The Swap {Robyn Harding}: Guest Book Blogger Review, My Review, Author Interview with Robyn, AND GIVEAWAY (2 Signed Copies)!

Oh I am SO excited to bring you this post today!  A collaborative post with blogger Melissa Amster from Chick Lit Central with her book review, MY book review, an interview with Robyn Harding, AND A GIVEAWAY (2 signed copies!) all surrounding Robyn’s newest book, The Swap!  This post is already one of my favorites and it was such fun working with these ladies during the process.

Melissa Amster’s book blog was one of the first that I ever read and it’s wonderful.  If you don’t already follow Chick Lit Central, take some time to check it out!  You’ll love it like I do.  Melissa has been one of my biggest supporters throughout my blogging journey and I’ll never be able to appropriately thank her for all of her support and advice along the way.  She’s so awesome!  When she asked if I would be interested in doing a collaborative blog post to review Robyn Harding’s newest book, I JUMPED at the chance!  Amazing!

I have been a huge Robyn Harding fan for years.  Her books are AWESOME.  Working with her on this post was the first time she and I have communicated and I’m so happy to report that she’s just as lovely and kind as I was hoping she would be!  So nice corresponding with you, Robyn!

Goodreads Synopsis of The Swap {Robyn Harding}:

“No list of thrillers is complete without Robyn Harding,” proclaims Real Simple. Now the USA TODAY bestselling author of The Party delivers a riveting tale about the toxic relationship between two couples after a night of sexual shenanigans, and the manipulative teenager with an explosive secret at the center of it all.

Low Morrison is not your average teen. You could blame her hippie parents or her looming height or her dreary, isolated hometown on an island in the Pacific Northwest. But whatever the reason, Low just doesn’t fit in—and neither does Freya, an ethereal beauty and once-famous social media influencer who now owns the local pottery studio.

After signing up for a class, Low quickly falls under Freya’s spell. And Freya, buoyed by Low’s adoration, is compelled to share her darkest secrets and deepest desires. Finally, both feel a sense of belonging…that is, until Jamie walks through the studio door. Desperate for a baby, she and her husband have moved to the island hoping that the healthy environment will result in a pregnancy. Freya and Jamie become fast friends, as do their husbands, leaving Low alone once again.

Then one night, after a boozy dinner party, Freya suggests swapping partners. It should have been a harmless fling between consenting adults, one night of debauchery that they would put behind them, but instead, it upends their lives. And provides Low the perfect opportunity to unleash her growing resentment.

Robyn Harding brings her acclaimed storytelling, lauded as “fast-paced, thrilling, gut-wrenching” by Taylor Jenkins Reid, New York Times bestselling author of Daisy Jones & The Six, to this dark and suspenseful thriller for fans of Megan Miranda and Lisa Jewell.

My Review of The Swap {Robyn Harding}:

(Disclaimer: I will never post spoilers in my reviews HOWEVER the comment section is completely fair game to discuss any and all specifics including spoilers)

So I’ll just come out and say it: I was so incredibly nervous to read this book.  I had already been in discussions with Melissa Amster AND with Robyn Harding as to how we were going to collaborate on this post.  What if I hated the book???  If you are a regular blog reader, you know that I always share my true feelings on books, both positive and negative.  I was so nervous to read this book and have to write this post.  If I hated the book, how awful would it be to have to write my negative review on a collaborative post with A) A book blogger whom I very much admire and B) THE AUTHOR OF THE BOOK.  Scary.  However, my readers are always #1 to me and being honest with my thoughts remains my top priority.  The reason that I have such loyal followers is because my readers trust that I’ll always be honest with my thoughts.  I hear that from my blog readers ALL THE TIME.

So…I opened the book, holding my breath as I read page 1.

And I very quickly released my breath.  From the very first sentence I. WAS. HOOKED.  Oh how I LOVED this book (thank God)!  I read the whole book over 2 days, I truly couldn’t put it down.  Hands down my favorite Robyn Harding book that I’ve read (my review of another of her great ones can be found HERE).  I can very honestly say with 100 percent certainty that I LOVED this book.  PHEW.

This book is GREAT!  It is scandalous and juicy and messed up and AWESOME.  Not only is it one of my favorite books that I’ve read during the quarantine, but it’s absolutely one of my favorite books that I’ve read so far in 2020.  These characters felt REAL and their stories interlaced with one another so perfectly.  The result?  One twisted, dysfunctional, and AMAZING psychological thriller.  I haven’t stopped thinking of these characters or their messed up story lines since I finished reading.  AWESEOME.

The writing is fantastic, the characters are interesting, the story lines are TWISTED…a perfect psychological thriller.  I love this genre so much and this book is a perfect example as to why!

I very truly highly recommend this awesome book.  THANK GOD.  How awkward would this post have been if I hated it???  Phew…

Chick Lit Central’s Melissa Amster’s review of The Swap {Robyn Harding}:

I’ve been a fan of Robyn Harding’s thrillers ever since picking up The Party a few years ago. I especially loved The Arrangement last year, so I was thrilled to get my hands on an advanced copy of The Swap, courtesy of Gallery Books. I was sucked in the moment I started reading it and I couldn’t get enough of it.

This novel was really good throughout. I had a hard time putting it down and Robyn kept me guessing the entire way through. I don’t want to say a lot as to not spoil it, but it was very twisty and messed with my head. I wish we had Freya’s perspective, but I get why it wasn’t included. I enjoyed the balance between Jamie and Low’s perspectives. Brian and Max even got a narrative at times.

I could understand Low’s point of view in terms of being a loner and craving female friendship. I wasn’t all that popular growing up and when I did form a close friendship with someone, I tended to latch on for dear life. I had a friend in high school who was really pretty and whom everyone liked (in the group I was hanging out with). Senior year, this toxic friend started stealing my friend’s attention and time and I was getting fed up with it. Eventually, my friend saw the light, but I kind of wish I had Low in my corner to get rid of the toxic friend at the time. Just saying… While I never retaliated in the way that Low did, I still will develop a burning anger and hatred towards someone on a close friend’s behalf. I have much healthier friendship attachments now, but reading this book brought some memories to mind.

When (not if!!!) you pick this book up, buckle your seatbelts because you are in for a wild ride! Don’t be surprised if you end up getting nothing else done so you can read it in one sitting.

Movie casting suggestions:

Low: Diana Silvers

Freya: Candice King

Jamie: Lyndsy Fonseca

Brian: Scott Eastwood

Max: Giulio Berruti or Jason Momoa (I was picturing Jason first, but it’s good to have backups.)

Thompson: Max Burkholder

Low’s mother: Mireille Enos

A Conversation Between Book Coffee Happy and Robyn Harding:

I love how you tackle such “taboo” subjects in your books (swapping partners in The Swap, Sugar Daddies in The Arrangement, etc.).  How do the people closest to you (family, friends, etc.) feel about you writing about such normally unmentionable topics?

I think my family and friends are quite used to it by now! My grandmother passed away a few years ago, and she did NOT like me tackling taboo subjects, or swearing, or writing about sex. I miss her dearly but there is a certain freedom in her absence.

Speaking of these unmentionable topics, how do you decide which to write about? How do you conduct the research on them to gain enough insight to create such interesting and complex stories and characters?

I take a kernel of an idea, something I hear about in the media, or through social circles, and play with it to see if I can build a story around it. Then I create the characters. With THE ARRANGEMENT, I did a lot of research into the sugar baby lifestyle. I talked to young women who had sugar daddies, and I set up a fake account on a sugar daddy dating site. Talk about an eye opener! For THE SWAP, I spoke to a friend who had been in an open marriage years ago, but most of it came from my imagination.

Describe The Swap using only 3 adjectives:

 Sexy, twisted, craaaaaazy

What do you hope readers will gain from reading The Swap?

I really just want to provide an escape for people right now. There is so much going on in the world, and so much to worry about, that I’m truly grateful when I can lose myself in a book. I hope I can do that for readers.

Tell me a bit about your writing process:

I use loose screenplay structure to plot out my novels, and I write profiles for all of my main characters. I’m not a dirty first draft writer. I re-read and edit as I go along so by the time I’m done, the manuscript is usually in pretty good shape.

***GIVEAWAY DETAILS***

Would you like to win a signed copy of The Swap?
 
I have 2 signed copies to give away (open to US and Canada only for this giveaway)!  

To be entered, just leave a comment below (on this blog post)!  Your comment can be about anything!

**You must comment below to be eligible for the giveaway and you must comment here on this blog post (not on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram)**

Giveaway will close tomorrow (9/3/20) at 6:00 pm CDT and the winner will be randomly chosen and announced here on my blog on Friday (9/4/20).

Make sure you check the blog on Friday to see if you’ve won (you will have 48 hours from the time I post the winners to email me your mailing address.  If I don’t hear from you within 48 hours, I will pick a new winner).

Good luck!  Can’t wait to read your comments!

A big thank you to Melissa Amster from Chick Lit Central and to Robyn Harding for their collaborations on this post!  I had such fun working with you ladies!

Melissa and I worked on a collaborative post together a few months back reviewing Mary Kubica’s The Other Mrs.  You can check out that post over on Chick Lit Central HERE!

**If you don’t already follow Chick Lit Central or Book Coffee Happy, we would both love to have you join each of our book blog communities!  Welcome :)**

Xo,

Jenny

Click the image below to order the book through my Amazon affiliate link.  When you order through this link, I receive a tiny commission. Thank you for your support, Xo

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***GIVEAWAY***Spring! Time to Build a Nest, A Story about Trumpeter Swans {Barbara Renner}

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest blog review.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Synopsis:

Pen and Cob Swan listen as ice pops and crackles on the lake announcing the arrival of Spring. Realizing she will be laying her eggs soon, Pen urges Cob to find a place to nest. After being shooed away from a beaver’s lodge and muskrat’s den, they hurry to build their own home before it’s too late.

Coloring pages are included so children can interact with the swans’ search for a home. Facts about Trumpeter Swans make this book educational as well as entertaining.

An audio QR code allows the reader to hear the Trumpeter Swan’s call using a QR Code Reader App. This book is appropriate for ages 3 – 7.

My Thoughts:

When Barbara Renner first reached out to ask if I would be interested in reviewing a copy of her beautiful book, the teacher in me squealed with delight!  I taught elementary school for 14 years and was always on the hunt for interesting books to help me teach various topics.  I would have LOVED to have this book in my classroom!

The story is interesting, the pictures are colorful, and the simplistic way that it teaches about trumpeter swans is perfection.  Look at these beautiful pictures!

I read this book to my 4 year old son (and took a selfie for the blog mid word, lol).

Here were his thoughts:

“I liked seeing the baby swans swim. I learned that swans could fly. Swans could make their neck twist in a weird way! Swans have nests.”

There is a QR code included in this book which allows the reader to hear the sounds of real life trumpeter swans. My son and I were both surprised to hear how the swans sound! So different than how we thought they would! For the rest of the day my son walked around making swan sounds. I love that he learned such an interesting fact and clearly thought about it after we finished reading the book. Awesome.

Coloring pages, a QR code, a glossary of terms, AND a page of “interesting facts” all included alongside an informative story with beautiful pictures?!  This book is GREAT!

A Conversation with Barbara Renner, In Her Own Words:

How did you create the idea for your book?

While visiting the Tamarac National Wildlife Refuge in Minnesota, one of the volunteers told me how the Trumpeter Swans were once on the endangered species list. In the 1980s Trumpeter Swan eggs were flown from Alaska to Minnesota to be incubated in an attempt to increase their population in that region. There are now more than 30 nesting pairs at the refuge. I thought this was fascinating and vowed to write a series of children’s book about the Trumpeter Swans.

What audience would be most interested in your book?

The target ages for my book are 3-7; however, since there are facts about Trumpeter Swans included in the book, it is a great resource for all ages, including teachers and parents who homeschool children.

Where can your book be purchased?

There are numerous stores in Minnesota that carry the Trumpeter Swan book, as well as the gift shops at Harriman State Park in Island Park, Idaho. The Barnes & Noble at Somerset Shopping Center is featuring my book at a special price from January 15 to April 15, 2020.

My book can also be purchased online at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and from my website, RennerWrites.com.

Use 3 adjectives to describe your book:

I would consider my book to be entertaining, educational, and interactive.

Any additional information that you would like to provide about you or your book:

I’m working on another fun Trumpeter Swan book that will be released the summer of 2020. It’s called SUMMER! TIME TO SEARCH FOR FOOD, A STORY ABOUT TRUMPETER SWANS. The main character, Cygie, is a juvenile swan, also known as a cygnet, who doesn’t want to dive for food because the water stings his nose. The story is about his quest for other sources of food without going underwater. As he encounters several obstacles, and becomes hungrier and hungrier, he finally discovers a way to dive for food without burning his nose.

I love to visit elementary schools as a guest author and facilitate writing activities. I also organize book fairs with other children’s book authors where four or five of us go into the classrooms, read our books, and present lessons.

Click the image below to order the book through my Amazon affiliate link.  When you order through this link, I receive a tiny commission. Thank you for your support, Xo

***GIVEAWAY DETAILS***

Would you like to win a signed copy of Spring! Time to Build a Nest, A Story of Trumpeter Swans?
I have 1 signed copy of to give away which will include the name of the child who will be receiving this book!
If you live in the US, the book will be mailed directly to your home.  If you live internationally, an electronic copy will be sent to you.

To be entered, please complete these 2 simple steps:

1. Make sure that you are following and/or subscribed to my blog

2. Tell me about the child(ren) in your life who would receive this book if you were to win (you don’t have to mention their name (s)!

**You must complete BOTH of these steps to be eligible for the giveaway and you must complete them here on my blog (not on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram)**

Giveaway will close tomorrow (2/3/20) at 6:00 pm CDT and the winner will be randomly chosen and announced in Wednesday’s blog post (2/4/20).

Make sure you check the blog on Wednesday to see if you’ve won (you will have 48 hours from the time I post the winners to email me your mailing address.  If I don’t hear from you within 48 hours, I will pick a new winner).

If you already follow and/or subscribe to my blog, you are still eligible…just leave a comment below to be entered 🙂

Good luck!  Can’t wait to read your comments!

This blog is my favorite hobby and I would so love your support!  Here are ways you can help my blog to GROW:

*Please share this page with your book and blog loving friends!*

*Subscribe with your email address to my blog (scroll all the way to the bottom of this page on mobile devices OR check the top right of this screen to enter your email address)*

*If you already have a blog, please “follow” mine*

*”Like” my Facebook page (and please comment on, “like”, and share my posts)*

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