More Than Words @JillSantopolo – Publication Day

More Than Words is a beautifully written, poignant story of life, love, metamorphosis and relationships.

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Nina Gregory is an heiress to one of the most wealthy hoteliers in the US. She was raised by an authoritative but very loving father who was her sole parent after the tragic death of her mother. She knows that someday she will have to take over the helm of her family’s successful business, but for now, she is very happily involved in her job as speech writer for up and coming politician and NYC Mayoral candidate, Rafael O’Connor-Ruiz. Nina also is very happily dating her childhood best friend, Tim, whose family has been a part of her life forever. Tim’s parents are intricately involved in the hotel’s business and his parents and Nina’s have been friends since their university days. The only cloud in Nina’s world is that her beloved father is dying of cancer. Upon her father’s death, Nina slowly begins to discover secrets about their company and her mother’s death. As the ramifications of these lies and misdeeds are revealed, Nina realizes that her life, her legacy and the image she has worked so hard to maintain has been a ruse. It is now up to her to put the pieces back together and to create the company and woman she truly desires .

At the heart of More Than Words is a romance, a love story, but the book is far more than that. It isn’t solely about the love that Nina has for the men she has fallen for, but also about her own self love and self worth; the love she believes she has missed by not having a mother in her life; the adoration and love she has/had for her father despite his many shortcomings and the love she has for the strong women in her life. It is a story of self-discovery and how people, especially women, are admonished to behave, look and dress in certain ways in order to fulfill rigid expectations and, often, those expectations don’t correspond to the person’s true identity. As Nina’s façade begins to crack and fall around her, she discovers her true self and what emerges is completely different and beautiful. That is the true story of More Than Words and it is a lesson for us all to learn. It is significant and touching and Santopolo has done a masterful job illustrating this caveat of wisdom for us through a touching love story.  With February being the “month of love,” what better way to celebrate than reading a love story?

Thank you to #Edelweiss, #JillSantopolo and @PutnamBooks for my copy of #MoreThanWords on sale now.

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The Paragon Hotel @LyndsayFaye

The Paragon Hotel is a taut, well told historical mystery that will captivate you from its startling beginning to its breathtaking conclusion.

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There are few things that I enjoy more than a great mystery and when it is set in a historical context, it is like icing on a cake. That is exactly what Lyndsay Faye has created with The Paragon Hotel.

It is the era of prohibition and Alice “Nobody” James is mysteriously wounded and fleeing from the mobs of Harlem, New York where she was raised by her prostitute mother. She runs as far as she can to Portland, OR where she befriends the porter for The Paragon Hotel, an all black hotel with mysteries of its own. But events on the west coast are not a lot better than the east as the KuKluxKlan is gaining strength and has targeted the Paragon, the only all black hotel in the city. Alice, who is white, is barely accepted by its black residents and understandably so given the hate that is Klan is bringing to their door step, but she does make friends with Blossom Fontaine, the singer at the hotel, and her ward, Davy Lee. When Davy Lee goes missing, tension rise, alliances are questioned and the racial tension that has been simmering threatens to erupt.

The Paragon Hotel is one of those rare books that is both a suspenseful thriller as well as a looking glass at the past, one that allows the reader to see the important lessons from that era and how those lessons learned might be applied today. One might think that Harlem would have nothing in common with Portland, or that the 1920s is too far removed from current events today, and yet this story blends it all together seamlessly. What should have been a typical mystery, one filled with hate and ugliness, instead evolved into a tale of hope and encouragement.

I was riveted by The Paragon Hotel and could not put it down from the first to the very last page. Its characters were so beautifully drawn that they will continue to haunt me for a very long time and the story itself changed me profoundly. I cannot recommend this book highly enough.

My thanks to #Edelweiss, @PutnamBooks, and @LyndsayFaye for my copy of this incredible tale