Monday, August 3, 2015

Off the Bookshelf: OBSESSION IN DEATH by JD Robb

Can you tell I like this series a whole lot? The In Death series returns with the latest paperback (all right, I cheated and read the Kindle version from the library before the paperback edition actually came out ...) OBSESSION IN DEATH.

Homicide Lt. Eve Dallas has a fan -- from the title, an obsessed fan. Someone who thinks she/he and Eve have a lot in common. So much, that he/she is going around systematically eliminating anyone who was disrespectful to Eve, who got in the way of her doing her job, of bringing true justice to futuristic New York.

The problem, as insightful Dr. Mira points out (I wish I had a Dr. Mira in my life, y'know?), is that eventually Eve's "true and loyal friend" is going to be disappointed in her. Eventually, in the course of doing her job, Eve will disillusion her obsessed fan, and he/she will decide to punish Eve. And what happens if this fan decides that Eve is being held back by the people in her life, and it's time to eliminate them? After all, Eve doesn't need anyone else, just this true and loyal friend ....

Shades of Stephen King's "Misery," with an obsessed fan who wants things all her way ...

Get ready for another visit to futuristic New York and characters we've come to know and love, as they race against time and an unhealthy dollop of insanity. Read it in whatever version you can get your hands on.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Off the Bookshelf: THE INN AT ROSE HARBOR, by Debbie Macomber

Don't you love to return to a favorite place and meet new friends, discover new details and treasures?

THE INN AT ROSE HARBOR takes us back to Cedar Cove, where we get to run into a few good friends, revisit a few places we've come to love.

Jo Marie Rose is a recent widow -- and even more tragic, a recent bride. After her soldier husband dies on a mission in Afghanistan, she is ready to start over. She buys a B&B in Cedar Cove.

Her first guests, Joshua and Abby, grew up in Cedar Cove but have been gone for years, each with their own painful past to deal with. As Jo Marie gets to know her neighbors and runs into people readers have come to know and love in Cedar Cove, her healing begins -- and so does the healing of her guests. As each finds a chance at love, there is the promise of a healing relationship and hope in the future for Jo Marie as well.

What can I say? Debbie Macomber always delivers, and it's a bonus when she takes you back to meet old friends. A good book for putting your feet up on a warm Sunday afternoon and just read straight through.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Off the Bookshelf: THE STEAMPUNK BIBLE, by Jeff VanderMeer

THE STEAMPUNK BIBLE by Jeff VanderMeer is a great resource touching on multiple aspects of the whole steampunk culture -- music, books, movies, clothes, gizmos and gadgets, art, and the history.

Full of photos and illustrations, it's a treasure trove for those wanting to understand what's involved, those who are considering dipping a toe into the culture -- and for those who want to try writing steampunk and aren't quite sure what's acceptable, what's considered "in" and what violates every precept -- and could be the start of a new facet or division within the whole steampunk universe.

It's kind of overwhelming -- but fascinating. I highly recommend starting your tour of the whole phenomenon here, if only to find the authors and titles who are at the core or genesis of the culture and mindset, so you can read their books and short stories. I have a lot more books on my to-be-read list now, thanks to this book. And maybe a little better understanding of what I need to do to make my book true to the flavor, look, and feel of steampunk.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Off the Bookshelf: TOP SECRET TWENTY-ONE, by Janet Evanovich

Sometimes I think the relationships and the wacky characters in Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum books are the best part. They're firmly established, so all the writer has to do is create the situation to put them in, thrown down the obstacles, wind them up and let them go.

This time, Stephanie is in danger she didn't put herself in through dumb luck or kultziness -- Ranger is in danger, and Stephanie steps in to help. That kind of changes the dynamic. And she's learned a few things over the years, so it makes sense when she actually does something smart -- even when it means risking her life. Of course, Ranger and Morelli are there to team up to protect her, and roll their eyes and glare at each other, and you can almost hear them wondering why they put up with her.

Because they love her, just like readers do. This particular adventure or misadventure or romp or whatever you want to call it is a lot more serious than previous books. Maybe Stephanie is starting to grow up? I saved this one for a reward for getting a number of goals accomplished, writing-wise and promotion-wise, and I actually read it in one day. I haven't indulged like that in a long time. Well worth it! Always fun to return to visit old friends and watch them scramble and scream, and chuckle at their foibles. If you haven't read any of the books yet, I highly recommend you start at the beginning, just because the relationships have grown through the years, and you don't want to miss a single stumbling step along the way.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

SPOTLIGHT SATURDAY: Tabor Heights -- WHITE ROSES

We come to the end of the Spotlights on Tabor Heights books. WHITE ROSES ties into COMMON GROUNDS, both of these books from Year 1.

There's a serial killer in Tabor Heights. The White Rose Killer terrorizes the young woman he has chosen as his 'true love,' leaving her white roses and notes demanding her loyalty and purity. When she reacts in fear and anger and tries to hide from him or even run away ... he has to punish her, and always seems to find a new 'true love' before the first is dead.

Twenty years ago, Toni's sister, Angel, was killed by a secret boyfriend in a way eerily similar to the way the White Rose's victims die. Twenty years ago, Curt, head reporter at the Tabor Picayune, found Angel's body. Now Toni has back in town, determined to find the White Rose Killer and finally get justice for Angel, because she believes the secret boyfriend grew up to be the White Rose. Curt believes the same. He remembers Toni, and doesn't want to put Angel's sister in danger, so he is reluctant to take her on as his partner in the investigation. Until he realizes it's the only way to keep her safe.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Off the Bookshelf: ANOMALY, by Tonya Kuper

Some of the best books by new writers that I've read in the last year have been YA, especially YA fantasy or paranormal. This debut novel by Tonya Kuper is right up there.

I like how she explains the "rules" of the secret race/society that call themselves the Oculi, without halting the action and pace with a data dump. There's humor, fear, anger, danger, betrayal, hunger for belonging and being normal -- if there really is such a thing -- and two sides of a terrifying transition in a young woman's life, told through two viewpoints. I like Reid and Josie both, and certainly hope the author comes up with a couple more books (at least) about their further adventures.

The Oculi are people who have essentially the power to make what they see in their imaginations real. That can be terrifying when you don't realize you have the power -- and it can be funny. It can also be dangerous when a group decide they have the right to control everyone else with the power, and decide who lives and who dies. What's worse is when those who stand against them might just be no better a choice, no less dangerous and domineering. And there's Josie, who has been told a lot of lies all her life, supposedly to protect her, but isn't quite sure who to trust anyone.

Confused? Don't be -- I just don't want to ruin anything for you, if you like paranormal and you like YA and you like discovering new writers -- because you'll like this book.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

SPOTLIGHT SATURDAY: Tabor Heights -- WHEELS

Some stories have a long genesis and an even longer road to get to publication. WHEELS, from Tabor Heights Year 2, is that kind of book.

It originally started out as a script for "MacGyver." Anyone remember that show? The story team liked it, and gave me permission to revise ... but I got the revisions to them too late for consideration for the final half-season. They encouraged me to turn it into a feature-length film. Which I did. Didn't go anywhere.


However, I realized WHEELS had a place to fit when I was developing my characters and storylines and relationships for Tabor Heights. This one has been waiting a long time. You've met the hero, Tommy Donnelly, in other stories. Tommy is a local comedian, in a wheelchair thanks to an accident in his childhood. He and his sister, Claire, have been a team forever, and when she came to town to help set up the Mission, Tommy came with her. He's a favorite uncle to all the children at the Mission, and he and Sammy like to believe that they were a team in getting Claire and Sammy's father, Paul, to fall in love.

Now it's Tommy's turn and Tommy's story. When the Mission has a handicap awareness campaign, Tommy is the ringleader -- of course. Natalie comes to town to cover the day, when everyone participating has to go around town with a borrowed "handicap" and find out what it's like for the blind, deaf, and those using crutches and wheelchairs. Natalie has a secret, though -- she was the "girl next door" when Tommy was a boy. She adored him long before he broke his back. She's fascinated with the man he's become -- but does she dare tell him who she is? Between the craziness of Handicap Awareness Day, the story Natalie is trying to write, secrets and old memories and some drug dealers trying to blackmail a friend of Tommy's, it's one very full ... maybe even dangerous day. Who has time to fall in love? Find out!