Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Centuries & Sleuths Bookstore

Bookstore: Centuries and Sleuths Bookstore

Location: Forest Park, Illinois

The Official Patter: "Centuries and Sleuths is a warm, inviting and well organized store where a customer can sit in a rocking chair while looking through books. A bust of Sherlock Holmes exclusively commissioned by Centuries and Sleuths owner Augie Aleksy graces the bookstore. From the day its doors opened, Centuries and Sleuths has been a destination for the discriminating reader, a meeting place for authors and readers and a place for intellectual discussion. And that’s all been a part of Aleksy’s master plan."

Why I Love Them: I don't know why it is, but whenever I think of the best independent bookstores I know they are almost always stores that specialize in mysteries... This could be because I spent years trailing behind my mom, a devoted mystery fanatic, whenever she went to the bookstore, and especially when she went to Booked for Murder (now Mystery to Me.) Couple that with the fact that Murder By The Book is easily my favorite bookstore I've never been too... and well, you can easily see how my bias came to exist. Enter Centuries and Sleuths. One of my favorite authors was on tour and was stopping by the this Midwestern mystery bookstore I had never heard of... needless to say, they have since made my list of favorite stores I've never been to... and hopefully soon they will upgrade to stores I have been to!

Best Buy: In fact, my best buy from Centuries and Sleuths was initially going to be a best buy purchased in person. Lisa Lutz's Spellman series is hands down one of my favorite book series out there. They are witty and clever and know just when it's right to go dark and just when it's right to throw in a Doctor Who joke. In other words, you can see why I was drawn to them. Well for the book tour for the fifth installment the closest to Madison Lisa was coming was Forest Park Illinois. Not that far a journey, but at the same time, trudging down to the flatland in March is always hazardous, because you never know what the weather will be like. Will it be freakishly warm, or a blizzard? A few years back when I went down in April I was in a blizzard, it wasn't fun. At all. So I decided, as much as I love Lisa, I'd already met her three times at this point so I could sit this tour out, and luckily her tour for the final Spellman book the next year came to Madison! But what was great is Centuries and Sleuths. I called them up saying I could no longer make the event which I had RSVP'd to and instead could they get it signed to me and ship it up north? The sign of a truly great bookstore is when they are accommodating. When they instantly understand that you have had a change in plans and are willing to go the extra mile to help their customers. This, more than anything, is why I want to make the pilgrimage there. I want to go and throw lots of money at them in exchange for books as a big thank you for helping me out when I needed it. And trust me, I needed a signed first edition of The Trail of the Spellmans bad.  

Monday, August 13, 2018

Tuesday Tomorrow

Wild Hunger by Chloe Neill
Published by: Berkley
Publication Date: August 14th, 2018
Format: Paperback, 352 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"In the first thrilling installment of Chloe Neill's spinoff to the New York Times bestselling Chicagoland Vampires series, a new vampire will find out just how deep blood ties run.

As the only vampire child ever born, some believed Elisa Sullivan had all the luck. But the magic that helped bring her into the world left her with a dark secret. Shifter Connor Keene, the only son of North American Central Pack Apex Gabriel Keene, is the only one she trusts with it. But she's a vampire and the daughter of a Master and a Sentinel, and he's prince of the Pack and its future king.

When the assassination of a diplomat brings old feuds to the fore again, Elisa and Connor must choose between love and family, between honor and obligation, before Chicago disappears forever."

I love Urban Fantasy set in places I love, like Chicago! Here's to Chloe Neill writing more Chicago set books! Chicago FOREVER!

Black Lotus Kiss by Jason Ridler
Published by: Night Shade Books
Publication Date: August 14th, 2018
Format: Paperback, 288 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"Winter 1970. As rock stars die of excess and revolution fills the air, newly minted private investigator James Brimstone is spending his days wandering the streets of Los Angeles, looking for low rent cases as far as possible from his last work-for-hire, an unfortunate run-in with the occult on a pornographic film set. But fate has a funny way of slapping Brimstone with the dark hand of magic."

While I hadn't heard of this series until now, the combination of pulp crime and the occult calls to me to pick it up!

The Kill Jar by J. Reuben Appelman
Published by: Gallery Books
Publication Date: August 14th, 2018
Format: Hardcover, 288 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"Enthralling. Gripping. Cinematic. Raw. A cold case murder investigation paced like a podcast, as visually stunning as a film, and as brave and personal as our darkest memoirs. J. Reuben Appelman cracks open one of America’s most notorious murder sprees while simultaneously banging the gavel on his own history with violence. A deftly-crafted true crime story with grit, set amid the decaying sprawl of Detroit and its outliers.

With a foreword by Catherine Broad, sister of victim Timothy King.

Four children were abducted and murdered outside of Detroit during the winters of 1976 and 1977, their bodies eventually dumped in snow banks around the city. J. Reuben Appelman was six years old at the time the murders began and had evaded an abduction attempt during that same period, fueling a lifelong obsession with what became known as the Oakland County Child Killings.

Autopsies showed the victims to have been fed while in captivity, reportedly held with care. And yet, with equal care, their bodies had allegedly been groomed post-mortem, scrubbed-free of evidence that might link to a killer. There were few credible leads, and equally few credible suspects. That’s what the cops had passed down to the press, and that’s what the city of Detroit, and J. Reuben Appelman, had come to believe.

When the abductions mysteriously stopped, a task force operating on one of the largest manhunt budgets in history shut down without an arrest. Although no more murders occurred, Detroit and its environs remained haunted. The killer had, presumably, not been caught.

Eerily overlaid upon the author’s own decades-old history with violence, The Kill Jar tells the gripping story of J. Reuben Appelman’s ten-year investigation into buried leads, apparent police cover-ups of evidence, con-men, child pornography rings, and high-level corruption saturating Detroit’s most notorious serial killer case."

I'm liking this more personal approach to cold cases, but using a podcast as the epitome of the true crime genre in the blurb? All the no.

Friday, August 10, 2018

DreamHaven Books & Comics

Bookstore: DreamHaven Books and Comics

Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota

The Official Patter: "DreamHaven has been an open shop since 1977. We are leading purveyors of new, used, and rare science fiction, fantasy, horror, film and media books, comics, and graphic novels.

“The Tooth Fairy left the name DreamHaven Books
under my pillow. Usually it’s a 25-cent piece;
but given the current value of the U.S. dollar,
the value of this tip was far more glorious.
DreamHaven is a book-seeker’s cave of miracles.” – Harlan Ellison"

Why I Love Them: Years ago I was searching for the perfect birthday present for my mom. She had recently told me how she thought Neil Gaiman's Coraline was one of her favorite books so I set out to find her a signed copy. Neil had a link on his site to DreamHaven Books and Comics saying that he often popped across the Mississippi River from his secluded Northern Wisconsin home to the Minnesota store and signed books for them and if you were willing to wait a bit he could personalize them. I placed an order long in advance of my mother's birthday and waited. She loved the present when it arrived, Neil had even done a little drawing of a rat in the book! So DreamHaven Books became my go to store for anything Neil Gaiman, from my hardcover editions of Neverwhere and American Gods, to Neil's rather rare guide to The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, I ordered them all from DreamHaven Books!  

Best Buy: About six months after I placed my first order with them I went to my first WisCon. In the dealers' room who should I find but DreamHaven Books! They had by far the biggest display, and what I loved most was it was a mix of new and used. There were books I had been longing to see in person and books I never thought I'd find. My second year at WisCon, knowing that DreamHaven Books would be there I budgeted accordingly and in fact found a wonderful out of print copy of Caroline Stevermer's The Alchemist: Death of a Borgia which I was then able to get signed by her! But my best buy was purchased at what I will always view as my best convention experience ever, the 2011 North American Discworld Convention. The dealers' room was a wonderful mishmash of the unknown, The Cunning Artificer and The Discworld Emporium, and the familiar, DreamHaven Books. On my third day I went to this lovely and intimate event with one of the other guests, Patrick Rothfuss. He passed out copies of his book The Adventures of the Princess and Mr. Whiffle: The Thing Beneath the Bed for us to read as a group. It was a raucous time and so much fun, in fact if you want to read more about it, you can! After this reading I was waiting for my friend by perusing the wares of DreamHaven Books and Pat came by to give them a stack of copies of The Adventures of the Princess and Mr. Whiffle. In fact the stack we had just been reading. Now, I already owned a signed first edition of this book, but then Pat said that these were his own personal copies he got when the book came out, as evidenced by the fact he signed and dated them "Pat Rothfuss 7-21-10." How could I pass up an opportunity to own such a unique copy of this wonderful book? The answer is I obviously couldn't because it is my best buy ever from DreamHaven Books, and let me tell you it had some stiff competition.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore

Bookstore: Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore

Location: San Diego, California

The Official Patter: "Founded in 1992, Mysterious Galaxy is an independent genre bookstore specializing in science fiction, fantasy, mystery, young adult, romance, and horror. The founders of Mysterious Galaxy are Terry Gilman, Maryelizabeth Yturralde, and Jeff Mariotte. They met and began talking about Mysterious Galaxy in late 1992 when they recognized a need for a genre store in San Diego and saw it as a way to share their passion for books, book selling, and a love of reading with their community. Mysterious Galaxy opened on May 8, 1993 and among the authors who celebrated the opening of the store with hundreds of fans were Ray Bradbury, David Brin, and Robert Crais."

Why I Love Them: Back in 2009 I really started to get into Patricia Briggs, who of course is now one of my favorite authors, but this was before that happened. The problem was she never seemed to stop in the Midwest, so I took to the Internet and found out about a tour stop at Mysterious Galaxy. While I quickly placed my order for Bone Crossed I started to look at their upcoming events. They literally had the who's who of science fiction and fantasy authors coming through their door. It didn't take long before they became my go-to source for these authors, and because of them I have signed editions from Laini Taylor to Gail Carriger, John Barrowman to Dan Simmons. In fact I just placed an order with them two days ago and by the time this goes live I will hopefully have a new book in my hands!  

Best Buy: Though of all the YA authors specializing with that fantastical bent there's one I long to meet, and that's Leigh Bardugo. I remember back in 2012 reading about a new trilogy coming out. It was dark and Russian and instantly peaked my interest. I immediately went online and ordered Shadow and Bone, interestingly enough from a bookstore I will be featuring in a few weeks. Though with my growing to be read pile the second book was already on it's way to press before I had picked up the first, so I ordered Siege and Storm from Mysterious Galaxy, and then as it turns out, I didn't get around to the series until the next year when the final book, Ruin and Rising was coming out. But that meant I spent the summer of 2014 binging and falling in love with Leigh Bardugo's world of The Grisha. What really struck me was that thinking back to that initial review I read, I don't think they had read the book at all. They painted a very different world from the one Leigh had written, one about a lone girl in a dark forest... and while I would like to find out exactly what they had read, because it still sounds like a book right up my alley, I don't know if I would love it as much as I love Ravka and Alina. And the thing with a series of books is there's ALWAYS one you love more than the rest. If someone says Harry Potter I instantly say that Goblet of Fire is hands down my favorite. So the same rules apply to this series, and it's the second book, Siege and Storm, which I ordered from Mysterious Galaxy which will forever be my favorite in this series and therefore my best buy from them.  

Monday, August 6, 2018

Tuesday Tomorrow

The Prisoner in the Castle by Susan Elia MacNeal
Published by: Bantam
Publication Date: August 7th, 2018
Format: Hardcover, 320 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"A series of baffling murders among a group of imprisoned agents threatens the outcome of World War II in this chilling mystery from the New York Times bestselling author of Mr. Churchill’s Secretary.

World War II is raging, and former spy Maggie Hope knows too much.

She knows what the British government is willing to do to keep its secrets.

She knows the real location of the planned invasion of France.

She knows who’s lying. She knows who the double-crossers are. She knows exactly who is sending agents to their deaths.

These are the reasons Maggie is isolated on a remote Scottish island, in a prison known as Killoch Castle, out of contact with friends and family.

Then one of her fellow inmates drops dead in the middle of his after-dinner drink—and he’s only the first. As victims fall one by one, Maggie will have to call upon all her wits and skills to escape—not just certain death . . . but certain murder.

For what’s the most important thing Maggie Hope knows?

She must survive."

New Maggie Hope! And in Scotland! 

Weekend at Thrackley by Alan Melville
Published by: Poisoned Pen Press
Publication Date: August 7th, 2018
Format: Paperback, 240 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:

'I'm taking a revolver to Thrackley. You never know with blokes like Carson. I hate these harmless, potty people – they're always up to something.'

Jim Henderson is one of six guests summoned by the mysterious Edwin Carson, a collector of precious stones, to a weekend party at his country house, Thrackley. The house is gloomy and forbidding but the party is warm and hospitable – except for the presence of Jacobson, the sinister butler. The other guests are wealthy people draped in jewels; Jim cannot imagine why he belongs in such company.

After a weekend of adventure – with attempted robbery and a vanishing guest – secrets come to light and Jim unravels a mystery from his past."

While I love books written like Golden Age mysteries, sometimes nothing beats actual Golden Age mysteries... 

Four Funerals and Maybe a Wedding by Rhys Bowen
Published by: Berkley
Publication Date: August 7th, 2018
Format: Hardcover, 304 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"In the days leading up to her wedding to Darcy O'Mara, Lady Georgiana Rannoch takes on the responsibilities of a grand estate, but proving she can run a household just may be the death of her in the new Royal Spyness Mystery from the New York Times bestselling author of On Her Majesty's Frightfully Secret Service.

If only Darcy and I had eloped! What I thought would be a simple wedding has been transformed into a grand affair, thanks to the attendance of the queen, who has offered up the princesses as bridesmaids. Silly me! I thought that withdrawing from the royal line of succession would simplify my life. But before Darcy and I tie the knot in front of queen and country, we have to find a place to live as man and wife...

House hunting turns out to be a pretty grim affair. Just as we start to lose hope, my globetrotting godfather offers us his fully staffed country estate. Mistress of Eynsleigh I shall be! With Darcy off in parts unknown, I head to Eynsleigh alone, only to have my hopes dashed. The grounds are in disarray and the small staff is suspiciously incompetent. Not to mention the gas tap leak in my bedroom, which I can only imagine was an attempt on my life. Something rotten is afoot--and bringing the place up to snuff may put me six feet under before I even get a chance to walk down the aisle..."

Anyone else sick of Four Weddings and a Funeral puns? 

The Masterpiece by Fiona Davis
Published by: Dutton
Publication Date: August 7th, 2018
Format: Hardcover, 368 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"In her latest captivating novel, nationally bestselling author Fiona Davis takes readers into the glamorous lost art school within Grand Central Terminal, where two very different women, fifty years apart, strive to make their mark on a world set against them.

For the nearly nine million people who live in New York City, Grand Central Terminal is a crown jewel, a masterpiece of design. But for Clara Darden and Virginia Clay, it represents something quite different.

For Clara, the terminal is the stepping stone to her future, which she is certain will shine as the brightly as the constellations on the main concourse ceiling. It is 1928, and twenty-five-year-old Clara is teaching at the lauded Grand Central School of Art. A talented illustrator, she has dreams of creating cover art for Vogue, but not even the prestige of the school can override the public's disdain for a "woman artist." Brash, fiery, confident, and single-minded--even while juggling the affections of two men, a wealthy would-be poet and a brilliant experimental painter--Clara is determined to achieve every creative success. But she and her bohemian friends have no idea that they'll soon be blindsided by the looming Great Depression, an insatiable monster with the power to destroy the entire art scene. And even poverty and hunger will do little to prepare Clara for the greater tragedy yet to come.

Nearly fifty years later, in 1974, the terminal has declined almost as sharply as Virginia Clay's life. Full of grime and danger, from the smoke-blackened ceiling to the pickpockets and drug dealers who roam the floor, Grand Central is at the center of a fierce lawsuit: Is the once-grand building a landmark to be preserved, or a cancer to be demolished? For Virginia, it is simply her last resort. Recently divorced, she has just accepted a job in the information booth in order to support herself and her college-age daughter, Ruby. But when Virginia stumbles upon an abandoned art school within the terminal and discovers a striking watercolor hidden under the dust, her eyes are opened to the elegance beneath the decay. She embarks on a quest to find the artist of the unsigned masterpiece--an impassioned chase that draws Virginia not only into the battle to save Grand Central but deep into the mystery of Clara Darden, the famed 1920s illustrator who disappeared from history in 1931."

Literally THE BOOK everyone I know is talking about this summer!

Bellewether by Susanna Kearsley
Published by: Sourcebooks Landmark
Publication Date: August 7th, 2018
Format: Paperback, 448 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
""The house, when I first saw it, seemed intent on guarding what it knew; but we all learned, by the end of it, that secrets aren't such easy things to keep."

It's late summer, war is raging, and families are torn apart by divided loyalties and deadly secrets. In this complex and dangerous time, a young French Canadian lieutenant is captured and billeted with a Long Island family, an unwilling and unwelcome guest. As he begins to pitch in with the never-ending household tasks and farm chores, Jean-Philippe de Sabran finds himself drawn to the daughter of the house. Slowly, Lydia Wilde comes to lean on Jean-Philippe, true soldier and gentleman, until their lives become inextricably intertwined. Legend has it that the forbidden love between Jean-Philippe and Lydia ended tragically, but centuries later, the clues they left behind slowly unveil the true story.

Part history, part romance, and all kinds of magic, Susanna Kearsley's latest masterpiece will draw you in and never let you go, even long after you've closed the last page."

It's a new Susanna Kearsley, AKA a new "Must Buy!"

Tiffany Blues by M.J. Rose
Published by: Atria Books
Publication Date: August 7th, 2018
Format: Hardcover, 336 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"The New York Times bestselling author of The Library of Light and Shadow crafts a dazzling Jazz Age jewel—a novel of ambition, betrayal, and passion about a young painter whose traumatic past threatens to derail her career at a prestigious summer artists’ colony run by Louis Comfort Tiffany of Tiffany and Co. fame. “[M.J. Rose] transports the reader into the past better than a time machine could accomplish” (The Associated Press).

New York, 1924. Twenty‑four‑year‑old Jenny Bell is one of a dozen burgeoning artists invited to Louis Comfort Tiffany’s prestigious artists’ colony. Gifted and determined, Jenny vows to avoid distractions and romantic entanglements and take full advantage of the many wonders to be found at Laurelton Hall.

But Jenny’s past has followed her to Long Island. Images of her beloved mother, her hard-hearted stepfather, waterfalls, and murder, and the dank hallways of Canada’s notorious Andrew Mercer Reformatory for Women overwhelm Jenny’s thoughts, even as she is inextricably drawn to Oliver, Tiffany’s charismatic grandson.

As the summer shimmers on, and the competition between the artists grows fierce as they vie for a spot at Tiffany’s New York gallery, a series of suspicious and disturbing occurrences suggest someone knows enough about Jenny’s childhood trauma to expose her.

Supported by her closest friend Minx Deering, a seemingly carefree socialite yet dedicated sculptor, and Oliver, Jenny pushes her demons aside. Between stolen kisses and stolen jewels, the champagne flows and the jazz plays on until one moonless night when Jenny’s past and present are thrown together in a desperate moment, that will threaten her promising future, her love, her friendships, and her very life."

Tiffany and the Jazz Age are making me go, perhaps if she doesn't mention sandalwood I won't have flashbacks to that bad book of her's I read... 

The Husband Hunters by Anne de Courcy
Published by: St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: August 7th, 2018
Format: Hardcover, 320 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"A deliciously told group biography of the young, rich, American heiresses who married into the impoverished British aristocracy at the turn of the twentieth century – The real women who inspired Downton Abbey.

Towards the end of the nineteenth century and for the first few years of the twentieth, a strange invasion took place in Britain. The citadel of power, privilege and breeding in which the titled, land-owning governing class had barricaded itself for so long was breached. The incomers were a group of young women who, fifty years earlier, would have been looked on as the alien denizens of another world - the New World, to be precise. From 1874 - the year that Jennie Jerome, the first known 'Dollar Princess', married Randolph Churchill - to 1905, dozens of young American heiresses married into the British peerage, bringing with them all the fabulous wealth, glamour and sophistication of the Gilded Age.

Anne de Courcy sets the stories of these young women and their families in the context of their times. Based on extensive first-hand research, drawing on diaries, memoirs and letters, this richly entertaining group biography reveals what they thought of their new lives in England - and what England thought of them."

Let's read about some Buccaneers! 

An Unwanted Guests by Shari Lapena
Published by: Pamela Dorman Books
Publication Date: August 7th, 2018
Format: Hardcover, 304 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"A weekend retreat at a cozy mountain lodge is supposed to be the perfect getaway...but when the storm hits, no one is getting away.

It's winter in the Catskills and Mitchell's Inn, nestled deep in the woods, is the perfect setting for a relaxing--maybe even romantic--weekend away. It boasts spacious old rooms with huge woodburning fireplaces, a well-stocked wine cellar, and opportunities for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, or just curling up with a good murder mystery.

So when the weather takes a turn for the worse, and a blizzard cuts off the electricity--and all contact with the outside world--the guests settle in for the long haul.

Soon, though, one of the guests turns up dead--it looks like an accident. But when a second guest dies, they start to panic.

Within the snowed-in paradise, something--or someone--is picking off the guests one by one. And there's nothing they can do but hunker down and hope they can survive the storm."

And Then There Were None Catskills edition? 

Catwoman: Soulstealer by Sarah J. Maas
Published by: Pamela Dorman Books
Publication Date: August 7th, 2018
Format: Hardcover, 304 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"Sizzling with action and suspense, #1 New York Times bestselling author SARAH J. MAAS delivers a coming-of-age Selina Kyle who will steal readers' hearts in a new, highly anticipated YA blockbuster: CATWOMAN!

When the Bat's away, the Cat will play. It's time to see how many lives this cat really has.

Two years after escaping Gotham City's slums, Selina Kyle returns as the mysterious and wealthy Holly Vanderhees. She quickly discovers that with Batman off on a vital mission, Gotham City looks ripe for the taking.

Meanwhile, Luke Fox wants to prove that as Batwing he has what it takes to help people. He targets a new thief on the prowl who has teamed up with Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn. Together, they are wreaking havoc. This Catwoman is clever--she may be Batwing's undoing.

In this third DC Icons book, Selina is playing a desperate game of cat and mouse, forming unexpected friendships and entangling herself with Batwing by night and her devilishly handsome neighbor Luke Fox by day. But with a dangerous threat from the past on her tail, will she be able to pull off the heist that's closest to her heart?"

Beloved YA author writing about Catwoman? YAS!

A Girl of White Winter by Barb Hendee
Published by: Rebel Base Books
Publication Date: August 7th, 2018
Format: Kindle, 327 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"Kara, as a ward with no parentage and no future, has been raised knowing nothing outside her lady’s chambers. Until Royce Capello, a visiting nobleman, is struck by her ice-pale looks, and demands her as payment for the land the family needs.

With barely time to protest, Kara is sold and packed off for a life as a concubine—until a raiding party descends on Royce’s company and she’s kidnapped for the second time in as many days.

Whatever happens, Kara will be alone in the world, inexperienced and fearing even the vast unfamiliar sky. But one raider gives her a choice—and a magic mirror appears to show her where each path will lead...

~She can leave with her protector Raven and journey with his performing troupe, competing for his mercurial affections.

~She can flee the raiders’ settlement, and return to Royce’s manor, chattel among devious nobility.

~Or she can stay in the settlement, bound to firm, silent Caine, who is as gentle as he is staid and inscrutable.

Her fates twist and turn to affect far more than she could have guessed, tangling the bitter with the sweet—and Kara must choose which consequences she can live with..."

Yeah, yeah, romantic fairy tale retelling, but what I really love is the publisher's name, Rebel Base Books!

Friday, August 3, 2018

The King's English Bookshop

Bookstore: The King's English Bookshop

Location: Salt Lake City, Utah

The Official Patter: "The King’s English Bookshop opened its door (there was only one, to start) in 1977. Betsy Burton and Ann Berman, book lovers and aspiring writers, thought they had it all figured out. They rented an old building with several rooms, thinking they’d write their Great American Novels in the back, emerging to sell a book or two whenever the bells on the front door jangled to announce the arrival of a customer. The women soon realized the jingling bells were not a distraction from their writing life but a welcome sound, signalling the opportunity to meet new friends and talk books. The bookshop became a full-time labor of love."

Why I Love Them: The interesting thing about Utah is this was the epicenter for the rise of the YA movement. Just look at all the authors who write in that genre and still live there: James Dasher, Ally Condie, Shannon Hale, Brandon Mull, Brandon Sanderson (in a one-two Brandon punch), and Jessica Day George. If we go back to those who've since left we'll see the darling of the YA genre, Stephenie Meyer, was also a member of the Utah literati. Having that many big name authors is a boon to an independent bookstore, and that boon was 100% there for The King's English Bookshop. But it's friendliness to YA authors meant it also became a hub for authors on tour, so you could catch everyone from Marissa Meyer to Leigh Bardugo stopping by.   

Best Buy: For more years than I can remember I've been a fan of Shannon Hale. I was lucky enough to meet her once at a bookstore here in Wisconsin and another time down in Illinois. But in recent years as her proliferation as a writer has grown her author appearances outside the sphere of Utah and it's environs has waned. So needless to say the reason I first became away of The King's English Bookshop was because she was signing there. Since then all my Shannon Hale books have come from The King's English, in fact I'm impatiently (very impatiently) awaiting two books at this very moment! But of all her books there is one that I view the most important, the true best buy. When the fourth book in her Bayern series Forest Born was released in 2009 it had a cover that broke with the look of the previous three books. The previous three volumes had simply gorgeous covers by the amazingly talented Alison Jay. These covers are in fact why I picked up the series. But then artistic covers were no longer in vogue and instead we got a picture cover with some YA waif instead of Alison Jay artwork for Forest Born. I was no happy. Shannon Hale herself didn't seem that happy with the change and saw that her fans weren't happy and did something about it. In 2011 a "special edition" of Forest Born was released with an Alison Jay cover and I didn't think I could be happier. But then Shannon was doing a signing at The King's English and I was able to get a signed copy of this much hoped for edition. Therefore it is easily my best buy, and a book lovers dream come true to have all the covers of a series matching!  

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Murder By The Book

Bookstore: Murder By The Book

Location: Houston, Texas

Official Patter: "Murder By The Book is one of the nation's oldest and largest mystery specialty bookstores, established in 1980 by Martha Farrington, and purchased by McKenna Jordan in 2009. The store stocks over 25,000 books - new and used, hardbacks and paperbacks, first editions, collectibles, gift items, mystery magazines, and more. We host over 200 of the hottest mystery, crime, and fantasy authors for book signing events every year. We've had everyone from Dick Francis to P.D. James, Sue Grafton to Robert Crais, Michael Connelly to Patricia Cornwell, James Lee Burke to Daniel Silva."

Why I Love Them: They are literally my favorite bookstore that I've never been to! I first heard about them because I had fallen in love with the Pink Carnation series by Lauren Willig and I saw this was a bookstore she was stopping at way back in 2008 to promote the fourth book in the series, The Seduction of the Crimson Rose. It wasn't long before I started to notice how many authors I loved stopped by, all those wonderful signed first editions that could be coming my way! From Tasha Alexander to Deanna Raybourn, Melissa Marr to Kate Morton, Mary Robinette Kowal to Jacqueline Winspear, so many authors on the historical fiction/mystery spectrum made Murder By The Book their go to stop on their tours that I long to live closer. And this doesn't even include Charlaine Harris's link to the store and how many signed books they have supplied me with of hers!

Best Buy: But the best thing about Murder By The Book is that through them I have been given some of the best book recommendations. Recommendations that I'm sure I'd never have heard of otherwise! Johnnie Cakes (the moniker many authors know and love John Kwiatowski by) introduced me to The Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences, a favorite Steampunk series of mine by Pip Ballantine and her husband Tee Morris among many many others. Occasionally he'll just email me and be like, you need this. I always listen. But before Johnnie there was the store's dearly departed owner David Thompson giving me recommendations. Back in 2009 there was a new book coming out, The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie and he told me it was not just a must read but that it was going to be big. I listened and am the proud owner of a signed first edition of this Alan Bradley book that went on to win every award that year. Though the awards would mean nothing if it wasn't for the fact that I just fell in love with this series. Every year I wait with baited breath for the next installment, currently at nine books, one short story, and book ten on the way. There's something about Flavia De Luce that I just connect with. She's precocious, incorrigible, and whip-smart. She might be one of my favorite crime solving heroines of all time, and easily my favorite who isn't yet a teenager! But to think, I would never have heard of her it not for David! That is why I love reaching out and forming relationships with bookstores online. They have all these books they want to recommend to you and they help to expand your horizons. The Internet truly does make the world smaller, and because of it I've met some great friends, both real and fictional.       

Monday, July 30, 2018

Tuesday Tomorrow

Murder at Ochre Court by Alyssa Maxwell
Published by: Kensington
Publication Date: July 31st, 2018
Format: Hardcover, 304 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"In the summer of 1898, reporter Emma Cross investigates a shocking death among the bright lights of Newport's high society...

After a disappointing year as a society columnist for the Herald and staying with her more well-heeled Vanderbilt relatives in New York City, Emma has returned to the salty air, glittering ocean vistas, and grand stately mansions of Newport, Rhode Island, more determined than ever to report on hard news.

But for now she’s covering the social event of the season at Ochre Court, a coming-out ball designed to showcase Cleo Cooper-Smith, who will be literally on display, fittingly as Cleopatra, in an elaborate tableau vivant. Recently installed modern electricity will allow Miss Cooper-Smith to truly shine. But as the deb ascends to her place of honor, the ballroom is plunged into darkness. When the lights come back on, Cleo sits still on her throne, electrocuted to death.

Quickly establishing that the wiring was tampered with, Emma now has a murder to investigate. And the array of eligible suspects could fill another ballroom—from a shady New York real estate developer to a neglected sister and the mother of a spurned suitor. As Emma begins to discover this crime has unseen connections to a nefarious network, she puts her own life at risk to shine a light on the dark motives behind a merciless murder."

Oh, I was already sold, but a tableau vivant has me extra excited! 

A Rumored Fortune by Joanna Davidson Politano
Published by: Revell
Publication Date: July 31st, 2018
Format: Paperback, 416 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"Tressa Harlowe's father did not trust banks, but neither did he trust his greedy extended family. He kept his vast fortune hidden somewhere on his estate in the south of England and died suddenly, without telling anyone where he had concealed it. Tressa and her ailing mother are left with a mansion and an immense vineyard and no money to run it. It doesn't take long for a bevy of opportunists to flock to the estate under the guise of offering condolences. Tressa knows what they're really up to. She'll have to work with the rough and rusticated vineyard manager to keep the laborers content without pay and discover the key to finding her father's fortune--before someone else finds it first.

Award-winning author Joanna Davidson Politano welcomes readers to Trevelyan Castle, home of the poorest heiress in Victorian England, for a treasure hunt they'll not soon forget."

A treasure hunt in a castle? Yes please!

A Tale of Two Murders by Heather Redmond
Published by: Kensington
Publication Date: July 31st, 2018
Format: Hardcover, 320 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"On the eve of the Victorian era, London has a new sleuth...

In the winter of 1835, young Charles Dickens is a journalist on the rise at the Evening Chronicle. Invited to dinner at the estate of the newspaper's co-editor, Charles is smitten with his boss's daughter, vivacious nineteen-year-old Kate Hogarth. They are having the best of times when a scream shatters the pleasant evening. Charles, Kate, and her father rush to the neighbors' home, where Miss Christiana Lugoson lies unconscious on the floor. By morning, the poor young woman will be dead.

When Charles hears from a colleague of a very similar mysterious death a year ago to the date, also a young woman, he begins to suspect poisoning and feels compelled to investigate. The lovely Kate offers to help—using her social position to gain access to the members of the upper crust, now suspects in a murder. If Charles can find justice for the victims, it will be a far, far better thing than he has ever done. But with a twist or two in this most peculiar case, he and Kate may be in for the worst of times..."

Ever since I read Terry Pratchett's Dodger I've been interested in a young Charles Dickens and his work at the Evening Chronicle. 

The Quiet Side of Passion by Alexander McCall Smith
Published by: Pantheon
Publication Date: July 31st, 2018
Format: Hardcover, 304 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"Isabel Dalhousie grapples with complex matters of the heart as she tries to juggle her responsibilities to friends, family, and the philosophical community.

With two small boys to raise, a mountain or articles to edit for the Review of Applied Ethics and the ever-increasing demands of her niece, Cat, who always seems to need a helping hand at the deli. Isabel barely has any time for herself. Her husband, Jamie, suggests acquiring extra help, and she reluctantly agrees. In no time at all, Isabel and Jamie have a new au pair, and Isabel hires an intelligent assistant editor to share her workload. Both women, though, have romantic entanglements that threaten to interfere with their work, and Isabel must decide how best to navigate this tricky domestic situation. Should an employer ever inject herself into her employees’ affairs?

Meanwhile, Isabel makes the acquaintance of Patricia, the mother of her son Charlie’s friend Basil. Isabel tries to be supportive, especially given that Patricia is raising her son on her own, without the help of his father, a well-known Edinburgh organist also named Basil. But when Isabel sees Patricia in the company of an unscrupulous man, she begins to rethink her assumptions. Isabel must once again call on her kindness and keen intelligence to determine the right course of action, at home, at work, and in the schoolyard."

And now for some Isabel Dalhousie...

Shadow's Bane by Karen Chance
Published by: Berkley
Publication Date: July 31st, 2018
Format: Paperback, 624 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"Half-human, half-vampire Dorina Basarab is back--and facing her biggest challenge yet in the next urban fantasy in the New York Times bestselling series.

Dorina Basarab is a dhampir--half-human, half-vampire. As one of the Vampire Senate's newest members, Dory already has a lot on her plate. But then a relative of one of Dory's fey friends goes missing. They fear he's been sold to a slaver who arranges fights--sometimes to the death--between different types of fey.

As Dory investigates, she and her friends learn the slavers are into something much bigger than a fight club. With the Vampire Senate gearing up for war with Faerie, it'll take everything she has to defeat the slavers--and deal with the entirely too attractive master vampire Louis-Cesare...."

I've been in need of a good urban fantasy series...

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