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

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Book Showcase: Sidney Sheldon's RECKLESS by Tilly Bagshawe

Sidney Sheldon's Reckless by Tilly Bagshawe 
ISBN: 9780062304063 (paperback)
ISBN: 9780062304070 (eBook)
ISBN: 9781504645560 (audiobook)
ASIN: B00SG00HS6 (Kindle version)
Publication Date: July 26, 2016  (paperback release)
Publisher: William Morrow

#1 New York Times bestselling author Sidney Sheldon's most popular and enduring heroine—Tracy Whitney of If Tomorrow Comes and Sidney Sheldon's Chasing Tomorrow—finds herself caught in a nefarious and far-reaching scheme involving international terrorism and corruption in this compelling thriller packed with heart-stopping twists and breathtaking action.
Once upon a time, Tracy Whitney was one of the best thieves in the business. Then she settled down and had a child-a beautiful, bright, mischievous boy who was the center of her life. Tracy planned to spend the rest of her days quietly, living anonymously deep in the stunning Colorado mountains, devoted to raising her son. But tragedy forces her to face her greatest nightmare. Now, with nothing left to protect, this superb con artist, jewel thief, computer wizard, and cat burglar returns to the hunt, more dangerous, ruthless, and reckless than ever.
An addictive tale of espionage, mystery, passion, greed, betrayal, and vengeance that takes you from the beautiful Rocky Mountains to Europe's oldest and grandest cities, filled with a cast of intriguing characters both new and familiar, Sidney Sheldon's Reckless is a glamorous thrill ride that will leave you breathless until its shocking end. 

Read an excerpt:

Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst, England
Saturday, November 22, nine p.m.

Officer Cadet Sebastian Williams burst into Major General Frank Dorrien's office. Williams's complexion was white, his hair disheveled, his uniform a disgrace. Frank Dorrien's upper lip curled. If he closed his eyes he could practically hear the standards slipping, like turds off a wet rock.
"What is it?"
"It's Prince Achileas, Sir."
"Prince Achileas? Do you mean Officer Cadet Constantinos?"
Williams looked at the ground. "Yes, Sir."
"Well? What about him?"
For one appalling moment, General Dorrien thought that Williams might be going to cry.
"He's dead, Sir."
The Major General flicked a piece of lint off his jacket. Tall and thin, with the wiry frame of a marathon runner and a face so chiseled and angular it looked like it had been carved from flint, Frank Dorrien's expression gave nothing away.
"Yes, Sir. I found him . . . hanging. Just now. It was awful, Sir!" Cadet Williams started to shake. Christ, he was an embarrassment.
"Show me."
Frank Dorrien took his battered attache case with him and followed the distressed cadet along a windowless corridor back towards the barracks. Half walking, half jogging, the boy's limbs dangled like a puppet with its strings tangled. Frank Dorrien shook his head. Soldiers like Officer Cadet Sebastian Williams represented everything that was wrong with today's army. 
No discipline. No order. No fucking courage. 
An entire generation of dolts. 
Achileas Constantinos, Prince of Greece, had been just as bad. Spoiled, entitled. These boys seemed to think that joining the army was some sort of game.
"In there, Sir." Williams gestured towards the men's bathrooms.
"He's still . . . I didn't know if I should cut him down."
"Thank you, Williams."
Frank Dorrien's granite-hewn face showed no emotion. In his early fifties, gray haired and rigid backed, Frank was a born soldier. His body was the product of a lifetime of rigorous physical discipline. It was the perfect complement to his ordered, controlled mind.
"Sir?" Cadet Williams hovered, confused. Did the Major General really want him to leave?
Not that he wanted to see Achileas again. The image of his friend's corpse was already seared on his memory. The bloated face with its bulging eyes, swinging grotesquely from the rafters like an overstuffed Guy on bonfire night. Williams had been scared to death when he found him. He might be a soldier on paper, but the truth was he'd never seen a dead body before.
"Are you deaf?" Frank Dorrien snapped. "I said 'dismissed.'"
"Sir. Yes, Sir."
Frank Dorrien waited until Cadet Williams was gone. Then he opened the bathroom door. The first thing he saw were the young Greek prince's boots, swinging at eye level in front of an open stall. They were regulation, black and beautifully polished. A thing of beauty, to General Dorrien's eyes.
Every Sandhurst cadet should have boots like that.
Dorrien's eyes moved upwards. The trousers of the prince's uniform had been soiled. That was a shame, although not a surprise. Unfortunately the bowels often gave way at the moment of death, a last indignity. Dorrien wrinkled his nose as the foul stench assaulted him.
His eyes moved up again and he found himself looking into the dead boy's face.
Prince Achileas Constantinos looked back at him, his glassy, brown eyes fixed wide in death, as if eternally astonished that the world could be so cruel.
         Stupid boy, Frank Dorrien thought.
        Frank himself was quite familiar with cruelty. It didn't astonish him in the least.
He sighed, not for the swinging corpse, but for the shit storm that was about to engulf all of them. A member of the Greek royal family, dead from suicide. At Sandhurst! Hung, no less, like a common thief. Like a coward. Like a nobody. 
The Greeks wouldn't like that. Nor would the British government.
Frank Dorrien turned on his heel, walked calmly back to his office and picked up the telephone.
"It's me. I'm afraid we have a problem."

Excerpt provided by the publisher. Copyright © protected material.

Meet the author:

The late novelist and screenwriter Sidney Sheldon remains one of the world's top bestselling authors, having sold more than 300 million copies of his books. Are You Afraid of the Dark? is his most recent in a long line of huge bestsellers. He is also the only writer to have won an Oscar, a Tony, and an Edgar. The Guinness Book of World Records heralds him as the most translated author in the world.

Tilly Bagshawe is a New York Times bestselling author whose books include Sidney Sheldon's Chasing Tomorrow, Sidney Sheldon's The Tides of Memory, Sidney Sheldon's Angel of the Dark, Sidney Sheldon's After the Darkness, and Sidney Sheldon's Mistress of the Game. She lives in LA and London with her husband and children.

Connect with the author:          Website      |     Facebook 

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Book Showcase: RANDOM ACTS by J.A. Jance

Random Acts (A Joanna Brady and Ali Reynolds Novella) by J.A. Jance 
ISBN: 9780062499059 (paperback)
ISBN: 9780062499042 (eBook)
ASIN: B019MMUAXS (Kindle version)
Publication Date: August 9, 2016 
Publisher: Witness Impulse

From New York Times bestselling author J.A. Jance comes an all- new novella, in which Sheriff Joanna Brady and investigator Ali Reynolds join forces to solve a crime that has hit dangerously close to home. Sheriff Joanna Brady has a lot on her plate—she is up for re-election as sheriff, pregnant with her third child, and her eldest is packing up to leave for college. Then Joanna is woken in the middle of the night by a call reporting a motor vehicle accident. Her mother and stepfather's RV ran off the road at high speed and hit the pillar of an overpass.
Something about the accident seems suspicious, though, and when Joanna gets a call from Ali Reynolds, a journalist turned investigator, she accepts her offer to help. They come up with a plan to find out who was responsible…even if that person is not the villain they'd expected.

Read an excerpt:

"Mom," Jennifer Ann Brady said, "what if you lose?"
Sheriff Joanna Brady and her daughter, Jenny, were seated at a booth in the Triple T Truck Stop where they'd stopped for deep dish apple pie on their way home to Bisbee from a shopping expedition in Tucson. Jenny would be leaving for her first semester at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff in a matter of days. Because Tucson was a hundred miles one way from Bisbee, both of them had taken the day off work—Jenny from her job at a local veterinarian's office and Joanna from work as well as pre-election campaigning.
Since there had been no panicky phone calls or texts from Tom Hadlock, her chief deputy, or from her campaign manager, either, it seemed likely that things on that end must be fairly well under control.
Somewhere between Wal-Mart—towels, bedding, pillows, sheets, a tiny microwave, and a one-cup coffeemaker—T.J. Maxx—clothing that would have caused Joanna's mother, Eleanor, to have a conniption fit—and Western Wearhouse—boots, shirts, jeans, and a new hat—it had occurred to Joanna that kids needed lots of goods to head off to college these days. That was especially true for Jenny. After being awarded a full-ride athletic scholarship to join NAU's recently reinstated rodeo team, she would also be going off to school with a pickup truck loaded with tack and a horse trailer hauling her relatively new quarter horse, Maggie.
Jenny had insisted that for this shopping trip it should be just the two of them—"like the old days," she had said. The old days in question were the years between the death of Joanna's first husband, Deputy Sheriff Andrew Roy Brady, and the arrival of her second husband, Butch Dixon. During that difficult interval after Andy's murder and before Butch's making his way into Joanna's heart, Jenny had been the only star in her firmament. It had been just the two of them back then...well, three really—Jenny, Joanna, and a single dog. Now there was Butch; Jenny's younger half brother, Dennis; and a menagerie of dogs, horses, and cattle, to say nothing of the growing baby bump at her expanding waistline, who was just then pummeling the inside of Jonna's ribs with a series of field-goal worthy kicks.
All in all, it had been a lovely day, but Jenny's question left a somber note lingering in the air over the Formica table in the bustling and noisy truck stop dining room.
"I'm not planning on losing," Joanna said quietly.

Copyright © J.A. Jance, 2016

Meet the author:

J. A. Jance is the New York Times bestselling author of the J. P. Beaumont series, the Joanna Brady series, the Ali Reynolds series, and five interrelated thrillers about the Walker Family as well as a volume of poetry. Born in South Dakota and brought up in Bisbee, Arizona, Jance lives with her husband in Seattle, Washington, and Tucson, Arizona.

Connect with the author:

Website     |     Facebook     |     Twitter      |     Goodreads 

Saturday, July 23, 2016

2016 Book 239: THE EMPTY ROOM by Sarah J. Clemens

The Empty Room by Sarah J. Clemens
ISBN: 9780997619201 (paperback)
ISBN: 2940153032832 (ebook)
ASIN: B01FPRS72A (Kindle edition)
Publication date: July 23, 2016 
Publisher: Off the Page Publishing

The small town of Eastbrook, Maine seemed like the kind of close-knit community where newlyweds Dean and Elizabeth Montgomery could begin their lives together, and the 1930s Victorian seemed like the house they'd always dreamed of owning. The only condition for purchasing the property was that it was sold in "as-is" condition. But when the couple arrived in Eastbrook, they received anything but a warm welcome from the local residents. And when they realize that as-is condition meant that the previous owner of the house had left every worldly possession behind, the dream of the small town life starts to take a mysterious turn. Day after day, Dean and Elizabeth uncover more truths than they could have ever imagined, or ever wanted to know about the secrets that were hidden in the small town of Eastbrook. And as the neighbors become growingly hostile with every encounter, this young couple searches furiously to uncover what the residents in this town are trying to hide. What they find instead is that the home they thought they were getting a good deal on had a much higher price than they could have ever known, and that secrets are better off hidden.

Dean and Elizabeth Montgomery are newlyweds embarking on a new adventure. A new town, a new home, and a new start in life with hopefully a growing family. Their new home is ideal from all appearances, but looks can be deceiving in The Empty Room by Sarah J. Clemens.

Dean and Elizabeth met in Chicago and had a whirlwind romance. After getting married, they decide to relocate to a small town in Maine. They arrive in Maine to find their home is fully furnished with the previous owner's belongings. Excited to be starting a new life in a new town, Elizabeth is disappointed by the reaction from the town's inhabitants. No one openly acknowledges them except with oblique references to not delve too deep into hidden secrets. Eliminating the negativity she's receiving around town, Elizabeth decides to focus on the house. She and Dean explore and find that each room is lovingly furnished, except for one room, an empty room. Why is that particular room empty? The more Dean and Elizabeth try to uncover the mystery of the empty room, the more strange things become around town. What is the secret of the house and that empty room?

I found The Empty Room to be a relatively fast-paced and easy read. I enjoyed the pop culture references, such as Dean calling his elderly female neighbor "Mrs. HaWiggins." The Empty Room combines elements of a mystery, psychological suspense, and much more all in one quick read. (No, I'm not going to reveal the more...read the story and discover it for yourself.) If you're looking for something a little different to read then you may want to grab a copy of The Empty Room to read while wiling away the hours on a lazy sunny day.

Disclaimer: I received a free digital copy of this book for review purposes via Reading Addiction Virtual Book Tours. 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:

Chapter One
The car grumbled to a stop at the end of the gravel driveway. The three-day car trip was finally over. The gas station food and bathroom stops were all behind them. They were home. The house might have been filled with someone else’s belongings, but they owned it now.
The house looked like a postcard from the outside. Small shrubs lined each side of the driveway as it suspiciously winded its way to the front porch. The grass was wet with dew after the recent rain.
As though looking at a piece of abstract art, Dean and Elizabeth both leaned forward in their seats toward the dash and squinted from inside the window of the car. Their eyes moved from left to right, making sure to take in every detail that first met their view.
"It's gorgeous." Elizabeth peered out from beneath the windshield.
With her eyes squinted and her mouth opened slightly, she studied every feature of architecture as though the house would greet her with an exam before allowing her to enter. She broke her concentration from the house and pressed her hand to the passenger side window, looking up and down to visually imprint every detail that awaited.

Watch the book trailer:

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Monday, July 18, 2016

2016 Book 233: THE HUMMINGBIRD by Stephen P. Kiernan

The Hummingbird by Stephen P. Kiernan
ISBN: 9780062369550 (paperback)
ISBN: 9780062369567 (ebook)
ASIN: B00R1K3V94 (Kindle edition)
Publication date: June 28, 2016 (paperback release)
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks

Deborah Birch is a seasoned hospice nurse whose daily work requires courage and compassion. But her skills and experience are tested in new and dramatic ways when her easygoing husband, Michael, returns from his third deployment to Iraq haunted by nightmares, anxiety, and rage. She is determined to help him heal, and to restore the tender, loving marriage they once had.
At the same time, Deborah's primary patient is Barclay Reed, a retired history professor and expert in the Pacific Theater of World War II whose career ended in academic scandal. Alone in the world, the embittered professor is dying. As Barclay begrudgingly comes to trust Deborah, he tells her stories from that long-ago war, which help her find a way to help her husband battle his demons. 
Told with piercing empathy and heartbreaking realism, The Hummingbird is a masterful story of loving commitment, service to country, and absolution through wisdom and forgiveness. 

Deborah Birch is a caring hospice nurse and only wants to make things easier for the dying and their families. She is also a loving wife and has no  idea how to help her husband, Michael, heal from the psychological wounds he suffers as a result of fighting in Iraq. Barclay Reed is a former college professor and dying from kidney cancer. Deborah enters at the end of Barclay's life in The Hummingbird by Stephen P. Kiernan.

Deborah begins her time with each client by reviewing their records in the office and gently caressing her totem, a small wooden hummingbird. That hummingbird is a symbol and a reminder "...to see the person behind the problem." Deborah has had difficult patients and difficult families to tend to in her years as a hospice nurse, but Barclay Reed is perhaps one of the most tragic. Mr. Reed, or Professor Reed as he has Deborah call him, is dying without friends or family. His 30+ year career ended in a huge scandal, so he isn't even leaving behind the legacy of his good name. To say the Professor Reed is somewhat cantankerous is a major understatement. He wants what he wants, how and when he wants it. Sadly, in his quest to get what he wants he has gone through three hospice agencies and numerous hospice nurses. Deborah is determined to provide him not only what he wants but what he needs. Over the course of Professor Reed's final weeks, Deborah learns more about the man and his final work that caused the scandal, The Sword. What is the lesson Deborah will learn from assisting Professor Reed?

"If you think of a person, anyone, even someone you dislike, if you imagine for a moment how one day they will lose everything—family and home and pleasures and work—and people will weep and wail when they die, you cannot help it: You feel compassion for them. Your heart softens. What's more, every single human being is going to experience this same thing, without exception: Every person you love, everyone you hate, your own frivolous struggling self. It is the central lesson of hospice: Mortality is life's way of teaching us how to love." The Hummingbird, pp.195-196

You might think a story about a soldier suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and a dying professor might be overly sad and morbid, but The Hummingbird is simply a darn fine story. Mr. Kiernan takes the current happenings between Deborah, Professor Reed, and Deborah's husband Michael and alternates it with the story of a Japanese WWII pilot that firebombed Oregon and returned as a guest of the city years later. Michael is just as trapped by his sense of guilt over his actions as a sniper, as well as a sense of honor by serving his country as the Japanese pilot was in the past. Deborah must decide if she believes the Professor's story and if she can find something that might allow her to help her husband. I thoroughly enjoyed rereading The Hummingbird and found it, once again, to be a riveting read. The first time I read it I stayed up all night and vowed not to repeat my allnighter the second time around. I failed; the story gripped me just as much the second time and I wound up staying up all night to finish reading it. I enjoyed the characters, the storylines, and the settings. Mr. Kiernan has a deft way of writing that pulls me into his stories with just a few pages. The Hummingbird deals with death, dying, and the trauma of war in a realistic yet sensitive manner. If you read The Curiosity then you'll definitely want to read The Hummingbird. If you haven't read The Curiosity, what are you waiting for . . . read it and then read The Hummingbird. I'm looking forward to reading more from Mr. Kiernan in the future. (I'll probably be rereading his books until a new one arrives. Yes, they are both just that good!)

Disclaimer: I received a print copy of this book for review purposes from the publisher. 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."

Photo credit: Noah Kiernan
About Stephen P. Kiernan

Stephen P. Kiernan is a graduate of Middlebury College, Johns Hopkins University, and the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop. During his more than twenty years as a journalist, he has won numerous awards, including the Brechner Center's Freedom of Information Award, the Scripps Howard Award for Distinguished Service to the First Amendment, and the George Polk Award. He is the author of The Curiosity, his first novel, and two nonfiction books. He lives in Vermont with his two sons.

Find out more about Stephen at his website and connect with him on Facebook.

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Friday, July 15, 2016

2016 Book #229: BLOOD SYMMETRY by Kate Rhodes

Blood Symmetry by Kate Rhodes
ISBN: 9780062444080 (paperback - release date 8/9/16)
ISBN: 9780062444073 (ebook)
ASIN: B016UEKRGQ (Kindle version)
Publication Date: July 12, 2016 
Publisher: Witness Impulse

Clare Riordan and her son Mikey are abducted from Clapham Common early one morning. Hours later, the boy is found wandering disorientated. Soon after, a pack of Clare's blood is left on a doorstep in the heart of the City of London.
Alice Quentin is brought in to help the traumatized child uncover his memories - which might lead them to his mother's captors. But she swiftly realizes Clare is not the first victim... nor will she be the last.
The killers are driven by a desire for revenge... and in the end, it will all come down to blood.

Alice Quentin is a forensic psychologist with the Forensic Psychology Unit (FPU) of the Metropolitan Police Department. Her very first day as the second-in-charge, she's assigned a case involving a mother, Dr. Clare Riordan, that has been abducted and her son, Mikey, apparently escaped. Alice has to contend with her new responsibilities as the Deputy Director at the FPU, her burgeoning relationship with DCI Don Burns, and her relationship with the traumatized child in Blood Symmetry by Kate Rhodes.

Alice Quentin's professional life is moving forward with her recent appointment as the Deputy Director at the FPU. Her romantic life is in a holding pattern. Don Burns is separated from his wife but not yet divorced. Alice isn't quite sure if she believes his commitment to her nor is she ready to fully commit to him. She feels backed into the proverbial corner, as their romantic relationship has been revealed to all and sundry and now they must work closely on this abduction case. Just when Alice thinks she has a grasp on this case, she realizes that the abducted mother might be just one in a series of abductions/murders and they all have ties to the Tainted Blood Scandal. (Tainted blood products were imported into the United Kingdom and provided to hemophiliacs causing a host of acquired medical issues including hepatitis C and HIV.) Once Alice realizes the full scope of Dr. Riordan's abduction, everyone she meets becomes a suspect. The abduction is featured prominently in the news and soon both Mikey and Alice become targets. Can Alice and Don find Clare Riordan before it's too late?

Blood Symmetry is the fifth book in the Alice Quentin series by Kate Rhodes. Although this is the first book in this series that I've read, I didn't really feel as if I missed out on anything (of course, I'll be reading the previous books in the series because I'm hooked). I thoroughly enjoyed Blood Symmetry and found it to be a fast-paced and engaging read. Ms. Rhodes has provided a mystery that kept me guessing until the bitter end, a bit of romance, some family drama, political drama, and more. I especially enjoyed the incorporation of a historic  medical issue into the storyline as well as the idea of recipients of tainted blood products seeking revenge. I found the characters to be realistic and the action to be wholly plausible. If you enjoy crime fiction or mystery-thrillers, then you'll definitely want to add this series to your TBR list. As previously mentioned, I'll be reading the first four books then rereading Blood Symmetry while I eagerly await the next installment in this series. 

Disclaimer: I received a digital review copy of this book from the publisher 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."

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours for Kate Rhodes and Witness Impulse. There will be 5 winners. Each winner will receive one ebook copy of Blood Symmetry by Kate Rhodes. The giveaway begins on July 11th and runs through August 20th, 2016.

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Wednesday, July 13, 2016

2016 Book 224: PAPER AND FIRE by Rachel Caine

Paper and Fire by Rachel Caine 
ISBN: 9780451472403 (hardcover)
ISBN: 9780698180826 (ebook)
ASIN: B016JPTGZ4 (Kindle version)
Publication Date: July 5, 2016 
Publisher: NAL

In Ink and Bone, New York Times bestselling author Rachel Caine introduced a world where knowledge is power, and power corrupts absolutely. Now, she continues the story of those who dare to defy the Great Library—and rewrite history…
With an iron fist, The Great Library controls the knowledge of the world, ruthlessly stamping out all rebellion, forbidding the personal ownership of books in the name of the greater good.
Jess Brightwell has survived his introduction to the sinister, seductive world of the Library, but serving in its army is nothing like he envisioned. His life and the lives of those he cares for have been altered forever. His best friend is lost, and Morgan, the girl he loves, is locked away in the Iron Tower and doomed to a life apart.
Embarking on a mission to save one of their own, Jess and his band of allies make one wrong move and suddenly find themselves hunted by the Library's deadly automata and forced to flee Alexandria, all the way to London.
But Jess's home isn't safe anymore. The Welsh army is coming, London is burning, and soon, Jess must choose between his friends, his family, or the Library willing to sacrifice anything and anyone in the search for ultimate control…

Imagine a world where the leading superpower isn't a national government or religion. In this world, there's one organization that has ruled for centuries and that organization is the Great Library. In this world, there's no such thing as bookstores. The Great Library allows you to read portions of books and anything that doesn't fit with their agenda is banned. Any library scholar or affiliate that comes up with ideas that may minimize the Library's power is deemed an enemy and arrested. This is the world that Jess Brightwell and friends live in. Jess and friends must decide if they're willing to adhere to strict Library guidelines or think for themselves in the second book in The Great Library Series by Rachel Caine, Paper and Fire.

After our introduction to The Great Library in Ink and Bone, Jess and friends had finished their postulant training. Morgan had been forced into service as an Obscurist, never able to leave the Iron Tower. Glain Wathen had become a training officer in the High Garda, living to protect the Great Library no matter what. Khalila Seif and Dario Santiago had become Library Research Scholars. Jess is a low-level Garda-in-training and Thomas, an engineering genius, is reported as killed presumably for creating a printing press. Down, but never out, Jess is looking for answers to why the Library killed Thomas. With a little help from Morgan and a local book smuggling family, is that Thomas is still alive and being kept in a prison facility far away. Jess and friends must decide if they want to free their friend Thomas and if so, if they're willing to fight the might of the Library no matter the cost?

I found Paper and Fire to be just as riveting a read as Ink and Bone. I'm somewhat enamored with a world that still has the great Library at Alexandria, but this is definitely tempered by the notion that bookstores are nonexistent and I could only read and own approved "books" via the library. (No these are printed books that we're used to be a cross between printed books and digital books.) Ms. Caine has crafted a believable dystopian world based on a desire for control and power and the Library is powerful beyond anything we could possibly imagine. She provides romance, dysfunctional family drama, and tons of internal and external conflict for all of the characters to deal with. The head of the library, the Archivist, and his assistant, the Artifex Magnus, are willing to do anything to ensure their world view continues. There are people fighting against the Library and its control, but they are just as blinded by their vision as the Archivist and Artifex Magnus. It was disheartening to learn that the Obscurist as forced into service and treated no better than slaves. The female Obscurists are even raped in order to perpetuate the Obscurist line. (No, I won't tell you if this has been Morgan's fate or not...read the book!) There's a lot happening in Paper and Fire and I could go on and on about everything, but if you've read Ink and Bone I'll simply say "read this book." If you haven't read Ink and Bone, start there; you'll probably want to binge read both books so make sure you have a few days to read and enjoy. I eagerly await the next addition to The Great Library Series to find out what happens next.

Read free stories from The Great Library Series here

Disclaimer: I received a digital review copy of this book from the publisher 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."

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

2016 Book 225: THE LIGHT OF PARIS by Eleanor Brown

The Light of Paris by Eleanor Brown 
ISBN: 9780399158919 (hardcover)
ISBN: 9780399573736 (ebook)
ISBN: 9780735208179 (large print paperback)
ISBN: 9780451484819 (audiobook)
ASIN: B01839Q44A (Kindle version)
Publication Date: July 12, 2016 
Publisher: G. P. Putnam's Sons

The miraculous new novel from New York Times–bestselling author Eleanor Brown, whose debut, The Weird Sisters, was a sensation beloved by critics and readers alike.
Madeleine is trapped—by her family's expectations, by her controlling husband, and by her own fears—in an unhappy marriage and a life she never wanted. From the outside, it looks like she has everything, but on the inside, she fears she has nothing that matters.
In Madeleine's memories, her grandmother Margie is the kind of woman she should have been—elegant, reserved, perfect. But when Madeleine finds a diary detailing Margie's bold, romantic trip to Jazz Age Paris, she meets the grandmother she never knew: a dreamer who defied her strict, staid family and spent an exhilarating summer writing in caf├ęs, living on her own, and falling for a charismatic artist.
Despite her unhappiness, when Madeleine's marriage is threatened, she panics, escaping to her hometown and staying with her critical, disapproving mother. In that unlikely place, shaken by the revelation of a long-hidden family secret and inspired by her grandmother's bravery, Madeleine creates her own Parisian summer—reconnecting to her love of painting, cultivating a vibrant circle of creative friends, and finding a kindred spirit in a down-to-earth chef who reminds her to feed both her body and her heart.
Margie and Madeleine's stories intertwine to explore the joys and risks of living life on our own terms, of defying the rules that hold us back from our dreams, and of becoming the people we are meant to be.

Madeleine Bowers Spencer isn't happy with her life or marriage. She's unsure of what she wants in life, but she knows it isn't this. The only thing she can think of is to return to her familial home and reassess life in The Light of Paris by Eleanor Brown.

Madeleine has always felt that she was a disappointment to her mother. She didn't want to be a society lady. She wanted to be an artist. Painting was an acceptable hobby but not a career goal according to her parents. So she put away her paints and tried her best to fit in. She even married an acceptable man just to make her mother happy. It is only after returning home while taking a "break" from her marriage that Madeleine discovers that she may not be anything like her mother, but she has a lot in common with her maternal grandmother, Margie. Reading through her grandmother's journals, Madeleine finds that her grandmother often felt as if she didn't fit in with polite society either, but all that changes when she gets to spend a wonderful summer in Paris. Margie gradually breaks out of her shell and lives the life she always wanted, even if it was only for summer. Can Madeleine truly follow in her grandmother's footsteps and do the same?

The Light of Paris was a delightfully endearing and fast-paced read. The story is told in alternating voices of Madeleine in 1999 and Margie in 1924. I enjoyed the parallel stories of two women that tried their best to be something they weren't just to please their families. Both Margie and Madeleine had dreams of who they wanted to be and both seemed to let those dreams die, Margie due to societal restrictions and Madeleine due to perceived restrictions. The Light of Paris is a story about self-discovery and awakening as much as it is about family, life, and love. If you enjoy reading stories about life, hope, and second chances, then you'll definitely want to read The Light of Paris, and I hope you'll enjoy it as much as I did. 

Disclaimer: I received an uncorrected proof/review copy of this book from the publisher. 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."