Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Virtual Review Tour & Giveaway for Stardust Summer by Lauren Clark

Join author Lauren Clark on her Virtual Review Tour for Stardust Summer, presented by Goddess Fish Promotions from October 23 – November 13, 2013.  Please leave a comment or question for Lauren to let her know you stopped by.  Lauren will be a $20 Amazon or B&N G.C. to two randomly drawn commenters during the tour.  Please be sure to leave your email address with your comment in case you are chosen as a winner.  You can follow the rest of Lauren’s tour here, the more stops you visit, the better your odds of winning. 

Stardust Summer
By Lauren Clark

Publisher:  Camellia Press
Release Date: February 23, 2013

Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Length: 336 Pages

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Book Description:

 Single mom Grace Mason doesn’t believe in miracles, magic, or love at first sight. She likes the quiet life, complete with her eight-year-old son, their tiny house, and her teaching job. For Grace, happiness means that nothing much ever changes in Ocean Springs, Mississippi.

Then, one thousand miles away, tragedy strikes. A massive heart attack leaves Grace’s estranged father comatose in an Upstate New York hospital. While a team of doctors fight to keep Henry Mason alive, Grace and Evan rush to his bedside to say their final goodbyes.

Henry’s passing brings little closure for Grace, but she finds herself inexplicably drawn to her new surroundings. What begins as a short trip results in an entire summer spent with Henry’s second wife, Kathleen, and her next-door neighbor, Ryan Gordon, the town doctor. When a series of unlikely events lead to Evan’s disappearance, Grace must face her worst fears to find her son and bring him back home.

Stardust Summer explores the complexities of forgiveness, what it means to be a family, and the fabulous possibility of falling in love—again.

Buy Links:  Amazon B&N  Kobo Smashwords 


Kathleen woke with her head pressed to the tablecloth. She jerked awake at a loud noise outside.

It was the sound of a boat engine churning on the lake, a quarter-mile away. She listened for the cast and pull of a fishing line, the rhythmic whirr of a reel. All familiar sounds, all part of her world. The noises were usually soothing.

This morning, only a dull ache existed. She felt as if a hammer had been buried in her brain.

Kathleen's eyes pricked with tears. She fumbled to find her watch and look at the time. Already eight-fifteen in the morning. She needed to call Keuka College and let everyone know. She had to cancel the library dedication.

And there was Grace. Kathleen had to deliver the news about her father, and make sure she was coming to the funeral.

Henry's daughter, whom she'd spoken to hours before. The same woman she'd reassured that her father was okay. Resting comfortably. Stable. The doctors are doing all they can.

Kathleen's hands shook. She fumbled through papers to find her stepdaughter's contact information. Anyone else would have it memorized, a little voice played in her head.

But finally, beneath a tumble of scratch pads and pens, stuck to a yellow post-it note, was a small white card with Henry’s writing.

Her breath caught in her throat when she saw it. Grace at school, the paper said, with ten numbers scrawled beneath it. Her hands shook as she punched the keys, one by one, and listened to the ringing, waiting for someone to answer.

An operator’s voice came through clearly with a hint of Southern drawl in the greeting. Kathleen hesitated, gathering her thoughts, and the woman patiently repeated her greeting, this time, with more of a question in her voice.

Following a deep breath, Kathleen let the words spill out. She needed to speak to her stepdaughter, it was an emergency, and could she please find her. Immediately, music blared. Kathleen held the phone out at arm’s length and shut her eyes at the noise, waiting. She couldn’t think of what to say, or how to say it.

When the music stopped and Kathleen heard Grace answer, it stopped her cold. Hers was such a grown up, confident voice, and a person she didn’t know very well.

Grace paused expectantly for Kathleen to talk. The sound of children, chattering and giggling, echoed in the background.

"I'm calling about your father. He seemed to be doing better. He was stable, and then, last night, he had another stroke." Kathleen inhaled and made herself say the next sentence. "The doctors...I'm so sorry, Grace," her voice broke, "he didn't make it." 

Kathleen closed her eyes tightly, trying to shut out the pain in Grace’s voice. The syllables she heard were cutting and sharp, bending at the end into tears.

After the sobs and exclamations of disbelief, there were questions. Patiently, Kathleen tried her best to answer each one. Grief washed over Kathleen again, listening to her stepdaughter mourn.

She had never felt so helpless.

In the end, though, it was done. And Grace, who'd sworn she would never visit her father again, was finally coming home for Henry.

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Lauren Clark writes contemporary novels sprinkled with sunshine, suspense, and secrets. A former TV news anchor, Lauren adores flavored coffee, local book stores, and anywhere she can stick her toes in the sand. Her big loves are her family, paying it forward, and true-blue friends.

Lauren is a member of the Gulf Coast Writers Association, the Mobile Writers Guild, and a regular contributor to Parents & Kids Magazine's Mississippi Gulf Coast Edition. Check out her website at
Lauren Clark Books Website 

Lauren Clark Books BLOG 

GoodReads Lauren Clark 

Twitter Lauren Clark 

Facebook Lauren Clark

My Review

Family relationships, forgiveness and second chances are the main themes in Lauren Clark’s contemporary novel, Stardust Summer.  Well developed characters, good dialogue and plenty of emotional angst, kept me turning the pages to see what would happen next.  Set in upper New York State, in a small community built around a lake, Ms. Clark’s scene description sets the stage for the characters in this book.   

Estranged from her father, single mom Grace Mason lives a quiet life with her son Evan in Ocean Springs, Mississippi.  Keeping busy with her own life, Grace has refused to visit her father for years and grudgingly accepts his relationship with her son.  Never realizing time was running out on mending fences, Grace is surprised and distraught when she’s notified of her father’s sudden death by her stepmother. 

Caught in the middle between her husband and his only child, Kathleen Mason has built a life she’s comfortable with.  Looking forward to her husband’s retirement, Kathleen is shocked to be called and notified of her husband’s sudden trip to the hospital.  Instead of planning a summer party, Kathleen suddenly finds herself planning her husband’s funeral.

Ms. Clark does a good job developing both Grace and Kathleen’s characters.  While there were times I had difficulty liking Grace, and dealing with her estrangement from her father, I was able to understand her emotional situation and thought Ms. Clark did a good job presenting who she was.  Ms. Clark does an equally good job with Kathleen, while it was easier to understand where she was coming from emotionally, Ms. Clark didn’t take the easy road and make Kathleen the perfect stepmom.  I enjoyed how Grace and Kathleen’s relationship needed work and grew throughout the book.  Neither was the same person at the end.

While secondary characters, Evan Mason, Grace’s son, and Dr. Ryan Gordon, Kathleen’s next door neighbor, are the main male characters in the book.  While I would have liked to have seen Evan have a larger role, he is a devoted son and helps to build a bridge between Grace and Kathleen.  Meanwhile, Ryan not only proves to be a good friend to Kathleen, he becomes a second chance love interest for Grace, even though he’s got issues of his own.

Will Grace learn to let go of the past and give herself and her son a second chance?  Will Kathleen learn to move on with her life without her husband?  Will Ryan learn to take a chance on love and put his heart first?  You’ll have to read Stardust Summer to find out.  I enjoyed it and I think you will too.

My Rating: 4 out of 5 Crowns  

FTC Disclosure:  I received a complimentary copy of this book as a part of a book tour in exchange for a fair and honest review. 

Don't forget to leave a comment or question for Lauren to let her know you stopped by.  Lauren will be a $20 Amazon or B&N G.C. to two randomly drawn commenters during the tour.  Please be sure to leave your email address with your comment in case you are chosen as a winner.  You can follow the rest of Lauren’s tour here, the more stops you visit, the better your odds of winning. 


  1. I'm curious to find out if Grace finds her son. This book sounds like a real page flipper. I'm looking forward to reading it.
    Thanks for sharing :)

    lorih824 at yahoo dot com

    1. I didn't want to give spoilers but I will just say that the book has a happy ending so if you are like me and need to know that you haven't invested yourself emotionally without some sort of payoff - I can tell you that there is definitely a payoff by the end of the story and that it's really quite lovely!

    2. Thank you so much Lori ... I'm definitely a happy ending author! The ending doesn't have to be perfectly "neat" but I do like the satisfaction of good closure :)

      Hope you enjoy! xx, Lauren

  2. I'm curious to know what happens with her son as well. The book excerpt at Amazon looks great and I am definitely interested in reading it.

    1. Thank you for stopping by Maria's blog post! I'm so glad you enjoyed the excerpt.

      xx, Lauren

  3. Great review and excerpt, thank you.


    1. So happy you liked the review and excerpt! I appreciate you stopping by Maria's blog post :) Lauren

  4. Thanks for sharing the great excerpt and your review. Sounds like a great book. Thanks for sharing the giveaway. evamillien at gmail dot com

    1. Hi Eva - Appreciate you stopping by the blog and reading the review and excerpt! xx, Lauren

  5. liked the cover and great excerpt! - regnod(at)yahoo(d0t)com

    1. Thank you Daniel - I love the cover as well, my designer did a great job! It looks JUST like Keuka Lake in Upstate New York, where the novel is set! xx, Lauren

  6. Maria - Thank you so much for featuring Stardust Summer! I am so glad that you found Grace's story enjoyable! It was wonderful to be featured on your blog today.

    xx, Lauren

  7. So glad to hear you enjoyed the novel! I'm looking forward to reading it myself! :-)


  8. Thank you for a wonderful review.


  9. I love stories that deal with family relationships.

    lag110 at mchsi dot com

  10. Sorry I missed your visit. Running behind and playing catch up!

    kareninnc at gmail dot com

  11. Sounds like a great read!!
    Thanks for the chance to win!
    natasha_donohoo_8 at hotmail dot com