Blow Me is the story of three single women—each close to forty and living a life they have long outgrown. Aware that the women’s magazines of their youth sold them a false bill of goods about having it all—the amazing career, the baby, the house, the husband—each woman is desperate to achieve some sense of stability. Skylar, a hairdresser/executive assistant who lost her job and burned down her apartment after a fondue party, is living out of her car; Chloe, a struggling actress/real estate agent with a French Canadian accent who has never sold a house and doesn’t have her SAG card, struggles to get a Green Card; and Dawn, an MBA-educated dating matchmaker, is hedging her bets against the ticking clock by freezing embryos. Their lives are in chaos and their only hope is to be rescued through marriage or by a Hairy Godfather. Situated in the shallow world of Los Angeles, this provocative novel in the style of Sex and the City provides a humorous look at aging, dating, and being single in the new millennium.
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Life has thrown childhood friends Jackie, Cheryl, and Doris a few curveballs. Widowed and broke, Jackie returns home from an extravagant life in Paris, Doris is reliant on anti-depressants, and Cheryl’s plans for a corporate take-over are replaced with walking papers. But after a drunken night sampling the delights at strip club for women, the ladies stumble upon a genius idea and decide to open up The Whole Package—the world’s first restaurant staffed exclusively by very attractive men. Armed with Jackie’s connections, Doris’ ambition, and Cheryl’s business sense, the ladies set out to make their mark in the world.
With THE WHOLE PACKAGE, Ellingsen effortlessly depicts the many dynamics of friendship and the resilient bond of women and friends who manage to work through hardship and have an outrageous amount of fun.
I have one print copy of The Whole Package by Cynthia Ellingsen for giveaway! To enter, please leave a comment below. The winner will be chosen on Friday, August 5th. Please note this is open to US/Canada residents only. Thank you to Erin with The Penguin Group for sponsoring this giveaway!
The winner is Mary Pfeiffer. Thank you to everyone who entered!
Amalise Catoir is a young law student living in New Orleans in 1974. Growing up in a close knit, religious family, Amalise is somewhat naïve and a bit too trusting for the big city. While away from home, she meets Phillip Sharp, an artist, and is immediately taken by him. He is confident, a bit quiet, and charming, and when he asks Amalise to pose for a portrait for him, she agrees. During their sessions together, Amalise starts to fall for Phillip, despite his possessiveness and sometimes odd behavior. Amalise starts missing classes, her grades begin to slip, but she is in love with Phillip. When he tells her about his awful childhood and distant parents, she believes she was meant to help him, to provide him with the love and comfort that he never had. But her once safe world turns suddenly dangerous, as Phillip turns abusive, destructive, and tears Amalise away from her work, friends, and family. Can Amalise somehow escape Phillip, or will her choice to love become fatal?
Dancing on Glass by Pamela Binnings Ewen is a story that will make you hold your breath while you flip the pages. The story surrounding Amalise and Phillip will suck you in, and the exquisite writing and detail of New Orleans will make you feel as though you are there with the characters. It was difficult to read about abuse, especially when Phillip was obviously bad news from the beginning. Even without reading the synopsis, you know he is a violent man. It was hard for me to see why Amalise was drawn to him in the first place. She is portrayed as a very naïve girl, who could walk in a dark alley at night and not think anyone would attack her, but it was still a little tough to believe. And the ending made me positively want to scream at this girl- no spoiler’s here- but possibly that is what the author wants us to take away from the story? She certainly made me feel and brought up a lot of emotions while reading. I did enjoy the side story regarding Amalise’s career as a lawyer- which was very different for women back in the 70’s. Overall, I did enjoy the book and thought it was beautifully written, but it was tough to swallow some of the main plot points. I would still recommend it if you are looking for a deeper read, and be sure you can handle tough scenes with physical abuse.
Emily Watts just wants a weekend break from the workaholic hours she’s taken on to keep her business, a popular fashion-snark web site, up and running. What she gets is overnight celebrity and a career-killing media scandal.
While taking time out to attend a concert in support of friend Jesse Cinder, a struggling musician, Emily meets Cory Sampson, the lead singer of a chart-topping rock band. When she agrees to a date with Cory, making entertainment headlines is the last thing she expects. Even so, it’s a minor surprise by comparison to her discovery that in the music world, media notoriety trumps all. Tabloid allegations erupt when Cory and fame-hungry Jesse use Emily for personal gain, and her tarnished image spells disaster — personally and professionally. To save the web site and writing career she’s made her life and dream, Emily must go from being a pawn in the Hollywood headline game, to becoming the media mastermind.
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While reading through April’s edition of Cosmopolitan magazine, I came across an article that dealt with a very uncomfortable and heartbreaking topic- rape. But the article wasn’t discussing how uncomfortable or heartbreaking rape can be to a person, but instead what happens after the crime is committed- and it was shocking. As a victim of sexual abuse myself, I know all about rape kits and the physical evidence police need off your body once you come forward. I was young at the time, but I remember the doctor scouring my entire body and feeling like I was some sort of science project. Once the evidence was sent it, it was matched to my attacker- which was a person I knew and could identify. But not all cases are so tidy. There are many instances where woman are attacked in parking lots, while jogging, or even in the library- having no idea who their attacker is or how to identify them. So they compile a rape kit- or a Sexual Assault Forensic Evidence (SAFE) kit. Doctors can collect DNA off the victim’s body (hair, bodily fluids, etc.) and test it to see if they can find any matches. Cosmo uncovered an unsettling fact about these rape kits- that an extreme number of kits have gone untested nationwide for more than a decade. How can this be happening? Victims suffer through the abuse, then through coming forward, telling their story, and being subjected to a rape kit, all for nothing. The answer boils down to money. Cosmo reports that the testing of a rape kit can cost anywhere between $1000-$1500, so there are too many cases where the rape kits never make it out of the police station or never get tested at a forensic lab.
I find this to be devastating news. The point of a SAFE kit is to help the victim- to hopefully find the perpetrator and get justice for their crimes. And to keep these criminals off the streets, where they could attack again- rape is more of a serial crime than just a onetime occurrence. Cosmo does say that Congress had been giving funds to police departments since 2000 to try to help pay for testing, but the backlog is still accumulating. So what can we do to help? Visit endthebacklog.org to learn how you can help. This is a great website that was created by Joyful Heart Foundation. You can make a donation through the website, learn how to contact state legislators, and help spread the word. Rape kit testing needs to be a priority.
Photo Credit: Human Right Watch, backlog in Los Angeles City and County
Rookie CIA agent Carissa Johnson is beautiful, intelligent, and always ready to battle. Working a deal with billionaire terrorist thugs, Carissa lets her good looks and undercover acting skills help close the deal- bringing in money for her, and helping bring al Qaeda down. But when hunky Tanner Stone arrives on the scene, Carissa is sidetracked. Tanner, a Special Forces Commander who is on assignment from the President, doesn’t know the woman he is tracking is Carissa. He believes Carissa’s undercover story and career. While the two engage in a steamy love affair, neither of them realize how dangerous their love for one another could be.
I had a difficult time getting into Risk It All by Stan Stamper. I come from a military family, so I thought I would easily be immersed in the stories and characters, and I started reading this book shortly after Osama bin Laden was killed. But I struggled with this story. If you aren’t readily familiar with military and equipment definitions, you will probably be easily confused, as the jargon is spoken throughout much of the book. And a lot of the plot lost me- Carissa was so easily able to meet and dine with some of the top terrorists simply on the grounds she is so stunningly beautiful? Is that really all it takes? There were little instances throughout the book that had me scoffing, such as Carissa being able to take a highly dangerous mission and boss around military personal all because she loves Tanner. I’ve seen the military not let their soldiers come home for weddings, and give one day off for funerals. I don’t think just because you love someone they turn their backs on their strict policies. And I would hope the President of the United States doesn’t yell at a CIA agent that she makes more money than he does, and to fire people because of it. The story was just too unbelievable for me to buy into, and it made finishing this read a challenge. I did like reading about a powerful female, one with brains and beauty and who could hold her own. There were parts of the story that were exciting with danger and the unknown of what could happen. But overall, not a book I could enjoy and become invested in.
Bio: Since first publishing in January 1996, Lori Foster has become a Waldenbooks, Borders, USA Today, Publisher’s Weekly and New York Times bestselling author. Lori has published through a variety of houses, including Kensington, St. Martin’s, Harlequin, Silhouette and Samhain. She is currently with Berkley/Jove.
Lori believes it’s important to give back to the community as much as possible, and for that reason she ran special contests in conjunction with a publisher, facilitating many first sales for new authors. She routinely organizes events among authors and readers to gather donations for various organizations.
Recent Titles: When You Dare, Trace of Fever, Savor the Danger
Bio Retrieved from lorifoster.com
Diana Kay has landed her dream job- being an on-air dating guru. At thirty years old and still living with her parents, Diana thinks it is her time to finally shine. Instead, she finds out she is pregnant. Her boyfriend, Roger, lets her know that he is leaving her for another woman, and Diana is convinced she will be fired from her posh new job. Who wants to get dating advice from an un-wed pregnant lady? Too embarrassed to face her family, Diana hightails to West of Ireland to try to sort out her thoughts. She never meant to uncover a dark family secret, but that is exactly what she does. Keeping up with her pregnancy, trying to win Roger back, and now trying to solve the case on a family mystery keeps Diana entertained while she tries not to focus on losing her job and her sanity. But what will happen when she finally gets back to the real world?
Along Came a Stork by Marisa Mackle has a super cute cover, and the synopsis immediately caught my attention. It actually states that Diana is a glamorous socialite, but I didn’t think either of those descriptions matched her. She is thirty, living at home, and not rolling in dough. So that was a bit confusing from the start. When I hear socialite, I think Paris Hilton and red carpets. The story is written in journal entries from Diana, and very easy to get to know her and all her thoughts. The problem I had with this was that I didn’t really get to know any of the other characters. There was some dialogue that Diana wrote every now and then, but it was tough to form a connection with anyone else. The family secret she uncovered really helped the story for me, I became more invested in my reading once that was revealed, and I’m glad it was there. I did like this book and it kept my attention, but every once in a while I would become frustrated with Diana. She wouldn’t tell her family that she was pregnant, instead she wanted them to realize it, and then got mad when they didn’t. It was a little confusing. Also confusing why she still lived at home when she didn’t really get along with her mother or sister. The tension in the house made me uncomfortable while I was reading. But I think Diana redeems herself in the end, and helps bring her family closer together while doing so. This wasn’t my favorite book, but I would recommend to chick lit fans, especially if you enjoy the topic of mommyhood and all the goes with it.
In My Mailbox: Week of July 24, 2011
Author: Cate Lord
Received: From Danielle @ Entagled Publishing
Synopsis: Jessica Devlin isn’t looking for love. Heartbroken after being dumped by her unfaithful ex-fiancé, she’s determined to have a fabulous time during her vacation in England where she’ll be maid-of-honor at her cousin’s wedding. After working overtime as beauty editor of Orlando’s O Tart magazine, avoiding dating, and putting on ten pounds, Jess is ready to toss her past like an empty lipstick tube and party like a single gal.
But when she steps into the church on her cousin’s wedding day, she sees the one man who could sabotage her plan—James-Bond-gorgeous Nick Mondinello. She’s never forgotten the London marketing exec who held her in his arms after her beloved grandfather’s funeral two years ago. Ambitious, and lusted after by women everywhere, Nick is completely wrong for guarded, Plain Jane Jess.
Could Spy Man Nick ever fall for her? Nope. Not unless Jess is one lucky girl.
Author: Daisy Goodwin
Received: From Ann-Marie @ Get Red PR
Synopsis: Be careful what you wish for. Traveling abroad with her mother at the turn of the twentieth century to seek a titled husband, beautiful, vivacious Cora Cash, whose family mansion in Newport dwarfs the Vanderbilts’, suddenly finds herself Duchess of Wareham, married to Ivo, the most eligible bachelor in England. Nothing is quite as it seems, however: Ivo is withdrawn and secretive, and the English social scene is full of traps and betrayals. Money, Cora soon learns, cannot buy everything, as she must decide what is truly worth the price in her life and her marriage.
Witty, moving, and brilliantly entertaining, Cora’s story marks the debut of a glorious storyteller who brings a fresh new spirit to the world of Edith Wharton and Henry James.
Author: Jenna Anderson
Received: From Jenna Anderson
Synopsis: Candice Gunderson and her purebred pooch, Phoebe, are driving through the Indiana countryside on their way to an appointment with a dog breeder. If all goes as planned, the “meeting” with Charles the Conqueror will result in a lovely litter of puppies.
Unfortunately, Candice is hopelessly lost, the GPS in her car has gone haywire, and she needs to find a bathroom in the worst way. The pair pulls up alongside a little house in hopes of finding some helpful inhabitants.
What she finds is Bull Ramsey, a cute farmer, and his mutt, Jack, who is more than happy to have a “meeting” of his own with Phoebe.
Candice is determined to maintain control of the situation and prove she is an independent woman. A few unexpected events and mischievous farm animals won’t interfere with her plans. She can handle this, right?
Author: Jane Lovering
Received: From Choc Lit
Synopsis: Our memories define us – don’t they?
And Skye Threppel lost most of hers in a car crash that stole the lives of her best friend and fiancé. It’s left scars, inside and out, which have destroyed her career and her confidence.
Skye hopes a trip to the wide dusty landscapes of Nevada – and a TV convention offering the chance to meet the actor she idolises – will help her heal. But she bumps into mysterious Sci-fi writer Jack Whitaker first. He’s a handsome contradiction – cool and intense, with a wild past.
Jack has enough problems already. He isn’t looking for a woman with self-esteem issues and a crush on one of his leading actors. Yet he’s drawn to Skye.
An instant rapport soon becomes intense attraction, but Jack fears they can’t have a future if Skye ever finds out about his past …
Will their memories tear them apart, or can they build new ones together?
Chick lit fans, pop culture junkies, Country Music lovers – I’ve got a quick, funny and scandalous beach reach for you this summer. Anyone who says that truth is stranger than fiction, hasn’t read John Schlimm’s debut novel Twang, a sizzling and laugh-out-loud read for any country music fan and pop culture junkie looking for a surefire beach read this summer. As a former celebrity publicist who worked with several Country Music megastars during his whirlwind tenure in Nashville, Schlimm’s eyes were opened wide, leaving him with an unmatched perspective of what really lies beneath the popular world of entertainment. What resulted is a comical and unforgettable tale that follows several fictionalized stars through the most dramatic and life-changing year in their careers.
Readers will also be tempted into the ultimate guessing game by the provocative antics of characters who, upon closer look, may actually seem quite familiar. The New York Post’s Page Six got involved in the guessing game: http://nyp.st/iRznd9. Twang shows that the world of Country Music is far more compelling, quirky, and scandal-ridden than anyone could ever have imagined.
I have one eBook of Twang by John Schlimm for giveaway, along with a $10 Amazon gift card! To enter, please leave a comment below. The winner will be chosen on Friday, July 29th. Thank you to Ann-Marie Nieves with Get Red PR for sponsoring this giveaway!
The winner is Susan with The Book Bag! Thank you to everyone who entered!