Books are food for my soul! Pull up a beach chair and stick your toes in the sand as the Jersey surf rolls in and out, now open your book and let your imagination take you away.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Finding Home by Tammy L. Grace (Author Guest Post / Book Review / Contest Giveaway)

In association with Chick Lit Plus Blog Tours, Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host the virtual book tour event for Finding Home by Author Tammy L. Grace!






Author Guest Post

Host A Book Club Meeting For Finding Home
Book One Of The Hometown Harbor Series
By: Tammy L. Grace



I’ve been a member of various book clubs over the years. Some I have enjoyed and others not so much. I don’t like to feel like a book is homework and a weight on my shoulders. I read for enjoyment and if a book doesn’t hold my attention or make me care about the characters, I toss it and won’t read it. I also like clubs made up of different age groups and experiences. I want each member to participate and feel free to share her opinions.

Other pluses that add to the fun include refreshments, music, decorations, and a style that evokes the setting or feel of the book. With these thoughts in mind, I’d like to share some ideas to consider when hosting a meeting featuring Finding Home.

Food won’t be a problem since the main character, Sam, loves to bake. You may want to include a selection of pies for dessert. An apple streusel, chocolate cream, and lemon meringue would be yummy. A batch of brownies would also be appropriate. If you serve a meal you could make seafood pasta and add some fresh baked bread or do a homemade soup and crispy salad.

Much of the story takes place in Sam’s coffee shop, so make sure to stock up on a selection of teas and brew some coffee. Iced tea and lemonade would be a nice addition for summer meetings.

Finding Home is set in the picturesque island community of Friday Harbor. Put on some soft music, perhaps nature sounds of the waves on the beach, or an instrumental by Yiruma. Fresh cut flowers and simple glass vases filled with sand and pebbles the color of sea glass along with a few shells or sand dollars would be ideal décor. Anything with whales, water, or kayaks would add to the ambiance.

There’s no need to dress up, since most of the characters are casual and jeans and t-shirts or sweaters will suffice. Unless your club has a daring member who wishes to portray the town man-eater, Brenda, and dress in a clingy, low cut dress!

Some of my favorite scenes in Finding Home include conversations around the fire pit or on the deck of Sam’s fabulous house. If you have the luxury of a fire pit or a deck, it would be a wonderful place to gather your favorite bibliophiles for a discussion. Dogs are welcome since Zoe and Bailey are practically main characters.

We have the menu, music, décor, and style. Now get ready for a fun conversation and discuss your favorite characters and scenes.

~Does anyone in the group relate to Sam’s problems and emotions in the first part of the book?

~Has anyone ever moved to a new place not knowing anyone?

~Discuss the pros and cons of living in a small community.

~How would you handle the unexpected news Sam receives?

~Discuss the underlying themes of forgiveness and trust in the book.

The second book in the series, Home Blooms, is now available on Amazon.com.

Return to the picturesque island community where you’ll check in with your old friends and meet a few new ones along the way.

Linda is knee deep in bouquets and boutonnieres, designing a beautiful ceremony for Sam and Jeff. The bride’s matchmaking plot takes shape as she volunteers her best friend, Max, to help Linda create the perfect wedding.

Linda and Max are thrown together when a tragedy threatens to destroy the honeymooners’ newfound happiness before they have the possibility of a life together. Compelled to make some changes in life, Linda uncovers a family secret that causes her to question her existence and leads her on a search for the truth.

As Max begins to penetrate the protective walls around Linda’s heart, a visit from her youth causes her to risk it all. While struggling between the past and the future, Linda has a chance to let more than her flowers bloom.



About The Author




Born and raised in Nevada, Tammy L. Grace loved reading at a young age. With the help of her middle school teacher, she discovered the joy of writing. After spending a career in local and state government service, she retired and finally has the time to dedicate to writing.

When Tammy isn't working on ideas for a novel, she's spending time with family and friends or supporting her addiction to books and chocolate. She and her husband have one grown son and a spoiled golden retriever.


AUTHOR WEBSITE / BLOG
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Book Review



Finding Home by Tammy L. Grace
Book 1: A Hometown Harbor Novel
Publisher: Lone Mountain Press
Publication Date: January 21, 2014
Format: Paperback - 254 pages
             Kindle - 429 KB
ISBN: 0991243404
ASIN: B00HZJ6W7E
Genre: Contemporary Romance / Women's Fiction


BUY THE BOOK: Finding Home


BUY THE SERIES: A Hometown Harbor Novel
Book 1: Finding Home
Book 2: Home Blooms


Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the author / publisher in exchange for my honest review and participation in a virtual book tour event hosted by Chick Lit Plus Blog Tours.


Book Description:

Finding Home is a coming of age novel, but for a middle-aged woman devastated by past heartaches and loss, who flees to a small island expecting a change of scenery and discovers much more.

Shattered by her husband's infidelities after twenty-five years of marriage, Sam Collins is plagued by constant fear and loneliness, reliving the tragic death of her parents and the betrayal by the man she loved. She leaves Seattle seeking relief from the relentless darkness that has swallowed her. With only her dog for companionship, she sets out to live in her vacation home on San Juan Island.

In her search for a carpenter, she meets the handsome and very available, Jeff Cooper. Sam's not looking for romance, but can't deny the attraction to the retired firefighter, turned handyman. While working together and eating her pies, Jeff finds himself falling for her.

The past she wrestles to let go of comes hurtling back when she least expects it. In an effort to help a struggling young man, she is forced to confront the anguish she is desperate to escape. While torn between love and friendship, she must face her fears and choose between the life she's known and a chance for a family and home she's been longing for all her life.


Book Excerpt:


“How long were you married?”

“Twenty-five years, last summer. We were married after graduation. He finished law school and I got my MBA and ran the company. We lived in my parents’ home.”

“I hope he didn’t take advantage of you in the divorce, with him being a lawyer. I don’t trust lawyers much,” said the woman, with distaste.

“No. Actually, when we were married Marty made sure the company and the house would always be mine. He wanted my grandparents to know he wasn’t looking for money. My parents were very successful.” She paused. “I still can’t believe I’m here now. I thought things were fine, but I found out he’d been cheating on me…for years. I’m just glad my grandparents are gone, so they didn’t have to witness Marty’s betrayal. They would have been devastated.”

The woman’s eyes widened, “That’s a dreadful surprise.”

“Yes, it was. I’ve always been a workaholic and had worked to expand the company, opening offices around the world. I received an offer for it, and after talking with Marty, decided to sell. He seemed so excited about the prospect of an early retirement. We were both approaching fifty and would have the means to work less and play more,” smiled Sam.

The woman smiled back. “I think you’re a strong and capable woman. You can still have fun and start your new adventure.”

“That’s what I finally decided. I need to get away from the constant reminders and start fresh. I spent summers here as a child and since I have a lovely home here, it made sense.”

The woman rubbed her hands together and pulled her coat closer. “I wish you the best and I hope you find everything you’re looking for. I’m afraid I’ve got to move inside out of the cold.” She stopped to pet Zoe and turned to go through the deck doors.

“Have a wonderful visit with your family. Thanks for chatting with me.” Sam waved as the woman toddled away.

Sam laughed to herself. She hadn’t wanted to engage in conversation, but in truth it had helped her to talk about it. The smooth motion of the ferry was soothing and the slowness generated more memories. She smiled thinking of the family house with its Italian inspired villa-like architecture. Her mother and father had purchased it after their business success and it had been a substitute for them after they died.

She felt herself growing weepy thinking she was leaving the only home she had known. Lately though, it hadn’t seemed like home and wasn’t offering her the comfort it once had, which was why Sam found herself on a ferry today, resolved to start a new life. Sam didn’t sell the house in Shoreline; she wanted to have the security of being able to go back to it. But for now, the pain of realizing her family home had been a love nest for Marty’s trysts left her hurt and angry.

The sun was still peeking through the clouds as the ferry crawled towards Friday Harbor. She gave Zoe a drink from a bottle of water, dug a treat from her pocket, and the dog settled in to nap for the rest of the ride. Sam mulled over the past, not believing her life could be so different than she had planned.

Sam had traveled the world for business, without Marty. She was the consummate professional, accomplished and capable. She never relied on him, but as she inched toward the island it all seemed overwhelming and she thought she might have made a huge mistake. She knew she could never forget his infidelities, but maybe she should have stayed in her own house and made the best of it. It was all too confusing and Sam had never been so unsure. Her usual confidence and self-esteem had been eaten away during the past year. The absence of her parents had left a deep scar in Sam’s heart and she missed them more than ever today. She longed to hear her mom reassure her and feel her dad’s strong hug.

European river cruises, white sand beaches, Australian adventures, and castles of Ireland that once beckoned from the brochures on her nightstand, were now only dreams that had been torn apart by the man she had loved and trusted. Instead of exotic travel, her future held a quaint island where she hoped the fond recollections of the past would wrap around her like a cozy blanket.

For almost a year she had been suffering and plunging deeper into her own dark thoughts. She had lost over twenty pounds and forced herself to eat, when she remembered. She knew she needed something fresh to focus on and the prospect of a new business venture and warm memories drew her to Friday Harbor.

Her musings were interrupted when the ferry captain made the announcement to instruct passengers to report back to their vehicles for arrival in Friday Harbor. "That's us, Zoe. Let's go," Sam said, as she took hold of Zoe's leash and headed downstairs.

As she guided Zoe between the narrow vehicle paths, she spotted the vivid green sticker proclaiming her golden retriever was smarter than any fifth grader. She reached the SUV, loaded Zoe, and after squeezing through the sliver of space the door allowed without smacking the car next to her, rested in the driver’s seat. Cars around her were starting and her lane began to creep forward, exiting the ferry.

As the metal planks of the ferry apron thumped under the weight of her car, she admired the charming shops and buildings neighboring the harbor, looking as if washed in colors from a box of artist pastels. She glanced up at a sign posted on the corner. It read, Welcome to Friday Harbor—Your Hometown Harbor. She could only hope it would prove true. "Well, girl, here we go. Let's go see our new house and get settled," Sam said, as she drove off the landing onto Front Street, determined not to let the weight of lost dreams crush her.


My Book Review:

In her debut novel, Finding Home, author Tammy L. Grace weaves a lighthearted tale about a middle-aged woman who embarks on a journey of self-discovery and a fresh start to her life, and along the way finds an unexpected and pleasant second chance at love.

After twenty-five years of marriage, fifty year old Sam Cooper discovered that her husband Marty had been cheating on her for years. Following the divorce, Sam decides to move from her Seattle home with Zoe, her Golden Retriever, and starts her life anew at her waterfront vacation home in Friday Harbor, on the picturesque San Juan Islands off the coast of Washington. Needing something to focus on since she sold her family's software company, Sam purchases a new business venture in town, a book store/coffee house. When the book store is in need of renovations, Sam hires Jeff Cooper, a retired firefighter / turned local handyman to make the updates to the store. A friendship quickly develops between Sam and Jeff, and an attraction between the two simmers below the surface. Who could have known that simply seeking solace and peace on the tranquil San Juan Islands would lead Sam on a journey of self-discovery, finding a new home and place to belong, new beginnings, and an unexpected second chance at love?

Finding Home is a wonderful story about a middle-aged woman who rediscovers herself and possesses the courage, strength, and determination to start her life anew. The author easily transports the reader to the quaint seaside town of Friday Harbor on the San Juan Islands, where the sights and sounds of the town and island come alive with her rich descriptions. As Sam and Jeff's heartwarming story unfolds, you can't help but feel like you are a part of the friendly community of Friday Harbor.

As I approach my own fiftieth birthday, I found it easy to connect with Sam. I admired Sam's ability to leave behind her painful past for a fresh start that held a promise of wonderful new beginnings. I enjoyed that this story featured a mature romance between Sam and Jeff that slowly developed out of their friendship, it was like a breath of fresh air that left me satisfied and with a smile on my face.

Finding Home is an enjoyable story that features realistic characters; rich and vivid descriptions of the setting; and a wonderful storyline interwoven with emotion, romance, and intriguing twists that will keep you turning the pages. I look forward to returning to the picturesque San Juan Island community in Home Blooms, the second book in the Hometown Harbor Novel series.


RATING: 4 STARS  
                                     





Contest Giveaway

Win A $20 Amazon Gift Card



Everyone who leaves a comment on Finding Home by Tammy L. Grace tour page will be entered to win a $20 Amazon gift card! Anyone who purchases a copy of Finding Home by May 26 and sends their receipt to Samantha@ChickLitPlus.com will receive 10 bonus entries!




Virtual Book Tour Schedule



Tour Schedule:

May 5 – Chick Lit Plus – Review
May 6 – Sweets Books – Excerpt
May 7 – A Blue Million Books – Q&A & Excerpt
May 9 – Carol Clarke Blogs – Novel Spotlight & Excerpt
May 9 – Fiction Dreams – Guest Post
May 13 – Storm Goddess Book Reviews – Review, Interview & Excerpt 
May 14 – On My Bookshelf – Guest Post & Excerpt 
May 16 – Christy’s Written Word Love – Review
May 20 – Samantha March – Q&A & Excerpt
May 21 – All Around the Circle – Review
May 23 – Jersey Girl Book Reviews – Review, Guest Post & Excerpt
May 26 – Melina’s Book Blog – Review & Guest Post




4 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Hi Samantha! Thank you for the opportunity to host the virtual book tour event. I enjoyed reading Finding Home, I really connected with Sam and loved following her story.

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  2. Lovely review and I'm so glad you enjoyed it! It sounds like an amazing read - one I hope to read soon.
    rushtond123@hotmail.co.uk

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    Replies
    1. Thank you for stopping by and posting your kind comment. This is a wonderful story, hope you get a chance to read it. :)

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