Archive for March 20th, 2018

This Heart of Mine


This Heart of Mine by CC Hunter

A new heart saved her life—but will it help her find out what really happened to its donor?

Seventeen-year-old Leah MacKenzie is heartless. An artificial heart in a backpack is keeping her alive. However, this route only offers her a few years. And with her rare blood type, a transplant isn’t likely. Living like you are dying isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. But when a heart becomes available, she’s given a second chance at life. Except Leah discovers who the donor was — a boy from her school — and they’re saying he killed himself. Plagued with dreams since the transplant, she realizes she may hold the clues to what really happened.

Matt refuses to believe his twin killed himself. When Leah seeks him out, he learns they are both having similar dreams and he’s certain it means something. While unraveling the secrets of his brother’s final moments, Leah and Matt find each other, and a love they are terrified to lose. But life and even new hearts don’t come with guarantees. Who knew living took more courage than dying?

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C.C. Hunter 

Author’s Bio

C. C. Hunter is the New York Times bestselling author of over thirty-five books, including her wildly popular Shadow Falls and Shadow Falls: After Dark series. In addition to winning numerous awards and rave reviews for her novels, C.C. is also a photojournalist, motivational speaker, and writing coach. In February 2018, Wednesday Books will publish her contemporary young adult and hardcover debut, This Heart of Mine. And the first book of her new paranormal young adult series, The Mortician’s Daughter: One Foot in the Grave was released on October 31st 2017. C. C. currently resides in Texas with her husband, junkyard dog, Lady, and whatever wild creatures that meander out from woods surrounding home.

C.C. Hunter is a pseudonym. Her real name is Christie Craig and she also writes humorous romantic suspense romance novels.

Website    Christie Craig     Facebook     Twitter

My Review

5 stars

Seventeen year old Leah MacKenzie’s heart is dead, literally. She contracted a virus that killed her heart and the only thing keeping her alive is the artificial heart that she carries around in a backpack. Unfortunately the thing keeping her alive is also the thing going to kill her. Leah has had two bad infections from the pump that almost killed her. Her only hope is a heart transplant but with a rare blood type that doesn’t seem possible. So Leah has resigned to live as long as she call although those around her have not accepted her death.

Matt and Eric are twins that lost their father a year ago. They basically are raising themselves since their mother is not coping well with his death. Both brothers are having a hard time too. Then Eric kills himself. Ironically, he is a match to Leah and she manages to get her lifesaving heart transplant.

Leah learns whose heart she received and how he killed himself. But she is having strange nightmares that contradict this. She finally get in contact with Matt and learns that he is having the same dreams. Together they decide to find out what really happened to Eric.

This is a touching story of one girl that was expecting to die and got so much more than a second chance at life. Leah is such a wonderful girl that it just brings a tear to your eye thinking that she will die. Of course it’s still hard to know that someone had to die for Leah to live. But it’s a cruel twist of fate that its Matt’s brother. But there is so much more to this story than just this. Something happened to Eric, something I didn’t expect, and I loved the journey Matt and Leah go on to discover the truth.

If that wasn’t enough of a story, learning that this story is based of real life evens for CC Hunter that just adds a whole new layer to this creation. If you are looking for an amazing story, look no further. Katie Schorr does a fantastic job narrating this story and this book will appease the hardest of hearts.

I received a complimentary copy of this book. I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.

I would like to thank Macmillan Audio for the opportunity to read and share this book.

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Children’s Picture Book
Date Published: Spring 2018
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Olive felt ordinary. Always last to be picked for teams at recess and never a Valentine placed on her desk. Olive blended in. Until one day at a daddy-daughter dance, the dancing gorilla picked her from the crowd!
He scooped her up and twirled her around the dance floor. Olive’s soul sang! THE GORILLA PICKED ME is a fun, sentimental story that reminds little girls that they are all worthy of attention.  No little girl is ordinary! 
Purchase Links

Amazon     Goodreads

About the Author

Michele McAvoy is an award-winning children’s picture book author. Her debut picture book MY SUPERHERO GRANDPA received a 2016 Moonbeam Children’s Book Award. Michele grew up in a small town in northern New Jersey until she moved to New York City where she attended NYU and law school. Michele enjoyed the crazy, busy, single life of New York for over 15 years until she got married and had her first child.

With a small one bedroom apartment and a baby that did not sleep, Michele moved back to her small hometown. She settled back to her roots and traded in the noisy city streets of NY and extra dirty martinis at trendy bars for manicured lawns and backyard BBQs. When she’s not being a lawyer or a mom, Michele writes uplifting, whimsical stories to help children understand and respect their emotions. You can see more about Michele and her books at http://www.michelemcavoy.com
 Contact Links
Website     Facebook     Twitter     Instagram     Literary Agency
Enter for your chance to win an eBook copy of The Gorilla Picked Me.
RABT Book Tours & PR
I would like to thank Reading Addiction Virtual Book Tours for the opportunity to share this book.

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Waking Isabella

 Book Details:

Book Title: Waking Isabella: Because beauty can’t sleep forever by Melissa Muldoon
Category: Adult Fiction, 250 pages
Genre: General Fiction
Publisher: Matta Press
Release date: December 2017
Tour dates: Feb 19 to March 23, 2018
Content Rating: PG-13 + M (The story begins with violent rape and murder scene, touches on themes of miscarriage, murder, Nazi violence during war, adultery)

Book Description:

Waking Isabella is a story about uncovering hidden beauty that, over time, has been lost, erased, or suppressed. It also weaves together several love stories as well as a few mysteries. Nora, an assistant researcher, is a catalyst for resolving the puzzle of a painting that has been missing for decades. Set in Arezzo, a small Tuscan town, the plot unfolds against the backdrop of the city’s antique trade and the fanfare and pageantry of its medieval jousting festival. While filming a documentary about Isabella de’ Medici—the Renaissance princess who was murdered by her husband—Nora begins to connect with the lives of two remarkable women from the past. Unraveling the stories of Isabella, the daughter of a fifteenth-century Tuscan duke, and Margherita, a young girl trying to survive the war in Nazi-occupied Italy, Nora begins to question the choices that have shaped her own life up to this point. As she does, hidden beauty is awakened deep inside of her, and she discovers the keys to her creativity and happiness. It is a story of love and deceit, forgeries and masterpieces—all held together by the allure and intrigue of a beautiful Tuscan ghost.

To read reviews, please visit Melissa Muldoon’s page on Italy Bok Tours.

Buy the Book:
Watch the Trailer:
Meet the Author:

Melissa Muldoon is the Studentessa Matta—the crazy linguist! In Italian, “matta” means “crazy” or “impassioned.” Melissa has a B.A. in fine arts, art history and European history from Knox College, a liberal arts college in Galesburg, Illinois, as well as a master’s degree in art history from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana. She has also studied painting and art history in Florence.

Melissa promotes the study of Italian language and culture through her dual-language blog, Studentessa Matta (studentessamatta.com). Melissa began the Matta blog to improve her command of the language and to connect with other language learners. It has since grown to include a podcast, “Tutti Matti per l’Italiano,” and the Studentessa Matta YouTube channel. Melissa also created Matta Italian Language Immersion Tours, which she co-leads with Italian partners in Italy.

Waking Isabella is Melissa’s second novel and follows Dreaming Sophia, published in 2016. In this new novel about Italy, the reader is taken on another art history adventure, inspired by Melissa’s experiences living and traveling in Italy, specifically Arezzo, as well as her familiarity with the language and art. For more information about Waking Isabella and links to Melissa’s blogs and social media sites, visit http://www.MelissaMuldoon.com.

As a student, Melissa lived in Florence with an Italian family. She studied art history and painting and took beginner Italian classes. When she returned home, she threw away her Italian dictionary, assuming she’d never need it again, but after launching a successful design career and starting a family, she realized something was missing in her life. That “thing” was the connection she had made with Italy and the friends who live there. Living in Florence was indeed a life-changing event. Wanting to reconnect with Italy, she decided to start learning the language again from scratch. As if indeed possessed by an Italian muse, she bought a new Italian dictionary and began her journey to fluency—a path that has led her back to Italy many times and enriched her life in countless ways. Now, many dictionaries and grammar books later, she dedicates her time to promoting Italian language studies, further travels in Italy, and sharing her stories and insights about Italy with others. When Melissa is not traveling in Italy, she lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Melissa designed and illustrated the cover art for Waking Isabella and Dreaming Sophia. She also curates the Dreaming Sophia blog and Pinterest site: The Art of Loving Italy. Please visit the Pinterest page for pictures of Arezzo, the Giostra del Saracino, and all the places we go in Italy in both books. Visit MelissaMuldoon.com for more information about immersion trips to learn the language with Melissa in Italy, as well as the Studentessa Matta blog for practice and tips to learn the Italian language.

Connect with Melissa: Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Pinterest ~ Instagram ~ Youtube

My Review
4 Stars
Leonora, Nora, is suffering from a broken marriage when an old friend invites her to Italy to be part of a documentary on Isabella de’ Medici, a princess murdered by her husband. Nora starts researching Isabella to try to find more information on her death and to try and locate a missing painting of Isabella and her mother that disappeared years before.As Nora starts looking, she meets several people. One of those is Luca, the owner of a family antique business. Luca brings up how his grandmother would smuggle paintings during the Nazi occupation. This starts Nora’s research into these two women’s lives at a point where she is looking to follow her own heart.

This is a wonderful story. I loved following along as Nora works her way through her self-esteem issues to recreate herself. To become the person she has always wanted to be. But I also enjoyed the research and history that went into both Isabella’s story and Margherita’s. It was so easy to fall into the history of both eras and hope and pray for the best for all three women.

I loved this story that is rich in history and art. You can tell that Melissa Muldoon loves Italy as she describes this world. This is a great story and one that I strongly recommend.

I received a complimentary copy of this book. I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.

I would like to thank Italy Book Tours for the opportunity to read and share this book.

Guest Post

Cerreto Guidi – the Medici Hunting Lodge where

Isabella de’ Medici was Murdered

I am the author of “Dreaming Sophia” and “Waking Isabella.” I am also the “Studentessa Matta.” In Italian, that means “crazy student.” For the past seven years, I have been writing a dual language blog in Italian and English to promote the study of the language and culture. My new novel “Waking Isabella,” takes place in the small Tuscan town of Arezzo. The story begins, however, in Cerreto Guidi in the Hunting Lodge in Tuscany to the west of Florence, where Isabella de’ Medici was murdered by her husband, Paolo Giordano. Today I’d like to tell you about Isabella and my trip to visit the villa where the Renaissance princess spent her final hours.

Last June, after finishing up co-leading my June language immersion group in Lucca, I rented a car in Florence and drove west about an hour to  Cerreto Guidi. At that point, I had been writing my novel for several months, so of course, I wanted to visit the place the figures so prominently at the beginning of my story. Cosimo de’ Medici – Isabella’s father – built many hunting lodges all over Tuscany, they went there to shoot local game and entertain guests.

When the villa was built, it was in the middle of nowhere. Today, it’s not an easy place to reach for tourists…there isn’t a train or a regular bus. So it is a little deserted. It is a museum for hunting artifacts from the Renaissance. It was fascinating to wander through the villa, see the portraits of the Medici family and imagine my story. Like the book, I had a very attentive guard who followed me around, and we had a delightful conversation in Italian about Isabella.

Isabella was well educated and intelligent girl. Her father Cosimo I raised her to be independent and outspoken. When her mother Eleonora died, she rose to the position of being Florence’s leading lady, presiding over salons where the luminaries and intellectuals of European society gathered to debate all manner of things, including the Tuscan language and its influence on the Italian language.

But, her libertine lifestyle, which included a long-standing affair with her husband’s cousin, didn’t sit well with either Francesco her brother or for that matter, her husband. Isabella was an embarrassment to them both because she didn’t abide by their rules and made them both laughing stock in Florentine high society. It also didn’t sit well with Francesco that his sister continued to demand of him the inheritance their father had promised her. He preferred to keep the money to himself and for his mistress Bianca Cappello.

After the death of Cosimo I, without a protector, in an extreme play for power, Francesco hatched a plot to silence for good both Isabella and her best friend and cousin, Leonora. It is said on Francesco’s orders, on July 16, 1576, Isabella was murdered by her husband in her bedroom of Cerreto Guidi. A cord was lowered from a hole in the ceiling above her room, and she was hung. The men claimed Isabella had died while washing her hair and that her husband had found her laying on the floor upon his arrival.

Due to the mysterious circumstances of her death, the legend of Isabella’s ghost took hold, and people claim to have seen her ghost drifting about the villa and the surrounding grounds. The story caught fire when in 1950 a troupe of American actors filming at the villa claim to have seen Isabella, that the locals by that point had named the “White Lady.”

Standing in her bedroom was such an interesting experience…and looking up you can see the hole where the cord was inserted from the room above from which she was hung.  I can’t say I met Isabella’s ghost that day but I did feel a bit more of a connection with the Medici Princess. I knew I wanted to help tell her story, but not just concentrate on the ghost story, but to let people know what a strong, intelligent woman she was.

And now, I am happy to bring the Medici princess — also called the “Star of Florence”—  to your attention in my novel “Waking Isabella,” telling her story and playing my own small part in waking Isabella.

On the Studentessa Matta language learning site you can find lots of free ways to practice Italian. I write both in Italian and English so you can flex and improve your communication skills – for free. Each week I post about Italian language learning as well as fun and interesting stories about Italian culture. You can find all the videos from this channel on the blog as well, with transcripts and translations.

For those of you who want to dive in a little deeper into Italian language studies in Italy, I also organize small group language immersion programs. This year the programs will be held in Montepulciano and  Arezzo. I invite you to join me! Please visit the Studentessa Matta for more details.

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Waking Isabella.
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