Monday, May 27, 2019

Wooing Cadie McCaffrey by Bethany Turner: Author Interview and Giveaway ~ Lone Star Literary Book Blog Tour

  Genre: Christian Romance / Humor
Publisher: Revell a division of Baker Publishing Group
Date of Publication: May 21, 2019
Number of Pages: 352

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After four years with her boyfriend, Cadie McCaffrey is thinking of ending things. Convinced Will doesn’t love her in the “forever” way she loves him, Cadie believes it’s time for her to let him go before life passes her by. When a misunderstanding leads to a mistake, leaving her hurt, disappointed, and full of regret, she finally sends him packing. But for Will, the end of their relationship is only the beginning of his quest to figure out how to be the man Cadie wanted him to be. With the dubious guidance of his former pro-athlete work friends and tactics drawn from Cadie’s favorite romantic comedies, Will attempts to win her back. It’s a foolproof plan. What could possibly go wrong?

“Rising star Bethany Turner’s Wooing Cadie McCaffrey highlights the author’s oh-so-readable voice and engaging characters. One of the many things I love about Turner is the way she tackles tough subjects with candor yet writes with the right amount of discretion. Romantics everywhere will sigh happily at the perfect ending. Highly recommended!” -- Colleen Coble, USA Today bestselling author of The House at Saltwater Point and the Rock Harbor series

Bethany Turner has done it again! Filled with wit and loaded with pop culture references, Wooing Cadie McCaffrey is sure to be an instant favorite among fans of Christian romance. I’ve found my new go-to author for rom-com with heart.” -- Carla Laureano, RITA award–winning author of The Saturday Night Supper Club and Brunch at Bittersweet CafĂ©

Interview with Bethany Turner

How does your book relate to your faith?

In The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck, I got to deal with a new Christ-follower adapting to her new life of faith. In Wooing Cadie McCaffrey, we get to spend time with Cadie who has been a Christian basically her entire life. Her dad is a pastor, and her mom is a Christian Living author and TV host. I relate more to Cadie’s past and upbringing than Sarah’s, and it was so challenging to explore the principles of mercy and forgiveness through the lens of lifelong faith. I think sometimes those of us who have been in the faith a long time are expected to have it all figured out, but obviously that’s not the case.

What do you think most characterizes your writing?

My favorite way to write is with this stream-of-consciousness style of first-person point of view. I think it’s sort of a combination of how the character would be writing in her journal and how she would be talking to her best friend. Hopefully the reader feels like they are that friend. And then as far as what I write…my favorite thing is to tackle tough, tricky, sensitive subjects that we need to be talking about. But by wrapping them is this rom-com package, hopefully readers can feel comfortable as we unpack them together.

What was the hardest part of writing this book?

The hardest part was probably also the best part. I got to create this couple who is broken up for most of the book but who is, without a doubt, meant to be together. The problems between them had to be realistic and understandable so the reader would understand why they weren’t together. After all, this is a couple with a shared history and a lot of already-established love. So why are they apart, and what are they going to do about it?

What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

Will Whitaker. Wooing Cadie McCaffrey alternates back and forth between Cadie’s first person POV and Will’s third person POV. It was my first time writing from the guy’s point of view, and I enjoyed it more than I could have imagined. Getting to be in Will’s head and see how kind and wonderful he is, and especially getting to see how devoted he is to Cadie, was a true highlight.

What projects are you working on at the present?

I just wrapped up the first draft of my next novel, another romantic comedy which will be
published by Revell in Spring of 2020. That one is the story of Hadley and Max, and I’m excited to see who they really become as we dive into edits soon!

How important are names to you in your books? How do you choose names?

Well, considering that so far the names of my leading characters have been in the title—with The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck and Wooing Cadie McCaffrey—I’d say names are pretty important! (The next leading character is Hadley Beckett. We’ll see if she ends up in the title or not!) But I don’t set out with any great plan for that to be the case. I usually start with a list of baby names, actually. I’m just looking for names that are unique and memorable but not overly complicated. Most importantly of all, they need to sound natural—like you’ve been hearing the name for years and you would never have any reason to question it.

Bethany Turner is the award-winning author of The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck, which was a Christy Award finalist. When she’s not writing (and even when she is), she serves as the director of administration for Rock Springs Church in Southwest Colorado. She lives with her husband and their two sons in Colorado, where she writes for a new generation of readers who crave fiction that tackles the thorny issues of life with humor and insight.
Grand Prize: Copies of Wooing Cadie McCaffrey 
and The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck + stationery set
2nd Prize: Copy of Wooing Cadie McCaffrey + bookish coffee mug
3rd Prize: Copy of Wooing Cadie McCaffrey + $10 Amazon Gift Card
May 21-May 31, 2019
(U.S. Only)
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Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Bilxoi by Mary Miller

Biloxi: A Novel by [Miller, Mary]
Miller, Mary. Biloxi. 2019. New York, NY: Liveright Publishing, an imprint of W.W. Norton & Company. ISBN  978-1631492167 $24.95 USD

A book about a curmudgeonly gentleman and a quirky dog? How could I NOT want to read this one? And I'm thankful to the library marketing department at W.W. Norton for sending me a print galley, which I devoured.

When a divorced sexagenarian turns his car in a different direction to avoid seeing his ex-wife one day and finds himself deciding to adopt an overweight female dog with soulful eyes and a gagging problem, his life will never be the same. We join Louis as he begins to look at himself and his world in new ways, with his rescue dog Layla along for the ride (and the bologna).

I found myself pausing many times over passages in this book, even highlighting quite a few, as they offered wisdom and insight I wasn't expecting from a tale such as this. I will look forward to recommending this one, as it deals with issues of aging, loss, family conflict, and, of course, what animals can add to our lives.

Below is a Tweet I posted as I was reading Biloxi, along with a video of my well-read and well-loved galley.

Happy Reading!

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

The Night Before ~ Wendy Walker

The Night Before: A Novel by [Walker, Wendy]

Walker, Wendy. 2019. The Night Before. St. Martin's Press, an imprint of Macmillan Publishers. ISBN 978-1250198679 $26.99 USD

As someone who enjoyed author Wendy Walker's prior two novels, All Is Not Forgotten and Emma in the Night, I was grateful to have an opportunity to read an e-galley of her new book The Night Before well in advance of publication. I had to check this author's bio to see if she was a psychologist in another life (not!), because her handling of the psychological aspects of her novels is done so well.

The Night Before starts out with brief notes from a therapy session, so we know right away that there are "issues" being dealt with by at least one of the characters. Laura Heart has returned to her hometown to live with her sister while recovering from a bad breakup. She wants to get her life back together and find love like her sister has found. But something happened in that town many years ago when Laura was in high school, and as we continue to read we start to wonder what kind of person Laura really is....

Non-linear timelines and dual narratives (by Laura and her sister, Rosie) are used to tell this story - with brief snippets from therapy sessions that heighten the already palpable tension. It takes quite a bit of talent, in my opinion, for an author to craft a complex plot like the one in The Night Before in such a way that the reader feels so rewarded at the end.

This is a true tale of psychological suspense. Readers won't be disappointed.

Monday, May 13, 2019

THE LITTLE TEASHOP ON MAIN by Jodi Thomas ~ Author Interview ~ Lone Star Literary Book Blog Tour

Jodi Thomas
Genre: Contemporary Literary Fiction / Coming of Age
Publisher: HQN
Publication Date: May 7, 2019
Number of Pages: 336 pages
Scroll down for the giveaway!

A rainy-day ritual—a tea party between three little girls—becomes the framework of not only their friendship, but their lives. Blonde, curly-haired Zoe is openhearted, kind and free-spirited, and dreams of becoming a famous actor in New York City. Shy Emily struggles with mental health but has the heart and soul of a writer. And Shannon—tall, athletic, strong—has a deep sense of loyalty that will serve her well when she heads off to military college. As Zoe, Emily, and Shannon grow into women—forging careers, following dreams, and finding love—they’ll learn that life doesn’t always unfold the way they want it to, but through it all, the one constant is each other and their regular tea parties. And when the unthinkable happens, the girls must come together to face the greatest test of all.  A deeply moving novel about the family that raises us, the hearts that nurture us, and the great friendships that define our lives. 

PRAISE FOR THE LITTLE TEASHOP ON MAIN: "Heart-wrenching as well as heartwarming, the book reflects the experiences of these seven multifaceted and compelling characters as they journey through challenging years together." -- NY Journal of Books “A comforting treasure for regular Thomas readers who enjoy the easy flow of her writing, a little steamy romance to spice things up, and the development of vulnerable, realistic characters.” -- Booklist


Jodi Thomas
Interview and Comments
on The Little Teashop on Main

What was the inspiration for The Little Teashop on Main?

When I first began to write The Little Teashop on Main, I knew I wanted to tell the story of a man who loved three women. There are many kinds of love in this world and all can be true.

Jack grew up in the small town of Laurel Springs. As a six-year-old, he watched as three little girls had a princess tea party before they started kindergarten. Little does Jack know that these women will mold his life in the years to come.

Can you provide some insight into The Little Teashop on Main and the writing process?

I often say that, as a writer, I don’t spend time trying to piece a plot together.  It’s more like I sit down in my study and wait for the people in my stories to come to me.  In my mind they walk in, take a seat and tell me their story.  With Tea, it seemed a crowd walked in and they all wanted to tell me their story: a story of friendship so deep it lasts a lifetime, a man strong enough to care profoundly about three women… loving one, befriending one, and protecting one. I piece together lives and show how important the people we get to know and love influence our actions.With many of my stories, the secondary characters tend to stand up and yell their stories.  That happened in Tea.  Alex and Mack were the single parents of two of the girls and they had a story to tell. I loved Mack because he was one on those dear people that others count on.  A quiet hero.

What drew you to write about the friendship between Emily, Zoe, and Shannon?

As I wrote The Little Teashop on Main, I realized how lucky a few of us are if we have one or two friends we keep for a lifetime. My three little girls form a bond at five that shelters and grounds them in good times and bad.

A note about Laurel Springs: 

The Little Teashop on Main is the second book I’ve set in Laurel Springs. Mornings on Main was my first and has been very successful.  With the first, I stepped into the quilting world to do my research and am having a grand time meeting quilters across the country.  Though I have many quilters in my family, I don’t quilt. My mother loved the art. She lived long enough to read my first novel and she once said, “Jodi, you quilt with words.”

Tell us about the release of The Little Teashop on Main:

I’ll be touring with Tea this spring, and I’m looking forward to stepping into the world of tea parties.  People often ask me how I pick where I travel. I’m sure some writers map it out by region, but for me it’s more like where interest takes me. I once did a tour in Oregon because a bookstore owner wrote me a letter saying her mother would “have a cat” if I came to their store. I figured I’d check it out. Didn’t see the cat birth but did meet some delightful people.

So, walk with me though Laurel Springs.  Get to know my people. Stay a while.  I promise, when you close the book and leave my little town in Texas, you’ll smile.

Final Note:

One cold day in March, I walked through the sunroom where my granddaughters often play.  I stopped as the real world touched my writing world. There the girls were, wearing their hand-me-down ladies’ hats and gloves, having tea and cookies. The tea cups might have been full of juice, and the cookies were raided from my stash of Girl Scout cookies, but the ritual was there. 

For a moment I didn’t see two little girls; I saw them in college having tea and talking about their lives. I saw them as mothers relaxing on the patio as their kids play.  At that moment I realized that the simple rituals we share bind us together.

Their tea set was an old one I found at a garage sale, but my little Harper pointed at the fine English tea set on the top shelf. “When I’m thirteen, I’m getting that one down, Gram.”
And she will, I have no doubt.

With millions of books in print, Jodi Thomas is both a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of over 45 novels and 14 short story collections. Her stories travel through the past and present days of Texas and draw readers from around the world.
In July 2006, Jodi was the 11th writer to be inducted into the Romance Writers of America Hall of Fame. With five RITA’s to her credit, along with National Readers’ Choice Awards and Booksellers’ Best Awards, Thomas has proven her skill as a master storyteller.
Honored in 2002 as a Distinguished Alumni by Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas, Thomas enjoys interacting with students at West Texas A&M University in Canyon, Texas, where she currently serves as Writer in Residence.
When not working on a novel, or inspiring students to pursue writing careers, Thomas enjoys traveling with her husband, renovating an historic home, and “checking up” on their grown sons and four grandchildren.

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May 8-18, 2019
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