Favorite Quotes on Books and Reading

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

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

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

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

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Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Book Spotlight: THE FIFTH LETTER by Nicola Moriarty

The Fifth Letter by Nicola Moriarty
ISBN: 9780062413567 (hardcover)
ISBN: 9780062643964 (paperback - HarperLuxe)
ISBN: 9780062413581 (ebook)
ASIN: B01GONFIVM (Kindle edition)
Publisher: William Morrow
Publication Date: January 24, 2017

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Four friends . . . 
Joni, Deb, Eden and Trina have been best friends since high school, sharing a bond that has seen them through their teenage years and into adulthood. But now, time and circumstance is starting to pull them apart as careers, husbands and babies get in the way. As their yearly vacation becomes less of a priority—at least for three of the women—how can Joni find a way to draw the four of them back together? 
Four secrets . . . 
During a laughter and wine-filled night, the women dare one another to write anonymous letters, spilling their deepest, darkest secrets. But the fun game turns devastating, exposing cracks in their lives and the friendship they share. Each letter is a dark confession revealing shocking information. A troubled marriage? A substance abuse problem? A secret pregnancy? A heartbreaking diagnosis? 
Five letters . . .
Late on one of their last nights together, after the other three have gone to bed, Joni notices something in the fireplace—a burnt, crumpled, nearly destroyed, sheet of paper that holds the most shattering revelation of all. It is a fifth letter—a hate-filled rant that exposes a vicious, deeply hidden grudge that has festered for decades. But who wrote it? Which one of them has seethed with resentment all these years? What should Joni do? 
Best friends are supposed to keep your darkest secrets. But the revelations Joni, Deb, Eden and Trina have shared will ripple through their lives with unforeseen consequences. One will heal a long festering wound. Another will find strength in her newfound independence. A third will confront her uncertain future. The fourth will finally admit her true feelings . . . and things will never be the same.




Praise:

"Lifelong friendships, secrets, and pages I couldn't turn fast enough. The Fifth Letter is one of my favorite books this year, and Nicola Moriarty is now on my short list of favorite women's fiction authors."—Susan Elizabeth Phillips, #1 New York Times bestselling author 

"A delightful, heartwarming exploration of the twists and turns of true friendship, The Fifth Letter was simply delicious from the very first page to the last.  This is the kind of book I can't get enough of - relatable characters, a fast-moving plot and just the right amount of mystery. I was hooked!"—Rachael Johns, internationally bestselling author 

"The brilliant unraveling of this sisterhood of secrets will leave you wondering how well you really know the best friends you've known forever. A must-read before your next Girl's Night."—Mary Hogan, author of The Woman in the Photo and Two Sisters

Meet the author:

Nicola Moriarty lives in Sydney's northwest with her husband and two small daughters. She is the younger sister of bestselling authors Liane Moriarty and Jaclyn Moriarty. In between various career changes, becoming a mum, and studying teaching at Macquarie University, she began to write. Now, she can't seem to stop.

Find out more about Nicola at her website or follow her on Facebook and Twitter.




Enter to win 1 of 2 print copies of The Fifth Letter by Nicola Moriarty, courtesy of the publisher William Morrow/HarperCollins. This giveaway is open to residents of the United States only (sorry). There will be 2 winners chosen and the winners will be announced on Wednesday, February 8, 2017; books will be sent directly to the winners from the publisher. Please use the Rafflecopter form below to enter.

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Monday, January 30, 2017

Book Showcase: BORN SPEAKING LIES by Rob Lenihan

Born Speaking Lies by Rob Lenihan
ISBN: 9781942515418 (paperback)
ISBN: 9781942515616 (ebook - Smashwords)
ASIN: B01M08GZ0Z (Kindle edition)
Publisher: Fomite Press 



Told in the raw and unforgettable voice of career criminal Billy the Kid, Born Speaking Lies is the story of a man who gets that rare second chance in life as he tries to escape the violent world of 1990s Brooklyn and a history of bad choices.
After being shot and left for dead in a Pennsylvania forest by members of his own crew, Billy tries to disappear into small town life with Lora, a local woman who finds him bleeding by the side of the road and offers him her heart and her home. But Billy's desire for revenge and his rapidly deteriorating health drives him toward a bloody confrontation with his former friends.  Infused with black humor and hard-hitting action, a well-written, "literary" crime novel with unforgettable, colorful characters.

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About Rob Lenihan

Rob Lenihan was born in Brooklyn in the same year the Dodgers left, but he likes to think these two events are not related. Raised in Bay Ridge, he has worked at newspapers in Brooklyn, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut, covering crime, business, and politics. He maintains a blog, The Luna Park Gazette, and has written three screenplays.

Find out more about Rob at his website.




Tour Stops


Monday, January 30th: The Book Diva's Reads

Wednesday, February 1st: M. Denise Costello

Friday, February 3rd: Mama Reads Hazel Sleeps

Saturday, February 4th: Ms. Nose in a Book

Monday, February 6th: Stranded in Chaos

Tuesday, February 7th: Art Books Coffee

Friday, February 10th: 5 Minutes For Books

Wednesday, March 8th: The Paperback Pilgrim





This tour brought to you by TLC Book Tours

Friday, January 27, 2017

Book Showcase: THE RIVERMAN by Alex Gray

The Riverman

by Alex Gray

on Tour January 9 - February 15, 2017


Synopsis:

The Riverman by Alex Gray
Fans of atmospheric police procedurals will love watching Glasgow vividly come to life with the shocking twists and turns that have made Alex Gray an international bestseller

When a dead body is fished out of Glasgow's River Clyde the morning after an office celebration, it looks like a case of accidental death. But an anonymous telephone call and a forensic toxicology test give Detective Chief Inspector William Lorimer reason to think otherwise. Probing deeper into the life and business of the deceased accountant, a seemingly upright member of the community, Lorimer finds only more unanswered questions.

What is the secret his widow seems to be concealing? Was the international accounting firm facing financial difficulties? What has become of the dead man's protégé who has disappeared in New York? And when another employee is found dead in her riverside flat these questions become much more disturbing. Lorimer must cope not only with deceptions from the firm, but also with suspicions from those far closer to home . . .

Book Details:

Genre: Police Procedurals
Published by: Witness Impulse
Publication Date: January 10th 2017
Number of Pages: 368
ISBN: 0062659138 (ISBN13: 9780062659132)
Series: A DCI Lorimer Novel, #4
Purchase Links: Amazon  | Barnes & Noble  | Goodreads 


Read an excerpt:

PROLOGUE

April
THE RIVERMAN
The riverman knew all about the Clyde. Its tides and currents were part of his heritage. His father and others before him had launched countless small craft from the banks of the river in response to a cry for help. Nowadays that cry came in the form of a klaxon that could waken him from sleep, the mobile phone ringing with information about where and when. It wouldn't be the first time that he'd pulled someone from the icy waters with only a hasty oilskin over his pajamas.
This morning, at least, he'd been up and doing when the call came. The body was over by Finnieston, past the weir, so he'd had to drive over the river towing a boat behind him on the trailer. He was always ready. That was what this job was all about: prompt and speedy response in the hope that some poor sod's life could be saved. And he'd saved hundreds over the years, desperate people who were trying to make up their mind to jump off one of the many bridges that spanned the Clyde or those who had made that leap and been saved before the waters filled their lungs.
George Parsonage had been brought up to respect his river. Once it had been the artery of a great beating heart, traffic thronging its banks, masts thick as brush-wood. The tobacco trade with Virginia had made Glasgow flourish all right, with the preaching of commerce and the praising of a New World that was ripe for plucking. The names of some city streets still recalled those far-off days. Even in his own memory, the Clyde had been a byword for ships. As a wee boy, George had been taken to the launch of some of the finer products of Glasgow's shipbuilding industry. But even then the river's grandeur was fading. He'd listened to stories about the grey hulks that grew like monsters from the deep, sliding along the water, destined for battle, and about the cruise liners sporting red funnels that were cheered off their slipways, folk bursting with pride to be part of this city with its great river.
The romance and nostalgia had persisted for decades after the demise of shipbuilding and cross-river ferries. Books written about the Clyde's heyday still found readers hankering after a time that was long past. The Glasgow Garden Festival in the eighties had prompted some to stage a revival along the river and more recently there had been a flurry of activity as the cranes returned to erect luxury flats and offices on either side of its banks. Still, there was little regular traffic upon its sluggish dark waters: a few oarsmen, a private passenger cruiser and the occasional police launch. Few saw what the river was churning up on a daily basis.
As he pushed the oars against the brown water, the riverman sent up a silent prayer for guidance. He'd seen many victims of despair and violence, and constantly reminded himself that each one was a person like himself with hopes, dreams and duties in different measure. If he could help, he would. That was what the Glasgow Humane Society existed for, after all. The sound of morning traffic roared above him as he made his way downstream. The speed of response was tempered by a need to row slowly and carefully once the body was near. Even the smallest of eddies could tip the body, filling the air pocket with water and sending it down and down to the bottom of the river. So, as George Parsonage approached the spot where the body floated, his oars dipped as lightly as seabirds' wings, his eyes fixed on the shape that seemed no more than a dirty smudge against the embankment.
The riverman could hear voices above but his eyes never left the half-submerged body as the boat crept nearer and nearer. At last he let the boat drift, oars resting on the rowlocks as he finally drew alongside the river's latest victim. George stood up slowly and bent over, letting the gunwales of the boat dip towards the water. Resting one foot on the edge, he hauled the body by its shoulders and in one clean movement brought it in. Huge ripples eddied away from the side as the boat rocked upright, its cargo safely aboard.
The victim was a middle-aged man. He'd clearly been in the water for some hours so there was no question of trying to revive him. The riverman turned the head this way and that, but there was no sign of a bullet hole or any wound that might indicate a sudden, violent death. George touched the sodden coat lightly. Its original camel colour was smeared and streaked with the river's detritus, the velvet collar an oily black. Whoever he had been, his clothes showed signs of wealth. The pale face shone wet against the pearly pink light of morning. For an instant George had the impression that the man would sit up and grasp his hand, expressing his thanks for taking him out of the water, as so many had done before him. But today no words would be spoken.There would be only a silent communion between the two men, one dead and one living, before other hands came to examine the corpse.
George grasped the oars and pulled away from the embankment. Only then did he glance upwards, nodding briefly as he identified the men whose voices had sounded across the water. DCI Lorimer caught his eye and nodded back. Up above the banking a couple of uniformed officers stood looking down. Even as he began rowing away from the shore, the riverman noticed a smaller figure join the others. Dr. Rosie Fergusson had arrived.
'Meet you at the Finnieston steps, George,' Lorimer called out.
The riverman nodded briefly, pulling hard on the oars, taking his charge on its final journey down the Clyde.

Excerpt from The Riverman by Alex Gray. 

Copyright © 2017 by Alex Gray. 
Reproduced with permission from HarperCollins | WitnessImpulse. 
All rights reserved.

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 thirteen 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  & on Twitter .


Tour Participants:

Visit the other tour stops for more great features and reviews!



Don't Miss Your Chance in this Giveaway!

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours for Alex Gray and William Morrow. There will be 3 US winners of one (1) PRINT copy of The Riverman by Alex Gray. The giveaway begins on January 9th and runs through February 23rd, 2017.

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Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Book Spotlight: KILL'T DEAD OR WORSE by R.W. Hacker

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Kill't Dead or Worse by R.W. Hacker
ISBN: 9780998203003 (paperback)
ASIN: B01NAEKQ08 (Kindle version)
Publisher: LifeJazz Media
Publication date: December 2016


After a murdered partner, a cheating wife and a lost job in Houston, Nick Sibelius sets up a private investigation business in a small Texas town hoping to find some peace and maybe, himself. When two lovers disappear and a fisherman turns up dead, he finds himself drawn into a web of crime and deceit involving MaryLou, a beautiful woman with a mysterious past; Junior, a failed farmer whose best intentions seem to always result in a dead body; and Barry, a sociopathic dentist turned illegal toxic waste entrepreneur with a violent right wing agenda. When the felon who killed Nick's partner in Houston joins forces with Barry, Nick must not only stop the toxic waste dumping while finding his client's missing daughter, but keep from being killed in the process. In the end, MaryLou's dark secret will either save him or kill him -- whichever comes first.



Exclusive to Amazon Buy Link: Amazon




Meet the Author:

Richard Hacker has been writing most of his life, and professionally, in support of his work in management consulting, public speaking and training in the healthcare and pharmaceutical industries. In 2009 he moved, along with his wife, from Austin to Seattle, shifting his professional focus from business consulting to writing fiction full time. Wanted by authorities for smuggling Texas BBQ across state lines, he now writes and lives in Seattle. His writing has been recognized by the Writer's League of Texas and the Pacific Northwest Writers Association. As a judge in literary contests such as PNWA and ChicLit, he enjoys the opportunity to give writers honest critique to move their craft forward. In addition, he is the science fiction and fantasy editor for the Del Sol Review, an online literary magazine.



Giveaway:

Enter to win the Kill't Dead or Worse tour giveaway. The grand prize includes 4 Austin TX Coasters,  Asleep at the Wheel—20 Greatest Hits —CD, Texas Eats — a cookbook of Texas recipes, and the winners choice of a Kindle or paperback copy of Kill't Dead or Worse. This giveaway is generously sponsored by the author, R.W. Hacker.

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Follow the entire KILL'T DEAD OR WORSE TOUR


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Monday, January 16, 2017

Guest Post: Tonya Kappes, author of GHOSTLY REUNION

The Book Diva's Reads is pleased to host a visit today from the USA Today best-selling author Tonya Kappes. Ms. Kappes is the author of 40+ books, including the Magical Cure Mystery series, the Laurel London Mystery series, The Divorced Divas Mystery series, the Grandberry Falls series, the Kenni Lowry series, the Olivia Davis Paranormal Mystery series, the Bluegrass Romance series, and the ever-popular Ghostly Southern Mysteries series. Today Ms. Kappes will be discussing cozy mysteries (who better to discuss this topic?). Without further adieu, I give you Ms. Kappes.


Why not a cozy?

When people find out I'm a writer and ask me what genre. I respond with cozy mystery. You can probably guess the next question. Cozy? What is a cozy?

Trust me, I've been around long enough (26 novels) to know that cozy mystery genre doesn't get the same hats off, Baptist nod, and thumbs up that thriller mystery or even just mystery writers get.

And if it's not bad enough, I have to tell them that I write paranormal cozy mystery.That really gets the quizzical looks that make me feels as if I have two heads. THEN when I say it's a witch mystery, I get the OMG, you believe in witches?

My explanation generally goes like this: Cozy mystery is kinda just that. Cozy. More along the lines of Murder She Wrote where the sleuth of my novels has a job that is in a craft or a special talent. She stumbles on a murder that is somehow tied to her life and she has to solve the murder/crime on her own.

There is no blood, guts, or gore and cozies are centered on the sleuth's craft or gift. In my case with A Ghostly Reunion, the sleuth is an undertaker who lives in the small southern town in Kentucky.

Emma Lee Raines, my cozy sleuth, owns Eternal Slumber, the only funeral home in Sleepy Hollow, Kentucky. She has an unfortunate mishap with a plastic snowman falling on her head and now she sees dead people…dead murdered people who need to find their killer to make it to the other side or Emma risks to be haunted forever.

Cozies have relatable characters set in small towns with a cozy setting. Even though romance takes a back seat in the mystery, there is still a love interest to sweet the pot.

By the time I've given my spiel, the person who asked me about what a cozy was, is spouting off movies or television shows that fit the cozy mystery genre.



Author Bio:


Tonya Kappes

Tonya has written over 40 novels and 4 novellas, all of which have graced numerous bestseller lists including USA Today. Best known for stories charged with emotion and humor, and filled with flawed characters, her novels have garnered reader praise and glowing critical reviews. She lives with her husband, two very spoiled schnauzers and grew up in the small southern Kentucky town of Nicholasville. Now that her four boys are grown boys, Tonya writes full time.


Catch Up with Tonya Kappes on her Website , Twitter , &  Facebook 





A Ghostly Reunion


by Tonya Kappes


on Tour January 16 - February 17, 2017





Synopsis:


A Ghostly Reunion by Tonya Kappes

A Ghostly Reunion



Proprietor of the Eternal Slumber Funeral Home, Emma Lee can see, hear, and talk to ghosts of murdered folks. And when her high school nemesis is found dead, Jade Lee Peel is the same old mean girl—trying to come between Emma Lee and her hot boyfriend, Sheriff Jack Henry Ross, all over again.
There's only one way for Emma Lee to be free of the trash-talking ghost—solve the murder so the former prom queen can cross over.
But the last thing Jade Lee wants is to leave the town where she had her glory days. And the more Emma Lee investigates on her own, the more complicated Miss Popularity turns out to be. Now Emma Lee will have to work extra closely with her hunky lawman to get to the twisty truth.


Book Details:


Genre: Cozy Mystery, Paranormal
Published by: HarperCollins / Witness
Publication Date: December 27th 2016
Number of Pages: 352
ISBN: 006246695X (ISBN13: 9780062466952)
Series: Ghostly Southern Mysteries #5
Purchase Links: Amazon  | Barnes & Noble  | Goodreads 





Tour Participants:








Giveaway:



This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours for Tonya Kappes and Witness Impulse. There will be 1 US winner of one PRINTED set of The Ghostly Southern Mysteries #1-5 by Tonya Kappes. The giveaway begins on January 15th and runs through February 18th, 2017.


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Book Showcase: A GHOSTLY REUNION by Tonya Kappes


A Ghostly Reunion


by Tonya Kappes


on Tour January 16 - February 17, 2017





Synopsis:


A Ghostly Reunion by Tonya Kappes

A Ghostly Reunion



Proprietor of the Eternal Slumber Funeral Home, Emma Lee can see, hear, and talk to ghosts of murdered folks. And when her high school nemesis is found dead, Jade Lee Peel is the same old mean girl—trying to come between Emma Lee and her hot boyfriend, Sheriff Jack Henry Ross, all over again.
There's only one way for Emma Lee to be free of the trash-talking ghost—solve the murder so the former prom queen can cross over.
But the last thing Jade Lee wants is to leave the town where she had her glory days. And the more Emma Lee investigates on her own, the more complicated Miss Popularity turns out to be. Now Emma Lee will have to work extra closely with her hunky lawman to get to the twisty truth.




Book Details:


Genre: Cozy Mystery, Paranormal
Published by: HarperCollins / Witness
Publication Date: December 27th 2016
Number of Pages: 352
ISBN: 006246695X (ISBN13: 9780062466952)
Series: Ghostly Southern Mysteries #5
Purchase Links: Amazon  | Barnes & Noble  | Goodreads 


Read an excerpt:



Sexy isn't a firm fanny in a thong, ladies."
Hettie Bell didn't seem so sexy in her hot pink leggings and matching top as she gasped for breath in her downward dog position in the middle of Sleepy Hollow, Kentucky. Her butt stuck straight up in the air, right there on display for everyone to see. Her black, chin-length bob was falling out of the small ponytail on both sides and her bangs hung down in her eyes.
"Sexy is confidence and self-acceptance. It's exactly what yoga provides."
Hettie Bell curled up on her tiptoes with her palms planted on one of the mats she provided for us. The rickety old floor of the gazebo, in the middle of the town square, groaned as we all tried to mimic her pose. "Yes!" Beulah Paige Bellefry hollered out like we were in the first pew of the Sleepy Hollow Baptist Church getting a good Bible beating from Pastor Brown himself.
"Amen to a good pose!"
Beulah continued to adjust her feet and hands each time she started to slip. If she wasn't a bit overweight, I'd say it was her eighties silk sweat suit that was slicker than cat's guts giving her problems. Or it could've been those pearls around her wrist, neck and ears weighing her down. Beulah never took off those pearls. She said pearls were a staple for a Southern gal.
"You said it, sister," Mary Anna Hardy gasped. She teetered side to side, nearly knocking into Granny. Her sweat left streaks down her makeup. Who on earth got up this early and put makeup on to do yoga? Mary Anna Hardy, that's who.
"God help us!"
"That's it."
I pushed back off my heels and crossed my legs, staring at all the Auxiliary women's derrieres at my eye level.
"I'm here to do some relaxing, not Sunday school."
Sleepy Hollow was smack-dab in the middle of the Bible Belt and if God wasn't thrown in our conversations, then we weren't breathing. But the last thing I wanted to think about was my butt stuck up to the high heavens and everyone up in the Great Beyond looking down upon me.


Author Bio:


Tonya Kappes

Tonya Kappes has written more than fifteen novels and four novellas, all of which have graced numerous bestseller lists including USA Today. Best known for stories charged with emotion and humor and filled with flawed characters, her novels have garnered reader praise and glowing critical reviews. She lives with her husband, two very spoiled schnauzers, and one ex-stray cat in northern Kentucky. Now that her boys are teenagers, Tonya writes full-time but can be found at all of her guys' high school games with a pencil and paper in hand.

Catch Up with Tonya Kappes on her Website , Twitter , &  Facebook 





Tour Participants:








Giveaway:



This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours for Tonya Kappes and Witness Impulse. There will be 1 US winner of one PRINTED set of The Ghostly Southern Mysteries #1-5 by Tonya Kappes. The giveaway begins on January 15th and runs through February 18th, 2017.


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Friday, January 13, 2017

2017 Book 10: SAY GOODBYE FOR NOW by Catherine Ryan Hyde



Say Goodbye for Now by Catherine Ryan Hyde 
ISBN: 9781503939448 (paperback)
ASIN: B01DNJMO76 (Kindle edition)
Publication date: December 13, 2016 
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing 



"Catherine Ryan Hyde delivers once again with this feel-good story guaranteed to be a hit…" — Redbook
On an isolated Texas ranch, Dr. Lucy cares for abandoned animals. The solitude allows her to avoid the people and places that remind her of the past. Not that any of the townsfolk care. In 1959, no one is interested in a woman doctor. Nor are they welcoming Calvin and Justin Bell, a newly arrived African American father and son.
When Pete Solomon, a neglected twelve-year-old boy, and Justin bring a wounded wolf-dog hybrid to Dr. Lucy, the outcasts soon find refuge in one another. Lucy never thought she'd make connections again, never mind fall in love. Pete never imagined he'd find friends as loyal as Justin and the dog. But these four people aren't allowed to be friends, much less a family, when the whole town turns violently against them.
With heavy hearts, Dr. Lucy and Pete say goodbye to Calvin and Justin. But through the years they keep hope alive…waiting for the world to catch up with them.


Dr. Lucy Armstrong is a divorcee living in rural Texas. She spends most of her time alone taking care of abandoned, stray, and wounded animals. In an effort to earn extra money to feed and supply these animals she often provides after-hours medical care to people that can't or won't go to the local hospital. Dr. Lucy is a loner but doesn't consider herself to be lonely. All that changes when Pete Solomon brings a stray wolf-dog hybrid to her home for treatment and then brings in a young black boy, Justin Bell, in for emergency treatment after a brutal beating. Dr. Lucy finds herself quickly befriended by not only Pete but by Justin and Justin's father, Calvin. After giving Calvin a ride home, Dr. Lucy and Calvin find themselves in a strange and tenuous situation. There are laws on the books against miscegenation or racial mixing and it is beyond unseemly for a White woman to be seen in public, or even in private, with a black man. Dr. Lucy must also contend with the fact that Pete is being abused at home and only has her and Justin to turn to for help, emotional support, and friendship. How did this self-professed loner become a temporary guardian to a black boy, a surrogate mother to a young white boy, and a confidante and would-be lover to a black man in 1959 Texas?

I plowed through Say Goodbye for Now, finding it to be an incredibly easy, fast-paced and enjoyable read. I particularly enjoyed the inclusion of the Loving case into the story along with the developing long-distance relationship between Lucy and Calvin. Although Say Goodbye for Now takes place in the late 1950s and early 1960s, the vast majority of the story is still topical today. Ms. Hyde introduces the reader to racism, racial profiling, bigotry, systemic government abuse related to racial profiling, child abuse, interracial relationships, and more. Say Goodbye for Now has been called a "feel-good story" but it is so much more, it is about self-discovery, self-awakening, and the notion that family is much more than just biology and DNA. I enjoyed this book so much I promptly purchased a copy to give to my mother with the warning that she might cry while reading it (she's 82 and needs trigger warnings before she'll read a book). If you enjoy reading stories with a message or hopeful-ever-after stories, then I strongly recommend you grab a copy of Say Goodbye for Now to read. 

Disclaimer: I received a free print advanced reader copy of this book from the publisher for review purposes via BookSparks PR. 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."

This review and tour brought to you by:


Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Book Showcase: THE RIVER AT NIGHT by Erica Ferencik

The River at Night by Erica Ferencik 
ISBN: 9781501143199 (hardcover)
ISBN: 9781501143212 (ebook)
ASIN: B01CO345G0 (Kindle edition)
Publication date: January 10, 2017
Publisher: Gallery/Scout Press 
A high-stakes drama set against the harsh beauty of the Maine wilderness, charting the journey of four friends as they fight to survive the aftermath of a white water rafting accident, The River at Night is a nonstop and unforgettable thriller by a stunning new voice in fiction.
Winifred Allen needs a vacation.
Stifled by a soul-crushing job, devastated by the death of her beloved brother, and lonely after the end of a fifteen-year marriage, Wini is feeling vulnerable. So when her three best friends insist on a high-octane getaway for their annual girls' trip, she signs on, despite her misgivings.
What starts out as an invigorating hiking and rafting excursion in the remote Allagash Wilderness soon becomes an all-too-real nightmare: A freak accident leaves the women stranded, separating them from their raft and everything they need to survive. When night descends, a fire on the mountainside lures them to a ramshackle camp that appears to be their lifeline. But as Wini and her friends grasp the true intent of their supposed saviors, long buried secrets emerge and lifelong allegiances are put to the test. To survive, Wini must reach beyond the world she knows to harness an inner strength she never knew she possessed.
With intimately observed characters, visceral prose, and pacing as ruthless as the river itself, The River at Night is a dark exploration of creatures—both friend and foe—that you won't soon forget.


Read an excerpt:

1
Early one morning in late March, Pia forced my hand.
A slapping spring wind ushered me through the heavy doors of the YMCA lobby as the minute hand of the yellowing 1950s-era clock over the check-in desk snapped to 7:09. Head down and on task to be in my preferred lane by precisely 7:15, I rushed along the glass corridor next to the pool. The chemical stink leaked from the ancient windows, as did the muffled shrieks of children and the lifeguard's whistle. I felt cosseted by the shabby walls, by my self-righteous routine, by the fact that I'd ousted myself from my warm bed to face another tedious day head-on. Small victories.
I'd just squeezed myself into my old-lady swimsuit when the phone in my bag began to bleat. I dug it out. The screen pulsed with the image of Pia Zanderlee ski-racing down a double black diamond slope somewhere in Banff.
My choices? Answer it now or play phone tag for another week. Pia was that friend you love with a twinge of resentment. The sparkly one who never has time for you unless it's on her schedule, but you like her too much to flush her down the friendship toilet.
"Wow, a phone call—from you!" I said as I mercilessly assessed my middle-aged pudge in the greasy mirror. "To what do I owe the honor?"
Of course I knew the reason. Five unanswered texts.
Pia laughed. "Hey, Win, listen. We need to make our reservations. Like, by tomorrow."
I fished around in my swim bag for my goggles. "Yeah, I haven't—"
"I get it. Nature's not your thing, but you're going to love it once you're out there. Rachel and Sandra are chomping at the bit to go, but they have to make their travel plans. We all do."
With a shudder, I recalled my frantic Google search the night before for Winnegosset River Rafting, Maine.
No results.
"Just wondering why this place doesn't have some kind of website. I mean, is it legit?" I asked, my voice coming out all high and tinny. Already I was ashamed of my wussiness. "I'd hate to get all the way up there and find out this is some sort of shady operation—"
I could feel her roll her eyes. "Wini, just because some place or something or someone doesn't have a website doesn't mean they don't exist." She sounded windblown, breathless. I pictured her power walking through her Cambridge neighborhood, wrist weights flashing neon. "It's a big old world out there. One of the reasons this place is so awesome is because no one knows about it yet, so it's not booked solid before the snow's even melted. That's why there's space for the weekend we all want, get it? This year, it's the world's best-kept secret—next year, forget it!"
"I don't know, Pia . . ." I glanced at the time: 7:14.
She laughed, softening to me now. "Look, the guy who runs the white-water tours is a good friend of my dad—he's my dad's friend's son, I mean, so it's cool."
"Can't believe Rachel would want to—"
"Are you crazy? She's dying to go. And Sandra? Please. She'd get on a plane right now if she could."
With a wave of affection I pictured my last Skype with Sandra: kids running around screaming in the background, papers to correct stacked next to her. When I brought up the trip, she'd groaned, Hell, yes, I'm game for anything—just get me out of Dodge!
"Wini, listen up: Next year—I promise, we'll go to a beach somewhere. Cancún, Key West, you choose. Do nothing and just bake.
"Look, Pia, I'm at the pool and I'm going to lose my lane—"
"Okay. Swim. Then call me."
I tucked my flyaway dirty-blond bob—the compromise cut for all hopelessly shitty hair—under my bathing cap, then hustled my stuff into a locker and slammed it shut. Do nothing and just bake. Did she really think that was all I was interested in? Who was the one who rented the bike the last time we went to the Cape? Just me, as I recalled, while all of them sat around the rental pouring more and more tequila into the blender each day. And my God—we were all pushing forty—shouldn't awesome and cool be in the rearview mirror by now?
I crossed the slimy tiles of the dressing room and pushed open the swinging doors to the pool. The air hit me, muggy and warm, dense with chlorine that barely masked an underwhiff of urine and sweat. Children laughed and punched at the blue water in the shallow end as I padded over to my favorite lane, which was . . .occupied.
It was 7:16 and frog man had beat me to it. Fuck.
For close to a year, this nonagenarian ear, nose, and throat doctor and I had been locked in a mostly silent daily battle over the best lane—far left-hand side, under the skylights—from 7:15 to 8:00 each weekday morning. Usually I was the victor, something about which I'd felt ridiculous glee. We'd only ever exchanged the briefest of greetings; both of us getting to the Y a notch earlier each day. I imagined we both craved this mindless exercise, thoughts freed by the calming boredom of swimming and near weightlessness.
But today I'd lost the battle. I plopped down on a hard plastic seat, pouting inside but feigning serenity as I watched him slap through his slow-motion crawl. He appeared to lose steam near the end of a lap, then climbed the ladder out of the pool as only a ninety-year-old can: with careful deliberation in every step. As I watched the water drip off his flat ass and down his pencil legs, I realized that he was making his way to me, or rather to a stack of towels next to me, and in a few seconds I'd pretty much have to talk to him. He uncorked his goggles with a soft sucking sound. I noticed his eyes seemed a bit wearier than usual, even for a man his age who had just worked his daily laps.
"How are you?" I shifted in my seat, conscious of my bathing cap squeezing my head and distorting my face as I stole the odd glance at the deliciously empty lane.
"I'm well, thank you. Though very sad today."
I studied him more closely now, caught off guard by his intimate tone. "Why?"
Though his expression was grim, I wasn't prepared for what he said.
"I just lost my daughter to cancer."
"I'm sorry," I choked out. I felt socked in the soft fleshy parts; smacked off the rails of my deeply grooved routine and whipped around to face something I didn't want to see.
He took a towel and poked at his ears with it. A gold cross hung from a glimmering chain around his thin neck, the skin white and rubbery looking. "It was a long struggle. Part of me is glad it's over." He squinted at me as if seeing me for the first time. "She was about your age," he added, turning to walk away before I could utter a word of comfort. I watched him travel in his flap step the length of the pool to the men's lockers, his head held down so low I could barely see the top of it.
My hands trembled as I gripped the steel ladder and made my way down into the antiseptic blue. I pushed off. Eyes shut tight and heart pumping, I watched the words She was about your age hover in my brain until the letters dissolved into nothingness. The horror of his offhand observation numbed me as I turned and floated on my back, breathing heavily in the oppressive air. As I slogged joylessly through my laps, I thought of my own father rolling his eyes when I said I was afraid of sleepaway camp, of third grade, of walking on grass barefoot "because of worms." As cold as he could be to my brother and me, not a thing on earth seemed to frighten him.
I had barely toweled myself off when my phone lit up with a text from Pia. A question mark, that was it. Followed by three more. Methodically I removed my work clothes from my locker, arranging them neatly on the bench behind me. I pulled off my bathing cap, sat down, and picked up the phone.
My thumbs hovered over the keys as I shivered in the over-heated locker room. I took a deep breath—shampoo, rubber, mold, a sting of disinfectant—and slowly let it out, a sharp pain lodging in my gut. I couldn't tell which was worse, the fear of being left behind by my friends as they dashed away on some überbonding, unforgettable adventure, or the inevitable self-loathing if I stayed behind like some gutless wimp—safe, always safe—half-fucking-dead with safety. Why couldn't I just say yes to a camping trip with three of my best friends? What was I so afraid of?
Pool water dripped from my hair, beading on the phone as I commanded myself to text something. Anything.
I watched my fingers as they typed, Okay, I'm in, and pressedsend.
Copyright © Erica Ferencik 2017. 
Excerpt printed with permission of the publisher.



Meet the author:

Photo by Kate Hannon

Erica Ferencik is a graduate of the MFA program in Creative Writing at Boston University. Her work has appeared in Salon and The Boston Globe, as well as on National Public Radio. 

Find out more on her website EricaFerencik.com and follow her on Twitter @EricaFerencik.





Author Q&A:

1) What intrigued you about writing about female friendship?
Everything intrigues me about female friendship. Its very intensity can turn things inside out very quickly.
I especially love stories of female friendship gone wrong, such as in the 1992 film, Single White Female.
The stakes in female friendship are just as high or higher than in romantic ones. We trust our women friends with so much intimate knowledge – why is that?
Our hairdressers know for sure...isn't that the truth. Why do I still share things with my women friends that I don't with my husband of twenty-two years? (Sorry, honey ☺)
The stakes are even higher for long term friendships. It's such a delicate balance to keep these relationships alive, as well as intensely difficult to determine when or whether it may be time to end them, or to come to grips with the fact that – since everything changes – these cherished friendships must change as well.
2) The ending of this book leaves readers feeling unsettled. How did you come up with the ending? Did it change as you went through the writing process?
I'm glad to hear it makes readers feel unsettled!
I had maybe three different endings over time. I didn't want to sew it up too neatly, but there had to be some ominous things lurking, as well as some light at the end of the tunnel. Even though it's a pretty wild tale, it's plausible as well, which is one reason I think it's so scary.
In terms of how I came up with the ending – without giving it away – I wanted to play with aspects of bringing the "wild" world back into so-called civilization.
One hard part about writing novels – and there are lots of hard parts! – is knowing when you are done. Where does a story really end? Why there and not someplace else? What is enough for the reader, leaving them satisfied but perhaps wondering a bit, keeping them in the spell of your story – but not in a frustrating way – and what is just too much sewing up or sweeping up for them? It can be a fine line, a really delicate balance.
3) What part was the most fun for you to write?
Let me say it this way: writing is like childbirth: in the end, you fall so in love with your baby you forget all the pain that came before…
But honestly, I had a blast with the whole thing, from first word to last.
I especially loved writing about white water rafting. For me, it's this combination of exhilarating and terrifying, like a roller coaster only worse because it's nature, and (most of us) know better than to mess with that. For me, the moment-to-moment experience of white water rafting can tip from ecstatic joy to oh-my-God I'm going to die.
I loved doing the research, both online and especially in person, interviewing rafting guides and all the off-the-gridders I was fortunate enough to interview.
4) Do you have a favorite character or one that you identify with the most?
There is the old (writing) saw that every character we create comes from some aspect of ourselves, and I think there's a lot to that.
I think I am one-part Pia – because I'm quite physical and love adventure and used to be very idealistic and clueless like her – now I'm just clueless – and one part Wini, because I'm full of terror and shame. But then I like to think I have a tough Rachel side as well as a sweet Sandra side. Basically, I'm nuts.






Enter to win one print copy of The River at Night by Erica Ferencik courtesy of Wunderkind-PR. This giveaway ends at 11:59 PM ET on 1/18/2017. The winner will be announced on 1/19/2017. This giveaway is limited to residents of the United States (sorry). Any entrant not a resident of the US will be disqualified and a new winner chosen at random. The book will be sent to the winner via Wunderkind-PR. Enter using the form below.

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