Thursday, June 20, 2019

Great Summer Reads Day 14: King's Envoy - Artesans of Albia by Cas Peace





Cas lives in the lovely county of Hampshire, southern UK, where she was born. On leaving school she trained for two years before qualifying as horse-riding instructor. During this time she also learned to carriage-drive. She spent thirteen years in the British Civil Service before moving to Rome, Italy, where she and her husband, Dave, lived for three years. They enjoy returning whenever they can. Cas supports many animal charities and owns two rescue dogs. She has a large collection of cacti and loves gardening. She is also a folk singer/songwriter and is currently writing and recording nine folk-style songs to accompany each of her fantasy books. You can listen to and download all the songs from her website: www.caspeace.com 

See the video of her performing live at the King’s Envoy book launch here: http://www.caspeace.com/cas-peace/the-wheel-will-turn



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Taran Elijah's quest for knowledge uncovers a plot that threatens the world...




In Albia, the fourth realm, the precious Artesan gift is dying. Although born to the craft, Taran is struggling to achieve his potential. Against his friends' advice, he embarks on a foolhardy plan to acquire the teaching he craves. Alone, he crosses into Andaryon, the fifth realm, but instead of finding a mentor, he stumbles upon a treacherous plot.



In the wake of Taran's actions, Albia suffers a series of vicious raids. Major Sullyan of the High King's forces is sent to oppose them. But a dark and treacherous force is moving through the realms and both Taran and Sullyan will feel its power.






  
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Snippet:

Are you quite sure about this, Taran?” Cal’s voice echoed in the gloom as Taran Elijah closed the cellar door behind them. He raised the lantern and sharp-edged shadows fled up the walls.
Taran glanced at his Apprentice standing three steps below him and ran a hand through his short brown hair. It came away clammy and he wiped it on his shirt. “I have to go, Cal. It’s my last chance.”
Cal frowned, taking in Taran’s tall but sturdy frame, clad in leather pants and boots, the sword belted at his side and the pack of supplies slung over his shoulder. He met Taran’s hazel eyes. “What if there’s something we haven’t thought of ?”

Trying to keep his voice level, Taran said, “I’ve tried every way I can think of to find another teacher. My father was right, there simply aren’t any Artesans left in Loxton Province. Maybe even in the whole of Albia. Entering the Fifth Realm might be dangerous, but it’s the only place I’m going to find other members of our craft.”




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Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Great Summer Reads Day 13: Deat at the Dakota by M.K. Graff




Marni Graff writes two award-winning mystery series: The Nora Tierney English Mysteries and The Trudy Genova Manhattan Mysteries. She teaches writing workshops and mentors the Writers Read program, and is Managing Editor of Bridle Path Press. 



Graff also writes the crime review blog Auntie M Writes, www.auntiemwrites.com.



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Nurse Trudy Genova is making plans to take her relationship to NYPD detective Ned O'Malley to the next level, when she lands a gig as medical consultant on a film shoot at the famed Dakota apartment building in Manhattan, which John Lennon once called home. Then star Monica Kiley goes missing, a cast member turns up dead, and it appears Trudy might be next. Meanwhile Ned tackles a mysterious murder case in which the victim is burned beyond recognition. When his investigations lead him back to the Dakota, Trudy finds herself wondering: how can she fall in love if she can't even survive?

Readers of Death Unscripted, the first book in the Trudy Genova Manhattan Mystery series, will find the same pleasures in this sequel: fast pacing, engaging characters, twists and turns on the way to a satisfying close. From the award-winning author of The Nora Tierney English Mysteries, this second series is a winner. Once again M.K. Graff reveals her talents in crafting this delightful mix of amateur sleuth and police procedural.

Part procedural, part cozy, Death at the Dakota is a well-crafted and highly entertaining mystery.- Bruce Robert Coffin, #1 bestselling author of the Detective Byron mysteries.  

I fell in love -- not only with co-protagonists, Trudy and Ned, the richly detailed and historic setting of The Dakota, and the unique cast of characters, but with the unusual plot of Death at the Dakota. Sherry Harris, Agatha Award nominated author of the Sarah Winston Garage Sale Mysteries




  
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Snippet:

Ned left the dining room and wandered back toward the living room, certain Trudy had said she would be here today, but he hadn’t seen her yet.

A cluster of people stood around an actress in a filmy white wedding dress standing near one of the tall windows. From Trudy’s description, he thought the man who fussed with arranging the back of the gauzy gown must be the costume designer, Rashid Something. Troy Benedict, dressed in tuxedo pants with his shirt hanging open, stood off to one side, tapping his fingers on the top of the grand piano. Meg approached him with a handful of shirt studs and a bow tie.

Afternoon sun cast muted fingers of light into the room, where three still photographers ringed around the woman, snapping away as of Phin Hill-Yorke directed. Egan and another man Ned knew to be Perry King stood on the other side of the room, hovering. Ned had seen the salt-and-pepper-haired King on his popular morning show, and was surprised by how much shorter he looked in person. But then Monica was petite, like Trudy, and King would look taller on television next to her.

The director’s assistant stood off to one side, out of camera range, holding a bouquet of flowers. Ned approached China and asked if she’d seen Trudy Genova. The woman grinned widely.

“Yes, I’ve seen her, and so have you, detective.” China gestured toward the actress.

“I suppose that fall will do,” Phin said, appraising the bride. “Turn away from the window a bit, please,” she instructed, and the bride turned slightly.

Trudy! Ned watched her move and recognized her profile. She wore a wig of blonde curls and the front of her hair had been sprayed a lighter blonde.

“Give her the flowers, China,” Phin continued, and China handed the lavish bouquet to Trudy. “And toward me a bit more, please.”

The cameras whirred and clicked once Trudy accepted the bouquet and moved into place. She noticed Ned and a bright red flush spread up her neck and into her face.


“Stop snapping! Trudy, what the hell—” Phin remonstrated, and turned to look in the direction of Trudy’s focus. When she saw Ned, the director nodded sagely. “Ah, the penny drops.”





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Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Great Summer Reads Day 12: Scrolls of Zndaria - Short Scrolls 2: Healing Hands by J.S. Jaeger






Parents to four wonderful children, Jerry and Stephanie Jaeger enjoy working together as J.S. Jaeger to write uplifting, entertaining stories. 

Jerry overcame bullying to earn his black belt in Kempo Karate. He served as a special agent for the FBI and currently works as a prosecutor. 

Stephanie ran her own accounting practice for several years before turning her focus to writing Scrolls of Zndaria with Jerry. 

Together, they are excited to bring readers of all ages into the magical world of Zndaria.





Denya’s excited to attend the Healing Hands Academy. It’s her chance to become a handmaiden, help others, and live a life of adventure.

But studying at the Academy isn’t everything she’d hoped. The headmistress and many of the students still look down on human handmaidens. It seems as quickly as she makes friends, she has to say goodbye. And just as she starts gaining acceptance, she puts the other students in danger.

Is Denya’s determination enough to see her through, or will she be sent home, back to the peasant life she’s trying to escape?
The second Short Scroll of Zndaria, Healing Hands parallels The Golden Wizard and allows readers to see the magical world of Zndaria through Denya’s eyes. Readers will be reunited with favorite characters from the main series as well as experience life in the Redwood Forest.
Buy this book today to get a glimpse into the world of Zndaria or delve deeper into the journey that began in The Golden Wizard!



  
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Snippet:

Denya and Vern looked at each other. There wasn’t time to be sad. Denya reached the first soldier and removed his helmet. His breath came in short gasps. Blood surged from a gash across his face. Denya pulled a biting fern mixture from her pouch and spread it across the wound. The bleeding stopped. The soldier’s breathing evened out.





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Monday, June 17, 2019

Great Summer Readsy Day 11: Stevie-girl and the Phantom Pilot - Book One of Series by Ann Swan






Ann has been a writer since junior high, but to pay the bills she has waited tables, delivered newspapers, cleaned other people's houses, taught school, and had a stint as a secretary in a rock-n-roll radio station. She also worked as a 911 operator and a police dispatcher. 

Her fiction began to win awards during her college days. Since then she's published several short stories, novels, and novellas. She’s always reading and always writing, but even if she never sold another story, Ann would not stop writing. For her it's a necessity, like breathing. Most of the time, it even keeps her sane.


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No matter who dares you, no matter what lures you, do not go in the spooky old house…


When a small planes crashes behind Jase's rural home, the ghost of the pilot begins to haunt him. Jase can't figure out what to do until the day he sees his classmate, Stevie-girl, enter the legendary haunted house. That's when he decides if anyone can help him solve the mystery, she's the one. 










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Snippet:

“I was alone.” His voice was a whisper. “We all are.”
The wind kicked up as the words left his mouth. A gust caused Lady to shift her feet as the chill air ruffled her fur. The moonlight fell in slanted beams.
I had to say something to break that awful silence. “Sure you don’t you want to sit in my dad’s truck?”
He gazed down at Lady. “She knows I have to go.” He smoothed her fur absently. “She’s been there before.”
I remembered the day I’d found her half-dead beside the road, the victim of a hit-and-run driver.
The man’s gaze rose to my face. His eyes were the same silvery color as his hair.
The siren was deafening. I looked over my shoulder thankful to see the pulsing strobes. “Here!” I waved my flashlight at the emergency vehicle.
I turned back to the pilot, but he was gone.

There was only Lady, trotting off across the field.





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Friday, June 14, 2019

Great Summer Reads Day 10: The Immundus by Christina Enquist





Christina Enquist is a YA author and aspiring bookstore owner. She lives with her boyfriend and several pets in Visalia, Ca.


















Would you sacrifice your humanity to save mankind?

IT’S THE YEAR 2828, and Domus is the last remaining country. Divided into twelve walled cities known as genuses, Domus spans what’s known as the purist lands—lands unaffected by the genetic modifications that killed all other species of mammals. But outside the walls of each genus the Immundus threaten the welfare of those within. From a young age, all citizens of Domus are trained for combat against these intruders.


At sixteen, Nia Luna knows little of the Immundus, except for the citywide alarms that ring any time an Immundus nears the genus walls. What she does know is that her own species is dying—their numbers dwindling as a mysterious disease called allagine kills many before their eleventh birthday. The same disease that ravaged her family when it took her sister.

When Nia is recruited into Genesis, a research company pioneering the path to a cure, she knows that her dream to find a cure for allagine is finally within her grasp. But within weeks of starting at Genesis, Nia witnesses something she shouldn’t have—something that changes everything. As she sets down a dangerous path that uncovers national secrets, Nia will have to decide not only what kind of person she wants to be but also how far she’s willing to go to save humanity.


Snippet:

The moment I get in my car, I direct Jules to Eric’s house, then thrust my head down between my legs and scream. I release every sound that was beating to come out—every terror, every devastation, and every shock.
He nearly made me kill someone. He nearly shot me. And then he killed that child anyway.
I step out of the car onto the sidewalk in front of Eric’s house. The world teeters and my head feels lopsided. Breath is hard to find. After what seemed like hours, I made it to the door, where Eric’s affable mother answers. She looks at me with concern, holding my shoulder as she leads me to a seat. The home smells of orange marmalade. She offers me orange juice, which I can’t resist.
“I just squeezed it, so it’s fresh.”
“Fresh-squeezed orange juice? Count me in,” Eric chimes, galloping down the stairs.
“Sorry I’m late. I ended up waiting for Jules to pick me up.”
“I’m just glad you’re here. Is everything all right?” Eric says, folding my hands into his. His wry smile affirms his appreciation of my presence, but his eyes paint over like Mrs. Marcello’s. In my periphery I see the beam of Mrs. Marcello’s smile. Eric may be her stepchild but I can tell she loves him and wants him to be happy.
“There’s something I want to talk to you about.” My eyes glide over to Mrs. Marcello’s presence. “Can we talk somewhere, please?”
“I know just the place.” He helps me up. I must look as bad as I feel.
“Mom, we’ll be in the atrium.”
“Okay, dear.”
Releasing one of my hands, he guides me to his home’s atrium. “Your atrium is so beautiful,” I say. All houses have atriums at the center, with hallways that lead out to various areas of the house. The entrances to the atriums have transparent shields that enable the home to maintain the optimum environment for the plants and vegetation to grow. The home knows to retract the shields upon our approach. The halls leading to the atrium remind me of spokes on a bicycle. Some houses have more hallways than others, depending on the size of the family—Eric’s house has five.
I admire the arrangement of flowers and plants around the outer edge and the Roman fountain in the center of the atrium. There are four benches, with green cushions that melt into the landscape, positioned north, south, east, and west, along the rim of the garden. We sit on the northern seat, farthest away from the hallway entrance that leads to the front room and closer to the hall that leads to the backyard. “Our atrium is just dirt right now.”
“That happens when you don’t plant anything.” He chuckles. His
chuckles always come from his stomach, deep and melodic.
“True.” The water is soothing as it cascades from the fountain lulling me into contentment. I can sit here for hours listening to the symphony of drops drowning out my thoughts.
“So what is it that you want to talk to me about?”






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