Nocturnal Lives

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

Category: Reading

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.

Saturday Morning Reading Recommendations

I’m going to start off with a bit of self-promo. Nocturnal Origins, the first book in the Nocturnal Lives series, is on sale for $0.99. I’ve dropped the price in anticipation of the upcoming release of Nocturnal Challenge.

Some things can never be forgotten, no matter how hard you try.

Detective Sergeant Mackenzie Santos knows that bitter lesson all too well. The day she died changed her life and her perception of the world forever.It doesn’t matter that everyone, even her doctors, believe a miracle occurred when she awoke in the hospital morgue. Mac knows better. It hadn’t been a miracle, at least not a holy one. As far as she’s concerned, that’s the day the dogs of Hell came for her.

Investigating one of the most horrendous murders in recent Dallas history, Mac also has to break in a new partner and deal with nosy reporters who follow her every move and who publish confidential details of the investigation without a qualm.

Complicating matters even more, Mac learns the truth about her family and herself, a truth that forces her to deal with the monster within, as well as those on the outside.But none of this matters as much as discovering the identity of the murderer before he can kill again.

The Chaplain’s War

by Brad Torgersen

The mantis cyborgs: insectlike, cruel, and determined to wipe humanity from the face of the galaxy.

The Fleet is humanity’s last chance: a multi-world, multi-national task force assembled to hold the line against the aliens’ overwhelming technology and firepower. Enter Harrison Barlow, who like so many young men of wars past, simply wants to serve his people and partake of the grand adventure of military life. Only, Harrison is not a hot pilot, nor a crack shot with a rifle. What good is a Chaplain’s Assistant in the interstellar battles which will decide the fate of all?

More than he thinks. Because while the mantis insectoids are determined to eliminate the human threat to mantis supremacy, they remember the errors of their past. Is there the slightest chance that humans might have value? Especially since humans seem to have the one thing the mantes explicitly do not: an innate ability to believe in what cannot be proven nor seen God. Captured and stranded behind enemy lines, Barlow must come to grips with the fact that he is not only bargaining for his own life, but the lives of everyone he knows and loves. And so he embarks upon an improbable gambit, determined to alter the course of the entire war.

April

by Mackey Chandler

April is an exceptional young lady and something of a snoop. After a chance encounter with a spy, she finds herself involved with political intrigues that stretch her abilities. There is a terrible danger she, and her friends and family, will lose the only home she has ever known, and be forced to live on the slum ball Earth below. It’s more than an almost fourteen year old should have to deal with. Fortunately she has a lot of smart friends and allies. It’s a good things because things get very rough and dicey. They challenge the political status quo, and with a small population the only advantage they have in war is a thin technological edge.

Weekend Reading

It’s the weekend and time to relax — okay, relax might be too big of a stretch. If you’re like me, there are plenty of things you need to do around the house. Yard, cleaning, replacing the door. But it is also when I set aside time to just chill and read for pleasure. During the week, most of my reading is research for whatever the current project happens to be. So I really enjoy when I can kick back and read just for the pleasure of it.

Here are a few of the books I’m reading this weekend.

Silence Fallen

by Patricia Briggs

This is the 10th installment in the Mercy Thompson series. I’ll admit, this is one of those series that occasionally suffers from the Moonlighting syndrome. (For those of you not old enough to remember the Bruce Willis series, once the male and female leads got together, a lot of the tension in the series went out the window.) However, Briggs usually manages to deliver a fun book and I’ve been assured by a friend that this is one of the better ones. Here’s the synopsis:

Attacked and abducted in her home territory, Mercy finds herself in the clutches of the most powerful vampire in the world, taken as a weapon to use against alpha werewolf Adam and the ruler of the Tri-Cities vampires. In coyote form, Mercy escapes—only to find herself without money, without clothing, and alone in the heart of Europe…

Unable to contact Adam and the rest of the pack, Mercy has allies to find and enemies to fight, and she needs to figure out which is which. Ancient powers stir, and Mercy must be her agile best to avoid causing a war between vampires and werewolves, and between werewolves and werewolves. And in the heart of the ancient city of Prague, old ghosts rise…

Another book I’ll probably read this weekend is from the author Kathleen Brooks. Brooks is one of my guilty pleasures. She writes fun romantic suspense books and I recommend them, especially if you like series that center on a town or family or — as in this case — both.

Bluegrass Undercover

by Kathleen Brooks

This is the first of the Bluegrass Brothers series but actually the fourth book set in the same town and sharing the same characters.

When danger and passions flare it’s best to find cover…

Cade Davies is a former Special Forces soldier who is now a high school teacher and football coach. And something is trying to kill his players. He’s been too busy trying to keep his players alive, while also avoiding the Davies Brothers marriage trap set by half the town, to pay attention and to the fiery redhead who has swept into his small town.

DEA Agent Annie Blake was undercover to bust a drug ring that preys on high school athletes in the adorable, small town of Keeneston. She had thought to keep her head down and listen to the local gossip to find the maker of this deadly drug. What Annie didn’t count on was becoming the local gossip. With marriage bets being placed and an entire town aiming to win the pot, Annie looks to Cade for help in bringing down the drug ring before another kid is killed. What she didn’t intend on was becoming the next target.

Also by Ms. Brooks, comes the next book in the TBR pile.

Forever Secret

This is the fifth book in the Forever Bluegrass series, stories about the next generation of Davies family members and their friends and loved ones.

Sophie Davies has a secret . . . in fact, she has quite a few secrets.

Sophie Davies is the head of weapon development for a private firm contracted with the Department of Defense. Because of her knowledge and high security clearances, she has kept her job a secret for fear of kidnapping and sabotage. She always knew some groups would kill to learn what she knows, and now someone is trying to do just that.

Nash Dagher trained to become an elite weapon for the Rahmi Royal Family while he served at their horse farm in Keeneston. But for the past two years, Nash has been running an operation for the King—an operation once completed would result in his promotion to the head of security for the entire royal family in Rahmi. But when Nash discovers a threat against Sophie, he must decide what is more important: the job of his dreams or the life of the woman he loves. But will Sophie allow him back in her life?

These books are light, easy reads and are fun. Which is exactly what I want in weekend reading.

The last book on my tbr stack for today is a bit heavier.

The Miracle of Dunkirk: The True Story of Operation Dynamo

by Walter Lord

In May of 1940, the remnants of the French and British armies, broken by Hitler’s blitzkrieg, retreated to Dunkirk. Hemmed in by overwhelming Nazi strength, the 338,000 men who gathered on that beach were all that stood between Hitler and Western Europe. Crush them, and the path to Paris and London was clear. And so, unable to retreat any farther, the Allied soldiers set up defense positions and prayed for deliverance.
Prime Minister Winston Churchill ordered an evacuation on May 26th, expecting to save no more than a handful of his men. But Britain would not let its soldiers down. Hundreds of fishing boats, pleasure yachts, and commercial vessels streamed into the Channel to back up the Royal Navy, and in a week nearly the entire army was ferried safely back to England. Assembled from interviews with hundreds of survivors who witnessed the evacuation, The Miracle of Dunkirk is a striking history of a week when the fate of Britain hung in the balance.

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