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, May 20, 2019

Book Showcase: ALL QUIET ON THE MIDWESTERN PLAINS by Dorothea Shefer-Vanson

All Quiet On The Midwestern Plains: a Tale of Deception, Betrayal and Vindication by Dorothea Shefer-Vanson
ISBN: 9781723871801 (paperback)
ASIN: B07HJCXJRF (Kindle edition)
Release Date: September 19, 2018


It is 1985 and Israeli paleontologist is spending a year at a university in Nebraska. He encounters hostility from the head of the department and anti-Semitism in the local paper. Events seem to conspire to prevent him achieving his aim of attaining academic success, and his family is on the verge of breaking up, until he is finally able to unmask the plot to wreak havoc throughout America.






Purchase Links:  Amazon  |  Kindle 



Read an excerpt from All Quiet On The Midwestern Plains:

Wielding chisels and hammers, the two men busied themselves prising sections of rock away from the hillside till the sun was low on the horizon, by which time their hands were blistered and sore.

Avi carefully recorded the original position of each rock as he placed it in one of the sacks he had brought along for the purpose. They spoke little, each of them absorbed in the task at hand. After they had been working for some time Avi lit the camping gas ring he had brought along and brewed some coffee. They drank it slowly, savoring the warmth and the aroma.

"I'd like to get a few more specimens from up there," Avi said, pointing to a higher part of the hillside. "Once I've done that I'll be ready to head back into town."

"That's fine with me. I've got enough stuff here to give me years of analysis. Besides, I must confess, I don't seem to have the stamina I once had for roughing it in the open and hacking away at rocks."

Tom stopped working and watched anxiously as Avi balanced himself on the rocks in his efforts to prise part of the rock-face away. The effort involved in maintaining his balance while engaging in the strenuous yet delicate physical effort showed on Avi's face. He improved his foot-hold and began to wield his tools, at first slowly, then, as his confidence increased, with growing rhythm and speed.

As Tom watched his friend he was reminded how much he enjoyed being out in the open, where the air was fresh and he could feel the earth beneath his feet, seeing everything from a different perspective. The elements seemed so docile, after the violent storm of the morning, making him think of Nancy, with her sudden violent mood-swings. One moment she would be as quiet and sweet as a dove, the next a screaming harridan. He often did not know why. Whether it was because of some imagined slight on his part or some error of omission or commission.

Avi strained to insert his chisel at an awkward angle into the rock face, lost his balance, and fell, not far but heavily. Without uttering a syllable he bumped down the jagged edges of protruding russet-colored rocks, landing close to where Tom was standing, helpless and unable to move. Suddenly Avi was lying motionless at his feet, his eyes closed, blood oozing from a gash in his forehead.

Tom's heart began pounding at an alarming rate. He bent down and took Avi's limp hand, trying to find his pulse. He wondered if he was badly wounded and whether he should try to staunch the blood, though he did not know what with. He did not know if any bones were broken, consoling himself with the fact that at least Avi was still breathing. After a moment he was relieved to find that his pulse was steady.

Avi groaned and opened his eyes. He put his hand to his forehead, then stared at the blood on his fingers.

"I fell, didn't I?" he asked.

"You sure did."

"Is it a deep cut?"

"Maybe. I can't really tell," Tom screwed his eyes up and peered at the wound.

"There's a first-aid kit in the jeep," Avi's voice was weak. He sat up slowly, wincing in pain. The blood had drained from his face, so that his dark eyes stared out at Tom from sockets that seemed suddenly to have sunk deep into his skull.

"Don't get up. Stay where you are. I'll go and get the things."

When Tom came back with the first-aid box, he found Avi sitting on a rock, dabbing his wound with a blood-stained tissue. His face was still pale, but he looked as if he was recovering from the initial shock.

"Here. Let me do it," Avi said, and took the box from Tom. With deft fingers he cleaned his wound, dressed it, and wound a bandage around his own head. Tom nodded in admiration.

"I've seen medics treat battle wounds a few times. I reckon I know what to do," Avi explained as he tightened the bandage and secured it with a safety-pin. "Sometimes we had to dress one another's wounds ourselves when the medic wasn't around. I could do with something to drink, though. My mouth feels very dry. I'm probably in shock. Is there any water left in the jeep?"

Once again Tom clambered down to where the vehicle was standing, and came back with their last container of water. He handed it to Avi, who gulped the tepid liquid down, then washed his face and hands, careful not to wet the bandage.

"I'm OK now," his voice sounded stronger. "Luckily I don't seem to have broken any bones. I really wish I could have got some rocks from up there, but I don't want to take any more risks."

"I could try," Tom ventured.

"No, I wouldn't dream of letting you. But thanks for offering. It's funny, you know," he added after a moment, "being here with you, like this, is a bit like being back in the military. I didn't realize it till now, but I'm glad you're here with me. I don't know how I'd have managed without you. We make a good team. I'm sorry I spoiled things with this stupid fall."

"That's OK," Tom recognized that this was the highest compliment Avi could give. He felt that he really ought to reciprocate in some way, tell Avi he was glad they had made the trip together, but somehow the words just would not come. Instead, he busied himself with practicalities, fussing over his friend like a mother-hen. "Here. Take my arm. I don't want you falling down any more rocks till we're safe in the jeep. You gave me quite a shock just now."

With unaccustomed docility, like a newly-tamed animal, Avi took Tom's arm, and together they made their way slowly down the hill. When they reached the road, Avi made for the driver's seat.

"Don't make me laugh, Avi," Tom said. "You're in no fit state to drive. Besides, you've driven all the way so far. Now it's my turn."

Again without demurring, Avi went round to the passenger seat and let Tom take the wheel.

"It's years since I've driven a vehicle with a manual gear," Tom said. "I guess it'll take me a while to get used to it. Still, I've got to do it. So here goes."

He engaged the engine and started to drive, raising a cloud of dust.

He was not sorry to be leaving that spot, but glad he had not let Avi go on his own. Realizing that anything could have happened if he had, he imagined how proud of him Nancy would be and gave himself a metaphorical pat on the back.

"We'll soon have you back in civilization," he said to Avi, who winced each time the jeep jolted on the uneven road. "We'd better get you to a doctor as soon as possible."

"I'm alright," Avi protested. "I just want to get home."

Home. The magic word that since time immemorial has given fighting men the strength to endure hardship. The word that has kept soldiers going through the most rigorous training, field exercises, battles, gun-fire and falling bombs.

Avi recalled how, though still a teenager when he was doing his compulsory military service, the thought of his mother's worn face and comfortable form, had kept him going. He would envisage her busy in the kitchen, making the food he liked, or bringing him a cup of coffee and a slice of home-made cake when he came home on leave. He imagined himself sitting in the big armchair, his legs stretched out in front of him, his boots on the floor beside him, as he read the paper.

He shook his head despite the pain and reminded himself that home was no longer his mother. Home was Rachel and the twins, who were all doubtless just carrying on with life, unaware of what had happened to him. He wondered whether his wife would spare a moment to wonder where he was and what he was doing. He glanced at his watch and calculated that she was probably making lunch for the twins, tidying the kitchen, or enjoying one of the interminable television comedies

"There's no chance of getting back to Seabrook tonight," Tom said. "We'll stop at the nearest gas station and ask where we can find a doctor. Chances are that there'll be a motel where we can stay tonight. Then we'll be able to leave tomorrow morning and get to Seabrook by noon."

"Couldn't we make it back to Seabrook tonight?" Avi's voice was wistful.

"Not if I'm driving. And you're certainly not going to. I'm not taking any more risks. Unlike you, I don't like living dangerously."

"Don't lecture me, for heaven's sake, Tom."

"OK. Sorry. End of sermon," Tom said.

"Besides," Avi continued, "What's the point of living if you don't take a risk or two now and again? We'd all die of boredom."

"That's fine with me. I get enough excitement from working with Harold Anderss and watching the Huskers playing. What more can a man want?"

"Ah, yes, the football team. I've heard about them. The twins said something about the game the other day. I didn't know that you were interested in that too."

"Interested?" Tom exclaimed, negotiating a pile of small stones that the storm had deposited on the road. "I don't think that ‘interested' is the right word. Everyone in the state supports the Huskers. They're a damn good team. One of the best in the country. If not the best. Everyone's a fan. Some people are just enthusiastic supporters, while others are real fanatical supporters. But no-one's indifferent. I'll have to take you to a game some day."

"I can't wait." Avi said, then winced and put his hand to his head as the jeep lurched over a pot-hole in the road.

The teenage attendant at the gas station chewed gum languidly as he filled their tank, all the while leaning against their mud-encrusted vehicle. He told them that they'd find a doctor and a motel in the nearby town of Spurling.

The light was beginning to fade as the two men checked into the motel on the outskirts of the town. The clerk at the desk looked at Avi's bandaged head with some concern. The blood that had oozed out of the wound had dried into an ugly, rust-colored stain that resembled the map of some unknown country.

"That looks real bad," he said. "How d'ya get that?"

"He fell. I'd really like to get him to a doctor," Tom said. "Where can we find one?"

"Well now, let me see," the clerk closed his eyes and sucked his teeth, evidently to aid concentration. "Doctor Thompson lives out over on the other side of town, and I think you'll find he's a real good doctor. There's another one, Doctor Harris, who's nearer but ain't so well thought of. But he's out of town right now anyway. He goes out of town a lot. Mostly on fishing trips. Though he does some hunting too sometimes. That's why people prefer Dr. Thompson. Anyhow, you just take the main road through the town and you'll find him right at the other end."

Tom looked anxiously at Avi, who was standing next to him at the counter and beginning to sway. His face had now turned a delicate shade of gray, and the bloodstain on the bandage round his head was spreading gradually.

"You'd better get your friend over to the surgery real quick," the clerk said. "He looks real bad to me."

"Thanks, I will," Tom said, taking Avi's arm and steering him back to the jeep. Avi leaned on him for support, causing Tom to struggle with his considerable weight.

By the time Tom had located the surgery Avi could barely sit upright in his seat, so that Tom had to come round to the passenger seat and haul his friend's half inert body out. The effort made his arms ache and left him breathing heavily.

The doctor took one look at the dusty, blood-stained pair on his doorstep and helped Tom bring Avi into his office. He lay Avi down on his examining couch and went over to the sink to wash his hands.

"How did it happen? Hunting? Climbing? he asked while he checked Avi's pulse and eyes, then gently unwound the blood-soaked bandage.

"He fell down some rocks. We were out at Horseshoe Rock collecting specimens. We're paleontologists from the university in Seabrook," Tom said.

"A dangerous profession," the doctor said.

Avi groaned gently, his eyes closed.

Tom watched, both fascinated and repelled. Once again the vulnerability of the human body was brought home to him. One minute Avi had seemed almost god-like, clambering over rocks like a mountain goat, and the next he was a frail bundle of blood, flesh, and potentially brittle bones.

"It's a deep gash. He's lost quite a lot of blood," Doctor Thompson said, examining the wound. "He'll have to have stitches. And he'll need plenty of rest. He may even have concussion, though at least he doesn't seem to have broken any bones. You'll have to get him to hospital."

"Can't you stitch it, doctor?" Tom asked. "How far is it to the nearest hospital?"

"No. I can't. The nearest hospital is in Seabrook, which is where you're headed anyway, isn't it?"

"I don't want to go any farther tonight," Tom said. "We've driven a long way today. And worked in the hot sun for hours. Got drenched in that rainstorm this morning, too. I'm tired. I need to rest. And my friend certainly can't drive."

"I don't like it, but I suppose I could apply a temporary dressing. That should get him through the night. Do you have somewhere to stay?"

Tom nodded, and Doctor Thompson cleaned and dressed Avi's wound. When he had finished, Avi opened his eyes, looked from the doctor to Tom, and gave a weak grin. The color was gradually returning to his face.

"Come back to me in the morning. And if there's any change in his condition, call me in the night. Though of course I'd prefer it if you didn't. The main thing is to keep him as still as possible. Here's my card. That will be thirty-five dollars. I'll give you a receipt so you can get a refund from your medical insurance."

After Tom had paid the doctor Avi stood up unsteadily and mumbled some words of thanks. Once they were in the jeep he reached into his pocket, took out his wallet, and thrust thirty-five dollars into Tom's hand.

"I can't have you subsidizing my foolishness," he said as Tom tried to push the notes away. "Anyhow, give me the receipt and I'll get the refund."

Tom relented, shivering in the chilly night air. The two men drove back to the motel, stopping only to get some pizza on the way.

Excerpt from All Quiet on the Midwestern Plains by Dorothea Shefer-Vanson. Copyright © Dorothea Shefer-Vanson 2018. All Rights Reserved. Reprinted with permission from the author.





Meet the author

Born and brought up in post-war London, the daughter of refugees from Hitler's Germany, Dorothea Shefer-Vanson now lives in Israel and has worked most of her life as a translator, editor, and writer. She has a B.A. from the London School of Economics and an M.A. from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Now retired from translating, she devotes her time to writing and has published five novels to date. 

She writes a weekly blog containing reviews of books, concerts, and exhibitions, as well as traveling, general topics, politics and anything that interests her at the time.

She is married to an Israeli physicist, and together they have three children, eight grandchildren, and one grand-dog. She also enjoys painting in watercolors, and her pictures adorn the covers of her books. She is an avid fan of classical music, attends as many concerts as possible and every room in her house – including the smallest – has a radio tuned to the classical music program. She enjoys traveling and her books reflect her experience of living in England, Israel, France, and the USA.


Connect with the author via her website or blog, as well as Goodreads and Amazon

Sunday, May 19, 2019

2019 Book 148: REBEL by Beverly Jenkins

Rebel Women Who Dare #1 by Beverly Jenkins
ISBN: 9780062861689 (paperback)
ISBN: 9780062861696 (ebook)
ISBN: 9780062861702 (audiobook)
ASIN: B0796SHBJ6 (Kindle edition)
Publisher: Avon Romance
Publication Date: May 28, 2019


The first novel in USA Today Bestselling Author Beverly Jenkins' compelling new series follows a Northern woman south in the chaotic aftermath of the Civil War...
Valinda Lacey's mission in the steamy heart of New Orleans is to help the newly emancipated community survive and flourish. But soon she discovers that here, freedom can also mean danger. When thugs destroy the school she has set up and then target her, Valinda runs for her life—and straight into the arms of Captain Drake LeVeq.
As an architect from an old New Orleans family, Drake has a deeply personal interest in rebuilding the city. Raised by strong women, he recognizes Valinda's determination. And he can't stop admiring—or wanting—her. But when Valinda's father demands she return home to marry a man she doesn't love, her daring rebellion draws Drake into an irresistible intrigue.





Purchase Links:  IndieBound  |  Amazon  |  Kindle  |  Barnes & Noble  |  B&N Nook  |  Books-A-Million  |  eBooks.com  |  Kobo  |  Kobo Audiobook  |  Downpour Audiobook  |  BookDepository



Valinda Lacey was born into freedom in the North. Although she has always known freedom as a woman of color, she hasn't been allowed the opportunity to pursue her dreams of furthering her education. Valinda's father feels that an advanced education is wasted on women and educated women won't be able to have children. Valinda doesn't agree with her father, but since she can't study without his permission she does the best she can. When the opportunity arises to get "engaged" to a childhood friend then travel South, Valinda does just that. Her fiance and his business partner travel to France seeking funding for their business and Valinda heads to New Orleans. The war between the states may be over, but there are still former slave owners that don't feel the need to pay wages to their workers despite signed contracts. There are still bad feelings toward Northerners and Blacks, especially freed Blacks, and it doesn't help that Valinda is a Northerner helping freed Blacks learn to read. Valinda has difficulties with one of her landladies, difficulties getting paid the small stipend she was guaranteed for her work, difficulties getting the supplies necessary to teach her students (children and adults), and then her school is targeted and destroyed. Fortunately for Ms. Lacey, she had come across one of New Orleans' infamous LeVeq sons during an unfortunate run-in with some soldiers. Now Drake LeVeq and the entire LeVeq family is willing to help Valinda when things take a turn from bad to worse. Over the course of just a few weeks, Valinda has to make some serious decisions. Will Valinda marry her fiance even though she doesn't love him and he doesn't love her? If she foregoes a loveless marriage will she be forced to return North by her fierce and overbearing father? Can she turn her back on her growing attraction to New Orleans and Drake LeVeq?

I read Rebel the first in the Women Who Dare series by Beverly Jenkins in just one afternoon. Although I was dealing with a migraine that was rapidly progressing from a moderate to a severe level, along with some allergy and asthma issues, I could not put this book down. I love reading Queen Beverly's books, and I do mean all of her books. Seriously, I reread a portion of her books at least once every other year. Rebel is a historical romance set in late 1860s in New Orleans during the Reconstruction period after the Civil War. Blacks that have been freed from the bounds of slavery are searching for loved ones that were sold away. They're trying to find gainful employment and, for the first time for many, learn to read and write. Although Valinda isn't a trained educator, she can and does help freed Black adults and children learn to read and write. She also helps writes letters, reads letters, writes newspapers advertisements, and does whatever she can to help reunite families. Yes, Valinda is idealistic but she is also realistic having grown up in the North where slavery is outlawed but Blacks were still treated as less than. For the first time ever, Valinda feels needed and when she meets Drake she is more than a little bit infatuated. The great thing about reading romance novels is that you know that there will be a happy-ever-after (HEA) ending no matter what trials and tribulations the couple may go through, but it's those trials and tribulations that make the story interesting. One of the many things I enjoy about reading Ms. Jenkins' historical romance is that she weaves a lot of historical tidbits into her stories, the bitter along with the sweet. I enjoyed the characters, the settings, and the action. Yes, there are bad guys but the good guys prevail (yay!). So this is for my romancelandia readers, if you've previously read any books in the LeVeq series by Beverly Jenkins, then I strongly encourage you to grab a copy of Rebel to read. If you haven't read any of the books in the LeVeq series, go and read those then grab a copy of Rebel to read. For those of you that don't read romance, I encourage you to start (you don't know what you're missing), and Rebel is a good book to start you off. Seriously, Rebel is another fine addition to the long list of great reads by the one and only, "Slayer of Words," Beverly Jenkins. I look forward to reading more in the Women Who Dare series by this author.

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

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Guest Post: Charles Salzberg - SWANN'S DOWN

Swann's Down by Charles Salzberg Banner

Good day, book people. I hope everyone is having a wonderful week. If you're like me, you've probably read quite a few books that are part of a series. And also like me, you've probably wondered how the author determines when or if a series should end. Today, I'm pleased to welcome Charles Salzberg, author of the Henry Swann detective/noir/mystery series including the latest release Swann's Down, and he'll be discussing the author's choice behind continuing or ending a series. Thank you, Mr. Salzberg, for taking the time to stop by today and sharing with us. I hope you all will enjoy Mr. Salzberg's information, read more about Swann's Down, and add this series and book to your TBR list.



Author's Choice
Charles Salzberg

All good things (and some bad, though they seem to take much longer) must come to an end. 

For those of us who write series, it's sometimes difficult to admit when the end is near. 

Some writers, when they start a book already have a series in mind. You do this for several reasons. One, because you like the character and enjoy writing about him or her. Two, because your editor flatters you by insisting you keep going.  Three, because there's unfinished business when it comes to the character. And four, and this is probably the most important reason of all, you've actually amassed a hardcore fan base that demands you keep going. 

In terms of the latter, it's not really the fans who determine the longevity of your series, but rather sales.  I have a number of friends who, after the third book in their series (publishing "wisdom" is that a series needs at least three books before it catches on if it's going to catch on) were dropped by the publisher. It rarely has anything to do with quality. It's almost always an economic decision. If you're lucky, and it is a matter of luck because editors and agents tell us that once you've started a series with one publisher it's very unlikely that another one will pick up the series. This, too, is an economic decision. Unless you come armed with the rights to the previous books in the series, the new publisher will have no control and no long-term economic interest in the series.

It's too bad because by the third book most authors have finally begun to figure out their main character. They know how he or she thinks. They know how he or she will react in certain situations. And if you're a good writer you can see that your writing and story-telling is getting better with each installment. Your characters stop existing in a fictional world but start to exist in the "real" world. I know, I know, people are committed for this tenuous hold on reality, but writers may be the exception.

In my case, the Swann series came about by accident. Not only did I have no intention of writing a sequel, but I had no intention of writing another crime novel. You can tell by the title of that first one. It wasn't Swann's First Song but rather, Swann's Last Song. Would I have used that title if I had any inkling that it would be anything other than one and out? Not a chance. 

So, what happened? I won't go into the checkered history of the manuscript, that it sat in my desk for almost twenty-five years before I decided to send it out again. The reason was the ending. Or rather the non-ending. Detectives are supposed to solve the crime, putting a chaotic world back together. But in the original Swann, the detective follows all the clues but it doesn't lead him to the solution. Instead, he finds that the world doesn't make that kind of sense. In fact, the world is in a state of chaos, and although we do find out who committed the murder that sets the book in motion, it has nothing to do with all the clues Swann follows diligently, across the continent and then across the world. 

But when I agreed to change the ending, a publisher agreed to publish the book. Meanwhile, I was onto something else. But when the book came out and was nominated for a Shamus Award for Best First PI Novel, my world changed. I didn't win, but I did get pissed off enough to care myself to keep writing them until I won something or ran out of catchy titles.

Swann's Down is the latest in the series and most probably the last. I've learned to never say never, but I am pretty certain about this. First, I think I've taken the character about as far as he can go. And I want to quit before the books become formulaic, which would pretty much take the fun out of writing them. And they have been fun.

Swann has been good to me. He's allowed me to write about all sorts of things I was interested in. The world of rare books. The art world. The crazy world of Hollywood. Broken Hearts. Collectible photography. The world of rare artifacts. And now, in Swann's Down, the spirit world. He's allowed me to write about ethics and morality—especially in Swann's Down when he's hired to find a missing witness who might give an alibi to a notorious hitman. 

But now it's time to move on to other things, other characters. I love the world of crime simply because it allows me to write about anything I want, especially human nature. I'm halfway through a novel with another PI, one who's very, very different from Swann. And I had so much fun writing the complicated, evil character of master burglar Francis Hoyt, that I'm seriously thinking of writing a spin-off centering around him. And there's more.

With so much on my plate, I'm not sad about leaving Henry Swann. He'll be fine without me. And I want to thank him for opening the door into a literary world I never would have found without him.

And so, Henry, it's not goodbye, because he'll always live in those five books and also in my mind, but rather, "it's been a fun ride, pal, and see you around."




Author Bio:



Charles Salzberg
Charles Salzberg is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in New York magazine, Esquire, GQ, Redbook, The New York Times Book Review and other periodicals. He has written over 20 non-fiction books, including From Set Shot to Slam Dunk, an oral history of the NBA, and Soupy Sez: My Zany Life and Times. He is author of the Shamus Award nominated Swann's Last Song, Swann Dives In, Swann's Lake of Despair, nominated for two Silver Falchions, Swann's Way Out, Devil in the Hole, named one of the best crime novels of the year by Suspense Magazine. He was a Visiting Professor of Magazine at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University and he teaches writing the New York Writers Workshop where he is a Founding Member. He is a member of the MWA-NY Board.

Catch Up With Charles Salzberg On:


Charlessalzberg.com, Goodreads, Twitter, & Facebook!




Swann's Down by Charles Salzberg Banner

Swann's Down

by Charles Salzberg

on Tour May 1 - June 30, 2019


Synopsis:


Swann's Down by Charles Salzberg


When Henry Swann is asked by his quirky partner, Goldblatt, to find a missing psychic who's swindled his ex-wife out of a small fortune, he just can't say no. Although he doesn't actually expect to get paid, he figures it might give him a chance to finally learn more about his partner's mysterious past. His search takes him into the controversial, arcane world of psychics, fortune tellers, and charlatans while raising questions in his own mind about whether or not there is an after-life.

While working his partner's case, he's approached by a former employer, attorney Paul Rudder, to track down a missing witness who might be able to provide an alibi for his client, Nicky Diamond, a notorious mob hitman who's scheduled to go on trial for murder he claims he didn't commit in a week. Swann's search for the missing witness, who happens to be the defendant's girlfriend, takes him from Brooklyn to a small beach town across the Bay from Mobile, Ala. But what does she really know and will she even come back with him to testify for her boyfriend?


Book Details:


Genre: Detective/Noir/Mystery
Published by: Down & Out Books
Publication Date: May 14, 2019
Number of Pages: 300
ISBN: 978-1-64396011-1
Series:Henry Swann
Purchase Links: Amazon | BN.com | Goodreads




Praise for Swann's Down:



"Psychics, double-crosses, missing persons--Charles Salzberg's latest Henry Swann book has it all. Swann's Down is a gritty, no-frills PI novel that brings to mind greats like Reed Farrel Coleman's Moe Prager and Michael Harvey's Michael Kelly. Whether this is your first Swann adventure or the latest, you won't want to miss the brass-knuckle punch that is Swann's Down. Trust me."
~ Alex Segura, author of Blackout and Dangerous Ends

"From Manhattan to Coney Island to the steamy shores of Alabama, Charles Salzberg delivers a top-flight mystery with his latest Henry Swann outing. Highly recommended."
~  Tom Straw, New York Times bestselling author as Richard Castle

Swann's Down gives readers two intriguing mysteries for the price of one, as skip tracer Henry Swann pursues a woman who might alibi a murderer and a psychic who swindled the ex-wife of Swann's partner. Shamus Award-nominated Salzberg does a superb job cutting between the two investigations. I kept turning pages to stay with both chases as the suspense increased to the very end. Whatever is going on, Swann is at the center of this story. His wry wit, quotes from authors and philosophers, genius for questioning suspects, and dark past make him a character readers will follow anywhere as he seeks his quarry. This is another thrilling addition to this excellent series.
~ Rich Zahradnik, Lights Out Summer, winner of the 2018 Shamus Award for Best Paperback Private Eye Novel

Henry Swann dives in where others fear to tread in Swann's Down: Fast. Funny. And Smart. This time out, Swann crosses paths with a psycho hitman, a phony psychic and Swann's mysterious partner, a disbarred lawyer. Who could ask for more? I hope we'll see a lot more of Swann in the future and that this isn't Swann's swan song.
~ Paul D. Marks, Shamus Award-winning Author of White Heat and Broken Windows.



Tour Participants:


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This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Charles Salzberg. There will be 6 giveaway winners. There will be 1 Grand Prize winner of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card. There will be five (5) 2nd Prize winners of one (1) Print Edition of Swann's Down (U.S. Mailing Addresses only). The giveaway begins on May 1, 2019, and runs through July 2, 2019. Void where prohibited.

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Wednesday, May 15, 2019

2019 Book 145: THE PRINTED LETTER BOOKSHOP by Katherine Reay

The Printed Letter Bookshop by Katherine Reay
ISBN: 9780785222002 (trade paperback)
ISBN: 9780785222019 (ebook)
ISBN: 9780785222033 (audiobook)
ASIN: B07DT45N19 (Kindle edition)
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Publication Date: May 14, 2019


Love, friendship, and family find a home at the Printed Letter Bookshop
One of Madeline Cullen's happiest childhood memories is of working with her Aunt Maddie in the quaint and cozy Printed Letter Bookshop. But by the time Madeline inherits the shop nearly twenty years later, family troubles and her own bitter losses have hardened Madeline's heart toward her once-treasured aunt—and the now struggling bookshop left in her care.
While Madeline intends to sell the shop as quickly as possible, the Printed Letter's two employees have other ideas. Reeling from a recent divorce, Janet finds sanctuary within the books and within the decadent window displays she creates. Claire, though quieter than the acerbic Janet, feels equally drawn to the daily rhythms of the shop and its loyal clientele, finding a renewed purpose within its walls. When Madeline's professional life takes an unexpected turn, and when a handsome gardener upends all her preconceived notions, she questions her plans and her heart. She begins to envision a new path for herself and for her aunt's beloved shop—provided the women's best combined efforts are not too little, too late.
The Printed Letter Bookshop is a captivating story of good books, a testament to the beauty of new beginnings, and a sweet reminder of the power of friendship.





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Madeline Cullen is an only child. She's currently working as a lawyer for a firm in Chicago and vying for partnership. She has fond memories of her namesake aunt, her father's sister, but also recalls a family schism that occurred during her early teens. She always thought that her aunt and her husband blamed her father for the loss of monies during the tech market crash 20 years ago. Loyalty to her parents meant that after her father severed ties to his sister, Madeline also severed ties with her beloved aunt. Over the past few years, it didn't matter that she was less than 50 miles away from her aunt, she always found some excuse to postpone a visit. Her aunt had even called her a few months before her death and Madeleine once again put her off. Sadly, her aunt's death means no chance of repairing this familial relationship. On top of losing her aunt, Madeline is informed that she hasn't been chosen for partnership at her law firm. Unsure of what to do with her life, Madeline grabs hold of the lifeline left to her by her aunt and takes over the ownership of The Printed Letter Bookshop miles away in Winsome. Little does Madeline know that ownership of a bookstore will come with a huge learning curve, built-in friends (if she's only willing to accept their offers of friendship), and the possibility of a new start in life. Just when things are heading in the right direction, store sales are up, Madeline is getting along well with Janet and Claire - the two store employees, and she's begun to date, she's hit with a massive blow and this is one loss neither she nor the store may recover from.

I've always enjoyed reading books written by Katherine Reay and The Printed Letter Bookshop was no different. Okay, it was a little different. First, I read this book in one afternoon while sitting with my elderly mother. I read it cover to cover in less than five hours. I could not put it down. Second, I enjoyed all of the characters, the settings, the storyline, the action...basically, I enjoyed everything about this story! I enjoyed the complexity of each character, Madeline, Janet, Claire, Claire's daughter Brittany, Chris, and Drew, and the struggles they face. I even enjoyed discovering more about Madeline's deceased aunt Maddy (we learn a lot about her throughout the story from the viewpoint of various characters). I was initially intrigued about this story because it featured a bookstore, pardon me, a bookshop. But The Printed Letter Bookshop is much more than story about a bookshop, it's about second chances, relationships, family, forgiveness, friendships, and being true to one's self. It's also about faith in one's self, family, friendships, relationships, and learning to live in the present rather than wallow in the past. The Printed Letter Bookshop was a story that filled me with emotions as a read it, because I could empathize with all of the characters as well as the struggles and choices they faced. The Printed Letter Bookshop isn't Women's fiction, although it does have some aspects of Women's fiction. It isn't just Inspirational fiction although it includes an inspirational message. This story isn't just a romance, but it does include romance. I don't want to classify The Printed Letter Bookshop because I feel any classification other than contemporary fiction would be too limiting. I can say this, if you're looking for a well-written story with realistic and well-developed characters dealing with realistic issues then you'll definitely want to grab a copy of The Printed Letter Bookshop. If you've read anything by Ms. Reay in the past, then you probably already have The Printed Letter Bookshop on your TBR list. The Printed Letter Bookshop is going on my must read list for this year. I'll be recommending it to all of my local fiction book groups with hopes that at least one of them will choose it so I can reread it. (Yeah, you already know I'm going to reread it whether a bookgroup chooses to read it or not. And yes, it is just that good! 😉)


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

Monday, May 13, 2019

2019 Book 143: THE NIGHT WINDOW by Dean Koontz

The Night Window Jane Hawk #5 by Dean Koontz
ISBN: 9780525484707 (hardcover)
ISBN: 9780525484714 (ebook)
ISBN: 9781543627336 (audiobook)
ASIN: B07GMS9JXT (Kindle edition)
Publisher: Bantam Books
Publication Date: May 14, 2019


#1 New York Times bestselling author Dean Koontz brings Jane Hawk's one-woman war to an explosive climax as the rogue FBI agent wages her final battle against a terrifying conspiracy--for vengeance, for justice, and for humanity's freedom. 
Groundbreaking, wholly involving, eerily prescient and terrifyingly topical, Dean Koontz's Jane Hawk series sets a new standard for contemporary thrillers. Since her sensational debut in The Silent Corner, readers have been riveted by Jane Hawk's resolute quest to take down the influential architects of an accelerating operation to control every level of society via an army of mind-altered citizens. At first, only Jane stood against the "Arcadian" conspirators, but slowly others have emerged to stand with her, even as there are troubling signs that the "adjusted" people are beginning to spin viciously out of control. Now, in the thrilling, climactic showdown that will decide America's future, Jane will require all her resources--and more--as she confronts those at the malevolent, impregnable center of power.




What do you do when the lives and safety of your loved ones are being threatened by a shadow cabal that seeks to use technology to rid itself of any perceived threats as well as make key individuals in government, law enforcement, banking, media, etc. agents for your cabal? Well, if you're name is Jane Hawk, you fight and fight dirty. In The Silent Window Jane's husband Nick had been forced to commit suicide by this shadow cabal known as the Techno Arcadians and her five-year-old son's life had been threatened. She took a leave-of-absence from the FBI, sold everything she could sell, hid her son away and went hunting the leadership of this cabal. In the second book, The Whispering Room, Jane along with Minnesota Sheriff Luther Tillman, discover an entire town in Kentucky filled with "adjusted" adults, learn the phrases to control these people, and rescue all of the children from the town. Book three, The Crooked Staircase, has Jane going up against a key government agent, and Techno Arcadian, his brother, and some of her deepest fears in an effort to stay a few steps ahead of the game of cat-and-mouse. By book four, The Forbidden Door, the Techno Arcadians have figured out where Jane has hidden her son and are fast on his trail. His surrogate aunt and uncle, friends to Jane and her husband, do their best to keep Travis away from harm and die protecting him. Fortunately, Jane and her new found friends, an 82-year-old retired wig maker - Bernie Riggowitz, and Sheriff Tillman help her rescue Travis and his new caregiver, Cornell Jasperson before it's too late. 

Because of Jane's law enforcement background, keen intelligence, and desire to protect her son, she's always been able to stay one or two steps ahead of the Arcadians in their search to keep her from discovering more of their secrets. She now has the assistance of her former FBI colleague, Vikram Rangnekar, an IT specialist, to help plan her final steps. Vikram has somewhat boldly left the FBI, accessed one of Jane's compatriots to get vehicles, and is working feverishly to backdoor into numerous databases (including the a few belonging to the government) to ascertain who is involved with the Techno Arcadians, who's on the adjusted list, where their money is coming from, and how it's being channeled. All Jane has to do is stay alive...or that's what she thought. She has to stay alive and keep Vikram alive whilst battling her former partners in crime and the Techno Arcadians and the bad guys are closing fast. Unbeknownst to Jane, a burglar targets Bernie's daughter's house, finds Travis, and attempts to "sell" him to his Vegas fence. In just a few short weeks, Jane has had so many fires to put out and has been portrayed as public enemy number one in the media. Her disguises are no longer effective, her vehicle is being tracked a little too fast to her liking, and she's running out of options. Will she be able to discover the truth about the Techno Arcadians and reveal it to the world before it's too late? Will Travis be sold away without her knowledge? Can the Techno Arcadians be put down without a massive fight? Can good and righteousness triumph over evil?

I slowly savored The Night Window by Dean Koontz simply because I knew it was the last book in the Jane Hawk series and I didn't want the story to end. I normally read a book in a day, but I kept putting this one down because I didn't want it to end. The themes of a shadowy government-within-a-government cabal, use of technology to make us blind sheep willing to follow any command, unlimited use of governmental law enforcement powers to coerce, harm, and kill anyone that gets in their way were all incredibly scary to read about or even think of as a possibility. Having said that, Mr. Koontz presented all of these fantastical ideas in such a way that it seemed not only plausible but probable rather than a bit too science-fiction fantasy or out-of-this-world. I loved meeting Jane Hawk, her son Travis, Jane's in-laws - Ancel and Clare Hawk, her friends Gavin and Jessica Washington, Gavin's cousin - Cornell Jasperson, retired wig-maker Bernie Riggowitz, IT specialist extraordinaire Vikram Rangnekar, and more. There are bad guys and even worse guys that appear throughout each book. Some live to see another day and some do not. The heart of the Jane Hawk series isn't simply a shadow cabal and a conspiracy, but one person uncovering this cabal and conspiracy and going out of her way to do the right thing and get justice for her deceased husband and the thousands of others killed and targeted by this group with the help of a few friends. If you enjoy well-written, gripping, suspenseful thrillers with plenty of twists, then I strongly encourage you to read the Jane Hawk series. If you've read the previous books in this series, you'll definitely want to read The Night Window just to see how it all ends (no, I'm not telling). I enjoyed the action, the characters (okay, just the good guys), and the settings. I, for one, am sad to say goodbye to Jane, Travis, Bernie, Luther, Cornell, and the gang. Thank you, Mr. Koontz, for another gripping story and introducing us all to Jane Hawk.

Disclaimer: I received a free digital 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."