Friday, December 30, 2011

Interview with Erica Bauermeister Author of Joy For Beginners

Erica Bauermeister’s Interview
for January featured novel

Debbie - Erica thank you so much for agreeing to spend time with us here at the General Fiction forum for B& it’s our pleasure to have you with us for the month of January.
Since it’s the first month of a new year I have to ask
Do you make resolutions?

Erica - Absolutely – I’m one of those people who requires motivation to take risks, and New Year’s resolutions are a perfect excuse (writing a book about fear and challenges is another sneaky way to do that).

D - From reading your bio (I loved it by the way) I see that you wanted to write for a long time before you did and you’ve alerted us to the fact that it’s because you’re a mother that gives you a certain way of looking at things and you’ve been married to the same man for three decades ( me too and he isn’t buried in my backyard either J)
You say that your process is organic, can you explain that to those of us who don’t understand it.

E - I call it the mental hopper – something we started when the children were little and full of ideas and plans, too many for the average day.  I got tired of always saying “no,” so I’d say “let’s put it in the mental hopper.”  When I was given time I could put all the pieces together and often I would see a way to make it all work.
It’s the similar thing with a book.  I tend to think in images – a moment in a story, the essence of a character, a philosophical thought about how people think or act.  I spend about six months before I ever start writing real chapters simply jotting down scenes and descriptions, and taking notes from research about topics that are in the book (I do a lot of research, as a general rule).  All those ideas go in the mental hopper and talk to each other, and in the end they sort themselves out into something that resembles a book.

D - Are there people you know personally in the faces of your characters?

E - People ask that question a lot.  I really enjoy writing characters who aren’t based on anyone I know.  If I don’t have a personal basis for the character, then I have the liberty to follow the characters wherever they want to go.  I learn a lot more that way, and I think my readers do, too.
That said, my characters often start with a question that comes from my personal experience.  For example, Isabelle in School of Essential Ingredients came out of a desire to understand what it would be like to have Alzheimer’s.  My father died of a condition that included frontal lobe dementia, and I wanted to try and feel what it was like to lose the brain you had loved throughout your life.  In the end, Isabelle’s personality and life experience were nothing like my father’s, but she was born, in many ways, out of a desire to understand him.
Kate’s character in Joy For Beginners came from a similar desire for understanding.  I had written a character who had died of cancer in School of Essential Ingredients and I had several friends who had passed away. This time, I wanted to understand what it was like to survive.  I knew it couldn’t be as easy as the doctor saying “you’re clean!”  I knew there would be so much more to it.  Kate’s character was a chance to delve into the complicated world of a survivor.

D - Joy For Beginners is hard to put into a specific genre, yes it’s women’s fiction but it’s also so much more.
Do you feel that being placed in a particular genre keeps you away from a broader audience?

E - I do worry about that – as I worry any time we label things.  I also realize that categories and labels are often necessary; they save time and help us navigate a big and complicated world, so I am not naïve enough to think we can get rid of them entirely.  One of my life goals, however, is to come up with a new set of labels for literature. Rather than stereotyping by gender, wouldn’t it be more informative to use labels that actually describe a book’s style or content?  “Character fiction” or “plot fiction” or “lyrical fiction.”  Personally, I would find that much more helpful.

D - You also say you were thankful that you weren’t published before you thought you were ready and yet you have a PHD and taught writing.
Do you still teach?

E - Getting the PhD, teaching, and writing 500 Great Books by Women and Let’s Hear It For the Girls (both reader’s guides I co-authored in the 1990s) were all part of my learning and growing process.  I knew when I was younger that I wasn’t grown up enough yet to write the kind of books I wanted to write.  I needed more life experience and I needed to understand more about the inner workings of these beautiful, intricate machines we call books.  All of those parts of my education – along with being a mother, living in Seattle and Italy, and being married for almost thirty years – have been crucial steps in my path to being a writer.
As for teaching – these days I am a full-time writer, but I enjoy teaching too much to give it up entirely, so I often teach workshops at writing conferences.

You’ve been published in 21 countries, that’s amazing.
Did you ever picture that and does it give you goose bumps to think about?
That’s the kind of thing that happens to other people – at least that is what I always thought.  So no, I never pictured it.  And yes, it gives me goose bumps, all the time.  I spent ten years NOT getting published (and I have boxes of rejections to prove it).  I know how lucky I am and I never forget that.

D - Give us a typical day in the life of Erica Bauermeister.

E - The ideal Erica Bauermeister day:  I wake up early (5 am or so) and lie in bed for an hour or more, letting the ideas come to me.  When I get a good one I can feel it (I almost hear a sound), and then I get up and follow it.  I’ll write for as long as the ideas are there.  When they stop, I’ll do something that involves repetitive motion (walking, swimming, cooking), and usually that jump-starts the process again.  I always try to stop writing before I am completely tapped out, though – it makes starting the next day easier.
The typical Erica Bauermeister day:  The dog needs to go outside.  My husband starts snoring gently, the sound chasing away each idea as it comes.  I remember there is laundry to do.  I focus on my story.  I remember the trash needs to go out.  I get up, make coffee, shut myself in a room and write for as long as I can, getting up to change the laundry from the washer to the dryer and bring in the trashcan from the curb.  Etc.  Etc.
Either way, the book gets written, though.  That’s the amazing thing about being a writer.  If you truly want to write, you will – because you have to, because there is no way you can NOT do it.  Even when I had a full-time job and two kids, I still wrote.  What I wrote during those incredibly busy years might not always have been wonderful and much of it wasn’t published, but it was all part of learning to be a writer, and I am grateful for every word that made it to the page.

D - Now tell us something about you that might surprise us.

E - While I have both rafted down the Grand Canyon and completed the breast cancer 3-Day walk, I am a horrible bread maker and gardener.  Those two chapters in Joy For Beginners took a LOT of research.

Thank you again Erica for being a part of this forum for the month of January and I know I speak not just for myself but for all of the participants when I say we really appreciate your graciousness and giving to spend this time with us.
Please visit Erica’s website here.
And please join us at The General Fiction forum starting January 9th when the discussion begins, come chat with Erica and all of us as we talk about her wonderful novel Joy For Beginners.

If you missed my review of the novel you can see it here.

And it also made my best of 2011 list here.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Review of The Gilder by Kathryn Kay

The Gilder
Katherine Kay
Kensington Release date 1-1-2012

As a young adult Marina goes to Florence to further her art of gilding, hoping to learn from a master in a place where the art was created and perfected. Living in Florence she meets and befriends Sarah and Thomas who become her foster family and yet she also fosters deeper feelings toward Sarah, feelings that are unsettling. Those feelings are abruptly forgotten about when Marina’s confusing actions and the results of those actions send her scurrying out of Florence and away from her newfound life and friends as fast as a plane will carry her. Sixteen years later, her life built on lies, deceit and denials is starting to unravel when her daughter Zoe starts asking questions and the lies start sticking in her throat. She’s returning to Florence to speak at a conference and while she’s there she vows to make right what had become so wrong. In an act of life mimicking art she sees that the hurt to relationships is just as deep as the damage to a piece of artwork that needs repairing and the fix is just as fragile as the gilt she uses to finish the process. In confessing to past wrongs she is learning more about her self and perhaps opening feelings that were once locked deeply away and perhaps resolution will result in reparations.
Kathryn Kay brings us a poignant and beautiful look at Florence through the eyes of someone innocent and fresh who slowly becomes cynical as a result of life. Her plot is imaginative and unique. Her narrative is a mix of the prose spoke in Italy to the slang spoke in the US with dialogue that will let you see the Arno flowing and the flowers growing on the banks, that will let you smell the cafés wares and feel the salt spray on your face and imagine the thinness of the gold gilt and the fluidity of applying it. Her characters are all memorable and some are confusing. Her protagonist Marina grows throughout the novel and yet never really matures until the end where the author literally gives her readers a front row seat of Marina learning to trust, hope and live again without the debilitating fear it used to cause. This is definitely  an adult read although the adult scenes are masked enough to allow a younger audience admittance.
This is more than women’s fiction, but that’s the best genre to place it in, it’s a journey to Europe it’s of life and of loss and it’s about putting the important things up front and deal with them.
Buy the book here.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Q&A with Robyn Carr about her just released novel Hidden Summit

First of all Robyn thank you so much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to answer a few questions.

Debbie - Hidden Summit is number 17 in this series – Wow
Tell us when you wrote the first one did you envision this many novels and do you have a set number of novels for the series.

Robyn - When I wrote Virgin River, the first in the series, I thought I was writing one book.  Period.  By the time Jack Sheridan’s old Marine squad showed up, I knew I had at least four books in the series.  By the time four (plus A Virgin River Christmas) were written, enough supporting characters had been at least briefly introduced to support more books.  And then a new guy comes to town – Luke Riordan, bad boy Black Hawk pilot – and will you lookitthat!  He has four military brothers!  The 20th Virgin River novel, My Kind Of Christmas, stars Patrick, the youngest in the Riordan clan. 
The town is a large canvas – people come and go, they visit, they re-locate.  When you’re writing about a town the possibilities are endless. 

Do you base any of your characters on someone you know, (you can tell us, we’ll keep a secret) J
The short answer is – never.  However, I pick up on character traits that interest me – the woman who was raised by an angry, bitter single mother; the man who lost his best friend in theater (war); the couple who would make the best parents on earth but can’t seem to conceive.  I can mix and match character traits with appearance  and occupations and come up with many new people. 

Your characters and plots all stay so fresh, what’s your secret considering the longevity of the series.
My editor, agent and I work very hard to zero in on “life issues” that haven’t been completely dealt with yet.  The Virgin River novels are all a fun juxtaposition of women’s fiction (or relationship issues) and romance – I want to introduce real contemporary problems that we all grapple with all the time.  And then it’s important to find sane, healthy, intelligent solutions whenever possible.  It’s important to my readers that they finish a Virgin River novel feeling hopeful and encouraged.  Add to that a satisfying romance and you have a Virgin River novel. 

Is Virgin River based on a real place
Humboldt County, home of the redwoods, river, wildlife, mountains, Pacific Coast – absolutely real and I go there every year to research.  And yes, there are dozens if not hundreds of small towns peppering Northern California’s mountains and valleys, and yes also to the illegal marijuana growers.  But Virgin River?  Only in our hearts and minds, I’m afraid. 

Do you have any B&N book signings or events planned, I’m sure there are some fans here who would love to meet you in person. 
I don’t have anything planned at this time, but I stop in at every Barnes & Noble I see and sign their stock.  It’s one of my favorite jobs! 

Thanks so much Robyn for taking the time to chat with us.
Congratulations of making #1 on the NY Times List with Bring Me Home For Christmas and I hope to see you there with Hidden Summit and in the future novels too.
Have a safe and Happy New Year and thanks for all the great journeys you take me on throughout the year.

Here's my review of Hidden Summit in case you missed it

Hidden Summit
Robyn Carr
352 pages
After being the only witness to a murder and reporting it Danson Conner’s been threatened, his business burned to the ground and the only way the DA can protect him, his sister and her two boys is by placing them with new IDs in separate parts of the country. And so he finds himself in picturesque, remote Virgin Rivers where he’s to stay until the trial. Now known as Conner Danson he’s found work and a lady that makes his temperature rise. But Conner doesn’t trust easily, he’s got major baggage.
Leslie Petruso’s life took a dramatic change when her marriage raveled and now the place she’s called home forever seems more like a prison especially when she can’t seem to stay out of sight of her ex and his new pregnant wife. To make matters worse he still wants to be friends. The only regret in leaving is that her beloved parents are here but she needs a change of scenery. Now she just wants to run as far away as possible and thanks to the generosity of her former boss she’s found sanctuary in Virgin River. Trying to settle into her new life the last thing she needs is a pair of knowing blue eyes to mess with her finally settling life.
Leslie and Conner want to resist the temptation and attraction they feel for each other, but it seems the Universe sees it differently. What will happen when this “Hidden Summit” reveals the secrets of these two deserving of happiness lonely people.
Robyn Carr continues to delight us with her Virgin River series and as she takes us from winter into spring and summer she brings us yet another couple who delight us and another story that catches our interest and our imagination and won’t let us go until we finally turn the last page. And where sometimes the intrigue of our characters is enough in this one she brings us another more sinister element to make us bite our nails as we read on to find out what happens. She does this with her own uniqueness and ability to spin a tale and with her down home narrative that makes these chapters in her characters lives easy for us to read and hard for us to put them down. In this novel she shows us the vulnerabilities of her characters and in spite of them their wish to find love and happiness within the limits of Virgin River. Conner and Leslie are yet another couple deserving in their own HEA who just happen to find themselves in this magical place and yet in this romance she brings us suspense and danger that will also delight any crime drama lover. The romance is sweet and romance lovers will eat it up while they keep their fingers crossed that this deserving couple will find what they seek. The love scenes will also warm you up on a cold winters day with the intensity and sensuality that we associate with Ms. Carr.
If you’ve never journeyed to Virgin River please don’t stop here, there are many more to tickle your senses and satisfy your cravings for wonderful stories and unforgettable romances. If you are a constant visitor in Ms. Carr’s epic town you won’t be disappointed with this trip either.
Thank you Ms. Carr for yet another great getaway to your imaginary town that feels so real I can’t wait until my next visit.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Review of Switched by Amanda Hocking

Amanda Hocking
St. Martin’s Press
Release date 1-24-2012
ISBN13: 9781250006318
320 pages

From as far back as she can remember Wendy Everly knew she didn’t belong where she was and it all came to fruition on her sixth birthday when her mother came at her with a butcher knife calling her a monster. Now she’s a teenager, her mother’s in an institution and she’s been expelled from more schools than most of us ever attend in a lifetime. Through it all her brother Matt and her aunt Maggie have done their best to help her fit in and feel loved. But now that’s not enough and when things start happening around her that unbelievably start to make sense Wendy knows she has to make a change, not just of address but of location and oh yes let’s not forget species as well. Wendy finds herself in the middle of a true to life Grimm’s Fairytale only it’s not all it’s hyped up to be and she starts to wonder if blood has anything really to do with being a family.

Amanda Hocking brings us this first in her new Tyrlle series where her plot does come from Fairy Tales but none that we’ve ever read. She joins everyday people with myths and legends and does it in a way that not only the YA audience she’s addressing but adults as well will enjoy the read. Her characters are life like enough to wonder if you’ll meet them in the streets or in your dreams and there are some doozies along with the everyday Joes and Jills. Her heroine is entertaining, frustrating and at times very Noir-ish as well, but she will grow on you as she has her own coming of age tale.
In this day of YA being the newest fashionable genre and paranormal YA being all that and more I think even the more sophisticated palates of adult readers will be pleasantly surprised by this new novel and will anticipate the release of the future releases as well.
Thank you Ms. Hocking for a journey back into my younger years as well as a fairy tale with a twist. I look forward to the next in the series.
Buy the book here visit the author's website here

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Review of Christmas Eve at Friday Harbor

Christmas Eve At Friday Harbor
Lisa Kelpas
St. Martin’s Press
ISBN13: 9780312605872
224 pages

Mark Nolan finally learned the meaning of family, it unfortunately took a terrible tragedy and a very small hand of a child in need. He becomes the sole guardian for his orphaned niece Holly, he’s not too proud to ask for help and his brother Sam steps up to the plate. Now the only thing missing is the answer to Holly’s letter to Santa, a new mom.
Maggie Collins moved to Friday Harbor to start over after her own tragedy changed the course of her life and her future, she’s vowed never to marry again because she doesn’t think she can take the chance of loss again. What she does believe in is magic and with magic she breaks through the veil that prevents Holly from being the full fledged little girl she should be. Now if she can only figure out what her heart is telling her about Holly’s uncle Mark.
Can these two lonely, damaged people find in each other what they’ve been missing, will they look to the future or will they let their pasts rule what’s to come.
Holiday novels are magical and my favorite kind of reads and this one gives us the addition of a life lesson as well. It makes a great stocking stuffer, or a gift that will keep on giving for years to come.
Buy the book here visit the author's website here

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Q&A with Gerri Hill about her just released novel Hell's Highway

Gerri Hill on Hell’s Highway

Gerri Welcome to the B& General Fiction book club forum and taking time out of your busy schedule to chat with us for a few minutes.

Thanks for inviting me! I appreciate the opportunity.

Hell’s Highway is the second novel staring Cameron Ross and Andrea Sullivan, do you plan others starring these characters will there be a series.

When I wrote Devil’s Rock, the first book with Cameron and Andrea, I did not intend for there to be a sequel. But as I neared the end I realized how much I’d enjoyed them and they sort of filled a void left by Tori and Sam from the Hunter Series. As it ends up, I thoroughly enjoyed writing Hell’s Highway and would love to continue their adventures, but I don’t have a third book planned as of yet. I think I’ll wait and see if my readers enjoy the second one before starting a third!

You write both romance and mystery, mainstream and Lesbian do you prefer one genre over the other

That’s a hard question. Romance was what I started with but even in the mystery/suspense books, I have a healthy dose of romance as well. I doubt I would write a book that didn’t have some sort of romance. As far as the genre itself, I think I enjoy writing mysteries the most.

You started writing in 2000 it seems by accident while being snowed in, in Colorado. Did you never before aspire to write, I’m surprised especially as well as you do it.

Thank you. And it was quite by accident! I wouldn’t really say I had aspirations to write novels, but I always did enjoy writing. The “snowed in” story is true and it was a way to entertain myself that winter. When I moved back to Texas, the writing bug stuck and I wrote One Summer Night, my first published work. Kara’s Moon is the first story though and I keep that one up on my website . . . as a reminder, I think, of where it started.

It says in your bio that your characters often find themselves in the great outdoors where your heart is, but by looking at your bio it’s obvious that you’re also an animal lover
Do animals/pets find there way into your novels too.

I’m a nature lover and animals are a big part of that. I can’t imagine my life without pets! I’ve had a few pets in my books (Alex in Dawn of Change, Cheyenne in The Killing Room, Dillon in Sierra City, Lola in Devil’s Rock and Hell’s Highway) but I don’t like to overdo it. Some people are not pet lovers and just can’t relate to them as being a “character” in a book.

Do you have any planned book signings at B&N or anywhere else I’m sure there are fans that would love to meet you in person

I don’t have any planned at B&N but I do have a book signing planned for June in Dallas. I’ll have details on my website when that date approaches. I would love to meet some of my fans in person!

Gerri, thank you so much for taking time to chat with us and good luck with the novel
Please check out the author’s website here buy the book here

Thank you very much.

Some of Gerri's other books

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Q&A with the authors of Kill Switch

Please welcome Neal Baer and Jonathan Greene

Gentlemen thank you so much for taking the time to answer just a few questions about your new novel.

Debbie - You both obviously work well together in television production, where did the idea for co-authoring a novel come from?

N&J -Nine years ago, I went to Jon with an idea for what was to be a feature film, but evolved into a novel. It involved a forensic psychiatrist-in-training who is working with prisoners about to be paroled. The particular patient she gets assigned is accused of committing sex crimes.

Since Jon and I had already worked together closely on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit for two years, we knew we were a good match as creative collaborators. We each brought different strengths and perspectives to the story. I drew on my obsession with the films of Alfred Hitchcock, especially VERTIGO, and my training as a physician. Jon has an abundance of experience from his previous work as a news journalist and producer for Court TV. The book needed the law enforcement side, as well as the medical and psychiatric background in order to work.

D - How is writing together different from working together on the tv set?

N&J- In the case of KILL SWITCH, it wasn't much different. TV writing requires many passes to hone the story and characters; so did writing KILL SWITCH. In some ways, writing a novel is easier; your focus is solely on the written page and not on casting, directing, lighting, wardrobe, makeup, props and editing. However, the challenge of writing a novel is that all elements rest on the novelist -- we must describe in prose what our characters are wearing, we must paint a picture of the scene only in words. TV allows you to show a reality; in a novel it’s all in the reader's head.

D -How did you split up work on the novel?

N&J -Our process is one of writing and constantly rewriting. We spend hours together talking through the plot points, writing and rewriting the outline and then writing the chapters. Jon wrote the first chapters and I rewrote them. In the last third we alternated writing and rewriting each other's chapters.

D - Will there be more co-authored novels in the future for you?

N&J -Yes! Two more novels -- at least -- with our protagonist Dr. Claire Waters are in contract. We will write those together as well. In the next book, Claire will be faced with another mystery that will test her abilities as a forensic psychiatrist and put her in grave danger.

D -Are you planning any B&N book signings?

N&J -We will be signing KILL SWITCH on its release day – Tuesday December 13 – at the B&N Tribeca in New York City at 6pm.

For more info about KILL SWITCH, readers can visit and They can also follow Neal Baer on twitter @nealbaer or download the KILL SWITCH APP for iPhone or Droid.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Review of Immortal Rider by Larissa Ione

Immortal Rider

Larissa Ione

Grand Central Publishing

ISBN13: 9870446574471

427 pages

Limos the Horseman who will become Famine if the Apocalypse becomes reality and her seal breaks has built her life on lies. Which seems fitting seeing as she’s to become Satan’s wife. But now stopping the end of days is what she’s focused on and with the help of Angels and the Aegis she may just change her evil ways. When one particularly hot member of the Aegis does the biggest no no and kisses her and is dragged off to the underworld for his deed her focus shifts to getting him out and searching inside herself to find out why she cares.

Arik Wagner has dedicated his life to defending first against his abusive father then in the military and finally with the Aegis who is all about saving the world from demonic prophecies from coming true. Little did he know stealing a kiss from a sexy Horseman would land him down under and it’s not Australia we’re talking about. Now he’s got to survive to get out but not without help from his friends and one very sexy “Immortal Rider”.

Larrisa Ione is in a class by herself in this new world of Urban Fantasy. She mixes myth, fantasy and reality into one heck of a romance. She introduces us to new creatures with every installment and she also keeps tabs on previous characters that her fans have come to care about. In this the second in her Lords of Deliverance series she gives us a story line with all the fanfare of Revelations with a paranormal twist where good and evil are not always who or what you might think. She does this with a narrative that will spellbind you with its intensity and mesmerize you with its depth where her dialogue will leap off the page and into visualizations her readers will easily see and accept. Her characters are all over the top from demons to Immortals to creatures starring in your worst nightmare ever will have a way of although unlikely becoming our friends as she with her ability will intimate them to us. Her hero Arik and heroine Limos will battle their way into our hearts as we root them on to the happiness they reach for. Her love story is like all her others totally unbelievable in its concept and yet she with her storytelling will make you believe it while the heat of her love scenes will rival the scorching fires of the hell she so vividly describes to us.

While this is part of a series you will find this a good stand-a-lone but I’m sure after reading one they’ll become addictive and you’ll have to go back for more of the story, more of the romances and more of the legends.

Thank you Ms. Ione for another trip into the bowels of places I never thought I would enjoy but thanks to you I do.

Buy the book here visit the author's website here

Monday, December 12, 2011

Best 20 Novels of 2011

BEST OF 2011
It’s that time of year again and every Tom Dick and Debbie gives you their “Best Of” lists and this Debbie is no different so without further ado here’s mine.
Click the links to read the full review.
This year was especially hard for me to choose the top pick and as a result there are two fabulous novels that share that honor.


The First is My One and Only by Kristan Higgins. As most of you know my love of fiction goes beyond just one or two or even three genres, I love them all and this novel was probably the best romance I’ve read in a long time. Kristan has the ability to take us with her wherever her story leads and really endear us to her characters human and in this case a sassy little dog as well. Thank you Kristan for a trip that I will long remember. Kristan’s Website

Also this year I was fortunate enough to read and review for RT Reviews a fantasy that made me love a protagonist who was most unlovable by a debut author who knows how to spin a web of fantasy better than or just as good as any author of the genre out there. Prince of Thorns by Mark Lawrence is an epic fantasy that will blow your socks off, the first of a trilogy and is absolutely brilliant who’s first step into this genre only whets our appetite for the next not only in this trilogy but whatever his fertile imagination comes up with in the future. Mark I can only say that this debut will not only stay on my shelf for ever to be re-read often but will stay in my mind as well. Mark’s website
The rest of the list is in no particular order

Darkfire Kiss by Deborah Cooke is by one of my all time favorite and always have to have the next one out author. She’s long been a favorite and I’ve followed her through multiple genres and more than a decade of being a fan. Darkfire Kiss is the 6th novel in her Dragon Fire series and stars one of my favorite of her dragon shape-shifters Rafferty. He’s wise and he’s old and he’s patient and it looks like his patience is about to pay off. If you, like me love this genre of Paranormal/Urban Fantasy Romance give not only this novel but the whole series a try. Deborah was our guest at General Fiction forum in September when we featured the first in this series Kiss of Fire Deborah’s website

A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness was another debut that remains close to my heart. It’s also a trilogy with Shadow of Night coming out in July of 2012. If you’re a fan of myth and legend and vampire tales but want to see one in a whole new light you might want to see what this one has to say. Deborah’s website

A Summer in Europe by Marilyn Brant is a journey of a lifetime to all the best sights Europe has to offer, brought to you by a narrative that will make you fluent in the language where you happen to be. Not only that but you will love these characters especially Gwen who’s having a coming of age at the age of 30. Big News Marilyn has graciously agreed to be my guest in May of 2012 when the General Fiction forum will feature her novel, what a better way to celebrate Spring in full force than by spending it discovering Europe in a whole new way. Marilyn’s website

Mind Games is by the writing team known as Taylor Keating and is the second in their Guardian series. This series I found totally by accident and have drooled over and impatiently anticipated each new release. Game Over is the first in the series. This is a multi genre novel that mixes Paranormal/Urban Fantasy with Science Fiction and romance and takes place on multiple planets as well. The series begins with a very Tron like feeling but quickly expands to much more in this second novel so if this is a genre that appeals to the adventurer in you, this is a series you should consider. Taylor’s website

Joy for Beginners by Erica Bauermeister is for the those of us who shudder at challenges, who revel in friendship and who love a novel that gives you not only hope but laughter as well. I am also happy to report that at the General Fiction book club forum at B& her novel will be the featured read in January and Erica will be with us for the month, to talk to us, answer questions and just hang out with the members who will be enjoying this wonderful, inspirational and so much more than just women’s fiction read. Erica’s website

Outlaw by Angus Donald was a legend come true in more ways than one. It’s a tale of the legendary Robin Hood told in the most realistic light I’ve ever read. The battles are bloody and the brutality is vivid on the pages and beyond that it’s what the real late 12th Century England really was like. It was my pleasure to host Angus in October on the B& General Fiction forum and feature this his first in the series The Outlaw Chronicles where only the first two have been published in the US. Let’s make sure this whole series comes across the pond. Angus’ website

Love You More by Lisa Gardner is the 5th in the DD Warren series by this prolific author of thrillers and in my opinion the best out there, maybe because of her sweet smile that makes it hard to imagine lurks the mind that can create some of the most heinous of literary villains oh and don’t forget she always throws in a little romance to soothe those of us who need more than blood and guts. If you’ve never read her but love the big boys like John Sandford, Nelson Demille or Michael Connelly, Lisa gives them a run for their money. Lisa’s website

The Proper Care and Maintenance of Friendship by Lisa Verge Higgins was my first best read of 2011 and will be my feature read in March of 2012 on the General Fiction forum at B& This women’s fiction selection is capable of drawing out emotions, teaching us what true friendship is all about and the sacrifice we’ll make for the sake of a friend. It’s also about loss and pain and light at the end of the tunnel. It’s a love story about what if really means to be a friend. It’s really worth the read and join us in March for the feature too. Lisa’s website

Emily & Einstein by Linda Francis Lee was an unexpected surprise sent to me by my friends at St. Martin’s Press. This impressive novel is a mix of fantasy and realism, it’s about responsibilities and regrets, most of all it’s about absolution and redemption. The irrepressible Einstein played by a feisty mutt with nine lives will enter not only your hearts but by the end of the novel you’ll all want to run out to the nearest shelter and relieve them of some of their inhabitants, added to the cast is the lovely Emily who’s girl next door charm will win you over and Sandy her husband with a few others thrown in to make it all come together. Linda’s website

Inside by Brenda Novak is the first in her latest Bulleproof trilogy the first two being closer related than the third but all must reads about being on the inside of a prison by choice to expose a prison gang that has threatened him and more importantly his family. This thrilling chilling read had me on the edge of my seat throughout the entire novel, not being able to put it down. You can read my reviews of In Seconds and In Close in RT Reviews. Brenda does more than just write she’s a tireless advocate for Juvenile Diabetes. Brenda’s website

Where All The Dead Lie by JT Ellison, JT is another one of my favorite authors and Taylor Jackson the star of her series is one of my favorite characters, but she may have bit off more than even she could chew in this novel which mostly takes place in a Scottish Castle in the dead of winter where we will experience along with Taylor ghosts both real and imagined. JT I’m happy to announce is launching a new series staring Dr. Sam Taylors best friend and I’m also happy to announce that JT will be my guest at the General Fiction forum in June 2012 with her yet to be released debut of her new series so far titled A Deeper Darkness as our featured read for that month. JT’s website

The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter You’ll need to brush up on your mythology for this fantasy with a mix of romance. It’s categorized as a YA but that puts it in a box that’s way too small for it. Both men and women, teens and adults will enjoy this whimsical tale about Henry/Hades and his quest for a Queen. In this paranormal/fantasy frenzy in publishing give this unique one a read. Then stay tuned for March 2012 when the second in the series Goddess Interrupted comes out.
Aimée’s website

A Pub Across the Pond by Mary Carter Carlene Rivers just won the lottery, not cash, not bonds, no she just won a Pub in Ireland. She has a lot to overcome when she gets there and especially the reason the Pub needed to be lotteried off in the first place Ronan McBride. This novel was a breath of fresh Irish Blarney, filled to capacity with all the iconic Irish things and people, plus a great love story and a woman’s journey to accept who she is and like herself. I’m pleased to announce that Mary will be joining The General Fiction forum in July of 2012 where we’ll feature this novel for our monthly read. Mary’s website

The Collectibles by James J Kaufman Just a scant few days after the start of 2011 an incredible debut is released by an ex Judge, attorney, and a great new voice in the industry who’s one heck of a storyteller. It’s an inspiring lesson in life and it’s a wonderful look at doing the right thing in this all too corrupt world of ours. Now almost one year after it’s release date the novel has won many awards and I know will be still talked about many years from now. It was my pleasure to host Jim’s wonderful novel himself for the April 2011 feature at General Fiction forum at B& Jim’s website

Shadowfever by Karen Marie Moning is the long awaited finale of Karen’s Fever series and guess what the fanfare and all the hoopla surrounding it was well worth it and true. It’s not often that I wish a 600 page book would keep going but I did with this one as Karen finalizes Mac Lane’s tale in Ireland. The long asked questions will also be answered, who will she end up with, does she find the Sinsar Dubh, does she in fact survive at all. Oh I’m not going to spoil the surprise you have to find out for yourselves. Karen’s website

Snapped by Laura Griffin This is book four of Laura’s Tracers series and this has a very special meaning for her as well. In 1966 Laura’s mom was in Austin the day that Charles Whitman indiscriminately took so many lives on the campus of U of T. And as a tribute to her mom, Laura dedicates this book to her as she spins for her readers a wallop of a thriller and the romance of Sophie and Jonah, fans like me will remember these characters from her previous books in the series and if you’re anything like me you’ve been waiting just as impatiently as I have for their story. Laura’s website

Finding Jack by Gareth Crocker is the warm hearted and sometimes hard to read story about what one man sacrificed for the love of his dog during the end of the Vietnam war. It’s a novel of loss, hope and love. It was first published in the UK and brought over to the US in 2011. It also brought to light what happened to many of these brave “soldiers” when the war ended. Gareth and his novel were featured in May of 2011 on the General Fiction Book Club at B&
Gareth’s Website
And Last but never least is

Bring me Home for Christmas by Robyn Carr In every long standing series there’s one character who readers wait and wait for their story, in the Virgin River series that character has to be Denny Cutler, he’s been on the sidelines in many of the previous novels and now it’s his turn to shine, and shine he does. It mixes the second chance romance that’s my favorite with the favorite seasonal Christmas tale. Robyn’s website