Book Blogs to Follow…

…because we don’t have enough to do.

This week I’m going to keep it short because we’re all busy. But I do want to share four bookish blogs that I think you’ll love. My advice? Bookmark them and come back to them when things aren’t so hectic, because it’s fun to browse through their pages and find all kinds of great books and great authors.

And so here they are, in alphabetical order:

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Blur, Blurred, Book, Book Pages

A Blue Million Books

This is author Amy Metz’s blog. She doesn’t do book reviews, but she features tons of interviews, guest blogs, book spotlights, excerpts, and more from a huge number of authors. You’re very likely to find something to tickle your fancy on this blog. Amy is the author of the Goose Pimple Junction mysteries, and I can tell you they’re excellent. So while you’re looking for your next favorite author at A Blue Million Books, check out Amy’s books, too!

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Christmas, December, Background

2. Aunt Sairy’s Book Reviews

I came across this fairly new blog recently when Sarah, the owner of the blog, reviewed my book The Worst Noel in such a way that brought tears to my eyes. It’s that beautiful (click here to read the review for yourself). All of Sarah’s reviews are heartfelt, honest, and thorough without containing any spoilers. Sarah reads and reviews mostly cozy mysteries, so if you’re looking for a good cozy to read, you’re bound to find one on her blog. And bonus: you get a behind-the-scenes look at life with her dog, Havoc, who sounds like a big, cuddly bear.

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Cocoa, Whipped Cream, Cookies, Read

3. Discovery

A treasure trove of bookish delights begun by the folks at Reedsy, this site includes a blog (under the
“Blog” tab) with such posts as “45 Best True Crime Books of All Time,” “30 Best Memoirs of the Last Century,” and “The Essential Guide to Reading the Sherlock Holmes Books,” among many other topics. But it also includes (under the “Discover” tab) a gazillion books that you can search by genre, keyword, and/or date added to the site.

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Winter, Snow, Landscape, Book Hut, Cold

4. Dru’s Book Musings

Dru Ann Love, as her name suggests, is a beloved member of the mystery community. She’s an avid reader who also quilts, writes poetry, and works full-time. How she manages to blog the way she does, I have no idea. But I’m glad she does, because there’s always something new to discover on her site. She features new releases, cover reveals, her own reviews, and the “Day in the Life” series of guest posts (written by the characters in upcoming books!!).

I hope you’ll take some time to peruse all these blogs. They’re great fun for me to browse, and I always come away from them with a list of new books and authors I’d love to learn more about.

Do you have a favorite book blog you’d like to share? I’d love to hear your suggestions!

Until next time, wishing all of you a merry Christmas,

Amy

We Are the World Blogfest #WATWB

It’s the last Friday in November, and time for some good news to take you into December with a smile. The post I’ve chosen to share this month was brought to my attention by my friend Carol Thompson and is great news for anyone interested in keeping our marine habitats clean, but it’s especially exciting for me because the story comes from Ocean City, New Jersey, which is just a few miles from my home.

The story is about a program to incubate shellfish, and in particular clams, for the dual purpose of cleansing the ecosystem in the bay waters of the Atlantic Ocean and of building “habitat castles” that will help protect the low-lying barrier island from flooding. The incubator is also used to teach local students about shoreline ecosystems and marine management.

Click here to read the story.

Here’s how #WATWB works: On the last Friday of each month a number of bloggers participate in a worldwide blog hop in which each blogger highlights a story that spreads good news, happiness, and hope.

Your cohosts for this month are Lizbeth Hartz, Inderpreet Uppal, Shilpa Garg, Damyanti Biswas, and Roshan Radhakrishnan. And if you want to read more uplifting articles, please visit the WATWB Facebook page here or the Twitter home page here to find links to other stories.

Want to join? Click this link to sign up and help spread some happiness!

A Hidden Gem

As many of you know, I have been working (forever, it feels like) on Book 2 in the Libraries of the World Mystery Series. In the first book, Trudy’s Diary, protagonist Daisy Carruthers uses collections from the Library of Congress in Washington, DC, to solve the mysteries. In Book 2, Dutch Treat, Daisy has taken a sabbatical from Global Human Rights Journal in Washington to work for one semester as an associate professor at a small college in New York City. As you might expect, the New York Public Library collections play a key role in this book.

I’ve done a great deal of research for Dutch Treat and a lot of that research has been about the main branch of the New York Public Library (the one on Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street).

But the New York Public Library has more than just the main branch. In fact, it has 88 branches. And many of these are old—old enough to have been heated with coal in the early part of the twentieth century.

And how do you think the heating system worked when the library was closed?

Easy. Custodians were employed to keep the heating systems running overnight and on weekends. Those custodians and their families lived in apartments on the top floor of each library.

How cool would it be to live in a library??

This week, I’m sharing an article from Atlas Obscura that highlights one of the old custodian apartments: the one from Fort Washington. There are some interesting photos and some anecdotes from people who remember the custodians who took care of the libraries.

Enjoy!

Click here to be redirected to the article.

Until next time,

Amy

We Are the World Blogfest #WATWB

 

It’s the last Friday in September, and time for some good news to take you into October with a smile. The post I’ve chosen to share this month was brought to my attention by Carol Thompson and is great news for everyone, but especially interesting for those of us who live near the ocean.

It’s about an experiment to reseed the ocean floor with sea grass off the coast of England. The process was carried out successfully in the Chesapeake Bay here in the United States and the scientists who made it happen are now working with teams in Europe and Australia to foster far-reaching sea grass restoration. Sea grass, I learned, has huge potential in the fight against global warming and is an important habitat for fish and other sea creatures. I highly encourage you to read the article.

Click here to read the story.

Here’s how #WATWB works: On the last Friday of each month a number of bloggers participate in a worldwide blog hop in which each blogger highlights a story that spreads good news, happiness, and hope.

Your cohosts for this month are Eric Lahti, Shilpa Garg, Roshan Radhakrishnan, Sylvia Stein, and Peter Nena. And if you want to read more uplifting articles, please visit the WATWB Facebook page here or the Twitter home page here to find links to other stories.

Want to join? Click this link to sign up and help spread some happiness!

Release Day!

Today’s the day! Ghouls’ Night Out is here! Many thanks to everyone who has preordered the book. If you’d like to order the book now, click here! If you haven’t ordered a copy and want to know a little bit more about it, here’s the blurb:

“Halloween is just around the corner and the goblins are out in force in Juniper Junction. A crotchety merchant, a malicious next-door neighbor, and some ghoulish trick-or-treaters are causing hair-raising problems for Lilly Carlsen’s boyfriend, Hassan Ashraf, and things are about to get much worse.

When Hassan finds himself at the center of a police investigation following the deaths of two of his tormentors just days apart, Lilly is ready to help in any way she can to bring the real fiends to justice.

But with Lilly’s daughter having trouble adjusting to college, her mother continuing a downward spiral into dementia, and possible romantic strife on the horizon between Lilly’s brother and her best friend, Lilly’s Halloween is beginning to look especially frightful.”

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To help celebrate my new release, the first three books in the series are on sale!

The Worst Noel is just 99¢ (click here to order)

 

Dead, White, and Blue is $1.99 (click here to order)

 

Be My Valencrime is $2.99 (click here to order)

 

As always, thank you to everyone for your support. And don’t forget to leave a review after you’ve read a book—the reviews are important for authors!!

Until next time,

Amy

 

A Day in the Life…in GIFs

The life of a writer is one thrilling day after another. I thought I’d share a typical day with you because it’s not fair that I keep all this fun to myself. I don’t think my days are atypical of writers in general, though I can’t speak for J.K. Rowling or Stephen King.

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School starts this week. I don’t know about where you live, but here in my school district the kids are going to school two days a week in person. On those two days, my day will start thusly…

wake up coffee GIF by good-morning

Okay, let’s be honest. Every day starts like that.

 

Then I walk the dog. This is what it looks like. How she has that much energy every morning is baffling.

dog walk GIF

 

Because I don’t go anywhere except to walk the dog and go to the grocery store, I dress like this:

amy poehler yolo GIF

I could dress up, but why? Being comfortable is my superpower.

 

Since March, our clothes dryer has been broken. So most days I do laundry and hang it outside. Come winter, we will have to bite the bullet and buy a new dryer. And while I’m outside, I take a few minutes to pull some weeds.

travel sky GIF

 

My real work starts as soon as I’ve hung the laundry out. It’s about 8:30 a.m. by this time. That’s when I get online, check email, and visit all my social media hangouts, with the exception of Twitter…

Pop Tv GIF by Schitt's Creek

…and my book sales dashboards and sales pages.

Confused Kelsey Grammer GIF by CBS All Access

Sometimes this is good news, sometimes it isn’t.

 

But good news or not, after the real work begins. And this is the best part of the work day, even when the words won’t flow.

excited new girl GIF lisa simpson writing GIF

 

Lunch!

hungry ready to eat GIF

 

After lunch, I tweet. It takes up too much time to do it before lunch and to tell you the truth, I don’t love Twitter. My refusal to do it before lunch is my small way of rebelling.

social media twitter GIF by RealityTVGIFs

 

Then I write again. By now my creative juices are flowing and it’s time for everyone else to leave me alone.

fail seth meyers GIF by Late Night with Seth Meyers

Are you still with me? It’s been a whirlwind of a day.

 

Then I make dinner. I love to cook.

mary berry cooking GIF by BBC

Note: the kids don’t always love what I make, so they suggest alternatives. This is usually my response:

Bounce No GIF

 

Later, when the dinner dishes are done (because the dishwasher is also dead), I go for another walk because I’m trying to lose weight.

tired fox tv GIF by Kicking & Screaming

 

Finally, it’s time to relax and read a good book.

book read GIF

 

Bedtime!

chris farley mornings GIF

When do I clean, do you ask?

Simple: it gets done when it gets done.

sweeping mrs. doubtfire GIF by Hollywood Suite

Credits: tumblr.brockurealities.com; fox.com/kicking-and-screaming; hgtv.com

Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Author Updates – New Releases, Offers, Reviews – #Mystery Amy M. Reade, #Romance Linda Bradley, #Thriller Iain Kelly

What a treat to find a spotlight on Ghouls’ Night Out and Cape Menace this week on Sally Cronin’s blog. You can check it out, along with some great-sounding books from two accomplished authors, on Sally’s blog. Thanks again, Sally!

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Welcome to the new look Author Updates where I share new releases, offers and recent reviews for authors on the shelves. If you are a new author and would like to be included in the cafe please check out the links in this post: Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore FREE author promotion.

The first author with news is USA Today Bestselling author Amy M. Reade with a new release in time for Halloween.  Ghouls Night Out (The Juniper Junction Holiday Mystery Series Book 4) on Pre-order for September 15th.

About the book

Halloween is just around the corner and the goblins are out in force in Juniper Junction. A crotchety merchant, a malicious next-door neighbor, and some ghoulish trick-or-treaters are causing hair-raising problems for Lilly Carlsen’s boyfriend, Hassan Ashraf, and things are about to get much worse.

When Hassan finds himself at the center of a police investigation following the…

View original post 839 more words

Reading Round-Up: August Edition

For the entire month of August, I’ve been thinking that the last Tuesday was actually next week. Imagine my shock when I learned it’s today. Luckily, over the past month I’ve been working on this post each time I finish a book, rather than waiting until the day before the last Tuesday and then writing the whole thing.

Anyway, August was a good month for reading! I’ve finished seven books since my last Reading Round-Up, and it’s an even more eclectic bunch than last month. Let’s get started!

 

Beneath a Scarlet Sky by Mark T. Sullivan

Beneath a Scarlet Sky by Mark Sullivan. I read this for my book club, and if it hadn’t been assigned, I might not have chosen to read it. I think World War II stories are important, but I have to read them really far apart from each other or I just find them too overwhelming.

Let me start by saying this book is very closely based on a true story, which I find absolutely incredible. I highly recommend it, but only before and after you’ve read something very light-hearted. If you’re looking for a happy book, this isn’t the one for you. It takes a lot to get me to cry while I’m reading, and this reduced me to a puddle. Read my review here.

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Dead Man’s Prayer: A gripping detective thriller with a killer twist (DI Frank Farrell, Book 1) by [Jackie Baldwin]

Dead Man’s Prayer by Jackie Baldwin. I first heard about this book, the first in the DI Frank Farrell series, on Twitter when I started following author Jackie Baldwin. I was intrigued at first because I love books set in Scotland, but once I started reading the intrigue factor jumped into the stratosphere and I couldn’t turn pages fast enough. Are you looking for a thriller that will leave you breathless? You’ve come to the right place. Read my review here.

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Out of the Woods by Patricia Gligor. This is the third book in the Small Town Mystery Series. In this book, Kate Morgan confronts the man who left her, a pregnant teenager, eleven years ago. For the sake of their daughter, she tries to make the best of the situation, but his return causes some problems, not the least of which is the reaction of her fiance. And when questions arise about the man’s possible involvement in a number of horrifying home invasions, what will she tell her daughter?

This is a great book and although it’s classified as a mystery, it crosses genres into women’s fiction, family drama, and suspense. It’s got it all. Read my review here.

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Sea Wife: A novel by [Amity Gaige]

I really looked forward to reading Sea Wife by Amity Gaige. Billed as psychological suspense, it’s the story of a family (husband, wife, two young children) who leave their lives behind for a year and sail around the Caribbean. Unfortunately, it’s all psychological and no suspense. The main character, Juliet, suffers from depression and, it would appear, anxiety, and the story ends up being a morose tale of a marriage that has gone stale and the disturbing thoughts of a woman who doesn’t think she was ever meant to be a mother. I gave the book 3 stars and you can read my review hereAs I noted last month when I shared a book I didn’t really like, don’t let my review put you off from reading the book. There are plenty of glowing reviews for this work of literary fiction.

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The Orchardist: A Novel by [Amanda Coplin]

The Orchardist by Amanda Coplin was a book club pick. I’m glad I read it, but I didn’t like it. It was depressing, entirely bereft of any semblance of happiness for any of the characters, and looooong. As in, almost 600 pages. The book spans many years, and I often felt like I was reading it in real time. On the other hand, in taking a look at the many reviews this book has garnered, I am clearly in the minority. There are lots of people who think this book is beautiful, moving, and melancholy in a good way. It’s just not my cup of tea. I think it’s because I like my reads to have at least a little bit of action and some character growth, and I saw almost none of that in this book. If you like a character-driven story, this might be for you. Read my full review here.

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Untamed by Glennon Doyle is a work of art. I listened to this memoir on CD, and hearing the book read by the author was a great experience. This is the first time I’ve heard a book (at least, not a children’s book) read by the author and though I have my doubts about fiction writers voicing their own work, for a memoir it was a wise choise. Read my review here.

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The Jane Austen Society: A Novel by [Natalie Jenner]

This book has been on my radar for a while, and I was eager to read it. The Jane Austen Society by Natalie Jenner doesn’t disappoint. Read my review here.

What have you read this month? I hope you’ll share your reads in the comments.

Until next time,

Amy

 

 

And the Winner Is…

Thank you to everyone who participated in last week’s poll to choose the next read for my book club. The book I hoped would win (These is My Words by Nancy Turner–I have read another of her books and loved it) didn’t win, but I am pretty sure I’ll be reading all the books on the list eventually. And, of course, I’ll review each one and keep you posted on the last Tuesday of each month.

The winner is Florence Adler Swims Forever by Rachel Beanland. The story actually takes place in Atlantic City, which is about ten miles from my house as the crow flies. When I go for a walk in the evenings I can see the casinos lit up on the horizon.

Now on to my main topic for today. As many of you know, I am currently working on the second book in my Libraries of the World Mystery series, which uses special library collections from around the world to commit or solve crimes. In the first book in the series, Trudy’s Diary, the main character (Daisy) helps solve a crime in the present day by using the dime novel collection in the Library of Congress to solve a related mystery that took place in the 1800s.

In the second book, Dutch Treat, Daisy is working as an associate professor at a college in New York City while she’s on sabbatical from her job at Global Human Rights Journal in Washington, D.C. When one of her colleagues is murdered, Daisy is drawn into the search for the killer and discovers some fascinating information about her own family’s background in New Amsterdam, long before the city became known as New York.

New York Public Library, Library, Books, Manhattan

In my research for the book, I’ve done a lot of reading about the New York City Public Library. Today I’m going to share my top ten favorite facts about the library.

  1. When the New York City Public Library opened in 1911, it was the world’s largest marble building. Its exterior walls are 12 inches thick and builders used 530,000 cubic feet of marble to construct the magnificent edifice.
  2. The two lions guarding the front entrance to the library on the corner of 42nd Street and 5th Avenue, Patience and Fortitude, are both males. Their original names are Lord Lennox and Lady Astor.
  3. And speaking of the lions, Teddy Roosevelt was not happy with the choice of mammal to grace the library’s entrance. His vote? Buffaloes. He wanted animals that would symbolize the American West.
  4. In 1987, the original Winnie-the-Pooh, Tigger, Piglet, Eeyore, and Kanga became permanent residents of the library.
  5. In the early years after the library opened, it took 20 tons of coal per day to heat the building.
  6. In one of the library’s collections, you will find Charles Dickens’ favorite letter opener. The tool consits of an ivory shaft topped with the embalmed paw of Dickens’ favorite cat, Bob.
  7. Lions aren’t the only animals featured in the library’s architecture. There are also dolphins, catfish, oxen, turtles, snakes, birds, rams, bees, dogs, eagles, swans, and roosters.
  8. In 1911 all the employees of the library were given rubber-soled shoes to wear at work because the marble floors were so hard on feet!
  9. If you’ve ever wondered where you might find a lock of Charlotte Brontë’s hair, you’ve come to the right place (likewise the hair of Wild Bill Hickok, Walt Whitman, and Mary Shelley).
  10. The New York City Public Library has the fourth largest collection of volumes in the United States. The library with the largest holdings is the Library of Congress, followed in order by the Boston Public Library and the Harvard Library.

Which is your favorite fun fact? Have you ever visited the New York City Public Library?

Until next time,

Amy