Nocturnal Lives

Musings from the mind of Amanda S. Green – Mother, Writer, Possessed by Cats

Category: Reading Recommendations

Friday Reading Recommendations

It’s the end of the week and that means hopefully more time to read. Today’s recommendations come from the traditional publishing side of the street. One of the books I read years ago, when it first came out. I rediscovered it at the library the other day and reread it. Another is a cross-over between one of my favorite UF authors and another author I enjoy. The final is the first book in a second series by that same favorite UF author. Next week, I’ll return to reading recommendations from the indie side of the street. Oh, one last thing. Two of the three recommendations should be available through your library as dead tree books. All of them should be available as e-books (that way, if you are like me and don’t buy many trad published books any longer, you can still enjoy them).

First up is Mallory’s Oracle by Carol O’Connell. At first glance, it is easy to dismiss this book, and the rest of the series, as nothing more than police procedurals. In a very real way, they are. But they are also so much more. There is a hint of the paranormal — and sometimes more than a hint — in most of the books. No, no shifters or vampires. These most definitely are NOT paranormal romances. But there is a feel of supernatural about them. Another way they are different is the main character. Kathy Mallory is not normal. She isn’t your empathetic cop. In fact, she could possibly be described as sociopathic. But she has a code she adheres to, one where justice will be done.

Here’s the blurb:

At its center is Kathleen Mallory, an extraordinary wild child turned New York City policewoman. Adopted off the streets as a little girl by a police inspector and his wife, she is still not altogether civilized now that she is a sergeant in the Special Crimes section. With her ferocious intelligence and green gunslinger eyes, Mallory (never Kathleen, never Kathy) operates by her own inner compass of right and wrong, a sense of justice that drives her in unpredictable ways. She is a thing apart.

And today, she is a thing possessed. Although more at home in the company of computers than in the company of men, Mallory is propelled onto the street when the body of her adoptive father, Louis Markowitz, is found stabbed in a tenement next to the body of a wealthy Gramercy Park woman. The murders are clearly linked to two other Gramercy Park homicides Markowitz had been investigating, and now his cases become Mallory’s, his death her cause. Prowling the streets, sifting through his clues, drawing on his circle of friends and colleagues, she plunges into a netherworld of light and shadow, where people are not what they seem and truth shifts without warning. And a murderer waits who is every bit as wild and unpredictable as she….

Filled with deep, seductive atmosphere and razor-sharp prose, Mallory’s Oracle is gripping, resonant suspense of tantalizing complexity—a genuinely unforgettable novel.

Next up is Blood of the Earth, the first book in the Soulwood series by Faith Hunter.   I’ll admit up front that I almost didn’t read this book. Much as I love the Jane Yellowrock series, I wasn’t all that interested in a series focusing on a character introduced in one of those books. Nell Ingram didn’t call to me for a lot of reasons, most of them personal. But I wanted something to read and I knew I could trust Hunter to spin a good tale. What I didn’t expect was to find Nell to be more interesting and spunkier than I expected. Most of the supporting good guys were fun too (okay, I’ll admit I have an issue with Rick LeFleur but that’s another story).

Here’s the blurb:

When Nell Ingram met skinwalker Jane Yellowrock, she was almost alone in the world, exiled by both choice and fear from the cult she was raised in, defending herself with the magic she drew from her deep connection to the forest that surrounds her.

Now, Jane has referred Nell to PsyLED, a Homeland Security agency policing paranormals, and agent Rick LaFleur has shown up at Nell’s doorstep. His appearance forces her out of her isolated life into an investigation that leads to the vampire Blood Master of Nashville.

Nell has a team—and a mission. But to find the Master’s kidnapped vassal, Nell and the PsyLED team will be forced to go deep into the heart of the very cult Nell fears, infiltrating the cult and a humans-only terrorist group before time runs out…

Finally, we have Easy Pickings, a cross-over story by Faith Hunter and C. E. Murphy. As I said earlier, Hunter’s Jane Yellowrock is my go-to series if I want UF. I enjoyed Murphy’s Joanne Walker series but felt she got a little heavy-handed with a couple of messages in the last few books in the series. Still, they were enjoyable reads and I still recommend them to UF fans. I had hesitated when this title first came out to get it because I couldn’t see how the authors could manage to successfully merge two very different worlds (Jane’s world has vamps and witches and shifters and who knows what else where Jo’s is missing vamps but has gods interfering in what happens). I gave in because I wanted something new to read.

Here’s the blurb:

A Jane Yellowrock / Walker Papers Crossover

Welcome to the crossover event fans have been waiting for: Joanne Walker and Jane Yellowrock meet in a world not quite like either of their own, where they must find and defeat the magic that brought them there–or they just might find themselves . . . EASY PICKINGS!

Since we are only a few days away from Halloween, stay tuned for an announcement. I will be putting several of my titles on sale later today. I’ll update the blog when the new prices are in place. this sale will last only through the end of the month.

Reading Recommendations

Long before I was a writer, I was a reader. I can’t remember a time when books haven’t been a part of my life.  Even now, when I don’t get to read as much as I’d like, I still find time each day to pick up my Kindle Oasis and read something. This week has been a good one. Two of my “must buy” authors have new books out. Another favorite had books on sale. Yep, my tbr stack just got larger.

Awakening is the second book in Margaret Ball’s Harmony series.

Orphaned and taunted as an Unlicensed child, Devra grew up determined to expiate her parents’ crime by being the perfect citizen – which means never, ever questioning or defying the rules of Harmony’s totalitarian government. When one of her students is threatened with “medical rehabilitation,” she finds that her personal values are incompatible with good citizenship. One instinctive act of defiance sends her on a downward spiral towards unemployment and homelessness. But at the very bottom, sometimes you meet someone who shows you a new way up….

Shattered Lies (Web of Lies, Book 3) by Kathleen Brooks. Ms. Brooks is one of my guilty pleasure authors. Her books are fun, quick reads and this one is no different.

The time has come to step out of the shadows . . .

Valeria McGregor was a better shot, a better fighter, and smarter than everyone she’d ever gone up against as an agent for the DEA. Then she’d uncovered illegal activity within her own organization and was fired as part of a cover-up. That was how she’d joined the secret group who reports only to the president. Valeria fully plans to find the men and women hell bent on ruling the world from the shadows, but she also has revenge on the mind.

Valeria left the secret team thinking she could go undercover and get to the bottom of how this shadow group was funded. Valeria discovered too late that when it comes to true evil, it’s best to face it with your team at your back. Alone and on the run, Valeria is being hunted by some of the most dangerous people on the planet. She has learned how the shadow group has been funded and what they have planned next, but she still has to find out where. If the shadow group pulls it off, then there may be no stopping them.

Desperate to escape, Valeria calls her team only to find they aren’t close enough to help her. Grant Macay, a trusted Air Force Pararescueman, is brought into the fold and sent to rescue Valeria. With her past at the DEA alive and threatening her survival, and the world’s most vicious drug lord hunting her, Valeria and Grant must make their way back to the team to prepare for the battle of their lives.

For those of you old enough to remember Mary Stewart, a number of her titles are now available as e-books. Better yet, some are available for $0.99 – $1.99. Check out her author page for a full list of her titles.

One of her books I bought was Touch Not the Cat. This book has sentimental value to me because it is a book my father bought me when I was in college. He bought it just before he suffered a serious heart attack. For weeks, we didn’t know if he would survive. So that book was loved and treasured because, for much too long, I didn’t know if it would be the last thing I ever got from him. Here’s the blurb:

Ashley Court: the tumbledown ancestral home of the Ashley family, all blessed with ‘the gift’ of being able to speak to each other without words. When Bryony Ashley’s father dies under mysterious circumstances, his final words a cryptic warning to her, Bryony returns from abroad to uncover Ashley Court’s secrets. What did her father’s message mean? What lies at the centre of the overgrown maze in the gardens? And who is trying to prevent Bryony from discovering the truth?

Tell Bryony. The cat, it’s in the cat on the pavement. The map. The letter. In the brook. Tell Bryony. My little Bryony to be careful. Danger.

Finally, a reminder about my own release this week.

Vengeance from Ashes (special edition with exclusive content) is now live on Amazon. You can order the digital version here or the print version here. This version has approximately 20k additional words included that were not part of the original version. It is only available on Amazon. It is also part of the Kindle Unlimited program there.

The second reminder has to do with the original version of Vengeance from Ashes. You can order it through the following outlets with more to come: KoboPlayster, Tolino (link not yet available) InkteraBarnes & Noble, and iTunes. This is the same edition that had been available on Amazon.


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