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

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Book Showcase: THE MADWOMAN UPSTAIRS by Catherine Lowell

The Madwoman Upstairs by Catherine Lowell 
ISBN: 9781501124211 (hardcover)
ISBN: 9781501126307 (trade paperback - 11/22/2016 [cover image shown at right])
ISBN: 9781501124228 (ebook)
ASIN: B010MH1D6U (Kindle edition)
Publication date: March 1, 2016 | November 22, 2016 
Publisher: Touchstone 


In this smart and enthralling debut in the spirit of The Weird Sisters and Special Topics in Calamity Physics, the only remaining descendant of the Brontë family embarks on a modern-day literary scavenger hunt to find the family's long-rumored secret estate, using clues her eccentric father left behind.
Samantha Whipple is used to stirring up speculation wherever she goes. As the last remaining descendant of the Brontë family, she's rumored to have inherited a vital, mysterious portion of the Brontë's literary estate; diaries, paintings, letters, and early novel drafts; a hidden fortune that's never been shown outside of the family.
But Samantha has never seen this rumored estate, and as far as she knows, it doesn't exist. She has no interest in acknowledging what the rest of the world has come to find so irresistible; namely, the sudden and untimely death of her eccentric father, or the cryptic estate he has bequeathed to her.
But everything changes when Samantha enrolls at Oxford University and bits and pieces of her past start mysteriously arriving at her doorstep, beginning with an old novel annotated in her father's handwriting. As more and more bizarre clues arrive, Samantha soon realizes that her father has left her an elaborate scavenger hunt using the world's greatest literature. With the aid of a handsome and elusive Oxford professor, Samantha must plunge into a vast literary mystery and an untold family legacy, one that can only be solved by decoding the clues hidden within the Brontë's own writing.
A fast-paced adventure from start to finish, this vibrant and original novel is a moving exploration of what it means when the greatest truth is, in fact, fiction. 



Praise

"A piquant paean to the Brontë sisters....Filled with gothic twists and leading [the reader] down pathways strewn with Brontë arcana." — The New York Times Book Review
"Lowell crafts a first novel that is enthralling as it is heartbreaking. Brontë aficionados and fans of Soane Crosley's The Clasp will love this title."— Library Journal starred review
"The novel untangles scholars' differing interpretations of the Brontë novels and the tantalizing hints the books offer readers about the Brontë sisters' lives. Who, if anyone, was the real-life model for Mr. Rochester's imprisoned, mentally ill wife? And was she really mad?"— Wall Street Journal
"For those who like their Brontë with a side of wry, turn to the hilarious The Madwoman Upstairs... Sam's self-conscious quips are LOL hilarious and do Ms. Brontë proud."
— USA Today
"The Madwoman Upstairs had me hooked well into the wee hours; this book is absolutely addictive. Set in the most romantic parts of Britain, the story takes us on a clever present-day romp through the literary universe of the enigmatic Brontës and drills deeply into all their dangerous secrets. Catherine Lowell has such a unique, inspired turn of phrase that you’ll find yourself laughing out loud even as she lures you deeper and deeper into this delicious mystery that is destined to become the page-turner of the year."
— Anne Fortier, Author of Juliet

"Catherine Lowell's debut is a smart and funny literary mystery set among the dreaming spires of Oxford University. Lowell's deft handling of her quirky characters and unpredictable plot twists make The Madwoman Upstairs a charming and memorable read."
— Deborah Harkness, author of the All Souls Trilogy

"The storyline takes readers on a crazy ride of clues and reveals interesting facts about the Brontë family in the process. Lowell has hit it out of the ballpark with this novel."
— RT Book Reviews (Top Pick)
"A smart, clever and properly Gothic novel....Deftly, Lowell combines a rollicking treasure hunt with a wickedly dark story."— Minneapolis Star-Tribune

Excerpt

Read an excerpt here.


Friday, December 30, 2016

2016 Book 464: THE MARRIAGE LIE by Kimberly Belle

The Marriage Lie by Kimberly Belle 
ISBN: 9780778319764 (paperback)
ISBN: 9781460396353 (ebook)
ASIN: B01EF02ZUS (Kindle edition)
Publication date: December 27, 2016 
Publisher: Mira


Even the perfect marriage has its dark side… 
Iris and Will's marriage is as close to perfect as it can be: a large house in a nice Atlanta neighborhood, rewarding careers and the excitement of trying for their first baby. But on the morning Will leaves for a business trip to Orlando, Iris's happy world comes to an abrupt halt. Another plane headed for Seattle has crashed into a field, killing everyone on board, and according to the airline, Will was one of the passengers on this plane. 
Grief-stricken and confused, Iris is convinced it all must be a huge misunderstanding. But as time passes and there is still no sign of Will, she reluctantly accepts that he is gone. Still, Iris needs answers. Why did Will lie about where he was going? What is in Seattle? And what else has he lied about? As Iris sets off on a desperate quest to find out what her husband was keeping from her, the answers she receives will shock her to her very core. 




Iris and Will Griffith had a whirlwind romance and, from all appearances, an idyllic marriage. Even after seven years of marriage, they seemed to still be head-over-heels in love with each other. Iris knows that Will loves her and thinks she knows everything about her husband and his past until that fateful day when he takes a plane and it subsequently crashes killing everyone aboard. The first question raised is why was Will on a plane to Seattle when he told her he was going to Orlando? This is followed by why did he lie to his assistant and say that he and Iris were on vacation in Mexico? What was in Seattle and why would Will be going there? The more questions Iris obtains answers to the more questions are raised until she finally realizes she didn't really know her husband at all.

Initially, Iris is in a state of denial that her husband could be on the flight to Seattle. Then she's in denial that he actually died in the crash. Her denial quickly becomes mass confusion when she's faced with a past that Will had not only hidden but lied about his past. She doesn't really know any of his friends or acquaintances except a few people from work until she meets a gym buddy at the memorial service, Corban Hayes. Just when Iris thinks she's come to grips with Will's past and demise, Will's boss confronts her with the fact that Will had embezzled millions of dollars from their company. If that's not bad enough, she's receiving suspicious and taunting text messages. Will Iris be able to uncover the truth about Will before it's too late?

I began reading The Marriage Lie while sitting in a hospital surgery waiting room during a relative's recent procedure. The only reason I put this book down was because the procedure ended (it went well) and my relative was discharged from the hospital (kind of difficult, not to mention tacky, to continue reading during the discharge, etc.). I picked up the book a few hours later and didn't set it aside again until the final page. Ms. Belle took this reader on one heck of a ride with this story. There were so many twists and turns I thought I might need motion sickness meds (not really, but you get the point). I can only liken this story to a reverse nesting doll where instead of dolls getting smaller the lies being revealed actually get larger and more confusing. Just when you think it can't get any more confusing, yes — you guessed it, but Ms. Belle takes that confusion and neatly wraps it up with a surprise ending (no, I'm not going to tell you what happened, read the book!). The Marriage Lie is an amazing read and one that I found to be fast-paced and enjoyable from beginning to end. As a former Atlanta resident, it was nice to revisit some of the places I knew and loved. I may never be able to think of the Atlanta Botanical Gardens quite the same way again, but I'm glad she took such a unique spot and incorporated it into the story. The Marriage Lie provides phantom bad guys (not to mention real bad guys) and that made it even more realistic for me, especially in this high-tech and connected world we live in today. If you enjoy reading suspense thrillers or just want a read that will keep you on the edge of your seat, then grab a copy of The Marriage Lie to read. I enjoyed The Marriage Lie so much that I've added Ms. Belle's previous titles to my TBR list. 

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



Wednesday, December 28, 2016

2016 Book 453: INHERIT THE BONES by Emily Littlejohn

Inherit the Bones (Gemma Monroe #1) by Emily Littlejohn 
ISBN: 9781250089397 (hardcover)
ISBN: 9781250089403 (ebook)
ASIN: B01DJ0Y0AI (Kindle edition)
Publication date: December 13, 2016 
Publisher: Minotaur 


Secrets and lies can't stay buried forever in Cedar Valley.
In the summer, hikers and campers pack the small Colorado town's meadows and fields. And in the winter, skiers and snowboarders take over the mountains. Season by season, year after year, time passes and the lies, like the aspens and evergreens that surround the town, take root and spread deep.
Now, someone has uncovered the lies, and it is his murder that continues a chain of events that began almost forty years ago. Detective Gemma Monroe's investigation takes her from the seedy grounds of a traveling circus to the powerful homes of those who would control Cedar Valley's future.
Six-months pregnant, with a partner she can't trust and colleagues who know more than they're saying, Gemma tracks a killer who will stop at nothing to keep those secrets buried.


Gemma Monroe has a good life in Cedar Valley, Colorado. She has a job she enjoys with the local sheriff's office. She has family that she loves, and she and her partner are awaiting the birth of their first child. Now if she could only trust her life-partner and her colleagues, things might be as close to perfect as possible. While Gemma deals with her lack of trust issues with her life-partner and colleagues, she must deal with a murder case that seems to open the proverbial Pandora's Box of secrets in her hometown. The murder of a young man with the traveling circus was strange, and the case becomes even more bizarre when the identity of the dead teen is revealed to be none other than the previously presumed deceased son of the mayor. Gemma realizes that the victim's disappearance three years earlier is probably related to his murder, so she begins to dig into his background and family. Strangely, her grandmother, who is suffering from Alzheimer's, warns her away from the grandfather of the victim. Gemma is then relegated to partnering a senior colleague on the case rather than leading the investigation. Adding to the overall strangeness of this case and investigation, Gemma is finding notes and messages in an attempt to get her to stop her investigation and then the newest deputy is severely injured in a hit-and-run accident. Is it possible that this murder could be tied to the town's previously unsolved murder cases from 30 years ago? 

I found Inherit the Bones to be a fast-paced and wholly engaging read. I enjoyed the small-town environment, the angst from Gemma's relationships with her life-partner, grandparents, and colleagues, not to mention the murder and its investigation. Yes, obviously there's a lot more going on in Inherit the Bones than a current murder and its investigation, but you'll have to read the book to find out for yourself. I enjoyed reading about all of the characters, especially the circus folk. The small town of Cedar Valley and its history is just as important to the story as the characters. Inherit the Bones is filled with quirky characters, plausible scenarios, and intrigue upon intrigue that kept me reading until the end just to find out whodunit and why (no, I'm not going to tell you who did it or why . . . read the book!). Inherit the Bones is the first in a series by Ms. Littlejohn and I'm looking forward to reading more about Gemma Monroe in the future. 


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



Thursday, December 22, 2016

Book Blast: THE EMPTY ROOM by Sarah J. Clemens












Mystery / Romance



Date Published: July 23, 2016





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Rain soaked and dreary, it was a 1901 abandoned Victorian that Dean and Elizabeth hoped would fulfill their dreams, even if the town of Eastbrook, Maine was trapped under a blanket of fog. The first neighbor they meet in town dashes those dreams when he raises a bizarre question: what happened to the last person who lived in their house? Under mounting pressure from the residents of Eastbrook to stop questioning the past, Dean and Elizabeth are driven deeper into the history of the house, and the town. When they discover what happened in Eastbrook, keeping the secret could save their lives, but uncovering the truth might be worth the risk.





A gripping psychological mystery, The Empty Room takes readers on a cat-and-mouse game where some secrets are better off hidden.











Excerpt




A knock pounded loudly on the door for a second time and Elizabeth involuntarily let out a small shriek. She frantically put her hand over her mouth, but the sound had already escaped and there was little doubt that Mrs. Jacobs had heard. 



“Well.” Dean sighed, as he stood up from the crouched position he’d been holding beside the window. “Now we answer the door because you apparently have Tourette’s.” 



As Elizabeth slowly stood up beside him, a third round of loud pounding ensued. Elizabeth jumped at the sudden noise and hit her head against Dean’s lower lip. His head jolted back from the force and he winced. 



“Oh my God.” She leapt forward toward him. “Are you OK?”



Dean reached up his hand and clenched his jaw, pulling it from left to right. He pointed toward the door. “Great, first I get physically abused, now I’m going to get emotionally abused. And I still have no underwear.”



He finally came to the door and put his hand on the doorknob. He looked back at Elizabeth. “Just for the record, you are the worst covert ops partner ever.” With a specific intent in mind, he quickly turned the doorknob and ripped open the door as fast as he could. A startled Mrs. Jacobs stumbled backwards.



“You almost scared me to death,” she asserted, quickly brushing her dress to remove the imaginary wrinkles that had not formed from the unexpected greeting.



He stepped outside and grabbed Elizabeth by the wrist to pull her out of the house with him. “Well, follow-through has always been my problem. Look, we were just headed out the door and into town so we’re going to have to finish this later.” He reached for the doorknob and slammed the door behind him. 



But Mrs. Jacobs did not move. Other than the slight falter when he opened the door, she held her stance and stared at the closed door. Dean had a feeling it was not the first or the last time she had ever had a door closed in her face. With their backs to the old woman, the couple took several steps toward the edge of the porch.  



“You live next door, right? We’ll stop by. Oh, the fun we’ll have.” Still holding on to Elizabeth’s wrist, he pulled her past Mrs. Jacobs and down the steps.



“Where are we going?” Elizabeth whispered.



Mrs. Jacobs turned to face them. Her hands clasped in a folded position in front of her. 



“We’re going to see if we can find out what happened in that room, what happened in that house. Someone here knows. Everyone in this town can’t be as bad as Mrs. HaWiggins back there,” he whispered back.







 About the Author






Sarah J. Clemens is the author of the debut mystery novel, The Empty Room. She started writing The Empty Room in 2008 and formed her own imprint in 2016 called Off the Page Publishing. She started out her professional career working as a news assistant for her local newspaper before finding a passion for the law and pursued an education in criminal justice. In addition to writing fiction, she is also a legal assistant with an Associate of Arts and a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice with an emphasis in Human Services. Sarah was born in California and now lives and works in Boise, Idaho. She has the same sarcastic sense of humor as the characters in her books, and she has an unparalleled love for animals.




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Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Book Showcase: SMALL ADMISSIONS by Amy Poeppel

Small Admissions by Amy Poeppel
ISBN: 9781501122521 (hardcover)
ISBN: 9781501122545 (eBook)
ASIN: B01CO34E8Y (Kindle version)
Publication Date: December 27, 2016 
Publisher: Emily Bestler Books / Atria


For fans of The Nanny Diaries and Sophie Kinsella comes a whip-smart and deliciously funny debut novel about Kate, a young woman unexpectedly thrust into the cutthroat world of New York City private school admissions as she attempts to understand city life, human nature, and falling in love.
Despite her innate ambition and Summa Cum Laude smarts, Kate Pearson has turned into a major slacker. After being unceremoniously dumped by her handsome, French "almost fiancé," she abandons her grad school plans and instead spends her days lolling on the couch, watching reruns of Sex and the City, and leaving her apartment only when a dog-walking gig demands it. Her friends don't know what to do other than pass tissues and hope for a comeback, while her practical sister, Angela, pushes every remedy she can think of, from trapeze class to therapy to job interviews.
Miraculously, and for reasons no one (least of all Kate) understands, she manages to land a job in the admissions department at the prestigious Hudson Day School. In her new position, Kate learns there's no time for self-pity or nonsense during the height of the admissions season, or what her colleagues refer to as "the dark time." As the process revs up, Kate meets smart kids who are unlikable, likeable kids who aren't very smart, and Park Avenue parents who refuse to take no for an answer.
Meanwhile, Kate's sister and her closest friends find themselves keeping secrets, hiding boyfriends, dropping bombshells, and fighting each other on how to keep Kate on her feet. On top of it all, her cranky, oddly charming, and irritatingly handsome downstairs neighbor is more than he seems. Through every dishy, page-turning twist, it seems that one person's happiness leads to another's misfortune, and suddenly everyone, including Kate, is looking for a way to turn rejection on its head, using any means necessary—including the truly unexpected.


Read an excerpt:

For one whole year, we worried about Kate. We worried to her face and worried behind her back, credited her with being tough, while judging her for being pathetic. Some days we thought she was suicidal; others she seemed homicidal, or as if she had the potential, anyway, not that any of us would blame her. We didn't know how to help. Her sister, Angela, thought she needed therapy, antidepressants, and time to heal. She prescribed hard work and weekend hobbies, like kayaking or photography. Vicki thought she needed to quit wallowing; why not enjoy life as a single woman, celebrate her independence, go out and get laid? The guy who lived below her thought she should turn her music down and leave the apartment from time to time instead of stomping around over his head all day long. The lady at the liquor store suspected she drank too much. I didn't know what to think. We all agreed she needed to get her ass off the couch and get a life. She needed to stop wearing sweatpants and put on a little mascara, for Christ's sake. And would it kill her to go on a date? We were tired of the whole thing. Sure, life had thrown a huge piece of shit in her face, but...
Actually, there was no but. Life had thrown an enormous piece of shit in Kate's face.
Whenever the topic of Kate came up, faces got twitchy; eyes got shifty. Our friends would glance at each other and look at me with a mixture of blame and embarrassment, making it clear what they all thought but couldn't say, at least not around me. I could imagine them whispering, after I excused myself to go to the ladies' room:
She must feel like it's her fault.
It was her fault.
Well, she certainly is partly to blame.
Apart from him, it was all her fault.
I know! I mean, if only she had...
I wonder if she feels responsible?
Yes, bitches. I feel responsible.
To me Kate was something like a figure skater, skilled and balanced one second and then, bam, she's splayed out all over the ice the next. Music still playing, and she can't even get up to finish the damn routine.
But before her fall, it was a different story. Skilled and balanced. I remember Kate sitting cross-legged on her bed in our dorm room, laptop open, wearing glasses and retainers, reading an assignment she'd written out loud to us:
Day 1. Sundown. I enter a community living structure after the tribe's evening repast. I am in the midst of seven female natives, and while I believe them to be a peaceful people, I approach them cautiously, watching from a safe distance. I see them communicating with each other, using language and gestures, drinking an amber-colored beverage out of red, plastic cups, and listening to music that causes them to jerk their heads in unison. I come closer to observe their rituals and seat myself on a contraption that hosts a variety of food particles in its fibers. When I insert my hand under the cushion, I discover a handful of blackened popcorn kernels, a pair of unwashed male undergarments, and two small copper medallions. The women in the tribe see the items in my hand and begin shrieking, gesticulating, and backing away from me. I fear I have insulted these gentle humanoids by unearthing their relics from the sofa, but they are forgiving. One offers me a large vessel, into which I respectfully lower the clothing and kernels. When I start to put in the copper medallions, the female makes a gift of them to me. I will bring them home to share with my people.
Kate looked up, ready for our critique.
"I don't get it," Vicki said. She was sitting up in her bed with a Town & Country magazine open across her lap.
"What?" Kate asked.
"If they're pennies," Vicki asked, "why can't you just say pennies?"
"I like it," I said.
"Thank you, Chloe," Kate answered. She was hunched over, reading through her fictional field notes again.
"I didn't say I don't like it," Vicki said. "I just don't get the point."
"Can you tell I'm from another planet?" Kate asked.
"Totally," I assured her.
"It's inconsistent, if you want me to be honest," Vicki answered.
"How would an alien know what popcorn is?"
"You're absolutely right," Kate said, holding down the delete button.
"It's so stupid."
"You're a freshman," Vicki told her. "You're supposed to be stupid."
"She didn't say she was stupid," I corrected. "She didn't mean to say that you're stupid, Kate."
"It's no good; I'm starting over again," Kate said, closing her laptop and getting ready to go. "I'll work in the Student Center, so I don't keep you up."
"We'll hear you anyway when you come in at two o'clock," Vicki said.
"She'll tiptoe," I suggested.
We had only been roommates for two months, and we had already fallen into our roles. Kate was the bookiest of us. She spent more time in the library and less time in the shower than anyone I'd ever met. Not that she smelled bad or anything. She just couldn't be bothered. She was a scholar in the making, bingeing on nineteenth-century novels whenever she had spare time, the more passion, suspense, and drama, the better.
"You know you're wearing pajamas," Vicki called after her, as Kate walked out of the room.
Vicki was smart and driven in a different way. She was exceedingly practical, registered for classes only if she found them real-world applicable and down-the-road lucrative. "When would I ever use that?" she asked when I suggested we all take a history class on serfdom in the Middle Ages. She signed up for stats instead. I had to check a map when I first met her to wrap my head around where she came from: a flyover state that she had no intention of returning to. One time I walked into our dorm room to find Vicki looking through Kate's dresser drawers. Without thinking, I apologized to her.
And who was I? Among other things, my role in our clique was keeper of the peace. I held us together. For four years I bridged the gap, and it wasn't easy. I was the one who made sure we were always assigned to the same dorm, with rooms on the same hall. I was the one who made plans (Friday-night cocktails and weekend getaways) and posed us in pictures, dressed up or dressed down, with me almost always in the middle. I cleared up misunderstandings and found common ground: in our sophomore year, Kate and Vicki got into a fight about gun control (Vicki's libertarian principles clashing with Kate's progressive sensibilities), and I spent an anxiety-filled week negotiating a truce, apologizing to one on behalf of the other, failing a sociology test in the process.
After we graduated from Wellesley, we decided to move to New York as individuals—still as a trio in spirit, but not as roommates. I figured it was for the best, knowing that our friendships would be far less complicated without the petty problems that stem from too much togetherness. I was relieved to move forward into something simple and more adult. 
And then Kate had her disastrous triple toe loop ass-on-ice wipeout and suddenly I found myself reentangled, back in the middle of a big mess.
Copyright © Amy Poeppel 2016



Praise

"Trenchant, funny, and observant...as a prose artist Ms. Poeppel leaves nothing to be desired, except this desire: that she write more and more, and as well as she does in this, her assured debut."– Hilton Als, staff writer for The New Yorker and author of White Girls and The Women 
"Poeppel gives an in-depth look at the admissions process, with a side of secrets, bombshells, heartbreak, and hope . . . perfect for fans of Curtis Sittenfeld's Prep."– Booklist
"A witty and captivating page-turner punctuated with quirky characters and laugh-out-loud moments that are sure to appeal."– Library Journal
"Fans of Primates of Park Avenue and Curtis Sittenfeld's Prep will get a kick out of this novel, which is also a story about how women help one another get back on their feet."– Refinery 29, Top Reads Out in December
"An excellent debut."– Publishers Weekly
"In this absorbing story, Amy Poeppel brings her razor-sharp observations of the postures and pretenses found in our culture, in our cities,and especially in the world of admissions. Amy's gift for dialogue, shown through the sidesplitting banter between our appealing, young heroine and the parents and children she interviews, will delight readers. Amy Poeppel displays a well of insight, forgiveness and wit that not only marks a talented writer, but the launch of what promises to be a marvelous career."– Diane Meier, author of The Seasons of Chances and Ritual and Style in a Changing Culture 
"As Jean Hanff Korelitz did for college in her novel Admission, Amy Poeppel artfully and hilariously describes the gamesmanship in the high-stakes, high-anxiety world of New York City's private school admissions offices with spot-on dialogue and genuine insight. As the novel unfolds, the reader finds that Small Admissions lead to bigger, more important truths in the lives of the characters populating this hilarious book; I couldn't put it down."– David Harman, Headmaster, Poly Prep Country Day School
"Small Admissions is quick-witted and razor-sharp. With a chorus of varied and absurd voices, you'll laugh at everyone involved while secretly fearing that you see yourself in the mix. Amy Poeppel manages to tell a story both poignant and hilarious, hinting that this wry and absorbing debut is the beginning of an exciting career."– Taylor Jenkins Reid, Author of Maybe in Another Life
"Small Admissions is a hilarious romp through absurdities of Manhattan prep school life. Its characters are larger than life, it's point of view delightfully farcical. You'll read it in a snap and then wish for more."– Jennifer Miller, the author of The Year of the Gadfly 
"Funny and incisive… Amy Poeppel's rollicking debut skewers the crazy world of Manhattan private schools, the extreme sport of contemporary parenting, and the ridiculous seriousness with which we embark on our adult lives. There's more here too: a thoughtful excavation of how we deal with rejections, big and small. I loved reading this book."– Amy Shearn, author of The Mermaid of Brooklyn and How Far Is The Ocean From Here
"A rare book that actually makes you laugh out loud. Small Admissions offers a peek into the world of New York City private school admissions, but the deadly insights hardly stop there. Family, friendships, meetings(!)—Poeppel tells gleaming, hilarious truths about them all."– Charity Shumway, author of Ten Girls to Watch
"This was quirky, funny and completely original. I loved it!"– Katie Fforde, author of A Vintage Wedding
"Charming, refreshing, and brilliantly funny, Amy Poeppel's novel is a delightful surprise."– Elizabeth Brundage, author of All Things Cease to Appear
"Delightful."– RT Book Reviews
"Every once in a while, you just come across a book that is so good you want to shout it out to other readers . . . . Poeppel has found the perfect balance between humorous and insightful in the scenarios she writes about. In addition, the characters are wonderful--so multi-faceted and varied."– Heroes and Heartbreakers, Bloggers Recommend: Best Reads of November 2016
"There are hilariously dysfunctional parents, kids whose folks don't have a clue what they can do and what they can't, and in the midst of it all, relationships among Kate's nearest and dearest become unstuck and reconfigured in ways that mirror those Kate works with, and even Kate herself. I can't tell you any more, because it would ruin it for you, but this snarky romp is not to be missed. It's cunning, wickedly bold humor at its finest."– Seattle Book Mama


Tuesday, December 20, 2016

2016 Book 442: A COLD TOMORROW by Mae Clair

A Cold Tomorrow (Point Pleasant #2) by Mae Clair 
ISBN: 9781601837813 (paperback)
ISBN: 9781601837783 (ebook)
ASIN: B01DHWAC4G (Kindle edition)
Publication date: December 20, 2016 
Publisher: Lyrical Underground 


Where secrets make their home…
Stopping to help a motorist in trouble, Katie Lynch stumbles upon a mystery as elusive as the Mothman legend that haunts her hometown of Point Pleasant, West Virginia. Could the coded message she finds herald an extraterrestrial visitor? According to locals, it wouldn't be the first time. And what sense should she make of her young son's sudden spate of bizarre drawings—and his claim of a late-night visitation? Determined to uncover the truth, Katie only breaks the surface when a new threat erupts. Suddenly her long-gone ex-boyfriend is back and it's as if he's under someone else's control. Not only is he half-crazed, he's intent on murder…
As a sergeant in the sheriff's office of the famously uncanny Point Pleasant, Officer Ryan Flynn has learned to tolerate reports of puzzling paranormal events. But single mom Katie Lynch appears to be in very real danger—and somehow Ryan's own brother, Caden, is caught up in the madness, too. What the skeptical lawman discovers astounds him—and sends him into action. For stopping whatever evil forces are at play may just keep Katie and Caden alive…


Author Mae Clair returns to Point Pleasant, West Virginia in the second book of her Point Pleasant series, A Cold Tomorrow. To some in Point Pleasant, Katie Lynch had a difficult childhood. She and her sister were raised by a single-mother that most people think enjoyed the company of men a little too much. Katie knew that her mother was a hard-working business owner and someone that always provided nutritious meals for her daughters and tried to provide all that they needed, if not wanted. When Katie's older sister disappeared, most people assumed that she was "wild" and had run away. Now everyone knows that Wendy Lynch had been brutally murdered and buried outside of town all those years ago. Now a single mother herself, Katie is interested in providing a loving and stable home for her son, Sam, working hard at the Parrish Hotel, and growing her friendships with Eve Parrish and Sarah Sherman. Just when Katie thinks things are starting to settle down in Point Pleasant, she comes across a local conspiracy theorist in his car on the side of the road exhibiting very strange behavior. Afterward, she realizes she can't describe the officer that came upon the scene and the name she remembers isn't the name of any officer on any local police force. Adding to Katie's sense of unease, her ex-boyfriend has been spotted in town and is apparently out to get Officer Flynn, and her son's behavior is a bit strange and oddly familiar after he sees a "green cloud." If that's not enough, there are animals being found with strange deaths, the Mothman has been seen again, a local killer has disappeared from a closed room in a local mental facility, and a strange "man in black" is in town. What, if anything, ties these events together? Will Katie and Ryan Flynn be able to uncover the answers before something tragic occurs?

I found A Cold Tomorrow to be a fast-paced and intriguing read. If anything, Ms. Clair has raised the intrigue-quotient and paranormal-factor with this book. There's a lot more suspense, paranormal thrills and chills, and I can't wait for the next installment. I like that we get to see the continuing relationship between Eve and Caden, as well as watch the burgeoning relationship between Katie and Ryan. Ms. Clair has provided us with more information on the origin of the Mothman and the men in black (no, I won't tell you any more about either, read the book!). As I've previously stated, as a West Virginia native I'm always on the lookout for books set in West Virginia or written by West Virginians to read and this series has provided hours of pleasure. I've enjoyed reading about this real town and folk legend, combined with the fictional lives and events in these stories. If you enjoy paranormal romantic-suspense (with an emphasis on the paranormal) then you'll definitely want to read A Thousand Yesteryears and A Cold Tomorrow. If you've already read A Thousand Yesteryears, then I urge you to grab a copy of A Cold Tomorrow to read. My only regret with this series is that I have to wait until the Summer of 2017 for the third installment, A Desolate Hour, to find out what happens next.

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



Monday, December 19, 2016

Book Showcase: OLD WOUNDS by Giacomo Giammatteo


Old Wounds


by Giacomo Giammatteo


on Tour November 1, 2016 - January 3, 2017





Synopsis:


Old Wounds by Giacomo Giammatteo

Gino Cataldi loved three things: his wife, his son, and his job as a cop. Cancer took his wife. Drugs have his son. And Gino is pulling desk duty, suspected of killing a drug dealer.
Every night he dreams of a chance to make things right. That chance comes when a high-society woman is brutally murdered, her body parts spread all over town. The investigation quickly hits a dead-end…until a late-night caller with too much information contacts Gino. Between the mystery surrounding what she knows and his penchant for helping women in trouble, more than Gino's curiosity is aroused. He only hopes she's not the killer.



Book Details:


Genre: Mystery
Published by: Inferno Publishing Company
Publication Date: September 2016
Number of Pages: 425
ISBN: 9781940313108
Series: Redemption, Book 2 (Prequel to Necessary Decisions)
Purchase Links: Amazon 🔗 | Barnes & Noble 🔗 | Goodreads 🔗



Read an excerpt:



Chapter 1


A Surreptitious Meeting
Houston, Texas
Barbara stared into the mirror and practiced her line. She wanted the recording to be just right—after all, it would be the last time anyone heard her, if things didn't go well.
She pursed her lips and said, "My name is Barbara Camwyck. If you're watching this video, I'm dead."
Barbara rehearsed it a few more times, then thought about how her life was about to change. All the shit she'd been through would finally pay off.
She slipped on a comfortable pair of jeans, turned sideways to admire herself in the mirror, and then stepped into the closet to select a top. Something light, as it promised to be another unusually warm day for January. She decided on a cream-colored wrap top, one of her more expensive casual blouses.
Sometimes subtlety worked best, but this top would work better today, especially with the sliver of skin peeking out at her waist.
Barbara reached up and pulled a pair of Giuseppe Zanotti Crystal-Embellished sandals from the shelf in her closet. They would be the perfect complement. She slipped them on, stepped back, and smiled.
She then went to the kitchen. As she brewed tea she thought about her life. It wasn't as if she hadn't done well for herself, but doing well and 7 million dollars was different; in fact, doing well and 7 million dollars was another stratosphere. And if her blackmail scheme went as planned 7 million was exactly what she'd have.
She poured the tea, and then made a call, careful to use the burner she had purchased for just such an occasion. It had gotten to the point where a disposable phone was almost a necessity—nothing more than another monthly expense—at least in her current line of work.
A woman with a smoky voice answered the phone. "Hello?"
Barbara kicked her open-toe sandals up on the coffee table and said, "It's Barbara. I'll be ready in a few minutes. How long will this take?"
"Stop by on your way. It won't take me more than a few minutes."
"And you're sure it will work. I can't afford to have this fucked up."
"It'll work. Don't worry."
A half hour later, Barbara exited the 610 Loop and found her way to the dingy barbecue place where she had arranged the meeting. It was not a place she would frequent, but for today it worked perfectly; neither one of them would be recognized.
She leaned forward and adjusted the rearview mirror so she could fix her hair. Afterward, she applied lipstick, looked in the mirror again, cleared her throat, and then started the video.
"My name is Barbara Camwyck," she said. "If you're watching this video, I'm dead."
Barbara finished recording, straightened her blouse, then spoke into her mic and said, "Okay, I'm going in now."
She opened the car door, got out, and walked into the restaurant, thankful it at least had air conditioning. From the looks of the outside she had wondered. Half a dozen people stood in front of her, a sign that maybe the food was good. Or maybe it's just cheap.
Camwyck craned her neck, scanning the place until she found the person she was searching for, sitting at a table near the back, in the corner. At least they followed directions. Camwyck needed that table so the mic didn't pick up unnecessary sounds.
She weaved her way through a mob of sweaty construction workers, careful not to touch them, and not daring to inhale the odors until she passed them. She pulled a chair out and set her purse in the seat next to it. "It's been a long time," Camwyck said.
"Not long enough."
Camwyck smiled. "Not interested in pleasantries? Good. Let's get right to business."
"Business? That's what you call this?"
The comment drew another smile from Camwyck. "I guess in your world they call it leverage, but I see little difference. Blackmail or leverage. It's all the same in the end."
"Let's discuss leverage then."
Camwyck pushed a thumbnail drive across the table. "You know the terms. I have all the proof I need. After you pay, you'll never hear from me again."
"Remind me of the amount."
"I'm surprised you've forgotten. It's an easy number to remember. Seven million."
Camwyck ignored the scoffing sound prior to them speaking. "Easy to remember doesn't mean easy to arrange—especially in cash."
"I'm certain you'll think of something," Camwyck said. "You've always been creative."
"It will take me a while."
"That's fine," Camwyck said, "But if we don't do this within the next month, I may have to resort to other means."
A waitress walked by and stopped at their table. "Ya'll need to place an order at the counter. Then they'll get you a number."
"Thank you," Camwyck said, and stood. She tossed two twenties on the table. "Order what you want. And you can keep the drive to inspect. I have the original."
"One more thing," the guest said, scooting the chair closer to the table. "If you try to come back on me, I'll make sure it's the last thing you do." A pause preceded a glare. "You understand that, don't you?"
"I understand," Barbara said, "but you don't have to worry. Seven million is enough for me. Once we conclude our business, you'll never hear from me again."
"If you try—"
"I won't," Barbara said, and she exited the restaurant.
As she walked across the parking lot, Barbara punched a number from the recently dialed list on her phone. She'd have to remember to delete that when she was done. "Did you get it?"
"Perfectly. Good sound and good video."
"Good. I need a copy, but I want the original hidden where it won't be found."
"Not a problem. I'll call when it's done."
"No. I can't know either. If I don't know, I can't tell anyone."
"However you want it," the man said.
"Good. I'm throwing this phone away now. In the future, if anyone calls you from this number, or from my regular number, ignore it. In fact, run! If I need you I'll make contact the same way as the first time."
"Good luck."
"Thanks," Barbara said. "I'll need it."


Author Bio:


Giacomo Giammatteo

Giacomo Giammatteo is the author of gritty crime dramas about murder, mystery, and family. He also writes non-fiction books including the No Mistakes Careers series.

When Giacomo isn't writing, he's helping his wife take care of the animals on their sanctuary. At last count they had 45 animals—11 dogs, a horse, 6 cats, and 26 pigs.

Oh, and one crazy—and very large—wild boar, who takes walks with Giacomo every day and happens to also be his best buddy.


Catch Up with Giacomo today on his Website 🔗, Twitter 🔗, & on Facebook 🔗!




Tour Participants:

Visit our tour hosts for reviews, guest posts, interviews, and some amazing giveaways!






There's a Giveaway!:



This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours for Giacomo Giammatteo. There will be 1 winner of one (1) $50 Amazon.com Gift card & 5 winners of one (1) eBook copy of Old Wounds by Giacomo Giammatteo. The giveaway begins on October 30th and runs through January 4th, 2017. ** Plus visit the tour sites for additional giveaways! **

a Rafflecopter giveaway