INTERNATIONAL GIVEAWAY: The Unbreakables {Lisa Barr}

Lisa and I began communicating roughly a year ago to discuss a possible blog book review and as soon as she sent me the book synopsis, I knew this was a book I wanted to read. Unfortunately it wasn’t going to be released until June and I had to wait a looooooong time to get my hands on a copy.  It was an exciting day when this lovely book arrived in my mailbox!

Full disclosure: I was sent a copy of this book to read and review for my blog.  All opinions are my own.

Giveaway details will be given at the bottom of this post!

Synopsis from Goodreads:

It’s Sophie Bloom’s forty-second birthday, and she’s ready for a night of celebration with Gabe, her longtime, devoted husband, and her two besties and their spouses. Dinner is served with a side of delicious gossip, including which North Grove residents were caught with their pants down on Ashley Madison after the secret on-line dating site for married and committed couples was hacked. Thirty-two million cheaters worldwide have been exposed…including Sophie’s “perfect” husband. To add insult to injury, she learns Gabe is the top cheater in their town.

Humiliated and directionless, Sophie jumps into the unknown and flees to France to meet up with her teenage daughter who is studying abroad and nursing her own heartbreak. After a brief visit to Paris, Sophie heads out to the artist enclave of Saint-Paul-de-Vence. There, for the first time in a long time, Sophie acknowledges her own desires—not her husband’s, not her daughter’s—and rediscovers her essence with painful honesty and humor, reawakening both her sensuality and ambitions as a sculptor.

As she sheds her past and travels the obstacle-filled off beaten path, Sophie Bloom is determined to blossom. Allowing her true self to emerge in the postcard beauty of Provence, Sophie must decide what is broken forever…and what it means to be truly unbreakable.

My Thoughts:

One of the best books I’ve read so far in 2019.

I truly LOVED it.  Everything about this book was great…the characters, the storylines, the settings, all of it.  I devoured this book!

It was REAL. Lisa Barr wrote from her heart without holding anything back. It was scandalous, it was sexy, it was heartwarming, it was AWESOME.  The storylines were detailed and complex, the characters were well developed, and the overall messages delivered through the book were clear, deep, and thought provoking.  It was so beautifully written.

Can we talk about it’s gorgeous cover?  Stunning.

I truly loved everything about this book and I’ve already recommended it to so many people.  It’s WONDERFUL.

Over the course of the past year, Lisa and I have gone from author/blogger to real life friends.  We have yet to meet in person but I can promise that I am saving one massive hug for this beauty when we finally do!

And check out what she said to me…here is a direct quote from one of her emails:

“You’re the absolute best and you need to quit your day job, ignore your kids, and do a podcast … all that personality cannot be a suburban best-kept secret.

Ha LOVE it! Anyone out there want to help me start a podcast?!?  I’m so down.

Here’s a bit about Lisa:

Lisa Barr is the author of THE UNBREAKABLES (HarperCollins) and the award-winning historical thriller, FUGITIVE COLORS, a suspenseful tale of stolen art, love, lust, deception and revenge on the eve of WWII. The novel won the Independent Publisher Book Awards gold medal for “Best Literary Fiction 2014” and first prize at The Hollywood Film Festival (Opus Magnum Discovery Award). In addition, Lisa served as an editor for The Jerusalem Post, managing editor of Today’s Chicago Woman, managing editor of Moment magazine, and as an editor/reporter for the Chicago Sun-Times. Among the highlights of her career, Lisa covered the famous “handshake” between the late Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, the late PLO leader Yasser Arafat, and President Bill Clinton at the White House. Lisa is also the editor and creator of the popular parenting blog GIRLilla Warfare (www.girlillawarfare.com), and has been featured on Good Morning America and Today for her work as an author, journalist and blogger. She lives in the Chicago area with her husband and their three daughters.

How beautiful is she???

A Conversation with Lisa Barr, in her own words:

How did you create the idea for your book?

It was 2015, and the Ashley Madison cheating scandal just broke after hackers exposed ALL 32 million names on the infidelity website. I was out with a small group of friends having dinner and reading off the list of Ashley Madison cheaters  in our community together (I know, awful, right? Not proud, people, not proud). Needless to say,  I was shocked, but there it was—neighbors, high school and college friends, acquaintances, etc—on this exposed list of cheaters. It was the train wreck that you knew you should just look away, but simply couldn’t. The story began to form in my mind … The Unbreakables is sexy, but it also tackles betrayal, second chances, mother-daughter bonding, reinvention, finding love again. My protagonist, Sophie Bloom, is a hot mess turned badass … and I kinda fell in love with her.  Did I mention that my “research” was in the South of France? Torture, I know … This book was truly a labor of love.

What audience would be most interested in your book?

It’s sexy women’s fiction geared toward … wait for it … WOMEN. While the novel is steamy, it is also feminist, artsy, passionate, and empowering. Women – especially Moms – will really connect to it. That said – the Millennials and MEN are reading this book. I have received lots of emails and texts from Moms and daughters reading it together, and I love that. And the men … crazy … I attribute this to it’s like reading their sister’s Cosmo in the bathroom. I’ve had at least a dozen men or more write me that they stayed up all night reading my novel and loving it, which means the world to me. The book is very relationship-y – it’s great that men are connecting to it too.

Where can your book be purchased? 

It can be purchased in bookstores nationwide, Costco, airports, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Indiebound, Books-a-million, and directly on HarperCollins book site.

Use 3 adjectives to describe your book: 

Sensual, Empowering, and Emotionally-gripping

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

Life for all of us has many twists and turns. When everything falls apart, there still is a Second Act, new leases, new beginnings. Everything my protagonist has been through, I, too, have been through on a different level. Years ago, I lost everything and had to seek a new life when my old one fell apart. My fave sentence in the book, which sums up what I really want my reader to gain, comes from one of my minor characters – a French millennial artist named Lea (love her). She and Sophie Bloom become friends (and yes, more) … Sophie has opened up to her about the devastating pain of her broken marriage. Lea looks at her and says: “My mother used to tell me when I doubted myself that no one wants to be with a shell. Be the pearl, Sophie, and you will find you again.” Here’s the takeaway: No matter what happens … it’s the spirit that is truly unbreakable.

***GIVEAWAY DETAILS***

Would you like to win a copy of The Unbreakables?
I have 1 copy of The Unbreakables to give away! 
If you are located in the US, a hard copy will be mailed to you and if you are located internationally an e-copy will be emailed 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. The main character in this book spends a great deal of time learning the things she needs to do for herself.  Self care is so important! Tell me in the comments below about 1 thing that you do for yourself that makes you happy.

**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 (Thursday) at 6:00 pm CDT and the winner will be randomly chosen and announced in Friday’s blog post (10/18/19).

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 winner 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!

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***INTERNATIONAL GIVEAWAY*** Hidden Treasure {Margaret Rodeheaver} AND My Own Personal Flea Market/Antique Store Finds!

As soon as Margaret Rodeheaver emailed me asking if I would like a copy of her book to review, I couldn’t say yes fast enough.  I LOVE thrift stores, flea markets, antique stores, garage sales, etc. and reading a book in this setting was exactly that type of book I knew I would love!

Over the years I have found some absolute treasures in stores such as the fictitious one in this book.

This gorgeous piece:

Such an exquisite piece of art that someone sat and patiently, lovingly glued together.  It’s created entirely of antique jewelry!  I think about each individual piece and wonder about the stories behind them.  Who did they belong to?  Where were they worn?  I love this piece of art so, so much not only for it’s beauty but for the deep history that each facet of it contains.

I saw it on a table at a flea market and instantly fell in love.  For some unexplainable reason, I left the booth without buying it…and then couldn’t get it out of my mind after I walked away.  Hours later (in POURING rain), I made my poor mom walk alllllll the way back through that massive flea market with me until we found it once again and I could buy it.  I’m so glad that I did (even if we got completely soaked.  Love you, Mom).

And being that we’re Jewish, it wasn’t until we got home that my mom and I even noticed the non Jewish religious figure at the very center of my new piece of art 🙂  Makes me love it even more!

And then there’s this…

Years ago and merely a few weeks after I became pregnant with my son, I saw this $2.00 lampshade in a gorgeous antique store in Wisconsin and instantly KNEW I had to have it.

At the time, I didn’t even officially know that he was a boy…but in my heart I just KNEW that he was…and I couldn’t leave without this gorgeous vintage lampshade!

As it turned out, the lampshade’s shade of blue didn’t end up matching his nursery but to this day it remains high up on his closet shelf as a reminder of the very first thing he ever owned 🙂

Have you ever discovered a treasure in a thrift shop, antique store, garage sale, flea market, etc?  The BEST!

Book Giveaway:

Hidden Treasure By Margaret Rodeheaver

Full disclosure: I was sent a copy of this book to read and review for my blog.  All opinions are my own.

Giveaway details will be given at the bottom of this post!

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Welcome to the small town of Chinkapin, Georgia, where recently-divorced Laurie Lanton is starting her new life in a warmer climate. To keep her mind off her ex, Laurie joins Mary and the other volunteers at the Treasure Chest, a charity thrift shop run by ‘St. Mark’s Across from the Tasty Chick.’ Anything can happen at the Treasure Chest – and does. Two robberies, a leaky roof, and an invasion of mice give Laurie plenty to think about. But a couple of new men have also caught her attention.

Will she pick Chase, the interesting and talented musician from St. Mark’s choir? He sure is easy to be with, but there’s something in his past no one wants to talk about.

And what about Jeff, the new painting instructor at the local arts center? He seems to have a few secrets of his own, including something he’s discovered about an old painting at the thrift shop.

Laurie soon learns just how important the Treasure Chest is to her new hometown. When disaster threatens to close the shop, will her ‘his super power’ be enough to save it?

My Thoughts:

I want to visit The Treasure Chest!  Reading about the store was definitely my favorite part of the book.  I found the “behind the scenes” of running a thrift store so interesting!  I just so happen to be reading this book at the same time as I was running my annual garage sale and it made me view my “products” in a whole new way 🙂

This was a light, easy to enjoy novel set in what sounds to be a delightful small town.

I appreciated the church references throughout the book.  This Jewish girl learned a great deal 🙂  St. Marks sounds just lovely!

I enjoyed this book and appreciated how my perception of certain characters changed throughout the story as I was granted more insight into their personalities.  Characters who I initially liked I ended up hating and characters who I initially wasn’t a fan of morphed into lovely people.  Love when that happens!

A cute, easy read!

A Discussion With Margaret Rodeheaver, In Her Own Words:

How did you create the idea for your book?
I volunteer in a thrift shop similar to the Treasure Chest where, as it says on the back of the book,“anything can happen!” We have some interesting customers, and receive some surprising donations, including the emerald necklace I mention. A large, beautiful painting was donated to us, and one of our volunteers with connections in the art world was able to have it auctioned, which of course brought in more money than we ever could have sold it for. Meanwhile, I had vacationed with my husband in Homosassa, Florida (near the Gulf of Mexico, about 300 miles from my middle-Georgia home) and learned that Winslow Homer had fished and painted there in the early 1900’s. So it seemed plausible that someone from my fictional town of Chinkapin might have encountered Homer on a fishing trip to Florida and received a painting, which was
passed down through the family and ultimately ended up at the Treasure Chest.
As far as some of the characters in “Hidden Treasure,” I’ve known lots of musicians and several guitar players, so Chase was easy. And an artist in my family has led a lot of paint-along classes like Jeff does in the book. The scenes in St. Mark’s church were also easy, because faith plays an important part in my life, as it does for Laurie.
I’ll leave it to readers to figure out what small Georgia town Chinkapin is based on. Sadly, the original for the Coffee Pot café is closed!

What audience would be most interested in your book?
Fans of Debbie Macomber, Kristy Woodson Harvey, or Jan Karon would love “Hidden
Treasure” and the rest of the Chinkapin series (Book 2, “Finders Keepers,” has just been
published!) It would appeal to adult women who enjoy a feel-good story of friendship, faith, love, and second chances, who enjoy art and music, and like a little romantic sizzle to spice things up.

Where can your book be purchased?
Paperback and Kindle versions of “Hidden Treasure” can be purchased from Amazon. The eBook is also available from many online retailers, including Apple, Barnes and Noble, and Kobo. https://books2read.com/b/4EMpMY

Use three adjectives to describe your book.

Engaging. Entertaining. Uplifting.

Any additional information that you would like to provide about you and your book.
“Finders Keepers,” book 2 of the Chinkapin series, has just been published, and book three is coming in November, so stay tuned for more. And remember, writers love readers! You can help your favorite writers by sharing your thoughts with friends, via social media, or anywhere books are discussed or purchased.

***GIVEAWAY DETAILS***

Would you like to win a copy of Hidden Treasure?
I have 3 signed copies to give away! 
If you are located in the US, a hard copy will be mailed to you and if you are located internationally an e-copy will be emailed 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. Leave a comment below telling me about a treasure you have found at a flea market, thrift shop, antique shop, garage sale, etc.!

**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 (Thursday) at 4:00 pm CDT and the winner will be randomly chosen and announced in Friday’s blog post (8/2/19).

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 winner 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!

***INTERNATIONAL CHILDREN’S BOOK GIVEAWAY*** Being Small (Isn’t So Bad After All) {Lori Orlinsky}

Oh do I have an adorable book to give away today!

As I said on Instagram, Lori Orlinsky’s book was delivered to our house at the PERFECT time.  It was like a gift from the heavens above on that dreadful day, lol.  I’m so excited to be hosting an international giveaway for it today!

Full disclosure: I was sent a copy of this book to read and review for my blog.  All opinions are my own.

Giveaway details will be given at the bottom of this post!

I absolutely love this book and so do my kids.  It’s adorable!  The pictures are so cute.  One thing that I am very particular about is how the rhyming and the flow of a children’s book is.  As a former teacher (and now as a mother) reading books aloud is part of my everyday life.  It is so much more enjoyable for both my kids and myself if the rhyming and overall flow of the words is smooth…and this book is a joy to read.

The message of this book is beautiful.  Acceptance of things that cannot be changed is one of the most challenging things for a child to understand.  This book is a beautiful way to help a child understand that acceptance.

I also appreciate that this book finds the “silver lining” in the situation by highlighting all of the positive aspects of being on shorter side.  This is a tactic that I often try to teach my own kids when faced with any problem.  Always looking for the positive aspects of the situation and learning to “turn the situation around” are always such hard concepts to teach.  This book does such a lovely job and sets such a perfect example of how to do this!

I would have loved a copy of this in my classroom when I was a teacher and it would have been one of my favorite read alouds.  Teaching tolerance and social awareness of accepting the differences in others is something that every teacher pursues and this book would have led to such wonderful classroom discussions.  Teachers, your classrooms need a copy of this book!

Fun Height Fact:  I’m 5’1…and my husband is 6’3!

A Conversation with Lori Orlinsky, In Her Own Words:

How did you create the idea for your book?

When my daughter Hayley was 3, she told me she didn’t want to go to school anymore because she was the shortest kid in her preschool class. It turns out, the teachers hung a growth chart on the wall, and while all of Hayley’s friends were at the top and middle of the chart, Hayley’s name was at the bottom, with no other names in sight.  For the first time in her 3 years of life, I saw my outgoing, confident girl feel a sense of shame about the way she looked. I tried to find a book with a short heroine in which she could relate to, but no book on the topic existed, until I wrote “Being Small (Isn’t So Bad After All).”

What audience would be most interested in your book?

The book is geared towards babies through elementary school aged children. Despite the title, “Being Small” it isn’t just for short kids – there are wonderful messages in the book about self-confidence, which every child needs to hear in a world filled with bullying. Additionally, the book is also designed to give all children perspective on the power of their words. Told in rhyme, the topics in the book are more approachable, often leading to post-book discussions about self-acceptance and how to recognize and prevent bullying behavior.

Where can your book be purchased?
Online at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Books-a-Million. It is also available in select Barnes & Noble locations.

Use 3 adjectives to describe your book:

Empowering, inspiring, sweet

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

Hayley is now 6 years-old and just graduated from Kindergarten. I truly believe the book has helped her embrace being short. Just last week, we went to the playground, and she was excited to show me the monkey bar flips that only she could do because of her height. I hope this book will make a difference in the lives of other children, too. It is a perfect read for anyone who has ever felt different.

“Being Small (Isn’t So Bad After All)” was recently named a Gold Award Recipient of the 2019 Mom’s Choice Awards in the children’s book category. Additionally, the book is a Readers’ Favorite 5-Star Recipient

***GIVEAWAY DETAILS***

Do you have a special child in your life who would benefit from learning the beautiful messages taught in this book?
I have 1 autographed and dedicated copy of Being Small (Isn’t So Bad After All) to give away! 
If you are located in the US, the hard copy will be mailed to you and if you are located internationally an e-copy will be emailed 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. Leave a comment below telling me how tall you are!

**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 (Thursday) at 4:00 pm CDT and the winner will be randomly chosen and announced in Friday’s blog post (6/28/19).

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 winner 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!

8 Ways You Can Help Support Book Coffee Happy:

1. 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)

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

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

4. Follow me on Instagram

5. Follow me on Twitter

6. Subscribe to my YouTube channel

7. Clicking and buying products through my Amazon Affiliate links.  The cost to you is exactly the same and I receive a tiny commission off of your purchases.

8. Leaving a positive review on my Facebook page

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

Cookbook Giveaway: I’m A Chef and my Kids Want Buttered Noodles {Heath Schecter}

I have such a fun book giveaway for you today…a cookbook!

This blog has awarded me with the unique opportunity to meet so many authors.  I’ve read such lovely books and have met such lovely people.  It has been an amazing experience, that’s for sure!

But today is a brand new experience for me.  Today, I get to review my FRIEND’S book!

I’ve known Heath for years.  His sister, Becca, has been a really close friend of mine since the day we met at overnight camp.  Her and I have been through it all…side ponytails, overalls, and our favorite show “My So-Called Life”…anyone else LOVE that show as much as her and I did?!?  Becca has the cutest family…check out and subscribe to their YouTube channel HERE!  Love you so much, Becca 🙂

Heath married Becca’s sister and we now live about 2 minutes from each other.  When he first wrote his cookbook back in 2017, my husband and I bought our copy immediately!  We love it!

Fun Fact: My husband is a HUGE fan of Heath’s cooking.  For Jon’s 40th birthday, I hired Heath to come to my house and cook a 5 course MEAT dinner for Jon and his best friend.  Both men declared that dinner that Heath cooked to be one of the best meals they have ever had.  A huge success!

You can see Heath in action in this link to an awesome news segment that he filmed a few months ago:

Midday Fix: Hangover Help Recipe from Chef Heath Schecter

I’m both honored and excited to share his awesome cookbook with all of you today!

The book itself is gorgeous.  It’s filled with beautiful, colorful pictures and has so many interesting and unique recipes.  It includes starters, soups & salads, main courses, sous vide cooking, desserts, sides, sauces, seasonings, and so much more!

This chef knows his stuff.  You should have smelled my kitchen when he came over to cook for Jon and his friend…DELICIOUS.

This book would make a perfect Father’s Day gift or any gift!  It’s a fantastic addition to any kitchen.  We love our copy and know that you will, too 🙂

A Conversation with Heath Schecter, in His Own Words:

How did you create the idea for your book?

When my photographer friend, Garry Rosenfeldt, asked to take chef pictures of me. When he did, one of the pictures looked like it would be a great photo for a book. Over the years, as a chef, I have created a lot of recipes. Over those years, my kids wouldn’t really eat most of the food I created. So, having this picture and all these recipes, I decided I’d write a cookbook. I needed a title and figured I’d create a title based off my experience of cooking all these dishes and my kids not wanting any of it, and just wanting buttered noodles, or chicken fingers, etc.

What audience would be most interested in your book?

I think the audience for my cookbook would be anyone that likes to cook. I tried to write the recipes so that anyone could reproduce them.

Where can your book be purchased?

You can find the book on Amazon

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

This isn’t a cookbook filled with recipes for kids. These are a collection of recipes I have created over the years. It is filled with a bunch of different dishes that should satisfy all palates.

***GIVEAWAY DETAILS***

I have 1 autographed copy of I’m a Chef and My Kids Want Buttered Noodles to give away (US only for this giveaway)!

To be entered, please complete these 2 simple steps:

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

2. Leave a comment below describing your favorite meal!

**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 (Thursday) at 4:00 pm CDT and the winner will be randomly chosen and announced in Friday’s blog post (6/7/19).

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 winner 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!

8 Ways You Can Help Support Book Coffee Happy:

1. 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)

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

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

4. Follow me on Instagram

5. Follow me on Twitter

6. Subscribe to my YouTube channel

7. Clicking and buying products through my Amazon Affiliate links.  The cost to you is exactly the same and I receive a tiny commission off of your purchases.

8. Leaving a positive review on my Facebook page

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

***INTERNATIONAL GIVEAWAY (6 Winners)*** Foam on the Crest of Waves {Silke Stein}

Thank you all so much for your sweet comments and messages from my last post.  I so appreciate all of you!  Xo!

I have a great book to review for you today and I HAVE 6 COPIES of it to give away!

Full disclosure: I was sent a copy of this book to read and review for my blog.  All opinions are my own.

Giveaway details will be given at the bottom of this post!

Synopsis from Goodreads:

In a small fishing town on the Mendocino coast, the tides of time have washed over rumors and suspicions, yet the members of a maimed family still struggle to cope with their memories.

A broken woman, refusing to let go of her vanished husband.
Her widowed brother, clinging to the shatters of the life he loved.
His delusional daughter, planning to turn mermaid on her fifteenth birthday.

But when a young man realizes he made a mistake, secrets start emerging from the deep. Will they bring further grief, or possibly redemption?

My Thoughts:

This is a lovely, beautiful, thought provoking book.

The book design itself is simply gorgeous. The cover, the chapter pages with their images, all of it.

At the very beginning of this book, I found myself googling the history and pictures of sea glass.  Fascinating!  I can only imagine the beauty of this beach with these little colorful bits of glass everywhere. Such a beautiful setting for such a beautifully complicated and intriguing story.

This book paints such a descriptive picture of this town and it’s residences.  The characters and stories were so interesting (especially Abalone’s) and I love how the characters were all connected to each other.

I’ve never read a story quite like this before.  The topics discussed are not ones I would usually gravitate to but I’m so glad that I allowed myself the opportunity.  This book is a wonderful example of why sometimes reading a book outside of your comfort zone is so important.  I believe that in doing this, you learn to become a deeper reader, broaden your literary understandings, and learn/appreciate new topics.

This book made me both smile and cry.  These characters were not easy to say good bye to and have stuck with me since I turned the last page.

This is such a beautiful book.

A Conversation with Silke Stein, in her Own Words:

How did you create the idea for your book?

The story ides was sparked by my obsession with sea glass. Early in 2014, I became a member of ‘SeaglassLovers’, a Facebook group comprised of people from all over the world who show each other their fabulous finds and daydream of being mermaids. There I learned about the place every sea glass aficionado has on her bucket list: Fort Bragg in Northern California ― home of the legendary ‘Glass Beach’, which became the enchanting setting of Foam On The Crest Of Waves.

What audience would be most interested in your book?

Anybody who loves the sea, mermaids, and a good dose of mystery.

Where can your book be purchased?

The ebook is available for Kindle. The paperback can be ordered from all major online retailers and in every brick-and-mortar book shop.

Use 3 adjectives to describe your book:

Poignant, captivating, beautiful

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

More info: www.silkestein.jimdo.com

***GIVEAWAY DETAILS***

There will be 6 WINNERS!  I have 6 copies of Foam on the Crest of Waves to give away!! 
I have 1 hard copy and 5 e-books (A chance to win the hard copy is open to US readers only.  A chance to win one the 5 e-books are open to both US and International readers)! 

To be entered, please complete these 4 simple steps:

1. Follow and/or subscribe to my blog

2. Leave a comment below describing your favorite beach!

3. Mention in your comment if you are located within the US or if you are located internationally.

4. Mention in your comment if you would like to be entered to win the hard copy of this book, an electronic copy of this book, or either 🙂 

**You must complete ALL 4 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 (Thursday) at 4:00 pm CDT and the 6 winners will be randomly chosen and announced in Friday’s blog post (5/17/19).

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 winner 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!

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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

***INTERNATIONAL GIVEAWAY*** Still Breathing {E.A. Fourier}

I am writing from the peace and quiet of my dining room.  I’m ALONE.  I haven’t been alone in a week and a half!  My daughter was on Spring Break and we had the best time.  We spent an entire day downtown, we watched movies, we ate ice cream, we got manicures, we did art projects, we shopped, we played outside, and so much more.  I’m EXHAUSTED but it was so worth it.  I now have a solid 2.5 hour chunk of time while both of my kids are in school and I can relish the sound of nothing except for Michael Buble’s voice from the Pandora station on my phone.  I even have a candle lit as I’m typing this!  Glorious.

In book news…I did somehow manage to read this entire book (full blog review and giveaway coming soon) over Spring Break.   I just started reading this book a few nights ago and I’m LOVING it!

I have a wonderful giveaway for you today!  Have you read this book?

Full disclosure: I was sent a copy of this book to read and review for my blog.  All opinions are my own.

Giveaway details will be given at the bottom of this post!

stillbreathing

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Newly widowed and on the threshold of seventy, Lizzie Warton questions the value of her remaining years. Uncharacteristically, she decides for the first time in her life to do what she wants, instead of what everyone expects.

Against the wishes of family and friends, she sets out for Africa to work at a Ugandan middle school. When she lands at night in the Entebbe airport, her hosts are not there to meet her. Near panic, she hires a local taxi. The driver drugs her, steals everything, and dumps her limp body in a slum. Waking in the dark, she feels someone tugging off her shoes.

Without money, a passport, clothes, or medications, Lizzie is forced to start over and find a way to survive.

Soon she learns that nothing in Africa is as it appears. The grind of daily life in the third-world is beyond anything Lizzie imagined. Nevertheless, encouraged by budding friendships in surprising places, and against every sensible instinct she’s ever developed, Lizzie’s own personal search for meaning becomes the grand adventure of a lifetime.

My Thoughts:

I’ve always been drawn to books which take place in different cultures. I find learning about other cultures and places fascinating and as soon as I read the synopsis of this book, I immediately knew that it was one I needed to read.

I found myself learning and researching a great deal while reading this book which is always such a bonus for me. I love when a book is so well written that it makes me want to learn more about the subject and/or place, and this book is a perfect example.

There were many different characters and storylines and all were interesting. I found myself being able to connect to many of these intriguing characters and truly became immersed into their lives.

My favorite parts of the book took place in Owino Market…what a fascinating place that must be! The descriptions of the market were so rich and colorful that I felt like I was there!

Over the past few months, I’ve had the opportunity to interact with E.A. Fournier through social media and email quite a bit and he truly is such a kind person. Always such a bonus to learn that the person behind the words is as lovely as the words  are themselves.

I loved this wonderful book and the ending made me cry. Such a special story which begs for a sequel!

A Conversation with E.A. Fournier, in his own words:

How did you create the idea for your book?
 
I carried the beginnings of Lizzie’s story in my head for years. At one point, I wrote it out as the opening for a screenplay. An older woman sits alone at the bedside of her comatose husband. He comes conscious long enough to apologize for not sharing the major decisions in their life. It’s his biggest regret. He asks her to choose to do something, after he’s gone, that she’s always wanted to do. He slips back into the coma and a few days later he’s dead. I could never quite resolve what the wife would choose to do, so I put it aside.
 
Years later, I challenged myself to write women’s fiction. It seemed to me that the leads in most of that genre were young, smart and lovely. I wanted to feature someone significantly older: a woman with wide hips and grey hair, someone sensitive but not sappy, big-hearted but seasoned. I considered revisiting Lizzie’s story. Since I’m the wrong gender, I wondered if I could pull it off and make her character ring true. I decided I was willing to try. The question that remained was what Lizzie wanted to do. 
 
It turned out that the answer was right in front of me. My small church funded an orphan home in Kampala for street boys. The young founders were my friends. My son traveled there to teach art and make a film. His efforts not only helped the orphans, but won him a lovely Ugandan bride. It seemed clear to me that Lizzie had finally found her unlikely destination.  
 
What audience would be most interested in your book?
 
The special audience I had in mind when I first created Still Breathing was women over forty. At this point in their lives many of them question their own significance. I felt that this group would uniquely appreciate a determined main character like my 69-year-old Lizzie.
 
However, I’ve discovered that the power of the book’s characters reaches far outside my demographics. At one end, my granddaughter, a sophomore in high school, loved Lizzie and her journey. She posted a very perceptive review on Goodreads and promotes the novel to her YA friends. At the other end, my 70-year-old male acquaintance, John, begrudgingly agreed to give my book a chance. He only reads non-fiction. John called me a week later to say he’d finished. He would have called sooner, he admitted, but was crying so much that he didn’t know if he could talk on the phone. I reminded him that it was only fiction. He replied that it sure didn’t feel like fiction to him. 
 
So, the novel seems to be seeking out its own wider audience, despite what I think.
 
Where can your book be purchased?
 
The book’s available in digital, paperback or hardback from Amazon or Barnes & Noble
 
It’s also available in digital-only formats from Apple, Google Play, or Scribd
 
In addition, you can find it internationally at these sites: Thalia, bol.de, Angus & Robertson, or the Mandadori Store.
 
 
Use 3 adjectives to describe your book:
 
Fresh
Real
Hopeful
 
Any additional information that you would like to provide about you or your book:
 
Most of the situations and events in the story come directly out of my research and from interviews with former Ugandan street boys, teachers and house fathers. For example, the plight of boys on the street, the scarcity of copper, the way boarding schools work, the corruption of customs officials, the perils of marriage for women, the new method to send money from the U.S.—these all came out of the research. 
 
I peppered the book with accurate local language and flavored it with open markets, tribal clothes and native foods. Many of these elements came directly from my Ugandan daughter-in-law, Diana. Luganda, the language used in the book, is the main dialect spoken in Kampala. Fortunately, most Ugandans also speak English.
 
I tend to write by the seat of my pants and let my characters tell me what comes next, but I’m enough of a plot and outline guy to limit their scope. People don’t understand that there are times when characters talk back, or refuse to say lines, or do the opposite of what you ask. Really. It’s why I laugh when people say a writer’s life is lonely. No, it’s not! It’s stuffed with noisy imaginary people who interrupt each other, argue and laugh and cry, and are certain of their own opinions—just like people in the everyday world.

***GIVEAWAY DETAILS***

I have 1 autographed copy of to give away (the autographed copy will be mailed to you if you live in the US or you will receive an electronic copy if you are located internationally)! 

To be entered, please complete these 3 simple steps:

1. Follow and/or subscribe to my blog

2. Leave a comment below telling me one place in the world where you would love to visit.

3. Tell me in your comment if you are located within the US or if you are located internationally.

**You must complete ALL 3 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 Sunday (4/7/19) morning at 6:00 CDT and the winner will be randomly chosen and announced in Monday’s blog post (4/8/19).

Make sure you check the blog on Monday to see if you’ve won (you will have 48 hours from the time I post the winner 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!

It would really help me if you could follow/subscribe to my blog.  Also, please “like” my Facebook page ,  follow me on Twitter, and follow me on Instagram!

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** The Cast {Amy Blumenfeld}

Full disclosure: I was sent a copy of this book to read and review for my blog.  All opinions are my own.

Giveaway details will be given at the bottom of this post!

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Twenty-five years ago, a group of ninth graders produced a Saturday Night Live-style videotape to cheer up their ailing friend. The show’s running time was only ninety minutes, but it had a lasting impact: Becca laughed her way through recovery, and the group—Jordana, Seth, Holly, and Lex—became her supporting cast for life.

On the silver anniversary of Becca Night Live, the friends reunite over the Fourth of July to celebrate Becca’s good health—but nothing goes as planned. The happy holiday card facades everyone’s been hiding behind quickly crumble and give way to an unforgettable three days filled with complex moral dilemmas and life-altering choices. Through humor, drama, and the alternating perspectives of five characters, The Cast explores the power of forgiveness, the importance of authenticity, and the immeasurable value of deep, enduring friendships to buoy us when life plays out differently than expected.

My Thoughts:

(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)

I really enjoyed this book. There were so many interesting storylines and characters.  The relationships that they had with each other combined with their individual stories made this such an interesting read.  Each story was equally interesting, I love when that happens because I usually don’t feel that way.  I want to see Becca Night Live!

I found myself running late for our NYE dinner because I HAD to finish this book before I could leave the house!  The ending totally sucked me in and there was no way I could finish off 2018 without knowing what was in store for Becca and her friends.  Speaking of endings, this book is just begging for a sequel…

This book explores that true depths of what it means to be a friend and to stay a friend over time.  I loved the comfort level that this group of friends had with each other even though for many of them, it had been years since they had been together.  That comfort level is so special and reminded me of my own group of friends from high school…we have it, too!

Bonus for local friends: parts of this book take place on the North Shore!  Reading those parts was such fun for me!

A Conversation with Amy Blumenfeld, in Her Own Words:

How did you create the idea for your book?

There were a few sources of inspiration for this book. The first was a videotape created by 10 families (40 people in total) comprised of my parents’ friends and their children. Like the video in The Cast, it was ninety minutes of complete silliness with the single goal of making me laugh while I was undergoing treatment for cancer as a child. This was one of the greatest gifts I have ever received and a model for the power of true friendship.

The second source of inspiration was the master’s project I wrote in graduate school about adult survivors of childhood cancer. I spent several months learning about the physical and psychological long-term effects of childhood cancer treatment and meeting and interviewing medical experts, survivors, and their loved ones. At graduation, my professor suggested I turn the project into a book. I suspect he meant non-fiction but somehow, all these years later, it turned into a novel.

The third source of inspiration were the conversations I had with my friends when we turned 40. We were all having these deep discussions about relationships, religion, parenting, where we were in our lives, where we thought we would be at this point, what we hoped to accomplish, etc… and I suddenly had an idea. Why not combine the important messages from the master’s project with the topics my friends and I were discussing and weave them all together into a novel that centered on the power of true friendship? I created a bunch of relatable characters and interesting story lines and decided to write the type of book I liked to read – thought-provoking, smart, and fun contemporary fiction. And, I used the videotape as the glue that bonded the group together. I had no formal experience writing fiction, but hoped that my passion for the characters and the issues I wanted to bring to light would propel me through the process.

What audience would be most interested in your book?

Book clubs, women or men looking for a fun and thought-provoking beach read, people who enjoys stories about lifelong friendships, readers interested in Jewish observance

Where can your book be purchased?

Anywhere books are sold!  Barnes & Noble, independent retailers.  Also, you can visit my website and click on direct links to retailers:  http://www.amyblumenfeld.com

Use 3 adjectives to describe your book:

Heartfelt, thought-provoking, moving

***GIVEAWAY DETAILS***

I have 1 autographed copy of The Cast to give away (US only for this giveaway)! 

To be entered, please complete these 2 simple steps:

1. Follow and/or subscribe to my blog

2. Leave a comment below describing your best friend!

**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 end Friday morning at 6:00 CDT and the winner will be randomly chosen and announced in Friday morning’s blog post.

Make sure you check back on Friday to see if you’ve won (you will have 48 hours from the time I post the winner 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!

It would really help me if you could follow/subscribe to my blog.  Also, please “like” my Facebook page ,  follow me on Twitter, and follow me on Instagram!

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