Book Review: Resist by Tracey Martin

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Title: Resist 
Series: Redzone #2
 Author: Tracey Martin 
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Publication date: November 17th, 2015
Genres: New Adult, Science Fiction, Thriller

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ResistResist
RedZone #2
Tracey Martin
Samhain Publishing, November 2015
ISBN 978-1-61923-234-1
Trade Paperback

From the publisher—

Truth is a powerful weapon…but explosives never hurt.

Sophia can run but she can’t hide. RedZone is on her tail and those of the six tech-augmented soldiers who escaped its clutches with her. If she could only focus on fighting her way to safety, she might live long enough to disappear. But it’s not just her own backside she needs to watch out for.

At her side is her boyfriend, Kyle. He’s the reason she found the courage to escape, and she’ll do anything to keep him and his secrets out of RedZone’s hands. Only problem is, since she was once sent to capture him, he has good reason not to trust her.

In fact, there’s not much trust to go around. RedZone keeps finding them, suggesting someone is a traitor. And if that’s not enough to recapture the group, the organization has a backup plan. One that will force Sophia and Kyle to choose between safety and risking everything one more time.

Warning: Contains killer robots, mutant college students, and dangerous super soldiers. And those are the good guys. It’s enough to make a rogue assassin wish she were taking her philosophy final instead.

When we first meet Sophia, she’s on a sort of black ops mission, infiltrating a business during a Christmas party. Using some quite special skills, she sneaks into one of the bank’s offices in search of information demanded by RedZone, the organization she works for.

What makes this so much fun is not only the adventure element but the human engineering that we encounter. For instance, Sophia can plug herself into a computer, much like a flash drive, and Kyle is able to heal himself. Sophia’s meant to be the perfect killing machine but, in fact, she does make mistakes and she has doubts about her purpose and that’s why she’s appealing.

Not all is entirely futuristic, though. The 9-1-1 system is still in place as are government agencies such as the CIA and these familiar elements help to keep the story grounded. This is a spy story and Sophia is a trained assassin but that is most definitely too simple an explanation; this girl wants badly to be normal, starting with college.  First, she and her team, led by Cole, have much to do if they’re going to put an end to RedZone and save their own lives as well as others.

Although I now wish I had read the first book before this one, that’s mainly because I’d like to know more about how Sophia, Cole and Kyle, not to mention their friends, came to be such integral parts of this world of espionage and worse. That’s my own preference, though, and Resist does actually work on its own.

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, November 2015.

About the Author

Tracey Martin 2Tracey Martin grew up outside of Philadelphia, the lucky recipient of a drama-free childhood, which is why she spent so much time reading about other people’s lives. It was while she was working on her doctorate in psychology that she had an epiphany–imaginary people are way more fun than real ones. And so she began writing. Never able to choose just one of anything, she currently writes both urban fantasy for adults and contemporary stories for teens.

She likes her coffee simple, her music epic, and her movies to contain explosions. A city girl at heart, she doesn’t understand how she and her husband ended up living in New Hampshire, but writing keeps her off the mean, small town streets. You can find her online at tracey-martin.com.

Author links:

https://twitter.com/TA_Martin
http://tracey-martin.com/
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7142440.Tracey_Martin

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Book Reviews: Grandad, There’s a Head on the Beach by Colin Cotterill and Tales from My Closet by Jennifer Anne Moses

Grandad, There's a Head on the BeachGrandad, There’s a Head on the Beach
A Jimm Juree Mystery #2
Colin Cotterill
Minotaur Books, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-312-56454-4
Hardcover

Author Colin Cotterill appears to have a somewhat skewed view of the world, especially as applied to world politics. Sardonic to a fault, his skill as a writer is prominently on display here. His characters are unusual, almost all off-beat and so they tend to act in unexpected ways. That may be the influence of the setting, somewhere along the coast of southern Thailand, the influence of drugs imbibed by several in the story, or the speculative motives of nearly all the participants.

If there is a problem with this novel, it may be that none of the principals are people you’d like to spend a whole lot of time with—or go to bed with.

Jimm Juree established a career as a crime reporter in Thailand and life was progressing. Then, for obscure reasons, her mother sells the family home and buys a run-down failing motel-holiday resort near a disappearing beach on the ocean shore. Unfortunately, the beach is also the location where streams deposit various unwanted trash and other detritus. And that’s how, presumably, it is that early one morning Jimm Juree comes upon a human head in the sand.

Thereafter, the plot devolves into political and illegal shenanigans of concealment, fraud and other assorted crimes. Treatment of Burmese refugees is prominent throughout the novel. A mysterious woman and her presumed daughter, apparently on the run, insist on staying at the resort and getting under foot. Local political gangsters cross dangerous and violent paths with Jimm Juree and her friends and the story, a bit long for my taste, lurches along to a most satisfying and somewhat amusing conclusion.

The humorous and occasionally wacky happenings are, in fact, background and leavening for a much more serious illumination of a problem, that of Burmese refugees and their treatment in Myanmar and Thailand. I am just not sure that the excruciating difficulties faced by the displaced Burmese are effectively handled by their juxtaposition with the unusual family of Jimm Juree.

Reviewed by Carl Brookins, March 2015.
http://www.carlbrookins.com http://agora2.blogspot.com
The Case of the Purloined Painting, The Case of the Great Train Robbery, Reunion, Red Sky.

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Tales from My ClosetTales from My Closet
Jennifer Anne Moses
Scholastic Press, February 2014
ISBN 978-0-545-51608-2
Hardcover

In Tales from My Closet, Ms. Moses so aptly captures the venom that spews from the mouths of teens, that I find myself fantasizing about a trip back in time to punch Teen-Aged Me in the face and to hug my mom very tightly. The unlikely union of five teen-age fashionistas, each experiencing unrelated, yet equally concerning issues at home, immediately pulled me into the fascinating, eerily familiar tales.

Uniquely unapologetic, the unabashed, free-flung, nastiness of Spoiled-Rich-Fashionista feels down-right insulting. And also, terribly sad and desperate. Vintage-Fashionista, the initial and most frequent narrator, is the quintessential-know-it-all-dramatically-impatient-daughter that I was. And, of course, all of my girlfriends were.

Fabulous-in-Lingerie brings a harsh, yet crucial reminder that even if it seems like a person’s problems are frivolous, there could be more behind the scenes. Ann, Fantastic-in-Fifties, reluctantly realizes that moms were daughters once, too, and that moms, grandmas, and “perfect” sisters make mistakes and have secrets. Huge Smile All-Varsity Girl rounds out the cast, providing a perfect example of things not being at all as they appear.

Fabulously, each fashionista presents her own version of the tumultuous year together. This enriches the story as it provides not only a deeper and more thorough understanding of each character; but also because the reader “sees” more about the family unit and the individual parents and siblings.

I believe Tales provides a rare and welcome opportunity for a mom and her daughter(s) to read the same book, at the same time. Not just because it packs a powerful punch, but because it is also bitingly witty, sweet, funny and captivating.

“I tried not to hold his hyper-funk-nihilist-grunge-
gender-blended-macho look against him…..”

“Of course she’s lonely: She’s a freak! No one
wants to be friends with her, not just me.”

“….saw you looking so punk-cool-fifties-awesome-fab, I’d be
so blinded by your sublime radiance of fabulosity
that I’d get on the next train back to college!”

“…how can Robot Girl erase someone as
out-there and funktabulous as you are?”

“…but he was famous for looking like a person
who was planning to grow up to be a drug
addict, or maybe a serial killer.”

NEW WORDS!
“funktabulous”
“fabulosity”

Reviewed by jv poore, June 2015.

Before You Say “Unbelievable” …—and a Giveaway!

Lauren and Gnarly

Lauren and Gnarly

Lauren Carr is the international best-selling author of the Mac Faraday and Lovers in Crime Mysteries. Her new series, The Thorny Rose Mysteries, was released earlier this year.

The owner of Acorn Book Services, Lauren is also a publishing manager, consultant, editor, cover and layout designer, and marketing agent for independent authors. This year, several books, over a variety of genres written by independent authors will be released through the management of Acorn Book Services, which is currently accepting submissions. Visit Acorn Book Services website for more information.

Lauren is a popular speaker who has made appearances at schools, youth groups, and on author panels at conventions. She also passes on what she has learned in her years of writing and publishing by conducting workshops and teaching in community education classes.

She lives with her husband, son, and three dogs on a mountain in Harpers Ferry, WV.

Visit Lauren’s websites and blog at:
E-Mail: writerlaurencarr@gmail.net
Website: http://acornbookservices.com/
http://mysterylady.net/
Blog: Literary Wealth: http://literarywealth.wordpress.com/

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/lauren.carr.984991
Gnarly’s Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/GnarlyofMacFaradayMysteries
Lovers in Crime Facebook Page:
http://www.facebook.com/LoversInCrimeMysteries?ref=ts&fref=ts
Acorn Book Services Facebook Page:
https://www.facebook.com/AcornBookServices?ref=hl

Twitter: @TheMysteryLadie

Have you ever wondered what authors talk about when they get together? I have found that there are certain subjects that just naturally creep up.

When do you write? Are you a plotter or a pantser? How do you find time to write three books a year when you have four dogs who now demand to be fed three times a day? Where do you get your ideas? Are you in therapy? Have you ever considered therapy? Maybe you should. How do you like your publisher, editor, book tour coordinator? How were your latest reviews?

Coming January 28th!

Coming January 28th!

Which then leads to the most annoying things readers have said about your books.

One claim that I have seen made about some authors’ books, and occasionally, though not regularly, about mine, is that they are “unbelievable.” Some of the elements in the plotlines are just not realistic. They would never happen like that.

A few years ago, a friend published her first book, which was a romantic suspense. At one point in the storyline, a homicidal maniac walks out of the mental hospital and goes on a murder spree.

While the book received wonderful reviews and decent sales, some readers have declared it unbelievable—claiming that it is impossible for a mental patient with a murderous history to simply walk out of a mental hospital the way the author wrote it.

However … this author had the last laugh this spring (though it was a tragic last laugh) when less than an hour from where she lived, a patient with a murderous history simply walked out of the mental hospital where he was locked up and went on a murder spree—in the same manner that she had written in her book five years ago!

Here’s the book trailer for Cancelled Vows:

https://youtu.be/6ZKg6N8UfjI

When this happens, there is something deep down in the writer that makes her want to say, “Told you so!” Of course, that would be childish and unprofessional and I am above all that.

Yeah. Right.

In January 2015, when Three Days to Forever was released, a few readers, not reviewers, but readers, declared that certain aspects of the plot and storyline were too fantastic.

One reviewer, and a reader or two, could not believe the love at first sight storyline involving Jessica Faraday (Mac’s daughter) and Murphy Thornton (Joshua’s son.) While it was a nice fantasy, it would never happen. However, there have been cases of love at first sight. In an article published by the Wall Street Journal on April 20, 2015 (four months after the release of Three Days to Forever), some 41% of men, versus 29% of women, say they have experienced love at first sight.

Recent alarming events have reminded me about the main issue that a small percentage of readers pointed to as being the most implausible in Three Days is Forever. In spite of an author note stating that Three Days to Forever is completely fiction, not an accusation of how things are in Washington, some sensitive readers interpreted it otherwise and declared it completely improbable that Islamic terrorists could be here in the United States, compile hit lists of military service people, or work their way into our American government to a position in which they could influence our president to threaten our safety.

Yet, this didn’t seem so far-fetched in March, three months after the release of Three Days to Forever, when ISIS released such a hit list of members of the American military with orders to target not only the military, but their families as well. The list was updated in August to include more names. The Pentagon took this threat so seriously that they issued a warning to members of the military and their families to be vigilant because they could be terrorist targets.

Then, in recent weeks, after the horrifying attack in Paris, Americans have started wondering why our own president and his advisors have been playing down the growth and threat of ISIS while the American people, foreign policy experts, and other countries around the globe have seen saying for years that ISIS is a real threat.

Noticing that our president has been radically out of step with the reality of the situation, committees have been formed to investigate.

Three Days to ForeverHmmmm. Yes, the president in Three Days to Forever is fictional, and I did not intend to point fingers at anyone in particular. As I wrote in the author’s note at the front of the book, “The key job of a fiction writer is to look at a situation, make observations about how things are and how they work, and then ask, ‘What if …’ Then, the writer twists, turns, and manipulates, while maintaining believability, to make for a thrilling plot. This is what I had done with Three Days to Forever.”

Never, in my wild imagination, did it occur to me that reality would match up so closely.

Seeing how circumstances have been playing out in the past year, I have to ask, “At this point, is it really that far-fetched to suggest that someone close enough to our president to advise him could really be playing for the other team—putting the safety of our country at risk?”

But then, that would be totally implausible. It would be about as realistic as falling in love at first sight … and we all know that never happens.

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Giveaway:
To enter the drawing for an ebook
copy of Three Days to Forever by
Lauren Carr,
just leave a comment below
with the name
of the book you found most unbelievable when
you read it but it later ended up being true
to life.
The winning name will be drawn on
Monday evening, November 30th.

Here’s the book trailer for Three Days to Forever:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hgl2O2L6yLM

A Day To Be Thankful

Today, I’m thankful that a young woman named Laura was a part of my
life, really my “other” daughter, for years. She has meant a great deal to
my whole family and, in particular, she has been my daughter, Annie’s,
best friend. There are a lot of memories and love between them that
will last an eternity but she’s much too young to go. We’re losing
Laura to a dreaded cancer and all I can do now is send her and her
family my love and my wish that they will all find peace and comfort.

Laura always loved a good laugh so these are for her.

Thanksgiving Kitty 6

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Thanksgiving Doggies 2

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Thanksgiving Chipmunks

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Thanksgiving Turkeys

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Thanksgiving Kitty 4

Waiting On Wednesday (9)

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event that
spotlights upcoming releases that I’m really
looking forward to. Waiting On Wednesday
is the creation of Jill at Breaking the Spine.

This week’s “can’t-wait-to-read” selection is:

Continue reading

Book Review: Angels Sing To Rest by Chrinda Jones

Angels Sing to RestAngels Sing to Rest
An Olivia Gates and Will Green Crime Series #2
Chrinda Jones
Wing and a Prayer Publishing, September 2015
ISBN 9780989844215
Ebook

From the author—

‘Angels Sing to Rest’ begins where ‘Darkness Knows Me’ left off: after the investigation into the death of the Deep Ellum Killer, Levi Devereux.

Detective Sergeant Olivia Gates returns from a two month suspension, to find her team has gained a new member, her ex-husband has been released from prison, and a 10 year old street kid has been murdered on her patch of South Dallas.

Her ex she thinks she can deal with, even when he drags their young son into the mix. The murdered boy with the crushed chest, isn’t so easily handled and weighs heavily on her as more street kids are killed with an unimaginable sadistic flare and no discernible motive.

If the continuing body count wasn’t stressful enough, Olivia’s falling out with long time friend and colleague, Doctor Will Green, threatens any hope Olivia had for more than a friendship with the good doctor.

Drugs, gaming, prostitution and sadistic murders lead Gates and her team on a trek through the seamy underbelly of living rough on the streets of downtown Dallas.

Investigating the murder of a child probably isn’t the easiest way for a detective to get back to work after having been suspended for three months but that’s how things go for Olivia Gates. Knowing the park where the child was found is one of her own son’s favorites doesn’t make it any easier. When you get right down to it, there’s absolutely nothing easy about a child murder and Ms. Jones does something that I greatly appreciate—without being particularly gruesome, she lets the reader feel the horror of the situation. In fact, I’d say this is one of the few times when telling is better than showing even though the telling is bad enough.

This is the beginning of a tangled mess of murders and victim types but it’s the character studies that are the core of the story and I’m not entirely sure I like that. Recently, I took part in an online discussion of how tiresome the damaged detective trope is becoming and, as some have pointed out, it would be nice to come across a detective, especially in police procedurals, that has a normal psyche and a good home life. They do exist—Donna Leon’s Commissario Guido Brunetti is a prime example—and I’d like to see authors start to swing things in that direction. Anyway, in this case, there is more than one character with some deep-seated problems and my only complaint is that all of that angst sometimes got in the way of a good story (although I actually did like some of these people). I read police procedurals because I like the harder edge of crime encountered by such professionals, not so much because I want to read all about their tough lives outside of the investigations.

Still and all, I did enjoy Angels Sing to Rest and I’m glad I had the opportunity to read it. There is a previous book, Darkness Knows Me, and I think I’ll check it out.

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, November 2015.

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An Excerpt from Angels Sing to Rest

Chapter One

Vincent Rocha knew he hit her hard, but at the time he figured she deserved it. He paid her good money to do what he wanted and by God she was going to do what he wanted. He checked for a pulse at the side of her neck when she lay flaccid on the bed for too long. There was nothing. He didn’t think he hit her hard enough to kill her.

That he killed this woman with his own hands didn’t panic him. She wasn’t his first dead prostitute and she wasn’t likely to be his last. If he thought of prostitutes as human the whole scene might have played out differently. Her kind provide a service. They make themselves available to him and others like him to use up and throw away. His father told him it was the order of things. He believed him.

Vincent rolled the woman over so he didn’t have to look at her face and untied the scarf from her neck. He threw the silk bed sheets over her naked body, not out of any sense of propriety — he purely despised the look of her, with her dyed red hair and stubble covered legs. Experience taught him that her kind was always ready — for cost, a few extra twenties and a bottle — to do what the higher priced call girls wouldn’t.

He went to his closet to cover his own nakedness with a robe and picked up the phone beside the bed. He dialed. When someone finally answered, it was his second in command. “Martin, come to the loft and drive the van. I have some garbage for you to pick up.” Vincent purposefully hung up before Martin could ask questions and went to the utility room for the thick plastic drip sheet and masking tape the remodeling company left behind.

He returned to splay the drip sheet on the floor at the foot of the bed. When he pushed the body off the mattress, it made a sickening thud as it hit the floor, reminding him of a large tuna hitting the deck of a fishing boat. He rolled her up in the plastic, securing the bundle with masking tape. Vincent walked away leaving her in the middle of the room for his lackey.

He tilted his head toward his chest and opened the dressing gown, sniffing for the odor that nauseated him. She left her sex scent on him. The strong odor made him involuntarily gag. He covered himself again and entered the bathroom to shower off what remained of her humanity.

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About the Author

Chrinda JonesChrinda Jones is a crime writing and reading fiend, which she believes is genetic and began with her great-grandmother, who hoarded crime novels. Darkness Knows Me is her crime novel debut and Angels Sing to Rest is next in her series. When she’s not putting her time in with the writing gods, you can find her playing music or enjoying a good meal with friends and family. Chrinda currently resides in Murphy, Texas, with her husband, children, grandchildren and her Jugg, Abby.

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