Blog Tour! Defining Her by Samantha March

About the Book

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Nellie Hawthorne is a woman who has it all. A devoted husband, her own business, a wealthy lifestyle. But the Nellie she is now is much different from her past. A past filled with abuse, addiction, and men. Nellie’s carefully constructed new life is suddenly in jeopardy when a blast from the past emerges in her small town and her overbearing mother-in-law starts pushing for grandchildren and questions start being asked. A budding new friendship presents itself at an opportune time, and a once friendless Nellie finds herself growing closer to Prue Doherty.
Prue Doherty is the quintessential good girl. Always making the right decisions, always playing it safe. Until she meets a man that could change all of that. Still reeling from a devastating breakup and betrayal that had her fleeing from Chicago and settling into suburb life with her mom close by, Prue finds herself in a damaging funk. But everything changes when she befriends Nellie Hawthorne.

Nellie is trying to escape her past. Prue wants that perfect future. While both women strive to change their lives, they continue to cling to the past. But what defines us? Who we were then . . . or who we are trying to be now? Lies, manipulation, and deceit are woven throughout the pages of this edgy women’s fiction novel, with an ending you won’t see coming.

My Review

Prue and Nellie could not be more different, but their lives somehow become intertwined.

I have read Defining Her twice and I’m so glad I did because I picked up on subtle nuances I did not give proper attention to the first time around and it gave me a chance to get to know the characters on a deeper level.

I have to bring this up first because it’s all I can think about while writing this review. The character development in this novel is out of this world. Character development is one of the top things I look for whilst reading a book. In Defining Her, it is very apparent that Samantha March spent a lot of time developing her characters, giving them unique personalities, quirks, and making them unlikable at times. When an author takes a chance and presents characters that might come across as unlikable, I feel impressed, I want to read more, and I am on the edge of my seat, waiting to become privy to the development of those characters. In a book titled, Defining Her, one might assume there will be growth, epiphanies, and scenes that give the reader little glimpses into the characters’ thought processes and also those thoughts that they keep to themselves that secretly change their own stories and even the stories of other characters. March does not disappoint.

As mentioned briefly, I found it difficult to like most of the characters in the book, but I liked Nellie almost from the beginning. I’ll expand upon my thought in the next paragraph, but this character was developed so nicely and I felt like she was so…real and relatable. I did not grow up under the same circumstances and I did not experience the horrors that she did, but I had my own scary times and that shared trauma helped link me to Nellie and allowed my heart to open up to her.

There are a few scenes in this book that are mature, upsetting, and difficult to fathom. Defining Her is raw, it is genuine. It will tug at your heartstrings and certain parts may make you uncomfortable. But the rawness, the difficult scenes are not put in the book for the sake of being shocking and sensational or to upset readers. Every move, every detail was carefully crafted by the author. The raw and unsettling parts of the story are there to give readers a better idea of a character’s background, to evoke compassion, and as hard as it might be to read about uncomfortable things, Defining Her shows us real life. Horrible things happen to people and this book delicately touches on topics that are real and sadly happen every day, evokes emotions from readers that are genuine, and connects the dots as to why someone might behave the way they do.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a compelling story that is not easy to figure out, readers who love excellent character development, and anyone who is looking for a book whose characters make you think, turn the pages at a heightened pace, share with your friends, but most of all feel.

🍩🍩🍩🍩🍩 5 doughnuts out of 5

*I received a complimentary ARC from the author in exchange for an honest, authentic review. It has been a privilege to be a part of this book tour for Samantha and to be able to share my thoughts on this book. It should also be noted that this is one of the best books I have read in a very long time, which made this even more of an honor.*

Tour Schedule

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March 20 – ChickLit Goddess – Review & Excerpt

March 20 – Dandelion Inspired – Review

March 21 – Spunky N Sassy – Excerpt

March 24 – Beauty Books and Cats With Brooke – Review

March 24 – T’s Stuff – Excerpt & Q&A

March 27 – Karan Eleni – Review, Q&A & Excerpt

March 28 – Authors and Readers Book Corner – Excerpt

March 29  – Jersey Girl Book Reviews – Review & Excerpt

March 30 – Hey Said Renee– Review

March 31 – Granny Loves to Read – Review & Excerpt

March 31 – Novel Escapes – Interview

April 3 – Book Lover in Florida – Review & Excerpt

April 3- Rainy Day Reviews – Review & Excerpt

Get your copy!

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2nn88vt

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/defining-her-samantha-march/1125950914

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/defining-her

ALL OTHER TITLES ARE JUST 99 CENTS FOR A LIMITED TIME!

Samantha March on Amazon: http://amzn.to/2mFKkog

About the Author

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Samantha March is an author, editor, publisher, blogger, and all around book lover. She runs the popular book/women’s lifestyle blog ChickLitPlus, which keeps her bookshelf stocked with the latest reads and up to date on all things beauty, fashion and fitness. In 2011 she launched her independent publishing company Marching Ink and has five published novels – Destined to Fail, The Green Ticket, A Questionable Friendship, Up To I Do and Defining Her, and one holiday novella, The Christmas Surprise. You can also find her on Youtube sharing beauty reviews and creating makeup tutorials. When she isn’t reading, writing, or vlogging, you can find her cheering for the Green Bay Packers and Chicago Cubs. Samantha lives in Iowa with her husband and Vizsla puppy.

Find Samantha

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/marchbeautyword/

Youtube: http://bit.ly/2cGNR34

Twitter: https://twitter.com/BySamanthaMarch

Snapchat: Samantha.March

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/samanthamarchauthor

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Samantha-March/e/B005ZWOGJY

Blog: http://www.chicklitplus.com/

Giveaway!

Giveaway Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/9d17395a284/?

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DEFINING HER Exciting News! Book Release Day

Friends! Today is the day. My friend, Samantha March has officially released her 5th book, Defining Her and it is spectacular. This is such an exciting day and I am so proud of her. Samantha poured so much of herself into this book and gosh does it show.

Please check out her information below. I posted my review on Amazon.com yesterday and will be posting it on my blog during my stop on the blog tour which is March 24.

I am honored to be a part of this wonderful day!

 

About Defining Her

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Nellie Hawthorne is a woman who has it all. A devoted husband, her own business, a wealthy lifestyle. But the Nellie she is now is much different from her past. A past filled with abuse, addiction, and men. Nellie’s carefully constructed new life is suddenly in jeopardy when a blast from the past emerges in her small town and her overbearing mother-in-law starts pushing for grandchildren and questions start being asked. A budding new friendship presents itself at an opportune time, and a once friendless Nellie finds herself growing closer to Prue Doherty.
Prue Doherty is the quintessential good girl. Always making the right decisions, always playing it safe. Until she meets a man that could change all of that. Still reeling from a devastating breakup and betrayal that had her fleeing from Chicago and settling into suburb life with her mom close by, Prue finds herself in a damaging funk. But everything changes when she befriends Nellie Hawthorne.
Nellie is trying to escape her past. Prue wants that perfect future. While both women strive to change their lives, they continue to cling to the past. But what defines us? Who we were then . . . or who we are trying to be now? Lies, manipulation, and deceit are woven throughout the pages of this edgy women’s fiction novel, with an ending you won’t see coming.

 

Get your copy!

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2nn88vt

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/defining-her-samantha-march/1125950914

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/defining-her

 

ALL OTHER TITLES ARE JUST 99 CENTS FOR A LIMITED TIME!

Samantha March on Amazon: http://amzn.to/2mFKkog

 

About the Author

Screen Shot 2017-03-15 at 12.02.27 PM

Samantha March is an author, editor, publisher, blogger, and all around book lover. She runs the popular book/women’s lifestyle blog ChickLitPlus, which keeps her bookshelf stocked with the latest reads and up to date on all things beauty, fashion and fitness. In 2011 she launched her independent publishing company Marching Ink and has five published novels – Destined to Fail, The Green Ticket, A Questionable Friendship, Up To I Do and Defining Her, and one holiday novella, The Christmas Surprise. You can also find her on Youtube sharing beauty reviews and creating makeup tutorials. When she isn’t reading, writing, or vlogging, you can find her cheering for the Green Bay Packers and Chicago Cubs. Samantha lives in Iowa with her husband and Vizsla puppy.

Find Samantha

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/marchbeautyword/

Youtube: http://bit.ly/2cGNR34

Twitter: https://twitter.com/BySamanthaMarch

Snapchat: Samantha.March

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/samanthamarchauthor

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Samantha-March/e/B005ZWOGJY

Blog: http://www.chicklitplus.com/

 

GIVEAWAY!

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/9d17395a284/

Mental Health Matters Book Review: An Unquiet Mind

An Unquiet Mind, by Kay Redfield Jamison
Publication Date: 1995

Synopsis:

In her bestselling classic, An Unquiet Mind, Kay Redfield Jamison changed the way we think about moods and madness.

Dr. Jamison is one of the foremost authorities on manic-depressive (bipolar) illness; she has also experienced it firsthand. For even while she was pursuing her career in academic medicine, Jamison found herself succumbing to the same exhilarating highs and catastrophic depressions that afflicted many of her patients, as her disorder launched her into ruinous spending sprees, episodes of violence, and an attempted suicide.

Here Jamison examines bipolar illness from the dual perspectives of the healer and the healed, revealing both its terrors and the cruel allure that at times prompted her to resist taking medication. An Unquiet Mind is a memoir of enormous candor, vividness, and wisdom—a deeply powerful book that has both transformed and saved lives.

My Review:

This books holds a very special place in my heart because Dr. Jamison’s strength helped me to realize that I might have a severe mental illness. It was 2004 and I was taking Abnormal Psychology. We had to read a memoir of someone who had a mental illness and type up a paper. My professor pulled me aside and recommended to me An Unquiet Mind. She thought that I would enjoy it but also gave me a very meaningful look and held my gaze for about 20 seconds. I think she was willing me to read this, to know that this book could change. Because of my antics in her class (several times I let her know that I could teach better than she and I often wandered around the class, ending up at the front of the class trying to interject my thoughts into her lecture). With such compassion and respect, my professor helped me more that I could ever express. I’ll never forget her professionalism, her patience, and her forgiveness.

Dr. Jamison is a psychologist, but I’m not sure of she is still practicing, but she has published a number of other books.

Her transparency, ability to be vulnerable and even use some humor while telling her very personal and sometimes painful story blew me away and continues to do so every time I read this book. I read it about 3 times per year. It makes me feel like I am not alone, it makes me feel “normal.” While my diagnosis has changed from Bipolar I to Schizoaffective Disorder, this book changed my life and Dr. Jamison’s story is still so similar to my own.

If you are a fan of well-written memoirs/autobiographies I highly recommend this to you. If you would like to learn about what it is like to have a severe mental illness, more specifically Bipolar I Disorder, you will cherish and appreciate this book. She writes well, yet does not throw around lingo that is impossible to understand.

This beautiful, amazing, brave story will touch your heart, increase your compassion for others and hopefully yourself, and it might spark an interest in other memoirs written by those with severe mental illness.

🍩🍩🍩🍩🍩 5/5 doughnuts

Thank you for your time. I wish you the best.

Brooke

Book Review: Love, Henri: Letters on the Spiritual Life

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Love, Henri: Letters on the Spiritual Life, by Henri J. M. Nouwen

Published 2016 by The Henry Nouwen Legacy Trust

Synopsis:

Seven million copies of his books in print! This collection of over 100 unpublished letters from the bestselling author of such spiritual classics as The Return of the Prodigal Son and The Wounded Healer offers deep spiritual insight into human experience, intimacy, brokenness, and mercy.

Over the course of his life, Henri Nouwen wrote thousands of letters to friends, acquaintances, parishioners, students, and readers of his work all around the world. He corresponded in English, Dutch, German, French, and Spanish, and took great care to store and archive the letters decade after decade. He believed that a thoughtful letter written in love could truly change someone’s life. Many people looked to Nouwen as a long distance spiritual advisor.

Love, Henri consists of over a hundred letters that stretch from the earliest years of Henri’s career up through his last 10 years at L’Arche Daybreak. Rich in spiritual insights the letters highlight a number themes that emerged in both Henri’s work over the years, including vocation, solitude, prayer, suffering, and perseverance in difficult times. These deeply spiritual letters, sometimes poignant, sometimes funny, ultimately demonstrate the rich value of communicating with God through others.

My Review:

When I was earning my Master’s Degree in Clinical Counseling from an Ohio seminary, Henri Nouwen was an author regularly recommended to students by professors, other students, and clinical and academic advisors.

The Wounded Healer was by far the most recommended book and I do believe my entire cohort read it before we began our internships. Henri Nouwen had such a gift. He was intelligent, well read, well known, gifted, wonderful with people, and a model of selfless love, but he taught us that we did not have to be perfect people in order to help others and to help them begin the healing process. In fact, our wounds could serve to make us better helpers.

In his books, Henri was always so transparent and shared without hesitation that which made him a flawed and wounded healer. I remember this book bringing tears to my eyes, for certainly I was the most flawed student in the bunch and I felt like I stood out like a sore thumb. Henri helped me through my self doubt, helped me to see that my wounds would make me a better healer. I found great peace in that.

Love, Henri was such a beautiful glimpse into his personal life and the way he loved others in an authentic way that was not full of posturing or self-adulation. Reading his letters made me realize that Henri was human. I admit I put him on a bit of a pedestal while in school, but he was so…real in his responses to those who wrote  him. They were not cookie cutter responses and he did not hesitate to admit when he did not have the answers. I admired that very much and again the importance of transparency became all the more apparent to me during those moments.

I highly recommend this books to fans of Henri Nouwen, seminary students, pastors…anyone whose faith is important to them. I would also highly recommend Love, Henri to anyone who would like to read letters filled with love, kindness, acceptance, and authenticity.

Happy reading to you. I do hope you enjoy reading Henri’s letters and I hope they touch your heart.

🍩🍩🍩🍩🍩 5/5 doughnuts

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Mental Health Matters: Upcoming Book Review

I will be posting a book review of one of my favorite books, Kay Redfield Jamison’s An Unquiet Mind. This review will be a little bit different in that I will be providing some of my favorite quotes from the book, quotes and short passages that helped me, at the age of 24, to realize that it was very possible that I had a serious mental illness.

I can’t wait to share this book with you. Have you already read it? I would love to know what you think!

Cheers,
Brooke

Book Review: I Am Death

I Am Death, by Chris Carter
Publication Date: July 30, 2015
Genre: Thriller, Crime
Book 7 of the Robert Hunter Thriller Series

About the Book:

In Top 10 Sunday Times (UK) bestselling author Chris Carter’s electrifying follow-up to his “chilling” (Daily Mail) thriller An Evil Mind, the LAPD’s Ultra Violent Crimes Unit lead detective, Robert Hunter, races to stop a serial killer whose past secrets rival those of Hunter’s himself.

Seven days after being abducted, the body of a twenty-year-old woman is found on a grassy area by the Los Angeles International Airport. She has been left with her limbs stretched out and spread apart, placing her in a five-point human star.

The autopsy reveals that she has been tortured and murdered in a bizarre way but the surprises don’t end there. The killer likes to play, and he left something behind for the cops to find. Detective Robert Hunter is assigned to the case but almost immediately a second body turns up. Detective Hunter quickly realizes that he is chasing a monster—a predator whose past hides a terrible secret, whose desire to hurt people and thirst for murder can never be quenched—for he is DEATH.

Fast-paced, action-packed, and filled with suspense, I Am Death is perfect for fans of Jeffery Deaver, Thomas Harris, and Chelsea Cain.

My Review:

I think I may have found a new favorite author.

While this is book seven in a series I will definitely be reading, I was able to read it without feeling like I was missing out, or completely lost on character background and personalities. This is a mark of a highly skilled author – the ability to pull in a reader well past the middle of a series, to keep them hooked and wanting more.

I love thrillers, and crime novels and I Am Death did not disappoint. Detectives Garcia and Hunter are returning to the job after a traumatic workplace situation. Upon their arrival, they are faced with a psychopath who is surprising them at every turn and does not follow a specific M.O. like most serial killers do. This perpetrator, whose only consistencies are horrifying brutal murders and leaving his signature at almost every crime scene: I Am Death.

The chapters fly by and are so full of meaningful, interesting, and captivating information that I hated to see each one end. Carter does something neat with his chapters as he sticks with the detectives for a few chapters and after revealing a huge piece of information, he sometimes flips to the point of view of the killer and his victims, or he might stick with the detectives. You never know what is coming next while you are reading and I love that. I love being on the edge of my seat, loving all story lines and not wishing that one would end so I can go back to the one that I like.

I thought I had this book figured out, I really did. I could not have been more wrong. I love being wrong! The plot twist that happens at the very end of the book blew my mind. I was so shocked and at first confused, I had to read the last few chapters a few times to make sure I was processing what I was reading. It was an amazing ending that I could never have predicted in a million years.

I found detectives Garcia and Hunter to be very likable. I especially liked that Robert Hunter has a Ph. D. in psychology and is constantly being courted by the FBI. He is vastly intelligent, but he never makes his partner or others around him feel as though they are less than. He comes across as a very humble man.

If you like books you can’t put down, difficult or unsolvable crimes, characters who will lead you to want to get to know them better and make you want to read every book written by Chris Carter, then I highly recommend this book to you. Go on a journey with Robert Hunter and try to solve this crime with him. I feel comfortable promising you that you will not be bored or counting the pages until you reach the end. You may need to read a few scenes more than once, but it’s worth it. So worth it.

This was a thriller I read mainly when I was alone and I did not get too scared to the point where I was unable to be comfortable in my own home. It’s terrifying, please don’t get me wrong, but if you read this during the day time, you might be okay. 🙂 At night…maybe cuddle up with your dog(s) or cat(s) and try not to accidentally push your significant other out of the bed because with each turn of the page you inch closer and closer. Not that this happened to me at all…

Chris Carter is a very gifted author. I highly recommend his Robert Hunter Thriller series, but if you can get your hands on I Am Death, I think this can serve as a stand alone novel that will be a good introduction to Robert Hunter and give you a glimpse into who he is as a man and as an elite detective.

I cannot wait to read my next Robert Hunter book. Thank you, Chris Carter.

🍩🍩🍩🍩🍩 5/5 doughnuts

Thank you to NetGalley and Atria books for a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review: Parker

Parker, by Jillian Quinn
Book #1 in the Face-Off Series

Publication date: February 15, 2017

A Blurb from Alex Parker Himself:

I’m Alex Parker, the best defenseman in the NHL, heartbreaker, and troublemaker. My team had the best penalty kill record in the league, thanks to me. I was on a winning team and so close to the Stanley Cup before I hooked up with the wrong puck bunny–the team owner’s granddaughter. Oops! So, they shipped me off to Philadelphia to play for the Flyers, one of the worst teams in the league.

My agent thinks I need to clean up my act. I drink too much. I sleep around too much. He assigns Charlotte Coachman, aka Coach, to whip me into shape. Coach is a sexy as hell sports agent that challenges me, and every time we’re around each other it’s as if we’re having our own face-off. I want her but she has strict rules about dating clients. And I like breaking them.

My Review:

I love sports and I love romance. Up until now, I haven’t been able to find a book that combines the two as perfectly as Parker. Jillian Quinn obviously knows a lot about sports and is a legitimate fan of them – this is evident in her writing and the passion found in each page.

I must mention that this book is steamy, steamy, steamy! So it’s best for mature eyes  only. The love scenes are  intense and the stuff of dreams. Jillian Quinn knows how to write a love scene! 🙂 While steamy, they are not dirty or unnecessary. They actually allow the reader to learn more about Parker and Coach/Charlotte/Charlie.

The characters in this book. One word – fantastic! I liked Coach and Parker very much and the weaving of their  love story was so sweet and tender. I love the way that Parker is so devoted to Coach that he will do anything to prove to her how much she means to him. This relationship will touch your heart and the steamy scenes might lead you to take a break and feed the birds or water your cats. 🙂

There are other characters who will steal your heart, like Rico, one of the kids Charlotte coaches in youth basketball. So many substantive, rich relationships.

The ending of the book literally made my heart leap. I could feel it flutter with joy and surprise.

If you like books with fabulous, well-thought out characters and a love story that will keep you guessing at each turn and rooting for Parker and Coach, you will love Parker. I highly recommend this book.I read this book for about 4 hours while at my desk at work today. All of my work was complete and I kept thinking about Parker and needed to know the whole story and pronto! Luckily, I am a Librarian, so read at my desk is quite the norm. When you start reading Parker, you will not be able to put it down!

One last thing. Read the Acknowledgments. They moved me to tears and allowed me to get to know Jillian a little bit more.

Thank you to the author, for my advanced reader copy. I am delighted to review Parker.

Jillian also has another book out! It is called Corrupt Me and is available now!

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