Monthly Archives: February 2018
Book Review: The Clarity by Keith Thomas
Leopoldo & Co./Atria Books, February 2018
From the publisher—
Dr. Matilda Deacon is a psychologist researching how memories are made and stored when she meets a strange eleven-year-old girl named Ashanique. Ashanique claims to harbor the memories of the last soldier killed in World War I and Matilda is at first very interested but skeptical. However, when Ashanique starts talking about being chased by the Night Doctors—a term also used by an unstable patient who was later found dead—Matilda can’t deny that the girl might be telling the truth.
Matilda learns that Ashanique and her mother have been on the run their whole lives from a monstrous assassin named Rade. Rade is after a secret contained solely in memories and has left a bloody trail throughout the world in search of it. Matilda soon realizes Ashanique is in unimaginable danger and that her unique ability comes with a deadly price.
Fast-paced, suspenseful, and a chilling blend of science and danger, The Clarity is a compelling take on the possibilities of reincarnation and life after death.
With splashes of science and history, The Clarity is, at its core, the stuff of a little girl’s nightmares but the nightmares are real. Certainly, past instances of experimentation on humans have turned out to be dark shadows on our psyches no matter what the initial, seemingly well-intended, idea was or where it took place. Then, throw in a good oldfashioned conspiracy and a villain who would frighten even the most unimaginative of us and you have a frantic race to find truth and survival.
For readers who tend to be a little squeamish, be forewarned—Rade is no mildmannered, polite assassin. He literally will kill anyone in his way and do so with a lot of gore and even more gore. At the same time, he’s the most fascinating character (to me, at least) because of his complete lack of morals or compassion. Ashanique is almost as mindgrabbing but its because of what’s happening to her rather than any aspect of her short, inexperienced life.
As thrillers go, this one has its pacing issues and, as mentioned earlier, an abundance of violence, but I enjoyed it and recommend it to anyone interested in stories rooted in the past.
Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, February 2018.
A taut, riveting thriller, a perfect balance of scientific
speculation and storytelling.—James Rollins
About the Author
Keith Thomas worked as a lead clinical researcher at the University of Colorado Denver School of Medicine and National Jewish Health before writing for film and television. He has developed projects for studios and production companies and collaborated with writers like James Patterson and filmmakers like Paul Haggis. He lives in Denver and works in Los Angeles.
“Chilling speculative thriller. Tautly plotted and well researched,
this book is a riveting take on the possibility of afterlife
and reincarnation.”—Book Riot
Shooting Off My Mouth
Returning guest blogger Sunny Frazier, whose first novel in the Christy Bristol Astrology Mysteries, Fools Rush In, received the Best Novel Award from Public Safety Writers Association, is here today to share her thoughts about high school then and now and the giant problem we all face.
The third Christy Bristol Astrology Mystery, A Snitch in Time, is in bookstores now.
email@example.com // http://www.sunnyfrazier.com
I’m not a particularly political person but it’s important to address the elephant in the room. The most recent school shooting in Florida had the positive effect of getting teens off video games and their cell phones and apathy turned to protest. They marched. They carried protest signs. I haven’t heard of any sit-ins yet but this isn’t Berkeley and it isn’t the ‘60’s.
I remember the ‘60’s. I came from a conservative military family and went to a conservative high school. The girls wore knee-length dresses, the guys wore dress shirts and good pants. We were respectful to teachers, did our homework, cheered the football team. No pregnancies and only one drug incident that I remember.
We attended school without armed guards or gun-toting teachers. We didn’t go to classes with the fear of being gunned down. The things we worried about seem banal now: will I get good grades, do I have the latest fashion (the trend was knee socks at the time), will somebody ask me to the prom? We never asked “Will I make it out alive today?”
High school and all those raging hormones that go with post-puberty seem to target young men more than females. Deep seated resentment and insecurity, rejection by peers and bullying all build up to violence. But, wasn’t it the same when I went to school? What was the solution back then?
In the military I was told to shoot a gun. I refused. I will shoot pool, hoops and from the hip, but guns paralyze me. When I worked as secretary to a narcotics team at the Sheriff’s office, I was constantly around firearms. It was part of their uniform but we never had a shooting while I was there.
I have a solution to the gun problem. If someone wants to kill people at schools, churches, concerts and movie theatres, ban all guns and make them use knives. The body count will be fewer. A bullet from a distance isn’t as personal as being close to the target. Knives are so much more intimate. A killer gets to experience the blade struggle through skin and bone and look into the eyes of the victim. If it’s really necessary to prove superiority or make people pay for perceived mistreatment, don’t do it like a coward with just a trigger finger involved.
Maybe these mass murderers feel their actions will put them in the history books. Sorry, kid. History only remembers the biggies like Oswald, Ruby, Sirhan Sirhan, John Wilkes-Booth, Mark David Chapman and OJ. All you get is 15 minutes of fame while loved ones get a lifetime of pain.
Book Review: Quantum State by M. Black
Spotlight on Enigma by Catherine Coulter—and a Giveaway!
Series: FBI Thriller #21
Author: Catherine Coulter
Publisher: Gallery Books
Publication Date: February 27, 2018
Genres: Mystery, Thriller
Barnes & Noble // Amazon // Indiebound
Agents Savich and Sherlock are presented with two baffling
mysteries. Working with Agent Cam Wittier (Insidious) and
New York-based former Special Forces agent Jack Cabot, they
must race against the clock to catch an international
criminal and solve the enigma of the man called John Doe.
A Distraught Mother…
Kara Moody’s perfect pregnancy turns into a nightmare
when her newborn son is nowhere to be found in her Georgetown
hospital. FBI agents Savich and Sherlock think they’re investigating
an abduction, but soon discover their case is tangled in
a web of medical mystery that could make immortality possible.
An Irish Killer…
Liam Hennessy, notorious thief and one of the FBI’s most
wanted, has escaped into the deep woods of the Appalachians—and
when he wants to be hidden, few can find the Manta Ray.
Special agents Jack Cabot and Cam Wittier are sent
to find him, but they find something else entirely.
A FBI team running out of time…
As each agent tirelessly pursues their prey, the clock is ticking.
The odds grow ever slimmer that Kara Moody will ever see her
baby again. Savich and his team will have to go way
beyond the ordinary if they are to solve the cases of a lifetime.
About the Author
Catherine Coulter is the author of the New York Times bestselling FBI Thrillers and coauthor with J.T. Ellison of the New York Times bestselling thriller series A Brit in the FBI. She lives in beautiful Sausalito, California. She is the author of 80 novels, including 75 New York Times bestsellers, occasionally, after exhaustive prayers, hitting #1.
Coulter grew up on a horse ranch in Texas, and graduated from the University of Texas, receiving her graduate degree from Boston College. She became a speechwriter on Wall Street, then, to her joy, she was able to quit her day job and become a full-time writer.
She lives with her physician husband and three cats in Marin County, California, right over the Golden Gate Bridge. She loves to travel, loves to kamikaze down the ski slopes, and reads voraciously while recuperating. She likes to laugh, loves a good joke, and believes the publishing business is too crazy to take seriously.
If you read just one of Coulter’s FBI thrillers, she’s got you, so prepare for eye strain and jumping at things that go bump in the night.
Website // Facebook
“Bestseller Coulter is at the top of her game in her 21st FBI
thriller … Twists and turns galore in both investigations ensure
there’s never a dull moment.” (Publishers Weekly, starred review)
“Enigma is a new seductive and menacing thriller that sets new
standards to judge thrillers. It’s a thriller most people would like to finish
it in one sitting. It is intense and packed with action and inventive
fantasy Catherine Coulter is known for. This must be next on your reading
list if you love to read thrillers.” (The Washington Book Review)
To enter the drawing for a paperback
copy of Enigma by Catherine Coulter,
leave a comment below. Two winning
names will be drawn Thursday
evening, March 1st. This drawing is
open to residents of the US.
Book Review: Flux by D. T. Dyllin
Author: D.T. Dyllin
Narrator: Ashley Holt
Length: 6 hours 59 minutes
Series: Starblind, Book 3
Publisher: Tik Tok Press
Released: Dec. 20, 2017
Genre: Romantic Science Fiction
Taken captive, experimented on, and rescued by a mysterious bounty hunter…all things Zula, The Pittsburgh’s second-in command, didn’t have on her to-do list. She isn’t worried though. After all, as a Galvraron, she has her superior logic to rely on. At least she did….
Suddenly Zula finds her cognitive skills compromised by a device that puts her emotions in control, turning her entire world upside down. Add in the fact that she’s forced to spend time with a man from her past, and soon Zula finds herself wondering: How does one fight adversaries such as love and lust? And does she really want to?
D.T. Dyllin is a bestselling author who writes paranormal, sci-fi, and contemporary romance. Basically, anything with a love story is her kryptonite. Her obsession with affairs-of-the-heart is what first drove her to begin twisting her own tales of scorching romance.
D.T. was born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Black & Gold for life, baby!) She now lives in Raleigh, North Carolina with her husband, and two spoiled German Shepherds.
Former NPR PBS FM radio host/announcer in a major media market, with a warm mezzo female voice. I have a background in opera and can present in English, Italian, German, French, Latin. With a background in the performing arts and opera, I can sing as well as do some accents.
Home includes a husband shaped person, 2 cats, volunteerism and an active online gaming presence.
No audiobook genre is taboo, which makes for very interesting dinner table discussion.
Member, Audio Producers Association
Zula is the third character to be the focus of a book in the Starblind series and I like her and her story best of all. Zula is kind of a female version of Mr. Spock, coming from a race that dismisses emotions, always behaving with logic. Having been kidnapped by a bounty hunter, she becomes the subject of experimentation culminating with an implant that causes her to feel for the first time in her life.
This juxtaposition of logic and emotion forms the basis of a funny, alarming, raucous story and the conflict is most obvious when Zula begins to fall for Kade, something that would not, could not have happened when she had total control of her mind and heart. Will she still have these feelings for him once the implant is removed? I’m not telling 😉
Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, February 2018.
I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. This tour is being sponsored by Spectrum Audiobooks. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.
Q&A with Narrator Ashley Holt
- Do you read reviews for your audiobooks?
- Yes, and my husband wishes I wouldn’t. 😉 People either love me or hate me. Years ago, an actor friend once told me that you shouldn’t read reviews, because you might start to change your style based on what you read. Wise words, I think.
- If so, which ones stand out to you most, positive or negative?
- When people get what I’m trying to do with the character. Someone said about Starblind that they “loved Jane’s sass and snark”. Made my day! Um, negative? Do we really have to go there? I’ve had someone say I never should have been chosen for that book. Another time I had someone get angry at me because the author anthropomorphized animals. That just killed me, because I LOVED voicing those kittens. They were all boy cats, and I could have done it all day!
- What type of the review comments do you find most constructive?
- Things like “she spoke too quickly”. That means the listener isn’t getting everything I say! Also I found out that a lot of people listen at 1.5x speed. Again thats the radio voice creeping in. Radio is fast, because you have to hit certain marks at exactly the right time.
- Who is your “dream author” that you would like to record for?
- Not dream author as much as dream GENRE. LitRPG is fantastic. It combines many of my favorite things. (I was an onlinegamer long before women were accepted in that world)
- If you could narrate one book from your youth what would it be and why?
- Dickens, Dickens, Dickens.
- What do you say to those who view listening to audiobooks as “cheating” or as inferior to “real reading”?
- Here have your dope slap.
- What bits of advice would you give to aspiring audiobook narrators?
- Be patient, don’t be afraid to ask for advice, be very careful about who you hire as a coach.
- What’s next for you?
- I am currently working on: Book 4 of the Starblind series!!!A revision of a BDSM Best Seller I did a year ago.A fictional history of Maria Luisa of Spain, wife to Leopold II, Holy Roman EmperorA university textbook about an American woman who settled in Palestine in the 19th centuryMain Street, by Sinclair Lewis (my first classic I am SO EXCITED)A firefighter romance. I jokingly call it book 3 of the triumvirate. Because I have already done the sports romance (my life was VERY meta during that book) and the cop romance.2 very dystopian novels, one by an Australian author that is BRILLIANT. The second one is by an Italian author, and I haven’t gotten too far into it, but the premise is great and the translation is excellent.An Encyclopedia of musical terms.
- Bonus question: Any funny anecdotes from inside the recording studio?
- Not so much from the studio, but its still funny. For a while, I kept getting sent auditions/books with lesbian lead characters. I was the go-to apparently. Coach says its the resonance in my voice. I did 19 short books about a lesbian dominiatrix, in addition to a couple of other full length books. After a while, my husband started to get shall we say, CONCERNED, which just cracked me up.
- Mostly the in studio stuff are the “derps” we have. In the narrators group on Facebook, we have threads of the day where we post phrases that are tripping us up. Those can get pretty funny.
Starblind Series Giveaway: Amazon Echo Dot
Starblind, Book 1
Dab of Darkness Audiobook Reviews
Parallax, Book 2
Dab of Darkness Audiobook Reviews
Flux, Book 3
Dab of Darkness Audiobook Reviews
Book Review: February Fever by Jess Lourey
A Murder-By-Month Mystery #10
Midnight Ink, February 2015
February Fever finds librarian Mira James’s sizzling relationship with her boyfriend Johnny Leeson in jeopardy when Johnny gets a month long internship across the country. Because Jess is not wild about flying she figures the relationship will be on hold until Mrs. Berns comes to the rescue by suggesting the two of them travel cross-country via train. Sounds like a good idea until it turns out the train is a Valentine special for singles to meet. And then the train gets stuck in a snow storm. Those two things would be bad enough, but this is after all Mira and the series is called Murder by Month so of course Mira once again has a murder happen in her vicinity and Mira being Mira is soon investigating.
Things to like about this book are that the main characters, or at least those on the trip, stay true to form. Once again, Ms. Lourey delivers a book that while very funny in some places isn’t quite your typical cozy. The plot is interesting, and while snowbound trains are not exactly new to the mystery genre, the author does it very well.
There are a couple of things about the series as a whole that rub me wrong. I hate the near slap stick comedy routines that show up throughout the series. In this book Mira agrees to dance with a guy once, only one dance, but then trips and face plants into his crotch. This and things like it just add too much silliness to a book that doesn’t need it for laughs and in my opinion takes away from the good writing.
The other thing that I definitely did not like, nor I imagine will other readers who follow this series,
(semi spoiler alert)
is that the author kills off one of the regular characters. I don’t want to spoil the book for readers, so I won’t say who or how, but this was a shocking development.
This is the tenth book in the series with March and April to go to finish the year of murders. Since this book came out in 2015, I’m not sure the series will wrap up or not. I hope so. In spite of a few quibbles, I enjoy visiting with Mira and the other characters.
Reviewed by guest reviewer Caryn St. Clair, January 2018.