Monthly Archives: September 2015

Up To I Do ~ Samantha March {book review & excerpt – book tour}

Today, I’m am pleased to be showcasing a book excerpt and review as part of Chick Lit Plus (CLP) Blog Tours! ‘Up To I Do’ Samantha March is a wedding tale about what happens when a wealthy girl plans her wedding.

Hotel heiress Emerson Sinclair is all set to marry her childhood friend, Logan Worthington. Bringing two prominent families together obviously means that a seamless and perfect wedding has to be pulled off. Both sides of the family are counting on Emerson, but as details become more and more complicated, Emerson can’t help but wonder whether a big affair is all worth it. After all, isn’t it about being in love and being happy on your wedding day, instead of trying to fit an ideal that is expected of you?

I fell into this book so fast! Truly, I can’t remember the last time I read a chicklit book that revolved around a wedding. I used to read them all the time, WAY back in the day, but since I was married many years ago and all of that was behind me, I just hadn’t ventured into wedding lit genre as of late. But, before I knew it, I was checking back in with Emerson and her friends and family, to see how the wedding details were progressing. With an interesting cast of characters – my faves were Grams (Emerson’s maternal grandmother, Pearl) and Emerson’s intellectual sister, Milly. I really liked how the characters in this novel had faults, including Emerson, and they lived up to them. First and foremost, family was paramount and everyone wanted to make Emerson and Logan’s day special for them.

I enjoyed the writing style of this book, a lot! I think that’s why I kept gravitating toward the book. I knew I could read and read and then put it down for a while, and get right back into it. The entire book flowed with ease and I picked this up from the start. Just when I thought a detail might be forgotten, it was mentioned again and all was well. I can really appreciate a conscientious writer. But most of all, the book was fun! It was a blast to be emersed in wedding details, read about stylish dresses of today – I could envision them – what rings the bride and groom should choose, and all the other aspects that are important to a wedding. I loved how Emerson included her Grams a lot in the sentiment of the wedding, culminating in one final surprise that made you cheer on the entire family.

As a name fanatic over here, I adored so many of the names used in this book. I especially liked that Grams’ name was Pearl – a name and a gem – which was used as a symbol for many items in Emerson’s wedding plans.

If you’re looking for current wedding lit (or chicklit) to indulge in, then Up To I Do would be a perfect pick for you!

Check out the amusing excerpt below – one of the best scenes in the book and definitely a time where I thought “I’m glad that isn’t me!”

Up To I Do (Marching Ink, 2015)
Chapter Nine

MyWeddingPlans.com Status Update: Nearly lost a bridesmaid today. #needaredo #redhotmess

The day of the bridesmaid dress appointment felt similar to picking out my wedding dress. Once again, Mom, Grams, Milly, Sienna, and the rest of the bridesmaids gathered at the house for breakfast. Delilah had even made the trip down once again, and we were going to have a sleepover at Milly’s that night with the three of us. I couldn’t wait.

Once we were finished eating, we were off in the limo once again to the bridal shop where I had purchased my dress. I had to put my foot down on this. Evie (and also Honor and a tad bit of Tatiana if I’m honest) pushed for a New York trip to find the bridesmaid dress, throwing out all these top-notch shops filled with designer dresses. But . . . if I couldn’t have a designer dress, why would my maids wear one? I had finally come to terms that I had my dream dress and it just happened not to be a big name designer. I couldn’t handle if the other girls had one. The men were wearing Vera Wang for God’s sake. Cut me a little slack here.

Once we arrived at the store and were greeted warmly by Sandra, the owner, she ushered us to the back and I sat on the throne—a big fluffy red chair reserved for brides. Milly handed me scorecards that she had made so I could rate each dress from 1-10, and Sandra explained what would happen. We had fifteen minutes to walk around the store and grab dresses, then the fun would begin. Pretty simple.

On her mark, the lot of us scattered like marbles on a wood floor, on the hunt for the perfect bridesmaid dress. I managed to pull two, getting overwhelmed quickly by all the choices. How would I ever find one? Maybe each girl could wear a different dress in the same color. Would that be too busy? Did I care? Why was I here? Couldn’t I have made Katrina handle this on her own? But no, she probably would have been sucked into going to New York as well. It was better I was here and in control.

“Time!” Sandra stood in the middle of the floor, and I realized then that we were the only people in the store, which I had to think was unusual for a Saturday morning. I wondered if Mom had reserved the space solely for us. That was sweet and a necessity I hadn’t even thought of because I wasn’t sure I could concentrate if a bunch of other bridesmaids were traipsing along the aisles.

After handing my choices over to Sandra and taking a seat at the throne, I waited anxiously for the girls to come out. Each was coming out first in a pick of their own, and I was curious to see what each girl’s style was going to be. Milly was the exception. Since she was my maid of honor, I was going to let her off the hook for trying dresses on. I figured we had enough girls around. She had thanked me profusely that morning for the favor.

“Got your scorecards at the ready?” Sienna asked me, her eyes bright. As the countdown to the big day got closer, Sienna seemed to be more and more in her element. I think Mom was relieved she was taking some of the pressure off her, especially with the pageant taking up more time than she expected it to.

I held up the thick cards that Milly had clearly put a lot of time into. “Ready to roll!”

Sandra cleared her throat and started listing off the designer names and the dress features. Honor was in a strapless dress that fell to the knee, with a belted waist and crumb catcher top. Delilah’s dress also featured a crumb catcher top (these two were so alike it could be scary) but hers had no belt and was less structured than Honor’s. Tatiana had a long strapless dress with a keyhole in the chest area—a little too risqué in my opinion. Evie . . . Evie. Evie was in a short hot pink dress that dipped low in the back, nearly to her crack, and her boobs were pushed up so high I was sure a nip slip was going to happen in the store. How in the world that was a suitable bridesmaid dress for anyone was beyond me. I couldn’t even look at her.

“Gabby’s dress is my favorite out of this group,” I said, my eyes immediately going to her soft chiffon dress with delicate straps and a ruched bodice. It fit her well and looked so pretty and feminine. And to be honest—a crumb catcher scared me. Even the name was just plain weird.

“You have a little diversity here with styles and even lengths,” Sandra said, standing by me. “Let’s focus on Honor and Delilah first, since they are similar. Do you like the crumb catcher top?”

I held up a scorecard with a 4 on it. “Sorry, ladies. I think those tops are weird.”

“Emerson!” They both screeched, looking at one another and laughing. Milly joined in from her perch on the chair next to me.

“I bet this would look great in your wedding,” Delilah said, patting Honor on the arm, who I think turned a little pale at that. “Or yours, Milly. And I can’t wait to hear all about this Miles tonight!”

Milly blushed as we all—even Grams and Sienna—hooted at her. “Yeah, yeah, let’s get back to the task at hand. So nothing fashion forward for the bride. No crumb catcher. Got it.”

“How about Tatiana’s? What do you think of a long dress?” Sandra asked.

I flipped through my stack and held up a 7. “I like this one more, but I’m not sure about long. Most of the pictures I’ve been pinning are short.”

“Long tends to work better for more formal weddings,” Mom said as her cell phone started to ring, piercing through the quiet store. “My gracious, my apologies. I thought I turned the ringer off.” She fumbled in her Prada for her phone, looking at the screen and frowning. “It’s the pageant. Again. Third call this morning. I’m sorry, let me just step outside quick and I’ll be back in a shake.” She rushed outside without even grabbing her coat, and I stared at her retreating back, frowning. For someone who was donating her time and efforts to the pageant cause, she sure was pretty invested in that event.

Shaking my head, I focused again at the task at hand. “Let’s keep it long then,” I said. “I like the idea of a more formal wedding, so if that will help with the pictures, let’s do it. And it’ll be September, so not like the girls will be overheated or anything.”

“Long it is,” Grams confirmed.

“Let’s move to Gabby’s,” Sandra suggested.

“I thought you didn’t want chiffon,” Milly said, remembering a conversation we had in the past about bridesmaid dresses.

“I didn’t think I did, but seeing it on her, it looks really good. I especially like how it’s tight in the middle. I think it would be really flattering on everyone.” I eyed the dress, liking it more with each passing second. I held up a 9. “This is a serious contender.”

Sandra cleared her throat. “And how about . . . Evie’s?”

Everyone was silent. “No,” I said simply.

Evie stomped a foot. “But, Emerson, this color is gorgeous! And not to diss any of these other top-notch dresses, but this one really is the best.” Her tone dripped in sarcasm.

I raised a brow. “No,” I said again. “I’m not even going to touch on how hideous that dress is—no offense, Sandra—or how inappropriate it would be for not only my wedding, but the majority of weddings that take place. Now go back, pick a dress that is actually suitable, and come back. Or leave. I honestly don’t care which.” I folded my arms and stared at her.

She wavered under my glare—I saw it. “Fine.” She flounced away and everyone stood frozen to their spots, not sure of what to say.

Sandra cleared her throat. “Well, um, a successful first round. Let’s head back into the dressing room and I’ll do one of your picks, Emerson, along with picks from the others in the group.” Sandra ushered my maids away and I leaned back in the chair, replacing all the score cards and gearing up for round two.

______________

NOTE: Thank you to CLP Blog Tours for the complimentary ebook of “UP TO I DO” in order to participate in this book tour (review).

UpToIDo_blog tour

CLP Tours has a giveaway going on now, so be sure to enter below:
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Giveaway Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/9d17395a195/?

http://www.clpblogtours.com/2015/09/book-blitz-up-to-i-do-by-samantha-march.html

About Samantha March

Samantha March is an author, editor, publisher, blogger, and all around book lover. She runs the popular book/women’s lifestyle blog ChickLitPlus, which keeps her bookshelf stocked with the latest reads and up to date on all things health, fitness, fashion, and celebrity related. In 2011 she launched her independent publishing company Marching Ink and has three published novels – Destined to Fail, The Green Ticket and A Questionable Friendship. When she isn’t reading, writing, or blogging, you can find her cheering for the Green Bay Packers. Samantha lives in Iowa with her husband and Vizsla puppy.

Keep In Touch with Samantha March:

https://instagram.com/marchbooksbeauty/
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCDnb5YAcjk7pnu25YckVL6g
https://www.facebook.com/samanthamarchauthor
https://twitter.com/BySamanthaMarch

Book Links

http://amzn.to/1QECZvH
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/up-to-i-do-samantha-march/1122377630?ean=2940150767386
https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/up-to-i-do

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/26007111-up-to-i-do

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Waiting on Wednesdays…Corrupted!

I’m back with another installment of the ‘Waiting on Wednesdays’, a weekly event hosted by Jill, from ‘Breaking the Spine’. Our WoWs showcase forthcoming books that us bloggers are eager to read. Today, I have chosen Corrupted!, by Lisa Scottoline (St. Martin’s Press, October 27, 2015).

What a title, one that I feel needs an exclamation point when I write it. Corrupted is the latest novel by Lisa Scottoline, as part of the all-female Rosato and DiNunzio series (#3). I’d say this is more of a “loose” series, where you can read the books out of order and not get lost. I chose this title because a.) I really enjoy Lisa Scottoline’s work and b.) because I’m reading one of her books right now (Every Fifteen Minutes, St. Martin’s Press, 2015). I knew she had a forthcoming novel coming out, and after reading many of the books separate from this series, I felt the “need” to get back into the world of Bennie Rosato and friends. Now, I have to say that the Rosato and DiNunzio series is a spin-off of the popular Rosato and Associates series – same cast of characters, same type of novels. It’s a great series of crime fiction/legal drama that draws you in with fun characters – you get to know them and their families.

So, without further ado, the cover for Corrupted! and a blurb from Goodreads:
corrupted

Bennie Rosato the founder of the Rosato & DiNunzio law firm hides her big heart beneath her tough-as-nails exterior and she doesn’t like to fail. Now, a case from her past shows her how differently things might have turned out. Thirteen years ago, Bennie Rosato took on Jason Leftavick, a twelve-year-old boy who was sent to a juvenile detention center after fighting a class bully. Bennie couldn’t free Jason, and to this day it’s the case that haunts her. Jason has grown up in and out of juvenile prison, and his adulthood hasn’t been any easier. Bennie no longer represents those accused of murder, but when Jason is indicted for killing the same bully he fought with as a kid, she sees no choice but to represent him. She doesn’t know whether or not to believe his claims of innocence, but she knows she owes him for past failures–of the law, of the juvenile justice system, and of herself. Forced to relive the darkest period of her life, Bennie will do everything in her power to get the truth, and justice.

Looks like a good one! What are you waiting on this Wednesday? Link below if can.

Happy Reading!

Wake-Up Call, by Amy Avanzino {Book Tour and Review}

I am so excited to be posting today as part of a book tour for a debut novel!

Amy Avanzino’s Wake-Up Call was published on September 1, 2015 by Henery Press.

WakeUpCall
About the book:
Sarah Winslow wakes up with a terrible hangover… and a kid in her boyfriend’s bed. She makes the horrifying discovery that, due to a head injury, it’s not a hangover. She’s got memory loss. Overnight, five years have disappeared, and she’s no longer the hard-living, fast-track, ad executive party girl she thinks she is. Now, she’s the unemployed, pudgy, married, stay-at-home-mom of three kids under five, including twins. As she slowly pieces together the mystery of how her dreams and aspirations could have disintegrated so completely in five short years, she finds herself utterly failing to manage this life she can’t imagine choosing. When Sarah meets the man of her dreams, she realizes she’s got to make a choice: Does she follow her bliss and “do-over” her life? Or does the Sarah she’s forgotten hold the answers to how she got here… and how she can stay?

My Review: When Sarah Winslow wakes up and discovers her new life is no longer “single girl in the city”, but rather “stay at home mom in the suburbs”, she has to reconsider everything that’s important to her and start fresh. “Wake-Up Call”, a debut novel by Amy Avanzino, is a modern-day take on that old adage: “the grass is always greener on the other side”.

I loved that this book is honest about motherhood, the hardships, and the life you give up to raise children. Most of us have chosen this role, but I can’t imagine being Sarah Winslow and being thrown into the lion’s den so suddenly. At least for those who have (three or more) kids, it’s a gradual buildup. Sarah, who has experienced a bout of amnesia after a skateboard fall, has forgotten the last 5 years of her life. When she’s practically thrown into the lion’s den to look after her three children alone, she says “How hard can it be? I have a 12 year old girls’ job”. Not quite!

This book can be described as part chicklit, part coming of age/realization. There are plenty of humourous moments, with a serious undertone. I laughed out loud many times, probably because I could relate so much to the main character and her family. The relationships are real – hard times between Sarah and her husband, just like many of us go through. But, they’re a family and love each other, and that’s where this book really excels. Showing that the love of family – and not material things – is what’s truly important. Good friends, great kids and a loving husband are the real joys in Sarah’s life, something she has to discover and realize for herself (again). Sarah has a great group of friends, just not the ones she’s expecting. The divide between her past life and present becomes more obvious as she learns the new way of doing things, with lots of help from her children. The innateness of motherhood is hard to resist as Sarah leads her charges (her own children) from activity to playgroup to school. As Sarah tries to reclaim her old life, Sarah becomes a mother bear in the true sense, standing up for her son against a bully child AND her mother, for example. Basically, she’s doing her best to raise her children and exceeds her own expectations of what she’s able to accomplish!

My favourite laugh-out-loud part of the book –

“I can’t stand my shape”. Sarah exclaims!
“I love your shape”, says Kofi.
“Then you must love circles”, replies Sarah.

Ha!

I flew through this book which is a pretty big feat for me. It helped that my toddler was napping on me…so, what else was I to do? Love that! Not all books are like that though, so it shows that “Wake-Up Call” is an engaging, fast-paced read with likeable characters and plot.
Even more exciting is that this book is first in series – the Wake-Up Call series. New series, and new authors, are always fun to discover.

Thank you to the author for providing me a with an ebook copy of ‘Wake-up Call’ in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

AmyAvanzino
For more about Amy Avanzino, visit her website

Waiting on Wednesdays…

I’m back with another “Waiting on Wednesdays” post which is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. Honestly, I’m having a blast reading everyone’s posts and love that so many of you keep commenting!

The idea behind this tag/weekly meme is that book bloggers showcase – either with a cover art or post – about a “can’t wait to read” book.

My “can’t wait to read” title for this week is the upcoming Shopaholic to the Rescue (Dial Press, 2015) by Sophie Kinsella!! Yup, she’s at it again and this latest installment to the Shopaholic series comes out in late October.
I am a HUGE ‘Shopaholic’ fan. I love Becky Brandon (nee Bloomwood, the lead character) and laugh out loud every time I read one of these books. As a fan, I’m very excited to see that this follow-up is published on the heals of Shopaholic to the Stars (Dial Press, 2014). We barely had to wait at all (one year exactly). So fun! I really hope Sophie Kinsella just keeps writing the Shopaholic series ’til the end of time! It could happen…right?!?

The cover art above which mimics the novel from last year 🙂

So, what’s you WoW of the week? I’ll be visiting blogs, but feel free to link below in the comments.
Are you a ‘Shopaholic’ fan? Woukd you read the latesr installment? Let me know below.
In the meantime here’s a blurb on the storyline.

Goodreads summary:
#1 New York Times bestselling author Sophie Kinsella returns with another laugh-out-loud Becky Brandon (née Bloomwood) adventure: a hilarious road trip through the American West to Las Vegas.

Becky is on a major rescue mission! Her father has vanished from Los Angeles on a mysterious quest with her best friend’s husband. Becky’s mum is hysterical; her best friend, Suze, is desperate. Worse, Becky must tolerate an enemy along for the ride, who she’s convinced is up to no good.

Determined to get to the bottom of why her dad has disappeared, help Suze, contain Alicia, and reunite her fractured family, Becky knows she must marshal all her trademark ingenuity. The result: her most outrageous and daring plan yet!

But just when her family needs her more than ever, can Becky pull it off?