Blog Tour & Review: The Stars of Summer by Tara Dairman

The Stars of SummerBlurb for THE STARS OF SUMMER (release date: May 5, 2015):

In this charming sequel to All Four Stars, eleven-year-old foodie Gladys Gatsby now has her first published review under her belt and is looking forward to a quiet summer of cooking and reviewing. But her plans quickly go awry when her friend Charissa Bentley delivers Gladys’s birthday gift: a free summer at Camp Bentley.

As Gladys feared, camp life is not easy: she struggles to pass her swim test and can’t keep the other campers happy while planning lunches. The worst part is she can’t seem to get away from the annoying new “celebrity” camper and sneak away for her latest assignment—finding the best hot dog in New York City. But when it turns out her hot dog assignment was a dirty trick by a jealous reviewer, Gladys’s reviewing career may be over forever.

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Collected Stories of Frank O’Connor reviewed by Chris

Collected Stories of Frank O'ConnorTitle: Collected Stories
Author: Frank O’Connor
Publisher: Open Road Media
Date Published: August 12, 2014
Pages: 720
Source: NetGalley

Disclaimer: ARC read via NetGalley and Open Road Media

Certain places enter the imagination, and for whatever reason Ireland is one of those places. Perhaps more recently, those views have been influenced by such shows as Ballykissangel, or movies such as Undine. Who knowsPerhaps Yeats had something to do with it. Or perhaps, most likely, it is because of the Diaspora that occurred in the country.

O’Connor’s short stories speak to the reader because while they are Ireland, they are also everywhere. Take for instance, “Even if there were only two men in the world and both of them saints they wouldn’t be happy. One of them would be bound to try and improve the other. That is the nature of things.” The story, “Song Without Words” might be describing two Irish men, but everyone knows the truth of the statement.

O’Connor’s stories focus on the everyday people, lower middle class, not upper class and not really those living below the poverty. They exist in a time that is at once secure and fluid. There is a priest who attempts to confront a girl about her wayward ways, though it isn’t so much those ways not annoy him. There is the struggle to get something for Christmas, young boys adjusting to the arrival of younger brothers, there is a story of a marriage (or is it a marriage), men who don’t understand their women, women who want their men to own up, and women who run with the man’s money. The class of characters is drawn with board and sure strokes, the oldest daughter stepping up as mother just as believable as the man with his circus animals.

The choices and hardships that the characters face are not those that will change society or the world, but they are those choices and hardships that can change a life, can make or break a person. For all that, they become far more dangerous and humorous than slaying the dragon or saving the prime minster.

Yeats called O’Connor the Irish Chekov, but in many ways he is also like Joyce in the power and resonance of his short stories. If you enjoyed Dubliners, give O’Connor a try.

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Cover Reveal: Hello? by Liza Wiemer

Hello? by Liza WiemerHello? By Liza Wiemer
Publication Date: October 27, 2015
By Spencer Hill Contemporary
Hello? cover design: Jenny Zemanek and Jim Wiemer
Credit: Steve Waldron

About Hello?

Tricia: A girl struggling to find her way after her beloved grandma’s death.
Emerson: A guy who lives his life to fulfill promises, real and hypothetical.
Angie: A girl with secrets she can only express through poetry.
Brenda: An actress and screenplay writer afraid to confront her past.
Brian: A potter who sets aside his life for Tricia, to the detriment of both.

Linked and transformed by one phone call, Hello? weaves together these five Wisconsin teens’ stories into a compelling narrative of friendship and family, loss and love, heartbreak and healing, serendipity, and ultimately hope.

To learn more about Hello? and to add it to your TBR: Goodreads

Blurbs:

“Brave, beautiful, and wholly original, this story about tantalizing connections and heartbreaking relationships will haunt you, fill you with hope, and leave you smiling.”
—Martina Boone, author of Compulsion and the Heirs of Watson Island series

“HELLO? is a captivating story about fractured families, authentic friendships, and the way lives connect, impact, and transform each other. This book is so originally crafted and beautifully executed it will stay with you for a long time.”
—Andye Epps, Reading Teen

“A uniquely written story about the beauty of human connections told through incredibly vivid characters. It’s one contemporary YA fans shouldn’t miss.”
—Kathy Coe, A Glass of Wine Book Reviews

About Liza Wiemer:

Liza married the guy who literary swept her off her feet at a SpyroGyra concert. Their love story can be found on Liza’s “About” page. Besides being a die-hard Packer fan, Liza is also a readaholic, a romantic, and a lover of crazy socks and rooftops. Hello?is her debut YA novel. She also has had two adult non-fiction books published, as well as stories and articles in various publications. She’s a graduate of UW-Madison with a degree in Education and the mother of two sons.

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Cover Reveal: Easy Target by Kay Thomas

Title: Easy Target
Author: Kay Thomas
Series: Elite Ops #3
Release Date: June 9, 2015
Publisher: Avon Impulse
Pages: 384

Author Website

ABOUT THE BOOK:

AEGIS: an elite team of ex-military men who will do anything for their country…and their women.

Fighting to clear her brother of murder, freelance reporter Sassy Smith is suddenly kidnapped and thrown into a truck with other women who are about to be sold…or worse. When she sees an opportunity for escape Sassy takes it, but she may have just jumped from the frying pan into the fire.

Former Marine Bryan Fisher (aka Hollywood) is no stranger to dangerous situations, or to his best friend’s little sister. When he rescues Sassy, Bryan is determined to keep her safe…if he can keep his hands off of her. Because Sassy is all grown up and not at all like the girl he used to know. But he’s got bigger problems. And with enemies coming at them from every corner, Bryan and Sassy will need to work together if they’re going to survive.

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Blog Tour: Play On by Michelle Smith

Play On by Michelle SmithTitle: Play On
Author: Michelle Smith
Release Date: April 21, 2015
Publisher: Spencer Hill Contemporary

Synopsis: In the small town of Lewis Creek, baseball is everything. Especially for all-star pitcher Austin Braxton, who has a one-way ticket out of town with his scholarship to a top university. All that stands between him and a new start is one final season. But when Austin starts flunking Chemistry, his picture-perfect future is in jeopardy. A failing grade means zero playing time, and zero playing time means no scholarship.

Enter Marisa Marlowe, the new girl in town who gets a job at his momma’s flower shop. Not only is Marisa some home-schooled super-genius, she’s also a baseball fanatic and more than willing to help Austin study. As the two grow closer, there’s something about Marisa that makes Austin want more than just baseball and out of Lewis Creek–he wants a future with her. But Marisa has a past that still haunts her, one that she ran all the way to South Carolina to escape.

As Austin starts to peel back the layers of Marisa s pain, it forces him to look beyond the facade of himself and everyone he thought he knew in his town. What he sees instead is that in a small town like Lewis Creek, maybe baseball isn’t everything–maybe it is just the thing that ties them all together.”

Pre-order Links and Goodreads Link:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | IndieBound | Goodreads link

AuthorAuthor Bio:

Michelle Smith was born and raised in North Carolina, where she developed a healthy appreciation for college football, sweet tea, front porches, and a well-placed “y’all.” She’s a lover of all things happy, laughs way too much, and fully believes that a little bit of kindness goes a long way.

Michelle lives near the Carolina coast with her family.

Author Social Media Links:

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Tumblr

Play On Dream Cast from author Michelle Smith

I’m an incredibly visual person, so putting a face to a name is essential for me. I’m a bit weird in that I can’t move forward with a story until I can picture the characters. So, allow me to present how I picture the major characters of Play On!
Austin Braxton: Zach Gilford. (Yes, yes that is Matt Saracen.)

Marisa Marlowe: Anna Kendrick

Jay Torres: Tyler Posey

Brett Perry: Brett was HARD to pinpoint, but Chris Pine comes pretty close.

Eric Perry: Grey Damon

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Promo: Delayed Death by Beate Boeker

Delayed DeathTitle: Delayed Death
Series: Temptation in Florence #1
Author: Beate Boeker
Release Date: November 19, 2013
Pages: 252

About the Book:

Delayed Death is Book #1 in the Temptation in Florence Series, a cozy murder mystery romance series with a strong dose of humor and romance.

The title of the series comes from the lingerie store that the protagonist, Carlina, owns and runs, Temptation, on one of Florence, Italy’s, premier shopping streets. The Temptation in Florence Series follows the life, adventures and loves of Italian-American Carlina, and of her extended eccentric Italian family, many of whom live in apartments in the same building in central Florence.

The family’s eccentric members and their whims and wishes are a never-ending source of amusement for Carlina. While often treated like the family’s Cinderella, Carlina is also a sexy, saucy, funny thirty-two-year-old woman.

When a crisis occurs, right at the beginning of Delayed Death, and Carlina gives in to her domineering cousin’s wishes, Carlina sets herself on a collision course with police Commissario Stefano Garini.

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Blog Tour: The Closer You Come by Gena Showalter

The Closer You Come by Gena ShowalterTitle: The Closer You Come
Author: Gena Showalter
Series: The Original Heartbreakers #1
Release Date: March 31, 2015

Blurb:

Just released from prison, Jase Hollister has a dark and twisted past. And now, he has only one goal: stay out of trouble. Strawberry Valley, Oklahoma, sounds like the perfect place for him and his two brothers-by-circumstance to settle down and live a nice, simple life. But model citizen isn’t exactly this rugged bachelor’s default setting—especially when it comes to a certain hot-blooded Southern beauty…

Brook Lynn Dillon has always been responsible. Not that it’s done her much good. The down-on-her-luck waitress is broke, single and fun-deprived. Until Jase comes along. He is dangerous, stunningly protective, breathtakingly sexy and as tempting as sin, and the passion sizzling between them is undeniable. But can it melt her resistance? After all, the right kind of trouble might be just what they both need.

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Promo: Heart’s Desire by T.J. Kline

Title: Heart’s Desire
Series: The Healing Hearts
Author: T.J. Kline
Release Date: April 28th, 2015
Publisher: Avon Impulse
Pages: 384

HEART’S DESIRE by T.J. Kline

The Healing Hart Series:

The Healing Harts series came to me one night as I was just falling asleep. It jerked me awake, making me sit up in bed. It was one of those ideas that came completely formulated, an entire series, like a lightning bolt to the brain, and I haven’t been able to shake loose of it until it was written down. A family, rocked by loss, each member with a desire to help others in their own way.

In the first book, Heart’s Desire, Jessie is faced with running the family dude ranch alone after her parent’s unexpected death. Unbeknownst to her siblings, she and her father were transitioning the ranch to an abused horse rescue facility but she’s floundering to keep it afloat and bankruptcy is looming. Her brother, Justin, decides it’s time to call his college buddy, Nathan Kerrington, for help – the same man who shattered her heart eight years earlier.

Nathan Kerrington knows he hurt Jessie but he had a good reason for it. Now he just has to prove that to her and regain her trust. But, as old hurts rise to the surface, they must resolve their past before they can attempt to save her future and some hurts aren’t easily forgiven.

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