Saturday Night Supper Club Review & Giveaway!

If you have a voracious appetite for tender romance and vivid characters, then Carla Laureano has served up a savory story in her new release Saturday Night Supper Club!

About the Book

The Sunday SupperTitle: The Saturday Night Supper Club

Author: Carla Laureano

Genre: Christian fiction/romance fiction

Release Date: February 6, 2018

Denver chef Rachel Bishop has accomplished everything she’s dreamed and some things she never dared hope, like winning a James Beard Award and heading up her own fine-dining restaurant. But when a targeted smear campaign causes her to be pushed out of the business by her partners, she vows to do whatever it takes to get her life back . . . even if that means joining forces with the man who inadvertently set the disaster in motion.

Essayist Alex Kanin never imagined his pointed editorial would go viral. Ironically, his attempt to highlight the pitfalls of online criticism has the opposite effect: it revives his own flagging career by destroying that of a perfect stranger. Plagued by guilt-fueled writer’s block, Alex vows to do whatever he can to repair the damage. He just doesn’t expect his interest in the beautiful chef to turn personal.

Alex agrees to help rebuild Rachel’s tarnished image by offering his connections and his home to host an exclusive pop-up dinner party targeted to Denver’s most influential citizens: the Saturday Night Supper Club. As they work together to make the project a success, Rachel begins to realize Alex is not the unfeeling opportunist she once thought he was, and that perhaps there’s life—and love—outside the pressure-cooker of her chosen career. But can she give up her lifelong goals without losing her identity as well?

My Thoughts:

Having read phenomenal novels by this author before, I was thrilled to get my hands on her latest story. I was not disappointed. This book is stamped with Ms. Laureano’s signature flair, complete witty dialogue and heart-engaging prose.

I’ve worked in a fine dining restaurant and observed that though the dining area is tranquil, the kitchen is anything but. The frenzied scene could make anyone’s blood pressure spike. I mention this solely because the author did a thorough job of capturing the hectic—yet organized—atmosphere. My stomach growled on several occasions while my mind was raptured by the brilliant plot which had me turning pages well into the night hours.

I was immediately endeared to the heroine. Not only because her name matched mine—though I confess that helped a bit ;)—but because of her compelling attitude to push past hardship. I admire her dedication and drive. Though in all her success and failure, I noticed, and the heroine did too, that something was missing. It was fun to take that journey with her and discover the wonder of love, given to us not because of effort but because of grace.

And the romance? Oh man, it was superb. Just like Rachel Bishop could plate an exquisite meal, Carla Laureano can craft a spectacular love story. I relished the scenes saturated with heavy emotion as well as the ones that made me chuckle aloud. This truly was a well-rounded story—everything from laughs to sighs. I recommend this five-star novel but will throw out a disclaimer: Be ready to be whisked away by the captivating narrative and also be cautioned that consuming Cheetos while reading is a pathetic substitute to the palatable meals expressed throughout the pages. 😉

Make sure you keep scrolling for a guest post by the author and a fabulous giveaway!!

** I received a copy through Celebrate Lit. All opinions are my own.

PURCHASE YOUR OWN COPY HERE!

About the Author

pic_LGb_Laureano_CarlaCarla Laureano is the RITA® Award-winning author of contemporary inspirational romance and Celtic fantasy (as C.E. Laureano). A graduate of Pepperdine University, she worked as a sales and marketing executive for nearly a decade before leaving corporate life behind to write fiction full-time. She currently lives in Denver with her husband and two sons, where she writes during the day and cooks things at night.

 

Guest Post From Carla Laureano

I’ve got a confession to make: I have a cooking problem.

It started early and innocently enough, flipping through my mom’s cookbooks and marking things I wanted to try. Making cakes and muffins from a mix. Flipping frozen steak patties. Doctoring canned spaghetti sauce.

It wasn’t long before I got into the hard stuff: muffins from scratch, slow-cooked marinara, cast-iron seared and oven-finished rib eyes. Over the years, I tried to kick the habit numerous times, but every time things got tough, I found myself falling off the wagon and heading back into the kitchen. Even hosting dinner parties. Yes, dear reader, I pulled my hapless friends into my madness. To my shame, I even got some of them hooked with their own addiction.

Before I knew it, my obsessions started creeping into my day job. No longer was it enough to write contemporary romance about normal people who order take-out. No, I had to write chefs and passionate home cooks and describe the food in the books just as lovingly as I did a first kiss. And then the final straw—a book series centered entirely on food and the culinary profession, beginning with The Saturday Night Supper Club.

All joking aside, cooking really is an addiction that I haven’t been able to kick. As a writer, I spend hours locked in my own imagination, creating things out of words and ideas. And while it’s immensely fulfilling, it’s a long, painstaking process that takes months, even years, before I can release the final product into the world. While there’s a large amount of planning and analysis involved in creating a book, the work is still mostly in my head.

Which is why I find cooking to be such a relaxing creative pursuit. Dicing a pile of vegetables into perfectly uniform cubes may take the same concentration and precision, but it’s concrete and measurable. It becomes a personal challenge to do something better than last time, improving by tiny, nearly imperceptible increments. It’s the closest to meditation that my always-on brain ever experiences, clear of all thought except for my activity at the present moment.

And yet, simultaneously, food is ephemeral. Mistakes last only as long as it takes to eat them or toss them directly into the trash can, depending on the nature of the mistake. If a sauce breaks, I toss it and start over. If I burn something, I either cut off the burned part or I order takeout and try again the next day. There’s an element of experimentation and instinct and whimsy that isn’t hampered by the pursuit of perfection. Let’s face it, a mediocre chocolate chip cookie beats a perfect celery stick any day of the week.

It was natural, then, to write a chef heroine who had dedicated her entire life to the pursuit of culinary perfection and explore all the ways that food makes our lives and relationships richer. How it anchors our memories. How we nurture others by feeding them. How a simple meal becomes meaningful not because of the food, but because of the connections we form with others over the dinner table.

In the end, I guess my cooking problem isn’t that much of a problem after all. If you need me, I’ll be in the kitchen.

Blog Stops

Rachel Scott McDaniel, February 20

A Baker’s Perspective, February 20

Just Commonly, February 20

Mommynificent, February 21

Among The Reads, February 21

A Greater Yes, February 21

proud to be an autism mom, February 21

Fiction Aficionado, February 22

Quiet Quilter, February 22

The Power of Words, February 23

Christian Chick’s Thoughts, February 23

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, February 23

Janices book reviews, February 24

C Jane Read, February 24

Faery Tales Are Real, February 24

All of a Kind Mom, February 25

Inklings and notions, February 25

Jeanette’s Thoughts, February 25

Carpe Diem, February 26

Smiling Book Reviews, February 26

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, February 26

Splashes of Joy, February 27

Its Storytime with Van Daniker, February 27

Simple Harvest Reads, February 27 (Guest post from Mindy)

Radiant Light, February 28

Moments Dipped in Ink, February 28

Baker kella, February 28

Pause for Tales, March 1

Book by Book, March 1

Bigreadersite, March 1

The Fizzy Pop Collection, March 2

Have A Wonderful Day, March 2

Reader’s Cozy Corner, March 2

Bibliophile Reviews, March 3

Two Points of Interest, March 3

Reading is my Super Power, March 3

Texas Book-aholic, March 4

amandainpa, March 4

Singing Librarian Books, March 4

By The Book, March 5

Neverending Stories, March 5

Pursuing Stacie, March 5

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Carla is giving away a grand prize of a $200 Visa Card for the winner and a friend to attend a cooking class!!

Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/c9b4

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A Refuge Assured Review

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A Refuge Assured by Jocelyn Green was so achingly beautiful I’m floundering for adequate words to describe it. Seriously. So while I’m scouring my mental process for anything intelligent to uphold my claim that this is my favorite story of 2018, you can read the back cover blurb:

Lacemaker Vivienne Rivard never imagined her craft could threaten her life. Yet in revolutionary France, it is a death sentence when the nobility, and those associated with them, are forced to the guillotine. Vivienne flees to Philadelphia but finds the same dangers lurking in the French Quarter, as revolutionary sympathizers threaten the life of a young boy left in her care, who some suspect to be the Dauphin. Can the French settlement, Asylum, offer permanent refuge?

Militiaman Liam Delaney proudly served in the American Revolution, but now that the new government has imposed an oppressive tax that impacts his family, he barely recognizes the democracy he fought for. He wants only to cultivate the land of his hard-won farm near Azilum, but soon finds himself drawn into the escalating tension of the Whiskey Rebellion. When he meets a beautiful young Frenchwoman recently arrived from Paris, they will be drawn together in surprising ways to fight for the peace and safety for which they long.

My Thoughts:

Okay. Here goes. *breathes deep*

It is evident a lot of work went into crafting this remarkable novel. The author depicts major historical events with exceptional accuracy, sewing these details into a poignant story. From the opening pages, I was submerged into the tempestuous season of the French Revolution. The upheaval and grief threatened to destroy Vivienne Rivard, the heroine, but grace proved stronger. Her resiliency was inspiring as well as her noble purpose to do what’s right. Though she carries haunts of the guillotine, wounds of estranged parents, and the worries of surviving in America, Vivienne’s heart for God and others is as brilliant as the lace she fashions. It was moving to experience her trials and triumphs. But what I loved most was her relationship with Liam.

Liam Delaney is by far one of the most honorable heroes that I’ve read in a long time. He’s a fierce protector of everything he loves—from his family, consisting only of his sister and cousin, to the farming land he’s toiled over. This endearing virtue holds no exception when Vivenne walks into his life. The challenges these two face in a short length of time exceeds what most experience in a lifetime, and it was awe-infusing how God became their Refuge.

Twists and turns, ups and downs, failures and triumphs saturate this story, giving the reader plenty to muse over!

Just as thread unites a garment, faith bonds this story together in a tender way. The spiritual theme of God being our refuge is ever-present in an organic—but never forced—tone.

I LOVED this 5-star story oh so much and am excited to see what the author has in store for this eager reader!

Click here to purchase a copy.

*I received a complimentary copy from the author. All opinions are my own.

 

Claiming Her Cowboy Review

 

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Milestone reached! At 11:34 pm, last night, I finished reading a Love Inspired book. Though I’ve seen this Harlequin line in stores and on the internet, I’ve never read one.  And let me tell you, I’ve been missing out! Claiming Her Cowboy by Tina Radcliffe has captivating characters, witty banter, and a charming romance!

Here’s the blurb:

Attorney Jackson Harris regularly goes toe-to-toe with the world’s toughest lawyers—but none of them compare to Lucy Maxwell. The feisty director of Oklahoma’s Big Heart Ranch for orphans is as stubborn as she is pretty. But Jack must stay focused; he’s only there to evaluate the ranch’s funding. Falling for Lucy and the sweet children she protects is out of the question. Though Lucy is determined to keep the ranch, she’s not about to give control to a city slicker—even a devastatingly good-looking one. But as they bump heads, Jack and Lucy gradually nudge open their hearts. Could a temporary cowboy become a permanent part of Lucy’s life?

My thoughts:

First off, this story is set in Oklahoma, very close to the area where I’ve lived. The author totally nailed the feel of Okie summers from the humid air to the capricious weather. As for the characters, I was immediately drawn to Lucy Maxwell. Her heart for others—especially emotionally-wounded children—endeared her to me from page one. It was fun to read the adorable- sometimes hilarious – interactions between Lucy and Jackson. (Especially the several times the country girl put the city boy in his place. 😉 ) But Jackson’s good humor and ready-to-help attitude made him a complement to the ranch and to Lucy’s cautious heart.

What I loved most about this story, besides the enamoring romance, is the spiritual premise. Both the main characters struggle with issues from their past which color their take on the future. I adore stories which reveal God’s overwhelming love in the form of second chances.

Click here to purchase!

*I received this story through a giveaway from the author. A review was not required. All opinions are my own.