Thursday, July 31, 2014

The New World Series (Sanctuary) by G. Michael Hopf


Sanctuary_9780142181515

Sanctuary: Book 3 of the New World Series

Series: The New World Series
Paperback: 368 pages
Publisher: Plume (May 27, 2014)
Months after a super-EMP attack devastates America, the country is now unrecognizable. Major cities are run by gangs, survivors are dying of starvation and the government is losing control. Those who were prepared for the end find that they weren’t really prepared at all.  While some seek vengeance for their losses, others are determined to restore the nation. In SANCTUARY Gordon Van Zandt and his family are all on different paths, but they are all in search of a home away from chaos. 
From the author of post-apocalyptic thrillers The End and The Long Road, this third book in the “New World” series explores what happens when boundaries are stretched beyond imagination, and resourcefulness is the only thing that will keep you among the living.

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My Review will be near the bottom of this post!

About G. Michael Hopf

G. Michael Hopf is a former U.S. Marine and bodyguard. For years he has studied and researched the effects of an EMP (Electromagnetic Pulse) attack on the United States. From his research he was shocked by the level of devastation that would befall the country. He wanted to bring awareness to this real threat by creating the world of Gordon Van Zandt in “The End” where this type of weapon is unleashed and a fight for survival ensues. He lives with his family in San Diego, CA. 

Visit  G. Michael Hopf’s website  for more information.


Book 1: The End 
This book was pretty interesting. It is a first book in a series, so there's some info dump. I realized that this was his first book, so I let that slide. I really enjoyed "meeting" Gordon and wanted to learn more about him. The story was set up nicely and I felt that for a first book, this was a great start!

Book 2: The Long Road

This second book really worked out better for me. Hopf seems to have smoothed out his writing a lot and made his characters a LOT more vivid. The Long Road is packed full of new dangers and old threats. Gordon definitely came across as more of a "real" person in this one, making me feel the same sense of  dread and panic that I thought he must be feeling (even if he keeps it inside.) The plot had me gripping my book tightly and held my attention til the end! Great second installment!

Book 3: Sanctuary
This book wrapped up the series (maybe..will there be another one?) nicely enough for me to feel that it was a satisfying conclusion. I think that as the books progressed the writing got much much better and more fluid! I enjoyed the character development and plot progression VERY much. Most books in this genre go more for the "bang shoot em up pow pow GUNS YEAH macho grrrr" factor and forget to develop the characters. Yes there was the requisite fire power, guys with guns, and such; but as the books progressed I learned more than I expected about the characters and what might sorta happen in the event of a situation like this. The series was thought provoking and fun. A great read all around!



Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Meet Me In Barcelona

Title: Meet Me in BarcelonaAuthor: Mary CarterPublisher: KensingtonPages: 352Genre: Mainstream fictionFormat: Paperback/Kindle/MP3 CD, Audiobook, MP3 Audo, Unabridged
Purchase at AMAZON
A surprise trip to Barcelona with her boyfriend, Jake, seems like the perfect antidote to Grace Sawyer's current woes. The city is dazzling and unpredictable, but the biggest surprise for Grace is discovering who arranged and paid for the vacation.

Carrie Ann wasn't just Grace's foster sister. Clever, pretty, and mercurial, she was her best friend—until everything went terribly wrong. Now, as she flees an abusive marriage, Carrie Ann has turned to the one person she hopes will come through for her. Despite her initial misgivings, Grace wants to help. But then Carrie Ann and Jake both go missing. Stunned and confused, Grace begins to realize how much of herself she's kept from Jake—and how much of Carrie Ann she never understood. Soon Grace is baited into following a trail of scant clues across Spain, determined to find the truth, even if she must revisit her troubled past to do it.

Mary Carter's intriguing novel delves into the complexities of childhood bonds, the corrosive weight of guilt and blame, and all the ways we try—and often fail—to truly know the ones we love.


About the Author

Mary Carter is a freelance writer and novelist. Meet Me in Barcelona is her eighth novel. Her other works include: Three Months in Florence, The Things I Do For You, The Pub Across the Pond, My Sister’s Voice, Sunnyside Blues, She’ll Take It, and Accidentally Engaged. In addition to her novels she has written six novellas: Return to Hampton Beach in the anthology, Summer Days, A Southern Christmas in the upcoming 2014 anthology Our First Christmas, A Kiss Before Midnight in the anthology, You’re Still the One, A Very Maui Christmas in the New York Times best selling anthology Holiday Magic, and The Honeymoon House in the New York Times best selling anthology Almost Home. Mary currently lives in Chicago, IL with a demanding labradoodle. She wishes she could thank her gorgeous husband, but she doesn’t have one. In addition to writing she leads writing workshops.


For More Information
Book Excerpt:
Carrie Ann. The words felt like two gunshots to the chest. Just hearing that name come out of her mother’s mouth made Grace’s heart start tripping. She almost shot out of her chair. “I’m Grace,” she said. “Gracie Ann.” Her voice cracked. “Dad?” she said.
She’s confused, honey. The past and the present, it’s just one big, ugly glob.” Pinpricks of shame began forming at the base of Grace’s spine.
 “I’m not confused,” Jody said. “Carrie Ann came to visit me.”
My God,” Grace said. This time she did shoot out of her chair. Carrie Ann was the only girl foster child the Sawyers had ever taken in. At first she had been like a sister to Grace.
Who is she married to now?” Jody said. “I can’t remember.”
Pay no attention to her, Gracie,” Jim said.
Why can’t I remember?” Jody pressed on her temples with her index fingers, as if she could squeeze the memory out of her head.
Grace took a step toward her mother. “When did she come and visit you, Mom?”
          “Grace, I told you she didn’t,” Jim said. “Don’t egg your mother on.”
I’m not egging her on, Dad, but if Carrie Ann was here, I want to know about it.”
Her father whacked his newspaper on the side of his chair. “I told you she wasn’t! And I should know. I’ve been sitting right here!”
She’s still such a pretty girl,” Jody said. “She asked about you, Grace. She asked me all sorts of questions about you.”
Jim got up and threw up his arms. “She’s out of her mind!” He began to pace.
Dad,” Grace said. “Hush.” Her mother suddenly became very still, which meant she was listening. Grace took her father by his arm and led him back to his chair.
I’m sorry. She won’t remember me saying it.”
That’s not the point.”
I can’t help it. Carrie Ann this - Carrie Ann that. I thought we’d put that nuisance behind us for once and for all. Is this what it comes to? Reliving your worst nightmare?”
I’ve never heard you speak so harshly about Carrie Ann,” Grace said. Her mom was the one who used to say the worst things about Carrie Ann. She said Carrie Ann was evil. She said Carrie Ann was a curse that would follow all of them to their graves. Once she even said there wasn’t enough Lysol in the world to get rid of that stain. And each insult cut into Grace like her mother was saying it about her. Her sister. Of sorts. Her own Dickens-like drama.  Carrie Ann was the best thing that had ever happened to Grace, and she was the worst. She’d been out of their lives for nearly fifteen years. And Grace had spent every one of them trying, and failing, to put the past behind her. She turned to her father.
Why didn’t you tell me?”
Tell you what?”
That Mom's been talking about her.”
Because I don’t want to dredge up all that nonsense. It’s her damn medication. I keep telling the doctor it’s making her worse, and he won’t listen to me.” Her father slammed his fist on the arm of the chair. “These people think just because we’re old that we’re stupid. She wouldn’t be so forgetful if she cut down on some of those pills. How do I know that? Because she’s my wife.  Because I’ve been married to this woman for forty-four years. You know what he said to me?”
Who?”
That snot-nosed doctor, that’s who!”
What did he say?”
Put me in my place. In front of my wife. ‘You’re a psychotherapist, correct? Not a psychiatrist? You don’t prescribe medication?’ That’s what the snot-nosed so-called doctor actually said to me. Can you believe that? Some twenty-year-old who just started wiping his own ass. I’m telling you she’s on too many pills! Makes her soupy. He won’t listen to me!”
It’s okay, Dad. Calm down. It’s okay.”
I can’t bear hearing her talk about Carrie Ann.  Your mother's the one who told us never to mention Carrie Anne's name again." 
Forbid us. Forbid us to ever mention her name again. “I know, Dad. I’ll talk to the doctor. Calm down.”
I always wanted to go to Spain,” Jody said. She turned off the television and patted the side of the bed. So she’d heard and understood the conversation. God, the brain was a mysterious thing.
Grace went over and sat down. “You never told me that.”
I would hardly share that with a stranger.”
I’m your daughter! She wanted to shout. But her mother couldn’t help it.
Just keep talking,” her father said. “At least she’s not dredging up ghosts, or drooling over naked stud muffins.”
And now  Grace couldn't believe her father had just said “naked stud muffins.” Maybe getting away for a bit wasn’t such a bad idea. Grace turned back to her mother. “Why did you always want to go to Spain?”
My mother went to Spain. All by herself. When she was in her seventies.”
I know,” Grace said. It had been just after Grace’s grandfather had died. Her grandparents were supposed to take the trip together. Everyone thought Annette Jennings would cancel the trip. Instead, she buried her husband and packed her bags. Little Annette who had never been outside of her home state. Grace had had many conversations with her grandmother about that trip. She was proud of her too.
It was really something,” Jim said. “Because in those days seventy wasn’t the new fifty or whatever the kids say today. Seventy was seventy.”
Tell me about it,” Grace said.
Jody Sawyer straightened up, and her eyes seemed to take in more light. “Well, it’s not like it is now. Women didn’t travel alone back then. Wasn’t that brave? My mother sent me a postcard from Madrid of a beautiful tango dancer in a red dress. The dress was made of actual material—beautiful red silk right on the postcard. I’ll never forget it. She’d only written one sentence on the back. ‘Robert would’ve loved the landing.’ My father was very picking with landings and always impressed when the pilot pulled off a smooth one. Anyway. As soon as I got that postcard I knew my mother was going to be all right. ‘Robert would have loved the landing.’ After she died I spent hours just touching that silky red dress with the tips of my fingers and imagining my mother dancing in the streets of Spain.”
Jody Sawyer looked up and swayed her upper body slightly as if watching her faraway self dance. Then she looked down at her hands, twisting the bed sheet. “Look how ugly and wrinkled I am now.”
You’re not ugly and wrinkled, Mom. You’re beautiful.”
I wish I had that postcard now.” Her mother looked up into space. “I lost it.”
Grace hesitated. Did she, or didn’t she?  Grace opened the bedside drawer and took out the postcard. Her mother was right. The dress was silky. Grace handed it to her mother and watched her eyes light up. Next her mother gently outlined the edge of the dancer’s dress with the trembling tip of her right index finger. Her fingernail was misshapen, the peach paint flaking. Grace would have to see if they could bring in a manicurist.
Jody looked at Grace, her eyes clear and bright. “Gracie Ann you have to go. Film everything. I’m dying to see Barcelona through you.” Grace must have looked stricken, for her mother laughed and then put her hand over her heart. “Sorry, no pun intended.” Like antennas being manipulated for a clearer signal, sometimes her mother tuned in perfectly. Jody Sawyer laughed again, and Grace couldn’t help but laugh with her.
Mom.”
Make me feel like I’m there,” Jody said, closing her eyes. “Help me shut out this hospice. Let me see beautiful Barcelona.” She took Grace’s hand and held it. “Do it for me. I’ll feel like I’m with you. Bring a camera. And your guitar,” she added. “You never know.” When Grace still didn’t answer, her mother opened her eyes, and lifted Grace’s chin up with her hand like she used to do when Grace was a child. “Be brave, Gracie Ann. Just like my mother.”
Like my mother too,” Grace whispered back.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Week of Reading: Book 2

So here is my selection for book 2 of my week of reading like a madwoman on crack! I've finished Siege and Storm, so be on the look out for my fangirling on that series coming soon! Wish me luck on reaching my goal of 5 books in one week! 

Week of Reading -Book 1

So this is the first (at least part of it) book of the week! I'm on page 334 out of 432 in my paper back. My review of the first one is coming up sometime this week!

I'm hopefully going to get through 3 or 4 books this week! I need to catch up on my TBR and post some reviews!

So far this one is not disappointing! My review will follow the 1st book's. So watch for that! 

FINISHED AND DELIGHTED! 

~2 Titles from D.C. Stone! Intimate Danger and What Could Have ~

  Intimate Danger by D.C. Stone
intimate-danger-2
 When FBI agent Trent Rossi arrives to investigate a chain of crimes—devastating murders and violent rapes—an inexperienced small town Detective, Charlie, who’s assigned to assist, finds her desire surging for the agent—only to realize he is the primary suspect. A sleeping threat has awakened in the small town of Nyack. Crimes in the cozy village, garner the attention of the FBI, who assign two agents to assist Charlie in tracking down the sick and deranged perpetrator. Agents Trent Rossi and Dillon Echols work closely with Charlie, but as the crimes progress, dark secrets begin to cloud the air, blurring the line between who is on the side of the law and who’s against it. Being Charlie’s first major case, she’s unprepared not only for the menacing killer on the loose, but also with the unexpected feelings Trent draws out of her. While Trent holds secrets, disappears at random, and seems to understand their perpetrator all-too-well, Charlie’s suspicions grow along with the pull she feels toward him. Her attraction could become fatal, yet she does not realize it until it is too late.    


 What Could Have by D.C. Stone
What Could Have_Front Cover_jpg
Annabelle and Lucas have just enlisted in the United States Air Force. The two live on opposite sides of the country, but are drawn together by a common goal, and a common connection.   Their friendship blooms, their trust grows, and the lust between them explodes. There are two problems with this situation, though. Neither of them communicate to the other on how they feel. And both of them fight against it.   Choices are taken out of their hands when, upon graduating from training, Annabelle and Lucas find that instead of being on opposite sides of the country, they will be on opposite sides of the world.   Ten years later, a common website has brought Annabelle and Lucas back in contact. The two of them have found each other after so many years; however, now, both are promised to others.   A brief kiss. A heartbreaking realization. And an accident. Choices made that are, once again, taken out of their hands.    

Buy Links: 




Author’s Bio:
D.C. Stone is a romance author and full-time fraud investigator. She lives in the north-east with her incredibly supporting husband and two kids. She’ll deny any association with the grumpy cat that also resides in the house, but he is there, never-the-less. After serving eight years of service with the United States Air Force, she went on to transition into the world of financial crimes and became a lead investigator for many years. Reading has always been a passion of hers, getting lost in a good, steamy romance is one of her favorite past times. She soon after discovered her own love for writing and recreating stories and characters in her head.  Her writing concentrates on romantic with specifics in paranormal, suspense and erotica. Now, when she isn’t trying to solve a new puzzle in the world of fraud, she is engulfed with coffee, her laptop, and all those crazy characters in her head. She is a member of the Romance Writers of America, New Jersey Romance Writers, RomVets, RWA Kiss of Death, and the Liberty State Fiction Writers. She currently serves as the Vice President and 2014 Conference Chair for NJRW.

Come stop by on Facebook, Twitter, or her website and say hello!

 Website: www.authordcstone.com
Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/authorDCStone
Facebook Profile: http://www.facebook.com/dc.stone.92
Twitter: @dcstoneauthor

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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Review: Crashers by Lindy S. Hudis




About the Book: 
Fraudulent car accidents is a multi-million dollar racket, involving unscrupulous medical providers, personal injury attorneys, and the cooperating passengers involved in the accidents—and who also receive a portion of the illegal proceeds. Such is the fate of newly engaged, Nathan and Shari, whose joy is tempered by the dark cloud of mounting debt.
 
A chance encounter with a stranger in whom Shari confides her troubles proves fortuitous: he tells her of a get-rich-quick scheme that will put her and her fiancĂ© on easy street. Seduced by the chance to move from hard times to good times in no time, Sheri takes the carrot offered her, and finds herself acting as a “stuffed passenger”—the “victim” in a staged auto accident. The act goes according to plan and Shari gets her payday, but getting out and breaking free of the insurance fraud underworld will take nothing short of a miracle.
 
A modern day cautionary tale, Crashers is a true-to-life novel that uncovers how the innocent get lured into the scheme of “cappers” and “hammers.”
 
 
Buy Link: 

My Thoughts:

Wow! I've heard of this racket before, auto insurance fraud, but it kind of sounded rather lame in the real world. This book made it sound kind of thrilling and easy. I started reading this one, not sure quite what to expect but HOLY HECK was this a ride!

Shari's life is thrown into the gutter by a few really not fun circumstances. She loses her job, her fiance is screwed out of not only HIS job but his entire career. She's pretty much left flailing and scared. So when Bryce steps in and shows her a new way..an exciting new way to make money, she jumps at it. Her fiance, Nathan isn't quite so thrilled. I KNOW why he was so negative, but at times I was like...*sigh...DUDE come on!* I never quite got the deal with their relationship. Yeah in the beginning they seemed sorta happy, but they didn't seem to really connect as a couple. Shari and Bryce on the other hand...

Crashers is a well written, fast paced (I read it in like 5 hours in between work), and exciting! I seriously was glued to the page and hated having to put the book down. I thoroughly enjoyed it and recommend it to those that like a tension packed thrilling story. My fingers nails may never grow back!

The Academy Series Blog Tour (Reviews)



About the Books:

Altered

When Toni, Joseph and Charlie arrive at their new boarding school, they are glad to leave their families — and respective problems — behind. Isolated as boarders, they meet a handsome senior with a personality like iced snake's blood, teachers with a penchant for physical punishment, and four other outcasts who reveal that their being brought to the Academy wasn't random at all. When the arrivals discover that their new school is engaged in "behavior modification" through electric shocks, isolation, restraints, and an ever-evolving set of methods to "fix" them, they declare war on their Academy. During their campaign of sabotage, they fight, hate, scorn, love, and begin to uncover the reasons why they were brought to the school. But as their war against the school escalates beyond their control, will they become the very things the Academy believes they are: dangerous, delinquent — and mad?

Purchase your copy:

AMAZON


Shattered

School’s in session at J. Alter Academy, and for Toni, Joseph, Ann, Charlie, and their boarder friends, that means they are still at the mercy of its draconian ways. While suffering the harsh consequences of their attempted escape, the seven teens must also contend with the formidable Headmistress and her taste for human experimentation — with the boarders as her favorite subjects. The seven friends play a delicate, dangerous game as they seek to discover the secrets behind their school and their own unique abilities. Yet as they move closer to uncovering the truth, will one of them be forced to pay the ultimate price?

Purchase your copy:

AMAZON 

My Review (for both books) 

This series is pretty interesting. At times it's rough to read what the characters go through, but that's what makes these books so special. I really enjoyed these books. I did have a wee little problem sometimes with the perspective shifts, but that's pretty much the only problem I had with the writing. 

 Altered really hooked me from the start. Minus the switching on character perspectives, it had me flipping the pages quite quickly! I had to know more and find out what was happening to all these poor kids! 

Shattered brought me right back into the tense atmosphere and again, kept me plowing through! The ending had me wanting more! Such a great story! 

About the Author

Aubrey Coletti is a singer-songwriter, dancer, and the author of Altered and Shattered, Books One and Two in The Academy Series. She can be found on her website http://aubreycoletti.com.

Connect and socialize with Aubrey on Twitter or Facebook.


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