Blog Tour · Book Reviews · Fiction · Romance · RomCom · WomensFiction

Blog Tour and Pub Day for e-book ‘Why I Held Your Hand’ by Augusta Reilly

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Happy Pub Day & Thank You to @getredpr #booktour & @augustareillyb for my e-copy of ‘Why I Held Your Hand‘ by Augusta Reilly!

Here’s an e-book release that will surely get your blood pumping! There’s a little sugar & a lot of spice in this fairly short, rom-com, available today in e-book form…

Laura Delaney loves her small mountain hometown of North Powell with its quaint charm, stately Victorian homes & surrounding hiking trails. Unfortunately, when it comes to attracting travel dollars, it can no longer compete with the flashy hot springs & ski slopes of nearby competitors.

That’s why she hires a hotshot marketing team to figure out how to inject the old magic back into North Powell’s sagging tourist trade. What she doesn’t expect is for the team to include David Harper. Smart, funny, handsome, & amazing in bed, he’s the perfect man. All she needs to do now is keep their relationship under wraps until the project is over.

But that’s easier said than done when she’s assigned to work with Spence Markham, the company’s offbeat “idea man” & David’s professional nemesis. When Spence suggests hosting a Dickens Festival to revitalize the town’s once-booming holiday season, Laura is thrilled. She’s even more thrilled when Spence falls in love with Powell House, the dilapidated Victorian that Laura hopes to renovate & turn into a town museum. But is Spence falling in love with her as well?

As the Festival nears, Laura’s feelings for both men intensify. Her relationship w/ David has only gotten better—& hotter—& yet she finds herself counting down the days until she can see Spence again. Soon, what started as a simple assignment becomes a tale of two possible futures. But which one will Laura choose?

Why I Held Your Hand‘ is a quick, charming, festive rom-com with small-town atmosphere (that worked well for this small-town girl), & enough romance, spice & steam to keep the heat of summer hanging on! (Seriously, you may need to turn the A/C on for this one!)

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Augusta Reilly has been writing for women’s magazines and literary publications for two decades. In her earlier years, she was a prolifically (if not proudly) published pulp fiction author whose anonymous literary masterpieces included ‘I Had The New Year’s Baby With Santa!’, ‘Prom Night in the County Morgue!’, ‘My Husband’s Sperm Were Kidnapped and Held For Ransom!’, ‘My Son the Pimp!’, and countless other titles, all of which ended in an exclamation point. She is a graduate of McGill University and lives in beautiful Douglas County, Colorado with her husband, three cats, and way too many kids.

Book Reviews · Fiction · HistoricalFiction · OwnVoices · Thriller

Happy Belated Pub Day and Book Review of: ‘When No One is Watching’ by Alyssa Cole

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Happy Belated Pub Day & Thank you @williammorrowbooks for my gifted copy [partner] of ‘When No One is Watching‘ by Alyssa Cole! (pub 9/1)

Q: What was the last thriller you read that taught you about something you otherwise didn’t know much about?

‘Rear Window’ meets ‘Get Out’ in this gripping thriller from a critically acclaimed & NY Times Notable author, in which the gentrification of a Brooklyn neighborhood takes on a sinister new meaning…

Sydney Green is Brooklyn born & raised, but her beloved neighborhood seems to change every time she blinks. Condos are sprouting like weeds, FOR SALE signs are popping up overnight, & the neighbors she’s known all her life are disappearing. To hold onto her community’s past & present, Sydney channels her frustration into a walking tour & finds an unlikely & unwanted assistant in one of the new arrivals to the block—her neighbor Theo.

But Sydney & Theo’s deep dive into history quickly becomes a dizzying descent into paranoia & fear. Their neighbors may not have moved to the suburbs after all, & the push to revitalize the community may be more deadly than advertised.

When does coincidence become conspiracy? Where do people go when gentrification pushes them out? Can Sydney & Theo trust each other—or themselves—long enough to find out before they too disappear?

Cole has pivoted from writing romance novels to bring us one heck of an amazing suspense/thriller that is so much more than just an entertaining read. The first line of the book says it all: “History is f–king wild.”

Gentrification: the process of renovating or improving a house or district so that it conforms to middle-class taste. (Problem w/ this is property values increase thereby increasing cost of living in that area, while affordable housing decreases & lower income residents are displaced.)

Unflinchingly well-crafted w/ knowledge & insight, Cole gives readers a much needed history lesson on the aftermath of this process, having lived in neighborhoods like this in the past. With a keen sense of atmosphere, richly drawn narrative & characters, ‘When No One is Watching‘ is clever, riveting, eye-opening & twisty. Highly recommend!

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Alyssa Cole is an award-winning author of historical, contemporary, & sci-fi romance. Her romantic comedy A PRINCESS IN THEORY is a NY Times notable book for 2018. Her Civil War-set espionage romance AN EXTRAORDINARY UNION was the American Library Association’s RUSA Best Romance for 2018, & also the RT Book Reviews Reviewer’s Choice Award Book of the Year. She’s contributed to publications including Bustle, Shondaland, The Toast, Vulture, & others, & her books have received critical acclaim from The NY Times, Library Journal, Kirkus, Booklist, Jezebel, Vulture, Book Riot, Entertainment Weekly, & various other outlets. When she’s not working, she can generally be found watching anime w/ her husband or wrangling their menagerie of animals.

BeachReads · Book Reviews · Fiction · WomensFiction

Book Review: ‘Impersonation’ by Heidi Pitlor

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Thank you @algonquinbooks for my gifted copy of ‘Impersonation‘ by Heidi Pitlor! Pub Day was a couple days ago on 8/18 so Happy Belated Book Birthday, too!

Book Synopsis:
Allie Lang is a professional ghostwriter and a perpetually broke single mother to a young boy. Years of navigating her own and America’s cultural definitions of motherhood have left her a lapsed idealist. Lana Breban is a powerhouse lawyer, economist, and advocate for women’s rights with designs on elected office. She also has a son. Lana and her staff have decided she needs help softening her public image and that a memoir about her life as a mother will help.

When Allie lands the job as Lana’s ghostwriter, it seems as if things will finally go Allie’s way. At last, she thinks, there will be enough money not just to pay her bills but to actually buy a house.

After years of working as a ghostwriter for other celebrities, Allie believes she knows the drill: she has learned how to inhabit the lives of others and tell their stories better than they can.

But this time, everything becomes more complicated. Allie’s childcare arrangements unravel; she falls behind on her rent; her subject, Lana, is better at critiquing than actually providing material; and Allie’s boyfriend decides to go on a road trip toward self-discovery. But as a writer for hire, Allie has gotten too used to being accommodating. At what point will she speak up for all that she deserves?  

A satirical, incisive snapshot of how so many of us now live, Impersonation tells a timely, insightful, and bitingly funny story of ambition, motherhood, and class.

Impersonation’ takes place in the months leading up to the last presidential election in 2016 & in 2017. The story touches on feminism, motherhood, struggling to make ends meet, & accountability for ones actions. It’s a fast-paced, nuanced, funny, & thought-provoking story that is unflinching & well-written. A provocative story of two women caught up in one another’s life, & together they make the perfect feminist mother!

Impersonation‘ is available now. Apple Books has even chosen ‘Impersonation’ as one of the Best Books of August!
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About the Author:
Heidi Pitlor is the author of the novels The Birthdays and The Daylight Marriage. She has been the series editor of The Best American Short Stories since 2007 and the editorial director of Plympton, a literary studio. Her writing has been published in the New York Times, the Boston Globe, the Huffington PostPloughshares, and the anthologies It Occurs to Me That I Am America: New Stories and Art and Labor Day: True Birth Stories by Today’s Best Women Writers. She lives outside Boston

Book Reviews · Fiction · Thriller

Book Review: ‘Survivor Song’ by Paul Tremblay

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Thank you @williammorrowbooks (partner) for my gifted copy of ‘Survivor Song‘ by Paul Tremblay! (pub date 7/7)

In a matter of weeks, Massachusetts has been overrun by an insidious rabies-like virus that is spread by saliva. But unlike rabies, the disease has a terrifyingly short incubation period of an hour or less. Those infected quickly lose their minds & are driven to bite & infect as many others as they can before they inevitably succumb. Hospitals are inundated with the sick & dying, & hysteria has taken hold. To try to limit its spread, the commonwealth is under quarantine & curfew. But society is breaking down & the government’s emergency protocols are faltering.

Dr. Ramola “Rams” Sherman, a soft-spoken pediatrician in her mid-thirties, receives a frantic phone call from Natalie, a friend who is 8 mos pregnant. Natalie’s husband has been killed—viciously attacked by an infected neighbor—& in a failed attempt to save him, Natalie, too, was bitten. Natalie’s only chance of survival is to get to a hospital as quickly as possible to receive a rabies vaccine. The clock is ticking for her & for her unborn child.

Natalie’s fight for life becomes a desperate odyssey as she & Rams make their way through a hostile landscape filled with dangers beyond their worst nightmares—terrifying, strange, & sometimes deadly challenges that push them to the brink..Paul Tremblay once again demonstrates his mastery in this chilling & all-too-plausible novel that will leave readers racing through the pages…& shake them to their core.

As far as the Co-Vid pandemic, I dislike everything about it. When it comes to books or movies about viruses making people cray-cray, SIGN ME UP! I loved movies like ‘Outbreak‘, ‘Contagion‘, ‘World War Z’, ‘Quarantine‘ & ‘The Crazies‘ & even Chris Pine’s 2009 movie (w/ a virus that originates in China [yep!]) called ‘Carriers‘.

Survivor Song‘ gave me vibes of all of the above & then some! I love that the protagonists are female (Nat & Rams) & the lengths Nat goes to in order to protect her friend. This is apocalyptic horror/thriller, with a heap of suspense, scoop of sci-fi, & a big ol’ cup of female friendship. ‘Survivor Song‘ is a fast-paced, heart-pounding, anxiety inducing, nail-biter of an entertaining as hell read! (If you are already experiencing a lot of CoVid anxiety, maybe save this one for another time…)

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QOTD: Who else is really into the virus/contagion/outbreak kinda books/movies? Hey, I learned a LOT from each of them!

What others are saying about ‘Survivor Song’:

“For the past few years, Paul Tremblay has been setting the standard for modern horror. His genius is that he never forgets the core of a great horror novel resides first in its characters. In Survivor Song, he revitalizes the zombie novel by keeping the focus narrow and intimate: two women, in the space of a few hours, just trying to get across town. The result is heartfelt and terrifying, in a narrative that moves like a bullet train.” (Nathan Ballingrud, author of North American Lake Monsters and Wounds)

“A cinematic scope, scenarios grounded in the real world, and a breathless pace make this thriller one of the must-read titles of the summer. A prescient, insidious horror novel that takes sheer terror to a whole new level.” (Kirkus Reviews (starred review))

“Fresh and surprising. Survivor Song may be one of Tremblay’s best – beautifully detailed, viscerally frightening, and deep with emotional resonance.” (Dan Chaon, New York Times bestselling author of Ill Will)

“Tremblay has earned worldwide acclaim because he is able to seamlessly combine reality with speculative elements, and his newest may be his most prescient yet. . . . Gorgeously written about terrible things, the relatively short Survivor Song is a good choice for fans of pandemic epics . . . and novels that probe themes of friendship, family, and social commentary amidst chillingly realistic horror.” (Booklist (starred review))

“Tremblay is an undeniably skillful writer. The sentences are lean where they need to be, decorative where they need to be. . . . He knows how to drive the story forward, while affording it a layer of linguistic color.”  (New York Times)

Survivor Song is a breathlessly compelling read, powerfully frightening and very moving – a nightmare that rings all too terribly true.” (Ramsey Campbell, author of The Wise Friend)

“The vividly drawn characters of Ramola and Natalie give the story an uncommon emotional intensity. This is genuinely hard to put down.” (Publishers Weekly (starred review))

“Gripping . . . a thinking person’s thriller, interspersed with moments of hilarity . . . a buzz-saw of a novel.”  (Los Angeles Times)

“A terrifyingly realistic take on the zombie trope. . .A fast-paced, gritty, emotionally wrenching thriller.” (Book and Film Globe)

“Survivor Song is a horror novel with a lot of heart; an engaging, immersive, touching, fast read that’s incredibly timely and packed with sharp observations. I would say it’s one of Tremblay’s best, but that is something most reviews say, so instead I’ll say this: Maine has its horror guy, and now Massachusetts has its guy.” (Vol 1Brooklyn)

Paul Tremblay has won the Bram Stoker, British Fantasy, and Massachusetts Book awards and is the author of Growing Things, The Cabin at the End of the World, Disappearance at Devil’s Rock, A Head Full of Ghosts, and the crime novels The Little Sleep and No Sleep Till Wonderland. His essays and short fiction have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Entertainment Weekly online, and numerous year’s-best anthologies. He has a master’s degree in mathematics and lives outside Boston with his family.

Book Reviews · CrimeThriller · Fiction

Happy Pub Day and Review: ‘Blacktop Wasteland’ by S.A. Cosby

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Happy Pub Day & Thank You @flatiron_books for my gifted copy of ‘Blacktop Wasteland‘ by S.A. Cosby! (And HAPPY 100th BLOG POST TO ME!!)

A husband, a father, a son, a business owner…And the best getaway driver east of the Mississippi.

Beauregard “Bug” Montage is an honest mechanic, a loving husband, and a hard-working dad. Bug knows there’s no future in the man he used to be: known from the hills of North Carolina to the beaches of Florida as the best wheelman on the East Coast.

He thought he’d left all that behind him, but as his carefully built new life begins to crumble, he finds himself drawn inexorably back into a world of blood and bullets. When a smooth-talking former associate comes calling with a can’t-miss jewelry store heist, Bug feels he has no choice but to get back in the driver’s seat. And Bug is at his best where the scent of gasoline mixes with the smell of fear.

Haunted by the ghost of who he used to be and the father who disappeared when he needed him most, Bug must find a way to navigate this blacktop wasteland…or die trying.

Like Ocean’s Eleven meets Drive, with a Southern noir twist, S. A. Cosby’s ‘Blacktop Wasteland‘ is a searing, operatic story of a man pushed to his limits by poverty, race, and his own former life of crime.

***Someone PLEASE make this into a movie! My husband use to build race cars & was a competitive drag racer (the legal kind) when I met him, winning many awards. (Pic below is my fave pic of him back then). He is also obsessed with the whole ‘Fast & Furious’ franchise, so I KNOW he would love ‘Blacktop Wasteland‘ (the movie, if it existed), but sadly, he is not a reader. So he will just have to listen to me telling him how awesome this book is!

My super sexy drag racer, way back when…

Cosby has pure talent as a vividly descriptive storyteller & this will certainly be the most talked about noir, crime thriller of 2020. Buckle your seat belts & hold onto tight, ‘Blacktop Wasteland‘ will have your heart-pounding & breaking at the same time. (And you will love Bug!) Fast-paced, atmospheric, gritty & pitch-perfect writing, I highly recommend this one! It’s available today! Get it on your TBR!

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What others are saying about ‘Blacktop Wasteland’ by S.A.Cosby:

“A fast-paced, fresh take on noir that tears through the underbelly of Virginia.”
―New York Times

“One of the year’s strongest novels. 
The noir story quickly accelerates and doesn’t lose speed until it careens to its finale. It’s a look at race, responsibility, parenthood and identity via pin-perfect characters with realistic motives. Cosby invests Blacktop Wasteland with emotion while delivering a solid thriller.”
SunSentinel

“Violence-tinged heists, muscle cars, and dead-end poverty in America generate the full-on action and evocative atmosphere in this beautifully wrought tale.”
―Boston Globe

“S.A. Cosby’s Blacktop Wasteland is the buzz book of the summer, and for good reason―this nailbiter of a thriller has everything, including road chases, fast cars, robberies gone south, carefully calibrated underworld shenanigans, standoff after standoff, and some deep family bonds.”
―CrimeReads

Cosby never misses a note in this high-energy readA superb work of crime fiction, uncompromisingly noir but deeply human, too, much like Lou Berney’s November Road (2018).”
Booklist, starred review

“Diamonds and fast cars, trailer park dreams and late night illegal street racing, S. A. Cosby reinvents the American crime novel. Black and white with bills unpaid and no exit in sight, his characters feel the pull of family and swagger with the melancholy ache of wanting to be someone. Blacktop Wasteland thrums and races―it’s an intoxicating thrill of a ride.”
―Walter Mosley, bestselling author of Trouble Is What I Do

“For fans of: BullittThe Fast and the Furious and gritty Elmore Leonard-style noir…[Cosby] never lets up on the gas. The result is a high-octane, white-knuckle thriller that will have readers whipping through the pages at breakneck speed…Cosby’s tightfisted prose fuels this story with heart-pumping (and often brutal) action that begs to be adapted for the big screen but never loses its compassionate edge.”
Bookpage

“High-octane neo-noir thriller…The gritty, brutal narrative is complemented by the author’s sublime use of sensory description and regional imagery. In addition, the epic, jaw-dropping chase sequences that figure prominently are reason alone to read this pedal-to-the-metal but profoundly sorrowful novel. Cosby is definitely a writer to watch.”
Publishers Weekly

“Beautifully wrought and worthy of envy…Call shotgun, and then buckle up. Blacktop Wasteland is a ride that will stick with you long after the engine has cooled.”
―Salon

We’re in Elmore Leonard land…Bug’s got a conscience not typical of the thriller genre, but other than that, this novel recalls almost perfectly the classic heist thriller in the vein of Richard Stark’s “Parker” novelsIt’ll go like hot cakes.”
―Library Journalstarred review

“It’s fitting Blacktop Wasteland opens with a drag race. This is the literary equivalent of a muscle car―sleek, a little dangerous, and when it kicks into gear, you hold on for dear life. Lucky for you, Cosby is an expert wheelman.”
―Rob Hart, bestselling author of The Warehouse

“Every once in a while a writer comes along with an incredible voice. Think Elmore Leonard, or Chester Himes. With Blacktop Wasteland, add S. A. Cosby to that list.”
―Steve Cavanagh, bestselling author of Thirteen

“Powerful, gritty, and lyrical, S. A. Cosby’s Blacktop Wasteland is the unflinching portrayal of a man who’s deeply aware he needs to make a better life for himself and his family, but can’t ― or won’t. This story is an emotional gut punch, and you’ll find yourself rooting for Beauregard while he’s ripping your heart out. Cosby is a mesmerizing new voice in crime fiction you won’t soon forget. This is literary noir at its finest.”
―Jennifer Hillier, award-winning author of Jar of Hearts and Little Secrets

“With Blacktop Wasteland, Anthony award-winning author S. A. Cosby cements his position as one of the leading crime fiction voices of his generation. The story crackles with a dynamically flawed main character, vivid description, unexpected reveals and dialogue so real you’d swear you were eavesdropping. I couldn’t wait to finish yet never wanted the book to end at the same time. There’s no doubt that Cosby is an authentic and much needed voice in today’s crime fiction.”
―Kellye Garrett, Anthony, Agatha, and Lefty award-winning author of The Detective by Day series

“This book shook me in the best way possible. Cosby’s gritty, powerhouse novel evokes some of the modern masters – Mosley, Pelecanos, and Lehane – with a tone and vibe that is wholly unique. Epic but also grounded and painfully relevant, Blacktop Wasteland is a crime novel for today, and S. A. Cosby is a writer we’ll be hearing from for quite some time. I loved this book.”
―Alex Segura, acclaimed author of Blackout and Miami Midnight

“Blacktop Wasteland is a guaranteed thriller-of-the-year with muscle and heart and characters who will linger long after the last page is read. S.A. Cosby writes with grit and grace. Do not miss this one.”
―Michael Koryta, bestselling author of Those Who Wish Me Dead

“There is a sweet spot in a vehicle, whether it’s a car or a book, a perfect point of harmony between torque and horsepower or character and plot―Blacktop Wasteland is that sweet spot. S. A. Cosby’s new novel reverberates with a throaty roar, pegging the needles with a welcomed strip of rubber laid down in a silk-scarf, lace-backed driving glove mystery world.”
―Craig Johnson, author of the Walt Longmire Mysteries

“Buckle up. S. A. Cosby is about to take you on a high-speed spin through the rural black south. Muscle cars, backroads racing, double crossing deals and that elusive big score. Red Hill County is my kind of place!”
―Ace Atkins, New York Times bestselling author of The Revelators

Blacktop Wasteland will let the world at large in on what the crime fiction underworld already knows: S. A. Cosby is a major, original talent. Searing, twisted and jaggedly human, this Southern noir heist novel leaves scars.”
―Jordan Harper, Edgar Award winning author of She Rides Shotgun

S.A. Cosby is an Anthony award winning writer from S E Virginia. His short fiction has appeared in numerous anthologies & magazines his story “Slant-Six” was selected as a Distinguished Story in Best American MysteryStories for 2016. His short story “The Grass Beneath My Feet” won the Anthony award for best short story in 2019. His writing has been called ” gritty & heartbreaking ” & ” dark, thrilling & tragic “. His style & tone is influenced by his varied life experiences which includes but are not limited to being a bouncer, construction worker, retail manager & for six hours a mascot for a major fast food chain inside the world’s hottest costume. When he isn’t crafting tales of murder & mayhem he assists the dedicated staff at J.K.Redmind Funeral home as a mortician’s assistant. He is also known as one hell of a chess player… Actually its checkers, he’s good at checkers.