AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT: Lenora Bell

September 15, 2018

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Hailed as a “rising star in the romance genre” by Booklist, RITA nominated and USA Today bestselling author Lenora Bell is one to watch!

FOR THE DUKE’S EYES ONLY
∞ School For Dukes ∞
September 18, 2018

“Bell proves she is in fine literary fettle with the latest marvelously creative addition to her School of Dukes series by serving up another small-scale romantic masterpiece, whose beguiling combination of winsome writing, wicked wit, and steamy sensuality is simply too good to miss.”
Booklist *STARRED Review*

action-packed … Readers will applaud the intelligence and bravery of the duo and anticipate their union.
Publishers Weekly

“You’ll love Lenora Bell!”
New York Times bestselling author Eloisa James

If adventure has a name…it must be Lady India Rochester. The intrepid archaeologist possesses a sharp blade and an even sharper knack for uncovering history’s forgotten women. Unfortunately, she has one annoying weakness: the dangerously handsome Duke of Ravenwood. Former best friend. Current enemy. And the man who dared to break her heart.

Daniel Bonds, the Duke of Ravenwood, is a thrill-seeking antiquities hunter who only plays by one rule: Never fall in love. He’s in it for the fortune and glory. At least that’s what he wants the world to think. He’s sworn to hide his tangled web of secrets, especially from the one woman he cares about and will protect at any cost.

But when a priceless relic is stolen from the British Museum, the rivals must align forces. Racing to recover the stolen antiquity and avert an international disaster? All in a day’s work. Avoiding their buried feelings? More and more impossible. For love is about to become the greatest treasure of all.

Q&A with Lenora Bell

Daniel Bonds, the Duke of Ravenwood, known to his friends as Raven, was inspired by the one and only James Bond. Which characteristics of the famed spy did you incorporate in the book?

Raven is loosely inspired by James Bond, and in particular by Daniel Craig’s portrayal of Bond in the movie Skyfall. There’s a scene in the book that references the scene in Skyfall where 007’s shooting skills and physical condition are being tested. I wanted to show the scarred warrior returning from a failed mission in the field and needing to prove himself and rise from the ashes.

It’s been rumored that Idris Elba would play James Bond in a new series—if you could cast any actor as Raven, who would you cast and why?

I think Tom Hardy would make an excellent Duke of Ravenwood. Am I right? 

A lot of historical heroes are rogues (and we love them for it!), but Raven is unique—his rakish exterior hides a secret identity as a spy for the crown. What was it like for you to write a fake rogue?

Fake rogues are so delicious because they have all of the swagger and none of the hubris.  They are confident without being conceited, sexy without being jerks, and when they fall in love, they are all in.

If you could describe Raven in 4 words, what would they be?

Wounded. Warrior. Steadfast. Lover.

If given the opportunity to meet Raven and India, where would you take them to dinner and why?

Raven and India are all about Paris, so I would have to take them to some little bistro in the City of Love for the perfect French meal paired with excellent wines.

ABOUT LENORA BELL

Lenora Bell is a third generation Alaskan and her hometown still has no traffic lights or fast food, but the public library is going strong. An English teacher with an MFA in Creative Writing, Lenora has traveled the globe using music to bring smiles to classrooms. She lives with her carpenter husband and two naughty tiger-striped kitties.


Meet the Author: Beck Dorey-Stein

July 23, 2018

I’ve already reviewed FROM THE CORNER OF THE OVAL by Beck Dory-Stein (compulsively readable!) and now here is some fun stuff from the author.

 


AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT: Robert Dugoni

June 26, 2018

Robert Dugoni is a terrific writer and if you haven’t read him yet, what are you waiting for? His new book is out and it seemed like a good time to shine the author spotlight on him. So here’s a little Q&A!

1. What inspired you to become an author? Had you dreamed of this since you were young or did you come to it in later life? Was it purposeful or did you stumble across it?

A: I knew I wanted to be a writer since the seventh grade when I gave a presentation on slavery to my class. Thereafter I fell in love with telling stories. My mother had been an English teacher and she started handing me classic novels like The Old Man and the Sea, The Count of Monte Cristo, and many others. I fell in love with John Irving and Michael Connelly and I wanted to tell stories.

2. How did you first get published? What was your big break?

A: I met an EPA at a party for my six year old son. The agent had just finished an investigation that he thought would make a great novel. When I talked with him, I agreed. Together we wrote The Cyanide Canary, a true story that made the Washington Post’s best books of 2004.

3. What is your writing process like, from inception of your novel to finished manuscript?

A. When I come up with an idea, I tend to do a lot of research, do interviews, read books and articles. As I research I begin to see the story -the beginning, the middle with a climax and sometimes a possible ending. I don’t outline, so I just start at the beginning. My first draft is just for me. I put everything down on paper. When I’m done, then the work begins on rewriting.

4. What was the inspiration for your latest book A Steep Price?

A. I met a young man in a cab who had just been married. He was East Indian and the marriage had been arranged by his family. He’d never been on a date with his wife and had only met her twice. When I asked if that was scary he said that his mother and father had an arranged marriage and they had been married for thirty years. When I did more research I found that arranged marriages had a significantly lower divorce rate than traditional western marriages. I wanted to explore the concept, and compare it to blind dates and online dating here in the United States.

5. What kind of research do you do to make your books as accurate as possible?

A: I have contacts in the Seattle and the King County Homicide Units who are a great help to me and they put me in touch with other experts such as medical examiners and persons part of the CSI units. Beyond that, I read a lot, and speak to as many experts as I can. I don’t always get it right, but I do try.

6. What is your favorite book of all time?

A: Lonesome Dove (by Larry McMurtry)

7. What kind of music do you write to? Is there anything else you have to have around you when you’re writing?

A: When I listen to music I have a mix of country, pop and rock, as well as classical music.

8. If you could meet one author, living or dead, who would it be?

A: Steven King. (me too!)

9. What’s next for Tracy Crosswhite?

A: I’m working on an idea where Tracy goes home to Cedar Grove and is asked to help solve a cold case involving several murders.

10. Do you have any advice for new writers?

A: Learn the craft. Study the craft until it is so clear you can see stories in terms of their important elements.

Don’t forget you can enter to win an autographed copy of this book along with several others – enter here!

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A Steep Price by Robert Dugoni

The Tracy Crosswhite Series, Book 6

New York Times bestselling author Robert Dugoni’s thrilling series continues as Seattle homicide detective Tracy Crosswhite is plunged into a case of family secrets and murder…

Called in to consult after a young woman disappears, Tracy Crosswhite has the uneasy feeling that this is no ordinary missing-persons case. When the body turns up in an abandoned well, Tracy’s suspicions are confirmed. Estranged from her family, the victim had balked at an arranged marriage and had planned to attend graduate school. But someone cut her dreams short.

Solving the mystery behind the murder isn’t Tracy’s only challenge. The detective is keeping a secret of her own: she’s pregnant. And now her biggest fear seems to be coming true when a new detective arrives to replace her. Meanwhile, Tracy’s colleague Vic Fazzio is about to take a fall after his investigation into the murder of a local community activist turns violent and leaves an invaluable witness dead.

Two careers are on the line. And when more deadly secrets emerge, jobs might not be the only things at risk.

Dugoni, Robert. A Steep Price. Thomas & Mercer (June 26, 2018). ISBN: 978-1503954182. 380p.


AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT: Melissa Broder

June 11, 2018

 

So now that you’re interested…

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THE PISCES by Melissa Broder

“Bold, virtuosic, addictive, erotic – there is nothing like The Pisces. I have no idea how Broder does it, but I loved every dark and sublime page of it.” —Stephanie Danler, author of Sweetbitter 

Lucy has been writing her dissertation on Sappho for nine years when she and her boyfriend break up in a dramatic flameout. After she bottoms out in Phoenix, her sister in Los Angeles insists Lucy dog-sit for the summer. Annika’s home is a gorgeous glass cube on Venice Beach, but Lucy can find little relief from her anxiety — not in the Greek chorus of women in her love addiction therapy group, not in her frequent Tinder excursions, not even in Dominic the foxhound’s easy affection.

Everything changes when Lucy becomes entranced by an eerily attractive swimmer while sitting alone on the beach rocks one night. But when Lucy learns the truth about his identity, their relationship, and Lucy’s understanding of what love should look like, take a very unexpected turn. A masterful blend of vivid realism and giddy fantasy, pairing hilarious frankness with pulse-racing eroticism, THE PISCES is a story about falling in obsessive love with a merman: a figure of Sirenic fantasy whose very existence pushes Lucy to question everything she thought she knew about love, lust, and meaning in the one life we have.

About the Author

Melissa Broder is the author of four poetry collections, including LAST SEXT (Tin House, 2016), and the essay collection SO SAD TODAY (Grand Central, 2016). Her first novel, THE PISCES, was published by Hogarth/Crown in May 2018.

Broder writes the So Sad Today column for VICE, the horoscopes for Lenny Letter, and the Beauty and Death column at Elle.com.

Poems appear in POETRY, The Iowa ReviewTin House, Guernica, FenceThe Missouri Review, Denver Quarterly, et al. You can read the online ones HERE. She is the winner of a Pushcart Prize for poetry.

Broder received her BA from Tufts University and her MFA from City College of New York. She lives in Los Angeles.

AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT: Louise Pentlandd

May 28, 2018

I am so excited to be part of the blog tour for WILDE LIKE ME by Louise Pentland! A huge bestseller across the pond and now taking the U.S. by storm!

THE NUMBER 1 SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER!
Fans of Sophie Kinsella and Lindsey Kelk will love Wilde Like Me!

‘Warm and engaging’ Sophie Kinsella

 ‘Hilarious, moving and extremely well written’ Style Magazine

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“One of this year’s hottest beach reads” MTV.com

You’ll never forget the day you meet Robin Wilde…

Single mum Robin Wilde adores her six-year-old daughter and loves her job as a make-up artist’s assistant. She has a wonderful best friend and an auntie who is bonkers, yes, but loves her to the moon and back.

But Robin has a secret. Behind the mask she carefully applies every day, things just feel … grey. And lonely.  She struggles to fit in with the school mum crew. Online dating is totally despair-inducing, and she worries every day about raising her little girl with self-confidence, courage and joy.

Take a peek…here is a short excerpt!

‘I resisted this for too long,’ I think as I step out of my black cab, bubbling with excitement. After a long call and an intense exchange of messages I’d finally agreed to meet him. He invited me to a rather exclusive bar at the top of the OXO Tower, one of London’s most iconic buildings on the River Thames with wrap-around views of the city from its terrace and, apparently, cocktails to die for. I was secretly pleased that the job I’d assisted Natalie, my boss, on today – make-up for a shoot in a trendy loft studio in Shoreditch – had finished early. With an entire afternoon to spare, I’d taken the time to pamper myself and really enjoy getting ready for this night.

Stepping onto the pavement and gliding down the pathway to the riverfront, I feel like a peacock parading its feathers. As I approach the red-brick old factory building, I catch my reflection in the gleaming windows. For the first time in a bloody long time, I feel beautiful. I’ve always thought that my 5′ 6″ frame, conker-brown hair and brown eyes were the dullest of all the potential ‘beauty stats’. They’re not exactly exotic or outstanding, are they? And they’re certainly not hailed as the epitome of perfection in the magazines, but today something feels special. My eyes seem softer and my hair bouncier, as I glimpse myself walking along with my head held high. I don’t think, ‘slummy mummy’ but, instead, ‘lovely woman, out on a special date’. Feeling this worthwhile makes me stand a little taller and, oh my God, am I sashaying my bum about?

Happily, my make-up looks sultry and glowing. I’ve gone all out on the contour and highlight, but managed to pull it back before I gave my face actual corners (I still don’t regret that luxury make-up binge last month), and I’m in love with my outfit. I’m wearing a knee-skimming black layered lace skirt that I picked up for pennies in a tuckedaway vintage shop. In between the light layers of lace and tulle are tiny stars embroidered with gold thread. You can barely see them until the street lights catch them, and then they look like the night sky swirling past. I’ve tucked a deep V wrap top into the satin waistband and paired it with black-patent heels passed down from my best friend’s sister, Piper, before she moved away. If I were deep-down ballsy enough to ask a stranger to take a full-length picture, I’d put it on Instagram with an #OOTD (Outfit Of The Day, for those not as obsessed with social media as I am) and pretend to be a blogger.

Taking a deep breath and reminding myself of everything I am, I pull open the grand glass door, walk confidently to the lift and push the ‘up’ button.

It’s going to be perfect.

 It’s going to be everything I want it to be.

SPEND YOUR EVENINGS WITH ROBIN WILDE AND FALL IN LOVE WITH THIS YEAR’S HOTTEST DEBUT! Can’t wait to read more Robin Wilde? Pre-order the sequel,  Wilde About the Girl. It will be out August 9!

About the Author

  • Louise Pentland has 2.6 million YouTube followers, 2.3 million Twitter followers and 2.4 million Instagram followers
  • Hers is one of the fastest growing international social talent platforms.
  • Louise is the fresh voice contemporary women’s fiction has been waiting for. She is sharp, funny, a natural storyteller and
  • completely relatable

Award-winning lifestyle and beauty blogger, fashion designer and number one bestselling author Louise Pentland had long dreamed of publishing her first novel. Her dream came true in June 2017 when Wilde Like Me was published in hardback by Zaffre.

As well as a hugely popular YouTuber, Louise is a UN Global Ambassador for Gender Equality,  was shortlisted for 2016’s Glamour Woman of The Year and recently won InStyle ‘Best High-Street Fashion YouTuber’ and the Shorty Award for ‘Best YouTube Guru’.  In 2016, she released her second collection for fashion retailer SIMPLY BE (sizes 10-32) and her second LOUISE LIVE UK tour was a sell-out this summer. Her non-fiction book Life With A Sprinkle of Glitter hit the Sunday Times number one bestseller slot in summer 2015.

Join the conversation: #WILDELIKEME

https://www.youtube.com/user/Sprinkleofglitter

Twitter: @LouisePentland


AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT: Paula McLain

May 7, 2018

Paula McLain (author of LOVE AND RUIN) | What I’m Reading

 

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The bestselling author of The Paris Wife returns to the subject of Ernest Hemingway in a novel about his passionate, stormy marriage to Martha Gellhorn—a fiercely independent, ambitious young woman who would become one of the greatest war correspondents of the twentieth century.

In 1937, twenty-eight-year-old Martha Gellhorn travels alone to Madrid to report on the atrocities of the Spanish Civil War and becomes drawn to the stories of ordinary people caught in the devastating conflict. It’s the adventure she’s been looking for and her chance to prove herself a worthy journalist in a field dominated by men. But she also finds herself unexpectedly—and uncontrollably—falling in love with Hemingway, a man on his way to becoming a legend.

In the shadow of the impending Second World War, and set against the turbulent backdrops of Madrid and Cuba, Martha and Ernest’s relationship and their professional careers ignite. But when Ernest publishes the biggest literary success of his career, For Whom the Bell Tolls, they are no longer equals, and Martha must make a choice: surrender to the confining demands of being a famous man’s wife or risk losing Ernest by forging a path as her own woman and writer. It is a dilemma that could force her to break his heart, and hers.

Heralded by Ann Patchett as “the new star of historical fiction,” Paula McLain brings Gellhorn’s story richly to life and captures her as a heroine for the ages: a woman who will risk absolutely everything to find her own voice.

Advance praise for Love and Ruin

“Wonderfully evocative . . . [Paula] McLain’s fans will not be disappointed; this is historical fiction at its best, and today’s female readers will be encouraged by Martha, who refuses to be silenced or limited in a time that was harshly repressive for women.”—Library Journal (starred review)

“McLain has perfected her dramatic and lyrical approach to biographical fiction, lacing Marty’s ardent inner life into electrifying descriptions of place and action. . . . McLain’s fast-moving, richly insightful, heart-wrenching, and sumptuously written tale pays exhilarating homage to its truly exceptional and significant inspiration.”—Booklist (starred review)

“If you loved McLain’s 2011 blockbuster The Paris Wife, you’re sure to adore her new novel, which is just as good, if not better.”—AARP

“Romance, infidelity, war—Paula McLain’s powerhouse novel has it all.”—Glamour


Meet the Author: Imbolo Mbue

April 22, 2018

BEHOLD THE DREAMERS

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A compulsively readable debut novel about marriage, immigration, class, race, and the trapdoors in the American Dream—the unforgettable story of a young Cameroonian couple making a new life in New York just as the Great Recession upends the economy

Oprah’s Book Club selection • New York Times Bestseller • Winner of the PEN/Faulkner Award • Longlisted for the PEN/Open Book Award • An ALA Notable Book

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY
NPR • The New York Times Book Review • San Francisco Chronicle • The Guardian • St. Louis Post-Dispatch • Chicago Public Library • BookPage • Refinery29 • Kirkus Reviews 

Jende Jonga, a Cameroonian immigrant living in Harlem, has come to the United States to provide a better life for himself, his wife, Neni, and their six-year-old son. In the fall of 2007, Jende can hardly believe his luck when he lands a job as a chauffeur for Clark Edwards, a senior executive at Lehman Brothers. Clark demands punctuality, discretion, and loyalty—and Jende is eager to please. Clark’s wife, Cindy, even offers Neni temporary work at the Edwardses’ summer home in the Hamptons. With these opportunities, Jende and Neni can at last gain a foothold in America and imagine a brighter future.

However, the world of great power and privilege conceals troubling secrets, and soon Jende and Neni notice cracks in their employers’ façades.

When the financial world is rocked by the collapse of Lehman Brothers, the Jongas are desperate to keep Jende’s job—even as their marriage threatens to fall apart. As all four lives are dramatically upended, Jende and Neni are forced to make an impossible choice.

Praise for Behold the Dreamers

“A debut novel by a young woman from Cameroon that illuminates the immigrant experience in America with the tenderhearted wisdom so lacking in our political discourse . . . Mbue is a bright and captivating storyteller.”The Washington Post

“A capacious, big-hearted novel.”The New York Times Book Review

“Behold the Dreamers’ heart . . . belongs to the struggles and small triumphs of the Jongas, which Mbue traces in clean, quick-moving paragraphs.”Entertainment Weekly

“Mbue’s writing is warm and captivating.”People (book of the week)

“[Mbue’s] book isn’t the first work of fiction to grapple with the global financial crisis of 2007–2008, but it’s surely one of the best. . . . It’s a novel that depicts a country both blessed and doomed, on top of the world, but always at risk of losing its balance. It is, in other words, quintessentially American.”—NPR

“This story is one that needs to be told.”Bust 

Behold the Dreamers challenges us all to consider what it takes to make us genuinely content, and how long is too long to live with our dreams deferred.”O: The Oprah Magazine

“[A] beautiful, empathetic novel.”The Boston Globe

“A witty, compassionate, swiftly paced novel that takes on race, immigration, family and the dangers of capitalist excess.”St. Louis Post-Dispatch

“Mbue [is] a deft, often lyrical observer. . . . [Her] meticulous storytelling announces a writer in command of her gifts.”—Minneapolis Star Tribune


Tamora Pierce: How I Started Writing Female Heroes

March 13, 2018

Fantasy author Tamora Pierce on how she started writing female heroes


Author Spotlight: Chanel Cleeton

February 19, 2018

After the death of her beloved grandmother, a Cuban-American woman travels to Havana, where she discovers the roots of her identity–and unearths a family secret hidden since the revolution…

Havana, 1958. The daughter of a sugar baron, nineteen-year-old Elisa Perez is part of Cuba’s high society, where she is largely sheltered from the country’s growing political unrest–until she embarks on a clandestine affair with a passionate revolutionary…

Miami, 2017. Freelance writer Marisol Ferrera grew up hearing romantic stories of Cuba from her late grandmother Elisa, who was forced to flee with her family during the revolution. Elisa’s last wish was for Marisol to scatter her ashes in the country of her birth.

Arriving in Havana, Marisol comes face-to-face with the contrast of Cuba’s tropical, timeless beauty and its perilous political climate. When more family history comes to light and Marisol finds herself attracted to a man with secrets of his own, she’ll need the lessons of her grandmother’s past to help her understand the true meaning of courage.


AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT: CHLOE BENJAMIN

February 10, 2018