Sunday, April 30, 2017

READATHON April 2017: Closing Meme

Here we are at the end of the road once again. I was along for only part of the ride-- life is just too distracting these days.

1. Which hour was most daunting for you? They all are. I'm my own worst enemy.
2. Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a reader engaged for next year? Nothing can hold my interest for long anymore. My attention-deficit just continues to worsen.
3. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next season? Nope
4. What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon? I didn't notice any drastic differences.
5. How many books did you read? I didn't complete anything. I read a little of two different books.
6. What were the names of the books you read? I had four books to select from, but mostly just read Rebel Queen by Michelle Moran and a little of All That Is Solid Melts Into Air by Carol Giangrande.
7. Which book did you enjoy most? Rebel Queen
8. Which did you enjoy least? Well, of the two that would leave All That Is Solid Melts Into Air, but I really just started to read it. I have a long way to go yet!
9. How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time? I'll usually participate, and will always be a reader (when I can commit).

 So that would be it. I'm going to continue trying to get some reading in today, and I'll see you all back here in the fall.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

READATHON April 2017: Opening Meme

Here we are again, gathering together around the world to commit to a single goal-- READ. I will do what I can to get some real reading done, but I have mightily failed the last year or two. But this is a clean slate! So let's get this party started!

1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today? South Florida
2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to? Rebel Queen by Michelle Moran
3) Which snack are you most looking forward to? I didn't really stock up on snacks, as I'm trying to watch what I eat and not snack too much. However I do have some grapes in the fridge! And I have some tapioca pudding I may get to!
4) Tell us a little something about yourself! I'm a divorced woman working in the tech industry. I share my home with a passel of animals: Three dogs Tiki (13 year old Coton du Tulear), Zook (6 1/2 year old Chihuahua), and Roo (1 1/2 year old mix breed that DNA testing shows is mostly Chihuahua, Cattle Dog, and Chow), and five cats Momma (14 years), her son Simon (12 years), Shotsie (10 years), Izzy (2 years) and Gilly/Jellybean (1 year).
5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? If this is your first read-a-thon, what are you most looking forward to? Nothing. I always just endeavor to do more book-related stuff: read, blog, write reviews about recently read books, etc.

And with that, my friends, let's get to it! Enjoy!

Monday, April 17, 2017

TLC BOOK TOURS and REVIEW: Mississippi Blood by Greg Iles


The endgame is at hand for Penn Cage, his family, and the enemies bent on destroying them in this revelatory volume in the epic trilogy set in modern-day Natchez, Mississippi—Greg Iles’s epic tale of love and honor, hatred and revenge that explores how the sins of the past continue to haunt the present.

Shattered by grief and dreaming of vengeance, Penn Cage sees his family and his world collapsing around him. The woman he loves is gone, his principles have been irrevocably compromised, and his father, once a paragon of the community that Penn leads as mayor, is about to be tried for the murder of a former lover. Most terrifying of all, Dr. Cage seems bent on self-destruction. Despite Penn's experience as a prosecutor in major murder trials, his father has frozen him out of the trial preparations--preferring to risk dying in prison to revealing the truth of the crime to his son.

During forty years practicing medicine, Tom Cage made himself the most respected and beloved physician in Natchez, Mississippi. But this revered Southern figure has secrets known only to himself and a handful of others. Among them, Tom has a second son, the product of an 1960s affair with his devoted African American nurse, Viola Turner. It is Viola who has been murdered, and her bitter son--Penn's half-brother--who sets in motion the murder case against his father. The resulting investigation exhumes dangerous ghosts from Mississippi's violent past. In some way that Penn cannot fathom, Viola Turner was a nexus point between his father and the Double Eagles, a savage splinter cell of the KKK. More troubling still, the long-buried secrets shared by Dr. Cage and the former Klansmen may hold the key to the most devastating assassinations of the 1960s. The surviving Double Eagles will stop at nothing to keep their past crimes buried, and with the help of some of the most influential men in the state, they seek to ensure that Dr. Cage either takes the fall for them, or takes his secrets to an early grave.

Tom Cage's murder trial sets a terrible clock in motion, and unless Penn can pierce the veil of the past and exonerate his father, his family will be destroyed. Unable to trust anyone around him--not even his own mother--Penn joins forces with Serenity Butler, a famous young black author who has come to Natchez to write about his father's case. Together, Penn and Serenity--a former soldier--battle to crack the Double Eagles and discover the secret history of the Cage family and the South itself, a desperate move that risks the only thing they have left to gamble: their lives.

Mississippi Blood is the enthralling conclusion to a breathtaking trilogy seven years in the making--one that has kept readers on the edge of their seats. With piercing insight, narrative prowess, and a masterful ability to blend history and imagination, New York Times bestselling author Greg Iles illuminates the brutal history of the American South in a highly atmospheric and suspenseful novel that delivers the shocking resolution his fans have eagerly awaited.

Paperback, 704 pages
Published March 21st 2017 by William Morrow
ISBN 0062642618 (ISBN13: 9780062642615)

About the Author
Greg Iles spent most of his youth in Natchez, Mississippi. His first novel, Spandau Phoenix, was the first of thirteen New York Times bestsellers, and his new trilogy continues the story of Penn Cage, protagonist of The Quiet Game, Turning Angel, and #1 New York Times bestseller The Devil’s Punchbowl. Iles’s novels have been made into films and published in more than thirty-five countries. He lives in Natchez with his wife and has two children.

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My Thoughts
Grief is the most solitary emotion; it makes islands of us all..
This is the final book in the Natchez Burning trilogy of the Penn Cage series. This series has covered the investigation into the actions of a white supremacist group in Mississippi called the Double Eagles. The trilogy started in Natchez Burning with the father of Penn Cage, Dr. Tom Cage, charged with the murder of his former nurse Viola Turner. In the process of investigating his father's case, Penn is dragged into the past and a torrent of ugly events involving the Double Eagles going as high up as the Kennedy assassination. In The Bone Tree, the story continued with Henry Sexton leading the investigation into the Double Eagles, and now in Mississippi Blood we sit in on the trial of Dr. Tom Cage as we learn more of the past.

I have really loved this trilogy, and Greg Iles has become an author that I trust. He can craft a great story, and knows how to build tension. He brings his characters to life and welcomes you into their story. You can feel the sticky heat of the south, smell the rich earth, hear the frogs croaking in the swamp, and see the "Old South" in your mind.

Penn Cage is a former prosecutor and current mayor of Natchez, Mississippi. His father has been the beloved town physician, well-respected among the black community for decades as a man who has always treated them with respect and compassion, understanding their plight as a person with dark skin in a southern town steeped deep in racism. The doctor has been charged with the death of his former nurse, a black woman whom he once had a brief affair decades earlier when such a relationship could bring a death sentence. A woman who has her own intimate history with the Double Eagles.

Penn's father is assisted by old family friend Quentin Avery, who is a well-respected attorney living in the shadow of the man he used to be, now confined to a wheelchair due to diabetes. And there is the unexpected inclusion of writer and ex-soldier Serenity Butler, who is interested in the story of the Cage family and that of Viola Turner.

I would like to thank HarperCollins and TLC Book Tours for including me on this tour. Check out the website for the full tour schedule:

Tuesday, March 21st: No More Grumpy Bookseller
Wednesday, March 22nd: Mama Reads Hazel Sleeps
Friday, March 24th: Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers
Monday, March 27th: Dreams, Etc.
Tuesday, March 28th: Tina Says…
Wednesday, March 29th: she treads softly
Thursday, March 30th: Hopelessly Devoted Bibliophile
Friday, March 31st: Art @ Home
Monday, April 3rd: Joyfully Retired
Tuesday, April 4th: Bewitched Bookworms
Wednesday, April 5th: Literary Quicksand
Thursday, April 6th: Patricia’s Wisdom
Monday, April 10th: Lit and Life
Tuesday, April 11th: A Bookworm’s World
Wednesday, April 12th: A Bookish Way of Life
Thursday, April 13th: The Book Diva’s Reads
Friday, April 14th: Ace and Hoser Blook
Monday, April 17th: Cerebral Girl in a Redneck World
Tuesday, April 18th: Bibliophiliac

My final word: Loved it! Iles is masterful in his use of suspense. I find my anticipations pulled taut as I wait to see what will happen next. The characters are so well-defined, the story descriptive without being flowery or heavy with description. Iles simply tells a "great yarn" that feels also like a history lesson exposing an ugly past. This final book in the Natchez Burning trilogy does a great job of bringing the trilogy to completion, and was just as enjoyable and satisfying as the first two. If you like mystery and suspense, I strongly and exuberantly urge you to this author a try!

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The Cerebral Girl is a forty-something blogger just digging her way out from under a mountain of books in the deep south of Florida.

I received a copy of this book to review through TLC Book Tours and the publisher, in exchange for my honest opinion. I was not financially compensated in any way, and the opinions expressed are my own and based on my observations while reading this novel. The book that I received was an uncorrected proof, and quotes could differ from the final release.  

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Introducing... Mississippi Blood by Greg Iles

Introducing books by the first chapter or so...

Grief is the most solitary emotion; it makes islands of us all.

I've spent a lot of time visiting graves over the past few weeks. Some times with Annie, but mostly alone. The people who see me there give me a wide berth. I'm not sure why. For thirty miles around, almost everyone knows me. Penn Cage, the mayor of Natchez, Mississippi. When they avoid me as they do-- waving from a distance, if at all, then hurrying on their way-- I sometimes wonder if I have taken on the mantle of death. Jewel Washington, the county coroner and a true friend, pulled me aside in City Hall last week and told me I look like living proof that ghosts exist. Maybe they do. Since Caitlin died, I have felt nothing more than the ghost of myself.

Perhaps that's why I spend so much time visiting graves.

-- Mississippi Blood by Greg Iles