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

Riot Ad Network

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Guest Post: Author Maryka Biaggio




The Book Diva's Reads is pleased to present a guest post by Maryka Biaggio, author of Parlor Games.


A Story I Didn't Tell
Maryka Biaggio


Considered a scandalous woman of the Gilded Age, May Dugas had many adventures—and run-ins with the famed Pinkerton Detective Agency. I couldn't possibly fit all of her escapades into my novel, Parlor Games, but I do have a particular favorite among the untold stories. Here May puts her unique skills to good use and keeps a mother and her children together.

When a good friend of May, a Mrs. Hanna, decided to take her three children abroad for an educational tour, her ex-husband secured two court orders forbidding this travel. Defying his wishes, Mrs. Hanna stole away from Cleveland with the children. Mr. Hanna uncovered her plot to spirit the children to New York City and sail from there. He hired the Pinkertons to help him intercept her.

Mrs. Hanna’s pursuers learned she was staying at the Savoy Hotel in New York and surrounded the hotel to prevent her escape. Then they received a tip: Mrs. Hanna had managed to sail earlier that day on the Menominee. Mr. Hanna and his Pinkerton cohorts rushed to the pier and discovered that the passenger list of the departed ship did not include the Hanna clan. But one other ship, the Campania, was scheduled to depart later that day, and when they discovered Mrs. Hanna’s trunks had been loaded onto it, they boarded the ship and undertook a search. 

Upon reviewing the ship’s list they found that Mrs. Hanna’s name had been recorded but crossed out. They asked the Captain about this. All he would say is that she was no longer on the list and, furthermore, he was far too busy to stop and talk to them about the ship’s passengers. The Hanna family was in fact on board, and the Pinkertons even identified the rooms they were likely hiding in. But the cabins were locked, and they couldn't force entry into the rooms of a ship sailing under the British flag.

May Dugas, however, was also on board, and when Mr. Hanna discovered her on deck he summoned the detectives, knowing she was a friend of his wife. He and the detectives queried her: “Is Mrs. Hanna on board?”

“If she is, I do not know it,” she replied.

“Did she sail on the Menominee while booking her baggage on the Campania?”

Carefully choosing her words, May said, “If Mrs. Hanna has left America by now, she must have left on the Menominee.”

The interrogators then asked May if she had concocted the scheme to get Mrs. Hanna’s children out of her husband’s reach, to which May responded, “I am not at liberty to say, for Mrs. Hanna is my friend.”

They had no choice but to leave the ship and watch it sail away.

Then they started wondering if or how Mrs. Hanna could have eluded their watch at the Savoy. They returned and interrogated the staff. There were two possibilities: Either they had been smuggled out in laundry baskets or had exited via a backside passage that took them through several shops before opening onto Fifty-ninth Street. But the hotel staff they questioned steadfastly declined to reveal how they had escaped under the watchful eyes of the Pinkertons.

And that is how the adventure ended. Not only had May succeeded in helping Mrs. Hanna and her children gain passage undetected on the Campania, but she had also assisted her friend—who was handicapped by an arm in a sling and had three sons aged seven, eleven, and thirteen in tow—escape from the Savoy Hotel while it was surrounded by Pinkerton detectives. That May: She was a clever one! I hope you'll get to know her better when you read Parlor Games.


About Parlor Games

The novel opens in 1917 with our cunning protagonist, May Dugas, standing trial for extortion. As the trial unfolds, May tells her version of events.

In 1887, at the tender age of eighteen, May ventures to Chicago in hopes of earning enough money to support her family. Circumstances force her to take up residence at the city’s most infamous bordello, but May soon learns to employ her considerable feminine wiles to extract not only sidelong looks but also large sums of money from the men she encounters.  Insinuating herself into Chicago’s high society, May lands a well-to-do fiancĂ©—until, that is, a Pinkerton Agency detective named Reed Doherty intervenes and summarily foils the engagement. 

Unflappable May quickly rebounds, elevating seduction and social climbing to an art form as she travels the world, eventually marrying a wealthy Dutch Baron. Unfortunately, Reed Doherty is never far behind and continues to track May in a delicious cat-and-mouse game as the newly-minted Baroness’s misadventures take her from San Francisco to Shanghai to London and points in between.

The Pinkerton Agency really did dub May the “Most Dangerous Woman,” branding her a crafty blackmailer and ruthless seductress.  To many, though, she was the most glamorous woman to grace high society. Was the real May Dugas a cold-hearted swindler or simply a resourceful provider for her poor family?

As the narrative bounces back and forth between the trial taking place in 1917 and May’s devious but undeniably entertaining path to the courtroom—hoodwinking and waltzing her way through the gilded age and into the twentieth century—we're left to ponder her guilt as we move closer to finding out what fate ultimately has in store for our irresistible adventuress. 


About the Author

Maryka Biaggio is a former psychology professor turned novelist with a passion for history. Twenty-eight years after launching her academic career she took the leap from full-time academic to scrambling writer and now splits her time between fiction writing and higher education consulting work. More information about Maryka and Parlor Games can be found on MarykaBiaggio.com, including a discussion guide, historical information, recommended reading, and a fun “Parlor Talk” feature. You can also find out more about Parlor Games on Facebook.



Monday, February 25, 2013

PARLOR GAMES Giveaway



The Book Diva's Reads is pleased to announce that Doubleday has graciously offered to provide a hardcover copy of Parlor Games to two readers of this blog. This giveaway is open to residents of the US and Canada only. This giveaway will run through March 5, 2013 with the winners being announced on Wednesday, March 6th. 

To enter, please use the official Rafflecopter form below (comments are not considered entries). 



Book 44: EDGE OF DAWN Review


Edge of Dawn by Lara Adrian
ISBN: 9780345532602 (hardcover)
ISBN: 9780345532619 (ebook)
ASIN: B0092EE4YS (Kindle edition)
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Publication date: February 26, 2013


Twenty years after the terror of First Dawn—when mankind learned that vampires lived secretly among them—the threat of violence reigns as the two species struggle to coexist. The only group preserving the fragile harmony is the Order, an elite cadre of Breed warriors dedicated to protecting humans and vampires alike. And in this precarious world of torn loyalties and shattered trust, Mira, a fiery squad captain, finds that every fight bears an intensely personal cost.
Raised among the Order, Mira has always believed in the warrior’s code of swift—and even lethal—justice. But the one thing she desires more than the Order’s hard-won acceptance is Kellan Archer, a sexy but troubled Breed fighter. In love with him since childhood, Mira once broke through his tough exterior during an unexpected night of rapture, but the next day he mysteriously disappeared, never to return.
Kellan didn't think he would ever see Mira again—or have to confront the truth of why he left. After abandoning the Order years ago, he now leads a band of human rebels intent on carrying out their own vigilante rule of law. Yet a high-profile kidnapping assignment brings him face-to-face with the past he sought to avoid, and the striking woman he has tried desperately to forget. And as tensions mount and the risk of bloodshed grows, Kellan and Mira must take sides—between the competing missions that dominate their lives, and the electrifying passion that claims their hearts.

Edge of Dawn is the eleventh book in the Midnight Breed series by Ms. Adrian, and the action takes place twenty years after the last book in this series. All of these books are classified as paranormal/fantasy romance featuring descendants of an alien race that feed on human blood. These aliens are all male, adorned with skin glyphs (similar to tattoos but change color due to emotions) and have supernatural strength and speed. These Breed males can only mate with human females known as breedmates that are recognized by special birthmarks. Once a Breed and breedmate are together as a couple, the human female ceases to age and becomes the source of sustenance for her Breed husband as his blood sustains her prolonged life and agelessness. 

I've read, and generally enjoyed, all of the books in this series. However, Edge of Dawn just failed to pull me in. I rather enjoyed seeing the new generation of breed offspring from previous couples introduced in past books as adults as well as the grown-up Mira. The enjoyment ended with the postwar Breed-Human peace initiatives and the Global Nations Council or GNC (similar to the UN but with broader powers). Past books have dealt with rogue Breed males and the one surviving ancient being used to bring about a series of first generation Breed males. (Ancients had unsurpassed strength and speed; their offspring or first gen Breed males had slightly lesser strength and speed with decreases in strength and speed with each successive generation of Breed males.) Mira and Kellan's story had just enough twists to make it interesting, but I think there was just a bit too much going on in Edge of Dawn. The story fast forwarded too many years since the last book not to mention the many twists and conspiracies presented for it to be interesting for me. If you enjoy paranormal/fantasy romance with a vampire twist, then the Midnight Breed series and Edge of Dawn may be perfect for you. 

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book free for review purposes 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."


Saturday, February 23, 2013

Book Excerpt: DEEP CONNECTIONS


Deep Connections Connections Series #1 by Rebecca Graf
ISBN:  9781478291961 (paperback)
ASIN:  B0091VONS4 (Kindle edition)
Publisher: Silver Tongue Press
Publication date: August 31, 2012


Just as love appears, so does the darkness. With her heart reaching out for one man, Brenna finds herself the target of an unknown stalker. Who is he? What does he want? How far will he go for her? Death is an option. Brenna discovers more than she bargained for and learns that the stalker will kill for her. It all comes down to decisions, and no matter what she chooses it will demand sacrifice and someone's blood.



Excerpt: 

Brenna’s eyes fluttered open to see a blur of trees flying by.  Her head pounded and her stomach began to roll from the pain she felt and the fast-changing scenery.  A careful look at her surroundings told her she was in some older model car.  She inhaled deeply to calm herself, but confusion set in as her senses were assaulted by unfamiliar smells.  Her eyes widened in fright as terrifying memories began to flood her mind.  Turning slowly, afraid of what she might see, she gazed at the man behind the wheel of the speeding car.  She shivered when she saw he was just as repulsive as she remembered.  Who was he and what did he want with her?
Sensing her stare, a pair of dark, soulless eyes turned towards her.  A smile appeared on his unkempt face.  “Well, well, sleeping beauty awakes.”  Brenna’s stomach rolled again as she felt his eyes slide hungrily over her body.  She pushed up against the door in an effort to put as much distance between the two of them as she could, but he shook his head in disapproval.  “No need to be  dramatic.”  He turned his attention back to the road.  “We both know you won’t jump out.”

About the Author:

Rebecca Graf lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin with her husband and three children. She worked as an accountant for 20 years before taking the plunge and write online for various sites and companies. Now she runs a publishing company, Silver Tongue Press, and writes full time while trying to keep up with all the activities of her children.

Connect with the author:

Website     |     Blog     |     Facebook      |     Twitter






Thursday, February 21, 2013

Book 43: GARDEN OF STONES Review


Garden of Stones by Sophie Littlefield
ISBN: 9780778313526 (paperback)
ISBN: 9781460300305 (ebook)
ASIN: B009NEISWG (Kindle edition)
Publisher: Harlequin Mira
Publication date: February 28, 2013


In the dark days of war, a mother makes the ultimate sacrifice Lucy Takeda is just fourteen years old, living in Los Angeles, when the bombs rain down on Pearl Harbor. Within weeks, she and her mother, Miyako, are ripped from their home, rounded up-along with thousands of other innocent Japanese-Americans-and taken to the Manzanar prison camp. 
Buffeted by blistering heat and choking dust, Lucy and Miyako must endure the harsh living conditions of the camp. Corruption and abuse creep into every corner of Manzanar, eventually ensnaring beautiful, vulnerable Miyako. Ruined and unwilling to surrender her daughter to the same fate, Miyako soon breaks. Her final act of desperation will stay with Lucy forever...and spur her to sins of her own. 
Bestselling author Sophie Littlefield weaves a powerful tale of stolen innocence and survival that echoes through generations, reverberating between mothers and daughters. It is a moving chronicle of injustice, triumph and the unspeakable acts we commit in the name of love. 

Lucy Takeda has had an unusual life (major understatement). An only child, she was adored by her father and the spitting image of her mother. Although Lucy grew up with a mother suffering with manic depression, she has led a very sheltered and privileged life. All of that changes with the death of her father, followed by the loss of her family home and relocation to an internment camp. It is here at Manzanar that Lucy witnesses great brutality and prejudice. She bears witness to the rape and continued sexual abuse of her mother, not to mention the sexual abuse of her only friend, sixteen year-old Jessie, at the hands of the men in charge at the camp. She also slowly watches her mother fall into deep depression that results in a horrible accident that will scar Lucy for life, a murder, and then her mother's suicide. With the help of a nun, Lucy is eventually able to leave Manzanar before the war ends. She is given a job as a maid at a small hotel, where she eventually befriends the cook and her family, as well as the owner of the hotel, an injured war veteran, Garvey. 

Fast forward to 1978 and Lucy's daughter, Patty, is preparing to get married. Days before the wedding is to occur, Lucy is being questioned and investigated as the prime suspect in a murder case. The murder victim just so happens to be one of the men that had been charged with overseeing Manzanar. Patty Takeda is already on edge about the wedding and she knows that her mother is keeping secrets. Will she be able to uncover those secrets in time to save her mother or will those secrets destroy what little peace of mind Lucy has obtained since 1944?

Ms. Littlefield has done a remarkable job in creating characters and a story that engaged me from the very beginning. Lucy’s story is told in flashback style, alternating between 1943/1944 and 1978. Lucy Takeda is a victim of circumstance, but she overcomes her adversity to make a life for herself and her child. Her physical scars seem to be a manifestation of not only an accident but also the emotional scars she has suffered during her lifetime. Patty Takeda is just as tenacious as her mother as she delves into the history of her mother and grandmother while at Manzanar. Ms. Littlefield presents an emotionally-charged drama with Garden of Stones. There are a few twists at the end that were completely unexpected and only added to my reading pleasure with this story. If you enjoy historical dramas with a bit of suspense and hint of romance, then I recommend you add Garden of Stones to your reading list.

Read an excerpt: http://www.sophielittlefield.com/garden-of-stones1.php

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book free for review purposes 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, February 19, 2013

Book Excerpt: RED MADRASSA




Red Madrassa (Algardis #1) by Terah Edun
ISBN:  9781479301072 (paperback)
ASIN:   B00A4152SA (Kindle Edition)
Publication Date:  November 8, 2012




A magical accident threw them together. But when Fate holds all the cards, it can be impossible to tell the difference between pure chance and Destiny... 
The Madrassa, a magical school for mage practitioners, is the stuff of legend. With selective entrance exams and quotas for only the most advanced of mage children, it's almost impossible to attend. 
When Allorna, a guardian trainee for the royal family, ends up on the doorstep of the citadel on the eve of the final day of a recruitment ceremony, she decides it must be fate.
She was sure she knew the path her life would take before she enrolled. But sometimes life has a way of throwing in magical curveballs and strange friends, just to see if you’ll trip up. 
Oh, and one of those friends is a mage accused of murder, another is a slightly psychotic dragon, the third a healer facing an existential crisis, and the last is a female storm-caller with more hidden secrets than a thief lord.
Do they all belong at the new school they call home?


Book Excerpt:


At the bottom of a pile of books, they discovered Vedaris. Flames licked at the frayed carpeting on the floor near his still form. 
Allorna focused on the flame, urging it to behave and remove itself from the carpet. It jumped from the floor to the palm of her hand, where she carefully doused it. By then, a Library Apprentice and Research Initiate had rounded the corner. The Initiate looked from Vedaris to Allorna, and then to Maride off to the side. "How d-d-dare you!" he sputtered, "This is a place of l-learning, not a child's playground!"
"Sorry," Vedaris muttered, sitting up. "It…I don't know what happened."
"You don't know what happened?" said the Initiate scornfully. "Are you not a dragon? Do you think that you can just set fire to anything you please?"
"That isn't what happened!" protested Vedaris. "I wasn't lighting!" "Hmph. You are hereby forbidden from re-entering these hallowed halls," the Initiate sniffed. 
"But it was an accident!" shouted Vedaris.
The Initiate looked ready to breathe fire himself, and with that Allorna and Maride decided it would be best to leave. They each grabbed an arm and dragged Vedaris out of the hallowed halls. As they left the building, Maride leaned close and asked, "What was that about?"
Vedaris, rumpled and disquieted, growled, "None of your business."
"You made it our business whether you like it or not, Master Saracen," replied Allorna, using the polite title for his kind as she blocked his path. She felt like using something less diplomatic, but restrained herself. "I felt magic from whatever that was. And we might not be friends, but uncontrolled magic isn't good for anyone, Vedoris."
"Vedaris," he corrected. He looked at them for a long moment, then admitted, "I was reading a book. I was looking for a primer on basic magic. When I sat down, I saw that some snot had left another book open on the table. It was on something called Innate magic. The book said that if I want to use magic, I had to use my feelings as fuel, trusting my instincts." He sighed deeply. "The next thing I knew, the table blew up in my face and I was under a pile of books."
Maride whistled. "Wow, that's tough. Innate magic isn't something to play around with. It's not necessarily what you think it's going to be."
Vedaris turned to him with a frown. "And what's that supposed to mean?"
"Just something my uncle mentioned when I was a kid. He once met a waterwalker with Innate magic. You know what his power was? Calling lightning. Try handling that when you live in water. He accidentally killed his entire family one night during a big storm." 
Vedaris shuddered involuntarily, and hoped the others didn't notice.



Monday, February 18, 2013

Book Blast: THE UGLY STEPSISTER STRIKES BACK






The Ugly Stepsister Strikes Back by Sariah Wilson 

Everyone knows how all those fairy tales go. The princess gets beautiful, nabs her prince, falls instantly in love, lives happily ever after and leaves her evil stepsisters in the dust.

But what happens when you’re the ugly stepsister and your obnoxiously perfect—read pretty, smart, and, worst of all, sickeningly nice—stepsister is dating the charming, tall, devastatingly handsome guy you’ve had a thing for since you were nine years old?

Quirky, artistic and snarky Mattie Lowe does not lead a charmed life. Her mother is constantly belittling her on Skype. Mercedes, the school mean girl, has made it her personal mission to torment Mattie. But worst of all? Her stepsister Ella is the most beautiful, popular girl in school and is dating Mattie’s secret longtime crush, Jake Kingston.

Tired of being left out and done with waiting for her own stupid fairy godmother to show up, Mattie decides to change her life. She’ll start by running for senior class president against wildly popular Jake.

Ella can keep her Prince Annoying. Mattie’s going to rule the school.

And no one, not even a cute and suddenly flirty Jake, is going to stop her.





Purchase

Amazon Kindle


Praise

“My top pick of 2012 YA… This book is just. plain. fun.”

~Jordan McCollum, author of Saints & Spies and I, Spy



“Sariah Wilson's new book, The Ugly Stepsister Strikes Back, is hilarious…What follows is a story of fun and romance with some good non-preachy life lessons thrown in.  The voice in the main character, Mattie, makes the whole thing.  I thought it was definitely a book I'd recommend to anyone with teenagers or who just want to read a good teen romance.”


~Julie Coulter Bellon, author of All Fall Down and All’s Fair




“Sariah [Wilson] has written one of the funniest stories I've read in such a long, long time. I literally couldn't put it down. Yes, my poor Kindle's battery died and I was attached to a short power cord, contorted in a very uncomfortable position while I read to the end…. Sariah Wilson captured the back-biting, insecure, hormone-driven, clique-riddled high school atmosphere so perfectly you'd think she never grew up. I dare you not to laugh as you read this witty and oh, so, romantic story.”


~Debra Erfert of Windows into Writing




“Sariah Wilson writes like the best of/most popular YA teen fiction/teen romance authors - Sarah Dessen, Jennifer Echols, Susanne Collins, Cassandra Clare.  She sucks you in and never lets you go.  I finished the ~194 novel in one night because I just couldn't go to sleep without knowing the ending!  I hope that Sariah comes out with more novels, I know I'll be re-reading this one all the time!  She's extremely talented and needs to be talked about.  I highly recommend The Ugly Stepsister Strikes Back! to anyone (over the age of 12) who wants a YA novel that's a real modern-day fairy tale.”

~Hilary at Novel d’Tales




“This was such an entertaining story! I shouldn't have started reading it so late in the evening, because I didn't want to put it down to go to sleep…This is a book I can see myself reading several times. It's a fast, clean read with great characters, and I highly recommend it.”


~Andrea of Literary Time Out




The book is wonderful.  It’s quirky and fun.  The story makes you laugh and you fall in love with the characters right from the beginning…This is a well-written book.  It is one that will make you smile and sigh as you remember your first love.  And it has a moral…be yourself, believe in yourself and maybe, just maybe, your fairytale will come true.  Pick up this book.”

~Ana of The Book Hookup






Author Sariah Wilson

Sariah Wilson has never jumped out of an airplane, never climbed Mt. Everest, and is not a former CIA operative. She has, however, been madly, passionately in love with her soulmate and is a fervent believer in happily ever afters—which is why she writes romance. The Ugly Stepsister Strikes Back is her fourth happily ever after novel. She grew up in southern California, graduated from Brigham Young University (go Cougars!) with a semi-useless degree in history, and is the oldest of nine (yes, nine) children. She currently lives with the aforementioned soulmate and their four children in Utah, along with three tiger barb fish, a cat named Tiger, and a recently departed hamster that is buried in the backyard (and has nothing at all to do with tigers).


Website * Twitter * Facebook




Tour Schedule






Book Blast Giveaway
$50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash
Ends 3/5/13

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer http://iamareader.com and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.


a Rafflecopter giveaway


Friday, February 15, 2013

Literary Blog Hop Winner

The Literary Blog Hop has ended (my apologies for the delay in noting the winner...I've been indisposed by a series of severe migraine headaches for the past seven days). The winner of the paperback copy of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot is Katie A. 


a Rafflecopter giveaway



Congratulations Katie! Thanks are offered to everyone that stopped by and entered. I also want to thank Judith at Leeswammes Blog for once again organizing this delightful hop. 


Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Book Blast: RED MADRASSA by Terah Edun




Red Madrassa by Terah Edun


A magical accident threw them together. But when Fate holds all the cards, it can be impossible to tell the difference between pure chance and Destiny...

The Madrassa, a magical school for mage practitioners, is the stuff of legend. With selective entrance exams and quotas for only the most advanced of mage children, it's almost impossible to attend.

When Allorna, a guardian trainee for the royal family, ends up on the doorstep of the citadel on the eve of the final day of a recruitment ceremony, she decides it must be fate.

She was sure she knew the path her life would take before she enrolled. But sometimes life has a way of throwing in magical curveballs and strange friends, just to see if you’ll trip up.

Oh, and one of those friends is a mage accused of murder, another is a slightly psychotic dragon, the third a healer facing an existential crisis, and the last is a female storm-caller with more hidden secrets than a thief lord.

Do they all belong at the new school they call home?



Amazon * Amazon Kindle




Author Terah Edun


Terah Edun is a young adult  fantasy writer born and raised in the Atlanta metropolitan area, who transplanted to the Northeast region for college, and now lives in South Sudan. She writes the stories that she always loved to read as a young girl.

She prefers tales of adventure, magic, fellowship and courtship – in other words high fantasy. But she’s not adverse to the occasional contemporary fantasy coming her way. Sometimes you’ll see cloaks, daggers, independent and strong girls, independent and strong guys, sweet and soft spoken girls, sweet and soft spoken guys, markets, cute guys, sparkly magic and irritatingly know-it-all boys. The book she’s currently working on is SWORN TO RAISE,  the first in the Courtlight series.

Outside of writing, she’s a international development professional with a penchant for Starbucks.





WebsiteGoodreads * Facebook




Tour Schedule




Book Blast Giveaway
$50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash
Ends 2/28/13

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer http://iamareader.com and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.



a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Guest post: Author Steven Manchester




The Book Diva's Reads is pleased to provide you with a guest post by Steven Manchester, author of Goodnight, Brian.




My Writing Process
by Steven Manchester


I suppose I discovered the writing world by accident – or perhaps it discovered me.

I'd just returned home from Operation Desert Storm, and was working as a prison investigator in Massachusetts. Needless to say, there was great negativity in my life at that time. I decided to return to college to finish my degree in Criminal Justice. During one of the classes, the professor talked about police work but nothing else. I finally raised my hand and asked, "The criminal justice system is vast. What about the courts, probation, parole – corrections?" He smiled and told me to see him after class. I thought I'd finally done it! In his office, he explained, "There's no written material out there on corrections or prisons, except from the slanted perspective of inmates." He smiled again and dropped the bomb. "If you're so smart," he said, "why don't you write it?"

Nine months later, I dropped the first draft of 6-5; A Different Shade of Blue on his desk. From then on, I was hooked. I was a writer.

I'd written a lot at my job (report writing), but it all started with my college professor’s challenge. Perhaps because of my age and experience, I understood right away that writing is a craft that takes time to evolve; to mature, so I spent the next several years PRACTICING my chosen craft. Under the pen name, Steven Herberts, I wrote in every venue of print I could get my name in: newspaper, magazine, etc. I also penned two collections of poetry, and wrote drafts for two more books. After five solid years of writing, I finally believed that I'd found my voice; MY STYLE – and was ready to contact an agent.

The greatest challenge for me has been time. First and foremost, I am a dad and my children come first. After that, there are other responsibilities that need my attention. Yet, my passion to write has constantly gnawed at my soul. To overcome the obstacle of time, I made writing a priority over watching TV and sometimes even sleeping. Once my family is taken care of and the world closes its eyes, I’m up for a few more hours each day – chasing my dreams on paper.

It has taken thousands of words, hundreds of pages, before I finally identified with a particular genre. I decided that my voice was a more sensitive one: a male perspective to a female audience. My novels, Twelve Months and Goodnight, Brian are evidence of that.


Goodnight, Brian synopsis:

Fate was working against little Brian Mauretti. The food that was meant to nourish him was poisoning him instead, and the doctors said the damage was devastating and absolute. Fate had written off Brian. But fate didn't count on a woman as determined as Brian's grandmother, Angela DiMartino – who everyone knew as Mama. Loving her grandson with everything she had, Mama endeavored to battle fate. Fate had no idea what it was in for.
An emotional tale about the strength of family bonds, unconditional love, and the perseverance to do our best with the challenging gifts we receive, Goodnight, Brian is an uplifting tribute to what happens when giving up is not an option.


Early Reviews include:

"Steven Manchester has a gift for expressing through his writing the complicated and transcendent beauty of the human experience with poignant clarity." – Yolanda King, eldest daughter of Dr. Martin Luther King

"Steven Manchester's Goodnight, Brian is a poignant, inspiring story about resilience and faith and one family's enduring love that should be a model for us all." – James S. Hirsch, bestselling author, Willie Mays: The Life, The Legend

"Steven has once again proven his deep insight into human emotions and relations and his ability to craft a well written and entertaining story that also has the power to inspire courage and hope. Goodnight, Brian is a fine read." – Bob Price, WPZZ Radio Personality


Now that I have nearly two decades of writing and getting published under my belt, I enjoy trying to help new writers break in. My advice is always the same:

  • Be true to yourself, always.
  • Write constantly.
  • Keep the faith!!!
  • And NEVER, EVER, EVER quit. Most people in this industry would agree that more than talent or skill or even luck, perseverance is the one trait that will always get the job done.
  • Knock on every door you can, and keep knocking. I promise that eventually someone will open and the warmth you feel on your face will more than validate every hour spent alone in the darkness. 


Saturday, February 9, 2013

Literary Blog Hop Giveaway - February 2013




I'm please to announce that The Book Diva's Read is once again participating in The Literary Blog Hop. This hop, organized by Judith at Leeswammes Blog, runs from 12:01 AM ET on February 9, 2013 through 11:59 PM ET on February 13, 2013. The winner will be announced by 9:00 AM ET on Thursday, February 14, 2013. This giveaway is open to international residents. All entrants must ensure that the Book Depository will ship to their country (click here to check).

In honor of African-American History Month here in the US, the prize for this giveaway will be a paperback copy of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot via the Book Depository. Although a non-fiction read, this book was chosen as a best book of 2010 by over 60 different media outlets including: National Public Radio, the Los Angeles Times, U.S. News & World Reports, the New York Times, USA Today.



Her name was Henrietta Lacks, but scientists know her as HeLa. She was a poor Southern tobacco farmer who worked the same land as her slave ancestors, yet her cells--taken without her knowledge--became one of the most important tools in medicine. The first "immortal" human cells grown in culture, they are still alive today, though she has been dead for more than sixty years. If you could pile all HeLa cells ever grown onto a scale, they'd weigh more than 50 million metric tons--as much as a hundred Empire State Buildings. HeLa cells were vital for developing the polio vaccine; uncovered secrets of cancer, viruses, and the atom bomb's effects; helped lead to important advances like in vitro fertilization, cloning, and gene mapping; and have been bought and sold by the billions. Yet Henrietta Lacks remains virtually unknown, buried in an unmarked grave. Now Rebecca Skloot takes us on an extraordinary journey, from the "colored" ward of Johns Hopkins Hospital in the 1950s to stark white laboratories with freezers full of HeLa cells; from Henrietta's small, dying hometown of Clover, Virginia--a land of wooden slave quarters, faith healings, and voodoo--to East Baltimore today, where her children and grandchildren live and struggle with the legacy of her cells. Henrietta's family did not learn of her "immortality" until more than twenty years after her death, when scientists investigating HeLa began using her husband and children in research without informed consent. And though the cells had launched a multimillion-dollar industry that sells human biological materials, her family never saw any of the profits. As Rebecca Skloot so brilliantly shows, the story of the Lacks family--past and present--is inextricably connected to the dark history of experimentation on African Americans, the birth of bioethics, and the legal battles over whether we control the stuff we are made of. Over the decade it took to uncover this story, Rebecca became enmeshed in the lives of the Lacks family--especially Henrietta's daughter Deborah, who was devastated to learn about her mother's cells. She was consumed with questions: Had scientists cloned her mother? Did it hurt her when researchers infected her cells with viruses and shot them into space? What happened to her sister, Elsie, who died in a mental institution at the age of fifteen? And if her mother was so important to medicine, why couldn't her children afford health insurance? Intimate in feeling, astonishing in scope, and impossible to put down, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks captures the beauty and drama of scientific discovery, as well as its human consequences.

Watch the book trailer:




Visit the author's website: http://rebeccaskloot.com/


Enter the Giveaway:  All entries must use the official Rafflecopter form found here. Comments are graciously accepted but are not considered an entry.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Book 30: INTO THE DARK Review



Into the Dark by Stacy Green
ISBN: 9781480078994 (paperback)
ISBN: 9781771271554 (ebook)
ASIN: B00AEVPQ2M (Kindle edition)
Publisher: author
Publication date: October, 2012


IT'S THE MOMENTS FROM OUR PAST THAT BIND US. 
Branch Manager Emilie Davis is enduring a day like any other–until two masked men storm into WestOne Bank demanding cash. Her hopes of a quick end to her terror are dashed when she realizes one of the men has no interest in the bank's money. Emilie is his prize, and he's come to claim her.
When hostage negotiator Nathan Madigan and Las Vegas SWAT enter the bank on a rescue mission, Emilie's captor makes a shocking escape into the abyss that lies beneath the city: the Las Vegas storm drains, a refuge for the downtrodden and the desperate. 
HOW WILL IT END?
Who is the man the media has dubbed 'the Taker?' Why is he after Emilie, and what is the connection he's convinced they share?
Emilie can't run from the Taker, and she can't escape her own past. As her life closes in on her, she has nowhere to turn but to Nathan. The lines of professionalism blur as Nathan becomes determined to save Emilie. Together they venture into the depths beneath Las Vegas and discover a shocking piece of the puzzle. 
But the Taker remains one step ahead. Desperate and sick of waiting for the Taker to emerge from the shadows, Emilie makes a bold move to reclaim her life that may cost her everything.

An obsessed stalker that hides behind a bank robbery to obtain his obsession; a police officer with an overwhelming sense of guilt from a childhood accident; and a divorced bank manager that's been estranged from her family for more than sixteen years due to abuse and secrets. All three are the main characters of Into the Dark, a mystery-thriller by Stacy Green. All are tied together by one thing, a botched bank robbery and the attempted abduction of Emilie Davis.

The stalker escapes into the tunnels under the bank that lead to miles and miles of storm drains under the city. It quickly becomes obvious to the police and the FBI that this was no ordinary robbery and that Emilie was the primary target. What remains unknown is why she was targeted. Will FBI agent Sia Ronson and SWAT Hostage Negotiator Nathan Madigan be able to figure out the truth before the stalker dubbed 'The Taker' is successful in grabbing his prey?

All of the major and a few of the minor characters in this story have secrets; some are the cause of emotional scars and others are more lethal. Emilie and Nathan must face their pasts in order to move forward. Nathan realizes that the past is not always the one we remember. Emilie's attempt to face the secrets in her past is for naught when she confronts her mother. The Taker is obviously the bad guy, but Ms. Green provides other secondary characters that aren't very agreeable, such as Emilie's co-worker Lisa, Detective Avery and Emilie's mother Claire. The action in Into The Dark was plausible and the characters realistic and well-developed. I did think that Emilie bordered on whiny at times rather than a woman pushed to the edge. I found Into The Dark to be a fast read and rather enjoyable despite my minor grievances. 

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book free for review purposes from Partners In Crime 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."


Guest Post: Author Stacy Green




Thanks so much to Vivian for having me today! 

In the last decade, my techie husband has turned me into a geek. I love my gadgets, can’t be away from my phone, have an iPad and an e-reader, and I’m fascinated by the seemingly overnight evolutions concerning all things technology. And for a someone like me, who is lazy at heart–being able to buy a book with a few clicks is heaven.

But I’ll tell you a secret. I still love print books, and going into a bookstore still gives me the same fluttery stomach and gooseflesh it always has. 

So many books! So many stories–all the history I need to read about, all the suspense novels I want to read, the beautiful romances and the still amazing classics–all there together, calling out to me. For as long as I can remember, I wanted to be on those shelves. I wanted to be part of the exclusive club that creates a common thread between people of all races and culture.

Now, the big stores dying. The Nook is (supposedly) the only thing that will save Barnes and Noble. Indie stories are closing right and left, and although INTO THE DARK is available for print, I’ve had to restructure my dream of reaching readers to the e-reader.

And that’s okay. But I still love those bookstores, and see my book on the shelves of our local indie bookstore was one of the most wonderful experiences I’ve ever had. It doesn't matter if that store is just one tiny blip on the radar–it’s still a store that supports books, authors, and most importantly, readers. It’s a local treasure trying to survive in the new world, and I intend to support my local bookstores as much as I can.

Don’t stop buying books for your e-readers. Love and cherish them and the convenience and low-prices they bring. But don’t forget about the little bookstores that can.



An Excerpt from INTO THE DARK:

Emilie risked another glance at him. Narrowed in either anger or grief, his eyes glistened with moisture. “She was wrong. All of those exist in the daylight as well. Poor Jo didn't need to fear the dark. Her bad luck came on a hot, sunny afternoon.” His voice faltered. 
“What happened to her?” 
“That’s none of your business.” Her captor jumped as though jolted with electricity.
“Josephine belongs to me and to me alone,” he snarled. 
Emilie scooted as far away from the man as the small space would allow. 
“I’m sorry.” His voice was contrite. “Forgive my rudeness. That was extremely ungentlemanly.” 
Intimacy had crept back into his tone. Emilie cringed. 
“Don’t be afraid, Miss Emilie,” Creepy Guy pleaded. “I would never hurt you.” 
“You already have.” 
He edged closer until his covered arm brushed her bare one. The material was soft and lightweight. Breathable. Expensive. Not cheap rags like Joe wore. 
“Only because you’re scared. But I knew we were connected the first moment I saw you. Once you allow me to explain my actions, you will understand everything. You carry our connection with you every day.” 
“We have no connection.” 
“Oh but we do. I’ve watched you for so long, my dear Miss Emilie.” He spoke softly now, like a lover would. “So many times, I was close enough to reach out and touch you, to make you mine. But the time and place weren't right. Waiting for you has been torture.” 


Giveaway:

Enter the INTO THE DARK Charity Raffle!

The homeless living in the storm drains of Las Vegas played a vital part in INTO THE DARK, and I want to give back. From November 1st until February 28th, participants will have several options to enter the raffle, including donating to HELP of Southern Nevada. The grand prize will be a $100 donation from me in the winner’s name to the homeless shelter of their choice.


About the author:

Stacy Green is fascinated by the workings of the criminal mind and explores true crime on her popular Thriller Thursday posts at her blog, Turning the Page

After earning her degree in journalism, Stacy worked in advertising before becoming a stay-at-home mom to her miracle child. She rediscovered her love of writing and wrote several articles for Women’s Edition Magazine of Cedar Rapids, profiling local businesses, before penning her first novel. Her debut novel, INTO THE DARK, is set in Las Vegas and features a heroine on the edge of disaster, a tormented villain, and the city’s infamous storm drains that house hundreds of homeless. INTO THE DARK is available on all digital formats and paperback November 30th.

Sign up for Stacy’s newsletter for exclusive excerpts and information!

Website: www.stacygreen.net
Follow Stacy online at her blog: www.stacygreenauthor.com
Twitter: @StacyGreen26
Facebook Stacy Green, Author