November’s Books & Blurbs

columns of books

 

 

 

A book is a dream that you hold in your hands. –Neil Gaiman

 

 

 

Welcome to another edition of books & blurbs!

 

This is an occasional post I’m doing to give a sneak peek about the books I’ve been reading and listening too recently. It really should be a weekly or bi-weekly post, but I haven’t got my act together quite yet. *Sigh*

 

Here’s some notable books from this month that has caught my eye. Ready? Here it goes!

 

 

The Kingfountain Series by Jeff Wheeler

 

The Queens Poisoner

 

 

King Severn Argentine’s fearsome reputation precedes him: usurper of the throne, killer of rightful heirs, ruthless punisher of traitors. Attempting to depose him, the Duke of Kiskaddon gambles…and loses. Now the duke must atone by handing over his young son, Owen, as the king’s hostage. And should his loyalty falter again, the boy will pay with his life.

Seeking allies and eluding Severn’s spies, Owen learns to survive in the court of Kingfountain. But when new evidence of his father’s betrayal threatens to seal his fate, Owen must win the vengeful king’s favor by proving his worth—through extraordinary means. And only one person can aid his desperate cause: a mysterious woman, dwelling in secrecy, who truly wields power over life, death, and destiny.

 

I’m thoroughly enjoying this series. The Queen’s Poisoner, book one of the series was utterly mesmerizing. I switched back and forth between reading and listening to the audiobook performed by the talented Kate Rudd. I’ll post the narrator performance on my other site at AudioSpy.  Currently reading/listening to the second book, The Thief’s Daughter and it’s just as good!

 

 

The Thiefs daughter

 

 

 

 

 

The Orphan X series by Gregg Hurwitz

 

 

Orphan X

 

 

 

The Nowhere Man is a legendary figure spoken about only in whispers. It’s said that when he’s reached by the truly desperate and deserving, the Nowhere Man can and will do anything to protect and save them.

But he’s no legend.

Evan Smoak is a man with skills, resources, and a personal mission to help those with nowhere else to turn. He’s also a man with a dangerous past. Chosen as a child, he was raised and trained as part of the off-the-books black box Orphan program, designed to create the perfect deniable intelligence assets—i.e. assassins. He was Orphan X. Evan broke with the program, using everything he learned to disappear.

Now, however, someone is on his tail. Someone with similar skills and training. Someone who knows Orphan X. Someone who is getting closer and closer. And will exploit Evan’s weakness—his work as The Nowhere Man—to find him and eliminate him. Grabbing the reader from the very first page, Orphan X is a masterful thriller, the first in Gregg Hurwitz’s electrifying new series featuring Evan Smoak.

 

Holy mackerel!! Reading this was literally like watching a movie unfold in my head. My first Gregg Hurwitz book didn’t disappoint one bit. The next book in the series is a short, Buy a Bullet and now I”m currently reading The Nowwhere Man.

 

 

 

 

Awesome red grunge round stamp isolated on white Background

 

 

 

 

 

Invisible by James Patterson & David Ellis

 

 

Invisible James Patterson

 

 

 

Everyone thinks Emmy Dockery is crazy. Obsessed with finding the link between hundreds of unsolved cases, Emmy has taken leave from her job as an FBI researcher. Now all she has are the newspaper clippings that wallpaper her bedroom, and her recurring nightmares of an all-consuming fire.

Not even Emmy’s ex-boyfriend, field agent Harrison “Books” Bookman, will believe her that hundreds of kidnappings, rapes, and murders are all connected. That is, until Emmy finds a piece of evidence he can’t afford to ignore. More murders are reported by the day–and they’re all inexplicable. No motives, no murder weapons, no suspects. Could one person really be responsible for these unthinkable crimes?

Invisible is James Patterson’s scariest, most chilling stand-alone thriller yet.

 

I found this to be a very creative book for crime fiction. An FBI analyst gets mixed up in a string of mysterious lethal fires which turn out to be the heinous work of a serial killer. Amazing! Really enjoyed the originality in this one. Quite different from the typical serial killer in crime fiction.

 

 

 

 

BOOKS ON THE RADAR

 

 

On the Radar dummies

 

 

 

The Lost City of the Monkey God

 

Lost city of the monkey god

 

 

 

 

The Other Slavery The Uncovered Story of Indian Enslavement in America

 

The other slavery

 

 

 

 

 

The Good Byline

 

 

The good byline

 

 

 

 

 

The End Game

 

 

The end game

 

 

 

 

 

The Storm, Trackers #3

 

 

The Storm trackers 3

 

 

 

 

 

Twisted Truth (Rogue Justice #1)

 

 

Twisted truth

 

 

 

 

 

I’ll stop there, otherwise this list will go on forever. Go find a good book!!

Benjamin Thomas

@thewritingtrain

www.mysterythrillerweek.com

 

 

 

 

 

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Book Hoarders Reading Challenge

Hoarding Boxes Piled Up Word Collection Mess Trash

 

 

 

 

“When faced with a challenge, look for a way, not a way out.” -David L. Weatherford 

 

 

 

 

 

This post is dedicated to all the book lovers out there. You may or may not be a book hoarder because there’s a big difference between the two. I currently have 1,725 books on my “to be read” list and it’s still increasing at an alarming rate.  Yikes!

 

 

Are you a Book Hoarder? Does this sound like you? Read on….

 

 

  • First, it’s virtually impossible to resist a good book, especially if it’s on sale.
  • Second, having the painful realization that you can’t read every book.
  • The unread books on your shelf are piling up while you continue to add gobs more.
  • There’s that book or series that you can’t wait to read, but—-you never get around to it.
  • You’re always a sucker for free books, promos, or books on sale.
  • You have so many books you forgot the new ones you just added.
  • The ratio of books read to books added is way out of balance.
  • The books on your TBR list NEVER decreases but increases.

 

 

 

road to horizon

 

 

 

If this is you don’t despair! We need a change in our mindset, our strategy. For this I’d like to present to you a challenge. The #BookHoarders challenge. I have some ideas so tell me what you think.

 

 

  • For every book you buy or add to your TBR list you read two on your shelf.
  • Switch up your reading habits per week or month.
  • Read new books for one week, then read books on your shelf the next.
  • Use a reward system. For every 3 books on your TBR you read, treat yourself to a new one.
  • Do it pairs. Get a book buddy to keep you accountable! Challenge each other.
  • Join the Book Hoarders Bucket List Challenge on Goodreads for support!

 

 

 

 

Benefits / Würfel mit Symbole

 

 

 

  • You actually read the books you bought!
  • You’ll better yourself by reading more stories.
  • Decrease the amount of books on your shelves or TBR list.
  • Read more books, give more reviews and help authors succeed.
  • Gain a book buddy and enrich your experience with other book hoarders.
  • You’ll feel better!

 

 

What do you think?  Tell me in the comments!!

Share the hashtag #BookHoarders

 

 

 

Benjamin Thomas

@thewritingtrain

www.mysterythrillerweek.com

 

 

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Chatting Books and Writing with Author Deborah Raney

 

Deborah Raney

 

 

DEBORAH RANEY’s first novel, A Vow to Cherish, inspired the World Wide Pictures film of the same title and launched Deb’s writing career. Twenty years, thirty books, and numerous awards later, she’s still creating stories that touch hearts and lives. She and husband, Ken, traded small-town life in Kansas for life in the friendly city of Wichita. They love traveling to visit four grown children and a growing brood of grandchildren who all live much too far away. Find out more about Deb’s newest release—Home at Last, the fifth and final novel in her award-winning Chicory Inn Novels series—at her website: www.deborahraney.com

 

 

Welcome sign

 

 

 

Looking back, who influenced you the most to read books?

First of all, my mother. Not only did she set a great example by being an avid reader herself, but we loved sharing books and talking about books, and even reading to each other—not just when I was a child, but even after I was grown and living away from home. In a roundabout way, my kids influenced me to read as well, because I always wanted to be aware of what they were reading in school or in their leisure time. And my husband gets a shout-out for never making me feel guilty while I was engrossed in a novel—even if it meant supper was late…or burned! :}

That sounds like a wonderful surrounding to be in! 



Kids Reading Books




Which books or characters had the most impact, and why?

The summer I turned twelve and read the entire Little House on the Prairie series by Laura Ingalls Wilder, was the year I knew I wanted to grow up to be a writer, so definitely her characters had a great impact on me. I also read Catherine Marshall’s novels, Christy and Julie around that same time and was deeply impacted by the messages of those books. Messages about being strong, living life in a way to make a difference in others’ lives, and holding tight to faith in God, even when it seemed He was silent.

 It’s amazing how much influence a simple story can have on an individual. 



Hand with marker writing: Words Have Power


If you could write one character into your life from your books who would it be?

Audrey Whitman, from my five Chicory Inn novels, would be an inspiring friend for me. She’s far more energetic and driven than I am, but I think she would inspire me (or already has!) to make the most of the gifts I’ve been given. So many of my characters are patterned after people I actually know (or are amalgamations of several people) that I feel in some ways my characters ARE “written into” my life!

 That’s so awesome 🙂





What’s your creative process for characters?

Being a very visual writer, I always have to have a photo of each character before they really begin to come to life. After that, I just sort of follow them through the story (I’m sure that sounds a little woo-woo to anyone who isn’t a writer) and see where they lead me, and how they grow and change through the story. Often, I get to the middle of a book and realize that the character I wrote in the first few chapters doesn’t resemble the character that has developed toward the end, so I spend some time rewriting him or her to match the “person” they’ve become in my novel. It’s rather a backwards way of doing things, but it works for me.

That’s a very interesting approach. As long as it works for you, that’s all that matters. I’m still trying to figure out what my mine is. 



Process People in Gears Working Together Procedure Results



Did you read a lot when you were raising kids?

My husband and I are both avid readers and placed a high priority on story time and books when our kids were growing up. For instance, our rule was that toys and games had to be put away at bedtime, but as long as it didn’t interfere with homework or grades, you could read until midnight if you wanted. We read to each of our four kids from the time they were infants, and they’re all readers to varying degrees today.

 Oh, I love this. A book reading family! The emphasis on reading is very fascinating. 

 



Name some pet peeves, or things that bother you as a reader.

• It drives me nuts when the character on the cover of a novel doesn’t match the description inside.

• I don’t like it when two characters can’t stand each other through most of the book, and then fall into each other’s arms madly in love in the final chapter. Um…no.

• I prefer—as a reader and a writer—fewer speaker attributions (he said/she said). I’d rather SEE what the characters are doing and hear the tone in their words or actions than be told they said a line “quietly” or “angrily.”

 I love seeing the answer to this question. All are valid points worthy of remembrance. 

 


Crime scene




How do you determine what motivates a character?

As my story begins to unfold, I always have to ask myself what each character has to lose and to gain if the plot goes one way or another. Sometimes those questions aren’t answered until much later in the book, and again, I have to go back and rewrite to bolster my discovery about motivation. I always try to have a positive motivation (because it’s the right thing to do or because she/he loves someone and wants the best for them) along with negative motivation (because selfishly, doing the right thing will cost her/him or because pride keeps her/him from doing the right thing.)

 Great! This will help me determine more of my own character motivations, thank you.



petrol pump nozzle hold by hand with gasoline



Describe your intuitive approach to writing as opposed to outlining.

I’ve touched on this, but being an intuitive writer means that while others are still outlining and figuring out their plot, I’m barreling ahead with a story I don’t even know fully yet. So often that means I write myself into a corner and have to delete 2 chapters and start over. It’s frustrating, and yet it works for me. Those chapters I throw away likely didn’t take me any longer to write than the outline process took a plotting writer. It’s just the way my mind works best.

 I find that so interesting, probably because I’m more of an intuitive writer than a plotter. Perhaps somewhere in between.

 



Have you ever wept while reading?

Oh, my goodness! If a book doesn’t make me cry (or laugh or cheer or get angry) I’m not sure it’s worth reading! When I’m reading, I want to feel all the feels. And if I don’t feel them when I’m writing a book, I know my readers won’t feel them either. It’s usually in the rewrite process that I begin to be objective enough to read/edit my work and see things more clearly, more like my readers will. When I cry over my characters then, I know my readers probably will too. And that makes me happy! 🙂

 That’s wonderful. That’s what it’s all about it, right? Having that emotional response is key. 

 


Crying artsy



 

Name some of the best books you’ve read recently.

• The Memory of You by Catherine West

• Long Way Gone by Charles Martin

• To Wager Her Heart by Tamera Alexander

• The Village that Slept by Monique Peyrouton de Ladebat (translated from French)

 Thanks!




What’s next for you?

I’m writing a novel set in Winterset, Iowa, home of the covered bridges of Madison County. This will be the first all-new novel published by the small press my husband created to re-release about twenty of my backlist titles, formerly published by Howard/Simon & Schuster, WaterBrook Press/Random House, Steeple Hill/Harlequin, and Bethany House/Baker. That novel will release next spring about the same time my first book in a new three-book series for Gilead Publishers is due on my editor’s desk. That series, The Chandler Sisters Novels, opens with Reason to Breathe. After writing five books in my Chicory Inn Novels series, I’m excited to be playing with all new characters and settings.

 Wonderful. That sounds like great idea. Especially since you get to team up with your spouse.



A Nest of Sparrows

Because of the Rain

Insight


The Face of the Earth

Almost Forever


DEBORAH RANEY’s first novel, A Vow to Cherish, inspired the World Wide Pictures film of the same title and launched Deb’s writing career. Twenty years, thirty books, and numerous awards later, she’s still creating stories that touch hearts and lives. She and husband, Ken, traded small-town life in Kansas for life in the friendly city of Wichita. They love traveling to visit four grown children and a growing brood of grandchildren who all live much too far away. Find out more about Deb’s newest release—Home at Last, the fifth and final novel in her award-winning Chicory Inn Novels series—at her website: www.deborahraney.com

 




CONNECT WITH DEBORAH RANEY

Amazon | Goodreads | Twitter | Website

 

 

 

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Enjoy Mystery and Thrillers? Come join us for Mystery Thriller Week Feb. 12-22nd 2018. Check out more info:  About MTW

 

 

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Benjamin Thomas

@thewritingtrain

http://www.mysterythrillerweek.com

Discussing The Strange Luck Series with Amie Irene Winters

 

 

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Strange Luck #1

 

 

 

 

thenightmarebirds-yafantasybook-bookcover.jpg

 

Strange Luck #2

 

 

 

 

A DARLING SECRET_AMIEIRENEWINTERS_FRONTCOVER

 

Strange Luck #3

 

 

 

 

 

Q&A

 

 

 

Where you a reader growing up?

Not so much. The main reason was because of the types of books that I was allowed to read. They weren’t very interesting, well-known, and almost all were religious. I dreaded reading because of this. It wasn’t until I was older that I discovered that not all books were dull and boring.
I remember that when I got my license, I regularly drove to Barnes & Noble to buy books (most in secret). Classics, poetry, non-fiction—I devoured all of them with enthusiasm.
Although I would have loved to read Harry Potter and The Chronicles of Narnia growing up, I think being deprived of good books has made me that much more appreciative of them today. I can’t imagine my life without reading now.

Same here. I’m glad you had a wonderful discovery later in life. Too many great books!

 

 

 

 

books-1837043_960_720

 

 

 
Was there anything in your background that influenced you to write later in life?



Reading the book Chocolat in college. It was the first time I had ever read a book that was filled with magic and whimsy. This launched my obsession with magical realism books, which led to my obsession with books about witches, which led to my obsession with fantasy books.

Nice. Once you read something you like, you’re hooked. 

 

 

 

~Reading is for awesome people~

 

 

 
Why did you choose fantasy for a debut novel?



Fantasy is my favorite genre to read because of the limitless possibilities. I love visiting other worlds. I love magic and supernatural entities. I love exploring things that I am afraid of. It seemed only fitting to write in the genre I love most.

Great! Limitless possibilities is fascinating! 

 

What made you move from California to Pennsylvania?

My husband teaches philosophy and got a position at a local university. Prior to PA, we lived in Florida and Colorado.
PA is my favorite place I’ve lived so far though. I absolutely love the seasons, especially fall. I also prefer living in a small country town versus a big bustling city.

Nice. There’s a certain kind of peace out in the countryside. 

 

 

 

 

countryside

 

 

 
Describe the decision to write a book after other job opportunities.



Creative writing was my favorite subject in grade school, but once I went to college and began to explore various job opportunities, writing fell by the wayside.
I eventually went on to work in corporate America and was miserable, so I started writing stories again as a way for me to relax from the grind.
It didn’t take me long to spark the passion I had lost for writing. I looked forward to my hobby at every opportunity. After I published my first book, Strange Luck, I knew that I wanted to dedicate my life to writing. Just as Chocolat inspired me, I can only hope that my books will do the same for my readers.

Ohhh. I can totally relate to this. 

 

 

Who is Daisy Darling and how do you relate to her?

Daisy Darling is a stubborn, quirky girl who wants to be a writer, but things keep getting in the way. She inherits her family’s antique shop, ends up in a mysterious world where her memories are stolen, and then accidentally becomes ringleader for an ancient and evil theater.
Many of Daisy’s quirks are similar to mine, and some of her experiences are based on things that have happened to me.

Cool. 

 
You can learn more here:

10 Things You Didn’t Know About Strange Luck

10 Things You Didn’t Know About The Nightmare Birds

 

Does she have a mentor that she confides in?



In each book, Daisy has a mentor that helps guide her. In Strange Luck, it was a time-traveling wizard. In The Nightmare Birds, it was a beautiful and immortal performer, but in A Darling Secret, Daisy finally learns how to harness her own strengths and therefore relies only on herself.

I like the progression here. 

 
Tell us about the upcoming release of A Darling Secret.

A Darling Secret is the conclusion to the series, where you’ll learn the fate of your favorite heroes and love-to- hate foes. It’s a little darker than The Nightmare Birds, with lots of occult themes, magic, and psychological games. My favorite! ��
I wanted this book to answer remaining questions and leave the reader with a satisfying sense of completion. I spent a lot of time talking to my readers to find out what they wanted to see happen, which characters they wanted to see more of, and what they liked most about the previous books. I hope my readers will enjoy the result.

Awesome. I love that you seek out feedback from your readers. 

 

 

 
What have you learned after writing your third book?

The more you write, the better you become at writing.

Amen to that. It’s simple yet profound.  

 

 

 

Write

 

 

 
Do you outline or construct character arcs?

When I write, I don’t plot everything out in advance. I have a very general idea of what I’m going to do and the rest I come up with as I go. For example, I wanted to write a book about a world built using stolen memories. That was the general idea I had for Strange Luck. The rest took form as I wrote. A lot of the time I don’t even know what is going to happen in the story or to my characters, but that’s part of the fun. All the themes I discuss in my books are important to me and are largely based on my own experiences/thoughts, like how we are our memories.

Exploring the plot as you go does sound interesting. 

 

What’s next after the Strange Luck series?

I plan to write a standalone psychological horror novel. Details to come.

Oh, do share when available. 

 

 

 

 

 

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Bio:

 

AmieIreneWinters-author-strangeluckseries.jpg

 

 
Amie Irene Winters was born and raised in California but now lives and writes in western Pennsylvania. She is the author of the award-winning Strange Luck series.
When not writing, she can be found hiking with her dog, baking desserts, or breaking a sweat in kickboxing class.

To learn more about Amie and her books, visit amieirenewinters.com.

 

 

Connect:

Website
Blog

Facebook

Twitter

 

 

Buy Links:

Amazon
Barnes & Noble

Book Depository

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Don’t be a stranger! Come back and see us!

 

 

 

 

Benjamin Thomas

@thewritingtrain

@MTW_2018

http://www.mysterythrillerweek.com

 

 

 

Mobile, Multimedia And An Audience Of Voracious Readers. Talking Wattpad With Ashleigh Gardner

IT’S TELEVISION TUESDAY!!

 

 

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Mobile, Multimedia And An Audience Of Voracious Readers. Talking Wattpad With Ashleigh Gardner

 

 

 

 

What do you think of Wattpad? Tell me in the comments!!

Benjamin Thomas

@thewritingtrain

http://www.mysterythrillerweek.com

http://www.audiospy.wordpress.com

 

 

 

Book Recommendations with Peruse Project

TELEVISION TUESDAY!

 

 

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July Wrap Up by Peruse Project

 

 

 

What was your July Wrap up like? Tell me in the comments!

Benjamin Thomas

@thewritingtrain

http://www.mysterythrillerweek.com

http://www.audiospy.wordpress.com

 

 

Talking Books with Sasha Alsberg

IT’S TELEVISION TUESDAY

 

 

 

TV in cartoon style with bright color

 

 

 

 

 

Talking books with Sasha Alsberg: June Wrap Up & July TBR!

 

 

 

 

 

What are you reading this month? Tell me in the comments!!

Benjamin Thomas

@thewritingtrain

http://www.mysterythrillerweek.com

BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS WITH SASHA ALSBERG

IT’S TELEVISION TUESDAY!!

BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS WITH SASHA ALSBERG

 

 

 

Stylish retro TV. More TV in my portfolio.

 

 

BOOKALICIOUS BOOK HAUL!

 

 

 

 

What are you reading this month? Tell me in the comments!!

Benjamin Thomas

@thewritingtrain

http://www.mysterythrillerweek.com

Book Recommendations With Regan

IT’S TELEVISION TUESDAY!

 

 

 

television-clker-3

 

 

 

June Book Recommendations with Regan

 

 

 

What are you reading this month? Tell me in the comments!!

Benjamin Thomas

@thewritingtrain

http://www.mysterythrillerweek.com

Books with Sasha Alsberg

TELEVISION TUESDAY WITH SASHA ALSBERG!

 

 

 

Television

 

 

 

 

 

BOOKS I’M EXCITED ABOUT!

 

 

 

 

 

What books are you excited about? Tell me in the comments!!

 

 

Benjamin Thomas

@thewritingtrain

http://www.mysterythrillerweek.com