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, September 24, 2018

2018 Book 269: THE DREAM DAUGHTER by Diane Chamberlain

The Dream Daughter by Diane Chamberlain
ISBN: 9781250087300 (hardcover)
ISBN: 9781250087324 (ebook)
ISBN: 9781427287465 (audiobook)
ASIN: B079DW36TK (Kindle edition)
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Release Date: October 2, 2018 


From bestselling author Diane Chamberlain comes an irresistible new novel.

When Caroline Sears receives the news that her unborn baby girl has a heart defect, she is devastated. It is 1970 and there seems to be little that can be done. But her brother-in-law, a physicist, tells her that perhaps there is. Hunter appeared in their lives just a few years before—and his appearance was as mysterious as his past. With no family, no friends, and a background shrouded in secrets, Hunter embraced the Sears family and never looked back. 
Now, Hunter is telling her that something can be done about her baby's heart. Something that will shatter every preconceived notion that Caroline has. Something that will require a kind of strength and courage that Caroline never knew existed. Something that will mean a mind-bending leap of faith on Caroline's part.
And all for the love of her unborn child.
A rich, genre-spanning, breathtaking novel about one mother's quest to save her child, unite her family, and believe in the unbelievable. Diane Chamberlain pushes the boundaries of faith and science to deliver a novel that you will never forget.     


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Caroline "Carly" Sears has already suffered one massive blow in 1970 when she's informed that her husband was killed in Vietnam. Now, she's told that the baby she's carrying has a life-threatening heart condition and will not live more than a few days after being born. Fetal ultrasound is still in its infancy in 1970 and fetal surgery isn't something that's even being considered. There's nothing that medicine at that time can do to heal her unborn child. Fortunately, her brother-in-law has a possible solution to the problem. It's an off-the-wall bizarre, out-of-this-world, Twilight Zone-esque solution, but a solution nonetheless. The only question now is just how much Carly is willing to trust Hunter and how far she's willing to go to help her unborn child.  

I found The Dream Daughter to be a fast-paced and enthralling read. I always enjoy reading stories by Diane Chamberlain and this one was quite unexpected in that it threw in a nice little twist, okay several unexpected twists. No, I won't tell you what those twists were, it is sufficient to say that this is not your typical Diane Chamberlain story but it really works, unexpected twists and all. For much of the story, Carly is like a fish out of water and trying to adapt to the best of her abilities and she has a steep learning curve (trust me, it'll all make sense when you read the book). Without giving away too many details, there are three separate timelines in this story and they all intersect with Carly as the common factor (again, it'll make sense when you read the book). I wish I could give you more details but if I did, I'd be giving away too much of the story and I really don't want to do that. I can say that I thoroughly enjoyed the characters, settings, and action in this story. I can also say that if you're a fan of stories involving time-travel or if you've read anything by Ms. Chamberlain in the past, you'll want to read The Dream Daughter. This story captured the essence of motherhood and just how far mothers are willing to go and what they're willing to do to protect their children. The Dream Daughter by Diane Chamberlain is going on my list of recommended reads from 2018 (this has been an amazing reading year!).

Disclaimer:  I received a free print copy from the publisher as well as a 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


Read an excerpt from the book here.


Friday, September 21, 2018

Book Showcase: THE ANCIENT NINE by Ian K. Smith



The Ancient Nine by Ian K. Smith
ISBN: 9781250182395 (hardcover)
ISBN: 9781250182401 (ebook)
ISBN: 9781250299215 (audiobook)
ASIN: B079DV448K (Kindle edition)
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Release Date: September 18, 2018


"Pulls you into the depths of a secret world from the first page. Ian Smith's novel is unmissable." —Harlan Coben, author of Missing You


Cambridge, Massachusetts, Fall 1988
Spenser Collins
An unlikely Harvard prospect, smart and athletic, strapped for cash, determined to succeed. Calls his mother—who raised him on her own in Chicago—every week.
Dalton Winthrop
A white-shoe legacy at Harvard, he's just the most recent in a string of moneyed, privileged Winthrop men in Cambridge. He's got the ease—and the deep knowledge—that come from belonging.
These two find enough common ground to become friends, cementing their bond when Spenser is "punched" to join the Delphic Club, one of the most exclusive of Harvard's famous all-male final clubs. Founded in the nineteenth century, the Delphic has had titans of industry, Hollywood legends, heads of state, and power brokers among its members.
Dalton Winthrop knows firsthand that the Delphic doesn't offer memberships to just anyone. His great-uncle is one of their oldest living members, and Dalton grew up on stories of the club's rituals. But why is his uncle so cryptic about the Ancient Nine, a shadowy group of alums whose identities are unknown and whose power is absolute? They protect the Delphic's darkest and oldest secrets—including what happened to a student who sneaked into the club's stately brick mansion in 1927 and was never seen again.
Dalton steers Spenser into deeper and deeper recesses of the club, and beyond, to try to make sense of what they think they may be seeing. But with each scrap of information they get from an octogenarian Crimson graduate, a crumbling newspaper in the library's archives, or one of Harvard's most famous and heavily guarded historical books, a fresh complication trips them up. The more the friends investigate, the more questions they unearth, tangling the story of the club, the disappearance, and the Ancient Nine, until they realize their own lives are in danger. 


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Read an excerpt: (Mild Profanity Alert!)

PROLOGUE
Halloween Night, 1927
The Delphic Mansion
Cambridge, Massachusetts

EMPTY ROPES CLATTERED against flagpoles, and street signs flappedhelplessly in the shadowy night. Two boys sneaked down a cobblestone path crowded with heavy bushes and enormous signs that warned against trespassing.
They stood there for a moment, their bodies dwarfed by the gigantic brick mansion
"That's enough, let's turn around," Kelton Dunhill whispered. He had large competent hands and knots of compact muscles that bulged underneath his varsity letter sweater. He carried a long silver flashlight he had borrowed from the superintendent's office of his residential house.
"I'm going all the way," Erasmus Abbott said firmly. "I didn't come this far to chicken out. Just a few more minutes and we'll be inside."
Dunhill looked up at the tall wrought-iron fence that had been reinforced with solid wood planks to obstruct any potential view into the rear courtyard. He was a tough, scrappy kid, a varsity wrestler who had been undefeated in almost three years of college competition. He was many things, but a quitter was not one of them. Very little intimidated Dunhill, the son of a banker and elementary school music teacher, but when he looked up at the mansion's towering spires and turrets set against the ominous sky and the royal blue flag that snapped so loudly in the wind, something made him feel uneasy. At that very moment, if Erasmus Abbott had not been standing next to him, he would've turned on his heels and run like hell. The only thing that kept his feet planted was his greater fear of the humiliation he would face once the others got word that the scrawny Abbott had showed bigger nerve.
"If we get caught, we'll be fried," Dunhill said in his most persuasive voice, trying to sound rational rather than scared.   
        "Technically speaking, we're trespassing, and they can do anything they want to us since we're on their property. I don't need to remind you of what happened to A. C. Gordon."
Erasmus Abbott took the milk crates they had been carrying and stacked them in a small pyramid against the fence, then slipped on his gloves and pulled his hat down until it settled just above his eyes. He was dressed all in black. Now completely disguised, he turned and faced Dunhill.
"There's no proof Gordon ever made it this far," Abbott contested. "And besides, I never believed the whole business about his disappearance anyway." Abbott turned toward the platform of milk crates, then back at Dunhill, and said, "So what's it going to be? I'm making history tonight with or without you. The answer is in there, and I'm not gonna stop till I find it."
"Jesus Christ," Dunhill mumbled under his breath before pulling down his own skullcap and stepping up to the fence. It all started out as a dare, but Abbott had taken it more seriously than anyone expected. This would certainly not be the first time a student had tried to break into the well-guarded Delphic mansion. There had been many attempts over the years, but according to legend, the farthest anyone had gotten was the external foyer. No one had ever penetrated the interior. What most worried Dunhill, however, was that few had lived to share their story.
"And what's your plan once we get on the other side of the fence?" Dunhill said.
Abbott ran his hand over the small canvas bag strapped to his waist. "Everything we need is in here," he said. "Once we get to the back door, I'll have the lock open in well under a minute."
Abbott had been practicing on different doors all over Quincy House in the middle of the night. His best-recorded time was twenty-nine seconds with a blindfold covering his eyes and a stopwatch hanging around his neck.
Abbott was not particularly athletic, but he scaled the crates easily and in one motion hoisted himself over the top of the fence and its row of pointed spears. Dunhill heard him land hard on the other side, then made a small sign of the cross over his heart, climbed onto the crates, and hurled himself over the fence. He landed on the firm slate tiles with a jolt.
They stood on the perimeter of a large courtyard dotted with elaborate marble sculptures and a fountain whose water sat motionless in a wide, striated basin. There were no lights to guide them, but moonlight cut through the heavy canopy of trees that towered overhead. A formidable, sturdy brick wall that was even taller than the fence they had just climbed surrounded them on two sides. Abbott had correctly chosen their entry point into the yard.
A gust of wind sent small piles of leaves flying sideways from one corner of the courtyard to the next. The mansion was eerily dark except for the dull flicker of a light in a small window just underneath the sloping angle of the tiled roof. The enormous building looked cold and menacing and unforgiving.
"She's massive," Abbott whispered. "I didn't think she'd be this big. Must've cost them a king's fortune to build it."
"It's not empty," Dunhill said, pointing at the lighted window. "I still say this isn't a good idea. We've already proved our point. Let's get the hell out of here while we still can."
Abbott pretended he hadn't heard a word Dunhill said. He walked quietly across the courtyard toward a set of stairs that led to a large door with small panes and a brass doorknob that glistened under the moonlight's glow. He cupped his face to the glass and looked inside. He turned and waved Dunhill over, but Dunhill remained motionless underneath the fence, still not believing they had actually gotten this far.
Abbott unzipped the canvas bag, pulled out a couple of tools, and quickly went to work on the lock. That's when Dunhill glimpsed a shadow moving across the courtyard. He looked up toward the lighted window and saw something that he would never forget. It was the ugliest, scariest, blackest face he had ever laid eyes on. His heart tightened in his chest, and his lungs constricted. He tried to scream but couldn't get the air to move in his throat. He turned to Erasmus to warn him, but it was too late. The door was open, and he was already inside.

1
Harvard College
Cambridge, Massachusetts
October 2, 1988


IT SHOULDN'T HAVE been enough to wake me, but I had just drifted off on the couch in the common room that separated my bedroom from my roommate's. It was a short scratchy sound: a pebble or sand being dragged across the linoleum floor. I looked toward Percy's bedroom. His door was closed and his light off. I sat up on the sofa, swiveling my head in the darkness to see what could've made the noise. Mice were not exactly uncommon sightings in these old Harvard houses, some of which had been built more than a century ago, so I was preparing myself for vermin out on a late-night scavenge. But when I turned on the lamp and looked down at the floor, what sat there took me completely by surprise.
Someone had slipped a small cream-colored envelope underneath the front door. There was no postage or return address, just my name and room number elaborately inscribed.

Spenser Collins
Lowell House L-11

I turned the envelope over, hoping to find some indication of who might have sent it, but what I discovered was even more puzzling.
Embossed on the flap were three torches—so dark blue, they were almost black—arranged in a perfect V shape.
I heard footsteps just outside the door, slow at first, but then they began to pick up speed. I pulled the door open, but the hallway was empty. Our room was on the first floor, so I grabbed my keys and ran a short distance down the hall, jumped a small flight of steps, then rammed my shoulder into the entryway door, forcing it open into the cool night. I immediately heard voices echoing across the courtyard, a cluster of three girls stumbling in high heels, dragging themselves in from a long night of drinking.
I scanned the shadows, but nothing else moved. I looked to my right and thought about running across the path that led to the west courtyard and out into the tiny streets of Cambridge. But my bare feet were practically frozen to the concrete, and the wind assaulted me like shards of ice cutting through my T-shirt. I retreated to the warmth of my room.
Percy's bedroom door was still closed, which was not surprising. He wouldn't wake up if an armored tank tore through the wall and opened fire.
I sat on the edge of the couch and examined the envelope again. Why would someone deliver it by hand in the middle of the night, then sneak away? None of it made any sense. I opened the book flap slowly, feeling almost guilty ripping what appeared to be expensive paper. The stationery was brittle, like rice paper, and the same three torches were prominently displayed in the letterhead.

The President and members of the Delphic Club 
cordially invite you to a cocktail party on 
Friday, October 14, 7 o'clock 
Lily Field Mansion at 108 Brattle St. Cambridge. 
Please call 876-0400 with regrets only.

I immediately picked up the phone and dialed Dalton Winthrop's number. Fifth-generation Harvard and heir to the vast Winthrop and Lewington fortunes, he was one of the most finely pedigreed of all Harvard legacies, descending from a family that had been claiming Harvard since the 1600s, when the damn school got its charter from the Bay Colony. Dalton was a hopeless insomniac, so I knew he'd still be awake.
"What the hell are you doing up this time of the night?" Dalton said. "Some of us around here need our beauty sleep." He sounded fully awake.
"What can you tell me about something called the Delphic Club?" I asked.
The phone rustled as he sat up.
"Did you just say 'the Delphic'?" he said.
"Yeah, do you know anything about it?"
There was a slight pause before he said, "Why the hell are you asking about the Delphic at this ungodly hour?"
"They invited me to a cocktail party next Friday night. Someone just slipped the invitation under my door, then ran."
"Are you fucking kidding me? The Delphic invited you to a cocktail party?"
"Unless there's another Spenser Collins I don't know about."
"No offense, Spenser, but don't get your hopes up," he said. "This is probably some kind of prank someone's pulling on you. The Delphic isn't just a club, like any fraternity. It's the most secretive of Harvard's nine most exclusive clubs. They're called final clubs. The Delphic goes all the way back to the 1800s and has some of the world's most prominent men as members. An invitation to their cocktail party is like an invitation to kiss the papal ring."
"So, what you're really trying to say is that they would never give an invitation to a poor black kid from the South Side of Chicago."
"Spenser, you know I don't agree with that kinda shit, but that's how these secret societies operate. They haven't changed much over the last century and a half. Rich white men passing off the baton to the next generation, keeping their secrets shielded from the rest of the world. Yale has Skull and Bones, but here at Harvard we have the final clubs. It's no exaggeration when I tell you that some of the country's biggest secrets are buried in their old mansions."
"If I don't fit their image, then why did someone just slip this invite under my door?" I said.
"Because it's not real," Dalton said.
"What do you mean?"
"Guys joke like this all the time. This is the beginning of what's called punch season, which means the clubs are secretly nominating sophomores to enter a series of election rounds. Whoever survives the cuts over the two months gets elected into the club. You've heard of the hazing they do in fraternities. Well, this is a little like that, but it's a lot more formal with much bigger stakes."
"What makes you so sure my invitation is fake when you haven't even seen it?"
"Are you alone?"
"Percy's here, but he's out cold."
"Pull out the invite and tell me if you see torches anywhere."
I was sitting in the chair underneath the window, still eyeing the courtyard, hoping I might see who might've dropped off the envelope. The ambient light cracked the darkness of our common room. I held up the envelope.
"There are three torches on the back of the envelope," I said.
"What about the stationery?"
"There too."
"How many?"
"Three."
"What color?"
"Dark blue."
"Is the center torch lower or higher than the others?"
"Lower."
Dalton sighed loudly. "Now take the stationery, turn it over, and hold it up to a light," he said. "Tell me if you see anything when you look at the torches."
I followed Dalton's instructions, carefully removing the shade from one of Percy's expensive porcelain lamps that his grandmother had proudly given him from her winter house in Palm Beach. I held the invitation next to the naked bulb. "There's a thin circle with the initials JPM inside," I said. "But you can only see it under the light. When you move it away, the letters disappear."
"Jesus fuckin' Christ, Spense, it's the real deal!" Dalton yelled as if he were coming through the phone. "The Delphic really has punched you this season. I can't believe this is happening. Tell me the date of the party again."
It was rare to hear this level of excitement in Dalton's voice. Few things got him going, and they typically had to do with either women, food, or his father, whom he hated more than the Yankees.
"Next Friday at seven o'clock," I said. "It's at a place called Lily Field Mansion."
"Lily Field, of course," Dalton said. "It's the biggest one up there on mansion row, and it's owned by the Jacobs family, one of the richest in the country. Stanford Jacobs used to be the graduate president of the Delphic, so it makes sense that he's hosting the opening cocktail party."
Secret society, mansions, ultra-wealthy families, an invitation delivered under the cloak of darkness. It was all part of a foreign world that made little sense to me, the son of a single mother who answered phones at a small energy company.
"So, what the hell does all this mean?" I asked.
"That you're coming over here tomorrow for dinner, so we can figure out some sort of strategy," Dalton said. "This is all a long shot, but if things go well for you on Friday night, you might make it to the next round. I'm getting way ahead of myself—but one round at a time, and you might be the way we crack the Ancient Nine."
"The Ancient Nine?" I asked. "Is that another name for the clubs?"
"No, two different things," Dalton said. "The Ancient Nine are an ultrasecret society of nine members of the Delphic. A secret society within a secret society that not even the other Delphic members know much about. Most around here have never even heard of the Ancient Nine, but for those who have, some swear it exists, others think it's nothing more than another Harvard legend."
"What do you think?"
Dalton paused deliberately. "I'd bet everything I own that they exist. But no one can get them to break their code of silence. According to rumors, they are hiding not only one of Harvard's most valued treasures but also century-old secrets that involve some of the world's richest families."


Excerpt from The Ancient Nine. Copyright © 2018 by Ian K. Smith. Reprinted with permission from St. Martin's Press.



Meet the Author


Ian K. Smith is the author of nine New York Times bestselling nonfiction books, several of them, including Shred and Super Shred, #1 bestsellers, as well as one previous work of fiction, The Blackbird Papers. He is a graduate of Harvard, Columbia, and the University of Chicago's Pritzker School of Medicine.

Connect with the author via Facebook, Twitter, his Website,  or Instagram.



Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Book Blast: THE FOUND CHILD by Jo Crow

The Found Child

by Jo Crow

September 18, 2018 Book Blast



Synopsis:


The Found Child by Jo Crow

One mother's life can change in the blink of an eye—and there's no going back.
Elaine's worst fears become a reality when her beloved son Jakob is diagnosed with cancer. She needs to find a bone marrow donor, and time is running out. While awaiting test results from herself and her husband Nathan, she approaches his business partner, Roger—her ex-lover—to see if he could be a possible match. Instead, an even greater shock awaits: Jakob is not her biological son. For years, she has been raising someone else's child.
The news threatens to send Elaine back to the pills that almost destroyed her life once before, pushing her already fragile mental state to the breaking point. As the family faces one crisis, a ghost from her past emerges to jeopardize everything she's built. But is the threat real, or is it all in her mind? Elaine needs to stay strong for her son, but as her whole reality continues to unravel, she can't trust anyone—not even herself.



Book Details:


Genre: Thriller
Published by: Relay Publishing
Publication Date: September 4th 2018
Number of Pages: 372
ISBN-10: 1726446328
ISBN-13: 978-1726446327
Purchase Links: Amazon Goodreads





Read an excerpt:



Prologue


Telling parents that the search for their missing infant had gone cold was a job that no one wanted. And honestly, Detective Aaronson had tried to pass it off to someone else—to his partner, Miller, and then to a uniform. Ultimately, though, the chief had put his boot down and pushed it back on Aaronson. He was the point man. He and Miller had worked the case together for a month before the leads dried up, but it had been Aaronson who had sat with the parents, talked to them on the phone, and kept them updated.
He'd been the one to give them hope, so it followed that he should be the one to take it away… right?
They had agreed to meet him at the station. That seemed to be the best choice. No one wanted to get this kind of news in their own home—it would put a stain on the place that would never wash out. No, it was more professional to have the talk here in one of the small conference rooms. No decorations, no distractions, nothing to make the moment seem too casual. Only gray brick, white linoleum and a wooden table and chairs that were plain and utilitarian. Unemotional.
Now he sat across from them, steeling himself and trying to work up some moisture in his mouth. There was water, but they hadn't poured a glass so he wasn't about to. Both of them had dark circles under their bloodshot eyes, and a waxy pallor to their skin. They hadn't slept in a month, he figured. He'd have put money on it. Hell, he could barely sleep when his teenager stayed out late with her friends on a weekend. And their child had been gone for more than a month. As a parent, he understood part of their pain. Just part of it. That's what made this so damn difficult.
"We're not closing the case," he said, his tone as flat as he could manage. "But as of now, the leads—"
"You're not looking anymore?" the mother asked. Fury filled her eyes, and loss. One of those was for him.
"It's only been a month," the father said. "You can't stop now. Please, our son is out there somewhere—we know it."
"I can feel him," she said. "You have to believe me, I can feel him here." She clutched at her chest, at the threadbare, peach-colored sweater she wore.
You have to keep it short, the chief had said. Keep it direct and then refer them to the counselor. That's your job.
Aaronson wondered if the chief had ever done this before. He imagined he'd had, but to make it seem so simple… Of course, there were regulations. He couldn't be the counselor and the detective, and there were good reasons for that. "We will keep the case open," he told them. "If any new leads come in, we'll follow up on them."
He meant it, too. But the truth that he knew, and that these two knew even if they didn't want to believe it, was that after seventy-two hours, most of these cases were never solved. Every day after that windows closed, the likelihood of finding a child like theirs dropped exponentially until it plummeted to a fraction of a percent which itself really only represented the handful of miracle cases that had been resolved sometimes decades after a disappearance.
"Please don't do this," the father begged. He took his wife's hand, and they leaned into one another. "One more month. There was that woman—"
"At the moment, Andrea Williams has been cleared as a suspect," Aaronson said. That poor woman's life had been all but destroyed already. "We've been over her life with a fine-toothed comb. If new evidence emerges, we'll look into it again, but I'm telling you that she's not who we want."
"So, what do we do now?" the mother asked. "What do we do now that you've abandoned our boy? Abandoned us?"
Aaronson was so close to breaking. He stood from the table. "I swear to you both," he said, the words bitter on his tongue, "that we will pursue any and every lead that comes across my desk. We're not abandoning anyone. Alright?" And while it may have been technically true, it sure felt like a lie.
Nothing but contempt came from them, and he didn't blame them at all. And he hated himself for what he had to say next. "There's a counselor here. Doctor Amari. She's a grief counselor, and it's free to see her. I can send her in, but I have to leave you now. I'm sorry. Really, I am."
They turned their faces from him.
As he left, he closed the door gently even though he wanted to slam it hard enough to shatter the glass. He wasn't even sure who to be angry with. Himself, mostly, he guessed, or the whole damn department. And Andrea-fucking-Williams, who had wasted their time from the beginning by lying to protect herself instead of telling them the truth about her record so that they could have moved on.
He took only two steps before the mother wailed loudly behind him. The entire department went quiet. That sound was one they all knew. It was the sound of a woman who had lost the last shred of hope she'd had. The shred that he'd taken away from her.
That was the sound of a mother whose child had died. And, at this point, Aaronson had nothing to suggest it wasn't true.
He'd failed them.
***

Excerpt from The Found Child by Jo Crow.  Copyright © 2018 by Jo Crow. Reproduced with permission from Jo Crow. All rights reserved.






Author Bio:


Jo Crow

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

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

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

Catch Up With Jo Crow On:


Goodreads & Facebook!




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This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Jo Crow. There will be 5 winners of for this tour. There will be 1 winner of one (1) Amazon GC; there will be 3 winners of one (1) A Mother's Lie by Jo Crow eBook; and there will be 1 winner of one (1) A Mother's Lieby Jo Crow audiobook.  The giveaway begins on September 18, 2018, and runs through September 25, 2018.  Void where prohibited.

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Monday, September 10, 2018

2018 Book 341: WHEN THE LIGHTS GO OUT by Mary Kubica

When The Lights Go Out by Mary Kubica
ISBN: 9780778330783 (hardcover)
ISBN: 9780778316893 (trade paperback)
ISBN: 9781848456709 (paperback)
ISBN: 9781488023576 (ebook)
ISBN: 9781488205071 (audiobook)
ASIN: B076PNB3MB (Kindle edition)
Publisher: Park Row
Release Date: September 4, 2018 


A woman is forced to question her own identity in this riveting and emotionally charged thriller by the blockbuster bestselling author of The Good Girl, Mary Kubica 
Jessie Sloane is on the path to rebuilding her life after years of caring for her ailing mother. She rents a new apartment and applies for college. But when the college informs her that her social security number has raised a red flag, Jessie discovers a shocking detail that causes her to doubt everything she's ever known.
Finding herself suddenly at the center of a bizarre mystery, Jessie tumbles down a rabbit hole, which is only exacerbated by grief and a relentless lack of sleep. As days pass and the insomnia worsens, it plays with Jessie's mind. Her judgment is blurred, her thoughts are hampered by fatigue. Jessie begins to see things until she can no longer tell the difference between what's real and what she's only imagined.
Meanwhile, twenty years earlier and two hundred and fifty miles away, another woman's split-second decision may hold the key to Jessie's secret past. Has Jessie's whole life been a lie or have her delusions gotten the best of her?    


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For as long as she can remember, it's always been just Jessie and her mother. Now that her mother has died of metastatic breast cancer, Jessie is all alone. She has no close friends and no family. She's not quite sure what to do with her life but she's thinking of college and that's when her life begins to unravel. First, she's having difficulty sleeping. Okay, she's not having difficulty sleeping, she can't sleep at all, and she knows that the longer she goes without sleep the worse things will become for her healthwise. Second, her FAFSA or financial aid form has been "rejected" because her social security card is tied to the identity of a deceased person. Now Jessie must prove that she is who she is, only she can't find her birth certificate or her social security card. The longer Jessie goes without sleep, the more disconnected from reality she becomes and she begins to think that she may have been kidnapped as a child or worse. As the lines between reality and Jessie's overactive imagination begin to blur even more, can she discover the truth before it's too late?

When The Lights Go Out is the fifth book released by Mary Kubica and I've had the pleasure of reading all of her books. This is one of those books that isn't quite what it seems from beginning to end (no, I'm not going to spoil the ending!). The story is told in the alternating voices of Jessie in the present day and her mother Eden from the past to just a few years ago. The reader gets to bear witness to the pain and despair of infertility and infertility treatments firsthand via Eden's memories, as well as the pain and despair Jessie feels over the death of her mother and her loss of sense of self and identity. As Eden's story unfolds, the reader begins to imagine the unthinkable that perhaps Jessie was correct and she was kidnapped as a child. It is hard to read either story without feeling a sense of empathy and overwhelming compassion for both Eden and Jessie. Eden becomes just as lost as Jessie as her quest to become pregnant unravels with an unexpected miscarriage followed by a divorce when her then-husband no longer wants to continue with the costly IVF treatments. However, Jessie's sense of loss seems more harrowing because she's lost her mother, her identity, and seems to be losing her mind as well. Ms. Kubica has a way of writing that draws the reader into the story, or at least this reader, and I kept turning the pages to find out what would happen next (and no, I'm not going to reveal what happens next, read the book). I will say that When The Lights Go Out is dramatically different from previous books by Ms. Kubica, but I thoroughly enjoyed the story, characters, action, and settings. This story does provide psychological suspense, lots of drama, and tons of twists and turns to keep the reader on edge. If that sounds appealing to you, then I urge you to grab a copy of When The Lights Go Out to read. If you're not quite sure about the psychological suspense, then I urge you to grab a copy of When The Lights Go Out simply for the drama and twists and turns. I hope you won't be disappointed.  

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




Meet the Author



Mary Kubica is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of The Good Girl and Pretty Baby.  She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, in History and American Literature. She lives outside of Chicago with her husband and two children and enjoys photography, gardening and caring for the animals at a local shelter.




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Thursday, September 6, 2018

2018 Book 330: TEAR ME APART by JT Ellison

Tear Me Apart by J.T. Ellison
ISBN: 9780778330004 (trade paperback)
ISBN: 9781460396711 (ebook)
ISBN: 9781538517307 (audiobook)
ASIN: B077YQH18P (Kindle edition)
Publisher: MIRA
Release Date: August 28, 2018 


The follow-up to her critically acclaimed Lie to Me, J.T. Ellison's Tear Me Apart is the powerful story of a mother willing to do anything to protect her daughter even as their carefully constructed world unravels around them.
One moment will change their lives forever…
Competitive skier Mindy Wright is a superstar in the making until a spectacular downhill crash threatens not just her racing career but her life. During surgery, doctors discover she's suffering from a severe form of leukemia, and a stem cell transplant is her only hope. But when her parents are tested, a frightening truth emerges. Mindy is not their daughter.
Who knows the answers?
The race to save Mindy's life means unraveling years of lies. Was she accidentally switched at birth or is there something more sinister at play? The search for the truth will tear a family apart…and someone is going to deadly extremes to protect the family's deepest secrets.
With vivid movement through time, Tear Me Apart examines the impact layer after layer of lies and betrayal has on two families, the secrets they guard, and the desperate fight to hide the darkness within.   


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Lauren Wright has devoted her life to providing her daughter Mindy with everything she needs, physically, emotionally, and otherwise. Now that her daughter has suffered a traumatic leg injury that has revealed a catastrophic disease process, she wants to do anything possible to prolong her daughter's life...or does she? One little lie cascades into another and another and before anyone knows it, Lauren becomes someone no one really knows anymore. Mindy knows her mother is hiding secrets from her past and now that she knows she's adopted, she's wondering just what those secrets truly are. Juliet Ryder, Lauren's sister, knows that Lauren's story doesn't quite add up, but she's truly willing to do anything, even skirting the law, to find the truth and Mindy's birth parents if it means prolonging her life. Jasper, Lauren's husband doesn't really know what to believe. He's astonished to learn that Lauren isn't Mindy's birth mother and begins to wonder what other secrets she might be keeping from him. The more Mindy, Juliet, and Jasper uncover, the more they realize they may have never really known Lauren at all. Just how far is Lauren willing to go to protect her secrets and ostensibly Mindy's life?

Tear Me Apart is one of those reads that you think you've figured out, but the twists just keep coming. This story is filled with psychological chills and thrills, along with tons of family drama, angst, and a few murders (yes, that's a few murders...read the book to find out who dies!). Of course, there's a lot more going on in the story than just one person trying to protect their secrets, a mother protecting her child, a child trying to recuperate from a potentially life-threatening disease, or a family recovering from a series of mind-blowing revelations. Ms. Ellison has also thrown mental illness, severe depression, and suicide into the mix for a story that left this reader on tenterhooks from beginning to end. In many ways, this year has been a banner year for me as a reader as I've had the fortune to read a number of wonderful books and Tear Me Apart is definitely being added to this list. I enjoyed the characters, the action, the settings, the drama, and the suspense. So, for all of you suspense-thriller readers, go out and grab a copy of Tear Me Apart to read. For fans of family drama, yes you guessed, I'm recommending you grab a copy of Tear Me Apart to read as well. Seriously, this is one story that I think every reader can enjoy reading. 

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


Meet the Author


New York Times and USA Today bestselling author J.T. Ellison writes standalone domestic noir and psychological thriller series, the latter starring Nashville Homicide Lt. Taylor Jackson and medical examiner Dr. Samantha Owens, and pens the international thriller series "A Brit in the FBI" with #1 New York Time bestselling author Catherine Coulter. Cohost of the Emmy Award-winning show, A Word on Words, Ellison lives in Nashville with her husband.


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