Friday, June 15, 2012

Thrillerfest VII tour: Backfire by Catherine Coulter excerpt

It's getting near that time of year again, time for ThrillerFest VII.  If you are unfamiliar with it, ThrillerFest is the annual “summer camp for thriller writers and fans”!  The largest gathering of New York Times bestselling authors returns to The Big Apple July 11-14 at the Grand Hyatt and I'm part of a blog tour to help promote the event. 

The experience is sure to satisfy any adrenaline junkie as writers from all over the world come together to share a common interest: the thriller novel. Jack Higgins, the genius behind The Eagle Has Landed is this year’s ThrillerMaster and spotlight authors include Lee Child, Catherine Coulter, John Sandford, Karin Slaughter, and Richard North Patterson. Not to mention, one of my personal favorites, the legendary Ann Rule, author of The Stranger Beside Me is this year’s beneficiary of The True Thriller Award and last year’s ThrillerMaster R.L. Stine will return for the spine-tingling festivities. There’s no denying that this week is going to be jam packed with exhilarating workshops, including:

  • “How to Stalk A Serial Killer and Tell the Gruesome Tale” with Ann Rule, who is also the author of 30-New York Times bestsellers, all of which are still in print. 
  •  “Kill ‘Em Clean: Writing Sharp, Fast, and Deadly” with Catherine Coulter, author of 67-novels, 62 of which are New York Times bestsellers 
  • “Tell, Don’t Show: Why Writing Rules are Mostly Wrong” with Lee Child, author of the bestselling and beloved Jack Reacher series. 
  • “The Dynamics of Structure” with David Morrell, author of 28-novels, including First Blood (of Rambo fame). His work has been translated into 26-languages.
As my part of the tour I have an excerpt from Catherine Coulter's newest book, Backfire, so sit back and enjoy.

Excerpt for BACKFIRE by Catherine Coulter

Sea Cliff, San Francisco

Late Thursday night, one week before Thanksgiving

Judge Ramsey Hunt listened to the lapping water break against the rocks below, a sound that always brought him back to himself, and centered him. He stood at this exact spot every night and listened to the waves, as unending and as infinite as he knew he wasn't. Only the sound of the waves, he thought. Otherwise, it was dead silent, not even a distant fog horn blasting from the huge cargo ship that was nearing the Golden Gate through a veil of low lying fog.

There was a light breeze ruffling the tree leaves and putting a light chop on the ocean below. It was chilly tonight. He was glad Molly had tossed him his leather jacket on his way out. A week before Thanksgiving, he thought, a week before he presided over the turkey carving and felt so blessed he'd feel like singing, which, thankfully, he wouldn't.

Ramsey looked up at the low-hanging half moon that seemed cold and alien tonight. His ever-curious son Cal had asked him if he could sink his fingers into the pitted surface. Would it be hard, like his wooden Ford truck, he wondered, or soft like ice cream?

At least his day had ended well. In the late afternoon, he'd met Molly and the twins at Davies Hall to hear Emma rehearse Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue with the San Francisco Symphony smiling and nodding as they listened. Ramsey had long thought of her as his own daughter since he adopted her five years ago, and here she was, a prodigy, of all things. He nearly burst with pride, Molly always said. Remarkably, Cal and Gage hadn't raised too much of a fuss at having to sit still during the rehearsal. Well, Cal did yell out once, "Emmy, I want you to play Twinkle Twinkle Little Star!" which had brought warm laughter from the violin section.

They'd enjoyed enchiladas and tacos an hour later at La Barca, the family's favorite Mexican restaurant on Lombard, always an adventure when the three-year-old twins were anywhere near chips and guacamole.

Ramsey rested his elbows on the solid stone fence built when his boys had reached the age of exploration a year and a half ago. Better than nightmares about them tumbling off the sixty foot cliff into the mess of rocks and water below.

He looked out across the entrance to the bay at the Marin Headlands, as stark and barren as the half moon above them. Soon the winter rains would begin to green things up, as green as Ireland in some years, his second favorite place on earth after San Francisco. It was a blessing that this incredible stretch was all a national recreational area so he would never have to look at some guy sipping a nice fruity Chardonnay across from him on a condo balcony. He noticed a lone boat, a Zodiac, sitting anchored below him, nearly as still as a small island in the ocean. There were no other boats around it that he could see. Who would be out so late, anchored in the open water? He saw no one aboard and for a moment he felt alarmed. Had someone fallen overboard? No, whoever motored over in the Zodiac could easily have swum or waded to the narrow beach. But why? Not to get a suntan, that's for sure. He wondered if he should call 911 when he heard Molly open the family room door behind him. "Goodness, it's cold out here. I'm glad you're wearing your jacket. Is your favorite sea lion talking to you again?"

Ramsey smiled. Old Carl, that was the name he'd given this giant of a sea lion that liked to laze about in the water below. He hadn't seen Old Carl in several days now. He called back, "He's probably at Pier 39 stretched out on the barges with his cousins. What's up?"

"Gage had a nightmare. Can you come and tell him the green bean monster isn't lurking in his closet? He doesn't believe me."

He turned to her, grinning. "Be right there --"

Molly heard a shot, cold and sharp as the moon, and saw her husband slammed violently forward by a bullet. Molly's scream pierced the night.

***I received this book from the publisher for an honest review.  I was not compensated in any other way except receiving the book for free.  ***

Book Review: One Moment by Kristina McBride

Publisher: EgmontUSA
Hardcover, 272 pages
Pub Date: June 26, 2012
ISBN:  9781606840863
My rating: 5.0/5.0

My Review:
I loved One Moment. It is one of those books that will stand out in my mind for months to come even in the blur of the many books I read each year. The story is tight, enthralling and never loses pace. The characters come to life, feel like people I know in situations I would know as well. It's just one of those books that grabs you and holds you from the first page until the last.

Maggie is the girl we all wanted to be. The girl with the gorgeous boyfriend, all the great friends, but as with any book, and with life, is everything what it seems? One afternoon everything changes when her boyfriend Joey jumps and all goes wrong out at the lake. And the worst thing, Maggie cannot remember what happened in that moment before Joey jumped. That's where the story takes off. That's where the suspense starts and the characters start to develop and build. This is where we get to know Maggie, Joey, Pete, Shannon, Adam and the others. A group of close-knit friends, but a group of close-knit friends with secrets. I liked Maggie, enjoyed watching the story through her eyes even though it was painful at times. Ms. McBride does a marvelous job telling this story. Weaving the story in and out through the characters. Weaving them together with secrets and lies and together through friendship. It's truly the tale of being a teenager with friends. I liked getting to know each of the main characters, I liked some more than others, but by the end I think Ms. McBride lets the reader know the inner intention of each character be known and I really like that. I felt each main character was really well fleshed out and I almost didn't want the story to end even though it came to it's natural conclusion.

The plot is masterful. The suspense of what happened in that one moment drives the whole book and while that doesn't sound exciting on the surface, trust me, Ms. McBride makes it very exciting. I think I read this in one sitting. I had to know what Maggie would remember. I had to know what the secrets were. I had to know what happened. I just had to know about that One Moment. And you will too. This is just one of those books that you cannot put down.

Definitely one of my top-five favorites so far this year. A masterful contemporary YA that has it all friendship, first love, and a gripping what happened type of plot in it. You won't be able to put One Moment down, I couldn't.
About One Moment: 
One MomentThis was supposed to be the best summer of Maggie’s life. Now it’s the one she’d do anything to forget.

Maggie Reynolds remembers hanging out at the gorge with her closest friends after a blowout party the night before. She remembers climbing the trail hand in hand with her perfect boyfriend, Joey. She remembers that last kiss, soft, lingering, and meant to reassure her. So why can’t she remember what happened in the moment before they were supposed to dive? Why was she left cowering at the top of the cliff, while Joey floated in the water below—dead?

As Maggie’s memories return in snatches, nothing seems to make sense. Why was Joey acting so strangely at the party? Where did he go after taking her home? And if Joey was keeping these secrets, what else was he hiding?

The latest novel from the author of The Tension of Opposites, One Moment is a mysterious, searing look at how an instant can change everything you believe about the world around you.

***I received this book through Teen Book Scene for an honest review.  I was not compensated in any other way except receiving the book for free.  ***

Book Review: Guilty Wives by James Patterson

Guilty WivesGuilty Wives by James Patterson
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Publish Date: March 26, 2012
Hardcover, 448 pages
ISBN: 9780316097567

My rating: 3.75/5.0

My Review:

I will freely admit I still read every James Patterson book that comes out. My favorites are the Alex Cross books and the Women's Murder Club, but from time-to-time I really enjoy some of the stand-alones. Guilty Wives was a good book, I enjoyed it and in typical James Patterson fashion when I had the time to read it I raced through it.

Guilty Wives was different from other books I have read by James Patterson and his numerous co-authors. The exploration of what happens on a girls' weekend gone bad and who did it was fascinating. The major twist that comes near the beginning was great. I liked Abbie as a character, she was strong, a good mom and generally not a whiny woman. She was thrown into many situations that were way out of control but she managed with the help of others and by thinking to get out of them. She made a great heroine for the book. The other three wives were interesting but do not play as large a role in the book. Abbie is the star.

The plot was interesting. Great twists and turns and as usual every time I thought I had it figured out they threw me a curve ball. I will say the book lagged a bit right in the middle with some of the prison scenes. I really didn't need the mundane prison life. I honestly thought about putting the book down but I'm glad I didn't because once I got past that part the book sped up again and was quite a thriller right up until the end.

Short chapters make it an easy read. Twists and turns will keep you turning pages. And Abbie as the main character will have you cheering for her to clear her name if she really is innocent. It's typical Patterson fair and it kept me entertained which is all I ask a book to do for me. Oh and it scared me to death too. Not sure I'll take a vacation overseas with my girlfriends any time soon ;)

About Guilty Wives:

No husbands allowed
Only minutes after Abbie Elliot and her three best friends step off of a private helicopter, they enter the most luxurious, sumptuous, sensually pampering hotel they have ever been to. Their lavish presidential suite overlooks Monte Carlo, and they surrender: to the sun and pool, to the sashimi and sake, to the Bruno Paillard champagne. For four days they're free to live someone else's life. As the weekend moves into pulsating discos, high-stakes casinos, and beyond, Abbie is transported to the greatest pleasure and release she has ever known.

What happened last night?

In the morning's harsh light, Abbie awakens on a yacht, surrounded by police. Something awful has happened--something impossible, unthinkable. Abbie, Winnie, Serena, and Bryah are arrested and accused of the foulest crime imaginable. And now the vacation of a lifetime becomes the fight of a lifetime--for survival. GUILTY WIVES is the ultimate indulgence, the kind of nonstop joy-ride of excess, friendship, betrayal, and danger that only James Patterson can create.

***I borrowed this book from my wonderful local library. ***