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Monday, May 15, 2017

[Blog Tour Review & Giveaway] Play For Me by Celine Keating

Play for Me
Middle-aged Lily impulsively joins a touring folk-rock band, leaving her job and marriage behind in an attempt to find a second chance at life, passion, and art.

It happens without warning: At a folk-rock show at her son s college, Lily becomes transfixed by the guitarist s unassuming onstage presence and beautiful playing and with his final note, something within her breaks loose. After the concert, Lily returns to her comfortable life an Upper West Side apartment, a job as a videographer, and a kind if distracted husband but she can t stop thinking about the music, or about the duo s guitarist, JJ. Unable to resist the pull of either one, she rashly offers to make a film about the band in order to gain a place with them on tour. But when Lily dares to step out from behind her camera, she falls deep into JJ s world upsetting the tenuous balance between him and his bandmate, and filling a chasm of need she didn't know she had. Captivating and provocative, Play for Me captures the thrill and heartbreak of deciding to leave behind what you love to follow what you desire."
Summary & Cover taken from
Length: 231 pages (Kindle)
Source: Review Copy
Series: N/A
Genre: Women's Fiction
Available Formats: Print/Kindle
Publication Date:  April 21st 2015 by She Writes Press

Every now and again I really enjoy reading a book that isn't out of my comfort zone but isn't my usual type of read you know what I mean? Play For Me by Celine Keating definitely fit that bill for me because the main character is middle aged (I'm 27), and is dealing with both empty nest syndrome (I have pets not kids) and a romance. Lily's life and mine are drastically different, but that is really what I felt was compelling me to read Play For Me. I wanted to know why she decide to make such a profound change to her life trying to fulfill what she thought was missing while she was a wife and mother for the last 23 years.

Play for me was a real page turner. I couldn't get enough of the authors writing but I was very conflicted as I didn't agree with Lily on a great many things but I thought the book provided an interesting perspective into a life that will never be mine. It was rich in detail and was certainly very well written and was rife with emotions and I found myself battling a lot of turmoil on Lily's behalf because it seemed she was so wrapped up in her newfound love and adventures that the toll they were taking on her and those around her fell by the wayside. 

I found it interesting, and refreshing though that the author was able to convey such a wide range of emotions and keep my reading if not for the pure cathartic release of seeing how Lily's decisions were going to effect her long term. I was really invested in the outcome and I usually don't get that way if it's not a character that I love. Not that Lily wasn't a good character, she was very much so however, I didn't agree with so many things she did that I didn't love her. 

Celine Keating provided a wonderful departure from my recent reading choices and I thought she wrote beautifully conveying a story about one woman's choice to find out "what if?". Fast paced, realistic and captivating from page one this is one I will definitely be passing on in terms of recommendations and absolutely put Keating on my list of authors to watch out for. If you love women's fiction or chick lit with more substance I can't tell you to give this one a try enough. So give it a try folks!

4 1/2 Stars

Author Bio:

Céline Keating is the author of novels Layla (2011) and Play for Me (2015), which was a finalist in the International Book Awards, the Indie Excellence Awards, and the USA Book Awards. Céline is also the co-editor of On Montauk: A Literary Celebration (2016).
Her short fiction has been published in many literary magazines, including AppearancesEchoesEmry’s JournalMount HopeThe North Stone ReviewPrairie Schooner, and the Santa Clara Review. Céline’s short story “Home” received the first-place 2014 Hackney Award for Short Fiction. Céline is also a music journalist whose work has appeared in Minor7th.comGuitar World, and Acoustic Guitar magazines.
 The giveaway is for the choice of one Print or ebook.  Print is open to the U.S. only. 
All you have to do to enter is follow me on instagram by clicking here and leaving me your user name in the comment section below. Giveaway is open until 12:01 a.m. May 31st. 

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

[Blog Tour Review, Excerpt & Giveaway] The Blue Hour by Vicki Righettini

The Blue Hour: A NovelSometimes you get a second chance to live the life you’ve always wanted…if you’re brave enough to take the chance.

In this epic tale of love, loss, and redemption, the year is 1861, a time when women are expected to be married by a certain age. At 26, spinster Emily Wainwright has no reason to believe her sheltered life will ever change — until the charming Samuel Todd unexpectedly crosses her path.

Samuel yearns to homestead and start a family in Oregon, but he first needs to find a wife. Blinded by Samuel’s good looks, and grasping at her final chance to have a husband and children, Emily accepts his marriage proposal. However, Samuel is not the man she thought he was, and her marriage becomes a cold, cruel prison, offering her no solace amidst the hardships of farm life.

When Samuel dies and a second chance at love and happiness arrives in the form of farmhand Cole Walker, Emily must overcome her bitter past—or risk losing Cole and the life she has always dreamed of having.

It's no secret on the blog that I'm an avid lover of historical fiction especially historical fiction with a strong female lead and Vicki Righettini put forth a wonderfully written debut showcasing her newcomer talents.

Emily Wainwright is our 26 year old heroine, She's intelligent, resourceful, steadfast and very much a woman after my own heart. I loved everything about her. She was perfectly imperfect in her actions through out the whole novel. I might not have always found myself agreeing with her choices that she was making especially in terms of Samuel (her husband). Yet, there was so much to like about her. Her kindness, her willingness not to give up in the face of extreme adversity while dealing with her husband's wretched red hot temper and the uncertainty of being a woman travelling the Oregon trail in the 1860's. I found her to be rather inspiring, perhaps because I, like Emily am 26 and I find our lives so different from each other. In her day at 26 years old she was shelved as a spinster, yet my peers are considered much to young to get married. I found Vicki Righettini writing of her to be beautiful. Rarely do I find such a character that is so well written that I should like to be their friend but in The Blue Hour she certainly did it.

In my reading of it, found it to be rich in historical details. As a Canadian I have very limited knowledge of many things that American's would know already. I'd never even heard of the Oregon Trail before and I'm a die hard reader. I enjoyed seeing the authors take on the social injustices that were the norm of Emily's day. To me there's nothing like reading a book about women pioneers and Emily certainly was a trailblazer that while not a real person, was inspiring nonetheless.

I reveled in being transported to the Oregon Trail with Emily. The smell of the rich dirt, mixed with the musty smell of leaves, to the warm smell of valley's of tall grass baking in the sun I couln't help but fall in love with the picture of the setting that the author put forth.

For me this book was part historical fiction (with a tad bit of romance to help our dear Emily get through hell), and part love letter to the world of yesterday. From the rich, vibrant details of the setting to the outstanding characters falling all over the spectrum from ally to enemy I couldn't help but fall in love with the Oregon Trail of The Blue Hour.

I would highly recommend this to anyone looking for an amazing historical fiction read with a great character who will make your heart ache when hers break and glow in her times of joy as well as an amazing plotline. This is a book I can see re-reading this one later on if life.


The travelers arrived at Independence Rock – the great register of the desert – on schedule and in time to observe the Fourth of July. One man dug a string of firecrackers out of his wagon, and the young boys had a fine time setting them off. But this was mere overture to the bombs bursting in air for the country’s 86th birthday celebration. As was his custom – and against Jack Brand’s decree – Jim Connor lifted the ban on rifle fire for this one night. Gun shots and inebriated, patriotic oratory soon echoed throughout the camp.

Emily escaped the free-for-all by joining a group of women trekking to Independence Rock, the most famous landmark on the trail. On this night the excursion seemed fitting, even after walking all day. More to the point, if she stayed in camp she might be hit by a stray bullet. If the men were so intent on shooting each other, why didn’t they go fight in the civil war?
 As they walked to the vast monument, Delia mused that it looked like a giant turtle’s back. Another woman said it resembled an enormous whale from Melville’s Moby-Dick. Emily remembered reading the book by the fireside in her father’s study. Heavens, how long ago had that been? Not that long, really. It was hard to imagine she’d ever had time to settle in for a good, long read; harder still to imagine she ever would again.
At the rock, the women hiked up their skirts and scaled the crumbling granite, combing the surface for recognizable names, daubed in axle grease or carved into the rock. Some of the carvings were beautifully rendered and must have taken days to complete.

When they reached the top, Emily settled in to admire the sunset while the others added their names to the rock. She wondered how they could think their marks would last. Inscriptions just a few years old were fading, blasted away by wind-driven sand. A few perused the monument as if it were a newspaper, their eyes bright with hope that someone they knew had gotten this far – anything to give them the will to continue. Emily let them search. Instead, she reveled in the cool evening and the fiery sunset. For the rest of her days, whenever she thought of the American West, she would recall the vivid scene before her: the vast darkening sky with its massing clouds of purple and blazing scarlet, the glowing russet sandstone, and at the horizon a sunset of pure, molten gold.

Before lighting their candles to descend the rock, the women stood with her and watched the fading rays. Ahead was a sobering view of the Wind River Mountains, their snow-capped peaks aflame in the setting sun. The thought of scaling those mountains stirred in them equal parts anticipation and dread. Perhaps the men were right to celebrate and forget about the road ahead.

They arrived back at camp only to step into the middle of a heated debate over hunting rules and the rate of travel. Emily went directly to the wagon. As she slipped under the covers, she prayed she’d get to sleep before any fighting broke out. The Indians must be laughing at them, the way.their men were always at each other. There was nothing the Indians could do to them that they weren’t already doing to themselves.


Win a copy of The Blue Hour by Vicki Righettini
.  Print is open to Canada and the U.S. only however, ebook is open worldwide. 
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