April 29, 2009

Review: The Year of Fog by Michelle Richmond

On a foggy afternoon at the beach Abby Mason takes her eyes off Emma, her fiancĂ© Jake’s daughter, for mere seconds and by the time she turns around again Emma is gone.

Filled with guilt Abby does all that she can to help the authorities find Emma including flyering the neighborhood, operating FindEmma.com and even going so far as to have herself hypnotized. Jake on the other hand is easily swayed by the police department’s theory that Emma must have wandered to far into the water and got pulled under. After relentless searching and numerous TV and radio appearances fail to turn up any evidence that Emma is still alive Jake begins to lose hope. As each day passes Abby’s resolve gets stronger as Jake’s despair tears them further and further apart.

This book reminded me so much of What the Dead Know by Laura Lippman. It’s part mystery and part drama filled with full descriptions, flashbacks and long narrations about the effects of time on memory.

Thinking about the guilt that Abby must have felt is almost unconceivable. I know this is fiction but incidents like this really happen. Just recently Haleigh Cummings, missing from her Florida home, was with her father’s fiancĂ© when she was taken. Richmond captures the heart-wrenching feelings so well that I was hanging on every word. I recommend this one for all fiction lovers.

April 27, 2009

Review: Fallen Skies by Philippa Gregory

In post-World War I England seventeen-year old Lily Pears is just on the verge of breaking out of the chorus line into a career as a solo singer when she meets the older distinguished war hero Captain Stephen Winters.

Wracked by nightmares of the war Stephen sees Lily as his saving grace with her angelic face and voice. He desperately pursues her yet she can only see him as a friend and nothing more. While away on tour Lily suffers from a tragic loss and with no one else to turn to she marries Stephen and is whisked away to the family mansion where the sole occupants are Steven’s dour mother and invalid father.

As time passes Lily begins to bloom and breathe life into the previously glum household but Stephen finds that his nightmares haven’t stopped. If anything they are worse and the shocking truth behind his heroic acts is close to being revealed.

The book started off really slow and with just over 500 pages I almost threw in the towel with this one but I stuck with it and it actually picked up pretty quickly after Lily’s tragedy. Through the rest of the book I was almost too anxious expecting something more sinister to be just around the corner so I was a little disappointed when nothing horrible happened but still thought it was a moving story. (See how jaded we've become LOL)

Gregory writes historical fiction with such amazing detail that you can picture the settings and background with stunning clarity. I’m new to historical fiction so I don’t have a lot to compare it to but I thought this was a great book.

April 26, 2009

Annie Solomon Q & A, One Deadly Sin Blog Tour and Giveaway

WINNERS: Janet in Idaho, Renee in Washington, Rachael in Missouri, Kim in Illinois and Linda in Texas

I am happy to welcome Annie Solomon to Reading With Monie. Please be sure to visit the blogs listed below for more info on Annie and One Deadly Sin plus a chance you win your own copy.


Revenge. Edie Swann has hungered for it since she fled her hometown as a little girl. Now she's returned, ready for payback. Armed with a list of names, she leaves each one a chilling sign that they have blood on their hands. Her father's blood. What happens next turns her own blood cold: one by one, the men she's targeted start dying.

Sheriff Holt Drennen knows Edie is hiding something. She has a haunted look in her eyes and a defiant spirit, yet he can't believe she's a murderer. As the body count rises and all evidence points to Edie, Holt is torn between the town he's sworn to protect and the woman he's come to desire. But nothing is what it seems. Long buried secrets begin to surface, and a killer won't be satisfied until the sins of the past are paid in full--this time with Edie's blood.



1. Do you base any of your characters on people you know?

Sometimes. In fact, the character of Hally Butene in One Deadly Sin is based on someone I know and admire. I think everything a writer produces is based on who or what they know. An author’s personal experience informs all her work, even if indirectly. It’s what gives each writer their “voice.”

2. What actress would you choose to play Edie in the movie version of One Deadly Sin?

Great question. I haven’t thought about casting my books in a while. Let’s see…Edie is a bit of a wild woman. She’s a Harley-riding, tattoo-sporting bartender with no permanent address. Definitely not a princess type. It’s got to be someone dark-haired, someone who could be tough yet vulnerable. The only movie actor I can come up with is Angelina Jolie because she’s certainly proven herself as a bad girl on screen. But everyone probably casts her in their movies, so let’s think a little farther afield. Lena Headey of the Sarah Connor Chronicles would be great. Or, how about Evangeline Lilly from Lost? She’s a little young, though. But she can sure turn on the vulnerability. And, of course, I have to include my personal fave, Claudia Black from Farscape and Stargate, SG-1, although she’s my top pick for the heroine of my RITA-winning book, Blackout.

3. Do you schedule your writing time daily or do you just write when the ideas come?

You can’t wait for the ideas to come, you have to write every day. It’s like a muscle that needs to be exercised. Like an athlete, you have to practice. Its much harder to get started and keep going if you stop. So every day is best. I work in the mornings.

4. How did you choose romantic suspense as the genre you write in?

I didn’t exactly “choose” it. I love wounded heroes and I wrote a story about one. I created a past crime and a lot of baggage for my hero. I didn’t know I was writing romantic suspense, but it became my first book, Like a Knife.

5. What's the biggest obstacle you face when writing and how do you overcome it?

I’d have to say I’m the biggest obstacle, or rather the nasty voice in my head that tells me how stupid this story is and I’ll never finish and even if I do no one will like it. I don’t really overcome it, but I do try to keep going inspite of that voice and perserverence usually wins out. Funny, a few weeks ago I blogged about this on my blog, Annie’s World . The entry is called The Evil Troll Inside My Head.

6. Do you have someone you share your work with as you go along or do you wait to the end to reveal it?

I’m a big sharer. My husband and I take long walks and we talk about plot, character, and story ideas. I also have great writing pals who are always up for brainstorming or whining, whatever the case may be…

7. Who are your favorite authors and what are you reading now?

I get asked this question a lot and I have to admit it’s one I don’t enjoy answering. Not because of the repitition, because it’s something I’d want to know of other authors, but because I don’t read much anymore. So all I can do is tell you who I DID read when I was reading. Those names include people everyone likes: Anne Stuart, Diana Gabaldon, Laura Kinsale, and older authors like Anya Seton and Mary Stewart.

8. Do you have any special writing quirks?

Hmm. If I don’t know what a writing quirk is does that mean I don’t have one?

9. Has your family read all your books and what do they think?

Yes, they have read all my books, and I’m proud to say they are all enthusiastic supporters! My daughter’s favorite is Dead Ringer. She loves Angelina the smart-mouthed, bad girl heroine. My brother and sister-in-law and their kids like Blind Curve the best. Martha, the plain-jane heroine gets to them the most. My husband is also a fan of that book. He thinks it’s hot.

10. What character from your books would you say is your favorite and why?

Come on, now, that’s like asking which of my kids I like the best! The ones I’m writing about at the moment are always my favorite. No, I take that back. The ones I just finished writing about are my favorites. They’re over and done, whole and complete. The ones I’m writing about are always a pain in the ass, if you want to know the truth, what with that evil troll talking to me, and the characters talking to me, and my better half talking to me. It can get very confusing in there.

11. What books do you have in the pipeline?

Glutton for punishment that I am, I’m working on another romantic suspense. This one is about a man on the run and living underground. His real identity is so lethal that discovering it could not only put his own life at risk, it could put everyone he loves in jeorpardy, too. My working title is Two Lethal Lies, but that could easily change if the publisher doesn’t like it.

If anyone is interested in reading more about me or my books, my website is http://www.anniesolomon.com/. You’ll find excerpts, my blog, and some nifty behind-the-scenes stuff, to which I’ll be adding once One Deadly Sin hits the bookstores.

Thanks for participating in the One Deadly Sin book tour. Happy reading everyone!

To enter to win one of five copies please fill out the form below.

For two extra entries, Tweet about the giveaway with the message below or one of your own. Be sure to use @monie_g so I can track and credit your extra entires.

@monie_g Win One Deadly Sin by Annie Solomon at
Reading With Monie: http://tinyurl.com/cjtxkr

Open to US and Canada only, no PO boxes please. One main entry per household. Extra Twitter entries can be done once a day. Winners will be selected May 8th and have 48 hours to respond to the winning email or a new winner will be selected.



Review: One Deadly Sin by Annie Solomon

Courtesy of Hachette Book Group

As A little girl Eden Swanford and her mother left Redbud, Tennessee after her father’s tragic suicide. As a grown woman she returned as Edie Swan to get her revenge on those responsible for pushing her father to his death. To prove to them that someone was on to their secret, she leaves them a black angel. A symbol they’re sure to understand… and fear.

When one of the men who receives the black angel turns up dead, Edie is almost glad but when the next man dies she begins to wonder if there’s more to the legend of the black angels than she realizes.

Believing the deaths are accidents Sheriff Holt Drennen doesn’t have any reason to suspect Edie but as the spark between the two grows bigger he uncovers information that causes him to see her in a new light. Can she really be a murderer?

This was a perfect combination of mystery, suspense and romance. Solomon certainly knows how to keep a reader turning pages. With all the intrigue I was pointing my finger at several different suspects but was never able to figure out who was killing people right under Edie and Holt’s nose.

Edie, Holt and his daughter Miranda were such a great characters. I was rooting for Edie right from the beginning and I thought it was adorable the way Miranda called Edie’s tattoo a “fattoo”. For the most part you know that romance books will almost always end in a happily ever after but One Deadly Sin wrapped everything nicely and I was genuinely happy for the characters (cheesy, I know). This is a must read for romantic suspense lovers.

Review: Stakes & Stilettos by Michelle Rowen

Reluctant vampire Sarah Dearly is trying her best to return to a normal life. She’s interviewing for a job and getting ready to attend her 10-year high school reunion. When the interview goes south, instead of getting a dream job she gets staked. With the stake just centimeters from her heart she’s saved by a masked vampire calling himself the Red Devil. A vamp who was thought to be an urban legend, he’s rumored to have been saving vamps from the hunters for hundreds of years but Sara’s master boyfriend Thierry has a bad feeling about this so called savior.

With Thierry’s healing blood in her Sarah’s injury heals quickly and they’re off to the reunion. Instead of touching base with old friends she gets cursed by a witch holding a ten year grudge. Sarah is showing all the signs of becoming a nightwalker. She can’t go out in the sun, can’t enter a house unless invited and she has a sudden urge to chomp on all her friends.

Worse yet while Sarah’s figuring out how to break the curse Thierry’s busy trying to annul his marriage to the beautiful Veronique and when the Red Devil comes to extract his payment for saving her Sarah is caught without the bodyguards Thierry provided.

I so love this series but I wish this one didn’t end in such a HUGE cliffhanger! Now I have to wait until August when Tall, Dark & Fangsome is released. I hope Sarah and Thierry resolve their relationship soon.

Sarah is such a fun character. I always love the snarky, quick with a comeback characters. I want to be like them when I grow up. LOL With Thierry and his serious and calming nature they balance each other out perfectly. Then you add secondary characters that are loveable yet you don’t know if they’re trustworthy and you have a great cast. The entire series is a must read for paranormal lovers.

April 25, 2009

Giveaway: Your choice of Audio Books - Run For Your Life or Drood

WINNERS: Drood - Mindie in Idaho and Jason in Minnesota
Run For Your Life - Tiffany in Florida, Pam in Michigan and Susan in Kansas

I normally only have one giveaway running at a time but Hachette Book Group has been very generous with their giveaways in April and May so I am currently running more than one. Be sure to use the tabs above to enter all my giveaways.


To enter to win please fill out the form below.

For two extra entries, Tweet about the giveaway with the message below or one of your own. Be sure to use @monie_g so I can track and credit your extra entires.

@monie_g Win Run For Your Life or Drood on audio
at Reading With Monie
: http://tinyurl.com/dknon4

Open to US and Canada only, no PO boxes please. One main entry per household. Extra Twitter entries can be done once a day.

Winners will be selected May 3rd and have 48 hours to respond to the winning email or a new winner will be selected.

April 24, 2009

Review: Run For Your Life by James Patterson

A new killer is on the loose in New York City and Detective Michael Bennett is assigned to head up the team tasked with tracking him down. The self-proclaimed Teacher is targeting the city’s elite residents and those who cater to them. In a letter sent to the media the Teacher has a message to these people, “Remember your manners or suffer the consequences”.

But as the hunt for the Teacher intensifies Mike has another problem. All 10 of his kids have the flu and almost all of them have projectile vomit that Michael the nanny have to clean up. Soon the Teachers killing pace increases as does Michael’s frustration and complete exhaustion and the possibility of catching up to the crazed killer slips further from his grasp.

Run For Your Life is another Patterson book in the win column for me. It’s got all the aspects that made me love his Alex Cross series; a psychotic killer, a tough, handsome and dedicated police detective with a loving family at home and unwavering love from grandparent.

So many people dislike that the books are co-written saying that Patterson is a sell out but to me it just gives us more stories to love. There was only one co-written book that I didn’t like (to remain nameless). The co-writer on that one was a children’s author so that may have had something to do with it.

My review is based on the audio book read by Bobby Cannavale as Michael Bennett and the main narrator plus Dallas Roberts as the Teacher. They both did an incredible job and I love, love, love when there are two narrators. It gives the audio book so much more depth. It’s like you’re watching a movie with your eyes closed. I recommend this book to all thriller lovers to read or listen to.

April 23, 2009

Review: Blood Brothers by Nora Roberts

In the small village of Hawkins Hollow, Maryland friends Gage, Fox and Cal sneak into the woods for a sleepover at the Pagan Stone on the night before their shared 10th birthday. Armed with plenty of snacks and 3 cigarettes, beer and a Penthouse magazine they snuck out with, the boys are feeling more grown up already. After one of them pukes they start to reconsider the idea of acting more grown up and think up the idea of a pact. Best friends since birth, they vow to always remain close and seal their bond with blood.

When their blood touches the Pagan Stone they unleash a three-hundred year curse. Since that night, every seven years Hawkins Hollow becomes closed off to outsiders and the residents are plagued by a week of unexplainable tragedies. On the eve of the third seven year cycle author Quinn Black has come to town to investigate the mysterious happenings for a new book.

In the interest of controlling what Quinn learns Cal works closely with her as she researches the strange phenomenon. When Quinn herself becomes victim to strange visions Cal knows it’s no coincidence that Quinn was drawn to Hawkins Hollow.

I love that Nora Roberts can churn out so many books each with a strong plot and great characters that turn into successful trilogies. Other than her Eve Dallas books written as J.D. Robb I haven’t read anything by Roberts in about seven years. Remembering that my similar return to a romance author from a long term hiatus resulted in one star review for Sandra Brown’s A Treasure Worth Seeking I was a little nervous starting this one. I shouldn’t have worried. Nora Roberts is the queen of romance and it shows.

Book Two: The Hollow

Book Three: The Pagan Stone

April 22, 2009

Review: UFOs, JFK, and Elvis by Richard Belzer

Product Description:
"I'm not asking you to believe every conspiracy theory you'll find in this book. . . . I didn't write this book to give you all the answers. The Warren Commission did that, and the answers were all wrong. I wrote this book to inspire you to do what the powers that be wish you wouldn't: to question authority . . . and to keep an eye out for Elvis."

In UFOs, JFK, and Elvis, the distinguished statesman of stand-up comedy tackles some of the biggest conspiracies and cover-ups this side of Roswell. Just what is it that they don't want you to know about the assassination of John F. Kennedy, Area 51, and what the American astronauts really found on the moon? The unexplained crash at Roswell and the mysterious "face" on Mars? The link between the Nazis and the U.S. space program? Evidence of extraterrestrial experimentation?

Finally, one lone "nut" exposes the conspiracy to keep conspiracies a dirty little secret, standing up to the shadowy forces that would have us believe that Oswald acted alone, those lights in the sky are weather balloons, and fluoridated water is good for you (yeah, right). "Some of the smartest people I know . . . find it easier--and certainly more comforting--to believe that America is the only country on earth with no conspiracies at all." Just remember: do not ask on whom The Belz has told--he's told on them.

My Review:
I love reading conspiracy theories and I hoping for some new information in this book but everything JFK related was all information that’s been discussed before. Granted the book is 9 years old so that may be the reason why.

On the other hand the UFO section of the book was pretty good. He gave me plenty to think about in regards to the little green men, the moon landing, life on mars and government cover ups.

He never did cover Elvis so I’m not sure why that’s in the title. Overall it was a good read but I didn't learn as much as I expected. Recommended for conspiracy lovers.

April 21, 2009

Review: Lady & The Vamp by Michelle Rowen

Product Description:

She fights.

Janie Parker’s a supernatural assassin - not by choice, but what’s a girl gonna do? The only thing standing between her and decapitation at the hands of her hellish boss is a magical artifact called The Eye. To get it, all Janie has to do is find a dark, broody vampire named Michael Quinn and take it. Easy, right? Except if Quinn keeps kissing her that way, she just might lose her head…in more ways than one.

He bites.

Former vampire hunter Michael Quinn is determined to become human again. If he grabs hold of The Eye and makes a wish - then boom, everything’s good with the world. But now Quinn has a sassy tagalong with a long, delectable neck and orders to stake him on sight. He just hopes his first bite won’t be Janie’s last moment on earth…

My Review:

I thought this third book in the Immortality Bites series was a perfect addition to the series. The book lived up to the previous two books Bitten & Smitten and Fanged & Fabulous with fun characters and a great in-depth story line. It does stand alone if you haven’t read the previous two books but I highly recommend all three for paranormal lovers.