Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Favorite Reads of 2019. Happy New Year!

Image result for happy new year 2020 images pixabay

I did not get as much read as I'd hoped in 2019 for a number of reasons, but wanted to mention at least 10 books I enjoyed this year. My reviews for most of these novels can be found by searching a key word on my home page. 

Costalegre by Courtney Maum (Tin House/W.W. Norton). Loosely based on the lives of Peggy Guggenheim and her daughter Pegeen, this slim novel introduces us to a unique adolescent narrator, and getting to know her was beautiful and sad and worthy. It's a short novel with an emotional impact that lingers.

The Overdue Life of Amy Byler by [Harms, Kelly]

The Overdue Life of Amy Byler by Kelly Harms (Lake Union/Amazon). In this character-driven and uplifting story, a single (librarian!) mom spends a summer in New York City alone and finds professional, social, and romantic adventures.

Miracle Creek by Angie Kim (FSG/Macmillan). This debut novel, a mix of literary fiction, mystery and courtroom drama, explores many universal themes and remains memorable. I will never forget her translation of the Korean word, "Han" from the last page. 

The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides (Celadon/Macmillan). I read this psychological thriller late last year, and it pretty much blew my mind. I'm not often so surprised by an ending and I still remember the last scene. Love to recommend this one.

The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson (Sourcebooks) is a powerful historical fiction novel I finished at the beginning of 2019. It made me want to be a kinder, more compassionate and tolerant human being and "book woman" this year. 

Maggsie McNaughton's Second Chance by Frances Maynard (Mantle/Pan Macmillan). She's a short, feisty ex-con with bad teeth and anger management issues, and she kinda stole my "ruddy" heart this year. Getting to know Maggsie made me proud to be in a profession that supports literacy every day.

The Flatshare: A Novel by [O'Leary, Beth]

The Flatshare by Beth O'Leary (Flatiron/Macmillan) Tiffy and Leon share a flat, but have never met. Can they fall in love via...Post-It Notes? I loved this British romance, which had more depth than I was expecting.

Blood Relations by Jonathan Moore (Mariner/HMH). Although I don't read a lot of noir I will read anything Jon Moore writes. It's a hard-boiled PI novel updated for the 21st century, with some unexpected surprises you won't see coming. Check out The Poison Artist and the other novels in his San Francisco triptych, too.

Biloxi by Mary Miller (Liveright/W.W. Norton). You've met men like curmudgeonly Louis who falls in love with a "rescued" mutt named Layla. I loved all their quirks; the small details of a life lived; mistakes, joys. I won't soon forget these two imperfect, yet memorable, characters.

The Current by Tim Johnston (Algonquin/Workman). This atmospheric mystery defines the term "propulsive" in its narrative structure, and once I adjusted to the pace and writing, I couldn't read it fast enough. It gets a "Well Done" from me.

I read two dozen more books this year, and many were very, very good. But I guess if I had to pick 10 that stood out and were memorable it would be those listed.

My wish for everyone this year, which I also posted on Twitter: Make 2020 a good one by narrowing your focus to a few things you can accomplish, a few people you can love well, some good you can do to make a difference in the lives of others, and by ending with few regrets.

Happy Reading!

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Covey and JayJay Get Educated by Shelton L. Williams ~ Notable Quotable ~ Part of the Lone Star Literary Book Blog Tour!

Shelton L. Williams
Genre: Murder Mystery / Social Thriller / Amateur Sleuth
Publication Date: September 1, 2019
Number of Pages: 209 pages
  Scroll down for a giveaway!

Amateur detectives, Covey Jencks and JayJay Qualls, are drawn into a triple murder on the campus of Baker College in West Waverly in the Texas Hill Country. Both end up taking positions at the college: Covey as an adjunct instructor and JayJay as a visiting actor.
Initially they believe that money is the motive for the murders, but over time they learn that the college is a cauldron of political and social intrigue. The college's new president and his beautiful wife, various staff members, a prominent trustee, and parties not associated with the college have the motives, opportunities, and wacky agendas that might implicate them in the murders. It turns out that a white nationalist group may be using a college house for its nefarious activities, but are they more talk than action? 
The West Waverly police are little to no help in the investigation, and Covey himself has to depart the college to deal with his father's death. JayJay takes over and makes a critical breakthrough. Upon Covey's return, the couple must rely on deception, a bit of luck, and martial arts skills to solve the crimes and to try to prevent a high-profile assassination.

Shelton L. Williams (Shelly) is founder and president of the Osgood Center for International Studies in Washington, DC. He holds a PhD from Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and he taught for nearly 40 years at Austin College in Sherman, Texas. He has served in the US Government on 4 occasions and he has written books and articles on nuclear proliferation. In 2004 he began a new career of writing books on crime and society. Those books are Washed in the Blood, Summer of 66, and now Covey Jencks. All firmly prove that he is still a Texan at heart.
 Amazon Author Page  
GRAND PRIZE: signed copy of each of the author's books
SECOND PRIZE: signed copy of both Covey Jencks and Covey and JayJay Get Educated
THIRD PRIZE: Audio book of Covey and JayJay Get Educated
FOURTH PRIZE: Kindle version of Covey and JayJay Get Educated
DECEMBER 10-20, 2019
(U.S. Only)
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Notable Quotable
Notable Quotable
Author Interview
Excerpt Part I
Excerpt Part II
Notable Quotable
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