Kiss The Sky / Hothouse Flower (Calloway Sisters 1 & 2) by Krista and Becca Ritchie-reviews

Kiss the Sky / Hothouse Flower (Calloway Sisters 1 & 2) by Krista & Becca Ritchie-reviews

Calloway Sisters

KISS THE SKY
(Calloway Sisters #1)
by Krista & Becca Ritchie
Release Date January 24, 2014
Genre: New Adult, contemporary, romance, erotica
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Kiss The SkyVirgin. Sex addict. Daredevil. Alcoholic. Smartass … Jackass. Her five friends are about to be filmed. Reality TV, be prepared.

Rose Calloway thought she had everything under control. At twenty-three, she’s a Princeton graduate, an Academic Bowl champion, a fashion designer and the daughter of a Fortune 500 mogul. But with a sex addict as a sister and roommate, nothing comes easy.

After accepting help from a producer, Rose agrees to have her life filmed for a reality television show. The Hollywood exec is her last chance to revive her struggling fashion line, and boundaries begin to blur as she’s forced to make nice with a man who always has his way.

Twenty-four-year-old Connor Cobalt is a guy who bulldozes weak men. He’s confident, smart-as-hell and lives with his equally ambitious girlfriend, Rose Calloway. Connor has to find a way to protect Rose without ruining the show. Or else the producer will get what Connor has always wanted—Rose’s virginity.

This New Adult Romance can be described as Friends meets The Real World. Expect fist fights, drugs, sex of varying degrees, crude humor and competitive alpha males. Definitely for mature readers audiences only.

***Authors’ Note***
Kiss the Sky is a spin-off of the Addicted series. If you’d like to read the Addicted series beforehand, you should read them in order (see below) before starting Kiss the Sky or else the time jumps will be jarring.

Addicted Series Recommended Reading Order
Addicted to You (Addicted #1)
Ricochet (Addicted #1.5)
Addicted for Now (Addicted #2)
Kiss the Sky (Spin-Off)
Hothouse Flower (Spin-Off)
Thrive (Addicted #2.5)
Addicted After All (Addicted #3)

•••••••••••••••••••

REVIEW: KISS THE SKY is the first instalment in Krista and Becca Ritchie’s contemporary, new adult, erotic Calloway Sisters series-a spin off from their successful Addicted Series. This is Rose Calloway and Connor Cobalt’s storyline – all the previous series characters play a major role. If you have not read the original series much of this particular story will be lost to a new reader. It is highly recommended that you read the Addicted series prior to reading the spin off.

Told from two distinct first person POV (Connor and Rose) the focus of the storyline is Rose and Connor’s building relationship -one that started as teens and is put to the test when the Calloway sisters agree to participate in a six month reality show that will feature the sisters and their boyfriends-in all of their glory. If you are familiar with ‘The Jersey Shore’ or ‘Keeping Up with the Kardashians’ then the premise will not be lost on the reader. KISS THE SKY is an adulterated, exaggerated and off the wall version of reality tv.

I will say, before I go any further, that I am not a fan of the unreality of the ‘reality’ TV show. Nothing can be gained from the humiliation and degradation of airing one’s dirty laundry in public and in this, much of the storyline content follows a similar pattern. Rose and Connor are intellectually gifted, up and coming entrepreneurs and successful in their own rights but what ever possessed these children of the uber rich to star in their own reality television show leaves questions of sanity and stupidity. Everything that could go wrong, does go wrong and grows exponentially worse with each day.

We are reintroduced to Rose’s troubled sister Lily and her boyfriend Lo-both recovering addicts; seventeen year old and youngest sister Daisy-a successful model and minor in the eyes of the law; and Ryke-Loren’s half brother and the man who will be featured in the next instalment HOTHOUSE FLOWER as Daisy’s love interest. Each character will suffer during the six months of shooting but none more so than Connor and Rose-all of their lives will become fodder for the tabloids but our leading couple will suffer the most. And, in the end, when someone hands you lemons, why not make lemonade and sell it back to the public.

Kristi and Becca Ritchie have proven they are a masterful team when it comes to writing an angst driven and heartbreaking storyline that focuses on some ethically and morally questionable situations and, KISS THE SKY is no exception.

The characters are raw and unencumbered-they say and do what they want without forethought of the consequences-and consequences-they will suffer. The storyline is fast paced, in your face-dark and gritty. You can’t not be affected by the actions of these six young adults and you know that everything they do and say will be captured on tape for the world to see. The reader is pulled into the multi layered relationships between family and friends-no one is unaffected by the lies, love and protective nature of six friends who are willing to risk everything for one another.

KISS THE SKY reveals the inner thoughts and emotions of two people who were previously presented as cold and uncaring but again, in this, we were completely wrong. Connor is the master of his own destination, both inside and outside of the bedroom; and Rose needs someone like Connor to master her needs and wants. KISS THE SKY is an erotic, compelling, dramatic and intense storyline that reveals the probability in an improbable situation.

Reviewed by Sandy

________________________

HOTHOUSE FLOWER
(Calloway Sisters #2)
by Krista & Becca Ritchie
Release Date March 27, 2014

Genre: New Adult, contemporary, romance, erotica
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Hothouse FlowerRyke Meadows, meet Daisy Calloway … she’s all grown up.

Twenty-five-year-old Ryke Meadows knows he’s hard to love. With a billion-dollar inheritance, a track-star resume, and an alpha-male personality—he redefines the term likable asshole. But he’s not living to make friends. Or enemies. He just wants to free climb three of the toughest mountains in Yosemite without drama or interruption.

And then he receives a distressed call from a girl in Paris—a girl that he has never been allowed to have.

Daisy Calloway is eighteen. Finally. With her newfound independence, she can say goodbye to her overbearing mother and continue her modeling career. Next stop, Paris. Fashion Week begins with a bang, and Daisy uncovers the ugly reality of the industry. She wants to prove to her family that she can live on her own, but when everything spirals out of control, she turns to Ryke to keep her secrets.

As Daisy struggles to make sense of this new world and her freedom, she pushes the limits and fearlessly rides the edge. Ryke knows there’s deep hurt beneath every impulsive action. He must keep up with Daisy, and if he lets her go, her favorite motto—“live as if you’ll die today”—may just come true.

New Adult Romance: recommended for readers 18+ for mature content

***Authors’ Note***
Hothouse Flower is a spin-off of the Addicted series. Kiss the Sky is required before reading, and we strongly recommend reading the Addicted series before this spin-off.

••••••••••••••••••

REVIEW: HOTHOUSE FLOWER is the second instalment in Krista and Becca Ritchie’s contemporary, erotic, new adult Calloway Sisters series-a spin off from their popular Addicted series. This is Daisy Calloway and Ryke Meadows’s storyline. Daisy is the youngest sister of Rose and Lily Calloway; Ryke is Loren Hale’s half brother. This is a friends to lovers storyline -one that started years before with a simple introduction between family and friends. Because the series and storylines are interconnected you must read the previous instalments in order for this particular story to make any sense.

Told from two distinct first person POV (Daisy and Ryke) the storyline follows Daisy and Ryke’s forbidden love. Daisy has just turned eighteen years old and twenty six year old Ryke has always had a hands off policy where it concerned Daisy due to their age difference, her minor status  but also out of respect for his brother Lo. Ryke has been in love with Daisy since their first introduction but their age difference meant that he could only watch as Daisy’s world begins to fall apart around her. But Ryke knows more about the emotional and physical suffering that Daisy has had to endure and he is the only one who is there when her life takes a dangerous turn.

Lo has always been protective of Lily and Daisy but when Lily and Lo’s personal life spiraled out of control, Daisy had been pulled into a media frenzy when her sister’s sexual addiction became the stuff of her own nightmare’s. When everything goes wrong on a trip to Paris, Daisy and Ryke will take their friendship to the next level but in doing so raise questionable doubts about Ryke’s true intentions and a timeline that also questions the length of their relationship.

Krista and Becca pull the reader into a storyline that takes the definition of dysfunctional family to another level. No one is left unaffected by the sins of the parents and of the past. When addiction, humiliation, degradation and infidelity become the storylines of two families connected through three sisters, heartbreak and sorrow are only the tip of the proverbial iceberg when revenge, betrayal and scheming exes want to push in the knife and twist.

The ensemble cast includes all of the previous storyline characters and is the key to Krista and Becca’s successful series. Their lives, their loves, their heartache and their pain are intertwined and amplified when six friends must endure the media scrutiny that has splashed their lives on the front pages of every tabloid around the world. No place is safe. And it is with staggering realization that the next generation of the uber rich must pay for the sins of the fathers.

HOTHOUSE FLOWER is a fast paced, profound and controversial storyline that looks closely at two dysfunctional families and the devastation that has become their lives. The novel will captivate the reader and pull you into a story that is heartbreaking, dramatic, abrasive and intense.

Reading Order
Addicted To You
Ricochet
Addicted for Now
Kiss The Sky
Hothouse Flower

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Cover Reveal-Hard To Hold On To (Hard Ink Novella) by Laura Kaye

Cover Reveal-Hard to Hold On To (Hard Ink Novella) by Laura Kaye

Laura Kaye is thrilled to share with you the cover to her next Hard Ink book, Hard to Hold On To which releases on August 19, 2014! Check it out:

Hard To Hold On To

Pre Order: Amazon.com / Amazon.ca / Amazon.uk/ Barnes and Noble / KOBO / iTunes

Edward “Easy” Cantrell knows better than most the pain of not being able to save those he loves–which is why he is not going to let Jenna Dean out of his sight. He may have just met her, but Jenna’s the first person to make him feel alive since that devastating day in the desert more than a year ago.

Jenna has never met anyone like Easy. She can’t describe how he makes her feel–and not just because he saved her life. No, the stirrings inside her reach far beyond gratitude.

As the pair are thrust together while chaos reigns around them, they both know one thing: the things in life most worth having are the hardest to hold on to.

Hard to Hold On To on Goodreads

And don’t miss the other Hard Ink books, now available:

Hard As It Gets

Hard As You Can

A Note from Laura:

Hey guys! I am so excited about Easy’s book that I can hardly wait for August to get here! Easy’s character was a total surprise to me. When I initially plotted out the series, there were four surviving members of the Army Special Forces team and therefore I planned for and sold four book in the series. But then, when I sat down to write Hard As It Gets, all of a sudden the story demanded there were actually five guys, and Edward “Easy” Cantrell was born. And I’m so glad! Because Easy’s character is a totally tortured hero, which I adore writing! So I’m super happy that we added his story and this novella into the series, and I can’t wait for you to learn about Easy in Hard to Hold On To!

Is it August yet???

xo, Laura

Praise for the Hard Ink Series:

For Hard As You Can:

“TOP PICK! There is a sinister and desperate edge to this tale that will keep readers glued to their seats. Kaye has dark romantic suspense nailed!” ~ RT Book Reviews Magazine

“Hard As You Can is another five star read. The characters Ms. Kaye has created are wonderfully broken and the drama is gritty, but the burgeoning romance and the tight-knitted relationship of the team leaves you with a sense of redemption. A must read series!” ~San Francisco Book Review

For Hard As It Gets:

“Edgy, sexy and full of suspense! A great read from a great new author!” ~ #1 NYT Bestselling Author J.R. Ward

“Sizzling romance… The intriguing tattoo parlor and military background will appeal to fans of Suzanne Brockmann and Lindsay McKenna.” ~Publishers Weekly Review

About The Author beige

Laura Kaye-21About Laura Kaye:

Laura is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of over a dozen books in contemporary and paranormal romance. Growing up, Laura’s large extended family believed in the supernatural, and family lore involving angels, ghosts, and evil-eye curses cemented in Laura a life-long fascination with storytelling and all things paranormal. She lives in Maryland with her husband, two daughters, and cute-but-bad dog, and appreciates her view of the Chesapeake Bay every day.

Website | Blog | Facebook | Hard Ink Puppy FB | Twitter | Newsletter SignUp

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My Lady, My Lord by Katharine Ashe-a review

MY LADY, MY LORD by Katharine Ashe-a review

My Lady, My Lord

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About the book: Release Date: March 10, 2014

Book #1 in a new series of historical romances… with a twist.

The Bluestocking
Lady Corinna Mowbray has three passions: excellent books, intelligent conversation, and disdaining the libertine Earl of Chance.

The Rake
Lord Ian Chance has three pleasures: beautiful women, fast horses, and tormenting high-and-mighty Corinna Mowbray.

Neighbors for years, they’ve been at each other’s throats since they can remember. But when a twist of fate forces them to trade lives, how long will it be before they discover they cannot live without each other?

•••••••••••••••••

REVIEW: MY LADY, MY LORD is the first instalment in Katharine Ashe’s historical romance series ‘with a twist’. This is Lord Ian Chance and Lady Corinna Mowbray’s storyline –one that features a ‘Freaky Friday’ switcheroo.

The premises follows Ian and Corinna’s tumultuous relationship-bitter combatants for years in a war of words, our couple will perchance to meet at a museum where an exhibition of Greek statuary is on display. While the couple continues their verbal sparring a stranger will seek information while our couple is ‘arguing’ in front of the statue of Aphrodite and, when all is said and done, Ian and Corinna will wake up the next day in one another’s body.

What ensues is a storyline of enemies to friends to lovers. Our couple has been fighting with each other since childhood and now that each is living the other’s life,  their true feelings will surface when threats are made and lives are in danger.

There are several secondary characters including Ian’s brother and friends as well as a town full of woman hoping to find love or at the very least financial security. There is no graphic sex or violence and, no foul language. This is a story of romance, mystery and a little bit of magic.Ian and Corinna’s relationship is one of denial-two stubborn people in love- that may very well place their future together in jeopardy.

The storyline twists the typical switcheroo scenario where a man and woman must endeavor to live as the other half but I did have some difficulty keeping up with the Corinna/Ian /Ian /Corinna dialogue. It was very disconcerting at times; I had to go back and reread on many occasions because the person talking was not necessarily the person noted in the book-it was Corinna as Ian or Ian as Corinna or Corinna as herself and so on. Confusion reigned throughout most of the first half of the read-I didn’t know who was talking most of the time.

Katharine Ashe writes an interesting storyline where magical entities are at work; where lessons are learned and taught; where love truly does conquer all. This is the first storyline in the series and I hope that the subsequent stories are not as confusing to the reader. Perhaps a different type of ‘magical’ formula is necessary for coherency.

Copy supplied by the author.

Reviewed by Sandy

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J.E. Fishman-Review, Interview and Giveaway

J.E. Fishman-Review, Interview and Giveaway

JE Fishman Banner

The Long Black Hand
Bomb Squad NYC: Incident #3
by JE Fishman
Release Date: April 2, 2014
Genre: suspense, mystery, fiction, law enforcement

The Long Black Hand

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THE LONG BLACK HAND (Bomb Squad NYC: Incident 3) by J.E. Fishman

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date April 2, 2014

Bomb Squad Commander Lieutenant Joseph Capobianco fields an unusual request from a friend of the mayor’s: Do a bomb sweep at the famed Julius School of Music and at the luxurious apartment of their visiting star tenor, Claudio Spotto. At first the team that Joe sends finds nothing in the way of bombs, but other signs of trouble mount rapidly. Someone doesn’t want Spotto to remain in New York — and that someone is threatening violence via bomb.

The commander soon realizes that this case has echoes of the Bomb Squad’s origins in extortion from the Black Hand, evoking threats made nearly a hundred years before against the great tenor Enrico Caruso. What does this new Black Hander know about these parallels? Is this a personal challenge to Joe’s early tenure as Bomb Squad commander? And, as the Black Hand grows bolder, can Joe’s team stop the extortionist before someone dies in the escalating violence?

REVIEW: THE LONG BLACK HAND is the third instalment in J.E. Fishman’s contemporary crime thriller series Bomb Squad NYC. With the focus on the members of the NYC bomb Squad this is Commander Joseph Capobianco’s story. When a favor is called into Capobianco’s office, he has no idea that the situation at the prestigious Julius School of Music may be connected to a century old threat against the original Bomb Squad members. Mysterious notes, crude pipe bombs, illegal fireworks and jealous lovers all roll together to make the Bomb Squad’s job a little tougher. Add a famous Italian tenor and you have the makings of an international disaster.

The focus of the storyline are the threats against guest tenor Claudio Spotto and the connections to the famed Julius School of Music. The reader is pulled into an investigation that will uncover an affair that is not so secret; a singer whose star has never quite reached the top; and a connection to the past that very few outside of law enforcement-are aware.

J.E.Fishman writes an intelligent, compelling and well paced story of mystery and suspense; where secrets are revealed and jealousy ignites a powder keg of betrayal; where family connections and political favors blur the lines of right and wrong. Commander Capobianco is a loving family man whose personal and public life find middle ground-a hard concept for many public figures these days.

The secondary characters are colorful, realistic and spirited. Told from third person point of view and two to three different perspectives THE LONG DARK HAND reveals the trials and tribulations of law enforcement and the unknown threats to our everyday lives. The world building continues with the familiarity of the NYC Bomb Squad members from previous storylines.

Like his previous instalment in the series J.E. Fishman ends the story rather abruptly. There is no epilogue or resolution, which is a little disconcerting. It doesn’t change up the storyline but it does feel like there is something missing-closure.

Copy supplied by the publisher.

Reviewed by Sandy

Interview yellow:black

TRC: Hi Joel and welcome to The Reading Café. Congratulations on the release of your new Bomb Squad NYC series.

JE FishmanJoel: Thanks. I’m delighted to have you asking me tough questions. By the way, what do I win if I answer correctly?

TRC: Um…nothing? *snort*

TRC: We would like to start with some background information. Would you please tell us something about yourself?

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Joel: I’m one of the luckiest people alive, but I still get overcome by neuroses on a regular basis. Is that normal?

If you meant professionally, I’ve worked in and around publishing for most of my adult life, which may explain the neuroses. Deep down, all I ever really wanted to do was to tell stories. Life circumstances finally conspired to allow me to do that about six years ago, when my wife and I sold a house and a business and moved from Westchester County, New York, to the Brandywine Valley outside Wilmington, Delaware. Since then I’ve published seven books.

TRC: Your bio says you are a former editor, literary agent and a ghostwriter. What do each of these titles entail?

Joel: I was an acquiring editor at Doubleday, where I covered business, sports, popular science, and narrative nonfiction, mostly. I’d field queries and manuscripts from agents, pitch what I liked to the editorial meeting, negotiate purchase of those books if I got the go-ahead, edit them, position them with the marketing and publicity teams, and finally see them into distribution. In that role I worked with many journalists and experts in their field, as well as a few well-known sports figures, such as Jim Kelly, quarterback for the Buffalo Bills at the time, and Ronnie Lott, who was a free safety for the San Francisco Forty-Niners. I tried to buy a book by Wilt Chamberlain once. Although it didn’t work out, I had the distinct privilege of walking down Fifth Avenue with him on the way to lunch. A guy steps in front of us on the sidewalk, points, and says, “You’re still the best there ever was, Wilt.”

Cool, right? But it was all very corporate and getting more so. It occurred to me that I spent more and more time pitching books within the publishing house, so it was a small step to pitching book projects to other houses. I decided to leave and establish my own agency, which mostly represented journalists – New York Times, Wall Street Journal, San Jose Mercury-News, etc. Eventually I sold the agency to Jane Dystel. Years later, she became my agent.

The ghostwriting thing was more of an interlude. Ironically, I took it on to get myself writing, as I was distracted by another business at the time. But it didn’t really get me into the fiction-writing flow just then, because the distractions of business and life remained, and the ghost writing was time-consuming.

TRC: What is the purpose behind the business of ghost writing?

Joel: The purpose is to make money by providing expert authors the writing skills they often lack.

TRC: BOMB SQUAD NYC is your latest series focusing on the people who work in the bomb squad unit headquartered at a fictionalized police precinct in New York City. Would you please tell us something about the premise of the series?

Bomb Squad NYC 1-3

Joel: I wanted to do a series with all the urban grit of old-line police procedurals like those of Ed McBain, but modernized and with more of a thriller element introduced. The NYPD Bomb Squad is the oldest, busiest, and most technologically sophisticated bomb squad in the world—plus, they’re operating out of a headquarters in one of Manhattan’s hottest neighborhoods, the West Village. I’m telling this elite squad’s story in a fictionalized way, of course, but they’re true heroes. What interests me is portraying them as real people, flawed and vulnerable, who set aside their personal challenges and their troubles to keep eight million citizens safe from bombings. And, this being New York, there’s always the threat of another bomb going off.

The series shares three things with the real-life NYPD Bomb Squad: their history, their equipment, and most of their procedures. The rest is fictionalized.

TRC: Would you please tell us something about the premise of each of the following:

Joel:

A DANGER TO HIMSELF AND OTHERS-Click HERE for our review.

FREE to KOBO users: KOBO

.99cents ebook special: Amazon.com / Amazon.ca / Amazon.uk/ Barnes and Noble / KOBO / The Book Depository

The central character is Manny Diaz, one of the newest guys on the squad, but with an extensive army EOD (explosives and ordnance division) background. Veterans with prostheses are blowing themselves up in front of army recruiting stations, and Manny doesn’t believe these are suicides. He has to buck his sergeant and his own demons to find the truth before someone else gets killed.

DEATH MARCH- Click HERE for our review.

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In Death March, there’s a credible terrorist threat against the Thanksgiving Day parade. Somehow three dozen detectives have to defend the two-and-a-half-mile parade route. Manny’s sergeant from the first book, Sandy Kahn, ends up having to outthink the terrorists. Two other characters, Kenny Ridley and Cam Fowler, also end up laying their lives on the line.

THE LONG BLACK HAND
In this one, Bomb Squad Commander Lieutenant Joe Capobianco is tormented by extortion threats against a famous tenor visiting the Julius School of Music near Lincoln Center. The case harks back to the earliest history of the Bomb Squad, when an organized crime group known as the Black Hand planted hundreds of bombs a year and extorted money from the great tenor Enrico Caruso.

TRC: How many books do you have planned for the series?

Joel: Who knows? My attitude is: Read all you want. I’ll write more.

TRC: Will the characters overlap with each successive storyline?

Joel: Yes, as you can see from my descriptions, there are overlaps, but it’s not a single-detective kind of series. More of an ensemble cast, with different characters stepping forward for different cases. That’s how it is in real life, and in totality it will give readers a portrait of an entire squad.

TRC: Will we see a resolution to Manny’s personal problem in a future storyline?

Joel: You mean, you didn’t think his problems resolved at the end of the first book? Ha! I don’t think most people’s problems resolve in real life—more like they e-volve. I think you’ll definitely see Manny change over time. But I caution you that he’s not a major character in another book for a while.

TRC: What challenges or difficulties (research, logistics, background) did you encounter writing this particular story?

Joel: Well, I got the idea for this series because NYPD Bomb Squad headquarters is a couple of blocks up the street from my apartment in New York, but I didn’t personally know a single cop—big challenge there—and most information on bomb squads is pretty closely held. I started out researching on the internet and through books, but I knew I had to drill deeper. Fortunately, a friend eventually introduced me to the FBI’s leading bomb tech, who in turn introduced me to the squad’s commander, Lieutenant Mark Torre. He became my technical consultant and opened up a whole world to me.

TRC: Are the storyline characters based in reality or a combination of fact and fiction?

Joel: There’s no character based on a particular real-life person, but I’ve gotten to know how these guys really think and the challenges they face, so I hope that comes across.

TRC: If you could virtually cast the leading characters in the series, which models or actors best represent your ideal image?

Joel: I’m terrible at questions like that! It needs actors who can do real, down-to-earth, and gritty with New York accents. People—at least, in my opinion—like Edward Norton, Matthew McConaughey, Mark Wahlberg, maybe Sean Penn. There will eventually be a female character—no women in the Bomb Squad at the moment, in real life or fiction—and I’d like to see Ellen DeGeneres playing that character straight. I don’t mean sexually straight, mind you, but unfunny.

TRC: How do you keep the plot unpredictable without sacrificing content and believability?

Joel: Well, the million-dollar question for all novelists isn’t so much how you keep it unpredictable but how you keep it unpredictable while having it make sense in the end. It’s easy to have something be unpredictable and conclude with complete nonsense, but having the reader sit up and say, “Of course! How did I not see that coming?!”—that’s the trick, isn’t it? A lot of it is about introducing key elements while distracting the reader from their significance at first. The most important thing is to respect readers’ intelligence. If you let them get a step ahead of you, their experience of the story may be doomed.

TRC: When writing a storyline, do the characters direct the writing or do you direct the characters?

Joel: I like to start with premise, so in the beginning that’s me directing. What if I dropped a guy like this in a situation like that? But characters are built one decision at a time, and once you’ve had them make a few decisions, a lot of doors close. At some point, then, the characters have to act “within character,” and you can’t fully direct that. You have to let it happen or their actions will ring false.

TRC: The mark of a good writer is to pull the reader into the storyline so that they experience the emotions along with the characters. What do you believe a writer must do to make this happen? Where do you believe writers fail in this endeavor?

Joel: Great question. There isn’t any one thing. Some comes from point of view. Even though this series is written in the third person, it’s a close third, so the reader is over a given character’s shoulder and in his head—not only thinking, but feeling with him. But there are lots of smaller things, too. Using all five senses, for example. And withholding information. We live life blind. For the most part we have no idea what’s going on inside another person’s head. When someone does something slightly unexpected, it hits us in the gut as much as the brain.

TRC: Writers Block is a very real phenomenon. How do you handle the pressures and anxiety of writer’s block?

Joel: There’s only one way. You sit down and write. You accept that you might not do your best work that day, but imperfect is better than nothing. And you remind yourself constantly that you can always go back and fix your mistakes later. (Presuming, of course, that you actually will.) Expectation of perfection is the main enemy of productivity.

TRC: Many authors bounce ideas and information with other authors or friends and family. With whom do you bounce ideas?

Joel: I like to tell people a premise or a scene and see whether their eyes light up. I’m also fortunate to have an experienced editor on my team, Patrick LoBrutto. He has no stake in lying to me, because if he does so, it only makes more work for him later!

TRC: What three things would you like to accomplish in the next five years?

Joel:
1. See my daughter graduate from high school a complete and happy person.
2. Continue to love and appreciate my wife more every day.
3. Yeah, write a mega-bestseller.

TRC: On what are you currently working?

Joel: Incident 4 in the Bomb Squad NYC series. It’s called Blast from the Past. Kieran Lehane, a dog handler who’s the oldest member of the squad, never believed the official explanation for the destruction of Flight 699, which blew up five minutes out of JFK. The story begins when he goes to a hearing on the subject, and since he’s late from work he has to bring his dog. As the hearing is breaking up, the dog alerts: there’s a guy in the hearing room with explosive residue on his person! Lehane gives chase but the guy gets away. But Kieran’s a stubborn guy. You can bet that won’t be the end of it.

TRC: Would you like to add anything else?

Joel: Um. If you buy all my books I’ll be your best friend?

TRC: ;)

LIGHTNING ROUND

Favorite Food
Anything the great sushi chef Masatoshi “Gari” Sugio puts in front of me.

Favorite Dessert
Chocolate chip cookies from Jacques Torres

Favorite TV Show
Breaking Bad

Last Movie You Saw
The Wolf of Wall Street

Dark or Milk Chocolate
Dark—and the higher cacao content, the better

Secret Celebrity Crush
Go ahead. Get me in trouble. Gwyneth Paltrow.

Last Vacation Destination
Virgin Gorda, BVI

Do you have any pets?
Yep. Two French bulldogs, a Labrador-ish rescue dog, an evil calico cat, and several horses.

Last book you read
Swamplandia! by Karen Russell

Pet Peeve
People writing about New York who don’t know New York.

TRC: Thank you Joel for taking the time to answer our questions. Congratulations on the release of the BOMB SQUAD NYC series. We wish you all the best.

Joel: Thank you very much.

Giveaway-Black and Yellow

Shelton Interactive and Joel are offering a paper copy of A DANGER TO HIMSELF to two (2) lucky commenters at The Reading Cafe.

1. Please register using the log-in at the top of the page (side bar) or by using one of the social log-ins.

2. If you are using a social log-in, please post your email address with your comment.

3. LIKE us on FACEBOOK and then click GET NOTIFICATION under ‘liked’ for an additional entry.

4. LIKE us on Twitter for an additional entry.

5. The giveaway is open to USA and CANADA only.

6. The giveaway runs from April 17 to April 21, 2014

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Bomb Squad NYC: Incident #1 and Incident #2 by J.E.Fishman-reviews

Bomb Squad NYC: Incident #1 and Incident #2 by J.E.Fishman-reviews

Bomb Squad NYC 1-2

A DANGER TO HIMSELF AND OTHERS
(Bomb Squad NYC Incident 1)
by J.E. Fishman
Release Date March 4, 2014
Genre: Suspense, mystery, fiction, law enforcement

A Danger To Himself and OthersABOUT THE BOOK:

FREE to KOBO users: KOBO

.99cents ebook special: Amazon.com / Amazon.ca / Amazon.uk/ Barnes and Noble / KOBO / The Book Depository

Is Bomb Squad Detective Manuel Diaz a danger to himself and others?

Detective Manny Diaz, a former Army explosives expert, is already skating on the edge of his own sanity when veterans start dying from bombings in front of armed forces recruiting stations around New York. Diaz won’t believe these events are suicides. If he’s right, he’ll have to risk everything—not just his mental health, but also his very life—to prevent a homeless Army veteran from becoming the next victim.

REVIEW: A DANGER TO HIMSELF AND OTHERS is the first instalment in J.E. Fishman’s contemporary crime thriller series Bomb Squad NYC. Each book focuses on the members of the NYC Bomb Squad. This is Detective Manny Diaz’s story-a former vet whose personal life is spiraling out of control along with his most recent assignment. When not one but two disabled military veterans blow themselves up outside an army recruiting office, the bomb squad must consider whether the incidents have started a string of suicides or something much more sinister is at work. A Danger to Himself and Others is not just the title but also a look at the psychological profile of both hero and villain.

The focus of the storyline is the investigation into what appears to be two suicide bombings within 72 hours of one another. With Manny’s contacts in the military the NYC bomb squad begin to ferret out the information required to eliminate suspects and connect our victims to one another. When there appears to be no one or nothing connecting the bombings, Manny digs deeper to discover that each of the veterans had one person in common-now it appears there is still one veteran unaccounted for.

J.E. Fishman writes an intense and passionate storyline that is rich in detail, twists and turns, technical expertise and suspense. We are pulled into the daily drama and anxiety of the NYC Bomb Squad where the smallest detail cannot be ignored. Following the 9/11 attacks, NYC is on high alert and the Bomb Squad is the first to be called when anything appears out of the ordinary. A DANGER TO HIMSELF AND OTHERS reveals that life in the NYC Bomb Squad is anything –but ordinary.

A DANGER TO HIMSELF AND OTHERS is a well-paced, compelling storyline that reveals the intricate inner workings of law enforcement and the drama that is their private and professional lives. No one is without some sort of demon or personal hell and in this the storylines become one with the members of the squad. The characters are colorful, believable, sometimes controversial and add a realistic quality to the story.

Reading Order
1. A Danger to Himself and Others NYC Bomb Squad Incident 1
2. Death March NYC Bomb Squad: Incident 2 (March 18, 2014)
3. The Long Black Hand: NYC Bomb Squad Incident 3 (April 2, 2014)

Copy supplied by the publisher.

___________________________

DEATH MARCH
(Bomb Squad NYC: Incident 2)
by J.E. Fishman
Release Date March 18, 2014
Genre: Suspense, mystery, fiction, law enforcement

Death MarchABOUT THE BOOK:

Amazon.com / Amazon.ca / Amazon.uk/ Barnes and Noble / KOBO / The Book Depository

It’s the eve of the famed Thanksgiving Day Parade when a credible tip comes in from national intelligence sources: Abu al Djenne, a master bomb maker from the radical Islamist group known as Sons of Bilal, plans to disrupt the event in spectacular fashion while causing mass casualties. The mayor won’t cancel the parade, so it largely falls to the NYPD bomb techs to protect millions of spectators strung along the two-and-a-half-mile parade route.

Only hours before the parade will begin, explosions start going off, forcing Bomb Squad techs to scramble to investigate. Meanwhile, Djenne’s girlfriend has discovered his “martyr” tape and turned it over to the police. Does the tape reveal enough to save the day?

With all of New York law enforcement scrambling to avert a tragedy, Sergeant Sandy Kahn becomes convinced that Djenne’s girlfriend holds the key. He tails her to the gate of an industrial facility in New Jersey, only to be left wondering what’s going on inside the surrounding fence. Will he crack the case before hundreds of thousands lose their lives in the greatest conflagration New York has ever seen?

REVIEW: DEATH MARCH is the second instalment in J.E.Fishman’s contemporary crime thriller series Bomb Squad NYC. Each book focuses on the members of the NYC Bomb Squad. Death March does not particularly focus on one individual but several of the bomb squad members. When a call from a CIA operative in the Middle East warns of a potential terrorist attack during the New York Thanksgiving Day parade, the NYC Bomb Squad gather all of their people as they hunt for any potential threat and the person most likely to pull off such a feat.

The focus of the storyline will find the men of the NYC Bomb Squad searching for master bomb maker Abu al Djenne. When his ‘girlfriend’ turns over a major piece of evidence the squad begins a meticulous building by building exploration looking for any threatening packages, explosives or ammunition. When their search turns up nothing of importance, Sergeant Sander Kahn calls in to the Squad with important information-Djenne’s girlfriend has been sighted at a gas and petroleum refinery.

JE Fishman pulls the reader into a storyline of mystery, suspense and intrigue. He combines the possibility of another deadly attack against the people of New York with all of the hallmarks of a terrorist organization. The reality of the situation is not lost on the reader when JE Fishman uses an American national holiday as the targeted date and site.

Several of the previous storyline characters play a minor secondary role, if only by way of a mention or reference. We watch as the canine unit is pulled into a dangerous situation as well as the love that is not lost between an officer and his dog. The situations are made that much more real when family is brought in to give a sense of drama and the effects on relationships and love.

DEATH MARCH is another intense and powerful storyline that will resonate with many people especially those who have experienced the 9/11 attacks and the continuous threats of terrorist organizations. The novel is well paced but faltered when it lingered too long on the terrorist development and story. I would have liked to have read more about the Bomb Squad and police investigation. The storyline intensified with the discovery of the ‘what’ and ‘how’ Djenne intended to bring New York to its’ knees.

Copy supplied by the publicist.

Reviewed by Sandy

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Cover Reveal: Bang (The Black Lotus Series) by E.K.Blair

Cover Reveal: Bang (The Black Lotus Series) by E.K.Blair

We are excited to present the cover for book #1 in E.K. Blair’s (author of the Fading Series) new Black Lotus Series, BANG! Filled with suspense, sexiness and romance, this is sure to take us on an indescribable thrill.

Bang

TITLE: Bang

SERIES: The Black Lotus Series (book #1)

GENRE: Psychosexual Suspense / Romance

RELEASE DATE: May 22nd, 2014

GOODREADS: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/21459365-bang

brick-synopsis

They say when you take revenge against another you lose a part of your innocence.

But I’m not innocent.

I haven’t been for a very long time.

My innocence was stolen from me. Taken was the life I was supposed to have. The soul I was born with. The ruby heart embedded in a life full of hopes and dreams.

Gone.
Vanished.

I never even had a choice.
I mourn that life. Mourn the what-ifs.
Until now.
I’m ready to take back what was always meant to be mine.

But every plan has a fatal flaw. Sometimes it’s the heart.

**Due to the dark and explicit nature of this book, it is recommended for mature audiences only as some scenes may be particularly disturbing.**

brick-excerpt

In an instant, he’s crouched down before me, hands spreading me open wider before dipping his tongue inside me. I continue massaging myself as he laps me up like I’m the only one who can quench his thirst. He sickens me, and as soon as I feel the swirl of hate manifest, I turn every part of me off and simply go through the movements I know he likes. I’m a well-oiled machine at this point, flawless in my performance.

He has no idea that I’m the poison in his bones, making my home in his soul. I’ve crept under his skin, and he never suspected a thing other than everything I’ve wanted him to, but he’s made my life a hell, and payback is a wicked bitch that comes in the form of me. I’m the devil seeped within the cracks of him. What he doesn’t know, is that it’s because of him that I am what I am, and he’s fallen into the cobwebs of my lies like a fool. I guess I should love him for that, because when he least suspects it, he’s going to give me everything I’ve been seeking—vengeance.

 

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Breathe Into Me by Sara Fawkes-a review

Breathe Into Me by Sara Fawkes-a review

Breathe Into Me

Amazon.com / Amazon.ca / Amazon.uk/ Barnes and Noble / The Book Depository

BREATHE INTO ME by Sara Fawkes

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date April 8, 2014

How did my life get so broken? It’s a question Lacey St. James asks herself every day. Stuck raising her little brother in a trailer park while she works a dead end job at a grocery store, she has a stalker ex-boyfriend, a bad reputation, and no way out.

And then, she meets Everett, who changes her entire existence.

Everett is an outsider who’s housesitting his family’s mansion off the coast, and for reasons Lacey can’t understand, he’s completely transfixed by her. He seems determined to show her that life can offer more than she’d ever hoped for, if only she believes in herself. She desperately yearns to trust him, but what happens when she finds out that everything he’s told her is a lie?

•••••••••••••••••••

REVIEW: BREATHE INTO ME is a contemporary, new adult storyline from the mind of Sara Fawkes. The premise follows a young twenty something Lacey St. James as she struggles to survive in a world of betrayal, abuse and extreme family dysfunction. Meeting Everett Ward had her looking to the future but the reality of her life in Small Town, USA comes crashing back when the people that are supposed to love you, destroy what is left of your psyche, your ego and your heart.

Lacey is a young woman struggling to find some semblance to her life. Following the death of her father, Lacey and her family have struggled but none more than Lacey and her younger brother Davey. Lacey works hard to keep her head held high but there is always someone waiting in the wings to slap her down. Enter Everett Ward-the man with whom she would fall in love but not before more lies and betrayal break what is left of her fragile heart.

Lacey and Everett’s relationship is friends to lovers but one that is mutually beneficial to both. Everett hides a secret and his need for Lacey is as necessary as the air that he breathes. Lacey brings some order to his life-a life that was once full of promises but destroyed by the actions of a naïve young man.

BREATHE INTO ME is a difficult read. The storyline is awash in heartbreaking family dysfunction, betrayal and, emotional and physical abuse. Lacey is a strong heroine whose family has pulled her into the depths of hell and with every step forward she is pushed two steps back. She is a victim of her circumstances; of her family; but I couldn’t help wondering if she was a victim of herself. Sara Fawkes combines the small town mentality where everyone knows your name into a storyline where one woman is unable to move forward because someone is always willing to push her back down. With the help of friends and people she doesn’t know, Lacey will learn that there is always someone willing to help when and where you least expect.

Copy supplied by the publisher through Netgalley

Reviewed by Sandy

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Wind Raven (Agents of the Crown 3) by Regan Walker-Review, Guest Post & Giveaway

Wind Raven (Agents of the Crown 3) by Regan Walker-Review, Guest Post & Giveaway

Wind Raven Banner

Wind Raven
Agents of the Crown #3
by Regan Walker
Release Date: March 2014

Wind Raven

Amazon.com / Amazon.ca / Amazon.uk/ Barnes and Noble /

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release March 2014

Ordered by the Prince Regent into the Caribbean, English sea captain and former privateer Jean Nicholas Powell has no time for women onboard the Wind Raven, especially not Tara McConnell. The impudent American forced herself aboard, and so she’ll get more than she bargained for: Instead of a direct sail to Baltimore, she’ll join their quest to investigate a rampaging pirate, the infamous Roberto Cofresi. But the hoyden thinks she can crew with his men, and though he bans her from the rigging, Nick is captivated watching her lithe, luscious movements on deck. Facing high seas, storms, cutthroats and the endless unknown, he must protect his ship, his passenger, his crew. But on this voyage, with this woman, there is a greater danger: to his heart.

•••••••••••••••••

Wind Raven begins in the West Indies, where Captain Powell has gone into a tavern to meet up with an associate and to have a drink. He overhears a conversation by some rambunctious Americans about a woman serving as a crewmember aboard their ship! “What kind of woman would crew with men?”. Be careful of your thoughts Captain………….be very careful.

Tara McConnell has spent the last year in London with her aunt, who is a member of the ton. Tara’s father had sent her to live with her aunt and to become a lady. And, even though her Season was a success, Tara longed for home. She also longed to see her father and her brothers again. Even though she was grateful for her aunt’s guidance through her first Season, she just could not see herself marrying an Englishman. She’d lost one of her brothers in the war with Britain and she was convinced that they were all a selfish lot and she almost felt traitorous even attempting to enjoy their company. But, when word reaches them that her father has fallen ill, it becomes a race against time to get Tara home to Baltimore.

Her aunt insists that there is only one ship that she would feel safe sending Tara home on: The Wind Raven, captained by Nick Powell. Seems Tara’s aunt was a friend of Nick’s mother and she knew that Tara would be well taken care of. Unfortunately, neither Tara nor her aunt knew that Nick had an assignment to take care of for the Prince Regent. Not only were they not sailing directly to Baltimore, they were to see if they could ferret any information on a pirate, one Roberto Confresi, via the Caribbean. When Tara makes it to the ship and requests passage and presents her aunt’s missive, Nick knows that there is no way that he can say no, just as he knows that he can’t tell Tara of their mission for the Prince Regent. But, really, how much trouble can one woman with a full crew be? Well, if that one woman is Tara McConnell, be careful what you ask for…………………

Regan Walker has once again written a story that grabbed me from the beginning and did not let go. You will absolutely fall in love with Tara McConnell. She is fearless, loyal and, oh yeah, an awesome crew member! And, once she and Nick are drawn to each other, the chemistry is off the charts. He is my absolute favorite hero that Regan has written to date. And, that is saying A LOT. I’ve said of her stories before that she beautifully entwines fiction with history, but I don’t think until now that I’ve given her enough credit for her world building. You can absolutely hear the roar of the ocean waves and smell the sea as you read this book. Her descriptions are spot on without being over the top. That, in my humble opinion, is another characteristic of a great author. This book will have you on the edge of your seat at times, and tearing up at others. Wind Raven is ultimately a story about letting go of one’s past to see just how bright your future can be. And letting go of the preconceived constraints might not be so bad either……………..

Wind Raven is a wonderfully written story with a lot of action, a smidge of mystery and a whole lot of romance. This is, without a doubt, my favorite in this series. And, I have to confess that I’ve been a bit of a schooner fanatic for most of my life. I’ve actually sailed on one several times and words can’t express what an adventure it is. So, for Wind Raven to be set on a beautiful schooner? I was so on board……………….(pun intended!). Once again, if you’re a fan of Regency Romance, Regan Walker is the one for you. Well done, Regan Walker, very very well done!!

Copy supplied by the author

Reviewed by Vickie M

Guest Post beige

History as a Character:
Research & Writing Historical Romance
By Regan Walker

For me, research and writing historical romance must include real history, as it’s a character in each of my books. What do I mean by that? Well, the historical setting is not just “background.” Rather, I am constantly weaving in historical events, attitudes and real historical figures into my romances. I don’t just refer to the food and dress either, though those can certainly require much research at times, but also what was actually going on in the time period that was of great import and who was involved.

Typically, I begin with an idea, a scene or a character. For my novel, Wind Raven, it was the sea captain, Jean Nicholas Powell, an arrogant Englishman who gave up on love (and virgins in particular) some years ago. Now he loves only his ship, his crew and his life at sea. For this man, I needed a worthy heroine, a woman he would come to respect who would defy convention and give him a major run for his money.

Enter the American patriot, Tara McConnell from the shipbuilding family of privateers who made the Boston Clipper ships that helped America run the British blockades in the War of 1812. Tara, who grew up on her father’s ships, disdains the English even though the war has been over for a few years. Yet she was forced by her father to spend a year in London with her aunt, a dowager baroness, and to have a Season. I had a real, historic model for Tara in Anne Chamberlyne, a scholar’s daughter and member of the gentry who, declining offers of marriage in 1690, at the age of twenty-three, donned a man’s clothing and joined her brother’s ship to fight the French off Beachy Head. Tara was just such a woman.

Once Tara becomes a passenger on Nick’s ship, the sparks start to fly. She wants to act a member of his crew and he wants her far from the action. It was important to me that I get all the ship scenes correct and use all the right terminology, particularly since both Tara and Nick well understood the workings of a schooner. I read my 4-inch thick Sailor’s Word Book and studied drawings of schooners of the period until I was seeing them in my dreams. I also took a ride on a schooner of the period to get a feel for the movement of the ship—and in doing so, found a friend and my consultant in the person of the ship’s gunner. We became fast friends and exchanged dozens of emails on technical subjects.

Schooner

The research that went into this book took over a year and included not just schooners and the War of 1812, but what was happening on Bermuda (where Nick makes a stop), how a schooner would weather a major storm at sea, and, most importantly, the life of the real pirate Roberto Cofresi. A tall, blond giant of a man from Puerto Rico, Cofresi preyed on all merchant ships not flying the flag of Royal Spain. And he had reason to do so, as you’ll see in my story.

About The Author beige

Regan WalkerI didn’t start out as a writer of romance, oh no. Although I loved to write stories as a child, by the time I got to college, more serious pursuits were encouraged. So, naturally, I became a lawyer. Who needs adverbs as a lawyer? But after years of serving clients in private practice and several stints in high levels of government, I decided it was time for a change. My work had given me a love of international travel (I’ve been to over 40 countries…) and a feel for the demands of the “Crown” on its subjects. Hence, my first novels are all about a demanding Prince Regent who thinks of his subjects as his private talent pool.

I promise my novels will always sweep you away to another time and another place. I want you to experience adventure as well as love.

I live in San Diego with my wonderful Golden Retriever “Link.” I have one son who is a young entrepreneur and, though he looks like a Highlander of old, he would never read a romance novel. So like a man, no?

Twitter: @RegansReview (https://twitter.com/RegansReview)

Giveaway beige

Regan is offering an ebook copy of RACING WITH THE WIND (Agents of the Crown #1) or an ebook copy of THE TWELFTH NIGHT WAGER -winner’s choice.

1. Please register using the log-in at the top of the page (side bar) or by using one of the social log-ins.

2. If you are using a social log-in, please post your email address with your comment.

3. LIKE us on FACEBOOK and then click GET NOTIFICATION under ‘liked’ for an additional entry.

4. LIKE us on Twitter for an additional entry.

5. The giveaway is open where ever Amazon is available.

6. The giveaway runs from April 16  to April 20, 2014

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