A Classic + the Re-Telling Giveaway

June 30, 2015 Book Talk, Giveaway 6

ana of californiaIn honor of publication day and with tremendous thanks to Penguin Publishing, I have a copy of both the gorgeous Puffin in Bloom edition of Anne of Green Gables and the modern-day retelling Ana of California by Andi Teran.  If I had not just bought the Puffin edition for my new library shelves I would be so incredibly jealous of the winner of this giveaway!  I’ve been eyeing the Puffin classics awhile now!

Fifteen-year-old orphan Ana (“one n, like fauna-not Anna, like ‘banana”) Cortez has just blown her last chance with a foster family.  It’s a group home next-unless she agrees to leave East Los Angeles for a farm trainee program in Northern California.  When she first arrives, Ana can’t tell a tomato plant from a blackberry bush, but Ana comes to love Garber Farm.  When she inadvertently stirs up trouble in town, Ana is afraid she might have ruined her last chance at finding a place to belong.


Everyone’s favorite redhead, the spunky Anne Shirley, begins her adventures at Green Gables, a farm outside Avonlea, Prince Edward Island. When the freckled girl realizes that the elderly Cuthberts wanted to adopt a boy instead, she begins to try to win them and, consequently, the reader, over.

Giveaway is open to U.S. residents only {sorry my international friends, next time!}.  Accepting entries through 11:59 pm July 7th.  Random winner will be chosen & notified on July 8th.  Winner will have 48 hours to respond with mailing address or another winner will be chosen.  Good luck my friends!



What I Actually Read. . .

June 29, 2015 Book Talk 10

You have probably heard the phrase “my eyes were bigger than my stomach,” yes?  Well, I have a new one ~ my reading desires were bigger than my actual time.  I admit I have a bad bad habit of trying to cram too much into one ~ family vacation with a four & seven year old? Yes, let’s plan to read not one, but FIVE, books!

My last ‘it’s Monday’ post shared this lofty list of books I wanted to read while on family vacation.  But, instead of reading any of the books listed, I read one that came in the mail just before leaving for the beach ~ Wendy Wax’s latest A Week at the Lake.  


aweekatthelakeTwenty years ago, Emma Michaels, Mackenzie Hayes, and Serena Stockton bonded over their New York City dreams. Then, each summer, they solidified their friendship by spending one week at the lake together, solving their problems over bottles of wine and gallons of ice cream. They kept the tradition for years, until jealousy, lies, and life’s disappointments made them drift apart.

It’s been five years since Emma has seen her friends, an absence designed to keep them from discovering a long-ago betrayal. Now she’s in desperate need of their support. The time has come to reveal her secrets—and hopefully rekindle their connection.

But when a terrible accident keeps Emma from saying her piece, Serena and Mackenzie begin to learn about the past on their own. Now, to heal their friendship and their broken lives, the three women will have to return to the lake that once united them, and discover which relationships are worth holding on to . . .

Please tell me someone else shares my affliction!

Are you an over-planner, over-goal setter or more of the realistic sort?




Top Five Authors Who Inspire My Work with Author, Lori Roy

June 17, 2015 Guest Post, Spotlight Author 3

So thrilled to have author Lori Roy joining us here today.  Lori Roy is the best-selling author of Bent Road, Until She Comes Home and most recently, Let Me Die in His Footsteps {reviewed here}.  I’m always fascinated to learn more about the author behind the book and Ms. Roy is no exception!  Though purely in Roy’s writing voice, Let Me Die in his Footsteps reveals ghostly whispers of the authors noted below.


Lori RoyThis is always a tough list to make and would certainly change depending on what I’m writing at the time. But for the purposes of identifying those authors who inspired my most recent novel, I would narrow it down to these five …

John Steinbeck

I’ve always been a fan of John Steinbeck. THE GRAPES OF WRATH and EAST OF EDEN are two books I will pick up and read from when I’m in need of a little inspiration or a “jump start.” There is something in the cadence and the voice that sinks in and helps set my own work in motion. In particular, there is a quote from EAST OF EDEN that is written on a 3×5 notecard and taped to the side of my computer that is a daily inspiration.
An unbelieved truth can hurt a man much more than a lie. It takes great courage to back truth unacceptable to our times. There’s a punishment for it, and it’s usually crucifixion. John Steinbeck – EAST OF EDEN

Flannery O’Connor

A few years ago, my son, who was in high school at the time, came home and asked me to buy a certain collection of Flannery O’Connor short stories as he needed it for one of his classes. I walked into my office, pulled the book from a shelf and handed it to him. He couldn’t understand why I would willingly read something he was being required to read. “It’s really good stuff,” I told him. Surprisingly enough, the book survived that semester, and he returned it to me at the end of the year. I reread many of the stories from that collection as I was writing LET ME DIE IN HIS FOOTSTEPS. The book now has notes in its margins, scribbled in pencil by my son, which makes it all the more inspirational.

let me die in his footstepsToni Morrison

THE BLUEST EYE is the book that taught me about voice. I once heard Ms. Morrison read from the novel, and the music of the language told as much of the story as the words themselves. By reading her work, I also continue to learn about the impact point-of-view can have on plot and character.

Pat Conroy

THE PRINCE OF TIDES has always been one of my favorites, and it’s one of the books I’ll open up and read from at random when I’m struggling to get started. This is also a book that taught me a great deal about the impact a setting can have on a story. When given due attention, a setting becomes as active as any one of the novel’s characters. Pat Conroy is also another author who helped define voice for me.

Zora Neale Hurston

One of the first pieces of advice I received when I began writing was to write the book you want to read. Zora Neale Hurston is a tremendous example of this philosophy. She was not only a gifted writer but also a courageous one, and her work has been a constant source of inspiration to me over the years.

To learn more about Lori visit her Website | Facebook | Twitter



Book Review: Let Me Die in His Footsteps

June 16, 2015 Book Review 6

Many thanks to the publisher for the complimentary review copy; however, these are solely my thoughts and opinions.

Book Review: Let Me Die in His FootstepsLet Me Die in His Footsteps
by Lori Roy
Published by Dutton
On June 2nd, 2015
Genre: Fiction, Historical, Mystery, Southern
Pages: 336
Source: complimentary review copy
Visit Goodreads
Buy the Book from IndieBound
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There’s an old wives tale/superstition that if a young girl looks down a well she will see the face of her future husband.  In a 1952 small Kentucky town, that belief is taken to extremes.  At exactly midnight, on the half-birthday between a girl’s 15th and 16th year, each girl in this small town looks down a well while most of the town looks on.  It is a celebratory event and one greatly anticipated by most girls.  For Annie Holleran, the half-birthday she expected and what actually occurred are vastly different.  Annie has the “know-how” just like her grandmother and her real mother, Aunt Juna.  Annie lives in fear her real mother will return after disappearing 15 1/2 years prior and after accusing the oldest Baine boy of raping her, fathering the baby that became Annie, and of disappearing Juna’s younger brother.

With the passages devoted to tobacco farming and lavender harvesting, Let Me Die in His Footsteps is infused with atmosphere.  Strong on southern gothic elements as evidenced with Aunt Juna’s “evil” black eye color.   The writing is solid; Roy has infused the novel with enough melancholy to allow the reader to feel immersed in the story while the mystery kept me guessing til the end.

What ‘old wives tales’ or superstitions did you hear growing up? or even still use to this day?

Thank you so much TLC Book Tours for inclusion in the Let Me Die in His Footsteps tour.

To read additional reviews please visit TLC Book Tours.


It’s Monday, June 15th, What are You Reading: Summer Vacation Edition

June 14, 2015 Book Talk 9

In preparation for our upcoming trip to the beach, one huge priority is selecting the books to take along.  Much thought goes into choosing the perfect books, because while I know I won’t read every one, I will need a varied selection {I’m such a mood reader!}.  I also know that vacation will bring lots of building sandcastles with my 2 grandsons {age 3 and step-grandson, age 7}; playing board games with my grown kids and making endless amounts of food {though we all take turns, most of the time}!  My two oldest are readers as well so I have to bring enough for us three to share!  Oh the woes of the reader!  😉

I’m beyond excited for five days of uninterrupted family time!  Unfortunately, my sweetheart has to stay behind to work so this time around will be focused solely on my kids and grandkids. The icing on the vacation cake is that my mom & step-dad arrive on our last day so we will get a bit of 3-generation vacationing!  We were all so blessed when my aunt and uncle purchased a condo at the beach to share amongst family.  But we will get the chance to return the favor in the Fall when my aunt and uncle stay in our little-cabin-in-the-woods.  Do you have extended family you vacation with or trade houses with on occasion?  The books I’ve packed so far include

Circling the Sun by Paula McLain

Paula McLain, author of the phenomenal New York Times bestseller The Paris Wife, takes readers into the glamorous and decadent circle of British expats living in Kenya in the 1920s. Circling the Sun tells the story of the beautiful young horse trainer, adventurer, and aviator Beryl Markham, from her childhood in British East Africa to her relationship with hunter Denys Finch Hatton and rivalry with Out of Africa author Karen Blixen—a notorious love triangle that changed the course of Beryl’s life.

The Truth According to Us by Annie Barrows

Evoking the same small town charm with the same great eye for character, the co-author of Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Society finds her own voice in this debut novel about a young debutante working for the Federal Writer’s Project whose arrival in Macedonia, West Virginia changes the course of history for a prominent family who has been sitting on a secret for decades. The Romeyn family is a fixture in the town, their identity tied to its knotty history. Layla enters their lives and lights a match to the family veneer and a truth comes to light that will change each of their lives forever.

Girl Waits with Gun by Amy Stewart

Constance Kopp doesn’t quite fit the mold. She towers over most men, has no interest in marriage or domestic affairs, and has been isolated from the world since a family secret sent her and her sisters into hiding fifteen years ago. One day a belligerent and powerful silk factory owner runs down their buggy, and a dispute over damages turns into a war of bricks, bullets, and threats as he unleashes his gang on their family farm. When the sheriff enlists her help in convicting the men, Constance is forced to confront her past and defend her family — and she does it in a way that few women of 1914 would have dared. “A smart, romping adventure, featuring some of the most memorable and powerful female characters I’ve seen in print for a long time. I loved every page as I followed the Kopp sisters through a too-good-to-be-true (but mostly true!) tale of violence, courage, stubbornness, and resourcefulness.” — Elizabeth Gilbert

The Ambassador’s Wife by Jennifer Steil

When bohemian artist Miranda falls in love with Finn, the British ambassador to an Arab country, she finds herself thrust into a life for which she has no preparation. The couple and their toddler daughter live in a stately mansion with a staff to meet their every need, but for Miranda even this luxury comes at a price: the loss of freedom. Trailed everywhere by bodyguards to protect her from the dangers of a country wracked by civil war and forced to give up work she loves, she finds her world shattered when she is taken hostage, an act of terror with wide-reaching consequences.

Diplomatic life is a far cry from Miranda’s first years in Mazrooq, which were spent painting and mentoring a group of young Muslim women, teaching them to draw in ways forbidden in their culture. As the novel weaves together past and present, we come to see how Finn and Miranda’s idealism and secrets they have each sought to hide have placed them and those who trust them in peril. And when Miranda grows close to a child who shares her captivity, it is not clear that even being set free would restore the simple happiness that once was hers and Finn’s. Suspenseful and moving, The Ambassador’s Wife is a story of love, marriage, and friendship tested by impossible choices.

The Drowning by Camilla Lackberg

Christian Thydell’s dream has come true: his debut novel, The Mermaid, is published to rave reviews. So why is he as distant and unhappy as ever?

When crime writer Erica Falck, who discovered Christian’s talents, learns he has been receiving anonymous threats, she investigates not just the messages but also the author’s mysterious past…

Meanwhile, one of Christian’s closest friends is missing. Erica’s husband, Detective Patrik Hedström, has his worst suspicions confirmed as the mind-games aimed at Christian and those around him become a disturbing reality.

But, with the victims themselves concealing evidence, the investigation is going nowhere. Is their silence driven by fear or guilt? And what is the secret they would rather die to protect than live to see revealed?

International bestseller Camilla Läckberg delivers a chilling and suspenseful mystery that will grip the reader right until its staggering final twist…

What books are YOU reading this week?

To participate in It’s Monday What Are You Reading or to see what other bloggers have on their reading agendas, please visit Sheila’s blog at Book Journey.