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Let’s Go “Beyond The Ice Limit”

ice limitRemember The Ice Limit? One of my favorite Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child books, it was published back in January of 2000.

I didn’t have this site back then, so there is no review – yet – but I will get to it. I am editing right now or I would pull out my battered paperback copy and read it again and do a review, but edits come first!

The book ended in a Twilight Zone manner (Preston & Child compare it to one of their favorites How to Serve Man) and I have to agree with that concept. You were left with the denouement open ended. Not a ‘cliffhanger’ really, more of a “Make up your own ending to suit your personality and thoughts about the book” sort of thing. Personally, I would have compared it to the end of the last book of The Dark Tower cycle by Stephen King, but that is beside the point. The book was just darn Good.

Now, after fifteen years and, according to P&C, tens of thousands of beyondletters over that time period demanding a sequel, it is on its way! Beyond the Ice Limit is a Gideon Crew novel this time around, but that shouldn’t disturb the story:

Five years ago, the mysterious and inscrutable head of Effective Engineering Solutions, Eli Glinn, led a mission to recover a gigantic meteorite–the largest ever discovered–from a remote island off the coast of South America. The mission ended in disaster when their ship, the Rolvaag, foundered in a vicious storm in the Antarctic waters and broke apart, sinking-along with its unique cargo-to the ocean floor. One hundred and eight crew members perished, and Eli Glinn was left paralyzed. But this was not all. The tragedy revealed something truly terrifying: the meteorite they tried to retrieve was not, in fact, simply a rock. Instead, it was a complex organism from the deep reaches of space.

Of course, it is too expensive for my blood. . . and this is what happens when I work through the night and sleep all day. I am now number forty-seven on the list to read the book at my local library. Sigh. So, I wait. But when the edit of Michael Angel’s A Perjury of Owls (Book 4 of Fantasy and Forensics), (and yes, I am squeeeeing like a little girl at this one!), I will pull out Ice Limit and give it another read and review. Then, when I finally get my copy of Beyond, well, I can hardly wait! And from P&C’s email:

“Free eBook preview! Those of you wishing for a free eBook preview of the first eleven chapters of  BEYOND THE ICE LIMIT can get one by clicking on the following links:
And a special deal for those of you who have not read The Ice Limit: While we took pains to ensure BEYOND THE ICE LIMIT is a stand-alone novel, reading The Ice Limit first will surely enhance the pleasure of experiencing the new book. And to help make that happen, we’ve persuaded our publisher to discount to $2.99 all eBook editions of The Ice Limit during the two weeks leading up to BEYOND THE ICE LIMIT’s May 17 pub date (that is, May 2 to May 16). During that time, if you go to iBooks, Amazon, B&N, Kobo, or Google, you can pick up a copy of The Ice Limit at that special price.”
You can also order your copy from The Poisoned Pen, and for a limited number of books you will get a signed photo of “The Guys” as part of the package. I am not a collector of author ephemera, but if you are this is a first-time offer of signed photos from these two authors.
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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: 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.”

Review: The Cana Mystery by David Beckett

https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1373547448l/18188093.jpgO waste of lost, in the hot mazes, lost, among bright stars on this weary, unbright cinder, lost! Remembering speechlessly we seek the great forgotten language, the lost lane-end into heaven, a stone, a leaf, an unfound door. Where? When?
O lost, and by the wind grieved, ghost, come back again.”
– ― Thomas Wolfe, Look Homeward, Angel

Jesus’ mother said, “They have no more wine.” Jesus replied, “Dear woman, why do you involve me? My time has not yet come.” “This was the first miracle of Jesus and it was performed to reveal his glory, and his disciples put their faith in him.” (John 2:3-5) and (John 2:11)

I have a rule for books that purport to be based upon historical events and places. Teach me something new, something I didn’t know and yet will be fascinated enough to research on my own. If this sort of book doesn’t have me highlighting on nearly every page, I get bored. The Cana Mystery delivered.

Based upon the Christian story of The Lost Jars of Cana, the story is a rollicking adventure tale, steeped in Middle Eastern and Christian Church beliefs, carried out across a landscape both understood, such as Harvard and Boston, to the city of Tabgha, the city where the story of Jesus and the multiplication of loaves and fishes supposedly occurred. The jars themselves, the items that sit at the centre of this whirlwind, thrilling story are supposed to be the jars Jesus requested to be filled with water, which he then changed to wine for a wedding party. Saving the jars from an evil man and transporting them across a hostile and brutal land is the largest part of the story, and the descriptive power of the story does not disappoint.

As a non-Christian, I was hesitant to start this book, fearing the science and politics of the lands and the history would be unbelievable. Surprisingly, I found the book realistically portrayed – it is a ‘Christian’ book, but not overwhelmingly superstitious, something I found pleasant.

Overall, a good thriller with a strong thread of history and some good information on areas and happenings I enjoyed learning about.

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for a realistic review. All thoughts are my own.

Review: Swamp Ghosts by Marcia Meara

22072877Lie on the bridge and watch the water flowing past. Or run, or wade through the swamp in your red boots. Or roll yourself up and listen to the rain falling on the roof. It’s very easy to enjoy yourself. – Tove Jansson

If you come down to the river
Bet you gonna find some people who live
You don’t have to worry ’cause you have [if you got] no money
People on the river are happy to give

Big wheel keep on turnin’
Proud Mary keep on burnin’
Rollin’, rollin’, rollin’ on the river
Rollin’, rollin’, rollin’ on the river – Creedence Clearwater Revival – Proud Mary

 Mary Margaret Devlin, Maggie to her friends, has had to be tough in her life. A horrendous marriage, the loss of her family, all have left her alone, and terrified to open herself up to others. But with her boat, the Undine, a good friend in Willow, the owner of Candle Thyme, a potpourri shop, and the home left to her by her beloved father, she live a quiet, peaceful, if isolated, life. Well, as peaceful as it can get when bill collectors are breathing down your neck. With young Billy as her first mate, mechanic and general helper, the Undine keeps her afloat, and her home makes her feel safe.

Gunnar Wolfe might be able to fix part of Maggie’s problems. Well, at least the financial woes. For he wants to canoe out into the streams and rivers of the Florida swamp, to photograph the amazing wildlife and plants. And to possibly find, and photograph, that most rare of creatures. The ivory-billed woodpecker. Though many believe the bird extinct over 100 years ago, tales still abound of swift and silent visions, there and gone. And if he can get the only nonfuzzy photo, well, National Geographic time for Gunner. A personal and professional coup of immense proportions. But to get that photo, Gunner needs a guide. Enter Maggie. Much against her will, as Gunner is scary as hell. Huge, muscled and beautifully Norwegian blond, Maggie’s blood runs fast – which scares her silly. Men are terrifying – and men who look like Gunner even more so. Wow. Soo pretty!

So. Money good. Hauling huge Gunner around the swamps in a tiny canoe when he has never even been on the water? Hum. . . So, training time. And against Maggie’s hopes and wishes (even though she really needs the money) Gunner does well. But a single discovery in a hidden stream turns their world upside down. Terror and death becomes part of their lives – lives which could be cut short at the hands of a monster.

There is so much to like about Swamp Ghosts that I really don’t know where to start. Well, actually I do. Marcia pulls you into the ambiance and beauty of her beloved Florida swamps. You can almost smell that sharp, almost bitter tang of the swamp, taste the humidity on your tongue, feel the heat against your skin. I could close my eyes and smell the hyacinth and hear the calls of the birds, the grunt of gators in the night, the cries of the creatures who call the swamps their home.

Then, there are her characters. Maggie, strong and yet so hurt. Friendly giant Gunner, with a heart as big as his body. And you can’t have a really good book (well, in my opinion) without the quirky characters who populate the best stories, the ones who fit so well into the landscape you can’t imagine the story without their presence. The cast of characters drew me in, wrapped themselves around my mind and made me laugh, cry and cheer – and yes, my heart definitely raced at times.

This is a wonderful thriller, not overwhelmed by the romances which also exist within the story. Marcia loves Florida, and you can feel it in every word. If you are looking for a book which will draw you in, making you yearn to see all the things that Marcia sees, I highly recommend Swamp Ghosts! Oh, and the next book will be out before long – she says she is working on Chapter 11, so keep an eye out – I know I am!

I received Swamp Ghosts from Marcia in exchange for a realistic review. And yes, Marcia is a friend, but this is still a marvelous book!

Please let me know if you like my review by clicking “yes” on Amazon. It helps my author friends! Thanks.

Marcia Meara

Marcia Meara

Marcia Meara is a native Floridian, living in the Orlando area with her husband of 29 years, two silly little dachshunds and four big, lazy cats. She’s fond of reading, gardening, hiking, canoeing, painting, and writing, not necessarily in that order. But her favorite thing in the world is spending time with her two grandchildren, ten-year-old Tabitha Faye, and twenty-month-old Kaelen Lake.At age 69, Marcia wrote “Wake-Robin Ridge,” her first novel, and “Summer Magic: Poems of Life and Love.” Her second novel, “Swamp Ghosts,” set alongside the wild and scenic rivers of central Florida, was released in spring of 2014. “A Boy Named Rabbit,” the sequel to “Wake-Robin Ridge,” will be available on Kindle by January 26, 2015. And “Hunter,” the sequel to “Swamp Ghosts,” is scheduled for release in late summer, 2015.

In the past year, Marcia has also had her poetry appear in four Silver Birch Press anthologies: “Silver,” “Green,” and “Summer,” all Eclectic Anthologies of Poetry and Prose, and “Noir Erasure Poetry Anthology,” which features a unique form of creating poems from prose.

Her philosophy? It’s never too late to follow your dream. Just take that first step, and never look back.

You can reach Marcia through her blogs and other social media:

The Write Stuff: http://marciamearawrites.com/
Bookin’ It: http://marciameara.wordpress.com
Who’s Your Granny: http://mmeara.wordpress.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/marcia.meara.writer
Twitter: @marciameara
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/marciameara/

A note from Marcia:

I’m going out on the river today with two tours on the Naiad, with

Captain Jeanne Bell & her husband, Doug Little. They are the real life counterparts of Maggie & Gunn, and where I got the idea for Maggie to be an Eco tour boat owner. Perfect for allowing me to really dig into the habitat and wildlife of this part of my state. (The REAL Florida, if you ask me.) They’ve got a large group of folks coming (over 40) and have split the group into two tours to accommodate everyone on the boat, and I’ve been invited to go along and talk for a bit about my book, and do a signing afterward.

Doug has been incorporating Swamp Ghosts into every tour lately, and sells the book from their ticket booth. It’s been a lot of fun for him to read the blur on back and then tell everyone that Gunnar Wolfe is his alter-ego. This is my inspiration for Gunn, of course!

(Chris Hemsworth a/k/a Thor)
Friends are the BEST!

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.
/
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: Finding Sheba By H. B. Moore EDITED Review

The world we see that seems so insane is the result of a belief system that is not working. To perceive the world differently, we must be willing to change our belief system, let the past slip away, expand our sense of now, and dissolve the fear in our minds. – William James

The history of the Jews has been written overwhelmingly by scholars of texts – understandably given the formative nature of the Bible and the Talmud. Seeing Jewish history through artifacts, architecture and images is still a young but spectacularly flourishing discipline that’s changing the whole story. – Simon Schama

Queen Makeda of Ethiopia

Undercover special agent for the Israeli Preservation of Cultural Heritage and Ancient Artifacts Omar Zagouri may not agree with all of the decisions of his government regarding their treatment of his Arab neighbors. But protecting his people, and their culture, from jihadists and weapons smugglers means setting aside his misgivings – even when his neighbor dies from internal bleeding when she delivered a baby and couldn’t be taken to a hospital because breaking curfew meant death for her family. No, life in Israel and Palestine can be hell – but this particular undercover operation will be something more than even Omar expected.

It is hard to believe, today, that these lands of bombs and guns, oppression and violence, were once a jewel of the world. A land of beauty and learning, knowledge, wealth and beauty, even amidst the sands and dunes of barren lands. Now buried civilizations, forgotten until discoveries, some chance, some planned, reveal the lost beauty and culture of an amazing world.

Queen Bilqis

Recent archaeological discoveries in the Mahram Bilqis (Mahram Bilkees, “Temple of the Moon Deity”) in Mareb, Yeman support the view that the Queen Sheba ruled over southern Arabia, with evidence suggesting the area to be the capital of the Kingdom of Sheba.

But who was she, really? Records are thin, stories sometimes wildly exaggerated. Or are they? For Omar, while working undercover in a tunnel between Israel and Jerusalem, has broken through a wall and into a tomb – a tomb which may very well change the history of the world, and the underpinnings of Christian, Jewish and Muslim beliefs. The discovery, if authenticated, could throw into question the governmental claims to the Holy Land—and prove the Bible false.

Pyramid carving of purported Egyptian Queen of Sheba

Different countries claim to be the motherland of Sheba – all with their own names for the queen – Bilqis in Yemen, Makeda in Ethiopia, or possibly an Egyptian queen. But these aren’t the real questions, though all these countries are willing to commit the most horrendous crimes in order to prove their claim. But what is even more at risk, and is a political bomb that could explode not only across the Middle East – but across the world, is the very underpinning of the three major belief systems of the world. For not only is Sheba brought into question – but also the very existence of King Solomon. And should King Solomon be proven to have not existed, the whole underpinning of Biblical history will be brought into question. For while there are no actual, physical records of the existence of Solomon¹, a crypt accidentally located by Omar and a group of workers clearing a tunnel may prove that, rather than Solomon, his supposed reign was actually during the time of King Melech Tambariah – son and grandson of Kings Melech Turug and Melech Amariel. And a statue found in Aksum, Ethiopia entwines the names of Tambariah and Azhara – the Queen of Sheba and her King? If so, a chain of political events will destroy everything from the ownership of Israel to the veracity of Christianity itself – Solomon, the Ark of the Covenant – everything.

History’s written from what can be found; what isn’t saved is lost, sunken and rotted, eaten by earth. – Jill Lepore

The Bible holds David and Solomon to be the founding kings of ancient Israel and to be ancestors of Jesus Christ. The Quran portrays all three men as prophets. Yet, though current archaeological efforts are underway, there is no archaeological evidence that King David or his son, King Solomon, ever lived or ruled over Israel. If it could ever be proved that these kings never existed, then Israel’s claim to the Holy Land is mistaken.

Quotes, statements and Biblical history pertaining to Solomon is, not surprisingly, a collection of ideas designed to forward the original beliefs of Christianity. Wisdom, kindness, justice. Whether Solomon does or does not exist, belief is everything – and proving that beliefs are wrong . . .

Finding Sheba is that best possible of all world in the thriller realm. A thoughtful ‘what-if’ story based on meticulous research by an expert in her field. It is very well written, literate, and offers that most rare and beautiful of writing skills – both knowledge and creativity. From ancient history to modern desert tribes still living as they did centuries ago; to the lost city of Ubar, the Atlantis of the Desert, the fabled lost city, celebrated in both the Koran and “A Thousand and One Arabian Nights” as the center of the lucrative frankincense trade for 3,000 years before the birth of Christ² reality and supposition blends and turns, highlighting the darkest parts of history, the cruelties of the modern day, and religions and beliefs based in self mutilation and torture, mysogany and brutality, cannibals and kings.

The so-called lessons of history are for the most part the rationalizations of the victors. History is written by the survivors. – Max Lerner

And when whole religions, belief systems, political systems – hell, as Douglas Adams would have it, Life, The Universe, and Everything – relies upon unsubstantiated tales written by the victor, well the rationalizations and politics may very well end up standing on their heads.

“Just believe everything I tell you, and it will all be very, very simple.’
“Ah, well, I’m not sure I believe that.”
― Douglas Adams, Life, the Universe and Everything

I received Finding Sheba from the publisher in return for a realistic review. If you are at all interested in Middle Eastern history and the questions of whether or not Biblical history truly is “history” I can’t recommend this book highly enough for an unusual, beautifully creative thriller.

¹ The Khirbet Qeiyafa Excavations seem to be the location spoken of in the Bible as the spot where David and Goliath fought. However, dating of the site indicates that the city was one of many  developed long before the time of the story of Solomon. While the city exists, there is still no written record of who the leaders were of the periods estimated for Solomon and David: David 1011-971 – Solomon 971-931BC. Therefore, proof of the existence of either is at this time not available.

² Ubar was located by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory satellite imagery on the edge of the Empty Quarter in southern Oman.  JPL’s involvement in the search for the lost city of Ubar began in 1981, and continued when in 1984, the shuttle Challenger made two passes over an unmapped region of southern Oman and studied the area with Shuttle Imaging Radar B (SIR-B). Fieldwork lasted from 2007 to 2013 as the city was unearthed.

How incredible that modern technology is unearthing our history in such a manner – history once thought lost forever!

W W W Wednesday! Wanna Play A Game?

WWW_Wednesdays4

 To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…

• What are you currently reading?

Die Again: A Rizzoli & Isles Novel by Tess Gerritsen. Yep!!! The lovely people at Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine have been gracious enough to offer a copy of Ms. Gerritsen’s newest for a Read For Review. Uh, Yea!!! I am thrilled to be trusted with a copy and I am sure everyone is just as thrilled to know that it will be out December 30th. What a way to spend New Years Day, curled up with a fluffy quilt, a cup of tea and a box of chocolates, exploring Jane and Maura’s newest case.

When Boston homicide detective Jane Rizzoli and medical examiner Maura Isles are summoned to a crime scene, they find a killing worthy of the most ferocious beast—right down to the claw marks on the corpse. But only the most sinister human hands could have left renowned big-game hunter and taxidermist Leon Gott gruesomely displayed like the once-proud animals whose heads adorn his walls. Did Gott unwittingly awaken a predator more dangerous than any he’s ever hunted?

• What did you recently finish reading?

22421257I just finished editing (well, of course that requires reading!) Territory by Susan Bliler!

This is the second book in the Territory Series, which precedes Susan’s amazing Skin Walkers series. The new edit will be on shelves soon, and you HAVE to grab your copy!

Kya woke to find herself chained by the ankle to a towering tree in the middle of the forest. Pine needles crunched under her slight weight as she pulled at her ankle, frantically struggling to free herself.

Yep. Strong story line, strong women characters, and hunky heroes. What is not to love about Susan Bliler!!

15757259  23438958

• What do you think you’ll read next?

OK, I admit it. I am a Natasha Mostert Junkie.

Yep. And I don’t even need a 12-stepprogram – I just need to enjoy every single book that Natasha writes!

Her newest, Dark Prayer is, as New York Times Bestseller, M.J. Rose puts it:

“Unique, haunting, provocative, riveting and beautiful, it is a novel that asks questions and somehow magically leaves you to find the answers yourself… a mesmerizing story you’ll never forget.”

Eloise Blake is on the run from a life she can no longer remember. And from a killer who will stop at nothing, to protect a secret as old as time. From the award-winning author of SEASON OF THE WITCH, comes a thriller about memory, identity and the murderous consequences of a quest gone wrong.

 

Whatever you are reading, Enjoy!!

The Best Compliment Marilyn Horowitz Author of The Book of Zev Has Ever Received

Book_of_Zev_cover_10-1-14[1] The best compliment a writer can receive is often not from the public arena, but rather when someone in your intimate circle genuinely likes what you have written. How can you know when it’s genuine? It’s the palpable feeling of relief expressed in his or her voice.

So far, the best compliment I have received on The Book of Zev is from my brother, who put off reading it until after the advanced review copy was released. He had promised to read it, but somehow a month passed. I pressed him, and again he agreed. Then he delayed again, citing his workload as an excuse. Then he broke his glasses. Then there was a leak in the shower. I finally had a mini-meltdown, and he agreed to read the book immediately.

A week went by, and I hadn’t heard from him. Finally, at midnight on the eighth day, I got a text from him saying, “I am halfway through and I can’t put it down.” The next morning I got another text: “You really wrote a good book.”

“Thanks,” I replied, and was very relieved that he’d liked it. He is a lot like our late father, and I felt that my brother’s approval was somehow an affirmation that somewhere in the Great Beyond, my father was somehow reading the book and giving his approval as well.

My brother called me and congratulated me. When I went to see him in the suburbs of Connecticut, a cold bottle of champagne was waiting for me, and there he stood beaming. After a hug and a toast, he said, “Dad would be proud.” (267 words)

Can a New York City cab driver and a beautiful private chef prevent a fanatical Middle Eastern dignitary from blowing up the United Nations and launching a nuclear attack on Israel in less time than it took God to create the world?

“Sometimes a woman’s gotta do what a woman’s gotta do. A Sharp psychological thriller of high intellect about a woman making some hard choices for the right reasons to stop an international catastrophe.”

–Omar Tyree, New York Times Bestselling author of The Traveler: Welcome to Dubai

The Book of Zev Synopsis

The Book of Zev is a psychological thriller that tells the story of two gentle people who change the course of history. Zev Bronfman, a strapping 32-year old-virgin, angry atheist, refugee from a religious Jewish life, and former engineer for the U.S. Patent Office in Alexandria, Virginia, drives a cab and sleeps around in New York City. After a bitter divorce, Sarah Hirshbaum, a beautiful, redheaded, depressed, God-hating kosher chef, seesaws between yoga and too much red wine. Independently, the two consult the same psychic who inadvertently sends Sarah Zev’s session tape. When Sarah contacts Zev to pick up the recording, a series of events forces them to connect with a powerful terrorist in order to thwart his plans to destroy the UN and Israel.

Click here to read an Excerpt of The Book of Zev

Pre-order from Amazon

About the Book

Paperback: 298 pages

Publisher: Koehler Books (December 1, 2014)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 1940192781

ISBN-13: 978-1940192789

Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.5 inches

MarilynHorowitzBoZpic-small[1]About Marilyn Horowitz

Marilyn Ida Horowitz is a producer, writing coach, and award-winning professor of screenwriting at New York University. From her books on her trademarked writing system—now standard reading at NYU—to her appearances at Screenwriters World and The Great American Screenwriting Conference & PitchFest, Marilyn has guided the careers of literally hundreds of writers. She is currently featured in the Now Write! Screenwriting Anthology (Tarcher/Penguin) and in the upcoming The Expert Success Solution (Morgan James). Her production credits include And Then Came Love (2007), starring Vanessa Williams.

Follow Marilyn at her website, www.marilynhorowitz.com

@marilynhorowitz

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