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book tour: Before Ever After by Samantha Sotto + giveaway

author: Samantha Sotto  
Publisher: Crown  
Source: TLC Book Tours
Hard Cover: 304 pages  

"foodie" elements: the form of recipes, but plenty of mouthwatering, belly-rumbling moments.

random excerpt:  The group followed Max and their noses to a rustic wooden table.  It groaned under the weight of freshly baked bread, croissants, jams, coffee, and fruit.  Max set the dish at the center of the table, revealing a golden crust of cheese topped with a sprinkling of fresh herbs.  It bubbled an invitation.  

summary/synopsis: (from dust cover flap/author website)  Three years after her husband Max’s death, Shelley feels no more adjusted to being a widow than she did that first terrible day. That is, until the doorbell rings. Standing on her front step is a young man who looks so much like Max–same smile, same eyes, same age, same adorable bump in his nose–he could be Max’s long-lost relation. He introduces himself as Paolo, an Italian editor of American coffee table books, and shows Shelley some childhood photos. Paolo tells her that the man in the photos, the bearded man who Paolo says is his grandfather though he never seems to age, is Max. Her Max. And he is alive and well. As outrageous as Paolo’s claims seem–how could her husband be alive? And if he is, why hasn’t he looked her up? – Shelley desperately wants to know the truth. She and Paolo jet across the globe to track Max down–if it is really Max– and along the way, Shelley recounts the European package tour where they had met. As she relives Max’s stories of bloody Parisian barricades,medieval Austrian kitchens, and buried Roman boathouses, Shelley begins to piece together the story of who her husband was and what these new revelations mean for her “happily ever after.” And as she and Paolo get closer to the truth, Shelley discovers that not all stories end where they are supposed to.  

my thoughts/review: I found myself instantly intrigued by Shelley.  Her sudden devastating, life-altering loss and the way she chose to deal (or not so much) with her husband's death.  Until she finds out that maybe the past three years she mourned somebody who didn't really die.  I love (in a shivering, teeth-chattering kind of way) the supernatural, and I found Sotto's immortality concept very intriguing.  From the yellow flyer that found its way to Shelley... the new, unexpected life it led to, I was hooked.  Since the loss is laid out right away in the book, I began to wonder where the story would lead me.  As Shelley and Paolo began a new journey, I felt a bit of a longing for more of what was happening "in the present", but was easily caught up in the tales of Max's past lives (in a sense) in Paris and Austria and Rome.  We got to know much about Shelley and a lot about Max through her memories...memories that began to take on a whole new meaning with the new, confusing information that Shelley had to relate to.  It ended with a bang and a twist...and made me wish there was something hiding on the next page.

And darn it all.  Why oh why would Sotto tempt us with such brilliant descriptions of eggs baked with cream, tarragon, a hint of cayenne...and a crust of golden cheese and then not put a recipe to go with it!?  Just the one.  But alas, it's not there.  I checked thrice.

A fun, interesting tragic romance sprinkled with good food, historical fiction, and a bit of fantasy.  I enjoyed it.
 about the author: SAMANTHA SOTTO fell in love with Europe’s cobbled streets and damp castles when she moved to the Netherlands as a teenager. Since then, she has spent nights huddled next to her backpack on a beach in Greece, honeymooned in Paris, and attended business meetings in Dusseldorf in the pleasant company of a corporate credit card. Before Ever After was inspired by her experiences living, studying, and traveling in Europe. Samantha lives in the Philippines with her family. This is her first novel.
Giveaway: The publisher has graciously offered one of my readers a chance to win their own copy of Before Ever After.  Open to those who have a mailing address in the USA or Canada only.  If you'd like to be entered to win, simply let me know in a comment on this post.  Please make sure I have a way of contacting you, should you win (otherwise I will draw a new name). Submissions due August 14th by 11:59 pm (Eastern).  Good Luck!  
 This giveaway is now closed.

 Winner by random draw is:
Congrats, Nay...I hope you enjoy it☺!

*I received a free copy of this book to review from the publisher.  All thoughts and opinions stated in this post are 100% mine.
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