International Talk Like a Pirate Day

Ahoy Maties! Were you aware that September 19th has been designated International Talk Like a Pirate Day? Here’s some pirate (never pirated!) fiction to help get you in the mood…

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Some Cool Reads for a Hot Summer

I don’t know what the weather might be like where you live, but in the greater Chicagoland area, we are experiencing a heat wave. It’s much hotter, and more humid, than I am happy with! I can dream about going somewhere cooler, but I’ve about used up my vacation time for this summer. (Those of you who are regular readers might have noticed that I’ve been absent a lot over the past month or so.) I can read about someplace cooler though, and live vicariously through a story’s characters as they don their sweaters, add an extra blanket to the bed, or trudge through the snow. With that in mind, here are some cold-weather titles I’ve come up with. These are all new to me, so if you’ve read one, I’d love to hear your thoughts!

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Audiobook Review – Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld

Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld, narrated by Cassandra Campbell
The Austen Project #4
Eligible (The Austen Project #4) A Modern Retelling of Pride and Prejudice

This version of the Bennet family—and Mr. Darcy—is one that you have and haven’t met before: Liz is a magazine writer in her late thirties who, like her yoga instructor older sister, Jane, lives in New York City. When their father has a health scare, they return to their childhood home in Cincinnati to help—and discover that the sprawling Tudor they grew up in is crumbling and the family is in disarray.

Youngest sisters Kitty and Lydia are too busy with their CrossFit workouts and Paleo diets to get jobs. Mary, the middle sister, is earning her third online master’s degree and barely leaves her room, except for those mysterious Tuesday-night outings she won’t discuss. And Mrs. Bennet has one thing on her mind: how to marry off her daughters, especially as Jane’s fortieth birthday fast approaches.

Enter Chip Bingley, a handsome new-in-town doctor who recently appeared on the juggernaut reality TV dating show Eligible. At a Fourth of July barbecue, Chip takes an immediate interest in Jane, but Chip’s friend neurosurgeon Fitzwilliam Darcy reveals himself to Liz to be much less charming. . . .

And yet, first impressions can be deceiving.

Genre: Romance, Fiction
My Rating: **** (4 stars)

First of all, I have to say that I love Pride and Prejudice. It’s my favorite Jane Austen novel, and Liz Bennet my favorite Austen heroine. I was a little nervous that a modern retelling of the story, complete with modern language, would be a disappointment. The author has done a wonderful job, though, of keeping the dialog as modern as possible while giving the narration a more classic feel. The story itself provides the same type of contrast, as it is easy at times to forget that this is a modern take on Pride and Prejudice, yet at other times it feels so familiar that you know just what will come next.

Cassandra Campbell as narrator does a good job of differentiating the Bennet girls’ voices, and is pleasant to listen to. Pleasant that is except when she’s doing Mrs. Bennet’s voice, but I think that is to be expected. 🙂

While some of the situations that the girls find themselves in do seem over-the-top, I enjoyed the story, and Ms. Campbell’s performance of it.

 

NOTE: I received a free copy in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Review – Finding Fraser by KC Dyer

Finding Fraser by KC Dyer
Finding FraserSometimes searching for true love can be a little…Outlandish.

I met Jamie Fraser when I was nineteen years old. He was tall, red-headed, and at our first meeting at least, a virgin. I fell in love hard, fast and completely. He knew how to ride a horse, wield a sword and stitch a wound. He was, in fact, the perfect man.

That he was fictional hardly entered into it.

At 29, Emma Sheridan’s life is a disaster and she’s tired of waiting for the perfect boyfriend to step from the pages of her favorite book. There’s only one place to look, and it means selling everything and leaving her world behind. With an unexpected collection of allies along the way, can Emma face down a naked fishmonger, a randy gnome, a perfidious thief, and even her own abdominal muscles on the journey to find her Fraser?

Genre: Romance, Chick-lit
My Rating: *** (3 stars)

This was a fun read, even for someone who has never read any of the Outlander series. (Gasp! I know – they are on my TBR pile!) I think nearly everyone knows the basic concept behind the novels, so it wasn’t hard to figure out what Emma was referring to when she did talk about Diana Gabaldon’s books.

The book alternates between chapters telling us the story, and blog posts that Emma writes as she goes along. The blog posts are short and sweet, and sometimes provide a little insight into things that have not yet been fully disclosed in the story.

I did feel that the heroine was a bit naive for 29. I often wanted to yell into the book at her, and to point out how blind she was being, or how ridiculous some of her choices were. Even so, Emma is a likable character, and I couldn’t help but root for her and wish her success in her quest to find love.

I have to add that I love books about other books, and books that even just mention other books. Books mentioned within other books have given me some great reading recommendations, and because of them, I’ve read things I would never have picked up otherwise. The Outlander series has definitely jumped higher up my ever-growing list after reading this story!

 

NOTE: I received a free copy in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Interview with Denison Hatch, Author of Flash Crash

 David Belov, a quant programmer working for an investment bank in New York, is blackmailed into writing an algorithm that will intentionally crash the gold market.

David discovers that his virtual “Flash Crash” was simply a required stepping stone towards the largest physical gold robbery in history, and that’s he’s been framed for the resulting chaos, the lives of his beloved wife and son on the balance . . .

With Detective Jake Rivett and the NYPD’s finest operators from the Major Crimes Division actively seeking to locate and arrest David, and other, darker elements nipping at his heels, David is forced to confront his own past in order to have a future. 

Flash Crash’s Amazon Page:
http://www.amazon.com/Flash-Crash-Rivett-Heist-Thriller-ebook/dp/B01CYVI68A/

Please join me in welcoming Denison Hatch to The Book’s the Thing. Denison is the author of the recently released thriller Flash Crash, and has taken the time to answer a few questions for us. Sounds like Denison and I have very similar tastes in literature, so I’m really looking forward to reading and reviewing his book!

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City of Gold by Carolyn Arnold – Blog Tour and Review

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CITY OF GOLDSynopsis:

Action-adventure books for the mystery lover. In this series, modern-day archaeologist and adventurer Matthew Connor travels the globe with his two closest friends to unearth treasure and discover legends the world has all but forgotten. Indiana Jones meets the twenty-first century.

Finding the Inca’s lost City of Gold would be the discovery of a lifetime. But failing could mean her death…

Archaeologist Matthew Connor and his friends Cal and Robyn are finally home after a dangerous retrieval expedition in India. While they succeeded in obtaining the priceless Pandu artifact they sought, it almost cost them their lives. Still, Matthew is ready for the next adventure. Yet when new intel surfaces indicating the possible location of the legendary City of Gold, Matthew is hesitant to embark on the quest.

Not only is the evidence questionable but it means looking for the lost city of Paititi far away from where other explorers have concentrated their efforts. As appealing as making the discovery would be, it’s just too risky. But when Cal’s girlfriend, Sophie, is abducted by Matthew’s old nemesis who is dead-set on acquiring the Pandu statue, Matthew may be forced into action. Saving Sophie’s life means either breaking into the Royal Ontario Museum to steal the relic or offering up something no one in his or her right mind can refuse–the City of Gold.

Now Matthew and his two closest friends have to find a city and a treasure that have been lost for centuries. And they only have seven days to do it. As they race against the clock, they quickly discover that the streets they seek aren’t actually paved with gold, but with blood.

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Hardcover: 314 pages
Publisher: Hibbert & Stiles Publishing Inc (November 27, 2015)
ISBN-13: 978-1988064666
ASIN: B016LLDQIY

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My Thoughts

When Matthew’s friend Cal’s girlfriend is abducted, he, Cal, and their friend Robyn are forced to undertake a quest to find the lost city of gold to pay her ransom. Not everyone is what they seem, and there are much worse things in the jungle than the men the kidnapper has sent along to keep an eye on Matthew’s party. City of Gold is a fast-paced action adventure story that feels something like Friends-meets-Romancing the Stone. This was a quick, entertaining read – I devoured it in one sitting! Keep reading below for an excerpt.

NOTE: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Carolyn Author Photo 2013 ColorCAROLYN ARNOLD is the international best-selling and award-winning author of the Madison Knight, Brandon Fisher, and McKinley Mystery series. She is the only author with POLICE PROCEDURALS RESPECTED BY LAW ENFORCEMENT.™

Carolyn was born in a small town, but that doesn’t keep her from dreaming big. And on par with her large dreams is her overactive imagination that conjures up killers and cases to solve. She currently lives in a city near Toronto with her husband and two beagles, Max and Chelsea. She is also a member of Crime Writers of Canada.

Connect with CAROLYN ARNOLD Online:

Website  Twitter Facebook

And don’t forget to sign up for her newsletter for up-to-date information on release and special offers at http://carolynarnold.net/newsletters.

Purchase Links

Amazon US Amazon UK Amazon CA Amazon AU
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EXCERPT FROM CITY OF GOLD: 

 Prologue

 

REPUBLIC OF INDIA

 

THE SOUND OF HIS THUMPING heartbeat was only dulled by the screeching monkeys that were performing aerial acrobatics in the tree canopy overhead. Their rhythmic swinging from one vine to the next urged his steps forward but not with the same convincing nature as did the bullets whizzing by his head.

Matthew glanced behind at his friends and was nearly met with a bullet between the eyes. He crouched low, an arm instinctively shooting up as if he’d drop faster with it atop his head. The round of shots hit a nearby tree, and splintering bark rained down on him.

“Hurry!” he called out, as he peered at his companions.

“What do you think we’re—” Cal lost his footing, tripping over an extended root, his arms flailing as he tried to regain his balance.

Robyn, who was a few steps ahead of Cal, held out a hand, her pace slowing as she helped steady him.

“Pick it up, Garcia!” Matthew didn’t miss her glare before he turned back around. He hurdled through the rainforest, leaping over some branches while dipping under others, parting dangling vines as he went, as if they were beaded curtains.

His lungs burned, and his muscles were on fire. One quick glance up, and the monkeys spurred him on again. Not that he needed more than the cries of the men who were chasing him. The voices were getting louder, too—growing closer.

Robyn caught up to Matthew. “What happened to natives with poison darts?”

“The modern-day savage packs an AK-47 and body armor.”

Several reports sounded. Another burst of ammunition splayed around them.

“If we get out of this alive, you owe me a drink.” Her smile oddly contrasted their situation.

“I’ll buy you each two,” Matthew promised.

Cal ran, holding the GPS out in front of him, his arm swaying up and down, and Matthew wasn’t sure how he read it with the motion.

“Where do you expect to take us, Cal? We’re in the middle of a damn jungle,” Robyn said.

“Round here. Go right,” Cal shouted.

Another deafening shot rang out and came close to hitting Matthew.

“You don’t have to tell me twice.” Matthew ramped up his speed, self-preservation at the top of his list while the idol secured in his backpack slipped down in priority.

Most of their pursuers were yelling in Hindi, but one voice came through in English. He was clearly the one giving directions, and from his accent, Matthew guessed he was American, possibly from one of the northern states.

“I have to stop…and…breathe.” Robyn held a hand to her chest.

“We stop and we’re dead. Keep moving.” Cal reached for her arm and yanked.

Matthew slowed his pace slightly. “Robyn, you could always get on Cal’s back.”

“What?” Cal lowered the arm that was holding the GPS.

She angled her head toward Matthew. “If you think I’m going to get up there like some child, you are sorely mistaken.”

Matthew laughed but stopped abruptly, his body following suit and coming to a quick halt. He was teetering on the edge of a cliff that was several stories high, looking straight down into a violent pool of rushing water. He lifted his gaze to an upstream waterfall that fed into the basin.

Cal caught Matthew’s backpack just in time and pulled him back to solid ground.

The rush of adrenaline made Matthew dizzy. He bent over, braced his hands on his knees, and tucked his head between his legs. He’d just come way too close to never reaching his twenty-ninth birthday.

Robyn punched Cal in the shoulder. “Go right, eh? Good directions, wiseass. Maybe next time we’ll just keep going straight.”

“Sure, blame the black guy,” Cal said.

More bullets fired over the empty space of the gorge.

“What do we do now?” Cal asked.

Matthew forced himself to straighten to a stand. He hadn’t brought them all the way here to die. He’d come to retrieve a priceless artifact, and by all means, it was going to get back to Canada. He pulled off his sack, quickly assessed the condition of the zippers, and shrugged it back on. He tightened the straps, looking quickly at Cal and then at Robyn. One stood to each side of him. He had to act before he lost the courage. He put his arms out behind them.

Robyn’s eyes widened. “What are you doing, Matt? You can’t honestly be thinking of—”

Matthew wasn’t a religious man, but he was praying for them on the way down.