Sunday, May 20, 2018

Q & A with Karen Katchur, author of River Bodies

I would like to start out by thanking Karen Katchur for taking time to chat with me and answer some questions for my readers here at Books and Wine are Lovely!  Let's get started:

1.  When writing your latest book, River Bodies, was this “insidious evil” based on a true story or was this something you came up with on your own?  If this was self-created, I always wonder how authors come up with these evil plots on their own?  Does it just pop into your head one day?

Well, geez, if I say my evil plots are all self-created I’m not sure my husband would be able to sleep at night! ☺ The ideas for my stories come from either a personal experience or from something I’ve read, seen, or heard that sparked my interest.

River Bodies happens to be a combination of the two. It isn’t based on a true story, but it’s not entirely self-created either. When I was growing up, I remember hearing about a body that had been pulled from the Delaware River. Now, this isn’t necessarily unusual for the area. However, what was unusual was that the victim had sustained injuries similar to how a hunter field dresses a deer. Years later I heard of another case where a mother and daughter were found with similar injuries. It got me thinking and wondering what the motive was behind this specific type of crime. From there, the story behind River Bodies started to take shape. I wanted to explore how violence effects the lives of the characters involved and how it impacts their relationships and families.


2.  When you aren’t reading or writing, what do you like to do for fun?

I’m pretty low key. I love hanging out with my husband and our two girls whether we’re playing tennis, sitting by the pool, or running errands. Whatever it is we’re doing, they always make me laugh. The same goes with my girlfriends.


3.  If you were given a free voucher to fly (although with planes these days, I’m a little nervous) anywhere for 2 weeks where would you go?  Any particular reason?

Fly me to Baia delle Zagare, Puglia in Italy. All the beaches in Italy look absolutely breathtaking. I’m a beach person, so yeah, plop me down there but be warned, I may never leave.  

4.  What made you decide that you wanted to be a writer?  Has it always been a passion or is it something that you just fell into one day?

I can’t say writing has always been a passion, but it has always been a part of my life. I just didn’t know it! I thought everybody walked around with stories in their heads. I got the idea of writing a book after my second daughter was born. I was home raising my two girls and I’m not ashamed to admit that I was bored. It felt like my brain was oozing out of my ears. I needed something more than diapers and bottles to fill my days. I happened to catch an episode of Oprah one afternoon. They were discussing a book, While I Was Gone, by Sue Miller. The audience was divided about the main character’s actions to the point where a heated argument had broken out. I was riveted. I wanted to write a character that people talked about. At night after my girls were asleep, I started writing. I was hooked.

5.  Do you have a new book in the works?  Are there any details that you can share with your fans/readers?

Yes! River Bodies is the first book in the Northampton County series, and I’m currently working on book two with a working title, Cold Bones. Detective Parker Reed is back with a new partner, Geena Brassard. The story is set against the landscape of a missing person cold case, where three childhood friends reunite to confront their past and expose their secrets. It has a Stranger Things vibe as the chapters alternate from the 1980’s to present day. But rather than having a science fiction element, the monster in Cold Bones is human and he’s very real.

If that doesn't make you want to read River Bodies ( and Cold Bones ) then I don't know what will!

Karen Katchur 
About the Author 
Karen Katchur is an award-winning suspense novelist with a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice and a master's degree in Education. She lives in Eastern Pennsylvania with her husband and two children.
 
 Link to Pre-Order 

My Ex-Life by Stephen McCauley

David Hedges’s life is coming apart at the seams. His job helping San Francisco rich kids get into the colleges of their (parents’) choice is exasperating; his younger boyfriend has left him; and the beloved carriage house he rents is being sold. His solace is a Thai takeout joint that delivers 24/7.

The last person he expects to hear from is Julie Fiske. It’s been decades since they’ve spoken, and he’s relieved to hear she’s recovered from her brief, misguided first marriage. To him.

Julie definitely doesn’t have a problem with marijuana (she’s given it up completely, so it doesn’t matter if she gets stoned almost daily) and the Airbnb she’s running out of her seaside house north of Boston is neither shabby nor illegal. And she has two whole months to come up with the money to buy said house from her second husband before their divorce is finalized. She’d just like David’s help organizing college plans for her 17-year-old daughter.

That would be Mandy. To quote Barry Manilow, Oh Mandy. While she knows she’s smarter than most of the kids in her school, she can’t figure out why she’s making so many incredibly dumb and increasingly dangerous choices.

When David flies east, they find themselves living under the same roof (one David needs to repair). David and Julie pick up exactly where they left off thirty years ago―they’re still best friends who can finish each other’s sentences. But there’s one broken bit between them that no amount of home renovations will fix.

In prose filled with hilarious and heartbreakingly accurate one-liners, Stephen McCauley has written a novel that examines how we define home, family, and love. Be prepared to laugh, shed a few tears, and have thoughts of your own ex-life triggered. (Throw pillows optional.)

My Thoughts 
Where do I begin...What do I talk about...What do I keep a secret until you read the book for yourselves, which I HIGHLY recommend by the way.
Stephen has such a great writing style - everything flows, it makes sense and it is timely.
He approaches many topics from a broken marriage where one gets re-married and the other decides to come out as gay, a teenager who is lost and finds herself in a very dangerous situation, some very unique friendships, see why I can't give away all the details?  
The story begins by Julie contacting her ex-husband David about helping her daughter find colleges to apply to and navigate the process and the daughter invites him to come visit for a bit and it turns into weeks.  Julie is trying to figure out how to keep her soon to be ex-husband from selling her home (and airb&b) out from under her.
Ultimately, will David find the new direction he is looking for in life?  Will Julie figure out how to save the current life she has and the house she has grown attached to?  Will Mandy find her way out of the darkness before it's too late and she is lost forever?
Dive into this book today, you won't be disappointed.


Watermelon-Tequila Cocktails
Drink Selection
 I'm going to sweeten it a little (with a kick) and pair this read with a Watermelon -  Tequila cocktail!  Can you have just one?


Rating 
Amazing read from beginning to end, 5 wine glasses all the way.


Stephen McCauley

About the Author 
I grew up outside of Boston and was more or less educated in public schools. I went to the University of Vermont as an undergraduate and studied for a year in France at the University of Nice.
Upon graduation, I worked at hotels, kindergartens (see The Object of My Affection), ice cream stands, and health food stores. I taught yoga in a church basement and set up a house cleaning service. For many years, I worked as a travel agent (see The Easy Way Out) and was able to travel somewhat extensively and inexpensively.
Links to visit for Stephen:
 

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Bridal Girl by Meredith Schorr

Warning: exposure to the contents of this book while eating or drinking could cause laughter-induced choking. Read at your own risk.

Sassy book blogger-turned-author, Kim Long, thought her life couldn’t get any pinker when she received a two-book publishing deal and a marriage proposal in the same night. The wedding plans are coming together seamlessly, from the catering to the flowers to her much-coveted appointment at the exclusive and world famous Kleinfeld Bridal. Her debut novel is flying off the shelves to celebrated reviews, and her second book is practically writing itself.

If only the above wasn’t a big fat lie.

If only Kim could drown out the conflicting opinions of her overzealous bridal party, most notably, her sister and future sister-in-law, who haven’t stopped bickering since day one.

If only everyone would adore her first book—or she’d take Nicholas’s advice and stop reading reviews—she might not second guess every new word she writes.

If only Nicholas’s past would remain there rather than threaten their future.
The pressure is on, the clock is ticking, and in walks Hannah Marshak.

Will the former “mean girl” lend a helping hand or make things worse? Will Kim ever write “The End” on her sophomore novel? And, will she and Nicholas make it down the aisle to say those two precious words: I do?

We’ll never tell. So, put on your reading glasses, fill your champagne flute/cup of tea and prepare to laugh with (and sometimes at) Kim as she rewrites her happy ending until it’s worthy of five pink champagne flutes.

My Thoughts
What a fun 3rd book in the Blogger Girl series! 
I've had fun following Kim Long through each journey of her life from her blog to her first book and on to her 2nd book and her wedding!
I feel for her and her writers block though - that is the one thing that would terrify me at the end of the day, well that and negative reviews about my book babies.  I would feel like they are critiquing my children.
She needs to tell her bridal party to back off and if they don't like it - bye bye.  I know easier said then done right?  That's probably why I have always said elope!  So simple and a vacation all in one.
Start reading today and see if Kim finds her happy ending or if her dream as a writer and life as a bride disappear as if only a dream. 

Image result for pink champagne

Drink Selection

What better way to enjoy Bridal Girl then with some Pink Champagne!  Delish!



Rating

5 wine glasses all the way down the isle!

Meredith Schorr

About the Author

A born and bred New Yorker, Meredith Schorr discovered her passion for writing when she began to enjoy drafting work-related e-mails way more than she was probably supposed to. After trying her hand penning children's stories and blogging her personal experiences, Meredith found her calling writing romantic comedy, women's fiction, and contemporary young adult fiction. She secures much inspiration from her day job as a hard-working trademark paralegal and her still single (but looking) status. Meredith is a loyal New York Yankees fan, an avid runner, and an unashamed television addict. To learn more, visit her at www.meredithschorr.com.

Link to Purchase

Miss Minimalist by Francine Jay

Would you like to live a beautiful life with less stuff?

This delightful collection of articles by Francine Jay, author of “The Joy of Less, A Minimalist Living Guide,” provides great inspiration to pare down your possessions. Jay breezes from practical topics, like “What’s in a Minimalist Kitchen” and “How Many Shoes are Enough,” to more philosophical musings, like what the Japanese or ancient Greeks can teach us about simple living.

Along with valuable tips and advice, the author shares her personal stories about decluttering and living with less. Her warmth, humor, and encouraging tone make you feel like you’re chatting with a good friend over a cup of coffee—a friend you’d love to invite over to clean out your closets!

These essays are a wonderful introduction to minimalist living, written by someone with a genuine passion for the topic. If you’ve ever felt overwhelmed by your clutter, or disenchanted with consumerism, you’ll find a kindred soul (and a wealth of advice) in Miss Minimalist. Best of all: you’ll likely empty a drawer or two by the time you’ve finished reading!

My Thoughts
What a great book to read while I was moving and in the midst of spring cleaning and decluttering.  I feel with three kids the mess can just get out of control. 
I had my younger son go through is toys and if he hasn't played with them in years it was time to go!  He ended up donating over 4 bags of toys.
I myself am addicted top my book collection and I was able to part with at least 6 bags of books and I was able to sell 2 bags as well and get a $50 credit for Barnes and Noble!  Win win!
Do I ever think I will truly live the minimalist life style?  I don't think so.  But one thing I did learn from Francine was that I don't need "things" to be happy and to get rid of those things that are suffocating you.  I feel like I can breathe now and have space and empty counters are amazing!
I also love the philosophy quotes that she brings in as well, very enlightening and relevant for what she is speaking to.

Image result for Margarita

Drink Selection
I could go for a nice chill margarita after all that cleaning, ok maybe 2.  :)


Rating
4 wine glasses for all of these helpful thoughts and strategies!

About the Author
Francine Jay pioneered the minimalist living movement with her blog, MissMinimalist.com, and her book, The Joy of Less, A Minimalist Living Guide: How to Declutter, Organize, and Simplify Your Life. In 2009, she and her husband sold their house, and all their possessions, and moved overseas with one suitcase each. After three years as a world-traveling digital nomad, she’s now applying her minimalist philosophy to her new life as a homeowner and mother.

Link to Purchase

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Seasonaires by Janna King

For a twentysomething, there is no summer job better than being a seasonaire - No responsibilities, college is barely a thought, and you’re surrounded by glamorous, beautiful people. When life is this intoxicating and seemingly carefree, what could possibly go wrong?

Acclaimed screenwriting talent Janna King makes her fresh and thrilling debut with The Seasonaires. An idyllic Nantucket summer begins like a dream for scrappy Mia from South Boston; Presley, the gorgeous southern beauty queen; Cole, a handsome introvert; Jade, the sultry daughter of a model and music mogul; J.P., the energetic young designer; and Grant, the playful party-boy. These six are working as seasonaires - influential brand ambassadors - for the clothing line Lyndon Wyld. But like all things that look too good to be true, the darkness lurking underneath slowly rises to the surface.

Lyndon Wyld, the chic British tigress who owns the eponymous business, rules their daily life by curating their every move, which the seasonaires are obligated to post on social media for their growing throngs of followers. When corporate greed, professional rivalries and personal conflicts are mixed with sex, drugs, and the naiveté of youth, the results are explosive as the murder that will sully their catalog-perfect lives.
  

My Thoughts
When I first started this book I was like where was this when I was younger HAHA.  Then the more I delved into each of their lives and what they experienced in Nantucket on a daily basis I decided - NOPE I'm good.
Nothing good can truly come from giving a 20 something $10,000 upfront and $10,000 at the end of a summer (a few weeks) for wearing their clothes and showing up at their events and handing out goodies.
From the crazy drug use, the rival clothing designers, uncontrollable drinking and frolicking with each other and sleeping with locals - there is never a dull moment in each and every chapter.
The perfect summer read hands down!
Nantucket Cocktail recipe with brandy, cranberry juice and white grapefruit juice.
Drink Selection
Perfect for the summer - Nantucket Cocktail, delish!
2 ounces brandy
1 ounce white grapefruit juice
Fill a mixing glass halfway with cracked ice and pour all ingredients into it and stir well. Strain the mixture into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a lime wheel.


Rating
5 wine glasses - I wouldn't consider any lower!

Janna King

About the Author
Janna King is an author, screenwriter, playwright and director. Her debut novel, THE SEASONAIRES (Pegasus Books) will be available in May, 2018.

Janna has written TV movies and series for Lifetime, The Hallmark Channel, Sony TV, and more. Her two short films, “Mourning Glory” and “The Break Up,” which she wrote, directed and produced, were official selections at several film festivals. In addition, she has written for Warner Bros. Animation, Disney Junior, and Children’s Television Workshop.

She lives in Los Angeles, California.

Link to Purchase



Monday, May 14, 2018

Author Q & A with my dear friend Kristy Woodson Harvey


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Q & A with Kristy Woodson Harvey 

Good afternoon Kristy and thank you stopping by my blog!

1. When you aren’t writing, do you have another passion/career? 

I also write a design blog, Design Chic, with my mom. We have written it for eight years and it has been an amazing business and creative outlet for us.  

2. Is there an activity that you like to enjoy when you aren’t reading or writing (yoga, gardening etc )?

I am actually a certified yoga instructor, so that is definitely one of my activities, although I’m really more into spin classes and barre lately. (I don’t teach because of my crazy travel schedule, but I wanted to have the certification anyway!) I live at the beach, so I really just love to be with family and friends outside, on the boat, on the beach, just walking. I love to entertain too and we do that a lot!   

3. What is your favorite book of 2017? 2018 so far? 

Definitely The Secret to Southern Charm. Hahaha! Just kidding. My favorite book of 2018 so far is Love & Ruin by Paula McLain. I love her and I love Hemingway, and I honestly think this is her best book yet! This makes me realize that I really need to commit to reviewing more on Goodreads because I read so much I have a hard time remembering what I read and what I loved! (Preaching to the choir here, I’m sure.) I know it didn’t come out in 2017, but I read A Gentleman in Moscow in 2017, and I think it was my favorite of the year. That’s such a hard question because I have so many favorites!

4. What is your favorite tv show to binge watch? 

Southern Charm. I used to be a reality TV junkie, but now I’ve pared down to Southern Charm and The Bachelor/Bachelorette. I’m maturing… I like fun TV shows that don’t stress me out so besides that I really only watch Modern Family and Will & Grace. I did binge watch Gossip Girl last year and wondered why it had taken me so long! 

5. Which of your books would you like to see made into a movie? Any actors you would love to see play your characters ? 

Dear Carolina, my debut, was optioned for film by Jamie Pressly, so, of course, I’d love to see her play Khaki! I have had a lot of interest in the Peachtree Bluff series and would love to see that come to life. I am so bad at knowing who should play my characters, but a reader told me the other day that he wanted Ansley to be played by Diane Lane and now I’m obsessed with that idea! And, I mean, obviously I’d love to see Reese Witherspoon play absolutely anyone! Probably Caroline.  

6. Do you have another book in the works? 

I can’t leave my readers hanging after The Secret to Southern Charm. I think we need one more trip to Peachtree Bluff!  

Thank you so much Kristy for joining us here today and I look forward to many more books in the future and many more chats as well!

Harvey Port 02.JPG 
About Kristy 
Kristy Woodson Harvey is the bestselling author of Dear Carolina (Berkley/Penguin Random House, 2015), Lies and Other Acts of Love (Berkley/Penguin Random House, 2016) and the Peachtree Bluff Series, beginning with Slightly South of Simple (Gallery/Simon & Schuster, 2017). Dear Carolina was long-listed for the Pat Conroy Southern Book Prize, has been optioned for film and has appeared on numerous “must-read” lists. Lies and Other Acts of Love was a Romantic Times top pick, a Southern Booksellers Okra Pick and a finalist for the Southern Book Prize. Slightly South of Simple was a Southern Bestseller, a Barnes & Noble Bestseller, one of PopSugar’s picks for “Ultimate Summer Reading” and one of Glitter Guide’s “Must-Reads for April.” The Secret to Southern Charm, the second book in the Peachtree Bluff series, releases April 3, 2018.
She blogs with her mom, Beth Woodson, daily on Design Chic, the inaugural member of the Design Blogger Hall of Fame sponsored by Traditional Home and winner of Amara’s Best Luxury Blog, sponsored by Roberto Cavalli, about how creating a beautiful home can be the catalyst for creating a beautiful life and loves connecting with readers at kristywoodsonharvey.com.
Harvey is a Phi Beta Kappa, summa cum laude graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s school of journalism and holds a master’s in English from East Carolina University, with a concentration in multicultural and transnational literature. Her writing has appeared in numerous publications and websites, including Southern Living, Traditional Home, Parade, USA Today, Domino, Our State and O. Henry. She has been seen in Women’s Health, The Washington Post, US News and World Report, The Huffington Post, USA Today’s Happy Every After, Marie Claire’s The Fix, Woman’s World, Readers’ Digest and North Carolina Bookwatch, among others. She lives in North Carolina with her husband and six-year-old son where she is working on her next novel.
Buy Links:
The Secret to Southern Charm is available from your local bookstore, Amazon, Barnes & Noble
 Target, Books-a-Million, Indiebound and wherever books are sold! It is being simultaneously released in paperback, hardback, e-book and audio, so check out your favorite version!
Buy Links: