Goldeneye: Where James Bond Was Born: Ian Fleming’s Jamaica

Goldeneye: Where James Bond Was Born: Ian Fleming’s JamaicaGE-us-cover

Author: Matthew Parker

Hardcover: 264 pages (also available in e-books and audio)

Publisher: Pegasus (March 11, 2015)

Synposis:

Amid the lush beauty of Jamaica’s northern coast lies the true story of Ian Fleming’s iconic creation: James Bond. For two months every year, from 1946 to his death eighteen years later, Ian Fleming lived at Goldeneye, the house he built on a point of high land overlooking a small white sand beach on Jamaica’s stunning north coast. All the James Bond novels and stories were written here.

This book explores the huge influence of Jamaica on the creation of Fleming’s iconic post-war hero. The island was for Fleming part retreat from the world, part tangible representation of his own values, and part exotic fantasy. It will examine his Jamaican friendships—his extraordinary circle included Errol Flynn, the Oliviers, international politicians and British royalty, as well as his close neighbor Noel Coward—and trace his changing relationship with Ann Charteris (and hers with Jamaica) and the emergence of Blanche Blackwell as his Jamaican soulmate.

Goldeneye also compares the real Jamaica of the 1950s during the build-up to independence with the island’s portrayal in the Bond books, to shine a light on the attitude of the likes of Fleming and Coward to the dramatic end of the British Empire.

Review:

So who’s your favorite Bond? Mine is Sean Connery. But this books isn’t really about Bond. This is about  his creator, Ian Fleming, primarily about the time he spent in Jamaica writing the Bond books. Fleming’s life portrayed in Goldeneye seems almost like a novel: the love affairs, the political intrigue, the celebrity guest stars. I believe writers and readers alike (even those with just a passing knowledge of the Bond world) will enjoy this peek at an author and how his surroundings and personal life influenced his fictional world. It was fascinating as author Matthew Parker would mention characters and plot lines and reveal how they were connected to Jamaica and the people Fleming knew there.

Thanks to the blockbuster movies it seems impossible that there is anyone who isn’t familiar with James Bond. It was eye opening to learn about the attitudes toward Bond during Fleming’s life. Parker isn’t a Bond enthusiast who plays cheerleader for every word Fleming wrote.  He honestly critiques the books, explaining the weaknesses in several of them and revealing that in the 1950s for many readers Bond wasn’t a sensation, in fact for the people in Fleming’s social circle Bond was a bit of a joke.

This was a detail filled book that reflected the enthusiasm of Parker and, although I had never heard of him until reading Goldeneye, now I want to read some of Parker’s other books.

Review of The Test

Sometimes I wonder where my head is. Well, lots of times actually. I remember doing things but in reality, not so testmuch done. That was the case with a review of John Lansing’s The Test. Last week I received an email from the lovely Lance Wright at Partners in Crime Tours (have no idea what Lance is like in the real world but his emails are so charming and polite I always think of him as “lovely”). Lance was wondering what had happened to the review. Reading the email, I was all “Lance is having a break with reality. I distinctly remember writing that review, I even said XXX.” Checked the post I did on The Test — apparently I was the one having a break with reality! Found the review, stuck in a file but never actually making it to Words by Webb. Sorry Lance! Sorry John!

The Test

Author: John Lansing

Publisher: Tatra Press (November 1, 2014)

E-format: 29 pages

Synopsis:

A coming-of-age story set in 1950s, small-town Long Island, at time when suburban America is about to undergo  seismic societal changes. With this backdrop, a teenage boy falls in love with one of the town’s few black girls, a relationship that has repercussions leading to permanent transformations for the couple–and for the town.

Review:

We’ve all had that relationship where the couple didn’t quite match: rich and poor, jock and bookworm, fashionista and computer geek, introvert and extrovert and of course the ultimate couple that doesn’t “match” Montague and Capulet. That’s why John Lansing’s latest work will resonate with anyone who reads it. We all know (or were) that mismatched couple and we all remember the all-encompassing love that only teenagers can feel.

The Test is what I like to call a long short story (29 pages) and is just a snapshot in the life of a teenager that takes places mainly during a high school dance. Lansing captures the rituals to pump yourself up the night of a dance, the nerve wracking feelings during the dance and the dizzying way teenagers fall in love in a moment. The Test is a wonderful way to find yourself back in that heady time, no matter what your age. Lansing does a good job of surprising the reader, events that were viewed in one light on first reading are revealed to be completely different as the story continues.

Read The Test, if only to remember those days when love was spelled  L-O-V-E and every other word lived in its shadow.

You can read a review at Words by Webb with John here and a guest post by him at my other blog Building Bookshelves here. And the silver lining to my delayed review: The Test is now on sale! That Lanceis, it was on sale as of April 12 and you never know how long an Amazon sale will last so pick it up now.

Couldn’t resist digging up a photo of the lovely Lance Wright! Lance, you look like you should be a Hemingway’s house in the Keys. Or are you? Do I see palm trees in the background?

 

Category: Book Reviews  4 Comments

5Ws with John Lansing

John Lansing started his career as an actor in New York City. He spent a year at the Royale Theatre playing the lead role in the Broadway production of “Grease.” He then landed a co-starring role in George Lucas’ “More American Graffiti,” and guest-starred on numerous television shows. During his fifteen-year writing career, Lansing wrote and produced “Walker Texas Ranger,” co-wrote two CBS Movies of the Week, and he also co-executive produced the ABC series “Scoundrels.”

John’s first book was “Good Cop, Bad Money,” a true crime tome with former NYPD Inspector Glen Morisano. The Devil’s Necktie, his first novel, became a best seller on Barnes & Noble. Jack Bertolino returned in Lansing’s latest novel “Blond Cargo. His newest release is the short story The Test, a coming of age short story set on Long Island in 1963 that deals with race, violence, social politics, and young love.

A native of Long Island, John now resides in Los Angeles.

testWHO
Who is The Test are you most like? Yes, we’re all dying to know if you are Jack!

Guilty as charged. Although The Test is a work of fiction and not an autobiography, I did pull heavily from my personal life growing up on Long Island. I wrote about people I knew, places I frequented as a teenager, and social and political issues that were prevalent on Long Island in 1963.

WHAT
What is the most difficult thing about writing a novel? Is there anything easier or more difficult about The Test as compared to The Devil’s Necktie and Blond Cargo?

The most difficult thing about writing a novel is finishing a novel. And the only way to make the process easier is to write every day. When my personal life interferes with sitting down and banging out pages, it get’s harder to get back in the groove and into my characters’ minds.

WHY
Why did you choose to offer your books solely in ebook format?

I didn’t choose to offer my books solely in an eBook format; it was the deal I was offered from Simon & Schuster at the time. With the success of The Devil’s Necktie, my first novel, and Blond Cargo, the second book in the series, my publisher is now printing a paperback version of both titles. And I’m very pleased.

WHERE
Where do you get the ideas for your novels? It’s difficult to believe that the same mind created Blond Cargo and The Test!

The Devil’s Necktie started with a very simple premise. How could Jack Bertolino, a retired NYPD Inspector who had spent 25-years as an undercover narcotics detective taking down drug dealers, money launderers and killers, retire without suffering blowback. The short answer is he couldn’t, and exploring that struggle became the basis of my first novel.

I also keep files of articles, stories, and ideas that capture my interest, from newspapers, magazines and interesting conversations. When I’m ready to start a new project, I rummage through the file to see if anything sparks mlansingy imagination. I’m always on the lookout for a case or a story that’s rife with conflict and forces my protagonist to operate out of his comfort zone.

I’m glad that I was able to surprise you with The Test, after writing Blond Cargo. I approached character development the same way in both books. It was the history and life choices the characters made that dictated the change in structure and style of the two pieces.

WHEN
When will we see another book from you and what genre will it be?

I am presently writing the third book in the Jack Bertolino series, and hope to deliver a first draft to my editor in the next few months. Thank you for asking.

Nantucket Five-spot

Author Steven Axxelrod, Poisoned Pen Press and Partners in Crime blog Tours have been incredibly generous. In addition to a copy of Nantucket Five-Spot in exchange for a review I’m able to offer you a giveaway of a BOX of Poisoned Pen Press books through the Rafflecopter below. Also, leave a comment on this post and you’ll be entered to win a copy of Nantucket Five-Spot. TWO giveaways in one day. It doesn’t get any better than that!

Nantucket Five-Spot

by Steven Axelrod

on Tour March 1-31, 2015

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery

Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press

Publication Date: Jan 6, 2015

Number of Pages: 296

ISBN: 9781464203428

Purchase Links:

Synopsis:

Henry Kennis, Nantucket island’s poetry-writing police chief who will remind readers of Robert B. Parker’s Jesse Stone and Spenser, works a second challenging case in Nantucket Five-Spot.
At the height of the summer tourist season, a threat to bomb the annual Boston Pops Concert could destroy the island’s economy, along with its cachet as a safe, if mostly summer-time, haven for America’s ruling class. The threat of terrorism brings The Department of Homeland Security to the island, along with prospects for a rekindled love affair –Henry’s lost love works for the DHS now.
The “terrorism” aspects of the attack prove to be a red herring. The truth lies much closer to home. At first suspicion falls on local carpenter Billy Delavane, but Henry investigates the case and proves that Billy is being framed. Then it turns out that Henry’s new suspect is also being framed –for the bizarre and almost undetectable crime of framing someone else. Every piece of evidence works three ways in the investigation of a crime rooted in betrayed friendship, infidelity, and the quiet poisonous feuds of small town life. Henry traces the origin of the attacks back almost twenty years and uncovers an obsessive revenge conspiracy that he must unravel –now alone, discredited and on the run –before further disaster strikes.

Read an excerpt:

Chapter One
Arrivals
Finally, I was having dinner alone with Franny Tate. It was a mild summer night, we were dining at Cru, overlooking Nantucket harbor. I was leaning across the table to kiss her when the first bomb went off.
A hole punched into the air, a muffled thump that bypassed my ears and smacked straight into my stomach, like those ominous fireworks that flash once and leave no sparks. The blast wave hit a second later, shaking tables and knocking over glasses, rattling windows in their frames. Franny mouthed the word ‘bomb,’ her lips parting in silence and pressing together again, not wanting to say the word aloud, or thinking I couldn’t hear her through the veil of trembling air.
I pushed my chair back, pointing toward the Steamboat Wharf. We ran out into a night tattered by running feet and sirens.
Our romantic evening lay across the stained tablecloth behind us, tipped over and shattered with the restaurant stemware.
Something bad had arrived on my little island, an evil alert, a violation and a threat like a dog with its throat cut dropped on a front parlor rug. It was up to me and my officers to answer that threat, to make sense of it and set things right. I didn’t explain this to Franny. I didn’t need to. She was running right beside me.
At that point, I thought it all began with the first bomb threat, two weeks earlier, but I wasn’t even close. It takes a long time to make a bomb from scratch. Lighting the fuse is the quick part.
I can tell you the exact moment when the match touched the cord, though.
It was a bright humid morning in June. An eleven-year-old girl named Deborah Garrison stepped off the boat from Hyannis and skipped ahead of her mother down into the crowded seaside streets. As it happened, I was at the Steamship Authority that morning, picking up my assistant chief, Haden Krakauer. We actually saw Debbie in her pony tails and Justin Bieber t-shirt.
She didn’t seem special, just another adorable little girl on a holiday island crowded with them.
And Debbie didn’t actually do anything. Nothing that happened later was her fault. The simple, irreducible fact of her presence was enough. Even years later, the consequences and implications of Debbie’s arrival seem bizarre and implausible, far too weighty to balance on those thin sunburned shoulders.
It was like setting off an avalanche with a sigh.
The next time I saw Debbie, it was a week later and she was holding hands with my friend Billy Delavane when he came to the station to report a stolen wallet. She’d been tagging along with him everywhere, since the day she came to Nantucket. They had met in the surf at Madaket when he pulled her out of the white water after a bad wipeout.
“She’d launch on anything, but she kept slipping,” Billy told me later. “She couldn’t figure it out. No one told her she had to wax the board.”
She was happy to let Billy get everything organized and push her into some smaller waves and even happier to share a cup of hot chocolate with a few other kids at Billy’s beach shack when hypothermia set in.
They’d been inseparable ever since.
Barnaby Toll took Billy’s stolen property report and then buzzed my office. He knew I’d be pleased that Billy had shown up at “Valhalla” as he liked to call it. Billy had been one of the more vocal opponents of the new police station, dragging himself to several Town Meetings and fidgeting through all the boring warrant articles to take his stand against the giant new facility on Fairgrounds Road.
I understood his point. I had been against the construction myself, initially. But, like driving in a luxury car or eating at good restaurants, I adapted to the change shockingly fast. Now I couldn’t imagine working in the cramped crumbling building on South Water Street.
I found the two downstairs in the administration conference room.
Billy tilted his head as I walked in. “Nice place. Lots of parking.
In America, where nothing else matters.”
I ignored him, looking down. “Who’s this?”
Debbie spoke up without waiting for him. I liked that.
“Debbie Garrison.” She extended her hand and I tipped down a little to shake it.
“Police Chief Henry Kennis.”
“Glad to meet you, Chief Kennis. Can I have a tour? I think this place is awesome.”
“Absolutely. How old are you?”
“Eleven,” Billy volunteered.
“I’ll be twelve in September,” Debbie corrected him.
“That’s my son’s age,” I said. “You should meet him.”
“Most eleven-year-old boys are extremely immature.”
I let that one go and offered Debbie my arm. “Shall we?”
“Yay!” She grabbed my hand and led me into the corridor.
“Can we see the jail cells?”
“Sure.”
The place was buzzing on a June morning. We had Girl Scouts gathering in the selectman’s meeting room and people milling in the front lobby, complaining about the neighbors’ noise violations and picking up over-sand stickers. Last night’s DUIs, the unlicensed, uninsured, or unregistered drivers (a couple of them always hit the trifecta).
On the way down to the booking room I asked Debbie what she thought so far.
“Well, the upstairs where we came in reminds me of a mall. That hole in the ceiling where you can see up to the second floor? I was like—is there a GAP store up there? This part is more like my school. But nicer.”
“Well, it’s new.”
“New is good,” she announced decisively and I thought,you’ve come to the right place.
“So are you spending a lot of time with Billy?” We pushed through into the booking room. It was crowded, phones were ringing. A bald geezer who looked like he was constructed out of sinew and tattoo ink was being hustled inside from the garage. Debbie stared at him. He was obviously sloshed out of his mind at ten in the morning.
I took her hand and led her around the big horseshoe-shaped desk toward the holding cells. “Debbie?”
“It—what?”
“Billy? You’re spending a lot of time with him?”
“That guy is creepy.”
“He’s sad. His kid was killed in Afghanistan. He drinks a lot, that’s all.”
“Ugh. Those tattoos.”
“They’re bad.” She’d probably have one herself by the time she was sixteen, but you can always hope.
She moved on. “Billy’s great.” Then, “What’s behind that door?”
I followed her gaze to the corner. “That’s our padded cell.”
“For crazy people?”
“Well…for people who might try to hurt themselves.”
“Cool! Can I see it?”
“Sure.”
We went inside. “Padded” is a slight exaggeration—the beige walls and floor have the consistency of a pencil eraser. “Billy’s not like I expected.” She pushed the walls, bouncing tentatively on the balls of her feet. “I mean, he’s not crazy or dangerous or anything.”
“Who told you he was dangerous?”
“Oh, I don’t know…just—people.”
“They were probably talking about his brother, Ed, who actually is crazy. And dangerous. But he’s going to be in jail for a long, long time. So I wouldn’t worry about him.”
“Billy is so the opposite of that. He wouldn’t hurt anyone. I mean, he’s sad about all the changes here, but he knows he can’t stop them. He’s not like some kind of terrorist or anything.”
I put a hand on her shoulder to stop the bouncing. “Debbie.”
She looked up at me. “Someone’s been calling Billy Delavane a terrorist?”
“I don’t know. I guess so. It’s just—people talk. People say stupid stuff all the time. Gossip and stuff.”
“I guess. But you’ve only been here a week, and you’re already hearing hardcore gossip about Billy Delavane? I don’t see how that’s possible. Are the kids talking about him?”
“The kids love him.”
“Then who? Your mother? Your mother’s friends?”
“Yeah, right.”
The idea of her talking to her mother’s friends was obviously so crazy only a clueless grown-up could entertain it.
We went to the jail cells next, three for the women and six for the men, simple rooms with built-in stainless steel sinks and toilets and a blue cement slab bed. The men’s side was full, so I walked her into the women’s block which was empty for the moment.
Debbie pointed at one of the slabs. “How can anyone sleep on that?”
“We have special bedding, but people don’t usually stay here overnight.”
“What’s that for?” She was looking at the stainless steel rail than ran along the length of the slab, eight inches off the floor.
“That’s called a Murphy bar—it’s for handcuffing people.”
“Oooo.” She shuddered

Author Bio:

Steven Axelrod holds an MFA in writing from Vermont College of the Fine Arts and remains a member of the WGA despite a long absence from Hollywood. His work has been featured on various websites, including the literary e-zine Numéro Cinq, where he is on the masthead. His work has also appeared at Salon.com and The GoodMen Project, as well as the magazines PulpModern and BigPulp. A father of two, he lives on Nantucket Island, Massachusetts, where he paints houses and writes, often at the same time, much to the annoyance of his customers.

Catch Up:

Review:

At first, I was not enjoying the timeline for Nantucket Five-Spot. Parts of it were in the present, parts of it were ten weeks ago, five years ago, two hours ago. Happily all the jumps to the past were clearly labeled so you weren’t flailing around wondering what time period you were in. As I continued to read I realized that this jumping from time to time, although confusing, was a great way to mirror the confusion Police Chief Henry Kennis felt during the investigation. Just like Henry, you the reader are getting bits of information here, there, from different time periods and trying to slide everything into the right spot.

This was book two in the series and it wasn’t difficult to jump into Book 2 but you may find yourself wanting to read Book 1 also. Although the first section of the book is heavy on investigation/stand-offs by competing law enforcement agencies (locals vs. state police vs. Homeland Security vs. FBI), once the action starts it doesn’t let up. I love that these guys that seem like they are barely capable of patrolling the 4th of July parade really step up to the plate and finally begin working together once they have a common enemy.

The setting details are great, making the book more memorable, funny and occasionally beautiful.

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How I Became a Writer

Becoming a writer is a mysterious process — how did it begin, when did you decide to write a book, where do your ideas come from? Debut children’s author Janice Wills Kingsbury shares a bit about her journey to writer here.

Lexi Goes on Vacation to the Outer Banks Author

Janice and a furry pal chill at the beach.

How I Became a Writer

I started writing in first grade.  I wrote so many stories that my teacher told the class that I didn’t have to write at story time.  This same teacher always encouraged me to write, sent one of my stories in for publication, and told me one day I would become a writer.  That was many years ago.  I haven’t had the confidence to go public until recently.

For many years I wrote reports for my job and papers for graduate school, but my personal writing was for my eyes only.  I loved to write down all of the thoughts and found it cathartic to do so.   When I left my public school job, I had many thoughts and feelings to sort out.  The last few years had been difficult for me.  Lots of pressure in school, long hours, demands at home, loss of a parent and 3 pets. I began to write about these things.  The more I wrote the easier it became.

I started to think about writing for others, but I wanted to enjoy myself. I love children’s books and the entire process of writing, choosing a cover, and planning the illustrations is exciting and fun for me.  I spend a lot of time refining details and editing trying to get everything just right.

I spend part of my time in the Outer Banks, North Carolina, and its here that I feel most creative.  I love the area and it’s always been my escape from the fast pace of the north. I’m relaxed, on the beach with my dogs, and talking to hundreds of people.  Vacationers come up to us all the time, and our walks span into hours.  I guess it’s not a common sight to see 6 dogs running freely on the beach, unleashed, chasing birds and Frisbees, or just hanging out.  They all come to a whistle if needed. People will stop me and ask questions, play with the dogs, take pictures and have fun.  Some people will come year after year and look for us on the beach. So many people tell us that watching the dogs running free on the beach and chasing birds is the highlight of their vacation.  Ideas would come to me often from the conversations I’ve had there.  My book, “Lexi Goes on Vacation,” is a culmination of telling the story so many times at the beach.

I’ve since written four other books.  My favorite of the four will be out soon. I’ve also started my own publishing company. It’s amazing that since I started writing it has become my passion and career.  I work everyday on writing, marketing, reading, and book signings. I couldn’t be happier.

More About Janice:

Janice Wills Kingsbury grew up in New Jersey. She worked as a teacher and later as a School Psychologist for 18 years. Janice also taught reading and has a love of children’s literature. Janice is also involved in animal rescue. Her children’s books are written from the heart and portray her love of and knowledge about children and animals. The stories will capture children’s interest and imagination.

Website: http://www.outerbooks.comLexi Goes on Vacation to the Outer Banks

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jwillskingsbury

Twitter: https://twitter.com/janicekingsbury

More About Lexi Goes on Vacation:

Ms. Janice and Mr. Rob have vacationed in the seashore town of Duck in North Carolina for 10 years. Duck is a friendly place with sandy beaches where children and dogs romp to their hearts content. This year Lexi, a new addition to their dog family, will come too. But the vacation will be like no other and as the sun sets on the beach it promises to be a long night, one the family will never forget!

Full color illustrations appeal to children and make the book come alive. The action and adventure encourage children to read to the end and learn new vocabulary. Even reluctant readers will want to finish the story.Age 6-12, but suitable for all ages, even adults.

Lexi Goes on Vacation can be purchased at Amazon, Barnes & Noble or Outer Books.

 

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Due for Discard

due_for_discard_300-640x1024Due for Discard (Aimee Machado Mystery)

Author:Sharon St. George

Paperback: 340 pages (also available in e-format)

Publisher: Camel Press (March 1, 2015)

Synposis:

Aimee Machado is thrilled to be starting her first job as a forensic librarian at the medical center in the town of Timbergate, north of Sacramento, California. Her ebullient mood is somewhat dampened by her recent breakup with her former live-in boyfriend, Nick Alexander. And then there’s a little matter of murder: on Aimee’s first day on the job, a body is found in the hospital Dumpster, soon identified as her supervisor’s wife, Bonnie Beardsley. Aimee’s heartbreaker of a brother and best friend, Harry, just happens to be one of the last people to see Bonnie alive, but he is hardly the only suspect. Bonnie was notorious for her wild partying and man-stealing ways, and she has left a trail of broken hearts and bitterness. Aimee is determined to get her brother off the suspect list. Aimee’s snooping quickly makes her a target. Isolated on her grandparents’ llama farm where she fled post-breakup, she realizes exactly how vulnerable she is. Three men have pledged to protect her: her brother Harry, her ex, Nick, and the dashing hospital administrator with a reputation for womanizing, Jared Quinn. But they can’t be on the alert every minute, not when Aimee is so bent on cracking the case with or without their help. Book 1 of a new series featuring amateur sleuth Aimee Machado.

Review:

If you enjoy starting a new mystery series try Due for Discard, the first book in the Aimee Machado mystery series. Author Sharon St. George does a great job of sneaking some humor into this mystery with the help of a few quirky animals: spitting llamas, tough guy birds, attack cats and loud turkeys to name a few. I feel there will be a lot of potential if St. George chooses to develop some interesting characters like Aimee’s grandparents, Lola the retired librarian/hospital volunteer and the fill-in security guard. The community itself also seems interesting as it includes everything from farms complete with ranch hands to country clubs to cutting edge hospitals — and hospital librarian Aimee is a part of all these worlds.

My only issue was that their is so much back story thrown in, enough so that I began thinking I was reading book #2 and had already missed a book. I wish it could have given us a bit of back story in a more light handed manner.

The Witch of Painted Sorrow

The Witch of Painted Sorrows

Author: M.J. Rosecover_witch_sorrows

Hardcover: 384 pages (also available in e-books and audiobooks)

Publisher: Atria Books (March 17, 2015)

Synposis:

Possession. Power. Passion. New York Times bestselling novelist M. J. Rose creates her most provocative and magical spellbinder yet in this gothic novel set against the lavish spectacle of 1890s Belle Époque Paris.

Sandrine Salome flees New York for her grandmother’s Paris mansion to escape her dangerous husband, but what she finds there is even more menacing. The house, famous for its lavish art collection and elegant salons, is mysteriously closed up. Although her grandmother insists it’s dangerous for Sandrine to visit, she defies her and meets Julien Duplessi, a mesmerizing young architect. Together they explore the hidden night world of Paris, the forbidden occult underground and Sandrine’s deepest desires.

Among the bohemians and the demi-monde, Sandrine discovers her erotic nature as a lover and painter. Then darker influences threaten–her cold and cruel husband is tracking her down and something sinister is taking hold, changing Sandrine, altering her. She’s become possessed by La Lune: A witch, a legend, and a sixteenth-century courtesan, who opens up her life to a darkness that may become a gift or a curse

This is Sandrine’s “wild night of the soul,” her odyssey in the magnificent city of Paris, of art, love, and witchery.

Review:

M.J. Rose is a relatively new author to me (read my review of The Collector of Dying Breaths here) and The Witch of Painted Sorrows is like The Collector of Dying Breaths in that it has a supernatural element and a sadness underlying it. However The Witch of Painted Sorrows is darker than dark, it feels a bit hopeless at times. At times I felt like no one would “win” the battle. I would sympathize with various characters at various times but then they would do…something…and I wouldn’t like them very much.

But M.J. Rose definitely knows how to set a thick mood. Reading this book I felt enveloped in the Paris world — accepted times for meeting mistresses, shocking nightclubs, believers in dark magic, courtesans, women dressing as men — it was quite fascinating. If you want to delve into an entirely different world you will find it in The Witch of Painted Sorrows.

You can read an excerpt of The Witch of Painted Sorrows here

Running Scared: The Most Terrifying Tale Ever Told

Inkitt, a free platform for writers to cultivate ideas and watch their stories grow, is holding their second horror writing contest this month! Inkitt is a place where writers and readers collaborate, giving each other feedback and improving their work. Inkitt wants to help writers get the exposure they deserve and the publishing deals they covet without suffering the frustrations and bias of traditional printing and self- publishing.
The theme of Inkitt‘s March horror contest is “Running Scared: The Most Terrifying Tale Ever Told.”  In the tradition of classic horror flicks and monster movies, they want the freakiest, flashiest fables you can come up with. prizes_800X600Make them scream!
Inkitt is accepting all frightening fiction up to 15,000 words. The contest opens on March 3rd and closes on March 31st. It’s free to enter, and you’ll retain all rights to any work submitted. By collecting the most community votes, the top 10% of entries will be bumped into judging by Inkitt’s guest judges (horror authors J.D. Horn, Armand Rosamilia, and J. Thorn). They’re pretty unshakeable guys, so pull out all the stops to get them quaking in their boots!
Win and you’ll receive a petrifying prize package, including Amazon gift cards and Inkitt custom mugs. The first place winner will also get a custom poster spotlighting their story! Readers, be on your toes, too: there’s an Amazon gift card up for grabs for one lucky reviewer!
Got gore on your mind and fear in your heart? Enter the contest now at http://www.inkitt.com/runningscared? for all the (literal) guts and glory!

All the Old Knives

All the Old Knivesknives

Author: Olen Steinhauer

Paperback: 3o4 pages (also available in e-books, hardcover and audiobooks)

Publisher: Minotaur Books (March 10, 2015)

Synposis:

Six years ago in Vienna, terrorists took over a hundred hostages, and the rescue attempt went terribly wrong. The CIA’s Vienna station was witness to this tragedy, gathering intel from its sources during those tense hours, assimilating facts from the ground and from an agent on the inside. So when it all went wrong, the question had to be asked: Had their agent been compromised, and how?

Two of the CIA’s case officers in Vienna, Henry Pelham and Celia Harrison, were lovers at the time, and on the night of the hostage crisis Celia decided she’d had enough. She left the agency, married and had children, and is now living an ordinary life in the idyllic town of Carmel-by-the-Sea. Henry is still a case officer in Vienna, and has traveled to California to see her one more time, to relive the past, maybe, or to put it behind him once and for all.

But neither of them can forget that long-ago question: Had their agent been compromised? If so, how? Each also wonders what role tonight’s dinner companion might have played in the way the tragedy unfolded six years ago.

Check out an excerpt of All the Old Knives here.

Review:

When I found out that 95% of this book takes place when two people are sitting at a table: talking, thinking, eating I was worried it would be…static. But this book was incredible! I want everyone to read it as well as everything else author Olen Steinhauer has written (and there’s quite a bit to choose from).

At first this seems like a straightforward plot: two agents (one retired) are getting together to tie up a few loose ends from an “incident” that happened five years ago…by “incident” they mean a terrorist group taking over a plane in Vienna and how it was dealt with by the agents in Vienna. Except maybe it isn’t about that…maybe it’s about lost love. Except maybe it isn’t about that…maybe it’s about blaming someone. Except maybe it isn’t about that…maybe it’s about protecting someone. Except maybe…

Reading All the Old Knives is like trying to decipher the picture in a jigsaw puzzle when you only have half the pieces. Only two characters are telling the story so you would think there would only be two “sides” to the story but it is much more complicated than that. Each time I felt as if I understood what happened five years ago one of the characters would reveal another detail, either in their conversation or their thoughts, that put an entirely new spin on the event. Steinhauer has the ability to make the tiniest word or event completely change how you look at these two characters and their part in the “incident”.

After you read page 304 ask yourself, “What choices would I have made?” Perfect book to debate with a friend!

A Spoonful of Murder

A Spoonful of Murder: A Soup Lover’s Mysteryspoonful of murder

Author: Connie Archer

Paperback: 304 pages (also available in ebook format)

Publisher: Berkley Books (August 7, 2012)

Synposis:

Winter is big business in small-town Snowflake, Vermont. Tourists arrive to hit the ski slopes–and what could be more satisfying after a chilly day of carving powder than a steaming bowl of soup?

When Lucky Jamieson inherits her parents’ soup shop, By the Spoonful, she realizes it’s time to take stock of her life. Should she sell her parents’ house or move in herself? Does she really want to run a restaurant business? And what about her grandfather Jack, who seems to be showing signs of Alzheimer’s?

But her life decisions are moved to the back burner after an icy blonde tourist is found frozen to death behind the soup shop. and Lucky is bowled over when her soup chef, Sage DuBois, is led out of the kitchen by the police. As suspicion and speculations snowball, Lucky decides that the only way to save her employee and her business is to find out herself who iced the tourist–and landed her chef in the soup…

Recipes included!

ladle_homeReview:

We’ve been dealing with subzero temperatures outside of my front door so any book that talks about soup is perfect. A Spoonful of Murder is the first in Connie Archer’s soup series so there was a bit of introducing the characters and their relationships to main character (soup restaurant owner and amateur sleuth Lucky Jamieson). But once we get to the murder the fun really starts. Archer does a good job of showing us several characters that Lucky (and readers) will consider as possible murderers. Then she turns the tables and suddenly the most unlikely people seem to be the ones who did the evil deed! I look forward to Archer further developing this soup of characters. My only complaint was that it took us too long to get to the murder. I know, how ghoulish of me! But I like to dive right into the action.

I came late to the party! Even though this is a review of the first book in the Soup Lover’s Mystery series Archer is releasing book four today! Check out her blog tour stops here — maybe you’ll find a chance to win a free copy of Book #4 Ladle to the Grave.