Favorite Quotes on Books and Reading

"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

"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

Thursday, April 24, 2014

World Book Night 2014




Here's a graphic showing all of the books for 2014:




I was so pleased to be chosen as a giver for World Book Night US (WBN) for the third year. This year I chose to give out The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown. Even though I was pleased to be chosen for another year, I had some serious reservations.




I'm sorry to say that in my first and second year as a giver, I struggled to find places to give out books and then to actually giveaway books after a place was chosen. My first year I went to a local recreation center and attempted to give out books to the teens participating in an afterschool program. Some of them were interested in receiving anything for free, others were extremely wary about accepting a book even if it was free. It wasn't until I impressed upon them that they didn't HAVE to read the book, but might find it interesting if they did read it that they relented and accepted the free book. My first year's book choice was I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou and it took almost two hours to hand out 20 books.



My second year as a giver was a little easier, but not by much. I attended a local Pink Ribbon event and pretty much had a captive audience (or so I thought). Again I was astonished at the number of people that simply refused to accept a free book, no strings attached. My saving grace were students from a local massage therapy school that loved the idea of a free book that wasn't related to their studies. At least 10 of my 20 books went to the young men and women from this school. Thankfully they were in attendance to give short messages for other attendees and were quite happy about accepting the freebie. Several other vendors accepted copies of the book, but none of the attendees wanted a copy. My book for WBN 2013 was The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh. It took almost 90 minutes to give out my 20 books in 2013.



Needless to say after two years of attempting to give out books, I was a little concerned about participating in WBN 2014. When I discussed my dilemma at a local book group, a friend suggested I contact a local shelter for women and families. I called and they said "yes, please come." I wasn't quite sure what to expect, but I was hopeful that 2014 would be the year for my WBN participation. When I walked into the shelter last night I was a little surprised when I was told there were a few other givers present. I immediately thought, "oh no...I'm going to have problems again this year." My concerns about giving out book were doubled because I also was giving out a YA book (Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson) on behalf of another giver that couldn't participate at the last minute. If giving away 20 books was difficult, then 40 books was going to be disastrous, or so I thought.



I'm glad to report that 2014 was indeed THE year. All 40 of the books I had were distributed within a scant 30-35 minutes after my arrival at the shelter. These women, young women, and young men were so excited about getting books. Some of the mothers came in and chose a book for themselves and one for their children. Other mothers came in, grabbed a book, and came back with their children or friends to pick up a book. I was delighted to see so many people happy to receive books I could have cried. There were a total of 80 books given out at this local shelter and every single one was accepted with gratitude and a smile. This was why I signed up to be giver in 2012, 2013, and again this year. This made my previous two years worth the struggle. If that isn't reason enough to be happy then how about this, I've been invited to come back next year to give out books.

Here's a photo of just a few of the happy recipients from WBN 2014 from the shelter here in Charleston, West Virginia.



World Book Night's aim is to spread the love of reading from one person to another person. I hope that at least one person that received books on 04/23/2014 will discover that love. 

Thank you World Book Night US. Thank you to all of the publishers, printers, and shipping companies that helped to make WBN 2014 a possibility. Thank you to the ladies in my book group for their suggestions on possible locations for 2014. Thank you to the YWCA of Charleston for allowing me to go to their local shelter and give out books. Thank you to my local library, the Kanawha County Public Library, for receiving our WBN books. And finally, a huge "thank you" to Elizabeth F. at the Kanawha County Public Library for assuming the duties this year for the WBN books and making posters for the WBN givers in our area. I hope I'm chosen to be a WBN giver in 2015 because this year was simply amazing!

Did you participate in World Book Night this year? Did you see someone giving out books for World Book Night? Please share your WBN story.






Want to learn more about World Book Night? Please visit World Book Night US for information about the program in the United States. If you reside in the UK or Ireland, please visit World Book Night UK for additional information.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Book Blast: THE POWER by Jeff Hennelly


The Power Book Boost & Giveaway!



"a heart-quickening novel that will thrill Michael Crichton fans and that T.C. Boyle readers will find wickedly smart"














About The Power




What if you had the power to heal others but it only brought you personal destruction and ruin? Would you still use it? 

When a street shaman meets a horrific demise on Dr. Austin MacLean's ER table, Austin soon discovers a raw and irrepressible power. But when this power inflicts traumatic effects on three chronically ill children, families rush to accuse him, his colleagues condemn him, and the police begin to investigate in this affluent New Jersey beach town....and so do others when the children begin to show inconceivable progress. 

Dara Kleows, a local reporter, is the first to connect the children's gradual healings back to Austin. The two develop a deep bond but Austin remains uncertain as to what this beautiful woman wants. Is she just after a story, or more? There are those who covet Austin's "power" and at any cost, while Dara grows concerned by Austin's headlong march toward his own perdition. 

What if you had the power to heal but people condemned you and suspected its use? Would you still use it? Read The Power. You just might need it someday when you meet the One, or if that One becomes you. 




Purchase The Book

*Only $2.99 on Kindle!*



Kindle  *  Paperback




About The Author




Jeff Hennelly now lives outside of Philadelphia, PA. He's been in the medical device business for over 20 years and has worked with hospitals, clinics, and alternate care facilities from Palo Alto to Prague. His articles and short stories have appeared in numerous trade magazines and journals. His latest novel, THE POWER has generated motion picture interest. His fascination remains for the human condition, behavior surrounding procreation, and in art that portrays a metaphor for life. Look for his new novel, THE 95 PERCENT in December of 2013.







ENTER THE GIVEAWAY!

The author is giving away this fabulous prize!

$50








a Rafflecopter giveaway 


Monday, April 14, 2014

Guest Post: Nancy Allen, author of THE CODE OF THE HILLS



How do you come up with a likeable heroine? Nancy Allen, author of The Code of the Hills: An Ozarks Mystery, stops by to answer this question. The Book Diva's Reads is pleased to present to you Nancy Allen:



Fictional Heroines: A Recipe
By Nancy Allen

What makes heroines tick? Why do readers fall head over heels to embrace one female protagonist, while another leaves them cold?

I think it's the right combination of ingredients: V/V, U/R. The heroine must possess the essential elements of Virtue and Vulnerability, and be simultaneously Unique and Relatable.

Think of the women we love in fiction: Skeeter in The Help, Clare Fergusson in Julia Spencer-Fleming's series, Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum. They have the V/V factor. All heroines must exhibit strength, whether they are battling racism, or fighting crime, or solving mysteries. It requires a healthy dose of virtue to get the job done.

But a heroine who is all goodness and light is a bore. I didn't read each and every volume of Spencer-Fleming's series because I wanted to hear heroine Clare Fergusson, an Episcopal priest, preach on Sunday. No, indeed; I wanted to see Clare struggle with her unbridled lust for a hunky married cop. The vulnerability factor, the contest of strength and weakness, converted her woman-of-the-cloth heroine from a potential yawn to a persona who kept me riveted to the page.

Similarly, Skeeter's fight against the racist practices of the 1960's Deep South was heightened by her angst, fear, and uncertainty as she met in secret with the maids whose stories fueled an expose. And Stephanie Plum's employment background in lingerie does not equip her for the job of crimefighter; but the fact that she stumbles makes us root for her.

Also, the heroine has to be unique in some way. We don't want to see the same woman over and over again in fiction. Stock female characters bore us; in the mystery and suspense genre, we've all seen the hard-boiled female detective, the brilliant-but-introverted medical examiner; the tough-as-nails female lawyer. If the character isn't invested with traits that set her apart, we toss the book before we reach page 50. A heroine needs a streak of something unexpected, either in her background, like Clarice Starling of The Silence of the Lambs, or her history (addiction issues, personal disasters), or her personality.

But while we want something unique, the heroine must remain relatable. A heroine who is too beautiful, too brilliant, too infallible makes us suspicious. Why should we care about her? We don't like those women in real life—the acquaintance who never has a hair out of place or a run in her hose. Why would we like her in a book? Who wants to read about that?

So we love Skeeter's frizzy hair in The Help; Stephanie Plum's family dinners with kinfolks who deliver a put-down with a hug. We want to see a heroine eat a doughnut, sleep through the alarm, walk into a kitchen full of dirty dishes. Leave the infallible heroines to the dystopian fantasies, targeting the the high school set (no doughnuts or dirty dishes in Chasing Fire). Real women need protagonists who contend with life's realities.

When crafting the heroine of my novel, The Code of the Hills: An Ozarks Mystery, I tried to follow my own advice. Elsie Arnold, the assistant prosecutor in my legal thriller, embodies the V/V contrast. She's smart, dedicated, hard-working—important virtues in the legal field. But Elsie has feet of clay. Her personal life is messy. She puts up with a bad boyfriend because he's easy on the eyes; to relax, she heads to the local bar (not the gym); she makes mistakes in her case that threaten the outcome. Elsie is a good/bad girl.

And it's important to remember the U/R quotient as well. Elsie is a hillbilly, born and raised in the Missouri Ozarks, with the quirks inherent in natives of that area; that’s something you don’t see in fiction every day. She's also a feminist fighting for women in the good ole boy community.

But she is truly relatable. Elsie buys McDonalds burgers at the drive-through and eats in the car. She watches reality TV and buys her shoes at Shoe Carnival. She turns to her mother for comfort and counsel, then rejects her advice—just like we all do.

Whether I invested Elsie with the right measures of V & V, U & R? Only time will tell. The Code of the Hills will be released by HarperCollins on April 15, and Elsie will be put to the test. I hope she lights up the page!



About the author:

Nancy Allen is a member of the law faculty in the College of Business at Missouri State University. She practiced law for 15 years, serving as Assistant Missouri Attorney General and as Assistant Prosecutor in her native Ozarks. When Nancy began her term as prosecutor, she was only the second woman in Southwest Missouri to serve in that capacity. During her years in prosecution, she tried over 30 jury trials, including murder and sexual offenses, and she served on the Rape Crisis Board and the child protection team of the Child Advocacy Council. The Code of the Hills is her first novel.



Connect with the author:     Website     |     Facebook     |     Twitter 



A powerful debut thriller set in the Ozark hills, about a young female prosecutor trying to do right by her vulnerable clients-but by breaking their silence, she herself may fall victim to The Code of the Hills. Elsie Arnold may not always have it all together, but a raucous night at the bar now and then is just how she blows off steam after a long week of hard-fought trials. When she is chosen to assist on a high-profile incest case, Elsie is excited to step up after four years of hard work as an attorney for the prosecutor’s office, and ready to realize her ambition of becoming the Ozarks' avenging angel. There might even be media attention.
But as soon as Elsie she begins to sink her teeth into the State of Missouri vs. Kris Taney, things start to go wrong -which is when her boss dumps the entire case on her. The star witness and victim's brother, who has accused Taney of sexually abusing his three daughters, has gone missing. The three girls, ages six, 12, and 15, may not be fit to testify, their mother won't talk, and the evidence is spotty. To make matters worse, it seems that some people in town don’t want Elsie to lock Taney up – judging by the death threats and chicken parts left for her to find.
Elsie is determined to break the code of silence and find out what really happened, refusing to let a sex offender walk, but the odds – and maybe the community – are against her. Even as Elsie fights the good fight for her clients, she isn't so different from them: her personal life is taking a one-two punch as her cop boyfriend becomes more and more controlling. And amidst all of the conflict, the safety of the three young Taney girls hangs in the balance.


Enter to win 1 of 10 individual promo codes to download a copy of The Code of the Hills ebook. To enter use the Rafflecopter form below. All winners must have access to Bluefire Reader AND have an Adobe account in order to download the book. 


a Rafflecopter giveaway


This author visit organized by Partners In Crime Tours.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Guest Post: Carey Baldwin, Author of CONFESSION



Today the Book Diva's Reads is pleased to host a visit by Carey Baldwin, author of the new psychological thriller Confession. Ms. Baldwin will be discussing various influences on her writing. I hope you'll enjoy her discussion and you definitely need to buy and read her book Confession!



Writing Influences
By Carey Baldwin

First, thank you so much to The Book Diva's Reads for inviting me today. I'm delighted to be here and to share with you which authors have most influenced my writing. This seemed a tough question until I realized that my influences have changed over time. So if I may, I'll divide them into groups. 

My earliest influences were perhaps the most important. It was when, as a child, I huddled under the covers reading the likes of Hans Brinker or the Silver Skates by Mary Mapes Dodge, Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain and Little Women by Louisa May Alcott that I learned the meaning of an unputdownable book. Even though it meant reading by the dim orange light on my electric blanket control, even though it meant being dog tired at school the next day, even though it meant risking a spanking and heaven forbid "ruining my young eyes", I simply couldn't stop reading these stories. This is where my love affair with storytelling began. 

As time marched on, I found myself giving up books of my own choosing (or my mother's ) for those needed to complete my school work. Luckily for me I found wonderful authors in my "required" reading. Charles Dickens, Jane Austen and Charlotte Bronte were among my favorites. And it was through my high-school literature class that I discovered my favorite book of all time: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. Even today, I can't seem to keep the influence of that work out of my own stories. Somehow, references to it have appeared in each of my full-length novels. I don't do it on purpose. It just happens. 

In college, I had the time and freedom to choose my own reading, and that's when I began to read a lot of commercial fiction. I loved (and still do love) a heart-thumping romance or a shiver-inducing thriller. My favorite authors today are too numerous to name, but I'll hit a few highlights with Steven King, Cindy Gerard, Harlan Coben, Allison Brennan, Karen Rose, Lisa Gardner…you get the idea.

But the most important influences of all have been a core group of writer friends who critique with me and support me. You'll find their names listed in the acknowledgements of my books. Each one of them inspires me every day to write my best possible book, and reminds me to never give up on my dreams. 

Thanks again, for having me! And thanks for reading!


About the author:


Carey Baldwin is a mild-mannered doctor by day and an award-winning author of edgy suspense by night. She holds two doctoral degrees, one in medicine and one in psychology. She loves reading and writing stories that keep you off balance and on the edge of your seat. Carey lives in the southwestern United States with her amazing family. In her spare time she enjoys hiking and chasing wildflowers. 



Connect with the author:      Website      |     Twitter      |      Facebook 


Monday, April 7, 2014

Book Showcase: THE IDEA OF HIM by Holly Peterson

Have you ever wanted someone, something, so badly to be true that you'd overlook every shred of evidence to the contrary?

Enter Wade Crawford – the dazzling, urbane, hotshot magazine editor of Meter. With gorgeous hazel eyes, strong shoulders, a chiseled face, and long blondish hair, he was everything that Allie ever thought she wanted in a man and a husband. Until she realized he was anything but. 



The Idea of Him by Holly Peterson
ISBN: 9780062283108 (paperback)
ISBN: 9780062283115 (ebook)
ASIN: B00DB3D3A2 (Kindle edition)
Publisher: William Morrow & Company
Publication Date: April 1, 2014

Mary Crawford is a once aspiring screenwriter turned successful public relations executive, mother of two young children, and wife of a hotshot magazine editor whose power base spans the worlds of finance, fashion, culture, entertainment, and society. At 34, she finds herself at a crossroads: between the office and her home, her life has become an endless rotation of people pleasing-whether pulling rabbits out of hats for her mogul boss, entertaining advertisers and phony A-listers for her husband's magazine, or making elaborate costumes for children's school plays. At least, that is, until she meets a head turning, traffic stopping beauty at the bar of the famed Four Seasons Grill Room-where many of the novel's players regularly convene-and shortly thereafter finds the same woman and her husband in an apparently compromising position in her own apartment.
And so begins the story of two very different women bound by similar missions-to uncover the crimes and betrayals of various men in their lives and finally put their own interests front and center. For Mary this ultimately means leaving a husband who is ideal in theory but not in practice, and deciding to risk security for self-fulfillment and a new life on her own. Like so many women, Mary fell for the man she married when she was in her twenties only to realize years later that it wasn't him she fell for as much as it was the idea of him-the idea of a savior who would protect and provide and ferry her from her past into the future. But the guy who seemed so right at the time turned out to be nothing more than a fantasy.



Read an Excerpt:

CHAPTER 8 PULLED TOWARDS THE EDGE
While he was coming to quick terms with the idea that he'd finally found an attractive woman who cared about his world of nonstop news and gossip, right away, I knew that I too certainly liked the idea of this Wade Crawford man before me. He fit a need. His enthusiasm for life and work would soften my losses: my father in a plane to the ravages of an untimely blizzard and James to a burning obsession to save every child on the other side of the world. 

New York glimmered around us that night, the way it can when spontaneity falls perfectly into place. After dinner, Wade escorted me to two downtown parties filled with cigarette smoke and writers. Someday I hoped to be like his writer friends who wrote long magazine stories and books that they'd mined from their souls. It was clear from every angle that Wade’s non-stop joie-de-vivre was more than contagious. He was sheer fun, and full of the possibility of escape, of renewal even. 

He dropped me at my stoop at dawn, kissing me tenderly on the lips and disappearing into the early morning glow. As I watched him bounce down the street, all I could think was that he had Daddy's electricity and confidence. And that suited me just fine.   

Read more from The Idea of Him by clicking here 



Meet the author:


Holly Peterson is the author of the New York Times and international best seller, The Manny. She was a Contributing Editor for Newsweek and editor-at-large for Tina Brown’s Talk magazine. She was also an Emmy Award–winning producer for ABC News for more than a decade, where she covered global politics. Her writing has been published in the New York Times, Newsweek, Talk, the Daily Beast, Vogue, Harper's Bazaar, and other publications.




Connect with the author:     Website     |     Facebook     |     Twitter