Tag Archives: mystery

Carved in Stone by Kate Douglas

18486377 Published by Beyond the Page Publishing
Published on 13 September 2013
Copy obtained for review from publisher

Nate Murdock and Alex Martin are at a remote mountainside camp to study and document a unique cliffside with beautiful petroglyphs and markings. Nate is a professor and more specialized in Northern ancient people but he and a friend stumbled upon this wondrous find while hiking and he just had to figure out who was here and what might have happened to them. He needs a photographer so he selects Alex. He thinks Alexandria is Alexander, her father, so he wasn’t prepared to spend six weeks with a beautiful woman! As the two are hiking, climbing and scaling the rock faces to document the carvings, trouble ensues. The two find themselves in the middle of a drug smuggling and ancient artifact smuggling operation. The thugs beat Nate and leave him for dead in a collapsed cave. Alex just manages to sneak into the cave to save Nate when the collapse occurs. So you’d think that would be the bulk of the story, right? Wrong! Now they have to figure out how to get out of the honeycomb-like cave system within the mountain or die.

Along their adventure, and from the very beginning, Nate and Alex have felt a strong connection to the site. Alex is of Mayan decent and the feelings are especially strong for her. She even recognizes some of the petroglyphs but so many are new she is in awe. As they struggle to get through the caverns both feel spirits helping them along the way. It is revealed to them just who or what they are feeling. This aspect of the story, the mysterious presence it pretty interesting. Who the people are and what their story was really drove me to keep reading the book because I wasn’t too enamored with Nate and Alex at the start. Once they were in the caverns and trying to survive I liked them much better. They were more vulnerable and not putting up fronts.

Lord but she was confusing! Sensual and wanton one minute, teasing and playful the next. And now, caring and obviously worried about him. Who the hell was the real Alex? She could be offended by the most innocent of comments, then insult him outrageously in return.

That quote from the book pretty accurately sums up the emotional whiplash of Alex and Nate before and after the caverns. They can’t seem to get themselves on the same page. As the reader, it is almost too much. It was very frustrating to read and seems to drag on a bit too long. I have to say it was a bit tiring. I don’t want a ton of angst filled power struggles when the book is supposed to be wrapping up! Even though I didn’t find the characters connectable, I did like the suspense and mystery elements of the story.

RATING: SNEAKERS

Compromised (Uniformity #1) by Ethan Stone

Compromised
Published by Total-E-Bound Publishing
Published on 9 August 2013
Copy purchased by reviewer

I wasn’t sure what to expect with Compromised. It is always like that when reading an author for the first time. I’ve decided I like his no frills style. If I want a book full of fluff that is unrelated to the progress of the plot in a book, I will read a young adult book.

Compromised is about a prison guard, Daniel Kash, in a maximum security prison who just seems to be going through the motions. He is feeling melancholy and downright tired of the monotony of his job and life in general. Two changes happen to Kash at once. He is paired with Zane Davis at work and a new inmate arrives in his unit, Cody Ives. Kash and Davis hit it off and discover they share the same secret, they are both gay (well Davis is bisexual). What they don’t share are the same relationship values. Kash was led along by a former boyfriend and I could see him falling into the same trap with Davis from the start. It just takes Kash a lot longer to figure that out for himself. Guess he should have listened to my shouting. ;)

At the same time things are undulating between Kash and Davis, Kash is very stricken with Ives. Something about Ives from day one captured Kash’s attention. It is the young, innocent quality. Never before has Kash taken to an immate and it throws him off at work and in his personal life.

All the set-up and foundation laying of the book takes a good 60 percent. Stick with it because the drama/suspense/mystery is actually pretty good! Kash, with numerous other players help try to prove Cody is innocent of the crime he had been incarcerated for. I like how pieces are thrown out to us and as we go along each thing is relevant! If you pay attention, you can solve the mystery before Kash and Cody do!

Even though I’d say the beginning was a bit slower than the rest of the book, I see why. We really need the backstory for Kash. He needs to fall short in love, yet again. He needs to get bored and make some changes. I say it isn’t so much slow but life! Life isn’t one giant adventure after another. Sometimes finding and keeping love takes time and a lot of work.

Another thing I liked in the book were all the personalities. We have a player, user, sweet one, enigmatic friend, crazy brother, overall nice guy and the complete jerk. There are a lot of people involved in making this story evolve which makes it more believable. We are going on this adventure with Kash, meeting people involved with Cody’s case. Figuring out who did or didn’t do what. It’s a fun read if for nothing other than the quest to know if Cody is truly innocent (or Kash has been played) and if he is, who did kill Colin Kennedy?!

Please note, I kept the best parts of this book pretty vague so this review wouldn’t contain spoilers.

RATING: SNEAKERS

Enigma by Lloyd A. Meeker

Enigma
Published by Wilde City Press
Published on 28 August 2013
Copy obtained for review from publisher

“It’s sad, in a way, how the body can remember the pain of darkness long after the soul has found the light switch.”

Reading Enigma was a refreshing change from my norm of late which has been romance. Enigma is part of the Mainstream Line with Wilde City Press. I was excited because the main protagonist was a private investigator and also an empath. He could read auras! He could sense lies, anxiety, fear, sadness, all very useful tools for someone in his field. I was pulled right in just from the protagonists voice. Rhys Morgan was very witty and straightforward. I immediately liked him.

The book starts with Rhys (love that name so I’m not sure why he goes by Russ) Morgan accepting a job for a prominent church minister who is being blackmailed/threatened. From there we get to sit through the interviews Russ conducts and have insight into his interpretations from his empath side as well as his investigator side. He is direct but also a little vague so we can try to decipher the clues along with him. Pieces of the story unfold before us and build until the mystery is finally solved. What a good mystery it is! You might figure out who early on, but then the true meat of why is revealed and it is shocking!

I loved the real world elements within the book. The addition of reparative therapy, renowned evangelical minister, LGBT organizations, musical references and the local setting all painted a very realistic feel to the story. It was all well planned and spanned over a decade. Very impressive. I am from that region of Colorado and the descriptions of streets and places Russ frequents are spot on! I was shocked to discover the author was from Florida, they were that good!

I thought Enigma was an excellent read. The story was interesting and moved at a nice pace. I was pulled into Russ’s world and all his great attributes as well as his faults. He was not a perfect guy but he was well aware and working every day to maintain his sense of self. The title is listed as A Russ Morgan Mystery. Does this mean a series?! I hope so because I’m totally sold on Meeker’s writing!

RATING: BAD ASS BOOTS

Red Zone Blog Tour & Interview

red zone blog banner

WELCOME TO THE 3 CHICKS AFTER DARK RED ZONE BLOG TOUR STOP!

We’re so excited to be a part of launching this incredible book. Author Sherri Hayes stopped by, and we’re asking her just a few questions.

BOOK SUMMARY:
After a case ended badly for Rebecca Carson, she’s losing her mind sitting around her apartment waiting on her superiors to allow her to return to work. Since she was a teenager, the only thing she’d ever wanted was to join the FBI. Now that dream was in danger.                                                                                                                              Gage Daniels has made a pretty good life for himself. A nice house. A career he loves. As a professional football player, he’s used to getting almost everything he’d ever want with just the snap of his fingers. This includes women. A well-timed smile is usually all it takes to attract the opposite sex, especially in Nashville.                                                             When a stalker threatens Gage, the team owner calls an old friend, Rebecca’s ex-partner Travis Hansen, to help protect his star quarterback and find the person responsible. Hansen offers Rebecca the job, and she jumps at the chance. It’s work, and it will get her out of her apartment. How bad can it be?                                                                      Posing as Gage’s girlfriend, however, isn’t as easy as it seems. The man is relentless. Rebecca must work to protect Gage while staving off his advances. She’s there to do a job, nothing more. The last thing she wants is to be another notch on a hotshot athlete’s belt.                                                                                                                                        As the stalker continues to up the ante, Rebecca finds it harder and harder to keep her distance from Nashville’s star quarterback. He isn’t what she expected in one of the city’s most notorious playboys. Now all she has to do is keep him safe until they can find his stalker, and hope she doesn’t lose her heart in the process.

3 CHICKS AFTER DARK REVIEW: 

Red Zone Cover
Click to Add on Goodreads

Release Date February 7, 2013
Published by The Writer’s Coffee Shop Publishing House
Obtained for review from NetGalley

WHY HAVEN’T I READ ANYTHING BY SHERRI HAYES UNTIL NOW??? One thing’s for sure, I’ll make sure to read everything she writes from now on.

Gage Daniels is being watched. As the high profile, star quarterback for Nashville’s pro football team, he’s used to getting a lot of attention. Stalking isn’t the kind he’s after.

Rebecca Carson is a bored FBI agent on mandatory leave recovering from the trauma & stress of a previous case. While waiting to be reinstated, she jumps at the chance to help her former partner turned PI, Travis Hansen. Hansen’s latest case – find Gage’s stalker.
Sherri Hayes has a style to her storytelling that drew me in from the first page. It’s laid back and easy going; as a reader it’s easy to go where she leads you. The characters were interesting and complex, never giving away too much at one time. I absolutely loved the mystery as well as how she develops the romance between characters but doesn’t muddle the two.  Don’t get me wrong – the storylines are intricately related, but less skilled writers might end up blurring the lines so you can’t see where one begins and the other ends.

There are tons of sports books out there, and I like to read them because athletes fascinate me. Society paints them in a certain light, and I like the stories where they don’t necessarily fit the niche that’s carved out for them. Gage Daniels is no different – he’s so much more than you see on the surface. I can’t wait to learn more about his family throughout the remaining Daniels Brothers books.  Speaking of, I’m off to find book one of the Daniels Brothers series, Behind Closed Doors. I just hope I haven’t missed too much by reading them out of order!

RATING: BAD ASS BOOTS!

INTERVIEW:
Thank you so much for stopping by our blog!! We’re so happy you’re here. :) First thing we’d like to ask is just about your writing in general. It’s a little cliché, but we need to know. Have you always wanted to be a writer? How did you get started?

No. Being a writer wasn’t anything I ever considered. I didn’t even write my first story until I turned thirty. My husband and I were fans of a television show, and they were completely destroying the love story between two of the main characters. That was when I decided to try my hand at fan fiction, and give them a happily ever after. Two years later, my publisher read one of my stories online and asked if I’d written anything I would want to submit to them. I did, and two weeks after I sent it to them, I had my first publishing contract. That was just over two years ago, and I’ve been writing ever since.

That’s amazing! We’re so glad you did. :) One of the things we loved about Red Zone was your ability to mix mystery with romance. Was this tough to do? What was the most difficult part? 

This is the third romantic suspense novel I’ve written. I wouldn’t say it’s difficult to mix the mystery with the romance; it’s more of having to be constantly aware of what’s going on and when. In order to have a good balance, I try not to let the romance go for too long without putting in a mystery element.

Well we certainly have an appreciation for your ability to balance them well.  Gage Daniels is pretty down to earth for a professional athlete once you get beneath that superstar persona. Is there a real life quarterback who inspired his character or did you create your dream player? 

Gage is purely dreamed up from my imagination. I did, however, pay close attention last February during the Superbowl when they did a profile on the player’s wives. It gave a nice insight into what their lives were like off the field, and I used some of that in my story.

We’re finding that most of our perfect guys are entirely fictional. *sigh* You did a great job of making his life very realistic, so your research paid off.  Red Zone is set in Nashville, home of the Tennessee Titans. While I was reading it was tough for me to separate Gage’s team from the Titans. Is the location a coincidence or are you a fan? 

I guess you could say I picked Nashville in honor of a guy in my high school that played for the Tennessee Titans for a few years. When I began developing Gage’s character in Behind Closed Doors, it was the first team that came to mind. Of course, due to copyright issues, the team name either has to be changed or not mentioned. The location also worked for what I wanted to do with the characters as well, so Nashville was perfect.

What a great way to honor him! Love that there is a real tie there. While of course we love Gage, we really enjoyed Rebecca’s character and thought she was the perfect balance of femininity and girl power.  Can you tell us a little bit about how you developed her character? 

First, I knew I needed a strong female for Gage. He has such a strong personality, and he needed someone equal to the task. A straight-laced FBI agent sounded perfect.

There is a lot of myself in Rebecca. She grew up in a dysfunctional family, and being the oldest had to grow up very quickly. When that happens, there are skills you hone well, and others you let fall to the wayside. Rebecca chose to protect her sister, and take control of her own life. Unfortunately, that meant she inadvertently pushed people away in the process. It’s one of the reasons Gage is such a great match for her. She pushes, and he pushes right back.

You did an great job -she’s definitely a perfect match for Gage. Okay, just one more question, and this one because we know everyone’s going to need more Daniels Brothers.  Red Zone is the second book in this series. How many books do you have planned? Any other projects in the works that we should be on the lookout for? 

There will be four books total in this series, one for each brother. Paul’s book will be next. I’m hoping to have that out to readers sometime in 2014.

Right now, I’m in the process of editing the third novel in my Finding Anna Series, Truth. The series is about a young woman who is rescued from slavery by a young Dominant. It deals with some pretty dark issues including human trafficking, and contains BDSM themes. That book is due out this summer, and I’m hoping to have the fourth and final book in that series finished and out to readers early next year.

Oooh, that sounds really interesting – yet another series we need to check out. (Our poor TBRs!) We’re definitely looking forward to Paul’s book, but 2014 seems so far away. :) Thanks again for hanging out with us. We really enjoyed having you! To get your own copy of Red Zone, follow the links below:

Red Zone CoverTHE WRITERS’ COFFEE HOUSE PUBLISHING:
http://ph.thewriterscoffeeshop.com/books/detail/82

AMAZON:
http://amzn.to/15gxKec

B&N:
http://bit.ly/YwbVU1

AUTHOR BIO:
Sherri Hayes Author PhotoSherri is the author of four novels: Hidden Threat,Slave (Finding Anna Book 1), Need (Finding Anna Book 2), Behind Closed Doors (A Daniels Brothers’ Novel), Red Zone (A Daniels Brothers’ Novel), and a short story, A Christmas Proposal. She lives in central Ohio with her husband and three cats. Her mother fostered her love for books at a young age by reading to her as a child. Stories have been floating around in her head for as long as she can remember; however, she didn’t start writing them down until she turned thirty. It has become a creative outlet that allows her to explore a wide range of emotions, while having fun taking her characters through all the twists and turns she can create. When she’s not writing, she can usually be found helping her husband in his woodworking shop.