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Randy Susan Meyers‘ The Murderer’s Daughters has been on my to read shelf since 2010. That’s a crime because this book is so beautifully written. I savored it on my train rides to and from the city in February and March. Finishing it over sushi at the restaurant at my stop last week.
It’s told in alternating POV from the perspectives of the sisters left orphaned when their father murders their mother.
Ms. Meyers does an amazing job fleshing out Lulu and Merry. You sympathize with each of them and understand why they took their different paths with respect to their dad. Lulu refuses to see him and cuts him out of her life. Merry treks to the prison and replies to his letters.
You ache for them to grow up to escape the powerlessness of childhood.
But even then, both are haunted by the violence he brought into their home.
Ms. Meyers writing is smooth and the pages fly by. I forgot I was on the train and nearly missed my stop because I was so caught up in Lulu and Merry’s lives.
Ms. Meyers characters are tragically flawed by what their father did, but they find the strength to face things no one should have to.
This was one of my best reads of 2013. Probably one of the top 10 books I’ve read to date. Truly amazing characters telling a story I had to hear.
If you only have time to read one emotionally honest, gripping tale of survival and acceptance, this is the book to read.
I’m a fan of Randy Susan Meyers. Ever since I heard her speak at the 2010 Backspace Conference. Here first novel, The Murderer’s Daughters, is exquisite. I’m 100 pages in and I can’t wait to get back to it. So when I saw she co-wrote What To Do Before Your Book Launch I had to pick it up.
Randy Susan Meyers and M.J. Rose provide an intimate portrait of what happens to a writer during the book launch process. It reminded me of what Anne Lamott’s book Bird By Bird does for the writing life.
They provide real life examples and insights from insiders in the business. They help authors manage expectations and learn when to speak up and how to put their best foot forward.
I appreciated their chapter on manners for authors–it’s really about being nice. Genuinely nice.
The writer’s launch “ten commandments” are rules every author should live by.
Once my book is published, I know I’ll be re-reading her chapter on consolation for bad reviews, where she doesn’t shy away from talking about the pain of reading them and how hard it is to not be hurt by them.
Many authors will find her timeline for the year before publication useful. If you’re not a great planner, it’s an indispensable guide to when things need to happen.
Please stop by the blog on Monday to ask all your burning author marketing and promotional questions! Jennifer Fusco of Market or Die Author Services will be answering my questions and yours all day.
In Paige Shelton’s 4th book in The Farmers’ Market Mystery series, A Killer Maize, jam-maker Becca Robbins heads to the Swayton County Fall Festival to sell her jams beside carnival rides and corn dog vendors.
The fair has less than stellar turn-out and rickety rides, but that’s not the worst of it. Becca’s second ex-husband is there, running the shooting gallery. That’s makes for some deliciously tasty backstory smeared across Becca’s already complicated love life.
But the worst happens when the ferris wheel operator, Virgil is found dead. Whispers of gypsy magic surround the festival and the murder.
Becca begins to wonder if her ex-husband might be keeping more secrets than he did during their marriage.
Ms. Shelton does a fantastic job re-creating the sights, smells, and sounds of a local county fair. Made me long for my town’s fair next summer.
Each new character was introduced with such telling details, they came to life in my mind.
I must confess I wasn’t quite sure who the killer was or why until the very end. Thanks, Paige. I love a good, well-plotted mystery.
Paige’s writing is very clean and makes for a very quick, smooth read. Reminded me of a nice sake. You forget you’re drinking it and just enjoy its effects.
I loved learning more about Becca and watching her love life evolve further. This is my favorite part of a series: coming back to characters I love.
After this book, let’s just say I will never ever set foot in a corn maize.
And for everyone that participated in Wednesday’s poll–a big thank you!!! Excellent advice! Special thanks to Marc and JM for their terrific insight into how #1 & #2 could be melded together.
And drumroll please….(humor me–tap on your desk)
When Kai’s telepathy spirals out of control, her husband Oliver brings her to the quiet hometown he abandoned a decade ago, where he must confront the secrets of his past to save their future.
She is a brilliant writer but this is a tale of darkness. Of disturbing acts. Of broken people.
Stephen King blurbed her book and said it best: “…I found myself dreading the last thirty pages or so but was helpless to stop turning them. Then after the lights were out, the story just stayed there in my head, coiled and hissing, like a snake in a cave. An admirably nasty piece of work, elevated by sharp writing and sharper insights.”
The writing is top notch and the story unfolds perfectly on the page. It is the height of tragedy, the depth of depravity, the width of wickedness. All in one slim volume.
Read it, I dare you.
I was feeling pretty annihilated in October and November. As you’ve read, my life from 2010-2012 revolved utterly around my writing. And my writing was going nowhere. Which meant I was going nowhere.
At least in my own mind. And we all know how powerful thoughts are. Powerful enough to warp reality.
I got out of bed everyday. I did all the things on my to-do list. I just wasn’t feeling it anymore. I wasn’t feeling me anymore.
Things were losing their point and I was sinking into my own self-imposed unhappiness.
That’s when I went into the city for a week and read The Time Traveler’s Wife.
This book destroyed me emotionally. But it helped me find myself again. Reach inside and pull me back to the surface.
Remembering all the pain, the loss, the love, and the laughter.
Touching on the abandonment I’d felt so acutely that I had to disengage to survive.
And it all rushed back.
The emotions flooded my mind.
I cried through most of this book.
But I think it’s because of how beautiful it is. How evocative it became. How deeply I was sucked into their world and able to re-access my own.
I can’t talk about this book without getting choked up. I hope that never goes away. I hope it forever tugs at my heart and makes my eyes blur with tears.
Because this is the kind of book I dream of writing. The kind of emotion I hope to one day bleed onto the page.
This is a book that altered the fabric of my life.
It is because of this book that I am excited about my future again.
I just returned from my second trip to the quirky midwest town of Broken Rope, Missouri, in If Mashed Potatoes Could Dance. Paige Shelton‘s second book in the Country Cooking School Mystery series is a fast, fun read with a difficult double mystery to solve.
Betts and Grams are roped into hosting a busload of foodies for an impromptu cooking lesson and sleepover. All is going well, until two of the foodies go missing and one turns up dead with a broken rope around his neck. (BTW I had no idea who was behind the foodie murder and kidnapping until the very last pages of the book.)
Betts is plunged into this murder/kidnapping after her best friend, Jake, discovers the dead body.
But the problems of the present aren’t the only ones Betts faces.
The ghost of Sally Swarthmore, Broken Rope’s notorious ax murderer, entreats Betts and Grams to help her discover if she is guilty of killing her parents.
Sally is an intriguing character whose true story begs to be told. I’m a sucker for ghost stories and I love love love this element of Ms. Shelton’s mystery. You want to believe in Sally’s innocence despite her guilty verdict in life.
Betts and Jake are a crime solving duo I’d be thrilled to join. I love tagging along while they put the pieces together.
I’m dying to try the potato recipes in the back of the book too!
I can’t wait for book 3 to learn more about Betts’ abilities with ghosts and spend more time with the colorful characters of Broken Rope, Missouri!
In every age, there are books that challenge your world. Or at least, the world you believe exists. That force you to see the wrongs that were done and could be done again.
This book does that. And so much more.
This is a book where “one girl breaks the silence of history.”
The most horrible reality is forced upon Lina, a 15-year-old girl deported from Lithuania to Siberia. She endures unspeakable brutalities.
Have you ever wondered what a human life is worth? That morning, my brother’s was worth a pocket watch.
The book sheds light on an era in history that is not well known. What Stalin did to to Eastern European nations after he invaded. His systematic deportation and mass genocide. The cruelties that the survivors dared not speak of for fear of being sent back to Siberia.
This is their book. And Ms. Sepetys awakens everyone to the horrors that tested their humanity.
One of the most beautiful and important books I will read in my life–that is how I would categorize Between Shares of Gray.
I hope to one day write a book of such value.