Wednesday, October 1, 2014

No Broken Hearts by Sheila York

Hello All!

I've spent some of my late summer/early fall reading Sheila York's Lauren Atwill mystery series, and having a great time. The books in this series are:

1. Star Struck Dead (2003)
2. A Good Knife's Work (2010)
3. Death in Her Face (2012)
4. No Broken Hearts (2014)

Of the above, Star Struck Dead is currently only available as an e-book; the rest should be available as both print and e-book.

Lauren Atwill is a script doctor, one who fixes scripts others have written, and usually with no screen credit. She is just about to be divorced, so she will be able to openly date her private detective boyfriend. This is post-war Hollywood, and there are still guidelines as to behavior in the public eye.

Lauren met Peter when she found a dead body, and they've been dealing with dead bodies and the reasons why they're dead on an unfortunately regular basis. In No Broken Hearts, Lauren's tendency to find bodies is becoming a joke among her fellow screen writers. The teasing doesn't follow her to Epic Studios, where she's been loaned out, but a body does.

No Broken Hearts does include a broken heart or two, and how things are handled behind the scenes in 1940s Hollywood; anything to keep a scandal out of the papers. Lauren and Peter do their best to handle what they can, and stay alive while doing it.

Highly recommended!

Happy Reading!

No Broken Hearts by Sheila York Five Star 9781432829148

This book was sent to me for review by the author; no other compensation was offered or accepted for this review.

PS I also loved reading about the fashion and the cars of the 1940s!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

"Longmire": Not Just A Cancelled TV Show

Hello All,

I read my first book about Sheriff Walt Longmire years ago, about when the series by Craig Johnson started being published. Mr. Johnson was very, very lucky to have his series of books picked up for a television show, shown on the cable network A&E. I'm going to note here that A&E does not own the "Longmire"; it just ran on their network. The company that owns "Longmire", is Warner Horizon.

longmire.jpg (360×270)

On or about August 28, A&E canceled "Longmire", citing a drop in ratings from season 2 to Season 3. The cancellation has lead to a great reaction among fans of the show. The hashtag #LongLiveLongmire is now all over social media, as the way to bring attention to the unwise decision made by A&E. 

I love this show, and I think it is well written, well-made, terrifically acted and enjoyable to watch. I am personally very, very tired of so-called reality shows and competition and/or elimination shows. I love watching a strong mystery drama show. 

Craig Johnson put up the article on Facebook I've shared below. Obviously this is close to his heart, but like the fans of the TV show, he feels that A&E has made a grave error:

"There’s an old saying among cowboys—you ride for the brand. If you’re hired on, you do your job the best you can and you don’t whine or complain about the outfit—but there does come a time, if you are mistreated with intent, when you leave that employ and need to clear the air.
If you’ve been stapling barbed wire up in a lineman’s shack for the last couple of weeks, you might not be aware that the A&E network cancelled Longmire. We’re all still kind of reeling from the news that a network would cancel the highest-rated, scripted drama it’s ever had, a show that was consistently one of the top ten cable shows of any given week—one of the top 25 of the summer including the networks.
A lot of people have been asking me why?
The excuse that the network used was that ratings were down from the previous season from 4.2 to 3.9 million, but with adjusted DVR recordings, Longmire was still holding steady at close to 6 million… And that’s with A&E cutting us down to ten episodes and giving us a less than enviable lead-in--four-year-old reruns of Criminal Minds that were pulling -72%, no promotion or advertising, and a general ambivalence to the show as a whole.
The other excuse was that the show wasn’t pulling as much as they wanted in the 18-49 demographic. We more than hold our own in the 25-50 demographic—now, I’m no television executive (thank goodness), but I don’t know of any 18 year-olds out there who are buying Dodge trucks. I still remember being told that Longmire pretty much sold itself, “Oh, we’ve got advertisers lined up to such an extent that Dodge and Downy actually paid extra on the last two episodes of the season so that the show itself would be longer with fewer commercial interruptions.
So what gives?
A&E has made it clear that it wants to own and produce the shows it airs, and the one it doesn’t own, the highest-rated scripted drama they’ve ever had-- Longmire—is not theirs. They’ve had success with Bates Motel (which, even with A&E’s blessings and full support, has yet to achieve the ratings Longmire has) and have had disasters like Those Who Kill (which was cancelled after only two weeks), but then they were trying to strong-arm Warner into selling them Longmire. Now, if I remember correctly, Warner Brothers were the ones who taught Humphrey Bogart and James Cagney how to be tough guys back in the thirties… Good luck with that, A&E. Maybe that next reality show, Tattooed Eskimo Swamp Hunters will turn out to be a winner.
At this point in time, the producers and Warner Horizon are pitching to other networks in hopes that one of them is smart enough to take on a proven winner like Longmire, and we’ll hopefully land in an environment that appreciates and supports the show.
People have been asking what they can do to help in finding Longmire a new home, and the best thing you can do is continue talking up the show in all the social media, whether it be Facebook, Twitter, blogs or the net-sphere. If you’re looking for a place to register your support, sign up for Twitter (it’s easy, even Walt could do it) if you aren’t already on there and join the blitz tonight (Monday) at 10 PM ET/9 C/8 MT/7 PT—the Longmire time slot—and keep tweeting and retweeting #longlivelongmire.
From the response that A&E’s garnered from dropping Longmire, it looks as if it may be the biggest PR disaster for the network. People are actually contacting their cable and satellite providers and requesting that A&E be removed from their subscription packages.—they have had to hire on extra operators for the amount of complaints that have been registered.
In closing, I think those executives at A&E forgot to take one thing into consideration—we’re cowboys, we ride for the brand and we don’t walk away.
See you on the trail,

And how you can assist in bringing this to more people's attention, via Facebook & Twitter:

Longmire Posse, Official Fan Site
Because it takes a Posse...please join us Monday at 10pm eastern, 7pm Pacific, as the Longmire Posse floods Facebook and Twitter with#LongLiveLongmire for an hour! Write & share posts with that hashtag on your timeline, and if on Twitter, tweet and retweet #LongLiveLongmire continually for an hour. Encourage your friends to participate! Because a few of us cannot get this trending, it really does take a Posse!
Photo: Because it takes a Posse...please join us Monday at 10pm eastern, 7pm Pacific, as the Longmire Posse floods Facebook and Twitter with #LongLiveLongmire for an hour! Write & share posts with that hashtag on your timeline, and if on Twitter, tweet and retweet #LongLiveLongmire continually for an hour. Encourage your friends to participate! Because a few of us cannot get this trending, it really does take a Posse!

Let's put some names and faces behind the "ratings" and "demographics" and keep making it clear to A&E that they made quite a mistake. 


PS As a librarian and a reader, the Walt Longmire book series is a very good one; Craig Johnson created an incredible character, without which we would not have had this terrific show. Once this is settled, don't forget to give the books a try!

PPS Articles of interest:

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

An Interview with Deborah Coonts, author of LUCKY CATCH

Hello All!

I'm very excited to be a "stop" on Deborah Coonts' blog tour for her new book, LUCKY CATCH!!! This is the fifth book in her Lucky O'Toole series set in Las Vegas. I've thoroughly enjoyed this series from the beginning, which is Wanna Get Lucky?

This blog post includes an interview, and a e-giveaway at the end--please use the comments area after the end of the post to win a copy of LUCKY CATCH!

I started out with a few questions borrowed from the Book Brahmin questionnaire from Shelf Awareness:

On your nightstand now:
The Book of Life, by Deborah Harkness  ( I HAVE to see what happens!),  Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty, Power Play by Catherine Coulter, Me Before You by Jojo Moyes and one titled Looking for Salvation at the Dairy Queen by Susan Gregg Gilmore…I grew up in Texas and have intimate knowledge of many, many Dairy Queens  Although I can’t say I’ve looked for salvation there.  Perhaps that’s what I’ve been doing wrong.

Favorite book when you were a child:

The Moonspinners….okay, everything by Mary Stewart.  And I loved horses so Marguerite Henry was a must—I still have all the first editions.  And then there was Johnny Tremain and  Phantom Tollbooth….  Seriously, you want me to pick ONE????  Impossible.

Book you're an evangelist for:
The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield.  Gothic, moody, evocative, the story is pitch-perfect.
And my Lucky books…. If I don’t like them, I’ve got a real problem.

Favorite line from a book:
Love and lust—two four-letter words men often confuse.

I wrote that one—it leads off the next Lucky book, LUCKY CATCH, out August 26th.

I’m a sucker for a good first line…..

Which character you most relate to:
Probably Lucky.  As my aunt so succinctly put it, Lucky is the woman I always hoped to be.

And now, a few questions from me:

What are your favorite things about Las Vegas?

The total silliness of the place.  Where else is it ho-hum to stop at a light only to have a gaggles of six-foot tall young women dressed in g-strings and feathers cross in front of you?  Or go to a bar that is holding a contest with the grand prize being a boob job?

Probably most of all though, I love the emphasis on happiness, having a good time, and being totally non-judgmental.

The food’s pretty darn amazing as well…..and then there are the concerts….

Have you ever had a job like Lucky’s?

No, but wouldn’t it be fun?  Something different every day?  Exhausting, but energizing.

I want to say that one of my favorite things about Lucky is that, for the most part, she is smart about making sure that people know where she’s going—she doesn’t go to the cemetery at midnight to meet a murderer. She’s safe with most of her investigating. Was this a goal for you when you started writing this series?

Thank you!  I have a real problem with the portrayal of women as inept and liable to do really dumb things.  We all make mistakes, but hopefully, we don’t do really stupid things intentionally.  If the female protagonist in any book does something really dumb to put herself in harm’s way, I will throw the book across the room.  I don’t know any women who would go by themselves at midnight to meet the murderer.  And, if a fictional woman does that and bad things happen, I sorta figure she asked for it.

When I set out to write Lucky, I wanted to write about somebody I’d like to know, somebody like my friends—competent, capable, pretty smart, hard-working, and yet, often times confounded by human behavior, especially of the male variety.

I’m working on a new series now (yes, I’ll keep writing Lucky for a bit) where there are no dead bodies…at least not yet  I’m having a great time…it’s set in Napa, so my research has been fabulous  The series will be straight women’s fiction/contemporary romance--that’s where my heart lies.

And there will be no vapid, inept women….except when it comes to men, of course  But aren’t we all a little stupid when it comes to love?

Thank you, Deborah, for answering the questions above, and for having terrific and interesting answers! This has been fun for me, and hopefully fun for you.

Deborah has very kindly offered to give away an e-book copy of her new book, LUCKY CATCH. To enter the contest, please leave a comment below. The contest will close on Thursday, September 4, at 5:00 PM Pacific Time, and a name will be drawn on Friday, September 5.

Happy Reading!

Friday, August 1, 2014

My Turn for 50!

Hurrah! At last I’m 50!

Some people are thinking "Finally!", and others are thinking "Really?", and my favorite people are thinking "No way, Patti can't possibly be 50!" Smiley

I will be 50, as of Sunday, August 3, 2014. I don't feel like I'm 50, and am blessed with looking younger than my age. I'm happy, healthy, I have a wonderful boyfriend, Mike, I have a great job that I love, I love living in Arizona, and my family and friends are happy and healthy; overall, life is very good.

I actually wrote an article that was published in the Arizona Star last month about my work: World's Best Job: Selecting Books for the Library. This was a great addition to my year.

One of the cool things I've been doing this year is receiving birthday postcards from around the world. I requested in April that friends and family send me a postcard from wherever they may be vacationing or from their hometown. This has been a lot of fun, and I'm thoroughly enjoying going to the mailbox! I'd love to receive a postcard if you haven't sent one to me already; email me at superbkwmn1992 at gmail dot com, and I'll send you my snail mail address.

A new interest that has popped up in my life is comic books and graphic novels. This is a whole new world for me, and I believe I have The Mary Sue and to blame for much of this. Also, Dark Horse  published a 6 issue Firefly comic series called Leaves on the Wind, written by Zack Whedon (brother of Joss) and illustrated by Georges Jeanty. That got me into the comic book store, and then The Mary Sue and Tor led me to other comics. Currently I'm reading Ms. Marvel, The Lumber Janes, Star Wars: Rebel Heist, and I have some more graphic novels at home from the library. I never thought I'd be reading comic books at all, let alone at "midlife".

Another contribution to the above was "The Avengers", and the movies proceeding it; "Iron Man" (I and II), "Captain America" and "Thor". I didn't think I'd like these kinds of movies either, but they're a great ride, with superheroes who are interesting characters rescuing everybody. Now we just have to give Black Widow her own movie...

I am also coloring, which many of my friends and family know about. I primarily use colored pencils, and print out coloring sheets from the internet--Pinterest has been a great source for this. I like choosing the colors and seeing how the color combinations work together. I'm not sure what, if anything, is next in the creativity area of my life, but it will be interesting to find out.

I am still very interested in Detroit area sports teams and follow the Detroit Tigers, Red Wings and Lions from Arizona. My Big 10 team is the University of Michigan (my dad and grandfather are alumni), but I also follow the University of Arizona as they are the home town team for Tucson. Mike and I have also been to car shows here in Tucson, and hope to visit Michigan sometime in the future for the Woodward Avenue Dream Cruise.

Of course I continue with my great interest in reading, and my favorite genre continues to be mystery. I also read a little romance (Jill Shalvis and Jennifer Crusie), and quite a bit of fantasy (the All Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness has been dominating my summer). Coming up for the rest of the year are new books by some of my favorite mystery authors; Margaret Maron, Louise Penny, Lauren Willig, Deborah Coonts, G.M. Malliet, Charles Finch, Deborah Crombie, and more series entries for Jenn McKinlay and Juliet Blackwell. I've cut back on the signings I go to, but in the last few years authors have been coming to me via the Tucson Festival of Books. This past March I moderated a fun panel with Jenn McKinlay, G.M. Malliet and Deborah Crombie. Spending time with these three authors, in addition to catching up with Steve Hamilton and William Kent Krueger made it a great festival for me this year!

Mike and I traveled to Michigan for my parents' 50th wedding anniversary celebration in June. I miss many things about MI, but the humidity isn't one of them! My parents' party went off beautifully; it was the perfect time of year for an outdoor event. Mike and I then spent a week seeing some sights, such as Greenfield Village, the Detroit Institute of Arts and Ann Arbor. We also met up with some of my friends, including a few who also are turning or have turned 50 this year. We had a wonderful vacation, with many people contributing to a great trip for us!

My birthday weekend includes dinner out with Mike and some of our friends, the movie "Guardians of the Galaxy" over the weekend (part of a theme I'm noticing here...), and some reading and relaxing. Sounds like a great way to mark a milestone to me!

Thanks to all who have been or are making my 50th birthday year fun!!!
Happy Reading!

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Save the Date by Mary Kay Andrews

Hello All,

Save the Date by Mary Kay Andrews is a humorous novel about a woman who is quite a bit down on her luck. Cara Kryzik is a florist specializing in weddings, and is just about to break into the high society wedding scene in Savannah. That is, if her dad calling in the money he loaned her, the big name florist expanding from Charleston into Savannah, her dog being kidnapped, her landlord deciding that she should move out of her shop/apartment by the end of the month (June, high wedding season), and her lone employee starts behaving erratically instead of reliably.

The wedding goes off well, and gets Cara another big wedding, though with a small window of time to also be the wedding coordinator. This event includes the bride, the mom, and the stepmom, which means lots of very tactful maneuvering to attempt to keep everyone happy.

All of the above is complicated by Cara meeting an amazing man, Jack Finnerty, from an old Savannah family. She meets him over and over, as he seems to attend every wedding she arranges flowers for.

How Cara handles all of the above makes for a very enjoyable story. I like Cara, Jack, their respective dogs, and the Savannah setting. Cara is a strong woman and even though the going gets tough, and Cara occasionally makes interesting choices, her strength and sense of humor gets her through. Mary Kay Andrews does romantic comedy very well, and I love a good romantic comedy!

Highly recommended!

Happy Reading!

Save the Date by Mary Kay Andrews St. Martin's Press 9781250019691

This book was sent to me for review by St. Martin's Press; no other compensation was offered or accepted for this review.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Spring Reading Plan

Hello All,

I've been going through a phase where I have been enjoying what I'm reading, but I've been feeling overwhelmed. Making the list I made last October and the list I'm making today helps me to feel less overwhelmed, and then I feel excited about what I'm currently reading and what I have in my To-Be-Read pile/list.

The list below is Advance Reader Copies I am grateful to have received; the month is when the book will be released for sale or available at your local libraries (as of this writing)*:

Heart of Gold by Beverly Jenkins (A Blessings Novel #5)
A Paris Apartment by Michelle Gable
Vintage by Susan Gloss
My Life with the Walter Boys by Ali Novak (YA fiction)

Invisible City by Julia Dahl (debut mystery)
On the Rocks by Erin Duffy (fiction, & I loved Bond Girl)
The Garden of Burning Sand by Corban Addison (fiction, Zambia)
The Devil's Workshop by Alex Grecian (historical mystery)
Delicious! by Ruth Reichl (food fiction)
Glorious by Jeff Guinn (western)
A Dark and Twisted Tide by Sharon (SJ) Bolton (Lacey Flint #4)

That Summer by Lauren Willig (non-series)
The Ways of the Dead by Neely Tucker (debut mystery)
Only in Spain by Nellie Bennett (travel memoir with flamenco dancing)
Cradle to Grave by Eleanor Kuhns (Will Rees #3, 1790s Maine)
All Day and A Night by Alafair Burke (Ellie Hatcher #5)
Valour and Vanity by Mary Robinette Kowal
Loyalty by Ingrid Thoft (Fina Ludlow #2, Boston PI)

The Care and Management of Lies by Jacqueline Winspear (non-series)
Landline by Rainbow Rowell (who, so far, can do no wrong)
The Prime Minister's Secret Agent by Susan Elia MacNeal (historical mystery)

Season of the Dragonflies by Sarah Creech

*This doesn't mean I will get to these books before their publication date.

I'm doing a little re-reading of favorite authors who have new books coming out in 2014--
Mary Robinette Kowal (historical [regency] fantasy)
Shades of Milk and Honey 
Glamour in Glass
Without a Summer

Beverly Jenkins (fiction)
Bring on the Blessings
A Second Helping
Something Old, Something New
A Wish and a Prayer

and Deborah Harkness (fantasy, magic, time-travel)
A Discovery of Witches
Shadow of Night
(Book of Life is due out in July!)

Other books I've got in my To-Be-Read pile
Thrown for a Curve by Sugar Jamison (romance)
Now You See Me by SJ Bolton (Lacey Flint #1)
The Trickster's Hat by Nick Bantock (nonfiction)
Hot Rocks by Randy Rawls (female PI, #1)
Jewels in Paradise by Donna Leon (non-series)
Laws in Conflict by Cora Harrison (historical mystery, Ireland)
Death of a Dyer by Eleanor Kuhns (Will Rees #2, historical mystery,1790s, Maine)

I am currently reading A Wish and a Prayer by Beverly Jenkins, and Glamour in Glass by Mary Robinette Kowal 

I've also been exploring my artistic side, but I have nothing I'm ready to share yet; no, I'm not writing.

I hope you all see one or two books that pique your interest, and I hope to share more about these books I'm reading and planning to read.

Happy Reading!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

One Of My Librarian Mentors Retires

Hello All,

I heard from my parents in Michigan that one of my first mentors is retiring (article link is at the end of this blog entry). This cannot be possible, as I am not getting any older, which means she cannot be old enough to retire; but, I digress.

My first job was working as a page and a circulation clerk at the Huntington Woods Public Library (Huntington Woods, Michigan). I worked with two women who strongly influenced my decision to become a librarian.

Elizabeth Gulick worked with me at the Huntington Woods Public Library for several years. At the time, she was the Adult Services Librarian, and I definitely got to see a good librarian in action. Elizabeth was one of those librarians who wouldn't let a challenging patron question get the best of her. She was kind, she listened, and asked good questions to make sure the patron would get the exact information they were looking for.

As Elizabeth was my supervisor, she came up with creative ways (I thought at the time) to keep track of what the pages were doing. Reading in the stacks as I was shelving seemed to be frowned upon... We had a little time sheet where she asked the pages to record what we did during each of the three hours we were there for our shift.

Despite these harsh conditions :), Elizabeth and I found out we were both big mystery readers, and have exchanged titles of books and author both then and more recently. When I decided to become a librarian, I cited both Elizabeth, and the director of the Huntington Woods Library, Shelley Gach Droz, as my influences. Both remain supportive of my library career today, despite my having moved to Tucson to continue my career.

Thank you, Elizabeth, for your inspiration. May your retirement be joyful.