Book Talk Friday: Two Great Reads

I read some great books in April. Two of those came in the form of ARCs (Advanced Reader Copy) from Netgalley and I loved them both! Every Summer After by Carley Fortune and When It Falls Apart by Catherine Bybee.

Every Summer After by Carley Fortune

Published: Penguin Random House (May 10, 2022)

Categories: Women’s Fiction / Contemporary Romance / Canadian Author / Canadian Setting /

The Blurb:

Six summers to fall in love. One moment to fall apart. A weekend to get it right.
 
They say you can never go home again, and for Persephone Fraser, ever since she made the biggest mistake of her life a decade ago, that has felt too true. Instead of glittering summers on the lakeshore of her childhood, she spends them in a stylish apartment in the city, going out with friends, and keeping everyone a safe distance from her heart.

Until she receives the call that sends her racing back to Barry’s Bay and into the orbit of Sam Florek—the man she never thought she’d have to live without.

For six summers, through hazy afternoons on the water and warm summer nights working in his family’s restaurant and curling up together with books—medical textbooks for him and work-in-progress horror short stories for her—Percy and Sam had been inseparable. Eventually that friendship turned into something breathtakingly more, before it fell spectacularly apart.

When Percy returns to the lake for Sam’s mother’s funeral, their connection is as undeniable as it had always been. But until Percy can confront the decisions she made and the years she’s spent punishing herself for them, they’ll never know whether their love might be bigger than the biggest mistakes of their past. 

My Thoughts:

Every Summer After is Carley Fortune’s debut novel. It starts with the present then takes us back to summers in Barry’s Bay, Ontario. It’s no secret that I LOVE a Canadian setting, and there’s nothing better than summer in Canada. On Persephone Fraser’s first day at the lake, she meets the boy next door, Sam Florek.

Best friends and summer neighbours, Persephone and Sam lead separate lives during the school year. But during the summers they are inseparable, spending days an idyllic summer bubble. Until the reality of college and adulting sets in and decisions are made that can’t be undone. Twelve years later they meet again.

Whether you still dream of your first love, or have moved on and left it in the past, this book will speak to you. All the looks back will resonate. You’ll fall in love with Persephone and Sam and Barry’s Bay. I wish I could read it again for the first time. Highly recommend!

Bonus Book: When It all Falls Apart by Catherine Bybee

When It All Falls Apart by Catherine Bybee

Published: Montlake (Amazon Publishing) (June 21, 2022)

Categories: Contemporary Romance / Romance / Single Dad / Family Romance /

The Blurb:

A bittersweet romance about the power of love in the face of heartbreak and loss.

Brooke Turner has always had a complicated relationship with her father. But when his health takes a turn for the worse, she drops everything to care for him. He’s her dad, after all, and he needs her. What Brooke doesn’t anticipate is the unraveling of her long-term relationship and a cross-country move to San Diego’s Little Italy.

Luca D’Angelo is the oldest of three children and a single father to a young daughter. When his mother rents the top floor of their house to Brooke, he’s angry. Who is this beautiful stranger with no ties to the neighborhood? Can she be trusted in such close proximity to his family?

As Luca learns of Brooke’s difficult journey with her ailing father, his heart softens. And Brooke, who witnesses Luca’s struggle as a single parent, develops feelings for him too. But when it all falls apart, will love heal their wounded hearts?

My Thoughts:

This is my first time reading Catherine Bybee and it definitely won’t be my last. The first book in the D’Angelo series, When It All Falls Apart takes place in Little Italy in San Diego. There is enough heart, family and Italian food in this book to satisfy everyone. There is the relationship with Brooke and Luca, of course. But’s it’s also about what happens when relationships with parents are not only hard but heartbreaking. There is no such thing as the perfect family. It’s also true that family leaves scars that are hard to heal.

I loved the dialogue. I loved the setting. Who can resist a loud Italian family? But I also appreciated the honest look at what happens when it all falls apart. I really enjoyed this book and can’t wait to read the next one in the series. Definitely recommend.

Until next time…

Who else is looking forward to summer? I’d love some summer reading suggestions! Bonus points if they have a Canadian setting.

Book Talk Friday: Letters Across The Sea

I love talking about books and I love sharing books with you that I’ve loved reading. Genevieve Graham is a favourite author of mine and I would be delighted to recommend Letters Across the Sea to anyone who is looking for a read this cloudy Friday.

Letters Across the Sea by Genevieve Graham

Published: Simon & Schuster (April 27, 2021)

Length: 384 pages

Categories: Fiction / Romance / Historical / Strong Romantic Elements / Canadian History / 20th Century / Canadian Author

The Blurb:

If you’re reading this letter, that means I’m dead. I had obviously hoped to see you again, to explain in person, but fate had other plans.

1933

At eighteen years old, Molly Ryan dreams of becoming a journalist, but instead she spends her days working any job she can to help her family through the Depression crippling her city. The one bright spot in her life is watching baseball with her best friend, Hannah Dreyfus, and sneaking glances at Hannah’s handsome older brother, Max.

But as the summer unfolds, more and more of Hitler’s hateful ideas cross the sea and “Swastika Clubs” and “No Jews Allowed” signs spring up around Toronto, a city already simmering with mass unemployment, protests, and unrest. When tensions between the Irish and Jewish communities erupt in a riot one smouldering day in August, Molly and Max are caught in the middle, with devastating consequences for both their families.

1939

Six years later, the Depression has eased and Molly is a reporter at her local paper. But a new war is on the horizon, putting everyone she cares about most in peril. As letters trickle in from overseas, Molly is forced to confront what happened all those years ago, but is it too late to make things right?

From the desperate streets of Toronto to the embattled shores of Hong Kong, Letters Across the Sea is a poignant novel about the enduring power of love to cross dangerous divides even in the darkest of times—from the #1 bestselling author of The Forgotten Home Child.

My Thoughts:

Genevieve Graham’s books are always the perfect combination of character and plot tied to true historical events. Letters Across the Sea gives us a glimpse of life in Toronto in 1933. The Depression has devastated the economy. In the years leading up to World War II poverty, discontent and racism are rampant. Molly Ryan’s life is forever changed on the night of the Christie Pits Riot in August of 1933.

Molly Ryan possesses some the qualities I admire most. She is steadfast, resilient and loyal. She survives with her ideals intact while doing what she needs to do to feed her family and help her community. As Depression begins to ease, Molly leaves behind what might have been and lands her dream job as a reporter. Then war breaks out and Molly is once again on the brink of loosing those closest to her.

As a Jewish man, Max Dreyfus is well acquainted with racism. As Hitler’s hateful fanaticism reaches Canadian shores, he can’t stay silent, he must step up and do something. After the Christie Pits Riot, Max leaves Toronto and Molly behind to become a doctor. Max is as steadfast and loyal as Molly. He’s also a kind, compassionate, and strives to do the right thing. Which I think are admirable qualities in a hero.

When Max returns home, his experience in the horrific Battle of Hong Kong and as a returning prisoner of war brings him into contact with Molly, who is determined to tell the stories of returning prisoners of war from Hong Kong. The past catches up with both of them and they are forced to confront it.

Letters Across the Sea is emotional and compelling. The characters are strong and well-developed. The plot grabs your attention and keeps it. The pacing is perfect. The romance sweet. Highly recommend.

Genevieve Graham has a new book out this April.

Bluebird: A Novel : Graham, Genevieve: Amazon.ca: Books

Until next time…

Who else enjoys Genevieve Graham’s books? Or drop a note in the comments and tell me what you’re reading?

2022 A Depth Year

I had never heard the term depth year before this week. Anyone else? Or is it just me?

“You take a whole year in which you don’t start anything new or acquire any new possessions you don’t need. No new hobbies, equipment, games, or books are allowed during this year. Instead, you have to find the value in what you already own or what you’ve already started.”

David Cain

A couple of reasons why 2022 is a good year for a depth year:

1) I love a good challenge and to shake things up.

2) I want to simplify and to be less of a consumer.

3) It feels like I’ve already started the process though I haven’t been calling it a depth year.

There is nothing like having to pack up your possessions then unpack them again to make you realize you have way too much stuff. The real eye opener was that fact that I hardly missed any of it while it was tucked away in boxes. Check out this article: 7 Reasons We Buy More Stuff Then We Need. I did a major purge while packing up. I’ve done another purge while unpacking. I have a plan for the items I’m donating. Does anyone else tend to set these aside and purposely forget about them so you don’t have to deal with them? Or is it just me?

Time to start fresh and use the things I own. I bought them with the best of intentions. Something about the items appealed to me. But there is a double cost to most things we buy. One is the initial price. The second is a cost I don’t really think much about and that is the time it takes to put the item to use. In some instances, learning to use it takes time and practice and money. In others, it’s taking something you had a passing fancy in and then realizing the experience wasn’t one you’re invested in.

I think craft supplies is the place to start for me. I love them, or perhaps I should say I love the idea of them. All the colours. Textures. Sizes. Shapes. So many possibilities and I’m a creative person. And who didn’t overindulge in the buying department these last couple of years? Waves hand in the air!

But where to start and how to keep my goal small enough as not to be overwhelming. My answer: an art journal. Which I had started and abandoned. It’s an excellent no stress way to incorporate all kinds of mediums. And to work on my word of the year, Dream.

So, once a week I’m going to work on a page in my art journal. It will be interesting and once the weather is warm enough I can take it outside. Time to get inspired and do some dreaming. It promises to be loads of fun.

Until next time…

Anyone else art journal? Or thought the idea sounded good but haven’t started yet? Maybe some of you are attempting, or have attempted, a depth year? What are your thoughts?

September Musings

September always feels like the start of the new year, rather than January. I love the return to routine after going this way and that way and packing in as much summer goodness as I can into July and August. September is a time to get back at it, whatever your ‘it’ is. Even though we’re in the midst of the 4th wave of this pandemic, and there is a federal election looming, and we’re all tired and frustrated (possibly angry), September is a time to set things back to rights.

My house is relatively organized except for two rooms, my office and the basement bedroom. Oh, and one very large cupboard that is full of memories. My wedding dress is in there. My childhood memories are stored in there. Our children’s memories. This cupboard is packed with all the feels. There is also a tent. I don’t know why.

Reorganizing is a priority right now because we are about to begin renovating the upstairs of our house which was built in the 70s. Very little has changed on our top floor during that time. Removal of wallpaper and painting of bedrooms. Goodbye blue carpet and ugly wallpaper. Have I mentioned that there was either wallpaper or a wallpaper border on every wall of our house. There are also hanging snowflake lights in our bedroom. And a mirrored wall.

Getting everything ready means purging some things that should have gone long ago. Not only the dated decor, but the other stuff. Things that I’ve tucked away and haven’t dealt with. Which makes me wonder why I’m hanging onto certain things. I’m asking myself who will want it? Our children are busy accumulating their own stuff and filling their own nooks and crannies with things that are special and important to them.

I found the article, The psychology of clutter: Why we hold onto ‘stuff’—and what that may be teaching our kids, gave me some insight into why I’m hanging onto an endless amount of craft supplies. I mean I might find a use for them some day, right? Probably not. Why have I held onto it. The answer is guilt. And it will come as a surprise to no one that guilt is not a good reason to hold onto something.

This article was also helpful: 10 Ways to Get Rid of Sentimental Clutter.

I’m relieved to say I’ve made a dent in things. And excited to welcome in the new. Like vinyl plank flooring, soothing spa colours. Fresh, modern, accompanied by less of everything.

What I’m reading:

Print: Bombshell (Hell’s Belle, Book 1) by Sarah MacLean. Finishing the very last few pages of Sesily and Caleb’s story. Sooo good! Definitely recommend.

eBook: Just started an ARC of The Golden Couple by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen coming out in early 2022. I’m fascinated by writing duos. And this book is off to a great start!

Audio: A Perilous Undertaking, A Veronica Speedwell Mystery, Book 2, written by Deanna Raybourn and narrated by Angele Masters. LOVING this series! Both the story and the narrator.

Until next time…

Who else thinks of September has the true beginning of the year?

Fictional Small Towns

I grew up in a small town. Or, to be exact, on a farm outside a small town. And I’m talking small. Not city small. But with a population that numbered in the hundreds. Like under five hundred, if you counted dogs and cats. And I couldn’t wait to leave. I’m a city girl at heart. It’s where I feel the most comfortable and relaxed. But that doesn’t mean I don’t love small towns or appreciate the people who live in them. Because, I do! 

As a writer, I think the fascinating thing about small towns is the sense they are small and big at the same time. Small because they take up less geographical space and have far fewer inhabitants than their urban counterparts. Big because that small space hosts people with the same big hopes and dreams as city dwellers. And they go about creating opportunity without the resources a more urban centre provides.

Creating a fictional town gave me the opportunity to explore the romantic notion of small towns with their famous unlocked door policy and their famed resilience. In my fictional town of Aspen Lake, everyone is looking to make a fair living wage, to fit in, and to protect those they love. A rural setting is also an opportunity to delve into the less than ideal aspects of living in a fishbowl. Because no place is exempt from struggle. There is no prefect paradise. No one’s life is devoid of conflict. 

I hope in Aspen Lake you’ll find both the ideal and the unsavoury. Big city violence invades the quiet steadfastness of Aspen Lake in Backlash. Exposed has more of a snake in the garden vibe. And Gone is all about secrets.

Until next time…

What are some of your favourite fictional small town settings?

Battling The Winter Blues and a Giveaway!

FYI: the following maybe too much information, but here I go, anyway. I can’t think when I’m in my pyjamas. I know some writers spend the day in their sleep clothes and are productive and go about slaying the universe, fictionally speaking, of course. But, me? Not so much. I put my pyjamas on when I go to bed, or possibly at some point during the evening, like if I’ve worked out and I need to shed my sweaty workout gear.

Right now I’m sitting at my desk, in front of my computer, in my pyjamas. And it just feels…wrong.

It might be that I need new pyjamas, but, I think for me, day clothes signal productivity. Although lately, some days I’m not exactly setting fire to my to-do list, even when wearing my day clothes. I blame winter!

frosty mornings and toasty mugs
www.karyngood.com

I’ve read all the lists on how to ease a winter malaise. I know I’m supposed to eat healthier, exercise, take Vitamin D. And those things work! But the cold winter still makes me want to hibernate in a pile blankets with a good book. Luckily, there is an endless number of good books out there to choose from.

I’m eagerly awaiting the release date of GONE, Aspen Lake Series, Book 3!

I’m open to suggestions on how to survive the rest of the winter! Or your opinion on pyjamas! Comment below on some of the ways you battle the winter blues, or any kind of blues, to be entered to win a $25 Amazon gift card.

Comment to win $25 gift card. Closes February 27, 2019.

Until next time…

No winter lasts forever; no spring skips it’s turn. ~ Hal Borland

It’s a Sizzling Summer Party!

Sizzling Summer Party (The Romance Reviews)

If you’re here looking for the answer to my multiple choice Q&A (June 8th) for The Romance Reviews Sizzling Summer Reads Party contest you are in the right place. I’m sure you know the drill, but here goes – The Romance Review will random choose the winner for my offered $10.00 Amazon Gift Card and they will notify me after which I will contact you. Please know that you need to register and be logged into TRR before you can play the game. Registration is free and easy and there is a variety of prizes to be won!

Exposed, Book 2 Aspen Lake Series

EXPOSED, Book 2 in my Aspen Lake Series

Amazon US * Amazon CA * Amazon UK * Kobo * Barnes and Noble * The Wild Rose Press

 

New News!

I have news! If you love audiobooks, you can now listen to EXPOSED in audio! Audible US * Audible CA * The Wild Rose Press

The narrator is Stacey Melotte and you can listen to a sample at any of the above links!

BACKLASH will be available at Audible by the end of the summer!

The blurb for EXPOSED and the answer to the Q&A!

Romantic Suspense

If you’re interested, please sign up for my newsletter. Each month for July, August, and September, I’ll be giving away $25 worth of summer themed goodies to randomly drawn winners!

What are you currently reading? We like to know these things!

Thanks for stopping by!

Learning New Things! And a Giveaway!

*************THE WINNER is Lorrie!******************

A reminder that from now until the 28th of October I’m hosting a giveaway! Sign up for my newsletter and be entered to win a $25.00 gift certificate to one of the following: Amazon, Kobo, Barnes and Noble. The winner will be announced on October 29th!

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I promise not to overwhelm your inbox! You’ll receive cover reveals, release date announcements and be eligible for member only giveaways.

Learning New Things

I’m also fooling around with Canva and trying my hand at designing some of my own marketing graphics. It’s a relatively straightforward process, but still involves a learning curve and takes some practicing. I love taking photos, thus my love of Instagram, so I have a fairly sizeable supply of images. Although Canva has some very easy to follow tutorials, I went searching tips and tricks.

20 Tips & Tricks For Making Awesome Canva Graphics

25 Epic Graphic Design Tips for Non-Designers

Canva: An Easy How To Guide

I’m not sure what happened with the formatting above. WordPress sometimes stymies me. I wish I was a whiz at this kind of thing but I’m not, but I do like playing around. Often to the point of using it as a distraction. Like bullet journalling which I love but am trying to develop a system for using.

Bullet Journaling

Who knew I would develop and deep and abiding love of stickers at this age! And then there’s my addiction to washi tape. And markers. The good news is I’m no longer surrounded by bits of paper and sticky notes. My desk is neater and tidier than it’s ever been. Hallelujah!

Here’s to learning new things! What are you learning these days? What are you thinking about attempting?

Giveaway and September Wrap Up!

Giveaway Announcement

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From October 11th until October 28th, 2016, sign up to receive my newsletter and be entered for a chance to win a $25.00 gift certificate to one of the following: Amazon, Kobo or Barnes and Noble. Winner announced on October 29, 2016!

Choose the Newsletter tab at the top or the Subscribe to Karyn’s mailing list option on the sidebar!

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Signing up means receiving news of future books, cover reveals, deals, contests and giveaways!

Top Three Images of September

www.karyngood.com

My revamped office!

I’m back in my revamped office after a two month writing break! It feels great to be back writing in a space that inspires me.

Queen City Marathon #yqr

That time I walked 20.1 km.

On September 11th I walked a half marathon and checked a major item off my Life Goal List.

Prairie Inukshuk

The Inukshuk we found on our Sunday drive.Top Book I Read

I don’t know about you, but for me fall Sunday’s are meant for drives in the country and discovering hidden gems.

Top Book I Read!

I read one book in September which is very unusual for me. Thank goodness I really enjoyed the one I finished. Black Rabbit Hall by Eve Chase is our October book pick. If you’re interested, you can even try a sample of either the book version or audio version at Eve Chase’s website!

writing

Writing Life

Now that I’m back in my office and in a neat and organized space, I need to get back into a regular writing schedule. I do better with schedules.

How about you? Do you like the freedom of winging it? Or are you most productive when adhering to a schedule? Or do you enjoy a little of both?

Exposed, Book 2 Aspen Lake Series, on Sale for 99 Cents!

EXPOSED, Book 2 Aspen Lake Series, is on sale for 99 cents (in the US and about $1.30 in Canada)!

Exposed, Book 2 Aspen Lake Series

Kate Logan needs a safe haven, a place to start over after her modeling career disintegrates in scandal. But her hometown of Aspen Lake isn’t the sanctuary she hoped. Her vow of a low-key life is disrupted by a break-in and other strange happenings at her boutique. As the chair of Aspen Lake’s Gothic Revival Festival, she’s also drawn the ire of a religious fanatic. Kate is up to her stilettos in drama and intrigue including one sexy carpenter who’s determined to get in her way.

New to town, Seth Stone is seeking inspiration and solitude to concentrate on his art. Short on funds, he agrees to take on a second job restoring the damage to Kate’s Closet. Trouble erupts along with the desire to get to know Kate better. When he’s used as a pawn in a smear campaign against his gorgeous boss Seth fights back. But now the whole town is watching. Including the man determined to further his own agenda. Time is running out with nowhere to hide.

* AMAZON * KOBO * BARNES AND NOBLE * THE WILD ROSE PRESS * iBOOKS * ALL ROMANCE eBOOKS *

EXCERPT:

His eyes flashed. Kate didn’t imagine it. Didn’t think either. She simply reacted, leaning in with the certainty he’d meet her halfway. Instead, he withdrew a fraction of an inch. Not far but undoubtedly a retreat.

Oh, God.

“I…” Kate closed her eyes in horror. Or denial. But no, it was happening. She knew this because she opened her eyes and he was still there. Close enough to smell the sweat of humiliation pooling out of her pores. He was staring at her in ear shattering silence. With nowhere to go, she stood up. Wiped her hands down the side of her skirt.

Pull it together, Kate.

She refused to gasp out an apology like a fish. “I shouldn’t have done that. I crossed a line. I’m sorry.”

“Kate.” He got to his feet. “It’s not that I don’t want to—”

“No need to explain.” Please, do not explain. “It won’t happen again.” So, so, so not happening again. “I promise.”

Why was he moving in closer? He smoothed a knuckle over her cheek. Her skin tingled in response, proving humiliation didn’t kill desire. It was merely trampled and ready to rear its ugly head again. Then he shoved his hands in his pockets. “It’s not that I don’t want to kiss you. I’m just not in a position to right now.”

“You’re involved with someone.” Relief washed through her. It wasn’t that she was a horrible person. He had a good reason. One she could live with. “I understand.”

He shook his head. “I moved here with the intention of concentrating on my art. I can’t afford to get involved with anyone right now. No matter how beautiful or appealing. You don’t seem like the sex and forget it type. And that’s all I have in me right now.”

Wasn’t that the story of her life? Men wanting to have sex with her but not interested in getting to know the real her? All they saw was the face.

She knew how to deal with men like that. She froze them out. “Well, thank you for being honest with me.”

Really, it was for the best. Did she want him to get to know the neurotic, insecure woman she’d become in the last six years? Did she want this beautiful man to see the real her? She should back away. Put more than two feet of distance between them.

“Tell me I’m wrong.” His Adam’s apple bobbed. “Then ask me to stay and I will.”

“No, you’re not wrong.” Kate looked away. Too tempted by far to risk being carefree enough to sleep with him. To kiss him goodbye afterwards. To work with him the next day like nothing had happened. Wished she didn’t believe in consequences. Or guilt.

“I should go.” He ran a hand over the stumble forming along his jawline before retrieving his shirt. At the door, with his back to her, he said, “I’ll see you tomorrow.”
She nodded, but he didn’t see it. He was out the door. His boot treads fading as he jogged down the stairs.

Then silence.

The kind that stretched to fill the four corners of a room. A quiet that left little doubt you were utterly and completely alone.

Exposed Postcard Kate Logan v2 (1)

I loved writing these characters, their story! I hope you enjoy it too!