I’ve been busy, and this is why…

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Yup, I bought a motorcycle.

It’s a smaller model than what Alex rides in Betting on Love (hers is a 2013 Ninja Z1000, which is much, much bigger). It’s a 2010 Ninja 250r, just the right size for learning. This spring I took my motorcycle safety course from Too Cool Motorcycle School, and I got my motorcycle license in June. A couple of weeks ago, I found the bike on an online ad, and went to take a look. I loved it, and it’s the perfect size.

I will not be spending quite as much time writing during what remains of this summer, as I’m going to try to get a lot of riding in before the snow falls (or falls again, as we’ve already had one light skiff of snow here… pretty nutty for August). But if you’re looking for something to read in the meantime, The London Game was just released, and coming in January, my latest book from Bold Strokes Books, titled Midnight at the Orpheus, will be released. :)

So, I’ll be around a bit, but more than likely, I’ll be riding.

Book review: The Collector, by Anne-Laure Thiéblemont, with Excerpt & Giveaway!

Oh my goodness, this book was just what I was looking for. I love art, and I like thrillers, and to have both in one book is exactly what I needed.

Marion Spicer seems bland at first, not really interested in her job, not very enthusiastic, but when her estranged father dies and leaves her his estate and collection, subject to certain difficult conditions, her life changes. She has a personal stake now, in this collection, and this mystery of missing sculptures, and there are hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars of her surprise inheritance at stake.

The inheritance, and this mystery, becomes her obsession, to the point where she lies to friends and colleagues, sleeps with a sleazy art gallery owner, and bargains with thieves and murderers.

Fortunately, this book didn’t make it easy to pick out the perpetrators, which made it a much more enjoyable read. I only wish it had lasted longer, as the ending did seem somewhat abrupt. I felt like there could have been another chapter, maybe even two. And there’s an epilogue that intrigues. I’m hoping this book is part of a series, not unlike the Nico Sirsky books by Frederique Molay.

The Excerpt

“This way.”

The assistant’s directive dripped with arrogance.

Without any further formalities, he disappeared behind a copper-colored silk wall hanging. She followed and discovered a reinforced door that opened to a narrow staircase. She hurried down the steps just as the door closed behind her. It made surprisingly little noise, considering its weight.

Marion stopped at the bottom of the stairs. The space was cold and devoid of light, sound, colors, and smells. She peered into the darkness. It seemed like an unknown abyss, and she had the disturbing sensation that she was being watched.

Gaudin flicked on the lights. A shiver traveled up Marion’s spine, and she gasped. In the faint illumination provided by the bulbs, literally hundreds of clay sculptures and vessels took shape. Floor-to-ceiling shelves were lined with odd-looking creatures. Some had hollow eyes, stunted bodies, and swollen arms and legs. Many looked sickly and tormented. They stared at her with lifeless eyes.

Marion’s mouth went dry, and her legs began to shake. Eventually she inched closer and examined the sculptures one by one. She knew that some of the pieces were pre-Incan portrait vases. She had never cared for these indigenous works. And in such large numbers, she found them disturbing. Certainly there was nothing aesthetically pleasing about the frozen assembly of cripples in this place.

A second room was equally disquieting, filled as it was with oversized phalluses and female genitalia in every possible position and depiction—pimple-covered erections, clitoris-shaped noses, pumas copulating with toads, skeletal women being sodomized. By the looks of it, Magni had relished the world of sexual obsession. Marion just stared at the impassive expressions on the faces of the silent participants.

“Thousands of years, and these bodies are still here for us to see and touch. Isn’t that fascinating?” Gaudin said from behind her.

Marion didn’t respond. She could barely breathe. This space was a shrine to her father’s obscenity, negotiated at the cost of gutted tombs and stolen memories. And for what? A dark and irrational desire to claim ownership over the souls of the dead? An attempt to give them a second life? Or to extend his own? Was he afraid of something? Or of someone?

Anne-Laure Thiéblemont
on Tour August 10-29 with

Collector

The Collector

(mystery)

Release date: August 11, 2015
at Le French Book

211 pages

ISBN: 978-1939474445

Website | Goodreads

***

SYNOPSIS

Some people collect art, others collect trouble. Marion Spicer spends her days examining auction catalogues and searching for stolen works of art. She is a top-notch investigator when it comes to eighteenth-century art. But for her it’s just a job and her life is well ordered. All this changes when she inherits a huge and very prestigious collection of pre-Columbian art from a father she never knew. There are conditions attached: she must first find three priceless statues. That is when her troubles begin. Her father’s death sparked much greed, and Marion finds herself facing the merciless microcosm of Paris art auctions and galleries, with its sharks, schemes, fences, traps, scams, and attacks. Her quest draws her into a world where people will kill for a love of beauty.

***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Collector Anne Laure Thieblemont ©RobertTerzian An art reporter and trained gem specialist,
Anne-Laure Thiéblemont
is known for her investigations into stolen art
and gem trafficking.
She currently works as a magazine editor,
and splits her time between Paris and Marseille.

ABOUT THE TRANSLATOR

Sophie Weiner is a freelance translator and book publishing assistant from Baltimore, Maryland. After earning degrees in French from Bucknell University and New York University, Sophie went on to complete a master’s in literary translation from the Sorbonne, where she focused her thesis on translating wordplay in works by Oulipo authors. She has translated and written for web-based companies dedicated to art, cinema, and fashion as well as for nonprofit organizations. Growing up with Babar, Madeline, and The Little Prince, Sophie was bitten by the Francophile bug at an early age, and is fortunate enough to have lived in Paris, Lille, and the Loire Valley.

 

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***

You can enter the global giveaway here
or on any other book blogs participating in this tour.
Be sure to follow each participant on Twitter/Facebook,
they are listed in the entry form below

Visit each blogger on the tour:
tweeting about the giveaway everyday
of the Tour will give you 5 extra entries each time!
[just follow the directions on the entry-form]

Global giveaway open internationally:
5 participants will each win a copy of this book.
Print/digital format for US residents
Digital for all other residents

 

***

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TO READ OTHER REVIEWS, EXCERPTS, GUEST-POSTS

Collector Banner

 

THE LONDON GAME is here! :)

I’m delighted to announce that the latest book in my Le Chat Rouge series has finally been released! It’s been a long time coming, and it’s finally here.

AlyssaLinnPalmer_TheLondonGame_800pxThe game isn’t over.

Art dealer Marc Perron relocates to London with his lover, singer Sera Durand, to protect her from past mistakes. Blackmailed by a gangster, he must return to Paris, leaving Sera alone and vulnerable. Forging a precious painting may be his only chance at survival, but if he’s found out, the consequences will be deadly.

Without Marc, Sera struggles in an English-speaking country, coming face to face with his lies, his sexual past, and her own misdeeds. Finding a job at a jazz club called ‘Sanctuary’ is anything but, as she is not safe from her new boss, or the disturbing man who spies on her every move.

Once more, the lovers must play the game, but the stakes are higher than they imagined…

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July is Poetry Month! Paris in the rain…

Inspired by Amanda, of course, who wrote her own poem about Paris in the rain. :)

Muted light through the skylight,
The patter of rain on glass,
Pigeons cooing.

Warm under the thick duvet,
This lazy Paris morning of
My vacation.

Ready for a day of walking,
Scarf around my neck,
Umbrella open.

A café crème at the café,
The waiters turn the heaters on,
Smoke-filled terrace.

At Trocadero, the souvenir sellers are not deterred
But they huddle in their coats,
Soaked through.

Time for a second café crème,
A good book on the table,
Settled in.

July is Poetry Month!

As so decreed by my cousin Amanda (of the excellent blog, Plausible Prosetry).

Her poem for today (a limerick) is here: https://amandasobierajski.wordpress.com/2015/06/30/u-r-my-typus/

And my poem for today is this one, below. (Amanda’s writing one every day, but I’m writing only as many as I can manage this month.)

Whilst trying to sleep and failing.

Magpie sitting on the balcony rail
Squawking to raise the dead.
Wonder if he’d change his tune
If I let the cat out?

Book Review: The Morgenstern Project, by David Khara (+ giveaway & excerpt!)

First, the Excerpt (and skip below for the review & the giveaway)

“I mean seriously, what the hell are we doing here?” Hansen said. “There’s nothing but fucking rocks and sand that’ll wreck this tin can. I spend hours cleaning the engine every time we get back to base. Why’d they send only one team to check out the area if it’s a danger zone? Isn’t that messed up?”

“You’re a Marine, man. You knew what you signed up for,” Terry teased. “We’re a recon unit, so…”

“Chill. I know what we’re supposed to be doing. But does that mean we have to like being out here all by ourselves with our asses exposed? This is the perfect setup for an ambush.”

“We’re not exactly by ourselves. They’ve assigned us a backup chopper. So shut up. I’m trying to focus. And you two in the back, stay alert.”

Twenty minutes went by with only the steady roar of the Humvee engine and the whir of the helicopter blades.

Too many hiding spots for the enemy, Terry thought as he inspected the dry rolling landscape. They could surge out at any second.

An abrupt swerve threw all four passengers against the side of the Humvee. Hansen slammed on the brakes, inciting a chorus of protests.

“Just a small technical problem! Instead of giving me shit, how about you cover me,” he ordered.

Hansen opened the door and leaped out of the vehicle, followed by his fellow Marines. The newbies stationed themselves on each side of the Humvee. They lowered themselves into firing position, one knee on the ground.

Hansen made his way around the vehicle and opened the hood.

“God dammit! Shit!”

“What’s going on?” Terry barked as he approached his partner, his eyes still fixed on the surroundings.

“Broken drive shaft and an oil leak the size of Niagara Falls, Sergeant,” Hansen said, kicking the bumper. “And the tires are blown.”

“Did you hit any rocks?” Terry asked.

“No, I swear I didn’t!”

“Can you get us out of here?”

“Not in this piece of junk. It’s a good thing our loving commanders provided us with… Hold up, where’d the fucking chopper go?”

Terry looked up and searched the sky. Preoccupied with the vehicle, he hadn’t noticed the disappearance of their aerial support.

“I can’t believe it,” he grumbled as he held down the switch on the transmitter attached to his protective vest. “Vanguard to command, our vehicle is immobilized in the middle of unfriendly territory.”

“Command to vanguard, copy that loud and clear,” a choppy voice confirmed.

“Would you be kind enough to inform us of the whereabouts of our backup chopper?”

“Command to vanguard, we’re checking on that.”

“That’s right. Check on it, asshole. And take your sweet time,” Terry sneered after cutting off the transmission.

Beneath the wrecked Humvee, Hansen was cursing up a storm. When he came out a few seconds later, he was wearing a worried look, one that Terry had never seen on him before.

“Dude, there are shards of metal under there. Something busted up our ride.”

“Are you serious? What? A mine would have vaporized us.”

There was no time to get to the bottom of it. Terry knew they couldn’t stay out in the open.

“Guys, we’ll station ourselves in twos behind the rocks on either side of the hill over there,” he ordered. “Hansen’s with Baker. Charlie’s with me. We’ll cover each other while we wait for the cavalry. Go!”

The men started running toward their posts.

The first shot snagged Charlie in the arm. He fell to the sand with all the weight of his massive body. Seconds later another blast caught Baker and sent him flying through the air. He landed on his back, a hole in his belly.

Cut off before they could reach the hill, Terry and Hansen dashed back to the busted vehicle, their only shelter under what was now heavy fire. They hoped to cut off the invisible assailants’ field of vision.

My Review

I absolutely could not wait to get my hands on this book. I’d already devoured the other two books in the series (The Bleiberg Project & The Shiro Project), and I hoped this one would be just as good.

I was not disappointed. As a reader, we find out yet more about the enigmatic Eytan Morgenstern, and this time accompany him, and Eli and Jeremy & Jackie on a fantastic trip. However, my favourite parts of this book were the historical sections, where Khara has given more background on Eytan once he escaped the clutches of Bleiberg. These pieces fit well into the present narrative, deepening the reader’s understanding of Eytan. And the present narrative itself kept me on the edge of my seat, wondering if Eytan and his friends would escape the American military, and the designs of the Consortium.

This book is a fantastic thriller, and not to be missed. I’d even say that it’d be likely that one could read this as a stand-alone novel, but I’d really recommend starting with The Bleiberg Project first.

The Morgenstern ProjectThe Morgenstern Project

(thriller)

(translated by Sophie Weiner)

Release date: April 9, 2015
at Le French Book

260 pages

ISBN: 978-1939474353

Website | Goodreads

***

SYNOPSIS

Past and present collide. When you kill a legend, it becomes inspiration, and you can’t kill inspiration. Jeremy Corbin and Jacqueline Walls lead a calm life in a New Jersey suburb, when one day everything changes. Eytan Morgenstern returns to save them, and this improbably team must take on the Consortium, leading them on an epic journey from London to Tel-Aviv, from the Polish forests to Manhattan high-rises, from the shameful past to the threatening future. After a lifetime of bringing Nazi war criminals to justice, the Mossad operative is once again fighting those who wish to study his superhuman body. The self-sacrificing secret agent must rely on the help of his friends to finally free himself of the physical and emotional scars of his past.

***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Shiro project David KharaFrench author David Khara, a former journalist,
top-level sportsman, and entrepreneur,
is a full-time writer. Khara wrote his first novel–a vampire thriller–in 2010, before starting his Consortium thriller series. The first thriller in the series, The Bleiberg Project, was an instant success in France, catapulting Khara into the ranks of the countryís top thriller writers.

Follow David Khara on Twitter
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Buy the book | on Amazon | on Barnes & Noble | on Indiebound

ABOUT THE TRANSLATOR

Sophie Weiner is a freelance translator and book publishing assistant from Baltimore, Maryland. After earning degrees in French from Bucknell University and New York University, Sophie went on to complete a masterís in literary translation from the Sorbonne, where she focused her thesis on translating wordplay in works by Oulipo authors. She has translated and written for web-based companies dedicated to art, cinema, and fashion as well as for nonprofit organizations. Growing up with Babar, Madeline, and The Little Prince, Sophie was bitten by the Francophile bug at an early age, and is fortunate enough to have lived in Paris, Lille, and the Loire Valley.

***

You can enter the global giveaway here
or on any other book blogs participating in this tour.
Be sure to follow each participant on Twitter/Facebook,
they are listed in the entry form below
.

Visit each blogger on the tour:
tweeting about the giveaway everyday
of the Tour will give you 5 extra entries each time!
[just follow the directions on the entry-form]

Global giveaway open internationally:
2 US resident winners will receive 1 print copy of The Morgenstern Project
3 winners will receive this book in digital format

***

CLICK ON THE BANNER
TO READ OTHER REVIEWS, EXCERPTS, INTERVIEW

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Book Review: Runaway, by Krysta Scott

Throughout the other three novellas in this series, Charlotte is always baking, or just about ready to start baking, and I was becoming more curious about her story. While the other women seem to have managed to get away reasonably scot-free from their backgrounds in England, Charlotte is not so lucky. Her jilted fiancé follows her to New York, and it turns out he’s not the pleasant young man everyone thought him to be.

Detective Noble is a fascinating character all his own, and his agonies over his attraction to Charlotte, though she is his number 1 suspect, are very well portrayed. He really fancies Charlotte, but yet, she’s wanted for murder. The push and pull between his heart and his job really give him depth.

The ending was quite satisfying, and as it’s the last of the four I read, a good way to close the series.

run

Runaway: Martini Club 4 Series – The 1920s

Krysta Scott

Blurb: Can she prove her innocence before more than her dreams are destroyed?

After escaping an arranged marriage, Lady Charlotte Leighton lands on a new shore, determined to realize her dream of opening her own bakery. But her plans are shattered when her former fiancé follows her to New York. Now, she finds herself in a fight for her freedom.

Haunted by a string of failures, Detective Felix Noble is determined to solve his latest case. But his efforts to find a murderer are jeopardized by a forbidden attraction to his number one suspect. While he’s certain Charlotte Leighton is keeping secrets, instinct tells him she’s not the murderess he first believed.