Tuesday, January 31, 2017

At Close Range



When a lakeside tryst ends in a double murder, police detective Daniele Harper arrives on the scene determined to get answers. Clues are everywhere, but nothing adds up. Dani turns to the Delphi Center crime lab for help, but soon regrets it when her secret attraction to their chief firearms examiner threatens to distract her from the most important case of her career.

As a ballistics expert and former Navy SEAL, Scott Black knows firearms, and he knows he can help Dani unravel her case. Scott has managed to hide his interest in his best friend’s younger sister for years, but when her investigation brings them together, the sparks between them quickly get out of control. Scott resolves to keep his hands off Dani and his eyes on the goal—identifying a killer. But when that killer zeroes in on Dani, all bets are off. There isn’t a line Scott won’t cross to convince Dani to trust him so that he can help her take down a ruthless murderer who has her in his sights.

My Review

This is the latest book in this series. Which just happens to be one of my favorite current series. As a mystery and romantic mystery fan, you will enjoy this series as well. The best part is that the books can be read as stand alone novels. Yes, some of the relationships and past events may carry over to the nest book but nothing that would cause a new reader to have issues following along.

I honestly could not figure out the motive for the killings. This is a good problem to have as a fan of mystery stories. The author did a nice job of keeping me guessing until all of the pieces were revealed at the end. Speaking of the end. This is where most of the action took place. In the last several chapters. Prior to that, I do admit I wished that the story had been amped up a few dials. Yet, I was busy with Dani and Scott's relationship. Or I should say, their desire to have a relationship. I could feel the chemistry between these two and it was smothering. Strap in for a great read!

Wicked Cowboy Charm + Giveaway


ABOUT THE BOOK

 

Title: WICKED COWBOY CHARM

Author: Carolyn Brown

Series: Lucky Penny Ranch, #4

On Sale: January 31, 2017

Publisher: Forever

Mass Market: $7.99 USD

eBook: $7.99 USD



ONE BLIZZARD, ONE BUNKHOUSE, AND A WHOLE LOTTA TROUBLE . . . Josie Dawson is new in town, but it doesn't take a local to know that Deke Sullivan is trouble--in a smokin' hot package. He's sweet, sexy, and has charmed just about every woman in Dry Creek, Texas. Well, Josie won't be next. She'll keep her distance, even if he is great with babies and makes a mean cup of homemade hot chocolate. Deke Sullivan really is a one-woman type of guy. He just had to do a lot of looking to find that one woman. Now he thinks he's found her and he won't let a strong, sassy gal like Josie slip away. Just when he's wondering how to convince her he only has eyes for her, they get stranded in a tiny cabin during a major blizzard. If Deke can melt her heart before they dig out of the snow, he'll be the luckiest cowboy in Texas . . .



My Review

This book started out good. Josie was so sweet. Deke had a little bit of a bad boy edge to him but he was too kind to be a full-fledged bad boy. So, back to the beginning. There was funny moments to be had, so I was really looking forward to settling in and reading this book. Which, I did like but my excitement for the book had diminished some. This is because there were no more really funny moments where I found myself laughing. Also, both Jodie and Deke knew that they shared chemistry but it was slow going to get them to admit it and give in to the attraction. Yet, when they did, it was nice.

The story as a whole was good. For example, when Deke and Jodie were caught in the blizzard and had to stay at a cabin. It seemed like it was a very long time with not a lot happening. This was not true but because Deke and Jodie did a lot of talking and not much else and there were not many other characters to help liven the story, it felt long. A cute story.

 
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

Carolyn Brown is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling romance author and RITA® Finalist who has sold more than 2.75 million books. She presently writes both women's fiction and cowboy romance. She has also written historical single title, historical series, contemporary single title, and contemporary series. She lives in southern Oklahoma with her husband, a former English teacher, who is not allowed to read her books until they are published. They have three children and enough grandchildren to keep them young.

 







 
THE SERIES

 

WILD COWBOY WAYS, #1

HOT COWBOY NIGHTS, #2

MERRY COWBOY CHRISTMAS, #3

WICKED COWBOY CHARM, #4

 



 



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Wicked Cowboy Charm Playlist

 

Little Bit of You – Chase Bryant

Die a Happy Man – Thomas Rhett

Before He Cheats – Carrie Underwood

Hush Hush – Pistol Annies

I Feel a Sin Comin' On – Pistol Annies

Boys ‘Round Here – Blake Shelton

Cowboys and Angels – Dustin Lynch

It's Five O' Clock Somewhere – Alan Jackson and Jimmy Buffett

Linda on My Mind – Conway Twitty

I'll Fly Away – Alan Jackson

Top of the World – Tim McGraw

Cotton Eye Joe – Rednex

Just to Hear You Say That You Love Me – Faith Hill

From this Moment On – Shania Twain

Tennessee Whiskey – Chris Stapleton

Everybody’s Got Somebody But Me – Hunter Hayes

Sangria – Blake Shelton

Already Callin’ You Mine – Parmalee

Just To Hear You Say That You Love Me – Faith Hill

 
Spotify Link:






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Too Wild to Tame + Giveaway





Title: TOO WILD TO TAME

Author: Tessa Bailey

Series: Romancing The Clarksons, #2

On Sale: January 31, 2017

Publisher: Forever

Mass Market: $5.99 USD

eBook: $2.99 USD
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Sometimes you just can't resist playing with fire . . .

By day, Aaron Clarkson suits up, shakes hands, and acts the perfect gentleman. But at night, behind bedroom doors, the tie comes off and the real Aaron comes out to play. Mixing business with pleasure got him fired, so Aaron knows that if he wants to work for the country's most powerful senator, he'll have to keep his eye on the prize. That's easier said than done when he meets the senator's daughter, who's wild, gorgeous, and 100 percent trouble.

Grace Pendleton is the black sheep of her conservative family. Yet while Aaron's presence reminds her of a past she'd rather forget, something in his eyes keeps drawing her in. Maybe it's the way his voice turns her molten. Or maybe it's because deep down inside, the ultra-smooth, polished Aaron Clarkson might be more than even Grace can handle . .





My Review

As far as the Clarkson siblings are concerned, Aaron is my favorite thus far. He is like chocolate...rich but oh so good for you. I liked that both Aaron and Grace had dark pasts that they would not let define them as the people they were today. Grace kept Aaron on his toes. I enjoyed this a lot. Plus, with her doing the things she did, she kept the story entertaining.

What I enjoyed the most about this book compared to the first one was that it felt like Aaron and Grace's story was not all about sex. Not that I have anything against sex in a story, especially a romance story. I just don't like when the story seems to suffer from passion. In fact, Aaron and Grace did not hook up that many times in this book but when they did it was hot. A happy ending for all involved. I can't wait to read Peggy's story next.


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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

Tessa Bailey is originally from Carlsbad, California. The day after high school graduation, she packed her yearbook, ripped jeans, and laptop, and drove cross-country to New York City in under four days. Her most valuable life experiences were learned thereafter while waitressing at K-Dees, a Manhattan pub owned by her uncle. Inside those four walls, she met her husband, best friend, and discovered the magic of classic rock, managing to put herself through Kingsborough Community College and the English program at Pace University at the same time. Several stunted attempts to enter the work force as a journalist followed, but romance writing continued to demand her attention.

 

She now lives in Long Island, New York with her husband and daughter. Although she is severely sleep-deprived, she is incredibly happy to be living her dream of writing about people falling in love.

 






 

 

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THE ROMANCING THE CLARKSONS SERIES

 

TOO HOT TO HANDLE, #1

TOO WILD TO TAME, #2

TOO HARD TO FORGET, #3

 




His progress toward the door halted when Grace shot to her feet, arms stiff at her sides, those green eyes like glowing jade moons. “I…that isn’t what I was asking for. I just meant, let me help you, in general. I—I didn’t think…”

Aaron’s neck heated. “If you don’t like the idea, we can change it—”

She jumped. She actually jumped straight up in the air, hands flying to her cheeks. “I love it. Oh, please don’t change anything. I was just so surprised.”

He inclined his head, mentally cursing the way his heart decided to make its presence known at such an inconvenient time, walloping his rib cage with thick booms, courtesy of Grace’s pleasure. How juvenile. “I’m kind of surprised myself,” he admitted, then wished he’d kept his mouth shut.

At least until Grace floated toward him. All shining eyes and rosy excitement, she spurred a lust storm in his stomach. “It’s so much better when you say what you’re thinking, Aaron.”

“You mentioned that.”

And of course, it made him want to say more. Say whatever it would take to get her legs wrapped around his hips. To rock between her thighs until her wetness drenched the fly of his pants. “Get away from me, Grace,” he rasped. “It would be just like me to take advantage of you after having to tell that story.”

Silence deepened around them. “How can you say that after you just found a way for me to rebuild the camp?” It seemed as if her entire body lifted and fell on a harsh sob. “Last night, you asked me if I still saw some good in you…and I didn’t answer. How could I not have answered you?” She shook her gorgeous head. “I didn’t mean to—”

Aaron shot forward, capturing her unspoken words with his own mouth. Guilt. There had been even more guilt in her eyes. Aaron’s response was pure denial. Not because of me. Not over me. But as soon as their lips joined, his mind wiped clean of anything but Grace’s one-of-a-kind taste. She was juicy, sweet, refreshing, intoxicating madness. He let it pull him down into its depths—her depths—gathering up her taste greedily so he could live with the effect as long as possible, even though surely a man couldn’t withstand this type of arousal for an extended length of time. He’d want to fuck her again as soon as he came. It was a certainty his body was all too eager to confirm. Yet protectiveness held him in a state of limbo. Wanting—needing—to mate with her delicious body while determined to protect her from himself.

Couldn’t she sense the past meaningless encounters he wore like gloves, cheapening everything he touched? Couldn’t she sense his inability to be meaningful to her? Grace should have someone with substance, not someone who couldn’t even garner the love of his own family. Someone who considered the ramifications of his actions and how they would serve as betrayal. This is how you repay me?

The voice from his not-so-distant past had Aaron tearing his mouth away with a guttural growl, clasping Grace by the shoulders. Too hard. Ease up. “Get away.”

“If you really want that, let me go,” she whispered.

God, he couldn’t do it. Not with her face tipped back, lips swollen and shined up, those eyelids halfway fallen. He’d never in his life had trouble resisting sex. It was always a logical decision based on his needs. This? There was nothing cut and dried about it. His attraction to Grace was messy and wild and untapped. Made his chest expand with the effort to contain the expanding of something unfamiliar. Crazy and blinding. His dick needed a good, rough handling from one woman only. Grace. And she wasn’t pushing him away. Seemed like she wanted the job, too, her tits sliding up and down his abs with every breath. Give her one more chance. Show her what she’s in for with a bastard like you. With a muttered epithet, Aaron raked his hand up the back of Grace’s thigh, sliding it down the back of her tights, and settling his middle finger in the valley of her ass. “Get away from me,” he managed, wedging his straying digit a little more securely, earning him a closed-lipped noise.

“No,” she gasped after a few seconds.




Aaron’s tether broke. Recapturing Grace’s mouth with an obscene amount of tongue, he backed them toward the bed, satisfaction rippling in his middle when she went down beneath him, her legs falling open in welcome. He draped his body over Grace’s slighter one, eager grunts leaving his mouth as he positioned himself over her pussy and bore down with his erection. Their groans were pain-filled, reaching every corner of the cabin, breaking off when Aaron got back to kissing that addictive mouth, yanking the oversized sweater up, up to her belly, so he could rock against her sex with only his pants and her tights as obstructions.

“Aaron.”

“You were warned,” he reminded her with a strangled shout, delivered into the space above her head. “Three times, Grace. That’s three times more than I’d give anyone else.” He slid up and back in the cradle of her legs, groaning over the rasping friction her tights delivered to his stiff, fuck-hungry dick. “Make it four times. I gave you an out back at the house. You should have taken it.”

When Grace should have been trembling or alarmed by the cut steel in his voice, she only stretched out beneath him like a cat, opening up for him. Almost preening beneath his rough ministrations. “Maybe I should have. But we’re here now, so stop trying to scare me.” Her fingertips moved down Aaron’s chest to the seat of his pants, where she smoothed her palm over the curve of his cock, which started him panting like a marathon runner. “You don’t really want to scare me, do you, Aaron?”

Christ, her soft words, the sight of her, were choking him up. Her hair was a haphazard display framing her face, those crooked front teeth somehow making him twice as eager to seal their mouths together again. He was a hunter who’d discovered a sprite dancing in the woods and dragged her home, intending to use her body for vigorous relief, but got forgiveness in return. “No, I don’t. I don’t want to scare you.”

“I know,” she breathed, unfastening his belt buckle. “I just know.”



 
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Behind Her Eyes


 
Only two can keep a secret if one of them is dead.

David and Adele seem like the ideal pair. He's a successful psychiatrist, she is his picture-perfect wife who adores him. But why is he so controlling? And why is she keeping things hidden?

As Louise, David's new secretary, is drawn into their orbit, she uncovers more puzzling questions than answers. The only thing that is crystal clear is that something in this marriage is very, very wrong. But Louise can't guess how wrong--and how far a person might go to protect their marriage's secrets.

My Review

I do not usually get impressed by the marketing of a book. Only because my opinions can differ from the big names promoting the book. However, this time I have to agree that the ending is the best part of this whole book. Even with all of the different ideas I had in my head, the one that I got never crossed my mind.

When I was first reading this book, I thought it was going to be just another book like ones I have read in the past. Yet, the more I became familiar with Adele and David's life, the more intrigued I became. To be honest, if it was not for Adele and David; Louise would not have been as present in the story as she ended up becoming.

Everything about this book was spot on perfect. I could not stop reading it. I am only sadden that I finished this book so fast. Behind Her Eyes will haunt you long after you have put this book down! One of the best books of 2017.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Ashes

Description

After Me

Kate Sawyer, a former NYPD undercover cop, injured badly in a take-down gone terribly wrong, is living in Portland, Oregon safe in the Witness Protection Program, while she undergoes experimental stem-cell treatment for a genetic case of early-onset Alzheimer's. Everyone thinks Kate can provide vital evidence that will lead to the recovery of twenty million dollars of diamonds that disappeared during the take-down.

If she could only remember.

One night, Kate returns to her condo to find a dead man in her bathtub with a note stuck in his pocket.

I know what you've done.

Her cover blown, Kate runs, knowing the clock is ticking. Chased by shadowy figures she can't remember, Kate must solve the mystery before it's too late. People close to her are being killed. Shadowy memories tease her. Some she recognizes as her own. Others don't seem familiar at all.

Running from people she can't remember, dogged by a past lost in the haze, Kate discovers no one is who they appear to be, perhaps not even herself.

My Review


I am familiar with this author and her fun, comedic side with the Lucky books. Yet, this new path the author has taken with her thriller/romantic suspense books has me intrigued. I will say that while I did enjoy this book, I struggled with it as well.

Just like Kate's memory, it was slow to come back. Which is how I felt reading this book. It was touch and go for me. It took me several chapters in the beginning to get into this book. After that I would read a few chapters and than put the book down. This happened about 4/5 times. By this point I was about half way into the story. The story did pick up and so did the intensity. The rest of the book was really good. I like the new, Deborah Coonts. I look forward to reading more books in this genre from the author.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Mortom



Andy Crowl barely knew his recently deceased cousin, Craig Moore, so he’s especially surprised to be named as the sole beneficiary in Craig’s will. Not that there’s much to inherit: just an empty bank account and a run-down house.

Once Andy arrives in the town of Mortom, however, he’s drawn into his puzzle-obsessed cousin’s true legacy: a twisted and ominous treasure hunt. Beckoned by macabre clues of dead rats and cemetery keys, Andy jumps into the game, hoping to discover untold wealth. But unsavory secrets—and unanswered questions about Craig’s untimely demise—arise at every turn, leading Andy to wonder if he’s playing the game…or if the game is playing him.

Something’s rotten in Mortom. And this dead man’s game might not be all that Andy is doomed to lose.
  



My Review

This is the second book I have read from this author. The first was Resthaven. While, I liked it and it was a horror story as well. It was written more at the young adult level and so the horror level seemed toned down. While, the horror in this book was not all blood and gore all the time or in your face; the story is more meant to be suspenseful and kind of a psychological thriller. Mr. Therme quickly draws me into the story by dangling a dead rat with a piece of paper stuffed in its mouth. Once, the author had me hooked, he proceeded to slowly reel me in like a fish. By this I mean that the story slowly revealed what really happened to Andy's cousin.

The concept of Andy going on a treasure hunt was fun. I honestly, gave up trying to figure out the clues after the third one. Instead, this left me to just sit back and enjoy the story. Which, I would comment and be upset by the slow progression of the mystery but the way the author wrote the story, I was not mad. Reading another reader's comment about how she did not like Kate, Andy's sister was something that I had to agree on. Not in the way that I hated her. At first she was happy to help Andy but when he started being obsessed, she withdrew from the mystery but than would jump back into the mystery by tracking down information. So, you could say that I found her to be wishy-washy. The progression of Andy's demeanor as he became more involved was scary. Especially the fact when Kate did pointed out that Andy was sleeping in Craig's bed and wearing his clothing. The last third of the story is where it picks up speed and all comes together. So, far this book is my favorite from this author and I look forward to reading more books from Mr. Therme.






Thursday, January 26, 2017

Esper Files:The Sky Cult

After the events of the first book, Freya has joined the Institute - an organization created to help Espers control their powers, and she thought she’d finally found peace.

That is, until Anti-Esper weapons find their way into the hands of The Coalition, a radical group who is determined to kill anyone with powers. At the same time, the Sky Cult has arisen, claiming that Espers have the right to rule over lowly humans.


The timing couldn’t be worse, as all of this happens three days before Esper Day, the first holiday designed to show that humans and Espers can coexist.

Now Nathan, Freya and the team have to fight both organizations in a race against time before one of the radical groups tips the scales, and plunges the entire world into their own version of Armageddon.
  

My Review

This is the second book in this series. If you are a fan of steampunk, strong characters, good storyline, and plenty of action, than you have to check this series out. Although, I would recommend that you start with the first book, Esper Files. It helps to set the stage for this series and who all of the major players as well.

Nathan, James, and Freya are back fighting for good. Yet, I have to comment by saying that I found James to have been a little less of a strong voice in this book. Both Nathan and Freya had big roles in this book. Their powers really grew as did they; especially Freya. She has become more confident in her own skin and her abilities.

Now, we go to the bad side. Lord Bartholomew is back as well. Only this time, he is not alone. There are many others. My favorite is Red Cap. I agree with the other readers that his wit was what made him stand out. Besides, who else can get away with calling Lord Bartholomew "Barty" and still be standing. The whole time that Red Cap was talking all I could hear was Johnny Depp's voice as Captain Jack Sparrow voicing Red Cap. It was entertaining.

Action. Did someone request lots of action and battles. Yes, please. There was so much action that there was never a dull moment. The ending was a good lead into the next book. I am a fan of this author and series. Mr. Brass is a great storyteller that will leave you craving more!

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

In This Life

Secrets ruin lives, and lies protect those secrets…

Wanting to escape her life in New York City before starting medical school in the fall, Anna Dillon convinces her best friend Dante to travel with her to Thailand on a medical mission. While volunteering in a coastal village recently ravaged by a tsunami, Anna meets Jude Grayson. They share an instant attraction that leads to a brief, passionate affair. When she has to rush home for a family emergency, he promises to stay in touch.

But Jude never calls, and Anna tries desperately to forget him.

Five years pass, and Anna finally moves on with Dante after giving up hope that Jude will ever return—until they come face to face again in a chance encounter. Reeling, Anna discovers the life-altering secret of why Jude never contacted her—and why they can’t be together. But the passion that ignited between them on an exotic beach years ago never died, making it impossible to stay away from each other.

And Dante? Anna discovers that the friend she grew to love—and trust—has a secret of his own.


My Review

OMG. Although, the word better suited for this book is probably...magnificent!

As the story progressed, I felt the strong connection involving Anna, Jude, and Dante. The love that Anna shares for both men was genuine. Yet, the relationships could not have been more different. It was like Anna was always meant to be with Jude. Even though they had only shared a short time together Thailand, the author really does a great job of displaying that Anna and Jude were like seahorses. Once, a seahorse find's its mate, they mate for life. On the other hand, Anna and Dante's relationship was formed by a long standing friendship.

I finished this book in half a day. My heart and emotions were thrown on a roller coaster as I took this journey with Anna, Dante, and Jude. There was no favorite for me as I loved them all. In fact, I actually was jealous that Anna found love not once but twice. This story did end on a high note. Nothing worse than reading a book only to have a weak ending. A recommended read! I am going to be checking out more books by this author.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Chatting with Author, Samuel Marquis





In this second thriller in the bestselling WWII Trilogy, the Eternal City of Rome during the Nazi Occupation of 1943-1944 is a besieged city. In this perilous wartime setting, Rome is a tinderbox of four conflicting parties: the Allies—represented by Major John Bridger of the American-Canadian First Special Service Force—trying to capture Rome as the first Axis prize of war but encountering stiff opposition; the Germans—represented by Waffen-SS Colonel Wilhelm Hollmann, the German father of John Bridger—trying to throw the Allies back into the sea while holding Rome hostage and using it as a staging ground and supply line to the front; Pope Pius XII, deeply involved in the plot to remove Hitler from power while struggling to maintain Vatican impartiality, mediate between the West and Nazi Germany, save Rome from destruction, and protect the city’s Jews and others from extermination; and finally, the Partisans represented by Teresa Kruger, daughter of Hollmann and half-sister of John Bridger, who during the German Occupation is transformed from a passive member of Rome’s aristocracy to an active Resistance fighter.

Based on actual historical events and newly released OSS/CIA and KGB documents, Altar of Resistance recounts in detail the long, hard road that led to the Allied liberation of Rome. War is about simple survival, and Bridger and Teresa must battle their father and the Nazi occupiers in the name of freedom; while the Allies’ secret agent—the Supreme Pontiff and leader of the Vatican’s Church of Spies, Roman-born Pope Pius XII—orchestrates events behind the scenes in an effort to thwart German oppression, ensure the overthrow of the Führer, and usher in a viable post-Hitler government.

 
My Review 
 
This is the second book I have read by this author. The first one was fine but this book was great. More than great, Altar of Resistance is spectacular! While, this book may have been the second one in this series I had no issues jumping right into it. In fact, I felt like it could stand on its own.

Instantly, I was drawn to this story and the characters. Although, the time period is what gave this book the cherry on top. If Colonel Wilhelm and his children, John and Teresa had been in modern day times, I still would have liked them but what they all endured during this time period is what gave them that extra depth of intensity. Once, I started reading this book, I could not stop reading. I read it in a few hours. Strong beginning, middle, and ending. I plan to go back and check out the prior book in this trilogy as well as patiently awaiting the final book.
 
An Interview with
        Samuel Marquis
 
1.      Altar of Resistance is your sixth novel in a little over a year, and the second book in one of three very different series. That’s incredibly prolific—how do you stay disciplined and focused as a writer (especially while maintaining a career as a VP at an environmental consulting firm)?
 
It’s not easy to juggle everything, but I do it because I love to write compelling stories. I also happen to have a backlog of seven very good thrillers since I have been at this for a few years and have had two New York literary agents. But the main reason I do it is because my father died a year ago and my new motto is “I Ain’t Wasting Time No More” in honor of the legendary Allman Brothers’ song. Good stories need to be out there in the world, and it doesn’t matter how they get there. Indie, traditional, hybrid—they are, ultimately, all the same. It’s about the storytelling and nothing more. Compelling stories and compelling voices must be heard, and it doesn’t matter what road they take to reach out and touch readers.
 
2.      How does it feel to return once again to your WWII series (Book 1, Bodyguard of Deception, was released in March 2016)? Why is Altar of Resistance (Book 2 of the series) an important book?
 
I love researching and writing WWII espionage thrillers most of all, but the genre does take a lot of hard work and the book readers tend to be some of my harshest critics (insert laughter). Altar of Resistance is a basically a history book, written as a thriller, covering the German Occupation of Rome and Italian Campaign of 1943-1945. It is an important subject for several reasons. First, the Italian Campaign—or the Guerra di Liberazione (War of Liberation) as Italians prefer to call it—was the only theater of operations that included a major world leader, Pope Pius XII, caught up not only in the middle of the fighting but in the midst of a Nazi occupation and a major plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler. Second, it involved the most diverse assemblage of nationalities and differing races among the Allied and Axis armies during WWII, including not only Americans (including  Native-Americans, African-Americans, Hispanic-Americans, and Japanese-Americans), British, and Germans in the fighting, but also Italians (on both sides), Austrians, Yugoslavians, French, Moroccans, Canadians, New Zealanders (whites and Maori), Poles, Nepalese, Indians (all faiths), South Africans (white, Asian, black, Zulus), and in the air forces, Australians, Rhodesians, and others. The war in Italy was a truly multinational and multiracial affair in a truly global war. Finally, the Italian Campaign showcased some of the most furious fighting of the war with over a million total casualties, including more than 300,000 Allied and 500,000 German casualties and over 150,000 Italian civilians killed. I wanted to recreate this monumental event in American and world history in a sprawling, epic spy thriller reminiscent of Ken Follett’s WWII novels.   
 
3.      What are the biggest lessons you’ve learned so far during your ambitious and successful publishing journey?
 
There is only one reason to be a suspense writer, and that’s to write great stories that resonate and will stand the test of time. Unless you’re a mega-bestselling author, there is certainly no reason to do it for the money. Telling compelling stories, then, is the sole justifiable reason to write novels that meets every litmus test. If you’re doing it for any other reason, you’re in the wrong business. It’s about the art of great storytelling and nothing else.


 

 

 

4.      You mentioned that you are especially interested in military history and intelligence, specifically related to the Golden Age of Piracy, Plains Indian Wars, World War II, espionage, and the War on Terror. What is it about those subjects that fascinate you, and does that fascination influence your work?

 

The short answer is that I’ve always loved history, especially the underdogs and iconoclasts of American history. I grew up watching classic World War Two movies and Westerns with my dad like The Great Escape, The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, The Dirty Dozen, The Wild Bunch, Where Eagles Dare, and Patton. These movies had a profound impact on me and the stories I have come to tell. Because of this, it should come as no surprise that my books have been compared to The Great Escape, Public Enemies, The Day of the Jackal, and old-time Westerns. One reviewer said of my WWII thriller, Bodyguard of Deception: “Marquis throws in everything but the kitchen sink.” I consider that not a criticism, but a badge of honor, and a tribute to me and my late father and the movies we watched together growing up. Bodyguard of Deception is currently an Amazon Bestseller in Historical Thrillers, as well as a Top 10 Best World War II Spy Book and Top 10 Fiction Book Set During WWII on Goodreads, along with such WWII thrillers as Follett’s Eye of the Needle and The Key to Rebecca, Daniel Silva’s The Unlikely Spy, and Ben Mcintyre’s Agent Zigzag and Double Cross.

 

5.      Who are your greatest literary influences?

 

In terms of literature and literary fiction, I am a great admirer of Hawthorne, Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Steinbeck, A.B. Guthrie, Jr., Michael Shaara, Larry McMurtry, E.L. Doctorow, and Charles Frazier. For non-fiction my roster of greats includes Erik Larson, Robert Utley, Stephen Ambrose, Kevin Duffus, Shelby Foote, Ben Macintyre, S.C. Gwynne, and Hampton Sides. My favorite commercial fiction writers are Frederick Forsyth, Gore Vidal, James Clavell, Dennis Lehane, Barry Eisler, Daniel Silva, Preston and Child, Ken Follett, Stephen Hunter, and Richard North Patterson. I tend to gravitate towards authors who tell stories in the same way I do and to subject matter dealing with my areas of research interest in pirates, the Plains Indian Wars, World War II, espionage, the War on Terror, and modern science with a geological, biological, or paleontological component.

 

6.      What is the number one thing you want readers to take away from your novel?

 

I want people to root for the underdog. All of my books feature underdogs, iconoclasts, and sympathetic villains that are torn up inside on account of the havoc-causing decisions they are forced to make. I also want the reader to come away having learned something, whether it be about WWII spy tradecraft, German POW camps in America, the CIA and modern-day espionage, deep well fracking and earthquakes, political assassinations, or the book publishing industry with warts and all.

Raw Deal

Savannah's brother was killed in a cage fight with Mike "Red Reaper" Larson after a savage punch to the head.

When Mike shows up at the funeral, he’s nothing like Savannah expected. Gone is the fierce, brutal beast she’s seen in the cage. In his place is a beautiful man torn with guilt, seeking forgiveness, and willing to do anything to ease her pain.

Her family doesn’t approve, but her heart doesn’t stand a chance. Irresistibly drawn together, neither of them can deny the intoxicating desire unleashed between them, turning their pain into the most exquisite pleasure.

But every time Mike steps into the cage, Savannah knows she could lose him too. She can’t go through that again, but how can she let go of the one man who sets her body and soul on fire?


My Review

Savannah and Mike steam up the sheets in the bedroom. Yet, it is not all about sex. They share an actual emotional connection to each other. Although, I had never met Savannah's brother, Tommy, I could tell that she really was close and cared for him a lot. So, I was glad that Mike came into Savannah's life to help ease away her pain.

Mike may be tough in the ring but he is all heart outside of the ring. The grieve he felt having been the one to take Savannah's brother away was evident in his pain. Getting introduced to Mike's brother, Zane; Mike is the mild one. This is a good start to this series. I can't wait to read the next book and get to know more about the Larson Brothers.

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.

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

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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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