Wednesday, October 26, 2016

7 Heart Review: The Life She Wants by Robyn Carr

The Life She Wants
Robyn Carr

Page Count: 368

Release Date: September 27th, 2016
Publisher: Harlequin Mira
Source: Complimentary copy provided by tour publicist in exchange for an honest and unbiased review (thank you, Little Bird Publicity!)
Rating♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥
#1 New York Times bestselling author Robyn Carr creates an emotional and uplifting ensemble of characters in this rags-to-riches-to-rags novel about women, friendship and the complex path to happiness

In the aftermath of her financier husband’s suicide, Emma Shay Compton’s dream life is shattered. Richard Compton stole his clients’ life savings to fund a lavish life in New York City and, although she was never involved in the business, Emma bears the burden of her husband’s crimes. She is left with nothing.

Only one friend stands by her, a friend she’s known since high school, who encourages her to come home to Sonoma County. But starting over isn’t easy, and Sonoma is full of unhappy memories, too. And people she’d rather not face, especially Riley Kerrigan.

Riley and Emma were like sisters—until Riley betrayed Emma, ending their friendship. Emma left town, planning to never look back. Now, trying to stand on her own two feet, Emma can’t escape her husband’s reputation and is forced to turn to the last person she thought she’d ever ask for help—her former best friend. It’s an uneasy reunion as both women face the mistakes they’ve made over the years. Only if they find a way to forgive each other—and themselves—can each of them find the life she wants.
Not many authors who started off with romance can write about friendships just as well, but Robyn Carr has always been one of the queens of women's fiction in my book. A few years ago, I read and loved Four Friends so I was excited to give her newest release a try.

The Life She Wants relays the messy, complicated lives of Riley Kerrigan and Emma Shay, two women who were once inseparable, but are now no longer on speaking terms. When Emma moves back to her hometown Sebastopol filled with shame, the two women are forced to confront each other due to several interfering factors: Emma's desperate need for employment following her husband's disgraceful scandal, as well as her intimate involvement with old acquaintances who are also very close to her former best friend.

I love how elaborate details of each of their lives contributed to the main conflict, rather than having the story focus exclusively on the backstory and slow rebuilding of the friendship itself. Riley faces unique challenges, like raising her teenage daughter as a single mother and running her cleaning company, while Emma has some burdens of her own, like coming to terms with her hurtful past and facing financial turmoil, not for the first time in her life. When their lives intersect in a familiar setting, a memory-ripe town in Sonoma, California, old feelings—old grudges, disappointments, miscommunications, and apologies—begin to surface, demonstrating that although home is somewhere you can escape from, it's a place that never escapes you.

The cast of supporting characters is amazing, each person just as fleshed out and complex as any of Robyn Carr's characters are. The twist on the classic fairy tale this book takes is really enjoyable too; from rags to riches to rags is exactly how I'd describe it, and it's an emotionally engaging journey all throughout. While not mind-blowing, this is definitely a Cinderella story, and not the kind you've read before, either.

Pros


Great integration of each character's subplots in the main theme of rekindling friendship // Easy to read; Carr never fails to impress me with her storytelling // A beautiful modern take on Cinderella // Strong, empowering women characters that are still likable and relatable—ironically, these are often hard to find in the romance and women's fiction genres!

Cons


The ending regarding Emma's financial insecurities seems a little too inconvenient // Riley is a bit of a stubborn character; I didn't care for her playing the victim card when she's the one who betrayed Emma to begin with // Predictable in terms of outcome

Love

"I'll get out of your hair as soon as I help you clean up the dishes. I know you're tired," he said.

"If I'm not that tired?" she asked.

He left at 5 a.m.

Verdict


In her newest standalone novel, Robyn Carr considers a relatively unexplored topic in the women's fiction genre: two ex-best friends reconnecting in middle adulthood, and all the complications that accompany it. Featuring a multidimensional conflict, a strong ensemble of lovable characters, and the buildup of traditional small-town romance and heartbreaking family backstories we've all come to expect and love, The Life She Wants offers readers a glimmering portrait of true friendship, the meaning of forgiveness, and the value of self-worth Americanflag

7 hearts: Not perfect, but overall enjoyable; would recommend, but borrow a copy before you buy! (x)

Monday, October 24, 2016

Behind the Title of The Survivor’s Guide to Family Happiness by Maddie Dawson + Giveaway (US/Can only)

The Survivor's Guide to Family Happiness 
Maddie Dawson

Three women, three lives, and one chance to become a family... whether they want to or not.

Newly orphaned, recently divorced, and semiadrift, Nina Popkin is on a search for her birth mother. She’s spent her life looking into strangers’ faces, fantasizing they’re related to her, and now, at thirty-five, she’s ready for answers.

Meanwhile, the last thing Lindy McIntyre wants is someone like Nina bursting into her life, announcing that they’re sisters and campaigning to track down their mother. She’s too busy with her successful salon, three children, beautiful home, and... oh yes, some pesky little anxiety attacks.

But Nina is determined to reassemble her birth family. Her search turns up Phoebe Mullen, a guarded, hard-talking woman convinced she has nothing to offer. Gradually sharing stories and secrets, the three women make for a messy, unpredictable family that looks nothing like Nina pictured... but may be exactly what she needs. Nina’s moving, ridiculous, tragic, and transcendent journey becomes a love story proving that real family has nothing to do with DNA.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Echoes of Family by Barbara Claypole White Giveaway (US only)

Echoes of Family
Barbara Claypole White

Sometimes the only way through darkness is to return to where it began.

Marianne Stokes fled England at seventeen, spiraling into the manic depression that would become her shadow. She left behind secrets, memories, and tragedy: one teen dead, and her first love, Gabriel, badly injured. Three decades later she’s finally found peace in the North Carolina recording studio she runs with her husband, Darius, and her almost-daughter, Jade... until another fatality propels her back across the ocean to confront the long-buried past.

In her picturesque childhood village, the first person she meets is the last person she wants to see again: Gabriel. Now the village vicar, he takes her in without question, and ripples of what if reverberate through both their hearts. As Marianne’s mind unravels, Jade and Darius track her down. Tempers clash when everyone tries to help, but only by finding the courage to face her illness can Marianne heal herself and her offbeat family.

Giveaway!


Books à la Mode is giving away
 four galley copies of of Echoes of Family—that's four winners total. Yay!!


To enter, all you have to do is tell me:
What's something unique about your family that you didn't realize was different until you were older?
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. Barbara and I really want to hear from you guys! :)

My family traveled a lot, not just because we were immigrants, but because we loved to travel and see the world. I've been to pretty much every state in the US (except a few I've missed in the midwest...). I didn't realize how well I had it until I discovered not everyone has been on as many family vacations as I have.

Don't forget the entry eligibility terms and conditions!
Sponsored wholly by the publicist—a huge thank you to the lovely folks at FSB Books!
Giveaway ends November 4th at 11.59 PM (your time).
Open to US residents only—sorry, everyone else! Please check my sidebar for a list of 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!

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Oliver the Cat Who Saved Christmas by Sheila Norton Giveaway (US/Can only)

Oliver the Cat Who Saved Christmas
Sheila Norton

Heartfelt, moving, and inspiring, a Christmas book perfect for fans of A Street Cat Named Bob

Oliver the cat is a timid little thing, who rarely ventures from his home in the Foresters’ Arms.

Then his life changes dramatically when a fire breaks out in the pub kitchen and he is left homeless and afraid. But, with the kindness of the humans around him, he soon learns to trust again. And, in his own special way, he helps to heal those around him.

However, it isn’t until he meets a little girl in desperate need of a friend that he realizes this village needs a Christmas miracle...

Touching and genuine, this is the tale of a little cat with a big heart.

Giveaway!


Books à la Mode is giving away
 one print copy of Oliver the Cat Who Saved Christmas—yay!!


To enter, all you have to do is tell me:
What is your least favorite thing about Christmas or the winter holidays in general?
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. Anita and I really want to hear from you guys! :)

I'm going to have to complain about the weather. I love having no school/work, the presents, spending time with family, the parties, the food... but cannot get comfy with the cold weather!

Don't forget the entry eligibility terms and conditions!
Sponsored wholly by the publisher—a huge thank you to the lovely folks at St. Martin's Press!
Giveaway ends November 2nd at 11.59 PM (your time).
Open to US and Canada residents only—sorry, everyone else! Please check my sidebar for a list of 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, October 17, 2016

Exclusive Sneak Peek: Last Chance Rebel by Maisey Yates + Giveaway (US/Can only)

Last Chance Rebel (Copper Ridge #6)
Maisey Yates

The prodigal son of Copper Ridge, Oregon returns in a captivating new novel from USA TODAY bestselling author Maisey Yates.

The man who ruined Rebecca Bear’s life just strolled back into it with one heck of an offer. Years ago, Gage West’s recklessness left Rebecca scarred inside and out. Now he wants to make amends by gifting her the building that houses her souvenir store. Rebecca won’t take Gage’s charity, but she’s willing to make a deal with the sexy, reclusive cowboy. Yet keeping her enemy close is growing dangerously appealing...

He’s the wild West brother, the bad seed of Copper Ridge—that’s why Gage needs the absolution Rebecca offers. He just didn’t expect to need her. After years of regretting his past, he knows where his future lies—with this strong, irresistible woman who could make a black sheep come home to stay...

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Love You Dead by Peter James Giveaway (US only)

Love You Dead (Roy Grace #12)
Peter James

An ugly duckling as a child, Jodie Bentley had two dreams in life—to be beautiful and rich. She's achieved the first, with a little help from a plastic surgeon, and now she's working hard on the second. Her philosophy on money is simple: you can either earn it or marry it. Marrying is easy, it's getting rid of the husband afterwards that's harder, that takes real skill. But hey, practice makes perfect...

Detective Superintendent Roy Grace is feeling the pressure from his superiors, his previous case is still giving him sleepless nights, there have been major developments with his missing wife Sandy, and an old adversary is back. But worse than all of this, he now believes a Black Widow is operating in his city. One with a venomous mind... and venomous skills. Soon Grace comes to the frightening realization that he may have underestimated just how dangerous this lady is.

Love You Dead is the gripping twelfth book in Peter James's Roy Grace series.

Giveaway!


Books à la Mode is giving away one print copy of Love You Dead—yay!!

To enter, all you have to do is tell me in the comments below:
What is the closest you have ever come to death?
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. Peter and I really want to hear from you guys! :)

I almost drowned as a child, true story! It wasn't super dramatic, I just fell into a small lake but someone dove in right after to rescue me.

Don't forget the entry eligibility terms and conditions!
Sponsored wholly by the publicist—a huge thank you to the lovely folks over at Wunderkind PR!
Giveaway ends October 29th at 11.59 PM (your time).
Open to US residents only—sorry, everyone else! Please check my sidebar for a 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!

Thursday, October 13, 2016

They Were Like Family to Me by Helen Maryles Shankman Giveaway (US/Can only)

They Were Like Family to Me
Helen Maryles Shankman

Critically praised, beloved by readers, In the Land of Armadillos has an evocative new cover and title, They Were Like Family to Me. Now in Paperback!

1942. With the Nazi Party at the height of its power, the occupying army empties Poland's towns and cities of their Jewish citizens. As neighbor turns on neighbor and survival often demands unthinkable choices, Poland has become a moral quagmire—a place of shifting truths and blinding ambiguities.

Blending folklore and fact, Helen Maryles Shankman shows us the people of Wlodawa, a remote Polish town. We meet a cold-blooded SS officer dedicated to rescuing the Jewish creator of his son's favorite picture book; a Messiah who appears in a little boy's bedroom to announce that he is quitting; a young Jewish girl who is hidden by the town's most outspoken anti-Semite—and his talking dog. And walking among these tales are two unforgettable figures: silver-tongued Willy Reinhart, commandant of the forced labor camp who has grand schemes to protect "his" Jews, and Soroka, the Jewish saddlemaker, struggling to survive.

Channeling the mythic magic of classic storytellers like Sholem Aleichem and Isaac Bashevis Singer and the psychological acuity of modern-day masters like Nicole Krauss and Nathan Englander, They Were Like Family to Me is a testament to the persistence of humanity in the most inhuman conditions.

Giveaway!

Books à la Mode is giving away one print copy of They Were Like Family to Me—yay!!

To enter, all you have to do is tell me:
What is your favorite short story?
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. Helen and I really want to hear from you guys! :)

I've posted some of mine on my blog before, but specifically I'd direct people to "Black Box" by Jennifer Egan, "On Seeing the 100% Perfect Girl One Beautiful April Morning" by Haruki Murakami, "Escape from Spiderhead" by George Saunders, and "For Esmé—with Love and Squalor" by J.D. Salinger. These are all available to read for free online, so they're the first recommendations that come to mind!

Don't forget the entry eligibility terms and conditions!
Sponsored wholly by the publisher and tour publicist—a huge thank you to the lovely folks at Scribner and TLC Book Tours!
Giveaway ends October 27th at 11.59 PM (your time).
Open to US and Canada residents only—sorry, everyone else! Please check my sidebar for a list of 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!

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Top 10 Things You Didn't Know About Deliver Her by Patricia Perry Donovan Giveaway (US/Can only)

Deliver Her 
Patricia Perry Donovan

Author Patricia Perry Donovan weaves her tale flawlessly, testing the boundaries of family and friendship.

On the night of Alex Carmody’s sixteenth birthday, she and her best friend, Cass, are victims of a terrible car accident. Alex survives; Cass doesn’t. Consumed by grief, Alex starts cutting school and partying, growing increasingly detached. The future she’d planned with her friend is now meaningless to her.

Meg Carmody is heartbroken for her daughter, even as she’s desperate to get Alex’s life back on track. The Birches, a boarding school in New Hampshire, promises to do just that, yet Alex refuses to go. But when Meg finds a bag of pills hidden in the house, she makes a fateful call to a transporter whose company specializes in shuttling troubled teens to places like The Birches, under strict supervision. Meg knows Alex will feel betrayed—as will her estranged husband, who knows nothing of Meg’s plans for their daughter.

When the transport goes wrong—and Alex goes missing—Meg must face the consequences of her decision and her deception. But the hunt for Alex reveals that Meg is not the only one keeping secrets.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

My (Part-Time) Paris Life by Lisa Anselmo Giveaway (US/Can only)

My (Part-Time) Paris Life: How Running Away Brought Me Home
Lisa Anselmo

Lisa Anselmo wrapped her entire life around her mother, a strong woman who was a defining force in Lisa’s life—maybe too defining. When her mother dies from breast cancer, Lisa realizes she hadn’t built a life of her own and struggles to find her purpose. Who is she without her mother—and her mother’s expectations?

Desperate for answers, she turns to her favorite city—Paris—and impulsively buys a small apartment, refusing to play it safe for the first time. What starts out as an act of survival sets Lisa on a course that reshapes her life in ways she never could have imagined. Suddenly, she’s living like a local in a city she thought she knew, but her high school French, while fine for buying bread at the corner boulangerie, goes only so far when Paris gives her a strong dose of real life. From dating to homeownership in a foreign country, Lisa quickly learns it’s not all picnics on the Seine, and starts to doubt herself—and her love of the city. But she came to Paris to be happy, and she can’t give up now. Isn’t happiness worth fighting for?

In the vein of Eat, Pray, Love and Wild, My (Part-Time) Paris Life a story is for anyone who’s ever felt lost or hopeless, but still dreams of something more. This candid memoir explores one woman’s search for peace and meaning, and how the ups and downs of expat life in Paris taught her to let go of fear, find self-worth, and create real, lasting happiness in the City of Light.

Giveaway!


Books à la Mode is giving away
 one print copy of My (Part-Time) Paris Life—yay!!


To enter, all you have to do is tell me:
What is your favorite thing to do in Paris? If you've never been, what would you most look forward to, given the opportunity to travel there?
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. Anita and I really want to hear from you guys! :)

I've only been at the airport in Paris during a transfer so never got the opportunity to do anything :( I'm sure the touristy spots would be fun to take pictures of, but what really excites me would be the every day comforts like apéro time, akin to the Spanish siesta and American happy hour. I also heard the bread, chocolate, cheese, and WINE is delicious no matter what. The French take their carbs seriously... I'd love the opportunity to just go grocery shopping in Paris!

Don't forget the entry eligibility terms and conditions!
Sponsored wholly by the publisher—a huge thank you to the lovely folks at St. Martin's Press!
Giveaway ends October 25th at 11.59 PM (your time).
Open to US and Canada residents only—sorry, everyone else! Please check my sidebar for a list of 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, October 10, 2016

Top 5 Things You Didn't Know About Life After Coffee by Virginia Franken + Giveaway (US/Can only)

Life After Coffee 
Virginia Franken

When globe-trotting coffee buyer, Amy O’Hara, assures her husband—who stays at home to watch the kids—that it is He Who Has it Harder... she doesn’t really believe it. That is, until the day she gets laid off, her husband decides to devote all his waking hours to writing a screenplay, and she discovers she’s actually the world’s most incompetent mother.

Amy’s only possible salvation is to find another high-flying job as quickly as possible, but with the coffee industry imploding around her—and the competing buyers in her field being much hipper prospects—things look pretty dire. Even if Amy does manage to find full-time employment ever again, as her life slowly becomes more and more entwined with her children’s, how will she be able to bear leaving them to travel for weeks on end?

When salvation appears in the form of a movie-mogul ex-boyfriend who wants to employ her husband and rekindle their relationship, Amy starts to find she’s sorely tempted...

Friday, October 7, 2016

The Taste of Air by Gail Cleare Giveaway (US Only)

The Taste of Air
Gail Cleare

A simple phone call disrupts Nell Williams’s well-ordered life. Her mother, Mary, is in a hospital in Vermont. But her mother is supposed to be safely tucked away in an assisted-living facility in Massachusetts, so Nell can’t fathom why she would be so far from home.

After notifying her sister, Bridget, Nell hops on a plane and rushes to her mother’s side. There, she discovers that her mother has been living a second life. Mary has another home and a set of complex relationships with people her daughters have never met.

When Nell and Bridget delve deeper into their mother’s lakeside hideaway, they uncover a vault of family secrets and the gateway to change for all three women.

"In The Taste of Air, Cleare deftly explores the consequence of our choices, even those made with the best of intentions. A family saga bridging decades and filled with shocking revelations, hope, and love, you won't be able put this book down." – Kate Moretti, New York Times bestselling author of Thought I Knew You and The Vanishing Year
Buy the book from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iTunes | Kobo | Google Play | Publisher

Giveaway!


Books à la Mode is giving away
 one print or digital copy of The Taste of Air—winner's choice. Yay!!


To enter, all you have to do is answer Gail's question below:
The story is about two sisters who discover their mother has a lakeside cottage in Vermont and has hidden a secret life there since before they were born. Would you like to have a secret cottage all your own, for when you need some “me” time? Would you tell your family about it?
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. Gail and I really want to hear from you guys! :)

Don't forget the entry eligibility terms and conditions!
Sponsored wholly by the author—a huge thank you to the lovely Gail Cleare!
Giveaway ends October 21st at 11.59 PM (your time).
Open to US residents only—sorry, everyone else! Please check my sidebar for a list of 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!

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Interview with Robyn Carr, Author of The Life She Wants + Giveaway (continental US only)

I'd like to welcome Robyn Carr to the blog today to celebrate the exciting release of The Life She Wants from Harlequin MIRA!

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

Will you please share a brief introduction with us?

Robyn Carr was a young mother of two in the mid-1970s when she started writing fiction, an Air Force wife, educated as a nurse, whose husband’s frequent assignment changes made it difficult for her to work in her profession. Little did the aspiring novelist know then, as she wrote with babies on her lap, that she would become one of the world’s most popular authors of romance and women’s fiction, that 11 of her novels would earn the #1 berth on the New York Times bestselling books list.

Proof of Robyn’s international popularity is also in the numbers. Over the past 17 years, 41 Robyn Carr titles, with collectively 27 million copies in print, have been translated into 19 languages in 30 countries.

Robyn and her now-retired husband enjoy traveling, often taking research trips together. Their children are grown—her son is an Army surgeon; her daughter, a police detective/hostage negotiator. Robyn says that, in addition to reading her novels and making snide remarks about how she’s used family scenarios to her advantage, they have made her a happy grandmother.


It's amazing to get to feature you today! Readers, here's a bit about the book, which hits shelves tomorrow:

#1 New York Times bestselling author Robyn Carr creates an emotional and uplifting ensemble of characters in this rags-to-riches-to-rags novel about women, friendship and the complex path to happiness

In the aftermath of her financier husband’s suicide, Emma Shay Compton’s dream life is shattered. Richard Compton stole his clients’ life savings to fund a lavish life in New York City and, although she was never involved in the business, Emma bears the burden of her husband’s crimes. She is left with nothing. Only one friend stands by her, a friend she’s known since high school, who encourages her to come home to Sonoma County. But starting over isn’t easy, and Sonoma is full of unhappy memories, too. And people she’d rather not face, especially Riley Kerrigan.

Riley and Emma were like sisters—until Riley betrayed Emma, ending their friendship. Emma left town, planning to never look back. Now, trying to stand on her own two feet, Emma can’t escape her husband’s reputation and is forced to turn to the last person she thought she’d ever ask for help—her former best friend. It’s an uneasy reunion as both women face the mistakes they’ve made over the years. Only if they find a way to forgive each other—and themselves—can each of them find the life she wants.

After losing her husband and washing her hands of his sullied fortune, Emma returns home to California to rebuild her life and start over from scratch. Part of this involves reconnecting with old places and people she has not seen in over a decade. What inspired this idea of reconnection, of a prodigal returning home after a long absence?

I’m fascinated by relationships and one of the stickier ones we grapple with is women’s relationships with other women. There is no way to describe the heartache when best friends split up—it’s almost as bad as a divorce. I wanted a close look at that—both Emma and her former best friend, Riley, did unforgiveable things. Can they overcome it? Should they? Sometimes we pass our time with a friend and have to move on; sometimes it’s not too late. I never know how these issues will be worked out until I write about it. I have to spend some time with the characters, find out what they need, what kind of people they are, what they need.

Women behaving badly fascinates me, also. We’ve all experienced deep hurt from a friend and we all know how hard that is to overcome. How would Emma and Riley deal with their betrayal? That’s what I wanted to know.


The concept of forgiveness is important throughout the book, and several of the characters struggle to find ways to forgive each other and themselves for past mistakes. Why do you think forgiveness is so crucial to happiness, and why do you think it sometimes takes people such a long time to forgive?

I think the idea of forgiving is not only crucial, asking for forgiveness is even more so! Who among us won’t forgive if someone makes sincere amends? Most of what has to happen to patch up a tattered relationship is admitting you’re wrong and asking to be forgiven. Forgiving in a vacuum doesn’t change much but what everyone wants to hear from someone we think wronged us is a real apology. We can say we forgive a hateful person, we can say that gives us peace of mind, but if that person goes on being hateful, we’ll keep experiencing the pain of it.

In the case of Emma and Riley, they both made serious mistakes. I knew what it was going to take for them to get each other back. What I didn’t know until the whole story played out was whether they would do it.


Family is another important theme in this book: Riley is a single mother but has a strong family support system around her, while Emma is largely alone in the world after being orphaned as a teenager. What made you want to set up that kind of contrast between the two characters?

I wanted to establish how Emma and Riley needed each other from the start—there’s wonderful balance in that. They each had something the other needed. Emma needed that family connection and Riley needed to see Emma making it on her own. They were role models for each other without quite realizing it.

Throughout your career, you’ve written both romance novels and women’s fiction—The Life She Wants falls into the latter category. Are there any challenges that come with moving back and forth between those two genres, and does your writing process change depending on what kind of book you’re working on?

It’s a gift to be able to move back and forth between the two genres; the differences between them are very subtle. There are always women’s issues in my romances and romance in my women’s fiction. In romance we’re searching for perfect, enduring love and in women’s fiction we’re searching for ourselves. My process doesn’t change at all—only the guts of the story change.

What’s next for you?

I’m at work on the second Sullivan’s Crossing novel, no title yet. It should be ready soon and out the beginning of April 2017.

Where can you be found on the web?


It was a pleasure to be able to get to know you better today, Robyn! Thank you again for dropping by, and best of luck with future endeavors!

Giveaway!


Books à la Mode is giving away one print copy of The Life She Wants—woohoo! To enter, all you have to do is tell me:
Last week, I asked everyone about their most-visited websites. What is your favorite website, something you'd recommend to everyone either for entertainment or just to make their lives easier?
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. Robyn and I really want to hear your thoughts! :)

I suppose this is one of my most frequently visited websites as well, but Netflix! Or any other streaming service that has a wide range of TV shows and movies to watch on-demand. It's not only a great and inexpensive way to keep up with your favorite shows (compared to cable or network costs), it's also a great way to entertain affordably. Movie nights have never been easier :)

Don't forget the entry eligibility terms and conditions!
Sponsored wholly by the tour publicist—a huge thank you to the lovely folks over at Little Bird Publicity!
Giveaway ends October 19th at 11.59 PM (your time).
Open to continental US residents only—sorry, everyone else!
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, October 4, 2016

Christmas in Paris by Anita Hughes Giveaway (US/Can only)

Christmas in Paris
Anita Hughes

Anita Hughes's Christmas in Paris is a moving and heartwarming story about love, trust, and self-discovery. Set during the most magical week of the year, the glorious foods and fashions of the most romantic city in the world are sure to take your breath away.

Isabel Lawson is standing on the balcony of her suite at the Hotel de Crillon as she gazes at the twinkling lights of the Champs-Élysées and wonders if she’s made a terrible mistake. She was supposed to be visiting the Christmas tree in the Place de la Concorde, and eating escargots and macaroons with her new husband on their honeymoon. But a week before the wedding, she called it off. Isabel is an ambitious Philadelphia finance woman, and Neil suddenly decided to take over his grandparents' farm. Isabel wasn't ready to trade her briefcase for a pair of rubber boots and a saddle.

When Neil suggested she use their honeymoon tickets for herself, she thought it would give her a chance to clear her head. That is until she locks herself out on the balcony in the middle of winter. Thankfully her neighbor Alec, a French children’s illustrator, comes to her rescue. He too is nursing a broken heart at the Crillon for the holidays. With a new friend by her side, Isabel is determined to use her time in the "city of lights" wisely. After a chance encounter with a fortune teller, and a close call with a taxi, she starts to question everything she thought was important.

Giveaway!


Books à la Mode is giving away
 one print copy of Christmas in Paris—yay!!


To enter, all you have to do is tell me:
What is the most exciting Christmas gift you will be giving this year?
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. Anita and I really want to hear from you guys! :)

I have a lot of fun treats lined up for my little sister, including a 3D Doodle pen and a set of BeanBoozled jellybeans. She's been begging for me to bring her these from the States for a long time!

Don't forget the entry eligibility terms and conditions!
Sponsored wholly by the publisher—a huge thank you to the lovely folks at St. Martin's Press!
Giveaway ends October 18th at 11.59 PM (your time).
Open to US and Canada residents only—sorry, everyone else! Please check my sidebar for a list of 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!