Friday, June 30, 2017

BLOG TOUR: Practicing Normal by Cara Sue Achterberg - REVIEW + GIVEAWAY!

Hi there!
Welcome back to Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers.

Today, we're joining Providence Book Tours as we celebrate the release of a new Fiction title via The Story Plant.  It's the third release from this particular author in the given genre, and though I've not read the others, I must say that the author wove quite a story indeed.  Ready to make its acquaintance as we close out another month?  Great!  Here we go.  Today's book of choice is...



by
Carol Sue Achterberg
9781611882445

About the book....
The houses in Pine Estates are beautiful McMansions filled with high-achieving parents, children on the fast track to top colleges, all of the comforts of modern living, and the best security systems money can buy. Welcome to normal upper-middle-class suburbia.

The Turners know in their hearts that they’re anything but normal. Jenna is a high-schooler dressed in black who is fascinated with breaking into her neighbors’ homes, security systems be damned. Everett genuinely believes he loves his wife . . . he just loves having a continuing stream of mistresses more. JT is a genius kid with Asperger’s who moves from one obsession to the next. And Kate tries to manage her family, manage her mother (who lives down the street), and avoid wondering why her life is passing her by.

And now everything is changing for them. Jenna suddenly finds herself in a boy-next-door romance she never could have predicted. Everett’s secrets are beginning to unravel on him. JT is getting his first taste of success at navigating the world. And Kate is facing truths about her husband, her mother, and her father that she might have preferred not to face.

Life on Pine Road has never been more challenging for the Turners. That’s what happens when you’re practicing normal.







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This is a story best tackled through its characters because that's where all the drama, all the challenges, all the secrets, cover ups, and unknowns stem from...and there are OH SO MANY more than you might realize.

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Kate...the mother, wife, and caretaker, trying to hold it all together.  It's a crazy hard task when you consider what all everyone is getting up to, and that's not even taking into account what she's dealing with personally.  I can't say I agree with her pre-story decision in keeping Everett about, but they do say love is blind...then again, that one should be blind-ED!  Still, she finds her backbone when the trials build beyond even her realm of manageable and a happier ending is found even if it doesn't fit with the Pine Estates formula.

Jenna...daughter, girlfriend, and neighborhood break-in specialist.  Seriously, this girl has talent, but it's one of those that if not used wisely could lead her down a very dark road.  I liked her spark, her spunk, the way she cared for her brother, and her adopted motto (Don't break more than more law/rule at a time.).  She's got troubles, but they're not unconquerable...rather waiting for her to conquer them in her own unique way.

JT...the son, brother, and all around great guy.  He presents his own challenges as life does to him, but it's all in knowing how to work with him,  not against him.  I love his honesty, incredibly brilliant brain, and how he really is the heart of the family.  Oh, and how he saves that one lady...way to go, JT!

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Everett...husband (meh), father, (double meh), and classic case of...okay, I don't want to sound like a man hater here, but really...he is not a great guy.  He may have started off that way to our lovesick leading lady, but at this point, no...absolutely not, and I can't even bring up one redeeming quality.  Okay, so he did help crack the case on Frank (the long lost father aka "louse" according to Mildred) and bring to light WAY MORE than either sister ever asked for, but still...not enough to be an actual redeeming quality.

Cassie...newish neighbor, hospice nurse, and ultimately a kind and helpful soul.  She's definitely one cool cat (pun sorta intended), especially when she finds Jenna in a less than above the bar position.  I really liked her outlook on life especially considering her line of work...or maybe more so because of it.  Her ability to welcome Jenna and her "friend", to offer her friendship to Mildred, and even counsel Kate to a degree, speak to the largeness of her heart.

Mildred...mother, grandmother, mother-in-law, and shouter of the term "louse" to pretty much every man that ever existed.  There's a reason for that last bit that comes out in the end, and I can't say I blame her entirely.  Besides the strong opinion of the male species she harbors, she's actually a character who is suffering quite a bit, though one would think she inflicts more than she feels.  They say still waters run deep, well...she's not exactly a perfect fit for the stillness, but the deep part is on par with the Bermuda Triangle.

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In the end, it's a story that shares the ups and downs of a life though the eyes of the family living it.  While not extraordinary or beyond belief, it is those exact features that draw you in and keep you turning pages til the unexpected, dramatic, and traumatic end.  There's lots to love, some (people) to hate, and moments to both stop and start your heart, which all add up to a book that should definitely be on your must read list this summer.




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About the author...


Cara Sue Achterberg is a writer and blogger who lives in New Freedom, PA with her family and an embarrassing number of animals. Her first novel, I’m Not Her, was a national bestseller, as was her second, Girls’ Weekend. Cara’s nonfiction book, Live Intentionally, is a guide to the organic life filled with ideas, recipes, and inspiration for living a more intentional life. Cara is a prolific blogger, occasional cowgirl, and busy mom whose essays and articles have been published in numerous anthologies, magazines, and websites. Links to her blogs, news about upcoming publications, and pictures of her foster dogs can be found at CaraWrites.com.



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The Story Plant

Special thanks to the Providence Book Tours team and the folks at The Story Plant for the copy for review as well as the chance to bring this tour to you.  (THANKS!)  For more information on this title, the author, the publisher,  this tour or those on the horizon, feel free to click through the link provided above.  This title was released earlier this month, so be on the lookout for it on a bookstore shelf or virtual retailer of your choosing.
...AND DON'T MISS YOUR CHANCE TO WIN!
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This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Providence Book Promotions for Cara Sue Achterberg and The Story Plant. There will be 1 winner of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card and 5 winners of one (1) eBook copy of Girls' Weekend by Cara Sue Achterberg. The giveaway begins on June 1, 2017 and runs through August 3, 2017. Void where prohibited by law.

CLICK BELOW TO ENTER!


Until next time, remember...if it looks good, READ IT!


Thursday, June 29, 2017

BOOK BLITZ: Girl on the Verge by Pintip Dunn - EXCERPT + GIVEAWAY!

Hello Readers!  
Welcome to the Release Week Blitz for
Girl on the Verge by Pintip Dunn!
(Congratulations Pintip!!)



 
Keep reading to catch a peek between the pages with a special excerpt, and  be sure to enter the giveaway found at the end of the post!
 






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  Girl on the Verge
by
Pintip Dunn
 Publication Date:  June 27, 2017
Publisher:  Kensington
 

From the author of The Darkest Lie comes a compelling, provocative story for fans of I Was Here and Vanishing Girls, about a high school senior straddling two worlds, unsure how she fits in either—and the journey of self-discovery that leads her to surprising truths. 
In her small Kansas town, at her predominantly white school, Kanchana doesn’t look like anyone else. But at home, her Thai grandmother chides her for being too westernized. Only through the clothing Kan designs in secret can she find a way to fuse both cultures into something distinctly her own. When her mother agrees to provide a home for a teenage girl named Shelly, Kan sees a chance to prove herself useful. Making Shelly feel comfortable is easy at first—her new friend is eager to please, embraces the family’s Thai traditions, and clearly looks up to Kan. Perhaps too much. Shelly seems to want everything Kanchana has, even the blond, blue-eyed boy she has a crush on. As Kan’s growing discomfort compels her to investigate Shelly’s past, she’s shocked to find how much it intersects with her own—and just how far Shelly will go to belong…




Google Drive | BAM | Chapters | Amazon | B&N | Kobo | TBD | iBooks






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A fish swims beneath the open staircase in my Khun Yai’s house. A real live fish, with its translucent fins fluttering in the water, its belly gold-scaled and bloated from regular feedings. If I part my knees, I can catch long glimpses of its lazy swimming through the gap in the stairs.


Of course, I’m not supposed to part my knees. It’s not ladylike for a twelve-year-old girl, not here, not in Thailand. The land where my parents grew up; the place that’s supposed to be my home, too. That’s what the banner said, when my relatives came to pick us up at the airport. “Welcome home, Kanchana.”


Never mind that I only come to Thailand every couple years. Never mind that I don’t look like anyone else here, with my American build and my frizzy, out-of-control hair. Never mind that I don’t look like anyone in my hometown, either, since I’m the only Asian girl in school. Never mind that the only reason we’re here now is because my father’s dead and my mom can’t keep it together.


For a moment, pain lances through me, so sharp and severe that it might as well slice my heart in half, like in one of those video games my friends like to play. I squeeze my eyes shut, but that doesn’t keep the tears from spilling out. Neither do the glasses sliding down my nose. And so the tears drip down, down, down, past my unladylike knees, through the gap in the stairs, into the fish basin below.


The drops scare the fish, who swims away with its tail swishing in the water, no longer languid, no longer lazy. So, even this creature wants to get away from me—from my grief, from my strangeness—as quickly as possible.


“There you are, luk lak,” Khun Yai says in Thai, coming down the stairs. She is my mother’s mother, and since we arrived, she’s used the endearment—child that I love—more often than my name.


“You’re up early.” She pats her forehead with a handkerchief. It’s only seven a.m., and already sweat drenches my skin like I’ve taken a dip in the basin. No wonder they take two or three showers a day here.


“Couldn’t sleep. Jet lag.”


“I’ve been up for a couple hours myself.” She eases onto the step next to me, her knees pressed together, her legs folded demurely to one side.


Immediately, I try to rearrange my body to look like hers and then give up. My legs just don’t go that way.


“What do you want to do today?” Khun Yai asks. “More shopping?”


“Um, no thanks.” I make a face. “Didn’t you hear those salesgirls at Siam Square yesterday? They rushed up as soon as we entered and said they didn’t have anything in my size.” My cheeks still burn when I think about their haughty expressions.


She sighs. “The clothes there are just ridiculously small. We’ll go to the mall today. They should have something that will fit you.”


I stare at her diminutive frame and her chopstick legs. “One of the salesgirls asked how much I weighed. Another grabbed my arm and said I felt like a side pillow.”


“They didn’t mean any harm. It is just the Thai way to be blunt.” She catches my chin and tilts up my face. “You are so beautiful. I wish you could see that.”


I could say so many things. I could tell her that I’m ugly not only in Thailand but also in the United States. Even though I’m not big by American standards—far from it—I could confess how the boys call me Squinty. How those Thai salesgirls snickered at my poodle-fuzz hair. I could explain how I’m from two worlds but fit in neither.


But I don’t. Because my words will only make her sad, and there have been enough tears in our family.











 




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Pintip is a New York Times bestselling author of YA fiction. She graduated from Harvard University, magna cum laude, with an A.B. in English Literature and Language. She received her J.D. at Yale Law School, where she was an editor of the YALE LAW JOURNAL. 
Pintip's first novel, FORGET TOMORROW won the RWA RITA® award for Best First Book. Her other novels include THE DARKEST LIE, REMEMBER YESTERDAY, and the novella, BEFORE TOMORROW. She is represented by literary agent Beth Miller of Writers House. 
She lives with her husband and children in Maryland.




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Complete the Rafflecopter below for a chance to win!
 
a Rafflecopter giveaway




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Special thanks to the Chapter by Chapter Blog Tours team for the chance to bring this BLAST to you.  (THANKS!)  For more information on this title, the author, or those tours on the horizon, feel free to click through the links provided above.  This title is available now via Kensington, so be on the lookout for it on a bookstore shelf or virtual retailer of your choosing.


Until next time, remember...if it looks good, READ IT!



 



BOOK BLAST: Fire and Midnight by Sandra Renee Appet + GIVEAWAY!






Fire and Midnight
by Sandra Renee Appet
Contemporary Romance / Women’s Fiction


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"Fire and Midnight is a delightful story full of characters you won't soon forget. I didn't want it to end!" ~ New York Times bestselling author Stephanie Evanovich

He could be her best worst decision…
With a glass of wine in hand, Jane Keegan’s finger is poised to delete the account her pushy BFF created for her on “The Cowboys” escort service website. Sure, she’s lonely, but not desperate. Then an image of sky-blue eyes and warm, tanned muscles jumps off the screen. And she finds herself hitting the “Book Now” button.

After all, why not? She’s a free, divorced woman on business in San Antonio. There’s nothing to lose…except her nerve. Especially when Mr. Tall Dark And Incredibly Sexy meets her at a River Walk bar—and his only-for-you smile turns her insides into a quivering mass of second thoughts.

Ryan Zeigler is enduring one last escort assignment as a favor before hanging up his Cowboys hat to run his own restaurant. Yet there’s something about the pretty New Yorker’s vulnerable grin and I’ve-got-baggage eyes that halts his usual dating M.O. in its tracks.

When Ryan sweetens the deal—no strings, no payment expected—Jane the good girl takes the bold step of letting her vixen out to play. But when it’s time to go home, her heart is at a crossroads. Is Ryan the real deal? Or is she letting yet another man take her heart for a ride?




Score your copy now!





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~~~ Excerpt ~~~


Chapter One 

Maybe she should adopt a cat, Jane mused as she unlocked the door. Drops of water rolled off her jacket onto the worn wood floor. Leaving her shoes on the mat, she flipped the light switch illuminating most of her cozy apartment, which was a far cry from the spacious home she’d left behind. The silence was the hardest thing to get used to. A clang echoed off the bare walls as she dropped her keys on the counter next to the copy of her divorce decree. She figured the signed copy had hit her lawyer’s desk that morning. She shoved the bundle of papers in the nearest drawer. “Out of sight. Out of mind,” she mumbled and padded with stocking feet to her bedroom and changed into a pair of sweats and her old Rutgers t-shirt. 

She checked her phone as she headed back to the kitchen and opened the fridge to survey her options. No messages or texts from Tyler. She pulled out some leftovers and a bottle of Cabernet Blanc and turned on the news. The drone of the television was a welcome diversion. Empty Nest Syndrome had arrived earlier than she had expected when Tyler, her only child, had jumped at the opportunity to take a summer class and move into his college dorm early. Her phone buzzed on the counter next to her plate. She glanced at the screen, hoping for a text from her son but smiled at the message from her friend, Charlotte. 

I have a surprise for you. Check your email. 

Charlotte had a way of lightening Jane’s mood even when she wasn’t around. Jane uncorked the bottle and poured a generous glass. She left the food container on the counter, carried her wine to the desk in the living room, and flipped open her laptop. 
“What’s up her sleeve now?” Jane took a sip, logged into her e-mail and clicked the subject line: Giddy Up. 

Jane, 
You’re my best friend in the world and I love you to pieces, but all work and no play has made Jane a dull girl. It’s time to get back in the saddle and what better place to do it than on your trip to San Antonio? So pour yourself a glass of wine (or two) and click this link. For once in your life, do something completely selfish. Do it for you... 
Xoxo ~ Char 

P.S. I’ve already signed you up (user name: JaneK PW: RideEm). Don’t bother to call and yell at me. I’m boarding a flight to LA. 

Intrigued, Jane clicked the link and was directed to a landing page containing a picture of a cowboy hat and boots along with the words: 

The Cowboys, A Personal Service: Are you searching for a companion with no strings attached? Look no further than our cowboys for hire. 

“What the heck?” Jane explored the website and discovered a whole new definition of a cowboy. The cowboys on the website didn’t wear dusty jeans and ride horses. They wore well-cut suits and drove sports cars. They spoke a range of languages, were versed in opera, wine, and art, and were perfect companions during getaway weekends or cocktail parties ... at a cost. 

The Cowboys was a high-end male escort service. 

Jane poured another glass of wine. She took a healthy gulp and leaned back in her chair putting distance between herself and the screen. A bundle of emotions, mostly anger, raced through her veins. Charlotte, her happily single best friend, always had a steady stream of men at her door. Did she think Jane was so pathetic she had to pay a man to take her out? A vision of a greasy guy wearing a shiny shirt and gold jewelry flashed in her mind. 

“No way.” She shook her head and clicked around the site looking for instructions for deleting her account. Charlotte was damn lucky she was thirty-five thousand feet in the air because Jane had a few choice words for her. Jane clicked “About Us” in hopes of finding a phone number to call. No number was listed, but she jotted the e- mail address and continued reading. 

According to the website, escort services were legal as long as the escort was not compensated for sexual services. It went on to say if chemistry developed between the two parties, romance might occur, but it was never contracted. 

A few client testimonials followed... 

I travel all over the country on business. When I need to kick off my shoes (and other articles of clothing), I call The Cowboys. Their escorts are as charming and intelligent as they are good looking. I've never had a bad experience. 

Instead of a spa weekend, I schedule a date with Paul from The Cowboys. My tension automatically melts when I'm with him, and he gives a great massage. 

I'm recently divorced and had been feeling unattractive and unwanted. Jack from The Cowboys treats me like I'm the only woman in the world. One evening wasn't long enough, so I booked him again for next weekend. The entire weekend. 

She hovered the arrow over the “Meet Our Cowboys” page and clicked. A half-dozen pictures of men filled the screen, many appearing to be not much older than Tyler. She was about to close the site when brilliant blue eyes leaped from the screen and caught her by surprise. 

She drank in the image as she refilled her glass. A shock of dark hair framed his chiseled features. He wore a gray t-shirt that teased the promise of warm skin and thick muscles. Mr. Tall, Dark, and Incredibly Sexy poked at her long neglected fire that had turned into a pile of barely warm coals. She clicked his picture, which opened his bio and more images. 

“Hello there, Ryan Zeigler,” Jane slurred.








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About the Author...


Sandra is an author of romance who stays up too late dreaming up sexy heroes. When she's not writing, shoe shopping or saving wayward turtles, Sandra can be found with a cup of coffee browsing the shelves of an indie bookstore.



Website  |  Goodreads  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Instagram






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a Rafflecopter giveaway






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Reading Addiction Blog Tours




Special thanks to RABT Book Tours for the chance to participate in this promotion.  (THANKS!)  For more information on the featured title, author, or tours on the horizon, feel free to click through the links provided above.


Until next time, remember...if it looks good, READ IT!



Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Lonesome Lies Before Us by Don Lee

HI there!
Welcome to another bookish day here at Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers.  I warned you.  This month and next are chock full of new and new-to-me titles that I'm going to share, share, share, so best leave that book buying ban behind because frankly, it's a lost cause.  Hey, I say that with the most love possible and the biggest hug because, really, we're all in the same boat here.  ^-^

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Today, we're tackling a book that released earlier this month via W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.  It's a work of Fiction that tries to lend a melodious sound to an aging musicians life soundtrack with...somewhat "B" side results.  If you're a music fan or of a certain age, you'll get the reference; if not, I'm shaking my head at you right now and will forgive you Googling the term before continuing.  Anywho, let's get this show on stage to better discuss its bits and pieces, shall we?  Today's book of choice is...

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by
9780393608816
W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.

About the book...
A contemporary ballad of heartbreak, failure, and unquenchable longing, this novel presents Don Lee at his best.

Yadin Park is a talented alt-country musician whose career has floundered—doomed first by his homely looks and lack of stage presence and then by a progressive hearing disorder. His girlfriend, Jeanette Matsuda, might have been a professional photographer but for a devastating heartbreak in her teens. Now Yadin works for Jeanette’s father’s carpet-laying company in California while Jeanette cleans rooms at a local resort.

When Yadin’s former lover and musical partner, the celebrated Mallory Wicks, comes back into his life, all their most private hopes and desires are exposed, their secret fantasies about love and success put to the test.



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Okay, here's the thing...
I had high hopes for this one, really and truly.  I'm all for rooting for the underdog taken down by circumstances (mostly) beyond his control, seemingly insurmountable challenges, and unexpected second chances.  What I'm also for is some sort of forward movement for those in the aforementioned positions within a written work, and that simply did not happen here.

Yadin is an aging musician looking to release a "goodbye" album despite the fact that he's been out of the music business for the last 20 something years.  He had and still has the talent, the writing skills, and the voice, just not the personality, and his hearing is fading fast.  That was the real kicker.  Beyond the band and industry that couldn't say yes to a shadowed figure belting it out on stage in near darkness, the rare disease that is stealing his ear was the nail in the proverbial coffin.  He accepted his lot in life and moved on to a blue collar career where he dates the daughter of the owner and called it even.  But that's the problem.  His acceptance of things is "great" but doesn't truly make for a story that I was sold on, heart and soul.  His relationship (if you can call it that) is more of convenience than passion, his job is definitely a job with no real feel for the furtherance that the owner intends to present him with, and his designs on this project felt half hearted.  Even when presented with the blast from his past, he was shaken up enough to accept some help shaping his work but not enough to actually CHANGE in some small or monumental way. 

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To all this I say....
KUDOS to him for sticking to his guns and not letting Mallory or anyone else tell him what to do.  FANTASTIC that he figures out what he needs in life to be happy even as he attempts to sabotage himself and simply settle.  WONDERFUL that he pursued risky avenues in order to try to see him dream to fruition. DARN IT ALL though that he was pretty much EXACTLY where he was when we first started out on this adventure.  Yes, he found himself a little more, and yes, he still had his songs, but where did that actually leave him and with what?  Exactly where he stated in the song and title of the book...with LONESOME being what LIES BEFORE US....

Recommended for Fiction fans that like a hint of music in their works and flock towards characters that never really seem to get their day in the sun, though they do figure out a thing or two about life along the way.




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About the author...

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Photo (c) Melissa Frost

Don Lee is the author of the novels The Collective, Wrack and Ruin, and Country of Origin, and the story collection Yellow. He has received an American Book Award, the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature, the Sue Kaufman Prize for First Fiction, the Edgar Award for Best First Novel, an O. Henry Award, and a Pushcart Prize. He teaches in the MFA program in creative writing at Temple University and splits his time between Philadelphia and Baltimore.




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Special thanks to William at W.W. Norton & Company, Inc. for the copy for review.  (THANKS!) For more information on this title, the author, or the publisher, feel free to click through the links provided above.  This title celebrated its book birthday June 6th, 2017, so be on the lookout for it on a bookstore shelf or virtual retailer of your choosing.

Until next time, remember...if it looks good, READ IT!

Are you an avid reader looking for your next "fix"? Can't bear to be without some form of reading material in your spare time? Welcome to my world! Whether you are seeking a new book to "feed your need", or you are an author seeking an unbiased point of view on your own recent masterpiece, this is the place to be. With life as with books, you never know where the next step might take you...
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