Monday, January 23, 2017

Double Take




Hot off the presses! DOUBLE TAKE by Abby Bardi is available now! Leave a comment for her below to let her know you stopped by!


Title: Double Take
Author: Abby Bardi
Publisher: Harper Collins Impulse
Pages: 186
Genre: Mystery/Women’s Fiction

Set in Chicago, 1975, Double Take is the story of artsy Rachel Cochrane, who returns from college with no job and confronts the recent death of Bando, one of her best friends. When she runs into Joey, a mutual friend, their conversations take them back into their shared past and to the revelation that Bando may have been murdered. To find out who murdered him, Rachel is forced to revisit her stormy 1960s adolescence, a journey that brings her into contact with her old friends, her old self, and danger.

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My Review

 I liked the time period of this story. Rachel aka Cookie was a very damaged woman. Sadly, I could not feel a lot of compassionate emotions towards Rachel. It is because when she was telling stories of past events like a horrible one, she was so cool about the one particular event that she did not react. In addition, in the past Rachel hung out with the wrong crowd. To me, she came off as a brat. The rest of her friends I could not share a connection with what so ever. Therefore, I was not interested in what truly happened to Bando. Finally, there was Joey. He could have been just another guy in my book. I was kind of upset with him that he did not stop Rachel from drinking. She had a drinking problem in the past and she was past drunk as she was sitting with Joey reliving the past. Yet, he did not really try to stop her. Try as I might, I wanted to like this book. It just was not for me.

Book Excerpt:
1975
I recognized his voice from across the room. When I handed him a menu, he looked up absent-mindedly and went on talking to some guys, then did a double take.
“Cookie?” he said.
I tried on the name like an old article of clothing to see if it still fit. It felt like a suede fringed jacket. “Yep,” I said.
“Wow. You look so different.”
“I cut my hair.”
“Everyone did.”
“I’m older,” I said.
“Everyone’s older.”
“You look exactly the same,” I said. He was wearing a beat-up leather jacket over a green T-shirt, maybe the same jacket and T-shirt he had always worn. His thick black hair was shorter now and curly, skin still tan from summer, small mouth with perfect teeth. He still looked tough and handsome, but in a creepy way, like someone you couldn’t trust.
“Cookie, what the hell are you doing here?”
“I work here. I’d rather you didn’t call me that. My name is Rachel.”
“I thought your name was Cookie.”
“Nope. Do people still call you Rat?”
He laughed. “Nowadays I go by Joey.”
“Okay, Joey,” I said, since this was nowadays.
“Miss?” a voice called from a nearby table. The voice brought me back to where I was standing, in Diana’s Grotto, a Greek diner on 57th Street, with ten tables full of customers. For a moment, I had thought I was in Casa Sanchez.
It took me a while to make it back to Joey’s table. A divinity student had found a fly in his milkshake, and it wouldn’t have taken so long if I hadn’t made the mistake of saying, “So, how much can a fly drink?” Like most academics, this guy had no sense of humor and gave me a lecture on hygiene. It was amazing that knowing as much about hygiene as he seemed to, he would continue to eat at Diana’s Grotto. By the time I got back to Joey’s table, the men he had been sitting with were gone. Off-duty police, from the looks of them, I thought, or plain-clothes. We got a lot of cops in Diana’s; they slumped on stools at the counter with their guns hanging from their belts, sucking down free coffee. Back in the sixties, the sight of their blue leather jackets had always made me nervous, like I’d committed some crime I’d forgotten about.
“So why are you working here?” Joey asked. “I thought you were a college girl. A co-ed.” He flashed his white teeth. “I don’t mean to be nosy.”
“The problem with college is they make you leave when you finish.”
“And here I thought it was a permanent gig.”
“Nope.”
“But why aren’t you doing something a little more—”
“Collegiate? Don’t ask.” I slid into the booth next to him. From across the room, Nicky, the maître d’, shot me a poisonous glance. I ignored him. “I like it here.” I smiled a crazy little smile.
“Hey, different strokes.” His eyes swept the room, resting on a mural of a white windmill on an island in the Aegean. The windmill’s blades were crooked. I remembered this eye-sweep from Casa Sanchez, where he had always sat facing the door so he could constantly scan the whole restaurant. His eyes returned to me. “Didn’t I hear a rumor you were supposed to be getting married? Some guy in California?”
“Just a rumor. Glad to hear the grapevine still works.”
I felt someone hiss into my ear. Nicky had slunk up behind me. He looked like a garden gnome in a plaid jacket and baggy pants, reeking of aftershave that had tried and failed. “Rose!” he snapped. He never called anyone by their right name. “What’s in a name?” I always murmured.
“Be right with you.” I gave him what I hoped was a reassuring smile.
“This is a classy place,” Joey said as Nicky ambled away.
“He’s the owner’s brother-in-law.”
“Diana?”
“There is no Diana. She’s a mythological figure.”
“Like Hendrix?”
“Kind of.”
“Hey, you want to have a drink after work?”
“Actually, I don’t drink any more.”
“You want to come watch me drink? What time do you get off?”
“Nine thirty. You could come help me fill the ketchups.”
“What?”
“You know, take the empty Heinz bottles and pour cheap generic ketchup in them.”
“Sounds like fun, but why don’t you meet me at Bert’s? Back room?”
I thought for a moment. This did not seem like a good idea, but I didn’t care. “Okay, why not. So, can I get you anything?”
“Just coffee.”
“You want a side of taramasalata with it? It’s made from fish roe.”
“I’ll pass, thanks.”
When I brought him his coffee, he said, “You’re still a hell of a waitress, Cookie.”
“You’re still a hell of a waitress, Rachel.”
“Whatever.”
“Thanks,” I said.
 



About the Author


Abby Bardi is the author of the novels The Book of Fred, The Secret Letters, and Double Take. Her short fiction has appeared in Quarterly West, Rosebud, Monkeybicycle, and in the anthologies High Infidelity, Grace and Gravity, and Reader, I Murdered Him, and her short story “Abu the Water Carrier” was the winner of The Bellingham Review’s 2016 Tobias Wolff award for fiction. She has an MFA in Creative Writing and a Ph.D. in English from the University of Maryland and teaches writing and literature in the Washington, DC, area. She lives in Ellicott City, Maryland, the oldest railroad depot in America.

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Sunday, January 22, 2017

Depraved Indifference

Book Two of the bestselling Butch Karp legal thriller series: the prosecutor goes after Cold War terrorists and finds himself tangled up with the CIA, the FBI, and the Mafia
    
Butch Karp has never shied away from a difficult case, and when Croatian terrorists hijack a plane and kill an NYPD bomb squad cop in a bomb blast, he's eager to prosecute the high-profile killers. But Karp's aggression puts him at risk when his investigations uncover messy government secrets. Certain elements of the FBI and CIA don't want the trial to go forward, and are willing to go to extremes to sabotage Karp's case. Mired in local bureaucracy and international intrigue, only Karp's dogged determination-along with the help of his crime-fighting partner and girlfriend, Marlene Ciampi-can once again deliver justice.
  
This ebook features an illustrated biography of Robert K. Tanenbaum including rare photos from the author's personal collection.

Robert K. Tanenbaum is the New York Times bestselling author of twenty-three legal thrillers featuring Butch Karp and his crime-fighting wife, Marlene Ciampi. Before publishing his first novel, Tanenbaum had an accomplished legal career. He served as Bureau Chief of the Criminal Courts, ran the Homicide Bureau in New York City, and was Deputy Chief Counsel to the Congressional Committee Investigations into the assassinations of President John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr. He has also served two terms as the Mayor of Beverly Hills.

My Review

In this book, I felt that the storyline was better. However, it suffered from too many characters. There is such a thing as too many. Too many characters introduced in the beginning with no downtime to digest all of the many characters. I agree with another reader that the voices all started to sound the same.

Yet, I found Marlene to be a nice strong voice. Her and Karp's relationship helped added relief to the story. In addition, Marlene is probably the only person that can get Karp to loosen up as well as become the boss. While, Marlene is strong and smart, she has a bit of a fun girly side to her as well. Nothing wrong with a princess bed and dresses and heels.

The part that I didn't like the most about this whole book is that by the half way point, neither I or Karp were any closer to learning a motive for the hijacking. At this point I jumped ahead several chapters to speed the story along. Yet, it was kind of too late as I was disinterested and found the ending alright.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Tarnished - Hearts Ablaze

Title: TARNISHED – HEARTS ABLAZE
Author:
Willa George Williams
Publisher:
Independent
Pages:
63
Genre:
Western Historical Romance
 
EVERYONE IN THIS NOVEL IS TARNISHED, BUT THEIR HEARTS ARE ABLAZE WITH PASSION, HURT AND LOVE. Wagon Master Edwards has a problem. It’s the year 1857 on the Oregon Trail. He’s guiding forty wagons westward, fifteen of them filled with dreamers following a preacher who doesn’t know spit about survival on the trail. The wagon master assigns his chief scout Nate Curry, age twenty-six, to watch over Reverend Abraham Woodrow and his lovely young wife Lorena. The young wife sympathizes with Nate’s goal to redeem the camp whore Josie from her life as a soiled dove and claim her as his own. The preacher’s wife turns to these two with a peculiar problem – Reverend Abe has never fulfilled the role of husband in their marital bed during the two months they’ve been married. As much as Lorena loves her husband, she plans to ditch him at the end of the trail if Abe can’t be a real husband to her in every way. Who better to turn to for advice than Nate and Josie with their history of wild living? With all these complications, will this wagon train of misfits make it to the Oregon country with their hearts in one piece?
Four travelers who are tarnished in spirit search for love that will fulfill each couple and allow them to face the future with their dreams intact. In this spicy historical romp, share in the fun of wagon train living as it’s never quite shown on retro TV westerns!

My Review

Don't let the cover of this book deceive you or the title as well. While, they both may seem like this book is going to be a very spicy read, this book is more than that. It is filled with rich characters and a very good storyline. The author makes me the reader engaged in what is happened with both couples relationships.

I enjoyed that Nate and Josie were so different from Lorena and Abe. However, at the same time when you looked at the overall picture, they really were not that different after all. They both just were looking for and wanting love. The sex scene did not appear until towards the end of the story. It was filled with tenderness and human connections. I am happy for both couples. I will check out more books from this author.

No Lesser Plea

In Book One of the bestselling Butch Karp legal thriller series, Karp must stop a murderer who is manipulating the law to escape punishment

Manhattan Assistant District Attorney Roger “Butch” Karp has been around New York long enough to realize that the judicial system can be dirty and cynical. But he still believes in justice. So when a vicious sociopath tries to dodge a brutal murder charge by convincing the court he is incompetent to stand trial, Karp teams up with firecracker Assistant DA Marlene Ciampi to unleash the full force of their relentless energy, hardboiled wit, and passion for the truth to put the killer away for good. They will accept no lesser plea. This ebook features an illustrated biography of Robert K. Tanenbaum including rare photos from the author's personal collection.

My Review

I jumped right into this series. I have read the last several books in this series. I enjoy Karp. He is a good attorney. This might have to do with the fact that Karp is not afraid to get his hands dirty. Yet, don't let this confuse you into thinking that Karp is a sleazy attorney type. No, he is one of the good guys. Someone that you want fighting for you if you find yourself in trouble.

However, you might not really experience all of what Karp has to offer in this book. It was nice to go back to the beginning. Yet, I felt that this story was not one of the strongest showings. It seemed like half of the story had nothing to do with the main story. In addition, I was not really that interested in the characters. The court scenes are realistic. If, I was a new reader I might consider checking out the next book in this series. Luckily, I have seen the progression in this series and it does get better.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Roping the Cowboy + Giveaway

roping-the-cowboy-banner

We invite you to Marianne Stephens for authors at Romance Books ‘4’ Us' ROPING THE COWBOY: 9 ROMANCES ON THE RANGE Book Blast today! Marianne and authors will be giving away a $25 Amazon Gift Card! Leave a comment on each of their tour stops for extra entries!

roping-the-cowboy

Inside the Book:

Title: Roping the Cowboy: 9 Romances on the Range
Author: Marianne Stephens for authors at Romance Books ‘4’ Us
Publisher: Romance Books ‘4’ Us
Pages: 306
Genre: Mixed Romance Genres

Sweet through sizzling collection of love stories includes contemporary, period, and historical romance, otherworldly romance, and romance with a touch of magic.


Book Excerpt:

The Shadows in Our Past by Denyse Bridger

“I wanted a father, and I got Jonas Wilkes. I needed to trust him, and he made me feel...” She shuddered, visibly changed her train of thought. “Then I met you; Gold Ridge’s most respected citizen. I’d never met anyone quite like you, David Logan. You were handsome, sophisticated, powerful... What was it Margaret called you? A charming outlaw.” She smiled. “She was right, that’s exactly what you are. But you took my breath away the moment I saw you. I will never forget that day, or turning around to see you on the stairs of the Nugget, all elegance and danger. You terrified me, and you excited me. I felt things in those first seconds that I have never felt before. My God, David, I think I fell in love with you before you even spoke to me.”

“You do know how to flatter me, Hannah,” he whispered.

“But it’s not flattery, David. Every time you walk into a room, you make my heart feel like it’s going to burst with the love that fills me. I can’t believe you’re my husband. That you chose to give me that much of your life.”

She smiled, tilted her head to one side, whimsical yet more serious than he’d ever seen her.

“Finish, Hannah,” he requested. “I want to know what you’re feeling.”

“Do you remember the first time you kissed me?”

He nodded.

“I would have behaved like a common whore for you that day, and it frightened me to death, David. I was with a fine, Southern gentleman. A man well-bred, respected, all the things that a lady wants. And instead of being a lady, I was ready toÄ”

His laughter stopped her abruptly.

“You do yourself a great disservice, Mrs. Logan,” he teased tenderly. “Any gentleman is still susceptible to the charms of a lovely woman. And you do take away my sense of propriety, Hannah.”

“The first time you made love to me, I was certain that God had put me on this earth to belong to you, David. You gave me everything that my heart had ever wanted, even the things I didn’t let myself hope for. I felt safe, and whole, at peace. Every time you touch me, I feel that way. Beautiful... complete...”

“Then why are you so afraid, Hannah?”

“I don’t want to be,” she said fiercely. “I hate it, David! I despise myself for feeling like this. ButÄ”

“But?” he coaxed gently.

Elizabeth was right,” she put her fingers to his mouth when he would have objected instantly. “She was right about some things, David. I’ll never know you the way Ellen did. I’m not from the same world. Your Southern honor is one of the things I love most about you, but it’s a mystery to me, too. You were married and fighting in a war when I was little more than a baby at my mother’s breast. Your soul was scarred in ways that I can only imagine.” Tears flooded her eyes as she stared up at him. “David, the sun in my world rises and sets in your eyes.” She gulped in a sharp breath. “I’ve never needed anyone that much, and it frightens me.”

David nodded, lifted her hands to his lips again as he kissed the fingers that shook within his light grasp; then he looked intently at her.

“Will you listen to me now?”

“Of course,” she replied, voice thick with emotion. She watched as he rose, took the other chair on the balcony, and set it directly in front of her. Then he sat and took her hands again.




About the Authors

This sweet through sizzling collection of love stories includes contemporary, period, and historical romance, otherworldly romance, and romance with a touch of magic by Award-winning and Bestselling Authors: Janice Seagraves, Nicole Morgan, Rose Anderson, Denyse Bridger, Gemma Juliana, Michele Zurlo, Tina Donahue, Krista Ames, and Suz deMello.

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Giveaway Details:

The authors are giving away a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive both prizes.
  • This giveaway ends midnight January 27.
  • Winner will be contacted via email on February 1.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.
Good luck everyone!


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Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Frostblood


Seventeen-year-old Ruby is a fireblood who must hide her powers of heat and flame from the cruel frostblood ruling class that wants to destroy all that are left of her kind. So when her mother is killed for protecting her and rebel frostbloods demand her help to kill their rampaging king, she agrees. But Ruby's powers are unpredictable, and she's not sure she's willing to let the rebels and an infuriating (yet irresistible) young man called Arcus use her as their weapon. All she wants is revenge, but before they can take action, Ruby is captured and forced to take part in the king's tournaments that pit fireblood prisoners against frostblood champions. Now she has only one chance to destroy the maniacal ruler who has taken everything from her and from the icy young man she has come to love.

Fast-paced and compelling, Frostblood is the first in a page-turning new young adult three-book series about a world where flame and ice are mortal enemies—but together create a power that could change everything.

     
Hardcover, 384 pages
Expected publication: January 17th 2017 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

My Review

It has been a little while since I have read a good young adult novel. This book sounded good but I had my reservations. The last couple of books along this same type of theme sounded good too but they turned out to be downers for me.

Well I am excited to report that this book is every bit as great as it sounds. Right from the get go I was on Ruby's side. Her abilities had me very intrigued. As she grew and learned how to use them better, my resolve for her got bigger and bigger. The whole vibe between she and Arcus was like playing tug of war. Arcus was a man of mystery. Little by little his secrets were revealed but the biggest one I did not see coming. It came out of left field. At this time I like both the fire and frostbloods. Fire and Ice can be a deadly combination but at the same time they can work well together. This is the case with Ruby and Arcus. A strong showing of a debut novel for new author, Elly Blake.

K Street



The latest installment in M.A. Lawson's thrilling Kay Hamilton series, K Street finds the ex-DEA agent working solo to uncover the motivations behind a gruesome shooting at a covert intelligence agency in Washington, D.C.

It’s been almost a year since Kay Hamilton was fired from the DEA for going rogue. Since then, she’s been employed by the Callahan Group, a covert intelligence agency based in Washington, D.C. Her job description is as dubious as the people she works for, and the undercover mission that nearly killed her in Viking Bay has Hamilton questioning the legitimacy of her employers.

When Hamilton arrives at the Callahan Group’s K Street office to tender her resignation, she unwittingly interrupts a deadly heist during which the robbers have stolen the company safe and left her boss gravely injured. She knows that Thomas Callahan doesn’t keep much cash in the safe—the men must have been after something other than money. But before Callahan slips into a coma, he whispers a name that will lead Kay to an organization even more secretive than the Callahan Group: the NSA.

Gripping, cinematic, and endlessly entertaining, K Street is the third installment of M.A. Lawson’s Kay Hamilton series, which follows our tough, gun-toting, and fearless heroine as she sets out to find answers and exact revenge.
  

My Review

My first experience with this author and series turned out to be a great one. I plan to go back and read the prior novels to get to know more about the Callahan Group and Kay. Kay is a kick-ass heroine. She showed that she can play rough ball. I would rather be fighting along side her than against her. Besides being strong, she is also smart. Oh, and she does not care if you are male or female. If you get in her way, you better give her what she wants.

A good storyline with plenty of intrigue. Because the story was strong with equally strong characters, I was able to really get into this book. It moved fast. I would say that I was not too surprised by how the plot went or ended. Yet, I was not disappointed either. Kay is my kind of woman.