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Friday, August 31, 2012

My September Reads...& a Wine Tasting!

Quite possibly, the most thrilling part of finally finishing my draft of The Book I've Been Working On For Two Years is that I get to take a few weeks off (before I need to begin the inevitable revisions) and just READ FOR FUN!!

This is all the more enjoyable because several friends had summer releases (yay!!!) and I've been so anxious to delve into them. When you read the story descriptions below, you'll know why these three novels are at the top of my TBR pile:

Shelley Noble's  BEACH COLORS :
While renowned designer Margaux Sullivan was presenting her highly praised collection during New York City's Fashion Week, her husband was cleaning out their bank account. A week after he disappeared, the bank foreclosed on Margaux's apartment and business.

Suddenly broke, betrayed, and humiliated, Margaux has nowhere else to turn to but home: the small coastal town of Crescent Cove, Connecticut, where she once knew love, joy, and family before she put them behind her on the climb to fame. When she's stopped for speeding by local interim police chief Nick Prescott, Margaux barely remembers the "townie" boy who worshipped her from afar every summer. But Nick is all grown up now, a college professor who gave up his career to care for his orphaned nephew, Connor. Though still vulnerable, Margaux is soon rediscovering the beauty of the shore through young Connor's eyes . . . and, thanks to Nick, finding a forgotten place in her heart that wants to love again.

But as she continues to work on a bold new line that will get her back into the game, Margaux realizes that soon she will have to make the most important, most difficult decision of her life. . . .

Edie Ramer's  STARDUST MIRACLE :
A miracle is going to happen...

Becky Diedrich is the cheesemaker's daughter.
The minister's wife.
The good sister.

What she's not is her own woman.
What she can't be is a mother.

And then she catches her husband with another woman.
And she moves in with her sister.
And she starts to see sparkles.

And this is just the beginning...

Maria Geraci's  A GIRL LIKE YOU :
Every ugly duckling is a swan in waiting...

Emma Frazier is smart, hardworking, and loves her job as a journalist for a Florida lifestyle magazine. Emma knows she’s no great beauty, but she’s pretty certain she has a shot with her handsome new boss, Ben Gallagher—until Emma overhears a mutual acquaintance refer to her as the “ugly friend.” In an effort to reclaim her battered self-esteem, Emma decides to impress Ben at work by promising an exclusive interview with NASCAR legend, Trip Monroe.

Emma and Trip went to high school together and although it’s been fourteen years since they’ve spoken, Emma is certain she can score an interview with the elusive super star. But connecting with Trip turns out to be harder than Emma imagined. Her quest for the interview leads her back to her tiny hometown of Catfish Cove, where old secrets and a new romantic interest shake up Emma’s views on life and teach her that maybe the key to finding true love is as simple as accepting yourself for the person you were always meant to be.

Woot!! So excited to get started!

In other fun news, I'm participating in an event tonight that I've been looking forward to for over a month. I'm the guest author at a local bookstore for a novel chat PLUS a wine tasting! Check out Lake Forest Book Store's Summer Fridays for more general information. But, if you happen to be in the area, I'll be in Lake Forest at 7pm tonight, talking about A SUMMER IN EUROPE over glasses of wine ;).

Wishing you all a wonderful and relaxing Labor Day Weekend! Any special plans??

Thursday, August 16, 2012

On the Banks of the Mississippi with Mark Twain

My husband is a long-time Mark Twain fan, and our son had The Adventures of Tom Sawyer as one of his summer reading books... So, in an effort to share his love of Twain with our son and bring a fun family adventure to the end of our summer, my husband suggested we all go on a little road trip to Hannibal, Missouri last week.

We drove from the Chicago suburbs in a meandering southwesterly direction and visited Mark Twain's Boyhood Home & Museum, the Mark Twain Cave, the mighty Mississippi River and a number of sites in and around lovely Hannibal, where the young Samuel Clemens grew up. He didn't have an easy life, but his novels and witticisms are timeless, and I've appreciated them often through the years.

My favorite of his books is not a surprising choice for anyone who knows me, as it's the one based on his travels in Europe and the Holy Land: The Innocents Abroad. I read it decades ago (must read it again!), but I loved it and related to the author's observations of people in the way that my husband related to Twain's characterizations and stories of the American West, particularly Roughing It.

I'll leave you with some of his most famous quotations...and a question: Do you have a favorite Mark Twain story? A saying of his that you like best? If so, please share!

I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.

There are several good protections against temptation, but the surest is cowardice.

One of the striking differences between a cat and a lie is that a cat has only nine lives.

The holy passion of Friendship is of so sweet and steady and loyal and enduring a nature that it will last through a whole lifetime, if not asked to lend money.

Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence in society.

Let us be thankful for the fools. But for them the rest of us could not succeed.

It's not the size of the dog in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the dog.

The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who can't read them.

Wrinkles should merely indicate where smiles have been.

The only way to keep your health is to eat what you don't want, drink what you don't like, and do what you'd rather not.