Win the November bookshelf of signed thrillers!

November 1, 2014

November collage

Can you believe it’s November already? I updated the Win Books page with one of the largest collections  of thrillers ever – 15 stellar titles! This month there are NY Times bestsellers, several follow ups, a children’s book and some debut authors.

Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg teamed up to create the Fox & O’Hare series, which I really love. The Job is the third entry into this terrific series. The latest Rosato Associates legal thriller, Betrayed,  from the fabulous Lisa Scottoline is also available and I loved it. Former CIA agent Valerie Plame is signing her latest, written with Sarah Lovett, Burned.

I am really proud to be offering two of the very prestigous Library Journal’s best thrillers of 2014 - Truth Be Told by Hank Phillippi Ryan, and My Sister’s Grave by Robert Dugoni. Jon Land brings back the ass kicking, fifth-generation Texas Ranger, Caitlin Strong in Strong Darkness. 

Forensic fans will love Close to the Bone by Lisa Black. And paranormal fans will be thrilled with F. Paul Wilson’s Fear City. Diane Fanning is back with Scandal in the Secret City, as is Karen Harper with Forbidden Ground. Peg Kehret offers up the first children’s mystery I’ve ever offered, Dangerous Deception.

Finally, there are four debut authors: Night of the Jaguar by Joe Gannon, the dual debut, Turnabout & Shallow Secrets by Rick Ollerman, Color Blind by Colby Marshall and Five Days Left by Julie Lawson Timmer.

If you are new to the site, each month I run a contest in conjunction with the International Thriller Writers group. We put together a list of books including bestsellers and debut authors, so you can win some of your favorites and find some new favorites.

What makes this contest really special is that all of the books (except eBooks) are signed by the author!

Don’t forget, if you subscribe to the newsletter or follow this blog, you get an extra entry into every contest you enter.

Thanks for reading, and good luck!

THE JOB by Janet Evanovich & Lee Goldberg

November 23, 2014

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Fox and O’Hare Series, Book 3

If you weren’t sure that Evanovich could go darker, this book should resolve that issue. This is the darkest book so far in the series, but it speaks more to the level of suspense than actual violence or gore.

Kate O’Hare is an F.B.I. agent who is working off the books, so to speak, with Nick Fox, international con artist and thief. She caught the “Fox” and he escaped jail by agreeing to use his con artistry to help her bring down bigger and badder criminals. Case in point, drug pin Menendez, who had his face altered via plastic surgery, then killed the surgeon & the surgical team, so no one alive knows what he looks like or where he is.

Fox figures out a way to smoke him out, which involves conning him with a treasure map. Fox and O’Hare get their team together to convincingly portray an underwater find that is just the bait to trap this dangerous man and his killer security agent/girlfriend.

The violence is hinted at rather graphically, but that just ups the suspense making this a real page turner. But no worries, there is still quite a bit of humor and of course, the sexual tension between Fox and O’Hare adds another layer of fun to this read. Another excellent addition to the series, which has become one of my favorites.

11/14 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch

THE JOB by Janet Evanovich & Lee Goldberg.Bantam (November 18, 2014). ISBN 978-0345543127. 304p.


November 22, 2014

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A Deep Look at a Shallow Year

Narrated by Andy Cohen

In case you missed my review of Most Talkative: Stories from the Front Lines of Pop Culture, I  love Andy Cohen. I am a Bravo junkie and never miss an episode of Top Chef (in all its incantations,) the The Real Housewives of New Jersey (and occasionally other Housewives) and Watch What Happens Live, hosted by Andy Cohen.

I knew after reading his first book and then listening to it that I had to listen to the new one - Andy reads it himself, which really does add a whole new dimension. I love his little asides to us listeners, especially the part of the book where he discusses how he spent the afternoon recording the audiobook and how much he hated doing it, which he called “meta meta” for us listeners.

Andy was completely enthralled with The Andy Warhol Diaries, and this book is an homage to that one. He mentions another possible title, “Namedropping,” which certainly would have been appropriate as well. Andy kept a journal for 2013, and kept track of everyone he ran into, dined with (and where), topics discussed, guests on his show, shows where he was the guest, parties attended,  events that he emceed, and so forth. The names flow like water, from the aforementioned New Jersey Housewives, his oldest and dearest friends (see Most Talkative) and of course, the real celebrities: Oprah, Cher, Barbra Streisand, Lady GaGa, Beyoncé, as well as the celebrities he calls friends: Anderson Cooper, Jerry Seinfeld, Jimmy Fallon, Kelly Ripa & Mark Consuelos, and Sarah Jessica Parker (affectionately called “SJP” or even “SJ” throughout the book) and her hubby Matthew Broderick, the late great Joan Rivers and tons more.

Cohen obsesses with his weight, his workouts, his friends, and gossip, and his self deprecating sense of humor is always at the forefront. But the star of the book, besides Andy himself, is his dog Wacha, who as of 11/21/14 has over 200 pictures and 93,000 followers on Instagram, and Wacha is often the subject of his daily journal. Andy discusses how and why he came to adopt a dog, the vet he sees at the “Barbara Walters Animal Hospital” and the famous people who love Wacha and do Instagram photo shoots with him, like John Mayer. Wacha has become the love of his life and the antidote to loneliness. Andy dates a lot, mostly younger men, and claims he wants a husband (and his mother reminds him to find a husband) but no one promising is on the horizon yet.

One of the things I like best about listening to the book (besides the fact it entertained me on my long flights from Ft. Lauderdale to Los Angeles and back again) was that I could share it. My husband listened to whatever part I was up to while driving around L.A., and my daughter listened to some while driving around Boca, and everyone laughed and enjoyed the bits they heard. Very few books work that way.

The best memoirs are entertaining, informative and ring true, and once again Cohen meets all those criteria plus he is laugh out loud funny.  If you are the least bit obsessed with pop culture, celebrities and/or television, you do not want to miss this book.

11/14 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch

THE ANDY COHEN DIARIES by Andy Cohen. Henry Holt and Co.; First Edition edition (November 11, 2014). ISBN 978-1627792288. 352p.

Audible Audio Edition: Macmillan Audio; Unabridged edition (November 11, 2014). ISBN: 978-1427259318. Listening Length: 13 hours and 30 minutes.


DEADLINE by John Sandford

November 21, 2014

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It starts with a middle of the night call to Virgil Flowers from his friend and fishing buddy Johnson Johnson. Johnson’s father liked outboard motors so he named his kids Johnson, Mercury and Evinrude. Johnson’s calling about someone stealing dogs.

Virgil agrees to come take a look and soon finds himself involved in a murder, a major meth lab operation and a school board gone rogue stealing millions of taxpayer dollars. Soon the murder count has doubled, the meth lab has been shut down, some of the dogs have been rescued and Virgil is zeroing in on the school board.

As usual, a great outing from John Sandford.



11/14 Jack Quick

DEADLINE by John Sandford. Putnam Adult; First Edition first Printing edition (October 7, 2014). ISBN 978-0399162374. 400p.

COSMOSIS by Rainer Rey

November 20, 2014

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Jace Kelton and Madison Marro meet while investigating the deaths of their respective fathers. Their parents were on a search for an unlimited supply of alternative fuels to replace the now dwindling supply of fossil fuels.

The search touches on mysteries of ancient peoples; the pyramids of Egypt, Easter Island, and the Bermuda Triangle. They are pursued by a force of Chinese warriors who have heard about the possibility of an alternative fuel and want it for their country.

Maddy and Jace in their search stumble upon a mysterious Interstellar force that probably placed the alternative energy source long ago and left it for humankind when they have reached a certain evolutionary stage. They also find a love between them that helps them to overcome the obstacles in their path to getting the source.

A fast moving novel, well done with a more than interesting thesis to keep the reader constantly involved in the action. A followup book is a possibility with further action in bringing the alternative power source to market.

11/14 Paul Lane

COSMOSIS by Rainer Rey. Turner (November 11, 2014). ISBN: 978-1620459928. 348p.


November 20, 2014

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A Novel of Food

Narrated by Xe Sands

This is a sweet, old fashioned tale – so old fashioned, I’m really not sure when it is supposed to take place. Could be the 1950′s-60s, but sometimes feels more modern and then with a jolt, no cell phones, back to another era. I guess the author,  the Executive Producer of Food Network’s Dinner: Impossible, was going for timeless, and perhaps it was achieved.

I listened to the audio book, so had a different experience from the printed version. For one thing, there are no recipes in the audio, just a note at the end to check out the website for recipes. Some of the print reviews made note of the fact that recipes were interspersed throughout the chapters, in the midst of story, which some felt were jarring, but the audio book avoided that issue.

So this novel of food is exactly that – if you don’t want to read lavish descriptions of meals on a regular basis, then this is not the book for you. I love that stuff, so it worked for me.

Angelina is a young woman whose husband dies suddenly in her kitchen. The young widow quickly loses her job and when a neighbor comes knocking on her door, offering to pay her to cook him breakfast and dinner six days a week, she decides that food may be her salvation, in more ways than one. Soon other men come knocking, and almost immediately Angelina’s dining room table is full of bachelors looking for a good meal.

The men quickly become a family of sorts, with Angelina the glue that binds them together. When she finds out she’s pregnant some months after her husband’s passing, the bachelors all rally around and support her.

If it hasn’t slapped you in the face yet, the message here is that when one door closes, another opens and Angelina steps through into a good life, despite her tragedy. And despite her tragedy, this is a light hearted read, interspersed with humor and love. It is a lovely read, and a memorable one.

11/14 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch

ANGELINA’S BACHELORS by Brian O’Reilly. Tantor Audio (December 30, 2011). ASIN: B006RCYUFQ. Listening Length: 7 hours and 22 minutes.

Paperback: Gallery Books; Reprint edition (August 9, 2011). ISBN 978-1451620566. 384p.

WANT YOU DEAD by Peter James

November 18, 2014

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Detective Superintendent Roy Grace series, Book 10

In this tenth entry into the Detective Superintendent Roy Grace series, Grace is preparing for his wedding to Cleo. His long missing wife, Sandy, has been declared dead, but is she?

That is but a minor footnote to this story, which centers on Red Westwood, a young woman being stalked by her ex, Bryce Laurent, a brilliant psychopath, who blames her parents and the police for their break up. Everything was fine until her mother hired a private detective and found out that Laurent had lied about pretty much everything in his past.

Laurent has some serious skills, including pyrotechnics, bomb building, close up magic, and high tech skills beyond that of the police. Red, a realtor, knowing she’s being stalked, refuses to move, fudges her whereabouts when making appointments to show properties to strangers, and in general is just too stupid to live.

Nevertheless, she gets through her days while Laurent plans her demise, frightening her on a regular basis and not caring how many die as he destroys everything and everyone she holds dear.  Short chapters help make the pages fly, and the suspense builds strongly until the expected ending.

Copyright ©2014 Booklist, a division of the American Library Association.

11/14 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch

WANT YOU DEAD by Peter James. Minotaur Books (November 18, 2014). ISBN 978-1250030207. 416p.


November 17, 2014

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Books are often described by zealous reviewers as absorbing, fascinating, captivating and other adjectives indicating that it cannot be put down once the reader gets into it. The Carnage Account fills that bill 110%. Once you start to read it it is almost impossible to put down.

Lieberman utilizes three main characters to tell the story. The first is a multi billionaire; Rory Cage, a man that has everything but wants more. He finds a new niche in selling “death bonds” which allow investors to purchase insurance policies from the living at a discount and than collect the full value when they die. Rory decides to accelerate the collection on some high value policies by the simple expedient of murdering the person named on the document.

The second person is a lady named Dawn Knight who is doing public relations for Rory’s various companies which include an NBA basketball team and a huge highly successful Hedge Fund. Rory falls in love with Dawn and imagines her as the capstone to his possessions, sharing his kingdom with him.

Problem for Rory is that Dawn is still in love with Clay Harbor, the man she wanted to marry years ago, but was stopped by the displeasure of her father at the union. Clay, the third person, left town, became a Navy Seal, and then a doctor. He returned to town due to circumstances incurred during a battle in Afghanistan in which his specialized unit had to defend a poppy field. His rescue of a comrade trapped by enemy fire and wounded in the poppy field against orders gets Clay sent back to the states to care for the man.

In high gear Lieberman carries us through attempts by Rory to get rid of Clay in order to marry Dawn. Events putting Dawn and Clay in danger are described in fascinating detail and the finale of the book brings a very logical ending which hints, merely hints at a sequel. Very well done and certainly underscoring Ben Lieberman’s talent and creating interest in reading other novels by him.

11/14 Paul Lane

THE CARNAGE ACCOUNT by Ben Lieberman. Thomas & Mercer (October 28, 2014). ISBN: 978-1477825877. 336p.

Bouchercon 2014: Anthony Awards

November 16, 2014

Congratulations to William Kent Krueger for winning the Bouchercon 2014 trifecta: the Anthony, Macavity & Barry awards for Best Novel, Ordinary Grace!

Suspect – Robert Crais [Putnam]
A Cold and Lonely Place – Sara J. Henry [Crown]
Ordinary Grace – William Kent Krueger [Atria]
The Wrong Girl – Hank Phillippi Ryan [Forge]
Through the Evil Days – Julia Spencer-Fleming [Minotaur]

Yesterday’s Echo – Matt Coyle [Oceanview]
Ghostman – Roger Hobbs [Alfred A. Knopf]
Rage Against the Dying – Becky Masterman [Minotaur]
Reconstructing Amelia – Kimberly McCreight [HarperCollins]
The Hard Bounce – Todd Robinson [Tyrus]

The Big Reap – Chris F. Holm [Angry Robot]
Purgatory Key – Darrell James [Midnight Ink]
Joyland – Stephen King [Hard Case Crime]
The Wicked Girls – Alex Marwood [Penguin]
As She Left It – Catriona McPherson [Midnight Ink]

“Dead End” – Craig Faustus Buck [Untreed Reads]
“The Caxton Private Lending Library & Book Depository” – John Connolly, Bibliomysteries [Mysterious Bookshop]
“Annie and the Grateful Dead” – Denise Dietz, The Sound and the Furry: Stories To Benefit the International Fund for Animal Welfare [Amazon Digital]
“Incident on the 405″ – Travis Richardson, Criminal Element’s Malfeasance Occasional: Girl Trouble [Macmillan]
“The Care and Feeding of Houseplants” – Art Taylor, Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, March/April 2013

Mastermind: How To Think Like Sherlock Holmes – Maria Konnikova [Viking Adult]
The Secret Rescue: An Untold Story of American Nurses and Medics Behind Nazi Lines – Cate Lineberry [Little, Brown]
All the Wild Children – Josh Stallings [Snubnose Press]
The Hour of Peril: The Secret Plot To Murder Lincoln Before the Civil War – Daniel Stashower [Minotaur]
Troubled Daughters, Twisted Wives: Stories from the Trailblazers of Domestic Suspense – Sarah Weinman, ed. [Penguin]

The Testing – Joelle Charbonneau [Houghton Mifflin]
Escape Theory – Margaux Froley [Soho Teen]
Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library – Chris Grabenstein [Random House Children’s Books]
Dancer, Daughter, Traitor, Spy – Elizabeth Kiem [Soho Teen]
The Code Busters Club: Mystery of the Pirate’s Treasure – Penny Warner [Egmont USA]

The Blacklist – Pilot by Jon Bokenkamp – Sept. 2013 [Davis Entertainment, NBC]
Breaking Bad – “Felina” by Vince Gilligan – Sept. 2013 [AMC]
The Fall – “Dark Descent” by Allan Cubitt – May 2013 [Netflix Original]
The Following – Pilot by Kevin Williamson – Jan. 2013 [Warner Bros. Television, Fox]
Justified – “Hole in the Wall” by Graham Yost – Jan. 2013 [Warner Bros. Television, Fox]

Hour of the Rat – Lisa Brackmann – Tracy Sallows, narrator [Audible]
Man in the Empty Suit – Sean Ferrell – Mauro Hantman, narrator [AudioGO]
The Cuckoo’s Calling – Robert Galbraith – Robert Glenister, narrator [Hachette Audio]
Crescendo – Deborah J. Ledford – Christina Cox, narrator [IOF Productions]
Death and the Lit Chick – G.M. Malliet – Davina Porter, narrator [Dreamscape Media]

The David Thompson Memorial Special Service Award: Judy Bobalik

Bouchercon 2014: Shamus Awards

November 15, 2014

PWA (Private Eye Writers of America) SHAMUS AWARDS

St Martins / PWA award to Grant Bywaters for The Red Storm

Best PI Short Story: SO LONG, CHIEF by Max A Collins

Best First PI Novel: BEAR IS BROKEN by Lachlan Smith

Best Indie PI Novel – Don’t Dare a Dame by M Ruth Myers

Best Paperback Original: HEART OF ICE by PJ Parish

Best Hardcover PI Novel : Brad Parks The Good Cop

LIfetime Achievement: Sue Grafton

Thanks to Ali Karim for photo, & Janet Rudolph, Mystery Scene for info


November 15, 2014

Click to purchase

When Cassie discovers that her husband has been having an affair, she’s crushed. She’s been betrayed in the worst way and her marriage is over. But after ten years as a wife and homemaker, Cassie isn’t sure what to do next. Enter Cassie’s three best friends.

Kelly in New York, Anouk in Paris, and Suzy in London all offer to let Cassie stay with them in their respective cities for four months.  While she’s there they’ll find her a job and help her pick up the pieces of her life and move on. But most of all, they’ll each offer Cassie the support she needs while she figures out what she really wants most out of life.

Cassie’s plight is a common one in fiction, but I have to say Swan’s book was refreshing even when it did wander into cliché territory. Yes, it’s pretty obvious how some of Cassie’s story is going to play out – especially in the romance department – but I loved her. I really, really loved her. I wanted things to work out for her. And I loved her friends, even when their continued makeovers and makeunders were their own obvious attempts to remake Cassie into mini-me versions of themselves.

Christmas at Tiffany’s is a lighthearted and romantic read, and not – in spite of what the title suggests – a Christmas book at all. But it is 100% sweet and fun and pretty perfect any time of year if you’re looking for a light and heartwarming read.

11/14 Becky LeJeune

CHRISTMAS AT TIFFANY’S by Karen Swan. William Morrow Paperbacks (October 28, 2014). ISBN: 978-0062364104. 592p.


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