Downsizing the TBR Pile #amreading

This was one of my favorite weekends of the year – the SOKY Book Fest and Writer’s Conference.  Do I really need to tell you I bought more books?  But only 3!  I had a fantastic time and I’ll post pics later this week.  Still trying to figure out the whole Instagram thing, but I’m committed to posting there also.

Some friends and I are starting up a book club again – the first meeting is this coming weekend.  Always difficult to find a date that works for everyone’s schedule, and not everyone can be there on Saturday.  One friend is a teacher and will be attending her 26th (I think) prom – chaperoning, of course.  I should probably get started reading the book.

I finished a couple of books.  This one wasn’t included in my previous TBR post, but I read Whispering Corridors by Ambrose Ibsen for the book discussion at Lilyn’s blog, Scifi and Scary.  It was a miss for me (that’s an awesome cover), but I had a great time discussing it with others and look forward to the next selection in June.

The Impending Possession of Scarlet Wakebridge-Rose by S.L. Saboviec is a well-written, compelling book with some surprising twists.  I didn’t find Scarlet to be particularly likable, but still an enjoyable read.

Currently reading:








Up next:

TBR:  109

Read:  2

Bought:  3

Total:  110 (heavy sigh)

Indie Author Friday – Meg Lelvis #IndieAuthor #mystery #suspense

Welcome Meg Lelvis and her debut novel, Bailey’s Law!  Meg possesses a rare talent – singing barbershop harmony – and she has excellent taste in cookies.

Meet Jack Bailey, hard-boiled PTSD-damaged detective, who reveals more than the killer during his crime investigation in Richmond, Texas, where homicides are rare.

To escape the ghosts of his past, Jack Bailey moved from Chicago to Richmond six years ago and joined the PD. After Todd Kaplan’s body is found, the cops wonder who would murder such a nice young guy? Jack soon discovers the Todd wasn’t so nice. This leads to a disturbing motive with suspects too close to home.

Meanwhile, Jack’s PTSD symptoms, caused by buried family secrets, force him to seek help in order to attain mental stability. Psychological links surface with characters harboring issues of grief, anorexia, love, date violation, and more.

Was this small town murder an act of justice or revenge? Only a parent who has lost a child can hold the answer in their hearts. Jack understands. Only too well.

What are your favorite books in your genre?

An older classic, Rebecca is one of my favorite books. Although it falls into the     classic/literary/gothic categories, it tells a superb psychological mystery story. I love the characters, setting, plot, and theme, all elements of the novel excellently drawn.

What is something memorable you’ve heard from your readers/fans?

Of the memorable things I’ve heard from readers, one sticks out. Someone wrote that my book, Bailey’s Law, has endearingly flawed characters. Those few words sum up my goal in creating characters, and I’m happy that someone verbalized it.

What character in your book are you least likely to get along with?

I’d find it difficult to get along with the character of Tilford, a detective on Jack Bailey’s team. He’s a thorn in Jack’s side; an aging cop who’s putting in his time until he can retire. He resents Jack, who’s younger, and supervises the team. Tilford tries to get by with as little work as possible, but does show a good side on one occasion.

What’s your favorite kind of cookie and why?

Thanks for an easy question, Teri! Gooey chocolate chip cookies, preferably warm, straight from the oven. I don’t bake any more except at Christmas and for my book club, so I need to rely on bakery cookies.

Any unusual talents or hobbies?

Maybe an unusual hobby or talent could be singing barbershop harmony. Years ago I sang in a barbershop chorus in Indiana, which included quartet groups. After moving to a couple different cities, I formed my own barbershop quartets where we sang for people in nursing homes and later for school-related activities. One year we received our school district’s “You Make a Difference” award for contributing to the school and community. Although I have no solo-singing talent, I enjoy singing in a group and harmonizing.

What’s the last thing you watched on TV/Netflix?

I am hooked on UK and Scandinavian TV movies and series. I recently enjoyed Dr. Blake Mysteries on Netflix, an Australian series set in the late 50’s featuring a flawed doctor who returns to his small town to take the place of his father. Lucien Blake is also the police surgeon, who helps solve crimes while bending the rules. I highly recommend the series.

Author Bio

Meg Lelvis’s fiction and poetry have won awards from Houston Writers Guild and Houston Writers House. Her short story was published in HWG mystery anthology. Bailey’s Law is her first novel. Meg grew up in northern Minnesota and is a former English and psychology teacher. She resides in Houston, Texas.

Buy Links

Black Rose Writing

Social Media





Release Day: Veil of Walls by Patricia Panahi #NewRelease @PatriciaPanahi

Welcome Patricia Panahi – today is release day for her debut novel, Veil of Walls!

Anahita Sadeghi, a typical, happy-go-lucky American ten-year-old, was not too keen on traveling to the other side of the world to meet her father’s family. But her month-long vacation turns into a nightmare when her Persian relatives refuse to let her return to the States.  She is forced to deal with the dizzying maze of social customs, resist her grandmother’s efforts to mold her into the proper Persian girl, dodge her aunt’s schemes of marriage, and fight to make her own life choices until she can find a way to return home.  Longing for her friends and her freedom, only the enigma of her missing aunt, Scheherezade, gives Ana a glimmer of hope of one day escaping Iran for good.  Will Ana’s family marry her off and forever bind her to this country, or will she break free of Iran’s walls and find her way back to America?

What’s your writing background?

I’ve had the passion to write stories since I was a little girl and actually studied English in college, but lacked the confidence to pursue it as a career.  I began getting serious about writing in the 1990’s and published The Well Woman Cookbook, God Outside the Box – a spiritual journey, and a couple of short stories.  I have worked on my first novel, Veil of Walls, for over a decade and I’m ecstatic to finally see it become a book.

What gave you the idea for Veil of Walls?

Although I was born in the states, I lived in Iran for 16 years prior to the Islamic Revolution and was intimately familiar with the culture.  Noticing all the misconceptions about Iran in the West prompted me to write a story that depicts the country, the culture, and its people in a more realistic way, yet be entertaining to read at the same time.  So I wrote the story in the time period I was familiar with – 60’s and early 70’s – and while all the characters are fictional, I drew on my own bewilderment when I first went to Iran and tried to navigate the intricacies of that very ancient and complex culture.

Which characters were the most and least difficult to write and why?

The two aunts were difficult as they were diametrically opposed in personality – one traditional and bitter about life, the other a bohemian intent on living life on her terms.

But the main character, Anahita, was the most difficult.  This was her story and written in first person. She is faced with so much loss and so many changes in her young life that to put her deep emotional pain and her attempts to cope in words so readers could feel the depth of her anguish and the exhilaration of her success took a great deal of soul searching on my part.  I had to allow myself to feel what she was feeling in order to express it.

Tell us 5 random facts about yourself.

I am bilingual/bicultural, although my American side tends to be dominant.

I have recently retired from teaching English at the University of Hawaii.

I love to travel and have visited 15 countries so far.

I have been happily married to the love of my life for 22 years.

I have a passion for good books, Persian food, and cuddly cats.

Author Bio

Born in Massachusetts, Patricia Panahi moved to Iran at the age of nine. She later returned to the States and completed her graduate work at San Diego State University.  Panahi has taught English in Iran, California, and Hawaii, owned and operated The Light Spot Bookstore and Coffee House in San Diego, and directed English language programs for international students for the University of Hawaii. VEIL OF WALLS is her first novel.

Social Media
Twitter:  @PatriciaPanahi

Buy Links
Black Rose Writing

Available in ebook format in approximately two weeks.


Look What I Won! @stacitroilo @virgilante #books #amreading

If you read my latest Downsizing the TBR Pile post (here), you know that because of the Story Empire Roadshow, I’m probably changing the title of that feature to How Many Books Can I Buy Before My TBR Crushes Me – only shorter.  I’m open to suggestions.  But not only did I acquire some fantastic reads, I also won some goodies!

I won this notepad from Staci Troilo’s newest collection, Medici Protectorate series.  Although I haven’t started those books yet, I’ve read the first book in her Cathedral Lake series and have the other two in the TBR.  If you’re a fan of romance/paranormal/suspense, check out Medici Protectorate.  Swing by Staci’s blog and say hi – and maybe add to your own TBR while you’re there.

If you’re a frequent flyer over at Craig Boyack’s blog, a certain robot lady depicted on this mug needs no introduction.  If you’ve yet to become acquainted with Lisa Burton, head over to Craig’s blog and meet her.  Lisa will be interviewing Finn, one of my characters from Sarah, on her radio show in the near future.  The Experimental Notebook of C.S. Boyack is a short story collection perfect for fans of sci-fi, fantasy, and paranormal.  If you enjoyed Stranger Things on Netflix, Will O’ the Wisp is right up your alley.


Much gratitude to Staci and Craig for my new goodies!


One of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus #bookreviews #TuesdayBookBlog

One of Us Is Lying is the story of what happens when five strangers walk into detention and only four walk out alive. Everyone is a suspect, and everyone has something to hide.

Pay close attention and you might solve this.
On Monday afternoon, five students at Bayview High walk into detention.
Bronwyn, the brain, is Yale-bound and never breaks a rule.
Addy, the beauty, is the picture-perfect homecoming princess.
Nate, the criminal, is already on probation for dealing.
Cooper, the athlete, is the all-star baseball pitcher.
And Simon, the outcast, is the creator of Bayview High’s notorious gossip app.

Only, Simon never makes it out of that classroom. Before the end of detention Simon’s dead. And according to investigators, his death wasn’t an accident. On Monday, he died. But on Tuesday, he’d planned to post juicy reveals about all four of his high-profile classmates, which makes all four of them suspects in his murder. Or are they the perfect patsies for a killer who’s still on the loose?

Everyone has secrets, right? What really matters is how far you would go to protect them. –

Nearly every review you read about this book will compare it to The Breakfast Club, that iconic, coming of age, John Hughes film from the 80’s – stereotypical high school students sentenced to detention.  As with the characters in that movie, these characters are so much more than they appear on the surface, and as this story progresses, their layers are gradually peeled away.

Early on I was sure I knew who’d killed Simon – and then I’d decide it was someone else.  Which is one of the best things about this book – it keeps you guessing with its twists and surprises.  With the story told in four different perspectives, each character’s inner thoughts, viewpoints, and feelings regarding their lives and Simon are revealed.  The character development is outstanding, with one character in particular undergoing a considerable transformation.

I couldn’t quite buy into the way law enforcement was portrayed – leads not pursued, obvious questions ignored, and assumptions without investigation.  Suspension of disbelief is required in some areas.

Clever, gripping, and unpredictable, this is a suspenseful YA mystery and one of my best reads this year so far.  This book is scheduled for publication May 30th, 2017.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC.


Indie Author Friday: D.L. Robinson #IndieAuthor #romance

Welcome D.L. Robinson to Indie Author Friday!  With five young children, I can’t imagine how she has time to write, but in the questions below, she reveals her methods for working it in.  And I think I’m going to need her chocolate chip cookie recipe.

In just a few short days Loriel has major concerns about her new job. First thought to be a dream career, she realizes the job she had so anticipated has placed a target on her back, and she will be lucky to come out unscathed. Without the help of Givanni, her boss’s nephew and the CEO at Shellbrook, her fate would have been sealed a few times over. But his world, though frightening, brings with it breathtaking sights, adoring family, and stronger feelings than Loriel wants to admit. And although making it out alive had seemed impossible, it becomes desperately more important to make it out together.

What’s the most constructive criticism you’ve been given in your writing career?

I have been given a lot of advice over the last year since I published Storm Front, but there are a few things that have become very helpful! I’ll pass those along… the first is to write at the edges of the day. Writing is usually an extra goal – added onto a full time job or a family… or both! But it can be done in small amounts of time. Just keep those ideas building and write them down in hyper speed when you get the chance! Another tip is to cut to the chase. While this depends on your individual prose and the type of novel or literature you’re writing, you don’t want to over-word things. Keep it moving. Finally, don’t give up! There are a lot of successful authors out there, and some that you’ve never even heard of! There’s room for you, so keep going.

What character in your book are you least likely to get along with?

Enrica for sure! She is beautiful and hostile and utterly above this inferior world (at least in her mind), so yeah, we would have trouble getting along LOL.

How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?

I think after writing Storm Front, and continuing to work on the sequel, I have tried to have more specific goals and milestones for my characters – more of a plan! For me, to write the entire thing down on a nice little outline would pretty much kill the desire to write. But, there are definitely advantages to having at least your next few steps sketched out. I always know the beginning and ending right off the bat, but defining a few pivotal moments in between is also important.

What’s your favorite kind of cookie and why?

Homemade chocolate chip cookies – I can (and sometimes DO) make them every day! And the reason is easy… I have the best recipe on this planet. Mmmmm…

Any unusual talents or hobbies?

Unusual? I’m not sure if it’s unusual, but I teach a Zumba class a few times a week. It’s free and moms come exercise while kids play – lots of fun! I also love running, and have done a half dozen half marathons. Swimming, hiking, biking, camping, you name it – I probably like it.

What’s the last thing you watched on TV/Netflix?

I watched some Scandinavian cooking show where they made ice cream by dragging it in a sealed metal bucket behind a horse and sleigh through the snow! Perfectly churned and it looked amazing – I want some right NOW!

Author Bio

Born and raised in California, Diana developed an early love for the coastline, mountain ranges, and desert in between. Her grade school years were spent in a chaos of paper and pencils, writing stories and poems, oftentimes scattered around the sunny white farmhouse she called home. Trading flip flops for cowboy boots, she now resides in rural Idaho with her husband Joseph and five young children.

Buy Links

Paperback and eBooks available!

Social Media Links

Instagram: @dlrobinsonauthor
Facebook Page:



Skitter (The Hatching #2) by Ezekiel Boone #bookreviews #TuesdayBookBlog

Tens of millions of people around the world are dead. Half of China is a nuclear 30753752wasteland. Mysterious flesh-eating spiders are marching through Los Angeles, Oslo, Delhi, Rio de Janeiro, and countless other cities. According to scientist Melanie Gruyer, however, the spider situation seems to be looking up. Yet in Japan, a giant, truck-sized, glowing egg sack gives a shocking preview of what is to come, even as survivors in Los Angeles panic and break the quarantine zone. Out in the desert, survivalists Gordo and Shotgun are trying to invent a spider super weapon, but it’s not clear if it’s too late, because President Stephanie Pilgrim has been forced to enact the plan of last resort: The Spanish Protocol. America, you are on your own. –

I just finished the first book in this series in early summer (review here), so everything that happened was fairly fresh in my mind or came back to me pretty easily.  The Hatching primarily acquaints the reader with numerous characters and their stories and reveals the origin and invasion of the spiders.  Skitter is more along the lines of ‘the world is going to hell in a handbasket if somebody doesn’t think of something’ kind of book.  And the future isn’t too bright since the spiders seem wicked intelligent and continue to outsmart the humans.  The author does an admirable job with characterization of this diverse cast, and some story lines converge for various reasons.  Tough decisions are made, but a solution still isn’t in sight.

Again, I didn’t realize there would be another book in this series.  As with the first novel, many pages are spent on characters and their backstories that aren’t integral to the plot and I wonder if this series could have been condensed to two books instead of three (I’m assuming there’s not a fourth?).

This is a quick read with adequate pacing and conflict that I’d recommend to horror/sci-fi fans.  Skitter is scheduled for publication May 9th, 2017.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC.