And the Reader Recommends: Alliance by M.L. Callahan

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Heather
Heather

Alliance: A Timewalker Novel by M.L. Callahan

Read by Heather

Timewalker Alexa feels her mission is never going to come when she is suddenly transported into the future, and meets aliens Celestina and Bran. They inform her that she needs to stop the release of a deadly virus that will wipe out the human race including the timewalkers. They give her three days to destroy the virus and save the world. Unfortunately, things are way more complicated than she thought. She finds herself going up against one of the most powerful and vicious aliens, Droghan. Determined to destroy the virus, she seeks help from scientist Luke Lawson. He agrees to help, but another complication arises. One of the samples is missing, time is running out, and there are alien assassins out to get them.

 

I don’t venture into the sci-fi world too often, but I’m very glad that I did this time. M.L. Callahan’s book was a unique and complex story rich with vivid detail and surprising revelations. The battle scenes had me cringing, but in the good kind of way, and I couldn’t put the book down. I was very intrigued by all of the characters. Each one seems to have a secret or two, even the bad guys, and I’m dying to know what they are. I loved that there are a lot of answers in this book, but a lot of new mysteries pop up too. I think this series has a lot of awesomeness coming. I don’t know how M.L. keeps all the details straight, but they come together beautifully!

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My Read of the Week: Suspect Witness by Ryshia Kennie

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Erin is a schoolteacher who dated the wrong guy.  Now on the run after witnessing a murder by the notorious biker gang,    , she finds herself hopping across Asia.  Erin is out of her element and the bad guys are hot on her heels.  Josh Sedovich is a CIA tasked with bringing Erin home to testify against the — leader, but first he has to find her.  Their adventure takes them through jungles and bat caves, but being attracted to Josh’s assignment is not part of his plan.

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Ryshia Kennie is a new author to me.  I was really in the mood for a “woman in jeopardy” kind of book.  Of course, the woman has to be strong and intelligent.  Luckily, Erin is both.  This doesn’t mean she isn’t scared or wary of strangers, but she uses her wits and was very relatable.  Enough romance that was warranted in this situation without the overkill of sex every other page.  I thought it was intriguing and suspenseful with enough creepy, crawly jungle stuff to make you feel like you were there.

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Bottom Line:  Don’t let my write up of the book mislead you…there was no jungle sex.

 

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My Pick of the Week: Anything for You by Kristan Higgins

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Connor O’Rourke has been in love with Jessica Dunn since they were 12 years old.  After years of an on again, off again relationship, he officially proposes and gets shot down.  In his mind, they’ve waited long enough and the time is perfect. To Jessica, there will never be a perfect time.  Family and her past keep getting in the way.  Connor has announced that he is done chasing her, but after 20 years Jessica has a hard time believing this could finally be the end to being with the man she really loves.

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I went into this book not knowing it was a series and that didn’t matter.  This easily reads as a stand alone.  Kristan Higgins’ story toggles easily from the present to the past where Jessica’s life was formed and perceptions originated.  Connor has his own hang ups, but he is so easy going that he’s everyone’s friend.  To say this book about love found and lost is an understatement.  It is so much more.  The cast of characters that round out the town include Connor’s pain in the neck, but lovable sister, father that doesn’t understand him, mother who is needy, Jessica’s brother, old friends that run the gamut from nice to obnoxious.  All there to enrich the tale and hit every emotional bone in your body.  This one really got to me (in a good way).  I don’t know if it was the holidays or family, but I dare you to read this book and come away unfeeling.  Witty and emotional, and if that’s not enough for you…there are dogs.

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Bottom Line:  Emotions are at the core of every good book, making the reader feel the emotions are at the core of a book that begs to be reread again and again.

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And the Reader Recommends: A Ghostly Murder by Tonya Kappes

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Heather
Heather

Read by Heather

Emma Lee Raines has made it her goal to help solve the murders in her small town of Sleepy Hollow, Kentucky. She really doesn’t have much of a choice, since she sees the ghosts of the murder victims. Emma Lee’s current ghostly client, Mamie Sue Preston, was the richest person in Sleepy Hollow. Unfortunately, since she was buried by a different funeral home, and everyone thinks she died of natural causes, this case proves to be very difficult. Emma Lee needs to be extra sneaky to find some answers, but it leads to extra trouble. In addition to solving the murder, someone is trying to frame her grandma, the funeral home is struggling, and her relationship is getting a little bumpy. Pretty much everyone in town already thinks she’s crazy, but everything that is going on just might push her over the edge.

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Emma Lee is one of my all-time favorite characters. She’s never boring, and the things she does are always entertaining. She uncovers quite the web of deceit in this book. Being that this is the fourth book in the series, I feel like she has really figured out how to get things done in a very unique way. I never know what she is going to do next, or what is going to come from it. It is neat how her team has expanded a little too. In addition to her boyfriend, Sheriff Jack Henry Ross, she seeks help from reporter Fluggie Callahan, and the two make quite the team.  Tonya Kappes works magic with her characters. The vivid details and colorful southernisms bring the story to life, and drops the reader smack dab in the middle of Sleepy Hollow.

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My Pick of the Week: I Kissed a Rogue by Shana Galen

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Lady Lillian-Anne Lennox has been abducted and her father, the Duke of Lennox wants to hire the best.  Unfortunately, that man is Sir Brook who hates Lady Lila since she spurned him 7 years earlier.  But a lot can happen in 7 years and after spending 2 years nursing her ailing mother, Lila has given up her spoiled, entitled ways.  Brook reluctantly finds Lila, but she still isn’t safe after witnessing a murder.  Now the two need to hide away while the killers are hunted.

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Shana Galen never disappoints and I was especially delighted with this romantic mystery that literally got down and dirty.  Along the way Brook and Lila discover that time does sometimes change people for the better and things are not easy as they evade capture and death.  Some fun, light-hearted moments as Lila tries to heat bread in an old, dirty oven and has no clue how to cook other than to order servants to do it.  But who can resist kittens and orphans and a hero who’s afraid of being hurt again.  Count me in for this lively, engaging, sexy romp with murderous villians to boo and a hero and heroine to cheer for.

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Bottom Line:  “A kitten is in the animal world what a rosebud is in the garden.” ~ Robert Southey

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Christmas Anthologies

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I admit I’m not an anthology person.  Just not a fan.  The stories are just too short for me, kind of like an appetizer before dinner.  Can be tasty, but leaves you wanting more.  I never seem to have enough time to get to know the characters.  Authors have the almost impossibility to get us to like the hero and heroine while getting them together, have them like each other, and manage some kind of plot, all in the space of about a hundred pages.  They are perfect for someone wanting to read a quickie in their lunch hour.

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Sometimes anthologies can be useful when they introduce you to an author you’ve never read before (but remember, they still have to write a good short story to draw you in).  Other anthologies are enjoyable when they make a bridge between books in a series you are reading.  In this case, you already know the characters, the setting, the feeling of the book, but this short story fills in the gaps missing between books that maybe wasn’t big enough for a full novel.

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Screen Shot 2015-12-18 at 6.29.26 PMI just finished two Christmas anthologies.  I love Christmas books and they are part of my Christmas traditions.  So, I look forward to them every year, but this year’s anthologies put a damper on my holiday mood.  The very nature of anthologies make them get two people together (most of the time they have never met before), they are immediately attracted, have sex, something pulls them apart, they meet up and express their undying love to each other.  All in under one hundred pages and less than 24 hours.

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Now, I’m all for love and romance, but it’s a little hard for me for form any kind of emotional attachment in such a short amount of time.  I guess I’m going to avoid them in the future.  I think I’ll stick to full length books from now on.

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One little head’s up.  I’ve noticed some anthologies are being bundled and sold as new releases.  This is not right.  Readers have a right to know when a book is reissued.   I have no problem with reissued books, but there does need to be a disclaimer somewhere.  I couldn’t find any mention of it on Amazon, so buyer beware, but shame on publishers and authors who sell their old retreads as new.

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Bottom Line:  Readers are your customers…treat them well.

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And the Reader Recommends…A Winter Wedding by Brenda Novak

A Winter Wedding by Brenda Novak

 

Heather
Heather

A Winter Wedding (Whiskey Creek #9) by Brenda Novak

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Read by Heather

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Kyle Houseman figures he blew his chance at love years ago, and in the process, he saddled himself with an ex-wife that has made his life extremely complicated. In the small town of Whiskey Creek, dating is very limited, and with all of his friends getting married and having kids, Kyle is feeling like the odd man out. When country music artist, Lourdes Bennett comes to town, she rents one of Kyle’s houses. She is hoping to save her career by writing an album far away from the big city troubles. Things happen, and Lourdes ends up staying in Kyle’s house. They become close, and help each other through some crazy situations, but they both know that a relationship would never work between them because they want different things.

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This is one of those series that makes me want to shout from the rooftops that everyone should read it. I feel like these characters are my friends, so it was great to finally read Kyle’s story. He’s the good, dependable guy in the group, but it seems he’s been keeping his difficulties secret from his friends so he doesn’t rain on their happiness. Brenda Novak put him through a lot of ups and downs in this book, and I thought Lourdes was a good person for him to have around for support. I was really excited to learn more about Noelle too. Novak is really good at making things seem one way, but then twisting them around to completely surprise you, so I didn’t know what to expect with Noelle’s character. The way Brenda Novak puts her characters in wild situations, and makes them work for happiness never disappoints.

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2016 Looks to Be a Magical Year

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I love it when my TripIt app (app that keeps track of flight, hotel, contacts) fills up and it’s time to square away where I’ll be and what I’ll be doing in 2016.  And, believe me, what I’ll be doing is a drop in the bucket compared to what is available out there.  Need more time and money!

December – Actually, I’m starting early by going to Florida (near Ft. Myers) tomorrow and meeting with authors for the whole month.  If you’re a Florida author, let me know and maybe we can connect.

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January – I’ll be in Florida the whole month, so basically connecting with a lot of the authors down there some more.  If you are a FL author, contact me and we can have coffee (hazelnut, of course).  I’m starting in Melbourne, but will visit Ft. Myers, Sarasota, Naples and Tampa.

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January 25-30 – Author’s Cruise with The Seymour Agency  – George Town, Grand Cayman, and Cozumel, Mexico

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February 6-14Author Retreat – Hawaii – Published authors, workshops

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March 17 Maryland Romance Writers (Baltimore) – Workshop

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April 29-May 1Barbara Vey Reader Appreciation Weekend – Milwaukee, WI  (Seriously, click the link and check out all the stuff we’ll be doing with 60 authors and lots of it is FREE!)

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May 11-13Book Expo America (BEA) – Chicago

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May 13-14Chicago Spring Fling – Chicago-North RWA conference

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July 13-16 Romance Writers of America Conference – San Diego

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September 22-25Historical Romance Retreat – Spokane, WA

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November 5 – Tentative – YA Day – Will soon be taking applications from authors to do a full day event with YA readers of all ages (adults welcome).  Panels, writing classes, booksigning and lunch.  Darynda Jones will be keynoting.

As always, this is is subject to change and more may be added.  If I’m coming to your area, let me know!

Feel free to post events you’ll be attending and any others you may know of.

Bottom Line:  Feel like I hit the traveling jackpot with a cruise, Hawaii and all points in between!!

 

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My Pick of the Week: Sweetest Scoundrel by Elizabeth Hoyt

Sweetest Scoundrel by Elizabeth Hoyt

Eve Dinwoody lives a quiet life with her maid, cook and bodyguard, as the bastard sister of the Duke of Montgomery.  Her closest friend is her pet dove.  Mr. Harte is rebuilding the fascinating Harte’s Folly, a pleasure garden in London that boasted a theater, a maze, fireworks and other entertainment, until a fire burned it to the ground the year before.  Since the Duke of Montgomery holds the purse strings to make Harte’s Folly a reality again, Eve is in charge of the money while her brother is away.  She insists on keeping her eye on the accounts.  Mr. Harte doesn’t need anyone watching over him as he envisions his dream come to life, especially a plain, harpy woman who is hiding deep, dark secrets.  But, having to spend time in close proximity Eve, brings out his passions and curiosities.  Someone is out to destroy Harte’s Folly before the opening and Eve is caught in the crossfire.

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Plan a day off to read this enthralling book in one sitting.  While I’m always intrigued by Elizabeth Hoyt’s stories, this Maiden Lane series has grabbed me and won’t let go.  I’m frustrated with her for writing such a compelling story and then tacking on a hook that makes me want to call her up and ask her what happens next.  I’m not a patient person when it comes to books and I hate waiting for the next one.  It looks to be a doozy and I’m already watching for the release date to put on my calendar.  Get this book and let me know if you feel as I do, that Elizabeth Hoyt needs to be locked in a room so she just keeps writing.  I’m addicted!

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Bottom Line:  If I have to have an addiction, I’m glad it’s for reading.

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