Year One by Nora Roberts

My Review
I’m obsessed with apocalypse fiction. (I’m sure a psychiatrist would have a field day with that confession. LOL!) I’ve been reading it for as long as I can remember. So, when a friend mentioned that Nora Roberts had a new apocalypse book out, I was intrigued. I mean, Nora writes wonderfully warm, rich romances . . . I couldn’t imagine her making the leap to the dark side of fiction with an end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it story, and of course, I had to check it out.

So, what did I think? I was impressed. Year One holds its own with the very best of apocalypse fiction: Robert McCammon’s, Swan Song, Stephen King’s, The Stand, and any other number of really good apocalyptic books.

Nora Roberts is an absolute master storyteller. (She’s has, after all, published over 225 books.) This shouldn’t surprise any of her gad-zillion fans, but if you don’t read romance, you might not be that familiar with her. She, however, pulls off this story brilliantly – yes, I’m a bit jealous. Great characters – always the hallmark of good book – an excellent and compelling plot, and very strong writing.

Unless you hate the genre, and I do understand that end-of-the-world stories are not for everyone, I highly recommend you read, or listen (as I did) to Year One.

Back Cover Copy

It began on New Year’s Eve.

The sickness came on suddenly, and spread quickly. The fear spread even faster. Within weeks, everything people counted on began to fail them. The electrical grid sputtered; law and government collapsed—and more than half of the world’s population was decimated.
Where there had been order, there was now chaos. And as the power of science and technology receded, magic rose up in its place. Some of it is good, like the witchcraft worked by Lana Bingham, practicing in the loft apartment she shares with her lover, Max. Some of it is unimaginably evil, and it can lurk anywhere, around a corner, in fetid tunnels beneath the river—or in the ones you know and love the most.

As word spreads that neither the immune nor the gifted are safe from the authorities who patrol the ravaged streets, and with nothing left to count on but each other, Lana and Max make their way out of a wrecked New York City. At the same time, other travelers are heading west too, into a new frontier. Chuck, a tech genius trying to hack his way through a world gone offline. Arlys, a journalist who has lost her audience but uses pen and paper to record the truth. Fred, her young colleague, possessed of burgeoning abilities and an optimism that seems out of place in this bleak landscape. And Rachel and Jonah, a resourceful doctor and a paramedic who fend off despair with their determination to keep a young mother and three infants in their care alive.

In a world of survivors where every stranger encountered could be either a savage or a savior, none of them knows exactly where they are heading, or why. But a purpose awaits them that will shape their lives and the lives of all those who remain.

The end has come. The beginning comes next.

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Furies of Calderon by Jim Butcher Review

Furies of Calderon by Jim Butcher

I read Jim Butcher’s Dresden books years ago and really enjoyed them.  The Codex Alera series, however,  are a different genre of book.  The Dresden books are urban fantasy or supernatural mysteries. IOW, the books are set in the “now” with magic incorporated. Furies of Calderon however is high-fantasy.  So, I was a bit hesitant about jumping into the series.  But, I’m glad I got over my hesitation.

I really enjoyed this book.  Strong characters and writing, a great plot, and Butcher’s totally mastery of his story.  I downloaded a copy from audible, but then went and bought the eBook as well.  I was just too impatient to only listen to the book, so I went back and forth, depending on whether I could listen or read.  Now, I don’t know whether to download the second book in the series — which I plan to do — in audio or as an eBook.  Maybe I’ll do both again.

From the Back Cover

For a thousand years, the people of Alera have united against the aggressive and threatening races that inhabit the world, using their unique bond with the furies—elementals of earth, air, fire, water, wood, and metal. But in the remote Calderon Valley, the boy Tavi struggles with his lack of furycrafting. At fifteen, he has no wind fury to help him fly, no fire fury to light his lamps. Yet as the Alerans’ most savage enemy—the Marat horde—return to the Valley, Tavi’s courage and resourcefulness will be a power greater than any fury, one that could turn the tides of war…

It’s on sale at Amazon and iBooks for 2.99.

 

Pat Keelyn

 

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New Beginnings

 

 

 

 

 

I don’t usually make New Year resolutions, because, well, I never follow through on them. However, this year, my niece Christine, who is also a writer, posted that she has created a No Regret List. Similar to a Bucket List, the items on her No Regret List are goals she wants to at least attempt to accomplish in her lifetime. I love this idea and mulled it over for a few days. What would be on my No Regrets List?

Well, I kept coming back to more general items. IOW, if I died tomorrow, what would I really regret not having done? There is one thing that overrides everything else; I want to write more and faster. I have dozens of partials, ideas, and synopses on my list of “What to write next.” And when I say dozens, I’m talking maybe 4 or 5 dozen. All of the stories would go untold if I don’t write them. The problem is which book idea to choose next.

So, here is a (very) partial list of stories I’d like to tell. I’d love input from you of what to write after the first on my list, which is what I’m currently working.

Writing as Patricia Lewin

Out of the Woods: This is the book I’m currently working on. It’s the third book in my Erin Baker thriller series, which of all the characters I’ve created in my books is my favorite. I don’t just like Erin, I want to be her. The series itself surprised me, however. I didn’t plan to create a series, but as I said, Erin captured my interest after the first book, Out of Reach. I realized that her story was just beginning and I had to find out more about her. Thus, I wrote Out of Time and now Out of the Woods. I’ll release it in early 2018.

Sequel to Blind Run: When I first finished Blind Run, I had a sequel all plotted out. Unfortunately, my publisher didn’t want me to create a series. And since I was under deadline for Out of Reach and then Out of Time, the Blind Run sequel never got written. Since releasing Blind Run in eBook format, however, I’ve gotten hundreds requests for a sequel — which of course thrills me.  So soon.  I promise.  Soon.

Writing as Patricia Keelyn

A Mother for Meghan. Years ago, I submitted a partial and synopsis to my agent about a woman raising her best friend’s daughter. I never got to write that book – again, there were the gatekeepers – but the book has always been at the back of my mind, and now I can write it. It would be the third book in the A Mother’s Heart series, which explores a woman’s love for family as well as romantic love.  Something I never tire of writing about.

So, those are the top three books on my mind and the ones I plan to finish this year – let’s see if I can do it.

Meanwhile, I’m always interested to hear your thoughts on what you’d like to see next from me. I have a partial about Eric from Loving Lindsey and Lynn from Keeping Katie just to name a couple. Let me know if there are other characters in my books you’d like to read about, or maybe I’ll post the first chapters of these books and you all can vote on what I write next.

Thoughts?

 

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What’s on your eReader this year?

 

This was so successful last year during the holidays–I got so  many wonderful suggestions– that I thought we should do it again.

Tell me what’s on your eReader for a chance to win an Amazon Gift Card.

I’m always looking for the next great read.  So, share what you’re amazon-gift-cardreading, get me to read it too, and win a $10 Amazon Gift Certificate.

Just post below between now and January 15th, and if I pick your recommendation, I’ll send you the gift certificate. IOW, convince me that what you’re reading is great.  That easy. So give yourself something for the holidays.

P.S.  If I get 25 comments, I’ll up the gift certificate to $25.  (Last year I ended up giving away two $15 Gift Certificates.)

As for what I’m reading . . .

I’m reading something a little different this year, Furies of Calderon by Jim Butcher (author of the Dresden Files).  Has anyone else read it?

I really enjoyed the Dresden books, so I picked this up from audible and started listening to it.  Well . . . that was way to slow because it grabbed me right away, and I don’t drive enough.  So, I had to pick up the eBook as well, and now I’m going back and forth.  If you enjoy fantasy, this is a good one.

It’s on sale at Amazon and iBooks for 2.99.

 

Enjoy the season and don’t forget to let me know what you’re reading.

Pat Keelyn

 

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Stillhouse Lake by Rachel Caine

I discovered an excellent new (to me) writer a couple of weeks ago — though I have to admit her name is so familiar, I keep thinking we must have met somewhere in the labyrinth of the writer’s world: a conference, workshop, or publisher event.

Anyway, it doesn’t matter.

Somehow, and I don’t remember that either, a copy of Stillhouse Lake showed up on my eReader. No, I don’t think it was magic; it was probably a promotion of some kind where I downloaded the book and then promptly forgot about it. Well . . . for some reason, I started reading it despite the fact I was already in the middle of two books and an audio book. Let me tell you, I was hooked from the very beginning and the two other books, that were good, got put on hold until I finished Stillhouse Lake.

This is such a well written, tightly plotted book with compelling characters. It really is one of the best suspense novels I’ve read this year. I highly recommend it. Oh, and I’ve already preordered the second book in the series (Killman Creek) which comes out on December 14th.  I can’t wait!

So, after you read it, let me know what you think in the comments section below.

Amazon LinkP.S.  I’m pretty sure both books are only available through Amazon.  Here is the link, or click on the cover or text links above.

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Happy Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. I love the entire process, from getting the house ready and cooking a huge meal to the main event of sitting down with family and friends.

My family is pretty relaxed about the details — hey, I’m a vegetarian who cooks a huge turkey for everyone else. LOL!!!  So, I’d love to hear about your Thanksgiving traditions in the comments below. Who knows, I might use them in a book.

Meanwhile, I hope you have a great day.    Pat Keelyn

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Need a Story Title

Help! I  need a title for my short story about Carolina and Richard in Writing Prompt #1.  In November I’m going to post my second story about them, and if I pick your title, I’ll name one of two main characters after you.  I need a male and female name and there both fun but kind of slimy characters that Richard and Carolina get the best of.   Sound like fun?

Post your ideas below or in the comment section after Writing Prompt #1, and I’ll pick a winner by mid-November.

Pat

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The Forsyte Saga

Another Guilty Pleasure . . . The Forsyte Saga

I loved this series.  Yeah, yeah, I know it’s somewhat of a soap, but it has a little more depth than most.  It’s based on  books by Nobel Prize–winning English author John Galsworthy.  Who else has seen it?  I’d love to chat with someone about it.  There is one particular relationship in the story that intrigues me.

Here’s the summary taken from Wikipedia.  Oh, and at the  moment, this is free for Prime Members on Amazon streaming.


Chronicles the lives of three generations of the upper-middle-class British family, the Forsytes, from the 1870s to 1920.

The extended Forsyte family live a more than pleasant upper middle class life in Victorian and later Edwardian England. The two central characters are Soames Forsyte and his cousin Jolyon Forsyte. Soames is a solicitor, all proper and straight-laced. His love for the beautiful Irene is his only weakness as is his beautiful daughter Fleur. Jolyon is the opposite, a free-thinking artist who abandons his wife to live with his children’s nanny. Their lives and their children’s lives will intersect over 30 years bringing happiness to some and tragedy to others.

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A Piece of Heaven by Barbara O’Neal

Barbara O’Neal (Samuels) is one of my favorite mainstream women’s fiction authors.  So, when I spotted A Piece of Heaven on a BookBub Special, I snapped it up.  Okay . . . big sigh.  I’ve never read a book of hers that disappointed me. This one was no exception.

This was just a wonderful book about the complexity of relationships, both the good and the toxic. I loved this one, and Barbara is one of my favorite mainstream women’s fiction authors.

I highly recommend it.

Amazon Link

 

Read an Excerpt

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Guilty (Viewing) Pleasures

This month let’s talk about guilty viewing pleasures.

I admit, I have a lot of these – some I’m really afraid to admit own, but if you go first, I might. But, here are two of my favorites.

First, I love the Hallmark Channel. (Okay, this should surprise no one.) I record all the movies, and some are delightful, some are just okay; pretty much like books. However, I
love their original series. I haven’t found one yet that I didn’t like. Currently, I’m watching the second season of Chesapeake Shores.  This is a heart-warming, multi-generational story, with two main characters who were high school sweethearts who went their separate ways, and now, years later, find each other again.

Second chance romances are my favorites. You can see that in my books. Of my eight romances, four are second chance stories. (Once A Wife, Where the Heart Is, Loving Lindsey, and Running for Cover). And even in my suspense novels, Blind Run, the main characters were once married. For me, there’s just something compelling about exploring why relationships fall apart—or explode—despite a couple’s love for each other. And then, when they come back together at a later time, how they reconcile and deal with their past. (Hmmm. Maybe I should start a second chance series. What do you think?)

Anyway, Chesapeake Shores really appeals to me – oh, and did I mention the eye-candy?

Two other Hallmark series that I enjoyed this year are The Good Witch – just delightful – and When Calls the Heart basically, a historical romance that is just a pure pleasure to watch. If you haven’t seen them, check them out on Netflix.

 

My second guilty pleasure is dance reality shows. In particular, I love, love, love “So You Think You Can Dance.” The contestants are all young, very talented dancers, and some of them are just amazing. I’m blown away by the amount of work and dedication these young people have put into becoming such outstanding dancers.

This year, the format is a bit different and it’s proving really good. Each of the top ten competitors is teamed with an all-star dancer for the show. It is so good. My favorite so far: Robert and Taylor. Take a look at this video from Week #1. They are the couple to beat.

Okay, so what are your guilty watching pleasures? Are they the same or different from mine. Can you get me hooked on something else?

As I said in my newsletter, post here and be entered in a raffle to win a $25 Gift Certificate to Amazon, iBooks, Nook, or Kobo. (Your choice.) Good luck!

Enjoy the rest of your summer.   Pat

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