Thursday, January 30, 2020

My Favorite Reads of 2019 ~ #amreading #books #FridayReads #Kindle

Time for my annual round-up of my favorite reads of 2019!  As the term "annual" suggests, I do this every year, or at least I have for as long as I've been blogging.  I tend to get most of my book recommendations from suggestions, whether it's from a friend, social media, or a list, so I like to share my own list each January.

According to Goodreads, I read (and listened to) a total of 36 books this year.  Not too bad considering writing and editing my own books takes a lot of time.  I'm thrilled my own 2019 release, The Haunting of Hillwood Farm, has made it onto best book lists or won awards this year at five different review sites!  If you enjoy romantic suspense and/or ghost mysteries, I hope you'll give it a try!  This title is now on Audible too.

I should give a shout-out to Dangerous Currents steamy second-chance Romantic Suspense made it into Cape Cod's 2019 In Season Magazine as a book store recommended read!

For this post, I usually pick five to seven books I really enjoyed and separate them out by genres, and link prior years as well at the bottom.  I should note that while I read many genres, I'm primarily drawn to Gothic, dark, and atmospheric stories.  Not particularly surprising since I write eerie ghost mysteries, but in my novels, I like to balance out the spooky with romance...which by definition, to be published as a romance, must have a "Happily Ever After" for the two main characters.  But since I have lots of books on this list that are not romance, I'll point out that HEAs are not guaranteed for the other genre listings! 

I'm leaving out the Romance genre this year, because my policy on these annual posts is that I cannot know the author of a book I choose, or have any relationship other than being a fan of his or her work...I don't want to pick amongst friends or have any bias for this blog series.  That said, I'll note when a title had romantic elements.

Historical Fiction: White Rose, Black Forest by Eoin Dempsey

Set in Hitler's Germany, this book contains not just elements of fascinating historical fiction, but also romance and suspense.  Franka is a German citizen and a member of the Nazi resistance, hiding out in her family's summer cabin in the Black Forest.  When she finds an injured Nazi airman, her medical training and her innate compassion compel her to bring him to the isolated cabin.  Without going into spoilers, the external conflict between the main characters is unique and intense, with life-threatening consequences for each of them as they struggle with whom to trust with their secrets.  The desire to learn each character's past, along with the chillingly suspenseful scenes, kept the pages turning rapidly.   

Legal Thriller: Miracle Creek by Angie Kim

The premise of this book is a trial following a fatal explosion at a privately-owned alternative-medicine treatment facility.  Who was responsible, and was it murder?  A lot of people have described this book as something similar to what would happen if Celeste Ng (author of Little Fires Everywhere and Everything I Never Told You) wrote a legal thriller, and that feels accurate.  It blends mystery, courtroom drama, and family secrets and dynamics while also exploring subjects like caring for special needs children, adapting to America as immigrants, and marriage and parenting.  A lot is packed into this novel, along with beautiful, emotional writing.  

Psychological Suspense/Horror:  Here to Stay by Mark Edwards

It's nearly impossible to look away as a newly married couple's life spirals into a horrific disaster when the wife's family comes to stay for a short visit.  As the title suggests, the visitors actually have no intention of leaving, and the situation goes from bad to worse as mysteries surface, tragedies occur, tempers rise, and a once-peaceful life and home become unrecognizable.  A dark and twisty thriller.

Historical Fiction:  The Things We Cannot Say by Kelly Rimmer

The trope here is familiar...something happens in the present that uncovers a past mystery, and the story is told in dual timelines as secrets are uncovered.  While I've read a lot of these as a fan of historical fiction, this one stood out.  The main character in the present, Alice, faces daily struggles with her family, including her autistic son, as she also tries to spend time with her terminally ill grandmother.  As her grandmother tries to communicate her dying wishes, Alice begins to unravel the threads of the past, in a journey that takes her to Poland.  In alternating chapters, readers are immersed in Alina's coming of age in Nazi-occupied Poland and the horrors that she and her family and friends endured.  This story is full of hope and heartbreak, love and loss, strength and perseverance.     

Young Adult Dystopian: Monument 14 by Emmy Laybourne

This is a YA post-apocalyptic thriller, and I tend to be a fan of survivalist type stories.  A group of kids ranging from 1st graders to high schoolers become trapped in a superstore (think Target or Walmart) after a series of disasters.  The story hooked me right away, but I have to say one of my favorite things about this book/series is that *both* my sons (age 18 and 21) read it--quickly--at my suggestion, and let's just say it's very difficult to get them reading at this stage in their lives.  I've dedicated posts to finding books for boys in the past, and I'd add this in a heartbeat.  This is a 3 book trilogy and I'm excited to get to the next in the series.

Nonfiction: Mind Hunter: Inside the FBI's Elite Serial Crime Unit by John Douglas

This is part memoir and part case-studies, and completely fascinating to anyone interested in profiling killers, criminal psychology, and true crime.  Fair warning--the subject matter dictates some very gruesome and disturbing would be difficult to describe the crime scenes and the behavioral markers without some graphic details.  As an author who incorporates bad guys and serial killers into plots, this also served as an amazing reference book as well as a unique look inside the development of profiling.  John Douglas was one of the founders of the FBI's modern profiling unit, and the character of Jack Crawford in Silence of the Lambs is based on Douglas.  Throughout 25 years with the FBI, Douglas was involved in some very high-profile cases, and the methods he developed helped find and convict serial rapists and killers.

Psychological Suspense: The Housemate by C.L. Pattison

A thriller set around two old friends who invite a third roommate to share their London flat to keep expenses down.  Strange and mysterious things begin happening, and this book has a "Single White Female" vibe.  I listened to the audio version and the narration was top-notch.  

There you have it, seven titles I really enjoyed from five genres.  Now, I want to hear some of your favorite reads...feel free to comment below!  And check out the links to some prior years for more recommendations.  Thanks for stopping by and Happy Reading!

Saturday, January 25, 2020

Calling Readers + Reviewers! Join Winter Games ~ #free #books #giveaways #amreading

If you love to read and enjoy discovering new authors, we have an event for you!  Winter Games is a month-long, fun-filled event designed to bring readers willing to review books together with authors who can supply free review copies of their titles.  It all takes place in our Facebook group, where readers get to view titles and select the ones that interest them!  Plus, it's a community affair, with FB parties, games with the authors, gift card giveaways, book swag, etc.  How many of the 60 titles can you read?

As one of the participating authors, I'm helping spread the word--I also participated in the same type of event last summer, and it was a blast.

I'll be offering Dangerous Currents to Winter Games readers!

All that's required to sign up is a Facebook account (even if you don't use it all that frequently, that's how you'll see what books are up for grabs and post your review links), the ability to download e-books, and a willingness to post honest reviews on several sites.

Direct link to Reader sign-up form is here

Full details & FAQs can be found on our host's website here.  

If you're an author interested in participating, we have a few (very few!) spots left.  Please see the FAQs link above, and the direct link to Author sign-up is here

The Winter Games begin Feb. 1st, so if you're interested, hurry!

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

#99c Deals + Gift Card #Giveaways at the New Year New #Book Fete! #Rafflecopter #Kindledeals #giftcards

"There's going to be a lot of readers
making Dean Slater their book boyfriend" ~
Reading Review Wars
I'm thrilled to be featured today on one of my favorite sites, N.N. Light's Book Heaven, as part of their New Year, New Book Fete!  Dangerous Currents is a bookstore recommended read, and it's on *sale* for 99c right now (or free if you have KU!).  This is a steamy second-chance romance filled with secrets and suspense...set on beautiful Cape Cod, where a killer has shaken a quiet beach-side community.  

As part of the month-long event, multiple gift cards to Amazon or Barnes & Noble are being raffled off via Rafflecopter.  There are 5 gift cards up for grabs, totaling over $100!  You get one free entry, then additional entries for tasks such as following authors on Bookbub or Twitter, or in my case, signing up for my newsletter (where you'll find out first about my seventh novel, Ghost Moon!)

Stop by, check out the blurb for Dangerous Currents, and enter the giveaways!

Friday, January 17, 2020

Warm Up with #Romance #Book Fair! #FridayReads #amreading #99c #KindleDeals

Love Romance?  There are dozens of different sub-genres of romance, and many are represented in the Warm Up with Romance Book Fair!  Thirty-one titles, all priced between 99c and $3.99, including Contemporary Romance, Limited Edition Box Sets, Paranormal, Romantic Suspense, Rom-Com, Sci-Fi, MC (Motorcycle Club), Sports, get the idea!  I have two titles in the fair, DANGEROUS CURRENTS (on *sale* for 99c or free w/ KU!) and HAUNTED SOULS.  Many of the sale pricing ends in a few days, so fill your Kindle now and stay warm!

"There's going to be a lot of readers making
Dean Slater their book boyfriend" ~ Reading Review Wars

"Eerie, romantic, and totally binge-worthy"
~ Nom de Plume Book Reviews

A damaged soldier, a secret baby, and
a haunting mystery collide in Haunted Souls...

"An enthralling story, packed with angst,
turmoil, danger, and romance" ~ Splashes into Books

Sunday, January 12, 2020

#Authors...Need More #Reviews? Join the Winter Games Event! #writerslife #writingcommunity #amwriting

Winter Games begins Feb. 1!
Consumers often rely on reviews when making purchases...I know I do!  And on retail sites, products--including novels--with more reviews usually receive the most visibility in searches.  A reader can't even consider choosing a title they've never even seen or heard of, and the book market gets more crowded by the day.  A new title gets added to Amazon approximately every five minutes.

On Amazon, the largest online retailer for e-books with 88.9% of the market (Bloomberg), only about 5 to 10% of consumers leave reviews after a purchase.  Everyone is busy, and I know even if I love a product, I often never get around to leaving a review.  (One of my resolutions is to do better with this!)

Enter Winter event that brings readers who review together with participating authors for a month-long event.  I was one of the authors in the Summer event, and I had such a great time, I wanted to spread the word to both interested authors *and* readers for this upcoming winter version.

Full details, FAQs, and sign-up forms can be found on our host's website here.  

Direct link to Author sign-up is here

Direct link to Reader sign-up is here

One important note...a Facebook account is required, even if it's not a very active account.  The events, book offerings, and communication all take place in the FB group.

And while there's no limit to reader participation, there *is* a max number of authors, so if you're interested, hurry!

The #Paranormal #Romance Guild Awards are live ~ Please vote! #books #writerslife #PNR #amreading

A dangerous ghost brings them together...
but will they survive long enough
to find happiness?
I'm thrilled to announce that The Haunting of Hillwood Farm is a nominee for the Paranormal Romance Guild's Reviewer's Choice Award!  The team of editorial voters have chosen their favorite paranormal reads of the year, and my ghost mystery + romantic suspense made the list!  Voters will now decide the final results, and I'd be honored to be considered for a vote in the Romance - Paranormal - Fantasy - Angels & Ghosts - Psychics.

There are a *lot* of categories--my title is about 1/3 of the way down the page--but if you love to find new titles, scroll through the nominees to peruse the reviewer's favorites of 2019.  You can vote for one book in each category.

This is me trying to show about how far down the list my
category is...not sure it translates lol, but I'm at the
top of my category anyway!

If you have a moment to one-click vote, I'd so appreciate it!  You can vote directly on the site here, or via a Google doc here, and please don't forget to hit "Submit" at the very bottom.  Thanks so much and big congrats to all the nominees...there are a lot of books out there, and it's such an honor to be recognized with an award nomination.

And if you're looking for a new read and you enjoy some spooky suspense and romance, I hope you'll give The Haunting of Hillwood Farm a try!  It's on Kindle (free with KU!) and on Audible.  Happy Reading!

Sunday, January 5, 2020

Signing #Books in #Falmouth! #Author Event #CapeCod Cape Cod Vendor Fair

I'll have a table set up at the January Bingo and Shopping Event this Wednesday, January 8th, in Falmouth, from 5:00 - 9:00, and I'll be signing books, including my latest ghost mystery Romantic Suspense The Haunting of Hillwood Farm, recently nominated for its 4th book award!  Other crafters and vendors will have tables set up as well, and it's a perfect time to treat yourself after the hectic holiday season while supporting local businesses and this month's charity.

Grab some new reads for 2020!
This is always a good time! The suggested donation is $20 for 20 games (a portion of the proceeds from both game cards and vendor table fees go to Falmouth Dance Academy Booster Club, wear pink for a bonus card!). Complimentary light appetizers and a cash bar and buffet too.

I'll have copies of all my books, including my #1 Amazon and B&N Bestseller Gull Harbor.  This book, like many of my other titles, is set on Cape Cod.  If you prefer e-book over print, all my titles are available on Kindle and some on Audible.  My steamy second-chance Romantic Suspense Dangerous Currents is *on sale* currently for 99c on Kindle!

One fateful night tore them apart...will they get a second chance
before a killer strikes?
Steamy second-chance romance filled with secrets and suspense

Doors open at 5:00, Bingo games begin at 6:30! The Coonamessett Inn, 311 Gifford Street, Falmouth, MA

List of vendors and crafters:

PartyLite ~ Christina McMenamy
Lilly's Love Bugs ~ Lilly McMenamy
Reine's Creations ~ Tariesa J. Reine
Cape Cod Knits and Naturals ~ Tariesa A. Reine
The Pampered Chef ~ Kelly Washburn
Arbonne ~ Barbara Gleason
HempWorx ~ Gayle Kough
LimeLife by Alcone ~ Tracy Merkman
Salon 151 ~ Tracy Merkman
Young Living Essential Oils ~ Gina Eynon
Dragonfly Dreams ~ Jodi Thompson
Mary Kay ~ Mary Pollard
Pure Haven ~ Nikki Picariello
Paparazzi Accessories ~ Kristin Sullivan
Traveling Vineyard ~ Kim Aliczi
Younique ~ Kristin Sullivan
Plexus Worldwide ~ Ana Liza Fulay-DeSimone
Color Street Nails ~ Kim Stanfield
Poppiegirls Crocheted Items & Avon ~ Cyndi Whitehouse
Tupperware ~ Jennifer McGonagle
Monat ~ Sylvia Donnelly
Baked by Amanda ~ Amanda Kase Terry
Doll Fashions by Linda ~ Linda Mohr
Thirty-One ~ Diane Leal
Origami Owl ~ Ellie Russo
Cake Pops by Shan ~ Shannon Saadeh
Jutta Loughman Designs ~ Jutta Loughman
God's Vision Posters ~ Marie Compere
Kathryn Knight Books ~ Kathryn Knight Books
Crafts by Katie ~ Katie Nevens
Zen Essentials ~ Jen Hatch
Usborne Books & More ~ Hillary Irey
Sew Coastal Vibes ~ Stephanie Champani
Cape Kids' Treasures ~ Dawn Atsalis
Audra's Cheesecakes ~ Audra Bariteau
Mash and Mills ~ Kim Gazal
Tastefully Simple ~ Tammy Berardi
Infamiss Bliss ~ Tammy Berardi
Better Together ~ Megan Roller
Inci Selin Designs ~ Selin Nacar
Farmasi ~ Amanda Braman
Rainbow Heart Wisdom Healing ~ Rachel Doherty
Matilda Jane Clothing ~ Jesi Donoho
The Tragic Whale ~ Kerry Bazinet
Carole's Design Jewelry ~ Carole Ellis
Heavenly Goddess Spa Products by Athena’s Home Novelties ~ Lindsay Kerr