Thursday, April 23, 2015

Anne Perry

I am new to Anne Perry's novels, though she is long from new to the writing world. Her list of books is lengthy and she's a NYT Bestseller.

However, she is not my cup of tea.

First, let me state that as a general rule I like murder mystery books. Not the grisly or foul language covered ones, but a good simple mystery with some conspiracy or political intrigue thrown in is just fine. I grew up on Nancy Drew and The Cat Who books.

Second, let me state what Ms. Perry does well. She is excellent at setting, both the place and time period. Her use of accents is well done while still allowing the reader to understand what is being said by the character. Each character, large and small, receives a healthy description that is both physical and emotionally telling. Her history is well researched. She states the problem/murder up front.

But I found both Death on Blackheath and Blood on the Water tedious.

Third. What didn't work for me: everything between the first 10-20 pages and the last 10 -20 pages, which is the bulk of the book. It took forever to get to solving the murder and with little excitement on the way to the resolution i.e. finding out whodunit. I had difficulty getting into the characters, not because they weren't well fleshed out, but because they didn't come alive for me. I didn't feel what they felt, so I didn't care the way I'd have liked. Some of the detecting methods didn't make sense. There were times when characters would trail off expecting me to know what they were thinking, and of course, I didn't. I can only be in my own mind, not someone else's. Whatever the information attempting to be conveyed through omission didn't come through. If I, as the reader need to know something about the character or an important plot point, then just say it.

Now, I will say that as I haven't read any of the previous books in either of these series, perhaps I am missing vital information about the main characters that would have solved some of my issues with reading the books. I did feel that you could read these as stand alone novels and be content. She does refer to histories that happened previously in the series but as plot points don't hinge on them you won't be lost.

Will I read Ms. Perry again? No. There are other writers I prefer for mysteries.

But you can decide for yourself.

Anne Perry’s superb New York Times bestselling novels set in the glorious reign of Victoria are loved by readers far and wide. Now, with this new Charlotte and Thomas Pitt mystery, Perry returns us to that charmed era, when wealth and power rule—but where, alas, poisonous corruption lies coiled in the heart of the empire.
As commander of the powerful Special Branch, Thomas Pitt has the job of keeping Britain safe from spies and traitors. So there’s no obvious reason why he is suddenly ordered to investigate two minor incidents: the blood, hair, and shards of glass discovered outside the home of naval weapons expert Dudley Kynaston, and the simultaneous disappearance of Mrs. Kynaston’s beautiful lady’s maid.
But weeks later, when the mutilated body of an unidentified young woman is found near Kynaston’s home, Pitt realizes that this is no ordinary police investigation. Far from it. Is Kynaston—one of Britain’s most valuable scientists—leading a double life? Is Pitt saddled with a conspiracy so devilishly clever that it will ruin him?
A baffled Pitt has never needed his friends more desperately, including his indomitable wife, Charlotte; his canny old colleague Victor Narraway; and his personal drawing-room spy, Lady Vespasia Cumming-Gould. But even these allies may not be able to save Pitt—or Britain.    
Only Anne Perry could have created the tense unfolding of plot and counterplot, love and betrayal, scandal and murder that follows. Death on Blackheath is rich with fascinating characters, authentic period flavor, knife’s-edge suspense, and a haunting, unforgettable denouement.

As her New York Times bestselling novels always remind us, Anne Perry is a matchless guide to both the splendor and the shame of the British Empire at the height of its influence. In her twentieth William Monk mystery, she brings us to London’s grand Mayfair mansions, where the arrogant masters of the Western world hold sway—and to the teeming Thames waterfront, where one summer afternoon, Monk witnesses the horrifying explosion of the pleasure boat Princess Mary, which sends to their deaths nearly two hundred merrymakers.
The tragedy is no accident. As commander of the River Police, Monk should handle the case, but the investigation is turned over to the commissioner of the Metropolitan Police. An Egyptian man is swiftly caught, tried, and sentenced to die. But almost as quickly, Monk presents evidence that Habib Beshara, though a nasty piece of work, was elsewhere at the time of the blast. The investigation, now in complete disarray, is hastily turned over to Monk.
Is the crime connected with the soon-to-be-opened Suez Canal, which will enormously benefit wealthy British shipping companies? Or did all of those innocent people drown to ensure the death of just one? How did the bomber board the ship, and how did he manage to escape? Is he an anarchist or a madman?
Backed up by his astute wife, Hester, and his old reliable friend Oliver Rathbone, Monk vows to find answers—but instead finds himself treading the dangerous waters of international intrigue, his questions politely turned aside by a formidable array of the powerful and privileged. Events twist and turn like the Thames itself, leading to the shattering moment when Monk realizes, perhaps too late, that he is the next target.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

What Every 6th Grader Needs to Know Launch!

It's launch day for this new book, that, as a parent of an upcoming 6th grader, I'm super excited about. Now you can go get your own copy!

Popular authors Rachelle J. Christensen and Connie E. Sokol have teamed to create a must-have growing up series for girls. In time for Mother’s Day, the first book is now available: “What Every 6th Grader Needs to Know: 10 Secrets to Connect Moms & Daughters.”
As mothers of a combined twelve children (five of them girls), they’ve sought questions and experiences from everyday sixth grade girls. Then researched and practiced the answers! This power-packed book of time-tested information is now yours. Read, ruminate, and reconnect with your daughter in meaningful ways through the tough-conversation how-tos.
*10 key questions sixth grade girls want to ask
*10 chapters of real-life answers for the girls
*Conversation connection tips for moms to make talking fun
*Practice scenarios so your daughter is prepared for the “what-if”
*Positive affirmation Super Sentences to remind her what she’s learned
*Real experiences and advice from sixth grade girls
As one reviewer shared, “This book bestows all the wisdom you want to pour into your daughter's heart and mind in a fun, non-threatening way. Dread turns into confidence as you realize you have the tools to face those teenage years TOGETHER and have a ball doing it.” (Rachel Skinner, Mother of nine)

Purchase April 21, 2015 for only 99 cents!

Sign up for Coach Mom News

Enter to win the GOODREADS Giveaway

Friday, April 17, 2015

Safe Haven Giveaway!

Safe Haven is the fourth and last story in the Homecoming series, though not the last book using the Juniper Ridge, Colorado characters and it's a followup to the romance/suspense book Identity where the couple meet.

About Safe Haven:
When the US Marshall sends the newly-married Bo and Tosca into hiding in a little Montana town, they settle in for a safe, quiet life while they prepare for the court case against Tosca's former boyfriend. Charles has other plans, though—he wants her dead before she can testify. And he's found their safe haven.

On Amazon it is available in ebook and paperback.

On Barnes & Noble it is only available as a paperback, but I'm told the ebook is coming.

Heathers Facebook Page:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Drop Zone

I'm not new to Traci Hunter Abramson's books. I read her Royal books, which are more romance with a spy twist.

Drop Zone is spy with a small romance twist. 

Spy books are fun because their like murder mysteries. All you want to do is try and figure out whodunit before you get to the ending, all the while watching the clever author unfold the plot to see if you're wrong or right. Drop Zone is securely in the wonderful world of spy without graphic violence or foul language. Totally my cup of tea. And yes, it kept me from getting to sleep at night while I tried to unravel the plot based on what had happened so far. 

Not sure if there is a book about the Saint Squad touting their adventure with Morenta prior to this one. If so, it would be helpful to read through that one first. Although, this is an excellent stand alone book. 

Lots of well fleshed out characters, multiple perspectives. 

A thoroughly enjoyable read that kept me turning pages. 

Paige Vickers needs a new life, so she’s relieved when she’s given an assignment that takes her away from her stressful position as a psychiatric nurse with the CIA and puts her in a job as administrative assistant for Vanessa Johnson, an instructor for undercover operatives at the CIA’s training facility. At the same time, Damian Schmitt has been transferred to become a part of the Saint Squad—an elite group of Navy SEALs. However, on his first training mission with the team, he is almost killed, and the team suspects that the nearly fatal exercise was no accident. Then tensions accelerate when the rest of the squad is deployed on a secret mission—only to come up missing. When the Saint Squad’s disappearance endangers Paige’s boss, it is up to Paige and Damian to discover what has happened by going undercover to Maracaibo, Venezuela, the city of Damian’s childhood. The shocking twists and turns keep all the members of the team guessing as they push to find out who is responsible for the attacks on the tightly knit Saint Squad.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

What Every 6th Grader Needs to Know

10 secrets to connect

What Every 6th Grader Needs to Know by Connie Sokol & Rachelle Christensen

Is your daughter asking questions about friends, peer pressure, school, and even her weight?

As a mom, are you wondering how to answer them?

Welcome to the club.

But you can relax. Because we’ve asked real sixth-grade girls to dish on their top secret questions. And, we’ve provided time-tested real-life answers that work.

Add to that an enjoyable format. The “Just for Girls” section speaks right to your daughter in words and ways she understands. The “Just for Moms” section talks straight to moms, giving you information, resources, and easy-to-share answers. We include tips for how to start, handle, and enjoy the conversations no matter the situation.

Create connected conversations with your daughter as you explore these life questions together. Get plain facts and jumpstart questions. Discuss the provided scenarios so she can practice responses to use in real-time. Download decorative cards with positive statements and fun fill-in sentences.

Use What Every Girl Needs to Know About 6th Grade to make it happen. Together, answer questions and create connection.

You got this.

Enter the Goodreads 3 Book Giveaway

add to goodreads

Praise for What Every 6th Grader Needs to Know

10 Secrets to Connect Moms & Daughters

"At a time when so many barriers are straining mother/daughter relationships, and our daughter's esteem is being attacked from every side, “What Every 6th Grader Needs to Know” gives mothers the tools they need to communicate (even about the tough stuff). It gives daughters the confidence to know that they have what it takes to survive the unique transitional years. Whether your relationship with your daughter is strained, or you want to strengthen what is already strong, use this smart and savvy information. You and your girl(s) will learn how to thrive through the teen years.”

--Heather Ann Johnson M.S. Adjunct Faculty, BYU, Mother to 5 girls

“With conflicting messages today, it's easy for moms and daughters to get confused and overwhelmed. This book bestows all the wisdom you want to pour into your daughter's heart and mind in a fun, non-threatening way. Dread turns into confidence as you realize you have the tools to face those teenage years TOGETHER and have a ball doing it.”

--Rachel Skinner, Mother of nine, Social Worker

“This book provided a wonderful bonding experience for me and my daughter. As parents we always think we know how our child is doing. Then we get into a deep conversation and realize that compared to what we thought, they are doing either so much better or are suffering so much more. But they hold those feelings back to protect us. Sometimes they fear that talking about it means more pain, but this books shows that talking is healing, especially when we know how.”

—Karrie Glazner, Mother of Three Wonderful Kids

connie sokol1Author Connie E. Sokol

Connie E. Sokol is a mother of seven and a favorite local and national speaker for over fifteen years. She is a core contributor on KSL TV's “Studio 5 with Brooke Walker” and a national blogger for "Motherhood Matters" at She is a former TV and radio host for Bonneville Communications and newspaper and magazine columnist. Mrs. Sokol is the author of twelve books including Faithful, Fit & Fabulous; Create a Powerful Life Plan; The Life is Too Short Collection; 40 Days with the Savior; and Caribbean Crossroads. Mrs. Sokol marinates in time spent with her family and eating decadent treats.

rachelleAuthor Rachelle J. Christensen

Rachelle J. Christensen is a mother of five who loves connecting with her children and wrote this book in answer to questions from her two daughters. She also has an amazing husband, three cats, and five chickens. An award-winning author, she has written several mystery/suspense novels, and she solves the mystery of the missing shoe on a daily basis. Rachelle graduated cum laude from Utah State University with a degree in psychology and a music minor. She enjoys singing and songwriting, playing the piano, running, motivational speaking, and, of course, reading.

$25 Giveaway

Enter to win an Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash

Ends 5/1/15

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Tomorrow We Spy

I'm back to Jordan McCollum's spy series again!

This time we follow newlyweds Talia and Danny from their blissful honeymoon in Paris to their assignment in Russia, Talia's old stomping grounds no less. They'll have to learn on the fly how to make their marriage work or let it disintegrate in tatters. Russia will make or break them.

So, this time it's a romance between a wedded couple we follow. An intricate web is woven and the big question is: who do you trust?

The usual fun spy games in Russia. You'll want to brush up on your Russian, French, and Finnish for this one, assuming you already know English. That is one thing I love about Ms. McCollum's books, the use of multiple languages.  Formatting that element has to be a nightmare though. She pulls it off flawlessly, but as I am only fluent in one of the aforementioned languages, I wouldn't know the difference!

A quick, intense, satisfying read.

Mild violence, kissing.

It does make me long for some piroshki (I'm sure I spelled that wrong, but the taste is delicious!).

2014 Whitney Award Finalist in Mystery/Suspense

Final series installment after award-nominated I, SPY and SPY FOR A SPY 

CIA operative Talia Reynolds (Fluker) is off the clock, off the continent and off on her Paris honeymoon. But the happy couple’s trip to the City of Love is cut short when the CIA tracks them down for a top secret mission. Only this time, the Agency’s assignment isn’t for Talia — it’s for her husband Danny.

As an aerospace engineer, Danny’s the one with the connections they need to get to their target, an aerospace executive and a dangerous Russian FSB officer. After all she’s done to protect Danny from her spy life, Talia won’t okay the op until she’s allowed to accompany her husband. And the only safe way for her to do that? Deep undercover.

Balancing her personal and professional personas requires more precision than a Russian ballet. But all the covers in the world can’t protect Danny and Talia when the FSB officer turns the tables on them. Now Talia must use her every skill to save her marriage, her husband and herself — or their first mission together will be their last.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Lady Emma's Campaign

Lady Emma's Campaign is Jennifer Moore's second novel and on par with her first.

Ms. Moore has again done excellent research, this time on the land of war torn Spain. Ole!

This isn't a true sequel to Becoming Lady Lockwood, for in this novel we pick up the thread of story that runs between Sydney and Emma. Emma is William's sister. Sydney is William's best friend.

Poor Emma has an uphill battle of getting Sydney to see her as a grown woman rather than the child he thinks of as a sister.

Sydney is the same as before, but altered a bit as he is suffering from PTSD. His goal is to get his ragged little band to safety before the French catch them.

Emma is a different heroine. She is naive at first as to her rescue attempt of Sydney from prison, in fact a little irritatingly so. But then, she has grown up sheltered and believes all men are honorable and keep their word. Welcome to war Emma! She learns and grows as the story unfolds, all the time being completely likable. But if it came down to choosing between her and Amelia as a partner in a dark alley, I'd pick Amelia.

Ms. Moore shows her wit at painting her characters in to corners and then presenting an expected solution to deliver them from peril.

Wonderful to have the story unfold from both Syndey's and Emma's points of view. Lots of emotion to tug on your heart strings.

Clean Regency kisses. Some violence and death, it is war after all.

As this one is in Spain, perhaps a mug of chocolate to go with it, or some really good empanadas.

She would follow him through peace and war.
London, 1811
The London Season is ushered in with a thrilling flurry of invitations, gowns, and parties. But despite her status as belle of the ball, lovely socialite Emma Drake simply cannot fathom becoming entangled with any gentleman of her acquaintance. For in truth, since childhood her heart has belonged to Captain Sidney Fletcher, a man of the sea—and her brother’s best friend. Emma knows that Sidney’s directive to free the Spanish city of Cadiz from French occupation will be dangerous, but when word arrives of his capture, she is frantic. Determined to aid her brother in Sidney’s rescue, she hides aboard his ship and sets a course to Spain. But the realities of war are a far cry from the drawing rooms of London, and Emma finds the man she loves a mere shadow of his former self. When a series of events leaves them trapped together behind enemy lines, Emma and Sidney must embark on a journey fraught with danger—from a bloody hunt for Spanish treasure to the battlefields of war-torn Spain, new threats lurk around every turn. As their flight becomes increasingly perilous, Sidney and Emma must trust each other with their lives—but can they trust the other with their heart?