Book Excerpt & Giveaway: FEEDBACK by D. L. Richardson

Feedback by D. L. Richardson
ASIN:  B009LKHUQM (Kindle ebook) 
Publisher: Etopia Press
Publication Date: October 5, 2012

Ethan James, Florida Bowman, and Jake Inala need organ transplants. When they receive the organs of a dead CIA agent, Dylan Black, they take on more than the task of completing the mission of deactivating bombs that threaten millions of lives. Kidnapped, their lives under threat, the memories stored in the CIA agent’s mind begin to awaken within each of them, except the one piece of information they are abducted for – the location of the bombs.


Chapter One

Wednesday, November 9th, Ethan James

AC/DC’s “Thunderstruck” blared through the speakers. Apt music considering the weather conditions. Rain pounded the windshield of the Lamborghini. Crushed beneath the noisy rain, the music took a beating, too. I flipped the volume control to the max, drowning out the steady slap of water on the roof.

The dark shroud of night cloaked the striped lines to my left and right. Street signs blasted yellow warnings to drivers to slow down on wet roads. I ignored them.

Instead, I pushed the car to 120 miles per hour. Coming around a curve in the road, I flew up on a van and sharply jerked the wheel to avoid ramming the Lamborghini up its rear end. I owed my life to my quick reflexes.


I drove for another half mile at suicidal speeds, drumming my fingers on the steering wheel to the rhythm of the guitar riff. Another half mile. Then another. Just when the buzz of the ride plunged to a level of indifference, the car hit a pothole, veered me across three lanes, and like a punch from nowhere, it was game on.

A tsunami-sized wave of water fell from the sky. Momentarily blinded by the useless wipers, I sucked in my breath when two rows of lights cut through the haze. Two white lights on the bottom and six or more yellow ones on top—the bright circles headed straight at me.

Semitrailer. Not good.

Gritting my teeth, I tightened my grip on the steering wheel. The truck swerved at the last second, missing killing me by about half that length of time. The driver blasted four long bleats of the horn.

I laughed out loud as I spun around.

I accelerated till the car caught up to its former 120 miles per hour. The chorus kicked in, and I helped with the backing vocals. “Thunder. Na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na. Thunder.”

Whether driving under a dome of blue, or a sky darkened by storms like tonight, I liked to push cars to their limit. It didn’t matter what sort of car, but slow cars tended to break apart sooner under extreme pressure. Fast cars handled the punishment of driving at stupid speeds much better.

Speeding made the rush last longer. It filled a void and carried me to a place where I let go of the angst over a waste of a life spent waiting to die of kidney failure. The rush reminded me that seventeen-year-old kids should wish for a professional ice hockey career instead of wishing to still be alive by Christmas.

The song ended, and in that second of silence, my thrill took a dismal nosedive. Images of the hospital I attended every week flickered across my vision. So, I increased the speed. Bad enough the bleak place filled my head and haunted my dreams, but to interrupt my fun—not going to happen.

The next song on the CD kicked in, and it did the trick of hauling me back to the driver’s seat, where I replaced the hospital corridor for a rain-slicked freeway. I figured if I had to die young, I’d do it on my terms. No doubt the doctors would have something to say about this philosophy. If I crashed the car and ended up in the hospital, I’d tell them I reached out to touch life. Better than dwelling on my post pubescent life spent hooked up to a dialysis machine.

I’d probably get pulled over by the cops first, and I couldn’t have that. Aside from speeding, I’d stolen the Lamborghini from a mall parking lot half an hour earlier, and I didn’t have a license.

A crack in my concentration appeared like the lightning bolts streaking the sky. The car drifted into the next lane, and I let it go. A set of lights rushed toward me, and I expertly got the car under control, but at this speed, and despite the car’s sporting capability, the Lamborghini was all over the shot.

Buzzed from pushing the car, I kept going.

At 120 miles per hour, streetlights floated like satiny, white ribbons. The rain-slicked road made it impossible to judge the lines marking the lanes. Curves were hard to anticipate.

Sometimes I oversteered; sometimes I didn’t steer enough and had to yank the wheel to the left or right at the last second. Other drivers blasted their horns. I didn’t care about the rules of the road. Rules were for pussies.

For each minute I survived this suicidal cruise, I’d get two points. So far, I’d accumulated over two hundred. Fifty were up for grabs, if I made it home alive. I had a lot to lose if I crashed the car. I had nothing to lose if I killed myself.

I jumped in surprise when a car came up on my left and honked its horn, whizzing by in a blur of chrome. “I don’t think so, buddy.”

I accelerated. If the cops wanted to stop me, they’d have to use air support. Getting myself on TV only added to the thrill of the chase.

Concern over my reckless driving should have registered, but it didn’t.  The speedometer now read 140 miles per hour. AC/DC screeched about “Hells Bells,” and the rain didn’t lessen. If I lost control now, I’d smash into the concrete barriers lining the highway. It’d be game over. No way I’d survive the impact. What a shame this last train of thought wasn’t on whether I’d survive or not, but on whether I’d care.

Lightning bolts exploded across the sky and lit up the windshield. In that brief flicker of visibility, I spotted the plane on fire, blocking the highway—and the spaceship blowing up a bridge with luminous green laser beams. I let go of the wheel, idly watching the Lamborghini plow into the concrete barrier. Metal fragments and orange flames danced in front of me. The sound of something exploding boomed through the speakers. The words GAME OVER flashed across the television screen.The plane had been okay, but the spaceship insulted me. For sure, the makers of the game reckoned it’d be a hoot to throw unrealistic obstacles in my path.

I tossed the Xbox controller aside and scratched my numb backside. My life couldn’t get any worse…might as well go to school.

* * *

About the Author:

Music first captured the creative interest of D L Richardson. She got her first acoustic guitar at age ten, and in high school she sang with the school band. When she left school she helped form her own rock band where she sang lead vocals, played bass guitar, and wrote all the lyrics. At age 26 she realized she wanted to write novels for the rest of her life, or die trying, so she sold her equipment, quit pursuing a music career and began writing instead. She currently lives in Australia on the NSW South Coast with her husband and dog. When she’s not writing or reading she can be found practicing her piano, playing the guitar or walking the dog.

Connect with the author:


The Book Diva’s Reads is proud to be participating in the Feedback tour-wide giveaway. This giveaway is for a Feedback Swag Pack, consisting of: 1 signed Postcard, 2 Bookmarks, 1 Code Breaker, 3 Business Cards (with secret codes to be used with the Code Breaker), 1 Sticker and 1 Outer Cover (greeting card sized manila folder designed to resemble a CIA File). 

This giveaway is open to all and will end at 11:59 PM ET on 12/30/2012. The winner will be announced by 9:00 AM ET on 12/31/2012. All entries must use the official Rafflecopter form below (comments are not accepted as an entry).

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Excerpt: SOUL SISTERS by Janiera Eldridge

Soul SistersSoul Sisters Trilogy #1, by Janiera Eldridge
ISBN: 9780615683102 (paperback)
ASIN: B0085X07FG  (Kindle ebook)
Publisher: Mystic Press

Soul Sisters is an urban fantasy novel about African-American twin sisters Ani and Dana who have a rather unique secret: one sister is human while the other is a vampire. While the sisters have lived peacefully with each other for many years one fateful night will change both their lives forever. When a drunken man tries to attack Dana (the human sister) Ani (the vampire sister) protects her sister with all of her ferocious power.

However, when the vampire’s leader Donovan finds out about the public display he calls for the sisters to be assassinated for disobedience. Ani and Dana now are in for the fight of their lives to protect each other as well as the lives of their dedicated friends who have joined them on their mission for survival. If Dana and Ani can make it through this time of uncertainty, Ani can take her new place as vampire queen. Soul Sisters is expected to be a trilogy; The book also features a multicultural cast of characters that brings a new edge of chic to the vampire world.


Chapter 6

1915 New York City

Bryson and Dana walked arm and arm down the blustery New York street laughing about the Christmas party they had just left. The snow was fresh and powdery. Neither of them felt the icy cold snowflakes floating down and speckling their coats because they were wrapped in the warmth of each other’s company.

“Did you see how Charles acted after taking that last shot of whiskey?” Dana asked.

Bryson could not contain his laughter thinking about their friend’s drunkenness. Everyone who had been at the party was probably laughing about it on their way home, too, particularly the part when Charles took off his pants and danced on top of the piano. Bryson laughed so hard people gave them odd passing glances.

“Yes.” Bryson gave a bright smile and grabbed her face to kiss her as they stood in the middle of the sidewalk. He wanted people to stop and stare at his beautiful wife. He wasn’t afraid to show her off every chance he got. The women cooed softly at the sweetness of the moment while the men ushered their women forward murmuring about how indecent their public display of affection was for the community. Truthfully they just didn’t want their wives to get any ideas.

It took Dana a few seconds to catch her breath. She couldn’t believe he would do something that indecent in public. It didn’t matter to her, however, because it felt way too good to be wrong. They stepped off the curb without a care in the world; Dana held onto Bryson’s arm tightly and could not stop staring into his eyes.

A few seconds later Dana felt a sharp pain and a crushing blow to her arm. It was as if a freight train slammed into her right side. She instantly started sobbing from the pain and confusion of the situation. She felt like a block of ice was on top of her chest as she lay sprawled out on the ground. Her legs were straight out together in front of her but her arms were stretched out wide, going in two different directions. Her head turned slowly to the left when she heard a woman screaming and she saw Bryson on the ground with his eyes wide open. She blinked a few times to clear up her vision and then she spotted a pool of blood circling his head like a flowing halo.

Dana tried to push against the woman lying on top of her but the person was impossible to move no matter how hard she tried. 

“You don’t want to see this, you’re safe now,” the woman said softly in her ear; she sounded just like her.

“Soul sister?” Dana asked as she felt herself losing consciousness. She heard the chaos of the world going on around her but then she slipped into a black void. When she came to in a small nearby hospital she was disoriented and feeling miserable. There was a dull ache in her head and the vision in her right eye was blurry. She thought she saw a petite woman standing in the doorway, maybe she knew what had happened to Bryson.

“Where is my Bryson? Is he OK? What happened?”

The woman walked over to the bed and placed a hand on her head. Dana could see the woman was wearing a nurse’s outfit and she guessed she was in a hospital. The woman’s hand felt ice cold against her burning flesh.

“I’m sorry to tell you, ma’am, but your husband was hit by a moving vehicle. He suffered a bad head injury and he is no longer alive. I am so sorry.”

“No, wait. We were just coming back from a Christmas party. When did this happen?”

“You stepped off the side walk with your husband, ma’am. Apparently you could not see the car and the car could not see you. A woman who looked oddly like you pushed you out of the way and saved your life. Your husband didn’t make it. I’m very sorry. Would you like some water or a cup of juice?”

“No, no, thank you. Can I see him at least?”

“Not now honey. I really think you should get some rest. There’s a young woman who is here to see you. She says she’s your sister. Are you ready to see her?”

Dana coughed deeply and felt a liquid build up in her throat that she quickly swallowed back down; she was afraid to see who it was.

“OK,” was all she could seem to get out of her throat.

Her soul sister quietly stepped into the room as she faced the wall. She didn’t want the woman to see her nervousness or confusion. As much as she wanted to hug her sister she also wanted to punch her.

“Why didn’t you save my husband?” Dana asked choking back tears but keeping a straight face. As the tears filled up her eyes, her cheeks began to sting and swell

“The car came so fast. I didn’t have time to save you both. I’ve seen you with Bryson before and I know how much you loved him, I’m so very sorry.”

“What is your name?” Dana asked, sitting up against the pillow.

“Ani,” She said softly.

“Ani, I don’t think I want to live much longer. I sold my soul to save my husband’s life and Donovan took him away from me. I really don’t see any reason to live anymore.”

Ani sat down in a chair and moved closer to the side of the bed. She placed her hand on Dana’s head and felt that she had a slight temperature. She would notify a nurse as soon as she left the room. Ani loved her sister and if her sister died then she died too. 

“Donovan had nothing to do with what happened. Your husband’s time came up again and he was taken. Donovan didn’t order his death. I’m sure he is very concerned about this and knows how much this hurts you. He is good at feeling things like this.”

“Your kind feels? You don’t want me to kill myself because then you will die too. Frankly, I don’t care what happens to you right now. You’re such a small fragment of me; I don’t even think you’re real. This is just a bad nightmare. I’ll wake from it; I’ll be at home warm and safe with my parents. Bryson never actually existed and I sure as hell know you don’t either.”

Dana turned her head back to the wall and let the tears flow freely down her face. She placed her hand over her mouth to stifle the cries; her heart felt like it had broken into a million pieces. Now, she couldn’t live for anybody else but herself. Dana saw the look of despair in her sister’s face but it wasn’t enough for her to let her soul sister into her life. 

“I’ll never turn my back on you when you need me, no matter how far away you are or how much danger you’re in. I know we’re supposed to be twins but I feel like you’re my baby sister.” She gave a light chuckle and then headed for the door. “I’ll be back to visit you tomorrow, and the next day and the next day. Even if you never want to see me it’s OK, but I’m not going to be without you any longer. I love you way too much.”

“I don’t care if you come back a million times. I will never talk to you again. Get the hell out of my room!” Dana threw a glass at Ani’s head. Ani moved her head slightly to the left as it flew into the wall and shattered into tiny pieces. She took a deep breath and nodded her head up and down slowly; she had to give her more time. Ani had been programmed to take on the evil ways of the world but Dana’s rose-colored glasses had just been stepped on.

About the Author:

Janiera Eldridge loves feeding her book addiction and putting all her crazy stories on paper. When she is not immersed in the world of fiction, she is working as an entertainment freelance writer.

Janiera also enjoys connecting with other authors and supporting their work on her book blog Books&Beauty.

Connect with her:

Blog     |     Twitter     |      Facebook     |     Pinterest     |     GoodReads

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2012 Book 238: KATE JONES THRILLER SET Review

Kate Jones Thriller Series, Vol. 1 by D. V. Berkom
ASIN: B008GYQ5UG (Kindle edition boxed set) 
Publication date: July 2, 2012

Kate Jones Thriller Series Vol. 1 includes the complete text for the following four novellas:

BAD SPIRITS (Books 1-5): Kate Jones is on the run with a backpack full of money, intent on finding her way back to the United States from Mexico. Unfortunately, a ruthless drug lord named Salazar is just as intent on finding her, retrieving his stolen money, and making her pay for ever having left him. Is there anyone she can trust?

DEAD OF WINTER: Kate Jones is hiding out in small town Alaska when she witnesses an execution-style murder. Convinced the killers are Salazar’s men and desperate to stop them from finding her, she reports the crime to local law enforcement, hoping to put them off her trail so she can escape.

DEATH RITES: When Kate has to leave Alaska (and Sam) behind, she runs to the last place she remembers feeling safe: the North Shore of Oahu. Against her better judgment, she re-establishes old connections, and soon faces a new problem in Alek, a gifted carver and avid surfer.

Then a brutal murder and theft of a priceless artifact from a museum is discovered, and Kate’s thrown into the middle of what appears to be a violent ancient sect come to life. Her only chance of survival is to rely on her wits…

…and the ancient gods of Hawaii.

TOURING FOR DEATH: Kate Jones is hiding out from her shady past driving jeep tours through the rugged high desert of northern Arizona, determined to stop looking over her shoulder and find peace from her mistake of a gun-toting, former life. Testifying against a Mexican drug lord and a dirty DEA agent didn’t turn out to be a life enhancing choice and she’s been on the move ever since. 

Now, five years have passed with no sign of trouble and Kate’s finally starting to believe she’s safe. Her current goal is to make enough money so she can get lost in the tropics when the tourist trade dies off. Unfortunately, it’s the tourists that are dying off and she may be next.

To say that Kate Jones is a magnet for trouble is a bit of an understatement. In Bad Spirits, Kate has traveled to Mexico on vacation, quickly became involved with a local man only to later find out he’s a drug lord. Three years later she compounds her mistake by stealing his money only to find out it wasn’t his money but a payment to another drug lord. Bad enough she’s attempting to escape from a man that refused to allow her to leave, but she’s also being tracked by two drug lords and their compatriots. Fortunately Kate runs into the DEA and is able to escape from Mexico only after agreeing to testify. But Kate knows that even though Salazar and Anaya are in prison her life is still in danger so she runs to Alaska.

Kate witnesses a murder in the wilds of Alaska in Dead of Winter and also realizes she’s been found by either Salazar or Anaya as the murderers were speaking using a Mexican dialect. Kate isn’t quick to trust the police but she knows she has to report the crime to local authorities. Her report leads to a local deputy, Sam, as a bodyguard. Just when Kate feels she might be able to escape from Alaska, she finds herself in a situation where she must fight not only for her life but for Sam’s as well.

Kate jumps from the frying pan into the fire when she lands in Hawaii in Death Rites. She quickly becomes embroiled in local thefts and murder when a friend is found badly injured after a burglary. Kate knows this doesn’t have anything to do with Mexican drug lords but she quickly finds herself dealing with another set of crazies and their beliefs in ancient prophesies.

Fast forward a few years and Kate’s past has come calling in Touring for Death. Kate is now living and working in Arizona as a tour guide and several of the tourists in one of her tours have been found dead and/or missing. She knows this can’t be a coincidence since this happens shortly after her tour vehicle crashes and is found to have been sabotaged. 

Kate Jones exemplifies how one or two mistakes in our past can haunt us for the rest of our lives. Kate’s first mistake was getting involved with a man she knew nothing about and this was compounded by her belief that she could steal from him and get on with her life. Although the scenarios with the drug cartels were believable, I found some of the other scenarios a bit far-fetched  especially those in Hawaii. Even though I had difficulties with some of the scenarios, I was quickly intrigued by Kate’s life and wondered if she’d ever gain her freedom from the cartels. The Kate Jones Thriller Set is a quick read that provides murder, mayhem, and lots of suspense and thrills. Kate Jones doesn’t start off as a likeable character but I found myself quickly rooting for her as she jumped from mishap to mishap.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book for free via Full Moon Bites Blog 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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Ms. Berkom has graciously offered to giveaway an ebook copy of Cruising for Death (Kate Jones #5) or Serial Date

This giveaway ends on December 17th. To enter, please use the Rafflecopter form found here.

Guest post: Author Janiera Eldridge

Books Are Great to Write . . . After The First Few Chapters 
by Janiera Eldridge

Writing a book is never easy however, what a lot of people don’t know is that the hardest part of writing a book is braving the first few chapters. You’d think it would be the easiest part of writing a book. The ideas are fresh in your mind, the characters are fresh, there is a blank page just waiting to be filled! That is all good and well but the problem usually comes in when you start thinking about how you want to start your story.

Starting a new book is like going on a blind date. You might know a little about your new novel but you’re still nervous about how those first few times you spend with that novel is going to go. I always have a hard time trying to figure out what character I’m going to write about first. The first character to be introduced in a new novel is usually the character the author is going to spend the most time with. First impressions are everything so, whatever you say in the first few pages of your book about your main character will remain in the mind of the reader for the entire book. 

There’s also a lot of pressure to write an exciting opening for your novel. As a reader I know that the first few chapters of your novel are what determine if people want to continue reading your book or not. The first chapter is the most important because while it serves as a base for the entire novel it has to be exciting at the same time. I used to dread the first few lines of writing my book but there are some really cool and easy ticks you can use to draw a reader into your book:

  • Open your book with dialogue.
  • Open your book with a question.
  • Open your book with a shocking event.

I always feel better after writing the first few pages of my book. I don’t outline my books before I write them but some people say that can also help make the first few chapters less daunting. My books seem to write themselves so after the first few chapters the manuscript gains a rhythm of its own and it is smooth sailing from there. Until you have to come up with an acceptable ending which is an entirely new story all by itself! 

What are some techniques you’ve read in the opening lines of a novel that have pulled you in?

About the author:

Janiera Eldridge loves feeding her book addiction and putting all her crazy stories on paper. When she is not immersed in the world of fiction, she is working as an entertainment freelance writer.

Janiera also enjoys connecting with other authors and supporting their work on her book blog Books & Beauty.

Connect with her: 

Blog     |     Twitter     |     Facebook     |     Pinterest     |     Goodreads

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Guest Post: Author Natasha Deen

Enough is Enough – Natasha Deen

When I was a kid, they showed us the four food groups and said to be healthy, we had to eat from each category. I figured I had this knocked, especially the grain part. I loved bread, but then they came and said it couldn’t be white bread. To be healthy, it had to be brown.

I don’t like brown bread, but okay, I changed over.

Then they said my 60% loaves weren’t good enough, it should be 100%.

So I changed.

Then they said it that wasn’t good enough, it had to whole grain and just when I was getting used to the choppy texture, they said multi-grain…then sprouted grain.

At this point, I thought, enough is enough. If I keep going with this, pretty soon I’m going to be fighting the cows for the grass in the pasture. Sometimes I feel this way with the writing.

I get an idea, an intriguing “what if” and I start to write, but even as I put pen to paper (and later, keys to screen), I hear those voices, whispering, “Not good enough. It has to have a tighter plot, deeper characters.”

Never mind that it’s my first draft, never mind that my goal is just to get the ideas on the page, all I hear is “not good enough,” and I have to stop, to remind myself that writing, like life, is about the effort, not the outcome.

My first draft isn’t my last draft. There’ll be edits and deletions, rewrites and write agains, but that’s okay because that’s life, too. We try, we fail, we try harder. Forget about processed grain, whole wheat versus whole grain, and let the words flow, the sentences come. There’ll be time later to talk about good and better, but right now, it’s me and the page and the idea, and that’s good enough for me.

About the author:

There was only one thing Natasha wanted to be when she grew up: a superhero. Sadly, this goal was made moot when she realized that being a klutz was not, in fact, a super power, and her super-weakness for anything bright and shiny meant that a magpie with self-control could easily defeat her in a battle of wills.  So, she turned to writing as a way to unleash her inner superhero.  She doesn’t get to live on a secret space station orbiting the earth (and thank goodness because she gets motion sick on a merry-go-round), but she still get to wear leotards, a cape and say things like, “STAND ASIDE! THIS IS A JOB FOR WRITING-GIRL!” 

Visit her at, and find her on Facebook, Goodreads,  and Twitter 

Angel Maker, True Grime 2 by Natasha Deen
ISBN:  9780986741951
Publisher:  Blueberry Hill Press
Publication Date:  August 2012

About the book:

For the last two years, human Aponi Runningbear has been training to be part of Grime, the magical police division tasked with protecting humanity from SOAP terrorists. But things aren’t going well. She’s barely keeping up with her studies, failing the physical component, and her Generalized Anxiety Disorder is making her bad days even worse. When her team is given the chance to find a missing coworker and stop SOAP from producing a DNA-altering drug that’s killing humans, Aponi grabs hold of the chance to show she’s meant for Grime. But as the investigation heats up, she’s forced to deal with the tormentor from her past, dead bodies, and the certainty that SOAP’s going to win this battle. Humanity’s dying, Grime’s in trouble, and she’s failing…does a foster kid really have what it takes to save the world and herself?

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Author Chris Karlsen is giving away 15 ebook copies of: Heroes Live Forever and Journey in Time as well as a chance to win a $50 Amazon gift card. To enter, please click here.

Elinor Hawthorne has inherited a house that is haunted by the ghosts of two medieval knights, Basil Manneville and Guy Guiscard. Basil is the man of her dreams, her knight in shining armor. She falls in love with him and he with her. Basil soon realizes she needs to live a normal life, a happy life with a mortal.

A lifetime later fate intervenes. Basil, still in love with Elinor, is told her spirit lives on in another young woman. He’s given another chance at life to find her. 

London attorney, Shakira Constantine finally agrees to spend the day with her handsome client, Alex Lancaster. While riding in the countryside, the couple finds themselves caught in a time warp and transported back to the 14th century- and an England preparing for war. Everyone believes Alex is the Baron Guy Guisard, a baron who died in the upcoming battle.

If they can’t find a way to return to the 21st Century, Alex will have to sail with the army to certain death. Shakira will be left alone to survive in the alien and terrifying medieval world.
About the author – Chris Karlsen:
I was born and raised in Chicago. My father was a history professor and my mother was, and is, a voracious reader. I grew up with a love of history and books.

My parents also love traveling, a passion they passed onto me. I wanted to see the places I read about, see the land and monuments from the time periods that fascinated me. I’ve had the good fortune to travel extensively throughout Europe, the Near East, and North Africa. 

I am a retired police detective. I spent twenty-five years in law enforcement with two different agencies. My desire to write came in my early teens. After I retired, I decided to pursue that dream.

I currently live in the Pacific Northwest with my husband, four rescue dogs and a rescue horse.  
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2012 Book 225: GOLDEN CHARIOT Review

Golden Chariot by Chris Karlsen
ISBN: 9781476232232 (eBook edition)
ASIN: B007KNLC02 (Kindle edition) 
Publication date: March 2012
Publisher: Books To Go Now

The rare discovery of a ship sunk during the time of the Trojan War has been found off the coast of Turkey, near Troy. Charlotte Dashiell is an American nautical archaeologist and thrilled to be part of the recovery team. The wreck may contain proof of her highly controversial theory about the Trojan War.

Charlotte is present when the Turkish government agent assigned to guard the site is murdered. Her possible involvement and a questionable connection to a private collector of black market relics bring her under suspicion. Atakan Vadim is the Turkish agent sent to investigate her. Unknown to either of them, the smuggler behind the murder plans to steal a valuable artifact and frame Charlotte for the theft…after they murder her.

Charlotte Dashiell is a doctoral student of nautical archeology. She is spending her summer working a find in Turkey. Her hope is to find proof of the mythic kingdom, Troy as mentioned in The Iliad. Tragedy strikes shortly after her arrival; the boat she’s on is struck by a trawler and the Ministry of Culture representative is killed. A new ministry agent is assigned to the archeological group, Atakan Vadim, and he seems more intent on investigating Charlotte than on his friend and fellow agent’s death . . . or so it seems.

What follows is a web of international intrigue centered on the smuggling of valuable archeological artifacts and revenge, and Charlotte is the center of the attraction. She is suspect because her stepfather’s company donated money to facilitate the archeological expedition and his business partner is a known collector of smuggled art. It doesn’t help that Charlotte is the one that turned him to the authorities. As the team of archeologists race to beat the clock and the ravages of nature (underwater earthquakes are gradually destroying the safety of the underwater site), Atakan and Charlotte must also race to figure out which artifact is at risk and who is behind the attempted theft.

Golden Chariot is a quasi-action-thriller with hints of romance. Ms. Karlsen has provided characters that have quirks and faults which provide the necessary element of realism. Charlotte and Atakan are likeable characters and humor is brought into the story with their linguistic wrangling, such as explaining the difference between being a coot versus a cootie. What starts off as a working relationship develops into friendship and then much more. Golden Chariot is a fast read that provides just enough action, romance and international intrigue to make it a unique reading experience.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book for free via Full Moon Bites Blog 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.”


A Practical Arrangement by Nadja Notariani
ASIN: B0096DXERS (Kindle)
Publication date: September 6, 2012

Practical plans go awry when prim sensibilities unwittingly capture the heart of a scandalous seducer.

۩ A Practical Arrangement, Nadja Notariani ۩ 

Miss Evangeline Grey, intelligent and sensible, has no desire to marry, her reluctance born from the dire warnings of her overly emotional mother. Her father has other ideas, however, and decrees that unless she weds by the spring, he will choose a husband for her. 

Prim and proper Evangeline accepts her father’s issue with little more than mild alarm. Knowing herself plain of face and sharp of tongue, she believes herself capable of warding off any perspective suitor. Her plan goes awry when the scandalous seducer, Mr. Thomas Masterson, visits her family’s home, for Thomas has learned that he must procure a wife to receive his full inheritance. 

When he discovers Evangeline’s predicament matches his own, Thomas determines to orchestrate a practical arrangement. A war of wit and word results, and Thomas finds himself ever more beguiled by the soft heart he discovers under Miss Grey’s stern, inhibited exterior. Patiently, he endeavors to gain her respect and awaken her passions. As tenuous trust blooms between the rake and the reluctant, unfortunate events – and Thomas’ past reputation – threaten to destroy the peace and happiness he has found within the bonds of his Practical Arrangement.

Evangeline Grey is a woman out-of-step with society. At a time when women are supposed to be quiet, shy and retiring, she is intelligent, educated and doesn’t fear showing her intelligence. Unfortunately she lives during a time when a woman of her stature is expected to get married and that is a problem. Evangeline has a problem with intimacy of any kind and has no desire to get married. She has seen the emotional perils of marriage through her parents’ marriage. Her sister, Melody – a young widow, insists that marriage and the intimacy found there is nothing to be feared and is highly desirable, but Evangeline finds this hard to believe. Her hopes for living a single life are dashed when her father presents her with an ultimatum, choose a husband by spring or else.

Thomas Masterson is considered a rake by societal standards. He is well known for sowing his oats and he has no shame regarding his activities. He is accepted into the Grey household because he is a man of wealth, status and his aunt and uncle are great friends to the Greys. When he is presented with his own ultimatum, marry or else, he is in a quandary. He doesn’t wish to marry any of the tittering young women he’s met at balls, etc., and yearns for simple companionship. After speaking with Evangeline Grey during a recent visit to her parents’ home, he finds himself attracted to her acerbic wit and intelligence. The more he becomes attracted to her the more he realizes the only way he can get her to marry him is through trickery and the end result is an engagement and marriage.

A Practical Arrangement hints at the practical necessity of marriage that is forced on both Evangeline and Thomas. Their relationship begins on extremely shaky footing and progresses to one of mutual respect and admiration. Thomas may have been considered a rake, but he isn’t as bad as some make him out to be. He takes great pains and care with Evangeline and her feelings. I found it difficult to understand Evangeline’s feelings and fears about intimacy (including her desire not to be touched even by her family) until the very end. This lack of clarity on this issue made the story seem a bit far-fetched while reading it but eventually made a bit more sense after additional information was provided. A Practical Arrangement is a quick historical romance read that is sure to delight. 

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book for free from the author via Full Moon Bites Blog 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.”

About the author:

Nadja Notariani was born in Rochester, Pennsylvania. Her upbringing included very diverse environments, affording wide and varied richness of ethnic and religious tradition. Raised in both an Italian/Mediterranean American home and a traditional German household, Nadja gleaned the unique benefits of viewing the world through two widely different lenses.

Nadja resides in Northeastern Pennsylvania, ever embracing new adventures with her husband, three sons, and faithful German Shepherd. She also boasts two daughters, who have flown the nest to pursue their own adventures.

Within her titles, readers can find romance and adventure, from contemporary to paranormal to historical, always with a happily-ever-after. Nadja enjoys hearing from readers and can be found at her website, on Facebook, Goodreads, and at Romance Novel Center. Readers are welcome to contact her via email. 

This biography was provided by the author or their representative.

Website     |     Email     |     GoodReads     |     Romance Novel Center

2012 Book 203: BONE WIRES Review

Bone Wires by Michael Shean
ISBN: 9781620070703 (hardcover)
 9781620070697 (paperback)
 9781620070680 (ebook)
Publication date: July 13, 2012
Publisher: Curiosity Quills

In the wasteland of commercial culture that is future America, police are operated not by government but by private companies. In Seattle, that role is filled by Civil Protection, and Daniel Gray is a detective in Homicide Solutions. What used to be considered an important – even glamorous – department for public police is very different for the corporate species, and Gray finds himself stuck in a dead end job.

That is, until the Spine Thief arrives.

When a serial killer begins harvesting the spinal tissue of corporate employees all over the city, Detective Gray finds himself plunged into the first truly major case of his career. Caught in a dangerous mix of murder, betrayal and conflicting corporate interest, Gray will find himself not only matching wits with a diabolical murderer but grapple with his growing doubt toward his employers in the dawning months of the American tricentennial. A thrilling mystery set in the same world as the Wonderland Cycle, Bone Wires is a grim trip into the streets of the empty future.

Dan Gray is a homicide detective. His job isn’t glamorous but it does provide great perks as you move up the corporate ladder. Dan is currently a Tier 3 with a Blue Badge and he yearns for a case that will take him to Tier 4 or 5 and garner an Amber Badge. Dan is all about the job. His partner, Brutus Carter, has been on the job as long as Dan has been alive. Carter actually worked for the Seattle Police Department before policing went to the private sector. Carter appears to do his job and nothing more, or at least that’s how it appears to Dan.

Dan’s dreams are fulfilled when he receives not one but three calls for homicides in less than one week. All of the victims have had their spines removed. The first victim is an off-duty CivPro officer, Anderson. The investigation into his death allows Dan to meet the stripper, Angela “Angie” Velasquez. Angie seems to have dirt to dish about the deceased and she gradually spills her information while flirting with Dan. Even though a similar homicide occurs within days of the first, Anderson’s case is quickly closed once it is learned he was selling CivPro information to outside concerned parties. And once that case is closed, Dan works fast to become friendlier with Angie. 

Even though Dan seemingly solves the “spine thief” case and ties it to at least a few hundred unsolved cases, he remains restless. Dan is quickly pulled up the chain and receives his Amber Badge. He’s at a higher pay grade and receives numerous upgrades and perks, such as a new vehicle, a new apartment, and a bonus for solving the case. He even got the girl, as his relationship develops with Angie, albeit slowly. But all is not what it appears and just when it seems like Dan’s life is going full-steam on his desired career track he runs into a major snag that could cost him his life.

Mr. Shean has provided a dystopian mystery thriller with Bone Wires. He paints a haunting picture of a possible future that has suffered the ravages of global warming and numerous wars. The language is often harsh which appears to amplify the dystopian qualities of this not-so-distant future world. The characters are all well-developed, and the action and settings very realistic. The good and bad guys seem to exist in a world filled with not only black-and-white, right-and-wrong but also myriad shades of grey. Dan struggles to remain on the side of right but is pulled into the greyer areas as the story progresses. Mr. Shean has provided a story filled with plenty of twists and turns so the reader is never quite sure what will come next. Bone Wires was a very different mystery-thriller read for me, primarily because of the language (a lot of profanity is used but it adds to the harshness of the story and doesn’t really detract). I’m not sure if I would have chosen Bone Wires as a story to read on my own, but I’m very glad I had the opportunity to read it. If you enjoy mystery thriller reads with an edge, then grab a copy of Bone Wires . . . it won’t disappoint you.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book free for review purposes via Full Moon Bites Blog 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.”

Buy a copy of Bone Wires: