#100DaysOfGreatBooks – Code Name Verity

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#100DaysofGreatBooks  #SummerOfBookLove

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Day 26 – Code Name Verity

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Code Name Verity

I read this book years ago, right when it came out – which is right before I started reviewing, and definitely before I started doing the Kirkus blog.

It’s an unforgettable book, truly. Every so often I’ll see a big author telling their audience “I just read this amazing book and you all should read it too.”

I agree. You should all read it.

Code Name Verity is both a tough read and a beautiful read, but it’s also fascinating and brilliant.

Oct. 11th, 1943—A British spy plane crashes in Nazi-occupied France. Its pilot and passenger are best friends. One of the girls has a chance at survival. The other has lost the game before it’s barely begun. When “Verity” is arrested by the Gestapo, she’s sure she doesn’t stand a chance. As a secret agent captured in enemy territory, she’s living a spy’s worst nightmare. Her Nazi interrogators give her a simple choice: reveal her mission or face a grisly execution. As she intricately weaves her confession, Verity uncovers her past, how she became friends with the pilot Maddie, and why she left Maddie in the wrecked fuselage of their plane. On each new scrap of paper, Verity battles for her life, confronting her views on courage, failure and her desperate hope to make it home. But will trading her secrets be enough to save her from the enemy?

A Michael L. Printz Award Honor book that was called “a fiendishly-plotted mind game of a novel” in The New York Times, Code Name Verity is a visceral read of danger, resolve, and survival that shows just how far true friends will go to save each other.

*****

#HappyReading  #100DaysofGreatBooks  #SummerOfBookLove

Buy Code Name Verity

availableon-amazon

*Please note that the Amazon button, most cover images and text links connect to an affiliate portal. Thanks so much for your help & support!

#100DaysOfGreatBooks – Dream A Little Dream

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#100DaysofGreatBooks  #SummerOfBookLove

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Day 25 – Dream A Little Dream

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DREAM A LITTLE DREAM

Or MATCH ME IF YOU CAN…?

THIS HEART OF MINE? Or NOBODY’S BABY BUT MINE?

Or maybe LADY BE GOOD… ?

Or KISS AN ANGEL?

I sincerely have a hard time picking a favorite book by Susan Elizabeth Phillips. They’re all amazing.

I love the Chicago Stars and Heaven Texas. I love the Bonner brothers and Salvation North Carolina.

SEP is the queen of romantic comedy, but she’s so much more than that too. She manages to make us laugh and cry, and wrap her characters up in so much turmoil and humanity that her books transcend the label.

Do you love Susan Elizabeth Phillips? Do you have a favorite? (Can you pick one?!)

I’m choosing DREAM A LITTLE DREAM mainly because I think it may be the most layered and emotionally deep storyline. But really, they’re all swoon-worthy.

A Desperate Young Mother

Rachel Stone’s bad luck has taken a turn for the worse. With an empty wallet, a car’s that’s spilling smoke, and a five-year-old son to support, she’s come home to a town that hates her. But this determined young widow with a scandalous past has learned how to be a fighter. And she’ll do anything to keep her child safe—even take on. . .

A Man With No Heart

Gabe Bonner wants to be left alone, especially by the beautiful outcast who’s invaded his property. She has a ton of attitude, a talent for trouble, and a child who brings back bad memories. Yet Rachel’s feisty spirit might just be heaven-sent to save a tough, stubborn man.

Dare To Dream

Welcome to Salvation, North Carolina—where a man who’s forgotten what tenderness means meets a woman with nothing to lose. here two endearing lovers will set off on a funny, touching journey of the heart. . .to a place where dreams just might come true.

*****

#HappyReading  #100DaysofGreatBooks  #SummerOfBookLove

Buy Susan Elizabeth Phillip’s books

availableon-amazon

*Please note that the Amazon button, most cover images and text links connect to an affiliate portal. Thanks so much for your help & support!

#100DaysOfGreatBooks – Charlotte’s Web

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#100DaysofGreatBooks  #SummerOfBookLove

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Day 24 – Charlotte’s Web

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CHARLOTTE’S WEB

It’s funny to think of how many books are available today for children, and how relatively few there were for those of us who were born before, say, 1980.
I am not a spider fan – at all! – but who wouldn’t be a fan of Charlotte, the charming, brilliant arachnid who saves the pig and reminds us how powerful words can be, especially when they’re woven into a web in a barn.

I found this fun article on 10 Things You Might Not Know About Charlotte’s Web, because they’re fun and interesting, and they give us a little bit of insight into the book and the author.

I read CHARLOTTE’S WEB when I was in 3rd grade, and have read it a few times again through the years.

It’s a wondrous thing that a book written in the early 1940s holds up today. That despite a lack of electronics and “modern” issues, children (and adults) remain enchanted and devoted to this lovely book.

But they do. Because the emotions and the issues are universal.

Friendship, sacrifice, imagination, kindness. Fighting for the underdog. Believing in possibilities.

It’s a short book, and Charlotte lives a short life. But they’re both remarkable.

(Charlotte was also my mom’s name. So even more extra special.)

Have you read the book? How old were you?

This beloved book by E. B. White, author of Stuart Little and The Trumpet of the Swan, is a classic of children’s literature that is “just about perfect.” Illustrations in this ebook appear in vibrant full color on a full-color device and in rich black-and-white on all other devices.

Some Pig. Humble. Radiant. These are the words in Charlotte’s Web, high up in Zuckerman’s barn. Charlotte’s spiderweb tells of her feelings for a little pig named Wilbur, who simply wants a friend. They also express the love of a girl named Fern, who saved Wilbur’s life when he was born the runt of his litter.

E. B. White’s Newbery Honor Book is a tender novel of friendship, love, life, and death that will continue to be enjoyed by generations to come. It contains illustrations by Garth Williams, the acclaimed illustrator of E. B. White’s Stuart Little and Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House series, among many other books.

*****

#HappyReading  #100DaysofGreatBooks  #SummerOfBookLove

Buy E. B. White’s books

availableon-amazon

*Please note that the Amazon button, most cover images and text links connect to an affiliate portal. Thanks so much for your help & support!

#100DaysOfGreatBooks – Smitten By The Brit

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#100DaysofGreatBooks  #SummerOfBookLove

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Day 23 – SMITTEN BY THE BRIT by Melonie Johnson

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Hi friends ~

Just a reminder that from May 24th through the end of August (Read-A-Romance Month) I’ll be spotlighting one book a day.

On Fridays (though today, it’s Saturday, because WordPress didn’t like me yesterday!) through July, I’ll be including an author answering the Q&A from RARM 2018.

Melonie Johnson had her debut this year with GETTING HOT WITH THE SCOT, but her next two titles came out in the next two months.

I’m focusing on SMITTEN BY THE BRIT because it’s the most recent release, and it was just delightful!

(Both of the first two books were delightful. I haven’t read the 3rd one yet. But aren’t those covers too cute?!)

SMITTEN BY THE BRIT

DEFINITELY, MAYBE…OR LOVE, ACTUALLY?

English professor Bonnie Blythe expects her life to play out like her favorite novels, especially now that her long-term boyfriend has finally proposed. So when a shocking discovery leads Bonnie to end her engagement, she decides to close the book on love. But the plot thickens when a brand-new character enters the scene—and quickens Bonnie’s heart.

With his brilliant blue eyes, sexy accent, and irresistible charm, Theo Wharton is like a romantic hero straight out of a Jane Austen novel. When fate places Bonnie in England for a summer—conveniently close to Theo—she realizes a hot friends-with-benefits fling is exactly what she needs to start a fresh chapter. Just as Bonnie begins to believe she’s falling in love, an eye-opening revelation into Theo’s life makes Bonnie feel like she’s wandered into one of her favorite books. Will Bonnie have the courage to risk her heart and turn the page with the dashing Brit to find her true happy ending after all?

#HappyReading  #100DaysofGreatBooks  #SummerOfBookLove

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2018 RARM Questions:

Why do you write books? 

A lifelong reader, stories have always been important to me. An actress, I enjoy the craft of dialogue and word play. The path to becoming an author began when characters started popping into my head doing stuff, and the only way I was able to find out what happened next was by writing it down.

What do you consider to be the most courageous thing you’ve ever done?

At first, I was going to say when I decided to graduate high school early and start college at sixteen, but even though that was scary, I was excited to jump into the next phase of my life more than anything else. Thinking more about it, I believe it was when I was in junior high (quite possibly the most terrifying time in anyone’s life). I had made the cheerleading squad, and suddenly found myself part of the “popular” crowd—eating lunch with the cool girls and getting invited to all the parties—but over time I realized how shallow and empty these friendships felt and even though I knew it jeopardized my social standing and all the perks that came with it, I decided to stop hanging out with those girls and to go back to my “old” friends, my real friends. I had no way of knowing if they would welcome me back and was risking being alone—an outsider of both groups—but it was a risk I knew I had to take, and lucky for me, they took me back like the true friends they were.

Tell us why you write romances or include strong romantic elements in your books?

Nothing affects me the way watching two people discover they have feelings for each other does. It is a joy to write stories where I get to play with how this happens and create this journey on the page.

Tell us about a romantic moment in your life. (Either romantic love, or romantic sensibility.)

When my husband (then boyfriend) surprised me by asking me to marry him when we took a spur of the moment trip to New Orleans for the turn of the millennium. We drove from Chicago to NOLA, and he acted so odd the entire drive. As soon as we got to our room in the lovely historical hotel in the Garden District, he dropped to his knee and proposed. That was why he’d been acting so strange! The ring had been burning a hole in his pocket and he was a bundle of nerves. I am so glad he asked me as soon as we got there, because it made the rest of our trip extra special, celebrating as a newly engaged couple.

If you could tell your younger self anything (either as a writer or as a woman) what would it be?

This applies to both myself as a woman and a writer: never let someone else’s opinion of you affect your opinion of yourself.

Tell us something you uncovered in research that fascinated you.

So many things, but I think one of the most interesting was the lives of the modern-day British peerage. There are some fascinating documentaries about members of the aristocracy and the lengths they’ve gone to maintain their vast estates. It’s also very interesting to see what has changed (and what hasn’t) in the mindset and mannerisms of these title-holding families.

How do you handle the voices in your head competing for their story to be written? 

What has helped me when another character or story idea intrudes while I’m working on something, is to jot whatever is trying to take over my thoughts down—whether it’s a character sketch or a bit of dialogue or an entire scene—I’ll unload my thoughts in a rush of scribbled words so it’s out of my head. Then I’m (usually) able to return to the story I was currently writing. The only problem is I need to be more organized about how I file these other ideas so I can find them when I’m ready to turn my attention to the next story!

What is (one of) the most remarkable/inspiring things that has happened to you as a reader or writer?Why?

I want to fall into a Jane Austen novel and spend a summer attending country house parties with strolls through the gardens, picnics on the lawn, afternoon tea, and evening dances.

If you could live for a month somewhere (either in the present or past) where (and when, if applicable) would it be? Why?

It’s been amazing to have readers reach out and let me know how much they’ve enjoyed my stories, how much they’ve laughed, and how they love the friendship shared by my group of girls. Books have often been my escape in times of need…and knowing I’ve helped provide an escape for someone else is really the best feeling ever.

Melonie recommends:

Laura Kinsalewww.laurakinsale.com@Amazon

Her historical romances are among my favorite. Tortured heroes and flawed heroines who heal each other and fit together in unique and surprising ways.

Sonali Devsonalidev.com@Amazon

Her books are poetry in prose form, and her detailed descriptions of food and family envelop you and make you ache to be part of the story.

Morgan Llywelyn@Goodreads

I fell in love with her books when I was a teen, starting with her take on such Celtic legends as Cuchulain and Brian Boru. Her Irish Century series is fascinating and heartbreaking, an in-depth look at the Irish fight for independence over the course of the 20th century. Drenched in historical detail, but with a cast of fictionalized characters so raw and real you feel like you are living through these moments with them.

After earning her Bachelor of Arts magna cum laude from Loyola University Chicago, Melonie Johnson—aka #thewritinglush—taught high school English and Theatre for several years. An award winning author and a two-time RWA Golden Heart® finalist, she writes smart and funny contemporary romance and moonlights as an audiobook narrator under the pseudonym, Evelyn Eibhlin. She lives happily ever after with her husband, two redheaded daughters, a dog that’s more like a small horse, and a pair of hermit crabs. She is the author of the Sometimes in Love series which includes Getting Hot with the Scot, Smitten by the Brit, and Once Upon a Bad Boy.

Buy Melonie’s books:

availableon-amazon
availableon-nook
availableon-kobo

*Please note that the Amazon button, most cover images and text links connect to an affiliate portal. Thanks so much for your help & support!

#100DaysOfGreatBooks – Becoming

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Day 22 – Becoming by Michelle Obama

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BECOMING

I loved, loved, loved this book.

If you haven’t already, you should read it.

Michelle Obama was special and her memoir is a fascinating revelation.

An intimate, powerful, and inspiring memoir by the former First Lady of the United States

In a life filled with meaning and accomplishment, Michelle Obama has emerged as one of the most iconic and compelling women of our era. As First Lady of the United States of America—the first African American to serve in that role—she helped create the most welcoming and inclusive White House in history, while also establishing herself as a powerful advocate for women and girls in the U.S. and around the world, dramatically changing the ways that families pursue healthier and more active lives, and standing with her husband as he led America through some of its most harrowing moments. Along the way, she showed us a few dance moves, crushed Carpool Karaoke, and raised two down-to-earth daughters under an unforgiving media glare. 

In her memoir, a work of deep reflection and mesmerizing storytelling, Michelle Obama invites readers into her world, chronicling the experiences that have shaped her—from her childhood on the South Side of Chicago to her years as an executive balancing the demands of motherhood and work, to her time spent at the world’s most famous address. With unerring honesty and lively wit, she describes her triumphs and her disappointments, both public and private, telling her full story as she has lived it—in her own words and on her own terms. Warm, wise, and revelatory, Becoming is the deeply personal reckoning of a woman of soul and substance who has steadily defied expectations—and whose story inspires us to do the same.

*****

#HappyReading  #100DaysofGreatBooks  #SummerOfBookLove

Buy Becoming

availableon-amazon

*Please note that the Amazon button, most cover images and text links connect to an affiliate portal. Thanks so much for your help & support!