Happy New Year!
For those of you who have gotten lovely eReaders, many with matching gift cards or even traditional gift certificates to your favorite book stores, here are a few recommendations.
There are enough categories here to please everyone, I hope. Enjoy!
Lethal Black Dress by Ellen Byerrum
When does a little black dress become a lethal black dress?
When it becomes unexpectedly weaponized at the most security-conscious event in Washington, D.C.—the fabled White House Correspondents’ Dinner. Fashion reporter Lacey Smithsonian is delighted to finally take her place at the legendary D.C. insider bash, but she senses something is amiss with shoddy TV reporter Courtney Wallace’s vintage Madame X gown with its stunning emerald lining. Spies, lies and an enemy close to home bring Lacey face to face with danger and jealousy, the green-eyed monster. But this time, will the style sleuth discover that green is also the color of death?
Under His Nose by Candice Gilmer (a new NY Times Bestsellilng Author!)
All it takes is faith, trust, and fairy dust. A swift kick never hurts, either.
Fairy Godmother Christy must use every skill at her command–just not her magic–to thwart Cupid’s meddling and get Roark and his perfect match Stephanie together without changing their free will or ruining her perfect record. Or she’ll never get her own Happily Ever After.
This is the first in the Guys and Godmothers series and a real delight.
Historical Romantic Suspense:
Why Lords Lose Their Hearts by Manda Collins
The youngest of the Duke of Pemberton’s five sons, Lord Archer Lisle is used to waiting his turn. For years, he could only stand by, seething, as Perdita suffered at the hands of her husband, but now she’s under threat from another source—one who will stop at nothing to make her pay for the late duke’s death. But the good-natured Archer can be dangerous when crossed—and he’ll do anything to keep the woman he’s adored for so long safe in his arms…
Just the book to chase the winter chills away!
Take the Key and Lock Her Up by Lena Diaz
Detective Emily O’Malley just stumbled upon a killer’s lair—and the remains of a woman he kept locked away for years. But this killer isn’t done yet. More women are missing, and all clues point to Devlin Buchanan—the man who seems to know just a little too much. Emily’s instincts are rarely wrong, and now they’re telling her this sexy, mysterious man is hiding something big …
As a trained assassin for EXIT Inc—a top-secret mercenary group posing as an international tour company—Devlin “Devil” Buchanan isn’t afraid to take justice into his own hands. But when the hot new detective on his trail gets too close to the organization and a contract is placed on her life, Devlin does the only thing he can: he turns rogue agent and kidnaps her to save her life.
Judgement by Carey Baldwin
When a coed falls prey to a sadistic murderer, forensic psychiatrist Dr. Caitlin “Caity” Cassidy and FBI profiler, Special Agent Atticus Spenser, are called in to testify–one for the defense, one for the prosecution. With warring approaches to justice, these two rivals have been butting heads for years–both inside the courtroom and out. And at first, this case appears to be no different.
But when a brutal attack leaves the accused man dead and Caity in critical condition, petty differences take a backseat to saving lives. As the lone survivor, Caity knows too much, and the killer–a madman calling himself the Man in the Maze–is coming back for round two. Now Caity and Spense must join forces to uncover the killer’s identity before Caity’s time–and luck–runs out.
A Suspense Magazine “Best Books of 2014″
Fade to Black & White by Kris Abel-Helwig
Clever, introverted Joan struggled to come to terms with her mother’s death by plunging herself into a dark, colorless, emotionless world. At home, she played lacrosse with her older brother; the best therapy for two kids who had lost the solar power on which their lives had run. Away from home, she haunted the hallways of high school like an invisible ghost. Until one summer day when a golden boy moved in next door, which caused her humorous, awkward, often embarrassing inner conversations to tumble out to complicate and light her path back to living once more, out loud and in color.
Non Fiction Science:
Sex, Love and DNA by Peter Schattner
Can the discoveries of 21st-century molecular biology answer age-old questions about the human experience? Can studying proteins and DNA help us understand how we make our choices in sex and love? How we communicate? Why some people are able to become top athletes, while others have the intellectual gifts to become outstanding scientists or artists? Where our emotions come from? Or why we age and die? In the past such questions have generally been reserved for philosophers or psychologists, and some will argue that this is as it should be. Yet we are biological animals, and by studying biology, and especially the biology of cells and proteins and DNA, we can learn a lot about what it means to be human.
I Am Sophie Tucker by Susan and Lloyd Ecker
Part fairy tale, part crime novel, part rags to riches Hollywood myth, I Am Sophie Tucker tells the outrageous story of one of showbiz’s biggest personalities. From 1906 through the beginning of television, Sophie Tucker and her bawdy, brash, and risqué songs paved the way for performers such as West, Monroe, Midler, Cher, Madonna, and Gaga.
Tucker tried to get her story published for nine years, without success. Undaunted, Sophie hired half a dozen ghostwriters, but she still had no takers for her no holds barred autobiography. Eventually, Doubleday published a sanitized version in 1945.“After immersing ourselves in Sophie’s papers and surviving friends,” says co-author Lloyd Ecker, “this initial volume is what should have been the actual autobiography of Tucker.”
Born of Persuasion by Jessica Dotta
Incredibly well written with poetic use of language — serious readers with literary bents will love this book!
The year is 1838, and seventeen-year-old Julia Elliston’s position has never been more fragile. Orphaned and unmarried in a time when women are legal property of their fathers, husbands, and guardians, she finds herself at the mercy of an anonymous guardian who plans to establish her as a servant in far-off Scotland.
With two months to devise a better plan, Julia’s first choice to marry her childhood sweetheart is denied. But when a titled dowager offers to introduce Julia into society, a realm of possibilities opens. However, treachery and deception are as much a part of Victorian society as titles and decorum, and Julia quickly discovers her present is deeply entangled with her mother’s mysterious past. Before she knows what’s happening, Julia finds herself a pawn in a deadly game between two of the country’s most powerful men. With no laws to protect her, she must unravel the secrets on her own. But sometimes truth is elusive and knowledge is deadly.
Broken Places by Krista Hall
When one of her students becomes the latest victim of a D.C. gang-slaying, sociology professor Trevy Barlow is determined to protect the other girls in her literacy class for at-risk teens—even if it means compromising her own safety.
FBI gang task force agent Cruz Larsen isn’t about to let Trevy endanger herself or sidetrack his investigation with her do-gooder meddling. But when a key witness refuses to talk to anyone except her, Cruz has to find a way to earn her trust so that she’ll play by his rules.
Paranormal Romance Anthology:
Twelve Shades of Midnight by Liliana Hart, Darynda Jones and Rachel Grant plus 9 others!
12 authors…12 unforgettable, never-before-released stories The stroke of midnight ushers in many things. From hijinks and mischief to danger and evil, romance is the magic that binds these paranormal novellas together. Join 12 bestselling and award winning authors as they explore the different shades of midnight in exclusive, never-before-released stories.
Liliana Hart – THE WITCH NEXT DOOR
Darynda Jones – A LOVELY DROP
Shea Berkley – DARK SECRETS: STONE COLD DEAD
Dakota Cassidy – WITCHED AT BIRTH
Claire Cavanaugh – MIDNIGHT RENEGADE
Rachel Grant – MIDNIGHT SUN
Trish McCallan— SPIRIT WOODS
Angi Morgan – BODYGUARDS IN HEELS: HIT AND RUN HALLIE
Robin Perini – DARK GUARDIANS: NIGHT OF THE JAGUAR
Robyn Peterman – SWITCHING HOUR
Ann Voss Peterson – THE SCHOOL
Jenn Stark – GETTING WILDE
Which shade of midnight are you?
Non Fiction Social Justice:
Faces: Imprisoned Women and Their Struggle with the Criminal Justice System by Betty May
A riveting portrayal of women living behind bars and what put them there.
In 2008 a group of women serving life sentences for capital crimes decided to reach out to at-risk youth and warn them of the consequences of bad choices. With the mantra: If we can help just one kid, all this work will be worth it, they produced and performed a play: FACES. The play became a phenomenon and reached hundreds of people—in the prison and at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. This is their story.
It is also the author’s story. How she went from knowing nothing about the Criminal Justice System to becoming an advocate for these women and an activist for change. The women’s mantra became her own and the basis for this book.
One of the women said of FACES, the play: “If I had seen this play when I was a teenager, I probably wouldn’t be here now.” The women and the author want FACES, the book, to reach young adult readers and help them in the same way.
Profits from the sale of this book will be shared with the prison and with Social Justice organizations.
Blind Fury by Gwen Hernandez
When always-play-it-safe Jenna Ryan starts questioning how her brother died in Afghanistan, someone decides she must be stopped. Permanently. Her brother’s best friend—a sexy thrill-seeker she can’t stop thinking about—won’t reveal what he knows about the fatal shoot-out, putting Jenna at odds with the only man she trusts to keep her alive.
Former special forces operator Mick Fury would give his life to keep his best friend’s irresistible sister safe. He took an oath to stay silent about their last mission, but Mick’s will is tested by the white-hot attraction to Jenna he’s tried to ignore for years. Now he must risk everything—even falling in love—to protect her from the truth that could destroy them both.
Evil Eye by Veronica Di Grigoli
Istanbul beckons Celeste Hamilton like a siren. Entranced by the misty city of mosques, bazaars, and palaces, her dream adventure in this city, split by the sparkling blue sea, soon turns into a nightmare. A web of deceit pulls Celeste from bright, sunlit streets into shady back alleys along the ancient Bosphorus. Without understanding, she’s stumbled onto a villainous secret. Her landlady lets slip puzzling comments that don’t make sense. The sinister charms and dark magic spells she places in Celeste’s room are horrifying.
Then, the morose caretaker of the orphanage where Celeste volunteers starts staring at Celeste’s beloved boys like a vulture sizing up its next meal. When Celeste’s favourite boy goes missing, Celeste discovers that she herself is the target of a dark plot.
Can Celeste save the child – and herself – before someone destroys her?
The Betrayed by Heather Graham
Sleepy Hollow isn’t so sleepy anymore… One night, New York FBI agent Aiden Mahoney receives a visitor in a dream—an old friend named Richard Highsmith. The very next day he’s sent to Sleepy Hollow because Richard’s gone missing there.
Maureen—Mo—Deauville now lives in the historic town and works with her dog, Rollo, to search for missing people. She’s actually the one to find Richard…or more precisely his head, stuck on a statue of the legendary Headless Horseman.
Mo and Aiden, a new member of the Krewe of Hunters, the FBI’s unit of paranormal investigators, explore both past and present events to figure out who betrayed Richard, who killed him and now wants to kill them, too. As they work together, they discover that they share an unusual trait—the ability to communicate with the dead. They also share an attraction that’s as intense as it is unexpected…if they live long enough to enjoy it!
Artist Advice Non Fiction:
Daily Painting by Carol Marine
(I found this book — while directed at young artists — to also be advice that can be applied to anyone in the creative arts. Do it everyday and stop being so hard on yourself to unleash your creativity was a message that really struck home for me.)
A unique system for jump-starting artistic creativity, encouraging experimentation and growth, and increasing sales for artists of all levels, from novices to professionals.
Do you want to bring the joy back into your art? Have you landed in a frustrating rut? Are you having trouble selling paintings in galleries, getting bogged down by projects you can’t seem to finish or abandon, or finding excuses to avoid working in the studio? Author Carol Marine knows exactly how you feel—she herself suffered from painter’s block, until she discovered “daily painting.” The idea is simple: do art (usually small) often (how often is up to you), and if you’d like, post and sell it online. Soon you’ll find that your block dissolves and you’re painting work you love—and more of it than you ever thought possible!
Romantic Suspense/Thriller series:
Dead Heat by Allison Brennan
(Can I tell you how much I love Allison Brennan’s Lucy Kincaid series? This may be last, but it certainly isn’t least!)
Assigned to San Antonio’s Violent Crimes unit, Lucy Kincaid joins a team of seasoned veterans and newer agents for a task force called Operation Heatwave. It’s supposed to be a simple sweep of known offenders with outstanding warrants. But when Lucy and her team try to bust two local brothers for jumping bail, she walks into a hotbed of pure evil. Their names are George and Jaime Sanchez. They are charged with murder, drug trafficking, and worse. And one of them is still out there.
Well, that’s just a fraction of this year’s list! Hope you all find something lovely to read in 2015. Happy New Year!