Taking the Highway by M.H.Mead
Genre: Science Fiction
TBR Reviewer: Mark
Rating: 4 stars - Recommended Read.
In future Detroit, there are rules about taking the Highway. One of these is the Minimum Passenger Requirement that sees drivers heavily fined for driving vehicles under capacity. This is where the Fourths come in. Essentially paid Hitchhikers, for a negotiable fee they will
ride in your car with you and fill the vacancy in your carpool, enabling you to take the Highway rather than driving the longer side streets. It has become a legitimate profession but is not without its risks. Because someone has begun killing Fourths...
This was a great Sci-fi novel that was an absolutely great read from start to finish! Set in a highly realistic and believable future only a stone's throw away from the present, the book is part of a larger series based in a future version of Detroit. The books can be read either in order or separately and feature some cross-over of characters and events but not enough to spoil or hinder your enjoyment. There is nothing here that is particularly ground-breaking but then there doesn’t need to be! This particular book in the series was both original, individual and creative and came as a refreshing change in a Genre that too often can feel overly swamped by depressing visions of a grim, dystopian future. What the authors set out here to achieve, and succeed in doing I might add, is to create an alternative vision; one that is still breath-taking but, at the same time, a bit more positive and believable set just a few years away from where we are now.
The story moves along quickly at a good pace and is populated with realistic and credible characters that the reader can readily associate with. It is a bit of an easy read but if you are looking for something light that is also lots of fun, you could certainly do a lot worse! As much a clever Crime thriller as it is Sci-fi, this novel highly impressed me and left me keen to read more by the same author. Taking The Highway comes highly recommended from me and M.H. Mead certainly looks like an author to watch out for in the future for enjoyable, uncomplicated, good quality Sci-fi!
Dark Dates by Tracey Sinclair
Genre: Paranormal, Romance
TBR Reviewer: Brutally Honest
Rating: 5 Stars – A Must Read!
Heat: 2 handcuffs - Flirty.
So, I now have to try to explain how amazing this book was. The story was unique. Cassandra
runs a dating service for vampires. The older ones that haven’t gotten into the technology groove. She’s sleeping with a man that saved her life but only shows up every few years. He kills these ‘monsters’ and hides some serious secrets. Things go crazy, she’s being attacked at every turn, add in some funny one-liners and utterly likeable characters.
This is book is perfect.
Cain who slays monsters and keeps her bed warm sounds delicious. The author never quite passes that line into real sexy but stays in the ‘safe’ zone. Still the story more than makes up for the lack of heat! There was a perfect balance of story and romance. The action was intense and several times I found myself leaning forward, engrossed in the fabulous story unfolding. The side characters were very intricate and a well written heavy presence. Medea and Katie are the witch and the werewolf – sorry Wiccan and Shapeshifter (You’ll get it when you read the book.) They were PERFECTLY written. I know I keep using that word but seriously. This book is fantastic. It should be a bestseller with an upcoming movie.
Dark Dates is unique and if you’re reading one book this year (which is a stupid saying but still...) read this!!
Ricochet by Sandra Brown
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Romance
Novel (Hardcover – purchased)
TBR Reviewer: Christine
Rating: 3 Stars – We liked it.
Heat: 2 handcuffs - Flirty
Some of my favorite books are by Sandra Brown so I grabbed this without even reading the
blurb. This is a classic cop book, Hatcher has to solve a murder with twists and unexpected turns. Problem was, nothing was unexpected. There were no twist that I didn’t see way ahead of the scene. It was obvious how everything would go down and there was zero mystery. That said, it was still a well written story. Elise and Hatcher, even Deedee and the 'bad guys' were very in depth. The plot has been done before and I’m sorry to say this was rather boring. I did, however, finish the entire book.
I recommend some of my favorite books by Sandra Brown in Lieu of this one – Unspeakable, The Crush, Hello Darkness. Those were all spectacular reads!
+Giveaway: 1 Ebook
The Caline Conspiracy by M.H. Mead
TBR Reviewer:- Kim
This story is set in the future. Dogs are genetically engineered to be the perfect pets called calines. they are tailored to the needs and requests of the individual owner. One such caline, Madeline stands accused of savaging her owner, a world famed geneticist, and is sentenced to execution. it is up to PI Aidra Scott top get to the bottom of things and find out if Madeline really is a killer or not.
This was a great mystery story and raised some great ethical questions. It was a well paced story with plenty of twists and turns. In a world where genetic engineering is OK for dogs but not so OK for people it painted some interesting picture of what the future may look like, and how far people will go to get what they want. Some parts of the book I found myself asking 'would I do that', particularly the scenes regarding Quinn's baby. The ending was explosive and was right for the book. I do recommend this one, a great read.
As the countdown begins, the body count rises.
With London gearing up to host the Olympics, the city doesn’t need a serial killer stalking the streets, but they’ve got one anyway.
Leaving a trail of brutal and bizarre murders, the police force is no closer to finding the latest psychopath than Detective Inspector Kurt Lancer is in finding a solution for his daughter’s disability.
Thrust into the pressure cooker of a high profile case, the struggling single parent is wound tight as he tries to balance care of his own family with the safety of a growing population of potential victims.
One of whom could be his own daughter.
Fingers point in every direction as the public relations nightmare grows, and Lancer’s only answer comes in the form of a single oak leaf left at each crime scene.
About the author:
J.C. Martin is a butt-kicking bookworm: when she isn’t reading or writing, she teaches martial arts and self-defence to adults and children.
After working in pharmaceutical research, then in education as a schoolteacher, she decided to put the following to good use: one, her 2nd degree black belt in Wing Chun kung fu; and two, her overwhelming need to write dark mysteries and gripping thrillers with a psychological slant.
Her short stories have won various prizes and have been published in several anthologies. Oracle is her first novel.
Born and raised in Malaysia, J.C. now lives in south London with her husband and three dogs.
Rousing Your Muse: 5 Great Sources of Inspiration
“Where do you get your inspiration?” That’s one of the most common questions a writer gets asked. My debut novel, Oracle, was partly inspired by the Olympic Games coming to London, and partly by Greek mythology. Sources of writing inspiration are everywhere. You just need to keep your eyes and ears open for them.
1. The news & history
Current affairs can be a great source of story ideas and inspiration. Could a terrorist cell be planning on striking during the Olympics? How could the current economic crisis affect your protagonist? Could rebels be plotting to assassinate the President of X country?
Similarly, one can find inspiration in history: what are the experiences of a Jewish child growing up in World War Two Germany? What happens to your heroine in feudal Japan if her marriage were arranged for her?
2. Myths & legends
Many books and films have capitalised on inspirations from world mythology, e.g. Percy Jackson & the Lightning Thief is based on Greek mythology, and the current crop of vampire
and werewolf stories are reinventions of urban myths and folklore. There are hundreds of different legends to choose from, so don’t just go for the commonly known ones: perhaps a tale from Native American, Australian Aborigine, Chinese or Japanese folklore might inspire your next big idea!
3. People & places
Watching and eavesdropping can be a great way to get ideas. Where is that old man on the bus going? What’s in the tatty old bag of his? Who is the young mother shouting at down the phone? Similarly, interesting places and buildings can be very atmospheric and inspiring: what happened in this crumbling old mansion a hundred years ago? What would you find hidden in the attic?
4. Personal experiences
Snippets of real-life experiences can help make a story all the more realistic. If you have lived it, you could write the emotions more effectively. Be it love, loss, fear, an adventure, or a funny anecdote, jot down those little events and your feelings when it happened. Who knows? It could end up being used in your next book.
What if a man discovers his fiancée was cheating on her with the best man? What if a contract killer’s assigned target was his own father? On a larger scale, what if Germany won World War Two? What if Kennedy was never assassinated? What if Columbus took a wrong turn? What-if situations generate a whole world of possibilities, creating alternate realities populated by your own imagination.
Tell me: what inspires YOU?
Comment below with your inspiration and enter to win an Ecopy of Oracle!
OUR REVIEW OF ORACLE BY J.C. MARTIN
In her first full-length mystery, J.C. Martin has created an exciting story about a police detective chasing a serial killer set in London leading up to the Summer Olympics. As the story unfolds, we are also introduced to an interesting cast of characters, including the two other members of Kurt Lancer's investigating team, his eight-year-old daughter, and his younger misfit brother.
I thoroughly enjoyed the mystery story and how well woven the pieces were into the whole. The Greek mythological theme was carried through beautifully, and I enjoyed how it was first introduced by the bedtime stories Kurt's nearly blind daughter was practicing reading to him. As the killer's motives and m.o. became clearer, so did the various relationships in Kurt's life. I also enjoyed the way Kurt, his brother, and the killer were all portrayed as having come from less than optimal homes, yet the different choices each man made created such different paths. I definitely recommend this read for all the mystery/suspense
Normal for Norfolk by Mitzi Szereto
Genre:- Thriller/Mystery, Humor
This is the story of Thelonius T. Bear. He has sold his flat in London, ostensibly to take photos for his job as a photojournalist, but also to sample the Norfolk lifestyle, and maybe relocate there. As he begins to settle into his possibly new life, publicans are being murdered all around him. The local head of CID has him in the frame for the crimes and seems to be following him everywhere. Throw in the over-amorous landlady of the B & B Thelonius is
staying at and suddenly relocating doesn't seem so attractive! Can Thelonius convince the police he is innocent?
I so wanted to enjoy this. It had all the makings of a fantastic, cozy mystery but in the end, it just didn't deliver. It had some genuine laugh-out-loud moments but was spoiled by pages and pages of long paragraphs with no breaks. It got so bad at one point, I nearly gave up, but I didn't, feeling I owed it to the author to persevere. The descriptions of the characters were good and I found myself warming to one or two of them. The actual mystery itself took so long to get going, I almost forgot what the plot was!
All in all it was a great idea that was marred by over-long paragraphs and too much 'padding'.
Hellenic Immortal (Immortal #2) by Gene Doucette
Genre: fantasy, adventure/mystery
Length: novel (235 pages)
TBR Reviewer: Amanda
Hellenic Immortal continues to follow the adventures of the immortal man, "Adam", "Jason", or "Dionysus" as the case may be. In this installment of his "memoir", he finds himself drinking late at night in Las Vegas when he sees the same woman several nights in a row. When he finally tries to approach her, he becomes confused by her response. Later he meets a man who tells him that he is under suspicion by the FBI of financing eco-terrorists, and that the woman he spoke to is related to that case. At that, another whirlwind adventure begins, interspersed with many tales of "Adam's" past that tie up in a satisfying package.
Gene Doucette has created a character with a wonderful, self-deprecating voice and the way the tale is spun is perfectly paced. All the little trailing details come together at the end of the story in a delightful way and the on-going tease of the immortal woman met briefly in the previous novel is added to in this one. With just a few glimpses of supporting characters from the first book, another interesting cast is introduced in this one, and I found the
Satyros especially intriguing. "Adam" is so likable in his humanity and many of his observations about people as a whole had me nodding and smiling as I read. Overall, I found this book to be every bit as enjoyable and mysterious as the first and hope that the series continues to be as well-written and exciting as the first two outings have been.
Thriller, Mystery - novel
TBR Reviewer: Mark
Fresh-faced lawyer, Ben Kravner, is placed in charge of handling a recently deceased Newspaper Editor's last Will and Testament. He stumbles across an intriguing and interesting poem amongst his Client's effects that seems to suggest the possibility of a conspiracy that has spanned almost a Century. Every Twenty years or so, an American President has been assassinated with the exception of Ronald Reagan upon whom the attempt failed. Individually, these assassinations appear completely unconnected but when taken all together, suddenly it seems as though one single power is behind the attacks; the descendants of an old family who would like nothing better than to see America descend into the midst of another Civil War.....
From the author of King Of Paine, Larry Kahn, comes this clever and often convoluted thriller set at the turn of the last Millennium. A gripping read, I really enjoyed this despite the fact that, at times, the plot did stretch credibility and the villains of the piece did suffer from the usual conventions of not really being all that accomplished. The idea of connecting such a random series of events into an ongoing historical conspiracy is a neat one and Kahn
pretty much manages to pull it off with some convincing twists and some well thought out characters. Though it is perhaps not quite as good as King Of Paine, this can be excused since The Jinx was Kahn's first novel and hence his style here is more of a work in progress that is closer perfected in his much later thriller.That being said, for a first novel, this is pretty good stuff and easily as good as say The Da Vinci Code or other similar conspiracy novels.
I would certainly recommend this if you want a bit of harmless hokum and are prepared to not take this TOO seriously. It's good as a source of playful suspension of disbelief but if you are looking for something you can get your teeth into more and have a good gnaw at then chances are this might not quite be for you.
Overall, The Jinx is certainly enjoyable and definitely worth picking up, especially if you enjoyed his other book, King Of Paine!
He watched helplessly as the distance between Fritz and his attacker closed, then was overcome with grief when the two figures disappeared behind a clump of trees near the southern tip of the lake.
He buried his face in his gloved hands. He had opened the sealed envelope. He had tried to be the hotshot lawyer, taking on the most powerful men in the nation on his own. Why? The answer sprang to his mind instantly—to impress Fritz Fox, a man who was more like a grandfather to him than a mentor. He had saved him once; now he had killed him.
Ben sat there, stunned, motionless, contemplating his fate.There was nowhere for him to turn. His parents, his friends, his colleagues were all incommunicado. There were apparently no limits to what The Royal Order would do to stop him.
A siren pierced the morning stillness. Surrender to the police was an option. He would be charged with various drug offenses, any remaining shred of credibility would be destroyed, but he would live. It was not his responsibility to save the world. That was for great men with white hair.
Great men. One had died today. Would Fritz Fox have surrendered if faced with adversity? No! The Old Man would have dueled with the devil until justice was done or his last drop of blood had been spilt. And he wanted to be like Fritz.
He felt his despondency lift as an icy gust slapped him in the face. There would be no surrender. Fritz’s death would not be in vain. There was still one last card to play.
Ben sucked in a deep breath, then metamorphosed as he expelled it, the steaming mist rising high into the air before dissipating. His eyes blazed. His nostrils flared. His jaw set firmly. The anger and sorrow that moments ago had almost conquered him were now the fuel that stoked the fire within. Passion overcame fear. The Royal Order of the Millennium Knight beware—Benjamin Franklin Kravner, Hawkeye, was on the warpath.
Ben gave one final hard look at the clump of trees where he last saw Fritz alive. “They don’t know the meaning of vengeance,” he said out loud, then bolted east, along the lake’s southern shore.
CONTEST: Mr. Kahn is giving away an ecopy to one lucky winner! Comment below to enter. Contest ends Feb 28th.
Mystery, thriller - novel
TBR reviewer: Mark
Frank Paine is an ex-Hollywood actor, turned recent FBI Agent, with a rather seedy, secret past. In his former life, Frank had an addiction to online BDSM chat rooms ~ something which now threatens to be revealed when he attends a call to a Motel room and walks in on a scene that could have been taken straight from one of his role-play scenarios. Someone appears to be targeting Frank and trying to trip up his new career but is there something deeper and more malevolent at work than just a personal vendetta?
Meanwhile washed-up, alcoholic, former Pulitzer prize winning journalist, Roger Martin is at his wits end trying to find a story that will restore him to former glory. Investigating a series of mysterious, apparently unlinked disappearances of eccentric rich millionaires over a period of several years, Martin accidentally stumbles across a conspiracy that has so far gone unnoticed. And the further he delves, the more his and the FBI's investigation begin to link...
This is a highly enjoyable and engaging thriller that grips you very early on and refuses to let go! Don't let yourself be put off by the mentions of BDSM either because there is nothing very explicit in the text and in fact much of what Mr. Kahn mentioned is very tame, carrying only the merest hint of eroticism. The characters are well conceived too and the way the two plot threads eventually string together is very cleverly done. I'll be honest, this wasn't my first choice of book to review but in hind sight, this was a mistake on my part as I found myself enjoying this far more than I ever expected to! Within only a few chapters, I was hooked and couldn't stop reading right up until the end!
One thing I always ask myself when discovering a new writer is would I read anything else by this author and here, the answer is a definite yes. This novel is by no means perfect but has very few faults and Larry Kahn has an accomplished style that helps the story to flow to its natural conclusion, pulling you along in its stream almost without you realizing you are hooked! If you like strong mystery thrillers with plenty of tension and suspense, then this
novel is for you and is a far better read than many of the mass-market thrillers that you can normally pick up from your local supermarket shelf!
King of Paine definitely comes recommended!
Frank found Reyes studying the contents of an open folder in one of a dozen cubicles dotting the blue-carpeted bullpen. After getting his attention with a knock on the vinyl doorframe, Frank skipped the bull. “Woody’s out today, but I want in on this rape case. It’s a better fit for Violent Crimes than the Kiddie Porn Unit, don’t you think?”
Reyes set the folder down on his desktop, gesturing for him to sit in the lone chair opposite his gray metal desk. “Maybe even a better one for the Atlanta police. I don’t see the federal issue.”
As Frank sat, he recognized one of his old headshots on top of the open folder—wavy, golden brown hair, sun-baked skin, dimpled chin, blue eyes, and that ridiculous smirk his fans seemed to adore. Rugged good looks that translated well on film, less impressive in a locker room full of linebackers. It did not bode well that Reyes was studying his personnel file.
He clenched and unclenched his clammy fists to collect himself. His nerves always acted up before a first take but, with Reyes already suspicious, he sensed there would be only one chance to get this right. Lee Fields’s voice echoed in his head.Play it with emotion, Frankie Boy. He summoned a memory from his early days in Hollywood, when he lost a role after a kick-ass audition to a jerk who was the director’s second cousin’s kid or some other convoluted relation.
“Give them Ralston for the rape if you want,” he began. “But some lunatic is working the Internet, setting up sex crimes. I researched this last night and think we can prosecute under federal law for criminal use of a communication facility or cyberstalking. He may have struck before, and he may strike again, in Atlanta or elsewhere. It’s not a local issue.”
Reyes’s eyebrows arched up. “Why the sudden interest in this case, my friend? Low profile. No terrorists. No serial killers. Not exactly Hollywood stuff, no?”
Frank averted his eyes, unable to hold the Cyber agent’s penetrating gaze. No matter how hard he worked to fit in, these guys would only see that grinning idiot playing G-Man on the big screen. Were they so wrong? When did the acting stop and Frank Paine begin? He unclipped the shield from his jacket pocket, slowly twirling it in his hand.
“You’ve got the wrong idea about me. I don’t want publicity. I’m not proud of some things I’ve done, but one day I’d like to be able to look myself in the eye when I stare into the mirror. This badge stands for principles I want to live by. Fidelity. Bravery. Integrity. I can’t do that if you treat me like a joke.”
Reyes closed the folder, studying Frank intently. “Our UNSUB—the unknown subject—sent you a personal invitation to this fiesta, my friend. You want to recite the Bureau motto for me? Stop acting and spill the frijoles. I googled the nickname your tipster used and did not get any hits referring to you. Tell me about The King of Paine.”
Mr. Kahn is giving away an ecopy to one lucky winner! Comment below to enter. Contest ends Jan. 27th.
Thriller, Mystery - Novel
TBR reviewer: Kim
This is the story of Jack. A basically good guy who got put away for 5 years after an armed robbery. He bides his time in jail, reading and deciding on going straight. On coming out however Fate has other ideas. He is put in the path of an old friend who persuades him to do one last job. He agrees, and via a love triangle and meeting up with an old school friend the job begins....
This started off very slowly, almost to the point of me giving up but being the tenacious type of person I am, I stuck with it. I am glad I did because about a third of the way through it grew wings and flew along. The development of Sandra and Jacks relationship was quite sweet, with them keep meeting by chance and then losing touch again. His regret at having to do the job, since he met her was tangible. The meeting with Carla, and her interference
in his relationship with Sandra, and regret because his heart was with Sandra was real.
Once the job starts that was when everything starts getting good. The action from that point on was unrelenting and I found it really hard to put the book down. The ending was explosive and very exciting! A good thriller that I recommend for readers who like a slow build up and an explosive ending!