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

Thursday, October 31, 2019

Character Guest Post: BEWARE THE EAST WIND by Barbara Barrett

Beware the East Wind (The Mah Jongg Mysteries)
by Barbara Barrett


Good day, my fellow book people. I hope you're all enjoying the Fall weather. For those of you in California, I pray that you're safe from the fires. One of the great things about having a book blog, okay one of the many great things about having a book blog, is getting to meet and introduce you to authors and characters straight off the pages from wonderful stories. Today, I'm pleased to introduce you to Marianne Putnam, a retired pharmacist and Mah Jongg enthusiast, as well as the primary character in the Mah Jongg Mysteries by Barbara Barrett including Beware the East Wind. Ladies and gentlemen, I now turn the blog over to Marianne Putnam.




My name is Marianne Putnam. I was a pharmacist until a few years back when I retired and moved to the central Florida town of Serendipity Springs with my husband of over forty years, Beau. We didn't know a soul when we arrived except for our realtor, so I joined a few organizations to meet people, among which was a Mah Jongg group that met weekly at the community center. I'd never played the game in my life, having dismissed it as something little old ladies did. Truth be told, I guess you could call me a "little old lady" too, although I don't see myself like that even though the gray taking over my short red hair gives it the same appearance as that metal they sell in the Black Hills for jewelry, Black Hills Gold? 

Mah Jongg introduced me to many fabulous, interesting women, especially to my three friends—Sydney Bonner, Micki Demetrius and Katrina "Kat" Faulkner. We play weekly, but we also enjoy each other's company shopping, lunching, having coffee, the usual social activities enjoyed by women of a certain age whose retirement status affords them more free time than they ever experienced during their work lives. 

Unlike other women in our same age group—well, anyone else, for that matter—we have also found ourselves in the dubious position of solving a few murders around town. Not that we went looking for cases to investigate. It started with a fellow Mah Jongg player whose husband was killed in the woods near our coffee shop. Fearing she'd be arrested as the most likely suspect, she sought us out to help find her husband's killer before she wound up in jail. None of us had any formal investigative training. But we have developed lots of connections within the community she felt we could tap on the down low to gather intel. 

We were successful in finding the killer that first time but not without help from local law enforcement personnel. Admittedly, it was a thrill for each of us to break out of our day-to-day mold and become amateur sleuths, but that was it, we didn't see it continuing. Then others started to hear about our exploit and began coming to us when they needed similar help. 

Last year, I went through a period when I didn't feel like I was living my senior years to their fullest. Yes, I had Mah Jongg and wonderful friends and numerous social outlets here in town, and Beau and I have two terrific grown sons. Vince, the eldest, is married, has two children and lives in the East. Rob is single and lives on the West Coast. We're proud of all of them but rarely get to see them due to their job constraints. And I also had an occasional murder to solve. But I still wanted something more for me. Something that had nothing to do with pharmaceutical knowledge or dead bodies. 

One day I was flipping through magazines at the library, looking for some new exciting outlet for my imagination and energies, when I ran into a friend who was in need of a last-minute replacement for the table read of her one-act play. No time to rehearse, I read my part cold. Those ten minutes went by in a blur, but when it was over, I was a goner. I signed up for a course immediately and started writing my own one-acts. Since then I've even entered a few in contests around the country. I haven't won any yet, but I've received enough positive feedback to keep creating more. 

With the new focus on one-acts, my life was pretty good. And then one of the other students in my class came to me for help clearing his sister's name. Her partner in their catering service, who was also a hypnotist, one whose act my friends and I had witnessed just days earlier, had been killed, and because his sister had been heard threatening her partner by one of their clients, she feared the sheriff would be arresting her soon. So we took on the case.

This one presented difficult challenges because several key suspects were private hypnosis clients. Our client, who'd been arguing with her partner about breaking out on her own, had taken advantage of her partner's death to break into her computer files to obtain her partner's recipes. In the process, she read through the files of some of her partner's clients, discovering secrets and other information which, if made known, might have been the reason for someone to kill the woman. Sharing this information with us was problematic, but then our challenge was, how did we investigate people we weren't supposed to know about? 

After some difficult confrontations with Beau and Syd's husband Trip, who were concerned for our safety if we continued to investigate, the two of them joined us as we devised plausible ways to go undercover to gather intel with some surprising results. Beau "invented" painful knees in order to speak directly with one of the suspects, an orthopedic surgeon only to discover his knees were truly in need of surgery. The two of us invented this story about wanting to post a crazy video on our so-called blog showing us shampooing a poodle in order to observe another suspect, a dog groomer. That one was memorable, especially since it happened at the same time a hurricane threatened to bear down on central Florida.

You can read about it in the latest tale of our adventures in Barbara Barrett's Beware the East Wind




About Beware the East Wind

Beware the East Wind (The Mah Jongg Mysteries)

Cozy Mystery
4th in Series
Bowker (August 17, 2019)
Paperback: 254 pages
ISBN-10: 1948532182
ISBN-13: 978-1948532181
Digital ASIN: B07WJ7KYSW



Beware the east wind! It's hurricane season in Florida, and everyone's attention is focused on preparing for the latest tempest. But in Serendipity Springs, mah jongg pals Marianne, Sydney, Micki and Kat are caught in a different kind of whirlwind—a mesmerizing murder case involving a slain hypnotist/chef and the woman police suspect of doing her in, her embittered catering partner, Portia.

Purchase Links

Amazon   B&N


About the Author




Barbara Barrett started reading mysteries when she was pregnant with her first child to keep her mind off things like her changing body and food cravings. When she'd devoured as many Agatha Christies as she could find, she branched out to English village cozies and Ellery Queen.


Later, to avoid a midlife crisis, she began writing fiction at night when she wasn't at her day job as a human resources analyst for Iowa State Government. After releasing eleven full-length romance novels and one novella, she returned to the cozy mystery genre, using one of her retirement pastimes, the game of mah jongg, as her inspiration. Not only has it been a great social outlet, but it has also helped keep her mind active when not writing.

Bamboozled, the second book in her "Mah Jongg Mystery" series, features four friends who play mah jongg together and share otherwise in each other's lives. None of the four is based on an actual person. Each is an amalgamation of several mah jongg friends with a lot of Barbara's imagination thrown in for good measure. The four will continue to appear in future books in the series.

Anticipating the day when she would write her first mystery, she has been a member of the Mystery/Romantic Suspense chapter of Romance Writers of America for over a decade. She credits them with helping her hone her craft.

Barbara is married to the man she met her senior year of college. They have two grown children and eight grandchildren.

Author Links

Website – http://www.barbarabarrettbooks.com

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/Barbara-Barrett-Author-1678443865812386/

Twitter – www.twitter.com/bbarrettbooks

Pinterest – pinterest.com/barbarabarrett7

GoodReads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8181756.Barbara_Barrett

Subscribe Cozy Newsletter   https://www.subscribepage.com/BBCozies


Giveaway

Enter to win one (1) of three (3) digital copies of Beware the East Wind by Barbara Barrett. This giveaway is operated by Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours and books will be distributed by the tour company at the conclusion of the giveaway period. Void where prohibited by law. All entrants must use the Rafflecopter form below.

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TOUR PARTICIPANTS

October 24 – I'm All About Books – SPOTLIGHT

October 24 – Ascroft, eh? – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

October 25 – I Read What You Write – GUEST POST

October 25 – A Wytch's Book Review Blog – REVIEW, CHARACTER INTERVIEW

October 26 – Here's How It Happened – SPOTLIGHT

October 26 – Diane Reviews Books – GUEST POST

October 27 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW

October 27 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews - REVIEW

October 28 – Hearts & Scribbles – SPOTLIGHTS

October 28 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT

October 28 – eBook Addicts – SPOTLIGHT

October 29 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – GUEST POST

October 29 – Mysteries with Character – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

October 30 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW

October 30 – Literary Gold – SPOTLIGHT

October 30 – Island Confidential - SPOTLIGHT

October 31 – The Book Diva's Reads – CHARACTER GUEST POST

October 31 – Celticlady's Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

November 1 - A Blue Million Books – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

November 1 - LibriAmoriMiei – REVIEW

November 1 - Readeropolis – GUEST POST

November 2 - fundinmental – SPOTLIGHT

November 2 - MJB Reviewers – SPOTLIGHT



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Monday, October 28, 2019

Book Showcase: SMOKE SCREEN by Terri Blackstock



Smoke Screen


by Terri Blackstock


on Tour October 28 - November 30, 2019



Synopsis:


Smoke Screen by Terri Blackstock

One father was murdered, and another convicted of his death. All because their children fell in love.

Nate Beckett has spent his life fighting wildfires instead of the lies and rumors that drove him from his Colorado home town. His mother begs him to come to Carlisle now that his father has been released from prison, but it isn't until he's sidelined by an injury that he's forced to return and face his past. But that means facing Brenna too.

Fourteen years ago, Nate was in love with the preacher's daughter. When Pastor Strickland discovered Brenna had defied him to sneak out with Nate, the fight between Strickland and Nate's drunken dad was loud—and very public. Strickland was found murdered later that night, and everyone accused Roy Beckett. When the church burned down, people assumed it was Nate getting even for his father's conviction. He let the rumors fly and left Carlisle without looking back.

Now, Brenna is stunned to learn that the man convicted of murdering her father has been pardoned. The events of that night set her life on a bad course, and she's dealing with a brutal custody battle with her ex and his new wife where he's using lies and his family's money to sway the judge. She's barely hanging on, and she's turned to alcohol to cope. Shame and fear consume her.

As they deal with the present—including new information about that fateful night and a wildfire that's threatening their town—their past keeps igniting. Nate is the steady force Brenna has so desperately needed. But she'll have to learn to trust him again first.


Book Details:

Genre: Suspense (Christian)
Published by: HarperCollins-Thomas Nelson
Publication Date: November 5th 2019
Number of Pages: 352
ISBN: 0310332591 (ISBN13: 9780310332596)



Read an excerpt:


I woke up in a blinding bright room, my clothes off and something clamped to my face. I tried to reach it, but I couldn't bend my right arm, and my hand stung. An IV was taped to my other hand, but I moved carefully and touched the thing over my face.

An oxygen mask. I tried to sit up. "What happened?"

T-bird came to my bedside, a sheen of smoky sweat still soiling his face. "Nate, lie back, man."

"The fire," I said. "Need to get back. My men."

"They're still there. Making progress. But you're not going anywhere near a fire for a month or so."

I took the mask off and coughed a little, but managed to catch my breath. "A month?"

"Yep. Second degree burns on 20 percent of your body. Some of the burns are deep."

It came back to me, the event that had gotten me here.

"The family. Were they injured?"

"Not a scratch or burn. Turns out it was a U.S. Senator from Kansas. He says you're a hero."
"You know I had no choice. They were in the path—"
"Take the praise where you can get it, man. We don't get that much."
I looked at my right side. My right arm was bandaged, and so was my side and down my right leg to the point where my boots had stopped the flames. Second degree wasn't so bad, I told myself. Third degree would have been brutal. I'd be able to leave the hospital soon. I'd heal.

"I won't need a month," I said.

"Yes, you will. They can't let you go back. Doctor's orders. You're grounded until he releases you."

I managed to sit up, but it was a bad idea. The burns pulling on my skin reminded me why I shouldn't. "I can't be grounded during fire season. Are you crazy? I need to be there. You don't have enough men as it is."

"Sorry, Nate. It is what it is. Why don't you go home to Carlisle for a while? Take it easy."

Go home? Pop had just been pardoned, and he and my mom were trying to navigate the reunion. Though she would love to have me home, I didn't know if I was up to it. My father could be challenging, and fourteen years of prison hadn't done him any favors.

***


Excerpt taken from Smoke Screen by Terri Blackstock. Copyright © 2019 by Terri Blackstock. Used with permission by Thomas Nelson. All rights reserved.



Terri Blackstock

Author Bio:

Terri Blackstock has sold over seven million books worldwide and is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author. She is the award-winning author of Intervention, Vicious Cycle, and Downfall, as well as such series as Cape Refuge, Newpointe 911, the SunCoast Chronicles, and the Restoration Series.


Catch Up With Terri Blackstock On:




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Friday, October 25, 2019

2019 Book 317: GLASS SLIPPERS, EVER AFTER, AND ME by Julie Wright



Glass Slippers, Ever After, and Me by Julie Wright 
ISBN: 9781629726076 (paperback)
ISBN: 9781629737942 (ebook)
ASIN: B07WC3XMKT  (Kindle edition)
Publication date: October 21, 2019 
Publisher: Shadow Mountain


Can the fairy tale bring Charlotte the happiness she’s looking for, or was he always there to begin with?
 
A modern, reimagined Cinderella story.
 
When aspiring author Charlotte Kingsley finally gets published, she thinks all her dreams have come true. But the trouble begins when her publicity firm reinvents her quirky online presence into a perfectly curated dream life. Gone are the days of sweatpant posts and ice cream binges with her best friend, Anders, replaced instead with beautiful clothes, orchestrated selfies, and no boyfriend. Only, that carefully curated fairy tale life is ruining her self-esteem and making her feel like a fraud.

When a bestselling author takes Charlotte under her wing—almost like a fairy godmother—she helps Charlotte see the beautiful person she already is and the worth of being authentic. But is it too late to save her relationship with Anders? The clock is quickly ticking towards midnight, and Charlotte must decide between her fairy tale life and the man she loves, before he's gone forever. 




Purchase Links (#CommissionsEarned)  IndieBound  |  Amazon  |  Amazon Kindle  |  Barnes and Noble  |  B&N Nook  |  BookDepository  |  Books-A-Million  |  Kobo eBook  


Praise/Endorsements:

"This sweet, heartfelt tale of authentic characters facing intriguing challenges is at once very romantic and charmingly chaste." -Booklist, starred review

"Wright spins a modern-day and very meta Cinderella tale. This fast-paced, lighthearted romance also carries a moral lesson about falsehoods getting in the way of the quest for true happiness." -Publishers Weekly
 "Aspiring author Charlotte 'Lettie' Kingsley writes fairy tales and hopes to be published. When she gets one more rejection, her feelings of pique lead her to an inspired idea: She'll write a self-help book called The Cinderella Fiction that will encourage readers to live their best lives. Lettie's agent has big plans for the book and has created a team to make it a bestseller, including a PR firm that demands a complete makeover for Lettie. From wardrobe to apartment to a new nickname, 'Char,' every detail is changed to create an image that inspires admiration and a legion of followers. However, it also means that her real-life relationships are affected, and the new Char is so different from the old Lettie that she'll have to sift through what she wanted, and what she's gained, so she can live her own best life, authentically. Wright updates 'Cinderella' with a modern twist and smart, satisfying details." -Kirkus



Charlotte 'Lettie" Kingsley has always dreamed that she might be able to make it as an author. She's written eight novels and received over 160 rejections. She truly believed her last novel would be "the one" to get accepted by her dream agent and she'd be on her way to becoming a published author. Her hopes and dreams are dashed when she, once again, receives a rejection letter. After pitching a fit, drowning her sorrows in ice cream and Thai food, Lettie decides to write the anti-novel. She takes three weeks off from her job and writes a nonfiction self-help book entitled The Cinderella Fiction. This isn't the usual self-help book, but it does focus on being true to oneself, no matter what, and fighting for what you want. This book not only gets accepted by her dream agent, but she also gets a massive contract from a publishing company for the book in mere weeks after she's submitted it. Lettie's life is turned upside down because she now has to become the personification of a self-help guru. She hires a PR agent, meets her favorite author who becomes her mentor, and completely reorganizes her life. This wouldn't ordinarily be a problem since she doesn't really like her job, her furniture is mostly thrift-store finds, and she's always been frugal when it comes to buying clothes, etc. Now her social media persona has to match her self-help author persona. She has a boyfriend that she isn't able to acknowledge publicly, even though that is one of the few relationships in her life that seems to be doing well. She's also dealing with family issues, namely, her mother doesn't seem to understand or appreciate what she's doing or her goals, her stepsister or "sister of the heart" is also struggling with her relationship with Lettie's mother and wants to move in with Lettie. Most people would think a mega publishing contract for a first-time author, best-selling author as a mentor, and a boyfriend that's actually a best friend would make for a fairy tale existence, but looks can be deceiving. Lettie has to decide who she is so she can be true to that person whether it's Lettie or the new "Char" created by the PR firm. Can she be true to her boyfriend Anders, her sister Kat, and her former friends, with all of the changes being asked of her or is this new person a fictional creation no one can live up to? Will Lettie make the right choices about her new dream life versus reality before she possibly loses the love of her life?

I read Glass Slippers, Ever After, and Me by Julie Wright in just one afternoon. This was one of those stories that once I started reading, I simply couldn't stop until the end because I didn't want to put it down. I enjoyed the characters, especially Lettie, her sister Kat, her boyfriend - Anders, the best-selling author aka fairy godmother - Lillian, and more. There aren't any bad guys in this story, just people with good intentions gone astray, including Lettie's mother. The main character is faced with a dilemma that we all must deal with in terms of being authentic in a time when social media doesn't want to face imperfections. One of the many things I enjoyed about this story, other than the Cinderella retelling, was the family drama, the romance, and the dream-nightmare scenario Lettie faces by having everything she ever wanted coming true. But one of the things I think I enjoyed the most, were the "quotes" from the fake book, The Cinderella Fiction written by the main character. I've got to say, I really want to read this fictitious nonfiction book! Ms. Wright has crafted a story that is sweet, wholly realistic, beyond witty, and, yes, romantic. I could go on about this book, but let me just say that if you enjoy well-written contemporary romance with smart and witty dialogue, and realistic scenarios then I highly recommend you grab a copy of Glass Slippers, Ever After, and Me to read. If you're not sure about the romance element, but enjoy reading contemporary stories dealing with family issues, then again, I encourage you to grab a copy of Glass Slippers, Ever After, and Me to read. This was a highly enjoyable read for me and I'll be handing my print copy over to my 84-y.o. mother to read (she read the back cover and has decided it's her next read). I look forward to reading more from this author in the future and maybe even rereading Glass Slippers, Ever After, and Me.


Disclaimer: I received a free digital review copy of this book from the publisher via Edelweiss+, I also received a free print review copy 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


Julie Wright is the author of more than twenty novels, including the Proper Romance® novels Lies Jane Austen Told Me and Lies, Love, and Breakfast at Tiffany's. She is a Whitney Award winner and a Crown Heart recipient. She is represented by agent Sara Crowe. She loves reading and writing, playing on the beach or hiking with her husband and kids, and watching her husband make dinner.


Connect with the author via Twitter or her website.



This review and blog tour brought to you via Shadow Mountain Publishing

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

2019 Book 307: SECRETS OF THE CHOCOLATE HOUSE by Paula Brackston

Secrets of the Chocolate House, Found Things #2, by Paula Brackston 
ISBN: 9781250072443 (hardcover)
ISBN: 9781466884113 (ebook)
ISBN: 9781250242143 (audiobook)
ASIN: B07PHV8NMD (Audible audiobook)
ASIN: B07PBP38Q7 (Kindle edition)
Publication date: October 22, 2019 
Publisher: St. Martin's Press



The second novel in a bewitching series "brimming with charm and charisma" that will make "fans of Outlander rejoice!" (Woman's World Magazine)

New York Times bestselling author Paula Brackston's The Little Shop of Found Things was called "a page-turner that will no doubt leave readers eager for future series installments" (Publishers Weekly). Now, Brackston returns to the Found Things series with its sequel, Secrets of the Chocolate House.

After her adventures in the seventeenth century, Xanthe does her best to settle back into the rhythm of life in Marlborough. She tells herself she must forget about Samuel and leave him in the past where he belongs. With the help of her new friends, she does her best to move on, focusing instead on the success of her and Flora's antique shop.

But there are still things waiting to be found, still injustices needing to be put right, still voices whispering to Xanthe from long ago about secrets wanting to be shared.

While looking for new stock for the shop, Xanthe hears the song of a copper chocolate pot. Soon after, she has an upsetting vision of Samuel in great danger, compelling her to make another journey to the past.

This time she'll meet her most dangerous adversary. This time her ability to travel to the past will be tested. This time she will discover her true destiny. Will that destiny allow her to return home? And will she be able to save Samuel when his own fate seems to be sealed? 





Purchase Links:  IndieBound  |  Amazon  |  Amazon Kindle  |  Audible Audiobook  |  Barnes and Noble  |  B&N Nook  |  BookDepository  |  Books-A-Million  |  Downpour Audiobook  |  eBooks  |  !ndigo Books  |  Kobo eBook  |  Kobo Audiobook  




Xanthe Westlake and her mother, Flora, moved to Marlborough to open their antique shop in Marlborough in The Little Shop of Found Things. Readers discovered that Xanthe has the uncanny ability to hear objects "sing" to her and then travel through time. In the first book, she traveled back to the seventeenth century at the behest of a ghost and a chatelaine to protect the life of an unknown girl. Whilst there, she met and fell in love with a local builder/architect, Samuel Appleby. Samuel helped her to prove the girl's innocence and thus gain her freedom, but Xanthe knew that they were two people out of step with one another. She had obligations in her time and couldn't stay in the seventeenth century and Samuel had his own obligations and couldn't travel through time with her. There was nothing for her to do but leave him behind. Now, Xanthe has discovered a hoard of chocolate pots and one pot in particular is singing to her and the song seems tied to her beloved. The only thing Xanthe knows is that she must once again travel back in time and do whatever she can to help Samuel, but this time is not quite like the first. This time she meets other time spinners and one is willing to do whatever takes to learn just how Xanthe manages to control walking back-and-forth through time. Unfortunately, this time spinner also holds the fate of Samuel's life in his hands. Can Xanthe free her beloved from this tyrannical time spinner without damaging his reputation and livelihood? Can she provide the answers this time spinner seeks without violating the time spinner code? Can she do all of this while keeping her mother safe and unaware of her time traveling? And if that's not enough to deal with, can she handle all of this drama and deal with the reemergence of her former boyfriend and drug dealer, Marcus in her new hometown or will he finally accept "not interested" and "get lost" as her final answers?

Obviously, I had to take time to read The Little Shop of Found Things before reading Secrets of the Chocolate House. Glad I did because it provides the backstory for Xanthe and her mother. By the way, did I forget to mention that Xanthe's mother, Flora, is suffering from debilitating arthritis and going through a somewhat acrimonious divorce from Xanthe's father? Also, Xanthe served a few months in prison on drug charges because of her former boyfriend and his drug dealing and he refused to step up out of fear he might go to prison (what a guy!). There's a lot going on in both The Little Shop of Found Things and Secrets of the Chocolate House but for those of you that enjoy time travel stories with hints of romance, then I strongly encourage you to read these books! (Might I suggest drinking plenty of hot chocolate whilst reading Secrets of the Chocolate House, seems appropriate doesn't it?) I thoroughly enjoyed all of the drama from the contemporary and historical timelines. I liked all of the characters, except for Marcus and the tyrannical time spinner, Benedict Fairfax. There are bad guys in these stories and horrible guys in these stories. Some get their comeuppance and others seem to walk away (you'll need to read the books to learn which does what). I rather enjoyed the fact that Xanthe doesn't really know what she should do and constantly struggles to find the answers. She's a bit quirky but she has pluck and perseverance. Secrets of the Chocolate House has plenty of returning characters and it was nice to get to know them a bit better, such as Gerri the tea and pastry shop owner, Harley the publican, and Liam the mechanic. It was also nice to revisit Samuel in the seventeenth century and get to know some new characters, such as Mistress Flyte - the owner of the chocolate shop and an experienced but retired time spinner, and Edmund - the worker at the chocolate shop. I've enjoyed reading previous books by Ms. Brackston and can't wait for the next book in the Found Things series. For now, I'll be content with rereading The Little Shop of Found Things and Secrets of the Chocolate House while I wait. Just in case you couldn't tell, I really enjoyed Secrets of the Chocolate House and am eager to see what happens next for Xanthe and friends.



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, October 11, 2019

Book Spotlight: READ AND BURIED by Eva Gates



Read and Buried:

A Lighthouse Library Mystery
by Eva Gates


About Read and Buried


Read and Buried: A Lighthouse Library Mystery

Cozy Mystery
6th in Series
Crooked Lane Books (October 15, 2019)
Hardcover: 325 Pages
ISBN-10: 1643852337
ISBN-13: 9781643852331
Digital ISBN: 9781643852348
Digital ASIN: B07P9MQV3F




Purchase Links:  IndieBound  |  Amazon  |  Amazon Kindle  |  Barnes and Noble  |  B&N Nook  |  BookDepository  |  Books-A-Million  |  !ndigo Books  |  Kobo eBooks



Librarian Lucy Richardson unearths a mysterious map dating back to the Civil War. But if she can't crack its code, she may end up read and buried.
The Bodie Island Lighthouse Library Classic Novel Book Club is reading Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne while workers dig into the earth to repair the Lighthouse Library's foundations. The digging halts when Lucy pulls a battered tin box containing a Civil War-era diary from the pit. Tucked inside is a hand-drawn map of the Outer Banks accompanied by a page written in an indecipherable code.
The library is overrun by people clamoring to see the artifact. Later that night, Lucy and Connor McNeil find the body of historical society member Jeremy Hughes inside the library. Clearly Jeremy was not the only one who broke into the library--the map and the coded page are missing.
Lucy's nemesis, Louise Jane McKaughnan, confesses to entering the library after closing to sneak a peek but denies seeing Jeremy--or his killer. When Lucy discovers that fellow-librarian Charlene had a past with Jeremy, she's forced to do what she vowed not to do--get involved in the case. Meanwhile, the entire library staff and community become obsessed with trying to decode the page. But when the library has a second break in, it becomes clear that someone is determined to solve that code.


About Eva Gates



Made with Repix (http://repix.it)

Vicki Delany is one of Canada's most prolific and varied crime writers and a national bestseller in the U.S. She has written more than thirty books: clever cozies to Gothic thrillers to gritty police procedurals, to historical fiction and novellas for adult literacy. She is currently writing four cozy mystery series: the Tea By The Sea mysteries for Kensington, the Year Round Christmas mysteries for Penguin Random House, the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop series and, as Eva Gates, the Lighthouse Library books for Crooked Lane.

Vicki is a past president of the Crime Writers of Canada and co-founder and organizer of the Women Killing It crime writing festival. She lives in Prince Edward County, Ontario.

Author Links

         
  • Website: www.vickidelany.com www.facebook.com/evagatesauthor;


  •      
  • Twitter: @vickidelany @evagatesauthor


  •      
  • Instagram: vickidelany





  • Giveaway

    Enter to win a signed, print copy of Read and Buried by Eva Gates. To enter use the Rafflecopter form below. This giveaway is open to residents of the United States and Canada only. Void where prohibited by law.

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    TOUR PARTICIPANTS

    October 7 – Carla Loves To Read – REVIEW

    October 7 – Babs Book Bistro - SPOTLIGHT - Sapphyria's Books

    October 8 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW

    October 8 – The Power of Words – REVIEW

    October 8 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT

    October 9 – The Book's the Thing – REVIEW, GUEST POST

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    Tuesday, October 8, 2019

    Book Showcase: IF I HAD TWO LIVES by Abbigail Rosewood



    If I Had Two Lives by Abbigail N. Rosewood
    ISBN: 9781609455217 (paperback)
    ISBN: 9781609455224 (ebook)
    ASIN: B07JP1LFS3 (Kindle edition)
    Publisher:  Europa Editions
    Release Date: April 9, 2019


    This luminous debut novel follows a young woman from her childhood in Vietnam to her life as an immigrant in the United States – and her necessary return to her homeland.

    As a child, isolated from the world in a secretive military encampment with her distant mother, she turns for affection to a sympathetic soldier and to the only other girl in the camp, forming two friendships that will shape the rest of her life.

    As a young adult in New York, cut off from her native country and haunted by the scars of her youth, she is still in search of a home. She falls in love with a married woman who is the image of her childhood friend, and follows strangers because they remind her of her soldier. When tragedy arises, she must return to Vietnam to confront the memories of her youth – and recover her identity.

    An inspiring meditation on love, loss, and the presence of a past that never dies, the novel explores the ancient question: do we value the people in our lives because of who they are, or because of what we need them to be?






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    Read An Excerpt

    Chapter 9

    We started to plan our escape. Exactly what prompted our decision, I wasn't sure, only we didn't like that the old black and blues on our bodies didn't fade completely before new ones were pressed on top of them. We started to fear that if we stayed, our skin would eventually turn a dark purple, an ill-fitting shade for us both. Boyfriends would be nearly impossible then. The beatings, different in the way they were administered and in the reasons why, looked the same on our skin.

    After having gone out with my soldier, I confirmed to the little girl that our camp wasn't completely isolated. When we broke out of the camp, we would follow the river upstream to town. There was a market and a shack with a mean boy as a guard. I didn't think he would let us stay there. We would have to beg or sell lottery tickets until we had enough for a bus pass to the city. Unlike in our usual games, we didn't think about the what-ifs, the endless ways we could fail. Failure to make it out of the camp: get caught, get lost, or starve. I feared a great number of things, but voicing them was useless. The little girl was set on leaving.

    I didn't tell the little girl what my soldier had said about me moving away, even though it had been on my mind ever since. I had thought myself perfectly content until another option was presented to me. The United States seemed a contradictory place, where a girl my soldier once knew had gone, where he too wanted to go. It was a place that made one person's dream and shattered another's, my soldier had told me. Half of me believed in running away from the camp with the little girl, but the other half wanted to go to New York more than anything.

    At the camp, time didn't seem to move forward linearly, instead scattering itself all around us. Everything was horizontal. In the morning, I ate breakfast and studied at my desk. In the evening, I followed the little girl around. At night, I fell asleep next to Mother while she worked on her laptop. I'd forgotten how many birthdays I'd celebrated since I'd been here. I didn't know my age.

    All I knew was I didn't want to be a girl forever. I wanted to know the adult loneliness my soldier talked about. There were occasions when he would treat me as an equal, a friend. Unlike Mother, he had never yelled at me or assumed my ignorance. A mutual understanding eclipsed our relationship. I knew he shared with me things he wouldn't talk about to anyone else, even other adults. He valued my intuition. It was a gift, he had said. Though I didn't know what he meant, I promised myself I would nourish and strengthen it.

    In New York, I knew from my soldier that there were many tall buildings. One floor added on top of another and the buildings grew vertically until they reached the sky. There would be a sense of time passing.

    Though I longed for something new, anything other than the camp, I continued to participate in the little girl's plan. If anything, I was more enthusiastic than before. Usually, it was the little girl who could create anything with her mind. This time it was I who talked wildly about our journey as vagabonds. The knowledge that I didn't have to carry out the plans freed me. It was then that I first became aware of her as an entity outside myself who could be deceived and manipulated.

    We were standing in front of the brick wall, where the little girl had waved to me for the first time. We hadn't played this game in a long time—pretend to build our own protected city. That night, we began to stack the bricks in the same way the little girl had shown me when we became friends. I told her the story of the silhouettes again and again, embellishing details and smudging facts. She was captivated. I even suggested that one of these women was her mother. 

    She bit her lips as she worked. Then she stopped and frowned in a way that made her whole face crumble. When I saw that she was shaking her head, I quickly corrected myself. I didn't want to take it too far. 

    "Maybe it wasn't her. Could be anyone," I said. 

    "No, it's her." She shook her head again as if to empty her thoughts. 

    "What if it's not?" I said. 

    "I want to see her. I want to go there," she said and sat down on the wall we'd made. 

    "If that's what you want."

    "Will you come with me?" she said, not looking at me.

    "Anywhere." I said.

    It seemed like the sky could not get any darker, but it did, as if the light was drained out of it. The little girl asked if there were no sun ever again, would I miss it? I told her of course, I would. I would miss anything I couldn't ever have again. We couldn't see well in the sudden blackness so we looked up at the stars. I tried to make out the little girl's face. The sky had wrapped her up in its millions of shimmering lights. I reached out my hand and touched her face. She was as cold as night. 

    A few months after the shopping trip, Mother showed me a photo of her friend in a newspaper. One side of her face was dented. Where her eye was supposed to be was a smear of skin oozing pus and blood. Her good eye was wide-open, staring right at me. I dropped the newspaper to the ground and ran to the bathroom. I looked in the mirror and pulled on my cheeks. Everything was intact. When I came out, Mother was sitting on the floor, looking at the photo. She tilted her head left and right alternately. 

    "She used to be my secretary. She was also a talented singer," Mother said. She covered her face. "I hardly recognize her. Come here." 

    I lay down on the floor and put my head in her lap. 

    "The article says she was found unconscious on the street. They knew the news would reach me. It's not safe here anymore. I'm making arrangements for you to go to the United States. When it's right, I'll join you." 

    I started to cry. I was afraid of losing her again. She petted my temple, scratched my back. Her touch felt alien. 

    "Is she dead?" I asked.

    "No. That's the punishment." 

    On the news, India conducted three atomic tests despite worldwide disapproval. Pakistan responded with five nuclear tests. In the US, Clinton ordered air strikes against Iraq. A gay student was beaten to death. Vietnam dealt with the occasional protests from dissatisfied peasants and non-Party intellectuals. Corruption plagued and inhibited the country's socio-economic advancement. Mother had taught me how to be callused to the tragedies of the world, or at least act as if I was. Nothing seemed important compared to the picture of the young woman, which invaded all aspects of my imagination. Whenever I closed my eyes, everyone I'd ever known had a bloody face, smashed teeth, broken jaw bones that jutted out and then were bent backward by an invisible hand to puncture their throat. Yet danger in my mother's mouth was more like a violent film than anything real. Danger was the idea of running away with the little girl. Danger was the pleasure and shame I felt when my soldier's gaze was on my back the first time I tried on a bra. 

    Life went on normally while Mother silently searched for ways to send me abroad. I developed an irrepressible rage around animals, who I used to love. I had the urge to grab the necks of stray dogs and squeeze them. I kicked my pet chicken when she tried to get near me so that I wouldn't do worse things to hurt her. I hated anything that was helpless and weaker than myself. 

    That appetite for physical harm was so strong that I went to the pond one day by myself. It was barely morning. The sun had just broken through the sky. I crept out of bed so that I wouldn't wake Mother. In the foyer, yellow and orange dust pirouetted around in elaborate patterns. I opened the door and left. Overcome by fear and excitement, I'd forgotten to put on shoes. It was better that way. I didn't want anybody to ask where I was going. The pond was north of the community's kitchen and next to the dumpsters. Adults had warned me never to swim there. The water was extremely toxic from years of being the dumpsite for oil and a medley of liquid waste from the kitchen. It was incomprehensible how fish still survived there. Nobody would eat fish from that pond. 

    I crunched up my pants to above my knees and inched toward the syrupy water. When the water was up to my thigh, I stopped walking. I could feel many fish around my ankles. They were not afraid of me. Maybe if they bit me, I would grow hideous scales on my legs. I reached down to catch them. They were fast, dispersing as soon as my hand shot down into the thick water. I couldn't see anything so I waited until they came back. They always did, circling my legs rapidly. After a while, my whole body was soaked and itchy. Still I didn't catch any fish, but I kept trying, growling to myself. I must have been making noises out loud. 

    "Hey, kid," someone said. 

    I didn't know how long he had been standing there by the kitchen's back door. His apron was as ragged as the rest of his clothes. He was smoking a cigarette. 

    "What are you doing, kid? You won't catch any fish that way." He came toward me and threw his cigarette in the pond. I'd been caught. I decided that not saying anything would be my best way out.

    "I wouldn't recommend eating them either. They'll make you sick. Unless you fry them really well. I mean, you need to fry them down to the bones. Then you can eat them." He bent down and rolled up the cuffs of his pants. "I've been that hungry before. I've been so hungry once I ate a cockroach. I guess these fish can't be any worse." 

    "You ate cockroaches?" I couldn't help myself. 

    "Not cockroaches. A cockroach, kid. There's a big difference. Hang on." He scurried off toward the kitchen and came back a few a minutes later with a colander in his hand. 

    I felt the water beat harder against my waist as he came toward me. 

    "What did it taste like?" 

    "Oh, not much really. A bit like licorice." He submerged the metal colander into the water. "Now we wait." 

    When he pulled the colander out, two little fish were flopping inside. Their bones were visible through their skin. 

    "What do you want with them?" he said. 

    "To make them die."

    "Kill them you mean. And then cook them?" 

    "No." 

    "Listen, I can't take any part in that unless it's for a good cause. If you're not cooking the fish, maybe we can say it's mercy killing, okay? Okay. And it is. God, what a shitty pond. What a shitty life. Let's put them out of their misery." 

    We dragged ourselves out of the water. I scooped a fish up inside my palm. It didn't struggle, its heart throbbing lightly against my finger. The man pulled a cigarette from his shirt pocket and lit it. My fingers pressed in slowly against its slippery flesh. I smeared the dead fish on the ground between us. It smelled the way the pond did, but not any different alive than dead. 

    "Here." He handed me the colander and looked away. I took the other fish and threw it back to the pond. 

    "One. I only wanted to kill one," I said. 

    "You only wanted to rescue one," he said. 


    Excerpt from If I Had Two Lives by Abbigail Rosewood.  
    Copyright © 2019 by Abbigail Rosewood. 
    Reproduced with permission. All rights reserved.



    Meet the author


    Abbigail N. Rosewood was born in Vietnam, where she lived until the age of twelve. She holds an MFA in creative writing from Columbia University. An excerpt from her first novel won first place in the Writers Workshop of Asheville Literary Fiction Contest. She lives in New York City.



    Connect with the author via Facebook, Goodreads, Instagram, Twitter, and her website.  




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