Friday, May 30, 2014

Sally J. Smith & Jean Steffens - Stealing the Moon & Stars - Review & Giveaway



About the Book

Jordan Welsh and Eddie Marino, Scottsdale private eyes, are hired to find out who’s stealing from the Moon and Stars Children’s Foundation. Foundation employees are suspected, but just as the pieces start falling into place, Jordan discovers a hidden agenda that puts her in the crosshairs of a crime lord. Who can she trust?

Everyone has a dangerous secret, and the bodies are piling up. Even her partner, Eddie Marino, has a dark and mysterious past. Does she dare act on their attraction? Will it destroy their partnership?

The two have landed in a hornets’ nest. Nothing to do now but stir it up.

Book one in a new series featuring Jordan Welsh and Eddie Marino.



Video Trailer




My Review

We all want to be seen for who we really are. And boy, does Eddie see Jordan. He knows she's not a girl willing to sit behind a desk all day. She wants to be out in the thick of things, just like him. That's why they make a formidable private investigating team. They're tenacious, hungry to right the wrongs done to innocent, unsuspecting victims. Even when the going gets tough, there's no stopping Jordan from following Eddie out the door even if she's battered and bruised and too sore to move. As they close in on the ones responsible for ripping off a children's cancer charity, Jordan's bound and determined to be there right along with him as they bring the perpetrators to justice. No matter if they try take her out by blowing her up or running her over, nothing's going to stand in her way of returning the stolen money to these sick kids.

Except maybe her feelings for Eddie.

You see Jordan's a little gun shy when it comes to romance. She had her heart broken in Paris after falling for the charms of a suave, yet controlling, Frenchman. She's reluctant to lower her defenses and allow herself to get hurt that way again, especially since her and Eddie work so closely together. He comes on strong to make a play for her affections, inviting her out to dinner, buying one of her paintings, taking care of her when she gets injured. You name it. He does it. He's always there at the drop of a hat whenever she needs him. All it takes is one cell phone call, and he's at her side. She starts to depend on him for that and it scares her.

Jordan's okay with investigating a case on her own and gathering clues. But it's Eddie's expertise when it comes to the ins and outs of the criminal landscape, that help her to piece everything together. She knows she'd be lost without him, and that makes her feel uncomfortable. She can't do this job by herself, and that makes her question whether she can get through any aspect of her life without him, either personal or professional. She hates being dependent on him, but their lives are so intertwined now, it's hard to see where one ends and the other begins.

For a girl not looking for anything serious, realizing how close she's getting to Eddie sets off alarm bells inside her head. Jordan knows she should back away, but she can't. She's in too deep now. He has the power to destroy her if he's not careful with her heart, but from every estimation he seems up to the task. He's okay with putting her first. He might be a former mafia hit man and she might be the daughter of one of Chicago's finest families, but together they're able to restore some order to the universe. No matter if they get themselves all hot and bothered in the process.

***

Stealing the Moon and Stars can be purchased at:
Amazon

Price/Format: $13.95 paperback
Pages: 242
Genre: Romance, Suspense
Release: May 15, 2014
Publisher: Camel Press
ISBN: 9781603819831
Click to add to your Goodreads list.


About the Authors

Arizona native Sally J. Smith lives in Scottsdale with her husband. The rarest of breeds, an adult who was born in Arizona, she has been a writer since she could spell. These days she stays busy at her chosen professions of writing (novels, short stories, and articles) and freelance editing. When a free moment appears on the horizon, she’s out the door to a attend a play, a movie, a concert, or just take a long walk in the desert—if the temperature’s under a hundred. Other works include The Ghost Wore Polyester.

Jean Steffens also lives in Scottsdale with her family. She’s a mother, reader, movie fan, and the Steffens’ family chauffeur. She’s also active in church activities. Like Jordan Welsh, PI, Jean grew up in Chicago near Lake Forest. Jean’s mother, however, was nurturing—baking cookies, carpooling kids to school, kissing boo-boos—unlike Jordan’s mother, who’s allergic to the kitchen and thinks a carpool is a hot tub in a limo. Jean’s published work includes “The Night Before Christmas” in the Desert Sleuths Sisters in Crime Anthology, How Not to Survive the Holidays.

Work sessions between these two ladies generally result in a lot of laughter, noshing, and Internet surfing. Both authors are members of Romance Writers of America and Sisters in Crime.

Links to connect with Sally and Jean:
Web Site
Blog
Facebook
Twitter
Goodreads
YouTube
Blog Tour Site


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Friday, May 23, 2014

Luca Pesaro - Zero Alternative - Review & Giveaway



About the Book

“Sometimes you must destroy first.”

To stay alive, Scott Walker must bring down a corrupt international bank. And possibly shatter the world’s economy. Because finance is a black hole ready to chew up countries and people before spitting them out rich, or broken. Or both.

Framed. Hunted. In love with a woman he can’t trust. As he hides from hitmen across Europe, Walker has only one card to play – DeepShare. A silicon oracle that could predict a slice of the future, and that everyone wants. Governments and insane billionaires, criminals and anarchist hackers stand in his way, some even promising help – though with dangerous strings attached.

As Walker struggles to survive and digs deeper into the dark heart of the global economy, one question torments him: how much will the world have to pay?

Zero Alternative is an action-packed conspiracy thriller that plucks at the heart of human nature. When our grip on love, hope and morality starts to slide, the only future worth living is the one we choose for ourselves.


Video Trailer



My Review

What if you were too good at your job? Investment banker Scott Walker just made $68 million in one day, and he could care less. To him, it's only a number on a computer screen. It doesn't feel real to him, even if he knows how to make a killing while everyone else is losing their shirt. The reason he's able to stay ahead of the curve is thanks to DeepShare, an innovative computer program that's able to predict world events with pinpoint accuracy. It scans and analyzes voluminous amounts of data quickly and efficiently, and needless to say, everyone wants it.

And those in power will do whatever it takes to get it, including torturing and murdering Scott's friends.  Once a long shot candidate wins the election to become the next Italian prime minister, world markets start to panic when it's suspected that the euro might be replaced as the nation's currency. The only one who saw this coming was Scott Walker, and those who are aware of DeepShare's technological capabilities are coming after him. To Scott, it seems like he's being tracked by a group of nameless, faceless thugs, but to the ever mysterious Layla they're just her employers.

While Scott is all polish and sophistication, Layla is a girl off the Mexican streets who clawed her way through the ranks of organized crime on a global scale. When their paths cross in a set-up at a high end gentlemen's club, Layla, playing the role of an exotic dancer, takes pity on Scott and decides to help him escape those who are hunting him. He doesn't know if he should trust her, but he can't resist his attraction to her, either. Through knife wounds and car chases they make their way from London to Los Angeles dodging through checkpoints with forged passports and hiding out in rustic locales far off the grid.

Their romance is complicated because every time Scott starts to lower his guard, Layla reveals things about herself that make him keep her at arm's length. She doesn't tell him everything she knows all at once. Instead, she feeds him information in dribs and drabs whenever it best suits her agenda and that of the client she is working for. She hates herself for deceiving him, but when it comes to love versus survival, she chooses her job every time.

The consequences of DeepShare getting into the wrong hands are too astronomical to ignore. Markets could crumble. Governments could falter. Currencies could collapse. And despite all he's done to manipulate events to his advantage in the past, Scott feels a responsibility to prevent this well-funded, yet devious group, from taking control. He refuses to stand back and let them reduce the current world order to chaos. He's determined to avenge the deaths of his friends and make those responsible pay for what they did, even if he's not alive to see it.

It's a pulse-pounding look at the seedy side of international finance, showing exactly what living the high life really entails. Adrenaline inducing trades. Alcohol fueled, uninhibited partying. Heart stopping buying and selling. Jordan Belfort has nothing on Scott "Yours" Walker, whose very name shows how he was willing to do anyone's bidding in order to get ahead. But this time, he might've met his match because those who are running the show no longer want his influence, they just want him dead.

***

Zero Alternative can be purchased at:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

Formats: $5.99 ebook, $16.80 paperback
Pages: 269
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense
Release: April 25, 2014
Publisher: Three Hares Publishing
ISBN: 9781910153086
Click to add to your Goodreads list.


About the Author

Luca Pesaro was born in Italy in the early seventies, but has spent most of his adult life in the US or UK. After long years gaining a degree and masters in the pseudo-science that is Economics he got bored, jumped the gun and became a derivatives trader in financial markets with several investment banks. Now reformed, he is writing full-time.

Zero Alternative is his first novel, and he is hard at work on his second thriller.

He lives in London, is married to an awesome Italian lady and has two children who always manage to annoy, surprise and delight beyond any reasonable expectation.

Links to connect with Luca:
Web Site
Facebook
Twitter
Goodreads
Blog Tour Site


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Thursday, May 1, 2014

Richard H. Hardy - The Infinity Program - Review & Excerpt

About the Book

Jon Graeme and Harry Sale are unlikely friends. Harry is a world-class programmer, but his abrasive personality alienates co-workers. In contrast, Jon is a handsome and easy-going technical writer, the low man on the IT totem pole.

Sharing a love of nature, the men set out together, planning to go their separate ways--Jon on a hike and Harry, fly fishing. Three days later, Jon arrives at the rendezvous point, but his friend is nowhere in sight. When Jon finds Harry unconscious on the floor of a cave, Harry claims to have been lying there the entire time. But he is neither cold nor hungry. What Jon doesn't know is that Harry fell into an underground cavern, where he came into contact with an alien quantum computer.

Back at work, Harry jettisons his regular tasks and concentrates exclusively on inventing new operating language to access the alien system. In the process he crashes his office's Super Computer and is fired. Jon convinces the company to give Harry a second chance, arguing that the system he has invented will make them millions.

Jon has no idea what havoc Harry is about to unleash.


My Review

Even aliens can't compete when it comes to drama in the workplace. Richard H. Hardy pens an exciting tale about an underground extraterrestrial computer with clairvoyant powers, but it's the humans it's manipulating who end up stealing the spotlight. Because what makes this story unique is that Hardy has inside knowledge about how technology companies operate, because he worked for one, and the office politics he infuses into the core of his novel definitely ring true to life. The long hours, the tight deadlines, the demanding clients - all combine to create an implied sense of urgency. Sure, the brain of one of the employees at HTPS Industries has been taken over by an intelligent life form, but Harry Sale's co-workers are so busy doing everything they can to climb the corporate ladder most of them don't even notice.

Except for new kid on the block, Jon Graeme, the only person that temperamental Harry bothers to interact with. After the two go on a fishing trip together, Harry gets lost in a cave and doesn't come back with a mind fully in tact. Jon notices that something's up with his friend, but he decides to humor him in order to try and get to the bottom of it. But Harry starts exhibiting some qualities that just don't add up. He starts writing code for hours on end. He doesn't go home to sleep. He only eats what he can forage out of the office vending machine. If only he were suffering from a broken heart, Jon might be able to understand his behavior and help him, but he's not.

Lettie is. She's been hung up on Harry for a very long time, but he barely acknowledges her existence. As a manager at HTPS Industries, she tries to protect Harry from the higher ups, but she can only do so much, until Jon comes along. The two of them form a common bond in their concern over Harry. They don't want to see him get fired, but he's not making it easy for them as he starts letting his professional life fall to pieces while succumbing to the demands of the alien entity that's slowly taking control of him.

The power struggle between Jon and Lettie is just as intriguing as the game Harry's playing with management. In both instances, they're each trying to one up the other, sometimes involuntarily. Jon is a good guy, but he allows those making the behind-the-scenes deals to manipulate him, throwing his burgeoning relationship with Lettie on the skids. As a woman in authority in a male-dominated workplace, she's the target of frequent discrimination and sexual harassment by her superiors. And with or without alien intervention, she's left to fend for herself when she's demoted as Jon becomes a rising star due to his ability to pacify Harry. Their interaction as a man and woman falling in love in a corporate environment demonstrates just how tricky it is to have it all.

Hardy is smart to use a sci-fi hook in order to discuss these crucial cultural issues. He draws readers in with an otherworldly premise that promises to entertain, while enlightening them about the challenges that people face in everyday life that are no less extraordinary or important than a super intelligent species looking to take over the earth. He mixes the mundane with the fantastical to maximum effect, causing readers to think with their minds and their hearts. Framed in this context, prejudice and intolerance are just as frightening as getting encapsulated in gelatinous slime or being resurrected by nanobots.

***

The Infinity Program can be purchased at:
Amazon

Prices/Formats: $5.95 ebook, $13.95 paperback
Pages: 250
Genre: Science Fiction
Release: April 1, 2014
Publisher: Camel Press
ISBN: 9781603819336
Click to add to your Goodreads list.


About the Author

Richard H. Hardy was born in Glasgow, Scotland, during a week of relentless bombing raids just before the close of World War II. The day he was born an incendiary bomb fell on the church across the street from where he lived, so he is fond of saying that he entered the world with a big adrenaline rush.

His family later moved to England and then on to America.

After college Richard bounced through a series of temporary jobs as he traveled around the country, wanting nothing more than to write fiction. A job driving a library van allowed him free time to write several short stories and work on a novel.

He and his wife moved to New Hampshire, where he took an entry level job at a software company. He was soon promoted to the technical writing department and ended up producing over 500,000 words of online documentation. After a few years he was promoted to the programming department and ended up as the Senior EDI Programmer, creating EDI maps and writing UNIX scripts and troubleshooting on AIX systems throughout the U.S. and Canada.

After he retired, he started writing fiction again. The Infinity Program is his first published novel.

Links to connect with Richard:
Web Site
Blog
Facebook
Twitter
Goodreads
Blog Tour Site


Read an Excerpt: