Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Review of Home Front and Q&A with Kristin Hannah

Home Front by Kristin Hannah
St. Martin’s Press
ISBN13: 9780312577209
390 pages

Jolene Zarkades 41st year of life are giving her many firsts, her 12 year old daughter is showing definite signs of teen angst, her marriage is showing signs of an expiration date and her National Guard unit has just been deployed to Iraq, yes besides a wife and mother Jolene pilots Black Hawk helicopters for the military. As she prepares to leave for war she and her family deal with the news with emotions ranging from anger to fear.
Michael Zarkades has always relied on Jolene to keep the home fires running smoothly and now she’s gone to war and left him in an alien world to deal with their two daughters and his career on his own, while she’s gone he learns valuable lessons about himself, their family and the marriage he was ready to end.
Jolene finds herself in the middle of a war much different than the one viewed on the news and was mentally unprepared for as she and her Raptor team from home fly missions that vary from rescuing trapped soldiers to ferrying VIPs from base to base and lately more and more combat missions on the front lines. She finds it harder and harder to put her carefree face forward in her phone calls and emails home as she wonders what is waiting for her when she returns and more and more the thought creeping into her mind, if she returns home because it’s becoming more apparent with each mission that she could very well die here “in country” and so far from her “Home Front”.
Kristin Hannah has never disappointed me and she goes one better this time by going above and beyond expectations. She brings us an epic tale not in time but in content. She brings us much more than the family drama that enfolds between these pages. She brings us a tale of war but it doesn’t end in the usual battlefield encounter as she brings the war home with the wounded warriors it creates and the problems these injured soldiers face when they step off the transport and land on the “Home Front”. Her dialogue is touching, it’s frightening and it’s full of heart. Her characters range from the enigmatic to the pragmatic and her readers will laugh, cry and hurt with them. This is a love of country story, it’s a tale of loss, of regrets and one woman’s journey with a little help from those who love her.
If you’ve never read Kristin Hannah before this is the perfect contemporary novel to sink your teeth in, it’s a must read but it’s not for any one sex or age limit, it’s timeless and it’s a novel that you will recommend that you will buy for those you love and most of all it’s a read that will have a special place in your personal library that you will revisit many times. And most of all it will hopefully give us a new perspective when we view returning troops and bring to the forefront that their problems don’t end when they step foot back on US soil, sometimes it’s just the beginning.

Q&A with Kristin Hannah

First Kristin, I have to tell you that you are one of my all time favorite authors whom I have enjoyed for many years.  I can still see some of your more poignant of characters, especially those in Magic Hour and Winter Garden.  With as many books as I read, it’s a real testament to the author that I can still recall the characters from a 1999 novel like On Mystic Lake.

 Debbie - Tell us a little about Home Front. 

Kristin - Thank you so much, Debbie.  It’s a real pleasure to talk to you about my own books and books in general.  We readers all have so much in common.  Home Front is a very special novel to me.  At its core, the novel is about a marriage in trouble that faces an extraordinary challenge.  Michael and Jolene have lost their way over twelve years of marriage, and in the midst of their troubles, Jolene is deployed to Iraq and Michael must become the kind of father he’s never been, to two young daughters, who are hurt and confused and angry by their mother’s deployment.
Surprisingly, I think this is a story we can all relate to.  You don’t have to be a soldier or even know a soldier to relate to the powerful emotional themes in the book.  We can all understand how it feels to find that your relationship is in trouble.  And we know how difficult separation can be on a relationship—even if it is not in a life or death situation.  The deployment ups the stakes all around, but at its heart, Home Front is about two people who are separated by extraordinary circumstances.  A marriage is a tricky thing that hangs on hooks both big and small.  Every little thing can matter.  Words spoken and unspoken carry a tremendous weight, and in a way it requires as much commitment and honor to hold a marriage together as to go off to war.  In that way, we all understand sacrifice and duty and honor.

D - Could you tell us what led you to become an author in the first place. 
K- I was not one of those people who knew from an early age that I wanted to be a writer.  I found my way here through a combination of good advice and circumstance.  The advice came from my mother.  When I was in my final year of law school, she took me aside one day and said, “I know you’re going to be a writer.”  Honestly, I was stunned by this observation, but it just goes to show you how profoundly a mother can know her daughter.  I hope to someday give my son a piece of advice this insightful.  I think that’s when the seed of this journey was planted, that’s when it entered my mind that such a choice was even possible.  Several years later, when I was bedridden during a difficult pregnancy, my mom’s advice came back to me and I decided to give writing a try.  That was more than two decades ago and I have never looked back. It’s taken a lot of hard work and determination, and I wouldn’t change a thing.  

D - Where do you story ideas come from, are you lead by the characters or by the storyline.
K-  Ideas are tricky things.  For me, choosing an idea is really as close to magic as this endeavor gets.  Once I have an idea, I can bring all of my technical skills and expertise to bear—I can edit and tighten and revise and re-imagine.  But until then, it’s all just a collection of ideas and issues.  Generally, a novel begins with an issue or a theme.  Night Road was about teen drinking and the difficult of raising a senior in high school; True Colors was about DNA testing for convicts; Home Front is about the sacrifice our troops—and their families---make during a deployment.  Once I have targeted a theme or issue that fascinates me enough to keep me engaged and interested for up to eighteen month, then I begin the arduous task of creating the characters and the plot that best suits my theme.  People often think that I must begin with characters, but that’s not my process.  My characters are created to serve and further the plot.  That being said, it generally takes me more work to get the characters “right”—honest and true and believable—than any other part of the book.

D - How are you coping with being an empty nester?
K - I’m glad I’m getting this question now; it’s been several years since my son graduated from high school and moved out of the house.  Honestly, it was tough in that first year.  I only have one child, and I’ll admit it, I was pretty much of a helicopter parent.  Motherhood was just so important to me.  I wanted to do all of it well—which, of course is impossible.  So, after my son left home, I missed him a lot.  I’m sure I called too often.  But then…my husband and I started traveling and having fun and beginning this second act of our lives.  Now, thankfully, my son is doing well, living in a golden state, and life is good. 

D - Tell us something that might surprise us about you.
K - Hmmm….I like to think I have a good sense of humor.  Somehow I’ve gotten this reputation for tearjerkers because I believe in exploring profound emotions and difficult challenges, but in person, I’m constantly making jokes.

D - On your website you tell how you were pulled “kicking and screaming” into the new millennium and you mention how much it’s enriched you to be able to “talk” to your fans in book clubs, on your blog etc..
K - I have been a writer for a long time.  I’ve written eighteen or nineteen books and been published for more than twenty years.  For most of those years, I did this job pretty much alone.  I lived a very quiet, reclusive life that was centered more around motherhood and school hours than writing, so I rarely, if ever, heard from readers.  I honestly had no idea who was reading my books or what they thought of them, so it’s been totally cool to begin this ongoing conversation with readers.  I try to make my facebook page a place where opinions are valued, and I hear a lot of great stuff.  It’s almost like becoming friends with people you’ve never met.

D - Did meeting your fans in multitudes change how your write at all.
K - I wouldn’t say that meeting readers has changed how I write.  If anything, it has confirmed the idea that I am writing what people want to read.  I love hearing that people were moved or touched or changed by my stories.  And I love criticism, too; anything that makes me a better, smarter, more in-touch writer can only help my career.  The one thing that has changed is my sense of responsibility.  I really want to keep writing books that my readers love.

D - Do you have any Barnes & Noble book signings or events, I’m sure the members here would love to meet you in person.
K - I do have a few Barnes and Noble signings for Home Front!  On February 2, I’ll be at the BN in Santa Monica, California at 7pm; on February 10,I’ll be in DC, at the Bethesda BN at 7 pm; and on February 13th, I’ll be at the BN on the Upper East Side in New York at 7 pm.  I hope to meet some of your readers at one of those locations.

D - Thank you Kristin for taking this time to answer my questions, good luck (not that you need it) with Home Front and with your future endeavors.
K - Thank you for taking the time to interview me, Debbie.  It’s great to get a chance to talk with you and your readers.
Buy the book here visit Kristin's website here.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Interview with Francine Howard author of Paris Noire

 February at the General Fiction Forum at B&N.com we're going to Paris by way of this historical novel and for an added pleasure the author Francine Howard and her publicist Sarah Burningham from Little Bird Publicity will be along for the journey to make it even better for us. Here is the interview that Francine did for me.
The more the merrier so for further information visit the General Fiction forum at B&N.com here for more details then join the fun.
Enjoy the interview!



      First of all, let me say how excited I am about this marvelous opportunity to discuss my novel, Paris Noire, with such an articulate group of readers.  I think of myself as a shy person who’s not good with small talk, but when it comes to my books, I’m told it’s tough to keep me quiet.  I love each and every one of my characters—the naughty and the virtuous—and I enjoy extolling their machinations, even defending the most dastardly among them.  Bring on your questions!

Q.  I understand that Paris Noire has some very personal connections to your own life and family history, could you explain that to us and how the idea for the novel came about.
A.  The core of Paris Noire, the menage-a-trois between Christophe, Genvieve, and Alain-Hugo, is actually the fictionalized family story of a French-born friend of mine.  As I researched the Parisian neighborhood in which to put my characters, I ran across Montmartre.  That’s when I discovered that an entire community of African-American ex-patriate artists had moved to France in the 1920s.  Josephine Baker may have been the most famous among them, but she was joined by writers, comedians, painters and hordes of other black American performers who felt their talents under-appreciated in the United States.  That’s when the second of my three grandmothers popped into my head.
      My step-father’s mother abandoned her family when Dad was just six.  Her goal:  Use her stunning singing voice and green-eyed good looks to get to Paris and give Mademoiselle Baker a run for her half-naked shimmy.  Grandma #2 never achieved her goal in this life, but she didn’t let up.  Her insistence that her time had finally arrived in 2010 made me insert her into the story of Paris Noire, and changed the novel’s original direction.  Allow me to introduce the incomparable chanteuse of 1944/45 Paris--Madame Glovia Johnson (a.k.a. Grandma S.).

Q.  Did you travel to France for research for Paris Noire?
A.  I’d been to France—mostly Paris—twice before I wrote Paris Noire.  And, of course, I had my French-born friend to validate the little details of the neighborhood during WWII and verify the euphoria the French felt on the day of liberation.   My friend’s father, the prototype for Christophe—crowded among the throngs of welcoming Parisians that August day of 1944.
      To coincide with the September 2011 release of Paris Noire, I had great plans to go to France with my friend.  Together, we would videotape his surviving family members—those who remembered the exilheration of liberation day, and those who knew something of the family history.  Alas, eight days before departure, I broke my leg.  Au revoir France—until next time.

Q.  Tell us a little about your first novel, Page from a Tennessee Journal.
A.  I have often felt that I was somehow dropped into a most unusual family.  There are so many strange happenstances in my family history that border on the implausible—a Buffalo Soldier grandfather who fought up San Juan Hill with Teddy Roosevelt, and retrieved frozen American bodies in the Siberia of 1918; the surprise internet discovery of a direct descent from a powerful American president and his black “house servant”; black descendants of the most famous aristocratic house in England who were defrauded of their Arkansas oil lands—you get the idea.  With a treasure trove of stories like these I can keep writing for the next twenty years.
     Page from a Tennessee Journal is the story of the first of my three grandmothers.  But, of course, it was a deep family secret revealed to me in a five-minute monologue by my mother only two years before her death.  She never spoke of it again despite my bended-knee pleas.  It seems that the nice brown-skinned man I’d always thought of as grandpa was not my grandfather at all.  Instead, a white farmer from northern Tennessee was Mama’s biological father.   Grandma was deserted by her sharecropper husband leaving her with four young children and no means of support.  The white landowner learned of grandma’s plight, took a closer look at those bronze thighs of hers, and he and grandma began a bargaining dance that led…well, you’ll have to read Page from a Tennessee Journal to get the rest of the story.

Q.  Tell us how your writing career began.
A.  My relatives insist that I’ve always written.  That’s not true.  I admit to wanting to preserve the family stories.  Those, I did write down, but they were for family consumption only.  I didn’t get serious about writing until after I’d completed Page from a Tennessee Journal—that took me four months at the close of 2002.  I liked what I’d written, and began to wonder for the first time if I had the stuff to become a real writer.  In 2003, I got serious enough to join critique groups, attend writing seminars and conferences, and enter contests.  When Page from a Tennessee Journal became a top ten finalist in the Rupert Hughes Prose Writing contest at the 2003 Maui Writers Conference, I was both stunned and pleased.  That honor gave me the courage to pursue a career in writing.

Q.  What’s next for you?
A.  I thought I had this all planned out before I broke my leg.  I had been working on a five-book series spanning three centuries and based upon the travails of three sisters kidnapped from Timbuktu, transported to the Americas and sold separately into slavery in 1706.  Through the miracle of DNA, their descendants finally reunite in modern day Timbuktu.
       But since my leg fracture, I’ve toyed with the idea of writing a sequel to Page from a Tennessee Journal—a popular request from those who’ve read that book--or telling the oil-land grab of my late husband’s black branch of a ducal British family.

Q.  Give us the normal day in the life of Francine Howard.
A.  For the past several months, it’s been a round of doctor visits.  Thankfully, those are coming to an end and I can resume my life of exercise, errands, writing, travel planning, and of course, shopping!

Q.  Tell us something about you that would surprise us.
A.  Modesty prevents openness here.  Just let us say that those “spicy” scenes in Paris Noire and Page from a Tennessee Journal come from the creative pen.

Buy the book here visit the author's blog here visit the website for Little Bird Publicity to learn more about Sarah here read my review of Paris Noire here

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Poem - Hope Floats

Hope Floats
Floating among the glassy sea,
Reflecting the clouds and drifting ships,
Hope looks for ones in need,
Ones like you and me.
Floating upon the rising swell,
She looks for you and me,
I hide behind the waves,
Afraid to see, to hope, to open up.
When the water rolls on,
And I stand there alone,
She is still there,
Hope is floating beside me.
She warms the chilly air,
She fills the darkest voids,
She has found you,
And now me.
Together as new friends,
Together we can share,
Together we can dream,
Together we can hope,
Together and keep each other afloat,
As we wave off hope,
Watching her give as she floats.

This poem was authored by a very special lady who is a very special part of my B&N.com community and I wanted to share it with you.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Review of The Flight of Gemma Hardy and a Q&A with the author Margot Livesey

The Flight of Gemma Hardy
Margot Livesey
Harper Collins
464 pages

Gemma Hardy was born in 1948 in a small Icelandic village, she lost her parents and the kindly uncle who took her in and brought her to Scotland, the land of her mother. She was sent away by a bitter aunt to be treated like a slave under the guise of scholarship, to be mistreated but to grow in spite of those who would keep her down. At seventeen she takes a job as an au pair to an orphan Nell on the outreaching Scottish Islands known as the Orkneys, here she will encounter a fork in her road of life, here her quest will take on new directions. Her journeys will take her far, they will teach her lessons about life, love and hope. She will be a teacher herself as well as a student, they will introduce her to people who will change her life, who will become another part of her as she continues searching for herself and to those whom she belongs. They will show her the right and the wrong ways of living, of loving, of caring. She will meet people on her journey that she will try to but never forget, who will be a catalyst and an anchor and perhaps the albatross of failure. She will make errors on this pilgrimage, errors that she wouldn’t forgive in others, errors that will farther the lessons of who she is and who she will become. Gemma knows that she was not born Gemma,  and in her exploration to find who she was, will she also find who she is, will she be ever searching or will she finally find peace and most importantly the home she longs for.

Margot Livesey was a new author to me before I opened these pages and I’m so glad that I did. She brings to life a recent history of a girl who I couldn’t wait to find out more about, the timeline seems earlier than the turbulent 60’s here in the states, to a more bucolic existence in rural Scotland and eventually to Iceland where her imagery will come to life with her words and her story is epic as well as prosaic as she introduces us to Gemma and we fall in love with her spirit and her determination. Gemma is not the only character in the novel and Ms. Livesey gives each one their own history in a way that makes us know them well. Her dialogue is easy to read and yet it takes us to places most of us will never travel where we will see clearly through her words. This is a coming of age story, a love story, a tragedy, a comedy and a romance all in one neat package. Speaking of packaging it was the cover design and the title that drew me to this novel in the first place.
So if you’re looking for something you will not soon forget, a drama that will stay with you, a must read that will fill your personal library shelves for years to be pulled out again and again to revisit, look no farther. This mist read will certainly be shelved among my favorites as well. Thank you Ms. Livesey for one heck of a trip, now where will you take me next.

Q&A with Author Margot Livesey
The Flight of Gemma Hardy

Margot than you so much for taking the time to talk to us about your new release
The Flight of Gemma Hardy

Debbie - I have to tell you right off that the cover plus the title is what pulled me to this novel
How important do you think the title and or cover is to the success of a novel.
Margot - Thank you.  I think Harper Collins and the brilliant jacket designer, Jarrod Taylor, did a wonderful job.   I am probably a bad person to judge how much effect a book’s cover has as I have a lot of opinions before I enter a bookshop.   But as I browse I do pick up certain books I’ve never heard of, drawn to them by their alluring covers.
As for titles, to quote a friend a good title is the title of a good book but again I do think a memorable, or resonant, title can really help a book find readers.  Think of Reading Lolita in Tehran. 
D -Tell us a little about the novel, what inspired it.
M -I was inspired by my love of Jane Eyre and by realizing how many people shared that love.   It seemed like a wonderful, though very challenging idea  to try to  write back to Bronte, creating a heroine who wrestles with a more contemporary set of morals and mores.  I set my novel in the ‘60s just before the great wave of feminism, the pill and equal rights broke over Britain and the US.
D - You had a childhood that most girls would envy, tell us a little about being raised in a Scottish Private school for boys.
M - My father taught at a boys’ private school in the valley of Glenalmond, a very beautiful place.  It was ten miles from the nearest town and a world unto itself.  As a small child I took the presence of boys in uniform for granted.  Later of course there were frustrations at living in such a remote place, at traveling back and forth to my girls’ school in town.   I could never stay late to play hockey or hang out.   And fraternizing with the boys at the school was strictly forbidden.
D - Give us an example of the day in the life of Margot Livesey
M -My ideal day – except for when I’m walking in the Scottish hills – is quite boring..  I try to write fiction in the morning.  In the afternoon I read my students work and go to the gym and answer letters..  My husband is a painter.  In the evenings I like to  cook; I made desserts in a restaurant for a while.  Often after supper we both work but we also see friends (which is the opposite of boring) and go to the cinema.  Then periodically there are bursts of travel and excitement.
D - Everyone is always trying to put a book on a genre shelf, so which shelf would The Flight of Gemma Hardy go on.
M - Gosh.  Well, I can say with confidence that it’s not a thriller or a mystery..  I hope it belongs on that shelf of good entertaining books that both carry us away from our own lives and let us see them a little differently.
D - Do you have any book signings or events at a Barnes & Noble, I’m sure many of the members and commenters here would love to meet you in person.
M - I am reading at the Barnes & Noble at 2289 Browadway, New York, NY at 7pm on Tuesday, February 7th. and would love to meet readers there.
D - Thank you again for answering my questions, and good luck with The Flight of Gemma Hardy
Please visit the author’s website here, buy the book here.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Review of Down The Darkest Road by Tami Hoag

Down The Darkest Road
Tami Hoag
432 pages

Lauren Lawton is between a rock and a hard place, she knows who kidnapped her oldest daughter Leslie four years ago when this nightmare she now calls her life started but she just can’t prove it and to the dismay of all the police departments she’s managed to alienate she now gets to add one more under her belt as she’s just moved to picturesque Oak Knoll, but then she’s never dealt with a cop like Tony Mendez before. Tony not only sympathizes but he’s inclined to believe Lauren too, but there’s that pesky thing called evidence that seems to be missing. Tony has another ally in detective Danni Tanner from Santa Barbra the scene of the original crime. Plus there are crimes in Oak Knoll that puzzle them until a pattern emerges. Tony and Tanner combine efforts and with a few friends find facts and pieces that seem to keep being missing in action and that’s not the least of their worries either when the would be villain is constantly pulling the victim card to the cops. Lauren now has one daughter left to protect and she’s vowed to do whatever it takes to do just that. Will she be able to get justice for the daughter that’s gone and protect the daughter that is still here, will she find the light at the end of the tunnel or will she continue “Down The Darkest Road”.

Ms. Hoag gives us a tale that could easily be taken from the front pages of any news paper, it has all the elements that a crime drama fan wants in a storyline, twisting turning scenes, a narrative that will make the hair stand up on the back of your neck and unforgettable characters whom fans will remember some from her previous Oak Knoll novels and new ones that will delight and terrorize in equal measures. The spotlight shines on her co-protagonist Lauren Lawton, who is evangelist for her missing daughter and avenging angel for the one left behind, but there’s also a noir-ish feeling about her too and that makes her even more attractive to readers. Tony Mendez we who have read the previous two novels are quite familiar with, like and respect and his unsuspecting cohort Danni is as entertaining as she is frustrating. Plus we get to catch up on other characters lives we’ve read about before too.
Tami Hoag has been a favorite author of mine ever since I picked up my first book in my second life as a reader. She like many other women authors started writing romance and she went on to romantic suspense where some of the scariest villains I ever read about came from her imagination, she now writes these genre thrillers that absolutely thrill me and other fans as well. If you like Lisa Gardner, John Sandford, Andrew Gross or Nelson DeMille you will love this author. If you are a fan of crime drama or thrillers this is one you’ll not be able to put down.
Buy the book here visit the author's website here

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Q&A with Megan Miranda author of Fracture

 Hi Megan and thank you so much for agreeing to this Q&A.

Tell us a little about the novel, it looks to be a mystery and has some paranormal tendencies, would that be an accurate assumption. Tell us more.
I think that’s accurate. I’d say the paranormal element is a little subtler, more in the background—though obviously still relevant to the plot. Fracture is about Delaney Maxwell, who’s trapped under the ice of a Maine lake for eleven minutes. She should be dead, or at the very least, significantly brain damaged. But 6 days later, she wakes from her coma, seemingly fine. She’s definitely not fine—she seems to be able to sense when people are near death. Problem is, she doesn’t know whether she’s drawn to it or causing it.

Your new release Fracture looks really good and I see it’s shelved as a YA.
Do you think adult readers would enjoy it also?
I hope so! On the one hand, Delaney is 17, and therefore concerned with 17-year-old things: she’s vying for valedictorian, has a very complicated relationship with her neighbor/best-friend/boy-who-rescued-her-from-the-lake, and has trouble understanding her mother. On the other hand, this is also the story of Delaney discovering what makes someone alive—and what makes life worth living. And I think that’s something that transcends age.

Fracture is your debut novel congratulations
Did you always want to be an author?
Thank you! I’ve always wanted to write, but being an author seemed like such a dream. So I wrote as a hobby. I don’t think it occurred to me that it was something I could pursue for real. It wasn’t until I was older—after I’d had kids—that I decided to take my writing seriously. I figured it was my chance to take a real shot at it.

Was your initiation into the publishing process smooth.
It was. I did a lot of work leading up to publication (6 months of revisions after signing with my agent)—but since I started working with the publishing house, it’s really been a phenomenal experience. A lot of work, but very rewarding.

It says on your bio that you were a scientist and a high school teacher before writing this novel.
Do you still teach and what kind of science were you involved in.
I taught high school science. I have two kids—5 and 3—and I’ve been home with them since my first was born. Before teaching, I worked in biotech for several years, which is what I went to school for.

Tell us something about Megan
My love of science definitely influences the way I write. I’ve always loved science and ended up studying it in school (and eventually working in the field)—but I was always drawn to the stories we don’t quite understand. The things that science can’t explain yet. That’s where I get my story ideas.

Are you planning your next novel and will it be another YA
Yes, my second book is another standalone YA, and it’s scheduled to come out in early 2013.

Do you have any events planned at Barnes and Noble, I’m sure there are many club members here who would love to meet and greet you personally.
Yes! On Saturday, January 21st, I’ll be at the Huntersville, NC Barnes & Noble at 12pm. And on Tuesday, January 24th, I’ll be at the Bella Terra Barnes & Noble in Huntington Beach, CA at 7pm. If you’re in the area, I’d love to meet you!

Megan thanks so much for doing this Q&A, taking time out for us and good luck with the novel.
Thanks so much for having me!

Buy the book here visit the author's website here

Monday, January 16, 2012

Review of The Daughter She Used to Be by Rosalind Noonan

The Daughter She Used To Be
Rosalind Noonan
376 pages

The winds of change are blowing for the Sullivans. This tight knit family of God loving and fearing cops will be strained to the very fibers of their souls. A terrible crime will rock the very foundation of all they hold near and dear. As every member faces a new and stressful day they will all handle the situation differently and some of the effects will damage an already volatile situation. Sully the patriarch has vowed to keep his family safe and when he knows that isn’t always possible, something inside him breaks. Bernie the baby of the family has turned to law to fit into this brood of blue brothers, but her beliefs will put stress on a family already falling apart. She and Sully will but heads continually but it doesn’t mean she loves him any less but for Sully the actions of Bernie make her in no uncertain terms “ The Daughter She Used To Be”. What will happen to this once golden group, will they ever recover from what happened or will they ever be changed by fate. What will happen to their once solid faith and who will suffer the most from the fallout.

Rosalind Noonan has given us very realistic look at the things that “could happen” and do, the things that tear the closest of families and friends apart, she does this with an incredible eye for detail and emotion as she spins this tale that we could read on any front page or news website. She does this with dialogue that will take her readers to the Burroughs of New York thick with diversity and flavor and deliver something very special to those of us lucky enough to read the novel. Her characters are the real stars here and she has an amazing way to intimate her audience to each and every one, no matter the role they play, no matter the depth of their involvement. She gives us a realistic look at a family drama come to life and how this one family survives the bomb blast that they will be given.
If you like family drama, crime fiction or even romantic suspense you will like this novel as Rosalind Noonan expertly mixes a bone chilling thriller with a family drama and throws us a small bone of a love story to boot.
Buy the book here.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Review of Immortal Hope by Claire Ashgrove

Immortal Hope, Book One in the Curse of the Templars series
Clair Ashgrove
355 pages

The Templars eradicated from the ancient Church did not die, they live even now, under a curse for an order disobeyed and an ancient treasure unearthed, a treasure that has led mortals to believe in error. The Templars live among us, almost immortal protecting us from demons prophesied to ascend to the Almighty’s throne. Merrick du Loire is such a man he has lived for centuries fighting against evil answering to the archangels who lead their holy war, a man doomed to die with an evil stain upon his heart, a man who seeks his salvation.
What if you learned that the history you’ve been taught and have grown to love is a lie. Anne MacPherson, Templar scholar is faced with this inescapable truth, not only that but she is a seraph a direct descendent of the Nephilim fated in the Templar’s holy texts to save them by taking the darkness from their souls. But Anne doesn’t wan the job and she’s fighting for her very life to leave. The one thing in her way is an immovable object called Merrick and the more she’s around him the more she’s rethinking her future, is she his “Immortal Hope” or is she his downfall.

Claire Ashgrove I have enjoyed for years, she has a unique way with words that always makes a reader believe what she says. And now she takes her fans outside the box into the realm of myths and legends and she still makes her audience believe. Her storyline is from the Bible, the Old Testament where the Giants and heroes are larger than life and the word of God is shouted from Mountaintops and printed in stone and from secular history too and yet she turns our worlds upside down by leading us down her garden path. Her characters are larger than life in essence and in spirit. Her hero Merrick and heroine Anne will fill the pages with their antics, their light and their love and will have every reader pulling for a Happy Ending that doesn’t seem possible. The dialogue is a parry between the old speak of centuries ago and the modern American English and she meshes it well together so her readers never wonder what they’ve just read. Her romance is a clash of the Titans between two strong personalities that really works for the tale. Her love scenes are as earthy and sensual as the characters.
If you’re looking for a sizzling romance to warm a cold winter day look no farther than “Immortal Hope” and on the subject of Templars, this is the first in Ms. Ashgrove’s new series staring all your bigger than life heroes of old and I for one can't wait to venture into this territory again.
Buy the book here visit the author's website here.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Review of Dating the Undead by Harlequin

Dating the Undead
160 pages

Aare you looking for a gift for that special someone, that discriminating single that knows what she wants and what she wants is Mr. Wrong. Are you tired of the same old magazine, well trade in Healthy Living and Elle for Dating the Undead and get the down and dirty on how to attract that Vamp, Zombie or other un-human. Do you have a girlfriend getting married, this is the perfect shower gift, a birthday present for that friend that has everything or the best Valentine’s gift you could give. Or are you the one wishing for a Warlock, longing for a Lycanthrope or dying for a demon. You’ll find everything you need to fulfill your deepest desires. 

Here are a sampling of articles you’ll find inside:
Sexy Pickup Lines,” is it hot in this dungeon or is it you; Lipstick on his collar, is your immortal just a little bit…immoral: Undead and well read, what’s hot between the covers this month.

This magazine is a fun idea, it’s a spoof of all the fashionista ads, the beauty ads. the fashion magazines etc and it’s highly entertaining not to mention some great articles by authors of the genre spotlighting Gena Showalter and Jill Monroe. And a big treat is when Gena’s Lords of the Underworld Bare-All.
Don’t wait, get your copy now and be the envy of the neighborhood and the underworld. And yes you can really say "I bought it for the articles".
Buy the magazine here.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Q&A with Jayne Anne Krentz #1 New York Times Bestselling Author

Please help me celebrate the release of Copper Beach with a chat with Jayne

Q&A with Jayne Anne Krentz
First of all Thank you so much for taking time out of your incredibly busy schedule to answer just a few questions.

I loved Copper Beach, as I stated in my review I got a good dose of JAK and a good dose of Jayne Castle, the only thing missing was the dust bunnies, of course the pooch made up for that.
How many books will be in the Dark Legacy novels
ANSWER: I'm so glad you loved the book but, please, don't get me started on dust bunnies!  Those little dudes have taken over my Jayne Castle career.  My goal is to keep my JAK contemporaries a dust bunny-free zone.  But I do love working with animals, so I went with Newton, the condo dog, in Copper Beach. As you noted, the book is the first in the Dark Legacy novels.  At the moment I'm envisioning this series as a trilogy.  This is Sam Coppersmith's story.  His brother, Judson, will get his story in the next book.

Was the creation of the three pen names you use now by choice or by necessity.
ANSWER:  I never intended to wind up with three pen names, believe me.  And I don't recommend it as a career strategy.  But in a weird way, it has worked for me and for my readers.  They know which of my three fictional landscapes -- past, present or future -- they will be getting when they pick up one of my books.

You write in three genres, is there one you enjoy writing more than the others and on that line is there one particular character that is nearest and dearest to you.
ANSWER:  People keep telling me that I write in three different genres but I never see it that way.  As far as I'm concerned, I write romantic-suspense with a psychic edge in three different fictional landscapes (historicals, contemporaries and futuristics).  And I love all three worlds because I get to work with a wide variety of plots. Changing worlds refreshes me as a writer.  

I love how you always give your heroines very demanding roles in your novels even in the historical and the female leads compliment the males who are very powerful personalities in their own right and I as a female reader love that you do this.
Was this a conscience effort on your part to give your heroines such impressive abilities and roles.
ANSWER:  My readers don't like wimps of either sex!  Neither do I.  A strong hero is no fun unless there's a strong heroine who can match him.

You have many linked books, have you ever thought about writing a continuing series.
ANSWER:  If you mean a continuing series that features the same hero and heroine in each book, I've dabbled with the idea from time to time (LIGHT IN SHADOW and TRUTH OR DARE featured the same main characters).  But for the most part, I like creating a new hero and heroine for each story.  I enjoy working out new problems.  And I do love the linked book, like the Dark Legacy series.  That way I get to have the families as continuing characters, even though each book features a new hero and heroine.

What do you enjoy in your spare time
ANSWER:  Vegetarian/low-carb cooking, Hawaii, and shopping. Not necessarily in that order.

Do you have any signings scheduled at Barnes & Noble I know that my members would love to meet you in person.
ANSWER:  Glad you asked.  I do have a couple of signing events coming up this week.
Thursday, January 12, 2012
Writing Workshop and Signing
7:00 p.m.
3415 SW Cedar Hills Blvd.
Beaverton, OR 97005
Phone: (503) 228-4651

Saturday, January 14, 2012
Writing Workshop and Signing
2:00 p.m.
6300 Wildaire Rd SW
Lakewood, WA 98499
General Library Phone: (253) 548-3302

Thank you again for chatting with us

Buy the book here visit the author’s website here.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Review of 11/22/63

Stephen King
849 pages

Jake Eppling, mild mannered high school English teacher just got a strange phone call from an acquaintance, someone he only knows casually. The man is strangely and all of a sudden on death’s door and Jake knows he’s just seen him recently and wonders how that’s possible, but when he receives the request he has to wonder if the man hasn’t lost his marbles. Al Templeton owner of the hamburger joint that Jake frequents has asked Jake to pay him a visit it’s important he says. The visit turns into an episode of The Twilight Zone for Jake and what’s impossible seems impossibly possible. It seems that Al has discovered a time portal and had all intentions of changing history, of preventing the bullet that killed JFK from leaving Oswald’s gun, only now he’s not well enough and he’s hand picked Jake to carry on in his inability to do it, it also seems that you always enter on the same date and time in 1958 and when you return to the present you’ve always only been gone for two minutes. When Jake becomes aware that this is not only possible but perhaps probable, he has to ask himself if he can, should and wants to do this and as Jake is stepping through that portal into 1958 he’s still asking himself that question. But the questions he’s asked become irrelevant as he navigates his way through the past to make the USA a better place by saving the life of JFK. What dangers will he face in a place where he’s not been born yet, what will befall the people he meets and what are the consequences of disturbing a past that’s already been written, and what do you do when someone you love is someone you never should have met.

Stephen King gives us an alternate lesson in history, where he’s gone to great detail to research and relate. It’s a great question and he makes those of us who were there, remember and those of us who’ve only read about it, see it in live Technicolor.
He gives us both unremarkable and unforgettable characters to help tell his tale and he gives life to them all in wonderful detail. His protagonist Jake/George is a stand out among standouts in this novel, but he has a lot of help in the characters that he befriends, characters that will stay in the minds of his readers long after the Afterword is read. The dialogue is easy to read and understand as he brings to life the nifty fifties and the sexy sixties, he however gets very wordy at times and since I’m not an avid reader of this author I don’t know if it’s just a King-esque thing or not, but I personally think it could have been at least 200 pages shorter, that however did not make me at any time want to put the novel down, it did make me tend to skip over certain passages.
All in all this is a novel that you have to put in your must read category, it tells a story that’s been history for a while but it gives us a fly on the wall look at the characters who played a significant role in the event as well as those who could have played a minor role in this very tragic and very theorized episode in our past not only as an individual or as a country but in a global way as well.
Buy the book here visit the author's website here.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Review of The Dispatcher by Ryan David Jahn

The Dispatcher
Ryan David Jahn
The Penguin Group
351 pages

Ian Hunt is a shell of the man he once was his life changed for the worse seven years ago when his daughter Maggie was kidnapped from her bedroom, she was seven years old and the fallout didn’t stop with the kidnapping. Working as a police dispatcher Ian receives a call that will once again change his life. What would you do if you got a call from your dead daughter, Ian will have to answer that question and face the consequences that go with it.
Maggie Hunt has lived the last seven years of her life in a Nightmare World, the people who took her keep her locked away, scared and often in harms way until one day they leave the door unlocked and she escapes, makes a crucial 911 call before she is recaptured and the nightmare starts all over again. But now she has something that she hasn’t had in a long time, she has hope. Hope that her daddy will rescue her, hope that he will not rest until she is in the loving arms of the family that she was ripped away from.
What would you do?

Mr. Jahn gives us a thriller that’s as good as I’ve ever read, a plot of a world that no parent, in fact no one wants to get up close and personal with. His dialogue will take us into the seedier side of life and death with no holds barred, where his narrative is brutally beautiful and his scenes come alive to his readers. His characters will shine from his slightly noir-ish Ian to his sadistic villains and to the magic of Maggie and all the others as well as he clearly and succinctly lets us into their hearts and their minds. He takes us on a journey where the outcome is always just out of our reach, but reach we must.
If you like the writing of Michael Connelly, Andrew Gross or Nelson DeMill, you will love Ryan David Jahn, if you need that edge of your seat, nail biting drama where the bloodier and guttier the better you’ll love this novel. And then just keep asking yourself, What would you do?
Buy the book here visit the author's website here.