Title: Adventure to Love
Received: Via CLP Blog Tours
Synopsis: In a “Bachelor” meets “Survivor”-style reality TV show, twelve women are flown to an undisclosed location to meet the eligible bachelor Ky, a former boy band member and the privileged son of an LA plastic surgeon. After arriving at a beautiful resort in Bali, the women compete for a chance at love as they fight to win Ky’s affection.
Morgan, the blunt, down-to-earth, girl next door; Harper, a wannabe Hollywood starlet who is competing not only for her fifteen minutes of fame but to win enough money for breast implants; and Brinkley, the innocent, Jesus-loving Midwesterner who believes that she and Ky are a match made in heaven, must go head-to-head with nine other women on group dates and in challenges to stay in the competition.
What happens behind the scenes when a dating reality show goes awry?
Author: Chrissy Anderson
Received: From Chrissy Anderson
Synopsis: Chrissy Anderson’s The Unexpected List delivers another charismatic combination of romance and anguish, peppered with large doses of wit. In this second novel from THE LIST TRILOGY, Chrissy, who is now divorced from her husband, Kurt, is finally free to pursue a “truly, madly, deeply” relationship with the man of her dreams, Leo.
And it looks like Chrissy is finally going to be able to have her wedding cake and eat it too as Leo valiantly tries to make all of her dreams come true. But once again, Chrissy’s world, and her relationships, are turned upside-down as someone else close to her dies. And, an unexpected gift forces her to grow up– fast. For a second time, Chrissy is pushed to make a choice between love and obligation. What will she choose this time?
Your favorite characters from The Life List are back. Dr. Maria, Slutty Co-worker, and Chrissy’s best friends from high school, Courtney and Nicole, continue to laugh and cry with Chrissy as she learns how to pick herself up and move on to achieve the life she’s always wanted, and now knows she deserves.
As in The Life List, not everyone will agree with Chrissy Anderson’s decisions, but all will pause as they follow along on her journey to ask, “What would I do if I were her?”
Author: Elle Field
Received: From Elle Field
Synopsis: ‘Did she really just say that? I am fifteen again, except the reality is I am experiencing full parental horror, aged twenty-five. I want to die.’
Life hasn’t quite worked out how Arielle Lockley imagined it would. Becoming the next Coco Chanel was always her childhood dream, but she’s spent the past four years living a dizzying whirl of glitzy parties, luxurious holidays and daily shopping sprees – all paid for by boyfriend Piers – and not doing anything to make her Coco dreams happen.
When the recession hits, it’s not just the economy that takes a tumble and Arielle finds herself living back with her parents, on bad terms with Piers, and having a CV that’s as welcome as a pair of knock-off Jimmy Choos. And maybe it’s the location, but she’s also finding unwelcome thoughts of her childhood sweetheart are popping into her head…
What’s a girl to do? Can Arielle figure out what it is she now wants to do with her life and move on, or will she be doomed to spend the rest of her life dwelling over her worst mistakes, stuck listening to her parents’ embarrassing dinner table talk each night?
Author: Carolyn Aspenson
Received: From Carolyn Ridder Aspenson
Synopsis: When 40-year-old Angela Panther’s mother Fran dies and comes back as a ghost, the ordinary, somewhat boring life Angela once knew quickly turns into a carnival show, starring both Angela and her nosy, dead mother.
It seems Fran’s got some unfinished business here on earth and she’s determined to get it done, no matter what.
That no matter what, however, ends up being a lot of something.
Fran was a feisty Italian woman who, even in death, is still fiercely protective of her family, so when her granddaughter is feeling the pressures of being a teenager, she can’t help but stick her transparent nose where it doesn’t belong.
And that just makes Angela’s life even crazier.
But Fran’s family meddling isn’t the only problem Angela has with her mother.
It seems when Fran came back from the dead, she reignited her daughter’s long suppressed psychic gift, one she knew about, but neglected to mention to Angela, and now Angela sees ghosts everywhere.
And they won’t leave her alone.
While Angela struggles to accept this newfound gift and help the dead, she’s also trying to find a way to keep her old life in tact.
All while trying to keep her dead mother out of trouble.
Author: Daphne Oz
Received: Daphne Oz
Synopsis: Relish by Daphne Oz – bestselling author of The Dorm Room Diet, cohost of the hit daytime talk show The Chew, and daughter of Dr. Mehmet Oz – offers simple, practical, and personal advice to help you live your better life right now.
Daphne Oz made a splash by sharing her secrets for avoiding the dreaded Freshman Fifteen in the perennial bestseller The Dorm Room Diet. Now, this lifestyle guru shares essential advice on how to relish your food, your home, and your life in order to maximize health and happiness.
Illustrated in full color with beautiful food and recipe photos, images of real-world and aspirational decor examples, and lots of creative lifestyle ideas, Relish: An Adventure in Food, Style, and Everyday Fun will help you envision a life that’s highly desirable and eminently achievable.
Romance, humor, family drama, with a touch of Buddhism. Sound interesting?
This book is a very easy read that I enjoyed. The author does a really good job at crafting realistic characters who are very likeable and easy to relate to. The book is also really funny and I found myself laughing out loud at a few parts. Like I said previously, the characters are very relateable, as is the situation. Like most things in life, it is easy to look and judge a situation from the outside when you aren’t personally invested in what is going on, nor do you know the ins or the outs. And that is Sophie’s problem here. She is quick to judge and doesn’t see that sometimes there is a gray area. Well, after she meets Sam, she is intrigued by his accepting personality. Things aren’t as simple as she once thought and things only get complicated from there. Overall, this book is a really solid read and I thought it read and flowed very easily.
Rating: 4 stars
Michelle Mason can’t remember that day, that drive, that horrible crash that killed the young man in her car. All she knows is she’s being held responsible, and her daughter is missing.
Despite a shaky marriage, a threatening lawsuit, and troubling flashbacks pressing in on her, Michelle throws herself into searching. Her daughter in the one person who might know what really happened that day, but the deeper Michelle digs, the more she questions the innocence of those closest to her, even herself. As her search hurtles toward a shattering revelation, Michelle must face the biggest challenge of her life.
A poignant story of the unshakable bond between mother and child, What a Mother Knows is about finding the truth that can set love free.
This novel just about ripped my heart out. The struggles that Michelle goes through during the book are heartbreaking yet inspiring. After the accident, she doesn’t really know fact from fiction (and neither do we as the reader) and was made to feel like she was moving her mind, even as the bits and pieces began to resurface. As I mentioned, Michelle is an unreliable narrator and to my recollection, this is the first time I’ve ever experienced reading something like that. I can see how some readers might get confused or annoyed, but quite frankly, I really enjoyed it. It definitely kept me on my toes and made the story thoroughly entertaining. I think it increased my need to know what happened that much more. As a parent, my heart ached for her and I was completely invested in her journey and struggle and it has been a long time since I’ve read a book this gripping. This book is a must read!
Rating: 5 stars
How to be a respected writer in three easy lessons
Someone (who shall remain nameless to avoid any confrontation in the bedroom) once told me love was a figment of the imagination, nothing more than a chemical reaction… an electric impulse. Maybe that’s why I strive so hard to create that moment within the pages of a book. I want a romance so epic the non-believers are converted before the final page is turned. But my very own significant other scoffs at the idea, making gagging sounds as I read the pages of my book aloud. Is that any way to act in the presence of a professional writer? An esteemed author of fluffy romance? I think not.
Being a writer is hard work! I’ve followed the basic rules: 1) Spend the entire day lounging in pajamas, while 2) Conferring with the voices in my head, and 3) Living vicariously through the main character as I fall madly in love with my imaginary hero. And according to most of the literary greats, you should attempt this while half-sloshed.
So in a moment of defiance during this childish argument, I told him I’d decided to become a heavy drinker. Drinking is practically in the writer’s manual, right? Think Fitzgerald, Kerouac, Poe, Faulkner… even Dorothy Parker had a taste for the drink. Oh sure, they were probably into the heavy stuff, but since I write romantic chick-lit, I figured I should drink cosmopolitans. They seem to be the drink of choice in all the best girly literature. Then, I read that Hemingway drank daiquiris, and having had those before—they are pretty tasty—I decided I could take up drinking daiquiris… strawberry being my flavor of choice.
Of course, my husband just shook his head and rolled his eyes, mumbling “Good luck with that,” as he wandered off to do whatever husbands do. You see, he knows my ability to hold my liquor is on par with that of a sixth grader. Well, if sixth graders were allowed to drink alcohol, which of course, they’re not. And as it turns out, I shouldn’t be allowed either. Apparently, I giggle a lot when I drink. And I can barely get through one martini glass filled with the potent pink concoction before my giggles become obnoxious… or entertaining, depending on who you ask.
Basically, I’m a lot like my character, Katie James, in To Katie With Love. She’s not a drinker. She can’t hold her liquor. But somehow, fate (just call me Fate) decides she needs to drink far too much at her 29th birthday party, and she wakes up in her dream guy’s bed. Not a bad way to start the year, if you ask me. The guy is seriously hot… and maybe a little bit dangerous. Then again, having an assassin for a boyfriend just might be the least of her worries.
Saturday, June 2, 7:25 p.m.
Even before she finished the Tecate, Roxene knew the informant wasn’t going to show. She could almost always sense the ones who would pan out and the ones who wouldn’t. She placed the can on the bar and looked at big Norm Flannigan next to her, his smug smile wet with tequila, still wanting to believe they’d luck out twice in one week.
In his bunched, bulky jeans, his sandy hair covered by a baseball cap similar to hers, he seemed to fade into the smoky room. She was sure she did, too. Invisible was attitude as well as attire, something she had learned back at Quantico and practiced every day since.
They’d picked a public place, not a tourist hive like Hussong’s, but with enough Americans that they wouldn’t attract attention. Sepia sketches of former patrons covered an entire wall. What kind of person, she wondered, would pay to leave a portrait behind?
The sad-faced bartender reappeared, as if he’d been waiting for her to take the last swallow, but, like a true macho man, he directed his question to Norm. “¿Una más?”
She cringed at Norm’s sucky Spanish. “Why bother?” she asked as the dreary fat man returned to his cooler. “I told you it was a dog call. A guy knows a guy who knows a guy who has a boat. Decides to be a hero, calls DEA, then has second thoughts.”
“Last time I checked, this was still Mexico.” Norm downed the rest of his shot with a swallow, then, with the glass still grazing his lips, gave her the senior agent smirk she hated. “Because you go at full throttle doesn’t mean the rest of the world does. Why not try to slow down a little?”
She decided to let the remark pass. This wasn’t the time or the place to discuss their differences.
In the corner behind them, a guy with a guitar sang Paloma Querida, doing a pretty fair impression of Pedro Infante and a less-than-fair job of accompanying himself. In spite of a couple of college-age girls at a back table taking a fast tequila ride to the nastiest hangovers of their lives, the air was tense with too much smoke and too little light. Something about the place—the music, the bartender with his mournful expression, the portraits left behind—unnerved her. It was too textbook Ensenada, too safe, on the surface, at least. The Glock pressing against the small of her back no longer felt uncomfortable.
“I think we should go.”
The bartender put another can in front of her, then refilled Norm’s shot glass from the Sauza bottle. Norm swept coins across the bar as if they were poker chips. Then he turned back to her. “One more cerveza won’t kill you. Then, if the guy doesn’t show, we can grab a late dinner.”
She pushed away the can. “Now,” she said.
Norm pulled all six-whatever feet of himself up from the barstool. “Whatever works.” He’d read the meaning in her words, and she knew he’d respect her request, even if this were just one of her crazy whims. They left as anonymously as they’d entered. Norm pulled open the door of peeling wood, and she stepped out. The air smelled of ocean and the deep-fried shrimp the taco vendors had been selling all day. But it didn’t revive her.
She leaned close to Norm, trying to shake the confusion out of her head. “Did that place creep you out as much as it did me?”
“No more than any of the others.” He took a deep breath. “Must have been the cigarettes. I think you’re right about the guy, though. He’s not going to show. Want to get something to eat?”
She shook her head again and walked around the building to the car. “I need to sleep.” The feeling wouldn’t let go of her. She tried to think, but even in the fresh air, she could still smell the smoke. What was wrong? What had changed? The music.
“That guitar player,” she said.
“What about him?”
“He stopped playing the minute I stood. But it was more than that. I couldn’t put my finger on the feeling, but that’s what it was. He was watching us.”
Before he could finish, she heard a rush of footsteps behind them, the deadly metal-on-metal ka-chunk of a shotgun being rechambered. She whirled around. A shotgun, all right, aimed at her. The guitar player faced them.
“You left before we could talk,” he said in precise English. “Over there.” He motioned toward the alley less than a couple of feet away.
“We can talk out here.” Norm ignored the command and edged closer to him. “You’re the one who called in the tip, aren’t you?”
“Sí, but you left too quickly. Back there, por favor.”
Roxene scanned the street. Empty. Riddled with alleys where anything, anyone could be waiting. Their only hope was that someone saw them. She caught Norm’s eye in the moonlight and told him in that quick glint of connection to distract the bastard.
Norm moved a little closer. She stepped to the side. The moon seemed too intense, a vivid splash of light, almost blinding her. She jerked away from its glare. She had to focus on the man before them, try to get at the gun tucked into the waistband of her jeans.
“You son of a bitch.” Something was wrong with Norm’s voice. “What kind of games are you playing? What’d you put in my drink back there?”
His tequila, her too-bitter Tecate. The moon found her again. It played games with her vision, her equilibrium.
“Won’t do you any good.” The man motioned toward the alley again. “I don’t want to hurt you, but we have to talk. Let’s go.”
Norm rushed him. Roxene flew into combat mode, knocking the shotgun from his grasp, going for her own gun. Variegated colors danced before her eyes. She ignored the light show, steadied the gun.
Someone grabbed her from behind. There were two of them. She hadn’t counted on that. The man struggling with her felt larger, stronger, more dangerous than the other. Her strength ebbing, she kicked, jerked, tried to twist free, to connect with any part of the one who pinned her hands behind her back. In the jagged moonlight, she saw Norm’s big body fall before her like a bolt of fabric flung to the ground. Another blur of a man, as large, larger than Norm, knelt beside him.
Then Norm disappeared.
Fight it. She had to fight it. If she gave into the lights, to whatever they’d used to drug her, it could mean their lives.
Hoisted in a heavy grip, her body began to float toward the shadows. Somewhere she heard laughter, a faint humming, a song, Pedro Infante. She tried to hold onto the song as long as she could, but already it faded, softer, softer, more distant, as the silence and the darkness descended.
Sunday, June 3, 2:30 p.m.
The San Joaquin Valley in summer was hotter than Mexico and hell put together, Corina’s father always said. At that moment she would have settled for either locale, anywhere but the Valley Voice cafeteria, where thanks to the new management’s cost-saving measures, the heat was almost as stifling indoors as out.
Nothing warm about the way her coworkers were treating her though. Corina bought a glass of Chai tea, paid the cashier and looked around. If the studied lack of interest of the others in the café were any indication, nobody was going to invite her to share their table. Might as well take the tea back to her desk. At least she could get some work done without Matthew Henderson breathing down her neck.
She’d just started back down the hall when J.T. Malone, the metro editor, dashed out of the elevator.
He put on the brakes when he saw her. “Where’s Henderson,” he asked. Dressed down by his standards, in a white shirt and chocolate-brown slacks a shade darker than his skin, J.T. was the only person in the building who looked untouched by the heat. They’d been easy with each other once, almost friends, but that had all stopped when Ivy Dieser, the new managing editor, had promoted Corina to assistant investigative reporter.
“He’s off today,” she said. “It is Sunday, you know.”
“Where’d he go? He’s not at home, not answering his phone or his e-mail.”
“He’ll be in tomorrow. What’s so urgent?”
J.T. hesitated, then said, as if she’d forced it out of him, “Got a lead on something big. A body’s been uncovered outside of town. PD source says it’s the mayor.”
For a moment, Corina was taken aback. Wes Shaw, her Wes, was mayor now, but J.T. wasn’t talking about him. Her brain processed the scant information, and in the process, reminded her that Wes Shaw was no longer hers and hadn’t been for almost a year.
“You mean Tina Kellogg?”
“That’s what I said. The mayor.”
Shock gave way to emotion. Tina Kellogg dead. It wasn’t right, but it was what everyone suspected after she hadn’t returned from a trip to the coast, hadn’t made her house payment, and hadn’t contacted any of her friends. Corina fought the tears that came with the realization. “That’s so awful. She was such a decent woman.”
“Yeah.” J.T. studied her with even more intensity than usual. “If we can’t find Henderson, I guess I’m going to have to send you out there.”
“We don’t have time to look for him.” She began walking as she spoke, heading for the stairs, adrenaline building. “Just tell me where they found her. I’m on my way.”
“Wait.” J.T. reached for the cell phone on his belt. “Let me try Henderson one more time.”
Corina turned to confront him, seeing it all there in his face, the suspicion, the distrust, the damned, rotten doubt. It was the way all the old-timers looked at her since the promotion, as if she were after their jobs.
“Your call, J.T. You want me to cover this, or do you want to stand here talking about it while the TV stations grab the story?”
Moisture glistened on his forehead. He glanced at his watch, then at her, a man without choices, she thought, an editor who knew that, live or die, the only real enemy was time. “Okay,” he said. “Get going.”
Even as she rushed for the door, she silently cursed him—he who should know better than anyone how she felt trying to prove herself in this world, that regardless of what anyone said or pretended, was still run by white males.
Sunday, June 3, 3:20 p.m.
The smell hit her first. Even across the field, it carried like the stench of the stockyards, only more cloying. Standing outside her car, sun hammering down, Corina fought the reflex to gag. She’d been so intent on getting a decent story and proving herself to Henderson and the rest of the staff that she hadn’t stopped to think how she’d react to the grim reality of murder. And now here it was, in a decomposed heap, just across the yellow tape a few hundred feet ahead.
A company station wagon pulled up beside her car, and Wally Lorenzo, the photographer, stepped out. He nodded to her on his way to unload his equipment, an old guy with a permanent frown that seemed to deepen when he looked at her. Talented photographer though, in spite of his dandruff-flaked thick glasses that didn’t stop him from seeing the story behind a shot. The editors always said you didn’t have to crop Lorenzo’s photos; he cropped them himself when he took them.
“How’d they get you out here?” she asked.
“Changed my hours a few weeks back. Needed one more person on weekends.” He ran his free hand through salt-and-pepper hair that was more salt than pepper these days.
“I’m sorry,” she said, then wondered if that were the right response.
“Doesn’t matter. A job’s a job. Better get to work.” He trudged ahead in the direction of the taped-off area, humming softly.
That smell. God, he must be faking it. This couldn’t be something one learned to tolerate. How many of these scenes had he photographed? How many bodies that used to be human, now mutilated and decaying in any number of unsavory locations?
Even the officers beyond the yellow tape wore masks. A group of them scribbled notes and clicked photos of something at the bottom of a dried-out canal. Corina watched them, not sure whether or not she was relieved she couldn’t see the body, as she followed in Wally’s path through the vacant field.
Who was she trying to kid? She was a business reporter. The closest she’d been to death was fleeting glances at the waxy replicas of her grandparents in the relative safety of a funeral home. She hadn’t asked for this promotion, but she had to prove herself, especially with old-timers like J.T., Wally, and Henderson, her own supervisor, waiting for her to fail.
She would prove herself, too. She just had to learn the ropes, and the sandy-haired officer guarding the site where Tina’s body was being unearthed was as good a place as any to start.
He looked up from his clipboard when Corina approached. His unlined face set his age at thirty, thirty-five maybe. His experienced eyes of appraisal told a different story.
“Hot enough for you?”
It was the usual greeting of two strangers meeting in the middle of a San Joaquin Valley summer, even two strangers meeting over murder.
“I hear tomorrow will be worse,” she said.
“We can count on more rolling blackouts, that’s for sure.” He did not appear bothered by either the weather or the nature of his job. He had the demeanor of a mortician. A smile, a friendly attempt at empathy. Then once the pleasantries were exchanged, a voracious return to business. “I’ll need to get your name.”
“Corina Casares Vasquez,” she replied, in a precise voice that just barely hid her distaste of the activity near the freshly dug earth a few hundred feet from where they stood. “Valley Voice newspaper.”
“That’s a mouthful.” He flashed her a perfunctory smile, then returned to his clipboard and the job at hand. “Corina,” he began. “You spell that with a C or a K?”
“C.” She walked him through the rest of the drill, explaining that, yes, both names were her last name, no hyphen, thank you very much.
“New to the Voice, are you?”
“Just to this beat.”
He glanced at the clipped-on ID that jutted out from her vest. His eyes darted back and forth as he compared the image there to the real thing.
“I guess it’s you, all right.” He studied her feature by feature, from straight hair to her jeans and vest, both of which suddenly felt too tight.
“Our security supervisor takes new photos once a year.” The solemn, swollen face on the laminated strip of plastic reminded her of how, for weeks after Wes left her, she’d cried every day—to work, from work, sometimes sitting at her desk, staring at her computer while trying to squeeze back tears. She thought she’d hidden it, but looking at her ID, she realized how obvious her pain had been, and how far she’d come. She looked away, vowing to ask Verna to take a new photo at once. “What can you tell me about what happened here?”
“There’s not a whole lot to tell. Two kids making out in the vineyard spotted the victim’s shoe sticking up from the dirt in the canal. They investigated and discovered the remains.”
Corina shuddered. “Man’s shoe or woman’s shoe?”
“You know I can’t talk about that. You guys have been hounding me around the clock, and we haven’t even taken the body to the morgue yet.”
To cops, all reporters were guys. She considered pointing out the fact but thought better of challenging him. Forcing the image of the skeletal foot from her mind, she cut to the chase. “We heard it was the former mayor.”
“Lots of former mayors in Pleasant View.”
“Last I checked, Tina Kellogg was the only one missing for three months. We heard belongings of hers were found at the scene.”
“I know what you heard,” he said. “That’s what happens when officers talk off the record. There’s no such thing. You guys don’t respect it.”
“We do respect it. It’s your guys who run their mouths and then try to change the rules on us.” His jaw stiffened, and she wished she’d kept quiet.
“I can’t tell you anything else right now,” he said. “You want any more information, you check with the coroner. Better get out of the sun too. You ask me you’re not cut out for this beat.”
The foul air closed in, threatening to prove him right. “I’ll get used to it.”
Something akin to sympathy crept into his pale eyes. “Takes a while.”
“I guess so. Thanks for your help.”
“Sorry I couldn’t give you more information. You know how it is.”
“I understand, but it would help a lot if you could just tell me why they’re withholding her name. Is it because they have to notify family members?”
He nodded. “Part of it. But in the case of a public figure, we have to take more precautions, even when we’re sure.”
“I didn’t mean to hound you,” she said, as if the interrogation were over and she were leaving. “It’s just that our source told us there’d been an absolute ID.”
“It’s not absolute until the coroner does it,” he said, as if lecturing a criminology class. “We still have to go through the motions, even in a case like this where we find ID on the victim.”
She jumped on it. “But if you have personal items of hers, a purse, say, a drivers license.”
“Takes more than that.”
“So,” she said, as if playing a game of speculation. “Who do you think killed her?”
He shrugged. “Pissed-off boyfriend? Who knows? I hear she had a few.”
She thanked him again and left. An ornate For Sale sign stood next to the entrance to the main road. The poor farmer who owned this vineyard wouldn’t be selling it any time soon now. On the road, she passed a Channel 5 van driving in. It didn’t matter. She’d learned what she was sent here to find out. She could go back to the paper and tell J.T. his source had been confirmed. The body in the field was their missing former mayor’s. But first she needed a shower. And she needed to shampoo the smell of death from her hair.
A few minutes past five, she parked her Corolla in the Voice parking lot. The sun-baked asphalt still radiated heat. She tried not to think about the source of her excitement, but it was there like a shadow she glimpsed from the corner of her eye. A woman was dead, a public servant who, despite her flaws, had done a fine job as their city’s first woman mayor.
A security guard on a bicycle stopped and walked Corina to the ramp leading to the side door. She lifted her ID to another uniformed man at the guard station, then followed the long, polished hall past the executive offices on her left, through the art and features departments.
Metro buzzed like a single engine made up of countless coordinated parts. The staff moved in sync, each a segment of that miraculous twenty-four hour machine called a newspaper. The front page was a last-minute job.
The above-the-fold piece covered the disappearance of two DEA agents, a man and a woman, in Tijuana. Norman Flannigan and Roxene Waite had uncovered a scheme by the drug cartels earlier in the week. No one knew if the kidnapping was related.
That’s all they needed. War hawks, especially Governor Craig Menlo, were demanding military intervention, claiming the Mexican government was involved. This would worsen an already volatile situation.
Metro staff members had made last-minute phone calls to highway patrol and fire department sources, checking to see if there were any stories grisly enough for the front page.
“If it bleeds, it leads,” they always said. For the first time, the meaning of the mantra hit home with Corina. Find a really gruesome story, and you’ll lead on A-1, above the fold, as she’d be doing tomorrow, unless something bloodier occurred somewhere else. Because a public figure was dead, she was getting a break. It was that simple and that complicated.
J.T. looked up when she passed his office, then waved her over. His closely cropped hair and expansive forehead exaggerated the arch of his eyebrows, giving him a cynical look he worked a little too hard to live up to. It was impossible to relax around him. She suspected Henderson maligned her abilities at every opportunity, and she had neither talent nor taste for sucking up to management, even when the management person in question was someone she had once liked and respected.
It was Ivy Dieser who had engineered her promotion a few months after stepping into the managing editor job, vacated when her predecessor made one of those convenient “lateral moves” that were so prevalent with new management. So clueless was Ivy that when she informed Corina of her new position, she immediately asked whether she wanted to be called Hispanic or Latina.
“Mexican,” Corina had told her, stunned that Poison Ivy, as they called her, could be so blatant as to the reason for her good fortune. “I’m Mexican.”
J.T. met her at the doorway to his office, a sparse room except for the numerous photos of his vacations to Jamaica. “You get it?” he asked as if he’d sent her to Starbucks for a latte.
She nodded. “Cop wouldn’t confirm anything on the record, but he made it clear.”
“Same here, but we can still say our sources believe the body is hers. Where the hell is Henderson anyway?”
“I can write the story by myself, J.T.”
“I’m sure you can. Matthew knew her is all. You never even met the woman.”
“Sure I did, right after I first came here. Remember that Hispanic Scholarship thing? You and I went together, in fact. I was still in the business department.”
He nodded and gave her a cryptic smile. “That’s right. Janie sent her entire minority editorial staff, you, yours truly, and Linda Woo in features.”
Finally, common ground. “Minority quotas, that’s all we are to them,” she blurted.
“And twenty years ago, when I started, we’d play hell getting a job here at all.” His eyebrow arched even higher, and he enunciated carefully. “I have been the first black at every paper I worked for, lady. It hasn’t changed that much. Dieser would have me out on my ass right now if it weren’t for those minority quotas.”
“I just meant—”
“I know what you meant. Now, stop feeling sorry for yourself and write that story. Henderson can fill you in on everything he has on Tina Kellogg later. For now, just cover the basics. Widow takes over husband’s construction business, forges a career in politics, leads the city at a time of unprecedented growth. What took her from there to—where’d they find her?”
“A vineyard,” she said, still stinging from his reproach.
“What took her from there to the dusty vineyard, her body unclaimed? Something like that.”
“You sound a little television, if you don’t mind my saying so.”
“That’s why I’m the editor, and you’re the reporter. Now go write it.”
“What about Henderson?”
He shrugged as if unaware of the silent war raging right under his nose these past two months. “He’s not here,” he said.
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Author: Kathleen Kole
Received: Via CLP Blog Tours
Synopsis: Claire Jamieson has moved back home to Boxwood Hills… And, she’s not alone. Trailing behind her overworked laundry basket is her husband and their energetic twin boys. Claire had always thought that once she’d left the nest, she’d never return. Now that she has, she’s wondering what type of bird that makes her… Cuckoo? When she has a moment to pause and catch her breath, she’ll let you know.
Author: Savannah Page
Received: Via CLP Blog Tours
Synopsis: A novel about chasing dreams, for better or worse, and living your love story.
Claire Linley is finally a bride! After nearly ten years with her college freshman sweetheart, Claire is going to become Mrs. Conner Whitley. She’s got her bridal magazines, is the biggest Martha Stewart fan, and subscribes to all the major wedding blogs. She’s been dreaming of this moment for years! How could planning her dream wedding be anything but perfect?
The easy-going and bubbly type, Claire will obviously have a blast planning, and with her fantastic group of girlfriends-made-bridesmaids she just can’t go wrong. Whether it’s wedding gown shopping, makeup trials, or cake-tasting, Claire’s friends are there in a pinch.
But how big does the pinch get? All Claire wants to do is get married, but at every turn something seems to go awry and she’s starting to lose it. How is a girl supposed to remain cool and collected when the pricy dream wedding planner isn’t turning out to be so dreamy? When DIY projects and the perfect venue are going up in smoke? How is Claire supposed to marry Conner when the special day that’s supposed to join them together, forever, is slowly tearing them apart?
This is the charming story about how sometimes the biggest events in life are defined by the smallest acts of kindness and love. It’s a love story about dreaming large, loving deeply, and, in the end, truly having the happiest day of your life, no matter what happens (or doesn’t). About what happens when girlfriends chase dreams.
Author: Jo Piazza
Received: From Jo Piazza
Synopsis: For anyone who has ever overdosed on love—or planned the wedding before the second date—Jo Piazza’s dazzling debut novel is a must-read
Cyber-stalking, drive-bys, drunken text messaging, creating fake email accounts—you’re gonna have to face it, you’re addicted to love.
Sophie isn’t dealing with her breakup well. Dumped by her boyfriend, Eric, for his sexting, D-cupped, young Floozy McSecretary, Sophie leaves Manhattan and lands back in her hometown, crushed and pajama-clad, blaming herself and begging her ex for a second chance.
But when her best friend, Annie, gets in trouble for driving drunk and is forced to go to an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting, something clicks in Sophie’s strung-out mind. Women need love rehab, she realizes, to help fix the craziness that comes along with falling for someone.
If you start it, they will come. When she opens up her home to the obsessed and lovelorn, Sophie finds a way to help women out there who have overdosed on the wrong men—and she saves herself in the process.
Love is a drug and the only things that can save us are the steps, rules, and one another. Step one: Admit you have a problem, and keep the hell away from Facebook.
Still single at 39, Kayte Wexford has everything but Mr. Right. She has a fabulous career and interesting friends, but there’s still no one waiting at home for her but the dog.
With keyboard at the ready, she turns to technology for help, hoping online dating will finally deliver the man of her dreams.
eloves me, eloves me not is a contemporary romantic comedy that follows Kayte’s online dating adventures while focusing on the relationships of four main characters, each with their unique views on love: Kayte is the ever-hopeful romantic, Roman the consummate bachelor, Thomas is newly and skeptically single and Chloe is already living happily ever after.
Join Kayte as she meets a series of cyber-suitors and learns what she will and won’t do in the name of love. See if you can you predict where Kayte will end up and with whom.
This book was really a lot of fun and a nice spin on a romantic comedy. I thought L.A. did a really great job at creating very likeable characters and creating a world for Kayte that is a hoot with tons of laughs and is very, very funny. While reading this book I constantly visualized what I thought it would look like on the big screen, and this one is a winner! If you are looking for a really great book that is really entertaining, has a romantic interest in online dating and so called cyber-suitors, then this book is for you. I think you will really enjoy it!
Decades ago, as Nazi planes dominated the sky, Lily Verner made a terrible choice. She’s tried to forget, but now an unexpected event pulls her back to the 1940s British countryside. She finds herself remembering the brilliant colors of the silk she helped to weave at her family’s mill, the relentless pressure of the worsening war, and the kind of heartbreaking loss that stops time.
In this evocative novel of love and consequences, Lily finally confronts the disastrous decision that has haunted her all these years. The Last Telegram uncovers the surprising truth about how the stories we weave about our lives are threaded with truth, guilt, and forgiveness.
I am a really, really big fan of historical fiction (especially those that take place during WWII) and absolutely devoured this book. The book opens up with quite the backdrop, and since it is told in first person, you really feel present and in the moment. I was really touched by Liz’s writing and thought she did such an amazing job at transplanting the reader and creating such remarkable moments between the characters. I really loved Lily as the main character and my heart broke a few times throughout the novel. Such an amazing novel, but let me warn you, keep a box of tissues handy for this one during the last few chapters because you will definitely need them.
In the second book of the series, ambitious and driven Gabriella Castle finds herself facing a personal crisis, so she returns home. Everything that she has worked for over the last few years have been yanked out from under her when she finds out that she is pregnant, but she feels safe at her grandmother’s home in North Carolina. She is looking for time to reflect and make difficult decisions about her future, but what she finds instead is love. Wade Johnson fell for Gabi the moment he saw her. Will he be enough to keep her home though? Will she finally find her knight in shining armor?
As I mentioned in my review yesterday, I am such a huge fan of Sherryl Woods and her work. She does such an amazing job at crafting believable characters with real emotions, and this book is no exception. I was completely smitten with Wade and really pulled for him and Gabi to find love. Also, now that I think of it, Sherryl always finds a way to create such loving, kind and heartfelt male characters, and I absolutely love that about her books. Sure, maybe I should get my head out of the clouds, but that is why we read books, right? Anywho, this story is really sweet and definitely conveys the necessity of family and love. I think you will really enjoy it.
Sand Castle Bay is the first in the Ocean Breeze trilogy which revolve around the Castle Sisters and their dear, sweet Grandmother, Cora Jane. Emily Castle left home years ago to become an interior designer. The baby of the trio, she desperately wants to prove herself, even if that means leaving behind Boone, the man who stole her heart. But when fate steps in and takes her back home after a hurricane hits too close to home, she finds herself back right where she left off. She helps her sweet grandmother rebuild her restaurant but she doesn’t expect to run into Boone. Things aren’t quite what they seem though as things are complicated with Boone because he is a widower with a young son now and in-laws who will stop at nothing. Although things are tumultuous, Emily and Boone feel the spark between them, even after all of these years. But, will that be enough to see them through a second chance at love? Or is their relationship forever doomed?
Whoa! This book was a ton of fun and I instantly fell in love with the writing and the characters. Emily and Boone have so much chemistry and sexual tension that it practically jumps off the page. First of all, I love stories like this where the characters are granted a second chance at something and this love story is no exception. I absolutely loved Boone and thought that he was handed the rough end of the stick but I was rooting for him the whole time. I desperately wanted him to find his happily ever after. I must say that I have been a fan of Sherryl Woods for a while though, so I wasn’t surprised that I loved the book so much. But, needless to say, I am so very excited that I have the next two books sitting at home, waiting for me.