Sad News

My name is Annie and I’m heartbroken to have to announce that my mother, Lelia Taylor, passed away suddenly but peacefully Sunday night, March 20. At this time plans for a memorial service have not been settled but when they are I will post the details here. Otherwise, this blog will not be updated anymore.

In lieu of flowers or donations, please buy a book (any book) from your local independent bookstore or bookshop.org in her honor.

Spotlight on Secret Identity by Alex Segura @alex_segura @Flatironbooks

Title: Secret Identity
Author: Alex Segura
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Publication Date: March 15, 2022
Genre: Mystery, Noir

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Synopsis

It’s 1975 in New York City and Carmen Valdez, a queer, Cuban-American has
moved to the city to pursue her dream of writing her own superhero. But
as a secretary at Triumph Comics, she has reached an impasse, contending
with endless misogyny from her less-talented, but higher-level male colleagues.
When one of her coworkers secretly enlists her help to create Triumph’s
first female hero, “The Lethal Lynx,” Carmen’s dream nearly becomes a reality.
That is until her partner is found dead and the Lynx turns out to be a runaway
hit without Carmen’s name on the byline. Carmen is desperate to hold onto
her piece of the Lynx and to piece together what exactly happened to her colleague.

But that’s complicated by a surprise visitor from her home in Miami, a tenacious
cop who is piecing everything together too quickly for Carmen, and the tangled web of
secrets and resentments among the passionate eccentrics who write comics for a living.

What follows is a wondrously told mystery where a young woman is forced to fend for
her creative autonomy in an industry dominated by men, while also grappling with
personal demons. In Carmen’s story, Segura not only gives voice to the overlooked
and underrepresented, but he brings a critical eye to the sexist, hypermasculine,
and insular royalty that have long dominated the comics and publishing industries.

Featuring a dozen original comic book sequences (drawn by Sandy Jarrell and lettered by Taylor Esposito) interwoven into the narrative, Segura—a comics writer and Anthony-Award winning author of the Pete Fernandez series—ingeniously “merges classic noir with the three-color world of superhero comics in a way that will delight fans of both” (G. Willow Wilson).

SECRET IDENTITY has been listed as a most anticipated book of the year by Entertainment Weekly, Paste Magazine, CrimeReads, BookRiot, and more, and has received 3 starred trade reviews from Publishers Weekly, who called it “outstanding,” Booklist, who called it a “superlative one-of-a kind novel,” and Kirkus, who raved “it’s as powerful as anything since Michael Chabon’s The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay.” 

Part metafiction, part neo-noir, part graphic novel, SECRET IDENTITY isn’t just a book, but “a full, daring experience” (Brad Meltzer).

Purchase Links:
Barnes & Noble // Kobo // Indiebound // Amazon

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About the Author

Alex Segura is an acclaimed, award-winning writer of novels, comic books, short stories, and podcasts. He is the author of the noir novel, Secret Identity (Flatiron Books), Star Wars Poe Dameron: Free Fall, and the Pete Fernandez Mystery series (including the Anthony Award-nominated crime novels Dangerous Ends, Blackout, and Miami Midnight). His short story “Red Zone” won the 2020 Anthony Award for Best Short Story, and his border noir short story, “90 Miles” was included in The Best American Mystery and Suspense 2021. “90 Miles” also won the Best Short Story Anthony Award for 2021. Alex has also written a number of comic books, most notably the superhero noir The Black Ghost, the YA music series The Archies, and the “Archie Meets” collection of crossovers, featuring real-life cameos from the Ramones, B-52s, the upcoming all-ages superhero adventure The Dusk, and more. He is also the co-creator/co-writer of the Lethal Lit crime/YA podcast from iHeart Radio, which was named one of the best podcasts of 2018 by The New York Times. By day he is the Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Oni Press, with previous stints at Archie Comics and DC Comics.

A Miami native, he lives in New York with his wife and children.

Follow Alex:

Website // Twitter // Facebook // Instagram

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“Segura’s book works on so many levels, it’s almost hard to keep track—as a
love letter to comic books, it’s as powerful as anything since Michael Chabon’s 
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay (2000). And as a thriller, it’s smart,
perfectly paced, and wonderfully atmospheric—Segura captures the intense,
grimy milieu of 1970s New York with aplomb. You don’t have to be a comics
fan to love this novel; it’s a masterful book filled with real heart and
soul. A triumph.”—Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review

“Darkest noir meets the vibrant world of comics in the hands of Segura…
His reverence for the medium comes across vividly here….
A superlative one-of-a-kind novel.” —Booklist

“Outstanding… Segura’s infectious passion for superheroes shines in this
page-turning mix of murder mystery and coming-of-age story.” —Publishers Weekly

“Segura’s fond affection for comic books comes through in this mashup of pulpy
murder mysteries and 1970s dingy New York streets.” —Silvia Moreno-Garcia,
New York Times bestselling author of Mexican Gothic

“Alex Segura is one of the great gentlemen of crime fiction. A calm and measured
soul who happens to be a firecracker of a writer. Secret Identity is his best
yet—a glowing love letter to Serpico-era NYC and the rock and roll frontier of
the American comics industry. This is a writer at the top of his game.”
—S. A. Cosby, bestselling author of Razorblade Tears

Book Review: Then Came the Thunder by Rachael Huszar @AnAudiobookworm

 

Author: Rachael Huszar

Narrator: Jenn Lee

Length: 5 hours and 31 minutes

Producer: Audiobook Empire

Publisher: Rachael Huszar

Released: January 20, 2022

Genre: Historical Thriller

 

Continue reading

Book Review: A Fight for Full Disclosure by Stanley M. Berry

A Fight for Full Disclosure
Stanley M. Berry
Moonshine Cove Publishing, September 2021
ISBN 978-1-952439-16-2
Trade Paperback

In this merger of medical and legal fiction, a well-liked and healthy woman undergoes a routine surgery and unexpectedly dies. Was the surgeon negligent? Did the hospital miss some critical information? Department Chair Harold Thompson investigates, in hope of getting answers to why the woman died.

The author overexplains medical devices and procedures, and spends time on physical details and actions that don’t move the story forward. The ending is disappointing and leaves the reader dissatisfied. The author is a medical doctor, a special in Maternal-Fetal medicine. This is his first novel.

He probably has many interesting stories from his years in medical practices but this isn’t one of them.

Reviewed by Susan Belsky, March 2022.

Waiting On Wednesday (179) @searlesbooks @MarinerBooks

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event that
spotlights upcoming releases that I’m really
looking forward to. Waiting On Wednesday
is the creation of Jill at Breaking the Spine.
This week’s “can’t-wait-to-read” selection is:

Her Last Affair
John Searles
Mariner Books, March 2022
Mystery, Psychological Suspense

From the publisher—

Every marriage has its secrets….

Skyla lives alone in the shadow of the defunct drive-in movie theater that she and her husband ran for nearly fifty years. Ever since Hollis’s death in a freak accident the year before, Skyla spends her nights ruminating about the regrets and deceptions in her long marriage. That is, until she rents a cottage on the property to a charming British man, Teddy Cornwell….

A thousand miles away, Linelle is about to turn fifty. Bored by her spouse and fired from her job when a questionable photo from her youth surfaces on social media, her only source of joy is an on-line affair with her very first love, a man she’s not seen in nearly thirty years, Teddy Cornwell…

While in New York City, Jeremy, a failed and bitter writer, accepts an assignment to review a new restaurant in Providence. Years ago, Providence was the site of his first great love and first great heartbreak—and maybe, just maybe, he’ll look her up when he’s back in town…

Why am I waiting so eagerly? John Searles has been on my need-to-try list for quite a while and this seems like a good place to start, especially since it’s a standalone. I’m intrigued by the ages of these main characters because this kind of story is so often told about much younger players and Mr. Searles is apparently acknowledging the fact that emotions and the potential for love and betrayal don’t just fade away as we get older. On the other hand, there’s a real sense of menace here and I’m so looking forward to that :-).

Review: Parasite by Darcy Coates

I haven’t read a good oldfashioned creepy bodysnatcher
book in quite a while but Ami’s review has convinced
me it’s high time and this is the right book 😉.

Creature From The Book Lagoon

A guard discovers an unusual lifeform on her remote moon outpost. She disregards protocol to investigate it, with catastrophic consequences.

The parasitic alien wears its victims’ skins and adopts their personalities. It’s a perfect disguise, and allows the creature to spread without being detected. By the time humanity realises it’s facing extinction, a third of its six hundred space stations have already gone dark.

As the alien’s ruthless progress collapses communication networks, wipes out defences, and leaves hundreds of stations to fend for themselves, a handful of remarkable individuals must find a way to battle the greatest threat the universe has ever encountered.

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Book Review: Miss Dirt Turtle’s Garden Club by Daniel Boyd @HeadlineBooks

Miss Dirt Turtle’s Garden Club
Daniel Boyd
Illustrated by Hector Mexia
Headline Books, November 2021
ISBN 978-1-951556723
Trade Paperback

The last day of elementary school was certainly celebratory for five best buds who had gone through every single grade together. The summer stretched out before them, packed with possibilities. Admittedly, growing a garden with the elderly Black lady the neighborhood kids dubbed “Dirt Turtle” hadn’t made the quintet’s to-do list.

When the motley crew of mean kids spotted the students standing outside of Dirt Turtle’s yard, the friends scattered. Except for Chatter. Fixated on the woman working the soil, he slipped through the gate in the chain-link-fence.

Silently, he watched. Mum, she worked on. Chatter soon joined in, mimicking her movements.

His pals returned, stunned at the sight. They immediately began teasing him. Unflappable, Chatter continued until each of his friends, excepting Marty, had joined him in the yard. For the four friends, there was something soothing and satisfying in the work and they asked if they could come back.

The jubilant mood dampened, though, when report cards were received. One of them would not be making the move to Middle School without passing English over the summer. The first hurdle Marty would need to clear this summer was definitely dismal. Particularly since he didn’t read well. Having a police officer and a social services worker show up to take his mom to rehab was downright discouraging.

Turns out, tending the plot, alongside Miss Dirt Turtle, brought out the best in everyone. Like the seeds they planted and nurtured, the children grew and blossomed, individually as well as a united, take-on-the-town, team.

I wish I could add Miss Dirt Turtle’s Garden Club to every Elementary School Library. The authentically diverse cast of characters captured my heart as they morphed from wise-cracking kids to a caring and inspired group of go-getters. The illustrations accompanying the narrative are absolutely awesome and aptly convey the kids’ emotions, in a slightly exaggerated, comical kind of way, making this treasured tome the total package.

This review was written by jv poore for Buried Under Books,
with huge thanks to the author for providing copy to donate to
my favorite Elementary school classroom library.

Reviewed by jv poore, August 2021.