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Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Swimming Between Worlds by Elaine Neil Orr

Tacker Hart was a golden boy in his home town. A football star who went to college for architecture, he's returned with his tail all but between his legs after he's sent home from a collaborative job in Nigeria. Of course what Tacker hasn't told anyone is that he was sent home after essentially being accused of going native. Now, with no direction and no goal, he's taken over managing one of his father's grocery stores while he tries to figure out what to do next. 

Kate Monroe knew Tacker in high school, everyone did. And when she runs into him in the grocery store, she hopes but doesn't expect to see him again. And when Kate finds old letters revealing a long held secret between her parents, Tacker is the one who offers her comfort. 

But Swimming Between Worlds isn't so much about Tacker and Kate and their relationship as it is about the flux their town is experiencing. Set in North Caroline in the late 50s, Tacker and Kate serve as good examples of a piece of the dynamic affecting the town, and the country, amid growing protest of segregation and separate rights.

Tacker grew comfortable in Nigeria, even wondering if he was more comfortable - and certainly more happy - there than he is at home. And when he witnesses firsthand terrible treatment of a black man in front of his store one morning, he's left wondering why things have to be the way they are.

Kate, meanwhile, is a good example of someone who hasn't really thought much about the circumstances. They are what they are and she hasn't had any reason to ponder over change until Tacker comes into her life.

Elaine Neil Orr's latest is a vivid and vibrant character-driven tale of race relations and change. And thought it's set during the Civil Rights Era, it's certainly still both appropriately eye-opening and thought provoking today.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Warning Light by David Ricciardi

Happy book birthday to David Ricciardi whose debut, Warning Light, hits shelves today!

Zac Miller volunteered for Project Snapshot because he thought it would be easy. Relatively, anyway. The plan was to get a plane access into a restricted area so Zac could take a couple of pictures, all the while surrounded (and protected) by the rest of the plan's civilian passengers. But the plan goes awry almost instantly. 

Now Zac, a data analyst with no field training to speak of, is a suspected spy trapped in Iran. What's more, the very people who want him for questioning have made certain that his own people have doubts about him as well, making him the focus of two additional investigations in two more countries. 

Warning Light is fantastic fun! It's a spy origin story and the first in what I'm sure will be a great new series.

So, as mentioned, Zac is a data analyst. His involvement in the mission in question has been from behind a desk only but the agent who was supposed to head out in the field is pulled at the very last minute out of fear he'll be recognized. And timing is key because the area in question has recently been hit by an earthquake that's left massive damage and, coincidentally, the perfect opportunity to take a peek into an area the CIA believes could house nuclear weapons.

So Zac volunteers. Because he's sure it'll be in and out, no problem.

But of course this is a thriller and in and out would mean no plot!

I'll admit there's some amount of predictability in Ricciardi's debut. It is a spy thriller so if our spy is killed right off the bat there again wouldn't be much of a story. So it's expected that Zac will find ways out of tight spots. And though he's not exactly field trained, he does have a (forgive me) certain set of skills that helps him out along the way.

But in spite of the expectation that Zac will come out fairly unscathed, the tension throughout is spot on and the pacing is excellent. The best part, which I also saw coming, is that this is (again as mentioned) an origin story. Zac Miller's first mission in what'll surely be a long string of them (I hope). We get to learn a fair amount about him, his training, and a little of his background, but there's tons to mine for future novels.

It's appropriate that Lee Child blurbed the book - Zac may not be as experienced or even as suave as Reacher, but fans of that series are absolutely going to love David Ricciardi and Zac Miller!

Sunday, April 15, 2018

New Releases 4/17/18

Some of the new titles hitting shelves this week are:

Before Mars by Emma Newman

Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell

The Elizas by Sara Shepard

The Atrocities by Jeremy C. Shipp

The Home for Unwanted Girls by Joanna Goodman

Noir by Christopher Moore

Blackfish City by Sam J. Miller

The Comedown by Rebekah Frumkin

Our Little Secret by Roz Nay

Head On by John Scalzi

Suitors and Sabotage by Cindy Ansten

New on DVD:
The Post
The Commuter
Humor Me

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Pre Pub Book Buzz: Nightingale by Amy Lukavics

Readers, Amy Lukavics has a brand new book coming out just in time for Halloween. Squee!

Here's a bit about Nightingale from Goodreads:

At seventeen, June Hardie is everything a young woman in 1951 shouldn’t be—independent, rebellious, a dreamer. June longs to travel, to attend college and to write the dark science fiction stories that consume her waking hours. But her parents only care about making June a better young woman. Her mother grooms her to be a perfect little homemaker while her father pushes her to marry his business partner’s domineering son. When June resists, her whole world is shattered—suburbia isn’t the only prison for different women…

June’s parents commit her to Burrow Place Asylum, aka the Institution. With its sickening conditions, terrifying staff and brutal “medical treatments,” the Institution preys on June’s darkest secrets and deepest fears. And she’s not alone. The Institution terrorizes June’s fragile roommate, Eleanor, and the other women locked away within its crumbling walls. Those who dare speak up disappear…or worse. Trapped between a gruesome reality and increasingly sinister hallucinations, June isn’t sure where her nightmares end and real life begins. But she does know one thing: in order to survive, she must destroy the Institution before it finally claims them all.

I don't know about the rest of you, but I think this sounds completely amazing and I cannot wait to get my hands on a copy!

Nightingale is due out from Harlequin Teen in late September. 

Friday, April 13, 2018

The House on Harbor Hill by Shelly Stratton

It's Friday! Today I'm a stop on the TLC blog tour for Shelly Stratton's latest, The House on Harbor Hill!

Delilah Grey makes a habit of taking in boarders who need help. She picks them carefully, ensuring they're the right person, and helps them get back on their feet. Her latest, Tracey Walters. And Delilah's offer couldn't have come at a more perfect time for Tracey. 

After leaving her husband, Tracey has run out of money. Her landlord is done granting favors and she needs to find a new place to live. But the note from Delilah Grey sparks confusion and worry for Tracey, especially when she learns about Delilah's clouded past. 

In spite of that, Tracey, out of options, does decide to take Delilah up on her offer. Through friendship and support, Tracey finally starts to make progress at a new life. But when her past comes calling, her new haven could become a danger to them all. 

I loved this book and these characters so much!

First of all, this is the story of Tracey, trying to start a new life away from her abusive husband. Struggling to make ends meet and still provide for her family, she's done everything she can and still feels like she's falling short. So the note from Delilah Grey really does come at the perfect time.

Delilah's latest boarder has just moved on and, haunted by the ever deriding voice of her dead husband, she's ready to welcome someone new to her home. But Delilah's past hangs over her in more ways than that voice and even thought she was acquitted of murder, the locals who remember still hold it over her.

The story is told from both Delilah and Tracey's perspectives and transitions easily between the present and Delilah's past (1960 to be exact).

The mystery of Delilah's husband's murder is a large part of the tale as well, adding suspense to an already tense story. While I may have been slightly more partial to her as a character and her overall story, both women are beautifully wrought and hold their own, making the overall book well balanced and easy to sink into.

To see more stops on the tour be sure to check out the official TLC tour page here.

For more on Shelly Stratton and her work you can visit her website here. You can also like her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble


Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Worth Killing For by Jane Haseldine

Happy Wednesday, readers! Today I'm a stop on the TLC blog tour for Jane Haseldine's latest Julia Gooden mystery, Worth Killing For.

A politician's nephew has been murdered and Julia Gooden is tasked with covering the story. An investigative reporter, Julia can't help but dig into the mystery surrounding the murder of Angel Perez, especially when evidence seems to support a serial killer who's been long silent. 

But her latest story is hampered by the realization that her con man father has returned to Detroit. Not only does his return leave a bad taste, so to speak, it brings up memories of a mystery much closer to home - the disappearance of her own brother. 

As it turns out, this new murder may be connected in some way and may finally offer Julia some closure. But her father's return also means Julia is a target of the very people he made enemies of so long ago. 

Interestingly enough, Worth Killing For is the third in the Julia Gooden series. Considering I was unfamiliar with the books, it's a good thing this latest makes for an easy starting point!

Julia is a tough as nails reporter - she'd have to be to have come out of the disaster of a childhood she grew up in. Her own sister wasn't so lucky and the disappearance of her brother has haunted her all these years.

When you add together the mystery of Ben's disappearance - the coldest of cold cases where one of the main witnesses (Julia herself) has literally no memory of the crime - with the bizarre beginning of the book, you have the makings of a gripping story.

And the book begins with a bang. Angel Perez is a college student struggling to make ends meet before he gets his degree. The degree means a good job with his uncle and he's just months from finishing, but in the meantime he and his pregnant girlfriend rely on any work Angel can get. Which is why he's waiting outside the home improvement store before it's even open, hoping to get picked for day labor. Unfortunately, Angel's luck has truly run out.

Figuring out the motive for a criminal whose tactics are... bizarre, to say the least, is part of the intrigue and the draw of this book. The rest is Julia!

Again, this is the third in the series but does work well as a stand alone. My understanding is that the series opener delves a bit more into Julia's past and specifically the fact that she's unable to remember what happened when Ben was abducted. If you want to start from the beginning, the series in order, so far, is:

The Last Time She Saw Him
Duplicity
Worth Killing For

To see more stops on the tour be sure to check out the official TLC tour page here.

For more on Jane Haseldine and her work you can visit her website here. You can also like her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound

 

Sunday, April 8, 2018

New Releases 4/10/18

Some of the new titles hitting shelves this week are:

One Way by S. J. Morden

Unbury Carol by Josh Malerman

The New Neighbors by Simon Lelic

Space Opera by Catherynne M. Valenti

Go Ask Fannie by Elisabeth Hyde

Circe by Madeline Miller

A Lady's Guide to Selling Out by Sally Franson

Sophia of Silicon Valley by Anna Yen

Macbeth by Jo Nesbø

After Anna by Lisa Scottoline

Flying at Night by Rebecca L. Brown

Devils Unto Dust by Emma Berquist

New on DVD:
Molly's Game
Proud Mary
All the Money in the World
The Greatest Showman
Phantom Thread

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Pre Pub Book Buzz: Marilla of Green Gables by Sarah McCoy

When I was a kid, I begged and pleaded my mom to order me the collector's/fund raiser edition of Anne of Green Gables from PBS when they aired the mini series adaptation of the book. I loved that mini series. I loved the story. And since then I've read and watched quite a few new takes on the classic tale as well.

So when I heard that Sarah McCoy, author of The Baker's Daughter, was penning a book about Marilla, I had to have it!

Here's a bit about the book from Goodreads:

Plucky and ambitious, Marilla Cuthbert is thirteen years old when her world is turned upside down. Her beloved mother has dies in childbirth, and Marilla suddenly must bear the responsibilities of a farm wife: cooking, sewing, keeping house, and overseeing the day-to-day life of Green Gables with her brother, Matthew and father, Hugh.

In Avonlea—a small, tight-knit farming town on a remote island—life holds few options for farm girls. Her one connection to the wider world is Aunt Elizabeth “Izzy” Johnson, her mother’s sister, who managed to escape from Avonlea to the bustling city of St. Catharines. An opinionated spinster, Aunt Izzy’s talent as a seamstress has allowed her to build a thriving business and make her own way in the world.

Emboldened by her aunt, Marilla dares to venture beyond the safety of Green Gables and discovers new friends and new opportunities. Joining the Ladies Aid Society, she raises funds for an orphanage run by the Sisters of Charity in nearby Nova Scotia that secretly serves as a way station for runaway slaves from America. Her budding romance with John Blythe, the charming son of a neighbor, offers her a possibility of future happiness—Marilla is in no rush to trade one farm life for another. She soon finds herself caught up in the dangerous work of politics, and abolition—jeopardizing all she cherishes, including her bond with her dearest John Blythe. Now Marilla must face a reckoning between her dreams of making a difference in the wider world and the small-town reality of life at Green Gables.

Marilla of Green Gables is due out in October from William Morrow.
 

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Other People's Houses by Abbi Waxman

Frances is fine driving carpool. It staves off the loneliness of having the house to herself after her own three kids are all in school. But when one of the neighbors' kids forgets toilet paper rolls for a school art project, Frances finds herself in an awkward situation. Tiptoeing into said neighbors house, she's shocked to find the woman in a compromising position with a man who definitely isn't her husband. 

Anne is sure Frances won't tell anyone about her little affair. Her day to day life and her marriage have become so ho hum that the new, illicit relationship offers her new found confidence and something to look forward to. But what if her husband did find out - would it be worth it?

Iris desperately wants another baby, but she knows her wife Sara won't be on board. They're finally at a place with their six year old that they can enjoy nights out again. But Iris's baby blues are getting worse and even Sara can tell she isn't satisfied these days. 

Meanwhile, Bill has been keeping a secret from everyone around him. His neighbor Frances drives his son to school, but even she doesn't now where Bill's wife, Julie, has gone to. And he's not ready to tell. 

Abbi Waxman's latest explores the social politics of neighborhoods, family relationships, and spousal relationships in her latest and it's a hoot!

Waxman's talent for building fully fleshed characters that ring true to the reader is one that drew me in with her debut and one that is oh, so definitely still a stand out in her newest book. Each character, From Frances on down to little Lally and Lucas, jumps from the pages in startling reality. Their emotions, their motivations, their struggles, and their secrets are relatable and, in many cases, tug at your heartstrings. She understands people so much so that she has the ability to not only put together these fabulous characters on the page, but she knows exactly how to make the reader truly empathize with them, no matter what might be going on in their stories. Oh, and they're usually pretty funny!

The characters are what draws me and the humor is what keeps me, because let's face it, a book about various relationship issues and such could be a huge downer. And yet, the combination of that humor and those fabulous characters means that I'm right their alongside them and happy to be there even at the most tragic moments!

If you haven't treated yourself to Waxman's work just yet, I definitely recommend you do so immediately. Reading her work is such a pleasure!

Monday, April 2, 2018

The Wild Inside by Jamey Bradbury

Happy Monday, readers! Today I'm a stop on the TLC blog tour for Jamey Bradbury's debut, The Wild Inside.

Tracy is never more comfortable than when she's out in the woods or running with her dogs. Now eighteen, she's finally old enough to run the Iditarod, but after getting expelled from school over fighting, her father has grounded her all but forbidding her to do the things she loves most. Even worse, since her mother's death he tells her there's no money for the fees involved in the race anyway. Frustrated, Tracy takes to the woods where she's attacked by a stranger. She falls, hitting her head and blacking out, remembering nothing but the look on the man's face. 

Later, when the same man stumbles out of the woods bleeding from an obvious stab wound, Tracy can't recall if she's the one who did it or not. Fearing the repercussions, she again takes to the woods to investigate only this time she finds a pack full of cash - enough to pay for her Iditarod registration and more. 

Tracy has more than enough secrets to keep and a new boarder at the farm adds to that pressure. But the boarder has secrets of his own and Tracy isn't sure if she and her family are entirely safe. 

This book was not at all what I expected.

First, there's the voice and style - no quotation marks (we've talked about that before), which makes determining dialogue between characters and internal dialogue on the part of Tracy, our narrator, difficult to say the least. Tracy herself has a very distinct voice that really does ring through the story as clear as a bell.

But Tracy herself is, as we soon learn, bordering on feral! Her parents can't control her, never have been able to apparently. They say it's because of the circumstances of her birth, which seems to be true considering she's more comfortable around the family's dogs than other people. Any attempts at restraining her or even punishing her (her grounding for being expelled, for example) only seems to make things worse.

But Tracy does connect with one person - the new boarder at the farm. Jesse Goodwin shows up just after the stranger Tracy may or may not have attacked in the woods is brought to the hospital. Tracy's father had advertised a shed for rent and Jesse is what turns up. Money is tight for Tracy's family since her mother's death, so Jesse offers much needed help around the property. But, as mentioned, Jesse is hiding things and Tracy is determined to find out what.

This is an odd story - a thriller with offbeat hints of almost supernatural aspects. One that's hard to sum up and even harder to categorize even simply for the purpose of identifying the kind of reader who will be drawn to the story.

I did love the setting and the vivid imagery used to describe Tracy's surroundings and I think Bradbury is a fantastic storyteller. But I am a little confused by what seems to be an attempt to pigeonhole the book as a thriller in the more traditional sense. Nothing in the book's synopsis in any way prepared me for the more odd elements and I fear a hard core thriller fan will be equally confused.

To see more stops on the tour be sure to check out the official TLC tour page here.

For more on Jamey Bradbury and her work you can visit her website here. You can also like her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

Purchase Links: HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

 

Sunday, April 1, 2018

New Releases 4/3/18

Some of the new titles hitting shelves this week are:

Too Close to Breathe by Olivia Kiernan

The Wolf by Leo Carew

The Oracle Year by Charles Soule

Grey Sister by Mark Lawrence

American By Day by Derek B. Miller

My Dear Hamilton by Stephanie Dray & Laura Kamoie

Space Opera by Catherynne M. Valenti

Varina by Charles Frazier

The Female Persuasion by Meg Wolitzer

America is Not the Heart by Elaine Castillo

Wonderblood by Julia Whicker

Codename Villanelle by Luke Jennings

A Necessary Evil by Abir Mukherjee

The Window by Amelia Brunskill

Dread Nation by Justina Ireland

Queens of Fennbirn by Kendare Blake

New on DVD:
Insidious: The Last Key

Thursday, March 29, 2018

The Window by Amelia Brunskill

Jess and Anna may be identical twins, but they couldn't be more different. Anna is outgoing and well liked while Jess is quiet and only truly comfortable around Anna. In fact, Anna is Jess's best friend - they tell each other everything. But then Anna is found dead in what the police believe was an accident while she attempted to sneak out one evening, leaving Jess confused and heartbroken. Not only has she lost her sister, but it seems Anna was keeping secrets from Jess. Determined to find out, at the very least, why Anna was sneaking out, Jess begins digging into Anna's life. And soon it becomes clear, Anna wasn't the only one keeping secrets. 

Amelia Brunskill's debut is a amazing! And I do mean that. Plot is always key for me - I've said before that I'm not hugely into character driven novels but that I do like plot driven tales with strong characters. That's what The Window is. It's plot driven - what happened to Anna? - with an amazingly strong character and fabulous voice.

Jess is an odd duck. She makes no bones about this, readily copping to the fact that she avoids contact with people as much as possible. But the possibility of uncovering the truth about her twin's death forces her to socialize. She joins track, she starts talking to Anna's friends... things she would never have done before have become possible because she's motivated by discovering a truth no one else seems interested in.

It's not that Anna's death is questionable. It's clear she was sneaking out. But Anna was wearing a dress and smelled of lavender, something she admitted to Jess she dreamed about doing for a first date. So the idea that boyfriendless Anna was simply sneaking out to see her cross-country friend, and slipped and fell, is too simplistic for Jess. There has to be more.

Jess's voice is so strong and clear that she immediately pulls the reader in. We can't be sure, truly, if there is more to Anna's death or not. But Jess believes there is and trekking alongside her in her quest, the reader quickly becomes ensnared in this attempt to find the truth. Part of that, too, is experiencing Jess finally opening up to the possibilities around her.

The Window is a bit of a quiet book, but one that is definitely not to be missed. And Brunskill is someone I will be watching and anxiously waiting for more from!

The Window officially hits shelves on April 3.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeney

My name is Amber Reynolds. There are three things you should know about me:
1. I’m in a coma.
2. My husband doesn’t love me anymore.
3. Sometimes I lie.


I mean, what could be a more intriguing beginning than that!?

Amber Reynolds is in a coma. She's been in an accident and is lying in a bed in a hospital. She doesn't know what happened and she can't speak to those around her. But she's aware of everything going on around her. As her sister and her husband visit and wonder what happened to Amber, she travels her memories leading up to the accident, revisiting her own past in an attempt to figure out what's going on. And the hints she picks up on don't point to anything good. Was she in an accident, as everyone says? Or was the accident anything but? And if the latter, who is responsible?

Sometimes I Lie is a thriller with the most unreliable of unreliable narrators. First, she's fully admitted on the opening page that sometimes she lies, which of course sets the reader up to wonder exactly what she's lying about and when. Second, she can't remember how she ended up in the hospital. She's an observer to her own present tense - one without all the information.

It's only in revisiting the events of her past that she can begin to piece together the pieces of her present.

The story alternates between Amber and childhood diary entries. We aren't sure, until the end that is, whose diary entries these are, but they add a massively dark tone to the book as a whole.

I had the chance to listen to this one on audio, narrated by Stephanie Racine. It was a short listen, one that I didn't want to turn off once I started. Trust me, I found plenty of activities to occupy myself so that it was permissible to listen almost straight through!

In the current trend of domestic thrillers with unreliable narrators, there have been some smash hits and some bombs. Fortunately Sometimes I Lie is a great one!

Monday, March 26, 2018

The Baby Plan by Kate Rorick

Happy Monday, readers! Today I'm a stop on the TLC blog tour for Kate Rorick's The Baby Plan.

Nathalie has been planning for her pregnancy for quite some time. After three years of trying and thirteen weeks in, she's finally ready to announce that she's expecting. But her moment is stolen when her younger sister, Lyndi, barfs into the Thanksgiving cornucopia and steals the spotlight with her own pregnancy announcement. 

Lyndi hadn't planned on becoming pregnant. Nor had she planned to steal her sister's thunder. In fact, Lyndi has just been happily promoted. She has no plan or even any idea what to expect now that she's expecting. 

Sophia is also happy in her career and unexpectedly pregnant. In fact, she thought she was done, having had her own child at eighteen. But now, at 36, she couldn't be happier to be expecting again. But seventeen-year-old Maisey definitely isn't prepared to be an older sister. 

Kate Rorick's latest is a fun romp through the trials and tribulations of pregnancy. All four women's stories collide and intertwine throughout as they navigate the changes in their lives and careers (not to mention the changes to their bodies) as their pregnancies progress. And each has their own hurdles to overcome.

Nathalie's husband has suddenly become distant and more career driven, putting off any discussions about their and the baby's future. Lyndi's haphazard way of stumbling through her own life extends into pregnancy, making her sister almost irrationally irritated. Sophia faces possible health issues as well as worrying about her daughter who's applying to colleges. And Maisey's whole world has basically been turned upside down - not all because of the baby, but the timing definitely isn't ideal.

I absolutely loved these characters! They couldn't be more different in terms of life choices, but pregnancy seems to draw them together. It doesn't hurt that Nathalie is Maisey's teacher! There are other connections as well, little things that draw each of them together as the story progresses and it was fun to see them each grow and find support in one another.

To see more stops on the tour be sure to check out the official TLC tour page here.

For more on Kate Rorick and her work you can visit her website here. You can also like her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

Purchase Links: HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble


Sunday, March 25, 2018

New Releases 3/27/18

Some of the new releases hitting shelves this week are:

The Other Mother by Carol Goodman

Tangerine by Christine Mangan

I Was Anastasia by Ariel Lawhon

Death By Dumpling by Vivien Chien

Not That I Could Tell by Jesica Strawser

Glimpse by Jonathan Maberry

I Have Lost My Way by Gayle Forman

Invasion by Peadar O'Guilin

Not If I Save You First by Ally Carter

In Her Skin by Kim Savage

New on DVD:
I Remember You
Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Pre Pub Book Buzz: The Shimmer by Carsten Stroud

Readers, I recently spent as much time as I could stretching out the Netflix show Dark. If you haven't watched, I highly recommend it - it's a German time travel mystery series that is absolutely fantastic. Like totally blew me away fantastic. And while I've read a few time travel mysteries - the amazing Man From Primrose Lane and the equally amazing Shining Girls - I'd already read those and Dark left me wanting even more!

So I was super excited to hear that Carsten Stroud's upcoming release, The Shimmer, is going to be a time travel mystery! Here's a bit about the book from Goodreads:

How do you hunt a killer who can go back in time and make sure you're never born?

A police pursuit kicks Sergeant Jack Redding of the Florida Highway Patrol and his trainee, Julie Karras, into a shoot-out that ends with one girl dead and another in cuffs, and the driver of the SUV fleeing into the Intracoastal Waterway. Redding stays on the hunt, driven by the trace memory that he knows that running woman--and he does, because his grandfather, a cop in Jacksonville, was hunting the same woman in 1957.Redding and his partner, Pandora Jansson, chase a seductive serial killer who can ride The Shimmer across decades. The pursuit cuts from modern-day Jacksonville to Mafia-ruled St. Augustine in 1957, then to the French Quarter of New Orleans in 1914. The stakes turn brutal when Jack, whose wife and child died in a crash the previous Christmas Eve, faces a terrible choice: help his grandfather catch the killer, or change time itself and try to save his wife and child.

The Shimmer is due out in June from Mira. And if you're like me and you've seen Dark and also want more to tide you over, check out The Man From Primrose Lane, Shining Girls, and maybe even Peter Clines's Paradox Bound - you'll thank me!

Friday, March 23, 2018

Short Fiction Friday: Guardian Angels & Other Monsters by Daniel H. Wilson

Technology, science, and humanity collide in Daniel H. Wilson's newest, a collection of shorts featuring bits and pieces of all three of those subjects.

In the opening tale, "Miss Gloria", a robot does its utmost best to save the child it's been created to teach and protect. In "Helmet" a boy learns the all too horrific truth about the electronic monsters that plague his world. "Parasite: A Robopocalypse Story" brings us back to the world of Robopocalypse and "One For Sorrow: A Clockwork Dynasty Story" brings us back to, you guessed it, A Clockwork Dynasty!

The book is a mix of previously published pieces and pieces new to the collection. "The Blue Afternoon That Lasted Forever", which finds a father racing home to be with his daughter as a disaster he's one of the few to recognize looms, appeared in Carbide Tipped Pens. "God Mode" appeared Press Start to Play, and the aforementioned "Parasite" actually appeared in 21st Century Dead.

Altogether, it's a really fantastic collection. Some of the tales are poignant and touching. Others are downright scary. All of them are utterly thought provoking and wonderful. I should note, too, that this is the first time Wilson's shorts have appeared together in one place. If you haven't read him before, this is a great starting place. And if you're a longtime fan, this is definitely a must have for your collection!

Here's the full TOC:

"Miss Gloria"
"The Blue Afternoon That Lasted Forever"
"Jack, the Determined"
"The Executor"
"Helmet"
"Blood Memory"
"Foul Weather"
"The Nostalgist"
"Parasite: A Robopocalypse Story"
"God Mode"
"Garden of Life"
"All Kinds of Proof"
"One for Sorrow: A Clockwork Dynasty Story"
"Special Automatic"

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Fingerprints of Previous Owners by Rebecca Entel

Happy Tuesday, everyone! Today I'm a stop on the TLC blog tour for Rebecca Entel's Fingerprints of Previous Owners.

Cruffey Island, aka Furnace Island, is a resort today but once upon a time it was a slave plantation. Myrna works at the resort by day and investigates the old ruins of the plantation by night. She's fascinated by the history and by the idea of uncovering the story of the island's earliest inhabitants who lived in the old ruins. But it's a history no one other than Myrna wants to dig too deep into. Soon, a new arrival to the island and new revelations about the violent history of the place spur conflict between the locals and the resort.

Rebecca Entel's debut is a confident and assured one. Her writing bleeds emotion but also has a spareness to it that makes it unique compared to similar tales.

The setting for the story is a fiction island, but the story is obviously one that draws influence from very real events. And while Entel herself is not Caribbean, as her main character is, her care and attention to her research and to giving voice to Myrna is obvious.

Fingerprints of Previous Owners is a good illustration of a larger issue - the history of slavery and the attempt to gloss over, or even sweep away that history in order to avoid uncomfortable conversations.

To see more stops on the tour be sure to check out the official TLC tour page here.

For more on Rebecca Entel and her work you can visit her website here. You can also like her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter.


Purchase Links: Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble


Sunday, March 18, 2018

New Releases 3/20/18

Some of the new titles hitting shelves this week are:

The Past Is Never by Tiffany Quay Tyson

Death Comes in Through the Kitchen by Teresa Dovalpage

Torn by Rowenna Miller

The Wild Inside by Jamey Bradbury

The Broken Girls by Simone St. James

The Punishment She Deserves by Elizabeth George

The Fighter by Michael Farris Smith

Stray City by Chelsey Johnson

Every Note Played by Lisa Genova

A Guide for Murdered Children by Sara Sparrow

The Italian Teacher by Tom Rachman

Bury What We Cannot Take by Kirstin Chen

How to Fall In Love With a Man Who Lives In A Bush by Emmy Abrahamson

The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan

The Heart Forger by Rin Chupeco

Tyler Rose Was Here by Jay Coles

New on DVD:
Pitch Perfect 3
Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle
Downsizing

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Death of an Unsung Hero by Tess Arlen - Excerpt + a Giveaway

This week marks the release of the fourth entry in Tessa Arlen's Lady Montfort mystery series. To celebrate, I've got an excerpt to share with you today as well as a giveaway. But first, here's a bit about the book from Goodreads to get you started:

Lady Montfort and her pragmatic housekeeper Mrs. Jackson investigate a murder of a WWI officer with amnesia in the 20th-century English countryside.

Building on the success of her last three mysteries in the same series, Tessa Arlen returns us to the same universe in Death of an Unsung Hero with more secrets, intrigue, and charming descriptions of the English countryside.

In 1916, the world is at war and the energetic Lady Montfort has persuaded her husband to offer the dower house to the War Office as an auxiliary hospital for officers recovering from shell-shock with their redoubtable housekeeper Mrs. Jackson contributing to the war effort as the hospital’s quartermaster.

Despite the hospital’s success, the farming community of Haversham, led by the Monfort’s neighbor Sir Winchell Meacham, does not approve of a country-house hospital for men they consider to be cowards. When Sir Evelyn Bray, one of the patients, is found lying face down in the garden with his head bashed in, both Lady Montfort and Mrs. Jackson have every reason to fear that the War Office will close their hospital. Once again the two women unite their diverse talents to discover who would have reason to murder a war hero suffering from amnesia.

This series is perfect for fans of Charles Todd and Jacqueline Winspear!

And now, for a little taste:

Death of An Unsung Hero
by Tessa Arlen

Chapter One

“How very nice, Mrs. Jackson.” Iyntwood’s elderly butler settled into his chair by the window. “Why, it’s almost like old times again.” George Hollyoak’s glance took in the claustrophobic and over-furnished room: shabby velvet chairs jostled with a heavy mahogany desk, taking up far too much space in front of the windows, both of which were swathed in heavy curtains in a dusty but strident red plaid.

The dowager Countess of Montfort had died two years ago and her character, or that of the late Queen Victoria, whom she had revered, was still heavily imprinted on the dower house furnished as a faithful replica of the old queen’s beloved Balmoral Castle. Bright and, to Mrs. Jackson’s flinching eye, brash tartans dominated most of the reception rooms on the ground floor of Haversham Hall.

Mrs. Jackson was encouraged to see George Hollyoak sitting in her new office. It had taken weeks to coax him to visit her and now after all sorts of silly excuses here he was. Though even with her old friend and mentor sitting at his leisure with a cup of afternoon tea in his hand it wasn’t really like old times, no matter how much they all wished it were. The war had changed everything. Her face must have reflected her thoughts as she followed his gaze around the oppressively furnished room. “Perhaps not quite like old times.” Her guest smiled as he observed a shaft of dust motes dancing thickly in the late summer sunlight. “I must say you are looking well, Mrs. Jackson, and so very smart in your uniform: Voluntary Aid Detachment or Red Cross?” This was the first time he had acknowledged that Iyntwood’s dower house had been transformed into an auxiliary hospital.

“The hospital comes under the jurisdiction of the Red Cross, but I trained with the VAD. I am not an assisting nurse, so I am spared the traditional starched apron and the rather claustrophobic cap,” she answered. Long aprons and linen caps, in her experience, were worn by cooks, and although Mrs. Jackson was not a snob, she was conscious of little things like rank and station.

In acknowledging Haversham Hall’s new status the old man evidently felt he might ask his next question. He leaned forward, curiosity bright in his eyes. “And how are you finding life in your new abode?”

Mrs. Jackson hesitated before she answered. She had never liked Haversham Hall; it was as overbearing as the Victorian age it had been built in and an ugly building in comparison to the Elizabethan elegance of Iyntwood. But she had made the adjustment from being a senior servant to Ralph Cuthbert Talbot, the Earl of Montfort, at his principal country-seat, to the rank of quartermaster at Lady Montfort’s new hospital far more easily than she had anticipated. The real challenge had come when their first patients had arrived, but this was something she was not prepared to share with Mr. Hollyoak—not just yet.

“It is not as different as I thought it would be. Haversham Hall is not Iyntwood, but it is a building I am familiar with, and my duties here are similar to those of my position as housekeeper at Iyntwood.” That’s not strictly true, she thought, but it will do for now.

Her new job was not at all like her old one, any more than this hospital was like many of the others that had sprung up all over the country in the many private houses of the rich and titled, speedily converted to cope with an unceasing flow of wounded men from France. At Haversham Hall Hospital there were no wards lined with rows of beds, no operating theaters with trays of steel surgical instruments, or hastily installed sluices and sterilizers. Certainly there was an occasionally used sick bay and a first aid room in what was known as the medical wing, but they were merely a token adjunct. And it was these diferences that were the cause for Mr. Hollyoak’s initial reluctance to visit her and for his searching question, “How are you finding life in your new abode?” because Haversham Hall Hospital was not a conventional Red Cross hospital, not by a long stretch of the imagination.

She raised her teacup to her lips and took a sip. If she was to help a man whose conventions were deeply mired in the nineteenth century to understand the value of the hospital’s purpose, she must proceed with cautious tact. She decided to start with a prosaic description of the practicalities.

“I am responsible for the running of the hospital’s housekeeping and for ordering all supplies, which means I spend most of my time sitting at my desk filling in requisition forms; the bureaucracy of wartime, her ladyship calls it. But we have plenty of nice young women from the Voluntary Aid Detachment to help with the housekeeping as well as some of our nursing duties. And I certainly need to be well placed here on the ground floor of the house to supervise them.” She did not add “every step of the way” because that way of thinking made her resent how difficult it was to work with inexpert help. To go with her cheerful tone she exhibited her most optimistic smile. VAD girls from nice middle-class families were a nightmare to train in comparison to sensible, sturdy village women who were ready to roll up their sleeves and had no romantic illusions about their part in the war efort. 

Having given her visitor the briefest outline of her duties, she decided that she would wait for him to display genuine interest—enthusiasm would be too much to hope for—in what they were accomplishing here before she continued. She ofered Mr. Hollyoak a plate of sandwiches: delicate triangles of egg with cress. She had prepared them herself, mashing the hard-boiled egg finely with a narrow-tined fork and adding just the right amount of salt, pepper, and cress to spread on lightly buttered crustless bread. He took a sandwich and closed his eyes as he chewed and swallowed the first bite.

“Perfect,” he said and smiled his appreciation, “quite perfect. I need not say how much you are missed at Iyntwood.” He took another bite of sandwich and then slowly shook his head. “The house simply isn’t the same without you.”

And now for the giveaway! To win a copy of Tessa Arlen's Death of an Unsung Hero, simply fill out the Rafflecopter below before Monday, March 26. Open US only and no PO boxes please. 


Tuesday, March 13, 2018

If I Die Tonight by Alison Gaylin

Good morning, everyone! Today I'm a stop on the TLC blog tour for Alison Gaylin's latest, If I Die Tonight.

In the middle of the night, a woman bursts into the Havenkill police department screaming about an accident. It seems a boy in a black hoodie carjacked her. When another boy came to her rescue, he was run over in the escape, ending up in the hospital in critical condition. 

Jackie's is just one of the houses included in the police department's neighborhood canvas area. It's a terrible accident and Jackie feels for the boy's family, but as more information comes out about the accident, one of Jackie's own sons is implicated. And sure, the boy has grown surly and distant, but that's normal for teens. Right? Certain she knows her son better than anyone else, Jackie is the last to believe the rumors. But doubt begins to creep in and she has to wonder just how well she knows this boy - man - who is her son. 

This is a frightening read in that it examines this sort of court of public opinion that is social media today. Liam, who is the victim in the accident, is increasingly painted as the golden boy, the hero. And Jackie's son, Wade, already an outcast when the story begins, grows into a sort of mythic villain thanks to public outcry and gossip.

The case gains even more traction due to the the involvement of a one time pop star, Aimee En. It's Aimee's flashy car that's stolen. And it's Aimee and her followers that help give the story even more visibility than it may get otherwise.

The story alternates between narrators, none of whom has access to the whole story themselves, which means the reader has to rely on piecing each bit together to try and come to their own conclusions as the story progresses. Of course the biggest questions are: Is Wade really the villain? If he isn't, what is he hiding? And if Wade is innocent, then who is actually responsible.

Jackie is the character you most want to sympathize with. She's a working, single mom raising two teenage boys. And she tries to balance between being attentive and watchful and still giving them space to grow. Which I think is something every parent has always struggled with. Except now, the added wrinkle of social media and the internet makes it even harder.

The scariest thing about this book is that it was, in fact, inspired by an actual event and Gaylin's own attempt to, as she says in the extras, make sense of it. And while I don't think anyone can ever make sense of a situation like this, I do think she's done a great job weaving a story that humanizes each of the players involved, giving the reader a chance to see the whole of the accused, the victim, and the people most affected by the maelstrom of dangerous conclusions that comes out of a tragic accident when no one knows the whole story.

To see more stops on the tour be sure to check out the official TLC tour page here.

For more information on Alison Gaylin and her work you can visit her website here. You can also like her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter.

Purchase Links: HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble


Monday, March 12, 2018

Paper Girls: Book One


Four twelve year old paper delivery girls in the 80s (which is another draw for me) find themselves at the center of strange events on Hell Morning. Before they know it, they've met masked men (boys) from another time, faced death, and traveled into the future!!! 

It's the morning after Halloween when Erin, new to the paper delivery game, runs into Mac, KJ, and Tiffany. Well, not so much runs into considering they come to her rescue when some local teens begin harassing her during her delivery. Because of the holiday antics, the three girls are already delivering together and invite Erin to tag along. Unfortunately teaming up doesn't prevent three weirdos still in costume from attacking KJ and Tiffany and stealing one of their walkie talkies. The girls give chase, tracking their attackers to an abandoned house and that's when things get weird...

First off let me say that I have struggled in the past trying to get into comics. I read my brother's X-Men comics when we were kids - in particular anything Rogue/Gambit and Jubilee. Beyond that, I did very briefly try to buy Buffy comics when they started releasing. And this is likely why I also stopped - a quick perusal of my oh, so small comic collection from those days revealed two copies of the same comic (with different covers) and four comics that I apparently thought followed the duplicate, but were actually part of a completely different series. This was before the bound books, folks!

But there's that whole Read Harder challenge (which has THREE comic categories this year). As such, I've been open to trying some comics. In particular two series I heard about on Book Riot that sounded right up my alley. And while we were in San Diego, I decided it was time to give a few a try. 

Paper Girls had been described as perfect for fans of Stranger Things, so of course it was at the top of my list (right alongside Misfit City, aka The Goonies for girls)! And it's probably no surprise that I fell in love with this series!

Paper Girls is ongoing, currently clocking in at 20 installments. Paper Girls: Book One, with its impossible to miss hot pink cover, collects issues 1-10 (or vol 1 and vol 2). And it has a total cliff hanger ending, which means that I was dying to get my hands on vol 3 and the soon to be released vol 4!

The story is oddball and the Stranger Things comp is completely appropriate. First, it starts in the 80s. Second, there's paranormal weirdness - in this case, time travel! Before the girls know it, there are dinosaur riding people in space suits after them!

I know I'm new to the comics world, and there are plenty of people who've been into it longer and know more than I do. I also know that Vaughan's other series, Saga, is so incredibly, massively popular that you can't miss references to it. There are even Saga Funkos now! But, I don't think anything can possibly top Paper Girls for me. The series is super fantastic fun! The story is engaging and the illustrations are phenomenal. And, obviously, it's perfect for folks just getting into comics!

Sunday, March 11, 2018

New Releases 3/13/18

Some of the new titles hitting shelves this week are:

The Feed by Nick Clark Windo

Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeney

The Flight Attendant by Chris Bohjalian

Let Me Lieby Clare Mackintosh

Gods, Monsters, and the Lucky Peach by Kelly Robson

The Echo Killing by Christi Daugherty

The Waters & The Wild by DeSales Harrison

The Merry Spinster: Tales of Everyday Horror by Mallory Ortberg

Dayfall by Michael David Ares

Death of An Unsung Hero by Tessa Arlan

This Is How It Ends by Eva Dolan

The Neighbors by Hammah Mary McKinnon

A Different Kind of Evil by Andrew Wilson

The Last Watchmand of Old Cairo by Michael David Lukas

Anatomy of a Miracle by Jonathan Miles

Time Bomb by Joelle Charbonneau

Obsidio by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

New on DVD:
The Shape of Water
I, Tonya
Call Me By Your Name
The Disaster Artist
Justice League

Thursday, March 8, 2018

The Silent Companions by Laura Purcell

Elsie thought her life was set when she married Rupert Bainbridge. But shortly after their wedding, Rupert has passed. It was certainly sudden and unexpected. He'd been visiting his family home, The Bridge, when it happened.

Now Elsie, pregnant and grieving, is a widow. She's traveled from the city to The Bridge for the funeral and to mourn and wait out her pregnancy. It's thought that time at the manor will be a quiet respite that will give Elsie time to settle in and prepare for the birth of her child. But The Bridge offers anything but quiet respite. First there are the locals, who seem to fear The Bridge and anyone associated with the manor house. And there are the rumors of deaths even beyond that of her husband's. Then Elsie and her cousin discover a diary tucked away inside a locked room and an all too lifelike wooden figure that bears a striking resemblance to Elsie herself, the strange happenings in the house become too much to bear. Is Elsie losing her mind? Or are there forces at work that defy logical explanation?

The Silent Companions is a deliciously creepy and satisfying read.

The book begins at the end, in a way. Elsie is in a mental institution. Unable to speak and under suspicion of murder, she takes the reader back to her arrival at The Bridge. Eventually, we learn that by the time Elsie met Rupert Bainbridge, she had pretty much given up on marriage. And Rupert saved her from more than just spinsterhood. His inheritance was just what Elsie and her brother needed to keep the family business afloat.

In truth, to be wooed, wed, and widowed in such a short amount of time is a lot to take in, and Elsie arrives at The Bridge saddened by Rupert's death but determined to carry on. She's to be a mother, after all. Unfortunately she doesn't feel at home at The Bridge. She has secrets she'd prefer to keep from her new staff and family - Rupert's cousin, Elsie's new companion.

Her discomfort is clear to the reader from the start. And when they discover the diary, chapters begin alternating between Elsie - past and present - and The Bridge's most infamous mistress, Anne Bainbridge.

A gloomy manor house, unwelcoming locals, and a number of curious deaths... Purcell builds the atmosphere fabulously and the tension and mystery grow steadily until the big reveal at the end. The Silent Companion is super fun, bearing all the hallmarks of classic gothic literature. The perfect read for a rainy and dreary day!

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Sunburn by Laura Lippman

Good morning, everyone! Today I'm a stop on the TLC blog tour for Laura Lippman's latest, Sunburn.

Polly has abandoned her family. Adam has been hired to find her. They both settle in Belleville, both take a job at the High-Ho, both enter into the relationship with one another under false pretenses. 

And  then someone dies. 

Things have gotten complicated, to say the least. And as the affair goes on, it only gets worse. Do they really love one another? And if so, can their love last as the lies begin to unravel around them?

I love Laura Lippman. She's truly fabulously talented writer, as is made even more evident by Sunburn.

The thing that jumps out at you first with this one is the voice. It's strong and sultry with a gray tinge of classic noir - a hint of danger that slinks through the story even before the actual danger begins on the page. As a longtime reader of Lippman's work, it's also different from all of the books that have come before.

And then you get into the meat of the story and realize how cleverly crafted it really is. The secrets and lies that each character is hiding start to reveal themselves and it becomes pretty impossible to guess what's coming next.

Honestly, from the opening lines I really didn't know what to expect with this one. We've got a man and a woman in a bar - she's a redhead with a sunburn and he's intent on catching her attention. And then we flash back to Pauline/Polly's family beach vacation. A trip she's decided is the perfect time to make her escape. By the next chapter we know that Adam Bosk has been hired to find and get close to Polly, but we don't know why. It makes sense that her husband would hire him to find her, and yet within a few short chapters we know that's not the case. And that's just one of the things we as the reader have to wait to find out.

The book progresses quickly - the chapters are short and alternate mostly between Adam and Polly. And that underlying sinister edge keeps up throughout, making this one read you won't want to put down until the very end.

If you haven't had a chance to dive into Lippman's books yet, this is a perfect place to start. Trust me, you'll love her!

To see more stops on the tour be sure to check out the official TLC tour page here.

For more on Laura Lippman and her work you can visit her website here. You can also like her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter.

Purchase Links: HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

I'll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara

One thing people are surprised to learn about me is that I have a BA in criminal justice. I've got 16 years and counting working in the publishing industry in one form or another, and a degree in criminal justice that I've never used. (I did minor in anthropology and English, so I'm using part of my education at least.) And I did love my university experience. I loved my major and I especially loved the department.

But even now, as a reader, I generally spend my time in fictional crime, avoiding the true stuff. Part of that could be attributed to attempting to read the wrong selection of true crime too early. It doesn't mean that I haven't been fascinated by the same cases that catch the attention of everyone else - I wrote a paper on Jack the Ripper, for goodness' sake. But still, the fictional pages of Kinsey Millhone's investigations were much more my jam than Ann Rule's.

Which brings me to today's post and Michelle McNamara's I'll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman's Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer. My husband and I are fans of Patton Oswalt - and that's the easiest explanation for seeing this one here. But I'm also doing the Book Riot Read Harder challenge, which requires reading a true crime as one of the tasks.

More so than both of those, though, has been the fact that McNamara, who was already well known because of her site, True Crime Diary, would have been kicking off what would no doubt be a huge career as a well-known true crime writer with the release of her first book, I'll Be Gone in the Dark.

That made this a much more difficult read.

The book, which is about McNamara's search for the identity of a serial rapist and murderer she dubbed the Golden State Killer, was deeply personal in addition to being a literal hunt for the identity of a killer whose crimes were only connected in the early 2000's in spite of the fact that the crimes occurred over two decades prior. Because it was her first book, McNamara delved into her own history and where her interest in true crime began - the unsolved murder of a neighborhood girl when McNamara was a child. And McNamara talks about that case as well as her own childhood and background, even admitting that the draw to investigating cold cases, something her husband supported wholly, was much more appealing than red carpet events (as an introvert, this is totally understandable!).

See, difficult.

And the case she's investigating is highly disturbing. Fair warning before going in!

I had no familiarity with this case at all. And it's likely that most people reading this book won't either. The East Area Rapist/The Original Night Stalker terrorized California from 1978 to 1986. And, as mentioned above, the true scope of his crimes wasn't actually connected until DNA evidence was reexamined in 2001. McNamara stresses throughout the book that police at the time believed they were dealing with two different criminals due to both the widespread area of the crimes and the evolution from rapist to murderer. This was enhanced by the lack of communication between departments at the time as well.

And the case has never been solved. According to Wikipedia, a reward was offered as late as 2016 in an attempt to finally close the case.

McNamara was, as her subtitle states, obsessed. But her writing adds a human element to her own story as well as the victims, their families, the investigators, all of whom were haunted by these crimes. Gillian Flynn, who wrote the foreword (and narrates that portion of the audiobook as well), admits to her own fascination with true crime and the understanding that the genre as a whole is built on tragedy and the people who suffered it, also says that her cherrypicked readings of the genre have been dependent on the people writing the books - that human element, that focus on the victims and their story, a care and attention that you get here in McNamara's writing.

I really can't recommend this book highly enough. It is gripping and amazing and it really makes me wonder what McNamara could have or would have tackled next. It's a bittersweet read in that sense as McNamara was clearly a huge talent.

I'll Be Gone In the Dark was unfinished at the time of McNamara's death but the book is complete. Or as complete as it can be, thanks to McNamara's husband, her research assistant, an investigative journalist who was hired to help, and her editor. The book hit shelves just last week and is followed by a podcast behind the book (which kicked off yesterday), which also coincides with a four part series on the Golden State Killer on the ID channel. According to the book, McNamara's own blog and discussion boards on the case are still open as well. Hopefully, McNamara's work will spawn new interest and bring about some sort of closure to the case!

As a bit of an afterword, I did read this one on audio. The foreword is read by Gillian Flynn herself, the epilogue by Patton Oswalt, and the book is read by Gabra Zackman, who is a completely fantastic narrator.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

New Releases 3/6/18

Some of the new titles hitting shelves this week are:

If I Die Tonight by Alison Gaylin

The Reluctant Fortune-Teller by Keziah Frost

Guardian Angels & Other Monsters by Daniel H. Wilson

Aunti Poldi and the Sicilian Lions by Mario Giordano

The Sandman by Lars Kepler

The Coincidence Makers by Yoav Blum

Barbed Wire Heart by Tess Sharpe

Daughters of the Storm by Kim Wilkins

Holmes Entagled by Gordon McAlpine

The Darkling Bride by Laura Andersen

Lake Silence by Anne Bishop

Rainbirds by Clarissa Goenawan

Crimson Lake by Candice Fox

The Last Equation of Isaac Severy by Nova Jacobs

Close to Home by Cara Hunter

A Brush With Shadows by Anna Lee Huber

I'll Be Your Blue Sky by Marisa de los Santos

The Day She Disappeared by Christobel Kent

The Hunger by Alma Katsu

Blood of the Four by Christopher Golden & Tim Lebbon

Moonstruck by Grace Ellis, Shae Beagle, & Kate Beth

Blood Water Paint by Joy McCullough

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

The Night Diary by Veera Hiranandani

The Final Six by Alexandra Monir

The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw

The Girlfriend by Sarah J. Naughton

The Beauty That Remains by Ashley Woodfolk

The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

New on DVD:
Thor: Ragnarok
Lady Bird
The Man Who Invented Christmas
The Breadwinner

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Pre Pub Book Buzz: Go Ask Fannie by Elizabeth Hyde

My family has a bit of an addiction to banana bread. And while I like to experiment, changing it up sometimes (out of necessity since I moved from sea level to high altitude), my dad is a firm believer that the recipe we've always used is the best one and there's no need to deviate from it. 

That recipe comes from a book pretty beloved by my family - The Fannie Farmer Cookbook. My grandmother had a copy, my mom has a copy that's falling apart, and when I moved out on my own my grandmother bought me a copy as well. 

When I stumbled upon Elizabeth Hyde's upcoming Go Ask Fannie, it piqued my interest. And when a read through of the synopsis confirmed the Fannie in question was indeed Fannie Farmer, I immediately had to read it. Here's a bit about the book from Goodreads:

Everyone has baggage. The Blaire siblings are just taking theirs home for the long weekend.

When Murray Blaire invites his three grown children to his New Hampshire farm for a few days, he makes it clear he expects them to keep things pleasant. The rest of his agenda–using Ruth and George to convince their younger sister, Lizzie, to break up with her much older boyfriend–that he chooses to keep private. But Ruth and George arrive bickering, with old scores to settle. And, in a classic Blaire move, Lizzie derails everything when she turns up late, cradling a damaged family cookbook, and talking about possible criminal charges against her.

This is not the first time the Blaire family has been thrown into chaos. In fact, that cookbook, an old edition of Fannie Farmer, is the last remaining artifact from a time when they were a family of six, not four, with a father running for Congress and a mother building a private life of her own. The now -obscured notes written in its pages provide tantalizing clues to their mother’s ambitions and the mysterious choices she once made, choices her children have always sought without success to understand. Until this weekend.

As the Blaire siblings piece together their mother’s story, they come to realize not just what they’ve lost, but how they can find their way back to each other. In this way, celebrated author Elisabeth Hyde reminds readers that family survival isn’t about simply setting aside old rivalries, but preserving the love that’s written between the lines.

As an added bonus, Hyde is a local author here in the Boulder/Denver area. You can read more about Go Ask Fannie, including an excerpt, over on her website

Go Ask Fannie is due out from Putnam in April. 

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

A Princess in Theory by Alyssa Cole + a Giveaway

The emails from the so-called Kingdom of Thesolo were amusing at first, but Naledi Smith is fed up. Little does she know, the emails aren't some Nigerian scam. They're very real indeed. 

Naledi's parents both died when she was young, leaving her to be raised in the foster system. The shuttling from home to home left her with a feeling that no one wanted her - her theory of reverse velcro. And so she's made it on her own. Now, a grad student studying to be an epidemiologist, her education and career are her only focus. But then the smoking hot Jamal shows up at work and then in her apartment building and she finds herself beginning to entertain the idea that someone might finally stick. 

Jamal, aka Prince Thabiso of Thesolo, has been searching for Naledi for some time now. As children, they were betrothed in a ceremony witnessed by the goddess herself. And then Naledi disappeared. Now, both adults, Thabiso can't understand why she would abandon him, their kingdom, and her duties. And so, after tracking her down, he's decided to confront her about it. Except when they meet and she mistakes him for a fellow grad student, he can't resist the opportunity to get to know her - and she him - without his title getting in the way. 

A Princess in Theory kicks off Alyssa Cole's new Reluctant Royals series, and it is seriously fun!

If you hadn't noticed, other than dark, I'm drawn to fun. Cole's name wasn't new to me, she's comes highly recommended from folks in the know, but this was my first time reading her.

From the start, I loved the playful tone of this one. It kicks off with a string of the Kingdom of Thesolo emails, all claiming that Naledi is a long lost princess - which, of course, no woman would believe! And Naledi's first and only response to the emails is... appropriate and won me over even more. The thing that sealed the deal, though, was that Naledi is a scientist. An epidemiologist, to be specific. Which I loved!

Enter Prince Thabiso, who is definitely a playboy in every sense of the word. And yet, he too is a more than competent leader. He cares about his country, the fictional kingdom of Thesolo, and the future of the people he serves. And he sticks to that idea - that he is a servant of those people.

Of course, as the story progresses and the characters inevitably fall for one another, the twist is that that relationship is built on one big lie - Prince Thabiso's identity. And thanks to the publisher, I'm able to share a teeny taste of the book, right around the point when Thabiso tries to come clean...

“I need to tell you,” Prince Thabiso said between kisses, “who I am.”

Who I really am, he added silently.

“I know who you are,” Ledi said. She pulled off her t- shirt, revealing a soft, worn-looking gray bra cupping her silky brown breasts. “You’re the guy who learned to cook for me. The guy who’s made me laugh harder than I have in a long time. The guy who— ” She whispered the rest in his ear.

He chuckled and ran a fingertip over the lace that edged her bra. “I love that you speak so freely.”

“Only with you. I feel like my entire life has been me trying to keep everything to-gether, but right now I want to fall apart.”

He could see the want in her eyes. “I must tell you something, Ledi.”


But how could he?

I love, love, loved this book! It's smart and sweet and steamy! Basically, I think Alyssa Cole is brilliant and I can't wait to read more from her! And actually, the second book in the series, A Duke By Default, is due out this summer and will feature Naledi's best friend, Portia (though I'm already wondering if Portia's intensely awesome sister will be getting her own book as well). 

And because I loved this so much, I'm going to give away a copy! To enter, simply fill out the Rafflecopter below before Monday, March 12. Open US only. 

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Promise by Minrose Gwin + a Giveaway

Happy Tuesday, readers! Today I'm a stop on the TLC blog tour for Minrose Gwin's Promise

On Palm Sunday, 1936, a devastating tornado ripped through Tupelo, Mississippi. Dovey smelled the storm coming and was pulling in the wash when the winds kicked up. Sixteen-year-old Jo was just returning from church. 

Though the two share connections - both normal and dark - the tornado throws them together in a way they never could have expected. Jo's family has not been spared by the massive force of the tornado and Dovey, on her way to find her own granddaughter and great-grandson, learns that their own new baby has disappeared in the storm. The two are drawn together as they both search for their loved ones. But it's Jo who finds her brother first, promising to care for the boy no matter what. Even when his own mother won't claim him...

It's easy to see the biggest aspect of this story coming from a mile away. But it's not meant to be a twist. It is a story of loss and tragedy, and ultimately one of hope. 

Gwin's latest is based on a very real event. Dubbed the fourth most deadly tornado in US history, the author learned that the storm's body count was grossly inaccurate. Incredibly, only the white fatalities and injuries were counted - the affects to the black community in Tupelo were not tracked. 

The story is in part driven by this historical fact. It's also inspired by Gwin's own grandmother's stories about the storm as well as local coverage. Again, though, it's the human aspect and, in particular an attempt to give voice to the untold history of the storm, that is the story. 

This isn't an easy read. We know from the beginning that Jo's oldest brother is Dreama's child's father by force. We also know that Jo herself has suffered at the hands of her brother. Even his own family may publicly deny his crimes, but secretly pays Dreama money each month. And all of that's told before the storm even hits. 

While Promise may not be a happy tale or even a pretty one, it is one about human spirit and undying hope. Brought to life by Rose's lyrical prose and intricate detail, Promise is about race, women, and family all wrapped up in a retelling of one horrific event in Mississippi history. 

I'm giving away one copy of Promise today. To enter, simply fill out the Rafflecopter below before Monday, March 12. 


To see more stops on the tour be sure to check out the official TLC tour page here. And for more on Minrose Gwin and her work you can visit her website here.

Purchase Links: HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble