#AmReading – A Dog’s Way Home by W. Bruce Cameron

#amreading-A Dog's Way Home by W. Bruce Cameron

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 W. Bruce Cameron and his book A Dog’s Way Home. I received this download from NetGalley. The book was released on May 9, 2017, by Forge Books. Amazon classifies the novel as animal and family life and is only 333 pages.

I will be presenting my review soon! You may recognize that author’s name. He wrote A Dog’s Purpose which was recently released as a major motion picture. In the meantime (from Amazon), here is the

Book Blurb:

Lucas Ray is shocked when an adorable puppy jumps out of an abandoned building and into his arms. Though the apartment he shares with his mother, a disabled veteran, doesn’t allow dogs, Lucas can’t resist taking Bella home.

Bella is inexplicably drawn to Lucas, even if she doesn’t understand the necessity of games like No Barks. As it becomes more difficult to hide her from the neighbors, Lucas begins to sneak Bella into the VA where he works. There, Bella brings joy and comfort where it is needed most.

After Bella is picked up by Animal Control because pit bulls are banned in Denver, Lucas has no choice but to send her to a foster home until he can figure out what to do. But Bella, distraught at the separation, doesn’t plan to wait. With four hundred miles of dangerous Colorado wilderness between her and her person, Bella sets off on a seemingly impossible and completely unforgettable adventure home.

A classic story of unwavering loyalty and incredible devotion, A Dog’s Way Home is a beautifully told, charming tale that explores the unbreakable bond between us and our pets. This fantastic and exhilarating journey of the heart is in the same tradition as the beloved bestseller, A Dog’s Purpose. 

Add to Goodreads

About the Author

(From Amazon Author page)

W. Bruce Cameron - authorBruce Cameron is the New York Times bestselling author of 8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter, The Dog Master, and the A Dog’s Purpose series. In 2011 he was named Columnist of the Year by the National Society of Newspaper Columnists. He lives in California.

(From Goodreads) I’ve always loved dogs, which puts me in a unique category along with what, maybe two or three billion people?

W Bruce Cameron - authorWhat’s not to love about an animal who will sit in your living room all day long, waiting for you to get home, and even if you need to work late and then stop for a stress-relieving beverage on your way home, when you unlock that front door, is absolutely overjoyed to see you? How could you not adore an animal who senses when your day is not going well and tries to cheer you up by dumping a sodden tennis ball in your lap? Read his full Goodreads author story here. ©2018 V Williams V Williams

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#ThrowbackThursday – Sign Off – Patricia McLinn

#ThrowbackThursday

Renee began the Throwback Thursday meme on her blog, It’s Book Talk to share some of her old favorites including books published over a year ago. Sounded like a good reason to join! 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).

Sign Off - Caught Dead in Wyoming Book 1 by Patricia McLinnThis week I am highlighting Patricia McLinn, another terrific, prolific author who wrote Sign Off, which I reviewed on Goodreads. She has actually written six in this series. This novel was published by Craig Place Books on July 3, 2015. She consistently runs approximately 4+ stars for any of her books sold on Amazon.

Originally posted March 6, 2016.

Book Blurb:

Divorce a husband, lose a career … grapple with a murder. TV journalist Elizabeth “E.M.” Danniher will tell you she committed two sins — she didn’t stay young, and she made an enemy of a powerful news executive — her ex. She used to break national news. Now her top story as the Helping Out! reporter at dinky KWMT-TV in Sherman, Wyoming is getting a refund for a defective toaster. Tough, funny and determined, Elizabeth wrestles with isolation, keeping a professional edge, and an evolving self-image. Is Wyoming — the land of cattle, cowboys and tumbleweeds — her new home or a road to permanent obscurity? Soon she’s in a battle of wills with ex-football player turned journalist Mike Paycik, who sees her as a handy rung on his career ladder. And there’s the matter of a deputy sheriff—missing or murdered? Elizabeth finds herself investigating at the insistence of a girl who’s set on proving her father’s innocence. Not that enigmatic rancher Tom Burrell makes investigating easy. But Elizabeth won’t fade to black without a fight, no matter how final some might want to make her Sign Off.

My Review:

Sign Off, the first in the Caught Dead in Wyoming series by Patricia McLinn involves E. M. (Elizabeth) Danniher, who is a well-known news reporter from the east. She has been banished by a bitter ex who is a powerful NY TV producer to a small town in Wyoming to be their “Helping Out” reporter for the duration of her contract.

Few at her new station are thrilled she has been plunked into the middle of them and become guarded of their own positions. Feeling impotent to do more than report on defective toasters, she is confronted by a little girl regarding her dad, unfairly accused of murder in the disappearance of a deputy, and inadvertently becomes involves in the investigation.

Among the many characters interacting with her at the station are Mike, a sportscaster, and Diane, camera lady. Elizabeth Danniher butts up against the sheriff almost immediately and manages to lose more support than she gains as she interviews elected officials of the rural town and Mike’s inside contact. Warned off the case by the accused himself, the missing person turns up dead in his truck following the spring thaw obviously the victim of foul play. As events turn deadly, Elizabeth studies the clues and uncovers motives.

There are some interesting insights into the inner workings of a small town TV station, local colorful characters, and small town western US flavor. The antagonist is not one you suspect, and Mike becomes quite the (possibly romantic) attractive ally. The dialogue is clean and believable. The plot moves along at a fairly good clip and I enjoyed the little sub-storyline involving Shadow. All in all, it is engaging and will hold your interest. I received this download from BookBub as a free offering and greatly appreciated the opportunity to read and review.

Add to Goodreads

About the Author

Patricia McLinn - authorPatricia McLinn’s books have put her name on bestseller lists and her journalism career took her to the Washington Post for 20-mumble-mumble years. But it all started with secrets.

She learned to read at a tender age as a matter of self-preservation because older siblings spelled words to keep secrets from her. Once Patricia discovered that the magic of written words allowed her to know people she hadn’t met and experience places she hadn’t visited, she was hooked.

She wanted to be a novelist from then on, though there was a detour. She received a BA in English Composition from Northwestern University. (Have you ever seen a job posting for an English Composition major? No. And you never will.) With her parents holding out for more practical pursuits, she added a masters in journalism from Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism in her fourth year. (Two degrees for the price of one! It was the precursor of a career in coupon-clipping.)

(From Goodreads author page) USA Today bestselling author Patricia McLinn’s novels—cited by reviewers for warmth, wit, and vivid characterization – have won numerous regional and national awards and been on national bestseller lists.

In addition to her romance and women’s fiction books, Patricia is the author of the Caught Dead in Wyoming mystery series, which adds a touch of humor and romance to figuring out whodunit.

Patricia received BA and MSJ degrees from Northwestern University. She was a sports writer (Rockford, Ill.), assistant sports editor (Charlotte, N.C.) and—for 20-plus years—an editor at the Washington Post.

She has spoken about writing from Melbourne, Australia to Washington, D.C., including being a guest speaker at the Smithsonian Institution. She is now living in northern Kentucky and writing full-time. Patricia loves to hear from readers through her website, Facebook, Goodreads, and Twitter.

More Throwback Thursday Blogs

Renee at Its Book Talk

Jill at Jill’s Book Cafe

Rebecca at The Book Whisperer

Lynne 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 V Williams

#ThrowbackThursday – Drifter by M. L. Gardner

#ThrowbackThursday

Renee began the #ThrowbackThursday 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’ll be looking back at my favorite authors and stories you might not have previously experienced. 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).

Drifter by M. L. GardnerThis week I am highlighting M. L. Gardner, another terrific, prolific author who wrote Drifter, which I reviewed on Goodreads. She has actually written ten novels, including two series, short stories, and a novella. This novel was published by Amazon Digital Services LLC on January 11, 2014. She consistently runs approximately 4+ stars for any of her books sold on Amazon.

Originally posted January 26, 2015

Book Blurb:

In this fourth book of The 1929 Series, we are led into the world of Richard Sloan, a Massachusetts missing person’s detective who seems to be losing his touch. After six months he hasn’t found anyone alive and becomes desperate to redeem his reputation.

Aryl Sullivan, who suffered amnesia in a boating accident, finds himself caught up in a series of events that land him in London. While in the hands of Gina, a secretive and controlling woman, and her boss, Mickey, Aryl is forever changed as he does what he has to in order to survive.

Following leads on a serial cop killer terrorizing Boston, Detective Sloan unwittingly stumbles on information that leads him to Aryl Sullivan, a man everyone in Rockport thinks is dead.

My Review:

It’s amazing who you can become–given the right–or wrong circumstances. Sometimes, you can’t imagine how you’ve ever become this person. And having become a person you revile, can you ever quit and so back? Can you ever really “go home”? Would you want to?

This is the fourth in the 1929 series; the third I’ve read and this is definitely my favorite. Aryl is “found” by Richard Sloan, a missing persons cop who lucks onto Aryl looking for a serial cop killer. Sloan is a disgruntled, discontented Boston P.D. detective with a marriage teetering on the edge for a reason both partners are impotent to remedy. His record hasn’t been that good of late, finding more “missings” dead than alive; a day late, handing the file to homicide. He desperately hoped his last case, a 16-year-old, would be the reverse to the pattern. It wasn’t. Dejected, depressed, he decided he’d concentrate on the serial killer and counted on it to be his saving grace.

In the third of the 1929 series, Aryl Sullivan has been in a horrific explosion aboard his fishing vessel and barely survives with his body intact, never mind his mind. He has sustained major lacerations to his back which leaves him in severe pain in this installment. Unfortunately, he has no recollection what happened–only that he has been rescued and handed off eventually to land in London where he is then rescued by Gina who introduces him to Mickey. His injuries have left him dependent upon Gina who dishes him an elixir that quickly gets him hooked and leaves him no where to turn. Under his newly acquired circumstances, he becomes a man totally alien to his former self–capable of the unimaginable.

The tale unfolds after Sloan has picked him up from the French police where they both board a ship for the states. Together over the course of the cruise, each unloads his personal story as Aryl has slowly regained his memory and narrates the events of his past year. Aryl faces a shaky return. The experience has been life-changing for Sloan, however, and he makes several decisions both affecting his job and his marriage.

While the storyline borders on unique, there are edit problems that should have been addressed and it was a bit difficult to keep up with who was doing the current narrative since it switched back and forth between Sloan and Aryl. However, both have compelling histories or stories to tell (and they share with each other) and unfortunately for Aryl a long row to hoe before he can fully be brought back into the fold or the family. You have to swallow a few inaccuracies but on the whole, an interesting read and you do become sufficiently engaged in the characters to pursue the outcome.

This book was downloaded as a freebie by BookBub. Different in concept, the switch between the narrations garnered my imagination. Recommended reading–embrace the uncommon style.

Add to Goodreads

About the Author

M. L. Gardner M. L. Gardner is the bestselling author of the 1929 series. Gardner is frugal to a fault, preserving the old ways of living by canning, cooking from scratch, and woodworking. Nostalgic stories from her grandmother’s life during the Great Depression inspired Gardner to write the 1929 series–as well as her own research into the Roarin’ Twenties. She also wrote the Purling Road series and a cookbook. Gardner is married with three kids and four cats. She resides in western Montana. http://www.mlgardnerbooks.com

More Throwback Thursday Blogs

Renee at Its Book Talk

Jill at Jill’s Book Cafe

Rebecca at The Book Whisperer

Lynne 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 V Williams

#ThrowbackThursday – Maids of Misfortune by M. Louisa Locke

#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’ve gathered up some old reads and reviews from Goodreads to share with you–but a good book never gets old. 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).

Maids of Misfortune by M. Louisa LockeThis week I am highlighting M. Louisa Locke, another terrific, prolific author who wrote Maids of Misfortune (A Victorian San Francisco Mystery). She has actually written five in the series with novellas in between. This novel was published by CreateSpace on December 3, 2009. She consistently runs approximately 4.0/5 stars for any of her books sold on Amazon.

Originally posted January 20, 2015

Book Blurb:

It’s the summer of 1879, and Annie Fuller, a young San Francisco widow, is in trouble. Annie’s husband squandered her fortune before committing suicide five years earlier…Annie Fuller also has a secret. She supplements her income by giving domestic and business advice as Madam Sibyl, one of San Francisco’s most exclusive clairvoyants, and one of Madam Sibyl’s clients, Matthew Voss, has died…Nate Dawson has a problem. As the Voss family lawyer, he would love to believe that Matthew Voss didn’t leave his grieving family destitute. But that would mean working with Annie Fuller, a woman who alternatively attracts and infuriates him as she shatters every notion he ever had of proper ladylike behavior…Sparks fly as Anne and Nate pursue the truth about the murder of Matthew Voss in this light-hearted, cozy historical mystery set in the foggy gas-lit world of Victorian San Francisco. 
Continue reading “#ThrowbackThursday – Maids of Misfortune by M. Louisa Locke”

Define TBR – In Bookish Terms It Means Different Things to Different People

Most generally in Bookish Terms, TBR stands for “To Be Read.” That wildly general term could mean books that at one point or another laid resident in your library or virtual novels on your Excel spreadsheet, shelf, or shelves.

Or your list may be a very detailed spreadsheet of all the books you want to read (not that you yet possess), perhaps in chronological, alphabetical, (color?) or genre order including print, ebook, or audio editions. Then there is a short, specific list of those few next up in your queue. Mine consists of the latter, usually dictated by publishing date and rotated in and out on my Goodreads list, as I discovered it impossible for me to schedule a month out. I never know what gorgeous cover will catch my eye, or that there is a thriller pop up I must have. That said–my #TBR changes weekly–it’s as fickle as the NYT bestseller lists I just wrote about. That said–here are this week’s books–right now:

#TBR end of March

Last Night by Kerry Wilkinson

“It’s the early hours of the morning and Rose Denton wakes up behind the steering wheel of her car. She’s off the road, through a hedge and in a field. What happened last night?” Contemporary English thriller

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Dark Territory by Leo J Maloney

“Black Ops veteran Leo J. Maloney delivers a lightning-fast thriller that puts America’s top operatives on a collision course with Russia’s deadliest weapon . . . The Trans-Siberian Railway is the longest rail line in the world. But for Dan Morgan’s daughter Alex, it could be the shortest trip of her life—and the last.” (Amazon) Military, thriller and suspense

Add to Goodreads

Claws for Concern by Miranda James

“Charlie Harris and his Maine Coon cat, Diesel, are embroiled in a new mystery when a cold case suddenly heats up in the latest installment of the New York Times bestselling series.” Cozy mystery

Add to Goodreads

What about you? What is your definition of TBR? Is it totally out of control or this week’s reads? ©2018 V Williams V Williams

Author Spotlight – Brent Jones

When author buddy Brent Jones notified me of his upcoming appearance at the Welland Library Seaway Mall Branch (Canadian side of Niagara) this Saturday, February 24, I was thrilled that he continues to drive hard for the sale of his well received and highly acclaimed sophomore novel, Fender. Author Spotlight-Brent Jones

Then he also mentioned that they interviewed him and quoted a small  blurb of the review I posted here last August. I LOVE the validation! Laura Garzon provided a detailed interview with Brent saying in part:

“Amazon.com describes author Brent Jones as a person who has always been “drawn to writing”.  He changed career paths to become a full-time writer and according to the reviews,  he “has exceeded expectation that his sophomore novel, Fender, might best the debut. This emotionally packed literary saga . . . is powerful and profane and masterfully examines the overwhelming condition of stupefying grief.” –Stanley McShane (Virginia Williams)…Cocos Island Treasure.

“We talked to him about his book and life as a writer. Here is what he had to say…”

(Catch her full interview here.) Jones divulges in the interview that he is currently working on a series of four books that he hopes to begin releasing in the next couple of months. His books and short stories to date land heavily in the literary fiction genre. The new series will feature protagonist Afton Morrison from his recent short story A Book With No Pictures, coincidentally used for my current “Quick Quote” in the widget column to the right and recently reviewed on both Amazon and Goodreads.

In the Author Page on Goodreads, Jones writes, “From bad checks to bathroom graffiti, Brent Jones has always been drawn to writing. He won a national creative writing competition at the age of fourteen, although he can’t recall what the story was about. Seventeen years later, he gave up his freelance career as a social media manager to pursue creative writing full-time. Fender and The Fifteenth of June are his first two novels.
Jones writes from his home in Fort Erie, Canada. He’s happily married, a bearded cyclist, a mediocre guitarist, (sometimes) vegetarian, and the proud owner of two dogs with a God complex. Subscribe to his newsletter (AuthorBrentJones.com) or follow him on social media (@AuthorBrentJ) for updates.”

I’ll continue to watch with interest this up and coming author, urge you to take another look at Fender, and I look forward to the first in his series of thrillers. ©2018 V Williams I Love Likes and Comments--Please Share!

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”

#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”

Twelve Points for Review Submission

Most new Indie authors believe reviews are the make or break of a book and aggressively pursue them. There are numerous articles on the algorithm Amazon uses to determine Best Sellers Rank. While it is generally considered to be reviews that help to get you to the top of the pack, it isn’t, according to what I’ve read. Amazon won’t disclose their algorithm, but will readily agree that good reviews do seem to help drive sales, which IS the major contributory factor in Best Sellers Rank.

ReviewsI’ve written before on reviews, discussing whether or not 300 five star ratings are really all bogus or not. Having written and posted over 100 reviews myself, I’ve always strived for honesty, striking a balance between what I liked about the book as well as what I didn’t. Most of the books I review are Indie books, although I’ve also read more than my share of best-selling authors in the past year and posted those reviews whether the author needed it or not.

Reviews can run anywhere from a short informal paragraph or an in-depth analysis of the book of more than 500 words detailing not only the description of the plot, but a critical view of how the topic was handled. Point being: Did you agree with the observations or challenge every posture? I’ve developed the following twelve points in the submission of my reviews. Continue reading “Twelve Points for Review Submission”

Dishing the Dirt on Reviews

This is the age of instant. We want it now. Whether food, internet, or books, it must move–quickly! I’m older. I can wait. I can give Burger King up to 5 minutes. I can give a book several chapters. I’m usually pretty careful regarding the book I choose to begin next–sometimes looking up Amazon reviews to see if the little descriptive blurb really tells the story. I’ve written before regarding Amazon Reviews. You generally want to read the good and the bad reviews. Somewhere therein lies the truth. love-hate

Having read a great book, I really enjoy creating a lively and honest review. Unfortunately, I’ve read a few lately that have not been so inspiring as depressing. The last I began was “The Hostage,” Book Four of the Sarah Roberts Thrillers by Jonas Saul. Having read one of his previous books, “The Warning,” Book Two, I noted the foul language, but apparently enjoyed the plot enough to award five stars. This time I couldn’t get past Chapter 3 with the description of a scene by the perp that turned my stomach. Yes, I know–it’s a thriller/horror novel. (I don’t like Freddy either.) Not usually one to abandon a book–I freed The Hostage. (Yuck) Continue reading “Dishing the Dirt on Reviews”