Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Remains of Innocence (Joanna Brady #16) by J.A. Jance

Mystery

From Goodreads:

Sheriff Joanna Brady must solve two perplexing cases that may be tied together in New York Times bestselling author J. A. Jance’s thrilling tale of suspense that brings to life Arizona’s Cochise County and the desert Southwest in all its beauty and mystery.

An old woman, a hoarder, is dying of emphysema in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. In cleaning out her house, her daughter, Liza Machett, discovers a fortune in hundred dollar bills hidden in the tall stacks of books and magazines that crowd every corner.

Tracing the money’s origins will take Liza on a journey that will end in Cochise County, where Sheriff Joanna Brady is embroiled in a personal mystery of her own. A man she considers a family friend is found dead at the bottom of a hole in a limestone cavern near Bisbee. And now there is the mystery of Liza and the money. Are the two disparate cases connected? It’s up to Joanna to find out.

Remains of Innocence starts in Massachusetts and ends in Cochise County Arizona.  Once again Jance has done a superb job of weaving two different crimes into one tension filled story.  Joann Brady’s character just keeps growing.  More and more she is just what is Cochise County needs for their Sheriff. 

Look for the loss of two reoccurring characters in Remains of Innocence and a further look into Butch and Joanna’s family.  Remains of Innocence does a good job standing alone so don’t be afraid to read it first even though it is #16 in the series.  I have read the series starting with book one and so for me it was great seeing all of the characters again.


William Morrow published Remains of Innocence by J.A. Jance in 2014.

I received an ARC of Remains of Innocence from Edelweiss.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Musing Monday's, July 28, 2014

TC is in the sun musing about the chipmunk she sees out the window.
Hopefully that is all she does.  So far this month she has presented me
 with two chipmunks - one alive and one dead but both in my bedroom.
Musing Mondays asks you to muse about one of the following each week.Musing Mondays is sponsored by Should Be Reading.
• Describe one of your reading habits.
• Tell us what book(s) you recently bought for yourself or someone else, and why you chose that/those book(s).
• What book are you currently desperate to get your hands on? Tell us about it! 
• Tell us what you’re reading right now — what you think of it, so far; why you chose it; what you are (or, aren’t) enjoying it.
• Do you have a bookish rant? Something about books or reading (or the industry) that gets your ire up? Share it with us!
• Instead of the above questions, maybe you just want to ramble on about something else pertaining to books — let’s hear it, then!


Today’s musing is about the All Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness.  I loved A Discovery of Witches, book # one.  I listed to it as an audio book and then picked it up at the library in hard cover and re-read.  I liked Shadow of Night, book #2.  I didn’t think it was as good but I felt it was much better than many middle books in trilogies.  I was really looking forward to The Book of Life, book #3.

I loved book one, liked book two and have very mixed feeling about book three.  I was glad to see how the trilogy ended but I found that I was not caught up in the story this time.  For the first third of The Book of Life I had to force myself to keep reading.  Then the story caught me but it did not last.  Again I had to make myself read before the story again caught me. There was more time where the story did not catch me than time it did.  I was glad to see how the series ended but know it is a book I will not re-read. 


I received a copy of The Book of Life from Netgally so I did not have to pay to be disappointed.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

The Dark Between the Stars (The Saga of Shadows #1) by Kevin J. Anderson

Science Fiction

What Goodreads says:

Twenty years after the elemental conflict that nearly tore apart the cosmos in The Saga of Seven Suns, a new threat emerges from the darkness. The human race must set aside its own inner conflicts to rebuild their alliance with the Ildiran Empire for the survival of the galaxy.

Galactic empires clash, elemental beings devastate whole planetary systems, and factions of humanity are pitted against each other. Heroes rise and enemies make their last stands in the climax of an epic tale seven years in the making.

Saying I was thrilled to go back to the Universe Kevin Anderson created in The Saga of the Seven Suns would be an understatement.  I loved the Seven Suns and the Saga of Shadows promises to be just as great.  It has everything good Science Fiction should have.  There is danger, strange characters, aliens, tension, interesting world-building, a threat, and even a little romance.

It was great to find out what had happened to some of the characters from the Seven Suns.  It was even greater to meet the new characters and the new threat.  But wait!  I did meet one threat but there is another and there are just hints about what scares that threat we have met.  It seems everyone may be in trouble.

The writing in The Dark Between the Stars follows the same pattern seen in Seven Stars.  The chapters are short and each usually goes to a different location and different characters.  They don’t seem to be connected but as I read I could see how they were all beginning to weave together..  Don’t look for any conclusions in The Dark Between the Stars.  All of the characters and stories set the stage for the next book.

I do recommend reading the Saga of the Seven Suns first.  Since I knew the back-story of both the characters and the events I had no trouble knowing what was going on.  I think without that knowledge it would be much harder to get into the story.

I visited Anderson’s blog and saw where he had finished Blood of the Cosmos, the second book in the trilogy.  There was not publication date but hopefully it will be out soon.


Tor published The DarkBetween the Stars by Kevin J. Anderson in 2014.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Book Beginnings and The Friday 56, July 25, 2014

I'm linking up with Rose City Reader for Book Beginnings and Freda's Voice for Page 56.
 Check out the links above for the rules and for the posts of the participants each week. Pick the closest book on your book stack and
Come Join us!

The Beginning:

"The man who was not Terrence O'Grady had come quietly."

Page 56:

"Trained reflexes stilled his startled reaction as his eyes snapped first to her face, then to the disk, and back to her face."

From Agent of Change, the first book published in the Liaden series by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller. It is listed as book 4 as three prequels have been written and published since Agent of Change first came out. This is a great Science Fiction/Space Opera series and right now the Kindle edition of Agent of Change is free on Amazon. If you are a Science Fiction fan and have never read the series this is a great give it a try.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Trapped at the Altar by Jane Feather

Historical Fiction

What Goodreads Says:

The first in an all-new, sizzling historical romance series from New York Times bestselling author Jane Feather.

Torn between a true love and family duty…

Ariadne "Ari" Carfax has never been one to play by the rules; she’s an heiress to the Carfax family, banished from London when Oliver Cromwell seized the throne from King Charles, who has since gained notoriety for pillaging, thieving, and ruling the Carfax Valley with an iron glove. All too soon, Ari finds herself in her family’s legendary vise, forced into a marriage to Ivor Chalfont, Ari’s childhood friend and confidante, against her wishes.

While the Carfax family has only its own interest at heart—a union between the Catholic Carfaxes and Protestant Chalfonts will guarantee the Carfaxes’ reinstatement at London court, and the rehabilitation of their noble name—Ari cannot bear the thought of being separated from her secret lover/poet, Gabriel. She vows to fight her family—and Ivor—every step of the way, even when forced into the marital ceremony at her own grandfather’s wake, in a treacherous coup de etat that leaves her wed to another, and eternally broken-hearted.

Sending Gabriel to the temporary safety of Lord Monmouth’s outpost at The Hague in Scotland, Ari resigns herself to her new life as Lady Ivor Chalfont—at least until the newlyweds travel to London, and she can escape her new husband and reunite with Gabriel. As the two make their preparations to travel, however, Ari finds herself entertaining entirely uncharacteristic thoughts about her new husband: she finds that she likes him as perhaps more than a friend, after all. Not wanting to be disloyal to Gabriel, but simultaneously more and more attracted to Ivor, Ari can’t help but give into the physical pull between her and her new husband, and the two embark on a tentative, post-marital courtship that just might hold the seeds of love…until, that is, Gabriel spots Ari in London and makes it his mission to get her back. Ari is caught between a lover who might be better left in the past, and a husband who she just might be able to love; who will win Ari’s heart?

Set in 1600s England during the tumultuous Monmouth Rebellion, this is the epic story of what happens when the one thing we think we can trust—our hearts—turns out to be the most duplicitous.

I loved the setting for Trapped at the Altar.  The 1600’s in England were full of history and drama and Ari and Ivor are poised to be right in the middle.  My one complaint about the story was how little of the story was set in London.  That meant that much of the intrigue at court was just touched on. I would have liked to see more of tht history in the story.  Since this seems to be the first book in a new series I hope it is worked into future books.

What I did love were the three main characters.  Ari is a wild child who has been indulged by her clan and her Grandfather.  Suddenly she is forced to grow up and she does not like it one bit.  Ivor was brought to the clan when he was six years old and now is the time for him to play the part he has been trained for.  Gabriel is the weakest of the three main characters.  He is a poet and a dreamer.  It was easy to see who was the best match for Ari and easy to see why her attraction to Gabriel was a passing thing. 

That attraction and the history between Ari and Ivor is at the heart of the story.  Ari's history with Gabriel adds the needed tension.  Trapped at the Altar has everything a historical romance needs.  There are trust issues, danger, romance and a little history.  All make a very readable story.

Pocket Books published Trapped at the Altar by Jane Feather in 2014.


I received an ARC of Trapped at the Altar from Netgalley.

Forever and a Day (The Company Store #2) by Ann Gimpel Blog Tour and Guest Post


I read Forever and a Day (click here for reviewand loved it so I asked Ann Gimpel if she would do a guest  post on how she did her world building.  She agreed.  Keep reading to see what she had to say. 


Creating a Setting for Your Characters by Ann Gimpel

Thanks so much for inviting me and Forever and a Day to your blog! I appreciate the compliment.

I’d love to say I use the same process for every book I write, but I don’t. Many of my books begin with an image, or series of images, that form the basis for the book. I occasionally begin with an empty world, and it tells me what kind of characters it needs. I’ve only rarely begun with a character and formed a world around them.

In Forever and a Day, the world came to me first. Maybe I’ve always been a closet James Bond fan, but the world of international espionage fascinates me. I’d written a short story about Miranda, a wolf shifter with a double life. Super spy by day and wolf by night. Juggling her identities is a necessary challenge, since the humans are unaware of shifters in their midst. Anyway, that’s how The Company Store Series was born. Miranda’s Mate was the first book and Forever and a Day, the second.

One of the things I love about urban fantasy, as opposed to high fantasy, is it’s set in the “real” world. No odd names for things. No triple moons transiting the sky. My favorite urban fantasies feel so real, they could actually happen. That hunk living next door could be a closet Celtic god, who’s really been alive for millennia. Or a mountain lion shifter who’s jetting off to Europe to track a dangerous adversary. That being said, even urban fantasy needs magic systems that are consistent. Nothing annoys me more than characters who can do everything as an author lurches from one convenient plot twist to the next.

Let me tell you a secret. I’m wretchedly old-fashioned. We lost something when our lives got very easy. There’s not much challenge left anymore, unless we create it. I think that’s why I’ve had a lifelong love affair with traveling the backcountry with a pack, where I have to rely on my wits. I’ve been cold, lost, and out of food, but I feel ever so much more alive when I get back to civilization.

I give my characters similar challenges. They need wits, creativity, and courage to survive to the next chapter, let alone make it to the end of the book. That their worlds hold tests and trials ups the ante.


How about the rest of you authors out there. Do you create characters first, or worlds? Or do they come to you as a unit that refuses to be separated?

About Forever and a Day

Urban Fantasy

 Espionage operations and runaway love travel halfway around the globe as Tamara and Lars stay one step ahead of death. Tension heats to boiling, but it’s not half as hot as the attraction licking at their heels.

Book Description:

Tamara MacBride has a much bigger problem than hiding her shifter side from the world. By the skin of her teeth, and with a smattering of Irish luck, she manages to kill her sister’s murderer. Escaping from the scene of the crime is proving much harder than she anticipated. Just when she thinks she might be safe, her cab driver shrieks and slumps over the wheel. She cowers in the back seat, too scared to run, expecting the next bullet will be for her.

An unknown assailant terminates Lars Kinsvogel’s target. Pleased by the outcome, after all dead is dead, Lars exchanges the glitz of Monto Carlo for a nearby airport intent on collecting the private plane he left there. He’s no sooner arrived when a cab jumps the curb. His instincts blare a warning, but Lars ignores them and trots over to investigate. There’s not much he can do for the cabbie, but his passenger is still very much alive—and absolutely stunning. It takes some tall talking, but she agrees to come with him.

Espionage operations and runaway love travel halfway around the globe as Tamara learns to accept her shifter side, and Lars embraces what’s been missing from his long life. Initially reticent to trust one another, it takes a series of crises and a near-fatal accident for them to take a chance on love—and each other.


Excerpt:
Lars Kinsvogel sucked in an annoyed breath. Anxiety and greed thickened the air in Monte Carlo’s Place de Casino, and he stifled a choking sound. Damn his hypersensitive shifter senses. If it weren’t for them, the desperation hovering around him wouldn’t be quite so palpable. Casinos were always like this, though, a haven for the rash and reckless. What had likely begun as a harmless pastime turned into hardcore addiction for an unfortunate few, forcing them to return again and again despite diminishing returns.
Hope springs eternal. All the poor sods need is one more spin of the wheel, another hand of cards… Lars looked up, right into the croupier’s beady gaze.
“Would monsieur like to place a bet?” The croupier grinned with all the warmth of a hammerhead shark, displaying a mouthful of bad teeth. What was it with the French and their aversion to dentistry? Lars shook his head and made shooing motions with one hand. He’d have to either join the baccarat game soon, or move on, but he could get away with loitering for a few more minutes without drawing undue attention to himself.
His target, a powerfully built man with Asian features revealing his half-Chinese ancestry, had an arm slung around a striking brunette. Maybe she was one of the hookers who worked the casino circuit, maybe she was a steady thing for the man. Lars considered it and decided she could be both. Around five feet eight, she had a lush, curvy body, hair cut into a stylish bob that fell a few inches past her shoulders, and memorable eyes the color of a restless ocean. A short, black sheath hugged her like a second skin. Open nearly to her waist, it displayed half her full breasts. Even though Lars’ appraisal was surreptitious, he forced his gaze elsewhere. The woman was sex incarnate, and he didn’t need anything diverting him from his objective.
Jaret Chen pressed chips into his companion’s hand and urged her to pick a number. He gave one of her breasts a familiar squeeze, which earned him a smile, perfectly rouged lips stretching over impossibly straight teeth—and a slight shake of her head. Color stained her tanned skin. Lars realized he was looking at the woman again, wondering how her breasts would feel beneath his fingers. She seemed uncomfortable with Jaret’s frank exploration of her body, so she probably wasn’t a pro. For some unexplained reason, Lars felt relieved. The woman was too elegant to earn her living lying on her back.
He snorted to himself and studied the flashing display above the baccarat table. Maybe the woman wasn’t French. That might explain her perfect teeth—and her discomfort with having her body mauled in public. At least she held Jaret’s attention. So far the drug dealer hadn’t spared him so much as a sidelong glance. Lars had never met the man, but knew a great deal about him from an extensive dossier provided by The Company, Lars’ international security employer. Deeply involved in the heroin trade from the Middle East, across the Mediterranean, and into Europe, Jaret was one of the principals in a large operation—and Lars’ current project.
He sized the man up. Maybe six feet, he had a barrel chest. Strongly muscled arms strained against the fabric of his cream-colored silk dress shirt. His art deco tie had been loosened. Dark eyes, pronounced cheekbones, and straight dark hair cut short blended with his business attire. For all intents and purposes, he was indistinguishable from the phalanx of wealthy—and wannabe wealthy—men circulating through the casino. Lars glanced at his own cream-colored silk shirt and black linen pants. With the exception that his tie was still firmly knotted, he and Jaret were dressed as twins.
Guess neither of us wanted to stick out in anyone’s memory.
Lars glanced at his Rolex. Close to midnight and time to move on. He’d seen enough. Now it was a matter of figuring out where and when to strike. These things always went more smoothly when they were nearly invisible. He melted into the crowd and made his way outside. The casino fronted the French Riviera; Lars stood looking out at the Mediterranean for long moments. The water was quiet tonight, waves barely slapping the white sand beach. His cell phone, set on silent, vibrated against his hip, and he tugged it from a pocket to look at the display.
Private. Damn! Could be anyone.
Lars punched the answer icon, held the phone to his ear, and waited. No need to say anything until he knew who was on the other end.
“Are you somewhere you can talk?” Lars inhaled sharply as Garen LeRochefort’s voice came through the phone’s speaker. Another shifter, Garen had founded The Company hundreds of years ago. The mechanics of the spy game had changed drastically between the late seventeen hundreds and modern times, but the basics—kill or be killed—hadn’t altered much. Everyone who worked for The Company was some type of shifter. Lars’ animal form was a mountain lion, Garen’s a wolf.
Lars loped farther down the beach until he cleared several couples engaged in deep, hungry kisses. “What has happened?” Something must have, or Garen wouldn’t have risked contact.
“You need to leave.”
“But I have not—”
“Doesn’t matter,” Garen cut in. “I’ll explain when you’re back in the office on a fully scrambled line.”
Lars thought about his twin engine Piper Seneca waiting at the Nice airport, fifteen miles from Monte Carlo. It gave him freedom to come and go, and was much cheaper to operate than the business class jets he also owned. “Maybe I could still—”
“No!” The one word thundered so loud, Lars moved the phone away from his ear. “Don’t even go back to your room.” Garen hesitated. “Old friend. Trust me on this.” The line went dead.
Lars stared at the iPhone’s display and dropped the cellular device back into his pocket. He’d been compromised. He wasn’t certain quite how, and a part of him was curious as hell. He kept walking, swinging in a wide circle to head back toward the Hotel de Paris. Garen had said not to return to his room, but if he were careful, maybe he could learn something critical that would help their side.
“Ja, forewarned is forearmed,” he muttered. Keycard in hand, he let himself into a side door of the rambling old structure, got his bearings, and started cautiously up a stairwell. His suite was on the second floor, at the very end of the wing facing the Mediterranean. He’d always loved the old hotel with its thick, patterned carpets and antique lighting and furnishings. Staying next to the walls, he used a bit of shifter magic to cast a don’t look here spell. It wouldn’t keep someone determined from seeing him, but it didn’t require much magic, either.
He entered the second floor a few doors from his own and scanned the empty hallway, his senses on high alert. Midnight was early in Monte Carlo, a city where people frequently stayed up through dawn and slept the day away, so he fully expected to see other guests, but the hall was mercifully empty. He padded silently toward his door and examined it, wishing he’d set a trap. He inhaled, trying to sort scents, but there were too many to make sense of. He could leave, just walk away like Garen had almost ordered him to, but Lars had never been a coward, and he was more intrigued than frightened. He’d spent years worming his way out of dicey situations. This was just one more, and he was damned if he’d walk away from his things. Not unless he had to.
He took a deep breath, tugged his guaranteed-not-to-set-off-metal-detectors .32 caliber revolver from its ankle holster, and shoved the key card into the slot in the door. A tiny electric motor hummed and the deadbolt snicked out of the way. He turned the latch, kicked the door open, and turned from side to side scanning the sitting room of his suite, gun at the ready. Lars waited in the doorway, barely breathing, and then he heard a muted click, followed by an unmistakable whirr, and knew.
A bomb.
He cursed in German, not knowing if he was more annoyed with the turn of events or with himself for not taking Garen’s advice and getting the hell out of there.

Publisher: Taliesin
ISBN:  978-1-62916-065-8
Release Date: 7/3/14

About the Author:

Bio:

Ann Gimpel is a clinical psychologist, with a Jungian bent.  Avocations include mountaineering, skiing, wilderness photography and, of course, writing.  A lifelong aficionado of the unusual, she began writing speculative fiction a few years ago. Since then her short fiction has appeared in a number of webzines and anthologies. Her longer books run the gamut from urban fantasy to paranormal romance. She’s published over 20 books to date, with several more contracted for 2014.

A husband, grown children, grandchildren and three wolf hybrids round out her family.





@AnnGimpel


Forever and A Day (The Company Store #2) by Ann Gimpel

Urban Fantasy

From Goodreads:

Tamara MacBride has a much bigger problem than hiding her shifter side from the world. By the skin of her teeth, and with a smattering of Irish luck, she manages to kill her sister’s murderer. Escaping from the scene of the crime is proving much harder than she anticipated. Just when she thinks she might be safe, her cab driver shrieks and slumps over the wheel. She cowers in the back seat, too scared to run, expecting the next bullet will be for her.

An unknown assailant terminates Lars Kinsvogel’s target. Pleased by the outcome, after all dead is dead, Lars exchanges the glitz of Monto Carlo for a nearby airport intent on collecting the private plane he left there. He’s no sooner arrived when a cab jumps the curb. His instincts blare a warning, but Lars ignores them and trots over to investigate. There’s not much he can do for the cabbie, but his passenger is still very much alive—and absolutely stunning. It takes some tall talking, but she agrees to come with him.

Espionage operations and runaway love travel halfway around the globe as Tamara learns to accept her shifter side, and Lars embraces what’s been missing from his long life. Initially reticent to trust one another, it takes a series of crises and a near-fatal accident for them to take a chance on love—and each other.

Forever and a Day features two great characters and some really interesting world building . Lars Kinsvogel and Tamara MacBride have more in common than they know. Both are after the same man and both have a hidden nature (The cover gives that secret away. They are both cat shifters) . They are thrown together when Tamara takes out Lars target. Lars is a professional but Tamara is not. She is avenging her sister. Watching how the two interact is at the heart of the story. There is danger, excitement, and attraction as circumstances force them to first trust and then reveal their biggest secret. The first part of the story was filled with mile a minute action and the second was filled with romance. This is book 2 of The Company Store series but it works well as a stand alone.


Taliesin Publishing released Forever and a Day by Ann Gimpel in 2014.