Saturday, April 30, 2011

Author Interview with C.V. Hunt author of Endlessly


Spring Blog Hop starts tomorrow and the author will be giving an autographed copy of this book away.  Come back to enter tomorrow.  Thanks

Today I am interviewing C.V. Hunt, author of Endlessly.  Here are a few things you might find interesting about her and her new book.

When did you decide to sit down and write a book?
It was a year and a half ago. I had a close family member pass away suddenly and another was diagnosed with terminal cancer. It made me take stock of my life and what I had accomplished, there were a lot of things that I had always wanted to do and see. I have always been a big reader, and I’ve always wanted to give writing a try.

What inspires you?
Music. I listen to a wide variety. People find it funny that I will listen to classical one minute, and then the very next song is screamo.

What else have you written?
I have written two and a half (still working on th half) more books that follow this story. The second book is titled Legacy. It will continue where Endlessly stopped, but it will be from Ashley point of view. Each book that follows in this series will be first person, but from a different character. I don’t have an exact date of when Legacy will be released, but I am shooting for the end of this year.

What is your favorite food?
French fries, just about any kind too. Sweet potato and seasoned fries are the best.

When did you first like vampires?
When Francis Ford Coppola’s Bram Stoker’s Dracula was released. I was just in awe of that movie. That is when I picked up Dracula and read it. Then I moved on to read Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles, and within a couple years Interview with a vampire came out in movie theaters. Somewhere within that time I feel in love with them.

If you were turned, who is the first person you would drain dry and why?
I don’t think I could single out one particular person. But I pretty sure the world would be one less real monster, such as a sex offender.

If you were an incarnate, what would you be?
I think I would like to be a born knowing and to help people. In a way, you would be immortal. Always being reborn, and never forgetting any of the world’s history that you experienced.
Record store, why is this the setting?

Music has always been a big part of who I am. When I was younger I wanted to work in a record store. That was my dream job. If you worked in a record store, you would always be up to date on the latest music, and even get to sneak a listen to albums that hadn’t been released.

Anything you would like to add?
When I picked up the first printed copy, I felt as if I had accomplished something that I had always dreamed of doing. I hope people enjoy the story as much as I did writing it.

I would like to thank the author for allowing me to read her book, I wish her all the luck in the future with this one and the next books she writes.  As with all my reviews I do not know the author personally nor have I been compensated for my review.  Thank you all and keep reading.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Book Review - Death of a Chimney Sweep - MC Beaton


No Friday ARC giveaway this week, Spring Blog Hop Starts Sunday May 1st come back for that.



Title:      Death of a Chimney Sweep 

Author:  MC Beaton

Review:  There is a pattern to the cozy police mystery, one that many try to follow but so few get right.  First you have to have a police officer who is way smarter than everyone on the force, but has no desire to move up.  Then you have to have a superior officer in charge who thinks little of our hero and while they try to keep them down, in the end they are always shown up by them.  Throw in a couple of love interests that never ever quite get it together with the hero, but come so very close time and time again.  And finally you have to have a picturesque village filled with quirky but lovable characters and a murder rate that surpasses East St. Louis (think Murder She Wrote). 

MC Beaton is one of the masters of this format with her Death of series featuring the intrepid Hamish MacBeth and the seaside town of Loch Dubh Scotland.  His beat is the tiny village and the surrounding countryside, where there are probably more sheep than people, yet they still manage 2-3 murders per book. Why is anyone vacationing there? 

While the mysteries themselves are quite good and entertaining, the stars of the books are the characters.  Beaton has crafted a tight little world where you can get lost quite easily.  You can read these books out of order and pick up the basic over all plots to make sense (especially if you remember the format I laid out above), but there is something to be said for reading all 27 in order.  If anything it will frustrate you that Hamish just can’t make a commitment to one of his love interests. 

In the latest installment a snobbish retired English military officer has retired the community and has immediately began stepping on toes.  Not soon after he turns up dead and an assortment of unsavory characters have turned up asking questions and harassing the timid wife.  Several deaths later and Hamish has almost gotten to the truth. 

Publisher:  Grand Central Publishing 

Copyright: 2011

Pages:  247 pages

ISBN:  978-0-446-54739-0 

Quick Review:  3 1/2 stars

Why I Read it:  Keeping up with the series.

Where I Obtained the Book:  At my local library

Synopsis:  In the south of Scotland, residents get their chimneys vacuum-cleaned. But in the isolated villages in the very north of Scotland, the villagers rely on the services of the itinerant sweep, Pete Ray, and his old-fashioned brushes. Pete is always able to find work in the Scottish highlands, until one day when Police Constable Hamish Macbeth notices blood dripping onto the floor of a villager's fireplace, and a dead body stuffed inside the chimney. The entire town of Lochdubh is certain Pete is the culprit, but Hamish doesn't believe that the affable chimney sweep is capable of committing murder. Then Pete's body is found on the Scottish moors, and the mystery deepens. Once again, it's up to Hamish to discover who's responsible for the dirty deed--and this time, the murderer may be closer than he realizes.

Author Biography:  M C Beaton is the author of the highly acclaimed Hamish Macbeth mystery series. Born in Scotland, Beaton now lives in the Cotswolds.  M C Beaton A pseudonym used by Marion Chesney

Other Reviews:





Thursday, April 28, 2011

Book Review - The Girl in the Green Raincoat - Laura Lippman



Title:      The Girl in the Green Raincoat 

Author:  Laura Lippman

Review:  Laura Lippman writes some of the most stunning contemporary crime fiction on the market right now.  Her standalones address all kinds of interesting topics from runaways to survivors of a child kidnapping as an adult.  But back in the beginning she wrote about her intrepid Baltimore private detective Tess Monaghan and her various friends and associates.  A great series of books that every crime lover should read.

In the Girl in the Green Raincoat we are able to revisit Tess at her most desperate, her most troubled.  She is very pregnant and has been put on complete bed rest for the remainder of her pregnancy.  Taking up residence in the heavily windowed back room with a shelf of books, the TV remote, and a handful of DVD’s Tess begins her arduous journey to motherhood.  Of course our hero becomes quickly bored and turns to people watching out her window and in a tribute to Hitchcock’s Rear Window she begins filling in the people she sees lives.

Of course she immediately notice something amiss when a striking woman’s dog is wandering the park all alone.  Through calling in favors, the internet, and her friends Tess begins investigating the “crime” from her recliner, slowly piecing together the mystery of the green raincoat.

Originally written as a serial novel for the New York Times it is quite short overall, but very enjoyable.  All the things you love about Tess and friends are found here.  The downside was the ending as Lippman drew the conclusion way to fast to end the book.  I am talking about after the mystery  when we get back to the character development portion.  To be fair the Times may not have wanted another section that didn’t have anything to do with the mystery proper.  The huge benefit to you the reader is it is available online for free if you do not want to track down a copy.  Start here with chapter one; Link

Publisher:  William Morrow 

Copyright: 2008

Pages:  158 pages.  

ISBN:  978-0-06-193836-8  

Quick Review:  3 ½ Stars

Why I Read it:  I read all of Laura Lippman’s work – she is amazing.

Where I Obtained the Book:  At my local library

Synopsis:  In the third trimester of her pregnancy, Baltimore private investigator Tess Monaghan is under doctor's orders to remain immobile. Bored and restless, reduced to watching the world go by outside her window, she takes small comfort in the mundane events she observes . . . like the young woman in a green raincoat who walks her dog at the same time every day. Then one day the dog is running free and its owner is nowhere to be seen. Certain that something is terribly wrong, and incapable of leaving well enough alone, Tess is determined to get to the bottom of the dog walker's abrupt disappearance, even if she must do so from her own bedroom. But her inquisitiveness is about to fling open a dangerous Pandora's box of past crimes and troubling deaths . . . and she's not only putting her own life in jeopardy but also her unborn child's.

Previously serialized in the New York Times, and now published in book form for the very first time, The Girl in the Green Raincoat is a masterful Hitchcockian thriller from one of the very best in the business: multiple award-winner Laura Lippman.

Author Biography:  Laura Lippman was a reporter for twenty years, including twelve years at The (Baltimore) Sun. She began writing novels while working fulltime and published seven books about “accidental PI” Tess Monaghan before leaving daily journalism in 2001. Her work has been awarded the Edgar ®, the Anthony, the Agatha, the Shamus, the Nero Wolfe, Gumshoe and Barry awards. She also has been nominated for other prizes in the crime fiction field, including the Hammett and the Macavity. She was the first-ever recipient of the Mayor’s Prize for Literary Excellence and the first genre writer recognized as Author of the Year by the Maryland Library Association.

Ms. Lippman grew up in Baltimore and attended city schools through ninth grade. After graduating from Wilde Lake High School in Columbia, Md., Ms. Lippman attended Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. Her other newspaper jobs included the Waco Tribune-Herald and the San Antonio Light.

Ms. Lippman returned to Baltimore in 1989 and has lived there since. She is the daughter of Theo Lippman Jr., a Sun editorial writer who retired in 1995 but continues to freelance for several newspapers, and Madeline Mabry Lippman, a former Baltimore City school librarian. Her sister, Susan, is a local bookseller.

Other Reviews:



Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Book Review - Endlessly - C.V. Hunt


Come back on May 1st for a giveaway of this book,  Spring Blog Hop!!

Title:     Endlessly

Author: C.V. Hunt

Review:  I started reading this book while I was waiting for my kids at an activity.  I thought I would go talk with the other parents when the story got slow.  My kids came and got me two hours later ready to go and I was still reading.  I never did encounter a boring section where I felt like putting it down.  I finished it at home after getting them to bed,  I really wanted to know what was going to happen.

The characters were mostly paranormal and the main man is a vampire.  Lots of incarnates in the book and many different characters I had never heard of.  That is a nice change from the norm.  The romance between two of the characters was fast and yet sweet, I didn't feel it was pushed or forced.  The story progressed well and I liked the character Jessica and Chris also. The way that the vampires and the werewolf ate was kind of disgusting, but the author did not go into huge details.  We all know that vampires must drink blood so you get the idea.  I think my mind made up the parts she skipped and I wanted to blink it away.  The sex was perfect, no details needed your mind makes up there also.

I found the book well paced, the flow great and the story entertaining.  If you like paranormal and especially vampires then you will enjoy this book.  Who would you drain dry first, if you were changed?  Hum.....?

Thank you for letting me review your book and I wish you luck with it and the rest in the series.

As with all my reviews; I do not know the author or did I get compensation for this review.

Publisher:  Published February 19th 2011  Create Space

ISBN: 1456356534

Copyright: 2011

Pages: 202

Quick Review: 4 stars (out of 5)

Why I Read It: A request for blogger to review books went out and I thought this looked interesting.

Where I Obtained the Book: Sent from the author, Kindle version.

Synopsis:  When Ashley walks into a shop run by the vampire, Verloren, they both get the surprise of their lives. Ash is about to learn that she’s not just another pretty young woman, while Verloren is astonished to find himself falling in love. But how can a vampire love a human? And what if the human isn’t as human as she seems? When Ash’s true nature reveals itself, the entire power structure of the world’s outsiders teeters on the brink of destruction. Verloren and Ash become more and more terrified as they grope their way toward the ultimate truth: that they hold the key to something much larger than their own survival.

Author Biography:  C.V. Hunt has always been interested in all things horror or unusual related. This has flowed into her writing. Vampires, Werewolves, Witches, and Zombies....need we say more. We could also mention; fairies, trolls, elves, demons, angels, shadow swimmers, shapeshifters, aliens...and on and on we go. If it could be from earth, other worlds, or other realms, it could be in her stories. But don't think of cute pixie fairies when you pick up her writing, because every creature's stereotype is made to be broken.

First, break all the rules, that is where we start. Because anything is possible in the land of C.V. Hunt.

C.V. Hunt lives in Ohio with her husband. She enjoys reading, writing, listening to music and catching horror flicks.


Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Book Review - Save Your Marriage in Five Minutes a Day - Bonnie Jacobson


Title:      Save Your Marriage in Five Minutes a Day: Daily Practices to Transform Your Relationship


Review:  A happy marriage takes work and I have to tell you that it is constant work or you get into a rut that is hard to get out of.  I’ve been married for 20 years and some days are great and others are not so great.  I like the way the book takes on a subject in each chapter, I felt I could have skipped over some because those items have never been an issue for us, but others sure are.  I feel like it will take way more than 5 minutes to fix the issues that need fixing, but this book is a good start. 

The chapter on touching is a good one, I have a hard time with touch from having 5 kids who want to hug and touch me all the time.  Sometimes I feel like I never get to be alone without little or big hands wanting more from me.  The chapter on chores is another good one, I think we do pretty good here until my husband only makes one side of the bed(that ticks me off it’s not like I make half the dinner or wash half the laundry.)  Each chapter has a summary of things you can do together to improve that area of your lives.

This is a great book to see the problems and the triumphs in your relationship and offers great advice on how to improve it in all areas of life(more then 5 minutes will be better, maybe we try to simplify things a bit too much.)  I would suggest it to anyone who would like to see an improvement in their relationship or to keep the problems from forming in the first place.  Also happiness is a state of mind and no one can make you unhappy unless you allow them.  Think your happy and most likely you will be, but a bit of a reminder is never a bad thing.
 
Publisher:  February 15th 2011 by Adams Media Corporation

Copyright: 2011

Pages:  240

ISBN: 1440514305

Quick Review:  4 Stars out of 5.
 
Why I Read it:  This looked interesting and I review for Thomas Nelson, Book Sneeze.

Where I Obtained the Book:  Sent from the publisher.

Synopsis:  A happy marriage is within every couple's reach--all it takes is five minutes. In marriage, happiness is a state of mind that you can create together in mere minutes.

In this book, bestselling author and marriage expert Dr. Bonnie Jacobson shows you how to make each other happy with the small yet meaningful gestures that add up to a big difference--one day at a time. From turning your everyday interactions like housework and making dinner into playful bonding to quick ways to have good sex (or start having good sex), these are psychologically sound methods that teach the both of you to bring out the best in each other--and your relationship. With this easy primer to marital bliss, not only will you strengthen your marriage in no time, you'll also learn how to keep it strong--and happy--for years to come.

Author Biography:  Bonnie Jacobson, PhD, earned her doctorate at New York University where she is currently an adjunct professor in the Applied Psychology department. She is also the director of the New York Institute of Psychological Change, one of the founder of Elem, a non-for-profit organization that works with youth in distress in Israel, and is a specialist in modern analytical group training. Dr. Jacobson is also a media expert who is frequently called on by television, radio, newspapers and magazines to discuss topics related to relationships. She lives in New York City with her husband and the immediate family live throughout the world in London, San Francisco, D.C., Santa Fe, Israel, Zurich and Hallendale Florida; a fact that supports her passion for traveling.

Other Reviews:


Monday, April 25, 2011

Monday Musing





“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go.”   Dr. Seuss


I can tell you that this is true, the more I read the more I know.  Now I am waiting for the places I'll go, but then again we did go to Iceland two years ago and started to read Scandinavian mysteries before going.  I've enjoyed the ones I've read and I know David would agree.  Different lives and different places.


 “If you read a lot of books you are considered well read. But if you watch a lot of TV, you're not considered well viewed.”  Lily Tomlin.


True again, how many hours do we waste in-front of the TV when I great books is just waiting for us to open it.


The more I read, the better I get at it, the faster I can read and the better my understanding of the text.  It is like any other thing you practice in life, the more you do it the better you get at it.  It makes me sad when people say they don't read.  They are missing out on so much and they don't even know it.


"Reading is a discount ticket to everywhere."  Mary Schmich.  Anywhere in time, space and the world.  Many places you can only find in the authors imagination and in yours, the two mixing seemlessly.


  “In a very real sense, people who have read good literature have lived more than people who cannot or will not read.”  S.I. Hayakawa.


So what do you think?





Sunday, April 24, 2011

Sunday Recap of the Week

Sunday recap is a look at the books we reviewed this week.  We would love to hear what you thought about these books and about our reviews.  Did you think we missed an important point?  What stood out to you?  Will you read them or have you?  Thanks for looking.


       Review of these two, author interview and the Friday giveaway

Review of this book.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Book Review - The Autobiography of an Execution - David Dow and The Confession - John Grisham


Title:      The Autobiography of an Execution 
Author:  David Dow

Title:      The Confession
Author:   John Grisham

Review:  After about 15 pages into John Grisham’s book I realized that these were in fact the same book; or at least two versions of the same story.  David Dow is a death penalty lawyer in Texas, and The Autobiography of an Execution details his most egregious case.  It is one of the few times he was absolutely convinced his client was innocent of all the charges, but a combination of some extremely bad police work, heavily biased court system, and some really malicious  mistakes his client was put to death.  As with any analysis of past events you can have some doubts as to whether Dow’s opinion is to be trusted, but he makes a pretty good case for it.  Couple that with the admission that he has tried a lot of cases but this is the one that stands out (i.e. he doesn’t foolishly believe all his clients are innocent).

Now if Dow was presenting a “hammer of truth” to the reader, Grisham picks it up and proceeds to beat the hell out of you with it.  Grisham takes the basic skeleton of the case and then layers on a thick layer of motivations on the top.  So at the end of the book there can be no doubt to the innocence of the accused.  It would be quite persuasive if I hadn’t already read the Dow book.  As entertainment I think while very preachy, it rates as one of Grisham’s better books.  That is because his passion for the cause bleeds through every page.

At the end of the day I think Dow put it best when he said you are either for the death penalty or against it.  You cannot pick and chose when you want (I am paraphrasing here).  The message of the two books is there are a lot of variables involved in getting a person off the street and into the death chamber.  Each and everyone of those variables are subject to human error and biases which can lead to mistakes being made.   A belief that if you’re innocent that the truth will eventually come out and you will be alright is extremely naive and misguided.  So at the end of the day you have to ask yourself if you are okay living with the occasional mistake and an innocent person being executed.

It is easy for me as a well situated, married, gainfully employed, white male to look at these case from a distance and say yes, it is alright for the occasional person to be executed so all the guilty are too.  That is because the chances that I will ever be in that situation are so remote that it is a non-issue.  Most of us are probably in the same boat and thus can be indifferent.  But try to imagine the circumstance and you are awaiting lethal injection for a crime you didn’t commit;; are you now okay sacrificing your life so the real bad guys can be executed too?  I am left with Dow’s position after reading these books, I can’t support the murder of the innocent in order to execute the guilty.

The most interesting point made by Dow was the fact it is more expensive to execute a prisoner than to just house them indefinitely in prison.  That is one of those facts you do not hear about too often.

So read Dow if you want the gritty details and doubt, but read Grisham if you want the preachy but far more entertaining story.

Publisher:  Twelve Publishing.  Publisher:  DoubleDay
Copyright: 2010 both books
Pages:  257 pages.   Pages:  418 pages
ISBN:  9780446573948 ISBN:  978-0-385-52804-7

Quick Review:  Both books 4 stars (though I preferred the Dow book – it was more to my taste)

Why I Read it:  The Dow book caught my eye as I scanned the new nonfiction shelf at my library.  As for Grisham, I always read all of his books as soon as I can.  He occasionally falls flat, but for the most part he tells a great story.

Where I Obtained the Book:  At my local library

Synopsis:  The Autobiography of an Execution:  A candid look at the inner workings of our flawed criminal justice system, Dow s book is filled with searing revelations. A Houston-based death row attorney, Dow has represented more than 100 death-row inmates in his 20-year career navigating the convoluted judicial waters. Most often, his quest is to earn his clients a stay, sometimes just minutes before their scheduled execution. Aware that many of his clients are murderers, Dow also believes that some are innocent and sit on death row because they didn t receive the fair trial our government promised. Once a supporter of the death penalty, Dow now opposes it.

Many pages are devoted to describing Dow s round-the-clock efforts to save a particular inmate whose original trial lawyer was too lazy to build a proper defense. A man with a strong moral code, Dow works desperately to be a loving husband and father, too, but his work invades his home life in subtle ways, provoking nightmares and insomnia. Regardless of which end of the political spectrum you re on, after reading this spellbinding work, you ll never look at the death penalty the same way again.

Defending the innocent is easy. David Dow fights for the questionable. He is tormented, but relentless, and takes us inside his struggle with candor and insight, shudders and all. Dave Cullen, author of Columbine.

Synopsis:  The Confession:   John Grisham delivers his most extraordinary legal thriller yet. Filled with the intriguing twists and turns that have become Grisham’s trademark, this newest novel will prove once again that no one keeps readers in suspense like America’s favorite storyteller. An innocent man is days from execution. Only a guilty man can save him.

For every innocent man sent to prison, there is a guilty one left on the outside. He doesn’t understand how the police and prosecutors got the wrong man, and he certainly doesn’t care. He just can’t believe his good luck. Time passes and he realizes that the mistake will not be corrected: the authorities believe in their case and are determined to get a conviction. He may even watch the trial of the person wrongly accused of his crime. He is relieved when the verdict is guilty. He laughs when the police and prosecutors congratulate themselves. He is content to allow an innocent person to go to prison, to serve hard time, even to be executed.

Travis Boyette is such a man. In 1998, in the small East Texas city of Sloan, he abducted, raped, and strangled a popular high school cheerleader. He buried her body so that it would never be found, then watched in amazement as police and prosecutors arrested and convicted Donté Drumm, a local football star, and marched him off to death row.

Now nine years have passed. Travis has just been paroled in Kansas for a different crime; Donté is four days away from his execution. Travis suffers from an inoperable brain tumor. For the first time in his miserable life, he decides to do what’s right and confess.

But how can a guilty man convince lawyers?

Author Biography:  David Dow:  Biography: David R. Dow is professor of law at the University of Houston Law Center and an internationally recognized figure in the fight against the death penalty. He is the founder and director of the Texas Innocence Network and has represented more than thirty death row inmates. Regularly quoted in publications like the New York Times and the Washington Post, Dow is coeditor of Machinery of Death: The Reality of America's Death Penalty Regime. He lives in Houston, Texas.

Author Biography:  John Grisham:  Born on February 8, 1955 in Jonesboro, Arkansas, to a construction worker and a homemaker, John Grisham as a child dreamed of being a professional baseball player. Realizing he didn't have the right stuff for a pro career, he shifted gears and majored in accounting at Mississippi State University. After graduating from law school at Ole Miss in 1981, he went on to practice law for nearly a decade in Southaven, specializing in criminal defense and personal injury litigation. In 1983, he was elected to the state House of Representatives and served until 1990.

One day at the DeSoto County courthouse, Grisham overheard the harrowing testimony of a twelve-year-old rape victim and was inspired to start a novel exploring what would have happened if the girl's father had murdered her assailants. Getting up at 5 a.m. every day to get in several hours of writing time before heading off to work, Grisham spent three years on A Time to Kill and finished it in 1987. Initially rejected by many publishers, it was eventually bought by Wynwood Press, who gave it a modest 5,000 copy printing and published it in June 1988.

That might have put an end to Grisham's hobby. However, he had already begun his next book, and it would quickly turn that hobby into a new full-time career—and spark one of publishing's greatest success stories. The day after Grisham completed A Time to Kill, he began work on another novel, the story of a hotshot young attorney lured to an apparently perfect law firm that was not what it appeared. When he sold the film rights to The Firm to Paramount Pictures for $600,000, Grisham suddenly became a hot property among publishers, and book rights were bought by Doubleday. Spending 47 weeks on The New York Times bestseller list, The Firm became the bestselling novel of 1991.

Grisham lives with his wife Renee and their two children Ty and Shea. The family splits their time between their Victorian home on a farm in Mississippi and a plantation near Charlottesville, VA.

Other Reviews:  The Autobiography of an Execution:

Other Reviews:  The Confession:  


Friday, April 22, 2011

Not an ARC Giveaway Friday - Running Blind part one of the Time Keepers

  
  Nicki Markus, the author, is offering this first part of the Time Keeper series to one lucky winner.  This is a e-copy.  Please follow the rules below to enter.  See my review here and the author interview here.  Ends next Friday at midnight.


Giveaway entries:
1 - Follow the blog and comment with your email address so we can contact you if you win.

Extra entries: 2+ for commenting on the author interview post.
                       2+ for linking this giveaway on your blog.
                       2+ for Tweeting about this giveaway.  Be sure to tell us and leave a 
                       link in the comment you leave. 

 Thanks to the author and thank you for looking us up today.  

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Author interview with Nicki Markus author of the Time Keepers Series



I have the privilege of interviewing the author of the Time Keepers, Nicki Markus, about her stories today.

What would you like to tell readers about Time Keepers?

Time Keepers is a paranormal mini-series set in the near future when supernatural creatures have been revealed and government agencies are trying to either eradicate them or use them in some way. The hero and heroine of the story each have secrets and soon find themselves on the run.

Are your other books also in segments?  What are they about?

This story was released in four short story length parts because Wicked Nights Publishing was particularly looking for serials at the time for their Wicked Bites releases. Parts 1 and 2 are already out and parts 3 and 4 will follow in May and June 2011.

This is my only series so far; my other releases have been more standard fare. First came Awaken to the Night – a paranormal horror/thriller short story – and then Dragon’s Heart, which is a fantasy novella. I recently signed a contract with Silver Publishing for my vampire paranormal romance story called Day-Walker, but that will not be released until September 2011.

When did you get your first break as a writer?

It was actually thanks to my friend and fellow author, Julie Lynn Hayes. I had asked her to beta a story that I was planning on submitting to an anthology, but she suggested I send it to one of her publishers instead. I did, it was accepted and was published within a few months. That was Awaken to the Night and things went on from there.

Is writing your only work?

Sadly no. I would love to do nothing but write, but I will have to wait until after my international bestseller! ;) For now I also have a day job doing admin and I am studying for a Diploma in Editing and a Higher Diploma in Publishing. Eventually I’d love to work part time somewhere and spend the rest of the time doing freelance editing and translation and writing my own stuff.

What are you working on at present?

I am working on a new novella length thriller. This one is my first break away from paranormal/fantasy. Unfortunately, I have not had much time to work on my writing since I started back at my day job a few weeks ago, but I hope to finish the first draft of this new story during the Easter holidays. After that I do have an idea brewing for some more vampire romance.

Where can readers find out more about you and your writing?

You can visit my website/blog at: here   http://www.nickijmarkus.com
I also have an author page on Facebook: here  http://www.facebook.com/NickiJMarkus

I would like to thank Nicki for allowing me the opportunity to read the first two Time Keepers.  I receive no compensation for this or any other reviews posted here.  Thank you.


Time Keepers – Part 1 – Running Blind

"It seems like any ordinary day as Nick waits for the train, but then a chance encounter with a young woman turns his world upside down. What is it that she is running from and will helping her jeopardise his own secret, making him a target too?"

Time Keepers – Part 2 – The Beast Within

"With Nick’s secret now exposed, he and Ellie must run for their lives, pursued by the Governor and his Time Keepers. Will they be able to stay hidden or is their time nearly up?"



Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Easter Hop Giveaway #2 - The Immortality Virus Giveaway and Author interview


The winner has been contacted, thank you for following and entering the giveaway.

Here is my interview with author Christine Amsden, writer of The Immortality Virus, I hope you enjoy getting to know her a bit more and maybe it will inspire you to pick up her book.

What made you decide to write a book?

I don't remember ever deciding to write a book. For me, that would be like deciding whether or not to breathe. I have to write, and when I'm not writing, I'm thinking about what to write next. Even now, when I spend many hours a day promoting my book, I have to carve out an hour to work on my new novel, for the sake of my sanity.

How long did it take to write not including edits?

I first dreamed up the idea in the summer of 2006, at which point I wrote a novella-length story that I always knew needed to be a novel. I spent most of the next year working on other projects, including the promotion of my debut novel, Touch of Fate, then I picked it back up in the summer of 2007. I wrote a full draft that summer, then once again, worked on other things until August of 2008, when I finally wrote the last draft. This was something of a summer project because I was involved with a summer critique group for a while. All together, if I carve out the times I set it aside to work on other things, I probably spent 9-12 months on it, but as you can see, the math isn't all that simple. :=)

What inspires you or who inspires you?

In 2003, I attended a by-audition writer's “boot camp” with Orson Scott Card. Aside from being a wonderful science fiction writer, he's a very good teacher, with a presence and authority that captivates his audience. Plus, he's a nice guy. I learned a lot from him, and that boot camp marked the beginning of what I call my decision to “write seriously.”

Would you want to live forever? or maybe how long beyond normal life?

Forever is an awfully long time, and I suspect that if I were alone in my immortality, I would be pretty miserable. On the other hand, as I explored in my book, if everyone lived forever (or at least, didn't age), we would all be miserable.

I want to live a respectably long life. I want to hold my grandchildren in my arms, and even my great-grandchildren. But more than that, I want to have lived a good life, so that no matter when I go, It will all have meant something. That's why I have two beautiful children, who are the most important part of my life. I try to do well by them. In fact, I believe caring for the next generation (not necessarily by having children) is a form of immortality.

And I have to admit, in my daydreams, I hope that my books will outlive me, thus keeping a part of me alive for years to come.

What is your favorite movie of all time?

The Neverending Story, because it plays to my love of books.

If a movie was made of your book, who would you like to play Grace?

Sara Michelle Geller. I don't know if she still looks young enough to pull off a twenty-something (though I suspect she can), but as Buffy, I always saw her as soft on the inside, hard on the outside, which is exactly how I see Grace.

If you were filthy rich what is one thing you would do?

Hire a full-time housekeeper. So I had more time to write.

What is your favorite ice cream flavor and why?

Chocolate chip cookie dough because it makes me feel slightly less guilty than eating actual spoonfuls of cookie dough.

Coke or Pepsi?

Sugar Free Kool-Aid

All right, all right...Coke, but I really only have soda once a month or so.

Soylent Green, that just brings back memories. Are you a sci-fi movie buff? If so what is your favorite sci-fi movie or book series?

I enjoy science fiction in movies, television, and books, although I wouldn't call myself a buff. I also enjoy fantasy, romance, and anything else with characters I can get behind, which leaves me too busy to settle deeply into one genre and “buff up” on it. :=)

My all-time favorite is a TV series, actually: Babylon 5. Like many science fiction series, they didn't have a huge budget, and the studio made some difficulties for them, especially in the first and last seasons, but other than that – J. Michael Straczynski built a complex but believable world, created an amazing and wide array of characters, and he let those characters grow and change over the five seasons. That is what strikes me most about it, and why I have rewatched it from start to finish at least five times – the character journey.

What was your favorite book as a child?

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle....Meg reminded me of me – at the time, an awkward and unattractive girl who wasn't sure where she fit in – then later, I realized she only felt like an awkward and unattractive girl who didn't fit in, which still described me.

Anything you would like to tell readers about your book?

Obviously, it's a dystopian look at the cost of immortality, but it's also about how people choose to live the life they have. Grace is a warrior, entirely too cynical, and at the beginning of the story she's lost touch with the things that make life worth living. She's been playing it safe with her heart, and losing.

Christine thank you for your time and for the opportunity to read your book, good luck with your writing.  






  Christine has been kind enough to offer an ebook to one lucky winner of this Easter Hop.  Contest starts now and will end April 25th at Midnight.  Winner will be announced on the 26th.  Thank you and hop on to other great giveaways.  Happy Easter Hop!  This is an ebook so it can go to anyone with an email address.


Giveaway entries:
1 - Follow the blog and comment with your email address so we can contact you if you win.

Extra entries:   2+ for commenting on The Immortality Virus review yesterday or 
                         commenting on something you learned about the author today.
                       2+ for linking this giveaway on your blog.
                       1+ for Tweeting about this giveaway.  Be sure to tell us and leave a
                        link in the comment you leave. 
 Thanks and thank you for looking us up today.  

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Book Review - The Immortality Virus - Christine Amsden


Title:      The Immortality Virus  


Review:  I read this in two days and felt it was a good book.  I could visualize the depressing world the Earth had become, lack of resources and greed had taken over.  The book progressed well and my only complaint was that it seemed to drag, just a bit, in the middle.  But, I wanted to know what was going to happen so I trudged through.  It kept me interested and reading with a kick butt detective and her search for why the world had gone to hell in a hand basket.

This book is set in the future where no one dies of old age anymore.  Everyone looks about 25 and only die from accidents and viruses that are still around.  The problem is the overpopulation this has caused.  People fill the street starving and homeless.  The rich and wealthy have everything they need and the rest of society is trying to catch a bone, the middle class is virtually nonexistent.

The author paints a dark world that I would not want to live in or raise children in.  Hunger, poverty and homelessness abound in her world.  She let us see what a shame immortality could be if everyone had it.  A dead body, found on the street, was fair game to anyone who came across it, hungry children and desperate adults rule this world.  The future was bleak and that led this detective to her next job, the one that could be her last.

This book is imaginative and quick to read.  If you enjoy urban futuristic stories you will enjoy this.  The author even mixed in a tiny bit of romance that always makes life worth living and books worth reading.  I hope the future is better than this.

 
Publisher:  June 2011 Twilight Times Books

Copyright: 2011

Pages:  268   

ISBN: 9781606190

Quick Review:  3 1/2 Stars out of 5.

Why I Read it:  The author was looking for bloggers to review her book.

Where I Obtained the Book:  The author sent me the Kindle version.

Synopsis:  In the mid-21st century, the human race stopped aging. Those who know why aren't talking, and the few who are brave enough to ask questions tend to disappear. To an elite few, The Change means long life and health, but to the increasing masses, it means starvation, desperation, and violence.

Four centuries after The Change, Grace Harper, a blacklisted P.I., sets off on a mission to find the man responsible for it all and solicit his help to undo The Change – if he's still alive. To complicate matters, Grace's employer is suspected of murdering his father, and when the police learn of their connection, they give her a choice – help them find the evidence they need to convict Matthew Stanton, or die. But if they discover Grace's true mission, they won't hesitate to kill her in order to protect their shot at immortality.

Author Biography:  I have been writing science fiction and fantasy for as long as I can remember. I love to write and it is my dream that others will be inspired by this love and by my stories. Speculative fiction is fun, magical, and imaginative but great speculative fiction is about real people defining themselves through extraordinary situations. I write primarily about people and it is in this way that I strive to make science fiction and fantasy meaningful for everyone.

I was born in St. Louis but moved to the Kansas City area with my husband in 2004. My husband, Austin, is my biggest fan and has been the key to my success. We have one child; a son, Drake. Two orange tabby cats, Kosh and Delenn, complete our family and demand the rest of my attention.

Other Reviews:

I will be interviewing this author tomorrow and the author will be giving away a copy of her book at the Easter Hop, come back tomorrow.  Thanks



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