Wednesday, May 23, 2018

The Widow's Watcher ~ Lone Star Book Blog Tours ~ Promo, Book Trailer & Giveaway!

THE WIDOW'S WATCHER
by
ELIZA MAXWELL

Genre: Literary Fiction Publisher: Lake Union Press
Date of Publication: March 29, 2018
Number of Pages: 286

  Scroll down for the giveaway!




From Eliza Maxwell, the bestselling author of The Unremembered Girl, comes a gripping novel about the mysteries that haunt us and the twists of fate that can unravel them…
Living in the shadow of a decades-old crime that stole his children from him, reclusive Lars Jorgensen is an unlikely savior. But when a stranger walks onto the ice of a frozen Minnesota lake, her intentions are brutally clear, and the old man isn’t about to let her follow through.
Jenna Shaw didn’t ask for Lars’s help, nor does she want it. After he pulls her from the brink, however, Jenna finds her desire to give up challenged by their unlikely friendship. In Jenna, Lars recognizes his last chance for redemption. And in her quest to solve the mysteries of Lars’s past and bring him closure, Jenna may find the way out of her own darkness. 
But the truth that waits threatens to shatter it all. When secrets are surrendered and lies are laid bare, Jenna and Lars may find that accepting the past isn’t their greatest challenge. Can they afford the heartbreaking price of forgiveness?
PRAISE FOR THE WIDOW'S WATCHER:

"There was a moment I had to tell myself that this is just a book..."
- Goodreads reviewer

"A well-paced story of healing, forgiveness and tragedy, with enough unexpected twists to keep readers guessing.”
-- Amber Cowie, author of Rapid Falls

CLICK TO PURCHASE


║ AMAZON  ║  MURDER BY THE BOOK 
║ BARNES AND NOBLE (Print Only) 



CHECK OUT THE TRAILER!




Eliza Maxwell lives in Texas with her ever-patient husband and two kids. She's an artist and writer, an introvert and a British cop drama addict. She loves nothing more than to hear from readers.

Twitter ║ Facebook   ║ Instagram Website 
-------------------------------------
GIVEAWAY!  GIVEAWAY!  GIVEAWAY!
Three Winners! 1ST PRIZE: Signed Copy + $25 Amazon Gift Card 2ND PRIZE: Signed Copy + $10 Amazon Gift Card 3RD PRIZE: Signed Copy
MAY 22-31, 2018
(U.S. Only)


VISIT THE OTHER GREAT BLOGS ON THE TOUR:
5/22/18
Book Trailer
5/22/18
Review
5/23/18
Guest Post
5/24/18
Review
5/24/18
Notable Quotable
5/25/18
Review
5/25/18
Author Interview
5/26/18
Review
5/26/18
Notable Quotable
5/27/18
Deleted Scene
5/28/18
Review
5/28/18
Excerpt
5/29/18
Top Five List
5/30/18
Review
5/31/18
BONUS Review

   blog tour services provided by
  

Thursday, May 17, 2018

How it Happened ~ Michael Koryta


Koryta, Michael. 2018. How it Happened. New York, NY: Little, Brown and Company, a division of Hachette Book Group. ISBN 978-0316293938. $27.00 USD

Michael Koryta is a very accomplished writer, and his books always have high holds at the library. I had not read one of his novels in a while, and when I looked up after starting the book, time had flown by: the mark of a great read!

It opens with a riveting description of a female suspect, Kimberly Crepeaux, confessing to her part in a double murder. The main character, Rob Barrett, is an FBI agent who is skilled in getting criminals to confess, and he believes Kimmy knows where the bodies are buried (so to speak). The problem is, the evidence doesn't align with the confession; and Rob will put his career, and his life, on the line to solve this case, which has ties to his childhood in Maine.

Koryta is a great story teller, and the writing is so seamless and propulsive that you just keep turning the pages. The only problem I had with the book is that I think the summary from the publisher gives too much away. We know from that blurb that no one is going to believe Rob, the evidence won't add up, and his career will be at stake. Knowing all this takes away some of the enjoyment of the book, because it diminishes the suspense in the beginning. That's my only criticism of this excellent story. I'm sure it will be widely read and enjoyed by my customers, who already have holds placed.

Happy Reading!

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Small Blessings by Martha Woodroof, Narrated by Lorelei King





Woodroof, Martha. 2014. Small Blessings. Macmillan Audio; Unabridged edition. Book on CD.
ISBN 978-1427244130  $39.99 USD.

Embarking on a road trip is unfathomable without an audiobook to pass the long, boring driving hours across the very large State of Texas, and I don’t always end up with one I want to listen to for 10 hours. This past weekend, however, I totally lucked out and listened to Martha Woodroof’s Small Blessings, narrated by the incomparable Lorelei King.

I happen to really enjoy campus stories, so my antenna went up when I read the summary of this novel. It’s set on a small college campus and populated by the most amazing characters. Tom Putnam is an English professor, married for two decades to a fragile woman with a mental illness, and he just barely gets through the day with the help of his mother-in-law, Agnes. He had a 9 day affair ten years ago with a visiting poetess which sent his wife, Marjorie, off the deep end; and he learned his lesson about trying to have a life different from the one he is trapped in. Tom has a friend, Russell, who is a blow-hard and recovering alcoholic, and who lives to torment the cranky, aggressive Iris, a professor with some addiction issues of her own.

One day a woman named Rose Callahan arrives to manage the college bookshop, a little boy named Henry arrives on a train claiming to be Tom’s son, and none of the characters in this story will ever be the same. Filled with entertaining prose, snappy dialogue, extremely well-developed characters, and a hint of mystery, Small Blessings will just steal your heart right out of your chest.

Listening to the narrative on my road-trip had me nodding my head, smirking, huffing with laughter, and it squeezed my heart with profoundness, as well. It reminded me that when life seems to be going off the rail, that new direction might be the one we’re supposed to be on after all. I need more stories like this one!

 Happy Reading!

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Four Plants...and a Book Review!

I have only written book reviews on this blog, but I’ve been thinking about nature, flowers and other flora as Spring has approached in all her warmth and beauty. We had a Spring Gardening Craft Program at the library in March, which I facilitated, and I had to plant a succulent – the first time I have ever planted anything!




My mother has a verdant green thumb, and mine is brown, bordering on black! The only plant I have kept alive is Hercules, a Pathos Ivy that my husband was given over 35 years ago, before we were married – and Hercules still lives!




I’ve killed the three plants my mom gave me when I started work at my new office (over-watered, I think), but I bought Marion at Thom Thumb a few months ago, and she seems to like library, as I do! She is surviving on healthy neglect, I think!




After planting the succulent in March, I was inspired to plant some more. Here are the Winston Trio that decorate my desk at work.



 And, then at Sprouts last week, I saw another succulent for sale (these are hard to kill, you know), and was enchanted by the container he came it. Here is Bartlett:



Finally, I brought home Shelia from my late Aunt’s funeral arrangement. She’s a Schefflera, and she lives, quite happily so far, on the ledge around the garden tub. I’m really praying that this plant lives, as it’s a reminder of my Aunt Shelley.




Speaking of plants and flowers, I read the most wonderful book last year. So here’s the book review:

Branard, Lynne. 2014. The Art of Arranging Flowers. New York,NY: Berkley, a division of Penguin Random House. ISBN 978-0425272718. $15.00 USD.

I came across this title in our audiobook collection last year. I loved it so much, I asked the Fiction Selector at work to purchase a copy for each branch. It falls under the genre of Women’s Fiction, but the new-ish genre of Up-Lit works in describing it, too.  Heartwarming, quirky characters, small town setting, with enough emotional resonance to lift it above others like it, it stole my heart!

Ruby Jewell has known tragedy in her life. When she was in her twenties, her beloved sister committed suicide; this sent Ruby into a downward spiral of depression, causing her to drop out of law school. One day, lying in bed, unable to get up and get back to life, she happened to notice some beautiful flowers growing outside her window. That vision was enough to help her get up, and gradually over time, to put together a life of sorts.

Ruby became a florist in a small town, and for twenty years she has helped to commemorate all the celebrations and passages of time for those in her community, with only her faithful dog, Clementine as company. With just one look at a customer, Ruby seems to know exactly what type of arrangement is needed to help heal a broken heart, or a sudden passing of a loved one; to convince that girl to go out with you, or remind a friend you are worth forgiving. She is beloved in the community, but not loved with someone's heart.

All that changes, when a young orphaned boy asks for a job at the Flower Shoppe, a man who has flown to the moon takes a sudden interest in her, and a local veterinarian starts causing some long-forgotten feelings in the region of her heart. It sounds like a romance, but it’s really not. It’s about life, tragedy, community, faith, and yes, love, too. It has stayed with me for a long while, as the best books do, and I have bought copies for family and friends, as well as recommended it through Reader’s Advisory. Sometimes you just need this type of story, and if you do, this one’s for you.

 Happy Reading, and Planting!

Instagram, Discovered...

#Instagram


I’ve gotten fairly proficient at using Twitter for work. I use it for Collection Development, Reader’s Advisory, and Publisher and Author contacts. But I started noticing these things called #Bookstagrams on Twitter, with lovely images of books and flowers and nature scenes. Hmmm, I thought, I need to look into this!

So, I had my teenager show me how to use Instagram (it didn’t go over very well). I stumbled along and figured it out eventually, and off I went. But a funny thing happened: I started noticing things I usually overlooked – colorful flowers, book covers, beautiful nature scenes (yes, even in Texas we have some nice things to see - bluebonnets, for example). So, out came the smartphone and I started taking photos of what caught my eye. At first they were pretty ordinary. A few wild flowers, some stacks of books. But then, I discovered filters! And hashtags! And suddenly I had followers and was stopping traffic and knocking on strangers’ doors to take pictures of flowers and bottle trees! I was getting out of control! This morning, during a devotional, I paused on the page that said “May,” with a photo of some flowers on it. Out came the phone (Sorry, God!), and off I went to find the perfect quote to go with the picture to post on Instagram #flowers #Spring, etc. And a quick prayer after that to move social media down the list of priorities in my life!

Here are some of the Instagram #pics I've #posted on #bookstagram and #flower sites!!  (Well, I need a little help, here, after all)!


Cara Cara Oranges are in season!


Bottle Tree


Month of May


My Mom's Backyard


My Towering TBR!

Happy Viewing!

Saturday, May 5, 2018

A Texas Treat - Bill Crider's Sheriff Dan Rhodes Series, as Narrated by George Guidall

Murder in Four Parts: A Dan Rhodes Mystery (Unabridged) - AudiobookRed, White and Blue Murder: A Dan Rhodes Mystery, Book 13 (Unabridged) - AudiobookMurder Among the OWLS - Audiobook

I’ve been a huge fan of George Guidall from the very first audio-books I listened to that he narrated. I became kind of a groupie, searching our collection for all the audio-books narrated by him that I could find. I went through most of the political thrillers (Daniel Silva), the Craig Johnson’s Longmire series, and am currently listening to the late Bill Crider’s Dan Rhodes series set in a fictional town in Texas.  I have about a 30 minute daily commute, so I can listen to an hour of Mr. Guidall’s excellent interpretation of various character voices, and it makes the drive a dream! (Here’s a link to a NYT article that tells why George Guidall is “the undisputed king of audiobooks": https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/17/books/george-guidall-audiobooks.html)

In Bill Crider’s Dan Rhodes mystery series, set in Blackland County, Texas, there’s always something a-foot, and Sheriff Rhodes has his hands full, not only with handling the various crimes committed in his territory, but dealing with his contrary staff  (Hack! Lawton!) and other odd-ball members of his community.  I’ve found that you don’t have to read the books in order, as the late author did a great job of gently revisiting the basic setup of the characters, and you can step right in anywhere you like.

We only own about 5 of these audio-books (the series started in 1980’s), so now I’m on the hunt through Interlibrary Loan to track down some more!

Happy Reading (and Listening)!

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Dark Queen ~ Faith Hunter

Dark Queen (Jane Yellowrock) by [Hunter, Faith]
Hunter, Faith. 2018. The Dark Queen. New York, NY: Ace, an imprint of Penguin Random House. ISBN 978-1101991428. $7.99 USD, Mass Market Paperback.

I've been reading and enjoying the Jane Yellowrock series from the very first book, Skinwalker, and introduce it often to Urban Fantasy fans.  Some of the books in the series have been a little "out there" with the magical and mystical elements, but overall it's an excellent Urban Fantasy series that ticks all the boxes: strong, independent heroine; unique world building; well-developed secondary characters; creative magical elements; and of course, vampires, shifters, witches and even angels.  What makes this series stand out is the dual nature of the heroine: she is a Cherokee shapeshifter with the soul of a puma concolor (mountain lion) named "Beast" living inside her.  Beast has her own unique voice, opinions, strengths and sense of humor!

In this 12 title in the series, we are introduced to a new character who may or may not be Jane's biological brother, and this turns her world upside down. Although Jane has developed her own kind of family with the Youngers and Truebloods, she has always felt alone - the sole shapeshifter from her clan. She has to work through why her "brother" has suddenly shown up, as he seems to have ulterior motives. There's a lot of action in this book, as always, and the presence of the European Vamps and the upcoming vampire duel for the U.S. territories is on everybody's mind.  There are a lot of moving pieces in the story, but the climactic fight scene is worth the cost of the book!

 It was great fun to immerse myself in this unique and entertaining world again. I recommend this series often, and in my mind it's up there with other great Urban Fantasy series', such as those written by Anne Bishop, Patricia Briggs and Ilona Andrews.