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, February 18, 2019

Guest Post: Eleanor Kuhns - THE SHAKER MURDERS


Good day, book people. Today, I'm honored to introduce you all to Eleanor Kuhns, author of the Will Rees Mysteries including the latest addition to this historical fiction series, The Shaker Murders. Ms. Kuhns will be sharing with us insight into the much slower pace of communication in the Eighteenth Century versus the instantaneous connections we seek and crave today. Thank you, Ms. Kuhns, for stopping by and sharing this information with us today. I hope you will all add The Shaker Murders to your TBR list.




Communication – Eighteenth Century

In this hyper-connected world where information is just a few clicks away and communication with another person, even one in another state is as close as a text, it is hard for us to imagine how isolated people were in the eighteenth century. 

In fact, I've had questions about this very topic, not just about The Shaker Murders but about all the books in the series.

Why I've been asked, isn't Will Rees hurrying to communicate with the constable? There's a killer on the loose. (Well, it was night time.)

How can he take out that poor horse again? That horse is worked so hard. (He could walk or use the horse or a mule. There are no other choices.)

Why is Rees driving into town again? (How else is he going to speak to the constable and others?)

Email as a common form of communication is less than thirty years old and texting is even more recent. So, let's go old school. Telephone. Alexander Graham Bell put in a patent for the telephone in 1876. Welcome to the world of the switchboard and party line. By 1904 there were three million phones in the United States. Cell phones were proposed in 1947 but the technology did not exist then and didn't until the 1960s. It took several more decades before the cell phone (or the mobile phone) became ubiquitous.

What about the telegraph? Although the telegraph was posited in 1774, the technology didn't exist at that time. It was not until the early 1800s when several scientists built varying forms of the telegraph. It came into use in the United States in 1861, (using the Morse code) and putting the end to the Pony Express.

Both the telephone and the telegraph were dependent on another nineteenth-century invention: electricity.

The Pony Express was a service that delivered messages, newspapers, and mail and was not an arm of the Post Office. It was instead a private business set up by three men:  William Russell, Alexander Majors, and William Waddell. By utilizing a short route and using mounted riders rather than stagecoaches (which were used by the post office) they proposed to establish a fast mail service between St. Joseph, Missouri, and Sacramento, California, with letters delivered in ten days.  In these days of instantaneous communication, ten days seems slow. But at that time it was considered too fast to be possible. They did succeed, however.

From April 3, 1860, to October 1861, it became the West's most direct means of east-west communication before the telegraph was established (October 24, 1861), and was vital for tying California to the Eastern United States.

All of these methods happened decades after Will Rees did his detecting. So, there were only two avenues of communication available to him: the Post Office or face to face.

Yes, there was mail. During the Colonial period, most of the mail went back and forth between the colonies and Great Britain. It took months. In 1775 Ben Franklin was the postmaster who began setting up a postal service to take the place of the Crown Post. He set a standardized rate and set up routes from Maine to Florida. At this point, there were no post offices and mail was delivered to inns and taverns. (By 1789 there were 75 post offices in the United States.) The U.S. Constitution, ratified in 1788, gave Congress the power to set up a Postal Service. In 1789 George Washington appointed Samuel Osgood to the Postmaster's General position, which he held until 1791.

So, Rees would have had to meet with every person he wishes to question. And he is limited by time of day (no electricity so he does not often drive at night) and weather. In The Shaker Murders, I avoid this problem by setting the murder where Rees and his family are living so they are on-site. But as soon as he wishes to speak to the constable of investigating elsewhere, he must take himself physically to them.

He would be astonished by the variety of rapid communication methods we enjoy.





About Eleanor Kuhns


Photo by Rana Faure
Eleanor Kuhns is the 2011 winner of the Minotaur Books/Mystery Writers of America First Crime Novel. A lifelong librarian, she received her Masters from Columbia University and is currently the Assistant Director of the Goshen Public Library in Orange County New York. 


Connect with the author:
Website URL: www.eleanor-kuhns.com
Blog URL: www.eleanor-kuhns.com/blog
Facebook URL: www.facebook.com/Eleanor-Kuhns
Twitter: @EleanorKuhns
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/eleanor-kuhns-36759623






The Shaker Murders A Will Rees Mystery by Eleanor Kuhns
ISBN: 9780727888372 (hardcover)
ISBN: 9781448301720 (ebook)
ISBN: 9781974930661 (audiobook)
ASIN: B07KX3C1WZ (Kindle edition)
Publisher: Severn House Publishers
Publication Date: February 1, 2019

A peaceful Shaker community is rocked by a series of bizarre accidents, but is there more to them than first appears? 
Fresh from facing allegations of witchcraft and murder, traveling weaver Will Rees, his heavily pregnant wife Lydia and six adopted children take refuge in Zion, a Shaker community in rural Maine. Shortly after their arrival, screams in the night reveal a drowned body ... but is it murder or an unfortunate accident? The Shaker Elders argue it was just an accident, but Rees believes otherwise.
As Will investigates further, more deaths follow and a young girl vanishes from the community. Haunted by nightmares for his family's safety, Rees must rush to uncover the truth before the dreams can become reality and more lives are lost. Yet can the Shaker Elders be trusted, or is an outsider involved?


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This guest post brought to you by BreakThrough Promotions


Sunday, February 17, 2019

Book Spotlight: SUGAR RUN by Mesha Maren

Sugar Run by Mesha Maren
ISBN: 9781616206215 (hardcover)
ISBN: 9781616208882 (ebook)
ISBN: 9781684416417 (audiobook)
ASIN: B079VTHG8J (Kindle edition)
Publisher: Algonquin Books
Release Date: January 8, 2019



On the far side the view was nothing but ridgelines, the craggy silhouettes rising up against the night sky like the body of some dormant god. Jodi felt her breath go tight in her chest. This road went only one way, it seemed, in under the mountains until you were circled.
In 1989, Jodi McCarty is seventeen years old when she's sentenced to life in prison for manslaughter. She's released eighteen years later and finds herself at a Greyhound bus stop, reeling from the shock of unexpected freedom. Not yet able to return to her lost home in the Appalachian mountains, she goes searching for someone she left behind, but on the way, she meets and falls in love with Miranda, a troubled young mother. Together, they try to make a fresh start, but is that even possible in a town that refuses to change? 
Set within the charged insularity of rural West Virginia, Sugar Run is a searing and gritty debut about making a run for another life.


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Read an excerpt from Sugar Run here.



Praise for Sugar Run

"The literary lineages here are hard-boiled fiction and film noir, but on every page of her debut novel, Mesha Maren creates bold new takes on those venerable genres, a much-needed refresh of worn tropes and clich├ęs. Maren is masterly at describing America's modern wastelands, the blasted towns not yet and maybe never-to-be the beneficiaries of rehabilitation and reoccupation. You can almost see Maren—like Raymond Chandler—cutting each typed page into three strips and requiring each strip to contain something delightful (startling simile, clever dialogue, brilliant description) offered to the reader as a recompense for a world that presses up against you all raw and aggressive and dangerous. A language that fully owns its power to capture just that 'heart-wild magic.' " —Charles Frazier, The New York Times Book Review

"A darkly steamy first novel . . . ravishingly rugged . . . a literary page-turner, hair-raising in both plot and prose. Maren writes with windswept grace and stark sensuality." —O, The Oprah Magazine

"Sugar Run is a shining debut, with a heady admixture of explosive plot and taut, burnished prose. This is a book that loves its wounded characters and troubled places, and in so deeply loving, it finds a terrible truth and beauty where other writers wouldn't have found the courage to look. I'm glad to be among the first to sing the praise of this young writer when I say that Mesha Maren writes like a force of nature." —Lauren Groff, author of Fates and Furies

"We love Mesha Maren's Sugar Run, a gritty noir novel like you've never read before." —Entertainment Weekly  "Sugar Run throttles . . . The clip is fast and exciting." —Wall Street Journal
 
"In Masha Maren's impressive debut, Jodi McCarty is released from prison after an 18-year sentence and is determined not to repeat past mistakes. While wandering around the South, she meets a young woman named Miranda, who has just left an abusive relationship. Together, they go looking for someone from Jodi's past and head to West Virginia—followed by the demons that haunt them both. This slow-burning novel asks if we can ever really escape the past and start over." —RealSimple.com

"The interlocked and heartbreaking stories of Jodi and Miranda and Lee and Paula and Paula's simple, badly used brother unfold in language that is just plain grittily gorgeous. These are stories of violence and passion and squashed hope . . . and you will feel every word. A highly recommended debut." —Library Journal (starred review)

"There's an awful lot of talk about the underrepresentation of rural (or suburban, or urban) working-class life in the higher echelons of American literary culture. And while to some extent that might be true, the stories are there, as are the writers, we just need to pay attention. To wit, Mesha Maren's debut novel, about a young woman's return to rural West Virginia after 18 years in prison, deserves your attention." —Lit Hub

"In Maren's darkly engrossing debut novel, two women yearning for freedom fall in love, but the secrets of the past and betrayals in the present threaten to crush them. [She] skillfully handles a dual plot, alternating chapters set in the near-present and 20 years before. The novel's noir tone and taut suspense are enriched by Maren's often lovely prose, especially in descriptions of the natural world, and sharp observations . . . This impressive first novel combines beautifully crafted language and a steamy Southern noir plot to fine effect." —Kirkus Reviews

"Dread and a lush natural world infuse Maren's noir-tinged debut as she carefully relays soul-crushing realities and myths of poverty and privilege, luck and rehabilitation, and the human needs that can precede criminality through love-starved loner Jodi and her band of fellow hungry souls."Booklist
"Sugar Run, the strong and insightful first novel from Mesha Maren, puts stories to lives that are ordinarily overlooked, exploring damaged souls and damaged land, the need for that redemptive sense of connection to places and people. Maren writes prose that moves us ever deeper into her world without strain, but with sureness and vivid details. Drugs and flaring tempers, old wounds, and people who feel without hope but still dream of hope." —Daniel Woodrell, author of Winter's Bone

"With Sugar Run, Mesha Maren announces herself as a wholly original voice in contemporary fiction. Full of diamond-sharp sentences and perfect pacing, the novel runs wild like a mountain flash flood. In Jodi and Miranda and Paula, Maren gives us something we've needed for a long time now. Something new." —Scott McClanahan, author of Crapalachia
"A heady admixture of explosive plot and taut, burnished prose . . . Mesha Maren writes like a force of nature." —Lauren Groff, author of Florida



Meet the author


Mesha Maren's short stories and essays have appeared in Tin House, the Oxford American, Southern Culture, Hobart, Forty Stories: New Writing from Harper Perennial, and elsewhere. She is the recipient of the 2015 Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize, a 2014 Elizabeth George Foundation grant, an Appalachian Writing Fellowship from Lincoln Memorial University, and fellowships from the MacDowell Colony and the Ucross Foundation. She is the 2018-2019 Kenan Visiting Writer at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and also serves as a National Endowment of the Arts Writing Fellow at the Beckley Federal Correctional Institution.




Thursday, February 14, 2019

Book Spotlight: DEATH BY A WHISKER by T. C. LoTempio


Death by a Whisker: A Cat Rescue Mystery

by T. C. LoTempio - Paperback Edition

About the Book






Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Crooked Lane Books (February 13, 2018)
Paperback: 320 pages
ISBN-10: 1683319494
ISBN-13: 978-1683319498
Digital ASIN: B072395VJN



Getting used to life back home in Deer Park, North Carolina, Sydney McCall and her right-hand tabby, Toby, are helping her sister Kat run the local animal shelter. Syd and Kat are all excited about the prospect of the shelter's newest fundraiser: shopping channel queen Ulla Townsend. Shelter admin Maggie Shayne vehemently refuses to have anything to do with the woman, but the fundraiser ensues as planned. That is, until Ulla turns up dead in the middle of the event.

The cause of death is determined to be an allergic reaction, but Syd and Toby are sniffing out something fishy. When Syd met Ulla, it was clear she was distasteful and rude. And right before the event, Syd spotted some behind-the-scenes drama between Ulla and her manager. As they begin to investigate, they realize there is no shortage of suspects, and Maggie is at the top of the list.

Now Syd and Toby must claw their way to the truth before everything goes paws up at their animal shelter in Death by a Whisker by national bestselling author T. C. LoTempio.



About the Author




While Toni Lotempio does not commit – or solve – murders in real life, she has no trouble doing it on paper. Her lifelong love of mysteries began early on when she was introduced to her first Nancy Drew mystery at age 10 – The Secret in the Old Attic.  She (and ROCCO, albeit he's uncredited) pen the Nick and Nora mystery series from Berkley Prime Crime – the first volume, MEOW IF ITS MURDER, debuted Dec. 2, 2014. Followed by #2, CLAWS FOR ALARM.   #3, CRIME AND CATNIP, was released in December. She, Rocco and Maxx make their home in Clifton, New Jersey, just twenty minutes from the Big Apple – New York. Catch up with them at www.tclotempio.net and www.catsbooksmorecats.blogspot.com


Where to find them:

ROCCO's blog:

www.catsbooksmorecats.blogspot.com

Website:

https://www.tclotempio.net/

facebook: https://www.facebook.com/toni.lotempio.5

Twitter: @RoccoBlogger - https://twitter.com/@RoccoBlogger


Purchase Links:

Amazon    B&N    Google Play


Giveaway

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Death By A Whisker Tour Participants

February 12 – Sneaky the Library Cat's Blog – SPOTLIGHT

February 12 – Carla Loves To Read - REVIEW

February 13 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW

February 13 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT

February 14 – The Book Diva's Reads – SPOTLIGHT 

February 14 – Laura's Interests – REVIEW*

February 15 – MJB Reviewers – REVIEW*

February 15 – Mallory Heart's Cozies – REVIEW

February 16 – Baroness' Book Trove – REVIEW

February 17 – Celticlady's Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

February 17 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT

February 18 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW*

February 18 – A Holland Reads – SPOTLIGHT

February 19 – I'm All About Books – SPOTLIGHT


February 20 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – REVIEW*

February 21 – View from the Birdhouse – SPOTLIGHT



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Friday, February 8, 2019

Guest Post: Susan Hunter - DANGEROUS FLAWS



Good day, book people. I'm pleased to announce that today's special guest is a return guest and none other than the award-winning journalist and author of the Leah Nash mystery series including the recently released Dangerous Flaws, Susan Hunter. Ms. Hunter will be discussing with us the importance of reaching out to authors with your feedback. Thank you, Ms. Hunter, for taking the time to return to the Book Diva's Reads today and sharing your thoughts with us, it is greatly appreciated. 




Readers and Writers

For me, and I think for many authors, one of the most fun things about writing is reader engagement. That can come in the form of a review, a response to a blog post, or a comment on social media. Occasionally a reader will run through the discussion questions I put at the end of a book for use by book clubs and send me the answers to each one from his or her perspective. I love to learn those detailed reactions to a story. Actually, all of the outreach from readers is nice—OK, the occasional negative reviews that come with the territory aren't "nice" exactly, though they are often food for thought. 

But my favorite connection with readers comes from the emails I receive. It's a very kind gesture for a reader to take time out of a busy day to write a note that says something you did, gave them pleasure. 

Sometimes the notes I receive are gently instructive as in this one, "I think Coop and Leah should get together—but do what you feel you need to." Sometimes they're more direct, "I like the series, but you should kill Courtnee, I can't stand her." And occasionally, they read as though my mother had written them, "Loved everything about Dangerous Habits, the writing style, the characters & the ending that I did not expect.  We read all the big names, Kellerman, Patterson, Iles, Gerritsen etc., but you rate up there with the best." Full disclosure, I keep that one in my "save" file and sometimes pull it out when I've read a one-star review that was a little brutal.

I feel especially fortunate to have forged a long-distance kinship with a few readers who share with me not only their reactions to my books, but also their favorites written by authors. Sometimes they recommend a good film version of a favorite book. I love it when they share their "a-ha!" moments, when what I've written strikes a chord of recognition for them—either because they share a character's take on a situation, or because they see in one of the characters a resemblance to a friend or relative or work colleague. One reader in particular has been very helpful with her thoughts on character development and an email conversation with her actually gave me the idea for a clue to use in my most recent book Dangerous Flaws.

Perhaps I enjoy the email give and take so much because as a charter member of Introverts International, I'm not by nature a joiner of clubs or striker-up of conversations with strangers. I enjoy social interaction, but outside of public speaking where I don the mantle of a situational extrovert, I prefer one-to-one or small group get-togethers with friends and family. Email exchanges with readers have that nice personal connection I like—plus the added benefit of allowing me to expand my circle of acquaintances without leaving the comforts of my couch.

So, if you read a book that touches you in some way—makes you laugh, or cry, or think "yes, that's exactly how I feel,"—go ahead and let the author know. Writing can be a lonely profession. Hearing from readers reminds both writer and reader that we're all in this together. 



Dangerous Flaws by Susan Hunter Banner

Dangerous Flaws

by Susan Hunter

on Tour February 1 - March 31, 2019



Synopsis:


Dangerous Flaws by Susan Hunter

A chilling murder shocks a small Wisconsin town.
True crime writer Leah Nash is stunned when police investigating the murder of a beautiful young college professor focus on her ex-husband Nick. Leah has no illusions about her ex, but despite his flaws, she just can't see him as a killer. Reluctantly, she agrees to help Nick's attorney prove that he isn't.
But Nick's lies make it hard to find the truth, and when a damning piece of evidence surfaces, Leah plunges into doubt. Is she defending an innocent man or helping a murderer escape? She pushes on to find out, uncovering hidden motives and getting hit by twists she never saw coming. Leah's own flaws impede her search for the truth. When she finds it, will it be too late to prevent a devastating confrontation?


Book Details:


Genre: Mystery
Published by: Himmel River Press
Publication Date: December 11th 2018
Number of Pages: 392
ASIN: B07KK2HM6M
Series: Leah Nash Mysteries, Book 5
Purchase Links: Amazon | Goodreads




Author Bio:


Susan Hunter

Susan Hunter is a charter member of Introverts International (which meets the 12th of Never at an undisclosed location). She has worked as a reporter and managing editor, during which time she received a first-place UPI award for investigative reporting and a Michigan Press Association first place award for enterprise/feature reporting.

Susan has also taught composition at the college level, written advertising copy, newsletters, press releases, speeches, web copy, academic papers, and memos. Lots and lots of memos. She lives in rural Michigan with her husband Gary, who is a man of action, not words.

During certain times of the day, she can be found wandering the mean streets of small-town Himmel, Wisconsin, looking for clues, stopping for a meal at the Elite Cafe, dropping off a story lead at the Himmel Times Weekly, or meeting friends for a drink at McClain's Bar and Grill.

Catch Up With Ms. Hunter On:


leahnashmysteries.com, BookBub, Twitter, & Facebook!



Tour Participants:



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






ENTER GIVEAWAY HERE:



This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Susan Hunter. There will be 1 winner of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card. The giveaway begins on February 1, 2019 and runs through April 1, 2019. Void where prohibited.

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Book Spotlight: DEATH BY COMMITTEE by Alexis Morgan



Death by Committee (An Abby McCree Mystery)
by Alexis Morgan

About the Book


Death by Committee (An Abby McCree Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Kensington (January 29, 2019)
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-10: 1496719530
ISBN-13: 978-1496719539
Digital ASIN: B07CWF6QBL


When Abby McCree suddenly inherits her favorite relative's property in small town Snowberry Creek, Washington, she soon realizes that the ramshackle home comes with strings attached—one of which is tied to a dead body!
After a rough divorce, Abby McCree only wants to stitch up her life and move on. But other loose ends appear after her elderly Aunt Sybil passes away, leaving Abby to tend to a rundown estate, complete with a slobbery Mastiff of questionable pedigree and a sexy tenant who growls more than the dog. As Abby gets drawn into a tight-knit quilting guild, she makes a twisted discovery—Aunt Sybil's only known rival is buried in her backyard!
Despite what local detectives say, Abby refuses to accept that her beloved aunt had anything to do with the murder. While navigating a busy social calendar and rediscovering the art of quilting, she launches an investigation of her own to clear Aunt Sybil's name and catch the true culprit. The incriminating clues roll in, yet Abby can't help but wonder—can she survive her new responsibilities in Snowberry Creek and still manage to patch together a killer's deadly pattern without becoming the next victim?


About the Author



USA Today Best-selling author Alexis Morgan has always loved reading and now spends her days imagining worlds filled with strong alpha heroes and gutsy heroines. She is the author of over forty-five novels, novellas, and short stories that span a variety of genres: American West historicals (as Pat Pritchard); paranormal and fantasy romances; and contemporary romances. She is excited to say that next year will also see the release of her first cozy mystery series. Alexis has been nominated for several industry awards, including the RITA, the top award in the romance genre.

Author Links -

Website - http://www.alexismorgan.com/      Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/AMorganAuthor

Twitter - https://twitter.com/Alexis_Morgan    Blog - http://www.alexismorgan.com/snowberry/index.html

Purchase Links - Amazon - B&NKobo - GooglePlay  -  IndieBound

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TOUR PARTICIPANTS

February 1 – Moonlight Rendezvous – REVIEW, GUEST POST

February 1 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT

February 2 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW

February 2 – The Power of Words – REVIEW *

February 3 – Nadaness In Motion - REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW

February 4 – The Montana Bookaholic – REVIEW

February 4 – My Reading Journeys – SPOTLIGHT 

February 5 – Jody's Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

February 5 – Mysteries with Character – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

February 6 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW


February 7 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW

February 7 – A Blue Million Books – GUEST POST

February 8 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW

February 8 – The Book Diva's Reads - SPOTLIGHT

February 9 – Mallory Heart's Cozies – REVIEW

February 9 – Sneaky the Library Cat's Blog – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

February 10 – Cassidy's Bookshelves – REVIEW

February 11 – A Wytch's Book Review Blog – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

February 12 – That's What She's Reading – GUEST POST

February 13 – Celticlady's Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

February 13 – Socrates Book Reviews – REVIEW

February 14 – Melina's Book Blog - REVIEW



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