Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Nightfire by Lisa Marie Rice

Article first published as Book Review:Nightfire by Lisa Marie Rice on Blogcritics.

The burn and heat of a passionate love is the stuff romance novels are famous for. An escape into the ecstasy of a racy relationship keeps the fires burning on the pages as well as in the hearts of the fan.
In Nightfire, Lisa Marie Rice has delivered with a flaming love and romance as well as a suspenseful mystery. Chloe Manson can only remember bits and parts of her life from when she was a child; most of her youth was spent in endless hospital rounds, trying to correct damage done to her through abuse. When her Step parents die, she is left with a great deal of money and a secret that is almost unimaginable. When she decides to follow the leads she is given, she is unprepared for what she finds.
One of the men she encounters in her quest is a former Marine sniper and Swat officer. He is now part of a trio of men who own RBK Security, inc. They are instrumental in removing women from abusive situations, but none of them are prepared for the information Chloe brings them. Mike is instantly smitten with her, but then he is generally smitten with most anyone of the fair sex. Yet she is different, she brings out his protective tendencies. Time stands still when she is around and he is prepared to do what it takes to make her his own. When her path crosses that of the Russian mob, her life becomes forfeit. It will take everything and more for Mike to save her. What could such a kind young woman have done to draw the attention of the mob? How can Mike save her when she has no knowledge of why they are after her? Can they find the answers before their deadly attention spills over on to Mikes family and friends?
Rice has written a novel of powerful characters, and tender feelings. The danger is brutal, and she builds the tempo in a smooth and insightful fashion. Each of her characters is full of depth and understanding, but also very dangerous in their own right. The story is well written and quite believable. What really keeps you in tune is the heat that sears the very pages of the book. The tension is so thick at times you can feel the vibration. Passion and longing fill each page as Mike tries to fight his feelings and do the right thing. He is well known for his sexual activities and he does not want to besmirch her in anyway. She is beginning to become far more to him than he is comfortable with.
Danger stalks Chloe in a frightening fashion. Even with her background she is not one to step back when others are in danger. Because of her bravado, she only further earns the anger of the Russians. The damage that occurred in her youth was extreme and took years of surgery and therapy to make her whole again. She is willing to risk it all to rescue those in need.
If you enjoy hot and passionate romance novels you will enjoy this work. Throw in some suspense and danger to round out the mushy stuff and you have a more serious form of heat, one that drenches the senses. This is a great novel for taking you away from your daily grind, the suspense is good and the romance sizzles. Due to the nature of the novel there is some graffic language, not overwhelmingly so, but enough that if you are easily offended you may be bothered. The language is not overdone but there nonetheless. I look forward to reading more of Rice's work.
Rating 5/5
This book was received a s a free copy from the authors publicist. All opinions are my own based off my reading and understanding of the material.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Mr. Glamour by Richard Godwin

Article first published as Book Review:Mr. Glamour by Richard Godwin on Blogcritics.

Madness and psychosis has many forms. Surfing the internet you often come across many strange and bizarre behaviors that are eerie and horrific, but we rarely have those occurrences happen to us or those we know.
In Mr. Glamour by Richard Godwin, he brings us face to face with many of our own fears and nightmares. When a wealthy group of friends seemed to be targeted for murder in the most macabre fashion what begins as a horrific murder mystery turns into a chilling and strange spiral into the innermost darkness of the mind of madness. The only things about the murders that connect them are the fact that the people know one another and are friends, and the fashion in which they are murdered and then posed in some strange fashion. These two things assure the police they have a serial killer, and yet there are enough differences that even that is suspect at times. Is there more than one killer?
DCI Jackson Flare and Inspector Mandy Steele are assigned to investigate the murders, and as the killer finds a way to invade their own thoughts they find themselves fighting the darkness within as they delve further into the dangerous mystery of a murderer who seems to have the entire team stumped. Can they find him before he kills again? Will the darkness they try to hide in their own lives come spilling out in the case, ruining them and their careers, like the secrets that are coming out with the murders?

Godwin has delivered with a horror filled story that keeps you guessing to the very end. His characters are well written, and while they often embody the things we dislike about those who believe money can buy it all, they also have characteristics that draw you to them as well. This makes the horror even more incredible because Godwin has a way of making you know the victim. There are numerous variables that keep you wondering where the killer is, but the red herrings create such a haze of smoke and mirrors that the perpetrator remains elusive until the very end.
The horror is the stuff of nightmares and Godwin’s detailed rendering of the murders are both creepy and impressive. The ideas and story are interesting and solid, built with an eye to credibility.
If you enjoy murder mysteries and even a bit of horror in your reading this is the work to find. Godwin’s depiction is well done and will keep you up with every light turned on well into the night.
Rating 4/5
This book was received free from the publisher. All opinions are my own based off my reading and understanding of the material.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Shore Excursion by Marie Moore

Article first published as Book Review:Shore Excursion by Marie Moore on Blogcritics.

Vacation and time to enjoy our lives is a theme that resounds in numerous ways. There are many ways to vacation, especially as you get older. Cruising has long been a favorite although even this form of travel has received a black eye.

Marie Moore has given us another reason to worry about cruising with Shore Excursion. She has given us a funny but gutsy heroine that really cares about her clients. As the host for guided tours, Sidney Marsh along with her best friend Jay often work together as they follow their eclectic group of travelers. The group is a mixture of ages and call themselves the high steppers. Sidney enjoys her group, but seems to attract trouble in strange places. Her current trip begins mysteriously when she finds herself being followed by a homeless man. While the incident creeps her out, she does not dwell on it as she rounds up her group and gets them ready for the vacation of their dreams.

However, even as they bus to the terminal, they run into circumstances that seem strange and just a bit suspenseful. Their bus is sideswiped, but they are helped out by some good Samaritans. Sidney is somewhat intrigued by a few of the newer people in the group, they are not as old and do not fit the usual profile. Even as she rolls the thoughts through her mind, trouble continues to plague them.

Finally reaching the ship, she is relieved that all are there and accounted for. Yet trouble is still not far away, as she soon understands when one of her high stepper clients is found murdered. What is she to do, especially when the Captain announces the death as suicide. As the deaths continue, Sidney is determined to find the cause. Can she find the answers before any more of her group dies? Will she be able to stay out of harm’s way as she pokes her nose into the secrets someone is willing to kill for to keep quiet?

Moore has created characters so real you can visualize them. The humor that she imbues them with is contagious. Sidney is like many young women, her head is turned by handsome men, and she often makes bad decisions. But she is also very courageous and not afraid to delve into the mystery of the happenings of her charges. Her best friend Jay is such a great character; I actually wanted him to have a more active role. He was one of my favorite characters. Moore’s background in the travel industry is evident in her understanding and descriptions at each port of call. Some of the prose was like listening to the tour guide and seeing the places yourself.

If you enjoy travel, especially to different countries you will enjoy this book. It is light and funny, filled with enjoyable experiences. There is a bit of suspense and danger as well, but it does not overshadow the sense of fun imbued with the telling. A few red herrings are thrown in to keep you guessing, so you find it hard to second guess the culprits.

I believe this would be a fun summer or vacation read, with just enough teeth to keep you interested while lounging and enjoying the experience along with the characters.

Rating 3/5

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Shore Excursion Book Summary
Travel agents are a vanishing breed, but Sidney Marsh, a New York transplant from Mississippi, is holding her ground--at least on land. She is the tour leader on a cruise through Scandinavia for a group of eccentric senior citizens who call themselves the High Steppers. Sidney expects her days to be filled with long meals, shopping expeditions and visits to museums, churches and fjords. But this cruise is anything but routine. There is a killer on board, targeting the High Steppers and quite possibly herself.

After the first suspicious death, the captain and his crew are grimly determined to carry on as usual. Disgusted with their inaction, Sidney decides to take matters into her own hands and launch her own investigation. She enlists the halfhearted help of her friend and business partner, the flamboyant and fun-loving Jay Wilson. Suspects abound. What about those two handsome young men who stay mysteriously aloof? One of them has his eye on Sidney. So does another passenger, far too charming and again too young to fit the "High Stepper" mold. Then there's Captain Vargos, the arrogant ladies' man whose plans to thwart Sidney's investigation might include seduction.

Who is that crew member shadowing Sidney? Is the theater really haunted? Even the High Steppers themselves are not as predictable or harmless as they seem. The closer Sydney gets to the truth, the less she understands. Shore Excursion is the first book in a new mystery series featuring amateur sleuth Sidney Marsh.
Marie Moore Bio:
Shore Excursion is Marie Moore’s first novel, but not her first writing experience, and like Sidney Marsh, she is a native Mississippian. She graduated from Ole Miss, married a lawyer in her hometown, taught junior high science, raised a family, and worked for a small weekly newspaper, first as a writer and later as Managing Editor. She wrote hard news, features and a weekly column, sold ads, did interviews, took photos, and won a couple of MS Press Association awards for some of her stories.

In 1985, Marie left the newspaper to open a retail travel agency. She completed agency and computer training with Airlines Reporting Corporation, Delta Airlines and TWA, earned her CTC (Certified Travel Counselor) designation, and joined the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA), International Air Transport Association (IATA), and Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA). For the next 15 years, she managed her agency, sold travel, escorted group tours, sailed on 19 cruises, and visited over 60 countries. Much of the background of Shore Excursion comes from that experience.

Marie also did location scouting and worked as the local contact for several feature films, including Heart of Dixie, The Gun in Betty Lou’s Handbag, and Robert Altman’s Cookie’s Fortune.

In mid-1999, because of her husband's work, Marie sold the travel agency and moved to Jackson, MS, then New York City, Anna Maria Island, FL, and Arlington, VA. She and her husband now live in Memphis, TN and Holly Springs, MS.

Marie is a member of Sisters in Crime.

Price: $13.95
ISBN: 9781603818742
Pages: 230
Release: April 1, 2012

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Saturday, March 10, 2012

Best Seller by Timothy B. Sagges

Article first published as Book Review: Best Seller by Timothy B. Sagges on Blogcritics.

There are stories of horror on the real landscape of our world, and then there are those in the imagination. Fascination with this genre continues to make the strange, scary and macabre a popular and adrenalin filled escape for many readers.In Best Seller by Timothy B. Sagges we follow the life of a writer. Richard Rossi is willing to do just about anything to get his book published and in the hand of readers. Or is he? When he stumbles on a party in his apartment complex, he meets a woman who seems very interested in what he has written and what he has to say. She, in return, introduces him to a enigmatic man, a Publisher named Seth Volos.

Volos is polished and charismatic, and says just the right things to reel Richard in. Richard finds himself signing a document that only gives him a small window to change his mind, he only has further questions. Knowing he has a little time to read the fine print, he moves on his way to celebrate his new found freedom to pursue his dream. However immediately strange things begin to happen, he is in a accident and unconscious making him miss the deadline of time to review his contract. He immediately becomes an overnight sensation with the help of Volos and his staff.

He is thrilled and yet unnerved when he begins to see a pattern of youth suicides, many clutching his book as they are found. What is happening, and does he bare any responsibility. Looking for answers only drags him deeper into the mire. Even with his star on the rise, Richard understands there is something bigger going on, but can he get to the bottom of it before it is too late? Or is it already too late?

Sagges has written a horror story reminiscent of Alfred Hitchcock. The currents are not along the top where they jump out at you, but wind behind and through the writing causing a creepiness and horror that strikes when you least expect it. As with Hitchcock and his films I was uncomfortable with the telling of this tale. I thought about it when I was done reading for the day, and as I completed the book. The characters are very true to like and well done, but it is the story and the children that hold you enthralled.

Sagges's bio says that the story comes from a set of recurring night terrors, and I can only wonder how he was able to put this aside to get any actual sleep. If you enjoy the creepy, or really just like a good solid horror, you will enjoy the scope of this story. It is well done and hard to really see it coming until it is twisted within your mind. A solid mixture of Hitchcock meets the crypt keeper, the horror builds and the characters continue to crumble around the strange circumstances and the processes put in play by Seth Volos.

Rating 4/5

This book was received free through Tribute Books. All opinions are my own based off my reading and understanding of the material.

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Best Seller Book Summary
Thirty-five year old fiction writer, Richard Rossi would do just about anything to get his manuscript published. However, months of rejection and unanswered prayers have strained his capacity to hope. Alone in New York City, he teeters on the brink of alcoholism, as his hope erodes into desperation.

His prayers are finally answered when a simple misdirected piece of mail spawns a chance encounter with an extraordinary man, Seth Volos, Publisher. And while their unholy alliance thrusts Richard to the top of every Best Seller list in America, the horrifying outcome for the book's legions of fans is anything but a happy ending.
Timothy B. Sagges Bio:
Fifty-year-old actor, director and playwright, Tim Sagges has been tormented by a series of recurring night terrors since 1967, long before there was a name for such a curse. It is only recently that he has found the courage to formulate some of these visions into works of literature. In an effort to purge himself of the unrelenting horror of his dreams, he has created Best Seller, the first in a series of nightmares exorcised from his mind and onto the page.

He is currently the owner of Eye Candy Vision in Philadelphia.

Price: $14.99
ISBN: 9781456478193
Pages: 326
Release: February 2011

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Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The Shameful Diary of a Hopeless Romantic by Suzi Case

Posted first on the The Romance Reviews

Reading the pages of a diary seems so voyeuristic and with the comedy and thought process of the writer the developement is just plain fun. Following the life of Maggie Lane is fun and interesting through the pages of her diary. Her love life and her friendships are much of what we experience and the fun is unique enough to suck you in. This is a strange and addictive read, one I found hard to put down.

Maggie has set her plans in life, and finds love in the most absurd ways. She has some marvelous friendships and some turbulent ups and downs. While her goals seem unrealistic, she too is aware of just how silly they are, but they are hers and the keep her buoyed. She is in love with various move stars and one of her best friends from school, but she is just as sure that these are avenues that will never come to fruition. But then again, Ben often wants her opinion on his girlfriends; maybe he does secretly feel more for her than friendship. When she meets Blake at the gym, there is something about him as well. What is with her that she can’t seem to determine who is right for her? Can she turn her life around and find the one?

I really enjoyed this book and the characters were quite wonderful. Each was unique and yet very much like those we all know. Maggie herself is quite funny, and her antics actually have a tendency to keep you smiling. She is very likable, and yet very real. She seems to be someone you could relate to.

With each of her successive guys, while there is some development of tenseness and even overtures of friend ship, there was never that heat that leaves you wanting them to get together. Each of the men in her life are very likable and you root for them all, but there is none of that––this is the one, she has to find a way with this one. You can feel the embarrassment, but not the attraction that generally gets your heart racing along with the heroine.

If you like a good and fun story this is certainly in that realm. The romance is there, just not the heat, so if you enjoy the funny and intricate ways of someone trying to find love, you will enjoy the banter. Case has a way with characters and humor. With just a bit more heat this would be a work of great romance.

Rating 3/5

This book was received as a review copy through the Romance Reviews. All opinions are my own based off my reading and understanding of the material.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Redemption Day by Steve O'Brien

Article first published as Book Review:Redemption Day by Steve O'Brian on Blogcritics.

Terror comes in many packages and for many reasons. Sometimes that terror exists in places that may not be as far away as those you read about in the news. It can often be one that is as indistinguishable as your own neighbors.

Redemption Day Steve O’Brien brings us a dose of danger and terror spawned here in our own country. When his protagonist Nick James is fired from his terrorist analyst government job, along with a host of others, he understands it is sometimes how the system works. But something is wrong, within a very short time he finds himself a wanted man. Somehow he has found himself in the middle of a deadly game, with little direction to turn. From his analysis on terrorism he has been watching a militant group known as the Posse Comitatus. They are a group of militia that have their own beliefs in the wording of the constitution, and feel the government has bastardized the ideology.

When a Supreme Court Justice is kidnapped, Nick is the one man who understands. Can he find a way to bring the militants to light and save the Justice, thereby saving himself as well. Following where the evidence leads him, he is tracked by the FBI at every turn. Can he hope to bring the dire situation to light and clear his name? The militants will stop at nothing to win their battle, they are strong and growing, with a feeling of power now that they have their pawn. Can Nick convince someone that the terror is in their own back yards, and that he is not involved in the deaths that seem to follow his moves? Who can he turn to with such dire information, and will they be in time to stop the Comitatus?

O'Brien has delivered a tense and compelling novel about terror here on our own shores. With the advent of the Oklahoma City bombing, we know there are factions, and we have seen the aftermath. O’Brien takes a deep look into the thought process that brings many to this place and lays it out in such a way you can understand the thinking, even though not necessarily the methods. His characters are very perceptive and strong.

While the story creates tension, his characters convey a sense of rightness, and strength to overcome the obstacles while protecting the masses. As each bit of evidence comes to light he weaves an intricate story of beliefs and an overriding sense of how such strong belief over rides what would generally be considered right or wrong. The tension remains thick but there is a thread of hope with his protagonist, you just feel that somehow he will prevail.

The Posse Comitatus is a group that has its own interpretation of the constitution and finally feel s they have what they need to move forward. O’Brien brings us an in-depth study of what and who they are, and how they come to be. The tone of the book conveys the danger of some of the fanatics and the capability of further homeland terror happening. He has taken a group from our own foundations and given it a face, one we may see in any area of the country.

This would be a great book for a book club or reading group. If you enjoy reading suspense and terror, or just enjoy a good mystery this is the right book for you. O’Brien has written a literary work that puts the ball in our court, to make of it what we will.

Rating 4/5

This book was received free through the publicist. All opinions are my own based off my reading and understanding of the material.