Donna’s favorite reads in 2015

The December column is always my favorite because I get to look back at my favorite reads from the year.

Duke City Desperado2015 saw the third book in the Duke City series by Max Austin released in June. DUKE CITY DESPERADO was a fun frolic through the misadventures of Dylan James and his buddy Doc who tried to rob a bank through the drive-up window.

Yeah, most of us would see the folly in this right from theDuke City Hit start but Doc, well, his perspective was skewed. It comes as no surprse that Doc was immediately captured but Dylan manages to stay about a half-step away from the law through a crazy set of circumstances that only Max Austin can deliver.

517UBdb43dL._SX373_BO1,204,203,200_Each book in the series stands alone with one common element: Alburburque, New Mexico. If you like crime from a slightly tweeked angle you’ve got to give the Duke City series a go.

 

 

The Jamie Sinclair series by Nichole Christoff is a hit for me. The debut 51U7daFZDcL._AC_UL320_SR242,320_was THE KILL LIST where Jamie and the baggage she calls “ex-husband” try to rescue his three-year-old daughter from kidnappers. In the course of her investigation she meets her love interest Adam Barrett who feeds stray dogs. Ladies, can I get a collective *sigh* on this?

51JHDkkSCwL._AC_UL320_SR240,320_THE KILL SHOT  goes international as Jamie tries to understand what send Adam rogue.

THE KILL BOX dives into Adam’s past when he returns 515VW7PtWhL._SX373_BO1,204,203,200_home unexpectedly and Jamie is hired by his grandmother to investigate his bizarre behavior.

Tightly written, with great insight to military life, Christoff delivers a fast-paced series for the romantic suspense crowd. I definitely recommend you grab all three.

41nV2oVnGZL._SX311_BO1,204,203,200_Another series that grabbed me was the urban fantasy series HIDDEN by Colleen Vanderlinden. I stumbled onto the books from a free give-away on FB and didn’t stop reading until the last book.

The first book, LOST GIRL, introduces us to Molly Brooks, a telepathic vigilante with a passion for finding lost girls. 519utj1FxaL._SX311_BO1,204,203,200_Fast paced, funny and heartwrenching this series delivers a host of fascinating supernatural characters in a highly imaginative world.

From the first page to the last this series is gold. I haven’t delved into Ms. Vanderlinden’s other series but they are certainly on my TBR pile.

 

Up From the GraveUP FROM THE GRAVE was the exit in the Night Huntress series by Jeaniene Frost. I enjoyed the strong willed vampire killing Kat and her teacher/husband Bones escapades and all the characters from that world, many have found series of their own.

While this wasn’t the best book in the series it is still a must read once you’ve dived into the tale and I do recommend that you enter their world.

 

Bronze FoxThe paranormal adventure BRONZE FOX by Diana Green was a delight. Tobias is a fox-shifter and Etty a street-wise ball of fire are teamed up in an adventure that is part Stargate, part steampunk and all adventure. Author of the Dragon Clan series, Ms. Green has written a wonderful tale. The only complaint I had was that I would have like the romance to take a little longer, I was enjoying the dance. BTW, Ms. Green also designed the gorgeous cover.

51CRFtWro3L._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_This year saw the final installment in the Unknown Assassin series by Allen Zadoff. The first book I AM THE WEAPON introduced us to Boy Nobody. Taken at an early age and transformed into a teenage assassin, Boy Nobody was always the new kid in school, becoming who ever he needed to in order to get the job done. All went well until he started asking questions.

I loved the series and the final book, I AM THE TRAITOR gave a satisfying I am the Traitorending to these fast paced and intriguing books. This award winning series has been translated into over a dozen languages and has been optioned by Sony Pictures. Great for teens and adults.

 

An Untamed StateRoxane Gay delivers the powerful tale of Mireille Duval Jameson in AN UNTAMED STATE. While visiting family in Haiti Mireille was ripped from her fairy tale life and held for ransom. Knowing her father would never pay, this strong-willed woman fought to survive the horrific abuses inflicted on her by her captors.

The true power of this story comes in the second half of the book, after Mireille has been released by the kidnappers. Her journey back from the trauma was something I could not stop reading.

 

51HRGdMz39L._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_I requested a review copy of this book because Barney Teegarden just seemed like the kind of guy whose company I would enjoy. I was right. COMING BACK by John Inman was a wonderful tale of people who look out for each other with tenderness and humor. I look forward to grabbing the first two books in this series.

 

51sUwrukhPL._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_This last book in my list of 2015 favorites is THE SOUND OF GLASS by New York bestselling author Karen White.

The generational effects of domestic violence are at the heart of this story. The story opens with a tragic plane crash in 1955 near the home of Edith Heyward in Beauford, South Carolina that deposits a suitcase in Edith’s yard and leaves the reader with a mystery.

Fast forward to 2014, Merritt Heyward loses her firefighter husband but inherits his family home in Beaufort where she meets the brother-in-law she didn’t know she had. Arriving in Beaufort on Merritt’s heel is her too-young stepmother, Loralee, and her half brother, Owen.

White brilliantly guides us through the awkward interactions of four people who seemingly have little in common as they grow to become a family. Rich details, compelling characters and numerous secrets keep you engaged until the last page. I loved this book.

Donna writes the review column The Eclectic Express for the Book Breeze.

Interview: Diana Green author of BRONZE FOX

Bronze Fox Ecover - MediumI loved your first book in the Rifters series, BRONZE FOX. You’ve created a complex and fascinating world with shape shifting, history, magic, other worlds along with well-developed characters. Tell us about your characters.

Thank you for hosting me, here at the Book Breeze. It’s great to have a chance to share information with readers.

I’m glad you enjoyed Bronze Fox. I fell in love with the setting and the characters as I was writing them. Tobias is so dashing and daring, but he’s also genuinely concerned for others. I like his considerate and generous nature. It fits well with Etty’s personality. She’s someone who is very warm and big-hearted under her tough exterior. They’ve both lived through difficult pasts, and this has made them strong. Bringing this strength and courage to their work makes them a dynamic team.

A central theme of the book is human trafficking. What led you to choose this subject?

Once I imagined the rift, containing different worlds connected by portals, I began to think of what kinds of people (Rifters) would travel these unusual routes. There would be explorers, smugglers, scientists, scavengers, and likely slavers. After I came up with the idea of a shifter world, with different shape-shifting tribes, the inter-world slave trade plot fell into place. Slavery is so horrible, in all its aspects. I wanted to highlight that, as a more substantial theme, running alongside the lighter adventure romance.

Can you share what we can look forward to in the next installment of the Rifters’ series?

The second Rifters novel, Veiled Snake, should release in early 2016. Here is the description from the back cover.

At the age of twenty nine, Susan Thorpe has her future well in order, with a prestigious job and a high-ranking fiancé. She has always prided herself on being in control of her emotions and her destiny. But all that changes when a friend is brutally murdered, and a crucial prototype is stolen from the Academy lab.

Now she must join forces with Tobias Shelton, Etty Sikes, and Jamie Keegan, a rogue rifter from Earth. Can they find the culprits in time to avert disaster? And can she trust a loose cannon like Jamie? He’s her opposite in almost every way. Yet he holds her life, and possibly her heart, in his hands.

I love your book cover. Can you tell us who designed the cover? The artist should get some recognition.

Thank you! I designed the cover myself, and I’m happy with the result. I feel like it captures Tobias well.

As a trained artist, I couldn’t resist learning how to make my own covers. After all, who knows the characters and tone of a book better than the author? I design all my covers except those with the Wild Rose Press.

Do you have a favorite writing place or writing rituals?

Because I suffer from an auto-immune disorder that impacts my energy levels and stamina, I write using a laptop, in my recliner. It works really well and allows me to write twice as long as I could sitting up at a desk.

One writing ritual I’ve developed is creating music playlists for each book. They may only include a few songs, but each one perfectly evokes a scene, setting, or character from the story. This way, when I’m stuck, I can listen to these pieces of music and be transported into the right state of mind. It’s a wonderful way to break through writer’s block.

What do you like best about being an author?

Top of the list has to be the thrill of the creative process, translating settings and characters from my imagination into a story that others can enjoy. There’s nothing quite like it.

I also love interacting with readers, editors, other authors, reviewers, and interviewers. I’ve encountered so many great people since I started this journey, two and a half years ago. I feel very blessed.

What social media do you participate in?

I have a website with excerpts, trailers, reviews, news and more.

I’m also on         Goodreads                   YouTube                  Amazon Author Page

What’s next for you?

Sometime in the fall of 2015, the final book in my Dragon Clan trilogy will release. I wrote this fantasy romance series with the Wild Rose Press, and I’ve been very pleased with the results. I’m excited to offer readers Dragon Soul, the final chapter of the dragon shifters’ multi-generational saga.

Is there an easy way for people to stay informed about your new releases?

I have a mailing list, and I usually send out two to three announcements a year. It’s simple to sign up. Just visit my website and use the “contact Diana” page, or email me at dianagreenbooks@gmail.com Everyone on my mailing list is entered in monthly e-book giveaways. Winners can choose from any of my available titles.

I always love to hear from readers!

Review: BRONZE FOX by Diana Green

Bronze FoxBRONZE FOX (Rifters Book One)

by Diana Green

CreateSpace Fantasy Romance

I had told myself to turn down every review request until I catch up but this one really caught my eye so I agreed to give it a read. I am glad I did. I could not put this book down.

This is a historical paranormal, steampunk, sci-fi with elements of magic story that keeps you turning the page of this imaginative tale of Tobias, a fox-shifter, and Etty, a street smart cabbie.

Tobias, stolen as a child, works for an organization to stop slave trading amongst worlds and to keep a balance that allows each world to progress on it’s own. There’s a little prime directive and a little Stargate going on here. When Etty stumbles into Tobias’ world, he decides to make her his new partner and the adventure begins. When news that a new technology is out on the black market it is up to Tobias and Etty to get it back.

Green’s writing is vivid and fresh. The pacing is non-stop with well-developed characters. My only complaint is I thought the relationship between the two developed too quickly. I would have preferred a little longer dance. It’s the first in a series and I look forward to the next adventure. Well done, Ms. Green.