Tuesday, October 30, 2018

October's Book Reviews & Previews

Rather than posting each book review (and stuffing the inbox of those on my email distribution with 2-4 messages a month), I thought I'd collect a month of reviews and post them as a group.  To keep the post short, I'll only give you the first paragraph, then a link if you're interested in the rest of the review or seeing the book on Amazon.  So, here's October.

Crazy Love by Rachael Tamayo:  I posted this review before I decided to do this summary, but here's the link if you missed it:  https://amzn.to/2RIRh5k

Empty Seats by Wanda Adams Fischer

A Fan’s View of the Pressure Cooker that Is Professional Baseball

With so many excellent books on baseball written by veteran players and coaches, you might wonder why you’d read one by a spectator?  And admittedly, sometimes the thoughts or words of the fictional characters in Empty Seats sound a bit more like the hyperbole of a fan than the analysis of a player, e.g., “Bobby sends a fireball his way, and slugger-boy doesn’t even see it until it’s landed in Russ’s mitt and the umpire calls it.”  But the story’s not about baseball strategy or history; it’s about broader themes in life.  One, for example, is the sense of belonging provided by sports.  When the team wanted to visit an injured player and the hospital was limiting visitors to family members, one coach summed it up well, saying, “Can’t chew see that we come from the same mother? Mother beisbol!”  See the complete review on Amazon:  https://amzn.to/2Cc4yOq

The Banker’s Wife by Cristina Alger

Two (or Three?) Strong Women Protagonists Make this Story Work

With the title, The Banker’s Wife, you would expect the individual in that role (Annabel, wife to banker Matthew Werner) to play a major role.  And she did.  But she knew little of her husband’s work and his oft-notorious clients.  So, she became our view into the dangerous world of offshore banking, where everyone from dishonest politicians to brutal dictators hid their money.  Although intelligent and obviously brave, Annabel spent much of the book running for her life.  Annabel’s co-protagonist is a journalist, Marina, drawn into the situation by colleague and largely unaware of Annabel and her husband.  In terms of a solution, Marina was more the instrumental.  But I suppose ‘the journalist to a banking whistle-blower’ doesn’t make for a very catchy title.  In any case, much of the book alternated chapters written from these two women’s perspectives.  See the complete review on Amazon:  https://amzn.to/2q8Zt2b

Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann

Untangling the History Behind the “Reign of Terror” for the Osage Indians

In what author David Grann called a “curious provision” to the agreement between the Osage Indian Tribe and the US government, the Tribe claimed all rights to “…the oil, gas, coal, or other minerals covered by the lands.”  It was curious because the lands forming their reservation in northeastern Oklahoma were considered virtually worthless.  That is until oil was discovered there in 1897.  And in a matter of a few years, that black gold made the Osage some of the richest people on earth, changing their lives forever … but not for the better.  See the complete review on Amazon:  https://amzn.to/2D8VYS0

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Cover Release & Early Praise for Retroscape

Final preparations for the November 5 release of Killer in the Retroscape:  A Near-Future Mystery are well underway, including a final version of the cover.  Hope you like it!

I also received the first editorial review of the book and I'm pleased to share it.

"A compelling mystery set in a superbly-constructed future world."
A ‘Wishing Shelf’ Book Review, www.thewsa.co.uk

More of the Review:  "I loved the film, Bladerunner. I also loved the story it was based in by Philip K. Dick. You see, I find the future; what might or might not happen fascinating. In terms of Electric Sheep, Earth's life has been greatly damaged by nuclear global war and robots (skin jobs) are hunted down by Bladerunners. Now, Killer in Retroscape is very different to Philip K. Dick’s novel in terms of ‘what the future holds for mankind’, but I still thought it had a lot in common.

Like Electric Sheep, this novel is sweeping in scope. As the Author Note at the end says, Killer in the Retroscape looks at machine intelligence, engineering, medicine and, amongst other things, psychology all in a world set in 2068. Pretty impressive! But, has the author managed to do all this and still offer the reader a thrilling plot and interesting characters to follow?

Well, I’m delighted to say…YES! In fact, I was thoroughly absorbed in the novel.”

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Feed Your eBook Reader ...

With these free or 99-cent mysteries/thrillers.

Start Date: NOWEnd Date: 10-31-2018

Killer in the Retroscape: A Near-Future Mystery

By Bruce Perrin
Usual Price: 3.99 Sale: FREE
For years, we’ve been worried that machines will take over the world. But in 2068 when Doug Michaels builds his mental landscape of the past, his retroscape, to understand his friend’s death, he wishes it was as simple as an evil AI. (Advance Review Copy)

Start Date: NOWEnd Date: 11-18-2018

Love Under Fire

By Margaret A. Daly
Usual Price: 3.99 Sale: .99
WHEN LOVE SPARKS DANGER, GET READY FOR AN EXPLOSION! Twenty-one Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and other bestselling authors bring you a heart-pounding collection of 21 BRAND NEW, NEVER-BEFORE PUBLISHED stories all in one romantic suspense set!

Start Date: 10-12-2018End Date: 10-22-2018

Filigrees, Fortunes and Foul Play (Paper Crafts Club Mystery Book 1)

By Emily Selby
Usual Price: 2.99 Sale: .99
A woman stabbed with a paper craft tool, an empty house, a quirky British town full of suspects - whodunnit? Did local paper artist craft a murder? When one of her housecleaning clients turns up dead, the paper crafting tool found embedded in the woman's neck points straight to Katie. Life was busy enough when she was juggling single motherhood, part time jobs, and her passion for crafting. Now Katie's been accused of murder. Katie has her own ideas about who the real murderer is, but the inspector leading the investigation isn't interested in his prime suspect's hunches. If she wants to find the real killer before another victim drops dead, Katie will have to dig up some actual evidence. Don't miss the first book in the new cozy mystery series: The Paper Crafts Club Mystery – buy it now!

Start Date: NOWEnd Date: 11-20-2018

Lost Angels

By Tatenda Creed
Usual Price: Pre-Release Sale: FREE
Prepare to be addicted... Grab, Lost Angels, first in the Supernatural & Paranormal Romance series, The Lost Archangels. Begin a journey of passion and a love like no other. Supernatural collides with Mortal instruments and Vampire Diaries.

Start Date: NOWEnd Date: 10-23-2018

DEMONSPELL, or Curse of the Everlasting Relatives

By Phoebe Matthews
Usual Price: 2.99 Sale: .99
Along with a big house and income, Elaine inherits five immortal relatives who need constant attention. Try keeping a husband with that set of in-laws. Now, just when she meets a new guy, a band of demons demand she leave Seattle, alive or dead.

All prices accurate as of post date; verify before purchase.

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Book Review: Crazy Love by Rachael Tamayo

A Tense Psychological Thriller with a Generous Serving of Sex on the Side

For perhaps the first half of Crazy Love, I was unsure – just who did crazy refer to?  There was Emily who was the victim.  But Emily had a friend who said she had forgotten conversations, perhaps even entire relationships and so, was only a victim in her mind.  And Emily was having problems with headaches.  Then, there was Noah, who was clearly obsessed with Emily.  He was a stalker and possibly worse.  And finally, Isaiah, who shows similarly intense feelings toward Emily, the difference being Emily liked Isaiah while Noah was just a nuisance (or so Emily thought).  In my view, Ms. Tamayo had done a masterful job keeping the reader off balance.  But then I read her synopsis, in order to avoid spoilers in my review, only to find that she identified Noah as the threat.  I guess my author’s mind was working too hard to find a plot twist when there wasn’t one to be had.  The second half of the book settles into the delusional obsession that defines Noah’s reality.  It’s creepy, intense, and quite well written.

The book contains numerous sex scenes, always descriptive and somewhat explicit in places.  The ones involving Isaiah and Emily add spice to the story.  But they do little to further the thriller plotline, making the latter ones feel superfluous even before I knew Isaiah wasn’t a suspect.  The scenes involving Noah, however, did much to further develop the character of this disturbed individual.

There were some minor issues in translating the book’s manuscript into the Kindle format.  Within the first few pages, the word “call” was hyphenated between the two L’s.  Weird, but the same problem involving different words recurred often, becoming a bit of an annoyance by the end.  A somewhat more significant issue is the plausibility of the story.  For example, at least part of the time, Noah was watching Emily through holes in her ceiling, and yet, no one noticed them even after several careful searches.  Some of the steps the police took or failed to take seemed equally farfetched.  And finally, Emily’s character was a bit muddled.  The author makes us feel her extreme fear in one scene with some well-crafted prose.  A chapter or two later, however, Emily is calling Noah to explain things to him.  And then, the pattern repeats.  These sudden, emotional reversals made her seem unreal.

Overall, Crazy Love is a tense, well-crafted psychological thriller with a generous serving of sex on the side.  A bit more believability in the action and Emily’s character would have increased its gut-wrenching quotient even more.

See on Amazon:  https://amzn.to/2P3Jcqf

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Giveaway Winners Announced & A New Opportunity to Get a Free Book

The Book Drawing Winners

It’s my pleasure to announce the winners in the drawing for a signed, proof copy of the paperback, Of Half a Mind.

One drawing was among my longer-term subscribers – those following prior to the start of this giveaway.  This part of the event was my way of saying 'thanks' to those people who have been with me.

The winners were Derek M. and Mark T.  

In the drawing among the new subscribers, the winners were Diane S. and Amanda W.

Thank you to everyone who participated and welcome to our new members!

A New Opportunity to Get a Free Book

My new book, Killer in the Retroscape:  A Near-Future Mystery will be released on November 5, 2018, and I have made some Advance Review Copies available prior to that date.  ARCs, if you didn't know, are books made available to potential reviewers prior to release.  You can be an advance reviewer for this book if you wish.

If you are a member of NetGalley, you can get the ARC here:  https://bit.ly/2QnzkYE

Otherwise, I have placed a limited number of copies on Prolific Works (formerly Instafreebie).  You can claim your ARC here:  https://bit.ly/2zMhwkg