Category Archives: reader discussions

Desperation in Death excerpt

It’s never too early to plan ahead — even as you shouldn’t wish your life away. I had a chance to read Desperation in Death while I recovered from hip replacement and it’s a fast-paced entry in the series that grabs you by the throat from the first. Which you’ll see in a minute.

The official description is as follows:

The place called the Pleasure Academy is a living nightmare where abducted girls are trapped, trained for a life of abject service while their souls are slowly but surely destroyed. Dorian, a thirteen-year-old runaway who’d been imprisoned there, might never have made it out if not for her fellow inmate Mina, who’d hatched the escape plan. Mina was the more daring of the two–but they’d been equally desperate.

Unfortunately, they didn’t get away fast enough. Now Dorian is injured, terrified, and wandering the streets of New York, and Mina lies dead near the waterfront while Lt. Eve Dallas looks over the scene.

Mina’s expensive, elegant clothes and beauty products convince Dallas that she was being groomed, literally and figuratively, for sex trafficking–and that whoever is investing in this high-overhead operation expects windfall profits. Roarke may be able to help, considering his ties to the city’s ultra-rich. But Roarke is also worried about the effect this case is having on Dallas, as it brings a rage to the surface she can barely control. No matter what, she must keep her head clear–because above all, she is desperate for justice and to take down those who prey on and torment the innocent.

And now, here’s Chapter One.

Laura

Book Notes

Greetings from the Cranky Publicist desk.

And Happy Mother’s Day to everyone who’s a mother of the heart in any way, shape or form.

I know you’d all prefer a Kentucky Derby post, especially after that amazing race yesterday evening, but Nora and Bruce opted not to attend this year due to the crowds and continuing Covid risks. Griffin is still too young to be vaccinated and there’s a family vacation in June, so they want to keep him safe. Let’s hope for next year.

It’s 3+ months out from the hip replacement and I’m increasing my distance in walks, can do most yoga poses, am back to building strength in the upper body. So, I’m well on the path full movement – including dancing at my son’s wedding next weekend.

I’ve planned this post for a while. Right before surgery I pre-ordered a ton of books, then reached out to my pals in publicity at St. Martin’s Press and Berkley to beg for reading material. I just KNEW I’d spend days reading when I wasn’t doing PT.

Turns out that was not correct.

You know what I did during recovery? Work. Kept up with the social media, answered emails. The stuff that makes up a day. Fortunately, I did have evening time and dove into my little treasure trove of books already out, or coming soon. (Yes, ARCs are a reward for answering FAQs with kindness.)

I know a lot of you claim to only read Nora and JD Robb. Much as I love both of them, I do like to explore outside this universe and if you’re interested in some new material/authors, take a look.

Of course, I have to start with Nightwork. It’s Nora’s perfect summer read about a gentleman thief with some really high standards. It’s out May 24. I seriously know you’ll love it. Can’t wait to open the discussion thread!

Oh, and I may have read this:

Desperation in Death – out September 6

but we’ll discuss that later. (Loved it.)

The Christie Affair came out February 1. It’s an intriguing look at the time Agatha Christie went missing. It’s based on a true – strange – story: In December 1926 Agatha Christie disappeared from her home in southern England. When her abandoned car was found, it began the biggest manhunt in British history for a missing person. Eleven days later she was found in a northern spa town claiming to be the victim of amnesia.

Nina de Gramont writes from the point of view of the other woman – Agatha’s husband’s mistress. If you are a fan of mystery, star-crossed lovers, revenge, pick this one up.

The Suite Spot came out in March from St. Martin’s Press. I hadn’t read the first book in the series – Float Plan — but I didn’t need to. In this contemporary romance, a young single mom moves to a very tiny island in the Great Lakes to take a job at a hotel. The hotel owner is a grump but naturally they fall in love! (Ok that last sentence is from Marissa of Team Nora who loves both books, but it absolutely applies.) BTW, if I’m a sucker for anything, it’s a strong heroine who picks herself up and finds her path.

Ever Summer After (May 10, Berkley) is a second chance story about a couple who fell in love as teenagers over the course of six lakeside summers, but then it fell apart in one moment. Twelve years later, the two are reunited and they have to confront what separated them and decide whether their love is stronger than their biggest mistakes. My pal Erin at Berkley said this book’s happy ending was so hard won and beautiful she couldn’t recommend it highly enough! And I have to agree.

I’ve adored Katherine Center’s books since I read How to Walk Away and proceeded to purchase her back list in quick order. This was BEFORE I met her at a TTP signing in fall 2019 when I ended up loving her even more. The Bodyguard is out on July 19, from St. Martin’s Press. For me, it’s another joyful Katherine read with humor, family (blood and non) shenanigans, and a woman who can kick anyone’s ass learning about her other strengths. (BTW, Katherine’s newsletter is always a happy email that brightens a day.)

Last summer I devoured Beach Read by Emily Henry so I was looking forward to Book Lovers – just out from Berkley. A book about book people? Oldest sister responsibility (I’m the oldest of seven if you couldn’t tell)? Families breaking in order to heal? And really, two people good at what they do changing careers to do what they love? I devoured it.

BTW, if you haven’t read Beach Read — honestly one of the best head-to-head confrontations of genre and literary fiction — do yourself a favor and pick it up. You’ll find humor and fear and love all in one place.

You all know how much I love Nalini, right? Storm Echo – out in June — takes us back to San Francisco. We catch up with some familiar faces plus there are sightings of many favorite characters, including bears. I love Nalini’s bears. Even if they are far away. But there are also cats and a few wolves. And I’ll bet you love Ivan and Lei.

The only person I know with an output close to Nora’s is Nalini. And thank goodness for that — it fills in my Nora gaps. Nalini makes time to step away from the Psy-Changelings and Guild Hunter series to share her New Zealand Noir (see A Madness of Sunshine and Quiet in Her Bones) or to revisit the gang in the Rock Kiss and crossover Hard Play series. She surprised me with a get well ARC of Kiss Hard — Catie and Daniel’s story. It’s just released and a really wonderful outing with the Esera clan. Friends to lovers romance – done well — can be such a satisfying story.

Some of you may know of my love/competition with Lucy Score. We met at a TTP signing in February 2019 and have been pals ever since. She deserves a special place in my recovery reading for consistently making me laugh when I least expect it.

Maggie Moves On is Lucy’s first release for Grand Central, out June 21. What happens when a You Tube star who never stays put, starts a project in a town next door to a man fully rooted in that place? In Lucy’s hands, the project hits bumps, Maggie collects people who care and gets an eyeful of that nieghbor without his pants — among other adventures. Plus there’s a dog. Books about finding one’s place are also personal catnip and Lucy never fails to hit that kind of story out of the park. To fireworks. You can order a signed copy of Maggie Moves On From TTP.

I also loved Lucy’s Forever Never and Things We Never Got Over but I’m beginning to run out of space.

I couldn’t wait for Sarah Addison Allen’s first book in a long while and Other Birds (out September 13) completely delighted in every way. It’s pure SAA – love and magic and stories about the people who live in The Dellawisp on Mallow Island. When Zoey comes to claim her deceased mother’s apartment there she meets her quirky and secretive neighbors, including a girl on the run, two estranged middle-aged sisters, a lonely chef, a legendary writer, and three ghosts. As one does. It’s a book I’m sad to have finished. If you haven’t read Sarah Addison Allen, start with Garden Spells. And thank me later.

What’s Nora reading? Well, when she’s deep in writing (in this case, next year’s single title) she relaxes with TV shows and movies. Then, at the end of March she was slammed by vertigo — took six days to feel back to herself.

During those interminable days she watched all the Oscar nominated Best Pictures she had interest in, and was thrilled with CODA’s win. Lovely, lovely movie according to Nora. She also loved Belfast and thought Kenneth Branaugh deserved the award for best original screenplay.

Streaming-wise, she counseled me to watch Julia (her wisdom never ceases to amaze, it’s lovely). In turn I told her to watch Moon Knight (she is) and in return she told me to watch Outer Range. “Modern-day Western meets X-Files with a visit from Fringe,” she wrote. “Josh Brolin. I’m completely hooked.”

I know there’s more, but these are the most recent.

And there you have it, entertainment in all forms.

Coming next? Girls Spa for Nora, wedding for me. We’ll catch you up as we can.

Laura

PS. Wait, there’s one more: Lessons in Chemistry showed up everywhere I turned in April, so I finally heeded the Universe and purchased. And I love it.

Abandoned in Death Discussion thread

https://www.ttpbooks.com/product/abandoned-in-death-hc-by-j-d-robb-released-02-08-2022-/1699?cs=true&cst=custom

Today’s the day — Abandoned in Death is on shelves and e-readers so you can dig into Eve’s next case.

Here’s the official book description:

This case opens when a woman’s body is found in the early morning, on a bench in a New York City playground. She’s clean, her hair neatly arranged, her makeup carefully applied. But other things are very wrong—like the tattoo and piercings, clearly new. The clothes, decades out of date. The fatal wound hidden beneath a ribbon around her neck. And the note: Bad Mommy, written in crayon as if by a child.

Dr. Mira, the NYPSD’s top profiler, confirms what seems obvious to Eve: They’re dealing with a killer whose childhood involved some sort of trauma—a situation with which Eve is all too familiar. Yet the clues suggest a perpetrator who’d be roughly sixty years old, and there are no records of old crimes with a similar MO. What was the trigger that apparently reopened such an old wound and sent someone over the edge?

When Eve discovers that other young women—who physically resemble the first victim—have vanished, the clock starts ticking louder. But to solve this case she will need to find her way into a hidden place of dim light and concrete, into the distant past, and into the cold depths of a shattered mind.

And now the comments are open for discussion. Did you find any of the teasers – let us know down below.

Laura

The Becoming Discussion Thread

Today’s finally the day we learn more about Breen and Marco’s adventure. The Becoming, book 2 in The Dragon Heart Legacy, has landed in stores, on ereaders, on audio.

Here’s the place to discuss all things about The Becoming. Did you race through? Did you savor? Share all the thoughts in the comments.

And please be aware, spoilers are allowed in the space.

Laura

The Becoming excerpt


I know you’ve been waiting for a peek at The Becoming, book 2 of The Dragon Heart Legacy, and that time has come!

First, the official description:

The world of magick and the world of man have long been estranged. But some – like Breen Siobhan Kelly – can walk between the two. She has just returned to Talamh, with her friend, Marco, who’s dazzled and disoriented by this realm–a place filled with dragons and faeries and mermaids (but no WiFi, to his chagrin). In Talamh, Breen is not the ordinary young schoolteacher he knew her as. Here she is learning to embrace the powers of her true identity. Marco is welcomed kindly by her people–and by Keegan, leader of the Fey. Keegan has trained Breen as a warrior, and his yearning for her has grown along with his admiration of her strength and skills.

But one member of Breen’s bloodline is not there to embrace her. Her grandfather, the outcast god Odran, plots to destroy Talamh–and now all must unite to defeat his dark forces. There will be losses and sorrows, betrayal and bloodshed. But through it, Breen Siobhan Kelly will take the next step on the journey to becoming all that she was born to be.

You’ll find the written excerpt here: The Becoming excerpt. And for the first time, we also have an early listen to the audio book: Audio excerpt.

Just 80 days until The Becoming is in stores on November 23. Enjoy!

Laura

Legacy discussion spot

Legacy is on sale today! And here’s the place to discuss the book from start to finish.

A reminder of the cover copy:

Adrian Rizzo met her father for the first time when she was seven. It was the same day he nearly killed her mother, Lina.

A decade later, Adrian is as cool-headed and ambitious as her mother. They aren’t close, but they’re cordial as long as neither crosses the other. And then the vicious letters begin to arrive. While Lina dismisses the death threats as a routine part of her daughter’s growing celebrity, Adrian can’t help but find the vicious rhymes unsettling.

Year after year, they arrive with different postmarks, but the same menacing tone.

Sometimes it even seems like the terrifying messages are indeed routine, like nothing will come of them. Until the murders start, and the escalation begins.

Did you race through Legacy or savor it? Share all in the comments.

Laura

Hideaway Discussion Thread

Hideaway is here! And this is the place to discuss everything about the story.

A quick look at the cover copy:

A family ranch in Big Sur country and a legacy of Hollywood royalty set the stage for Nora Roberts’ emotional new suspense novel, Hideaway.

Caitlyn Sullivan comes from a long line of Hollywood royalty, stretching back to her Irish immigrant great-grandfather. At nine, she was already a star—yet still an innocent child who loved to play hide and seek with her cousins at the family home in Big Sur. It was during one of those games that she disappeared.

Her image may have been a pampered princess, but Cate was in fact a smart, scrappy fighter, and she managed to escape her abductors. Dillon Cooper was shocked to find the bloodied, exhausted girl huddled in his house—but when the teenager and his family heard her story they provided refuge, reuniting her with her loved ones.

Cate’s ordeal, though, was far from over. First came the discovery of a shocking betrayal. Then there were years spent away in western Ireland, peaceful and protected but with restlessness growing in her soul.

Finally, she would return to Los Angeles, gathering the courage to act again and get past the trauma that had derailed her life. What she didn’t yet know was that two seeds had been planted that long-ago night—one of a great love, and one of a terrible vengeance…

We’ll discuss Hideaway in the comments. So be ware that spoilers may show up here.

Laura