Guest Post: Author Jon Land




THE LITTLE SCREEN, LITTLE NO MORE
by Jon Land


You know, it’s funny.  I’m a screenwriter as well as a novelist and have always gleamed a lot of my inspiration for both mediums from great storytelling as portrayed on film.  And it’s great writing that makes for great storytelling.  I can’t count even count how many times I’ve watched The Godfather, Chinatown, The Usual Suspects.  I can recite lines from those films and countless others ad infinitum.  But not lately.  Nope, not hardly.

That’s because in a pop culture paradigm shift television, once the bastard stepchild of entertainment media, has easily surpassed film when it comes to the quality of the writing and, thus, storytelling.  I can’t explain when or why exactly this has occurred, other than to say the Hollywood film factory seems to require at least ten different screenwriters polishing or rewriting this, that and the other thing to the point where the integrity of the tale they’re telling is lost.  You just can’t have that many hands stirring the pot.  It doesn’t work.  Never did, never will, in stark contrast to television where the executive producer/head writer is the king.  Want proof?  Okay, here’s a look at where you can find it.

1)  BREAKING BAD:  Maybe the best written and told show in television history.  Dark and humanizing while it’s relentlessly suspenseful and character driven.  Bryan Cranston’s Walter White character is the show’s amoral center to spectacular results.  A now bad guy redeemed only by the endless parade of even worse bad guys with whom he’s forced to contend.  No television series has ever boasted so many classic episodes and pitch perfect writing.

2)  MAD MEN:  The cutthroat world of advertising has never been portrayed better and there has never been a show with such sharply defined and distinctive leads whose ambition is exceeded only by their self-loathing.  Don Draper offers a fresh side of a different coin from Walter White.  But what does it say where, for all his flaws, Don has evolved into the show’s moral conscience.  MAD MEN, with its spot on depiction of corporate greed and infighting, takes us back to the 60s to teach us about who we are today.

3)  HOMELAND:  Two seasons in, it just doesn’t get any better than this.  Clare Danes and Mandy Patinkin manage to extract Emmy-winning performances from every minute of screentime.  The show is a masterful character study as well as magnificent puzzle, giving the viewer credit for the kind of intelligence that stopped being a factor for the film industry even before the last turgid installment of TRANSFORMERS.  This is human drama done on a grand scale where we can actually feel the pain the characters are feeling.

4)  DEXTER:  All you need to now about two seasons ago was that the villain was played by Colin Hanks, who never would’ve worked a day in his life in front of the camera if not for his last name.  But the just included more recent season erased all memory of that, turning the tables on Dexter Morgan pretty much everywhere.  DEXTER challenges are own morality even as it pushes the limits of our tolerance and makes us accept a serial killer as hero.  It’s one thing to be really good; it’s quite another to be really good for this many seasons and to recover from a nearly disastrous one as well.

5)  JUSTIFIED:  The modern-day western motif done about as good as it gets.  The producers were smart enough to stay true to the voice of Elmore Leonard and hit a homerun by casting Timothy Olyphant as U.S. Deputy Marshall Raylan Givens.  Right from the series’ very first where Raylan pays a visit to a Miami thug he gave twenty-four hours to get out of town one minute past the deadline, we know we’re in for something special.  Packed with an outstanding supporting cast, season after season JUSTIFIED manages to string an entire season’s arc together while maintaining the independent nature of every episode.

6)  THE GOOD WIFE:  The epic disaster of Calinda’s husband not withstanding for the current season, this is the best scripted show on network television.  A perfect mix of courtroom tension, corporate politics and family issues.  I don’t know if there’s ever been a scripted drama that has worked on so many levels for so long while showing no signs of fatigue.  The show continually strikes a perfect balance, entertaining us wholly while making us think just enough.  Each episode ends with me counting down the days to the airing of the next one.

7)  THE WALKING DEAD:  Angst, pain, heartache, hope, hopelessness, struggle, heroism, tragedy—never has a television show pushed so many buttons from one minute and one scene to the next.  Characters, the ones who survive anyway, actually change and grow, although not necessarily for the better, against an ultra-violent backdrop that is definitely not for the squeamish.  We don’t just live with them in season, we breathe with them.  The sight of a pistol packing, twelve-year-old zombie killing machine in this year’s very first scene was all you needed to see to know we weren’t in Kansas anymore.

One final note:  As a thriller writer, I find it fascinating that each of these is essentially a thriller but in utterly different ways and approaches.  The great John D. McDonald, author of the Travis Magee series, was once asked to define what makes a great story.  His answer was simple:  Stuff happens to people you care about.  And about the great writing to be found on television today, truer words have never been spoken. 


About the author:

Jon Land is the critically acclaimed author of 32 books, including the bestselling series featuring Texas Ranger Caitlin Strong that includes Strong Enough To Die, Strong Justice, Strong at the Break, Strong Vengeance (July 2012), and Strong Rain Falling (August 2013). He has more recently brought his long-time series hero Blaine McCracken back to the page in Pandora’s Temple (November 2012). He lives in Providence, Rhode Island.


Website     |     Facebook     |     Twitter





Giveaway:

Mr. Land has graciously offered to giveaway one ebook set of his Blaine McCracken titles published through Open Road Media. These titles include: The Omega Command, The Alpha Deception, The Gamma Option, The Omicron Legion, and The Vengeance of the Tau.


To enter, please use the official Rafflecopter entry.

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Book 5: PANDORA’S TEMPLE Review



Pandora’s Temple by Jon Land
ISBN: 9781453224656 (paperback)
ISBN: 9781453223420 (ebook)
ASIN: B00961J7Z8 (Kindle ebook)
Publication date: November 20, 2012
Publisher: Open Road Media


What if Pandora’s Box were real? Blaine McCracken finds himself facing this very question—and the greatest threat to mankind—in his long-awaited return to the page

Rogue special-operations agent McCracken has never been shy about answering the call, and this time it comes in the aftermath of a deepwater oil rig disaster that claims the life of a onetime member of his commando unit. The remnants of the rig and its missing crew lead him to the inescapable conclusion that one of the most mysterious and deadly forces in the universe is to blame: dark matter, both a limitless source of potential energy and an unimaginably destructive weapon.

Joining forces again with his trusty sidekick Johnny Wareagle, McCracken races to stop two deadly enemies who want the dark matter at all costs. A powerful energy magnate and the leader of a Japanese doomsday cult both seek the ultimate prize for their own nefarious reasons, and McCracken and Wareagle’s mission to defeat them takes the duo on a nonstop journey across the world and thousands of years into the past where the truth lies in the ancient Pandora’s Temple, built to safeguard the world’s most powerful weapon. 

McCracken’s only hope to save the world is to find the mythical temple. Along the way, he and Wareagle find themselves up against Mexican drug gangs, killer robots, an army of professional assassins, and a legendary sea monster. The hero of nine previous bestselling thrillers, McCracken is used to the odds being stacked against him, but this time the stakes have never been higher.



First let me say that I’ve never actually read a true thriller before and have I been missing out! (I’ve read suspense-thrillers and psychological thrillers but never a true, action-packed thriller.) Pandora’s Temple is a phenomenal read that incorporates Greek mythology, environmental terrorism, a Japanese doomsday cult, dark matter, the US Government, contract government agents, an international energy company, and science fact along with science fiction. Amazingly, all of these elements (and oh such much more) are deftly handled by Mr. Land to provide a story that has as many ups-and-downs, not to mention twists-and-turns as the most elaborate roller coaster.

Blaine McCracken and Johnny Wareagle are true comrades-in-arms. They’ve been buddies since Vietnam and have had numerous adventures over the years. An inexplicable event on a Gulf drilling rig followed by a kidnapping attempt on a young woman result in Blaine and Johnny being co-opted by Homeland Security to investigate. Their investigation leads them on a search for not only the young lady in question, Katie Demarco, but answers to the truth about the myth of Pandora’s Box.

Pandora’s Temple has action that takes place around the world, including the US, Mexico, Japan, Spain and Greece. Blaine and Johnny seem to be blends of James Bond, MacGyver, Batman and Robin, along with a touch of the Lone Ranger and Tonto. They are definitely the good guys and can always get the job done, no matter what. They are assisted in their quest for the truth by some interesting characters. My particular favorite was Captain Seven; a technology genius that is always searching for the next marijuana high (he insists it helps him to think more efficiently). The bad guys are just as awesome since they do not fear death but seem to embrace the idea of death and doom, namely the remnants of the Aum Shinrikyo, Japanese doomsday cult. The incorporation of science fact, science fiction (I hope it’s science fiction), history and Greek mythology into the international intrigue and thrills was quite masterful. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed reading Pandora’s Temple. This may have been my first action-thriller read by Mr. Land but it certainly won’t be my last. 


Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book free for review purposes from Partners In Crime Tours. I was not paid, required or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


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Book Blast: RISE OF THE FIRE TAMER


Rise of the Fire Tamer by Kailin Gow
After winning a contest for a popular game called Wordwick Games, five teens Gemma, Sparks, Rio, Kat, and Jack, are invited to stay at Wordwick Games inventor Henry Word’s mysterious castle and play the newest level of Workwick Games. Little do they know, the castle is the doorway to a wondrous world call Anachronia where words can be used as weapons, power, and commodity. There is unrest in Anachronia, and if the five teens can follow the rules of Wordwick Games and prove to be the best player, one of them will be crowned Ruler of Anachronia.


Purchase




Book Trailer





Author Kailin Gow

Kailin Gow is the award-winning, international bestselling author of over 80 distinct books.

Kailin Gow is also the President of a media company, a media personality, and has been writing full-time since she was first published. Holding a Masters in communications management and leadership positions in Fortune 500 corporations, she puts her leadership abilities, her experience, and desire to help others into her fiction books. As a result, she has written the forthcoming, Finding the Heroine in You book which is also a national tour. She is a mother and spends whatever spare time she has volunteering at the Red Cross, Battered Women’s Shelters, and other organizations.

Currently her Frost Series is in development for a major international MMO Game, and she has over 14,000 and growing Frosters on her facebook fan page.

Links:




Blog Tour now through January 25th






Book Blast Giveaway
$50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash
Ends 1/27/13

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer http://iamareader.com and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.


RISE OF THE FIRE TAMER Book Tour Kick-Off









Rise of the Fire Tamer by Kailin Gow
After winning a contest for a popular game called Wordwick Games, five teens Gemma, Sparks, Rio, Kat, and Jack, are invited to stay at Wordwick Games inventor Henry Word’s mysterious castle and play the newest level of Workwick Games. Little do they know, the castle is the doorway to a wondrous world call Anachronia where words can be used as weapons, power, and commodity. There is unrest in Anachronia, and if the five teens can follow the rules of Wordwick Games and prove to be the best player, one of them will be crowned Ruler of Anachronia.



Purchase


Amazon * Barnes & Noble



Book Trailer






EXCERPT 1:


Gem recognized the voice instantly as that of Henry Word. After his online announcements, she was hardly going to forget. He must have come into the hallway through a side door. She turned to greet him with the others, expecting to look up into the already half-familiar face, and had to adjust the direction of her gaze when it turned out that Henry Word was sitting down.


He was sitting down because he was in a wheelchair.


It was quite a high tech wheelchair, obviously custom made and designed around Henry Word, but there was no escaping the fact that it was there. From the waist up, Mr. Word was dressed conservatively, even elegantly, in a suit and silk tie. From the waist down, his legs disappeared beneath a tartan blanket. They didn’t appear again on the other side.


“A small accident from my army days,” Henry word said, and Gem found herself wondering if he’d read her mind in the second it took to decide that the others probably looked just as surprised as she did. Gem realized that, in all the pictures she had seen of Henry Word either online or in magazines, not one had shown more than his head and shoulders.


Henry Word laughed then.


“I can see I’ve caught you all rather by surprise. Still, before I turn into the main topic of conversation, can I take a moment to welcome the five of you?’ his gaze flicked to each of them in turn, and Gem guessed that he was matching names to faces in his mind. “You are all here, of course, because you have turned out to be some of the biggest fans of my little game. Congratulations on that. For the next week, you’ll be staying in what I hope you’ll find to be extremely comfortable surroundings, and you’ll get the benefit of a very special surprise.”


“What surprise?” Rio asked from behind Gem. Henry Word chuckled again.


“Ah, Riordan Roberts, I take it? Well, there is nothing to be suspicious about. In fact, I think that as fans, you will all enjoy this particular surprise. I have simply decided to allow you access to the tenth level of my game while we are here.”


Gem felt her brow furrow.


“But Mr. Word, aren’t there only nine levels?”


“That’s true at the moment,” Henry Word answered. “Anachronia is rather new. You will be among the first to play it. Still, let’s not focus on that too much now, shall we? Chef has excelled himself in the Great Hall, and I’m sure you must all be hungry after your journeys.”


EXCERPT 2:




“It’s very straightforward really. Your goal when playing it will be to win the crown of the kingdom of Anachronia, using all your wits, skills and talents. The people will only give the crown to someone who can do three things: end the threat of the three-headed dragon terrorizing the land, unite the two warring clans that live there, and help the people of Anachronia flourish. Is that clear?”


            Gem nodded. Several of the others did too.


            “It sounds simple,” Sparks said, beside her.


            “Oh, it’s not as easy as it sounds,” Henry Word continued, “which is why there are a few other things you should know. First, beware the Wickedly Woods where the dragon lives. It isn’t the only danger there. Second, remember that you can work together, even if only one of you can rule in the end. Third, and most importantly, remember that words have power in Anachronia, finding the right words, the Ruler Words, along the way will make your time far easier.”









Author Kailin Gow

Kailin Gow is the award-winning, international bestselling author of over 80 distinct books. 

Kailin Gow is also the President of a media company, a media personality, and has been writing full-time since she was first published. Holding a Masters in communications management and leadership positions in Fortune 500 corporations, she puts her leadership abilities, her experience, and desire to help others into her fiction books. As a result, she has written the forthcoming, Finding the Heroine in You book which is also a national tour. She is a mother and spends whatever spare time she has volunteering at the Red Cross, Battered Women’s Shelters, and other organizations. 

Currently her Frost Series is in development for a major international MMO Game, and she has over 14,000 and growing Frosters on her facebook fan page. 





Links:


Facebook * Twitter * Book Club


Website * Blog * Goodreads





Tour Giveaway
$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash
Ends 1/31/12



Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer http://iamareader.com and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.


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Tour Schedule

January 7th
Tour Kick Off – I Am A Reader, Not A Writer
A Dream Within A Dream * The Bunny’s Review * The Book Diva’s Reads * icefairy’s Treasure Chest * Chapter By Chapter * Cuzinlogic * Nikki’s Book Blog * Promiscuous Diva * Beck Valley Books * Blkosiner’s Book Blog * Books, Books the Magical Fruit * Peace from Pieces * The Mod Podge Bookshelf * Julie Reece * Froze8’s Blog

January 8th
Book Blast – Multiple Blogs

January 9th
Ever and Ever Sight – Review
Magical Manuscripts – Review

January 10th
Reviews by Martha’s Bookshelf – Review
Of Thoughts and Words – Review

January 11th
Parsimonious Posh – Review
Read My Breath Away – Review

January 12th
A Bit of Dash – Review
Sher A Hart: My Written Art – Review

January 13th
The College Crawl – Review

January 14th
Bookworm Lisa – Review
Vonnie’s Reading Corner – Review

January 15th
Always YA at Heart – Review
Getting Your Read On – Review

January 16th
StoreyBook Reviews – Review

January 17th
My Book Mark Blog – Review

January 18th
Hardcover Feedback – Review
3Ps in a Pod – Review

January 19th
Scribbler’s Sojourn – Review
A.D. Duling’s Diddley Doodle Dandy Writings – Review

January 20th
Pieces of Whimsy – Review

January 21st
GeoLibrarian – Review
A Casual Reader’s Blog – Review

January 22nd
Mom with a Kindle – Review
Indie Author How-to – Review

January 23rd
Lovey Dovey Books – Review

January 24th
Oh the Books You’ll Read – Review
Debbie’s Inkspectations – Review

January 25th
Every Free Chance – Review
Fiction Prediction – Review

Book Promo: WHIP SMART

Whip Smart: Lola Montez Conquers the Spaniards by Kit Brennan
ISBN: 9781938231476 (paperback)
ISBN: 9781938231452 (ebook)
ASIN: B009W11UDO (Kindle ebook)
Publication date: February 14, 2013 (paperback)
Publication date: January 1, 2013 (ebooks)
Publisher: Astor + Blue Editions  


A wild and sexy romp through history based on the real-life adventures of the audacious, Lola Montez. It is 1842, London, and the gorgeous, ever-capricious 22-year-old Eliza Gilbert, (aka Lola Montez) is in deep trouble and seeks escape from a divorce trial. Desperate to be free, Lola accepts an alluring offer of a paid trip to Spain, if she will only fulfill a few tasks for Juan de Grimaldi—a Spanish theatre impresario who is also a government agent and spy for the exiled Spanish queen, Maria Cristina. Lola soon finds herself in Madrid, undercover as a performer in a musical play. But when she falls dangerously in love with the target, General Diego de Léon, Lola becomes a double agent and the two hatch a plot of their own. Disaster strikes when the plot is exposed, Diego is captured, and Lola is forced to flee on horseback to France, with a dangerous group of Loyalists in hot pursuit.



It is 1842, London, and the gorgeous, ever-capricious twenty-two year old Eliza Gilbert, (a.k.a. Lola Montez) is in deep trouble and seeks escape from a divorce trial. Desperate to be free, Lola accepts an alluring offer of a paid trip to Spain, provided she fulfill a few clandestine tasks for Juan de Grimaldi—a Spanish theatre impresario who is also a government agent and spy for the exiled Spanish queen, Maria Cristina.
Lola soon finds herself in Madrid, undercover as a performer in a musical play. But when she falls dangerously in love with the target, General Diego de Léon—the “perfect Spanish soldier, lover and horseman”—Lola becomes a double agent and the two hatch a plot of their own. Disaster strikes when the plot is exposed, and Lola is forced to flee on horseback to France, with a dangerous group of Loyalists in hot pursuit. Will Lola’s reckless daring, feminine whiles, and signature whip be enough to save her life, her lover and her cause?
She will have to be bolder and more whip smart than ever before.
Written with zest and a passionate, fiery fervor by debut author Kit Brennan, Whip Smart irresistibly whisks readers into a vivid journey through 19th Century, France, England and Spain, riding sidesaddle with Eliza Gilbert, the hot-headed Irish girl, as she transforms into Dona Maria Dolores de Porris y Montez—a.k.a. Lola Montez, The Sensation of Europe!

About the author:

Kit Brennan is a nationally produced, award-winning playwright, and teaches writing and storytelling at Concordia University in Montreal, Quebec.
The Victorian era and its personalities have always been of major interest to Brennan. Her play Tiger’s Heart explores the life of Dr. James Barry, who was actually a woman living a double life disguised as a man in order to practice medicine, which was not an option open to women at the time.
Kit divides her time between the vibrant city of Montreal and the quiet lake wilderness of Ontario alongside her husband, Andrew, and a variety of animal friends. Whip Smart: Lola Montez Conquers the Spaniards is her debut novel.
Visit her online at www.kitbrennan.com.


Buy the ebook:


Book Promo: BEYOND PARALLEL by Matthew Turner

Beyond Parallel by Matthew Turner
ISBN: 9781938231476 (paperback)
ISBN: 9781938231452 (ebook)
ASIN: B00ATNX1SG (Kindle ebook)
Publication date: January 8, 2013 
Publisher: Turndog Publishing


One boy. One girl. One insignificant moment that changes their lives forever.

Bella and Clark are two young twenty-somethings, finding themselves in a chaotic and crazy world. One craves love; the other avoids it. Will they find one another, or will a single what-if moment send them down different paths?

In the same mould as Sliding Doors, Uncertainty, and Smoking/No-Smoking, Beyond Parallel flips between two parallel tales. One follows Bella and Clark as a couple, the other as if they never meet. 

Friendships, careers, dreams, fantasies…their lives are no different to yours or mine.

Follow their journey over a fast paced, mazy two-years. Highflying careers, book tours, teaching teenagers, hipster warehouses, coffee shop hangouts, a despicable salesman…they’re all confronted.

It’s incredible how a small, everyday decision can affect how you look, where you live, the people you love, and who you become. We could all live a billion lives, but we’re only given one. Is it all a game of chance, or are Bella and Clark meant to be?



About the author:


Matthew Turner is a storyteller, nomad, and coffee loving fiend.

He sees life as one gigantic tale, and it’s the role of creator in which he has taken. Be it Fiction, Non-Fiction, or Day-to-Day Musings, each new day brings a beginning, middle, and end.

As a modern day writer, relationships are important. Don’t simply read and sit back, instead get involved. Ask questions, be part of the conversation, and connect with like minded folk.

Connect with the author: 
Facebook      |     Website      |     Amazon      |     Goodreads 

Buy the book:

Also available at TurnDog Millionaire.

Book 2: THE SLEEPING NIGHT Review

The Sleeping Night by Barbara Samuel
ISBN: 9781611941272 (paperback)
ISBN: 9781611941517 (ebook)
ASIN: B00887Q196 (Kindle ebook)
ISBN: 9781611736052 (Hardcover – large print)
Publication date: June 21, 2012
Publication date: January 1, 2013 (large print edition)
Publisher: Bell Bridge Books

An unforgettable romance in an unforgiving time.

They’ll need love and courage to see the dawn.

He’s a hometown native, returning from the war, determined to change the world he’d fought to protect. She’s the girl who’s been his secret friend since childhood, now a beautiful woman. Her war-time letters kept him alive. But he’s black, and she’s white.

In 1946 in Gideon, Texas, their undeniable love might get them both killed.






Barbara Samuel has crafted an emotionally wrenching and soul-stirring story with The Sleeping Night. The story begins in 2005 with a prelude to a war memorial dedication and author reading in a rural Texas town. The reader is then whisked away to the same town in the 1930s and 1940s. Angel Corey is the white daughter of a store owner, a store owner that sells to the “coloreds” and lives on the wrong side of the color-line. Her mother died shortly after her birth so she is being raised by her father with somewhat unconventional ideas, such as the equality between whites and blacks. Isaiah High is just a few years older than Angel, but he is a black male being raised in an era of Jim Crow laws. As children, Angel and Isaiah play together, read together and even nap on laps together. As teenagers they are prohibited from playing together. As young adults they help one another remain sane during World War II through letters; Angel is now a war widow and Isaiah is a soldier in Europe. They both know that they cannot return to the level of friendship they had as children, but they also know that it has moved far beyond simple friendship into love.

Angel was allowed to be unconventional as long as her father was alive, but he died shortly before Isaiah returns to the States. Her sole remaining relative, a paternal aunt, expects her to fall in line with societal rules . . . sell the store, move into town and become more respectable. When Angel is pushed out of her church by the bigoted actions of the church governing body, she all but severs ties with the town of Gideon. Her only friends remain the High family, Mrs. Pierson (a family friend), and Mrs. Pierson’s niece, Gudrun Stroo. Mrs. Pierson is a refugee from Poland and World War I and her niece is a refugee from Denmark and World War II. Both understand the notion of hatred without cause and try to provide a safe haven for both Angel and Isaiah as it becomes clear that they love one another.

The Sleeping Night isn’t an easy read simply because of the topics presented: racism, bigotry, and hatred. However, it also presents some wonderful issues such as love, family and survival. The citizens of Gideon Texas were probably no different from those in other towns in the 1930s and 1940s. People were expected to adhere to certain societal and class rules with the pervasive notion that whites and blacks do not mix. The idea of an interracial couple, especially a black male and white female, was more than taboo; it was grounds for justifiable homicide against the male. Reading about the growing attraction between Angel and Isaiah during this time period provided a lot of tension, racial and otherwise. Ms. Samuel presents star-crossed lovers that hope for a life together that simply cannot be at that time and in that place. I was captured by the stories of Angel, Isaiah and the gentle (and not-so-gentle) townsfolk of Gideon Texas from the first chapter to the last, so much that I read it in one sitting. The Sleeping Night may make you cry or get angry at the injustices in the world but it will also make you smile, laugh and hope for a better tomorrow.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book free for review purposes from NetGalley. I was not paid, required or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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Book 1: THE TUTOR’S DAUGHTER Review

The Tutor’s Daughter by Julie Klassen
ISBN: 9780764210693 (paperback)
ISBN: 9781441261090 (ebook)
ASIN: B00A4BQ4N2 (Kindle ebook)
Publication date: January 1, 2013 
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers


Emma Smallwood, determined to help her widowed father regain his spirits when his academy fails, agrees to travel with him to the distant Cornwall coast, to the cliff-top manor of a baronet and his four sons. But after they arrive and begin teaching the younger boys, mysterious things begin to happen and danger mounts. Who does Emma hear playing the pianoforte, only to find the music room empty? Who sneaks into her room at night? Who rips a page from her journal, only to return it with a chilling illustration?

The baronet’s older sons, Phillip and Henry, wrestle with problems–and secrets–of their own. They both remember Emma Smallwood from their days at her father’s academy. She had been an awkward, studious girl. But now one of them finds himself unexpectedly drawn to her.

When the suspicious acts escalate, can the clever tutor’s daughter figure out which brother to blame… and which brother to trust with her heart?


Emma Smallwood is a good daughter and an excellent tutorial assistant. As her father’s teaching academy winds down, she seeks gainful employment for him with the father of former students. Emma has mixed feelings about traveling to Cornwall and the home of the Westons as Philip was a dear friend but his older brother, Henry, was a constant source of torment. Unfortunately the Smallwoods arrival at Ebbington Manor isn’t all they had hoped. Although arrangements are quickly made for them, Emma and Mr. Smallwood are quickly put in their place by Lady Weston, who insists that they dine with the family steward. If that isn’t bad enough, the youngest Weston brothers seem to mirror the elder brothers with one being kind, Rowan, and one being more cold and taunting, Julian. 

Emma seems to be the victim of multiple pranks during her stay at Ebbington Manor, including hearing music in the night, having her personal journal/diary stolen, and seeing mysterious hand prints in her room. Rowan and Julian want her to believe that there is a ghost in the manor, but Emma’s common sense prevails and she investigates. She quickly learns that the music is being played by a lost brother, Adam. She also learns that all is not what it appears at Ebbington Manor. Her friendship with Philip seems to wan as she gets to know him better as an adult and she is pleasantly surprised by the faith and friendship afforded her by her childhood nemesis, Henry. 

Ms. Klassen has provided a wonderful gothic romance with The Tutor’s Daughter. Emma is an educated young woman in an age where excess education of gentle women is frowned upon by society. She is constantly mocked for being a “bluestocking” because of her desire to read and learn. In many ways The Tutor’s Daughter is a coming-of-age story where Emma learns that you can’t judge based on appearances (shades of Pride & Prejudice). Although Emma, and indeed all of the Westons and Smallwoods, attends church on a regular basis, Emma appears to do so out of societal custom rather than true belief. Her faith is greatly enhanced after a conversation with Henry Weston and a near-death experience. The Tutor’s Daughter is a well-crafted historical fiction read but one that didn’t keep my attention until the latter portion of the book. I ascribe this more to migrainus-interruptus than anything else. If you enjoy gothic romances, clean historical romances or a combination of both, then I highly recommend The Tutor’s Daughter.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book free for review purposes from NetGalley. I was not paid, required or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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Book Blast: DEAD RUNNING by Cami Checketts



Dead Running

Cassidy Christensen is running.
Running from the mercenaries who killed her parents.
Running from a scheming redhead intent on making her life miserable.
Running from painful memories that sabotage her dreams of happiness.

With two very tempting men competing for her attention, she hopes she’ll finally have someone to run to, but can she trust either of them? When secrets from her past threaten her family, Cassidy decides to stop running and fight for her future.



Dying to Run

Cassidy Christensen wants to run.

Captured by the traffickers who killed her mother, her only hope is Dr. Tattoo, a man she loves but nobody trusts. When she finally gets a chance to run, someone else she cares about is taken. Running might be her only chance at survival, but she won’t allow another family member to be killed in her place.

This must-read sequel to Dead Running will have you laughing, biting your nails, and hoping for more.






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Author Cami Checketts

Cami Checketts is married and the proud mother of four future WWF champions. Sometimes between being a human horse, cleaning up magic potions, and reading Bernstein Bears, she gets the chance to write fiction.

Cami graduated from Utah State University with a degree in Exercise Science. Cami teaches strength training classes at her local rec and shares healthy living tips on her fitness blog: http://fitnessformom.blogspot.com.

Cami and her family live in the beautiful Cache Valley of Northern Utah. During the two months of the year it isn’t snowing, she enjoys swimming, biking, running, and water-skiing.


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#BookBlast Giveaway

Details
$50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash
$50 Gift Card to Running Chics
Ends 1/31/12
Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer http://iamareadernotawriter.blogspot.com and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.



Q & A with author David Carnoy

The Book Diva’s Reads is pleased to present a little “Q & A” with author David Carnoy.


1. Have you always known that you wanted to be an author or is this something that you only realized as an adult? 
   

I knew it from a pretty early age. I think after I read The Phantom Tollbooth I wanted to write a book. I did the whole high-school newspaper thing and wrote a couple of novels in my twenties that were never published.


2. Why write suspense thrillers? 
   

I don’t really think of my books as suspense thrillers, although The Big Exit is more action oriented than my first book, Knife Music. I would describe them as unconventional mysteries or offbeat crime novels (that hopefully keep readers turning pages). They’re a little more literary than I think they get credit for. I would say they’re tweeners in the sense that they’re a cross between literary and commercial. I think the books may disappoint someone who’s expecting the typical action thriller.  


3. Your bio states that you have a MFA in Creative Writing from Columbia University. Have you ever written in any other genres or seriously considered writing in any other genre?  
   

My thesis for my MFA was also a crime novel (never published). Every once in a while I’m tempted to try a Nick Hornby/High Fidelity type book. I always loved Brave New World and had a sci-fi streak as a kid, so something set in the future would also be fun. But as I try to build an audience I’m going to probably stick to plots that have a strong mystery element.


4. You’re obviously a busy man with a full-time career at CNET, a family and your writing. Do you have a writing routine, even if it’s only a few minutes a day or week or do you squeeze your writing in whenever you can?    

Though I publish stuff on the Internet almost every day for my day job, I actually stop writing fiction for several months until the urge to write a new story builds and I formulate a set of characters and a plot. I’m also a deadline writer, so it helps to have a contract that says I have to turn something in on a certain day. When I’m writing fiction, I get up at 4 AM and write till about 9 AM (or longer on the weekends). I’m a morning writer as far as fiction goes. For CNET, I’m 24/7. 

5. Although The Big Exit isn’t considered a sequel to Knife Music there are recurring characters. Will we see any of these characters return in a third book? 
     

Some will, but I’ll have a new protagonist. My first two books were a little unusual in that the detective (Madden, who continued on) isn’t the main character. He’s an important character, but not the protagonist.  


6. What authors do you consider to be your inspiration? 
    

Truman Capote, Joseph Heller, George Orwell, Agatha Christie, Paul Auster, Philip Roth, Mario Vargas Llosa, Kurt Vonnegut, Milan Kundera, Harlan Coben,  Michael Connelly, to name a few. 


7. What are some of your favorite reads from 2012?  
   

I thought Defending Jacob was well done. And Jo Nesbo’s Phantom.


8. What are you currently reading?   
  

Dennis Lehane’s Live by Night. I’ve also been dipping in and out of Team of Rivals, Doris Kearns Goodwin’s Lincoln book. I tend to read a few books at the same time. I’ll read The Racketeer because my books usually have a bit of legal thriller to them, so it’s good to see what Grisham is up to. 



About the author:

While David Carnoy lives in New York City with his wife and children, his novels take place in Silicon Valley, where he grew up and went to high school (Palo Alto). His debut novel, Knife Music (2010), was a Top-10 bestseller on the Kindle and also a bestseller on the Nook. More medical thriller than high-tech thriller, to research the novel Carnoy spent a lot of time talking with doctors, visiting trauma centers, and trailed a surgeon at a hospital in Northern California to help create the book’s protagonist, Dr. Ted Cogan.

The Big Exit (2012) isn’t a sequel to Knife Music per se. However, a few of the characters from Knife Music figure prominently in the story. His second novel has more of a high-tech slant and reflects Carnoy’s experiences as an executive editor at CNET.com, where he currently works and is trying resolve his obsession with consumer electronics products. He went to college at Wesleyan University and has an MFA in creative writing from Columbia University.

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About the book:

By the acclaimed author of the remarkable debut novel, Knife Music, The Big Exit is a suspenseful crime novel that keeps the surprises coming right up to the end. Richie Forman is freshly out of prison. By night, he makes a living impersonating Frank Sinatra in San Francisco’s lounges and corporate parties. But then his ex-best friend—the man who stole his fiancée while he was in prison—is found hacked to death in his garage, and Richie is the prime suspect. In a murder mystery with the twists and turns of a microchip, Carnoy weaves his characters like a master. He has written an authentic, unputdownable thriller that is sure to chill and delight.




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