Monday, December 5, 2016

Girl in the Water by Dana Marton - Book Blast and Giveaway

Girl in the Water
by Dana Marton


GENRE: Romantic Suspense

After the tragic death of his family, Ian, fresh home from the Army, is a shadow of his former self. Only his best friend's disappearance in South America pulls him back from the ledge. He rushes to Brazil, but he gets there too late. The best he can do now is find his friend's murderers. The single lead in the case is also the single biggest obstacle--Daniela, a mysterious beauty very much in need of protection, with a host of secrets hidden in a dark past. As the two of them track down clues and try to untangle an impossible case, they draw the attention of all the wrong people, and danger follows them back to the US.

Ian wants the murderers. Daniela wants Ian to acknowledge the hot sparks of passion between them. He doesn't mind breaking rules, just never his own. Rule #1: You don't seduce the woman you protect



A couple of boats had been dragged up on the flat of the riverbank. Nobody around. Ian sat in the shade of the largest boat and pretended to be watching the barges and tugboats going past him.

He stole a glance at the house, hoping to spot Finch. Nothing there, but something rising out of the water maybe thirty feet from him caught his attention.

At first, he thought it might be a caiman—South America’s version of an alligator. Caimans were native to the area, although, he had no idea if they lived in this part of this particular river.

But instead, out of the river, rose a young woman.

She seemed to be struggling with…an anaconda?

When the shiny black, long body wrapped around hers, Ian moved, ready to dive into the water to help her, but she had the upper hand and dragged the wriggling beast toward shore with a triumphant smile, and he could see that she had a giant eel.

He couldn’t take his eyes off the thing. The eel stretched as long as the woman was tall, over five feet. They wrestled in the mud, the scene stunningly primal and elemental.

She had a piece of rag tied around her small breasts, and another around her slim waist, covering only the private parts of her body. She was the most stunning sight he’d ever seen, long dark hair streaming down in wet rivulets. A goddess risen.

A goddess in mortal struggle.

His western sensibilities pushed him to run and help, but the woman and the eel and their battle seemed somehow the spirit of the Amazon itself, and he felt like an interloper. He felt that he couldn’t take the woman’s triumph away from her.

And she did win, dragging the eel to shore, grabbing a rock the next second and smashing the eel’s head. The eel was still squirming when, with the same, sharp-edged rock, she gutted the thing, dumping the insides back into the river. She was not a peaceful goddess.

She washed the eel efficiently, then picked up the carcass and carried it, staggering under the weight, up the tall, steep bank, and in through the back door of the house Ian had been watching.

Ian’s chin might have dropped a little. Or a lot. In fact, he felt as if his chin just hit his lap.

Who on earth was she?


Girl in the Water deals with some really dark issues and is sometimes difficult  to read.  It is also a romance that is not the standard in most books.   I had heard a lot about the book and was not disappointed once I received the ARC to review.

There is a strong female character, Daniela, and a wounded male character,  Ian ,who carry the story.  There is danger, tension, and as the book starts an unusual setting.  All is rolled together into a very vibrant and interesting story.  This is a book that is both hard to read and hard to put down.


AUTHOR Bio and Links:

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Dana Marton has thrilled and entertained millions of readers around the globe with her fast-paced stories about strong women and honorable men who fight side by side for justice and survival.
Kirkus Reviews calls her writing "compelling and honest." RT Book Review Magazine said, "Marton knows what makes a hero...her characters are sure to become reader favorites." Her writing has been acclaimed by critics, called, "gripping," "intense and chilling," "full of action," "a thrilling adventure," and wholeheartedly recommended to readers. Dana is the winner of the Daphne du Maurier Award of Excellence, the Readers' Choice Award, and Best Intrigue, among other awards. Her book, TALL, DARK, AND LETHAL was nominated for the prestigious Rita Award. DEATHSCAPE reached the #1 spot on Amazon's Romantic Suspense Bestseller list.
Dana has a Master's degree in Writing Popular Fiction, and is continuously studying the art and craft of writing, attending several workshops, seminars and conferences each year. Her number one goal is to bring the best books she possibly can to her readers.
Keeping in touch with readers is Dana's favorite part of being an author. Please connect with her via her web site ( or her Facebook page (
Having lived around the world, Dana currently creates her compelling stories in a small and lovely little town in Pennsylvania. The fictional town of her bestselling Broslin Creek series is based on her real life home where she fights her addictions to reading, garage sales, coffee and chocolate. If you know a good twelve-step program to help her with any of that, she'd be interested in hearing about it! :-)

***Visit Dana’s website to read the first chapters of her books!

Website:   sign up for her newsletter and get a FREE novel!
Twitter:   @DanaMarton




Dana will be awarding a $100 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

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Sunday, December 4, 2016

Short and Sweet Book Reviews # 60 - A Study in Scarlett Women by Sherry Thomas, The Quest by Dani Hoots, The Four Thousand, the Eight Hundred by Greg Egan

A Study in Scarlet Women (Lady Sherlock, #1)A Study in Scarlet Women by Sherry Thomas
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I requested this book on Netgalley but was not approved. On Black Friday week-end I had a 30% off coupon from Barnes and Noble and went in to browse. I did not have a specific book in mind but when I saw A Study in Scarlet Women I decided to pick it up. There have been quite a few take-0ffs on the Sherlock Homes stories. This is another where Sherlock is a woman. Charlotte Holmes is rather different in the role. She is one of the Scarlet Women and the other is part of the mystery. There is a lot of world building, backstory and character development in the story. By the end the mystery is solved and everything is in place for the next book in the series. I enjoyed the story and look forward to the next book due out in 2017.

The Quest (Sanshlian Series, #1)The Quest by Dani Hoots
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I don't mind a cliff hanger in a book that is part of a series. However when there is one I want something solved and a another problem as the cliff hanger. The Quest did not have that. It just ended with the entire cast of characters in place for some kind of solution and then a bright white light and wait for the next book. The book was mainly backstory, world building and some plot development.

In spite of the length the character development left something to be desired. I did not warm to any one in the book and did not understand what their motives were. That left me wondering how or if they even fit into the very loosely woven plot. I will give the second book a chance. If it does not move the characters and plot alone better than book one I will leave the series behind.

 The Four Thousand, the Eight HundredThe Four Thousand, the Eight Hundred by Greg Egan
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was not an easy story to read or review. It says a lot about human nature and what we will do or not do to our fellow humans. Although set in space it has elements that are applicable to today. I found it very disturbing and a little depressing. Not the kind of story I usually like to read. No happy ending here.

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Friday, December 2, 2016

Book Beginnings and The Friday 56 -December 2, 2016

I'm linking up with Rose City Reader for Book Beginnings and Freda's Voice for Page 56. Check out the links above for the rules and for the posts of the participants each week. Pick the closest book on your book stack and join the fun.

The Beginning:

"My wedding day. It was supposed to be the happiest day of my life."

Page 56:

"Humm, looks like you're in luck, Sister Carmen. The Southside crew has a shipment coming in tomorrow night."

From Karma Girl by Jennifer Estep. I love Estep's Spider series so when I saw her name on the book I picked it up. This is one of her earlier books and a series I had not heard of before I found this book at my library's used book story. I haven't started it so don't know how good or bad it is. I did find that there are other books in the series.

I need to stay out of bookstores. I just can't seem to resist buying more and more books.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Skeletons in the Attic by Judy Penz Seluk - Book Blast and Giveaway

by Judy Penz Sheluk
GENRE:  Mystery



What goes on behind closed doors doesn’t always stay there…

Calamity (Callie) Barnstable isn’t surprised to learn she’s the sole beneficiary of her late father’s estate, though she is shocked to discover she has inherited a house in the town of Marketville—a house she didn’t know existed. However, there are conditions attached to Callie’s inheritance: she must move to Marketville, live in the house, and solve her mother’s murder.

Callie’s not keen on dredging up a thirty-year-old mystery, but if she doesn’t do it, there’s a scheming psychic named Misty Rivers who is more than happy to expose the Barnstable family secrets. Determined to thwart Misty and fulfill her father’s wishes, Callie accepts the challenge. But is she ready to face the skeletons hidden in the attic?



I didn't realize that I had signed up to review Skeletons in the Attic until I got the link to the book. After reading the book I was glad that I did. This is book one in the series and it is off to a great start. The main character, Calamity (Callie) Barnstable, does not realize how good she is at solving puzzles until the death of her father sends her off to solve a 30 year old mystery. The mystery; find out what why her mother disappeared. There is a great cast of characters to help her along. Each one contributes a little to the solution to the puzzle. I was kept guessing the entire time and the ending was a surprise. While the main mystery was solved there were a lot of threads left hanging. I was a little upset about that until I remembered that this is book one in a new mystery series. Now I am looking forward to the next book to see how they are handled in the next book.

Leith Hampton placed the will in front of him, smoothing an invisible crease with a well-manicured hand, the nails showing evidence of a vigorous buffing. I wondered what kind of man went in for a mani-pedi—I was surmising on the pedi—and decided it was the kind of man who billed his services out for five hundred dollars an hour.

He cleared his throat and stared at me with those intense blue eyes. “Are you sure you’re ready, Calamity? I know how close you were to your father.”

I flinched at the Calamity. Folks called me Callie or they didn’t call me at all. Only my dad had been allowed to call me Calamity, and even then only when he was seriously annoyed with me, and never in public. It was a deal we’d made back in elementary school. Kids can be cruel enough without the added incentive of a name like Calamity.

As for being ready, I’d been ready for the past ninety-plus minutes. I’d been ready since I first got the call telling me my father had been involved in an unfortunate occupational accident. That’s how the detached voice on the other end of the phone had put it. An unfortunate occupational accident.

I knew at some point I’d have to face the fact that my dad wasn’t coming back, that we’d never again argue over politics or share a laugh while watching an episode of The Big Bang Theory. Knew that one day I’d sit down and have a good long cry, but right now wasn’t the time, and this certainly wasn’t the place. I’d long ago learned to store my feelings into carefully constructed compartments. I leveled Leith with a dry-eyed stare and nodded.

“I’m ready.”


AUTHOR Bio and Links:

An Amazon International Bestselling Author, Judy Penz Sheluk’s debut mystery novel, The Hanged Man’s Noose (Barking Rain Press), was published in July 2015. Skeletons in the Attic (Imajin Books), the first book in her Marketville Mystery Series, was published in August 2016.
Judy’s short crime fiction appears in World Enough and Crime, The Whole She-Bang 2, The Whole She-Bang 3, Flash and Bang and Live Free or Tri.

Judy is a member of Sisters in Crime, Crime Writers of Canada, International Thriller Writers and the Short Mystery Fiction Society.

Find Judy on her website/blog at, where she interviews other authors and blogs about the writing life. You can also find Judy on Facebook
(, Twitter (@JudyPenzSheluk) and on her Amazon author page,

SKELETONS IN THE ATTIC is on sale on Amazon Kindle from December 1 through December 15 for .99 (reg. price $4.99).



Judy Penz Sheluk will be awarding a $10 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour,

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Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Look Back Wednesday - November 30, 2016


Precinct 13 by Tate Hallaway
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Precinct 13 is set in Pierre, South Dakota, not the usual place for a paranormal mystery to take place. That was what caught my attention in the beginning and then I looked at the premise. The police department has a special division that takes care of the paranormal. Alex Connor is the new coroner and one of her first bodies gets up and walks out she is sent to Precinct 13 where she learns that all the things she has seen for her entire life are real and she is not crazy. From there you have mystery, romance, more mystery and a lot of fun. The story line was not as strong as I would have liked but it still kept my attention and left me wanting to visit Precinct 13 again.

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Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Random House Book Giveaway

From an Email I received from Random House

This Giving Tuesday, and throughout the holiday season, Penguin Random House is giving you 5 books to donate to your community through our third annual #GiveaBook holiday campaign. With your help, we have donated more than 85,000 books to children in need across the country through #Giveabook since its inception in 2014. This year, we're donating an additional 50,000 books to children nationwide through First Book, a nonprofit social enterprise that provides new books and educational resources to children from low-income families. 
Follow this link to a giveaway page at Random House.

Confluence by S.K. Dunstall

Science Fiction

Confluence by S.K. Dunstall needs more that just a short and sweet review.  I think it needs a look back at the first two books in series and then a review of Confluence.  

I read Linesman when it first came out and really loved it.  I fact I liked it so much that it was one of my Hugo nominees for that year and a recommendation for our Science Fiction Book Club.  While it did not make the Hugo list it did make the review list for our book club and was the choice this October.  That started my journey back into the world of Ean Lambert.  I reread Linesman and marveled at the way the authors (S.K. Dunstall is the composite of two different authors) dropped hints about Ean and the lines from the very first page when Ean walked onto a ship where the lines were in such a bad condition he was surprised it made it to dock.  He gives the ship a pat and tells the lines the they did well and says he can almost hear them answering.  He has alway been different from other linesman.  He was late to training and had some habits that could not be broken.  He sang to the lines and by singing put them back into tune.  No one else repaired the lines by singing.  Turns out Ean had the right idea and soon he knows that the lines can answer.  From that start Ean makes a journey into a whole new world. 

After re-reading Linesman I found the CD of Alliance, Book Two, at my local library and visited the story again.  Alliance looks at how Ean's discoveries change the politics and the way many of the characters react to those changes.  The plot continues to grow more complex and Ean's abilities becomes both a danger to some and the hope of others.  The stage is set for book three, Confluence.  

I had seen Confluence on Netgalley.  I requested it and heard back that I was approved on the Monday before the election.  I voted early and on election day I dropped back into the world of Ean, Michelle, Radko and Abrams.  I stayed there for two days, did not want to leave so re-read all three books again.  This is one of those series that becomes new every time it is read.  I don't know if this is  the last book in the series but I really hope it is not.  I would love to visit this world again.

So the review of Confluence:

ConfluenceConfluence by S.K. Dunstall
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Once again Ean, Radko, Michelle and Abrams deliver a taunt exciting story. There are other players featured in the story line. Some are new characters and some are side characters from the previous books who get to play a more important part this time. The politics are still front and center. Radko is sent on a mission that should have been a simple in and out. Instead she uncovers a new dangerous plot. More and more people want to control the lines and that means controlling Ean. I loved the fast pace but slow reveal of the danger to both Ean and Michelle. Once again the authors leave small bread crumbs along the way to give hints about both people and actions. I hope that this is not the last time to see this interesting and unique world that had been built in Linesman, Alliance and Confluence. One danger is removed but there are still the alien ships, where they came from and who they were fighting that is unresolved.

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