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, January 30, 2018

2018 Book 38: THE WEDDING DATE by Jasmine Guillory

The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory
ISBN: 9780399587665 (paperback)
ISBN: 9780399587672 (ebook)
ISBN: 9780525530893 (audiobook)
ASIN: B072LT1XT5 (Kindle edition)
Publication date: January 30, 2018 
Publisher: Berkley Jove Books

I vow to take thee as my date, to pretend to have and to hold, from rehearsal dinner to reception end, till Sunday do us part.

A groomsman and his last-minute guest are about to discover if a fake date can go the distance in a fun and flirty debut novel.
Agreeing to go to a wedding with a guy she gets stuck in an elevator is something Alexa Monroe wouldn't normally do. But there's something about Drew Nichols that's too hard to resist.
On the eve of his ex's wedding festivities, Drew is minus a plus one. Until a power outage strands him with the perfect candidate for a fake girlfriend...
After Alexa and Drew have more fun than they ever thought possible, Drew has to fly back to Los Angeles and his job as a pediatric surgeon, and Alexa heads home to Berkeley, where she's the mayor's chief of staff. Too bad they can't stop thinking about the other... 
They're just two high-powered professionals on a collision course toward the long distance dating disaster of the century--or closing the gap between what they think they need and what they truly want... 

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Alexa Monroe is an accomplished young woman and isn't really looking for a man or a man bringing complications into her life. She's a lawyer and the chief of staff for the mayor of Berkeley. Dr. Andrew "Drew" Nichols is a pediatric surgeon from the Los Angeles area (miles away from Berkeley). He's agreed to be a groomsman in his ex-girlfriend's wedding and at the last minute, his +1 had to cancel out. After a power outage that strands Alexa and Drew in an elevator and the Fairmont, Alexa unwittingly agrees to become Drew's date for the weekend. Alexa is not the type of person to make spur of the moment decisions especially about a man she doesn't know, so her behavior is somewhat shocking to all who know her. But she and Drew connect over the weekend in their "pretend" relationship, so much so that Drew reschedules his flight back to LA after the wedding so he can spend more time with Alexa. What follows is a long-distance relationship that neither one of them saw coming with them hopping planes every weekend to visit one another. In between those weekend visits, they text and text and then text some more. Drew enjoys his time with Alexa and is afraid to put a label on what they have. Alexa isn't sure where this relationship is going especially since Drew can't even seem to introduce her to his friend as his girlfriend but simply as "Alexa" and then she learns that he has the annoying habit of politely dropping his "girlfriends" after a two-month run. Is this the end of their relationship since he can't even admit who she is to his friends? Could they have made their long-distance relationship work without his commitment-phobic issues?

The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory was a delightfully fun, sexy, and fast-paced read. It was interesting to read about the relationship dynamic between Alexa and Drew without race being the primary focus (yes, this is an interracial relationship and yes, race is discussed within the story). The story gets sexy and steamy without the author going into graphic detail and there's plenty of romance without it being over-the-top (such as when Drew gets Alexa sweets for breakfast and makes her coffee just the way she likes it). The Wedding Date also provides political drama (Alexa does work for a politician), medical drama (Drew is a physician), relationship drama, romance, and more. For me, this felt like a  contemporary romance story containing hints of Pride and Prejudice meets Sense & Sensibilities with all of the crossed wires and misunderstandings. I enjoyed the multiple storylines, the characters, and the action and look forward to reading more from Ms. Guillory in the future. If you're a romance fan, trust me and run out to grab yourself a copy of The Wedding Date to read. 

Disclaimer: I received a free print review copy of this book from the publisher. 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 here.

Monday, January 29, 2018

2018 Book 37: BEST FRIENDS FOREVER by Margot Hunt

Best Friends Forever by Margot Hunt
ISBN: 9780778331131 (hardcover)
ISBN: 9781488027970 (ebook)
ISBN: 9781488203947 (audiobook)
ASIN: B06Y5RLJN9 (Kindle edition)
Publisher: MIRA
Release Date: January 23, 2018

How well do you really know your best friend?
Kat Grant and Alice Campbell have a friendship forged in shared confidences and long lunches lubricated by expensive wine. Though they're very different women—the artsy socialite and the struggling suburbanite—they're each other's rocks. But even rocks crumble under pressure. Like when Kat's financier husband, Howard, plunges to his death from the second-floor balcony of their South Florida mansion.
Howard was a jerk, a drunk, a bully and, police say, a murder victim. The questions begin piling up. Like why Kat has suddenly gone dark: no calls, no texts and no chance her wealthy family will let Alice see her. Why investigators are looking so hard in Alice's direction. Who stands to get hurt next. And who is the cool liar—the masterful manipulator behind it all.

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Alice Campbell and Katherine "Kat" Grant met three years ago at JFK airport on their way back to Florida after the holidays. A chance meeting due to a delayed flight became a life-line friendship for both women. Kat is unhappily married to Howard, a man that she admits routinely cheats on her, is reportedly an alcoholic, and has at times physically abused her but she refuses to divorce him because she has all the money and there was no prenuptial agreement. Kat also thinks she will be seen as the poor, battered divorcee in the wealthy circles she mixes in and she simply can't have that be the image of her in people's minds, so she stays unhappy. Alice is dealing with a different set of issues, namely monetary. Her family was uprooted from Miami and moved off of Palm Beach for her husband's job, but the promised promotions never came nor did the raises. Things might not be so bad if their credit cards weren't maxed out, if they weren't behind on their mortgage payment, behind on their children's private school tuition, and her husband hadn't lost his job -- their sole income. Alice has never seen Kat as a "cash cow" and has never asked her for money, but when she's told her children will be expelled from their school if their tuition isn't paid the next day she doesn't know what to do. Thankfully, Kat offers to pay the tuition and doesn't think twice about it. Or does she...because not soon after that she approaches Alice with a request that most people would consider horrifying? Soon after that Howard winds up dead, Kat is safely alibied by being out of the country, and Alice is arrested for his murder. Alice has clear logical answers for everything that happened but even she's beginning to wonder if she really knew what was going on between Kat and Howard? Is it possible we can ever really know another person? Can we truly tell when we are being manipulated and lied to? Is Kat lying to and about Alice or is Alice lying to and about Kat?

Best Friends Forever is a taut psychological suspense thriller and one that I found to be a rather fast-paced read. I enjoyed the way Ms. Hunt presented the contemporary storyline and then went back in time to present the past building up to the present. That helped to build the tension between not only Alice and Kat, but between Alice and her husband Todd, and Kat and everyone else. By the time I was halfway through the story I began to realize neither Alice nor Kat were wholly reliable narrators and that provided this reader with a dilemma because the story is being told primarily from Alice's perspective. Alice comes across as a somewhat disgruntled stay-at-home mom trying to do anything she can for her family (true to a certain extent). Kat comes across as somewhat manipulative and a needy (also true to a certain extent). As we learn more about each character the author provides little clues that help the reader fine-tune their presumptions about each person. Best Friends Forever is a story about friendship, but it is also a story about being realistic in that we can never truly know another person. We know people by what they say, what they reveal in their actions, and by our assumptions, but these can all be tainted and manipulated if the person is highly skilled. So in this story someone dies and yes, it's revealed that is a murder. The questions become who did it and why. And no I will not be telling you the answers to either of those questions, read the book to find out for yourself! 

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

Meet the Author

Margot Hunt is the pseudonym of a bestselling writer of twelve previous novels. Her work has been praised by Publisher's Weekly, Booklist, and Kirkus Reviews. Best Friends Forever is her first psychological thriller.

Connect with Margot at her website, Facebook, and Twitter 


Enter to win one trade paperback copy of Best Friends Forever by Margot Hunt. This giveaway begins at 12:01 AM ET on January 29, 2018, and will end at 11:59 PM ET on February 2, 2018. The winner announced by 10:00 AM ET on February 3, 2018. If the first winner has not responded within 48 hours after notification a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is open to residents of the United States only (sorry to all of my international followers). All non-US residents will be disqualified. Books will be sent out via TLC Book Tours at the conclusion of the blog tour. Please use the Rafflecopter form below to enter. 

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Sunday, January 28, 2018

2018 Book 34: TEMPEST by Beverly Jenkins

Tempest (Old West #3) by Beverly Jenkins
ISBN: 9780062389046 (paperback)
ISBN: 9780062389053 (ebook)
ASIN: B0713W4425 (Kindle edition)
Publication date: January 30, 2018 
Publisher: Avon Books

From USA Today Bestselling Author Beverly Jenkins comes a new novel in a mesmerizing series set in the Old West, where an arranged marriage becomes a grand passion . . .
What kind of mail-order bride greets her intended with a bullet instead of a kiss? One like Regan Carmichael—an independent spirit equally at home in denims and dresses. Shooting Dr. Colton Lee in the shoulder is an honest error, but soon Regan wonders if her entire plan to marry a man she's never met is a mistake. Colton, who buried his heart along with his first wife, insists he only wants someone to care for his daughter. Yet Regan is drawn to the unmistakable desire in his gaze.
Regan's far from the docile bride Colton was expecting. Still, few women would brave the wilds of Wyoming Territory for an uncertain future with a widower and his child. The thought of having a bold, forthright woman like Regan in his life—and in his arms—begins to inspire a new dream. And despite his family's disapproval and an unseen enemy, he'll risk all to make this match a real union of body and soul. 

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Regan Carmichael has an adventurous soul. When she lived with her Aunt Eddy and Uncle Rhine she drove the mail wagon locally and was always up for the next new adventure. When her sister Portia gets engaged, Regan knows that she needs to get away from home to begin her next adventure as a mail-order bride. After Portia's wedding, Regan leaves the comfort of friends, family, and the familiar in Arizona to travel to Wyoming to marry a local doctor with a young daughter. All is going well until the wagon coach she's traveling in is attacked by would-be robbers and Regan helps thwart their attempts by shooting at them. Moments later another group of riders approach the coach and once again Regan begins shooting. Unfortunately this time she's shooting at the good guys and actually hits her intended. Dr. Colton Lee was expecting someone as docile and passive as his deceased wife and that's definitely not Regan Carmichael. To say their relationship starts off on the wrong foot is a massive understatement. It continues in a downward spiral when Dr. Lee's grandfather decides he doesn't like Regan even before he meets her, Dr. Lee is upset to find out that Regan isn't a virgin, her mother was a prostitute, she has opinions of her own (not to mention her own money), and she thinks that a husband and wife should share the same bedroom. The only plus in all of this is that Dr. Lee's daughter, Anna, and his sister, Spirit, both like Regan and want her to stay. After deciding to get married for the sake of his daughter, the question becomes can they make the marriage work and become a united family or will Regan's adventurous nature destroy their chance for marital success?

Tempest is the third book in the Old West/Rhine Fontaine series by Beverly Jenkins, aka Queen Bevy aka Slayer of Words. These books are all set in the West after the Civil War when the country was growing by leaps-and-bounds and the rights of freed Blacks and other people of color were sorely being trampled upon. Each book in this series presents historical tidbits that make me increase my TBR list by at least 2-3 books. Tempest presents historical information about the founder of Howard Medical School as well as information about germ theory in medical treatment, something radically new at the time. Tempest also presents a fiery relationship between Regan and Colton, interesting family dynamics for both Regan and Colton, details of the hard life in the West for minorities and women, and more. Ms. Jenkins can always be counted on for providing an intelligent, steamy historical romance, but she also imbues her characters with such charm and essence that they become part of the family. It has been fascinating watching Regan grow from her first presentation in Forbidden through Tempest, as well as watching the unending romance between her aunt and uncle throughout all three books. There are scoundrels, robbers, kidnappers, and more in this story and if you want to find out just what happens you'll need to read the book. If you haven't read Forbidden and Breathless, the first two books in this series, I strongly encourage you to grab copies of those to read along with a copy of Tempest. Seriously, if you're into historical romance or romance you'll want to read this series. Just in case you couldn't tell, I enjoyed reading Tempest and am wondering if we'll be seeing more in this series next year. I can only hope this isn't the end of the Old West series (hint, hint). If it is, I'll simply spend a few days next year revisiting Eddy and Rhine in Forbidden, Portia and Kent in Breathless, and Regan and Colton in Tempest to get my Old West reading fix in.

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

Friday, January 26, 2018

2018 Book 30: CRAZY ON YOU by Nicole Terry

Crazy On You (Life in the Fast Lane #1) by Nicole Terry
ISBN: 9781944728656 (paperback)
ISBN: 9781944728663 (ebook)
ASIN: B0782WDP72 (Kindle edition)
Publication date: January 9, 2018 
Publisher: City Owl Press

Diane Thompson wakes up in the backseat of her car, shocked to find she's acquired a chauffeur. Realizing she's been inadvertently kidnapped, she swears off tequila—and Chili's—then dials 9-1-1. But her rescue comes at a cost. Her savior, too-macho-for-words Lt. Cole Anderson, refuses to let Diane out of his sight until her kidnappers are apprehended. He's already lost one woman he cared about due to his inattention; he's not letting it happen a second time.
But Diane isn't a damsel-in-distress type of girl. When it turns out the criminals left a valuable item in her car and they want it back, involving Cole isn't part of her plan and not only because the criminals have forbidden her from involving the cops. Men are like birds—messy, easily distracted, and only around when there's something to eat. She's got this. All she has to do is find and return the item in question to the drug runners threatening her life, survive a high-speed car chase, and keep her vow to never trust a man with her heart. 

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Some people are just magnets for disaster and Diane Thompson is just such a magnet. A simple dinner out with her cousin has her attempting to sleep off too much tequila and ends up with an inadvertent kidnapping when her car is stolen by drug dealers. Why her car? Well, it was one of the few left in the lot and it was an older vehicle without all the whistles and bells and therefore easier to steal. Little did the thieves know that there was someone in the back seat hidden by all of the bags slated to be dropped off at a local Goodwill. Good thing Diane is something of a procrastinator. The would-be carjacking/kidnapping is quickly squashed when Diane calls 911 and is rescued. Diane is also a bit clueless because the local lieutenant, Cole Anderson, at the sheriff's department has been attempting to get her attention for more than a month. He has it now in spades. What follows is a series of calamitous events that make it clear these drug dealers know not only where she lives and works, but also know everything about her family as well. Diane isn't one to depend on others for help and she's determined to find what the drug dealers want before it's too late for her and her family. The big question is can she do it without alienating Cole and saving herself and her family?

Crazy on You by Nicole Terry is the first in a new series and a debut as well. I found this to be a sexy, sassy, raucous, rollicking laugh-out-loud read that reminded me at times of books by both Joshilyn Jackson with the Southern sensibilities and Beverly Jenkins with the strong female and take-charge male protagonists. Diane is kind of a modern-day-equivalent of Lucy Ricardo from "I Love Lucy" fame in that she always seems to find herself in the midst of trouble and it's up to her family and Cole to bail her out (FYI, she does a darn good job of bailing herself out a few times). Cole is a "by-the-book" lawman that has a "don't-mess-with-my-woman" mentality. He doesn't see Diane as fragile or weak, he just wants to protect her and her family from the bad guys as best as he can. Yes, there's an obvious romance angle between Diane and Cole, but there's also insecurity issues, family drama, small-town drama, crime, and more. There are bad guys along with the good guys and there are varying degrees of bad guys (trust me on this and read the story to understand what I mean by this statement). I'm always a sucker for stories set in West Virginia or written by West Virginia authors and I lucked out on both counts with Crazy on You by Nicole Terry. I recommend Crazy on You for those of you that enjoy reading romantic suspense. For those of you looking for a madcap, comedic romance read, then I encourage you to grab a copy of Crazy on You to read. I wholeheartedly enjoyed reading Crazy On You and can't wait to more from this author in the future.

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

Read an excerpt from Crazy On You here.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Book Showcase: THE LUCKY ONES by Tiffany Reisz

The Lucky Ones by Tiffany Reisz
ISBN: 9780778331162 (paperback)
ISBN: 9781488027994 (ebook)
ISBN: 9781488204036 (audiobook)
ASIN: B073ZFLPWJ (Kindle edition)
Publisher: MIRA
Release Date: February 13, 2018

They called themselves "the lucky ones."
They were seven children either orphaned or abandoned by their parents and chosen by legendary philanthropist and brain surgeon Dr. Vincent Capello to live in The Dragon, his almost magical beach house on the Oregon Coast.
Allison was the youngest of the lucky ones living an idyllic life with her newfound family…until the night she almost died, and was then whisked away from the house and her adopted family forever.
Now, thirteen years later, Allison receives a letter from Roland, Dr. Capello's oldest son, warning her that their father is ill and in his final days. Allison determines she must go home again and confront the ghosts of her past. She's determined to find out what really happened that fateful night--was it an accident or, as she's always suspected, did one of her beloved family members try to kill her?
But digging into the past can reveal horrific truths, and when Allison pieces together the story of her life, she'll learns the terrible secret at the heart of the family she once loved but never really knew.
A vivid and suspenseful tale of family, grief, love—and the dark secrets that bind everything together—Tiffany Reisz's latest is enthralling to the final page.

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Read an excerpt (follow the excerpt tour to read more):

"We had sex yesterday," she said. "Twice."
"That wasn't breakup sex," he said. "And don't give me that look. This is your own fault."
McQueen pointed at her, shook his finger.
"My fault? My fault?" Allison was laughing in utter amazement at the sheer gall of the man.
"Your fault. You've been trying for years to make me a better man," he said.

"Give more money to the poor. Be nicer to my employees. Don't date girls my daughter's age. Well, maybe your guilt trips finally started to sink in a little. I don't call you Jiminy Cricket because you wear a top hat and tails."
"You are unbelievable," she said.
"Allison," he said, "I am sorry about this. I truly am."
He held out his hand to shake.
"Six years of my life," she said, "and it's going to end in a handshake."
"You already said no to breakup sex," he said.
Another hard truth. So she took his hand. As soon as her hand slipped into his he pulled her gently to him and held her close.
"You bastard," she said even as she wrapped her arms around his shoulders.
"Thank you for always being there for me, Allison. You are smart and lovely and kind—when you aren't furious at me—and I'll miss you."
"I hope you and your new lady and the baby are very happy together," she said.
"I hope so, too."
A knot formed in her throat. A vise clamped down onto her chest. One tear escaped her eye before she could capture it, lock it up and throw away the key.
"You know what the stupid thing is," Allison said, speaking to stave off the building panic.
"I don't even like you very much."
McQueen chuckled. She felt his chest rumble against hers. She'd miss that, too.
"I mean it," she said. "You're arrogant and entitled and you do whatever you want, consequences be damned, and you're…you're…"
"Rich," he said. "That's the word you're looking for."
"That's it," she said.
"If you don't like me, why are you so upset?" he said, his tone teasing, and any other day they'd be in bed together already.
"Because I'm going to miss not liking you."
He pulled her a little closer, a little tighter. He kissed her cheek, her forehead and then, at last, let her go. She hated herself for letting him be the one to let go first. Once he was gone, she would be alone, completely alone. No family. No friends. A woman on call day and night for a powerful man didn't get to make friends. She hated him and never wanted to see him again. She loved him and never wanted him to leave her. But she didn't cling to him when he pulled away, and she counted that a victory.
"If it makes you feel any better," McQueen said, his hands still on her face, "this wasn't an easy decision."
"Weird," Allison said. "It doesn't make me feel any better."
McQueen raised his hands in defeat. "I'll go."
She swallowed again. "Bye."
"Don't forget there's some mail for you in the box."
"Anything important?" She never got mail at McQueen's address.
"It's a package from Oregon. No idea why it came to my house."
She glanced in the box at the padded envelope. Sure enough, it was postmarked Clark Beach, Oregon. And the name on the return address read Roland Capello.
Allison gasped, then clapped a hand over her mouth in shock.
"Allison?" McQueen had been retreating during the conversation but now he rushed to her. "Honey, what's wrong? You look like you're about to faint."
"It's from my brother," she breathed. "This is from my brother."
McQueen stared at her like she'd grown a second head in the past three seconds.
"Your brother?" he repeated. "I've known you seven years. You never told me you had a brother."
Allison looked at him with tears in her eyes.
"That's because…I don't."

Excerpt From The Lucky Ones by Tiffany Reisz, 

to be released on February 13, 2018, by MIRA Books. 
Copyright © 2018 by Tiffany Reisz. All Rights Reserved.

Meet the Author

Tiffany Reisz lives in Lexington, Kentucky with her husband, author Andrew Shaffer.

Connect with Tiffany at her website, Facebook, and Instagram  

This excerpt and tour brought to you by TLC Book Tours 

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

2018 Book 24: THE CHALK MAN by CJ Tudor

The Chalk Man by C. J. Tudor
ISBN: 9781524760984 (hardcover)
ISBN: 9781524761004 (ebook)
ISBN: 9780525526391 (digital audiobook)
ASIN: B071FDZYVK (Kindle edition)
Publication date: January 9, 2018 
Publisher: Crown Publishing

In 1986, Eddie and his friends are just kids on the verge of adolescence. They spend their days biking around their sleepy English village and looking for any taste of excitement they can get. The chalk men are their secret code: little chalk stick figures they leave for one another as messages only they can understand. But then a mysterious chalk man leads them right to a dismembered body, and nothing is ever the same.
In 2016, Eddie is fully grown and thinks he's put his past behind him, but then he gets a letter in the mail containing a single chalk stick figure. When it turns out that his friends got the same message, they think it could be a prank--until one of them turns up dead. That's when Eddie realizes that saving himself means finally figuring out what really happened all those years ago. 

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Eddie Adams, known as "Eddie Munster" when he was a child, had four neighborhood friends: Gavin aka "Fat Gav," Mickey aka "Metal Mickey" (as a result of braces), David "Hoppo" Hopkins, and Nicky Martin. Eddie's mother was a doctor and provided abortions, just as controversial in 1986 as it is today, and his father was a freelance writer. Gavin's father owned the local pub and his mother was an Avon lady. Mickey's parents were considered ordinary working parents. David's mother worked as a cleaner and his father was not in the picture. Nicky's father was the local vicar and led the crusade against the local abortion clinic and her mother was reportedly deceased. The story briefly begins with these young friends finding the gruesome remains of a decapitated and mutilated body in the woods. From there we witness Eddie and one of the local school teachers, Mr. Halloran, provide critical medical assistance to a young girl when tragedy strikes at a local fair, a ride flies apart and a girl is seriously injured. After that bonding experience, Eddie learns that Mr. Halloran is a gifted artist and used chalk with his friends to leave secret messages with his own childhood friends. Eddie and his friends begin to use chalk, with each friend using a different color, to leave messages for one another. The chalk messages fade into obscurity when more tragedy strikes, Mickey's older brother drowns, Hoppo's dog dies, the mutilated and dismembered body is found in the forest, and Nicky's father is brutally attacked. Thirty years later, Eddie is still leaving in his childhood home and only Fat Gav and Hoppo are still around. Nicky left town with her biological mother (surprise, not dead) after her father's attack. Mickey is now a big ad executive and lives in the city (presumably a major city, like London). Then chalk messages begin to reappear, Mickey returns to town and tells Eddie he knows the identity of the killer from 1986, and then Mickey turns up dead. It was bad enough when Eddie began to "see" the ghosts of Mickey's dead brother and his teacher-friend, Mr. Halloran, as a child but now he's seeing them again along with chalk messages. What do the messages mean? Is it possible Eddie's next in line to die? If so, why and can he figure out the messages in time to stop the killer?

I initially had difficulties getting into The Chalk Man because I felt the pace was moving a bit slow, but then about halfway through the book it began to pick up and I was entranced. Ms. Tudor had to provide all of the backstory in order for the contemporary story to work and the backstory took time to reveal. Trust me, it's worth the time. Some people have difficulty with stories than vacillate between two timelines. I actually enjoyed getting bits of the story from 1986 and then bits from 2016. I thought I had the story figured out, then it took a nice twist (no, I won't reveal the twist...read the book!). There's a lot of action in this story with the coming-of-age angst of Eddie and his friends compounded by the deaths of a sibling of one friend, the death of a school teacher, and them finding a dismembered body in the 1986 storyline. In the 2016 storyline, there's the return of a childhood friend and his subsequent death, secrets revealed from 1986, possible hallucinations, and more. There are a few minor characters with major impact in this story and that threw me (hint: when reading this story, don't try to figure out whodunit). The Chalk Man is a psychological suspense that provides a boogie man that haunts both the children and adults in the story. The primary character, Eddie is deeply flawed and his flaws seem to take over the story at a time. Told you, there's a lot happening in this book. If you enjoy reading suspense with unexpected twists and turns, then I strongly encourage you to grab a copy of The Chalk Man to read. If you're simply seeking something radically different to read, then I urge you to go out and grab a copy of The Chalk Man to read. (FYI: I suggest that you throw out all pieces of chalk in your home before reading this story.) I enjoyed reading The Chalk Man and look forward to reading more from Ms. Tudor in the future.

Disclaimer: I received a free digital review copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley/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."

Meet the author

C. J. TUDOR lives in Nottingham, England, with her partner and three-year-old daughter. Over the years she has worked as a copywriter, television presenter, voice-over, and dog walker. She is now thrilled to be able to write full-time and doesn't miss chasing wet dogs through muddy fields all that much. The Chalk Man is her first novel.

Follow the author on Facebook and Twitter.


Enter to win one print copy of The Chalk Man by C. J. Tudor courtesy of TLC Book Tours. Please note that this giveaway is open to US residents only (sorry), all non-residents will be disqualified. This giveaway will run from 12:01 AM ET on January 23, 2018, through 11:59 PM ET on January 30, 2018. The winner will be announced by 10:00 AM ET on January 31st, 2018. If for any reason, the initial winner does not respond within 48 hours a new winner will be selected. Please note that this book will be mailed by TLC Book Tours at the conclusion of the blog tour.

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Saturday, January 20, 2018

2018 Book 20: SUNDAY SILENCE by Nicci French

Sunday Silence by Nicci French
ISBN: 9780062676689 (trade paperback)
ISBN: 9780062676696 (ebook)
ISBN: 9780062856890 (digital audiobook)
ASIN: B071RBDHKM (Kindle edition)
Publication date: January 9, 2018 
Publisher: William Morrow

It started with Monday. But it doesn't end with Sunday.
Read Sunday Silence, the new novel in the series that LOUISE PENNY calls "fabulous, unsettling, and riveting"— and brace yourself for the breathtaking series finale in summer 2018.

Lover of London, gifted psychologist, frequent police consultant — Frieda Klein is many things. And now she's a person of interest in a murder case. A body has been discovered in the most unlikely and horrifying of places: beneath the floorboards of Frieda's house.
The corpse is only months old, but the chief suspect appears to have died more than seven years ago. Except as Frieda knows all too well, he's alive and well and living in secret. And it seems he's inspired a copycat…
As the days pass and the body count rises, Frieda finds herself caught in a fatal tug-of-war between two killers: one who won't let her go, and another who can't let her live.
Crackling with suspense, packed with emotion, Sunday Silence is a psychological thriller perfect for fans of Elizabeth George and Paula Hawkins. 

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Frieda Klein's home is a crime scene when the body of a private detective is found under her floorboards. Then she receive's a phone call from her niece saying "come get me," but Chloe doesn't know where she is. Apparently, Chloe had been abducted three days earlier and released in a local graveyard. Why? To antagonize her aunt, of course. This is followed by her good friend and mentor, Reuben, who was recently diagnosed with cancer, is found badly beaten in his home. After a brief disappearance, Josef returns with his youngest son Alexei in tow and then his son is abducted and returned with a message for Frieda. And adding insult to injury, one of her former patients is murdered, her former co-worker, Jack Dargan, is beaten up, and the police commissioner is fired and blames her. The only spot of good news out of all of this is that everyone finally believes her when she tells them that Dean Reeves is still alive and responsible for the body under her floorboards. Dean also sends a message via Alexei that he "is" responsible for that abduction but not for the beatings and other things going on. Is it possible there are two serial killers targeting Frieda Klein? How can she protect her family and friends and stay alive while the body count is constantly building and another person is missing? Will they be able to find the missing person before it is too late?

I had the pleasure of reading and reviewing Dark Saturday (which I thoroughly enjoyed) last year and was honored to receive a copy of Sunday Silence to review. Let me see if I can sum up my reaction to Sunday Silence in a few brief words, WOW! This was an amazingly fast-paced,  engaging, and enjoyable read for me and one that I finished in a few short hours despite an ever-increasing migraine (thank you triptan medicines). Seriously, I couldn't put this book down. The authors have crammed quite a bit into this taut psychological thriller, such as murder, suspense, illegal immigration, battery, abduction, family drama, friendship drama, workplace drama, psychological manipulation, and more (read the book!). The one phantom boogie man that has been a constant in the Frieda Klein series is Dean Reeves and although he doesn't quite come out of the shadows in Sunday Silence, he does make his presence known and packs quite a punch towards the end of the story (no I won't tell you how - read the book!). This is the seventh book in this series and apparently, the series will be coming to an end with the eighth installment due out later this year. I, for one, will be sad to say goodbye to Frieda Klein and her adventures, but until then I will continue reading (and yes, rereading the earlier books). If you've read any of the books in the Frieda Klein series then you'll definitely want to read Sunday Silence to see what's happening next. If you haven't read any of the books in this series and you enjoy psychological suspense, then I strongly encourage you to grab a copy of Sunday Silence along with the other books in this series, set aside a few weekends and read, read, read! Not sure about psychological suspense or unsure what all the hoopla is all about, start with Blue Monday and work your way up to Sunday Silence and then trust me, you'll understand.

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

Meet the author

Nicci French is the pseudonym of English wife-and-husband team Nicci Gerrard and Sean French. Their acclaimed novels of psychological suspense have sold more than 8 million copies around the world.

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This review and tour brought to you by TLC Book Tours

Monday, January 15, 2018

Book Showcase: THE LAST DAYS OF OSCAR WILDE by John Vanderslice

The Last Days of Oscar Wilde by John Vanderslice
ISBN: 9780996485098 (paperback)
Publisher: Burlesque Press 
Release Date: January 15, 2018

Meet Oscar Wilde. His life is ending.
The year is 1898. Wilde's once esteemed reputation is in ruins.
After the scandal, after the trial, and after the incarceration at Reading Gaol, Wilde lives in precarious exile in Paris. His friends urge him to start another great work, a new play or poem. But Wilde's attention is elsewhere: on the mysteries of art, on the demands of love, and on a final great flowering of the spirit.

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Read an excerpt:

Turning the corner at the Avenue de l'Opéra, intending to head north, it was actually difficult to walk despite the fact that the night before he'd slept better than he had any right to expect, that he carried his cane, and that he'd already braced his nerves with a glass of Armagnac at a café three streets back. He wore the best of his suits, the only one that evidenced no sign of stain or tearing, the one with the least obvious end-of-life smell. The one he reserved for those times, even now, when it seemed important to impress. He'd used the last of his current resources to get his shirt pressed and his shoes shined—and for the drink, of course. He would not eat later in the day and probably for the next one as well, unless he could find a café or restaurant willing to extend him credit. Virtually no chance of that.  And he had to hope that Douglas would be willing to cover the cost of whatever they consumed during this meeting. Surely they would consume something. This was too significant a conference for them to simply gab and leave. Certain diplomatic—to say nothing of Parisian—protocols would need to be respected.
But Wilde couldn't know. He couldn't know what Douglas was planning exactly—assuming Douglas himself even did—he couldn't know if the boy had guessed in advance what he was here to tell him and what that might mean. Bosie might come primed for battle or for reconciliation; but Oscar well knew from all his years of association with Lord Alfred Douglas that no matter what Bosie came primed for he was capable of changing his mind in seconds. 
Ahead of him lay the busy business of the avenue, including, blocks away from where he presently stood—bloated and unsteady on his feet—the intersection with the Boulevard des Capucines, on the other side of which sat the Café de la Paix. That was where Douglas had agreed to wait for him, after specifying that he would not visit Oscar at his "atrocious" place of residence. Wilde had never eaten at the famous—and expensive—café, which sat on the bottom floor of the Grand Hotel, although Louis Latourette and Ernest La Jeunesse and Jean Moréas and several others had said kind things about the place.  He'd started the morning hoping he would finally have the opportunity to take a meal there. But now, standing on the street, close enough to spy the café's actual location, Wilde wasn't sure if his stomach was in good enough shape to handle anything more than a stiff drink. Probably after the meeting was concluded he would be ravenous, no matter what kind of answer he got from his old lover. But he was nothing but nauseous with tension now. As he stood and wavered and squinted, he thought that he ought to be able to see the amazing sunlight of Bosie's hair, the exquisite sculpture of his forehead, the needy intensity of his eyes, even from this far away. But, of course, all he could see was colored awnings, chairs assembled on the sidewalk, shadowy bodies leaning or bending or sitting. He was not close enough yet for a truly clear view. He couldn't just stand here. He had to move forward if he ever wanted to see.

Excerpt from The Last Days of Oscar Wilde by John Vanderslice. 
Copyright © 2018 by John Vanderslice.
All Rights Reserved. Published by Burlesque Press LLC.

Meet the Author

John Vanderslice teaches creative writing at the University of Central Arkansas. His short stories, poems, essays, and one-act plays have been published in scores of literary journals, including Seattle Review, Sou'wester, Laurel Review, South Carolina Review, 1966, and Crazyhorse. His linked book of short stories Island Fog (Lavender Ink) was named by Library Journal as one of the Top 15 Indie Fiction Titles of 2014. His historical novel The Last Days of Oscar Wilde is forthcoming in January 2018 from Burlesque Press. 

Connect with John on his websiteblog, Facebook, and Twitter.