Karen's Korner

Lies and Other Acts of Love by Kristy Woodson Harvey – Plus, a Giveaway!

unnamedSummary: Dear Carolina was praised as “Southern fiction at its best.” Now author Kristy Woodson Harvey presents a new novel about what it really means to tell the truth . . .

After sixty years of marriage and five daughters, Lynn “Lovey” White knows that all of us, from time to time, need to use our little white lies.

Her granddaughter, Annabelle, on the other hand, is as truthful as they come. She always does the right thing—that is, until she dumps her hedge fund manager fiancé and marries a musician she has known for three days. After all, her grandparents, who fell in love at first sight, have shared a lifetime of happiness, even through her grandfather’s declining health.

But when Annabelle’s world starts to collapse around her, she discovers that nothing about her picture-perfect family is as it seems. And Lovey has to decide whether one more lie will make or break the ones she loves…(Excerpt from Goodreads)

My Thoughts: I absolutely adored Kristy’s debut novel Dear Carolina so when I heard she was coming out with a new book, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on a copy. Lies and Other Acts of Love is a beautifully written and multi-generational story that has it all – family, love, loss, and secrets all wrapped up with tons of southern charm. This heartwarming tale full of unforgettable characters will draw you in from the very beginning and stay with you well beyond the last page.

The story is told from two different voices – Lovey, the grandmother and family matriarch and Annabelle, Lovey’s granddaughter who recently decided to marry a musician after knowing him for a few days. Kristy does a wonderful job illustrating the grandmother/granddaughter relationship and showing what it means to love your family with all your heart, even if that means telling a few lies. I am very close to my own grandmother, who is definitely the matriarch of our family so I felt very close to these characters, who are all very relatable and flawed in their own ways. Not only was the storytelling spectacular, but I also enjoyed the wide variety of characters in this novel and the way the author developed the relationships between them.

Lies and Other Acts of Love is a perfect piece of southern fiction and is a must read for this summer – plus, it is full of surprises that will keep you guessing up until the very end. Kristy just continues to get better and better and I cannot wait to see what she comes up with next!

Harvey-Port-02-e1429142736291About the Author: Kristy Woodson Harvey is the author of Dear Carolina, which was recently long-listed for the Pat Conroy Southern Book Prize and Lies and Other Acts of Love, a Romantic Times top pick and Southern Booksellers Okra Pick. She blogs at Design Chic about how creating a beautiful home can be the catalyst for creating a beautiful life and loves connecting with readers at kristywoodsonharvey.com. She is a Phi Beta Kappa, summa cum laude graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s school of journalism and holds a Master’s in English from East Carolina University. Her writing has appeared in numerous publications and websites, including Southern Living, Domino magazine, Our State, Houzz, the Salisbury Post and the New Bern Sun Journal. She lives in North Carolina with her husband and four-year-old son where she is working on her next novel.

Connect with Kristy:

A big thank you to Kristy and her team who have graciously provided Karen’s Korner with a copy of Lies and Other Acts of Love for a giveaway! Enter via the Rafflecopter below (US entries only):

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Don’t You Cry by Mary Kubica – Plus, a Giveaway!

51C-qS47EAL._SX328_BO1,204,203,200_Summary: New York Times bestselling author of The Good Girl, Mary Kubica returns with an electrifying and addictive tale of deceit and obsession.

In downtown Chicago, a young woman named Esther Vaughan disappears from her apartment without a trace. A haunting letter addressed to My Dearest is found among her possessions, leaving her friend and roommate Quinn Collins to wonder where Esther is and whether or not she’s the person Quinn thought she knew.

Meanwhile, in a small Michigan harbor town an hour outside Chicago, a mysterious woman appears in the quiet coffee shop where eighteen-year-old Alex Gallo works as a dishwasher. He is immediately drawn to her charm and beauty, but what starts as an innocent crush quickly spirals into something far more dark and sinister than he ever expected.

As Quinn searches for answers about Esther, and Alex is drawn further under Pearl’s spell, master of suspense Mary Kubica takes readers on a taut and twisted thrill ride that builds to a stunning conclusion and shows that no matter how fast and far we run, the past always catches up with us in the end. (Excerpt from Goodreads)

My Thoughts: Don’t You Cry was the first novel I’ve read by Mary Kubica but I promise you it won’t be the last. This story completely engrossed me from the beginning until the very last page – it was full of thrill and suspense that kept me on the edge of my seat the entire time.

Mary%20Kubica%20author%20photo%20credit%20Sarah%20JastreDon’t You Cry jumps between two different storylines. The first focuses on Quinn, whose roommate Esther disappeared one night and Quinn is left desperately trying to figure out what could have happened. And then the second focuses on Alex, a small town boy who becomes intrigued and drawn to a woman who mysteriously shows up to his town one day. It isn’t until you are nearing the end of the book that you see how the two stories are woven together and wow, is the reader left spellbound.

Don’t You Cry was the first book I read as part of the BookSparks Summer Reading Challenge which I am thrilled to be a part of every year since it introduces me to such fantastic books. I cannot wait to go back and read Mary’s previous work and regardless of if you like thriller novels or not, I highly recommend picking up a copy of this one – you won’t be disappointed!

Connect with the Author:

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To celebrate the release, I am giving away a copy of Don’t You Cry for one lucky reader. Enter via the Rafflecopter below (US entries only):

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Some Women by Emily Liebert – Plus, a Giveaway!

51Haq4kaU+L._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_Summary: An engrossing and thought provoking novel that examines the intricacies of marriage, friendship, and the power of unexpected connections…

Annabel Ford has everything under control, devoting her time to her twin five-year-old boys and to keeping her household running seamlessly. So when her husband of a decade announces that he’s leaving her, without warning, she’s blindsided. And suddenly her world begins to unravel.

Single mother Piper Whitley has always done her best to balance it all—raising her daughter Fern by herself and advancing her career as a crime reporter. Only now that she’s finally met the man of her dreams, Fern’s absentee father arrives on the scene and throws everything into a tailspin.

Married to the heir of a thriving media conglomerate, Mackenzie Mead has many reasons to count her blessings. But with an imperious mother-in-law—who’s also her boss—and a husband with whom she can no longer seem to connect, something has to give.

On the surface, these three women may not have much in common. Yet when their lives are thrust together and unlikely friendships are formed—at a time when they all need someone to lean on—Annabel, Piper, and Mackenzie band together to help each navigate their new realities. (Excerpt from Goodreads)

My Thoughts: I have been a fan of Emily Liebert’s since her first novel came out and with every new novel, she keeps getting better and better. Some Women is probably one of my favorites so far from Emily and it is the perfect novel about friendship, life, and redemption.

The story centers around three women who have become unlikely friends at a time when it seems they need friendship the most. The author follows the lives of all three women and quickly dives into their struggles ranging from crazy in-laws and work problems to some of the heavier issues such as divorce, single parenting and fertility. Some Women is a book that every reader can relate to in one way or another whether you’re dealing with one of these issues yourself or you’re close to someone who is.

2012_02_20_Emily Liebert_ 10704_v2I loved everything about this novel and I couldn’t read through it fast enough especially in the second half of the novel. This book had me laughing and crying throughout – plus, there were a great deal of surprises along the way that will leave you completely stunned. Liebert has become a pro at writing stories centered on female characters and she is easily becoming one of my favorite women’s fiction authors. I highly recommend picking up a copy of this one and I cannot wait to see what she comes out with next!

Connect with the Author:

To celebrate her new novel, Emily and her team have graciously provided Karen’s Korner with a copy of Some Women for a giveaway! Enter via the Rafflecopter below (US entries only):

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The House of Hawthorne – Plus, a Giveaway!

The_House_of_Hawthorne_Cover_July_2014Summary: From Erika Robuck, bestselling author of Hemingway’s Girl, comes a brilliant new novel about a literary couple. The unlikely marriage between Nathaniel Hawthorne, the celebrated novelist, and Sophia Peabody, the invalid artist, was a true union of passion and intellect.…

Beset by crippling headaches from a young age and endowed with a talent for drawing, Sophia is discouraged by her well-known New England family from pursuing a woman’s traditional roles. But from their first meeting, Nathaniel and Sophia begin an intense romantic relationship that despite many setbacks leads to their marriage. Together, they will cross continents, raise children, and experience all the beauty and tragedy of an exceptional partnership. Sophia’s vivid journals and her masterful paintings kindle a fire in Nathaniel, inspiring his writing. But their children’s needs and the death of loved ones steal Sophia’s energy and time for her art, fueling in her a perennial tug-of-war between fulfilling her domestic duties and pursuing her own desires.

Spanning the years from the 1830s to the Civil War, and moving from Massachusetts to England, Portugal, and Italy, The House of Hawthorne explores the tension within a famous marriage of two soulful, strong-willed people, each devoted to the other but also driven by a powerful need to explore the far reaches of their creative impulses. It is the story of a forgotten woman in history, who inspired one of the greatest writers of American literature.… (Excerpt from Goodreads)

My Thoughts: “Man’s accidents are God’s purposes.” – Sophia A. Hawthorne

I’ve been a huge fan of Erika Robuck for quite some time but I have to say that I think The House of Hawthorne is her best book yet! I, like many others read some of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s work in school but knew very little about the author himself and even less about his wife Sophia and their relationship. I read this book in about a day and a half during the huge blizzard we had back in January and I just couldn’t put it down – a few pages in and I was instantly hooked!

photoThe novel tells the story of two remarkable individuals and their passion and artistry made both of them so unique and likeable. I truly enjoyed reading about Sophia and Nathaniel as individuals and as a couple; their love for the arts, their children and one another made this book so special to me. Even after enduring heartbreak, their faith and love for each other never faltered and through it all, they continue to live and breathe that “man’s accidents are God’s purposes.” This is a quote that has stuck with me well beyond reading this book and something I continue to find true to this day.

I am a huge historical fictional buff and The House of Hawthorne is everything I could want in a novel. After finishing the story, I did a great deal of research on the Hawthornes because I wanted to know more about them which I think is always a strong indicator of a fantastic book. I highly recommend picking up a copy of this one and I promise you will enjoy it. I am anxiously awaiting Erika’s next novel and I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next!

To celebrate the paperback release of The House of Hawthorne which came out in the beginning of May, I am giving away a signed copy of the book to one lucky reader! I met Erika last year at One More Page Books and she is one of the sweetest and most down to earth authors out there.

Connect with Erika:

Enter to win a signed copy of The House of Hawthorne via the Rafflecopter below (US entries only):

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Mary Kay Andrews – Beach Town Goody Bag Giveaway!

Those of you who follow my blog know how much I love a) anything written by Mary Kay Andrews and b) giveaways. So when my friends at Tandem Literary gave me the chance to mix the two, of course I am going to participate!

To celebrate the trade paperback release of Beach Town and the mass market paperback release of Spring Fever (both in stores now), we are giving away one goody bag full of fabulous MKA items! Here’s a list of what will be in the prize pack:

MKA_BTSF_prizepack (1)

  • Copy of Beach Town in trade paperback
  • Copy of Spring Fever in mass market paperback
  • Two different Mary Kay Andrews bookmarks
  • A recipe card featuring two recipes from MKA’s kitchen
  • Beach Town sunglasses
  • Beach Town lip balm with SPF 15

Also, don’t forget that The Weekenders, MKA’s newest novel hits stores next week on May 17th so be sure to pre-order your copy today!

About Beach Town (click here to see my full review): Greer Hennessy needs palm trees.

untitledAs a movie location scout, picture-perfect is the name of the game. But her last project literally went up in flames, and her career is on the verge of flaming out. Greer has been given one more chance, if she can find the perfect undiscovered beach hideaway for a big-budget movie. She zeroes in on a sleepy Florida panhandle town called Cypress Key. There’s one motel, a marina, a long stretch of pristine beach and an old fishing pier with a community casino-which will be perfect for the film’s explosive climax.

There’s just one problem. Eben Thibadeaux, the town mayor, completely objects to Greer’s plan. A lifelong resident of Cypress Key, Eben wants the town to be revitalized, not commercialized. After a toxic paper plant closed, the bay has only recently been reborn, and Eb has no intention of letting anybody screw with his town again. But Greer has a way of making things happen, regardless of obstacles. And Greer and Eb are way too attracted to each other for either of them to see reason.

Between an ambitious director and his entourage-including a spoiled “It Boy” lead actor-who parachute into town, a conniving local ex-socialite, and a cast of local fangirls and opportunists who catch the movie bug, nothing is going to be the same in Cypress Key. Now Greer is forced to make some hard choices: about the people and the town she’s come to care about, and about her own life. True love is only for the movies, right? Can Greer find a way to be the heroine in her own life story? Told with inimitable heart and humor, Mary Kay Andrews’ Beach Town is the perfect summer destination.

About Spring Fever: The New York Times bestselling author of Summer Rental delivers her delicious new escapist novel about small towns, old flames, and deep secrets

9780312642723Annajane Hudgens truly believes she is over her ex-husband, Mason Bayless.  They’ve been divorced for four years, she’s engaged to a new, terrific guy, and she’s ready to leave the small town where she and Mason had so much history.  She is so over Mason that she has absolutely no problem attending his wedding to the beautiful, intelligent, delightful Celia.  But when fate intervenes and the wedding is called to a halt as the bride is literally walking down the aisle, Annajane begins to realize that maybe she’s been given a second chance.  Maybe everything happens for a reason.  And maybe, just maybe, she wants Mason back.  But there are secrets afoot in this small southern town.  On the peaceful surface of Hideaway Lake, Annajane discovers that the past is never really gone.  Even if there are people determined to keep Annajane from getting what she wants, happiness might be hers for the taking, and the life she once had with Mason in this sleepy lake town might be in her future.

Enter this wonderful giveaway via the Rafflecopter below (US entries only). Plus, don’t forget to enter our other Beach Town giveaway (which ends on May 18th!)

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Beach Town by Mary Kay Andrews – Plus, a Giveaway!

untitledSummary: Greer Hennessy needs palm trees.

As a movie location scout, picture-perfect is the name of the game. But her last project literally went up in flames, and her career is on the verge of flaming out. Greer has been given one more chance, if she can find the perfect undiscovered beach hideaway for a big-budget movie. She zeroes in on a sleepy Florida panhandle town called Cypress Key. There’s one motel, a marina, a long stretch of pristine beach and an old fishing pier with a community casino-which will be perfect for the film’s explosive climax.

There’s just one problem. Eben Thibadeaux, the town mayor, completely objects to Greer’s plan. A lifelong resident of Cypress Key, Eben wants the town to be revitalized, not commercialized. After a toxic paper plant closed, the bay has only recently been reborn, and Eb has no intention of letting anybody screw with his town again. But Greer has a way of making things happen, regardless of obstacles. And Greer and Eb are way too attracted to each other for either of them to see reason.

Between an ambitious director and his entourage-including a spoiled “It Boy” lead actor-who parachute into town, a conniving local ex-socialite, and a cast of local fangirls and opportunists who catch the movie bug, nothing is going to be the same in Cypress Key. Now Greer is forced to make some hard choices: about the people and the town she’s come to care about, and about her own life. True love is only for the movies, right? Can Greer find a way to be the heroine in her own life story? Told with inimitable heart and humor, Mary Kay Andrews’ Beach Town is the perfect summer destination. (Excerpt from Goodreads)

NEWmarykayandrewsMy Thoughts: Mary Kay Andrews is one of my favorite authors and I absolutely adore every book she writes. Every time I read one of her books, I feel like I’m on vacation. When I read Beach Town, I was stuck at home in a snowstorm but I felt like I was at the beach soaking up the warm summer air. I flew through this book in two days and couldn’t turn the pages fast enough.

I instantly fell in love with the small town and all of the characters in this novel. Greer and Eben are two of my favorite protagonists from MKA’s novels and I enjoyed watching their relationship blossom. Also, the action and insight into the world of filmmaking was entertaining and something that I never really knew a lot about.

Beach Town is a quintessential Mary Kay Andrews book and even though I love all of her books, this one may be one of my favorites. Also, MKA just released a short novella Change of Scene which is the prequel to Beach Town. I haven’t read it yet but I’d recommend diving into that first before reading Beach Town.

Connect with MKA:

To celebrate yesterday’s paperback release of Beach Town, Mary Kay Andrews and her team at Tandem Literary have graciously provided Karen’s Korner with a copy of Beach Town for a giveaway! Enter via the Rafflecopter below (US entries only):

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Summer Secrets by Jane Green – Plus, a Giveaway!

51k86KdpnxL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Summary: Jane Green delivers her second blockbuster novel of 2015, a story of one woman struggling to right the wrongs of her past, with even more complications in the present.

June, 1998: At twenty seven, Catherine Coombs, also known as Cat, is struggling. She lives in London, works as a journalist, and parties hard. Her lunchtimes consist of several glasses of wine at the bar downstairs in the office, her evenings much the same, swigging the free booze and eating the free food at a different launch or party every night. When she discovers the identity of the father she never knew she had, it sends her into a spiral. She makes mistakes that cost her the budding friendship of the only women who have ever welcomed her. And nothing is ever the same after that.

June, 2014: Cat has finally come to the end of herself. She no longer drinks. She wants to make amends to those she has hurt. Her quest takes her to Nantucket, to the gorgeous summer community where the women she once called family still live. Despite her sins, will they welcome her again? What Cat doesn’t realize is that these women, her real father’s daughters, have secrets of their own. As the past collides with the present, Cat must confront the darkest things in her own life and uncover the depths of someone’s need for revenge. (Excerpt from Goodreads)

My Thoughts: I don’t think there is a Jane Green novel that I haven’t absolutely loved. Every time I hear she is coming out with a new novel, I anxiously count down the days until I can get my hands on a copy. Summer Secrets is another hit by Jane and her stories just keep getting better and better. I read this book back in December (I know…I’m a bit behind on some of my reviews) and this story has stuck with me since!

jane-green-headshot-smallThe story focuses on Cat, a woman who consistently struggles with alcohol addiction. The book takes you through Cat’s life starting with her downward spiral with alcohol and then through recovery and back down again – this was one emotional rollercoaster ride. Even with all of her terrible decisions, I really started to sympathize for Cat throughout the book and this story shines a light on the destruction addiction can have on a person’s life as well as on their family and friends.

Summer Secrets is a story about family, addiction, love and second chances. This book was full of twists and turns that kept me on the edge of my seat and had me dying to know what was going to happen next. I highly recommend picking up a copy of this one – you won’t be disappointed! Plus, Jane has a new novel coming out this summer titled Falling which I’m sure will be another winner.

Connect with Jane:

Summer Secrets comes out in paperback next month and to celebrate, I am giving away a copy to one lucky reader! Enter via the Rafflecopter below (US entries only):

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Author Q&A with Susan Meissner – Plus, a Giveaway!

To celebrate the release of her new novel Stars Over Sunset Boulevard (which hit stores in January), we sat down with Susan and asked her questions about her new novel, her writing process, and what she has coming up next. We are thrilled to have Susan on the blog today and loved getting to know more about her – plus, we have a special giveaway for one lucky reader!

BookThank you so much for sitting down with Karen’s Korner for a Q&A session. What was your inspiration for Stars Over Sunset Boulevard? How do you come up with your ideas for books?

I have an idea file on my computer for historical nuggets I come across electronically and a drawer in my desk for the ones I find in the newspaper or in a magazine, and for jotted notes. Sometimes the idea, like the itch to write a story that takes place on the 1939 movie set of Gone with the Wind, is one that suggests itself to me out of my own life experience. I’ve always loved this movie, and have probably seen it twenty times. Taking inflation into consideration, it is still the highest-grossing movie ever produced. The why of that intrigued me and led me to pursue the making of this film as a backdrop for a novel.

What is your writing process like? Do you write an outline and do you write every day?

Once I have that historical event or setting in mind and done the research on it, I decide who to give it to. I brainstorm to figure out who the main characters are going to be, what they want and why they want it, which is the heart of every novel no matter who is writing it. Then I see how I can make the historical setting and the characters’ desires work together in both good and bad ways. And by bad ways, I mean the setting needs to provide a source of tension. I write only on writing days, which are distinct from plotting and research days. On writing days, my quota is 2,000 words. I usually need about four or five months’ worth of writing days to get to my 100,000 words for the finished novel.

What has been the best compliment you’ve received about any of your books so far?

I suppose the highest affirmation I’ve gotten is when a reader so identifies with my characters and the storyline and the thematic takeaway that he or she feels changed inside or looks at a time in history in a whole new way.

I love the cover of all your books but especially Stars Over Sunset Boulevard! Who designed it and how many different ones did you go through until you found the right one?

I am so very fortunate to have had such talented artists at my publishing houses. My last three novels are under Penguin’s Berkley/NAL label and were all designed in-house and, from what I hear, these artists actually read the manuscripts to get a feel for the book’s mood and aesthetic. I am asked for my conceptual ideas at the beginning of the process but then they run with it and I don’t see the result until they have come up with the one they like best. When I get sent that image, if there’s something about it that doesn’t feel quite right I send my thoughts and, if my editor agrees with me, it goes back to the drawing board. It also goes back to the drawing board if marketing comes up with an idea to give the cover more market appeal. You can still see the original cover idea for Stars Over Sunset Boulevard on Goodreads.

What writing advice do you have for other aspiring authors?

Freelance writing is a fairly solitary endeavor so if you’re just starting out it makes sense to gain community with other writers from whom you can learn and grow in your skills. Join a writer’s group, online or local, where you can get feedback on your writing that is objective and constructive. Having your mom or best friend read your work is helpful to a point. It is hard for someone who loves you to be completely objective. And keep writing, even when it seems like you are just swimming laps in a pool when no one is watching. Even Michael Phelps started out doing laps in a pool when no one was watching.

If you didn’t write books, what would you do for a living?

I like the idea of owning a little bookshop that also has a coffee bar. I can see it on a sweet little street in one of San Diego’s beach towns, like Del Mar or Cardiff-by-the-Sea. I haven’t the faintest idea how to make a small business successful, however, so I plan to keep writing books and just patronize shops like that!

With an author as a mother, do your children love to read? What were some of their favorite books growing up and what are some of their favorites now?

I am so happy to say that they do, all four of them. They are all adults and out of the nest but they still love and buy and read books. Their favorite books when they were little were anything by Dr. Seuss or P.D. Eastman and the Berenstain Bears books. When they were older they loved the Harry Potter books. Our daughter was a Laura Ingalls Wilder, L. M. Montgomery and Babysitters Club fan. My grown sons all have differing tastes now. Son #1 likes philosophy, Son #2 history and the arts, and Son #3 theology, sociology and matters related to law and justice. Our daughter still loves literary fiction and reads both classic and contemporary novels with a literary bent.

If you’re allowed to tell us, what can your readers expect next? Are you currently working on anything new?

I am in revisions or the book I am writing next, which is tentatively titled A BRIDGE ACROSS THE OCEAN. One of its key settings is the HMS Queen Mary during one of its many GI war brides crossings. The Queen is such a perfect place to set a story, because she has such a marvelous past. She started out as a luxury liner, was made a troop carrier during the war, and has been a floating hotel here in California since the early ‘70s. She is also fabled to be haunted by numerous ghosts, a detail I simply cannot ignore. This story thematically, though, is about three war brides – one French, one British and one German woman pretending to be a Belgian war bride – who meet on the Queen Mary in 1946. The current-day character, Brette, has the family gift of being able to see ghosts and she very much wishes she couldn’t. She also doesn’t want to pass along that hereditary gift to a child but her husband is anxious to start their family. All of these characters will face a bridge they need to cross where the other side is hidden from their view. The concept of a bridge across the ocean – which seems impossible — speaks to how difficult it is to go from one place to another when you can’t see what awaits you. This book will release in 2017.

SusanAbout the Author:

Susan Meissner is a multi-published author, speaker and writing workshop leader with a background in community journalism. Her novels include A Fall of Marigolds, named by Booklist’s Top Ten women’s fiction titles for 2014, and The Shape of Mercy, named by Publishers Weekly as one of the 100 Best Novels of 2008. She is also a RITA finalist, and Christy Award winner.

A California native, she attended Point Loma Nazarene University. Susan is a pastor’s wife and a mother of four young adults. When she’s not working on a novel, she writes small group curriculum for her San Diego church. She is also a writing workshop volunteer for Words Alive, a San Diego non-profit dedicated to helping at-risk youth foster a love for reading and writing.

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About Stars Over Sunset Boulevard:

When an iconic hat worn by Scarlett O’Hara in Gone With the Wind ends up in Christine McAllister’s vintage clothing boutique by mistake, her efforts to return it to its owner take the reader on a journey to the past.

It’s 1938 and Violet Mayfield sets out to reinvent herself in Los Angeles after her dream of becoming a wife and mother falls apart, landing a job on the film-set of Gone With the Wind. There, she meets enigmatic Audrey Duvall, a once-rising film star who is now a fellow secretary. Audrey’s zest for life and their adventures together among Hollywood’s glitterati enthrall Violet…until each woman’s deepest desires collide.

What Audrey and Violet are willing to risk, for themselves and for each other, to ensure their own happy endings will shape their friendship, and their lives, far into the future.

To celebrate the release, Susan and her team have graciously provided Karen’s Korner with a copy of her new book for a giveaway! Enter via the Rafflecopter below (US entries only:)

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The Rumor by Elin Hilderbrand – Plus, a Giveaway!

51Ny5-y08NL__SX321_BO1,204,203,200_Summary: Madeline King and Grace Pancik are best friends and the envy of Nantucket for their perfect marriages, their beautiful kids, their Sunday night double dates with their devoted husbands. But this summer, something’s changed, and if there’s anything Nantucket likes better than cocktails on the beach at sunset, it’s a good rumor.

And rumor has it…

…that Madeline, a novelist, is battling writer’s block, with a deadline looming, bills piling up, and blank pages driving her to desperation–and a desperately bad decision;

…that Grace, hard at work to transform her backyard into a garden paradise, has been collaborating a bit more closely that necessary with her ruggedly handsome landscape architect;

…that Grace’s husband, successful island real estate developer “Fast Eddie” Pancik, has embarked on quite an unusual side project;

…that the storybook romance between Madeline’s son, Brick, and Grace’s daughter Allegra is on the rocks, heading for disaster.

As the gossip escalates, and they face the possible loss of the happy lives they’ve worked so hard to create, Grace and Madeline try mightily to set the record straight–but the truth might be even worse than rumor has it. (Excerpt from Goodreads)

My Thoughts: Elin’s books are the perfect escape and every time I read a book by her, I feel like I’m on vacation. The Rumor was no exception and once again, I was instantly transported and felt like I was plopped straight into the middle of Nantucket.

untitledGossip and rumors can be dangerous and the town of Nantucket is full of them. One minute, you tell someone what you think you saw or heard and it can instantly spread like wildfire leaving a massive path of destruction. I loved the different cast of characters in this book and watching them all intersect. There are some you love and some that drive you crazy but in the end, they all had me hooked!

I cannot get enough of Elin’s writing and The Rumor is another strong showing by one of my favorite authors. This book is full of suspense, family drama, and fun – I loved everything about it and I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough in order to find out how it ended. If you’re looking to get away but can’t leave your house, pick up a copy of this novel and you’ll feel like you’re at the beach!

Connect with Elin:

The Rumor was released in paperback this February and I am giving away a copy to one lucky reader! Enter via the Rafflecopter below (US entries only):

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The Race for Paris by Meg Waite Clayton – Plus, a Giveaway!

51xQcdqXTbL__SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Summary: The New York Times bestselling author of The Wednesday Sisters returns with a moving and powerfully dynamic World War II novel about two American journalists and an Englishman, who together race the Allies to Occupied Paris for the scoop of their lives.

Normandy, 1944. To cover the fighting in France, Jane, a reporter for the Nashville Banner, and Liv, an Associated Press photographer, have already had to endure enormous danger and frustrating obstacles—including strict military regulations limiting what women correspondents can do. Even so, Liv wants more.

Encouraged by her husband, the editor of a New York newspaper, she’s determined to be the first photographer to reach Paris with the Allies, and capture its freedom from the Nazis.

However, her Commanding Officer has other ideas about the role of women in the press corps. To fulfill her ambitions, Liv must go AWOL. She persuades Jane to join her, and the two women find a guardian angel in Fletcher, a British military photographer who reluctantly agrees to escort them. As they race for Paris across the perilous French countryside, Liv, Jane, and Fletcher forge an indelible emotional bond that will transform them and reverberate long after the war is over.

Based on daring, real-life female reporters on the front lines of history like Margaret Bourke-White, Lee Miller, and Martha Gellhorn—and with cameos by other famous faces of the time—The Race for Paris is an absorbing, atmospheric saga full of drama, adventure, and passion. Combining riveting storytelling with expert literary craftsmanship and thorough research, Meg Waite Clayton crafts a compelling, resonant read. (Excerpt from Goodreads)

My Thoughts: As I mentioned in a previous post, I am slowly catching up on my book reviews from the past few months. I finished The Race for Paris back in December and I am still in awe of how wonderful this book was. I must admit that I had never read anything by Meg before but after reading this, I desperately need to go back and read some of her other works. The Race for Paris is a riveting and emotional story of two female journalists and their journey to cover the front line. This book had me hooked from the very first page and will take you on a emotional ride with tons of twists and turns along the way.

220px-Novelist_Meg_Waite_ClaytonThe story centers on the experiences of two American journalists and one English photographer during WWII – Jane who is a reporter and Liv and Fletcher who are both photographers. The novel takes you through their trek to the front lines as they work towards being the first individuals to cover when the Allies take over Paris. I loved how raw and real the author got when detailing the war – Meg did not hesitate to leave anything out. I also enjoyed how the author focused on the roles of journalists and the steps they took to get their photos and stories captured and published, a topic that I personally never knew that much about.

I am a little obsessed with historical fiction these days and The Race for Paris is definitely in my top five favorite historical fiction novels. I cannot praise this book enough and I highly recommend picking up a copy regardless of if you are a historical fiction buff or not. I promise you will enjoy this story!

Connect with Meg:

Because I enjoyed this book so much, I’m giving away a copy to one lucky reader! Enter via the Rafflecopter below (US entries only:)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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