2019 Reading Challenge

2019 Reading Challenge
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Guest Post: So What’s the Secret to Getting Published? by Author Steven Max Russo

Today I’m pleased to introduce you to Steven Max Russo, a debut author from New Jersey who has recently signed a two-book deal with Down and Out Books, a small publisher in Florida that specializes primarily in crime thrillers. His first book, Thieves, is now available on Amazon. I asked Steve if he had any insights to share on his publishing experiences, and I hope you enjoy the result as much as I did!

So, what’s the secret to getting published?
by Steven Russo

Now that I have my first novel published and my second coming out in the fall, I have found that people often ask me how I did it.

My first novel, Thieves, debuted on Nov. 12 of 2018 from Down and Out Books, a small publisher in Florida. They are also publishing my second stand alone novel, The Dead Don’t Sleep, slated for the fall of 2019. I’ve completed a third novel titled The Debt Collector, which is currently being shopped by my brand new agent, Peter Rubie, of FinePrint Literary in NYC.

I am constantly amazed by how many people I meet who are closet short story writers, or who have always wanted to try their hand at writing a novel.

They almost always ask me, what’s the secret, Steve? How did you do it? Continue reading Guest Post: So What’s the Secret to Getting Published? by Author Steven Max Russo

Book Reviews: The Word is Murder and The Sentence is Death by Anthony Horowitz

BRILLIANT!

I love these books. I read the first (The Word is Murder) last year when it was released, then re-read it prior to starting this new one simply for the delight of stretching out the series… When I saw the second (The Sentence is Death) was available on NetGalley, I couldn’t wait to request it – and almost as soon as I was approved, I dug in (I’d started TWiM as soon as I requested the second, so there’d be no delays). I LOVE Horowitz’s writing. He covers everything from Sherlock Holmes to detectives to James Bond to middle-grade books and does so with a pitch-perfect ear for detail and resonance, managing to hit just the right frequency for his current topic every time. The pages fly by and the stories reveal themselves with just the right pacing and eye for detail. It makes them fast, easy, wholly engaging reads. Continue reading Book Reviews: The Word is Murder and The Sentence is Death by Anthony Horowitz

Book Review: Furious Hours by Casey Cep

This was an extraordinary book, that actually felt like three stories for the price of one. I am a life-long fan of To Kill a Mockingbird and one of those who always wished we’d had more from the impressively talented Harper Lee. When Go Set a Watchman was released in 2015, I was one of those who delighted in the news, then questioned the decision after reading the backstory about Lee’s condition and her lawyer’s involvement in the release. The book was rough and felt unpolished – which I learned, courtesy of Furious Hours, was exactly how most (including Lee) described it when it was written, and which is why it was never released under Lee’s own direction. The mystery surrounding the decision to suddenly release it, coupled with the knowledge I’ve gleaned over the years about Lee’s role in Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood means that I’ve long been fascinated by the topic of Lee’s life and times and writing history, and when I saw this current title available on Penguin First to Read, I couldn’t request it fast enough… Continue reading Book Review: Furious Hours by Casey Cep

Book Review: Keep You Close by Karen Cleveland

Karen Cleveland writes BRILLIANT thrillers… I reviewed her first novel, Need to Know, last year and couldn’t wait for her to release another. She has a gift for crafting compelling, believable, strong women who aren’t perfect and don’t need to be – they are instead real, and that is infinitely more readable…

This is another book about secrets. Cleveland is (apparently) obsessed with secrets: the ones we keep, the ones we spill, the ones we uncover, the ones we misunderstand. That obsession is translated into marvelous suspenseful novels that weave together complex story lines, emotions, and rationalizations. The result: fantastic tales that are easy to read, wholly engaging, and startling in their presentation of the baser nature of humanity. Continue reading Book Review: Keep You Close by Karen Cleveland

Book Review Blurb: The Valedictorian of Being Dead by Heather B. Armstrong

I’m constantly amazed at the strength people who struggle with depression, anxiety, or other forms of mental illness exhibit when they so bravely and baldly tell their tales… Armstrong does a marvelous job explaining her life and struggles, and her decision to die (almost) several times a week for several weeks in the hope of stopping her downward spiral. This is a heartbreaker of a story, told with wit and snark and an unflinching honesty that sends you alternating between laugh-out-loud hilarity and tears-pouring-down-your-face devastation. Reading about the experiences of Armstrong, her daughters, her parents, and her extended family was painful but also full of glimmers of hope and optimism that I hope find their way into the lives of people who need them…

My review copy was provided through NetGalley.

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