Vindictive by author Ryan Lawrence is a captivating mystery with twists and turns where readers least expect them. This exciting book starts when Jules is eight years old and is forced to make a decision that will change her life forever. That decision sets off a chain of events full of lies, deceit, revenge, and manipulation later in her life. But what if what you’ve thought all along isn’t what it seems? What if you, yourself, have been manipulated for someone else’s quest for vengeance. This is precisely what happens to Jules, who seeks control in every aspect of her life. Often disliked by those around her, she prefers it that way to keep a layer of protection around herself. When a ghost from her past comes back to haunt her, though, Jules feels that control start to falter. The things she built her life upon turns out to be a fabrication of the truth, causing her to question the decisions she’s made as an adult.
Lawrence does not fall short on creativity. The author writes in detail, explaining fully when laying out settings and plots. Readers will recognize that Lawrence did a fair share of research or is a subject matter expert when describing fight scenes. Vindictive has many sub-plots intertwined in the storyline and Lawrence weaves them in flawlessly. The characters come to life with highly detailed back stories allowing readers to get into their mind and understand their actions. Building the back story to set up this stimulating novel allows readers to become fully immersed in the world created by Lawrence.
The characters had similar scheming personalities. Jules, Stella, Joseph, Miles, and even Denise were all brutal in their verbal attacks and only looking out for their own best interest. Phillip was the most tolerable character, seeming beaten down by a swarm of controlling people in his life, most notably Jules. Readers will enjoy experiencing the rekindled friendship between Amanda and Jules. Although Jules used Amanda years ago, Amanda comes through when Jules needs her most. It was nice to see a moment of Jules letting her guard down when having a heart-to-heart with Amanda on why things ended the way they did. It impacted how their friendship can move forward with having a better understanding of each other and their expectations.
Vindictive is a riveting murder mystery novel that will have readers turning the pages to find out what happens with Jules and how the lies she has been told unfold. A fast paced novel perfect for readers looking for action, suspense and thrills.
Pages: 448 | ASIN : B09HFZ4C56
Posted in Book Reviews, Four Stars
Tags: action, author, book, book recommendations, book review, book reviews, book shelf, bookblogger, books, books to read, crime fiction, crime thriller, ebook, fiction, goodreads, kindle, kobo, literature, murder, mystery, mystery novel, nook, novel, read, reader, reading, Ryan Lawrence, story, suspense, thriller, Vindictive, writer, writing
Dead Air: A Glenn Beckert Mystery by Cliff Protzman is a thrilling mystery story. Glenn “Beck” Beckert runs the security for a radio station where his friend, Zito, from high school works. While this friend is working, he is shot in the head. Beck finds himself involved in the investigation and it turns out that the list of suspects is fairly complicated. Far more people had motive to murder his friend than he anticipated. The widow and the victim were both unfaithful, giving plenty of motive. He was also on the outs with the radio station stockholders that were looking to sell. Then Zito’s laptop uncovers a mystery all of it’s own.
Beck finds Irene, an old love, to help him unlock the mystery of Zito’s laptop. The laptop reveals even more than they both could have expected. Meanwhile, they start to realize there is still chemistry between them. Add in both mysterious and not so mysterious threats on Beck’s life, and you have the premise of this thrilling novel.
I felt like this novel did a fantastic job of utilizing a standard mystery format to deliver a thrilling and engaging story. A ‘whodunit’ novel that develops fascinating characters and puts them in some interesting situations.
I enjoyed the depth of each character, which is important in building suspense in a mystery novel. Cliff Protzman has fully realized characters with their own personal quandaries about right and wrong, which is refreshing. So many writers create characters that don’t adapt and flow through the story. It’s nice to see someone really put some thought and love into their character development.
What has really made this novel enjoyable is the way the mystery unfolds. It felt like the murder victim had many layers that Beck was slowly peeling off, one by one, only to find that the person at the core wasn’t who he appeared to be. In a way, many of the characters were that way. Each having their individual things they wanted the world to see, but as the story line and the investigation continued, we get to see the real person underneath the facade. Some of those people were nothing like what they wanted everyone else to believe they were.
Dead Air: A Glenn Beckert Mystery by Cliff Protzman is a well written dark murder mystery novel. The story was easy to follow with twists that I could follow. Get yourself ready for this novel; it was a fun read.
Pages: 321 | ASIN: B0765VNM1K
Posted in Book Reviews, Four Stars
Tags: action, amazon, amazon books, amazon ebook, author, book, book review, books, cliff protzman, crime, dark fantasy, dead air, detective, ebook, ebooks, fantasy, fantasy book review, fiction, glenn beck, goodreads, kindle, kindle book, kindle ebook, kobo, literature, murder, murder mystery, mystery, mystery book, mystery novel, nook, novel, private investigator, publishing, read, reader, reading, review, reviews, romance, stories, suspense, thriller, urban fantasy, write, writer, writing
The Consort Conspiracy
Kaye Schmitz’s The Consort Conspiracy talks about an ancient cemetery deep in the Lowland of Georgia that has been there for over two centuries and protects the remains of the infamous murderer whose act of betrayal changed the history of the town and catapulted the descendants of the murdered victim into the nation’s highest political office.
Kate Covington, a thirty one year old intrepid journalist travels to Midway Georgia, the hometown of the current president Wilford Pennington, to film a documentary to help boost his favorability ratings after he could not keep his privates in his pants. The search for answers to her documentary brings her to the cemetery that has buried more secrets than bodies. But her curiosity almost gets her killed.
The book starts steadily but picks up the pace after the introductory. There are several story lines that are juggled and all are meticulously developed. Kaye Schmitz brings them together in surprising ways with twists that I didn’t see coming. I enjoyed the detailed writing style as well as the alternating perspectives, we even get to travel from the past to the present. All of it intricately weaving together story lines that seem to be separate but which culminate in a explosive piece full of suspense.
As Kate busies herself gathering information for her documentary, she unearths a secret about the first family that could lead to their undoing. The truth about the death of Dr. Aaron Pennington, a descendant of the president will also be uncovered. Mr. Wilford’s political career rests on this murder that happened more than two hundred years ago. This all lends to a thrilling joyride of a novel.
Kate has to deal with some highly emotional issues throughout the story, like when she discovers the truth about the death of her mother. A truth that will not only change the town’s history but Kate’s future as well.
The historical facts that have embellished the present tale and the vivid and compelling characters portrayed by the heroes and villains keep one turning the pages. You really can envision how the characters, as well as the locations, look through Kaye Schmitz detailed description.
When the two handsome men Dan Pennington and Joshua Warrington start competing for Kate’s attention the book becomes a can’t-put-it-down tale. By the end the outcome was both satisfying and unexpected. Just when you thought you figured it all out, you realize you don’t. It was well written and keeps one on the edge of their seat. It was one of those stories that you have to read word by word for fear of missing something crucial. It really was a page turner.
Pages: 331 | ASIN: B071G89PBW
Posted in Book Reviews, Five Stars
Tags: action, adventure, amazon, amazon books, amazon ebook, ancient, author, book, book review, books, cemetery, crime, death, detective, documentary, ebook, ebooks, emotional, fantasy, fantasy book review, fiction, georgia, ghost, goodreads, kay schmitz, kaye schmitz, kindle, kindle book, kindle ebook, kobo, literature, love, love story, murder, mystery, mystery novel, nook, novel, paranormal, publishing, read, reader, reading, review, reviews, romance, romance book, romance novel, saga, stories, supernatural, suspense, the consort conspiracy, thriller, urban fantasy, women, womens fiction, write, writer, writing
Epiphany, written by Sonya Deanna Terry, is a two-part novel that explores the beginnings of currency through a magical adventure where the forgotten past collides with the future.
Book One: The Golding, introduces us to Rosetta, a woman of many talents, ranging from tarot reading to organizing book clubs and being a mother to a sultry teenage girl. The past is then uncovered through a novel Rosetta reads, bringing to life a world of elves, faerie clans, body kings, and potions. Soon it becomes evident that the elves have a message for the people of the future and from here begins an epic adventure where love, life, and fantasy come together for a modern day fairy tale.
Book Two: The Silvering, explores The Global Financial Crisis and the impact it has on the people of the future. Rosetta and her book club friends stumble into a quest for “The Silvering” where letters from the past give clues of the future. What is the Currency of Kindness and will it return in the lifetime of Rosetta and her friends?
Epiphany is a novel with an epic story line involving financial struggles, intimate relationships and a book filled with elves and mystery by a mysterious Lillibridge.
The book alternates between Rosetta’s current life and the novel she is reading, weaving the two stories together in a package of magic, elves, and fantasy. As you enter the world of prehistoric Norway, you can’t help but be entranced by the magical world portrayed through vibrant colours, beautiful oaked woods and most importantly, elves who are between reality and the Dream Sphere. The switch to the modern day brings about relatable issues such as family problems, relationship woes, and moody teenagers. The two worlds then collide, creating a modern-day fairy tale, filled with magic and consequence.
There are also letters which help establish clues and meaning to some of the characters. These letters are vital to the story line and give us an insight into people’s personalities and real-life problems. Some of the problems are eerily relatable, from financial stresses and relationship woes, leaving the plot line feeling almost as if it could genuinely be real life.
Pieter of the Brumlynds is an elf who ventures into the Dream Sphere to help someone in the future. Pieter is a deep thinker, analyzing his destiny while also getting frustrated at the simplicity of humans. Malieka, Pieters mother, ventures into the Dream Sphere, sometimes meeting strange and beautiful creatures who are determined to pass on important messages. Throughout the novel we watch the characters grow in both strength and courage, as they venture into the unknown world.
The imagery conjured by the author is both beautiful and enchanting. The colours, descriptions of nature and the Dream Sphere leave the reader imagining their world with a tinge of fairy dust and sparkle. Phrases such as “emerald tinged blackness” or “hair like lava, eyes of black stone” are just a few examples of the magic the words bring to life on the page.
I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys a fantasy novel with a dash of romance, magic and a modern-day twist.
Pages: 1095 | ASIN: B01NCNFS6F
Posted in Book Reviews, Five Stars
Tags: action, adventure, amazon, amazon books, amazon ebook, author, book, book review, books, creatures, crisis, currency, dream, ebook, ebooks, elf, elves, enchanting, epiphany, faerie, fantasy, fantasy book review, fiction, financial, goodreads, kindle, kindle book, kindle ebook, kindness, king, literature, love, magic, mystery, mystery book, mystery novel, novel, potion, publishing, reading, review, reviews, romance, sonya terry, stories, teen fiction, the golding, the silvering, thriller, urban fantasy, women, womens fiction, writing, YA, young adult
Happy Stories are Boring
Pink Slips is a riveting tale of one woman’s desperate plight to keep her loved ones safe, even in the sights of a mysterious stalker. What served as the inspiration that made you want to write this suspenseful novel?
Fourteen years ago I was home alone with my newborn baby when I received a violent anonymous phone call. Flash forward to this year… I was working on a writing prompt asking to recount “receiving an anonymous phone call or note”. I instantly was transported to that frightful night. The story evolved as I fueled the idea with the “remembered fear” I experienced that night. I imagine that many women have had a similar scary situation, which made me think it would be a relatable story.
I found Betsy to be a very well written and in depth character. What was your inspiration for her and her emotional turmoil in the story?
Betsy is modeled after me in some ways. I have some of the little habits that she has, including talking to her dog as if Barney understood her. I’m confident my two Tibetan Terriers understand every word I say! I fueled some of my fears and concerns for safety into her persona, however the violence she experiences is completely fictional. Like Betsy, I’ve had my share of pregnancy issues, giving me authentic experiences to draw upon. My marriage is very happy, whereas Betsy’s needs some work! The emotional turmoil within Betsy grew with her characterization. At first she was just a victim of a parking lot mugging, but as the story developed, she gets pummeled in every chapter. Once I read a article about writing, where it said, “…happy stories are boring… add conflict where you can.” I throw a lot at Betsy, but as the story progresses, so does her strength and belief in herself; so I guess the conflict was needed in my manuscript.
What were some themes that you felt were important to highlight in this book?
The key theme in the book was shining the light on women’s safety in an information-sharing world. Nowadays, you can learn so much about people through social media, everyday forms we fill out, and even in medical offices. I’ve always tried to teach my children the importance of security, but this book highlights how we are all vulnerable. Another theme in the story, focuses on humans special contact with their pets. They are a part of our family and they rely on us. It’s only natural that there’s a mutual love and respect between us. Another theme is being “open” to your own intuition. We all have it (especially pregnant women), yet are often too busy, moving, talking, and “doing” every day, that we don’t always take the time to “listen”. There’s a lot to learn in silence.
Are there any emotions or memories from your own life that you put into Betsy’s life?
One emotion Betsy shares with me is the intense pain and sadness from losing a pregnancy. No one can understand that feeling unless they experience it. A memory that I share with Betsy is time spent in the kitchen with “Grandma”. I grew up loving food, cooking, and learning from both of my Grandmas. I studied pastry at Le Cordon Bleu in Chicago, so it felt natural to make Betsy an expert chef. She has much more working experience than I have, however I did publish a healthy living and eating book (Real Moms Love to Eat; Penguin/NAL, 2012), whereas Betsy hasn’t written her book yet, but I don’t put anything past her… I bet she will publish a cookbook soon 🙂
Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website
Betsy Ryan is pregnant with her third child, and receiving threatening notes from an anonymous person. During what should be a joyful time in her life, she’s forced to face a decade old memory, and relive one of the most devastating nights of her life.
To uncover the mystery behind the threats, she enlists the help of an unlikely, but oddly reliable source, her dog Barney. As the menacing notes continue to arrive, her husband is still out of town for work, and she struggles to keep her composure while shielding her two young sons from danger. She trusts no one except her parents, best friend Misty, and her extraordinary dog—who has proven to literally understand everything she says. Is this person out to harm her? And how do they have so much personal information about Betsy? She can’t help but think it’s the same person who attacked her at the train station almost a decade ago, and changed the course of her life forever. To save herself and her unborn child—Betsy must face her fears and find her strength, to reveal who is after her and most importantly…why.
Posted in Interviews
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The Imposter’s Trail
Your heart will be racing as you read the latest in the Sean Kruger series The Imposter’s Trail by J.C. Fields. Our beloved Special Agent with the FBI is supposed to be living out his golden years with his new wife and child while teaching the next generation at university. However, if there’s one thing Kruger can’t escape it’s his own skill. When a culprit Kruger feels responsible for losing six years ago pops back up on the radar, our favorite agent can’t help but be pulled into the chase for this deranged murderer. What begins as a chase for an escaped serial killer evolves into a terrorist plot that only Fields could concoct. Will Kruger make it out of this one alive? Or will this finally be the end of Special Agent Sean Kruger?
Fields does a great job with his descriptions as usual. It is easy for the reader to picture either characters or settings in their mind. It is easy to get inside the mind of our protagonist, but we can also get inside the mind of our insidious imposter. Fields spares nothing in mapping out the thought process of this murder and what drives them to do what they have done. The story itself is gripping as we follow Kruger on his hunt while taking blows along the way. This installment hits closer to home than ever for our agent, and we read on with anticipation as to how he will react when all that is sacred to him is threatened. The action is well paced without being over the top or unbelievable. Even the relationships between all the characters are realistic. This is hard to do when you have a continuing series and when you have a cast of characters that can be as large as the one in this story.
A large cast can be a blessing or a curse, depending on who you ask. Having to keep all of the characters traits in line while remembering what importance they play in the story can be a detriment to some writers. Fields has done this before, however, and it’s easy to see that there are no characters created purely for convenience. Even those who do not last more than a paragraph are supplied with a backstory and meaning, even if it is only brief. This is a good tactic to take as it makes each person in the story meaningful to the reader.
When you’re looking for a novel about subterfuge, action and gripping human emotion, anything by J.C. Fields is a good choice. We are not let down with The Imposter’s Trail as we follow Kruger on his quest for personal redemption while he puts his life on the line to correct a mistake he made years ago. It’s not necessary to read the other books in the series which is a benefit for those who might be picking up this book without knowledge of the previous installments. Readers will still feel engaged and knowledgeable enough about the world and its inhabitants without feeling overwhelmed or clueless. The only real question we are left with is: what will happen to Special Agent Sean Kruger after this?
Pages: 280 | ASIN: B073V7V6FQ
Posted in Book Reviews, Five Stars
Tags: action, adventure, amazon, amazon books, amazon ebook, author, book, book review, books, detective, detective book, ebook, ebooks, fantasy, fantasy book review, FBI, fighting, goodreads, jason bourne, jc fields, kindle, kindle book, kindle ebook, literature, love, mystery, mystery novel, novel, publishing, reading, review, reviews, romance, sean kruger, special agent, stories, suspense, the imposters trail, thriller, urban fantasy, writing
With an intriguingly unique title, Gravity Games, “A Nathan Sherlock Foodie Thriller,” by John Matsui certainly piques readers’ interests right from the start. The crossover of foodie and thriller novel is not one that is commonly found on bookshelves, and Matsui cooks up a plot that is decidedly more interesting than any book reviewer’s lukewarm cooking puns. The novel follows the title character, Nathan Sherlock, and his sidekick, Bonnie Nakagowa, as they venture through an international conspiracy full of modern-day super-humans and, of course, a few supervillains.
Gravity Games starts off at a quick pace with a plotline that immediately pulls readers in. Nathan Sherlock, famously known around the world as “Nate the Nose” for his otherworldly sense of smell that renders him capable of creating literally orgasmic food and wine pairings, also dabbles in crime-solving. Thanks to his heightened sense of smell, Nate can conveniently detect the smell of murder, as well as other useful emotions, like fear, lying, and attraction. The novel seems to relish the fun and lightheartedness of being a foodie thriller novel: the last name Sherlock, the food puns, and the clichéd beautiful FBI agent. But the superficial fun can only sustain readers for so long, and unfortunately most of Matsui’s novel falls somewhat short of expectations.
Matsui’s thriller deserves a well-earned four stars for creating a completely unique plot and fascinating set of characters. The international mystery that dabbles in physics, finance, and genetics is certainly full of enough intrigue to keep readers motivated, and Matsui also weaves in modern issues like the Occupy Movement, sex trafficking, and the energy sector to keep the thriller somewhat grounded in reality. That perhaps, though, is Matsui’s downfall: by creating so many captivating characters and throwing in a myriad of plot twists, it is hard to follow the novel’s true focus. There are several competing story lines, and each is mesmerizing but feels squeezed for time in Matsui’s concise thriller. Matsui also packs his fast-paced novel full of one-of-a-kind characters, from mad scientists to vicious oil tycoons to mysterious ladies of the night. But apart from Nathan and Bonnie, most of the characters lack the development that their interesting backstories deserve, and it feels as if Matsui could have dedicated entire other novels to some of his supporting stars.
Matsui writes in clever and well-written turns of the tongue, keeping a quick stride to accompany Nate and Bonnie on their adventures. Gravity Games weaves an unbelievable, eye-popping series of events into one cohesive tale that culminates in a delicious finale, leaving readers drooling for the second installment of the Nate Sherlock Foodie Thriller Series. Part of the joy in reading about super-humans and fantastic events is simply how unrealistically fun they are, and Matsui embraces that. Though readers may be craving Aunt Lucy’s famous cabbage rolls by the end, readers will be craving a more thorough and in-depth novel by Matsui even more.
Pages: 266 | ASIN: B01755YLN4
Posted in Book Reviews, Four Stars
Tags: action, adventure, amazon, amazon books, amazon ebook, author, book, book review, books, chef, cooking, detective, ebook, ebooks, fantasy, fantasy book review, fiction, food, foodie, fun, funny, goodreads, gravit games, humor, john matsui, kindle, kindle book, kindle ebook, literature, murder, murder mystery, mystery, mystery book, mystery novel, novel, publishing, reading, review, reviews, sci fi, science ficiton, science fiction, science fiction book review, sherlock, stories, suspense, thriller, urban fantasy, wine, writing
The Last Train revolves around Michiko Suzuki and the team of detectives that are investigating the train murders. What was the inspiration to the setup to this thrilling novel?
For quite a few years I was writing about jazz every week, so I was always going to Roppongi and Shinjuku and Shibuya, nightlife parts of the city. I’d see the hostesses who work in all the clubs there, and they would often be in the jazz clubs. They were almost always strikingly attractive, but underneath that seemed some sadness. Whatever one thinks of their work, the women seemed smart. What impressed me most, though, was the great personal dignity with which they carried themselves. So, I started wondering what kind of life those women lived, and what if they turned the tables. What if one of those people-savvy women took things into her own hands to do things men usually do? And what was this odd dynamic between men and women that seemed so unfair to women, but then again, was something else, too. Many Japanese women might not even say Japanese society is unfair exactly, perhaps because Tokyo is home to a vibrant urban culture where women are incredibly free to do what they want and live how they like. But, what would that freedom turn into if taken to an extreme? Michiko is that extreme. The men struggle to catch up.
Michiko is the daughter of a factory owner whose mother died when she was young. Her character continues to get deeper as the story progresses. What did you use as a starting point for the character and what was your guidance as you built the character?
I think the way Michiko grew as a character was based on my observation of women, and men, in Tokyo, but all kinds of women, not just hostesses. There’s a lot of people TO observe in Tokyo, for one thing, but I like to talk and interact with people as much as I can. Michiko is a “typical” character in that her experience parallels the shift in Japan from a manufacturing society, which is where Michiko grew up, to an information and service society, which is how she makes money. I wondered how that shift affected women? Is it easier for women to adapt to economic changes than men, or harder? Michiko is working class in origin, growing up above a factory, but she turns herself into something else altogether through her own efforts. She’s tough and resilient, which is how I see most Japanese women, and yet still very feminine in traditional ways. She has no hesitation to compete in a man’s world, and to do it on her own terms. Like many characters, once she was created, everything followed from that.
The novel takes place in Tokyo. Why did you choose a train station in Japan as the setting to your novel?
Trains are one of the things I love most about Tokyo, but they are also these huge masses of steel shooting through a very densely populated city. Just as America is built around the car, Tokyo is built around trains. Suicides on the train lines, sadly, happen all too often.
I came upon the clean-up after a suicide one time years ago, and the image stayed with me.
Like every other commuter, I have been stuck waiting on a train or a platform when a suicide shuts down the entire train system. It’s so shocking because usually everything runs on time. So, I guess, if you transplant the American car chase to Tokyo, it becomes a train chase, or a chase on a train. I also like that as a setting because trains and train stations are great levelers. Everyone takes the train, together, equally. I also love trains and train stations because I can completely indulge in people-watching. It’s startling how many people you see in a day. Still, it’s never so lonely as in a crowd, and there’s always a crowd in Tokyo.
What is the next story that you are working on and when will it be available?
The next novel is called Japan Hand and Detective Hiroshi is again in the lead, together with Sakaguchi. They investigate the death of a long-time Japan specialist who helped negotiate the complicated relations between Japan and America, including the US military bases in Japan. That novel should be out by December of this year or early 2018. The next one after that is called Thai Girl in Tokyo and will be out in spring of 2018. I’ve finished writing those both, so they’re now being edited and polished.
Pages: 348 | ASIN: B071DPXP7M
Posted in Interviews
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