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

Tuesday, August 29, 2017


Murder Unrenovated & Rehearsal For Murder by P.M. Carlson Tour Banner

Murder Unrenovated & Rehearsal For Murder

by P.M. Carlson

Book Blast on August 29, 2017

Murder Unrenovated by P.M. Carlson

Murder Unrenovated

Realtor Len Trager is anxious to sell the lovely old brownstone in Brooklyn's Park Slope neighborhood, and Maggie and Nick think it looks like a dream house for a young couple expecting their first child. But problems show up. It needs renovation– okay. There's a stubborn tenant who refuses to move out– not so okay.
And then there's the nasty surprise on the top floor....
"Terrific characters, funny incidents, genuine suspense, and an absolutely right sense of period and place."–– Tom and Enid Schantz, THE PURLOINED LETTER

Book Details:

Genre: Traditional Mystery
Published by: The Mystery Company / Crum Creek Press
Publication Date: June 2013
Number of Pages: 239
ISBN: 193232528X (ISBN13: 9781932325287)
Series: Maggie Ryan and Nick O'Connor #4
Purchase Links: Amazon  | Barnes & Noble  | Smashwords  | Goodreads 

"Murder Unrenovated" by P.M. Carlson Maggie Ryan Series #4

Realtor Len Trager is anxious to sell the brownstone in Brooklyn's Park Slope neighborhood, but prospective buyers don't want to deal with Julia Northrup, who rents the basement apartment. Maggie Ryan and her husband Nick O'Connor love the property. They see through Julia's act, and they're not scared off by the corpse on the top floor.

Read an excerpt:

Brooklyn, 1972. Realtor Len Trager shows an old brownstone to actor Nick O’Connor and statistician Maggie Ryan.

Len felt a prickle of hope. He couldn’t remember anyone else being this pleased by Lund’s weary old brownstone, not after meeting the immovable basement tenant. Could there possibly be a sale here after all?

Not to an actor, he reminded himself.

The upper floors were shoddily divided into separate apartments. But the second-floor bath still held a Victorian marble sink and chipped clawfoot tub, and the room at the front overlooked the street. Maggie smiled at Nick and said, “This could be a little study.”

“One more floor,” said Len. The top floor, once servants’ quarters, had been most recently occupied–– only Lund’s disruption of the plumbing had finally forced the young tenants to accept his relocation money and leave. Nick slapped his hand against a wall. “This isn’t a supporting wall, is it?”

“No,” said Len, giving the room a professional glance. “You’re thinking of remodeling?” That was always a good sign.

“Not many gyms around here. It would be great to have space to work out.” Nick stepped to the doorway. “What do you think, Maggie?”

She was down the hall, looking into the little front room, the one that sported the oriel window. For a moment she remained there, still.

“Do you like the place?” Len prompted.

She turned back to them slowly, and Nick, suddenly concerned, took a step toward her. But it was Len she answered.

“Yes,” she said, “it’s a great place. There’s only one problem. There’s a corpse in it.”

* * *

Excerpt from Murder Unrenovated by P.M. Carlson.  Copyright © 2017 by P.M. Carlson. Reproduced with permission from P.M. Carlson. All rights reserved.

Rehearsal for Murder by P.M. Carlson

Rehearsal for Murder

As REHEARSAL FOR MURDER begins, Maggie is a partner in a statistical consulting business, and her actor husband Nick O’Connor has been cast in a wonderful new role. He’s rehearsing an off-Broadway musical, playing Gladstone to the famous Ramona Ricci’s Queen Victoria. But Nick is worried by Ramona’s diva-like behavior, which enrages the cast members. And the home front is even tougher. He and Maggie adore their five-month-old daughter Sarah, but she exhausts them and leaves them no time for each other.
Then they’re slammed with two more problems. Maggie, doing a favor for another frazzled parent, gets wind of a plot against that child. And someone guns down the bitchy Ramona.
"A tightly woven thriller, warm and beautifully paced with a bittersweet finale. This show must go on!"–– Dorothy Salisbury Davis, MWA Grand Master

Book Details:

Genre: Traditional Mystery
Published by: The Mystery Company / Crum Creek Press
Publication Date: July 2013
Number of Pages: 220
ISBN: 1932325336 (ISBN13: 9781932325331
Series: Maggie Ryan and Nick O'Connor #5
Purchase Links: Amazon  | Barnes & Noble  | Smashwords  | Goodreads 

Rehearsal for Murder by P.M. Carlson Maggie Ryan Mystery Series #5

As REHEARSAL FOR MURDER begins, Maggie is partner in a statistical consulting business, and her actor husband Nick O'Connor has been cast in a wonderful new role. He's rehearsing an off-Broadway musical, playing Gladstone to the famous Ramona Ricci's Queen Victoria. 

Read an excerpt:

A pause; a choked sob from the crumpled Ramona; and then the pounding dirge from chorus and piano.

Ramona straightened slowly, as though lifting a crushing weight, and pulled a black shawl about her. The chorus moved back with measured steps, leaving her solitary in the middle of the stage. The music modulated, and very quietly she began to sing "The Widow of Windsor." For the first time that day she did not have to worry about new dance steps or new movements, and she invested the words with a powerful emotional energy. "Alone," she sang, "in the crowds, still alone; among the princes, alone; forever alone." Nick, standing in the silent chorus, felt his throat tightening. The small isolated figure, the husky beauty of the voice that shimmered on the edge of tears, communicated a human truth that transcended history, geography, wealth, gender. She bound them all into Victoria's grief.

The last chords faded.

Then the stage manager cleared his throat and said, "Blackout," in his flat twang.

The spell was shattered. Derek exclaimed, "Super! But you know that, Ramona. On to act two?"

"Let's stop a minute early today, Derek. It's been a long afternoon." Ramona, drooping, pulled the shawl from her shoulders, then noticed the blond onlooker for the first time and stiffened. "Well! So Larry's evening revels have begun already. Though the brunette that came for him yesterday was prettier. Treat him well, sweetie." She winked at the young woman. "Your competition is formidable."

The few words reawakened the sizzle of rage in all of them.

* * *

Excerpt from Rehearsal For Murder by P.M. Carlson.  Copyright © 2017 by P.M. Carlson. Reproduced with permission from P.M. Carlson. All rights reserved.

P.M. Carlson

Author Bio:

P.M. Carlson taught psychology and statistics at Cornell University before deciding that mystery writing was more fun.  She has published twelve mystery novels and over a dozen short stories. Her novels have been nominated for an Edgar Award, a Macavity Award, and twice for Anthony Awards. Two short stories were finalists for Agatha Awards. She edited the Mystery Writers Annual for Mystery Writers of America for several years and served as president of Sisters in Crime.

Catch Up With Our Author On:

Website , Goodreads , Smashwords, & Twitter !

Tour Participants:


This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for P.M. Carlson. There will be 1 winner of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card. The giveaway begins on August 29 and runs through September 5, 2017.

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Thursday, August 24, 2017

Guest Post: Seth Margolis - PRESIDENTS' DAY

Hello, my bookish peeps. I'm excited to introduce you to today's guest, Seth Margolis, author of the political suspense thriller Presidents' Day. Mr. Margolies will be discussing a host of things with us today, but namely how our current reality seems a bit stranger than fiction. 

Another 2016 Election Loser: Novelists?

I'm reluctant to pile onto the collective anxiety in the air since the inauguration. Believe me. But I feel I must point out that, in addition to Hillary Clinton, political norms and overall decorum, there may have been another victim of the 2016 election: fiction.

I mean, can you make this stuff up? A thrice-married, thrice-bankrupt real estate tycoon/reality-TV star with an itchy Twitter finger got elected president with the help of Vladimir Putin. What editor would agree to publish such nonsense? And even if one did, surely they'd take a blue pencil to a few of the less credible plot twists (Ok, the three marriages can stay, but kill the bankruptcies) and demand a less clichéd name for the candidate's evil Russian sponsor (Vladimir? Really?)

Reality may have (sorry) trumped fiction once and for all, at least as far as thrillers are concerned. I feel this quite keenly because my latest novel, Presidents' Day, is about a billionaire New Yorker who, having swallowed up many of the largest corporations in America, decides to purchase one more trophy: the White House. My protagonist doesn't want to be president. He believes that Washington is the back office of New York, where the real power lies. He just wants to own the president.

I thought I'd pushed the plot of Presidents' Day as far as it could go. There's murder, a trumped-up (ugh, see? There's no avoiding it) drug scandal, and financial shenanigans aplenty. But then along came PizzaGate, a widely-tweeted conspiracy theory about a child pornography ring run by Hillary Clinton that was apparently believed by quite a few people, including one idiot who showed up at Comet Ping Pong with a gun. (Even the pizzeria's name—no novelist would dare go there.) What's a few murders compared to a former first lady running a child-porn ring? Fake news is fiction without editorial intervention, and it doesn't seem to matter how outlandish it is—enough people will buy seemingly any story and potentially swing an election. What's left for us novelists?

As a teenager, I was quite taken with Jerzy Kosiński's 1970 novel Being There. The hero, Chauncey Gardiner, is a simpleton who knows only what he's seen on television and speaks in monosyllabic words that are widely misinterpreted as profound. Miraculously, he becomes an advisor to the president and, ultimately, is chosen to succeed him. A TV-obsessed simpleton with a fifth-grade vocabulary who ends up running the country—outrageous! Lucky for Kosinski he didn't publish the book in 2017.

Richard Condon's The Manchurian Candidate, written in 1959, is about the son of a prominent U.S. political family who is brainwashed into being an unwitting assassin for a Communist conspiracy. The novel was adapted into two major motion pictures. Do you think anyone's interested in a third adaptation these days, when "brainwashing" a president to do the bidding of a foreign power is no more difficult, apparently, than heaping praise on him?

Is there anything on Netflix's House of Cards that approaches the surreality of the past year in politics? Yes, Frank Underwood pushed a young reporter into an oncoming subway train on his way to the Oval Office. But at least he never corralled the entire press corps covering his rallies into a fenced-in holding pen, calling them "disgusting" and "horrible people."

I wrote Presidents' Day before Donald Trump announced his candidacy. I swear I did. But I don't know what worries me more, being accused of pumping out a quickie novel to capitalize on the political upheaval we're undergoing, or having the novel greeted with a sort of "been there, done that" shrug: A billionaire who buys his way into the White House? No biggie.

If a candidate claims he didn't support the invasion of Iraq, despite the existence of a tape recording of him doing just that, and if millions of people see no problem with this contradiction, then what's the future for those of us who make a legitimate living by … well, making things up? When seemingly everything is made up, what's left for us?

Then again, Donald Trump may not be the most serious threat to fiction writers. That would be fake news itself – actual fake news, if that's not an oxymoron, stories deliberately made up to mislead and misinform. To some extent, it's the job of a novelist to make even outlandish stories credible. This is particularly important for writers of thrillers, who must work extra hard to convince readers to willingly suspend disbelief. But it seems our country has, collectively, decided to suspend all disbelief. How else to explain the fact that, after someone tweeted that he enjoyed working for the post office in Ohio because he could rip up absentee ballots for Trump, the story was picked up by Matt Drudge and by Rush Limbaugh? An analysis by the news site Vox found that the top 20 fake news stories, including one about Pope Francis endorsing Donald Trump and another about the murder of an FBI agent investigating Hillary Clinton's emails, "outperformed" real news stories at the end of the election as measured by online shares, reactions, and comments.

Maybe in an era of fake news and a Twitter-happy president, we novelists just have to raise the stakes. A billionaire buys the White House? Meh. How about he targets the Kremlin, Elysee Palace, Number 10 Downing Street, and 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue all at once? Or here's something even more outrageous: a Manhattan billionaire goes after the presidency solely to enhance the value of his brand and manages to enrich himself and his family while the whole world watches, powerless to do anything about it.

Oh, wait, too late for that one. Sad.

Presidents' Day by Seth Margolis 
ISBN: 9781682306970 (paperback)
ASIN: B01N9144FR (Kindle version)
Publisher: Diversion Books
Publication Date: February 7, 2017

For readers of David Baldacci and Brad Meltzer comes a timely political thriller from the bestselling author of Losing Isaiah. 

In this twisting, ferocious novel of suspense, the presidential race has a number of men all clawing to get to the top. Each man has a locked closet of secrets. And one man holds every key. 
Julian Mellow has spent his life amassing a fortune out of low-risk / high-reward investments. But the one time in his life he got in over his head, he left another man holding the bag, and made an enemy for life, one who has nothing to lose. Now, Mellow has an even greater ambition—to select the next President of the United States—and to make that man do his bidding, in business and beyond. 
It all ties to an African nation where his son died years before, where a brutal dictator still rules supreme, and where a resistance movement lurks in the alleys, waiting for the right time to strike. Margolis spans the globe to weave together a brilliant story of politics at its most venal, where murder is a part of the political process, where anyone’s life is up for sale, and where one man—that bad penny of an enemy—could bring the whole kingdom toppling. 
As the new President is inaugurated, Seth Margolis has penned a perfect thriller for the voting public, one that asks who really puts the next person in the White House—and at what cost?

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Meet the author:

Seth Margolis lives with his wife in New York City and has two grown children. He received a BA in English from the University of Rochester and an MBA in marketing from New York University’s Stern School of Business Administration. When not writing fiction, he is a branding consultant for a wide range of companies, primarily in the financial services, technology, and pharmaceutical industries. He has written articles for the New York Times and other publications on travel and entertainment.

Connect with Seth

Website  | Facebook  | Twitter 

This guest post and blog tour brought to you by TLC Book Tours 

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Book Excerpt: LIE TO ME by J.T. Ellison

Lie to Me by J.T. Ellison
ISBN: 9780778313649 (hardcover)
ISBN: 9780778330950 (paperback)
ISBN: 9781489242112 (ebook)
ASIN: B01N1I3DC3 (Kindle version)
Publication Date: September 5, 2017
Publisher: Mira Books

They built a life on lies

Sutton and Ethan Montclair's idyllic life is not as it appears. The couple seems made for each other, but the truth is ugly. Consumed by professional and personal betrayals and financial woes, the two both love and hate each other. As tensions mount, Sutton disappears, leaving behind a note saying not to look for her.

Ethan finds himself the target of vicious gossip as friends, family and the media speculate on what really happened to Sutton Montclair. As the police investigate, the lies the couple have been spinning for years quickly unravel. Is Ethan a killer? Is he being set up? Did Sutton hate him enough to kill the child she never wanted and then herself? The path to the answers is full of twists that will leave the reader breathless.

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Read an excerpt
A text dinged. Ivy.

I haven't seen her, or talked to her since I left on my trip. We chatted Thursday and she seemed fine. Do I need to come home? Do you need help?

Ivy: always the one willing to lend a hand, pitch in, make their lives easier.

He sent back: No, I'm sure she's just gone off to upset us all.

Ivy sent back an emoticon that he took to mean "eye roll". He didn't understand emoticons. Or abbreviations. LOL. BRB. For God's sake, when had it become so difficult to actually use words anymore?

The doorbell sounded, impatient, as if it were being stabbed repeatedly with a thick fingerwhich of course it was. He opened the door for his mother-in-law, who sailed through like the Queen Mary, then turned on him. "So what did you do to upset my daughter now?"

Her dyed black hair was shoved under a dingy Nashville Sounds baseball cap; she was unkempt and smelled like stale liquor. She and the mister must have been hitting the bottle hard the night before. They liked to party, liked to hang out at their country club with other well-soused individuals, eating good food and drinking good wine and lamenting their fates. Such a lovely woman.

"I didn't do anything. I woke up this morning and she was gone. She left me a note."

"Show me."

Biting back the response he wanted to give, he instead led her into the kitchen and handed her the paper. She read it three times, lips moving as she did, and he wondered again how this dull, crass woman had created the glorious Titan he'd married.

Though during Sutton's bad times, the breakdowns, he saw bits of Siobhan in her.

Siobhan set the note down and crossed her arms on her chest. "Where do you think she's gone?" Her voice was curiously dispassionate, missing its usual aggression toward him.

He shook his head. "I was hoping you'd have an idea. I've called her girlfriends. They say they haven't heard from her."

"Did you tell them about the note?

"I mentioned it to Filly and Ivy. I got the sense Filly might know something but wasn't willing to say."

She waved a hand. "Filly has always loved Sutton's drama, and is hoping it will rub off on her. She's a sad little woman living through everyone around her. She doesn't know anything, or she'd already be here, glorying." Siobhan played with the edge of the paper, sat down at the table.

"Sutton's been in bad shape since the baby," Ethan offered, almost unwilling to open the door. But he needed help, damn it.

Siobhan nodded, surprisingly grave. "Can you blame her?"

"Of course not. But I kept hoping… Siobhan, is there something else I should know? Did she tell you she was leaving me? You don't seem terribly surprised by this."

She gave a windy sigh that smelled suspiciously like dirty martinis. "Sit down."

Ethan wasn't used to taking orders in his own house, especially from a woman he wasn't fond of, but he perched on a counter stool and set his hands on his knees. Siobhan watched him for a moment.

"When we spoke last, a few months ago, Sutton told me she was very unhappy. It wasn't like her to confide in me. You know we don't always see eye to eye about her choices."

"If you mean how you suggested she leave me last year after Dashiell… I know. She told me all about it."

"Do you blame me, Ethan?" That strange, dispassionate tone again. Almost as if they were confidants here, not enemies. "You treated her badly. You handled things poorly. She was in bad shape and you were too busy with your little fling to notice."

His little fling. His stomach clenched. No one could know the truth there, it would destroy them all, Sutton especially.

"I made a mistake. I came clean, I apologized. We were getting things back on track. We'd talked about… We talked about moving, maybe, getting away from all the bad memories. Starting over."

"Moving? Where?"

"Back to London."

"I see. And Sutton was happy to do that?"

"We hadn't made any concrete decisions. We were talking. Planning. The future…bloody hell, Siobhan, at least she was talking to me again. You have no idea what the past year has been like, not really, for either one of us. It's been torture. Oh, yes, we've put on a brave front. But once the door closed and the people disappeared, once the funeral was over and the neighborhood stopped tiptoeing around, we were left alone, to try and muddle through. It was hell."

"I can imagine," she said, and she sounded almost like she cared. He knew she didn't, not really. She was in it for the money. Siobhan and Sutton had a weird, twisted relationship, more like catty girlfriends who despised one another than mother and daughter. But despite all his advice, Sutton refused to cut her out completely. Ethan would never understand.

"I don't care what Sutton told you, or didn't. She's been on edge lately, secretive. Something has definitely been going on with her. Do you know what she's been planning?"

Sutton's mother suddenly looked gray and old. "No. But her note doesn't sound like someone who's gone gaily off to do the Lord's work. Why don't you call the police? If you have nothing to hide…"

"Give me a break, Siobhan. I didn't hurt her. It's not like she's a missing person, either. She left a note, after all. Besides, they won't even take a missing person's report for seventy-two hours on an adult."

"How do you know if you haven't talked to them?"

"I do research my work, Siobhan."

"For your books. Yes, of course."

Oh, the disdain in her tone. Ethan tried not to place his very large hands around his mother-in-law's neck. Siobhan never had understood the creative gene that he and Sutton shared. Sutton said Siobhan wanted her only child to find a rich man to marry, one who would allow her to play tennis at the club and host fabulous backyard garden parties. His temperament was optional. What were a few black eyes and broken ribs in the face of never-ending wealth and comfort?

They'd never told Siobhan how much Ethan was worth, how much he made on his novels. It was none of her business.

The uncomfortable silence grew between them. Finally, Siobhan stood.

"I'm sure she's simply run off. She is always very dramatic when she gets upset."

"And if she isn't being dramatic?"

"You're upset. I understand. You asked my advice, and here it is. Sutton's been unhappy, and she probably doesn't want to be found. But if you're not content with that answer, call the police. Let them look for her."

"You don't seem very upset by the news that your daughter is missing. Or that she could have been harmed somehow."

"Because I don't think she's missing. I think my daughter finally left you. Something she should have done long ago."

"Thanks a lot, Siobhan."

"You're welcome. Now, my check? It was due today. If Sutton's not here, perhaps you should see to it."

And there it was. She didn't give a flying damn about Sutton, just wanted to get the money she wrenched out of them. That's why she'd called, and then come over. Not to help. To take her cut.

Sutton generally handled the quarterly allowance she stubbornly insisted on paying her mother. It was a sore spot between them; having Siobhan standing with her greasy paw out all the time nearly sent him over the edge.

"You must be joking."

"I'm leaving town this evening. We have a trip to Canada. I'd like to deposit it before I go. And who knows when Sutton will resurface."

"You are a seriously cold woman, Siobhan."

"You have no idea."

Ethan went to his office, pulled out the checkbook. He filled in the check, dated it, and stormed back to the kitchen.

"Here." If only I could lace it with rat poison and watch you die, you miserable, uncaring witch.

"Thank you. Keep me apprised if she shows up, will you?"

"Why would I? You've made it quite clear you don't care about Sutton, or about me. All you care about is your precious money."

"I care more than you realize, Ethan. But you're her husband. You do what you think is right."

"I will. Trust me."

As the door closed on her, she turned. "Ethan? Even after all these years, I don't think you know my daughter at all."

Excerpt from Lie To Me by J.T. Ellison. Copyright © 2017 by J.T. Ellison. Reproduced with permission. All rights reserved.

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 Times bestselling author Catherine Coulter. Cohost of the Emmy Award-winning literary television series, A Word on Words, Ellison lives in Nashville with her husband and twin kittens.

JTEllison.com for more insight into her wicked imagination, or follow her on Facebook, Twitter @thrillerchick, and Instagram @jt_thrillerchick.

This excerpt and tour brought to your by TLC Book Tours

Monday, August 21, 2017

2017 Book 283: THE GIRL WITH KALEIDOSCOPE EYES by David Handler

The Girl with Kaleidoscope Eyes (Stewart Hoag #9) by David Handler 
ISBN: 9780062412843 (hardcover)
ISBN: 9780062412867 (ebook)
ASIN: B01MXNXA75 (Kindle edition)
Publication date: August 15, 2017 
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks 

Fans of Janet Evanovich and Carl Hiaasen, get ready. If you haven't yet discovered wisecracking sleuth Stewart "Hoagy" Hoag and his faithful basset hound Lulu, you're in for a sharp, hilarious treat... 
Once upon a time, Hoagy had it all: a hugely successful debut novel, a gorgeous celebrity wife, the glamorous world of New York City at his feet. These days, he scrapes by as a celebrity ghostwriter. A celebrity ghostwriter who finds himself investigating murders more often than he'd like.
And once upon a time, Richard Aintree was the most famous writer in America -- high school students across the country read his one and only novel, a modern classic on par with The Catcher in the Rye. But after his wife's death, Richard went into mourning... and then into hiding. No one has heard from him in twenty years.
Until now. Richard Aintree — or someone pretending to be Richard Aintree — has at last reached out to his two estranged daughters. Monette is a Martha Stewart-style lifestyle queen whose empire is crumbling; and once upon a time, Reggie was the love of Hoagy's life. Both sisters have received mysterious typewritten letters from their father.
Hoagy is already on the case, having been hired to ghostwrite a tell-all book about the troubled Aintree family. But no sooner does he set up shop in the pool house of Monette's Los Angeles mansion than murder strikes. With Lulu at his side — or more often cowering in his shadow — it's up to Hoagy to unravel the mystery, catch the killer, and pour himself that perfect single-malt Scotch... before it's too late. 

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Stewart Stafford Hoag was once a literary darling. He'd written "the" debut novel, was in love with a beloved by a darling of Broadway, and was considered the toast of literary New York. Sadly, that was over ten years ago and now Stewart is divorced, no longer the toast of New York or anywhere else for that matter, and considered a has-been writer who makes his living ghost-writing celebrity memoirs until he is offered the chance of a lifetime. His literary agent offers him the chance to write the memoir of the highly reclusive Richard Aintree, father of his former lover, Regina Aintree, or The Girl With Kaleidoscope Eyes in David Handler's latest addition to the Stewart Hoag series.

Let's take a step back in time to the early 1990s. It's pre-internet, the beginning of the cell phone era, and personal computers are just becoming a thing along with fax machines. It's also a time of big hair and daytime talk television is coming into its own. Stewart "Hoagy" Hoag is a man just trying to bide his time with his four-legged companion, the beloved Lulu while eschewing many of these newfangled machines. He relies on his trusty 1950s typewriter to do his writing and is quite pleased with that. He hasn't had a serious relationship since his divorce and no longer owns a car since he lost it in the divorce settlement. He now has an opportunity to reconnect with one of the most important people from his past, Regina Aintree, write her father's memoir, and make some money at the same time. If only things worked out as simply as all of that. Regina's older sister, Monette, is in the midst of a highly-publicized LA separation and divorce. Regina and Monette haven't spoken to one another in over twenty years. Monette's husband is an actor on a hit television show and has reportedly gotten one of his teen co-stars pregnant. Just when you think things couldn't possibly get any stranger, there's the sleazy literary agent working alongside Hoagy's agent on this book deal, Monette's equally sleazy agent, Monette's soon-to-be ex-husband's expectant baby-mama drama, and more...murder. Is it possible Hoagy can find out what really happened before the Aintree family is truly destroyed legally and publicly?

The Girl with Kaleidoscope Eyes by David Handler is the first book in the Stewart Hoag series that I've read and I honestly don't know why this series hasn't crossed my path before. I found this to be a very fast-paced and highly entertaining read, although I do take great exception with the author's comments about Whitney Houston not being able to sing. I rather liked the throw-back to the 1990s, as well as Hoagy and Lulu. Mr. Handler has crafted some interesting characters and the interplay between siblings Regina and Monette, as well as Danielle and Joey (Monette's children) definitely added to the story in my opinion. I also enjoyed the drama with the housekeeper Maritza, not to mention the sleazebag agents Boyd and Elliot. If you enjoy reading mysteries and are looking for a well-crafted and fast read, then you may want to grab a copy of The Girl With Kaleidoscope Eyes to read. If you've read the previous titles in the Stewart Hoag series by David Handler, I probably don't have to tell you to go out and grab yourself a copy of this book to read. The Girl with Kaleidoscope Eyes provides family drama, relationship drama, mayhem, murder, and mystery...what more can any reader want from a good book?! I'm glad I got the opportunity to read this book and I'll be adding the previous titles in this series to my already massive TBR list.

Disclaimer: I received a free print advance reader copy of this book from the publisher for review purposes via TLC Book Tours. 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."

About David Handler

David Handler has written nine novels about dapper celebrity ghostwriter Stewart Hoag, including the Edgar and American Mystery Award-winning, The Man Who Would Be F. Scott Fitzgerald, as well as eleven novels in the bestselling Berger & Mitry series. He lives in a 230-year-old carriage house in Old Lyme, Connecticut.

Find out more about David at his website, and connect with him on Facebook and Twitter.

This review and tour brought to you by TLC Book Tours 

Saturday, August 19, 2017

2017 Book 280: THE GOOD DAUGHTER by Karin Slaughter

The Good Daughter by Karin Slaughter 
ISBN: 9780062430243 (hardcover)
ISBN: 9780062430267 (ebook)
ASIN: B01N7BJZEA (Kindle edition)
Publication date: August 8, 2017 
Publisher: William Morrow

Two girls are forced into the woods at gunpoint. One runs for her life. One is left behind…
Twenty-eight years ago, Charlotte and Samantha Quinn's happy small-town family life was torn apart by a terrifying attack on their family home. It left their mother dead. It left their father — Pikeville's notorious defense attorney — devastated. And it left the family fractured beyond repair, consumed by secrets from that terrible night.
Twenty-eight years later, and Charlie has followed in her father's footsteps to become a lawyer herself — the ideal good daughter. But when violence comes to Pikeville again — and a shocking tragedy leaves the whole town traumatized — Charlie is plunged into a nightmare. Not only is she the first witness on the scene, but it's a case that unleashes the terrible memories she's spent so long trying to suppress. Because the shocking truth about the crime that destroyed her family nearly thirty years ago won't stay buried forever…  

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Charlotte "Charlie" Quinn lived through one nightmare at the age of thirteen when her mother was killed in her front of her and her sister Samantha "Sam" and then her sister was shot in the head and left for dead. Now Charlie is living through a new tragedy as an almost witness to a school shooting followed by her father being brutally stabbed in his driveway in Karin Slaughter's latest psychological thriller, The Good Daughter.

We are first introduced to Charlie and Sam Quinn as teenagers, twenty-eight years ago. Their home has been burned down and the family has been forced to relocate to a farmhouse outside of Pikeville, Georgia. All of their possessions were destroyed in the fire, so they are slowly rebuilding by purchasing items a local thrift store. Their mother, Gamma (Henrietta) is a nontraditional mother in most aspects but loved nonetheless. A home invasion with the intent of robbery and revenge quickly turns violent leaving Gamma dead, fifteen-year-old Sam severely wounded, and thirteen-year-old Charlie traumatized and brutalized. Fast forward twenty-eight years and both Sam and Charlie have become lawyers like their father Russell "Rusty" Quinn, with Sam specializing in patent law in New York City and Charlie having an independent practice in the same office as her father in Pikeville, Georgia. Sam is widowed and Charlie is married to her college sweetheart. After Charlie and Ben's marriage suffers through a separation, Charlie has a one-night-stand that ends with a phone-swap the morning after at the local middle school and then a school shooting. If that tragedy wasn't enough, later that day Rusty Quinn is found brutally stabbed in the driveway of his home. Sam returns home to Pikeville to be a support to Charlie and winds up handling the arraignment of the school shooter. Charlie's one-night-stand man winds up having ties to her family's past that she knew nothing about and that brings up memories she'd rather never remember. Is it possible that the events of twenty-eight years ago are linked to current events? Can the past ever be allowed to die?

I've said it before and it bears repeating, Ms. Slaughter is an amazing writer. I've read almost everything she's written and nothing has ever disappointed me as a reader, including The Good Daughter. This was an incredible read! I loved the characters (especially Lenny/Lenore), the multiple storylines, the twists and turns, the small town setting, even the bad guys (okay, I didn't really "Like" the bad guys, but they were an integral part of the story so without them, it just wouldn't have worked). I particularly enjoyed the sibling struggle between Charlie and Sam. We are given glimpses into Sam's emotional and physical recovery of the years and how she copes with her current disabilities. Charlie, on the other hand, has never truly been allowed to emotionally heal from the trauma of twenty-eight years ago and that is making a huge impact on her current life in a variety of destructive ways. In many ways, both Charlie and Sam can be seen as "The Good Daughter" but they view one another that way than see themselves that way. It isn't until another tragedy strikes (no, I'm not telling you what it is...read the book!), that Charlie and Sam truly come together as a family and learn to deal with the past. Obviously, there's a lot more going on in the story than just Charlie and Sam and their family drama, there's psychological thrills, school shooting, murder, mayhem, police brutality, marital infidelity, small-town prejudice and bullying, school bullying, and more. For those of you that have read anything written by Karin Slaughter then you already know you'll want to read The Good Daughter. If you haven't read anything by Karin Slaughter but you enjoy reading well-written psychological thrillers, then put The Good Daughter on your TBR list. If you're not quite sure about psychological thrillers but are looking for something a little bit different to read, grab yourself a copy of The Good Daughter to read. Seriously, this is a darn fine read and one I plowed through in one day despite an ever-increasing migraine and a bout of bronchitis (the ever-increasing migraine was probably caused by the constant coughing from the bronchitis, but this story kept my mind off my physical ills). I'm incredibly grateful to the publisher for affording me the opportunity to read a review copy of The Good Daughter. I look forward to reading more from Ms. Slaughter in the future (review or purchased copy).

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

Read an excerpt from The Good Daughter here.

Karin Slaughter

Author Bio:

Karin Slaughter is one of the world's most popular and acclaimed storytellers. Published in 36 languages, with more than 35 million copies sold across the globe, her sixteen novels include the Grant County and Will Trent books, as well as the Edgar-nominated Cop Town and the instant New York Times bestselling novel Pretty Girls. A native of Georgia, Karin currently lives in Atlanta. Her Will Trent series, Grant County series, and standalone novel Cop Town are all in development for film and television.

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This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Karin Slaughter and William Morrow. There will be five (5) winners of one (1) print edition of The Good Daughter by Karin Slaughter! This giveaway is open to US residents only. The giveaway begins on August 1 and runs through September 3, 2017.

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Friday, August 18, 2017

Book Excerpt: THIEF'S MARK by Carla Neggers

Thief's Mark (Sharp & Donovan #8) by Carla Neggers 
ISBN: 9780778330318 (hardcover)
ISBN: 9781460398807 (ebook)
ASIN: B01MXO0PMZ (Kindle version)
Publication Date: August 29, 2017 
Publisher: Mira Books

A murder in a quiet English village, long-buried secrets and a man's search for answers about his traumatic past entangle FBI agents Emma Sharpe and Colin Donovan in the latest edge-of-your-seat Sharpe & Donovan novel 

As a young boy, Oliver York witnessed the murder of his wealthy parents in their London apartment. The killers kidnapped him and held him in an isolated Scottish ruin, but he escaped, thwarting their plans for ransom. Now, after thirty years on the run, one of the two men Oliver identified as his tormentors may have surfaced.
Emma Sharpe and Colin Donovan are enjoying the final day of their Irish honeymoon when a break-in at the home of Emma's grandfather, private art detective Wendell Sharpe, points to Oliver. The Sharpes have a complicated relationship with the likable, reclusive Englishman, an expert in Celtic mythology and international art thief who taunted Wendell for years. Emma and Colin postpone meetings in London with their elite FBI team and head straight to Oliver. But when they arrive at York's country home, a man is dead and Oliver has vanished.
As the danger mounts, new questions arise about Oliver's account of his boyhood trauma. Do Emma and Colin dare trust him? With the trail leading beyond Oliver's small village to Ireland, Scotland and their own turf in the US, the stakes are high, and Emma and Colin must unravel the decades-old tangle of secrets and lies before a killer strikes again.
New York Times bestselling author Carla Neggers delivers the gripping, suspense-filled tale readers have been waiting for.

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Chapter 3
London, Heathrow Airport
Emma eased toward an empty carousel, away from the throngs in Heathrow's crowded baggage claim. She hadn't expected a call. It was an unknown caller. She almost let it go to voice mail but instead answered with a simple hello, without using her name.
"Dear Emma. Where are you?"
She recognized Oliver York's voice and slowed her pace. "Heathrow. Did you get my voice mail?"
"This morning. Yes. You and Colin want to see me. Why?"
"We'll come to you. Are you in London or at your farm?"
"I didn't do it."
Emma went still. His voice was ragged, barely a whisper. This wasn't the irreverent, relentlessly good-natured Oliver York she knew. "Do what, Oliver?"
"I didn't kill that man. I tried to help him. I don't know if it was murder, suicide, an accident. I don't know anything. Tell the police. They're looking for me."
"Oliver, talk to me. Where are you?"
"I'm going dark. I trust you. Trust me. Colin and I will never be friends now." His attempt to return to his natural cheekiness fell flat. "I hope you two had a fabulous honeymoon."
"I can't help you if you go dark," Emma said. "We'll come to you."He was gone.
She slid her phone into her tote bag and rejoined Colin at their baggage carousel. He'd collected their bags, hers a wheeled case, his a duffel he had slung over his shoulder. They'd packed more than they would have for a typical business trip. They'd put together the meetings at the last minute but were dressed professionally in clothes that had seen them through nights out in Ireland.
She told him about Oliver's call. "He's in trouble, Colin."
"Damn right he is. I just got a call from my MI5 contact. Oliver took off from his farm this morning and left behind a dead body."
"They don't know yet. It was a quick call. He wants our help. He'll pave the way for us to talk to the detectives." Colin hoisted his bag higher on his shoulder. "Looks as if we're renting a car and driving to the Cotswolds instead of taking the train into London."
Emma absorbed the change in plan. She didn't know Colin's MI5 contact, just that they'd met during his first undercover mission five years ago. She raised the handle on her bag. Matt Yankowski, their boss in Boston, would want to know she and Colin had landed in the middle of a British death investigation involving Oliver York. "We need to check in with Yank."
"Have at it."
"It's your MI5 contact."
"It's your art thief on the lam and your grandfather whose house was broken into. If we walked into a bunch of arms traffickers, I'd make the call. I'll rent the car." He dipped a hand into her jacket pocket and withdrew her phone, then folded her fingers around it and winked.
"Tell Yank I said hi."
"All right. It does make sense that I make the call. I'll check with my brother at the same time to see if he knows anything about the break-in."
Colin took the lead as they switched their route and started toward the car rental kiosks. Emma unlocked her phone and hit Yank's cell phone number. It was early in Boston but Yank picked up on the first ring. "I just had a call from MI5. They know you're in London and called Oliver York this morning, asked if you have an idea where to find him. Imagine that."
"We don't know where he is. Do they know the identity of the dead man?"
"Not yet. Where's your grandfather?"
"I haven't been in touch with him since we left Dublin. We stopped to see him on the way to the airport. He was having tea on the terrace."
"Has Oliver been in touch with him?"
"Not that I'm aware of."
"Will he now that he's on the run? Those two have an unusual friendship."
"Anything is possible," Emma said.
"Keep me posted. I'll see if what we can do on our end."
Yank disconnected without further comment. A short conversation. Emma pictured him at his Back Bay apartment with his wife, Lucy, a clinical psychologist who'd opened up a knitting shop on Newbury Street after balking at moving from their home and her work in northern Virginia. As unorthodox and risky as his brainchild, HIT, was, Yank was a straight arrow. Late forties, chiseled good looks, crisp suits and dedicated to the FBI. He'd known what he was getting into when he'd gone after her—an ex-nun and a Sharpe—to join the FBI and then to become a part of his unique team.
She dialed an art-crimes detective she knew at Scotland Yard, and he put her in touch with the detective chief investigator leading the inquiry into the death at Oliver York's farm. He listened attentively and instructed her and Colin to come straight to the farm when they arrived in the village.
The calls to her grandfather and her older brother, Lucas, who ran Sharpe Fine Art Recovery, were easier. Neither answered. She left voice mails and caught up with Colin. He had the paperwork finished for their rental car. They'd be on the road to the Cotswolds in no time.
"How'd it go?" he asked her. "Did Yank ask if we had a good time on our honeymoon?"
"He did not. I wish we'd run in to arms traffickers. They're more straightforward than Oliver York."
"But nowhere near as charming."
A few minutes later, they were on the road, heading west to the rolling hills and classic honey-stone villages of the picturesque Cotswolds. Colin was doing the driving. Emma was preoccupied, thinking about Oliver's call. "You know this has something to do with the break-in at Granddad's."
"What do you want to do?"
"I left him a voice mail. I left Lucas a voice mail, too. I'll try Granddad again."
She was almost surprised when he answered. "Emma," he said. "You're in London?"
"Just landed. What are you up to?"
"Contemplating finding a hardware store to fix my broken window."That didn't sound suspicious, and there was nothing suspicious about his tone. "Has Oliver York been in touch by any chance?"
"No." A pause. "Why?"
"Something's happened. I'm not sure what I can tell you at this point. Let me know or let the gardai know if Oliver gets in touch. And keep your doors locked."
"Don't talk to strangers and drink my milk. Got it."
"It's okay. I can tell whatever's going on is bad."
"I just want you to stay safe."
"Always," he said.
Colin glanced at her after she'd hung up. "First day back on the job," he said.
She stared out the window at the busy motorway. "It's going to be a long one."
Excerpt from Thief's Mark by Carla Neggers. Copyright © 2017 by Carla Neggers. Reproduced with permission from Carla Neggers. All rights reserved.

Meet the author

Carla Neggers is the New York Times bestselling author of more than 60 novels, including her popular Sharpe and Donovan and Swift River Valley series. Her books have been translated into 24 languages and sold in over 35 countries. A frequent traveler to Ireland, Carla lives with her family in New England. To learn more and to sign up for her newsletter, visit CarlaNeggers.com.

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This excerpt and tour brought to you by TLC Book Tours