Foster an Author – Day 4: K.A. Duggsy and Lexi C. Foss

It’s the penultimate day of Foster an Author 2017! Hope you’re enjoying getting familiar with K.A. Duggsy, Lexi C. Foss and their books. Ready to find out more? Read on! 🙂


advance trilogy

 

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Advancing (Book 2 in the Advance Industries series) by K.A. Duggsy

Reunited but at what cost?
Because when time is involved, everything can change in an instant.

After travelling away from Advance Industries Faith and Kye find themselves in an unfamiliar city.

Facing new enemies, old grievances and dealing with the impossible decisions awaiting them.
Faith has emerged as a new woman. Determined to control her own destiny, but Kye is just as determined to right the wrongs they caused.
Which will win?
Morals or love?
Sometimes, the one we want most is the one we’re best off without and love doesn’t always conquer all.
They need to decide whether to listen to their hearts or their heads and they need to do it fast before their enemies close in.

**Please note this is the second book in the series. Book 1 Advance does need to be read first for this to be understood.** 

Buy Links


3d bookCharmer’s Gambit (Book 2 in the Mershano Empire series) by Lexi C. Foss

Synopsis

Law school taught me a lot of things, but nothing could have prepared me for Will Mershano. He’s confident, hot as hell, and way too tempting. But I have a deadly secret, and he doesn’t play well with others. If he finds out what I’m doing with Will, I’ll be risking more than just my heart…

~*Pre-Order Available Now*~

Amazon (US): https://www.amazon.com/dp/B075NLJY34

Amazon (UK): https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B075NLJY34

Amazon (AU): https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B075NLJY34

Amazon (CA): https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B075NLJY34

Amazon (DE):  https://www.amazon.de/dp/B075NLJY34

Amazon (FR): https://www.amazon.fr/dp/B075NLJY34

Add it to Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36058998-the-prince-s-game 

Excerpt

**This sneak peek is unedited and subject to change prior to print**

“Air-conditioning is…” I trailed off as my eyes landed on the casually dressed man waiting by the hostess stand. “Oh, you’ve got to be kidding me right now!” I spun around and glared at the grinning couple. “I hate both of you.”

The warm chuckle behind me made my stomach flip. It always did that in his presence, against my better judgment. Seduction seemed to ooze from Will Mershano, wrapping everyone in the room in his alluring web. Including me. And I despised it. I had my doctorate in turning down men, yet this one maneuvered around each of my denials with the skill of a professional athlete. And his sport of choice was flirting.

“Hello, Rachel,” he murmured.

I ignored the shiver traversing my spine and further narrowed my gaze at Sarah. “This was not what I had in mind for dinner.”

“He insisted,” was her excuse.

“Oh, I just bet he did,” I snapped.

The millionaire playboy redefined the meaning of the word persistent.

I turned to meet his dark eyes, so similar to Evan’s, but with a hint of deviousness. Their familial relation showed in their height and broad shoulders, but Will’s nose had a slight bend to it and his jaw was dusted with fine blond hairs as opposed to dark ones. Both men possessed an aristocratic air, screaming wealth and superiority, but there was a playfulness to Will that Evan seemed to lack. Carefree seemed to be Will’s persona of choice.

“No,” I said in greeting. A word I seemed to say a lot in his presence. Of course, he never listened, just took it as a challenge to change my mind. We’d been playing this game for months, ever since he first showed up in my office with that damn contract that Sarah requested I review on her behalf.

“No?” He cocked a dark blond brow. “But you haven’t even heard today’s proposal yet.”

“I don’t need to.” There was no way in hell I would work for him. First, it required leaving Chicago and living in North Carolina. Which right there was a deal breaker. Not because of my love for the city, but because of something, or rather someone, who would never let me leave. And second, it meant joining Will’s staff. Not necessarily a negative, except I would report directly to him. My hormones could not handle short bouts of time with the man, let alone a long tenure of employment.

“The answer will always be no.” He could try to entice me with food and charm all he wanted, I would never agree.

©2017 Lexi C. Foss, All Rights Reserved

 

Happy Reading!

 

Review: End of the World by Nesly Clerge

Screen Shot 2017-06-12 at 15.52.22Imagine a future where you are always connected and there is no need for TV or printed books or even the internet as we know it–the chip inside you knows everything, keeps track of your finances and even orders taxis for you. It knows when you need to order groceries, it knows when you are unwell. It knows *everything*–except what you’re thinking. This is the world scientist Gayle Conyers lives inhabits in Nesly Clerge’s End of the World: The Beginning with her two daughters and nanny/home help. In this world, those who are chipped are privileged. Those who are not are hunted down by the Order and “reformed” (or made into food a la Soylent Green, depending on who you ask).

Gayle is, for the most part, perfectly happy in this world. She likes her job, she doesn’t really question much the way things are, though she wishes she had more resources for her research into HIVm, a mutation of the HIV virus. After watching a debate between Dr. Armstrong, a renowned, agnostic scientist who claims he’s made a scientific breakthrough in successfully transplanting the brain intact to another body, and Dr. Kingsley who believes that the end of the world is coming and is being brought on by those in power (and those who are chipped) who are unwittingly worshipping at the altar of Lucifer when they think they are the enlightened ones. The next day, Gayle is contacted by Dr. Armstrong, who makes her an offer she cannot refuse. And then she is contacted by a rebel called Michael who wants her to spy on Dr. Armstrong and find out everything she can about his research.

Not a lot happens in the story–there are long discussions about religion and science with the rebels on the side of religion trying to convince Gayle that everything she knows and believes in is wrong or is part of a plan to deceive her and others–and this is what ultimately lead to a 3-star rating from me. I think the story has potential, but I wanted more of Gayle discovering whatever is the truth on her own rather than having two (actually three, counting Kingsley) men constantly telling her what they believe in and assuming she will bend to whatever it is that they’ve deemed the truth.

Since End of the World is billed as a sci-fi thriller, I was expecting more excitement and more things to happen. I also wanted Gayle to be more proactive in the story. And while I like the premise of the story, I felt like the religious aspects of it ended up taking up way too much of the story and bogging it down.

What worked for me was Gayle’s growing distrust of being under constant surveillance through the chip implanted in her and through the nanny who acts as a caregiver to her children. The more she learns (through Armstrong and Michael), the more she does not trust KATE (the system that watches over everyone and everything), but she must keep up a facade. I also liked how Gayle doesn’t feel she can trust any of the men trying to convince her to join their side–no matter which side seems to be more “right”.

End of the World is an interesting novel, but–if you’re looking for an action-packed story, it’s probably not the story for you. If you are interested in religion and discussions of good versus evil, then you’ll probably be pulled into the story. This is the first book in a series, so be forewarned that there is a cliffhanger-style ending.

My rating? 3 stars

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Required Reading: Yes, you need to read these books.

required-reading

screen-shot-2016-09-25-at-19-36-11Philadelphia Fire: a novel by John Edgar Wideman

Anyone who grew up in Philadelphia in the 1970s and 1980s remembers the MOVE group. John Edgar Wideman’s  novel, Philadelphia Fire, was inspired by the 1985 police bombing of the MOVE house in West Philadelphia that killed eleven people and razed an entire neighbourhood, destroying sixty houses. What surprises me is that no one outside of the Philadelphia area seems to even know about this, but it’s left an indelible mark on the city.

So what is Philadelphia Fire about? From the blurb: Cudjoe, a writer and exile who returns to his old neighborhood after spending a decade fleeing from his past, and his search for the lone survivor of the fire — a young boy who was seen running from the flames.

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In case you’re wondering who is the little boy running from the flames, the character is based on Birdie Africa, who died in 2013. He was the lone child survivor of the bombing and spent years trying to build a new life for himself. He was only 41 when he died.

screen-shot-2016-09-25-at-19-56-26Another book that is definitely required reading is Kindred by Octave E. Butler. This is a brilliant take on time travel/speculative fiction with Dana, a modern-day black woman, finding herself time and time again being snatched from her home in California and transported back to the antebellum South to save the life of a white plantation owner’s son. Each time, she is stuck there longer and longer and more dangerous and Dana finds herself drawn to the slave quarters and wondering if she will ever be able to return to the present, or if her life will end before it’s even properly begun.

I love Octavia Butler’s novels. She was an amazing writer and her stories speak to the human experience, of the ways humans work against each other, and are as relevant today as when she first wrote them.

screen-shot-2016-09-25-at-20-58-45Kim McLarin‘s Meeting of the Waters is set in the tense months following the 1992 LA riots. What happens when Porter Stockman, a white journalist covering the trials of police officers who beat Rodney King, finds himself in danger in the midst of the riots and black journalist Lenora Page saves his life. Afterwards, he tries to find her, but she’s disappeared into thin air. Back in Philadelphia, he ends up finding Lenora right under his nose in the offices of the newspaper where he works. What starts as a wary friendship becomes a turbulent relationship, with Lenora constantly second-guessing Porter and Porter not understanding Lenora’s uncertainty and resenting that she is not always open with him or others about their relationship and that he is always on the defensive.

Just as relevant today as it was when it was first published in 2001.

Haven’t read any of these? Do yourself a favour and one-click ASAP.

 

5 books to read if that 4th of July cookout is boring…

Screen Shot 2016-07-02 at 23.16.45It’s a long weekend for all my Canadian and American friends–Happy Birthday, Canada and USA!–and that means cookouts…and as nice as they are, you know you’re going to need to escape and recharge your social batteries. (Let’s face it, all of bookworms go through this. We need time, space…and then we can deal with people again.) Instead of hiding in the den or the basement and watching TV (you know they’ll find you there!), load up your tablet or e-reader with some summer reads and find a good hiding place–don’t forget to grab a huge glass of wine or something.

Screen Shot 2016-07-02 at 21.47.43  I met Estelle Ryan in Matera last year and have had her Genevieve Lenard series on my TBR list for a while. If you like thrillers and art heists, then The Gauguin Connection could be your cup of tea. It’s the first book in a 9-part series  and it’s free, so you can try it out risk-free. So what’s it about? Here’s the synopsis:

Murdered artists. Masterful forgeries. Art crime at its worst.

As an insurance investigator and world renowned expert in nonverbal communication, Dr Genevieve Lenard faces the daily challenge of living a successful, independent life. Particularly because she has to deal with her high functioning Autism. Nothing – not her studies, her high IQ or her astounding analytical skills – prepared her for the changes about to take place in her life.

It started as a favour to help her boss’ acerbic friend look into the murder of a young artist, but soon it proves to be far more complex. Forced out of her predictable routines, safe environment and limited social interaction, Genevieve is thrown into exploring the meaning of friendship, expanding her social definitions, and for the first time in her life be part of a team in a race to stop more artists from being murdered.

Screen Shot 2016-07-02 at 21.44.15More in the mood in the mood for a love story? How about four friends-to-lovers stories? Then make sure you check out Because My Heart Said So: a friends-to-lovers collection by Nia Forrester, Jacinta Howard, Lily Java and Rae Lamar? I’m nearly done reading it and I can vouch for it being an excellent summer read! I’ll be posting a review soon. Here’s a little something to get you interested: 

Four Stories. Four Authors. For Love.

“Acceptable Losses” by Nia Forrester: Quentin is in the middle of a separation from his wife that seems to have no conclusive end in sight, while Lena is stuck in Single Girl Hell. The only respite either of them have is their regular coffee dates, while working on shared projects at a very demanding job. Sick of hearing about Lena’s semidisastrous attempts to couple-up, Quentin decides to fix her up. With his brother. Seems like a perfect solution; after all, his brother is a decent enough guy and Lena deserves that. Perfect … until it appears that the fix-up might actually work.

“Blind Expectations” by Jacinta Howard: Aristotle once said the only thing constant in life is change. Or was that Confucius? Whatever. People are fluid—they come into your life for a while, and when it’s time for them to float on, Leah has no qualms waving goodbye. The only exception is her neighbor and best friend, Trevor. When all else fails in her crazy world, Trevor is always there, reliable, steady… real. But then one night a heated argument leads to a revelation that shakes Leah to the core. Suddenly, Leah is forced to make a choice. But will her heart survive her decision?

“Blackbirds” by Lily Java: Once upon a time Sydney Tarr and Elliott Vance were friends: fast friends, ride or die, pledge of allegiance, take it to the mat, “friends”. And the fact that Sydney loved her friend more than she should didn’t matter until finally… one unusual and spectacular night, it did. It mattered very much. Still, not every story is a fairy tale is it? Friends do part — sometimes forever — but, not always.

“Blur” by Rae Lamar: Jade Warner is back home. The bad part? Starting over. The best part? Reconnecting with Kyle Malone. Picking up where they left off years ago, it feels just like old times…except for the mutual attraction and questionable feelings, which are all brand new. For Jade and Kyle, it’s unthinkable to hook up given the history of their fail-safe friendship, but anything can happen when you live under the same roof…

Screen Shot 2016-07-02 at 22.13.07Now, after reading sexy love stories, another thriller will do you good. And Death at the Duomo by Ann Reavis is set in my favourite place–Italy. Ann used to live in Florence, Italy, where the novel is set, and she knows the city like the back of her hand, which means you’ll feel like you’re walking the streets of Florence as you read. So what’s it about?

An explosion rips through the Easter festival in front of the Duomo in Florence, Italy, but no one claims responsibility. The vicitms are not only Florentine, but also visitors from throughout the world. The security forces of Europe and the United States join together to hunt down the killers.

Caterina Falcone, a Florentine investigator, and Max Turner, an agent from the U.S. Embassy, team up to find out why an American student was at the cathedral when the bomb exploded. Max hunts a bomber who sows death around the globe. Inspector Falcone believes the identity of the perpetrator can be found close to home. Together they race across Tuscany to stop a killer before more people die.

Screen Shot 2016-07-02 at 22.34.26After reading Death in the Duomo, you’ll probably be in the mood again for a love story. So travel north to Stockholm and give the Stockholm Diaries: Caroline by Rebecca Hunter a try. I’ve read all three books in the series and loved them. I think you will too. Check out the review I wrote for it. 

A pro hockey player with a rough reputation.
An American looking for a taste of adventure.
A chance to turn an intense attraction into something more.

Photographer Caroline Mendoza finally sheds her safe life in Michigan for adventure and a fresh start, and her first stop is Sweden. But Stockholm suddenly becomes more than just a casual stopover when Caroline discovers her reclusive next-door neighbor is ex-Red Wings player Niklas Almquist, whose high-profile alpha bad-boy image, both on and off the ice, has followed him back to Sweden.

While Niklas’s darker side draws her to him, she knows the sensible decision is to move on from Stockholm before she gets too attached. Her time in Stockholm is running out. She must choose between what is safe and what her heart tells her is right. Is she strong enough to take the risk?

Screen Shot 2016-07-02 at 23.03.49After all this love, maybe you’re in the mood for something post-apocalyptic? Alyssa Cole’s Radio Silence— the first book in the Off the Grid series–could be just what you need. 

No one expects the apocalypse.

Arden Highmore was living your average postgrad life in Rochester, New York, when someone flipped the “off” switch on the world. No cell phones, no power, no running water—and no one knows why. All she and her roommate, John, know for sure is that they have to get out, stat. His family’s cabin near the Canadian border seemed like the safest choice.

It turns out isolation doesn’t necessarily equal safety.
When scavengers attack, it’s John’s ridiculously handsome brother, Gabriel, who comes to the rescue. He saves Arden’s life, so he can’t be all bad…but he’s also a controlling jerk who treats her like an idiot. Now their parents are missing and it seems John, Gabriel, their kid sister, Maggie, and Arden are the only people left alive who aren’t bloodthirsty maniacs.

No one knows when—or if—the lights will come back on and, in the midst of all that, Arden and Gabriel are finding that there’s a fine line indeed between love and hate. How long can they expect to last in this terrifying new world, be it together or apart?

These are just a few of my suggestions for summer reads. Check back next week–I’ll tell you which 5 new releases I’ll be reading reading now that July is heating up Stockholm!

Don’t forget to tell me which books are on your must-read list for July! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Release Blitz: Whispers of Shadow & Flame by L. Penelope

Whispers of Shadow & Flame by L. Penelope

 Whispers of Shadow & Flame, book two in the Earthsinger Chronicles is out now. To celebrate launch week, book one, Song of Blood & Stone, is on sale for $.99.

Whispers of Shadow and FlameWhispers of Shadow & Flame (Earthsinger Chronicles #2)
by L. Penelope
Genre: Fantasy Romance, Dieselpunk
Age Range: Adult

Born with a deadly magic she cannot control, Kyara is forced to become an assassin. Known as the Poison Flame, she is notorious and lethal, but secretly seeks freedom from both her untamed power and the blood spell that commands her. She is tasked with capturing the notorious rebel called the Shadowfox, but everything changes when she learns her target’s true identity.

Darvyn ol-Tahlyro may be the most powerful Earthsinger in generations, but guilt over those he couldn’t save tortures him daily. He isn’t sure he can trust the mysterious young woman who claims to need his help, but when he discovers Kyara can unlock the secrets of his past, he can’t stay away.
As forbidden desire ignites their hearts, Kyara and Darvyn grapple with betrayal, old promises, and older prophecies—all while trying to stop a war. And when a new threat emerges, the cost of their love might just be too high.

 Excerpt from Whispers of Shadow & Flame

“I-I’m sure we can come to some kind of understanding.”

The man before Kyara scrambled backward, slamming his back against the wall. The scent of his fear was rancid, filling the interior of the dwelling. The stench overpowered the smell of fresh vegetables roasting in the clay oven. His whimpers drowned out the murmurings of the infant in a basket near the fire. A woman cowered next to the baby. Kyara judged the distance and determined that the mother and child were far enough away to remain safe but only if she stood very close to her target. Close enough to feel his sour breath on her skin.

Her stomach clenched at the thought, but she forced herself forward, erasing the few paces between them. Now the odor emanating from the man was mixed with piss. The dark stain spreading across the front of his trousers was proof enough that the fellow knew who she was and why she was here.

“W-we can negotiate. I’m sure there must be something you want.” Beads of sweat punctured his forehead, and the thick vein at his neck jumped with his rapid pulse.

Kyara’s warped Song prowled inside her, impatient. It wanted to launch itself into the maelstrom of source energy, to ride the brutal currents of the force like a kite in a violent wind. She shuddered and reined in her Song. Instead of giving in to the despised urge, she opened her mind’s eye. The world fell away, leaving only a field of black. She spread her senses and focused on this village, this home, this room. Moving arcs of white light burst across her vision, like the undulating waves of brightness produced by a fire dancer swinging a torch.

This was Nethersong.

As Ydaris had explained to her many years ago, while Earthsong was the energy of life, Nethersong was death energy. And Kyara’s broken Song had never been able to connect with anything else. She could not heal. She could not grow crops from seeds with a single intention or feel the pulse of life moving in the plants and animals around her.

She was cursed. She had killed her mother at birth, and this was her punishment.

The light of the man before her pulsed brightly. His death energy was a cyclone spinning out of control. Judging by the strength of Nethersong within him, he had not been kind to his body—a feat much easier when you were on the True Father’s payroll and could afford an abundance of rich food and drink. If the immortal king were a patient man, Kyara wouldn’t be needed at all. This pay-roller only had a few months to live as it was.

In the corner of the room, the wife’s light was dimmer. She was younger and healthier than her husband. The infant’s light was so weak it barely registered. Just a dull glow indicated the faintest traces of Nethersong. Kyara nearly smiled. Children had so much life, so much strength. She wished she could always see an endless field of dark in her inner vision.

She shuttered her extra sight, bringing the man’s face back into focus. “I am not here to negotiate with you.” Her voice was no louder than a whisper.

His eyes widened. He spread his arms out on both sides of him, attempting to press himself into the wall. Kyara didn’t move from her position a hairbreadth away. She didn’t need to touch him, but he didn’t know that.

“Whatever His Majesty believes I’ve stolen, I will return, threefold. I am but a simple man. A husband and father.” He waved a pudgy hand at the woman in the corner. “I give tribute for all I collect, I pay on time and—” His pleas became a drone in her ears, mingling with those of a hundred other men who had begged for their lives over the years. Other men in other homes like this, the ramshackle dwelling a palace in comparison to the others in the village. Thick rugs covered the dirt floor, and real glass hung in the windows. The enticing aroma of okra and butter tickled her nose. Some unidentifiable spice hung in the air, as well. Fresh vegetables, seasonings, real butter—these luxuries were virtually unknown to most people in the Midcountry.

Though her mouth watered, she never ate the food of the dead.

 

Guest Post: Visual Inspiration & Worldbuilding

Last Christmas my family decided to escape the frigid east coast weather and spend the holiday in Palm Springs, CA. I’d never been there before, but once I arrived I realized that this place where the was desert surrounded by mountains was exactly how I’d envisioned one of the countries in my fantasy world: I had arrived in Lagrimar.

Palm DesertThe mountains are a huge part of the worldbuilding in the Earthsinger Chronicles series. The country of Lagrimar is completely surrounded, cut off from the rest of the world by this natural barrier, as well as a magical one. Driving down the highway through the Palm Desert with the imposing peaks towering over me was deeply inspiring and helped me sink into the world I was creating.

But it’s not always possible to travel to the exact place your story is set. Some of the other locations were shaped and polished by virtue of me stumbling across images accidentally. Like this one of Horseshoe Bend, AZ, which becomes Serpent’s Gorge in the book.

Horseshoe BendAnd this article about toxic lakes and the petrified animals in them haunted me until it found its way into the novel.

Lake NatronThe sights, sounds and smells of reality all go into making a fantasy world work. Once a location is real to me and I can live inside it in my head, then I know it’s ready to put to the page.

 

LeslyePhotoAbout the Author

Leslye Penelope believes love is magic and likes her romance with a healthy dose of imagination. She’s been writing since she could hold a pen and is the author of new adult, fantasy, and paranormal romance with multicultural characters.

At one time or another she’s been a filmmaker, tape dubber, tech support specialist, model, poll worker, professor, and DJ. She has a quote from The Matrix tattooed on her arm and sometimes dreams in HTML. After living on both coasts, she settled in Maryland with her husband and their furry dependents: an eighty-pound lap dog and an aspiring feral cat.

Sign up for new release information and monthly giveaways on her website:http://www.lpenelope.com.

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Release Blitz: Touch the Dark boxed set

Touch The Dark

12 Fantasy, Sci/Fi, Paranormal Interracial Romances from Bestselling Authors

He lingers in the shadows, eager to caress your soul.
Hushed whispers call out to you, luring you toward the darkness.
Beneath the wavering fear, a fever rises within. Lust, ecstasy…
Don’t be afraid. Before death, pleasure is guaranteed.
Close your eyes, reach out to the unknown…
And TOUCH THE DARK.

Angel Rising ~ LaVerne Thompson
“To live, she must feed her hollow soul.”

Silent Screams ~ Yvonne Nicolas
“Torn Between darkness and light, can Rayne save mankind?”

Nylora’s Fate ~ Serenity King
“Unleashed passion has led Nylora to a fate unknown.”

Sable ~ Dariel Raye
“Orderly attorney, fiery sentinel wolf, made for each other.”

A Kiss of Ashen Twilight ~ Rae Lori
“Worlds collide when a Nightwalker and Fae fall in love.”

Homebound ~ Ursula Sinclair
“We don’t belong here.”

With Friends Like These ~ Stephanie Williams
“With friends like these who needs sex toys?”

Hunter’s Hit List ~ Lolah Lace
“Hunt or be hunted.”

AngelBorn ~ L. Penelope
“He gave up eternity for love… and lost.”

Birth ~ Krystell Lake
“Everlasting life comes with a price… her freedom.”

Spirited Away ~ Ines Johnson
“The trip to find herself led out of this world.”

The Alphas & Olivia ~ Bria Knight
“Two males, one female, what’s a werewolf to do?”

Get Touch the Dark for your Kindle at Amazon.

Some books on my 2014 Want To Read list

I thought today was going to be a very productive writing day, but it’s turned into a stare-out-the-window-and-daydream day. Going out for a walk didn’t help. I went to my local café (where I usually write at the weekend) but it was too noisy. Someone please tell parents to give their kids headphones if they are going to allow them to watch movies in a public place. It’s really annoying when the kids have the volume up so loud that you can’t concentrate. Several people asked the parents to turn down the volume, but the parents only replied, “But the kids are having so much fun…” Hmm…so much for teaching your kids to show consideration to others. I’m sure those kids were having fun, but that doesn’t mean the parents couldn’t adjust the volume to a more acceptable level. Grrr!

Anyway, enough about silly parents who try too hard to be their kids’ best friends, I’d much rather talk about books I want to read. And today I thought I’d post a list of some of the books I am looking forward to reading in 2014.

Screen Shot 2014-01-11 at 23.20.47The Fortune Hunter – Daisy Goodwin: Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve loved reading anything about Empress Sissi of Austria. Goodwin’s soon-to-be-published novel revolves around the love affair of the empress and cavalry captain Bay Middleton.

I’ve already pre-ordered this for my Kindle, and I will also order a hardback copy. I loved Goodwin’s debut novel, The American Heiress (also known as My Last Duchess) and I’ve been looking forward to her new novel.

If you like historical fiction, make sure you add The Fortune Hunter to your Want to Read list on Goodreads.

Screen Shot 2014-01-11 at 23.43.15Cress – Marissa Meyer: I usually prefer standalone novels but Marissa Meyer’s Lunar Chronicles is a page-turning roller coaster ride that takes some of the fairy tales we grew up with and sets them in a dystopian world… well, I love them.

Cress takes the story of Rapunzel and has her trapped on a satellite, held prisoner by an evil queen. I’ve just ordered it for my Kindle. I think this will be one of my February reads. Now the Lunar Chronicles series is originally a YA book that has become a crossover hit. Check out Marissa Meyer’s website for a sneak peek. I think you’ll like it.

Screen Shot 2014-01-12 at 00.01.07The Widow File – S.G. Redling: I’ve already downloaded The Widow File for my Kindle. It’s a juicy techno thriller written by a fellow brainstormer S.G. Redling and, as always, she doesn’t disappoint with her fast-paced story about a data analyst who may or may not have some very sensitive information in her possession that people are willing to kill for.

Snappy, tight and exciting–and I’m only 100 pages into the book. I think I’ll get lost in it tomorrow. I love a good thriller. 🙂

That’s it for now! You know this list is a work in progress, so there will definitely be more books to come!

Happy reading!

 

Three More Books to Read This Summer

You all know how much of a book nerd I am. I proudly fly my book nerd flag. 🙂 So while everyone else around me has been going clubbing or sailing or disappearing to summer houses or the Greek islands (and all those other things Stockholmers do when it’s summer), I’ve been working and reading. You may remember I took two weeks off in June, went to Italy, wrote and lived la dolce vita. Since then, I’ve been working, working, working and taking the occasional weekend trip. And all the while I’ve been reading. 🙂

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Cover of Love Minus Eighty by Will McIntosh

Love Minus Eighty – Will McIntosh

It’s been a while since I read any sci-fi novels. None has really jumped out at me. So I was really pleased when I heard about Love Minus Eighty through a Twitter connection. The story is set in a future version of New York where one’s love life is as closely monitored like a reality TV show and death isn’t always the end–especially if you’re an attractive woman on the right side of thirty. This addictive novel follows the stories of several interconnected characters as they try to figure out romantic love in an age where technology has taken over. This is not your usual sci-fi novel. It reads more like speculative literary fiction and is a real page-turner. I loved sinking my teeth into it, and I think you will too. The world presented is like Facebook on crack…no, more like Facebook on the most psychedelic drug you could imagine. Hats off to Will McIntosh for such a brilliantly written novel! This was the first time I’d ever read his work and I am already a fan. 🙂

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Cover of French Kissing by Catherine Sanderson

French Kissing – Catherine Sanderson

French Kissing is not a new book. It was originally published in 2009, but I only just heard about it a few weeks ago. I was thinking about booking a weekend trip to Paris and stumbled upon a short interview with Catherine Sanderson and her experiences as an expat living in France. And as an expat living in Stockholm, I always find it fun to read books about others wading in the murky waters of another country’s culture and unwritten rules of society. And Sally, French Kissing‘s heroine, is doing just that while also trying to raise her four-year-old daughter Lila and maintain an amicable relationship with her ex, the faithless Nico. While Nico has moved on with two other women, Sally hasn’t dated and decides it’s time to take the plunge and rejoin the dating market. She does so via Rendez-Vous, the French version of match.com. We follow Sally through a few dreadful dates, a few not-qute-right-but-nice-enough dates and all the while get an idea of what it’s like to date in a foreign language. Sanderson does a great job of giving the reader insight into how the French (and especially Parisians) date and what it’s like raising a bilingual child while also trying to maneuver as a newly single mum. Sally is an extremely likable character. She is definitely not an all-too perfect Mary Sue. And her journey from coupledom to singledom while looking for love is an addictive read!

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Cover of S.G. Redling’s Damocles

I first heard about the plot of Damocles during a Matera brainstorming session. I thought the story–of a crew on a one-way expedition into deep space mission to search for signs of extraterrestrial intelligence–was intriguing. I couldn’t wait for the book to finally come out, and it doesn’t disappoint. Linguist Meg Dupris and her crew have the daunting task of making first contact with the humanoid inhabitants of Didet, an earth-like planet with eternal sunlight. But first they must overcome the Didetos’ fear that the “earthers” are there as invaders…and they must find a way to communicate when there is no common language. The story moves quickly, with Meg and Loul, a Dideto who predicted that “aliens” would come, struggling to figure out how to interact and learn from one another–and realizing they have more in common than they think. What I really liked with Damocles is how the story is told from both Meg and Loul’s perspective. So we get a very interesting view of just how first contact might be. Two thumbs up!

OK! That’s it for now! Happy reading (and writing)!

A new take on a fairy tale: Marissa Meyer’s Cinder is a page-turner

ImageAs much as I love stories about dystopian societies, it’s not very often that I read them. Then I saw the cover for Cinder and I was intrigued. I asked around and then one of the staff at Science Fiction Bokhandeln in Gamla Stan told me he was convinced I ought to read it. He’d read an advance copy and was hooked. Needless to say, I was even more intrigued. And I have to say–he wasn’t wrong.

Cinder is based on the fairytale, Cinderella. Instead of being set a long time ago in a far away land, Cinder takes place in New Beijing, the capital city of Eastern Commonwealth, after World War IV. Cinder is a cyborg and, because of her non-human status, she is seen as a second-class citizen. She has no rights and is considered the property of her legal guardian, Adri, and her daughters, Peony and Pearl. She earns money for the family through her work as a mechanic at a stall in the local marketplace. One day, the Crown Prince of the Eastern Commonwealth, Prince Kai, shows up at Cinder’s market stall and asks if she can repair his android. Later, when Cinder’s step-sister, Peony, contracts the plague, which has claimed thousands of victims in New Beijing and for which there is no cure, Cinder’s guardian blames Cinder and “volunteers” her for research. From that point forward, Cinder and Prince Kai become intertwined–by the threat of war and by a forbidden attraction.

Though Cinder is YA fiction, it is a novel that will appeal to people of all ages. It’s a real page-turner that is full of intrigues and just enough romance to keep you hooked. I finished reading Cinder last night and I’m already longing for the next book in the series. So if you like your sci-fi with a fairy tale twist and a dash of romance, you need to read Cinder. You won’t be disappointed.

Give Books as Gifts for Christmas – Part One

I am one of those people who always appreciate receiving books as gifts. I am also picky when it comes to what books I want. I think most book lovers are the same. We love it when people think enough of us to give us books; we don’t really like it when people don’t actually know what type of books we like and give us something we would never read in a million years. An old boyfriend once asked me , “Would you like some books for Christmas?” I said yes and, when he asked if I could tell him what I hadn’t already read but wanted to read, I wrote down a list of titles for him. I thought this was a good start. Unfortunately, on the day after Christmas when we finally had time to meet, I unwrappped the box and found he’d bought Tom Clancy and Jackie Collins books for me when I’d wished for titles by Milan Kundera, Toni Morrison and Jay McInerney. Luckily there was a gift receipt so I could take all the books back and exchange them for books I really wanted to read. Hollywood Wives and the Hunt for Red October weren’t really very high on my list of must-read books. Nor was anything by H.P. Lovecraft.

So to help you avoid making the same mistake, let’s take a look at some books your book lovers might like. I know I am already drooling over a few of these titles. They may end up being my Christmas presents to myself…

If you have any thriller lovers on your list, then Robert Harris’ latest offering, the Fear Index, should tickle their fancy. This time Harris focuses on an artificial intelligence that tracks human emotions, which enables it to predict movements in financial markets, and what happens when its creator, the ultra-rich. Dr Alex Hoffmann discovers someone has breached the security of his home and finds himself in a nightmare of paranoia and violence. I don’t know about you, but I am all ready hooked. I think I may have to treat myself to that one…:)

For the teenagers (and adults) on your list who prefer their Kindle to “normal” books, check out Forget the Past and Reclaim the Present, Books 1 & 2 of Claude Nougat‘s Fear the Past trilogy. Both books have the perfect blend of the paranormal, time travel, romance and historical fiction to hook readers from the first page. So what’s it about, you ask? At 17, our protagonist, Tony, is a gifted video game creator suffering from burnout. He goes to Sicily (his deceased father’s home) to recover and to rediscover his roots. One day, he finds himself drawn to an abandoned palazzo and is drawn into a strange world where the ghosts of his ancestors await Judgment Day. He also falls in love–with the ghost of the Duchess of Floridia. But can this love transcend time…? Well, you’ll have to read it to find out. 🙂 I’ve read book one and loved it. Going to order book 2 ASAP!

For the food lover on your list, I recommend the Food52 Cookbook. I am a big fan of Food52’s blog and I had to order this cookbook for myself. I am still trying to figure out which recipes I’m going to try but they all sound so scrumptious that I may find myself cooking a lot during the holidays. If you’ve never heard of Food52 or its blog, go there now and discover why it’s one of the best food blogs around.

Want to really splurge on your favorite Norman Mailer or  Marilyn Monroe fan? Then chuck down £650 (yes, that’s the correct amount) on Marilyn Monroe by Norman Mailer and Bert Stern. Taschen has combined Norman Mailer’s original text from his 1973 biography of Monroe with Bert Stern’s gorgeous photographs. You might remember a few years ago he recreated these very images with Lindsay Lohan but nothing beats the beauty and intimacy of the original sessions. I doubt I will ever chuck down so much money on a book but maybe one of you will and I can live vicariously through you.

That’s it for now but I’ll be back later this week with more gift ideas for the rest of the book lovers on your list…