July 2018 – Month in Review

What books have you read during the month of July? I’ve had the pleasure of reading some wonderful stories this past month! Join me as we take a look back at the bookish fun we enjoyed in July.

Clicking on the link will take you to the blog post for that book, interview or reveal.

Books Reviewed:

SonsOfBlackbirdMountain Sons of Blackbird Mountain by Joanne Bischof

TeachMeToLove Teach me to Love by Kari Trumbo

TheRaveling The Raveling by Tamara Leigh

WhatTheHeartHolds What the Heart Holds by Kari Trumbo

RiverToRedemption  River to Redemption by Ann H. Gabhart

AStrangerOnMyLand  A Stranger on my Land by Sandra Merville Hart

ADefenseOfHonor  A Defense of Honor by Kristi Ann Hunter

TheRoadToMagnoliaGlen The Road to Magnolia Glen by Pam Hillman

JaneByTheBook  Jane By the Book by Pepper Basham

TheReckoningAtGossamerPond The Reckoning at Gossamer Pond by Jaime Jo Wright

APerfectWeakness  A Perfect Weakness by Jennifer A. Davids

ThePatriotBride  The Patriot Bride by Kimberely Woodhouse

 

Book Tour:

TheLastSummer  The Last Summer by Brandy Bruce

 

Author Interview:

PhotoFunia-1532360528   Jaime Jo Wright – The Reckoning at Gossamer Pond

 

I’d love to hear from you:

Have you read any of the books I reviewed this month? If so, did you have a favorite?
What book(s) are you looking forward to reading in August?

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The Last Summer by Brandy Bruce -Giveaway Tour with Singing Librarian Books

Synopsis:

TheLastSummerFor twenty-something Sara Witherspoon and her group of friends, a perfect Southern summer includes lake-house getaways, wedding planning, outdoor concerts, and a dash of romance. But for these seven friends who love each other like family, this year, summer rolls in with changes for everyone.

Sara’s longtime crush, Luke, has been her best friend for as long as she has been a part of the group. When Luke begins seriously dating another of their friends, Sara’s forced to deal with her hurt and jealousy, while outwardly try to support them both.

While Sara comes to terms with her own heart and her friends’ relationships, an unexpected handsome pilot from North Carolina and an old flame are thrown into the mix. Knowing her heart suddenly becomes much more complicated.

But as time unfolds and friendships begin to unravel, Sara and the others are presented with the reality of what a season of change does to old friendships and new love interests.

Does growing older mean growing apart?

   The Last Summer

About the Author:

BrandyBruce

Brandy Bruce is a mom, a wife, a book editor, an author, and someone who really loves dessert. She’s the author of the award-winning novel The Last Summer, Looks Like Love, and The Romano Family Collection. Brandy, her husband, and their children make their home in Colorado.

 

Web Page // Goodreads // Amazon // Facebook // Twitter // Pinterest //

 

10 Behind-the-Scenes Facts

about The Last Summer’s Texas Setting

  1. The museum’s Pink-Floyd-laser-light-show date that Sara goes on was inspired by one of my first dates with my husband! He planned the whole date and we went to the Spaghetti Warehouse (which was also a place my parents went to when they were dating) and then the laser light show at the very same museum. Best. Date. Ever.
  2. Bodegas, the restaurant near the museum where Sara and her friend Wendy like to eat, is a real restaurant very near the Houston Museum of Natural Science.
  3. I wrote the scene about the gas station barbeque because there’s truly a gas station in Texas that serves amazing barbeque. (There are probably hundreds actually!) The food in Texas can’t be beat.
  4. Sara and her girlfriends go eat doughnuts at Shipley’s. Shipley’s is my favorite doughnut chain in Texas. I am still devastated that there are no Shipley’s in Colorado. For the longest time, no one I knew in Colorado had ever even heard of kolaches! What in the world. I grew up eating sausage kolaches and chocolate-iced doughnuts at Shipley’s Donuts, and every time I’m in Texas, finding a Shipley’s is a must.
  5. The Lake Shore Woods lake house was inspired by a real lake house out in East Texas. My best friend and I stayed there for a weekend years ago and I remember loving how woodsy and beautiful the area was, and thinking that I was going use that setting in a book too.
  6. Sara goes shopping in The Woodlands at a place called Market Street and it’s an area I love to go to whenever I’m back in town—lots of fun restaurants and shops and a movie theater.
  7. There’s a scene where the gang are all hanging out in Hermann hospital waiting room and one of the characters, Debra, brings in several sacks of Whataburger meals. Which is Texas to a T.
  8. I mention Dickens’ on the Strand at Christmastime in the book. This is a real festival in Galveston, Texas, held in late November/early December. It’s a Charles Dickens-esque Christmas celebration with people in costumes and a parade and carolers and street vendors. My grandmother was the one who first told me about it. She and her best girlfriends loved to go to Dickens’ on the Strand together.
  9. When describing Sara’s parents’ house in the affluent Willow Heights area, I mention the azalea bushes by the back deck. This stemmed from the trail of azaleas in Houston’s River Oaks section. It’s a beautiful area with stately homes and during azalea season, you can drive through and see what they call the trail of azaleas. My dad used to drive us through River Oaks when I was a little girl.
  10. As you can probably tell, I love Texas. I was born in Houston and lived there, then Conroe, Texas, and then Porter—both on the outskirts of the city—until I went away to college in Virginia. All of my extended family still live there and whenever I step off the plane and feel the humidity and heat of Texas—and see all the belt buckles and cowboy hats and T-shirts that say, “Most likely to Secede”—I know I’m home again. The places in the book that I didn’t create, such as the museum district and The Woodlands and San Jacinto, are all real places that I’ve touched and experienced. And from the sweet tea the girls drink to the tomato plants Addison grows, these little details come from real-life in Texas.

 

Snippet

They all exchanged looks around the table. I felt like they were having this private conversation and hoped the conclusion would be that they wanted me. Because there was something special about the people at this table. The way they kidded and joked and touched each other and moved like one breathing organism. The way they did seem like a family. Six people connected to each other. I wanted to be the seventh.

“I have a feeling, Sara Witherspoon,” Addison said, tilting her head to the side and studying me as though she could see all the way to my heart, “you belong too.”

I don’t know how she knew, but she did. Like I said, Addison is the leader. She’s the glue. Once she said those words, all tension melted away, and I was included. If Addison said I belonged, I did. She reminded me of Melanie Wilkes in Gone with the Wind. If Mrs. Wilkes was the cool-headed voice of reason that could settle the chaos around her, Addison was that same strong, trusted constant amid these six friends. Her word was law. And from that day forward, the six people around that table at Isabella’s became like six extensions of myself.

We were a circle. Within a month, Jason asked me to go out to dinner with him. Luke hadn’t shown any romantic interest in me, and there was Jason, with that thick, dark hair and playful personality and handful of tattoos on his olive skin—how could I say no? We started dating. A year after that, we

broke up. As much as I truly liked Jason and couldn’t help feeling attracted to him, I hadn’t fallen in love. I couldn’t picture us married and having babies. We were better as friends. I know Jason didn’t agree, but he and I both refused to let our break up damage the circle. Eventually, things between us returned to normal.

During my dating-Jason phase, Sam and Lily got married, which didn’t really change anything since they were already such a unit. I realized early on that Luke and Debra were never an item. I’d mistaken Debra’s warm and friendly demeanor and Luke’s tendency to be protective and kind as the traits

of a dating couple, but those endearing qualities of both of them extended to all of us. My crush on Luke diminished as Jason and I dated and then shifted to ‘just friends.’

Sort of.

And somewhere along the way, painfully, Luke and I became best friends.

 

Grab a copy for your beach bag today!

   The Last Summer

Read my review (click here)

 

Giveaway

TLS summer pack giveaway

Enter the giveaway HERE.

Giveaway package includes the following: summer swag (beach towl, flip flops, sunglasses, bookmark, and candy) & winner’s choice of a print or e-copy of the book.

Giveaway open to US residents only and ends 11:59pm MT on July 21st.

Giveaway is subject to policies HERE.

 

 

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Recap – September 2017

As September draws to a close, and we herald in October, let’s take a look back at the books reviewed, the author’s interviewed, book covers revealed, and a book to watch for in the coming month!

Clicking on the link will take you to the blog post for that book, interview or reveal.

Book’s Reviewed:

TheOutlawsSecondChance The Outlaw’s Second Chance

InconvenientBeauty  An Inconvenient Beauty

MagnoliaStorms Magnolia Storm

LHC Love Held Captive

Miranda Warning Miranda Warning

TheReluctantGuardian  The Reluctant Guardian

HerCherokeeGroom Her Cherokee Groom

TheKeeperOfHerHeart  The Keeper of Her Heart

 

Author’s Interviewed:

pepperbarnsmile Pepper Basham

AngieDicken Angie Dicken

BrandyBruce Brandy Bruce

2754194 Michelle Griep

 

Cover Reveal:

image1  Charming the Troublemaker

 

Book Spotlight:

TheCaseOfTheClobberedCad The Case of the Clobbered Cad

 

Bonus Teaser:

IMG_1324Lady Jayne Disappears  Available: October 3, 2017

 

I’d love to connect with you:

What was your favorite book reviewed this month? Which book(s) are you looking forward to in October?

 

Author Interview & Giveaway with Brandy Bruce

I’m excited to have joining us today Brandy Bruce. Last month I read and reviewed her latest book ‘The Last Summer(see review). This is a book you won’t want to miss!

BrandyBruceBrandy Bruce is a mom, a wife, a book editor, an author, and someone who really loves dessert. She’s the author of the novels Looks Like Love, The Romano Family Collection, and award-winning The Last Summer. Having worked in the publishing industry for more than a decade, Brandy currently works as a freelance book editor, when she’s not writing novels! Brandy, her husband, and their children make their home in the beautiful state of Colorado. She’s very active online and she loves to hear from readers. Sign up for Brandy’s newsletter via her blog!

Web Page // Goodreads // Amazon // Facebook // Twitter // Pinterest //

For those who may have not yet had the pleasure of reading this fantastic story, let me share with you the synopsis.

For twenty-something Sara Witherspoon and her group of friends, a perfect Southern summer includes lake-house getaways, wedding planning, outdoor concerts, and a dash of romance. But for these seven friends who love each other like family, this year, summer rolls in with changes for everyone.

Sara’s longtime crush, Luke, has been her best friend for as long as she has been a part of the group. When Luke begins seriously dating another of their friends, Sara’s forced to deal with her hurt and jealousy, while outwardly try to support them both.

While Sara comes to terms with her own heart and her friends’ relationships, an unexpected handsome pilot from North Carolina and an old flame are thrown into the mix. Knowing her heart suddenly becomes much more complicated.

But as time unfolds and friendships begin to unravel, Sara and the others are presented with the reality of what a season of change does to old friendships and new love interests.

Does growing older mean growing apart?

Thank you Brandy for visiting with us today, I’m always happy to spend time with authors and chat about books!

road-1072823_640Q:  What is your favorite season, and why?

Brandy:  I love fall so much! Specialty coffee drinks, sweaters and tall boots, pumpkins on doorsteps. One of the main reasons I love it is because of how much fun it is for my kids. They love dressing up for Halloween, carving pumpkins, and all the special Halloween/Thanksgiving cartoon specials on TV. We look forward to the first snowfall of the season every year. Fall is a season that ushers in all the best holidays and I love it. It just feels like magic for my family

Trisha:  Fall is a beautiful season, filled with lots of color and cooler temperatures, the harvest of good food. What’s not to love?!


Q:  What is the best part of your day?

Brandy:  When I go get Lily—my two-year-old—out of her crib. Truthfully, Lily can be a bit grouchy in the mornings, but not usually with me. When I open the door, her face lights up and it brings an automatic smile and warms my heart every single time. She says, “Good morning, Mama!” and I melt!

Trisha:  Awww… that is sweet!


book-863418_640Q:  What are some of your favorite CF reads from 10 years ago, or further?

Brandy:  I love this question! The truth is that my oldest child (I have three) just turned nine. So ten years ago I had a little more time to read than I do now. I definitely squeeze in time, and I always have a TBR list happening. But as for what I was reading back then . . . Robin Gunn is one of my favorite authors and I loved her Glenbrooke series. I loved the O’Malley series by Dee Henderson so much. The Newpointe 911 series by Terri Blackstock. The Shunning trilogy by Beverly Lewis. Oh! The Mark of the Lion series by Francine Rivers killed me. When the Heart Cries by Cindy Woodsmall was beautiful. I liked a lot of the chick lit that was happening back then, such as Dreaming in Black and White by Laura Jensen Walker.

Trisha:  Those are some really great books, and a couple I need to add to my TBR!


mobile-616012_640Q:  If we took a peek at your “recently played” music, who would we find?

Brandy:  I like all kinds of music. So you’d hear everything from the soundtrack to the TV series Outlander (gorgeous music) to Justin Bieber singing Despacito, to Eric Church singing country—and you’d even hear Pentatonix Christmas music! I love to listen to Christmas music while I edit, and I’ve had back to back freelance edits this summer.

Trisha:  I too enjoy listening to soundtracks. It’s so relaxing!


Q:  Did the plotline or the characters come first?

Brandy:  For my novel, The Last Summer, a couple of the main characters came first, with an overall plot idea connected.


heart-1908901_640Q:  Which character took you by surprise?

Brandy:  Lily. She’s my main character’s best girlfriend and her character changed through rewrites and revisions. She came into her own, I think you could say. And she ended up being one of my very favorites.

 

Q:  What was the latest you stayed up working on this story?

Brandy:  Oh, goodness, there were a few really late nights—and I don’t do well with late nights! I’m someone who’s usually out by eleven at the latest. But I remember working till the wee hours of the morning a couple of times.

Trisha:  I’m with you, by eleven, I’m nodding off.

pencil-918449_640Q:  What is something that didn’t make it into the final copy?

Brandy:  In my original draft (keep in mind that the original was written about 20 years ago, so there were many changes over the years!) the gang of friends went on a holiday trip out-of-state together. That was fun to write. But in later versions, it just didn’t work with timing and pacing and plot, so I had to cut it.

Trisha:  Brandy, thank you for visiting today. It was lot’s of fun chatting with you. Feel free to come back and visit again any time!

 

*** GIVEAWAY ***

Brandy is giving away 1 (one) e-copy of her book “The Last Summer”.  Please review the policies here. The giveaway will be open for one week. At the close of the giveaway period the winner will be contacted via email and announced on this page. You may return daily during the giveaway period to Tweet for bonus entries.

 To Enter the Giveaway: 

1.)  Leave a blog post comment answering the following question:
“What was your most memorable Summer?”

2.) CLICK HERE to enter the Rafflecopter entry form.

 

**** GIVEAWAY CLOSED ****
Congratulations:  Sylvia M.

The Last Summer by: Brandy Bruce

Synopsis:

For twenty-something Sara Witherspoon and her group of friends, a perfect Southern summer includes lake-house getaways, wedding planning, outdoor concerts, and a dash of romance. But for these seven friends who love each other like family, this year, summer rolls in with changes for everyone.

Sara’s longtime crush, Luke, has been her best friend for as long as she has been a part of the group. When Luke begins seriously dating another of their friends, Sara’s forced to deal with her hurt and jealousy, while outwardly try to support them both.

While Sara comes to terms with her own heart and her friends’ relationships, an unexpected handsome pilot from North Carolina and an old flame are thrown into the mix. Knowing her heart suddenly becomes much more complicated.

But as time unfolds and friendships begin to unravel, Sara and the others are presented with the reality of what a season of change does to old friendships and new love interests.

Does growing older mean growing apart?

My Review:

I picked up ‘The Last Summer’ with memories of my own early 20’s floating thru my memory. Brandy’s writing is so smooth and seamless that I easily inserted myself right into the circle of friends as if they were my own. By chapter 3 I found my heart clenching in heartache and in chapter 4 my poor battered heart was flattened; I paused there to come up for air (okay, so my lunch break was over and I had to go back to work – isn’t that a cruel joke? Bahaha, as if I could focus well at that point). But don’t despair, dear friend, our heroine, Sara will be just fine.

I took two days to read this fabulous story (because work, family, life) and every time I had to put it down it was like coming out of a deep book fog. You know the one, I’m sure you’ve been there yourself.  I was so immersed in the story, It felt like literally climbing out of the pages.

Oh, and don’t even get me started on all the delightful feelings this book evokes, and then there is the handsome pilot, Everett, the old-flame Jason, and we can’t forget the best-friend, Luke. With such handsome, gentleman what’s a girl to do? If you asked Sara, I’d imagine she’d say, “Help my best friend plan a wedding and spend time chatting with the girls.”

I highly recommend this fantastic book. Trust me when I tell you that you won’t be able to put it down. The Last Summer easily earns 5 stars. I couldn’t go to bed without finishing this story, I was in too deep!

(I receive complimentary books for review from publishers, publicists, and/or authors, including Netgalley. I am not required to write positive reviews. The opinions I have expressed are my own.)

Favorite Quote:

“God must ache with love for us. Hurting for us. Wanting us. And sometimes we respond to Him in kind. Other times we reject Him.”

Bonus:

Would you like to read an excerpt? CLICK HERE to drop by my friend, Katie’s blog.

For an wonderful author interview, stop by my friend, Becky’s blog (click here) 

About the Author:

BrandyBruceBrandy Bruce was scribbling stories in spiral notebooks at the age of 12. She finally traded in notebooks for a laptop and now writes romance novels. Having worked as a book editor for a traditional publishing house for more than a decade, Brandy is thrilled to work in an industry she loves. She’s currently a freelance editor, a writer, a wife, a mother to three fabulous children, and she’s someone who really loves dessert. Brandy makes her home in Colorado with her family.

 

Web Page // Goodreads // Amazon // Facebook // Twitter // Pinterest //

 

 

   The Last Summer

 

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