Cover Reveal: AlibiZ by Karice Bolton

 

AlibiZ

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Title: AlibiZ 
Series: Afterworld #2
Author: Karice Bolton 
Publication date: October 2014
Genres: New Adult, Post-Apocalyptic

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Synopsis:

Rebekah vows to expose the truth behind the RecruitZ that are killing
the innocents. These creatures must be stopped, but so should the
people controlling them. When Rebekah uncovers who is
behind the uprisings, her own life becomes in danger.

Rebekah knows that she is not alone in this fight but vengeance
alone won’t help her and the others to victory. Forced to build a battalion
with the very creatures she needs to destroy, it is up to her to uncover the
truth for the public before the world is turned over to an elite few.

Regardless of what may happen to her, she knows it’s a race against
time to destroy these creatures and the monsters controlling
them before there is no one left worth saving.

Goodreads

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About the Author

Karice BoltonKarice received an MFA in Creative Writing from the U of W. She has written fifteen novels and has several exciting projects in the works. Karice lives with her husband and two English Bulldogs in rainy Washington.

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Books currently available:

Sins (Book 1), Buried Sins (Book 2) – coming soon
Beyond Love Series: Beyond Control (Book 1), Beyond Doubt (Book 2), Beyond Reason (Book 3), Beyond Intent (Book 4), Beyond Chance, Beyond Promise, and Beyond the Mistletoe coming soon
Afterworld Series: RecruitZ (Book 1), AlibiZ (Book 2) – October 2014
The Witch Avenue Series: Lonely Souls (Book 1), Altered Souls (Book 2), Released Souls (Book 3), Shattered Souls (Book 4)
The Watchers Trilogy: Awakening (Book 1), Legions (Book 2), Cataclysm (Book 3), Taken Novella (Watchers Prequel)
The Camp

 Author Links:
Website Button     Twitter Button     Facebook Button     Goodreads Button 2

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Mourning Vivian

 

Vivian, December 2013

Vivian, December 2013

 

Yesterday, my daughter, Annie, and I took my four-footed sweet baby, Vivian, to the vet for her last visit. Those of us who are pet moms and dads dread having to do this but we owe it to take care of our “kids” to the very end.

Vivian was special. Yes, I know, everyone’s pets are special ;-). It’s true, though, that Vivian was different from most cats if only because she and her sister, Giselle, have openly loved us and have shown it over and over since they came home with me just before Christmas 2013.

 

Vivian, February 2014

Vivian, February 2014

 

We don’t know much about Vivian’s early life; she and Giselle were raised by an unknown woman in a motel for their first six years and then she disappeared one day. The motel owner called animal control and the Ginger Twins, as we called them, ended up at the SPCA. When we first saw them, they had been there four months and had limited prospects of being adopted. The biggest problems?

1. At seven years old, they were considered seniors.

2. There were two of them and the SPCA wouldn’t let them be separated.

3. Vivian was a mammary cancer survivor but her long-term outlook was not good.

Many of our local shelters, including the SPCA, are no-kill so Vivian and Giselle were not in danger but I couldn’t get them out of my mind. They were meant to come home with me so Annie and I went back to get them.

The twins were rarely far apart and were happiest when they snuggled together. Both loved looking out the windows and loved playing with the laser pointer and dangly ribbons, preferably the shiny kind. They loved to eat and they put on a few pounds but that was OK—they were a little on the lean side at the shelter.

Vivian & Giselle, February 2014

Vivian & Giselle, February 2014

The twins had not been spayed before arriving at the shelter and that’s when Vivian’s cancer was discovered. Mammary cancer is especially virulent and survival time is limited. When we took the girls to our vet for their first visit, he said it was not a matter of “if” it would recur but “when”. Two months later, the cancer was back and she had a second extensive surgery. That was in March and, a couple of months later, she was showing signs that something might be wrong again. At that time, I decided not to put her through all the diagnostic tests and possible surgery a third time.

A week ago, it became obvious that Vivian was in distress so we took her in on Friday. As it turns out, the mammary cancer was not evident again but it had metastasized to her lungs. There really is no coming back from that. Vivian came home for a last weekend and we had some really good quality time with her, knowing we’d have to take her back on Monday because, despite any rallies she might have, she was in pain and it was the right thing to do for her.

Giselle & Vivian, August 2014

Giselle & Vivian, August 2014

My heart hurts for Giselle. There’s no doubt she knows and she has been velcroed to my side for hours. She and everyone who knew Vivian will miss her terribly and I’m so very thankful she was in our lives for the past eight months.

Vivian has brought us all a lot of tears but also so MUCH joy. The rewards of rescuing seniors outweighs all of the heartache and I’ll do it again when the time is right.

Vivian, August 25, 2014

Vivian, August 25, 2014

Rest in peace, my sweet Vivian.

Book Review: Choke Point by Ridley Pearson

Choke PointChoke Point
A Risk Agent Novel #2
Ridley Pearson
Jove, April 2014
ISBN: 978-0-515-15464-1
Mass Market Paperback

In the second novel in what is billed as an “international thriller series” (Risk Agent was the first entry), Ridley Pearson brings the return of John Knox, a man who has a useful ‘cover’ as a legitimate international exporter, and Grace Chu, a Chinese woman who was a former forensic accountant but has “recently proven herself a quick study of computer hacking.” She also holds a master’s degree in criminology from USC and, because of her former training with the Chinese Army, “is no slouch in field ops.” The fact that she speaks five or six languages is only a plus. They are both now occasionally employed by Rutherford Risk, a private security firm.

The book takes place for the most part in Amsterdam, although it opens briefly in Tunisia, where John is plying his trade, that is, until his old buddy David “Sarge” Dulwich finds him and coaxes him to take on a job in Amsterdam. Their long standing friendship goes back to the days when they were both working for a private contractor based out of Kuwait where John saved Sarge’s life, twice (once when the truck in which he was riding was hit by an IED). Both John and Grace find themselves becoming addicted to their new calling, their former professions seeming to have been a waste of their talents, and the adrenaline rush undeniable.

Their new assignment deals with child exploitation. They are joined, in a somewhat ambivalent relationship, by Sonia Pangarkar, a gorgeous reporter working on a story about “the poorer neighborhoods of Amsterdam and the European struggle with immigrants.” More than that, it is about a ring of men “who kidnap ten-year-olds and chain them to posts and make them work 18-hour days” in what are called “knot shops,” i.e., sweatshops where intricately hand-knotted Oriental rug knockoffs are made, with quantity demanded. And that’s the least horrific part of it. Rutherford Risk was called in as the work is seen as “typically unwanted by, or too dangerous for, others.” But Knox and Grace thrive on just that.

Thrillers are not, generally, my favorite sub-genre. But the author’s name beckoned to me. The book is undeniably exciting and suspenseful, densely plotted, and the three main characters very intriguing. It makes for enjoyable, good reading.

Reviewed by Gloria Feit, April 2014.

Book Review: The Skin Collector by Jeffery Deaver

The Skin CollectorThe Skin Collector
A Lincoln Rhyme Novel
Jeffery Deaver
Grand Central Publishing, May 2014
ISBN 978-1-4555-1713-8
Hardcover

Lincoln Rhyme, the quadriplegic criminalist and his highly trained team are faced with a killer that has studied Rhyme’s methods and has learned how to cover up evidence and leave Rhyme’s team reaching for clues. The killer has located a book about serial killers that includes a chapter written by Lincoln Rhyme on The Bone Collector. The book is where he got his knowledge of how to avoid leaving evidence.

The killer who has been dubbed The Skin Collector tends to work underground and tattoos messages on his victims. However, these tattoos are not the ordinary type the tattoo gun is loaded with poison and the victim dies a horrifying death.

Rhyme’s team is working at top speed to locate The Skin Collector and stop the killing. The Skin Collector is a tricky individual and really had me fooled. I was down to the last page before I realized what the tattoo artist was really after.

I have enjoyed all Deaver‘s Lincoln Rhyme books but I think this one tops the list. I totally enjoy reading about Rhyme’s staff and their loyalty.

Reviewed by Patricia E. Reid, June 2014.

Book Review: The Finisher by David Baldacci

The FinisherThe Finisher
David Baldacci
Scholastic Press, March 2014
ISBN 978-0-545-65220-9
Hardcover

As all readers, I’ve seen “David Baldacci” in every bookstore and library I’ve entered since 1996. My friends on GoodReads adore his writing, his titles are peppered through-out my To-Read List and as a fellow Virginian; I’ve really and truly been looking forward to joining the mania. I couldn’t have been more excited to discover The Finisher in my latest box of brilliance from Buried Under Books.

Admittedly, I did a double-take. My treasure chest is always loaded with Middle-Grade and YA books. Does Ms. L. think I’ve grown up (gasp) or is she just feeling particularly fond to have chosen me to review Mr. Baldacci’s inaugural endeavor into this genre so near and dear to me? Oh, good, it’s the latter and I’m eternally grateful, because this book is spectacular!

The Finisher is a fantastical, awe-inspiring, action-packed adventure that will pull the reader into the Vega Jane’s Wormwood and hold him; captivated, enthralled and experiencing a range of emotions that surely will have him hooked, like a greedy fish on a line.

The characters enchant immediately from the ferocious spit-fire Vega to her perfect complement of a best bud, the docile, dependable Delph. Mr. Baldacci magically presents a supporting cast of Wugs that, on the one hand, seem a simple-minded crew….more “sheeple” than “people” in that the general consensus is not to question The Council; or to be fair, just not to question. On the other hand, well…things are not always as they appear. Seemingly, the Wugs were content to plod through each Light and Night accepting the nebulous answers to rather pointed questions, and most certainly, never dreaming of leaving the safe haven of Wormwood, for aside from the surrounding dark and foreboding Quag, filled with monstrous creatures, there was simply a void.

Always happy to embrace the intelligent, determined female; it was with great delight, I realized our Vega was not to be so quickly satisfied. Though her questions clearly placed in her in harm’s way, her undeniable will for the good of many easily over-rode any nerves she felt for herself as an individual. Her actions convey empathy, kindness, loyalty and selflessness; all admirable yet apparently elusive traits. The reminder is subtle, but strong.

While her world, along with the creatures and customs within, is the thing of vivid imaginations and unparalleled creativity; the passion, desire, strength and remarkably hard choices are all realities that we mere humans must abide. The cunning, enthralling tale hints at this, without boldly announcing it; which is one of the thousands of reasons that I simply adore this tome.

In a few weeks, when school starts, I fully expect to see students reading The Finisher as it slyly rests on their legs underneath of their desks and cafeteria tables. I will share a smile and thumbs up with these brilliant blokes.

Reviewed by jv poore, August 2014.

Murder Mysteries: Why Something So Wrong Is So Right—and a Giveaway!

Lauren and Gnarly

Lauren and Gnarly

Lauren Carr is the best-selling author of the Mac Faraday Mysteries, which takes place in Deep Creek Lake, Maryland. Each installment of Lauren’s hit mystery series, starting with It’s Murder, My Son which was released in June 2010, has made the best-seller’s list on Amazon. Twelve to Murder, the seventh Mac Faraday mystery, was released in February. The eighth installment, A Wedding and A Killing, will be released in September.

Also receiving rave reviews, Dead on Ice, released September 2012, introduced a new series entitled Lovers in Crime, which features prosecutor Joshua Thornton with homicide detective Cameron Gates. Real Murder is the second installment in this series. The third installment will be released June 2015.

 

Several months ago, a writer I was mentoring called me after a long absence.

At the point that our communication had broken off, she was going through the final edits of her murder mystery. She had her synopsis and book cover. Her debut book was just about ready to go into formatting when, suddenly, this writer seemed to drop off the face of the earth.

Finally, she called me to drop the news. She had abandoned her murder mystery. The Reason: She had decided to go back to church and her new church lady friends had convinced her that it is a sin to write murder mysteries.

Excuse me! I replied, “Did you tell your church lady friends that your mentor is a middle-aged church lady and that my pastor is a fan of my murder mysteries?”

As I explained to this young writer, there’s a wide variety of styles and focus when it comes to murder mysteries. Most likely, her new friends are assuming that her books revolve around the evil of the killing rather than pursuit of capturing the evil doer.

Some people, especially those who have never gotten into murder mysteries, make this same mistake. They assume that authors who delve into the world of murder mystery writing are virtual serial killers who take out their psychopathic urges on their laptop only because kidnapping and killing people in real life is illegal.

Okay, I admit it, I’ve murdered some ex-bosses and nasty ex-friends who have betrayed me in my books. But, look at it this way, in real life, I can only kill them once. Whereas, on my laptop, I can kill them over and over again in various different ways.

Gnarly, May 2014

Gnarly, May 2014

Here’s the thing that some readers aren’t aware of when it comes to murder mysteries: There are several different sub-genres within this genre. Some of them focus on the graphic violence and gore of the murders themselves. There’s more murder than mystery.

Others, like mine (and this writer) focus on the puzzle of solving the murder.

Okay, so I like puzzles. Why the fascination with murder mysteries? Is it some sort of morbid temptation that draws me toward this evil act that is perpetrated on a fellow human being and want to write about it?

I don’t think so. I hate blood, gore, and violence. When I happen to have the news on, and the commentator warns, “This clip you are about to see is quite graphic, so parents, have your children leave the room,” I win the race with the little kids out of the room.

I don’t watch horror films because I can’t stand to see blood. My husband was forced to watch Jeepers Creepers by himself. My big canine buddy Gnarly wouldn’t even watch it with him.

Yes, it may appear that writing books in which people are killed is a contradiction to my claim that I can’t stand excessive violence, but really, it’s not.

Most murder mystery authors love puzzles … and murder is the ultimate puzzle. It’s the two-thousand piece puzzle that goes beyond the five-hundred piece. It’s the 3-D challenge over the flat piece.

The very first puzzle was a murder mystery. Who killed Abel? Yes, it was an easy mystery. I mean, there weren’t that many suspects and Cain had no alibi. But it was still a mystery. Why would Cain kill Abel? Thus, jealousy became the first motive for the commission of murder.

A Wedding and a KillingThere’s a lot more at stake when it comes to piecing together the puzzle of a murder. Someone’s life has been stolen from them. There’s a killer on the loose and he may strike again. Failure to find the solution to this puzzle means evil wins and justice is lost.

No, not all murder mysteries are about a fascination with violence, sin, and evil. Many are about good people pursuing truth and justice—sometimes with great odds stacked against them.

While my former protégé’s new friends found her love of not only reading murder mysteries sinful, other church ladies, like the ones at my church, embrace the mystery in my books—

Which explains why many members of my church were excited to when I set my latest Mac Faraday Mystery, A Wedding and a Killing, in a church much like mine.

Scheduled for release September 13, A Wedding and a Killing has Mac Faraday and his friends investigating the murder of a church trustee, whose body is discovered by Gnarly (who else?)

 

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Not wanting to wait until their big day to start their life of wedded bliss, Mac Faraday and his lady love, Archie Monday, decide to elope to the little church where his ancestors had all married—along the tranquil shore of Deep Creek Lake. However, before they can say, “I do,” the sanctuary erupts into chaos when Gnarly finds a body in the church office.

Mac and his team discover more questions than answers. What kind of person walks into a church and shoots a man for no apparent reason? How do you solve the murder of a man who has no enemies in the world? Which of the seemingly kind-hearted church members is really a cold-blooded killer?

Then, there is the all-important question, how long do Mac Faraday and his lady love have to wait to get married?

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A Wedding and A Killing is now available for
pre-order on Amazon! Pre-order your copy today,
or enter to win an e-book copy upon its release.
Three ebook copies of A Wedding and a Killing
will be given away. Enter the giveaway by naming
your favorite mystery set in a church, or featuring
a detective connected to the clergy.

The winning names will be drawn on Monday evening,
August 25th, and the ebooks will be sent out to
the winners in early September.

Book Review: Murder with Ganache by Lucy Burdette

Murder with GanacheMurder With Ganache 
A Key West Food Critic Mystery, Book 4       
Lucy Burdette
Obsidian, February 2014
ISBN: 978-0-451-46589-4
Mass Market Paperback

Haley Snow is the multi-tasking, scooter-ing food critic for a Key West periodical called Key Zest. Besides her job, checking out restaurant fare on the island at the foot of the nation, she dodges killers, manages to avoid calamity among her divorced parents, and tries to manage her best friend’s impending wedding.

In addition to all that she has to ride herd on her own potentially emotional entanglements with her boss at the magazine while dodging a vengeful investor. Readers get a good look at one of the most idiosyncratic communities in the nation, and, in this book, a clutch of almost dysfunctional relatives.

Haley and her mother are good friends, but when Haley’s best buddy decides to get married on a Key West beach, trouble, in the form of a teen-aged half-brother, and somewhat estranged relations who show up for the wedding inevitably follows. Then the kid disappears. Domestic crises run the gamut from mild disengagement to full-throated meddling and accusations of various malfeasances. It’s all a bit much. Meanwhile, cats mutilate a batch of cupcakes destined for the wedding reception.

It all gets sorted out in the end, but the plot wanders a bit too much for my taste, there are too many trying relatives and every so often some less than vital facts get distorted. I have always enjoyed Burdette’s writing and plotting, but I had a persistent feeling that this one was rushed into print lacking a bit of the author’s usual meticulous attention to detail.

Reviewed by Carl Brookins, March 2014.
Author of Red Sky, Devils Island, Hard Cheese, Reunion.