Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Armchair Book Expo Day #1: Introductions

Good Morning fellow Armchair BookExpo friends.

This is Elizabeth from Silver's Reviews.  I have been blogging since 2010, and have gone to the BEA in New York four times.  

I just wasn't up to going this year, but am excited to participate in the Armchair BookExpo fun again this year. I enjoyed last year's Armchair BookExpo. I didn't go to Chicago last year.

I like to go to the BEA in New York because my son lives in Hoboken, New Jersey, which is right across the Hudson from the Javits and I get to visit him and also have fun at the BEA.  :)

My favorite genres to read are historical fiction, mystery, and women's fiction.  I have been reading some amazing women's fiction this year.  Please check them out in the archives if you like.

My least favorite genre and one that I don't read is sci-fi or fantasy.

I hope I can get to visit everyone's blog and participate at least a little.  I am out of town.  

Here's to a fun, eventful Armchair BookExpo and to making new blogging friends.

Have a wonderful week!!

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Giveaway and Spotlight of Touch by Courtney Maum

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Sloane Jacobsen is a leading trend forecaster. Fashion, lifestyle, tech, and other global companies pay to hear her opinions on the future of everything from clothes to gadgets, food and families. But not far into her current contract with the tech-giant Mammoth, she finds herself wanting to overturn her own predications. Sloane begins to sense a growing movement against electronics that will see people embracing compassion, empathy, and "in-personism" again. While hopelessly out of sync with her employer's mission (and her partner’s opinion), Sloane becomes convinced that her instincts are the right ones, and goes on a quest to bring humanism and compassion to others, while finally allowing the love and connectedness she's long been denying herself. TOUCH is a poignant reminder to keep our heads up and our hearts open in our modern lives – and is a thoughtful, of-the-moment exploration of real-life concerns that explores prescient issues of technology, family, and artificial intelligence with Courtney Maum’s signature biting wit and keen eye.

Courtney Maum is the author of the novel I Am Having So Much Fun Here Without You and the chapbook “Notes from Mexico.” Her short fiction, book reviews, and essays on the writing life have been widely published in outlets such as The New York Times, Tin House, Electric Literature, and Buzzfeed, and she has co-written films that have debuted at Sundance and won awards at Cannes. At various points in her life, she has been a trend forecaster, a fashion publicist, and a party promoter for Corona Extra. She currently works as a product namer for M·A·C cosmetics from her home in Litchfield County, CT.
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"Sweet and funny. . . A sharp yet feeling satire, Touch bristles with insights into the longing for warm, messy, inefficient, and imperfect human life buried in our increasingly streamlined, disembodied now."Interview

"A satirical but sincere look at our thirst for 'in-personism.”—Departures

”[A] trenchant satirical novel . . . Maum has such an incisive grasp of where tech and culture meet that she could add sociologist to her resume . . . A perceptive, thought-provoking read.”
Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

“With a weirdly nurturing driverless car, a family emergency, a sexy art director, and wrenching and hilarious confrontations and meltdowns, Maum’s incisive, charming, and funny novel ebulliently champions the healing powers of touch, the living world, and love in all its crazy risks, surprises, and sustaining radiance.” Booklist, Starred Review

"Maum perfectly captures the zeitgeist of our era as technology battles with humanity. Her thought-provoking, humorous book will inspire readers to forgo the electronics and get back to basics as simple as human touch."—Library Journal

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Drawing on her own professional experience as a trend forecaster and product namer for M·A·C cosmetics, Courtney Maum (I Am Having So Much Fun Here Without You) brings enormous authenticity, humor, and timeliness to her story, examining the salient issues of technology, family, and artificial intelligence in a sophisticated and entertaining way. Among the most pressing questions Maum raises is: Can our humanity save our inhumanity? The idea that personal electronics have allowed us to distance ourselves from what matters most—our relationships with our families, friends, co-workers, neighbors, and fellow human beings—is now widespread. But how do we break the electronic chains that have come to shackle us? More importantly, why should we want to? Displaying the same blend of wit, compassion, and sincerity that won Maum’s debut novel so many fans, TOUCH will only enhance her growing reputation as a radiant new literary voice—a natural storyteller with a distinctive perspective and a hilariously keen eye for social observation.

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Courtney maum on tour for touch

Washington, DC – East City Bookshop, in-conversation with Jennifer Close, author of The HopefulsTuesday, 5/30 at 6:30 PM

Houston, TX – Brazos Bookstore, in-conversation with Alyson Ward, Books Editor at The Houston ChronicleWednesday, 5/31 at 7 PM

Wichita, KS – Watermark Books & Cafe – Thursday, 6/1 at 6 PM

Saint Paul, MN – SubText Books – Friday, 6/2 at 7 PM

Corte Madera, CA – Book Passage –Saturday, 6/3 at 7:00 PM

Oakland, CA – DIESEL, A Bookstore – Sunday, 6/4 at 3 PM

Seattle, WA – Elliott Bay Book Company – Monday, 6/5 at 12:00 PM

Portland, OR – Powell’s City of Books, in-conversation with Samantha Hess, professional cuddler – Monday, 6/5 at 7:30 PM

Ann Arbor, MI – Literati Bookstore, in-conversation with Callie Collins, Co-Director of A Strange Object independent press – Tuesday, 6/6 at 7:00 PM

New York, NY – Summer Reads Panel at the Bryant Park Reading Room – Wednesday, 6/7 at 12:30 PM

Brooklyn, NY – WORD at Villain, panel discussion Wednesday, 6/7 at 7:00 PM

Madison, CT – R.J. Julia Booksellers, joint event with Julia Fierro, author of The Gypsy Moth SummerThursday, 6/8 at 7:00 PM

Chattanooga, TN – Starline Books – Friday, 6/9 at 6:00 PM

Norfolk, CT – The Norfolk Library with Oblong Books, in-conversation with Jane Larkworthy, beauty expert – Sunday, 6/18 at 2:00 PM

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**Partnering with Putnam Books to give away a copy of TOUCH**


May 23 to May 30

Enter Here 

Monday, May 22, 2017

Off The Topic of Books - Delicious Rolls

I made these delicious rolls today.  

Oh my...they are soft with a bit of a crusty top.

I just wish I could figure out how to get them to turn out this way all the time.

I actually think it depends on the weather.

I ate one hot out of the oven with butter.  YUM.

Inline image 1

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Before the Rain Falls by Camille Di Maio

As Della was released from prison after her life sentence and returning to Puerto Pesar, The Port of Regret, she wondered if she would regret going back since her life had definitely been a regret for more than one reason.

Della had been found guilty of murdering her sister Eula.  The trial and the story became well known, and portraits of both Della and her sister became famous. Eula's portrait, the Santa Bonita, was most talked about and rumored to have actual tears falling from her eyes.  Della should have been the one with tears for having to spend her life in prison only four hours after she had married Tomas.

We move to another family in town that also had two sisters and a grandmother that raised them. They were sisters, Paloma and Mercedes, who knew the story of Della and Eula.  Paloma went to New York to become a doctor and has returned for a month to take care of her grandmother who had a heart attack.  The younger sister, Mercedes, was trouble from the beginning and still was but Paloma was trying to reconnect and help Mercedes.

Another person who knew the story of the murder, Della's prison term, and the crying portrait was, Mick, a reporter from New York looking for a story to boost his career.  When all three of these characters meet, an intriguing story is created that you won't want to put down.

BEFORE THE RAIN FALLS has a mesmerizing cover and a mesmerizing story line.  The characters are very easy to connect with and love.  We follow the story and the characters as the author takes us back and forth between what Della's life was like before and during her prison term, when she returns home, and her interaction with the town and its residents.  All characters are connected to Della's story in one way or another.

BEFORE THE RAIN FALLS had me completely absorbed.  Ms. Di Maio has a writing style that just pulls you in, allows you to meet characters you will fall in love with, and meet characters you would want to have in your life.

BEFORE THE RAIN FALLS has love, family, tears, heartbreak, and yearning, but ultimately gives you a warm feeling inside.
BEFORE THE RAIN FALLS has a beautiful cover, a beautiful story line, and beautiful, heartfelt characters.

Do NOT miss reading BEFORE THE RAIN FALLS.  

It is a perfect book for women's fiction fans and makes you feel the need to hug all your women friends and family.  5/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by NetGalley in return for an honest review.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Not A Sound by Heather Gudenkauf

As if losing your hearing because of a hit-and-run driver wasn't enough trauma, Amelia and her service dog, Stitch, found a dead body of a fellow nurse on the beach. 

In addition to losing her hearing and her job as a trauma nurse, Amelia's depression and drinking also caused the failure of her marriage and her income. She desperately needed a job and needed to get back into society because she was still living on her savings after two years and was lonely.

We follow Amelia through her days and nights and her fear about the killer knowing she was the one who found the body, her fear about little things happening while she is away from home, her fear about public interaction, and her continued fear of living in her silent world with people who have the ability to hear even though she can sign and read lips.

We also follow the police investigation with Jake, the head detective, and his protectiveness of Amelia.  Is he only being overly protective because he is Ameilia's brother's best friend or for some other reason.  Is he also being overprotective when she does investigating herself because she is putting herself in danger by "snooping ?"

Ms. Gudenkauf puts you into Amelia's life and has you wondering what it would be like to be deaf as you empathize with Amelia. Ms. Gudenkauf’s research must have been extensive to make the reader completely feel and experience what Amelia was experiencing as she dealt with the everyday trials of her hearing loss and trying to find out who the murderer was.

The suspense in NOT A SOUND picked up at every turn of the page, and I had a few suspects in mind.  Ms. Gudenkauf's writing style pulls you in and keeps you interested and wondering what secrets some of the characters are keeping. 

If you enjoy suspense at its best, you won't want to miss NOT A SOUND.  I couldn't stop reading.  5/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Rise & Shine Benedict Stone by Phaedra Patrick

A knock on the door in the middle of the night could only mean one thing, right?  Bad news.

If it were Estelle, though, it would be good news so Benedict decided to answer the knock.

Much to his surprise, it wasn't Estelle, but Gemma who announced that she was his niece from America and she had lost her purse, her passport, and her phone.  She wanted to stay with Uncle Ben.  What else could he say but yes?

Gemma was a bit on the troublesome side, but she also was good for Benedict since the house was pretty lonely after Estelle left.

Gemma was the one who was helping Benedict change even though Gemma was pretty closed mouth about why she appeared on his doorstep and didn't want to call her father to let him know where she was.

Benedict was sweet but naive and had a heart of gold.  He and Gemma grew together, and Gemma helped Benedict in his jewelry shop - a shop Gemma said needed some new ideas and changes just like Benedict did.

Gemma also was playing matchmaker as she helped her Uncle Ben get his wife back.

I thoroughly enjoyed Benedict and felt sorry for him as he worked through living without his wife.  His jewelry shop and their love just hadn't been enough for them after they were unable to have children after eight years.

RISE & SHINE, BENEDICT STONE was a heartwarming read about family, about trying new things, and about trying to get what you need in life.

If you need an uplifting read for any reason, RISE & SHINE, BENEDICT STONE fits the bill.  It brings back memories and thoughts of the precious things we all have in our lives and truly need to focus on.

ENJOY!!  5/5

This book was give to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

The Book of Summer by Michelle Gable

A summer home filled with years of memories, a book filled with years of written memories, and a home that is eroding away and about to fall off the cliff.

The Cliff House, appropriately named, has been the summer home on Nantucket for the Young/Packard/Codman family for over one hundred years.  The women maintained the house, but now only Cissy is left, and she doesn't want to give up and face the reality that the house will be falling into the ocean before too long.

To help her mother come to the realization that she cannot continue to live in the summer home, Bess comes back home after four years.  The memories are pretty strong for Bess and even more so when she finds the book containing the thoughts of the guests and family members who stayed there, but she can't convince her mother to leave.

THE BOOK OF SUMMER follows the family from 1939 to present day with flashbacks from entries in the memory book kept at the house.  I actually enjoyed the present-day story more than the past.

THE BOOK OF SUMMER is a pleasurable read and a book I enjoyed because of the family drama, its secrets, and the characters.  The characters are comical and lovable as well as stubborn.  The reader gets to meet each generation of the women who kept the house going.

THE BOOK OF SUMMER was a bit confusing at first and didn't grab me right away like her other two books, but it definitely grabs your attention as you meet the characters and learn more about the history of Cliff HouseThat gorgeous cover draws you in as well. 

THE BOOK OF SUMMER is delightful, thoughtful, and a book about families that has you focusing on your family history. 

ENJOY when you read THE BOOK OF SUMMER. 4/ 5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Giveaway and Spotlight of All The Best People by Sonja Yoerg

Join me in welcoming Sonja Yoerg!!

All information below is courtesy of Danielle Dill and Penguin Random House

An intricately crafted story of madness, magic and misfortune across three generations from the author of The Middle of Somewhere and House Broken... 

Vermont, 1972. Carole LaPorte has a satisfying, ordinary life. She cares for her children, balances the books for the family’s auto shop and laughs when her husband slow dances her across the kitchen floor. Her tragic childhood might have happened to someone else.

But now her mind is playing tricks on her. The accounts won’t reconcile and the murmuring she hears isn’t the television. She ought to seek help, but she’s terrified of being locked away in a mental hospital like her mother, Solange. So Carole hides her symptoms, withdraws from her family and unwittingly sets her eleven-year-old daughter Alison on a desperate search for meaning and power: in Tarot cards, in omens from a nearby river and in a mysterious blue glass box belonging to her grandmother.
An exploration of the power of courage and love to overcome a damning legacy, All the Best People celebrates the search for identity and grace in the most ordinary lives.

Over the last few years, Sonja Yoerg’s name has become synonymous with quiet family drama that spans generations.  With her debut House Broken, Yoerg studied the emotional effects of an alcoholic mother and family secrets. Last September, Yoerg explored a troubled, young widow who hiked the wilderness to elude her shameful past in The Middle of Somewhere. Now, in her upcoming novel. Yoerg examines three women’s search for identity and the power of family legacies.

A haunting exploration of courage and love to overcome a shameful legacy, ALL THE BEST PEOPLE celebrates the search for identity and grace in the most ordinary lives.

Sonja Yoerg has been hailed as “on par with established women’s fiction authors such as Jennifer Weiner and Sarah Pekkanen” (Library Journal) and ALL THE BEST PEOPLE only builds on that reputation. 


May 4 - May 11

Enter Here 

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

I Found You by Lisa Jewell

What happens when there is a single woman with three children, a man who doesn't know who he is, a newly married woman who just moved to town, and a family who might have a connection to them at some point?

Alice, Lily, and "Frank" are connected but don't know they are.

Alice invited "Frank" inside her home when she saw him sitting on the beach.

Lily's husband has disappeared and has no clue what happened to him or if she even knows who he is.

"Frank" doesn't know who he is.

I FOUND YOU has odd, dysfunctional, and mentally ill characters but flows well and has a story line that grabs you.  I liked the back and forth in time and the back and forth between the three main characters. 

As you read you know something is wrong all around. Someone just doesn't disappear, end up back where they may have been as a child, or be in some place a crime had taken place.

Ms. Jewell weaved in a great deal of suspense, intrigue, edge-of-your-seat tension, and a whole lot of I don't want to stop reading in I FOUND YOU even though some chapters were literally frightening and became more frightening as the book continued.

The secret of it all led to an ending with a marvelous twist and surprise.  5/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

The Baker's Secret by Stephen P. Kiernan

THE BAKER’S SECRET takes us to a small village in Normandy during WWII.   We follow Emma, her family, and the village as they live under the restraints of German occupation.  The village citizens work together to stay alive and to help each other.

Emma is a very strong female character that you can't help but sympathize with and fall in love with.  She is someone you would love to have had in your village during WWII.

Emma's strength and subtle resistance to the Germans was amazing.  Emma knew how to be subversive and still stay alive.
Emma's role in helping to save the residents of her town was to follow the Kommandant's order to bake bread for him and his men every day.  

Emma had a secret about baking this bread.  She would sneak in two extra loaves to share with the townspeople by stretching the number of required loaves by two.

THE BAKER'S SECRET shows the unity the Europeans had to have in order to survive.

The characters were authentic, and you will become immersed in their lives and suffer with them as well as silently cheer with them when the courage they share turns into a triumph.

I thoroughly enjoyed THE BAKER'S SECRET.  The writing is marvelous and detailed.  The book is one you won't want to put down. 

If you read only one book this year, make it THE BAKER'S SECRET.   

THE BAKER'S SECRET is a wonderful testimony and tribute to the people who lived through and survived WWII.  5/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.