#BlogTour, #BookReview & #Giveaway: Dignity and Grace by Alison Ragsdale

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Dignity & Grace by Alison Ragsdale

Date of Release: July 27, 2020

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Summary:

On her 21st birthday, gifted cellist Iona Muir receives a package from her estranged father containing a letter from her mother, Grace, a talented musician who tragically died ten years earlier. Reeling from what she reads, Iona soon discovers a mysterious, faded photograph of Grace, hidden inside her cello case.

Honoring her mother’s request, Iona visits Grace’s beloved music teacher, taking the first step on an emotional trail of discovery that has been left for her. As Grace’s story unfolds, Iona gains a deeper insight into the mother she lost and the heartbreaking truth about Grace’s last months. The more Iona learns, the more she is drawn back to her family home, on the remote Scottish island of Orkney, and to her father.

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Serena visited Scotland, too! She Loved Edinburgh Castle!

Reviewer: Serena Soape

Alison Ragsdale has touched my heart deeply with this poignant, heart-wrenching novel.

With recently losing my mom, “Dignity & Grace “ evoked many emotions from the very first page when Iona received the package from her Dad about the things that her mother wrote her so many years ago.

The characters were magnificently interesting as they were introduced during Iona’s emotional journey. I felt like I was sitting next to Iona as she traveled from place to place.

Alison Ragsdale has a brilliant writing style that never disappoints, through both the smiles as well as the tears.

I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for fair and honest review.

5 Stars.

I never visited Scotland! But, Alison Ragsdale truly had the Orkney Islands and the Ring of Brodgar to Edinburgh Come alive for me!

Reviewer: Annie McDonnell

Every once in a while I meet a book that stops my heart from beating so often I find myself actually catching my breath! Stirring my Soul a bit Loose!

“Dignity & Grace” by Alison Ragsdale moved me, both profoundly and evocatively! I was enamored with the British vernacular and sharp writing! All of the Characters I adored! I was taken away completely, from place to person to emotion! All levels! I was deep into this novel!

Losing her Mum’s very essence changed the vibration of Iona’s life. This is the story of Iona’s aching reach to regain it once again. Iona is coming full circle with a wondrous guide in Grace!

I was capturing the very heartbeat of this experience! Extremely palpable! From Orkney to Edinburgh! From first learning to play the cello to becoming a gifted cellist, Iona played her way into my heart!

I was drawn to the Cello because it was such a huge character! I felt it’s cries!! Such Aloneness….It’s unbearable aches!! It’s Pains…it’s relief!! It’s Release….It’s love for its owner! The Cello has a voice and a heart like a human, and the way Alison used this instrument and its music is breathtaking! It came alive!

Rhythmically, Alison’s story moved me gently between tears of anger and laughter and sadness. Like the cello playing it’s own life’s song!

Written with tender hearted story-telling and super smart accuracy for its serious subject matter, Alison Ragsdale scores a standing ovation from me!

I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for a fair and honest review.

5 Stars.

Side-bar I must include for myself outside of my review, Annie:

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You see, this story was personal for two reasons.

First, I was my (step)Mother’s caregiver for the last nine months of her life. She had decided both graciously and heroically that it was time to stop her treatments for Breast Cancer. I had already been a volunteer for years at Hospice, so I was well-equipped at end-of-life care with Dignity. I was determined that my Mom was going to have the very best End-of-Life experience! Each day was anew for us. It was beautiful. Poignant yet celebratory. She actually thanked me for creating an extremely special time for her. Fun! She called it! It has been my highest honor. I felt as though Grace was my Carmela. The letters evoked extreme emotions from me. Iona laying her head in Grace’s lap was truly my experience in life! #TissuesToTheMax

Alison truly understands the end of life experience.

Secondly, I have a neurological disorder, which I am now in the “tremor”, and “in-bed-all-the-time” phase. I understand choosing to remain in the heart of my home, as a Grace did. While it’s not ALS, it is in the same classification, and they are both on the Compassionate Allowance List for Social Security Disability. My end of life will be quite similar, and knowing this is difficult. Reading Alison’s book, I’m realizing my truth, I also have a lot going through my head. I believe if I had a daughter, I would have chosen to leave something like letters. “Dignity & Grace” has me realizing, my heart breaks that there is no one I’m leaving behind, so I need to find my persons! I’m thinking my nephews Xander & Adam will be my Legacy’s! I realized no one will be looking in the mirror and seeing my image, or missing much of anything about me because I haven’t accomplished much. So, I’m determined to write a story!

Alison hit the nail on the head with neurological changes in the body, and what it does to the people around you.

I also googled a lot of the places in the story! It was too overwhelming not too! I had to know if they were real.

Dignity & Grace” is a call to action for me! I’m on it!!

I’m going to leave part of me somewhere! Thank you, Alison Ragsdale for this reminder!

E96AFACA-0D25-46BE-B16F-E35BF7A47DC3Author Bio:

Originally from Edinburgh, Alison now lives in the US with her husband and dog. Educated in England, she holds an MBA from Leicester University.

Alison’s Amazon best sellers include: TUESDAY’S SOCKS, THE FATHER-DAUGHTER CLUB, FINDING HEATHER, A LIFE UNEXPECTED, THE ART OF REMEMBERING and THE LIAR AND OTHER STORIES.

THE FATHER-DAUGHTER CLUB was awarded the 2016, IPPY Bronze medal for Best regional fiction – Europe.

A LIFE UNEXPECTED, was awarded a 2018, IPPY Bronze medal in the Popular Fiction category.

THE ART OF REMEMBERING, debuted as an Amazon best seller, was honored as a finalist in the 2019 American Fiction Awards, was a finalist in the 2020 Eric Hoffer Award, was a BookBub Best Book Club Book pick and was nominated for the Goodreads Readers Choice Award.

THE LIAR AND OTHER STORIES, a collection of short stories was released on May 12th, 2020.

Ms. Ragsdale’s seventh novel, DIGNITY AND GRACE, will be released on July 27th, 2020.

For more information: www.alisonragsdale.com.

 Order Here:

Or, From Annie’s Local Indie Bookshop, Book Hampton:

B5CD78DD-27AB-4EE9-BD31-EF8A75FC6AFE

https://www.bookhampton.com/book/9781733037754

Giveaway:

0B335780-BF64-4039-9A45-2B124EC4B838Tell us one thing you’d like to pass on, or leave to the next generation! Words of wisdom! Please post directly in the comments!

*One “Dignity & Grace” EBook winner will be announced when Annie returns from her temporary leave of absence.

Thank you!

The Write Review loved

“Dignity & Grace” by Alison Ragsdale!!!

and we really appreciate you stopping by our

Blog Tour Stop

FOR KATE ROCK BOOK TOURS.

#BlogTour, #BookReview & #Excerpt: A Sweet Mess by Jayci Lee

6AC1A3D5-CE89-45BD-AAE0-A483FEF3702EReviewer: Serena Soape

Date of Release: July 14, 2020

ABOUT A SWEET MESS:

 

Korean-American author Jayci Lee delights with A Sweet Mess, a delicious and light-hearted romantic comedy that readers will devour and ask for more. 

Aubrey Choi loves living in her small town nestled in the foothills of California, running her highly successful bakery away from the watch of her strict Korean parents. When a cake mix-up and a harsh review threaten all of her hard work and her livelihood, she never thought the jaded food critic would turn out to be her one-night stand. And she sure as hell never thought she’d see the gorgeous Korean hunk again. But when Landon Kim waltzes into her bakery trying to clean up the mess he had a huge hand in making, Aubrey is torn between throwing and hearing him out. 

When she hears his plan to help save her business, Aubrey knows that spending three weeks in California wine country working with Landon is a sure recipe for disaster. Her head is telling her to take the chance to save her bakery while her heart—and her hormones—are at war on whether to give him a second chance. And it just so happens that Landon’s meddling friends want them to spend those three weeks as close as possible…by sharing a villa.

When things start heating up, both in and out of the kitchen, Aubrey will have to make a choice—to stick it out or risk her heart.

Review:

Jayci Lee has written a charming “sweet” novel with “A Sweet Mess”.

The relationship that Aubrey and Landon had was emotional and complicated throughout the novel but I loved watching all the developments along their relationship roller coaster.

You do not want to miss this touching romantic tear-jerker….

There is even a bonus recipe at the end that you can try.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for fair and honest review.

4 Stars.

 

69DE0B4E-1DDD-4FC4-A021-53CABDE00DBDExcerpt:

Excerpt from A Sweet Mess by Jayci Lee. Copyright 2020 by the author and reprinted with permission from St. Martin’s Griffin.

“How’s this?” He’d chosen a small table at the back corner. When Aubrey nodded, he pulled out her chair and took a seat across from her.

Their proximity and relative privacy made the air between them hum with electricity. Their knees brushed every time either of them shifted in their seat, sending bolts of desire through him. A sharp intake of breath and a parting of her lips revealed Aubrey wasn’t immune to their magnetic attraction.

Landon had dated his fair share of beautiful women. There was no reason to act like a gawky teenager, but his roaring heart and churning stomach said otherwise. He couldn’t remember the last time he’d felt nervous around a woman. Her hand was resting less than four inches away from his, but he broke out in a cold sweat working up the nerve to brush his knuckles against it.

He started when Aubrey traced her fingers across the back of his hand with a shy smile. “So, Landon from out of town, what’s your dream?”

His blood had gone south at her touch, leaving nothing for his brain, but he was even more dumbstruck by her question. The woman threw him off balance on all fronts.

“Not big on making small talk, are you?” He managed to keep his voice steady despite his spinning head and hardening body.

“If I’m going to have a chat with a complete stranger, I might as well have an interesting one.” A deep blush stained her cheeks, and her lashes fluttered to hide her eyes. “Besides, you’re leaving tomorrow. I was hoping we could pack a lot into tonight.”

Landon sucked in a sharp breath. Her shy and earnest declaration moved him, and he fought the urge to pull her across the table to kiss her senseless. Instead, he lifted Aubrey’s hand and brushed a kiss on her pale inner wrist. A wolfish grin spread across his face when she gasped at his touch.

“My dream was to open my own restaurant.” To his shock, the truth stumbled out of him. A truth he’d refused to face for the past decade. Maybe he was desperate to give her an interesting conversation. A memorable one. “Someplace spacious and comfortable where people can enjoy a delicious meal without pretense or a six-figure salary.”

“That sounds amazing. What kind of food are we talking about?”

“Whatever inspiration strikes me. If I had to label it, New American–slash–Korean fusion will have to do.”

“I love Korean food. I would totally eat there.” Aubrey sat forward, her eyes round and sparkling. “So you’re Korean? I am, too.”

“Yes, I’m Korean, and you would be more than welcome to eat at my restaurant.”

“Are you a chef?”

“No, but I trained to be one. Have you heard of the CIA?” 

“The Central Intelligence Agency? You learned to cook for undercover agents while dodging bullets

Excerpt from A Sweet Mess by Jayci Lee. Copyright 2020 by the author and reprinted with permission from St. Martin’s Griffin.

“How’s this?” He’d chosen a small table at the back corner. When Aubrey nodded, he pulled out her chair and took a seat across from her.

Their proximity and relative privacy made the air between them hum with electricity. Their knees brushed every time either of them shifted in their seat, sending bolts of desire through him. A sharp intake of breath and a parting of her lips revealed Aubrey wasn’t immune to their magnetic attraction.

Landon had dated his fair share of beautiful women. There was no reason to act like a gawky teenager, but his roaring heart and churning stomach said otherwise. He couldn’t remember the last time he’d felt nervous around a woman. Her hand was resting less than four inches away from his, but he broke out in a cold sweat working up the nerve to brush his knuckles against it.

He started when Aubrey traced her fingers across the back of his hand with a shy smile. “So, Landon from out of town, what’s your dream?”

His blood had gone south at her touch, leaving nothing for his brain, but he was even more dumbstruck by her question. The woman threw him off balance on all fronts.

“Not big on making small talk, are you?” He managed to keep his voice steady despite his spinning head and hardening body.

“If I’m going to have a chat with a complete stranger, I might as well have an interesting one.” A deep blush stained her cheeks, and her lashes fluttered to hide her eyes. “Besides, you’re leaving tomorrow. I was hoping we could pack a lot into tonight.”

Landon sucked in a sharp breath. Her shy and earnest declaration moved him, and he fought the urge to pull her across the table to kiss her senseless. Instead, he lifted Aubrey’s hand and brushed a kiss on her pale inner wrist. A wolfish grin spread across his face when she gasped at his touch.

“My dream was to open my own restaurant.” To his shock, the truth stumbled out of him. A truth he’d refused to face for the past decade. Maybe he was desperate to give her an interesting conversation. A memorable one. “Someplace spacious and comfortable where people can enjoy a delicious meal without pretense or a six-figure salary.”

“That sounds amazing. What kind of food are we talking about?”

“Whatever inspiration strikes me. If I had to label it, New American–slash–Korean fusion will have to do.”

“I love Korean food. I would totally eat there.” Aubrey sat forward, her eyes round and sparkling. “So you’re Korean? I am, too.”

“Yes, I’m Korean, and you would be more than welcome to eat at my restaurant.”

“Are you a chef?”

“No, but I trained to be one. Have you heard of the CIA?” 

“The Central Intelligence Agency? You learned to cook for undercover agents while dodging bullets and jumping out of airplanes?” She cocked her head to the side and gazed at him with solemn interest.

“I . . . um.” Landon was fairly certain she was messing with him, but insulting her wouldn’t be the best way to seduce her. “It’s . . .”

Aubrey’s pale skin turned from pink to crimson before she erupted into laughter, her frame trembling like a 6.8 earthquake. She held up a finger, gripping her side, pantomiming she needed a minute. He crossed his arms over his chest and leveled her with a steely glare, which wasn’t an easy feat considering her infectious mirth.

“I’m s-sorry, but you had to see your face. You couldn’t decide whether a small-town girl like me knew about the Culinary Institute of America or whether I was pulling your leg.”

Mischievous little fox. He needed to get her back for that. “Actually, that’s incorrect.” He drew closer to her, his lips close to her ear, and lowered his voice to a deep, gritty whisper. “I was debating whether or not I should tell you the truth, because if I did, I’d have to terminate you.”

Aubrey stared at him in silence for a second, and then a delighted grin spread across her face. “This is fun.”

“Yeah, it is.” Landon was surprised to find he meant it. He couldn’t remember the last time he’d had fun. He certainly had pleasant and interesting times, but fun times? No, this felt alien.

His earlier hesitation forgotten, he ran his knuckles down the side of her face, relishing the feel of her warm, silky skin. Aubrey leaned lightly into his hand, and her eyes slid shut. She was so responsive to his touch. Landon’s mouth went dry, and all he could think was more. He wanted to make her laugh again. He ached to make her fall apart in his arms with her swollen lips calling out his name.

“You’re beautiful,” Landon murmured, unable to look away from her.

“So are you.” Aubrey’s lips curved into a barely there smile that squeezed his heart.

He’d gone to the brewery for a pint to wash away the bitter taste of his sorry day, but he’d discovered something far more intoxicating—something potent enough to tip him off-balance. Aubrey made his blood sing and his rational thoughts melt away. The floor seemed to grow solid and strong, and his body settled heavily into his seat like he’d dropped anchor across from her—as though she had a gravitational pull all her own and he was helpless against it.

He’d led a nomadic life for a decade. He didn’t know how to stay still for long. The smart thing to do would be to run the hell away from this woman, whose mere proximity made it unimaginable to even leave the table.

But smart wasn’t part of his vocabulary at the moment. Greedy, feral, and desperate passion overwhelmed all else. He stood abruptly from his seat, and Aubrey’s mouth parted in surprise. Then he grasped her hand and raised her to her feet.

“Do you want to get out of here?” His eyes bored into hers, his desire and urgency displayed for her to see.

“Yes.”

and jumping out of airplanes?” She cocked her head to the side and gazed at him with

Excerpt from A Sweet Mess by Jayci Lee. Copyright 2020 by the author and reprinted with permission from St. Martin’s Griffin.

“How’s this?” He’d chosen a small table at the back corner. When Aubrey nodded, he pulled out her chair and took a seat across from her.

Their proximity and relative privacy made the air between them hum with electricity. Their knees brushed every time either of them shifted in their seat, sending bolts of desire through him. A sharp intake of breath and a parting of her lips revealed Aubrey wasn’t immune to their magnetic attraction.

Landon had dated his fair share of beautiful women. There was no reason to act like a gawky teenager, but his roaring heart and churning stomach said otherwise. He couldn’t remember the last time he’d felt nervous around a woman. Her hand was resting less than four inches away from his, but he broke out in a cold sweat working up the nerve to brush his knuckles against it.

He started when Aubrey traced her fingers across the back of his hand with a shy smile. “So, Landon from out of town, what’s your dream?”

His blood had gone south at her touch, leaving nothing for his brain, but he was even more dumbstruck by her question. The woman threw him off balance on all fronts.

“Not big on making small talk, are you?” He managed to keep his voice steady despite his spinning head and hardening body.

“If I’m going to have a chat with a complete stranger, I might as well have an interesting one.” A deep blush stained her cheeks, and her lashes fluttered to hide her eyes. “Besides, you’re leaving tomorrow. I was hoping we could pack a lot into tonight.”

Landon sucked in a sharp breath. Her shy and earnest declaration moved him, and he fought the urge to pull her across the table to kiss her senseless. Instead, he lifted Aubrey’s hand and brushed a kiss on her pale inner wrist. A wolfish grin spread across his face when she gasped at his touch.

“My dream was to open my own restaurant.” To his shock, the truth stumbled out of him. A truth he’d refused to face for the past decade. Maybe he was desperate to give her an interesting conversation. A memorable one. “Someplace spacious and comfortable where people can enjoy a delicious meal without pretense or a six-figure salary.”

“That sounds amazing. What kind of food are we talking about?”

“Whatever inspiration strikes me. If I had to label it, New American–slash–Korean fusion will have to do.”

“I love Korean food. I would totally eat there.” Aubrey sat forward, her eyes round and sparkling. “So you’re Korean? I am, too.”

“Yes, I’m Korean, and you would be more than welcome to eat at my restaurant.”

“Are you a chef?”

“No, but I trained to be one. Have you heard of the CIA?” 

“The Central Intelligence Agency? You learned to cook for undercover agents while dodging bullets and jumping out of airplanes?” She cocked her head to the side and gazed at him with solemn interest.

“I . . . um.” Landon was fairly certain she was messing with him, but insulting her wouldn’t be the best way to seduce her. “It’s . . .”

Aubrey’s pale skin turned from pink to crimson before she erupted into laughter, her frame trembling like a 6.8 earthquake. She held up a finger, gripping her side, pantomiming she needed a minute. He crossed his arms over his chest and leveled her with a steely glare, which wasn’t an easy feat considering her infectious mirth.

“I’m s-sorry, but you had to see your face. You couldn’t decide whether a small-town girl like me knew about the Culinary Institute of America or whether I was pulling your leg.”

Mischievous little fox. He needed to get her back for that. “Actually, that’s incorrect.” He drew closer to her, his lips close to her ear, and lowered his voice to a deep, gritty whisper. “I was debating whether or not I should tell you the truth, because if I did, I’d have to terminate you.”

Aubrey stared at him in silence for a second, and then a delighted grin spread across her face. “This is fun.”

“Yeah, it is.” Landon was surprised to find he meant it. He couldn’t remember the last time he’d had fun. He certainly had pleasant and interesting times, but fun times? No, this felt alien.

His earlier hesitation forgotten, he ran his knuckles down the side of her face, relishing the feel of her warm, silky skin. Aubrey leaned lightly into his hand, and her eyes slid shut. She was so responsive to his touch. Landon’s mouth went dry, and all he could think was more. He wanted to make her laugh again. He ached to make her fall apart in his arms with her swollen lips calling out his name.

“You’re beautiful,” Landon murmured, unable to look away from her.

“So are you.” Aubrey’s lips curved into a barely there smile that squeezed his heart.

He’d gone to the brewery for a pint to wash away the bitter taste of his sorry day, but he’d discovered something far more intoxicating—something potent enough to tip him off-balance. Aubrey made his blood sing and his rational thoughts melt away. The floor seemed to grow solid and strong, and his body settled heavily into his seat like he’d dropped anchor across from her—as though she had a gravitational pull all her own and he was helpless against it.

He’d led a nomadic life for a decade. He didn’t know how to stay still for long. The smart thing to do would be to run the hell away from this woman, whose mere proximity made it unimaginable to even leave the table.

But smart wasn’t part of his vocabulary at the moment. Greedy, feral, and desperate passion overwhelmed all else. He stood abruptly from his seat, and Aubrey’s mouth parted in surprise. Then he grasped her hand and raised her to her feet.

“Do you want to get out of here?” His eyes bored into hers, his desire and urgency displayed for her to see.

“Yes.”

solemn interest.

“I . . . um.” Landon was fairly certain she was messing with him, but insulting her wouldn’t be the best way to seduce her. “It’s . . .”

Aubrey’s pale skin turned from pink to crimson before she erupted into laughter, her frame trembling like a 6.8 earthquake. She held up a finger, gripping her side, pantomiming she needed a minute. He crossed his arms over his chest and leveled her with a steely glare, which wasn’t an easy feat considering her infectious mirth.

“I’m s-sorry, but you had to see your face. You couldn’t decide whether a small-town girl like me knew about the Culinary Institute of America or whether I was pulling your leg.”

Mischievous little fox. He needed to get her back for that. “Actually, that’s incorrect.” He drew closer to her, his lips close to her ear, and lowered his voice to a deep, gritty whisper. “I was debating whether or not I should tell you the truth, because if I did, I’d have to terminate you.”

Aubrey stared at him in silence for a second, and then a delighted grin spread across her face. “This is fun.”

“Yeah, it is.” Landon was surprised to find he meant it. He couldn’t remember the last time he’d had fun. He certainly had pleasant and interesting times, but fun times? No, this felt alien.

His earlier hesitation forgotten, he ran his knuckles down the side of her face, relishing the feel of her warm, silky skin. Aubrey leaned lightly into his hand, and her eyes slid shut. She was so responsive to his touch. Landon’s mouth went dry, and all he could think was more. He wanted to make her laugh again. He ached to make her fall apart in his arms with her swollen lips calling out his name.

“You’re beautiful,” Landon murmured, unable to look away from her.

“So are you.” Aubrey’s lips curved into a barely there smile that squeezed his heart.

He’d gone to the brewery for a pint to wash away the bitter taste of his sorry day, but he’d discovered something far more intoxicating—something potent enough to tip him off-balance. Aubrey made his blood sing and his rational thoughts melt away. The floor seemed to grow solid and strong, and his body settled heavily into his seat like he’d dropped anchor across from her—as though she had a gravitational pull all her own and he was helpless against it.

He’d led a nomadic life for a decade. He didn’t know how to stay still for long. The smart thing to do would be to run the hell away from this woman, whose mere proximity made it unimaginable to even leave the table.

But smart wasn’t part of his vocabulary at the moment. Greedy, feral, and desperate passion overwhelmed all else. He stood abruptly from his seat, and Aubrey’s mouth parted in surprise. Then he grasped her hand and raised her to her feet.

“Do you want to get out of here?” His eyes bored into hers, his desire and urgency displayed for her to see.

“Yes.”

06B7CA62-02A3-4FA9-B489-458A13EF0A2A
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

 

JAYCI LEE writes poignant, sexy, and laugh-out-loud romance every free second she can scavenge and is semi-retired from her fifteen-year career as a defense litigator. She loves food, wine, and travelling, and incidentally so do her characters. Jayci lives in sunny California with her tall-dark-and-handsome husband, two amazing boys with boundless energy, and a fluffy rescue whose cuteness is a major distraction. She is the author of A Sweet Mess.

Buy this book: https://us.macmillan.com/books/9781250621108

Author website: https://jaycilee.com/ 

Author Twitter: @authorjaycilee

Author Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorjaycilee