It is a Hotel’s Heart – THE LOBBY

The Lobby (1)


Given an opportunity to join CLP Blog Tours for THE LOBBY by Randi M. Sherman I said yes without a delay. Having a hotel as a backdrop is ripe for all kinds of possibilities but the lobby even better. In this case I was more than surprised by the clever way in which Sherman organized this novel.  She chose to use the hour of the day to kick things off we start with 4:00 AM.

At 4:00 AM Hall, the florist, and his son are making a delivery to the Shipley Hotel. That is just the start of a busy day for this San Francisco hotel, it’s staff and guests.  There are two functions a business conference for the Master Flash company and a 30th high school reunion too.  Guests abound with different stories some end quicker than others but it is fitting for twenty-four hours in a hotel.  There are permanent guests like Oscar Pasternak a former actor that was aged out of rolls but is a fixture in the lobby so he comes and goes in any number of chapters. We are even invited to an impromptu wedding and Sherman makes you feel you are a welcomed guest.

So many parties, so many stories…some overlapping and others just stand alone.  It was a light and enjoyable read from start to finish.  I know I am for sure game to return to the Shipley Hotel’s lobby anytime Sherman would like to return.  I whole heartedly recommend this light read for the summer, a simple click away.

Thanks to CLP Blog Tours and Randi here is a excerpt to enjoy:

Slump-shouldered and dizzy from exhaustion, Peggy stretched her neck, took a deep breath and rubbed her eyes, willing herself to be awake and perky. Dressed for the day in her high-rise, poly-blend walking shorts, a muted-colored Madras blouse, and an oversized pastel pink Jazzercise visor, she stood in the hotel lobby. It was only 6:00 a.m. Looking out through the front windows of the hotel, she could see the streets were still practically empty, and even the sun was having second thoughts about starting the day. Waking up before six o’clock in the morning was just too early, especially on a vacation.

“Hank, dear,” she said sweetly, holding a Mylar-wrapped breakfast bar. “Have one of these energy grain bars. It has fiber.”

He snatched it from her, peeled back the wrapper, then shoved it into his mouth and ate it in just two bites. Crumbs flying, he said, “Damned right. I’m not going to wait in line at some overpriced coffee shop for a plate of twelve-dollar eggs. We can have an early lunch.” He spotted a basket of shiny red apples on the registration desk. “Mary Margaret, go get a few of those too. They will tide us over.”

 Peggy’s movements are hindered by the beige naugahyde pocket-for-everything purse that was slung over her head and shoulder, crossing her chest. The purse strap was too short for it to be worn this way. It cut tightly between her breasts and rested at her side, just below her armpit, causing her arm to hang at a forty-five degree angle from her body.

 “You can never be too careful, Mary Margaret.” Hank checked the positioning of her bag. “I hear there is a lot of purse snatching going on in this city.” He stood back to take a look at her. “Maybe you should put on your sweater—you look like a tourist. You’re just inviting trouble.”

 It was big talk from Hank, who was dressed in brighter than-white walking shoes with Velcro closures for efficiency, an AARP fanny pack, and his new short-sleeved sport shirt which was tucked tightly into his underwear beneath his sans-a-belt, high-water polyester dress slacks, replete with a bulging back pocket due to an overstuffed wallet. Clutching his cartoonish city map like it was the map to the Holy Grail, Hank marched toward the morning clerk who was standing behind the front desk. He pointed at Peggy’s feet. “Pick ‘em up and lay ‘em down. We have a lot to do today, and it’s already after six.” With purpose, Hank asked the desk clerk Candice, “Is the conger . . . conseer here?”

 Another typical tourist, Candice thought. Ready to go at the crack of dawn. Should I tell him that with the exception of a Starbucks, nothing in this city is open before nine? “Good morning, sir,” Candice smiled. “I see you are up early. I’m sorry sir, but Philippe, the concierge, does not get in until nine o’clock. Perhaps I can help you with something?”

 “Yes, you can. We have a heavy day of sightseeing ahead of us, and I want to be efficient about it.” Hank slapped the map down on the counter.

 “Okay, I’ll see what I can do. What would you like to do today?” Candice smiled again, as she was trained to do. 

“Well,” Hank began, “today we want to walk across theGolden Gate Bridge, ride on a cable car, go to the Cable Car Museum, Fisherman’s Wharf, that curvy Lombardo Street, Golden Gate Park, the Legion of Honor, the Cannery, and Alcatraz.”

 Peggy tapped Hank on the shoulder. “And don’t forget Union Square, Hank.”

 “You can shop at home,” He called over his shoulder. Turning back to Candice, “What’s the best route? I’d like to work from furthest to closest.” Hank was all about efficiency. “It’s all about organization,” he explained. If a household task could be wrapped up in five minutes he found a way to do it in four. “In the military . . .” Hank would say and then fill in the blank with the most Hank-a-fied, time-efficient way to do something. He meant well, but Peggy knew that he usually made it up as he went along.

 Peggy had always hated being called Mary Margaret, Hun, or Marge, but Hank insisted. She endured Hank’s bossy, blow-hard-headedness all for the sake of keeping him calm. They had been married for thirty-five years, and she figured it was probably her fault that he was the way he was. After all, she had been raised to be agreeable. But she secretly wanted to break free of the middle of the row, middle class, very average, superefficient life she was leading and do something wild, something unplanned. Thursday night Bingo just wasn’t cutting it anymore. Anything new or different would be welcome. Dining out somewhere other than the two places in town where Hank was comfortable and where he didn’t spend twenty minutes raving about the “cost of things”— that would be good. Sex with the lights on or for longer than two minutes would be a welcome change. But neither would be enough. Peggy craved the life that she saw on the morning and afternoon talk shows. The life where people were frivolous and chatty, who drank champagne any day, for any occasion, not just at 11:55 PM on December 31st. Wearing a piece of clothing that wasn’t labeled “wash-n-wear” or blended with some fabric that’s name ended in -ester or -oline would be heaven after years in flammable synthetic clothing.

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To catch other legs of this tour please visit CLP Blog Tours

 

 

 

Posted in Blog Tour, Books, ChickLit, Fiction Light, Novel, Reads, Summer Read | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Book Tour Stop & Giveaway – THE RAILWAY MAN’S WIFE

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Posted in Beach Read, Blog Tour, Giveaway, Historical Fiction, Novel | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

FALL OF POPPIES – A Taste of Post War Despair

FallofPoppies_cover (1).jpgFALL OF POPPIES is a collection of stories that takes place after WWI. They do not take place in the same country or even with the same point of view. There are both male and female leads and they involve both those having served in the war and those civilians touched by the war.  In all cases Armistice Day is the anchor.

I wish I could say that each story was joyful but than the authors would not have been true to the mission.  While there are glimpses of joy in these powerful stories they are emotional and pull at your heart strings in different ways.  Each offering in this anthology shares an intimate struggle for those trying to pick up the pieces of their lives that have been directly impacted by WWI.

A number of the contributing authors are favorites and there are other author finds within as well. Contributing authors are: Heather Webb who also serves as editor (read everything she has written); Hazel Gaynor (read everything she has written); Beatriz Williams (read everything she has written); Jennifer Robson (read everything she has written this year); Jessica Brockmole ; Kate Kerrigan; Evangeline Holland; Lauren Willig (read many but not current) and Marci Jefferson.

A number of the stories ended before I was ready for them to end. That is both the ease of an anthology but in some cases the frustration as well. While tweeting about reading this book one of the contributors, Beatriz Williams, shared that her character Octavian has more in her new book coming out later this year. Ladies I would not mind if that were the case across the board in fact that would be kind of genius although my TBR pile might topple because I would have to acquire them all.

Thanks to Tasty Tours for this opportunity to share the stories in this anthology. Please be sure to check out the other stops on the tour that is making its way to a finish this week:
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If you love historical fiction, enjoy any of these talented authors or are seeking to discover new favorites you do not want to miss this anthology. Tasty Tours is providing three copies of FALL OF POPPIES for giveaway:  http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/521ac4c8947/

 

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Tour, Bring your tissue read, Historical Fiction, Short Stories | 2 Comments

CLUTCH: See what is inside this book.

CLUTCH is by Lisa Becker and am delighted to feature it with a special giveaway. When Lisa tweeted me about doing a feature I said yes for four reasons. One, very brave thing to do; she has written a novel and I have not; three, this novel has purses throughout; and last, but not least, my best friend from college shares the same last name. So it seemed like fate had struck a bull’s eye.

Clutch Novel

CLUTCH is a light read that will be the make you smile throughout your read. CLUTCH is perfect for the stockings hung with care for the fiction light reader on your list. Cleverly Becker utilizes purses throughout; they are even chapter headings which I adored. As a purse gal this was right up my alley.

What is inside: In Caroline’s youth her Aunt Mimi gives her a purse and that plus pearls of wisdom leads her love for purses in to a business. Caroline attends Harvard MBA program with the urging of her Aunt Mimi. There she meets Mike who is also following his dreams.

Post graduation they head to LA where he opens a bar and she launches her handbag line. Years go by and these friends share everything. Mike is a serial dater of including those that work at his bar and Caroline’s friends as well. Caroline cannot seem to find a guy that wants to spend the rest of his life with her.

Things wrap up with a bow on top in the last chapter titled CLUTCH. Once again Aunt Mimi’s sage words guide Caroline to “hold tight”.

Giveaway: I am so fortunate to be able to give one lucky visitor a clutch purse. That is right this darling authorpreneur found a way to provide purses to to celebrate the publication of her new novel. With the holidays around the corner we are in search of gift ideas for others but this just might be a perfect gift for you. Enter to win a beautiful lime green clutch.

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Giveaway below runs from Sunday, November 22nd – Sunday, November 30th.  Winner is limited to a US residents 18+ only. Must be able to ship to a mailing address; no PO Boxes.

Posted in Books, Fiction Light, Giveaway, Novel, Romcom, Uncategorized | Tagged | 2 Comments

A Twisting Tale of Speculation

BOOK OF SPECULATION_MECH_01.inddOnce before in my reading and blogging journey, I wondered how a debut novelist could come up with a story wonderfully odd and unique and this is the second time I have had that feeling. THE BOOK OF SPECULATION presents a family story intertwined with other carnies and their descendants. It flips back and forth in time which is not my favorite writing technique but might have possibly been the only way to connect the turn of the 18th century to the present.  For this novel it was essential.

Simon Watson a librarian in a small town on Long Island.  He lives in his family’s home but both of his parents have now passed away and he is alone.  The house is falling apart around him and to save this beachfront home would take a great deal of money he does not have.  Things head downhill for Simon but a distraction soon arrives.  He receives a mysterious old book from a stranger that acquired this book at auction and felt it should be seen by Simon.

Nothing is by accident in this book. One has to read very carefully to catch the clues and the connections of those characters that come in and out of the story.  And in a favorite move of mine some of those twists are created by inanimate objects as well.

Lunch Erika? I would like to have lunch with an author that has to tale in her brain. But then I avoid all info about a novel and its background before I read it, that is just my way of experiencing it without any expectations or clues to its path. But you can bet I am going to jump in to find out more about where this  story line came from just in case lunch does not work out.

 

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Opening Day for Starstruck Book Tour

A chance to read a novel about Broadway, yes; and a novel that features the behind the scenes of a new Broadway production, yes.  I could not be more thrilled to join this Chick Lit Plus Blog Tour.  And the pages of STARSTRUCK did not disappoint.

starstruckYoung and first time producer Scarlett Savoy is taking her off-Broadway production to Broadway this season. This is a retelling of Swan Lake titled Swan Song. Even though Scarlett is the producer her life does not take a back stage to the actors or the production.  She has quite a few men in her life that are part of the production that come in and out of the story.

Read here for a run down of Scarlett’s men: There is Graham Stewart who was destroyed by his divorce and does not want another.  Scarlett and Graham dated in a faux relationship and he offered her a platonic marriage but that was not for Scarlett. But Graham still provided the Broadway theater to Scarlett for SWAN SONG.  Let’s not forget Lawrence, who also dated Scarlett, but more recently the leading lady of the show Bliss Hadley.  That ended badly so we have a nice platform for awkwardness between all. Finally, there is Marco who is Bliss’s recently hired PR guy and former grad student flame of Scarlett’s.  In the end Scarlett makes her choice.

But the reason I loved STARSTRUCK was reading about the launch of a Broadway show.  There is so much to consider and Preston did a great job of bringing those to life in the book. There was strategy and planning, rehearsals, PR and events and other factors that go in to this enormous endeavor. Not to mention the risk of course since many Broadway productions do not make it off the ground and still others only stay open for a short run.

It was not all smooth sailing for Scarlett and STARSTRUCK so dive in and find out if the show makes it and who Scarlett chooses. Thanks Ruby Preston for the light, fun Broadway novel that definitely should be a read for anyone that loves the Great White Way.  Best of luck on your own Broadway adventures, may you produce many shows for us Broadway lovers.

clp-buttonThanks as always to the amazing Samantha March for her attention to detail and for putting reads in the hands of readers.  Always something fun with books going on at her spots: Chick Lit Plus and CLP Blog Tours.  Be sure to check out the full blog tour Schedule: Starstruck Blog Tour. 

 

 

Posted in Beach Read, Blog Tour, Book Tour, Books, ChickLit, Fiction Light, Novel | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Poldark: Do Not Miss One Stop on the Blog Tour

Poldark Blog TourThrilled to join this blog tour with Sourcebooks Landmark new tie-in editions for the Masterpiece Classic PBS series airing 6/21 – 8/2, 2015 (#PoldarkPBS).  Generally I do not enjoy reading the book that inspired a TV/movie project so this was a wonderful opportunity to ensure I was ready for its airing.

All of the hard work for this tour is performed by Laurel Ann Nattress @Austenprose and in conjunction with the good folks at Sourcebooks Landmark @sbkslandmark who have repackaged these books by Winston Graham to compliment the TV series.   There is even a giveaway with three chances to win for those who stop by and comment here and at my fellow bloggers site:  http://www.sourcebooks.com/buzz/ross-poldark-a-demelza-blog-tour.html.

Poldark GiveawayTwo lucky winners will each receive one trade paperback copy of Ross Poldark and Demelza, and one grand prize winner will receive a prize package containing the following items:

(2 ) Old Britain Castles Pink Pottery Mugs by Johnson Brothers

(1) Twelve-inch Old Britain Castles Pink Pottery Platter by Johnson Brothers

(1) London Telephone Box Tin of Ahmad English Breakfast Tea

(1) Jar of Mrs. Bridges Marmalade

(1) Package of Duchy Originals Organic Oaten Biscuits

(2) Packets of Blue Boy Cornflower Seeds by Renee’s Garden Heirloom (1) Trade Paperback Copy of Ross Poldark & Demelza, by Winston Graham

To enter the giveaway contest simply leave a comment on any or all of the blog stops on the Ross Poldark Blog Tour starting July 06, 2015 through 11:59 pm PT, August 10, 2015. Winners will be drawn at random from all of the entrants and announced on the Buzz at Sourcebooks blog on August 13, 2015. Winners have until August 20, 2015 to claim their prize. The giveaway contest is open to US residents and the prizes will be shipped to US addresses. Good luck to all!

I received a copy of each of the first two novels in the POLDARK series ROSS POLDARK and DEMELZA in exchange for this feature. The excerpt presented below is with the permission of Sourcebooks Landmark.

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BOOK DESCRIPTION:

In the enchanting second novel in Winston Graham’s beloved Poldark series, Demelza Carne, an impoverished miner’s daughter Ross Poldark rescued from a fairground brawl, now happily finds herself his wife. But the events of these turbulent years test their marriage and their love. As Ross launches into a bitter struggle for the right of the mining communities, Demelza’s efforts to adapt to the ways of the gentry (and her husband) place her in increasingly odd and embarrassing situations. When tragedy strikes and sows the seeds of an enduring rivalry between Ross and the powerful George Warleggan, will Demelza manage to bridge their differences before they destroy her and her husband’s chance at happiness?

Against the stunning backdrop of eighteenth century Cornwall, Demelza sweeps readers into one of the greatest love stories of all time.

DEMELZA: Excerpt from Chapter 6

“He came in, his face still set in hard lines from his quarrel with the seamen. Her first thought was that he was old. He had taken off his cocked hat and he wore his own hair: it was gray at the temples and specked with gray on the crown. He must be over forty. His eyes were blue and fierce and the skin was drawn up around them from peering into the sun. They were the eyes of a man who might have been holding himself ready for the first leap forward of a race.
He came across to the desk and put his hat on it, looking directly at his visitor.
“My name is Blamey, ma’am,” he said in a hard, clear voice. “Can I be of service to you?”
All Demelza’s prepared openings were forgotten. She was overawed by his manner and his authority.
She moistened her lips and said, “My name is Poldark.”
It was as if some key turned in the inner mechanism of that hard man, locking away before it could escape any show of surprise or sentiment.
He bowed slightly. “I haven’t the honor of your acquaintance.”
“No, sir,” said Demelza. “No. You know my husband, Captain Ross Poldark.”
There was something ship-like about his face, jutting and aggressive and square, weathered but unbeaten.
“A few years ago I had occasion to meet him.”
She could not shape the next sentence. With her hand she felt the chair behind her, and sat in it.
“I’ve rid twenty miles to see you.”
“I am honored.”
“Ross don’t know I’ve come,” she said. “Nobody knows I’ve come.”
His unflinching eyes for a moment left her face and traveled over her dusty dress.
“I can offer you some refreshment?”
“No…no…I must leave again in a few minutes.” Perhaps that was a mistake, for tea or anything would have given her ease and time.
There was a strained pause. Under the window the quarrel with the orange woman broke out afresh.
“Was that your servant at the door?”
“Yes.”
“I thought I recognized him. I should have known.”
His voice left no doubt of his feelings.
She tried once again. “I—mebbe I shouldn’t ought to have come, but I felt I must. I wanted to see you.”
“Well?”
“It is about Verity.”
Just for a moment his expression grew embarrassed; that name could no longer be mentioned. Then he abruptly glanced at the clock. “I can spare you three minutes.”
Something in the glance quenched the last of Demelza’s hopes. “I been wrong to come,” she said. “I think there’s nothing to say to you. I made a mistake, that’s all.”
“Well, what is it you made a mistake in? Since you are here you’d best say it.”
“Nothing. Nothing will be any use saying to the likes of you.”
He gave her a furious look. “I ask you, tell me.”
She glanced at him again.
“It is about Verity. Ross married me last year. I knew nothing about Verity till then. An’ she never told me a thing. I persuaded it out of Ross. About you, I mean. I love Verity. I’d give anything to see ’er happy. An’ she isn’t happy. She’s never gotten over it. She’s not the sort to get over it. Ross said it was dangerous to meddle. He said I must leave it alone. But I couldn’t leave it alone till I’d seen you. I—I thought Verity was right an’ they was wrong. I—I had to be sure they was right before I could let it drop.”
Her voice seemed to go on and on, into an arid empty space. She said, “Are you married again?”
“No.”
“I schemed today. Ross has gone to Bodmin. I borrowed the horses and came over with Jud. I’d best be getting back, for I’ve a young baby at home.”
She got up and slowly made for the door.
He caught her arm as she went past him.
“Is Verity ill?”
“No,” Demelza said angrily. “Ailing but not ill. She looks ten years older than her age.”
His eyes were suddenly fierce with pain.
“D’you not know the whole story? They cannot fail to have told you the whole story.”
“Yes, about your first wife. But if I was Verity—”
“You’re not Verity. How can you know what she feels?”
“I don’t, but I—”
“She never once sent me any word…”
“Nor you never sent her any word neither.”
“Has she ever said anything?”
“No.”
“Then it’s pitiable, this attempt on your part, this—this intrusion…”
“I know,” said Demelza, nearly crying. “I know now. I thought to help Verity, but I wish now I’d never tried. You see, I don’t understand. If folks in our way love one another it is more than enough to bring ’em together, drink or no. If the father’s against it then that’s some reason, but now the father’s dead an’ Verity’s too proud to make any move. And you—and you… But I thought you were different. I thought—”
“You thought I was likely to sit moping my time away. No doubt the rest of your family has long since written me off as a failure and a drunkard, drooling in taprooms and lurching home of a night. No doubt Miss Verity has long since agreed with her weakling brother that it was better for all that Captain Blamey was sent about his business. What for—”
“How dare you say that of Verity!” Demelza cried out, standing up to him. “How dare you! An’ to think I’ve rid myself sore to hear it! To think I’ve schemed and plotted and lied and borrowed the horses and one thing and the next. An’ to say such of Verity when she’s ill for pining of you! Judas God! Let me get out of here!”
He barred her way. “Wait.”
His epaulets and gold braid no longer counted.
“Wait for what? For more insults? Let me past or I shall call Jud!”
He took her arm again. “It is no reflection on you, girl. I grant you did it all from the best of motives. I grant you your goodwill—”
She was trembling but with great self-control did not try to wrench her arm free.
For a moment he did not go on but peered at her closely as if trying to see all that she had not said. His own anger was suddenly in ashes. He said, “We’ve all moved on since those days, grown, changed. It’s—you see, it’s all forgotten, behind us—but has left us bitter. There were times when I ranted and railed—if you understood—if you’d known it all you’d see that. When you stir up old things best forgotten, you’re bound to stir up some of the mud that’s settled around ’em.”
“Let go my arm,” she said.”

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Do not forget to enter the giveaway:

Simply leave a comment on any or all of the blog stops on the Ross Poldark Blog Tour starting July 06, 2015 through 11:59 pm PT, August 10, 2015. Winners will be drawn at random from all of the entrants and announced on the Buzz at Sourcebooks blog on August 13, 2015. Winners have until August 20, 2015 to claim their prize. The giveaway contest is open to US residents and the prizes will be shipped to US addresses.

 

 

Posted in Book Tour, Books, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Novel, Reads | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 38 Comments