Harlequin Investigator Blog Tour: Little Girl Gone by Amanda Stevens

I’ve signed on with Harlequin to feature some of their new titles in their widely run blog tours. Little Girl Gone is the first one I read in their “Investigator” titles.

Here’s the overview:

LITTLE GIRL GONE by Amanda Stevens (on-sale Dec.28, Harlequin Intrigue): Nothing matters more to her when a child’s life is at stake. Special agent Thea Lamb returns to her hometown to search for a child whose disappearance echoes a twenty-eight-year-old cold case—her twin sister’s abduction. Working with her former partner, Jake Stillwell, Thea must overcome the pain, doubt and guilt that have tormented her for years and denied her a meaningful relationship. For both Thea and Jake, the job always came first…until now.  

About AMANDA STEVENS: Amanda Stevens is an award-winning author of over fifty novels. Born and raised in the rural south, she now resides in Houston, Texas.

Purchase links (NOT affiliated with BBNB):

IndieBound: https://www.indiebound.org/book/9781335489357 

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Little-Girl-Procedural-Crime-Story-ebook/dp/B09798Q8BQ/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=LITTLE+GIRL+GONE+by+Amanda+Stevens&qid=1637001796&qsid=133-7575147-1798556&sr=8-1&sres=B09798Q8BQ%2CB003KVL35W%2C1250209765%2C1250132363%2C1250153964&srpt=ABIS_EBOOKS 

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/little-girl-gone-amanda-stevens/1139689805?ean=9781335489357 

Harlequin.com: https://www.harlequin.com/shop/books/9781335555557_little-girl-gone.html 

I enjoyed this fast-paced crime novel, which kept me guessing. While the main mystery was solved I felt there was some unfinished business, so it was great to see that there will be a series of stand-alone titles with these characters.

This book had mystery, a little romance/sex, and was not overly graphic/gruesome, in my opinion.

Thank you for making me part of the tour!

Harper-Collins Blog Tour for: The Sorority Murder by Allison Brennan

I’m wrapping up the fall mystery and thriller blog tours with The Sorority Murder by Allison Brennan.

Here’s the scoop:

ABOUT THE BOOK:

New York Times bestselling author Allison Brennan’s suspenseful new mass market original about a college senior’s podcast that delves into an unsolved campus murder of a sorority girl three years earlier, as individual callers explode every fact previously thought to be true.

Lucas Vega is obsessed with the death of Candace Swain, who left a sorority party one night and never came back. Her body was found two weeks later, and the case has grown cold. Three years later while interning at the Medical Examiner’s, Lucas discovers new information, but the police are not interested.

Lucas knows he has several credible pieces of the puzzle, he just isn’t sure how they fit together. So he creates a podcast to revisit Candace’s last hours. He asks listeners to crowdsource what they remember and invites guest lecturer, former US Marshal Regan Merritt, to come on and share her expertise.

New tips come in that convince Lucas and Regan they are onto something. Then shockingly one of the podcast callers turns up dead. Another hints at Candace’s secret life…a much darker picture than Lucas imagined—and one that implicates other sorority sisters. Regan uses her own resources to bolster their theory and learns that Lucas is hiding his own dark secret. The pressure is to solve the murder, but first Lucas must come clean about his real motives in pursuing this podcast – before the killer silences him forever.

So – I have a mixed review on this one. I liked it and I enjoyed reading it, but it felt long to me (I just looked – as I read on my kindle – and it’s 448 pages). It felt like I had to keep a lot of characters and events straight in my head, which was sometimes confusing (remember – I often read late at night when I’m tired). So, while I liked it, I do wish it moved a bit quicker and was shorter.

If you like suspenseful murder mysteries, you’ll enjoy this one!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

ALLISON BRENNAN is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of over thirty novels. She has been nominated for Best Paperback Original Thriller by International Thriller Writers and the Daphne du Maurier Award. A former consultant in the California State Legislature, Allison lives in Arizona with her husband, five kids and assorted pets. The Sorority Murder is the first of a new mass market series,

Social Links:

Author website: https://www.allisonbrennan.com/

Facebook: @AllisonBrennan

Twitter: @Allison_Brennan

Instagram: @abwrites

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/52527.Allison_Brennan

Buy Links: NOT affiliated with BBNB

Bookshop.org: https://bookshop.org/books/the-sorority-murder-9780778311683/9780778311683 

Indie Bound: https://www.indiebound.org/book/9780778311683

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-sorority-murder-allison-brennan/1138522928?ean=9780778311683

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Sorority-Murder-Novel-Allison-Brennan/dp/0778311686/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=the+sorority+murder&qid=1639533550&sr=8-1 

Books A Million:https://www.booksamillion.com/p/Sorority-Murder/Allison-Brennan/9780778311683?id=8395335675878 

Kindle: https://www.amazon.com/Sorority-Murder-Novel-Allison-Brennan-ebook/dp/B08R8ZSV4D/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr= 

Nook: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-sorority-murder-allison-brennan/1138522928?ean=9780369706515 

Kobo:https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/the-sorority-murder?gclid=Cj0KCQiAnuGNBhCPARIsACbnLzrMC9oKq6v7ZQp7IQyylb5JsW6Z-qHjPhkqkmW3FVyHXzbzQ-IcH7gaApHeEALw_wcB 

Google Play: https://books.google.com/books/about/The_Sorority_Murder.html?id=5M8QEAAAQBAJ 

Apple books:https://books.apple.com/us/book/the-sorority-murder/id1546368124 

Thank you for my copy through Net Galley and for making me part of the tour!

My favorite reads of 2021!

Today I picked my TOP 3 reads of this year. I didn’t have a chance to blog every book I read, and I only blog about books I enjoy, so I chose these titles from my posts this calendar year.

(cue drum roll):

3. The Rose Code by Kate Quinn – I listened to this one and, as you know, I LOVE stories of WWII/female code breakers/espionage/etc. Great story!!

2. Anxious People by Fredrik Bachman – I read it (and had trouble following along) and then I audiobooked it. Whenever I read Bachman’s books I find my crying at the ending, and then I’m asking myself why I’m crying. He just can write so beautifully of the human experience with an eye to all that is good and true in people.

and finally (cue trumpets):

1. The Henna Artist by Alka Joshi – I had this book for almost two years before I got around to reading it (sorry!) and now that I’ve read it, I can’t stop thinking about it. Or thinking about henna as a cultural expression. And thinking about women’s roles and relationships. I found this book fascinating and loved it, so I give it my #1 for the year!

Of course I read LOTS of good books this year, but these three will be ones I’m recommending for a long time!

Happy Reading!!

WWII POWs in American and Abroad by Gary Slaughter

I’m casting the spotlight today on a book about POWs in WWII. My own father fought in WWII so I’ve always had an interest in it. I think this would make a good gift for that person you know who loves military history.

Here’s the scoop:

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – In his latest work, award-winning author and military veteran Gary Slaughter documents perspectives of World War II that have flown under the radar for decades. Fletcher House Publishers released “WWII POWs in America and Abroad” on Nov. 11, 2021.

Little has been written about the 6 million people held in prison camps around the world between 1939 and 1945. The Allies and the Axis powers held one another’s armed forces as military prisoners of war (POWs). 

The Axis powers also confined millions of civilian prisoners in death or concentration camps. In addition, the Axis also imprisoned Russians, Slavs, European Jews, people with medical and physical disabilities, non-Jewish intellectuals, and religious leaders. 

Even the United States imprisoned its own citizens in camps throughout America – over 100,000 Japanese-Americans and 11,500 German-Americans, most naturalized U.S. citizens.

Like military camps, these civilian sites were also surrounded by barbed wire and guard towers. In 1943, when a German POW camp was built in Slaughter’s hometown in Michigan, he became fascinated with POWs as a young boy. During the last two decades, Slaughter has authored five Cottonwood novels, set on the American homefront during the latter part of World War II, each containing POW storylines. Following book talks, most attendee questions related to POWs. His extensive research resulted in this captivating book.

“WWII POWs in America and Abroad”

Gary Slaughter| Nov. 11, 2021 | Fletcher House Publishing | Nonfiction / History  

Paperback | ISBN: 9781733802130 | $20 

Ebook | ISBN: 9781733802147 | $6.99 

About the Author

Gary Slaughter is the author of “WWII POWs in America and Abroad” (Fletcher House Publishers, Nov. 11, 2021). He was born and raised in Owosso, Michigan. After graduating from the University of Michigan, he served seven years during the Cold War as a Naval officer, principally on anti-submarine warfare (ASW) destroyers. Following a distinguished military career, he became an expert on managing corporate information technology and consulted to clients worldwide. In 2002, Slaughter put his career on hold and began to write the award-winning Cottonwood series of five novels, depicting life on the American homefront during the last five seasons of World War II. In 2016, his critically-acclaimed memoir, “Sea Stories,” was published. The book’s 60 vignettes recall Slaughter’s life in the Navy. One vignette tells of the once top-secret role he played in avoiding an all-out nuclear exchange with the Soviet Union during the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Thanks to my friends at Books Forward for sending me info on this book!

Pacific by Trevor J. Houser

I’m chatting it up today about a new thriller out by Trevor J. Houser: Pacific.

Here’s the scoop:

On a remote Puget Sound Island, police chief Bell navigates his job and marriage in the wake of his son’s near-death brain surgery. When his wife no longer wants to tempt the fates of experimental medicine, he takes matters into his own hands. With the help of his spaced-out fisherman friend, Bell kidnaps his boy and sets sail for Guatemala in search of the mysterious Dr. Haas. On the way, they’ll brave the seventh biggest storm, befriend two behemoth fly-fishing Nords, and try to outrun the ex-Navy captain hired by his wife to find them.

Inspired by his own son’s health battle and the beauty of his home of the Pacific Northwest, Houser seamlessly captures the heartbreak and desperation all parents of a sick child feel, while still maintaining humor and playful language that gives them hope.

“Parents of children with diseases face horrible mundane realities on a daily basis; the bus-station like sameness of all the hospitals, waiting, and calls to insurance,” says Houser. “But there’s also beauty and hope in mundane moments, if we’re just willing to go and look for it.”

Today I’m hosting a Q&A with Mr. Houser:

Question: This is your debut novel. How did writing a full-length piece differ from the short stories and other pieces you have published?

Trevor J. Houser: Although this is my first published novel most novelists have a closetful of novels they’ve already written that didn’t make it for one reason or another. For me the biggest difference in writing a novel is maintaining the energy of that initial idea. To maintain the consistency of that voice, of that style over the course of many months.

Q: Family and fatherhood is a major theme throughout Pacific. Did your own family life inspire your writing for this book?

TJH: I have a son who was diagnosed with a rare brain disease. After years of navigating all the unknowns and not really writing there was suddenly some light at the end of the tunnel with his prognosis and soon after I found myself writing this book. Pacific is somewhat based on the experiences we’ve been through with our son, but a lot of it is the made-up fantasy of a parent who wishes they could do something more just than talk to a million doctors and not sleep at night. Even though the way in which Chief Bell shows his love for his son might be considered unconventional, it demonstrates how fathers are just as capable as mothers in the depths of their feelings and devotion.

Q: How did the Pacific Northwest influence your story?

TJH: I grew up in Oregon, but afer leaving for college I lived for years in places like New York, San Francisco and Argentina. When I returned to the Pacific Northwest with my family a few years ago I think I forgot just how exotic and rich this place is. It took being away for so long to appreciate the strange beauty of it, which is what I hoped this book would be: strange and beautiful.

Q: Fans of which authors/books do you think would enjoy Pacific and why?

TJH: Hopefully fans of authors such as Kate Jennings and Jenny Offill will like it because of their sentence level precision in telling stories of hope and heartbreak. Donald Barthelme and Richard Brautigan for their playfulness with language and form, and their sense of humor. Denis Johnson for his melancholy strangeness. All my favorite writers tend to elevate the everyday through their language to make the mundane transcendent. To make regular life almost mythic. It’s something I try to accomplish on a sentence level and keep building it so that courses through the entire narrative

Q: What’s next for you and Pacific?

TJH: My second novel is coming out in 2023. It’s about a math hobbyist, who believes he’s discovered a theorem that might predict when and where the next mass shooting takes place.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Trevor J. Houser is an advertising copywriter living with his family in Seattle, WA. He studied creative writing under Thomas Beller at Columbia University. His stories have been published in dozens of literary journals, including Zyzzyva, Story Quarterly, and The Dr. TJ Eckleburg Review. He’s been nominated three times for the Pushcart Prize. He also received special mention in Best American Fantasy Vol. 2. You can find the author on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and at http://www.houserfiction.com. Pacific is his debut novel.

This sounds SO good! Thanks for letting me highlight your novel, Mr. Houser, and thanks to Smith Publicity!

The Henna Artist by Alka Joshi

I FINALLY got around to reading this amazing novel and I just loved it! First of all, it was so interesting and the setting was beautifully depicted. I loved the main character and how she was a strong and independent woman. I love books that are centered on sisters and their complicated relationships. This book is part of a trilogy and I am excited that the second book is already available.

Do yourself a favor and read this novel if you haven’t already! I waited because everyone was reading it and I never read what everyone is reading (strange, but true).

Thank you to Net Galley and the publishers, Harlequin/MIRA, for my copy!

Here’s the scoop:

Description

NEW YORK TIMES BEST SELLER

A REESE WITHERSPOON x HELLO SUNSHINE BOOK CLUB PICK

“Captivated me from the first chapter to the final page.”—Reese Witherspoon

Vivid and compelling in its portrait of one woman’s struggle for fulfillment in a society pivoting between the traditional and the modern, The Henna Artist opens a door into a world that is at once lush and fascinating, stark and cruel.

Escaping from an abusive marriage, seventeen-year-old Lakshmi makes her way alone to the vibrant 1950s pink city of Jaipur. There she becomes the most highly requested henna artist—and confidante—to the wealthy women of the upper class. But trusted with the secrets of the wealthy, she can never reveal her own…

Known for her original designs and sage advice, Lakshmi must tread carefully to avoid the jealous gossips who could ruin her reputation and her livelihood. As she pursues her dream of an independent life, she is startled one day when she is confronted by her husband, who has tracked her down these many years later with a high-spirited young girl in tow—a sister Lakshmi never knew she had. Suddenly the caution that she has carefully cultivated as protection is threatened. Still she perseveres, applying her talents and lifting up those that surround her as she does.

“Eloquent and moving…Joshi masterfully balances a yearning for self-discovery with the need for familial love.”—Publishers Weekly

Look for The Secret Keeper of Jaipur from New York Times bestselling author Alka Joshi!