THE LEGACY OF US by Kristin Contino & GIVEAWAY

paperback-legacy_large“My dear Lizzie, Wear this in good health and happiness. I trust you’ll know what to do with it! Keep shining brightly, and remember I love you always. xoxo Nan”

Liz Moretti is consumed with grief at the sudden death of her Nan, Ella when she discovers a cameo locket/necklace inside the desk left for her in Nan’s will. Liz thought she knew everything about her grandmother, but inside the locket is an inscription marriage proposal to her grandmother from a man different from her grandfather, and she’s also left a diary. Liz decides to find out the truth behind her family’s secrets.

At this point, author, Kristin Contino introduces us to three generations of women in THE LEGACY OF US (SparkPress)who change by love, loss and a little necklace over the course of the novel. Liz is the anchor character in this complicated novel about the relationships between Liz, her sisters, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. She’s able to weave a compelling, complex tale of mother and daughter relationships from 1905 Italy to present-day Philadelphia. As Liz explores her family’s history, she also comes face to face with choosing between the life she thought she wanted and the possibilities of a much richer future.

THE LEGACY OF US is a wonderful story that’ll make you want to curl up with a cuppa yummy tea and delicious biscotti and read from beginning to end. I can tell you now, just plan a full day around this book; it’ll be a treat and then you can give it to your mother and girlfriends as the perfect gift. It’s actually great for Book Club.

Thanks to Spark Press  http://www.gosparkpress.com for including Thoughts on This ‘n THAT on their #FRC Fall Reading Challenge tour.  For all things Kristin, check out her website http://www.kristincontino.com or on twitter @kristinco

We have one copy of THE LEGACY OF US to give away to one lucky winner.  All you have to do is go to the comment section of the Thoughts on This ‘n That Blog  www.writeoncindy.wordpress.com and tell us if you’ve ever had a piece of jewelry that was special to you, perhaps a family heirloom and why. We’ll pick a winner Thursday.

Remember you can check out more reviews at http://www.cindyroesel.com and news about my novel, “Viewer Discretion Advised.”

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MONTPELIER TOMORROW by Marylee MacDonald & Giveaway

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“An affecting, deeply honest novel; at the same time, a lacerating indictment of our modern health care system”—Kirkus Reviews
In MONTPELIER TOMORROW, mid-life mom, Colleen Gallagher, would do anything to protect her children from harm. When her daugther’s husband falls ill with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease), Colleen rolls up her sleeves and moves in, juggling the multiple roles of grandma, cook, and caregiver, only to discover that even her superhuman efforts can’t fix what’s wrong. (All Things That Matter Press Summary)
Marylee MacDonald takes a difficult story to tell in MONTPELIER TOMORROW, and choses to create unlikable characters sharing it. From the beginning, it’s a challenging book to read; perhaps that’s because it’s so realistic, but from my perspective as the reader, it’s almost too much. Tragedy attacks this family, and unlike many novels where all rally to get through this difficult period, this family basically falls apart and each member deals with their own issues and “does their own thing.” Perhaps, it’s a more realistic look when frustration and anger flare up and there’s no happy ending in site. This novel is the perfect Lifetime movie, or anyone of the numerous channels catering to women.
I’ve read other reviews that are almost the polar opposite of mine and wonder if I’ve missed something. So, I must add, you may want to give this one a chance. Maybe it’ll end up being one of your favorite novels. Who knows?

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Maryleeblueblouse_optAbout Marylee MacDonald

Find out more about Marylee at her website, see what she’s pinning on Pinterest, and connect with her on Facebook and Twitter. You can also follow her blog and add her to your circles on Google+.

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Thanks to TLC Book Tours http://www.tlcbooktours.com and All Things That Matter Press, we have one copy of MONTPELIER TOMORROW to give away. Just leave your name and … what are you doing this weekend? This novel is pretty heavy and health issues are private, so just tell us what you’re up to this weekend and we’ll pick a winner Monday.

Remember to check out http://www.cindyroesel.com for more of my reviews and news about my novel, “Viewer Discretion Advised.”

A WINDOW OPENS by Elisabeth Egan

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“The key to taking a stab at doing it all was getting comfortable with rarely hitting the bull’s-eye–in fact, being hopelessly left of center most of the time.”

You may recognize A WINDOW OPENS author’s name, Elisabeth Egan. She’s the book editor at Glamour  magazine. She has recommended numerous wonderful novels to readers over the years, and with her debut book, A WINDOW OPENS (Simon&Schuster), Egan becomes an author to watch.

Alice Pearse has three children, a husband, a dog on Prozac and a part-time job as books editor at You, a women’s magazine. She lives next to her kids elementary school in the New Jersey ‘burbs and enjoys a close relationship with her nearby parents, especially her dad, who speaks with a voice prosthesis due to the laryngectomy that stopped his cancer.

Husband, Nicholas, learns his law firm isn’t making him partner, so he reacts by making a scene and throwing his computer across a conference room making sure his future at the firm is dead. He decides he’s going to open his own law firm, while seeking other jobs. Panicked at the loss of income, Alice realizes she needs to quit You and get a full-time job ASAP. She hates the idea of leaving her support team at You and her mentor, but she must move on for her family.

After a few job leads end DOA, she’s contacted by a woman she follows on Twitter and offered a job as content manager at a hot new start-up, Scroll, a subsidiary of a giant retail corporation, MainStreet – a fictional take-off  combining Amazon and Starbucks into a titan bookstore. “Her mission, should she choose to accept it,” will be for Alice to help “reinvent the bookstore experience” by offering physical stores where customers browse e-books instead of hardbacks, lured by promise of cushy chairs and foot massages and discounts… a reader’s utopia!

Alice is soon walking and talking the Scroll line. Unfortunately her BFF, Susanna who owns the local independent bookstore, The Blue Owl doesn’t agree with Scroll’s principles. Alice tells Susanna that Scroll will create more book business, while Susanna sees Alice as a traitor to independent book sellers and even their friendship.

Meanwhile, work is going well for Alice but instead of looking for clients, Nicholas is creating a close relationship with alcohol and won’t discuss it with Alice. Soon a family tragedy strikes, the children’s beloved nanny has to leave and it’s time to see if all that “leaning in” at work is worth it.

I love how Egan captures corporate America’s pervasive unwillingness to listen to its strengths, which are its employees within their own companies. At Scroll no one wants to accept Alice’s opinions, even though she arguably fits the target demographic better than anyone else in a company full of young hipsters who “answered e-mails after midnight while tending their chickens and building lamps from spare parts salvaged at flea markets.”

Alice eventually becomes so exhausted and unhappy, she has to stop and re-evaluate what’s important, and then “a window opens” and she’s able to look to the future. Alice is very likeable and that’s key to A WINDOW OPENS. She could be anyone’s BFF, sister or next door neighbor. I’d certainly love to have her in my book club.

Thanks to BOOKSPARKS SUMMER READING CHALLENGE 2015 #SRC2015 http://www.gobooksparks.com  for including us on this blog tour and for providing a copy of A WINDOW OPENS for an honest review.

Feel free to check out http://www.cindyroesel.com for more of my reviews and news about my novel, “Viewer Discretion Advised.”

HER SISTER’S SHOES by Ashley Farley & GIVEAWAY

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THE GODFORSAKEN DAUGHTER by Christina McKenna & A GIVEAWAY!

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In the very early 80s, my father married an Irish woman with six kids. She was seriously Irish, first generation from Athenry, County Galway. When they moved in, almost everything was replaced in the color green, Mondays were corned beef and cabbage and all they, and soon we, talked about were The Troubles. Picking up Christina McKenna’s, THE GODFORSAKEN DAUGHTER  got my Irish up a bit. I remember learning to make traditional Irish soda bread, attempting to cross stitch and throwing up after sneaking Irish whiskey, which I was much too young to drink. Back to 2015, I don’t know about you, but Monday, I had a lovely St. Patrick’s Day!

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THE GODFORSAKEN DAUGHTER is set in the 1980s Ireland. Ruby Clare loves her father and looks forward to working with him out in the farm fields every day. But he dies, leaving behind the 63-acre farm, Ruby, her mother and nasty twin sisters. First thing her mother does is forbid Ruby to work outside on the farm and turns her into her private servant. Her sisters live in Belfast but come home to Tailorstown on weekends to add a special sisterly brand of torture to Ruby’s already dismal existence. The only bit of joy she has is in the form of Jamie McCloone, a lonely bachelor farmer she knows.

Dr. Henry Shelvin is a psychiatrist in Belfast. His wife, Constance goes missing one night and he proceeds to spend all his time looking for her. It’s destroying him, but this is also a time of unrest in Belfast. There’s a civil war waging between the Protestant IRA and the Catholics and he is told to “lay low” to stop looking for her, but nothing more. He leaves Belfast for Tailorstown and finds peace working with small town patients while never losing hope he’ll find his wife.

The two stories come together in a somewhat awkward way. In some ways, they seemed as if they were two different novels. As I was reading, I found myself  invested in Ruby’s story that I couldn’t stop until the end and was satisfied with the resolution of how everything turned out. THE GODFORSAKEN DAUGHTER somehow feels like a step back in time, with McKenna’s lyrical portraits of the countryside. It’s a story of family, love and faith. This is the third novel in Christina McKenna’s, Tailorstown Series.

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Christina McKennaAbout Christina McKenna

Christina McKenna grew up on a farm near the village of Draperstown in Northern Ireland. She attended the Belfast College of Art, where she obtained an honors degree in fine art and studied English in postgraduate studies at the University of Ulster. In 1986, she left Northern Ireland to work abroad. She has lived, worked, and painted pictures in Spain, Turkey, Italy, Ecuador, and Mexico.

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Thanks to TLC Book Tours for providing a copy of THE GODFORSAKEN DAUGHTER for an honest review. Check out http://www.christina-mckenna.com for all things CHRISTINA.

We’re giving away a copy of THE GODFORSAKEN DAUGHTER. Just leave a comment on this blog. Staying in the spirit of the “Luck of the Irish,” do you have anything that you consider lucky? For instance, I was given a Montblanc pen the first time I anchored the news and I always used it.

We’ll pick a winner Tuesday! Good Luck!

THE WIDOW SMALLS and Other Stories

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THE WIDOW SMALLS and Other Stories(PronghornPress) is the second book from WILLA Award-Winning Author, Jamie Lisa Forbes. The WILLA award, is named after Pulitzer Prize winning author Willa Cather for distinguished stories written about women and girls in the west, judged by a panel of professional librarians and is awarded yearly. Forbes book, UNBROKEN won the award in 2011 and Forbes returns with this published collection of stories.

THE WIDOW SMALLS tells the story of when Leah’s husband, Bud passes and his brother’s Merle and Grady do nothing to help her, in fact they do the very opposite. Ironically they expect her to fall apart and give them the ranch for a steal, but the brothers get more than they bargain for. She rises up and becomes the woman none of them, including Leah thought possible.

Other stories delve into universal topics such as relationships, resentments and friendships which can become strained. One story is about a father making one last play to keep his daughter home on the ranch, as she spreads her wings for the big city. There is a young rancher who decides to stand up to authority figures for what he believes is morally right, and young lovers experiencing their first romance.

Forbes collection explores the unrelenting extremes of hard work on the working ranch. The seasons move forward, time doesn’t stand still for anything, be it death, sickness, broken equipment or bad crops. She describes a life I’m unfamiliar with but Forbes kept my attention from page one with her prose and gifted storytelling skills.

Thanks to http://www.netgalley.com and Pronghorn Press http://www.pronghornpress.org for providing a kindle copy of THE WIDOW SMALLS and Other Stories for an honest review. Check out http://www.JamieLisaForbes.com for all things JAMIE. You can find my blog at http://www.writeoncindy.wordpress.com For more information about the WILLA Award, go to http://www.womenwritingthewest.org

THE WIDOW SMALLS and Other Stories will be published Monday, October 20th.

THE GOOD SISTER

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For there to be a good sister, there must be a bad sister and in the case of Jamie Kain’s, novel THE GOOD SISTER (St.Martin’sGriffin) there are three sisters. Sarah Jade Kinsey is the oldest and she’s not only beautiful, smart and loved by all, she has cancer. Rachel Anne Kinsey, 18 is the middle one lost in the shuffle. Finally, there is Asha Nadine Kinsey, 15 who is the youngest and becomes Sarah’s bone marrow donor not once, but twice. So that leaves us to wonder, who is the good and not so good sister?
The Kinsey’s are a unique family living in Northern California’s Marin County. The parents, Lena and Ravi, former hippies offer no rules to live by, girls raised in a commune, they’re just drifting, holding on to one another for some kind of support. Sarah, the oldest believes she’s the protector but as the disease ravages her body, it slowly destroys the family. They’re shaped by the knowledge that someone within the unit is going to die.
When Sarah passes, it’s called an accident, but was it? She was hiking with her sister Rachel, who never hiked before. That’s when the secrets, mysteries, betrayals and even revenge begin to surface. I could feel grieving in the writing, while each character searched for their own truth. Ultimately, each one had to embrace what they stood for, searching through many questions, frequently coming up with too few answers.
THE GOOD SISTER is the first young adult novel Jamie Kain, has written. The YA genre is very popular right now, but I hope THE GOOD SISTER is marketed to a broader contemporary audience. I was drawn into reading her book because of the characters, the story as well as her writing, so I hope THE GOOD SISTER reaches as many readers as possible. It’s a wonderful novel.
Thanks to http://www.netgalley.com and St. Martin’s Griffin for providing a kindle copy for an honest review. Check out http://www.jamiekain.com for all things JAMIE!

HOUSE WE GREW UP IN – Family dysfunction and drama at its best!

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I’m so excited that I’ve discovered British author, Lisa Jewell. I just finished reading the recently published, THE HOUSE WE GREW UP IN (Atria Books) and I absolutely loved it. I can hardly believe she’s written ten previous novels. Perhaps I’m the only one who hasn’t been in Miss Jewell’s loop, because Jojo Moyes’ wrote a fabulous review for this novel. Well, I can tell you, I’m certainly thrilled to be one of her fans now!

To neighbors, The Bird family appears to be living a perfect picturesque life within their Cotswolds village cottage. Inside resides mother, Lorelei, who is a bit of a 60’s free spirit, husband Colin and four children, daughters, Meghan, Bethan and tow-head twin boys Rory and Rhys. In addition to family members boxes of unneeded stuff Lorelei is buying slowly are evicting the Bird family out of their own home.

The Birds love celebrating Easter Sunday, especially Lorelei who turns it into a yearly ritual with chocolate Easter egg hunts, inviting family and neighbors for a big dinner. One Easter, everything changes. The Bird family, whose internal family dynamics have been slowly cracking comes to a breaking point. Each family member has to face their own inner demons and decide if they want to start the long road of healing individually and as a family.

Author Lisa Jewell, courageously navigates difficult situations for several characters with positive results which I frankly didn’t have hope for. As an artist, Jewell handles very fragile circumstances with insightful sensitivity without judging how past events affect the present.

The design team at Atria Books did a brilliant job creating the cover for THE HOUSE WE GREW UP IN. Once you read it, and I recommend you do, you will understand how the frailty of the egg is a metaphor for the characters, their mental and physical conditions and overall condition of the house. I found myself referring back as I read the novel.

Thanks to http://www.netgalley.com and Atria Books for a kindle copy of this novel for an honest review. I look forward to reading more from Lisa Jewell.