Month: May 2016

New Releases

AVampireToBeReckonedWith_w10035_300(1) medA VAMPIRE TO BE RECKONED WITH By RE Mullins Paranormal/Vampire/Romance Released March 23 by The Wild Rose Press

Vampire Metta Blautsauger is known as the family airhead and she works hard to keep up the façade. It’s the perfect cover as she goes from dispensing her own brand of justice as a vigilante to an agent for Orcus, the Nosferatu shadow agency. Captured, tortured, and left for dead, she is forced to leave both the agency and Lucas O’Cuinn, the mentor she’s grown to love. For the last century she’s struggled with regret and boredom. Then her life is given new meaning when four mortal ministers ask her help in stopping a human trafficking ring. If Orcus discovers her unsanctioned involvement, they will brand her as a rogue. The penalty is death. It’s only a matter of time before Lucas arrives—stake in hand. Lucas O’Cuinn has waited ninety-eight years for Metta’s return and he’s run out of patience. It’s time she remembers she belongs to him.

Wounded at HomeWOUNDED AT HOME Wounded Seal Trilogy Book 2 by Mitzi Pool Bridges Spicy Romantic Suspense Released April 20 by The Wild Rose Press

Financial analyst Sky Chapman must free her sister of a murder charge. Ex-SEAL Dirk Browning uses his skills as a private investigator and a military dog trainer to search for a way to keep Sky safe while they look for the killer and the missing millions the killer thinks she has. Neither Sky nor Dirk want the attraction that springs between them. She, because she refuses to fall into the philandering-husband trap both her mother and sister dove into. He, because his mother abandoned him to the Brownings at the age of ten and he never saw her again. The killer has given Sky a timeline. Find the money and turn it over, or she and her sister die. Will Sky survive long enough to explore the feelings she has for Dirk? Will Dirk be there for her? Or will the thief and killer make the questions moot?

The Blood Red CityTHE BLOOD RED CITY By Justin Richards Alternate Thriller Released March 29 by Thomas Dunne Books

The alien Vril are waking, and the Never War is heating up. Colonel Brinkman and his team at Station Z desperately need answers – they have to discover exactly what they are facing and how the attack will come. But the information doesn’t come easily. With a major Vril offensive imminent, the Nazis step up their own project to exploit Vril weapon and technology. Described at Indiana Jones meets The X-Files, THE BLOOD RED CITY is a sequel to THE SUICIDE EXHIBITION.

 

 

Skinny DippingSKINNY DIPPING WITH MURDER By Auralee Wallace An Otter Lake Mystery Released March 1 by Minotaur Books

Erica Bloom is in no rush to return to Otter Lake, the site of her mother’s spiritual retreat for women. But her new-age-y, well-meaning mother is losing her grip on the business and needs Erica’s help. So she heads back to her New Hampshire hometown, where nothing much has changed – except for maybe the body in the well ….

Review: ECHO by Lorena Glass

 

EchoECHO by Lorena Glass

MyInk Books / February 2015 / YA / 4.5 Stars

Following the death of her soulmate, Karissa Sheffield determines to find him again regardless of what she may have to do. With a few handy devices, one of which is a time-cutter and another is a can of Mace, she sets out on an adventure that will take her almost 1600 years into the past to the ancient Roman empire. One would think that her true love would be closer than that – after all, what happened to cause the man to have so much time between incarnations? However, Lorena Glass creates such a fascinating world with intriguing characters that it takes a long time before the reader realizes Roman soldier, Adregin Valyis could or would be reborn during that immense length of time.

Karissa brings an interesting skill set to the mix. Most people don’t speak conversational Latin and couldn’t survive in a time without medicine or emergency rooms. When Adregin is injured, she has to sew him up, borrowing a needle and thread from her landlord. The lack of indoor plumbing would be enough to send me to the nearest vortex or exit to the 21st century. An intrepid time-traveler, Karissa has no doubts that she’s where she’s meant to be, with the guy she loves whether his compatriots like and accept her or not.

The descriptions and the setting add an aura of authenticity to the story. The Roman empire may be falling, but Karissa knows what’s coming. She holds to the prescribed Time Traveler creed of not sharing the future with the natives. This provides yet another example of her abilities or preparation for the trip – most people wouldn’t know the details of the ancient world, i.e. the names of the various emperors or the specifics of their political careers.

While it isn’t totally clear who arranged Karissa’s journey to the 5th century or why, again these questions don’t really impede the flow of the story which totally engages the reader. The deliberate pacing suits this book although at times the sequence of events does seem a bit slow. In most stories, the characters reveal what happens and how they personally feel about it which provides the reader the opportunity to connect with them. Some questions remain unanswered in this particular book, such as how Karissa knows where and when to find her soulmate or how Adregin knows how to locate her when they are separated. What connects them? Since this is obviously the beginning of a series, hopefully the answers will come in their own time.

In Echo, a fair amount of the book is told in omniscient viewpoint and this may distance the reader from the protagonists. The disconnection may often be seen in literary fiction so it won’t prove unfamiliar to more sophisticated readers, but may prove off-putting occasionally for genre or category aficionados who prefer the literary tenet of “show, don’t tell.” The dialogue really advances the plot in the last half of the book and Ms. Glass utilizes it to great effect. Her use of humor will also spark laughter, especially when Adregin and Karissa argue.

In conclusion, the historical background with its rich details provides an intriguing backdrop to a fascinating story. The well-developed characters that revolve through this tale have sufficient depth to engage readers. More physical descriptions would have helped us view the ensemble cast as well as additional sensory details, such as the use of smell, taste, sound in various scenes. Still, Ms. Glass creates a world that will undoubtedly encourage most readers to visit and stay a while.

Review provided by Shannon Kennedy for her column Shannon’s Space for the May 2016 edition of The Book Breeze.

Book Excerpt: THE TASTE OF MURDER by Trisha Sugarek

51IH-EyfbtL._SX326_BO1,204,203,200_THE TASTE OF MURDER by Trisha Sugarek

©The contestants were called back to the set and lined up in front of the judges. Steve reiterated for the viewing audience the ingredients of the shopping bag. He then called on the first chef to present their dish which, by now, was sitting in front of each of the judges.

“Judges, I have prepared for you, duck in an orange and veal sauce with a brussel sprouts and apple slaw.” Chef Lisa Brownley told them.

The judges sampled the dish and gave their critiques.

“Chef Lisa,” Jeff Kirikos spoke, “the dish’s presentation is beautiful…”

“Thank you, Chef,” Lisa replied.

“…however, the orange in the veal sauce is a little overwhelming.”

“Wow, really? You think?” Lisa’s tone was sarcastic at the judge’s critique.

Alexis Gemignani jumped in, “I disagree with Chef Jeff and I love the raw sprouts and apple slaw. It adds a nice fresh taste.”

“Thank you, Chef.” Lisa smiled at the judge.

“Judge Matt Murphy, what do you think?” Steve asked.

“I’m not a fan of raw brussel sprouts but overall the dish was good.”

The cameras went black while Chef Lisa’s dish was removed and the next entrée was placed in front of the judges.

“I need fresh water here, please,” Jeff Kirikos said. A crew member rushed in with a pitcher of cold water. A makeup person hurried over to remove shine from Alexis’ nose.

“Clear the set, people. We’re rolling,” the director yelled.

“Chef Suzette, what have you prepared for our judges?” the host asked.

“I have prepared Peking duck won tons for you with a sweet potato mash,” the contestant explained.

The three judges sampled the won tons and smiled.

“Very creative, chef,” Alexis Gemignani smiled.

“Delicious.” Matt chimed in. “Very nice, but I find the portion a little large, Chef.”

The camera panned to the third judge, Jeff Kirikos.

“I like the won ton idea very much. Unfortunately I got an inedible and rather large piece of duck skin in one of mine.”

Suzette blushed. “I’m sorry, Chef.”

The process was repeated; the won tons were removed and three attractive dishes with duck nestled in sauce and perfectly cooked brussel sprouts were placed before the judges.

Cutlery was replaced with new and makeup artists scurried away.

“Chef Alex, tell the judges about your entrée.”

The camera zoomed in on a perfectly plated dish. “Judges, I prepared a sweet and sour duck, making a sauce using the cotton candy, red wine and veal demi-glace. With pan roasted brussel sprouts with pancetta. Please enjoy!”

The three judges sampled the plate, chewing and eyeing the contestants.

“Very nice,” Matt Murphy was the first to speak. “The sweet and sour is delicate and doesn’t over-whelm the duck. It’s the best entrée for my palate.”

“Thank you Chef,” Alex beamed.

While the other judges critiqued the dish, Kirikos was practically gobbling his entrée. He was clearly a big fan of the sweet and sour sauce.

“Adding the pancetta to the roasted sprouts,” Judge Alexis Gemignani began, “was a brilliant move. Repurposing cooked duck is not easy but you were able to do it successfully.

Also many contestants either drown the protein in sauce or don’t put enough on the plate. Here you also succeeded. I would put this on my restaurant’s menu.”

“Thank you so much, Chef.” Alex was beside himself at the praise from one of the finest chefs in the country.

Suddenly Jeff Kirikos, sitting next to Alexis, began to cough and claw at his shirt collar. Alexis turned to him; the director yelled ‘Cut!’ The Chef’s personal assistant, standing behind the cameras, began to walk quickly to him. Before anyone could react Jeff fell forward, his face landing in the almost empty plate of sweet and sour duck.

Chef Alexis stood, her chair tumbling over. “Jeff!” she bent over the prostate form of the unconscious man. Chef Matt rose and crossed to Jeff, sitting him up.

The director yelled, “Call 9-1-1! Get those guys off the set!” He waved in the general direction of the contestants.

An assistant producer herded the contestants off the set and back towards the green room doors.

“Fuck! Is he gonna be all right?” Alex asked.

“Jesus, what just happened?” Lisa said as she was ushered through the doors.

“We’re screwed,” Suzette muttered.

Steve Parsons grabbed a napkin and began to wipe sauce and duck from Jeff’s face and spoke to him in low tones. “Jeff, can you hear me? Come on, buddy, wake up.”

A bloody brown foam trickled from the lips of the world renowned chef.

Book Excerpt: MOVE YOUR BLOOMING CORPSE by D.E. Ireland

Move Your Blooming CorpseMOVE YOUR BLOOMING CORPSE by D.E. Ireland

Blurb:  My Fair Lady characters Eliza Doolittle and Henry Higgins come to life again as a hilarious investigative team in this traditional mystery for fans of British mysteries. At the posh Royal Ascot, their idyllic outing turns deadly when someone is trampled during a race and a woman is found murdered.

Excerpt:

A beautiful blond woman sauntered through the crowd in their direction. Her apple green dress sparkled in the sunlight, drawing numerous stares.

“How dare she show her face here!” Lady Tansy said. “I told you I will not allow her anywhere near me!”

“Keep your voice down.” He grabbed her arm. “She’ll hear you.”

“I hope she does hear me. That trollop, that wanton baggage you throw money at. If you must make a fool of yourself, I’d rather you choose a woman less garish and slow-witted.”

“Enough,” he said between clenched teeth.

Lady Tansy shook free from his grip. “As though half of London doesn’t know about the pair of you. Now she further humiliates me by wearing the colors of your racing silks!”

The young woman drew near. Eliza now saw that her dress glittered with tiny green sequins, while her lacy bodice was dyed pale lilac. To complete the look, she sported a purple silk turban – something normally reserved for evening – but it looked sweet atop her honey blond curls.

“She has a right to wear them,” Lord Saxton muttered. “They’re her racing colors, too.”

“Don’t treat me like a fool!” His wife shouted so loud, everyone within ten feet turned in her direction. “I am well aware of how she seduced you into becoming a syndicate member. As she has seduced you in so much else. But I will not have it rubbed in my face!”

“I can’t stop her from wearing the colors. She paid for the privilege. And please remember that Turnbull was the fellow who brought her into the syndicate, not me.”

This enraged Lady Tansy even more. “You are both unspeakable cads.”

Saxton managed a drunken smile. “All is fair in love, war and horseracing.”

Lady Tansy slapped him so hard across the face, his hat flew off. While everyone gasped, she stormed into the crowd.

As Eliza stood speechless, Higgins appeared beside her. “What the devil is going on?”

Lord Saxton picked up his top hat and waved it at the onlookers. “Nothing to worry about. My wife had too much champagne.”

Stony silence greeted his words.

“Why is Diana Price wearing the horse’s racing colors?’ Higgins asked in a low voice.

Eliza realized he was right. The woman in the turban was Diana Price, a popular musical hall singer and former Gaiety Girl. “She owns a share in the Donegal Dancer.”

“I can’t keep track of who owns that horse. I’m afraid I’ll wake up one morning to discover I’ve become an owner, too.”

“I’m amazed you even know who Diana Price is,” Eliza said. “I thought you only went to Oscar Wilde plays.”

“Proves how little you know me. I never miss a Gilbert and Sullivan operetta. Miss Price sang Casilda in a production of The Gondoliers a year ago. Decent soprano voice, albeit a little ragged in the higher registers.”

Eliza frowned. “Even a drunk seaman at the Speckled Pig wouldn’t flaunt his fancy lady in front of his wife.”

Book Excerpt: BELOVED ENEMY by Hywela Lyn

Beloved EnemyBook Excerpt BELOVED ENEMY by Hywela Lyn

Synopsis:

Cat Kincaid is obsessed with killing the man she believes is responsible for the torture and death of her sister, but when she eventually catches up with him, survival becomes a greater priority than revenge.

Kerry Marchant, haunted by memories, regret and self-blame, shields himself from the pain of the past by committing himself totally to the starship, Destiny, of which he is part owner. However, the beautiful, red haired woman who reminds him of his lost love, and who he suspects is working for a corrupt regime, represents a possible threat not only to the ship, but to his heart.

Marooned on an inhospitable planet, they need to work together to stay alive, fighting not only unknown assailants, but their growing attraction. But how can they learn to trust each other when he has vowed never to get close to a woman again, and she made a solemn pledge to destroy him?

Excerpt:

Gravel and pebbles dug into her skin through the fabric of her clothing, as something dragged her toward the edge of the bank. She bit back a cry of horror as she glanced over her shoulder at the thing twining itself around her leg. An icy fear went through her. Snakes—the only creatures she really feared. She aimed her pistol and then realized it was not a serpent that dragged her toward the river, but a long, rubbery tentacle fastened around the tough material of her leggings and boot.

Before she could fire, Kerry let off another barrage of plasma bolts into the river, then leapt toward her and ripped the severed tentacle from her leg. It flapped around on the wet grass. She scrambled to her knees, still slightly winded and fired at the hideous thing. The foliage around it flared for a moment with an eerie green flame and the tentacle shrivelled into a slimy black mass, emitting a pungent odour and causing her to gag for a moment.

“It seems I was mistaken about the creature being dead.” Kerry prodded the smouldering mass with his boot and looked across over the water. “It is now.” He leaned down and grasped her wrist to haul her to her feet. “Are you hurt?”

“No, I don’t think so.” Her shoulder was sore and probably bruised but she’d live. She tried to control her shivering. The incident affected her more than she wanted to admit. Kerry’s proximity, naked to the waist, his lithe body shining from the water droplets that still clung to his skin, his legs swathed in tight black leather, did nothing to help. The last thing she wanted was for him to realise how scared she’d been when she thought a snake attacked her. “Thanks. That was close. It would have been a bit ironic if I’d been killed by the same creature I saved you from.”

She realized he still grasped her wrist. She tried to move away, but he pulled her back, obliging her to turn to him.

“You are trembling.”

“I’m fine.”

“No,” he said. “You’re not.” He pulled her closer and his eyes softened, his gaze holding her mesmerized. She opened her mouth to try to speak, but in the same instant he put his hand under her chin and his lips closed over hers. For a brief moment, she tried to resist but found herself drawn into his kiss as he deepened it, his hand brushing lightly through her hair. For a long moment, time seemed to stand still, and nothing mattered except his lips burning on hers. His tongue teased her own, demanding and insistent, his lips incredibly sensuous, firm, caressing. Through the thin material of her shirt, Cat felt the warmth of his bare chest pressed hard against her breasts. The cold metal of the capsule he obviously did not take off, even to bathe, dug into her skin, but the slight discomfort was nothing compared to the turmoil in her mind.

Review: KARMA by Nadine Nightingale

Karma_w10669_750Amanda Bishop was about to start a new life as a NYU student when her past forced her into another direction – at gunpoint.

Alex Remington is a hunter and Amanda’s former lover until he found out she was a witch. He didn’t take the news well, but when his brother disappeared it was Amanda he turned to for help.

KARMA is a perfectly paced paranormal mystery. Written in first person, we follow Amanda as she and Alex follow leads, pedophiles, and the occasional dead body to find Alex’s brother.

Nightingale seasons this complex plot with masterfully written flashbacks that bring just the right amount of information to the reader. This is no small feat. There is real skill in knowing just how much info to deliver this way without hijacking the plot and sending the reader off into the wilderness.

The story ends with a touch of foreboding, leaving us a hint of what may come in the next installment in this must read series.

This is a debut novel for Ms. Nightingale who professes to a serious Marvel superhero addition and considers the world her home. Nadine Nightingale is definitely an author to follow.

KARMA releases today and is available at the following sites:

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Karma-Drag-Me-Hell-Nadine-Nightingale-ebook/dp/B01DMWAGR4/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1459377434&sr=8-3&keywords=nadine+nightingale

Barnes and Noble:  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/karma-nadine-nightingale/1123601983?ean=2940157776381

The Wild Rose Press:  http://www.wildrosepublishing.com/maincatalog_v151/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=191&products_id=6663

Book Excerpt: PRIME TIME by Hank Phillippi Ryan

Excerpt from PRIME TIMEprimetime-225

When I arrive at the cemetery, a long, slow-moving caravan of cars is snaking down a narrow unpaved road, each car puffing up a plume of gravel dust as it curves past a stone and masonry sign that says “Eventide.” I ease my Jeep onto the end of the line, and pushing my conscience out of the way, flip the switch to turn on my headlights.

It’s Mack Briggs’ funeral procession, and now I’m part of it.

The cars line up to park, one after the other, on the side of a grassy rise. Beyond that, I see a dark green canopy set up on metal poles, rows of folding chairs underneath. The first arrivals file into the seating area, men in substantial overcoats, hatless, braving the cold. Women wrapped in extra shawls and close-fitting hats against the increasing chill, their faces somber and serious, some holding flowers and little prayer books. A little boy carrying a firetruck stumbles a bit in the gravel, and as he grabs the hand of the man walking next to him. I can tell they’ve both been crying. A flock of gray birds wheels gracefully over the mourners, gliding through the dusky sky then leaving the cemetery silent.

It’s almost time for me to turn into the parking area, but now, sneaking into someone’s funeral, my conscience kicks its way back in. Questioning my own motives and attempting to retrieve my moral compass, all I can think about is getting out of here. This is a hideous invasion of privacy. This is why people hate reporters. It’s shocking, unacceptable, certainly a no-refund no-exchange ticket to hell and eternal damnation.

But I can save myself. All I have to do is say, I made a mistake. I’m in the wrong place, forgive me, I thought this was someone else’s service. I’m so sorry, big adios, and exit.

But, I hafta know…

I look up, and a dark suited attendant is waving me into the next spot. I follow his directions, lock my better judgment in the glove compartment, and get out of the car.

Staking out a spot behind the rows of folding chairs, I try to stay hidden by an ancient maple tree. No one seems to notice me, but problem is, I can only see backs of heads, which is no help at all in my search for suspects. I thought I might recognize someone or get some clue by coming here, like the FBI agents who shadow the edges of organized crime funerals to see if some fugitive mob boss, inexorably drawn to the burial of his arch rival, sneaks out of hiding to savor a final moment of gangster revenge. So much for that idea.

The minister looks up from this Bible, scanning the group, squinting with stern disapproval. The mourners look at each other, concerned and upset. I suddenly hear why—someone’s cell phone is trilling, muffled slightly but still a disastrous breach of etiquette for some poor–

I dive for my purse, whirling to put the tree between me and the service. It’s my phone. I plow though my bag and smash the off button without even looking at my caller ID. Good work, I congratulate myself. Subtle.

I lean against the tree, holding my breath. A moment’s pause, and the minister continues. I wait, envisioning some black-suited funeral home goons picking me up by the elbows and throwing me head over heels out of the cemetery.

I’m clammy with my imminent doom. No one at the station even knows I’m here, so Kevin O’Bannon can totally cut me loose, point to some clause in my rapidly expiring contract that says I’m legally on my own if I do something that he, the news director, doesn’t know about. I’ll be instantly fired. I see my entire life savings, including my plastic surgery fund, heading into the coffers of lawyers and going to pay huge fines.

Course they don’t teach in J-school: Deniability 101: Make sure you get permission for everything.

The minister’s head is bowed again, and it sounds like he’s nearing the end of the service. The mourners seem to be focused on their sorrow and not some misfit with a cell phone. No goons in sight.

I echo their murmured “Amen,” and then watch the group move to pay their final respects as the casket is lowered. I’m almost in the clear. No lawsuits, no headlines. I’ll just hang here until the funeral is over and pretend the whole thing never happened. I admit I still haven’t seen anyone I recognize, which is a bummer, but on the bright side, no one has recognized me, either.

“Charlie McNally?”

Busted.