In the spirit of Jodi Picoult and Anna Quindlen, CHOSENfeatures a young caseworker increasingly entangled in the lives of the adoptive and birth parents she represents, and who faces life-altering choices when an extortion attempt goes horribly wrong.
It all begins with a fantasy: the caseworker in her “signing paperwork” charcoal suit, paired with beaming parents cradling their adopted newborn, against a fluorescent-lit delivery room backdrop. It’s this blissful picture that keeps Chloe Pinter, director of The Chosen Child’s domestic adoption program, happy juggling the high demands of her boss and the incessant needs of parents on both sides.
But the job that offers Chloe refuge from her turbulent personal life and Portland’s winter rains soon becomes a battleground itself involving three very different couples: the Novas, college sweethearts who suffered fertility problems but are now expecting their own baby; the McAdoos, a wealthy husband and desperate wife for whom adoption is a last chance; and Jason and Penny, an impoverished couple who have nothing-except the baby everyone wants. When a child goes missing, dreams dissolve into nightmares, and everyone is forced to examine what they really want and where it all went wrong.
Please visit CLP Blog Tours for all the reviews, interviews, and guest posts! **Everyone who leaves a comment below will be entered to win a $10 Amazon gift card! If you purchase your copy of Chosen from November 26-December 19 and send your receipt to Samantha (at) ChickLitPlus (dot) com, you will get five bonus entries!**
Kathleen Kole is on tour with CLP Blog Tours. April Patterson is starting to seriously question her move to Boxwood Hills. The sleepy little suburban town has her dodging her kooky and overly-nosy neighbors, gives her a mystery involving said neighbors and a dead rodent, and leads her relationship with boyfriend Kevin down an unknown path. The bright side to moving? April gets to spend more time with her sister Jessica. Jessica is needed when the mystery deepens, stalkers become involved, and April and Kevin’s new houseguest begins to entice April.
Dollars to Donuts is Kathleen Kole’s second novel, after Breaking Even. Like the first book, this one was a fast and cute read that kept me happily engaged with the characters as I kept reading. I loved the relationship between April and her sister Jessica. It was warm and humorous and sometimes filled with drama, but a strong bond was always there. The neighbors and all the run-ins April had with them kept me laughing out loud, and the mystery kept me wondering what was really going on in her neighborhood. The only part that threw me off was the relationship between April and houseguest Gerrit. Even though April had been with Kevin for years, moved to a new town with him and lived with him, her attraction to Gerrit seemed to really come from nowhere and develop super fast. There were a few times that April came off really uncaring when it came to Kevin, and that rubbed me the wrong way. But I loved how the ending tied everything together and gave each character a happy ending. Another recommendation!
A bizarre girls’ weekend in Las Vegas evolves into the darkly funny midlife crisis of forty-something newlywed Wendy Sinclair.
What made you want to write this story?
I always wondered what it would be like to go on a weekend trip and not go home. What would I do? What would the people back home say? Where would I live? Would I get a job? What kinds of people would I meet? Instead of actually doing this, I wrote a novel about someone who does it. I got to live out my fantasies through Wendy.
Why did you choose Las Vegas as the setting?
I spent a lot of time there as a travel writer. I found the city incredibly interesting and wanted to learn more about it. Writing this book gave me the opportunity to do that. Plus, I think the characters have traits in common with Las Vegas. They have attractive surfaces, but are complex and troubled underneath. Las Vegas is like that: a glitzy, frivolous surface with plenty of deeper, darker aspects to it. So, the characters and the setting complement each other.
What was the most difficult part of the writing process for you?
Writing with my heart and my head. You have to think everything the characters think, and feel everything they feel. It was hard to sustain that level of focus and intensity day in, day out, for five years.
I would love to pick up the characters at the end of Slot and take them further. I miss the creative-writing process–escaping into a make-believe world for hours each day. But it’s a big commitment. It would probably take three to five years, so I’d have to think it through.
How did you get started in travel writing?
On a vacation trip to London in 2000, my husband talked me into helping him with a travel story. I took over and wrote 40 pages. I never thought I’d enjoy travel writing, but I loved it. A couple of months later, the story ran in the Los Angeles Times. So the credit, or responsibility, goes to my husband.
What are you currently reading?
Cleopatra: A Life by Stacy Schiff
What are some top Vegas attractions you would recommend?
The Lion Habitat at MGM Grand
The Conservatory at Bellagio
Jersey Boys show at Palazzo
Love show at Mirage
Spa Mandalay at Mandalay Bay
View of the Las Vegas valley from Eiffel Tower at Paris
What have been some of your favorite travel destinations, either to visit or write about?
London was my Number One destination for a few years. The stories I did there are some of my favorites. I also loved working in Las Vegas, Paris, Dublin and Madrid.
What is your advice to aspiring writers?
Find out the preferred length of whatever it is you’re going to write, and stick to it! Don’t do what I did and write a 175,000-word novel that has to cut by 35,000 words so that agents or publishers will be interested. It just adds extra work and anguish.
Heather will be on tour in January with her novel Blank Slate Kate. Please note this will be an eBook tour only. Use the sign up form below if you would like to be included. Heather will also be available for guest posts and interviews. I will contact everyone chosen to participate. Thank you!
Waking up with a strange man is scary. Realizing you lost fifteen years of your life overnight? That’s terrifying. With her memories from seventeen to thirty-two gone, Kate has no idea who she is and where she belongs. As she begins to fall for the man who found her, she wonders if she forgot those years for a reason. Should she keep trying to retrieve her original self, or start a new life?
**Heather’s tour is now full. Thank you to everyone who signed up!**
Libby Marchant and husband Ned are bound and determined to give their only child, son Max, a prestigious education. They work diligently to be able to get him accepted by Manor House Prep School––whether they truly can afford it or not. Once accepted, Libby realizes that maybe prep school isn’t the best place for her. The other moms are first class snobs, she immediately feels out of place, and the competition between the other mothers is chart-topping. Libby befriends Fenella Hunter-Barnes, a rich mother but who is down to earth at the same time. Libby and Fenella easily become fast friends, and team up against the other parents while trying to survive prep school together.
I had a lot of fun reading Diary of a Mummy Misfit by Amanda Egan. I will say that the British slang sometimes left me baffled. I even tried googling a few of the sentences so I could get the full humor, but eventually had to quit because it happened so often. Other than that, I loved Libby’s character––always slightly off-balanced but a loving wife and mother who is just trying to do the best for her son. The friendship she has with Fenella is hysterical. Egan’s writing it quick and witty, filled with humorous tales and quirky scenarios. A really fun chick lit read that I would recommend!
Danielle thinks that the worst is behind her, but she couldn’t have been more wrong… As a beauty editor of Denver’s hot new High Life magazine, Danielle Starkey didn’t have becoming a widow on her to-do list. Then nine months after her husband’s death, she discovers he booked a vacation with another woman. Suddenly, Danielle sees Adam’s death in a whole new light and has to get over it – for the second time. Hit with the truth when she least expects it, Danielle brings a fresh, funny, and honest approach to the grieving process as she struggles through online dating, stalking her dead husband’s mistress, and, hopefully, finding the man of her dreams. With her stubborn and sassy best friend April by her side. Danielle refuses to let sleeping dogs lie. Will she finally face the truth about herself and her marriage? Or will she succumb to one of the five stages of grief?
Please visit CLP Blog Tours for the full tour calendar!
I had such a fun time in 2011 hosting the Chick Lit Reading Challenge, I’ve decided to run it again! If you are interested in joining the challenge, please check out the rules below, and use the Mister Linky to sign up. Last year we had 112 challengers, and I’m hoping for another great turn-out. Welcome to the Chick Lit Reading Challenge for 2012!
Challengers will read 12 chick lit books throughout 2012. You can (obviously( read more books of other genres, but you need at least 12 chick lit to count for this challenge.
Two of the twelve books need to be from debut authors. The debuts should be released in 2012. I have a feature on my blog that will highlight new releases and debuts, so you can find suggestions there.
Post your own challenge article on your blog, and put the link in the Mister Linky below. This must be to the specific post mentioning the Chick Lit Plus Challenge, not just to your blog. The post can simply say that you have signed up for the challenge, and please include a link back to this page so your followers can join as well! If you do not have a blog but wish to sign up, just email me at Samantha (at) chicklitplus (dot) com and I will get you signed up. Also, if you don’t have a blog, please add your name to Mister Linky and a link to one of your social networking sites, such as Facebook, Twitter, GoodReads, ETC. Thanks!
Please add my challenge button to your blog. You can copy the HTML code and add that to your sidebar.
Please send me an email when you start a new book for the challenge. I will have a specific section on CLP that will highlight books being read.
Starting in January, there will be a link specific to the challenge. Challengers can add their links to their book reviews.
Readers can join the challenge anytime between now and the later part of 2012. The books you read do not need to be selected beforehand, you can them add them as you go.
I have some fantastic authors that are willing to contribute their books to this challenge, along with some fun swag gifts along the way. There will be monthly prizes, and each reader who links over their reviews or emails me the book they are reading will be entered to win the monthly prize.
And that’s it! If you are wondering if a specific book will count towards chick lit, just send me an email and I will let you know. Also, if you have any trouble adding your URL below, send me an email with the link and I will get it added for you.
Please use the sign-up below to join the challenge. I will be placing all challengers in a special email group, and will alert you to when the sign-up sheet for January is ready for reviews!
**PLEASE NOTE** The Mister Linky below is to sign up only! Please do not post reviews below.
I think we all know by now that I have frizzy hair. Okay. One thing my hairdresser mentioned to me is maybe I need to upgrade my styling tools, such as my hair straightener. When she asked me how old my straightener was, I flashed back to my shopping trip the week before I started college. In 2005. Hmmm. Upgrade? Necessary. About ten different brands were thrown out at me, but I went with the CHI. It’s reputable, and wouldn’t break my bank. I went to my local Beauty Brands and picked up the original CHI for about $90. I was told that it helps prevent frizz by sealing the hair cuticle. Perfect! Sign me up.
I raced home, showered, did a quick blow dry, and got to work. Another tip I learned from hair my stylist––when straightening your hair, always use a comb. So I took my time, diligently combing through each strand and then running my new CHI over my locks. The end results? Not bad. Sure, my hair still does have some frizz, but I can definitely notice a difference between my old straightener and my new one. Of course, you don’t want to use heating tools on your hair every day––and be sure to you use a heat protector spray when you do––but usually on the weekends I will take the time to carefully straighten my hair. I’m glad I went with the CHI, and I would definitely recommend this brand to others!
Monique Domovitch is on tour with CLP Blog Tours. Scorpio Rising is set in the 1950’s, and follows the lives of Alex Ivanov and Brigitte Dartois. Alex lives in Brooklyn and is determined be rich and successful after growing up in poverty. Brigitte resides in Paris, and has endured horrific childhood abuse. She tries many times to start over, to find her footing, but new challenges keep appearing and holding her back. The lives of these two different individuals are written with fluidity and ease by Domovitch and I was itching for the two to finally meet. I was hooked on both their stories and curious to see how they would end up. This book is a part of a series, the sequel is titled The Sting of Scorpio, so I knew the cliff-hanger was supposed to happen, but the ending felt a little too rushed for me. The whole book seems to be building on Alex and Brigitte and when they will meet, and I though the last few chapters just went way too fast for me to enjoy. I will be looking forward to the second book though, because the cliff hanger was awesome! Can’t wait to see what happens next….
In My Mailbox: Week of November 20
Author: Meryl Davids Landau
Received: From Meryl Davids Landau
Synopsis: Lorna Crawford has a great boyfriend, longtime friends, and a well-paying job as special-events coordinator at a premium ice-cream manufacturer. But, out of sorts and filled with self-doubt, the 33 year old soon realizes that what she really wants is to stay on the spiritual path she keeps diving off of. Lorna jump-starts her efforts at a silent yoga retreat. But after returning from the mountain, she quickly loses her connection in the face of scheming coworkers, judgmental girlfriends, and, especially, her overly critical mother. Lorna also wrestles over her future with her boyfriend, a hot guy who takes her to the hottest places, but who can’t discern a meditation cushion from a toad stool. Reading spiritual books and visiting a channeler and energy healer move Lorna forward, but her confusion remains. Lorna’s seeking is put to the ultimate test when personal tragedy strikes. Will she come to truly understand that living spiritually has little to do with how you pretzel yourself on the yoga mat (although she gets plenty good at that), and everything to do with embracing the twists in everyday life?
Author: Nicola Marsh
Received: Nicola Marsh
Synopsis: Shari Jones needs to get a life. Preferably someone else’s.
Single, homeless and jobless, Indo-American Shari agrees to her best friend’s whacky scheme: travel to Mumbai, pose as Amrita, and ditch the fiancÃ© her traditional Indian parents have chosen. Simple. Until she’s mistaken for a famous Bollywood actress, stalked by a Lone Ranger wannabe, courted by an English lord, and busted by the blackmailing fiancÃ©.
Life is less complicated in New York.
Or so she thinks, until the entourage of crazies follows her to the Big Apple and that’s when the fun really begins. Shari deals with a blossoming romance, an addiction to Indian food and her first movie role, while secretly craving another trip to the mystical land responsible for sparking her new lease on life. Returning to her Indian birthplace, she has an epiphany. Maybe the happily-ever-after of her dreams isn’t so far away?
Author: Beth Labonte
Received: From Beth Labonte
Synopsis: Bored administrative assistant, Tessa Golden, is trapped in a life of lousy weather, irritating bosses, and mind-numbing secretarial work. Her dreams of being an artist have rapidly deteriorated into building things out of paperclips while on hold with tech support. To make matters even worse, the love of her life has gone off and married another woman.
So when Tessa is suddenly transferred to the Las Vegas branch of her company – playing wingwoman to her freshly divorced boss, juggling a client-from-hell, and catching the eye of one very eligible coworker – will her life finally be shaken up enough to straighten itself out?
Author: Naina Gupta
Received: From Prospera Publishing
Synopsis: When party-loving Neela Solanki rejects yet another loser in the long line of potential suitors who keep turning up in the ‘good’ room, her traditional Indian parents finally take decisive action. Fed up with her persistent refusal to provide them with a son-in-law and grandchild, the Solankis confiscate the phone, car and credit cards they pay for, and give her one last chance to comply before she is kicked out of the house.
Desperate for cash, Neela starts up a secret business breaking up the engagements of those trapped in the unstoppable force that is an Indian marriage arrangement. Add to that an addiction to Indian soap operas, being stalked by the latest loser’s father, a jilted ex and a love interest from an unlikely source, and Neela finds life is about to take a turn she never expected.