Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Release Day chat with Christian Beck

https://www.dsppublications.com/books/the-last-enemy-by-christian-beck-272-b
I'm pleased to welcome Christian Beck to my blog today who's answering a few questions for me on this the release day of his first book, The Last Enemy, that's out today from DSP Publications.

Mary: What inspired you to write this book?
Christian: I suppose it was a love of spy novels and adventure fiction, the works of John le Carré and Leslie Charteris in particular. My spy would also live in a world of realism—unflinching in Monk’s case given the state of the world. So, I had to find the right take on my central character, Simon Monk, to make that work. When I worked Monk out, it was his back story that made him relevant to me and exciting to write. I wanted a high level operative and an action hero, who of course could form solid relationships but would, because of his job and who he was, have trouble maintaining them. It was important to show both the inner and outer man. Egypt as the backdrop stemmed from my childhood memories of Lawrence of Arabia. I found modern Egypt even more compelling as a setting.

Mary: Was there anything particularly challenging about writing it?
Christian: There were some heavy themes in the book. One in particular was Egypt as the setting of the book and the country’s harsh treatment of the LBGT community. With Monk being gay, I couldn’t ignore that, so I had to find a way to creatively weave that into the story.

Mary: How did you come up with the title?
Christian: The title was based off the premise that the Last Enemy to be destroyed is death. That signified to me that Monk would have to stop at nothing short of that to succeed in his mission.

Mary: Do you have a song or playlist for the book?
Christian: It’s funny you ask that because just yesterday I heard a song on the radio that completely embodies the book. It was “Sledgehammer” by Rihanna. If The Last Enemy were a film that song would be its opening tune.

Mary: Are their plans to write more Simon Monk?
Christian: Yes! I am already hard at work on the next book in the series.

Book blurb:

 Highly decorated Delta Force operator and Iraq war hero Simon Monk loses everything when his romantic partner defects to Beijing after being caught selling US secrets to Chinese Intelligence. Monk is drummed out of the Army from the blowback but gets a second chance at a career when he is recruited into a covert group within the CIA.
Years later Monk’s latest assignment sends him to Cairo, where the head of station has disappeared amid a highly publicized sex scandal. But things are not what they seem. When the base chief turns up dead and the Egyptian government looks the other way, Monk and his team hunt down the assassin.
All roads lead to a ruthless and lethal cult from Egypt’s ancient past who discard every unwritten rule of espionage to win. Monk is forced to take to the shadows to find and destroy his most dangerous adversaries yet, as a chain of events threatens to ignite war in the Middle East.



 Christian Beck saw Doctor Zhivago and Lawrence of Arabia when he was a wee boy on a giant white drive-in screen in Super Panavision 70 amid the dusty Iowan cornfields, shaping his idea of what storytelling was. It stuck. Seldom does he write anything less than sweeping, epic adventures that pit his characters against some instrument or agent of death, pushing them beyond their every limit to survive. Simply put: Cinema put in words. He does that on a Surface Pro tablet sitting somewhere in the desert with his family – far, far away from those cornfields of the American Heartland.

Find him here:
Website
 

 

Thursday, June 30, 2016

June Book of The Month Picks ~ Summer Starts With a Bang!

Cheers, everyone, and welcome to another installment of our Best of June, most loved books to kick off the summer!

As always, there's the chance to win a couple of e-titles from this month's picks, so be sure to check out the Rafflecopter widget below. 

And now, here they are, the BotM picks for June!

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DougThrowing Stones by Robin Reardon – “There is so much more to this story that I couldn’t possibly cover it in a review. The scenes describing Pagan rituals, rochhounding (gotta read the book if you don’t already know what this is), simply driving around in a truck, all bring to life the inner workings of a young man’s life and how he manages to piece everything together to bring unity to those around him. Ms. Reardon has educated us as well as entertained, mixing an appreciation for the land and spirituality with the universal need we all have to belong and to feel loved.

This is a good book. A great book. One that had me crying for practically the whole last quarter of it.”

Cassie – The Dark Horse Bundle by Kate Sherwood – “While each book focuses on the relationship, they all highlight different points of that relationship arc. Dark Horse is all about beginnings. It really rocks that slow burn, which is pretty much my favorite way to have a romance unfold. The story gives the characters a believable span of acquaintance and plenty of good ol’ fashioned simmering attraction before the big moment, which I really appreciate. Out of the Darkness focuses on establishing the trio as a unit, working out logistics (emotional and physical – wink wink), and overcoming lingering doubts. Of Dark and Bright introduces the biggest stressor the trio has had to overcome yet, and forces the guys to either pull together to take the next step, or walk away.”

Jennifer – The Tales of Amaranth Bundle by Thom Lane – “I loved this series as a whole. The world building was excellent, as were the characterizations. I like that Thom Lane managed to work Master Mage Lucan and Tam into most of the other books because they were what drew me into the series.

While each book can stand alone and be read separately, it’s fun to read them in order because you see the small progression of Lucan and Tam’s relationship while other couples are being established.

As for the slavery, it’s handled well. There are cruel owners, yes, but the main characters are not the cruel ones, and it fits in this world where mages exist and some can open the door between this plane and hell.

If you like historical-like worlds with fantasy and do not mind characters who are slaves, or you like BDSM or D/s, then I highly recommend this entire series.”

AngelTHIRDS: Beyond the Books (Vol. One) by Charlie Cochet – “THIRDS Beyond the Books is a Grade A, first rate collection of awesome fan service. Charlie Cochet expanded her beloved characters from the THIRDS series at the fans’ behest, and it was fantastic. Just as the blurb says, if you’ve ever wondered about something just mentioned in passing in the series, this is a book for you.

This is the first set of THIRDS Thursday stories, and there are more to come. To date, the author is also continuing to write more as she continues the main series, too. They were all once posted online on Charlie Cochet’s website, but have been gathered in one handy place for the fans’ enjoyment. Not to mention the proceeds going to a wonderful cause.”

LisaThe Mercy of Men (Saint Flaherty: Book Two) by S. Hunter Nisbet – “If you’ve ever finished a book and were so floored by it that all you wanted to do was start reading it again from the beginning, that is this book. If you’ve ever loved a book so much that all you wanted to do was shove it under everyone’s noses and scream “Read! It! … Pleeeease…” just so you’d have someone to talk to it about, yeah, that’s this book. If you’ve ever wanted to own a book in paperback because you want to be able to inhale its words… okay, maybe that’s a bit weird, but dammit, that’s S. Hunter Nisbet’s Saint Flaherty series for me. If What Boys Are Made Of and The Mercy of Men are any indication, this series is going to make my Top Reads of 2016 list, no question about it.”

LynnLove Can’t Conquer by Kim Fielding – “Let me say here that this is my favorite kind of story. I love damaged characters. Not that I get pleasure in reading about their abuse and struggles, but I like to see them overcome and succeed. And I like to see it happen realistically. This author does that. Both Jeremey and Qay fumble, they have set backs, and nothing is fixed permanently in one chapter, or even by the end of the book. We get both POV’s, so we’re seeing how their minds work, we’re seeing the mistakes they make, and that’s okay, they’re human. I love the realism in this story.

All that being said, the tone of this story is kind of bleak, melancholy even. Do the characters get their HEA? Yes, they do. But this story is not for the faintest heart. It’s angsty, sad and, at times, down right depressing, but it’s oh-so-good. It smacks you right in the feels. Kim Fielding’s writing is superb with this one. Fantastic!”

KimPulling Leather by LC Chase – “I love the Pickup Men series! And I can’t decide whether it’s Pickup Men or Pulling Leather that is the winning favorite. I mean, you can’t read one without the other, but Pulling Leather exceeded my expectations in how Scott Gillard was going to redeem himself after being such an ass in book one. I was kind of sad yet happy when it ended. What can I say? I don’t like to let go of a book that’s captured my imagination. All in all, Pulling Leather is a wonderful finish to the Pickup Men series.”

CarrieReckless by Caitlin Ricci – “Have you ever been in a situation where your head and your heart are totally at odds? This book is a clear example of the heart wanting what the heart wants, and nothing can stand in the way. There is a lot about BDSM etiquette here, and what the rules are when a Dom loans out his sub to another Dom (or bets him and loses).
Lee loves to bet. He bets on everything. He bets with everything—even the time of one of his current subs (he has multiple). I have to say that Lee is not shown in the best light in this book, and I would love to have him be the focus of the next installment and see him really meet someone who gives him a run for his money. Lee hasn’t found “the one” yet, but he inadvertently is the catalyst for his best friend and business partner meeting his.”

SadonnaA Dandelion for Tulip by R. Cooper – “This is an absolutely gorgeous love story between a human, David, and Tulip, the faery he is in love with. David is a mixed race human Ph.D. student who is working on his doctorate, specializing in reexamining the literature of the past, featuring beings—particularly faeries and such—in great works such as Shakespeare. Now that beings have come out of hiding and are “known” in the human world, David is trying to put the pieces together to show that these great writers, in fact, were in contact with beings and those actual beings were the inspiration for these works. Apparently this is quite unpopular with the “establishment,” as they seem to think that such a theory denigrates the “genius” of these writers. That hasn’t stopped David, though, and he’s forging ahead.”

JulesBeta Test by Annabeth Albert – “I loved these guys together, and how they each gave the other a safe place to truly be themselves. It’s not completely smooth sailing, of course. There is some miscommunication, and some holding back…but, they get there. I really enjoyed their journey. I loved the big ‘A-ha’ moments they each had with their families—Ravi’s with his sister, Avani, when she makes him realize how he must have made Tristan feel about his support of his mother; and Tristan’s epiphany after seeing the ‘Family First’ button for his mom’s campaign.

I absolutely love Annabeth Albert’s easygoing storytelling style. This was a laid back but also very engrossing read. The characters are fabulous, and all of the gaming stuff was really fun and so well done, and obviously well researched. It’s always such a win when being super nerdy also makes you super cool!”

LindseyAbsinthe of Malice by Rhys Ford – “I always find Ms. Ford’s writing style and descriptions to be phenomenal, and this book it was no different. I felt like I was right there in the back alley of New York, or a rundown venue in a podunk town. I could picture being there, walking with the boys as they were strolling down the Las Vegas strip and seeing (and smelling) the City of Sin. Not just the locations but the feelings of each of the characters were so intense. When Rafe is playing his guitar I could feel his euphoria. I am not a musician—I don’t have a musical bone in my body, other than playing the radio or my iPod—but I felt the guys’ love for the music and how much of a part of them the music is, and how the music bonds these guys in ways it is hard to fathom.

The main story is about the band members: Miki, Damien, Rafe & Forest. We still get our Morgans and their Murphy-Finnegan cousin fix, so don’t worry.  And, as always with Rhys Ford’s writing, she has brought them each to life. No two are alike. They are all flawed and have their own quirks, which make them who they are.”

MaryannSnakes Among Sweet Flowers by Jason Huffman-Black – “Cam made one last mistake before leaving Harold Livey’s gang of thieves, and now he’s being tracked down, putting the people of Hog Mountain in danger. Cam has to decide to trust in Jackson and tell him what’s going on.

I love Jackson and Cam; their growing feelings for each other bring out the best in both of them. And they both have a special bond with Galen, Luanne and Tony. There are many solid characters to enjoy in this story, and I found Dr. Grant Moore, the town vet, to be just a little too creepy/stalkerish.  Snakes Among Sweet Flowers is suspenseful, dangerous, and was an absolute page turner for me.  Jason Huffman-Black is an author I will definitely keep an eye out for.”

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The full reviews for these books, and more, can be found at The Novel Approach Reviews.

And that's it for now. Until July, happy reading!

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The Giveaway

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Friday, June 24, 2016

Cover Reveal for Checkmate!

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/checkmate-by-nicki-bennett-and-ariel-tachna-7296-b

I am so happy and excited to share the new cover for one of my favorite books with you all: Checkmate.

Back in 2009 when Checkmate first came out at DSP I was hesitant to read a historical. They were not my favorite things unless there were Scottish lairds in them so I decided to skip the book. But the thing was, the authors. The authors had me curious. I had already read several books by Ariel Tachna by that time and Hot Cargo by both and so based on that, by the quality I knew I'd get, I decided to at least read the excerpt... and the rest is history.

I can't say enough about how much adventure and romance is crammed into the pages of this book. Teo is one of my favorite heroes--excuse me while I swoon--a swashbuckler, a champion, a passionate and gentle lover, a fierce protector, a loyal friend, and a wonderful surrogate father all wrapped up in a gorgeous and vulnerable and wicked package. He's utterly perfect and you'll fall as madly in love with him--and Christian--as I did. I have no doubt. And now Teo and Christian have a stunning new cover by the amazing Reese Dante that I just love because I think it gives a perfect overall idea of the feel of the book--quiet sexy times punctuated with danger and intrigue. The new cover edition is out on July 25th. If you missed it the first time, don't miss it a second.

Blurb:
When sword for hire Teodoro Ciéza de Vivar accepts a commission to “rescue” Lord Christian Blackwood from unsuitable influences, he has no idea he’s landed himself in the middle of a plot to assassinate King Philip IV of Spain and blame the English ambassador for the deed. Nor does he expect the spoiled child he’s sent to retrieve to be a handsome, engaging young man.

As Teodoro and Christian face down enemies at every turn, they fall more and more in love, an emotion they can’t safely indulge with the threat of the Inquisition looming over them. It will take all their combined guile and influence to outmaneuver the powerful men who would see them separated… or even killed.


Bios:

Growing up in Chicago, Nicki Bennett spent every Saturday at the central library, losing herself in the world of books. A voracious reader, she eventually found it difficult to find enough of the kind of stories she liked to read and decided to start writing them herself.

When Ariel Tachna was twelve years old, she discovered two things: the French language and romance novels. Those two loves have defined her ever since. By the time she finished high school, she’d written four novels, none of which anyone would want to read now, featuring a young woman who was—you guessed it—bilingual. That girl was everything Ariel wanted to be at age twelve and wasn’t.
She now lives on the outskirts of Houston with her husband (who also speaks French), her kids (who understand French even when they’re too lazy to speak it back), and their two dogs (who steadfastly refuse to answer any French commands). 
Visit Ariel:
Website: www.arieltachna.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/ArielTachna
E-mail: arieltachna@gmail.com