 7: FEATURE w/J. Marie Croft (John Thorpe), Harry Rodell blog/ROSIE AMBER team

πŸ’— Friday, December 8: REVIEW, From Pemberley to Milton

🎩 Monday, December 11: FEATURE w/Jenetta James Hannah McSorley (William Elliot), Austenesque Reviews

🎩 Thursday, December 14: FEATURE w/Karen M Cox (Frank Churchill), Darcyholic Diversions

🎩 Monday, December 17: FEATURE w/Christina Morland (Sir Walter Elliot), Of Pens & Pages

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Happy Release: A Crazy Kind of Love by Mary Ann Marlowe

A Crazy Kind of Love
by Mary Ann Marlowe
-Contemporary Romance
Release date: November 28, 2017
Amazon | Goodreads

In this irresistible new novel by Mary Ann Marlowe, one woman's up-close and sexy encounter with a tabloid sensation reveals the dizzying--and delicious--dilemma of dating in the spotlight . . .

Celebrities hold zero interest for photographer Jo Wilder. That's a problem, since snapping pics of the stars is how the pretty paparazza pays the rent. So when Jo attempts to catch a money shot atop the broad shoulders of a helpful bystander, the only thing she notices about the stranger she straddles is that he's seriously hot. Only later does Jo learn that he's also Micah Sinclair--one of rock's notorious bad boys...

Soon Jo is on the verge of getting fired for missing a Micah Sinclair exclusive. Until she's suddenly being pursued by the heartthrob himself. But how can she be sure the musician's mind-blowing kisses are the real deal? Her colleagues claim he's a media whore, gambling on some free PR. But something has Jo hoping Micah's feeling the same powerful pull that she does. A pull so strong, she can't resist becoming his latest love, even if it means she might become the media's latest victim...


Monday, November 27, 2017

Happy release: Dangerous to Know: Jane Austen's Rakes & Gentlemen Rogues

Dangerous to Know: Jane Austen's Rakes & Gentlemen Rogues
edited by Christina Boyd
-Historical Romance, Anthology, Jane Austen
Release date: November 15, 2017
Amazon | Goodreads

"One has all the goodness, and the other all the appearance of it." --Jane Austen

Jane Austen's masterpieces are littered with unsuitable gentlemen--Willoughby, Wickham, Churchill, Crawford, Tilney, Elliot, et al.--adding color and depth to her plots but often barely sketched. Have you never wondered about the pasts of her rakes, rattles, and gentlemen rogues? Surely, there's more than one side to their stories. It is a universal truth, we are captivated by smoldering looks, daring charms ... a happy-go-lucky, cool confidence. All the while, our loyal confidants are shouting on deaf ears: "He is a cad--a brute--all wrong!" But is that not how tender hearts are broken...by loving the undeserving? How did they become the men Jane Austen created?

In this romance anthology, eleven Austenesque authors expose the histories of Austen's anti-heroes. Dangerous to Know: Jane Austen's Rakes & Gentlemen Rogues is a titillating collection of Georgian era short stories--a backstory or parallel tale off-stage of canon--whilst remaining steadfast to the characters we recognize in Austen's great works. What say you? Everyone may be attracted to a bad boy...even temporarily...but heaven help us if we marry one.


Authors included:
Karen M Cox
J. Marie Croft
Jenetta James
Lona Manning
Christina Morland
Beau North
Katie Oliver
Amy D'Orazio
Sophia Rose
Joana Starnes
Brooke West

Winner for November


Here are the winners for giveaways that
ended November 26, 2017

Thanks to all contestants!

~*~

The Tercentennial Baron
by Will Damron
narrated by Tim Gerard Reynolds
audio version
-Fantasy, YA, Scotland
Amazon | Goodreads | Smashwords | Audible
Giveaway

Winner: Carole Rae of Carole Rae's Random Ramblings


~*~

* I will email winners for mailing address within two weeks.
Winners, feel free to contact me with your info if you don't get my email
or if you are just too darn excited and want to let me know -- like NOW ;-D

* contest policy

* if not this time, maybe next time


Saturday, November 25, 2017

Lovely Books and Things - 11.25.17

Lovely Books and Things
My Weekly Books and Films Update

Linking up with:
Stacking the Shelves (details)
Sunday Post (details)
Mailbox Monday (details)

~*~

This post that covers the last three weeks as I am doing some catchup after returning from vacation last week. Had a lovely time in Singapore and Bali and picked up some books from each for my souvenirs.

Happy things:

1. Turkey time with friends and family
2. Catching up on sleep
3. Sharing stories

~*~

Bought:

Sugarbread
by Balli Kaur Jaswal
-Contemporary Fiction, Singapore
Amazon | Goodreads

GOT this in Singapore which was recommended at BooksActually bookstore.

Beauty Is A Wound
by Eka Kurniawan
-Historical, Magical Realism, Bali
Amazon | Goodreads

GOT this in Ubud, Bali which was recommended at Periplus bookstore.

Bali Undercover
by Malcolm Scott
-Social conditions, Bali
Amazon | Goodreads

GOT this at the Bali airport which was recommended at Periplus bookstore.

Are You Alive?
My Journey of Hope
by Valerie Barlow
-Memoir
courtesy of the author -Thanks!
Amazon | Goodreads

GOT this as a gift after meeting and lunching with Valerie. She's so cool!


For Review:

Have You Met Nora?
by Nicole Blades
-Women's Fiction
courtesy of Wunderkind -Thanks!
Amazon | Goodreads

The Tercentennial Baron
by Will Damron
narrated by Tim Gerard Reynolds
-Fantasy, YA, Scotland
courtesy of Forte Business Consulting -Thanks!
Amazon | Goodreads | Smashwords | Audible


OTHER things (kinda book-related):

Book Blogger Hop
features a book related question
Sponsored by The Coffee Addicted Writer (details)

This week's prompt: What's your immediate feeling when entering a bookstore, as compared to how you feel when entering a department store?
(submitted by Maria @ A Night's Dream of Books)

LOVE looking at every nook and cranny in a bookstore to see what all it there.


AND watched: on DVD

My Cousin Rachel (2017)
Director/Adaptation: Roger Michell
Based on the novel by: Daphne Du Maurier
Stars: Rachel Weisz, Sam Claflin, Holliday Grainger
-Drama, Mystery, Romance | imdb | my rating: 5

A young Englishman plots revenge against his late cousin's mysterious, beautiful wife, believing her responsible for his death. But his feelings become complicated as he finds himself falling under the beguiling spell of her charms.

For Fall Film challenge bonus round: seven. game of thrones. Iain Glen

Loved the time period and setting is presented. I liked how the cousin Rachel kept me off balance. I gotta re-watch this.

Frank (2014)
Director: Lenny Abrahamson
Screenplay: Jon Ronson, Peter Straughan
Based on news article: Jon Ronson
Starring: Domhnall Gleeson, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Michael Fassbender
-Comedy, Drama, Music | imdb | my rating: 4

Jon, a young wanna-be musician, discovers he's bitten off more than he can chew when he joins an eccentric pop band led by the mysterious and enigmatic Frank.

For Fall Film challenge bonus round: twenty. true detective. Travis Hammer

Travis Hammer appears briefly as a tree surgeon. I was not sure what I was getting into with this movie as the big paper-mΓ’chΓ© head gives off a campy vibe. But this was a surprisingly good film. And Michael Fassbender and Maggie Gyllenhaal sing!

American Psycho (2000)
Director/Screenplay: Mary Harron
Screenplay: Guinevere Turner
Based on the novel: Bret Easton Ellis
Starring: Christian Bale, Justin Theroux
-Crime, Drama | imdb | my rating: 5

A wealthy New York investment banking executive, Patrick Bateman, hides his alternate psychopathic ego from his co-workers and friends as he delves deeper into his violent, hedonistic fantasies.

For Fall Film challenge bonus round: thirteen. ally mcbeal. Justin Theroux

Does well in capturing the decadent 80s with a synth and pop soundtrack that buffers the doings of a psycho killer. Ick.

A Knight's Tale (2001)
Director/Writer: Brian Helgeland
Stars: Heath Ledger, Mark Addy, Rufus Sewell
-Action, Adventure, Romance | imdb | my rating: 5

After his master dies, a peasant squire, fueled by his desire for food and glory, creates a new identity for himself as a knight.

For Fall Film challenge bonus round: six. firefly. Alan Tudyk

Renaissance times with a modern beat made this highly entertaining tale.

Drive (2011)
Director: Nicolas Winding Refn
Screenplay: Hossein Amini
Based on book: James Sallis
Stars: Ryan Gosling, Carey Mulligan, Bryan Cranston
-Crime, Drama | imdb | my rating: 5

A mysterious Hollywood stuntman and mechanic moonlights as a getaway driver and finds himself in trouble when he helps out his neighbor.

For Fall Film challenge bonus round: eighteen. rizzoli and isles. Tina Huang

A bit of the gritty side of L.A. that wears you down. Ryan Gosling's character does some fast and fancy driving on L.A. streets - what a concept ;-)


AND watched: on airplane

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)
Director/Writer: James Gunn
Based on comic by: Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning
Starring: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana
-Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi | imdb | my rating: 4

The Guardians must fight to keep their newfound family together as they unravel the mystery of Peter Quill's true parentage.

For Fall Film challenge bonus round: eleven. knight rider. David Hasselhoff.

Fun sequel with more backstory. Kid Groot was adorable.


Baby Driver (2017)
Director/Writer: Edgar Wright
Stars: Ansel Elgort, Jon Bernthal, Jon Hamm
-Action, Crime, Music | imdb | my rating: 4

After being coerced into working for a crime boss, a young getaway driver finds himself taking part in a heist doomed to fail.

For Fall Film challenge bonus round: four. downton abbey. Lily James

In for a sweet ride which includes a blaring soundtrack.

Daddy, You, Daughter, Me (2017)
Director: Hyung Hyup Kim
Stars: Je-Moon Yoon, So-Min Jung, Il-hwa Lee
-Comedy, Drama, Family, South Korea | imdb | my rating: 5

In this the daughter used to spend time with her father when she was a child but when she grew up her relation with his father became weak ...suddenly a new twist came in their life which caused them to understand each other again...with this new twist many things happen...

CUTE freaky friday-like family comedy.

Part-time Spy (2017)
Director/Writer: Deok-Soo Kim
Stars: Ye-won Kang, Chae-Ah Han
-Action, Comedy, South Korea | imdb | my rating: 5

Jang Young-Sil (Kang Ye-Won) barely lands a job at the NSA (National Security Agency). She is hired as a contract worker to write positive comments for the NSA. Na Jung-An (Han Chae-Ah) is a detective who often uses foul language. They carry out an infiltration operation to recover money that was stolen from her boss in a voice phishing scheme.

COOL look into the work situation for women in South Korea.

~*~

* comment and TELL me what you have acquired for your shelves recently

:-)
 
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