THE UNDERTAKER’S DAUGHTER by SARA BLAEDEL

The Undertaker's Daughter (Ilka #1)

“Sara Blaedel is a force to be reckoned with. She’s a remarkable crime writer who time and again delivers a solid, engaging story that any reader in the world can enjoy.” -Karin Slaughter

“One can count on emotional engagement, spine-tingling suspense, and taut storytelling from Sara Blaedel.”-Sandra Brown

Already widowed by the age of forty, Ilka Nichols Jensen, a school portrait photographer, leads a modest, regimented, and uneventful life in Copenhagen. Until unexpected news rocks her quiet existence: Her father–who walked out suddenly and inexplicably on the family more than three decades ago–has died. And he’s left her something in his will: his funeral home. In Racine, Wisconsin.

Clinging to this last shred of communication from the father she hasn’t heard from since childhood, Ilka makes an uncharacteristically rash decision and jumps on a plane to Wisconsin. Desperate for a connection to the parent she never really knew, she plans to visit the funeral home and go through her father’s things–hoping for some insight into his new life in America–before preparing the business for a quick sale.

But when she stumbles on an unsolved murder, and a killer who seems to still be very much alive, the undertaker’s daughter realizes she might be in over her head . . .

Blaedel introduces us to a new character, Ilke Jensen, living in Denmark, keeping up with her late husband’s school photography business. A young widow, whose father left for America early on leaving her mother to handle the funeral business he ran.

When she must go to America when he dies to handle his affairs, she discovers he was also in the funeral business in Racine, Wisconsin. Now she must clear his debts and decide if she will sell or not. And it is obvious her step-mother and half sisters want nothing to do with the funeral home or her.

And when the dead won’t stay where they belong, the mystery deepens. With no one to trust or lean on and in a foreign country as well, Ilke is having second thoughts on even being in the U.S.

This should be a good new series. Ilke is straightforward. To the point. I like that. Now I have to wait for the next one. And there most certainly will be a next one!

Netgalley/Grand Central Publishing Feb. 06, 2018

 

Debut Author Corbin M. Cowan

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Today I want to introduce to you my latest favorite author. Corbin. He’s 5 and he is obsessed with snowmen. My office can attest to that as they are all over the walls.

I’m proud to say that the love of my life has now written a book. See there was a reason he needed that printer for Christmas!  As I said he is 5 and likes animals, swimming, and being Spiderman in his spare time away from Pre-K. His favorite food is chicken with a whole wheat breading and pomme frites with a tomato sauce reduction. Yes, that is chicken nuggets.

He has an imagination that is so great to see these days. And we foster that.

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Here is a look at his writing process. His mom even made a video of the final product for us.  He hand writes everything and uses only markers as his hands are small and pencils hurt.

 

As you can see, his edits are complete and he is on to the sequel. We will be entertaining all offers of representation for the book and the film rights.  Just message us!

xx Patricia   Enjoy!

NEED TO KNOW by Karen Cleveland

Need to Know

In pursuit of a Russian sleeper cell on American soil, a CIA analyst uncovers a dangerous secret that will test her loyalty to the agency—and to her family.

What do you do when everything you trust might be a lie?

Vivian Miller is a dedicated CIA counterintelligence analyst assigned to uncover the leaders of Russian sleeper cells in the United States. On track for a much-needed promotion, she’s developed a system for identifying Russian agents, seemingly normal people living in plain sight.

After accessing the computer of a potential Russian operative, Vivian stumbles on a secret dossier of deep-cover agents within America’s borders. A few clicks later, everything that matters to her—her job, her husband, even her four children—are threatened.

Vivian has vowed to defend her country against all enemies, foreign and domestic. But now she’s facing impossible choices. Torn between loyalty and betrayal, allegiance and treason, love and suspicion, who can she trust?

Who can she trust? Not a soul!

From the outside they look like your average family. Parents who love each other, their children and their jobs. Juggling life much as we all do. And they are. Or they were. Or is it all just an illusion?

I think what makes this such a good thriller is that not only is the premise possible but it is actually probable! Russian sleeper cells, the Feds, the CIA, the entire story is taut with suspense.

How far would you go to protect your family unit? To keep the illusion alive?

My issue with the book is how did someone who is a counterterrorism analyst for the CIA be so oblivious to her own personal life? From the beginning she seems disconnected from her children, and she keeps saying how much she wants to quit work and stay at home with them, but she is so easily manipulated by her husband that in the end all I could say was “I knew it.” I’m sure this will make a great movie, it is written very much like one.

Netgalley/Random House   January 23, 2018

Melanie Benjamin presents THE GIRLS IN THE PICTURE a Novel

The Girls in the Picture

An intimate portrait of the close friendship and powerful creative partnership between two of Hollywood’s earliest female superstars: Frances Marion and Mary Pickford. An enchanting new novel from the New York Times bestselling author of The Swans of Fifth Avenue and The Aviator’s Wife.

Hollywood, 1914. Frances Marion, a young writer desperate for a break, meets “America’s Sweetheart,” Mary Pickford, already making a name for herself both on and off the screen with her golden curls and lively spirit. Together, these two women will take the movie business by storm.

Mary Pickford becomes known as the “Queen of the Movies”—the first actor to have her name on a movie marquee, and the first to become a truly international celebrity. Mary and her husband, Douglas Fairbanks, were America’s first Royal Couple, living in a home more famous that Buckingham Palace. Mary won the first Academy Award for Best Actress in a Talkie and was the first to put her hand and footprints in Grauman’s theater sidewalk. Her annual salary in 1919 was $625,000—at a time when women’s salaries peaked at $10 a week. Frances Marion is widely considered one of the most important female screenwriters of the 20th century, and was the first writer to win multiple Academy Awards. The close personal friendship between the two stars was closely linked to their professional collaboration and success.

This is a novel about power: the power of women during the exhilarating early years of Hollywood, and the power of forgiveness. It’s also about the imbalance of power, then and now, and the sacrifices and compromises women must make in order to succeed. And at its heart, it’s a novel about the power of female friendship.

As a fan of old movies, this was a story I read with delight! From the very beginning of the film industry until 1969 we follow the stories of Frances Marion and Mary Pickford. While the author makes it clear that there is truth and fiction mixed in and she has done a wonderful job of splicing the two.

All of the big names are here, Douglas Fairbanks, the Gish sisters, Charlie Chaplin and so many more. This is a powerful story of women in a time when they were treated as inferior. And much like today, the film industry had its share of powerful men who took full advantage of the young actors flocking to California with dreams of becoming a star. The story couldn’t be more relevant than right now. Basically we see not much has changed for a lot of women in the industry.

But Frances and Mary take charge of their own fate and create their own stories. One who has been acting since she was a child, becoming the bread-winner early in her life and one who wanted to write and film stories with strong women and neither ever backed down. A book of strong woman and the inequality between women and men then and now.

From the first “flickers’ to the first talkies and color, this book was stunning!

Netgalley/Delacorte Press January 16, 2018

TWO GIRLS DOWN by LOUISA LUNA

Two Girls Down

As addictive, cinematic, and binge-worthy a narrative as The Wire and The KillingTwo Girls Down introduces Louisa Luna as a thriller writer of immense talent and verve.

When two young sisters disappear from a strip mall parking lot in a small Pennsylvania town, their devastated mother hires an enigmatic bounty hunter, Alice Vega, to help find the girls. Immediately shut out by a local police department already stretched thin by budget cuts and the growing Oxycontin and meth epidemic, Vega enlists the help of a disgraced former cop, Max Caplan. Cap is a man trying to put the scandal of his past behind him and move on, but Vega needs his help to find the girls, and she will not be denied.

With little to go on, Vega and Cap will go to extraordinary lengths to untangle a dangerous web of lies, false leads, and complex relationships to find the girls before time runs out, and they are gone forever.

It’s always a good thing when you try a new author, at least new to me, and you get a good, gritty crime thriller!

When mom Jamie, leaves her 8 and 10-year-old daughters in the car to run in for a quick birthday gift, the girls disappear.  Her parents hire Alice Vega, who has a reputation for finding children. Shut out by the local cops, she hooks up with Cap, a former cop who took the fall for a friend.

There were so many plot twists you couldn’t put it down even if you wanted to. Which I did not.

All of the characters were real, honest and imperfect. And I loved them all. I can only hope that the author gives us more!

Thanks Netgalley/Doubleday    Release Date January 9, 2018

THE WIFE BETWEEN US BY GREER HENDRICKS AND SARAH PEKKANEN

The Wife Between Us

A novel of suspense that explores the complexities of marriage and the dangerous truths we ignore in the name of love. 

When you read this book, you will make many assumptions.
You will assume you are reading about a jealous wife and her obsession with her replacement.
You will assume you are reading about a woman about to enter a new marriage with the man she loves.
You will assume the first wife was a disaster and that the husband was well rid of her.
You will assume you know the motives, the history, the anatomy of the relationships.
Assume nothing.

It is very rare for me to give a book a 5 star rating. But I’m here to tell you that I am giving it to this one!

The blurb above says it all. Assume nothing. So there is really very little I want to say in this review that would spoil one second of you reading this and being as shocked out of your mind as I was. There is no figuring this one out on page one. I was figuring this one out until the last page.

If Suspense Thrillers/Psychological Thrillers are your genre, you are in for a massive treat with this one. I read it all at once. I just couldn’t stop. I certainly hope there will be more from the authors!

Netgalley/St.Martin’s Press   January 09, 2018

A Wedding At Two Love Lane by Kieran Kramer

A Wedding At Two Love Lane

Never say never when it comes to love.

Greer Jones has made a real name for herself at the elegant matchmaking agency Two Love Lane. For a lot of reasons—including a past engagement she broke off—practical tech expert Greer is more interested in the business of love than the experience of it, but she can’t help but covet a gorgeous wedding gown that’s the prize in an upcoming cocktail-party contest. In a moment of brazen inspiration, Greer asks a handsome Brit she’s only just met to accompany her to the party. He agrees—and Greer believes her date is a starving artist. Little does she know the truth. . .

Ford Smith, as he calls himself, is actually Stanford Elliott Wentworth Smythe, the Eighth Baron of Wickshire. Fresh off a breakup with a money-grubbing siren who deceived him all the way to the altar, Ford has no desire to fall in love—especially with Greer who, like the desired wedding gown, is beautiful but only skin-deep. But soon Ford realizes that there’s more to Greer than meets the eye. Her professionalism is matched only by her passion for life and love. . .and, best of all, she has no idea that he’s to the manor born. Could it be that true love is priceless after all?

This is the second book in the Two Love Lane series. In the first book Macy finds love and now it looks as if it could be Greer’s turn!

The entire funny, quirky, and charming characters that make up Two Love Lane are back and they haven’t changed a bit! I love every one of these characters.

The future bride contest to win the Royal Bliss gown, a wedding gown with a magical history, is narrowed down to five women. One of whom is engaged to Greer’s ex! They must all compete in three challenges and the winner takes the dress.

Now the only issue is who she can persuade to be her pretend groom. And when it comes down to decision time, will she choose the dress or the Englishman?

Lovely story! This one comes out January 02, 2018  St. Martins Press/Netgalley

 

The Slave-Trader’s Letter-Book by Jim Jordan ( University of Georgia Press)

n 1858 Savannah businessman Charles Lamar, in violation of U.S. law, organized the shipment of hundreds of Africans on the luxury yacht Wanderer to Jekyll Island, Georgia. The four hundred survivors of the Middle Passage were sold into bondage. This was the first successful documented slave landing in the United States in about four decades and shocked a nation already on the path to civil war.

In 1886 the North American Review published excerpts from thirty of Lamar’s letters from the 1850s, reportedly taken from his letter book, which describe his criminal activities. However, the authenticity of the letters was in doubt until very recently. In 2009, researcher Jim Jordan found a cache of private papers belonging to Charles Lamar’s father, stored for decades in an attic in New Jersey. Among the documents was Charles Lamar’s letter book, confirming him as the author.

This book has two parts. The first recounts the flamboyant and reckless life of Lamar himself, including Lamar’s involvement in southern secession, the slave trade, and a plot to overthrow the government of Cuba. A portrait emerges at odds with Lamar’s previous image as a savvy entrepreneur and principled rebel. Instead, we see a man who was often broke and whose volatility sabotaged him at every turn. His involvement in the slave trade was driven more by financial desperation than southern defiance. The second part presents the “Slave-Trader’s Letter-Book.” Together with annotations, these seventy long-lost letters shed light on the lead-up to the Civil War from the remarkable perspective of a troubled, and troubling, figure.

As a history buff and researcher, this title appealed to me right away. I am from the Brunswick/Jekyll Island area and my family has been there since before we were a country.

Lamar is a reckless and troubled man. Having his livelihood pretty much handed to him by his father, he proceeds to run every business he touches into the ground.

The book give the reader quite a bit of information that even I haven’t seen before. These letters are a valuable piece of history not only for Georgia but for the entire country. I would hope that this information would be widely spread in our schools.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone searching for answers about our beginnings and what almost tore our country apart.

Netgalley/University of Georgia Press  January Release.

Altered To Death by Christina Freeburn

Altered to Death (A Faith Hunter Scrap This Mystery, #6)

Number 6 in the Faith Hunter Scrap This Mystery Series

Even knee-deep in planning her wedding, Faith Hunter finds herself distracted by the town scrapbook she was commissioned to create. Eden’s oldest mystery, the founding family’s exodus nearly a hundred years ago, remains unsolved. When a search through the family’s abandoned mansion leads to the uncovering of bones on the property and ex-boyfriend Steve Davis announces a surprise heir has staked a claim, Faith is determined to dig up the truth left behind.

Meanwhile, family friend Wyatt Buford asks Faith to look into his deadbeat father’s disappearing act and his connection to the murder. Her quest for answers unearths secrets past and present that some would prefer stay buried at any cost. Faith’s resolve to present the facts and nothing but about Eden’s history could lead to her own future being cut short.

Faith has a lot on her mind. Planning a wedding, running Scrap This with her grandmother, deciding where to live when the groom comes complete with teen daughter. And yet she is determined to find out what happened to the Everton family and why they all left town never to return. Since she is already doing a scrapbook of the town’s history, she has a lot of material to go through and when she finds the oldest Everton girl’s diary, she sticks her pert little nose right in!

But a lot of people  have secrets hidden in Eden. And they aren’t above knocking off Faith or anyone else who gets in their way!

This was a book full of interesting and memorable characters. A mystery, a story of families and perceptions and long-held secrets.

Great Job!

Netgalley/Henery Press Mystery November 28, 2017

Sweet Tea and Sympathy ( A Southern Eclectic Novel) by Molly Harper

Gallery Books Release on November 21st.

Sweet Tea and Sympathy (Southern Eclectic, #1)

Beloved author Molly Harper launches a brand-new contemporary romance series, Southern Eclectic, with this story of a big-city party planner who finds true love in a small Georgia town.

Nestled on the shore of Lake Sackett, Georgia is the McCready Family Funeral Home and Bait Shop. (What, you have a problem with one-stop shopping?) Two McCready brothers started two separate businesses in the same building back in 1928, and now it’s become one big family affair. And true to form in small Southern towns, family business becomes everybody’s business.

Margot Cary has spent her life immersed in everything Lake Sackett is not. As an elite event planner, Margot’s rubbed elbows with the cream of Chicago society, and made elegance and glamour her business. She’s riding high until one event goes tragically, spectacularly wrong. Now she’s blackballed by the gala set and in dire need of a fresh start—and apparently the McCreadys are in need of an event planner with a tarnished reputation.

As Margot finds her footing in a town where everybody knows not only your name, but what you had for dinner last Saturday night and what you’ll wear to church on Sunday morning, she grudgingly has to admit that there are some things Lake Sackett does better than Chicago—including the dating prospects. Elementary school principal Kyle Archer is a fellow fish-out-of-water who volunteers to show Margot the picture-postcard side of Southern living. The two of them hit it off, but not everybody is happy to see an outsider snapping up one of the town’s most eligible gentleman. Will Margot reel in her handsome fish, or will she have to release her latest catch?

Molly Harper is well known for her Half-Moon Hollow books. Paranormal romance in a small Kentucky town.

Her titles never fail to crack me up! And since she is a former humor columnist that is no surprise. This new Southern Eclectic is definitely something I can get behind.

Being a Georgia girl myself, the title kind of jumped right out at me and I just knew this was going to be good. And it is.

Chicago and small town Georgia are about as far apart as you can get in a lot of ways.

I don’t think anywhere in Chicago you would find the bait store next to the funeral home, but it works.

The McCready family is full of loveable characters. Even though Margot comes to town at the behest of a family she doesn’t remember, she quickly falls in love with her cousins and aunts and uncles and maybe even the hot new principal.

She may even find out why her father never followed her mother when his wife just up and left with Margot. Could they get another chance to be family? Or will she hightail it out of there as soon as a better opportunity comes along?

These are smart, witty and downright hilarious characters and I laughed right along with everyone else!

A good read about family, assumptions, and the love of family!

This book will be out November 21st.

Netgalley/Gallery