Bookish Ramblings: Bilingual Books – Language Lizard LLC.



Hello, my bookish peeps. It’s the end of the year and holiday season for many people. For those of you that celebrated Hanukkah, a belated Chag Sameach! For those of you preparing for Christmas, I wish you a Merry Christmas. And for those of you awaiting Kwanzaa, I wish you a Happy Kwanzaa or Ngubo Saba.




For book lovers, especially bilingual and multilingual households, holidays can be filled with wonder over finding the perfect gift or fraught with terror over not being able to find that perfect something. This is especially true when trying to find books to share with loved ones that celebrate diversity and multilingual or bilingual households. Fortunately, there is a company that provides award-winning bilingual children’s products, Language Lizard, LLC., Inspiring Kids Through Language! (This is a paid promotional post. I received free books in exchange for this post, see picture below.)



FLOPPY by Guido Van Genechten in Yoruba & English;
THE GIANT TURNIP adapted by Henriette Barkow in Gujarati & English;
JILL AND THE BEANSTALK by Manju Gregory and David Anstey in Albanian & English




If you’re looking for bilingual books to share with a loved one or are an educator looking to supplement your classroom, Language Lizard has you covered. Language Lizard provides books in over 50 languages including Albanian, Arabic, Bengali, Chinese, Farsi, Gujarati, Haitian-Creole, Hebrew, Italian, Kurdish, Somali, Thai, Vietnamese, and more. I’m pleased to announce that in conjunction with Language Lizard, all The Book Diva’s Reads blog visitors can receive a 10% discount on the purchase of gift certificates at Language Lizard by using the following coupon code: GIFTDEAL. Use this coupon to purchase a book or learning materials for a birthday, holiday, or any gift-giving occasion. 





In addition to bilingual books, Language Lizard offers the PENpal Audio Recorder Pen. This digital audio “pen” promotes reading, speaking, and listening for a diverse student population.


  • Listens to content in many languages by touching the pen to interactive books, charts, labels, and other learning resources
  • Allows recording of individual narratives, music, or sound effects with Recordable labels


Language Lizard also provides lesson plans and articles to support multicultural/multilingual classrooms. with a free newsletter and lesson plans available at Language Lizard.

I hope you’ll check out Language Lizard and use the discount code GIFTDEAL to save 10% on your gift certificate purchase whether it is for the holidays, a birthday, or as a just because gift! 

Happy Shopping, Happy Reading, and Happy Holidays!

Guest Post: Jeff Bond – THE WINNER MAKER

The Winner Maker by Jeff Bond

Hello, my bookish peeps. I’ve often wondered how much thought and planning goes into designing the cover art for a book. Some cover art can be, let’s just say off-putting, and other cover art can be eye-catching. Today, Jeff Bond, author of The Winner Maker, stops by for a visit and discusses with us the all-important issue of cover art from the author’s perspective. Thank you, Mr. Bond for taking time out of your schedule for today’s visit. I’m looking forward to your thoughts on cover art. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Jeff Bond.







I have a love-hate relationship with cover art. I love being involved in the process. I can’t draw to save my life and having the opportunity to oversee a professional artist capturing my story’s essence in visual form is humbling, wonderful, and just plain fun. When you see a standout book cover — the demon-man in American Psycho, that disembodied blue face of The Great Gatsby — you just feel the story bubbling up through your bones. You’re not only excited about the book. You’re excited about the whole idea of the book, everything it has the potential to say. You can’t wait to dive in between those flaps and discover how this author went about delivering on the promise of that image.

What if your book cover could make a reader feel all that?

Here’s the problem: what if it doesn’t?

When you involve yourself intricately in the cover design process, as I did with The Winner Maker, you’re taking a risk. The stakes are high. The task is daunting. You know the sort of cover art you like, but you also know (or should know) that the genre you’re publishing in carries certain cover expectations — if not requirements. If you commission a cover that’s deep and intellectually bold, you’d better be selling a book of that description too. At the same time, you don’t want generic—something that looks like it got stamped out from comparable titles, the text swapped in with your name and title. Or do you?

For The Winner Maker, I absolutely did not want the thriller-tastic silhouette-running-into-dangerous-skyline cover, though I had people advise me that I needed exactly that. “Readers need to know they’re getting a thriller.” Drama. Danger. Tension. The color red. I decided to put my head down against this headwind and chart a different course. I felt—still feel—my book was aiming to be more than a straight thriller. It featured complex characters and explored my themes in fresh ways. I wanted an image that suggested this.

Andrea Orlic, my amazing designer, came up with a piece of art I absolutely loved. It differed from the final cover in a few ways, the most significant being that the sun was yellow, and the “I” in WINNER MAKER wasn’t smeared. I thought—still think—it told the entire story at a glance. The teacher at the center, both light and dark, commanding a sun, keeping certain people in the light while leaving others out. The one set of eyes watching hauntingly. I thought it had just the right vibe—dangerous, but stylishly so, with plenty of unanswered questions.

Then somebody I trusted, with plenty of experience in the industry, told me it looked like a seventies sci-fi cover. I should just hand the blurb off to an experienced cover shop and have them make me something.

Self-doubt roared through me. Was I making a terrible mistake? Was I sabotaging my book by involving myself in a realm I had no business in? A realm I knew next to nothing about?

I went back to Andrea, who thankfully does have experience in the field. She talked me off the cliff. We agreed to make a couple tweaks to her original design — smearing the “I”, turning the sun that thriller-tastic red — to more clearly communicate the genre for potential readers.

As the book makes its way out into the world, I’ve come to believe that for all the trials and tribulations, we did end up with the perfect cover. Many love it. A few don’t. Some think it looks like a hard book to get into.

How can the cover be perfect, you ask, if some don’t like it?

Because this reaction tracks uncannily to reactions early readers have had to the book itself. Professional reviews and the vast majority of reader reviews have been extremely positive, but a couple have found the character development burdensome in the early going. They were looking for a more straight-ahead thriller.

When what’s outside the flaps evokes so accurately what’s inside them — the totality of the book, not just a genre label — then you’re in the right place.

What do you like or dislike in book covers? Are you intrigued by an image outside genre norms, or does it make you think the author/publisher just fired an airball?






The Winner Maker

by Jeff Bond

on Tour December 1-31, 2018



Synopsis:


The Winner Maker by Jeff Bond

Bob Fiske — the 74-year-old dinosaur who’s taught Honors English and coached varsity football for five decades — is missing.

To his Winners, class favorites Fiske designated over the years for their potential to “Live Big,” it’s heartbreaking. Fiske did more than inspire with soaring oratory; he supported their ambitions into adulthood. Four of his brightest former stars reunite to find him, putting high-octane careers on hold, slipping police barricades, racing into the wilds of Northern Michigan for clues about the fate of their legendary mentor.

Others don’t see a legend. They see an elitist whose time has passed.

When a current student — female — disappears just hours into the Winners’ search amid rumors of inappropriate meetings, the Great Man’s reputation is a shambles.

Feints, betrayal, explosive secrets from their own pasts: as facts emerge, each Winner must decide how far they’ll go for Fiske. Can the truth redeem him? Or has this cult of hyper-achievement spawned a thing so vile none of their lives will survive intact?


“An exhilarating and emotionally astute mystery.” ~ Kirkus



Book Details:


Genre: Upmarket Mystery, Thriller
Published by: Indie
Publication Date:  December 1, 2018
Number of Pages: 332
ISBN: 1732255202 (ISBN13: 9781732255203)
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads


Jeff Bond

Author Bio:



Jeff Bond is a Kansas native and graduate of Yale University. He lives in Michigan with his wife and two daughters, and belongs to the International Thriller Writers Association.



Catch Up With Jeff Bond On


Website
Goodreads
Twitter
Facebook!




Tour Participants:

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






Giveaway:



This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Jeff Bond. There will be 1 winner of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card. The giveaway begins on December 1, 2018, and runs through January 1, 2019. Void where prohibited.


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2019 Book 474: FOR BETTER AND WORSE by Margot Hunt

For Better and Worse by Margot Hunt
ISBN: 9780778307907 (trade paperback)
ISBN: 9781488088544 (ebook)
ISBN: 9781488205477 (audiobook)
ASIN: B077ZW32RW (Kindle edition)
Publication date: December 11, 2018 
Publisher: MIRA 


On their first date back in law school, Natalie and Will Clarke bonded over drinks, dinner and whether they could get away with murder. Now married, they’ll put the latter to the test when an unchecked danger in their community places their son in jeopardy. Working as a criminal defense attorney, Nat refuses to rely on the broken legal system to keep her family safe. She knows that if you want justice…you have to get it yourself.

Shocked to discover Nat’s taken matters into her own hands, Will has no choice but to dirty his, also. His family is in way too deep to back down now. He’s just not sure he recognizes the woman he married. Nat’s always been fiercely protective, but never this ruthless or calculating. With the police poking holes in their airtight plan, what will be the first to fall apart: their scandalous secret—or their marriage?



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Nathalie and Will met in law school. Nathalie had specific goals, work for the public defender’s office before opening her own firm and Will just wanted to work in a law firm and never see a courtroom. Fast forward and Nathalie and Will are married and living in Florida. Nathalie has her own life firm and works as a criminal defense attorney. Will is working as a paper-pusher doing contract law. They have a good marriage (not a great one but decent), a nice home, a ten-year-old son that they both adore, and a dog. Life hasn’t exactly gone the way they planned, but it isn’t all bad until their son’s school principal is taken in for questioning regarding molesting a student. At first, both Nathalie and Will think this is much ado about nothing as the student in question is classified as a “troubled youth,” but then they learn that their son was also molested by this principal, a man they thought of as a friend. Nathalie refuses to report the instance with their son simply because she knows how traumatic the questioning and trial can be. Will feels that justice must be served and their son might be the voice needed to ensure this man doesn’t get off scot-free. Just when it seems like their lives have changed for the worse and it couldn’t possibly get any worse, Nathalie decides that the principal must die. She’s willing to do whatever it takes to protect her son and family, but can she count on Will especially after she learns he’s been keeping secrets from her? Secrets that just might tear their family apart more than her plans? How far is too far when it comes to protecting your children? How far is too far when it comes to keeping the wedding vows “for better or worse?”

I found For Better and Worse to be a fast-paced read. There is intrigue and, yes, murder, but the reader knows who the murderers are from the very beginning. The burning question becomes can they get away it and then should they be able to get away with it? Ms. Hunt presents this story in such a way that it was almost impossible to not feel empathetic towards Nathalie and Will no matter what they decide to do to protect their son. The bigger question that looms for Nathalie and Will (as well as for the reader) is if their choices are actually justifiable or not, morally and ethically. This is a not a black-and-white issue for Nathalie or Will, nor was it one for this reader. I can’t say if I agreed with their choices or condoned their actions, but I understood where they were coming from as parents. Nathalie comes across as a strong woman that is often rigid in her thinking. Will comes across as more laidback and flexible except when it comes to keeping his secrets. There were parts of the story that seemed a bit farfetched, but hey it’s fiction and therefore allowed. I enjoyed most of the characters and although I empathized with Nathalie throughout most of the story, by the end she was not my favorite person (read the book to learn why for yourself). If you enjoy reading fast-paced psychological thrillers, then you may want to grab a copy of For Better and Worse to read, just don’t let it give you any criminal ideas!


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



Read an excerpt from the book here.



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2018 Book 471: ONCE A MIDWIFE by Patricia Harman

Once A Midwife Hope River #3 by Patricia Harman
ISBN: 9780062869333 (hardcover)
ISBN: 9780062825575 (trade paperback)
ISBN: 9780062825582 (ebook)
ISBN: 9780062867711 (audiobook)
ASIN: B0756DR699 (Kindle edition)
Publication date: November 6, 2018 
Publisher: William Morrow 


Welcome back to Hope River in New York Times bestselling author Patricia Harman’s newest novel as midwife Patience Hester, along with her family and friends, face the challenges of the home front during World War II.

The women of Hope River trust midwife Patience Hester, whose skill in delivering babies is known for miles around. But though the Great Depression is behind them, troubles are not, for Europe is at war…and it can only be a matter of time before the U.S. enters the fray.

And while some are eager to join the fight, Patience’s husband, Daniel, is not. Daniel is a patriot—but he saw too much bloodshed during the First World War, and has vowed never to take up arms again.

His stance leaves Patience and their four children vulnerable—to the neighbors who might judge them, and to the government, who imprison Daniel for his beliefs.

Patience must support their family and fight for her husband’s release despite her own misgivings. And with need greater than ever, she must also keep her practice running during this tumultuous time…relying on generous friends, like Bitsy, who has returned to Hope River, stalwart neighbors, and her own indomitable strength to see them all through.



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Author Patricia Harman returns to Hope River, West Virginia and the Hester family in the early 1940s with her latest addition to the Hope River Series Once A Midwife. Adolph Hitler and the Nazis are overtaking most of Europe, the United States is initially practicing isolationism from the European conflict until the bombing of Pearl Harbor, and the country is still reeling from the Great Depression. Patience Hester is still a practicing midwife and her husband, Daniel, is still working as a veterinarian. Their family consists of their two biological children, Danny and Mira, along with their adopted twin daughters Sunny and Sue. Bitsy Proudfoot, Patience’s friend, trainee and former roommate, returns to Hope River to with her ward, Willie. Bitsy and Willie, along with the Hesters are making the best of their situations and hoping and praying that war will not come to West Virginia. Their hopes are dashed with the bombing of Pearl Harbor and men from their community and surrounding communities are eager to do their part, signing up to fight, except for Daniel Hester. Daniel refuses to sign up for the draft and isn’t eager to return to war after the Great War or World War I. He witnessed first hand the atrocities man commits against man and animal alike and he doesn’t want to have a part in perpetuating those acts of inhumanity and insanity. Needless to say, this causes problems for Daniel in the community as well as with Patience and his own son. Patience has a hard time understanding Daniel’s pacifism but is determined to stand by his side. Their son, Danny, initially feels that his father is being cowardly until Daniel tries to explain to the children the reason for his actions. The looming question on everyone’s mind is will Daniel be sent to prison for his actions and if so, for how long and where will he go? For Patience, the question becomes can she continue to stand by her husband if she doesn’t agree with his decision when she’s the one that will bear the brunt of the work and fallout afterward? Does she have the strength to do what needs to be done to keep her family going forward? As the men of Hope River and beyond go off to war, the women are left to tend the farms and families while worrying about loved ones far, far away. Can they stay strong in the midst of these trying times?

Once a Midwife is the third book in the Hope River series by Patricia Harman and this book packed quite an emotional punch. Mr. Harman touches on a number of topics and themes throughout the story, such as pacifism in times of war, family solidarity, local prisoner of war camps, and even interracial relationships and marriage. This wasn’t an easy read partially due to the subject matter presented (and due to a bout with vertigo that caused a brief hospitalization, chronic daily migraine headaches, and a sinus infection — hey, if you’re going to get sick, do it right!), but it was one that I found to be touching, emotional, and even enjoyable. I’m always eager to read books featuring West Virginia, even if it is with a fictional town and fictional characters. I’ve read and re-read the Hope River series by Ms. Harman and was looking forward to reading Once a Midwife and it did not disappoint me. I enjoyed the historical tidbits, the characters, and even the mountain settings (West Virginia is a gorgeous state…come by for a visit sometime). Ms. Harman has an adept way of pulling the reader into the day-to-day lives of her characters and investing the reader into the characters and story’s final outcome. If you’ve read any of the books in the Hope River series then I highly recommend you grab a copy of Once a Midwife to read. If you haven’t read any of the previous books in this series, start with The Midwife of Hope River and The Reluctant Midwife before reading Once A Midwife. This historical fiction series is one that I consider a #mustreadseries and I hope you’ll agree.

Disclaimer:  I received a free digital copy of this book from TLC Book Tours for review purposes. 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.”



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About Patricia Harman




Photo by Callie Lindsey Photography

Patricia Harman, CNM, got her start as a lay midwife on rural communes and went on to become a nurse-midwife on the faculties of Ohio State University, Case Western Reserve University, and West Virginia University. She is the author of two acclaimed memoirs and three novels: the bestselling The Midwife of Hope River, The Reluctant Midwife, and The Runaway Midwife. She has three sons and lives near Morgantown, West Virginia.


Find out more about Patricia at her website, and connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.


This review and blog tour brought to you by TLC Book Tours

Book Spotlight and Extras: NC-17 by Larissa Reinhart



NC-17 (Maizie Albright Star Detective)

by Larissa Reinhart



About the Book



NC-17 (Maizie Albright Star Detective)
Cozy Mystery/Women’s Detective Fiction
3rd in Series
Past Perfect Press (December 4, 2018)
Paperback, 370 pages
ISBN13 – 9781732351660
Digital ASIN: B07HFVV7V7


#StillDetectiveing


As an ex-star of a hit teen detective show, Maizie Albright gets the youth demographic. Or so she thought. Now that she’s adulting, today’s kids make Maizie feel out of date. At least the youth she meets while doing community service at Black Pine’s exclusive healing resort, the Wellspring Center. When these teens aren’t vlogging their attempts to track down Big Foot, they’re trying to prove the Center is up to no good. Starting with the disappearance and possible murder of their not-as-young commander. A murder the police find as likely as Big Foot.


Maizie has her own suspicions about the new celebrity retreat. Particularly when she learns her ex-fiancé has been hired to run the Center. Kind of an issue when she thought Oliver was in prison. Kind of an issue when Nash, the man of her dreams, is out of commission.


Wait, not man of her dreams. 

Boss of her fantasies. Professionally speaking, of course.


While Maizie’s helping adolescent Youtubers detect a disappearance, she’s wrangling her mother’s wedding, assuaging an overzealous probation officer, and struggling to keep Nash Security Solutions solvent. Conspiracy theories collide with real-life catastrophes beginning with murder and possibly ending with Maizie’s life.



Bookish Extras:

“Southern-Style Slow Cooker Mac-n-Cheese” 
with Maizie Albright and Larissa Reinhart



My characters don’t cook, but they eat. Usually Southern food. Fortunately for them (and for me), they live in Georgia.

This is a family favorite any time of the year, but it’s especially great during the holidays when you’ve got guests or need to tote a side dish to a gathering. Plus, it’s wonderful for all that leftover turkey or ham or whatever. And it’s a slow cooker meal, which I love. I don’t know about you, but when dinner rolls around, I want to eat and not cook! And this recipe is perfect for the holidays because you only slow cook it for 3 HOURS on low. You may sleep in and still relax at dinner time!

This would be a recipe that Carol Lynn, Maizie’s wonderful step-mother, would make. The woman can cook anything (even whatever her husband hunts and fishes on his property). She cooks like butter can’t kill you and from Maizie’s point of view, she really hopes that’s true. Maizie’s living with her father, Carol Lynn, and six-year-old half-sister, Remi, while she starts her new non-celebrity, private detective life in Black Pine, Georgia. While training to become an investigator, she’s really enjoying Southern food since she left her trainer and nutritionists back in California. Unfortunately, her stage-monster/manager mother, Vicki, followed her home and likes to remind Maizie that the delightful food passing her lips still falls on her hips. 

But none of us like Vicki, so we’ll just ignore that message. Because this may be the best mac-and-cheese you’ll try. I’m not bragging, just passing on information I’ve been told by the many who have tried this recipe that was passed on to me!


I Can’t Eat Another Turkey Sandwich: Southern-Style Slow Cooker Mac-n-Cheese

Something you need to know about Southern-style mac and cheese. It’ll look a bit curdled, but It’s still got a creamy taste. If you want to add leftover meat, make sure it’s cooked and cubed, chopped, or shredded. 



12 ounces uncooked elbow macaroni noodles

1 12-oz can evaporated milk

1 1/2 c. milk

1/2 c sour cream

2 eggs, beaten

1 t. salt

1/2 t dry mustard

1/2 t pepper

1/4 cayenne/red pepper

4 T butter, melted

16 oz. shredded cheddar cheese, divided 

(I like shredded mild cheddar for a mellower taste, but if you’re a real cheddar fan, get yourself some shredded sharp cheddar. Just a word of warning, the sharper the cheddar the less creamier the end product.)


Parboil noodles in salted water for 5 minutes and no more. Don’t overcook them. They should be firm. You don’t want mushy macaroni! 

While noodles are cooking, mix together the evaporated milk, milk, sour cream, beaten eggs, salt, mustard, pepper, and cayenne pepper in a large bowl.

Add the parboiled macaroni, melted butter, and 3/4 of the cheese to the sauce and combine. Pour everything into the slow cooker. (I’d advise spraying the pot with cooking spray or using one of those liners to make clean up easier.) If adding leftover (pre-cooked and chopped) meat, mix it in with the macaroni.

Top the mixture with the rest of the cheese. Cover and cook on LOW for 3 hours. 




The center will be creamy and the edges, golden brown (I love that crunch edge cheese). 






About the Author




Wall Street Journal bestselling and award-winning author, Larissa Reinhart writes humorous mysteries and romantic comedies including the critically acclaimed Maizie Albright Star Detective, Cherry Tucker Mystery, and Finley Goodhart Crime Caper series. Her works have been chosen as book club picks by Woman’s World Magazine and Hot Mystery Reviews.

Larissa’s family and dog, Biscuit, had been living in Japan, but once again call Georgia home. See them on HGTV’s House Hunters International “Living for the Weekend in Nagoya” episode. Visit her website, LarissaReinhart.com, and join her newsletter for a free short story.


Author Links

Website: http://larissareinhart.com/

Newsletter: http://smarturl.it/larissanewsletter

Official Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorLarissaReinhart/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/larissareinhartwriter

Facebook fan/reader group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/mysteryminions/

Instagram: http://instagram.com/larissareinhart

Amazon page: http://smarturl.it/LarissaReinhart

Bookbub page: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/larissa-reinhart

Goodreads page: http://smarturl.it/LarissaGoodreads

Purchase Links




Kindle: http://smarturl.it/17Amazon




Nook: http://smarturl.it/17Nook




Kobo:http://smarturl.it/17Kobo




iBooks: http://smarturl.it/17iBooks





Other stores:  books2read.com/NC17



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TOUR PARTICIPANTS

December 3 – The Book Diva’s Reads – RECIPE, SPOTLIGHT

December 4 – Community Bookstop – REVIEW

December 4 – Cozy Up With Kathy – CHARACTER GUEST POST

December 5 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT 

December 5 – Island Confidential – SPOTLIGHT

December 6 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – GUEST POST

December 6 – Jane Reads – REVIEW

December 6 – MJB Reviewers – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

December 7 – Mallory Heart’s Cozies – REVIEW

December 7 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT

December 7 – My Reading Journeys – SPOTLIGHT

December 8 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – AUTHOR INTERVIEW*

December 8 – Socrates’ Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

December 9 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT

December 10 – Ruff Drafts – SPOTLIGHT

December 10 – Devilishly Delicious Book Reviews – REVIEW

December 11 – Varietats – REVIEW

December 11 – Readeropolis – RECIPE, SPOTLIGHT

December 12 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

December 12 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW

December 13 – Girl with Book Lungs – REVIEW

December 13 – Mysteries with Character – GUEST POST

December 14 – Christa Reads and Writes – REVIEW

December 14 – Handcrafted Reviews – SPOTLIGHT


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Book Excerpt: FATAL INVASION by Marie Force

Fatal Invasion The Fatal Series #13 by Marie Force
ISBN: 9781335000439 (paperback)
ISBN: 9781488032844 (ebook)
ISBN: 9781488205453 (audiobook)
ASIN: B077ZZ212L (Kindle edition)
Publisher: HQN
Release Date: February 5, 2019


First the fire, then the heat…

A brutal home invasion. Two small traumatized survivors who may have witnessed the horror. Lieutenant Sam Holland has never worked a case quite like this one, in which her eyewitnesses are five-year-old twins. But when Sam steps up in a big way for them, she risks her heart as much as her career.

While Sam and her husband, Vice President Nick Cappuano, go to battle in more ways than one for her tiny witnesses, her colleague Sergeant Tommy “Gonzo” Gonzales battles his own demons. Months of unbearable grief and despair come to a head in an unimaginable way that threatens Gonzo’s status with the department and his relationship with his fiancée, Christina.

With trouble both at the precinct and on the case, Sam struggles to keep her priorities straight at home and at work while trying not to lose her heart to her latest crime victims.




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Sam was the first of her team to arrive on the scene of the smoldering fire that had demolished half a mansion in one of the District’s most exclusive neighborhoods.

“What’ve we got?” Sam asked the fire marshal when he met her at the tapeline.

“Two bodies found on the first floor of the house, both bound with zip ties at the hands and feet.”

And that, right there, made their deaths her problem. “Do we know who they are?”

He consulted his notes. “The ME will need to make positive IDs, but the house is owned by Jameson and Cleo Beauclair. I haven’t had time to dig any deeper on who they are.”

“Are we certain they were the only people in the house?” Sam asked.

“Not yet. When we arrived just after four a.m., the west side of the house, where the bodies were found, was fully engulfed. That was our immediate focus. We’ve got firefighters searching the rest of what was once a ten-thousand-square-foot home.”

“Any sign of accelerants?”

“Nothing so far, but we’re an hour into the investigation stage. Early days.”

“Has the ME been here?”

“Not yet.”

“Could I take a look inside?”

“It’s still hot in there, but I can show you the highlights—or the lowlights, such as they are.”

Sam followed him up the sidewalk to what had once been the front door. Inside the smoldering ruins of the house, she could make out the basic structure from the burned-out husk that remained. The putrid scents of smoke and death hung heavily in the air.

“That’s them there,” the fire marshal said, pointing to a space on the floor by a blackened stone fireplace where two charred bodies lay next to one another.

Sam swallowed the bile that surged to her throat. Nothing was worse, at least not in her line of work, than fire victims. Though it was the last thing she wanted to do, she moved in for a closer look, took photos of the bodies and the scene around them, then turned to face the fire marshal. “Anything else you think I ought to see?”

“Not yet.”

“Keep me posted.”

“Will do.”

He walked away to continue his investigation while Sam went outside, carrying the horrifying images with her as she took greedy breaths of fresh air. As she reached the curb, the medical examiner’s truck arrived. She waited for a word with Dr. Lindsey McNamara.

The tall, pretty medical examiner gathered her long red hair into a ponytail as she walked over to Sam.

“Fire victims,” Sam said, shuddering.

“Good morning to you too.”

“Hands and feet bound with zip ties.”

“Here we go again,” Lindsey said with a sigh. “Looks like it was quite a house.”

“Ten thousand square feet, according to the fire marshal.”

“I’ll get you an ID and report as soon as I can.”

“Appreciate it.” Sam opened her phone and placed a call to Malone.

“I’m at the scene of the fire in Chevy Chase.”

“What’ve you got?”

“Two DOA, bound at the hands and feet, leading me to believe this was a home invasion gone bad. I need Crime Scene here ASAP.”

“I’ll call Haggerty and get them over there.”

“I want them to comb through anything and everything that wasn’t touched by the fire, and they need to do it soon before the scene is further compromised. We’ve got firefighters all over the place.”

“Got it. What’s your plan?”

“I’m going to talk to the neighbors and find out what I can about the people who lived here while I wait for Lindsey to confirm their identity.”

“Keep me posted.”


Excerpt from Fatal Invasion by Marie Force. Copyright © 2018 by Marie Force. All Rights Reserved. Reprinted with permission from Harlequin/MIRA.



Meet the Author



Marie Force is the New York Times bestselling author of contemporary romance, including the indie-published Gansett Island Series and the Fatal Series from Harlequin Books. In addition, she is the author of the Butler, Vermont Series, the Green Mountain Series, and the erotic romance Quantum Series. In 2019, her new historical Gilded series from Kensington Books will debut with Duchess By Deception.

Altogether, her books have sold 7 million copies worldwide, have been translated into more than a dozen languages and have appeared on the New York Times bestseller list 29 times. She is also a USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestseller, a Speigel bestseller in Germany, a frequent speaker and publishing workshop presenter as well as a publisher through her Jack’s House Publishing romance imprint. She is a two-time nominee for the Romance Writers of America’s RITA® award for romance fiction.

Her goals in life are simple–to finish raising two happy, healthy, productive young adults, to keep writing books for as long as she possibly can and to never be on a flight that makes the news.

Join Marie’s mailing list on her website at marieforce.com for news about new books and upcoming appearances in your area.



Connect with the author via Facebook, her WebsiteTwitter, and Instagram.



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Thursday, November 29th: @novelmombooks

Friday, November 30th: @sarahandherbookshelves

Saturday, December 1st: @mandyvoss

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Review Tour

Monday, November 12th: Write Read Life

Tuesday, November 13th: A Holland Reads – excerpt

Wednesday, November 14th: Bewitched Bookworms

Thursday, November 15th: Becky on Books

Monday, November 19th: Book Reviews and More by Kathy

Tuesday, November 20th: From the TBR Pile

Monday, November 26th: Jathan & Heather

Tuesday, November 27th: The Book Diva Reads – excerpt

Wednesday, November 28th: What is That Book About – excerpt

Thursday, November 29th: Natalie the Biblioholic

Monday, December 3rd: Mystery Suspense Reviews

Tuesday, December 4th: The Sassy Bookster

Wednesday, December 5th: Diary of a Stay at Home Mom

Thursday, December 6th: Stuck in Books

Friday, December 7th: Books & Bindings

Monday, December 10th: Evermore Books

Monday, December 10th: Book Twins Reviews and @booktwinsreviews1




This excerpt and blog tour brought to you by TLC Book Tours

Book Excerpt: I INVITED HER IN by Adele Parks

I Invited Her In by Adele Parks
ISBN: 9780778308850 (hardcover)
ISBN: 9780778369219 (trade paperback)
ISBN: 9781488035050 (ebook)
ISBN: 9781488205682 (audiobook)
ASIN: B07BMVYG12 (Kindle edition)
Publisher: MIRA
Release Date: February 5, 2019


Imagine the worst thing a friend could ever do.

This is worse.

When Mel receives an unexpected email from her oldest friend Abi, it brings back memories she thought she had buried forever. Their friendship belonged in the past. To those carefree days at university.

But Abi is in trouble and needs Mel’s help, and she wants a place to stay. Just for a few days, while she sorts things out. It’s the least Mel can do.

After all, friends look out for each other, don’t they?

I Invited Her In is a blistering tale of wanting what you can’t have, jealousy and revenge from Sunday Times bestseller Adele Parks.


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Read an excerpt

     I wonder, does she? How much contact has she had? Other than the people who turn up on her chat-show sofa, does she have any interaction with kids? Is she a godmother to anyone? She must be, right? She’s perfect godparent material.

     At that moment, I hear the front door bang against the hall wall and a rucksack being dropped. I look out of the kitchen window and notice that the street lamps are on, the sky has turned a deep indigo; it will be black as a bruise in another hour. “Liam’s home,” I announce. “He’s been at football practice.”

     Liam lopes into the room and I am, as always, so very pleased to see him. Liam has an easy, cheerful manner, besides which he manages his two younger sisters with flair and effective ease; he’ll probably be able to retrieve the lippy and scent. I know Abi will be impressed by his height and his manners—all my friends always are.

     “Liam, come and meet a friend of mine.” I jump up and rush to him. I thread my arm through his, just resisting presenting him with a ta-da. “This is Abi—we went to university together.”

     He was expecting her, or at least he should have been; the house has been turned upside down by her imminent arrival and yet he looks surprised. Typical boy. It’s possible that he’s forgotten we’ve a house guest staying for a few days. Still, his manners are as perfect as ever. He leans forward and extends his hand for her to shake. She reaches for it and at the same time gracefully pulls herself up to standing.

     “Oh my God. I wouldn’t have known him.”

     “Well, you haven’t seen him since he was about two months old,” I point out, laughing.

     “He’s—” She pauses, remembering that he’s in the room. “You’re all grown up,” she murmurs, obviously shocked that in a blink of an eye my baby has turned into this. Looking at Liam no doubt makes Abi feel old in a way that even birthdays can’t. I totally understand. Kids are like egg timers. Time slips through your fingers like sand, as you stand back and watch them grow.

     “A-levels this year,” I say proudly.

     “Really? What subjects?”

     “Maths, philosophy and politics,” Liam reels off his subject choices.

     “Wow, clever as well.” I’m grateful that she hasn’t spelt out exactly what he is, besides clever.

     He’s handsome.

     There’s no doubt about it. Quite particularly so. But he’s young and absolutely hates it when my friends say as much, even though they are only trying to pay him a compliment. Even now, under her gaze, he blushes a little bit. He keeps his head down, his blond, sleek, straight fringe falling over his eyes. His eyes are arguably his best feature. Deep, dark blue pools. Framed with long, thick lashes. I already pity the girls who are going to feel the heat of his gaze once he fully understands the power of it.

     I suppose there will be quite a few. He has been seeing Tanya for eight months now; it’s serious but it can’t be it. He’s too young. There were girls before her, and there will be others after.

     “Yeah, he’s smart,” I say, not being able to hide my pride. “Wants to change the world, does our Liam. Don’t you, love?”

     Liam shrugs. He thinks I’m being flip about his ambitions to become a politician, to champion the rights of those without voices, to find a way of doing the right thing in a world where doing the wrong thing seems to pay, but I’m not. I’m proud of him. A little daunted, to be honest. His ambitions seem so big.

     Liam turns to his sisters, engaging with genuine interest. “What have you got on your face?”

     “Lipstick,” they chorus, giggling proudly. They fling themselves at him and cling like limpets. Although he is too old to comfortably accept a hug from his mum, I’m pleased to say he still cuddles his younger sisters with genuine zeal. Well, really, they don’t give him any choice.

     “Have you two had your tea?” he asks.

     I glance at the clock guiltily. It’s past six. I normally feed the girls by quarter to five. I’ve been distracted by Abi’s arrival. “Wow, no, no they haven’t. You must be starving, girls.” Although probably not—Abi hasn’t touched the brownies and yet there’s only one left on the plate. “What do you want?” I ask.

     Liam sees my panic and somehow senses my desire to stay put and chat with Abi some more. He waves his hand. “I’ll do it. No problem. What’s it to be, girls? Scrambled egg or beans on toast?” 

     “No, honestly love, I’ll do their tea but if you could just go and see they wash their hands. Perhaps listen to them reading for school, while I put something on for us all.”

     Liam leads them out of the room. Abi and I smile at one another as we listen to their chatter and laughter trail upstairs.

     “He’s quite something.”

     “Thank you.”

     “You did a fine job, Mel.” She looks me in the eye and nods.

     “Thank you. I didn’t do it on my own. Ben is a brilliant dad and my parents have been such a help.”

     “Yup, I don’t doubt it, but it’s mostly you.”

     I nod and accept her compliment because it’s what I like to believe. Not that I mostly did the bringing up. But that he is mostly me. He’s a fine boy and he is mostly mine. Nothing to do with the boy I had a one-night stand with, someone I hardly knew; he is irrelevant.

Excerpt from I Invited Her In by Adele Parks. Copyright © 2018 by Adele Parks. All Rights Reserved. Reprinted with permission from Harlequin/MIRA.




Meet the Author

Adele Parks one of the most-loved and biggest-selling women’s fiction writers in the UK. She has sold over 3 million books and her work has been translated into 25 different languages.

1500+ 5 star reviews have kindly been written by her fans on Amazon.co.uk 🙂

She has published 15 novels in the past 15 years, all of which have been London Times Top Ten Bestsellers.

Adele was born in the North East of England, in 1969. She enjoyed a traditional 1970’s childhood, watching too much TV and eating convenience food because nobody minded if kids did that in those days. Since graduating from university, where she studied English Language and Literature, she worked in advertising and as a management consultant. In 2010 Adele was proud to be awarded an honorary doctorate of Letters from Teesside University. 


Connect with the author via Facebook, her WebsiteTwitter, and Instagram.



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Thursday, November 1st: Helen’s Book Blog

Friday, November 2nd: Chick Lit Central

Monday, November 5th: Novel Gossip

Tuesday, November 6th: A Holland Reads

Wednesday, November 7th: Broken Teepee

Thursday, November 8th: Cheryl’s Book Nook

Thursday, November 8th: The Lit Bitch

Friday, November 9th: Books a la Mode

Monday, November 12th: From the TBR Pile

Monday, November 12th: Books and Spoons

Tuesday, November 13th: Palmer’s Page Turners

Wednesday, November 14th: Girls in Books

Thursday, November 15th: A Dream Within a Dream

Friday, November 16th: Rad Babes Read

Monday, November 19th: Bewitched Bookworms

Monday, November 19th: Stuck in Books

Tuesday, November 20th: Books and Cats and Coffee

Tuesday, November 20th: The Book Diva’s Reads

Wednesday, November 21st: She Reads With Cats



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I Invited Her In





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Book Spotlight: MRS. ODBODDY AND THEN THERE WAS A TIGER by Elaine Faber


Mrs. Odboddy: And Then There Was a Tiger: (Mrs. Odboddy Mysteries)

by Elaine Faber

A WWII tale of conflict and carnivals, turmoil and tigers.



About the Book



Mrs. Odboddy: And Then There Was a Tiger (Mrs. Odboddy Mysteries)
WWII tale of conflict and carnivals, turmoil and tigers.
Cozy Mystery/Humorous/Historical
3rd in Series
Elk Grove Publications (July 25, 2018)
Print Length: 349 pages
Digital ASIN: B07FXDV1C6


While the ‘tiger of war’ rages across the Pacific during WWII, eccentric, elderly Agnes Odboddy, ‘fights the war from the home front’. Her patriotic duties are interrupted when she is accused of the Wilkey’s Market burglary.

A traveling carnival with a live tiger joins the parishioner’s harvest fair at The First Church of the Evening Star and Everlasting Light. Accused again when counterfeit bills are discovered at the carnival, and when the war bond money goes missing, Agnes sets out to restore her reputation and locate the money. Her attempts lead her into harm’s way when she discovers a friend’s betrayal and even more about carnival life than she bargained for.

Granddaughter Katherine’s turbulent love triangle with a doctor and an FBI agent rivals Agnes’s own on-again, off-again relationship with Godfrey.

In Faber’s latest novel, your favorite quirky character, Mrs. Odboddy, prevails against injustice and faces unexpected challenges . . . and then There Was a Tiger!



Read an excerpt:

Mrs. Odboddy – And Then There Was a Tiger
A true account as it occurred in the fall of 1943. Only the facts were made up… 


Chapter One

“That’ll give them something to pray about.” Agnes

“What in tarnation is all that mess on the front porch?” A tattered shoebox leaned against the newel post beside the front step. Clumps of string lay amidst more shredded paper on the porch. 

Agnes switched off the motor of her 1930 Model A Ford. She pulled on the hand brake, jammed her silver chopsticks firmly into the bun on the back of her hennaed hair, and stepped out of the car. 

Shreds of brown paper skittered across the lawn. Her frown deepened as she picked up pieces of cardboard and string. 

Agnes Agatha Odboddy, in big bold letters, was scribbled across the middle of the brown wrapping paper. She flipped the shoebox over. An offensive odor wafted up from inside. “What the devil…”

Agnes glanced toward the porch and noticed the front door standing ajar. “Jumping Jehoshaphat.” Her granddaughter, Katherine, must have forgotten to lock it when she took their ward, Maddie, to school this morning. 

She pushed open the front door, and peeked inside. “Good gravy!” Pillows–askew on the sofa. Magazines–scattered across the rug. Remnants of her grandmother’s vase speckled the hearth.

“Oh, my stars. We’ve been burgled.” Agnes rushed through the living room and into the kitchen. Breakfast coffee puddled in the middle of the table. A cup lay shattered in the sink. A kitchen chair lay sideways on the linoleum floor.

A scuffling sound came from the back bedroom. Agnes spun around. Was someone in there, ransacking her jewelry box? Should she run back out the front door? Agnes Odboddy, self-appointed scourge of the underworld–run for cover? Not on your tintype!

She grabbed a rolling pin from the drawer, the weapon of choice for a woman of a certain age, planning to sneak up on the thief, crack his head, and bring him to his cowardly knees. 

Before she had taken three steps, a rat barreled out of her bedroom and down the hall. Agnes jumped back. “Yikes!” 

The spindly-tailed rodent raced into the living room and scrambled up the flowered drapes to the top of the curtain rod. Ling-Ling, a feline nemesis in camo-gray, followed. 

Merciful Heavens. A measly rodent? Agnes sent the rolling pin flying. It hit the wall, barely missing the front window, and clattered to the floor. 

Rrowww! Ling-Ling clawed her way up the curtain, knocking a table lamp to the floor. Thud! The fringed shade spun off the lamp and rolled toward the front door. Down came the rod with a crash, as the rat dropped to the floor and raced out the front door with the Ling-Ling, the Siamese avenger three leaps behind. 

Agnes shook her finger. “Ling-Ling. Bad girl. No! No…” What was she saying? “Go get her, girl.” 

Agnes stepped onto the porch and put her hand to her eyes in time to see the pair racing up the street, headed toward The First Church of the Evening Star and Everlasting Light. She checked her watch. Yep, folks should just about be arriving for the afternoon prayer meeting. That’ll give them something to pray about. She stepped back into the house to assess the damage. 

Never in her seventy-plus years had she seen such destruction. What unknown scoundrel hated her enough to leave a rat-filled shoebox addressed to her on the porch? 

Agnes pondered the situation. Ling-Ling must come upon the shoebox and smelled the rodent through the wrapping paper. She could almost see her determined Siamese killing-machine scratching and kicking the box until she had shredded a hole big enough for the rat to escape, dash through the open door, and into the house. The image sent shivers up Agnes’s spine. 

Ling-Ling would have followed with murder in her crossed blue eyes and the chase ensued. Not even an air raid from the Flying Tigers could have left her living room and kitchen in such a mess. No telling how the rest of the house would have suffered if Agnes hadn’t returned just at that moment.

What if Ling-Ling hadn’t found the box and taken matters into her own paws? Why, she might have cut the string herself, opened the box, and the rat would have leaped into her face. Maybe that was exactly the sender’s intention. 




About the Author


elaine-4.-touchup

Elaine Faber lives in Northern California with her husband and two feline companions. She is a member of Sisters in Crime, California Cat Writers, and Northern California Publishers and Authors. She volunteers with the American Cancer Society Discovery Shop. She enjoys speaking on author panels, sharing highlights of her novels. Her short stories have appeared in national magazines and multiple anthologies. She has published seven books. In addition to the Mrs. Odboddy Mysteries Elaine writes the Black Cat Mysteries.




     

  • Webpage/blog: www.mindcandymysteries.com

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  • Facebook, http://tinyurl.com/zm2j4n5


  • Purchase Link – Amazon



    TOUR PARTICIPANTS

    November 19 – Here’s How It Happened – GUEST POST

    November 19 – The Book Diva’s Reads – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT

    November 20 – Mythical Books – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT

    November 20 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT, RECIPE

    November 21 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

    November 22 – Thanksgiving U.S. – Off

    November 23 – Maureen’s Musings – REVIEW

    November 23 – A Wytch’s Book Review Blog – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

    November 24 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW

    November 24 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

    November 25 – StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST

    November 26 – Books Direct – GUEST POST, EXCERPT

    November 27 – Mysteries with Character – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

    November 27 – T’s Stuff – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT

    November 28 – Mallory Heart’s Cozies – REVIEW

    November 29 – Ruff Drafts – GUEST POST

    November 30 – Socrates’ Book Reviews – REVIEW

    December 1 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT

    December 1 – Bibliophile Reviews – REVIEW




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    Guest Post: Bruce Robert Coffin – BEYOND THE TRUTH

    Beyond the Truth by Bruce Robert Coffin



    Hello, my bookish divas and divos. I’m always pleased to welcome visits by authors and today I’m honored to welcome Bruce Robert Coffin, author of the acclaimed and bestselling Detective Byron Mystery series including Beyond The Truth. Mr. Coffin is also a retired police officer and I thank him for his years of service (my youngest brother is a police officer in my hometown and I know just a bit about what these brave men and women do and go through on a daily basis). I’ve often wondered how an author feels with the release of a new book, Mr. Coffin is here today to share with us his feelings about that and more. Ladies and gents, I give you Mr. Bruce Robert Coffin.




    Beyond the Truth, the third novel in my Detective Byron mystery series, was released on October 30th. How do I feel? I feel exactly the same way I did for the other two novels. Excitement, apprehension, perhaps even a bit somber. Surprised by that last emotion? Don’t be. Watching a novel take its first steps out the door, the same novel you spent over a year envisioning, researching, writing, rewriting, editing, rewriting again, and polishing, is akin to looking on helplessly as your five-year-climbs up the steps of the big yellow bus for the first day of school. Will they be embraced by their peers? Or picked on and criticized. Sending a book out into the world is all about letting go. You can’t work on a book forever. All any writer can really hope to do is their best.

    I suspect it’s the same for most authors. Likewise, I imagine that these feelings never completely leave us. Even now as I toil over the manuscript for what I hope will be my fourth novel, fifth if you count the drawer novel, banished to the cellar of unpublished manuscripts, I wonder what readers will think of it. But love it or hate it, the true litmus test of any novel is whether or not we, the authors, are pleased with the finished product. After all, writers are readers first. And I believe that most writers strive to write the type of books they would want to read.

    Lee Child once said if you write a novel that you are happy with, odds are that hundreds of readers will be happy with it too. The trick is in writing a novel that thousands of readers or even hundreds of thousands of readers are happy with. I believe, no matter what else happens, that the author must be happy first.

    When Among the Shadows, my first published novel, was released, I had no idea whether or not mystery fans would embrace it. But to my delight, they did. And most of them loved the characters in my Detective Byron series. Then I worried, would fans of the first book embrace Beneath the Depths, the second in the series? And again, they did. As the number of Detective Byron fans continues to grow, I realize that I must continue to give them my best. Each novel must have something to say. Each must be entertaining. And each must advance the arcs that I have established for my characters. If every novel I write can accomplish those goals, I needn’t worry. But I will anyway.






    Beyond the Truth

    by Bruce Robert Coffin

    on Tour November 1-30, 2018



    Synopsis:


    Beyond the Truth by Bruce Robert Coffin

    In this latest enthralling mystery from #1 bestselling author Bruce Robert Coffin, Detective Sergeant John Byron faces the greatest challenge of his career.

    When a popular high school senior is shot by police following a late night robbery, chaos ensues. The actions of the officer are immediately called into question. Amid community protests, political grandstanding, department leaks, and reluctant witnesses, Byron and his team must work quickly to find the missing pieces.

    And when an attempt is made on the officer’s life, Byron shifts into overdrive, putting everything on the line. Was the attack merely retribution or something more sinister? The search for the truth may come at a price not even Byron can afford.




    Book Details:


    Genre: Mystery
    Published by: Witness Impulse
    Publication Date: October 30, 2018
    Number of Pages: 448
    ISBN: 0062569511 (ISBN13: 9780062569516)
    Series: Detective Byron #3
    Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads



    Author Bio:


    Bruce Robert Coffin

    Bruce Robert Coffin is a former detective sergeant with more than twenty-seven years in law enforcement. At the time of his retirement from the Portland, Maine police department, he supervised all homicide and violent crime investigations for Maine’s largest city. Following the terrorist attacks of September 11th, Bruce spent four years working counter-terrorism with the FBI, earning the Director’s Award, the highest honor a non-agent can receive. His first two books, Among the Shadows and Beneath the Depths, were both Maine Sunday Telegram #1 bestsellers.




    Catch Up With Bruce Robert Coffin On:


    Website, Goodreads, Twitter, & Facebook!




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    Enter To Win!!:



    This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Witness Impulse/Harper Collins. There will be 3 winners of one (1) print copy of Beneath The Depths by Bruce Robert Coffin. The giveaway begins on November 1, 2018, and runs through December 2, 2018. Open to U.S. addresses only. Void where prohibited.


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    Book Spotlight: CHILDREN OF A GOOD WAR by Jack Woodville London

    French Letters: Children of a Good War by Jack Woodville London
    ISBN: 9780990612186 (paperback)
    ASIN: B07H9KF9Q5 (Kindle edition)
    Publisher: Vire Press
    Release Date: November 8, 2018


    Four decades after World War II, 1986 is a year of terrorist hijackings, of personal computers and CD players, of AIDS and Miami Vice. It also is a year in which a beloved doctor falls to his death, a Pan Am pilot is shot while trying to foil the takeover of Pan Am flight 73, and when four bitter French widows use their medicines as bets to play poker in their retirement home while a lonely nun observes her vows of silence in an Irish convent. And it is the year when a cache of faded letters is discovered in a cellar, causing Frank Hastings to realize that he is not who he believed he is, and to go in search of his mother. 



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    Author Q & A

    1. When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer? Or what first inspired you to write? 

    8th grade. I was enrolled in a ‘Ready Writing’ competition and won a prize of some kind for a story about someone very like me who somehow fixed up a wrecked sports car, then had lots of adventures in places whose names I misspelled. I was taken by the craft of writing when I read a number of books in which the word choices the authors made were extraordinary. Examples were the romance poem ‘The Eve of St. Agnes’ and ‘The Hound of the Baskervilles’ (“The hound? The hound did nothing.” “Exactly.”)


    2.  Where/When do you best like to write?  

    In my study. I write best in the mornings when I’m alone.  


    3.  Do you have any interesting writing habits or superstitions?  

    Probably not. I believe that when working on fiction, you should attempt 1000 words a day. I also believe that you should begin by reading what you wrote yesterday, edit and revise it, then move on to a fresh 1000  words. Repeat tomorrow.  


    4.  When you are struggling to write/have writer’s block, what are some ways that help you find your creative muse again?  

    I dig out one of several novels that just light my fires. Larry McMurtry teaches creative writing with every sentence. I read almost anything by Evelyn Waugh or Anthony Powell. John Lanchester and Hilary Mantel are creative and inspiring.      


    5.  What do you think makes a good story?

    A flawed protagonist, a conflict, a solution, then disaster. 



    6. What inspired your story?  

    a.  I thought that there should be a story that reflects three conditions of the cycle (cyclone?) of life: being taken for granted (and attempting revenge); being utterly alone in the world, no matter how many people are around you; and, learning that you really don’t know who you are, then setting out to find out.

    b.  I found the meanness of the Biblical story of the brothers Jacob and Esau and the things they did to their father to also be timeless. I build a family saga around parents who were not always completely blameless, their friends, their enemies, and their children, creating a story in which there are individual bits that all of us will recognize from our family, friends, or, shudder, ourselves. And, as Jacob and Esau feuded and lied, so do brothers feud and lie today, with lasting consequences. Finally, one of the great narratives of sibling rivalries is the accusation that one of them is not really a sibling at all, but a foundling, a child dug up under a cabbage patch, or a bastard that someone brought home to raise.


    7.  How does a new story idea come to you? Is it an event that sparks the plot or a character speaking to you?

    Characters are wonderful devices. You can create them, then drop them into nearly any period or event and they will act as such characters would act at any time in history, whether it is ancient Greece, Tudor England, baby boomers in the 1980s, or Trump America. 


    8.  Is there a message/theme in your novel that you want readers to grasp?  

    I hope that the notion comes through that finding out who we are is something each of us must find out for himself or herself; while we may or may not know who our parents are, we almost never know who they were.  


    9.  What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?  

    How little we really know about our parents.  


    10.  What was your greatest challenge in writing this book?  

    When drawing complex characters with richly detailed individual lives, it takes a great deal of focus to keep their individual storylines arranged so that they become a part of the real story. There are clues buried in most of the characters’ roles that readers often breeze through as minor details of daily life, then realize some time downstream that they are important pieces of the story. 





    Meet the Author


    Jack Woodville London studied the craft of fiction at the Academy of Fiction, St. Céré, France and at Oxford University. He was the first Author of the Year of the Military Writers Society of America. His French Letters novels are widely praised for their portrayal of America in the 1940s, both at home and in the Second World War, and as Americans evolved from the experience of that war into the consumer society of the baby boom generation. Children of a Good War is the third book in that series. The first book, Virginia’s War, was a Finalist for Best Novel of the South and the Dear Author ‘Novel with a Romantic Element’ contest. The second volume, Engaged in War, won the silver medal for general fiction at the London Book Festival, among other awards. His craft book, A Novel Approach, a short and light-hearted work on the conventions of writing, is designed to help writers who are setting out on the path to write their first book. A Novel Approach won the E-Lit Gold Medal for non-fiction in 2015. Jack also is the author of several published articles on the craft of writing and on early 20th-century history. His work in progress is Shades of the Deep Blue Sea, a mystery-adventure novel about two sailors and a girl, set on a Pacific island World War II. Jack lives in Austin, Texas. 


    Connect with the author via Facebook, his Website,  or YouTube.



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    French Letters: Children of a Good War