Book Reviews: Panthers Play for Keeps and His Majesty’s Hope by Susan Elia MacNeal

Panthers Play for KeepsPanthers Play for Keeps
A Pru Marlowe Pet Noir
Clea Simon
Poisoned Pen Press, April 2014
ISBN No. 978-1-59058-870-3
Hardcover

Pru Marlowe is walking Spot, a dog she is training. In the woods outside of town Spot suddenly begins whining and Pru decides to give him a break and let him run after whatever he is thinks is up ahead. Pru has an ability to communicate with animals and can normally understand what the animal is attempting to communicate but not this time. Pru gives Spot the Danger signal and he responds by stopping in front of Pru as he should but Spot continues whining. Pru finds herself gazing in front of Spot at the body of a woman that has been attacked by something that has shredded her clothing and left her head split open. It would seem the woman had been mauled by a large cat.

Pru is training the dog to be a companion to a man who is facing blindness. Laurel, Pru’s romantic rival for the affection of Detective Jim, is fostering the dog until Spot is completely trained and ready to be turned over to his new master. Pru’s cat believes that there is a big cat on the loose and Spot believes that there is more to the problem than just the big cat. When Pru finds out that the deceased is an employee of the man she is training Spot for she decides to do some investigating on her own.

This is an interesting mystery and one that any animal lover would enjoy.

Reviewed by Patricia E. Reid, June 2014.

 

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His Majesty's HopeHis Majesty’s Hope       
A Maggie Hope Mystery
Susan Elia MacNeal
Bantam, May 2013
ISBN: 978-0-345-53673-0
Trade Paperback.

This excellent historical novel is, of course, fiction all the way, although it is set during one of the world’s greatest real upheavals. It should appeal to readers interested in World War II, in spy and espionage stories, and those who like solid thrillers. It also provides some interesting insight into how the great evil that was Adolph Hitler and the Nazi empire, evolved in the early years of the European war before the entry of the United States.

The novel owes a good deal of its strength and interest to the closely personal stories of Maggie Hope, the central character and her colleagues, her loves and those around her at greater distance. On one level readers are treated to a well-researched look at the maneuverings of intelligence gathering efforts on both sides of the English Channel, and the way in which British spymasters recruited and ruthlessly used any human resources to help them win the war. And even though these people have the reader sympathies, being on the side of the angels, their attitudes and actions were not much different from those of the enemy.

Maggie Hope, an American, recruited for and working in British Secret Service, is dropped into Berlin to deliver communications devices. And because she’s an independent sort, opportunities arise that keep her in-country far beyond the scope of the original mission. As a character, Maggie is exactly the kind of heroic figure we want in these stories, yet she is far from perfect, beset by doubts, and ineptitude from colleagues, she manages with appropriate derring-do and a lot of help from family, to get out of Germany just ahead of the Gestapo.

There are coincidences in life. That’s a recognizable fact. There are multiplicities of events going on in the lives of those around us. Another accepted fact. Too much activity and too many coincidental happenings might cause an undercover agent to become seriously paranoid. If this novel were not so well written, so replete with high emotion, if the main character was other than a bright, independent accomplished woman of the nineteen forties, I might have set the novel down unfinished. As it is, His Majesty’s Hope is better than three, but doesn’t rate a four star review.

Reviewed by Carl Brookins, March 2014.
Author of Red Sky, Devils Island, Hard Cheese, Reunion.

Spotlight on Third Rail by Rory Flynn—and a Giveaway!

Third Rail

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Title: Third Rail
Series: An Eddy Harkness Novel
Author: Rory Flynn
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication Date: June 10, 2014

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THIRD RAIL gets off to a ripping start and never lets off the gas.
Rory Flynn is a suspense writer to watch.”
– Jess Walter, author of the bestselling BEAUTIFUL RUINS
 
THIRD RAIL is an adrenaline-soaked tale of political corruption and
personal redemption that never lets up. Eddy Harkness, the self-destructive
Massachusetts narcotics detective at the novel’s center, is a worthy
successor to Robert B. Parker’s Jesse Stone.”
– Sean Chercover, author of the bestselling THE TRINITY GAME

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A propulsive debut, first in an exciting new series,
in the tradition of Dennis Lehane and Robert Parker

At crime scenes, Eddy Harkness is a human Ouija board, a brilliant young
detective with a knack for finding the hidden something—cash, drugs,
guns, bodies. But Eddy’s swift rise in an elite narcotics unit is derailed
by the death of a Red Sox fan in the chaos of a World Series win, a death
some believe he could have prevented. Scapegoated, Eddy is exiled to
his hometown just outside Boston, where he empties parking meters
and struggles to redeem his disgraced family name.

Then one night Harkness’s police-issue Glock disappears. Unable to report
the theft, Harkness starts a secret search—just as a string of fatal accidents
lead
him to uncover a new, dangerous smart drug, Third Rail. With only a
plastic gun
to protect him, Harkness begins a high-stakes investigation
that leads
him into the darkest corners of the city, where politicians and
criminals
intertwine to deadly effect. With a textured sense of place, a
nuanced protagonist,
and a story that takes off from page one and
culminates in a startling finale,
Third Rail (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt;
June 10, 2014) has all
the elements of a breakout mystery success.

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About the Author

 

Rory FlynnA powerful new voice in crime fiction.  A generally nice guy in Boston.

Rory Flynn is the pen name of acclaimed novelist Stona Fitch, author of five previous novels, including Senselessnow an independent feature film and a graphic novel.

In 2008, Stona founded the Concord Free Press, a independent publishing house that publishes and distributes original novels, asking only that readers make a voluntary donation to a charity or person in need, then pass their book on. The CFP has inspired generosity throughout the world—and created a new approach to publishing that has earned praise from publishing visionaries and readers.

Stona lives with his family in Concord, Massachusetts.

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To enter the drawing for a print copy of
Third Rail by Rory Flynn, leave a comment
below. The winning name will be drawn
Sunday evening, July 27th. This drawing is
open to residents of the US.

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“A terrific debut…impressive, stylish, sophisticated. Readers will want to
see more of Flynn’s gritty Boston–and of Eddy Harkness.”
— Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Things heat up and bodies turn up in this high-powered police thriller.”
— Library Journal

“Glows with the kind of sawdust-dry humor regarding Boston, cops, and the
darkest of urban underbellies that you might find at 3 a.m.
in the back booth of a backstreet bar.”
– Boston Globe

Book Blitz: Time of Ruin by Shauna Granger

Time of Ruin Blitz Banner

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Title: Time of Ruin
Series: Ash and Ruin #2
Author: Shauna Granger
Release Date: 07/22/14
Genre: Post-apocalyptic

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Synopsis:

The world has ended, and hope is the most dangerous thing left.

Battered and bruised after barely escaping San Francisco with their lives, Kat,
Dylan, and Blue press north – desperate to reach the possibility of a new home.

But strange, monstrous ravens are tracking the remaining survivors, food is
becoming scarce, gasoline is running short, and people are becoming
suicidal, making survival almost impossible.

And the Pestas are growing bolder. Somehow, their numbers are growing.

The further north they go, the harder it becomes to ignore the signs that
they’ve made a fatal mistake. Kat must face the impossible truth that there
is no escape, there is no safe haven, and their worst nightmares
don’t come close to their new reality.

************

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Book One:

World of Ash Granger

Goodreads

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An Excerpt from Time of Ruin

 

With a shaking hand, I pull my water bottle from the netted pocket and take a few sips, reluctantly controlling myself from gulping down half of it. Once my mouth is pleasantly wet, I hold the bottle out to Blue and let him take a few sips. I’m happy the mouth is wide so I don’t need to spill any out for him.

The last thing I want to do is to dig through my pack and get out Blue’s bowls and kibble, so I pull out a can of beef stew, my last can of the blessed protein-and-carb packed stuff, and pull the tab to open it. “We’ll share, okay?”

Blue sits on his haunches, back perfectly straight, as he watches me. I know it’s a leftover trick from his first family, but it makes me smile.

Time of Ruin“Me first,” I say and point at the ground.

With a short whine, Blue lays on the ground, resting his chin on his paws as he watches me tilt the can to my mouth. Eating only half of the stew isn’t as hard as I thought it would be; my stomach is so tight with worry over leaving Dylan, over the trail of smoke in the distance, and my need to find transportation that I’m not as hungry as I should be. I have to choke down the last bite of mealy potato before I hold the can out for Blue. He has no such difficulty eating the other half of the stew, and in minutes, he’s licking the inside of the can clean.

“Pig,” I tease as I toss the can away. Blue ignores me and lays down to clean his paws.

I let my head fall back against my pack. My eyelids are heavy, and it’s increasingly more difficult to keep my eyes open. I click my tongue for Blue, and he jumps to his feet in an instant. I chuckle and snap my fingers for him to come to my side. With his warm body tucked in close to me, I lay one hand on his back and let sleep pull me under.

I don’t know how much time passes before I’m awoken by a sound that I know neither I nor Blue made. My eyes snap open, and my whole body goes instinctively still. I hold my breath so that I can hear better. Blue shifts under my hand. He picks up his head, his ears perfect triangles as he listens for the unfamiliar noise. I grip the loose skin at his neck and make a tiny noise to keep him quiet.

Somewhere a twig snaps, louder than any shot fired.

Not for the first time, I miss the farmhouse where I found Blue, with its intact walls and locks on every door. I bite the inside of my cheek, wondering if I can get to the edge of the wall and away from here before whoever is walking up the steps comes around the corner.

A dim yellow light creeps across the floor underneath the dresser we’re hiding behind. My heart is choking me, lodged high in my throat, and all I can hear is the beat of my pulse and the rush of my blood.

“Yeah, this is good,” a man’s voice rings out, striking me like a whip.

I’ve missed my chance to run.

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About the Author

 

Shauna Granger 2Like so many other writers, Shauna grew up as an avid reader, but it was in high school that she realized she wanted to be a writer. Five years ago, Shauna started work on her Elemental Series. She released the first installment, Earth, on May 1, 2011 and has since released four sequels, with the series coming to an end with Spirit. She is currently hard at work on a new Urban Fantasy series, staring a spunky witch with a smush-faced cat named Artemis.


Author Links:


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Go check out this Rafflecopter for a chance to win
a gift card to either Barnes & Noble or Amazon!

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Talk Those Talking Points

Gerrie Ferris Finger 3Retired journalist for The Atlanta-Journal Constitution, in 2009, Gerrie Ferris Finger won The Malice Domestic/St. Martin’s Minotaur Best First Traditional Novel Competition for The End Game, released by St. Martin’s Minotaur in 2010. She grew up in Missouri, then headed further south to join the staff of the The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. There, she researched and edited the columns of humorist Lewis Grizzard and co-wrote a news column with another reporter for three years. The series that started there is still going strong today. Running with Wild Blood is scheduled for release in January 2015.


Website: http://www.gerrieferrisfinger.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/gerrie.ferrisfinger?fref=ts

Twitter: @gerrieferris

 

I love radio and do a lot of it. I freely admit I wasn’t too good at it in the beginning.

You would think that since the term “talking points” comes up often, speakers—be they on television, behind a live lectern, or on radio—would know and research how talking points could benefit their own presentations. Some recent talking points were spoken of in the negative, but I’ve learned to put them to good use.

Before I devised talking points, I dove into radio with a bio in front of me, a Q&As list if the station asked for one, and a synopsis of the novel.

I found myself wandering off the subject, getting tongue tied because I realized I didn’t need to read everything in the synopsis. In fact, my gracious hosts often interrupted my faltering voice and changed the subject to something like my bio. I found I never got to the main plot points or crux of the synopsis.

Hosts are like that. They try to keep guests on point and not babbling. If hosts have read the novel, and some have, they will fill in the high points. If not, they’ll move on to why you write mysteries. I’m not trying to sell my bio or the reason I write mysteries, but my novel. And am doing a poor job of it.

I have mended my ways. I now know that talking points are an easy way of staying on track and getting a clear message out. If you haven’t tried talking points, you can learn from my experience.

Take it to the bank: anything read word for word is boring to radio listeners.

Talking points are prompts. I know my novel’s plot, its characters and theme. A line or two will keep me precise.

You can go astray with talking points by making them too long; that’s as bad a reading a synopsis.
Bullets are good, but looking at too many causes confusion.

Make sure you’re doing talking points and not talking paragraphs. Break it up.

Do not bury the main points or list them last. We journalists call it “burying the lede,” and yes, we spell “lead” like that.

We also call the second paragraph in a news story the nut graf. “That’s a journalism spelling, too. The nut graf holds the promise of what’s to come—in a nutshell. Keep it up top of talking points.

Do not italicize, bold underline or use explanation points. Talk about confusing!

Some like to use sub-bullets. All right, I guess, if it’s a long speech and the main points need support.

Those are just a few suggestions. Many speech-writing books will help make your presentation on radio, television and stand-up succeed.

Here are my talking points for my new book, MURMURS OF INSANITY.


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Moriah Dru and Richard Lake, a child finder and a cop, team up to solve two crimes in this 4th mystery in the series.


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Case one begins when Johndro Phillips goes missing after witnessing a drug deal turned bad in his Atlanta neighborhood.


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The second case involves an avant garde art scheme at the University of Georgia in Athens, near Atlanta.


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The center of this case is Baxter Carlisle, a middle-aged Athens landowner and restaurateur.


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His predilection for young women has gotten him mixed up with the student art community, particularly with a young, mysterious woman named Cho and her boyfriend Damian.


Murmurs of Insanity*
If you wonder about the cover, Dru learns that Baxter possesses one of the world’s most extensive doll collections.


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Damian, Cho and their friend Arne have devised a Performance Art scheme meant to shake-up the tranquil community.


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Articles of Damian’s are found on nature trails from Athens to Atlanta. Absent a body, the police think it’s a treasure hunt. Dru thinks not.


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The art scheme goes awry when Arne is found hanged and Cho disappears.


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Meanwhile, Dru is called back to Atlanta because Johndro Phillips witnessed a murder and is in fear of his life.


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Following a search and rescue dog’s nose, she finds where Johndro and his cousin are hiding.


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In a gun battle, the bangers are shot by Dru and Lake.

 

Book Review: The Psalmist by James Lilliefors

The PsalmistThe Psalmist
A Luke Bowers and Amy Hunter Mystery
James Lilliefors
Witness Impulse, July 2014
ISBN 978-0-06-234968-2  Ebook
Print edition coming in August 2014

From the publisher—

Luke Bowers is in the good and evil business.

On a cold, late-winter morning in the Chesapeake Bay community of Tidewater County, Bowers discovers a dead woman seated in a pew at the church where he is pastor—her eyes open, her hands clasped as if in prayer.

Nothing at the scene identifies the woman or explains why she was at the church. And when state police homicide investigator Amy Hunter comes to town to head up the case, not everyone is pleased that a young, female outsider has the job. The only lead in solving the crime is a sequence of numbers that has been carved into the victim’s right hand, which Bowers suspects may be a reference to the Book of Psalms.

With Bowers’s help, Hunter follows a chain of seemingly innocuous clues to track down a deranged serial killer and unravel an elusive criminal enterprise that is more powerful than they ever could have imagined.

It’s been done before, the pairing of a police detective and a clerical (religious) civilian to solve crimes. Probably the most noted and admired of these is the series by Julia Spencer-Fleming featuring Police Chief Russ Van Alstyne and Reverend Clare Fergusson and it’s difficult to avoid comparing The Psalmist with that series…so I won’t even try ;-). Put simply, Luke Bowers and Amy Hunter may share professional occupations with their “colleagues” but that really is where the comparison should end because Luke and Amy have earned their own place in the fictional investigative world.

When Luke finds a woman’s body in his church, he’s remarkably calm, perhaps reflective of his being a pastor, and he immediately alerts the authorities. In the small Chesapeake Bay town where everybody knows everybody, the local sheriff has to turn the case over to a state homicide investigator, a woman no less, and Amy Hunter has to cope with local resentment. When she begins to develop information that may tie this murder and others to the Book of Psalms, with help from Luke, it flies in the face of the way Sheriff Calvert and State’s Attorney Wendell Stamps seem to want the case to go. Tensions begin to rise and indications that a serial killer may be at work only make things worse.

Then the FBI steps in and, suddenly, this woman’s death is part of something much, much bigger but it’s a different rush to judgement that Luke and Amy must find a way to prevent. Whether they’ll be able to do so is a good question but one thing is sure—the violence is not over yet.

Amy and Luke are both very likeable characters and I especially appreciate that Luke doesn’t insert himself every step along the way. Amy is a dogged detective with a real talent and intelligence but Luke adds to the investigation with his own special knowledge and his ability to think things through. They work well together and I plan to see what happens in their second case…or perhaps more of this one.

And, no, I won’t tell you what I mean by that ;-).

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, July 2014.

About the Author

JAMES LILLIEFORS is a journalist and novelist who grew up in the Washington, D.C. area and currently lives and works in Florida. He has written for numerous publications including The Washington Post, The Miami Herald, The Boston Globe and the Baltimore Sun. He started his journalism career as a writer and editor for Runner’s World magazine and worked for many years as a newspaper editor and reporter, in Maryland and in Florida, winning a number of reporting awards. Since the late 1990s, Lilliefors has been head writer at the Philharmonic Center for the Arts in Naples, Florida. He is the author of several non-fiction books, including AMERICA’S BOARDWALKS, BALL CAP NATION and HIGHWAY 50, as well as a satirical mystery novel, BANANAVILLE.


Catch Up With JAMES LILLIEFORS:

 

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Book Reviews: Sinner by Maggie Stiefvater, The Stone Demon by Karen Mahoney, and Hold Fast by Blue Balliett

SinnerSinner
Maggie Stiefvater
Scholastic Press, July 2014
ISBN 978-0-545-65457-9
Hardcover

While Sinner, the recently released, highly anticipated, companion book to the Shiver trilogy didn’t take me back to Mercy Falls, it most certainly allowed me an enchanting opportunity to revisit Cole St. Clair and Isabel Culpepper. If you, like me, loved absolutely every single thing about the Shiver trilogy, my best guess is that you will revere Sinner. On the other hand, if this is the very first you’ve heard of said trilogy, I can still unabashedly recommend Sinner as a remarkable stand-alone novel packed with the punch that only Ms. Stiefvater can deliver. Even if you are “not really into the whole werewolf thing”, I stand by my recommendation. To me, the werewolf in Sinner is more an allegory than a creature to be feared or envied.

Ms. Stiefvater’s newest novel is a fast-paced, engrossing read that ebbs and flows with generosity and narcissism, love and hate, determined clinging and letting go. There is love and laughter, heart-ache and tears, mistakes, self-realizations and forgiveness. It is about life, growing up, being true, acting brave and accepting that; sometimes, walking away isn’t a cowardly act; but rather, the hardest and most definite thing you will ever have to do. Lessons generally learned much later in life become imperative in the formation and revelation of the true self as both Cole and Isabel; separately, yet simultaneously, become a bit more open and a little less jaded. Not embracing, but almost acknowledging that options aside from black or white, wrong or right, indeed exist. Grey comes in many shades, the road less traveled still delivers the traveler to his destination; and sometimes, pausing to ponder “what’s the way?” is the only way to keep going forward.

As always, within a Stiefvater saga, there are serendipitous seeds of wisdom that, when nurtured, bloom with breath-taking splendor. The brief glimpse of family on the beach is beautifully brilliant, encapsulating both a smiley and a teary moment (this author is a sneaky, clever, creator). If you’ve read this book, but weren’t captivated, amused and delighted….you may not have been paying close attention.

Leon. Leon’s pictures. The insightful inclusion of this quiet, soft-spoken man adds depth and a certain melancholy, elevating the book to a new level.

Sofia, because every darkness deserves a ray of light; and every home, a little hope.

I closed Forever four years ago with mixed emotions and a heavy heart. I had fallen for these characters, accepted the finality; but longed for just a little bit more Cole and Isabel. The two characters are so vibrant; filled with energy, anger, frustration, confusion, yet appearing confident and collected. They required their very own story and Sinner is it, spot on.

Reviewed by jv poore, July 2014.

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The Stone DemonThe Stone Demon
An Iron Witch Novel #3
Karen Mahoney
Flux, April 2013
ISBN 978-0-7387-3340-1
Trade Paperback

Ms. Mahoney epitomizes the ideal conclusion to a trilogy with The Stone Demon. Thankfully void of loose ends, neither was each and every situation systematically closed out, as if checking off a list. Admittedly, some resolutions and explanations are needed; and answers were provided in a very satisfactory way, with any remaining questions providing excellent points to ponder long after the story has been told.

The first book, The Iron Witch, introduces Donna Underwood who wants nothing more than to be a regular teenager. Such a simple request, yet utterly impossible for her. She has been shrouded in mystery and secrets since she can remember. Flashes from her distant memory serve only to remind her that her father died trying to save her; the magical iron tattoos used to restore her arms will forever make her an outcast; her mother is in an asylum and she is left with only her aunt.

Further, Donna isn’t being raised as a typical teen. Rather, she is being “trained” for her rightful position within a Secret Order of Alchemists. So secret, in fact, that she knows almost nothing about the Order, which means she can’t really trust them. One more, tiny detail: Donna is being pursued by faeries and she has no idea why.

Yes, readers. I am telling you about a unique, intriguing story that features Fey, Alchemy, Demons and Ley Lines (oh, my)! Mixed in with the wizardry, and accompanying Donna on her journey of discovery we have her best buddy Navin. He is, hands down, one of my favourite fictional characters of all time. His sharp tongue, quick wit, and self-admiration make him amusing and delightful; particularly when situations are dark and dire. He provides the stability and balance Donna needs, and their friendship typifies the strength, support and unparalleled loyalty that so many teens sweetly maintain.

With a rich, compelling cast of characters, a tantalizing mystery unraveling, and just a dash of romance, The Iron Witch Trilogy is a must read for any fan of Fantasy, Mystery and/or YA. If you have a teen-aged reader in your life, turn him/her on to The Iron Witch Trilogy and you will be revered. You’re welcome.

Reviewed by jv poore, January 2014.

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Hold FastHold Fast
Blue Balliett
Scholastic Press, March 2013
ISBN 978-0-545-29988-6
Hardcover

Step back, Wonder Woman, I have a new heroine in Early Pearl. Captivating, courageous and thoughtful, this spunky eleven year old is simply amazing. Throughout this story, Early’s soft, quiet determination, fueled by hope alone, astounds. And what a story this is.

A mystery of epic proportions unwinds quickly, enveloping the entire Pearl family. From an outsider’s view, it may appear that this family of four is down on their luck; but the love, admiration and respect that they share for each other is a true treasure that eludes so many.

While Dash’s job in a Chicago Public Library may barely cover the bills, it is the right place for him. This is confirmed when he has a chance to make extra money on the side by simply cataloguing old books. Stumbling onto an original print of the Langston Hughes’ The First Book of Rhythms inexplicably sets off a whirlwind of events.

With Dash missing, their tiny one-room apartment broken into and trashed, forced to move into a shelter while being dismissed by the police; the Pearl family seemingly has no reason to hope. Early refuses to let her family down. The lengths that Early would go to while valiantly trying to solve the mystery of her father’s disappearance deeply affected this reader.

Although this would be more than enough for one young girl to tackle, the compassion and empathy that fill Early do not allow her to focus on only this goal. Rather, her acquaintances and her new life in the shelter give her ideas bigger than any she could have imagined. Her tireless efforts to make a difference not just for the small Pearl family right now; but for shelter kids in the future are beyond admirable.

Ms. Balliett shares Early’s tale with such phenomenal presentation that the book-steeped mystery becomes almost secondary, in the way that the lyrics to a beloved song fade into the background when sung in a haunting, melodious voice.

I fully admit to feeling somewhat guilty while reading this book; as if I was getting more than I deserved….I got the chocolate and vanilla twist in a waffle cone, when really, I only should have gotten only a small vanilla one. I can’t fathom how a mere human is capable of writing, incorporating so many layers, in sneakily simple prose. Possibly, this book was created by a magic that only Ms. Balliett can harness and control, or maybe Ms. Balliett herself has super-powers, either way, she has a new fan in me!

Reviewed by jv poore, April 2014.

Have Another Daiquiri On Me!

Cindy Sample Kona SunglassesCindy Sample’s humorous romantic mystery series, set in the California gold country, features single soccer mom Laurel McKay. Her national best selling series includes Dying for a Date, Dying for a Dance and Dying for a Daiquiri, both finalists for the LEFTY award for best humorous mystery. Dying for a Daiquiri is her latest release and was definitely the most fun to research. Cindy is a past president of Sacramento Sisters in Crime. www.cindysamplebooks.com

 

Or How to Turn Your Book Into
a National Celebration

Part Two

I hope you’ve all read yesterday’s post about how I turned National Daiquiri Day, a little known celebration, into a reason to promote Dying for a Daiquiri, the third book in my humorous mystery series.

Having arranged a National Daiquiri Day author event at Total Wine and More, a big box store, I turned my marketing hat to the internet. I simply couldn’t let this opportunity pass by without coming up with a reason to promote online.

Dying for a DaiquiriFirst, I decided to reduce the price of Dying for a Daiquiri to 99 cents. The book had never been reduced before, and this seemed like an excellent reason to do so. I arranged for ads with BookBub (7/15), eReader News Today (7/17) and eBookSoda (7/19). Although I didn’t get to choose the specific dates, I provided some options hoping to keep the sales momentum going all week.

I also asked my wonderful friends and fellow authors to comment on my Facebook post about the sale and to tweet the news. Because of their comments and shares, that post achieved excellent traction in the Facebook newsfeed, which then led to more comments and shares. We kept the party going, toasting each other with virtual daiquiris.

Within twenty-four hours, there was much cause for virtual and real celebration since Dying for a Daiquiri hit the top 10 in Nook Books (right above James Patterson’s new release, which I think is hysterical)! Of course, our prices are significantly different. It also hit # 1 in cozy books on Amazon and # 78 overall.

Forty-eight hours later, more than 2900 copies of Dying for a Daiquiri have been sold, along with 360 copies of Dying for a Date and Dying for a Dance at their full price of $2.99. I’ve made almost triple what the BookBub ad cost me and sales are continuing at a decent pace.

Cindy Sample Launch with CakeNow if I could only build an app that delivered a real daiquiri with each book sale, I’d really make a killing!

I want to point out that I also considered contacting local TV stations, national cooking shows and NPR. But I’ve decided there is a fine line between marketing like mad and driving yourself crazy, and it’s far more important that we all enjoy this wonderful journey we’re on.

I would love to know some of the ways you promote your own books, online as well as face-to-face. If you’re a reader, I’d like to hear what kind of promotions get your interest, what marketing makes you want to buy that book, especially if you haven’t tried the author before. Leave a comment and you’ll be entered in a drawing for a $10 Amazon gift card.

 

Tags: social media, Amazon, bestseller, National Daiquiri Day, Cindy Sample, mystery

 Cindy Sample Daiquiris from Morgue File

National Daiquiri Day helped me sell over 3,000
e-books in 36 hours. Authors, I would love to know
some of the ways you promote your own books,
online as well as face-to-face. If you’re a reader, I’d
like to hear what kind of promotions get your interest,
what marketing makes you want to buy that book,
especially if you haven’t tried the author before.Leave
a comment
and you might win a $10 gift card, winner’s
choice of Amazon or Barnes & Noble! Drawing to be
held Tuesday evening, July 22nd.