16 June, 2019

#Spotlight :: The Wedding Crasher by Nikki Stern

The Wedding Crasher

by Nikki Stern

on Tour June 1-30, 2019


The Wedding Crasher by Nikki SternSynopsis:

A brunette in a bridal gown turns up in Pickett County, Tennessee, throat slit and ring finger missing. She’s the latest victim of the Wedding Crasher, a serial killer who murders women just weeks before their weddings.


Samantha Tate is Picket County’s yoga-loving, poker-playing new sheriff, a former Nashville homicide detective who struggles with her inner demons. To catch the meticulous murderer, Sam will have to follow her instincts and ignore her worst impulses. Can she stop the Wedding Crasher before another bride-to-be dies?


Book Details:

Genre: Mystery
Published by: Ruthenia Press
Publication Date: May 8, 2019
Number of Pages: 340
ISBN: 978-0-9995487-3-8
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Read an excerpt:

The dead woman lay in the clearing like a macabre version of Sleeping Beauty. She was dressed in a long-sleeved, high-necked ivory gown, set off by luminescent pearl drop earrings and a matching necklace that almost hid the dried blood around her throat. Her head rested on a satin pillow, her silky walnut hair spread behind her like a fan. The right hand held a bouquet of wilted flowers and rested on her chest underneath the left, absent the fourth finger. The ring finger.
Sheriff Sam Tate stood to one side of the grim tableau, arms folded, and took it all in: the victim; the tall white-haired man who knelt by the body; the deputy who walked the scene in throwaway boots, snapping pictures; the pale young man in running gear sitting on a rock, head almost to his knees; the uniformed officer who squatted beside him.
Sam had dressed in her standard uniform of pressed black slacks and a spotless white shirt. A shaft of early-morning sun bounced off the polished badge at her left breast pocket. On her right wrist, she wore a utilitarian watch. Three small studs twinkled along one earlobe, her single visible concession to a rebellious streak. She’d pulled her unruly dark locks into a tight braid. Ray-Bans shielded her green eyes, though not the line that formed between her brows.
One of the victim’s low-heeled white pumps had dropped off to reveal a slim ankle in hosiery. Stockings, not pantyhose, held up by an old-fashioned garter. Sam didn’t need to look.
He’s back, she thought, adding a curse for good measure.

***

Excerpt from The Wedding Crasher by Nikki Stern. Copyright 2019 by Nikki Stern. Reproduced with permission from Nikki Stern. All rights reserved.



Author Bio:

Nikki Stern

Nikki Stern is the author of the inspirational HOPE IN SMALL DOSES, a 2015 Eric Hoffer Montaigne Medal finalist, and the thriller THE FORMER ASSASSIN, a 2018 Kindle Book Review category finalist. Her essays are included in three anthologies and she co-authored the interactive Café Noir murder mystery series, published by Samuel French. Eight of her short stories have been published in various online journals and she was a Mark Twain Royal Nonesuch finalist for her short story “Long Away and Far Ago.” Nikki is a member of Sisters in Crime and Mystery Writers of America.

Catch Up With Nikki Stern On:
nikkistern.com, Goodreads, BookBub, Twitter, & Facebook!




Tour Participants:

Visit these other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways!






Enter To Win!

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Nikki Stern. There will be 2 winners of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card each. The giveaway begins on June 1, 2019 and runs through July 2, 2019. Void where prohibited.
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14 June, 2019

#BookReview :: Decoding the Feronia Files by Tanushree Podder & Ajoy Podder

Can weather be controlled?
If so, can it be weaponised?

The USA set up HAARP in 1993 for research on weather modification. Its covert experiments caused unexplained weather changes like cloudbursts, tsunamis, floods, earthquakes, leading to massive destruction across the globe. Worldwide outrage finally forced the closure of haarp. But the deadly experiments continued to ravage the world.

Around the same time, a secret device is planted by a foreign mountaineering expedition in the Himalayas. It has the potential to change weather patterns in India. A team of Army mountaineers is sent to retrieve the gadget. But, will they be able to retrieve it before the damage is done?

Will the intelligence agencies across several countries succeed in nabbing the culprits who are trying to weaponise weather?

Decoding the Feronia files is a thriller that takes the readers on an international roller-coaster ride to track the scientists carrying out experiments that could unleash a new weapon of mass-destruction—weather. 



This is the second IWE Cli-Fi that I have read so far.

HAARP was set up with the intent of researching weather modification and it was probably done so with the intent of solving global problems. But as is usually the case, atleast in fiction, the results were not what was expected. Extreme weather changes leading to natural disaster that wiped out a lot of life and infrastructure and as such the initiative was closed down. That did not stop the experiments… and with a device embedded in the Himalayas that can have tremendous ramifications, a hunt is on!

The book has a slow start as the authors take their time in giving background information to the readers and setting up the main characters for the story. As expected from a cli-fi, a certain amount of the information provided dealt with climate, the experiments that were undertaken and their implications. Once the base is built the book takes on the pace of an action thriller and there’s not a single dull moment. As for characters, with (almost) the whole world affected by the changes, all the major nations have a team looking into the matter. As such there is a wide set of characters and the cast involves people from agencies like CIA, R&AW, ISI, KGB, ASIS, to name a few. Then there are the suspects and the antagonists. All in all, it is a varied cast where each team brings in something different to offer to the plot. Their different personalities and quirks keep things interesting even though the books focus is more on the events than the characters.

The main aspect of the book is to make the readers realize the importance of treating nature right. I hope that when the readers realize the scope of the catastrophes waiting to happen whether human induced or otherwise, they will show some respect towards Mother Nature. At the same time it makes the readers also wonder if similar experiments can be carried out in reality to solve problems like global warming. This book delivers on many levels; from drama to action to suspense to food for thought, there is enough to keep the readers immersed in the pages. The narrative is crisp and the descriptions in book help the readers visualize each scene as they unfold.

I would have probably enjoyed the book more if the first half of the book was paced faster.



Review Copy received from Blogchatter Book Review Program

13 June, 2019

#BookReview :: Too Many Cooks (Nero Wolfe #5) by Rex Stout






The guest at a gathering of the greatest chefs in the world, Nero Wolfe must practice his own trade--sleuthing--when he discovers that a murderer is in their midst.




Goodreads * Amazon






This was a ‘change’ from the usual Nero Wolfe books because… wait for it… Nero is not in his Brownstone but in a convention for the best chefs from around the world that is happening at West Virginia. Yes, so ultimately it is food that got Nero to travel. At the convention, a chef gets murdered and there are plenty of suspects around as the victim himself, was not very popular among his peers. Nero reluctantly takes up the case to find the murderer. It does help that he is also on the hunt for a recipe at the same time.

The plot was as usual interesting with a couple of red herrings. Nero continues to play things close and Archie is close on his heels. It was quite jarring to see Nero out and about and it was quite interesting too. There’s a huge cast of characters in the book offering up various possibilities in terms of motive for the murder. The jealousy and the competition between the chefs had an almost tangible feeling. Not to mention the employees of the resort where the convention was happening. That brought in the element of racism which was handled quite well by the author.  The prevalence of prejudice at the time had been captured in an effectual manner and the point that he makes about it being wrong is done in a subtle but effective way. A repeating theme in the series is Nero and Archie’s attitude towards women and it is evermore clear in this book. While I do find it offensive at times, the author balances it out by making sure that almost every story has a strong woman character. It’s a kind of conflict that I have come to terms with… almost. 

Even with Nero’s outing, I think this book could have been more as the beginning of the book was a bit too slow of a start. This is certainly not one of my favourites in the series so far, but I am not going to hold it against the series as with 70 odd stories in the series, a few are bound to fall short on expectations.






12 June, 2019

#BookReview :: One Corpse Too Many (Chronicles of Brother Cadfael #2) by Ellis Peters




In the summer of 1138, war between King Stephen and the Empress Maud takes Brother Cadfael from the quiet world of his garden into a battlefield of passions, deceptions, and death. Not far from the safety of the abbey walls, Shrewsbury Castle falls, leaving its ninety-four defenders loyal to the empress to hang as traitors. With a heavy heart, Brother Cadfael agrees to bury the dead, only to make a grisly discovery: one extra victim that has been strangled, not hanged.



Goodreads * Amazon





I have wanted to read Ellis Peters for a while and thanks to Blossoms Book House, I got my hands on a couple books from ‘Chronicles of Brother Cadfael’ series. 

The war between King Stephen and Empress Maud had brought Shrewsbury to a standstill because of a siege. When King Stephen managed to take over the castle, he had his opposition hung till death. Brother Cadfael, with the permission of the King, brings the bodies of the dead in order to give them a proper burial. But there’s an extra corpse whose cause of death seems to be something other than the noose. Brother Cadfael takes it on himself to find out the fallen man’s identity and exact justice for him.

Brother Cadfael’s knack for observation is shown to the readers early on as is his sense of duty and justice. It doesn’t hurt that the author has also provided us with some hints to his past which makes him seem like a completely different person that he is now. As such, I found it pretty easy to like our protagonist. With his newfound apprentice in stow, Brother Cadfael does all he can to help those who are in need and find justice for a fallen innocent. Godric was an interesting character whose presence in the book added a lot more to the plot and provided some interesting twists. I have to say, even though it is a bit of a spoiler, I ended up liking Hugh Beringar quite a bit. He made an interesting opponent at first and then an even more interesting ally to have.

The author has managed to create a world set in early 12th century England come alive through the pages. It was interesting to see how the brothers of the Abbey managed to keep themselves separate from the war between King Stephen and Empress Maud. They welcomed anyone who needed the help and opened their gates to one and all.  The language used by the author suited the setting. I had trouble understanding a few dialogues in the first few chapters and had to reread the portion to understand. But I got into the flow quick enough and ended up enjoying both the language and the dialogue delivery.

A simple case of whodunit that seasoned mystery buffs will be able to catch on to, yet have a good time reading all about it.




11 June, 2019

#BookReview :: The Rubber Band (Nero Wolfe #3) by Rex Stout




What do a Wild West lynching and a respected English nobleman have in common? On the surface, absolutely nothing. But when a young woman hires his services, it becomes Nero Wolfe’s job to look deeper and find the connection. A forty-year-old pact, a five-thousand-mile search, and a million-dollar murder are all linked to an international scandal that could rebound on the great detective and his partner, Archie, with fatal abruptness.



Goodreads * Amazon





The Rubber Band is another intricately woven plot that introduces a couple of new characters.

As usual, the Wolfe household is in a state, but for a change our protagonists are already working on a case while another interesting case falls into their laps. From money stolen from a desk to a last minute rescue of a man heading to the noose to a beautiful new client whose charms work wonders… this case has it all. But what can a fifty year old lynching case have to do with the present? And will Nero be able to handle all the police interference?

This time Nero has more people he can get to do all the legwork for him. As such Archie is in the Brownstone for most parts and it makes for a different kind of entertainment. Archie and Nero’s relationship is the cause of half the humour in the books. I love their dynamics and their banter and as usual they are up to it again. Also, there’s a particular situation in this book where the police search Nero’s house, and without giving any spoilers, it was a brilliant moment on the book.

This is a slow burn sort of a book. It takes a while for the actual plot to take off, but there is plenty in the meantime to keep the reader engaged. The plot in this one is complex and there are quite a few red herrings left along the way for the readers. I almost missed out on the whodunit myself.

All in all, another entertaining book in a series that is yet to disappoint me.









10 June, 2019

#Spotlight :: A Cloud of Fraud by Linda Ferreri

A Cloud Of Fraud by Linda Ferreri Banner

A Cloud of Fraud

by Linda Ferreri

on Tour June 1-30, 2019

Synopsis:

A Cloud of Fraud by Linda Ferreri
A man is shot dead in front of City Hall in Philadelphia where his family is tangled in a bitter lawsuit. One brave woman, drawn there by a work of art, finds herself following a twisted trail to the hills of Le Marche in Italy to learn why. All the while, the cloud of fraud grows thicker and darker around her. But, as C. S. Forester said, perhaps the scandal of fraud enhances the flavor.

This thrilling story grabs and holds the reader from the first chapter through unexpected twists all the way to the richly satisfying ending. Art expert Claire Bliss and police Comandante Baldo are joined and antagonized by unforgettable characters in both Philadelphia and Italy. The authenticity of Ferreri's players and their territories give special vibrance to the novel.

Lovers of the Renaissance will be drawn in immediately by the book's cover, a painting of Mary Magdalene by Carlo Crivelli (ca. 1480) in the Rijksmuseum. Inside the book, a great art crime story unfolds together with a gem of a murder mystery.

A Cloud of Fraud is colorful, fast-moving entertainment.

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery / Thriller
Published by: Linda Ferreri Trustee
Publication Date: May 7, 2019
Number of Pages: 315
ISBN: 978-0-578-47624-7
Purchase Links: Amazon | Kindle | Apple Books | Goodreads

Read an excerpt:

Early on in the Hard-heads case, at one of the bar association luncheons, Judge Pirandello had positioned himself next to one of his former clerks who was now a successful litigator in the Probate Court. Biggers, by name. There was the introductory chat about the wellbeing of their family members and the joke about the latest case here or there. The dialogue was familiar to both of them. The Hard-heads plaintiff was a problem person, the judge had learned, and he needed to be squashed to put an end to mostly frivolous claims, driven by greed. Everybody in the family knew it, the judge heard. He knew the type. The Probate Court was littered with greedy relatives, angry children with buxom young stepmothers wearing expensive jewelry their fathers had bought. He knew it all. The judge wanted rid of this case, and so he was pleased to learn that it was not worthy of His Honor's dignified much less close attention. The Hard-heads case had to go.
It would have gone long before now, the judge was thinking to himself as he growled into the cup of black tea, but these damned people had refused to take the hint, refused to be cowed or put in their places. Here and there at the few hearings he had conducted over this motion or that, he had seen a shrug of the shoulders by one or another lawyer.
"What could we do?" They might as well have said that out loud. The judge understood.
His knee was throbbing, but Judge Pirandello refused to have it replaced. The fact that cold weather was coming on made it worse. The goddamned orthopedic surgeon was another money-grubber. Were there no professionals left in his world who were not money-grubbers? He stretched his corpulence forward over the edge of his chair to reach for his footstool, then winced as he elevated the bad leg. He yelled out for Mary to bring him another cup of tea. Then, he opened the enormous file on the small table beside his chair.
In Re the Estate of Seri. He hated even the name. Italian people should not behave in this fashion, he thought. His own father would have come back from the dead to beat the daylights out of his heirs if they had behaved as these people were behaving. Suing one another. Claiming fraud. All of it. Disgraceful, he thought. They were each poised to receive a generous amount of money but no, that wasn't good enough. As with errant children, the Judge was both angry with and ashamed of the parties.
***
Excerpt from A Cloud of Fraud by Linda Ferreri. Copyright 2019 by Linda Ferreri. Reproduced with permission from Linda Ferreri. All rights reserved.



Author Bio:

Linda Ferreri
Linda Ferreri is the author of several art crime novels as well as witty illustrated iBooks. She is a highly respected international art law expert who divides her time between the United States and Le Marche in Italy.
Sometimes she says her most amusing book was her first, The King of UNINI, a sophisticated little romance set in Paris.


Catch Up With Linda Ferreri On:
acloudoffraud.com, Goodreads, BookBub, Twitter, & Facebook!




Tour Participants:

Visit these other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways!






Enter To Win!

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Linda Ferreri. There will be 1 winner of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card. The giveaway begins on June 1, 2019 and runs through July 2, 2019. Void where prohibited.
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09 June, 2019

#Interview with P.A. Minyard, #Author of Encounters with Demons

About the Author:


Patti lived in multiple cities along the East coast throughout her childhood never staying in any one place for more than seven years. She attained her degrees from the University of South Florida as well as Long Beach State and now resides in Ohio. She is a Certified Medical Dosimetrist. (Yeah, no one else knows what that is either!)

Amazon * Goodreads




An Interview with the Author:

Tell us about your writing process.
I find that ideas can arise at all hours of the day so I’m constantly taking notes on my phone. Once these notes hit a critical mass, I’ll transfer them to the story. I’m not one to sit down in front of the computer and force myself to write, I need a reason or impulse. My time is short as work takes up most of my days, so I try to be as productive as possible when at the computer. I’m most comfortable when the story comes to me.

What is your favorite scene in the book? Why?
As much as I would like to share my favorite scene, I’m afraid it would give away a major plot point. That being said, my favorite scenes in general are the ones that elicit an emotional response. There were times when I had to walk away from writing a particular scene or sequence because I was overwhelmed with emotion. Hopefully, I conveyed those thoughts effectively enough to bring the reader with me. 

Did any of your characters inherit some of your own quirks?
Absolutely! LOL. I remember my English teachers telling me to write about what you know. While I try not to interject myself into my characters and let them speak for themselves, phrases or words I’ve used have crept into their dialogue. Anyone who knows me well and has read the book can easily point those areas out! Some of my insecurities find their way into the pages as well but I’m not so open as to reveal those.

What is the best piece of advice you have received, as a writer, till date?
I’ll actually give you two.
1. Puke on the page, let it all out, everything can be edited later.
2. Don’t fall in love with your work, be open to suggestion and change.

How did you come up with the idea for your current story?
I’ve spent half my life treating cancer patients and they hold a special place in my heart. I also have a fascination with the supernatural/paranormal and was taken by a story of a young cancer patient being tormented by a demon/entity. I have watched my patients struggle against that horrible disease and was incensed at the thought of a young boy enduring further anguish. I knew if I was in charge, things would be different and thus the Beloved were born.

Are there some stories tucked away in some drawer that was written before and never saw the light of day?
I always have ideas churning and have even mapped out storylines that have gone nowhere to date. I do refer back to them for inspiration and have incorporated bits and bobs in my latest works. It’s so hard, though. I still have that little voice in the back of my head telling me that no one else cares about these stories or characters. You just have to get past those insecurities and give it a rip!

Do you read? Who are your favorite authors and how have they influenced your writing style?
I read a lot more when I was younger, these days it’s mostly technical manuals. I have always enjoyed fantasy/science fiction and was taken with the novels written by Frank Herbert and Ursula K LeGuin. I love comics/anime/manga and the stories told by Leiji Matsumoto, Hayao Miyazaki, Rumiko Takahashi, and Joss Whedon. They have all influenced my writing and inspired me to create my own ordinary individuals thrust into extraordinary circumstances. Character driven stories, for me, are more satisfying to experience.
Also, I have taken to heart the wisdom of Dr. Seuss who cleverly stated “The writer who breeds more words than he needs is making a chore for the reader who reads.” Brevity can be powerful too.

How do you spend your free time? Do you have a favorite place to go and unwind?
Golf is my refuge. I have been playing now for 43 years, about the same amount of time as Tiger Woods. You’d think I’d be better! While my shoulders are shot and my game is no longer what it was, I still enjoy the experience of being outdoors, focusing on the now, and hearing that little ball clang against the cup as it drops in. There is nothing like the feeling of a purely struck golf ball. It’s as if the world slows down, you feel nothing because the strike is so smooth, and you watch the ball fly away on a perfect trajectory toward its intended target. A round of golf makes the world melt away if only for a few hours.

Tell us three fun facts about yourself.
1.  I have made a Hole in One.
2.  My favorite band is Def Leppard
3.  I’m a hopeless but proud geek.

What do you have in store next for your readers?
There are two more books filled with stories of other Beloved soon to be released. While the Beloved share a connection and some commonality through the brotherhood, their experiences are unique to their situation. And of course, there are crossover characters who leave their mark along the way. I invite my readers to strap in and enjoy the ride.

About the Book:
Father-to-be Gabriel Walker has just been murdered by a bank robber.
Then he’s given the choice between passing into the Father’s kingdom or remaining behind to help others in need as a Beloved – a mythical demon hunter.
Although his assigned Guardian fumbles at explaining the rules of his complex new existence, Gabe learns a few cool tricks: he must hunt demons to survive and can travel through space and time to do so.
After Gabe proves to be an able demon-slayer, he attracts the attention of Nick, who has good reason to convince Gabe to return home to his wife…
As he navigates death with his newfound talents, Gabe doesn’t realize his biggest challenge lies ahead in trusting the other Beloveds. It turns out that the newest demon-hunter isn’t the only Beloved with incredible powers.
Gabe’s story as a modern-day beloved is juxtaposed against the story of Michel, the very first Beloved. While not all Beloved are related, those who come from Michel’s line seem to cause Nick the most trouble. Gabriel is one of Michel’s descendants …
Encounters with Demons is the first novel in a sci-fi saga of good vs. evil.

Find the Book on Amazon




08 June, 2019

#GuestPost :: Primrose’s Curse: A Fairy Tale of an Audacious Girl

About the Authors:
KIARA SHANKAR is a young talented author from San Francisco, California, USA. Apart from writing books, she loves reading, artwork, writing poems, playing with her friends, and listening to her favorite Bollywood music.
Kiara's poem “A Deadly Star” was published in the national level writing contest book “A Celebration of Poets” (Fall 2018 Edition - published by Creative Communication, Utah, USA).

VINAY SHANKAR is Kiara’s dad, a software professional, who found himself inspired by his daughter’s idea of writing fictional fairy tale books and decided to co-write books with her. This collaborative effort of the family is helping to bring great ideas to life!
Visit the authors’ website at https://www.vikipublishing.com

Get in Touch:
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Primrose’s Curse: A Fairy Tale of an Audacious Girl

A new kids/teen fiction book by debut authors Kiara Shankar and Vinay Shankar released on Mar 4, 2019.

It’s breathtaking story about Primrose Fernetise, a beautiful audacious twelve-year-old girl, and a group of woodland animals with divine mystical abilities set out on an adventurous mission to Hellevue, a murky island on the dreary part of Mystopical. Their daring mission involves vanquishing the evil sorceress Queen Evelyn Velecrona and breaking the curse she has cast on humanity. How do the woodland animals and Primrose plan and embark on their brave voyage to defeat the wicked sorceress? Will the bunch of lovable woodland animals and an innocent twelve-year-old girl really succeed in bringing down the dreadful Queen Evelyn? Also, will they be able to bring back peace, well-being and happiness to humanity? To find out more about this epic fairy tale, please do consider reading this entire book. 

It's a fiction book with beautiful color illustrations that will delight readers' (especially Kids') imagination! 

Check out the synopsis at this short video on YouTube.

About the Book:
Book Title:  Primrose’s Curse : A Fairy Tale of an Audacious Girl
Publisher: VIKI Publishing  
Publication Date: March 4, 2019
Available Formats: ebook, Audiobook, Paperback, Hardcover
Print Length: 144 pages
Category: Children/Teen Fiction

Synopsis:
Primrose Fernetise, a beautiful audacious twelve-year-old girl, and a group of woodland animals with divine mystical abilities set out on an adventurous mission to Hellevue, a murky island on the dreary part of Mystopical. Their daring mission involves vanquishing the evil sorceress Queen Evelyn Velecrona and breaking the curse she has cast on humanity. 
How do the woodland animals and Primrose plan and embark on their brave voyage to defeat the wicked sorceress?Will the bunch of lovable woodland animals and an innocent twelve-year-old girl really succeed in bringing down the dreadful Queen Evelyn? 
Also, will they be able to bring back peace, well-being and happiness to humanity? 
To find out more about this epic fairy tale, please do consider reading this entire book.

Book Links: