Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Evil Without A Face

Evil Without a Face by Jordan Dane ~~

Putting romance on the back burner and the business of catching bad guys first, hard-boiled Chicago bounty hunter Jessica Beckett pursues a personal vendetta against child abuser Lucas Baker. When Baker turns up dead and is linked to a multinational human trafficking organization, Globe Harvest, the cops tag Jess as a possible suspect, but she's already off on another chase, looking for a teen who may have been a Globe Harvest victim. The search takes Jess from Chicago to Alaska, puts her in personal peril that evokes flashbacks to her nightmarish youth and surrounds her with a dazzlingly imaginative supporting cast of characters. Dane pulls out all the stops en route to the dramatic, rose-tinted finale. (From Amazon)

From the coldness of Alaska to the starkness of a Russian apartment to the mean streets of Chicago this book is nothing but a heart pounding thriller! Bad ass bounty hunter Jess Beckett is hot on the trail of child abuser Lucas Baker. She doesn't get him - but she gets his beloved laptop. An action that will cost her dearly. Her new employee finds links to something called Global Harvest and puts keystroke tracker software on the computer. Before Jess can return the laptop, her home is trashed and Lucas is out for revenge. Meanwhile a young girl from Alaska can't take home life anymore and runs away ~ straight into the grasp of a global black market operation. When her famous uncle gets involved in her search he finds himself hooking up with Jess ~ of course in more ways than one. While hunting down the operators of Global Harvest Jess continues to flash back to her own horrific childhood abuse. Making her even more determined to bring this operation down. The scariest part is that things are not what they appear to be. And just who is the mysterious Alexa and what does she have to do with anything? What is really going on will rock you to your core! Ms. Dane not only develops the character of Jess beautifully and completely, flaws and all, she spends the same amount helping the reader get to know each of the other characters to the same degree as Jess. With the same amount of twists and turns as a roller coaster, this book will keep you guessing right up until the very end. A must read for anyone who loves the equal amount of romance and suspense in their books.

Guest Post ~ Lloyd Lofthouse


As a field radio operator, Lloyd Lofthouse was a walking target in Vietnam in 1966. He has skied in blizzards at forty below zero and climbed mountains in hip deep snow. Lloyd earned a BA in journalism after fighting in Vietnam as a U.S. Marine. Later, while working days as an English teacher at a high school in California, he earned an MFA in writing. He enjoyed a job as a maitre d’ in a multimillion-dollar nightclub and tried his hand successfully at counting cards in Las Vegas for a few years. He now lives near San Francisco with his wife, with a second home in Shanghai, China. Lloyd says that snapshots of his life appear like multicolored ribbons flowing through many of his poems.This link takes you to Lloyd's 'Vietnam Experience' page filled with photos. He took many of them. Since Lloyd still has to edit the photos so they load faster, this page may load slow for older computers.This link will take you to a media piece from a Southern California newspaper that Lloyd copied and posted on his Website that will give you an idea about his teaching years.If you are interesting in learning more about Lloyd's teaching experience, you are welcome to read about it at AuthorsDen. 'Word Dancer' is a memoir of the 1994-1995 school year. He kept a daily journal that year. He is using that journal to write 'Word Dancer'. Everyday, when he arrived home, Lloyd wrote an entry in that journal. It sat on a shelf in his garage for fourteen years gathering dust. Spiders moved into the binder and built a nest. After all those years, Lloyd forgot he'd written it. When he was cleaning the garage, he found it again. Lloyd started reading, remembering and writing. Everything he writes in 'Word Dancer' happened. He's using a primary source as his guide. Memory may be faulty, but a daily journal written the day an event took place is as accurate as it can get from the author's point-of-view.Accomplishments: Lloyd's short story "A Night at the Well of Purity" was named a finalist for the 2007 Chicago Literary Awards.As a teacher, Lloyd found satisfaction in the number of students that published nationally and internationally while attending his English and journalism classes.You can visit his website at
Driven by a passion for his adopted country, Robert Hart became the “godfather of China’s modernism,” inspector general of China’s Customs Service, and the builder of China’s railroads, postal and telegraph systems, and schools, but his first real love is Ayaou, a young concubine.


The Research Behind the Writing of MY SPLENDID CONCUBINE

“Bad Company led me away from the path of duty; my punishment was not merely spiritual loss but bodily suffering... I continue to sin (from Robert Hart’s journal entry for Sunday, 27 August 1854).”

I started my research by reading that passage in 1999. For the next nine years I researched, wrote, revised and edited until My Splendid Concubine was ready to be published.

Writing historical fiction requires doing research to gain knowledge on the subject and culture the novel is about. For My Splendid Concubine, that meant 19th century China. A novel like My Splendid Concubine has many plot elements that make up the story. They are like colored strings and ribbons. One of those strings was about concubines since Ayaou, a major character in the novel, was Robert Hart’s concubine.
It wasn’t long after Robert Hart arrived in China that he was introduced to the Chinese custom of taking more than one wife or concubine. Robert Hart’s journal entry for Thursday, 31 August 1854 said, “I take great interest in these girls.... Cheepa told us this evening that his father and mother got his first wife for him; He had not seen her previously. His second wife (his own choice) he says is his favorite. He told us that from 200 to 1000 dollars are given for a wife by respected Chinese. They marry between the ages of 16 and 30.”
After reading Entering China’s Service, Robert Hart’s Journals, 1854—1863 and the two volumes for The I. G. in Peking, I edited and read the rough draft for my wife’s book, Empress Orchid, which takes place during the same time. Since Anchee was born in China, I picked her brain for answers to questions and where to find them. While reading Entering China’s Service, I discovered that Hart met his concubine Ayaou in Ningpo. I also read that he destroyed some of his journals written after July 1855. “We can infer that he was expunging the record of a new way of life that was not for public knowledge.” (page 152, Entering China’s Service)

It wasn’t until after reading this in Dragon Lady by Sterling Seagrave that I knew what I wanted to write. “By early May he (Hart) had a sleep-in dictionary, his concubine, Ayaou. He had just turned twenty; Ayaou was barely past puberty but was wise beyond her years.... From his first days in China, Hart had taken offense at the way Westerners causally abused the Chinese.” (page 150, Dragon Lady by Sterling Seagrave). However, that wasn’t enough information to start writing my novel. I had to learn more.

Anchee pointed me toward Lin Yutang’s My Country and My People. I used Google to hunt down a used copy. Pearl S. Buck wrote some advice that I took seriously in her Introduction for Yutang’s book: “A book about China, worthy to be about China, can be none of these things. It must be frank and unashamed, because the real Chinese have always been a proud people, proud enough to be frank and unashamed of themselves and their ways.” (page xv, My Country and My People, Lin Yutang, 1938)

In addition, I read two books, Lisa See’s Snow Flower and the Secret Fan and Peony in Love. I then contacted Lisa See asking for advice. She replied that I should read Susan Mann and Patricia Buckley Ebrey’s work on China.
I didn’t leave out movies either. I bought and watched Zhang Yimou’s Raise The Red Lantern and Nancy Kelly’s Thousand Pieces of Gold.

Every book and movie helped me gain an understanding of what life must have been like in China for a concubine. However, at the same time, I had to take into account that Robert Hart was from Ireland. He wouldn’t treat his concubines the same way a Chinese man would.
As you can see, writing historical fiction is not an easy road to travel. The topic about concubines was only one strand of the plot—there were more. That’s why it took nine years to write My Splendid Concubine.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Whisper of Warning

Whisper of Warning by Laura Griffin ~~

When Courtney Glass finds herself at the heart of a brutal murder plot, she has two choices: run or trust the detective in charge to discover the truth. But when their attraction gets the better of them, has she found the perfect man, or enabled the perfect crime? (From back cover).

When Courtney agreed to meet her ex-boyfriend at the park to stop his harassing emails and text messages, she had no idea she would soon become part of a grisly murder, and a target herself. New homicide detective Will Hodges is assigned to the case, along with his partner Nathan ~ who has ties to both Courtney and her sister Fiona (Thread of Fear). Will knows that Courtney is lying to him about some things that happened in the park, but he also believes she is telling him the truth when she says she did not murder David. With growing pressure to arrest Courtney, Will pulls out all the stops to figure out what happened to David, while at the same time protecting Courtney from the real murderer, who thinks Courtney has some key information regarding the case. I was hooked from page one. It's not stop action from the get go. The development of the relationship between Courtney and Will was slow & natural. The attraction was immediate and obvious, yet refreshing to see them not jumping into bed as quickly as one would normally see. While this is the second book in the series featuring the Glass sisters, you can certainly read it as a stand alone. An intense, fast paced thriller you definitely don't want to miss.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Out of Circulation

Hitting The Books

Miss Helma Zukas is reluctant to go hiking on the Cascade mountains, but her friend Ruth is insistent. When she agrees to go, Helma, ever the librarian, does her research, reading up on survival techniques, packing like a pro, and making up a list for her irresponsible friend. As usual, Ruth comes unprepared, having neglected to read Helma's list. But even Helma's careful preparation couldn't have anticipated the discovery of a dead body high in the rocky wilderness.


Since it appears unlikely that the hole in the hiker's chest was caused by a fall, Helma suspects foul play. When the victim is airlifted off the mountain, Ruth is ready to accept a ride back to civilization, but Helma insists they stay and search for the hiker's missing companion. Being good samaritans is one thing, but getting stranded in a blinding snowstorm is quite another. Especially when escaping Nature's deadly fury means holing up in a little cabin with some motley strangers who may be planning a murderous adventure for a couple of dangerously inquisitive women...

For her 40Th birthday, Helma's friend Ruth decides she wants to go on a hike. Reluctantly Helma agrees and in true Helma fashion does all the appropriate research. She also buys all the right gear while leaving a list for Ruth so she can do the same. When Ruth mentions this is going to be a 3 day hike, Helma is not pleased, but still goes along. The discovery of a dead man in the woods turns their "time to get healthy" hike into the search for a killer. Unfortunately they get caught in a blizzard, and due to Helma's preparedness find their way to a blizzard cabin. What they didn't expect was to find several other people there. Is one of them the murderer? How far will they go to survive? While I like how the author took this book "out of"the library setting, I don't think it was my favorite of the series so far. I will definitely continue on with this series to see what other types of trouble Helma will find herself in.

Book Giveaway ~ Pushing Up Bluebonnets by Leann Sweeney ~ Autographed

When asked to help identify a young woman who may not survive an attempted murder, Abby discovers a possible connection between the girl and a prominent Houston family-the questions about her past are getting stickier than pecan pie. Abby's about to learn the hard way that when she crawls out on a limb, she'd better be certain there's not someone behind her with a saw and a mean spirit...

Now on to the RULES ~~

  1. Open to residents of the US only

  2. Post a comment here. You MUST LEAVE YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS OR ACTIVE BLOG ADDRESS IN YOUR COMMENT. Any comment that DOES NOT INCLUDE this information WILL BE DELETED. I have to have a way to contact you if you win!!!!

  3. If you blog this contest and leave a link in your comment so I can check it out, you will receive an extra entry to the contest.

Contest open through February 1st, winner will be announced on February 2nd.

Book Giveaway ~ Born To Run ~ WINNER!



Renee is the lucky winner of this fantastic ARC :) I've sent her an email. If I don't hear back from Renee by Wednesday I will choose another winner.
Thanks again to all those who have entered.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Killer in High Heels

Killer in High Heels by Gemma Halliday ~~

Drag queens meet the high-fashion mob in this fun, fast-paced follow-up to Halliday's delectable Spying in High Heels. A kids' shoe designer whose best creations end up in Payless, Maddie Springer is a down-to-earth blonde whose tough luck with men has her forbidding friends and family to mention her last boyfriend, LAPD detective Jack Ramirez. Her mom had similar luck with Maddie's father, Larry, who ran off to Vegas with a showgirl named Lola when Maddie was three. But when Maddie receives a cryptic plea from Larry on her answering machine—punctuated by a gunshot—she decides to investigate, trekking to Sin City with her voluptuous, well-armed best friend Dana and their gay cohort, Marco. There, they soon discover that Larry and Lola are one and the same, that an innocuous nightclub fronts an ingenious counterfeit shoe scheme and that—naturally—there's a murderer on the loose. This amusing whodunit scores big with inimitable characters like psychic Mrs. Rosenblatt, Maddie's tell-all mom and bad-boy Ramirez, who shows up with some surprises in tow. Maddie's winning return, with her bold comical voice and knack for thinking fast on her strappy slingbacks, will elicit cheers from fans of the growing chick mystery field. (From Amazon).

When Maggie gets a mysterious message on her voice mail followed by a gun shot from her long lost father, she is determined to find out what happened. Going to her mother is not an option as she still hasn't forgiven Larry for deserting them. Maggie does the 'unthinkable' and contacts Jack Ramirez ~ detective and former boyfriend. When all Jack can say to her is STAY AWAY, Maggie packs up herself, her BFF Dana and their uber gay co-hort Marco and head off to Sin City. The last place they can track Larry too. What follows is nothing short of hilarious. After saying she'll never speak to her again, Maggie's mom and her psychic friend show up to lend a hand - and bunk down in the same hotel room as the rest of them!! And since it's Maggie that is involved things go from bad to worse pretty quickly! And exactly why does Jack want Maggie to stay out of Vegas??? Is he hiding something from her or trying to protect her? This was just as great as the first one. And the addition of Maggie's father and his Vegas cronies was a welcome addition to this series. From the cross dressing father to the nosey reporter to the arrest for murder, readers will laugh aloud at the antics of Maggie and her group.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Fatal February

Fatal February by Barbara Levenson ~~

For half Jewish, half Southern Baptist Miami criminal defense attorney Mary Magruder Katz, life starts to spin completely out of control when a minor fender bender turns out to be an unlikely shot from Cupid's bow.The other car's driver, isn't just a distracted driver; he's distracting, not to mention charming, handsome, and mysterious. Hardly before she knows what hit her, Mary breaks off her engagement, jumps into a sizzling new romance, gets fired from her former fiancé's highbrow law firm, starts her own practice, and lands her first client, Lillian Yarmouth.But Lillian isn't just any client; she's the prime suspect in what's become the Miami society murder of the year. While investigating Lillian's alleged crime of passion, Mary finds that this case, like all matters of the heart, is anything but black and white. And Mary has clearly stumbled onto something that has someone seeing red.February may be the shortest month of the year, but Mary's got some long days (and nights) ahead. This month could be a real killer.

Mary Katz's day can't get any worse, but it could get better :) First she's cut off by some idiot (albeit extremely hot guy) in line at the car wash, then the same idiot rear ends her as they're leaving. She then gets fired from her firm (sleeping with the hottie in her office when her fiancee walks in doesn't help) and ends her engagement. And the ultimate addition to her streak of bad luck ~ getting hit with a call to the Bar and the ethics committee a few days later for the little office rendezvous. On top of having to defend herself in front of the bar, she has to defend a new client against a murder charge. And don't forget to add in the hot new romance and the crazy stalker! Did the lilly white Lillian kill her husband? Will Mary get to the bottom of it? Will what she finds out, in the stunning twist of an ending, jade her forever? This was such a quick and fun read. Mary is a hoot as well as being a fantastic lawyer. "Watching" her at work in the courtroom was hysterical. If February was this bad I can't wait (and hope to find out) what March brings!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

BIG Contest

You don't want to miss out on this one ;)

Enter through March 1, 2009!

Up for a prize are signed copies of TURN UP THE HEAT and the latest Gourmet Girl mystery, FED UP. Authors and friends Mia King and Michele Scott will be giving away signed books, too! Michele is offering up her complete Wine Lovers series, including her February release, CORKED BY CABERNET. Mia is giving away a copy of her book SWEET LIFE and a copy of GOOD THINGS. We are all including some surprise Valentine's Day treats!

To enter, send an email to with the subject line "Food Fiction Contest." All you have to do is tell us your favorite meal or send us your favorite recipe! (You will be added to Michele and Mia's newsletter list unless you note to opt-out.)

The contest runs from now March 1, 2009. US mailing addresses only, please. One entry per person. A winner will be chosen at random and notified by e-mail within a week of the contest deadline.

Mia King
Michele Scott
Jessica Conant-Park


Breakneck by Erica Spindler ~~

A remorseless killer. A string of innocent, clean-cut victims. Detectives M.C. Riggio and Kitt Lundgren must race against a cold-blooded predator who moves at breakneck speed in this heart-pounding thriller from New York Times bestselling author Erica Spindler.

Hot on the heels of their last case, partners Mary Catherine (M.C.) Riggio and Kitt Lundgren, detectives in the police department's Violent Crimes Bureau in industrial, blue-collar Rockford, Illinois, are called out to a college student’s apartment where a young man with no criminal record, not even a noise complaint from his neighbors, appears to have been murdered in his sleep.

The trail seems cold, until another victim turns up, and then another… each one striking closer to home for M.C. The growing list of seemingly emotionless kills leaves M.C. and Kitt little to follow—like the first victim, all the targets are young adults, kid-next-door types who’ve never taken a step outside the law. Meanwhile, the case starts to take its toll on M.C.’s personal life, setting her on edge with her partner and putting their hard-earned friendship in jeopardy. As M.C. and Kitt hunt a faceless killer, they are led deep into the cyberuniverse, where no one is who he seems and you never know who's watching. At the heart of this mesmerizing thriller is the relationship between two headstrong women as they struggle to balance their dual roles, to learn to trust, and to walk the fine line between upholding the law—and taking it into their own hands. (From Amazon)

M.C's life finally seems to be going just the way she wants it. She loves her job and she just got engaged to the man of her dreams. M.C. and her partner Kitt get called out to the murder scene of a young college student and struggle to find a reason for the killing when things take a horrible turn. The people that M.C. love the most are dying. How far will she go to bring the killer to justice? How many people will she hurt in the long run? Will the pursuit of this vicious killer ruin everything good in her life ~ her job, her sanity and most of all her friendship with her partner? I think the book started off strong, but then seemed to have lost some of it's steam. While the scenes after M.C. loses someone close are heart wrenching, it's hard to gain sympathy for her after the complete disregard she shows for the effect her actions have on those around her ~ most importantly her partner. The plot line is clever, the ending is a bit of a shocker. However I think that those that pay attention closely will pick up enough clues to solve the mystery on their own.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A Wedding To Die For

With big dreams, a big heart and a really big bank account, spunky Texas heiress Abby Rose thinks she's finally found her true calling as an adoption PI in Houston. But when marriage meets murder at the altar, her next case proves to be anything but a dream come true.

As a private investigator, Abby is so green she could hide in a cabbage patch - but she's got enough gumption to take a job from a bride-to-be who wants to find her birth mother before walking down the aisle. Unfortunately, Abby's search comes up short, leaving the bride brokenhearted and Abby wondering if she's in the right line of work. Then the wedding reception ends early when the bride's adoptive father dies after getting knocked on the noggin by a crystal vase. Eager to make things right for the bride and her oddball clan - and prove herself a proper PI - Abby decides to hunt for the mystery mother while trying to catch a matrimonial murderer (from the back cover).

Abby is starting her new career as an adoption PI. While she might not have all that much experience yet, she has a heart of gold and the first hand knowledge of wanting to know where she came from. Megan, a young bride to be, hires Abby to find her birth mother. Abby feels like a failure when she can't locate the woman in time for the wedding. And when the brides father is killed at the reception, she knows that she must be the one to help find the killer. The cast of characters is hysterical ~ from Megan's cousins to Sister Nell to the Jamaican cab driver Abby befriends when she goes there to check out a lead. The writing is fresh and the characters believable. I would love to be Abby's friend! I can't wait to read the rest of the series. Keep them coming Leann.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Prime Time

Prime Time (Harlequin Next) by Hank Phillippi Ryan ~~

At 46, TV reporter Charlie McNally is getting old for the screen. When a man working for a large pharmaceutical company is killed in an auto accident and she’s sent to interview his wife, Charlie sees it as one more sign that her career is going downhill. Then she learns the man had e-mailed her about some papers — and that the company has a secret whistle-blower. As Charlie tries to get to the bottom of this juicy story, she meets professor Joshua Gelston, the first man who’s interested her in ages, but is he one of the good guys? (From Amazon)

Meet Charlie McNally ~ investigative reporter for a local TV station. At 46, Charlie is worried that she's getting too old for TV and worries her time at the station may be up. She knows she's got to come up with an Emmy winning story for November sweeps to keep the job she loves. Charlie and her producer Franklin stumble on a story while interviewing the wife of a man killed in a car accident. The deeper that Charlie digs in the story, the more dangerous it becomes for everyone involved. And in the middle of all this chaos, Charlie just happens to fall in love. But the bigger question is ~ can she trust this man? Is he part of the story or just an innocent bystander? I loved Charlie ~ she is fun, down to earth and knows exactly what she wants. The characters are well developed and the story is fast paced. The plot is one of the most original I've ever seen and it grabs your attention from page one. Ms. Ryan has been an investigative reporter for our local TV station for many years. Her deep knowledge of the industry makes this one of the most true to life books I've ever read. And I enjoyed every second of it. I had the pleasure of meeting Hank at a book signing and she is just as down to earth in person as Charlie is in the book :) My only *problem* with the book is that I let it sit for too darn long on my TBR pile before reading it. I can promise that I'll be reading the next one very shortly!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Fed Up

Fed Up by Jessica Conant-Park and Susan Conant ~~

Part-time student Chloe Carter is planning her best friend’s wedding, working for her parents—and glued to her chef boyfriend, Josh, as he competes to star in a new TV series. The premise: Josh hijacks unsuspecting grocery shoppers and prepares them gourmet dinners. Everything’s going great—until one shopper drops dead.

With the cameras on him from the beginning, Josh is obviously innocent, but Chloe wonders: Was it one of Josh’s competitors? Or the deceased’s husband? Or someone on the crew?

Sifting through suspects, Chloe deals with wedding chaos and Josh’s erratic behavior. She’ll have to balance her plate while trying to catch a food felon…

Chloe has a very busy summer during her break from school. Not only is she planning her best friends wedding (and showers), but she's also working for her parents and helping out her boyfriend Josh as he competes for a TV food show of his own. When one of the contestants drops dead (as well as Chloe, Josh and the film crew getting sick) everyone assumes it was food poisoning. Unfortunately it's never that easy when Chloe is around. When Chloe finds out that the woman was in fact murdered, she sets out to find out just who is responsible. While dealing with Josh's weird behavior, the bride's whacked out mother and a very hot carpenter Chloe is determined to find out what happened. The wedding of Owen & Ade is sweet, funny and surprising all at the same time. Naomi (her mentor from last semester) helps brings calm and reason when it's needed most. And the cliffhanger will leave you begging for the authors to write book 5 just as fast as they can! Another delectable treat you won't want to miss!!!!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Bronx Justice

Bronx Justice by Joseph Teller ~~

Is it the late 1970's and criminal defense attorney Harrison J. Walker, better known as Jaywalker for his rebellious tactics, is struggling to build his own practice when he receives a call from a desperate mother. Her son, Darren Kingston, has been arrested for raping five white women in Castle Hill, an area of the Bronx long forgotten by the city.

A young, good looking black man, Darren is positively identified by four of the victims as the fifth prepares to do the same. Everyone - from the prosecution to the community at large - sees this as an open-and-shut case with solid eyewitness testimony. Everyone, that is, except for Jaywalker.

The young attorney looks deep into the crimes, studying both the characters involved and the character of our society. What he finds will haunt him for the rest of his career. (From the back cover)

When Jaywalker finds himself woken in the middle of the night by a wrong number, it brings him back to a case early on in his career that started the same way, by a midnight call. Except this past case was the one that changed his life forever. A young man is accused of brutally raping five women. Jaywalker wavers for a while on his belief in his clients innocence, finally realizing that he is in fact innocent. The struggle now begins to prove just that. But how do you do that with five eyewitnesses? And what about the inconsistencies between the eyewitnesses and Darren?? The author does an amazing job of changing what you think is going to happen. One minute you think he'll be convicted ~ the next you think he'll get off. An amazing story of how the justice system can go horribly wrong and one mans determination to set things right. The authors note at the end left me stunned! A book you do NOT want to miss.

Lemonade Award

Wendy is too darn good to me as she gave me The Lemonade Award. This is for blogs with attitude and/or gratitude. Hmm...what exactly is she trying to say here? I'm kidding and I appreciate the award. Thank You!!Now, I would like to pass this on to some blogs I enjoy:

Book Giveaway ~ Born To Run by James Grippando ~~ ARC

Born to Run: A Novel of Suspense by James Grippando ~~

Jack Swyteck gets caught in a dangerous web of intrigue and murder at the top levels of the United States government in his most high-profile and disturbing case yet.

Miami criminal defense lawyer Jack Swyteck guards his own family secrets closely, after his father's two terms as Florida's governor made some personal rifts public. Things between the two men are finally better, and whenever Harry Swyteck asks for Jack's help he gets it. Suddenly, Harry needs it more than ever before.

When Harry's friend, the vice president of the United States, goes hunting for alligators in the Everglades and winds up dead, the president positions Harry to be his new VP. Harry immediately asks Jack to be his lawyer. The prestige that comes from the job turns lethal, however, when Jack finds himself at the heart of a complicated cover-up that spans nearly fifty years and the globe. Before hostages can be released, an old secret must be revealed, one that could threaten the life of the president of the United States himself.

Now on to the RULES ~~

  1. Open to residents of the US only
  2. Post a comment here. You MUST LEAVE YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS OR ACTIVE BLOG ADDRESS IN YOUR COMMENT. Any comment that DOES NOT INCLUDE this information WILL BE DELETED. I have to have a way to contact you if you win!!!!
  3. If you blog this contest and leave a link in your comment so I can check it out, you will receive an extra entry to the contest.

Contest open through January 24th. Winner will be announced on January 25th.

Book Giveaway ~ Angel's Tip ~ WINNER!!



She is the lucky winner of this great autographed copy :) I've sent Valorie an email. If I don't hear back from her by Monday I will pick another winner.

Thanks again for entering! I've got another one coming right up :)

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Trick My Truck But Don't Mess With My Heart

Following her father's heart attack, Candie Montgomery takes leave from her advertising job in Chicago and returns to Pinewood, Ky., to help her twin sister, Sarah, run the family's used-car business. The townsfolk blame Candie for the recent breakup of her sister's engagement to longtime love, Nick, so Sarah suggests Candie find a boyfriend to take the heat off; the gorgeous and amiable Tommy Tucker, the new rec director at a local park, offers before she can even ask. The two soon discover an ease with one another along with a great attraction. Candie's idea to revamp the business brings Nick back into their lives, and a clever plan to reunite him with Sarah ensures. There's a fair amount of corn to this romance, but there's also an infectious quality to the writing, and some great humor. (From Amazon)

Candie returns home to help her twin sister out with family business. When she arrives, she finds herself being shunned by everyone in town. Turns out everyone thinks she is the reason that her sister and her fiancee Nick broke up (that he's in love with Candie). While they weren't having an affair, could there be a hint of truth in what people are saying??? In order to kill the rumors, Candie decides she needs a "fake" boyfriend. And before she can even ask him, Tommy Tucker - resident hottie, offers to do just that. But will the romance turn real? Is there anything between Candie and Nick aside from being good friends from years? Will Candie and Sarah figure out a way to save Daddy's business? I loved this book. It was quick and fun and lighthearted. The blossoming romance between Candie and Tommy is sweet, romantic and HOT! I found myself smiling and laughing throughout the book. I'm only sorry it took me a year to finally read it!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


Torn by Chris Jordan ~~

In a small New York town, a deranged man holds over one hundred schoolchildren hostage…

With the SWAT team about to go in, the gymnasium suddenly explodes in flames. Fortunately, all the students escape—except ten-year-old Noah Corbin. Noah's mother, Haley, is frantic. Was her son killed in the explosion? Did he somehow wander away from the scene, hurt and confused?

Or did someone take him?

Haley hires ex-FBI agent Randall Shane because she needs the truth. Their investigation leads them to a desolate area of the Rocky Mountains, and into the resort compound of a notoriously secretive cult ruled by the rich and powerful.

Haley knows they have something to do with Noah's disappearance. But they will protect their secrets. No matter what. (From Amazon)

Monday, January 12, 2009

The Spare Room

The Spare Room: A Novel by Helen Garner ~~

A powerful, witty, and taut novel about a complex friendship between two women—one dying, the other called to care for her—from an internationally acclaimed and award-winning author
How much of ourselves must we give up to help a friend in need? Helen has little idea what lies ahead—and what strength she must muster—when she offers her spare room to an old friend, Nicola, who has arrived in the city for cancer treatment. Skeptical of the medical establishment, and placing all her faith in an alternative health center, Nicola is determined to find her own way to deal with her illness, regardless of the advice Helen offers.
In the weeks that follow, Nicola’s battle for survival will turn not only her own life upside down but also those of everyone around her. The Spare Room is a magical gem of a book—gripping, moving, and unexpectedly funny—that packs a huge punch, charting a friendship as it is tested by the threat of death. (From Amazon).

When Nicola needs a place to stay while undergoing experimental treatment for cancer, her friend Helen opens up her home to her. Nicola is determined to find any one who will save her life. I had high hopes for this book. I expected a magical relationship between the two, but I wasn't feeling it. I had a hard time relating to Helen as well. I was hoping for the author to go into much more depth in regards to the friendship of Helen & Nicola. Instead I was left with the feeling of two aquaintenances sharing a house. The author might have intended this and made it more of a book of caretaker and patient. If that's the case, than anyone who is in a similar position would probably enjoy the book more than I did.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

The Watcher (In The Dark) by Brian Freeman

In the Dark by Brian Freeman ~~

One murder has haunted Lieutenant Jonathan Stride for thirty years. In 1977 his girlfriend’s sister was savagely beaten to death. Stride came face to face with the suspect – and let the man escape.

When writer Tish Verdure begins a book about the decades-old murder, Stride is reluctant to re-open the case. But Tish has new evidence that raises shocking questions about the actions of the police... and even Stride's own wife.

The new investigation scares someone who is desperate to keep their secrets hidden. Tish receives threats. A teenage girl is hounded to her death. And Stride finds himself chasing the twisted trail of a voyeur who may hold the key to two brutal crimes.

With new deaths on his conscience, Stride races toward a devastating confrontation high above the deadly waters of Lake Superior. There, he and Tish will both face their worst fears – and the truth about the past.

Jonathan Stride is back!!! When someone from Jonathan's past returns it can't be good news. Thirty years earlier his wife's (girlfriend at the time) sister was brutally murdered. Now her best friend Tish is back and writing a book about the case and no one is really happy about it. Secrets abound, including ones that Jonathan are keeping. But to honor his late wife, he vows to once and for all find the killer. There are enough twists and turns to keep the reader guessing right up until the shocking and heartbreaking ending. While this isn't the intense action packed novel of other Jonathan Stride books, it was just as good as all the others. And now the long long wait for the next one begins.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Becky Awarded Me with a Butterfly :)

Becky over at No More Grumpy Bookseller nominated me for the Butterfly Award. It's a meme so the rules are that I now have to pick up to 10 other blogs to award and post the links below. I read a ton of blogs and know there are many, many out there that deserve recognition.

I'll give mine to:

Melanie at Love's To Read
Kylee at Kylee's Blog

Thanks to all you guys for helping to keep this book junkie in a constant flow of new books through your fab recommendations. And thanks again to Becky who should be added to that list as well except that she was already nominated.

To anyone I missed, as I said, there are so many great book blogs out there and they really all deserve recognition. Thank you all for your recommendations and for doing your part to help promote great new books to everyone out there looking for them!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

2009 eBook Reading Challenge

January 1 ~ December 31, 2009

This challenge is for readers who love eBooks or would like to explore more in 2009. Since I just got my Sony eReader for my birthday, I only have 4 books so far. But I know that will change very shortly :) Come join us over at J-Kaye's bookblog


1. You can join anytime as long as you don’t start reading to your books prior to 2009.

2. Read 10 eBooks in 2009.

3. Overlaps with other challenges are fine.

4. When you sign up under Mr. Linky, here, list the direct link to your post where your eBooks will be listed. If you list just your blog’s URL, it will be removed. If you’ll be posting your challenges on your sidebar, then please put the button up and link before signing up. If you don’t have a blog, leave the URL blank.

5. You do not have to list your books ahead of time. If you decide to, you can change them as you go. Feel free to remove or add titles as needed.
  • Casket Case by Fran Rizer
  • The Crafty Teddy by John Lamb
  • Dead Men Don't Get the Munchies by Miranda Bliss
  • The Ghost & The Dead Man's Library by Alice Kimberly

Leftover Dead

Waitress Wanda Nell Culpepper is barely hitched to her new husband, Jack, before the couple starts digging into an unsolved murder from thirty-one years ago. But a new death puts this cold case on the front burner. (Amazon)

Wanda has finally found the happiness she deserves with Jack. She can finally quit her second job and enjoy life a little bit more. When Jack stumbles upon an idea for his next book, Wanda Nell is only to happy to help. Together they set out to find out not only the identity of the young girl but who killed her. With the help of family and friends they are able to finally let this girl rest in peace while at the same time bring her killer to justice. Along the way they make more friends and find time to spend with those they love. What I love about this series is that the author makes these characters feel like "real people". They have real jobs and real struggles. I am extremely sad to hear that this series is ending. I'm not sure if this is the last book or (hoping) if there is one more. But either way ~ I will miss these people as I'd miss an old friend.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Book Giveaway - Angels' Tip by Alafair Burke ~ Autographed

Angel's Tip by Alafair Burke (Autographed) ~~

Near the start of Burke's gripping second procedural to feature NYPD detective Ellie Hatcher (after Dead Connection), Ellie happens on the mutilated body of college student Chelsea Hart in East River Park while on her morning jog. Friends of the victim point the cops toward posh nightclub Pulse, located in the trendy Meatpacking district, where Ellie and partner J.J. Rogan are able to match a VIP's credit card receipt to young and arrogant investment banker Jake Meyers, with whom Chelsea was last reported seen. But pinning the case on him doesn't feel right when Ellie discovers similarities between Chelsea's murder and two others from years past. Meanwhile, local media keep getting hold of unreleased facts of the case, making Ellie's superiors suspicious of her romantic relationship with Daily Post crime reporter Peter Morse. Knowing the cops aren't on the right track lends a sense of dread to the plot. Burke leaves her principle characters little time to sleep; readers will relate.

Now on to the RULES ~~~
  1. Open to residents of the US only
  2. Post a comment here. You MUST LEAVE YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS OR ACTIVE BLOG ADDRESS IN YOUR COMMENT. Any comment that DOES NOT INCLUDE this information WILL BE DELETED. I have to have a way to contact you if you win!!!!
  3. If you blog this contest and leave a link in your comment so I can check it out, you will receive an extra entry to the contest.

Contest open through January 15th. Winner will be announced on January 16th.

Book Giveaway - Wicked Game by Lisa Jackson & Nancy Bush ~ WINNER



He is the lucky winner of this great ARC :) I've sent Jason an email. If I don't hear back from him by Friday I will pick another winner.

Thanks again for entering! I've got another one coming right up :)

Monday, January 5, 2009

Hail to the Chef

White House executive chef Ollie Paras has to put her own interests on the back burner when a kindly electrician is electrocuted to death, and the First Lady’s nephew dies in an apparent suicide less than 24 hours after cleaning shrimp with Ollie. Ollie suspects something fishy is going on. She’ll have to watch her back—and find a killer unlikely to be pardoned.

Ollie is back as Executive Chef in this second book in the second White House Chef Mystery series. Not only does Ollie finds herself spending less time in the kitchen and more time with the First Lady, but she's also forced to take classes in threat assessment/security after a bomb is found in the White House. With the death of a beloved electrician the "suicide" of the Presidents nephew, and some business issues the First Lady is dealing with, Ollie is determined to figure out exactly what is going on, all the while trying to get the White House ready for the Christmas Season. Ollie proves that not only is she a fantastic chef, but that she'd also make a great Secret Service agent. I missed the fun of Ollie & Tom that there was in the last book, as he doesn't make as big of an appearance in this one. But the potential for a new love interest kept things funny and light. Ms. Hyzy does a great job of showing us the inner workings of the White House and how the staff works with the First Family. I look forward to seeing what happens to Ollie next. Does she stay with Tom or will the "new guy" come back and make a play for her ~ and what will she do??

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Getting Old is a Disaster

Getting Old is a Disaster by Rita Lakin ~~

When a hurricane strikes Fort Lauderdale, it wreaks havoc on the Lanai Gardens apartment complex and launches self-appointed PI Gladdy Gold's fifth mystery (after 2007's Getting Old Is to Die For). Discovered beneath the debris of a building, a long-buried skeleton yields few clues beyond that the victim was murdered, but that doesn't stop Gladdy and her delightful coterie of elderly crime busters from investigating. They're also trying to nab the bank-robbing Grandpa Bandit and comforting a neighbor, concentration camp survivor Enya, who suffers repeated nightmares. Gladdy's intermittent romance with retired cop Jack Langford veers close to consummation, but she never lets that distract her from the case. Lakin skillfully combines human comedy and a touch of Jewish humor with suspense while unveiling startling connections and plenty of twists.

Just back from New York, and in the middle of a hurricane, Gladdy and friends find themselves in the middle of two mysteries. The first is the mysterious letter that appears in the mail taunting them to catch the bank robbing Grandpa Bandit. The second being the discovery of a skeleton in the rubble of Jack's coll aped building. Gladdy & girls work to solve both cases with their usual laugh out loud antics, proving that no matter what you're trying to do, age doesn't matter. And despite more than one interruption - Jack and Gladdy FINALLY consummate their relationship. Is there something more permanent in their future ??? This is absolutely one of my favorite series. I love reading about Gladdy and what her friends are up to. Having grandparents who lived in a complex identical to this one, I can vividly picture everything the author is relating as if I were right there with them. This series brings me right back to my childhood and my visits with grandma & grandpa.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Find Me

Find Me by Debra Webb ~~

Investigative reporter Sarah Newton debunks supernatural myths, and forces the truth to light whether people want to hear it or not. Now, with a popular teenager found tortured and murdered—and another girl missing—Sarah’s out to prove it’s not the work of an ancient curse, but a cold blooded killer. She’ll expose one Maine village’s darkest secrets …while keeping the truth about her own past hidden from view.

As Youngstown’s newest councilman, Kale Conner’s unofficial job is to minimize the bad publicity from Sarah’s stories and, if possible, to keep her in line. But with time running out, and his own family at stake, Kale’s finding his neighbors’ terrible deeds might be too deadly to sweep under the rug…and he and Sarah are headed toward a heated endgame with only one shocking way out...

Sarah Newton works for a "truth finding" magazine. She's sent from town to town helping the local police figure out what is going on with their cases. Most of the time disproving the "supernatural myths" that seem to go along with these cases ~ as well as leaving a trail of hatred in her wake. She has made quite a reputation for herself as a truth seeker. Now she's off to small town Maine to figure out who murdered one young girl and hopes to figure out the truth in time to find another that has gone missing, in time to save her life. Once again, no one in Youngstown is happy to see her pull into town. For they all know that by whatever "power" she uses, she always manages to find the truth - to uncover secrets much better off dead a buried. Along the way Sarah's secret is uncovered and finds herself fighting the attraction to her "babysitter" Kale. It's obvious there are many horrendous secrets in this town ~ but the biggest question is ~ if you're child of a killer does that mean with their DNA running through your blood you'll be a killer too??? An intense, fast paced read that will leave you breathless.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

A Deadly Yarn

Knitter Kelly Flynn is thrilled that her friend Allison is joining a New York designer's studio. But when the young artist's new life ends before it begins, Kelly must unravel Allison's messy, fast-track social circle-and its lethally wound threads.

2009 Publication Challenge

January 1st ~ December 31, 2009

The Pub Rules (2009)

1. Read a minimum of 9 books first published in 2009. You don’t have to buy these. Library books, unabridged audios, or ARCs are all acceptable. To qualify as being first published in 2009, it must be the first time that the book is published in your own country. For example, if a book was published in Australia, England, or Canada in 2008, and then published in the USA in 2009, it counts (if you live in the USA). Newly published trade paperbacks and mass market paperbacks do not count if there has been a hardcover/trade published before 2009. Any questions on what qualifies? Just leave a comment here, and I’ll respond with the answer.

2. No children’s/YA titles allowed, since we’re at the ‘pub.’

3. At least 5 titles must be fiction.

4. Crossovers with other challenges are allowed.

5. You can add your titles as you go, and they may be changed at any time.

6. Sign up below using Mr. Linky. (Click here.)

7. Have fun reading your 2009 books!

Since the bulk of my reading material are new releases, this should be an easy challenge for me ~ so I'm going to "toughen" it up a bit and make it 29 books from 2009. I'll update as I go. I hope you'll join me in this challenge :)