Saturday, September 24, 2016

Tall, Dark and Damaged



His Life Changed in a Heartbeat
Disinherited as a teen, Devon Ashby returns home twelve years later as a ruthless CEO, brilliant at negotiating deals, but emotionally stunted. In an instant all he’s struggled to build implodes. Amid the turmoil of saving his company from a hostile takeover, his engagement to a business partner’s high-society daughter hits the rocks. Compounding his troubles, he encounters his high school sweetheart, whose heart he smashed. The vulnerability she awakens leaves him at greater risk than all the crises he faces.

Her Dream Job May Get Her Killed
While restoring art in a billionaire’s private gallery, Hannah Moore is unwittingly drawn into the dysfunctional family’s confidences. When she discovers the rich developer behind her and her sick aunt’s eviction is the family’s black-sheep son—the lover she’s never gotten over—her desire turns to fury. Always one to avoid conflict, Hannah must stand up to Devon and the growing menace of someone who thinks she knows too much.

A Decades-Old Secret Turns Deadly
When a family member is murdered, Devon and Hannah become ensnared in sibling greed, festering jealousy, and a tragic secret that’s divided the family. Amid their reigniting passion they race to expose the killer before they become the next victims in this cat-and-mouse game of survival.


My Review

I had some trouble getting into this story. It took me a long while to warm up to Devon and Hannah. Not only as individuals but as a couple as well. I did not really know their history at first and yet in the beginning all I knew is that Devon and Hannah had a great love and could not stop thinking about each other. So, I had a hard time believing that they shared this great love; especially when it seemed like they did not interact a lot with each other for a while in the story. The conversation was fine but not a lot else happened either for about half way. Then the story of the investigation started being revealed slowly piece by piece. It was not until the last third of the book when I would say that the story really came together and it got interesting and picked up speed. This book may not have won me over but I would read another book by this author.

You can read the first 4 chapters of this book here

Friday, September 23, 2016

Private Paris


Paris is burning--and only Private's Jack Morgan can put out the fire.

When Jack Morgan stops by Private's Paris office, he envisions a quick hello during an otherwise relaxing trip filled with fine food and sightseeing. But Jack is quickly pressed into duty after a call from his client Sherman Wilkerson, asking Jack to track down his young granddaughter who is on the run from a brutal drug dealer.

Before Jack can locate her, several members of France's cultural elite are found dead--murdered in stunning, symbolic fashion. The only link between the crimes is a mysterious graffiti tag. As religious and ethnic tensions simmer in the City of Lights, only Jack and his Private team can connect the dots before the smoldering powder keg explodes.

My Review

I have only read a hand full of books by Mr. Patterson. Some by himself and others with co-authors. One of my favorite co-authors is Mr. Andrew Gross. I have read almost every book that Mr. Gross has written himself. That is one thing I do have to give props to by reading these books co-authored with Mr. Patterson is that I discover new authors. Just like with this book. Although, this is the first book I have read in this series. I thought it was good. It did move at a nice, steady, fast pace with plenty of action. Jack and Louis worked well together. In the beginning I thought that Louis and Jack were steps behind the bad guys. However they showed that they were smart and there was a few times where they even surprised the bad guys. If it was not for Louis and Jack the police would still be standing around with their pants around their ankles. My only real complaint about this book was that the story was good as was Jack and Louis; I just did not form a connection with the rest of the characters in the story thus in turn I was only half interested in what happened to them. Yet, I enjoyed this book enough to go back and check out the first book in this series.

Stillwell: A Haunting on Long Island

Inside the Book

Title: Stillwell: A Haunting on Long Island
Author: Michael Phillip Cash
Publisher: Chelshire, Inc.
Pages: 192
Genre: Paranormal/Horror
Paul Russo’s wife just died. While trying to get his family’s life back in order, Paul is being tormented by a demon who is holding his wife’s spirit hostage on the other side. His fate is intertwined with an old haunted mansion on the north shore of Long Island called Stillwell Manor. Paul must find clues dating back hundreds of years to set his wife’s soul free.

For More Information

My Review


    For a short book, this is a good one. I would have liked the horror level to be a little more amped up but for the most part it was there. The first time that I really found what was happening to Paul spine-tingling was when he was visiting Stillwell for the first time. The images of the crime scene was gruesome. Not to mention the creature that had Paul's dead wife hostage. It is the type of thing that does exist in nightmares and should only stay there. I thought the author did a nice job of intertwining the history of Stillwell with the present events. All in all, I was happy with this book and the ending. I would read another book by this author.

Meet the Author

 
 
Michael Phillip Cash is an award-winning and best-selling novelist of horror, paranormal, and science fiction novels.  He’s written ten books including the best-selling “Brood X”, “Stillwell”, “The Flip”, “The After House”, “The Hanging Tree”, “Witches Protection Program”, “Pokergeist”, “Monsterland”, “The History Major”, and “Battle for Darracia” series. Michael’s books are on the Amazon best-seller list and have also won numerous awards. Additionally, he is a screenwriter with 14 specs under his belt. Michael resides on the North Shore of Long Island.
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Book Excerpt:

Paul turned from the dark window, twitching the drapes back in place. It was cold in the house; it had the dank feel of being unused. It had only been empty for a week, and yet it held a stale feeling of overripe food and decaying garbage.

The kids would be coming home tomorrow. He had sent them to his sister’s place for the past week. It was too hard to have to worry about their schedules when he was sitting by Allison’s side. The funeral was yesterday, and he asked his sister to keep them one more day. He needed to have some time to collect himself. He’d spent the last twenty-four hours sitting in the dark, staring at nothing, his mind too numb to think.

Lisa had taken over with the brisk efficiency of the nurse that she was trained to be. Stella was eating once again and Jesse and his twin, Veronica, were able to sleep at night. His sister’s was the safe house, and while he desperately missed his children, he couldn’t deal with their everyday drama while he stayed with Allison for her final weeks. 

He played with the chain around his neck then placed the gold band that hung from it on his lips. He closed his eyes, feeling alone. It was his wife’s wedding band and it had never left her finger from the time he had placed it there almost fifteen years ago.

Everything happened so fast. Too fast. His mind replayed the last six months in a montage of colors flashing like an out-of-control merry-go-round. Only it wasn’t a happy ride. Well, he sighed, he had to admit that he did feel relief. It felt wrong to have this burden taken off his shoulders, but his wife didn’t have to suffer anymore. He admitted to himself that he was weary too. She had gone from bad to worse in such a short time. She had slipped into a coma. He held her skeletal hand for a solid week, watching hope die alongside his wife. His family had brought in food, but he felt no hunger. As he stayed by her side, nothing seemed important. Paul stared at her face, memorizing every curve, her deep dimple, the mole she hated above her upper lip. Every second counted, and he wouldn’t waste a minute on himself. His future yawned ahead in a great vastness of nothing that stretched endlessly before him. Alone, mute, and his thoughts jumbled in his head, he couldn’t find words to say what he needed. Did she know how happy she had made him? Did Allison understand how much she meant to him? Could she know that his heart was so numb, he felt as though he were a corpse? Though he sat caressing her hand, could his wife sense the man next to her was spent, empty? It was that burnt-out feeling like after drinking so much that the liquor loses its taste and cigarettes burn with dying fire.

The irony was that he was the smoker, even though he had stopped when the twins were born, thirteen years ago. Allison wouldn’t have it in the house. He cheated at work, chewing gum to disguise the smell on his breath. It had always been a huge fight, and while she painted all kinds of devastating scenarios if he continued to smoke, they never expected her to be the one to fall victim to cancer. 

The twins were a rare handful for them. Married for just over a year, they were unprepared for the incessant work. He was building his reputation as a go-to guy for the McMansions that dotted Long Island’s North Shore. The pull of work and two newborns tested their marriage. Allison breast-fed until utter exhaustion—or as he liked to call it “udder” exhaustion—made her stop. She always laughed at that.

Jesse, his son, was all brooding intensity, while Veronica, the elder twin by six minutes, was sweet, faithful, and resilient. They were golden children, kissed by sunlight, with blond hair, freckles, and odd silver eyes, like their mother. They communicated in a strange language that worked only for the two of them. A silent collusion between the twins created a special insight, and they knew exactly what the other was thinking. When words finally arrived, they could finish each other’s sentences. 

While he was happy with his family, Allison had wanted another child. Reluctantly, he agreed and was shocked at his devastation when she miscarried. His despair turned to relentless hope, and although they faced a period of secondary infertility, he pushed for seven years, and they became pregnant once again. He called her “Stella Luna,” because she was the stars and moon to him. 

With Stella, he had time to play. She was a fey child, filled with whimsy and a touch of an old soul.

Brown-haired and brown-eyed, she was the image of his older sister. Shut out of the twin’s world, he made sure she never felt alone. When she turned two, her soulful brown eyes induced him to give up smoking once and for all. God, he wished he had a cigarette. Right now.

The house screamed with silence, its heavy pall smothering any sense of light. It closed over him. The acid ache in his gut he’d been experiencing since she got sick made its presence known. Padding to the kitchen, he went in search of milk to put out the fire. After he opened the refrigerator door, he stood for a minute staring at the empty shelves. He smelled the open carton of milk and recoiled at the odor. He never remembered buying it and could only guess how old it was. Well, the milk was plainly spoiled, as was the cheese. They had to be at least a month old. Maybe he should just eat the yogurt, let it kill him, and the kids would be done with mourning. Two for the price of one, he thought as he slammed the door. He’d have to go food shopping at some point. Yep, the kids were coming home tomorrow.



Thursday, September 22, 2016

Only the Hunted Run



The riveting third novel in the Sully Carter series finds the gutsy reporter investigating a shooting at the Capitol and the violent world of D.C.’s most corrupt mental institution

In the doldrums of a broiling Washington summer, a madman goes on a shooting rampage in the Capitol building. Sully Carter is at the scene and witnesses the carnage firsthand and files the first and most detailed account of the massacre. The shooter, Terry Waters, is still on the loose and becomes obsessed with Sully, luring the reporter into the streets of D.C. during the manhunt. Not much is known about Waters when he is finally caught, except that he hails from the Indian reservations of Oklahoma. His rants in the courtroom quickly earn him a stay at Saint Elizabeth’s mental hospital, and the paper sends Sully out west to find out what has led a man to such a horrific act of violence.

As Sully hits the road to see what he can dig up on Waters back in Oklahoma, he leaves his friend Alexis to watch over his nephew, Josh, who is visiting DC for the summer. Traversing central Oklahoma, Sully discovers that a shadow lurks behind the Waters family history and that the ghosts of the past have pursued the shooter for far longer than Sully could have known. When a local sheriff reveals the Waterses’ deep connection with Saint Elizabeth’s, Sully realizes he must find a way to gain access to the asylum, no matter the consequences.
  

My Review

This book is my first introduction to this series. What a way to start a book. With a mass shooting. Sully won me over right away. Not sure if it was due to his stupidity or his dedication to his job...maybe it was a little of both. I mean you would have to be both if not a somewhat crazy to survive a shooting and then go chasing after the shooter to get the first exclusive scoop on the story with real first hand experience. From this moment on I was hooked to this story and Sully as he was not afraid to get his hands dirty to find the truth.

Additionally, what made this book a winner for me as well is the fact that the other character whether they be main, secondary, or minor roles all played a part and were intriguing. Sometimes this can be missed or downplayed in a book and thus I become only half interested in the story. The only place I will be running is to check out the prior novels in this series.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

A Sister's Wish

 
 
 
Amelia Kinsinger is the perfect Amish woman—at least according to her neighbors. And while Amelia takes pride in her role as homemaker, she’s also harboring a secret: She’s been in love with bad boy Simon Hochstetler for as long as she can remember. Too bad he’s about as far from “perfect” as an Amish man could get… but that’s exactly why she’s so drawn to him.
 
Life hasn’t been kind to Simon. He ran away from an abusive home at fifteen and things went downhill from there. Eventually, Simon landed in prison. But the experience changed him. Now back in Charm as a grown man, he’s determined to make a new life for himself and not think too much about his wild past…unless it pertains to Amelia.

He’s loved Amelia for years. To him, she represents everything good and kind in the world. When he realizes that she returns his affections, he starts calling on her in secret, even though her older brother Lukas—who just happens to be Simon’s best friend—has made it perfectly clear that Amelia deserves better. Simon disagrees and believes he’s the only one who can truly make her happy.

But when Amelia gets hurt, it sets off a chain of events that forces them to consider their future together—and face their past mistakes. There’s a chance for love… but only if Simon dares to trust Amelia with secrets of his past.
 
My Review
 
I have a soft spot in my heart for Amish stories. I just love to read them. I have been lucky to not find a book I did not like yet. Although, I am not familiar with this series. A Sister's Wish is the third book in this series. However, it can be read as a stand alone novel. After finishing this book, I want to go back and read the prior two novels as well as the upcoming Christmas book.
 
Everything about Amelia and Simon was great. They made such a good couple. I really enjoyed the fact that all Simon cared about was caring for Amelia over his own well-being. He was so gentle and kind with her. Yet, at the same time he let Amelia have a voice and make her own decisions. Amelia has such a warm heart. She loved and cared for Simon despite his flaws. She saw and understood that Simon's past did not define him as the man he was today.
 
Some facts about Charming:
 
Charm is located in the heart of Holmes County, home to rhe largest Amish and Mennonite population in the world.
 
The actual population of Charm is only 110 people.
 
The annual "Charm Days" festival is held in the fall every year. The highlight of the festival is the "woolly Worm Derby"
 
The largest business in Charm is Keim Lumber Company, Located on State Route 557, it has a large retail showroom and website and is open to the public.
 
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
 
Shelley Shepard Gray is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, a finalist for the American Christian Fiction Writers prestigious Carol Award, and a two-time HOLT Medallion winner. She lives in southern Ohio, where she writes full-time, bakes too much, and can often be found walking her dachshunds on her town’s bike trail.
 
Don’t miss the first two books in The Charmed Amish Life series:
A SON’S VOW
A DAUGHTER’S DREAM
 
And coming October 18, 2016:
AN AMISH FAMILY CHRISTMAS
 
 
 
 

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Spirit Mission



To honor bonds forged twenty-five years ago at West Point, Lieutenant Colonel Sam Avery leads an illegal mission deep into ISIS-held territory.

An MH-47G Chinook helicopter departs formation in the Iraqi night. The mission is unauthorized. Success is unlikely. But to save a friend, Sam Avery and his crew of Night Stalkers have prepared for one last flight.

ISIS operatives in Tal Afar, Iraq, have captured American aid worker Henry Stillmont. Avery knows Stillmont as “the Guru,” the West Point squad leader who taught him about brotherhood, loyalty, and when to break the rules as a young cadet twenty-five years ago. Sam will risk his career and his life to save him.

As they near their target, Sam reflects on his time in the crucible of the United States Military Academy. West Point made Sam the leader he is. But his fellow cadets made him the man that he is. The ideals of duty, honor, and country have echoed throughout his life and drive him and his comrades as they undertake their final and most audacious spirit mission.

     
Hardcover, 336 pages
Expected publication: November 1st 2016 by Henry Holt and Co.
 
My Review
 
People who know me know that I love military stories. With this book I was expecting to get action and a good storyline. Having read many of these types of books my standards are really high for this genre. Well I have to tell you that this book far exceeded my expectations. This does not read like a debut novel. It reads like the 10th book from Mr. Russ. Which I can't wait to read Mr. Russ's 10th book. I know he will be around for a long time.
 
I could not stop reading this book. I literally was connected to all of the Night Stalkers. Yet, to be honest it was not so much about the action that really won me over with this book as it was the comradery involving all of the Night Stalkers that had me from the beginning. It helped by having me the reader get to know them from their time together in the past. Mr. Russ has a winner on his hands with Spirit Mission!
 
Warning as the "f" word is used in this book. Yet, if you are going to read a military book then you should expect this.

Friend of the Devil


Inside the Book

Title: Friend of the Devil
Author: Mark Spivak
Publisher: Black Opal Books
Pages: 325
Genre: Culinary Thriller
In 1990 some critics believe that America’s most celebrated chef, Joseph Soderini di Avenzano, sold his soul to the Devil to achieve culinary greatness. Whether he is actually Bocuse or Beelzebub, Avenzano is approaching the 25th anniversary of his glittering Palm Beach restaurant, Chateau de la Mer, patterned after the Michelin-starred palaces of Europe.

Journalist David Fox arrives in Palm Beach to interview the chef for a story on the restaurant’s silver jubilee. He quickly becomes involved with Chateau de la Mer’s hostess, unwittingly transforming himself into a romantic rival of Avenzano. The chef invites Fox to winter in Florida and write his authorized biography. David gradually becomes sucked into the restaurant’s vortex: shipments of cocaine coming up from the Caribbean; the Mafia connections and unexplained murder of the chef’s original partner; the chef’s ravenous ex-wives, swirling in the background like a hidden coven. As his lover plots the demise of the chef, Fox tries to sort out hallucination and reality while Avenzano treats him like a feline’s catnip-stuffed toy.

For More Information

My Review

This is a funny book. So mission accomplished there. I was hoping this would be the outcome. So many times I have come across books where I was expecting them to be funny and they were not. This is amazing that this is Mr. Spivak's first fiction novel. Yet, you can tell that Mr. Spivak is an experienced writer. His wealth of knowledge with wine, spirits, food, restaurants, and culinary travel lends very nicely to this book. I was almost drooling from the descriptions of the food that chef Soderini di Avenzano would cook. It was as if I was sitting at the table being presented the food. Although as much as I found the chef to be an interesting person; it was actually David that I was more drawn to. Just his presence, voice, and persona are what had me intrigued. Well that and the fact that he was not so easily fooled by chef Soderini di Avenzano. If you are a fan of foodie books, comedy, or are just looking for a good book then you should check Friend of the Devil out. 


Mark Spivak is an award-winning author, specializing in wine, spirits, food, restaurants, and culinary travel. He was the wine writer for the Palm Beach Post from 1994-1999, and was honored by the Academy of Wine Communications for excellence in wine coverage “in a graceful and approachable style.” Since 2001 he has been the Wine and Spirits Editor for the Palm Beach Media Group, as well as the Food Editor for Palm Beach Illustrated; his running commentary on the world of food, wine and spirits is available at the Global Gourmet blog on www.palmbeachillustrated.com. His work has appeared in National Geographic Traveler, Robb Report, Men’s Journal, Art & Antiques, the Continental and Ritz-Carlton magazines, Arizona Highways and Newsmax. From 1999-2011 Spivak hosted Uncorked! Radio, a highly successful wine talk show on the Palm Beach affiliate of National Public Radio.

Spivak is the author of two non-fiction books:  Iconic Spirits: An Intoxicating History (Lyons Press, 2012) and Moonshine Nation: The Art of Creating Cornbread in a Bottle (Lyons Press, 2014). Friend of the Devil is his first novel. He is currently working on a political thriller set during the invasion of Iraq.
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Book Excerpt:

Several years after the opening of Chateau de la Mer, the triumvirate of Avenzano, Walsh, and Ross appeared to be one big happy family, although there were rumors of strains in the relationship.

One night, at the height of the Festival of Champagne, there was an incident. Ross, a notorious womanizer, was sipping Cristal with a redhead at the restaurant’s corner table.

His wife slipped through the front door of the mansion, unannounced. Walking slowly through the dining room, past the Medieval memorabilia and dramatic cast-iron griffins, she strolled up to Ross’s table, took a revolver from her evening bag, and calmly shot him through the heart.

The ensuing chaos did more to establish Joseph Soderini di Avenzano in the American imagination than his designer pasta, his Bedouin stuffed poussin, his recipes transposed from Etruscan or Old Genoese, or his library of ten thousand cookbooks.

This was more than a good meal, after all. This was sex and death in Palm Beach. Even more intriguing was the chef’s refusal to comment on Ross after his death, except for informal and effusive eulogies in his famous baritone.

“Watch that Cristal,” David’s friend Bill Grimaldi told him before he left Manhattan to do an assigned story on the twenty-fifth anniversary of Chateau de la Mer. “It’s a killer.”