Wednesday, November 30, 2011
Merry Christmas Stories is a fun, quick, festive anthology. I did not read all the stories but the ones I did, I enjoyed a lot. My favorite stories would have to be the first two…Santa’s Missing and Santa’s Found. I just loved Helen. She was full of spunk and so much wiser than her eight years. Nick made a good Santa. I almost cried as the story was sweet and had the right amount of holiday spirit. The other stories followed along the same line. They had good characters and great stories. Some stories sad, others funny, ones with romance, and all about the Christmas cheer. Whether you forgot how to celebrate or are in the mood for some excellent story telling, than you should check our Merry Christmas Stories. Even better, treat a friend to a copy as well. This anthology will make the perfect Christmas gift.
About Jeff R. Spalsbury
Jeff R. Spalsbury also writes science fiction and western novels. Avalon Press published his western novel, Hunt the Hunter, in December 2010 and the second novel in his Hunt series, The Hunted Return is scheduled to be published in July 2012, also by Avalon. His science fiction novel, SPACE DREAM ONE: That Other’s May Live will be published as an eBook in October 2011.
Spalsbury taught a class on the importance of using humor in the classroom at California State University in Fresno. He is also a former library director and professor at Porterville College, Porterville, CA.
To learn more about Spalsbury’s books, visit his website at www.JeffRSpalsbury.com His books can be purchased from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Black Rose Writing or various online eBook sellers, including the Apple iPad, Sony Nook, etc.
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Jayne is possessed with a demon. Her and Ex are in search of some priests to help perform an exorcism on Jayne. While, Jayne does not want the demon or likes the thought of if the demon was to completely take over, Jayne does have some mixed feelings about the exorcism. Jayne’s friends want to help but she pushes them away for their safety.
To fully appreciate this series, you really need to read these books in chorological order starting with book one, Unclean Spirits. There is not a lot of prior information to catch you up on what has been happening in the series if you were to jump into the middle. Though, I am sure you would figure out what events took place fairly quickly.
While, I have enjoyed this series, this book for me started out slowly. The first half of the book was more about Jayne and Ex trying to find a way to rid Jayne of the demon inside of her. There was a lot of conversing and not a lot of action. Though, I did like learning more about Ex’s past and who he was before he became a vampire. The romance between Jayne and Ex is on the lighter side.
The second half was where the book picked up. This is also when Jayne and Ex were joined by one of Jayne’s friend’s. Overall, a pretty good book.
Review by Nancy
We should define “vair” to begin with: Vair is an ornamental fur allowed in heraldry. Anyone wearing them who is not royalty could be put to death. Interesting title for a book, right?
Vair is one interesting story. Someone, who may or may not be possessed by Henry VIII is killing all septs of the Plantagenet throne in 2010! This person is using antique weaponry and the victims could be listed as murdered by medieval means – beheading, etc.
For the FBI and the British Royal Protection Squad the crimes are a nightmare. Especially when occurring in the presence of the Prince. Not to mention the Vice-President of the United States.
John Taylor’s friend Dr. Samuels called him in a panic. His daughter has been murdered and no one will tell him anything – can John help? Help he does but this only makes things most confusing. They get even worse when Taylor and his partner are joined by Father Salemi.
Salemi is straight from Rome with the intent of assisting the FBI in catching the killer but, as in any good novel; he has his own motives. He wants to speak to the killer before he dies to see if Henry VIII is possessing him. In case you’ve not read your English history lately, Henry VIII not only beheaded many wives – he was responsible for taking England away from the Catholic Church. Seems he was knocked out while jousting for about three hours and woke a changed man.
This is one heck of a story. There are main plots, sub-plots, backstories galore and it makes for one really interesting novel.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Leith-born journalist Stewart Dickson has covered major international news stories for newspapers in his native Scotland, London’s Fleet Street, and as the U.S. bureau chief of a major British tabloid. He lives in New York City with his wife.
Sunday, November 27, 2011
The Last of the Shamalans
By Robert Louis Smith
Published by Medlock Publishing
December 1, 2011; $US/$CAN; 978-0-470-82239-5
From American cardiologist Robert Louis Smith comes the unique fantasy novel Antiquitas Lost, peppered with more than 70 eye-popping illustrations by Marvel Comics legend Geof Isherwood. This epic fantasy tells the story of a 15 year old boy named Elliott, a bullied kid with deformities on his hands and feet who is uprooted from his home after his mother falls gravely ill. When they move to New Orleans so his grandfather can help care for her, Elliott learns that the old man's eighteenth century mansion hides an ancient secret. From a dungeon-like basement far beneath the estate, Elliott strays through an ancient doorway into Pangrelor, a tumultuous parallel world full of bizarre creatures and warring races. Unable to return home, he discovers wondrous abilities he never dreamed he possessed, and an abiding connection to the primitive, alien world that will forever change him.
But he must proceed carefully. For he soon learns that his actions in the ancient world will impact the upcoming battle for Harwelden, Pangrelor's mightiest civilization, and will also resonate all the way back to New Orleans, perhaps deciding whether his mother lives or dies.
Robert Louis Smith, author of Antiquitas Lost: The Last of the Shamalans, has numerous degrees, including psychology (B.A.), applied microbiology (B.S.), anaerobic microbiology (M.Sc.), and a Medical Doctorate (M.D.). He serves as an interventional cardiologist at the Oklahoma Heart Institute. He is married and the father of two young children. He began writing Antiquitas Lost in 2003 while studying at Tulane University in New Orleans.
For more information please visit http://www.antiquitaslost.com and follow the author on Facebook and Twitter
I have one copy of this book to giveaway to one lucky reader. Just leave me your email address. Winner picked December 9th.
The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse have the powers to either save the world or let it rot in hell. This is Limos’s story.
Limos is a female horseman. She and her brothers are trying to stop their rogue brother, Pestilence and Limos’s fiancé Satan. Yes, Limos is betrothed to the man himself. Limos may not be a married woman yet but that does not mean that she is free to be with anyone.
Arik wants Limos. So when he gets her alone, he can not help himself. He steals a kiss from her. The next thing Arik knows, he is being dragged into the depths of hell. As punishment for kissing Limos, Arik is tortured over and over again. Can Limos save Arik before Satan claims Arik’s soul?
Immortal Rider is book two in the Lords of Deliverance series. Eternal Rider is book one. You don’t have to read these books in chronological order. This is a good thing as I have not read book one yet. I have read some of this author’s other books in her Demonica series. I found Mrs. Ione’s new series to be darker and edgier. Though, I would classify this book as more urban fantasy than paranormal. When I think of paranormal, I think of a jalapeño pepper with a little kick but when I think of urban fantasy, I think of ghost peppers, they are ten times hotter and will scorch you!
Arik and Limos were sizzling together. For being a human, Arik was just as evenly matched as Limos. What I liked most about this book was that the story line was just as strong as the characters. After getting to know some about Limos and her brothers, I plan to go back and read Eternal Rider, so that I can be ready for when book three comes out in June 2012!
Saturday, November 26, 2011
It’s a Waverly Life is book two of the Waverly Bryson books. I would recommend reading Perfect on Paper first. This book is focused on the after effects of what happened in the first one.
I didn’t find myself laughing as much in this book as I did with the first one but I still had a good time reading it. I loved Jake. I keep thinking he can not be a man but a saint to put up with Waverly. Waverly reminds me of Lucille Ball. Always finding herself inserting her foot or in some cases both feet into her mouth. I have to admit that while Waverly’s
Joke was corny, I liked it.
Here it is:
“There are two peanuts walking down a dark street.”
“And one of them is assaulted” (Assaulted as in a salted)
Ok, you can groan now.
I read that Ms. Murnane is working on book three of the Waverly books. I can not wait to read it.
Friday, November 25, 2011
I so wanted to love this book but I couldn’t. I barely liked the book. I started reading this book and got a few chapters in. I put it down without my bookmark and forgot my place as I did not come right back to the book. Once, I did come back to the book, I read about one more page and than put it down. I was done with the book. Munroe was intriguing. I like what she does for a living. She is like a super cool spy but it takes more than just cool costumes and brain smarts to be a “super”. Munroe was lacking in the personality department. For me anyways. The story was dragging. Also, I have to agree with some of the other readers that Munroe’s “greatness” was all talk. She talked a great walk but she never really showed it. The story line seemed to jump around a lot. If the plot could have been stronger without so much description and Munroe was not just one dimensional, than I would have been singing a different tune for this book. A happy one.
Thursday, November 24, 2011
JaynÉ Heller has discovered the source of her uncanny powers: something else is living inside her body. She's possessed. Of all her companions, she can only bring herself to confide in Ex, the former priest. They seek help from his old teacher and the circle of friends he left behind, hoping to cleanse JaynÉ before the parasite in her becomes too powerful.
Ex's history and a new enemy combine to leave JaynÉ alone and on the run. Her friends, thinking that the rider with her has taken the reins, try to hunt her down, unaware of the danger they're putting her in. JaynÉ must defeat the weight of the past and the murderous intent of another rider, and her only allies are a rogue vampire she once helped free and the nameless thing hiding inside her skin.
Winner will be picked tomorrow on Black Friday! To enter, please leave a email address. So many people have won my contests but I had no way of contacting them. Share with me either your favorite Thanksgiving dish to eat or do you have plans to shop on Black Friday.
To read up on what the series is about. Click here
In September 1620, a small ship called the Mayflower left Plymouth, England, carrying 102 passengers—an assortment of religious separatists seeking a new home where they could freely practice their faith and other individuals lured by the promise of prosperity and land ownership in the New World. After a treacherous and uncomfortable crossing that lasted 66 days, they dropped anchor near the tip of Cape Cod, far north of their intended destination at the mouth of the Hudson River. One month later, the Mayflower crossed Massachusetts Bay, where the Pilgrims, as they are now commonly known, began the work of establishing a village at Plymouth.
Throughout that first brutal winter, most of the colonists remained on board the ship, where they suffered from exposure, scurvy and outbreaks of contagious disease. Only half of the Mayflower’s original passengers and crew lived to see their first New England spring. In March, the remaining settlers moved ashore, where they received an astonishing visit from an Abenaki Indian who greeted them in English. Several days later, he returned with another Native American, Squanto, a member of the Pawtuxet tribe who had been kidnapped by an English sea captain and sold into slavery before escaping to London and returning to his homeland on an exploratory expedition. Squanto taught the Pilgrims, weakened by malnutrition and illness, how to cultivate corn, extract sap from maple trees, catch fish in the rivers and avoid poisonous plants. He also helped the settlers forge an alliance with the Wampanoag, a local tribe, which would endure for more than 50 years and tragically remains one of the sole examples of harmony between European colonists and Native Americans.
In November 1621, after the Pilgrims’ first corn harvest proved successful, Governor William Bradford organized a celebratory feast and invited a group of the fledgling colony’s Native American allies, including the Wampanoag chief Massasoit. Now remembered as American’s “first Thanksgiving”—although the Pilgrims themselves may not have used the term at the time—the festival lasted for three days. While no record exists of the historic banquet’s exact menu, the Pilgrim chronicler Edward Winslow wrote in his journal that Governor Bradford sent four men on a “fowling” mission in preparation for the event, and that the Wampanoag guests arrived bearing five deer. Historians have suggested that many of the dishes were likely prepared using traditional Native American spices and cooking methods. Because the Pilgrims had no oven and the Mayflower’s sugar supply had dwindled by the fall of 1621, the meal did not feature pies, cakes or other desserts, which have become a hallmark of contemporary celebrations.
Did you Know?
Lobster, seal and swans were on the Pilgrims' menu.
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
I have to applaud Felicia. She is a hard worker. She practiced like crazy and is dedicated to her craft. Thus, it showed as Felicia was very good as Elphaba. I saw a video clip of Felicia performing. I wished I could have seen her live. I liked the behind the scenes detail of a musical. Felicia gave very good details. She did not leave much behind. Which in turn you may find some TMI (too much information) moments. Hey, this is Felicia’s memoir and she can say what she wants and she does.
While, I liked reading about what it takes to put together a musical, as I am a fan of musicals. They always have great songs to sing to. For myself, I was not laughing as much as the rest of the readers seemed to be when reading this book. Though, when I did laugh, I had a good chuckle. What I liked most about this book was Felicia’s writing style. She brought her fun, bubbly, personality to this book and made it interesting. Plus, I did not know there where that many different descriptions for the color “green”.
Writing fascinates me. The very fact that my words on the page can touch emotion in a reader distanced from my physical presence by thousands of miles or the great reach of time, imbues writing with a mystical and almost magical quality. Reading inspires me much in the same way. It is really quite profound to be able to sit, years after a work was first birthed onto the page, and be able to enter the world the author has penned.
Writing, and reading, do not just transfer knowledge or concepts from one mind to another. They allow an interaction between two minds through the vehicle of words on a page. It is, in my opinion, the truest form of human intercourse available to us. One where we do not merely merge the body, but far beyond that, into a merging of two minds.
In a way, reading and writing is a link to the immortal path which belongs to the creative universe. Who has not read the work of a long-dead writer and heard and felt so clearly that writer’s presence still alive in those words? How is that possible? How is it possible for mere marks across a page to still hold the essence of the aliveness of an author even once the physical voice has long since grown quiet? And yet it happens. Without effort, the voice and spirit of the author reach across the void and touch the reader’s still-beating heart. Like a moment of pure magic.
The first time I truly became aware of this mystical exchange, was years ago when reading an autobiography by a once up-and-coming young author of reportedly great brilliance, who ended up an impoverished old man alone in his obscurity. His name was William Gerhardie, and he was of great interest to me as he had been my grandmother’s cousin.
Now, I knew very little about my once-famous relative. I knew he had risen to some prominence in the 1920--30s and then fell out of favor. I knew the ‘family’ had not been impressed that he wrote a novel, The Polyglots, based loosely upon their very lives. My grandmother referred to him as ‘the fool of the family,’ a judgement first handed down by his own father. I knew little else about him. He was an enigma to me.
So, you can perhaps imagine how marvelous it was for me to discover his autobiography along with some of his novels. I emerged myself in William according to William, and he came to life for me through those words jotted down years preceding my birth. As I read, I laughed, I cried, I hoped, and I despaired with him. I could hear his voice clearly. And, although he died when I was only seventeen years old, and had never met him, as I read the words he had written, it was like a part of him merged seamlessly with the essence of me. Like I had met my long-dead relative for the very first time. And that was when I first encountered the profound immortality of the written word.
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
Two Spuds was out riding the fence line for 8T8, when he decided to go into a shack to warm up as the temperature is dropping. Two Spuds approaches the shack, he smells a foul odor. He quickly discovers the source of the smell. It is a young girl. She has been raped and her throat slit. Two Spuds goes back to the main ranch and his boss, Eli Paint calls the sheriff, Tom Call.
Tom is enthralled by Eli’s young wife, Juanita. Soon, Tom and Juanita are having an affair. Things change when the Japanese attack Pearl Harbor. Tom enlists in the Army Air Corps.
Mr. Jack Todd is a new to me author. After reading Mr. Todd’s latest book, Rain Falls Like Mercy, I plan to go back and check out his prior novels. I was spellbound by Mr. Todd’s writing. He is a prolific writer. He brought life to his characters. Had I known how much I was going to like this book, I would not have started it until I had cleared more time in my schedule. This is how it went…Crack open book, read a few chapters, which turned into half the book in one sitting, make dinner and rush back to read the rest of the book. Though Tom and Juanita were having an affair, I was not mad as they were truly in love. In addition, I did not see Eli as a victim. In fact, he was one of the strongest characters in the story for a man of few words. The ending was a high note. This was great as some books can be good up until the ending. I recommend checking out this book!
Victoria Lackey was not supposed to be alive. In fact the doctor who delivered her said she would not make it through the night. Victoria proved the doctor wrong. Sadly at the expense of her twin brother. It was six days later before her mom delivered her twin and he was dead upon arrival.
No matter how much Victoria tried to be a good daughter, her father resented her for being alive and not her brother. Victoria used to be a good dancer but something happened and she no longer dances. Victoria’s father was an abusiver. This is probably why Victoria puts up with her jerk of a boyfriend, Bobby. Things change for Victoria when her car breaks down and she starts hanging out with Elliot Spencer. Elliot moved from the city about a year ago. Victoria and Elliot form a friendship. Elliot is good for Victoria. He encourages her to be her “true” self and blossom into the dancer she was always meant to be.
No Story To Tell is a good debut from author, KJ Steele. I liked this book. I wished that I could have said I loved it. This book was kind of a coming of age story.
My turn off was that in the beginning, I felt this book was slow to get moving. Also, the other characters turned me off. They were all negative. So the only good moments I enjoyed about this book were the ones that just involved Elliot and Victoria. Though at first, I did not care for Victoria. She was weak and a timid wallflower. As the story progressed and Elliot helped Victoria to see who she was meant to be, than I fell for her as Elliot did. Victoria may have thought she has No Story To Tell but it was KJ Steele that did have a story to tell. A good one.
About the Author
KJ Steele is an emerging writer who has learned that the process is not so much about choosing what to write as it is about having the courage to write what chooses to be written. Having spent the first half of her life creating an amazing family with her husband, Victor, she intends to spend the rest of it creating equally amazing fiction.
Monday, November 21, 2011
John Puller works for the Army’s Criminal Investigation Unit. So whenever the Army is in need of the best to help solve a murder, they turn to John. This latest murder case is a gruesome one. A colonel and his family including two little children were slaughtered.
John is joined by local authority Samantha “Sam” Cole. Together they head down a path of deceit, greed and murder.
It has been several books since I have read one from Mr. Baldacci. I have to admit that this was not one of his strongest. Though, it still kept my interest and there was plenty of action. The adrenaline rush and the characters were what I found lackluster. John was not bad but the secondary characters did not pop off the pages at me. I wanted them to as this was the type of story that they needed to. I kind of went through the motions, reading this book but not really caring if the good guys came out on top. I did like Sam. She was tough and could hold her own with John. Don’t be expecting much romance between John and Sam. They pretty much keep things on a professional level. There were not a lot of surprises in this book. Though, it is one that you can read and if you put it down for a few moments and still come back to and get right back into it. I hope that Mr. Baldacci’s next book has lots more action.
Sunday, November 20, 2011
The Christmas Shoppe is a delightful, pleasurable read that is sure to get you into the holiday spirit!
The small town of Parrish Springs is in an uproar when newcomer, Matilda Honeycutt arrives in town. She purchases the unoccupied old Barton building. This makes George Snider irate. He was going to purchase the building. Than Matilda has the nerve to board up the windows, so that no one can see what type of store she is opening. Rumor has it that it is going to be a thrift shop. None of the other merchants are happy about this.
With the town folks not happy, this is a problem for new city manager, Susanna Elton. Susanna likes Matilda but she can not allow her to open a thrift shop and cause ripples in the town.
Tommy runs the town’s newspaper, Spout. He is thinking about leaving after George makes him an offer. It has been a long time since Tommy has been in the holiday spirit. Something magical happens in Parrish Springs, when Matilda opens her Christmas Shoppe.
I had an enjoyable time reading this book. Matilda was great. She was a woman of few words but there was something delightful about her. She reminded me of Mrs. Miracle, Debbie MacComber’s character. I kind of got to know the characters but it was not until towards the last half of the story that I really got to know them. This book makes you remember the true meaning of Christmas, besides just the presents. There were a couple of romantic relationships forming but nothing that spectacular. In fact the last chapter was the only mention where the couples actually hooked up, until than the romance was very mild. The Christmas Shoppe is a delightful, pleasurable read that is sure to get you into the holiday spirit!
Thursday, November 17, 2011
Review by Nancy
In 1842, twenty years before the Civil War, people had their prejudices and had other wars as well. Lilburn Boggs, in his years as Governor of the State of Missouri had many prejudices and was an excellent helper in another war that a lot of folks don’t know about. Lilburn Boggs liked blacks far better than he liked Mormons and took every opportunity to banish them from his state; following them to Illinois to make sure they stayed gone.
He took every opportunity to torment the Mormons, holding Joseph Smith and others in basement jails, feeding them swill and conveniently “forgetting” about them many times - none more than Joseph as he was the Leader of the Saints. Gov. Boggs forgot a few things, though. He forgot the Danites (Smith’s army) were hard soldiers who would break anyone whom they felt threatened their cause.
It came as no surprise when someone tried to kill Boggs – it’s amazing it hadn’t happened before. Headlines screamed that he had been assassinated but they were wrong. While some certainly did shoot him in the head and he surely nearly died – he didn’t. It took him twenty years to finally pass and he was basically a well man most of that time.
Calvin Pogue of the Pinkerton Detective Agency is hired by Boggs’ son after his death. He does a thorough investigation complete with an interview with the “possible” killer – Porter Rockwell which is not only entertaining but makes you wonder.
An extremely well-researched story and you can have your own opinion about the shooting but – it’s well worth reading and buying!
You can check out the author’s website here
You can purchase a copy here
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
Review by Nancy
Three people, one dream. This dream had killed Erynne’s mother in a suicidal jump from a cliff. Shannon had had the dreams her whole life resulting in an unpleasant childhood for Erynne and an institution for Shannon. Erynne was her own woman but not. She was a major figure in the fashion world but shrank every night from dreams of a large man hunting her.
Michael was the wunderkind. Successful Senator, supposedly perfect husband and son but no one knew what lay beneath that exterior. His mother had a clue but she had always kept her opinions to herself because he wouldn’t listen anyway. Just like his father. Michael wasn’t all he was cracked up to be. But he was cracked.
Colin had been having a dream for a while now, after his father passed away. He saw a woman begging him to “Protect her…” He didn’t know who her was but he was damned sure he was going to find out. His mother had lived her entire life with Colin’s father’s dreams and felt he was having an affair. It was much odder than that.
The coming together of these three is staggering and I don’t write spoilers so I shall leave it there and tell you to go out and pick this book up or download it soon. Jennifer Froelich has done herself proud with this story and you should share that with her!
Purchase a copy here
Monday, November 14, 2011
It all started when Brooklyn Pierce’s parents went out of town to visit colleges with Brooklyn’s sister. Brooklyn and some friends had a party in one of Brooklyn’s mom’s model homes. The party got out of control and the house burned. Now Brooklyn has been sentenced to community service. Brooklyn feels like her life is over. She is stuck with Mrs. Moody. An elderly resident at the nursing home that Brooklyn is serving her community service at. All Mrs. Moody wants to do is make Brooklyn read her choose your own adventure stories. It is from these books that Brooklyn decides to start her own blog. Only her blog will be one where people can choose for Brooklyn what choices she makes. So if she makes a bad one than it will be the people’s fault. One of the most important choices is selecting between Hunter and Brian.
This book surprised me in a good way. It is not something that I would have typically chosen but the synopsis of the book is what got my interest. Writing a blog, where you let people decide for you what choices you make…scary but intriguing. I liked the whole choose your own adventure theme that this book was based on. Though as Brooklyn learned in the end that you have to make your own choices and not leave them up to others. It just depends on how you make your choices. Jessica Brody did a good job on this book. I will check out more of her work in the future. Mrs. Moody was my favorite. She may act like her name on the outside but on the inside, she really is a softie. My Life Undecided is a fun, quick, charming read.
Sasha Porter came from no money. That all changed when Kiera March high on drugs ran into Sasha and her mother with her car. Unfortunately, Sasha’s mother was killed. Sasha was injured but than the March’s brought Sasha into their home. Mrs. March tried to turn Sasha into her other lost daughter. This upset Kiera to the point that she tried to kill Sasha.
Flash to the present. Kiera moved away. Sasha is still living with the March’s. Sasha is trying to get on with her life. Things just got more interesting. Ryder Garfield is the new guy in town.
Cloudburst is book two of the Storms books. I have not read book one but with the references in the beginning, it was not hard to quickly figure out what had happened and get caught up. I was excited to try out this new series as I have enjoyed VC Andrews’s books. To be honest, I found myself having a hard time getting into this book. I tried several times. I would read a few pages or even a chapter and than put it down. The story moved very slowly. There was not enough suspense and intrigue that I came to like from VC Andrews’s books. Sasha had this obsession with trying to get Ryder to like her, though he did not give her the time of day in the beginning. I wanted to yell at Sasha that Ryder was a jerk and to let him come to her. A gallant effort on trying to recreate VC Andrews but just missed the mark.
Wednesday, November 9, 2011
Review by Nancy
Last Christmas hadn’t been ideal for Holly Winter and her family. She expected a wonderful gift from her husband – she got divorce papers instead. Then, in a fit of anger he dropped dead from a heart attack. She was out of a loveless marriage to an attorney and all should have been well but he had spent all their savings on other women and the leftovers were hidden somewhere that no one could turn up.
Brian McAlister didn’t want to be part of the DA’s office. His time in court was usually spent as a defense attorney (one of the best) but his father was very ill and he fulfilled his promise by stepping in on one of Dad’s cases that had stalled. His partner, Margo, was straight spoken but not straight and when they found out her sister, Holly, had taken care of one of their leads they were off to the hospital to invade her space.
An outright crook was trying to evade the law and doing a grand job until his co-horts started making mistakes. One person was supposed to be dead but wasn’t, one person escaped and that’s when Malcolm Holland called in the big guns and they were gunning for Holly and McAlister.
An up-all-nighter! Excellent writing and characters, a great plot and a word of caution: Do not start this as bedtime reading if you have to be up at 6:00! This one is a keeper.
Purchase a copy here
Tuesday, November 8, 2011
AJ and her friend and business partner, Elizabeth are in desperate need for funds. Fighting for the good guys is not cheap. That is why as much as AJ does not trust Owen Grandel, so is willing to make an exception this time. As everyone does have a price and for AJ it is one million dollars.
Owen and his brother, own Colleton Landing. Colleton Landing produces radioactive isotopes that doctors use to help diagnose and treat patients. Owen needs AJ to speak to the protestors and assure them that everything is ok with the plant. Though, there is more than meets the eye.
Ty Stillwater, sheriff’s deputy and AJ’s love interest along with Elizabeth will hold down the fort until AJ returns.
Hot Water is the second AJ Palladino novel from duo Erin Brockovich and CJ Lyons. It can be read as a stand alone novel. I enjoyed the first book, Rock Bottom but I really liked this book better. This is because I got to see more personality from AJ and became more familiar with the people in her life. I hope that AJ and Ty hook up. Though, there is not much chance of that happening anytime soon. With AJ so busy finding herself in dangerous situations.
AJ was not the only one that shined in this book. Both Elizabeth and David, AJ’s son did as well. Elizabeth has AJ’s back. David may be a kid but don’t under estimate him. He is really smart. There was lots of action on almost every page. I can not wait to read book three.
Hot Water by Erin Brockovich: Chapter 1
By Erin Brockovich with CJ Lyons, Author of Hot Water
Summer in the mountains of West Virginia has a magic of its own, like a fairy tale come true. For me, it was a fairy tale paid for with blood.
It was August. After five months back home in Scotia (population 864) I'd just about gotten used to folks looking away from me and mumbling about how I'd gotten the man I loved killed and almost got my dad and son killed and just about drowned the entire valley in toxic sludge.
"That's AJ Palladino," they'd say, crossing to the other side of the street as I passed, in case I rubbed off on them. "Yeah, that AJ Palladino."
I ignored them. Didn't much care what people said about me as long as they didn't take it out on my nine-year-old, David. And, I have to admit, Scotia did treat David like the hero his dad had once been. They embraced him despite his two disabilities (or abilities, depending on your point of view): having cerebral palsy, which left him mostly wheelchair-bound, and being a genius.
Despite the town's acceptance of him, David still wasn't so sure about Scotia. He was hit hard by the death of his dad. I tried everything, even enrolled him in some online courses. Stuff I didn't understand but he was interested in, like the Phonology of Ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphics and Einstein, Oppenheimer, Feynman: Physics in the 20th Century. He'd bury himself in them, working like a fever, finishing a semester's worth of material in a few weeks, and then would promptly slide back into boredom and despair.
Given my family's tendency for obsessions -- addictions, really, holding on too hard, too long -- I was more than a bit worried.
My friend Ty Stillwater, a sheriff's deputy K-9 officer, and his partner, Nikki, a beautiful Belgium Malinois, finally broke David free from his mourning.
Ty somehow found a way to make wheelchair accessible every mountain adventure that a boy could love. He and David would leave at first light and show up again for dinner at my gram's kitchen covered in battle scars. Once, Ty took David rafting down the New River, and they came back half-drowned, sunburned, and sporting matching black eyes that they refused to tell us how they got. They would burst into laughter every time they caught sight of each other.
I loved hearing David laugh but couldn't help but worry each time he left. For too many years I'd raised David alone, and it was difficult getting used to sharing him with others who loved him as much as I did. Not to mention the fact that I was and am a total control freak, especially about David. But I suffered in silence -- David hates it when I try to rein in his independence.
Besides, I was busy enough with work to take my mind mostly off David's scrapes and bruises and poison ivy. My new business partner, Elizabeth Hardy, the legal half of our consumer advocacy firm, turned out to have a gift for negotiation, so our first few cases ended quickly and happily for our clients and were profitable for us. All in all, summer felt enchanted, magical.
Even the weather cooperated. The storm clouds that gathered every afternoon remained empty threats. They'd scowl down at Scotia, then scurry away to dump their rain elsewhere.
But sooner or later, the storm has to break and you're going to get soaked.
Which was how I came to be yelling at the man in the Armani suit.
I knew it was an Armani suit because I'd dealt with enough of them when I'd worked in D.C. Not sure how they did it, but it seemed as if every suit jacket had an attitude sewn into the lining: money can buy anything.
Well, it wasn't buying me.
Elizabeth and I hadn't risked everything -- including our lives -- to start this advocacy firm just to be dictated to by a guy who happened to have enough money to indulge his taste in designer suits.
Armani guy's name was Owen Grandel, and he'd flown all the way up from South Carolina to consult with Elizabeth and me. He was in his late thirties, trim in that personal-trainer executive way, with a shaved head that focused your attention on his dark eyes and spray-tan complexion.
He had not come to Scotia to be abused. Or so his expression informed me without bothering with words.
"We aren't in the business of whitewashing a corporation's dirty laundry," I continued, in the mood for a fight and quite happy that Grandel was obliging.
He said nothing. Simply crossed his arms over his chest, leaned his shoulders back, and smiled. The kind of smile you give a precocious kid who's acting out and you're tolerating his behavior just because you know how wrong he is.
David hates it when I smile at him that way.
Thankfully Elizabeth stepped between us before I tried to wipe that smile off Grandel's face. We were in the living room of her house -- which doubled as our office space -- and she had just brought coffee on a tray. "I'm sorry, Mr. Grandel, we're out of cream. Will milk do?"
I rolled my eyes as she almost curtsied. Then, while Grandel busied himself mixing and stirring his coffee, finally taking a seat in the Queen Anne chair beside the fireplace, Elizabeth glanced over her shoulder at me with a glare that could have sparked tinder.
Play nice, she mouthed at me, as if! were the one making trouble. She sat down across from Grandel, smoothing her skirt and crossing her ankles like a lady before reaching for her own cup of coffee.
This is why I usually let Elizabeth handle the suits. I'm more of a field person -- get me out there with the regular folks and I'll get to the truth of what's what and who's who and figure out a way to fix things. Then it's up to Elizabeth to cross the legal "t's," negotiate a workable solution for all parties, and collect our paycheck.
So far it's been a pretty good system. Until today.
"I'm not sure that you understand exactly what we do, Mr. Grandel." Elizabeth leaned across the table to snag a sugar cube, her sleeve brushing against his knee.
I barely contained my snort. It was very obvious Grandel didn't understand anything except what his money could buy.
"Oh, but I do, Ms. Hardy." He leaned back and crossed his legs, watching her through half-shut eyes.
When I worked in D.C., I knew men like him. Smooth, charming. Sociopaths. Women would fall all over themselves to do whatever they wanted. Poor sad, he had no idea who he was up against. Elizabeth wasn't like that.
"Which is why I'm willing to pay extra. Above your customary fee schedule."With an elegant flourish of his manicured fingers, he slid a check from his pocket and placed it in front of her.
Elizabeth has a pretty good poker face, but I could tell the amount on the check rocked her. She took a sip of coffee and set her cup down beside the check, ignoring it.
"That's half," he persisted when she didn't leap at his offer. "You get the same when you finish."
''And who decides when the job is finished?"
I stepped forward, unwilling to believe she was even considering.
She glared at me and I froze.
"You do, of course." His voice was a low bedroom purr.
Her mouth twisted as she considered. Then she stood in one graceful movement, taking the check with her. "We need to consult about this."
"Of course," he said with a gracious wave of his hand, as if it were his house, not hers. "Take all the time you need."
I know my mouth dropped open because I felt it snap shut again when she took my arm and dragged me out of the room and across the hall to our shared office in what used to be the dining room. She closed the door behind us, then sagged back against it.
"Holy shit, AJ."
The check dropped from her fingers, flitting through the air on the sultry August breeze wafting in through the open windows, and curled up on the hardwood floor, face down. I picked it up, turned it over.
My face went cold as I read the amount. Counted the zeroes. Five of them. My mind did a back flip -- no, that figure couldn't be right -- then sloshed right side up as I looked again.
Half a million dollars. Which meant a million for the entire job if we took it.
Enough to send David to any college he wanted, to bankroll our company for the next decade, to be able to work on projects that really mattered. Freedom, security, opportunity.
All I'd have to do was betray everything I believed in and let myself be bought.
The above is an excerpt from the book Hot Water by Erin Brockovich with CJ Lyons. The above excerpt is a digitally scanned reproduction of text from print. Although this excerpt has been proofread, occasional errors may appear due to the scanning process. Please refer to the finished book for accuracy.
Copyright © 2011 By Erin Brockovich with CJ Lyons, author of Hot Water
Erin Brockovich, author of Hot Water, is the real life inspiration behind the Oscar-winning movie that bears her name. Today she continues to perform legal work as a director of environmental research and is involved in consulting on numerous toxic waster investigations. She is active on the motivational speaking circuit, with a thriving lecture series and a television talk show in development. She lives in Los Angeles, California.
CJ Lyons, co-author of Hot Water, is an award-winning medical suspense author of such books as Lifelines, Warning Signs, and Urgent Care. Trained in pediatric emergency medicine, she has assisted police and prosecutors with cases involving child abuse, homicide, and more. She has also worked as a crisis counselor and victim advocate.
For more information please visit http://www.brockovich.com/ and http://cjlyons.net/ and follow the author on Facebook and Twitter.
I have one copy of this book to giveaway. Open to US and Canada. Just leave a comment withyour email address. Ends November 14th.
Monday, November 7, 2011
If you want to read a good uplifting book without all the calories than pick up a copy of The Pig and Me!
I must admit that I have never heard of No Pudge! Foods. Though, when author Lindsay Frucci wrote me about reading her book, I was willing to give it a time for the fact that I enjoy reading about people starting their own businesses and how they did it.
I have to tell you that reading this book, Lindsay is a success story, even if the ending may not have been the one she was hoping for. I liked Lindsay’s drive and determination. She went from knowing virtually nothing about starting and operating a business to making No Pudge! Brownies a brand name.
It all started back in 1995, though a few years earlier than this. Back when Lindsay and her husband had to file for bankruptcy. Something that Lindsay never thought would happen to them. As no one hopes ever happens to them as well. Though it did. Lindsay’s husband found another job but for less money. Lindsay decided that she had to do something to help contribute to their financial situation. Lindsay racked her brain and could not really think of anything other than the fact that she liked to bake. Lindsay’s one favorite indulgence was brownies. Though eating too many and they can be killer to your waist line. Lindsay decided to come up with a fat free version. Thus, No Pudge! Brownies were created. The success of the company is due to a huge part from Lindsay. She had a vision and would not let anything stop her, no matter how many times she was told “No”. If you want to read a good uplifting book without all the calories than pick up a copy of The Pig and Me!
Sunday, November 6, 2011
Sometimes a salesman must be whatever you need him to be. I often feel that way when I’m doing book store signings. Don’t get me wrong: I will never lie about my books just to make a sale. No one likes a huckster and I’ll always preserve my self-respect. The problem is that books can be so complex that a story isn’t any one thing and therefore doesn’t cater to any one audience. To add a positive twist, it offers something for everyone.
A trick I’ve learned is to use The Between Years as the centerpiece of my book display for the signings. The complicated reason for this is that I write numerous types of books, both young and adult, some gruesome and others quiet, and I’d rather not scare potential new readers off by letting them see the ‘scary’ stuff first. The simple answer is that The Between Years offers something for everyone.
For some of what I write, you need to be a horror fan to enjoy. That or you need to have a really open mind. The Between Years is much different in this respect. You don’t need to be a horror fan or have an open mind to enjoy it. All you really need to have is an open heart.
As people, what we all share in common is that we have feelings, and that we’ve lost something valuable at some point. Readers will relate to Randy Fuller on some level. He isn’t perfect, but he has suffered a great loss, and is trying to regain it by any means. At minimum, we’ve at least known someone who has lost a child and no doubt our heart has ached for them. Enough readers have told me that their heart ached for Randy.
The real fear for Randy is intense, but it isn’t a monster in the closet. It’s in the parental challenges he never expected to face. The ghost of his six month old baby boy appears to him at age four, six, twelve and eighteen in the span of four nights, and he has a different problem each time. To me, the idea that my son is suffering and I haven’t the first clue how to help him is frightening indeed.
This is a book for purveyors of the paranormal. But then again, it’s also a book for anyone who’s ever lost a child. It’s a book for anyone who’s ever known someone who’s lost a child. The truth is, the book is a lot of things, and its appeal is broad. That’s why I’ve been successful with it at book signings. I’ll always keep the book in print because I want it to be the first work of mine that people see. I’d like it to be the first of my works that you see too.
To enter to win a Kindle Fire, leave your name and e-mail address in the comment form below. You can enter once per blog stop. Visit each blog stop to increase your odds of winning. If I crack the Kindle Top 100, I will give away another Kindle Fire. E-mail me for the tour newsletter including a full listing of tour stops at derek (dot) r (dot) clendening (at) gmail (dot) com.
Check out Derek's blog
Purchase at Amazon
Purchase at Barnes and Noble
Friday, November 4, 2011
A long-buried mystery comes frighteningly alive in New York Times bestselling author Karen White’s much-anticipated THE STRANGERS ON MONTAGU STREET, her new Tradd Street novel in stores November 1st (NAL Trade Paperback).
The Tradd Street stories began in 2008 with the publication of The House on Tradd Street and the introduction of protagonists Melanie Middleton and writer Jack Trenholm.
Writing it let Karen indulge her passion for Charleston and the region—its architecture, food,legends, people, rhythms—and embrace its haunted history. Readers responded with such enthusiasm that Karen began work on a second novel for Melanie and Jack, The Girl on Legare Street. It was published in 2009 and became her first New York Times best seller.
Two years later, Melanie and Jack are back. They’re still fighting, still not a couple and still depending upon each other. Since the first book, Melanie has learned to accept the gift of her sixth sense, fallen in love with her mid-19th century Tradd Street home, and celebrated ten successful years as a Realtor specializing in Charleston’s historic homes—even though she still views them as money pits hosting ghosts, too many of whom want to tell her something.
As THE STRANGERS ON MONTAGU STREET opens, lost souls are among the least of Melanie’s problems. In the space of a morning she finds herself caring for a distraught teen, raiding her bank account to repair her cracked foundation, and realizing she has to move in with her mother while the work is being done. The teenager is Nola, Jack’s daughter from a long ago love affair. He only learned about her after her mother died. Nola, immune to his overtures, blames Jack for the difficulties she and her mother faced, and for the disintegration of their lives. She’s also guilt ridden, haunted by her inability to keep her mother alive.
Melanie takes Nola under her wing in an effort to ease her transition to a new home and family. When Jack’s mother presents Nola with the gift of an antique dollhouse, she’s delighted. It’s amazingly detailed, beautiful and the dolls it contains are the tableau of a perfect Victorian family. All too soon, it becomes clear that something is dreadfully wrong. The house is possessed by a malevolent spirit that’s drawing the fragile teen into its own angry darkness.
To save Nola, Melanie and Jack need to discover the secrets of the people whose home the dollhouse replicates. A family of wealth and prestige, powerful in their time, they’ve hidden the truth of their lives at the end of a long, dangerous path strewn with deceit, heartbreak and murder—a journey punctuated by a cry for forgiveness that has resonated for more than seventy years.
THE STRANGERS ON MONTAGU STREET is multi-layered, with intersecting lives and abundant sub-plots, rife with characters, relationships, and secrets past and present. In it, Karen once again illustrates the power of family and friendship, love and loyalty, heritage and responsibility, and guilt and innocence as she explores the claims of the past and the possibilities of the present.
Known for nationally bestselling and award-winning novels, Karen White’s books include The Beach Trees, On Folly Beach, Falling Home, The Lost Hours, The Memory of Water, Learning to Breathe, Pieces of the Heart, and The Color of Light and, of course, her Tradd Street novels, The House on Tradd Street, The Girl on Legare Street , and The Strangers on Montagu Street.
Karen has traveled or lived in many places in the south, from her home in Atlanta to Savannah, Mississippi, Louisiana, South Carolina’s Lowcountry and North Carolina, garnering inspiration as well as detail for the settings of her books, including the New York Times bestsellers, The Beach Trees, Falling Home, and On Folly Beach . Her parents are both from Mississippi, but Karen lived in many places before settling in the South and says she “didn’t actually take root” there until moving to Georgia eighteen years ago.
Karen credits her maternal grandmother Grace Bianca with inspiring and teaching her through stories shared over many years. In the seventh grade, when she skipped school to read Gone With The Wind, she knew—just knew—she was destined to grow up to be either Scarlet O’Hara or a writer.
Karen’s writing has been honored with numerous awards and nominations including the Booksellers’ Best Award and the National Readers’ Choice Award. On Folly Beach, The Girl on Legare Street and The House on Tradd Street were all nominated for the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance (SIBA) Book of the Year. SIBA also named On Folly Beach a Summer 2010 Okra Pick. Additionally, On Folly Beach, The House on Tradd Street and Learning to Breathe have all been finalists in the “Novels with Strong Romantic Elements” category for the prestigious RITA Award presented by the Romance Writers of America.
Karen continues to work, write and spin tales of the south from her home in Atlanta where she lives with her family, their dog and the multiplicity of characters awaiting their own stories. THE STRANGERS ON MONTAGU STREET by Karen White
Check out Karen's website
Thursday, November 3, 2011
Ada Wentworth has left Boston to come to Hickory Ridge, Tennessee. Ada wanted to see the country. Thus why she applied to be a woman companion. When Ada arrives at Hickory Ridge, she has second thoughts. To make matters worse, the other woman who was to help assist Ada with her job has left town. Now Ada is all alone in a town with no money to get back. There is just one bright spot, her employer…Wyatt Caldwell.
Wyatt owns the local lumber mill. He has not seen anyone as beautiful as Ada. Wyatt starts courting Ada. Ada agrees that the feelings are mutual but Wyatt has made it clear that he plans to leave and go to Chicago. Ada wants to leaves as well as soon as she can gather enough money to go. Thus why she will not give into her feelings for Wyatt. Ada wants to start up a hat shop. Her mother taught her how to make fashionable hats.
Beyond All Measure is the first book in the Hickory Ridge series. This book was good. It may be labeled as Christian Romance but the messages are subtle and not in your face. This brings me to my next point…Wyatt and Ada. Cute couple but not a lot of romance between the two. It seemed that every time that they got together, they would argue.
Wyatt’s Aunt Lillian was someone that grew on me. At first I didn’t like her. She was grouchy and mean to Ada but the more that I got to know her, the more I liked her. The people of Hickory Ridge were an eccentric bunch. They added favor to the story. Some of them I liked and some I did not. Overall, this book is a nice start to this series.
About Dorothy Love
A native of west Tennessee, Dorothy Love makes her home in the Texas hill country with her husband and their two golden retrievers. An accomplished author in the secular market, Dorothy makes her debut in Christian fiction with the Hickory Ridge novels. Hometown: San Antonio, Texas
Wednesday, November 2, 2011
Review by Nancy
Katie Snow was the ONE. The ONE to ski better than anyone else, the ONE to leave the family home and town and…the ONE Paul Delacroix wanted more than any other woman he had seen (and he’d seen many). At age 19, a decade younger than her husband, Katie just gave up. She let Paul bask in his own ego, she made his life simple and she raised her children as she felt they should be. Not as spoiled brats of one of the richest men in the world but as good, Mormon children who had goals and good lives with mom.
Paul was never there. He has affairs upon affairs and while Katie probably knew deep-down she didn’t believe it due to Paul’s, shall we say, difficulties. Yep, Katie was always there, always smiling and cooperating, no matter how odd some of her husband’s requests were or how untimely. And then one day, somewhere she shouldn’t have been, Katie found a letter from a divorce attorney to Paul. She stopped playing along, she went to counseling and some of the things she discovered about herself and her family rocked her to the core.
This novel is a large one and, when I read those, usually I try to see where some things could be cut to make it a tad shorter. Not this one. No cutting because you will want to read every line. What an excellent novel for sitting by the fire on a chilly evening or two. You will love this book!
Check out more about this book and author at www.invisiblesnow.com or www.quinnbarrett.com