Monday, February 27, 2017

Breaking and Holding by Judy Fogarty + a Giveaway

Hello, everybody! Today I'm a stop on the TLC blog tour for Judy Fogarty's Breaking and Holding. I am giving away a copy today, so be sure to read through to the Rafflecopter below to enter.

Patricia knows she should leave her husband, but even after discovering he's been cheating, she doesn't have the courage to really do it. To get the ball rolling on a new deal for his agency, Jack takes Patricia on a trip to Kiawah Island. When the trip is over, though, Patricia refuses to return to New York. Maybe, just maybe, time alone in their beach house will help her make her decision. 

Lynn, Jack's assistant, has long played the middle man in Jack and Patricia's relationship. Too long, in fact. So when the Kiawah account is handed to her, she finds herself not only in the middle, but in the literal thick of Patricia's summer of discovery. And it's not a place she's sure she wants to be. 

The summer proves to be tumultuous and life altering for all three - Patricia, Jack, and Lynn - but as their own lives are affected, so are the lives of those they interact with over the course of the long hot months. 

Judy Fogarty's debut is a tale of love and madness, tennis, and breaking free.

Patricia is meek and uncertain as the story begins, but when she meets tennis player Terry Sloane, all of that begins to change.

Patricia's back story is huge, certainly in terms of the forming of her character, but it's more alluded to than drastically developed. In fact, it's not until she reveals a big part of her story to Terry himself that we get a better understanding of her relationship with Jack. And while there were a few dangling threads, for the most part the allusion works well.

Because this isn't the story of Patricia's past. Or Lynn's. Or even Jack's. It's about their futures. It's about how Patricia is finally given the opportunity to (or one could even say is forced to) come into her own. And how Lynn is also forced to do the same.

Setting is a key player in this tale. The story is set in 1978 and Fogarty references not only some of the actual tennis history of the era - to set the scene for Terry - but some key feminist history as well.

Patricia is a lover of literature. She finds solace and friendship within the pages of her books and has for quite some time, so it could readily be argued that her transformation begins with a book - Erica Jong's Fear of Flying. A book that Lynn even takes the time to warns Jack about when she discovers Patricia is reading it. And it's a warning Jack definitely doesn't take to heart.

Of course Patricia and Jack's relationship is completely unhealthy and had he heeded Lynn's warning, the story would be completely different!

Breaking and Holding proved to be quite a gripping tale for me. Though I was definitely drawn to the setting, I'd never describe myself as a tennis fan and I was afraid, if the story leaned too far in that direction, that it might not quite suit my taste. But as the tale continued I found myself literally unable to tear myself away! I loved Lynn and rallied behind Tricia and there was no way I could put the book down until I found out how their stories would end!

Rating: 4/5

And now for the giveaway! To enter, simply fill out the Raffelcopter below before Monday, March 13. Open US only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


To see more stops on the tour be sure to check out the official TLC tour page here

For more on Judy Fogarty and her work you can visit her website here. You can also friend her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter


Purchase Links: Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble



Sunday, February 26, 2017

New Releases 2.28.17

Some of the new titles hitting shelves this week are:

The Golden Hour by T. Greenwood

The Housekeeper by Suellen Dainty

Marked for Revenge by Emilie Schepp

Till Death by Jennifer L. Armentrout

If I Could Tell You by Elizabeth Wilhide

The Dead Letters by Caite Dolan-Leach

Bone Box by Faye Kellerman

Revenger by Alastair Reynolds

The Fifth Element by Jørgen Brekke

Miss Treadway and the Field of Stars by Miranda Emmerson

Quicksand by Malin Persson Giolito

One Blood Ruby by Melissa Marr

10 Things I Can See From Here by Carrie Mac

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

New on DVD:
Doctor Strange
Allied
Moonlight
Shut In

New reviews at Bookbitch.com:
Dare You by Jennifer Brown

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Nova by Margaret Fortune

Margaret Fortune's debut is fabulous fun! The first in the Spectre War series (currently projected to be 5 books, I believe) begins as one thing and morphs into a completely different kind of story. But what kind is something I'm not going to give away. That said, I'm going to attempt to be somewhat vague in my review. So here goes:

Lia Johansen is a refugee with a secret. One of hundreds of POWs recently released as part of negotiations over a habitable planet called New Earth, Lia and her fellow prisoners are given temporary asylum on New Sol Station. But Lia isn't there for asylum. Lia isn't Lia at all. She's a walking bomb whose clock is counting down swiftly.

Until it's not. Ready to go nova and take the entire station with her, Lia is given a reprieve when she proves to be a dud. But the stay is only temporary and she has no idea how long it will take for the final minutes of her clock to count down. 

Her mission is complicated by two factors beyond the bomb's fickleness: one, she has no memory of her mission. Two, the memories she does have are the real Lia's. And when one of Lia's friends turns out to be living on New Sol, going nova begins to seem like a bad idea.

We meet Lia as her transport is arriving at New Sol. Lia, the real Lia, was a citizen of Aurora Colony, one of many terraformed colonies throughout the expanse. When the colony fell, she and her family were taken to the Tiersten Internment Colony, as prisoners of the Tellurian Alliance, one of two governing factions that controls (and fights over) space.

See the Tellurians and the Celestians have been fighting for ages over everything. And while new colonies are being terraformed for human habitation, the discovery of a seemingly Earth-like planet perfect for habitation as is, is the center of the current conflict between the two groups. Unfortunately, Lia and the other refugees were caught at the center of the conflict until just recently. A tenuous treaty has been negotiated, and the POWs have been released.

But things aren't quite hunky dory, as evidenced by the fact that this Lia, our narrator Lia, is carrying a bomb meant to destroy New Sol!

Unfortunately, whatever plan Lia is part of has gone massively awry. And with no knowledge of what the plan actually is, Lia isn't sure she wants to continue carrying it out. Especially when she's taken under the wing of Lia's old friend from Aurora, Michael.

As her time on New Sol stretches out, Lia becomes close to Michael, even convincing herself that she can live some sort of life with an actual future.

Lia is an unreliable narrator in that she doesn't know her own story. Her internal battle between what she thinks is her purpose and what she actually wants is one that propels the story from start to finish and each new piece of information she discovers about herself and the world she lives in proves to complicate things further for her.

As her clock ticks down, the pacing of the story increases, leaving the reader wondering what fate Lia will choose and how this will affect the world we've come to know.

Nova is an excellent start to a series. It's the kind of book that has huge cross over potential - a teen narrator in an adult SF tale that definitely appeals to both audiences. But there's a massive and fabulous twist beyond all of that that really makes Nova fantastic.

Rating: 4/5

Nova has been out in paperback for some time, but next month marks the release of the second book in the series, Archangel. So now's the perfect opportunity to catch up! Be sure to check back here next month as I'll be giving away a copy of Archangel here on the blog.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

The Drifter by Christine Lennon + a Giveaway

Happy Tuesday, readers! Today I'm a stop on the TLC blog tour for Christine Lennon's debut, The Drifter. I am giving away a copy today, so be sure to read through to the end to enter the Rafflecopter.

One more semester. Just a few final months to go before the end of college and the next phase in Betsy's life. But the semester is not off to a great start. After crashing all summer in her friends' apartment, Betsy has become a third wheel. 

She, Ginny, and Caroline met at rush and have been friends ever since, but things between Caroline and Betsy have become more than strained. Things were fine while Caroline was gone for the summer, but now she's back and things are weird as ever. To make matters worse, Gainesville has become the new stomping grounds for an apparent serial killer. In a town full of women, it's unlikely any of the three will ever cross his path. Or so they think. 

Twenty years later, Betsy still hasn't recovered from the death of her friend. She's overly cautious and afraid of letting her daughter out of her sight. Things aren't helped when she receives an invite from a sorority sister to attend their twenty year reunion. If she's ever to move on with her life, it appears she'll have to face the horrors of her final months in Florida. 

The Drifter wasn't quite what I expected. It's being compared to Megan Abbott and M.O. Walsh, the latter of which is actually a pretty perfect comparison in retrospect.

As with Walsh's debut, The Drifter is less a thriller than an examination of how events shape our lives. We're introduced to Betsy in 2010 as her daughter is beginning preschool, and it's clear that Betsy has issues. She's obsessed with background checks and security at the school and is even caught lurking outside. But what the school doesn't know is that Betsy's fear is grounded in a very real and tragic event - her best friend's murder.

Cut to 1990 and everything is apparently, mostly, hunky dory. Betsy is carefree and happy, somewhat. Yes, the trio of friends is experiencing a rocky patch, but all is fairly normal. Except that two women have been murdered in their little college town.

While we do get some chapters beyond Betsy's final months in college, much of the story is focused between August 22 and August 30, or the days leading up to the murder of one of Betsy's friends. From there, it's clear her life could only be influenced by that event. Understandably.

From the description, I definitely did expect more of a thriller. And while The Drifter certainly has thriller leanings and aspects, it's more a coming of age tale about a woman whose life is affected by a great tragedy. It's also about healing from, and dealing with the guilt of, that event.

To that end, The Drifter is not necessarily paced like a thriller. There's much more introspection and examination of the time leading up to the event. (As is the case with Walsh's title, hence the apt comparison.) And by honing in on the tiny details that make up the days leading up to and even beyond the crime in question, Lennon really gives readers a chance to get inside Betsy's life and mind. To experience the emotions and the uncertainty of those final days of college, the testiness of a close friendship, and the tragedy of loss.

The book is set at an interesting time, in my opinion. 1990 did mark a significant change from the 80s. There was a different feel to everything: fashion, music, movies... I may be biased because I lived through it, but I'd say anyone my age likely feels the same. To set the tone, Lennon created a Spotify playlist. I highly recommend listening along as you read as it really does create a great mood for the book. You can also check out a great guest post by Lennon over at BookClubGirl.com.

And now for the giveaway. To enter, simply fill out the Rafflecopter below before Monday, March 6. Open US only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


To see more stops on the tour be sure to check out the official TLC tour page here.

For more on Christine Lennon and her work you can visit her website here. You can also like her on Facebook and follow her on Instagram.

Purchase Links: HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble


Monday, February 20, 2017

The Chilbury Ladies' Choir by Jennifer Ryan

Good morning, readers! Today I'm a stop on the TLC blog tour for Jennifer Ryan's The Chilbury Ladies' Choir.

With the men off to war, the Vicar of Chilbury has decided to shutter the local choir. But the women have a different idea. Together, with the help of an enigmatic new local music teacher, they form the Chilbury Ladies' Choir. 

That's right, a choir featuring all women. 

It may be unheard of, but in this time of need there's simply no other choice. And to be certain, this is indeed a time of need that calls for a choir. As the threat of war looms ever heavier over England as a whole, and the village of Chilbury in particular, music and the choir prove to be just the thing to keep up the town's spirits. And the women's spirits as well. 

Told through diaries, letters, and the occasional local announcement, Jennifer Ryan brings Chilbury and its citizens into vivid life.

Our main narrators include Kitty Winthrop, an almost fourteen-year-old girl determined to become the best singer she can be; her sister, Venetia Winthrop, the village's seemingly remaining free-spirited troublemaker, who has her eyes set on a local artist as her latest conquest; Mrs. Tilling, a widowed nurse whose own son has just set off for the front; and Miss Edwina Paltry, a local midwife looking to make an extra pound any way she can.

Kitty and Mrs. Tilling have both begun journals as per the suggestion of the same radio program. (According to Ryan, this was a very real effort during WWII to chronicle the happenings on the Home Front during the war.) Venetia, meanwhile, keeps track of her efforts to woo an artist through correspondence with her friend, (who everyone agrees is a terrible influence) living in London throughout the story. And Miss Paltry keeps up her own correspondence with her sister, outlining a plot that becomes more complicated and troublesome as her part in the story progresses.

Together, and with a few extras, the happenings in Chilbury from March 26, 1940 through September 6, 1940 are outlined in great detail. And I do mean great. The characters run the gamut of personalities, ages, and social rank. We even get a bit of insight from a couple of men and a refugee who's been taken in as well.

And while the choir is much of the focus, it's really the framework for the larger story of England's WWII Home Front - the hopes and dreams and fears of a people at war and the ever changing social structure brought about by that war.

I quite adored this book! It is quite fabulous and heartfelt, making it the perfect read for any historical fiction fan. It's sweet, without being sappy, and it feels authentic in terms of both characters and scope. Definitely recommended!

To see more stops on the tour be sure to check out the official TLC tour page here.

For more on Jennifer Ryan and her work you can visit her website here. You can also like her on Facebook.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble


Sunday, February 19, 2017

New Releases 2.21.17

Some of the new titles hitting shelves this week are:

The Drifter by Christine Lennon

The Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan

Most Dangerous Place by James Grippando

Running by Cara Hoffman

A Cast of Vultures by Judith Flanders

The Orphan's Tale by Pam Jenoff

Fatal Option by Chris Beakey

I See You by Clare Mackintosh

The Book of Mirrors by E. O. Chirovici

A Conjuring of Light by V. E. Schwab

Kings of the Wild by Nicholas Eames

Beautiful Broken Girls by Kim Savage

Dreamland Burning by Jennifer Latham

New on DVD:
Nocturnal Animals
Hacksaw Ridge
Manchester By the Sea

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Pre Pub Book Buzz: The Ghost Line: The Titanic of the Stars by Andrew Neil Gray

Ooh, readers! Today's pre pub title is one that I'm super looking forward to this year!

It's no secret I've been a big fan of Tor.com's novellas. I've reviewed a number of them so far and have enjoyed each and every one immensely. I expect The Ghost Line: The Titanic of the Stars by Andrew Neil Gray will be no exception to that rule! 

Here's a bit about the book from Goodreads:

The Martian Queen was the Titanic of the stars before it was decommissioned, set to drift back and forth between Earth and Mars on the off-chance that reclaiming it ever became profitable for the owners. For Saga and her husband Michel the cruise ship represents a massive payday. Hacking and stealing the ship could earn them enough to settle down, have children, and pay for the treatments to save Saga's mother's life.

But the Martian Queen is much more than their employer has told them. In the twenty years since it was abandoned, something strange and dangerous has come to reside in the decadent vessel. Saga feels herself being drawn into a spider's web, and must navigate the traps and lures of an awakening intelligence if she wants to go home again.

But the Martian Queen is much more than their employer has told them. In the twenty years since it was abandoned, something strange and dangerous has come to reside in the decadent vessel. Saga feels herself being drawn into a spider's web, and must navigate the traps and lures of an awakening intelligence if she wants to go home again.

Tell me you're not dying to read this one yourself now!!!

The Ghost Line is due out in July from Tor.com.