Thursday, December 14, 2017

Exclusive Sneak Peek: The Wake Up by Catherine Ryan Hyde + Giveaway (US only)

The Wake Up
Catherine Ryan Hyde
from Lake Union // Amazon

From New York Times-bestselling author Catherine Ryan Hyde comes a hauntingly emotional novel of how one man’s life changes forever when he rediscovers his ability to feel the pain of others.

Something has been asleep in forty-year-old cattle rancher Aiden Delacorte for a long time. It all comes back in a rush during a hunting trip, when he’s suddenly attuned to the animals around him, feeling their pain and fear as if it were his own. But the newfound sensitivity of Aiden’s “wake up” has its price. He can no longer sleepwalk through life, holding everyone at arm’s length. As he struggles to cope with a trait he’s buried since childhood, Aiden falls in love with Gwen, a single mother whose young son bears a burden of his own.

Sullen and broken from his experiences with an abusive father, Milo has turned to acting out in violent and rebellious ways. Aiden can feel the boy’s pain, as well as that of his victims. Now he and Milo must sift through their pasts to find empathy with the innocent as well as the guilty, to come to terms with their deepest fears, and to finally discover the compassionate heart of a family.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Interview with Maggie McConnon, Author of Bel, Book, and Scandal + Giveaway (US/Can)

I'd like to welcome Maggie McConnon to the blog today to celebrate the exciting release of Bel, Book, and Scandal from St. Martin's Press!

Welcome to Books à la Mode, Maggie! Let's get this interview started.

Will you please share a brief introduction with us?

Maggie McConnon grew up in New York immersed in Irish culture and tradition. A former Irish stepdancer, she was surrounded by a family of Irish musicians who still play at family gatherings. She credits her Irish grandparents with providing the stories of their homeland and their extended families as the basis for the stories she tells in her Belfast McGrath novels.

It's amazing to get to feature you today! Readers, here's a bit about the book, which just hit shelves last week:

Maggie McConnon rings in Christmas in Bel, Book, and Scandal, the third adventure for everybody’s favorite Irish-American culinary artist turned amateur sleuth.

Bel McGrath tries her best to keep herself on the straight and narrow but she just has a taste for trouble. This time danger arrives in the form of a newspaper left behind by visitors to Shamrock Manor—and a photograph that jolts Bel out of the present and back into a dark chapter from her past. The person in the photo is Bel’s best friend Amy Mitchell, long gone from Foster’s Landing, at a commune in upstate New York shortly after her disappearance. The picture, and Bel’s burning desire to find out what happened to Amy—and whether she may still be alive—is the catalyst for a story in which old secrets are revealed, little by little…and certain characters are shown to not be as genuine as Bel once thought.

As a huge fan of first lines, I’d love to hear the first line of Bel, Book, and Scandal. Could you give us a brief commentary on it?
I was wet, cold, and tired, but despite the fact that she was ready to kill me with her bare hands for staying out all night, my mother addressed all three of my immediate needs before saying anything else.
This book starts with a flashback to a time when Bel was a teenager; it is the night her best friend disappeared from Foster’s Landing and was never seen again. The two other books in this series start as flashbacks as well; I wanted the reader to understand Bel’s motives as an adult, what shaped her thoughts and actions in present day. In Bel, Book, and Scandal, we pick up with Bel sitting in the local police department, awaiting word on Amy, not realizing that no one knows where Amy is and that she will be questioned as to her last moments with her best friend.

Tell us about your road to publication, such as how you first queried, unexpected challenges, and things you picked up along the way.

I used various web sites to track down agents, see how a query letter was written, and to research the process in general. I queried about twenty or so agents until I received word that my current agent wanted to represent me. That process took about a year. It was another year or so until we found a publisher. Not being a patient person, I found the process protracted and stressful but now that I have been doing this for a dozen or more years, I understand the timing better. I tell writers to be patient, keep at it, and never give up. The road to publication is long and bumpy—reading rejection letters isn’t for the faint of heart!—but if you keep working at it, you’ll reach your goal.

Are the characters from your book based off anyone you know in real life? How much else of your actual life gets written into your fiction?

There are no true McGraths in my real life. However, having grown up Irish in the New York area, there are definitely aspects of my childhood that come through: the Irish music, the storytelling, the big family dinners. I have always loved weddings so putting Bel back into the family business allows me to imagine the worst “bridezilla,” the most cold-footed groom. And being able to write about food makes my heart sing. If anything comes from real life into the Bel series, it’s the experimentation in the kitchen and the joy of researching a new, complicated recipe.


Out of all the fantastic books out there, what makes Bel, Book, and Scandal stand out from the rest?

I would have to say the characters. I think that the McGrath family (Bel’s brothers, her parents) are what round out the story and give it a bit of heart. I also think that anyone who grew up with siblings will recognize at least one person they know in one of Bel’s brothers, be it the responsible one or the one who continually gets into trouble, even as an adult.

Blog babes, click "Read more" to find out Maggie's best personal and professional advice. We're also hosting a giveaway for a finished copy of Bel, Book, and Scandal, so you don't want to miss that either!

Friday, December 8, 2017

Interview with Sandra Hill, Author of Cajun Crazy + Giveaway (US/Can)

I'd like to welcome Sandra Hill to the blog today to celebrate the exciting release of Cajun Crazy from Avon, a HarperCollins imprint!

Welcome to Books à la Mode, Sandra! Let's get this interview started.

Will you please share a brief introduction with us?

Sandra Hill is a graduate of Penn State and worked for more than 10 years as a features writer and education editor for publications in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Writing about serious issues taught her the merits of seeking the lighter side of even the darkest stories.

She is the wife of a stockbroker and the mother of four sons.


It's amazing to get to feature you today! Readers, here's a bit about the book, which just hit shelves last month:

Welcome back to New York Times bestseller Sandra Hill’s Cajun country, where love heats up the Louisiana bayou...

Former Chicago cop Simone LeDeux is back home in the bayou, sharing a double wide in the Pearly Gates trailer park to help her mama recover from surgery. Her one rule: no Cajun men. Loved and left by too many double-crossing Cajuns, Simone puts bad experience to good use by opening Legal Belles: an agency that uncovers cheating spouses.

Suddenly she’s confronting a two-timer about to swindle his wife out of millions and antagonizing New Orleans bigwigs over an illegal sex club. Adam Lanier learns of the dangerous game Simone is playing... and the sexy single dad comes to her aid. Known as a rogue in the courtroom and a player in the bedroom, the ragin’ Cajun has Simone triply on guard.

With their crazy chemistry, danger on their trail, and infamous LeDeux relative Tante Lulu working her magical matchmaking, the bayou has never been this steamy.

As a huge fan of first lines, I’d love to hear the first line of Cajun Crazy. Could you give us a brief commentary on it?

I'm usually a sucker for catchy first lines, too, but in the case of Cajun Crazy I prefer to quote the voicemail that my heroine, Simone LeDeux, gets from her mother in the opening scene:
"Hi, honey. I haven't heard from you since las' week. Did ya kick that no-good Jack Landry out on his cheatin' Cajun be-hind, lak I told you to?"
This excerpt is an important clue to what the book is about. Simone is a cop who decides to open a Cheaters-type detective agency. And she's decided, no more Cajun men in her life.

Tell us about your road to publication, such as how you first queried, unexpected challenges, and things you picked up along the way.

I like to say that I sold my first book by not winning a contest. One of the judges in a writing contest I entered was so appalled at my not winning or placing that she put me in touch with her agent who in turn sold my first book, The Reluctant Viking, as part of a three-book deal. Oddly, I started out writing straight historical romances, but about that time Constance O'Day Flannery wrote one of her first time-travels, and I thought, "I can do this!" Before that, I had no idea I had a voice for humor.

Are the characters from your book based off anyone you know in real life? How much else of your actual life gets written into your fiction?

Suffice it to say, someone asked me at a cocktail party one time (and, yes, people do ask questions like this), "Do you have the kind of sex life you describe in your books?"

My answer, "I wish!" Seriously, I don't know any humans who have that kind of sex life. Maybe some super virile Vikings, or Cajuns.

I do get many of the humor ideas from my husband and four sons who can be incredibly funny. In fact, I can't tell you how many times one of my sons has said or done something and then told me, "That better not end up in one of your books." My heroines are probably the kind of women I wish I could be; I would never dare do half of what they do. Stunt woman. Female Navy SEAL. Lawyer at Angola Prison. Treasure hunter. Enough said!


Out of all the fantastic books out there, what makes Cajun Crazy stand out from the rest?

It's one of the funniest books I've written, in my opinion. A heroine who's been married and divorced three times, who vows to stay clear of any more tempting Cajun men, but then runs into a rogue lawyer, who is the ultimate player in the courtroom as well as the bedroom and happens to be Cajun. Add to that a wacky mother who's discovered her inner Kardashian and a fondness for Spanx. Not to mention the outrageous Tante Lulu.

Blog babes, click "Read more" to find out Sandra's best personal and professional advice. We're also hosting a giveaway for a finished copy of Cajun Crazy, so you don't want to miss that either!

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Exclusive Sneak Peek: The Lady Travelers Guide to Larceny with a Dashing Stranger by Victoria Alexander + Giveaway (US

The Lady Travelers Guide to Larceny with a Dashing Stranger (The Lady Travelers Society #2)
Victoria Alexander
from Harlequin

Join the Lady Travelers Society in their latest romantic misadventure, from #1 New York Times bestselling author Victoria Alexander

She must secure her future

A lady should never be obliged to think of matters financial! But when Lady Wilhelmina Bascombe’s carefree, extravagant lifestyle vanishes with the demise of her husband, her only hope lies in retrieving a family treasure—a Renaissance masterpiece currently in the hands of a cunning art collector in Venice. Thankfully, the Lady Travelers Society has orchestrated a clever plan to get Willie to Europe, leading a tour of mothers and daughters…and one curiously attentive man.

He must reclaim his heritage

Dante Augustus Montague’s one passion has long been his family’s art collection. He’s finally tracked a long-lost painting to the enchanting Lady Bascombe. Convinced that the canvas had been stolen, he will use any means to reclaim his birthright—including deception. But how long before pretend infatuation gives way to genuine desire?

Now they’re rivals for a prize that will change everything

Willie and Dante know they’re playing with fire in the magical moonlit city. Their common quest could compromise them both... or lead them to happily-ever-after.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Exclusive Sneak Peek: Close Contact by Lori Foster + Body Armor Series Giveaway (US/Can)

Close Contact (Body Armor #3)
Lori Foster
from Harlequin

There’s no resisting a desire like this...

MMA fighter Miles Dartman’s casual arrangement with personal shopper Maxi Nevar would be many men’s fantasy. She seeks him out, they have mindblowing sex, she leaves. Rinse, repeat. Yet lately, Miles wants more. And when Maxi requests his services via the Body Armor security agency, he’s ready to finally break through her defenses—and protect her day and night.

Receiving a large inheritance has brought chaos and uncertainty into Maxi’s life. Her ex has resurfaced, along with lots of former “friends,” and someone is making mysterious threats. Then there’s Miles, who doesn’t ask for anything…except her trust. Pleasure is easy. Now Maxi has to give her heart as well as her body…or risk losing a man who could be everything she needs.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Top 5 Fun Facts About Christmastime Cowboy by Maisey Yates + Giveaway (US/Can)

Christmastime Cowboy (Copper Ridge #10)
Maisey Yates
from HQN Books // Harlequin

It's Christmas in Copper Ridge, and love is waiting to be unwrapped...

Falling for a bad boy once is forgivable. Twice would just be foolish. When Sabrina Leighton first offered her teenage innocence to gorgeous, tattooed Liam Donnelly, he humiliated her, then left town. The hurt still lingers. But so does that crazy spark. And if they have to work together to set up her family winery's new tasting room by Christmas, why not work him out of her system with a sizzling affair?

Thirteen years ago, Liam's boss at the winery offered him a bribe—leave his teenage daughter alone and get a full ride at college. Convinced he wasn't good enough for Sabrina, Liam took it. Now he's back, as wealthy as sin and with a heart as cold as the Oregon snow. Or so he keeps telling himself. Because the girl he vowed to stay away from has become the only woman he needs, and this Christmas could be just the beginning of a lifetime together...

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Top 10 Secrets About Little Broken Things by Nicole Baart + Giveaway (US only)

Little Broken Things
Nicole Baart
from Atria Books (Simon & Schuster)

An engrossing and suspenseful novel for fans of Liane Moriarty and Amy Hatvany about an affluent suburban family whose carefully constructed facade starts to come apart with the unexpected arrival of an endangered young girl.

I have something for you. When Quinn Cruz receives that cryptic text message from her older sister Nora, she doesn’t think much of it. They haven’t seen each other in nearly a year and thanks to Nora’s fierce aloofness, their relationship consists mostly of infrequent phone calls and an occasional email or text. But when a haunted Nora shows up at the lake near Quinn's house just hours later, a chain reaction is set into motion that will change both of their lives forever.

Nora’s “something” is more shocking than Quinn could have ever imagined: a little girl, cowering, wide-eyed, and tight-lipped. Nora hands her over to Quinn with instructions to keep her safe, and not to utter a word about the child to anyone, especially not their buttoned-up mother who seems determined to pretend everything is perfect. But before Quinn can ask even one of the million questions swirling around her head, Nora disappears, and Quinn finds herself the unlikely caretaker of a girl introduced simply as Lucy.

While Quinn struggles to honor her sister’s desperate request and care for the lost, scared Lucy, she fears that Nora may have gotten involved in something way over her head—something that will threaten them all. But Quinn’s worries are nothing compared to the firestorm that Nora is facing. It’s a matter of life and death, of family and freedom, and ultimately, about the lengths a woman will go to protect the ones she loves.

Friday, November 17, 2017

A Season to Lie by Emily Littlejohn Giveaway (US/Can)

A Season to Lie (Detective Gemma Monroe #2)
Emily Littlejohn
Minotaur Books // St. Martin's Press

In Emily Littlejohn's follow-up to her acclaimed debut Inherit the Bones, a twisted killer stalks his prey in the dead of winter.

On a cold dark night in February, as a blizzard shrieks through Cedar Valley, police officer and new mother Gemma Monroe responds to an anonymous report of a prowler at the local private high school, The Valley Academy. In her idyllic Colorado small town, Gemma expects the call was just a prank by a bored teenager.

But there in the snow lies the savaged body of a man whose presence in town was meant to be a secret. And a disturbing message left by his killer promises more death to come.

This is only the beginning...

Nothing is as it seems in Cedar Valley and stories, both fact and fiction, ensnare Gemma as her investigation moves from the halls of an elite academy to the forests that surround Cedar Valley.

Against a backdrop of bleak winter weather, stymied by those who would lie to protect what is dearest to them, Gemma hunts a ruthless killer before he strikes again in A Season to Lie.

Giveaway!


Books à la Mode is giving away one print copy of A Season to Lie—yay!

To enter, all you have to do is tell me in the comments below:
What do you love most about winter?
Please make your comment MEANINGFUL. Comments solely consisting of stock responses or irrelevant fluff like "Thanks for the giveaway!" will not be considered for entry. Emily and I really want to hear from you guys! :)

I'm not a fan of cold weather, but I do enjoy the holiday festivities! The comfort food, Christmas lights, decorations, hot beverages, mmm :)

Don't forget the entry eligibility terms and conditions!
Sponsored wholly by the publisher—a huge thank you to the lovely folks over at St. Martin's Press!
Giveaway ends December 1st at 11.59 PM (your time).
Open to US and Canada residents only—sorry, everyone else! Please check my sidebar for a list of currently running giveaways that are open worldwide. There are plenty to choose from!
Void where prohibited.
Winners have 48 hours to claim their prize once they are chosen, or else their winnings will be forfeited.
Although I do randomly select winners, I am in no way responsible for prizes, nor for shipping and handling.
As a reminder, you do not have to follow my blog to enter, though it is always very much appreciated ❤
Good luck!

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Exclusive Sneak Peek: Seeds of Revenge by Wendy Tyson + Giveaway (US/Can)

Seeds of Revenge (A Greenhouse Mystery #3)
Wendy Tyson
from Henery Press

It may be the holiday season, but the mood in Winsome is anything but jolly...

Megan Sawyer is determined to farm year-round. She’s braving a December snowstorm after pitching her greenhouse greens to Philadelphia chefs when she sees a stranger stranded on the side of the road. It’s Merry Chance’s niece Becca, who’s headed to Winsome to sell her “love potions” at holiday events—or so she thinks.

Merry has an ulterior motive in inviting her niece to Winsome, but Merry’s plan to reunite Becca with her estranged father goes awry when Becca’s father turns up dead. Megan soon realizes that Becca was not the only person in Winsome who despised her father. When Megan’s aunt, the famous mystery author, is implicated through her novels, things become personal. Megan must follow the literary clues while sifting through the victim’s sordid past, but can she uncover the truth before someone else in Winsome is murdered?

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Top 10 Things You Didn’t Know About The Austen Escape by Katherine Reay + Giveaway (US only)

The Austen Escape
Katherine Reay
from Thomas Nelson (HarperCollins)

Falling into the past will change their futures forever.

Mary Davies finds safety in her ordered and productive life. Working as an engineer, she genuinely enjoys her job and her colleagues—particularly a certain adorable and intelligent consultant. But something is missing. When Mary’s estranged childhood friend, Isabel Dwyer offers her a two-week stay in a gorgeous manor house in England, she reluctantly agrees in hopes that the holiday will shake up her quiet life in just the right ways.

But Mary gets more than she bargained for when Isabel loses her memory and fully believes she lives in Jane Austen’s Bath. While Isabel rests and delights in the leisure of a Regency lady, attended by other costume-clad guests, Mary uncovers startling truths about their shared past, who Isabel was, who she seems to be, and the man who now stands between them.

Outings are undertaken, misunderstandings arise, and dancing ensues as this company of clever, well-informed people, who have a great deal of conversation, work out their lives and hearts.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Exclusive Sneak Peek: Sugarplum Way by Debbie Mason + Giveaway (US/Can)

Sugarplum Way (Harmony Harbor #4)
Debbie Mason
from Forever (Hachette // Grand Central Publishing)

Romance writer Julia Landon knows how to write a happily-ever-after. Creating one for herself is a whole different story. But after a surprising–and surprisingly passionate–kiss under the mistletoe at Harmony Harbor’s holiday party last year, Julia thought she might have finally found her very own chance at true love. Until she learns her Mr. Tall, Dark, and Broodingly Handsome has sworn off relationships. Well, if she can’t have him in real life, Julia knows just how to get the next best thing...

Aidan’s only priority is to be the best single dad ever. And this year, he plans to make the holidays magical for his little girl, Ella Rose. But visions of stolen kisses under the mistletoe keep dancing in his head, and when he finds out Julia has written him into her latest novel, he can’t help imagining the possibilities of a future together. Little does he know, though, Julia has been keeping a secret that threatens all their dreams. Luckily, 'tis the season for a little Christmas magic.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Interview with McCall Hoyle, Author of The Thing with Feathers + Giveaway (US only)

It is my utmost pleasure to introduce McCall Hoyle to the blog today to celebrate the exciting release of her debut novel, The Thing with Feathers from Blink, HarperCollins's YA imprint!

Welcome to Books à la Mode, McCall! Let's get this interview started.

Will you please share a brief bio with us?

McCall Hoyle writes honest YA novels about friendship, first love, and girls finding the strength to overcome great challenges. She is a high school English teacher. Her own less-than-perfect teenage experiences and those of the girls she teaches inspire many of the struggles in her books.

When she’s not reading or writing, she’s spending time with her family and their odd assortment of pets—a food-obsessed beagle, a grumpy rescue cat, and a three-and-a-half-legged kitten.

She has an English degree from Columbia College and a master’s degree from Georgia State University. She lives in a cottage in the woods in North Georgia where she reads and writes every day.


It's amazing to get to feature you today! Readers, here's a bit about the book, which hit shelves in September:

Emilie Day believes in playing it safe: she’s homeschooled, her best friend is her seizure dog, and she’s probably the only girl on the Outer Banks of North Carolina who can’t swim.

Then Emilie’s mom enrolls her in public school, and Emilie goes from studying at home in her pj’s to halls full of strangers. To make matters worse, Emilie is paired with starting point guard Chatham York for a major research project on Emily Dickinson. She should be ecstatic when Chatham shows interest, but she has a problem. She hasn’t told anyone about her epilepsy.

Emilie lives in fear her recently adjusted meds will fail and she’ll seize at school. Eventually, the worst happens, and she must decide whether to withdraw to safety or follow a dead poet’s advice and “dwell in possibility.”

From Golden Heart award-winning author McCall Hoyle comes The Thing with Feathers, a story of overcoming fears, forging new friendships, and finding a first love, perfect for fans of Jennifer Niven, Robyn Schneider, and Sharon M. Draper.

What inspired you to write The Thing with Feathers?

As a teacher and mom, I observe so many teenage girls hiding their true selves from their peers. So I wanted to write a hopeful story about a girl learning to a accept herself for who she was. I taught a student whose family was greatly impacted by her sister’s epilepsy and learned about the unique challenges of living with a covert disability that isn’t immediately visible to strangers and acquaintances.

I also love dogs. By chance, my family inherited a golden retriever who was bred to do service work. The dog was more human than many humans. I began working with this amazing dog training him for agility and obedience. I became fascinated by golden retrievers and assistant dogs and did a tremendous amount of research and reading about service dogs and the people they love. I was especially intrigued by seizure alert dogs as seizure alerting cannot truly be taught and is greatly affected by the bond between the owner and dog.

I knew I had to write a story about a girl with epilepsy learning to love herself unconditionally the way her golden retriever did.

What's behind the title?

The title is a line from a well-known Emily Dickinson poem. She writes: “'Hope' is the thing with feathers; that perches in the soul." When the title came to me, I knew it was perfect. Everything about this book and about Emilie, the main character, is about learning to find hope even in the most difficult circumstances. And reading poetry and studying Emily Dickinson have a major impact on Emilie’s emotional arc in this story.

Thankfully, my agent, editor, and publisher also agreed the title was perfect. I don’t personally think a title is going to make or break a book, but I love a nice title—especially one that’s somehow connected to the theme of the book and that readers have to uncover the meaning of for themselves. And I think this title does just that.


As a writer, was it difficult to combine romantic elements with the exploration of Emilie’s condition?

This is an excellent question. First, I wanted this to be Emilie’s story. I wanted it to be a story of strength and resilience and hope. I did not want the romance to overshadow Emilie’s emotional growth. But in my experience, relationships are a central part of who we are. We’re constantly starting, developing, and ending relationships. Emilie’s story is about opening up, taking risks, and learning to hope. Taking a risk on friendship and first love were a natural part of her growth as a human being. I feel like it worked. Epilepsy is a big part of Emilie’s life, but it’s not her entire life. She’s a perfectly average teenage girl. Yes, she has epilepsy, but she’s also dealing with all the things teenage girls deal with including boys.


Do you feel like your book depicts a pretty realistic view of what life is like for a teen with an illness or a disability?

I’ve taught middle school and high school for twelve years. I’ve raised a teenage daughter, and I was a teenage girl. On an average day, I spend more time with teenagers than with adults. Also, I experienced some of the greatest trials of my life during my teenage years. It’s actually frighteningly easy for me to put myself in the mindset of teenage girls. So I feel really confident about the teenage girl part.

As far as living with epilepsy is concerned, I interviewed several students who either have epilepsy or love someone with epilepsy. I also did lots and lots of research and had several parents of children with epilepsy read the book. Because there are so many types of epilepsy and types of seizures, almost everyone who has epilepsy has a unique story.

Emilie struggles with managing the challenges of her epilepsy and her seizures, but in my experience, most teenage girls are struggling. When I write, whether it’s about a girl with epilepsy, or a girl struggling with grief, or a girl struggling with body image issues, I try to tap into the emotions I’ve experienced in similar situations and write from those emotions. And above all, I aim for honesty. I want teenage girls to know that no matter how flawed they feel, there is a place for all of us. And there is always room to hope.

Blog babes, click "Read more" to find out what research went into the book and McCall's best advice for aspiring writers. We're also hosting a giveaway for a finished copy of The Thing with Feathers, so you don't want to miss that either!

Monday, October 23, 2017

Now That You Mention It by Kristan Higgins + On Second Thought Giveaway (US/Can)

Now That You Mention It
Kristan Higgins
from Graydon House // Harlequin

New York Times bestselling author Kristan Higgins welcomes you home in a funny, emotionally charged must-read novel about the complications of life, love and family

One step forward. Two steps back. The Tufts scholarship that put Nora Stuart on the path to becoming a Boston medical specialist was a step forward. Being hit by a car and then overhearing her boyfriend hit on another doctor when she thought she was dying? Two major steps back.

Injured in more ways than one, Nora feels her carefully built life cracking at the edges. There’s only one place to land: home. But the tiny Maine community she left fifteen years ago doesn’t necessarily want her. At every turn, someone holds the prodigal daughter of Scupper Island responsible for small-town drama and big-time disappointments.

With a tough islander mother who’s always been distant and a wild-child sister in jail, unable to raise her daughter—a withdrawn teen as eager to ditch the island as Nora once was—Nora has her work cut out for her if she’s going to take what might be her last chance to mend the family.

But as some relationships crumble around her, others unexpectedly strengthen. Balancing loss and opportunity, a dark event from her past with hope for the future, Nora will discover that tackling old pain makes room for promise... and the chance to begin again.

Giveaway!

Books à la Mode is giving away one print copy of Kristin's previous novel, On Second Thought—yay!

To enter, all you have to do is tell me in the comments below:
What is your favorite Kristan Higgins novel? If you've never read one before, which do you look forward to reading most
Please make your comment MEANINGFUL. Comments solely consisting of stock responses or irrelevant fluff like "Thanks for the giveaway!" will not be considered for entry. Kristan and I really want to hear from you guys! :)

I looooved My One and Only. She does bittersweet really well!

Pssst! Want to increase your chances of winning? Earn up to two additional entries in the giveaway drawing by following Kristan on Twitter and on Facebook. Just be sure to include your Twitter handle and/or FB name that you followed with in your comment to verify your extra entries.

Don't forget the entry eligibility terms and conditions!
Sponsored wholly by the publisher—a huge thank you to the lovely folks over at Harlequin!
Giveaway ends November 6th at 11.59 PM (your time).
Open to US and Canada readers only—sorry, everyone else! Please check my sidebar for the list of currently running giveaways that are open worldwide. There are plenty to choose from!
Void where prohibited.
Winners have 48 hours to claim their prize once they are chosen, or else their winnings will be forfeited.
Although I do randomly select winners, I am in no way responsible for prizes, nor for shipping and handling.
As a reminder, you do not have to follow my blog to enter, though it is always very much appreciated ❤
Good luck!

Friday, October 20, 2017

House of Shadows by Nicola Cornick Giveaway (US/Can)

House of Shadows
Nicola Cornick
from Graydon House // Harlequin

The wooded hills of Oxfordshire conceal the remains of the aptly named Ashdown House—a wasted pile of cinders and regret. Once home to the daughter of a king, Ashdown and its secrets will unite three women across four centuries in a tangle of romance, deceit and destiny...

In the winter of 1662, Elizabeth Stuart, the Winter Queen, is on her deathbed. She entrusts an ancient pearl, rumored to have magic power, to her faithful cavalier William Craven for safekeeping. In his grief, William orders the construction of Ashdown Estate in her memory and places the pearl at its center.

One hundred and fifty years later, notorious courtesan Lavinia Flyte hears the maids at Ashdown House whisper of a hidden treasure, and bears witness as her protector Lord Evershot—desperate to find it—burns the building to the ground.

Now, a battered mirror and the diary of a Regency courtesan are the only clues Holly Ansell has to finding her brother, who has gone missing researching the mystery of Elizabeth Stuart and her alleged affair with Lord Craven. As she retraces his footsteps, Holly’s quest will soon reveal the truth about Lavinia and compel her to confront the stunning revelation about the legacy of the Winter Queen.

Giveaway!

Books à la Mode is giving away one print copy of House of Shadows—yay!

To enter, all you have to do is tell me in the comments below:
What is your nickname? Who calls you by this name?
Please make your comment MEANINGFUL. Comments solely consisting of stock responses or irrelevant fluff like "Thanks for the giveaway!" will not be considered for entry. Nicola and I really want to hear from you guys! :)

Pssst! Want to increase your chances of winning? Earn up to two additional entries in the giveaway drawing by following Nicola on Twitter and on Facebook. Just be sure to include your Twitter handle and/or FB name that you followed with in your comment to verify your extra entries.

Don't forget the entry eligibility terms and conditions!
Sponsored wholly by the publisher—a huge thank you to the lovely folks over at Harlequin!
Giveaway ends November 3rd at 11.59 PM (your time).
Open to US and Canada readers only—sorry, everyone else! Please check my sidebar for the list of currently running giveaways that are open worldwide. There are plenty to choose from!
Void where prohibited.
Winners have 48 hours to claim their prize once they are chosen, or else their winnings will be forfeited.
Although I do randomly select winners, I am in no way responsible for prizes, nor for shipping and handling.
As a reminder, you do not have to follow my blog to enter, though it is always very much appreciated ❤
Good luck!

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

The First Line of The Welcome Home Diner by Peggy Lampman + Giveaway (US/Can)

The Welcome Home Diner
Peggy Lampman
from Lake Union // Amazon

Betting on the city of Detroit’s eventual comeback, cousins Addie and Samantha decide to risk it all on an affordable new house and a culinary career that starts with renovating a vintage diner in a depressed area of town. There’s just one little snag in their vision.

Angus, a weary, beloved local, is strongly opposed to his neighborhood’s gentrification—and his concerns reflect the suspicion of the community. Shocked by their reception, Addie and Samantha begin to have second thoughts.

As the long hours, problematic love interests, and underhanded pressures mount, the two women find themselves increasingly at odds, and soon their problems threaten everything they’ve worked for. If they are going to realize their dreams, Addie and Samantha must focus on rebuilding their relationship. But will the neighborhood open their hearts to welcome them home?

Friday, October 13, 2017

Interview with Kaira Rouda, Author of Best Day Ever + Giveaway (US only)

It is my utmost pleasure to introduce Kaira Rouda to the blog today to celebrate the exciting release of Best Day Ever from Graydon House, a Harlequin imprint!

Welcome to Books à la Mode, Kaira! Let's get this interview started.

Will you please share a brief bio with us?

Kaira Rouda is the USA Today bestselling author of novels including Here, Home, Hope, The Goodbye Year, In the Mirror, All the Difference, and most recently, Best Day Ever. Her stories explore what goes on behind closed doors of seemingly perfect lives. She lives in Southern California with her family and she's at work on her next novel.

It's amazing to get to feature you today! Readers, here's a bit about the book, which hit shelves last month:
Paul Strom has the perfect life: a glittering career as an advertising executive, a beautiful wife, two healthy boys and a big house in a wealthy suburb. And he’s the perfect husband: breadwinner, protector, provider. That’s why he’s planned a romantic weekend for his wife, Mia, at their lake house, just the two of them. And he's promised today will be the best day ever.

But as Paul and Mia drive out of the city and toward the countryside, a spike of tension begins to wedge itself between them and doubts start to arise. How much do they trust each other? And how perfect is their marriage, or any marriage, really?

Forcing us to ask ourselves just how well we know those who are closest to us, Best Day Ever crackles with dark energy, spinning ever tighter toward its shocking conclusion. In the bestselling, page-turning vein of The Couple Next Door and The Dinner, Kaira Rouda weaves a gripping, tautly suspenseful tale of deception and betrayal dark enough to destroy a marriage... or a life.

As a huge fan of first lines, I’d love to hear the first line of Best Day Ever. Could you give us a brief commentary on it?
I glance at my wife as she climbs into the passenger seat, sunlight bouncing off her shiny blond hair like sparklers lit for the Fourth of July, and I am bursting with confidence.
This is Paul Strom, my narrator, introducing himself to you. His life is perfect. His wife is perfect. They are the all-American couple. He is confident the day will go just as he has planned.

Tell us about your road to publication, such as how you first queried, unexpected challenges, and things you picked up along the way.

It has been a long and winding road to publication, with five different literary agents, five novels, two romance series with small press and self-publishing, and a nonfiction book published by Wiley under my belt.

It was six years ago when I published my first novel, Here, Home, Hope. I have so many stories I could share, so many query letters, so many rejections. Perhaps the most poignant was the first time I tried to go for my dream in 1999. I found my first literary agent at the Antioch Writer’s Conference. She loved my novel In the Mirror and went out on submission. A famous editor with a huge publisher called me and told me she loved it and a contract was on the way. She died the next day suddenly in the back seat of a cab in midtown. It was a traumatic, shocking and extremely sad situation. Of course, I didn’t have a signed contract. My agent dropped me because she said the manuscript was now bad luck. I didn’t submit another fiction work for years.


Are the characters from your book based off anyone you know in real life?

No, they aren’t based on real life people, but a lifetime of experience goes into each one.


Out of all the fantastic books out there, what makes Best Day Ever stand out from the rest?

Two things. The gorgeous red cover. I just love it, and I had nothing to do with it! My fabulous publisher Graydon House has a great cover artist. And second, a male first-person narrator in the domestic suspense arena. I’ve come to find out that is unique.

Blog babes, click "Read more" to find out Kaira's best advice. We're also hosting a giveaway for a finished copy of Best Day Ever, so you don't want to miss that either!