Book Reviews

Perfect Books For All Ages This Holiday Season

Happy December 1st! This is a quick little list of some wonderful books for every reader in your life.

Picture Book

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Middle Grade

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Young Adult

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Adult fiction 

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Romance 

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Book Reviews, Spotlight on Writing

Author Discovery ~ Mini Interview with Author Sandra Sookoo

Please welcome USA Today bestselling author, Sandra Sookoo. Be sure to add all of her books it to your Goodreads list!

What author do you compare your book(s)/writing style to the most?

I never compare my writing style to anyone if I can help it. I’m not the “next” someone else. I’m the “only” me.

What is your favorite book genre? Why?

I love reading historical mysteries and romantic suspense. It’s my favorite above everything else, mostly because it helps keep my brain active and sharp. It’s also why I embarked on writing in the genre a few years ago.

What is your favorite television show? Why?

I absolutely love Josh Gates’ Expedition Unknown. It’s one of the reasons I love writing adventure romance. I also watch Carnival Eats on the Cooking Channel, mostly because I can’t believe the host will eat all sorts of fried foods that gross me out. And if we’re talking reruns in order to relax, I watch Big Bang Theory. Even though it’s off the air now, I still haven’t caught up. LOL

If you could have written a popular, well-known book, what would it have been and why?

That’s like comparing myself to another author. If I had written any of those books, I wouldn’t be writing as me, would I? If, or when, my books take off like wildfire, it will be because of what I write and how I write and how well-loved my characters are. I’ve written over 87 books to date in my career, so I’ve fit into my own groove pretty well.

 

Using your most recent book, who would play your main character(s) in a movie?

Maybe Colin Farrell or Henry Cavill.

Why should your readers pick your book over a well-known author’s book?

Because I provide a big-time emotional payoff. My characters are very relatable. And who doesn’t wish to go on adventures all over the world? Especially when you can travel within one of my stories without needing a passport! I like that my characters overcome not only trauma from their past and emotional angst, but the differences between each couple. Plus, my style of writing has a tendency to put the reader right there into the action and keeps them there. I do hope readers take a chance on my books. My stories are like Pringles, you can’t stop at just one.

What is your go-to snack?

Usually some sort of raw nut I can munch on while I write. It’s a low-carb alternative to chips. Although, when I do feel the need for carbs, I reach for sour gummy bears.

 

You can visit Sandra’s website. Or find her on Facebook.

She has a Facebook Author page and group as well.

Sandra is also on Pinterest, Instagram, and you can visit her Amazon Author Page.

She is also on BookBub and if you’d like to sign up for her newsletter: send me an email or PM with “subscribe” in subject line

BookBub Page: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/sandra-sookoo

 

 

 

Book Reviews, Spotlight on Writing

Author Discovery ~ Mini Interview with R.D. Kardon

Please welcome the author of Flygirl. Be sure and add it to your Goodreads list!

What author do you compare your book(s)/writing style to the most?  

There are a few authors whose books resonate. I’ve modeled my heroine, Tris Miles, after Katniss Everdeen and there is a ton of action in my book, so I’d say The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins is comparable. There are also quite a few characters pursuing their own agendas, unbeknownst to the heroine in Flygirl, so people who enjoyed Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn should like reading it. Finally, Paula McLain wrote Circling the Sun about a woman whose love life ultimately disappoints, and then becomes a pilot who takes on a daring flight. There are similarities between that story and Flygirl’s.

What is your favorite book genre? Why? 

Tough question. I write mainstream fiction with a strong action and adventure theme, but I mostly read—believe it or not—crime and detective series. I love Michael Connelly (Harry Bosch) and Louise Penny’s (Armand Gamache) books.

What is your favorite television show?

Currently, it’s Grace & Frankie on Netflix, with Ozark coming in a close second.

If you could have written a popular, well-known book, what would it have been and why?

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt. I can’t believe how good that book is, how well-developed, flawed yet engaging her characters are. And the story. Superb.

Using your most recent book, who would play your main character(s) in a movie? 

Jennifer Lawrence.

Why should your readers pick your book over a well-known author’s book? 

They will be surprised, engaged, angry, filled with compassion, and unable to put it down.

What is your go-to snack? 

Pizza. What else?

 

Follow R.D. on Twitter @rdkardonauthor

Website: https://www.rdkardonauthor.com/

Buy the book on Amazon and Barnes and Noble

Book Reviews, Spotlight on Writing

Author Discovery ~ Mini Interview with Crystal King

Please welcome the author of The Chef’s Secret. Be sure and add it to your Goodreads list!

What author do you compare your book(s)/writing style to the most?

Madeleine Miller. I strive to bring the lost history of food to life in the way that she brings the ancient myths to life.

What is your favorite book genre? Why?

I read very widely across a bunch of different genres. I really want a wonderful story to grab me, overall. But I do tend to drift toward magical realism and fantasy quite often. I love the idea of escaping into different worlds, which is also why historical fiction is so fun for me to write.

What is your favorite television show? Why?

I don’t watch much television, to be honest! When I  do,  I could fall way too easily into the world of binging, and I have books to write! But I do watch Dr. Who, The Magicians, and I love Stranger Things.

If you could have written a popular, well-known book, what would it have been and why?

I don’t find myself envious or jealous of books or authors like that, so this is a hard question. We can only write the books inside of us. But I would love it if my novels eventually find the success and love of say, M.F.K. Fisher’s food writing, or the fandom of Phillipa Gregory, or the popularity of books that find themselves on Reese Witherspoon’s nightstand.

Using your most recent book, who would play your main character(s) in a movie?

Kit Harrington has the look closest to what I had in mind for Giovanni in The Chef’s Secret, although he’d need to acquire an Italian accent to pull it off, I’m thinking.

Why should your readers pick your book over a well-known author’s book?

So many factors go into how publishers decide to promote their books and readers don’t realize that only 5-10% of a publisher’s catalog gets any real promotion. So many incredible books are published, even by the big houses, but don’t get the same love on the shelf as those books. By only going with what is popular, a reader is missing out on some fantastic stories that might appeal to them even more.

My books are about the unsung heroes of culinary Italy. My latest novel, The Chef’s Secret, is about the world’s first celebrity chef, Bartolomeo Scappi, whose 1570 cookbook L’Opera di Bartolomeo Scappi, was a bestselling cookbook for almost 200 years after its publication. We don’t know much about Scappi’s life, so I had a lot of fun making some of that up. It’s a mystery and a love story. Feast of Sorrow is the tale of the world’s first gourmand, Apicius, whose name is on the oldest known cookbook. He died in a totally crazy way and I wanted to tell the story of how he got there.

If a reader loves diving into the historical past, loves Italy, or loves food, they will likely find some kinship with one of my novels. The trick is to not read one when you are hungry!

What is your go-to snack?

Snack? Hmm. I don’t snack much, actually. But if I could, I’d down a bit of gelato or ice cream, every day. My go-to flavor is something with chocolate and peanut butter!

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You can buy the book on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Book Reviews

Special Sale!

This is just a quick post to let y’all know that Grounded in January is on sale for only $2.99 for Kindle and Nook.

Plus, it’s a finalist in the romance genre for the New Mexico/Arizona Book Awards (winner announced on November 9th)

What readers are saying:

I’m not a romance reader, but I could not put this story down! ~ April on Amazon

Grounded in January is a heartwarming, down-to-earth tale that will convince you that two people, no matter how imperfect, can still find a perfect love. – Cassidy Carter, author of Love on Location from Hallmark Publishing.

I devoured this book so fast. It is so beautiful. ~ Briana on Goodreads

This fast-paced novel grabs your attention at page one and keeps it all the way to the end. This page-turner will have you flying through the pages. I highly recommend this book and I assure you that you won’t be disappointed. ~ Caroline on Goodreads

Here is the book trailer!

Book Reviews, Spotlight on Writing

Author Discovery ~ Mini Interview with Ametra Rayford

Please welcome the author of Duality, a book soon to be sporting a new cover! But my lucky readers get to see the new one here. *UPDATE! Duality was just listed as a finalist Paranormal/Supernatural category with The Independent Author Network!!!!

What author do you compare your book(s)/writing style to the most?

Ira Levin. I’ve read several of his novels – a few more than once – and I love how he was able to include descriptions and set a scene for you without it feeling like a lecture and without detracting from the flow of the story. He provided a stellar example of showing and not telling. He was so good at it that it was hard to see the characters or the setting in any way other than how he wrote it. I saw the movie Rosemary’s Baby before reading the novel. The first time I read the book it felt as though the novel was an adaptation of the movie, rather than the other way around, because the movie plucked so many details from the book and brought them to life. That’s what I admire and try to emulate. I’d love it if my readers could come away with an ability to see, smell, and taste (because I tend to incorporate food here and there) the situations I toss my characters into.

What is your favorite book genre? Why?

I read a lot of different genres, but I love fantasy novels the most. From the time I was in elementary school reading mythology, to high school and stories about Merlin, before David Eddings, R.A. Salvatore, Margaret Weis, and Tracy Hickman took over in young adulthood – fantasy novels have always been something I go back to when I want to dream. I am also a huge fan of seeing how different fantasy authors craft the limitations that exist within the worlds they’ve created. I love reading about the hierarchy or power structures as they exist in a world that’s otherwise limitless.

What is your favorite television show? Why?

New cover – coming soon!

I haven’t had a lot of time lately to watch television, but my go-to show for years has been Criminal Minds. I have a deep fascination with what comprises the core of a person – what makes them tick. That’s pretty much the premise behind the show. What makes a person transcend from a normal, everyday dude to the UnSub (Unknown Subject)? I’m all over that.

If you could have written a popular, well-known book, what would it have been and why?

Well, I hope that I have written what will become a popular, well-known book. (Ha!) But, if we’re talking about the book of another author, I’d love to have written The Godfather. I am more than mildly-obsessed with mob culture. I don’t know if it’s because I grew up in Chicago and learned about Al Capone at an early age…or if it’s because I was glued to the television during the farce that became the opening of Al Capone’s vault…but, I have been in love with mafia lore since I was a child: The Godfather, Casino, Goodfellas, Hoodlum, The Making of the Mob series – all of that thrills me.

Using your most recent book, who would play your main character(s) in a movie?

Zendaya and Timothée Chalamet.

Why should your readers pick your book over a well-known author’s book?

I’m not sure that they have to. There’s plenty of room at the table, so to speak, and I’ve yet to meet someone who goes into a bookstore and comes out with only one book. With a well-known author, there’s a certain comfort level involved. You may not know the details of this particular story, but you know enough about the author’s work to have a general idea of what to expect. You don’t know what to expect from me. I am a new author, currently working on my sophomore novel, and I haven’t yet settled into a trend. My first novel combined suspense with splashes of horror and spirituality. My next novel is fantasy. My work transcends multiple genres.

What is your go-to snack? 

Sunflower seeds! I can go through a ridiculous amount of them while working on a novel. I’d eat them at work if I could – shell-cracking and all.

You can follow Ametra on her:

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You can buy the book on Amazon.