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.)



Author Spotlight: Claire Cook

time fliesClaire Cook answered interview questions on Wednesday- and today, she’ll be revealing #literaryconfessions, #literarycrush, and books she’s looking forward to reading in 2013!


Author Spotlight: Claire Cook

Claire- who are some of your favorite authors?

My favorite authors are the ones who’ve been nice to me! Adriana Trigiani, Meg Cabot, Elin Hilderbrand, Beth Hoffman, Mary Kay Andrews, Allison Winn Scotch, Jacquelyn Mitchard and Tom Perrotta are among the talented authors who’ve given me lovely quotes for my books. And Wendy Wax has become my walking buddy since I moved to Atlanta!

Do you have a #literarycrush?

I fall in love every time I read. I even had a crush on Professor Bhaer when I read Little Women for the first time, which is kind of creepy when I think about it!

If you could be a character in a book, who would you pick? And why?

I feel that in many ways writing my novels allows me to be all of my characters, and to live their lives vicariously. That’s a big part of why I do it!

Do you have a #literaryconfession? 

At my very first book event, my former high school English teacher showed up. After I finished speaking, he stood up and waved the grade book from my junior year Honors English class.

“You still owe me a paper on Moby Dick,” he roared.

“I’m still trying to finish that sucker,” I said sweetly.

I made him – the former teacher, not Moby Dick – a minor character in my third novel, Multiple Choice, about a mother and daughter who go to college together. He’s Dr. Nord. (I gave him a fictional doctorate, but he still owes me his thesis!)

When you are not writing, what do you like to do?

I love to walk, to garden, to hang out with friends and family, to curl up with a book and a nice glass of wine.

Is there an author that you have not met that you would just love to meet?

Meeting other authors is fun, but I have to admit I enjoy meeting my readers even more. I’d love to meet them all!

What books are you looking forward to read in 2013?

Every single one I can get my hands on!

You begin reading a book- and it’s not as good as you had hoped it would be. Do you keep reading or put it aside?

If I’m not that into it, I put it aside. Life’s too short!

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

All of the above. I love the feel of a real book, and I cherish my collection of hardcover books signed by the authors. But I also love e-books because they’re instantly downloadable and because they don’t take up space in my suitcase.


*Many thanks to Claire Cook for taking time to participate in this Author Spotlight!


Want to know more about Claire Cook? Check out my Interview with Claire Cook- and Claire’s website, Twitter and Facebook page.


Time Flies by Claire Cook

time fliesHigh school reunions- fun or big disappointment? Melanie is about to find out!

Many years ago, Melanie let her husband, Kurt, talk her into leaving their New England beach town home, load up the 2 boys they have and move to Atlanta, Georgia- where the peaches grow, the tea is sweet, and the accents are even sweeter. Melanie adjusts to life in the South and grows to really like it.


When Time Flies opens, the reader finds out that Melanie’s husband has left her for another woman- and that Melanie is struggling with her day to day life. Her boys are grown, she has friends and a job- but life is different- and she’s not sure what her next step should be. When BJ, Melanie’s old high school friend, emails about their upcoming high school reunion- Melanie is resistant. She doesn’t want to go- until an intriguing email from a high school boyfriend catches her attention. She decides to book her trip, and go on the adventure of a lifetime!

However, Melanie’s new driving phobia might put a crimp in her plans.

As Melanie and BJ reunite- their big plans for the reunion happen- some with hilarious results! While Melanie at first thought the reward of her adventure would be the reunion and seeing the ex-boyfriend- she discovers that the lessons she learned along the way were much more important.

Will Melanie find her happy ending back in New England? Or is her happy ending in Atlanta?

Traveling With T’s Thoughts:

Time Flies is a cute and funny book. Melanie is a great character- dealing with a world where everything has changed and trying to find her way as a single instead of a couple. The high school reunion is funny (and a great touch to the book!) Definitely put this on your To Be Read list- entertaining and enjoyable!

Liked my review? Then read my Interview with Claire Cook– the author!


*This book was won in a giveaway sponsored by Claire Cook. The above thoughts and opinions are mine alone.

Interview with Claire Cook, author of Time Flies

time fliesClaire Cook has just had her 10th book published! She stopped by to talk about Time Flies (which is on Deep South Magazine’s Summer Reading List 2013) and many, many other things!

Claire will be back on Friday- to reveal her #literaryconfessions, #literarycrush and some of her favorite authors!

My review of Time Flies will be posted on Thursday- so stay tuned for that as well!

Interview with Claire Cook

Claire, thank you so much for agreeing to be interviewed!

Thanks so much for interviewing me, Tamara!

Time Flies is your 10th novel. How has the writing process changed from your first novel to the 10th? Has the writing process gotten any easier?

Wouldn’t you think by the tenth novel it would get easier? Sadly, it’s not, except for the fact that since I survived the first nine, I knew I was probably going to live through the tenth one, too! Writing a novel is a leap of faith, and it’s still a mystery to me how it all comes together. I think my inner reader saves me every time. I don’t think you can be a writer unless you’re an avid, joyful reader, and I believe that as you read and read, a template forms somewhere in your brain that somehow helps you write your own books.

Must Love Dogs was made into a movie. After writing the book, and then having the movie made- would you like any more of your books to be made into a movie?

Of course! I’d like all of them to be made into movies – it was a totally awesome experience! And every time the Must Love Dogs movie plays on TV, which is a lot, new readers discover my novels, which is the biggest gift of all. I’ve had other books optioned for film since, but it’s rare that they make it through all the Hollywood hoops and onto the big screen. My fingers are crossed that lightning will strike twice though!

Time Flies has earned spots on several summer reading lists. One of the lists is Deep South Magazine’s Summer Reading List. How did it feel seeing Time Flies on a list with Looking for Me by Beth Hoffman, The Time Between by Karen White and Ladies’ Night by Mary Kay Andrews?

It was such thrill to make Deep South Magazine’s Summer Reading list! As a recently transplanted Northerner, I’ve been shouting it out at all my book events and saying, “Wow, they let me in – I finally feel like a Southerner!” Beth and Karen and Mary Kay are all writer pals, so I’m as happy for them as I am for me, and truly honored to be included on the list with so many talented authors.

How long did Time Flies take to write?

When I’m writing a first draft, I write two pages a day, seven days a week. So, essentially, I’m living in the book, thinking about it all day long. I’ve noticed my best ideas come in the shower, on the elliptical machine at the gym, at red lights when I’m driving, and when I wake up in the middle of the night. I jot things down all day long – on notecards, in notebooks, on the backs of receipts.

I don’t outline, because it would make it feel like a term paper. I try not to think too much or try too hard, because when I do, my writing goes flat. I have a sense of who my main character is, and because my books are written in the first person, my entry point tends to be capturing my protagonist’s voice. Then, because I’m essentially writing slice-of-life novels, I think about what makes the book begin today instead of another day. Once I find that little explosion, then I have my jumping off point. The characters react to that and there’s a ripple effect. I just keep following those ripples and in about six months or so, I have a first draft. And then the real work begins since the truth is it’s the rewriting – again and again – that makes your novel truly come alive. I delivered my first draft of Time Flies just before Wallflower in Bloom came out last June, so the whole process takes me about a year – and lots of hard work!

Do you have a favorite character in Time Flies?

I have to be able to love all my characters, even the unlovable ones, or I wouldn’t be able to write them convincingly. And I never pick favorites – I wouldn’t want to hurt the other characters’ feelings!

Claire, you are very active on social media and often ask your fans questions as you are writing your books. How much does talking to fans help in your writing?

I think social media is a great way to help new readers find my books, and I’m lucky that I really enjoy it. The challenge is not getting so sucked in that it encroaches on my writing time.

I love asking my readers questions to help me with my books, and I know they enjoy being a part of the process. While writing Time Flies, I asked everybody to share their favorite songs from high school, as well as old clothing and makeup memories. It was fun for all of us and also gave me some great authentic details for the novel.

I also love hearing what resonates for readers in my books, and I think it’s helped me become a better writer. So if you’re reading this right now, I hope you’ll connect with me on Facebook and Twitter and Pinterest and Goodreads and at, where you can sign up for my e-newsletter, Must Love Readers.

The cover of Time Flies is beautiful. It makes me think of carefree days and leaving worries behind. How do you decide on a cover?

Thank you! I think I’ve been really lucky in getting great covers, though I can’t take any credit for it. They’ve all been designed by talented cover designers hired by my publishers. If I don’t think early cover concepts would resonate for my readers, I speak up, but other than that I stay out of it and leave it to the professionals!

Claire- what are some words you would use to describe Time Flies?

I hope it’s fun and funny and poignant and real and ultimately uplifting.

Are you working on a new novel? Taking a well-deserved break before you write again?

Ha! A break – what’s that?!? I delivered a draft of my next novel to my literary agent the week before Time Flies came out, and I’ll jump into my first set of revisions moments after I finish this interview. Stay tuned…it’ll be out sometime next year!

*Special thanks to Claire Cook for agreeing to be interviewed!

claire cookClaire Cook has just published her 10th novel, Time Flies. She’s having too much writing to take a break! When Claire is not hard at work on her next book (and even when she is!) she can be found on social media sites interacting with fans. To find out more about Claire, visit her website, Facebook and Twitter.

Literary Friday ya’ll…..

It’s Friday- and have I got some book-ish news!


1. Deep South Magazine and their #literaryfriday: #giveaway of Dream With Little Angels  by Michael Hiebert ( a Deep South Mag Summer Reading List selection!) Other things: an essay by Amy Franklin-Willis (her latest book The Lost Saints of Tennessee is Southern Lit Lovers on Goodreads July read!) and a Tom Honea interview!


2. Anton Disclafani tells her 5 Firsts and Lasts to Chick Lit Is Not Dead. You might know Anton for this little debut novel that everyone has been raving about called The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls!


3. Great Thoughts has been posting weekly updates to their summer reading list- here is Week 4 and Week 5.


4. Itching for Books is giving Finding Colin Firth Mia March!


5. My #fridayreads is Time Flies by Claire Cook, The Engagements by J. Courtney Sullivan, and Book of Secrets by Elizabeth Joy Arnold.


6. For other #giveaways, check out Traveling With T’s Thursday Mashup


7. Check out Traveling With T next week- #giveaway of Three Good Things by Wendy Francis, interviews and more!




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!




Monday Mashup

It’s been a while since I’ve done a mashup- so I’m bringing it back!


A Novel Review is giving away THE LAKE HOUSE by Marci Nault (! Day left to enter- so get those entries in there!)


The Book Wheel and Love at First Book are still rocking on with their nonfiction pick for May. If nonfiction floats your boat- then there is still time to join in on the fun!

Traveling With T  (that’s me!) and Book-alicious Mama are working hard on getting RECONSTRUCTING AMELIA ready for June. Thanks to a special person, I hope to have blog buttons by June.  Plans for the hashtag #bookloversunite will be revealed on Friday.

Southern Lit Lovers on Goodreads are discussing Julie Kibler’s CALLING ME HOME. If you missed the chance to talk about it with me at She Reads- do stop by Goodreads.

My review of CALLING ME HOME by Julie Kibler.


The Book Wheel has started her own literary consulting company. Read her blog post for the details.

On Danna Pycher’s blog- I was given a lovely shout-out for my interview with Danna that posted on Friday. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

More good news for me: I won an autographed copy of TIME FLIES by Claire Cook– I don’t think I even need to explain how excited I was since TIME FLIES since it made my Beach Bag Reads list!


I reviewed THE COTTAGE AT GLASS BEACH today. Beautiful cover, good book, mystery and intrigue- worth a read!

Do you like a little chill in your reading for the summer? Marybeth Whalen, co-creator of She Reads, has got a list of summer reads for you then! Looking over the list of A Little Chill in the Summer– I already have marked to read LIE STILL by Julia Heaberlin- looks like I have more to add!

I created a Book Signings board on Pinterest- go check it out- it’s every book signing that I’ve been to!

Last week was Bout of Books– here is how my week went with that!

LASTLY: Twitter chat with CHRISTINA BAKER KLINE, author of ORPHAN TRAIN  Thursday, May 23 at 8pmEST. Use #srchat to join in! It’ll be fun and fabulous!

My review of ORPHAN TRAIN by Christina Baker Kline

Beach Bag Reads…

I’ve got the beach on my mind- playing in the sand and water, soaking up the sun, wearing the baseball cap, swimming, beachy hair, smell of coconut lotion in the air, and just the relaxed feeling of summer.

So that lead to the thought process of what books I’d put in my beach bag. I made a list! Will I read all this summer? Probably not. I like to save some of the magic of summer for the cold, dreary winter months 🙂

Traveling With T’s Beach Bag Book List:

1. Time Flies by Claire Cook- June 11

2. While We Were Watching Downton Abbey by Wendy Wax- April 2

3. All the Summer Girls by Meg Donohue- May 21

4. Finding Colin Firth by Mia March- July 9

5. The Guest House by Erika Marks- June 4

6. The Last Original Wife by Dorothea Benton Frank- June 11

7. Revenge Wears Prada: The Devil Returns by Lauren Weisberger- June 4

8. Wedding Night by Sophie Kinsella- April 23

9. Chose the Wrong Guy, Gave Him the Wrong Finger by Beth Harbison- July 9

10. Island Girls by Nancy Thayer- June 18

11. Ladies’ Night by Mary Kay Andrews- June 4

12. The Tao of Martha: My Year of LIVING; Or Why I’m Never Getting All the Glitter Off the Dog by Jen Lancaster-June 4

13. Beautiful Day by Elin Hilderbrand- June 25


What will be in your beach bag for summer reads?