Monday, April 25, 2016

Book Spotlight! Death by Times New Roman by Douglas B. Carlyle

Eighteen Books…Eighteen Towns…Eighteen Murders!

FBI Special Agent Cat Kavanagh is trailing a vicious killer who stabbed each of his victims. It is more than coincidental that every time author Bradley R. Woodbury publishes another best-selling novel, police find a woman dead, always in the same quiet town the author had chosen as the setting for his book.

A decorated former Army Captain, Kavanagh is tough, cunning, and beautiful. Now, she is the bait for Woodbury’s final novel. Will she find the killer before she, too, suffers Death by Times New Roman?

Friday, April 22, 2016

Science Fiction: On my Radar

Recently I have been getting into Science Fiction and I have really enjoyed the genre and what it has to offer. As many of my friends know I am really big on strong character development and a solid plot. In the past sometimes I felt that the science fiction books focused more on the societies and their social implications. Or at least the ones I read did. Which I feel is important but I felt the characters were flat with no depth. It did not make the story real to me. Character development will make or break a story. With those frustrations and feelings, I put the genre aside. Until now. I had a couple of science fiction stories offered to me to take a look at and I was impressed. I won’t mention those titles until later on. I want to really expand my thoughts on those stories before I share.

Meanwhile indiebrag has a quality selection of science fiction that I want to take a look at. Below are three that I have added to my reading pile. I hope you take the time to check these books out and explore what indiebrag has to offer.

B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree: Aegis Rising by S.S. Segran

Over a remote northern forest, a small plane carrying five teenage friends’ flies into a freak storm. Struck by lightning, the aircraft crashes and the passengers find themselves cast into a life-changing adventure.

In a hidden valley, a mysterious people gaze at the stormy sky as a glowing object with fiery wings disappears behind a mountain ridge. The astonishing sight reignites an ancient prophecy foretelling the arrival of five chosen ones destined to become bearers of light against a dark storm gathering on humanity’s horizon.

In a distant city, a secretive organization led by a shadowy figure initiates a sequence of cataclysmic events designed to wreak havoc across the planet, beginning with a remote mining site in northern Canada.

As the three worlds collide, unlikely heroes arise. Armed with powers entrusted to them by the ancient prophecy and the resilience of their life-long bond, the five teens take a stand against a malevolent foe.
Author’s non-profit for youth empowerment click here

B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree: Nine Meals by Mike Kilroy

When the sun belched and the power grid failed, it was only nine meals until the end of the world. Billy “Shep” Shepard always thought the apocalypse would come from an asteroid with a funny name, or a super bug, or a nuclear war, or even Yellowstone blowing its top. It came from none of those things. Instead it came from an angry sun in the form of the biggest Coronal Mass Ejection mankind had ever seen – and it slapped the human race back a century. In these grim times, people kill for food, water and weapons. They scratch out a feeble existence after “The Ejection.” But not Shep. His biggest question each day in his underground bunker is “Cheese Ravioli, Beefaroni or SpaghettiOs?” Shep soon discovers that nothing in this new world is guaranteed. He and Antigone, a girl he rescues, are forced to take a perilous journey across an unyielding landscape toward the one place rumored to be unsullied by the disaster. Along the way they must overcome hunger, disease, desperation and death while running from a man who wants nothing more than vengeance.

B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree: Star Rider on the Razor’s Edge
by Heidi Skarie

Undercover operative Toemeka Ganti, code-named Star Rider, lives on the edge.

Her latest mission is to overthrow the despot of Jaipar, General Bhandar. His protection comes from sorcerer Samrat Condor, an interplanetary conqueror whose space fleet destroyed Toemeka’s home planet and killed her family years ago. And Condor isn’t about to lose his stranglehold on Jaipar.

Making matters worse, Toemeka must preserve her cover while secretly developing an oscillator, a shield-destroying device wanted by both sides. All this must be accomplished under the watchful eye of her boss, Commander Rochambeau, who is pressuring Toemeka to become his mistress.

Accompanied by her Coalition team and trusted partner Erling Fenian, Toemeka bands with the local underground resistance and Michio Kimes, a handsome spiritual warrior trained to fight sorcery. Together they must battle to free the people of Jaipar and restore its rightful heir to power.

For more great selection of B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree Science Fiction click here

Friday, April 15, 2016

Hello New Books!

These are some titles I recently acquired on my shelf at NetGalley to review. So many books…So little time…But I can’t help want more!

Pub Date 12 Jul 2016

A tragedy from the past resurfaces in this tale of family secrets and reignited love.

After her mother's death twelve years ago, Lynette Carlisle watched her close-knit family unravel. One by one, her four older siblings left their Nantucket home and never returned. All seem to harbor animosity toward their father, silently blaming him for their mother's death. Nobody will talk about that dreadful day, and Lynette can't remember a bit of it.

But when next-door neighbor Nicholas Cooper returns to Nantucket, he brings the past with him. Once her brother's best friend and Lynette's first crush, Nick seems to hiding things from her. Lynette wonders what he knows about the day her mother died and hopes he might help her remember the things she can't.

But Nick has no intention of telling Lynette the truth. Besides the damage it might cause his own family, he doesn't want to risk harming the fragile friendship between him and the woman he once thought of as a kid sister.

As their father's failing health and financial concerns bring the Carlisle siblings home, secrets begin to surface—secrets that will either restore their shattered relationships or separate the siblings forever. But pulling up anchor on the past propels them into the perfect storm, powerful enough to make them question all they ever believed in.

Pub Date 04 Jan 2016

What if your lover betrayed you, crowning you with sorrow? What if you were then kidnapped, threatened with death? Brokenhearted, you almost wish that the kidnappers would kill you. You wish your world would come to an end. Only, you slowly realize, your world is everyone else's. This is Fernanda's story.

Fernanda first met Randy when he and his friend Chance came to Mexico to celebrate graduating high school. It was love at first sight. After a marvelous time together and a single kiss, Randy smuggled Fernanda across the border, at her request, to start a new life. But after coming to America she lost contact with Randy. Ten years passed before he tracked her down again, and reclaimed her heart.

They now live in a cabin next to a quartz crystal mine in Arkansas. Fernanda has Randy's baby, a daughter, and all seems well, if not for certain rumors on the internet. Rumors that Fernanda is more than she appears to be. One of the rumors says that she is actually Fernanda the Ripper, member of a thousand-year-old Indian cult of murderers. Another rumor says the opposite, that she is actually Fernanda the Innocent, born to be sacrificed, that she is perhaps even the long-awaited Christian Messiah. In any event, the FBI are involved, are watching the cabin and Fernanda's every movement. When Randy takes Fernanda to Paris on their second honeymoon, the FBI follow.

Meanwhile FBI agent Ed Pushkin, on loan to INTERPOL, is pursuing another case. He is told to go to the Saint Anthony Chapel in Pittsburgh to investigate the theft of a holy relic, a thorn from the Crown of Thorns. The investigation leads to London, where another holy thorn has been stolen from an exquisite reliquary in the British Museum, and a guard killed. In London Ed meets Chief Investigator Phoebe Mullins, who has a preposterous theory that leads them to Paris, to the Cathedral of Notre Dame, where the original Crown of Thorns is kept under lock and key.

After a series of events in Paris that bring the individuals involved in these two FBI cases together, Fernanda is taken by strange men on a train to Istanbul, followed by Ed and CI Mullins and Randy. In ancient Istanbul, formerly Constantinople, Fernanda must make a decision that could impact not only her baby but all mankind.

Pub Date 14 May 2009

Renée is the concierge of a grand Parisian apartment building, home to members of the great and the good. Over the years she has maintained her carefully constructed persona as someone reliable but totally uncultivated, in keeping, she feels, with society's expectations of what a concierge should be. But beneath this façade lies the real Renée: passionate about culture and the arts, and more knowledgeable in many ways than her employers with their outwardly successful but emotionally void lives.

Down in her lodge, apart from weekly visits by her one friend Manuela, Renée lives resigned to her lonely lot with only her cat for company. Meanwhile, several floors up, twelve-year-old Paloma Josse is determined to avoid the pampered and vacuous future laid out for her, and decides to end her life on her thirteenth birthday. But unknown to them both, the sudden death of one of their privileged neighbours will dramatically alter their lives forever.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Book Spotlight: A Rip in the Veil By Anna Belfrage

On a stifling August day in 2002, Alexandra Lind is thrown several centuries backwards in time. She lands at the feet of Matthew Graham – an escaped convict making his way home to Scotland in this the year of our Lord, 1658.

Matthew doesn’t quite know what to make of this concussed and injured woman who has seemingly fallen from the skies. What is she, a witch?

Alex gawks at this tall, gaunt man with hazel eyes, dressed in what to her mostly looks like rags. At first she thinks he might be some sort of hermit, an oddball, but she quickly realises the odd one out is she.

Catapulted from a life of modern comfort, Alex grapples with this new existence, further complicated by the dawning realisation that someone from her time has followed her here – and not exactly to extend a helping hand.

Potential compensation for this brutal shift in fate comes in the shape of Matthew – a man she should never have met, not when she was born three centuries after him. He quickly proves himself a willing and most capable protector, but Matthew comes with baggage of his own, and on occasion it seems his past will see him killed. At times Alex finds it all exceedingly exciting, longing for the structured life she used to have.

How will she ever get back? And more importantly, does she want to?

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Review: A Murder in Time by Julie McElwain

When brilliant FBI agent Kendra Donovan stumbles back in time and finds herself in a 19th century English castle under threat from a vicious serial killer, she scrambles to solve the case before it takes her life—200 years before she was even born.

Beautiful and brilliant, Kendra Donovan is a rising star at the FBI. Yet her path to professional success hits a speed bump during a disastrous raid where half her team is murdered, a mole in the FBI is uncovered and she herself is severely wounded. As soon as she recovers, she goes rogue and travels to England to assassinate the man responsible for the deaths of her teammates. While fleeing from an unexpected assassin herself, Kendra escapes into a stairwell that promises sanctuary but when she stumbles out again, she is in the same place - Aldrich Castle - but in a different time: 1815, to be exact. Mistaken for a lady's maid hired to help with weekend guests, Kendra is forced to quickly adapt to the time period until she can figure out how she got there; and, more importantly, how to get back home. However, after the body of a young girl is found on the extensive grounds of the county estate, she starts to feel there's some purpose to her bizarre circumstances. Stripped of her twenty-first century tools, Kendra must use her wits alone in order to unmask a cunning madman.

My thoughts:

I’d like to start off my mentioning the whole concept of time-travel story. Sometimes it works in stories and sometimes it does not. In this story, it works and the author gives such a brilliant and believable description of Kendra being pulled through time. For me that was pretty intense. I could almost feel the physical pain she was going through.

I really dig the premise of an FBI Agent traveling through time and ending up working a case of a 19th century murder that turns into much more. You also meet some other great characters that race to help her solve the crimes. For starters, Rose, Rebecca, Molly, Alec and Duke Aldridge are about the best written supporting characters I have read in a good while. Most of all I was so fascinated with Kendra’s process in trying to solve these murders and some of the other characters thought process. I believe Kendra really brought that out in them and she really got them to think outside their 19th century minds.

The killings are graphic, there is profanity in this story. Quite a bit of it in the beginning actually. I’m not one for profanity but I understand the scenario the author was portraying. Intense situations cause people to react in all kinds of ways. For many, profanity is one of them. Even though the killings are graphic, this gives you a real sense of what the victims are going through, which makes the story all the more intense. I think that was brilliantly done and gives you a real understanding of that type of evil in the world.

I found this story to be atmospheric, packed with lots of action, high-energy situations and such intense and real emotions. I couldn’t put it down. I loved it and I hope there will be a sequel!  I’ve rated this book four and a half stars.

I received a copy from NetGalley for an honest review.
You can find other great reviews and posts at my Wordpress here

Stephanie M. Hopkins

Friday, April 8, 2016

New Book Release: Tempest by David Cook

TEMPEST has received this fabulous review from Jim Stempel, the author of seven books, including Windmill Point released in March, 2016 by Penmore Press. He has this to say:

''It is February, 1797, and the French are up to great mischief along the southwestern coast of Wales. At Fishguard – a sleepy fishing village featuring a small harbor where a stone fort looms above – a force of some 1500 of the French Black Legion is rowed ashore disguised in British uniforms, dyed dark brown for purposes of deception. Sent by the French Directory, and led by the ex-patriot American, Colonel William Tate, their objective is to generate a general revolt against the king’s authority in the region. The mission’s progress, however, has been watched closely by Major Lorn Mullone, an Irish officer in the British Army of considerable experience, who has accurately gauged the true and sinister purpose of the landing.

Thus begins Tempest, David Cook’s sixth entry in his Soldier Chronicles Novella Series, and as Major Mullone rides into Fishguard, the reader rides with him into a seething cauldron of international intrigue, regional animosities, and personal vendetta that all soon conjoin to explode in violence. Cook, a master of the time period, brings this true story to life with a historian’s eye for the facts coupled with an artist’s fine touch. His scenes of battle are gripping and accurate, just as his descriptions of the Welch countryside – the wildlife, vegetation, and the locals themselves – are wonderfully evocative of both time and place. Indeed, it is Cook’s skillful juxtaposition of these disparate elements that brings Tempest to life for the reader, ultimately vaulting this fascinating story from the realm of mere historical fiction into that far rarer sphere of true art. For anyone interested in a vivid and captivating tale of international intrigue during the Napoleonic era, Tempest is highly recommended.''

Author Bio:

David Cook has been interested in history since his school days, and developed a love for the Napoleonic Wars era from his father, who painted and amassed a lead model army of the Battle of Waterloo. From there David became fascinated with The American Civil War, The English Civil Wars and English medieval history, particularly the legend of Robin Hood. David is writing a novel entitled The Wolfshead, a story of Robin Hood, but based on the original medieval ballads as the source.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

No One Knows by J.T Ellison

Book Description from Goodreads:

The day Aubrey Hamilton’s husband is declared dead by the state of Tennessee should bring closure so she can move on with her life. But Aubrey doesn’t want to move on; she wants Josh back. It’s been five years since he disappeared, since their blissfully happy marriage—they were happy, weren’t they?—screeched to a halt and Aubrey became the prime suspect in his disappearance. Five years of emptiness, solitude, loneliness, questions. Why didn’t Josh show up at his friend’s bachelor party? Was he murdered? Did he run away? And now, all this time later, who is the mysterious yet strangely familiar figure suddenly haunting her new life?

The element of surprise is important in mystery thrillers. Did I get that from this book? Find out April 12th HERE!

Stephanie M. Hopkins