Sunday, June 30, 2013

Summer of Love Read-a-Thon

I am participating in the Summer of Love Read-a-Thon
hosted by Meagan @ Reviewing Wonderland 
Spend the week reading at your own pace, when and how you want too. There will be daily challenges for awesome prizes and opportunities to get points toward the Grand Prize Packs.
As if that weren’t enough – the week will end with a 24-hr marathon readathon! Twitter parties, mini-challenges, games, prizes given EVERY HOUR, and more chances to get points toward the Grand Prize Packs.
Sign-ups will be open through July 6th. I’m in, are you?!
 My Reading List/Goals and Updates
The Night is Alive
What Matters Most
Along Came A Spider
If the Shoe Fits
Daughter of The Sky
Cursed Embrace
Anything But Sweet
The Mad Earl's Bride

of course this could all change depending on my mood!
I will update my reading progress on this post. 
Are you participating? 

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The Sunday Post #62 ~sharing blog news and book haul

The Sunday Post ~ 62nd Edition
The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer ~ It's a chance to share news~ A post to recap the past week on your blog, showcase books and things we have received and share news about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead. 
Gads, I cannot believe this is the last day of June already. I have an exciting week of reviews ahead for you. We are going away on Weds afternoon for a few days, and I will catch up with you all when I get back! Enjoy your week, stay cool and I hope you discover a wonderful book! 

Last week on the blog we brought you
This week on the blog look for
  • Summer of Love Read-a-Thon (goals/updates)
  • Frost Burned by Patricia Briggs (review)
  • The Light in the Ruins by Chris Bohjalian (review)
  • Coffee Pot Reviews: Days of Rakes and Roses by Anna Campbell & Storm Force by Susannah Sadlin
  • Perry Road by Emi Gayle (cover reveal)
  • The Lemon Orchard by Luanne Rice (review and giveaway)
  • Coffee Pot Reviews: Until Fountain Bridge by Samantha Young and Uncharted: An On the Island novella by Tracey Garvis-Graves
  • Demanding Random by Megan Squires (tour stop, excerpt and giveaway)
  • Coffee Pot Reviews: Sins & Needles by Karina Halle & Pretty When She Collides by Rhiannon Frater
Around the Blogosphere 
New arrivals to the Caffeinated Cafe
For Review

Necessary Lies by Diane Chamberlain 
thanks to St. Martin Press 

Against the Mark by Kat Martin 
thanks to Harlequin/MIRA  

Won/Gifted or Received for Review Consideration

Gift card from author Lisa Renee Jones 

Off the Record by Sawyer Bennett
won from AToMR Tours and Kristen @ My ParaHangover

A Matter of Days by Amber Kizer
My Chemical Mountain  by Corina Vacco
Paradox by A.J. Paquette
send by Random House 

 Death, Texas and Hot Pink Leg Warmers by Diana Kelly 
won from Debbie @ The Reading Frenzy


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That's my news what's happening in your world? 
*leave a comment and I will stop by*

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Saturday, June 29, 2013

How the Heck Did You Do That?!? Blogger Tips & Tricks #11 Negative Reviews

Writing a Negative Review 
and Dealing with the Fallout

A blogger emailed asking for advice about writing the negative side of reviews. 

For me one of the hardest things as book reviewer is tackling the negative parts of a review. So I thought I'd share my tips on writing one and handling any negative feedback that might result. 

ScenarioYou've accepted a book in a genre you like because the synopsis appealed to you. You begin reading but find many of the aspects of the book do not work for you as a reader but the storyline is enjoyable enough that you keep reading. 

The Review

You've finished the book and now find yourself nervous because you have to relay this information in your review. If you are like me you are sensitive that this is the author's baby but feel equally responsible to give an honest review to your followers. 

When speaking to authors regarding negative feedback, all agree that not everyone will love their book.  However, they appreciate when a reviewer states a dislike and then explains the reasons why. 

This is a very fair request and the reasoning is two-fold.
 First, the author can then use this constructive criticism to grow as a writer and second your reasons might not bother another reader. 

 Tips for tackling a negative review in a positive way

While I would love every book to be a five cups of coffee review, most fall in the 3-4 cups of coffee zone. Occasional I have a two. My reviews contain the positive aspects and the negative ones. These are tips to help you express what didn't work for you. I do not review books I haven't finished. (please see DNF section below)

1. State reason why you disliked aspect of book and back it up with examples or explanation. 

Issue: The protagonist grated on my nerves. Reason: She was very indecisive and whined constantly making it hard for me to relate to her.

Issue: The constant flashbacks annoyed me. Reason: The transition between present and past wasn’t smooth and I often felt misplaced causing me to reread in order to figure out where I was.

Issue: I struggled with the writing style of this story. Reason: The author's lyrical expression and description of the world overwhelmed me at times and I found myself skimming past these parts.

Let's compare the two reviews:

A. The protagonist grated on my nerves and the constant flashbacks annoyed me. I struggled with the writing style in this story. 

B. The protagonist grated on my nerves with her indecisive actions and constant whining making it difficult to connecting with her. The constant flashbacks annoyed me as the transition from past to present wasn't smooth causing me to lose my place. This pulled me from the tale and I found the need to reread portions. I struggled with the writing as the author's lyrical expressions and descriptive style overwhelmed me at times causing me to skim parts of the story. 

Both reviews state the same thing, but review B. allows both reader and author to fully understand what bothered you in a clear manner. 

2.  Leave personal opinions of the author OUT of your review 
(in each case notice how my example has both a positive and negative)

So it’s full of grammatical errors, wordy, tells not shows, and needs to be tweaked. Try not to lay blame directly on the author instead focus on the work.

Problem: needs editing Example: While the plot was original the story would benefit from professional polishing. 

Problem: tell not show Example: As the plot progressed the author used a tell approach to convey back history through the characters. It made the scene and conversation feel awkward. For me, I think it may have worked better as a flashback. 

Problem: poor plot development Example: The premises of the story was intriguing but I struggled with the threads and direction at times causing me to be jarred from the tale. 

3. Highlight what worked for you and the reasons why. 

You kept reading the tale despite issues so explain what kept you reading.

example: While I couldn't connect with the characters, I found elements of the mystery to be fascinating. The pacing was well done and the twists kept me guessing as to who the killer was.

example: Despite issues, I found the world-building to be solid and was anxious to see how things developed. 

4. Be honest, respectful and fair

If you share your whys and why nots in a non-degrading way followers, authors and publishers will appreciate your feedback.

5. Use such terms such as; in my opinion, I could not, for me, etc. All of these keywords help convey that this is your opinion of the book. 

6. Take time to reread your post before it goes live. Be sure it conveys the opinions and tone you want to deliver. Often I need to just write what I feel, and when looking at it again I am able to see a better way to say it. 

It's time to notify the author/publisher your review has posted
(ARC review or promised review)

We all cannot wait to notify author/publisher that our glowing review has posted, but if you are like me you get a little nervous when the review isn't all positive. However you owe them the same courtesy and as someone in a very large social community you want to be professional. 

Usually my standard procedure is to notify author/publisher that the review has gone live. I then provide them with direct link and advise them of what additional social and public sites I have posted review/link. I close with a thank you and looking forward to working with you again..yada, yada. 

When sending negative review to publisher I use the same format as above, but when dealing with an author I generally state the following:
   Good Morning Ms. Author,
          My review of your novel, xxxx xxxxxxxx posted today and while it didn't completely work for me I enjoy aspects of it. I tried to be honest and fair and hope my review reflects that. I wish you the best of luck on your writing journey. The direct link is 

Now you do not have to go that extra step, but I prefer to let them know ahead of time. I think my approach lets them know the effort and thought I put into my review. I only modify my letter for reviews that received less then three cups of coffee. 

Dealing with the DNF

If the book was an ARC you need to notify the author or publisher. Send an email, update Edelweiss or NetGalley and explain why it did not work for you. Use the same type of comments you use when writing a negative review. If it wasn't simply a mood thing and you have no intentions of ever picking it back up, tell them and state clearly why. Authors and publishers appreciate this honest feedback and realize not every book is going to work for you. 

The Fallout

So you finished the book, published your post and notified author. 99% of the time if you have used the format I suggested the author will thank you and your followers will appreciate your honest opinion.

So what happens when you write an honest review and
 the author and her/his peeps take issue with it?

If you wrote an honest and fair review 
I have three words of advice: Ignore, Ignore, Ignore! 

Odds are in your favor that other reviews will 
support your opinion - let them speak for you. 

I learned the hard way in my two years of blogging that there are a lot of different personalities out there and loads of opinions. When emotions are involved rational thoughts are thrown out the window. It is hard not to become hurt or angry by negative feedback or hurtful comments regarding your review. My advice; don't enable any negative behavior. If personal attacks are made, email the author/publisher and let them know you are aware of behavior and request that it cease or you will go public. This usually puts an end to it. 

I am not trying to scare new reviewers, but rather make you aware that regardless of best intentions this does happen. Since I began blogging I have posted over 600 reviews and only had two incidences and I think most would agree my reviews are honest and fair. Unless you personally attacked the author this is not your fault!!! Hopefully you will reflect back on this post and heed my advice.

This post is intended to offer suggestion and tips 
that have worked for me and in no way should it be construed as rules. 

Do you have a question or tip you'd like me to discuss?
Please email me or leave the question in the comments below.

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Friday, June 28, 2013

Review: A Human Element by Donna Galanti

A Human Element
by Donna Galanti
Publisher: Echelon Press
Published: March 10, 2012
Genre: Adult Science Fiction/ Paranormal
Source: Author in exchange for unbiased review
Purchase*Barnes and Noble/Amazon
*purchases made through buy links support this blog

One by one, Laura Armstrong’s friends and adoptive family members are being murdered, and despite her unique healing powers, she can do nothing to stop it. The savage killer haunts her dreams, tormenting her with the promise that she is next. Determined to find the killer, she follows her visions to the site of a crashed meteorite–her hometown. There, she meets Ben Fieldstone, who seeks answers about his parents’ death the night the meteorite struck. In a race to stop a mad man, they unravel a frightening secret that binds them together. But the killer’s desire to destroy Laura face-to-face leads to a showdown that puts Laura and Ben’s emotional relationship and Laura’s pure spirit to the test. With the killer closing in, Laura discovers her destiny is linked to his and she has two choices–redeem him or kill him.
I was drawn to the synopsis of A Human Element by Donna Galanti and it's promise of a girl with healing powers and a serial killer who haunts her dreams.  Galanti delivered a dark, gritty tale with a science-fiction twist that was both fascinating and disturbing. Three word review: dark, suspenseful and hopeful.

The tale begins with a tragic event caused by a meteorite. We then follow the lives of two strangers; Laura Armstrong an adopted woman with the power to heal who is surrounded in tragedy and Ben Fieldstone an orphaned man who strayed and then pulls himself back together. Both are plagued by dreams/nightmares and seek closure and understanding from events in their past. He returns to the summer town where he and his parents vacationed and Lauren returns to her hometown after another tragic event has her reeling. The tale that unfolds was dark, violent, tender and suspenseful as together they must face a mad killer.

Laura is such a unique and refreshing character. She is naïve at times and eternally optimistic despite the cards fate has dealt her. She knows she is different and guards her secret. Plagued by tragedy she still manages to see the beauty in a sunrise. Ben is plagued by guilt, and tormented by events from his past. He was lost, and now lives as a nomad. With the exception of one close friend he keeps the world at a distance. They both have dreamed about the other and when they meet there is an instant connection. This had a little insta-love feel but the set up allowed me to accept it. A stranger has appeared throughout both of their lives and he fascinated me. I liked how the author kept his intentions shadowed. The killer's thoughts are shared with us.  His upbringing has made him dark, sinister and blood thirsty. He has unimaginable power and feels such pain. Mr. B an old hermit living on the mountainside was a lovable figure and I enjoyed his interactions with Laura and eventually Ben. Other characters help guide the duo and steer the tale.

Galanti’s tale is a unique one and was well paced. It is very dark and violent at times, even uncomfortable for the reader as she gives us a detailed account of the violence as it unfolds. Some of the subject matter is taboo and added to the suspenseful and sinister feel of the tales darker moments. I squirmed as I read some scenes and was both disturbed and disgusted by the evil perpetrated. Galanti also gives us light, love and hope within the pages that helped offset the dark and allowed me to catch my breath. There is a violent climactic scene and then the author makes us privy to hope, rebirth and a unique chance. I really liked the ending and loved how she took this book from such horrible darkness to brilliant light.

Fans of dark science-fiction, suspense and romance will enjoy A Human Element and it's unique paranormal tale. While at times disturbing the author held my attention and gave me one heck of a ride.

Three and half cups of espresso out of five 
Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer Kimba The Caffeinated Book Reviewer Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer

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Thursday, June 27, 2013

Review: The Best Man by Ana Blaze

The Best Man
by Ana Blaze
Publisher: Entranced Publishing
Publication date: April 29, 2013
Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance
Source: Publisher in exchange for unbiased review
Purchase*: Barnes and Noble/Amazon
*purchases through buy links support this blog

Beth Chase is too busy planning perfect weddings to worry about the lack of action in her own love life. But if she was looking for a man, she wouldn’t be looking at Colin Pratt. Her boss swears that Best Man Colin is a quiet scholar and science fiction writer who couldn’t possibly cause a fuss at his own brother’s wedding. He’s clearly never met the man in question. Snarky, sexy and more than a little inebriated, Colin is the final obstacle between Beth and the last perfect wedding she needs to make partner. Of course, when she helps him into a taxi at the end of the night she has no idea that he’s only just begun to poke holes in her professional exterior. Colin might have the skills to seduce a romance professional, but can he convince her that he’s the best man to share her happy ever after?
I am going to be totally honest here; I am a sucker for this type of synopsis. Predictable? Yes, but the ride to my HEA is usually a fun one. So when the publisher dangled The Best Man in front of me, I jumped at the chance to review this novella. I am so glad I did. Ana Blaze gave me a yummy hero and a smart, commitment shy romantic. I consumed this in a single sitting and it was delightful. Three word review: funny, sexy and romantic.

Beth Chase is a wedding planner and has her sights set on making partner at the company she works for. Today’s wedding hinges on that promotion, so when she sees the best man Colin Pratt arrive disheveled  and obviously drunk, she will do whatever it takes to make the wedding go off without a hitch. The tale that unfolds was filled with a mix of hot and romantic moments with characters that quickly drew me in.

Beth Chase is successful, and as she states she“dates” but never really moves into the relationship department. Her career takes up too much of her time for anything. Colin Pratt is a jilted, smexy scholar and writer with the most delicious British accent. *swoons* The chemistry between them is hot from the start, and it was fun watching the tango these two performed. The banter was funny, and watching him unnerve her was delicious. While there is some one-sided insta-love, I totally bought it and loved watching this romance develop.

The Best Man is the type of book that you easily slide into. The author engages you from the beginning and allows you to connect with the characters. While the plot is predictable, Blaze added her own blend of humor, heat and lovable characters to make it all work. This is a novella but I appreciated that it didn’t feel rushed, things unfolded naturally and gave me exactly what I wanted; a delightful afternoon escape. 

Fans of Happily-Ever-After, heat and world-wind romances will love slipping into the pages of The Best Man. I will definitely be trying this author again! Mr. Right is currently available and A Late Thaw will release later this year.

Four coffee cups out of five 
Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer Kimba The Caffeinated Book Reviewer Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer

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Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Review: WANTED: Wife by Gwen Jones

by Gwen Jones
Publisher: HarperCollins/Avon Impulse
Publication date: June 4, 2013
Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance
Source: Gifted from publisher
Purchase*: Barnes and Noble/Amazon/Book Depository 
*purchases made through buy links support this blog 

Wanted: Wife- Landed, Financially Secure 40-Yr-Old Male * Handsome, but with old-school communication skills and a secret past * Seeks Healthy, Athletic Female *Preferably a pretty reporter with a messy love life who has never spent a day in the woods* For Marriage and Family * What could possibly go wrong? * If you love the humor and romance of Rachel Gibson and Susan Elizabeth Phillips, don't miss the fabulous debut of Gwen Jones!
One of my favorite story troupes is contract marriages and Gwen Jones delivered a delightfully funny, totally hot tale with WANTED: Wife. Filled with romance, suspense, a little mystery and a whole lot of heat I consumed this in record time. Three word review:  hot, intense and romantic.

We first meet Julie Knott on the worst day of her life as her fiancé tweeted the end of their engagement. As a TV reported she handles random and strange stories a segment the locals enjoy. When a tip comes in about a man advertising for a wife on a utility pole she and her crew set out to interview him. He has scheduled interviews with perspective wives at the local fire station and Julie is knocked over when she interviews Andy Devine. He is drop dead gorgeous, seems intelligent and knows exactly what he wants -Julie to be his wife. He gives her three days to decide and the tale that unfolds was deliciously hot, sweet, suspenseful, and romantic.

Julie goes into this using her brain. She is clever, observant and nobody’s fool. She has a plan and I loved seeing it all unravel on her. Andy Devine is a muscled, educated, walking, talking, god of double-oh-yum. He is smart, a smooth talker and did I mention part French? Oh yeah, he whispers French words of endearment, and whatever he is saying in the bedroom this chick is buying..oh-la-la. I enjoyed Andy despite his sometimes quite reserve and air of mystery. The author does a wonderful job of showing us his softer side  through his actions and comments she slowly reveals his past and I enjoyed uncovering his secrets and flaws. Julie is strong and I admired that she stands her ground even if it breaks her heart. While the sexual heat was intense from the beginning, I really appreciated and enjoyed the slow-building emotional aspect of the relationship. It felt genuine and I found myself rooting for a happily-ever-after. Other characters help flesh out both the main characters and propelled the plot forward.

I live in the Midwest now but I am a Jersey girl and the Pine Barrens are very familiar to me so of course I found the setting perfect! The farm, the animals and being away from town really added to the romance, suspense and created some wonderful situations. I laughed, I cried and delighted in their everyday lives as the tale unfolded. Jones added some twists and turns which kept me flipping the pages. I love how she slowly revealed all of Andy to us even if she made me nervous a few times. Did I mention how hot the romance was? The scenes were steamy with just enough heat to have the pages simmering beneath my finger tips. The author shared Julie’s thoughts, wove in the French language and made me believe in the impossible romance.  A thoroughly entertaining, funny and romantic tale that left with me a smile.

Fans of marriage troupes, humor, and hot romances will enjoy WANTED: Wife. This is Gwen Jones debut novel with Avon romances (HarperCollins) and I think she has a winner. I look forward to reading more of her work. 

Four cups of coffee out of five 
Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer Kimba The Caffeinated Book Reviewer Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer

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Thrillerfest 2013 NYC & Excerpt of The King's Deception by Steve Berry

Today I am sharing an excerpt of The King's Deception by Silver Bullet recipient Steve Barry and a look at the Thrillfest event scheduled in New York City July 10-13th. 

The King's Deception
by Steve Berry
Series: Cotton Malone #8
Publisher: Random House
Publication date: June 11, 2013
Genre: Mystery Thriller
Purchase*: Barnes and Noble/Amazon/Book Depository
*purchases through links help support this blog

Cotton Malone is back! Steve Berry’s new international adventure blends gripping contemporary political intrigue, Tudor treachery, and high-octane thrills into one riveting novel of suspense. Cotton Malone and his fifteen-year-old son, Gary, are headed to Europe. As a favor to his former boss at the Justice Department, Malone agrees to escort a teenage fugitive back to England. But after he is greeted at gunpoint in London, both the fugitive and Gary disappear, and Malone learns that he’s stumbled into a high-stakes diplomatic showdown—an international incident fueled by geopolitical gamesmanship and shocking Tudor secrets. At its heart is the Libyan terrorist convicted of bombing Pan Am Flight 103, who is set to be released by Scottish authorities for “humanitarian reasons.” An outraged American government objects, but nothing can persuade the British to intervene. Except, perhaps, Operation King’s Deception. Run by the CIA, the operation aims to solve a centuries-old mystery, one that could rock Great Britain to its royal foundations. Blake Antrim, the CIA operative in charge of King’s Deception, is hunting for the spark that could rekindle a most dangerous fire, the one thing that every Irish national has sought for generations: a legal reason why the English must leave Northern Ireland. The answer is a long-buried secret that calls into question the legitimacy of the entire forty-five-year reign of Elizabeth I, the last Tudor monarch, who completed the conquest of Ireland and seized much of its land. But Antrim also has a more personal agenda, a twisted game of revenge in which Gary is a pawn. With assassins, traitors, spies, and dangerous disciples of a secret society closing in, Malone is caught in a lethal bind. To save Gary he must play one treacherous player against another—and only by uncovering the incredible truth can he hope to prevent the shattering consequences of the King’s Deception.
I love a good action-packed mystery thriller and this one sounds exciting!
 Here is an inside look:  
Excerpt from Chapter One
 In a few minutes his favor for Stephanie Nelle would be over, then he and Gary would catch their connecting flight to Copenhagen and enjoy the week, depending of course on how many uncomfortable questions his son might want answered. The hitch was that
the Denmark flight departed not from Heathrow, but Gatwick, London’s other major airport, an hour’s ride east. Their departure time was several hours away, so it wasn’t a problem. He would just need to convert some dollars to pounds and hire a taxi.
They left Customs and claimed their luggage.
Both he and Gary had packed light.
“The police going to take me?” Ian asked.
“That’s what I’m told.”
“What will happen to him?” Gary asked.
He shrugged. “Hard to say.”
And it was. Especially with the CIA involved.
He shouldered his bag and led both boys out of the baggage area.
“Can I have my things?” Ian asked.
When Ian had been turned over to him in Atlanta, he’d been given a plastic bag that contained a Swiss Army knife with all the assorted attachments, a pewter necklace with a religious medal attached, a pocket Mace container, some silver shears, and two paperback books with their covers missing.
Ivanhoe and Le Morte D’Arthur.
Their brown edges were water-stained, the bindings veined with thick white creases. Both were thirty-plus-year-old printings. Stamped on the title page was any old books, with an address in Piccadilly Circus, London. He employed a similar branding of inventory, his simply announcing COTTON MALONE, BOOKSELLER, HØJBRO PLADS, COPENHAGEN. The items in the plastic bag all belonged to Ian, seized by Customs when they took him into custody at Miami International, after he’d tried to enter the country illegally.
 “That’s up to the police,” he said. “My orders are to hand you and the bag over to them.”
He’d stuffed the bundle inside his travel case, where it would stay until the police assumed custody. He half expected Ian to bolt, so he remained on guard. Ahead he spied two men, both in dark suits walking their way. The one on the right, short and stocky with auburn hair, introduced himself as Inspector Norse.
He extended a hand, which Malone shook.
“This is Inspector Devene. We’re with the Met. We were told you’d be accompanying the boy. We’re here to give you a lift to Gatwick and take charge of Master Dunne.”
“I appreciate the ride. Wasn’t looking forward to an expensive taxi.”
“Least we can do. Our car is just outside. One of the privileges of being the police is we can park where we want.”
The man threw Malone a grin.
They started for the exit.
Malone noticed Inspector Devene take up a position behind Ian. Smart move, he thought.
“You responsible for getting him into the country with no passport?”
Norse nodded. “We are, along with some others working with us. I think you know about them.”
That he did.
They stepped out of the terminal into brisk morning air. A bank of dense clouds tinted the sky a depressing shade of pewter. A blue Mercedes sedan sat by the curb. Norse opened the rear door and motioned for Gary to climb in fi rst, then Ian and Malone. The inspector stood outside until they were all in, then closed the door. Norse rode in the front passenger seat, while Devene drove. They sped out of Heathrow and found the M4 motorway. Malone knew the route, London a familiar locale. Years ago he’d spent time in England on assignments. He’d also been detached here for a year by the navy. Traffi c progressively thickened as they made their way east toward the city.
“Would it be all right if we made one stop before we head for Gatwick?” Norse asked him.
 “No problem. We have time before the plane leaves. The least we can do for a free ride.”
Malone watched Ian as the boy gazed out the window. He couldn’t help but wonder what would happen to him. Stephanie’s assessment had not been a good one. A street kid, no family, completely on his own. Unlike Gary, who was dark-haired with a swarthy complexion, Ian was blond and fair-skinned. He seemed like a good kid, though. Just dealt a bad hand. But at least he was young, and youth offered chances, and chances led to possibilities. Such a contrast with Gary, who lived a more conventional, secure life. The thought of Gary on the streets, loose, with no one, tore at his heart. Warm air blasted the car’s interior and the engine droned as they chugged through traffic.
Malone’s eyes surrendered to jet lag.
When he woke, he glanced at his watch and realized he’d been out about fifteen minutes. He willed himself to alertness. Gary and Ian were still sitting quietly. The sky had darkened further. A storm was approaching the city. He studied the car’s interior, noticing for the first time no radio or communications equipment. Also, the carpets
were immaculate, the upholstery in pristine condition. Certainly not like any police car he’d ever ridden in.
He then examined Norse.
The man’s brown hair was cut below the ears. Not shaggy, but thick. He was clean-shaven and a bit overweight. He was dressed appropriately, suit and tie, but it was the left earlobe that drew hisattention. Pierced. No earring was present, but the puncture was clear.
“I was wondering, Inspector. Might I see your identification? I should have asked at the airport.”
Norse did not answer him. The question aroused Ian’s attention, and he studied Malone with a curious look.
“Did you hear me, Norse? I’d like to see your identification.”
“Just enjoy the ride, Malone.”
He didn’t like the curt tone so he reached for the front seat and pulled himself forward, intending to make his point clearer.
The barrel of a gun came around the headrest and greeted him.
“This enough identification?” Norse asked.
“Actually, I was hoping for a picture ID.” He motioned to the weapon. “When did the Metropolitan Police start issuing Glocks?”

Excerpted from THE KING’S DECEPTION Copyright © 2013 Steve Berry. Excerpted by permission of Ballantine Books, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Thrillerfest July 10-13 Grand Hyatt, NYC
This year ThrillerMaster Anne Rice takes a bite of the Big Apple 
at ThrillerFest VIIIJuly 10-13, 2013
New York City is once again the setting for Gotham noir as the International Thriller Writers (ITW) brings ThrillerFest VIII to town from July 10-13, 2013 at the Grand Hyatt Hotel to celebrate the art of the thrill.

Spines are already tingling for the legendary Anne Rice, Queen of the Gothic Thriller, who will make a rare appearance to serve as the 2013 ThrillerMaster. Rice is the author of 31 novels, including The Vampire Chronicles, Songs of the Seraphim and the new Wolf Gift Chronicles.

“This is the place where fans can mingle with writers, novices can learn from pros, industry professionals can share their secret passion with librarians, and everyone can have one heck of a great time,” says ThrillerFest Executive Director Kimberley Howe.

New this year at ThrillerFest is FanFest, an opportunity for thriller writers to give back to their most loyal fans. These lucky readers will join such big-league talent as Joseph Finder, John Lescroart, M.J. Rose, Steve Berry and R.L. Stine, for a cocktail party that would impress even Nick and Nora Charles. The event will include a special kickoff book signing, gifts and a chance to mix and mingle with their favorite authors.

Spotlight guests, who will add to the pulse-pounding excitement, include:

·       Michael Connelly—Author of the number one New York Times bestsellers The Drop, The Fifth Witness, The Reversal, The Scarecrow, The Brass Verdict and The Lincoln Lawyer, as well as the Harry Bosch series. His most recent novel is The Black Box. A former newspaper reporter, Connelly has won numerous awards for his fiction.
·       T. Jefferson Parker—One of only three two-time winners of the prestigious Edgar Award for Best Novel, Parker is the bestselling author of 20 novels including L.A. Outlaws, Storm Runners, and the award-winning Silent Joe and California Girl. His most recent novel is The Famous and the Dead.
·       Michael Palmer—Famous for his bestselling medical and political suspense, Palmer’s most recent novel is was Political Suicide. His book, Extreme Measures, became a film starring Gene Hackman. A physician, Palmer helps doctors with physical and mental illness, as well as drug dependence and alcoholism.
·       Silver Bullet Award Recipient Steve Berry—The New York Times and number one internationally bestselling author of The Jefferson Key, The Columbus Affair and soon-to-be-released The King’s Deception and nine more novels, Berry will be honored for his philanthropic work on behalf of fellow writers and historic preservation.
·       Corporate Silver Bullet Award Recipient USO—The USO will be honored for making Operation Thriller a reality. This past November marked the third USO Operation Thriller tour, which took Kathleen Antrim, Michael Connelly, Joseph Finder, Brad Meltzer, and Andy Harp to the Middle East to entertain the troops.

The thrills continue with two of ThrillerFest’s most anticipated events: CraftFest, where the best authors in the business share secrets with fellow writers, and AgentFest, “speed-dating” with the top agents in publishing.

It all culminates with the 2013 ITW Thriller Awards Banquet, during which Steve Berry will receive the Silver Bullet Award and the awards for best novel; best debut novel and best short story will be finally revealed -- a riveting climax to a sensational event.

The International Thriller Writers is an honorary society of more than 1,300 authors in 22 countries with more than three billion books in print. To make a reservation for the suspense-inspired four-day adventure, please visit

Event highlights include:
ThrillerFest opens with a bang on Thursday night with a cocktail party hosting all authors, industry executives and conference attendees. Authors are open and accessible to chat with fans.
Anne Rice, the 2013 ThrillerMaster, will be interviewed by her son, Christopher Rice, during a spotlight session.
Author Daniel Palmer interviews his father, New York Times-bestselling novelist and ThrillerFest Spotlight guest Michael Palmer.
Bestselling novelist MJ Rose interviews international bestselling author Steve Berry and Liz Berry about their non-profit History Matters. Steve is the 2013 ITW Silver Bullet Award recipient.
A bestselling author of over 25 books, Jon Land interviews thriller-superstar and Spotlight guest Michael Connelly.
Award-winning author D.P. Lyle, MD interviews T. Jefferson Parker, Spotlight guest and two-time winner of the Edgar Award for Best Novel.
Aspiring writers get the chance to sharpen their prose and hone their agent pitch during CraftFest – a fabulous opportunity to learn from bestselling authors.
AgentFest allows writers the unprecedented opportunity to meet face-to-face with some of the top agents in the business.
Sounds like an awesome event! Are you going?  

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