MESA, AZ–Now a prolific writer with dozens of novels completed, J.B. Rivard wasn’t always an author. A veteran of the Korean War and a specialist in nuclear reactor technology, Rivard balanced his career in engineering with a love for the arts. A visual artist turned novelist, Rivard’s creative work has received widespread acclaim in recent years.
In Rivard’s latest–and most daring–novel to date, “Dead Heat to Destiny” (February 7, 2023), the lives and loves of three people are imperiled during the cataclysm of the First World War. An adventurous historical novel with both romance and espionage, “Dead Heat” weaves a stunning tapestry of events.
About the book: Destined for success in the booming world of high fashion, young Adrienne Boch deflects the romantic pursuit of Will Marra, an American student in Paris. Her cousin, Gregor Steiner, completes his training as an officer in the Imperial German Navy. They, like the entire world, are unprepared when World War I begins. As the invading German army threatens Paris, Gregor advances to captain a U-boat, Will becomes a pilot in the U.S. Army, and Adrienne’s family flees an overrun Belgium. In Central America, a spy is recruited to defeat the United States. At the climax—during which love hangs in the balance—they meet in a thrilling and emotionally riveting clash.
Spanning 1903-1917, this cinematic novel transports the reader to a variety of stunning locales. With his dedication to historical accuracy and his immersive writing style, Rivard offers readers a front row seat to the early twentieth century’s most compelling events.
J.B. RIVARD believes words can create pictures. His readers agree; one said, “I was right in the biplane cockpit with Nick,” referring to pilot Nick Mamer, the 1929 record-setting aviator in Rivard’s nonfiction book “Low on Gas – High on Sky.” A writer of historically accurate fiction and nonfiction, J.B. knows readers want the past to blaze up and enthrall them. His commitment to compelling and convincing writing derives from four years in the military as well as his technical career on the staff of a U.S. National Laboratory. A graduate of the University of Florida, he attended the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts, and is an award-winning artist and author. His latest novel is “Dead Heat to Destiny,” in which the lives and loves of three people are imperiled during the cataclysm of World War One. To learn more about J.B.’s life and work, visit www.illusionsofmagic.com
I’m throwing the spotlight on a new novel which publishes 1/31:
Here’s the scoop:
Outside a rural Pennsylvania motel, nine-year-old Lulu smokes a cigarette while sitting on the lap of a trucker. Recent art grad Quinn is passing through town and captures it. The photograph, later titled “Lulu & the Trucker,” launches Quinn’s career, escalating her from a starving artist to a renowned photographer. In a parallel life, Lulu fights to survive a volatile home, growing up too quickly in an environment wrought with drug abuse and her mother’s prostitution. Decades later, when Quinn has a retrospective at the Whitney Museum of Art and “Lulu & the Trucker” has sold at auction for a record-breaking amount, Lulu is surprised to find the troubling image of her young self in the newspaper. She attends an artist talk for the exhibition with one question in mind for Quinn: Why didn’t you help me all those years ago? Tell Me One Thing is a portrait of two Americas, examining power, privilege, and the sacrifices one is willing to make to succeed. Traveling through the 1980s to present day, it delves into New York City’s free-for-all grittiness while exposing a neglected slice of the struggling rust belt.
Kerri’s background in the arts lends to the authenticity of the novel, and the book is inspired by the NPR story about Mary Ellen Mark’s famous 1990 photograph,“Amanda and Her Cousin Amy” which depicts nine-year-old Amanda smoking a cigarette in a kiddie pool in rural North Carolina. Set against the backdrop of a rural Pennsylvania trailer park, and the complicated world of Manhattan during the AIDS epidemic,TELL ME ONE THING spans place and time as it delves into New York City’s free-for-all grittiness while exposing a neglected slice of the struggling rust belt, traversing decades from the 1980s up to present day. At the center of it all is a photograph taken by an ambitious young artist of a 9-year-old girl sitting on the lap of a trucker outside a motel. The photograph becomes famous decades later, prompting the subject to seek out the photographer and find out why she never helped her all those years ago.
Weaving back and forth between Lulu’s and Quinn’s perspectives, TELL ME ONE THING explores life-shaping moments in each of their stories—doubt, love, pain, and ambition—and unknowingly links one to another through a fierce determination to better their circumstances.
Brimming with characters that won’t soon leave you, TELL ME ONE THING captures a portrait of two Americas by an exciting up-and-coming writer to watch.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Kerri Schlottman’s novel Tell Me One Thing is forthcoming from Regal House Publishing on January 31, 2023. Her writing has recently been featured in The Dillydoun Review, Belle Ombre, and Women Writers. Her work has been honored with the Dillydoun International Fiction Prize (second place), Dzanc Books Prize for Fiction (longlisted), and the 2021 University of New Orleans Press Lab Prize (semifinalist).
Kerri is a native Detroiter who has worked in the arts in New York City in various capacities since 2005, most recently at Creative Capital where she helped to fund new projects by artists, performers, filmmakers, and writers, including Maggie Nelson, Paul Beatty, and Dana Spiotta.
ADDITIONAL PRAISE FOR TELL ME ONE THING:
“Kerri Schlottman has delivered us the richest of reading experiences. I read Tell Me One Thing voraciously with equal parts intrigue and admiration, thinking how did she pull this off? Slinking expertly between time and location and point of view—the contrasts here are bright and nuanced, honest and vulnerable, jagged yet tender. This is a novel of great heart, examining the lines we draw as we become who we are. A devastating and rich exploration of trauma, art-making, love and the unmistakable hauntedness of what we cannot control, yet long to. I want everyone to read this book.” –Chelsea Bieker, author of Godshot and Heartbroke
“With a clear, empathic gaze, and with a sharp, startling intelligence, Kerri Schlottman’s Tell Me One Thing traces two paths–that of artist, and that of subject–through the cruel disparities of the Reagan eighties and beyond. The result is a book that asks enduring questions about what art is for and what we, all of us, owe one another. Tell Me One Thing is phenomenal.” –Matthew Specktor, author of Always Crashing in the Same Car
“At once the expansive story of two women navigating two disparate, intersecting lives, and a thoughtful meditation on the transtemporal power of photography, Kerri Schlottman’s TELL ME ONE THING is that rare book: an art world novel with heart.” –Rachel Lyon, author of Self-Portrait with Boy
“In TELL ME ONE THING, two women’s stories begin in an instant—with a shutter click. Divergent yet inextricable, the paths and aspirations of a photographer and her young subject leap and shatter through the passage of four decades and at the mercy of American dearth, all of which Schlottman relays with understated grit and unflinching humanity. As we follow the photographer through seedy 1980s New York to today’s commercially sterilized iteration, Schlottman proceeds to vivify a Polaraid snapped in a Pennsylvania trailer park, infusing viscerality and tragedy into a portrait that would have otherwise hung static on a collector’s wall. By reframing an object to be admired as a child to be protected, TELL ME ONE THING will both compel and confront readers with questions that only the finest of novels can posit.” –Jakob Guanzon, author of ABUNDANCE, longlisted for the National Book Award
“Fans of The Vanishing Half will love this novel written in alternating points-of-view: each one a perspective rooted in a starkly contrasting experience and yet one that echoes the longings of the other. Reading this was a much-needed exercise in empathy, one tempered by clear, endearing prose. In the parallel universes of two unforgettable characters, Schlottman renders on the page a simple and beautiful expression of our shared humanity. In TELL ME ONE THING, we see the private struggles of a famed photographer making it in the wild days of New York City and how her seminal work exposes and yet neglects the harsh truth of one of her subjects. My heart broke and rooted for both characters, and long after I’ve turned the last page, I am still thinking of them.” –Cinelle Barnes, author of Monsoon Mansion: A Memoir and Malaya: Essays on Freedom
“I loved the way Tell Me One Thing follows two women trying to find their ways in the world — Quinn, the starving artist whose work rescues her from grinding poverty, and Lulu, a subject of Quinn’s photography, whose own ways of working only mire her further into destitution and desperation. Kerri Schlottman’s vivid writing skillfully recreates 1980s New York City and rural Pennsylvania; we’re invited to witness both the heady art-world scene of the era and the foundations being set for the opioid epidemic. It’s such a smart and well-crafted novel, bursting with life. I couldn’t put it down.” –Amy Shearn, award-winning author of Unseen City and other novels
“An intimate look at the way art transforms the lives of both artist and subject, and not always for the better. In crisp, descriptive prose, Kerri Schlottman draws a portrait of both rural Pennsylvania and a transforming New York City, as she—and her characters—probe the murky line between inspiration and exploitation.” –Wil Medearis, author of Restoration Heights
“Stunning and vivid… Two women cross paths almost by accident, and the story follows each of their efforts to overcome the hard lives they’re living. These characters are so realistic, we start rooting for them moments after meeting them….For all of their hard times, this book is full of unexpected moments of fulfillment, surprising flashes of grace.” –Stephen P. Kiernan, author of Universe of Two and The Baker’s Secret
My friends at Pegasus Publishing sent me an e-copy of this novel and I just loved it! It felt very gothic and was suspenseful. It was a quick read and especially liked the main character, Aulis. Thank you for my copy!
Here’s the overview:
In 1966 when Aulis Price leaves her Welsh home and her teaching job to marry Staffordshire farmer Martin Peverell, she looks forward eagerly to her new life at Abbotshall, the beautiful Georgian farmhouse which is the Peverell family home. Aulis takes as her role model Martin’s elegant and competent mother, Mollie. But the young bride soon finds that Abbotshall and Mollie are not all that they seem. Behind the dignified facade lurks conflict, between youth and age, the past and the future. This conflict is rooted in a sinister secret which overshadows Abbotshall and all who live there. As Aulis struggles to adjust to Abbotshall’s ways and the local culture she determines to remain true to herself. Meanwhile she sees her beloved Martin caught in a battle of loyalties. Can Aulis take him with her into the future or will she, too, be sacrificed to Abbotshall’s past?
I really enjoy Katie Gayle’s cozy mysteries and her protagonists. This is the third Julia Bird mystery – though it can be read as a stand alone – and I’ve read the earlier novels in this series. So much fun and well-plotted. Julia is a retired social worker who is smart and sensible and has a dog that is often getting into trouble. I love this type of small-town-in-England murder mystery!
Here’s the scoop:
Julia Bird can’t wait to attend the annual village party at the local stately home, with its tea tents, cake stalls, and… dead body in the maze?
The annual village celebration at Berrywick House is underway, complete with over-decorated cake stalls, fiercely contested flower competitions, and even a maze for the disappointed losers to hide in. Julia Bird, now a well-known – even notorious – member of the community, with her trusty Labrador Jake, has thrown herself headlong into the festivities. But her reputation for adding drama to any event stands up yet again when she discovers a dead body in the maze…
It seems Ursula Benjamin, village know-it-all and prickly baking competition participant, has been strangled – and the killer has to be someone at the fete. As Julia grapples with finding yet another murder in Berrywick, she starts to wonder, could one of the competitive cake-bakers have taken the contest to deadly new heights? Or is there something darker in Ursula’s life that led to her untimely demise?
Embroiled once again in a murder enquiry, Julia isn’t about to leave the investigation to the police. Like it or not, she’s involved, and she’s going to help them solve the mystery. But when there’s another death, and it’s clear the murders aren’t isolated incidents, the stakes become even higher. Can Julia figure out the identity of the killer, and prevent any further dastardly deeds, before the wholesome spirit of the village is ruined forever?
If you like utterly gripping English mysteries, then you’ll love A Village Fete Murder. Perfect for fans of M.C. Beaton, Faith Martin and Betty Rowlands.
Thank you for my copy and for making me part of the tour!
Katie Gayle is the writing partnership of best-selling South African writers, Kate Sidley and Gail Schimmel. Kate and Gail have, between them, written over ten books of various genres, but with Katie Gayle, they both make their debut in the cozy mystery genre. Both Gail and Kate live in Johannesburg, with husbands, children, dogs and cats. Unlike their sleuth Epiphany Bloom, neither of them have ever stolen a cat from the vet.
I loved this last installment in the trilogy from Backman, focusing on Beartown and Hed – two towns that eat, sleep, and breathe hockey.
Backman has the most amazing way of writing about the human experience. You feel like you KNOW the characters. You feel what they feel. You laugh with them. You cry with them. His writing is so vivid, I feel like I’ve been to Beartown!
Here’s the overview:
A breathtaking new novel from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Anxious People and A Man Called Ove, The Winners returns to the close-knit, resilient community of Beartown for a story about first loves, second chances, and last goodbyes.
Over the course of two weeks, everything in Beartown will change.
Maya Andersson and Benji Ovich, two young people who left in search of a life far from the forest town, come home and joyfully reunite with their closest childhood friends. There is a new sense of optimism and purpose in the town, embodied in the impressive new ice rink that has been built down by the lake.
Two years have passed since the events that no one wants to think about. Everyone has tried to move on, but there’s something about this place that prevents it. The destruction caused by a ferocious late-summer storm reignites the old rivalry between Beartown and the neighboring town of Hed, a rivalry which has always been fought through their ice hockey teams.
Maya’s parents, Peter and Kira, are caught up in an investigation of the hockey club’s murky finances, and Amat—once the star of the Beartown team—has lost his way after an injury and a failed attempt to get drafted into the NHL. Simmering tensions between the two towns turn into acts of intimidation and then violence. All the while, a fourteen-year-old boy grows increasingly alienated from this hockey-obsessed community and is determined to take revenge on the people he holds responsible for his beloved sister’s death. He has a pistol and a plan that will leave Beartown with a loss that is almost more that it can stand.
As it beautifully captures all the complexities of daily life and explores questions of friendship, loyalty, loss, and identity, this emotion-packed novel asks us to reconsider what it means to win, what it means to lose, and what it means to forgive.
This novel was on the longer side (688 pages) but it didn’t feel long. It felt like I had visited Beartown and stayed a while.
I’m throwing the spotlight today on a Kate Downey medical mystery: Misfire.
Here’s the scoop:
The defibrillator implanted to save the life of Dr. Kate Downey’s beloved Aunt Irm has misfired in other patients with disastrous consequences. Efforts to protect those with the device are thwarted by its inventor, focused on the impending sale of his technology. When Kate’s cardiologist friend disappears and deaths mount, Kate and her colleagues uncover a larger plot of revenge and greed. Seemingly random events come together, the misfires are attacks, and Kate will stop at nothing to protect her aunt and the other patients whose life-saving devices could turn on them at any moment.
Tammy Euliano writes medical thrillers. She’s inspired by her day job as a physician, researcher and medical educator. She is a tenured professor at the University of Florida, where she’s been honored with numerous teaching awards, nearly 100,000 views of her YouTube teaching videos, and was featured in a calendar of women inventors (copies available wherever you buy your out-of-date calendars).
When she’s not writing or at the hospital, she enjoys traveling with her family, playing sports, cheering on the Gators, and entertaining her two wonderful dogs.
Winter is the BEST time to hunker down with a thriller and I love to light candles, turn on the fairy lights, turn off the overheads, and cozy up under a throw with my kindle and a cup of tea. Mary Kubica is one of my VERY FAVORITE authors and I was so excited to be part of this blog tour so that I could introduce you to this suspenseful and really good story!! I couldn’t put it down and didn’t – just read the whole thing. I felt a little sad during this one – but liked the hopeful ending. Mary Kubica has done it again!!
Don’t wait! Get it today!!
Thank you for my copy and for making me part of the tour!
Just the Nicest Couple
On Sale Date: January 10, 2023
$28.99 USD, $35.99 CAD
Fiction / Thrillers / Domestic
About the Book:
A husband’s disappearance links two couples in this twisty thriller from New York Times bestselling author Mary Kubica
Jake Hayes is missing. This much is certain. At first, his wife, Nina, thinks he is blowing off steam at a friend’s house after their heated fight the night before. But then a day goes by. Two days. Five. And Jake is still nowhere to be found.
Lily Scott, Nina’s friend and coworker, thinks she may have been the last to see Jake before he went missing. After Lily confesses everything to her husband, Christian, the two decide that nobody can find out what happened leading up to Jake’s disappearance, especially not Nina. But Nina is out there looking for her husband, and she won’t stop until the truth is discovered.
About the Author:
Mary Kubica is a New York Times bestselling author of thrillers including The Good Girl, The Other Mrs., and Local Woman Missing. Her books have been translated into over thirty languages and have sold over two million copies worldwide. She’s been described as “a helluva storyteller” (Kirkus) and “a writer of vice-like control” (Chicago Tribune), and her novels have been praised as “hypnotic” (People) and “illuminating” (L.A. Times). She lives outside of Chicago with her husband and children.
Each year I try to select my favorite novels from the year of reading. It is SO hard to do as I read a lot and there are so many good ones. However, I will attempt to choose my top ten (okay – I ended with 11!) that I blogged about this year (I read more books that I don’t blog about – there’s just not enough time since I work full-time!).
So here, in no particular order beyond being chronological on my blog are my top 11:
HAMNET by Maggie O’Farrell
THE SECRET LOVE LETTERS OF OLIVIA MORETTI by Jennifer Probst
MRS. ENGLAND by Stacey Halls
THE GERMAN WIFE by Kelly Rimmer
THE THREAD COLLECTORS by Shauna J. Edwards and Alyson Richman
STAY AWAKE by Megan Goldin
IN THE SHADOW OF A QUEEN by Heather B. Moore
MY NAME IS ONA JUDGE by Suzette D. Harrison
MOTHER, DAUGHTER, TRAITOR, SPY by Susan Elia MacNeal
THE PRISONER by B.A. Paris
ANGELS OF THE RESISTANCE by Noelle Salazar
Thanks for spending another year with Beth’s Book-Nook Blog – Year 14 for me! I wish I had more time to blog (and read) but as long as I can read, I’ll be sharing what I’m reading with you. Next year I hope to add podcasts (it’s been a goal for several years!) and be better about including my audiobooks from my commute. In the meantime, happy reading and happy 2023! May the new year bring you much health and happiness as well as many good reads! ~Beth
No-nonsense Nantucket detective Merry Folger grapples with the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic and two murders as the island is overtaken by Hollywood stars and DC suits.
Nantucket Police Chief Meredith Folger is acutely conscious of the stress COVID-19 has placed on the community she loves. Although the island has proved a refuge for many during the pandemic, the cost to Nantucket has been high. Merry hopes that the Christmas Stroll, one of Nantucket’s favorite traditions, in which Main Street is transformed into a winter wonderland, will lift the island’s spirits. But the arrival of a large-scale TV production, and the Secretary of State and her family, complicates matters significantly.
The TV shoot is plagued with problems from within, as a shady, power-hungry producer clashes with strong-willed actors. Across Nantucket, the Secretary’s troubled stepson keeps shaking off his security detail to visit a dilapidated house near conservation land, where an intriguing recluse guards secrets of her own. With all parties overly conscious of spending too much time in the public eye and secrets swirling around both camps, it is difficult to parse what behavior is suspicious or not—until the bodies turn up.
Now, it’s up to Merry and Detective Howie Seitz to find a connection between two seemingly unconnected murders and catch the killer. But when everyone has a motive, and half of the suspects are politicians and actors, how can Merry and Howie tell fact from fiction?
This latest installment in critically acclaimed author Francine Mathews’ Merry Folger series is an immersive escape to festive Nantucket, a poignant exploration of grief as a result of parental absence, and a delicious new mystery to keep you guessing.
“This fast-moving mystery packs in a lot, but never too much, and will work for fans of coming-of-age stories, police procedurals, and romance.” —First Clue
“Fresh, well-wrought prose brings the setting of Nantucket to life. Mathews consistently entertains.” —Publishers Weekly
“Christmas and death come to Nantucket . . . Plenty of fascinating characters and myriad motives make for an exciting read.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Mathews consistently places relationships at the forefront of her mysteries, and Merry’s unique blend of tenacity and humanity makes her a heroine to root for.”—USA Today bestselling author Karen Odden, author of the Inspector Corravan mysteries
I loved this mystery and I look forward to reading others in the series!
Thank you for making me part of the tour and for my copy!
Natasha Lester, author of The Paris Seamstress, The Paris Orphan and The Paris Secret, promises another novel with a strong female protagonist and an insightful look into high society through historical figures such as Chistian Dior. The story follows a spy-turned-icon, Alix St. Pierre, as she navigates the post-war effects of espionage and more frighteningly, the fashion industry.
The novel showcases the harsh realities women faced in the 1940’s while also celebrating the ways in which they adapted to fit the ever changing landscape of war, workplace and fashion. Alix St. Pierre is an icon that will stand the test of literary time through her inspiring story as she battles mysterious figures from her past and her own traumas. With espionage, swooning romance, and cutthroat revenge, THE THREE LIVES OF ALIX ST. PIERRE has something for everyone.
worked as a marketing executive for L’Oreal before penning the New York Times and internationally bestselling novel The Paris Orphan. She is also the author of the USA Today bestseller The Paris Seamstress as well as several other historical fiction novels including The Riviera House, Her Mother’s Secret and A Kiss from Mr. Fitzgerald.
When she’s not writing, she loves collecting vintage fashion, traveling, reading, practicing yoga and playing with her three children. Natasha lives in Perth, Western Australia.
“Natasha Lester has done it again with this sumptuously written page-turner! Alix St. Pierre is everything that makes an admirable heroine – independent, plucky, and clever as the story spans from the fashionable world of Dior in Paris to the fascinating intrigue of international espionage in neutral Switzerland. The Three Lives of Alix St. Pierre is a captivating novel that readers will absolutely adore.”
—Madeline Martin, New York Times bestselling author of The Last Bookshop in London
“Natasha Lester has expertly woven a brilliant heroine who is as brave in the fashion world as she is spying on the enemy. From page one, I was completely captivated by her daring and enamored with the glamour of Paris fashion. Unputdownable!”
—Eliza Knight, USA Today bestselling author of The Mayfair Bookshop
“An enthralling page turner! Luxuriant and opulent, just like Dior’s glorious gowns.”
―Tania Blanchard, author of The Girl from Munich
“Sparkling and complex, like vintage champagne. In The Three Lives of Alix St Pierre, Natasha Lester gives us a brilliant, fascinating and multi-layered heroine whose dangerous past as a spy in World War II comes to threaten her future in glamorous post-war Paris. Lester’s masterful storytelling held me enthralled from the first page!”―Christine Wells, author of Sisters of the Resistance