Favorite Quotes on Books and Reading

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

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

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

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

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Friday, May 30, 2014

Book 186: RUIN FALLS Review



Ruin Falls by Jenny Milchman
ISBN: 9780345549075 (hardcover)
ISBN: 9780345549082 (ebook)
ASIN: B00G8EKYTY  (Kindle edition)
Publication date: April 22, 2014
Publisher: Ballantine Books


Liz Daniels has every reason to be happy about setting off on a rare family vacation, leaving behind her remote home in the Adirondack Mountains for a while. Instead, she feels uneasy. Her children, eight-year-old Reid and six-year-old Ally, have met their paternal grandparents only a handful of times. But Liz's husband, Paul, has decided that, despite a strained relationship with his mother and father, they should visit the farm in western New York where he spent his childhood. On their way to the farm, the family stops at a hotel for the night. In the morning, when Liz goes to check on her sleeping children, all her anxiety comes roaring back: Ally and Reed are nowhere to be found. Blind panic slides into ice-cold terror as the hours tick by without anyone finding a trace of the kids. Soon, Paul and Liz are being interviewed by police, an Amber Alert is issued, and detectives are called in. Frantic worry and helplessness threaten to overtake Liz's mind—but in a sudden, gut-wrenching instant she realizes that it was no stranger who slipped into the hotel room that night. Someone she trusted completely has betrayed her. Though she knows that Ally and Reid are safe, Liz will stop at nothing to find them and get them back. From her guarded in-laws' unwelcoming farmhouse to the deep woods of her own hometown, Liz follows the threads of a terrible secret to uncover a hidden world created from dreams and haunted by nightmares.

Liz and Paul Daniels seem to have it all: a beautiful family a wonderful marriage, and similar life goals. They have a large beautiful home in the country, Paul has a job he loves teaching at a local college, and Liz has a small, thriving boutique business growing fruits, vegetables, and herbs. They both feel that they need to do their part in reducing their carbon footprint, drive a hybrid vehicle, and want to do their very best to ensure their children aren't physically polluted by GMO foods, preservatives, etc. All seems well when the Daniels' family sets off to visit Paul's parents in western New York. After a day’s drive, fraught with reckless drivers, Paul agrees to allow the family to spend the night at a hotel on the road. Disaster strikes as Liz wakes up the next morning to find that her children are gone. Just when the horror of the children being abducted sinks in, Paul disappears. What could make her loving husband abduct their children? Where could they possibly have gone? 

Ruin Falls spotlights one of a parent’s worst nightmares, their children being abducted. Liz knows that the police aren't taking her seriously and since she hasn't found any clues at Paul's parents' farm she heads back home. Tired, anxious, and stressed to the max, Liz embarks on a quest to find the truth. Her search overlaps with other tales of spousal abuse, overbearing parents, and sheer madness. The more Liz learns, the more questions she finds need to be answered, but can she uncover all of the answers before her children are gone forever?

I found Ruin Falls to be a fast-paced read. Each family's story provides vital clues into what is happening. I don't think of Ruin Falls as a mystery so much as a suspense thriller. Liz endures quite a bit in her search for her children and it is this endurance and the inherent obstacles that add to the overall build of tension within the story. Ms. Milchman has created another mesmerizing tale of family dysfunction with very realistic, multidimensional characters that will grab you from the very beginning. If you enjoy suspense thrillers with a family element, then Ruin Falls is the perfect book for you. I look forward to reading more from Ms. Milchman in the future.

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

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Book Showcase: PRESSED PENNIES

Pressed Pennies by Steven Manchester
ISBN: 9781611881356 (paperback)
ISBN: 9781611881370 (ebook)
ASIN: B00J1K3TJO (Kindle edition)
Publication date: May 13, 2014
Publisher: The Story Plant


Rick and Abby grew up together, became best friends, and ultimately fell in love. Circumstance tore them apart in their early teens, though, and they went on to lives less idyllic than they dreamed about in those early days. Rick has had a very successful career, but his marriage flat-lined. Abby has a magical daughter, Paige, but Paige's father nearly destroyed Abby's spirit. 
Now fate has thrown Rick and Abby together again. In their early thirties, they are more world-weary than they were as kids. But their relationship still shimmers, and they're hungry to make up for lost time. However, Paige, now nine, is not nearly as enthusiastic. She's very protective of the life she's made with her mother and not open to the duo becoming a trio. Meanwhile, Rick has very little experience dealing with kids and doesn't know how to handle Paige. This leaves Abby caught between the two people who matter the most to her. What happens when the life you've dreamed of remains just inches from your grasp?
Pressed Pennies is a nuanced, intensely romantic, deeply heartfelt story of love in its many incarnations, relationships in their many guises, and family in its many meanings. It is the most accomplished and moving novel yet from a truly great storyteller of the heart. 


Read an excerpt:

The night was beautiful, unusually mild for the season. "How about a walk along the river?" he asked. "The water fire is tonight."
"What a coincidence," she teased, and didn't think twice about grabbing his hand when he extended it.
Hand in hand, Rick and Abby strolled along the river. Hidden speakers offered the eclectic sounds of primitive chants and tribal drums. Alluring smells of vendor delicacies wafted on unseasonably warm breezes. Side streets were cordoned off and police officers rerouted traffic. Amongst thousands of pedestrians, the walk along the river moved like a stream of warm pudding.
They felt comfortably alone in each other"s company, occasionally stopping to point out something they had spotted and wanted to share. 
Although Abby only had two glasses of wine, she felt lightheaded—almost drunk.
As if lovers were sworn to secrecy, other couples offered subtle nods in greeting—with Rick and Abby returning each gesture.
Steel fire pits sat several feet out of the water, lining the middle of the river every thousand yards. Old, wooden boats filled with thespians dressed in black threw fresh-split cordwood onto each. Like swarms of angry fireflies, a million sparks scurried into the air. Bright orange and red flames licked at the black sky, as strong smells of burnt oak and cedar reminded folks of cozy summer campfires and the love that could be shared beneath a starry sky.
At the end of the path, Rick summoned one of the many hawkers to buy Abby a single red rose.
She accepted the gift with a smile. "Good thing this isn't a date," she joked again.
"Good thing," he repeated.
After hugging him, she kissed his cheek. "Thank you for this wonderful experience, Richard," she said. "I mean it. This night has been absolutely amazing."
"I only supplied half of it," he replied, and hugged her again. "Thank you for the other half."
Walking slowly, they started back toward their cars.
* * *
Once they reached the parking lot behind the Blue Grotto, Rick turned to Abby and cleared his throat. "Let me take you out again this weekend." It was more of a statement than a request.
Abby shook her head and kissed his cheek. "I'd love to, Richard. Believe me, I would. But it's not just about what I want. I still need to get Paige settled in. She's not used to..."
He placed his finger to her lips. "Okay," he said, "then when?"
She thought about it and shook her head. "I honestly don't know." She shrugged. "But what I do know is that our timing couldn't be any worse right now." She searched his eyes. "I can't tell you how sorry I am, Richard. I wish..."
He looked surprised and devastated, all at the same time. "Not even as friends?" he asked.
She looked deeper into his eyes. "I'd love that, but do you really think that you and I could just be friends?"
He smirked, and then shrugged. "I don't know." He thought for a moment. "A different place, a different time, I think you and I..."
"Who knows what the future holds," she said, stopping him from saying any more.
"Friends then," he said, and kissed her cheek. "I understand."
"Thank you," she said, but she could tell by his tone that he didn't understand at all. "I'll be seein' ya," she said, and hurried off to her car while she still had the strength.
"Yeah," he said. "See you around."
* * *
With his head spinning, Rick got into his car and began replaying every second of their time together. As he drove away, he could still smell Abby on his clothes and hoped the scent would last. It had been an eternity since he'd felt this way about anyone.
* * *
When her mom returned home from her "dinner with an old friend," Paige was sprawled out on the couch, pretending to be asleep. Abby took a seat beside her. Even with her heart pounding in her ears, Paige dared not stir. Abby pulled the blanket over her and kissed her forehead. "Night, babe," she whispered, and quietly stepped out of the room.
Paige slowly opened her eyes and took a deep breath. "Just the two of us, huh?" she whispered, and fought back the tears.


About the author:

Steven Manchester is the author of the #1 bestsellers, Twelve Months and The Rockin' Chair. He is also the author of the critically-acclaimed, award-winning novel, Goodnight, Brian, as well as A Christmas Wish (Kindle exclusive), Pressed Pennies (due out May 2014) and Gooseberry Island (due out January 2015). His work has appeared on NBC's Today Show, CBS's The Early Show, CNN's American Morning and BET's Nightly News. Three of Steven's short stories were selected "101 Best" for Chicken Soup for the Soul series. When not spending time with his beautiful wife, Paula, or their four children, this Massachusetts author is promoting his works or writing. 

Connect with the author:      Website      |     Facebook 


This showcase is brought to you courtesy of The Story Plant.



Monday, May 26, 2014

Book 184: LOVE AND OTHER FOREIGN WORDS Review




Love and Other Foreign Words by Erin McCahan
ISBN: 9780803740518 (hardcover)
ISBN: 9781101625972 (ebook)
ASIN:  B00G3L13BU (Kindle edition)
Publication date: May 1, 2014
Publisher: Dial Books (Penguin Group)



Can anyone be truly herself--or truly in love--in a language that's not her own?
Sixteen-year-old Josie lives her life in translation. She speaks High School, College, Friends, Boyfriends, Break-ups, and even the language of Beautiful Girls. But none of these is her native tongue--the only people who speak that are her best friend Stu and her sister Kate. So when Kate gets engaged to an epically insufferable guy, how can Josie see it as anything but the mistake of a lifetime? Kate is determined to bend Josie to her will for the wedding; Josie is determined to break Kate and her fiancé up. As battles are waged over secrets and semantics, Josie is forced to examine her feelings for the boyfriend who says he loves her, the sister she loves but doesn't always like, and the best friend who hasn't said a word--at least not in a language Josie understands.


Being a teenager is difficult. Being a gifted teenager that attends college and high school makes things more difficult. Being a gifted teenager that will graduate at age sixteen with a host of quirks or idiosyncrasies just makes you weird. Josie is just that teenager. Just when she feels as if she has a handle on teen-life and college life, her sister Kate turns her world upside down by getting engaged to a guy that Josie detests. Why can't anyone else see that Geoff is the wrong man for Kate? Why can't anyone see that Kate is being insufferable to Josie as she plans for her wedding? Why can't things just stay the same?

I wasn't quite sure what to expect when I began reading Love and Other Foreign Words. I've got to say that it took a while for me to warm up to the book. Just when I was ready to put it aside as a "could-not-finish" read I began to smile at the conversations between Kate, Josie, Geoff and others. When I thought it couldn't possibly get any better than a random smile, I began to laugh (yes, out loud) at Josie's antics to end her sister's engagement. Josie isn't a spoiled teenager, she is just a girl that thinks she knows her sister best and she only wants the very best for her and she's sure that isn't Geoff. What's worse is that she feels as if Geoff is coming between her and Kate, and she knows that Kate is one of the few people that truly understand and accept her for whom she is not what she should be.

There are times when Josie is a typically obnoxious and overly dramatic teenager, but then there are those times when she reveals she is so much more than that. A perfect example is the fact that she can be just as comfortable with her elderly widowed neighbor, Mrs. Easterday as she is with her best friends, Stu and Sophie Wagemaker (also her neighbors). Josie is just as flawed as she is lovable and that makes her the typical teenager, even if she can't see it. Did I enjoy reading Love and Other Foreign Words? Yes! Although Ms. McCahan presents the story with characters that are dealing with the typical teenage angst and drama, it is also a story about family, love, and acceptance. If you are a teenager (or have to deal with teenagers or simply because you used to be a teenager), then you'll want to read Love and Other Foreign Words. It is a fast and delightful read, perfect for a bit of spring (or summer) reading.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book free for review purposes from BookSparks as part of the Summer Reading Challenge 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."


Sunday, May 25, 2014

Book 182: Review of NATCHEZ BURNING


Natchez Burning by Greg Iles
ISBN: 9780062311078 (hardcover)
ISBN: 9780062311108 (ebook)
ASIN: B00FJ3AC10 (Kindle edition)
Publication date: April 29, 2014
Publisher: William Morrow

An American writer at the height of his creative powers, #1 New York Times bestselling novelist Greg Iles returns with his most eagerly anticipated book yet, and his first in five years—Natchez Burning, the first installment in an epic trilogy that weaves crimes, lies, and secrets past and present into a mesmerizing thriller featuring southern mayor and former prosecutor Penn Cage.
Raised in the historic southern splendor of Natchez, Mississippi, Penn Cage learned all he knows of honor and duty from his father, Dr. Tom Cage. But now the beloved family doctor and pillar of the community has been accused of murdering Viola Turner, the African-American nurse with whom he worked in the dark days of the 1960s. Once a crusading prosecutor, Penn is determined to save his father, but Tom, stubbornly invoking doctor-patient privilege, refuses to even speak in his own defense.
Penn's quest for the truth sends him deep into his father's past, where a sexually charged secret lies waiting to tear their family apart. More chilling, this long-buried sin is only a single thread in a conspiracy of greed and murder involving the vicious Double Eagles, an offshoot of the KKK controlled by some of the wealthiest and most powerful men in the state. Aided by a dedicated reporter privy to Natchez's oldest secrets and by his fiancée, Caitlin Masters, Penn uncovers a trail of corruption and brutality that places his family squarely in the Double Eagles' crosshairs. With every step costing blood and faith, Penn is forced to confront the most wrenching dilemma of his life: Does a man of honor choose his father or the truth?
Drenched in southern atmosphere, Natchez Burning marks the brilliant return of a genuine American master of suspense. Tense, disturbing, and filled with electrifying plot twists, this novel commences the most explosive and ambitious story Greg Iles has ever written.

Natchez Burning presents a variety of societal issues without any sugarcoating, such as rampant racism, racially motivated torture and killings, rape, intimidation, adultery, illegal drugs, family, injustice, and, the worst thing of all, secrets. How far do you go to protect your past? How far do you go to protect the past of others? How far are you willing to go to protect a way of life?

I've enjoyed reading all of the previous novels by Greg Iles that included the character Penn Cage, and Natchez Burning is definitely included in that list. However, Natchez Burning is now my favorite Greg Iles novel and the reasons why are multitudinous. Penn Cage is a flawed yet honorable man. This book presents Penn with the worst possible dilemma, supporting the truth or his family. Natchez Burning presents a painful part of American history that is not too distant and not easily addressed, if at all, by government officials or even appeased by the truth. Racism is still a part of American culture regardless as what some in the media may say. Natchez Burning points a bright spotlight on this ongoing issue and the past behaviors of a small group of racists that killed ruthlessly with impunity. 

I found Natchez Burning to be a difficult read simply because it spotlights hate crimes and the perpetrators in such a realistic manner. Reading about torture, killings, and rape, even if fictionalized, had me putting aside the book for a few hours before resuming. Natchez Burning portrays the South in a dark, gritty and realistic way that surpasses what has been revealed in other books dealing with racism and injustice. Yet even with the dark and heart-wrenching themes, Mr. Iles provides the reader with a sense of hope that justice will prevail and "truth will out."

I could go on and on about the different characters, those I liked and those I despised. I could go on and on about the tragedies that are revealed, many in the past and some contemporary. I could rave about the amazing writing of Mr. Iles or the fact that this book is just as much literary masterpiece as it is mystery-suspense masterpiece. However the only thing I really need to tell you is to read this book! If you never take any other bookish recommendation from me, take this one — go out and buy a copy of Natchez Burning and read this book! For myself, I'll be re-reading Natchez Burning as I anxiously await the next book in this trilogy, The Bone Tree.



Just so you don't think I'm the only one raving about this book, here's what others are saying about Natchez Burning:

Kirkus Reviews (starred review): "A searing tale of racial hatreds and redemption in the modern South, courtesy of Southern storyteller extraordinaire Iles. . . . A memorable, harrowing tale."

Library Journal (starred review): "An absorbing and electrifying tale that thriller fans will be sure to devour."

Publishers Weekly (starred review): "Much more than a thriller, Iles's deftly plotted fourth Penn Cage novel doesn't flag for a moment . . . This superlative novel's main strength comes from the lead’s struggle to balance family and honor."

Scott Turow: "Natchez Burning is just flat-out terrific . . . its themes about race, violence, tradition, and the eternal smoldering anger of the South [bring] to mind Thomas Wolfe and William Faulkner . . . Greg Iles is back and truly better than ever."

Stephen King: "Natchez Burning is extraordinarily entertaining and fiendishly suspenseful. I defy you to start it and find a way to put it down . . . This is an amazing work of popular fiction."

Jodi Picoult: "I don't know how Iles did it, but every single page of Natchez Burning is a cliffhanger that will keep you devouring just one more chapter before you put it down . . . this ambitious, unique novel is the perfect marriage of a history lesson and a thriller."

Booklist (starred review): "It's been half a decade since Iles' last Penn Cage novel, but, oh boy, was it worth the wait! . . . This beautifully written novel represents some of the author's finest work, with sharper characterizations and a story of especially deep emotional resonance, and we eagerly await volume two."

Watch the trailer:



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


Friday, May 23, 2014

Book 183: Review of THE ONE & ONLY by Emily Giffin




The One & Only by Emily Giffin
ISBN: 9780345546883 (hardcover)
ISBN: 9780345546890 (ebook)
ASIN: B00F1W0DF4 (Kindle edition)
Publication date: May 20, 2014
Publisher: Ballantine Books



Thirty-three-year-old Shea Rigsby has spent her entire life in Walker, Texas—a small college town that lives and dies by football, a passion she unabashedly shares. Raised alongside her best friend, Lucy, the daughter of Walker’s legendary head coach, Clive Carr, Shea was too devoted to her hometown team to leave. Instead she stayed in Walker for college, even taking a job in the university athletic department after graduation, where she has remained for more than a decade.
But when an unexpected tragedy strikes the tight-knit Walker community, Shea’s comfortable world is upended, and she begins to wonder if the life she’s chosen is really enough for her. As she finally gives up her safety net to set out on an unexpected path, Shea discovers unsettling truths about the people and things she has always trusted most—and is forced to confront her deepest desires, fears, and secrets.
Thoughtful, funny, and brilliantly observed, The One & Only is a luminous novel about finding your passion, following your heart, and, most of all, believing in something bigger than yourself . . . the one and only thing that truly makes life worth living.


Shea Rigsby's life has been centered on football, namely college football and specifically Walker University football, since she was in the second grade. Her best friend is the daughter of Walker University's illustrious head coach. Her mother's best friend is the coach's wife. Fortunately Shea has been able to turn her love for Walker football into a career at the athletic department at Walker University. Shea's life isn't great and she isn't doing what she loves, but she does get to focus on her beloved Walker University Broncos and that seems to be enough until her best friend's mother dies. 

The One & Only begins with a funeral, followed by a breakup (Shea's first breakup in the story), a bit of a crush on Coach Carr -- Walker University's head coach, a brief relationship with the star quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys, another breakup, and an ongoing flirtation between Shea and Coach Carr. Just when it seems like everything is going well, Walker University has an undefeated season, and Shea and Coach Carr are ready to take the next step in their flirtation, disaster strikes. Shea's best friend and Coach Carr's daughter Lucy issues an ultimatum to Shea: choose me or choose my father. 

It has to be said, I'm not a football person (okay I'm not a sports person at all), so it was little difficult for me to get into this story because of all of the sports references and drama surrounding college football. Once I got past this minor issue (and it is very minor), it wasn't possible to not like this story. Ms. Giffin has a way of pulling you into the story and making the reader feel as if they’re completely invested into the final outcome, good or bad. The One & Only doesn't just put the reader into the total fandom of college football; it also highlights some of the problems with college ball, NCAA regulations, and the plight of the amateur college athlete. Yes there is romance, family drama, more romance, and more family drama, but ultimately The One & Only is about love, friendships, family and a passion for life. What's not to love about that? This is a highly recommended read for the summer (or perhaps you can hold off until football season starts...just not during a game).






Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book free for review purposes from BookSparksPR as part of the Summer Reading Challenge. 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."


Monday, May 19, 2014

Book 178: Review of GOODNIGHT JUNE




Goodnight June by Sarah Jio
ISBN: 9780142180211 (paperback)
ISBN: 9781101620038 (ebook)
ASIN: B00FX7ULEK (Kindle edition)
Publication date: May 27, 2014
Publisher: Plume (Penguin Group)


Goodnight Moon is an adored childhood classic, but its real origins are lost to history. In Goodnight June, Sarah Jio offers a suspenseful and heartfelt take on how the "great green room" might have come to be.
June Andersen is professionally successful, but her personal life is marred by unhappiness. Unexpectedly, she is called to settle her great-aunt Ruby's estate and determine the fate of Bluebird Books, the children's bookstore Ruby founded in the 1940s. Amidst the store's papers, June stumbles upon letters between her great-aunt and the late Margaret Wise Brown—and steps into the pages of American literature.

Imagine you are a successful thirty-something woman living in New York with a great, but time-consuming, career. You've just been informed that your beloved great-aunt has died and left you her bookstore and that bookstore is in Seattle, Washington. While you're trying to settle your aunt's affairs, you uncover letters that indicate your aunt corresponded with the beloved children's book author, Margaret Wise Brown. Not only do you discover their correspondence, but you also find that your aunt provided information that may have been the inspiration for one of the most loved children's books of all time. What do you do? This is exactly the dilemma that June Anderson faces in Goodnight June.

Sarah Jio has crafted a heartwarming and touching story that imagines a relationship between author Margaret Wise Brown (also known as Brownie) and children's bookstore owner Ruby Crain. This relationship is revealed in hidden letters scattered throughout Bluebird Books. June grew up in this bookstore and loved it as much as she loved her aunt Ruby, but her life is in New York. She arrives in Seattle with the goal of settling her aunt's affairs and selling the bookstore. But the longer she stays in Seattle and the more she uncovers about her aunt's friendship with Brownie, the more confused she becomes about her goals. Can she quit her high-profile job in New York, sell her apartment, and become a successful bookseller? Just when she thinks her decision might be easy, she uncovers another secret . . . her aunt had a child and gave it up for adoption. June now feels compelled to locate this lost child and share her aunt's legacy.

Goodnight June is much more than a homage to Goodnight Moon. It is a story of self-discovery, family, forgiveness, and second chances. Ruby and Brownie's letters reveal the hardships both women suffer when dealing with their families and family expectations. Both women have sisters that are more like strangers than family and strive to overcome this estrangement. Ruby has an illicit relationship with a married man that ends with her having a child that she gives away. June is having issues with her sister and mother and sees the parallels between her aunt's issues and her own, but can she overcome her anger and fears to allow amends to be made? I enjoyed reading about the fictionalized relationship between Ruby and Brownie and it made the author seem more personable. I found all of the characters to be believable primarily because of their flaws. I thought it rather ironic that June spent much of her adult life working in a bank that foreclosed on business after business with little consideration to individual needs or business history, only to find herself in the exact same situation with Bluebird Books and her former employer. The budding romantic relationship between June and her neighboring business owner added the right amount of romance to the story. Goodnight June offers romance, illicit affairs, a missing child, family trouble, financial trouble, and more. If you have read any of Ms. Jio's books then you'll definitely want to add Goodnight June to your TBR list. If you haven't read any of her books, then Goodnight June is the perfect place to start.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book free for review purposes from the a variety of sources including LibraryThing's Early Reviewer Program and 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."

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Promo Book Blitz: CALCULATED by Renee Novelle












Calculated

By Renee Novelle

Psychological Thriller

Date Published: August 30, 2013



 photo add-to-goodreads-button_zpsc7b3c634.png



  

An investigative journalist gets an unlikely tip from a mysterious informant. Dismissing it as impossible, she disregards the information and drops the story. Until the informant turns up dead, as predicted.



Plunged into the murky waters of a seedy underground prostitution ring, this psychological thriller provides twist upon dark twist in a story that would ultimately pin the church and several government officials in the largest murder cover-up the city has ever witnessed.



But is it true, or has the journalist merely been used as a pawn in a greater scheme? And how many people is she willing to sacrifice trying to figure it out?





EXCERPT



When she arrived at the little facility her building provided, a quick look around confirmed she was the only one there. Just as she’d hoped, and exactly how she liked it to be. Smiling in satisfaction, she flipped on the television that was perched on the wall, and turned up the music on her iPod as loud as she could handle it. The multiple distractions would help her get through the extra mile she was planning to conquer. With chilled water bottle in place, she cranked up the treadmill to a nice brisk pace.



As her breathing picked up speed and her muscles began to warm, Ana’s eye caught a red flash along the bottom of the screen. Breaking News filled the bar, and the too-chipper-for-their-own-good reporters were suddenly getting serious. Since the volume was still muted, Ana couldn’t understand exactly what was going on, only that they were showing the wide stretch of river that ran along the outskirts of the city. She wiped the first beads of sweat from her brow, and used the remote to turn the volume of the television higher while simultaneously adjusting her music.



As the reporters spoke, home-video footage of something floating in the water rolled before her eyes. The camera zoomed in, the frame ever so shaky, and it became clearly apparent that the “something” was a person - face down with long brown hair spread out like a Catholic halo. It appeared another victim had been pulled out of the water; the count was quickly tallying up. A young woman this time, and possibly one who had gone missing the night before.



Ana’s pulse skipped a few beats as they replayed the video over and over. There was something familiar about the long, lean body. Slowing the treadmill to a stop, she ripped the ear buds from her head to give the segment her entire attention.



...it appears at first glance that the victim suffered from a deep cut to the throat, and received multiple stab wounds to the chest...



The beads of accumulated sweat turned cold on Ana’s brow. She immediately reached for her phone and dialed Kylie’s number.



“What the hell, Ana?” Came her friend’s groggy voice.



“Turn your TV on. Channel four. Hurry.” Ana said, eyes transfixed to the screen in front of her. “Recognize that face?”



...It’s thought the victim may be one of the young girls recently reported missing. The screen flashed candids of three possible women. All brunettes. All tall and thin. All roughly the same age. Among them was a photo of Mara, just as Ana had expected there would be.



But the body was too bloated and disfigured to be absolutely certain, and an autopsy would be needed.



... The body will be taken in for processing where officials hope to shed more light on the case in the near future. In the mean time, they’re cautioning residents to avoid....



“Did you see that?” Ana’s voice escaped in more of a demand than a question. “Please tell me I’m seeing things.”



“Oh my god...” Kylie whispered into the receiver, confirming the dread that was building in Ana’s stomach. “Do you really think it’s her?”



“I know for a fact it is.” Ana declared, the pull in her gut getting stronger by the minute. “The autopsy will confirm it.”



“So, what does this mean exactly now?”



“That maybe I should have been listening a little closer when I was talking to Mara.” She said with regret as she swiped her forehead with the back of her hand. “And maybe I should have asked more questions. There’s a story here, I’m sure of it now.”



“What are you going to do?” Kylie’s voice was decidedly more alert now.



Ana shook her head. “I have no idea.”



Though if she were to be truthful with herself in that moment, she’d already made up her mind. Ana flipped off the television, and left the little gym to get started.





About the Author: Renee Novelle
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Formerly a freelance journalist, Novelle has found placement of her pieces in both online and print publications since 2008. Additionally, she has written multiple screenplays, and contributed her writing to many non-profit and for profit organizations. She has launched several blogs over the years, which garnered international attention.







In 2013, Novelle returned to her first love – fiction. Writing under the names Renee Novelle and R.S. Novelle, she has a publication schedule that includes Psychological Thrillers, Suspense, Paranormal Fiction, Contemporary Women’s fiction, Chick Lit, and New Adult.





Though she received her Bachelor’s of Science in Communication, summa cum laude, she considers herself a constant student of the written word. She’s an avid reader, an enthusiastic quote poster, and rarely takes “no” as a final answer. She has an unhealthy obsession for theater, dance, music and art, and strongly believes that wine is simultaneously the beginning of, and resolution to, all of life’s problems. She believes in following dreams, and that in the end, you always end up where you’re meant to be.



Author Links




Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads



Buy Links


Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Smashwords | iTunes



  

  





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