Tag Archives: Books & Authors

The Write Stuff

To write or not to write that is the question-Whether ’tis Nobler in mind to suffer the slings and arrows from my own outrageous writing, or to be prepared to take refuge from those wishing to break my fingers and keep me from ever writing again.

And by re-writing something that was and still is very good into my own “Frankenstein’s Monster” there is now intangible proof why I am far wittier and funnier in my head than on paper.   Never having been tested for the elusive “writer gene” I will just go ahead and admit to not having the Write Stuff.

You see, over the weekend we had the pleasure of hosting a book signing with local author Marlene Lee.  A very sweet lovely woman who kindly chided me for not writing and working through my issues like I should.   How am I ever going to make my narrative consistent, or develop a character that you might want to spend 10 minutes with?  We’re not even scratching the surface of why all of my story lines are either pretentious or delivered with the ham-fisted style of an out of work WWE wrestler with a bad back and an attitude to match.

Practice she said.  Write more she said.  Practice makes perfect.  Wait!  She didn’t say that, that was something my Mother would say.  Look at this as an exercise in character building.  Followed quickly with a this too shall pass.  Bollocks I say!  Let’s let the writer’s write and the readers read.  Until then I will be in my toy box reading comics with a flashlight.

Local Author — Hadena James

One of the truly enjoyable part of our job is putting a book in a reader’s hand that was not expected and yet loved all the same.  Our job gets even better when that book comes from a local author.  In a summer filled with great books, Hadena James keeps that trend going with Explosive Dreams, the 4th book in the Dreams & Reality series.  With her 5th book in the series, Cannibal Dreams coming out August 31st in e-book it might be time to check out this ongoing series of Aislinn Cain and the Serial Crimes Tracking Unit.

The next time you are in the store be sure to ask about her books.  Also available in ebook on our online store.


and then drop by her website


How to Read EPUB files on your Kindle—– SHUT YOUR MOUTH!

Since we started selling Ebooks on our website we are constantly asked, “Can I download it to my Kindle?”  And our answer goes something like this, “….<nervous eye twitches>….sure…..yes. Yes, Yes it can.  You just download it to your computer and then transfer the files.”

Okay let’s take a moment for a confessional before we get completely out of control.  We don’t know.   Becky owns a KOBO reader and I barely get along with anything more complex than a 1950s Royal Typewriter.

But we really don’t know.

You know?

So before you judge us and send us off for a long sentence on Saint Helena let us try to figure this whole thing out.

Ebook Conversion, a free conversion site,  is one of the most popular sites on the Net when it comes to converting EPUB to the Kindle’s MOBI files.  The site is pretty straight forward even for me, and that is saying something.  It is a simple two step method to convert the files.




Lori Robinett – Author Signing

Local Author Lori Robinett will be stopping by Village Books Saturday,  Aug 9th from noon to 2 p to sign copies of her new book, Denim & Diamonds.

Attorney Beth Jameson might know her way around the courtroom, but doesn’t know a cutting horse from a carousel horse. That doesn’t slow her down when her estranged father dies and leaves her his horse ranch just south of Kansas City. True to form, the gift comes with strings attached – she has to be successful in her first year, or she loses her inheritance. All of it. Beau, the handsome ranch foreman, was her father’s right hand man, but she must convince him that she’s in it for the long haul – that she isn’t just some city girl that doesn’t respect her father’s legacy. She has to learn the business from the ground up, and must learn to trust others – not an easy thing for a woman who was abandoned by her father and then by her ex-fiancé. Beth can’t believe how quickly the ranch becomes home, and how hard she is willing to work to make it hers . . . and learns that everyone deserves a second chance at happiness

Bob Binges On…. Greg Rucka & Susan Krinard

Bob has been off experiencing the joy of literature. Now that he has pulled himself from the pages he decided to grace us once again with a few reviews.

Here are both a quick summary and reviews for Alpha by Greg Rucka and Mist by Susan Krinard.  (Please remember that Bob’s book reviews and opinions are offered freely by the bearded one himself.)

Alpha by Greg Rucka

For the visitors to Wilsonville, the largest theme park in the world, the day begins with a smile. But, by the end, they start to wonder: will they escape with their lives? Undercover Delta Force operator, Master Sergeant Jonathan “Jad” Bell has been deployed to act as Wilsonville’s lead undercover security officer. The threat begins with the announcement of a hidden dirty bomb, but quickly becomes something far, far worse.

Trained since the age of 18 to save innocent victims from impossible hostage situations, Jad scrambles to assess the threat and protect the visitors. He will come face to face with a villain whose training matches his in every way—and presents a danger Jad may not be able to stop.

Jad Bell #1
Jad Bell #1
One of the benefits of living in this modern age is that I could look up every weapon mentioned in Alpha and better imagine the action. The downside is that if the NSA looks at my browser history, they may get the wrong idea about what I’ve been doing.
Greg Rucka takes us on a journey with a mustered-out sergeant from the U.S. Army. He seems to be content with life as a civilian, just drifting along, when he gets an offer that is more of an order.
The rest of the novel follows retired sergeant Jonathan “Jad” Bell as he starts a new gig as head of park security for Wilsonville, a rival of the Disney theme parks. Jad has to figure out if a fellow operator, jargon for a special forces operative, was killed for a reason or if it was bad luck. If there was a reason Jad has to figure it out and stop it before more people die.
I have to specifically thank Mr. Rucka. I am a child of a service member. There is a scene where Jad’s daughter is expected to react and the other characters involved can’t explain what she is supposed to do, they just have to trust her instincts. This scene brought up some emotions of following my dad in the military. I never had to be put to the test, but it was something that was present in my day-to-day life.
That is more than enough about me! Mr. Rucka has created a complex character who is going to be fun to watch as he grows and copes with his past. The next novel in the series, Bravo, comes out soon. Now is a good time to jump in on this series. You won’t regret it.
Mist by Susan Krinard

Mist lives a normal life. She has a normal job, a normal boyfriend, and a normal apartment in San Francisco. She never thinks about her past if she can help it.

She survived. That’s the end of it.

But then a snowy winter descends upon San Francisco … where it never snows. And in quick succession, Mist is attacked by a frost giant in a public park and runs into an elf disguised as a homeless person on the streets…and then the man Mist believed was her mortal boyfriend reveals himself to be the trickster god, Loki, alive and well after all these years.

Mist’s normal world is falling apart. But thankfully, Mist isn’t quite so normal herself. She’s a Valkyrie, and she’s going to need all her skill to thwart Loki’s schemes and save modern Earth from the ravages of a battle of the gods.

Midgard Series #1
Midgard Series #1
Mist is a Valkyrie. She and her sisters were sent to Midgard (Earth) with the treasures of the Aesir (Norse gods). They have been here for many years, at one point taking arms and participating in the Norse resistance in WWII.
The bulk of this story is set in the present day. Mist has settled into a routine that keeps her from thinking about the past and why Ragnarok didn’t seem to come, and yet no one has shown up to take her home or give her any new instructions.
Krinard works with the mythology like an expert cook. Keeping it to get the story just the right amount of flavor. Allowing, the action to come through without bogging down the story for a reader who isn’t familiar with the mythology.
If there were to be any complaint about the novel it would be that this is obviously the opening for a series. There is much setting of pieces in place and wheels in motion. Krinard is going to write a very good series, one in which I fully intend to get the rest of the books. There are some e-only short stories already available. I look forward to seeing Mist and the crew that she assembles thwarting Loki and his rambunctious band.


To keep track of what Bob may be saying out in the ether of the webs you can check out @celticorca on Twitter.
Bob Beard

Book Review–“Scoville” by Marlene Lee

–Review by Linda Bethel–

 A copy of this book was provided for free and the review and opinions are mine alone.

Welcome to Brooks Beach home of Detective Scoville

Trade Paperback    256 pgs              List price $14.99    Our Price $11.25

So, Becky and Doug offered me the opportunity of a first read of a new collection of short mysteries and, of course, I couldn’t refuse.  The author lives here is Columbia and Holland House Books has published two of her earlier books, The Absent Woman and Rebecca’s Road, which have been well received.  However, Scoville is Ms. Lee’s first venture into the mystery genre.

The volume contains three short stories: Three Blind Mice is the tale of a mysterious disappearance; murder most foul is the core of Always on Thursdays; and the kidnapping of a child is central to Recesses of the Mind, but the plot of each is driven by loving relationships gone sideways.

Ms. Lee has taken an interesting turn on the familiar small town locale familiar in traditional cozy mysteries by placing her tales in Brooks Beach, Oregon, and introducing the reader to Humboldt and Maggie Denton.  Brooks Beach is not the usual upscale, often touristy locale so familiar now, nor are the Dentons, a retired couple, the expected upscale, often intellectual and always tasteful protagonists who reside in such well groomed small towns.  Brooks Beach has some grit and the Knotty Pine Tavern is the town watering hole-providing pool, shuffle board and illegal black jack in the back room.  Maggie Denton is a strong woman, the necessary counterweight to her husband, Humboldt Denton.  The title character, Scoville, is the town sheriff, who appears only briefly in the first two stories but whose laconic and often cerebral approach always cuts through the traditional red herrings to solve the crime.

Stylistically the writing is always good and often much better than good.  The author enjoys giving her readers short but resonant descriptions, instance on a dark and stormy night (what else): “Down at the harbor the voice of the disinterested for horn alternated with the wash of surf, systolic and diastolic pulse of Brooks Beach.”.  Her characters, not only the Dentons and Scoville, but the court reporter married to the town philanderer and Eppie Epperson who deals black jack every night at the Knotty Pine hold the reader’s interest for their very familiar qualities while suggesting of a darker back story.

I really hope that Ms. Lee will find the time to write a book about Brooks Beach and it’s residents.  She has created a wonderful twist on the traditions of the cozy mystery with the darker, less than tidy lives of her characters and the town, especially the Knotty Pine Tavern.  Both characters and location are appealing in these short stories, but I think they could be a great deal more given a larger stage on which to act.

 Be sure to drop by the store and see Columbia’s very own Marlene Lee on August 23rd from noon to 2p.

Fangirl Becky lovin’ on Nalini Singh

I’m a fan of Nalini Singh.  I can’t tell you how happy I was to meet her at the Romantic Times Convention.  Here was someone who I enjoyed tremendously who had traveled halfway around the world and I got to say thank you to them for being a very good author. I got to thank her on behalf of the many people who have bought her books from our store over the years (By the way she thanks all of you for buying the books too).  It was a pretty magical experience for me.

Early June saw the release of the latest Psy-Changling book Shield of Winter and I very much want to tell you about that, but for those of you that haven’t read the series I’m going to do a brief glance at the first book in the series Slave to Sensation as well.

Slave to Sensation

Slave to Sensation

In a world that denies emotions, where the ruling Psy punish any sign of desire, Sascha Duncan must conceal the feelings that brand her as flawed. To reveal them would be to sentence herself to the horror of “rehabilitation”—the complete psychic erasure of everything she ever was…

Both human and animal, Lucas Hunter is a Changeling hungry for the very sensations the Psy disdain. After centuries of uneasy coexistence, these two races are now on the verge of war over the brutal murders of several Changeling women. Lucas is determined to find the Psy killer who butchered his packmate, and Sascha is his ticket into their closely guarded society. But he soon discovers that this ice-cold Psy is very capable of passion—and that the animal in him is fascinated by her. Caught between their conflicting worlds, Lucas and Sascha must remain bound to their identities—or sacrifice everything for a taste of darkest temptation…

If you’re a fan of paranormal romance and I haven’t at least had you look at Slave to Sensation then shame on me.  It is a wonderful world that combines romance with a dash of mystery, muddled into a delightful cocktail of characters from shape shifters of all sorts to a Psy race functioning on multiple planes of existance who have renounced emotions, served next to a chaser of what humanity may look like in the future.  Oh, and did I mention the serial killer?

Beginning with Slave to Sensation, released in 2006, the Psy-Changeling series has evolved beautifully through 13 books adding depth and color to the world building that only a master of the craft can accomplish.  All of which leads us from the beginning of a story arc with the first book to somewhat of a completion and a glimpse at where we may go next in the latest hardback release Shield of Winter.

Shield of Winter

Shield of Winter

Assassin.  Soldier.  Arrow.  That is who Vasic is, who he will always be. His soul drenched in blood, his conscience heavy with the weight of all he’s done, he exists in the shadows, far from the hope his people can almost touch—if only they do not first drown in the murderous insanity of a lethal contagion.  To stop the wave of death, Vasic must complete the simplest and most difficult mission of his life.

For if the Psy race is to survive, the empaths must wake…

Having rebuilt her life after medical “treatment” that violated her mind and sought to suffocate her abilities, Ivy should have run from the black-clad Arrow with eyes of winter frost. But Ivy Jane has never done what she should. Now, she’ll fight for her people, and for this Arrow who stands as her living shield, yet believes he is beyond redemption. But as the world turns to screaming crimson, even Ivy’s fierce will may not be enough to save Vasic from the cold darkness…

When writing a review the hardest question I tend to deal with is how do I say enough without saying too much.  Where do I go to avoid spoilers?  There are so many things I want to talk about, leaving me practically vibrating with untapped energy, yet unwilling I know that it’s unfair to give too much.

Having said that, what I can tell you is that, as with Heart of Obsidian, Shield of Winter helps pivot us into the next arc of the series.  How do you build and move on from the ashes of a system that’s fallen. These very concepts are so well suited to the lead characters in this book. By design or happenstance (and I’m willing to bet some really brilliant outlining by Nalini Singh) we are dealing with a hero and heroine who have both been terribly abused by the system yet have come out of all their personal pain devoted to making life better for their people. Within these 429 pages we are lead on a lyrical literary journey of not only what it is to love someone else, but more importantly how do you allow yourself to be loved.

As an ongoing series I remain impressed with the depth of the world building and the attention to detail that Ms. Singh brings to her writing.  For all that this is a known series that I can pull around me with the familiar comfort of an beloved childhood blanket, there is still a freshness in the writing that consistently has me running eagerly to explore each shining facet. The only downside to finishing Shield of Winter is the wait for the next book.

Beat the heat with some cold blooded murder

Summer in Mid-Missouri is hot like everywhere else, except for the humidity.  It’s the 70-80% humidity coupled with the 90 degree heat that makes the Ozarks truly enjoyable for 3 months of the year.  The Village Books staff was reminded of the sweating, the mosquitoes, the headaches, the short tempers, more damned mosquitoes, and before you know it someone has lost their temper and BOOM!

Sweet Cold Blooded Murder on a hot summer day done

the Village Books way.

Top Secret Twenty-One                                                           by Janet Evanovich

341 Pgs                List Price $28.00                       Our Price $20.99  (25% off)


Trenton, New Jersey’s favorite used-car dealer, Jimmy Poletti, was caught selling a lot more than used cars out of his dealerships. Now he’s out on bail and has missed his date in court, and bounty hunter Stephanie Plum is looking to bring him in. Leads are quickly turning into dead ends, and all too frequently into dead bodies. Even Joe Morelli, the city’s hottest cop, is struggling to find a clue to the suspected killer’s whereabouts. These are desperate times, and they call for desperate measures. So Stephanie is going to have to do something she really doesn’t want to do: protect former hospital security guard and general pain in her behind Randy Briggs. Briggs was picking up quick cash as Poletti’s bookkeeper and knows all his boss’s dirty secrets. Now Briggs is next on Poletti’s list of people to put six feet under.
To top things off, Ranger—resident security expert and Stephanie’s greatest temptation—has been the target of an assassination plot. He’s dodged the bullet this time, but if Ranger wants to survive the next attempt on his life, he’ll have to enlist Stephanie’s help and reveal a bit more of his mysterious past.
Death threats, highly trained assassins, highly untrained assassins, and Stark Street being overrun by a pack of feral Chihuahuas are all in a day’s work for Stephanie Plum. The real challenge is dealing with her Grandma Mazur’s wild bucket list. A boob job and getting revenge on Joe Morelli’s Grandma Bella can barely hold a candle to what’s number one on the list—but that’s top secret.


Any Other Name: A Longmire Mystery                                by Craig Johnson

317 Pgs                    List Price $26.95                    Our Price $20.25 (25% off)

Sheriff Walt Longmire is sinking into a high-plains winter discontent when his former boss, Lucian Connally, asks him to take on a mercy case outside his jurisdiction. Detective Gerald Holman of neighboring Campbell County is dead, and Lucian wants to know what drove his old friend, a by-the-book lawman with a wife and daughter, to take his own life. With the clock ticking on the birth of Walt’s first grandchild in Philadelphia, he enlists the help of undersheriff Vic Moretti, Henry Standing Bear, and Gillette policeman Corbin Dougherty and, looking for answers, reopens Holman’s last case.

Before his mysterious death, Detective Holman was elbow-deep in a cold case involving three local women who’d gone missing with nothing to connect the disappearances—or so it seemed. The detective’s family and the Campbell County sheriff’s office beg Walt to drop the case. An open-and-shut suicide they say. But there’s a blood trail too hot to ignore, and it’s leading Walt in circles: from a casino in Deadwood, to a mysterious lodge in the snowy Black Hills of South Dakota, to a band of international hit men, to a shady strip club, and back again to the Campbell County sheriff’s office. Digging deeper, Walt will uncover a secret so dark it threatens to claim other lives before the sheriff can serve justice—Wyoming style.


Destroyer Angel: An Anna Pigeon Novel                                  By Nevada Barr

342 Pgs                 List Price $26.99                     Our Price $20.25   (25% off)

Anna Pigeon, a ranger for the U.S. Park Services, sets off on vacation—an autumn canoe trip in the to the Iron Range in upstate Minnesota. With Anna is her friend Heath, a paraplegic; Heath’s fifteen-year-old daughter, Elizabeth; Leah, a wealthy designer of outdoor equipment; and her daughter, Katie, who is thirteen. For Heath and Leah, this is a shakedown cruise to test a new cutting edge line of camping equipment. The equipment, designed by Leah, will make camping and canoeing more accessible to disabled outdoorsmen. 

On their second night out, Anna goes off on her own for a solo evening float on the Fox River.  When she comes back, she finds that four thugs, armed with rifles, pistols, and knives, have taken the two women and their teenaged daughters captive. With limited resources and no access to the outside world, Anna has only two days to rescue them before her friends are either killed or flown out of the country.


Death in Saratoga Springs: Gilded Age Mystery          by Charles O’Brien

294 Pgs                      List Price $15.00               Our Price $11.25  (25% off)

From the slaughterhouses of Manhattan to the elite enclaves of Saratoga Springs, private detective Pamela Thompson follows a trail of death and deception left by a Civil War hero.

New York City, 1894.  Captain Jed Crake is a decorated veteran of the Union army and a successful mogul in the meatpacking industry.  But this powerful man also has a hidden private life as a predator of young women.  Working for attorney Jeremiah Prescott, private investigators Pamela Thompson and former NYPD detective Harry Miller are engaged to search for a maid allegedly abducted by the captain…

Before they can find the missing woman, Crake’s dark history catches up with him and he is murdered in a posh hotel in Saratoga Springs.  As fate would have it, Pamela’s ward, Francesca Ricci, working as a chambermaid in the hotel, is accused of the crime.  Now, in this pastoral playground of the idle rich, it’s up to Pamela and Miller to find Crake’s killer–as well as his victim–and save an innocent girl from a fate worse than death.