Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Wednesday Book Review: Inferno

Inferno (Robert Langdon, #4)Inferno

by Dan Brown

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Dan Brown's Inferno starts with Robert Langdon waking up in a hospital room with no clue where he is and no memory of the last forty-eight hours. An attractive doctor named Sienna Brooks tells him he is in Florence and has amnesia due to being shot in the head. Fortunately, it was only a graze, but he is still disoriented. He has vague memories of scenes seemingly out of a horror movie and a white-haired woman telling him "seek and find". Things get even more perilous when a leather-clad woman bursts into the hospital and shoots another doctor. Sienna and Robert manage to escape to her apartment. There she shows him a strange artifact that had been found in his clothes that projects an image from Dante's Inferno but the picture has been altered, leaving him with a puzzle that must be solved within 24 hours to a global catastrophe.But as we and Robert learn, nothing is exactly as it seems.

Enjoyable thriller that give the reader something to think about in between the action sequences. I could tell more, but then you'd want to kill me!

View all my Goodreads reviews


Dear FCC: I checked this book out of the library.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Book Review: The Firebird

The FirebirdThe Firebird by Susanna Kearsley

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Nicola Martin is a London art dealer with a secret. When she touches an object, she sees glimpses of its past. Because of her family's history in oppressive Russia, she keeps her gift a secret. Then a woman comes to the gallery with a small wooden firebird, hoping it will bring her enough money to fulfill her dream of traveling around the world. When Nicola touches it, she gets a glimpse of a scene from the time of Peter the Great. However, her boss tells the woman her Firebird isn't valuable. But Nicola knows the woman is dying of a hereditary disease and decides to do her own investigation. But for that she needs the help of someone whose psychic talents are stronger than her own. She turns to Rob McMorran, a young Scottish policeman she once knew.

I've read several books by Susanna Kearsley and she is rapidly becoming one of my favorite authors. So far, her books have been set in Britain, so Firebird, with its Russian theme, seemed a departure. But as I began reading, familiar characters popped up. I was delighted to meet the grown-up Rob, whom I first met as a fey child in The Shadowy Horses and who is just as charming as an adult. And as he and Nicola continue to follow the trail of the Firebird, we learn the story of Anna, the child born to 18th c. characters from The Winter Sea.

Nicola and Rob follow Anna's wanderings from Scotland to Belgium as she is brought to safety with her Jacobite uncle. Later she becomes ward of Admiral Thomas Gordon and travels with him to St. Petersburg where he helps Peter the Great build his Navy.

Kearsley does a good job of interweaving the historical and contemporary stories. I found the glimpse into the Jacobite community in St. Petersburg a fascinating piece of unknown history.

If you enjoy the "story within a story" like Possession or The French Lieutenant's Woman, only with happier endings, give this one a try. 

View all my Goodreads reviews


PS: Dear FCC, I pre-ordered a Kindle copy.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Sneak Peek Sunday July 14

It's Sneak Peek Sunday again, this time with a six-paragraph snippet from my sweet Regency romance, Lady Elinor's Escape, showing Elinor's first meeting with Stephen Chaplin.

In this scene, Lady Elinor has run away from her abusive aunt and made it as far as the nearest coaching inn where she just missed the coach to London. Aware of her plight and suspecting she is in trouble, Stephen approaches to offer his assistance.

Elinor turned to face the gentleman who had suddenly appeared. She stared at him through a haze of black, taking advantage of her veil to get a closer look at this tall, dark-haired, seemingly well bred gentleman. He was above average height, with finely chiseled features, and while he could not, strictly speaking, be deemed handsome, there was something in the intense scrutiny of his light brown eyes that drew her to him. By the cut of his bottle green Superfine coat, which emphasized his broad shoulders but was not so tight as to hamper movement, and his casually tied neckcloth, she surmised he was no society dandy.

“How do you do?” she said politely, extending one black-gloved hand.

“Fine, thank you.”

As he took her hand and bowed over it, Elinor savored the warmth of his touch for a moment. It had been a long time since someone had touched her out of kindness. Suddenly realizing she was clutching his hand, she withdrew hers. He studied her, his gaze seeming to penetrate the veil, and she could only stand like the veriest lump under his scrutiny.

“I beg your pardon, madam, but what did you say your name was?”

“Eli—” Elinor broke off and feigned a cough, panic bubbling up inside. Her name. Dear heavens, she needed a new name. If she told him who she was, he would never agree to take her to Mimi. She stared down at the gentleman’s yellow nankeen trousers and shiny brown boots. “Brown,” she stammered. “Ellie Brown.”

Lady Elinor's Escape is on sale for 50% off at Smashwords for the month of July during their Summer/Winter Promotion. Use coupon code SSW50. Rogue's Hostage and Worth The Risk, by Lyn O'Farrell, are also 50% off this month.

Lady Elinor's Escape is also available from Amazon, All Romance eBooks, BN/Nook, iTunes, and Kobo.

And as always, click here to read this week's fabulous Sneak Peek Sunday snippets.

Happy reading!


Monday, July 8, 2013

July News

Hope everyone had a good weekend. This week July events are getting into swing!

Author Cynthia Woolf interviewed me today for her blog. Drop by and leave a comment for a chance to win a $5 gift card!

Have you heard about's July Summer/Winter Promotion?

I'm participating, along with lots of other authors. Three of my books are discounted by 50% and one short story is free! Coupon codes are good through July 31.

Lady Elinor's Escape, sweet Regency romance, by Linda McLaughlin is 50% off at Smashwords. Use coupon code SSW50. 

Rogue's Hostage, sensual historical romance, by Linda McLaughlin on sale at smashwords 50% off w/ coupon code SSW50!

Worth The Risk, sensual contemporary romance, by Lyn O'Farrell on sale at Smashwords for 50% off with coupon code SSW50!

And my short story: How To Woo… A Reluctant Bride, Victorian-era short story, by Lyndi Lamont is FREE at Smashwords w/ coupon code  SW100!

Then look around at the Smashwords site to see what other good deals you can find. The ebooks are always available in multiple formats, so it doesn't matter which reader you use. 

Happy reading!

Linda McLaughlin / Lyndi Lamont /Lyn O'Farrell

Monday, July 1, 2013

Book Review: The Killer Angels

(Note: Barrie Summie's Book Review Club is taking a break for the summer, but a few of us will still be posting reviews on the first Wednesday of the month.)

The Killer Angels
by Michael Shaara
McKay, 1974

This July marks the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg, the subject of Michael Shaara's 1975 Pulitzer Award-winning masterpiece. I read it about ten years ago and was absolutely mesmerized. Even though it's a fictionalized account of the battle, it doesn't seem to stray far from the facts, and most of the characters in the book were real people.

The title comes from one of the characters, Colonel Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain of  Maine, recalling a time he quoted from Hamlet to his father: "What a piece of work is action how like an angel!" His father's response was, "Well, boy, if he's an angel, he's sure a murderin' angel."

Shaara leads us through the events of the three-day battle, which took place July 1-3, 1863. I never really understood the battle until I read this book. Famous places like the Devil's Den and Little Roundtop seem real, and the people involved come alive in his prose. This is a masterful book, one that alternately moved and horrified me. It is one of those books that once read will not be forgotten.

At least one of my ancestors fought in that battle and was wounded, so I have a personal connection, though the only time I visited the battlefield park was when I was too young to remember it.

Since I can't be there for the reenactment on this sesquicentennial occasion, I dug out my copy of the DVD to watch tonight. The movie Gettysburg, starring Tom Berenger, Martin Sheen and Jeff Daniels, is based on Shaara's book, and I think everyone involved did a great job of bringing it to screen. The only odd note was the counter-intuitive casting of Martin Sheen as General Robert E. Lee, but he does his usual fine acting job. The real star of the movie though, in my mind, is Jeff Daniels, who seemed to channel Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain. The physical resemblance between the two is eerie, and the interplay between Daniels and C. Thomas Howell, who played Lawrence's brotherThomas, is quite touching. The pointless, insane pageantry of Pickett's Charge always makes me cry.

Wikipedia has more information on both The Killer Angels and Gettysburg.

A perfect choice if you're looking for a good book or movie to celebrate the Fourth of July.

Happy Independence Day!