Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The Tsunami Countdown by Boyd Morrison ★ ★ ★★


(In the USA known as “The Rogue Wave”)

It was twelve-thirty a.m. and my husband was falling asleep.  ‘How much longer are you going to read?’ he mumbled.
‘It’s eleven minutes until the tsunami hits and there is no way I’m leaving now,’ I answered. And I kept reading “The Tsunami Countdown” by Boyd Morrison until the wave hit, and then kept going until my weary eyes forced me to put it down somewhere around two a.m.
And on the next night I was there again until the wee small hours because there was no way I was going to sleep before I finished this book.  Of course, the next day was a tsunami of exhaustion but it was worth it.
This book grabs you on the first page, hurls you along faster than the impending wave and leaves you panting for breath at the conclusion.  It is cinematic in scope and style. In fact, as much as it would make a great movie, you really don’t need a film to capture the imagery.  Boyd Morrison does a brilliant enough job with his words. 
The story lands us smack bang in the Pacific Ocean during an airliner crash from an unexplained explosion.  There are no survivors.  Kai Tanaka, the new and untested assistant director of the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Honolulu, notices a minor seismic disturbance in that region but it does not seem big enough to cause a Tsunami. 
However, it becomes clear when they lose contact with Christmas Island and its three thousand inhabitants, and a remote sensor in the region, Kai begins to suspect there is a disaster on its way within the hour.  He must make the decision whether to warn Hawaii and save millions of lives including his wife and daughter.  There is a lot at stake if he is wrong.  It will cost the State a fortune and he will lose his job. 
What happens after the wave hits is incredible and exciting as Kai and a band of survivors struggle to stay alive as the greatest Tsunami ever imagined strikes the Islands, destroying everything in its path.
Michael Crichton fans will eat this book up and if you are going to indulge in this thrilling adventure novel, then be sure to stock up on energy drinks (for the weary next day) as the impending wave picks you up from your life and dumps you in Boyd Morrison’s world. From the first page until the last there is no escape.

My review copy of 'The Tsunami Countdown' supplied by Hachette Australia. For more information about this book, click through to Hachette website HERE.


(in his own words)
My wife and I had a unique agreement. After we had been married for three years, she decided to attend medical school, but having earned an English degree in college, she needed two years for her pre-med requirements. So that meant nine years of pre-med, med school, and residency, during which time I was the wage-earner with a full-time job, unable to spend much time on my passion, writing fiction. When she became a practicing physician, I got nine years to make my dream come true and become a published author as she supported me. It was a great deal. I did it in less than five years.
I took a roundabout route to becoming a novelist. Fresh from earning a BS in mechanical engineering from Rice University, I got a job with Lockheed working on the Space Station Freedom project at Johnson Space Center. I got to play with a lot of cool stuff like the space shuttle and station mockups, the robot arm, and the Precision Air-Bearing Floor, which is like a giant air hockey table that simulates microgravity. The best experience I had was when my job required me to fly on NASA's Vomit Comet, the same KC-135 plane used to train astronauts for zero gravity and to film the space sequences in the movie, Apollo 13. I didn't vomit.
After a couple of years at NASA, I decided to go back to grad school and get a PhD in industrial engineering from Virginia Tech. My specialty in ergonomics came in handy at RCA, where I designed electronic program guides for TVs and digital satellite systems. During my career at RCA, I earned eleven US patents.
When my wife and I moved to Seattle for her residency at the University of Washington, I got every ten-year-old boy's fantasy job in the Xbox games group at Microsoft. As a usability manager, it was my responsibility to make games as fun and user-friendly as possible. Yes, I got paid to play video games. I was credited on both PC and Xbox games, including Project Gotham Racing 2, Flight Simulator 2004, and Forza Motorsport. I left Microsoft to become a full-time writer, but I'm still a gamer.
In 2003 I fulfilled a lifelong dream and became a Jeopardy! Champion. To see exactly which questions I got right and wrong, check out my two games on the Jeopardy! Archive. You can find out how I got onto the show in this article.

VISIT Boyd Morrison's Website http://www.boydmorrison.com/


Saturday, February 16, 2013

Dangerous Waters by Toni Anderson

Dangerous Waters is the fifth book from Toni Anderson and the second one I’ve read.   And I can report that if you enjoyed her previous suspense romance, EDGE OF SURVIVAL, or any of her other stories for that matter, then this latest tale will not disappoint. Anderson follows a formula which I am sure fans of her books will wholeheartedly applaud.
Her recipe for a successful suspense seems very simple but certainly difficult to replicate if you haven't her talent for plotting.  Take a feisty police investigator, Sergeant Holly Rudd, and place her in the middle of a mystery in the wild setting of Barkley Sound, notorious for dangerous swells.  Throw in a beyond handsome suspect in Finn Carver, who just happens to be a former special services soldier, and you have a recipe for a thumping page-turner.
Whilst diving on a just discovered local wreck, Finn Carver and Dr. Thom Edgefield discover a submerged body stabbed to death   Thom, thirty years before, lost his six-week-old baby and wife to an unsolved murder.  His two-year-old daughter was never found and he never stopped trying to unravel the mystery. When he sees Holly he is flawed by her resemblance to his dead wife but Holly is certain they are not related.  Besides she has other problems to contend with in her investigation.
She has already made the mistake of sleeping with a fellow officer before realizing he was married, so she is not making another mistake by giving in to her wild desire for a suspect in her latest murder case, Finn Carver.
There is a cast of suspicious characters, including Finn’s brother Brent who has recently been freed from prison.  As Holly moves closer to untangling the web of secrets she finds herself in danger, not only from a murderer, but also of falling hopelessly in love with a man, whom she fears will only compromise her.
Grab yourself a coffee and a sweet treat and sit yourself down with a fulfilling read from an author who knows how to flavour her stories with the right mix of suspense and steamy romance.

RELEASE DATE:  November 20, 2012

For more information and to purchase please visit Toni's Books

Toni Anderson's Blog: http://tonianderson.blogspot.com.au/


TONI ANDERSON is a former marine biologist who conducted her Ph.D. at the Gatty Marine Laboratory in St. Andrews, Scotland, and traveled the world with her work. She was born and raised in rural Shropshire, England but, having lived in five different countries, finally settled in the Canadian prairies with her husband and two children—about as far from the ocean as possible. She combines her love of travel with her love of Romantic Suspense and writes stories based in some of the places she’s been lucky enough to visit.
She’s a member of Romance Writers of America, Kiss of Death Chapter, and The International Thriller Writers’ Association.
When not writing, she’s walking the dog, gardening or ferrying the kids between school, piano, and soccer games.
           Toni is represented by Jill Marsal of the Marsal Lyon Literary Agency, LLC
Visit Toni Anderson's Website for more information on her and her books. http://www.toniandersonauthor.com/#

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

LIFE AFTER LIFE by Kate Atkinson ★ ★ ★★★


Kate Atkinson’s LIFE AFTER LIFE is amazing, incredible, unique, extraordinary, page-turning, surprising, moving.    Still all these superlatives fall short in their praise.  It’s that special.
Even labelling presents difficulty.  It’s an historic tale set during WWI and WW2. It’s a supernatural tale of re-incarnation.  It’s an alternate history in part. It’s beautiful literature with sentences so poetic you read them more than once.  And it’s a drama of secrets that unfold so teasingly that you want to skip ahead so bad your fingers itch.  But you dare not because Atkinson has framed and paced her story so perfectly you know you will miss out.  As you close the final page you want to open the first page and start all over again. This is a book you want to own and not borrow from a friend.  You want to touch its cover later and remember how you felt as you read it. 
Ursula Todd is born on February 11th, 1910 to wealthy English parents but dies immediately only to be reborn again.  This time she lives longer and we learn more about her life and family.  But again she dies and is reborn to a new life with slightly altered events.  It is an era fraught with danger from illness, accidents and dangerous friends and strangers.  In each new life Ursula retains a Déjà vu sense of her previous downfall and is able to avoid  those deaths only to face new challenges. Her deaths are varied and surprising and whilst some lives are short, in some she lives to middle-age. Atkinson’s mastery of pacing creates a marvelous rollercoaster ride, so we never really know when the next death will arrive.
Through Ursula’s and her family’s eyes we experience life in early twentieth century England and the horror and tragedy of the two World Wars; once even behind the German lines up close and personal with Hitler. The detail is meticulous and the feeling of witnessing history uncanny.
LIFE AFTER LIFE is a thought-provoking rarity and sometimes these beauties cannot be analysed. Somewhere in the words, the emotions, between the ink on the page, a magic is born.  On February 11th, 1910 Ursula Todd is born, a classic wondrous character, surely to be loved by generations of readers.

My review copy of Life After Life thanks to the hardworking people at RANDOM HOUSE Australia.
For more information please visit http://www.randomhouse.com.au

Release Dates: Australia and New Zealand: 18th March 2013
To Pre-order or purchase after release date in Australia  click here
Available in Hard Cover, Paperback and eBook.


         Kate Atkinson was born in York and now lives in Edinburgh. Her first novel, Behind the Scenes at the Museum, won the Whitbread Book of the Year Award and has been a critically acclaimed international bestselling author ever since.
         She is the author of a collection of short stories, Not the End of the World, and of the critically acclaimed novels Human Croquet, Emotionally Weird, Case Histories, and One Good Turn.
         Case Histories introduced her readers to Jackson Brodie, former police inspector turned private investigator, and won the Saltire Book of the Year Award and the Prix Westminster.
          When Will There Be Good News? was voted Richard & Judy Book Best Read of the Year. After Case Histories and One Good Turn, it was her third novel to feature the former private detective Jackson Brodie, who also made a welcome return in Started Early, Took My Dog.  Kate was awarded an MBE in the Queen's 2011 Birthday Honours, for services to literature.

Useful Links


The Divergent Trilogy by Veronica Roth

Its not easy being different
Harry Potter was very concerned about joining Hogwart’s faction Slytherin as it seemed a breeding ground for bullies, where as Hufflepuff was mostly filled with jolly wizards.  But in Veronica Roth’s dystopian novels, Divergent and Insurgent, factions are a life commitment and there isn’t a chatty sorting hat in sight.
Roth by the age of 23 had best sellers on her hands with Divergent and its follow up Insurgent.  In 2012 she added a movie deal for her trilogy and is one of the new breed of authors, like the Hunger Games' Suzanne Collins, capturing the imagination of young readers by supplying a bleak future for humanity. 
In a dystopian Chicago, the population has divided themselves into five very different groups abiding by a strict code of conduct; their behaviour almost genetically implanted in them.  These factions, the citizens decide, allow them to live harmoniously.
Beatrice is born into Abnegation (the Selfless), and we meet her on her sixteenth birthday when she must choose to stay in her faction or transfer, and live the rest of her life in one of the other factions—Erudite (the Intelligent), Candor (the Honest), Amity (the Peaceful), Dauntless (the Brave).  Before deciding their future alliance all candidates must undertake an aptitude test to assist their decision.  Beatrice results are not so clear cut; unbeknown to her she is divergent with an aptitude to fit into more than one faction, a seemingly dangerous trait. 
At the ‘Choosing Ceremony’ she transfers to Dauntless, forsaking her family.  In her first hours at Dauntless she discovers they demand new initiates survive a ruthless initiation program for a limited ten spots.  The unsuccessful will become ‘Factionless’, a terrible fate of bleak homelessness.  During the program Beatrice, now renamed ‘Tris’, befriends fellow initiates and discovers that her talent for the tests creates dangerous enemies.  Despite her best efforts she also finds herself attracted to their seemingly heartless trainer, Tobias "Four" Eaton.
Insurgent follows on directly from Divergent, taking Tris and her collaborators on a journey into the true origin of the Factions. They will fight for the future of all divergents against faction leaders whose goal is anything but harmony between factions. 
The final in the trilogy is due for release in 2013.

My review copies of DIVERGENT and INSURGENT thanks to the fantastic people at Harper Collins Australia
To buy or learn more visit Divergent and Insurgent 
eBook is also available here eBook

Release Dates: 2011 and 2012

Veronica Roth graduated from Northwestern University with a degree in creative writing. While she was a student, she often chose to work on the story that would become ‘Divergent’ instead of doing her homework. It was indeed a transforming choice. Now a full-time writer, Ms Roth lives near Chicago.
DIVERGENT is her first novel.

Visit Veronica Roth's Official Blog: http://veronicarothbooks.blogspot.com.au/ 

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Earthfall by Mark Walden ★ ★ ★★


         Dystopian novels are my favourites and so even though this book is aimed clearly at middle school readers it was a very engaging read for an adult.  It’s not a large book at 288 pages.  However, sometimes that is exactly what you feel like reading after wading through a tome like Justin Cronin’s The Twelve, at almost 600 dense pages.
           So EARTHFALL was like a cool refreshing drink.  If you are looking for an engaging, action packed read for your child this will do the trick.  And if you are like me and a sucker for WAR OF THE WORLD sagas, then you won’t care that the protagonist is a young boy.
          Mark Walden is the author of the very popular H.I.V.E series and he was inspired to write EARTHFALL because he believed there hadn’t been a book written featuring a simultaneous worldwide invasion. 
           In EARTHFALL, alien ships appear above London and suddenly every human being loses their free will and begins walking silently towards an unknown destination.  Everyone, except Sam, who watches his sister and Mother walk out the door with the rest of the neighbourhood.  He follows them but cannot stop them and is forced to leave them and become a fugitive from the invaders.
           Six months later and Sam has yet to find anyone like him who is not enslaved by the aliens.  He spends his days trying to survive and avoid the drones and alien invaders until he is stung and poisoned by a robotic drone.  It should have killed him but somehow he survives.  Ill and disorientated he is found by a small, organized group of other kids who are battling to save the Earth from the invasion.
         This is the first of the series, which Walden explains will run alongside his H.I.V.E. series.  EARTHFALL II is due to invade stores in 2014.  This book captured my imagination and I am looking forward to being enslaved again.
My review copy of EARTHFALL thanks to the lovable people at Bloomsbury Publishing Australia

To buy or learn more visit EARTHFALL
EBook available here from Bloomsbury EARTHFALL eBook $5.99

Release Dates: Australia and New Zealand: 1st July, 2012


Mark Walden's first book, H.I.V.E., won Richard and Judy's 'Best Kids' Books Ever' 9+ category. Paramount has optioned the film rights, and it was chosen as one of ten titles for Booktrust's first Booked Up scheme. Mark has followed this success with a further six titles in the extraordinarily brilliant H.I.V.E. series and as a WBD author for 2009. He lives with his family in Hampshire.

Visit Mark Walden’s Official Site: http://www.markwalden.net/blog/