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

Monday, December 11, 2017

FLASH Giveaway: MAD LIBRARIAN by Michael Guillebeau



Free Book and a Cup of Tea


I'm Mike Guillebeau, author of the MAD Librarian book which was reviewed here on The Book Diva's Reads. I'd like to thank all of the readers for your support, gauge your interest in the book, and offer you a small Christmas present from my MAD librarian and the other characters in the book. For the next week, anyone who would like a free Kindle book of MAD Librarian can send me an email (mike@michaelguillebeau.com). Let me know that you'd like a free Kindle ebook of MAD Librarian and that you heard about it on The Book Diva's Reads. I'll email you a $10 Amazon gift card, which will let you buy a MAD Librarian ebook for $7.99, and have enough left over for a cup of tea or coffee with your book.

Here's the kicker: I'll only do this for the first five from this blog. And I'm doing this at a couple of other sites. The first site to get five books will get five more.

Regardless of whether you take me up on this or not, thanks for your support for books in general, and The Book Diva. Review sites like The Book Diva's Reads are the lifeblood for readers like you and writers like me alike.



MAD Librarian by Michael Guillebeau
ISBN: 9780997205527 (paperback)
ISBN: 9780997205534 (ebook)
ASIN: B075LQD1LB (Kindle edition)
Publication date: November 16, 2017 
Publisher: Madison Press


When the city cuts off funding for her library, Serenity Hammer embezzles from a neglected city fund to keep her library alive. The fund turns out to be a huge secret fund channeling all corruption and political funds for the state. Now Serenity has the money to build the library of her dreams--if she can spend it fast and stay alive.
Half of all income will go to madlibrarian.org to provide small grants to librarians trying to do something innovative for their communities using their libraries. 


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Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Book Showcase: GUN KISS by Khaled Talib

Gun Kiss by Khaled Talib
ISBN: 9781772233490 (paperback)
ISBN: 9781772233483 (ebook)
ASIN: B077GF1Z67 (Kindle edition)
Publisher: Imajin Books
Release Date: December 1, 2017


A stolen piece of history, an abducted actress, and international intrigue…
When the Deringer pistol that shot Abraham Lincoln is stolen and ends up in the hands of a Russian military general, covert agent Blake Deco is tasked by the FBI to head to the Balkans to recover the historical weapon. Meanwhile, the United States media is abuzz with news of the mysterious disappearance of Hollywood movie star, Goldie St. Helen. 
After Blake's return from overseas, he receives a tip from a Mexican friend that a drug lord, obsessed with the beautiful actress, is holding her captive in Tijuana. With the help of a reluctant army friend, Blake mounts a daring rescue. What he doesn't expect is to have feelings for Goldie—or that a killer is hunting them.


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Read an excerpt: 

The tall buildings around Washington, D.C.'s 10th Street overshadowed the historic Ford's Theatre. Though the building had undergone refurbishment both inside and out, it still seemed slightly out of place in modern America. However, that didn't stop the throngs of tourists visiting the building that June morning as wispy clouds threaded through the cerulean sky.
It was a crowded weekend day when Abraham Lincoln, in his overcoat, and two Union soldiers, their faces covered with bandanas, stepped out of the van. They meandered past the theater's five historic doorways toward the modern glass entrance. Everyone assumed they were part of a promotion taking place at the museum. It was not uncommon to see park rangers and tour guides dressed in period costumes.
The man behind the Lincoln mask was Rick Walker—at least, that was the name he was currently going by. Highly educated, the thirty-six-year-old professional thief had a penchant for the fast life. If the assignment was a success today, he'd promised his girlfriend a nice holiday.
Two female park rangers stepped forward when Rick and his companions reached the front of the line.
"You have to get in line, sir. Also, you need to get tickets. Kindly remove the mask and bandanas before entering," one of the park rangers said.
"I do apologize, madam, but I'm in a bit of a hurry," Rick said. "I don't think I need a ticket, nor do I have to get in line given who I am."
"That's the only way you're going to get in," the park ranger said.
"Well, if you insist, madam, and once again, please accept my apologies." Rick bowed and tipped his hat, then extended a hand to the park ranger, who instinctively took it.
Rick grabbed her wrist tightly and locked it to his own with a steel cuff.
"What are you doing?" the park ranger yelled, trying to jerk her hand away.
"Getting acquainted," Rick said.
The park ranger reached for the walkie-talkie strapped to her belt, but Rick snatched it away from her. Frantically, she turned to the other park ranger. "Get security!"
One of the two Union soldiers dropped his prop rifle and grabbed the other park ranger's hand, then cuffed her wrist to his own. He pulled out a real gun tucked under his waistband and aimed it at her.
Rick unbuttoned the jacket of his three-piece suit and brandished the bomb strapped to his chest.
"Bomb! Bomb!" a young teenager in the line shrieked.
Pandemonium broke out as the screams of panic amplified. People ran in every direction. Those who moved slowly were slammed aside, or knocked over.
Rick pulled the ranger cuffed to him aside. "We're going downstairs, and we're going to take the Deringer. Obey your president," he said in a hollow voice.
"Yes, sir," the park ranger said as beads of sweat formed on her forehead.
They descended by elevator and emptied into an interactive museum. The wealth of history in the dimly lit space featured original artifacts in glass showcases, furniture, statues, murals, and narrative devices. The visitors already in the museum scattered wildly at the sight of a man in a Lincoln mask displaying a bomb strapped to his chest, a park ranger cuffed to his wrist.
"Show's over, folks," Rick yelled. "Go!"
The park ranger guided her captors to a section in the museum where the Deringer floated in an oblong glass case capped at both ends with wood. A mural behind it depicted John Wilkes Booth firing a single shot at Abraham Lincoln as he sat in the theater box.
The Union soldier not cuffed to a park ranger took out a glasscutter from his coat pocket and began to cut a circle in the glass. When it popped free, he inserted his hand inside and yanked out the Deringer.
"We're going to take you with us. Don't give me trouble. If you behave, you'll be back home in time for dinner with the family," Rick said, dragging the park ranger closer to him. "Understand?"
The park ranger nodded once, nervously.
"Excellent," Rick said.
They exited through the theater's main door and stepped out into the empty street. The crowd had dispersed. Some had regrouped tensely a few hundred meters away at both ends. "Cheer up—it's going to be a fun day," Rick said, walking toward the van.
The park ranger with Rick raised her voice. "Please, please, let us go. I don't want to die."
"Well, behave and everything will be fine." He opened the side, forced her in and jumped in after her. He shut the door after the accomplice had climbed in with the second park ranger.
The van began to move off.
"Hallelujah!" Rick yelled in excitement behind the mask as he sat at the back of the van. He removed the cuff from his wrist and secured the park ranger onto a railing.
"We'll be arriving in five," the driver said after a few blocks. "You know what to do."
"I sure do," Rick said as he removed the bomb strapped to his chest. Still wearing the mask, he looked at the hostages. "Don't worry about the bomb, it's fake."
He unhooked a tote bag from the wall and began removing the contents. Facing away from the hostages, he removed the Lincoln mask and slipped into casual attire. He hid his face by putting on a redbaseball cap and a pair of dark shades then stuffed the costume into the bag and swung it over his shoulder.
Rick looked again at the park rangers. "Look on the bright side—now you get to tell visitors a different story at the museum."
The Union soldier in the back with him handed over the Deringer, which Rick slipped into the bag.
The driver slowed down and stopped behind a parked car.
"All good outside?" Rick asked.
"Yeah…all good. I parked a few cars behind us," the driver replied, looking at the side mirror.
"Okay. Nice doing business with you guys." Rick pulled open a trapdoor in the center of the floorboard, slid out, and slithered under the parked car in front of the van.
The van pulled away from the curb and sped down the street. After a minute, Rick rolled onto the road, got up, and walked toward the park at Judiciary Square on the Red Line and descended into the Metro.

A day later, Rick sat at a café with his eyes glued to the screen of a laptop, drinking a hot latte with his back against the wall. He scanned the faces of everyone who entered. Though he wasn't expecting trouble, he remained vigilant.
"Is it in yet?" the tall blonde sitting across from him asked.
He scratched the roughness of his stubble as he continued to stare at the screen. "Not yet."
Moments later, the figures on his account changed. A new deposit had been registered: ten million dollars.
Rick lifted his eyes. "Darling."
"Yeah?"
"Remember, we're in a public place, so don't scream."
She leaned forward. "It's in?"
Rick wriggled his eyebrows. "Pack your bags. We're going on a holiday, as I promised." 

Excerpt from Gun Kiss by Khaled Talib. Copyright © 2017 by Khaled Talib. Reproduced with permission from Khaled Talib. All rights reserved.


Meet the Author:


Khaled Talib is the author of Smokescreen, Incognito, and Gun Kiss.

Born and raised in Singapore, Khaled is a former journalist with local and international exposure. His articles have been published and syndicated to newspapers worldwide, and his short stories have appeared in literary journals and magazines.

The author is a member of the Crime Writers Association and the International Thriller Writers. Khaled's novel Incognito won the Silver award for the Authors DB Book Cover Contest 2017.


Connect with the author at his websiteFacebook, and Twitter



Book Blast: A MOTHER'S LIE by Jo Crow

A Mother's Lie

by Jo Crow

Book Blast on December 5, 2017



Synopsis:


A Mother's Lie by Jo Crow

When her child's life is at stake, a mother will do anything to save him.


Clara McNair is running out of time to save her son, James. When the two-year-old is diagnosed with a rare form of brain cancer, only an experimental treatment can save his life. She desperately needs money to pay for the surgery, but she'll have to travel back to the site of her darkest memories to get it.
Clara has escaped the demons of her youth—or so she thinks. It's been ten years since the mysterious disappearance of her parents. Widely suspected of murdering her mother and father, Clara fled west to start a new life. Now, a documentary film crew is offering cold, hard cash—enough to pay for James's treatment—in exchange for the sordid secrets of her past.
With no other choice but to delve into a long-ago tragedy, Clara must unravel the lies surrounding that terrible night. Facing hostile gossip, Clara is fighting to clear her name and learn the truth about what really happened. But how far will she go into the dark to save her son—and herself?


Book Details:


Genre: Psychological Thriller
Published by: Relay Publishing
Publication Date: November 29th 2017
Number of Pages: 310
ISBN: 978-1979295420
Purchase Links: Goodreads 


Read an excerpt:



Chapter One
Dense red clay was pushing between the teeth. Pond mist drifted across the manicured lawns, wisping through the dark eye sockets. Parts of the cranium were shaded a vile yellow-brown where decomposing leaves clung to its surface like bile expressed from a liver. The jawbone was separated from the skull, its curved row of teeth pointing skyward to greet the rising sun.
Two feet away, closer to the oak tree, other bones were piled haphazardly: a pelvis, high iliac crests and subpubic angle. A femur, caked with dirt, jammed into his empty skull. Sunlight decorated the brittle bones in long, lazy strips and darkened hairline fractures till they blended with the shed behind them.
It was peaceful here, mostly. The pond no longer bubbled, its aerator decayed by time; weed-clogged flowerbeds no longer bloomed—hands that once worked the land long ago dismissed. Fog blanketed the area, as if drawn by silence. Once, a startled shriek woke the morning doves and set them all into flight.
It was the first time in ten years the mammoth magnificence of the Blue Ridge Mountains had scrutinized these bones; the first song in a decade the morning doves chorused to them from their high perch.
A clatter split apart the dawn; the skull toppled over as it was struck with another bone.
In a clearing, tucked safely behind the McNair estate, someone was whistling as they worked at the earth. The notes were disjointed and haphazard, like they were an afterthought. They pierced the stillness and, overhead, one of the morning doves spooked and took flight, rustling leaves as it rose through the mist.
A shovel struck the wet ground, digging up clay and mulch, tossing it onto the growing mound to their left. The whistling stopped, mid note, and a contemplative hum took its place.
Light glinted on the silvery band in the exposed clay—the digger pocketed it—the shovel struck the ground again; this time, it clinked as it hit something solid.
Bone.
A hand dusted off decayed vegetative matter and wrested the bone from its tomb. Launching it into the air, it flew in a smooth arc, and crashed into the skull like a bowling pin, scattering the remains across the grass. With a grunt of satisfaction, the digger rose and started to refill the hole from the clay mound.
When it was filled and smoothed, and the sod was replaced over the disrupted ground, the digger lifted the shovel and strolled into the woods, one hand tucked in a pocket as they whistled a cheery tune lost to the morning fog.
***
Excerpt from A Mother's Lie by Jo Crow.  Copyright © 2017 by Jo Crow. Reproduced with permission from Jo Crow. All rights reserved.




More About Jo Crow:


Jo Crow

Jo Crow gave ten years of her life to the corporate world of finance, rising to be one of the youngest VPs around. She carved writing time into her commute to the city, but never shared her stories, assuming they were too dark for any publishing house. But when a nosy publishing exec read the initial pages of her latest story over her shoulder, his albeit unsolicited advice made her think twice.

A month later, she took the leap, quit her job, and sat down for weeks with pen to paper. The words for her first manuscript just flew from her. Now she spends her days reading and writing, dreaming up new ideas for domestic noir fans, and drawing from her own experiences in the cut-throat commercial sector.

Not one to look back, Jo is all in, and can't wait for her next book to begin.

Catch Up With Our Author On: Facebook !




Tour Participants:


Check out these other stops on the A Mother's Lie by Jo Crow blast!







Giveaway:



This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Jo Crow. There will be 1 winner of one (1) Amazon.com gift Card AND 3 winners of one (1) eBook copy of A Mother's Lie by Jo Crow. The giveaway begins on December 5 and runs through December 11, 2017.

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Monday, December 4, 2017

2017 Book 409: STRONG TO THE BONE by Jon Land



Strong to the Bone (Caitlin Strong Novel #9) by Jon Land
ISBN: 9780765384645 (hardcover)
ISBN: 9780765384669 (ebook)
ASIN: B06XK6QSKH (Kindle edition)
Publication date: December 5, 2017 
Publisher: Forge


Texas Ranger Caitlin Strong takes on a gang of neo-Nazis in Strong to the Bone, an action-packed novel of the critically acclaimed Caitlin Strong series by Jon Land
1944: Texas Ranger Earl Strong investigates a triple murder inside a Nazi POW camp in Texas.
The Present: His granddaughter, fifth-generation Texas Ranger Caitlin Strong, finds herself pursuing the killer her grandfather never caught in the most personal case of her career a conspiracy stretching from that Nazi POW camp to a modern-day neo-Nazi gang.
A sinister movement has emerged from the shadows of history, determined to undermine the American way of life. Its leader, Armand Fisker, has an army at his disposal, a deadly bio-weapon, and a reputation for being unbeatable. But he's never taken on the likes of Caitlin Strong and her outlaw lover, Cort Wesley Masters.
To prevent an unspeakable cataclysm, Caitlin and Cort Wesley must win a war the world thought was over.  


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Caitlin Strong, Texas Ranger, is back and starts things off with a blast...of water. Caitlin's current day story begins in Austin, Texas where she has delivered a speech to law enforcement officers. After she and her lover, Cort Westley Masters, eat dinner and attend a show, there's a ruckus down the street at Stubb's Barbeque when a university party gets out of control and a woman has been sexually assaulted. It's virtually impossible to get inside, so Caitlin commandeers a fire truck and uses a fire hose to blast the drunken collegiates out of the way. She finds the assault victim, shooting a suspect in the process, and considers her job done. Until she's told the DNA from this assault victim matches the DNA collected from her rape kit 18-years ago. That's one blast from the past that Caitlin could have done without. Now, she's told she can't investigate the assault case by none other than Jones at Homeland Security, but when does Caitlin ever truly follow orders. If that isn't enough to contend with, the medical examiner, along with Captain D.W. Tepper, and even Jones fill Caitlin in on one of her grandfather's cases from 1944 dealing with the Nazis in prison camps in Texas. Just to throw a little icing on the cake, so to speak, Cort Westley's eldest son, Dylan, is still on sabbatical from college and is working at a garage with a Mexican-Americans of the legal and illegal variety AND he's started mouthing off to a bunch of neo-Nazis harassing schoolgirls and others in the community. Things quickly go downhill from there with the neo-Nazi international drug cartel, the rape/assault cases, and more. Can Caitlin deal with the emotional and psychological trauma of her rape while continuing to investigate the current assault case, even if she's not supposed to be investigating said case? What will happen to Dylan if he continues to stand up for what is right against insurmountable odds? What could possibly link Earl Strong's 1944 case with the 2017 investigation into the neo-Nazis?

Strong to the Bone by Jon Land is another amazingly fast-paced, thrill-packed, and suspense-filled read. Mr. Land packs quite a punch when he presents his Caitlin Strong stories and I love every single one of them. Strong to the Bone, as most Caitlin Strong stories, begins with an older story about the Texas Rangers (usually one featuring Caitlin's father or grandfather) that loosely ties to the current story being told. Each section of the book is prefaced with a bit of Ranger history or lore. Then we get to Caitlin, who is a throwback to the Rangers of yore, and doesn't always do things "by the book" (I'm not even sure she's read the book, but it works for her). I love reading each new Caitlin Strong book because I feel as if I'm visiting long-lost friends, such as Cort Westley Masters, Caitlin's lover; Colonel Guillermo Paz, Caitlin's erstwhile friend and protector and former would-be assassin; Captain D.W. Tepper, Caitlin's boss and Texas Ranger leash-holder; and Jones (formerly Smith) with Homeland Security. Does it seem strange that Caitlin has a long list of friends and protectors and they're all male? Not to me, she doesn't really need these protectors because she can definitely take care of herself, but she inspires that sense of loyalty in people, especially men. Strong to the Bone introduces us to some really nasty bad guys along with returning cast of favorites. Armand Fisker took over the Aryan Brotherhood from his father and grew it into what is basically the equivalent of a Fortune 500 international business (without the taxes). Davey Skoll is a former hedge fund manager turned pharmaceutical company owner. He raised the prices of several older drugs almost 10,000% in order to make a profit (sounds vaguely familiar) and is also in cahoots (love that word) with Fisker to supply Oxycodone and Vicodin in massive quantities. Yes, there's a lot going on in Strong to the Bone, but everything intersects towards the end (no, I won't tell you how...read the book!). I enjoy the multiple storylines, the characters (even the bad guys), the action, and the settings. I know that I've said it before with this series, but if you enjoy reading suspense thrillers then you really need to read this book and this series. I've probably told you that about four or five times now already. What on earth are you waiting for?! Start from the beginning and work your way up to Strong to the Bone or read this and then go back to the beginning. I'm looking forward to reading the next Caitlin Strong story because I need to know what happens next! Before I forget, yes I enjoyed reading Strong to the Bone and will probably be rereading it along with the others in this series before the next book is released.

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


Author Bio:


Jon Land
Jon Land is the USA Today bestselling author of 43 books, including eight titles in the critically acclaimed Caitlin Strong series: Strong Enough to Die, Strong Justice, Strong at the Break, Strong Vengeance, Strong Rain Falling (winner of the 2014 International Book Award and 2013 USA Best Book Award for Mystery-Suspense), Strong Darkness (winner of the 2014 USA Books Best Book Award and the 2015 International Book Award for Thriller, and Strong Light of Day which won the 2016 International Book Award for Best Thriller-Adventure, the 2015 Books and Author Award for Best Mystery Thriller, and the 2016 Beverly Hills Book Award for Best Mystery. Strong Cold Dead became the fourth title in the series in a row to win the International Book Award in 2017 and about which Booklist said, "Thrillers don’t get any better than this," in a starred review. Land has also teamed with multiple New York Times bestselling author Heather Graham on a new sci-fi series, the first of which, The Rising, was published by Forge in January of 2017. He is a 1979 graduate of Brown University and lives in Providence, Rhode Island.

Catch Up With Our Author On:


Website , Goodreads , Twitter , & Facebook !




Tour Participants:

Visit the other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways!



Giveaway:



This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Jon Land. There will be 1 winner of one (1) Amazon.com gift Card AND 5 winners of one (1) eBook copy of Strong To The Bone by Jon Land. The giveaway begins on December 4 and runs through February 2, 2018.

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Purchase Links: Amazon  | Barnes & Noble  | Goodreads | Macmillan 



Sunday, December 3, 2017

2017 Book 404: MAD LIBRARIAN by Michael Guillebeau

MAD Librarian by Michael Guillebeau
ISBN: 9780997205527 (paperback)
ISBN: 9780997205534 (ebook)
ASIN: B075LQD1LB (Kindle edition)
Publication date: November 16, 2017 
Publisher: Madison Press


When the city cuts off funding for her library, Serenity Hammer embezzles from a neglected city fund to keep her library alive. The fund turns out to be a huge secret fund channeling all corruption and political funds for the state. Now Serenity has the money to build the library of her dreams--if she can spend it fast and stay alive.
Half of all income will go to madlibrarian.org to provide small grants to librarians trying to do something innovative for their communities using their libraries. 

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Library budgets are being slashed everywhere, and that thought brings little consolation to Serenity Hammer when the Maddington Library budget is cut to the bone. Now, she has three days to figure out where to find funds to pay the library's internet bill. When she approaches the mayor and city council for a restoration of the library's budget, she's basically laughed out the door. If Serenity was upset before, she is beyond pissed now. Thanks to the fact the city council has every librarian doing double-duty, Amanda Doom, is now also the town accountant and she and Serenity come across a secret fund, a secret fund with plenty of money. Initially, Serenity just takes enough money from the fund to pay the internet bill and a few other outstanding library needs, like having the plumbing fixed. When she checks the fund again and realizes large quantities of money are coming into the account, she does the unthinkable and has the money channeled to the library and goes on a massive spending spree. The library's expansion project is not only greenlighted by Serenity but is given a massive upgrade. There's just one little catch, all of the work has to be done in seven days. This new library will not only be a library, but a community resource with a business incubation center, employment center, daycare center, homeless shelter, and more. The only problem is that someone wants their money back and have started to threaten Serenity. This wouldn't ordinarily be a problem since she is married to a police officer, but she can't confide in him about what she's doing or can she? That argument becomes moot when there's a murder of a former FBI-agent in the library during a forensic accounting study ordered by one of the city councilmen. Will Serenity tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth to the love of her life? Will Maddington get it's brand new MAD built before the money guys kill more people?

MAD Librarian was a fast-paced read. Serenity reminds me of the broadcaster in the movie Network that says: "I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore." Well, Serenity and the citizens of Maddington are MAD about their new library, the MAD, and they're willing to do whatever it takes to protect the MAD. Okay, back to the book and the characters: Serenity Hammer is anything but serene; Amanda Doom, walks around in clothing with assorted protest messages and her favorite tagline is "By Any Means Necessary"; Joy Quexnt is the third librarian, a former police officer, and tattoo afficionado; Joe Hammer, local law enforcement officer and Serenity's husband; the hapless mayor; the library's pet rat (the rat wouldn't leave so they decided to keep it); and one city councilman that is also a practicing pediatrician and when townfolk want to discuss city business when he's at work bills the talk as a patient visit. There's a lot of action in the book, they are trying to build a library in seven days! There's a lot of tongue-in-cheek humor in MAD Librarian as well as outright humor, drama, and some violence. Obviously, there's quite a bit more going on in the story and if you really want to know more then read the book! If you're looking for something different to read, and I do mean different (in a good way) and want to support small libraries then I urge you to grab a copy of MAD Library to read, you'll get a madcap read and do some good as well.

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



Monday, November 27, 2017

2017 Book 399: A HOPE DIVIDED by Alyssa Cole

A Hope Divided (The Loyal League #2) by Alyssa Cole
ISBN: 9781496707468 (paperback)
ISBN: 9781496707475 (ebook)
ASIN: B06XFJ6224 (Kindle edition)
Publication date: November 28, 2017 
Publisher: Kensington Books


The Civil War has turned neighbor against neighbor—but for one scientist spy and her philosopher soldier, war could bind them together . . . 
For three years of the War Between the States, Marlie Lynch has helped the cause in peace: with coded letters about anti-Rebel uprisings in her Carolina woods, tisanes and poultices for Union prisoners, and silent aid to fleeing slave and Freeman alike. Her formerly enslaved mother's traditions and the name of a white father she never knew have protected her—until the vicious Confederate Home Guard claims Marlie's home for their new base of operations in the guerrilla war against Southern resistors of the Rebel cause.
Unbeknownst to those under her roof, escaped prisoner Ewan McCall is sheltering in her laboratory. Seemingly a quiet philosopher, Ewan has his own history with the cruel captain of the Home Guard, and a thoughtful but unbending strength Marlie finds irresistible.
When the revelation of a stunning family secret places Marlie's freedom on the line, she and Ewan have to run for their lives into the hostile Carolina night. Following the path of the Underground Railroad, they find themselves caught up in a vicious battle that could dash their hopes of love—and freedom—before they ever cross state lines. 

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Marlie Lynch was born as a free Black and raised by her mother, Vivienne, in eastern North Carolina for the first thirteen years of her life. Then things changed. A white woman, Sarah Lynch, came to their home, claimed Marlie as family and took her back to the Lynch's ancestral home, Lynchwood. Marlie was viewed by many as a "witch woman" simply because she was born with heterochromia or two different colored eyes, one brown and the other hazel/green. But Sarah didn't see this as anything abnormal and ensured Marlie received an education, was allowed to participate in Unionist activities (if so desired), as well as further her scientific exploration into herbalism and aromatherapy. Marlie began using the skills she learned from her mother as a natural healer and the scientific knowledge of herbalism to help neighbors, escaping slaves and Freemen, and even Union soldiers at a local prison. It is at the local prison that Marlie is able to utilize another skill as a member of the Loyal League by receiving and sending coded messages from prisoners and others. One of the prisoners that she's built up quite a rapport with is a man she refers to as Socrates or Ewan McCall. Prison life is harsh but endurable until the Confederate Home Guard takes over and the leader of the Home Guard becomes a frequent visitor then a permanent guest at Marlie's home. Then Marlie is treated with disdain and even threatened with enslavement (not just slavery but sold into prostitution). Her only option is to find refuge in her quarters. That refuge becomes all the more important when there's a prison break, Ewan is one of the few prisoners to get away, and he's hidden away in a secret space in Marlie's quarters. Then Ewan and Marlie stumble upon a secret that almost destroys Marlie. Can these two formidable former philosophical sparring partners become friends fighting a battle against a common enemy? Is it possible for Marlie's family to stand up to the Home Guard and protect her or will she need to run away? Can Ewan keep his promise and protect Marlie at all cost?

A Hope Divided is the second story in the Loyal League series by Alyssa Cole and takes place during the Civil War era. Once again, the story features a strong, educated, and independent-minded female and a strong, cocky, male. It was a fast-paced and emotionally engaging read. What makes these stories such a nice change of pace for me is that the women are often the ones to the rescue although they are periodically in need of rescuing as well. Yes, there's romance, it is an HEA, but there's also history, a strong sense of the turmoil of the time, drama, and more. I enjoy the way Ms. Cole blends the history of the time with the storyline, the Resistors, the Unionists, the inherent dangers of those involved in the Loyal League, and the way the Confederate Home Guard had little regard for its treatment of women or children, much less men be they Confederates or not. All is not happy and light in A Hope Divided even though it does end with a Happy-Ever-After. If you read An Extraordinary Union then I strongly encourage you to get a copy of A Hope Divided to read. For those of you that enjoy historical romance, especially Black historical romance, if you haven't read An Extraordinary Union, then go grab a copy, read it, then get a copy of A Hope Divided to read. I'm hoping there will be more historical romance from Ms. Cole in the future, especially in the Loyal League series as I'm hooked.

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


Sunday, November 26, 2017

2017 Book 397: DARK HARVEST by Chris Patchell

Dark Harvest by Chris Patchell
ISBN: 9781546428442 (paperback)
ISBN: 9781543672374 (audiobook)
ASIN: B06XK11GY4 (Kindle edition)
Publication date: May 30, 2017 
Publisher: Kindle Press 


Becky Kincaid ventures out in the middle of a snowstorm to buy a car seat for her unborn baby and never makes it home. When a second pregnant woman disappears, Marissa Rooney and the team at the Holt Foundation fear a sinister motive lurks behind the crimes.
Lead investigator, Seth Crawford, desperately searches for the thread that binds the two cases together, knowing that if he fails, another woman will soon be gone. While Seth hunts for clues, a madman has Marissa in his sights and she carries a secret that could tear her whole world apart.
Can Seth stop the killer before he reaps his...
Dark Harvest  


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Marissa Rooney, Seth Crawford, Henry (the hacker), and Ethan Holt are the current team at the Holt Foundation. The foundation, begun by Ethan's aunt Elizabeth Holt, is charged with helping the victims of crimes and their families. The foundation's current task is to help find out what happened to Rebecca Kincaid, a missing pregnant teenager. The police presume her former boyfriend has something to do with Becky's absence, but the more Seth, the foundation's investigator, delves into the case, the more he has a hunch there's something more going on. Then a second pregnant woman goes missing within days of Becky. The police don't believe this could be serial abductions related to the women being pregnant, but Seth is beginning to have his doubts. His doubts are redoubled when he finds out that unusual blood tests were run on both women, healthy women with no red flags in their family histories. In the midst of the investigation, the Foundation seems to be floundering without a real leader at the helm, Marissa and Seth's relationship also seems to be floundering, and Marissa's daughter Brooke is having a difficult time adjusting to life after captivity. What more could possibly go wrong? (Never, ever ask that question!)

Dark Harvest is the second book in the Holt Foundation series by Chris Patchell and the first that I've read. The first book, In The Dark, apparently introduces all of the major characters and deals with Brooke's abduction and subsequent release. I found Dark Harvest to be a relatively fast-paced and engaging read, it did slow down at times when dealing with details from the previous story and the intermittent flashbacks from characters in this story. Did that detract from the story? Not at all. The story is filled with the mystery behind the abductions of the pregnant women, the suspense in wondering if someone will figure out what's going on and save the women before it's too late (no I won't tell you if it's too late or not, read the book!), the normal drama of being a single-parent attempting to have a relationship, the abnormal drama of dealing with a child post-abduction, the ups-and-downs in a relationship, the stress and drama at the workplace, and more. Yes, there's a lot going on this story with bad guys, really bad guys, and just plain evil and crazy guys not to mention the good guys fighting against bad and evil/crazy. I enjoyed reading Dark Harvest and will have to find the time to read In The Dark and hopefully any other books in the Holt Foundation series that may be coming.

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



Monday, November 20, 2017

2017 book 394: THE WHISPERING ROOM by Dean Koontz

The Whispering Room by Dean Koontz
ISBN: 9780345546807 (hardcover)
ISBN: 9780345546814 (ebook)
ASIN: B071CJBDJL (Kindle edition)
Publication date: November 21, 2017 
Publisher: Bantam


Jane Hawk—fiction's most relentless, resourceful, stunning new heroine—continues her battle against a murderous conspiracy in the riveting sequel to The Silent Corner.


"No time to delay. Do what you were born to do. Fame will be yours when you do this." 
These are the words that ring in the mind of mild-mannered, beloved schoolteacher Cora Gundersun—just before she takes her own life, and many others', in a shocking act of carnage. When the disturbing contents of her secret journal are discovered, it seems certain that she must have been insane. But Jane Hawk knows better.
In the wake of her husband's inexplicable suicide—and the equally mysterious deaths of scores of other exemplary individuals—Jane picks up the trail of a secret cabal of powerful players who think themselves above the law and beyond punishment. But these ruthless people bent on hijacking America's future for their own monstrous ends never banked on a highly trained FBI agent willing to go rogue—and become the nation's most wanted fugitive—in order to derail their insidious plans to gain absolute power with a terrifying technological breakthrough.
Driven by love for her lost husband and by fear for the five-year-old son she has sent into hiding, Jane Hawk has become an unstoppable predator. Those she is hunting will have nowhere to run when her shadow falls across them.  

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Jane Hawk, a twenty-something former FBI-agent, is still grieving the murder-by-suicide of her beloved husband Noah. Their five-year-old son, Travis, has been safely hidden away from the people behind her husband's murder. Jane doesn't know how high up in the government this group goes, but she does know it has ties to the NSA and possibly the FBI, as a result, she can't trust any of her former colleagues. She's now relying on the criminal connections to stay one step ahead of the group that wants her and thousands of others dead. After rigorously questioning a California attorney with ties to one of the leaders of the group, Jane learns that the group has ties to a small town in Kentucky. Meanwhile, in rural Minnesota, a beloved local teacher commits an action that no one understands. Cora Gundersun drives her SUV, containing numerous gasoline-filled canisters that she then sets afire, into a historic inn and restaurant killing dozens of people. Why? Because she was told to do so by the spider in her brain. The local sheriff, Luther Tillman, discovers the reason for Cora's actions and refuses to take part in the government cover-up. He also learns that Cora hasn't been quite the same since she returned from Iron Furnace Lake, Kentucky. Both Jane and Luther converge on Iron Furnace Lake and what they found is shocking (no I won't tell you what they find, read the book!). Will they join forces? Can they protect their families? Will they be able to stay one step ahead of this all-powerful group? 

Jane Hawk, star of The Silent Corner, returns to right wrongs, fight for truth, justice, and battle unseen forces of evil in The Whispering Room by Dean Koontz. I enjoyed reading The Silent Corner so much that I re-reread it before reading The Whispering Room (yes, you read that right, I've read it twice so far this year). Jane is not your typical hero, as she no longer functions in shades of black and white, keeping everything legal and aboveboard. She now has to function in the shades of gray just to stay alive. Just as the group consistently underestimates Jane, they also underestimate Luther Tillman, as he's initially written off as a simple, local sheriff with a third-tier college education and obviously no threat to these Ivy-league educated powerbrokers. There's a lot of action in The Whispering Room and just enough tech explanations to make you never want to touch a computer, tablet, or smartphone ever again. As with The Silent Corner, The Whispering Room is a story about family, friends, trust, power gone wrong, corruption, and more. There's also drama, action, and humor. Just in case you couldn't tell, I thoroughly enjoyed The Whispering Room and found it to be a fast-paced and engrossing read. For those of you that enjoy reading suspense thrillers, then I strongly recommend you grab a copy of The Silent Corner and The Whispering Room to read. For those of you that have already read The Silent Corner, I know you'll want to get a copy of The Whispering Room to read to find out what happens next. I'm looking forward to reading the next Jane Hawk installment, The Crooked Staircase, coming in the Spring of 2018 (and yes, I'll be re-reading The Silent Corner and The Whispering Room).

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


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Thursday, November 16, 2017

Guest Post: Alex Gray, author of A POUND OF FLESH

A Pound of Flesh by Alex Gray

Good morning, my bookish peeps. I know, I've said it before and it bears repeating, I am incredibly pleased and honored when an author agrees to visit my blog. Today, the Book Diva's Reads is honored to host a visit by Alex Gray, the acclaimed author of the DCI Lorimer series, including A Pound of Flesh. Ms. Gray will be providing us with some insight into how she researches her police procedurals. Without further adieu, I give you Alex Gray.




Writing the Lorimer series: How I research my police procedurals


When I knew that I wanted to write police procedurals I had no knowledge at all of what the police did to catch criminals and so I wrote to the Chief Constable in my area to ask for help. He kindly directed me to my local police station where I was shown around but something in my professional approach must have been noticed as I was then invited to visit a Divisional Headquarters where I met my first Detective Chief Inspector, the late Ronnie Beattie, a lovely man who was definitely an influence when I was describing my own DCI, William Lorimer. Coming from a position of complete ignorance has actually been to my long-term benefit as I met up not just then but in all the following years with senior police officers that gave me great insight into their work.

Nowadays I am very lucky to have the ear of a man who is currently acting head of Police Scotland and who sees my writing as an opportunity to show what the police really do. It is, he tells me, a two-way process; I find out all the details I need in order to authenticate my stories and the reading public have a chance to learn what really happens behind the scenes of a crime. So, I have been in several Scottish prisons, have talked to many different police officers and have also been to Gartcosh, the Scottish Police Campus that is the envy of every police force in Europe, housing almost twenty different facilities including forensic labs and anti-terrorist personnel.

However, my particular stories involve more than characters that are cops. Rosie Fergusson, my fictional forensic pathologist and her husband, Solomon Brightman, a senior psychologist and criminal profiler gave me pause for thought too. As I researched my debut novel, Never Somewhere Else, it was clear that I needed to visit Glasgow City Mortuary and so I wrote and asked permission to do just that. Not only did I meet with a lady pathologist but I was asked if I wished to see a post-mortem examination take place. Did I? You bet! That day will always be imprinted on my mind as the start of a journey that led me to take a course at the University of Glasgow in Forensic Medical Science and make lifelong friends with consultant pathologist, Dr. Marjorie Turner, who continues to help with each successive book. Not long after I also took an evening class in Forensic Psychology at the University and the tutor was very helpful when I was writing the next book in the series.

Perhaps the best thing I can pass on from my experience is to go and interview real experts; armed with ten good questions I would come home with twenty answers plus lots of great anecdotes. This was particularly true when researching The Riverman. Meeting the real-life Riverman, George Parsonage, gave me lots of insight into his work, a character for the book and even the title! Best of all, George has remained a good friend and faithfully comes to every successive book launch.

As a writer of contemporary fiction, I see the need to keep abreast of all the developments in policing and science that impinge on my books. Yet it is important to sprinkle the details sparingly; just enough detail to bring a story to life.

I hope to continue finding out more and more about the sort of work Lorimer does and the people he meets. Each new book brings challenges of its own and so I will be out and about, "walking the city streets and touching the stones" as a writer friend often says.

Write about what you know, is an often-quoted phrase yet, had I followed that advice I would never have found such joy in writing police procedurals and meeting so many folk who have given me help with research along the way.

Alex Gray
2017


A Pound of Flesh

by Alex Gray

on Tour November 6 - December 6, 2017


Synopsis:


A Pound of Flesh by Alex Gray

In the depths of a freezing winter, Glasgow finds itself at the mercy of not one, but two serial killers


This is Detective Inspector Lorimer's worst nightmare and beyond anything he's faced in his many years on the force. Can he find a link between the brutal slaying of prostitutes in the back streets of the city and the methodical killing of several unconnected businessmen?
When the latest victim turns out to be a prominent Scottish politician, the media's spotlight is shone on Lorimer's investigation. Psychologist and criminal profiler Solly Brightman is called in to help solve the cases, but his help may be futile as they realize that someone on the inside is leaking confidential police information. Meanwhile two killers haunt the snowy streets and Lorimer must act fast, before they strike again…



Book Details:


Genre: Mystery & Detective
Published by: Witness Impulse
Publication Date: November 7th 2017
Number of Pages: 368
ISBN: 0062659227 (ISBN13: 9780062659224)
Series: DCI Lorimer #9
Purchase Links: Amazon  | Barnes & Noble  | Goodreads 


Author Bio:


Alex Gray
Alex Gray was born and educated in Glasgow. After studying English and Philosophy at the University of Strathclyde, she worked as a visiting officer for the Department of Health, a time she looks upon as postgraduate education since it proved a rich source of character studies. She then trained as a secondary school teacher of English. Alex began writing professionally in 1993 and had immediate success with short stories, articles, and commissions for BBC radio programs. She has been awarded the Scottish Association of Writers' Constable and Pitlochry trophies for her crime writing. A regular on the Scottish bestseller lists, she is the author of fourteen DCI Lorimer novels. She is the co-founder of the international Scottish crime writing festival, Bloody Scotland, which had its inaugural year in 2012.

Connect with Alex Gray on her Website  & Twitter .






Tour Participants:

Visit the other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways!





Giveaway:


This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Alex Gray and Witness Impulse. There will be 3 winner of one (1) eBook copy of Alex Gray's Sleep Like the Dead. The giveaway begins on November 6 and runs through December 10, 2017.

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