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Nancy Bilyeau’s The Tapestry is Suspenseful, Captivating, and Not Your Normal Tudor Mystery

01_The TapestryReview~

If you want to find a thrilling historical series to read from the Tudor Era, look no further than Nancy Bilyeau’s Joanna Stafford Series. Always well-researched and action packed, they are a special set to add to your collection. It all started with The Crown, then The Chalice. You can read my review of The Chalice, HERE and an interview I did a few years ago with Nancy HERE.

Today I have a pre-publication review (pub date: 3/24) of the third book in the series, The Tapestry. The beautiful cover with its weave overlay is representative of this particular novel, in which Joanna Stafford, ex-Dominican novice, is propelled into an initial mission–to come to the court of Henry VIII and weave one of her famous tapestries for his vast collection. Joanna doesn’t pretend there is love lost between King Henry and herself due to his destruction of the Catholic faith in England (though they are blood related). The book interlocks and interweaves all the intrigue and drama of this particular time period–from someone trying to assassinate Joanna or to King Henry setting his sites on his mistress Catherine Howard as his fifth wife–and Joanna is compelled to be on a mission to save herself and her new friend.

For true mystery lovers, I wouldn’t necessarily call this a mystery. There isn’t a definitive who-dun-it with a strong or quirky amateur detective on the chase. The mystery portion is about who is after Joanna and why. I’d connect to this historical series, and this third book in particular, as a thriller. And that’s fine by me. Nancy writes with fervor, creating excitement and movement much as if she was writing for the screen. Visually descriptive, highly detailed, and remarkably researched, Joanna’s next adventure took me on a vast ride through the expanse of Europe and held me with riveting marvel. Her chapters were concise and dramatic, so much so that there was no “I’ll stop at the next chapter for the night.” Like me, you’ll have no choice but to keep reading.

Yes, it’s from the Tudor Era, but it isn’t a romance or a drama as many on the market. It’s for men and women who appreciate the intricacies of this period, from its religious upheaval to political machinations, and you barely forget it’s any sort of proverbial Tudor Era novel, but yet feel as if a whole new view has been placed upon the page. With The Tapestry, she also manages to research and write about people and places of the period, for instance Germany’s interactions on the political spectrum, Henry VIII’s fourth wife Anne of Cleves, and as mentioned, the role of Catherine Howard. I also enjoyed her insertion of the artist Hans Holbien. Nancy made it interesting instead of scathing over this period of Henry VIII’s reign.

From first book to the third, I’ve seen a tremendous progression of Nancy’s Joanna character. At first somewhat mild and nervous, introverted and artistic, passionate yet humbled, Joanna is now much more animated and shows great fortitude, heart, and strength. Nancy’s character development of Joanna is fully dimensional and resonates with authenticity.

The Tapestry doesn’t read like a plot in the game of CLUE, or a general historical murder mystery, and it certainly isn’t a romantic drama. I’d say that with the success of this third novel, and her consistent fictional writing improvement, it reads more like Hillary Mantel’s WOLF HALL with a dash more action/adventure.

Highly recommended for fans who like a different dose of thrilling historical fiction! Suspenseful, intricate, rambunctious, and exciting, mixed with a nod to culture, art, and sociology of the sixteenth century period. You’ll begin to cheer even louder for Joanna!

The Tapestry, Synopsis

01_The TapestryNorth America & UK Publication Date: March 24, 2015
Touchstone Publishing
Formats: eBook, Hardcover
Pages: 390

Series: Joanna Stafford, Book Three
Genre: Historical Mystery

In THE CROWN, Sister Joanna Stafford searched for a Dark Ages relic that could save her priory from Cromwell’s advancing army of destruction. In THE CHALICE, Joanna was drawn into an international conspiracy against Henry VIII himself as she struggled to learn the truth behind a prophecy of his destruction.

Now, in THE TAPESTRY, Joanna Stafford finally chooses her own destiny.

After her Dominican priory in Dartford closed forever—collateral damage in tyrannical King Henry VIII’s quest to overthrow the Catholic Church—Joanna resolves to live a quiet and honorable life weaving tapestries, shunning dangerous quests and conspiracies. Until she is summoned to Whitehall Palace, where her tapestry weaving has drawn the King’s attention.

Joanna is uncomfortable serving the King, and fears for her life in a court bursting with hidden agendas and a casual disregard for the virtues she holds dear. Her suspicions are confirmed when an assassin attempts to kill her moments after arriving at Whitehall.

Struggling to stay ahead of her most formidable enemy yet, an unknown one, she becomes entangled in dangerous court politics. Her dear friend Catherine Howard is rumored to be the King’s mistress. Joanna is determined to protect young, beautiful, naïve Catherine from becoming the King’s next wife and, possibly, victim.

Set in a world of royal banquets and feasts, tournament jousts, ship voyages, and Tower Hill executions, this thrilling tale finds Joanna in her most dangerous situation yet, as she attempts to decide the life she wants to live: nun or wife, spy or subject, rebel or courtier. Joanna Stafford must finally choose.

Praise for The Tapestry~

“Illuminated by Bilyeau’s vivid prose, minor players of Tudor England emerge from the shadows.” —Kirkus Reviews

“In THE TAPESTRY, Nancy Bilyeau brilliantly captures both the white-hot religious passions and the brutal politics of Tudor England. It is a rare book that does both so well.” —Sam Thomas, author of The Midwife’s Tale

“In spite of murderous plots, volatile kings, and a divided heart, Joanna Stafford manages to stay true to her noble character. Fans of Ken Follett will devour Nancy Bilyeau’s novel of political treachery and courageous love, set amid the endlessly fascinating Tudor landscape.” —Erika Robuck, author of Hemingway’s Girl

“These aren’t your mother’s nuns! Nancy Bilyeau has done it again, giving us a compelling and wonderfully realized portrait of Tudor life in all its complexity and wonder. A nun, a tapestry, a page-turning tale of suspense: this is historical mystery at its finest.” —Bruce Holsinger, author of A Burnable Book and The Invention of Fire

“A supremely deft, clever and pacy entertainment. This is Nancy Bilyeau’s most thrilling—and enlightening—novel in the Joanna Stafford series yet.” —Andrew Pyper, author of The Demonologist and The Damned

“A master of atmosphere, Nancy Bilyeau imbues her novel with a sense of dread and oppression lurking behind the royal glamour; in her descriptions and characterizations… Bilyeau breathes life into history.” —Laura Andersen, author of The Boleyn King

Pre-Order/Buy The Tapestry~

Barnes & Noble

Author Nancy Bilyeau, Biography~

02_Nancy BilyeauNancy Bilyeau has worked on the staffs of InStyle, Rolling Stone, Entertainment Weekly, and Ladies Home Journal. She is currently the executive editor of DuJour magazine.

Her screenplays have placed in several prominent industry competitions. Two scripts reached the semi-finalist round of the Nicholl Fellowships of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences. Her screenplay “Zenobia” placed with the American Zoetrope competition, and “Loving Marys” reached the finalist stage of Scriptapalooza.

A native of the Midwest, she earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan. THE CROWN, her first novel, was published in 2012; the sequel, THE CHALICE, followed in 2013. THE TAPESTRY will be released in March 2015.

Nancy lives in New York City with her husband and two children. Stay in touch with her on Twitter at @tudorscribe. For more information or to sign up for Nancy’s Newsletter please visit her official website.


To enter to win one of three signed hardcover copies of The Tapestry, please complete the giveaway form below.

Direct Link to Enter: https://gleam.io/iyF4a/the-tapestry


Giveaway starts on March 16th at 12:01 a.m. EST and ends at 11:59 p.m. EST on April 3rd.
Giveaway is open to residents in North America and the UK.
You must be 18 or older to enter.
Winners will be chosen via GLEAM on April 4th and notified via email.
Winners have 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.
Please email Amy @ hfvirtualbooktours@gmail.com with any questions.

03_The Tapestry_Blog Tour Banner_FINAL

Tour Schedule: http://hfvirtualbooktours.com/thetapestryblogtour/

Hashtags: #TheTapestryBlogTour #HistoricalMystery #NancyBilyeau

Twitter Tags: @hfvbt @tudorscribe @TouchstoneBooks


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Do You Like to Uncover Archaeological Mysteries? See this Interesting Interview with Elle Maria, Author of Chronicle of the Mound Builders

Today I have a wonderful original interview with Elle Marie, author of Chronicle of the Mound Builders. And after the interview, there is a giveaway for a copy of it!!! If you missed my review for it yesterday, click HERE!

Hi Elle, welcome to Oh, for the Hook of a Book! I’m so glad you could join us for an interview. Your work is a fascinating blend of history and fiction! How are things going for you?

Elle: Hello, Erin! Thanks for having me. Things are going very well. I’m really enjoying my tour with Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours.

Erin: So glad to hear that! Let’s leave the “dirt” of the archaeological site and dig deeper into your writing…let’s have a seat and get started!

Chronicle of the Mound BuildersQ:  Where did you come up with the idea to write Chronicle of the Mound Builders?

A:  I’ve always wondered what happened to the ancient civilization at Cahokia Mounds. They disappeared 700 years ago with few traces left behind – one of archaeology’s greatest mysteries. When a Mound Builders village was discovered in my hometown of Chesterfield, Missouri, it gave me the idea to write about what might have actually happened to destroy the prosperous community.

Q:  Have you always been a fan of archaeology and/or Native American studies? If so, what intrigues you about this profession and about Native American history in particular?

A:  Oh yes, I love both fiction and nonfiction books about archaeology. I find it fascinating to learn how archaeologists solve mysteries through the clues they find and interpret from digs. The Native American cultures in particular are very interesting to me. So much of what we think we know comes from stereotypes in movies, which only show a slice of what their lives were really like.

Q:  The mystery component for those that enjoy these types of topics is usually a propelling factor in a desire to read or write books with this topic. Do you like to uncover and solve historical mysteries? Without giving your book away, can you describe the element of mystery that you have in Chronicle of the Mound Builders?

A:  The basic mystery in Chronicle of the Mound Builders is what happened to the Mississippians, otherwise known as the Mound Builders. The entire civilization vanished practically overnight and no one really knows why or how it happened. Chronicle follows the people living in that time period as they move toward their destiny, while at the same time telling the story of archaeologist Angela Hunter trying to solve the mystery in modern times.

Q:  In researching and writing about Native American tribes, the names and verbiage can sometimes be hard to pronounce, write, and organize. How did you deal with this or overcome this? Do you have any words of advice for readers in regards to pronunciation?

A:  I’m glad you asked – it’s come up many times already! I did a lot of research to find actual Aztec and Native American names to use in Chronicle, and the Aztec names in particular are long and hard to pronounce. I recently added a pronunciation guide to my website (http://www.chronicleofthemoundbuilders.com/dig-deeper.html, below the chapter excerpts) where you can actually hear the names and places spoken aloud. It was fun to recruit volunteers to help me do the recordings.

Erin comments: That is a GREAT idea!

Q:  What was one of the most interesting things you uncovered during your research?

A:  I was amazed at the advanced technology developed by the Mound Builders. Their knowledge of astronomy, agriculture, and even dentistry was so much more sophisticated than I expected.

Erin Comments: I love the whole astronomy aspect!

Q:  I love Native American, or in other words First Peoples, history and culture. We have the Serpent Mounds here in Ohio and they are fascinating. What you see on the ground compared to what you see from the air is so different, it’s like they built them for someone looking down from the sky. That mystery again is what thrills people. Do you feel that there is more than meets the eye?

A:  That’s another mystery we may never know the answer to. How were they able to visualize a view that they could not actually experience themselves? Perhaps Angela Hunter will take on that challenge next!

Erin Comments: One theory is that they were directed by people from another world to build them as markings for them. I wonder…!! I suppose astronomy comes in to play in that regard. Kind of like the Great Pyramids. If Angela ever wants to visit the Serpent Mounds here, I’ll give her a tour! 😉

Q:  What do you feel that modern society can learn from the ancient cultures of Native Americans?

A:  What impresses me most about the ancient cultures was their understanding of nature and their desire to be in harmony with it, rather than overcome it. I think we forget that sometimes and have the mistaken belief that we can control nature.

Q:  I read that your book is an adventure. What do you hope that readers take away when they’ve completed your novel?

A:  My hope is that while readers are enjoying the action and adventure, they’re also learning about the ancient cultures. Kind of a stealthy way of educating through entertainment.

Q:  When did you start writing? What is your inspiration for writing and what motivates you to keep writing?

A:  I’ve been writing one thing or another since grade school. I think everyone has the desire to create something, and since I have pretty much zero artistic or musical talent, I turned to writing.

Q:  What has been your happy moment during the process of writing and publishing your book? What has been your biggest challenge and how did you overcome it?

A:  What I enjoy most is hearing from readers and their thoughts on Chronicle. While not all the comments are favorable, I can always learn something from them. As far as my biggest challenge, I guess one of them was deciding when to stop researching and get back to the job of writing! There is so much fascinating material about the Native American cultures, but I also researched things like hunting, how to escape from a cave, and how a bear attacks. One item leads to another related article or website and sometimes it’s just fun to follow that trail. Then before you know it, another evening is gone!

Q:  What else do you plan to write in the future? Will there be a sequel to Chronicle of the Mound Builders?

A:  I’m actually starting to plot out a prequel to Chronicle. Angela will face another archaeological mystery and the reader will gain some insight into her early relationship with Dr. Oettendorf. Should be fun!

Q:  Who are some of your favorite authors and your favorite books to read?

A:  I’m a very eclectic reader. I enjoy historical fiction (of course!), mysteries, and nonfiction such as biographies. Recently I’ve read the Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls, Life of Pi by Yann Martel, and One Thousand White Women by Jim Fergus. I enjoy reading fun adventure novels by authors like Michael Crichton, Ken Follett, and Douglas Preston. I also confess to the guilty pleasure of reading Sophie Kinsella books. She makes me laugh out loud!

Q:  You work in what must be a challenging full-time job that seems opposite from your creative side. When and where do you find time to put on your creative hat? What advice do you have for other writers?

A:  That’s a funny question coming from someone who is able to juggle writing, public relations, photography, motherhood, and more – I should be asking you! But to answer your question, my full-time IT job is certainly challenging and when I’m working, I’m fully immersed in it. But after hours, I prefer to use my imagination and creativity. My secret to having time to write is that I don’t watch television. I don’t necessarily advise other writers to give up TV, but I would tell them to find a cozy place to work without distractions and set aside a solid block of time each day for writing. I find I can’t really be productive in 5-minute spurts – I need time to focus and give my thoughts a chance to flow.

Erin Comments: Life is full, for everyone in different ways! And I don’t always juggle well!! Ha! I like your advice though and I think the answers I get to this question helps out other authors as well.

Q:  Where can readers and writers connect with you?

A:  My website is www.ChronicleOfTheMoundBuilders.com and you can find me on Twitter at @ellemarie24. I’d love to hear from fellow authors as well as my readers!

Erin:  Elle, thank you so much for joining us here today. Glad to find we have a similar interest! I look forward to seeing what else you write in the future!

Elle:  Thanks! It’s been great talking with you.


The giveaway is for one (1) paperback copy and open to US/Canada. Enter by 11:59 p.m. EST two weeks from the date of this post. You must leave your email in the comments, email to me at hookofabook@hotmail.com, or comment on a Facebook link I post.

For +1 extra entry, follow my blog and for another +2 entries, “like” the Facebook page at www.facebook.com/HookofaBook.


Chronicle of the Mound BuildersPublication Date: October 29, 2012
Paperback; 416p
ISBN-10: 1479206652

Archaeologist Dr. Angela Hunter discovers an ancient codex at a Mississippian Indian dig site in the St. Louis area. Knowing the Mississippians, or Mound Builders, had no written language, she is determined to solve the mystery of the 700-year-old, perfectly preserved codex.

In the early 1300’s, an Aztec family is torn apart. A judge rebelling against the Aztec tradition of human sacrifice is cursed and escapes his enemies with his 12-year-old son. They travel from the Gulf of Mexico up the Mississippi River to settle in the thriving community of Migaduha, modern-day Cahokia Mounds, Illinois.

Angela recognizes the symbols as Aztec pictograms and begins to translate the story. However, other forces also want the codex and will do anything to get it. Can she learn the secrets of the chronicle before the tragic events of the past are repeated today?

Author Elle Marie, Biography~

Elle MarieComing from a large family of readers, Elle Marie grew up with a love of reading. Her passion for reading led to a desire to write. After first publishing a nonfiction book, Living the Thin Life, she turned to fiction.

A visit to Cahokia Mounds sparked a fascination with the mysterious Mound Builders, about whom so little is known. What was their culture like? How did ordinary people live in the 14th century? What caused the civilization to vanish, seemingly overnight? She put her imagination to work and came up with a story line that put it all together. Extensive research enabled her to create a believable, engrossing world.

By day, she works in the information technology field at a large financial services firm. She is a graduate of the Missouri University of Science & Technology and lives in the St. Louis area with her husband. Chronicle of the Mound Builders is her first novel.

For more information, please visit the OFFICIAL WEBSITE.

Link to Tour Schedule: http://hfvirtualbooktours.com/chronicleofthemoundbuildersvirtualtour/
Twitter Hashtag: #MoundBuildersTour



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It’s May Day, Buy a Book Today: Two Horror Novels Released, Get them on Sale!

Whew! We had a great horror read-a-thon last week!! I’m glad we are breaking down the horror stereotypes and seeing that this genre includes a wide array of sub-genre groups.  I’m finally tearing myself off the ceiling after getting stuck up there in sheer terror.

As for the book giveaways, for those of you clenching at your lip about if you won; hopefully, the winners will all be drawn by tonight. I had some issues last night with my PR website and it took up way to much time. Then I have to add up all those entries and I can’t count when a 4-year-old is constantly talking.  At least she motivated me to do my yoga today with her. So that’s a plus. I’ll get back with you all tomorrow on the winner’s list!!


In the meantime, since we just focused on the horror genre, there’s two new books coming out in e-book TODAY from Samhain Publishing’s Horror line (the same publisher to have published Brian Moreland and Jonathan Janz as well as Hunter Shea and Frazer Lee and many more great authors).

A few weeks ago I received my copy of Evil Eternal, Hunter Shea’s second novel. Supposedly action packed, with fun talking demons, I can’t wait to read it. I’ll be looking forward to an interview with him soon as well.

Book Jacket Content~

Only one priest can battle the ultimate evil!

An evil as ancient as time itself has arisen and taken root in New York City. Father Michael, the mysterious undead defender of the Church, answers the call to action from the Vatican, while Cain, a malevolent wraith that feeds on fear and blood, has taken the life and form of the city’s mayor and readies a demonic army to ignite the apocalypse.

With an unlikely ally, Father Michael will prepare for the grim confrontation as he grapples with his sworn duty to God and the shreds of humanity left beating in his immortal heart. The time is ripe for Cain and the fulfillment of dark prophecies. Father Michael must battle Cain and his horde of demons in a final showdown that could very well herald the end of mankind.

It’s e-book version is on sale for pennies over $3, for a short time only at: http://store.samhainpublishing.com/evil-eternal-p-6801.html


I just received my e-copy of Nightwalker by Mick Ridgewell to review also (right after I get my post reviewing Jonathan Janz’s The Sorrows up on the blog, then read and review Hunter Shea’s Evil Eternal of course) and am excited to read that one also! From the description, the books sounds eerily good! Check out the description and see what you think. I can’t wait to read and review it!

Book Jacket Content~

Wherever you run…he’s waiting for you!

Scott Randall is a corporate VP on top of the world. To celebrate a massive new deal, he’s going to drive from Detroit to LA. But before he leaves, he makes a bad mistake. He cruelly dismisses a homeless panhandler on the street. Along the road, he swears he sees the panhandler again. Then again. And again. Soon he sees the man—who calls himself the Nightcrawler—even in his dreams. No matter how frantically he tries, Scott can’t escape his relentless pursuer. He thought he was going to LA. But the Nightcrawler has a very different destination in mind.

For more information, go to Samhain store. And it’s on sale too for a limited time:  http://store.samhainpublishing.com/the-nightcrawler-p-6802.html?osCsid=09ec1d812e855df3083f64d339c7e61a.

Come back later to see more from these authors on my blog over the next month or two. Looking forward to an upcoming blog with their fellow horror author Jonathan Janz next week!

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A Brand-New Religious Artifact Thriller with a Strong Female Lead: Love it!

Joanna Penn’s Pentecost, her first fiction novel and first in a series with main character Morgan Sierra and a covert British company call ARKANE, is definitely a thriller full of action and pulse pounding events.  Although there is not a certain mystery involved to keep me reading and guessing, it wasn’t needed as the motion of the book kept me from wanting to put it down. I became interested in seeing the character solve the situation before evil won out!

The action moves so quickly in this book, as well as the story line, that you just want to keep reading in hopes of helping the characters move faster in finding the religious artifacts that are at the cust of the story.  Morgan, an independent, strong woman previously trained in the Israeli army can certainly hold her own as she bounds throughout several international countries with covert organization ARKANE on her heels trying to assist her for reasons unknown to her.  Their employee, Jake, and Morgan work tirelessly together and seem to have some unspoken chemistry that brings just enough hint of romance to the novel. 

Morgan is not just after the stones for herself, even though she is a Keeper of a stone, as well as her twin sister.  When her sister and niece are kidnapped, and other Keepers murdered, Morgan is motivated to find the stones fast. These twelve stones are rumored down history to be stones cut from Jesus’ tomb by his 12 disciples, which were taken with them into their new lives in other ancient countries such as Italy, Iran, Spain, and more. If joined together, the stones could bring about great power and another Pentecost, creating the power to destroy the world.  Morgan needs to stop the stones from being used for evil before it is too late!

ARKANE is realized to be a covert organization that is always keeping tabs on anything that has to do with religious artifacts and in the end, they wish to recruit Morgan.  After having placed her stone in the care of ARKANE’s artifact vault she leaves the reader waiting for more. Penn does expect a second book in this series with Morgan, called Prophecy, to come in 2012.

Penn is a self-published author based in Australia (even though she is British).  This is her first novel. Her Masters in Theology and a post-graduate diploma in psychology brings her academic interests to the fiction writing stage. Her expertise certainly hovers over all the religious locations and relics presented in this book to make it a very believable story. Joanna herself explains the book as being a religious and psychological thriller, a Lara Croft meets Dan Brown.  However, though religious relics and theology abound, it is more an action thriller than a religious or historical thriller. Penn’s character development is superb.  It will be one you won’t want to put down until the end.

To read more about Pentecost, you can view information here (as well as a book trailer): http://www.thecreativepenn.com/books/. It is available from Amazon in paperback and immediately to your Kindle for a great price. Grab it up!

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Linwood Barclay’s newest book is a total winner!

Wow. I’d been searching for an un-Stephen King book to read from my bookshelf for a few months. I kept trying to pick one up and start it, to just put it down. That happens to me sometimes if it doesn’t grab me from the beginning. I had purchased some new books that looked good many months back, but one in particular kept calling to me to read it.  The book was Linwood Barclay’s newest book, Never Look Away.

Touting itself as a thriller, it certainly lives up to that description many times over. Quickly starting out with a small town New York journalist turning up information about a private prison looking to be built in town, it twists immediately to a family trip (his wife, Jan and their 4 year old Ethan) to the new amusement park that ends up with the almost kidnapping of his son and the disappearance of his wife. Soon suspected in her disappearance, he sets his own journalistic skills to the road to try and uncover what happened to his wife of six years.  What he is soon to find out is that his wife is not who she says she is, but is using the identity of a childhood friend of hers that died tragically when they were in kindergarden.  From then, she certainly is not who she seems. However, the plot thickens as all these other players come into light.  In the end, she certainly realizes that she truly is not who she thought she was, although much too late. The story is also about emotional redemption to me and the realization of true happiness and love is not found in money.

The other thing I liked about this story is the description of small town newspapers, their cuts, outsourcing, doing only politically correct stories in order to keep their door open.  The character’s journalistic style is one that all fellow journalists can appreciate (this intrigued me as I have a bachelors in journalism and hold true to the dying career field) and the well-rounded depiction of his character truly was a welcome addition to the story.

I picked up this book a few days ago and it’s 300 pages took me no time to read as I didn’t want to put it down. It’s one of those you just don’t read before bed, but you take it with you in the car (if you are in the passenger seat of course) and sit down to read even while watching a television show you like. It truly grabs you and keeps you investigating right along with the main character.

I had never read any of Linwood Barclay’s (www.linwoodbarclay.com) books before, but be certain that I’m going to add a few more to my list to read very soon. A super read that kept me guessing and thinking, I truly enjoyed it.

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One of the most gripping young adult thriller series in 2009

It’s not too late to take the ride on this super thriller about an australian teenager named Cal, who on New Year’s Eve is told he has 365 days only to try and survive. Thinking his father died of a mysterious illness, he is warned by a stranger that his father may have been murdered and now he is next.  This sends him running like a fugitive and begins a fast-paced, page-turning first book entitled Conspiracy 365: January.  It is a short read for adults, but more on the level of 10 to 18 year olds (depending on reading level, my 5th grade son read it quick but he has an adult reading level).  This said, it is still much fun for everyone!  There are 12 books in the series, starting with January and each one is named for each subsequent month.  Cal is on the run in each book, with each ending in a cliffhanger!  You can also check out Cal’s blog called www.teenfugitive.com to get even more involved in the story!

The author of the Conspiracy 365 Series is the award-winning Australian writer Gabrielle Lord (www.gabriellelord.com), who prior to this young adult series wrote adult crime thrillers (14 in fact!).  Now that all 12 books in the series are complete, she has plans for several more adult and young adult books.

Kane//Miller is the publisher (owned now by Educational Development Corporation) and specializes in bringing foreign titles to the United States. They have a dedicated website for Conspiracy 365 at www.conspiracy365US.com which has more information about the book, author, social networking links, and activities to accompany each book. I definately recommend that you check it out!

If you are interested in ordering the first book of the series, or the entire series (which can be purchased in one lump sum), they are nice hardback books at $10.99 each or there is a series price.  This series is only available from Usborne Books and More independent consultants (it previously was to be sold to bookstores and through Scholastic also).

My son thought these books were exciting to read each month (he’s 10) and he liked to read the book all in one sitting.  He didn’t like to wait for the next one! I would recommend these for children who are avid readers and like a quick thrilling title, but also reluctant readers who need a book that really motivates them to keep reading.

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