Special Feature: THE BOOK OF POLLY by Kathy Hepinstall

I have a soft spot for local writers and when I saw that this author lives in Portland, OR I had to at least do a special feature on her novel!

This is an unforgettable story about the grip of love in a truly quirky family, told with a particular blend of sass and warmth. Polly is one of those can’t-forget-her female characters with whom readers are destined to fall in love, and her daughter Willow’s coming of age story is one to which both mothers and their daughters will relate.

Publishers Weekly says, “Polly is a hybrid of Granny from The Beverly Hillbillies and Shirley MacLaine’s Ouiser Boudreaux in Steel Magnolias… [THE BOOK OF POLLY] is full of laughter and warmth” and Kirkus Reviews said, “classic elements of Southern comedy—evil twins, people dropping dead, a faith healer, a river-rafting trip—surround a lovable pair of central characters.”

The character Polly is based, in part, on Kathy Hepinstall’s own wicked-tounged mother and Hepinstall has incorporated her mother’s sayings, and some family anecdotes in coloring the narrative of THE BOOK OF POLLY. Although the story itself is fictional, Polly’s stories and persona are on every page.

Willow Havens is ten years old and obsessed with the fear that her mother will die. Her mother, Polly, is a cantankerous, take-no-prisoners Southern woman who lives to shoot varmints, drink margaritas, and antagonize the neighbors and she sticks out like a sore thumb among the young modern mothers of their small conventional Texas town. She was in her late fifties when Willow was born, so Willow knows she’s here by accident, a late-life afterthought. Willow’s father died before she was born, her much older brother and sister are long grown and gone and failing elsewhere. It’s just her and bigger-than-life Polly.

Willow is desperately hungry for clues to the family life that preceded her, and especially Polly’s life pre-Willow. Why did she leave her hometown of Bethel, Louisiana, fifty years ago and vow never to return? Who is Garland Jones, her long-ago suitor who possibly killed a man? And will Polly be able to outrun the Bear, the illness that finally puts her on a collision course with her past?

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Special Feature: SHADOW OF WHIMSY: A CAPE COD LOVER STORY by Ann Hymes

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Shadow of Whimsy: A Cape Cod Love Story by Ann Hymes

Publication Date: June 15, 2016
Secant Publishing
Hardcover, Paperback, eBook
Genre: Contemporary/Women’s Fiction/Literary
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Several generations of one family have lived, loved, and lied at Whimsy Towers, a unique oceanfront house in Chatham, Massachusetts. Strong women who refuse to be suffocated by marriage have found excitement and refuge in this house filled with artists and parties. Love surfaces in unexpected ways.
The newest owner, Theresa Alston Crandall, has just inherited the property and leaves her too-predictable husband in Virginia to spend time on the Cape and unravel family secrets and history. She swims, reflects, explores, and watches dramatic cloud formations float high over the ocean as she sorts through the choices in her path forward.
Romance arrives in the form of a young widower and landscape gardener with an awesome pickup truck, who likes Theresa’s dog and provides temptation to stay at Whimsy Towers. Tips of tree branches dance with the weight of birds that seem to scream warnings of danger, and the churning ocean disrupts family continuity.
Theresa learns how her Southern grandmother came to buy a storm-weathered New England house and how loveless marriage is not a mandatory life style. The final decision feels just right.
“In her debut novel, Hymes presents a conflicted young woman who is beginning to question her humdrum existence. From grief and loss to forgiveness and redemption, Hymes does not hold back. The author steers clear of predictable outcomes in this unexpected story, providing ample romantic suspense and witty prose to keep the reader turning pages. Chock-full of rich descriptions of the New England coast, as well as surprising scandals and an adorable dog named Gypsy, the book should satisfy even seasoned beach readers. A captivating and uplifting tale best suited for fans of meaningful beach-town romances.” -Kirkus Reviews

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Review: Paris for One and Other Stories by Jojo Moyes

When it comes to romance, there are few better than Jojo Moyes. Her stories are always so full of emotion and heart.

Over the years I have read quite a few of her novels and each novel is unique and I always have a hard time putting them down. The main characters are always interesting, well drawn women and the romance elements are tenderhearted and emotionally charged.

I don’t read a lot of short stories or collections of stories as I prefer a fully developed novel where I can focus on one character but because Moyes novels are always so enjoyable, I thought I would give this one a go.

Initially I didn’t know that this was a collection of stories because the first story, Paris for One, was actually more of a novella in length while the others were more like short stories.  Each of the women in the stories were memorable, interesting, and unique. I especially liked that one of the stories had a Christmas theme to it…..this time of year I love Christmas romances so I really enjoyed that one.

The title story, Paris for One, is about Nell, a twenty-six year old who has never been to Paris. She’s never even been on a romantic weekend away to anywhere before. Everyone knows travelling abroad isn’t really her thing. But when Nell’s boyfriend fails to show up for their romantic mini-vacation, she has the opportunity to prove everyone including herself wrong.

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Special Feature: DOGS AND THEIR PEOPLE by Barkpost

picture-device-independent-bitmap-1Who doesn’t love dogs? Sure I might have started off as a cat person when I was younger but when I got my first dog the first year I was married…..I was in love.

A suddenly became a dog person! Now I have two dogs and can’t imagine life without them! They just add so much love to my life!

So when I saw this super cute dog book come across my desk, I couldn’t pass up doing a special feature to highlight how wonderful dogs really are.

This is a collection of community-sourced and never-before-told anecdotes, stories, photos, and intimate insights, DOGS AND THEIR PEOPLE captures the depth, spirit, and power of the extraordinary bond between humans and their pups and spotlights more than two hundred unique and remarkable dogs.

Some are celebri-dogs (oh hello, Tuna Melts My Heart and Crusoe the Celebrity Dachshund) while others are just making their debut (like Putnam publicist Katie’s Newfoundland, Hank, on page 228!); some will make your heart ache while others will make it soar; and others simply look dapper in color.

But this book isn’t just about the dogs; it’s about celebrating the crazy, consuming, unconditional love we feel for them. It’s about the songs you’ve made up for them, the hugs you’ve given them on bad days, and all the outfits that—let’s be honest—you forced them into. It’s about the lightness they’ve brought to our lives just by being there—and having smushy faces. We hear you, dog people; this one is for you.

BarkPost is the mastiff-sized media outlet for all things dog. By creating original (and heart-warming, and goofy) content for dog people, BarkPost helps dogs share their stories with the world using the power of humans.

BarkPost is part of Bark & Co, the New York-based startup dedicated to making dogs and their people happy. Since launching in 2012 with BarkBox, a monthly box of funny toys, treats and chews that you can’t find together anywhere else, the dog-obsessed humans at Bark & Co have shipped more than 25 million products to date.

The company has since expanded in recent years with a goal of getting the backs of dog parents for everything – creating its own products, experiences and entertainment with BarkShop, BarkLive, and BarkPost.

So if you have a dog lover on your holiday shopping list this year than this book is a must buy!

Cover Reveal: SLIGHTLY SOUTH OF SIMPLE by Kristy Woodson Harvey

SSOS CoverEarlier this year I had the chance to read a very lovely book by Woodson Harvey called, LIES AND OTHER ACTS OF LOVE.
She has a beautiful prose and story telling ability to say the least! Unfortunately her latest novel, SLIGHTLY SOUTH OF SIMPLE will not be out until spring 2017……but between now and then we can enjoy some stunning cover art today!
In addition to this lovely eye candy, Woodson Harvey is also hosting a giveaway for $100 Amazon gift card and several book bundles on kristywoodsonharvey.com/blog to celebrate the cover reveal! So I highly recommend heading over to her blog to see get entered! If you haven’t heard about the book here is a little summary:

From the next “major voice in Southern fiction” (New York Times bestselling author Elin Hilderbrand) comes the first in an all-new series chronicling the journeys of three sisters and their mother—and a secret from their past that has the potential to tear them apart and reshape their very definition of what it means to be a family.

Caroline Murphy swore she’d never set foot back in the small Southern town of Peachtree Bluff; she was a New York girl born and bred and the worst day of her life was when, in the wake of her father’s death, her mother selfishly forced her to move—during her senior year of high school, no less—back to that hick-infested rat trap where she’d spent her childhood summers. But now that her marriage to a New York high society heir has fallen apart in a very public, very embarrassing fashion, a pregnant Caroline decides to escape the gossipmongers with her nine-year-old daughter and head home to her mother, Ansley.

Ansley has always put her three daughters first, especially when she found out that her late husband, despite what he had always promised, left her with next to nothing. Now the proud owner of a charming waterfront design business and finally standing on her own two feet, Ansley welcomes Caroline and her brood back with open arms.

But when her second daughter Sloane, whose military husband is overseas, and youngest daughter and successful actress Emerson join the fray, Ansley begins to feel like the piece of herself she had finally found might be slipping from her grasp. Even more discomfiting, when someone from her past reappears in Ansley’s life, the secret she’s harbored from her daughters their entire lives might finally be forced into the open.

Exploring the powerful bonds between sisters and mothers and daughters, this engaging novel is filled with Southern charm, emotional drama, and plenty of heart.

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