Favorite Quotes on Books and Reading

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

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

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

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

Riot Ad Network

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Book Showcase: AMY'S STORY by Anna Lawton

Amy's Story by Anna Lawton 
ISBN: 9780997496208 (hardcover)
Publisher: The Spring - New Academia Publishing 
Publication Date: March 28, 2017


After Elena Ferrante, another powerful Italian voice emerges to tell us a tale of immigration with two strong women characters at its center. Amy's Story unfolds on the background of American history, from the late 60's up until 2011, and takes us through the timeline of how Italian-native Amy, full name America, creates her success story. Amy experiences love, heartbreak, friendship, obstacles, success, and more as she moves from Italy to New York City to live near her American father. Following in her father's footsteps, Amy becomes a successful publisher. Her story is intertwined with Stella, her childhood friend, whose unfinished memoir she intends to publish. As Amy edits the manuscript, Stella's life is revealed as she also leaves Italy with her American lover Jim, a heartthrob who conceals his sensitive nature under a bravado fa├žade. Stella faces career achievements, setbacks and heartbreaking love as her journey runs parallel to major historical events ―the Vietnam War, student protests and the Kent State shooting, the birth of radicalism and feminism, presidential elections and assassinations, immigration, the Watergate scandal, up to the 9/11 attack and beyond― providing an interesting commentary on the highlights in history that influenced the development of American society over the past 40 years and brought about the current outcome. Additional captivating characters complete the picture and sustain the action: Steve, Stella's husband, conformist and uninspiring; Nik, a passionate and extravagant Russian intellectual; Rosa, once a maid at Amy's grandmother's country estate and now married to the owner of a New York pizzeria; and others. Stella's memoir never gets published, because Amy transforms it into a very successful novel. This twist will have readers reimagining the entire story, and Amy and Stella's tale will remain with them for a long time. 


Read an excerpt here.



Praise:

"Amy's Story is simply spellbinding. This is a story at once about identity, love and social upheaval; a woman's journey from old world to new; from Italy to America. Mysterious, brave and captivating."—Joe McGinniss Jr., author of Carousel Court and The Delivery Man "Lawton's characters connect to words with dynamic interactions and intellectual alacrity. This author's voice manages both the interior lives of her characters and the connective tissue of their worlds. Anna Lawton's mastery of story orchestrates the best out of 'situation and plot,' with a full range of  motion using the entire emotional alphabet."—Grace Cavalieri, Producer/host, "The Poet and the Poem" from the Library of Congress "From the collapsing towers of 9/11 to the lyrical groves of northern Italy, the author ingeniously morphs Amy's Story into a journey across America and back and forth across time. Along the way we meet a cohort of colorful characters, witness several romances, and there are wars and politics, too—all woven into a mesmerizing narrative that unspools like a good film. Anna Lawton is not only a scholar of the first rank, but a deft and artful novelist with a flair for the unexpected in her work."—Louis Menashe, author of Moscow Believes in Tears: Russians and Their Movies


Meet the author:


Anna Lawton, born in Italy, was a professor of Russian literature at Purdue University, and later taught courses in visual culture and film studies at Georgetown University. She is the author of three scholarly books and numerous articles and essays in academic collections. Her book, Imaging Russia 2000: Film and Facts, received the CHOICE Award as Outstanding Academic Title 2005. Her first novel, Album di Famiglia, was published in Italy and is currently being translated into English.

Find out more about Ms. Lawton at her website.


This showcase brought to you by Wunderkind-PR.


Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Book Showcase: 27 REVELATIONS by Harlow Hayes



27 Revelations by Harlow Hayes
ASIN: B01MR6S09F (Kindle edition)
Publication Date: April 11, 2017


Mara Goodwin is a professional keeper of secrets, or that is what she intends to be. As a counseling psychology student at Northwestern, Mara's ambition is unrivaled. She has the grades, the compassion, and the dedication, everything she needs to gain entry into the clinical psychology program. 
However, after a traumatic experience leaves Mara in a state of mental distress, she finds herself keeping more secrets than she intended, most of them her own. Finding herself in trouble with the law, her dreams of being a therapist are jeopardized and as a consequence, Mara is ultimately forced into group therapy. While in therapy, Mara holds on to her secrets with a death grip, but when life comes full circle, her past is revealed and with it the potential to destroy her future career, her friendships, and ultimately herself. 
Mara is a fighter, even if she doesn't know it yet, but with each attempt to salvage what she can of her broken life, she is met with a consistent punch to the gut. After being pushed to the edge by meddling roommates, a persistent ex-boyfriend, and a potential new boyfriend, Mara comes to the precipice of her destruction. Yet with her destruction also comes her rebirth, and revelations of love, pain, and growth.

Add to Goodreads badge




Meet the author:


Harlow Hayes was born and raised in Indianapolis, Indiana. She has always had a passion for writing and storytelling in its many forms, and when she's not immersed in her writing, she enjoys reading both fiction and non-fiction, watching movies, and listening to music. She currently lives in Chattanooga, Tennessee. 27 Revelations is her first novel.


Find out more about Nicola at her website, blog, and Goodreads. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter.



Giveaway:

Enter to win a gift card using the form below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway



Reading Addiction Blog Tours



Friday, March 24, 2017

2017 Book 91: A SIMPLE FAVOR by Darcey Bell

A Simple Favor by Darcey Bell
ISBN: 9780062497772 (hardcover)
ISBN: 9780062666338 (paperback)
ISBN: 9780062497796 (ebook)
ISBN: 9780062658234 (audiobook)
ASIN: B01ER6LIZI (Kindle edition)
Publisher: Harper 
Publication Date: March 21, 2017


She's your best friend.
She knows all your secrets.
That's why she's so dangerous.
A single mother's life is turned upside down when her best friend vanishes in this chilling debut thriller in the vein of Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train
It starts with a simple favor—an ordinary kindness mothers do for one another. When her best friend, Emily, asks Stephanie to pick up her son Nicky after school, she happily says yes. Nicky and her son, Miles, are classmates and best friends, and the five-year-olds love being together—just like she and Emily. A widow and stay-at-home mommy blogger living in woodsy suburban Connecticut, Stephanie was lonely until she met Emily, a sophisticated PR executive whose job in Manhattan demands so much of her time. 
But Emily doesn't come back. She doesn't answer calls or return texts. Stephanie knows something is terribly wrong—Emily would never leave Nicky, no matter what the police say. Terrified, she reaches out to her blog readers for help. She also reaches out to Emily's husband, the handsome, reticent Sean, offering emotional support. It's the least she can do for her best friend. Then, she and Sean receive shocking news. Emily is dead. The nightmare of her disappearance is over.
Or is it? Because soon, Stephanie will begin to see that nothing—not friendship, love, or even an ordinary favor—is as simple as it seems. 
A Simple Favor is a remarkable tale of psychological suspense—a clever and twisting free-fall of a ride filled with betrayals and reversals, twists and turns, secrets and revelations, love and loyalty, murder and revenge. Darcey Bell masterfully ratchets up the tension in a taut, unsettling, and completely absorbing story that holds you in its grip until the final page.



Stephanie is a stay-at-home, mommy blogger, and widow. She's become good friends with Emily Nelson, a public relations executive for a fashion house. Stephanie and Emily's sons, Miles and Nicky, are best friends and attend the local school. Stephanie and Emily spend hours together with their sons and because Stephanie is usually at home, Emily doesn't think twice about asking her to pick up her son from school if she's running late. But Emily is more than running late, she's disappeared. Stephanie was sure that Emily would pick-up Nicky later that evening, but it's been days and she's not responding to calls. Frantic, Stephanie reaches out to Emily's job and even her husband to find out more information. When Emily's husband, Sean, returns from an overseas trip and Emily hasn't returned, even he begins to get a little concerned. As Stephanie and Sean sit and wonder what has happened to Emily, they work together to care for their sons. Weeks go by and then a body is found and it's Emily. After grieving the death of her friend, Stephanie and Sean seem to get closer and their two separate families become one melded family. Is this a second chance to grab happiness for Stephanie and Sean or is it something much worse? 

A Simple Favor begins with the premise that stay-at-home-mom Stephanie will take care of her friend's son for a few hours. Those few hours turn into days, weeks, and then months while the friend is missing and then declared dead. The story is initially told by Stephanie via her blog posts about her missing friend along with her recollections of her relationship with Emily, as well as her past family life. Just when the reader thinks are back to normal, things begin to go awry (great word don't you think and no I won't tell you what goes awry...read the book!). Stephanie reveals parts of herself in her recollections that present a darker side than we could ever possibly imagine. Just when we are getting acclimated to Stephanie's darker side, we get to hear things from Emily's perspective (trust me, there's dark and there's DARK). The simple favor that Stephanie provides is far from simple and changes the lives of more than one of the primary characters. One of the themes in A Simple Favor is that everyone has secrets and a dark side, and that holds true for Stephanie, Emily, and Sean. All three are not what they appear to be and the secrets they have aren't ones they'd want revealed to anyone. These characters might appear as the nice, naive stay-at-home mom, the highly successful working mom, and the workaholic dad, but they are so much more than that. I don't know what it says about me as a reader, but I enjoy dark, twisted stories and A Simple Favor is one that held me in its grips from beginning to end. Just when you think you know where the story is going, Ms. Bell provides a nice little twist to shake things up (and there are quite a few twists in this story). A Simple Favor is anything but predictable and none of the major characters are very likable once you get to know them. If you enjoy reading psychological thrillers or stories with twisted characters and storylines, then you'll definitely want to read A Simple Favor. If you enjoy reading good writing and want something a little bit different to read, again A Simple Favor might be just the story for you. This is the first book by Ms. Bell and I look forward to reading more from her in the future. Just in case you couldn't tell, I thoroughly enjoyed reading A Simple Favor

Watch the book trailer:



Disclaimer: I received a free digital review copy of this book from the publisher via Edelweiss for review purposes. 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."


Buy the Book

Available at            BookDepository     |     Alibris
icon


Hardcover
Shop Indie Bookstores
 


Paperback 
Shop Indie Bookstores















Hardcover A Simple Favor
Paperback A Simple Favour

A Simple Favor

  
icon
icon


A Simple Favor


icon
icon

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

2017 Book 92: ATONE FOR THE IVORY CLOUD by Geoffrey Wells



Atone for the Ivory Cloud by Geoffrey Wells 
ISBN: 9780998166612 (paperback)
ASIN: B01MR321PO (Kindle edition)
Publisher: Ice Wine Productions, Inc.
Publication date: March 1, 2017 (Kindle edition)


A brilliant composer and coder goes undercover to trap a cybercrime syndicate that has hijacked her website—to traffic blood ivory. She must survive impossible physical, virtual and cultural obstacles and choose between the opposing forces of privacy and responsibility.
Allison is stunned when the CIA leaves her no option but to go undercover to surreptitiously modify the code she wrote to protect her symphony. She is deployed from New York with a savvy street vendor to Tanzania, where he is from—and where the cybercrime trail goes dead. Their guarded love affair is sidelined when they are abducted by a trafficker who poaches elephants on a massive scale. To avoid betraying each other they abandon their CIA handlers and return to New York City. Allison must find a way to bring down the syndicate knowing that she might have to sacrifice her symphony, her loved ones and her privacy—for a greater good.

Allison Schwartz just wants to be left in peace and compose music. Sipho Membe, an exchange student from Tanzania, just wants to make enough money to live on and support his graduate education. Rex Van der Spuy is the chief technology officer for an international pharmaceutical manufacturer and is only interested in protecting the vested interests of his company. Three people living in the New York City area with widely divergent lives and lifestyles intersect in a story about smuggling, cybercrime, and more. All will wind up working with various federal government agencies in an effort to protect their lives, families, and interests. 

Allison is a gifted musical composer and coder. After dealing with identity theft and the theft of her music, she fights back in the only way she knows how...using coding to protect her musical compositions and what's left of her identity and privacy. Little does she know that her coding skills are needed in an effort to bring down an international cybercrime syndicate. A chance run-in at a local park, brings Allison, Sipho, and Rex together. That run-in leads to international cybercrime, ivory smuggling, black market deals, and more. 

Atone for the Ivory Cloud wasn't an easy or fast read for me, although I did finish it in one day. I found it difficult to keep up with the story because there is so much going on and it didn't feel as if the storylines would ever connect (they do). The author also used quite a bit of tech jargon that left this reader massively confused at times. At its heart, Atone for the Ivory Cloud seems to be part technothriller and part romance. The story starts off in New York, jumps to Canada, hops off to the Netherlands, before going on to Tanzania and Kenya. I liked the underlying premise to the story, but there was something that just didn't click for me. Perhaps international technothrillers aren't the right thing for me. If you're into technothrillers then Atone for the Ivory Cloud may be just the read for you.

Disclaimer: I received a free digital review copy of this book from the author via Partners In Crime Virtual Tours for review purposes. 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."


Purchase Links: Amazon  | Goodreads 


IVORY TRAFFICKING Trailer for the thriller, Atone for the Ivory Cloud:




Author Bio:


Geoffrey Wells
Impressions on a South African farm, boarding school, a father who read from the classics to his children, and a storytelling mother, sparked Geoffrey Wells with a writer's imagination. Though the piano and drum kits and Mozambique led to his first thriller, A Fado for the River, his career as Art Director in advertising led him to the American Film Institute, and an awe of digital technology propelled him to VP/CIO at Disney, ABC-TV stations and Fox. Wells wrote an award-winning animated film, has visited elephant reserves, and climbed to the tip of Kilimanjaro. He lives on Long Island where he swims the open water and runs a video and design company. He writes thrillers about imperfect characters who, always with a diverse band of allies, fight villains that devastate our natural and virtual ecosystems.

"Atone for the Ivory Cloud is a compelling, fast-paced thriller with an exotic international flavor. Geoffrey Wells takes the reader on an enthralling ride, skillfully entwining cybercrime, music, and the fate of African elephants in a breathtaking tale of danger and romance."
Pamela Burford, best-selling author of Undertaking Irene.

Catch Up with Geoffrey Wells on his Website , Twitter , & Facebook !





Tour Participants:


Stop by these other great hosts for to learn more about Geoffrey Wells and his book Atone for the Ivory Cloud with inteviews, guest posts, & reviews!






Giveaway:


This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Geoffrey Wells. There will be 5 winners of one (1) eBook copy of Atone for the Ivory Cloud by Geoffrey Wells. The giveaway begins on February 28th and runs through April 2nd, 2017

a Rafflecopter giveaway




Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Book Showcase: THE ECHO MAN by Richard Montanari

The Echo Man

by Richard Montanari

on Tour March 20 - April 7, 2017



Synopsis:


The Echo Man by Richard Montanari
It is fall in Philadelphia and the mutilated body of a man has been found in one of the poorest neighborhoods of the city. The victim's forehead and eyes are wrapped in a band of white paper, sealed on one side with red sealing wax. On the other side is a smear of blood in the shape of a figure eight. The victim has been roughly and violently shaved clean — head to toe — a temporary tattoo on his finger.
As another brutalized body appears, then another, it becomes horrifyingly clear that someone is re-creating unsolved murders from Philadelphia's past in the most sinister of ways.
And, for homicide detectives Kevin Byrne and Jessica Balzano, the killer is closer than they think...

Praise:



"This tale had me gripped by the throat, unwilling to do anything but anxiously turn the pages. Richard Montanari's writing is both terrifying and lyrical, a killer combination that makes him a true stand-out in the crowded thriller market. The Echo Man showcases a master storyteller at his very best." -Tess Gerritsen, bestselling author of The Silent Girl

"Richard Montanari's The Echo Man continues his work as a writer whose prose can capture quite extraordinary subtleties. When a man's facial expression is described as "not the look of someone with nothing to hide, but rather of one who has very carefully hidden everything," we know we are in good hands, and with The Echo Man, we are in the hands of one of the best in the business". – Thomas H. Cook, bestselling author of Red Leaves



Book Details:


Genre: Mystery, Thriller
Published by: Witness Impulse
Publication Date: February 7th 2017 (first published January 1st 2011)
Number of Pages: 400
ISBN: 0062467425 (ISBN13: 9780062467423)
Series: Jessica Balzano & Kevin Byrne #5
Purchase Links: Amazon  | Barnes & Noble  | Goodreads 


Read an excerpt:



For every light there is shadow. For every sound, silence. From the moment he got the call Detective Kevin Francis Byrne had a premonition this night would forever change his life, that he was headed to a place marked by a profound evil, leaving only darkness in its wake.
    "You ready?"
    Byrne glanced at Jimmy. Detective Jimmy Purify sat in the passenger seat of the bashed and battered department- issue Ford. He was just a few years older than Byrne, but something in the man's eyes held deep wisdom, a hard- won experience that transcended time spent on the job and spoke instead of time earned. They'd known each other a long time, but this was their first full tour as partners.
    "I'm ready," Byrne said.
    He wasn't.
    They got out of the car and walked to the front entrance of the sprawling, well- tended Chestnut Hill mansion. Here, in this exclusive section of the northwest part of the city, there was history at every turn, a neighborhood designed at a time when Philadelphia was second only to London as the largest English- speaking city in the world. The first officer on the scene, a rookie named Timothy Meehan, stood inside the foyer, cloistered by coats and hats and scarves perfumed with age, just beyond the reach of the cold autumn wind cutting across the grounds.
    Byrne had been in Officer Meehan's shoes a handful of years earlier and remembered well how he'd felt when detectives arrived, the tangle of envy and relief and admiration. Chances were slight that Meehan would one day do the job Byrne was about to do. It took a certain breed to stay in the trenches, especially in a city like Philly, and most uniformed cops, at least the smart ones, moved on.
    Byrne signed the crime- scene log and stepped into the warmth of the atrium, taking in the sights, the sounds, the smells. He would never again enter this scene for the first time, never again breathe an air so red with violence. Looking into the kitchen, he saw a blood splattered killing room, scarlet murals on pebbled white tile, the torn flesh of the victim jigsawed on the floor.
    While Jimmy called for the medical examiner and crime- scene unit, Byrne walked to the end of the entrance hall. The officer standing there was a veteran patrolman, a man of fifty, a man content to live without ambition. At that moment Byrne envied him. The cop nodded toward the room on the other side of the corridor.
    And that was when Kevin Byrne heard the music.
    She sat in a chair on the opposite side of the room. The walls were covered with a forest-green silk; the floor with an exquisite burgundy Persian. The furniture was sturdy, in the Queen Anne style. The air smelled of jasmine and leather.
    Byrne knew the room had been cleared, but he scanned every inch of it anyway. In one corner stood an antique curio case with beveled glass doors, its shelves arrayed with small porcelain figurines. In another corner leaned a beautiful cello. Candlelight shimmered on its golden surface.
    The woman was slender and elegant, in her late twenties. She had burnished russet hair down to her shoulders, eyes the color of soft copper. She wore a long black gown, sling-back heels, pearls. Her makeup was a bit garish—theatrical, some might say—but it flattered her delicate features, her lucent skin.
    When Byrne stepped fully into the room the woman looked his way, as if she had been expecting him, as if he might be a guest for Thanksgiving dinner, some discomfited cousin just in from Allentown or Ashtabula. But he was neither. He was there to arrest her.
    "Can you hear it?" the woman asked. Her voice was almost adolescent in its pitch and resonance.
    Byrne glanced at the crystal CD case resting on a small wooden easel atop the expensive stereo component. Chopin: Nocturne in G Major. Then he looked more closely at the cello. There was fresh blood on the strings and fingerboard, as well as on the bow lying on the floor. Afterward, she had played.
    The woman closed her eyes. "Listen," she said. "The blue notes."
    Byrne listened. He has never forgotten the melody, the way it both lifted and shattered his heart.
    Moments later the music stopped. Byrne waited for the last note to feather into silence. "I'm going to need you to stand up now, ma'am," he said.
    When the woman opened her eyes Byrne felt something flicker in his chest. In his time on the streets of Philadelphia he had met all types of people, from soulless drug dealers, to oily con men, to smash-and-grab artists, to hopped-up joyriding kids. But never before had he encountered anyone so detached from the crime they had just committed. In her light-brown eyes Byrne saw demons caper from shadow to shadow.
    The woman rose, turned to the side, put her hands behind her back. Byrne took out his handcuffs, slipped them over her slender white wrists, and clicked them shut.
    She turned to face him. They stood in silence now, just a few inches apart, strangers not only to each other, but to this grim pageant and all that was to come.
    "I'm scared," she said.
    Byrne wanted to tell her that he understood. He wanted to say that we all have moments of rage, moments when the walls of sanity tremble and crack. He wanted to tell her that she would pay for her crime, probably for the rest of her life—perhaps even with her life—but that while she was in his care she would be treated with dignity and respect.
    He did not say these things. "My name is Detective Kevin Byrne," he said. "It's going to be all right." It was November 1, 1990. Nothing has been right since.


Excerpt from The Echo Man by Richard Montanari.  Copyright © 2017 by Richard Montanari. Reproduced with permission from Witness Impulse. All rights reserved.







Richard Montanari

Author Bio:


Richard Montanari is the internationally bestselling author of numerous novels, including the nine titles in the Byrne & Balzano series.

He lives in Cleveland, Ohio.

Catch Up With Our Author On:


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





Tour Participants:

Don't forget to check out these other stops - they'll be featuring reviews, interviews & More giveaways!







Giveaway:



This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Richard Montanari and Harper Collins. There will be 5 winners of one (1) eBook copy of The Echo Man by Richard Montanari. The giveaway begins on March 20th and runs through April 9th, 2017.

a Rafflecopter giveaway




Thursday, March 16, 2017

Book Showcase: REGENERATION by Stacey Berg

Regeneration
by Stacey Berg
on Tour March 13-April 1, 2017



Book Details

Genre: Sci-Fi
Published by: Harper Voyager
Publication Date: March 14th 2017
Number of Pages: 384
Series: Echo Hunter 367, #2
Purchase Links:  


Synopsis:



The Church has stood for hundreds of years, preserving the sole surviving city in a desert wasteland. When Echo Hunter 367 is sent out past the Church's farthest outposts, she's sure it's a suicide mission. But just when she's about to give up hope, she finds the impossible – another thriving community, lush and green, with a counsel of leaders who take her in.

Wary of this new society, with ways so different from the only life she's ever known, Echo is determined to complete her mission and bring hope back to the Church. She's unsure who she can trust, and must be strong and not be seduced by their clean, fresh water, and plentiful energy sources. If she plays her cards right, she may even still have a chance to save the woman she loves.


Read an excerpt:




Echo Hunter 367 studied the dying woman in the desert with grudging admiration. The woman had walked long past what might reasonably be expected, if that lurching stagger could be called a walk. When she couldn't walk any more she had crawled, and after that she had dragged herself along, fingers clawing through sand until they clutched some purchase, body scraping over rocks and debris, heedless of the damage. Now and then she made a noise, a purely animal grunt of effort or pain, but she forced herself onward, all the way until the end.
I smell the water.
Desperate as the woman was, she had still been cautious. Though an incalculable distance from any familiar place, she still recognized danger: the wind-borne sand that scoured exposed skin clean to the bone, the predators that stalked patiently in the shadows for prey too weak to flee. The cliff edge that a careless girl could slip over, body suspended in space for the briefest moment before her hands tore through the thornbush, then the long hard fall.
Echo jerked back from that imagined edge. It was her last purposeful movement.  From some great height, she watched herself collapse in the sand. One grasping hand, nails torn, knuckles bloody, landed only a few meters from the spring's cool water, but she never knew it. For a little while her body twitched in irregular spasms, then those too stilled. Only her lips moved, cracking into a bloody smile. "Lia," she whispered. "Lia." Then she fell into the dark.
For a long time there was no sound except water trickling in a death rattle over stones.
Then the high whine of engines scattered the circling predators. Pain returned first, of course. Every inch of skin burned, blistered by sun or rubbed raw by the sand that had worked its way inside the desert-proof clothing. Her muscles ached from too long an effort with no fuel and insufficient water, and her head pounded without mercy. Even the movement of air in and out of her lungs hurt, as if she had inhaled fire. But that pain meant she was breathing, and if she was breathing she still had to fight. With enormous effort she dragged open her eyes, only to meet a blinding brightness. She made a sound, and tasted hot salt as her lips cracked open again. "Shhh," a soft voice said. "Shhh." Something cool, smelling of resin and water, settled over her eyes, shielding them from the glare. A cloth dabbed at her mouth, then a finger smoothed ointment over her lips, softening them so they wouldn't split further when she was finally able to speak. Lia, she thought, letting herself rest in that gentle strength until the pain subsided into manageable inputs. Then she began to take stock.
She lay on something soft, not the rock that had made her bed for so many weeks, although her abused flesh still ached at every pressure point. The air felt cool but still, unlike the probing desert wind, and it carried, beyond the herbal tang, a scent rich and round, unlike the silica sharpness of sand she'd grown so accustomed to. Filtered through the cloth over her eyes, the light seemed diffuse, too dim for the sun. Indoors, then, and not a temporary shelter, but a place with thick walls, and a bed, and someone with sufficient resources to retrieve a dying woman from the desert, and a reason to do so. But what that reason might be eluded her. The Church would never rescue a failure.
Unless the Saint commanded it.
She mustered all her strength and dragged the cloth from her eyes. She blinked away grit until the blurred oval hovering above her took on distinct features, the soft line of the cheek, the gently curving lips. Lia, she thought again, and in her weakness tears washed the vision away. She wiped her eyes with a trembling hand.
And stared into the face of an utter stranger.
 Excerpt from Regeneration by Stacey Berg.  Copyright © 2017 by Stacey Berg. Reproduced with permission from Harper Voyager. All rights reserved.



Stacey Berg

Author Bio:



Stacey Berg is a medical researcher who writes speculative fiction. Her work as a physician-scientist provides the inspiration for many of her stories. She lives with her wife in Houston and is a member of the Writers' League of Texas. When she's not writing, she practices kung fu and runs half marathons.

Visit Stacey Berg on her Website, Goodreads Page, and on Twitter!



Tour Host Participants:

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







Giveaway!!



This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Providence Book Promotions for Stacey Berg and Harper Voyager. There will be 3 winners of one (1) eBook copy of Dissension by Stacey Berg. The giveaway begins on March 13th and runs through April 4th, 2017.

a Rafflecopter giveaway




Monday, March 13, 2017

Guest Post: KL Murphy, author of THE LAST SIN


Good morning, my bookish peeps. March is turning into a favorable month for The Book Diva's Reads because of all of the wonderful authors that have stopped by for a visit. Today I'm pleased to host a visit from KL Murphy, author of the Detective Cancini Mystery series: A Guilty Mind, Stay of Execution, and The Last Sin. Ms. Murphy will be discussing series and why we love them.




Why Readers Love a Series (and so do I)!

I'm often asked by people who learn I'm an author what type of writer I am. When I answer that I write mysteries, the follow-up question is usually, "Is it a series?" Happily, I can say yes. Authors are encouraged to write series by publishers, and there are good reasons for that. First, if a reader likes one book in the series, they will be more likely to buy the others in the series. Second, it's easier to brand an author if they write a series. While some might not like being pigeon-holed, author name recognition in today's expanded publishing world can be critical in attracting long-term readers.

I didn't start out writing a series to meet publisher's expectations though. I wrote my first novel, A Guilty Mind, without any idea that it wouldn't be a standalone story. However, what started as a book about a man who'd lost his way and found himself the primary suspect in a murder turned into a story that featured a strong detective with ideas of his own. Detective Mike Cancini was a character I wasn't ready to discard. I liked the character I'd created and more than that, I wanted to take him to other places and let readers get to know him better. 

In the second novel in the series, Cancini is drawn back into an old case when the man he once arrested for a series of violent crimes is suddenly released based on new DNA evidence. While some are shouting about righting the injustice that has been inflicted on the newly freed man, others are unwilling to accept the new evidence. Their fears seem justified and it is Cancini that the town turns to for help when the crimes start again. 

The third novel in the series, The Last Sin, puts Cancini in a tough spot when his oldest friend, Father Joe, finds the murdered body of a friend. Cancini questions what he knows about his relationship with the old priest and is forced to face his fear of losing the man. This is what I love about writing a series and why I think readers love them, too. With each installment, the reader learns more about the recurring characters. Cancini is not an easy man to know and like, but he is unflinching in his resolve to find the answers. Although gruff and often rude, there is compassion under his dispassionate exterior. I know this to be true because I created him! 

Readers want to watch their favorite characters struggle and grow and fall in love. Those characters become fictional friends, comforting and familiar. Many readers' favorite recurring characters are also mine, though I doubt there is a more lasting and beloved recurring series character than Sherlock Holmes. He has become so known to readers (and TV and movie viewers) that while we know he is only fictional, he feels real to us. There are thriller characters who've also reached that height—Jason Bourne and Jack Reacher are two. Mystery sleuths like Kay Scarpetta, Alex Cross, and Cormoran Strike endure, too, because through a series, we get to know them and, yes, love them. We know that in each novel they will face conflict, but they will ultimately prevail and along the way, take us on a welcome ride. Publishers may have the right idea when it comes to series, but not because they are better for author branding or to capitalize on sales. The popularity of the series has been around since even before authors like Agatha Christie created Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple. This is not to say readers don't read standalone novels—they do and always will—but readers truly enjoy a good series in much the same way they enjoy being with good friends. I'm thankful to all the series writers I know. I think I'll read one now!  



The Last Sin

by KL Murphy

on Tour March 13 - April 14, 2017



Synopsis:


The Last Sin by KL Murphy

Detective Mike Cancini has seen some dark days, but his skills are put to the test when a priest is discovered, brutally murdered in a run-down church in Washington, D.C. The man who discovered the body is none other than Cancini's longtime friend and confidant, Father Joe Rossi. The murdered priest, Father Matthew Holland, was adored by the congregation, and it seems clear that this was a crime of opportunity in a deteriorating neighborhood.
However, Cancini soon learns some shocking details from the church secretary, and begins to suspect that Father Holland was not as saintly as he may have appeared. This new information leads to a trail of bribes and decades of corruption polluting the church. Cancini must confront his own struggles with his faith and uncover the truth of the conspiracy before more people are killed.



Book Details:


Genre: Mystery & Detective / Police Procedural
Published by: Witness Impulse
Publication Date: March 2014
Number of Pages: 304
ISBN:  9780062491633
Series: Detective Cancini Mysteries #3
Purchase Links: Amazon  | Barnes & Noble  | Goodreads 


Read an excerpt:



CHAPTER 1


Sunday, February 21st: The Day Of

The smell of incense lingered in the air, temporarily masking the odor of rotting wood. Father Matthew Holland inhaled. The bitter scent stung his nose. Three years had passed since he'd taken over the church and nothing had changed. Even with the increased attendance and community outreach, the church offerings remained meager. Without offerings—without money—the parish church would die.
The priest sat down on the front pew, his robes gathered around his feet. His gaze shifted to the empty pulpit. Two large and colorful plants graced the altar, but they weren't enough to hide the worn carpet or faded paintings, nor could the soft candlelight make him forget the plywood that covered the cracked stained glass. There was so much to do, so much need. He sighed and looked to the cross over the altar. Not for the first time, he asked for forgiveness, for understanding. There would be money now—he'd made sure of that—but at what cost? He'd done it for the church. His pulse quickened and his stomach clenched. Bending forward, he forced himself to take one deep breath after another until the moment passed.
He loosened his cleric collar and yawned. The evening's mass had been long and difficult. The drunks in the back of the church had refused to leave, in spite of the old deacons' best efforts.
"S'our right to be here," the man with the long, stringy hair had said. His words slurred, he'd leaned forward as though he might topple straight into the next pew. "Worshipin' God," he'd said, although it had sounded like something else judging by the gasps from the congregation. The drunk had pointed a dirty hand toward the altar. "Here to see Father Holland. Tol' us to come anytime."
The drunk had swayed again, and his companion had reached out with a strong arm to catch him. Father Holland's mouth had gone dry at the sight of the tattoo on the man's forearm—a black dagger plunged into a white skull. Three drops of blood extended in a single line from the tip of the dagger to the man's wrist. He knew that tattoo, knew what it meant.
The awkward moment had passed although not before Father Holland caught the disdain on the faces of the ladies in the choir. Still, none of the parishioners had said a word, all looking to him instead. He'd hidden his trembling hands in the folds of the heavy cassock and swallowed. "St. William is open to everyone, our members and our guests. However, since we are about to have communion, I would ask that everyone who is not singing remain quiet. Guests may come forward for a blessing, of course." He'd been careful to keep his voice steady. Thank the Lord it had been enough. The man with the oily hair had quieted down and then stumbled out during the Eucharist. His friend with the tattoo had stayed a moment longer, then followed.
Silence filled the sanctuary now. Father Holland rubbed his hands together and shivered. He could still feel the cold eyes of the tattooed man and the curious glances from the congregation. The man's presence at the evening mass had been no accident and no drunken whim. The message had been clear.
After the church had emptied, he'd walked to the corner market and made the call. He'd done the best he could. Money changed everything. It always did. He opened his hand and stared at the crumpled paper with the phone number. He was not a stupid man. Nothing came without a price. He murmured a prayer until his shoulders relaxed and the drumbeat of his heart slowed.
His stomach growled, the gurgling loud and rumbly, and he realized it had been hours since he'd eaten. Breaking the quiet, a sound came from the back of the church, a click and a swish as the heavy outer door swung open. He stood and smoothed his cassock. Dinner would have to wait. He strained to see, but the vestibule was dark. "Who's there?" he asked.
The door clanged shut and heavy steps sounded on the dingy marble floor. Father Holland replaced his collar and ran his fingers through his hair. There was only silence. The hair on the back of his neck prickled. "Is somebody there?" he asked again.
A figure shrouded in black stepped out of the dark.
Father Holland stiffened. "Why are you here?"
From the shadows, the eyes of the visitor glittered in the candlelight. "I'm a sinner, Father."
Father Holland's shoulders slumped. "We are all sinners in God's eyes."
***

Excerpt from The Last Sin by KL Murphy.  Copyright © 2017 by Witness Impulse. Reproduced with permission from Witness Impulse. 
All rights reserved.




K.L. MURPHY

Author Bio:


K.L. MURPHY was born in Key West, Florida, the eldest of four children in a military family. She has worked as a freelance writer for several regional publications in Virginia, and is the author of A Guilty Mind and Stay of Execution. She lives in Richmond, Virginia, with her husband, four children, and two very large, very hairy dogs.

To learn more about the Detective Cancini Mystery series or future projects, visit her Website , Twitter , & Facebook  pages.





Tour Participants:







Don't Miss Your Chance to WIN:



This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for KL Murphy and Witness Impulse. There will be 3 winners of one (1) code for a BlueFire eBook copy of The Last Sin by KL Murphy. The giveaway begins on March 13th and runs through April 16th, 2017.

a Rafflecopter giveaway