Friday, May 31, 2013

Updated Book Review: DEAD WRONG - Just Released!!!

By: Connie Dial

From the Back Cover:

Captain Josie Corsino has selected Kyle Richards, a trusted and talented sergeant, to supervise a burglary task force in Hollywood division.  While working that special detail, Richards is involved in a fatal shooting.  He's reluctant to be candid about his relationship with the man he killed and that leads not only to uncovering his mysterious past but exposing Josie's division to notoriety and a fiery assault.
As detectives investigate the shooting, Josie's loyalty to her sergeant is second guessed by her bureau chief, civil rights activists, and even a few of her police officers.  Was the shooting justified or did Sergeant Richards have another reason for killing the unlikely burglary suspect?  Before that question can be answered, there's a brutal murder in Hollywood in which Richards appears to be the most likely suspect.  Josie wants to support her supervisor but finds herself questioning his actions and his motives.
Josie joins forces with Detective Red Behan and Lieutenant Marge Bailey to help solve the murder and determine if there is a link between the man Richards shot and the homicide victim.  The trail leads from a boxing gym in East LA to LAPD's office of the chief of police and finally back to Hollywood where Josie discovers corrupt cops thriving within her police station.
At home, Josie is becoming impatient and distant with her husband and her son who continue to make demands on her time.  She also finds herself drawn to Sergeant Richards, creating even greater domestic turmoil.

My Two Cents:

Strong female cop in charge, works hard to exonerate a fellow cop while struggling to believe he did not intentionally shot another cop, all the while fighting the urge to have a fling with him.  I liked the mystery, but was able to figure out the 'whodunnit' as the key players were introduced.  The ending was more of a "I knew it," and less "wow, that was a cool twist."  The relationship between Josie and her husband, Jake, was very touching, and I got the sense of a lifelong commitment, and the struggles that come up in any marriage. The love triangle never really materialized for me, and seemed underplayed.  I never really got the sense that Josie was all that close to crossing the line.

A good summer read, with an interesting mystery.

I give it    and a 

Thursday, May 30, 2013

The Most Amazing Thing

Every once in a while you come across a person that makes you smile…all the time.  They have an unlimited amount of charm, ooze personality, with the ability to turn even the most mundane into “laugh out loud” moments.  

I met that person 14 years ago today…

She was ready to enter the world, and waited for no one – not even her doctor.  She decided not to put her mother through the rigors of a long labor with hours of pushing (for which I am eternally grateful).  I was told to push, then immediately to hold my breath, and then introduced to 8lbs of pure joy – Courtney had arrived.

To say she has always been sassy is like saying women sort of like chocolate.  No matter what she was wearing, the girl would stand with her hand on her hip and a butt cheek hanging out of her diaper.  
No. Matter. What. 

Over the years, I became accustomed to people telling me Courtney was as sweet as honey, with a certain sparkle in her mischievous brown eyes.  Nothing could have prepared me for the end of her first week at preschool, when we walked in to a chorus of children singing, “COURTNEY!” and running towards us, all trying to be the first to give her a hug.  My generous little ringlet covered girl had a smile for every one of them.

Not much has changed…she held the title of Little Miss Personality for many years, and has now exchanged that for Miss Social Butterfly.  She is taking many upper level courses in school, but has already completed her degree in texting with a master’s in social media.  

I often wonder what tomorrow will bring.  I am so looking forward to first dates, prom, graduation.  And while all of that is great – I am sometimes melancholy wishing time would slow down so I can have my little girl for a while longer.  She is growing into such an amazing young woman…but I miss my sassy little hipster that was so proud of her butt… 

Every once in a while your life is touched - perhaps only for a brief moment - by someone who brings joy with the simplicity of a dimpled smile.  I have been blessed with that joy every day for the past 14 years…how lucky am I?


By: Lisa Jackson & Nancy Bush

From the Back Cover:

You Sense Him
Some refer to it as the Colony. To others, it’s a cult. But few locals in the Oregon coastal hamlet of Deception Bay have ever been invited to the inner sanctum of Siren Song. Even the sisters who live here, far from strangers who might recoil at their unnerving psychic abilities, don’t know all the terrors buried within its walls…

You Fear Him
Eight months into a surrogate pregnancy for her sister, Kristina, Detective Savannah Dunbar just wants to wrap up paperwork before taking medical leave. But her department’s investigation into a brutal double homicide has suddenly become much more complex—and personal. And now there are disturbing rumors about the Colony, its matriarch, and a long history of bitter secrets...

But You Can Never Stop Him
Death has come to Siren Song before. But this time there will be no refuge and no remorse. For everything born in wickedness must die that way—and a killer will not rest until he has claimed them all…

My Two Cents:

Loving sister becomes surrogate for sister and her husband, and then develops a crush on the baby daddy.  Oh, and a madman with the ability to make woman do whatever he wants because he can give them raging orgasms, is after Loving Sister.  I cringed when I started to read this, but it turned out to be another great story by Lisa Jackson, working with a co-conspirator (and her own sister), Nancy Bush.  It is two stories in one; that overlap expertly.  The love triangle (that really is not a love triangle), the murdering sex fiend, and the psychic women that live on a desolate sound weave together masterfully in this follow-on in the series.

I have to say that I was intrigued by the intimacy between Savvy and Hale, without so much as an inappropriate make-out session.  It was a little disturbing that any sex in the story involved the man who manipulated women into having sex with him, and not the couple who were falling in love.  All-in-all, it was a truly masterful murder mystery, with a disturbing look into the eyes of a murderer who, in seeking revenge, discovers the thrill of the kill is more satisfying than retribution.  

I give it      and a 

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Author Interview: Leslie Smith


Detective Veronica Sloan isn’t shocked by much. Having lived through the worst terrorist attacks in history—which destroyed much of Washington, D.C.—she’s immune to even the most vicious brutality. But even she is stunned by the discovery of a murder in the basement of the under-reconstruction White House. 

Because the victim was a participant in a top-secret experiment, Sloan and FBI Agent Jeremy Sykes have been assigned to investigate the homicide. Veronica has been training for just this kind of case, waiting to use her  special skills, anxious to learn if a recording device implanted in a victim’s head can help solve their murder….before the killer strikes again.

Meet Leslie:

Leslie A. Smith is a best-selling author who has written more than fifty novels under various pseudonyms. She lives in Maryland with her husband and their daughters. Visit her online at or

Let's chat:

LTSF: Your Character, Ronnie, is intriguing.  Is she based on someone in particular?

Leslie: No, Ronnie is straight out of my mind. I’ve always enjoyed really strong female characters and tend to write them that way. Having a background in romance, I’ve gotten used to writing strong, confident women and being able to make her not only strong but kick-ass was a lot of fun. 

LTSF: Don’t Look Away is the first book in the Veronica Sloan series.  Is this your first novel?

LESLIE: No! I’ve written and published many books—maybe fifty?—under my real name (Leslie Kelly) and under the pseudonym Leslie Parrish 

LTSF: This is a somewhat disturbing prophecy of what may come in the future.  Give us some insight as to how you came up with the idea using a horrific terrorist attack on the White House and other DC monuments?

LESLIE: I know this might sound strange, but it was a dream. I grew up in a town about 40 miles outside of Washington D.C. and loved taking the train down to the National Mall. One night, many years later when I was living in Florida, I woke up having had the most vivid dream. I was riding up one of the extremely long escalators, coming up from the D.C. Metro to the stop near the Smithsonian. And as I drew closer to the top, I saw that the sky was gray and smoky. Coming up into the day light, I looked around and most of the monuments and recognizable buildings were in flames or reduced to rubble. And while I was standing there, in shock, some men came racing up behind me, pushing me out of the way, saying they’d bombed the capital by using both Metro tunnels and the not-so-secret tunnel system beneath the White House. 
That dream really affected me. So much so that I sat down and wrote it all out. Later, I began playing around with using it to launch a book. It took several years to sell it and I went on to write and sell many other projects in the meantime. Traditional publishers were a little skittish about the subject matter. 
As it turns out, I ended up selling the series, on proposal, to a German publisher who’d published my Parrish books and wanted more. Having that safety net to write the book—and get paid—allowed me to just go for it, with an eye on indie-publishing it here in the U.S. afterward. And that’s exactly what I did. 

LTSF: Did you have any misgivings using a terrorist attack as a backdrop?  

LESLIE: No, I really didn’t. I spent a lot of time thinking about how the world changed so much after 9/11, and wondered how much more drastically it would change if something even more catastrophic were to strike the country. I liked the idea of an incident so affecting the entire country that our entire political system took a drastic turn, which then had a ripple effect throughout the world. As a writer, I sometimes have to shove aside things that make me personally uncomfortable in order to explore the stories I want to tell. 

LTSF: The use of technology in this book is both fascinating and chilling.  Are you tech savvy,  or was your knowledge more research based? 

LESLIE:  No, not tech savvy, I just like to read and research. And make stuff up…lol!

LTSF: Did the ideas of the microchip and ocular recording device come from your imagination, or was it based on research?

LESLIE: The microchipping has been a no-brainer to me since I had my dog microchipped in 2002. It just seemed a very simple leap that someday, somebody would want to start chipping their kids or the elderly, and that law enforcement might then like the idea of chipping people to keep track of the movements of criminals. It just seemed like an endless—and terrifying—possibility to me. And, frankly, still does. 
The O.E.P. device was just something that popped into my head as I was plotting. It seemed futuristic but not “woo-woo” paranormal, which was something I wanted to avoid with this series. 

LTSF: In developing characters, there is a lot of information authors have about their characters that never makes it onto the page.  What don’t we know about Ronnie, Mark, and Jeremy?

LESLIE: Ooh, what an interesting question! Hmm…well, Ronnie was closest to her brother, Drew, who was killed on the Metro train on 10/20. The two of them were very close in age—Irish twins, less than one year apart. He was a jovial, funny guy, and brought out Ronnie’s lighter side. 

Daniels has been married twice. His first marriage was a teenage-pregnancy one, but his young wife had miscarried and they split up. His second wife is still in love with him, and they maintain a friendship, but he feels only friendship for her. 

Jeremy is a silver-spoon guy. His family is super rich and expected him to be a senator at the very least. They’re going to cause some trouble in the future because Ronnie is definitely not the type of woman they envision being with their golden boy. 

LTSF: This book has just been released, yet I see you are already working on the next book in the series.  When can we expect the next installment to hit the shelves, or e-readers?

LESLIE: Book 2, titled DON’T EVER STOP, will be coming out in July. It will be available in e-formats, as well as in print in a trade-sized paperback. 

LTSF: While you are hard at work on the next Veronica Sloan thriller, do you have time to read?  If so, what are you reading currently?

LESLIE: I read every single night. I can’t fall asleep without spending at least an hour reading in bed. I tend to go through binges where I’ll glom (or, often, re-glom) my favorite authors. I’m on a John Irving kick right now. Just finished re-reading, for about the seventh time, A PRAYER FOR OWEN MEANY, which was a Kindle Daily Deal a few weeks ago. Even though I have all his books in hardcover, I then went in and started buying Kindle backlist and am currently reading THE CIDER HOUSE RULES. I have also been on a non-fiction kick and about a month ago went through probably ten books about the Tudor era. It’s one of my favorite historical periods. Who knows what I’ll latch onto next month? Sometimes it’s suspense, sometimes romance, probably my favorite genre is horror. 

LTSF: Thanks so much for your time, Leslie. We are looking forward to the next Veronica Sloan thriller.

LESLIE: Thank you! I so appreciate the chance to talk about my books and am so glad you enjoyed DON’T LOOK AWAY. 

Now for the Tease from Don't Look Away:

She scrolled to the last ten minutes of Leanne Carr’s life, highlighted the entire list of images—six-hundred of them—drew them into a slideshow and set the speed on its slowest setting. For now, she wanted to see each picture individually, to note and interpret each impression. Later, she’d speed things up and watch the events closer to real-time. 

Obviously, people didn’t go through their lives capturing visual images only every second. The human brain processed what the  eye saw much faster than that. The average movie, for instance, displayed roughly twenty-four frames per second. So seeing the quickest possible progression of a series of still images recorded from someone’s eyes made the experience seem more lifelike—and less like a series of drawings in one of those old-fashioned cartoon flip-books.

For right now, though, the one-by-one approach would be best for noting specific clues. It would also be easier on her, would allow her to build one small wall of separation between herself and the victim, to remind her brain that these were pictures of something that had happened in the past, not something she was truly experiencing right now.

She needed to dip her toe into this icy cold pool of death, not dive into the deep end.
Ronnie grabbed the remote control, then swiveled her chair, too filled with tension to even regret having moved fast enough to jiggle her aching head. Sykes did the same thing, scooting his chair closer to hers until they sat side by side. Ronnie looked at him, silently asking a question, and he nodded that he was ready.

She clicked the Start button and the lights in the room immediately went down, the better to see the projected images before them. A pause as tense expectation filled the air, and her heart began to beat in time with each screen change.

The movie of Leanne’s mind began. 

See my review 

Get It Here

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Book Review: Hunted

By: Jaycee Clark

From the Back Cover:

Sins can be buried, but they’re never forgotten . . .

Morgan Gaelord has lived with the knowledge of her past and the fear of her secret for years. No one knows the truth behind her nightmares in the hellish Czech Republic underground, and they never will. She’s carved a life for herself, helping her brothers run the family antiquities business. Nothing and no one is taking this slice of contentment away from her.

Lincoln Blade III, owner of the premier Blade Jewelers, has put his past behind him. Retired from his days with InterPol and undercover operations, he’s enjoying the corporate side of life. He’s spent years in the cesspools of society, helping the lucky escape, and he has no intention of being dragged back.

But someone from both their pasts changes that. Women who escaped the world of sex slaves are being hunted and eliminated. When the victims are linked to Blade and his past, he’s forced back into a role he’d vowed to leave behind, and both he and Morgan must trust each other before the killer reaches his final target.

My Two Cents:

A young woman kidnapped and thrust into the world of sex slavery, physically rescued from hell, only to find freedom of body does not always equate to freedom of mind, heart, and soul.  Add to that the ruthless kidnapper who cannot seem to let her go, vows to find her, and then kill her – this is a scary book!  This is not a book you want to read as you are travelling abroad on vacation with your girlfriends.

I was captivated by this story even though it scared the crap out of me, and made me want to reconsider going overseas…most definitely will not be going to the Czech Republic anytime soon!  The daring rescue was just the tip of the iceberg.  The real suspense came in accompanying Morgan on a journey of inner turmoil as she tried to readjust to life.  Her shame that made it impossible to tell her family what she had endured; her family demanding answers of where she had been, why she had not called, while attempting to decipher the cryptic messages of her horrifying nightmares tore at my heart, and produced a few tears.

And just when you think Morgan may find peace; the sadistic pimp decides to reclaim her.  The thrills and chills in this book intensified as it went along.  Big kudos for not making the pimp some rotten-toothed, beer-gut, stinky guy.  I think he was portrayed perfectly as an Adonis - a lesson in judging a book by its cover.  Linc was the epitome of perfect protector.  Morgan redefined ‘the strength of women’.

I give this    and a 

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Book Review: The Rose Throne

By: Mettie Ivie Harrison

From the Back Cover:

Ailsbet loves nothing more than music; tall and red-haired, she's impatient with the artifice and ceremony of her father's court. Marlissa adores the world of her island home and feels she has much to offer when she finally inherits the throne from her wise, good-tempered father. The trouble is that neither princess has the power--or the magic--to rule alone, and if the kingdoms can be united, which princess will end up ruling the joint land? For both, the only goal would seem to be a strategic marriage to a man who can bring his own brand of power to the throne. But will either girl be able to marry for love? And can either of these two princesses, rivals though they have never met, afford to let the other live?

My Two Cents:

This is a deeply imaginative story, of two distinctly different young women, their upbringing, their duty to their countries, and their true loves.  Each has her own unique power.  The two young women, thrust together by the decisions of their fathers, eventually become friends and confidants.  The story touches on various levels of love; love of country and duty, love of power, love of music, and love for one another.  

The explanation of the various countries in this world was easy to visualize once the vocabulary became second nature.  I could see the land bridge that separated the two kingdoms, and feel the fury of the ocean and how it affected those with powers.  I was intrigued by the people without powers, the ‘unweyrs’, and how they were the only ones that easily traversed the lands.  So, in the end, even they had powers.  

This is a great story for young adults.  The romance is sweet, yet powerful.  It also shows that sometimes true power lies in not having power at all, and strength lies in knowing when to give power up.  I appreciated that Ailsbet’s “true love” was something beyond romance with another – and that it was her deep devotion to music that guided her decisions, and her heart.

I give it      and 

Friday, May 10, 2013

Book Review: DEAD ANYWAY

A Mystery/Thriller
By: Chris Knopf

From the Back Cover:

Imagine this: You have a nice life.  You love your beautiful, successful wife.  You're an easygoing guy working out of your comfortable Connecticut home.  The world is an interesting, pleasant place.
Then in seconds, it's all gone.  You're still alive, but the world thinks you're dead.  And now you have to decide.  Make it official, or go after the evil that took it all away from you.
Arthur Cathcart, market researcher and occasional finder of missing persons, decides to live on and fight, by doing what he knows best - figuring things out, without revealing his status as a living, breathing human being.  Much easier said than done in the post-9/11 world, where everything about yourself and all the tools you need to live a modern life are an open book.  How do you become a different person, how do you finance an elaborate scheme without revealing yourself?  How do you force a reckoning with the worst people on earth, as a dead man?

My Two Cents:

Computer nerd marries hot woman who does not care about the excess baggage around his waist.  Both are highly successful in their respective careers, and life is good.  Until its not.  Waking after a long recovery from a gunshot wound to the head, Cathcart sets out to avenge his wife’s death.  

Knopf is the master of no frills language.  He tells it like it is, and is able to produce an interesting story line without any flowery language at all.  It is to the point, and his extensive research is obvious throughout the novel.  I enjoyed his dry wit, and found myself laughing and snickering at Cathcart’s internal dialogue, and external expressions.  I wish there had not been quite the “data dump” at the conclusion, wanting to have had more insight along the way, without the big “and this is why it happened” moment.  I have to admit; I did have a couple of different people in mind as the “bad guy” and was somewhat surprised when the truth was revealed. 

If I could make one request, please, for the rest of us mere mortal women, add a flaw to Natsumi!  I wanted to love her (read that as BE her), with her cool, calm demeanor and ability to just go with the flow, but she is just too perfect.  

I give it    Half Thumb.gif and a 

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Book Review: Don't Look Away

By: Leslie A. Smith



Detective Veronica Sloan isn’t shocked by much. Having lived through the worst terrorist attacks in history—which destroyed much of Washington, D.C.—she’s immune to even the most vicious brutality. But even she is stunned by the discovery of a murder in the basement of the under-reconstruction White House. 

Because the victim was a participant in a top-secret experiment, Sloan and FBI Agent Jeremy Sykes have been assigned to investigate the homicide. Veronica has been training for just this kind of case, waiting to use her  special skills, anxious to learn if a recording device implanted in a victim’s head can help solve their murder….before the killer strikes again.


So, I was a little thrown at first, since the victim in this story shares my name, down to the correct spelling (which is not common).  Once I got past that, this was an exceptionally compelling story.  The premise behind it, set in the future, after a terrorist attack that makes 9/11 look like it was planned by school kids, the country goes on super high alert, implanting its citizens with microchips containing vital (and very personal) stats.  Some of the chosen few become part of an experimental program, OEP, which implants an ocular recording device on their eye.  When the gruesome murder of my namesake, also a participant in the OEP program, is discovered in the basement of the “under construction” White House, Veronica “Ronnie” Sloan is called in to go through the victim’s recordings.  Along for the ride, is her almost stereotypical cop partner, Mark Daniels, who may (or may not) be secretly in love with her.  When Sloan is also attacked, and left for dead, her nemesis-that-she-lusts-after, Jeremy Sykes, is called in to help with the investigation.

When I started reading this story, I was almost disappointed because I thought I had called it within about the first quarter of the book.  Boy, was I wrong.  Ms. Smith does an excellent job of revealing hints along the way, without giving too much away.  If you want mystery, intrigue, strong characters, and an almost frightening look at a potential future for this country, you will not be disappointed with this book!  Looking forward to the next installment in the Veronica Sloan series.

I give it:
     and a