Sunday, June 30, 2019

Books Read in June

Time to wrap up another reading month!!

Did June fly by or what?

All book are reviewed already except for PRETTY REVENGE, LAYOVER, and STRANGER ON THE BEACH. 

They will be reviewed in July.

Let me know what books you read in June.

Saturday, June 29, 2019

Favorite June Reads

Each one of these books had a reason for being a favorite. 

They all have been reviewed in June except for PRETTY REVENGE - coming up on July 2 and STRANGER ON THE BEACH - coming up on July 23.

Have you read any of these favorites of mine?  😎

Friday, June 28, 2019

Spotlight and Giveaway of The Last Collection by Jeanne Mackin

Penguin Random House is Celebrating:


With a USA Giveaway!!
Information in this post is courtesy of Lauren Burnstein and Lauren Horvath of Penguin Random House.
Everyone knows Coco Chanel.  

But before she became a household name, she was one of two designers in 1930s Paris competing for top status. 

Her rival? The wild, colorful, and imaginative Elsa Schiaparelli. 

And while much has been written about Chanel, little has been about Schiaparelli—until now.

Only true fashionistas know Elsa Schiaparelli.

For the first time, the real-life rivalry between these design icons—and their battle for the soul of Parisian fashion—is brought to life in a 1930s-set historical novel.


Berkley Hardcover │June 25, 2019 │ 9781101990544 │$26.00

“Iconic female feuds make for some juicy stories, and the high-stakes world of the fashion industry will lay the foundation for some seriously interesting conversation.”—Bustle

“[L]ooks to be the perfect mix of fiction, fact, and fashion.”—Library Journal

“The book is an in-depth tale of an enchanting, dangerous and fascinating time period in Paris. Mackin’s attention to detail and lyrical prose bring Chanel and Schiaparelli to life in a gorgeous and riveting manner.”—

“Fashion lovers will enjoy descriptions of the design of clothing and accessories and the machinations of running fashion houses before World War II.”—Kirkus Reviews

A new work of historical fiction explores their legendary, stranger-than-fiction rivalry for the first time in depth. 
THE LAST COLLECTION by Jeanne Mackin (Berkley Hardcover; June 25, 2019) captures “Schiap” and Coco’s battle to dress the gorgeous, well-heeled Parisian women—the influencers of their day—and to define what high fashion should look like, even as France sits poised for war.
Set in 1938, THE LAST COLLECTION captures Paris between the wars: a brief golden spell of freedom, risk-taking, and wild delight. 
And while the designers’ rivalry was rooted in business, it was inflamed by political tensions of the time: as France stood on the brink of war, Parisians
looked with unease at the German soldiers in their midst, and the dark, troubled times that loomed.
The dramatic competition between Chanel and Schiap is told from the perspective of an American who befriends both women. When Lily Cooper, a young widow and artist living in England, is invited to Paris by her adored younger brother, Charlie, she goes. And stays. There she meets Ania, Charlie’s girlfriend, and one of the most beautiful, prominent women in Paris.
Through Ania, Lily befriends both queens of Paris fashion, and becomes a front-and-center witness to their battles. And all the while France stands on the precipice but not yet openly at war with Germany.
THE LAST COLLECTION is steeped in historical research, with revelatory gems about both women. Among the most memorable true stories is a costume ball where Chanel lights Schiapon fire by dancing her into a flaming candelabrum. 
Mackin also exposes a darker, little-known side of history: Chanel’s rumored affair with a Nazi intelligence officer and her alleged collaboration with the Germans.
Both Chanel and Schiaparelli left behind an incredible legacy that lives on in their fashion houses. 
THE LAST COLLECTION is a stunning tribute to not just these two women, but fashion as an intimate expression of art and politics—and the resilience of style in times of both hardship and resistance.

Photo Credit:  Neil Sjoblom 2018 

Jeanne Mackin is the author of several historical novels, including The Beautiful American.

She taught creative writing at Goddard College and has given numerous workshops. She lives
with her husband in upstate New York.

Diana Franco, Associate Director.; 212-366-2745

Lauren Burnstein, Publicity Manager.; 212-366-2423

I am partnering with Lauren Burnstein and Lauren Horvath of Penguin Random House for this giveaway.


June 28 - July 5
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Friendly Fill-Ins - 6/28/2019

1. Summer is a good time to _____.

2. The most recent __ that I ___ was ____. 
3. I thought I would grow out of __, but I haven't.

4. I feel annoyed when people ask me ___.


1.  Summer is a good time to sit on the back porch and relax.

2.  The most recent book that I read was THE ORPHAN'S SONG by Lauren Kate.

3.  I thought I would grow out of "NOT SURE" because I still like everything I have liked for years. 

4.  I feel annoyed when people ask me to remind them about something when they can very well remind themselves.  :)

Thursday, June 27, 2019

The Summer Cottage by Viola Shipman

Her family's cottage about to be sold?  

Adie Lou couldn’t do it...The Summer Cottage had too many memories.

Instead of selling the cottage, Adie Lou decided to turn it into a bed and breakfast and a retreat for women. 

We follow Adie Lou as she moves through getting a divorce, struggling with her decision to keep the cottage, having the cottage updated and made into what she wanted, and hoping she can make ends meet.

THE SUMMER COTTAGE had me in tears at times because of the sad but mostly the happy things.

Each section of the book was titled as one of the positive rules of the cottage.  

They were rules that we all should incorporate into our daily lives especially #1 Leave Your Troubles at The Door.

Viola Shipman has created another beautiful story about family, friendships, and what is important in life.  I fell in love with Adie Lou, the cottage, Michigan, and the story line, and I think anyone who reads this book will too.

Viola Shipman writes so beautifully, with such warmth, and in such detail that you'll clearly see the cottage, the cottage's history, the characters, and even feel the frigid Michigan temperatures.

The writing and story line made me want to jump into the pages and to be at the cottage so I could be part of the love and warmth the characters had for each other, the cozy feel of the small town, and the love Adie Lou had for THE SUMMER COTTAGE.

If you need a positive, uplifting read, THE SUMMER COTTAGE should be your next read.  

It is a huge, emotional hug....LOVED, LOVED, LOVED this book. 5/5

This book was given to me as an ARC by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

The Orphan's Song by Lauren Kate

Abandoned by her mother at two days old and seeing another mother abandon her child at the orphanage turned Violetta off from ever wanting to be a wife or a mother.

When Violetta meets Mino from the boys’ side of the orphanage, it is instant attraction, but he wants what she won’t give him - a promise to be his wife and mother of his children which would be a way out of the orphanage, but she can't do it. 

The Incurables is an orphanage that stresses music.  Violetta works hard at her singing, but it isn’t what she really wants.

What she really wants is to know who her mother is, to find Mino’s mother, to be able to love Mino, and to be part of the coro that sings behind panels at The Incurables.

We follow Mino and Violetta in their separate lives and both wishing they were together. You will feel their pain and sorrow and wonder how it will turn out for them.

Ms. Kate’s writing style is smooth and inviting.  I was immediately pulled into the book because of the story line and the characters. You could feel yourself with characters as they went to many a masked party in Venice and then spent their isolated days.

THE ORPHAN'S SONG is a mesmerizing read that takes us into the streets of Venice and into its churches during the 1700's as we experience the mystery and the beauty of the music and its captivating hold on those who hear the violins playing and the singing of the girls in the coro.

If you enjoy books set in Venice, books set in the 1700's, lovers longing for each other, music, a family saga, secrets, and a beautiful, well-researched story line, you will want to add THE ORPHAN'S SONG to your reading list.

THE ORPHAN'S SONG is a heartfelt read that will leave you longing for more and wanting to visit Venice for its beauty, its history, and its people.  5/5

This book was given to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Dear Wife by Kimberly Belle

​Two women - one running from an abusive relationship and with escape plans that were in the making for a while and the other we are unclear about.

Sabine never made it to her house showing and Beth is the one we aren't sure about.

We have no background information on Beth, but Sabine has a twin sister, a husband, and a lover.

Do both women have similar situations and travel plans or just plans to leave and get away no matter where they go?  Or do both women have no connection?

We then are introduced to a detective, Marcus, who is relentless in his investigation.  You will wonder what his deal is.

Each chapter is titled with either Beth, Jeffrey, or Marcus and describes their thoughts, their actions, and what is going on with them during the investigation and disappearance.  It is puzzling why Sabine doesn't have her own chapter heading.

Ms. Belle expertly gives the reader tidbits of information and makes us "think" we are solving the mystery, but you will need to be an outstanding detective to figure it out. 

DEAR WIFE is a bit confusing at first and does include domestic abuse, but the story line will keep you curiously turning the pages until the chilling ending.

ENJOY if you read DEAR WIFE, and let everyone know if you were an amazing detective. 4/5

This book was given to me as an ARC by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Sunday, June 23, 2019


Three amazing books reviewed and a giveaway this week. 

Hope you can stop by.

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Spotlight and Giveaway of The Summer Guests by Mary Alice Monroe

Simon & Schuster is Celebrating The Release of:


With a USA Giveaway!!
All information in this post is courtesy of Michelle Podberezniak of Simon & Schuster.
From the New York Times bestselling author of the Beach House series comes a heartwarming and evocative novel about the bonds and new beginnings that are born from natural disasters and how, even during the worst of circumstances—or perhaps because of them—we discover what is most important in life.

“Following the dramatic arc of the hurricane’s progress, from buildup to landfall to dispersal, The Summer Guests escalates to a satisfying resolution. Loyal readers will recognize Monroe’s signature love of animals, while fans of Elin Hilderbrand and Wendy Wax will enjoy the picturesque setting and heartwarmingly intertwined character arcs.”

– Booklist 

"Authentic, generous, and heartfelt!"
 – New York Times bestselling author Mary Kay Andrews 

"Mary Alice Monroe writes gorgeously, with authority and tenderness, about the natural world and its power to inspire, transport, and to heal."

– #1 New York Times bestselling author Susan Wiggs

The Summer Guests in an intimate and wise novel about what matters most in our lives. Mary Alice Monroe writes with great wit and wisdom about what happens when both human nature and the natural world collide. A fierce hurricane bears down on the southeastern coast sending five people evacuating to one friend’s farm in the North Carolina mountains. As the storm gathers force so do the emotions, confrontations and decisions of the summer guests. In the end, they will each leave as altered as the coast they escaped. Mary Alice Monroe writes a story that will make you both feel and understand—a rare combination. Transformational and poignant, this page-turner is your summer’s must-read!”

– Patti Callahan Henry, New York Times bestselling author of Becoming Mrs. Lewis 

A "favorite beach read of 2019"
– Southern Living Magazine

Late August is a beautiful time on the Southern coast—the peach trees are ripe, the ocean is warm, and the sweet tea is icy. 

A perfect time to enjoy the rocking chairs on the porch. But beneath the calm surface bubbles a threat: it’s also peak hurricane season.

When a hurricane threatens the coasts of Florida and South Carolina, an eclectic group of evacuees flees for the farm of their friends Grace and Charles Phillips in North Carolina: the Phillips’s daughter Moira and her rescue dogs, famed equestrian Javier Angel de la Cruz, makeup artist Hannah McLain, horse breeder Gerda Klug and her daughter Elise, and island resident Cara Rutledge. 

They bring with them only the few treasured possessions they can fit in their vehicles. Strangers to all but the Phillips, they must ride out the storm together.

During the course of one of the most challenging weeks of their lives, relationships are put to the test as the evacuees are forced to confront the unresolved issues they have with themselves and with each other. 

But as the storm passes, they realize that what really matters isn’t what they brought with them to the mountains. Rather, it’s what they’ll take with them once they leave.

With Mary Alice Monroe’s “usual resplendent storytelling” (Patti Callahan Henry, New York Times bestselling author), The Summer Guests is a poignant and compelling story of self-discovery, love, and redemption.

Purchase Link Here.

 Photo Credit: Mic Smith Photography 

Mary Alice Monroe is the New York Times bestselling author of more than twenty books, including the Beach House series: The Beach House, Beach House Memories, Swimming Lessons, Beach House for Rent, and Beach House Reunion. 

She is a 2018 Inductee into the South Carolina Academy of Authors’ Hall of Fame, and her books have received numerous awards, including the 2008 South Carolina Center for the Book Award for Writing, the 2014 South Carolina Award for Literary Excellence, the 2015 SW Florida Author of Distinction Award, the RT Lifetime Achievement Award, the International Book Award for Green Fiction, and the 2017 Southern Book Prize for Fiction. 

Her bestselling novel The Beach House is also a Hallmark Hall of Fame movie. 

An active conservationist, she lives in the lowcountry of South Carolina. 

Visit her at and at

I am partnering with Michelle Podberezniak OF SIMON & SCHUSTER FOR THIS GIVEAWAY.


June 22 - 29
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Friday, June 21, 2019

Books by Susan Crawford

Both of Susan Crawford’s books were very good.

Have you read either or both?

Links to my reviews are below:

The Other Widow

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Spotlight and Giveaway of Mistress of the Ritz by Melanie Benjamin



With a USA Giveaway!!
All information in this post is courtesy of Ariel McCarter of Wunderkind PR.
This year, Melanie Benjamin has been on fire with not one release, but two new books: her provocative The Girls in the Picture, and MISTRESS OF THE RITZ, a fascinating look at a little-known historical figure and her courageous fight against Nazi occupation in Paris. 

WWII fiction is on the rise this year, and for good reason: this summer is the 75th anniversary of D-Day, and New York Times bestselling author Melanie Benjamin’s latest offers a particularly fresh take on the genre. 

MISTRESS OF THE RITZ (Delacorte Press; May 21, 2019; Hardcover; ISBN: 978-0399182242; 384 pages; $28.00) 

Check out this behind-the-scenes research on the Ritz as well! 

“This impeccably researched, lyrically told historical about a brash American woman and her French husband during WWII is a remarkable achievement...Even readers who aren’t big fans of historical fiction might be swayed by this outstanding tale.”
—Publishers Weekly, STARRED review


A captivating novel based on the story of the extraordinary real-life American woman who secretly worked for the French Resistance during World War II—while playing hostess to the invading Germans at the iconic Hôtel Ritz in Paris—from the New York Times bestselling author of The Aviator's Wife and The Swans of Fifth Avenue. Nothing bad can happen at the Ritz; inside its gilded walls every woman looks beautiful, every man appears witty. Favored guests like Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Coco Chanel, and the Duke and Duchess of Windsor walk through its famous doors to be welcomed and pampered by Blanche Auzello and her husband, Claude, the hotel’s director. 

The Auzellos are the mistress and master of the Ritz, allowing the glamour and glitz to take their minds off their troubled marriage, and off the secrets that they keep from their guests—and each other. Until June 1940, when the German army sweeps into Paris, setting up headquarters at the Ritz. Suddenly, with the likes of Hermann Goëring moving into suites once occupied by royalty, Blanche and Claude must navigate a terrifying new reality. 

One that entails even more secrets. One that may destroy the tempestuous marriage between this beautiful, reckless American and her very proper Frenchman. For the falsehoods they tell to survive, and to strike a blow against their Nazi “guests,” spin a web of deceit that ensnares everything and everyone they cherish. But one secret is shared between Blanche and Claude alone—the secret that, in the end, threatens to imperil both of their lives, and to bring down the legendary Ritz itself. 

Based on true events, Mistress of the Ritz is a taut tale of suspense wrapped up in a love story for the ages, the inspiring story of a woman and a man who discover the best in each other amid the turbulence of war.

 Photo Credit: Deborah Feingold
Melanie Benjamin is the author of the New York Times and USA Today bestselling historical novels The Swans of Fifth Avenue, about Truman Capote and his society swans, and The Aviator's Wife, a novel about Anne Morrow Lindbergh. Her historical novel, The Girls in the Picture, is about the friendship and creative partnership between two of Hollywood's earliest female legends—screenwriter Frances Marion and superstar Mary Pickford. 

Her latest novel, Mistress of the Ritz, is a love story set in Nazi-occupied France about two key figures of the French Resistance. Her previous novels include Alice I Have Been and The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb. Her novels have been translated in over fifteen languages, featured in national magazines such as Good Housekeeping, People, and Entertainment Weekly, and optioned for film. She lives in Chicago with her husband, near her two adult sons.

I am partnering with Ariel McCarter of Wunderkind PR.


June 20 - 27
Enter here