Favorite Quotes on Books and Reading

"A book is a gift you can open again and again." Garrison Keillor

Literature is a textually transmitted disease, normally contracted in childhood.” Jane Yolen

"It is what you read when you don't have to that determines what you will be when you can't help it." Oscar Wilde

"Books have furnished, burnished, and enabled my life." Julia Keller

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Saturday, August 19, 2017

2017 Book 280: THE GOOD DAUGHTER by Karin Slaughter

The Good Daughter by Karin Slaughter 
ISBN: 9780062430243 (hardcover)
ISBN: 9780062430267 (ebook)
ASIN: B01N7BJZEA (Kindle edition)
Publication date: August 8, 2017 
Publisher: William Morrow

Two girls are forced into the woods at gunpoint. One runs for her life. One is left behind…
Twenty-eight years ago, Charlotte and Samantha Quinn's happy small-town family life was torn apart by a terrifying attack on their family home. It left their mother dead. It left their father — Pikeville's notorious defense attorney — devastated. And it left the family fractured beyond repair, consumed by secrets from that terrible night.
Twenty-eight years later, and Charlie has followed in her father's footsteps to become a lawyer herself — the ideal good daughter. But when violence comes to Pikeville again — and a shocking tragedy leaves the whole town traumatized — Charlie is plunged into a nightmare. Not only is she the first witness on the scene, but it's a case that unleashes the terrible memories she's spent so long trying to suppress. Because the shocking truth about the crime that destroyed her family nearly thirty years ago won't stay buried forever…  

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Charlotte "Charlie" Quinn lived through one nightmare at the age of thirteen when her mother was killed in her front of her and her sister Samantha "Sam" and then her sister was shot in the head and left for dead. Now Charlie is living through a new tragedy as an almost witness to a school shooting followed by her father being brutally stabbed in his driveway in Karin Slaughter's latest psychological thriller, The Good Daughter.

We are first introduced to Charlie and Sam Quinn as teenagers, twenty-eight years ago. Their home has been burned down and the family has been forced to relocate to a farmhouse outside of Pikeville, Georgia. All of their possessions were destroyed in the fire, so they are slowly rebuilding by purchasing items a local thrift store. Their mother, Gamma (Henrietta) is a nontraditional mother in most aspects but loved nonetheless. A home invasion with the intent of robbery and revenge quickly turns violent leaving Gamma dead, fifteen-year-old Sam severely wounded, and thirteen-year-old Charlie traumatized and brutalized. Fast forward twenty-eight years and both Sam and Charlie have become lawyers like their father Russell "Rusty" Quinn, with Sam specializing in patent law in New York City and Charlie having an independent practice in the same office as her father in Pikeville, Georgia. Sam is widowed and Charlie is married to her college sweetheart. After Charlie and Ben's marriage suffers through a separation, Charlie has a one-night-stand that ends with a phone-swap the morning after at the local middle school and then a school shooting. If that tragedy wasn't enough, later that day Rusty Quinn is found brutally stabbed in the driveway of his home. Sam returns home to Pikeville to be a support to Charlie and winds up handling the arraignment of the school shooter. Charlie's one-night-stand man winds up having ties to her family's past that she knew nothing about and that brings up memories she'd rather never remember. Is it possible that the events of twenty-eight years ago are linked to current events? Can the past ever be allowed to die?

I've said it before and it bears repeating, Ms. Slaughter is an amazing writer. I've read almost everything she's written and nothing has ever disappointed me as a reader, including The Good Daughter. This was an incredible read! I loved the characters (especially Lenny/Lenore), the multiple storylines, the twists and turns, the small town setting, even the bad guys (okay, I didn't really "Like" the bad guys, but they were an integral part of the story so without them, it just wouldn't have worked). I particularly enjoyed the sibling struggle between Charlie and Sam. We are given glimpses into Sam's emotional and physical recovery of the years and how she copes with her current disabilities. Charlie, on the other hand, has never truly been allowed to emotionally heal from the trauma of twenty-eight years ago and that is making a huge impact on her current life in a variety of destructive ways. In many ways, both Charlie and Sam can be seen as "The Good Daughter" but they view one another that way than see themselves that way. It isn't until another tragedy strikes (no, I'm not telling you what it is...read the book!), that Charlie and Sam truly come together as a family and learn to deal with the past. Obviously, there's a lot more going on in the story than just Charlie and Sam and their family drama, there's psychological thrills, school shooting, murder, mayhem, police brutality, marital infidelity, small-town prejudice and bullying, school bullying, and more. For those of you that have read anything written by Karin Slaughter then you already know you'll want to read The Good Daughter. If you haven't read anything by Karin Slaughter but you enjoy reading well-written psychological thrillers, then put The Good Daughter on your TBR list. If you're not quite sure about psychological thrillers but are looking for something a little bit different to read, grab yourself a copy of The Good Daughter to read. Seriously, this is a darn fine read and one I plowed through in one day despite an ever-increasing migraine and a bout of bronchitis (the ever-increasing migraine was probably caused by the constant coughing from the bronchitis, but this story kept my mind off my physical ills). I'm incredibly grateful to the publisher for affording me the opportunity to read a review copy of The Good Daughter. I look forward to reading more from Ms. Slaughter in the future (review or purchased copy).

Disclaimer: I received a free digital review copy of this book from the publisher for review purposes via Edelweiss+. I was not paid, required, or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Read an excerpt from The Good Daughter here.

Karin Slaughter

Author Bio:

Karin Slaughter is one of the world's most popular and acclaimed storytellers. Published in 36 languages, with more than 35 million copies sold across the globe, her sixteen novels include the Grant County and Will Trent books, as well as the Edgar-nominated Cop Town and the instant New York Times bestselling novel Pretty Girls. A native of Georgia, Karin currently lives in Atlanta. Her Will Trent series, Grant County series, and standalone novel Cop Town are all in development for film and television.

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This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Karin Slaughter and William Morrow. There will be five (5) winners of one (1) print edition of The Good Daughter by Karin Slaughter! This giveaway is open to US residents only. The giveaway begins on August 1 and runs through September 3, 2017.

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Friday, August 18, 2017

Book Excerpt: THIEF'S MARK by Carla Neggers

Thief's Mark (Sharp & Donovan #8) by Carla Neggers 
ISBN: 9780778330318 (hardcover)
ISBN: 9781460398807 (ebook)
ASIN: B01MXO0PMZ (Kindle version)
Publication Date: August 29, 2017 
Publisher: Mira Books

A murder in a quiet English village, long-buried secrets and a man's search for answers about his traumatic past entangle FBI agents Emma Sharpe and Colin Donovan in the latest edge-of-your-seat Sharpe & Donovan novel 

As a young boy, Oliver York witnessed the murder of his wealthy parents in their London apartment. The killers kidnapped him and held him in an isolated Scottish ruin, but he escaped, thwarting their plans for ransom. Now, after thirty years on the run, one of the two men Oliver identified as his tormentors may have surfaced.
Emma Sharpe and Colin Donovan are enjoying the final day of their Irish honeymoon when a break-in at the home of Emma's grandfather, private art detective Wendell Sharpe, points to Oliver. The Sharpes have a complicated relationship with the likable, reclusive Englishman, an expert in Celtic mythology and international art thief who taunted Wendell for years. Emma and Colin postpone meetings in London with their elite FBI team and head straight to Oliver. But when they arrive at York's country home, a man is dead and Oliver has vanished.
As the danger mounts, new questions arise about Oliver's account of his boyhood trauma. Do Emma and Colin dare trust him? With the trail leading beyond Oliver's small village to Ireland, Scotland and their own turf in the US, the stakes are high, and Emma and Colin must unravel the decades-old tangle of secrets and lies before a killer strikes again.
New York Times bestselling author Carla Neggers delivers the gripping, suspense-filled tale readers have been waiting for.

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Read an excerpt

Chapter 3
London, Heathrow Airport
Emma eased toward an empty carousel, away from the throngs in Heathrow's crowded baggage claim. She hadn't expected a call. It was an unknown caller. She almost let it go to voice mail but instead answered with a simple hello, without using her name.
"Dear Emma. Where are you?"
She recognized Oliver York's voice and slowed her pace. "Heathrow. Did you get my voice mail?"
"This morning. Yes. You and Colin want to see me. Why?"
"We'll come to you. Are you in London or at your farm?"
"I didn't do it."
Emma went still. His voice was ragged, barely a whisper. This wasn't the irreverent, relentlessly good-natured Oliver York she knew. "Do what, Oliver?"
"I didn't kill that man. I tried to help him. I don't know if it was murder, suicide, an accident. I don't know anything. Tell the police. They're looking for me."
"Oliver, talk to me. Where are you?"
"I'm going dark. I trust you. Trust me. Colin and I will never be friends now." His attempt to return to his natural cheekiness fell flat. "I hope you two had a fabulous honeymoon."
"I can't help you if you go dark," Emma said. "We'll come to you."He was gone.
She slid her phone into her tote bag and rejoined Colin at their baggage carousel. He'd collected their bags, hers a wheeled case, his a duffel he had slung over his shoulder. They'd packed more than they would have for a typical business trip. They'd put together the meetings at the last minute but were dressed professionally in clothes that had seen them through nights out in Ireland.
She told him about Oliver's call. "He's in trouble, Colin."
"Damn right he is. I just got a call from my MI5 contact. Oliver took off from his farm this morning and left behind a dead body."
"They don't know yet. It was a quick call. He wants our help. He'll pave the way for us to talk to the detectives." Colin hoisted his bag higher on his shoulder. "Looks as if we're renting a car and driving to the Cotswolds instead of taking the train into London."
Emma absorbed the change in plan. She didn't know Colin's MI5 contact, just that they'd met during his first undercover mission five years ago. She raised the handle on her bag. Matt Yankowski, their boss in Boston, would want to know she and Colin had landed in the middle of a British death investigation involving Oliver York. "We need to check in with Yank."
"Have at it."
"It's your MI5 contact."
"It's your art thief on the lam and your grandfather whose house was broken into. If we walked into a bunch of arms traffickers, I'd make the call. I'll rent the car." He dipped a hand into her jacket pocket and withdrew her phone, then folded her fingers around it and winked.
"Tell Yank I said hi."
"All right. It does make sense that I make the call. I'll check with my brother at the same time to see if he knows anything about the break-in."
Colin took the lead as they switched their route and started toward the car rental kiosks. Emma unlocked her phone and hit Yank's cell phone number. It was early in Boston but Yank picked up on the first ring. "I just had a call from MI5. They know you're in London and called Oliver York this morning, asked if you have an idea where to find him. Imagine that."
"We don't know where he is. Do they know the identity of the dead man?"
"Not yet. Where's your grandfather?"
"I haven't been in touch with him since we left Dublin. We stopped to see him on the way to the airport. He was having tea on the terrace."
"Has Oliver been in touch with him?"
"Not that I'm aware of."
"Will he now that he's on the run? Those two have an unusual friendship."
"Anything is possible," Emma said.
"Keep me posted. I'll see if what we can do on our end."
Yank disconnected without further comment. A short conversation. Emma pictured him at his Back Bay apartment with his wife, Lucy, a clinical psychologist who'd opened up a knitting shop on Newbury Street after balking at moving from their home and her work in northern Virginia. As unorthodox and risky as his brainchild, HIT, was, Yank was a straight arrow. Late forties, chiseled good looks, crisp suits and dedicated to the FBI. He'd known what he was getting into when he'd gone after her—an ex-nun and a Sharpe—to join the FBI and then to become a part of his unique team.
She dialed an art-crimes detective she knew at Scotland Yard, and he put her in touch with the detective chief investigator leading the inquiry into the death at Oliver York's farm. He listened attentively and instructed her and Colin to come straight to the farm when they arrived in the village.
The calls to her grandfather and her older brother, Lucas, who ran Sharpe Fine Art Recovery, were easier. Neither answered. She left voice mails and caught up with Colin. He had the paperwork finished for their rental car. They'd be on the road to the Cotswolds in no time.
"How'd it go?" he asked her. "Did Yank ask if we had a good time on our honeymoon?"
"He did not. I wish we'd run in to arms traffickers. They're more straightforward than Oliver York."
"But nowhere near as charming."
A few minutes later, they were on the road, heading west to the rolling hills and classic honey-stone villages of the picturesque Cotswolds. Colin was doing the driving. Emma was preoccupied, thinking about Oliver's call. "You know this has something to do with the break-in at Granddad's."
"What do you want to do?"
"I left him a voice mail. I left Lucas a voice mail, too. I'll try Granddad again."
She was almost surprised when he answered. "Emma," he said. "You're in London?"
"Just landed. What are you up to?"
"Contemplating finding a hardware store to fix my broken window."That didn't sound suspicious, and there was nothing suspicious about his tone. "Has Oliver York been in touch by any chance?"
"No." A pause. "Why?"
"Something's happened. I'm not sure what I can tell you at this point. Let me know or let the gardai know if Oliver gets in touch. And keep your doors locked."
"Don't talk to strangers and drink my milk. Got it."
"It's okay. I can tell whatever's going on is bad."
"I just want you to stay safe."
"Always," he said.
Colin glanced at her after she'd hung up. "First day back on the job," he said.
She stared out the window at the busy motorway. "It's going to be a long one."
Excerpt from Thief's Mark by Carla Neggers. Copyright © 2017 by Carla Neggers. Reproduced with permission from Carla Neggers. All rights reserved.

Meet the author

Carla Neggers is the New York Times bestselling author of more than 60 novels, including her popular Sharpe and Donovan and Swift River Valley series. Her books have been translated into 24 languages and sold in over 35 countries. A frequent traveler to Ireland, Carla lives with her family in New England. To learn more and to sign up for her newsletter, visit CarlaNeggers.com.

Catch Up with Carla Neggers on her  
Website or at Facebook and Twitter.

This excerpt and tour brought to you by TLC Book Tours 

Monday, August 14, 2017

Book Showcase: CHILDREN OF THE FIFTH SUN by Gareth Worthington


Children of the Fifth Sun

by Gareth Worthington

on Tour July 24 - Sept 25, 2017

Children of the Fifth Sun by Gareth Worthington

Book Details

Genre: Science Fiction, Thriller | "Science Faction" science fiction, action, adventure with fact-based science, theories and mythology

Published by: Vesuvian Books

Publication Date: July 25th 2017

Number of Pages: 407

ISBN: 9781944109400

Purchase Links: Amazon  | Goodreads 

Don't Miss Your Chance to Read this Free Preview: Amazon  & Barnes & Noble 


Thousands of years ago, an ancient species from the sea saved humanity; now a cocky, free-diving photographer tortured by his past is the unlikely hero who must save the last of their kind from a global race between nations to control the creature's power.

IN ALMOST EVERY BELIEF SYSTEM ON EARTH, there exists a single unifying mythos: thousands of years ago a great flood devastated the Earth's inhabitants. From the ruins of this cataclysm, a race of beings emerged from the sea bestowing knowledge and culture upon humanity, saving us from our selfish drive toward extinction. Some say this race were "ancient aliens" who came to assist our evolution. But what if they weren't alien at all? What if they evolved right here on Earth, alongside humans . . . and they are still here? And, what if the World's governments already know?

Kelly Graham is a narcissistic, self-assured, freelance photographer specializing in underwater assignments. While on a project in the Amazon with his best friend, Chris D'Souza, a mysterious and beautiful government official, Freya Nilsson, enters Kelly's life and turns it upside down. Her simple request to retrieve a strange object from deep underwater puts him in the middle of an international conspiracy. A conspiracy that threatens to change the course of human history.

Read an excerpt:

Freya elegantly glided in front of Kelly, breaking his train of thought. Her slender body slid through the water with grace and ease. She must have sensed his stare, because she turned her head to face him and gave a huge, regulator-filled grin. Kelly stifled a laugh.

He turned back to his equipment to check their depth
sixty-five feet. They were at the sea floor. It wasn't very deep, but this was where it was supposed to be. He motioned his right arm to get Freya's attention. He then signaled for her to look down and keep her eyes open. She gave the okay sign.

As they swam a little further, the structure came into sight just as Alexandro's information had indicated. A large horseshoe-shaped wall, three-feet thick and six-feet tall, spanned more than two-hundred-fifty feet in diameter. Other than that, it was unimpressive
just an old stone wall. Surely, if a team had already been down here, they would have found an orb? Kelly pulled himself along the bottom, sifting through the sand, picking up each stone he came across. He shook his head and looked across at Freya. She seemed to be having similar poor luck, pointlessly rummaging through silt and mud. He swam across to her and pointed in front, indicating his intent to look on ahead. She nodded and watched as he flicked his fins, disappearing into a haze of ocean and sand particles.

Freya returned to her treasure hunt. All she found were rocks and the odd tin or soft drink can. Ugh, it was disgusting. Even the ocean wasn't safe from humanity. She reached the outer edge of the stone wall and swam along, keeping close to it. Her gloved fingers prodded into each crack and crevice, not that she could feel anything through the thick material. Her mask was beginning to fill with water. She thought about Kelly's instruction and began the mask clearing procedure.

Pressing the palm of her right hand against the top of her mask so the bottom released a few millimeters from her face, she exhaled hard through her nose, forcing the water out. A stream of bubbles crashed about her head in a white-water curtain. As it cleared, a small metallic glint protruding from beneath one of the huge stone bricks caught her eye. She clawed her way to it, then started digging in the sand. The fine silt clouded up around her, obscuring her view. Using only her limited sense of touch, Freya kept tunneling under the wall. The familiar shape of a box began to form under her fingers. She dug beneath until she could grip the box with both hands. Tugging hard, she released the cuboid object from its hold in the silt. The billow of sand cleared.

She stared at her treasure. It was a small chest, copper-colored with a green oxidized coating on its surface. She smiled. Could this be it? Could there be an orb inside? The excitement power through her. She raised her head to see if Kelly was nearby, but he wasn't anywhere to be seen. She swam in a circle. The inability to hear or feel anything was unnerving. She only had the power of sight and that was restricted to a straight line in front of her for one hundred fifty feet or so.

The light above her dimmed. Freya frowned and raised her head to investigate. Above her, the huge shadow of a shark glided by. She knew her mask would magnify any object, but still, the thing looked huge. Its blunt snout and thick body looked positively primeval
the perfect predator. Panic set in.

Damn, where was Kelly? Clutching her treasure, Freya lowered her head. She searched for the knife strapped to her right calf. Before she could find it, her gaze was met by the cold stare of reptilian eyes. A sea snake was inches from her face, rippling its body to hold its position. Its eyes were fixed on hers. She froze, holding her breath. Freya shifted her focus from the uncomfortably close predator to the shadow lurking behind it. Oh God. The shark?

It was Kelly. A brief feeling of relief washed over her, but it was snatched away by the searing pain of fangs plunging into her left hand. Freya gargled a scream through her regulator and dropped the box, letting it fall to the sea floor. The snake shot off into murk as Kelly tore through the water toward her. Her breathing slowed and her limbs grew heavy. Her eyelids slid closed. She blinked before her eyes closed one last time.

* * *

Excerpt from Children of the Fifth Sun by Gareth Worthington. Copyright © 2017 by Gareth Worthington. Reproduced with permission from Gandolfo Helin & Fountain Literary. All rights reserved.

More about Gareth Worthington:

Gareth Worthington
Gareth Worthington holds a degree in marine biology, a PhD in endocrinology, and currently educates the World's doctors on new cancer therapies. Gareth has hand tagged sharks in California; won honorable mention at the New York Book Festival 2012 and 2013 for his writing; and trained in various martial arts, including Jeet Kune Do, Muay Thai, and MMA at the EVOLVE MMA gym in Singapore and Phoenix KampfSport Switzerland. Born in Plymouth UK, Worthington currently resides outside of Zurich, Switzerland.

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This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Providence Book Promotions for Gareth Worthington and GH Literary. There will be 1 winner of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card AND 3 winners of one (1) eBook copy of CHILDREN OF THE FIFTH SUN by Gareth Worthington. The giveaway begins on July 24th and runs through September 27th, 2017.

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Friday, August 11, 2017

2017 Book 273: ANOTHER MAN'S GROUND by Claire Booth

Another Man's Ground by Claire Booth 
ISBN: 9781250084415 (hardcover)
ISBN: 9781250084422 (ebook)
ASIN: B01N6ILUGL (Kindle edition)
Publication date: July 11, 2017 
Publisher: Minotaur Books 

"This contemporary take on a locked-room puzzle is chilling, compelling and completely entertaining, and Claire Booth is a wonderful new voice in crime fiction."—Hank Phillippi Ryan on The Branson Beauty

It starts out as an interesting little theft case. Branson, Missouri's new Sheriff Hank Worth is called out to look at stands of trees that have been stripped of their bark, which the property owner had planned to harvest for the booming herbal supplement market. At first, Hank easily balances the demands of the investigation with his fledging political career. He was appointed several months earlier to the vacant sheriff position, but he needs to win the fast-approaching election in order to keep his job. He thinks the campaign will go well, as long as he's able to keep secret the fact that a group of undocumented immigrants – hired to cut down the stripped trees – have fled into the forest and he's deliberately not looking for them.
But then the discovery of a murder victim deep in the Ozark backwoods sets him in the middle of a generations-old feud that explodes into danger not only for him, but also for the immigrants, his deputies, and his family. He must rush to find a murderer before election day, and protect the vulnerable in Branson County, where politicking is hell and trespassing can get you killed.
In Another Man's Ground, her next novel featuring Sheriff Hank Worth, acclaimed author Claire Booth delivers a taut, witty mystery that will grip readers from the opening pages to the breathless conclusion. 

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It started with a simple phone call about stripped slippery elm bark and quickly become something much more complicated. Sheriff Hank Worth's investigation into the theft of the bark of a tree used as a herbal remedy evolves into the discovery of not one but two dead and buried bodies, a host of illegal immigrants in his county, and a miss-step that just might cost him the election as sheriff in the second book in the Sheriff Hank Worth mystery series, Another Man's Ground by Claire Booth.

Sheriff Hank Worth is a transplant to Branson, Missouri from the "city." He was appointed sheriff a few months back and is now running for election. Although Hank's wife was born and raised in Branson, Hank isn't a part of the "good ol' boy" network and doesn't have the political clout of his opponent and long-time county deputy sheriff, Gerald Tucker. Hank doesn't exactly get along with his campaign manager and he's sure her advice at a local luncheon may have cost him the election. As if dealing with the campaign and all of its drama and fallout wasn't bad enough, Hank must also keep under wraps the illegals he found while investigating the bark theft, attempt to discover the identity of the two dead bodies buried years apart, discern why they were killed and disposed of, and handle a family that can only be described as bad-tempered and ornery if not deadly when crossed. Can Hank find the answers to the theft, identify the remains and killer, and do so before the election?

Another Man's Ground is the second book in the Sheriff Hank Worth mystery series by Claire Booth but the first book that I've read (a situation that will be quickly remedied I assure you). I found this to be a fast-paced, engaging, and enjoyable read despite constant interruptions due to travels between hospitals and nursing homes, nursing home drama, back-to-back-to-back migraine headaches, and more. I enjoyed the personal and workplace drama that Hank encounters and found him to be a realistic and believable character. I actually liked most of the characters in this story, including the colorful, crusty and cantankerous Jasper Kinney, campaign manager Darcy Blakely, and Hank's co-workers -- Alice and Sheila (I really liked Sheila). Another Man's Ground is a taut mystery that provides humor with the twists and turns in the story, mixing family drama, big city boy versus small town boy, and more. Although I didn't read The Branson Beauty (again, something that will be rectified soon), I didn't feel as if I coming into this series and missing too much backstory (of course I could be wrong). If you've read The Branson Beauty, then I'm pretty sure you already have Another Man's Ground on your TBR list (if not, add it ASAP). If you haven't read The Branson Beauty, then I strongly urge you to read it and grab yourself a copy of Another Man's Ground to read immediately afterward. I look forward to reading more in this series and consider myself fortunate to have been introduced to this new-to-me author and series.

Disclaimer: I received a free digital review copy of this book from the publisher for review purposes via NetGalley. I was not paid, required, or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Read an excerpt from Another Man's Ground here.

Meet the author

Claire Booth is a journalist and author who has written about crime for decades. She's covered everything from the theft of the Aston Martin used in the James Bond film Goldfinger to the Laci Peterson murder and the San Francisco dog mauling case, where two lawyers were convicted of killing their neighbor with vicious dogs they kept for an imprisoned friend.

She also covered the case of Taylor Helzer, a Northern California man who convinced two followers he was a prophet of God. In order to raise money for their end-of-days scheme, the group extorted money from a retired couple and then killed them and three others to cover their tracks. The tremendously complicated quintuple murder case is the basis for her first book, the non-fiction The False Prophet: Conspiracy, Extortion, and Murder in the Name of God.

After living with that case for so long, Claire decided she'd had enough of the real world and turned to fiction. Her first novel, The Branson Beauty, was published in 2016, and the second in the series, Another Man's Ground, came out in July 2017.

Connect with Ms. Booth at her website, on Facebook and Twitter.

This review and tour brought to you by TLC Book Tours 

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Guest Post: Felicity Everett, author of THE PEOPLE AT NUMBER 9

Hello, my bookish peeps. If you're anything like me, you love meeting new bookish people -- readers, publicists, publishers, and especially authors. I'm excited to introduce a new-to-me author, Felicity Everett. Ms. Everett has written over 25 works of children's fiction and nonfiction. Her debut adult fiction was The Story of Us, published in 2011. Ms. Everett's latest adult fiction release is The People at Number 9 and something tells me this is going to be a delightfully wicked read. Today Ms. Everett will be discussing with us the importance of finding the right title. Without further adieu, I give you Felicity Everett.

Otter Wrangling For The Broken-hearted; One Author's Search for the Perfect Title 

I'm stuck for a title for my new book. It's a psychological exploration of a disintegrating marriage, set in the English countryside. Any ideas? Me neither. Well, that's not quite true, I've had fifty or sixty ideas, some of which seemed pure genius when they woke me up in the middle of the night but which, re-visited in the cold light of day, turned out to not to be.  That's partly because my book's a bit of a genre-buster. It's got gothic elements, but it's not a thriller, so calling it 'The House on Dark Lane' or 'The House at The Edge of The Wood' seems a miss-sell. It's set in a cottage, but anything with cottage in the title sounds twee. The countryside lives and breathes in this book so a plant-derived title might work.  Except that none of them does. Jack-By-The-Hedge - too pervy; Love Lies Bleeding - too crimey, Apple of Sodom - yes, well…

Let's try a different approach. My novel is literary in style and rural in setting, so a quote could be good. 'The Pathless Wood' is a lovely phrase from Byron's Childe Harold, but separate it from its illustrious context and it sounds a bit meh. What about Robert Frost then? Nature poet par excellence; colloquial yet epic. Surely he's got a phrase I could nab? 'Thrush Music'? (a bit gynecological)  'Uncertain Harvest'? (too much like a Douglas Sirk movie). This isn't working.  

A title has a lot of work to do.  At the most basic level, it tells the bookseller whether to display the book in Fiction or Non-fiction.  The Heart is a Lonely Hunter: fiction, Telecommunications in the Digital Age: non-fiction. A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian – aha - now they're flummoxed, or they might have been, had the title not been quirky enough and the cover artwork funky enough to indicate that it was actually a novel. It went on to be a bestseller, winning a clutch of prestigious prizes and spawning (no pun intended) a new fashion in non-fiction-y sounding fiction such as Salmon Fishing in the Yemen and The Sex Lives of African Girls. Maybe that's an approach I could try. Otter-Wrangling for the Broken Hearted anyone?  

I'm beginning to long for the days when an eponymous hero would suffice – what's wrong with a Tom Jones, Moll Flanders, Jane Eyre? They seem epic and arresting enough to us now, as they come down the years trailing clouds of literary glory. I'm not sure my heroine Karen Whittaker passes muster though. I can't see her featuring on an English literature syllabus of the future, or making the transition from page to screen. Karen Whittaker, The Motion Picture. Nah.

I rather like the latest fashion for transcendental titles. The Color of Hope; Do Not Say We Have Nothing; What She Left Behind. By evoking absence and paradox, these novels seem to promise philosophical enlightenment  - some of them even deliver.  Anthony Doerr's All The Light We Cannot See is a moving and morally complex tale with a blind girl as one of its central characters, so its allegorical title earns its keep. But the more these vague, allusively-titled novels proliferate, the harder it is to take them seriously, or to tell them apart. Bet you can't pick the genuine titles from the fakes in the list below.

1. The Things We Wish Were True2. The Things We Once Held Dear3. The Things We Leave Behind4. When Once We Were Alone5. Where All The Stardust Lies6. We Are Not Ourselves7. Where We Fall8. An Astonishing Absence of Light 

(1, 3, 6 and 7 are real. 2, 4, 5 and 8 are made up)

So, as tempting as it is to call my book All The Sex They Didn't Have, I shall resist.

Which means it's back to the drawing board. Ideas on the back of a postcard please…

The People at Number Nine by Felicity Everett
ISBN: 9780008228804 (paperback)
ISBN: 9780008265298 (ebook)
ASIN: B072TXBB7Y (Kindle edition)
Release Date: August 8, 2017
Publisher: HQ | HarperCollins

Have you met them yet, the new couple?
When Gav and Lou move into the house next door, Sara spends days plucking up courage to say hello. The neighbours are glamorous, chaotic and just a little eccentric. They make the rest of Sara's street seem dull by comparison.
When the hand of friendship is extended, Sara is delighted and flattered. Incredibly, Gav and Lou seem to see something in Sara and Neil that they admire too. In no time at all, the two couples are soulmates, sharing suppers, bottles of red wine and childcare, laughing and trading stories and secrets late into the night in one another's houses.
And the more time Sara spends with Gav and Lou, the more she longs to make changes in her own life. But those changes will come at a price. Soon Gav and Lou will be asking things they've no right to ask of their neighbours, with shattering consequences for all of them...
Have you met The People at Number 9? A dark and delicious novel about envy, longing, and betrayal in the suburbs...

This excerpt brought to you by HarperCollins

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Book Showcase: FIVE WAYS TO KILL A MAN by Alex Gray

Five Ways to Kill A Man

by Alex Gray

on Tour

July 30 - August 30, 2017


Five Ways to Kill A Man by Alex Gray

An unpredictable killer is loose on the streets of Glasgow, experimenting with death. Beginning with brute force, the murderer moves on to poison and drowning, greedy for new and better ways to kill.
Faced with a string of unconnected victims, DCI Lorimer turns to psychologist and friend Solomon Brightman for his insights. Lorimer is also assigned to review the case of a fatal house fire. His suspicions are raised by shocking omissions in the original investigation. Some uncomfortable questions have been buried but Lorimer is the man to ask them.
As the serial killer gets closer to Lorimer's family, can the DCI unmask the volatile murderer before the next victim is found too close to home?

Book Details:

Genre: Procedural
Published by: Witness Impulse
Publication Date: July 11, 2017
Number of Pages: 368
ISBN: 0062659189 (ISBN13: 9780062659187)
Series: DCI Lorimer #7, All are Stand Alone
Purchase Links: Amazon  | Barnes & Noble  | Goodreads 

Read an excerpt:

When Mary heard the back door being knocked, a smile lit up her wizened features: it was him! Danny hadn't let her down after all, she thought. Shuffling through the hall, the old lady placed one hand on the papered walls for support, breathing hard at the effort. She switched on the kitchen light, an expression of delighted anticipation on her face at the shadow beyond the half-glazed door. The tea tray was still prepared for them; Danny's favourite biscuits on a plate beneath the embroidered cloth, two china cups and saucers all ready beside them. Mary smoothed down her skirt and patted her tightly permed white curls, just as if she were about to welcome a young suitor to her parlour.

Eager fingers turned the key and then the cold air rushed in, sweeping Mary's skirt above her knees, making her tremble at the empty darkness. Where was he? The trees outside swayed in the gathering storm. Had she really seen his shadow there on her doorstep? Or was it a trick of the light?

'Danny? Danny! Are you out there? Come in, lad, it's too cold for me to leave the door open.' Mary's smile faded as she heard the branches of the old apple tree creak in the wind. Had she imagined the door being knocked? Had her heightened anticipation tricked her into imagining that familiar sound? Was it the wind?

Disappointed, Mary was about to shut the door once again when she heard it: a pitiful cry just out there in the garden, some small animal in distress. Was it a cat? She'd had cats for years, but after Tiggle had been put down Malcolm had persuaded her not to have another one. It's too much for you, Mother, he'd scolded. But Mary still missed the companionable creature and on a night like this a furry body curled on her lap would have been very welcome. So, was it a stray cat, perhaps?

Peering into the darkness, Mary heard it again, a bit closer this time.

'Puss?' she queried. 'Here, pussy,' she said, her words drawn away by a gust of wind. Venturing forwards, Mary took one step down, her fingers gripping the rail that the nice man from social services had put in for her, and called again. 'Puss, puss . . .'

The figure seemed to come from nowhere, the hood concealing his face.

'Danny?' Mary stood still, wondering, doubting as he mounted the steps towards her.

But in that moment of hesitation she felt her fingers being pried from the railing, then the figure was suddenly behind her.

One blow to her spine and she was falling down and down, a thin wail of pain coming from her mouth as the sharp edges of the stone steps grazed her face, cut into her flailing arms.

Mary closed her eyes before the final thud, her skull smashing against the concrete slab below.

'Miaow!' the hooded figure cried, then laughed softly at the inert body splayed at the foot of the steps. Bending down, it lifted one of the woman's thin wrists, feeling for a pulse. A moment passed then the hood nodded its satisfaction, letting the dead woman's arm fall back on to the cold, hard ground.


Excerpt from Five Ways to Kill A Man by Alex Gray. Copyright © 2017 by Alex Gray. Reproduced with permission from Witness Impulse. All rights reserved.

Author Bio:

Alex Gray
Alex Gray was born and educated in Glasgow. After studying English and Philosophy at the University of Strathclyde, she worked as a visiting officer for the Department of Health, a time she looks upon as postgraduate education since it proved a rich source of character studies. She then trained as a secondary school teacher of English.

Alex began writing professionally in 1993 and had immediate success with short stories, articles, and commissions for BBC radio programs. She has been awarded the Scottish Association of Writers' Constable and Pitlochry trophies for her crime writing.

A regular on the Scottish bestseller lists, she is the author of thirteen DCI Lorimer novels. She is the co-founder of the international Scottish crime writing festival, Bloody Scotland, which had its inaugural year in 2012.

Connect with Alex Gray on her Website  & Twitter .

Tour Participants:

Visit the other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways!


This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Alex Gray & Witness Impulse. There will be 3 winners of one (1) eBook copy of Alex Gray's Glasgow Kiss. The giveaway begins on July 30 and runs through August 30, 2017.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

2017 Book 262: THE LOST ONES by Sheena Kamal

The Lost Ones by Sheena Kamal 
ISBN: 9780062565907 (hardcover)
ISBN: 9780062670816 (HarperLuxe - large print)
ISBN: 9780062565761 (ebook)
ISBN: 9780062659910 (audiobook)
ASIN: B01GZS36K6 (Kindle edition)
Publication date: July 25, 2017 
Publisher: William Morrow 

Recommended for summer reading by TIME magazine

"A brave, unflinching heroine and brave, unflinching writing add up to an extraordinary debut--highly recommended."--Lee Child

A dark, compulsively readable psychological suspense debut, the first in a new series featuring the brilliant, fearless, chaotic, and deeply flawed Nora Watts—a character as heartbreakingly troubled, emotionally complex, and irresistibly compelling as Stieg Larsson's Lisbeth Salander and Jo Nesbø’s Harry Hole.

It begins with a phone call that Nora Watts has dreaded for fifteen years—since the day she gave her newborn daughter up for adoption. Bonnie has vanished. The police consider her a chronic runaway and aren't looking, leaving her desperate adoptive parents to reach out to her birth mother as a last hope.
A biracial product of the foster system, transient, homeless, scarred by a past filled with pain and violence, Nora knows intimately what happens to vulnerable girls on the streets. Caring despite herself, she sets out to find Bonnie with her only companion, her mutt Whisper, knowing she risks reopening wounds that have never really healed—and plunging into the darkness with little to protect her but her instincts and a freakish ability to detect truth from lies.
The search uncovers a puzzling conspiracy that leads Nora on a harrowing journey of deception and violence, from the gloomy rain-soaked streets of Vancouver, to the icy white mountains of the Canadian interior, to the beautiful and dangerous island where she will face her most terrifying demon. All to save a girl she wishes had never been born.

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Nora Watts is a survivor. She survived the Canadian foster care system. She survived living on the streets. She survived being kidnapped, beaten, raped and left for dead. She survived waking up from a coma to find out she was pregnant with her rapist's child. She struggles every day to overcome her alcoholism. Can she survive knowing that the child she gave up fifteen years ago has disappeared and no one in authority seems to care? This is just one of the questions raised in the debut suspense-thriller, The Lost Ones by Sheena Kamal.

Nora Watts is struggling to stay on an even keel. She works part-time as a research associate for a journalist and private investigator and lives in the basement of the office building where she works with a rescued dog. Nora doesn't really have friends and has alienated her one surviving family member, a younger sister, along with her recovery sponsor. Although life is a struggle, Nora is a survivor and she fights to maintain her sobriety and rebuild her life. All that may come crumbling down when she receives a call and finds out that the child she gave up for adoption fifteen years ago has disappeared and the police don't seem interested in looking for the child. A seemingly simple case of finding a lost child quickly becomes anything but simple and may have ties to a multi-national corporation, a top-flight security firm, and Nora's kidnapping and rape all those years ago. As Nora finds answers to some questions, more alarming questions are raised. Who can Nora turn to for support? Will she be able to find answers and her missing daughter before it is too late?

It has been a bit of a struggle over the past 10 days to focus on blog reading due to back-to-back family medical emergencies. Days spent in a noisy hospital environment when you're a chronic migraineur equals an inhospitable environment for reading (fluorescent lighting, loud sounds, pungent smells, etc.). Having said all that, once I started The Lost Ones I was quickly pulled into the story and successfully able to tune out all of the background distractions and read this story in one afternoon. I found Nora to be a deeply flawed but somewhat likable character that I began to cheer on. Nora isn't the nicest person in the world, but once you realize everything she's overcome it is easy to make some allowances for her flaws. The story takes multiple twists and turns as it progresses and I wasn't quite sure how Ms. Kamal was going to pull it all together, but she does and does so quite well in my opinion. The Lost Ones isn't just about a search for a missing child, it's also about self-discovery and an awakening of a complex character with a host of flaws. Ms. Kamal isn't graphic in her description of Nora's rape, but the rape and beating aren't glossed over either. All of the characters presented have their flaws and I found that to be incredibly realistic and appealing. Yes, there are bad guys in the story and they do some horrible things (no, I'm not going to tell you what horrible things...read the book!). If you're a fan of suspense-thrillers or just enjoy reading books with intense and complex characters, then you'll definitely want to grab a copy of The Lost Ones to read. If you're not sure about suspense-thrillers but want something different to read, look no further and grab yourself a copy of The Lost Ones. I enjoyed reading The Lost Ones by Sheena Kamal and look forward to reading more from this author in the future.

Disclaimer: I received a free digital review copy of this book from the publisher for review purposes via Edelweiss+. I was not paid, required, or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Meet the author:

Sheena Kamal holds an HBA in political science from the University of Toronto, and was awarded a TD Canada Trust scholarship for community leadership and activism around the issue of homelessness. Kamal has also worked as a crime and investigative journalism researcher for the film and television industry—academic knowledge and experience that inspired this debut novel. She lives in Vancouver, Canada.

Find out more about Kamal at her website, and connect with her on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.