Wednesday, July 27, 2016

3 The #DashnerDash Binge Read: The Death Cure #Giveaway

The Dashner Dash continues with The Death Cure! The first two books in this series are amazing! And now to read the final book and see how it all ends, I'm on pins and needles. In case you're not familiar with the #DASHNERDASH Binge Read, click here to read all about it. But here's the short of it. Counting down to September 27 for the release of The Fever Code, we'll be reading The Maze Runner series on the 27th of each month.

Follow me on Twitter @2readornot2read and/or Facebook as I live tweet my reading progress. Reading will begin at 8:00 a.m. cst on July 27. I do have to work today, so my reading will be sporadic, but I hope you can join me. And if you're reading along with the #DASHNERDASH, leave me a comment below or tweet/facebook me because I'd love to know your thoughts on The Death Cure.

Tonight, July 27th,  there's a Google Hangout with James Dashner, to discuss THE SCORCH TRIALS, at 8pm EDT. Here's the link to join the discussion:

I hope you're as excited as I am to read the final book in this series. Also, To Read, or Not To Read is giving away a set of autographed Maze Runner books, thanks to Random House Children's Books.

Please read my giveaway policy before entering. This giveaway is restricted to US addresses only. You must be at least 13 years old to enter.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

0 Review: What This Story Needs is A Munch and a Crunch and Paddington Sets Sail

Title: What This Story Needs is a Munch and a Crunch
Author: Emma J. Virjan
Publisher: Harper
Published: May 10, 2016
Hardcover, 40 pages
ISBN: 9780062415295
Genre: Children's Fiction
Source: Publisher

About the book: 

Join Pig and her friends in another fun read-aloud adventure as they figure out a way to keep the picnic fun and games going, even with a little rain.

What this story needs
is a pig in a wig
baking bread,
pouring punch,
and meeting a friend for a picnic lunch.

But just as the outdoor fun and games get started, a thunderstorm rolls in and it turns out what this story really needs is . . . another place to eat!

My Thoughts:

From the author of What This Story Needs Is a Pig in a Wig and What This Story Needs Is a Hush and a Shush, comes the latest adventure of Pig in What This Story Needs Is a Munch and a Crunch. In this adventure Pig is gearing up for a picnic, but when her picnic gets rained out, Pig must come up with an alternate plan to keep the party going.

This book is perfect for beginner readers. Not only is it highly entertaining with fun artwork, it has repeat and rhyming words to help expand the child's sight vocabulary. The story is cute and will keep the child's attention. Pig is sure to become one of their favorite literary characters.

Author: Michael Bond
Publisher: Harper
Published: May 3, 2016
Hardcover, 32 pages
ISBN: 978006243556
Genre: Children's Fiction
Source: Publisher

About the book:

Paddington’s first trip to the beach is a day to remember as he explores the sandy shore and is swept off on a grand adventure!

Michael Bond’s classic character will charm beginning readers with his curious nature and heartwarming intentions.

Paddington Sets Sail is a Level One I Can Read book, which means it’s perfect for children learning to sound out words and sentences.

My Thoughts:

I Can Read! is great to help kids find their current reading level. And with so many characters to choose from, you're sure to find one that fits your child's interest. I used these books when my kids started to read and they loved them. 

Paddington has been one of my favorite characters since I was a child. I can't remember exactly when I was introduced to him, but I can't help but think fondly of him to this day. In this latest Paddington novel, Paddington Sets Sail, the lovable bear falls asleep after a fun-filled day at the beach and wakes up to find he has been swept out to sea. Paddington's first trip to the beach turns out to be quite an adventure.

Paddington Sets Sail is a great book for readers who are just learning to read. It has short sentences with words kids will easily recognize. Books about Paddington are always fun to read and kids will follow along excitedly as Paddington goes on his adventure. This is a great book to add to your children's library. 

Monday, July 25, 2016

0 Last Week In Review (18)

What I'm Currently Reading

What I Finished

Review to come

What I'm Watching

It's so hot outside we decided to stay in and binge watch Veronica Mars over the weekend.

And I watched a few more episodes of Lost Girl. Kenzie left! She was my favorite character.

Reading Challenge Update

Still reading

This book will qualify for my nonfiction reading challenge

I posted my thoughts on Letters to a Young Poet. You can read it here:

New Books

Friday, July 22, 2016

0 2016 Nonfiction Reading Challenge: Letters to a Young Poet

Title: Letters to a Young Poet
Author: Rainer Maria Rilke
Publisher: Start Publishing LLC
Published: March 13, 2013
ebook, 66 pages
Source: Bought


In 1903, Rilke replied in a series of 10 letters to a student who had submitted some verses to the well-known Austrian poet for an assessment. Written during an important stage in Rilke's artistic development, these letters contain many of the themes that later appeared in his best works. Essential reading for scholars, poetry lovers.

My Thoughts:

I've always been rather skittish about poetry. I blame my English-lit teacher for that. I have had many good teachers, but I've also had many not-so-great teachers as well. The reason for the blame game is that this particular teacher made me feel as though poetry were out of my reach, as if somehow only the cleverest of human beings could understand it. And there was only one way you could interpret a poem. Only one right answer. I've since learned that this way of thinking was wrong. Three people can read the same poem and see something entirely different in it. Every reader has a different experience.

But it wasn't until a few years ago that I read something along the lines of, "you don't have to understand and interpret every word of poetry to enjoy it." Anyway, that opened up a mental window for me and for the first time in a long time, it made me feel relaxed around poetry. 

This book, however, is not necessarily just about poetry, but about the poet Rilke and the advice he gives to the young poet Mr. Kappus. I've always been interested in the lives of authors and poets. I want to know what inspires them to write, their creative approach, and in general just their lives. I've heard Rilke's name throughout my literature-loving life, and this book has come up several times. I finally decided to read it on a whim. At sixty-six pages, it didn't take long to read.

This is one of those books that will inspire you. This is the kind of book that you give to graduates. This is the kind of book that you re-read every now and then. Rilke's powerful advice to Kappus can be applied to help explore the depths of creativity. I don't usually write in my books, and thank heaven this was an ebook, but I wanted to highlight and make notes on just about every page. This is a marvelous book that I recommend everyone read at least once in their life. Do it! You won't regret it. 

Thursday, July 21, 2016

4 Leaving Lucy Pear Q&A and Giveaway

A conversation with Anna Solomon, author of

How did you come to this story?

I grew up in Gloucester, where Leaving Lucy Pear is set. Our house was in the woods at the end of a long dirt driveway, and below our house was a big field with a few pear trees in it, and for a number of years during my childhood it seemed that as soon as the pears were near ripe, they would disappear—we would just wake up one morning and they’d be gone. My dad liked to joke about giraffes coming in the night, but then he also had an idea about another family, one who really needed those pears, for food, or to sell, or for some other purpose. The mystery of that stayed with me. It was ripe, you could say, for a writer’s picking.

Then a few years ago my step-father handed me a copy of an old history book called The Saga of Cape Ann, and in it was an anecdote, reported in a funny, stiff style, about a Boston woman who was summering in Gloucester while suffering from a “nervous ailment,” which was aggravated by a new whistle buoy that had been installed off Eastern Point to help guide fishermen into port. And this woman used her connections with the Secretary of the Navy to get the buoy taken out. The following year, she had gotten married, was feeling much better, and allowed the buoy to be put back in the water. A lot of things about this scenario compelled me: the nervous ailment, the idea that getting married fixed it, but also, on a plot level, this whistle buoy. What if, during the time the whistle buoy was out of the water, there was a consequence? A disaster? One that this woman would be responsible for?

This got my wheels churning, and somehow in my mind it met up with the pear trees—along with a drink called perry, which I was introduced to a long time ago in England—and Lucy Pear’s story began to take root.

This book paints a very rich picture of Prohibition-era America, particularly New England. What kinds of research did you do to capture the feel of the time and place? 

I spent a lot of time with the usual suspects—official histories, old newspaper records, popular songs, advertisements, photographs, novels—but to me the richest material came from talking with real live people. I spoke with a bootlegger’s grandson, a woman who had been a child when the granite quarries were still booming (she passed away, sadly, before I could show her my manuscript), an archivist at one of New England’s most renowned mental hospitals. Some of the most fun I had was talking with a fishing historian in Gloucester about a plot problem I had: how to send one of my characters on a fishing trip for ten weeks when I’d discovered that the boats wouldn’t have gone out for that long at once. (The ship’s ice would melt, for one thing.) At first he was reluctant to help me—he isn’t used to thinking speculatively about history—but then I got him playing along and he led me to a solution that worked on every level and even added a fruitful tension to that character’s arc. I also learned a lot about fishing history from him, including the word kedge, which has become one of my all-time favorites.

The U.S. during Prohibition is often perceived as very glamorous, but this novel exposes some of its dark underbelly, including the period’s xenophobia, economic turbulence, and sometimes-violent instability. Can you talk about this? 

A large part of what draws me to the 1920’s is the divide between its glamorous surface and its harsher reality. Yes, there were a lot of parties with big bands playing, alcohol flowing, and flappers dancing. The Harlem Renaissance was at its height. Modernist painters and writers were pushing the boundaries of their forms. In certain arenas—fashion, for one—there was a loosening of Victorian constraints.

But this was also a decade of virulent bigotry in the U.S. Membership in the Ku Klux Klan skyrocketed. Nativism flourished in the wake of World War One, along with an anti-communist hysteria, and white supremacists managed to stir up a widespread mistrust of immigrants and anyone else whose color or politics did not match their own. In one infamous case, which features in the novel, two Italian-American anarchists, Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti, were tried, imprisoned for seven years, and finally executed for murder, despite any solid evidence against them. At Harvard during this time—this plays a part in the book, too—a “secret court” was held to expose and expel homosexual students. And all this was going on as temperance fanatics (often in the name of religion) attempted to enforce a law more puritanical than anything even the Puritans might have dreamed up.

So, it was a time of extremes. It’s difficult not to perceive a certain resonance with the time we’re living in now.

LEAVING LUCY PEAR is very much about what it means to be a mother—or not to be one. You are also the co-editor of an anthology about birth stories (Labor Day), also focused on the moment of becoming a mother. Can you talk about your interest in motherhood as a theme?

Motherhood, to me, is like war must be for other writers. It’s an endlessly fascinating, essential subject that allows me to go anywhere—across time, place, culture—and explore human connection and conflict at its most basic and profound. People have been becoming mothers since people existed, yet becoming a mother is still in many ways a radical experience, and this cuts across demographics: it’s physically, financially, emotionally, and psychologically life-altering. A growing body of evidence, for instance, is showing just how common postpartum depression is, and how debilitating it can be. Although mothering can bring a great deal of joy it can also bring on a whole lot of ambivalence. I didn’t abandon my own kids, like my character Bea does, nor do I have any plans to do so, but do I want at times to run away, to escape? Do I feel my own selfhood threatened in certain ways by motherhood? I write about this because I’m compelled by it, and also because it’s one of many things that women often feel but are afraid to express—even to those closest to them.

I’m also interested in women who either choose not to become mothers, or who can’t, for a variety of reasons. For every birth story I’ve been lucky enough to hear, there are so many other stories that go untold. I myself had three miscarriages between my two kids, and got just a taste of the heartbreak and rage that comes with having so little control over such an intimate, seemingly natural process. Yes, there’s IVF now, and lots of other advancements, but these are by no means guarantees. In some ways I think the more advanced our medicine gets, the harder it is for us to accept mystery, and disappointment. And there is still a lot of stigma attached to infertility and loss in our society, however much we like to think we’ve gotten beyond that.

More broadly, LEAVING LUCY PEAR is also about several very different women, and about the pressures and struggles they face. In some ways, their situations feel very historically settled, and in other ways they feel shockingly modern. Do you think women and girls are still dealing with many of the same challenges today that they were in the 1920s?

Yes! I do. Of course there have been huge advances—legal and social changes that have allowed women to do and be almost anything, things that would have been hard to imagine in the 1920s. But in many ways, girls growing up today still see women playing the same roles they played a hundred years ago. If you look at teachers and nurses—two of the most traditionally popular professions for women—those jobs are still filled mostly by women.  Lawmakers, CEOs, the most successful chefs and filmmakers—they are still predominately men. Women still earn significantly less than men, 79 cents to the dollar on average, and that number is worse for women of color. Then there’s the fact that almost every aspect of women’s private lives is still subject to public scrutiny. Our sex lives, our right to have an abortion, whether we breastfeed, whether we choose to work while raising children, never mind whether we choose not to get married or have children at all—can you imagine men’s bodies and personal decisions being governed in such a way?

Beyond the statistics, though:

Just last week I heard my eight-year-old daughter talking about how a boy in her class was trying to make the girls like him by saying he had a lot of allowance money. I asked why that would make them like him. And she said, matter-of-factly, despite all manner of feminist propaganda I’ve been showering on her since she could talk: “Because girls want to marry rich men!” My stomach dropped. My instinct is to blame outside influences—movies, magazines, advertising—and I do think all that is to blame. But I also have to look at my own life. It’s 2016. I was raised in the 1970s, during the second wave feminist movement. I went to a hippy summer camp where there were construction signs that said “Women at Work” (and there really were women, doing all the work). And yet I’ve made a marriage in which I do the bulk of the cooking, the household management, the picking up and dropping off of kids. I work full-time, but I only get paid for probably half that work. Many women—in the U.S. and globally—get paid for none of their work, and they work longer hours than men do. I’m privileged. I could have built a career in which I’d be making a comparable living to my husband, and paying other women to do more of my childcare work. But I chose not to—or at least I’ve made choices, however unconscious, that led me to the arrangement I have.

Many of my women friends are in similar situations, and there are countless articles arguing about why this is and whether it’s good or bad. I’m less interested in arguing about it. I think women need less pressure, not more. I’m living it, observing, writing about it. It’s a tough thing to talk with my daughter about: to tell her she can be and do everything, that she doesn’t need a prince, even though I haven’t entirely walked that talk. What she sees every day, in other words, is not what I tell her is possible for her. I guess my hope for my daughter—and I wish it for Lucy Pear, too—is that she can choose which compromises she’s willing to make, face them squarely, and build a life that feels true to her.

Beyond the main characters, you explore the lives and desires of many secondary characters, from the gay man to whom Bea is married to the rum-running quarry manager Josiah Story. Why create this panorama of characters? Was this a conscious decision you made, or did it emerge as you wrote?

From the beginning, I knew I needed an omniscient narrator to tell this story, but I didn’t necessarily know why. In part it was a technical challenge that I wanted to take on, as an artist. I also knew I wanted for my readers to experience that ah-ha! moment when you suddenly see a back-stage character up close, and made three dimensional. Only as I wrote, and rewrote, and scrutinized everything, including the point-of-view, did I come to understand that the impulse toward omniscience fit the story itself, because while Lucy Pear is at the center of the book, the story is really about the impact she has on this large cast of characters—some very close to her, and some more removed. For her biological mother, Bea, Lucy is as much an absence as a presence; for others, she is a child they meet glancingly but who nevertheless leaves a mark. She is like a pebble dropped into a pond. Of course the ripples she makes, in the end, return to her. So does the story.

What were the biggest challenges you encountered in the writing of this novel? The biggest pleasures?

This is tied to the roving point-of-view. While I found it thrilling to take on that Dickensian authority, in early drafts I also went a little crazy with it. I wrote whole sections from the points-of-view of characters whose perspectives were not in fact necessary to telling the story. I had to do a lot of cutting, often of material I loved. Related to this, I wrote chapters and chapters of Bea’s backstory—long scenes in the mental institution, in particular—that just didn’t serve the book. The good thing is, all that material that got cut, even if it wasn’t necessary for readers to see, helped deepen my own understanding of my characters. And making cuts helped me fine-tune and focus the plot, which was important for a story with as many twists and turns as this one.

There were many drafts. Thankfully, I had great readers, and an amazing editor, and no matter how many times I had to rethink and rework it, I found it really fun to tell a story in which the stakes were so high, both emotionally and dramatically. That was definitely the greatest pleasure.

Thanks to Viking/Penguin books I have a copy of Leaving Lucy Pear to give away to a lucky reader. You must be at least 13 years old and have a US address to enter. Please read our giveaway policy before entering. 

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

1 JILO Feature and Giveaway

A Witching Savannah Novel
By J.D. Horn

1950s Georgia: King Cotton has fallen. Savannah is known as the “beautiful woman with a dirty face,” its stately elegance faded by neglect, its soul withering from racial injustice and political corruption.
The dark secrets of Savannah are intertwined with the story of the young Jilo Wills who rises to become a legendary part of the most powerful family of witches in the South. The origins of the famed Taylor witch family finds its roots with Jilo’s great-grandmother, Tuesday Jackson, and her grandmother, May Wills, both who used their sorcery to influence the city’s powerbrokers.  The two matriarchs, however, die before they can provide Jilo with a solid education in the magical arts. In desperation to make a quick buck, Jilo takes advantage of the family’s reputation and her scant magical knowledge to create a “Mother Jilo” persona. But soon, Jilo is forced to accept the full weight of her legacy when it becomes clear she is the one that the mystical witch world has been waiting for. Jilo becomes the unbreakable link between the past and future witches of Savannah.
In this standalone introduction to one of the Witching Savannah series’ most vivid and beloved characters, readers are swept away by the resourceful and determined Jilo as she comes of age, strives to master formidable magical skills in the face of overwhelming adversity, and forges her strange destiny against the turbulent backdrop of the civil rights struggle in the American South.

Past Praise for The Line (Witching Savannah Book 1) by J.D. Horn
“In this debut contemporary urban mystery, J.D. Horn weaves an intricate, gripping tale of magic and mysticism with the assured grace and lyricism of a seasoned novelist.”
—Kathryn Leigh Scott, author of Dark Passages and star of the classic TV series, "Dark Shadows"

“The witch is dead and Mercy Taylor needs to find out who killed her in Horn's intriguing debut…This tightly paced, entertaining series opener shows great potential.”
 —Publishers Weekly

About the Author
J.D. Horn was raised in rural Tennessee and has carried a bit of its red clay with him while traveling the world, from Hollywood to Paris to Tokyo. He studied comparative literature as an undergrad, focusing on French and Russian in particular. J.D. also holds an MBA in international business and worked as a financial analyst before becoming a novelist. His newest novel, Jilo, is a standalone prequel to the bestselling Witching Savannah series. Previous titles in the series are The Line, The Void and The Source. Along with his spouse, Rich, and his furry coauthors, Duke and Sugar, J.D. divides his time between Black Butte Ranch, Oregon, and San Francisco,

Jilo (Witching Savannah Book 4)
By J.D. Horn
47North (April 26, 2016)
ISBN: 978-1503953734| 368 pages, paperback | $14.95
ASIN: B B0176BJYSO | 370 pages, Kindle | $5.99
Genres: Thrillers & Suspense, Occult, Supernatural, Witches & Wizards, African American Historical, Southern Gothic
Available at Amazon: 1503953734

I have a signed copy of Jilo to give away to a lucky reader. This book can be read as a standalone, so don't worry if you haven't read the first three books yet. You must be at least 13 years old and have a US address to enter the giveaway. Please read the giveaway policy before entering.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

0 Last Week in Review (17)

What I'm Currently Reading

Still listening to Britt-Marie Was Here and I'm determined to finish it this week!

I'm reading this for many reasons, but it helps that it also fits into one or two of my challenges.

What I Finished Reading

I finished Roald Dahl and I'm still trying to wrap my head around it. He was a complicated man.

What I'm Watching

I'm watching or should I say binge watching Veronica Mars. I just finished season 2. One more season and one movie left to go.

I started watching the fifth season on Netflix. I don't know if it's because so much time has passed since I watched season four, but for some reason, I'm just not as into it as I have been in the past. I'll give it a few more episodes before I decide to continue. 

New Books

Reading Challenge Update

Currently Reading for 2016 Classics RC

Roald Dahl qualifies for the 2016 Nonfiction RC

I'm still behind in my challenges, but at least I'm making progress. 

4 Giveaway: War of the Roses: Bloodline

This novel from bestselling author Conn Iggulden is the third book in the critically acclaimed Wars of the Roses series. Following Stormbird and Trinity this novel will continue through the brutal Civil War that we now know as the Wars of the Roses.

Bloodline sees the Lancastrian and Yorkist factions clash at the battle of Towton - the single most bloody conflict every fought on British soil. The victorious Edward of York seals his claim to the English throne.

It’s been said that Game of Thrones is the Wars of the Roses written as fantasy:
this is the real thing, more glorious, more passionate, far, far more gritty.”
Manda Scott, author and Chair of the Historical Writers’ Association

Quick Take: In Winter 1461, Richard, Duke of York, is dead – his ambitions in ruins, his head spiked on the walls of the city. King Henry VI is still held prisoner. His Lancastrian queen, Margaret of Anjou, rides south with an army of victorious northerners, accompanied by painted warriors from the Scottish Highlands. With the death of York, Margaret and her army seem unstoppable. Yet in killing the father, Margaret has unleashed the sons. Edward of March, now duke of York, proclaims himself England’s rightful king. Factions form and tear apart as snow falls. Through blood and treason, through broken men and vengeful women, brother shall confront brother, king shall face king. Two men can always claim a crown—but only one can keep it.
Conn Iggulden is the author two previous series on Julius Caesar and on the Mongol Khans of Central Asia and also the co-author of The Dangerous Book for Boys. Conn lives in Hertfordshire with his wife and children.

Praise for the Wars of the Roses series:

'Pacey and juicy, and packed with action' Sunday Times

'Energetic, competent stuff; Iggulden knows his material and his audience' Independent

'A novel that seamlessly combines narrative, historical credence and great knowledge of the period' Daily Express

'A page-turning thriller' Mail on Sunday

Conn Iggulden is one of the most successful authors of historical fiction writing today. Following the Sunday Times bestsellerStormbird and Trinity, Bloodline is the third book in his superb new series set during the Wars of the Roses, a remarkable period of British history. He has written two previous historical series.

Thanks to G.P. Putnam’s Sons, I have a copy of Conn Iggulden's War of the Roses: Bloodline. It's the fourth book in the series, but it can be read as a standalone if you've not had the opportunity to read the first three books. You must be at least 13 years old and have a US address to enter this giveaway.

Monday, July 18, 2016

0 Dead Man's Curve Cover Reveal and Giveaway

Title: Dead Man’s Curve
Author: Alex Van Tol
Release Date: October 2016
Publisher: Leap Books Shine
Genre: Young Adult Horror
Length: Novella

The road to Hell passes through Dead Man’s Curve.

It’s been two years since Booker broke up with Rachel, and he wants to get her back. Only problem is, he doesn’t realize it until he and his four friends are hip-deep in a deadly nightmare. They've run over a wispy figure on the highway on Halloween night and now something is preying on them, one by one, going after their deepest fears.

Lost and scared in the New England wilderness, the group realizes they’re trapped in their own twisted version of The Blair Witch Project. They're powerless against dark forces. When Rachel's life is threatened, Booker realizes it’s up to him to figure out a way to stop the unholy madness.

If he’s man enough to face it head on.

Add to your Goodreads tbr pile.

About Alex Van Tol:

A born writer, Alex Van Tol cut her teeth on Stephen King novels so terrifying she had to turn them face-down on the floor in order to sleep at night. Alex writes across a broad range of genres for youth and adults, including contemporary, paranormal, historical and, of course, horror and thrillers. She lives between the mists and moody skies of Vancouver Island.
Watch for Alex’s Leap Books: Shine YA horror novella DEAD MAN’S CURVE launching fall 2016. When 18-year-old Booker accidentally runs over a mysterious figure on a wilderness highway, he and his passengers are forced to veer along a horrific, ever-shifting road to madness.

Follow Alex via her website, and on Facebook and Twitter.

29 The Sixth Idea Feature and Giveaway

Quick Take: Led by the intrepid Grace MacBride, Monkeewrench is a gifted group of computer geniuses whose firm is brought in to help the cops solve their unsolvable cases.  Brilliant and way ahead of the curve in the world of technology, the eccentric team offers a glimpse of the future as it teams up with incisive Minneapolis homicide detectives Leo Magozzi and Gino Rolseth. Magozzi and Gino have turned to Monkeewrench when a barrage of seemingly random crimes shatters their serene Christmas holiday.  First, two friends are found murdered two hours and several miles apart.  Then, an elderly, terminally ill man is kidnapped from his home, while an Alzheimer’s patient goes missing from his care facility.  Initially the events appear unrelated, but when a young woman with casual links to both murder victims arrives home to find two dead men in her basement, a startling connection emerges—a connection that will make a target of anyone linked to the victims. Sixty years earlier—post Hiroshima and Nagasaki and long before the Internet—a top-secret team of scientists and engineers developed a blueprint for obliterating infrastructure without massive loss of life.  Known as The Sixth Idea, its purpose was to disrupt governments and agencies yet minimize human damage with a not-yet-developed technique for harnessing electromagnetic pulses.  This futuristic weapon had the potential to radically change warfare and dramatically reduce the death toll, but success depended on someone keeping the blueprint under wraps until technology caught up.  Decades later, the present day keepers of the secret weapon are conducting small-scale trial runs, while descendants of the original group are in the cross hairs of an assassin’s rifle.  When Magozzi and Gino catch the unusually complex case, they realize they’ll need sophisticated help from Monkeewrench to track down the killer.  With Grace and her trio of partners on board it’s only a matter of time before they unlock the mystery of who is pulling the strings and why.  But can they shut Pandora’s Box before Sixth Idea technology falls into the hands of terrorists?

P. J. Tracy is the pseudonym of the mother-daughter writing team of Patricia Lambrecht and Traci Lambrecht.  They each live in Minnesota, just outside of Minneapolis.

Additional Praise for P.J. Tracy

“If you haven’t been introduced to the Monkeewrench gang…you are missing out on complex characters, witty repartee, and exciting thrills.  Tracy, a mother-daughter writing team, skillfully incorporates a diverse array of elements…while keeping the thrill level high and the writing sharp and frequently funny,”--Library Journal

“The mother-daughter team of Patricia J. and Traci Lambrecht, who write this genial series, crack wise jokes…and the authors have another icicle-sharp plot.”--Entertainment Weekly

“The mixture of sudden death and weird humor proves the Lambrechts are as expert at walking the high wire as any writer—single act or double—now working the mystery circus.”--Chicago Tribune


Thanks to G.P. Putnam’s Sons, I have a copy to giveaway to a lucky reader. You must be at least 13 years old to enter and have a US address. Please read our giveaway policy before entering. 

Friday, July 15, 2016

0 The Irish Inheritance Book Blast

02_The Irish Inheritance

The Irish Inheritance: A Jayne Sinclair Genealogical Mystery
by M.J. Lee

Publication Date: June 15, 2016
eBook; 285 Pages
Series: The Jayne Sinclair Series, Book One
Genre: Historical/Mystery

Add to GR Button

June 8, 1921. Ireland.

A British Officer is shot dead on a remote hillside south of Dublin.

November 22, 2015. United Kingdom.

Former police detective, Jayne Sinclair, now working as a genealogical investigator, receives a phone call from an adopted American billionaire asking her to discover the identity of his real father.

How are the two events linked?

Jayne Sinclair has only three clues to help her: a photocopied birth certificate, a stolen book and an old photograph. And it soon becomes apparent somebody else is on the trail of the mystery. A killer who will stop at nothing to prevent Jayne discovering the secret hidden in the past.

The Irish Inheritance takes us through the Easter Rising of 1916 and the Irish War of Independence, combining a search for the truth of the past with all the tension of a modern-day thriller.

It is the first in a series of novels featuring Jayne Sinclair, genealogical detective.

Amazon US

03_MJ LeeAbout the Author

Martin has spent most of his adult life writing in one form or another. As a University researcher in history, he wrote pages of notes on reams of obscure topics. As a social worker with Vietnamese refugees, he wrote memoranda. And, as the creative director of an advertising agency, he has written print and press ads, tv commercials, short films and innumerable backs of cornflake packets and hotel websites.

He has spent 25 years of his life working outside the North of England. In London, Hong Kong, Taipei, Singapore, Bangkok and Shanghai, winning awards from Cannes, One Show, D&AD, New York and London Festivals, and the United Nations.

When he’s not writing, he splits his time between the UK and Asia, taking pleasure in playing with his daughter, researching his family history, practicing downhill ironing, single-handedly solving the problem of the French wine lake and wishing he were George Clooney.

You can find more information on M.J. Lee and his novels on Goodreads, Amazon, Facebook, and Twitter.

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Wednesday, July 13, 2016

0 Last Week In Review (16)

Welcome to Last Week In Review--midweek edition. I hope you all are having a fabulous week so far. If you're not, I hope your week gets better. What book are you currently reading?

What I'm Reading

I know what you're thinking: I should have finished listening to this book already. I still have a few hours left of listening to do. Maybe this will be the week I finish. 

This cover did not want to enlarge. This is a biography of Roald Dahl by Jeremy Treglown. It's super interesting and it's also already available in stores.

What I Finished

I love her books. You can read my review of A Gentleman Never Tells here.

Great mini biography on Dickens. Look for my review in the upcoming weeks.

What I'm Watching

I finished re-watching Gilmore Girls and now I'm ready for the revival which will hopefully be airing on Netflix soon.

And since I'm in the re-watching mood, I've started re-watching Veronica Mars on Amazon this week.

New Books

I'm really excited about all of the books I received last week, but Hidden Figures I'm over the moon about. It looks really interesting. Those of you interested in historical nonfiction books should check it out! 

Reading Challenge Update

I'm currently reading this book. It's interesting, but definitely not a fast-paced read.


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