Gift Ideas for Book Lovers (Part 2)

santa

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

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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

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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.

 

NonFiction

 

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

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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.

 

Romance

 

The Sassy Belles by Beth Albright

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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.)

 

 

Finding Colin Firth by Mia March

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Happiness is a Mia March book (sorry Colin Firth’s fan club who contend that “Happiness is Colin Firth”)

3 women. A movie being filmed in town. Summer. And Colin Firth. Sounds like a summer to remember (and it is!) but how much does the charming Colin Firth play a role in the memories of the summer?

Gemma has been fired from her reporter job. Gemma is upset- being a reporter is like breathing to her- it’s just who she is. To her husband, though, this is good news. He’s ready to leave New York City and start life in a suburb with all the trimmings that goes with that life. Gemma knows two things: She’s not ready to give up her reporter life and she has a secret that will make life in the suburbs happen faster than she would be able to wrap her head around.

Bea is a young 20-ish girl. Finished with college, but employed as a short order cook- she’s taking time to grieve the loss of her mother before she moves on to a next plan. Until, she gets a letter from her deceased mother that explains Bea was adopted. Bea is unsure what to think of this- but knows she needs to at least see her birth mother before making a choice about what to do next.

Veronica- a great pie baker and lover of Colin Firth movies. She’s returned to Boothbay Harbor after leaving 22 years earlier, right after she placed her daughter with a new family. Veronica worries about what the town thinks of her- but tries to focus on being happy and making pies. She doesn’t know that her daughter is coming to Boothbay Harbor to see her.

Each of these three characters find themselves in Boothbay Harbor with their stories interweaving.  The summer teaches them all important things- they grow up, they find happiness, they learn lessons,  and enjoy Colin Firth movies!

Traveling With T’s Thoughts:

Pure fun. Love this book. Mia March does an excellent job with creating characters that the reader can care about, want these characters to find happiness, to learn important lessons. Boothbay Harbor is the best setting- it’s idyllic, laid-back feel makes the reader wish to be able to see the place (even though Mia does a great job at setting a visual description!) The Colin Firth movies, the relationships between the women- went hand in hand for a great summer read.

 

*Thanks to Mia March and Gallery Publishing for providing me with a review copy. The above thoughts and opinions are mine alone.

 

**Interview with Mia March and Author Spotlight: Mia March.

Interview with Mia March, author of Finding Colin Firth

 

finding coling firrth1Mia March, author Finding Colin Firth, stopped by Traveling With T to discuss Finding Colin Firth, who she’d cast into a movie version, and if she is going on a book tour!

I’m also lucky enough to have a giveaway of this book- a SIGNED copy! Hold on to your hats, ladies!

Check back on Wednesday for Author Spotlight on Mia March- we’ll learn her #literarycrush and #literaryconfessions!

 

Interview with Mia March

Mia, thank you so much for agreeing to be interviewed.

 

A: Thank you for having me!

 

What was the inspiration for Finding Colin Firth?

A: Well, I’d say it started back in 1995, when I sat down to watch the BBC TV miniseries of Pride and Prejudice. When Colin Firth, as Mr. Darcy, first appeared on the screen, I thought to myself: Who IS that? I swooned for the six hours of the miniseries and he’s been my favorite actor ever since. But the inspiration came from A) having just watched The King’s Speech and B) my wandering around of my favorite towns here in Maine, Boothbay Harbor, picture-postcard summer tourist town, and wondering what it would be like if Colin Firth came to film a movie there. Suddenly I had three main characters all with very different reasons to want to find Colin Firth.

Mia, out of all the actors you could have chosen to feature in this book- what made you pick Colin Firth?  (Not that I’m complaining or anything- he plays quite the adorable man in Love Actually!)

A: To be honest, I didn’t pick him; the book chose him. He’s my favorite actor and has been for such a long time. He has a unique hold on women, I think. Yeah, George Clooney is gorgeous, and Ryan Gosling is hot, but Colin Firth has something special; women, especially myself, respond to his perceived integrity, despite having never met him! And yeah, he’s so good looking!

How long did it take to write Finding Colin Firth?

A: I thought about the characters for a few months before I started writing, as I always do. Once I started writing, I had a first draft in about five months. The revision took another few months. I do a lot of writing in my head!

How involved were you in the choosing of the cover for The Meryl Streep Movie Club and Finding Colin Firth? I’m a huge fan of book covers- and I adore both of them. Interesting and eye-catching.

A: Oh, thank you! I was involved in that my editor asked for my ideas. For Meryl, we all liked the concept of Maine and readers being invited into a living room. I love that popcorn bowl! For Colin, my brilliant agent came up with the idea. A man’s suit as the cover—with the idea that it’s Colin Firth himself. The minute she suggested it, I knew it was the cover, and everyone said yes!

Do you have a writing space? Or a writing routine?

A: I write when my soon to be 11 yr old son is either at school or camp. My routine doesn’t vary too much, mostly because I love my desk: a six foot tall mahogany secretary. It’s narrow without much room other than for my laptop and my chamomile tea and the little things that inspire me, like photos of my son and dog and a stack of inspiring books. So I write at home generally during the hours when my son is away. I’m a morning person, so up at dawn to walk the pooch, where I work out plot problems and think of ideas. Then I write until my son wakes up. Once he’s off on his day, I sit down and write for hours.

The Meryl Streep Movie Club was picked as a She Reads Book of the Month choice.  How, in your opinion, was that experience for a first time author?

A: It was magical! It brought the book to the attention of so many readers, and it was wonderful to have so many book bloggers readers the novel and writing about it. The whole experience was amazing. It was quite an honor that She Reads chose my novel! I love that site.

The Meryl Streep Movie Club and Finding Colin Firth sound like perfect summer movies. If either was made into a movie- do you have a dream cast in mind?

A: I do—and it’s amazing how quickly these actors came to mind out of so many. For my three main characters: Bea—Anna Sophia Robb. For Veronica—Jessica Chastain or Cate Blanchett. For Gemma: Isla Fisher. And Colin Firth will play himself in a cameo!

How did you create the characters in Finding Colin Firth? Do you have a favorite character?

I’ll admit that my favorite character, the one who came alive for me in a really deep-down way, was Veronica, the 38 year old diner waitress who bakes special elixir pies and is grappling with her painful past. It was Bea, the 22 year old who came first though: I started thinking about what it would be like to discover as an adult that you were adopted at birth when you never knew. And the characters stemmed from that concept. Before all of that, I had a small Maine town and the idea of Colin Firth coming to film a movie and how that would affect people. And everything just tied together and I started writing.

Will you be going on a book signing tour with Finding Colin Firth?

A: I’m doing a virtual tour and a few local-ish readings, staying close to him. I recently adopted a shelter dog (the cutest little beagle mix) and want to make sure she feels settled before I take off for extended time).

Mia- what are you working on next? Can you reveal any hints about your next book?

A: I’ve just started thinking about my next novel . . . all I can say at this early point is that it involves food!

 

 

*Special thanks to Mia March for agreeing to be interviewed!

 

mia marchMia March, author of Finding Colin Firth, can be found on Twitter, Goodreads, Facebook and her website. Mia is not only a reader- she’s also a huge movie fan (and she does watch movies other than the ones Colin Firth has a role in- although she does like those quite a bit!)

 

*Giveaway: To win a copy of Finding Colin Firth, tell me you favorite Colin Firth movie! Please include your email (you may use the AT and DOT). Giveaway will begin July 22nd and end July 29th at 11:59pmEST. Winner will be announced July 30th. Giveaway is open to US only (sorry!)

 

Thursday Mashup

Mashup, Mashup, Mashup!

 

1. Leah’s Thoughts is giving away a copy of The Outcast by Jolina Petersheim. Jolina is adorable on Twitter- she’s so excited about her novel!

 

2. Amy Sue Nathan is featuring Mia March today on her website (wonder what those 2 smart and wonderful women are talking about?!) Come find out and read Mia’s post: Author Mia March Edits As She Writes, Loves Women’s Fiction, And Celebrates Her Kinship With Authors

 

3. Book-Alicious Mama is still in Week 1 of discussing The Painted Girls! Come, join my adorable Book Lovers Unite co-host, and let’s chat about The Painted Girls!

 

4. Deep South Magazine is chatting with Susan Rebecca White, author of A PLACE AT THE TABLE, Fri, July 19th 2-3pm EST. Use #southernlit to join in! Can’t wait? Here is my interview with Susan Rebecca White!

 

5.  For more #giveaway information- check out my Wednesday Mashup!

 

 

 

Interview with Cindy Wolfe Boynton- Literary New England

A few weeks ago, She Reads– a group of smart women who review books, picked Orphan Train as their monthly read. At She Reads, I wear several hats- I post my reviews- but I also wear the hat of She Reads Online Book Club Discussion Leader and I host Twitter chats with the authors that She Reads features. One day, I noticed in my Twitter mentions, Lit New England, asking about when a Twitter chat would be. Not being familiar with them- I made a point to start checking their page out- and wow! I had been missing out- but luckily got a clue!

In case you, my faithful readers, have been missing out on Literary New England, this interview is just for you!

 

Interview with Cindy Wolfe Boynton-Literary New England

Cindy- can you tell a little about Literary New England and the radio show?

The Literary New England Radio Show, www.litnewengland.com which airs on Monday nights at 8 EST on BlogTalk Radio, has been in existence since December 2011, when our first episode aired to just six listeners. I’m proud to say that we now attract as many as 10,000 listeners an episode and continue to grow! Equally exciting is these listeners’ diverse geographic locations, which include not just New England and throughout the U.S., but Japan, the United Kingdom and other countries.

The show features both established and emerging authors and writers and is designed to celebrate all things related to literary New England. I started it in part because I’m a crazy bibliophile. I’m a huge reader who passionately believes in the transformative power that books and stories can have on reader and writer alike. I’m also a long-time journalist and, at some point in 2011, got the idea to combine my personal and professional passions to create this Literary New England venture, which in many ways has taken on a life of its own!

The response from fellow book lovers, authors, publishers and so many others has been amazing! It’s really a gift, and it’s because of this enthusiasm that I decided to add regular Tweet chats, a Tumblr blog http://www.tumblr.com/blog/litnewengland, create the Literary New England Travel Guide that will be released in September 2013 and create two short story collections that will be published in 2014, Scarlet Lit: Stories of Romance, Revenge & Redemption—New England Style and Moby Lit: Short Stories with a Splash of New England Sea & Shore http://www.litnewengland.com/Anthologies.html.

It’s all beyond exciting!

Over the past few weeks, Literary New England has had some great Twitter chats- Beatriz Williams, author of A Hundred Summers, Caroline Leavitt, author of Is This Tomorrow are the two that comes to mind. How do you choose who to ask for Twitter chats with so many great authors? Must their books  have a New England setting?

I love Tweet chats! They’re fast-paced, you get to meet and interact with lots of different people, and they are just so much fun! We’ve been fortunate to have some amazing authors agree to chat with us and are excited about the ones coming up. They include Erika Marks on The Guest House July 10, Erin Bowman on Taken July 31, MJ Rose on Seduction Aug. 7 and Mia March on Finding Colin Firth Sept. 10, which also happens to be Colin Firth’s birthday. All our chats take place from 8-9 pm EST.

Like the radio show, our Tweet chats feature authors with some kind of tie to New England, whether it’s that their book is set there, the author lived or lives there, a book’s character has New England ties, etc.  I have a ball hosting the chats and hope that everyone who participates does, too.

What authors can we expect to see at Literary New England in the next few weeks?

I try very hard to keep www.litnewengland.com up to date with who’s going to be on the show the following Monday. Guests coming up in July and August so far include Christina Baker Kline, Stephen Kiernan, Lauren Beukes, Mia March, J. Courtney Sullivan, Liza Klaussman, Royce Prouty, Anton DiSclafani and more! Each show also features lots of book giveaways.

Literary New England Travel guide (written by you-how exciting!) will be out in September 2013. Do you have a favorite spot that will be featured? Or do you like all literary hot spots?

The guide will take actual and armchair travelers to more than 500 New England locations featured in contemporary and classic books and related to popular authors, as well as provide a list of the best NE bookstores, book fests, writing workshops, retreats, and more. It will also include maps, suggested itineraries and author interviews. For me, it’s not just a fun project, but a labor of love. My favorite lit spot changes all the time, but today I’ll say the old Greenwich High School, which Truman Capote attended from 1939-42.

What is the best book of 2013 (in your opinion)?

I think it’s still too early to call. I have a stack of must-reads that are all 2013 titles and really don’t want to pick a best one until I’ve gotten through many more. What I can tell you, though, is my favorite book from 2012 is Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt. Carol lives in the UK now, but for several years she lived in Amherst, Mass., which is where she started writing.  I discovered her and Wolves while I was looking for authors and books with New England connections, and since then have told everyone I know to listen to her on the show http://www.blogtalkradio.com/literarynewengland/2012/07/17/monica-wood-carol-rifka-brunt-laura-moriarty and, most importantly, to read Tell the Wolves I’m Home! It’s a wonderfully rich and powerful coming-of-age story about love, family, acceptance and forgiveness, which focuses on the relationship between an awkward yet insightful teen named June and her gay uncle Finn, who’s dying of AIDS, and Finn’s lover Toby. What I will say about 2013, however, is that there seems to be an extraordinary number of outstanding titles recently—and about to be —released. Choosing what to read next is difficult, because so many books look so great.

When you are not hosting the Literary New England Radio Show or Twitter chats- how do you like to spend your time?

I’m a self-employed freelance writer and editor, as well as an English and journalism adjunct at two Connecticut colleges, so I work a lot. I’m also a playwright and spending a lot of time right now getting my next play—a one-woman show called Dear Prudence—ready to make its world debut in October at the Off-Broadway United Solo Theatre Festival in New York City. I’m really excited about that! I’m also a mom of two sons 18 and 15 and working on several creative writing projects, including a middle-grade novel and a poetry collection.

What books have you added to your to be read (TBR) list for the 2013 year?

My TBR pile is so high it’s teetering! At the top of the pile right now are Khaled Hosseini’s And the Mountains Echoed, Royce Prouty’s Stoker’s Manuscript and Stephen Kiernan’s The Curiosity. I’m super excited about all of them.

 

Valentine’s Ideas…..

Valentine’s Day. I’ll admit how much I love the red hearts, the glitter, the pretty packaging of the chocolate. How much I love having Valentine’s Day plans with someone special. I’ll even admit that some years I’ve been a Valentine hater- annoyed by the over-abundance of red, flowers, and the teddy bears everywhere. I’ve even participated in the “single awareness days” with good food and wine with friends. And there may even be a time or two where I’ve scoffed at the over-commercialization of the holiday, the cost of cards,dinner, flowers and more. But as the years keep turning, I’ll just admit that Valentine’s Day is a day to show love- to do something for yourself  that makes you happy. To make sure that your loved ones know they are special.

And while my heart still beats a little faster at the sight of red hearts and seeing all the over-the-top goodies and stuff; I recognize life is not a romantic-comedy (my life isn’t at any rate). So, in light of this- I always try to make my Valentine’s Day a bit special- no matter the status of my romantic life. Because being good to yourself is the best way to be happy.

I mentioned before that my Valentine’s Day plans include tickets to Cirque de la Mystique and having dinner with a friend. I also have my eye on a couple of different earrings at Dogeared Jewelry. I also plan to indulge myself the next weeked by going to the movies to see Safe Haven and have dinner at my favorite eating place.

Enjoy your Valentine’s day!

Gifts for Book Lovers:

Bookmagnet has a list of books that would make a great gift for the book lover in your life.

After reading the list, I thought of some other books that would make a great gift:

1. The Art Forger by B.A. Shapirio and tickets to an art exhibit/museum.

2. Beautiful Darkness and tickets to the movie

3. The Hunger Games trilogy ( I know, I know- I need to quit with The Hunger Games- but I still love it.)

4. The Meryl Streep Movie Club and a night of watching favorite Meryl Streep movies and snacks

5. Meanwhile Back at Cafe Du Monde for a foodie (even better to plan with a trip to New Orleans)

6. A gift certificate to favorite bookstore

7. An Audible subscription for audio-book lover

8. Like going to literary haunts? Buy Deep South Mag’s Literay Trail App and plan a road-trip!

 

 

 

Best Books of 2012 (Traveling With T’s List)

There are many, many, many books of 2012 that were good- some were great- others fantastic. Some created a lot of buzz (hello, Gone Girl!) while some were equally as good- but did not get the attention. These are the books I read in 2012 that I thought were great!

1. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn– yes more praise for this book. It really was THAT good!

2. Hemingway’s Girl by Erika Robuck– historical fiction. Romance. Sadness. Anger. A strong willed Mariella. And Hemingway- his literary ways, his personal life- the things that made him a good man, but also the bad sides that he showed. READ!

3. The Unfinished Work of Elizabeth D by Nichole Bernier– this book made me think quite a bit. Excellent discussion for book club.

4. Blackberry Winter by Sarah Jio– two tales seemingly unconnected- except for the fact of a Blackberry Winter. But, oh so much more to this story!

5. The Mermaid Collector by Erika Marks- Coastal Community, mermaids, secrets, love. Beautiful story.

6. The Art Forger by BA Shapiro– art, lust, deceit, double-crossing- each page is filled with good plot.

7. The Meryl Streep Movie Club by Mia March– funny book about 3 women dealing with some personal life drama- then their aunts terrible news. Finding yourself, reconnecting with family- all while watching Meryl Streep movies. Perfect beach book.

8. The River Witch by Kimberly Brock– haunting. The story will stay with the reader for quite some time!