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Homo Sapiens: The Only Bipedal Primates on the Planet – Right?

Each time I write a book, I do my research. And more often than not, that research leads to more questions and more research for a different book. Such was the case for The Belial Children. I won’t give anything for those who have yet to read the book, but as I was conducting those particular lines of research, I kept coming across tales of giant primates in North America.

So I started researched bigfoot, sasquatch, yeti, and a dozen other names for a giant hairy primate. The more I learned the more fascinated I became and I knew there was a book in there. Originally, I had hoped to incorporate the topic into the Belial Series. But let’s be honest, Laney meeting bigfoot stretches the realm of credibility a little too far. As a result, Dr. Tess Brannick was born. An anthropologist with a background in anatomy and physiology, she is intent on proving the existence of the creature that has been the stuff of legends for centuries.

Even though Hominid is outside the Belial series, it is written in the same manner – lots of facts weaved between the narrative. In fact, Hominid has the largest fact and fiction section of all the books I’ve written.

So while you’re waiting for the next Belial series book (coming in November) I hope you’ll take a chance on Hominid. It is now available on Amazon.com!

P.S. And I failed to do an announcement for two other books: The Belial Origins and Runs Deep. Runs Deep is another departure from the Belial Series and honestly, was so much fun to write. Because what’s more fun than a serial killer in a small town? 🙂

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Authors I Love, Books I Love

Rooting for the Underdog: The Girl in the Box Series  

So I’ve started a new series that I’m enjoying. It’s the Girl in the Box by Robert J. Crane.

It was recommended to me and I wasn’t sure what to expect. The title made me think of Schrodinger’s cat. You know, the theory about the cat in the box: Until the box is opened the cat is simultaneously dead and alive. (Obviously, I am not a physicist and that is my layman’s interpretation. Here’s a better one if you’re interested.)

Anyway, without the recommendation, I probably wouldn’t have picked it up. And honestly, that would have been my loss. I devoured the first book in a day.

So here’s the synopsis: Sienna Nelson has spent fifteen of her seventeen years of her life hidden away in the apartment she shares with her mother. But then her mother disappears. And then men with guns show up. Unable to stay and not really sure what awaits her outside her door, Sienna nonetheless herself thrust into the outside world. And there’s more than just those two men chasing her.

But this is not just a chase novel. Not by any stretch. Robert J. Crane has added a supernatural element that is right up my aisle and created this whole underworld that exists right along ours.

Of course, being the main character is seventeen, this is a YA novel, so it’s full of teenage angst and teenage fearlessness. Often called stupidity by us adults.   The whole time though you are rooting for Sienna. She has so much stacked against her – you just want the girl to catch a break.

Of course, that means she needs to make her own breaks. The first three books of the series are free on Amazon, so if you have a chance, go download them. And happy reading! 🙂

 

Authors I Love, Books I Love

Playing Favorites

I was on a fellow author’s website the other day and under his bio he had a list of his favorites: Favorite color, favorite drink, etc.  I thought that was a good idea.  But I decided to limit mine to favorite books.

Favorite Author:  Tie: James Rollins and JD Robb

Favorite Sci FI Book:  Ender’s Game by Scott Oswald Card

Favorite Action AdventureJurassic Park by Michael Crichton

Favorite Romance:   A Knight in Shining Armor by Jude Deveraux

Favorite Horror:  Cabinet of Curiosities by Lincoln Child and Douglas Preston (not sure it belongs here but that’s what popped into my head)

Favorite Book I was Required to Read:  I’m completely blank on this one.

Favorite Kid Book:  But Not the Hippopotamus by Sandra Boynton

Favorite Comic Strip:  Calvin and Hobbes

Favorite Kids Series(Read as an Adult):   Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling

Favorites Kid Series (Read as a Child): The Famous Five by Enid Blyton

Favorite Mind Blowing Book:  The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown

Favorite Food:  Hamburger (Just seeing if you’re paying attention.)

Favorite Guilty Pleasure Series:  The Twilight Series by Stephanie Meyers

Favorite Genre:  Thriller

As I look over my list, I agree with each statement.  Yet, I also realize that not one of the books by my favorite authors can be found in any of the above categories.   But Rollins and Robb are, without a doubt, my favorite authors. Whenever I see their name on a book, I pick it up without question.  Sometimes I don’t even bother reading the description before purchasing it.

So why weren’t my favorite authors responsible for my favorites reads? Because I assume I’m going to enjoy whatever they publish. My favorites, on the other hand, were a unique occurrence. I wasn’t expecting to enjoy the book as much as I did.

I’ve read other books by those authors but they don’t grab me the same way. Even though they wrote one of my favorite books, I am not a guaranteed customer for their next publication. I’d read the blurb and decide if it worked for me. So being thrilled by their book was a happy surprise, but not the beginning of a life long love of all the author’s works.

There was some recent research on best sellers that somewhat backs that up. The authors that are the most successful are those with a dedicated readership who publish regularly. And most of them do not dominate the number one spot for weeks and weeks. They do however make the list of the top sellers year after year.

For others, they are a bit of a one hit wonder. By the next year, they are off the list.

Anybody else find their favorites coming from their non-favorite authors? Feel free to comment below.  🙂

Authors I Love, Books I Love

Humanity in Ruins

I drove with the family down to visit other family this past weekend.  Six hours each way – I either really love my family or am completely susceptible to Mom guilt.  The jury is still out as to which it is. 🙂

Luckily, I had the third installment of Dan Wells Partial series to keep me company.  For those who are unfamiliar with the trilogy, Partials are biological robot/soldiers created to aid humanity.  But humanity, after using them to fight their wars, treats them like second-class citizens even though they have feelings, minds of their own, etc.  So of course, they rebel against humanity.

When the trilogy begins, humanity is down to thirty-five thousand, while the Partials number at 500,000.    But both numbers are dwindling down due to an expiration date for the partials and disease for the humans.

Ruins is the struggle of individuals on each side to fight their own nature and the distrust of those around them to do the right thing.  And to have faith in the people/robots they shouldn’t.

This is my kind of book.  Impossible odds.  Little to no chance of survival, but doing to right thing anyway.  I know, it sounds corny.  But I like the books that show us the best sides of human nature, er human and partial nature.

So if you are looking for a good quick read, pick it up!

 

Books I Love, Reading Fun

Emptying out the Bookshelves

So I’ve been painting. No, not beautiful landscapes – kitchen cabinets. Unfortunately, the kitchen cabinets are in a weird sort of way attached to the bookcases directly behind them. So I need to paint them too. Ugh.

And I’m getting to it. But I may wait for nicer weather. Nonetheless, I emptied all the bookshelves in case the need to remove the hardware and doors, then sand everything down and finally apply three coats of paint and two coats of polyurethane hits me out of the blue. (No, I’m not holding my breath waiting for that little miracle.)

And where am I going with this little foray into my home renovation projects? Well, cleaning out the bookshelves got me thinking about changing reading habits. As a college student, I was all about the paperbacks. Then when I could afford it, it was about the hardcovers. And now, it’s e-books.

In fact, now, almost all my fiction buys are e-books. It’s generally only my non-fiction that are physical books. That’s because I like to flip back and forth in non-fiction, which so far an e-book does not let me do with ease. (Okay, okay and occasionally I skim.)

So back to the bookshelves. There were crucial decisions that needed to be made: will I ever re-read this book again or should I donate it so that someone else can read it?

Now I’m a book lover, but I was surprised by the number of books I was ready to donate. Legal thrillers topped the list. I used to be obsessed with John Grisham books, but most of them, with the exception of A Time to Kill, ended up in the donate pile.

But I kept all of William Bernhardt’s books. I absolutely love his Ben Kincaid series. And not for the legalese. The characters are engaging, funny and flawed.

And then there are the action adventures. Now I need books where the female is not just window dressing, but actually has something to offer the story’s resolution. And I need there to be something positive. I don’t like walking away from a book feeling depressed. I want a little bounce in my step or at least an extra something to chew on.

I have emptied out a lot of space, which is good. It’s good to clear the decks and feel like you’re starting fresh.  Anyone else seeing changes in their reading habits?

On the to-be read pile right now is Ruins by Dan Wells – a YA title. I think the YA books right now offer me that glance of perseverance against incredible odds. We adults tend to overthink, overanalyze and weigh the odds a little too much. When I’m done, I’ll let you know how it is. Happy Reading!

🙂

 

 

 

 

Authors I Love, Books I Love, Reading Fun

Are you Kidding Me?!#$@%

Author Lynn Shepherd recently posted a blistering, vindictive, jealousy infused blog on Huffington Post saying JK Rowling should stop publishing books.  (Click here to see original article.)   Seriously, my screen was leaking envious, small-minded vitriol.  I needed a lot of napkins to clean that mess up.

Normally, I like to stay out of the fray, keep this site focused on the books.  But this post was so horrendous, it’s impossible not to comment.

In essence Miss Shepherd argues that JK Rowling, who has built a phenomenal worldwide following of dedicated readers, should stop writing books because her books are taking up shelf space that could be used by other authors, more deserving authors.

WHAT?!$#!

If anyone has earned her shelf space, it’s JK Rowling.  She was writing the Harry Potter series as a single mother with the baby in the carriage next to her.  She struggled and she made it.  Boy did she make it!

But more than the sour grapes that Miss Shepherd has so clearly displayed, are the disturbing ideas about what people should read.  Reading should be enjoyable.  Yes, reading should broaden your mind.  But being some lengthy tome on modern economics or adult focused plotline does not guarantee a broadening of the mind.

Reading books from the YA market or even earlier are also an important reading subject.  They remind us of the innocence of childhood.  They remind us that sometimes problems are just black and white and the solutions are clear.  We, as adults, are just muddying up the problem with all our adult concerns.

Books aimed at the younger generation remind us why we read:  We read to be entertained.  We read to jump into a different world.  And at times, we read to escape our adult lives and responsibilities.

Everyone should read Harry Potter.  I personally have read the whole series.  Three times.  Because you need a little dose of clear cut good verse evil every once in a while.  You need to root for the underdog and you need the underdog to win.

Right now, Miss Shepherd is the underdog.  I checked her out on Amazon and she is being slammed with one star reviews.  (In her post, she critiqued Rowling without reading a word of her work.  People have taken her approach to heart.)

I suppose if I take a page from the Potter series, I should be hoping for some sort of redemption.  But I can’t quite bring myself to root for this underdog.  Not yet, at least.

Authors I Love, Books I Love

Spilling Innocent Blood: Rollins and Cantrell Team up Again

(Try Grammarly’s plagiarism check because you’re better than any copy.)

I just finished James Rollins second collaboration with Rebecca Cantrell, Innocent Blood, and I loved it.  I have to admit, though, I had a little trouble getting into it.  But I think that’s because I was trying to sneak pages in between my hectic life.  Once I gave it the attention it deserved, I had difficulty putting it down.

The last hundred pages were literal page-turners.  Nothing could distract me from it.  It had one of the critical factors these days that makes a book for me: characters I care about, who also seem to care about one another.

I don’t know what it is, but I’m less intrigued by characters who’ve just met or were forced together.  Now, I like to see some genuine concern between characters.  If they care about each other, I care more about them and what happens to them.

Innocent Blood also has a strong religious angle – a historical religious angle, not a spiritual one.  In other words, it investigates religious events as historical ones.  Right up my alley.  🙂

This series is a departure from James Rollins ‘ usual books.  In the Sigma series, he’s got a group of well, spies, sent on missions with historical precursors and of course, death around every corner.

These newer books, however, have a supernatural angle, no doubt Rebecca Cantrell’s influence.  In this latest, Rasputin reappears, along with a few strigoi, (i.e., vampires) and a mysterious immortal boy who just a few months ago was a very mortal boy, dying of an aggressive cancer.

In this latest story, there’s also a subplot involving maternal affection and protection, which rings quite a few bells for me.  As I mentioned above, I enjoy action adventures, where you feel that the people really care about one another, not just the main characters who have usually fallen for each other, but the supporting cast as well.    In the Innocent Blood, we get a taste of that protectiveness for the immortal boy.

And that adds an extra special something that makes the reader need to see the boy survive, which doesn’t look too likely.  And then bam, we are emotionally invested.

This is probably my favorite James Rollins’ book since Altar of Eden and the huge fan that I am, that is really saying something.  So if you’re looking to get lost for a few hours, pick it up!

Authors I Love, Books I Love

The Mortal Instruments: Revisiting the Teenage Years

I just finished The Mortal Instruments series, books one through four, by Cassandra Clare. The series is based around sixteen-year old Clary Fray, who unbeknownst to her, is a shadow hunter. Shadow hunters fight the demons in the world and generally are invisible to humans. There are lots of fight scenes, angel and biblical mythology, as well as some vampires, werewolves, and warlocks. All in all, a fun read.

And, I did like it. But I’m sitting here trying to figure out exactly why. To be perfectly honest, the lead female protagonist was kind of annoying. She was always jumping into things, not thinking, putting herself and the people she cares about in danger.

But then I realize that is the essence of being a teenager. You have little to no impulse control. Every crush is the love of your life and all consuming. And you simply don’t think about the consequences of your actions. Moreover, you have fewer responsibilities than you will have in only a few short years. Looking back, it was full of angst and difficulty, but it truly the freest time in a person’s life.

And I think that’s why I liked these books. As an adult, I am always weighing the consequences of my actions and my speech. I can’t just say what I want to whomever I want. Because I know how damaging words can be. And crushes are no longer all consuming. They can’t be there are too many other possibilities to consider.

Okay, granted, I am married, so it’s been a while. But even if I were free to have an actable crush, at my age, it wouldn’t be a teenage crush – that all consuming think about one guy and nothing else. Because my life as an adult has a lot of ‘else.’ And if I lose focus, a lot of other people and things are affected.

Now granted as I read over this, it makes me sound like an automaton. Not true. I’m just a grown up. But as an adult, it’s nice to disappear into a world where you are free to make any decision you want without worry about consequences, to be completely consumed by passion and forget about everything else. To vicariously live the experience of being a teenager in its best ways, without any of the awkward hair moments.

So if you’re looking to escape back to your younger, freer, self take a stroll through the world of The Mortal Instruments. And sit back and enjoy the ride!

Authors I Love, Books I Love

It’s As if You’re One of the Family : The Accused by Lisa Scotoline

I first read Lisa Scotoline years and years ago, when I was really into legal thrillers. Scotoline has a series based around an all female law firm called Rosato and Associates. Scotolines last Rosato et al., outing was back in 2010. She’s done a few standalone’s in between. But, to be honest, they never really appealed to me. (Sorry, Lisa.) But now she’s back with another Rosato firm book, The Accused, with my favorite lead, Mary DiNunzio.

Mary was first introduced in 2000 in Everywhere that Mary Went. And there is something completely appealing about her. Maybe it’s my Catholic School upbringing , but Mary’s Catholic guilt rang true. Her very Italian parents, their concern, their over involvement in her life, albeit in the most loving way possible, all make you smile. They are a warm hug wrapped around a mystery.

And then there are the Tony’s. Mary has these three friends of her father’s, age seventy and up, who are all named Tony and just want to help. Pigeon Tony, Tony Two Feet, and Tony from Down the Block, are such great entertaining characters. Maybe it’s growing up on Long Island where I was exposed to a great deal of Italian culture, which is a rapid departure from the Scottish culture I experienced in my own home, but I recognized these guys too.

When you read these books, the mystery is engaging, but it’s the characters that make you feel like you’re part of the family. Scotoline does a great job of drawing you in and keeping you there. You care about her characters and you watch how much the other characters care about one another. Who wouldn’t root for someone the three Tony’s care so much about?

The story this time around revolves around a decades old mystery that a thirteen-year-old girl wants solve. But here’s the rub: the victim was her sister and she believes the man sent to prison for her murder is innocent.

I picked The Accused up thinking, well this should be all right. But I’d forgotten how much I enjoy this series. I ended up reading longer than I planned and later than I planned. I finished the book in two days. It was great. Another lost in a book moment. 🙂

Books I Love, Reading Fun

A Suggestion For When You Can’t Spend A Lot Of Time With A Book

Sorry for the long absence. I haven’t blogged about anything in a while because I haven’t read much lately. Well, I’ve read a few things, but not really anything I’d recommend. I live by the motto, if you don’t have anything good to say, yadda, yadda, yadda.

And life did get a little hectic, making reading difficult. Actually, that’s not entirely true. Life did get hectic but I have been reading. Just not novels. . . something else . . .um, well . . . okay, okay. I’ve been reading comic books.

I know, I know. No intelligent adult is supposed to admit that publicly. But it’s true and it has completely filled the reading void. I have been busy. The kind of busy that means large portions of time will go between reading sessions. Enough time that it’s hard to get into a book.

And, to be perfectly frank, I haven’t had the time to get lost in a book. But a comic book is different. A short little story that I can read in one sitting and walk away feeling satisfied.

Oh, what comic book? Um, well, Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

I know, I know, but I used to love that show. I was so upset when it went off the air. And the comics take up right where the show left off. It’s fun, fantastical, and irreverent.

And the Buffy comic is overseen by Joss Whedon. Who doesn’t love Joss Whedon? So yes, I am an adult woman, with kids, who likes comics. So if you’re looking for a short little something, try comics.

Now if you’ll excuse me, Calvin and Hobbes are waiting for me. ☺