A Book Box?

Hi all, Ashley here, just stopping by to post today because I took very interesting survey from St. Martin’s Press and I couldn’t help but to share!

We all know “subscription boxes” are a big deal. The big thing 2013 gave us (maybe?). You probably see the ads for them pop up on your Facebook timeline every now and then, chances are you might even have a subscription or at least know someone who does. People seem to love them, and the companies offering them are springing up all over the place. You can get your fill of almost anything — geekery, foodie-themed goodies, makeup, jewelry, clothes, pet supplies — pretty much every human and non-human interest conceivable could be delivered to your door monthly with new, surprising products for you to explore and behold.

But what about books?

I took a super interesting survey the other day (the link is provided below if you’d like to take it yourself) that basically gauged my interest, as a reader, in a “book box.” A monthly (or bi-monthly) subscription that would, for a fee, continue to feed my ravenous appetite for all things books.

But what really thrilled me? Under “genres of interest” they included Women’s Fiction. Hooray! You see, while there are plenty of read-worthy titles in this genre, and super talented authors standing behind those titles, it doesn’t get as much action as…say…YA or Sci-Fi or Mystery. So, how freaking awesome would it be to get a big brown box dedicated to the genre on my doorstep each month? Very freaking awesome.

The options also include how often you’d like a box and what you’d pay for me. Me? I could get on board with a bi-monthly subscription, and I’d love the see price come in below retail because that seems pretty much par for the course with these sort of services.

I did a little research and there doesn’t seem to be anything like this right now from publishing houses. But I have to admit, I sort of love the idea. Heck, I would plow my way through the interweb to be one of the first to sign up, that’s for sure and it would make my holiday shopping a bit less complicated for all the bibliophiles on my list.

What do you think? Would you sign up? Tell us in the comments below! And TAKE THE SURVEY.

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Cover Reveal – Honeysuckle and Jasmine by Liz Grace Davis

Can I just begin with saying I am so excited to reveal this cover to you all? So, so excited!

As you may know, author Liz Grace Davis is a contributor and a driving force behind The Women’s Fiction Review. Without her willingness this blog wouldn’t be even partially possible. She is so funny and generous and kind, knowing her as been such a gift and I can honestly say, without exaggerating in the least, she one of my very best writerly friends. Her commitment to seeing that the WF genre reaches its fans and that the good books our genre has to offer spring from the shelves into the hands of readers is one of the many reasons our blog exists at all. So, naturally, when the opportunity presented itself to unveil the new cover for her novel Honeysuckle and Jasmine, it was simply a given we’d do it right here. And today is the big day!

Liz, I am all so proud of you…and I’m sure everyone agrees with me when I say: Your new cover is just gorgeous! Congratulations!

Ready?

Here is the brand new, never-before-seen cover for Honeysuckle and Jasmine…

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I told you it was gorgeous! But believe me when I say, the cover isn’t the only gorgeous thing about Liz’s newest novel…the story is beautiful too!

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Back Copy —

The past is never far behind.

Senia Loato’s life has been needled by disappointment, and the wounds that fester go beyond skin deep. She is certain if she puts miles between her and her tainted past, she will somehow outrun it. When she’s offered the chance to leave her island home of Mintang to become an au pair for three boys in Germany, she takes the opportunity to start running.

In Germany, she meets Miina, another African au pair. What builds between them is a life-defining friendship, one they will risk everything for.

And soon, they’ll be asked nothing less.

When Miina is betrayed and left stranded, Senia stands by her, risking much more than just her stay in Germany. She also stands to lose rich, handsome, turquoise-eyed Roman Dorenwald, the first man she has allowed into her heart.

But they’re risks worth taking.

Eventually, Senia makes a sacrifice that catapults her back to her past, where she’s forced to draw back the curtain and discover the shocking truth of her history.

Can she confront her nightmares, reach deep into her soul, and forgive those who have hurt her? Or is it easier to just keep running?

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Honeysuckle and Jasmine is one of those brave novels that bleeds bareness of the soul and beauty from every single page. I was afforded the opportunity, back when this book was living on the screen of Liz’s computer, to read it as a beta, I could hardly concentrate on ‘doing my job’…the story consumed me whole. A reader called it ‘eye-opening’ and they were right, it is eye-opening. Partially inspired by true events, this book is one you should be reading…and with a cover so interesting and intriguing, how could you possibly resist? Snag your copy HERE.

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Weak at the Knees by Jo Kessel

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Reviewer: Tracy Santoria
“We got so busy living life that we forgot to live our dreams.”Danni Lewis has been playing it safe for twenty-six years, but her sheltered existence is making her feel old ahead of time. When a sudden death plunges her into a spiral of grief, she throws caution to the wind and runs away to France in search of a new beginning.The moment ski instructor Olivier du Pape enters her shattered world she falls hard, in more ways than one.Their mutual desire is as powerful and seductive as the mountains around them. His dark gypsy looks and piercing blue eyes are irresistible.Only she must resist, because he has a wife – and she’d made a pact to never get involved with a married man.But how do you choose between keeping your word and being true to your soul?Weak at the Knees is Jo’s debut novel in the new adult, contemporary romance genre – a story about love, loss and relationships, set between London and the heart of the French Alps.Due to descriptive sex scenes, this book is not appropriate for younger readers.

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I am going to be honest and say that when I first started reading Weak in the Knees, I expected it to be similar to the other love stories that are currently out there. Yes, it was a love story between a man and a woman but it was so much more. It showed you that love could be in so many places, including ones that you never imagined them to be. It examined love beyond the typical relationship. It brought you into the love between best friends and the connections that they share. It taught you that sometimes, love just happens and sometimes you can’t choose who you fall in love with. Weak in the Knees puts you on a rollercoaster of emotion and pulls you in because honestly, you cannot wait for the ride to come to a stop and see how it all ends.  
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I give this book 3 stars. Although it was a good book I would have liked to see more in depth story lines between some of the characters.  I think it would have drawn me in more and made me connect with the personalities on a deeper level. All in all it was an enjoyable quick read.
TWFR Rating: 3 Stamps … We liked it! 
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Jo Kessel is also hosting a giveaway! Be sure to look up additional dates for her tour for Weak in the Knees HERE … the more comments you make the better your chancing are of winning!

We Are Water by Wally Lamb

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Amazon & Barnes and Noble

Reviewer: Ashley Mackler-Paternostro

We Are Water is a disquieting and ultimately uplifting novel about a marriage, a family, and human resilience in the face of tragedy, from Wally Lamb, the New York Times bestselling author of The Hour I First Believed and I Know This Much Is True.

After 27 years of marriage and three children, Anna Oh—wife, mother, outsider artist—has fallen in love with Viveca, the wealthy Manhattan art dealer who orchestrated her success. They plan to wed in the Oh family’s hometown of Three Rivers in Connecticut. But the wedding provokes some very mixed reactions and opens a Pandora’s Box of toxic secrets—dark and painful truths that have festered below the surface of the Ohs’ lives.

We Are Water is a layered portrait of marriage, family, and the inexorable need for understanding and connection, told in the alternating voices of the Ohs—nonconformist, Anna; her ex-husband, Orion, a psychologist; Ariane, the do-gooder daughter, and her twin, Andrew, the rebellious only son; and free-spirited Marissa, the youngest. It is also a portrait of modern America, exploring issues of class, changing social mores, the legacy of racial violence, and the nature of creativity and art.

With humor and compassion, Wally Lamb brilliantly captures the essence of human experience and the ways in which we search for love and meaning in our lives.”

Wally Lamb is an incubator. Every five years, or every ten years, and only occasionally at other points in time, does this talented author bless our bookshelves with a new novel. When they arrive, they are gifts. His books, as they always are, are journeys into the human soul and not simply novels. They follow the arc of lives, allow the characters to seep in secrets, touch upon sensitive topics, unfold slowly over the course of hundreds of pages and leave the reader not only drawn into world which he so beautifully writes, but aching because they know they will have to sit and wait while he produces another — a wait that will feel unforgivably long.

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In his latest offering WE ARE WATER, as he has in the past novels This Much I Know Is True and The Hour I First Believed, Lamb returns us to quiet town of Three Rivers, Connecticut to bare witness to legacy of the Oh’s.

Annie Oh is a ‘angry’ artist. Her medium is other peoples trash. Street-found trinkets that — with nothing more than the creative veins that roils inside her and a loud voice she likens to a cyclone — she curates into treasures. Treasures that sell for thousands upon thousands of dollars to a fictional client list of not-so-fictional characters. Her life in New York City looks strikingly different from her once humble, erratic beginnings in America’s foster care system. She is also a newly minted lesbian and as WE ARE WATER opens, we find Annie stumbling ever closer to her wedding to the woman cultured her vibrant career, Viveca.

Orion Oh is trying to hold it together while simultaneously trying to reinvent himself in the third act of his life. His children have grown, his wife–whom he tried to love and understand for the duration of their 27 years together– is no longer his wife but a New York lesbian with a wealthy fiancee he blames for his marriage failing, and his job as a college psychologist has imploded around him after a two-part cataclysm: Lust and distraction. Orion is not trapped solely in the present, his past, too, proves be a divide he cannot overcome as it left him riddled with the shrapnel of estrangement and the hole that always existed in his personal history is one that never quite filled itself up.

Annie and Orion’s three shared children — Ariane, Andrew and Marissa — are as different as they are similar. Each struggles in their own way with change in their personal life — a wedding, a baby, a fledgling career that requires certain, yet questionable, moral compromises — as well the change of their parents. One could liken their mid-twenties struggles to the struggles that mid-fifties parents are in the throes of, drawing the conclusion that life, no matter one’s age, is little more than a endless loop of choices, chances and possible regrets. Ah, the brilliance of Lamb reveals itself yet again.

As the wedding of Annie (or Anna, the name given to her by the highfalutin society of art and prestige she now travels with) and Viveca draws near, so do the individual secrets that members of the Oh tribe have struggled to push away. Secrets and truths, the family must fully acknowledge both to move on…but the secrets they’ve kept will, in one single moment, lead to new secrets they’ll be forced to keep as they try to move forward.

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WE ARE WATER is an astute, and at times harrowing, novel which begs to be read. Weaving chaotic pasts together with the present, the books delves heavily into many of the social issues we face today  — race, class, marriage, parenting, forgiveness, mental illness and homosexuality. The book is not a light read by any means, but an amazing one that asks a reader to set aside all of her preconceived notions and look deeper into the core of where those notions stem from. Very possibly the best book of 2013, add this to you TBR list and move it right to the top.

P.S: Lovers of Lamb’s first best selling novel She’s Come Undone should by close attention as a familiar face appears in this novel (as is almost the status quo for Lamb).

WARNING: WE ARE WATER does contain graphic scenes of child abuse (both sexual and physical) that may be upsetting/disturbing to the reader. 

TWFR Rating: 5 Stamps … An instant classic and a new favorite

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Stardust Summer by Lauren Clark

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Reviewer: Ashley Mackler-Paternostro

Single mom Grace Mason doesn’t believe in miracles, magic, or love at first sight. She likes the quiet life, complete with her eight-year-old son, their tiny house, and her teaching job. For Grace, happiness means that nothing much ever changes in Ocean Springs, Mississippi.

Then, one thousand miles away, tragedy strikes. A massive heart attack leaves Grace’s estranged father comatose in an Upstate New York hospital. While a team of doctors fight to keep Henry Mason alive, Grace and Evan rush to his bedside to say their final goodbyes.

Henry’s passing brings little closure for Grace, but she finds herself inexplicably drawn to her new surroundings. What begins as a short trip results in an entire summer spent with Henry’s second wife, Kathleen, and her next-door neighbor, Ryan Gordon, the town doctor. When a series of unlikely events lead to Evan’s disappearance, Grace must face her worst fears to find her son and bring him back home.

Stardust Summer explores the complexities of forgiveness, what it means to be a family, and the fabulous possibility of falling in love—again.

STARDUST SUMMER begins at the end of one love story and at the start of another.

Grace Mason adores her son, Evan. She’s built her life around him, even her career as a teacher has been carefully selected to ensure she can spend as much time with him as possible in their small hometown of Ocean Springs, Mississippi. She’s happy, content even, but a tragic twist in her otherwise simple life will send Grace (with Evan in tow) to the Finger Lakes region of New York state to face old resentments and maybe find a way to put the past behind her.

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Ryan Gordon knows something about loss. His marriage has failed and it’s the sort of devastation he hasn’t come to terms with yet. His position as a small town doctor has left him overworked and now, to share the burden of the tragedy that draws Grace to his town.  He never imagined that in the middle of those two blows he’d find a new start…but life is sometimes surprising.

As Grace and Ryan meet, there is something undeniable happening between them, even if Grace is standoffish at first. But once she steps out of her own way in this charming, albeit at times dark, deep, novel…something magical happens, like the ‘stardust over the water in summer.’

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Beautifully written, STARDUST SUMMER is a journey of love and loss, redemption and second chances. Clark has created a cast of likable, relatable characters  which unfold themselves throughout the pages and ultimately leaves the reader wanting, heck, rooting for them to end up happy. Easily digestible chapters allow the reader to become quickly and fully engrossed in the story and Clark’s prose is, in a word, lovely. Written in the vein of startling romances with simple beginning and epic ends, a la Nicholas Sparks, this book is a must read for Women’s Fiction fans.

TWFR Rating: 4 Stamps…Really good, highly enjoyable!

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Lauren Clark is also hosting a giveaway!

Prize: Lauren will be awarding a $20 Amazon or B&N giftcard to TWO commenters over the course of her tour!

Enter Now! http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/28e43439/