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Historical Regency Romance, Count of Monte Cristo Retelling
Wealthy squire's daughter Margaret loves bastard-born Nicholas, but is betrothed to Frederick. When Frederick frames Nicholas, Nicholas escapes, vowing to find his father, allegedly the notorious Gentleman Jim. Years later, St. Clare returns to England to restore his family's honor and exact revenge. But he didn't count on having to make a choice between love and vengeance. Can he have them both? READ MORE
Murder Mystery, Supernatural Suspense
Detectives Gino Canale and Mark Waters don't believe in ghosts. But when multiple homicides mimic decades-old murders, and it appears someone is working from beyond the grave to right a wrong, they start to wonder if life and death can cross tracks. . . READ MORE
20th Century Historical Romance, Historical Mystery
Chicago 1925, Charity, wanting to follow her dreams, risks everything to reopen her father's speakeasy, but bad-boy biker Gabriel made a promise to her father to protect her. Can they survive the danger and shape their own destinies? READ MORE
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Two girls, two different times, connected by dreams and a love that won't let go. Sofia, a good girl from Greece, falls for Danny, a British tourist, and defies her over-protective family. In 1937 England, Laura's dreams of wealth and happiness are threatened by an aristocrat's obsession. Christian must make a hard choice to save their love. READ MORE
Single mom and divorce lawyer Vivian has seen enough evidence to convince her there are no good men left in New York City. The worst offender is her new neighbor: Dr. Lucas Keller, a couple’s therapist who starts poaching her clients by saving their marriages. Lucas gives her the perfect opportunity to get rid of him when he proposes an unexpected bet.… READ MORE
Dragons, pirates, magic and deceit... Thac is no place for the faint of heart. Thrills and adventure abound in this fantastic anthology from the world of Thac… READ MORE
Detective Erin Donovan expects life to settle down after the arrest and conviction of a serial rapist who terrorized her college town. Then two young women are brutally slain, and the murders resemble the campus rapist. Did she arrest the wrong man? READ MORE
After his father died, Jordan cleaned up his act, assuming the role of head of the family, entering a career in law enforcement, and building a successful construction company. Busy, yes, but he's in control. On a chance business trip, however, he meets the one person who throws his life into a whirlwind--Jaynee. Jaynee has lived a tragic life and has sworn off all men. That is until rugged southern gentleman Jordan lands in her seating area, refusing to take no for an answer. From the moment they meet, he sweeps her off her feet, but when her past comes back to haunt her, their idyllic life shatters... READ MORE
Are you in the holiday spirit yet? You will be! With 18 All-New Christmas Stories, how could you not? Pre-Order for only $0.99!
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Former attorney Jonnie Jacobs, author of fifteen mystery and suspense novels, several short stories, and numerous essays, says she loves to write crime fiction because she likes bringing a sense of justice and order to the world. Learn more about Jonnie on her website here!
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Recommending Books: The Author, the Reader, and the Story by bestselling mystery author Peg Herring.
It’s my practice to go into a bookstore and say to a clerk, “What do I want to read?” This results in great discussions of books and authors, and I usually leave with two or three interesting prospects. Does my method result in reading bliss? Sometimes yes, sometimes no.
Although clerks are generally eager to help, they can’t predict what I’ll love ... and what I’ll hate. They know what’s out there, but reading involves complex interplay among the reader, the writer, and the story. Predicting how those will mesh is tricky.
Although some authors write beautifully, I never buy their books. Elmore Leonard, James Patterson, Louise Penny, and Janet Evanovich are just a few authors whose legions of fans don’t include me. I've tried them all, but there was no spark between us.
Why is that? First, an author’s view of life colors everything he writes. Readers expect one sort of story from Lee Child or a C.J. Box and a completely different sort from Charles Todd or Laurie King. They’re all good writers with good plots, but the tone of each differs widely. Publishers hint at tone in blurbs and cover art so readers aren’t blindsided by unexpected violence or bored by cerebral investigations. Smart readers learn to note words like “dark,” “intricate,” and “zany” so they don’t buy books they’ll hate.
Enjoyment of a book depends on the reader’s viewpoint as well. Readers walk around in an invisible circle that delineates areas we’re willing to venture into. Outside that circle are plots we can’t believe in, characters we don’t like, and events we don’t want to know about. Behind it are genres we once enjoyed but have outgrown (I once did a decade of biographies). Before us are areas of reading we haven’t yet ventured into (maybe sci-fi is somewhere in my future). The fact that most readers seldom step outside their circle is neither our fault nor the writer’s.
A reader reacts to what he reads through the veil of his own experiences, and those things can’t be transferred to someone else. We’ve all given a book we loved to a friend who returned it later with an embarrassed air, maybe even with the admission he didn’t finish it. How did your friend miss the brilliance you saw in those words?
As we lean into a book, we can’t keep ourselves from falling between the pages. Some books we know are good--those with awards and great acclaim--leave us cold, while books the world hardly notices can strike a chord that makes us look for more from that author. I stopped reading The Gold Finch halfway through. Having often dealt with teenagers who’d lost their way in the world, it was painful to see the protagonist go through page after page of self-destructive agony. A book I saw as amazing, The Poisonwood Bible, brought yawns and even negative responses from my friends. The book spoke to me at that point in my life. Either it didn’t speak to them or it said things they didn’t want to hear.
Recently, a friend recommended All the Light We Cannot See, so I read it. She put it into her top five all-time books, and when I finished it, I thought, “Yes, that was a good read.” Recently, however, I found The Nightingale: same era, same location. That one knocked my socks off in a way the other didn’t.
Recommending books is an art, so I don’t envy the bookstore clerk who gets to tell me what I should read next. I’m sure they learn not to be offended when customers refuse their suggestions. Likewise, you shouldn’t be offended when a friend doesn’t get from a book what you got. The writer is no doubt talented; there are plenty of accomplished writers out there. The plot is probably okay, too--at least for some readers. It’s how the reader interacts with the author and the story that determines whether a book will go on his list of good reads and everybody’s “Best Books Ever” list is different.
How about you? Where do you get your book suggestions?
Enjoyed what Peg Herring had to say? Please check out her books!
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