Lee Child - Without Fail

Publisher: Jove Books
ISBN:  978-0515144314
My rating: 5/5
Reacher is approached by a Secret Service agent who makes a highly unusual request. "I want to hire you to assassinate the Vice President of the United States," she says. She's the newly appointed head of the VP's security detail and wants Reacher to try and penetrate her team's shield, testing its efficacy against a genuine attack. Reacher has the skills and the stealth, and he's totally anonymous - how better to check security? What she doesn't tell Reacher is that a very determined and deadly team of assassins already has the VP in its sights. These men are skilled killers, but they've overlooked one key element - the presence of the equally lethal Reacher. (leechild.com)
 
 

My rating
O-M-G ... what a rollercoaster ride. Loved it! Though in a way short on action, it's a page turner from start to end.
Joe Reacher's ex-girlfriend, M.E. Froelich from the Secret Service asks Jack Reacher for help. Help in form of trying to kill the Vice-President Brook Armstrong. And he delivers - he finds the weak points in the protection of the VP.
Only then he learns that the threat is actually real and the hunt for the bad guy begins.
Mix a little bit of romance, yes, Reacher in a suit (!) and a twist I didn't see coming and you have a good book. Ok, IMO the bed-hopping gets a bit too much for me!
But most interestingly, add another character: Francis Neagley, a colleague from Reacher's Army days. She is a great character and let's hope that she will be back in any future stories! Or even her own?

Marian Keyes - This Charming Man

Publisher: Penguin Books

ISBN: 9780141026756

My rating: 2/5

Everybody remembers where they were the day they heard that Paddy de Courcy was getting married’ But for four women in particular, the big news about the charismatic politician is especially momentous … Stylist Lola has every reason to be interested in who Paddy’s marrying – because although she’s his girlfriend, she definitely isn’t the bride-to-be. Heartbroken, she flees the city for a cottage by the sea. But will Lola’s retreat prove as idyllic as she hopes? … Not if journalist Grace has anything to do with it. She wants the inside story on the de Courcy engagement and thinks Lola holds the key. Grace’s sister, Marnie, might be able to help but she’s too busy holding her perfect life – perfect husband, perfect children, perfect house – together. And what of the soon to be Mrs de Courcy … Alicia will has waited a long time for this and is determined to be the perfect politician’s wife. But does she know the real Paddy de Courcy? Four very different women. One awfully charming man. And the dark secret that binds them all … (MarianKeyes.com)


My thoughts

Honestly, this book didn't rock my world. I remember reading "Anybody out there" and I was in tears.

We get to know four women, all of them somehow know Paddy De Courcy who has just announced his engagement. We learn their stories, their ups and downs, and how their life's been affected by Paddy.

The first, I don't know, 100 pages were horrible. H-o-r-r-i-b-l-e. It was Lola's story and as much as I liked her story, I skipped most of her's because of the Diary/Blog like writing style. But honestly I've never seen anything like it. I was close to just giving up.

However, I did persist and it kind of got better. The writing style. The story got a touch more interesting, but I've got to say it wasn't a page-turner. Not at all.  Reading through the other women's stories, the backstories, their troubles, fears and emotions made it somewhat interesting. Personally I think it could've been a great book if perhaps there had been one or two less stories, and more depth into the rest of them ... and better grammar for the blog, but that goes without saying, I suppose.

Emotional ride in the end, but not enough for me to say, "hey, great read!".

May I introduce - Tracy Krauss

Tracy Krauss is an author, artist, playwright, director, worship leader, and teacher. Originally from a small prairie town, she received her Bachelor’s Degree at the University of Saskatchewan.  She has lived in many places in northern Canada with her husband, a pastor, and their children. They currently live in Tumbler Ridge, BC.
Published works include four romantic suspense novels: AND THE BEAT GOES ON, where archaeological evidence for creation comes at a heavy cost; MY MOTHER THE MAN-EATER, the story of a ‘cougar’ who takes on more than she bargained for; PLAY IT AGAIN, about an unlikely match during the 1980s rock n’ roll scene; and WIND OVER MARSHDALE, where strong spiritual forces rock a seemingly peaceful prairie town. She also has several stage plays in print. Visit her website for more details. http://www.tracykrauss.com


Q: Tell me about your book.
A: My latest release is called WIND OVER MARSHDALE and it’s about a small prairie town where, on the surface, everything seems quaint and happy. Underneath there are some serious issues, especially with racism, sexual promiscuity, and the occult. Thomas Lone Wolf is a Cree man on a mission to build a heritage site near the town based on some ancient archaeological evidence. He and his children aren’t prepared for the level of prejudice they begin to face. Rachel Bosworth is the new Kindergarten teacher, fresh from the big city and running away from a hurtful past. Con McKinley is a local farmer, who also happens to be single and good looking. A love triangle of sorts develops, with the two men unwitting participants. As well, eccentric twin sisters bombard the town; one with her legalistic religious views and the other as a practicing witch. The local pastor has little effect trying to keep his parishioners in line since he is involved in some unsavoury business of his own. The lives of these and many other unusual characters weave together into a surprising climax.  Beneath it all is a thread linking everyone’s problems to the spirit realm; an ancient curse from the past that must be dealt with once and for all.

Q: How did you get interested in writing this particular genre?
A: My novels are all romantic suspense, but they are also written from a Christian worldview. Some call my style ‘edgy Christian’ or ‘edgy inspirational’. I like to think it’s just authentic.  I like a bit of an edge when I read and I love a good twist at the end, so I try to do this in my own writing.


Q: Did you have to do any kind of research for this book?
A: Yes, I did some research on ‘Beringia’ – a localized area free from ice during the last ice age and the possibility of tribes from Asia crossing over the Bering Strait. I usually go with topics that intrigue me and this one does. I lived in the Yukon for a number of years, modern day ‘Beringia, so I guess that sparked an interest. As well, I’ve had lots of exposure to certain aspects of native spirituality through various friends and this also interests me. The location itself, although fictional, is actually modelled after my own hometown of Mossbank, Saskatchewan, but the characters are all fictional. In the end, I want to stress that it is a work of fiction. (In case anyone thinks they recognize themselves...  J) 

Q: What is the hardest part of writing for you?
A: Number one is finding enough time and number two is all the promotion and marketing that goes along with it. I guess this is actually tied to number one since this aspect of things takes up so much time.

Q: What’s the best thing about being an author? 
A: There are so many great things. I just love writing, so I guess the best part for me is when I have uninterrupted time to write and the words just start to flow. Then, when the story line comes together in an unexpected way, or a character does something that you hadn’t thought about before hand – those are just magic moments. Of course, seeing your book in print is pretty cool, too, as well as getting positive feedback from strangers.

Q: What are you working on now? 
A: I’m hoping to finish revisions on two manuscripts I am readying for submission to my agent. Of course, I have several other works in progress and I’ve got three new contracted plays that should be coming out this year.  
Q: What advice would you give aspiring writers?
A: Take the time to learn your craft. Don’t just assume you know everything jus because you got A’s in English or know lots about mechanics. There is so much more to it than that. I wish I would have done this instead of using the trial and error method. You also need fresh, critical eyes to look over your work.
Q: Do you have any favourite authors or favourite books? 

A: Frank Peretti is still my favourite author. To me he is a groundbreaker. He’s tackled subjects that were previously considered taboo within Christian circles in such a compelling and thought provoking way that his writing is almost revered as truth. For instance, THIS PRESENT DARKNESS  has almost become a manual on spiritual warfare, even though it’s fiction.  I try to include some of this ‘edge’ in my own writing. I still love MONSTER out of all his writing, but so many others run a close second. Francine Rivers is another that comes to mind. She has written about some pretty controversial topics as well, and her characters are always believable; they aren’t perfect in other words. Again, this is what I strive for with my characters. Another author I admire is Margaret Atwood, especially her ORYX AND CRAKE. It’s a super disturbing dystopian novel but I love her genius in crafting it. It jumps from past to present and all around, but there are so many ‘ah-ha’ moments that are incredible. It’s one of those books that needs to be read more than once.


Cover blurb:
Marshdale. Just a small farming community where nothing special happens.  A perfect place to start over… or get lost. There is definitely more to this prairie town than meets the eye. Once the meeting place of aboriginal tribes for miles around, some say the land itself was cursed because of the people’s sin. But its history goes farther back than even indigenous oral history can trace and there is still a direct descendant who has been handed the truth, like it or not. Exactly what ties does the land have to the medicine of the ancients? Is it cursed, or is it all superstition?

Wind Over Marshdale is the story of the struggles within a small prairie town when hidden evil and ancient medicine resurface. Caught in the crossfire, new teacher Rachel Bosworth finds herself in love with two men at once. First, there is Thomas Lone Wolf, a Cree man whose blood lines run back to the days of ancient medicine but who has chosen to live as a Christian and faces prejudice from every side as he tries to expose the truth. Then there is Con McKinley, local farmer who has to face some demons of his own. Add to the mix a wayward minister seeking anonymity in the obscurity of the town; eccentric twin sisters – one heavily involved in the occult and the other a fundamentalist zealot; and a host of other ‘characters’ whose lives weave together unexpectedly for the final climax. This suspenseful story is one of human frailty - prejudice, cowardice, jealousy, and greed – magnified by powerful spiritual forces that have remained hidden for centuries, only to be broken in triumph by grace.

Thank you so much for taking your time to tell us a little bit more about you and your latest release. I look forward to reading it soon!


Find out more about Tracy on these sites:

FB: http://tinyurl.com/Tracy-Krauss-Author-Fanpage

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/TracyKrausswrtr

Link to an excerpt: http://tracykrauss.yolasite.com/wind-over-marshdale-first-chapters.php

Purchase links:

Tracy's Publisher Astraea Press , Amazon or Barnes and Noble

#SweetSat Sample - 23/06/12

This is another sample from my first book "Sweet Dreams, Miss England"

Nicky is my main character. She lives in London with her two young girls. She's just made friends with two Irish women (Siobhan & Erin) who are now in London to enjoy the sights with two of their friends (Daniel & Sasha)

On the way she saw a clock and decided that it was time to go home. She didn‘t like driving in the dark but, more importantly, she still had to get to her car using the underground, a rather unappealing thought and she was slightly annoyed for not having thought about that earlier.
On her way back to the group she bumped into Daniel when she was casually brushing off some crumbs from the chips she had been nibbling.

"You‘re making a habit out of this, Miss England," he said."It‘s not really my fault that you have a tendency to always be in my way, Mr. Callaghan."
Daniel laughingly shook his head. "By the way, thanks for a great day!"
"I don‘t believe that one bit. Going shopping all day must be a man‘s worst nightmare."
"I have a feeling it was for you as well. You don‘t come across as a big shopper. So thanks!"
Nicky blushed, but tried to cover it up by brushing the rest of the crumbs off her shirt. She felt his finger under her chin. He lifted it up gently and moved forward towards her. She heard his quiet words, "I could go shopping every day with a guide like you," and then he gently kissed her lips. Nicky‘s heart raced but instead of pulling away she opened her lips under his, inviting him to move ahead. For a very brief moment the world around her didn‘t exist and she was overwhelmed with a rush of emotions.





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Tag I'm it!

I've been tagged! Amazing author Leah Sanders challenged me to:

1. Go to page 77 of my manuscript.
2. Go to line 7.
3. Copy the next 7 lines/paragraphs.
4. Tag 7 other writers to do the same.

"Journey to Her Dreams"  page 77, line 7, 7 paragraphs:
 
It was a special time just for her and her dad. She went over to the window. Jeremy was outside chatting with Murray, who was already in his good clothes and waiting for Hollie. She went outside, and gave Jeremy a gentle kiss on the cheek.
“Hi. I didn’t expect you here at all,” she said. Jeremy gently put his arm around her and returned the kiss.
“I’d better leave you two to it,” Murray said with a smile and went back inside. “Remember we have to leave soon, love.”
Hollie smiled back at him. “Won’t be long, Dad.”
“I just wanted to put a little something under your Christmas tree. I hope you have one,” Jeremy said.
“Yes, I’ve just finished decorating it. Come on in.”
He smiled. “Just?”



My seven tags:

Kim Bowman :-)

Jeff Salters

Sandy Wolters

Ressa Empbra
 
Sherry Gloag
 
Nathasha Blackthorne
 
Brea Essex
 
 
Make sure you will leave me your link so I can read your excerpts as well  :-)

#SweetSat Sample - 16/06/12


This is a sample from my first book "Sweet Dreams, Miss England"

Nicky is my main character. She lives in London with two young girls. She's just made friends with two Irish women who are now in London to enjoy the sights with two of their -male- friends.


“Yes, that’s my husband.”
Daniel raised his eyebrows. “I had no idea, honestly. So he’s in the States and you’re living here with your kids?”
“Yes.”
“Do you still love him?”
Nicky hesitated. She was quite tempted to give him an honest answer, an answer she thought he deserved, but she had no idea where he was going with this questioning, so she lapsed back to her old self and put up her safety wall.
“This is none of your business.” Nicky was about to stand up when he took hold of her hand and held her back.
“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to upset you. I am really sorry,” he said.
She looked at him and knew he was sincere with his apology. “Sorry, Daniel. People have been digging into my private life for such a long time and so often, purely for gossip and financial reasons, it has become very difficult to trust people.”
Nicky sensed Daniel’s look on her. She was expecting him to comment on what had just been said, but he remained silent. It was an odd feeling, a feeling as though he was about to take her in his arms, but the moment soon passed. She was relieved, because the friendship and the trust that came with it were still too new. He was still holding her hand, though, and Nicky made no attempts to take it away. She liked to feel his gentle hands on hers.
“Love is such a big word,” she said. “People just use the word, without even thinking what it actually means. Most of us don’t even know what it means, until we’ve found our true love. ”
“My grandfather always says: ‘you know you're in love when you can't fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams.’”
Nicky smiled at the sentiment. “I think I might like your grandfather.” She was well aware of the fact that Daniel had caused her many sleepless nights over the last few weeks.


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Jojo Moyes - The Last Letter from Your Lover

Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton

ISBN: 978-0340961643

My rating: 2.5/5


THE LAST LETTER FROM YOUR LOVER

Winner of the 2011 RNA Book Of The Year Award
When journalist Ellie looks through her newspaper's archives for a story, she doesn't think she'll find anything of interest. Instead she discovers a letter from 1960, written by a man asking his lover to leave her husband and Ellie is caught up in the intrigue of a past love affair. Despite, or perhaps because of her own romantic entanglements with a married man.
In 1960, Jennifer wakes up in hospital after a car accident. She can't remember anything her husband, her friends, who she used to be. And then, when she returns home, she uncovers a hidden letter, and begins to remember the lover she was willing to risk everything for.
Ellie and Jennifer's stories of passion, adultery and loss are wound together in this richly emotive novel interspersed with real 'last letters'.
(JojoMoyes.com)
My thoughts

I wouldn't have a clue what to write. The first part was boring. It's confusing as well until you get the hang of the change between now and the 60s.

Ellie (the now part) finds an old letter in the library when the newspaper she works for moves to a different building. Then the story moves to the 60s and we read about the background of this letter - the affair between Jennifer Stirling and Tony O'Hare. An affair she cannot remember though, because of a car accident and a amnesia.

I didn't like any of the characters - except Rory. Wait, you really want me to tell you how he fits in?

Okay - the ending was kinda nice and moving when we get to read the "Happy Ending".

Catherine Bennett - The Trouble with Charlie

Publisher: Astraea Press
 
ISBN: currently only available as an ebook
 
My rating: 5/5
 
 
 
Love. Desire. A psycho bent on revenge. But can Charlie Reynolds recognize the most dangerous of the three?
 
Since being out on her own at eighteen, Charlotte “Charlie” Reynolds is a street-smart “good” girl who hides her desire for love and security behind her feisty and independent personality. She just never expected a more noxious hero than wealthy, self-consumed Evan Gardner, the CEO and founder of Valley Tech., a successful software company in Los Angeles. From the moment Evan rescues her from an apparent random attack, their attraction for each other bubbles just below the surface of all-out passion.  (astraeapress.com)
 
 
My thoughts
 
Loved it!
 
Charlie (Charlotte) is attacked by a stranger while on her morning run and Evan Gardner comes to the rescue. Sounds like a cliche doesn't it? Kinda is, but these two find their way together when he offers her the job as an Au-pair (which is the wrong term as it is a nanny job - but I don't wanna be cheeky here). He feels out of his depth the way she brings along a breath of fresh air into the house as she shows his little daughter to "live life". But Charlie and Evan struggle to give into their feelings, as friends as well as neighbours seem to throw in some obstacles.
 
Catherine Bennett writes a fast paced page turner, with beautiful dialogues and the "inner thoughts" don't slow down the story. It is well written! I had a giggle though at how often those characters fall asleep over 200+ pages.  All lose ends are nicely tight up together at the end and it leaves you with a "Awwww" and a smile on your face.
 
Give it go. You won't regret it!

Sweet Saturday Sample - 02/06/2012

Thanks for stopping by. I appreciate you all taking the time, especially as I know how busy we all are nowadays.

I hope you enjoy this week's little sample from my current book "Journey to Her Dreams".



Jeremy checked out the room. It had a touch of organised chaos to it, with magazines in one corner of the couch and the other side swamped with laundry. The single seater seemed to have all the mail on it, nicely sorted with little sticky notes, which, as he noticed on coming closer, had the due dates written on them. Jeremy choked back a smile and went over to the shelf. He was surprised by the variety of books and magazines. A lot of them were advertising related, but he also found a few books by Ruth Rendell, P.D. James, Caroline Graham and, as it seemed, the entire collection of the

Midsomer Murders series. There were also Dan Brown’s books, a few John Grishams and even Cecelia Ahern. What a mix. He found some photos amongst all the books as well. He laughed when he noted a photo of Hollie and Alex in school uniform. A photo sitting in the back corner caught his eye, and he thought he recognised a younger Murray, and assumed the woman by his side was Hollie’s mother.

“That’s my Mum,” Hollie said, all of a sudden by his side.
“She was beautiful,” he commented.
Hollie took the frame in her hand. “Yes, she was,” she whispered. Jeremy stared at her.
“Anyway,” she said, “let’s do the impossible and finish this application.”
Jeremy watched her as she carefully placed the frame back onto the shelf, in the back corner. “Why are you hiding it?”

“Hiding what?”
He nodded towards the shelf. “Your mum’s photo.”
She frowned as she protested. “I’m not hiding it.”
“Yes, you are.”
Hands on hips she met his gaze. “Excuse me, so you have a diploma in psychology, too? I’m not hiding it. I place it at the back. I have a tendency to feel guilty that my mum had to die so I could live. I merely place it in a spot where she’s close to me, but not always in my sight.”




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