Win the October’16 bookshelf of signed thrillers!

October 1, 2016

Welcome to the October bookshelf of signed thrillers! Lots of new books to win – some favorite authors or find a new author. To enter, go to the Win Books page. Best of luck!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


ALL THE LITTLE LIARS by Charlaine Harris: When four kids including her brother go missing from school and a dead body is found where they were last seen, a pregnant Aurora organizes a personal investigation that exposes the activities of a gang of bullies and her brother’s gambling debts. By the #1 New York Times best-selling author of the Sookie Stackhouse series.

DEVIL SENT THE RAIN by Lisa Turner: When the homicide of a prominent attorney reveals illegal practices at her law firm, detective Billy Able is surprised to find personal ties to the case that rocks his own family and Memphis society.

DEEP COVER JACK by Diane Capri: FBI Agents Otto and Gaspar pick up where Lee Child’s “Persuader” leaves off in the Hunt for Jack Reacher. Lee Child Gives Diane Capri Two Thumbs Up! “Full of thrills and tension, but smart and human, too. Kim Otto is a great, great character – I love her.” Lee Child, #1 World Wide Bestselling Author of Jack Reacher Thrillers

THE 7TH CANON by Robert Dugoni: When a dedicated priest at a boys’ shelter in San Francisco’s seamy Tenderloin district is accused of murdering a teenage street hustler, attorney Peter Donley must prove his innocence. By the best-selling author of My Sister’s Grave.

MAD DOG BARKED by Rick Ollerman: Rick Ollerman’s third Florida thriller from Stark House Press, involving a detective and a mysterious note.

TANGLED UP IN BREW by Joyce Tremel: When a nasty food critic winds up dead after eating one of her chef boyfriend’s burgers during the Three Rivers Brews and Burgers Festival, brew pub owner Maxine O’Hara, to save both of their reputations and their lives, must serve up a killer. Includes recipes.

A BLACK SAIL by Rich Zahradnik: On the eve of the U.S. Bicentennial, newsman Coleridge Taylor stumbles on  a drug war between the Italian Mafia and a Chinese tong. In his reckless search for the truth, he rattles New York’s major drug cartels. Fans of the late Barbara D’Amato and Bruce DeSilva will relish this gritty and powerful crime novel. Zahradnik won the 2015 Independent Publishers Award Bronze Medal for his debut, Last Words.

You can win autographed copies of all these books! If you are new to the site, each month I run a contest in conjunction with the International Thriller Writers organization. We put together a list of books from debut authors to bestsellers, so you can win some of your favorites and find some new favorites.

What makes this contest really special is that all of the books (except eBooks) are signed by the author! Books with multiple authors will be signed by at least one of the authors.

Don’t forget, if you subscribe to the newsletter or follow this blog, you get an extra entry into every contest you enter. Check out the Win Books page for more information on all these books and how you to enter this month’s contest.

Thanks for reading, and good luck!

MY FAIR PRINCESS by Vanessa Kelly

October 27, 2016
Click to purchase

Click to purchase

The Improper Princesses, Book 1

I am quite proud of myself, I actually am reading the first book of a series first. A rare treat. Although, oddly, it did feel a bit like there may have been stories that came before. So maybe this series was spun off from another series? Ah, the mysteries of historical romances – eventually I will figure it out, I suppose.

This is a terrific romance between a very proper Duke and a complete “hoyden”. Gillian is the by blow (bastard) of royalty and has grown up a completely wild child in Sicily. When her beloved stepfather is killed, she tracks down and kills his murderers, a most unusual trait in a princess, I can assure you. But in doing so, Gillian has made herself the target of bandits wishing to avenge their compadres deaths.

Gillian, her mother and grandmother flee to England, where the Perfect Penroy, Duke of Leverton, agrees to sponsor Gillian into society, in hopes she will find a husband. But at her first ball, she punches out a man who insults her, fueling the gossip to a new extreme. Then when the Duke’s ex-fiancee ups the gossip ante with vicious lies, he takes the women to his country home until things die down a bit with the ton.

On the way, they are robbed and Gillian is distraught that the necklace from her stepfather has been taken. Bandits are working on Leverton land and the Gillian and the Duke cannot agree on how to handle it.

Eventually Gillian realizes that she is in love with the Duke, but is despondent that he could ever love someone like her. The Duke is a little slower to realize it but they do get their happy ending – but not until lots of danger, trading secrets about their pasts and some lovemaking occur.

This is an enjoyable read –  quick, lusty and fun. I’m looking forward to Three Weeks with a Princess, Book 2 in the series, but have to wait until next year for it.

10/16  Stacy Alesi AKA the BookBitch™

MY FAIR PRINCESS by Vanessa Kelly. Zebra (August 30, 2016). ISBN: 978-1420141092. 352p.

Kindle ($.99!)

Guest Blogger: Katherine Prairie

October 26, 2016
Click to purchase

Click to purchase

Please welcome guest blogger Katherine Prairie!

Balance, by Katherine Prairie

If you’re like me, there’s something about fall that ignites a rush of energy and new projects. It’s the time of year too, when friends return from summer holidays, organizations restart their meetings and interesting classes are on offer. Of course, all of these added temptations occur during the months when I’m most likely readying a manuscript for my editor, and I’m left wondering how to balance it all.

I try to corral my work into a reasonable number of hours a day, but that can be difficult when it’s so easy to slip into my home office to write. Add in the unpredictable nature of creativity, and you may easily find me writing well before dawn while the rest of the household is asleep! But I remind myself that even though writing is something I enjoy, I have to draw a line somewhere or risk crowding out the rest of my life. Life-work balance … it’s a struggle that I’m sure many of you share!

But the idea of balance has me thinking about other aspects of writing too. At the heart of my Alex Graham mysteries is real science and politics specific to the location in which the story is set, and that means hundreds of hours of research. It’s easy to get caught-up in something intriguing or devote weeks of effort researching a topic that ultimately doesn’t make it into the book. Balance in research means learning when to say no. At some point I have to step away from the journals, libraries and expert resources, and just write the story.

So beyond the absolute essentials needed to start a story, I’ve started to research as I write instead of trying to do everything up-front. It’s a more balanced approach that surprisingly suggested a different organization for my research, one that has made a world of difference. I now link specific research to a section or chapter of my novel, and that makes it easier to incorporate ideas and fact-check as I write.

Balance also means knowing when to say yes, and that applies to my characters and plots. I’m more of a pantser than a plotter, but my first draft becomes an outline that serves as the framework for subsequent drafts. As I’m writing a second or even a third draft, a character or scene that I hadn’t considered might take shape, or a plot twist or subplot might come to mind. It would be easy to reject these additions and keep to the outline, but I’ve learned to say yes to these creative sparks. Although it can take weeks to weave these new ideas into a near-completed draft, it’s always worth it because the end result is a better story.

I’m not sure I’ll ever achieve true balance in life or in my writing, but learning to say no to the time-wasters and yes to valuable ideas, people and experiences is a step in the right direction!

About the Book:

Explosive violence rocks Canada’s Slocan Valley after the shooting deaths of three teenagers in a bombing attempt at the Keenleyside dam. A joint U.S.-Canada military force locks down the Valley to protect Columbia River dams critical to both countries but martial law incites more violence.

Geologist Alex Graham refuses to let politics stand in her way. She evades military patrols to slip into a restricted zone in her hunt for a silver mine to claim as her own. But her plans are derailed by an intentionally set fire that almost takes her life.

Someone wants her out of the Slocan Valley.

When Alex discovers a gunshot victim in an abandoned mine, she fears she could be next. But she s never been one to wait for trouble to come to her and she tracks a suspicious man seen once too often in the lonely mountains.

All eyes are on the dams, but the true threat lies elsewhere.

katherine-prairieAbout the Author:

With a love of the outdoors and a natural curiosity about the physical environment, geology was a natural fit for Katherine Prairie. Although she started her education as a mining geologist at Lakehead University, Katherine ultimately graduated from the University of Alberta and headed off to Calgary to work in petroleum geology.

She worked primarily on international oil and gas projects as a specialist in geological computer modeling, but her consulting practice included diverse clients such as Saks Fifth Avenue, British Columbia’s Parks and Protected Services and the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology. During these years, she also completed a M.Sc. in Chemical and Bio-Resource Engineering at the University of British Columbia, her studies focused on water management and environmental issues.

Katherine is an award-winning presenter and an enthusiastic teacher who has taught and designed numerous courses in both the private and public sector. She is the author of The Essential PROC SQL Handbook for SAS Users published by SAS Press in 2005.

She finally stepped away from the petroleum industry after twenty-five years to pursue her love of writing full-time. The result was her first novel, a mystery entitled Thirst. Learn more about Katherine here :


October 25, 2016
Click to purchase

Click to purchase

A Barefoot Contessa Cookbook

Ina and Jeffrey have been captivating our attention for years via her Food Network’s Barefoot Contessa show. I am a huge fan and many of her recipes have become staples in my home. I was at the American Library Association Annual Conference this summer, and was thrilled to get my hands on an advance copy of this cookbook. (Thanks, Sharon Parker!)

Jeffrey doesn’t cook, like some TV cooking show husbands, but he often makes appearances; he goes shopping (at times a bit hesitantly, remembering occasions when he bought the wrong thing,) or meets up with Ina at restaurants or the beach or best of all, at home.

Ina dotes on Jeffrey, and he on her – their relationship is one of the things I like best about the show. Me and a gazillion other fans, to be sure. I, too, have a husband who doesn’t really cook (okay, he makes incredible pizza but I generally make the dough, the sauce, shred the cheese and then he puts it all together and cooks it in the pizza oven he built in my backyard.) But what I really relate to is Jeffrey’s appreciation for everything Ina cooks because that is how my husband makes me feel. too.

Garten proclaims herself a home cook, but someone who owned a gourmet food shop for twenty years feels like a bit more than just a home cook to me. I do understand what she means; she doesn’t make fussy or difficult food, she prepares food that people actually like to eat at home. All of her cookbooks are wonderful and prior to this one, I would have been hard pressed to pick a favorite, but this book is truly outstanding.

It’s more than just the recipes, which are always fabulous. This book is her love letter to her husband and it shows on every page. The pictures are enchanting, including a wedding photo (they’ve been married more than 40 years!) I loved all the stories about their lives together, too.

The only quibble I have is a recipe for Roasted Meatballs, which cook for half an hour in the oven and then are transferred to a pot of marinara sauce FROM A JAR. A good jarred sauce, Rao’s is recommended, but I’m sorry, I really object to this. In the time those meatballs are cooking, you could easily make your own sauce with scarcely more work than opening a jar.

Slam a couple of cloves of garlic with a knife, thrown them in a bit of olive oil until you can smell them, dump in a can of tomatoes, a little salt and crushed red pepper and if you like, a pinch of dried oregano and you are off to the races. If you want to get fancy, dice a small onion and sweat it first, then do the garlic and tomatoes. Throw in some fresh basil when you’re ready to serve and trust me, you’ll never open another jar of sauce again. This is really a pet peeve of mine, I just don’t understand why anyone buys sauce in a jar. There seems to be some sort of fear about it and the feeling that you have to cook sauce for hours, but that’s just silly. You can make a really simple, delicious sauce in the time it takes you to cook your pasta. Or your Roasted Meatballs.

Also included are some really terrific staples like Skillet-Roasted Lemon Chicken, Brisket with Onions and Leeks, and Peach Cobbler. Then there are some newer dishes, like Roast Chicken with Radishes, Kale Salad with Pancetta and Pecorino, Salmon Tacos, and Fig and Goat Cheese Bruschettas, which are incredible.

I’m sure there will be some people who feel like Ina has stepped back to the 1950’s housewife here, and maybe she has a little, but let’s not forget that Cooking for Jeffrey is her tenth cookbook and Garten has never been “just a housewife.” She is a superstar, and I am happy to admit that I am a fan.

ina-garten-filet-mignonina-garten-parmesan-roasted-zucchini ina-garten-frozen-hot-chocolate


10/16 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

COOKING FOR JEFFREY by Ina Garten. Clarkson Potter (October 25, 2016). ISBN 978-0307464897. 256p.

Author Graham Moore on how he began writing his first novel

October 24, 2016

Author Graham Moore (THE LAST DAYS OF NIGHT) talks about how he was inspired to start his first novel, THE SHERLOCKIAN… by telling a story no one else was writing about.


Click to purchase

Click to purchase

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • A thrilling novel based on actual events, about the nature of genius, the cost of ambition, and the battle to electrify America—from the Oscar-winning screenwriter of The Imitation Game and author of The Sherlockian


New York, 1888. Gas lamps still flicker in the city streets, but the miracle of electric light is in its infancy. The person who controls the means to turn night into day will make history—and a vast fortune. A young untested lawyer named Paul Cravath, fresh out of Columbia Law School, takes a case that seems impossible to win. Paul’s client, George Westinghouse, has been sued by Thomas Edison over a billion-dollar question: Who invented the light bulb and holds the right to power the country?
The case affords Paul entry to the heady world of high society—the glittering parties in Gramercy Park mansions, and the more insidious dealings done behind closed doors. The task facing him is beyond daunting. Edison is a wily, dangerous opponent with vast resources at his disposal—private spies, newspapers in his pocket, and the backing of J. P. Morgan himself. Yet this unknown lawyer shares with his famous adversary a compulsion to win at all costs. How will he do it?

In obsessive pursuit of victory, Paul crosses paths with Nikola Tesla, an eccentric, brilliant inventor who may hold the key to defeating Edison, and with Agnes Huntington, a beautiful opera singer who proves to be a flawless performer on stage and off. As Paul takes greater and greater risks, he’ll find that everyone in his path is playing their own game, and no one is quite who they seem.

Praise for The Last Days of Night

“A satisfying romp . . . Takes place against a backdrop rich with period detail . . . Works wonderfully as an entertainment . . . As it charges forward, the novel leaves no dot unconnected.”—Noah Hawley, The New York Times Book Review
“This captivating historical novel illuminates a fascinating American moment.”People

“A fascinating portrait of American inventors . . . Moore crafts a compelling narrative out of [Paul] Cravath’s cunning legal maneuvers and [Nikola] Tesla’s world-changing tinkering, while a story line on opera singer Agnes Huntington has the mysterious glamour of The Great Gatsby. . . . Moore weaves a complex web. . . .  He conjures Gilded Age New York City so vividly, it feels like only yesterday.”Entertainment Weekly

“A model of superior historical fiction . . . Graham Moore digs deep into long-forgotten facts to give us an exciting, sometimes astonishing story of two geniuses locked in a brutal battle to change the world. . . . [A] brilliant journey into the past.”The Washington Post

“Mesmerizing, clever, and absolutely crackling, The Last Days of Night is a triumph of imagination. Graham Moore has chosen Gilded Age New York as his playground, with outsized characters—Edison, Tesla, Westinghouse—as his players. The result is a beautifully researched, endlessly entertaining novel that will leave you buzzing.”—Gillian Flynn, author of Gone Girl

“It’s part legal thriller, part tour of a magical time—the age of wonder—and once you’ve finished it, you’ll find it hard to return to the world of now.”—Erik Larson, author of The Devil in the White City

THE LAST DAYS OF NIGHT by Graham Moore. Penguin Books (September 13, 2016). ISBN: 978-0143128229. 272p.

MEAT ON THE SIDE by Nikki Dinki

October 23, 2016
Click to purchase

Click to purchase

Delicious Vegetable-Focused Recipes for Every Day

When Nikki Dinki talked about her “meat on the side” food focus on Food Network’s ninth season of Next Food Network Star, I was immediately in her corner. Portions being what they are, and my own attempts at dieting, have definitely revealed a proclivity towards way more of everything than is healthy. One portion size of meat is supposed to be 4 ounces – have you ever seen a 4 ounce steak on a restaurant menu? I haven’t.  Meanwhile, diets all over tell you to amp up your veggie intake.

And so of course when Dinki’s cookbook hit shelves, I had to add it to my collection. Lo and behold, not only are the veggies the “star” but the book also fills a much needed gap in the cookbook world (in my opinion) – recipes that can easily be adapted for various diets. Dinki includes three extras throughout the cookbook: some recipes have a “Make it Meaty” tip, outlining Dinki’s favorite meat addition to the meal; some recipes have a “Family Friendly” tip, because Dinki herself admits to having been a picky eater as a child; and (my favorite) some recipes include a “50/50” tip, or how to make a meaty meal vegetarian and vice versa.

All that aside, Meat on the Side isn’t really a diet cookbook and definitely shouldn’t be viewed that way. Though Dinki does take the time to point out which recipes are under 500 calories, many of them are cheesy and creamy to the extreme (in other words TASTY.).

And the recipes are definitely that – tasty. My first attempt was the “Tomato Tart with Gruyère and Thyme, ” which was not only easy and quite excellent, it allowed me to use up some of the massive amount of tomatoes from my own garden. The same can be said of the “Eggplant Pasta Bake with Fresh Mozzarella and Thyme Bread Crumbs,” which also uses the “Eggplant Sauce.” The sauce was amazing, we used eggplant from our garden, and the pasta bake was hearty and honestly sinfully good. This was also one that included both a “Family Friendly” tip – pointing out the eggplant sauce looks and tastes much like a tomato sauce – and a “Make it Meaty” suggestion for adding Italian sausage to the dish.

And while all of these are things that make this a definite favorite in my cookbook collection, there’s one more detail that I absolutely love: throughout the book, Dinki has included extra table of contents entries by vegetable. So in addition to the regular table of contents: Breakfast and Brunch; Appetizers and Nibblers; Salads; Sandwiches, Tacos and the Like; Pizzas and Flatbreads; Pasta and “Pasta”; Light Meals; and Main Meals, there are extra TOC pages throughout for things like tomatoes, winter greens, mushrooms, cauliflower, etc.

If you can’t tell, I do love this book. My copy is already a mess of notes on recipes I’ve tried and flagged recipes still to try. Definitely a recommended cookbook for anyone looking to incorporate more vegetables into their meals or anyone simply looking for a great collection of new recipes to try.

10/16 Becky LeJeune

MEAT ON THE SIDE by Nikki Dinki. St. Martin’s Griffin (June 7, 2016). ISBN 978-1250067166. 288p.

Guest Author: Patrick Kelly

October 22, 2016
Click to purchase

Click to purchase

Patrick Kelly has recently released Hill Country Siren, the third novel in the highly praised financial thriller series featuring Austin sleuth, Joe Robbins. Following is a Q&A with the author.

1. Hill Country Siren is your third Joe Robbins financial thriller. What can you tell us about Joe, and how does this book continue the traditions established by the other novels in the series?

As a freelance CFO, Joe is an analytical thinker. But, at the same time, his modest upbringing and early boxing experience have made him a man of action.

In Hill Country Siren, Joe uses his analytical talents to solve the mystery (as he did in the first two novels), but he doesn’t stop there. He can’t stop there. So long as Joe believes he can make a difference, he must run toward the danger. When Joe uncovers the trail of a serial killer in Hill Country Siren, he decides that he must track the killer down.

Joe’s recklessness is a source of great tension between him and his wife, Rose. In the second novel, Hill Country Rage, with their marriage on the brink of ruin, Rose proclaims, “You run to trouble like a moth to flame, Joey. Like a moth to flame.”

2. In Hill Country Siren, Joe takes on a fraud case for a famous Austin-born country rock singer named Sophie Tyler. What’s special about Sophie, and why is helping her so important to Joe?

The first line in the novel reads, “I fell in love with Sophie Tyler long before she hired me.”

Joe first heard Sophie’s music when he was a teenager in high school, so when he lands the assignment to work for her on the fraud case, he feels as if he’s won the lottery without buying a ticket.

The inspiration for Sophie’s character and the book’s title came from Homer’s ancient tale, the Odyssey. I think we’ve all heard music so beautiful it transforms us. During Sophie’s long career many men found her irresistible, and Joe is no exception.

3. As Joe delves deeper into Sophie’s background, he discovers that there are a number of individuals who might be motivated to steal Sophie’s money. Who are the most compelling suspects, and what clues does Joe use to solve the mystery surrounding Sophie’s case?

Sophie’s talent agent, Halet Blevins, is an aging womanizer with a great sense of style and a history of drug and money problems. Keri Theroux, Sophie’s best friend since high school, has begun to question her lifelong membership to Sophie’s entourage. Halet and Keri are high on Joe’s list of suspects.

But I believe that Johnson Sagebrush—Sophie’s enigmatic manager—is my best bad guy yet because of his name, his mysterious past, and his choice of weapon: Johnson favors a crowbar.

Joe begins his investigation by following the cash. As a freelance CFO, Joe is in a unique position to find loose ends that indicate something is afoul. In Hill Country Siren, he discovers a fraudulent wire transfer, an investment in a fake tech company, and a real estate scam. And as always, Joe must use his analytical mind to solve the mystery and his fighting skills to clean up the mess.

4. Hill Country Siren takes place partly at Sophie’s mansion in Los Angeles and partly at a music festival in Austin, both Sophie and Joe’s hometown. How integral are L.A. and Austin to this particular Joe Robbins mystery, and why did you place the story in these two settings?

I like to use iconic locations in Austin and the Hill Country for key scenes. In Hill Country Greed, a girl commits suicide by hanging herself from the balcony of the Driskill Hotel. In Hill Country Rage, Joe fights a giant in the waters of Lake Travis. And in Hill Country Siren, Joe goes undercover at the Austin City Limits festival. Setting Joe up to guard a celebrity and search for a suspect in the middle of sixty thousand fans made for great tension.

Lots of celebrities live in Los Angeles, so it seemed natural to set part of the action in Beverly Hills. That gave me a setting for a terrific fight scene at Sophie’s mansion. I also had fun contrasting the fabulous weather of L.A. with Austin’s brutal summer heat. And finally, my grown children live in Southern California so, of course, for the sake of research, I had to visit them twice while writing the novel.

5. Joe’s ex-wife, Rose, and his two daughters, Chandler and Callie, play important roles in all of the Joe Robbins mysteries. Can you tell us a little about what’s in store for them in Hill Country Siren?

At the end of Hill Country Rage, it appears that Joe has finally accepted that he and Rose will not be reunited, but early on in Hill Country Siren, we learn that Joe still has feelings for her. As for Rose, she has taken her relationship with Dave Moreton (who she first met in Hill Country Rage) to the next logical step.

Joe wants his daughters to remain his little girls forever, but Chandler, Joe’s twelve year old, is physically and emotionally transitioning from girl to woman. As the oldest daughter, Chandler tries to protect her sister from the fallout of her parents’ split. This realization adds to Joe’s stress as he strives to solve the mystery.

6. Are you working on another Joe Robbins mystery? If so, what can you tell us about it?

I have the next three Joe Robbins novels roughed out in my mind, but it will take some time to reduce those ideas to the page. In one novel, Joe will return to Dallas to investigate a fraud at his old company, Liberty Air. While there, Joe will spend quality time with his father and sister (neither of whom readers have yet met), as well as an old love interest.

In a subsequent novel, Joe’s adolescent daughters will join an organization that he soon suspects of perpetrating a massive fraud. And, of course, there is the ongoing question of whether Joe and Rose will reunite. On this subject readers’ views range from Joe just needs to move on . . . to . . . Joe and Rose forever.

I’d also like to take Joe on vacation. Austin gets hot this time of year. I thought perhaps the Greek island of Santorini would make for a good setting, but I’ll need to research it first.

About the Book

Hill Country Siren

Joe Robbins Financial Thriller Series, Book 3

The financial thriller series endorsed by critics and business executives alike
Joe Robbins is hired by a rock star to investigate a fraud and winds up on the trail of a serial killer

Joe loved Sophie Tyler long before she hired him. She was a hometown hero, a musician who grew up in Austin and made the big time. Joe first heard her music in high school; he’d buy her albums and play them over and over, and dream.

Twenty years later, Sophie has left a trail of lovers behind her; she draws them in like a maelstrom, the outcome pre-ordained. When she hires Joe to investigate a fraud he solves the case in a couple days, but then the perpetrator is brutally murdered, and Joe finds himself pulled into a world of stardom, and enchantment, and the frightening path of a freshly awakened serial killer.

As Joe pursues the killer from Austin to Cabos San Lucas to Beverly Hills, he falls dangerously in love with the Hill Country Siren.

About the Author

patrick-kelly-author-photoPatrick Kelly holds a BA in software engineering from the University of Virginia and an MBA in finance from Carnegie Mellon University. He served as Chief Financial Officer for six different companies before beginning his career as an author of the Joe Robbins Financial Thriller series. Kelly resides in Austin, Texas, with his wife and family.

For more information on Patrick Kelly or Hill Country Siren, please visit: or

Hill Country Siren by Patrick Kelly.  Chaparral Press LLC (July 15, 2016). ISBN: 978-0991103355. 304p.

James Dashner’s career before he was an author

October 21, 2016

Author James Dashner (THE FEVER CODE) talks about life before his writing career… when he was an accountant.


Click to purchase

Click to purchase

Maze Runner, Book Five; Prequel

All will be revealed in the fifth book in James Dashner’s #1 New York Times   bestselling Maze Runner series. This is the story that fans all over the world have been waiting for—the story of how Thomas and WICKED built the Maze. You will not want to miss it.

Once there was a world’s end.
The forests burned, the lakes and rivers dried up, and the oceans swelled.
Then came a plague, and fever spread across the globe. Families died, violence reigned, and man killed man.
Next came WICKED, who were looking for an answer. And then they found the perfect boy.
The boy’s name was Thomas, and Thomas built a maze.
Now there are secrets.
There are lies.
And there are loyalties history could never have foreseen.
This is the story of that boy, Thomas, and how he built a maze that only he could tear down.
All will be revealed.

A prequel to the worldwide Maze Runner phenomenon, The Fever Code is the book that holds all the answers. How did WICKED find the Gladers? Who are Group B? And what side are Thomas and Teresa really on? Lies will be exposed. Secrets will be uncovered. Loyalties will be proven. Fans will never see the truth coming. Before there was the Maze, there wasThe Fever Code.

Don’t miss The Maze Runner and Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials, now major motion pictures from Twentieth Century Fox, starring Dylan O’Brien, Kaya Scodelario, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Rosa Salazar, Giancarlo Esposito, and Aidan Gillen. And look for James Dashner’s new bestselling series the Mortality Doctrine: The Eye of Minds, The Rule of Thoughts, and The Game of Lives.

Praise for the Maze Runner series:
A #1 New York Times Bestselling Series
A USA Today Bestseller
A Kirkus Reviews Best Teen Book of the Year
An ALA-YASLA Best Fiction for Young Adults Book
An ALA-YALSA Quick Pick

“[A] mysterious survival saga that passionate fans describe as a fusion of Lord of the Flies, The Hunger Games, and Lost.“—

“Wonderful action writing—fast-paced…but smart and well observed.”—Newsday

“[A] nail-biting must-read.”—

“Breathless, cinematic action.”—Publishers Weekly

Heart pounding to the very last moment.”—Kirkus Reviews

Exclamation-worthy.”—Romantic Times

THE FEVER CODE by James Dashner. Delacorte Press (September 27, 2016). ISBN: 978-0553513097. 384p.

Inaugural Award Winner!

October 20, 2016 is pleased to announce the winner of the $25,000 Award: An action-packed heist novel by Mike Cooper, The Downside.

“We got some incredible manuscripts but in the end, Mike’s story was everything we were looking for: Fast, exciting, and well-written,” said Otto Penzler, President and CEO of

The contest solicited unpublished manuscripts from both established authors and newcomers, with the promise of a $25,000 award—an advance against royalties—as well as guaranteed worldwide publication. The book will be available sometime next year.

The final determination of the winner was made by votes from’s publishing partners: Open Road Integrated Media, in North America and numerous countries around the world; Head of Zeus in the British Commonwealth; Hayakawa Publishing (Japan, Singapore, and South Korea); Bonnier (Sweden, Norway, Denmark, and Finland); Dutch Media Books (Holland and Belgium), and Bastei Lubbe (Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Greece, and selected Eastern European countries).

About The Downside:

In an age of cyber-crime, Finn is the last hardhat: He’s never stolen anything weighing less than five tons. Now fresh out of prison and flat broke, he’s got a line on his biggest job ever.

Cracking the most heavily guarded private vault in North America? No problem. Hauling $50 million of precious metal out past guards, dozens of policemen, and an armored SWAT battalion? Even easier. But navigating the betrayals of double-crossing partners, the machinations of a hedge-fund billionaire gone bad, and the ambiguous proposals of a woman with her own agenda?

Finn has only begun to figure out the downside.

About the author

Mike Cooper grew up in Missouri. After college he lived and worked in Asia for a number of years. Jobs back home have included ambulance medic, food co-op president, and VP at Fidelity Investments. He has a masters in finance from MIT, and lives with his family outside Boston. For over a decade he has been the stay-at-home parent, which is when he began writing more seriously. Literary recognition includes a Shamus Award, a Thriller nomination, and inclusion in Best American Mystery Stories. His most recent novel is Full Ratchet (Viking), sequel to the widely hailed Clawback.

For more information make contact with or visit


October 20, 2016
Click to purchase

Click to purchase

Simple Recipes for the Best Baking

I am a long time fan of Mark Bittman. I have given many a bride-to-be his How to Cook Everything, it’s one of my favorite basic cookbooks. With this new one, baking and all manner of desserts and breads become completely accessible.

The recipes are clearly laid out and many offer ways to change them up. For instance, Oatmeal Muffins offer several varieties, both sweet and savory, at the end of the recipe; Apple Spice Oatmeal Muffins, Oatmeal Raisin Muffins, Parsley Potatoe Muffins, Coconut Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Muffins, Whole Wheat Blueberry Oatmeal Muffins and Orange Cranberry Oatmeal Muffins.

The book is a big honker – over 700 pages, and is divided into the following sections:

Kitchen Basics
Quick Breads, Muffins and Biscuits
Pancakes, Waffles, and Doughnuts
Cookies, Brownies and Bars
Pies, Tarts, Cobblers, and Crisps
Frozens, Puddings, and Candies
Crackers and Flatbreads
Yeast Breads
Savory Baking
Frosting, Fillings, and Sauces
Appendix (Favorite recipes, flavor combinations, and other handy lists and charts.)

There is a comprehensive index as well. The only drawback is the complete lack of photographs. There are drawings, a harking back to days of Joy of Cooking and the Silver Palate Cookbook, but I for one have not missed the drawings, I’d much rather have photos. I understand it adds to the cost and the weight of the book, especially in one this size, but that’s my preference.

A very good cookbook for bakers, beginners through expert. This is a fine addition to the Bittman cookbook empire.

10/16 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

HOW TO BAKE EVERYTHING by Mark Bittman. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; 1 edition (October 4, 2016). ISBN 978-0470526880. 704p.


October 19, 2016
Click to purchase

Click to purchase

An Andy Carpenter Novel, Book 15

Andy is back along with all his friends, just in time for Christmas. While this book has a Christmassy title and an adorable Christmassy cover, the only thing Christmassy about it is that it is set in December.

That said, fans of the series will be happy with this new read. A friend of Andy nicknamed Pups, due to her fostering dozens of pups as needed, is at first in need of a lawyer when a neighbor complains about the number of animals in her home. Andy defends her and she wins, but then the neighbor is murdered and Pups is the one who finds his body.

Andy springs to her defense, only to learn that Pups is dying and will never live to serve time. Nonetheless, she wants to prove her innocence and Andy is only too happy to help her. Then the plot thickens; Pups’ husband had been killed months earlier along with a local gangster, and it turns out the same weapon was used to kill the neighbor. Now the charges include murdering all three men.

Lots of twists and turns and lots of help from Lori, Marcus, Edna and the rest of the gang make this another enjoyable addition to the series.

10/16 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

TWELVE DOGS OF CHRISTMAS by David Rosenfelt. Minotaur Books (October 18, 2016).  ISBN 978-1250106766. 336p.