Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Blog Tour: The Hunter by Monica McCarty

Author: Monica McCarty
Publisher: Ballantine
Date of publication: June 2013

Prized for his unbeatable tracking skills, Ewen “Hunter” Lamont accepts a dangerous assignment: locate a missing undercover courier. But this is no ordinary target. Ewen has met his prey before as “Sister Genna,” a fiery, forbidden woman forever etched in his memory after one stolen, sinful kiss. Now that he knows her real identity, he’s more determined than ever to keep her safe. But without the protection of the veil between them, fighting the allure of the beautiful lass may be the toughest battle this extraordinary warrior has ever faced.

After her ill-fated attempt three years ago to rescue her twin sister, Janet of Mar has found salvation acting as a royal messenger—until she surrenders to a darkly handsome warrior whose rough, sensual kisses stir feelings the woman in her can’t deny. But when betrayal leads to danger, and a crucial communiqué is put in jeopardy, Janet has no choice but to put her faith in the hunter who can find anything—perhaps even her heart.

The Hunter is 7th book in The Highland Guard series.  This book is exactly why I am always hesitant to read a series out of order. For me, this was not a stand alone book. I will admit, that I had a hard time keeping my interest in the book because I felt like I was missing back story about the "guard" as a whole.  It felt very history laden and I had a hard time keeping the characters straight initially. I found myself skimming in places. I did like the main characters though. I think Ewen is definitely someone I would want saving my butt over and over.  Janet is a strong female lead who gives Ewen a run for his money. There were some very yummy love scenes between the two.

The book is well written so, I'm not saying it's a bad read.  I think in order to fully appreciate the book, I need to go back and start from the beginning of the series with the first book.  Ms. McCarty does have a recap of what has happened so far (well, up to book 5) on her website.  That might be helpful if you choose to read them out of order. She also has a nice write up of the real historical events to help give context to the series.  I have seen that this series has gotten great reviews as a whole, so I do look forward to starting with The Chief.  I know that fans of the series will enjoy this latest installment.  Check out the tour page for more reviews on The Hunter.

About the author:

Monica McCarty is the bestselling author of The Recruit, The Saint, The Viper, The Ranger, The Hawk, The Chief, the first six books in the Highland Guard series, the Highlander trilogy (Highlander Untamed, Highlander Unmasked, and Highlander Unchained), and the Campbell trilogy (Highland Warrior, Highland Outlaw, and Highland Scoundrel). Her interest in the Scottish clan system began in the most unlikely of places: a comparative legal history course at Stanford Law School. After a short but enjoyable stint as an attorney, she realized that her career as a lawyer set against her husband’s transitory life as a professional baseball player was not exactly a match made in heaven. So she traded in her legal briefs for Scottish historical romances with sexy alpha heroes. Monica McCarty lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and their two children.

To connect with Monica, visit her Facebook page.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan

by:  Kevin Kwan
published by:  Doubleday
publish date:  June 11, 2013

When Rachel Chu agrees to spend the summer in Singapore with her boyfriend, Nicholas Young, she envisions a humble family home, long drives to explore the island, and quality time with the man she might one day marry. What she doesn't know is that Nick's family home happens to look like a palace, that she'll ride in more private planes than cars, and that with one of Asia's most eligible bachelors on her arm, Rachel might as well have a target on her back. Initiated into a world of dynastic splendor beyond imagination, Rachel meets Astrid, the It Girl of Singapore society; Eddie, whose family practically lives in the pages of the Hong Kong socialite magazines; and Eleanor, Nick's formidable mother, a woman who has very strong feelings about who her son should--and should not--marry. 

Right off the bat, I'll say this was not my kind of book.  I'm not a big chick-lit reader even though I do have a few favorite writers.  This book is more geared towards a different kind of chick-lit reader than myself.  That said, it was well written and had a good story line.  It had a lot of interesting tid-bits of information about Singapore and Asian culture that I probably would have never known otherwise.

On the other hand, I felt bogged down with all the details about how these families obtained their wealth.  I don't care about those kinds of things.  There were a lot of details about clothing designers and shoe designers and handbag designers and I don't keep up with those kinds of things so it was over my head most of the time.

This book will appeal to a certain type of reader, definitely the chick-lit lovers that are big into fashion.  People who are interested in really, really rich people and how they live would probably find this book fascinating.  I'm just not, so it wasn't my cup of tea, but it wasn't a bad book by any means.  I don't want to give that impression at all.  Bottom line, a good book for a different reader.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight

by:  Kimberly McCreight
published by:  Harper Collins
publish date:  April 2, 2013

Litigation lawyer and harried single mother Kate Baron is stunned when her daughter's exclusive private school in Park Slope, Brooklyn, calls with disturbing news: her intelligent, high-achieving fifteen-year-old daughter, Amelia, has been caught cheating.  Kate can't believe that Amelia, an ambitious, levelheaded girl who's never been in trouble would do something like that. But by the time she arrives at Grace Hall, Kate's faced with far more devastating news. Amelia is dead. 

This is a story about Amelia's death.  Detectives initially rule her death a spontaneous suicide in light of the cheating allegations.  Kate, in her grief, doesn't question the finding until anonymous text messages start coming saying that Amelia didn't jump.  

When Kate starts investigating she learns about the dark side of her daughter's school.  Amelia belonged to a secret club and she had been trying to find out about the real identity of her father.  

The story is told in alternating view points of Kate's present day investigation and Amelia's past experiences.  It's told using emails, text messages, and Facebook statuses.  I liked that aspect of the book.  It made the book current and today's readers can relate those things to today's teens.

I ended up liking this book a lot more than I expected to.  It was a very good mystery.  There was the question of whether or not Amelia did jump and if she didn't, who pushed her, but also intertwined with that story was the question of who was Amelia's father and how did that play into any of it, if at all?  So great debut novel!  It reminded me somewhat of Kate White's The Sixes.  If you've read either one and want more of the shadowy underworld of secretive school clubs those books go hand in hand I think.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Review, Guest post & Giveaway: Complete Me by J. Kenner

Please welcome back author J. Kenner as she promotes the final installation of the Stark Trilogy, Complete Me.  

Giveaway details:  We are giving away 1 copy of Complete Me to one lucky winner (US only).  Just fill out the rafflecopter below to enter.  This will run until August 3.  Good luck!

Publisher: Loveswept
Date of publication: July 30, 2013

Our desire runs deep. But our secrets cut close. Beautiful, strong, and commanding, Damien Stark fills a void in me that no other man can touch. His fierce cravings push me beyond the brink of bliss—and unleash a wild passion that utterly consumes us both.

Yet beneath his need for dominance, he carries the wounds of a painful past. Haunted by a legacy of dark secrets and broken trust, he seeks release in our shared ecstasy, the  heat between us burning stronger each day.

Our attraction is undeniable, our obsession inevitable. Yet not even Damien can run from his ghosts, or shield us from the dangers yet to come.

My take:

The thing I hate a bout trilogies is that once I have read the third book, I know the story is over.  While I am happy with the ending, I am also sad say goodbye to  characters I have come to love.  That is how I feel about the Stark trilogy.  I have thoroughly enjoyed this series as a whole.  Two damaged people find one another and through their love, they learn to heal and look toward the future. 

In the final book, Damien and Nikki's relationship is pushed to the limits.  Damien is on trial for murder in Germany.  Someone is stalking and threatening Nikki.  There is a lot against them but relying on each other gets them through.  As in the other books, the love scenes are very hot.  There are light BDSM elements, but they really enhance the relationship between the couple.  I loved the end although I wanted more.  Maybe we will get a novella that takes place a few month or years later?  I would love to see how they are doing.  I look forward to seeing what Ms. Kenner comes out with next.

Dancing with Damien

I love to dance, and unfortunately my husband doesn’t, so as a general rule I don’t go very often.  But I remember fondly all those weekend nights during college and my early working days (and, let’s be honest, weekday nights, too!).

And, to be even more honest, dancing was always the best when you were doing the bump and grind with a guy you were dating or (even more fun) a guy you were interested in … and who was interested right back.  There’s a sensualness to being on the dance floor.  To feeling a primal rhythm and moving with it.  To cutting loose to music and going with the flow—flirting with body and motion.

So it was great fun in Complete Me to send Damien and Nikki to a popular dance club in Munich.  I can’t say I’ve ever been there in person, but I read all about the place, and I hope to go someday—it sounds like a blast (though I don’t know if I’m cool enough to get through the doors!)

To be honest, even off the dance floor, Nikki and Damien have had that same electric sensuality that builds while moving with the music.  But even so, it was fabulous to put them together with a heavy beat and a strong urge of passion.  It definitely added to the heat that is already always bubbling between them!

I won’t tell you where things go from there … but if you know Nikki and Damien, you can probably guess!

Love to dance?  Do you still get the chance?



a Rafflecopter giveaway

About the author:

J. Kenner is the pen name of USA Today bestselling author Julie Kenner (who also
writes as J.K. Beck).  Release Me, an erotic romance, will be available in the U.S. and the U.K. on January 1, and in over a dozen other countries later in 2013.   You can hang out with J.K., learn more about Release Me and her other novels, or just poke around and see what catches your eye at her website,, and also at her J. Kenner Facebook page, and on Twitter at

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Interview & Review: Love At High Tide by Christi Barth

Today, we have author Christi Barth as she promotes her latest book, Love at High Tide.  Enjoy her interview after my thoughts on the book.

Publisher: Carina Press
Date of publication: July 2013

Darcy Trent is lucky Cooper Hudson is on hand to sweep her off her feet—literally—when she nearly drowns while swimming in the ocean. But life-saving aside, Mr. Perfect's timing stinks: Darcy's career is about to take her to the complete opposite side of the Atlantic. Still, a little summer loving with the tall, blond and sexy former cop is far too tempting to pass up.

When his plans to enter the Secret Service went south thanks to a bum knee, Coop retreated to the family beach house to mull his future. Romance is the last thing on his mind, until he fishes a curvy brunette out of the sea. Now, spending time in Darcy's arms seems like the ideal distraction, even if it is just for a week.

My thoughts:

Love at High Tide is a fun book to read. Not only is there a steamy romance, there are fun characters and an exciting mystery.  I love Darcy and Cooper.  Who wouldn't want to be rescued from the ocean by a hunky cop?  From the first, their attraction was strong.  Little did Cooper know he was going to get dragged into a romance as well as a prostitution ring.  Both characters are on vacation to try to figure things out about themselves.  Darcy is trying to decide if she want to take a job in Africa and Cooper is trying to figure out what his next step is after injuries leave him without a career path.  Sometimes all it takes is meeting the right person to be able to put your life in perspective.

The peripheral characters rounded out the story nicely.  Trina's quest to become a private investigator gets her and Darcy into a sticky situation.  It also leads to some very amusing scenes.  I hope Trina shows up in a future book.  I would also love to see if Brad can get over his broken heart and find love again.   The book is a great one to take while relaxing on t he beach.  Definitely check it out!

Kari& Autumn: What inspired you to become a writer?  

Christi: A deep and abiding love of books.  Any moment spent thinking about books is sheer joy, so why not write them?  It was never an intended career choice – more that I simply couldn’t stop writing.

I began writing very early.  Spent the summer I was 13 knocking out 60 pages of what must’ve been a truly horrible historical romance.  I was a bookworm, and wasn’t allowed to watch much television, so writing gave me something to do over vacation.   Then I discovered I couldn’t stop – the ideas just kept swirling around in my head.  Five years ago I finally mustered the motivation to finish my book, and now I’m writing my eleventh.

Kari& Autumn: Where do you come up with the ideas for your books? 

Christi: Every time I go someplace on vacation, I’m struck by inspiration for a new book.  I think soaking up the different atmosphere just kicks my brain into overdrive.

For the past 11 years, we’ve spent a week every summer at Ocean City, MD. One of the oddities we noticed was that the workers at the grocery store, ice cream store and all the waiters had thick Eastern European accents.  As did many of the 20-somethings strolling by. Soon we discovered that there was a work-program set up with several Eastern bloc countries, and that they provide much of the seasonal help in Ocean City. I think my jaw literally dropped. Chimes went off in my head as if I’d won the lottery. Well, come on! If that isn’t a situation made for a writer to tweak, I don’t know what is. And Love at High Tide is the result.

Kari& Autumn:What exciting projects are waiting in the wings?  

Christi: Lots upcoming! In August, Planning for Love releases nationwide in print – very exciting! Then book 3 in the Aisle Bound series, Friends to Lovers, releases in October, with book 4 following in early 2014. Sandwiched in between is my Christmas novella out the 1st week in December, Tinsel My Heart. Whew!

Kari& Autumn: Who is your favorite literary character and why? 

Christi: Mia from Meg Cabot’s The Princess Diaries. She lives every little girl’s dream of being plucked from obscurity and nerdiness (not that there’s anything wrong with that – made me the woman I am today!) to revel in girly tiaras and frocks…and yet still be strong and smart enough to rule a country.

Kari& Autumn:Just for fun, if you could be any animal, what would it be and why?

Christi:  I’d be a koala, because they are cute and cuddly and get to eat all day.

 Enjoy this book excerpt!

“Thanks for the rescue. If you hadn’t grabbed me, I’d still be doing somersaults underwater. In my book, that qualifies you for hero status.”

An unreadable emotion flickered across his eyes so fast she almost missed it. In a low mutter, he said, “Don’t call me a hero.” He hit the hard-packed sand at the edge of the water and stopped walking.

Modest, heroic and gorgeous. And it didn’t take even a fraction of her eight years of training in cultural anthropology to figure out he was attracted to her. They’d long since hit land, and yet he made no move to put her down. Not that she was complaining. She’d happily continue to sit cradled in his arms. It gave her an up-close view of his chiseled cheekbones, sharp enough to etch glass. Her fingers brushed through the salt-spiked tips of his blond hair. No doubt about it: she’d found the man candy Trina had promised. One bite of him would be as sinful and addictive as a chocolate honey truffle.

“Well, I can’t call you Mr. In-The-Right-Place-At-The-Right-Time.” When his lips curled up showing off his dimple, Darcy’s interest kicked up a notch.

“Good point. I’m Cooper Hudson. Coop, to my friends.”

“Darcy Trent.”

“It’s been a long time since I met an ocean virgin.”

“Oh, but only in the aquatic sense, I assure you.” What? Why wave her long-vanished virginity under his nose? Now he probably thought she had the morals of an alley cat. But hearing the hottest man she’d ever seen use the word virgin threw her for a loop. Not the standard nice-to-meet-you conversation, by a long shot.

He flashed an easy smile. “Don’t worry. I hadn’t planned on delivering you as a virgin sacrifice to appease the volcano gods over at the mini-golf course.”

Okay, now Darcy could add funny to the list of his overwhelming awesomeness. Maybe she really had blacked out and was hallucinating her ideal man while unconscious, underwater. What else could explain such perfection?

“Darcy, what happened?” Trina’s yell preceded her appearance in front of them. After a quick yank upward to her scrap of a top, she rested her hand on Darcy’s leg. “Why’s he carrying you? Did you get stung in the foot by a jellyfish? ’Cause if you did, I’ll pee on it. That’ll take the sting away.” 

That certainly settled the whole am-I-hallucinating question. Never, ever would Darcy fantasize about her best friend peeing on her. The situation had to be real. And if Trina in all her adorable annoyingness was real, then her hot hero hunk had to be real, too. 

To her dismay, Cooper lowered her to the ground.

“Your friend’s fine,” Cooper announced. “A wave almost rolled her, so she’s a little shaken up, but uninjured.”

“You keep your distance,” Darcy warned with a hand raised to keep Trina at arm’s length. “Don’t even think about peeing on me. Not even if I get attacked by an entire school of jellyfish.”

Trina wrinkled her nose. “Okay, but if the situation arises, just remember that I would be willing to make that sacrifice.”

“Friendship is a beautiful thing.” Cooper’s sardonic tone belied the sincerity of his expression.

 About the author:

 Christi Barth earned a Masters degree in vocal performance and embarked upon a career on the stage.  A love of romance then drew her to wedding planning.  Ultimately she succumbed to her lifelong love of books and now writes contemporary romance.  Christi is President of the Maryland Romance Writers and lives in Maryland with her husband.


Interview with Harris Gray

Enjoy our interview!

Kari & Autumn: What inspired you to become a writer?

Allan:  Being an accountant.
Jason:  Listening to Allan talk about being an accountant.
Allan:   Listening to Jason telling stories to customers in his coffeeshop. That was the inspiration for the writing team we are today. Jason’s a natural storyteller. I might as well have been born without a mouth. The day e-mail was invented and I no longer had to call people on the phone—
Jason:  You’re going to talk about being an accountant again, aren’t you?
Allan:   Sorry.
Jason:  So I’m behind the bar pulling espresso shots and telling a customer about the time my car was stolen twice in one night, when Allan slipped me a note, or signed to me, I can’t remember which, “Hey, coffee jockey, why don’t you put those stories of yours on paper?”
Allan:  The next day when I arrived at my corner nook seat I found a little yellow notepad, pages curling and crammed to the margins with Jason’s stories. We were both writing on our own until that moment.
Jason:  That fateful day.
Allan:  I never thought I’d find somebody. To write with.

Kari & Autumn:  Where do you come up with the ideas for your books?

Jason:  Vampire Vic was our shameless attempt to jump on the vampire bandwagon.
Allan:   And quickly, before this thousand-year-long craze peters out.
Jason:  We were having a couple beers at the Crowbar.
Allan:   That’s the alter ego of Jason’s coffeeshop. When Crowfoot Coffee after a long hard day slips into something more comfortable.
Jason:  Beer number two, we’re like, yeah, a hot vampire stud hosting hip all-night parties, sipping Disaronno on the rocks and drinking his guests dry…
Allan:  Sultry vampire huntresses taking care of the kids by day and slinging stakes by night…
Jason:  Falling head over heels for the hot vamp, but still committed to slaying him.
Allan:  And then early in Beer Number Three, we realize we don’t know sexy. Or stake slinging.
Jason:  We joked that we should write about a fat, balding, middle-aged accounting manager vampire who hates confrontation and gets queasy at the sight of blood.
Allan:   Write what you know.
Jason: Luckily Allan’s a sipper, because by the end of that beer, we had scripted out the rough storyline for Vampire Vic.

Kari & Autumn: What exciting projects are waiting in the wings?

Jason:  We’re writing the sequel to Vampire Vic. VV to the Second Power. VV2.
Allan:   We’re making Victor’s work-life-bloodlust balance more difficult than ever, plus giving you all the sex that was missing in the first book.
Jason:  In the meantime we’re releasing Java Man in September. The hero, Brian Lawson, is a coffeeshop owner. When things seem to be going bad for Brian, they get worse.
Allan:  The story is about the three big C’s: coffee, competition, cancer.
Jason:  I’m not excited about the nightmares returning.
Allan:   Jason has a problem internalizing the problems of our characters. Every day while we were writing Java Man, I had to reassure him he didn’t have cancer. To the best of our knowledge.
Jason:  In my worst dream I realized I had just died, and I was floating up, up, up, right out of the atmosphere and into space, and it actually felt kind of good, and then I see this white light, and I’m moving toward it, and I’m starting to get excited. I’m flying toward the white light now, faster and faster, and it’s getting bigger and brighter, and now I’m going way too fast to stop and I realize the white light is the center of a black hole.
Allan:   He started sweating again when he told me that one. The good news was, we used it for Brian in the story.
Jason:  Which made it even harder to separate fiction from reality.

Kari & Autumn: Who is your favorite literary character and why?

Allan:   Probably the hobbit. The fact that he was a weenie without any sword skills and still agreed to go on those hair-raising adventures to save the world. Of course if I had seen the movie back then and realized what a stud Aragorn was, I would say him.
Jason:  Any character from any Jane Austen book.
Allan:   At the writers conferences, sometimes the lunch seating is by genre. The Romance writers always seem to be having more fun. Two years ago at the Pikes Peak Writers Conference in Colorado Springs, we surreptitiously wrote “& Vampires” on the “Romance” placard, but we didn’t get a laugh, or a break. Back to the Horror/Sci-Fi/Steam Punk table.
Jason:  We swore it would never happen again. I figured I would start with old-fashioned romance, and move up from there. Who knew Jane was such a good writer? And that great romance is so tragic?
Allan:   Like most writers, it took Leo DiCaprio to get us to read The Great Gatsby. Is it too late to answer “Jay Gatsby” for this question?
Jason: It doesn’t matter how you get writers to read the classics, as long as they do.

Kari & Autumn: Just for fun, if you could be any animal, what would it be and why?

Jason:  Harris Gray wants to be a Galapagos turtle. No predators, and they live forever.
Allan:   We both have a huge distaste for dying. But man, eternal life as a turtle is going to be really, really boring.
Jason:  Trade-offs, man.
Allan:   How about if I’m a turtle, and you’re a black panther, having all these adventures, like Aragorn of the panther world, and you pop in occasionally and tell me about them, so that I can live vicariously and write them down to entertain all the other Galapagos island animals?
Jason:  That’s going to last for about seven years, and then I’m dead.
Allan:   You will live forever through our stories. Like a Jane Austen character.
Jason:  I’d rather be a writer than a character. Turtle over panther.
Allan:  They say authors need a branding tagline. Like Jackie Collins: “She’ll Keep You Up All Night.” Harris Gray: “Turtle over panther.” I like it.
Jason:  Let’s keep spitballing that one. Kari and Autumn, thank you for taking the time to get to know us.
Allan:   We hope you’ll have us back with Java Man and the Vampire Vic sequel. Thanks for doing what you do, we really appreciate the exposure on your site.

Publisher: Self
Date of publication: March 2013

Would you give up donuts...for blood?

Fat, balding accountant Victor Thetherson hoped becoming a vampire would turn his life around. But Victor can't stomach confrontation and gets queasy at the sight of blood. Instead he gets it from the blood bank,  diluted in bloody Bloody Marys. The result: a vampire who doesn't bite,  and a man who gets no respect.

Victor's slacking staff mockingly calls him Vampire Vic. Victor's boss amuses his wife by intimidating Victor on video. His ex makes him stay out late while she entertains boyfriends in the house she insists they continue to share. One night it finally boils over, and Victor bites someone. And then another...and very soon, he's no longer visiting the blood bank.

Muscle replaces fat, and his comb-forward widow's peak takes root. Victor basks in newfound attention and respect, at the office and at home. But real vampires get hunted, and as the transformation reaches the tipping point, Victor must decide how much he's willing to sacrifice for the power of the vampire.

About the author:

Harris Gray finish their third pint and mull over their next writing project, simultaneously deciding on a vampire book. Because the women in their lives eat up every vampire story on the shelves. And for the gratuitous T&A. But hunky, smoldering vampires are beyond their grasp; and dammit, T&A should mean something. Deciding to write what they know, Harris Gray return to their wheelhouse: An aging, uncomfortable man, not so happy with his lot in life. A man bitten by a vampire, unsure what to do with his new…skillset. Vampire Vic – VV – is born. Perfect.

The latest book is Vampire Vic.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Book Spotlight: Vampire Vic by Harris Gray


Publisher: Self
Date of publication: March 2013

Would you give up donuts...for blood?


Fat, balding accountant Victor Thetherson hoped becoming a vampire would turn his life around. But Victor can't stomach confrontation and gets queasy at the sight of blood. Instead he gets it from the blood bank, diluted in bloody Bloody Marys. The result: a vampire who doesn't bite, and a man who gets no respect.


Victor's slacking staff mockingly calls him Vampire Vic. Victor's boss amuses his wife by intimidating Victor on video. His ex makes him stay out late while she entertains boyfriends in the house she insists they continue to share. One night it finally boils over, and Victor bites someone. And then another...and very soon, he's no longer visiting the blood bank.


Muscle replaces fat, and his comb-forward widow's peak takes root. Victor basks in newfound attention and respect, at the office and at home. But real vampires get hunted, and as the transformation reaches the tipping point, Victor must decide how much he's willing to sacrifice for the power of the vampire.

About the author:

Harris Gray finish their third pint and mull over their next writing project, simultaneously deciding on a vampire book. Because the women in their lives eat up every vampire story on the shelves. And for the gratuitous T&A. But hunky, smoldering vampires are beyond their grasp; and dammit, T&A should mean something. Deciding to write what they know, Harris Gray return to their wheelhouse: An aging, uncomfortable man, not so happy with his lot in life. A man bitten by a vampire, unsure what to do with his new…skillset. Vampire Vic – VV – is born. Perfect.

The latest book is Vampire Vic.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Throwback Thursday: Sinister Weddings: Three Novels of Suspense by Dorothy Eden

Author: Dorothy Eden
Reissue by Open Road Media July 2013

A special three-in-one edition by Dorothy Eden—featuring Bride by Candlelight, Cat’s Prey, and Bridge of Fear—in which a bride-to-be, a wedding guest, and a recently married woman come face to face with evil as they innocently prepare to celebrate love 

Think well before you marry Paul Blaine.
In Bride by Candlelight, this anonymous note is the prelude to a series of disturbing events plaguing Julia Paget. At an isolated New Zealand sheep-farming estate, she discovers that her war-scarred husband-to-be isn’t the man she fell in love with three years earlier.

In Cat’s Prey, Antonia Webb journeys to a remote seaside resort in New Zealand to claim an inheritance and attend her cousin’s wedding. And even the handsome solicitor who warns her away may not be able to protect Antonia from the evil closing around her.

Is Abby Fearon paranoid—or is someone trying to kill her? In Bridge of Fear, this is the question she must answer. Abby arrives in the Australian outback from her native England to find that something has changed in her new husband . . . something that frightens her almost as much as the strange, wild land she now calls home.

Open Road Media has recently reissued works by the late Dorothy Eden.  She was a well known author of mystery and romance from the 1940s through the 1980s.  She died in 1982.  Out of the bundle in Sinister Weddings, I chose to review Bride by Candlelight for Throwback Thursday.  It was originally published in 1954 by Mcdonald.  

The story for me was ultimately, just OK.  It definitely showed its age.  The one thing I did like about it was it had that creepy Gothic feel to it.  I could almost picture it as a old black and white movie.   Julia was so naive and clueless.  I was pretty much able to figure out the truth of Harry after the first 25 pages.  I didn't know all of the details, but I got most of it correct.  The ending was a bit rushed and not very believable.    Despite not liking this one, I will give the other books in the collection a try.  

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Author Interview: The Riddle of Solomon by D.J. Niko

 Enjoy our interview with author D.J. Niko. She is promoting her latest book, The Riddle of Solomon.

Author: D.J. Niko
Publisher: Medallion Press
Date of publication: July 2013

Cambridge archaeologist Sarah Weston and anthropologist Daniel Madigan team up for another expedition and adventure in this second book in the Sarah Weston Chronicles. While working on the Qaryat al-Fau archaeological site in Saudi Arabia, the pair uncovers a mysterious ancient scroll composed as a riddle. As they attempt to date and decipher the scroll, a flurry of ills befalls their expedition and the scroll is stolen. A trail of clues leads to India, Jerusalem, and the Judean wilderness, where the two discover the scroll was written by the enigmatic King Solomon as a map to an ancient manuscript. Meanwhile a privileged young Briton, Trent Sacks, has invested years and a fortune looking for his manuscript. Believing he is the last descendant of the House of David in the line of Solomon, Sacks will do whatever it takes to amass the ancient relics which will prove he is the Jewish Messiah. Leaving a string of murders in his wake, Sacks vows to crush Sarah and Daniel for challenging his quest. Journeying through the worlds of the occult, corporate greed, geopolitical conflict, Judaic mysticism, and biblical archaeology, Sarah and Daniel race to uncover the powerful ancient message that could have an explosive impact on modern Israel.

Kari & Autumn:  What inspired you to become a writer?

D.J.:  Reading great books and marveling at their authors’ use of language to manipulate emotions and create vivid, unforgettable characters. The first major book I read was “Little Women.” I was in elementary school at the time so I probably didn’t fully understand it, but it sparked a love affair with the written word.  

Kari & Autumn: Where do you come up with the ideas for your books? 

D.J.: I have this “past life” as a travel writer and adventure seeker, so I constantly plumb my experiences for ideas. Many of the places I’ve seen, experiences I’ve had, and people I’ve met have made indelible impressions on me. It’s all so authentically colorful that it begs to be used in fiction.

Kari & Autumn: What exciting projects are waiting in the wings? 

D.J.:Right now, I’m working on a historical novel set in tenth century BCE Israel. Actually, it’s the historical complement to “The Riddle of Solomon”: it details the collapse of Israel’s United Monarchy and the spiritual decline of King Solomon, and brings some of the biblical tales to life. The interesting thing about this project is that it will be published as a TREEBook, an interactive book with “branches” that take you into different paths as you read. It’s a new and very exciting platform.

Kari & Autumn: Who is your favorite literary character and why? 

D.J.: Since childhood, I’ve loved Odysseus from Homer’s “The Odyssey.” I was born and raised in Greece, so I grew up with those stories; they feel real to me. The adventures of Odysseus influenced me in a big way when I was a kid. I wanted to hear the song of Sirens and eat the fruit of the Lotus Eaters and wander the sea for ten years. That stuck with me until I was an adult and went off on my own adventures. I blame Odysseus for my wanderlust!

Kari & Autumn: Just for fun, if you could be any animal, what would it be and why? 

D.J.: Totally a bird. A turtle dove, maybe. The ability to fly and see the world from above, swooping down for a closer look when the mood strikes, would be awesome.

About the author:

D.J. Niko is the nom de plume of Daphne Nikolopoulos, an award-winning author and journalist. Her first novel, titled The Tenth Saint, was released in March 2012 to rave reviews by both readers and the trade. In March 2013, it was awarded the Gold Medal for popular fiction in the prestigious, juried Florida Book Awards. An archaeological thriller embroidered with historical motifs, The Tenth Saint takes readers on an adventure across the globe: Ethiopia, the Syro-Arabian Desert and Abyssinian Empire circa fourth century, London, Paris, Brussels, and Texas. The Tenth Saint is the first book in The Sarah Weston Chronicles series. The second, titled The Riddle of Solomon, releases July 1, 2013.

Daphne is now at work on a historical novel set in tenth century B.C.E. Israel. The epic story details the collapse of the United Monarchy and the glory and fall of the empire built by King Solomon. It will be released in early 2015.

As a former travel journalist, Daphne has traveled across the globe on assignment, or for personal discovery. She has been to some places most of us don’t realize are on the map, and she has brought them to life through her writing for various magazines, newspapers and websites on an international scale. Her travel background and rich experiences now bring authentic detail, color, and realism to her fiction.

She also is the editor in chief of Palm Beach Illustrated magazine, a 62-year-old luxury-lifestyle glossy. She also is the editorial director of Palm Beach Media Group, and in that capacity oversees 11 magazines and 3 websites.

She is the mother of twin toddlers and, in her spare time, volunteers for causes she believes in—literacy, education, child advocacy, and the advancement of traditional and tribal arts from around the world. Born in Athens, Greece, she now lives with her family in West Palm Beach, Florida.

For more information, please visit D.J. Niko’s website. You can also follow on Twitter and Goodreads.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Review: Big Girl Panties by Stephanie Evanovich

Author: Stephanie Evanovich
Publisher: William Morrow
Date of publication: July 2013

They say that big girls don't cry. But when the chips are down and the dip is gone, what can you do? Pull up your BIG GIRL PANTIES and change your life.

Holly Brennan didn't expect to be a widow at thirty-two. She also didn't expect to be so big. Through her husband Bruce's diagnosis and death, food was the one thing she could always count on. Now, those extra pounds make flying coach more than a little mortifying-especially since she's sitting next to Adonis himself, aka Logan Montgomery, a personal trainer to the country's most famous pro athletes.

Though Holly doesn't make the grade on his first-impression meter, Logan finds himself intrigued by her sharp wit and keen insight-a welcome change from the beautiful bubble-headed dolls he usually dates-and impulsively offers to get her back in shape. Ready to make at least one positive change in her life, Holly agrees.

I have to admit that I wasn't sure if I was going to like this book.  I was happy to say that I was sucked right into the story and finished it in one day.   The best part about this book is Holly.  She is a character with whom I could easily relate.  In the beginning of the book,  we don't know a lot about her.  We learn more about her as the story unfolds.  She is a grieving widow, but her marriage isn't all that it seemed to be.  When she meets Logan on the plane, she decides to make a change and begin to train with him. Given her background, her lack of confidence and low self-esteem came across as very genuine.   I found myself cheering her on as she makes changes in her life to get to a healthy place.

This story isn't just about a woman's transformation, it's about figuring out what is truly important in life.  Image isn't everything.  Through his relationship with Holly, Logan is able to find himself and what he really wants out of life.  I admit, I was suspicious of him throughout most of the book.  I was really hoping he would figure it all out in the end.  I love seeing two people who are so opposite figure out that they are so right for each other.

There was one thing about the book that I thought was unnecessary.  The story-line involving Logan's friends, Chase and Amanda and their spanking lifestyle just seemed out of place.  I think the book would have been fine without it.  Although it did allow for a very amusing scene between Logan and Holly.  This book is the author's debut.  I can see a bright future for her.  I look forward to her next book.
About the author:

Stephanie Evanovich is a full-fledged Jersey girl who began writing fiction while waiting for her cues during countless community theater projects. She attended New York School of Film and Television and acted in several improvisational troupes and a few small-budget movies, all in preparation for the greatest job she ever had, raising her two sons. Now a full-time writer, she's an avid sports fan who holds a black belt in tae kwon do.