*Guest Blogger Carilyn Platt for Bookworming Tonight*~ Results May Vary by Bethany Chase

As I am still caught up in all things newborn my TBR list is moving at a snail’s pace. ¬†Thankfully I have my book-sister from another mister ūüôā Carilyn Platt from Bookworming Tonight who has the same exact taste in books as me and just an all around amazing gal! ¬†I am so LUCKY to have her guest blog for me today as there are some books I want to give some love too before summer comes to a close! ¬†If you have yet to check out her blog then you are missing out! ¬†She frequently posts about the hottest reads and is always on point with her reviews. ¬†She read Results May Vary by the fabulous Bethany Chase and shared her love for the book and thoughts below! ¬†This is Chase’s second novel and once again is getting amazing praise. ¬†Chase was called “a great new voice in fiction” by Emily Giffin. ¬†If Ms. Giffin gives her stamp of approval then you know Chase is in a class of her own ūüėČ

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Results May Vary by Bethany Chase 

 

First let me just say how honored I am to be guest-blogging for one of my favorite book bloggers. She is on maternity leave, and naturally still reading, but I know she needs a rest and nothing makes me happier than to help her out as a reading assistant.

I read Bethany Chase‚Äôs¬†RESULTS MAY VARY¬†and it was full of twists and turns. And, scandal, in-laws, sisters, not so much parents, romance, and, work, work, work. The novel opens with Caroline, a curator at an art museum, who is at a photographer‚Äôs gallery opening, with her husband and as she is admiring one of his pieces, she gasps as she recognizes that one of the subjects in an image is none other than her husband ‚Äď in a comprising position with another man.

The story follows Caroline as her life unravels, how can she trust her husband, how she leans on her best friend, a guy who she went to college with, sharing the information with her younger sister, colleagues and what next. Where there is one lie, perhaps there are others. Who can she trust.

Does art imitate life? An artist friend’s work seems to mimic what is going on in Caroline’s life and the world around her. Have we all been in a maze at some point, trying to find our way?

Words of wisdom learned on the internet from the character you least expect it: ‚ÄúPeople can only give you what they have.‚ÄĚ I hope this is not a spoiler and you will forget this as soon as you read it and most definitely before you start the book. It will absolutely be a takeaway after you read the book.

I love a novel that is intricately woven and you can’t wait to turn the next page because you are so invested in each character and can’t wait to find out what they are going to do next. While there is heartbreak in RESULTS MAY VARY there is also hope.

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Bethany Chase

 

About Carilyn Platt:

For the Love of Bookworms

By day, I’m a publicist, a mom and a wife. By night, I’m a mom and a wife, and a bookworm too. I look forward to sharing my love of books with you, sweet book lovers. When you find an eye cream or a terrific concealer, please do let me know, because these dark circles are getting harder to cover up. The books just keep getting better and sometimes, this bookworm can’t put her books down to get enough sleep. I know, I know. 

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Thanks so much Carilyn for taking the time to stop by Bliss, Beauty and Books !  Stay tuned readers as Ms. Bookworming Tonight will be guest blogging again and please visit her page and show her some bookish love!

 

 

The Perfect Neighbors by Sarah Pekkanen

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As I am counting down the days until my little arrival I have to cram in as many books as I can! ¬†I am SO glad I picked Sarah Pekkanen’s newest, The Perfect Neighbors. ¬†Reminiscent of Desperate Housewives, one of my favorite shows, the book is the perfect blend of drama, mystery, gossip and friendship. ¬†The best type of summer read that you can’t put down, The Perfect Neighbors is my “Poolside Pick” for this week!

The book takes place in beautiful Newport Cove, a picture perfect neighborhood where the sun is always shining and neighbors are there to help one another. ¬†Kelli is a newly working mom, who stayed at home for years with her kids, and is now in real estate. ¬†Wanting to feel appreciated and beautiful she starts to take to her boss who is handsome and reciprocates this little work crush. ¬†Gigi is a mom of two girls where one is on the outs with her, typical teenage behavior. ¬†She wants to rekindle the relationship they once had but she can’t do it alone as her husband is running for Congress and he is always tied up. ¬†Tessa, the newest neighbor to move to the Cove is friendly enough but always on edge as she is running from something with a secret in her back pocket. ¬†Looking for a fresh start, Tessa isn’t sure how much longer she can fool everyone into thinking she is leading a perfect life. ¬†But who really is? ¬†A picture perfect setting and life behind close doors can be anything you want it to be or can it?

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Pekkanen’s latest is a page-turning, delicious book that kept me guessing each chapter. ¬†The scene she set and the characters she created were intriguing and mysterious. ¬†I love a dishy read with an almost thriller type twist and Pekkanen wrote this perfectly. ¬†I can’t wait to jump into her back catalog and read some of her other novels because if it is anything like this book then it is sure to be fantastic. ¬†Absolutely add this one to to your summer list, you won’t regret it!

 

*Thanks to Atria books for sending Bliss, Beauty and Books a review copy.

 

 

In Twenty Years by Allison Winn Scotch

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The summer books just keep getting better and the weather keeps getting hotter! ¬†I was so excited to receive a copy of Allison Winn Scotch’sAllison Winn Scotch’s newest book, In Twenty Years. ¬†Think the movie The Big Chill. ¬†A wonderful, complex novel of a group of friends who reunite after their college graduation, twenty years later. ¬†There is nothing I love more than a novel centered around a group of friends, especially an eclectic group and this was nothing short of that. ¬†Winn, who is one of my favorite authors and really people because if you love Tim Riggins you are a friend of mine (you must follow her on Facebook to see her amazing posts about Felicity, Friday Night Lights and all things pop culture ūüôā ), knocks it out of the park with a book that is funny, emotional and real. ¬†The characters, all completely different, are the outcome of what we all feel when we reunite with old friends- joy, envy, compassion and love. ¬†Take my word for it, In Twenty Years will keep you turning the pages.

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In Twenty Years is a densely woven story, which I do not want to give too much away, and multi layered due to its rich characters and thorough plot. ¬†A group of college friends reunite at the calling of their recently deceased friend thanks to a request in her will. ¬†All at different points in their lives they gather together at their college house bringing baggage, secrets and confessions. ¬†Told through alternating chapters for each character, the story is hard to resist as every page captures the essence of this group of friends and has revelations that will keep you guessing. ¬†Winn Scotch, again tells a story that is unique yet captivating for the reader, something she does again and again with her books. ¬†Get this book, grab a cocktail and settle into the sand. ¬†In Twenty Years is my “Poolside Pick”of the week! ¬†This book will bring you lots of BLISS ūüôā

 

*Thanks to Lake Union for sending Bliss, Beauty and Books a review copy.

 

The One That Got Away by Leigh Himes & Bliss Chat

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Are you looking for a fun, quirky story that has you guessing and rooting for the main character? ¬†Well,¬†The One That Got Away by Leigh Himes is the perfect pick. ¬†I absolutely loved it and am hoping, fingers crossed, maybe for a sequel ūüôā ¬†I loved the main character that much and the plot was so fantastic. ¬†This is a wonderful debut for Himes and I can tell she is going to have many fabulous books in her future.

The One That Got Away centers around Abbey Lahey who is married to Jesse. ¬†She lives a typical mom and family life where she feels under appreciated and overworked. ¬†She starts to daydream at work one day about a former coworker who she had a crush on, Alex Van Holt, who also had a crush on her. ¬†Alex, who is drop dead gorgeous and super successful, always lingered in the back of her mind as the one who got away. ¬†While at Nordstroms one day, where she was returning a bag that she couldn’t afford or justify, she slips and falls. ¬†As she comes to, she realizes she is living the life of Abbey Van Holt. ¬† Married to Alex with a family, she is living the upper class, rich life while supporting Alex who is running for election. ¬†She is super confused and wondering how to get out of this but not before she enjoys the finer things in life with Alex. ¬†The bags, the clothes, the shows, OH MY! (think Carrie Bradshaw ūüėČ ¬†Soon she starts to realize that this road not taken was not taken for a reason and that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side.

 

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This book was an instant favorite for me and would absolutely make a perfect movie. ¬†Himes is so charming with her words and storyline and the characters are developed so perfectly. ¬†This is a must read debut for any reader who loves a light hearted, fun read. ¬†I have chose it as my Poolside Pick for this week and was so honored to be able to “Bliss Chat” with Leigh about the book and a few of her favorite things!

 

Bliss Chat with Leigh Himes

1. I loved this book so much!  What made you decide to write about the road not taken?

Thank you, Courtney! Like my character Abbey, I saw a photograph in a magazine of a man I almost dated years before. After my husband and I had a good laugh about how I sure didn’t choose wisely, I remember thinking it would be a good set-up for a novel. Weeks later, I couldn’t get the idea out of my head so I sat down and started writing, and then couldn’t stop.

 2. Who did you enjoy more in developing Jimmy or Alex?  Abbey Lahey or Abbey Van Holt?  

Great question. At first, I‚Äôd say Alex because in many ways he‚Äôs my dream guy. He‚Äôs handsome, charming and ambitious, but also self-deprecating and funny. But Jimmy has my heart, too, because he‚Äôs so real. I‚Äôll be standing on the sidelines of my son‚Äôs soccer game or in the school pick-up line and think ‚Äúlots of Jimmy‚Äôs here today‚ÄĚ and I mean it as the ultimate compliment. As for Abbey, it has to be Abbey van Holt‚Ķ I‚Äôd love to live her life for a few days.

3. In your life is there a road you wished you traveled or do you ever think about that in any situations that may have been from your past?

I used to have so many regrets and would analyze my decisions constantly. Why didn’t I move to NYC when I was twenty-two? Why did I buy this old house? But writing this book, and getting older, has been cathartic. Now I don’t believe in roads not taken… all our experiences are just steps on the path we were meant for.

 

4. What has been your most favorite thing about the process of this book and going on book tour?

The best thing about writing is falling in love with your characters. On tour, it’s meeting fellow book lovers. I’ve met school librarians, veterinarians, reporters, artists, emergency room nurses, fellow novelists, etc., and I love hearing about their lives and how they make things work.

 

5.  As a writer, where is your favorite place to write?

In my bed! We don’t have air conditioning anywhere but our bedrooms so in the summer I’ll sneak back upstairs in the afternoon with my laptop. I have to bring coffee, though, to prevent nappage.

 

6. Name 3 blissful things that you can’t live without?

Besides husband/kids/dog, I‚Äôd say avocados (in any form), super-hot baths, and my NinoBrand sweatpants, which are so cool they make me proud to be a ‚Äúsweatpant mom.‚ÄĚ

 

7. What is the first thing you do when you complete a book?

I’ve only completed one, and if memory serves, my husband and I went out to our secret place: a little strip mall beer shop in Ardmore, Pa. that serves drafts and hot dogs in the back. So maybe that will be my new end-of-book tradition.

8. What was the last book that you read?

The excellent ‚ÄúThe Expatriates‚ÄĚ by Janice Y.K. Lee.

 

9. While on tour what is a must-have beauty product in your make-up bag?

A friend turned me on to Beauty Counter products and I am obsessed, so I always travel with my BC Cream Cleanser and Night Cream. My other current obsession is eyebrow pencils… right now I am using one from Hourglass.

 

10. Are you looking forward to any books that are coming out in 2016?

 

Yes! On my list are ‚ÄúJune‚ÄĚ by Miranda Beverly-Whittemore, ‚ÄúIf I Forget You‚ÄĚ by Thomas Greene, and ‚ÄúThe Underground Railroad‚ÄĚ by Colson Whitehead. But before that, I‚Äôm checking out two paperbacks: ‚ÄúA Window Opens‚ÄĚ by Elisabeth Egan and ‚ÄúEverybody Rise‚ÄĚ by Stephanie Clifford. I‚Äôve heard great things and I like to support debut authors! ūüėČ

 

*Thanks to Hachette for sending a copy for review to Bliss, Beauty and Books!

Here’s To Us by Elin Hildebrand


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We all know, as readers, that Elin Hilderbrand is the queen of beach reads. ¬†Each summer I anxiously await her gorgeous covers and blissful, beachy plots. ¬†I mean any book set on Nantucket you automatically can smell the salt air and feel the sand between your toes. ¬†Plus I am a New England gal and love that Elin loves her town so much to continuously write about it. ¬†I have been and if I lived there year round I would be that in love with it too! ¬†Here’s to Us was quintessential Elin and I soaked it up in merely a few days. ¬†She once again can continue to reign as a beach read queen and this book just put another jewel on her crown.

Here’s To Us centers around Laurel, Belinda and Scarlett all former wives of celebrity chef – Deacon Thorpe. ¬†All completely different they are reunited on Nantucket upon hearing that Deacon has passed away. ¬†Buck, a former employee and confidant of Deacons, wants everyone to gather at Deacon’s old house to celebrate his life and spread his ashes. ¬†Along with Deacon’s children with each wife, they gather for a few days that are filled with drama, loss and secrets. ¬†Set against the beautiful setting of sun, sea and sand each character is dealing with the loss of Deacon in their own way. ¬†Can this eclectic group come together and mourn the loss of someone they all loved or will greed and jealousy divide them and have them leaving the island with regret?
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Here’s To Us is the perfect book to keep the pages turning under the hot sun. ¬†It has all the main ingredients to prove this- amazing characters, a complex plot and the perfect amount of drama, love and lust. ¬†Hilderbrand summer after summer garners new fans with these page turners and this fan has yet to be disappointed. ¬†She just has a way with a summer read and I think it’s the¬†fact that she lives and¬†breathes¬†Nantucket life as well as taking beautiful, beachy vacations. ¬†She gets it. ¬†And by “it” I mean she knows what we readers want in the perfect beach read. ¬†Thank you Elin, time and time again for making our summer days and nights that much better!

*Thanks to Little Brown for sending a review copy.

This Was Not The Plan by Cristina Alger ~ Poolside Pick #3

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Summer officially started yesterday and what a better way then to kick it off with an all around fabulous read. ¬†This Was Not The Plan by Cristina Alger won me over with the first few paragraphs and held me all the way until the end. ¬†I love, love, loved this book. ¬†It was touching at times, hilarious and thoughtful- all the things you want in a great book. ¬†I chose this book as my 3rd “Poolside Pick” selection because it is the perfect beach or pool bag accessory and you will not be able to put it down plus the cover is so bright and summery its sure to match your swimsuit ūüôā

The book centers around Charlie, “Chuck”, who is a big time lawyer and a widow. ¬†His beautiful and loving wife Mira was killed in an airplane crash leaving Charlie and their son Caleb. ¬†Charlie relies on his sister Zadie to help with Caleb while he maintains his high profile career. ¬†One night at work outing he gets a little tipsy and takes the mic. ¬†In front of his whole office he lets loose on his thoughts about his career and workplace, not something that was looked at as a highlight. ¬†Not thinking much of it he returns home not knowing he was being filmed. ¬†The next morning Charlie gets a call into the office with the bosses informing him of his actions and the consequences- he is being fired. ¬†Charlie only knows work life, what will he do now? ¬†Back at home his sister Zadie feels for him but it couldn’t be better timing as she wants to get away with her boyfriend which will leave Charlie to take care of Caleb, something he has yet to do on his own. ¬†Soon Charlie starts to see what really matters in life with the help of another single dad, an old college crush and his absentee father. ¬†Will Charlie still long for 20 hour work days or will really living life put everything into perspective and allow him to see what real love and family is like?

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As I said before I love everything about this book. ¬†The writing is superb, the characters are lovable and the plot is perfect. ¬†I really almost felt like I was watching a Nora Ephron or Gary Marshall movie- Cristina listen, this needs to be a movie ūüôā ¬†It was so charming. ¬†I loved the way the Alger sewed in pieces of the past with Mira and Charlie as it was great to know the relationship that they had. ¬†Charlie is so relatable and I was cheering for him until the last line. ¬†This is a book that will not disappoint, guaranteed. ¬†It was so good I am off to get Alger’s other novel The Darlings as she is on my list as a favorite author now! ¬†So pack those bags for summer¬†and get your beach reading started with This Was Not The Plan!

 

*Thanks to Touchstone for sending a copy to review.

One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid

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Book. Hangover. ¬†It’s real people. ¬†And once again Taylor Jenkins Reid has blown my mind and solidified herself as one of my favorite authors with One True Loves. ¬†Not only did I love this book for the characters and plot but its set in MASSACHUSETTS, my hometown. ¬†Reid’s love for her hometown Acton, MA shines in this novel as this is the hometown of the main characters. Her references for this amazing state are like a warm hug and reminded me how much I love being from here. ¬†Each book that she writes she creates characters that you do not want to leave. ¬†You want to know where they are going and what they are doing days later and this book is no exception.

One True Loves is about Emma Blair. ¬†Emma is your typical girl who works in her family’s bookshop and dreams beyond the confines of her hometown Acton, MA. ¬†While in high school she meets Jesse. ¬†The star swimmer who she believe is out of her league until a chance meeting at a party in the woods. ¬†They are stuck together when the cops come and they are forced to hide in a bush until they are safe. ¬†From this moment a love affair begins which eventually leads up to years later and a marriage. ¬†Both of them wanting to pursue their passions take their relationship to California. ¬†Married and completely in love a terrible plane crash happens causing Emma to believe Jesse is dead. ¬†Completely devastated and in grief she takes baby steps into healing. ¬†One of which is to move home, back to Acton. ¬†Here is gets the care she needs from her parents and sister. ¬†She does not know how to move forward. ¬†Enter Sam. ¬†Sam also went to high school with Emma and Jesse. ¬†He also worked at Emma’s parents bookstore and was a great friend to Emma. ¬†Not knowing that he was in love with her, ¬†Emma runs into Sam while she is trying to pick up the pieces to her shattered life. ¬†An instant connection happens and they fall in love. ¬†Hesitant, Emma doesn’t know if it is too soon as she is still mourning Jesse. ¬†Then she gets a phone call. ¬†Jesse is still alive. ¬†Engaged to Sam, Emma is at odds. ¬†Does she try to rekindle what she thought was lost and dead with Jesse or stay with Sam, her new love who has been with her through the hardest time in her life. ¬†She really questions who her one true love is?

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As I said before my love for Taylor Jenkins Reid and her amazing novels grows ¬†with each book. ¬†Reid has a way of capturing a readers heart and not letting go until that final sentence. ¬†This book did just that for me. ¬†The triangle between Emma, Sam and Jesse kept me so conflicted but Reid knew how to take the reader to that perfect ending. ¬†I can promise you, you will devour this book. ¬†And I can promise you once you finish you will run out and purchase her back catalog ~ I may or may no have done this after reading Maybe in Another Life ¬†ūüėČ ¬†Also if you are participating in the BookSparks #SRC2016 this is a June selection and will of course keep making 2016 the #bestsummerever.

*Thanks to Atria Books for sending a review copy.

Will You Accept this Rose? Bachelorette “Poolside Picks”

The Bachelorette is in full swing and #TeamJojo is on the hunt for the perfect guy. ¬†I hadn’t watched The Bachelorette in years and decided I would pick it back up again this season as I am 32 weeks pregnant and the couch is my new BFF. ¬†What a season it has been! ¬†I decided to compile a little list of some fabulous #Bachelorette books, written by former contestants who tell all and dish the juicy tidbits we want to hear. ¬†Not only are they a fun read, they too are the perfect poolside companions, and therefore are my “Poolside Picks” this week! ¬†An summer ode to The Bachelorette ‚̧

It’s Not Okay by Andi Dorfman

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via Goodreads

Andi Dorfman, the beloved finalist of season eighteen of¬†The Bachelor¬†who infamously rejected Juan Pablo and went on to star on season ten of¬†The Bachelorette,¬†dishes about what it‚Äôs like to live out a love story‚ÄĒand its collapse‚ÄĒin front of the cameras, offering hard-won advice for moving on after a break-up, public or not.

Andi Dorfman, star of¬†The Bachelor¬†and¬†The Bachelorette, talks candidly about what it‚Äôs like to be courted by twenty-five handsome, single men in this juicy, insider‚Äôs peek at dating‚ÄĒand breaking up‚ÄĒon national TV. She shares entertaining and heartfelt stories about her fellow¬†Bachelor¬†alums‚ÄĒmany of whom are still close friends‚ÄĒcomes clean about calling out Bachelor #18 Juan Pablo for bad behavior, and reflects on her personal challenges and uplifting experiences in love that she hopes will help you get through your own break-ups with grace and style!

 

I Said Yes by Emily Maynard

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via Goodreads

When her high-profile search for romance led Emily Maynard to dead end after dead end, real love finally found her.

Millions know Emily Maynard Johnson from her unprecedented double appearances on The Bachelor and The Bachelorette. Millions also know that neither of the relationships from those shows lasted much longer than a commercial break.

Overcome with embarrassment following her nationally televised failures at romance, Emily finally committed her heart to the only one she knew would never leave her empty and alone. Abandoning her desire to be chosen by men and finding peace in the fact that she was already chosen by God, Emily found the joy she had been looking for in serving God.

In I Said Yes, Emily tells the story of her life before and after reality TV fame, describing the profound new reality she discovered when she forsook fame in favor of the Lord. At the end of a long, fruitless search for a man, this courageous young woman found the truest love of all waiting right in front of her. To that love, Emily said yes.

I Didn’t Come Here to Make Friends: Confessions of a Reality Show Villain by Courtney Robertson

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via Goodreads

Courtney Robertson joined season 16 of The Bachelor looking for love. A working model and newly single, Courtney fit the casting call: She was young, beautiful, and a natural in front of the cameras. Although she may have been there for all the right reasons, as the season unfolded and sparks began to fly something else was clear: She was not there to make friends.

Courtney quickly became one of the biggest villains in¬†Bachelorfranchise history. She unapologetically pursued her man, steamrolled her competition, and broke the rules‚ÄĒincluding partaking in an illicit skinny-dip that sealed her proposal. Now, after a very public breakup with her Bachelor, Ben Flajnik, Courtney opens up and tells her own story‚ÄĒfrom her first loves to her first moments in the limo.¬†She dishes on life before, during, and after the¬†Bachelor,¬†including Ben’s romantic proposal to her on a Swiss mountaintop and the tabloid frenzy that continued after the cameras stopped rolling.

For the first time ever, a former¬†Bachelor¬†contestant takes us along on her journey to find love and reveals that ‚Äúhappily ever after‚ÄĚ isn’t always what it seems. Complete with stories, tips, tricks, and advice from your favorite¬†Bachelor¬†alumni, and filled with all the juicy details Courtney fans and foes alike want to know,¬†I Didn‚Äôt Come Here to¬†Make Friends¬†is a must-read for every member of¬†Bachelor¬†nation.

*Thanks to Gallery, Thomas Nelson and Dey Street Books for sending review copies.

*”Poolside Pick” #2 and Beauty Giveaway *

Hi readers! ¬†Back again with my weekly “Poolside Pick” plus I have another Beautycounter Lip Protect with SPF to giveaway (see last weeks post to get details). ¬†The perfect lip balm to wear while reading on these sunny beaches or perfect poolsides. ¬†This week I am picking Dorothea Benton Frank’s All Summer Long! ¬† A beach read favorite she always has the perfect southern voice and charm in her novels. ¬†I was so excited to see she had a new book coming out and knew it would be the perfect salt air companion ūüôā ¬†I am excited to be able to give one reader a copy of All Summer Long as well as the NEW paperback copy of All the Single Ladies, Frank’s release from 2015. ¬†All you have to do is head over and follow me on Instagram and comment on the post there or comment on the post below! ¬†I will be picking winners next week. ¬†Open to US residents only. ¬†Good luck!

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All Summer Long

via Goodreads

Filled with her trademark wit, poignant themes, and rich characters, the perennial New York Times bestselling author returns with a sensational novel that follows the travels of a one couple though a tumultuous summer.

Dorothea Benton Frank’s magical stories take us deep into the heart of her beloved Carolina Lowcountry. In her novels, this lush landscape comes alive in all its vibrancy and color. She ignites all of our senses with her vivid descriptions of landscape and atmosphere. In her novels you hear the ocean washing the shore on different islands so profoundly that you can nearly hear the sea gulls squawking too.

This is a story of people whose lives are changing‚ÄĒa southern gentleman returning home to lead a more peaceful life and his talented New York wife who is not quite sure she is ready to make the transition. They are moving north to south, fast pace vs slow pace, downsizing. And while they are doing this, they are getting glimpses into other people‚Äôs lives over the course of a summer, holidays that will amuse, shock and transform them.

This irresistible story is home to captivating characters as funny, complicated, and real as our best friends‚ÄĒhusbands and wives, mothers and daughters, friends and family who wrestle with the complexities, pain, and joys familiar to us all.

Finally, we’ll come to recognize the face of love, the kind that deepens and endures but only because one woman makes a tremendous leap of faith. That leap changes them all.

 

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All the Single Ladies

via Goodreads

The perennial New York Times bestselling author returns with an emotionally resonant novel that illuminates the power of friendship in women’s lives, and is filled with her trademark wit, poignant and timely themes, sassy, flesh-and-blood characters, and the steamy Southern atmosphere and beauty of her beloved Carolina Lowcountry.

Few writers capture the complexities, pain, and joy of relationships‚ÄĒbetween friends, family members, husbands and wives, or lovers‚ÄĒas beloved New York Times bestselling author Dorothea Benton Frank. In this charming, evocative, soul-touching novel, she once again takes us deep into the heart of the magical Lowcountry where three amazing middle-aged women are bonded by another amazing woman‚Äôs death.

Through their shared loss they forge a deep friendship, asking critical questions. Who was their friend and what did her life mean? Are they living the lives they imagined for themselves? Will they ever be able to afford to retire? How will they maximize their happiness? Security? Health? And ultimately, their own legacies?

A plan is conceived and unfurls with each turn of the tide during one sweltering summer on the Isle of Palms. Without ever fully realizing how close they were to the edge, they finally triumph amid laughter and maybe even newfound love.

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*Thanks to William Morrow for sending giveaway copies.

Love and Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch

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There is nothing better than the perfect ice cream cone on a hot summer day.  There is also nothing more perfect than a sweet summer read to take you to exotic places like Italy which is exactly what Love and Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch did for me.  This book is a YA book but really a must read for adults as well.  It is a beautifully written love story wrapped in blanket of soul searching and coming of age.  Welch makes a wonderful debut with this book.

Love and Gelato centers around Lina (Caroline). ¬†After losing her mother she is sent off to Tuscany, Italy to stay with her father Howard- her mother’s last wish. ¬†Howard manages a cemetery in Italy, not the job that Lina thought her absentee father would have. ¬†He is excited she is here and does everything to get her settled as she is anxious to go home. ¬†After receiving a journal that her mother once owned, Lina starts to uncover things about her mother’s past she never knew. ¬†As Lina starts to learn more about her Mom she also meets a young man, Ren who befriends her and introduces her to his circle of friends. ¬†Lina starts to adjust to the Italian life and really confides and trusts Ren as does he. ¬†The journal leads Lina and Ren on an adventure through the streets of Italy. ¬†What Lina thought she knew about her past starts to unfold. ¬†She starts to see everything is not what it seems and that Italy is the heart of the world where you can really find true love.

 

For this being Welch’s first novel I was shocked. ¬†The writing and plot was superb. ¬†I can’t say enough good things about this book. ¬†The story was relatable for any age as it deals with coming of age, young love, death and friendships- something we have all been through. ¬†The characters were so unique yet their relationships were woven together so seamlessly. ¬†Lina is the girl that you will root for until the end and come to love. ¬†Grab your passport and take this trip to Italy- you literally will feel transported. ¬†Love and Gelato is the perfect refreshing, sweet treat for your next trip to the beach!

*Thanks to Simon Teen for sending a review copy to Bliss, Beauty and Books