At this time I will no longer be taking any new review requests or participating in any memes. There will still be author interviews, blasts, guest posts and occasionally reviews posted (as I climb through by TBR pile!!). Life is kind of hectic and I have to focus on a few other commitments before coming back full-time to my blog. Thank you to everyone that has supported me and I won't be gone forever. I will still be around on my social media sites!

CURRENT GIVEAWAYS


My interview over at The Art and Craft of Writing Creatively is HERE

Purchase my book Images of America: Detroit Lakes HERE

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Review + Giveaway: Silent Slaughter by C.E. Lawrence


Publisher: Pinnacle Books
Release Date: August 7, 2012
Format: ARC
Source: publisher for an honest review

A note arrives for Detective Leonard Butts signed by the Professor. After consulting with profiler, Dr. Lee Campbell, they decide to wait and see what the obviously intelligent man does next. They don’t have to wait long before the first known victim is discovered with a missing finger and a note. Now the case pulls in Forensics Linguistics Specialist Elena Krieger and Jimmy Chen and his autistic brother Barry. Dealing with a sophisticated psycho is nothing new for this group but without Barry’s help that might not discover the pattern until it is too late.

The reader knows early on the identity of the serial killer (Edmund) and this leads to an increased creep factor for the reader with detailed descriptions of what goes on in his psychotic head. We also discovers how Edmund became the sick and twisted psycho he is today yet clearly highly intelligent and able to hold a high level job. With each new victim he leaves a new message directed at a different member of the group.

Another fast-paced, action-packed read from Lawrence. Not having to figure out who the killer is enables the reader to become invested in the characters and their lives and we are taken on the roller coaster investigation right along with them. I recommend this and any other novel by C.E. Lawrence; she doesn’t let the mystery/thriller lovers down.
PURCHASE SILENT SLAUGHTER

TRAILER
GIVEAWAY
Kensington has so graciously offered to give a copy Silent Kills by C.E. Lawrence to a lucky reader of my blog!  Open to US and Canada and ends September 11th. Just fill out the Rafflecopter form below!!
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Monday, August 27, 2012

Author Interview: D.L. Bogdan


I would like to welcome D.L. Bogdan to Kelsey's Book Corner. She was nice enough to answer a few questions about her books and writing in general. She has written one of my fav Tudor novels so far this year, The Sumerton Women (my review is HERE).
 
Why did you become a writer? What writers inspire you?
I never looked at it as a choice. I have loved writing since I could hold a pen, and wrote my first story when I was a little girl about the animals in a picture that hung at my grandmother’s house. I since found a story in everything and a compulsion for telling them. I love sweeping sagas and heart wrenching narrative with emotionally charged drama, so I was drawn to John Steinbeck, Margaret Mitchell, Jean Plaidy, and Fred Mustard Stewart, to name a few.

Do you enjoy writing about historical figures as you did in your Tudor Court books, or creating your own characters, as in THE SUMERTON WOMEN?
Both have their challenges and advantages. I enjoy the blank slate of creating my own characters, of knowing that they are completely mine to do with what I like. In that they can illustrate the impact of historical events surrounding them in a manner I feel represents people in the context of their time period. But I also enjoy breathing life into historical figures formerly constrained to wooden references in history texts. We know what they did, but not necessarily who they were. It was fun and fascinating for me to try to uncover that and make them real to a contemporary audience.

What drew you to the Tudor era? Why did you choose more obscure Tudor characters in your fiction to date?
It was a time rife with intrigue, peopled with larger-than-life historical figures that never cease to inspire the imaginations of generations. Ruled by their flaws and their passions, their stories almost write themselves. I chose my characters in the hopes of telling a now-familiar story through a more original window and to illustrate some of the other fascinating players beyond the “main cast” of Henry VIII’s court.

What is your next novel about?
My next novel, THE FORGOTTEN QUEEN, is about Margaret Tudor, Queen of Scots, who was Henry VIII’s sister. It is set for release in February of 2013. I’ll be very excited to share my interpretation of her with the world!

What is your favorite historical era?
History lends itself to so many fascinating stories and people that it would be impossible to choose just one era. I love the Tudor era, of course, but also the 19th and early 20th centuries, and European history in general.

Where can we learn more about you and your works?
You can find me at www.dlbogdan.com or at my blog at www.dlbogdan.blogspot.com I am also on facebook and twitter @DL_Bogdan. 

AUTHOR BIO
D.L Bogdan is a history major, aiming for a master’s so that she might lecture one day. She is also a musician with classical voice training who has been playing keyboards and singing in bands since she was 18. She also enjoys reading, traveling, summer activities, spending time with family and friends, and researching her next novel! She makes her home in central Wisconsin.
Orphaned at age eight, Lady Cecily Burkhart becomes the ward of Harold Pierce, Earl of Sumerton. The charming Lord Hal and his wife, Lady Grace, immediately welcome sweet-natured Cecily as one of their own. With Brey, their young son, Cecily develops an easy, playful friendship. But their intensely devout daughter, Mirabella, is consumed by her religious vocation--and by her devotion to Father Alec Cahill, the family priest and tutor.

With Father Alec as her closest confidant, Cecily begins to glimpse the painful secrets at the heart of the Pierce family. When tragedy strikes at home, and Henry VIII's obsession with Anne Boleyn leads to violent upheaval across England, Mirabella is robbed of her calling and the future Cecily dreamed of is ripped away in turn. As Cecily struggles to hold together the fractured household, she and Alec also grapple with a dangerous mutual attraction. Plagued with jealousy, Mirabella unleashes a tumultuous chain of events that threatens to destroy everyone around her. For with treachery and suspicion rampant, desire has the power to shatter a family--and tear a kingdom apart. . .

PURCHASE THE SUMERTON WOMEN
 
       

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

ARC Review + Giveaway: Widow's Web (Elemental Assassin, #7) by Jennifer Estep


Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Release Date: August 21, 2012
Format: e-ARC
Source: author for an honest review

FIRST LINE
(may differ from final copy)
Breaking into the building was easy.

Things seem to be okay for Gin lately now that Mab Monroe is dead. She still has a few assassin’s silent gunning for her but for the most part things are pretty dang good for her. Owen and she are going strong and steady. But as we all know, Gin’s life can never be simple…enter Owen’s drop-dead gorgeous and extremely dangerous ex-girlfriend Salina, a water elemental. Salina has an agenda of her own and it involves getting Owen back along with killing a whole lot of people who have wronged her, especially Kincaid. Owen’s past is revealed and it has deep connections with Kincaid. Kincaid really comes to the forefront in Estep’s seventh installment and as a reader we are not sure if he is friend or foe. As the roller coaster progresses we find that Owen is very conflicted when it comes to Salina and at times I really wanted to throw my book at the wall in frustration. For Gin it is an no brainer..kill the bitch! But unfortunately she has to consider Owen’s feeling and it is quite obvious he is not going to just let Gin kill Salina. Once Kincaid tells Gin the true story of what happened many years ago and how Salina came to be exiled, Gin must figure out a way to convince Owen that his saintly Salina is bad to the bone and has to be stopped, one way or another.

As a devoted fan, Estep did not let me down. Estep is not afraid of throwing kinks into the story that will have the reader hurting but you know it is for the good of the storyline. Gin of course has evolved as a character and now we are seeing the chinks in her armor. Jealousy is a new feeling for her and even some fear is starting to show. The traits that I loved about Owen, loyalty and honor, backfire because he feels that way towards Salina too, causing a rift between him and Gin. I am hanging on for this ride because I know Estep has a reason to take her readers on another tortuous path with Gin so I will be waiting anxiously for the next installment!
PURCHASE WIDOW'S WEB

THE SERIES

GIVEAWAY
Kensington has so graciously offered to give a copy of the first book, Touch of Frost,  in Jennifer Estep's YA series, Mythos Academy, to a lucky reader of my blog!  Open to US and Canada and ends September 4th. Just fill out the Rafflecopter form below!!
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Monday, August 20, 2012

Guest Post + Giveaway: The Beach by Jaye Frances


 I would love to welcome back author Jaye Frances to Kelsey's Book Corner! Today she is talking about her newest release, The Beach and where she got her idea to write it.
 
Thank you, Kelsey, for hosting me today on Kelsey’s Corner with my new sci-fi release, TheBeach.

One of the most frequently asked questions I receive is how I come up with the ideas for my stories. While The Beach was inspired by walking the shoreline in the aftermath of a spectacular thunderstorm, one of the story elements in particular is far more personal—the granite outcropping from which Alan, the main character, surveys his sandy kingdom. The underlying symbolism of his rocky throne is especially meaningful—and horrifying.

Its real-life counterpart is a five-foot high granite obelisk residing in the middle of a garden courtyard in central Arizona, the beautiful setting in stark contrast to the abominable words inscribed on the west face of the stone. While some are touched by its profound simplicity, most who see it are left stunned at the significance of what the sculptor so aptly conveys.

What dark message does the stone reveal? Rather than disclose the vile omen etched deep into the rock, I’d rather give you the gift of personal discovery, including the opportunity to find its implications as profound as I did when I first saw it.

In the following excerpt, Alan surveys the empty beach while he converses with the sea. He has just started to enjoy the solitude when he notices the formation of dark thunderheads on the horizon. Hoping to outrun the storm, he begins to jog along the shore, heading for home. But the wind and rain quickly unleash their fury, and without another source of shelter, he returns to the limited protection of his rocky monolith to wait it out.

Here’s an excerpt:

Alan looked out over the water. “So, what will we discuss today? What secrets will you share with me?” The ocean settled his thoughts and he often talked to it like an old friend, his irrational personification of the sea a telling symptom of intentional self-exile. Since his retirement, he had deliberately distanced himself from personal acquaintances, colleagues, and former business associates, favoring his own company—and voice—to that of others.

Although he seldom had to wait for the waves to answer, today his confidante seemed restless and unsettled. Instead of welcoming him with the relaxing rhythm of a gentle surf, the water was agitated, churning with cross-currents and rip-tides. In the distance, burgeoning thunderheads were rising from the edge of the sea, and unlike the usual white blankets that spent the day playing hide-and-seek with the sky until finally resting on the sun-struck horizon like giant puffs of cotton candy, these intruders were different—threatening harbingers, an assault force from an angered Poseidon.

“Don’t worry,” he assured his anxious friend. “I’m sure they’ll keep their distance.”

His thoughts were well-intentioned, but in the scheme of the universe they were nothing more than idle chatter, and within minutes a dark rumbling umbrella extinguished the sun.

Bright flashes began to light the interior of the boiling cloudbank. In a threatening display of power, jagged razors of blue fire dropped from the sky, blistering the surface of the water.

“Sh*t. I probably won't make it back in time to beat the storm.”

His bungalow was nearly a half-mile away, and as he hurriedly jogged along the shoreline, he regretted not being able to enjoy the pleasant, even roll of the surf, its normally soothing turquoise-trimmed waves now a chaotic frenzy of foaming white caps.

The wind arrived with the rain, the fierce gale driving the downpour sideways. As the drops stung his face he cursed his bad luck, slinging insults against the storm—and anyone else who might presume to ruin his day. “I’ll give you a minute or two, that’s all. Then you will move on, leave my beach.”

As if mocking Alan’s pretentious attempt to challenge its dominion, the tempest howled in defiance, stripping sea grape trees of their leaves and wrapping shredded fronds around the sodden trunks of swaying palms.

He looked around for the nearest shelter. There was only his familiar granite megalith some one hundred fifty yards behind him. Although it wouldn’t keep him dry, he could sit out the deluge with his back against the stone, on the side opposite the wind and waves.

As he hunkered in close to the rock he felt the latent warmth of the sun, absorbed from an earlier cloudless sky. Irritated by the sheeting rain streaming down his cheeks, he formed finger tunnels around his eyes and peered through the curtain of water. He recognized the green blur of a plastic chair as it tumbled across the sand.

“Damn storm. It’s crapping all over my beach. It’s got to stop soon, before the trees snap.”

If Alan had ever enjoyed the slightest preference from nature, this torrent confirmed his loss of favor. Unrelenting, the blowing wall of water strengthened in intensity, the whirling gusts clotting the air with saturated grit.

As the swells pushed the storm surge even higher, the huge projection of bedrock could no longer shield him from the reach of the sea. Wet and cold from the breakers that washed up high enough to touch him, he barely felt the bump of something solid against his leg. At first glance he thought it was a small Thermos. But as the receding surf moved it slightly outside his reach, he could see the cylinder-shaped object was covered with unusual markings—quite different from the bright patterns and bold graphics that typically decorated an insulated beverage bottle. He leaned into the wind, grabbing the oddity just before the retreating swells could return it to the ocean.

Even through the rain, Alan was impressed with his catch, the color alone making the object interesting enough to reward him for the reach. As the forces of nature jousted for dominance, Alan imagined how the piece would look on the front porch railing, or among his collection of shells lining the pea-gravel driveway next to his house.

Here’s a brief synopsis:

Alan loves the beach. More than a weekend respite, it is his home, his refuge, his sanctuary. And for most of the year, he strolls the sand in blissful solitude, letting nature—and no one else—touch him. But spring has given way to summer, and soon, the annual invasion of vacationers and tourists will subdivide the beach with blankets, umbrellas, and chairs, depriving Alan of his privacy and seclusion—the fundamental touchstones of his life.

Resigned to endure another seasonal onslaught of beach-goers, Alan believes there is nothing he can do but prepare for the worst. 

But fate has other plans.

Delivered to him on the crest of a rogue wave, the strange object appears to have no purpose, no practical use—until Alan accidentally discovers what waits inside. Now he must attempt to unravel an ageless mystery, unaware that the final outcome will change his life, and the beach, forever.

In the companion novella Short Time, you’ll meet a respectable but bored middle-class executive, who exchanges his future for six months of excess and extravagance, only to find out the price he must pay for his hedonistic indulgence is beyond anything he could have imagined.

Author Bio:  Jaye Frances is the author of The Kure, a paranormal-occult romance novel, The Possibilities of Amy, a coming-of-age romance, The Cruise-All That Glitters, a humorous adult satire about looking for love at sea, and The Beach, a sci-fi fantasy about a man who is given the opportunity to receive his ultimate wish and lives to regret it. She is also a featured columnist for the NUSA SUN magazine. Born in the Midwest, Jaye readily admits that her life’s destination has been the result of an open mind and a curiosity about all things irreverent. When she’s not consumed by her writing, Jaye enjoys cooking, traveling to all places tropical and “beachy” and taking pictures—lots of pictures—many of which find their way to her website. Jaye lives on the central gulf coast of Florida, sharing her home with one husband, six computers, four cameras, and several hundred pairs of shoes. For more information, visit Jaye’s website at www.jayefrances.com, or Jaye’s Blog at http://blog.jayefrances.com

The Beach is available now in kindle eBook on Amazon at a special Introductory Release Price of $0.99 until September 15, 2012 

GIVEAWAY
Jaye has so graciously offered to give one (1) Kindle version of The Beach to a lucky reader of my blog!  Open internationally and ends September 3rd. Just fill out the Rafflecopter form below!!
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Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Author Interview: John Lutz


I would like to welcome John Lutz to Kelsey's Book Corner! He was nice enough to sit down and answer a few questions for me about his newest release, Pulse. (my review is HERE)
 
I know you’ve just published Pulse and I really want to talk about that. But first, I’d like my readers to know a little about you. 
 
What is your favorite quality about yourself?  
A) I have a short memory.  
 
What are you most proud of accomplishing so far in your life?  
A) Hmm… 
 
We’re going to talk about the book that you’ve written, but first, let us learn a little about how you got your start in writing.  
 
How has your upbringing influenced your writing? 
A) Like most writers, I began as an avid reader. While growing up I always had plenty of material to read at home, and lived within easy walking distance of two branch libraries. Also I didn’t have had anyone looking over my shoulder telling me what to read, or not read. I was probably much influenced by short stories in slick magazines as well as the pulps. Somewhere along the line I simply went from reader to writer. It seemed natural. 
 
What do you consider the most challenging about writing a novel, or about writing in general?
A) Knowing when I have gotten it right. “Right” being precisely how I want it to read. When I’m revising and realize I’ve just changed something back to its original form, I know I’ve probably tweaked all I can out of the material.  
 
Okay, now we can get to talking about Pulse
 
Tell us about a little bit about Pulse.
A) Like most serial killer novels, Pulse brings to the fore life’s randomness that we seldom think about, because at the least it makes us uneasy. I try to convert that uneasiness to fear as my characters, especially the victims, come to realize they actually don’t have much influence over their lives and how, or if, they continue. Layers of security are peeled back to reveal undeniable vulnerability. Psychosexual serial killers have no rational reasons to murder. Women are prey to voracious assailants who have their own concepts of their victims, and project their own scenarios of their deaths. Victims have no control over this whatsoever and often not any suspicion of danger until it is too late. They would have to manage a glimpse into their killer’s childhood to obtain even a hint of motive, and then they still probably wouldn’t understand. The fact is that no one knows why some people are born with or acquire the compulsion to kill other human beings. As a writer of serial killer novels, my monsters are ready made – and plausible. Readers know such people exist. Now and then one of them reminds us.  
 
How did you develop your plot and characters?
A) I think characters are the most important component of fiction. They not only need to be real in and of themselves; they need to suit the story. The plots of the Quinn books are set within the (sometimes) dramatic arcs of actual serial killer investigations: Growing public awareness, titillation and involvement, a lead investigator who finds him or herself in a chess game confrontation with a villain who kills with increasing frequency and ferociousness, the secret growing desire of the killer to be caught, and often a violent showdown involving both hunter and prey at the investigation’s conclusion. Inside this architecture there are a lot of stories to be told and characters to be developed.
 
What was the hardest part about writing this book? 
A) Pulse is particularly complex. The challenge was to keep all the plates spinning simultaneously, and tangentially to supply their own momentum.  
 
How many more Frank Quinn novels do you plan to write? 
A) I’m not sure, but there are plenty of roads unexplored.  
 
Have you started your next project yet? If so, can you tell us anything about it? 
A) I have started the next Quinn novel. I could reveal something about it, but I think it would be better all the way around if I left it a mystery. Besides, I’m kind of superstitious when it comes to revealing anything about a present project. I don’t want anyone’s reaction to influence me.  
 
Do you have any specific last thoughts that you want to say to your readers? 
A) I’m trying to provide them with the kind of roller coaster ride that will make them queasy but compel them to buy another ticket.
 
Working hard at it, in fact. 
 
(I hope those weren’t my last thoughts.)  
 
BONUS FUN QUESTIONS 
 (Whew!) 
 
What is your favorite color?  
A) Blue, with a tint of hope.
 
What is your favorite food?  
A) Apple pie. There is no bad apple pie. Like there is no bad ice cream.  
 
What’s your favorite place in the entire world? 
A) The sunny side of the Earth’s crust.  
 
Are you a person who makes their bed in the morning, or do you not see the point? 
A) I would answer this question, but what’s the point? I get up in the morning and later in the day I notice that someone has made the bed. Could’ve been my wife.  
 
Do you get road rage? If so, what bugs you the most about other drivers? 
A) Sometimes I do get road rage. What bothers me most about other drivers is their road rage. 
 
AUTHOR BIO 
John Lutz published his first short story in 1966 in Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine and has been publishing regularly ever since. His work includes political suspense, private eye novels, urban suspense, humor, occult, crime caper, police procedural, espionage, historical, futuristic, amateur detective--virtually every mystery sub-genre. He is the author of more than thirty-five novels and 250 short stories and articles. His novels and short fiction have been translated into virtually every language and adapted for almost every medium. He is a past president of both Mystery Writers of America and Private Eye Writers of America. Among his awards are the MWA Edgar, the PWA Shamus, The Trophee 813 Award for best mystery short story collection translated into the French language, the PWA Life Achievement Award, and the Short Mystery Fiction Society's Golden Derringer Lifetime Achievement Award. He is the author of two private eye series, the Nudger series, set in his home town of St. Louis, and the Carver series, set in Florida, as well as many non-series suspense novels. His SWF SEEKS SAME was made into the hit movie SINGLE WHITE FEMALE, starring Bridget Fonda and Jennifer Jason Leigh, and his novel THE EX was made into the HBO original movie of the same title, for which he co-authored the screenplay.
 
When Lutz isn't writing, he's reading, following baseball, dining out with friends, or going to movies. He's a serious movie buff and is on the Mystery Writers of America committee this year for the Edgar Award for best mystery movie. Lutz and his wife, Barbara, split their time between St. Louis and Sarasota, Florida.
 
AUTHOR LINKS
Website  /  Facebook  /  Twitter

Some Killers Come Back For More 
The killer’s depravity is insatiable. What he does to his victims is unthinkable. Homicide detective turned P.I. Frank Quinn has seen this M.O. before. A demented ritual, it’s the work of Daniel Danielle—a notorious serial killer who blurs the line between male and female, human and monster. Danielle disappeared ten years ago. Is a copy cat repeating the crimes? Or has Danielle made a deadly return? Either way, this time the killing won’t stop…

PURCHASE PULSE

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