Monday, August 29, 2016

Sunrise Crossing is Almost Here


I’m delighted to once again welcome New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author Jodi Thomas back to Thoughts in Progress to talk about her next release, the fourth installment in her Ransom Canyon series.

Return to peaceful Crossroads, Texas — where community comes first and love thrives in the unlikeliest places — with SUNRISE CROSSING, the fourth title in Jodi’s six-book Ransom Canyon series. The sweeping drama, and the story of a rugged hero and mysterious heroine set against the beautiful Texas landscape, will delight fans of Western romance.

Yancy Grey is slowly putting his life back together after serving time for petty theft. As he rebuilds an old house, he finally has a sense of stability, but he can't stop thinking of himself as just an ex-con. Until one night, he finds a mysterious dark-haired beauty hiding in his loft. But who is she, and what secret is she protecting?
The art gallery Parker Lacey manages is her life—she has no time for friends, and certainly not lovers. But when her star artist begs Parker for help, she finds herself in a pickup truck, headed for the sleepy town of Crossroads. A truck driven by a strong, silent cowboy…
Gabe Snow has been a drifter since he left Crossroads at seventeen after a violent incident. When he accepts a job in his hometown, he'll have to decide whether he can put the worst night of his life behind him and build a future in the community that raised him.

SUNRISE CROSSING is available wherever books are sold and at www.HQNBooks.com.

SUNRISE CROSSING by Jodi Thomas
◊ Series: Ransom Canyon, Book #4
◊ Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
◊ Genre: Western, Romance, Contemporary
◊ Publisher: HQN Books (August 30, 2016)
◊ $7.99 U.S./ $8.99 CAN.
◊ Language: English
◊ ISBN-10: 0373789300
◊ ISBN-13: 978-0373789306

Please join me in giving a warm welcome to Jodi as she talks about SUNRISE CROSSING that will be released tomorrow. Welcome, Jodi.

I can’t wait for my readers to open SUNRISE CROSSING.  I love writing this story with its touch of intrigue and touching love stories.   

In this story I wanted to bring back a character I dearly loved in Ransom Canyon. He was little more than a kid when he went to prison for a robbery and five years later, when he’s free, Yancy Grey heads to a little town called Crossroads, Texas. He thinks he is worthless, but is taken in by a group of senior citizens and slowly finds his roots in town. SUNRISE CROSSING opens with him beginning work on an old house called the Gypsy House where he was born.

Yancy works alone every night restoring the place where he was born. When he hears a noise in the attic, he discovers a woman hiding there. He calls Tori Vilanie Rabbit because that’s what he thought was in the attic. She’s running from life and he’s afraid to step into living, but somehow they build a gentle kind of friendship that grows into love.

SUNRISE CROSSING will pull you into the lives of characters that you’ll remember long after you’ve finished the story.

Jodi, thanks for joining us today and sharing this insight into your new books. Your characters definitely have a way of staying with you long after you close the book.

Now for those unfamiliar with Jodi, here’s some background on her.

Author Jodi Thomas, Photo credit Tracy L. Fuqua
A fifth-generation Texan, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Jodi Thomas chooses to set the majority of her novels in her home state, where her grandmother was born in a covered wagon. A former teacher, Thomas traces the beginning of her storytelling career to the days when her twin sisters were young and impressionable. 

With a degree in family studies, Thomas is a marriage and family counselor by education, a background that enables her to write about family dynamics. Honored in 2002 as a Distinguished Alumni by Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Thomas enjoys interacting with students on the West Texas A&M University campus, where she currently serves as Writer in Residence.

Commenting on her contribution to the arts, Thomas said, “When I was teaching classes full-time, I thought I was making the world a better place. Now I think of a teacher or nurse or mother settling back and relaxing with one of my books. I want to take her away on an adventure that will entertain her. Maybe, in a small way, I’m still making the world a better place.”

When not working on a novel or inspiring students to pursue a writing career, Thomas enjoys traveling with her husband, renovating a historic home they bought in Amarillo and “checking up” on their two grown sons.

For more information, please visit Jodi’s website at www.jodithomas.com.

Thanks so much for stopping by today during Jodi’s visit. I hope we’ve enticed you to check out Jodi’s latest book, as well as the entire series. Don’t you just love a good romance with a western theme? In conclusion today I’m happy to share Jodi’s new book trailer for SUNRISE CROSSING for your viewing pleasure. Just wait until you see the awesome ranch pictures featured in the trailer.


Saturday, August 27, 2016

Deadly Fate by Heather Graham


DEADLY FATE by Heather Graham
◊ Series: Krewe of Hunters, Book #19
◊ Narrator: Luke Daniels
Audible Audio Edition
◊ Listening Length: 10 hours and 5 minutes
◊ Program Type: Audiobook
◊ Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense
◊ Version: Unabridged
◊ Publisher: Harlequin Audio
◊ Release Date: July 19, 2016
◊ Language: English
◊ ASIN: BO1F5OBL3O

SYNOPSIS:

Alaska - the final frontier?

When Clara Avery, an entertainer working on the Fate, an Alaskan cruise ship, goes to nearby Bear Island, she comes across a scene of bloody mayhem. She also comes across Thor Erikson, who will soon be a member of the FBI's elite paranormal unit, the Krewe of Hunters.
Thor's been sent from the Alaska field office to investigate several grotesque killings, with the dead posed to resemble the victims of notorious murderers. The prime suspect is a serial killer Thor once put behind bars. The man escaped from a prison in the Midwest, and all the evidence says he was headed to Alaska.
Thor and Clara share an unusual skill: the ability to communicate with the dead. Their growing love - and their contact with the ghosts of the victims - brings them together to solve the case...and prevent a deadly fate of their own!

Author Heather Graham has a unique way of taking secondary characters from one story and making them lead characters in another story in a smooth transition.

DEADLY FATE, the 19th installment in Graham’s Krewe of Hunters series, is a prime example. The heroine, Clara Avery, was a secondary character in Graham’s previous installment, HAUNTED DESTINY.

Luke Daniels once again does a superb job giving voice to the Krewe of Hunters characters. His tempo and accents enhance this tantalizing mystery. His timing is spot on adding to the story’s suspense.

Graham transports listeners/readers to Alaska and all it has to offer through her vivid descriptions. The frozen setting becomes a character in itself as it contributes to the uncertainty of the situation. Listeners/readers are drawn into the setting through its beauty, but are quickly reminded of its dangers.

The story flows smoothly and makes several jests at realty television and viewers’ love/hate of the genre. With twists and turns, as well as a second surprise ending, the story holds you captive from beginning to end.

While it’s always better to read/listen to a series in order, DEADLY FATE is a stand-alone tale. There is enough background reference to the previous story that new listeners/readers aren’t left in the dark. At the same time, returning fans have a chance to reunite with characters they are already familiar with.

Graham blends mystery, suspense, paranormal, touches of humor, and a dash of romance to create a well-balanced, intriguing story. This is an entertaining tale you won’t be able to put down until the end.

Deadly Fate by Heather Graham, Krewe of Hunters series (Book #19), Narrated by Luke Daniels, Harlequin Audio, @2016, ASIN: BO1F5OBL3O, Unabridged, Digital Download, Run Time: 10 Hours and 5 Minutes (* This book is also available in eBook and print formats.)

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

Thanks for dropping by today. Hope your Saturday is going well and you find time to enjoy reading this weekend. Do you think of Alaska as a vast wilderness? Have you ever or would you like to visit Alaska?

Friday, August 26, 2016

The Amaranthine by Murees Dupe


THE AMARANTHINE by Murees Dupe
◊ Series: Thelum Series, Book 1
◊ Paperback: 442 pages
◊ Genre: Fantasy, Science Fiction, Paranormal
◊ Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1 edition (August 28, 2016)
◊ Language: English
◊ ISBN-10: 1516929144
◊ ISBN-13: 978-1516929146

SYNOPSIS:

          Claire is sassy, human, and an outcast of society, who only wants to know where she belongs. Alex is arrogant, selfish, and an immortal warrior, who thinks he’s prepared for everything.
Claire knows the world of immortals is where she belongs. As her guide and guardian, Alex finds it hard to resist Claire’s subtle charm. Can the two overcome their differences and embrace their passion for each other, or will the possibility of true love be lost to both forever?


Author Murees Dupe has created a cast of intriguing characters in THE AMARANTHINE. The heroine, Claire, feels like an outcast without family and friends, giving readers someone to rally for. As her character develops, strong traits surface. The hero, Alex, is someone readers will both love and dislike a bit. As his gentler side shines through occasionally, readers will begin to overlook his arrogant behavior. Readers will be able to relate to the tug-of-war the couple faces with their feelings.

The setting of humans and immortals will pull you in as the author creates a believable world where both exist. The paranormal seems normal in this captivating new realm. The story moves at a good pace and is filled with action and suspense. There are a few surprises along the way to keep you on your toes.

As the story unfolds, readers will enjoy the growth of these characters. The process holds your attention from beginning to end. The secondary characters add depth to this fascinating tale as werewolves and vampires are added to the mix.

THE AMARANTHINE is the first installment in what promises to be an enthralling new series.

The Amaranthine by Murees Dupe, Thelum Series (Book #1), CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, @2016, ISBN: 978-1516929146, Paperback, 442 Pages

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

Thanks so much for stopping by. I was excited to read this intriguing story by friend and fellow blogger, author Murees Dupe. For those not familiar with Murees, she lives in South Africa and blogs at Murees Dupe. Do paranormal settings become normal as you get lost in a book? Do you enjoy a book more if the author can make you believe in the unbelievable as you’re reading?


Thursday, August 25, 2016

The English Teacher {+ Giveaway}


Former Israeli intelligence officer and bestselling author Yiftach Reicher Atir has turned to writing spy thrillers, making his English-language debut with THE ENGLISH TEACHER (A Penguin Books Original; On-Sale: August 30, 2016; 9780143129189; $16; translated by Philip Simpson).

This is a thrilling, psychologically nuanced story of a rogue Mossad agent and the handler tasked with tracking her down and bringing her in, despite and because of their complicated personal and professional history. Reicher Atir served as a brigadier general in the Israeli Intelligence service, only beginning to write during his retirement.

After attending her father’s funeral, agent Rachel Goldschmitt empties her bank account, makes a cryptic phone call to her former case officer, Ehud, and disappears entirely. With her head full of classified information, Mossad can’t let her go, so they send Ehud to track her down. Finding no leads, he must search through her past to figure out why she abandoned Mossad—and whether she intends to betray them. But undercover life begins to blur Rachel’s true identity and her cover, and her love and loyalty are caught between the two. In the midst of a high-risk, high-stakes investigation, Ehud begins to question whether he ever knew his agent at all.

THE ENGLISH TEACHER is a classic spy novel with an intriguing twist, offering an insider’s view of the Mossad and authentic insight into the murky ethics and loyalties of life undercover. Perfect for fans of John le Carré’s novels and of Showtime’s Homeland, this novel introduces readers to a fascinating, unique new voice in the psychological thriller genre.

This is a classic spy thriller by a former Israeli intelligence officer, what could be more intriguing.


Author Yiftah Atir, photo by Eric Sultan
Yiftach Reicher Atir was born in 1949 on Kibbutz Shoval, in the south of Israel. 

As a young commando officer, he participated in Operation Entebbe and other military and intelligence operations before retirement with the rank of Brigadier General (Intelligence).

THE ENGLISH TEACHER is his third novel, and movie rights have been optioned by the original producers of Homeland.

THE ENGLISH TEACHER: A Novel
By Yiftach Reicher Atir
Penguin Books Original
On Sale: August 30, 2016
ISBN: 9780143129189
$16.00

Praise for THE ENGLISH TEACHER (also available in eBook):

“Absorbing…a fascinating look at Rachel’s undercover career in the Arab world…readers are treated to all the granular frustrations, mundane indignities, and utter loneliness that can accompany undercover work, details rarely covered in most tales of espionage.” — Publishers Weekly
          “[Reicher Atir] appreciates subtle spycraft and knows his business…” — Kirkus Reviews
          “Reicher Atir writes with poetic authority of the bleak isolation that pervades the life of the spy long after their active existence is over. This black yet strangely beautiful tragedy will stay with me for a long time.”— Alex Marwood, Edgar Award-winning author of The Wicked Girls
“An extraordinary page turner, told with clarity, insight, and compassion, THE ENGLISH TEACHER offers a rare and realistic portrait of the unrelenting sacrifices of living a double life.” — Gideon Raff, creator of Homeland
“Reicher Atir...probes how leading a double life can erode the foundations of a spy’s former existence; how all of the lies are rooted in truth, and the truth, especially when it comes to love, is often coated with a patina of lies... And Reicher Atir...is masterful in his depiction of this inner world and the scars it leaves over time.”— Mitch Ginsburg, The Times of Israel 
“The book... does exactly what a novel of its kind should do: re-examine the Mossad. Throughout the book...doubts are cast on personal as well as national morality...Reicher Atir asks where the line is that separates the moral actions that operatives perform for their country and exploitation by their country.” — Yiftah Ashkenazy, Ha’aretz


Thanks to the wonderful folks at Penguin Random House, I have a print copy of THE ENGLISH TEACHER by Yiftach Reicher Atir to giveaway. The giveaway is open to residents of the U.S. only and will end at 12 a.m. (EST) on Friday, Sept. 2.

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

Thanks so much for stopping by today. Are you a fan of classic spy thrillers? Do you have a favorite author who writes spy thrillers?

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Doing Double Duty


Do you like to find items that do double duty for you by serving several purposes instead of just one?

Think about books. They could be thought of that way. They can educate, but they can also entertain. I think of candles being multi-purpose items. They give light, they give warmth, and they can be pleasant to smell.

Thanks to Ivanka and the other wonderful folks at OmniiDeals, I recently had the opportunity to enjoy two of their lovely candles. I selected one of their 16 oz. Glass Lid Essential Series Jar Candles and a Three Pour Pillar Candle in Forest Blend Premium Fragrance. Here are my thoughts on the candles, along with bullet points from the company.

Goose Creek Blueberry Cheesecake with Glass Lid Essential Series Jar Candle, 16 oz.

◊ Burn time: 90 hours
◊ Goose Creek Candles are the most fragrant cleanest burning candles on the market
◊ Made in the USA
◊ Every candle has the maximum amount of fragrance per liquid ounce
◊ We know you will love our handmade, smokeless, extra fragrant jar candles

This delightful candle has a juicy blueberry smell with a hint of cheesecake blended in. The aroma is rich and delicious. The deep blue color of the candle represents the color of blueberries perfectly. The two wicks give the candle a brighter flame.

The candle comes in a thick, fairly heavy glass jar with a tight fitting lid. Once the candle has been used up, the jar could be used for storing a multitude of items. Just with the lid off, the candle gives off a pleasant scent.

The candle was packaged very well for minimal chances of breakage in shipping.

This is a lovely candle to look at or enjoy while burning. It has an enjoyable fragrance that’s not overpowering.

FTC Full Disclosure – I was provided the item mentioned above by OmniiDeals. However, the post was written solely by me and all opinions are my own given honestly and freely.

Goose Creek Candles Forest Blend Premium Fragrance, Three Pour Pillar Candle, 3x4 Inch

COLORFUL DESIGN. Add a pop of color to any room’s décor with our pretty three-pour pillar candle. Designed to best allow even melting and no smoke residue.
UNIQUE DESIGNER FRAGRANCES including Apple Bourbon, Forest Blend, Morning Fog, Warm Vanilla and more.
LONG BURNING for hours of ambiance and fragrance. Compared to other leading, more expensive brands!
MADE TO BE THE BEST Goose Creek Candles are all poured in the USA with the highest quality ingredients available.
SAFE AND NON-TOXIC for hours of clean, invigorating fragrances.

This four-inch tall pillar candle is my preferred for its intoxicating scent. I couldn’t find anything on the packaging to tell me the exact scents used in the Forest Blend, but it reminds me of sandalwood one of my favorite fragrances.

The beautiful tri-color earthy tones of the candle would complement any room’s décor. The candle featured a creamy beige on top followed by a layer of seafoam green in the middle and a base resembling mocha coffee.

The scent is relaxing, a bit fragrant but not overpowering. It hints at the outdoors on a tranquil fall day. The delightful aroma lingers in the air even when the candle isn’t lit.

A small medallion is attached to the candle with raffia for a decorative touch. Once the cellophane wrapping and medallion are removed from the candle, you’ll want to place it on a candle holder just in case there is any residue when burning. The single wick burns clean and smoke free.

The candle comes carefully package to help ensure non-breakage in shipping.

FTC Full Disclosure – I was provided the item mentioned above by OmniiDeals. However, the post was written solely by me and all opinions are my own given honestly and freely.

Thanks for dropping by today. Do you find candles relaxing or just useful for light? Do you enjoy scented candles or prefer no scent at all?

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Fast and Loose … Brain Storm


Fast and Loose by Fern Michaels

FAST AND LOOSE by Fern Michaels
◊ Series: The Men of the Sisterhood, Book #2
◊ Narrator: Laural Merlington
MP3 CD
◊ Listening Length: 9 hours and 4 minutes
◊ Program Type: Audiobook
◊ Genre: Action, Adventure
◊ Version: Unabridged
◊ Publisher: Brilliance Audio
◊ Scheduled Release Date: August 30, 2016
◊ Language: English
◊ ISBN-10: 1511342129
◊ ISBN-13: 978-1511342124

SYNOPSIS:

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Fern Michaels comes a new, action-packed novel.

The Sisterhood: a group of women bound by friendship and a quest for justice. Now their male allies, the Men of the Sisterhood, have formed a top-secret organization of their own, with the same goal of helping the helpless and righting the wrongs of the world.…
With the women of the Sisterhood away on a covert assignment, their significant others could be expected to kick back and enjoy a little drama-free downtime. But that’s not the way Jack, Ted, Harry, Charles, and the rest of their comrades roll. An urgent call has come to the headquarters of their organization, BOLO Consultants. Bert Navarro, head of security for Countess Anna de Silva, suspects that Annie’s deluxe casino, Babylon, is being stealthily and expertly robbed. But figuring out who’s hacking into Babylon’s security system proves more difficult than expected―and may have implications for one of BOLO’s own. The security expert working for them has unlocked one hard fact―that there are more than enough suspects to investigate. But the men of BOLO will do what it takes to prove that, even in Vegas, there’s no gambling with justice.…


If you’re looking for something similar to the ‘kick butt, take prisoners’ attitude of the Sisterhood series, it’s not in FAST AND LOOSE. Don’t get me wrong, it’s an enjoyable story just a bit different since it does feature the Men of the Sisterhood.

Once again narrator Laural Merlington does an excellent job giving each character their own unique voice. Her cadence and varying accents enhances the story. Her mannerisms bring the story to life.

The story moves at a good pace and has a few surprises along the way. The Vegas setting is vivid through the author’s descriptions.

Overall the story is entertaining, but I was hoping for the intrigue and suspense the Sisterhood series is known for. That was my bad as this is a different series and should have been viewed that way from the start. The characters are well-developed and very likable. The series has much potential as these characters continue to grow on their own merit.

FAST AND LOOSE is a pleasurable story. I look forward to seeing this series expand and continue to grow as these characters find new adventures.

Fast and Loose by Fern Michaels, The Men of the Sisterhood (Book #2), Narrated by Laural Merlington, Brilliance Audio, @2016, ISBN: 978-1511342124, Unabridged, MP3 CD, Run Time: 9 Hours and 4 Minutes (* This book is also available in eBook, hardcover, and mass market paperback.)

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

Brain Storm by Elaine Viets

BRAIN STORM by Elaine Viets
◊ Series: Death Investigator Angela Richman Novel (Book #1)
◊ Narrator: Tanya Eby
MP3 CD
◊ Listening Length: 8 hours and 57 minutes
◊ Program Type: Audiobook
◊ Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense
◊ Version: Unabridged
◊ Publisher: Brilliance Audio
◊ Release Date: August 2, 2016
◊ Language: English
◊ ISBN-10: 1522635424
◊ ISBN-13: 978-1522635420

SYNOPSIS:

The ultra-wealthy families of Chouteau Forest may look down on a woman like death investigator Angela Richman, but they also rely on her. When a horrific car crash kills a Forest teenager, Angela is among the first on the scene. Her investigation is hardly underway, however, when she suffers a series of crippling strokes. Misdiagnosed by the resident neurologist, Dr. Gravois, and mended by gauche yet brilliant neurosurgeon Dr. Jeb Travis Tritt, Angela faces a harrowing recovery.
It’s a drug-addled, hallucinating Angela who learns that Dr. Gravois has been murdered…and the chief suspect is the surgeon who saved her life. Angela doesn’t believe it, but can she trust her instincts? Her brain trauma brings doubts that she’ll ever recover her investigative skills. But she’s determined to save Dr. Tritt from a death-row sentence―even if her progress is thwarted at every turn by a powerful and insular community poised to protect its own


Author Elain Viets took her own history of surviving six strokes and brain surgery and incorporated it into an experience for her new protagonist, Death Investigator Angela Richman. To further add to Angela’s authenticity, the author took the Medicolegal Death Investigators Training Course for forensic professionals given by St. Louis University’s School of Medicine.

Through these steps Viets has created a well-developed, realistic and likable character in Angela. She has traits and flaws readers can relate to and sympathize with. The secondary characters are unique and add depth to Viets’ new grittier mystery novel.

The setting of mythical Chouteau County comes to life through rich descriptions. Angela’s dealings with the rich and the poor makes the story plausible.

Moving at a steady pace, the story deals with murder, hospital corruption, insurance fraud and so much more. The suspense will keep you guessing as the story also highlights how Angela deals with her strokes, the brain surgery and dangerous side effects.

BRAIN STORM is a well-balanced, intriguing mystery that features a promising new protagonist readers are going to take to quickly.

Brain Storm by Elaine Viets, Death Investigator Angela Richman Novel (Book #1), Narrated by Tanya Eby, Brilliance Audio, @2016, ISBN: 978-1522635420, Unabridged, MP3 CD, Run Time: 8 Hours and 57 Minutes (* This book is also available in eBook, paperback and digital download.)

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

Thanks for stopping by today. I do so appreciate it. Have I tempted you to check out one or both of these fascinating titles? Have you given audio books a try yet?