Thursday, June 30, 2016

Exclusive Sneak Peek of How Secrets Die by Marta Perry + Giveaway (US/Can only)

How Secrets Die
Marta Perry

As Laurel Ridge embraces a stranger hungry for answers, a sinister truth is awakened

A hard-hitting reporter, Kate Beaumont unearths the deepest lies and brings harsh truths to light. But the story that lures her to the gentle town of Laurel Ridge, Pennsylvania, is closer to her heart than anyone knows. The details of her half brother’s sudden death have never made sense. She owes him justice, yet the one man who can help her is the stubborn sheriff she can’t stand.

Protecting his town is Mac Whiting’s top priority. Everything else—including pacifying a beautiful crusader on a mission best left resting in peace—is secondary. But as Kate’s search embeds her in his world and attracts a skilled criminal, she needs Mac’s protection. Drawn together by deadly secrets, they must find a way to trust each other before a killer silences them both.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Top 5 Reasons New York Makes the Perfect Romance Novel Setting by Sarah Morgan, Author of Sleepless in Manhattan + Giveaway (US/Can only)

Sleepless in Manhattan (From Manhattan with Love #1)
Lindsay McKenna

USA TODAY bestselling author Sarah Morgan introduces a sizzling new trilogy about three best friends embracing life—and love—in Manhattan

Cool, calm and competent, events planner Paige Walker loves a challenge. After a childhood spent in and out of hospitals, she’s now determined to prove herself—and where better to take the world by storm than in the exhilarating bustle of Manhattan? But when Paige is let go from the job she loves, she must face her biggest challenge of all—going it alone.

Except launching her own events company is nothing compared to hiding her outrageous crush on Jake Romano—her brother’s best friend, New York’s most in-demand date, and the only man to break her heart. When Jake offers Paige’s fledgling company a big chance, their still-sizzling chemistry starts giving her sleepless nights. But can she convince the man who trusts no one to take a chance on forever?

Monday, June 27, 2016

Top 5 Novels That Influenced My Life and Writing by Lucie Whitehouse, Author of Keep You Close + Giveaway (US/Can only)

Keep You Close
Lucie Whitehouse

When the artist Marianne Glass falls to her death, everyone insists it was a tragic accident. Yet Rowan Winter, once her closest friend, suspects there is more to the story. Ever since she was young, Marianne had paralyzing vertigo. She would never have gone so close to the roof's edge.

Marianne—and the whole Glass family—once meant everything to Rowan. For a teenage girl, motherless with a much-absent father, this lively, intellectual household represented a world of glamour and opportunity.

But since their estrangement, Rowan knows only what the papers reported about Marianne's life: her swift ascent in the London art world, her much-scrutinized romance with her gallerist. If she wants to discover the truth about her death, Rowan needs to know more. Was Marianne in distress? In danger? And so she begins to seek clues—in Marianne's latest work, her closest relationships, and her new friendship with an iconoclastic fellow artist.

But the deeper Rowan goes, the more sinister everything seems. And a secret in the past only she knows makes her worry about her own fate...

Friday, June 24, 2016

Exclusive Sneak Peek of Defender by Diana Palmer + Giveaway (US/Can only)

Defender
Diana Palmer

The man who shattered her trust is back to protect her... New York Times bestselling author Diana Palmer delivers a breathtaking story of second-chance love.

When Paul Fiore disappeared from Isabel Grayling’s life, he told himself it was for all the right reasons. She was young and innocent, and he was her millionaire father’s lowly employee. Three years on, Paul is the FBI agent assigned to Isabel’s case. Too late, he realizes what life in her Texas mansion was really like back then—and how much damage he did when he left.

Once love-struck and sheltered, Isabel has become an assistant district attorney committed to serving the law, no matter how risky it gets. But right now, the man she can’t forgive is the one thing standing between her and a deadly stalker. She knows Paul won’t hesitate to protect her life with his own. But if she can’t trust herself to resist him, how can she trust him not to break her heart all over again?

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Riverbend Road by RaeAnne Thayne Giveaway (US only)

Riverbend Road (Haven Point #4)
RaeAnne Thayne

Return to Haven Point, where New York Times bestselling author RaeAnne Thayne proves there’s no sweeter place to fall in love...

Protecting the streets of Haven Point isn’t just a job for police officer Wyn Bailey, it’s a family tradition. But lately she’s found herself wanting more, especially from her boss—and overprotective brother’s best friend—sexy chief of police, Cade Emmett. The only problem is getting Cade to view her as more than just a little sister.

Cade’s hands-off approach with Wyn isn’t from lack of attraction. But his complicated past has forced him to conceal his desire. When Wyn is harmed in the line of duty, Cade realizes the depth of his feelings, but can he let his guard down long enough to embrace the love he secretly craves?

Giveaway!


Books à la Mode is giving away one print copy of Riverbend Road—yay!!

To enter, all you have to do is tell me:
What is your favorite trivia fact? Whether it's insightful or random/pointless, please share!
One I learned recently gave me perspective on how big a "billion" is: one million seconds is around 11 days, but one billion seconds is over 31 years!

Please make your comment MEANINGFUL. Comments solely consisting of stock responses or irrelevant fluff like "Thanks for the giveaway!" will not be considered for entry. RaeAnne and I really want to hear from you guys! :)

Don't forget the entry eligibility terms and conditions!
Sponsored wholly by the publicist—a huge thank you to the lovely folks at Little Bird Publicity!
Giveaway ends July 7th at 11.59 PM (your time).
Open to US readers only. Sorry, everyone else! Please check my sidebar for a list of currently running giveaways that are open internationally. There are plenty to choose from!
Void where prohibited.
Winners have 48 hours to claim their prize once they are chosen, or else their winnings will be forfeited.
Although I do randomly select winners, I am in no way responsible for prizes, nor for shipping and handling.
As a reminder, you do not have to follow my blog to enter, though it is always very much appreciated ❤
Good luck!

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

The Woman in the Photo by Mary Hogan Giveaway (US/Can only)

The Woman in the Photo
Mary Hogan

In this compulsively readable historical novel, from the author of the critically-acclaimed Two Sisters, comes the story of two young women—one in America’s Gilded Age, one in scrappy modern-day California—whose lives are linked by a single tragic afternoon in history.

1888: Elizabeth Haberlin, of the Pittsburgh Haberlins, spends every summer with her family on a beautiful lake in an exclusive club. Nestled in the Allegheny Mountains above the working class community of Johnstown, Pennsylvania, the private retreat is patronized by society’s elite. Elizabeth summers with Carnegies, Mellons, and Fricks, following the rigid etiquette of her class. But Elizabeth is blessed (cursed) with a mind of her own. Case in point: her friendship with Eugene Eggar, a Johnstown steel mill worker. And when Elizabeth discovers that the club’s poorly maintained dam is about to burst and send 20 million tons of water careening down the mountain, she risks all to warn Eugene and the townspeople in the lake’s deadly shadow.

Present day: On her 18th birthday, genetic information from Lee Parker’s closed adoption is unlocked. She also sees an old photograph of a genetic relative—a 19th century woman with hair and eyes likes hers—standing in a pile of rubble from an ecological disaster next to none other than Clara Barton, the founder of the American Red Cross. Determined to identify the woman in the photo and unearth the mystery of that captured moment, Lee digs into history. Her journey takes her from California to Johnstown, Pennsylvania, from her present financial woes to her past of privilege, from the daily grind to an epic disaster. Once Lee’s heroic DNA is revealed, will she decide to forge a new fate?

Giveaway!


Books à la Mode is giving away one print copy of The Woman in the Photo—yay!!

To enter, all you have to do is tell me in the comments below:
What is your favorite photograph from either your own collection or from your family's? If you have a digital copy, please feel free to share it with us!
Please make your comment MEANINGFUL. Comments solely consisting of stock responses or irrelevant fluff like "Thanks for the giveaway!" will not be considered for entry. Mary and I really want to hear from you guys! :)

It isn't a picture of me, but of my mother when she was very young, maybe 5 or 6 years old. She was a pageant child (which I didn't know!!) so it was a photograph of her all dolled upmakeup, gown, and everything. It was unexpected to learn about her childhood this way, and also super cute to see that side of her!

Don't forget the entry eligibility terms and conditions!
Sponsored wholly by the publisher—a huge thank you to the lovely folks at HarperCollins!
Giveaway ends July 5th at 11.59 PM (your time).
Open to US and Canada readers only—sorry, everyone else! Please check my sidebar for the list of currently running giveaways that are open worldwide. There are plenty to choose from!
Void where prohibited.
Winners have 48 hours to claim their prize once they are chosen, or else their winnings will be forfeited.
Although I do randomly select winners, I am in no way responsible for prizes, nor for shipping and handling.
As a reminder, you do not have to follow my blog to enter, though it is always very much appreciated ❤
Good luck!

Monday, June 20, 2016

Midsummer's Eve Giveaway Hop 2016 (Open Internationally!)

The 2016 Midsummer's Eve Giveaway Hop, hosted by BookHounds, works like this: each participating blog hosts a giveaway and then we link up together allowing our followers to hop easily from one giveaway to another. For followers, it means lots of chances to win free books. For blogs hosting giveaways, it means lots of new visitors and followers. It's a win-win! The Midsummer's Eve Giveaway Hop is scheduled from June 21st at 12.01 AM until June 30th at 11:59 PM (your time).


The Prizes


One lucky follower will win their choice of ANY book from their wishlist. Any book you want! The catch? It must a book that was released in the past month, or will be coming out this summer!


As always, winner gets to choose between eBook or print. Print copies will ship directly from The Book Depository to accommodate international shipping.

What would you choose if you won?

And yes, we'll have ANOTHER winner for this amazing set of eBooks:

That's two winners total! Woohoo!!!!

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Interview with Amulya Malladi, Author of A House for Happy Mothers + Giveaway (US/Can only)

I'd like to welcome Amulya Malladi to the blog today to celebrate the exciting release of A House for Happy Mothers from Lake Union!

Welcome to Books à la Mode, Amulya! Let's get this interview started.

Will you please share a brief introduction with us?

Amulya Malladi is the author of six novels, including The Sound of Language and The Mango Season. Her books have been translated into several languages, including Dutch, German, Spanish, Danish, Romanian, Serbian, and Tamil. She has a bachelor’s degree in engineering and a master’s degree in journalism. When she’s not writing, she works as a marketing executive for a global medical device company. She lives in Copenhagen with her husband and two children.

It's my pleasure! It's amazing to get to feature you today! Readers, here's a bit about the book, which just hit shelves in paperback earlier this month:

A stunning new novel—full of wit and warmth—from the bestselling author of The Mango Season.

In trendy Silicon Valley, Priya has everything she needs—a loving husband, a career, and a home—but the one thing she wants most is the child she’s unable to have. In a Southern Indian village, Asha doesn’t have much—raising two children in a tiny hut, she and her husband can barely keep a tin roof over their heads—but she wants a better education for her gifted son. Pressured by her family, Asha reluctantly checks into the Happy Mothers House: a baby farm where she can rent her only asset—her womb—to a childless couple overseas. To the dismay of friends and family, Priya places her faith in a woman she’s never met to make her dreams of motherhood come true.

Together, the two women discover the best and the worst that India’s rising surrogacy industry has to offer, bridging continents and cultures to bring a new life into the world—and renewed hope to each other.

What was the inspiration for the plot of A House for Happy Mothers?

The plot is based on real life. My book is about surrogacy, the emotional toll, the business end of things, and the impact on both the biological and surrogate mother. The whole thing started when I saw a documentary on BBC about a British woman using an Indian surrogate. And then the story started to evolve—the biological mother came first and then the surrogate mother—and then they told their own story, one alternate chapter at a time.

How much of your characters are based off people you know in real life?

Characters are always based on real people; it’s never a direct “translation” of personality but a cocktail of real people and my imagination.

Blog babes, click "Read more" to find out the first line of A House for Happy Mothers, a behind-the-scenes look at how the title came about, and the story to Amulya's publishing journey. We're also hosting a giveaway for a finished copy of A House for Happy Mothers, so you don't want to miss that either!

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Why I Wrote Rebel Sisters by Marita Conlon-McKenna + Giveaway (open INT!)

Rebel Sisters
Marita Conlon-McKenna

Published for the 100th anniversary of the Easter Rising, Rebel Sisters is the Number One Irish bestseller from award-winning novelist Marita Conlon-McKenna, who writes with all the emotional depth and warmth of Maeve Binchy.

With the threat of the First World War looming, tension simmers under the surface of Ireland.

Growing up in the privileged confines of Dublin’s leafy Rathmines, the bright, beautiful Gifford sisters Grace, Muriel, and Nellie kick against the conventions of their wealthy Anglo-Irish background and their mother Isabella’s expectations. Soon, as war erupts across Europe, the spirited sisters find themselves caught up in their country’s struggle for freedom.

Muriel falls deeply in love with writer Thomas MacDonagh, artist Grace meets the enigmatic Joe Plunkett—both leaders of "The Rising"—while Nellie joins the Citizen Army and bravely takes up arms, fighting alongside Countess Constance Markievicz in the rebellion.

On Easter Monday, 1916, the biggest uprising in Ireland for two centuries begins. The world of the Gifford sisters and everyone they hold dear will be torn apart in a fight that is destined for tragedy.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Top 10 Secrets Behind Saving Abby by Steena Holmes + Giveaway (US/Can only)

Saving Abby
Steena Holmes

All children’s book illustrator Claire Turner ever wanted was to be a mother. After six years of trying to conceive, she and her husband, Josh, have finally accepted that she will never be pregnant with a child of their own.

Yet once they give up hope, the couple gets the miracle they’ve been waiting for. For the first few months of her pregnancy, Claire and Josh are living on cloud nine. But when she begins to experience debilitating headaches, blurred vision, and even fainting spells, the soon-to-be mother goes to the doctor and receives a terrifying diagnosis. Since any treatment could put their unborn baby’s life at risk, the Turners must carefully weigh their limited options. And as her symptoms worsen, Claire will have to make an impossible decision: Save her own life, or save her child’s?

USA Today and New York Times bestselling author Steena Holmes brings us an unforgettable story of one woman’s courage and love.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Top 5 Novels That Influenced My Writing by Delores Fossen, Author of Lone Star Nights + Giveaway (US/Can only)

Lone Star Nights (The McCord Brothers #2)
Delores Fossen

No strings attached is pretty much Lucky McCord’s calling card in Spring Hill, Texas, but when family is on the line, this cowboy’s honor and heart are about to get lassoed, tied and branded

Every family needs its black sheep, and Austin “Lucky” McCord is happy to oblige. The bad-boy bull rider lives fast and loose, until his business partner leaves him an unexpected bequest. Suddenly Lucky is sharing custody of two children with Cassie Weatherall, one of the few homegrown women he hasn’t bedded. And not from lack of trying...

Cassie fled her messy past to become a celebrity therapist in LA. So why does it feel so right to come back and share parenting duties—and chrome-melting kisses—with a man she’s striven to avoid? Loving Lucky always seemed like a sure bet for heartache. But for this perfectly imperfect family, Cassie might just gamble with everything she’s got.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

8 Heart Review: He Will Be My Ruin by K.A. Tucker

He Will Be My Ruin
K.A. Tucker

Page Count: 340

Release Date: February 2nd, 2016
Publisher: Atria Books (Simon & Schuster)
Source: Complimentary copy provided by tour publicist via publisher in exchange for an honest and unbiased review (thank you, TLC Book Tours and Atria Books!)
Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥
A woman who almost had it all...

On the surface, Celine Gonzalez had everything a twenty-eight-year-old woman could want: a one-bedroom apartment on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, a job that (mostly) paid the bills, and an acceptance letter to the prestigious Hollingsworth Institute of Art, where she would finally live out her dream of becoming an antiques appraiser for a major auction house. All she had worked so hard to achieve was finally within her reach. So why would she kill herself?

A man who was supposed to be her salvation...

Maggie Sparkes arrives in New York City to pack up what’s left of her best friend’s belongings after a suicide that has left everyone stunned. The police have deemed the evidence conclusive: Celine got into bed, downed a lethal cocktail of pills and vodka, and never woke up. But when Maggie discovers a scandalous photograph in a lock box hidden in Celine’s apartment, she begins asking questions. Questions about the man Celine fell in love with. The man she never told anyone about, not even Maggie. The man Celine believed would change her life.

Until he became her ruin.

On the hunt for evidence that will force the police to reopen the case, Maggie uncovers more than she bargained for about Celine’s private life—and inadvertently puts herself on the radar of a killer. A killer who will stop at nothing to keep his crimes undiscovered.
The car hits an especially deep pothole, rattling my bones. I've been trapped in here for so long. Hours. Days. I have no idea. Long enough to run through every mistake that I made.
How I trusted him, how I fell for his charm, how I believed his lies. How I made it so easy for him, by letting him get close.
How Celine made it so easy for him, by letting him get close.
Before he killed her.
Just like he's going to kill me.

Maggie's life has always been a privileged breeze, being the sole heiress to Sparkes Energy and all. Money has never been a roadblock for her because she's always had it. Her best friend from childhood on the other hand, Celine, led a different life. A life so veiled and desperate that Maggie knew nothing about until discovering her old diaries in the wake of her purported suicide.

Upon hearing the news, Maggie uproots herself from her charity work—a self-professed duty only to combat the immorality of her family's money-grubbing energy empire—and moves into Celine's Manhattan apartment to help pack up her belongings. An antiques fanatic at heart and appraiser by trade, Celine left behind pieces that must amass to a fortune, and it's Maggie's responsibility to take care of it all. It isn't until she discovers tidbits of Celine's private life and the things she did to survive in the nasty slew of the city, that Maggie's suspicions that Celine's death was not a suicide are confirmed. Celine had so much going for her, so much to look forward to, both in her professional and personal life. Immediately, Maggie points her finger in the direction of murder, and sets off to find out everything she can about Celine's secret lover—the man she claims was her ruin.

He Will Be My Ruin spins the tragedy of an unexpected death into a murder mystery that unfolds with a furor. Maggie is determined to go to any length to find out the truth about her best friend, unknowingly stepping straight into the high-risk, greed-fueled minefield that got Celine killed in the first place. K.A. Tucker knows how to tell a suspenseful story; the plot moves quickly with surprising discoveries and dark revelations peppered throughout, as Maggie enters this unfamiliar, dangerous game.

I had no trouble getting through this book, and was definitely satisfied with its unpredictable outcome and frequent red herrings. So many complicated facets of Maggie's and Celine's lives are introduced to the backdrop of the crime, so while reading, there is no knowing of what matters in the case, and what has no relevance at all. A sizzling romantic distraction muddles Maggie's focus and creates a conflict of interest, while the emotional disaster she experiences when finding out about Celine's secret life almost destroys her.

That said, I wasn't particularly affected by most of the layers of the story. The emotional tragedy, I understood, and the unraveling of Celine's murderer, I found chilling, but after I finished the book I felt like not much stuck with me. The characters are rather simple and formulaic (with the exception of the late Celine, who always finds a way to surprise the reader), and Tucker's writing style rather gratuitous with lots of superficial details. Regardless, it's an enjoyable story overall that will have you squirming in the moment as Maggie narrows down the harrowing possibilities in her crime-solving spree.

In the end, she is forced to confront the scariest reality of them all: that the one person she trusted could be the person she should most fear, and that when it comes to murder, money, and sex, nothing is really what it seems to be on the surface.

Pros


Detailed and thorough in narration // Characters are deeply explored // Suspenseful, fast-paced // Lots of factors introduced that make the mystery unpredictable and complicated // Simple and easy to navigate structurally

Cons


Writing style, while effective, is slightly amateurish // I felt like I understood the characters well, but didn't really like any of them

Verdict


He Will Be My Ruin combines a blazing tumble of a romance with an emotionally charged murder mystery. Brimming with shocking discoveries and an ominous "sleeping with the enemy" vibe, K.A. Tucker's newest novel grapples with themes of morals and guilt, despair and desperation, and the fine hazards of money and art. While I didn't find this book to be mind-blowing, I guarantee it will keep you glued to its pages until Maggie's mission is complete... if it even ends well, that is Americanflag

8 hearts: An engaging read that will be worth your while; highly recommended (x)

Monday, June 6, 2016

Exclusive Sneak Peek of The Girl from The Savoy by Hazel Gaynor Giveaway (US only)

The Girl from The Savoy
Hazel Gaynor

Presenting a dazzling new historical novel... The Girl From The Savoy is as sparkling as champagne and as thrilling as the era itself.

"Sometimes life gives you cotton stockings. Sometimes it gives you a Chanel gown..."

Dolly Lane is a dreamer; a downtrodden maid who longs to dance on the London stage, but her life has been fractured by the Great War. Memories of the soldier she loved, of secret shame and profound loss, by turns pull her back and spur her on to make a better life.

When she finds employment as a chambermaid at London’s grandest hotel, The Savoy, Dolly takes a step closer to the glittering lives of the Bright Young Things who thrive on champagne, jazz and rebellion. Right now, she must exist on the fringes of power, wealth and glamor—she must remain invisible and unimportant.

But her fortunes take an unexpected turn when she responds to a struggling songwriter’s advertisement for a "muse" and finds herself thrust into London’s exhilarating theatre scene and into the lives of celebrated actress, Loretta May, and her brother, Perry. Loretta and Perry may have the life Dolly aspires to, but they too are searching for something. Now, at the precipice of the life she has and the one she longs for, the girl from The Savoy must make difficult choices: between two men; between two classes, between everything she knows and everything she dreams of. A brighter future is tantalizingly close—but can a girl like Dolly ever truly leave her past behind?
Buy the book from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Book Depository | Books-a-Million | iTunes | Kobo | Google Play | Publisher



Lancashire, England
March 1916

In my heart, I always knew he would go; that they would all go, in the end. Now the dreaded day has arrived. Teddy is going to war and there is nothing I can do to prevent it.

Everything is a blur. I don’t remember eating breakfast. I don’t remember laying the fires or doing any of my usual chores. I don’t remember hanging up my apron or putting on my coat and hat. I’m not even sure I closed the door behind me as I set off for the station, but I must have done all these things because somehow I am here, standing on the platform, and he is pressing a bunch of daffodils into my hands. Somehow, he is really leaving.

“I’ll be back before you know it,” he says, brushing a tear from my cheek. “They won’t know what’s hit them when we arrive. Look at us. Tough as old boots!” I glance along the platform. The assembled conscripts look like frightened young boys. Not soldiers. Not tough at all. “I’ll be back for your birthday and I’ll take you to the village dance, just like last year. You’ll hardly notice I’m gone before I’m back.”

I want to believe him, but we all know the truth. Nobody comes back. The thought breaks my heart and I gasp to catch my breath through my tears.

Mam had warned me not to be getting all maudlin and sobbing on his shoulder. “You’re to be strong, Dorothy. Tell him how brave he is and how proud you are. No sniveling and wailing.” And here I am, doing everything she told me not to. I can’t help it. I don’t want to be proud. I don’t want to tell him how brave he is. I want to sink to my knees and wrap my arms around his ankles so that he can’t go anywhere. Not without me.

“We’ll be married in the summer and we’ll have little ’uns running around our feet and everything will be back to normal, Dolly. Just you and me and a quiet simple life. Just like we’ve always wanted.”

I nod and press my cheek to the thick fabric of his coat. A quiet simple life. Just like we’ve always wanted. I try to ignore the voice in my head that whispers to me of more than a quiet simple life, the voice that speaks of rowdy adventures waiting far away from here. “Head full of nonsense.” That’s what our Sarah says. She’s probably right. She usually is.

A loud hiss of steam pierces the subdued quiet of the platform, drowning out the muffled sobs. Doors start to slam as the men step into the carriages. Embraces end. Hands are prized agonizingly apart. It is time to let go.

I reach up onto my tiptoes and our lips meet in a last kiss. It isn’t lingering and passionate as I’ve imagined, but rushed and interrupted by my wretched sobs and the urgency of others telling Teddy to hurry along now. We part too soon and he is walking away from me. I can hardly see his face through the blur of my tears.

The shrill blast of the stationmaster’s whistle makes me jump. Mothers and daughters cling to each other. Wives clutch their children to their chests as they bravely wave their daddy good-bye. Great clouds of smoke billow around us and I cover my mouth with my handkerchief as the pistons yawn into life and begin turning on their cranks. The carriages jolt to attention, and he is going.

I start to move, my feet falling in time with the motion of the train, slow at first, and then a brisk walk. All along the platform, women and children reach out, clinging for all they are worth to prolong the very last touch of a coat sleeve, a fingertip, the last flutter of a white handkerchief. And I am jogging and then running, faster and faster, until I can’t keep up and he is gone.

He is gone.

He is gone.

I slow to a walk and stand among the suffocating smoke as my heart cracks into a thousand shards of helpless despair. Everything has changed. Everything will be different now.

I put my hands in my coat pockets, my fingers finding the piece of folded paper in each. I glance at the hastily scribbled note from Teddy in my right hand: Darling Little Thing, Don’t be sad. When the war is over, I’ll come back to you, back to Mawdesley. With you beside me, this is all the world I will ever need. I glance at the page in my left hand, ripped from the morning paper as I lay the fire in Madam’s bedroom. SOCIETY DARLING AND BRAVE NURSE VIRGINIA CLEMENTS REVEALED AS WEST END STAR LORETTA MAY! I look at her beautiful face and elegant clothes, the perfect image to accompany the glowing report of Cochran’s latest dazzling production and the enchanting new star of his chorus. I stare at the two pieces of paper. The life I know in one hand. The life I dream of in the other.

The church bells chime the hour. Time to go back to the Monday wash and the predictable routines that carve out the hours of a maid-of-all-work like me. Wiping the tears from my eyes, I fold the pages and return them to my pockets. I turn my back on the distant puffs of smoke from Teddy’s train and walk along the platform. The surface is icy and I go cautiously, my footing unsure. I slip a little, steady myself, and keep going. Crossing the tracks, I step onto the frosted grass verge that crunches satisfyingly beneath my boots. On firmer ground, my strides lengthen and I walk faster, and all the while the question nags and nags in my mind: Am I walking away from my future, or walking toward it?

I don’t have an answer. It is not mine to give.

War holds all the answers now.

Giveaway!


Books à la Mode is giving away one print copy of The Girl from The Savoy—yay!!

To enter, all you have to do is tell me:
What's one of the worst fashion blunders from your childhood (or adulthood!) you've made?
In middle school I exclusively wore skinny jeans as pants. Even if they were busting from the seams from being two sizes too tight, I'd rather be uncomfortable in them than bear to put on any other style of jeans. Sigh...

Please make your comment MEANINGFUL. Comments solely consisting of stock responses or irrelevant fluff like "Thanks for the giveaway!" will not be considered for entry. Hazel and I really want to hear from you guys! :)

Don't forget the entry eligibility terms and conditions!
Sponsored wholly by the publisher—a huge thank you to the lovely folks at William Morrow!
Giveaway ends June 20th at 11.59 PM (your time).
Open to US readers only. Sorry, everyone else! Please check my sidebar for a list of currently running giveaways that are open internationally. There are plenty to choose from!
Void where prohibited.
Winners have 48 hours to claim their prize once they are chosen, or else their winnings will be forfeited.
Although I do randomly select winners, I am in no way responsible for prizes, nor for shipping and handling.
As a reminder, you do not have to follow my blog to enter, though it is always very much appreciated ❤
Good luck!

Friday, June 3, 2016

The First Sentence of We’re All Damaged by Matthew Norman + Giveaway (US/Can only)

We’re All Damaged
Matthew Norman

Andy Carter was happy. He had a solid job. He ran 5Ks for charity. He was living a nice, safe Midwestern existence. And then his wife left him for a handsome paramedic down the street.

We’re All Damaged begins after Andy has lost his job, ruined his best friend’s wedding, and moved to New York City, where he lives in a tiny apartment with an angry cat named Jeter that isn’t technically his. But before long he needs to go back to Omaha to say good-bye to his dying grandfather.

Back home, Andy is confronted with his past, which includes his ex, his ex’s new boyfriend, his right-wing talk-radio-host mother, his parents’ crumbling marriage, and his still-angry best friend.

As if these old problems weren’t enough, Andy encounters an entirely new complication: Daisy. She has fifteen tattoos, no job, and her own difficult past. But she claims she is the only person who can help Andy be happy again, if only she weren’t hiding a huge secret that will mess things up even more. Andy Carter needs a second chance at life, and Daisy—and the person Daisy pushes Andy to become—may be his last chance to set things right.
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