Anxious People by Frederik Backman

I love Frederik Backman’s writing, so I was excited to get this one from Net Galley. I will admit, I had some challenges sticking with it, so I also used an Audible credit for it. I’m so glad I did. I loved this book! Listening to it was the perfect way to get into it and enjoy the story. Marin Ireland was amazing as the narrator.

I have read a variety of responses to this novel in the blogosphere, with many people finding the beginning confusing and others saying to stick with it. I agree. And listening to it was the perfect way to connect with this story and these unforgettable characters.

Backman has an incredible gift of taking the ordinary and making it extraordinary. His characters are flawed but lovable. He believes in happy endings (or at least hopeful). And I loved how everyone in this story ended up connected.

Highly recommended!

Here’s the overview:

Looking at real estate isn’t usually a life-or-death situation, but an apartment open house becomes just that when a failed bank robber bursts in and takes a group of strangers hostage. The captives include a recently retired couple who relentlessly hunt down fixer-uppers to avoid the painful truth that they can’t fix their own marriage. There’s a wealthy bank director who has been too busy to care about anyone else and a young couple who are about to have their first child but can’t seem to agree on anything, from where they want to live to how they met in the first place. Add to the mix an eighty-seven-year-old woman who has lived long enough not to be afraid of someone waving a gun in her face, a flustered but still-ready-to-make-a-deal real estate agent, and a mystery man who has locked himself in the apartment’s only bathroom, and you’ve got the worst group of hostages in the world. 

Each of them carries a lifetime of grievances, hurts, secrets, and passions that are ready to boil over. None of them is entirely who they appear to be. And all of them — the bank robber included — desperately crave some sort of rescue. 

As the authorities and the media surround the premises these reluctant allies will reveal surprising truths about themselves and set in motion a chain of events so unexpected that even they can hardly explain what happens next. Rich with Fredrik Backman’s “pitch-perfect dialogue and an unparalleled understanding of human nature” (Shelf Awareness), Anxious People is an ingeniously constructed story about the enduring power of friendship, forgiveness, and hope — the things that save us, even in the most anxious times. 

Spotlight on THE PORTRAIT by Ilaria Bernardini

I’m shouting it out today for this interesting sounding book. I was offered it to review but because my TBR pile is huge (!) I am throwing the spotlight on it instead today.

Here’s the overview and info (via the publisher):

THE PORTRAIT

A Novel

Ilaria Bernardini

“Electric. A wildly astute plunge into the depths of love, rivalry, betrayal and the power of women.”—Bill Clegg

An internationally renowned writer, Valeria Costas has dedicated her life to her work and to her secret lover, Martìn Acla, a prominent businessman. When his sudden stroke makes headlines, her world implodes; the idea of losing him is terrifying. Desperate to find a way to be present during her lover’s final days, Valeria commissions his artist wife, Isla, to paint her portrait—insinuating herself into Martìn’s family home and life.

In the grand, chaotic London mansion where the man they share—husband, father, lover—lies in a coma, Valeria and Isla remain poised on the brink, transfixed by one another. Day after day, the two women talk to each other during the sittings, revealing truths, fragilities and strengths. But does Isla know of the writer’s long involvement with Martìn? Does Valeria grasp the secrets that Isla harbors? Amidst their own private turmoil, the stories of their lives are exchanged, and as the portrait takes shape, we watch these complex and extraordinary women struggle while the love of their lives departs, in an unforgettable, breathless tale of deception and mystery that captivates until the very end.

Ilaria Bernardini is a prolific talent in Italy, where she has published eight novels, including Faremo Foresta (“We Will Grow a Forest”) which was longlisted for Italy’s presitigious Strega Prize. The Portrait too has been longlisted for the Strega Prize: it was nominated by Academy Award winning director Paolo Sorrentino ( “The great beauty”) She is a Vogue Italia columnist and regular contributor for Rolling Stone . Ilaria also co-wrote the late renowned director Bernardo Bertolucci’s last film, The Echo Chamber. She splits her time between London and Milan.

Buy links: (not affiliated with BBNB)

Buy it now in print: Amazon Barnes & Noble IndieBound

Buy it now in ebook: Amazon Barnes & Noble

Spotlight on MUSKRAT RAMBLE by Mim Eichmann

Some of you might remember me enjoying Mim Eichmann’s earlier historical fiction novel, A Sparrow Alone, last April. Well, it’s Pub Week for her sequel: Muskrat Ramble. This continues the story of Hannah.

Here’s the overview:

Seamlessly threaded into the emerging hot jazz music scene that captured the hearts of music lovers in 1913 New Orleans, are the themes of the tightening Jim Crow era, World War I and its aftermath of economic ills, political upheavals and epidemics, and the changes, choices, heartbreaks and ultimate decisions of women of all races … at its heart, however, “Muskrat Ramble” is the saga of a young woman’s unwavering devotion to the child she was forced to abandon at birth.

MUSKRAT RAMBLE will be available in print and electronic formats. Ms. Eichmann is aslo running a Goodreads Giveaway.

See: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/55740884-muskrat-ramble?ac=1&from_search=true&qid=odimcTNOrN&rank=1

Here’s a bit about Ms. Eichmann: A graduate from the Jordan College of Music at Butler University, in Indianapolis, IN, Chicago-based author Mim Eichmann has found that her creative journey has taken her down many exciting, interwoven pathways as an award-winning published lyricist and songwriter, professional folk musician, ballet choreographer and now, historical fiction author. Her debut historical fiction novel, “A Sparrow Alone”, published by Living Springs Publishers on April 15, 2020, has met with extremely enthusiastic reviews and was a semi-finalist in the 2020 Illinois Library Association’s Soon-to-be-Famous Project Competition. “Muskrat Ramble” which will be published on March 23, 2021, is its much-anticipated sequel. www.mimeichmann.com 

Harper-Collins Blog Tour for: HER DARK LIES by J.T. Ellison

Today I’m glad to be taking part in the blog tour for this new suspense/thriller HER DARK LIES by J.T. Ellison. This one kept me up late reading and guessing until the end. It’s a bit of a feel like Gone Girl – different narrators, people in peril, trying to figure out what’s happening and why. I liked it a lot!

If you like suspenseful reads, don’t miss this one! Thank you for my mobi copy and for making me part of the tour!

Here’s the overview:

About the Book:

Fast-paced and brilliantly unpredictable, J.T. Ellison’s breathtaking new novel invites you to a wedding none will forget—and some won’t survive.
Jutting from sparkling turquoise waters off the Italian coast, Isle Isola is an idyllic setting for a wedding. In the majestic cliff-top villa owned by the wealthy Compton family, up-and-coming artist Claire Hunter will marry handsome, charming Jack Compton, surrounded by close family, intimate friends…and a host of dark secrets.
From the moment Claire sets foot on the island, something seems amiss. Skeletal remains have just been found. There are other, newer disturbances, too. Menacing texts. A ruined wedding dress. And one troubling shadow hanging over Claire’s otherwise blissful relationship—the strange mystery surrounding Jack’s first wife.
Then a raging storm descends, the power goes out—and the real terror begins…

About the Author:

J.T. Ellison is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of more than 25 novels, and the EMMY® award winning co-host of the literary TV show A WORD ON WORDS. With millions of books in print, her work has won critical acclaim, prestigious awards, and has been published in 28 countries. Ellison lives in Nashville with her husband and twin kittens.

Social Links:

Website: https://www.jtellison.com/ 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JTEllison14/

Twitter:  https://www.twitter.com/thrillerchick

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thrillerchick 

Bookshop: https://bookshop.org/shop/jtellison 

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/jtellison 

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/j-t-ellison 

Mailing List: https://www.jtellison.com/subscribe 

Buy Links: (Not affiliated with BBNB)

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2YArr8J 

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/her-dark-lies-j-t-ellison/1135512743?ean=9780778388302 

Bookshop: https://bookshop.org/a/1809/9780778331988 

IndieBound: https://www.indiebound.org/book/9780778388302 

Libro.fm: https://libro.fm/audiobooks/9781488210600 

Books-A-Million: https://www.booksamillion.com/p/Her-Dark-Lies/J-T-Ellison/9780778331988?id=7392897228554 

Target: https://www.target.com/p/her-dark-lies-by-j-t-ellison-hardcover/-/A-80220721 

Walmart: https://www.walmart.com/ip/Her-Dark-Lies-Original-ed-Paperback-9780778388302/972093784 

Indigo: https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/her-dark-lies/9780778331988-item.html 

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/her-dark-lies 

AppleBooks: https://books.apple.com/us/book/her-dark-lies/id1491338069?mt=11&app=itunes&at=1000lqRB 

Google Play: https://pla

y.google.com/store/books/details/J_T_Ellison_Her_Dark_Lies?id=tEbHDwAAQBAJ&PAffiliateID=1100lIBy 

Audible: https://amzn.to/35Eizmv  

337 by M. Jonathan Lee

A while back, I received a copy of 337 by M. Jonathan Lee. I received the hardcover, UK version which is pretty amazing because you read the book and then flip it and then continue. This book is fairly unique – it’s a story where nothing is as it seems. However, at its heart, it’s a story of a young man dealing with the loss of his mother. It is at times heart-breaking, at times surprising.

Lee has several other novels out, that I haven’t read, and he is an excellent writer. I’d be interested in reading more of his work.

Thank you for my copy! It’s definitely a book you keep thinking about after it’s over.

Here’s the overview. (You can find this book on Amazon, though I recommend holding out for the UK hardcover so that you can read it and flip it.)

337 follows the life of Samuel Darte whose mother vanished when he was in his teens. It was his brother, Tom who found her wedding ring on the kitchen table along with the note.

While their father pays the price of his mother’s disappearance, Sam learns that his long-estranged Gramma is living out her last days in a nursing home nearby.

Keen to learn about what really happened that day and realising the importance of how little time there is, he visits her to finally get the truth.

Soon it’ll be too late and the family secrets will be lost forever. Reduced to ashes. But in a story like this, nothing is as it seems.

Spotlight on AFTER EVERYTHING by Andrea Nourse

Today I’m throwing the spotlight on AFTER EVERYTHING by Andrea Nourse. This looks like a fun read – perfect for summer!

Here’s the overview:

All Abby Rhodes wants is a chance to pursue her songwriting dreams. When she leaves her husband on Christmas Eve and puts their Missouri hometown in her rearview mirror, she heads straight to Nashville and onto the doorstep of her estranged father. But in typical Abby fashion, nothing goes as planned. Unemployed and alone, Abby lands a job waiting tables at her neighborhood dive bar. There she meets a local singer-songwriter with steel-grey eyes and a reputation that threatens to unlock Abby’s small-town innocence. Just as Nashville starts to feel like home, her past comes crashing back in the form of her soon-to-be ex-husband, forcing her to confront the truth behind her midnight escape. If Abby can’t reconcile her history with her future, she might lose out on her dreams and her second chance at finding love.

You can find it online or a bookstore near you. I see it’s only $1.99 on kindle today!

IF SHE DIES by Erik Therme

Erik Therme reached out to me and offered me a galley of his new novel: If She Dies. I’ve enjoyed Erik’s previous books, and he seems like a terribly nice person, so I was happy to read this one.

Here’s the overview:

How far would you go to right a wrong?

Nine months ago, Tess’s five-year-old daughter was killed in a car accident. The driver, Brady Becker, was sentenced to two years in prison. It didn’t make Tess’s pain go away.

Brady also has a daughter: A twelve-year-old named Eve who walks to Chandler Middle School every day. Tess knows this because she’s been watching Eve for the last three weeks. It isn’t fair that Brady’s daughter gets to live, while Tess’s daughter does not.

When Eve goes missing, all eyes turn to Tess, who doesn’t have an alibi. But Tess isn’t guilty.

Or so she believes.

This was a great read – suspenseful and fast-paced. However, I don’t think the jacket did it justice. At its essence, this book is about a women who is dealing with the loss of her child. Her grief is so tangible. At times this story was heart-breaking. At other times it was thrilling. I didn’t figure it all out in advance either – which is rare.

Erik has a way of capturing the human experience and the emotions that drive our actions, and he wraps this into his writing, creating believable and multi-dimensional characters.

Thank you for the opportunity to read your novel!

Harper Collins Blog Tour for THE VINEYARD AT PAINTED MOON by Susan Mallery

Today I’m part of the Harper Collins blog tour for Susan Mallery’s new novel: The Vineyard at Painted Moon. This is story of a woman who has dedicated her life and career to her husband’s family’s vineyard and she now is facing some serious decisions about her future.

If you like what I call “family stories” with lots of interesting yet often flawed characters (but aren’t we all?), this would be a good choice! I always like a strong female protagonist and MacKenzie is just that.

I thought this would be the perfect beach read! (though I read it with about 18 inches of snow on the ground!). I absolutely LOVED the cover — reminded me of Napa!

Thank you for my galley and for making me part of the tour!

About the Book:

MacKenzie Dienes’s life isn’t perfect, but it’s as close as she could ever hope to get. Her marriage to Rhys, her best friend’s brother, is more friendship than true love. But passion is highly overrated, right? And she loves her job as the winemaker at Bel Apres, her in-laws’ vineyard. So what if it’s a family business and, even after decades of marriage and incredible professional success, she’s still barred from the family business meetings? It’s all enough…until one last night spent together leads to an incredibly honest—and painful—conversation. Rhys suggests that they divorce. They haven’t had a marriage in a long time and, while he wants her to keep her job at Bel Apres, he doesn’t think they should be married any longer. Shocked, MacKenzie reels at the prospect of losing the only family she’s ever really known…even though she knows deep in her heart that Rhys is right.

But when MacKenzie discovers she’s pregnant, walking away to begin a new life isn’t so easy. She never could have anticipated the changes it would bring to the relationships she cherishes most: her relationship with Barbara, her mother-in-law and partner at Bel Apres, Stephanie, her sister-in-law and best friend, and Bel Apres, the company she’s worked so hard to put on the map.

MacKenzie has always dreamed of creating a vineyard of her own, a chance to leave a legacy for her unborn child. So when the opportunity arises, she jumps at it and builds the Vineyard at Painted Moon. But following her dreams will come at a high price—one that MacKenzie isn’t so sure she’s willing to pay…

About the Author:

#1 NYT bestselling author Susan Mallery writes heartwarming, humorous novels about the relationships that define our lives―family, friendship, romance. She’s known for putting nuanced characters in emotional situations that surprise readers to laughter. Beloved by millions, her books have been translated into 28 languages. Susan lives in Washington with her husband, two cats, and a small poodle with delusions of grandeur. Visit her at SusanMallery.com.

Social Links:

Website: https://susanmallery.com/ 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SusanMallery 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/susanmallery 

Instagram: https://instagram.com/susanmallery 

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/susanmallery/ 

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/susanmallery 

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/susan-mallery 

Mailing List: https://susanmallery.com/join-mailing-list.php 

Buy Links: (not affiliated with BBNB)

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1335912797/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_hsch_vamf_tkin_p1_i6 

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-vineyard-at-painted-moon-susan-mallery/1136918902?ean=9781335912794 

Bookshop: https://bookshop.org/books/the-vineyard-at-painted-moon-9781335912794/9781335912794 

IndieBound: https://www.indiebound.org/book/9781335912794 

Libro.fm: https://libro.fm/audiobooks/9781488210488 

Books-A-Million: https://www.booksamillion.com/p/Vineyard-Painted-Moon/Susan-Mallery/Q840696538?id=7843731390040 

Target: https://www.target.com/p/the-vineyard-at-painted-moon-by-susan-mallery-hardcover/-/A-80128583 

Walmart: https://www.walmart.com/ip/The-Vineyard-at-Painted-Moon-Hardcover/508623296 

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/the-vineyard-at-painted-moon 

AppleBooks: https://books.apple.com/us/book/the-vineyard-at-painted-moon/id1509949550 

Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Susan_Mallery_The_Vineyard_at_Painted_Moon?id=aL3eDwAAQBAJ 

Agora Books Blog Tour for DEAD TO ME by Lesley Pearse

I’m happy today to take part in the Agora Books (UK) blog tour for Dead to Me by Lesley Pearse. I really enjoyed this historical fiction about two friends and their trials and tribulations during WWII in England. I loved the characters of Verity and Ruby and of course I love a happy ending (no spoilers – will there be one??). I didn’t like the character of the father. I felt he was a bit caricaturish. Overall, though, I loved this story of friendship!

Thank you for my copy to review and for making me part of the tour!

Overview:

Hampstead Heath, Spring 1935. Two girls meet by chance and become fast friends. They share their romances and heartbreaks, their struggles and dreams. But most of all, they share a sinister secret.

Upon their meeting, Verity and Ruby could not be more different: Verity is the epitome of money and class; Ruby lives a life of squalor and survival. Despite the disparity, an instant affinity forms a resilient bond between the two girls.

Yet, as the outbreak of WWII rumbles throughout Britain, Verity and Ruby’s relationship starts to develop fault lines. Ruby finds herself blissful and in love, while Verity is haunted by a shadow from her past. Separated by more than just distance, the two friends struggle to maintain their relationship until Verity does the one thing she can never take back.

With Britain blitzed by the raging war, will Verity and Ruby find a way back to each other before it’s too late?

In this sweeping wartime saga of friendship and love, Pearse explores the depths of lifelong bonds, compassion, betrayal, and forgiveness.

About the Author

Lesley Pearse’s novels have sold over ten million copies worldwide and include, most recently, The Woman in the Wood, Dead to Me, Without a Trace, Survivor, Forgive Me and The Promise. Lesley lives in Devon and has three daughters and four grandchildren.

Bookouture Blog Tour for: The Girl at the Back of the Bus by Suzette D. Harrison

I’m thrilled today to take part in this interesting historical fiction novel’s tour about a woman who is seeking a new life and a current day woman who is navigating hers. I enjoyed the vivid writing and dual but intertwined stories. At first I thought this would be a book for my students, but it’s really targeted to an adult audience.

Here’s the overview:

Book Description:
I watched in awe as Miz Rosa stopped those men on the bus with her clear, calm “no” and I thought about that word. What if I said no? What if I refused to follow the path these White folks wanted for us? What if I kept this precious baby?

Montgomery, Alabama, 1955
On a cold December evening, Mattie Banks packs a suitcase and leaves her family home. Sixteen years old and pregnant, she has already made the mistake that will ruin her life and disgrace her widowed mother. Boarding the 2857 bus, she sits with her case on her lap, hoping that the driver will take her away from disaster. Instead, Mattie witnesses an act of bravery by a woman named Rosa Parks that changes everything. But as Mattie strives to turn her life around, the dangers that first led her to run are never far away. Forging a new life in a harsh world at constant risk of exposure, Mattie will need to fight to keep her baby safe.

Atlanta, Georgia, present day
Ashlee Turner is going home. Her relationship in ruins, her career held back by prejudice, she is returning to the family who have always been her rock. But Ashlee’s home is not the safe haven she remembers. Her beloved grandmother is dying and is determined to share her story before she leaves…

When Ashlee finds a stack of yellowing letters hidden in her nana’s closet, she can’t help the curiosity that compels her to read, and she uncovers an old secret that could wreak havoc on her already grieving family. As she tries to make sense of what she has learned, Ashlee faces a devastating choice: to protect her loved ones from the revelations, or honor her grandmother’s wishes and follow the path to the truth, no matter where it may lead.

For readers of The HelpOrphan Train and Before We Were Yours comes a beautiful and heartbreaking novel about redemption, family secrets and the spirit of survival found at the hardest time.

Author:


Suzette D. Harrison, a native Californian and the middle of three daughters, grew up in a home where reading was required, not requested. Her literary “career” began in junior high school with the publishing of her poetry. While Suzette pays homage to Alex Haley, Gloria Naylor, Alice Walker, Langston Hughes, and Toni Morrison as legends who inspired her creativity, it was Dr. Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings that unleashed her writing. The award-winning author of Taffy is a wife and mother of two teens, and she holds a culinary degree in pastry and baking. Mrs. Harrison is currently cooking up her next novel…in between batches of cupcakes. 

https://www.sdhbooks.com/
https://www.facebook.com/sdhbooks
https://www.instagram.com/suzetteharrison2200/
https://twitter.com/SdhBooks

Buy Links: (Not affiliated with BBNB)

Amazon: http://bit.ly/3aamDvB

Apple: http://apple.co/38s1Fcw

Kobo: http://bit.ly/3eLh1dl

Google: http://bit.ly/36mcFFF

Thank you for making me part of the tour and for my review copy! I always love a book full of strong women!