Saturday, January 20, 2018

This Week on Books Direct - 20 January 2018

This Week on Books Direct -
20 January 2018

This Week on Books Direct - 20 January 2018

Here's a list of some great articles you may have missed this week. Enjoy!

Adding To Word Count by Anna Simpson for emaginette
How do you add to your word count?

Adding To Word Count by Anna Simpson for emaginette

Garbage collectors in Ankara, Turkey, have opened a public library comprised entirely of books once destined for the landfills.

Garbage Collectors Open Library With Abandoned Books by Spencer Feingold for CNN

A conservative “pro-family” group is trying to rally mothers against the Scholastic Corporation for publishing children’s books that honor diverse gender identities.

'One Million Moms' Is Furious That Scholastic Is Selling Books About Transgender Kids by Carol Kuruvilla for Huffington Post

AWC Book Covers Quiz by Australian Writers’ Centre
Can you guess the book from just the cover design? I didn’t know two of them!

AWC Book Covers Quiz by Australian Writers’ Centre

Topped by Margaret Atwood, the UK’s Top 10 bestselling authors of literary fiction last year features only one male writer, Haruki Murakami.

Female Writers Dominated 2017's Literary Bestsellers, Figures Show by Alison Flood for The Guardian

A large portion of a private collection of King works, which included original typed manuscripts of Maximum Overdrive and The Eyes of the Dragon, has been lost to an accident.

Thousands Of Rare, First Edition Stephen King Books And Manuscripts Destroyed In Freak Accident by Charles Pulliam-Moore for Gizmodo

Jam City unveiled its first look at one of 2018’s most anticipated mobile games, Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery

Do we write in order to fulfill fantasies and experience what we will never face in reality? Do we write to make sense of past problems or heal old wounds? Or do we simply enjoy the idea of playing God and watching the characters we create become a better version of themselves?

How Much Of Me Is In My Writing by Stephanie Ingram

MWA Announces 2018 Edgar Award Nominations by Margery Flax for Mystery Writers of America
Fittingly, on this the 209th anniversary of the birth of Edgar Allan Poe, the Mystery Writers of America announced the Nominees for the 2018 Edgar Allan Poe Awards. This year’s Poe Awards honor “the best in mystery fiction, non-fiction and television published or produced in 2017.”

MWA Announces 2018 Edgar Award Nominations by Margery Flax for Mystery Writers of America

A valuable edition of J. K. Rowling's first novel was one of only 500 printed in 1997.

Harry Potter Book Known As 'Holy Grail For Collectors' Stolen By Burglars by Peter Subley for The Independent

If you enjoyed this blog post, please visit the other This Week posts for links to more great articles.

Friday, January 19, 2018

"Pretty Dead Girls" by Monica Murphy

Pretty Dead Girls
by Monica Murphy

Pretty Dead Girls by Monica Murphy

Pretty Dead Girls by Monica Murphy is currently on tour with Chapter by Chapter Blog Tours. The tour stops here today for my review, an excerpt, and a giveaway. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.

Beautiful. Perfect. Dead.
In the peaceful seaside town of Cape Bonita, wicked secrets and lies are hidden just beneath the surface. But all it takes is one tragedy for them to be exposed.
The most popular girls in school are turning up dead, and Penelope Malone is terrified she's next. All the victims so far have been linked to Penelope—and to a boy from her physics class. The one she's never really noticed before, with the rumored dark past and a brooding stare that cuts right through her.
There's something he isn't telling her. But there's something she's not telling him, either.
Everyone has secrets, and theirs might get them killed.

Sitting with Cass like this, being so close to him, makes me hyper aware of everything about him. His clean tinged-with-fabric-softener scent. The sound of his breathing, the beat of his heart. His hair is soft, so are his clothes, and he has angsty taste in music. His shoulders are broad, his thigh is hard beneath my butt, and his chest is firm.
I like him. Despite being angry with him earlier, I can admit that I’m attracted to him. And I think he’s attracted to me.
“I’m pretty sure the only person Brogan wants to get off is himself,” I mutter under my breath, ducking my head.
Cass chuckles, the warm, deep sound making me shiver. “Most guys are selfish assholes.”
“Even you?” I look up to find he’s already watching me.
He nods slowly, his gaze dropping to my lips again. “Even me.”
“I bet you’re not that selfish,” I whisper. I am totally flirting with him.
“Oh, I definitely am. Watch me.”
And then he does the craziest thing.
Cass leans in, his mouth drawing close. So close, I can feel his breath tickle my lips. I part them, ready to say something, anything to break the sudden tension that’s crackling between us, but his mouth lands on mine in an instant.
I suck in a breath, shocked by the jolt of electricity that rushes through my blood when his lips touch mine. We're already completely wrapped up in each other. It feels…natural to kiss him.
His arms tighten around my waist, pulling me into him. I circle my arms around his neck, my fingers sliding into his hair. It’s thick and soft, the ends curling around my fingers, and I tunnel my hands deeper into it, savoring the hitch in his breath when I do so.
Our mouths are still connected. We kiss and kiss. Soft, innocent kisses at first, and then I part my lips, and he does too. Our lips linger, the kisses last longer as our breaths accelerate, and then his tongue is there, tracing my lips, circling mine…
It’s the hottest kiss I’ve ever experienced, the both of us trying to be quiet as we secretly make out while hiding in Courtney’s closet. His hands go to my waist and he readjusts me so I’m straddling him, and I wrap my legs around his hips. We’re chest to chest, his bulky sweatshirt is totally in my way, and I wish I could tear it off him so I can get closer.
But I settle for this. We’re kissing for kissing’s sake. There’s no end game, no trying to get into each other’s pants or get each other off, as Courtney so eloquently put it. And it feels so good, to get lost in Cass’s arms and lips for a while, to forget about my troubles, to concentrate on the delicious slide of his tongue against mine, his hands in my hair, the race of his heart and the heat of his skin.
Plus, it’s Cass. We’re giving in to the chemistry that seems to simmer between us every time we’re together. There’s something between us I’d like to explore, despite all the extra baggage that seems to come with this boy. His dead dad and his murdering mom and his weird grandma with the cluttered house and the cats. His mysterious ways and addiction problem—all of this adds up to a guy I should avoid at all costs.
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]

Praise for the Book

My Review
I received this book in return for an honest review.

By Lynda Dickson
Penelope is president of the Larks, a group of elite female students at a private school. When one of the Larks shows up dead, rumours fly and suspects abound, as she was a typical mean girl. When another member of the Larks is found murdered, Penelope thinks it might be more than just a coincidence. What is the murderer’s motivation and who will be next?
The story is a mix of Pretty Little Liars, Beverly Hills 90210, and Scream Queens. It’s told in two first-person accounts, one by the murderer and one by Penelope. Unfortunately, it's sometimes difficult to tell who's narrating. The writing is good, the tone is conversational, and the speech and teenage behaviors are realistic. The beginning is a bit slow and repetitive, but the author maintains the tension and manages to build the suspense. Even though I guessed who the killer was, I was still interested to see how it played out.
Warnings: coarse language, sexual references, violence

About the Author
Monica Murphy
Monica Murphy is the New York Times, USA Today and #1 international bestselling author of the One Week Girlfriend series, the Billionaire Bachelors, and The Rules series. Her books have been translated into almost a dozen languages and have sold over one million copies worldwide. She is a traditionally published author with Bantam/Random House and Harper Collins/Avon, as well as an independently published author. She writes new adult, young adult and contemporary romance. She is also USA Today bestselling romance author Karen Erickson.
She is a wife and a mother of three who lives with her family in central California on fourteen acres in the middle of nowhere, along with their one dog and too many cats. A self-confessed workaholic, when she’s not writing, she’s reading or hanging out with her husband and kids. She’s a firm believer in happy endings, though she will admit to putting her characters through many angst-filled moments before they finally get that hard-won HEA.

Enter the tour-wide giveaway for a chance to win a signed copy of Pretty Dead Girls by Monica Murphy (US only).


Thursday, January 18, 2018

"Purpose of Heaven upon Earth" by Dr. Wanjiru Gachie

Purpose of Heaven upon Earth:
Tough Goals, Turning ordinary into extraordinary, Better Lifestyle
by Dr. Wanjiru Gachie

Purpose of Heaven upon Earth: Tough Goals, Turning ordinary into extraordinary, Better Lifestyle by Dr. Wanjiru Gachie

Dr. Wanjiru Gachie joins us today to share an excerpt from her latest book, Purpose of Heaven upon Earth. Also available: All This and Heaven Too and Riches of Heaven upon Earth.

All This and Heaven Too by Dr. Wanjiru GachieRiches of Heaven upon Earth by Dr. Wanjiru Gachie

This book has been written with the following objectives in mind.
·         Shares the principles of living a lifestyle of purpose by creating and designing action-oriented goals.
·         Helps to open up your heart so that you can partake as a co-inheritor with Christ in the Heavenly Father’s riches.
·         Guides in the process of turning any ordinary situation into one of extraordinariness by the power and ability to focus. As well as in applying even a little mustard seed-like faith, to take action and how to measure your outcomes of undertaking these steps.
·         Guides in transcending from merely surviving into learning how to partake into the MORE abundant lifestyle that our Lord Jesus Christ has promised.
·         Guides through the process of applying the 3Ps principle of Patience, Perseverance and Persistence in all the areas of life thus turning your financial vision and dreams into a reality.
·         Shares the secrets of wanting nothing for the Lord will be your greatest treasure.
·         Shares principles of building an exceptionally beautiful and financially sound Better Lifestyle that stands on the solid rock, Jesus Christ, empowered by the Holy Spirit.

This book is a product of my own testimony of God’s deliverance and ultimate blessing in turning my once dismal situation into something of great value. Thus, the book is one of encouragement in order to motivate you dear reader to turn your gaze to the Heavenly Father and not to despair even as you walk through the dark valleys.
Rather than providing with plain information, this book attempts to provide you with a pointers that consists of a Better Lifestyle allowing you to make an informed decision concerning designing your goals and aligning your personal purpose with the universal purpose of God for His creations. The Heavenly Father has given human beings the ability to make choices and come up with decisions, and that is why He urges His children to ‘come and reason together’ with Him. He desires to have and engage in a dialogue with His beloved children.
In this world, you are a sojourner who is engaged in daily spiritual warfare with the enemy whose desire is to steal, to destroy and kill your goals so that you do not experience a Better Lifestyle of purpose. The enemy knows that by stealing your mustard seed like faith that you will fall into despair and be unable to turn your ordinary situations into extraordinary ones. The Devil’s main purpose is that you will not be able to become a blessing to many and in so doing you will not bring glory to the Heavenly Father.
The book is based on Dr Gachie personal journey of transformation of moving from nothingness into something. This process will help to steer the moving ship, because as a servant-steward of Christ you will be able to identify patterns in your life; what experiences led to other experiences, was there a buildup in all those experiences, is there a possibility that even my mistakes may be used in a redemptive way to craft a life message.
This Better Lifestyle book is based on the stewardship philosophy because you have been entrusted with all things material and non-material that the Father has provided in Heavenly places. A Better Lifestyle is all about a Kingdom building purpose of that good steward and ambassador by using the talents assigned to you in your respective worthwhile profession be it in being an accountant, a businessperson, a teacher, an athlete, housekeeper, mother, father, son, daughter or medical practitioner.  Whatever your worthwhile profession, the purpose of a Better Lifestyle is to adopt a daily attitude that says, “I am here Lord, use me as Your servant” (cf. Genesis 12:1-4; 1 Samuel 3:4; Isaiah 6:8; John 9:4; Luke 1:38).
The theme of this book revolves around the parable of the prodigal son and the parables of the talents. After hitting rock bottom like the prodigal son who came to his senses when he said, “How many of my father’s hired employees have enough food and to spare, but yet here I am starving of hunger!” It was as though the Prodigal said, ‘What a fool I have become!’ I came to my senses and realized that I would be better off being a slave in my Heavenly Father’s house than to live free in misery, toil and in dread. I have been exploring ways that anyone can systematically turn nothing into something extraordinary by the process of goal setting and of identifying one’s life purpose. You are the good and faithful steward who is here on earth to do business on behalf of the Heavenly Master who has entrusted you with talents and gifts so that one-day He will eventually hold you responsible and accountable for them.
The fundamental principle in this book is that a Better Lifestyle must rest upon a solid rock –Jesus Christ- because unless He builds your goals and gives you a purpose you shall build all in vain.
Furthermore, whoever wants to save their life will have to lose it first by becoming a servant of many, otherwise if you focus on saving your life first you shall lose it.
The book shares practical insights of how you can identify your goals and ultimate life purpose as you grow in union with Jesus Christ through prayer and thus experience a transformative Better Lifestyle because the Kingdom of our Heavenly Father is at hand.
I besiege you to get ready to experience the marvelous power of the principles and strategies that will empower you to make the relevant changes in your lifestyle, so that you will turn the life of your dreams into a reality in alignment with the Heavenly Father’s purpose.
The book also includes extracts from my own real life experiences that relate to the dramatic transformations that I have experienced on a moment-by-moment basis. By reading this book, you too can greatly benefit from the same life changing principles and strategies that are contained within these pages. Reference to the scriptures has been made in a way that you can practically apply them in different areas of your life. The scriptures are used as a guide to navigating the many terrains that you will encounter on your life journey.
You may have experienced a loss in an area of your life or want to draw more joy and peace from life but have not yet quite figured out how to do it, and then this book will become your day-to-day ever-loving companion. Included in the contents of this book are the keys to maximizing your goals and living a lifestyle of purpose from a Biblical perspective.
The book begins by introducing the subject of designing tough goals, which will form the foundation for identifying, utilizing, and enhancing your critical success factors for the lifestyle that you desire to live on a personal level.
The road to improvement is to improve oneself before the outer situation can improve. The book thus shows you just how much power you actually possess and that you are the catalyst for turning your ordinary situations into extraordinary ones. My task as your fellow brethren, coach and mentor is to scaffold you throughout this process of creating tough goals, of living a lifestyle of purpose and of turning nothing into something valuable.
Steps are provided in detail that will guide you on just how to go about turning your goals into a reality and for creating something durable. Focus is the first step, because each person needs to identify what he or she wants most out of life and in so doing ones energies will be better utilized in going towards this direction. Faith is then used to fuel to the fire towards achieving that which you have placed your focus. Next, the process describes how this faith can be become unshakeable by using the scriptures to revitalize their life. Next, the book identifies important actions that are needed to make a reality that which you have focused on and have the faith that it is yours as ordained by the Heavenly Father. Finally, the process incorporates just how you can go about measuring your progress so that indeed the extraordinary can become a tangible reality.
Adopting a systematic process of turning nothing into something, you will be on your way to attaining the life that you truly want. However, this is not the case as it is held that without a sense of urgency that lifestyle cannot be achieved, because a lifestyle is the way you go about your everyday, which is what essentially, determines your entire life. By mastering and applying the tools and strategies contained in this book, you will begin to see a radical and immediate transformation-taking place in the different areas of your life. Thank you very much my dear reader for joining me in this book and I pray that the Heavenly Father will reward you diligently.
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]

About the Author
Dr. Wanjiru Gachie
Dr. Wanjiru Gachie is an educator and religious teacher with a background in delivering interactive seminars that promote her audiences’ lifestyles. She was inspired by her own personal struggles, born and educated in the slums and she went on to receive degrees in Ph.D., MBA, MPRM, MA, B.Ed. Having seen her fair share of struggles in life and hitting rock bottom in life, the author realized she needs to make “All this and heaven too” available to everyone.


Wednesday, January 17, 2018

"The Swedish Girl" by Alex Gray

The Swedish Girl
(DCI Lorimer Book 10)
by Alex Gray

The Swedish Girl (DCI Lorimer Book 10) by Alex Gray

The Swedish Girl, the tenth book in the DCI Lorimer series by Alex Gray, is currently on tour with Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours. The tour stops here today for an excerpt and a giveaway. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.

More books by this author: The Riverman (blog post), Pitch Black (blog post), and A Pound of Flesh (blog post).

Another gripping Lorimer novel from Alex Gray, evoking Glasgow like no other writer can.
When Kirsty Wilson lands a room in a luxury Glasgow flat owned by Swedish fellow student Eva Magnusson she can’t believe her luck. But Kirsty’s delight turns to terror when she finds the beautiful Swedish girl lying dead in their home and their male flatmate accused of her murder. Kirsty refuses to accept that he is guilty and, inspired by family friend Detective Superintendent Lorimer, sets out to clear his name.
Meanwhile, Lorimer calls on trusted psychologist Solly Brightman to help unravel the truth behind the enigmatic Eva’s life and death. But it is not long until another woman, bearing a marked resemblance to Eva, is brutally murdered. Horrified, Lorimer realises that Kirsty could be right. Is it possible that Glasgow’s finest detective has put the wrong man behind bars? And is there a cold-blooded killer out there orchestrating the death of the next innocent victim?

Excerpt from Chapter 9
Kirsty turned the key in the door and closed it behind her with a sigh. The hall was in darkness and there was no sound coming from the living room. Her shoulders moved up and down in a shrug of resignation; she was alone in the flat again. Then she remembered. Wasn’t there some party that Eva had mentioned? They’d all be there, wouldn’t they? Pulling off her thin raincoat and hanging it on the old-fashioned wooden coat stand, Kirsty sauntered into the bedroom next to the front door, unbuttoning her jacket. It was fair handy having this big room to herself, especially when she was working late shift at the hotel. Nobody would be disturbed by her comings and goings. She took off her shoes and tossed her jacket, bag and mobile phone onto the bed. Oh, it was good to be home. A wee cup of hot chocolate and some of her own gingerbread would go down well, she thought, already imagining her teeth sinking into a thick slab of treacly cake.
She stopped for a moment, listening. There was a swish then a click as the front door opened and closed again. Then, nothing.
‘Colin? Is that you back already?’ Kirsty wandered out into the hall, her bare feet sinking into the pile of the hall carpet, still thick and soft despite all their winter boots tramping back and forth. Eva’s father had spared no expense in doing up this flat for his daughter and Kirsty Wilson was grateful for those small luxuries that were absent from most of her friends’ student flats.
Frowning slightly, Kirsty padded down the unlit corridor, one hand out ready to flick on the light switch as she reached the kitchen. But something made her turn left into the living room instead, just to see if anyone was at home after all.
At first she imagined the girl had fallen asleep, sprawled out in front of the television.
Kirsty moved forward and bent down, expecting the girl to sit up and yawn. One hand reached out to touch the back of her head but then she drew back as though guided by some inner instinct.
She stood up again and stepped around the recumbent figure, unaware that she was holding her breath.
Then, as Kirsty saw the expression in the dead girl’s eyes, the thin wail escaping from her open mouth turned into a scream of terror.
Detective Superintendent Lorimer crouched over the body, aware of the sounds of voices coming from the hall. The dead girl was lying on her back, one arm flung out, the fist curled tightly in the moment of death. Her head was bent to one side, blond hair partly obscuring her features, but Lorimer could see enough to make him wonder about the cause of death.
‘Manual strangulation?’ he asked, glancing up at the consultant pathologist who was kneeling on the other side of the girl’s body. The on-duty pathologist tonight was his friend, Dr Rosie Fergusson. He glanced at her with his usual admiration for her calm efficiency, knowing how different she could be at home as a doting mother and as the wife of Professor Brightman, an eminent psychologist and sometime criminal profiler who had worked with Lorimer in the past.
‘Looks like it,’ Rosie murmured, her gloved hands smoothing the hair from the victim’s face, letting Lorimer see for the first time what Kirsty Wilson had found earlier that night.
Eva Magnusson still had that ethereal quality in death that had captivated those who had gazed upon her: Lorimer saw the perfect oval face with flawless skin and bow-shaped lips that were slightly parted as though she had been taken by surprise. He watched as Rosie reached out to close the dead girl’s eyelids, seeing for the final time those pale blue Scandinavian eyes staring out at a world that had proved less than kind.

Praise for the Book
“Gray teases her readers unmercifully as the tension rises and the body count and list of suspects slowly, but surely, grows.” ~ Scottish Daily Express
“Gray's superb Lorimer series hits double digits with this tenth instalment and continues to go from strength to strength. With every outing Lorimer's world widens, the secondary characters adding extra depth and authenticity, yet never detracting from the cool authority of the man who is ultimately in charge. The dialogue rings true, the procedures are by the book, and with twists that leave questions until the pulse-racing conclusion. The story of this Swedish girl shows that this Scottish author is at the top of her game.” ~ Daily Record
“Considering that this is the 10th in Alex Gray's Lorimer series, she does a great job in continuing her characters while delivering a distinctly different plot each time out. […] Of note is the fact that The Swedish Girl can be enjoyably read whether or not you've previously read Gray's series.” ~ Dianne
“Gray masterfully brings his characters to life in a plot as intricate and deep as anything in today's headlines.” ~ Auntie Annie
“The stories are always intriguing, captivating and keep you reading on to find out more. The characters, despite their flaws and sometimes maddening traits, are sympathetic and superbly worked out. Keep them coming Alex.” ~ W. M. Koolstra-dekker

About the Author
Alex Gray
Alex Gray was born and educated in Glasgow. After studying English and Philosophy at the University of Strathclyde, she worked as a visiting officer for the Department of Health, a time she looks upon as postgraduate education since it proved a rich source of character studies. She then trained as a secondary school teacher of English.
Alex began writing professionally in 1993 and had immediate success with short stories, articles, and commissions for BBC radio programs. She has been awarded the Scottish Association of Writers’ Constable and Pitlochry trophies for her crime writing.
A regular on the Scottish bestseller lists, she is the author of the DCI Lorimer novels. She is the co-founder of the international Scottish crime writing festival, Bloody Scotland, which had its inaugural year in 2012.

Enter the tour-wide giveaway for a chance to win one of three ebook copies of A Pound of Flesh by Alex Gray.