Are Publishers turning back the clock 80 years and becoming elitist…again?

It is hard for me to decide on what to call this blog post…

  1. Are publishers turning back the clock 80 years and becoming elitist…again?
  2. Mass Market paperbacks vs Trade Editions?
  3. Why book sales are in decline.  And what publishers should be doing?
  4. Publishers NEED to read this blog post.

and I then decided to go for option 1.

Mainly to draw people’s attention, and hope it gets to the attention of the publishers.

1, 2 & 3 are all interesting questions.  And all need to be looked into.

Are publishers turning back the clock 80 years and becoming elitist…again?

In a sense, yes.

Here is why I think it is starting to become true.

Before the Second World War, the only people who could afford to buy books, were the people who had expendable income/money to spare.  As books before 1937, were mainly published in Hardback and out of the range of what the “General Public” could afford.

Now, 80 plus years later, the clocks seem to be turning back…again.

Publishers more interested in “creating” Best Sellers to make Big Money, and pushing “genre” fiction completely out of the door.  With the price range of Hardbacks and Trade Edition at a higher cost than what the majority of the “General Public” can not afford, with “Mass Market” paperbacks being cut dramatically.

With the cost of living constantly going up and incomes coming down.  Companies are slashing their work force down, not because they don’t need them, but to increase their profit margin.  Which means there is less expendable income in most homes to afford Hardbacks and Trade Edition at there present prices.

Hence book purchasing IS becoming elitist, in the fact that the only people who can afford to purchase hardbacks and trade editions, are people with expendable incomes/money to spare.

NB: Publishers in question in the above, are the BIG major league players…you know the ones I’m talking about.

The smaller ‘Boutique” publishers are tending to sway more towards the “genre” fiction, but for the most part are dealing in Trade Editions.  Which is in the higher price bracket that most buyers of “physical” books are struggling to find.

Mass Market paperbacks vs Trade Editions?

Lets start this piece with a quick look at how “Mass Market” paperbacks came about (and yes, it is an important piece of information for you to look at and understand).

*As mentioned in the previous piece, before the mid 1930’s books where mainly published in hardback.*

The only soft covered reading material at the time, was newspapers, magazines and pulp magazines (known now days “Pulp Fiction”, no not the movie! or “Penny Dreadful”).

Then in the mid 1930’s a gentleman called Allen Lane, who worked for a London publishing company, came up with an idea of producing a lighter weight book that could fit inside a mans pocket or a ladies handbag.  But the publishing company that he worked for, were not willing to take on the cost of the project.

So Allen Lane set up his own publishing company…and that is how Penguin Books was born.  Producing paperbacks that cost no more than a packet of cigarettes.  Some of the first authors published, were Ernest Hemingway and Agatha Christie.

They became so popular, that they sold in the millions and had to be reprinted many times over.  Hence the term “Mass Market” as they could be purchased anywhere, from railway stations/platforms, bus stations, book shops, news agents and small corner shops.

What about “Trade Editions”?  Look at the name, as it gives you a clue.

“Trade Editions” were produced mainly for the trade, ie Book shops.  They are bigger in size than a mass market paperback, normally the same size as a hardback (sometimes a bit smaller).  Printed on a better quality paper, that doesn’t age as quickly as the mass market books, hence increasing the cost of production and the cost of purchase.

For the reader, a Trade Edition is more bulkier and heavier to hold, and for many difficult to manage, including myself.  The only good points (from my personal view, is that the print size is better for the eyes…getting too old now for the very small print!  Has more space on the cover for better graphics.  And looks nice on the bookcase).  Everyone has different views, and it would be interesting to see what the general consensus is on the subject.

So which one would the majority of “physical” book buyers chose? …the jury is still out!

So to point #3.

Why book sales are in decline?

There are multiple answers to that question…but I think one of the major answers is PRICE.

Publishers (Major Leaguers) – don’t for one moment think you are dealing with a bunch of idiots.  We have brains and intelligence, that why we are READERS!

If you can sell to a large Supermarket by the pallet load and still make a profit.  And the Supermarket then sells @ £3.50 each, still making a good profit from each sale.  We can see how much profit you make on a book priced @ £8.99 in a normal book shop/store…and that’s a BIG profit!

Other answers to why sales are dropping are…

The cutting back on genre fiction, because well hey, nobody reads that stuff anymore do they!

So lets give them utter crap like “Fifty Shades of Grey”, because lets face it, we are not allowing them to have what they want to read, they will have to read what we give them…like it or lump it!

Basically, we don’t like….so we are lumping it and are cutting off the supply to our hard earned cash.

Hence why book sales are down in the major quarters.

NB:  The yearly book sales stats are taken from the sales of books from the major league publishing companies, not the smaller independent publishers.

And what publishers should be doing?

How much time do you have?  As my list would be endless!

One thing they can do is…dropping the price to make the books more affordable to the masses.  And I’m talking “physical” books here, as not everyone is comfortable with using ereaders.

Secondly…stop all this “Trending” rubbish, it’s what got you into the decline in the first place!

Here’s what “Trending” does in a readers world.

You county library buys 25 copies of a so called “Trending” book.  But only 10 copies get issued to readers.  So the library has wasted tax payers money on 15 copies that will end up on the sales shelf within 12 months.  And that accounts yearly to several hundred wasted books, that the general public/library readers are not interested in.

With the decline in libraries at an alarming rate in this country (the UK), it is money that could have gone on to buying copies of other books that people have requested but have been declined, because they don’t have the budget left for buying these items in.  Bad book buying decisions…yes.  And at the tax payers expense.  This is what “Trending” does.

“Trending” readers tend to people who only read whilst on holiday/vacation, buying 2 or 3 books.  The read them and leave them type of reader.

Publishers:  Ever hear the saying “what goes around, comes around”?  Know what it means?  It means what was popular once, will become popular again.  So stop “cutting off your nose to spite your face” because unfortunately you will soon learn to regret it.

Here is a prime example of “Cutting your nose off”:

The UK publishing world in the 80’s, decided that because there was a slump (as they saw it) in sales of the genre books, they would no longer take submissions for them…hence literaly wiping out entire genres.  What they didn’t take into account was the rise and fall in the economy, where the public were struggling with job losses and try to keep their homes and families fed, and did not have the cash to purchase such luxuries like books.  Now they are trying to make a resurgence of these lost genres, on newer generations, that haven’t got a clue at what they are or about. and very few are buying them.

Basically what they did back then, was killed off potential sales for the future.

And Basically this is what you are still doing today.  Looking at slumps in sales, but not taking into account the economy of the everyday buying public.

Your Best Sellers are your profit books, but your genre books, are your ‘bread and butter’.

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A bibliophiles life.

WARNING…one thing you should never do, is allow a bibliophile to do book research!

I have just added another 20+ books to my Amazon Wish List.  It’s a good job the money cupboard is bare at the moment, or I would be begging on the street for food!

And yes, we do, do research.  I might not be a writer/author, but I have been doing book and author research since I was 14.

Why?

Because I like to know, what books are about on the market, even if they are not available, or I can’t get my hands on them!  And I suppose that I like to know more about the authors I read, and what else they have to offer that I might like.  As many authors don’t use just one publisher or write under one name.  *waves at Jeff Cohen, Dean James, Casey Daniels and many, many others.*

So I have been wandering around the hallowed website pages of HarperCollin (more about them in a later blog), and breathing in the scent of books.  A lot of wonderful books.  And viewing many pretty book covers, that I am fortunately to have sitting on my book shelves.

Why HarperCollins?  Well they are going to be up next on my ” available in audio downloads Internationally” blog post.

Like Penguin Random House, they still have a long way to go in sorting out their way of doing author contracts to match this new digital age…ie Territorial Rights, International Copyright and giving access to audiobooks Internationally (even the old audiobooks on their catalogue), which would in turn increase revenue for both themselves and their authors.

Just because I have the physical books on my book cases or Kindle/e-books, doesn’t mean that I wouldn’t be the first in line for the audio edition as well!

That’s what a bibliophiles does.  We collect books.  In all formats.

That’s a bibliophiles life.

Cozy mysteries from Crooked Lane Books available in audio via Audible UK.

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Here’s what’s on off from Crooked Lane Books.

Crooked Lane, like Henery Press do not have any geographic restrictions.  So all the books that go into audio, are available Worldwide.

Audio books available:

 

E. J. Copperman – Written Off – Mysterious Detective Mystery – Book #1.

Emily Barnes – The Fine Art of Murder: A Katherine Sullivan Mystery – Book #1.

R. J. Koreto – Lady Frances Ffolkes Mystery Series – Books 1 & 2.

Sheila Connolly – County Cork Mystery Series – Crooked Winter – Book #5.

Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli – Little Library Mystery Series – Books 1 & 2.

Kate Kingsburty – Dead and Breakfast – Merry Ghost Inn Mystery Series – Book #1.

Elizabeth J. Duncan – Shakespear in the Catskills – Books 1 & 2 – Penny Brannigan – Murder on the Hour – Book #7.

Ellen Byron – Cajun Country Mystery – Books 1 & 2.

Wendi Corsi Staub – Something Buried, Something Blue: The Lily Dale Mysteries, Book 2.

Jonathan F. Putnam – These Honored Dead: A Lincoln and Speed Mystery, Book 1.

 

Crooked Lane have some exciting New Mysteries coming out.  And I look forward to seeing more of them come out in audio format in the future.

Cozy mysteries from Midnight Ink available in audio via Audible UK.

And now what is available in audio download from Midnight Ink Books.

Great books, but very few seem to make it into audio format.

I understand that the Audio Rights tend to stay in the authors hand, and it is their decision and responsibility on whether they want to foot the cost of an audio recording.

Thankfully some have.  And all are available Worldwide.

 

Here is what is available Internationally.

 

Lizbeth Lipperman – The Garcis Girls Mystery Series – Books 1 to 4

Sheila Webster Boneham – Animals in Focus Mystery Series – Books 1 to 3.

Loretta Ross – Auction Block Mystery Series – Books 1 & 2.

Karen MacInerney – Murder on the Rocks: Gray Whale Inn Mysteries, Book 1.  (I think Karen is looking into doing more of the Gray Whale Inn audios…keep your eye and ears open for more information).

Jess Lourey – October Fest: Murder-By-Month Mysteries, Book 6.

Gigi Pandian – Accidental Alchemist Mysteries – Books 1, 2 & 3.

Maddy Hunter – Passport to Peril Mystery Series – Book s 1 to 9.

Tracy Weber – Murder Strikes a Pose: A Downward Dog Mystery book #1.  (I know Tracy has just had this first book done, and is in the process of having the other in the series recorded).

E. J. Copperman, Jeff Cohen – Asperger’s Mysteries – Books 1, 2 & 3.  (Jeff normally likes to time the audio book to release at the same time, or as near as.  Book #4 The Question of the Absentee Father, is due out in October 2017)

Linda Joffe Hull – Mrs. Frugalicious Shopping Mystery Series – Book 1 to 3.

 

On a different note:

Do go and have a wander through Midnight Inks web site.  I have found some New to Me authors that I intend to try out.  Some have audio downloads, some don’t.  But either way, well worth checking them out!

You can find them here at:

http://www.midnightinkbooks.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cozy mysteries from Henery Press available in audio via Audible UK.

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So now comes the turn of Henery Press.

We are very fortunate in the fact that when one of Henery Press publications are converted into Kindle/e-book and audio format, they see NO ‘Territorial’ boundaries and they are available Worldwide.

Here is what they have available in audio book downloads, at the present moment.

Alexia Gordon – Murder in G Major

Diane Vallere – Madison Night Mystery Series – Books 1, 2 & 3.

Susan M. Boyer – Liz Talbot Mystery Series – All 5 books.

Kathi Daley – Tj Jensen Mystery Series – Books 1, 2 & 3.

Kendel Lynn – Elliot Lisbon Mystery Series – All 4 books.

Wendy Tyson – Greenhouse Mystery Series – Book #1 A Muddied Murder.  Book #2 Bitter Harvest, which has already been released in the USA, will be available Internationally…I do hope very soon.

Gigi Pandian – Jaya Jones Treasure Hunt Mystery Series – All 4 books are available.

Larissa Reinhart – Cherry Tucker Mystery Series – Books 1 & 2.

Tonya Kappes – Kennie Lowry Mystery – Book #1 Fixin’ To Die.

Lynn Chandler Willis – Ava Logan Mystery – Book #1 Tell Me No Lies.

Annette Dashofy – Zoe Chambers Mystery Series – Books 1 & 2.

Julie Mulhern – The Country Club Murders Series – Books 1 to 4.

Terri L. Austin – Rose Strickland Mystery Series – Books 1 & 2.

John Gaspard – Eli Marks Mystery Series – Books 1, 2 plus a novella.

Christina Freeburn – Faith Hunter Scrap This Mystery Series – Books 1, 2 & 3.

Lyndee Walker – Nichelle Clarke Headline in Heels Mystery Series – Books 1 & 2.

 

These are all the audio books available at the moment from Henery Press.  Hopefully we will see more and more of these great series, become available in audio format.

Keep an eye on Henery Press website – which is down at the moment.  New Look coming in April 2017.

Or sign up for their Newsletter, which will keep you up to date on the latest happenings at the Hen House!

 

 

 

Cozy mysteries from Penguin Random House…including Berkley & Alibi, that are available in audio via Audible UK.

This time we are looking what is available in ‘Cozy’ audio books from Penguin Random House Books and their off-shoot brands, including Berkley, Obsidian, Alibi and others.

As one of the leading publishers, they have a great range of ‘Cozy’ mysteries in audio.

Unfortunately not all of these get beyond the ‘Territorial’, of the USA.

And the ones we do have available, are due to the authors and their agents hammering out these ‘Territorial Right’ on the contract, to keep their International Rights in both Kindle and Audio formats, which gains them more access to a Worldwide audience.

But the list of ‘cozy’ audio books unavailable outside the USA, makes a reader/reviewer, audio book listener/reviewer and bibliophile like myself weep.

Audio Books downloads available Internationally:

Laura Childs – Tea Shop Mysteries – Books 12 to 18 – Scrapbooking Mysteries – Books 9 to 14

Miranda James – Cat in the Stacks – Books 1, 2 & 3 (books 4 through to 8 Not available outside the USA) – Southern Ladies series Books 1, 2 & 3.

Paige Shelton – The Cracked Spine – Scottish Bookshop Mystery – Book 1.

Dorothy Cannell – The Trouble with Harriet – Ellie Haskell Mystery – Book 8.

Cleo Coyle – Coffeehouse Mystery series – Books 1 to 11 (Books 12 to 16 unavailable Internationally).

Diana Orgain – Maternal Instincts mysteries – Books 1, 2 & 3 – Love or Money Mysteries – Books 1, 2 & 3 – The Roundup Crew Mysteries – Books 1 & 2.

Sue Ann Jaffarian – The Odelia Grey Mysteries, Book 1 – Too Big to Miss.

E. J. Copperman – Haunted Guesthouse Mysteries – Books 1 to 8 (including books 3.5 & 4.5) – Mysterious Detective Mysteries – Written Off – Book 1  – Asperger’s Mysteries – Books 1 to 3.

Joanna Carl – Chocoholic Mystery – Books 1 to 5 & 7 to 12. 

Kate Carlisle – Fixer-Upper Mysteries – Books 1, 2 & 3 – Bibliophile Mysteries – Books 1 & 10 (books 2 to 9 unavailable Internationally).

Sheila Connolly – County Cork Mystery – Book 5 (Books 1 to 4 not available Internationally) – Relatively Dead Mysteries – Books 1 to 5 – Museum Mystery series – Books 1 to 4 (Book 5 not available Internationally) – Orchard Mystery Series – Books 1 to 7 (8 to 10 not available Internationally).

Carolyn Hart – Death on Demand – Books 22 & 25 and soon coming book #26 Walking on my Grave in May 2017, (books 1 to 21 & 23, 24 unavailable Internationally) – Bailey Ruth Raeburn – Books 5, 6 & 7 (books 1 to 4 unavailable Internationally) – What the Cat Saw – a stand alone novel — Not available Internationally are the Henrie O. Mystery series of 7 books.  Plus stand alone novels.

Sofie Kelly – Magical Cats Mysteries – Books 1, 2  & 3 (books 4 to 8 unavailable Internationally).

Leslie Nagel – The Book Club Murders – Oakwood Mysteries – Book 1.

Denise Swanson – Scumble River Mysteries – Books 1 to 19 – Devereaux’s Dime Store Mystery – Books 1 to 5.

Peg Cochran – Cranberry Cove Mysteries – Books 1 & 2.

Monica Ferris – Needlecraft Mysteries – Books 1 to 7, and 13 to 16 (Books 8 to 12 & 17 to 19 unavailable Internationally).

Leann Sweeney – A Cats in Trouble Mystery – Books 1 to 8 – A Yellow Rose Mystery – Shoot From the Lip – Book 4 (books 1 to 3 & 5, unavailable Internationally).

Julie Hyzy – White House Mysteries – Books 1 to 9 – Manor House Mystery Series – Books 1 to 4 (not available Internationally).

Maggie Sefton – Unraveled –  A Knitting Mystery, Book 9 (Knit One, Kill Two: A Knitting Mystery, Book 1 – not available Internationally).

Gayle Leeson – The Calamity Café: A Down South Café Mystery book 1.

Nancy Atherton – Aunt Dimity Mystery Series – Books 1 to 18 & Book 21 (Books 19 & 20, not available Internationally).

Gary Corby – The Athenian Mysteries – Books 1 to 4.

Victoria Thompson – Gaslight Murders – Books 1 to 8 & 13 to 19 (Books 9 to 12, not available Internationally).

Sally Goldenbaum – Seaside Knitters Mystery series – Books 1 to 11.

Hazel Holt – Sheila Malory Mysteries – Books 15 to 21.

Emily Brightwell – Mrs Jeffries Mysteries – Books 1 to 7 (Books 8 & 9 not available Internationally).

Victoria Laurie – Psychic Eye Mysteries – Books 1 to 14 — Ghost Hunter Mysteries – Books 1 to 10.

Leigh Perry – Family Skeleton Mystery Series – Books 1, 2 & 3.

Molly MacRae – Plaid and Plagiarism – Highland Bookshop Mystery – Book 1 — Haunted Yarn Shop Mysteries – Books 1 to 5 (not available Internationally).

Ayelet Waldman – Mommy- Track Mysteries – Books 1 to 7.

Donald Bain & Jessica – Margaritas and Murder: A Murder, She Wrote Mystery – Book 24 (Books 21 to 23 & 25, 27, 30 to 46, not available Internationally).

Charlaine Harris – Aurora Teagarden – Books 1 to 9 — Lily Bard Mysteries – Books 1 to 5.

Rhys Bowen – Royal Spyness – Books 1 to 10 & 0.5 — Constable Evans – Books 1 to 3 (Book 9, not available Internationally) — In Farleigh Field: A Novel.

Ann B. Ross – Miss Julia Mysteries – Miss Julia’s School of Beauty – Book 6 (Books 1, 7 to 18, not available Internationally).

Mary Stanton – A Beaufort & Company Mystery – Books 3 & 4 (books 1 & 2, not available Internationally).

Lilian Jackson Braun – The Cat Who Mysteries – Books 12 to 19 & 27 to 29.

Dana Stabenow – Kate Shugak Mysteries – Books 1 to 9 & 14 to 20 (Books 10, 12 & 13. Not available Internationally). — Liam Campbell Mysteries – Books 1 to 4

 

Audio book downloads NOT available Internationally.

Juliet Blackwell – Witchcraft Mysteries – Haunted Home Renovation Mysteries – Plus 2 stand alone novels.

Isabella Alan – Amish Quilt Shop Mysteries.

Kathleen Bridge – Hamptons Home & Garden Mystery Series.

Susan Wittig Albert – China Bayles Mystery Series – Cottage Tales of Beatrix Potter Mystery Series – The Darling Dahlias Mystery Series.

Eva Gates – Lighthouse Library Mystery Series.

Kate Collins – Flower Shop Mysteries.

Maia Chance – Fairy Tale Fatal Mystery Series – Discreet Retrieval Agency Mystery Series.

B. B. Haywood – Candy Holliday Mystery Series.

Nancy Martin – Blackbird Sisters Mystery – Little Black Book of Murder – Book #9 –Miss Ruffles.

Earlene Fowler – Bennie Harper Mystery Series.

Margaret Cole – Wind River Mystery Series – Arapaho Indian Mystery Series.

Sue Henry – Alex Jensen/Jessie Arnold Mystery Series – Maxie and Stretch Mystery Series.

Marty Wingate – Potting Shed Mystery Series.

Fran Stewart – ScotShop Mystery Series.

Krista Davis – Paws & Claws Mystery Series – Domestic Diva Mystery Series.

Jenn McKinlay – Cupcake Bakery Mystery Series – Library Lovers Mystery Series – Hat Shop Mystery Series.

Sofie Ryan – Second Chance Cat Mystery Series.

Lorraine Bartlett – Victoria Square Mystery Series.

Lorna Barrett – Booktown Mystery Series.

T. C. LoTempio – Nick and Nora Mystery Series.

Amanda Flower – Magical Bookshop Mystery Series.

Caroline Fardig – Java Jive Mystery Series.

Betty Hetchmann – Crochet Mystery Series.

Leslie Budewitz – Spice Shop Mystery Series.

Victoria Abbott – Book Collector Mystery Series.

Heather Blake – Witchcraft Mystery Series – Magic Potion Mystery Series.

Ellery Adams – Books By The Bay Mystery Series – Book Retreat Mystery Series – Charmed Pie Shoppe Mystery Series.

Victoria Hamilton – Vintage Kitchen Mystery Series – Merry Muffin Mystery Series.

Bailey Cates – Magical Bakery Mystery Series.

*****

NOTE TO PUBLISHER

I understand the original purpose of the ‘International Rights’, ‘Territorial Rights’.  Which was to keep track of sales and to make sure that all ‘Rights/Royalties’ were paid.

You would think in this day and age of computers and the internet, with ‘recorded sales’ through all outlets, whether land based or cyber based.  That it was about time that you lifted these antiquated and out of mode contracts with these restrictions, and allow your authors and yourselves the freedom of a wider field of opportunity in gaining more Worldwide sales and revenue.

As your competitors in USA publishing world do.

All downloadable products, such a Kindle/e-book, audio books, should be made accessible Worldwide.  Which would mean more revenue for yourselves and your authors.

 

 

Keeper of the Castle (Haunted Home Renovation Mystery #5) by Juliet Blackwell

jb keeper castle

San Francisco contractorand reluctant ghostbusterMel Turner gets hired for a job that’s to die for.

Lately, Mel has been worried about finding enough historic renovation work to pay the bills. But while Turner Construction is in need of a project, Mel’s boyfriend, Graham, has his hands full managing the reconstruction of an ancient building shipped over from Scotland.

With the job plagued by rumors that the stones are cursed, Graham brings in Mel to look for paranormal activity. And while the ghost of a charming Scottish clansman does seem to be hanging around the site, the real shock comes when they stumble upon a body.

When the original construction crew starts running scared, Mel brings in her team to finish the job. Now all she has to do is nail down the killer, and put the spirits to rest, before anyone else winds up heading for the highlands…

I love these haunted Home Renovation Mysteries by Juliet Blackwell.  They are entertainingly,  well plotted and written mystery.  With a great set of characters.

Mel Turner has her hands full this time with a Scottish castle rebuild.  The only problem is that it is haunted by a Scottish Knight and a Lady in Red.  Someone kills the building inspector (and everyone hates building inspectors) and the lead contractor is arrested.  Then Graham gets attacked.  Something is definitely amiss with this job, and Mel needs to find the missing pieces to solve the puzzle on this one..

5 Stars*****

Changing Habits: A Short Story (Giulia Driscoll 0.5) by Alice Loweecey

al changing habits


This Novella comes after book #3 of the Falcone & Driscoll Investigation (3.5) and the beginning of the Giulia Driscoll Mysteries (0.5) before book #1, Nun Too Soon.

A GIULIA DRISCOLL MYSTERY SHORT STORY

The day Giulia Falcone jumped the wall—that’s code for leaving the convent—her sole possessions were the clothes on her back.

Four years later, she’s an official Private Investigator juggling a rash of church vessel thefts and her complete inability to find a wedding gown that doesn’t require her to steal a gold chalice for herself. She’s about to marry her boss despite all the advice about office romance.

Giulia is a champion multitasker. The Church is on her back to find the thief. Her all-natural co-worker is insisting she walk down the aisle to the soundtrack for The Sound of Music. Her fiancé’s relatives are overwhelming her with plans and advice and excitement. Piece of cake.

She can find the clue that unmasks the thief. She can keep an eye on the music. All she needs is a wedding gown for her own wedding. In four days. What could possibly go wrong?

*****

This is a great fun novella.  And a great starter for anyone who hasn’t tried the Alice Loweecey, Guila Driscoll (nee Falcone) books.

I love these books.  Alice Loweecey gives you the candid and fun view from both sides of the fence (being an ex nun, who jumped the wall).  They are well plotted, written and fun to read, with a great set of characters that you will want to continue to follow.

5 Stars*****

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Published by Henery Press and available in e-book format only (at the moment).

A Perilous Promise (Pennyfoot Hotel o.5) by Karen Kingsbury

kk perilous promise

This is a novella prequel to the start of Kate Kingsbury’s Pennyfoot Hotel series, the first book in the series is called Room With a Clue.  There are 21 books in this light historical mystery series…and you never know Kate might add more! lol

On the death of her husband Major James Sinclair, Cecily takes on her husbands passion, and promises to keep the The Pennyfoot Hotel, situated in a small coastal village of Badgers End in the family.

Her husbands hotel manager Hugh Baxter, thoroughly disapproves of a woman supervising a busy hotel.

On the day of arrival to her New home, she is met with a problem of an intruder in the hotel.  Things go missing and items moved or disorganised.

Someone is about to regret their promise to a dying man…

*********

This was a fun enjoyable light read, that introduces you to the cast of characters that appear in the later books.  Well written and plotted, with a good set of characters in this historical mystery.

4 Stars****

What makes us read, what we read?

What makes us read, what we read?

This random question popped into my head whilst I was sifting through the 30 pages of Goodreads Giveaways.

On a side point, notice that over here in the UK we only have 30 pages of the ‘Giveaways’, to the 90 plus pages of ‘Giveaways’ that are available to the USA readers.  I realise that with the cost of shipping now days, that it is not viable for the publisher or author to send out ARC’s overseas.  Long gone are the days when I would mail 150 books in 3 boxes, all enclosed within a USA mail sack for $20 to $25 a time, when staying with friends in Midlothian, VA.  *sighs*

Anyway…back to the subject of ‘what makes us read, what we read?’.

I thought that it was a good question, and started to cast my mind (such as it is…I do have days when it doesn’t like to work at all!) on the reason why I read the type of books that I read.

I suppose firstly, that I was brought up on fairy tales, with happy endings…doesn’t everyone like happy endings?  Well maybe not everyone. lol  So I suppose that I like stories that end on a happy or resolved note.

TV for those of us that were born in the late fifties or like me in the early sixties (and yes, before you start trying to work it out, I was born in the July of 1964…which makes me an ‘a grumpy old man’ of nearly 53!), showed us comedy, mysteries, crime, westerns, classics and cartoons, that we would sit glued to for as long as our parents would allow.  The TV brought us a different spectrum of choices for our minds to absorb.

I suppose I was drawn mostly to subject matter that concluded happily or had a resolved ending, Disney cartoons, or my favourite, Scooby Doo & the Mystery Machine, where the gang would solve mysteries wherever they went.

I didn’t like violent or scary things…and still don’t.  So I don’t do horror or extremely violent films or books.  So no I haven’t seen Psycho or read/seen Silent of the Lambs.  I don’t mind things that a bit weird, as I do like Doctor Who (gone are the days that I hid behind the sofa when it came on, as it was scary to me then).  So I like a bit of fantasy and science fiction (and no…I have not watched any of the Alien films…that comes under the heading of scary!).  I’m more Terry Pratchett, David Eddings and Harry Potter…I wonder what David Eddings, Belgariad would look like, if it was made in a movie or TV series?  Probably will never know, as I heard that he refused to sell movie/film rights to anyone while he was alive.  And probably wouldn’t be as good as the books!

I loved the TV shows and movies that featured mysteries and crime, that were solved and resolved at the end.  Like Charlie Chan, the adventures of Mr Moto, Columbo, Ironside, Banacek, Cannon, Harry O, etc…were my staple diet.

Reading was never easy for me in my early years.  I was classed by teachers in the infants and junior schools as ‘thick, stupid and backward’, even to the point of calling in a child psychologist to get me moved into a school for backward children.  She got a shock, when she had me sit and do some tests, while she spoke with my parents about moving me to a ‘Special’ school.  The tests in question were I think about 5 wooden and plastic jigsaw puzzles, as my parents watched out of the corners of their eyes, me completing every one of them while she talked.  When she turned to see how I was doing, my mum says her face was a picture of total surprise, with her saying that even some adults can’t complete them.  As my mum explained to her that I had been doing jigsaw puzzles before I could walk, and that I wasn’t ‘thick, stupid or backward’ but just plain lazy.  Even my parents didn’t understand the problem of Dyslexia.  It took 2 weeks in Senior school (first week the whole of the ‘First year’ students were given a simple spelling test, with a score system to denote your intelligence level).   My score was on the low side.  So I was sent to a remedial class for 2 half hour lessons a week, for the Remedial teachers to work out that I had Dyslexia and went about helping to resolving the problem, if they could.  And they did for the most part.  And I will be forever thankful to Miss Eves and Miss Wright, for the diligence and commitment to helping children overcome their reading and writing problems.

Thinking back now it make me laugh, as I was never in the Top class or the Bottom class, I was in always in the Middle class all through those early years.  So to me it was the teachers I had who were ‘thick, stupid and backwards’ in their oh so superior attitudes and manner.  Who let down the children they were suppose to be educating and helping to learn.  They were more interested in the children that didn’t need help, and couldn’t be bothered with the children that did need help.  Personally I never had a teacher who taught their students, until I went to Senior school.  And there, they were only a handful that really cared and taught…most of the other teachers only made the motions and took the salary and benefits that they got and were paid.

That’s where I discovered my first Nancy Drew book in the remedial class, and I was hooked.  They couldn’t put the reigns on me after that.  3 months later, I was sent back to normal classes, as they had managed in part to readjust how I saw words and made it easier for me to write and understand what I was reading and had written.

So Nancy Drew was the first stepping stone into mysteries, followed closely by The Hardy Boys, The Three Investigators, Trixie Belden and so on.  When I was 14, I did Agatha Christies, Death on the Nile and Sleeping Murder for book reviews.  And then I discovered in the local library Patricia Wentworth’s Miss Silver Mysteries, and I was totally hooked.  Preferring amateur detectives, to police procedural.  My staple diet was the older ‘golden Age’ mysteries from authors like John Dickson Carr/Carter Dickson’s Dr Gideon Fell/ Sir Henry Merrival Mysteries, Frances Crane’s Pat & Jean Abbott mysteries, Leslie Ford/David Frome’s Grace Latham & Col John Primrose/Mr Pinkerton mysteries. Elizabeth Daly’s Henry Gamage mysteries, etc…the list is endless, and I read all that I could get my hands on.

So that’s what draws me to the ‘Cozies’ or murder/mystery books…light escapism.

Books became my learning tool, my educator – where teachers had failed, authors unknowingly took up the reigns and began teaching and educating me, pushing me to learn and develop…to explore.

Probably why books will always and forever be my passion…as I owe so much to them and the authors.  They have kept me sane, been my constant companion, been there when I have been low, and picked me up and brought light into my life.  And I can tell you that while writing this part, I have tears running down my face.

Oh, I have tried some of the grittier books, but they very seldom hold any appeal for me.  The only one at present that does, is C. S. Harris’s (Candice Proctor), Sebastian St Cyr books…they are mildly gritty, but have great characters and plots, that hold you and pull you into the story from beginning to end.

I love it when a book does that to me.  When you open a book to the first page, and it grabs you and pulls you into the book and doesn’t let you go until the end of the story.

For me, a book has to look and sound interesting…yeah, I know, you shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover…but cozy books have such pretty covers that I can’t resist!

So my go to books are:  Cozies, Vintage (Golden Age) murder mysteries.

I do read quite a few children’s books, now days they tend to be the adventure ones like Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson, and his slew of other series.   Fantasy books, mainly David Eddings and Terry Pratchett.  A few paranormal mysteries like Simon R. Green’s Nightside and Ghost Finders series.  M/M romance, paranormal romance, historical romance, from authors like K.J. Charles, Jordan L. Hawk, Charlie Cochrane, Harper Fox, Haley Walsh to name but a few.

Mainly I think what motivates me on a book, is if it sounds interesting enough to wet my appetite.  Then I will at least give it a go.

Thankfully we are not all ‘Stepford Wives’.  Each person has there own likes and dislikes…that is what makes each of us unique.