Review & Giveaway: APPOINTMENT WITH ISIL by Joe Giordano

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As part of a blog tour organized by Italy Book Tours,  I recently read Appointment with ISIL a new thriller by Joe Giordano.

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An Anthony Provati Literary Thriller 

This time, Anthony’s libido threatens his life. Anthony Provati flirts with Russian mob boss, Gorgon Malakhov’s mistress. The Russian deals in death. ISIL, the Islamic State in the Levant, wants the product. Russian Intelligence supplies the means, and an art theft funds the scheme.

ISIL’s targets are chilling. The chase across the Mediterranean is on. Can Anthony thwart ISIL? Will he survive?

My Review

Anthony is a piano player and a nice guy, but his better judgment goes out the window whenever he is confronted with a beautiful woman. He is ill-equipped to cope with the threats of a seasoned Russian mobster, and soon finds himself in the unlikely role of unofficial investigator as he tries to keep himself and the women he loves safe.  The course of events brings him in to the middle of conflicts between Italian, Colombian, Jewish, and Russian mobsters.

The author has created a somewhat disturbing scenario where Russian mobsters help ISIL prepare for a major terrorist attack.  Disturbing not because of the details, disturbing because it strikes home with respect to the threat from terror faced around the world today.  Anthony is not a spy or a government agent he happens on the details and does his best to pass the info on to the relevant authorities  with predicable and unpredictable results.  Spanning four continents and multiple cultures, Appointment with ISIL was an interesting read.

FTC Disclosure:   I received a complimentary ARC of this book. This has not affected the content of my review in any way.

Giveaway

Click to enter a Rafflecopter giveaway for a chance to win a signed copy of Appointment with ISIL.

About the Author

Joe GiordanoJoe Giordano was born in Brooklyn. He and his wife, Jane, have lived in Greece, Brazil, Belgium and the Netherlands. They now live in Texas.

Joe’s stories have appeared in more than ninety magazines including The Monarch Review, The Saturday Evening Post, decomP, The Summerset Review, and Shenandoah. His novel, Birds of Passage, An Italian Immigrant Coming of Age Story, was published by Harvard Square Editions October 2015. His second novel, Appointment with ISIL, an Anthony Provati Thriller was recently released by HSE.

Connect with the author:  Website  ~  Twitter  ~  Facebook  ~  Pinterest

Showcase & Giveaway: DREAM A LITTLE DEATH by Susan Kandel

As part of a blog tour organized by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours, today’s post showcases a recently released mystery by Susan Kandel – DREAM A LITTLE DEATH.

Description

dreamalittledeathFrom critically acclaimed author Susan Kandel comes a charming new mystery featuring Dreama Black and a cast of zany LA-based characters.

The first time I set eyes on Miles McCoy, I worried he might try to eat me. He was the size and girth of a North American grizzly, with long, silver-tipped hair, a long silver-tipped beard, and small dark eyes that bore into me like I was a particularly fine specimen of Chinook salmon. It couldn’t have helped that I’d used a honey scrub the morning we met. I should’ve known better. Not just about the scrub, but about a lot of things.

Like braving the freeway during rush hour.
Like thinking you can’t get a ticket for parking at a broken meter.
Like racing up to his penthouse in gladiator sandals, and expecting not to twist an ankle.
Like watching his fiancée shoot herself, and assuming it was suicide, instead of murder.

Meet Dreama Black. A 28 year-old, third-generation groupie trying to figure out who she is after being publicly dumped by the rock god whose mega-hit, “Dreama, Little Dreama” made the name and the girl world-famous. Now Dreama supports herself by running custom-designed, themed tours of her hometown of L.A. When she is hired by a Raymond Chandler-obsessed rap producer to create a “L.A. noir” tour as his present to his soon-to-be bride, Dreama gets pulled into the middle of a possible murder, corrupt cops, and an unforgettable pair of femme fatales.

Purchase Links: Amazon 🔗 | Barnes & Noble  | Goodreads

Read an excerpt:

Chapter 1

The first time I set eyes on Miles McCoy, I worried he might try to eat me. He was the size and girth of a North American grizzly bear, with long silver-tipped hair, a long silver-tipped beard, and small dark eyes that bore into me like I was a particularly fine specimen of Chinook salmon. It couldn’t have helped that I’d used a honey scrub the morning we met. I should’ve known better. Not just about the scrub, but about a lot of things.

Like braving the freeway during rush hour.

Like thinking you can’t get a ticket for parking at a broken meter.

Like racing up to his penthouse in Balenciaga gladiator sandals, and expecting not to twist an ankle.

Like watching his fiancée shoot herself, and assuming it was suicide, instead of murder.

But I’m getting ahead of myself, which is another thing I should know better about. Because if I’ve learned anything at all from my study of film noir (which got me into the whole sordid Miles McCoy mess to begin with), it is to tell the story in the precise order in which it happened.

The trouble started the day before, which was Valentine’s Day, a pagan holiday named after the Roman priest who defied Claudius II by marrying Christian couples. After being hauled off in shackles, the soft-hearted cleric was beaten with clubs, stoned, and when that didn’t finish him off, publicly beheaded. Makes you think.

It had poured rain for eight days running, which isn’t what you sign on for when you live in Los Angeles. But that morning, as I stepped outside for a run, the sun was blinding—so blinding, in fact, that I didn’t see the fragrant valentine my neighbor’s dog, Engelbart, had left on the stoop for me. Not that I minded spending the next twenty minutes cleaning the grooves of my running shoe with a chopstick. It was a beautiful day. The rollerbladers were cruising the Venice boardwalk. The scent of medical marijuana was wafting through the air. Engelbart’s gastrointestinal tract was sound.

An hour later, I hopped into my mint green 1975 Mercedes convertible, and made my way up Lincoln to the freeway. I was headed to Larchmont, an incongruous stretch of Main Street, USA, sandwiched between Hollywood and Koreatown. This was where studio executives’ wives and their private school daughters came for green juice, yoga pants, and the occasional wrench from the general store that had served Hancock Park since the 1930s. It was also where my mother and grandmother ran Cellar Door, known for its chia seed porridge and life-positive service. I helped out whenever my coffers were running low. Which was most of the time.

You are probably frowning right about now. Surely a young woman who owns a classic convertible—as well as Balenciaga gladiators—should not be perennially low on funds. But it’s true.

The car came from my grandmother, who received it as part of her third (fourth?) divorce settlement and gave it to me as a gift when I strong-armed my mother into rehab for the fourth (fifth?) time. The sandals I purchased online in a frenzy of self-loathing shortly after watching my ex-boyfriend the rock god serenading his current girlfriend the supermodel on an otherwise uneventful episode of Ellen. I’d tried to return the sandals, but one of the studs had fallen off, making them damaged goods. Like their owner. Not that I’m hard on myself. It’s just that my career—I take clients on custom-designed, private tours of my hometown of L.A.—wasn’t exactly thriving, which is why I was easy prey for the likes of Miles McCoy. But I’m getting ahead of myself again. Here comes the good part. The part where I’m driving like the wind and almost don’t notice the flashing lights in my mirror. I knew I should have fixed that taillight.

I pulled over, cut the motor, handed the cop my license and registration. He looked down, then did a double take. “Dreama Black?”

That would be me.

“The Dreama Black?” he continued. “As in ‘Dreama, Little Dreama’?”

Perhaps I should explain.

I am a twenty-eight-year-old, third-generation rock ’n’ roll groupie—or “muse,” as the women in my family like to put it.

My grandmother, a fine-boned blonde who never met a gossamer shawl or Victorian boot she didn’t like, spent the sixties sleeping her way through Laurel Canyon, winding up in a house on Rothdell Trail (a.k.a. “Love Street”) purchased for her by a certain lead singer of a certain iconic band whose name is the plural of the thing that hits you on the way out.

My mother, blessed with thick, dark tresses and a way with mousse, was consort to many of the pseudo-androgynous alpha males of American hair metal, her chief claim to fame an MTV video in which she writhed across the hood of a Porsche wearing a white leotard and black, thigh-high boots. She also bought Axl Rose his first kilt.

As for me, well, I was on my way to freshman orientation when this guy I’d been seeing, who’d played a couple of no-name clubs with some friends from summer camp, intercepted me at LAX, put his lips to my ear, and hummed the opening bars of a new song I’d apparently inspired. Instead of boarding the plane for Berkeley, I boarded the tour bus with Luke Cutt and the other skinny, pimply members of Rocket Science. Four world tours, three hit albums, two Grammys, and one breakup later, “Dreama, Little Dreama”—an emo pop anthem that went gold in seven days and has sold eleven million copies to date—had made me almost famous forever.

“Step out of the car, please.”

The cop removed his sunglasses. Peach fuzz. Straight out of the academy. “So.”

He wanted to get a picture with me.

“I’d love to get a picture with you,” he said.

I smoothed down my cut-offs and striped T-shirt, removed my red Ray-Bans, ran my fingers through my long, straight, freshly balayaged auburn hair. The cop put his arm around me, leaned in close, took a couple of snaps on his phone. Let me guess. He’d had a crush on me since tenth grade, when he saw me in a white tank and no bra on the cover of Rocket Science’s debut C.D., and now he was going to post the pictures on Instagram to show all his buddies.

“Awesome.” He gave me a brotherly punch on the arm. “No way is my wife going to believe this. She’s crazy about Luke Cutt. Hey, is he really dating that Victoria’s Secret Angel? She is smoking hot.”

At least I didn’t get the ticket.

Excerpt from Dream A Little Death by Susan Kandel.  Copyright © 2017 by Susan Kandel. Reproduced with permission from HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.

Giveaway

Click here to enter a Rafflecopter for a chance to win one of 5 eBook copies of Dream A Little Death by Susan Kandel.

About the Author

An Agatha, Edgar, and SCIBA nominee, Susan Kandel is the author of the nationally best-selling and critically acclaimed Cece Caruso series, the most recent of which, Dial H for Hitchcock (Morrow), was named by NPR as one of the five best mysteries of the year. A Los Angeles native, she was trained as an art historian, taught at NYU and UCLA, and spent a decade as an art critic at the Los Angeles Times. When not writing, she volunteers as a court-appointed advocate for foster children, and loves to explore secret, forgotten, and kitschy L.A. She lives with her husband in West Hollywood.

Catch Up with the Author on:
Website , Goodreads , Twitter , & Facebook !

Review & Giveaway: UNCORKING A LIE by Nadine Nettmann

As part of a Blog Tour organized by Great Escapes Free Virtual Book Tours,  I recently read Uncorking a Lie (A Sommelier Mystery) by Nadine Nettmann.

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It was the kind of invitation Katie Stillwell had only dreamed about: a dinner party at the Sonoma mansion of famed wine collector Paul Rafferty to celebrate a rare bottle of wine. Everyone enjoys drinking the $19,000 wine, but Katie realizes it’s not the older vintage listed on the label. When she confides in Mr. Rafferty, he asks her to investigate, and she soon discovers the deception goes beyond money. As Katie falls deeper into the world of counterfeit wine, she learns everything is at stake―even her life.

My Review

Having read the first book in this series, I enjoyed getting reacquainted with Katie.  She is a dedicated wine lover, who seeks to advance to the highest level of sommelier accreditation.  And she is smart and determined in her pursuit of the truth about the wine and the suspicious death of a friend.  At the same time, she is impulsive and somewhat reckless.  The underlying plot is engaging, with multiple suspects and a plot that comes together nicely in the end.  A pleasant read, easily enjoyed by lovers of wine and mystery.

FTC Disclosure:   I received an advance review copy of this book as part of this blog tour.  This has not affected the content of my review in any way. 

Giveaway

Click here to enter a rafflecopter for a chance to win a print copy of Uncorking a Lie.

About the Author

Nadine Nettmann, a Certified Sommelier through the Court of Master Sommeliers, is always on the lookout for great wines and the stories behind them. She has traveled to wine regions around the world including Chile, South Africa, Spain, Germany, and every region in France. When she’s not visiting wine regions or dreaming up new mysteries, her travel articles have appeared in AAA Hawaii, New Mexico Journey, Modern Luxury Hawaii, and Inspirato. Nadine is a member of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, Romance Writers of America, and International Thriller Writers. She lives in California with her husband.

Author Links 

Purchase Links
Amazon  B&N 

Spotlight: FINDING CLAIRE by Pamela Humphrey

It’s always fun to discover new authors and new books. Here’s a recently released mystery you might want to consider reading on that next cold wintry day.

sm_finding-claire-_front-coverDescription

She wakes up in the back of a van, and her whole world changes.

Injured and afraid–with no recollection of who she is–she stumbles through the Texas Hill Country with a photo labeled Claire. Seeking safety, she knocks at Alex’s cabin door. He protects her, even though she stirs up memories that haunt him.

She wants her life back. He wants to ease his guilt and will protect her even if it means risking his own life. Together they search, hoping questions will be answered by Finding Claire.

Excerpt

Chapter One

January 8, 2016 – 9:27pm

The night I woke up in the back of a van with my hands bound, my whole world changed. It was a Friday.

I opened my eyes and fought to remember how I ended up in a dark, moving vehicle. As if rising from the depths of a deep lake, I struggled, desperate for a glimpse of the familiar. Rope burned my wrists. I didn’t have the presence of mind or the courage to formulate an escape. Panic rendered me useless as someone drove me to the middle of nowhere.

The kidnappers’ most helpful accomplice, my own fear, held me prisoner. The worst part of it all, my mind hid memories from me. I didn’t even know my own name.

A greasy, foul-smelling man marched me into a dark house. Images of how I’d be killed flashed through my mind when he shoved me into a putrid closet. Another man did his bidding, and talked incessantly. More than a day, being fed nothing but bologna sandwiches, I wallowed in that tiny space.

About the Author

Pamela Humphrey is a homeschooling mom of three, an amateur genealogist, a crafter, a wanna-be bass guitarist, and the author of Finding Claire, The Blue Rebozo, and Researching Ramirez: On the Trail of the Jesus Ramirez Family. Inspired by genealogy, she writes fiction that weaves the past into the present. She lives in San Antonio, Texas, with her husband, sons, black cats, and leopard gecko.

Finding Claire is available from:

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Guest Post, Spotlight & Giveaway: SEND IN THE CLOWNS by Julie Mulhern

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As part of a Blog Tour organized by Great Escapes Free Virtual Book Tours,  I am pleased to have USA Today bestselling author Julie Mulhern as my guest today as she celebrates the release of her latest cozy mystery –Send in the Clowns.


On writing by Julie Mulhern

I’ve been writing for what feels like seventy-two hours straight. My eyes itch. My neck hurts. Homophones have banded together and declared me their sworn enemies. You have to watch out for those homophones – there attacks are two sneaky.

Not that I’m complaining—it’s just that when I imagined being a writer, I imagined picking up a pen when the muse struck. And bon-bons. Lots and lots of bon-bons.

The reality is a book release and a deadline on top of each other, cheap chocolate, and two (begone foul homophone!) too much coffee. The reality isn’t a muse, it’s an ever-expanding butt in seat, fingers poised on a keyboard, and words—even crappy words—adding up to a first draft.

Writing is not the glamorous pursuit I imagined. Instead, it’s stumbling out of bed in the dark, pulling on a ratty bathrobe, blindly pushing the button on the coffee maker, and writing—every day.

You know what? I wouldn’t change a thing…well, maybe the bon-bons.


About Send in the Clowns

send-in-the-clownsHaunted houses are scary enough without knife-wielding clowns. Especially murderous knife-wielding clowns. So thinks Ellison Russell, single mother, artist, and reluctant sleuth.

Now death wears a red nose and Ellison is up to the blood-stained collar of her new trench coat in costumes, caffeine, and possible killers. Who stabbed Brooks Harney? And why? Money? Jealousy? Drugs?

With Mother meddling, her father furious, and her date dragged downtown for questioning, turns out Ellison’s only confidante is Mr. Coffee.

Books in the Country Club Murders Humorous Mystery Series:

* THE DEEP END (#1)
* GUARANTEED TO BLEED (#2)
* CLOUDS IN MY COFFEE (#3)
* SEND IN THE CLOWNS (#4)

Giveaway

Click here to enter a Rafflecopter giveaway for a chance to win one of five e-copies of Send in the Clowns.

julieAbout Julie Mulhern

Julie Mulhern is the USA Today bestselling author of The Country Club Murders. She is a Kansas City native who grew up on a steady diet of Agatha Christie. She spends her spare time whipping up gourmet meals for her family, working out at the gym and finding new ways to keep her house spotlessly clean–and she’s got an active imagination. Truth is–she’s an expert at calling for take-out, she grumbles about walking the dog and the dust bunnies under the bed have grown into dust lions.

Author Links

Purchase Links

Amazon – Barnes and Noble – iBooks – Kobo 

Release Spotlight: THE TOUCH by Michelle Bolanger

KDP cover the touchToday I am turning the spotlight on a new novel by Michelle Bolanger.  The Touch is a paranormal romance, and the second  book in The Cotiere Chronicles Series, which combines elements of the mystery, romance and paranormal genres.

Description

Alexander Koch lives a life most men would kill for. As the sole heir to his family’s enormous wealth, he enjoys the finer things in life despite the crippling pain that increases with every passing day. Until he meets the one he’s intended for. The one whose slightest touch makes the pain vanish. But after a chance meeting at the first Gathering of their kind, the girl runs from him in terror. Now he’s willing to spend every last cent to find her.

Jessalyn Vogt escaped her father’s controlling ways and has settled into a simple life, caring for her horses and brewing coffee for her customers. Until Alexander Koch tracks her down. She wants nothing to do with his arrogance, his money, or the undeniable attraction drawing her to him. But she knows she is the only one who can relieve him of the horrible pain racking his body. Teaser 3 The Touch

The Cotiere has been reunited, but that was the easy part. Greed and old traditions threaten to tear it apart again. Trust has been compromised and hidden agendas are destroying the fragile truce between parents and children. It’s in the hands of the new counsel to keep it together, even if it means some must be willing to lose everything.

Both The Touch (Cotiere Chronicles Book 2)  and The Kiss (Cotiere Cronicles Book 1) are  available on Amazon.

About the Author

MB-2_resziedMichelle Bolanger has been an avid reader all her life. In 2014 and with the encouragement of her family and friends, she decided to take the leap and publish her own books. The Kiss is her first full length novel and the beginning of what is to be a four book series titled The Cotiere Chronicles. Michelle is also a talented vocalist and amateur photographer. She enjoys going on cruises, cheering for her favorite professional hockey team, and falling asleep to the sound of auto racing on TV. Michelle lives in Ohio with her husband and two dogs.