Monday, September 1, 2014

Can You Have Too Many Books?


Do you have too many books? I don’t think you can ever have too many books, maybe just not enough room to house and display them all. But, I do think you can sometimes become overwhelmed by so many wonderful books coming out at the same time that you can’t possible read them all and keep up.

At least that’s where I find myself at times, like now.

Add to that all the amazing authors (from both traditional and non-traditional publishing) that I’d like to introduce you to or the authors we know and love that have another fascinating release out I’d like to tell you about. Here I feel even more like I’m losing ground. And that doesn’t include the book tours, launch day/cover blitz or blogfest, not to mention the popup special feature/giveaways, book news in general and so much more.

I’m not complaining, mind you, and I know fully well that I can’t participate or host everything that’s going on in the book world (even in a single genre of it). It’s a joy to know there’s so many great books out there and so many, many more being added each day. I just wish there was a way to share more of these terrific titles with you. Sometimes I have to group several things together (like reviews) to be able to tell you about them, but I don’t like bombarding you with too much at one time and I like to give author’s own space when possible.

Okay, I know I could have used today’s post to tell you about a couple of amazing audio books I just finished. Those will come a little later in the month. But, let’s face it – it’s a holiday here in the U.S. and I wasn’t sure if Thoughts would have that much traffic. Besides, I don’t get to do much rambling anymore and this seemed like a good day for it.

I am so very thankful to all the authors and publishers who provide me with such remarkable stories to read and listened to. I never want y’all to think otherwise. I’m also equally thankful to y’all for supporting Thoughts and I’m always delighted to hear your thoughts on how I can better provide book-related (or any) information to you.

While I may feel overwhelmed at times, I’ll keep trying to tell you about as many of the new books by favorite authors and new authors and their books as I can. Please always feel free to share any new books and/or authors you know about in the comments. I wish this blog template had the section for allowing the recent blog post link of those commenting like other templates I’ve seen. Maybe I need to change templates. Any suggestions?

Thanks for stopping by today. Hope you’re having a wonderful day whether you’re celebrating the holiday or not.

Now tell us what your TBR stack looks like – a couple of books, a stack higher than your head or so many books you don’t even want to begin to count? Do you collect books or do you give them away after reading them? If you have a large selection of books, how do you manage to store them all?

Happy reading all and be safe! HAPPY LABOR DAY!

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Happy Labor Day Weekend



 Happy Labor Day Weekend y’all. 

Hope everyone is enjoying a lazy day of fun, family and friendship (and of course, plenty of good food).

I’ll be back tomorrow with a regular post.

Sending hopes and wishes that you’re having a safe and happy time with your friends and family.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

THE TOOTHLESS TOOTH FAIRY by Shanelle Hicks


Toothless Tooth Fairy coverTHE TOOTHLESS TOOTH FAIRY is a charming tale about a competition among the tooth fairies for the Miss Tooth Fairy Smile Contest and how friendship is a powerful thing.

All most everyone was certain Bella would win the contest. Not only was she beautiful, but she was also kind. Zelda, the meanest of the tooth fairies, caused Bella to fall and in doing so she lost a front tooth. Zelda took the tooth and hide it.

Bella was upset, but decided to ‘borrow’ a tooth from a child scheduled to lose a tooth soon. However, she was unable to get a replacement tooth for herself. Upon returning Bella has cause to confront Zelda and learns she caused the accident and has her tooth. Zelda caused Bella to cry and Bella’s tears turned Zelda into an ugly witch. Feeling sorry for Zelda, Bella hugs her returning Zelda to a beautiful tooth fairy again. Through the kindness and concern, the two fairies become best friends and both winners of the contest.

The rich, colorful illustrations by Anca Delia Budeanu brings the story to life. The drawings capture the story and will hold youngsters’ attention as the events unfold.

This is a delightful story about showing kindness and concern for others, and that beautiful is more than just looks. THE TOOTHLESS TOOTH FAIRY is an excellent book to help youngsters understand about morals.

The Toothless Tooth Fairy by Shanelle Hicks, Illustrated by Anca Delia Budeanu, Mirror Publishing, @2014, ISBN: 978-1612251400, Paperback, 28 Pages, Ages: 3 - 9

FTC Full Disclosure – A digital copy of this book was sent to me by the author in hopes I would review it. However, receiving the complimentary copy did not influence my review. The thoughts are completely my own and given honestly and freely.

Thanks for stopping by today. Hope everyone is having a wonderful Saturday and if you’re celebrating the Labor Day holiday weekend, be safe and have fun. Do you have a tooth fairy tale to share?

*This post contains affiliate links.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Brewing Up Murder {+ Giveaway}



9780425255513_large_Billionaire_BlendThe love of coffee lead me to a marvelous cozy murder mystery series which lead me to an amazing author who lead me to blogging. So I’m delighted today to welcome award-winning author Cleo Coyle here to talk about BILLIONAIRE BLEND, the 13th installment in her Coffeehouse Mystery series that was recently released in paperback.

Cleo will be joining us to talk about ‘Brewing Up Murder.’ In addition, thanks to Cleo and the lovely Danielle at Penguin Group, I have a copy of BILLIONAIRE BLEND to giveaway. Please see the end of the post for more details.

Please join me in giving a warm welcome to Cleo as she brews up murder. Welcome, Cleo.

“Pluck” is a word I usually associate with chickens. On the other hand, Booklist was kind enough to describe my amateur sleuth as having pluck, a valid observation because Clare Cosi may be many things, but she is no chicken.

A divorced, single mom in her forties, Clare is like many of the women I grew up admiring in my big Italian-American family. Smart and determined with a sturdy backbone, Clare also has a generous spirit and enough ingenuity to cook mouth-watering feasts (and raise a daughter) on a shoestring budget.

By day, Clare manages a charming landmark coffeehouse in New York’s Greenwich Village. By night, she is a relentless snoop, who displays quite a bit of pluck in BILLIONAIRE BLEND, the latest entry in my Coffeehouse Mystery series.

When a car bomb goes off outside Clare’s charming shop, she comes to the aid of an anonymous customer, an intense young man who turns out to be billionaire tech whiz Eric Thorner. Eric is so grateful to Clare for saving his life that he hires her to create the most expensive coffee blend on the planet. But as Clare is pulled deeper into Eric's world of cutting-edge luxuries and cutthroat rivalries, she begins to wonder: Is this brilliant CEO marked for termination? Or is he the one making a killing? 

To solve this case, Clare will have to bribe an NYPD bomb squad lieutenant; conjure up a menu for a “billionaire's potluck”; fix her daughter's love life; stop a Slayer while working with one; and stay alive while doing it. 

By the end of BILLIONAIRE BLEND, you'll have taken a trip with Clare to an exclusive millionaire’s club, flown with her to a bohemian Paris neighborhood, visited some of the most intriguing coffee growing regions of the world—and uncovered the dark motives behind several murders.
Recipes_BillionaireBlend_CleoCoyle 
Because this is a “culinary” mystery, you will also have over 20 fantastic recipes to try in your own kitchen, including a list of Clare’s secret off-the-menu coffeehouse drinks, as well as tasty foods enjoyed by the characters in the book, namely: 
 

Clare's Billionaire Bars
Baileys Irish Cream and Caramel Nut Fudge
Perfect Pumpkin Spice Muffins
Chocolate-Bottom Banana Bars
French Apple Cake Squares
Italian Beignets
Copycat Twinkie Cupcakes
Make your own Kahlua
Skillet Lasagna
"Coffee Hunter" Ugandan Stew
Crunchy Almond Biscotti (easy food processor method)
Quesa Fundido (Mexican Hot Cheese Dip) and more...


One last note for new readers: Although BILLIONAIRE BLEND is the 13th book in my Coffeehouse Mystery series—now celebrating ten years in print—you can read it as a stand-alone novel. If you enjoy the characters, you can read more about them in the previous books. 

To download a free title checklist of all 13 Coffeehouse Mysteries, in order, including brief story summaries, click here

And please feel free to friend me on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/CleoCoyle or sign up for my newsletter by writing an email that says “sign me up” and sending it to CoffeehouseMystery(at)gmail(dot)com.

May you read with joy!
~ Cleo

Cleo, thanks so much for joining us today and sharing this look at brewing up murder. From the adventures Clare has been on, I’d say she is far from being chicken. Just a note to also say I was so sorry to hear of Turtle passing away. She was a beautiful cat.

Now for those who aren’t familiar with Cleo, here’s a little background that may surprise you.

CLEO COYLE is really the pseudonym for Alice Alfonsi, writing in collaboration with her husband, Marc Cerasini. Their latest mystery, BILLIONAIRE BLEND, earned a starred review from Kirkus, a “Top Pick” honor from RT Book Reviews, and this month Berkley released the book in mass market paperback. 

When not haunting coffeehouses, hunting ghosts, or rescuing stray cats, Alice and Marc are New York Times bestselling media tie-in writers who have penned properties for NBC, Lucasfilm, Disney, Fox, Imagine, Marvel, and MGM. 

They live and work in New York City, where they not only write the bestselling Coffeehouse Mysteries, but also the popular Haunted Bookshop Mysteries. To learn more, and sign up for Cleo’s newsletter, visit her website: www.CoffeehouseMystery.com

Here’s a Coffeehouse Mystery series book trailer for your viewing pleasure.
 


GIVEAWAY DETAILS:

This giveaway is for one print copy of BILLIONAIRE BLEND. The giveaway is open to U.S. residents only and will end Monday, Sept. 7.

To enter, just click on the Rafflecopter widget below and following the instructions. The widget may take a few seconds to load, so please be patient. The winner from this giveaway will have 72 hours to respond after being contacted or another winner will be selected. The email will have ‘Thoughts in Progress Cleo Coyle’s Tour’ in the subject line, just so you know what to watch for (in case it goes into your spam folder).

Thanks so much for stopping by during Cleo’s visit. In case you’re wondering about the opening line – Alice is the one who encouraged me to start this blog back in 2009. Do you like hanging out in coffeehouses? Clare creates all sorts of wonderful coffee blends. What’s your favorite coffee blend or do you prefer just plain coffee (with maybe cream and/or sugar)?

*This post contains affiliate links. a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Off The Shelf: Dear Daughter {+ Giveaway}


Dear Daughter coverThe book I’m taking off the shelf today to talk about – DEAR DAUGHTER - is a thrilling debut novel by Elizabeth Little that tells the story of Jane Jenkins, glamorous and well-loathed celebutante, who was convicted of murdering her mother but has no memory of the night it happened.

Thanks to the lovely Angie at Viking/Penguin, I have a copy of DEAR DAUGHTER to giveaway. Please see the end of the post for more details.

DEAR DAUGHTER was released earlier this month and here’s what others are already saying about:

      Bestselling author Tana French called it “an all-nighter, and the best debut mystery I've read in a long time" and Kate Atkinson (author of Life After Life) called it “a really gutsy, clever, energetic read, often unexpected, always entertaining…In the world of crime novels, Dear Daughter is a breath of fresh air.”
      “Little makes a thrilling debut with this gripping read. Fans of Tana French and Gillian Flynn are going to enjoy the smart narrator and the twists and turns in the case. ” Library Journal (Starred Review)
      “Agatha Christie meets Kim Kardashian in this sharp-edged, tart-tongued, escapist thriller. . . A stylishly written tale that plays off our culture's obsession with celebrity scandal.” Kirkus Reviews
      “Janie keeps them all guessing . . .  An unusual protagonist who will intrigue readers who favor strong, smart women.” Booklist
      “Little effectively intersperses outside perspective in the form of emails, text messages, and other communications in Jane’s entertainingly caustic first-person narrative.” Publishers Weekly

DEAR DAUGHTER is sure to be one of the hottest debuts of the summer with foreign rights already sold in ten countries. This is a page-turning novel that explores how pathological and dangerous a mother and daughter’s relationship can become, just as Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl did for a marriage.

Here’s a brief summary of the thriller:

        Ten years ago, Janie Jenkins, a sly and stunning celebutante at the height of her fame, was convicted of murdering her mother, even though she has no memory of that fateful night. Now, released on a technicality into a world utterly convinced of her guilt, Janie chops off her trademark hair and goes undercover. She follows her one lead to a small town in South Dakota, where she hopes she will find the truth about what really happened—even if that means confirming once and for all that she really is a killer.
        With the help of some new friends (and the town’s wary police chief), Janie follows a series of clues and pieces together the surprising picture of her mother's past that forces her to consider the possibility that her mother wasn't the perfect society philanthropist everyone believed her to be. On the run from the press, the police, and maybe even a murderer, Janie must choose between the anonymity she craves, and the truth she so desperately needs.
        As Elizabeth Little guides us through the events leading up to the novel’s shocking conclusion, we can’t help but root for the complex, deeply-layered Janie, even as we join her in questioning her own innocence.  A gripping, electrifying debut novel with an ingenious and like-it-or-not sexy protagonist, DEAR DAUGHTER follows every twist and turn as Janie unravels the mystery of what happened the night her mother died—whatever the cost.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Elizabeth Little is the author of the nonfiction books Biting the Wax Tadpole: Confessions of a Language Fanatic and Trip of the Tongue: Cross-Country Travels in Search of America's Languages. Her work has appeared in the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, and she has been a guest on NPR’s All Things Considered, The World, and Here and Now.

A graduate of Harvard University, she grew up in St. Louis and now lives in Los Angeles with her family.

For more information about Elizabeth and her writing, visit her website and connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

GIVEAWAY DETAILS: 

This giveaway is for one print copy of DEAR DAUGHTER. The giveaway is open to U.S. residents only and will end Friday, Sept. 5 

To enter, just click on the Rafflecopter widget below and following the instructions. The widget may take a few seconds to load, so please be patient. The winner from this giveaway will have 72 hours to respond after being contacted or another winner will be selected. The email will have ‘Thoughts in Progress Dear Daughter’ in the subject line, just so you know what to watch for (in case it goes into your spam folder).

Thanks for stopping by today. I hope I’ve enticed you to check out DEAR DAUGHTER as it is an enthralling read. Does the ‘no memory’ aspect of the murder tempt you to find out more?

*This post contains affiliate links. a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

A Little Night Murder {+ Giveaway}


A Little Night Murder coverAn accidental murder causes major gossip in the newest Blackbird Sisters mystery, A LITTLE NIGHT MURDER, by Nancy Martin. I’m delighted to welcome Nancy here today to share a bit of ‘gossip’ about herself.

When the daughter of aging Broadway diva Boom Boom Tuttle is found dead in place of her mother, the original target, Nora Blackbird and her wacky sisters have to deal with the drama of the high-profile murder case in this 10th installment of the Blackbird Sisters Mystery series. Thanks to Nancy and the lovely Kayleigh at Penguin Group, I have a copy of this fascinating tale to giveaway. Please see the end of the post for more details.

Here’s a brief summary of A LITTLE NIGHT MURDER:

Murder under the stars...
          Nora Blackbird—pregnant at last!—is spending summer afternoons wallowing in the Bucks County pool of her best friend, Lexie Paine, who has just been released from prison. At night, Nora is covering Philadelphia’s high-society events for the local newspaper. And this time she doesn’t have to look far for a good story.
          Next door, a Broadway show is in rehearsal at the estate of Toodles Tuttle, the long-deceased but ever-legendary composer. Reigning over the estate is Toodles’s diva widow, Boom Boom. The demanding old broad still rules with an iron fist, and considering the chorus line of enemies she’s racked up over the years, her death has been a hotly anticipated event. So imagine everyone’s dismay when it’s her beloved daughter, Jenny, who drops dead—from a cause that is anything but natural—just as the lights are set to go on for the lucrative new Toodles musical.
          Yet murder is only an overture to the drama to come....
          Nora’s sister Libby, a soon-to-be-grandmother, has gotten herself into a sticky situation, wooed by both a lowly bug exterminator and a cheesecake-loving Broadway impresario. Edgy sister Emma has a dangerous new boyfriend who may jeopardize her show-jumping exploits. And the love of Nora’s life, Mick Abruzzo, has been desperate to prevent Nora from meeting the most notorious member of his mobbed-up family—his mother.
          Now Nora has to deal with the bump-and-grind of her personal life, and also bring the curtain down on a daring killer—before he forces her to exit stage left, permanently.
 
Please join me in giving a warm welcome to Nancy as she graciously answers some gossipy questions. Welcome, Nancy.

Mason - Where do you do most of your writing?  


Nancy:
Once upon a time, I saw a photo of Mary Higgins Clark in her lovely study--yellow chintz everywhere, tidy bookcases, an immaculate desk, sunlight streaming from tall windows. But alas, I write in a recliner with my laptop on my knees, in my living room, which is very pretty and has lots of light, but no chintz. And my books and Post-It notes are thrown all over the place. I have a view out the window to see what's going on in the neighborhood.


Mason - Are there specific things you need to have around you as you work? What do you love most about your workspace? If you have a desk, do you have any favorite objects on your desk or things you use often?  


Nancy:
My desk is where the desktop computer is, where I do my business, but not really much writing. We bought this house because it was built by a federal judge, and I commandeered his library for my office, so I am surrounded by books--some dating back to when I was a kid and first fell in love with stories. I have the fat, single-volume encyclopedia my dad took to college in 1939. In it, Hitler is a small-time politician, so it's good for history, but not much else. 



Hanging across from my desk is a photo of Mr. Rogers who was a friend of the family. (Among my favorite Mr. Rogers lines:  "Girls are fancy on the inside." Which I choose to think of as a different kind of metaphor than he intended.) At my elbow, I keep a statue of Buddha with the hope his serenity will influence me, and on the other side I have a silver urn stuffed with pencils and a magic wand from a birthday party and a magic feather that fell from the sky into my lap many years ago, and I took it as a sign I should keep close. The rest of my desk is littered with Post-it notes. I keep Post-It notepads all over the house and write little snippets of dialogue on them as they occur to me, or maybe strong, pithy words that I noticed in my reading. By the end of a book project, I am ankle-deep in Post-It notes. My desk is currently awash in them.

Mason - What’s your writing beverage? What do you love to drink while you’re writing?  


Nancy:
My favorite beverage used to be gin and tonic. Light on the tonic. Now it's Diet Coke. Do I write better now? Well, at least I'm in a better state to make that call.


Mason - What are some of your worst writing distractions?  


Nancy:
I gave up all computer games. I had to go cold turkey.  


Mason - What was the last book you read or movie you saw?  


Nancy:
I just read Ann B. Ross's ETTA MAE'S WORST, BAD-LUCK DAY and Rainbow Rowell's ATTACHMENTS---both from very different worlds, with very different kinds of characters, but both so beguiling. I was charmed by both. As for movies---if you mean first-run movies in a theater---the less said the better. I think we have all become numb to horrible violence.


Mason - Are you currently working on any new projects readers can be looking for?  


Nancy:
I am, but I don't want to jinx it. I worry about the karma. It's almost finished, though, so I'll know soon.
 
Nancy, thanks for joining us today and sharing a bit about yourself. I just recently finished reading and reviewing ETTA MAE’S WORST BAD-LUCK DAY too. It was a mesmerizing read. 

Now for those who aren’t familiar with Nancy, here’s a little background on her.

Nancy Martin is the winner of the 2009 Lifetime Achievement award for mystery writing from Romantic Times magazine.


Author of 48 pop fiction novels in mystery, suspense, historical and romance genres, Nancy created The Blackbird Sisters in 2002--- mysteries about three impoverished Main Line heiresses who adventure in couture and crime--as if “Agatha Christie had wandered onto the set of Sex and The City.” 

Nominated for the Agatha Award for Best First Mystery of 2002, HOW TO MURDER A MILLIONAIRE won the RT award for Best First Mystery and was a finalist for the Daphne DuMaurier Award. Nancy has also written the Roxy Abruzzo mystery series for St. Martin’s Minotaur, FOXY ROXY and STICKY FINGERS.

Nancy lives in Pittsburgh, serves on the board of Sisters in Crime and is a founding member of Pennwriters. 

For more on Nancy and her writing, visit her website, connect with her on Facebook, and check out her boards on Pinterest.

GIVEAWAY DETAILS:


This giveaway is for one print copy of A LITTLE NIGHT MURDER. The giveaway is open to U.S. residents only and will end Thursday, Sept. 4. 

To enter, just click on the Rafflecopter widget below and following the instructions. The widget may take a few seconds to load, so please be patient. The winner from this giveaway will have 72 hours to respond after being contacted or another winner will be selected. The email will have ‘Thoughts in Progress Nancy Martin’s Tour’ in the subject line, just so you know what to watch for (in case it goes into your spam folder).

Thanks so much for stopping by during Nancy’s visit. Do you have a favorite place to write (whether it is writing books, letters or notes)? What would be your ideal place to write?

*This post contains affiliate links. a Rafflecopter giveaway