Blog Tour for: Prospects of a Woman by Wendy Voorsanger

My friends at PR by the Book invited me to join in the blog tour for this new historical fiction novel: Prospects of a Woman by Wendy Voorsanger, and I couldn’t say no. This story takes place during the Gold Rush in California, and you all know I love a story with strong women, historical context, and that takes place in my home state! And somehow I had missed (until I started reading) that her best friend is Louisa May Alcott! The protagonist is from Concord (my favorite place nearby) and writes letters to my favorite author (LMA). This book was made for me!

Here’s the overview:

The story of one woman’s passionate quest to carve out a place for herself in the liberal and bewildering society that emerged during the California gold rush frenzy

Prospects of a Woman

By Wendy Voorsanger

Elisabeth Parker comes to California from Massachusetts in 1849 with her new husband, Nate, to reunite with her father, who’s struck gold on the American River. She soon realizes her husband is not the man she thought—and neither is her father, who abandons them shortly after they arrive. As Nate struggles with his sexuality, Elisabeth is forced to confront her preconceived notions of family, love, and opportunity.

She finds comfort in corresponding with her childhood friend back home, writer Louisa May Alcott, and spending time in the company of a mysterious Californio Don. Armed with Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Self-Reliance, she sets out to determine her role in building the West, even as she comes to terms with the sacrifices she must make to achieve independence and happiness.

Prospects of a Woman is a fresh, authentic retelling of the West that explores women’s contributions in California and shatters the stereotypes of the typical hard-boiled novel of the West that has captured the American imagination for over a century.

About the Author:

Born and raised on the American River in Sacramento, Wendy Voorsanger has long held an intense interest in the historical women of California. She started her career in the Silicon Valley, writing about technology trends and innovations for newspapers, magazines, and Fortune 100 companies.

She currently manages SheIsCalifornia.net, a blog dedicated to chronicling the accomplishments of California women through history. Her debut historical novel, Prospects of a Woman will be published in October 2020 (She Writes Press); an excerpt entitled “Shifting in California” won 1st place in the California Writers Club short story contest and is published in the Fault Zone: Shift: An Anthology of Stories.

She earned a B.A. in Journalism from California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo and an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts. She is a member of the Castro Writers’ Cooperative, the Lit Camp Advisory Board, and the San Mateo Public Library Literary Society.

In addition to being an author, Wendy has worked as a lifeguard, ski instructor, and radio disc jockey. Wendy lives in Northern California with her husband and two sons.

I truly loved this book! I loved the history. I loved the intrepidness of the main character, Elisabeth. I loved how it tied Concord, MA in to the storyline with my beloved Alcotts. It was so well-written and truly interesting with all the information on women’s roles and women’s rights back when California was a new state.

Highly recommended and destined to be one of my favorite reads of the year!

Thank you so much for making me part of the tour!

The Heirloom Garden by Viola Shipman

I just loved this touching story from Harlequin that was partly historical fiction and partly “women’s fiction”. It was a sweet story with a happy ending and was a nice read during our COVID confinement. Gardens symbolize the eternalness of the seasons and the passing of life and the garden in this story stood for a life well-lived that had been dormant a little too long.

Description

In her inimitable style, Viola Shipman explores the unlikely relationship between two very different women brought together by the pain of war, but bonded by hope, purpose…and flowers.

Iris Maynard lost her husband in World War II, her daughter to illness and, finally, her reason to live. Walled off from the world for decades behind the towering fence surrounding her home, Iris has built a new family…of flowers. Iris propagates her own daylilies and roses while tending to a garden filled with the heirloom starts that keep the memories of her loved ones alive.

When Abby Peterson moves next door with her family—a husband traumatized by his service in the Iraq War and a young daughter searching for stability—Iris is reluctantly yet inevitably drawn into her boisterous neighbor’s life, where, united by loss and a love of flowers, she and Abby tentatively unearth their secrets, and help each other discover how much life they have yet to live.

With delightful illustrations and fascinating detail, Viola Shipman’s heartwarming story will charm readers while resonating with issues that are so relevant today.

This is one my mother would have called “a nice story”. It made me cry.

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to read and share about it!

(Net Galley ARC received for free)

B.A.Paris’ THE DILEMMA

I’m happy to finally be able to share a great summer read by one of my fave authors: B.A. Paris’ The Dilemma. I received this book months ago from St. Martin’s Press via Net Galley. (thank you!!).

In this novel, two people are keeping secrets in order to keep others blindly happy, but their worlds are about to come tumbling down. Don’t want to say more and give anything away!

This story was a bit different from B.A. Paris’ last ones. I loved the suspense of her earlier works and the intensity. This is more a story with psychological suspense, but it’s heart-breaking, and it touches on the base elements of family life and relationships. I really liked it and read it in one evening because I couldn’t put it down.

(via Amazon)

Knowing the truth will destroy her. Keeping it secret will destroy him.

It’s Livia’s 40th birthday, and her husband Adam is throwing her the party of a lifetime to make up for the wedding they never had. Everyone she loves will be there, except her daughter Marnie, who’s studying abroad. But Livia is secretly glad Marnie won’t be there.

Livia has recently uncovered a secret about their daughter which, if revealed, will shake the foundation of their family to its core. She needs to tell Adam, but she’s waiting until the party is over so they can have this last happy time together.

Adam, meanwhile, has his own surprise for Livia: he’s arranged for Marnie to secretly fly back for the party. But before Marnie arrives, Adam hears some terrible news. Now he too is faced with a dilemma: Does he share what he’s learned with his wife? Is hiding the truth the same as telling a lie? And how far are Adam and Livia willing to go to protect the ones they love―and give each other a last few hours of happiness?

This book published today – June 30, 2020. It’s a great summer read!

Wedding at the Lakeside Resort by Susan Schild

I was lucky to be part of the early reading team for this title and I just loved it! I love this series and I relate so much to the main character, Jenny, who has found a new career and love post-40. In this installment, Jenny and Luke are planning their wedding but Luke is tied up with work, Jenny doesn’t really want to have a big shin-dig and has lots to do with running the resort, and who is mucking up the neighbor’s abandoned property? Jenny and Luke keep their spirits high while dealing with the intricacies of life, romance, work, and impending nuptials. And they have two lovable dogs and a miniature horse named Levi. Every time I read one of these books I just want to have a miniature horse – adorable!


Clean reading and heart-warming!

Thank you SO much for letting me in early on this one, Ms. Schild, and for my e-ARC! Happy Pub Day – June 25!

Harlequin Summer Reads Tour for Stranger in the Lake by Kimberly Belle

I’m thrilled to take part in the Harlequin Summer Reads tour with Stranger in the Lake by Kimberly Belle. This was a suspenseful read and just perfect for the summer!

Here’s the overview:


When Charlotte married the wealthy widower Paul, it caused a ripple of gossip in their small lakeside town. They have a charmed life together, despite the cruel whispers about her humble past and his first marriage. But everything starts to unravel when she discovers a young
woman’s body floating in the exact same spot where Paul’s first wife tragically drowned.
At first, it seems like a horrific coincidence, but the stranger in the lake is no stranger. Charlotte saw Paul talking to her the day before, even though Paul tells the police he’s never met the woman. His lie exposes cracks in their fragile new marriage, cracks Charlotte is determined to keep from breaking them in two.
As Charlotte uncovers dark mysteries about the man she married, she doesn’t know what to trust—her heart, which knows Paul to be a good man, or her growing suspicion that there’s something he’s hiding in the water.

***********************************

Me again! If you follow me, you know I love a good, suspenseful read and I’m always particularly excited if I don’t “figure it all out” in the first half of the book! I did not figure this one out early and I enjoyed Ms. Belle’s writing, pacing, and plot-line.

Highly recommended for a fast, suspenseful read that is great for poolside!

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

About the Author:
Kimberly Belle is the USA Today and internationally bestselling author of six novels, including the forthcoming Stranger in the Lake (June 2020). Her third novel, The Marriage Lie, was a semifinalist in the 2017 Goodreads Choice Awards for Best Mystery & Thriller, and a #1 e-book
bestseller in the UK and Italy. She’s sold rights to her books in a dozen languages as well as film and television options. A graduate of Agnes Scott College, Belle divides her time between Atlanta and Amsterdam.

From the Tour (please note that purchasing links are NOT affiliated with BBNB but have been sent from Harlequin):

Social Links:
Author website: https://www.kimberlybellebooks.com/
Facebook: @KimberlyBelleBooks
Twitter: @KimberlySBelle
Instagram: @kimberlysbelle
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/kimberlybelle

Buy Links:
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07WNX6ZZS
Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/stranger-in-the-lake-kimberly-
belle/1133065677
Bookshop: https://bookshop.org/books/stranger-in-the-lake-original/9780778309819?aid=0
IndieBound: https://www.indiebound.org/book/9780778309819
Books-A-Million: https://www.booksamillion.com/p/Stranger-Lake/Kimberly-
Belle/9780778309819
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/stranger-in-the-lake
AppleBooks: https://books.apple.com/us/book/stranger-in-the-lake/id1477319023

Little Secrets by Jennifer Hillier

I heard about this book when I was at my online bookclub with my friend Amy at her site – http://www.momadvice.com – and we were talking about Mary Kubica’s new book (The Other Mrs – reviewed here: https://drbethnolan.com/2020/04/05/the-other-mrs-by-mary-kubica/ ). Ms. Kubica said she had just read Little Secrets and it was very good so I got it from Net Galley (lucky me!).

What a read! It was suspenseful and thrilling and scary but not too graphic or disturbing. I don’t usually read things about missing children as it gives me nightmares, but this was okay for me. I feel that Ms. Hellier (new author to me) did such a great job in describing the main characters feelings and depression while she is caught in a horrific limbo of not knowing what happened to her child.

So glad I picked this one up! Thank you, St. Martin’s Press!

Here’s the overview:

Description

“Unflinching and unforgettable. Little Secrets has everything you want in a thriller” —Riley Sager, New York Times bestselling author of Lock Every Door

Overwhelmed by tragedy, a woman desperately tries to save her marriage in award-winning author Jennifer Hillier’s Little Secrets, a riveting novel of psychological suspense.


All it takes to unravel a life is one little secret…

Marin had the perfect life. Married to her college sweetheart, she owns a chain of upscale hair salons, and Derek runs his own company. They’re admired in their community and are a loving family—until their world falls apart the day their son Sebastian is taken.

A year later, Marin is a shadow of herself. The FBI search has gone cold. The publicity has faded. She and her husband rarely speak. She hires a P.I. to pick up where the police left off, but instead of finding Sebastian, she learns that Derek is having an affair with a younger woman. This discovery sparks Marin back to life. She’s lost her son; she’s not about to lose her husband, too. Kenzie is an enemy with a face, which means this is a problem Marin can fix.

Permanently.

Harlequin Blog Tour for Truths I Never Told You by Kelly Rimmer

I’m thrilled to be part of the Harlequin blog tour for the new novel by Kelly Rimmer: Truths I Never Told You.

Here’s the overview:

ABOUT THE BOOK:

After finding disturbing journal pages that suggest her late mother didn’t die in a car accident as her father had always maintained, Beth Walsh begins a search for answers to the question — what really happened to their mother? With the power and relevance of Jodi Picoult and Lisa Jewell, Rimmer pens a provocative novel told by two women a generation apart, the struggles they unwittingly shared, and a family mystery that may unravel everything they believed to be true.

With her father recently moved to a care facility because of worsening signs of dementia, Beth Walsh volunteers to clear out the family home to prepare it for sale. Why shouldn’t she be the one, after all? Her three siblings are all busy with their families and successful careers, and Beth is on maternity leave after giving birth to Noah, their miracle baby. It took her and her husband Hunter years to get pregnant, but now that they have Noah, Beth can only feel panic. And leaving Noah with her in-laws while she pokes about in their father’s house gives her a perfect excuse not to have to deal with motherhood.

Beth is surprised to discover the door to their old attic playroom padlocked, and even more shocked to see what’s behind it – a hoarder’s mess of her father’s paintings, mounds of discarded papers, and miscellaneous junk. Her father was the most fastidious, everything-in-its-place man, and this chaos makes no sense. As she picks through the clutter, she finds a handwritten note attached to one of the paintings, in what appears to be in her late mother’s handwriting. Beth and her siblings grew up believing Grace Walsh died in a car accident when they were little more than toddlers, but this note suggests something much darker may be true. A frantic search uncovers more notes, seemingly a series of loose journal entries that paint a very disturbing portrait of a woman in profound distress, and of a husband that bears very little resemblance to the father Beth and her siblings know.

A fast-paced, harrowing look at the fault in memories and the lies that can bond families together – or tear them apart.

*******************************************

I really enjoyed this book and found the glimpse into post-partum depression very interesting. Personally, this was not part of my experience and what the author portrays through both the protagonist and her mother just made me so sympathetic for those who go through this.

There is a whole theme in this book that is about women’s reproductive rights and choices with their bodies and I think it would make for a good though possibly heated book club discussion, depending on your own thoughts and beliefs. Regardless, Grace’s story will stay with you long after you finish reading and I kept thinking about these characters after the novel was done.

Thank you for making me part of the tour, Harlequin, and for my e-copy through Net Galley. I look forward to reading more novels by this incredible author!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Kelly Rimmer is the worldwide and USA TODAY bestselling author of Before I Let You Go, Me Without You, and The Secret Daughter. She lives in rural Australia with her husband, two children and fantastically naughty dogs, Sully and Basil. Her novels have been translated into more than twenty languages. Please visit her at www.Kelly.Rimmer.com 

SOCIAL LINKS:
Facebook: @Kellymrimmer

Twitter: @KelRimmerWrites

Instagram: @kelrimmerwrites

BUY LINKS: provided by the tour and not affiliate links for BBNB

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Truths-I-Never-ToldYou/dp/152580460X/ref=tmm_pap_title_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1573152440&sr=8-1

IndieBound: https://www.indiebound.org/book/9781525804601

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/truths-i-never-told-you-kelly-rimmer/1132362557?ean=9781525804601

Apple Books: https://books.apple.com/us/book/truths-i-never-told-you/id1460246211

Books-A-Million: https://www.booksamillion.com/p/Truths-Never-Told/KellyRimmer/9781525804601?id=7731552460675

Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details?id=x1-TDwAAQBAJ

The Other Mrs. by Mary Kubica

My good friend Amy runs an online book group through her site “Mom Advice” (look on Facebook for Mom Advice Book Group). She was having an author interview this past week with Mary Kubica. I loved her The Good Girl so I quickly got her new book The Other Mrs. and read it for the meeting!

Here’s the overview from Amazon:

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

Coming to Netflix!

“Altogether unpredictable.” —Karin Slaughter,New York Timesbestselling author

Propulsive and addictive, and perfect for fans of “You,” The Other Mrs.is the twisty new psychological thriller from Mary Kubica, the New York Times bestselling author of The Good Girl

Sadie and Will Foust have only just moved their family from bustling Chicago to small-town Maine when their neighbor Morgan Baines is found dead in her home. The murder rocks their tiny coastal island, but no one is more shaken than Sadie.

But it’s not just Morgan’s death that has Sadie on edge. And as the eyes of suspicion turn toward the new family in town, Sadie is drawn deeper into the mystery of what really happened that dark and deadly night. But Sadie must be careful, for the more she discovers about Mrs. Baines, the more she begins to realize just how much she has to lose if the truth ever comes to light.

“Brilliant!” —Liv Constantine, bestselling author of The Last Mrs. Parrish

“Kubica’s best book yet.” —Sarah Pekkanen, #1 New York Timesbestselling co-author ofAn Anonymous Girl

Look for these other pulse-pounding thrillers by New York Times bestselling author Mary Kubica:
The Good Girl
Pretty Baby
Don’t You Cry
Every Last Lie
When the Lights Go Out

What a read!! I LOVE suspenseful books with twists that keep you guessing and this was one of them! I will admit that at 24% on my kindle, I had figured out what was going on with the main character, but I chalk that up to the fact that I have a lot of experience in the field of psychology. I was surprised at some of the other twists, and when Ms. Kubica was speaking with Amy, she said that she tries to put in several different twists so that if you figure out the main one, then you aren’t deflated for the rest of the book.

All the time she was speaking, I was impressed with how friendly and normal Mary Kubica seems. She lives in the Chicago area, so she sets many books there. She has a family. She loves and adopts cats. She seems like the friendly, Midwestern type — not a megastar author!

I will give her credit for “doing it again” with The Other Mrs.!

Find this book at a bookstore near you or online. I got mine at Amazon for my kindle.

Find my friend Amy (who is super popular and runs a blog dedicated to budget crunches, crafts, and a few other things at http://www.momadvice.com)

Find Mary Kubica at marykubica.com

Thanks for hosting a fun book group chat, Amy!!

*trigger warning for abuse/child abuse

HFVBTour for DRAGON LADY by Autumn Bardot

I’m excited to be part of the Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tour for Autumn Bardot’s crazy good novel: DRAGON LADY. It’s got pirates, adventure, romance, and excitement and is based on the true story of the infamous Asian lady pirate: Zheng Yi Sao.

Here’s the overview:

Prostitution required the violation of my body. Piracy required my soul. The first enslaved me. The second set me free.

A young girl is taken from her home and sold into slavery to a floating brothel. Xianggu begins as a servant, but soon her virginity is bought by the highest bidder. Ambitious and determined, she learns the business in hopes of earning her freedom from the madam. Her dreams are washed away when a midnight pirate raid changes her life.

Kidnapped by the notorious Red Flag boss, Xianggu embarks on a journey that demands beauty, brains, and brawn. But Xianggu must do more than learn to wield a sword, sail a ship, and swim across the bay, she must become indispensable to the pirate boss if she hopes to survive. The winds, however, never blow in the same direction, and Xianggu must make a decision that requires her to battle jealous men, ancient prejudices, and her own heart.

The triumph of the notorious Zheng Yi Sao is a sexy, fierce, and unflinchingly realistic story of how a prostitute became the most powerful and successful pirate in the world.

In 18th century China, when men made and enforced the rules, the Dragon Lady lived by her own.

Even though there is violence in this book (physical and sexual) and also sexually explicit scenes (fair warning), I loved this story and couldn’t help but admire Xiang gu. She was a definite bad a** woman of history! I had not read anything by Autumn Bardot before, but I found this engaging and well-written and definitely well-researched.

Here’s a bit about Ms. Bardot:

About the Author
Autumn Bardot writes historical fiction and erotica about sassy women and daring passions!
Her erotic fiction includes Legends of Lust, Erotic Myths from around the World, published by Cleis Press. Confessions of a Sheba Queen (erotica) will be available Jan 2020.
The Impaler’s Wife, her debut historical fiction, released in April 2019.
Autumn has a BA in English literature and a MaEd in curriculum and instruction. She’s been teaching literary analysis for fourteen years
When Autumn’s not writing or working, you’ll find her hanging out with her ever-growing family, spoiled husband, and pampered rescue pooch. Her favorite things include salty French fries, coffee, swimming, and a great book.

Highly recommended for those who like this genre!

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

For My Ears: Searching for Sylvie Lee by Jean Kwok

INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

A READ WITH JENNA • TODAY SHOW BOOK CLUB PICK 

NAMED A MOST ANTICIPATED BOOK BY New York Times • Time • Marie Claire • Elle • Buzzfeed • Huffington Post • Good Housekeeping • The Week • Goodreads • New York Post • Publishers Weekly and many more

“This is a true beach read! You can’t put it down!” – Jenna Bush Hager, Today Show Book Club Pick

“Powerful  . . . A twisting tale of love, loss, and dark family secrets.”  — Paula Hawkins, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Girl on the Train and Into the Water

A poignant and suspenseful drama that untangles the complicated ties binding three women—two sisters and their mother—in one Chinese immigrant family and explores what happens when the eldest daughter disappears, and a series of family secrets emerge, from the New York Times bestselling author of Girl in Translation

It begins with a mystery. Sylvie, the beautiful, brilliant, successful older daughter of the Lee family, flies to the Netherlands for one final visit with her dying grandmother—and then vanishes.

Amy, the sheltered baby of the Lee family, is too young to remember a time when her parents were newly immigrated and too poor to keep Sylvie. Seven years older, Sylvie was raised by a distant relative in a faraway, foreign place, and didn’t rejoin her family in America until age nine. Timid and shy, Amy has always looked up to her sister, the fierce and fearless protector who showered her with unconditional love.

But what happened to Sylvie? Amy and her parents are distraught and desperate for answers. Sylvie has always looked out for them. Now, it’s Amy’s turn to help. Terrified yet determined, Amy retraces her sister’s movements, flying to the last place Sylvie was seen. But instead of simple answers, she discovers something much more valuable: the truth. Sylvie, the golden girl, kept painful secrets . . . secrets that will reveal more about Amy’s complicated family—and herself—than she ever could have imagined.

A deeply moving story of family, secrets, identity, and longing, Searching for Sylvie Lee is both a gripping page-turner and a sensitive portrait of an immigrant family. It is a profound exploration of the many ways culture and language can divide us and the impossibility of ever truly knowing someone—especially those we love.

******************************

School is in session, which means I’m spending over two hours a day in the car, commuting and listening to audiobooks. I had heard through the blogosphere that this was a good novel, so I purchased it with my audible credit. What a great book! It’s rare that a novel will hold my attention constantly while I’m driving, but this one did. I loved Jean Kwok’s writing and this story of two sisters, which is part mystery, part story of a Chinese immigrant family. I loved the characters and even though this was a sad story, it was beautiful, too.

This book moves about in time and is aptly told in three voices (with three different narrators) – Sylvie, her sister Amy, and their mother.

Apparently it’s a Today Show bookclub book, too.

Highly recommended!