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The Huntress is BACK! Alexandra Sokoloff’s Bitter Moon In Preorder!

moon

NEW HUNTRESS BOOK!

Bitter Moon, Book 4 of the Huntress/FBI Thrillers, is now available for pre-order.

From Alexandra’s email this morning:

Bitter Moon is in some ways the most mystical of the books, parallel storylines set in the California desert, as Special Agent Matthew Roarke and fourteen-year old Cara must join forces to stop a horrific series of rapes and murders — separated by sixteen years in time.

The first three books are absolutely stunning, and I am sure the fourth will be the same. Click the photos below to go to Alexandra’s page on Amazon and grab them to read before Bitter Moon comes out, and check out her other books as well.

 [cover: Huntress Moon]  [cover: Blood Moon] [cover: Cold Moon]

JUNE SALE — $1.99!!

The first three books of the Thriller Award-nominated Huntress Moon series are on sale for just $1.99 each on Amazon US in June! If you haven’t caught up with the series, here’s your chance to get a great deal.

To get the deal, go here and use the code: READJUNE16.

Prior to making your purchase, click the Enter the Code button, enter READJUNE16, and click the “Apply” button.

And! (Drum roll Please!!!) As you will know if you are familiar with Alexandra’s work, she is an incredible screenwriter as well as a novelist. And NOW!

HUNTRESS TV SERIES!

It’s back to film writing for me — I just finished the pilot for the Huntress TV series, currently in development. Next we go out to directors and actors, so if you have any casting wishes, I’d love to hear who you’d like to see play Roarke, Cara, Epps, Singh, Rachel, Snyder, Jade, Mills, et al. More news to come….

OK, yes, I am squeeeeing like a Fan Girl! I will have to start thinking about who should play the characters. They need to be actors with gravitas . . . do they make those any more?!?!

Review: Beneath The Blood Moon by R.J. Blain

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“No one saves us but ourselves. No one can and no one may. We ourselves must walk the path.” -Buddha

The chaining of Fenrir cost the god Tyr his right hand” – Völuspá,  translated to English in The Poetic Edda,  Henry Adams Bellows, 1923

 Free On Kindle!

Sara Watson thought her life was bad enough as it was. Working as a stripper and part time Vegas showgirl, she tries to hold down four part time jobs, go to college, and still pay the rent and eat. They say Vegas is a hard place to live, and she knows all about that. But even the hell of her life is better than the hell she ran from in New York. A father that beat and controlled her, a life with no meaning. At least now, if she can get through school, she can start a real life on her own – fake ID or no fake ID.

Yes, life was hard. But nothing as hard as being kidnapped along with her best “friend” (though the idea of friend is Las Vegas equates to ‘what can I get out of you for doing you the favor of being your friend) and dragged out to the desert by her ex ‘I’m-a-cheating-POS’ boyfriend who has tracked her down to Las Vegas to bring her back. Or kill her. Whichever works.

Telling him to get stuffed, taking her beating and broken ribs, then crawling out into the desert to die on her own and free is gutsy enough. I gained a ton of respect for her at this point, though I already respected her for keeping her moral compass (unlike her crappy friend) and going against said ‘friend’ and not going full-on prostitute made me respect her. Yep. She is one tough cookie, with more internal fortitude than any man her age I have ever known. But after the ex and the girlfriend finish doing the nasty and track her down as she crawls across the desert, then turn into wolves and begin eating her alive (literally), even weirder things happen. And suddenly, Sara’s life is more hell than she could have ever imagined.

Let’s get serious here. First, I really, REALLY wanted to give this book five stars with a bullet. Sara is tough and strong, yes. But she isn’t unbelievable, and she has a heart of gold and a strong sense of right and wrong – and did I mention the heart of gold? Then she meets four other women who are an absolute joy. Tough, take no prisoners women with a fetish for guns, not taking any crap off of anyone, and their husbands (pretty much in that order). There is romance, but no sex scenes, which was completely refreshing (if you are an erotica-only lover, skip this one). The story is fast, suspenseful, sometimes terrifying, and kept me totally immersed in the story. The characters are wonderful, the world building is unusual (living in the world as we know it, but with their own governance, etc.) Some of the scenes literally brought me to tears. That’s the good.

The bad came after I had a chance to come down off my ‘reader-high’ and start thinking about what I would write in my review, and realized I couldn’t give it a five at all. The story is complex, and kept my attention throughout, but there were some issues that a really good content editor could have solved. Ms. Blain has a brilliant mind for writing paranormal suspense, but she isn’t organized. She has a few different threads moving through the book, which is fine, I really enjoy books that are more than one-note songs, but she literally dropped the ball about midway through, dropping one of the more interesting story lines and never going back to it. No wrap, just dropped. Poor form. The book is quite long, 564 pages, and I was never bored or wanting to skip pages as I do with some longer books, and her descriptive narrative and conversational style was enjoyable, but dropping the story line, which I was invested in, shows a lack of organization. Editing for word usage, spelling, and dropped words was OK, but not good. Someone put effort into beta reading for that sort of thing, but the continuity is what killed it.

Overall, I will still recommend the book. The story and pace kept me up all night long (literally, yawn) and then the minute I rose I went right back to it and stayed with it to the end. Give this woman a good content editor, or just a whiteboard to write down all of her threads to make sure she ties them all up at the end and a couple of really good beta readers and she will be a force to be reckoned with in the world of Paranormal Suspense. Recommended, but could be better.

 

The St. Martin’s First Winter 2015 Sampler #StMartin’sPress

St. Martin’s First Winter 2015 Sampler is a taste of fifteen newly published books by various authors under the St. Martin’s umbrella. A mix of debut novels and books from old favorites, the Sampler offers the first two chapters of each, allowing you to gain a ‘feel’ for each book. As with all samplers, some books caught my attention, especially A June of Ordinary Murders by Dubliner Conor Brady, and Her Name is Rose by Christine Breen. Neither are books that I would have given a second glance at, as they aren’t my genre, but both surprised me by landing on my TBR shelf. A Murder of Magpies by Judith Flanders was an automatic “I know I am going to like this” while the story of two giantesses, Andorra Kelsey and Anna Swan, The Thunder of Giants by Joel Fishbane, set in 1937, is one I never would have expected to be so drawn to. Then there is The Perfume Garden by Kate Lord Brown, another surprise addition to my to-be-read stack.

Take a look and see if there are some nice surprises for you as well!

A June of Ordinary Murders: A MysteryA June of Ordinary Murders by Conor Brady. Published April 21. Brady pulls the reader into the dark corners and political back rooms of 1880’s Dublin as the country prepares to celebrate the Golden Jubilee of Queen Victoria’s ascent to the throne – and a vicious murder falls into Detective Sergeant Swallow’s lap. I honestly never was interested in period pieces until happening upon the Murdoch Mysteries and the Miss Fischer Mysteries on BBC. Now I am addicted, and I am greatly looking forward to reading the rest of the book.

 

Her Name Is Rose: A NovelHer Name Is Rose by Christine Breen is another Irish tale, this time a modern one, of the pains that life can bring. Iris has just been pushed out by her newspaper, “They didn’t see gardening articles as appealing no matter that she gets mail with questions and comments every day. Well, the books section, and the crosswords guy have to go as well. It seems people no longer want intelligence in their newspapers any more.

People used to say Iris Bowen was beautiful, what with the wild weave of her red hair, the high cheekbones, and the way she carried herself like a barefoot dancer through the streets of Ranelagh on the outskirts of Dublin city. But that was a lifetime ago.

Her husband dead the last two years, her adopted daughter, Rose, a brilliant violinist away at the Royal Academy in London. And Iris’s doctor has just called.

Promises to keep will draw Iris away from her quiet Irish life in a search that could be absolutely heartbreaking for all involved. But a promise, as they say, is a promise. Another to add to my stacks.

The Perfume GardenThe Perfume Garden by Kate Lord Brown is another of those books that I would have never simply picked off the shelf on a whim. And I would have missed what appears to be a lovely tale, as Emma, a London perfumier walks through the doors of a villa forgotten since Franco’s depredations of 1936. Flowing backwards and forwards in time, the story of Emma and her grandmother Freya is a redolent tale of love and loss, terrible secrets, and lyrical words.

 

Pretty Ugly: A NovelPretty Ugly by Kirker Butler is billed as “a satirical look at a dysfunctional southern family complete with overbearing stage mom, a 9 year-old pageant queen, a cheating husband, his teenage girlfriend, a crazy grandmother, and Jesus.” Not one I will be investigating further, but if it sounds good to you, go for it. I would love to hear what you think.

 

Meeting the English: A Novelmeeting the English by Kate Clanchy is another tale from the Continent. Struan Robertson, “orphan, genius, and just seventeen” leaves Scotland for London in 1989. It is described as “a bright book about dark subjects, told with love.” It sounds like the perfect intelligent young adult novel.

 

The Thunder of GiantsThe Thunder of Giants by Joel Fishbane is set in 1937 and revolves around the lives of Andorra Kelsey – 7’11” and just over 320 pounds, is on her way to Hollywood to portray the life of Anna Swan, a Nova Scotian giantess who toured the world in the 19th century with P.T. Barnum, who fell in love with a Civil War veteran. It is a tale that spans nearly one hundred years as two women become reluctant celebrities in a time when the term freak was written upon the human psyche. The story feels very Shakespearean from the two chapters I read. Love the cover.

 

A Murder of MagpiesA Murder of Magpies by Judith Flanders is a debut mystery set in London and Paris, as Samantha “Sam” Clair, a London book editor tries to find a way to tell her star novelist that her latest book is utterly unpublishable. That is hard enough, but when Inspector Field turns up asking about a package addressed to Sam, well, who knew the fashion industry could be so deadly? I laughed with the first two pages, so guess what? Another for the stacks!

 

The Friendship of Criminals: A NovelThe Friendship of Criminals by Robert Glinski is a crime thriller set in Philadelphia. A Scorsese-esqe tale of Italian and Polish mobsters, murder and madness, this is a hot blooded debut novel. It grabbed me in the first two pages, sharp, brutal and deadly with a tough, take-no-prisoners voice. For the crime thriller set, I see this as a must read.

 

The Secrets of MidwivesThe Secrets of Midwifes by Sally Hepworth is a story of secrets and lies, consequences, and the complex relationships among three generations of midwives, all centered around Neva Bradley, a third-generation midwife, her hippy mother, Grace, and her wise, no nonsense grandmother Floss. “I didn’t even particularly like babies. No, for me, the decision to become a midwife had nothing to do with babies. And everything to do with mothers.

 

The Figaro Murders: A NovelThe Figaro Murders by Laura Lebow, is set in 1786 Vienna, where Lorenzo Da Ponte is the court librettist for the Italian Theatre. As Da Ponte begins the libretto for Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro, Da Ponte finds himself pulled into the highest diplomatic circles in a tale of intrigue and murder, politics, music and theatre – and the some of the most famous figures to ever grace the Italian Opera stage.

 

The Tragic AgeThe Tragic Age by Stephen Metcalfe is a coming-of-age novel, introducing you to Billy – Billy, who doesn’t trust happiness. “It’s the age he’s at. The tragic age.

A Fireproof Home for the Bride by Amy Scheibe A Fireproof Home for the Brideis a tale set in southern Minnesota in 1958. A sparkly, shiny Lutheran world on the surface, but hiding a nasty, black world underneath, where rape is common, and the KKK isn’t just a ‘southern thing.’ Emmy thought she had no choices in her life. But when her fiancé rapes her, she find that you have to create your own choice in this life.

The Last Flight of Poxl WestThe Last Flight of Poxl West by Daniel Torday explores the history of Poxl West, his nephew Eli’s hero and a Jewish hero of the “Great War.” But the deeper Eli looks into Poxl’s life as he helps him to write his memoirs the darker the story becomes.

Duplicity by N.K. Traver is a young adult novel with a creepy edge. DuplicityHacker Brandon gets his thrills hacking bank accounts and living the tattooed bad-boy life. He is miserably happy, I suppose you could say. Until the Brandon in the mirror decides that he could live Brandon’s life better than Brandon can.

The Wednesday GroupThe Wednesday Group, a debut novel by Sylvia True, delves into the lives of five women who meet in group every Wednesday, each with shameful secrets. Gail, a prominent judge, keeps receiving letters from her husband’s latest girlfriend, though her theology professor husband claims he is “nine-months sober” from banging grad students. Hannah catches her husband having sex with a male prostitute in a public restroom. Bridget, a psychiatric nurse at a state hospital finds out that her husband has an addiction to chat rooms and match-making websites, while high school teacher Lizzy is married to a porn addict. Flavia’s husband was just arrested for groping a teenage girl on the subway. And the psychologist who runs the group, Kathryn, has her own secrets. Will they go, or will they stay? Will they learn to build their own boundaries, live their own lives? Or will their husbands destroy them all?

I received St. Martin’s First Winter 2015 Sampler from Netgalley in exchange for a realistic review. I found some goodies here – I bet you will as well.

Review: The SEAL’s Angel by Petie McCarty #MysterySuspense #StrongHeroine

“I’ll tell you what I’m fighting for. Not for England, nor her allies, nor any patriotic cause. It’s all come down to the hope of being with you.” ― Lisa Kleypas, Love in the Afternoon

“War always reaches the depths of horror because of idiots who perpetuate terror from generation to generation under the pretext of vengeance.” ― Guy Sajer, The Forgotten Soldier

“The footprints of an Angel in your life are Love.” ― Genevieve Gerard

Cory Rigatero is one strong young woman. A young woman who has suffered loss and betrayal, pain and suffering, and still keeps right on getting up in the morning, fighting to keep her family’s legacy, Bel Tesoro, “Beautiful Treasure” the family resort on the edge of Cory has lost everything. Her parents. Her brother, a SEAL, listed MIA two years ago. Now, it is her and Vern, her manager and general handyman at Bel Tesoro, a pile of bills, and a desperate need to keep Bel Tesoro alive.

Her brother Brian’s last words before he left her all alone six years ago were, “I prayed for a guardian angel for you last night to dog your steps while I’m gone…”

She is going to need that angel – because bad things are happening at Bel Tesoro. Things that may land Bel Tesoro in the hands of Percy “Senior” Standish, local rich bully, who is determined to buy Bel Tesoro out from under Cory and raze it to the ground in order to build honeymoon cottages as part of his own huge, overblown, high class resort on the other side of the lake. And if bad – read, ‘expensive’ – things continue to happen, she may have no other choice.

Of course, the bad things didn’t start happening until “Mac” shows up, all bearded, long haired Harley riding drifter. Vern trusts him, so Cory lets him stay to work. But when two of her resort clients nearly drown due to sabotaged kayaks, and Cory herself nearly dies when the dock collapses, trapping her under the pilings, Mac becomes suspect number one for the sabotage.

There are layers of story here. The sabotage at the resort. A mysterious package from her brother, who has been listed as dead for the last two years. And a break in by two foreign speaking men, “Where’s Formula?” Cory is terrified now not only of losing Bel Tesoro – but of losing her life.

I loved this book. Really loved it. The story line is well-developed, and the characters are believable. There is mystery, suspense, thrills. Cory is a strong woman character without being over-the-top, and highly likable. The pace is fast, and Cory barely has the chance to catch her breath as things spin out of control around her. And the very ending? Well, it was, in a word, a great ending. You will have to read it to find out what happens, but it left me with a huge smile on my face. Again, I loved this book and highly recommend it to mystery and suspense lovers with a quirky sense of humor.

As an aside – a major character in the book? Lucky Luciano. If you aren’t familiar with America Mobster History, Lucky Luciano, Bugsy Siegel, and Meyer Lansky were three of the most famous American mobsters in history. History comes into play here in Lucky’s story and how it crosses and melds with Cory’s great-grandfather, Brocconi “Brock” Rigatero’s history as he built Bel Tesoro. Lucky’s history crosses my own, as my own grandfather was Lewis Archer Cooper, Chief of Police in Hot Springs, Arkansas during the period. Family stories say that Arch, besides being COP, also owned bars and, uh, hum, “bath houses,” with Lucky. Seeing as how Lucky was arrested in Hot Springs by a federal agent who was investigating “Other Matters” in Hot Springs at the time, I got a huge kick out of reading about Lucky’s part in this story! Oh, and as for one of my pet peeves? GREAT COVER!! It caught my eye right away and led me to read the blurb, which made me want to read the book. Awesome!

I received this book from Reading Alley in exchange for a realistic review. This is the third Mystery Angel Romance. Each stand-alone love story has an angel hidden in the plot, and the angel’s identity is not revealed until the finale unless the reader figures it out first.

About the Author

Petie McCartyPetie McCarty spent a large part of her career working as a biologist at Walt Disney World — “The Most Magical Place on Earth” — where she enjoyed working in the land of fairy tales by day and creating her own romantic fairy tales by night. She eventually said good-bye to her “day” job in order to write her stories full-time. Petie is a member of Romance Writers of America, and she shares homes in Tennessee and Florida with her horticulturist husband, a spoiled-rotten English Springer Spaniel addicted to pimento-stuffed green olives, and a noisy Nanday Conure named Sassy who made a cameo appearance in Angel to the Rescue.

Review: City Of Echoes by Robert Ellis #Thriller #PoliceProcedural #Suspense

25050652“Through me you go into a city of weeping; through me you go into eternal pain; through me you go amongst the lost people” ― Dante Alighieri, The Inferno

“He felt his heart, which no longer beat, contract, and he wondered if there was anything in the world as painful as not being able to protect the people you loved.”― Cassandra Clare, City of Fallen Angels

Agony. Such an interesting word, with such an interesting origin. “Late 14c., “mental suffering” (especially that of Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane), from Old French agonie, agoine “anguish, terror, death agony” (14c.), and directly from Late Latin agonia, from Greek agonia “a (mental) struggle for victory,” originally “a struggle for victory in the games,” from agon “assembly for a contest,” from agein “to lead.” Now, it simply means, Extreme and generally prolonged pain; intense physical or mental suffering.” Yes. Interesting.

Matthew Trevor Jones knows all about agony. His father walking out the door. His mother dying of cancer when he was twelve. His father refusing to accept, or even acknowledge his existence when he had no place else to go. A stint in Afghanistan. And now? Now, on this day, the day before his first day with Hollywood Homicide, he knows the agony of losing his friend, his brother in arms in the Sandbox. The man who pulled him away from all that was wrong with his life on his return from that dark and brutal place of guns and death. Away from his memories. The brother who got him started on the path to where he is today. Detective Kevin Hughes is dead, taken down in a blaze of bullets on his way to meet Matt, to celebrate his promotion. A bloody, blasted shell.

“At the end of the day it’ll come down to this: Kevin and I were brothers in arms. We fought the good fight and somehow both of us were lucky enough to come home. He had my back, and now I’ve got his.”

““Where is the graveyard of dead gods? What lingering mourner waters their mounds?” – ― H.L. Mencken, A Mencken Chrestomathy

Agony.

And as the case turns and twists, layers of deceit and lies, hidden meanings and horrific realizations come clear. Nothing is as it seems. Nothing is real, but at the same time too brutally real to be believed.

Betrayal.

It all comes down to betrayal. The past and present are melding, and the threads of Matt’s life are starting to unravel.

“Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.”
– W.B. Yeats, The Second Coming

 This is the first time I have read Robert Ellis, but it won’t be the last. As much as I loved the book, there are certainly some who won’t. Ellis’s voice is harsh, nearly brutal in its ability to strip off the shiny layers, the bright and distracting gaudy bits, leaving the harsh truth behind, lying like the broken body of a child upon the sand.

“It hung there, all of it, in the candlelight and in the shadows, and on a night in late October when the dry wind howled.”

This is noir style detective thriller writing at its best and most complex. Beneath the shiny surface of Hollywood lies a dark and festering heart – and Ellis writes it like it is.

I received City of Echoes from the publisher in exchange for a realistic review. All thoughts are my own. If you like my review, please do me the favour of letting me know by clicking “Like” on GoodReads, and on Amazon after it is published. I really appreciate it!

 Publishing September 1, 2015 by Thomas & Mercer

 About The Author

Robert  EllisRobert Ellis is the international bestselling author of “Access to Power”, “The Dead Room”, and the critically acclaimed L.A. Times bestseller “City of Fire”, “The Lost Witness”, and “Murder Season” – selected as top reads by Booklist, Publishers Weekly, National Public Radio, The Chicago Tribune, The Toronto Sun, The Guardian (UK), The Evening Telegraph (UK), People Magazine, USA Today, and The New York Times. His novels have been translated into more than ten languages, are read in more than thirty-five countries, and are available in audio and all digital formats. Born in Philadelphia, Robert moved to Los Angeles where he worked as a writer, producer, and director in film, television, and advertising. Robert studied writing with Walter Tevis, author of “The Hustler”, “The Man Who Fell to Earth”, and “The Color of Money,” and with his friend, John Truby, screenwriter and author of “The Anatomy of Story.” His books have garnered praise from a diverse group of authors including Janet Evanovich’s wonderful review in People Magazine. But perhaps Michael Connelly said it best: “‘City of Fire’ is my kind of crime novel. Gritty, tight and assured. Riding with Detective Lena Gamble through the hills of Los Angeles is something I could get used to. She’s tough, smart, and most of all, she’s real.”

There Are SO Many Collections Out There!

Have you noticed how many book collections there are out there these days? Multiple authors get together and donate a story to a Limited Edition Book Bundle based upon a theme. I have several of these, and have found new authors to love in nearly every one, as well as new stories by authors I already know. Since today is the start of a new week, I thought I would toss some of the bundles out there for you. Some stories you will like in a collection, some you may not, but for the price, these are GREAT bargains! They range from .99 to FREEE! They are in no particular order, just as I come across them on my tablet. There are a lot of bundles out there – search Amazon for “Book Bundles for Kindle” or “Free Book Bundles for Kindle”. You can also search “Collections” and then search by genre. I am sure there are other ways to search, such as on Goodreads (“anthologies, collections” gained me 267 results while “series collections garnered 1904 results! Awesome… I am going to be hitting that list hard!).

23702709A Very Paranormal Holiday

.99 Cents!

There’s something supernatural lurking under the mistletoe this year. Get ready for a twist on the holiday season with paranormal tales from six fantasy authors (both Mark Henwick and J.C. Mells, two of my favorite authors, have stories here!)

Killer Confections: 8 Delectable Culinary 25045580Cozy Mystery Novels

.99 Cents!

A dash of murder, a dollop of intrigue, a little sugar, and plenty of spice create a tasty buffet served up by bestselling and award-winning mystery authors, Denise Dietz, Leighann Dobbs, Pamela DuMond, Harper Lin, Tamar Myers, Joanne Pence, Cindy Sample, and Connie Shelton. This culinary mystery bundle mixes lethal lunches, deadly dinners, poisonous pastries, and criminal cocktails into a scrumptious fare that you don’t want to miss. (And, of course, recipes included.)

 

The Dragon Writers Collection: A Fantasy and Science Fiction 23262719Bundle with Dragons and Elves, Wizards and Magic

Free!

Do you love to read about elves, dwarves, and dragons? Do you find the lure of magic mystery too enticing to resist? Do you crave stories of monstrous orcs and trolls vanquished by brave heroes?
Looking for fantasy with powerful female heroes, or villains? Beware of both!

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Ultimate Undead Collection: The Zombie Apocalypse Best Sellers Boxed Set (10 Books)

.99 Cents for 10 books!

! Pump up your adrenaline with 10 heart-pounding tales from today’s top apocalyptic authors.

THE PARANORMAL THIRTEEN23387007

FREE!

Actually, 14 full length paranormal and urban fantasy novels featuring witches, vampires, werewolves, mermaids, psychics, Loki, time travel and more! 1.3 MILLION words! 3,500 PAGES!

 

23166727

Stars & Empire: 10 Galactic Tales (Stars & Empire Box Set Collection)

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AND!

Stars & Empire 2: 10 More Galactic Tales (Stars & Empire Box Set Collection)

Two collections, .99 Cents EACH!

 

23362716

A Crime Collection – 5 Heart-Pumping Mystery Thrillers Boxed Set

Free!

Five first-in-a-series mystery novels by up-and-coming authors Betta Ferrendelli, R.S. Guthrie, Simon Jenner, Emily Kimelman and Renée Pawlish.

23456673

Shifters After Dark

.99 Cents
SM Reine – OF WINGS AND WOLVES (Review here)
Dannika Dark – SEVEN YEARS
Marie Hall – HOOD’S OBSESSION
Melissa F. Olson – BLOODSICK
Kate Danley – THE DARK OF TWILIGHT
Phoenix Sullivan – HEARTSONG

22500632The Old Kingdom Collection: Sabriel, Lirael, Abhorsen, Clariel

OK, so these are $34.99. I have read each of these, and they are Wonderful!!!! Garth Nix is a storytelling God…..

Amazon Gift Card Giveaway from Mystery Reads

Win a $25 Amazon Gift Card from Mystery Reads! Love mysteries? Thrilled by thrillers? Suspense keeps you on your toes? Join our email list for the latest and greatest books and be entered to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card.

And we are giving away an ebook from our website! Actually for every 1000 entries we will randomly give away an ebook from our site! Send your friends to enter so we can give away more books :)

MR-giveaway

Review: Sweet Deception by Angel Nicholas

Sweet Deception: HarperImpulse Romantic Suspense - Angel NicholasAnyone who cannot come to terms with his life while he is alive needs one hand to ward off a little his despair over his fate… but with his other hand he can note down what he sees among the ruins. – Franz Kafka

Truth is everybody is going to hurt you: you just gotta find the ones worth suffering for. – Bob Marley

Sweet Deception. It sounds like one of those “Boy meets girl. Boy saves girl from minor problem. They all live HEA. The end.”

I wonder who decided on that title? Because, though there are six five star and one four star very-well-deserved reviews, the people who are expecting a simplistic story are going to be disappointed, and the readers who would pick up a powerful, contemporary suspense/thriller would not normally pick it up offhand. And this is a powerful book. Oh, the whole HEA romance thing is in there – though it might have been better served in another novel. Just my opinion, because I found that it distracted from the overall story line.

Ally Thompson’s life is boring. Go to work in insurance claims, come home, have dinner, pour a glass of wine and read a book in bed. (Hey, that is my life!) Tired of listening to all the fun that her coworkers had over the weekend on Monday mornings, she decides it is time to do something adventurous. Well, not too adventurous, but riding a roller coaster is a start, right? Ensconced in the “special” seat at the rear of the coaster she finds herself seated next to (of course) tall blond and sexy detective “Surfer Dude”. When one of the riders is murdered and thrown from the car, Greg the Surfer Dude saves her life (of course) and thus begins a much more serious contemporary tale than I had expected based on the cover and title. In a word, this is one thrilling book – but it is also excruciatingly current in what is, to me, the best sort of way. Angel Nicholas rips the blinders off of modern issues that many would like to ignore – or pretend don’t exist in the first place.

Drug running, human trafficking, sex trafficking, dirty cops – all play a gut wrenching role in the tale. And this is why I would have been happier with the book if it left out Ally pining over Mr. “I’m too gutless to have a real relationship but I am more than happy to bang you blind – and if you try to have a relationship with anyone else I will stalk you and show up on your doorstep” Guy. Yeah, yeah, he finally “comes around” several months after the end of the ‘action’ – and yeah, yeah, she takes him back. Meh. It detracts from the importance of the book itself as it tries to pull in both the romance and the suspense crowd.

The person expecting a ‘sweet’ romance isn’t going to like this. There is brutality, rape, sex slavery of both adult women and children, (two instances of which Ally is forced to watch, as “training”), and several scenes where the heroine is subjected to the worst kinds of humiliation, though she is not actually raped.

Yes, yes, I know. I get psychotic over books that depict rape and sadism – but my problems with those books are where the actions are presented as being “acceptable”. This isn’t that sort of book. It brings into the light things that society would rather keep hidden, stripping off the blinders and making the reader truly see.

Something else it brings to light? How our government will allow these things to continue to happen as they “build their case” – no matter the suffering that women and children go through as the “case” is built. Sometimes YEARS of torture, rape and sometimes death – which can honestly be a blessing given what they are subjected to day after day. All enslaved  by monsters, of course. But the real monsters? The ones who live next door – who have wives and children and jobs, who attend PTA and host cookouts in the back yard and birthday parties for your children. And who slip away at odd hours to rape and brutalize women – and of course, children the same age or younger than their own little ones.
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So. My recommendation? READ. THIS. BOOK. But don’t expect “sweet and cuddly.” Expect realism, expect truth, expect good writing (well, except for the romance part – IMO Ally would have been better off sticking with being the strong, wonderful woman she was, and she does create something truly wonderful with her life before Greg comes back around) than sticking around for Mr. “It’s All About Me” but there was finally a HEA so those that wanted it got a sweet ending.

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for a realistic review. All thoughts are my own, and I am very happy to recommend it! If you like my reviews, please let me know on your country’s Amazon.com! I post to US, CA, AU, UK.

Review: Heart Collector By Jacques Vandroux

23387402One of my weaknesses in literature is reading books by non-American authors. They bring a different outlook, a different landscape to my reading. I also love the language differences – it adds a richness that is often missing in the more mundane voice of ‘American English’.

Heart Collector is translated from the French, and I was looking forward to the ‘quirks’ of French to add to the writing. Add in the police procedural and mystery, along with a slight undertone of supernatural, and I settled in for a highly enjoyable read.

The problem is, it really wasn’t all that enjoyable, for several reasons. I don’t know if it is because the translator couldn’t resist “Americanizing” the language, but the uniqueness of the French language was literally “lost in translation”. Disappointing.

The next thing that bothered me was Jacques Vandroux’s apparent lack of respect for his female characters. Calling a dedicated 30+ year old police officer a “young woman” (ad nauseum) is demeaning to the character. Again, translation issue, or does Vandroux really not feel his character is worthy of respect?

The overall story, a serial killer who takes human hearts, is actually quite clever. I just didn’t feel that the writer was truly involved in his story. You can tell when a writer likes his characters, when they wake up every morning excited to write once more. I didn’t get that feeling from this book. It was more as if it were a slog rather than a joy. Again – boredom of the writer, or just a really poor translation?

Three stars because I don’t want to blame the writer, but at the same time, control of the translation could have been better managed if that is the true issue and not poor writing on Mr. Vandroux’s part.

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for a realistic review. All thoughts are my own. With a better translation, I may be able to give it a better review.

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