Excerpt: THE CHESAPEAKE BRIDE by Mariah Stewart

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THE CHESAPEAKE BRIDE

11th in The Chesapeake Diaries series

by: Mariah Stewart

Published by: Pocket Books

Release Date: August 29, 2017

ISBN 9781501154355; $7.99

Excerpt

Diary~

I love the changing of the seasons—and I think summer into fall might be a favorite, being as how I relate to the whole “autumn of my years” thing. That’s how I see myself, anyway. If sixty is the new forty, I believe seventy must be the new fifty, eighty the new sixty, and so on. Therefore, I fall into that third quadrant. Don’t try to change my mind or confuse me with facts.

One of the reasons I love this time of the year: the steady influx of tourists into St. Dennis begins to wane. Not that I don’t love our visitors. Why, without them, St. Dennis would have continued to languish and would never have become the Eastern Shore mecca it now is. But there’s something sweet about having your hometown belong to you and yours again, even if it’s just for a while. I know soon enough the holidays will be upon us and many will flock to town for all the beautiful festivities—the Christmas House Tour, the weekend of caroling, the tree lighting at the square on Old St. Mary’s Church Road, Christmas at the Inn (a favorite of mine), and, oh, yes, the shopping! But this little respite between the beginning of September, when the families leave to return their offspring to school, and the holiday madness belongs to us, we old St. Dennis folk who like a little downtime.

Not to say there’s nothing going on here! There are new babies to celebrate and a special wedding on the horizon, one that makes me especially weepy. My dear nephew, Alec, will be marrying his lovely Lisbeth in an event that will be the talk of both St. Dennis and Cannonball Island for a long time to come. I’m not privy to all the details, mind you, but since my daughter, Lucy, is planning the wedding, I’ve heard bits and squeaks of what she has in mind, and it will, no doubt, be perfectly wonderful.

When we were children, Mama told us that when good folks passed, they earned a star in the heavens where they could sit and shine down on all the goings-on here on earth. Our brothers scoffed, but we girls believed her, and so it is that I know my beloved sister, Carole, will be watching happily from her star as her son marries his bride out on the point in just a few more weeks.

Thinking about the point makes me think of all the changes that are coming to Cannonball Island soon. So much, it could make your head spin! For the first time in roughly two hundred years, new dwellings will be going up on what had once been barren land. I heard from one in the know that some of the older homesteads—mostly those that have fallen into ruin or have been abandoned—will be replaced with new versions more suitable to modern living. Some are up in arms about this, but frankly, it’s about time. Those dilapidated old shells offer no shelter and, if anything, detract from the beauty of the island. My good friend Ruby Carter—the island’s matriarch—has given her blessing, and that’s good enough for me. Besides, Alec will be serving as the environmental consultant, so I feel confident that all will be well. The new homes are being designed with the island’s history in mind, so the legacy of those early settlers will be well protected. The architect is a lovely young woman who is serious about this project, so I know, eventually, all will be well.

Of course I do.

I know, too, that a certain islander with a “rolling stone” reputation will be finding his rolling days coming to a halt

 

before too long. It will be amusing, to say the least, to see him meet his match. Will he be bested?

The smart money’s on the new girl. That’s all I have to say about that.

And so much excitement over all the goings-on at the mouth of the river on the other side of Cannonball Island! Who knew such mysteries lay beneath the water, waiting to be discovered—and now that they have been, well, the flurry of activity these days has my poor old head spinning like an old-fashioned top. I cannot wait to see what they find, and I’m more than happy that one of the principal players is staying at the inn. Not that I’d pry, but if one overhears a snippet of conversation now and then . . . well, let’s just say it’s good to keep informed. Now, how all this is going to affect the construction that was slated to begin in November, well, I suppose everyone will have to wait and see. Could be there will be delays, which will keep the new girl around for a while longer and will keep the rolling stone on his toes.

My, what fun this will be~

Grace ~

~~~~~~~~

Praise for The Chesapeake Bride, Book 11 in The Chesapeake Diaries:

“Stewart succeeds in giving both Owen and Cass a smooth blend of strength and vulnerability, and the setting of this heartwarming romance will draw readers in with its island-life charm.”— Publishers Weekly

Strengths: Noteworthy historical content; Engaging characters; Strong Romance; HEA…Measure of Love: Teaspoon…Mood: Poignant and lighthearted…Why You Should Read this: Definitely will appeal to readers wanting a strong romance. And the genealogy and historical aspects are a perfect addition to a pleasing story!”— Heroes and Heartbreakers Women’s Fiction Best Bet for August 2017

“The Chesapeake Bride is a small-town romance which will leave readers wanting more of the charming characters and unforgettable story. I enjoyed this book so much that I am still running some of the scenes through my head, which shows how fantastic the story is. Another great read by an outstanding author. A Recommended Read!”— Romance Junkies, Five Heart Review

“The romance is slow and sweet…the lack of unnecessary melodrama, angst, and over-the-top gestures makes this a refreshing contemporary romance between two adults who act as such.”— Kirkus Reviews 

Praise for Driftwood Point, Book 10 in The Chesapeake Diaries:

“This second-chance-at-love romance is gentle and sweet…The colorful friendship between the family matriarchs…charms. Stewart seamlessly checks in with former series protagonists and introduces future romantic pairings without stealing attention from Lisbeth and Alec.”

—RT Book Reviews 

Praise for That Chesapeake Summer, Book 9 in The Chesapeake Diaries:

“[That Chesapeake Summer] deftly uses the tools of the genre to explore issues of identity, truth, and smalltown kinship…Stewart offers a strong statement on the power of love and trust, a fitting theme for this big-hearted small town romance.” — Publishers Weekly

“A touching story of self-discovery and homecoming that is sure to warm readers’ hearts…fans are sure to feel right at home in Stewart’s idyllic seaside setting and follow this emotional journey with avid interest.” — RT Book Reviews

 Praise for The Last Chance Matinee, Book One in The Hudson Sisters Series:

“The popcorn, the red velvet seats, the glittering Hollywood stars on-screen…I’ve enjoyed all aspects of going to the movies since I was a kid…so when I saw a vintage theater on the cover of this book, I quickly swiped it up…The tale was a sweet reminder of the importance of family. I can’t wait for the next book in this series!” — First for Women magazine, July 2017

“[This] lively, warmhearted series starter will have readers eagerly awaiting the second installment.” — Booklist

“A good read, with a nice blend of mystery, family drama, and romance.” — Library Journal

 

 Aboutthebook

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New York Times bestselling author Mariah Stewart returns to the cherished Maryland shores of St. Dennis withTHE CHESAPEAKE BRIDE (Pocket Books; August 29, 2017; $7.99), the charming story of a jaded architect who meets the one man who could finally melt her heart—if she’s willing to let him in.

Cassidy Logan has sworn off good-looking adventurers, having just divorced the one she’d married. Now working with her father’s construction company to build ecologically friendly, historically accurate homes on the Chesapeake Bay, she’s designing them for Cannonball Island. Knowing there’s been no new construction on the island in almost one hundred years, Cass is sensitive to the heritage and history of the sparsely populated island, and has come up with plans so perfect she’s determined to buy one for herself to live in. Even the fact that Owen Parker—whom she dismisses as a lightweight and a player— seems to be everywhere she goes isn’t enough to deter her from building her dream house.

Owen is and always has been sinfully handsome and wickedly clever, a magnet for mischief as well as the girls in St. Dennis. He’s also a rolling stone, going and doing whatever appeals to him, from flying a mail plane in Alaska to working on a cattle ranch in Australia and a shrimp boat in Louisiana, to surfing and diving in Costa Rica. When an old friend offers him a job salvaging a sunken ship in the Chesapeake, Owen gladly accepts. Something’s been telling him it’s about time to head home to Cannonball Island, and a job is as good an excuse as any. He’s totally smitten with the pretty architect, but it seems he’s finally met a woman who’s immune to his charms. Sooner or later, Owen will have to face the reason why he always runs, because this time, leaving just might be harder than staying.

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abouttheauthor

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Mariah Stewart is the award-winning New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of numerous novels and several novellas and short stories.  A native of Hightstown, New Jersey, she lives with her husband and two rambunctious rescue dogs amid the rolling hills of Chester County, Pennsylvania, where she savors country life and tends her gardens.  Visit her website at mariahstewart.com, like her on Facebook at AuthorMariahStewart, and follow her on Instagram at mariah_stewart_books.

Upcoming store event with Mariah:

Thursday, August 31st, 6:30 pm (Note: This event was rescheduled due to the storm.)

Bethany Beach Books

99 Garfield Parkway

P.O. Box 904

Bethany Beach, DE 19930

 

NOTE FOR THE NEW YEAR:

Look for Gallery Books’ second installment in Mariah Stewart’s all-new trade original women’s fiction series, The Hudson Sisters, following a trio of reluctant sisters as they set out to fulfill their father’s dying wish—and discover themselves in the process. Book 2, The Sugarhouse Blues, will publish March 2018!

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END OF SUMMER GIVEAWAY:

We’re celebrating The Chesapeake Bride and Summer 2017 with one giveaway for Driftwood Point, 10th  in The Chesapeake Diaries Series by Mariah Stewart! The last day for entries will be Friday, September 22nd (the official last day of summer!) The winner will receive one copy of Driftwood Point. U.S. only, please. You can enter at the participating blogs listed below – but you can only win once!

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BLOG TOUR SCHEDULE:

AUGUST 28

USA TODAY’S HAPPY EVER AFTER – EXCERPT

HEROES AND HEARTBREAKERS – WOMEN’S FICTION BEST BET FOR AUGUST 2017

AUGUST 29

A MIDLIFE WIFE

ROMANCING THE READERS

AUGUST 30

THE LIBRARIAN TALKS – Q&A

BOOK BITCH

ABIGAIL BOOKS ADDICTION

MY NOVELESQUE LIFE

AUGUST 31

DIRTY AND THIRTY

BOOK MAMA BLOG

SUZY APPROVED BOOK REVIEWS

COLLECTORS OF BOOK BOYFRIENDS

SEPTEMBER 1

SOS ALOHA

MARGIE’S MUST READS

PACIFIC NORTHWEST BOOKWORM

SEPTEMBER 4

READING BETWEEN THE WINES

SEPTEMBER 5

FRESH FICTION

SVETLANA’S READS AND VIEWS

BIBLIOTICA

MRS LEIF’S TWO FANGS ABOUT IT

SEPTEMBER 6

READ YOUR WRITES

REVIEWS BY CRYSTAL

BRAINFARTS AND BOOKS

IN PATTI’S IMAGINATION

BOOKJUNKIEMOM

SEPTEMBER 7

JOJO THE BOOKAHOLIC

LORI’S READING CORNER

HAPPYMOMBLOGGER’S BLOG

HARDLY A GODDESS

NOTES ON MY SHELF

SEPTEMBER 8

READING FRENZY BLOG

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UP ‘TIL DAWN BOOK BLOG

SEPTEMBER 12

SATISFACTION FOR INSATIABLE READERS

LINDA’S BOOK OBSESSION

CARLA LOVES TO READ

LORELEI’S LIT LAIR

SEPTEMBER 13

KATHERINE’S BOOK UNIVERSE – Q&A

BOOKTALK WITH EILEEN

REVIEWS FROM THE HEART

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Interview with Mariah Stewart, author of the Hudson Sisters Series

 

Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre?

I don’t think I actively made a choice – my stories just naturally fell into the realm of women’s fiction, often with an emphasis on romance (because love does in fact make the world go ‘round!).

Where did your love of books/storytelling/reading/writing/etc. come from?

I’ve always had a very active imagination!

When I was seven, I contracted whooping cough and was very sick for thirteen weeks – the entire summer! Every other day, my mother would send my older brother to our little town library where the kind librarian would load him up with a selection of books for me to read. By the end of the summer, I’d gone through the books for my reading level several times. My mom bought me a black and white composition book, and told me to write my own stories (anything to keep me busy and not thinking about the fact that every other kid in our neighborhood was having a great summer playing outside while I was confined to the house). My paternal grandmother’s stories about growing up in a tiny village outside of Edinburgh, Scotland, did a lot to feed my imagination.

How long have you been writing?

Since I was seven! See above! But my first published books came out in 1995 from Pocket Books.

What kind(s) of writing do you do?

I write mostly women’s fiction, sometimes with an emphasis on romantic relationships. I’ve also written suspense and romantic suspense.

How does your book relate to your spiritual practice or other life path?

I like to think my stories are about people who act morally and who try to honor their relationships and contribute to the world I create for them. Over the years I’ve had hundreds of emails from people who tell me they wished they lived next door to one of my characters, or wish a specific character was real so they could be friends. Even some of the villains in my romantic suspense novels had a redeeming quality or two!

What do you think most characterizes your writing?

Definitely character-driven novels with strong women protagonists that focus on the importance of relationships – family, friends, significant others. My books are all set within the framework and patterns of life in a small town, and explore the importance of friendship and how all our relationships impact our lives, how the past affects the present and the future, how our lives are often the product of our decisions.

What was the hardest part of writing this book?  

The first fifty pages! Always the hardest for me!

What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

This book is the eleventh in the Chesapeake Diaries series. I love going back to my fictional town, St. Dennis, and the characters who inhabit that world. The last few books in the series have seen the setting move to Cannonball Island, which is across a narrow river from St. Dennis, so I could explore another families and a different culture than the one in St. Dennis. One of the things I love the most is making up the histories of places and families – so much fun!

Who are some of your favorite authors that you feel were influential in your work?  What impact have they had on your writing?

I think the author who had the most influence on my writing was Lucy Maud Montgomery. Reading about Anne of Green Gables fed my imagination, and in some ways, Anne and I are soul sisters. She was the first character I read about who I felt expressed herself in ways that I totally related to!

What did you find most useful in learning to write?  What was least useful or most destructive?

For me, most useful – reading. Reading. Reading. Reading. The best way to stretch your mind!

Least useful? Self-doubt.

What do you like to read in your free time?

Free time? What is free time? Right now, I’m planning my daughter’s wedding and trying to keep the garden from getting out of control!

I do read every chance I get.

What book do you wish you could have written?

Absolutely anything by James Lee Burke – I think he’s brilliant.

Oh, and George R.R. Martin’s world building defies the abilities of mere mortals. I’d love to have written the entire Song of Ice and Fire series – because I’d know how it ends! Who will survive? Who will sit on the Iron Throne?

Just as your books inspire authors, what authors have inspired you to write?

Again, Lucy Maud Montgomery.

How important are names to you in your books? Do you choose the names based on liking the way it sounds or the meaning? Do you have any name choosing resources you recommend?

Odd though this might sound, 99% of the time, when my characters show up, they tell me who they are. But I always have characters show up I hadn’t planned for – they just walk into a scene and there they are. When I was writing Mercy Street, a woman showed up and just started talking. I knew she was an older woman, with some authority over the male protagonist who was a dot com billionaire, but she was bossing him around and he was fine with that. Not his grandmother, I knew, but someone close. And I couldn’t find a name for her. Tried out dozens, but none were right. So I had to leave a blank space for her name, like, “—- said.”

One day I got an email from a woman named Trula Comfort (is that the best name EVER?) and I knew right away it was The Name. I wrote back and asked if I could borrow her name, and she kindly agreed.

If you had a superpower, what would it be?

Since I hate – HATE – airplanes (total claustrophobic!) – I’d want to be able to fly. Without going through airports.

When my kids were little, I convinced them I had Mommy Magic. I guess that’s sort of a superpower!

What literary character is most like you?

Definitely Anne Shirley – still!

If you were an animal in a zoo, what would you be?

If I were an animal in a zoo, I’d be looking for a way to get out!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Book 1 in The Hudson Sisters series

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The Last Chance Matinee by Mariah Stewart

Publication Date: March 21, 2017

Publisher: Gallery Books

Look for Book 2 in 2018 and Book 3 in 2019!

Praise for The Last Chance Matinee:

“The popcorn, the red velvet seats, the glittering Hollywood stars on-screen…I’ve enjoyed all aspects of going to the movies since I was a kid,” reminisces Lauren Gatcombe, FIRST assistant editor. “So when I saw a vintage theater on the cover of this book, I quickly swiped it up.” When famed L.A. agent Fritz Hudson passes away, his daughter, Cara, discovers she has two half sisters whose existence were kept secret from her. The other shock: In order for the three sisters to receive their inheritances, they must restore an old movie theater in Fritz’s Pennsylvania hometown. There are trials and tribulations along the way, but the sisters decide to work together to turn their father’s dream into a reality. “I identified a lot with Cara as I read,” says Lauren. “And the tale was a sweet reminder of the importance of family. I can’t wait for the next book in this series!” First For Women magazine

“The combination of a quirky small-town setting, a family mystery, a gentle romance, and three estranged sisters is catnip for women’s-fiction fans, and the backdrop of the faded movie palace adds a fascinating element to the story. Stewart’s lively, warmhearted series starter [The Last Chance Matinee] will have readers eagerly awaiting the second installment.” — Booklist

“A good read, with a nice blend of mystery, family drama, and romance. Readers will look forward to the next installment.”— Library Journal

About The Last Chance Matinee:

From the New York Times bestselling author Mariah Stewart comes the first novel in her all-new series, which follows a trio of reluctant sisters who set out to fulfill their father’s dying wish and, in the process, discover the truth not only about their pasts but about each other—and themselves—in a way that will forever alter their futures.

When celebrated and respected Fritz Hudson passes away suddenly, he leaves a trail of Hollywood glory in his wake—and two separate families who never knew the other existed. Allie and Des Hudson are products of Fritz’s first marriage to Honora, a beautiful but troubled starlet whose life ended tragically. As his relationship with Honora was unraveling, Fritz was simultaneously falling in love on the Delaware Bay with New Age hippie Susa—but while Fritz adored Susa and fathered daughter Cara with her, he never quite managed to come clean about his West Coast Family.

Now Fritz is gone, and the three sisters are brought together under strange circumstances: there’s a large inheritance to be had, specifically one that could save Allie from her ever-deepening debt following a disastrous divorce; allow Des to open a rescue shelter for abused and wounded animals; and give Cara a fresh start after her husband left her for her best friend; but only if the sisters upend their lives and work together to restore an old theater that was Fritz’s obsession growing up in his small hometown in Pennsylvania’s Pocono Mountains. Will the sisters come together to turn their father’s dream into a reality – and will they come away with far more than they bargained for?

About Mariah Stewart:

Mariah Stewart is an award-winning New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of numerous novels as well as several novellas and short stories. She lives with her husband and two rambunctious rescue dogs amid the rolling hills of Chester County, Pennsylvania, where she savors county life and tends her gardens while she works on her next novel. Visit her at mariahstewart.com and follow her on Facebook.com/AuthorMariahStewart and on Instagram @mariah_stewart_books.

About the series:

The Last Chance Matinee, Book 1 (March 21, 2017)
The Sugarhouse Blues, Book 2 (March 20, 2018)

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UNTITLED Book 3 (coming in 2019)

Note:  Mariah Stewart’s separate series, the bestselling Chesapeake Diaries, has been a favorite with readers since 2010. The eleventh installment, The Chesapeake Bride, will publish August 29, 2017.

Upcoming store events with Mariah:

Wednesday, August 30th, 6:00 pm:  Barnes & Noble, Concord Mall – 4801 Concord Pike; Wilmington, DE 19803

Excerpt: COMFORT PLANS by Kimberly Fish

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COMFORT PLANS
by
KIMBERLY FISH
  Genre: Contemporary Women’s Fiction
Date of Publication: May 23, 2017
Number of Pages: 320
Scroll down for giveaway!
 

Colette Sheridan is being remodeled.

As a San Antonio architect, she’d have vowed her career was to investigate the history and create new functions for the structures everyone else saw as eyesores. The old German farmhouse in Comfort, Texas, might be the screeching end of that dream job. The assignment seemed so ideal at the start; generous clients, a stunning location, and a pocketful of letters that were surely meant to explain the ranch’s story. All that goodness crashed louder than a pile of two-by-fours when her grandfather announced he’d lured Colette’s ex-husband back to San Antonio to take over the family architecture firm. Now, not only does Colette have to endure the challenges posed by Beau Jefferson, the client’s handpicked contractor, a house that resists efforts to be modernized, and letters that may hold the secret to buried treasure, but she also has to decide if she has the courage to fight for her future.
Set against the backdrop of the Texas Hill Country, Colette and Beau have to rely on plans neither of them constructed in order to navigate the changes of a house with a story to tell, and a future they couldn’t even imagine.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
“Kimberly Fish’s unique writing style snatched me out of my easy chair and plunked me down into the middle of her character’s life where I was loathe to leave when my real life called me back. Her descriptive visual writing drew me in on the first page. Can’t wait to read more stories by Mrs. Fish.”
–Vickie Phelps,Author of Moved, Left No Address

Excerpt

Excerpt, Chapter 1, Part 3

from Comfort Plans

Continued from the Lone Star Book Blog Tours 8/5/17 Stop

Scooping up a handful of chiffon, Colette scooted across the leather driver’s seat and wondered if her grandfather followed-through with a candidate, if a new president at Sheridan’s would gain much traction in the market. The boutique firm specialized in historical restoration and had a niche in South Texas. Since Nathan Sheridan was the guru of that style, she doubted anyone would ever replicate the success her grandfather had maintained in an industry that could change on the whims of the stock market.

Point number twelve for why he needed to groom a stronger replacement.

She backed out of the driveway but stole one last glance at the man who never went a day without Brylcreem. His custom-tailored shirt was rolled at the sleeves, and he was wearing his dress slacks on a Saturday night. The Big Ben of her world—he was classy, reliable, and just as unbending as any national monument London had ever produced.

He was flagging her to roll down her window.

Colette cranked the window below her nose. “Yes?”

“Aren’t you at all curious who I’ve finally selected to manage my empire?”

Empire was a bit of a leap. The last quarter-profits weren’t anything to get excited about. “Knowing that you would scour the face of the earth to find someone worthy of the Sheridan name and that it’s taken you years since the last serious candidate, I’m hopeful this man is capable of carrying your legacy forward.”

“That’s a lot of faith from the girl who questioned me about the wisdom of maintaining my breakfast ritual at Earl Abel’s.”

He did have a nasty habit of smothering all forms of nutrition with sausage gravy, which was another reason to force him into a doctor’s appointment.

“I’m looking out for your general health because I want you to hang around and torment me for years to come.” Which was true. She adored her resident curmudgeon and delighted in being one of the few people in the world who could make him laugh.

His lips turned down even more than usual. “I’m one of the short timers, which is why I want to know that you and my firm are going to be in good hands.”

She shivered. “Don’t talk like that. You know what Momma says about positive thinking.”

“Your mother is a flake.”

Colette sighed and knew she’d be even later to this wedding than was acceptable. “I can see you want to tell me who you’ve hired, so what’s his name? Or am I supposed to guess based on last month’s Architectural Digest article about the ‘it guy’ from Los Angeles?”

She’d seen her grandfather poring over those pages like they were printed in gold leaf. She hadn’t seen anything brilliant when she’d snatched the article from the breakfast table, but her inability to see modern trends was another excuse she’d offered as to why she’d make a lousy president of the firm.

Finish reading Chapter One on the Lone Star Book Blog Tours 8/13/17 Stop

Kimberly Fish started writing professionally with the birth of her second child and the purchase of a home computer. Having found this dubious outlet, she then entered and won The Writer’s League of Texas manuscript contest which fed her on-going fascination with story crafting.
She has since published in magazines, newspapers, and online formats and in 2017, released the first novel in a series set during the World War II years in Longview, Texas – The Big Inch.
She lives with her family in East Texas.
————————————— 
GIVEAWAY!  GIVEAWAY!  GIVEAWAY!
TWO SIGNED COPIES!
July 31 – August 14, 2017
(U.S. Only)

CHECK OUT THE OTHER GREAT BLOGS ON THE TOUR:
7/31
Excerpt 1
Books in the Garden
8/1
Review
8/2
Character Interview
8/3
Guest Post 1
8/4
Review
8/5
Excerpt 2
8/6
Playlist
8/7
Review
8/8
Video Guest Post
8/9
Review
8/10
Excerpt 3
8/11
Guest Post 2
8/12
Review
8/13
Excerpt 4
8/14
Review
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Review: BEFORE THE RAIN FALLS by Camille Di Maio

BEFORE THE RAIN FALLS
by
CAMILLE DI MAIO
  Genre: Women’s Fiction / Historical / Family
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Date of Publication: May 16, 2017
Number of Pages: 334
Scroll down for Giveaway!
review
***
(I received an e-galley of this book in exchange for an honest review)
This is a story of love in it’s purest form.  It’s about sacrifice and family.  It’s about finding oneself amidst the crisis of your life.  It is truly a beautiful story.
This book cannot be classified into any particular genre.  It’s realistic fiction, women’s fiction, historical fiction, mystery, and romance.  Di Maio’s writing has springboarded from it’s already lofty place (with her debut novel, THE MEMORY OF US) with the story of Della Lee.  As the story unfolds, the author skillfully parallels four storylines, weaving them together like an elaborate tapestry to a beautiful and satisfying conclusion.  The characters are wonderful and the descriptions are so fantastic.  I could almost feel the heat on my skin as I read about Puerto Pasar I really can’t say enough about how much I enjoyed the writing in this book.
Absolutely DEVOURED this book! Best book I’ve read all year. It has history, romance, intrigue and wonderful characters that make you feel like you’ve known them all of your life. What an amazing story this turned out to be. I loved Di Maio’s first book, but this one blows it out of the water! I’d give it 10 stars if I could!
***
After serving seventy years in prison for the murder of her sister, Eula, Della Lee has finally returned home to the Texas town of Puerto Pesar. She’s free from confinement—and ready to tell her secrets before it’s too late.

She finds a willing audience in journalist Mick Anders, who is reeling after his suspension from a Boston newspaper and in town, reluctantly, to investigate a mysterious portrait of Eula that reportedly sheds tears. He crosses paths with Dr. Paloma Vega, who’s visiting Puerto Pesar with her own mission: to take care of her ailing grandmother and to rescue her rebellious younger sister before something terrible happens. Paloma and Mick have their reasons to be in the hot, parched border town whose name translates as “Port of Regret.” But they don’t anticipate how their lives will be changed forever.

Moving and engrossing, this dual story alternates between Della’s dark ordeals of the 1940s and Paloma and Mick’s present-day search for answers―about roots, family, love, and what is truly important in life.

Check out the book trailer!
Praise for Before the Rain Falls:
Still wiping away tears! Before the Rain Falls is simultaneously heartbreaking, hopeful, and joyous: a story of complex characters with varied pasts and bright futures. Loved it! – Jennifer B. on Goodreads
This novel takes readers on an emotional, fast-paced, ride through one sister’s journey to self, redemption, and the true meaning of “freedom.” – Nicole W. on Goodreads
There is romance, mystery, and secrets that are kept till the very end that will have you not wanting this beautifully written story to end. – Carol B. on Goodreads
Camille recently left an award-winning real estate career in San Antonio to become a full-time writer. Along with her husband of 19 years, she enjoys raising their four children. She has a bucket list that is never-ending and uses her adventures to inspire her writing. She’s lived in Texas, Colorado, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and California, and spends enough time in Hawai’i to feel like a local. She’s traveled to four continents (so far), and met Mother Teresa and Pope John Paul II. She just about fainted when she had a chance to meet her musical idol, Paul McCartney, too. Camille studied political science in college but found working on actual campaigns much more fun. She overdoses on goodies at farmer’s markets (justifying them by her support for local bakeries) and belts out Broadway tunes whenever the moment strikes. There’s almost nothing she wouldn’t try, so long as it doesn’t involve heights, roller skates, or anything illegal. The Memory of Us is Camille’s debut novel. Her second, Before the Rain Falls was released on May 16, 2017.

 

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Review: I JUST CAME HERE TO DANCE by Susan Mary Malone

banner-i-just-came-here-2-dance
I JUST CAME HERE 
TO DANCE
by
Susan Mary Malone
Genre: Literary Fiction
Publisher: White Bird Publications
Date of Publication: September 15, 2016
Number of Pages: 340

 

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Paula Anne Fairbanks understands all about the unexamined life. And she likes hers that way—until her world gets ripped smooth apart.
Running from reality, Paula falls under the mythological yarns being spun on Diana Maclean’s porch. Surely Paula’s own choices aren’t to blame for the summer of insanity she spends under the spells of Diana…who is, after all, known as the White Witch of Sociable,  Texas.
I JUST CAME HERE TO DANCE, a modern allegory, waltzes atop the line between the creative and the crazy, the sacred and the maligned. Through myths it weaves together the multi-layers of personal Self with that of the collective whole. And finally, Paula Anne and the townsfolk learn the simplest of truths: that the fire’s ashes produce wisdom and courage, just as the stories say.
PRAISE FOR I JUST CAME HERE TO DANCE:

     “Malone’s voice is one of the most charming I’ve read.  It brings the story and her characters to life.  I feel like I grew up with Paula right over the hill from the lively little town of Sociable, Texas.”  –New York Times bestselling author M. Leighton
“Susan Mary Malone pens well-crafted characters that are so vivid you can picture them in an award winning movie or television series.” –New York Times bestselling author Mary Honey B Morrison
“. . . a magical story about love ripped apart, a life examined, and then healed.  To be read slowly, to savor as one would a tall cool glass of lemonade, on a hot afternoon, watching the world become new.”  –Ginnie Siena Bivona, author of Ida Mae Tutweiler and the Traveling Tea Party, made into a Hallmark TV film, Bound by a Secret
review
Sociable, Texas.  We grow ’em big in Texas.  And this story is no exception.
Paula Ann Fairbanks’s life just changed.  After years of a shell of a marriage, she’s discovered her husband’s infidelity with a childhood friend (small towns are small…LOL).  Now she’s left a bit directionless,  but finds the friendship of the local eccentric, Diana, a great place to start her journey to self-discovery.  As she listens to the stories of the other characters on Diana’s porch, she learns about herself and her place in the world.
Small town, Texas.  Bigger than life characters.  Malone does it right here.  An excellent use of dialect to help her bring these women (and the men as well) to life on the page.
Growing up in Texas, and visiting family in small towns, I knew a few people who reminded me of some of these characters.  Malone has captured the true spirit of the just how BIG (and small) these small town folks truly are!  I recommend this book.

 

author-pic-malone
Texas native Susan Mary Malone has published two novels, co-authored four nonfiction books, and written many short stories. Her happiness is fiction, wine, and Labrador Retrievers, the latter of which she raises, trains, and shows. Literature is her love. In addition to writing, she edits; fifty-plus Malone-edited books have sold to traditional publishers, and one of them was made into a Hallmark Hall of Fame film (while another is in production, set to be released in 2015). Her stories revolve around the passions and purpose, the myths and meaning of women’s lives. Which often involves wine. She does, however, try to keep the Labradors out of that.
  
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Interview: Yvonne Georgina Puig, author of A WIFE OF NOBLE CHARACTER

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A WIFE OF NOBLE CHARACTER
by
Yvonne Georgina Puig

Genre: Women‘s Contemporary Fiction
Date of Publication: August 2, 2016
Number of Pages: 320

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Thirty-year-old Vivienne Cally is wealthy in name only. Orphaned as a child and raised by a cold but regal aunt, Vivienne was taught to rely on her beauty and Texas tradition, and is expected to marry a wealthy and respectable man who will honor the Cally name. Friends with Houston’s richest and most prominent families, she’s a beloved fixture at the social events big and small, and suffers no shortage of access to some of the city’s most eligible bachelors. Preston Duffin has known Vivienne and her set since childhood.  He’s never shared their social aspirations or their status but is liked and respected for his sharp wit and intelligence. About to graduate from a prestigious architecture program, he is both fascinated and repelled by this group of friends he sits on the cusp of. He’s long admired Vivienne’s beauty and grace, but isn’t sure he holds any place in such a traditional life. Intrigued by Preston’s ambitions and the extent to which he challenges the only way of life she’s ever known, Vivienne both courts Preston’s attention, and rebuffs his critiques of her predictable and antiquated priorities and values.

Inspired by Edith Wharton’s The House of Mirth, Yvonne Georgina Puig’s A Wife of Noble Character shares the original novel’s astute social commentary at the same time that it illuminates the trappings and rewards of coming of age that are wholly unique to the twenty-first century. Charming and shrewd at once, this Texas love story takes readers from Houston to Paris and Switzerland and back again, and will speak to both fans of Wharton and anyone who has every struggled to find their way in life.

PRAISE FOR A WIFE OF NOBLE CHARACTER

“A fun take on Edith Wharton’s classic.”—Marie Claire

“A Wife of Noble Character is equal parts wry social commentary and heart-fluttering romance — an insightful journey for both the head and the heart.” —Refinery29

“This sharply drawn novel about Houston’s oil-money elite strikes a beautiful balance—rollicking at times while deeply felt at others.”—Elle.com

“A compelling and complicated love story…The characters hearken back to Wharton’s while still not feeling like archetypes, and the interior narration matches the introspective style of Wharton’s writing.”—Book Riot

“A Wife of Noble Character possesses something that is intrinsically Houstonian: a sense of humor. . . Apparently, no matter how far you move, Houston sticks with you; Puig has the local milieu down cold.”—Texas Monthly

“In this vivid, socially acute novel of manners set in oil-money Houston society, Yvonne Puig charms us with prose and braces us with insight—a masterful, sharp-eyed and eloquent debut.” —Janet Fitch, author of White Oleander and Paint it Black

“A fresh, funny look at what it means to be an adult in the 21st century and a juicy Texan comedy of manners, at its heart, A Wife of Noble Character is a good old fashioned love story.” —Sarah Bird, author of Above the East China Sea

“A Wife of Noble Character is a wildly unique creation: A social novel that is simultaneously classic and utterly modern. I found it sharply insightful, lyrically written, and often laugh-out-loud funny; and could barely put it down until the last page. Puig is a talented satirist and a breathtakingly astute observer of character.”—Janelle Brown, author of All We Ever Wanted Was Everything

 

AuthorInterview

What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

I had fun a lot of fun with the secondary characters—Randal, the wannabe-Texan dermatologist, Kitty, the ex-pat in Paris from Beaumont, and Blad, Vivienne’s close friend, a gay man who grew up in conservative neighborhood in Houston.
How does your book relate to your spiritual life?

It relates deeply to my spiritual life. I believe writing is a spiritual practice. And I believe inner growth must be spiritual if it is going to stick – and that requires ‘walking that lonesome valley by yourself,’ to paraphrase Woody Guthrie. I’m interested in how struggle shapes people spiritually, and I wanted Vivienne, the protagonist, to experience that.
Are you a full-time or part-time writer?  How does that affect your writing?

I also teach essay writing at USC. I find the balance challenging because I want to give teaching my all, but I admit that writing is always there in the back of my mind, sort of tapping me on the shoulder.
What do you like to read in your free time?

Novels, psychology books, books about faith.
What book do you wish you could have written?

The Member of the Wedding by Carson McCullers. That book still blows me away and makes my heart ache.
Just as your books inspire authors, what authors have inspired you to write?

Larry McMurtry and Edith Wharton above all. I’m inspired by McMurtry’s sense of humor and I love Wharton’s sharp eye and wit. Edith Wharton was also such an inspiring and courageous individual, someone who grew so much in her lifetime and remained devoted to her sense of wonder. I could go on and on about both of them.
Who would you cast to play your characters in a movie version of your book?

I would love to see Kathy Bates as Kitty.
Is there one subject you would never write about as an author? What is it?

I don’t enjoy writing about myself. Never say never—but I can’t imagine writing a memoir.
What is something you want to accomplish before you die?

I would love to have a little bit of land to start a garden and create a sanctuary for rescued animals. I would also love to write a book that inspires children — a book that sparks their imaginations and helps them to believe in themselves.

 

 author-pic-puig
Yvonne Georgina Puig’s fiction and essays have appeared in Salon, Variety, Los Angeles Magazine, and The Texas Observer, among others. She holds a Masters in Professional Writing from USC. She lives in Santa Monica with her husband.
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9/14 Video Guest Post 1 Texas Book Lover
9/15 Review My Book Fix Blog
9/16 Author Interview 1 Missus Gonzo
9/17 Excerpt The Page Unbound
9/18 Review Reading By Moonlight
9/19 Guest Post 2 The Crazy Booksellers
9/20 Video Guest Post 3 A Novel Reality
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9/22 Author Interview 2 The Librarian Talks
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