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Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Holiday Fiction: Christmas Romances

    Anytime is the right time for romance, especially at Christmas. Here are some new stories, some written by your favorite authors.

    Candlelight Christmas: the Lakeshore Chronicles is written by Susan Wiggs. Logan, a single father with a son, invites family and friends to his home at Willow Lake for Christmas. Then he meets his sister’s best friend, Darcy, also a veteran of a broken marriage. Can this romance survive? (Christmas recipes also included).

    Christmas in Snowflake Canyon is written by RaeAnne Thayne. Wealthy Genevieve is running from her philandering fiancĂ©; her father insists she marry him or he will disinherit her. Then she meets up with returning wounded veteran Dylan. Will he be her true love?

    The Dogs of Christmas is written by W. Bruce Cameron. When Josh takes ownership of some abandoned puppies he consults with staff of the local animal shelter for advice. This is where he meets Kerri, a volunteer. Romance ensues.

    Merry Christmas, Cowboy is written by Janet Dailey. Denver police officer Paula Lewis volunteers at the Christmas House to help local children, where she is drawn to local rancher Zach Bennett, as they work together to help a young boy.

    No Place like Home contains four Christmas novellas in one book: Linda Lael Miller’s The 24 Days of Winter; Mary Carter’s The Christmas Carousel; Laura Florand’s A Rose in Winter; and Kat Martin’s Christmas Angel.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Holiday Readings: Mysteries for Christmas

    Murder doesn’t take a holiday at Christmas. Enjoy these seasonal mysteries when you have some free time.

    The Big Book of Christmas Mysteries is edited by Otto Penzler, the owner of The Mysterious Bookshop in Manhattan. This is the twelfth annual collection; it features sixty mysteries originally published between 1877 and 2011.

    A Catered Christmas Cookie Exchange: a Mystery with Recipes is written by Isis Crawford. It presents Bernie and Libby, sisters and owners of a catering and bakery business and heroines of Crawford’s earlier mysteries. They again put their amateur sleuthing skills to use when a Christmas-cookie-baking contestant is murdered.

    Christmas Carol Murder: a Lucy Stone Mystery is written by Leslie Meier. Reporter Lucy Stone is on the case when one of the owners of a shady mortgage company is murdered during the holiday season.

    A Christmas Hope: a Novel is written by Anne Perry. A volunteer at a women’s clinic, unhappy with her marriage and her high society life, becomes involved with the murder of a prostitute who crashed an upper-class holiday party.

    Duck the Halls: a Meg Langslow Mystery is written by Donna Andrews. Just before Christmas, pranksters are leaving a variety of animals at several of the local churches, but then things take a serious turn when an elderly vestryman is murdered.

Monday, December 9, 2013

CIA Thrillers, Part Two

    Here are some more novels of suspense, featuring the Central Intelligence Agency.

    Multiple Exposure: a Sophia Medina Novel is written by Ellen Crosby. When her husband, a geologist and covert CIA operative, is abducted and potentially a suspect in his boss’s murder and illicit Russian oil deals, photojournalist Sophie Medina is forced to play a high-stakes game of Russian roulette as she tries to prove his innocence.

    Downfall is written by Jeff Abbott. Compelled to assist a beautiful woman who whispers a plea for help in his San Francisco bar, former CIA agent Sam Capra is pursued by authorities and a secret network of people who owe their wealth and power to a mysterious Faustian figure.

    English Girl: a Novel is written by Daniel Silva. The wayward son of Israeli intelligence, Allon is plunged into a high stakes game of murder, espionage and corruption after a beautiful young British woman vanishes on the island of Corsica, which threatens to destroy a prime minister’s career.

    Blowback: a Vanessa Pierson Novel is written by Valerie Plame Wilson. Narrowly escaping a sniper attack that leaves a key informant dead, covert CIA ops officer Vanessa Pierson resolves to capture the nuclear arms dealer behind the killing and defies orders by involving a fellow officer with whom she is romantically involved.

    A Foreign Country is written by Charles Cumming. When a newly appointed first female Chief of M16 disappears weeks after two possibly related cases, disgraced former M16 officer Thomas Kell is offered a chance to redeem his career by conducting a discreet operation that uncovers a shocking conspiracy.

    The Secret Soldier is written by Alex Berenson. CIA operative John Wells goes undercover in Saudi Arabia and Lebanon to find conspirators bent on tearing down the monarchy of King Abdullah. If the conspirators prevail, it will mean more than just the fall of a monarch – it may be the start of a final conflagration between America and the full force of Islam itself.

    Red Sparrow: a Novel is written by Jason Matthews. Drafted against her will to serve the regime of Vladimir Putin as an intelligence seductress, Dominika Egorova engages in a charged effort of deception and tradecraft with first-tour CIA officer Nathaniel Nash before a forbidden attraction threatens their careers.

Friday, December 6, 2013

CIA Thrillers

    Monika presents a selection of CIA thrillers, each guaranteed to keep you up late at night until you reach the end of the book.

    Once a Spy is written by Keith Thomson. After his apartment is blown up by would-be killers, Charlie learns that his father, who suffers from Alzheimer’s disease, used to be a spy for the CIA and part of an operation that sold faulty nuclear technology to terrorists.

    Death Echo is written by Elizabeth Lowell. Ex-EIA agent Emma Cross and former Special Forces member MacKenzie Durand put aside their differences and join forces in order to take down a formidable international crime network that plans to destroy a major American city.

    Devil’s Light is written by Richard North Patterson. Sidelined after a colleague’s blunder, CIA agent Brooke Chandler envisions a way to halt an Al Qaeda plot to set off a massive nuclear explosion and begins a race against time that returns him to Lebanon, where nothing is quite as it seems.

    What Doesn’t Kill You is written by Iris Johansen. Trading information on the streets to survive after being abandoned at the age of four, Catherine Ling is instructed by assassin and master poisoner Hu Chang before being recruited by the CIA and pitted against a rogue operative in a race to obtain a brutally deadly poison.

    The Cryptos Conundrum is written by Chase Brandon, a former longtime CIA operations officer. CIA operative Dr. Jonathan S. Chalmers, the only man in the world capable of understanding a mysterious code emblazoned on a famous copper statue in the CIA’s courtyard, works at the head of a task force to contain the greatest secret ever kept by the U.S. government.

    The Expats is written by Chris Pavone. Newly arrived in Luxembourg, mother and expat Kate Moore suspects that another American couple is not who they claim to be and as her paranoia grows, she becomes increasingly terrified that her own past is catching up with her.

    American Assassin: a Thriller is written by Vince Flynn. Syracuse University student Mitch Rapp broods over the deaths of his girlfriend and thirty-four other classmates on the bombed Pan Am Flight 103, until he is recruited and trained by the CIA and receives his first assignment – to kill the Turkish arms dealer who sold the bomb that killed his friends.