Monthly Archives: June 2009

Katka by Stephen Meier

katka

Stephen Ross Meier was born in Fort Sill, Oklahoma, the first of many places he would live worldwide. He received his Bachelors in English from Arizona State University. He currently resides in Las Vegas, Nevada

Inspired by music, films, books, and the world around him, he is currently working on several projects, with his next book, Teaching Pandas to Swim, ready to be released soon. A huge fan of such writers as Charles Bukowski, Milan Kundera, Irving Welsch, Irving Stone, Chuck Palahniuk, and Brett Easton Ellis, Stephen has always been drawn to writing and story telling.

Having been diagnosed with Heart Disease on May 10th, 2006, Stephen has been reminded that life void of passion is really not a life at all.

For more information please visit http://www.stephenrossmeier.com

Katka by Stephen Meier is a gritty, edgy novel of greed, love, and swindles gone very wrong. When Gavin and his girlfriend team with her best friend Simona to pull a phony mail order bride scam in the Czech Republic, Gavin gets in way over his head in the high-stakes and dangerous business of selling wives. When Gavin talks Katka, his girlfriend, into becoming part of the merchandise, planning to bait-n-switch the client in the end, things go awry and Katka disappears with the client. Partnering with the jealous and volatile Simona, Gavin begins to lament this risky life he has chosen, but finds the money is something he can’t walk away from. Gavin’s doubts grow; the con begins to consume him, and he finds himself thinking of Katka, the fate he dealt her, and whether he can undo the biggest mistake of his life.
Written with staccato grit and streetwise savvy, Katka reads like a Quentin Tarantino movie. Stephen Meier’s work will leave you begging for more.

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April and Oliver by Tess Callahan

april and oliver

Best friends since childhood, the sexual tension between April and Oliver has always been palpable. Years after being completely inseparable, they become strangers, but the wildly different paths of their lives cross once again with the sudden death of April’s brother. Oliver, the responsible, newly engaged law student finds himself drawn more than ever to the reckless, mystifying April – and cracks begin to appear in his carefully constructed life. Even as Oliver attempts to “save” his childhood friend from her grief, her menacing boyfriend and herself, it soon becomes apparent that Oliver has some secrets of his own–secrets he hasn’t shared with anyone, even his fiancé. But April knows, and her reappearance in his life derails him. Is it really April’s life that is unraveling, or is it his own? The answer awaits at the end of a downward spiral…towards salvation.

This is Tess Callahan’s first novel but you would never know it.  This is an author that knows how to get to the heart of her characters and develop them in a way that makes you feel as if you are taking part in their journey.  I read this in one sitting finding it impossible to put down.

April loses her brother to a car accident and is shocked when her friend Oliver returns with his fiance.  Oliver knew that it was the right thing to do – he needed to be there to help support April through this tragedy.  What neither of them expected were the feelings that blossomed almost immediately upon seeing each other.

April fights the attraction she feels to Oliver – not only is he engaged but she has a history of making bad decisions when it comes to romance, partially due to an abusive past.  She knows that she has made some mistakes and deserves to be happy but at what expense?

Oliver has his own problems with secrets of his own.  He loves his fiancee but there is something about April that he can’t shake.  He feels he needs her in order to be complete and shake some of the skeletons from his past.  Will they be able to be together without causing grief to those around them?

This is one of the most heartfelt novels I have read in quite some time and I am hopeful the author will continue to keep April and Oliver in the back of her mind.  Maybe she’ll bring them back in a new novel to let us in on what their future became.

A painter, teacher and mother of twins, Tess Callahan has written for Cottonwood, The Stylus Anthology: 1950-2000, The Boston College Magazine, New York Newsdayand elsewhere through syndication. When not exploring the complex motivations of intriguing characters (in her personal life and in her work), she finds nourishment and sustenance in periodic travels to wild, austere landscapes around the world. Tess has an MFA in Fiction from Bennington College. April & Oliver is her first novel.

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“The Host” by Stephenie Meyer

the host

Our world has been invaded by an unseen enemy. Humans become hosts for these invaders, their minds taken over while their bodies remain intact and continue their lives apparently unchanged. Most of humanity has succumbed.

When Melanie, one of the few remaining “wild” humans, is captured, she is certain it is her end. Wanderer, the invading “soul” who has been given Melanie’s body, was warned about the challenges of living inside a human: the overwhelming emotions, the glut of senses, the too-vivid memories. But there was one difficulty Wanderer didn’t expect: the former tenant of her body refusing to relinquish possession of her mind.

When outside forces make Wanderer and Melanie unwilling allies, they set off on a dangerous and uncertain search for the man they both love.

One of the most compelling writers of our time, Stephenie Meyer brings us a riveting and unforgettable novel about the persistence of love and the very essence of what it means to be human.

Stephenie Meyer’s life changed dramatically on June 2, 2003. The stay-at-home mother of three young sons woke-up from a dream featuring seemingly real characters that she could not get out of her head.

“Though I had a million things to do, I stayed in bed, thinking about the dream. Unwillingly, I eventually got up and did the immediate necessities, and then put everything that I possibly could on the back burner and sat down at the computer to write-something I hadn’t done in so long that I wondered why I was bothering.”

Meyer invented the plot during the day through swim lessons and potty training, then writing it out late at night when the house was quiet. Three months later she finished her first novel, Twilight. With encouragement from her older sister (the only other person who knew she had written a book), Meyer submitted her manuscript to various literary agencies. Twilight was picked out of a slush pile at Writer’s House and eventually made its way to Little, Brown where everyone fell immediately in love with the gripping, star-crossed lovers theme.

Twilight was one of 2005’s most talked about novels and within weeks of its release the book debuted at #5 on The New York Times bestseller list. Among its many accolades, Twilight was named an “ALA Top Ten Books for Young Adults,” an Amazon.com “Best Book of the Decade … So Far”, and a Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year.

The highly-anticipated sequel, New Moon, was released in September 2006 and has spent more than 25 weeks at the #1 position on The New York Times bestseller list.

In 2007, Eclipse landed literally around the world and fans made the Twilight Saga a worldwide phenomenon! With midnight parties, vampire-themed proms and more the enthusiasm for the series continues to grow.

On May 6, 2008, Little, Brown and Company released The Host, Meyer’s highly-anticipated debut for novel adults which debuted at #1 on The New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller lists. The Host still remains a staple on the bestseller lists a year after its debut.

On August 2, 2008, the final book in the Twilight Saga, Breaking Dawn was released at 12:01 midnight. Stephenie made another appearance on “Good Morning America” and was featured in many national media outlets, including Entertainment Weekly, Newsweek, People Magazine and Variety. Stephenie headlined the Breaking Dawn Concert Series with Justin Furstenfeld of Blue October to celebrate the release in four major markets across the US.

The Twilight movie, directed by Catherine Hardwicke and starting Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart, was released on November 21, 2008. Twilight debuted at #1 at the box office with $70 million, making it the highest debut for a female director.

Stephenie lives in Arizona with her husband and three sons.

Do you want to know a little more about the author?  Here is a Q & A session to find out about the author and the book “The Host”:

1. What inspired the idea for The Host?

The kernel of thought that became The Host was inspired by absolute boredom. I was driving from Phoenix to Salt Lake City, through some of the most dreary and repetitive desert in the world. It’s a drive I’ve made many times, and one of the ways I keep from going insane is by telling myself stories. I have no idea what sparked the strange foundation of a body-snatching alien in love with the host body’s boyfriend over the host-body’s protest. I was halfway into the story before I realized it. Once I got started, though, the story immediately demanded my attention. I could tell there was something compelling in the idea of such a complicated triangle. I started writing the outline in a notebook, and then fleshed it out as soon as I got to a computer. The Host was supposed to be no more than a side project—something to keep me busy between editing stints on Eclipse—but it turned into something I couldn’t step away from until it was done.

2. Did you approaching writing The Host, your first adult novel, differently than your YA series?

Not at all. Like the Twilight Saga (this is probably the only way The Host is like the Twilight Saga!), The Host is just a story I had fun telling myself. My personal entertainment is always the key to why a story gets finished. I never think about another audience besides myself while I’m writing; that can wait for the editing stage.

3. You have referred to The Host as being a science fiction novel for people who don’t like science fiction. Can you explain why?

Reading The Host doesn’t feel like reading science fiction; the world is familiar, the body you as the narrator are moving around inside of is familiar, the emotions on the faces of the people around you are familiar. It’s very much set in this world, with just a few key differences. If it weren’t for the fact that alien stories are by definition science fiction, I wouldn’t classify it in that genre.

4. There is a lot of internal dialogue between Wanderer, the narrator and invading “soul”, and Melanie, the human whose body Wanderer is now living inside. Each character has her own distinct voice and internal struggle. Was it a challenge to have the two characters, who essentially take up one body, stand on their own?

Wanderer and Melanie were very distinct personalities to me from day one; keeping them separate was never an issue. Melanie is the victim—she’s the one that we, as humans, should identify with; at the same time, she is not always the more admirable character. She can be angry and violent and ruthless. Wanderer is the attacker, the thief. She is not like us, not even a member of our species. However, she is someone that I, at least, wish I was more like. She’s a better person than Melanie in a lot of ways, and yet a weaker person. The differences between the two main characters are the whole point of the story. If they weren’t so distinct, there would have been no reason to write it.

5. Did any of the characters surprise you while writing?

I am constantly surprised by my characters when I write—it’s really one of my favorite parts. When a character refuses to do what I had planned for him or her, that’s when I know that character is really alive. There were several characters who caught me off guard with The Host. One in particular was slated for a bit part as the wingman to the villain. Somehow, he knew he was more than that, and I couldn’t stop him from morphing into a main love interest. 

6. Your Twilight series has had a lot of crossover appeal for adult readers, do you think The Host will also appeal to your younger readers?

I’ve had a great deal of interest from my YA readers about the release of The Host. I have no doubt that they will continue to make up a core part of my readership. I love blurring the lines between the different genres and categories—because in my head, a good book won’t fit inside the lines. I hope that The Host continues to do what the Twilight Saga is doing: showing that a good story doesn’t belong to any one demographic.

7. How do you feel about the enormous success that you’ve had with the Twilight series? How has it changed your life?

I am continually shocked by the success of my books.  I never take it for granted, and I do not count on it in my expectations of my future.  It’s a very enjoyable thing, and I’ll have fun with it while it lasts. I’ve always considered myself first and foremost a mother, so being a writer hasn’t changed my life too much – except I do travel a lot more and have less free time.

8. What adult authors do you read?

I’ve been reading books for adults my entire life. Growing up I was an avid reader—the thicker the book, the better. Pride and Prejudice, Gone with the Wind, The Sword of Shannara, Jane Eyre, Rebecca, etc. I’m a huge fan of Orson Scott Card, and Jane Austen– I can’t go through a year without re-reading her stuff again.

I haven’t had the chance to read this book yet but I certainly can’t wait for the chance.  This is a fantastic writer and while I wasn’t a big fan of the movie adaptation of “Twilight” (I know, I know), I am a huge fan of her work.  Have you read it?  If so, shoot me off the link to your review and I will include it on this post.

Thanks again so much to Miriam at Hachette for this awesome opportunity!

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A Hint of Wicked by Jennifer Haymore

HintofWicked_blogtour

CAUGHT BETWEEN DUTY AND DESIRE . . .

Sophie, the Duchess of Calton, has finally moved on. After seven years mourning the loss of her husband, Garrett, at Waterloo, she has married his cousin and heir, Tristan. Sophie gives herself to him body and soul. . . until the day Garrett returns from the Continent, demanding his title, his lands-and his wife.

TORN BETWEEN TWO HUSBANDS . . .

Now Sophie must choose between her first love and her new love, knowing that no matter what, her choice will destroy one of the men she adores. Will it be Garrett, her childhood sweetheart, whose loss nearly destroyed her once already? Or will it be Tristan, beloved friend turned lover, who supported her through the last, dark years and introduced her to a passion she had never known? As her two husbands battle for her heart, Sophie finds herself immersed in a dangerous game-where the stakes are not only love . . . but life and death.

As a child, Jennifer Haymore traveled the South Pacific with her family on their homebuilt sailboat. The months spent on the sometimes-quiet, sometimes-raging seas sparked her love of adventure and grand romance. Since then, she’s earned degrees in Computer Science and Education and held various jobs from bookselling to teaching inner-city children to acting, but she’s never stopped writing.

You can find Jennifer in Southern California trying to talk her husband into yet another trip to England, helping her three children with homework while brainstorming a new five-minute dinner menu, or crouched in a corner of the local bookstore writing her next novel.

You can learn more at her website: www.jenniferhaymore.com.

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Miranda’s Big Mistake by Jill Mansell

miranda's big mistake

An irresistible summer read from Jill Mansell, an international bestselling author.

Jill Mansell is one of the UK’s premiere contemporary authors, with her 19th title coming out in January 2009. She has sold nearly 4 million copies of her books in the UK.

Miranda is thrilled with Greg. He’s gorgeous, funny, and practically perfect. Greg thinks Miranda is great, but he hasn’t told her everything about himself. After all, even the sweetest girl is likely to be put off by a man who’s left his newly pregnant wife. But there’s now way she’ll ever find out… is there?

When Greg inevitably breaks Miranda’s heart, her friend Danny is there to cheer her up, and they quickly wreaks an unforgettable revenge. Miranda’s now ready to move on to another affair – but will Danny get a chance to tell her he’s in love with her himself…

“Watch and learn as Miranda wreaks her sweet revenge – and memorize her sharp one-liners.”

Miranda is a junior stylist at Fenn Lomax.  Everyone loves her and she truly does have a heart of gold.  But, it seems to do nothing but get her in trouble.  First she ends up giving money to a homeless man that belongs to a client.  Then she gives him a pair of gloves that were left at the salon that the rightful owner now wants back…after more than six weeks.  She keeps trying to do the right thing but it just doesn’t seem to work.  Until she meets Greg.

Greg is everything she has been looking for to make her life complete.  Besides being handsome, they have an instant connection that neither of them can ignore.  It looks like fate has decided to give Miranda a break for once and give her the love she has been so desperately searching for.

What Miranda doesn’t know is that Greg is married, with a child on the way.  When his wife tells him that she is pregnant he is shocked and upset and leaves her.  Will Greg get involved with Miranda and lead her on, not telling her that he is already married?  Will Miranda find true love, or is fate going to deal her another low blow?
 
This is a great summer read – nothing too thought provoking, but that’s ok sometimes.  I would recommend this book and think the author is a lot of fun to read.

 

Jill Mansell is a UK bestselling author, with over 4 million copies sold. She has written nearly 20 romances with multi-generational appeal. She worked for many years at the Burden Neurological Hospital, Bristol, and now writes full time. She lives with her partner and their children in Bristol, England.

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The Scarecrow by Michael Connelly

the scarecrow

Forced out of the Los Angeles Timesamid the latest budget cuts, newspaperman Jack McEvoy decides to go out with a bang, using his final days at the paperto write the definitive murder story of his career.

He focuses on Alonzo Winslow, a 16-year-old drug dealer in jail after confessing to a brutal murder. But as he delves into the story, Jack realizes that Winslow’s so-called confession is bogus. The kid might actually be innocent.

Jack is soon running with his biggest story since The Poetmade his career years ago. He is tracking a killer who operates completely below police radar–and with perfect knowledge of any move against him. Including Jack’s.

I own a few Michael Connelly books but have yet to read one.  When I received this one from Miriam at Hachette I figured it was high time I give this author a try.  Looks like I’ll be pulling out the other books I own, I think I have a new author to add to my list of favorites!

One of my favorite parts about the book is the fact that you know who the murderer is from the get go, you just have to wait for Jack McEvoy to follow the clues and put all the missing pieces together to lead him to this seasoned criminal who has been outsmarting some of the best minds in the field for years. 

McEvoy is a L.A. Times crime reporter who has lost his job due to some budget cuts the newspaper is forced to make.  McEvoy is offered two weeks “severance” if he agrees to train his replacement.  Instead of telling his boss to kiss his behind, Jack decides to use the two weeks he has left to try and help him build a story that will be the foundation needed to get recongnized and create another best seller.  

McEvoy begins working a story about two murders with the same M.O. – both of the victims bodies are stuffed in the trunk of cars.  While investigating Jack stumbles upon a killer who is smarter than any he’s ever dealt with before.  The Internet is a key factor in this book and the side of the Internet that Connelly portrays will make anyone leary.  It was truly fascinating!

Excellent writing and strong character development make this a must read!

Michael Connelly is the bestselling author of the Harry Bosch series of novels as well as The Poet, Blood Work, Void Moon, Chasing the Dime, andthe #1 New York Times bestseller The Lincoln Lawyer. He is a former newspaper reporter who has won numerous awards for his journalism and his novels. He spends his time in California and Florida.

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