Reading Challenge

Reading Challenge

Notice how you get braver as you get older? Take on new challenges?

Well, it doesn’t amount to learning to ride a motorcycle at 55 years, but this year I went hunting for reading challenges, and although I did not catch either of these in December or even January, found two I wanted to try this year. I have gathered those books read beginning in 2018 and performed some serious catch-up. I have added a page I’m calling Reading Challenge to collect any new reads posted to either challenge so you can follow my progress during the year. (My Goodreads Challenge is 90 books and progress appears in the widget column to the right.)

The NetGalley and Edelweiss Challenge

In for a penny–in for a pound–and I went straight to the platinum level, which translates to 75 books for the year. Seventy-five books just from these two sources will definitely be a challenge for me. If you’d like to sign up for this challenge, click here. Continue reading “Reading Challenge”

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#ThrowbackThursday – author Rick Mofina – Book Review

#ThrowbackThursday

Renee began the Throwback Thursday meme on her blog, It’s Book Talk to share some of her old favorites as well as sharing books published over a year ago. Sounded like a good reason to join! I am touching on some of my oldies but goodies, favorite authors, and favorite stories. Hopefully, you’ll find either a story or author that interests you and you’ll check them out. And, if you’d like to join the fun, you’re welcome to use Renee’s pic from her website. Just provide the link back to her please).

Cold Fear by Rick MofinaThis week I am highlighting Rick Mofina, another terrific, prolific author who wrote Cold Fear, which I reviewed on Goodreads. He has actually written a number of other books, including this series. This novel was published by Carrick Publishing on December 8, 2012.

Originally posted July 12, 2014

Book Blurb:

In the remote, rugged corner of Montana’s Glacier National Park known as the Devil’s Grasp, little Paige Baker of San Francisco disappears with her dog, Kobee, while on a camping trip with her family; or so her mother and father have told authorities.
A multi-agency task force launches a massive search as Paige fights to survive in the wilderness. Time hammers against her and soon the nation is gripped by the life-and-death drama.
Secretly, behind the scenes, the FBI grows suspicious of Paige’s parents. Their recent history and disturbing evidence links them to a horrible secret from the past.

My Review:

Little city girl Paige Baker runs into the woods with her dog, Kobee, to find her mother–and gets distracted by a chipmunk who captures the dog’s attention as well. Unfortunately, this was preceded by an unusually loud and emotional fight between her father and mother. The mother shouldn’t have been much farther down the trail, but the chipmunk didn’t go that way and neither did Kobee or the child.

Father Doug thinks mother Emily has the child and vice versa. The San Francisco family is visiting the remote heavily wooded northern area of Glacier Nat’l Park known as Devil’s Grasp to finally put to closure a catastrophic event that happened when Emily was a girl. The disappearance of Paige, however, suddenly opens secrets that will bear on the event that enveloped Emily 22 years ago. Mother and Father must work together to solve their daughter’s disappearance as well as coordinate with authorities who suspect the parents.

While there are a number of scenes that push the curtain of credulity, especially that of a 10-year-old under-prepared child surviving 5 days in grizzly infested mountains (much less with a beagle in tow), to the wild final scenes of antagonist Isaiah Hood, the story becomes complicated and includes a number of twists you don’t see coming.

In between lay some fascinating insights into the wide and varied characters, the very believable dialogue between the characters, as well as the self-talk and recriminations of each of the persons connected to the ever-expanding and eventually world-wide on-going drama lived out in the beautiful Big Sky country of Montana. While I had a little problem believing the parents could be quite that forgiving of Frank Zander, I thought all the loose ends were tied up very neatly and closed out the story well and happily as you kept rooting for Paige to survive.

I received this free download from BookBub and appreciated the opportunity to read and review. Definitely keeps your attention and I can recommend to those who enjoy thrillers.

Rick Mofina - authorAbout the Author:

Rick Mofina is a former journalist and an award-winning author of several acclaimed thrillers. His reporting has put him face-to-face with murderers on death row in Montana and Texas. He has covered a horrific serial-killing case in California and an armored car-heist in Las Vegas, flown over Los Angeles with the LAPD Air Support Division and gone on patrol with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police near the Arctic. He has reported from the Caribbean, Africa and Kuwait’s border with Iraq. His true-crime articles have appeared in the New York Times, Marie Claire, Reader’s Digest and Penthouse. Mofina’s books have been published in 8 languages and 16 countries.

More Throwback Thursday Blogs

Renee at Its Book Talk

Jill at Jill’s Book Cafe

Rebecca at The Book Whisperer

Lynn at Fictionophile

Sam at Clues and Reviews

Holly B at Dressedtoread

Deanna at DeesRadReads and Reviews

Amanda at Literary Weaponry

Annie at The Misstery

Mischenko at Read Rant Rock and Roll

Laurie at Cozy Nook Books

Ann Marie at LItWitWineDine

©2018 V Williams I Love Likes and Comments--Please Share!

Dark Ocean – a #BookReview

Dark Ocean by Nick ElliottTitle: Dark Ocean (The Angus McKinnon thrillers Volume #2) by Nick Elliott

Genre: Currently #2589 on Amazon Best Sellers Rank in Kindle eBooks, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Thrillers, Espionage

Publisher: Seaward Publishing

Publication Date: August 16, 2017

Source: Review request by author

Title and Cover: Dark OceanBeautiful cover, sunken vessel subject of recovery

No stranger to the South China Sea or sunken ships, marine claims investigator Angus McKinnon gets a summon to Hong Kong to investigate a WWII wreck that lies in the depths. The claim on the cargo, however, involving a local ship owner, may not be all it’s cracked up to be. Suddenly, an old friend is murdered in Greece and Angus must return to Greece. Continue reading “Dark Ocean – a #BookReview”

#AmReading – Grist Mill Road by Christopher J. Yates

#amreading - #GristMillRoad

Welcome to my #AmReading feature! I am highlighting an author and their book currently visible in the “Fair Weather” widget celebrating blue skies, following seas, and my Goodreads (currently reading) list.

This week I am presenting Christopher J. Yates and his book Grist Mill Road. I requested this download from NetGalley. The book will be released on January 9, 2018, by Picador. Amazon classifies the novel as a mystery, thriller & suspense, and crime and is only 352 pages.

I will be presenting my review on Monday, January 8, 2018. Krysten Ritter, whose book Bonfire I read and reviewed last year, had this to say about Yates sophomore novel, “Dark, intense, and disturbing, Christopher Yates’ Grist Mill Road begins with a shock and keeps the suspense burning page after page. A thriller with imagination to spare. Highly recommended.”

It’s beginning to sound pretty scary and the book blurb on Amazon isn’t quelling the nerves. Gulp…but looking again…it’s not supposed to be horror…right?

Book Blurb: Christopher J. Yates’s cult hit Black Chalk introduced that rare writerly talent: a literary writer who could write a plot with the intricacy of a brilliant mental puzzle, and with characters so absorbing that readers are immediately gripped. Yates’s new book does not disappoint.

Grist Mill Road is a dark, twisted, and expertly plotted Rashomon-style tale. The year is 1982; the setting, an Edenic hamlet some ninety miles north of New York City. There, among the craggy rock cliffs and glacial ponds of timeworn mountains, three friends―Patrick, Matthew, and Hannah―are bound together by a terrible and seemingly senseless crime. Twenty-six years later, in New York City, living lives their younger selves never could have predicted, the three meet again―with even more devastating results.

Christopher J Yates - authorAbout the Author:

(From Goodreads author page) Christopher J. Yates was born and raised in Kent and studied law at Oxford University before working as a puzzle editor in London. He now lives in New York City with his wife and dog. ‘Black Chalk’ is his debut novel. You can read his blog posts on his website

Grist Mill Road has been named in Goodreads’ best six books of the month for January 2018. Find the complete list here. ©2018 V Williams I Love Likes and Comments--Please Share!

Series or Standalone? What Are You Reading?

After I released my grandfather’s books on the world, I started reading and then reviewing in earnest. It wasn’t long before I discovered BookBub, and I absolutely loved it, gleaned free books that for the most part turned out to be exceptional, fun, and compelling books. Shortly after came series–lots of them–and I proceeded to read books from one series or another, sometimes exhausting them and looking for more, which might be considered a “con.” The wait for the next in the series–sometimes up to a year–then will you have to get reacquainted?

When you pick up a new book, do you prefer to start a new series or a standalone?

And, if you are starting a series, do you absolutely have to start with #1?

(Yes, sometimes!)

How can you read this? There's no pictures!

Continue reading “Series or Standalone? What Are You Reading?”

#AmReading – The Whispering Room by Dean Koontz

#AmReading - The Whispering Room by Dean Koontz

Welcome to my #AmReading feature! I am highlighting an author and their book currently visible in the “Fair Weather” widget celebrating blue skies, following seas, and my Goodreads (currently reading) list.

This week I am presenting Dean Koontz and his book The Whispering Room. I received an ARC from the publisher, Bantam, and NetGalley. The book will be released on November 21, 2017. Amazon classifies the novel as literary fiction and a mystery, thriller & suspense, and is 528 pages. Even so, I see where some advanced readers flew through it in one sitting. (I’m not one of those.)

I will be presenting my review shortly, but in the meantime (from Amazon), here is the

Book Blurb:

“No time to delay. Do what you were born to do. Fame will be yours when you do this.” These are the words that ring in the mind of mild-mannered, beloved schoolteacher Cora Gundersun—just before she takes her own life, and many others’, in a shocking act of carnage. When the disturbing contents of her secret journal are discovered, it seems certain that she must have been insane. But Jane Hawk knows better. In the wake of her husband’s inexplicable suicide—and the equally mysterious deaths of scores of other exemplary individuals—Jane picks up the trail of a secret cabal of powerful players who think themselves above the law and beyond punishment. But the ruthless people bent on hijacking America’s future for their own monstrous ends never banked on a highly trained FBI agent willing to go rogue—and become the nation’s most wanted fugitive—in order to derail their insidious plans to gain absolute power with a terrifying technological breakthrough. Driven by love for her lost husband and by fear for the five-year-old son she has sent into hiding, Jane Hawk has become an unstoppable predator. Those she is hunting will have nowhere to run when her shadow falls across them.

Author:

(Amazon) Dean Koontz, the author of many #1 New York Times bestsellers, lives in Southern California with his wife, Gerda, their golden retriever, Elsa, and the enduring spirits of their goldens, Trixie and Anna.

I might also note that Goodreads has his average rating pegged at 3.91. Remember Goodreads ratings generally run slightly lower because of their own interpretation of star ratings, which is not the same as those of Amazon. Out of 2,054,464 ratings, he’s garnered 77,801 reviews and his books have been shelved over three million times. I figure that at around 3.8%. It’s difficult even for him to get reviews, huh?!)

©2017 Virginia Williams I Love Likes and Comments--Please Share!

#AmReading – Outside the Wire by Patricia Smiley

#AmReading - Outside the Wire by Patricia SmileyWelcome to my #AmReading feature! I am highlighting an author and their book currently visible in the “Fair Weather” widget promoting blue skies, following seas, and the Goodreads (currently reading) list.

This week I am presenting Patricia Smiley and her sophomore A Pacific Homicide Series novel Outside the Wire . I received an ARC from the publisher Midnight Ink and Net Galley. The book will be released on November 8, 2017. Amazon classifies the novel as a mystery, thriller, suspense, and police procedural and at 288 pages will be a snap for most of you bibliophiles!

I will be presenting my review shortly, but in the meantime (from Amazon), here is the

Book Blurb: Homicide detective Davie Richards is called to an airport parking garage to investigate the shooting of a retired U.S. Army Ranger. Missing personal items point to a robbery, but Davie suspects a more sinister motive when she notices only one military dog tag around the Ranger’s neck. Could the murderer have taken the other as a memento of the kill? As Davie unravels baffling clues, one murder becomes two and a pattern begins to emerge. Racing to save the killer’s next victim, Davie is led to a shocking twist that challenges her physical and emotional endurance and tests the bonds of brotherhood and friendship.

Author Patricia SmileyAuthor: (Goodreads) Patricia Smiley is the author of four novels, featuring amateur sleuth Tucker Sinclair. PACIFIC HOMICIDE is the first in a new series about Los Angeles Police Department homicide detective Davie Richards and is based on her 15-year stint as a volunteer for the LAPD. The second book in the series OUTSIDE THE WIRE will debut on November 8, 2017. Patty’s short fiction has appeared in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine and Two of the Deadliest, an anthology edited by Elizabeth George. She has taught writing classes at various conferences in the U.S. and Canada and served as the vice president of the Southern California chapter of Mystery Writers of America and as president of Sisters in Crime/Los Angeles. Patty lives in Los Angeles where she is working on the third book in the Pacific Homicide series. Check out her book here. ©2017 Virginia Williams I Love Likes and Comments--Please Share!

#ThrowbackThursday – Author Oak Anderson – Book Review

#ThrowbackThursday on It's Book Life blogRenee began the Throwback Thursday meme on her blog, “It’s Book Talk” to share some of her old favorites as well as sharing books published over a year ago. Sounded like a good reason to join! My TT posts will not come from current ARCs or new releases. Means I’ll be going back over some of my oldies but goodies, my favorite authors, and some of my favorite stories from authors you might not have previously experienced. Hopefully, you’ll find either a story or author that interests you and you’ll check them out.

This week I am highlighting another terrific Amazon #1 bestselling author, Oak Anderson. Mr. Anderson came up with a unique premise; at least it certainly was to me back in 2014 when I read Take One With You. He has since released About Face: TOWY Episode #1 (Take One With You), a short story, May 1, 2015.

Originally posted July 29, 2014

Book Blurb: “Charlie and Sarah, two disaffected teens dealing with depression, meet in an online chatroom and soon hatch a plan to bring meaning to their lives by encouraging other despondent individuals to help eradicate the “scum of society”, such as pedophiles and rapists who have escaped justice. Anyone determined to commit suicide is urged to first kill someone who “got away with it” before taking their own life. Why not, they ask, “take one with you?”…. “Take One With You is a unique crime thriller/millennial love story that poses the question: If you knew you were going to die tomorrow, would you kill someone tonight? Someone who had done something terrible. Someone who deserved to die. If so, who would it be? If you wouldn’t go that far, what about your neighbor? Your friend? Your enemy? Who draws the line? Who decides who lives and who dies? And what if we all began to take justice into our own hands?” Continue reading “#ThrowbackThursday – Author Oak Anderson – Book Review”

#ThrowbackThursday – Author Alex Lukeman – Book Review

#ThrowbackThursday on It's Book Life blogRenee began the Throwback Thursday meme on her blog, It’s Book Talk to share some of her old favorites as well as sharing books published over a year ago. Sounded like a good reason to join! My TT posts will not come from current ARCs or new releases. Means I’ll be going back over some of my oldies from Goodreads, my favorite authors, and some of my favorite stories from authors you might not have previously experienced. Hopefully, you’ll find either a story or author that interests you and you’ll check them out.

This week I am highlighting another prolific series author, Alex Lukeman. Mr. Lukeman likes Barbados rum, fast old motorcycles and playing guitar. He writes action-adventure thrillers. There are 15 in the Project series with Solomon’s Gold #15 just released July 19, 2017. The series project features a small, elite counter-terrorism unit, answerable to no one but the president. This series will take you to all parts of the world and you’ll learn to love the dynamic, seriously talented and experienced fully-fleshed characters. Continue reading “#ThrowbackThursday – Author Alex Lukeman – Book Review”

How to Get on BookBub–and Why You Should

Bookbub ScrreenshotWhen you ran a Goodreads Giveaway, did it work the way you wanted? Lots of TBR’s and a few winners. Did you get good reviews from your winners? Any reviews? Residual sales? I like Goodreads. There are a number of reasons it’s an amazing place to open an account and promote a presence.

BookBub logoBut have you considered BookBub? What does it take to get a book listed on BookBub? It is probably the most expensive marketing site out there–but that may be because it’s worth it. It is the most successful book promotion site for authors (or publishers) in the world, and the 2,230th most visited website in the US alone. Continue reading “How to Get on BookBub–and Why You Should”

The Absolute Definitive List of the Top Ten Best Selling Genres

Popularity of Historical Novel by CenturyApparently, it is impossible to find one absolute definitive list of the top ten best selling genres anywhere–but can you find a list with 150? Yes, if you know where to look!

There are SOOO many variables out there from website to website. What is the focus? Is it hardback fiction, hardback non-fiction, paperback, or ebook? Are you asking the New York Times, USA Today, or Amazon? I recently wrote an article regarding Historical Fiction, and alluded to that genre’s sub-genres. This week I went looking for where the Historical Fiction genre related to all the others. See below for the breakdown. Continue reading “The Absolute Definitive List of the Top Ten Best Selling Genres”

Seven Major Sources of Book Reviewers

According to The Huffington Post, who cited Bowker numbers, the number of new books published each day in the US is now up to 3,500. That’s 3,500 Each Day!

BooksThis, according to Bowker, who issues ISBN numbers, does not include eBooks that are published without benefit of an ISBN number. Holy cow! Can it really be more than 1.2 million per year? Last I read somewhere, the count was 750,000/yr and I thought that was staggering! If you are a newly published author, how do you even begin to compete with those numbers? Everyone points to getting book reviews. I’ve covered that topic before–it’s still relevant.

Buried in Books!And according to the Huffington Post, Amazon calls the reviews “Social Proof.” Maybe so, but you can buy reviews, and I’m not talking about the reputable sites that receives a submission and returns an “unbiased” opinion–such as Kirkus. Kirkus is well known and wields some influence, often turning a five-star rating into gold. Still, whether the source is Amazon or Goodreads, I am getting a lot of review requests, many of which have obviously not scanned my Submission Guide. Continue reading “Seven Major Sources of Book Reviewers”