Love And Miss Communication – Elyssa Friedland

Love and Miss CommunicationTitle: Love And Miss Communication
Author: Elyssa Friedand
Published: William Morrow & Company, May 2015
Source: received a copy from publisher
Links: [goodreads][amazon.com]

This unforgettable debut novel asks us to look up from our screens and out at the world…and to imagine what life would be like with no searches, no status updates, no texts, no Tweets, no pins, and no posts.

Evie Rosen has had enough. She’s tired of the partners at her law firm e-mailing her at all hours of the night. The thought of another online date makes her break out in a cold sweat. She’s over the clever hashtags and the endless selfies. So when her career hits a surprising roadblock and her heart is crushed by Facebook, Evie decides it’s time to put down her smartphone for good. (Beats stowing it in her underwear–she’s done that too!)

And that’s when she discovers a fresh start for real conversations, fewer distractions, and living in the moment, even if the moments are heartbreakingly difficult. Babies are born; marriages teeter; friendships are tested. Evie just may find love and a new direction when she least expects it, but she also learns that just because you unplug your phone doesn’t mean you can unplug from life.

Featured on InStyle Magazine as one of their 6 New Page-Turners to Read in May, Love and Miss Communication  shares the story of Evie Rosen, an ambitious woman whose life is about to turn upside down because of her online habit.  Can she get her life back in order before her savings run out?

I find it touching (and surprisingly refreshing) to read a story about a protagonist who chooses to stop using the internet.  With friends who depend on texting and emailing to stay in touch, Evie certainly misses quite a few parties and important updates during the time when she unplugs.  At the same time, not googling gives her a new sense of freedom and power.  Instead of shopping online, she has to go out and acquire what she needs in-person.  Instead of using Facebook to look up people online, she has to live in the moment and get to know new acquaintances through real conversations.   Honestly, I am not a fan of Evie before she unplugs from the internet.  I find her old self a bit on the freakish side.  And while her character doesn’t exactly mature in a direction that I prefer, I appreciate her effort and courage to go inward and face her inner demons.

What I find the most enjoyable is the bond Evie has with her grandmother.  Her grandmother is wise, strong and adorably funny. And she just cracks me up every time when she points at or touches the ring on her finger!

The romance in the story is very heartwarming.  I don’t want to drop names and spoil anything, but this amazingly gorgeous guy surely deserves some rounds of applause!  I particularly love the scene when he sweetly proposes to Evie.

Can you imagine yourself not using the internet?  Although I don’t think I’ll unplug from the world wide web any time soon, I like that Love and Miss Communication  offers us some food-for-thoughts on the weird and negative effect of social media.  And while you’re online, look up Friedland’s 10 Ways The Internet Is Ruining Your Love Life, Because Cyberstalking Exes Solves Nothing.  I think you’ll like it.

Rating:

About the Author

elyssa-friedlandFollow Elyssa:

website | facebook | twitter | goodreads

Elyssa Friedland attended Yale University, where she served as managing editor of the Yale Daily News. She is a graduate of Columbia Law School and subsequently worked as an associate at a major firm. Prior to law school, Elyssa wrote for several publications, including Modern Bride, New York magazine, Columbia Journalism Review, CBS MarketWatch.com, Yale Alumni Magazine, and Your Prom. She grew up in New Jersey and currently lives in New York City with her husband and young children.

 

Things We Know By Heart – Jessi Kirby

Things We Know By HeartTitle: Things We Know By Heart
Author: Jessi Kirby
Published: Harper Teen, April 2015
Source: received a copy from publisher
Links: [goodreads][amazon.com]

When Quinn Sullivan meets the recipient of her boyfriend’s donated heart, the two form an unexpected connection.

After Quinn loses her boyfriend, Trent, in an accident their junior year, she reaches out to the recipients of his donated organs in hopes of picking up the pieces of her now-unrecognizable life. She hears back from some of them, but the person who received Trent’s heart has remained silent. The essence of a person, she has always believed, is in the heart. If she finds Trent’s, then maybe she can have peace once and for all.

Risking everything in order to finally lay her memories to rest, Quinn goes outside the system to track down nineteen-year-old Colton Thomas—a guy whose life has been forever changed by this priceless gift. But what starts as an accidental run-in quickly develops into more, sparking an undeniable attraction. She doesn’t want to give in to it—especially since he has no idea how they’re connected—but their time together has made Quinn feel alive again. No matter how hard she’s falling for Colton, each beat of his heart reminds her of all she’s lost…and all that remains at stake.

What would you do after something tragic happened?

Quinn Sullivan was in her junior year when her boyfriend was killed in an accident.  Although people around her had been encouraging her to move on, she didn’t make much of an attempt until she bumped into Colton Thomas, the recipient of the donated heart of her boyfriend.  Would Quinn finally step out of her sorrow and say yes to love?

Undoubtedly, Things We Know By Heart  has a fairly predictable plot.  But this didn’t stop me from wanting to get to know Quinn.  As you might have guessed, Quinn was very much withdrawn into her own little world when the story began.  She didn’t keep in touch with any of her friends.  She stayed at home most of the time and she refused to take down any pictures and gifts that her boyfriend had given her before he got killed.  She might seem fragile but she wasn’t exactly a complete mess.  I could feel her sadness but she didn’t come across as someone whiny.  She might have her moments of weakness but you could tell she wasn’t self-centered or aloof.

Interestingly, Colton’s character mirrored many facets of Quinn’s.  He was likeable, friendly and kind, and I particularly loved the way he introduced Quinn to many of his favorite sightseeing and picnic locations.  He seemed philosophical at times – but not in a nerdy kind of way – more like he was considerate and respectful.

From the start, the attraction between Quinn and Colton was mutual.  Instead of rushing into doing something just because they had the chemistry, I liked that they both chose to spend quality time getting to know each other.  And I hope you wouldn’t mind me sharing this, but I absolutely adored the scene when they first kissed – it was so sweet and romantic that I smiled ear-to-ear when I read it!

The thing that delighted me the most was the sibling supports that were present in the story.  Quinn’s sister Ryan was fun, strong and dependable, and Colton’s sister Shelby was caring and fiercely protective.  I liked that both of them were unafraid to do what was necessary to point out the truths when their siblings were reluctant to face their reality.  That just made me wish I had a big sister to guide and protect me in my life!

If you’re in the mood for something adorably romantic and thoughtful, you’d want to pick up a copy of Things We Know By Heart.  I had a great time enjoying the story and I hope you will too.

Rating:

Dreaming of Cash $250 Cash Giveaway – January 16 – 30, 2015

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Are you Dreaming of Cash?

Here is your chance to win some!

Organized by I Am A Reader, one lucky winner will receive $250 in Paypal Cash!

While this is not exactly book related, I thought it would be fun to join.

Imagine for a moment what you can do with $250 cash…

Maybe you have a wishlist of books you’d love to get.

Or, you’re planning to buy some books as gifts for friends and family.

And what about that leather bound journal you’ve been wanting and the calligraphy kit you wish you can get your hands on??

I hope you’ll like this giveaway.

Good Luck!

Giveaway Details

  • Ends on January 30, 2015.
  • Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use money sent via Paypal. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the authors, bloggers and publishers listed at the end of the post. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

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This cash giveaway is sponsored by:
I Am A Reader
Laurie Here – Cont Fiction and MORE
Unshelfish
The Discerning Reader
A Tattered Copy
My Book Self
Aubrey Wynne: Romantasy Through The Ages
Melissa M. Frye
Leisure Reads
Julie Anne Grasso Books
Bonnie Blythe Pure Romance
Author Camelia Miron Skiba
Ann Swann ~ Author of Suspense
Kimber Leigh Wheaton
Glistering Bs Blog
Krysten Lindsay Hager author
Author Ednah Walters
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D.E. Haggerty author
Diana’s Book Reviews
Simple Wyrdings
A Leisure Moment: A Casual Conversation About Our Love For Literature
Melanie Crouse
Jess @ Gone with the Words
Author Deb Atwood

Meet Your Baker – Ellie Alexander

bakerbanner
Welcome to my blog tour stop for Meet Your Baker by Ellie Alexander.
This is a cozy mystery that released December 30th.

Be sure to check out the schedule for the list of reviews, interviews and guest posts by the author! The tour starts January 5th and runs through the 16th.

Meet Your BakerTitle: Meet Your Baker
Series: A Bakeshop Mystery, #1
Author: Ellie Alexander
Release Date: December 30, 2014
Links: goodreads | amazon | barnes & noble | indiebound | book depository | kobo

Welcome to Torte—a friendly, small-town family bake shop where the treats are so good that, sometimes, it’s criminal…

After graduating from culinary school, Juliet Capshaw returns to her quaint hometown of Ashland, Oregon, to heal a broken heart and help her mom at the family bakery. The Oregon Shakespeare Festival is bringing in lots of tourists looking for some crumpets to go with their heroic couplets. But when one of Torte’s customers turns up dead, there’s much ado about murder…

“Sure to satisfy both dedicated foodies and ardent mystery lovers alike.”
―Jessie Crockett, author of Drizzled with Death

The victim is Nancy Hudson, the festival’s newest board member. A modern-day Lady Macbeth, Nancy has given more than a few actors and artists enough reasons to kill her…but still. The silver lining? Jules’s high school sweetheart, Thomas, is the investigator on the case. His flirtations are as delicious as ever, and Jules can’t help but want to have her cake and eat it too. But will she have her just desserts? Murder might be bad for business, but love is the sweetest treat of all…

“Alexander weaves a tasty tale of deceit, family ties, delicious pastries, and murder.” ―Edith Maxwell, author of A Tine to Live, A Tine to Die

Today, I’m delighted to have author Ellie Alexander here!

She is going to talk a little about the setting for her new Bakeshop Mystery series.

I hope you’ll like what she shares. :)

Meet Your Baker

The Bakeshop Mystery, #1
By Ellie Alexander

(Guest Post)

Thanks so much for having me on the blog today! I’m thrilled to have an opportunity to introduce readers to the quaint Shakespearean town of Ashland, Oregon the setting for my new Bakeshop Mystery series.

In the first book Meet Your Baker,  we meet Juliet Montague Capshaw. She prefers to be called Jules, and is returning home to Ashland after working as a pastry chef on a cruise ship for the last ten years.

Traveling the world has been a wonderful experience, but Jules is longing for some solid ground and hoping that her idyllic hometown will help heal her broken heart. She’s looking forward to putting some of the culinary skills she learned at sea to use at the family bakeshop Torte.

There’s no place like home to heal a broken heart and no one better than Helen, Jules’ mom, who serves up sage advice along with her rustic tarts and savory scones, to help Jules through it. Torte is always buzzing with chocolate-coated confections, rich espresso drinks and a side of town gossip.

Just as Jules is starting to find her land legs a batch of trouble arrives in the form of newcomer Nancy Hudson who manages to make the usually merry town boil over with anger. When Nancy ends up dead at Torte, in a sea of raspberry puree, Jules begins to peel back the layers of her charming little town and realizes there are some unsavory players in the mix. Jules sets to work on finding a killer while crafting world-class pastries, and settling into a delicious new life she never knew she was missing.

Writing this series combines two things that I love: mysteries and baking! I’ve been reading mysteries since early childhood. Culinary mysteries are a particular favorite of mine. I mean how much better can it get? I’ve spent many lazy Sunday afternoons curled up with a cozy mystery and a delicious pastry accompaniment.

All of the recipes in Meet Your Baker  have either been passed down in my family or are handcrafted originals. I spend a big chunk of my week testing recipes in my home kitchen. It’s a rough life—I know!

I grew up in household that centered on food. My mom was a prolific baker. She always had cookies warm from the oven waiting when I got home from school. There was never anything boxed or packaged. Some of my favorite memories are of her with an apron wrapped around her waist and her hands lightly dusted with flour. The kitchen was the gathering place for friends and neighbors who would stop by for a slice of her chocolate cake or boysenberry pie. My dad taught English and has always been a Shakespeare aficionado. He would quote sonnets while crafting a layered hazelnut torte or whipping up a light-as-air soufflé.

I hope that readers will enjoy getting a taste of our family recipes and fall in the love with Jules and her entire staff at Torte when they read Meet Your Baker.

Happy reading and baking!

~Ellie

My Review:

As you’ve just learned from Ellie, Meet Your Baker  is not just about baking.  Someone is dead inside the bake shop and Jules, the pastry chef, feels it’s up to her to make sure that the reputation of her family business is not tarnished.

The dead woman is Nancy Hudson.  She wasn’t a nice person (in my opinion) and as Jules investigates, she finds a fairly long list of suspects.

I was actually surprised when I learned of the identity of the murderer in the end.  I honestly thought there was at least one accomplice in this, but oops …, I was wrong.

What I really love about this story is the main character, Jules.  She cares a lot about the people whom she sees every day and I like that she doesn’t let her personal issues get in the way of her work.  She doesn’t have a perfect life but this doesn’t mean she has an excuse to deliver goodies that are less-than-par to her customers.  I like her attitude.

I’ll definitely keep an eye out for the next book, A Batter of Life and Death,  which will be released in mid-2015.

Rating:

Get Meet Your Baker  Today:
Meet Your Baker

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound | Book Depository | Kobo

About the Author

Ellie Alexander is a Pacific Northwest native who spends ample time testing pastry recipes in her home kitchen or at one of the many famed coffeehouses nearby. When she’s not coated in flour, you’ll find her outside exploring hiking trails and trying to burn off calories consumed in the name of research. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter to learn more.

Connect with Ellie:
Twitter | Facebook

Giveaway

  • 2 winners will get a paperback copy of Meet Your Baker, Chai Tea, designer baking liners and a Starbucks gift card.
  • Open to US addresses only.
  • Ends Jan. 21, 2015

Meet Your Baker Giveaway

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Good Luck!

 

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This blog tour is organized
by CBB Book Promotions.

Gratitude Giveaway Hop: November 15 – 30

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I’m joining the Gratitude Giveaway Hop (November 15th to 30th, 2014), hosted by I Am A Reader.

For this giveaway, one person will win.  This person can pick one young-adult novel or cozy mystery of his/her choice.

Isla and the Happily Ever After Snow White Red-Handed Something Real Atlantia Suede To Rest Heir Of Fire

The books listed above are just my suggestion. You can pick something outside of what I’m suggesting as long as the book is published by December 1, 2014.

This giveaway is open internationally, provided amazon.com, amazon.ca, amazon.co.uk or The Book Depository can ship the physical book to you.

Please read the terms and conditions before entering.  Winner will be picked before December 10.  Good Luck!

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Be sure to check out all the stops on the hop!

Suede To Rest – Diane Vallere

Suede To RestTitle: Suede To Rest
Series: A Material Witness Mystery, #1
Author: Diane Vallere
Published: Berkley, November 2014
Source: bought a copy
Links: [goodreads][amazon.com][the book depository]

Unraveling family secrets can be murder in Suede to Rest…

THE FIRST BOOK IN THE ALL-NEW “MATERIAL WITNESS” MYSTERY SERIES

With her career as a dress designer in shreds, Polyester Monroe is looking forward to a fresh start. But as it all unfolds, the pattern to a new beginning looks a lot like murder.

When Poly Monroe was little, she loved playing in her family’s textile store. But after a fatal family tragedy, Land of A Thousand Fabrics was boarded up and Poly never expected to see the inside again. Now, as inheritor of the long-shuttered shop, she’s ready to restore the family business. However her two new kittens, Pins and Needles, aren’t the ones causing a snag in her plans…

Not everyone wants Poly back in San Ladrón, especially a powerful local developer pressuring her to sell—and leave town fast. But even when the threats turn deadly, she’s not ready to bolt. Because Poly is beginning to suspect that the murder behind the shop is tied to a mystery in her family’s unsettled past that she’s determined to solve…before her own life is left hanging by a thread.

So glad I picked this one up when I was in a reading slump…

Suede To Rest  introduces us to Polyester Munroe, a talented dress designer whose life is about to fall apart when playing safe fails to give her the level of ease she desires.

Polyester prefers people to call her Poly.  Although she grows up around fabrics, she likes to design dresses more than picking up the raw materials to sew.  When she becomes the inheritor of the family’s textile store, she has a life-altering decision to make – does she want to sell the store or keep it?

I like that the story is not just about Poly playing the amateur sleuth.  Poly is a believable character who goes about life just like you and me.  She has dreams she’d like to achieve and she’s practical enough to know when she must wear black to hide stains and minimize embarrassment.  A bit on the clumsy side, she has her share of experience knowing when not to act and when to play safe.  I like that in the story, she gradually learns what she is truly passionate about, and it’s wonderful to see her warming up to the idea that there are friendly people in San Ladrón just like everywhere else.

I also like that there is not one but two mysteries to solve in this story.  The villain here seems normal and ordinary, and I have to say, I wouldn’t have suspected if Poly didn’t start re-examining the friendly faces in the neighborhood.

Overall an enjoyable read, Suede To Rest  offers an entertaining introduction to a cast of pleasant, good-humored characters.  I had a great time getting acquainted with Genevieve (the tea shop owner), Charlie (the mechanic), and the Lopezes (the cleaning ladies).  I look forward to meeting them again in the next book.

Rating: