Start Your 2017 with These 17 January Fiction Releases



If I had unlimited reading time, I'd be cuddled up with these 17 releases in January 2017!
Which ones are you adding to your reading list?


Sisters One, Two, Three by Nancy Star
January 1st 2017 by Lake Union Publishing


The Echo of Twilight by Judith Kinghorn
January 3rd 2017 by Berkley


The Chosen Maiden by Eva Stachniak
January 10th 2017 by Doubleday Canada


Lotus by Lijia Zhang
January 10, 2017 by Henry Holt


The Second Mrs. Hockaday by Susan Rivers
January 10th 2017 by Algonquin Books


The Silversmith's Wife by Sophia Tobin
January 16th 2014 by Simon & Schuster UK (originally released in 2014)



Pretty Little World by Elizabeth LaBan & Melissa DePino
January 17, 2017 by Lake Union


Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk by Kathleen Rooney
January 17, 2017 by St. Martin’s


The Futures by Anna Pitoniak
January 17th 2017 by Little Brown and Company


The Wicked City by Beatriz Williams
January 17th 2017 by William Morrow


The Fire by Night by Teresa Messineo
January 17th 2017 by William Morrow


The Winter in Anna by Reed Karaim
January 17th 2017 by W. W. Norton & Company


Indelible by Adelia Saunders
January 17th 2017 by Bloomsbury USA


A Word for Love by Emily Robbins
January 17th 2017 by Riverhead Books


Perfect Little World by Kevin Wilson
January 24th 2017 by Ecco


The Signal Flame by Andrew Krivak
January 24th 2017 by Scribner


I Liked My Life by Abby Fabiaschi
January 31, 2017 by St Martin’s


There are some great stories here. But let's start with....there's some super catchy covers here, right? 


Foodie Friday:: Review of KITCHENS OF THE GREAT MIDWEST


Title: Kitchens of the Great Midwest 
Author: J. Ryan Stradal
Publisher: Pamela Dorman Books/Viking 
Publication Date: July 28, 2015
ISBN: 9780525429142
Number of Pages: 310
How I Got It: Netgalley
Format: Kindle
Goodreads Description:
When Lars Thorvald's wife, Cynthia, falls in love with wine--and a dashing sommelier--he's left to raise their baby, Eva, on his own. He's determined to pass on his love of food to his daughter--starting with puréed pork shoulder. As Eva grows, she finds her solace and salvation in the flavors of her native Minnesota. From Scandinavian lutefisk to hydroponic chocolate habaneros, each ingredient represents one part of Eva's journey as she becomes the star chef behind a legendary and secretive pop-up supper club, culminating in an opulent and emotional feast that's a testament to her spirit and resilience.

Each chapter in J. Ryan Stradal's startlingly original debut tells the story of a single dish and character, at once capturing the zeitgeist of the Midwest, the rise of foodie culture, and delving into the ways food creates community and a sense of identity. By turns quirky, hilarious, and vividly sensory, Kitchens of the Great Midwest is an unexpected mother-daughter story about the bittersweet nature of life--its missed opportunities and its joyful surprises. It marks the entry of a brilliant new talent.
My Review:
This book received lots of praise from many of my book blogging friends when it released last summer. I had an ARC hanging around that I just couldn't get to. Then I decided to go through my NetGalley backlist to see if anything caught my attention. I thought "I'll give it a try and see if it catches my attention, if it doesn't do it in the first few pages, I'll move on." Well, based on the fact that I'm writing a review, it is obvious that I read the whole thing. I could probably talk for quite a while about this novel but I will focus on the main points that I loved. First of all, food. Of course I love foodie fiction but this one was different. The food topics and types ranged from beloved childhood favorites to conscious farming and from heirloom tomatoes to county fair bake-offs. The book's central character doesn't overpower the story, she is merely a touchpoint for a variety of other characters' stories. I may be a bit late to the game in regards to reading this release, but I am so glad I didn't miss it and I hope to see more books with this type of tangential storyline in the future.

***Disclaimer:: I was given a copy of this release in exchange for an honest review. I received no additional compensation. ***

Book Spotlight: Victoria by Daisy Goodwin



Title: Victoria 
Author: Daisy Goodwin
Publisher: St. Martin's 
Publication Date: November 22, 2016
ISBN: 9781250045461
Number of Pages: 352
Goodreads Description:
“They think I am still a little girl who is not capable of being a Queen.”
Lord Melbourne turned to look at Victoria. “They are mistaken. I have not known you long, but I observe in you a natural dignity that cannot be learnt. To me, ma’am, you are every inch a Queen.”
In 1837, less than a month after her eighteenth birthday, Alexandrina Victoria – sheltered, small in stature, and female – became Queen of Great Britain and Ireland. Many thought it was preposterous: Alexandrina — Drina to her family — had always been tightly controlled by her mother and her household, and was surely too unprepossessing to hold the throne. Yet from the moment William IV died, the young Queen startled everyone: abandoning her hated first name in favor of Victoria; insisting, for the first time in her life, on sleeping in a room apart from her mother; resolute about meeting with her ministers alone.
One of those ministers, Lord Melbourne, became Victoria’s private secretary. Perhaps he might have become more than that, except everyone argued she was destined to marry her cousin, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. But Victoria had met Albert as a child and found him stiff and critical: surely the last man she would want for a husband….
Drawing on Victoria’s diaries as well as her own brilliant gifts for history and drama, Daisy Goodwin, author of the bestselling novels The American Heiress and The Fortune Hunter as well as creator and writer of the new PBS/Masterpiece drama Victoria, brings the young queen even more richly to life in this magnificent novel.

Publicist's Insight: 
Goodwin, author of the acclaimed novels The American Heiress and The Fortune Hunter, was inspired to write Victoria after picking up a volume of the monarch’s diaries. “How handsome Albert looks in his white cashmere breeches,” teenage Queen Victoria wrote, “with nothing on underneath.” People often think of the queen as an aging, frumpy widow in black, but Goodwin was intrigued by the young woman she found in the dairies: a feisty personality, but also steadfast in her ideas and beliefs about being a ruler. In this magnificent novel, Daisy—also creator and writer of the upcoming PBS/Masterpiece drama Victoria—shares the brilliantly imagined life of a young woman about to make her mark on her country…and the world.

Check out a look at the Victoria drama series airing on Masterpiece on PBS here and check out my review of Daisy Goodwin's previous release, The Fortune Hunter, here!

Review: A Window Opens by Elisabeth Egan


Title: A Window Opens
Author: Elisabeth Egan
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: August 25, 2015
ISBN: 9781501105432
Number of Pages: 384
How I Got It: NetGalley
Format: Kindle
Goodreads Description:
For fans of I Don’t Know How She Does It and Where’d You Go, Bernadette?.
In A Window Opens, beloved books editor at Glamour magazine, Elisabeth Egan, brings us Alice Pearse, a compulsively honest, longing-to-have-it-all, sandwich generation heroine for our social-media-obsessed, lean in (or opt out) age.

Like her fictional forebears Kate Reddy and Bridget Jones, Alice plays many roles (which she never refers to as “wearing many hats” and wishes you wouldn’t, either). She is a mostly-happily married mother of three, an attentive daughter, an ambivalent dog-owner, a part-time editor, a loyal neighbor and a Zen commuter. She is not: a cook, a craftswoman, a decorator, an active PTA member, a natural caretaker or the breadwinner. But when her husband makes a radical career change, Alice is ready to lean in—and she knows exactly how lucky she is to land a job at Scroll, a hip young start-up which promises to be the future of reading, with its chain of chic literary lounges and dedication to beloved classics. The Holy Grail of working mothers―an intellectually satisfying job and a happy personal life―seems suddenly within reach.
Despite the disapproval of her best friend, who owns the local bookstore, Alice is proud of her new “balancing act” (which is more like a three-ring circus) until her dad gets sick, her marriage flounders, her babysitter gets fed up, her kids start to grow up and her work takes an unexpected turn. Readers will cheer as Alice realizes the question is not whether it’s possible to have it all, but what does she―Alice Pearse―really want?

My Review:
I don't know whether I loved the fact that the main character had a "babysitter" who took care of the kids, cooked, etc. while she was working or hate it. I loved that it showed how impossible it is to be a mother who works outside the home and be able to take care of your kids...we can't be two places at once, right? I also hated it because having that sort of paid assistance isn't the case for most mothers who work outside the home. Plus I was downright pissed that her husband wouldn't step into the home caregiver role, given his situation. The snotty, young workers who change their mind and direction of the company daily is too real for most women returning to the workforce. I like having characters that make me feel something and Alice and her crew certainly did. I like unlikeable characters and this book had plenty.

***Disclaimer:: I was given a copy of this release in exchange for an honest review. I received no additional compensation. ***

Review: The Real Liddy James by Anne-Marie Casey


Title: The Real Liddy James
Author: Anne-Marie Casey
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons
Publication Date: September 20th, 2016
ISBN: 9780399160226
Number of Pages: 336
How I Got It: from publicist
Format: hardback
Publicist's Description:
In a world full of “#girlbosses” who are all “leaning in” together, Anne-Marie Caseyoffers a glimpse into the demanding world of New York’s fast-paced career women while tackling the polarizing yet perennial question: Can women really have it all? Sharply written and deftly observed, THE REAL LIDDY JAMES was actually inspired by Anne-Marie Slaughter’s Atlantic article, “Why Women Still Can’t Have It All” and the author Anne-Marie Casey has much to contribute to the controversial topic. Her writing is fresh, hitting the perfect balance between hilarious and heart-felt, and people are buzzing about it.
 
New York Times­-bestselling author Elin Hilderbrand raved, “The Real Liddy James had me stopping nearly every page to read paragraphs out loud to anyone who would listen. A true delight!” Her praise was echoed by Rosamund Lupton, “Wonderfully funny, brilliantly observed and completely addictive” and Adriana Trigiani, "Original, sharp, funny and timely, The Real Liddy James is a spectacular novel from Anne-Marie Casey, who understands the high wire act every working mother attempts in the circus of life.”
 
Here’s a quick take: Liddy James is forty-four, fit, and fabulous. One of New York's top divorce attorneys, a bestselling author, and a mother of two, she glides through the courtrooms and salons of the Manhattan elite with ease. Despite a devastating divorce from her first love, literature professor Peter James, Liddy, Peter and Peter's sympathetic new partner, Rose, have formed a modern family to raise Liddy and Peter's truculent teen and Liddy's adorable, if fatherless, six-year-old son. With her lonely and impoverished New Jersey childhood far behind her, to the outside world Liddy's life is perfect. Until it isn't.
My Review:
This jumped on my radar as soon as I saw it. I tried to request a copy and let's just say it was one of the longest, weirdest, and funniest go-rounds I have had in book blogging. Originally, the cover caught my eye (just like The Guineveres) and the topic always intrigues me, "working mothers." I liked that this novel wasn't the same old formula of the mother "having it all," then being overwhelmed and deciding that she's going to stay home with her kids (too martyr-y to me.) This story was great because we get an inside look at the lives of the people around "the working mother" to see how everything is really being juggled by multiple people, plus the sacrifices everyone is making in a complex (yet very amicable) family. I didn't really love the ending (but no spoilers!) so I can't say I would really recommend this book to anyone. However, if you want to know that you're not alone in your quest to pretty much be two places at once when you have a job outside the home and are a mother, this book had some good laughs. 

***Disclaimer:: I was given a copy of this release in exchange for an honest review. I received no additional compensation. ***

Blog Tour: DARK WATER by Sara Bailey


Title: Dark Water
Author: Sara Bailey
Publisher: Nightingale Editions
Publication Date: October 3, 2016
ASIN: B01IAR4XX4
Number of Pages: 224
How I Got It: from publisher
Format: Kindle 
Goodreads Description:
Friendship doesn't die, it waits...
A haunting and lyrical novel, Dark Water is a psychologically intense portrait of adolescent yearning and obsession.
When Helena returns to her childhood home in Orkney, she is forced to face memories that she has spent half a lifetime running from. Her best friend, the charismatic Anastasia, disappeared after a swimming incident. But what really happened that night by the wrecks?

My Review:
1st of all, that tagline: "Friendship doesn't die, it waits..." paired with that cover, how can you resist? As soon as you start reading, you won't want to stop, wanting to know (just like everyone in the novel), "What happened to Anastasia?" I was quite surprised to find that this was Sara Bailey's debut novel because it was pretty perfect. The setting of the Orkney Islands made this read a great follow up to The Ice Twins by S.K. Treymayne. Dark Water has a slow intensity that delivers plenty of spine tingles and creepy feelings to make this a perfect read for a rainy fall afternoon.












More Info: 
For more information about this novel, check out its press release and review by Amy Liptrot, author of 'The Outrun' which won the Wainwright Prize 2016
***Disclaimer:: I was given a copy of this release in exchange for an honest review. I received no additional compensation. ***

Blog Tour:: THE VANISHING YEAR by Kate Moretti




Title: The Vanishing Year

Author: Kate Moretti
Publisher: Atria 
Publication Date: September 27, 2016
ISBN: 9781501118432
Number of Pages: 304 pages
How I Got It: from publisher
Format: Kindle
Publicist Supplied Description: 
Zoe Whittaker is living a charmed life. She is the beautiful young wife to handsome, charming Wall Street tycoon Henry Whittaker. She is a member of Manhattan’s social elite. She is on the board of one of the city’s most prestigious philanthropic organizations. She has a perfect Tribeca penthouse in the city and a gorgeous lake house in the country. The finest wine, the most up-to-date fashion, and the most luxurious vacations are all at her fingertips. What no one knows is that five years ago, Zoe’s life was in danger. Back then, Zoe wasn’t Zoe at all. Now her secrets are coming back to haunt her. As the past and present collide, Zoe must decide who she can trust before she—whoever she is—vanishes completely.
My Review:
I don't read a lot of thrillers but when I do I either love them or I hate them. I hate if I can figure everything out in the first hundred pages. Not so with THE VANISHING YEAR! I loved that I truly couldn't put it down (that doesn't happen often with me) and that I just couldn't put my finger on how everything was connected. This one is going to be one I'll be recommending for sure! I've not read any other work from Kate Moretti but I just requested her previous releases from my library. I'm hooked! Enter the blog tour giveaway below and try to win a copy for yourself! 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:



Kate Moretti is the New York Times bestselling author of Thought I Knew YouBinds That Tie, and While You Were Gone. She lives in eastern Pennsylvania with her husband and two kids. 

FIND KATE ONLINE:
Twitter: @KateMoretti1
Instagram: @katemoretti1

ORDER:

***Disclaimer:: I was given a copy of this release in exchange for an honest review. I received no additional compensation. ***



Book Talk with R and T:: Review of THE BOOKSHOP ON THE CORNER by Jenny Colgan


Title: The Bookshop on the Corner
Author: Jenny Colgan
Publisher: William Morrow 
Publication Date: September 20, 2016
ISBN: 9780062467263
Number of Pages: 332
How I Got It: From publisher
Format: paperback
Goodreads Description:
Nina Redmond is a literary matchmaker. Pairing a reader with that perfect book is her passion… and also her job. Or at least it was. Until yesterday, she was a librarian in the hectic city. But now the job she loved is no more. Determined to make a new life for herself, Nina moves to a sleepy village many miles away. There she buys a van and transforms it into a bookmobile—a mobile bookshop that she drives from neighborhood to neighborhood, changing one life after another with the power of storytelling. From helping her grumpy landlord deliver a lamb, to sharing picnics with a charming train conductor who serenades her with poetry, Nina discovers there’s plenty of adventure, magic, and soul in a place that’s beginning to feel like home… a place where she just might be able to write her own happy ending.

My Review:
Months ago when I was planning my upcoming reading schedule, I came across this title and thought it would be the perfect choice for an edition of Book Talk with R and T. Tamara quickly agreed and after reading it, I think it was a perfect choice! I mean, a literary matchmaker with a bookmobile...hello! As soon as I started reading, I started texting Tamara to tell her how much I was enjoying this selection and how much it was making me smile. I thoroughly enjoyed spending an absolutely perfect Sunday with Nina, Surinder, Lennox, Parsley and the gang. I loved Jenny Colgan's The Loveliest Chocolate Shop in Paris and after reading The Bookshop on the Corner, I will automatically read anything else by her.

Verdict: Grab a cuppa, a blanket, and The Bookshop on the Corner for a perfect autumn afternoon! 

Be sure to check out Tamara's review and enter our giveaway


***Disclaimer:: I was given a copy of this release in exchange for an honest review. I received no additional compensation. ***

Foodie Friday:: Review and Giveaway of THE PROMISE KITCHEN by Peggy Lampman



Title: The Promise Kitchen 
Author: Peggy Lampman
Publisher: Lake Union 
Publication Date: September 27, 2016
ASIN: B01DF0TM5A
Number of Pages: 380
How I Got It: From author
Format: Kindle
Goodreads Description:
Food, friendship, family, and a fresh start. Shelby Preston, a young single mother, is at a crossroads. She feels suffocated by her hardscrabble life in rural Georgia and dreams of becoming a professional chef. Lord knows her family could use a pot of something good. In Atlanta, Mallory Lakes is reeling from a bad breakup. The newspaper food columnist is also bracing for major changes at work that could put her job at risk. Determined to find the perfect recipe for how to reinvent herself, she gets involved in the growing farm-to-table movement. But an emotional setback threatens to derail everything she’s worked for. Shelby and Mallory couldn’t be more different. But through their shared passion for food, they form an unlikely friendship—a bond that just might be their salvation. This heartwarming and lyrical tale reminds us that family isn’t necessarily whom you’re related to—it’s whom you invite to your table.
My Review:
I'm always excited to read books set in Atlanta or Georgia but sometimes the cliches can get in the way of a good story. Not so with The Promise Kitchen.  Author, Peggy Lampman, juxtaposes single-mother Shelby with career woman Mallory, and rural Georgia life with Atlanta city life very vividly. The dual narrative at the beginning gives readers great background on the two women and as the story progresses she weaves the women's stories together in a delicious way. Like any good foodie fiction story, I was wanted to eat each dish the women made. I also loved all the details behind the dishes and descriptions of the various places in the story, such as Shelby's hometown and the "fancy" Atlanta grocery store. There's great determination in both women that really made me want to cheer them both on. This book made me very happy (and hungry) while I was reading it. The Promise Kitchen was purchased in a two-book deal by Lake Union Publishing and I'm interested to see what's next for Lampman...

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***Disclaimer:: I was given a copy of this release in exchange for an honest review. I received no additional compensation. ***

Foodie Friday:: THE SECRET INGREDIENT OF WISHES by Susan Bishop Crispell



Title: The Secret Ingredient of Wishes
Author: Susan Bishop Crispell
Publisher: Thomas Dunne
Publication Date: September 6, 2016
ISBN: 9781250089090
Number of Pages: 304
How I Got It: contacted by publisher
Format: paperback
Goodreads Description:
26-year-old Rachel Monroe has spent her whole life trying to keep a very unusual secret: she can make wishes come true. And sometimes the consequences are disastrous. So when Rachel accidentally grants an outlandish wish for the first time in years, she decides it’s time to leave her hometown—and her past—behind for good. 

Rachel isn’t on the road long before she runs out of gas in a town that’s not on her map: Nowhere, North Carolina—also known as the town of “Lost and Found.” In Nowhere, Rachel is taken in by a spit-fire old woman, Catch, who possesses a strange gift of her own: she can bind secrets by baking them into pies. Rachel also meets Catch’s neighbor, Ashe, a Southern gentleman with a complicated past, who makes her want to believe in happily-ever-after for the first time in her life. 

As she settles into the small town, Rachel hopes her own secrets will stay hidden, but wishes start piling up everywhere Rachel goes. When the consequences threaten to ruin everything she’s begun to build in Nowhere, Rachel must come to terms with who she is and what she can do, or risk losing the people she’s starting to love—and her chance at happiness—all over again.

My Review:
This book is exactly what I have been  looking for for the last two years, ever since THE GLASS KITCHEN. I like magic realism and foodie fiction and I love them even better when they're together. If you liked Practical Magic, you'll love this release. Be sure to enter my giveaway below to get a copy for yourself! 
***Disclaimer:: I was given a copy of this release in exchange for an honest review. I received no additional compensation. ***


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Foodie Friday: Review and giveaway of CHEF Q IN PARIS: The Fall Collection by Didier Quemener



Title: Chef Q in Paris: The Fall Collection 
Author: Didier Quemener 
Publisher: Velvet Morning Press
Publication Date: August 25, 2016
ISBN: 099776760X
Number of Pages: 82
How I Got It: direct from publisher
Format: iBooks 
Publicist's Description:
A Parisian private chef shares his favorite fall recipes and anecdotes in this delicious collection with French flair! As fall arrives, let’s change more than just our wardrobes—let’s reinvent our cooking with seasonal products! Too difficult or time-consuming? Not with these tips and quick and easy recipes from chef Didier Quémener. Didier’s cooking is all about seasonal ingredients (no strawberries on Didier’s table in November). He grew up in the French countryside, picking fresh fruit and vegetables in his grandmother’s garden and preparing flavorful meals at her side. Today, Didier brings that love for seasonal products to his guests and to you. As a result, your meals will be tastier, easier to make—and less expensive. Is this a purely French cookbook? No! Didier, who’s traveled throughout the U.S., Europe and China, is greatly influenced by his voyages, and his cuisine is the perfect reflection of this. So if you like cookbooks with a seasonal and international touch, you’ll find this one especially delightful!

My Review:
Three things: cookbook, Paris, and fall. Yes, yes, and yes! This short collection of recipes is beautiful and delicious. A great way to transition into my favorite season. I plan on making a few of Chef Q's desserts ASAP! 

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***Disclaimer:: I was given a copy of this release in exchange for an honest review. I received no additional compensation. ***

Foodie Friday:: What We Eat When We Eat Alone: Stories and 100 Recipes by Deborah Madison and Patrick McFarlin


Title: What We Eat When We Eat Alone: Stories and 100 Recipes  
Author: Deborah Madison and Patrick McFarlin
Publisher: Gibbs Smith 
Publication Date: May 1, 2009
ISBN: 1423604962
Number of Pages: 256
How I Got It: personal collection
Format: hardback

Goodreads Description:
Renowned vegetarian cookbook auhor Deborah Madison set out to learn what people chew on when there isn't anyone else around. The responses are surprising--and we aren't just talking take-out or leftovers. This is food-gone-wild in its most elemental form.
In a conversational tone, "What We Eat When We Eat Alone" explores the joys and sorrows of eating solo and gives a glimpse into the lives of everyday people and their relationships with food.
The book is illustrated with the delightful art of Patrick McFarlin, and each chapter ends with recipes for those who dine alone.

My Review:
This little collection was fun and cute. I read it in a single evening and enjoyed reading all the different meals the people interviewed enjoyed when they were alone. Some liked the same thing every time and others mixed it up, some ate big meals and some ate very lightly. Some ate dishes that no one else in their family would like and some treated themselves in their family's absence. This book isn't about the ramen dinners many of us ate for numerous meals in our single years, but what we eat when we aren't at home with our family or out with our friends. I personally alternate a bit between meals when I find myself eating alone: I like to make a little feast of shrimp with angel hair pasta (because my husband does not like this dish) and the simple comfort of a grilled cheese sandwich. What do you eat when you eat alone?

Review: THE HOUSE OF HAWTHORNE by Erika Robuck


Title: The House of Hawthorne
Author: Erika Robuck
Publisher: NAL
Publication Date: May 5, 2015
ISBN: 9780451418913
Number of Pages: 416
How I Got It: direct from publisher
Format: paperback
Goodreads Description:
Beset by crippling headaches from a young age and endowed with a talent for drawing, Sophia is discouraged by her well-known New England family from pursuing a woman’s traditional roles. But from their first meeting, Nathaniel and Sophia begin an intense romantic relationship that despite many setbacks leads to their marriage. Together, they will cross continents, raise children, and experience all the beauty and tragedy of an exceptional partnership. Sophia’s vivid journals and her masterful paintings kindle a fire in Nathaniel, inspiring his writing. But their children’s needs and the death of loved ones steal Sophia’s energy and time for her art, fueling in her a perennial tug-of-war between fulfilling her domestic duties and pursuing her own desires.


Spanning the years from the 1830s to the Civil War, and moving from Massachusetts to England, Portugal, and Italy, The House of Hawthorne explores the tension within a famous marriage of two soulful, strong-willed people, each devoted to the other but also driven by a powerful need to explore the far reaches of their creative impulses. It is the story of a forgotten woman in history, who inspired one of the greatest writers of American literature.…
My Review:
How wonderful to imagine what daily life was like for one of America's greatest writers! Then to look even further "behind the scenes" at the woman behind the man. As most historians acknowledge and almost any woman will tell you, some of the world's greatest works would never have come about if the (male) artist had to shop, prepare dinner, care for the children, and perform all the other necessary daily tasks. Their massive amounts of time to create were available because someone was taking care of these needs. So what if the artist is/was a woman? Where is her time to create? All too often, as the case with Sophia, it is forsaken, even with the most supportive and caring of husbands. Regardless of how much I dislike this tricky dynamic of life, I loved the exchanges between Sophia and Nathaniel in House of Hawthorne. Erika Robuck has created a small sphere of an artist's life that is full of admiration and love.
***Disclaimer:: I was given a copy of this release in exchange for an honest review. I received no additional compensation. ***

Review: THE FIFTH AVENUE ARTISTS SOCIETY by Joy Callaway


Title: The Fifth Avenue Artists Society 
Author: Joy Callaway
Publisher: Harper Paperbacks
Publication Date: May 31, 2016
ISBN: 9780062391612
Number of Pages: 384
How I Got It: SheReads Book Club Fall Selection 
Format: paperback & Kindle
Goodreads Description:
An enthralling Edith Wharton-meets-Little Women debut about a family of four artistic sisters on the outskirts of Gilded Age New York high society that centers on the boldest—an aspiring writer caught between the boy next door and a mysterious novelist who inducts her into Manhattan’s most elite artistic salon. The Bronx, 1891. Virginia Loftin knows what she wants most: to become a celebrated novelist despite her gender, and to marry Charlie, her best friend, neighbor and first love. Yet when Charlie proposes to another woman, Ginny is devastated; shutting out her family, she holes up and obsessively rewrites how their story should have gone. Though Ginny works with newfound intensity, success eludes her—until she attends a salon hosted in her brother’s handsome author friend John’s Fifth Avenue mansion. Amongst painters, musicians, actors, and writers, Ginny returns to herself, even blooming under John’s increasingly romantic attentions. Just as she has begun to forget Charlie, however, he throws himself back into her path, and Ginny finds herself torn between a lifetime’s worth of complicated feelings and a budding relationship with a man who seems almost too good to be true. The brightest lights cast the darkest shadows, and as Ginny tentatively navigates the Society’s world, she begins to suspect all is not as it seems in New York’s dazzling “Gay Nineties” scene. When a close friend is found dead in John’s mansion, Ginny must delve into her beloved salon’s secrets to discover her true feelings about art, family, and love.
My Review:
I love the idea of artists' salons and was instantly interested when I read the description of this book. The main character, Virginia "Ginny" Loftin" is easy to love, since she loves to write. The rest of her family had me thinking of Little Women with each of their personalities. When Ginny's love proposes to someone else and the true reasons are revealed, it is frustrating to read only because everyone has been at the heart of a double standard before. But Ginny isn't giving up that easy! She pursues her writing and finds a few helpers and saboteurs along the way. There is also a dark understory that makes this novel so much more than a story about a persistent female writer of a certain time. Joy Callaway is able to tie gender roles, societal standards, sexual proclivities and orientations, romantic interests, and artistic endeavors into a truly wonderful debut novel.

***Disclaimer:: I was given a copy of this release in exchange for an honest review. I received no additional compensation. ***

Review and Giveaway: VALLEY OF THE MOON by Melanie Gideon



Title: The Valley of the Moon
Author: Melanie Gideon 
Publisher: Ballantine
Publication Date: July 26, 2016
ISBN: 9780345539281
Number of Pages: 416
How I Got It: NetGalley
Format: Kindle
NetGalley Description:
In this captivating novel from the author of Wife 22, a woman who feels lost in her own time stumbles across a California community that has, impossibly, been marooned in the early twentieth century—perfect for readers of The Time Traveler's Wife, Time and Again, and Sarah Addison Allen.
Lux is a single mom struggling to make her way when she discovers an idyllic community in the Sonoma Valley. It seems like a place from another time—until she realizes it actually is. Lux must keep one foot in her world, raising her son as well as she can with the odds stacked against her, but every day she is more strongly drawn in by the sweet simplicity of life in Greengage, and by the irresistible connection she feels with a man born decades before her. Soon she finds herself torn between her ties to the modern world—her adored son—and the first place she has ever felt truly at home.
My Review:
I loved the mix of science fiction and time travel in this novel. While the concept of time travel in contemporary fiction is often compared to Kindred or The Time Traveler's Wife, this was a bit different because the main characters can control some of their travel and it is linear, although it accelerates at varying paces. The theme of time travel may turn away a few readers looking for a "general" fiction read but Melanie Gideon weaves the concept into the story so effortlessly that I found it no different than most dual narrative novels. I really loved all the characters in this novel and they were extremely relatable. I also had *two* (not one, but TWO!) chills down the spine moments toward the end of the novel that pretty much cinched Valley of the Moon as a new favorite for me.



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***Disclaimer:: I was given a copy of this release in exchange for an honest review. I received no additional compensation. ***

Review: THE SUMMER THAT MELTED EVERYTHING by Tiffany McDaniel



Title: The Summer That Melted Everything
Author: Tiffany McDaniel
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: July 26, 2016
ISBN: 9781250078063
Number of Pages: 320
How I Got It: from the author
Format: Kindle
Goodreads Description: 
Fielding Bliss has never forgotten the summer of 1984: the year a heat wave scorched Breathed, Ohio. The year he became friends with the devil. Sal seems to appear out of nowhere - a bruised and tattered thirteen-year-old boy claiming to be the devil himself answering an invitation. Fielding Bliss, the son of a local prosecutor, brings him home where he's welcomed into the Bliss family, assuming he's a runaway from a nearby farm town. When word spreads that the devil has come to Breathed, not everyone is happy to welcome this self-proclaimed fallen angel. Murmurs follow him and tensions rise, along with the temperatures as an unbearable heat wave rolls into town right along with him. As strange accidents start to occur, riled by the feverish heat, some in the town start to believe that Sal is exactly who he claims to be. While the Bliss family wrestles with their own personal demons, a fanatic drives the town to the brink of a catastrophe that will change this sleepy Ohio backwater forever.

My Review:
This book has shaken me in a way I haven't experienced from a book in a long time. Part Milton and part Stephen King with a splash of To Kill a Mockingbird, the lines between "good" and "bad" are so completely blurred that you will find yourself alternating between scratching your head and wiping your tears. I even found myself crying later in the day after I had finished the book. It has stuck to my brain and my heart and I am contemplating whether I should reread it immediately or take some more time to mull it over.  I have my fingers crossed with all my might that Tiffany McDaniel will be working on and releasing a second novel very soon because I will be snatching it up the instant it is released.

If you like perfectly formulaic predictable outcomes, this book is not for you. If you are ready to experience a story of a peaceful Midwestern small town with gothic horror just beneath the surface, a book that will make you question what you thought you knew to be true, a book that will shake you with its beauty and depiction of humanity, this is the book for you.

Enter my giveaway to win your own signed copy of THE SUMMER THAT MELTED EVERYTHING below (open to residents of the contiguous United States): 

***Disclaimer:: I was given a copy of this release in exchange for an honest review. I received no additional compensation. ***


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Spotlight and Giveaway: ALL IS NOT FORGOTTEN by Wendy Walker


When it comes to bestsellers, across Reese Witherspoon has the Midas touch. Several recent books he tuned into movies (or has in production) went on to become critical an commercial hist. Think "Wild," "Gone Girl," "The Luckiest Girl Alive," and "In the Dark, Dark Wood." Her latest discovery is All is Not Forgotten by Wendy Walker (St. Martin's Press, July 2016). Witherspoon bought the film rights and is deleting the thriller for Warner Bros. She is rumored to be collaborating with Lena Dunham.


Goodreads description:
In the small, affluent town of Fairview, Connecticut everything seems picture perfect. Until one night when young Jenny Kramer is attacked at a local party. In the hours immediately after, she is given a controversial drug to medically erase her memory of the violent assault. But, in the weeks and months that follow, as she heals from her physical wounds, and with no factual recall of the attack, Jenny struggles with her raging emotional memory. Her father, Tom, becomes obsessed with his inability to find her attacker and seek justice while her mother, Charlotte, prefers to pretend this horrific event did not touch her perfect country club world. As they seek help for their daughter, the fault lines within their marriage and their close-knit community emerge from the shadows where they have been hidden for years, and the relentless quest to find the monster who invaded their town - or perhaps lives among them - drive this psychological thriller to a shocking and unexpected conclusion.

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