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, October 20, 2020

Book Showcase: PROSPECTS OF A WOMAN by Wendy Voorsanger

 



PROSPECTS OF A WOMAN by Wendy Voorsanger
Prospects of a Woman
by Wendy Voorsanger
ISBN: 9781631527814 (paperback)
ISBN: 9781631527821 (ebook)
ASIN: B083W7MJTW   (Kindle edition)
Publisher: She Writes Press
Publication Date: October 20, 2020

The story of one woman's passionate quest to carve out a place for herself in the liberal and bewildering society that emerged during the California gold rush frenzy

Elisabeth Parker comes to California from Massachusetts in 1849 with her new husband, Nate, to reunite with her father, who's struck gold on the American River. She soon realizes her husband is not the man she thought—and neither is her father, who abandons them shortly after they arrive. As Nate struggles with his sexuality, Elisabeth is forced to confront her preconceived notions of family, love, and opportunity. 

She finds comfort in corresponding with her childhood friend back home, writer Louisa May Alcott, and spending time in the company of a mysterious Californio Don. Armed with Ralph Waldo Emerson's Self-Reliance, she sets out to determine her role in building the West, even as she comes to terms with the sacrifices she must make to achieve independence and happiness.

Prospects of a Woman is a fresh, authentic retelling of the West that explores women's contributions in California and shatters the stereotypes of the typical hard-boiled novel of the West that has captured the American imagination for over a century.





Purchase Links #CommissionEarned:   IndieBound  |  Amazon  |  Amazon Kindle  |  Barnes and Noble  |  B&N Nook Book  |  BookDepository  |  !ndigo  |  Kobo eBook


Praise for the Book


"Prospects of a Woman is a fascinating, complex, dark, and beautiful novel of women and sexuality on the frontier of the California gold strike days." 
— Douglas Glover, two-time Governor General's award-winning author of Elle

"I loved this surprisingly feminist story of Gold Rush-era California! Elizabeth Parker is a heroine to fall in love with--plucky, sensuous, courageous and clear-eyed. It is a rare and unusual pleasure to—finally—have a narrative of the Gold Rush told from a woman's point of view."
—Janis Cooke Newman, author of Mary: Mrs. A. Lincoln

"Prospects of a Woman is thoughtful and thrilling. The landscape of California - the rough-scrabble mining towns, the wildness of the river and woods -- sings on every page."
—Alex Myers, author of the novels Revolutionary and Divide

"Prospects of a Woman is a riveting read about a woman who comes to California during the Gold Rush determined to escape societal constraints, find love and strike it rich. As a woman in a man's world, she faces innumerable challenges but manages to rise above them. This is a bold, rollicking and satisfying tale, one that is hard to put down."
—Frances Dinkelspiel, award-winning journalist and author of the best-selling books, Tangled Vines and Towers of Gold


Watch the Video:




Read an Excerpt


PART 1
Upon hearing a circus had come to town, an excited farmer set out in his wagon. Along the way he met up with the circus parade, led by an elephant, which so terrified his horses that they bolted and pitched the wagon over on its side, scattering his vegetables and eggs across the roadway. "I don't give a hang," exulted the jubilant farmer as he picked himself up. "I have seen the elephant."
— NINETEENTH-CENTURY AMERICAN FOLKTALE


1
"The power which resides in him is new in nature, and none but he knows what that is which he can do, nor does he know until he has tried."
— RALPH WALDO EMERSON, "SELF-RELIANCE"


Elisabeth counted the stitches holding together their dingy canvas tent. Twice. She got 946 both times. Cooped up in the midday heat, she seethed at Nate for leaving her alone. They'd lost too much time already. Refusing to wait another goddamn minute on his frittering and scheming, she untied the tent flaps and crawled out, stretching her arms long overhead. A soft air of relief touched her cheeks. Aching with hunger, she stumbled downriver, in the direction of Culoma Town. She hadn't eaten since a bite of beans for breakfast the day before.

Nate had left early that morning, again. Gone digging for gold in the river, refusing to let her join. Telling her to stay put. Warning about unsavory men roaming around, men with a mind to take what they will. Elisabeth was done waiting on him to bring her something decent to eat. She grabbed her satchel and headed for the river trail, thinking on how she'd get food in her belly with no money left.

She wasn't thinking about the roaming men but about the blisters on her feet still burning something awful from that long journey getting to the river. Elisabeth walked all afternoon alongside the American River roiling loud, cutting through the valley, tempting her. Tempting Nate. Her eyes burned with the honest light shining lush and vibrant through the narrow valley. The grass glowed golden along the river trail, and the rich green pines marched up the steep sides of the canyon, swaying alive and standing taller and fuller than the scraggly pitch pines at home in Concord. Warm air whooshed through the branches, spreading a sweet smell around.

Arriving in Culoma Town, Elisabeth picked her way through a mess of empty tents strewn haphazard. Plopping down on a log in the center of town, she unlaced her boots to let her stockinged feet breathe and witnessed new beginnings. Industrious fellas buzzed around, hammering up buildings with fresh-hewn boards and siding and plank floors and shingle roofs. Jabbering and rushing. Heaving pails and shovels and pans and timber. Haggling for food and supplies. No women milled about, and she wondered if they were all hiding away too.

Some of the fellas in town noticed her sitting alone on the log. One man dropped his hammer and walked over, stammering and stuttering as if he hadn't seen a woman in years. She smiled polite, introducing herself as Mrs. Nathaniel Parker. More men came. And more. Until over a dozen stood around gawking at the only woman in Culoma Town. She pulled at her dress collar. Shifted her bottom on the log. Cleared her throat. When a few of the men sat down in the crisped-up grass like they had all the time to waste, she wondered why but didn't dare ask. A fella with a long curly beard dripping down his chin offered her a cup of cool river water. She took it, gulping. Wiping her cheek with the back of her hand, she reddened with shame. When one man tossed two bits into her empty cup she looked at him coolly, thinking him daft. When another coin clinked into the cup, then another, she didn't give them back. Didn't look at the coins either. She simply stared up at the clear sky, fanning herself with her shabby straw hat, acting like she couldn't care less if those foolish men wanted to waste good money just to sit near a woman looking not exactly pretty.

"I'm not out here to beg," she said. "Of course not," said the long-beard fella. She shuffled her unlaced boots, tamping down the dry grass. "I'm simply out getting some air," she said. "We all see that," he said. An older man, wrinkled up like a prune, scooted up to her left knee. She caught him looking her up and down, leering, and she wanted to slap him for the lack of manners but held back. Letting men stare for money was unseemly, no matter the circumstances, but she knew each clink of a coin meant she and Nate would eat tonight. Oh, he'd be furious, of course. He'd probably even accuse her of flirting. Maybe she was. Flirting. Encouraging. She didn't care. She needed a proper supper and a hot bath. Besides, the men seemed harmless.

She considered how many coins those fools had given her, but was too afraid to count for fear they'd wise up to this absurd payment-for-gawking scheme and demand all those coins back. The men stared at her wide-eyed while a pecker pounded on a nearby trunk, knocking and knocking for grubs, matching the thud in her head.

"Any of you know a Henry Goodwin?" Elisabeth asked. "That your husband?" "My father. He settled a claim up the North Fork," she said. It'd been nearly a month since he'd run off with that Indian girl, and she still stung sore and angry at his leaving. She convinced herself he'd change his mind. Convinced
he'd return to the claim eventually.

"Sing us a song?" A prune-face fella asked. "Not hardly," she said. "Can't? Or won't?" Not exactly delicate, Elisabeth lacked the finer qualities admired in most ladies. Her singing sounded more feeble frog than melodious finch, and she had no patience for sitting still for parlor conversations, finding the feminine topics of curtain colors and canning peaches dreadfully dull. Nate said she walked too heavy, but she knew he'd appreciated her strong back when they'd taken turns pushing their cart loaded down with his case of books through the foothills and into the river basin.

Excerpt from Prospects of a Woman by Wendy Voorsanger.  
Copyright © 2020 by Wendy Voorsanger. 
Reproduced with permission. All rights reserved.



Meet The Author

Wendy Voorsanger
Born and raised on the American River in Sacramento, Wendy Voorsanger has long held an intense interest in the historical women of California. She started her career in Silicon Valley, writing about technology trends and innovations for newspapers, magazines, and Fortune 100 companies. 

She currently manages SheIsCalifornia.net, a blog dedicated to chronicling the accomplishments of California women through history. Her debut historical novel, Prospects of a Woman will be published in October 2020 (She Writes Press); an excerpt entitled "Shifting in California" won 1st place in the California Writers Club short story contest and is published in the Fault Zone: Shift: An Anthology of Stories

She earned a B.A. in Journalism from California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo and an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts. She is a member of the Castro Writers' Cooperative, the Lit Camp Advisory Board, and the San Mateo Public Library Literary Society. 

In addition to being an author, Wendy has worked as a lifeguard, ski instructor, and radio disc jockey. Wendy lives in Northern California with her husband and two sons. 

Connect to the author via her website, Facebook, Goodreads, Instagram, and blog.



This showcase, excerpt, and blog tour brought to you by PR by the Book

Sunday, October 18, 2020

2020 Book 389: SNAPPED by Alexa Martin

SNAPPED by Alexa Martin
Snapped
, The Playbook #4, by Alexa Martin 
ISBN: 9780593102503 (trade paperback)
ISBN: 9780593102510 (eBook)
ISBN: 9780593291375 (Audiobook)
ASIN: B088HHBFR5  (Audible audiobook)
ASIN: B084786PTF   (Kindle edition)
Publication date: October 20, 2020 
Publisher: Berkley Books


With the stakes this high, it's no longer just a game for the quarterback in this romance by the author of Blitzed.


Elliot Reed is living her best life—or pretending to. She owes it to her dad's memory to be happy and make the most of her new job as Strategic Communications Manager for the Denver Mustangs. Things are going well until star quarterback Quinton Howard Jr. decides to use the field as his stage and becomes the first player to take a knee during the national anthem.


As the son of a former professional athlete, Quinton knows the good, the bad, and the ugly about football. He's worked his entire life to gain recognition in the sport, and now that he has it, he's not about to waste his chance to change the league for better. Not even the brilliant but infuriating Elliot, who the Mustangs assign to manage him, will get Quinton back in line.


A rocky initial meeting only leads to more tension between Quinton and Elliot. But as her new job forces them to spend time together, she realizes they may have more in common than she could've ever imagined. With her job and his integrity on the line, this is one coin toss that nobody can win. 




Purchase Links #CommissionEarned:  IndieBound  |  Amazon  |  Amazon Kindle  |  Audible  |  Audiobooks  |  AudiobooksNow  |  Barnes and Noble  |  B&N Nook Book  |  BookDepository  |  eBooks  |  !ndigo Books  |  Kobo Audiobook  |  Kobo eBook


Okay, the first thing you should know is that I am not a sports person by any stretch of the imagination, but I've thoroughly enjoyed The Playbook series by Alexa Martin. I just binge re-read the entire series over the past few days (yes, I re-re-read Intercepted, Fumbled, and re-read Blitzed) in preparation for reading the latest addition to this series, Snapped. I'm so glad I did. It was nice refamiliarizing myself with the Lady Mustangs (the wives and girlfriends of the Denver Mustang players) and their drama and romances. Each book in this series touches upon some serious issues while also providing a great steamy romance read. Snapped is a bit more serious in that it takes to heart the issues of long-term adverse effects of head injuries or CTE and lack of player parity within the football league, as well as professional athlete protests on-the-field and racial representation within the industry. I knew little about any of these subjects before reading this book (trust me, you'll want to do some research if you watch any professional football). 

Elliot "Elle" Reed is just as lacking in confidence as some of the other women we've seen in previous books in this series. If I were dealing with professional athletes pulling in millions of dollars each year and having hundreds, if not thousands, of groupies throwing themselves at these players, I'd probably be somewhat lacking in confidence as well. But Elle is also dealing with childhood issues from being biracial and not quite knowing how to fit into society as she was raised by her white father without any strong black role models or guidance. She's had to quietly straddle the fence of both races without being fully embraced into either one and trying to live her life colorblind, the way she was raised. I can tell you that it isn't going well. Quinton Howard Jr. is the new star quarterback for the Denver Mustangs and has become something of a problem issue by blacking out the league logo on his jersey at the start of each game and his taking a knee during the national anthem. He's quiet and respectful to all, but he's also using his voice and money to try and right some wrongs. Elle's job is to make the Mustangs and the league look good, so she has to once again straddle the fence by keeping the team's owner happy whilst also working with Quinton to assure his personal goals are met. Needless to say, there's a bit of friction and attraction between the two. Will they be able to make things work or will things frizzle out? Hey, this is a romance, and what is a romance without a HEA. Yes, there is trouble. Not only for Quinton and Elle but also for "Vonnie" Lamar and her husband Justin Lamar. Most of the trouble gets resolved (not all, but most). This book deals with quite a number of issues, including racial identity, racism, systemic racism within certain professional sports leagues, lack of parity in the treatment of retired professional athletes (NFL vs. NBA for example), and more. Yes, these are heavy topics to be dealt with in a romance, but Ms. Martin deals with these issues without lightly glossing over them or being too heavy-handed, or at least she does so in this reader's opinion. There are plenty of light-hearted moments (it is a romance, people) and some moments that just make you want to say "aww." If you've read any of the previous books in this series, then you'll definitely want to add Snapped to your immediate TBR list. If you haven't read any of the books in this series and you enjoy romance, then you'll definitely want to grab all three of the previous books as well as a copy of Snapped when it releases. Something tells me that I'll be re-re-re-re-reading this series at some point soon (yes, I'm enjoying it just that much!). I'm hopeful that this isn't the end of this series, simply because I want to read more about these amazing women along with their struggles, their careers, their friendships, their families, and yes, their romances. 

Happy Reading, y'all!
 

Disclaimer: I received a free digital 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."

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Book Showcase: SAVING GRACE by D.M. Barr

SAVING GRACE by D.M. Barr


Saving Grace

A Psychological Thriller

by D.M. Barr

on Tour October 12 - November 13, 2020



Synopsis:

SAVING GRACE by D.M. Barr

Grace Pierrepoint Rendell, the only child of an ailing billionaire, has been treated for paranoia since childhood. When she secretly quits her meds, she begins to suspect that once her father passes, her husband will murder her for her inheritance. Realizing that no one will believe the ravings of a supposed psychotic, she devises a creative way to save herself – she will write herself out of danger, authoring a novel with the heroine in exactly the same circumstances, thus subtly exposing her husband's scheme to the world. She hires acclaimed author Lynn Andrews to help edit her literary insurance policy, but when Lynn is murdered, Grace is discovered standing over the bloody remains. The clock is ticking: can she write and publish her manuscript before she is strapped into a straitjacket, accused of homicide, or lowered six feet under?


With a cast of secondary characters whose challenges mirror Grace's own, Saving Grace is, at its core, an allegory for the struggle of the marginalized to be heard and live life on their own terms.



"A psychological thriller with more than enough twists, turns, and misdirection to keep even the most jaded reader turning pages all night long."

–Lori Robbins, author of the Silver Falchion Award-winning novel, Lesson Plan for Murder



Book Details:

Genre: Psychological Thriller, Domestic Suspense

Published by: Black Rose Writing

Publication Date: October 15th, 2020

Number of Pages: 255

ISBN: 978-1684335565

Purchase Links:  Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Black Rose Writing | Goodreads



Read an excerpt:


One felony was all it took to convince Andrea Lin she was better suited to committing crime on paper than in person. As renowned mystery author Lynn Andrews, she understood conflict equaled good drama. Like her readers, she should have expected the hiccups, even relished them. What she hadn't counted on was the accompanying agita, especially while sitting in her Bergen County kitchen, far from the action at the Bitcoin Teller Machine.

Her one job had been to place a single phone call when the money hit and tell the hacker to lift the encryption on Grace's computer. Trouble was, her dozen calls remained unanswered until a few minutes ago, throwing their meticulous plan off schedule.

Andrea stroked the blue-gray Nebulung purring on her lap and tried to ignore the churning in her stomach. "Denver, the next time I consider helping a sibling with some crazy scheme, you have my permission to use my leg as a scratching post until I come to my senses. Agreed?"

Denver looked up, his green eyes filled with innocence, and answered with a single meow before leaping onto the table toward her plate of shortbread cookies.

"I'll take that as a yes." She sipped her tea, willing the sugar to sweeten the acrid taste in her mouth. The phone interrupted her meditation. No doubt a check-in from her brother, the extorter-in-chief.

"I figured you'd have called by now. Everything on track?" Joe's strained voice conveyed his own jangled nerves. They'd agreed to be vague when communicating. In these days of Siri and Alexa, anyone could be listening.

"Finally. Took forever to get through to our friend, but she said she'd take care of 'our project' as soon as her meetings wrapped up. From here on out though, I'm sticking to fiction. Real-life intrigue is too stressful."

Andrea missed Joe's response, instead perplexed by her cats' sudden change of behavior. Denver had tilted his head and leapt from the table; Vail and Aspen sat frozen, ears perked, staring toward the foyer. Then she heard it too, the sound of papers shuffling in the living room. She leaned forward, muscles taut, hackles raised, ready to pounce. "Joe, hold on a sec. I think someone's in the house. I'll call you back later."

***

"Wait, what? Andrea??" Silence. The connection was dead.

After twenty minutes of weaving in and out of rush-hour traffic to travel one mile, Joe "Hack" Hackford pulled up outside his sister's Ridgewood home. Adrenaline pumping on overdrive, he jumped from his car and sprinted toward the house. Door wide open—not an encouraging sign. He steeled his nerves and hastened inside. The living room looked like a hurricane's aftermath, with furniture overturned and papers littering the carpets and floor.

"Andrea? Are you here?" He rushed into the kitchen, which lacked any signs of their celebratory dinner—no spaghetti boiling on the stove, no cake rising in the oven. Only the door to the backyard ajar and a shriek emanating from the next room, piercing the eerie silence. Hair stiffening at the back of his neck, he raced into the dining room where a redheaded woman stood frozen, staring across the room.

"Who the hell are you?" he growled.

The stranger remained wide-eyed and unresponsive. He followed her gaze to the floor, where he witnessed the unthinkable. His beloved sister lay in the corner, surrounded by a pool of blood, a kitchen knife stuck in her chest. Her eyes remained fixed on the ceiling. A trio of feline guards circled her lifeless body.

Hack's knees turned to jelly, and he grabbed onto a chair for support, forcing back the remains of the snack he'd consumed only minutes earlier. Once the initial shock waned, he reverted his attention back to the intruder. At second glance, she did look somewhat familiar, though the woman he'd met a few weeks back—the missing heiress whose computer they'd just hacked—was brunette. Had she uncovered their con? With a bolt of fury, he reached forward and pulled the wig from her head. A thousand questions zigzagged in his brain, but only one forced its way past his lips:

"Oh my God. Grace. Oh my God. What the hell have you done?"

***


Excerpt from Saving Grace by D.M. Barr.  Copyright © 2020 by D.M. Barr. Reproduced with permission from D.M. Barr. All rights reserved.



Author Bio:

Author D.M. Barr

By day, a mild-mannered salesperson, wife, mother, rescuer of senior shelter dogs, competitive trivia player and author groupie, happily living just north of New York City. By night, an author of sex, suspense and satire.

My background includes stints in travel marketing, travel journalism, meeting planning, public relations, and real estate. I was, for a long and happy time, an award-winning magazine writer and editor. Then kids happened. And I needed to actually make money. Now they're off doing whatever it is they do (of which I have no idea since they won't friend me on Facebook) and I can spend my spare time weaving tales of debauchery and whatever else tickles my fancy.

The main thing to remember about my work is that I am NOT one of my characters. For example, as a real estate broker, I've never played Bondage Bingo in one of my empty listings or offed anyone at my local diet clinic. And I haven't run away from home in fear that my husband was planning to off me.

But that's not to say that I haven't wanted to…

Catch Up With Our Author On:

www.DMBarr.com, Goodreads, BookBub, Instagram, Twitter, and, Facebook!


Tour Participants:

Visit these other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways! Click here to view Saving Grace by D.M. Barr Participants.


Enter To Win!:

This is a Rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for D.M. Barr. There will be 1 winner of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card. The giveaway begins on October 12, 2020, and runs through November 15, 2020. Void where prohibited.

Click here to enter!



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Monday, October 12, 2020

Bookish Ramblings - Best of 2020...so far!


Bookish Ramblings - Favorite Reads for 2020...so far!


This year has been a difficult year for many people for a variety of reasons. Illness and deaths from COVID-19. Loss of jobs. Loss of businesses. Seemingly endless quarantine. No vacation time. Forced to work from home. Children forced to stay at home and learn virtually even when that isn't optimal for their learning experiences. Teachers forced to adapt their teaching methods to a virtual environment with little, if any, notification and doing it wonderfully. Murder Hornets. Massive wildfires. Incredible hurricanes and flooding. And we won't even discuss the racial and political tensions running rampant across the world. I've heard from a lot of my bookish friends and acquaintances that they haven't been able to focus on reading at all this year. Yes, 2020 has been stressful in a variety of ways. Some of us have resorted to comfort eating, watching hours of movies on Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and other online venues, and reading. I consider myself incredibly fortunate and blessed that I've been able to focus on reading despite, or rather in spite of everything going on around me. Reading has always been my escape, but this year has been a year of re-reading along with some great new reads.

Most of you know that I have incredibly eclectic reading tastes, but gravitate towards mysteries, thrillers, romantic suspense, romance, and science-fiction with the odd YA, and nonfiction read thrown into the mix. However, this year I've resorted to tons of re-reading (and yes, I do a lot of re-reading annually, but not to the extent that I've done this year). My re-reads this year have primarily been romance and romantic suspense mixed with some nonfiction. I know, who'd think that I'd resort to nonfiction reads for comfort reads, but there you go. However, if I listed my favorite re-reads for the year, we'd be here for quite some time so I'll just be listing a few of my favorite newly published reads from 2020. Some of these books I've reviewed, others I've just read (and re-read). I've recommended them in my reviews and on social media even when I didn't review them. All of these were my fiction reads, one was a graphic novel, one was a YA read, one was romance, one was romantic suspense, others ran the gamut from suspense thrillers to literary fiction.  



Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid

ISBN: 9780525541905

Purchase Links (#Commission Earned): IndieBound  |   Barnes and Noble

In the midst of a family crisis one late evening, white blogger Alix Chamberlain calls her African American babysitter, Emira, asking her to take toddler Briar to the local market for distraction. There, the security guard accuses Emira of kidnapping Briar, and Alix's efforts to right the situation turn out to be good intentions selfishly mismanaged.



The Shape of Family by Shilpi Somaya Gowda

ISBN: 9780062933225 

Purchase Links (#Commission Earned) IndieBound  |  Barnes and Noble

The Olander family embodies the modern American Dream in a globalized world. Jaya, the cultured daughter of an Indian diplomat, and Keith, an ambitious banker from middle-class Philadelphia, meet in a London pub in 1988 and make a life together in suburban California. Their strong marriage is built on shared beliefs and love for their two children: headstrong teenager Karina and young son Prem, the light of their home.

But love and prosperity cannot protect them from sudden, unspeakable tragedy, and the family's foundation cracks as each member struggles to seek a way forward. Jaya finds solace in spirituality. Keith wagers on his high-powered career. Karina focuses relentlessly on her future and independence. And Prem watches helplessly as his once close-knit family drifts apart.

When Karina heads off to college for a fresh start, her search for identity and belonging leads her down a dark path, forcing her and her family to reckon with the past, the secrets they've held and the weight of their choices.

The Shape of Family is an intimate portrayal of four individuals as they grapple with what it means to be a family and how to move from a painful past into a hopeful future. It is a profoundly moving exploration of the ways we all seek belonging—in our families, our communities and ultimately, within ourselves.



That Can Be Arranged: A Muslim Love Story by Huda Fahmy

ISBN: 9781524856229

Purchase Links (#Commission Earned):  IndieBound  |  Barnes and Noble

Chaperones, suitors, and arranged marriages aren't only reserved for the heroines of a Jane Austen novel. They're just another walk in the park for this leading lady, who is on a mission to find her leading lad. From the brilliant comics Yes, I'm Hot in This, Huda Fahmy tells the hilarious story of how she met and married her husband. Navigating mismatched suitors, gossiping aunties, and societal expectations for Muslim women, That Can Be Arranged deftly and hilariously reveals to readers what it can be like to find a husband as an observant Muslim woman in the twenty-first century.

So relevant in today's evolving cultural climate, Fahmy's story offers a perceptive and personal glimpse into the sometimes sticky but ultimately rewarding balance of independent choice and tradition. 



Mad, Bad & Dangerous to Know by Samira Ahmed

ISBN: 9781641291996

Purchase Links (#Commission Earned) IndieBound  |  Barnes and Noble

It's August in Paris and 17-year-old Khayyam Maquet—American, French, Indian, Muslim—is at a crossroads. This holiday with her professor parents should be a dream trip for the budding art historian. But her maybe-ex-boyfriend is probably ghosting her, she might have just blown her chance at getting into her dream college, and now all she really wants is to be back home in Chicago figuring out her messy life instead of brooding in the City of Light.

Two hundred years before Khayyam's summer of discontent, Leila is struggling to survive and keep her true love hidden from the Pasha who has "gifted" her with favored status in his harem. In the present day—and with the company of a descendant of Alexandre Dumas—Khayyam begins to connect allusions to an enigmatic 19th-century Muslim woman whose path may have intersected with Alexandre Dumas, Eugène Delacroix, and Lord Byron.

Echoing across centuries, Leila and Khayyam's lives intertwine, and as one woman's long-forgotten life is uncovered, another's is transformed. 



The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett

ISBN: 9780525536291

Purchase Links (#Commission Earned):  IndieBound  |  Barnes and Noble

The Vignes twin sisters will always be identical. But after growing up together in a small, southern black community and running away at age sixteen, it's not just the shape of their daily lives that is different as adults, it's everything: their families, their communities, their racial identities. Many years later, one sister lives with her black daughter in the same southern town she once tried to escape. The other secretly passes for white, and her white husband knows nothing of her past. Still, even separated by so many miles and just as many lies, the fates of the twins remain intertwined. What will happen to the next generation, when their own daughters' storylines intersect?

Weaving together multiple strands and generations of this family, from the Deep South to California, from the 1950s to the 1990s, Brit Bennett produces a story that is at once a riveting, emotional family story and a brilliant exploration of the American history of passing. Looking well beyond issues of race, The Vanishing Half considers the lasting influence of the past as it shapes a person's decisions, desires, and expectations, and explores some of the multiple reasons and realms in which people sometimes feel pulled to live as something other than their origins.

As with her New York Times-bestselling debut The Mothers, Brit Bennett offers an engrossing page-turner about family and relationships that is immersive and provocative, compassionate, and wise.



Party of Two (The Wedding Date #5) by Jasmine Guillory

ISBN: 9780593100820

Purchase Links (#Commission Earned):  IndieBound  |  Barnes and Noble

Dating is the last thing on Olivia Monroe's mind when she moves to LA to start her own law firm. But when she meets a gorgeous man at a hotel bar and they spend the entire night flirting, she discovers too late that he is none other than hotshot junior senator Max Powell. Olivia has zero interest in dating a politician, but when a cake arrives at her office with the cutest message, she can't resist--it is chocolate cake, after all.

Olivia is surprised to find that Max is sweet, funny, and noble--not just some privileged white politician she assumed him to be. Because of Max's high-profile job, they start seeing each other secretly, which leads to clandestine dates and silly disguises. But when they finally go public, the intense media scrutiny means people are now digging up her rocky past and criticizing her job, even her suitability as a trophy girlfriend. Olivia knows what she has with Max is something special, but is it strong enough to survive the heat of the spotlight?



Blind Faith (Jigsaw Files #3) by Sharon Sala

ISBN: 9780778310228

Purchase Links (#Commission Earned):  IndieBound  |  Barnes and Noble

He has nothing and everything to lose…

When a seventeen-year-old boy goes missing while camping with his buddies in the Chisos Mountains in Big Bend, the case is right up PI Charlie Dodge's alley. Charlie's reputation for finding missing people—especially missing kids—is unparalleled. Unfortunately, trouble seems to be equally good at finding him.

Charlie's still in the thick of it when bad news arrives regarding his wife, Annie, whose early-onset Alzheimer's is causing her to slip further and further away. The timing couldn't be worse. Thankfully, Charlie's ride-or-die assistant, Wyrick, has his back. But when Universal Theorem, the shadowy and elusive organization from Wyrick's past, escalates its deadly threats against her, it pushes both partners past their breaking points. Finding people is one thing; now Charlie will have to fight to hold on to everyone he holds dear.



Strong from the Heart (Caitlin Strong #11) by Jon Land

ISBN: 9780765384706

Purchase Links (#Commission Earned):  IndieBound  |  Barnes and Noble

In what Brad Meltzer calls a "savory Tex-Mex tale, seasoned with all the ingredients of a great thriller," Texas Ranger Caitlin Strong digs for the truth behind the Opioid Crisis in the next installment of Jon Land's critically acclaimed series

Mexico, 1898: Texas Ranger William Ray Strong arrives in the border town of Camino Pass to transport a young Pancho Villa to stand trial, but his plans are waylaid when he learns all of the town's children have been kidnapped.

The Present: The drug crisis hits home for fifth-generation Texas Ranger Caitlin Strong when the son of her outlaw lover, Cort Wesley Masters, nearly dies from an opioid overdose.

Determined to make those responsible pay, Caitlin sets out to track down the dealer and pusher, while trying to solve the inexplicable tragedy of a small Texas town where all the residents died in a single night. When she realizes these two pursuits are connected, she finds herself following a trail to the truth of the crisis nestled hard in the center of America's power base.

That power base, comprised of politicians, Big Pharma, along with corrupt doctors and drug distributors, has successfully beaten back all threats in the past. But they have no idea what's in store when the guns of Texas come calling. 



When No One Is Watching by Alyssa Cole

ISBN: 9780062982650

Purchase Links (#Commission Earned):  IndieBound  |  Barnes and Noble

The gentrification of a Brooklyn neighborhood takes on a sinister new meaning…

Sydney Green is Brooklyn born and raised, but her beloved neighborhood seems to change every time she blinks. Condos are sprouting like weeds, FOR SALE signs are popping up overnight, and the neighbors she's known all her life are disappearing. To hold onto her community's past and present, Sydney channels her frustration into a walking tour and finds an unlikely and unwanted assistant in one of the new arrivals to the block—her neighbor Theo.

But Sydney and Theo's deep dive into history quickly becomes a dizzying descent into paranoia and fear. Their neighbors may not have moved to the suburbs after all, and the push to revitalize the community may be more deadly than advertised.

When does coincidence become conspiracy? Where do people go when gentrification pushes them out? Can Sydney and Theo trust each other—or themselves—long enough to find out before they too disappear?



And Now She's Gone by Rachel Howzell Hall

ISBN: 9781250753175

Purchase Links (#Commission Earned):  IndieBound  |  Barnes and Noble

Isabel Lincoln is gone.

But is she missing?

It's up to Grayson Sykes to find her. Although she is reluctant to track down a woman who may not want to be found, Gray's search for Isabel Lincoln becomes more complicated and dangerous with every new revelation about the woman's secrets and the truth she's hidden from her friends and family.

Featuring two complicated women in a dangerous cat and mouse game, And Now She's Gone explores the nature of secrets — and how violence and fear can lead you to abandon everything in order to survive.




If you haven't read any of these books or simply haven't been able to focus on reading, I hope that one or more of these titles may pique your reading interest. I don't know what the remaining months of 2020 may have in store for any of us, but I'm hopeful that there will be plenty of good books coming out, providing hours of reading escape, no matter what may be ahead. 

Happy Reading, y'all!


NOTE: #SponsoredPost - In accordance with FTC guidelines, please be advised that a commission may be earned and/or a flat-fee payment given on links provided. All opinions provided are my own and have been previously disclosed in online reviews and social media posts.

Friday, October 9, 2020

Guest Post: James McCrone - EMERGENCY POWERS


Good day, book people. I've been getting lost in books for most of 2020, often re-reading a number of my favorite authors of fiction. Strangely enough, I've even found myself re-reading a number of nonfiction books as well, mostly true crime, biographies, autobiographies, and memoirs. I find it fascinating to discover what people gravitate towards with regards to their reading habits. Do authors of romance novels only read romance? Are they inspired by true-life romance stories? Do political thriller authors only read other political thrillers or about real-life politics? James McCrone, the author of Emergency Powers, has stopped by today and graciously offered to share with us what helps him from blurring the lines between fiction and reality. You'll be amazed at what he has to say. Thank you, Mr. McCrone, for taking time away from your busy schedule to spend a few minutes with us today. I turn the blog over to you.


Blurred Lines - Separating Fiction from Reality


Recently in an interview, I was asked: How do you keep your written world from encroaching on your life?

I have the opposite problem. As I've written elsewhere, I often find myself sailing too close to the wind. My political thrillers have a ripped-from-the-headlines urgency, but it's not because I troll the newspapers for material. Rather, as I tell my story I try to think like the bad guys—"what would they do?" And "what needs to happen for them to succeed?" And of course, how would my protagonist counter them?

In many ways, my writing ends up anticipating the headlines, and it's dismaying how close I come to real events. My recurring character is FBI Agent Imogen Trager, a Poli-Sci Ph.D. turned agent—"as tough as she is smart"—and in my debut thriller, Faithless Elector, the center of the conflict were a group of Electors who had switched their votes. (It came out in March of 2016, before the major parties had even held their conventions.) In Dark Network (2017), the conspirators try to gain a toehold by undermining the Justice Department and the Attorney General. 

In the novel that debuted this month, Emergency Powers, I have the conspirators working hard to get a pliant Attorney General installed. There are also an increasing number of "acting" officials, rather than those approved by the Senate; the OPM (Office of Management and Personnel) has been subsumed.

I need for the real world to stop intruding on my written world!

I don't write about real people or real situations. It's just that some real people start acting like characters in my books. I think this is because I do let real problems inform my approach to a story and the plot. And through exhaustive research, I ask—What's possible in this situation? What's plausible? Who would make the decision, and why? What would the antagonists do to cover their tracks? Or to deflect attention? How would they muddy the water? 

How would they try to get away with murder?

And, of course, I ask myself what every writer must ask: what does the bad guy/villain WANT? What will s/he do to get it? 

I remember an interview with Jon Stewart, the former Daily Show host. He was asked about the political nature of his show, and he said something like, "Yes, it's political, but my job is to FIND THE FUNNY…" or, for writers like me, the job is to FIND THE STORY.

Mysteries and suspense-thrillers are compelling stories about characters forced into action by circumstance—of character revealed through action. Answering the questions above and getting the details right makes for verisimilitude. Sometimes too much!

I should say a quick word about a related matter. There are no real people in my books. I think that if you use someone real—or a thinly disguised version of him/her—you run the very real risk of turning the novel you're writing into a partisan rant, a screed. 

*That's what social media is for. :) 

So I have a very real problem keeping the fictional and the real world separate because each informs the other—fictional needs beget events that somehow come to pass. Some days I think I should focus on stock market investing!



Emergency Powers

by James McCrone

on Tour October 1-31, 2020



Synopsis:

The accidental president is no accident. The investigation that was FBI Agent Imogen Trager's undoing may be the key to stopping a brutal, false flag terrorist attack meant to tighten a puppet president's grip on power.


Emergency Powers will delight mystery and thriller fans ("Great for fans of Brad Meltzer, David Baldacci." -Publishers Weekly) And politics junkies will enjoy the ripped-from-the-headlines urgency. But it's about more than the headlines. And darker. A story of corruption and redemption, achieved at enormous personal cost, featuring FBI Agent Imogen Trager: "a memorable protagonist—as tough as she is smart." (Kirkus Review) Indeed, "Three tough female characters steal the show: FBI agents Vega, Sartain, and Trager. Overall, the power dynamics of these women...are something special." (T. LIEBERMAN, Independent Book Review)


As the story begins, Imogen is haunted—and sidelined—by a case she couldn't solve. When the president dies in office, she knows that the conspiracy she chased down a blind alley still has life in it—and she needs to get back in the hunt. As bodies pile up and leads go cold, the main target from that old case reaches out to her. He's still at large, and now he needs protection. Imogen doesn't trust him, and it's not only because he's offering intel that sounds too good to be true. He's already tried to kill her once.


Set in D.C., Seattle and small town America, Emergency Powers is a story of corruption and redemption, achieved at enormous personal cost.


"A high-stakes political thriller that feels so chillingly true, you pray it's not"—TOM STRAW, seven-time NYT bestselling author, as Richard Castle


"RECOMMENDED" - Kate Robinson, US Review of Books


"Compelling, heart-pounding and thoroughly intriguing…"— STEPHEN MACK JONES, August Snow, Lives Laid Away


"Keen portraits of true patriotism—and the courage that drives it." — ART TAYLOR, The Boy Detective & The Summer of '74



Book Details:

Genre: Suspense-Thriller

Published by: James McCrone

Publication Date: October 1, 2020

Number of Pages: 300

ISBN: 9780999137727 (9780999137734)

Series: An Imogen Trager Thriller

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Bookshop.org |  Goodreads


Author Bio:

James McCrone has a Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Washington, in Seattle. He's a member of Crime Writers of America (NY Chapter), Sisters in Crime (DE-Valley Chapter), Int'l Assoc. of Crime Writers, Philadelphia Dramatists Center, and Int'l Thriller Writers.

He's the author of Faithless Elector and Dark Network, the first two Imogen Trager "Noirpolitik" suspense-thrillers about a stolen presidency. The third Imogen Trager thriller, Emergency Powers released in October 2020. His short story, "Numbers Don't Lie" appears in the anthology Low Down Dirty Vote, Vol. 2 (M. Berry, ed.), out on July 4, 2020.

A Pacific Northwest native, he now lives in Philadelphia with his wife and three adult children.

James's work explores characters pitted against forces larger than themselves. Both on and off the page, he's fascinated with politics and issues of social responsibility and justice.


Catch Up With James McCrone:

JamesMcCrone.com, Chosen Words Blog, Goodreads, BookBub, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook!


Tour Participants:

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

Click here to view Emergency Powers by James McCrone Tour Participants



Giveaway!!:

This is a Rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for James McCrone. There will be 4 winners. Two winners will each receive one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card and Two winners will each win Emergency Powers by James McCrone (Print ~ US and Canada addresses only). The giveaway begins on October 1, 2020, and runs through November 2, 2020. Void where prohibited.


Rafflecopter Giveaway


Get More Great Reads at Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours

 


Monday, October 5, 2020

Guest Post: Fran Lewis - WHAT IF?



Happy Monday, my bookish peeps. I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend. I spent most of the weekend mired in reading ebooks and listening to audiobooks, as well as attending virtual book festival events. I feel very fortunate in that I've been able to escape into books throughout this pandemic. This morning, I'm pleased to turn the blog over to Fran Lewis, author of What If?. Ms. Lewis will be sharing with us her inspiration for writing What If?. I hope you'll sit back and spend a few minutes with her, add What If? to your TBR list, and follow along with the blog tour. Thank you, Ms. Lewis, for visiting with us today. My book divas and divos, I give you Ms. Fran Lewis.


The Inspiration For Writing What If?

With this pandemic and people having issues with wearing a mask I decided to create different worlds that might have those people realize we could live in a world that is even worse. What If you had to conform to a wearing a set uniform every day? What If your job was what someone placed you in and there was no advancement? What if your family just disappears and you spend your life wandering fur years to find them? What if we learned to deal with our situation now and try getting along and stopping the violence and protests? Because who knows what's next!

I thought about this long and hard and ad I walk at times or just take a ride I realize the changes in people and it's sad. No one smiles, says hello, or even opens doors. The world is filled with the unpredictable and unexpected and a sense of humor is no longer appreciated. What keeps me centered and focused: doing my reviews, my broadcasts, and trying to not think about the negatives and try to appreciate the positives.

Every morning I take a walk and can feel the silence around me. The world is so different that I decided to create ones that are unique, frightening, and hopeless. My next book is titled What's Next and it will focus on what is left of the world, which cities and countries have people, and the different circumstances they have to endure every day. One city will be covered in a special glass that reaches high above the trees and has a special air filtration system because the air outside has too much Co2. There's more but you have to wait for it to come out.

The sad thing is that there are people who refuse to wear masks and only think about the way they look and disregard the health issues. Some travel to different locations and bring the virus back. I hope my book What If? gets people to really think about what's next.