Award Winner

Summer Shorts, 2015 – Three for the Beach

 

There are two kinds of Beach Reads:

  • Action-packed adventure/thrillers that rev up your blood pressure and provide stay-awake reading
  • Completely relaxing, low-key, fun mystery books that tweak your brain cells, but allow you to nod off on time


Action-packed Beach Reads are books that you can take with you on vacation, or allow you to immerse yourself between the pages if you can’t get away. They transport you to a place and time you will most likely never see and the heroes and heroines are super at what they do. A great action Beach Read delivers pure escapism.

 

Book Cover - Expedition Indigo

 

Stacy Allen’s debut novel, “Expedition Indigo,” introduces us to Dr. Riley Cooper, a Professor of Archeology at a renowned university, an expert in Mediterranean history, a certified diver, but not so expert in picking the right guy, or staying out of danger.

 

The Under Water Sea Adventures salvage company has discovered a sunken ship off the coast of Italy that may hold Charlemagne’s coronation cross, thought to have been lost forever. When Cooper’s boss is injured in a mysterious accident, she gets the chance of a lifetime to work in the field to verify the cross’ authenticity, but suspense and intrigue surrounding the find may be her undoing. The Vatican wants her help, a rival salvage company wants people dead, her love interest may have too many strings attached, and Riley just wants to do her job.

 

Cooper’s refreshing naiveté in the cutthroat world of treasure hunting, and the fascinating look at the world of archeology, combine to make this an entertaining (as well as educational) Beach Read, with plenty of action to boot. Nominated for the Silver Falchion Award for Best First Novel.

 

Visit www.stacyallenauthor.com

 

 

Book Cover - Weakest Lynx

 

 

Fiona Quinn, “Weakest Lynx” – In Quinn’s first solo novel, she delivers an absorbing spin on the thriller genre with an under-the-radar, 20 year old psychic, Lexi Sobado, at the center. When a creepy stalker threatens her life, she receives round the clock protection from the Special Ops teams she has helped in the past. 

 

Quinn’s writing style is taut, as Lexi deals with the stalker that never stops coming, a honeymoon cut short, and constant psychic and physical challenges. Not to give anything away, but Lexi’s recovery from an accident is particularly hair-raising. Her psychic sensations will give you chills and the disturbing stalker will make you think about getting a security system installed before you finish reading the book. With a forbidden love interest, and loads of action from start to finish, this is a wild Beach Read and a Kindle Scout winner. Book 2 of the series, “Missing Lynx,” is out now.

 

Visit www.fionaquinnbooks.com

 

 

For something more mellow, look to…

Book Cover - braun1

 

Lilian Jackson Braun, “The Cat Who…” series

The prolific Lilian Jackson Braun wrote the extremely popular ‘Cat Who’ series of twenty-nine books between 1966 and 2008. They starred James Qwilleran, former newspaper reporter who inherits a large fortune in the fictional small town of Pickax. In order to accept the inheritance and manage a worthy Foundation, he must move to the town. A man of simple means and a huge mustache, this grates against his nature, but the greater good changes his mind.

 

Coming from the big city, Qwilleran isn’t used to the scrutiny of small town living, but settles in with two Siamese cats, KoKo and Yum-Yum. They help him solve cases, mostly murders, by doing what cats do best, knocking over books which miraculously open to pages indicating clues, chasing each other through the Apple Barn (in which he lives for most of the books) when something happens they don’t like. They have diets of salmon and other expensive tidbits – they eat better than most people – and won’t settle for ordinary food. Delightful series, quick gentle reads for those that want to enjoy quirky characters, solve the mystery, and de-stress while on vacation.

 

As always, Happy Reading, whether at the beach or staying home with a tall glass of sweet tea and a great book.  What's your favorite Beach Read? Let us know in the comments below.  🙂

 

 

“Wink of an Eye” by Lynn Chandler Willis

 

Book Cover - Wink of an Eye

“Wink of an Eye,” written by Lynn Chandler Willis, introduces us to a hunky P.I. named Gypsy Moran. Think Gerard Butler, with a Texas drawl (IMO). Gypsy’s colorful past is catching up with him and he returns home to Wink, Texas to hide out for a while. Wink is a small town where everybody knows your name, what you did with whom and how long it took.

 

The last thing he wants to do is take on a case while laying low, but he is staying with his sister and she can push his buttons as only sisters know how to do. A former student of hers needs help proving that his dad, a deputy in the sheriff’s department, did not commit suicide. And, by the way, his death may be related to an investigation into some missing teens.

 

“Just hear him out,” sis says. Wow, do people get in trouble when they relent and get persuaded after that plea. When the boy, Tatum McCallen, keeps nagging at Gypsy to help, Gypsy’s first reaction is to say that nothing can be done. But, seriously, how can anyone refuse a 12 year old that is so persistent, or a case that reeks of cover up and injustice and maybe even human trafficking, laced with corruption in the police department?

 

Of course, we know that Gypsy will take on the case, and the way “Wink of an Eye” unfolds, Willis keeps us guessing and laughing and thoroughly engrossed all the way through.

 

Gypsy runs into old flame, Claire, who can ring his chimes and make him lose all his brains and common sense, just as she could back in high school. They have history and at first, Gypsy has selective memory for only the good parts. He meets a sexy reporter while looking into the overlapping cases and life gets more complicated.

 

Gypsy can’t catch a break with his love life, but as a P.I., he’s a phenom. He does the work, has a great brain, can stay one step ahead of his enemies – well, mostly. Snake bites, hospital stays, and a need for frozen peas slow him down a bit.

 

There are multiple story lines in “Wink of an Eye” – what happened to the missing teens, what actually happened between Gypsy and Claire back in high school, how and why did Ryce McCallen really die, why is Gypsy hiding out in his sister’s house, and more. Willis has given Michael ‘Gypsy’ Moran a complex back-story, interwoven throughout the book in bits and pieces. We are brought into his thoughts as if they were our own. We experience his ‘aha’ moments as the facts surface and clarity is revealed.

 

I lived in Texas for more than a dozen years, and Willis (a native North Carolinian) has truly captured the clothes-sticking-to-you August-in-Texas heat. The dust covers your shoes on the dry days and people will walk for a couple of blocks just to park the car in the shade. I laughed out loud when one of Gypsy’s romantic fantasies was cut short by the reality of sweat.

 

The supporting cast is an absorbing mix of innocents, nasty sorts, loyal relatives, savvy contacts, and anxious illegals. Gypsy, himself, is such a well-written character that he could easily carry a successful series for years to come.

 

“Wink of an Eye” was the winner of the Best First Private Eye Novel Competition in 2013, deservedly so. Willis was the first woman in a decade to win that award. Wahoo!

 

Interesting trivia information for fans: Which Country & Western singers does Willis listen to while she is writing?  George Strait and Garth Brooks.  🙂

 

For information about Lynn Chandler Willis, her other books, as well as the next Gypsy Moran book, please visit www.lynnchandlerwillis.com  

Award update:  "Wink of an Eye" has been nominated for the Shamus Award, an award that focuses on Private Investigators in the mystery field. The winner will be revealed at the international Bouchercon Convention in Raleigh, NC on October 9th.  🙂 Congratulations to Lynn for the nomination!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reader Favorites – New Reviews 2014

 

Book Cover - Upstairs at the White House

It’s always fun to discover which new reviews get the most attention during the year. The most popular reviews were ReTweeted dozens of times, shared on Facebook, and Google+, and got some attention on Pinterest. There were old titles, new titles, fiction and non-fiction, seasoned authors and debut authors in the mix. Several were best sellers.

 

In case you missed the reviews, here are the 2014 favorites on NightstandBookReviews in alphabetical order by author. Click on the titles and take a look:

 

Lucy Burdette, “Appetite for Murder

 

Robert Dugoni, “My Sister’s Grave

 

Robert Dugoni, “The Conviction

 

Sarah Graves, “Triple Witch

 

Edith Maxwell, “A Tine to Live, A Tine to Die

 

Leigh Perry, “A Skeleton in the Family

 

MJ Rose, “The Book of Lost Fragrances

 

Barbara Ross, “Clammed Up

 

Daniel Silva, “The English Girl

 

JB West & ML Katz, “Upstairs at the White House

 

Lynn Chandler Willis, “The Rising


Happy reading!

 

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