The Daughters of Temperance Hobbs by Katherine Howe – Blog Tour & Giveaway


Synopsis:

New York Times bestselling author Katherine Howe returns to the world of The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane with a bewitching story of a New England history professor who must race against time to free her family from a curse

Connie Goodwin is an expert on America’s fractured past with witchcraft. A young, tenure-track professor in Boston, she’s earned career success by studying the history of magic in colonial America—especially women’s home recipes and medicines—and by exposing society’s threats against women fluent in those skills. But beyond her studies, Connie harbors a secret: She is the direct descendant of a woman tried as a witch in Salem, an ancestor whose abilities were far more magical than the historical record shows. 

When a hint from her mother and clues from her research lead Connie to the shocking realization that her partner’s life is in danger, she must race to solve the mystery behind a hundreds’-years-long deadly curse.

Flashing back through American history to the lives of certain supernaturally gifted women, The Daughters of Temperance Hobbs affectingly reveals not only the special bond that unites one particular matriarchal line, but also explores the many challenges to women’s survival across the decades—and the risks some women are forced to take to protect what they love most.

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Caffeinated Reading for National Coffee Day!

Image result for free coffee imagesHere in the US, September 29th has been designated as National Coffee Day, and that sounds to me like reason to celebrate. You may be able to score a free or discounted cup of joe at your favorite coffee shop, and what’s better to go with it than a nice coffee-themed book…. (fewer calories than a nice chocolate-themed donut! 🙂 )

 

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Guest Post from Author Rodney Page

Hello everyone. Please join me in welcoming Rodney Page, author of recent release “The Fourth Partner” (available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble), to The Book’s the Thing.

The Fourth PartnerAll Detective Leroy Meriwether wants is to coast to retirement and restore his ’65 GTO, but Billy Howell will change all that.

Howell, a well-liked local business owner, disappeared in 1991, the presumed victim of a boating accident. When his skeleton is discovered in a shallow grave on Saint Simons Island, Leroy’s considerable but underutilized talents are put to the test.

Initially, the cold case investigation goes nowhere. But the hardheaded and persistent detective is soon bedeviled by a ‘high class’ problem: too many suspects…Howell’s wife, his estranged teenage son, his bookie, his clients and the shadowy ringleaders of a nineties drug-smuggling operation.

Leroy gets closer to the truth and runs afoul of his boss. Trumped-up sexual harassment charges lead to his suspension, but Leroy continues to pursue the investigation at his own peril. 

The murderer is determined his twenty-five year-old secrets must never be discovered.

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Some Cool Reads for a Hot Summer

I don’t know what the weather might be like where you live, but in the greater Chicagoland area, we are experiencing a heat wave. It’s much hotter, and more humid, than I am happy with! I can dream about going somewhere cooler, but I’ve about used up my vacation time for this summer. (Those of you who are regular readers might have noticed that I’ve been absent a lot over the past month or so.) I can read about someplace cooler though, and live vicariously through a story’s characters as they don their sweaters, add an extra blanket to the bed, or trudge through the snow. With that in mind, here are some cold-weather titles I’ve come up with. These are all new to me, so if you’ve read one, I’d love to hear your thoughts!

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Audiobook Review – Station Eleven

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
Read by Kirsten Potter

Condensed Goodreads description:

Station ElevenAn audacious, darkly glittering novel set in the eerie days of civilization’s collapse, Station Eleven tells the spellbinding story of a Hollywood star (Arthur), his would-be savior (Jeevan), and a nomadic group of actors (including Kirsten) roaming the scattered outposts of the Great Lakes region, risking everything for art and humanity.

Spanning decades, moving back and forth in time, and vividly depicting life before and after the pandemic, this suspenseful, elegiac novel is rife with beauty. As Arthur falls in and out of love, as Jeevan watches the newscasters say their final good-byes, and as Kirsten finds herself caught in the crosshairs of the prophet, we see the strange twists of fate that connect them all. A novel of art, memory, and ambition, Station Eleventells a story about the relationships that sustain us, the ephemeral nature of fame, and the beauty of the world as we know it.

Genre: Fiction / SciFi / Dystopian
My Rating: **** (4 of 5 stars)

This is an instance of a book cover catching my attention, and refusing to let it go. I started seeing this one first in magazines, and then bookstores and websites all over the place until I decided I had to read it. I had the impression that it took place in a post-pandemic world, but that was about it. I’m glad I didn’t read the book blurb more carefully because I don’t think that I would have been interested in the story of a Hollywood star and a band of traveling actors. I would probably not have picked it up, and I would have missed something beautiful.

This book is, at its heart, a story of survival and resilience. It starts at a point in time just as the flu pandemic is beginning. We meet a variety of individuals at a performance of King Lear, and then follow several of them both forward and backward in time, learning about their past, and watching as their futures unfold in the new world. The author’s main focus is on the characters, what drives them, what mattered to them before the collapse of civilization and afterward, and their personal relationships more than the disaster itself.

Kirsten Potter does an excellent job with the narration – her voice and timing were a pleasure to listen to.

I thoroughly enjoyed this audiobook and would recommend it to fans of almost any type of fiction or word lovers in general. It was so full of memorable quotes, that I caught myself jotting them down to read later, and that isn’t something I normally do. Since I have them though, I’d like to leave you with a few of my favorites…

“Hell is the absence of the people you long for.”

“It was gorgeous and claustrophobic. I loved it and I always wanted to escape.”

“What I mean to say is, the more you remember, the more you’ve lost.”

“First we only want to be seen, but once we’re seen, that’s not enough anymore. After that, we want to be remembered.”

“She had never entirely let go of the notion that if she reached far enough with her thoughts she might find someone waiting, that if two people were to cast their thoughts outward at the same moment they might somehow meet in the middle.”

“There are certain qualities of light that blur the years.”

 

 

Short Story – Second Chance

Thought I’d post of a few of the things I’ve been working on now and then, and I’d love any feedback you might like to share!

This first piece is a short-short story I wrote for an online competition. It feels a little rushed, but I was limited to 750 words (harder than it sounded!).

Here was the prompt: Write a short story, of 750 words or fewer, that begins with the following line of dialogue: “If you can guess what I have in my pocket, you can have it.”

And here’s my story. Hope you enjoy it.

Second Chance by Erika Kehlet

“If you can guess what I have in my pocket, you can have it.”

The voice seemed to originate inside my head. I couldn’t even see a face underneath the hood of the figure before me.

“Who are you?”, I asked. “I don’t know that I want to guess what might be in your pocket.”

“Guess.”, came the voice again.

I looked around. The room we were in was round, and its gray walls were bare save for two doors, one white and one black, which stood opposite each other. I had already tried them both and knew that they were locked. The only light was what emanated from around each door. The floor was hidden beneath a carpet of fog, and there was a small round table in the center of the room. I couldn’t remember how I got here, and I didn’t know how to get out.

“Where are we?”, I asked the figure. “How did I get here? I don’t remember coming in. I remember leaving my office. I was going across the street to meet a friend for coffee. I don’t remember what happened next!” There was no answer. “Who are you? Why the cloak? Why don’t you want me to see your face?”

The figure remained silent and motionless. I wanted to shake him, to make him answer me, but I was afraid to move any closer. I sighed. There didn’t seem to be anything else I could do.

“Ok,” I said, “I’ll play along.”

“Guess what I have in my pocket.”, the voice in my head repeated.

“I don’t know what you have in your pocket,” I said. “Is it a coin?”

“Guess again.”, came the voice.

“Is it a phone?”, I tried hopefully. Mine had no reception here.

“Guess again.”

“How am I supposed to guess what you have in your pocket?” I shouted at the hooded figure. “I don’t know what you have in there, but I wish it was a key, so I could open a door and get out of here. Is it a key?”

The figure reached one hand inside the cloak and brought out a small rusty key. He laid it on the table in front of me. “Which door does it open?”, I whispered, wanting to reach for the key but afraid he would take it back and leave me trapped here.

I heard the voice speak one last word, and then my companion simply faded away. “Choose.”, it said, and I was alone.

I snatched up the key and hurried to the white door. It fit in the lock. I could open this door, but what would I find on the other side? Would it be better than where I was now? There was bright light coming into this room from the small gap around the door. I tried to see through but the space was too small, so I pressed my ear up to the door. It felt warm against my face. I could hear a faint humming coming from the other side. It was soothing, and familiar. My heartbeat slowed to its normal rate, and I felt calm for the first time since finding myself in this room. I felt fresh air coming in around the door along with the light. It smelled of lavender, roses, and fresh baked bread. I closed my eyes and inhaled, and then I was five again, running into the warm kitchen with a scraped knee, only to have my mother wrap her comforting arms around me and make everything alright. I felt safe, and started to turn the key. Then I hesitated. I had to choose, and might not get a second chance. I had to check the other door. I pulled myself away and crossed the room.

The key fit the lock of the black door as well. This door was cool to the touch. I smelled oil, rubber, and exhaust fumes coming in from the other side, and I didn’t need to press my ear against the door to hear the noise. I heard horns honking, whistles blowing, and a siren in the distance. I heard what sounded like people running. There was shouting, but I couldn’t make out the words. Then there came a woman’s sob, another shout, someone calling my name. I glanced across at the white door one last time, turned the key in the lock, and slipped through the door.