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The Friendship List blog tour & excerpt

About:

Author: Susan Mallery

Hardcover: 384 pages

Publisher: Harlequin; Original edition (August 4, 2020)

Synopsis:

[ ] Dance till dawn

[ ] Go skydiving

[ ] Wear a bikini in public

[ ] Start living

Two best friends jump-start their lives in a summer that will change them forever…

Single mom Ellen Fox couldn’t be more content—until she overhears her son saying he can’t go to his dream college because she needs him too much. If she wants him to live his best life, she has to convince him she’s living hers.

So Unity Leandre, her best friend since forever, creates a list of challenges to push Ellen out of her comfort zone. Unity will complete the list, too, but not because she needs to change. What’s wrong with a thirtysomething widow still sleeping in her late husband’s childhood bed?

The Friendship List begins as a way to make others believe they’re just fine. But somewhere between “wear three-inch heels” and “have sex with a gorgeous guy,” Ellen and Unity discover that life is meant to be lived with joy and abandon, in a story filled with humor, heartache and regrettable tattoos.

Excerpt: Chapter One

“I should have married money,” Ellen Fox said glumly. “That would have solved all my problems.”
Unity Leandre, her best friend, practically since birth, raised her eyebrows. “Because that was an option so many times and you kept saying no?”
“It could have been. Maybe. If I’d ever, you know, met a rich guy I liked and wanted to marry.”
“Wouldn’t having him want to marry you be an equally important part of the equation?”
Ellen groaned. “This is not a good time for logic. This is a good time for sympathy. Or giving me a winning lottery ticket. We’ve been friends for years and you’ve never once given me a winning lottery ticket.”
Unity picked up her coffee and smiled. “True, but I did give you my pony rides when we celebrated our eighth birthdays.”
A point she would have to concede, Ellen thought. With their birthdays so close together, they’d often had shared parties. The summer they’d turned eight, Unity’s mom had arranged for pony rides at a nearby farm. Unity had enjoyed herself, but Ellen had fallen in love with scruffy Mr. Peepers, the crabby old pony who carried them around the paddock. At Ellen’s declaration of affection for the pony, Unity had handed over the rest of her ride tickets, content to watch Ellen on Mr. Peepers’s wide back.
“You were wonderful about the pony rides,” Ellen said earnestly, “And I love that you were so generous. But right now I really need a small fortune. Nothing overwhelming. Just a tasteful million or so. In return, I’ll give back the rides on Mr. Peepers.”
Unity reached across the kitchen table and touched Ellen’s arm. “He really wants to go to UCLA?”
Ellen nodded, afraid if she spoke, she would whimper. After sucking in a breath, she managed to say, “He does. Even with a partial scholarship, the price is going to kill me.” She braced herself for the ugly reality. “Out-of-state costs, including room and board, are about sixty-four thousand dollars.” Ellen felt her heart skip a beat and not out of excitement. “A year. A year! I don’t even bring home that much after taxes. Who has that kind of money? It might as well be a million dollars.”
Unity nodded. “Okay, now marrying money makes sense.”
“I don’t have a lot of options.” Ellen pressed her hand to her chest and told herself she wasn’t having a heart attack. “You know I’d do anything for Coop and I’ll figure this out, but those numbers are terrifying. I have to start buying lottery scratchers and get a second job.” She looked at Unity. “How much do you think they make at Starbucks? I could work nights.”
Unity, five inches taller, with long straight blond hair, grabbed her hands. “Last month it was University of Oklahoma and the month before that, he wanted to go to Notre Dame. Cooper has changed his mind a dozen times. Wait until you go look at colleges this summer and he figures out what he really wants, then see who offers the best financial aid before you panic.” Her mouth curved up in a smile. “No offense, Ellen, but I’ve tasted your coffee. You shouldn’t be working anywhere near a Starbucks.”
“Very funny.” Ellen squeezed her hands. “You’re right. He’s barely seventeen. He won’t be a senior until September. I have time. And I’m saving money every month.”
It was how she’d been raised, she thought. To be practical, to take responsibility. If only her parents had thought to mention marrying for money.
“After our road trip, he may decide he wants to go to the University of Washington after all, and that would solve all my problems.”
Not just the money ones, but the loneliness ones, she thought wistfully. Because after eighteen years of them being a team, her nearly grown-up baby boy was going to leave her.
“Stop,” Unity said. “You’re getting sad. I can see it.”
“I hate that you know me so well.”
“No, you don’t.”
Ellen sighed. “No, I don’t, but you’re annoying.”
“You’re more annoying.”
They smiled at each other.
Unity stood, all five feet ten of her, and stretched. “I have to get going. You have young minds to mold and I have a backed-up kitchen sink to deal with, followed by a gate repair and something with a vacuum. The message wasn’t clear.” She looked at Ellen. “You going to be okay?”
Ellen nodded. “I’m fine. You’re right. Coop will change his mind fifteen more times. I’ll wait until it’s a sure thing, then have my breakdown.”
“See. You always have a plan.”
They walked to the front door. Ellen’s mind slid back to the ridiculous cost of college.
“Any of those old people you help have money?” she asked. “For the right price, I could be a trophy wife.”
Unity shook her head. “You’re thirty-four. The average resident of Silver Pines is in his seventies.”
“Marrying money would still solve all my problems.”
Unity hugged her, hanging on tight for an extra second. “You’re a freak.”
“I’m a momma bear with a cub.”
“Your cub is six foot three. It’s time to stop worrying.”
“That will never happen.”
“Which is why I love you. Talk later.”
Ellen smiled. “Have a good one. Avoid spiders.”
“Always.”

Purchase Links

Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble

About Susan Mallery

#1 NYT bestselling author Susan Mallery writes heartwarming, humorous novels about the relationships that define our lives-family, friendship, romance. She’s known for putting nuanced characters in emotional situations that surprise readers to laughter. Beloved by millions, her books have been translated into 28 languages.Susan lives in Washington with her husband, two cats, and a small poodle with delusions of grandeur. Visit her at SusanMallery.com.

Thank you to TLC Book Tours and Harlequin Books for my gifted eBook in exchange for my promotion.

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Dali Summer: review & blog tour

About Dali Summer

• Paperback: 344 pages
• Publisher: Tule Publishing Group, LLC (May 5, 2020)

Her wild and vivid visions inspire an icon…

Synopsis

Nothing is more important to prim, colorblind Dolors Posa than family and living down the shame of her illegitimate birth, but when the sudden onset of fantastical visions threaten her sterling reputation, she must search for answers before the inhabitants of the tiny village of Cadaqués brand her as demente– crazy like her mother. In a quest to stop her hallucinations, she befriends a beautiful, intoxicating fortune teller and her handsome anarchist brother, as well as becoming a reluctant muse for thirteen-year-old Salvador Dali. In a summer that changes everything, Dolors must choose between her family’s reputation and a life filled with adventure, friendship, rapturous color and the possibility of love.

Set against the political upheaval of 1917 Spain, Dali Summer captures the fierce spirit of Catalonia, the generosity and stubbornness of its people and the blossoming promise of a woman who thought life was bland and empty and had long ago had passed her by.

Review

What a fascinating premise – a colorblind girl and the world she sees portrayed through her eyes. Then the contrast of the vivid color from new friends, including Salvador Dali, and even love. I am a huge fan of books that incorporate art into their storylines so I was hooked from the beginning.

The characters were just as easily imagined as the colors in this book. They were well developed and easy to identify with. The writing was excellent and I plan to read more by this author.

My one issue: there were a lot of moving parts to this story. It almost felt as if it needed to decide between being a historical fiction novel and a character-driven story. It certainly was not a deal breaker for me but I was torn between the characters and wanting to learn more about the history of the time period.

If you enjoyed Where The Crawdads Sing or Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits, you will most likely enjoy this book as well

✂️✂️✂️✂️/5

Purchase Links

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound

About T. J. Brown

Well behaved women rarely make history. Teri Brown lived that quote way before she ever even heard it. The two things she is most proud of, (besides her children), is that she jumped out of an airplane once and she beat the original Legend of Zelda video game. She is a novel writer, head banger, pet keeper, math hater, cocktail drinker, booty shaker, book reader, city slicker, food fixer, French kisser, rule breaker, wine sipper and word scribbler. She loves her husband, kitties and chocolate.

Find out more about Teri at her website, and connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.

Thanks to TLC Book Tours and the publisher for the gifted copy in exchange for my unbiased review.

 

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The Apartment: a review

Book Details:

Author: K.L. Slater

Publisher: Thomas & Mercer

Publish date: April 28th, 2020

Pages: 269

Genre: Psychological thriller

𝑾𝒐𝒖𝒍𝒅 𝒚𝒐𝒖 𝒓𝒂𝒕𝒉𝒆𝒓 𝒉𝒂𝒗𝒆 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒑𝒐𝒘𝒆𝒓 𝒕𝒐 𝒔𝒆𝒆 𝒂 𝒑𝒆𝒓𝒔𝒐𝒏’𝒔 𝒎𝒐𝒕𝒊𝒗𝒆𝒔 𝒐𝒓 𝒔𝒆𝒆 𝒚𝒐𝒖𝒓 𝒐𝒘𝒏 𝒇𝒖𝒕𝒖𝒓𝒆?

𝐒𝐲𝐧𝗼𝐩𝐬𝐢𝐬: Freya Miller needs a miracle. In the fallout of her husband’s betrayal, she’s about to lose her family home, and with it the security she craves for her five-year-old daughter, Skye. Adrift and alone, she’s on the verge of despair until a chance meeting with the charismatic Dr. Marsden changes everything. He’s seeking a new tenant for a shockingly affordable flat in a fashionable area of London.

Adder House sounds too good to be true… But Freya really can’t afford to be cynical, and Dr. Marsden is adamant she and Skye will be a perfect fit with the other residents.

But Adder House has secrets. Even behind a locked front door, Freya feels as if she’s being watched: objects moving, unfamiliar smells, the blinking light of a concealed camera… and it’s not long before she begins to suspect that her dream home is hiding a nightmarish reality. Was it really chance that led her here—or something unthinkably dark?

As the truth about Adder House starts to unravel, can Freya and Skye get out—or will they be locked in forever?

𝐑𝐞𝐯𝐢𝐞𝐰: This book was quite the page-turner. It was gripping from the first page and while it was paced well, it was one I had a hard time putting down.

It’s a fast read and it was a nice change of pace to read a thriller that wasn’t a slow burn. I didn’t guess the ending but I didn’t really try either – something I have found that makes reading thrillers more enjoyable for me.

I did wish that a few of the characters and storylines had been expanded a bit. Freya was easy to connect with but the other characters, not as much. The ending felt slightly rushed but it had a great twist.

All in all, this was an enjoyable read with great writing and a fantastic creep factor present from the start. This was my first K.L. Slater book and certainly will not be my last. Available from your local bookstore on 4/28/2020.

𝐑𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐧𝐠: ✂️✂️✂️✂️/5

Thanks to K.L. Slater and NetGalley for a gifted copy in exchange for my unbiased review.