Book Tours

Blog Tour: The Year I Left by Christine Brae

Title: The Year I Left
Author: Christine Brae
Published by: Vesuvian Books
Publication date: August 20th 2019
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance,Women’s Fiction

Synopsis:

“A thousand half loves must be forsaken to take one whole heart home.”

Carin Frost doesn’t understand what’s happening to her. A confident businesswoman, wife, and mother,

she begins to resent everything about her life. Nothing makes sense. Nothing makes her feel. Maybe it’s the recent loss of her mother in a tragic accident. Or maybe she’s just losing her mind.

Enter Matias Torres. As their new business partnership thrives, so does their friendship—and his interest in her. Carin is determined to keep her distance, until a work assignment sends them to Southeast Asia where a storm is brewing on the island. In the midst of the chaos, Matias asks her to do something unimaginable, exhilarating, BOLD. Carin knows the consequences could be dire, but it may be the only way to save herself.

An honest look at love and marriage and the frailties of the human heart, this is a story of a woman’s loss of self and purpose and the journey she takes to find her way back.

Purchase:
Amazon: https://books2read.com/u/b5QQWG?store=amazon
B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-year-i-left-christine-brae/1132544543
iBooks: https://books.apple.com/ca/book/the-year-i-left/id1473496140?mt=11&ign-mpt=uo%3D4
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/ca/en/ebook/the-year-i-left

Goodreads

My Thoughts:

This book is by no means an easy read as it is intense with emotion. However, it is truly captivating. A beautifully written story that everyone who has experienced loss can relate to. This book really speaks to the soul and I highly recommend picking it up!

About The Author:

Christine Brae is a senior executive with a full time career, who thought she could write a book about her life and then run away as far as possible from it. She never imagined that her words would touch the hearts of so many women with the same story to tell. Christine has written six books since her first release in 2013. She is the author of The Light in the Wound and His Wounded Light (2013), Insipid (2014), In This Life (2016) and Eight Goodbyes (2018).

Her latest book, The Year I Left is scheduled for release in August, 2019.

When not listening to the voices in her head or spending late nights at the office, Christine can be seen shopping for shoes and purses, running a half marathon or spending time with her husband and three children in Chicago.

Christine is represented by Italia Gandolfo of Gandolfo Helin & Fountain Literary Management.

Author Links:

https://www.christinebrae.com/

So, do you think you will be picking this one up? Let me know in the comments below, I can’t wait to chat!

Always,

Alicia

Book Hauls

A Very Cozy Weekend Book Haul

Cozy Mystery Book Haul

Happy Monday, puffs! Did you have a great weekend? I had a surprisingly busy weekend but it was a lot of fun. On Saturday morning I met up with my good friend Julie (who is also a bookstagrammer/blogger) for coffee, donuts, and bargain book shopping. My favorite places in town to buy used books is my neighborhood goodwill and Sullivan’s Trade-A-Book. It is exactly what it sounds like, a lovely place where you can bring in your used books and get credit (or just straight up swap out!) for more books! When you walk in you are greeted with mountains and rows filled with stacks of books (which are very well organized) so basically it is a bibliophile’s dream! I wanted to load up on some cozies for the up coming fall seasons which you can see in the pile. The only book I didn’t purchase at Sullivan’s was The Enlightenment of Bees which was actually sent to me for a blog tour I will be doing coming up, I can’t wait to read it and will have more details to share soon! Here is a full list of what I picked up:

Have you read any of the books in my haul? If so please leave a comment below, I would love to hear your thoughts!

Always,

Alicia

A Book & A Bite

A Book & A Bite: Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder and Chocolate Chip Crunch Cookies

Happy Monday! I hope you all had a wonderful weekend and are about to have a lovely start to your week. Today I wanted to share with you all the first post of a new series I am starting here on the blog called “A Book & A Bite”, where I share a book with a recipe. Some of you may or may not know but I actually graduated from The International Culinary Center in New York City. While I do not actively work in that industry anymore (now I am just a desk nerd), you can often find me in my kitchen at home baking and cooking my butt off! So I thought I would tie my two loves together. If you have any suggestions please leave them in the comments below!

Today’s book is Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder by Joanne Fluke and the bite is Chocolate Chip Crunch Cookies which are an actual recipe listed IN THE BOOK!

Chocolate Chip Crunch Cookies

You will need:

  • 1 Cup Butter (2 sticks melted)
  • 1 Cup White Sugar
  • 1 Cup Brown Sugar
  • 2 Teaspoons Baking Soda
  • 1 Teaspoon Salt
  • 2 Teaspoons Vanilla
  • 2 Beaten Eggs (you can just beat them with a fork)
  • 2 1/2 Cups Flour (not sifted)
  • 2 Cups Crushed Corn Flakes (you can just crush them with your hands)
  • 1 to 2 Cups Chocolate Chips

Preheat oven to 375° F and put your oven rack in the middle position.

Melt butter, add the sugars and stir. Add soda, salt, vanilla, and beaten eggs. Mix well. Then add flour and stir it in. Add crushed corn flakes and chocolate chips and mix it all thoroughly.

Form dough into walnut-sized balls with your fingers and place on a greased cookie sheet, 12 to a standard sheet. Press them down slightly with a floured or greased spatula.

Bake at 375 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes. Cool on cookie sheet for 2 minutes, then move to a wire rack until they are completely cool. (The rack is important- it makes them crisp)

If these cookies spread out too much in the oven, reduce temp. to 350° F and do not flatten before baking.

Y’all, these cookies are so good! Especially with a cup of coffee, they are perfectly crispy for dipping in. If you decide to try this recipe out please share it with me!

Always,

Alicia

Book Hauls

Asheville Book Haul

Good Morning, my fellow bookworms! I hope you all had a wonderful weekend and a happy Fathers Day! I apologize for being M.I.A on the blog for the last week or so. I was actually taking some much needed time off and decided to unplug for a little bit. My boyfriend and I went up to Asheville, North Carolina for a couple of days for my 27th birthday. We ate, drank, and got to go to some VERY awesome places but I will be doing a full trip re-cap in my upcoming bookish travel guide blog post coming soon!

However, I did want to share my full list of books that I picked up during our travels.

Asheville Book Haul

Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder by Joanne Fluke

Goodreads rating: 3.71 Stars

Description: Take one amateur sleuth. Mix in some eccentric Minnesota locals. Add a generous dollop of crackling suspense, and you’ve got the recipe for this delicious new mystery series featuring Hannah Swensen, the red-haired, cookie-baking heroine whose gingersnaps are almost as tart as her mouth and whose penchant for solving crime is definitely stirring things up.

Hannah already has her hands full trying to dodge her mother’s attempts to marry her off while running The Cookie Jar, Lake Eden’s most popular bakery. But once Ron LaSalle, the beloved delivery man from the Cozy Cow Dairy, is found murdered behind her bakery with Hannah’s famous Chocolate Chip Crunchies scattered around him, her life just can’t get any worse. Determined not to let her cookies get a bad reputation, she sets out to track down a killer. But if she doesn’t watch her back, Hannah’s sweet life may get burned to a crisp.

This book was actually recommended to me by my friend Julie who is also a book blogger and aspiring author! Recently I just started getting into cozy mysteries and wanted to pick up something that was going to be good, I highly trust Julie’s opinion since she is a mystery expert!

The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry

Goodreads rating: 3.62 Stars

Description: When Cora Seaborne’s brilliant, domineering husband dies, she steps into her new life as a widow with as much relief as sadness: her marriage was not a happy one. Wed at nineteen, this woman of exceptional intelligence and curiosity was ill-suited for the role of society wife. Seeking refuge in fresh air and open space in the wake of the funeral, Cora leaves London for a visit to coastal Essex, accompanied by her inquisitive and obsessive eleven-year old son, Francis, and the boy’s nanny, Martha, her fiercely protective friend.

While admiring the sites, Cora learns of an intriguing rumor that has arisen further up the estuary, of a fearsome creature said to roam the marshes claiming human lives. After nearly 300 years, the mythical Essex Serpent is said to have returned, taking the life of a young man on New Year’s Eve. A keen amateur naturalist with no patience for religion or superstition, Cora is immediately enthralled, and certain that what the local people think is a magical sea beast may be a previously undiscovered species. Eager to investigate, she is introduced to local vicar William Ransome. Will, too, is suspicious of the rumors. But unlike Cora, this man of faith is convinced the rumors are caused by moral panic, a flight from true belief.

These seeming opposites who agree on nothing soon find themselves inexorably drawn together and torn apart—an intense relationship that will change both of their lives in ways entirely unexpected.

So this book was actually a “Blind Date With A Book”, you can check out my Instagram post with all the details HERE I absolutely love this concept and hope that my local bookshop will incorporate it into their store soon because it is just too much fun!

Into The Crooked Place by Alexandra Christo (ARC)

Goodreads rating: 3.97 Stars

Description:

The streets of Creije are for the deadly and the dreamers, and four crooks in particular know just how much magic they need up their sleeve to survive.

Tavia, a busker ready to pack up her dark-magic wares and turn her back on Creije for good. She’ll do anything to put her crimes behind her.

Wesley, the closest thing Creije has to a gangster. After growing up on streets hungry enough to swallow the weak whole, he won’t stop until he has brought the entire realm to kneel before him.

Karam, a warrior who spends her days watching over the city’s worst criminals and her nights in the fighting rings, making a deadly name for herself.

And Saxony, a resistance fighter hiding from the very people who destroyed her family, and willing to do whatever it takes to get her revenge.

Everything in their lives is going to plan, until Tavia makes a crucial mistake: she delivers a vial of dark magic—a weapon she didn’t know she had—to someone she cares about, sparking the greatest conflict in decades. Now these four magical outsiders must come together to save their home and the world, before it’s too late. But with enemies at all sides, they can trust nobody. Least of all each other.

This one is actually an ARC that doesn’t come out until October 8th 2019, I was able to pick it up at Malaprops Bookshop for free because I had spent over $50 and they have a designated bookshelf filled with ARCS for people to pick out their own. Such a brilliant idea!

Where The Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

Goodreads rating: 4.53 Stars

Description: For years, rumors of the “Marsh Girl” have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark, the so-called Marsh Girl. But Kya is not what they say. Sensitive and intelligent, she has survived for years alone in the marsh that she calls home, finding friends in the gulls and lessons in the sand. Then the time comes when she yearns to be touched and loved. When two young men from town become intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new life–until the unthinkable happens.

I know, I know! I am so late to the game on this book. It has been recommended to me so many times I can’t keep track and I have had it on my TBR list for months. I was finally able to pick it up and I can’t wait to dive into it!

Stay Sexy & Don’t Get Murdered: The Definitive How-To Guide by Georgia Hardstark and Karen Gilgariff

Goodreads rating: 4.44 Stars

Description: Sharing never-before-heard stories ranging from their struggles with depression, eating disorders, and addiction, Karen and Georgia irreverently recount their biggest mistakes and deepest fears, reflecting on the formative life events that shaped them into two of the most followed voices in the nation.

In Stay Sexy & Don’t Get Murdered, Karen and Georgia focus on the importance of self-advocating and valuing personal safety over being ‘nice’ or ‘helpful.’ They delve into their own pasts, true crime stories, and beyond to discuss meaningful cultural and societal issues with fierce empathy and unapologetic frankness.

As a longtime murderino I just had to pick this one up. I had pre-ordered the audiobook and could not wait to get my hands on a physical copy! I plan on doing a full review and comparing both formats here on the blog very soon.

Well that wraps it up!! What did you think of my selection? Have you read any of these books before? If so, please leave a comment and let me know your thoughts.

Always,

Alicia

Bookish Travel Guides

The Best Bookish Spots in Charleston, SC

Happy Monday, my fellow bookworms! Today I am so happy to be partnering with BookSparks to take you on a journey through my hometown of Charleston, South Carolina for the #ReadAroundTown challenge featuring The Printed Letter Bookshop By Katherine Reay which they so kindly sent to me. Here is a little synopsis of the book:

” Love, friendship, and family find a home at the Printed Letter Bookshop.

One of Madeline Cullen’s happiest childhood memories is working with her Aunt Maddie in the quaint and cozy Printed Letter Bookshop. But by the time Madeline inherits the shop nearly twenty years later, family troubles and her own bitter losses have hardened Madeline’s heart toward her once-treasured aunt — and the now struggling bookshop left in her care.

While Madeline intends to sell the shop as quickly as possible, the Printed Letter’s two employees have other ideas. Reeling from a recent divorce, Janet finds sanctuary within the books and within the decadent window displays she creates. Claire, though quieter than the acerbic Janet, feels equally drawn to the daily rhythms of the shop and its loyal clientele, finding a renewed purpose within its walls. When Madeline’s professional life takes an unexpected turn —and a handsome gardener upends all her preconceived notions – she questions her plans and her heart, and begins to envision a new path for herself and for her aunt’s beloved shop. Yet, even working together, these three women may find their best efforts too little and too late.

The Printed Letter Bookshop is an engaging story of good books, a testament to the beauty of new beginnings and a sweet reminder of the power of friendship.

I am SO excited to read this book and it has promptly been added to my TBR list for this month. Who doesn’t love a good romance novel for summer? Perfect for bringing on vacation or just to your favorite reading spots around town! Speaking of…let’s chat about a few of mine and jump right into The Best Bookish Spots in Charleston, South Carolina!

1. Blue Bicycle Books

How could I feature this book and not show off my favorite bookshop in town! I am sure many of you are familiar with this store as they host Y’all Fest every year (which is SO much fun and you know I am going to be there this year) but that is not what makes this place so truly special. Though the store is not super large there are many reading nooks throughout the store with rooms/areas for specific genres. If you are traveling with children they will LOVE the children’s book room which features a little tent perfect for them to curl up in and read a book while you peruse the expansive selection of both used and new books. The staff is always very welcoming and helpful if you are stumped on what to pick up next. Blue Bicycle Books is also located right in the heart of the beautiful Historic Downtown Charleston and just steps away from several other local gems including our next stop…

2. Jeni’s Ice Cream

Just a 5 minute walk down the street from Blue Bicycle Books is my favorite place to grab a sweet treat in Charleston…Jeni’s! This place truly has something for everyone with flavors ranging from Honey Vanilla Bean to Fluffernutter Pie and they are constantly featuring seasonal treats as well that are so uniquely delicious. Also vegan/lactose-intolerant bookworms do not fear…they always have incredible dairy free options as well! I am seriously drooling as I think about their freshly made waffle cones and their gooey delicious butterscotch topping. Can you think of anything better than reading a book while having a scoop of pure sugary heaven? I sure can’t!

3. Rainbow Row

Did you really visit Charleston, SC if you didn’t snap some photos in front of Rainbow Row? Rainbow Row is a block of totally adorable sherbet colored homes located on the Charleston Battery. While this is a very popular tourist hot spot it does make for a very lovely reading spot as well. There are several benches located on the sidewalk where you can read a book, people watch, and take in the absolute beauty of all the historic homes while soaking in the sunshine and ocean breeze. Plus, you can take some really poppin’ #Bookstagram pictures. Total win/win!

4. The Battery

Once you have sat down for a bit at Rainbow Row and you feel the need to burn off some calories from stuffing your face with sweet glorious Jeni’s ice cream I highly suggest taking a walk along The Battery. On one side you will have amazing views of the Charleston Harbor and on the other you will see some of the most impressively ornate and historic homes that Charleston has to offer. I love exploring all of the side alleys & hidden gardens surrounding the homes. While there are not too many benches or reading spots on the promenade there is White Pointe Garden located right in the center of it that boasts plenty ancient oak trees with benches that are perfect for reading on. The Battery and White Pointe Garden is just rich in history and is quintessential to any Charleston, South Carolina visit.

4. Mercantile and Mash

So I may or may not have a serious caffeine problem but this place is my favorite spot to refuel while I read a book or work on my computer. Mercantile & Mash is located in a historic cigar factory turned modern living spaces and shops. The setting is totally unique but also their iced dirty chai lattes give me life!

5. The Beach

I feel like this is a given but it just has to be mentioned! Charleston is a coastal town so surrounding the historic downtown peninsula are several beaches and islands. My personal favorite is Sullivan’s Island. Edgar Allen Poe actually spent a lot of time there and even named one of his short stories after the island that the Sullivan’s Island Bridge is partially located on which is named Gold Bug. After soaking up the sun and reading on the beach you can grab lunch at Poe’s Tavern which, you guessed it, is Edgar Allen Poe themed and just two blocks from the beach! Poe’s is easily one of my favorite restaurants in town, their woodfire grilled burgers are so good and have amazing names like Tell-Tale Heart. I think Edgar would approve of their impressive craft beer list and the comfortable laid-back atmosphere.

Well that sums up my favorite reading spots in town. It was so hard to pick just the 5 as I didn’t want this post to be the length of a novel which it easily could be because Charleston is such a wonderful place to live and visit! If you plan on visiting and have any questions, or if you have visited in the past and have some suggestions of your own, please leave a comment below…I would love to chat!

Always,

Alicia

Uncategorized

Meet The Blogger

Hi Y’all!

Welcome to The Bookish Puff! My name is Alicia and I currently live in the beautiful city of Charleston, SC (where I grew up studying for Hogwarts…I am still waiting for my letter) in a little yellow house with my two gremlin cats and loving boyfriend.

Typically you can catch me at a cafe with a latte in one hand and a book in the other. But when I am not doing that I love to travel, watch true crime documentaries, cook, listen to music, play games (both video & tabletop), and hangout with my amazing group of friends.

On here you will find reviews, hauls, giveaways, bookish travel guides, and all sorts of other musings. I hope to bring all of my interests and love of reading on to this blog to create a safe space for all my fellow bookworms. I hope you enjoy!

Always,

Alicia