Saturday, October 27, 2018

Exclusive Sneak Peek: Feral Attraction by Eileen Watkins + Giveaway (US/Can)

Feral Attraction (A Cat Groomer Mystery #3)
Eileen Watkins
from Kensington Books

Cat groomer Cassie McGlone tails a killer gone wild over feral felines...

Cassie's good friend Dawn is part of an organization that's trying to protect a colony of stray cats on the property of a condo community in Chadwick, New Jersey. The residents have got their backs up over the cat invasion, and Dawn has come to Cassie's grooming and boarding shop, Cassie's Comfy Cats, to ask her help in talking sense to them.

Not everyone's against the cats. Eccentric Sabrina Ward feeds them and has even created makeshift shelters for them in the nearby woods, infuriating her neighbors. Following a heated community meeting—in which Cassie and Dawn come up with a proposal—Sabrina's body is found in the woods. The police are calling her death an accident, but Cassie smells a rat. Narrowing down the list of suspects may be tougher than herding cats, but Cassie is determined to collar the killer before another cat lover has a fatal accident.

Friday, October 26, 2018

Exclusive Sneak Peek: Murder on Millionaires' Row by Erin Lindsey + Giveaway (US/Can)

Murder on Millionaires' Row
Erin Lindsey
from Minotaur Books // St. Martin's Press

In Murder on Millionaires' Row, Erin Lindsey's debut historical mystery, a daring housemaid searches Gilded Age Manhattan for her missing employer and finds a hidden world of magic, ghosts, romance, and Pinkerton detectives.

Rose Gallagher might dream of bigger things, but she’s content enough with her life as a housemaid. After all, it’s not every girl from Five Points who gets to spend her days in a posh Fifth Avenue brownstone, even if only to sweep its floors. But all that changes on the day her boss, Mr. Thomas Wiltshire, disappears. Rose is certain Mr. Wiltshire is in trouble, but the police treat his disappearance as nothing more than the whims of a rich young man behaving badly. Meanwhile, the friend who reported him missing is suspiciously unhelpful. With nowhere left to turn, Rose takes it upon herself to find her handsome young employer.

The investigation takes her from the marble palaces of Fifth Avenue to the sordid streets of Five Points. When a ghostly apparition accosts her on the street, Rose begins to realize that the world around her isn’t at all as it seems—and her place in it is about to change forever.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Exclusive Sneak Peek: Go to My Grave by Catriona McPherson + Giveaway (US/Can)

Go to My Grave
Catriona McPherson
from Minotaur Books // St. Martin's Press

Donna Weaver has put everything she has into restoring The Breakers, can old bed and breakfast on a remote stretch of beach in Galloway. Now it sits waiting—freshly painted, richly furnished, filled with flowers—for the first guests to arrive.

But Donna's guests, a contentious group of estranged cousins, soon realize that they’ve been here before, years ago. Decades have passed, but that night still haunts them: a sixteenth birthday party that started with peach schnapps and ended with a girl walking into the sea.

Each of them had made a vow of silence: “lock it in a box, stitch my lips, and go to my grave.”

But now someone has broken the pact. Amid the home-baked scones and lavish rooms, someone is playing games, locking boxes, stitching lips. And before the weekend is over, at least one of them will go to their grave.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Exclusive Sneak Peek: The Collector's Apprentice by B.A. Shapiro + Giveaway (US only)

The Collector's Apprentice
B.A. Shapiro
from Algonquin Books // Workman Publishing

It’s the summer of 1922, and nineteen-year-old Paulien Mertens finds herself in Paris—broke, disowned, and completely alone. Everyone in Belgium, including her own family, believes she stole millions in a sophisticated con game perpetrated by her then-fiancé, George Everard. To protect herself from the law and the wrath of those who lost everything, she creates a new identity, a Frenchwoman named Vivienne Gregsby, and sets out to recover her father’s art collection, prove her innocence—and exact revenge on George.

When the eccentric and wealthy American art collector Edwin Bradley offers Vivienne the perfect job, she is soon caught up in the Parisian world of post-Impressionists and expatriates—including Gertrude Stein and Henri Matisse, with whom Vivienne becomes romantically entwined. As she travels between Paris and Philadelphia, where Bradley is building an art museum, her life becomes even more complicated: George returns with unclear motives... and then Vivienne is arrested for Bradley’s murder.

B. A. Shapiro has made the historical art thriller her own. In The Collector’s Apprentice, she gives us an unforgettable tale about the lengths to which people will go for their obsession, whether it be art, money, love, or vengeance.

Monday, October 22, 2018

The Girl from Berlin by Ronald H. Balson Giveaway (US/Can)

The Girl from Berlin (Liam and Catherine #5)
Ronald H. Balson
from St. Martin's Press

In the newest novel from internationally-bestselling author Ronald. H. Balson, Liam and Catherine come to the aid of an old friend and are drawn into a property dispute in Tuscany that unearths long-buried secrets

An old friend calls Catherine Lockhart and Liam Taggart to his famous Italian restaurant to enlist their help. His aunt is being evicted from her home in the Tuscan hills by a powerful corporation claiming they own the deeds, even though she can produce her own set of deeds to her land. Catherine and Liam’s only clue is a bound handwritten manuscript, entirely in German, and hidden in its pages is a story long-forgotten...

Ada Baumgarten was born in Berlin in 1918, at the end of the war. The daughter of an accomplished first-chair violinist in the prestigious Berlin Philharmonic, and herself a violin prodigy, Ada’s life was full of the rich culture of Berlin’s interwar society. She formed a deep attachment to her childhood friend Kurt, but they were torn apart by the growing unrest as her Jewish family came under suspicion. As the tides of history turned, it was her extraordinary talent that would carry her through an unraveling society turned to war, and make her a target even as it saved her, allowing her to move to Bologna―though Italy was not the haven her family had hoped, and further heartache awaited.

What became of Ada? How is she connected to the conflicting land deeds of a small Italian villa? As they dig through the layers of lies, corruption, and human evil, Catherine and Liam uncover an unfinished story of heart, redemption, and hope―the ending of which is yet to be written.

Giveaway!


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


To enter, all you have to do is tell me:
What is a mystery in your life that has never been solved?
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. Ronald and I really want to hear from you guys! :)

I lost my favorite scarf on a night out. I tried retracing my steps to track it down the next day, but never found it. I can't imagine it could have strayed far, considering I can pin down almost the exact time I must have lost it, so I have no idea why I wasn't able to locate it!

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 5th 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!

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Top 5 Ways Fact Meets Fiction in The Girl They Left Behind by Roxanne Veletzos + Giveaway (US only)

The Girl They Left Behind
Roxanne Veletzos
from Atria Books // Simon & Schuster

A sweeping family saga and love story that offers a vivid and unique portrayal of life in war-torn 1941 Bucharest and life behind the Iron Curtain during the Soviet Union occupation—perfect for fans of Lilac Girls and Sarah’s Key.

On a freezing night in January 1941, a little Jewish girl is found on the steps of an apartment building in Bucharest. With Romania recently allied with the Nazis, the Jewish population is in grave danger, undergoing increasingly violent persecution. The girl is placed in an orphanage and eventually adopted by a wealthy childless couple who name her Natalia. As she assimilates into her new life, she all but forgets the parents who were forced to leave her behind. They are even further from her mind when Romania falls under Soviet occupation.

Yet, as Natalia comes of age in a bleak and hopeless world, traces of her identity pierce the surface of her everyday life, leading gradually to a discovery that will change her destiny. She has a secret crush on Victor, an intense young man who as an impoverished student befriended her family long ago. Years later, when Natalia is in her early twenties and working at a warehouse packing fruit, she and Victor, now an important official in the Communist regime, cross paths again. This time they are fatefully drawn into a passionate affair despite the obstacles swirling around them and Victor’s dark secrets.

When Natalia is suddenly offered a one-time chance at freedom, Victor is determined to help her escape, even if it means losing her. Natalia must make an agonizing decision: remain in Bucharest with her beloved adoptive parents and the man she has come to love, or seize the chance to finally live life on her own terms, and to confront the painful enigma of her past.

Friday, October 19, 2018

Exclusive Sneak Peek: Love in Catalina Cove by Brenda Jackson + Giveaway (US only)

Love in Catalina Cove (Catalina Cove #1)
Brenda Jackson
from HQN // Harlequin

In her brand-new series, Brenda Jackson welcomes you to Catalina Cove, where even the biggest heartbreaks can be healed...

In the wake of a devastating teen pregnancy that left her childless and heartbroken, Vashti Alcindor left Catalina Cove, Louisiana, with no plans to return. Now, over a decade later, Vashti reluctantly finds herself back in her hometown after inheriting her aunt’s B and B. Her homecoming gets off to a rocky start when the new sheriff, Sawyer Grisham, pulls her over for speeding, and things go downhill from there.

The B and B, a place she’d always found refuge in when it seemed like the whole world was against her, has fallen into disrepair. When a surprising benefactor encourages Vashti to reopen the B and B, Vashti embraces a fresh start, and soon old hurts begin to fade as she makes new memories with the town—and its handsome sheriff...

But some pasts are too big to escape, and when a bombshell of a secret changes everything she thought was true, Vashti is left reeling. With Sawyer and his teenage daughter determined to see her through the storm, though, she’s learning family isn’t always a matter of blood—sometimes it’s a matter of heart.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Exclusive Interview with Peter Stone, Author of The Perfect Candidate + Giveaway (US only)

I'd like to welcome Peter Stone to the blog today to celebrate the exciting release of his debut novel, The Perfect Candidate from Simon & Schuster!

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

Will you please share a brief introduction with us?

Peter Stone is a lifelong fan of thrillers on the big screen, small screen, and page. He started early, writing a 5th grade book report on John Grisham’s The Firm. But his work as an author was sparked in earnest many years later at his wedding, where a bestselling author guest approached him after hearing his vows and urged “You have a book in you.” (This made Stone think that there were probably some really good drinks being served at the bar.)

That book is Stone’s debut young adult novel, The Perfect Candidate, is published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers. The story is inspired by his experience working in Washington, D.C. as a Spanish tutor for former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and as an intern for Congressman Gary A. Condit just after he graduated from high school. Having majored in political science, Stone managed a Congressional primary campaign and is a Harry S. Truman Scholar. He is also a high school speech and debate national champion and maintains that speech and debate tournaments are the best thing any teenager could do with their Saturdays.

Stone has worked for ten years as a marketing executive for TV and film and is currently based in Tokyo, Japan, where he lives with his wife and two children. He is a graduate of Brigham Young University (BA, 2004) and Harvard Business School (MBA, 2008). He has lived in California, Utah, Boston, Israel, and El Salvador; and traveled to over sixty countries.

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

From debut author Peter Stone comes a heart-stopping, pulse-pounding political thriller that’s perfect for fans of Ally Carter and House of Cards.

When recent high school graduate Cameron Carter lands an internship with Congressman Billy Beck in Washington, DC, he thinks it is his ticket out of small town captivity. What he lacks in connections and Beltway polish he makes up in smarts, and he soon finds a friend and mentor in fellow staffer Ariel Lancaster.

That is, until she winds up dead.

As rumors and accusations about her death fly around Capitol Hill, Cameron’s low profile makes him the perfect candidate for an FBI investigation that he wants no part of. Before he knows it—and with his family’s future at stake—he discovers DC’s darkest secrets as he races to expose a deadly conspiracy.

If it doesn’t get him killed first.

As a huge fan of first lines, I’d love to hear the first line of The Perfect Candidate. Could you give us a brief commentary on it?

The first line of The Perfect Candidate finds protagonist Cameron Carter analyzing a summer intern portrait with his Congressman, with whom he’s just worked for the summer:

“You don’t notice it at first.”
Cameron is referring to a number of unnerving details in the image, which only become visible after some inspection. But the sentiment applies to his whole experience in Washington, D.C. Newcomers to the nation’s capital are rightfully awed by the power, the politician sightings, and the majesty of the monuments. What they don’t immediately see the are the hidden abuses; the corruption veiled by soundbites and smiles; and the dirt and grime coating the white stone of the notable memorials in the city. Throughout the story, Cameron will encounter all of these and worse—usually when he (and the reader) least expect it. (Bonus: the intern photo is the inspiration for the killer cover artwork!)

Tell us about your road to publication, such as how you first queried, unexpected challenges, and things you picked up along the way.

My road to publication started at my wedding reception. One of the guests (friends of my in-laws) approached me after hearing the wedding vows I’d spoken. Apparently impressed with my speech, she asked me if I was a writer. I told her that I wrote emails at my job. She then urged me to write a book. I attributed her generous assessment to her probably having had a couple drinks from the bar. When I later learned that this wedding guest was bestselling author Margaret Stohl, I took the advice a little more seriously and began to write The Perfect Candidate.

As always seems to be the case, finding the right agent was a combination of work and luck. One of the first agents I spoke with was actually more excited about a separate idea, and urged me to write that different story—so I actually wrote an entirely new book, which that agent eventually passed on (this was not fun news to receive!). I later met the team who would represent me (Richard Abate and Rachel Kim at 3 Arts), who agreed that my second manuscript book had some limitations. That’s when I pulled out The Perfect Candidate from my proverbial back pocket. They soon sparked to it, citing a surge of political curiosity and engagement among young adults living in America today. They are awesome creative partners and helped me revise the manuscript so that it was the best version to share with publishers. The wait to hear back from potential editors was just a few weeks, but it felt excruciating—and soon I was on the phone with David Gale who welcomed me into the fold at Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers. I just got chills writing that sentence—it was surreal and terribly exciting.

Things I picked up:

  1. At the end of the day, the publishing market will decide what works. Getting a book picked up by a publisher is about creative value, but also very much about commercial viability. I thought my second manuscript was going to be my debut, but the market decided otherwise. 
  2. There are no guarantees (just because agent #1 suggested that I explore a different idea doesn’t mean they would represent it). And try not to take agent rejections personally, because it probably means another agent is more of a fit (which was the case when my actual agents saw promise in The Perfect Candidate). 
  3. Invite Margaret Stohl to your wedding.

Are the characters from your book based off anyone you know in real life? How much else of your actual life gets written into your fiction?  

Most of the places and people in The Perfect Candidate are based on my real experiences, though there aren’t any 1:1 inspirations for the characters in the book. I was an intern for two notable government leaders (Congressman Gary Condit and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich), and my interactions with them factor heavily into the characterization of the elected officials in the book. But the descriptions of politicians in the story were also influenced by speeches and TV interviews I’ve seen. Other characters are kind of like “smoothies” of the colorful people in my life—I took elements from each (phrases, fashion, attitude, preferences) and mixed them together to create the various players in the story. My own experience as an intern is probably the strongest influence for Cameron’s character (in addition to restocking the supply closet like Cameron does, I was once had to don an apron and scoop ice cream for a whole office as part of a summer internship!).


Out of all the fantastic books out there, what makes The Perfect Candidate stand out from the rest?

The Perfect Candidate is like House of Cards or Scandal, except from the point of view of the youngest staffers on the political scene. I’ve joked that you could call it “Apartment of Cards.” I’ve seen and read so many exciting stories about Washington from the point of view of adult power brokers and senior leaders—but I’d never read a Capitol Hill thriller from the perspective of someone I could truly relate to. This is Washington, D.C., from the front lines and the lowest ranks—because sometimes the people with the smallest titles end up having the most power.

Give aspiring writers a piece of advice you wish you had known before getting published.

If you want to write a book, you have to write a book. It sounds silly, but it’s true. You have to write when you are inspired (which is as awesome as it is rare). But more importantly: You have to write when you are tired; when you’d really rather binge a Netflix show all night; when it feels so good to say you’ll write tomorrow instead (it always feels good to say you’ll write tomorrow instead); when a gorgeous Saturday beckons from the outside; when some other mindless project seems more appealing; when you’re feeling an itch in your throat and you’re tempted to postpone because maybe you’re getting sick and you should sleep instead, but deep down you know it’s an excuse; and on and on forever. There will always be something else to do. But you need to nuke those excuses and open a Word file and get. the. words. on. the. page. Final note: prepare for the negative voices in your head to have a full-on protest march in your brain. But that’s when you need to start your own march, because the first person who needs to believe you can write is you.

Now give us your best personal advice—something you wish you had known when you were younger and would offer to your own kids.

The more activities you expose yourself to, the sooner you’ll discover the magical intersection of 1) what you love and 2) what you’re kinda good at. When I was a kid, trying new things sometimes freaked me out. Maybe it was a fear of failure. Maybe it was because the video game Mega Man was more fun. But I resisted the unknown, which probably delayed the own discovery of my own skills and abilities. So: jump in and test the waters. If you hate something, move on. But the thing you’ll love could look just as scary as the thing you’ll hate—you just won’t know it until you give it a try. That thing that freaked you out just might become a lifelong passion or even a career.

Also: wear sunscreen.

Where can you be found on the web?


It was a pleasure to be able to get to know you better today, Peter! 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 Perfect Candidatewoohoo! To enter, all you have to do is tell me in the comments below:
If you could intern at the White House during any time period in American history, which year or presidency would you choose?
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 your thoughts! :)

Don't forget the entry eligibility terms and conditions!
Sponsored wholly by the publicist—a huge thank you to the lovely folks over at Megan Beatie Communications!
Giveaway ends October 17th at 11.59 PM (your time).
Open to US residents only. Sorry, everyone else! Please check my sidebar on the right 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!

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

The Spellbook of Katrina Van Tassel by Alyssa Palombo + Giveaway (US/Can)

The Spellbook of Katrina Van Tassel
Alyssa Palombo
St. Martin's Griffin // St. Martin's Press

When Ichabod Crane arrives in the spooky little village of Sleepy Hollow as the new schoolmaster, Katrina Van Tassel is instantly drawn to him. Through their shared love of books and music, they form a friendship that quickly develops into romance. Ichabod knows that as an itinerant schoolteacher of little social standing, he has nothing to offer the wealthy Katrina—unlike her childhood friend-turned-enemy, Brom Van Brunt, who is the suitor Katrina’s father favors.

But when romance gives way to passion, Ichabod and Katrina embark on a secret love affair, sneaking away into the woods after dark to be together – all while praying they do not catch sight of Sleepy Hollow’s legendary Headless Horseman. That is, until All Hallows’s Eve, when Ichabod suddenly disappears, leaving Katrina alone and in a perilous position.

Enlisting the help of her friend—and rumored witch—Charlotte Jansen, Katrina seeks the truth of Ichabod Crane’s disappearance, investigating the forest around Sleepy Hollow using unconventional—often magical—means. What they find forces Katrina to question everything she once knew, and to wonder if the Headless Horseman is perhaps more than just a story after all. In Alyssa Palombo's The Spellbook of Katrina Van Tassel nothing is as it seems, and love is a thing even death won't erase.

Giveaway!

Books à la Mode is giving away one print copy of The Spellbook of Katrina Van Tassel—yay!

To enter, all you have to do is tell me in the comments below:
What popular life advice do you disagree with?
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. Alyssa and I really want to hear from you guys! :)

It irks me when people insist that bad things only happen to bad people. In reality, bad things may happen to bad people, but bad things happen to an equal number of good people as well. It seems random, sometimes just depends on luck rather than effort or morals. To claim otherwise only feeds into the just-world fallacy.

Don't forget the entry eligibility terms and conditions!
Sponsored wholly by the publisher—a huge thank you to the lovely folks over at St. Martin's Press!
Giveaway ends October 16th at 11.59 PM (your time).
Open to US and Canada 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!