Wednesday, November 30, 2016

High Heat and Fat Fridays {+ Giveaway}


Boy, do I have two different types of audiobooks to tell you about today. So, here goes. Be sure to check the end of the post for an awesome giveaway.

HIGH HEAT by Richard Castle
◊ Series: A Nikki Heat Novel, Book #8
◊ Narrator: Robert Petkoff
Audio CD
◊ Listening Length: 10 hours and 15 minutes
◊ Program Type: Audiobook
◊ Genre: Mystery, Thriller
◊ Version: Unabridged
◊ Publisher: Hachette Original Audio
◊ Release Date: October 25, 2016
◊ Language: English
◊ ASIN: BO1LYSD79X
ISBN-10: 1478971509
ISBN-13: 978-1478971504

SYNOPSIS:

An ISIS-style beheading of a journalist, carried out by a New York City group pledging fealty to that rogue state, becomes more than just another case for NYPD Captain Nikki Heat when the killers announce their next target: her husband, magazine writer Jameson Rook.
Meanwhile, Heat is haunted by a fleeting glimpse of someone she swears is her mother... a woman who has been dead for nearly twenty years.

Castle may have ended on TV but the adventures of Nikki Heat continues.

Narrator Robert Petkoff does a great job of bringing the various characters to life. His tone and tempo enhance the suspense of the story. He delivers the lines with emotion and flare.

The story moves at a good pace. There are a few twists along the way as the story unfolds. While you may guess the identity of the villain, it’s an interesting journey to find out for sure.

The setting will hold your attention, as will the headlining plot. The story doesn’t seem to have the same pop previous installments have, but it’s will an intriguing story.

While the appearance of Nikki’s dead other is a unique twist, mystery readers/listeners understand in a mystery dead is never really dead. If you’re a fan of Castle, you’ll want to be sure to add HIGH HEAT to your library collection.

High Heat by Richard Castle, Nikki Heat series (Book #8), Narrated by Robert Petkoff, Hachette Original Audio, @2016, ISBN: 978-1478971504, Unabridged, 8 CDs, Run Time: 10 Hours and 15 Minutes

FTC Full Disclosure – A copy of this audio book was sent to me by the publisher. However, receiving the complimentary copy did not influence my review. The thoughts are completely my own and given honestly and freely.

FAT FRIDAYS by Judith Keim
◊ Series: Fat Fridays Group, Book #1
◊ Narrator: Joyce Bean
MP3 CD
◊ Listening Length: 10 hours and 3 minutes
◊ Program Type: Audiobook
◊ Genre: Romance, Women’s Fiction
◊ Version: Unabridged
◊ Publisher: Brilliance Audio
◊ Release Date: November 8, 2016
◊ Language: English
◊ ASIN: BO1M27BTM5
ISBN-10: 1531864090
ISBN-13: 978-1531864095

SYNOPSIS:

When Sukie’s husband shacks up with her Pilates instructor, her domestic drama becomes the talk of her small Georgia town. Friends from her married life prove fickle, and Sukie hides at home, terrified of encountering the town gossips at the grocery store. Betsy, Sukie’s neighbor, invites her to join “Fat Fridays,” a weekly gathering at a local café where the women order whatever they crave―no calories counted. Over sausage pizza and sage advice, Sukie gets a grip on her new life and learns to love her freedom.
Judith Keim’s warm, funny novel offers moving glimpses into each of the five women’s very different lives. As they struggle to deal with cruel exes, frustrating families, and forbidden love, the women offer one another the kind of friendship that is as rich and nurturing as their Friday feasts


This is a story of friendship, hope, and new beginnings.

Narrator Joyce Bean does an excellent job giving each character their own unique sound. Her accents and cadence are spot on. She holds your attention from beginning to end with her clarity and energetic voicings. She handles the varying emotions with great ease.

Author Judith Keim has crafted wholesome characters readers/listeners can relate to. The characters are well-developed, realistic, and easy to like. The bond of friendship that grows between the group of unlikely women speaks volumes for how individuals sometimes come together when you least expect it.

The small-town setting enhances the story giving it a friendly feel. The story moves quickly changing to different members of the group with each chapter in a smooth continuous flow.

The story speaks to the heart of how everyone has problems and how friendships help us weather those troubles. With a mix of humor, romance, a touch of mystery, and loads of loyalty, this is a great start to a fun new series.

FAT FRIDAYS is a nurturing look at how a group of friends care about each other and face the world head on.

Fat Fridays by Judith Keim, Fat Fridays Group series (Book #1), Narrated by Joyce Bean, Brilliance Audio, @2016, ISBN: 978-1531864095, Unabridged, MP3 CD, Run Time: 10 Hours and 4 Minutes

FTC Full Disclosure – A copy of this audio book was sent to me by the publisher. However, receiving the complimentary copy did not influence my review. The thoughts are completely my own and given honestly and freely.


Thanks to Mitch and the wonderful folks at Hachette Audio, I have three (3) audio copies of HIGH HEAT to giveaway. The giveaway is open to residents of the U.S. only and will end at 12 a.m. (EST) on Thursday, Dec. 8.

To enter the giveaway, just click on the Rafflecopter widget below and follow the instructions. The widget may take a few seconds to load so please be patient. A winner will be selected by the Rafflecopter widget and I’ll send an email with the subject line “Thoughts in Progress Giveaway.” The winner will have 72 hours to reply to the email or another winner will be selected. PLEASE be sure to check your spam folder from time to time after the giveaway ends to make sure the notification email doesn’t end up there. If you win and you’ve already won the book somewhere else or you just decided for whatever reason you don’t want to win (which is fine), once again PLEASE let me know.

Thanks so much for stopping by today. Are you a fan of Castle? Do you miss the show? Have you ever been or are you a member of a group like Fat Fridays? If you’ve not tried audiobooks before, now’s a great time to start. Just enter the giveaway.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Duke of Pleasure {+ More}


I’m excited to be a part of the Launch Day Blitz for DUKE OF PLEASURE by Elizabeth Hoyt!  This is the 11th book in her bestselling and beloved Maiden Lane series and tells us Alf’s story.

◊DUKE OF PLEASURE
◊by Elizabeth Hoyt
◊The Maiden Lane Series, Book #11
◊Grand Central Publishing (November 29, 2016)
◊Mass Market

IN THE ARMS OF DANGER
Bold. Brave. Brutally handsome. Hugh Fitzroy, the Duke of Kyle, is the king's secret weapon. Sent to defeat the notorious Lords of Chaos, he is ambushed in a London alley-and rescued by an unlikely ally: a masked stranger with the unmistakable curves of a woman.

IN THE HEAT OF DESIRE
Cocky. Clever. Courageously independent. Alf has survived on the perilous streets of St. Giles by disguising her sex. By day she is a boy, dealing in information and secrets. By night she's the notorious Ghost of St. Giles, a masked vigilante. But as she saves Hugh from assassins, she finds herself succumbing to temptation . . .

ONE KISS WILL CHANGE THEIR LIVES FOREVER
When Hugh hires Alf to investigate the Lords of Chaos, her worlds collide. Once Hugh realizes that the boy and the Ghost are the same, will Alf find the courage to become the woman she needs to be-before the Lords of Chaos destroy them both?

DUKE OF PLEASURE is available to purchase at the following sites: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iBooks, Google, Kobo, and IndieBound.

Elizabeth graciously answered some questions about her writing. Welcome, Elizabeth.

Do you have a ritual you follow when writing (like a favorite space or time of day)?

Elizabeth: 
I write in the morning when I’m fresh with two dogs in my lap and a cup of coffee by my side.

What is the worst advice you've ever been given concerning writing?

Elizabeth:
Historical romance heroines should never be over twenty-two. This was from a published writer who had read the first chapter of the then unpublished The Raven Prince, which has a heroine who is pushing thirty. I ignored her.

What type of reading do you do for pleasure?

Elizabeth:
Mysteries, thrillers, paranormal romance, contemporary romance, literary fiction, and nonfiction. At the moment I’m reading Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency by Douglas Adams because apparently I never read it in the 1980s. ;-)
 
Are you working on any new projects at the moment?

Elizabeth:
Oh, always! I’m writing the twelfth and final Maiden Lane book right now, Duke of Desire. It’ll be out August 2017.
 
Elizabeth, thanks for joining us and sharing this insight into your writing. It's always fun to learn more about an author.
Elizabeth Hoyt is the New York Times bestselling author of over seventeen lush historical romances including the Maiden Lane series.

Publishers Weekly has called her writing "mesmerizing." She also pens deliciously fun contemporary romances under the name Julia Harper.

Elizabeth lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota, with three untrained dogs, a garden in constant need of weeding, and the long-suffering Mr. Hoyt.

For more on Elizabeth and her writing, visit her website and connect with her on Twitter and Facebook.

Be sure to add DUKE OF PLEASURE to your shelf on Goodreads.

******SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT*******


WICKED INTENTIONS is now FREE for a limited time!

The eBook edition of WICKED INTENTIONS, the first book in Elizabeth’s bestselling Maiden Lane series will be FREE from now through December 12 wherever you purchase eBooks! 

This is a great opportunity to get started on Elizabeth’s signature series and/or introduce friends to the series! On December 13, the price returns to $5.99.

You find the book at these sites: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iBooks, Google, and Kobo.

Thanks for stopping by today. Doesn’t this sound intriguing, a woman pretending to be a boy by day and a vigilante by night? 


Monday, November 28, 2016

Alexandra Sokoloff ... Not a Romance Writer?


It’s a pleasure today to welcome award-winning thriller author Alexandra Sokoloff to Thoughts in Progress to talk about her latest release, BITTER MOON, the fourth installment in her The Huntress/FBI Thriller series.

Alexandra will be talking about not being a romance writer. By the way, her series also includes: Huntress Moon, Blood Moon and Cold Moon. And now, the long awaited fourth in the series – Bitter Moon!

BITTER MOON by Alexandra Sokoloff
◊ Series: The Huntress/FBI Thriller, Book 4
◊ Paperback: 464 pages
◊ Publisher: Thomas & Mercer (November 1, 2016)
◊ Language: English
◊ ISBN-10: 1503940365
◊ ISBN-13: 978-1503940369

FBI agent Matthew Roarke has been on leave, and in seclusion, since the capture of mass killer Cara Lindstrom—the victim turned avenger who preys on predators. Torn between devotion to the law and a powerful attraction to Cara and her lethal brand of justice, Roarke has retreated from both to search his soul. But Cara’s escape from custody and a police detective’s cryptic challenge soon draw him out of exile—into the California desert and deep into Cara’s past—to probe an unsolved murder that could be the key to her long and deadly career.
Following young Cara’s trail, Roarke uncovers a horrifying attack on a schoolgirl, the shocking suicide of another, and a human monster stalking Cara’s old high school. Separated by sixteen years, crossing paths in the present and past, Roarke and fourteen-year-old Cara must race to find and stop the sadistic sexual predator before more young women are brutalized.

Please join me in giving a warm welcome to Alexandra as she talks about her writing. Welcome, Alexandra.

I am not a romance writer. I always say that, despite the fact that:

a)    I’ve written two books in the paranormal KEEPERS series, with romance goddess Heather Graham and Harley Jane Kozak, and –
b)    I’ve written a popular writing workbook on how to write romantic comedy and love stories: WRITING LOVE (Screenwriting Tricks for Authors, II), and -
c)     I met my own romantic partner, the Scottish noir author Craig Robertson, at the Left Coast Crime mystery convention in Colorado Springs, and one whirlwind romantic month later was living in Scotland with him. How’s that for romance?

I also have to admit, I’ve hung around the romance communities quite a lot, at RWA Nationals and Romantic Times, and often teach workshops for chapters of the Romance Writers of America.

So even though my current, Thriller Award-nominated, bestselling Huntress Moon series is very dark crime/suspense, I am well aware that one of the strongest draws of the series, if not the strongest, is the erotic/romantic tension between my haunted FBI agent, Matthew Roarke, and the brutal but compelling serial killer he’s pursuing, the Huntress.  Many of my readers “ship” the characters, hoping for a hookup even though given the circumstances, it would probably mean the death of one or the other or both.

But there’s something extra delicious about romantic longing in the midst of danger and darkness, isn’t there? I’ve always been a big fan of simmering, often unresolved erotic tension between tortured detectives — Val McDermid’s Tony Hill and Carol Jordan, and Craig Robertson’s Tony Winter and Rachel Narey, and of course Scully and Mulder, being favorite examples.

Characters in the blockbuster horror TV series The Walking Dead, to which I am hopelessly addicted! — not only hook up, get married, and have children (or at least are pouring the Bisquick intending to make pancakes…) – TWD characters are probably shipped by fans more than any other movie or TV show ever.

Roarke and the Huntress/Cara are a little different than the other pairings I’ve name above, because Roarke, as a lawman, and Cara, as a killer, are supposedly on opposite sides of the moral battle against evil. But are they really? (Anything more than that would be a spoiler for the mystery, so you’ll have to read and decide for yourself).

Personally, I look at them as two halves of the same person. Or really, of the same soul. It’s a very romantic notion, the Platonic idea that each human being is half of one complete soul that has been split apart, and we spend our lives searching for our other half. If you believe that, you can well imagine how almost violently those two halves might struggle to find and join with each other, despite all odds, obstacles, and sense. So I think of Roarke and Cara as two halves of the same soul that are magnetized to each other; they can’t help themselves, even though actually uniting could destroy them both. 

And the other part of Roarke’s and Cara’s natures is that they are fighters, and they’re fighting the same battle, by very different rules. Together they are a powerful crime fighting team, and I find that very sexy and compelling.

So, I may not be a romance writer, but — romantic? I can cop to that! -         Alexandra Sokoloff

SALE ALERT:  This month you can get the first three Huntress books on Amazon US for just $1.99 each: Huntress Moon, Blood Moon, and Cold Moon.  Amazon Prime members can read Book 1, Huntress Moon, for free.
Huntress Moon:  http://hyperurl.co/xtajck
Blood Moon: hyperurl.co/sa8i03
Cold Moon:  hyperurl.co/fehyh8

Alexandra, thanks for joining us today and sharing this insight into your writing. I think a little romance goes a long way no matter the genre you’re reading (or writing). Great sale too!

Now for those who aren’t familiar with Alexandra, here’s a bit of background on her.

Author Alexandra Sokoloff
Alexandra Sokoloff is the Thriller Award-winning and Bram Stoker, Anthony, and Black Quill Award-nominated author of the supernatural thrillers The Harrowing, The Price, The Unseen, Book of Shadows, The Shifters, and The Space Between; The Keepers paranormal series, and the Thriller Award-nominated, Amazon bestselling Huntress/FBI Thriller series (Huntress Moon, Blood Moon, Cold Moon), which has been optioned for television. She has also written three non-fiction workbooks: Stealing Hollywood, Screenwriting Tricks for Authors, and Writing Love, based on her internationally acclaimed workshops and blog (www.ScreenwritingTricks.com), and has served on the Board of Directors of the WGA, West (the screenwriters union) and the board of the Mystery Writers of America.

Alex is a California native and a graduate of U.C. Berkeley, where she majored in theater and minored in everything Berkeley has a reputation for. She lives in Los Angeles and in Scotland, with Scottish crime author Craig Robertson.

For more on Alexandra and her writing, visit her website or blog and connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and Pinterest.

You can find The Huntress/FBI Thriller series on Amazon.

Thanks for stopping by today during Alexandra’s visit. Do you think when opposites attract, they make a good pairing? Do you like the tension and romance that comes from such a couple?

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving and a Photo to Ponder



Throughout the U.S., today people are gathering with family and friends to celebrate Thanksgiving.

There are many traditions and rituals observed today among them the overeating of food, watching football and preparing for an all-day shopping adventure to come tomorrow. Others take the time to relax and quietly reflect on what they’re thankful for.

Whatever you’re doing today or planning to do, I wish you a day of joy and love. I am so very thankful to have all of you as blogging friends.

With so much going on today and tomorrow (can’t forget Black Friday), I’m planning on being offline until Monday. I’ll be checking emails and I might even try to post a couple of reviews, but if I don’t just know I’m thinking of y’all and I’ll be back to posting on Monday.

Wishing everyone a safe and HAPPY THANKSGIVING. For my friends that aren’t celebrating, I wish you a safe and joyous weekend too!!

I’ll close with a beautiful sunrise over a dry lake bed. I’ve been told this dry lake bed would make the perfect setting for a story about an apocalyptic event. What do y’all think? Does it inspire a story you’d like to share?


Wednesday, November 23, 2016

The Dare and The Doctor {+Giveaway}


It’s a pleasure to be a part of the blog tour for THE DARE AND THE DOCTOR by Kate Noble, third in her Winner Takes All series.

As part of the tour, you can enter to win books 1 through 3. You can enter to win at all participating blogs but you can only win once.

◊THE DARE AND THE DOCTOR
◊by Kate Noble
◊A Winner Takes All Novel, Book #3
◊Pocket Books
◊Pub date: November 22, 2016
◊ISBN: 9781476749402
◊Price: $7.99
◊Mass Market Paperbound

A thrilling and absorbing tale about two people who find so much safety in each other that they’re able to take the biggest risk of their lives. Not to be missed.” Kirkus Reviews (STARRED REVIEW, The Dare and the Doctor)

“Noble asks “Can men and women just be friends?” in the third Winner Takes All installment, and the answer is an enchanting tale filled with poignancy and wit…readers will be caught up in the plot as the hero and heroine’s letters reveal more and more about themselves and their relationship…secondary characters enhance the storyline and propel the romance. Noble crafts a lovely, easy-to-read story.” — RT (FOUR STAR REVIEW, The Dare and the Doctor)

“With her usual witty writing and exquisite flair for characterization, Noble offers [The Lie and the Lady]. The effortless manner in which she wrote. The Lie and the Lady as a separate love story while at the same time gracefully connecting it to The Game and the Governess and cleverly hinting at what is to come in the series is nothing less than brilliant.” Booklist (STARRED REVIEW, The Lie and the Lady)

National bestselling author Kate Noble’s THE DARE AND THE DOCTOR lures readers back to the dazzling, irresistible Winner Takes All Regency Romance series.

Margaret Babcock has always been content with her quiet life in the country. But every now and then, she feels the urge to spread her wings. Her late mother used to whisper, “What’s the worst that could happen?” at the start of an adventure, and now Margaret’s continuing the tradition.
So when Dr. Rhys Gray, her longtime correspondent on matters botanical, invites her to speak to the London Horticultural Society about her new rose hybrid, she accepts. She’s excited about her first visit to London, but even more so about getting to see her friend Dr. Gray. When she arrives, Rhys is eager to show her the wonders of the city, and the two spend many happy hours together just as friends, of course!
But would friends miss each other quite as fiercely when they’re apart; or feel such a spark when they’re together? Margaret finds that friendship with Rhys is much more complicated than she’d imagined … especially when it turns out her friend has forgotten that he may be promised to another woman.

About the author

Author Kate Noble
Kate Noble is the national bestselling author of The Lie and the Lady, The Game and the Governess, third in the witty, sexy Winner Takes All Regency Series, and the critically acclaimed, RITA Award-nominated Blue Raven series.

Under the name Kate Rorick, she writes for television, as well as novels based on the Emmy Award-winning web series The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, for which she is also a writer and producer.

She lives in Los Angeles. For more on Kate and her writing visit her at katenoble.com, and connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.

Praise for the Winner Takes All Series

“With her usual witty writing and exquisite flair for characterization, Noble offers [The Lie and the Lady]. The effortless manner in which she wrote. The Lie and the Lady as a separate love story while at the same time gracefully connecting it to The Game and the Governess and cleverly hinting at what is to come in the series is nothing less than brilliant.” Booklist (STARRED REVIEW, The Lie and the Lady)

“After a scandalous escapade with John, a commoner she thought was the Earl of Ashby. Letitia returns to England as the fiancée of a somewhat older, titled widower- only to find out that her new home is right in John’s backyard . . . heartwarming.” — Publishers Weekly (The Lie and the Lady)

“The Earl of Ashby trades places with his friend and secretary in order to prove he can win a woman without the benefit of his title in The Game and the Governess…It’s a delicious treat to watch Ned grow from earl to man, and see the stalwart Phoebe get everything she deserves.” Bookpage (TOP PICK IN ROMANCE, The Game and the Governess)

“The subtle development of romance between the devil-may-care earl and the proper governess is the impetus behind this winning novel, complete with rich characters and a multi-dimensional plotline.” — Publishers Weekly (STARRED REVIEW, Best Summer Romance pick, The Game and the Governess)

Tour Schedule

You can follow Kate’s tour (and increase your chances of winning) by visiting any or all the blogs listed below:

REVIEWS:

FEATURE POSTS:

WINNER TAKES ALL GIVEAWAY!
To celebrate the third in the Winner Takes All series, THE DARE AND THE DOCTOR, we are hosting a giveaway and the WINNER will TAKE ALL books in the series: The Game and the GovernessThe Lie and the Lady and The Dare and the Doctor! Please note, you can enter at all participating blogs but you can only win once. The giveaway is open to residents of the U.S. only and will end at 12 a.m. (EST) on Thursday, Dec. 1

To enter the giveaway, just click on the Rafflecopter widget below and follow the instructions. The widget may take a few seconds to load so please be patient. A winner will be selected by the Rafflecopter widget and I’ll send an email with the subject line “Thoughts in Progress Giveaway.” The winner will have 72 hours to reply to the email or another winner will be selected.

PLEASE be sure to check your spam folder from time to time after the giveaway ends to make sure the notification email doesn’t end up there. If you win and you’ve already won the book somewhere else or you just decided for whatever reason you don’t want to win (which is fine), once again PLEASE let me know.

Thanks for stopping by today. Don’t these book covers catch your attention quickly? Do you like the idea of winning all the books in the series at once?