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#5 On My TBR – Road Trip

The summer is the time for barbeques, lazy days at the beach and family road trips. Especially after this year of being in lockdown, we can all appreciate the gift of friends, the miracle of the outdoors and the excitement of adventure.

5 On My TBR is a weekly meme that gets you digging into your massive TBRs to find five special books. Created by E@LocalBeeHuntersNook this meme centers on a new prompt each Monday. As you probably have guessed, this week’s theme is road trips.

For those of you interested in participating in #5 On My TBR you can find additional info and future prompts here.

So let’s get to it!

#1 – The Adventures of China Iron

This is a riotous romp taking the reader from the turbulent frontier culture of the pampas deep into indigenous territories. It charts the adventures of Mrs China Iron, Martín Fierro’s abandoned wife, in her travels across the pampas in a covered wagon with her new-found friend, soon to become lover, a Scottish woman named Liz. While Liz provides China with a sentimental education and schools her in the nefarious ways of the British Empire, their eyes are opened to the wonders of Argentina’s richly diverse flora and fauna, cultures and languages, as well as to its national struggles. After a clash with Colonel Hernández (the author who ‘stole’ Martín Fierro’s poems) and a drunken orgy with gauchos, they eventually find refuge and a peaceful future in a utopian indigenous community, the river- dwelling Iñchiñ people.

Seen from an ox-drawn wagon, the narrative moves through the Argentinian landscape, charting the flora and fauna of the Pampas, Gaucho culture, Argentinian nation-building and British colonial projects.

In a unique reformulation of history and literary tradition, Gabriela Cabezón Cámara, with humour and sophistication, re-writes Martín Fierro from a feminist, LGBT, postcolonial point of view. She creates a hilarious novel that is nevertheless incisive in its criticism of the way societies come into being, and the way they venerate mythical heroes.


#2 – American Gods

Days before his release from prison, Shadow’s wife, Laura, dies in a mysterious car crash. Numbly, he makes his way back home. On the plane, he encounters the enigmatic Mr Wednesday, who claims to be a refugee from a distant war, a former god and the king of America.

Together they embark on a profoundly strange journey across the heart of the USA, whilst all around them a storm of preternatural and epic proportions threatens to break.

Scary, gripping and deeply unsettling, American Gods takes a long, hard look into the soul of America. You’ll be surprised by what – and who – it finds there…


#3 – November Road

Set against the assassination of JFK, a poignant and evocative crime novel that centers on a desperate cat-and-mouse chase across 1960s America—a story of unexpected connections, daring possibilities, and the hope of second chances from the Edgar Award-winning author of The Long and Faraway Gone.

Frank Guidry’s luck has finally run out.

A loyal street lieutenant to New Orleans’ mob boss Carlos Marcello, Guidry has learned that everybody is expendable. But now it’s his turn—he knows too much about the crime of the century: the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

Within hours of JFK’s murder, everyone with ties to Marcello is turning up dead, and Guidry suspects he’s next: he was in Dallas on an errand for the boss less than two weeks before the president was shot. With few good options, Guidry hits the road to Las Vegas, to see an old associate—a dangerous man who hates Marcello enough to help Guidry vanish.

Guidry knows that the first rule of running is “don’t stop,” but when he sees a beautiful housewife on the side of the road with a broken-down car, two little daughters and a dog in the back seat, he sees the perfect disguise to cover his tracks from the hit men on his tail. Posing as an insurance man, Guidry offers to help Charlotte reach her destination, California. If she accompanies him to Vegas, he can help her get a new car.

For her, it’s more than a car— it’s an escape. She’s on the run too, from a stifling existence in small-town Oklahoma and a kindly husband who’s a hopeless drunk.

It’s an American story: two strangers meet to share the open road west, a dream, a hope—and find each other on the way.

Charlotte sees that he’s strong and kind; Guidry discovers that she’s smart and funny. He learns that’s she determined to give herself and her kids a new life; she can’t know that he’s desperate to leave his old one behind.

Another rule—fugitives shouldn’t fall in love, especially with each other. A road isn’t just a road, it’s a trail, and Guidry’s ruthless and relentless hunters are closing in on him. But now Guidry doesn’t want to just survive, he wants to really live, maybe for the first time.

Everyone’s expendable, or they should be, but now Guidry just can’t throw away the woman he’s come to love.

And it might get them both killed.


#4 – Summer of 69

With his girlfriend, Robin, away in Canada, eighteen-year-old Lucas Baker’s only plans for the summer are to mellow out with his friends, smoke weed, drop a tab or two, and head out in his microbus for a three-day happening called the Woodstock Music and Art Fair. But life veers dramatically off track when he suddenly finds himself in danger of being drafted and sent to fight in Vietnam. If that isn’t heavy enough, there’s also the free-loving (and undeniably alluring) Tinsley, who seems determined to test Lucas’s resolve to stay faithful to Robin; a frighteningly bad trip at a Led Zeppelin concert; a run-in with an angry motorcycle gang; parents who appear headed for a divorce; and a friend on the front lines in ‘Nam who’s in mortal danger of not making it back. As the pressures grow, it’s not long before Lucas finds himself knocked so far down, it’s starting to look like up to him. When tuning in, turning on, and dropping out is no longer enough, what else is there?


#5 – West

When Cy Bellman, American settler and widowed father of Bess, reads in the newspaper that huge ancient bones have been discovered in a Kentucky swamp, he leaves his small Pennsylvania farm and young daughter to find out if the rumours are true: that the giant monsters are still alive, and roam the uncharted wilderness beyond the Mississippi River.

West is the story of Bellman’s journey and of Bess, waiting at home for her father to return. Written with compassionate tenderness and magical thinking, it explores the courage of conviction, the transformative power of grief, the desire for knowledge and the pull of home, from an exceptionally talented and original British writer. It is a radiant and timeless epic-in-miniature, an eerie, electric monument to possibility. 

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Series Saturdays: Dead Djinn Universe

The world that P. Djeli Clark builds is very fantastical. The different steampunk elements with all the gears and whirring of the machines. How the angels are built. The different illusions that the djinn are able to conjure. He includes African history, older religions, folktales from around the world. he blends aspects of history from different places and times which enables him to address many social issues. In this series Clark tackles slavery, colonialism, gender roles, and racism to name a few.

Book #1: The Dead Djinn of Cairo

A djinn is found exsanquinated. But there is not a drop of blood remaining toserve as evidence in this crime. Could it have been ghouls or some other supernatural being. The only clues that Fatma el-sha’arawi and her partner have are spells left near the body: curved horns, a sickle, an adze and a moon with twisting vines. What do these symbols mean. Can Fatma prevail over the monsters that threaten our world and the fabric of time itself?

Book #2: The Haunting of Tram Car 015

Agent Hamed al-Nasr has been tasked with finding out what type of being is haunting tram car 015 and exorcising it. Set against the backdrop of a woman’s suffrage movement our agents must consult with older religious tradtions in order to solve the case.

Book 3: Master of Djinn

This is the first full length book in the series. Al-Jahiz has been accused of opening up the door between worlds before he disappeared. A cult of his followers is being murdered one by one. When someone steps forward claiming to be al-Jahiz himself and assuming guilt for the deaths, The Ministry of Alchemy, Special Enchantments and Supernatural Entitues is called onto the case. Is it even possible that al-Jahiz is still alive? Why would someone go through the trouble of impersonating him and where are they getting their magic?

I was hoping that Fatma and Agent Hamed would be paired on this latest case. Although he does make an appearance, Fatma’s new partner is a bright young woman who is religiously observant. Where Fatma allows us to embrace that women can walk in whatever shoes they choose, Hadia allows us to see that there is strength in the feminine.

This is how I imagine Siti

P. Djeli Clark does a great job with giving dimension to his characters. They are flawed but grow throut the series. Dead Djinn Universe is genre defying. Part fantasy, the world building is exquisite. Very atmospheric to the point where it has a cinematic feel. Part mystery, he keeps you on the edge of your seat trying to work out the who and why. Part adventure, allo three books are action packed with killer fight scenes that have women at the forefront. And last but not least, all of P. Djeli Clark’s books contain an element of social commentary that have you looking at our world both past and present.

P. Djeli Clark

Phenderson Djéli Clark is the award winning and Hugo, Nebula, Sturgeon, and World Fantasy nominated author of the novel A Master of Djinn, and the novellas Ring ShoutThe Black God’s Drums and The Haunting of Tram Car 015. His stories have appeared in online venues such as Tor.com, Daily Science Fiction, Heroic Fantasy Quarterly, Apex, Lightspeed, Fireside Fiction, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, and in print anthologies including, Griots, Hidden Youth and Clockwork Cairo. He is a founding member of FIYAH Literary Magazine and an infrequent reviewer at Strange Horizons.

Born in New York and raised mostly in Houston, Texas, he spent the early formative years of his life in the homeland of his parents, Trinidad and Tobago. When not writing speculative fiction, P. Djèlí Clark works as an academic historian whose research spans comparative slavery and emancipation in the Atlantic World. He melds this interest in history and the social world with speculative fiction, and has written articles on issues ranging from racism and H.P. Lovecraft to critiques of George Schuyler’s Black Empire, and has been a panelist and lecturer at conventions, workshops and other genre events.

At current time, he resides in a small Edwardian castle in New England with his wife, daughters, and pet dragon (who suspiciously resembles a Boston Terrier). When so inclined he rambles on issues of speculative fiction, politics, and diversity at his aptly named blog The Disgruntled Haradrim.

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Blog Tour: Legends of the North Cascades

Synopsis

Dave Cartwright is already living on the edge, with a blue-collar job he hates that barely pays the bills, a house on the verge of foreclosure, a failing marriage, and the recurring memories of three tours in Iraq. His only bright spot is his sometimes too-wise daughter, Bella, who sees and understands much beyond her years. When the unthinkable occurs, Dave makes a seemingly over-the-top decision to move with Bella to a cave in the wilderness. As they embark on this compelling and challenging backcountry adventure, Bella’s reality takes an unforeseen turn, retreating into the ancient world of a mother and son who lived in the cave thousands of years ago at the end of the last Ice Age. What unfolds amidst the struggle to survive is a meditation on both the perils of isolation and the human need for connection. 


Review

The mountains were a place to admire and respect from afar, to pass through furtively and give thanks for safe passing. They were not to be trusted, these mountains. Especially not in winter, when they hid their treasures, and withheld their bounty. The North Cascades could bury you in a heartbeat, they could lose you, they could play tricks on your mind. The mountains were not a place to go for answers.

The Legends of the North Cascades is written from multiple perspectives across dual timelines. One being set during the Ice Age and the other in the present. The two storylines converge on each other not just in the setting, but also with the themes of isolation, enduring and the making of legends.

The pacing of the book was rather fast as it is written in short chapters, many of which read like interviews from the townsfolk that Dave and Bella have left behind. For some he is a madman. For others he will forever be a hero.

I found Dave to be a likeable character who loved his daughter wholeheartedly. He wanted the best for her but was too proud and stubborn to seek help even when he knew his demons were getting the best of him. Bella was perhaps my favorite character. She is full of heart and spirit. Curious and full of imagination, she is the brightest star in this book.

There were points in the dialogue where I felt the book would have benefitted from having a sensitivity reader. After authorities show interest in their living situation, Dave likens laws to slavery. As a descendant of slaves I know I am not the only one who would find fault with this sentiment. Following a law or a rule, no matter how heavy-handed or inane, is not the same as being enslaved. It just isn’t. And to try to diminish it like that or try to conflate your anger at the system or your unwillingness to follow the rules with being enslaved never works. At another time S’tka talks about outliving her purpose: “that’s all the Great Provider had in mind when he created a woman — to carry men. Carry them in their wombs, and on their backs, and in their hearts, to carry their burdens, and bear their disappointments until such time that a man no longer needs them.” In my opinion neither of these statements were necessary to move the narrative along.

Overall, the writing was beautiful. I could just about turn to any page and find sentences that I could read over and over again. I was captivated by Dave and Bella’s story and was invested in her outcome.

The whole rickety bulwark of Dave’s defenses were crushed to splinter beneath the realization that . . . he still could not guard Bella from grief or harm, any more than he could deprive her of love and meaningful connection. Bereaved, we are but orphans, dispossessed, impoverished in our solitude. Our only buffer against the cold, cruel world was one another.


Meet the Author

Jonathan Evison is the New York Times bestselling author of the novels All About Lulu, The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving, West of Here, Lawn Boy, This Is Your Life, Harriet Chance! and Legends of the North Cascades.

In his teens, Evison was the founding member and frontman of the Seattle punk band March of Crimes, which included future members of Pearl Jam and Soundgarden.

Born in San Jose, California, he now lives on an island in Western Washington with his wife and family.

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Reading the Rainbow – June

I’m sure by now that you have heard the old adage “Never judge a book by its cover.” But if you’re like me some book covers simply make you swoon. Before I go too far this post is not about cover lust but a challenge to read books from your TBR that are of a particular color. Each month Life of a Book Addict group on GoodReads assigns two colors. The challenge is to read as many books within that month that prominently display that color. At the end there’s a beautiful collage of books generated by all the members of the group. This month Jackie has picked green and navy as “June is bright and colorful with flowers and blooming trees all around. We have green grass and lots of water sports again.”


My shelf

My Name is Leon by Kit de Waal

For fans of The Language of Flowers, a sparkling, big-hearted, page-turning debut set in the 1970s about a young black boy’s quest to reunite with his beloved white half-brother after they are separated in foster care.

Told through the perspective of nine-year-old Leon, too innocent to entirely understand what has happened to him and baby Jake, but determined to do what he can to make things right, he stubbornly, endearingly struggles his way through a system much larger than he can tackle on his own. My Name Is Leon is a vivid, gorgeous, and uplifting story about the power of love, the unbreakable bond between brothers, and the truth about what, in the end, ultimately makes a family.


Sister Mine by Nalo Hopkinson

Nalo Hopkinson–winner of the John W. Campbell Award, the Sunburst Award, and the World Fantasy award (among others), and lauded as one of our “most inventive and brilliant writers” (New York Post)–returns with a new work. With her singular voice and characteristic sharp insight, she explores the relationship between two sisters in this richly textured and deeply moving novel . . .


Wow, No Thank You by Samantha Irby

A new essay collection from Samantha Irby about aging, marriage, settling down with step-children in white, small-town America.


Caul Baby by Morgan Jerkins

New York Times bestselling author Morgan Jerkins makes her fiction debut with this electrifying novel, for fans of Ta-Nehisi Coates and Jacqueline Woodson, that brings to life one powerful and enigmatic family in a tale rife with secrets, betrayal, intrigue, and magic.


The Passengers by John Marrs

Eight self-drive cars set on a collision course. Who lives, who dies? You decide.

The new gripping page-turning thriller from the bestselling author of THE ONE – soon to be a major Netflix series.


The Mercies by Kiran Millwood Hargrave

Finnmark, Norway, 1617. Twenty-year-old Maren Magnusdatter stands on the craggy coast, watching the sea break into a sudden and reckless storm. Forty fishermen, including her brother and father, are drowned and left broken on the rocks below. With the menfolk wiped out, the women of the tiny Arctic town of Vardø must fend for themselves.

Inspired by the real events of the Vardø storm and the 1621 witch trials, The Mercies is a story of love, evil, and obsession, set at the edge of civilization.


Skippy Dies by Paul Murray

A tragic comedy of epic sweep and dimension, Skippy Dies wrings every last drop of humour and hopelessness out of life, love, mermaids, M-theory, the poetry of Robert Graves, and all the mysteries of the human heart.


Someone Knows by Lisa Scottoline

From the New York Times-bestselling author comes a pulse-pounding domestic thriller about a group of friends who have been bound for twenty years by a single secret—and will now be undone by it. Someone Knows is an emotional exploration of friendship and family, as well as a psychological exploration of guilt and memory.


How many of you are doing color challenges this year and how do you select your books?

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My Reading Journal Journey

In the beginning there was the Family Journal.

This was a fun way to commemorate our Summer Reading challenge. We simply used a looseleaf binder with alphabetical tabs. Back then I was big on finding pictures that tied into the book. Star ratings were included as part of the header along with the title.

Then I found Peter Pauper.

I realized that I was reviewing less and forgetting more as my schedule did not allow me to type of reviews right away. The kids fell off from reviewing books as school and sports picked back up. But it wasn’t enough for me to simply read the book. I wanted to be able to discuss it when I bumped into other bookish people as well as remember how it made me feel. I started just jotting down my initial imoressions. Now my reviews are more lengthy as I sometimes journal as I read. I also feel less inhibited as I am not required to share these with anybody. I can include all the spoilers I want and I don’t have to worry if I have an unpopular opinion.

2018: First impressions while reading a book
2021: New Journal Review format

Notice the post it tabs in the “first impressions” photo? That was how I marked off the pages of my reading challenges. While I liked the idea of having the freedom and the space to express my viewpoints, this setup did not motivate me to complete my challenges. My new system includes both a traditional journal and a bullet journal (BuJo). I keep my reviews in my Peter Pauper but have migrated all of my reading challenges to the front of my bullet journal.

In addition to writing reviews I try to prioritize my reading by writing out my obligations (NetGalley vs. Book club for example) and recording what I actually read. Below is the old and new set ups. Notice that the bullet journal spread also tracks dates read, ratings, reading challenges and monthly stats.

2018 – 2020: My TBR vs. What I actually read
2021: Bujo TBR spread

The Versatility of a Bullet Journal

In my bullet journal I also track my moods, ARC release dates, the source of my books and whether I am reading books I already own. I’m enjoying using my BuJo as a creative outlet and find that I am more organized. Lately I’ve been experimenting with adding more elements to my BuJo like health and spending trackers. I’m excited for my 2022 setup and have already started planning out my spreads.

2021 Yearly Reading Statistics – # Read, # Reviewed, # Pages and Source
Tracking how many books I own will hopefully curb my book spending.
Black-a-thon Reading Challenge

Sources of Inspiration

Amanda Rach Lee

Jashii Corrin

Shayda Campbell

Brittany the Bibliophile


Supplies

  • Peter Pauper acid free, archival lined journal; Retail $15.99 (purchased on sale at Barnes & Noble)
  • Carnet Artist’s dotted journal 120 gsm, 180 pages; Retail $8.99 (purchased with 20% coupon at Michael’s)
  • Tombow Dual Brush pens 12 pc Tropical palette set; Retail $26.99 (purchased 50% off at Michael’s)
  • Artist’s Loft glue tape, 4 pack; Retail $6.99
  • Sakura Pigma Micron Fine Line pen set Black 005, 02, 08; Retail $9.99 (purchased with 20% coupon at Michael’s)
  • Pentel Hi Polymer Eraser
  • Sharpie markers
  • Washi tape (can be found in Michael’s sales bins for as little as a dollar)
  • Stickers, craft paper, colored pencils (Dollar Tree)

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Noopiming: The Cure for White Ladies

“Some stories are just stories, and some stories are just facts, facts so important that story can’t mess with them.”

Noopiming (Anishinaabemowin for “in the bush”) is poetry converging on storytelling revealing itself as fact. It opens with a poem that introduces the seven characters. The number 7 is significant and is reiterated throughout the text. It represents the seven Ojibwe tribes and the seven Asishinaabe teachings of love, respect, honesty, bravery, humility, truth, and wisdom.

Every character was referred to as they/them. At first I struggled with this. There were times where I did not know where one individual ended or the other began. The characters take on properties of the life forms around them. They are infused with the earth and water and spirits. I wasn’t sure if Betasamosake Simpson was playing on gender roles. But then as I got further on in the book I noticed that outsiders were referred to he/him and she/her. Perhaps we place too much emphasis on gender? But this was not what Betasamosake Simpson was getting at. When I stopped trying to force the narrative to fit my experience it became obvious. They/them was used as our characters were part of a herd or flock. This is not just to say that they are one with nature, but that as a group they move as one. Indigenous culture places the needs of the whole over the wants of the individual. My biases and Western mentality were the root of my struggles.

Throughout the text there are Anishinaabemowin words. For the most part Betasamosake Simpson does not give you the exact definition. You have to use the sentence or phrase for context. She also does not italicize or otherwise dinstinguish these words from the English. And I love her for it. If you are reading more diversely to learn about different cultures, then dive into the culture. Embrace the language. Open your mind to perspectives that are different from your own.

Noopiming ends with seven lessons told as both lecture and story. The take away is Weweni – be mindful. Think before you speak and act. Direct your attention to the whole. Consider whether your impact be something positive, uplifting, sustaining. Think beyond yourself.

Leanne Betasamosake Simpson

Leanne Betasamosake Simpson is a renowned Michi Saagiig Nishnaabeg scholar, writer and artist, who has been widely recognized as one of the most compelling Indigenous voices of her generation. Her work breaks open the intersections between politics,  story and song—bringing audiences into a rich and layered world of sound, light, and sovereign creativity.

orking for two decades as an independent scholar using Nishnaabeg intellectual practices, Leanne has lectured and taught extensively at universities across Canada and the United States and has twenty years experience with Indigenous land based education. She holds a PhD from the University of Manitoba, and teaches at the Dechinta Centre for Research & Learning in Denendeh.

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Blog Tour: Local Woman Missing

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Synopsis

People don’t just disappear without a trace…
Shelby Tebow is the first to go missing. Not long after, Meredith Dickey and her six-year-old daughter, Delilah, vanish just blocks away from where Shelby was last seen, striking fear into their once-peaceful community. Are these incidents connected? After an elusive search that yields more questions than answers, the case eventually goes cold.
Now, eleven years later, Delilah shockingly returns. Everyone wants to know what happened to her, but no one is prepared for what they’ll find…
In this smart and chilling thriller, master of suspense and New York Times bestselling author Mary Kubica takes domestic secrets to a whole new level, showing that some people will stop at nothing to keep the truth buried.


Review

This book gets all the stars! Kubica kept ratcheting up the tension. So much so that I was getting paranoid for the characters. I was that crazy ole book lady screaming at the book “Get out! Get away! No, don’t do it! Don’t trust her.” It was like running through a maze and hitting wall after wall. Kubica would leads you down one avenue having you think you know what’s going on and then Nope! Nope! Nope! Nope! Wrong again. Then she gives you a perfectly rational reason for what happened and sends you in an entirely different direction. I was twisting and turning throughout and I loved it.


Meet the Author

Mary Kubica is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of six novels, including THE GOOD GIRL, PRETTY BABY, DON’T YOU CRY, EVERY LAST LIE, WHEN THE LIGHTS GO OUT, and THE OTHER MRS. A former high school history teacher, Mary holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, in History and American Literature. She lives outside of Chicago with her husband and two children. Her last novel THE OTHER MRS. was an instant New York Times bestseller; is coming soon to Netflix; was a LibraryReads pick for February 2020; praised by the New York Times; and highly recommended by Entertainment Weekly, People, The Week, Marie Claire, Bustle, HelloGiggles,Goodreads, PopSugar, BookRiot, HuffingtonPost, First for Women, Woman’s World, and more.Mary’s novels have been translated into over thirty languages and have sold over two million copies worldwide. She’s been described as “a helluva storyteller,” (Kirkus Reviews) and “a writer of vice-like control,” (Chicago Tribune), and her novels have been praised as “hypnotic” (People) and “thrilling and illuminating” (Los Angeles Times).  LOCAL WOMAN MISSING is her seventh novel. 

Where You Can Find Her

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Blog Tour: Little Boy Lost

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Synopsis

The clear sky burst into flames of peach and gold, illuminating the small body leaning against the rocks. He looked even smaller than he had in the photos, purple marks blemishing his neck. His eyes were open, staring ahead at the vastness of the still water.

When three nine-year-old boys go missing on a field trip to Lakemore’s annual spring festival, panic tears through the small town. Detective Mackenzie Price and her partner Nick Blackwood lead the search, but no trace of the boys is found—until one of them is found murdered, a note stuffed down his throat.

“Find Johnny’s killer, or they all die.”

Johnny was supposedly a victim of Jeremiah, a serial killer Nick helped put behind bars nearly a decade ago for the murder of ten young boys. But when Mack and Nick pay him a visit, he claims that he knows nothing—and that he remains innocent of Johnny’s murder.

Then a second boy is found, another clue left on his body, leaving just one left alive. Desperate to save the last boy’s life, Mackenzie and Nick comb over Jeremiah’s case, only to discover proof of a shocking cover-up—and a killer who will stop at nothing to right the wrongs of the past.

Packed full of shocking twists and nail-biting suspense, Little Boy Lost is a truly unputdownable crime thriller, perfect for fans of Karin Slaughter, Lisa Regan and Angela Marsons.


Review

Little Boy Lost was a captivating thriller full of delicious little twists. In this third installment to the Mackenzie Price series we are brought back to the majestic scenery of Washington state. But evil abounds here as the disappearance of three 9 year old boys forces Nick to confront one of the most diabolical killers from his past. Did Nick make a mistake charging Jeremiah Wozniak with little Johnny’s murder? Has a killer been walking amongst them all these years? He is certain beyond belief that Wozniak is a psychopath who will kill again if given the chance. But his soul wrestles with the fact that he might have let another killer go free. Meanwhile Mackenzie is dealing with skeletons from her own past. Her father’s murder investigation has been reopened and a zealous cop is on the case. Will he uncover Mack’s secret? Is Charles’s killer after her too? Mackenzie does not know whether her need for self preservation will land her harm’s way. Does she reveal her truth and risk her reputation? Or does she guard her secret and risk her life?


Meet the Author

Ruhi Choudhary discovered her passion for writing when she was seven years old and wrote her first Star Trek episode. Being a fan of the dark and twisted, she found her calling in crime thriller.

She likes to write stories that make you a little uncomfortable and characters that you struggle to make up your mind about but stay with you.

She lives in Toronto and spends her days training to be a scientist and wishing it rained more often!

Where You Can Find Ruhi


Stop by and visit these awesome blogs on the Little Boy Lost Tour!

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Blog Tour: Hot Stew

Synopsis

Brilliant young British writer Fiona Mozley turns her keen eye from the gothic woods of Yorkshire to the streets and pubs and cafés of contemporary London in this much-anticipated follow-up to her debut novel, Elmet.

In the middle of the bustle of Soho sits a building. It isn’t particularly assuming. But it’s a prime piece of real estate, and a young millionaire, Agatha Howard, wants to convert it into luxury condos as soon as she can kick out all the tenants.

The problem is, the building in question houses a brothel, and Precious and Tabitha, two of the women who live and work there, are not going to go quietly. And another problem is, just where did Agatha’s fortune come from? The fight over this piece of property also draws in the men who visit, including Robert, a one-time member of a far-right group and enforcer for Agatha’s father; Jackie, a policewoman intent on making London a safer place for all women; Bastian, a rich and dissatisfied party boy who pines for an ex-girlfriend; and a collection of vagabonds and strays who occupy the basement. As these characters—with surprising hidden connections and shadowy pasts—converge, the fight over the property boils over into a hot stew.

Entertaining, sharply funny, and dazzlingly accomplished, Hot Stew confronts questions about wealth and inheritance, gender and power, and the things women must do to survive in an unjust world.


Review

Hot Stew is Mozley’s sophomore effort. Her debut Elmet reached critical acclaim earning nominations for both the Women’s Prize for Fiction and the Man Booker Award. Agatha Howard is the sole beneficiary of her father’s wealth. She has decided to renovate his properties so that she can turn over the properties for a hefty profit. But first she must clean up the area by evicting the “undesirable” tenants who have long standing leases. At the same time she must contend with her half sisters as they fight for what they believe is their rightful portion of their father’s inheritance.

The Aphra Behn is a pub in the soho section of London that houses a brothel upstairs and a homeless camp in its basement. Among the colorful people that live there is a couple of drug addicts nicknamed Paul Daniels and Debbie McGee named so because of the magic tricks they play with customers’ money and Tabitha and Precious who are sex workers.

“All women together ought to let flowers fall upon the tomb of Aphra Behn . . . for it was she who earned them the right to speak their minds.”

 Virginia Woolf, A Room of One’s Own

Indeed a hot stew is brewing as these women join forces to protect their home. Protests break out and draw the attention of feminists, religious zealots, politicians and the press. Mozley is pretty clear cut on who the good guys are in all this as she examines power and gentrification.

Perhaps the best part of the book for me was when Precious discusses the agency of women and ownership of our bodies. It was a different take on sex work. None of these women were being “pimped out”. They have come to this life through different avenues, but work as a collective to protect and take care of one another. There is one scene where Precious and Tabitha are asked whether they are a couple. Tabitha responds that not only do they share a bed but they share finances. They go on vacations together. When one is sick the other nurses her back to health. If they have a rough day the other is there to listen to them vent and run them a bath. The depth of their relationship is beautiful. But Mozley tells us early on that their relationship is not sexual. The problem comes in how we view and define “couple”. If you define couplehood by sex then you are reducing it to something so very basic, as sex is a fundamental need. What really makes a couple? Our ideas about sexare constantly being tested in this book. I was with Mozley when she was talking about how women can choose to have sex, that we can desire and enjoy sex, that we can define what it means to use. But when I got to that one sex scene – EWW! All I can say is that it was really awkward and even if I ascribe the concepts of choice and control to it , I did not see how it added anything of subatnce to Mozley’s message.

For the most part the other women were rather ancillary and do not get much treatment in the book. In fact there are so many characters that I had to draw myself a map. At first I was getting frustrated, but then I thought about how fantasy novels are constructed and the time authors take for world building. The way I’m seeing it now is that Fiona Mozley is building up this world so that while the action is brewing and old secrets are bubbling up to the surface we can see more clearly the extensive impact that these power struggles have on this community.


Meet the Author

Fiona Mozley was born in East London and raised in York, in the North of England. She studied history at Cambridge and then lived in Buenos Aires and London, working at a literary agency and at a travel center. Her first novel, Elmet, was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize in 2017. She lives in Edinburgh with her partner and their dog.

Featured

Blog Tour: Hush Little Girl

Synopsis

Dressed in pajamas covered with stars, the little girl’s body is perfectly still, her arms folded neatly over her chest. The wildflowers decorating her hair scatter across the grass in the sharp breeze. Her lips are parted slightly, as if to whisper goodnight for the very last time…

When twelve-year-old Holly Mitchell’s fragile little body is found on the steps of a mountainside church in the small town of Denton, a doll made from pine cones clasped tightly to her chest, Detective Josie Quinn rushes to attend the scene. She knows this little girl’s angelic face, her mother had offered Josie help when she’d needed it most.

Searching the girl’s house, Josie is devastated to find that Holly’s mother is dead too, and her little sister is missing. But why has this family home been stripped of all sharp objects? Re-tracing her steps, Josie finally finds a secret hiding place with Holly’s sister inside, terrified, but alive. Moments later, another doll made of twigs turns up.

Certain the killer is close by, Josie holds the little girl tight and tries to coax answers from her, but it’s clear the pile of burnt photographs and letters found in the greenhouse is her only lead. No one is safe until Josie can figure out the dangerous secret that has escaped this remote family home.

Just when Josie is finally closing in on the killer, the unthinkable happens, a tragedy that shakes her to her very core. And on the windshield of her car: a third wooden doll. Could stopping this twisted monster from taking more innocent lives come at the ultimate price for Josie?

An absolutely gripping rollercoaster ride of a crime thriller from an Amazon, USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author. Perfect for fans of Angela Marsons, Robert Dugoni and Rachel Caine.


My Review

The big day has finally arrived! Everyone who is near and dear to Josie and Noah are there. But just when you think Josie will finally ride off into the sunset with her beau, a young girl’s body is found on the steps of the church. Of course, Josie and Noah are on the case.

When Josie and another detective arrive at the girl’s home they discover a gruesome scene. Her mother has been slaughtered and her younger sister is missing. What secrets did this family have that were worth dying for? Can Josie get the answers from little Emily before tragedy strikes again? Josie is able to bond with the young girl. Her scar bears witness to her tragedies in life. But she struggles with how far can she push her for details without damages her already fragile psyche. Scared and alone, little Emily feels that revealing any secret will lead to death.

Hush, Little Girl is a fast-paced if emotional ride that pulls on your heart strings. (Trigger warning for mental illness and domestic violence.)

I am really loving this series. Lisa Regan keeps you on your toes and begging for more. Here’s a secret I can share: Josie Quinn #12 is already in the works! Join Lisa Regan’s mailing list here so you won’t miss out.


Meet the Author

Lisa Regan is a USA TodayWall Street Journal bestselling author and Amazon bestselling crime novelist.  She has a bachelor’s degree in English and Master of Education Degree from Bloomsburg University.  She is a member of Sisters In Crime, Mystery Writers of America and International Thriller Writers. She lives in Philadelphia with her husband and daughter. 

Where You Can Find Lisa

Stop by and Visit These Other Wonderful Creators on the Hush, Little Girl Blog Tour!