Today on YouTube: NEW episode of Read REACT Decide!

Hi Everyone,

I’m over on YouTube today with a new summer episdoe of Read REACT Decide. See what books I’ve randomly selected from the library and which I’ve chosen to read:

Thanks for visiting – come back soon!

On YouTube: Blind Date with a Book – review of The Breakdown by B. A. Paris

Hi Everyone,

I’m on YouTube today, talking about The Breakdown by B. A. Paris. This was the Blind Date with a Book I chose from the library and it was A WINNER! I hope you’ll pop over and hear what it’s about.

Thanks for visiting – come back soon!

My Kindle is loaded!

Hi Everyone! I’m going to have a lot of time to read during the next five days so I loaded up my Kindle with potential books. It’s such a fun feeling to know I can pick any one of these, depending on my mood! I even threw a spooky read – I hope I can handle it 馃懟

I haven’t been on the blog much this month because my off-blog schedule has been crazy! Things will settle down next week and I look forward to getting back into my routine and visiting all of you!

Thanks so much for visiting – come back soon!

Scary Story Spotlight: I Remember You: A Ghost Story by Yrsa Sigurdard贸ttir

My blogging friend Cathy over at 746 Books wrote this post about I Remember You: A Ghost Story by Yrsa Sigurdard贸ttir. First published in 2012, it is the Winner of the Icelandic Crime Fiction Award.

Here鈥檚 the book blurb:

“In an isolated village in the Icelandic Westfjords, three friends set to work renovating a rundown house. But soon, they realize they are not as alone as they thought. Something wants them to leave, and it’s making its presence felt. Meanwhile, in a town across the fjord, a young doctor investigating the suicide of an elderly woman discovers that she was obsessed with his vanished son. When the two stories collide, the terrifying truth is uncovered.

In the vein of Stephen King and John Ajvide Lindqvist, this horrifying thriller, partly based on a true story, is the scariest novel yet from Yrsa Sigurdard贸ttir, who has taken the international crime fiction world by storm.”

Here鈥檚 what Cathy says,

In I Remember You, (Sigurdard贸ttir) takes inspiration from the heritage of Icelandic literature, funneling ancient ghost stories into an exploration of modern Icelandic society, exploring social care, financial upheaval and modern relationships, all tied up in a satisfying detective yarn.

Do you know about Yrsa Sigurdard贸ttir? In addition to writing international bestsellers, she is director of one of Iceland鈥檚 largest engineering firms. Several of her books are currently in film production.

What scary books or stories are your favorites? I checked out a copy of I Remember You from the library and I hope to read it before Halloween.

Thanks for visiting 鈥 come back soon!

Books with writers as characters

Have you ever noticed how often the books we read include characters who (or is it that – someone please tell me the rule!) are writers? Some are novelists, poets, journalists or podcasters. Some are based on real-life writers. Many are struggling with their careers. They鈥檝e either made it big and are losing their touch, or they鈥檝e written one successful book, but haven鈥檛 written a second. Still others have made it big but struggle with the fame. These characters aren鈥檛 always the main part of the story, but many are.

I wonder if I鈥檓 just drawn to this kind of book? Here鈥檚 a list of what I鈥檝e read:

The Good Neighbor by A.J. Banner 鈥 children鈥檚 author

Less by Andrew Sean Greer – struggling novelist

Miss Emily by Nuala O鈥機onnor 鈥 Emily Dickinson

A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway 鈥 Ernest Hemingway (nonfiction)

My Name Is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout 鈥 novelist

A Murder of Magpies by Judith Flanders 鈥 novelists/publishing house

The Nest by Cynthia D鈥橝prix Sweeney 鈥 one sibling is a struggling novelist

Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty 鈥 romance novelist who may be losing her touch

The Night Swim by Megan Goldin 鈥 journalist/podcaster

The Paris Wife by Paula McLain 鈥 Ernest Hemingway as he writes The Sun Also Rises

The Perfect Couple by Elin Hilderbrand 鈥 popular mystery writer, past her peak

Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn 鈥 investigative journalist

Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeney 鈥 struggling novelist

The Swans of Fifth Avenue by Melanie Benjamin 鈥 Truman Capote

The Tenant by Katrine Engberg 鈥 mystery writer

Today Will Be Different by Maria Semple 鈥 struggling graphic memoirist

The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware 鈥 travel journalist

Youngblood Hawke by Herman Wouk 鈥 new novelist who makes it big

I鈥檓 about to start another one that will make this list: The Plot by Jean Hanff Korelitz. It鈥檚 a hot book this summer and my hold just came in from the library.

Do you like reading books about writers? Can you add any to this list? I may have to read them next!

Thanks for visiting 鈥 come back soon!

Book Review: Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeney

Sometimes I Lie
Alice Feeney

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Amber Reynolds lies in a hospital bed in London, in a coma. She doesn鈥檛 remember what put her there and she might not be able to open her eyes, but she can hear everything her visitors say. As she tries to piece together what happened that Christmas night, she listens for clues from her husband, Paul and her sister, Claire. Thinking Amber can鈥檛 hear them, Paul and Claire speak freely, but many questions remain. As Amber slowly remembers the events that led up to her accident, readers learn a complicated back story about Amber, her job as a radio presenter, her family and childhood and a best friend named Taylor.

Feeney presents this thriller in a then, now and before format, including a girlhood diary, depicting a lonely and forgotten child whose parents drink and argue. The story inevitably leads to Amber鈥檚 return to consciousness, to a world where lies abound. A series of multi-leveled twists present the reader with a surprising, shake-your-head finish.

I enjoyed reading Sometimes I Lie because it fits right into the entertaining thriller genre in which readers don鈥檛 want to figure everything out ahead of time. There鈥檚 also the typical requirement of the reader鈥檚 suspension of disbelief. If you鈥檙e a medical person, don鈥檛 question the diagnosis or hospital rules and procedures. If you鈥檙e a logical person, don鈥檛 question why someone would do things or how they could get away with them. Just go along for the ride.

While I enjoyed the story, I felt that the last few chapters were not just surprising and over-the-top, but too confusing and manipulative. I鈥檓 all for leaving out crucial details because they鈥檇 spoil the ending, but the author dumps a lot of these at the end and that鈥檚 what led to me shaking my head.

All in all, however, Sometimes I Lie is an entertaining read, good for summer because it鈥檚 fast and doesn鈥檛 require deep reading.

Here鈥檚 what some other bloggers are saying about Sometimes I Lie:

Snazzy Books
Romina鈥檚 Life
Book Reviews

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Book Club Mom’s Author Update: News from Margie Miklas

Author name: Margie Miklas

Book to feature: A Cure for Deceit

News to share: Margie is pleased to announce that her newest book, A Cure for Deceit won聽the Florida Writers Association鈥檚 2020 Royal Palm Literary Silver award for Published Fiction, Thriller Genre.

Brief bio and other books:聽An award-winning author, Margie Miklas writes medical thrillers and travel memoirs about Italy. Creator and owner of the travel blog, Margie in Italy, and a contributing writer for an Italian-American newspaper, she is a member of the Florida Writers Association and makes her home in Florida.

You can read about Margie’s other books, including her newest titles, The Venice I Know and My Amalfi Coast Love Affair here.

Website and social media links:聽
Margie Miklas

Are you working on a new book? Have you won an award or a writing contest? Did you just update your website? Maybe you just want to tell readers about an experience you鈥檝e had. Book Club Mom鈥檚 Author Update is a great way to share news and information about you and your books.

Email Book Club Mom at for more information.

Open to all authors 鈥 self-published, indie, big-time and anything in between. Author submissions are limited to one per author in a six-month period.

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Audiobook review: The Woman in the Window by A. J. Finn, read by Ann Marie Lee

The Woman
in the Window
A. J. Finn

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Here鈥檚 a quick audiobook review of The Woman by the Window by A. J. Finn, read by Ann Marie Lee. This is a suspenseful psychological thriller set in New York about a woman who has suffered an unexplained tragedy and now lives apart from her husband and young daughter. An agoraphobic, she hasn鈥檛 left her house in nearly a year. Instead, she watches old Hitchcock movies, drinks wine, self-medicates and spies on her neighbors through the zoom lens of a powerful camera. One day, she sees something terrible through the window of a new family鈥檚 home. When she tries to report it, no one believes her and she begins to wonder if she imagined it. Her increasingly frantic, and unreliable narrative places the reader (and listener) in the mind of an unraveling trained psychologist who can’t treat herself properly.

Through interactions with her family, psychiatrist, online chess players, fellow agoraphobes, her physical therapist, neighbors and the man who rents her basement apartment, Dr. Anna Fox鈥檚 back story comes into focus. But while the details of her story may become clear, what isn鈥檛 clear is whether she saw what she thought she saw. Readers may want to believe her because she describes the details so vividly, but there鈥檚 a lot else going on with the neighbors and her tenant to cause suspicion. As Fox continues to drink recklessly and down her medications in fistfuls, Finn propels Fox towards a tense showdown between her own demons and others.

I thoroughly enjoyed listening to The Woman in the Window. Ann Marie Lee is a fantastic narrator of this excellent story. She effectively portrays a wide variety of characters, scenes and emotions and I was gripped throughout. One particularly emotional scene towards the end is especially convincing. I also like how Finn ties the old movies she watches into the plot, particularly Rear Window and Vertigo.

The unreleased 2020 film of The Woman in the Window is directed by Joe Wright and stars Amy Adams and Gary Oldman. It鈥檚 scheduled to be released on Netflix in 2021. Read more about the film here and here. I鈥檓 looking forward to watching it!

I recommend The Woman in the Window to readers and listeners who like psychological thrillers, though I wouldn鈥檛 recommend listening while you鈥檙e driving 鈥 it鈥檚 that engrossing!

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Who’s That Indie Author? Graeme Cumming

Author name: Graeme Cumming

Genre: Where do I start? Seriously, I鈥檇 say I write thrillers, but they often cross genres.

Books: Ravens Gathering; Carrion

What鈥檚 your story and how did you become a writer? I live in Robin Hood country, so there鈥檚 plenty of atmosphere to soak up here. Not that I鈥檝e needed it especially. I鈥檝e enjoyed making up and telling stories since I was a child, though it wasn鈥檛 until I was in my 40s that I started taking it more seriously. I have wide and varied tastes when it comes to fiction, which is reflected in my writing.

How do you balance your work with other demands? With difficulty, if I鈥檓 honest. I鈥檓 not the most disciplined person in the world and find it very easy to get side-tracked on to less important things. But I鈥檓 getting better as I get older. Mortality is a big motivator.

Name one of the happiest moments in your life: There are so many to choose from but, bearing in mind this is about my writing life, I鈥檒l pick out selling my business a few years ago. As an event, it happened with very little fanfare, but it allowed me to take five years off work so I could focus on my writing. I鈥檓 near the end of year three, so I鈥檝e got even more motivation now!

What鈥檚 your approach to writing? Are you a 鈥減antser鈥 or a planner? Planner. My latest book, Carrion, was written without a plan, and it鈥檚 taken over a decade to get it how it should have been in the first place. From start to publication, Ravens Gathering took just over eighteen months. That鈥檚 still a long time, but it went a lot faster because it was planned.

Could you write in a caf茅 with people around? I doubt it. I need a lot of space and quietness around me.

Have you ever written dialogue in a second language? If so, how did you do it? Short answer: no.

What鈥檚 your favorite book and what are you reading now? A favourite book would be hard to pin down. There are so many good ones, and often in different ways. I suppose the closest I can get to that would be to say that I鈥檝e read Eagle in the Sky by Wilbur Smith more often than any other. Some of it feels dated now, but the closing pages always leave me with a tear in my eye.

Right now, I鈥檓 reading The Last Will of Sven Andersen by fellow Indie author Geoff Le Pard. His books always entertain.

What鈥檚 your favorite way to read a book: hardcover, paperback, eReader?聽 eReader 鈥 though I took some convincing in the early days.

Do you think print books will always be around? Yes. In spite of my preference, I do still enjoy picking up and reading a paperback now and again, and I know a lot of people who wouldn鈥檛 dream of touching an eReader. There鈥檚 also the fact that you can鈥檛 get an author to sign an eReader 鈥 well, you could, but it wouldn鈥檛 be as long lasting!

Would you ever read a book on your phone? I have done, though probably not the whole thing. Usually it鈥檚 because I鈥檝e suddenly found myself at a loose end and don鈥檛 have anything else to read from.

What鈥檚 your go-to device? iPhone, Android or something else? Android, I suppose, but really 鈥 in spite of what I鈥檝e said about reading on it 鈥 I try not to be too attached to it.

How long could you go without checking your phone? The answer to that varies depending on how engaged I am in what I鈥檓 doing. If I鈥檓 sailing, for example, I can go for hours without touching it. At the other extreme, there are times when I check it every five minutes.

Do you listen to audiobooks? If you do, what do you do while you鈥檙e listening? It鈥檚 not something I鈥檝e done in a while. When I did it was usually while I was driving.

Do you like using social media to promote yourself and your book? If so, what鈥檚 your favorite platform? Does anyone actually like using social media to promote themselves? Clearly, I do use it, but I don鈥檛 feel I鈥檓 very good at it. At the moment, aside from my blog, I鈥檓 only active on Twitter and Facebook. Of those, I seem to get the better interaction with Facebook.

Website and social media links:
Facebook: @GraemeCummingAuthor
Twitter: @GraemeCumming63

Awards/special recognition: Sadly, none I can think of 鈥 though I have had some excellent reviews from well-respected book bloggers.

Are you an indie or self-published author?聽 Do you want to build your author network? Get your name out on Who鈥檚 That Indie Author!

Email for a bio template and other details.

Who’s That Indie Author? John W. Howell

Author name: John W. Howell

Genre: Thrillers mostly

Books: My GRL, His Revenge, Our Justice, Circumstances of Childhood, The Contract

What鈥檚 your story and how did you become a writer? I was held prisoner of organized commerce for over forty years. Once I broke out, I started doing what I had wanted to do for all those forty years and that鈥檚 write. That鈥檚 my story and I鈥檓 sticking to it. So far, I have five books published and have finished the sixth which should be ready in June. I live in Lakeway, Texas with my wife and our spoiled rescue pets.

How do you balance your work with other demands? My writing comes first and then after it is done, I spend no less than three hours on other than writing projects. So, my day really breaks down into writing and non-writing. I never spend a whole day doing one or the other exclusively. I think balance is achieved by doing a little of both every day.

Name one of the happiest moments in your life: I have to say one of the happiest moments of my life was the birth of my daughter. The labor was long and hard, and she was born breach. I was so worried and when I finally held her in my arms and looked into her face, I could almost not contain my joy.

What鈥檚 your approach to writing? Are you a 鈥減antser鈥 or a planner? I am a dyed in the wool pantser. Most of the time I allow the characters and the story to carry themselves. I do have a rough idea of where I want the story to go but do rely heavily on going with the seat of my pants. One thing I do is lay out the last three lines of the story. In this way I at least know where all this 鈥減antsering鈥 will need to end up.

Could you write in a caf茅 with people around? I can write anywhere. I don鈥檛 need silence to concentrate. Right now, I鈥檓 writing outside while Twiggy my French Bulldog is having a shouting match with the neighbor鈥檚 dog.

Have you ever written dialogue in a second language? If so, how did you do it? I have only done a couple of lines of dialog in German. The way I did it was to Google 鈥楨nglish to German translation,鈥 and up popped a neat translation engine. I typed in the English phrase and out came the German.

What鈥檚 your favorite book and what are you reading now? My favorite book caused me to want to become a writer. It was On the Beach by Neville Shute. What fascinated me was how the characters all dealt with the fact they were going to die. Right now, I am reading one of Mae Clair鈥檚 Hodes Hill thrillers, Eventide.

What鈥檚 your favorite way to read a book: hardcover, paperback, eReader? I was about to say 鈥減ropped up in bed鈥 but then re-read the question carefully. I used to be a purist in only reading hardcovers. Then I got a Kindle about seven years ago and as they say, my life changed. The idea of being able to get any book I want in ten seconds convinced me that the Kindle was my reading device of choice.

Do you think print books will always be around? I think there will always be a demand for printed books. There is something to be said for holding an actual book in your hands that the Kindle does not replicate.

Would you ever read a book on your phone? I suppose I would if there was no other way. Call me crazy but I don鈥檛 see my phone and me reading books together.

What鈥檚 your go-to device? iPhone, Android or something else? iPhone

How long could you go without checking your phone? I never check my phone anymore. I have it on silent and totally ignore it. I have to confess I also have an Apple Watch. It constantly looks at my phone and then tells me everything I need to know instantly. (I know it鈥檚 cheating.)

Do you listen to audiobooks? If you do, what do you do while you鈥檙e listening? I have not gotten into audiobooks. I do want to convert mine but am trying to figure the best way to do it.

Do you like using social media to promote yourself and your book? If so, what鈥檚 your favorite platform? I like Twitter, my blog, Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram.

Website and social media links:
Blog – Fiction Favorites with John W. Howell:
Facebook: John Howell
Twitter: @HowellWave
Authorsdb: John W. Howell
LinkedIn: John W. Howell
Goodreads Author: John W. Howell
Amazon Author: John W. Howell

Awards/special recognition: Honorable mention in the Writer鈥檚 Digest Short Story competition. Circumstances of Childhood 鈥 Finalist Top Shelf Indie Awards. The Contract 鈥 Finalist Indie Book Awards. Winner American Fiction Awards. Semi-Finalist Chanticleer International Book Awards. Finalist IAN Book of the Year Awards

Are you an indie or self-published author?聽 Do you want to build your author network? Get your name out on Who鈥檚 That Indie Author!

Email for a bio template and other details.