Gift Ideas for Book Lovers (Part 2)


This weekend, with the temps dipping down in the 40’s during the day- and even colder at night, the holiday visions danced even more in my head.

If they were dancing in your head as well- here are some more suggestions for books for the book lovers in your life!

To read part 1, visit here!


Women’s Fiction

Looking for Me by Beth Hoffman

looking for me

Photo Credit: Amazon

My first Beth Hoffman book- and boy was it a treat. Beth wrote a book that made me laugh and cry- and feel good and warm and fuzzy. Her main character, Teddi, was a character with flaws, and tons of potential. Teddi is also dealing with an incredible loss. She’s real and honest and lovable. Here is my review of Looking For Me.


Time Flies by Claire Cook

time flies

Photo Credit: Amazon

High school reunions make some feel nostalgic, others feel nauseous. Claire Cook takes a rite of passage and spins a story that is funny- but sweet. Her character Melanie is dealing with a divorce- and finding out that life does not end- in fact, it may get better. Here is my review of Time Flies.


A Place at the Table by Susan Rebecca White

a place at the table

Photo Credit: Amazon

Susan Rebecca White tells this story with such feeling and emotion. Her characters, the storylines- all worth reading. This story reminds people of what life and love is really about- and how we, as people, want to have someone in our corner- someone who sees the real us- and accepts us 100%. Here is my review of A Place At The Table.


The Art Forger by B.A. Shapirio

the art forger

Photo Credit: Amazon

Love, lust, betrayal….. and the art world. Fantastic story- a mystery, a story divided into 3 sections- and art. Claire is flawed- she’s made mistakes. She’s also paid for her mistakes by being blackballed in the art world. When she makes a deal with the devil- will Claire come out on top? Or even more of a pariah? Here is my review of The Art Forger.


Finding Colin Firth by Mia March

finding coling firrth1

Photo Credit: Amazon

Mia March’s 2nd book, Finding Colin Firth, is the same bubbly goodness that readers came to expect from her after Meryl Streep Movie Club. Plus, who doesn’t like Colin Firth? Highly recommended for readers who just want to be entertained! Here is my review of Finding Colin Firth.




Learning to Fly: An Uncommon Memoir of Human Flight, Unexpected Love, and One Amazing Dog by Steph Davis

learning to fly fb

Photo Credit: Goodreads

The story of Steph Davis- the things she overcame to find happiness- all with a dog by her side and the notion to learn to be a skydiver- something that goes against her climber personality. Steph’s story is an interesting one- and one that is worth a read. Here is my review of Learning to Fly.


Gods of Mischief: My Undercover Vendetta to Take Down The Vagos Outlaw Motorcycle Gang by George Rowe

gods of mischief fb

Photo Credit: Goodreads

Tough. Gritty. Entertaining. Interesting. The insider look into a tough motorcycle gang is not a story for the soft-hearted. It’s tough at times- but overall, nonfiction lovers will enjoy. Here is my review of Gods of Mischief.




The Sassy Belles by Beth Albright


Photo Credit: Goodreads

When Blake O’Hara Heart’s best friend forever, Vivi, gets herself into a bit of trouble- Blake is there to rescue her. And Blake learns plenty about life, love, and teaches the readers about the  power of friendship along the way! If you like your characters with lots of sass and fun- this is a book for you.  Here is my review of The Sassy Belles (along with my review of Wedding Belles and Sleigh Belles– the other 2 books in this fun trilogy.)



Literary Friday ya’ll…

Friday 🙂 Hope everyone has big weekend plans!


1. Deep South Mag– #literaryfriday is off to a great start! There was a Beth Hoffman Twitter chat (super-fun!) Other tid-bits: Beth Albright will guest post on Deep South Mag next week, news of TAMPA, Zelda and Hemingway news, and more!

If you missed the Beth Hoffman chat- use #southernlit to read a transcript on Twitter! Need more Beth Hoffman? Here’s the interview and author spotlight that posted on my blog this week!


2, I just finished (last night) reading Finding Colin Firth. It was fabulous! I enjoyed it! So much! Want to win a copy? Comment on my interview with Mia March for a chance! Need more Mia? Here is the Author Spotlight!


3. Wanting to know what the August Book Lovers Unite online book club selection is? It’s The Comfort of Lies by Randy Susan Meyers!


4. My #fridayreads IF YOU WERE HERE by Alafair Burke, THE PAINTED GIRLS, and I’m trying to decide on a 3rd book!


5. Coming up soon on the blog: posts about meeting Stephanie Evanovich (Big Girl Panties), Susan Crandall (Whistling Past the Graveyard) and Anton DiSclafani!


6. Like Mermaids? Check out the blog next week- there’ll be talk about a Mermaid that live in NYC (Brooklyn, to be exact!)


Happy Reading 🙂

Author Spotlight: Beth Hoffman

looking for meBeth Hoffman, author of Looking for Me, was here on Monday for an interview. Today, she is back for an author spotlight!

Congratulations to Beth- Looking for Me (along with 20 other books!) was chosen to be part of Deep South Magazine’s Summer Reading List.


Author Spotlight: Beth Hoffman

What are some of your favorite books, Beth?

There are far too many to list, but among my all-time favorites are: Roxanna Slade by Reynolds Price, A Christmas Memory by Truman Capote, Mama Makes Up Her Mind by Bailey White, and A Gracious Plenty by Sheri Reynolds.


If you could choose to be a character in a book- who would you choose?

I’d be Thelma Rae Goodpepper in Saving CeeCee Honeycutt. I’m already a lot like her. Just give me a few years and an outdoor bathtub, and I’ll probably turn into her twin!


If you were not an author, what would you like to be?

At this stage in my life, I can’t imagine doing anything else. Though I loved interior design and spent twenty years in that industry building a clientele and opening my own shop, I have no desire to return. If I had to choose something other than writing, then I’d open an animal rescue and rehabilitation facility.


Do you have any #literaryconfessions?

The only literary confession I can think of is that I’ve not read Jane Eyre.


Do you have a #literarycrush?

I’ve never had a literary crush. But if I had to pick one, it would probably be Tom Wingo from The Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy. He is whip-smart, vulnerable, flawed, incredibly human, and so damn funny.


What is your favorite song?

As odd as my answer is, it’s the truth. My favorite song is birdsong—especially red-winged blackbirds. It makes me happy to hear them sing outside my windows.


Do you have any guilty pleasures?

I’m a quiet and simple person. What gives me pleasure is peace and solitude. But I will confess that I have a thing for quality sheets. I change my bed every single day (yes, you read that right…LOL), and I triple sheet like they do in fine European hotels. The sheets must be white and I prefer them to have some sort of lace or cutwork on the hems of the pillowcases. I love to take a hot bath at the end of the day and slip into crisp and cool sheets with a good book. To me, that’s bliss.


Beth- are you a hardback, paperback, or e-book kind of reader?

I like all three for different reasons. While I prefer hardback books, I do love to read on my iPad, especially when traveling.


What are some of the books in your TBR (To Be Read) list?

Thanks to all you bloggers, I have a huge TBR list! But a few titles on that list are: Benediction by Kent Haruf, Whistling Past the Graveyard by Susan Crandall, and Elegies for the Brokenhearted by Christie Hodgen.


*Special thanks to Beth Hoffman for this author spotlight!


Beth Hoffman- when not writing, reading, or changing her sheets- can be found on Twitter, Facebook, or her website.

Be sure and check out the Interview with Beth Hoffman and Traveling With T’s  review of Looking for Me.




Interview with Beth Hoffman, author of Looking for Me

looking for meBeth Hoffman, author of Looking for Me, stopped by the blog to talk about antiques, how she creates characters, and the setting for Looking for Me.

She will be back on Wednesday to reveal her #literarycrush, #literaryconfessions, and the books that are on her TBR list (plus where she gets many of her book recommendations!)

*Need more Beth in your life? Twitter chat with Beth Hoffman Friday, July 26th from 2-3pmEST- thanks to Deep South Magazine! Use hashtag #southernlit to join in!


Interview with Beth Hoffman

Beth- thank you for agreeing to be interviewed!

I’m happy to be here, Tamara. Thanks so much for inviting me to your blog.

Beth, what was the inspiration for Looking for Me?

After I returned home from touring with CeeCee, I didn’t know what I’d write next, and quite honestly, I was too exhausted to think about it. One day I was cleaning my writing library and began to organize old photographs. I came across an envelope containing photos of my grandparents’ farm—some dating as far back as 1883.

There were probably close to a hundred photos in all, and I spent a good while reliving my childhood and yearning for those simple days on the farm. I missed the smell of freshly tilled earth and the taste of sweet corn grown on the land that had been in my family for generations. Just as I picked up a photo of my younger brother, something flashed in my periphery. I looked up as a red-tailed hawk landed in the tree outside my window. He settled on a branch and then turned his head and looked in the window. For a long moment we considered each other, and then—wham—I knew I had the soul of my story.


Teddi is a complex character, a very real character. How did you create Teddi?

Like all of my characters, Teddi came to me fully realized. Though I gave her my love of antiques, animals, and nature, she took off with her own persona and quirks. One of the things I’ve learned while crafting a novel is to get out of the way and give my characters freedom to live and speak and think without too much interference from me. Many times they’ve brought me major storyline revelations that I hadn’t even considered. It’s a fascinating process.

Part of the book is set in Charleston and part in Kentucky. What about those two settings made it right for Looking for Me?

The atmosphere of the story I want to create will determine the setting. I need to feel connected to a location’s history and culture. One of my favorite things to do while crafting a novel is to explore opposites. The juxtaposition of Charleston’s refinement to Slade, Kentucky’s rugged wilderness intrigued me. Red River Gorge is wonderfully wild and mysterious while Charleston is known for its gorgeous architecture and gentility. The downtown area of Charleston was the perfect place for Teddi to reach for her dream while Kentucky was ideal to hold her family’s roots.


Antiques are a huge part of Looking for Me. Were you using antiques as a metaphor- even when things look bleak, some tender loving care can make things better?

To be honest, I never thought of antiques as a metaphor while crafting the story, but you have an interesting point. I’ve always had a tender spot for people, animals, and objects that have suffered neglect and need care. Many years ago I drove by a trashcan that had an old teddy bear sticking out. It made me sad to think that he’d once been loved and yet soon would be left to disintegrate in a dump. So I stopped and went back to get him. He was so old that he was stuffed with excelsior. I cleaned him up, stitched one his paws, and made sure he was sanitized. He’s now happily sitting on one of my bookshelves.


Beth- how do you create characters? Are the characters based on people you know?

I don’t mean to sound evasive, but my characters just seem to show up. Long before I begin a manuscript they begin to chatter in my head. I don’t so much create them as acknowledge them. More often than not they’ll appear out of nowhere and surprise me. Certainly some characters will have traits of people I’ve known, heard about, or interacted with, but they always end up being unique unto themselves.


When writing Looking for Me– did you know how it would end? Or did the ending reveal itself as you were writing?

I was well into writing the manuscript before I knew how it would end. The ending came to me late one night, and when I saw it play out in my head, I knew it was absolutely right.


Any ideas as to what the next book will be about, Beth?  

I have no clue! Some characters have started to “talk” to me, but I really don’t know what, if anything, will come of what they’re saying. I’m the kind of writer who needs to put some time and distance between novels so I can fully immerse myself in a new story and keep it fresh and separate from those that came before it.


*Special thanks to Beth Hoffman for agreeing to be interviewed!


beth hoffman

Beth Hoffman, author of Looking for Me and Saving CeeCee Honeycutt, has the honor of being chosen for Deep South Magazine’s 2013 Summer Reading List! When she is not writing, you can find Beth on Twitter– sending encouraging tweets to her writer friends (and fans!) Beth also has a website and a Facebook page.


Literary Friday ya’ll…

Friday- Friday -Friday!


Deep South Magazine and their #literaryfriday goodness: Carl Hiassen’s Most Memorable Characters, Wiley Cash news, and more. Plus, the Author Spotlight that was featured yesterday on Erika Marks on my blog, Traveling With T, made the #literaryfriday news!


Literary New England is getting “chatty” during the month of July- 2 author chats lined up: Nichole Bernier, The Unfinished Work of Elizabeth D, chats with @litnewengland July 2nd from 8-9PM EST. There will be a #giveaway! Then July 10, Erika Marks chats from 8-9pmEST- there will be a #giveaway for her chat as well. Use #LNEchat to participate.


Anita Loves Books is giving away a copy of Looking for Me by Beth Hoffman. #giveaway ends June 16th.


She Reads as part of their Books of  Summer series features Meg Donohue. Read her Tell Me Something True: A Visit with Meg Donohue to find out some about All The Summer Girls.


Today, I reviewed Steamed to Death by Peg Cochran for Cozy Mystery Reviews!


The #giveaway is still going on for Erika Marks The Guest House. Comment on Erika Marks: Author Spotlight for a chance to win!


What are you reading for #fridayreads? I’m reading The Engagements by J. Courtney Sullivan, The Wishing Tree by Marybeth Whalen, Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight and hoping to get in Time Flies by Claire Cook.


Speaking of The Engagements by J. Courtney Sullivan- it is mentioned in OBSESSED- The 20 Next Big Things in Glamour’s July 2013 magazine.


Happy reading!




Looking for Me by Beth Hoffman

looking for meLooking for Me by Beth Hoffman is a sweet book that combines family, antiques, love of rural land and the charming town of Charleston.

Teddi Overman is a girl that likes garage sales, estate sales, and finding broken pieces and making them beautiful again. Teddi, while living in Kentucky with her family, dreams of a life elsewhere- a life where she can restore antiques and sell them. Teddi’s brother, Josh, wants a life where he is at one with nature- that is his place, where he is truly happy. Teddi always figures that Josh will become a park ranger- a job where he could help animals, keep the wildlife safe and have a hand in keeping the evils of modern life from the sanctuary of nature. Then Josh disappears- and people begin to fear the worst.

Teddi is living her life in Charleston, owns her own antique store, and has friends and generous people in her life.  Josh’s disappearance is still a hole in her life- a hole that she hopes to be able to fill one day by finding out once and for all what happened to Josh. Even though common sense dictates that Josh met an untimely death- Teddi’s heart will not let go of the thought that he is alive somewhere.

When Teddi finds herself back in Kentucky, dealing with unexpected issues- she begins to look at her family’s belongings- and in the process of deciding what to keep and toss- Teddi finds things that show different sides to the family she thought she knew everything about. Learning new things puts her relationships in different lights- and let’s Teddi know that even if love is not expressed in the ways one would want, it is there. Once she arrives back in Charleston- Teddi knows that it is time to live life- to not hold back. With that idea- she finds life in Charleston becomes a richer, more fulfilling experience, and one she was more than ready for.

Beth Hoffman, writing about love, loss, finding yourself, and letting go, creates a story that is a reader’s dream. It has something for everyone, is well-written and very enjoyable. Grab a copy of Looking for Me, sit down and read Teddi’s story. You can thank me later.