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Wednesday, August 21, 2013

REVIEW: "Against the Mark" by Kat Martin

Hello everyone! Going along with my author promotion from yesterday, today I have my review of "Against the Mark!" Don't forget to follow the link above to enter the GIVEAWAY for a free copy of the book!!

Disclaimer: I received an e-copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Type: Series, Romantic Suspense, Private Investigators, Art Thieves, Hunky Heroes and Dishy Damsels

About the BookThe perfect murder is a work of art

In one catastrophic instant, Haley Warren's estranged father was taken from her. She never got the chance to reconnect with him, so now she's doing it the only way she's got left: by proving the explosion that killed him was no accident.

When Tyler Brodie, the provocative and handsome P.I. hired by Haley, discovers that her father was investigating a suspected art theft, he knows his death is no coincidence. After all, tens of millions of dollars worth of stolen art could motivate a thief to go to any lengths—including getting rid of anyone poking around where they don't belong.

As Haley and Ty get closer to the truth, the truth gets ugly: Did Haley's dad know too much…or was he in on the take? And although Ty's a consummate professional, he's having trouble focusing on the facts of the case, and not the figure of his gorgeous client. The two are determined to get to the bottom of the case, even if it means they die trying.


My Review: I have had Kat Martin on my to-read list since the original trilogy was released. In fact, I bought all three and they are sitting on my paperback-shelf-of-dreams, which houses all the ones I haven't gotten to just yet but really want to. So when I got the opportunity to read "Against the Mark," I jumped at it. And it was definitely a good decision - I enjoyed this book, and I found myself clicking well with Kat Martin's writing style.

As characters, I enjoyed Ty and Haley. Haley's reaction to her step-mother that she had never met felt incredibly genuine, and while I wanted her to just break down and hug Betty Jean (the stepmother) - it would have been out of her character to do so. And for that reason, I respect the author that much more - she had these characters stick to their guns. Ty was rather hard-edged at times, but that seemed to fit well with his background and experience. He could be calm and cool when the situation required it, and grinning and making jokes during his down time.

Next, the story. I found all the plot turns to be plausible, and made sense considering the case and Ty & Haley's budding relationship. My only criticism would be their big plan for catching the bad guy red-handed. I would never spoil the ending for any excited reader, but the "big plan" just rubbed me the wrong way. I figured Ty to be too smart to agree to something like that.. and even if he thought it would work, I'm not sure he would have been so okay with taking Haley. But you know, even with this little hiccup - I had way too much fun with what was going on to care that much.

Cover Lovin': I like this cover. It's a bit of a change from her previous covers, but I think it's well done.

Recommendation: For fans of romantic suspense - or maybe for fans that like their heroes of the private investigator variety (like myself).

Final Rating: FOUR out of FIVE (4/5). I really enjoyed this book, and it moved quickly for me. I wasn't so sure about their plans to catch the bad guy, but it was definitely an enjoyable read.

Series order:
1. Against the Wind
2. Against the Fire
3. Against the Law
4. Against the Storm
5. Against the Night
6. Against the Sun
7. Against the Odds
8. Against the Edge
9. Against the Mark

Happy reading!
~!~ Amanda ~!~

Review will be cross-posted on Goodreads.com.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

GIVEAWAY, INTERVIEW, GUEST POST AND MORE WITH AUTHOR KAT MARTIN!!

*** CONTEST IS CLOSED, THANK YOU ***

Today, I am so very pleased to welcome author KAT MARTIN!! Kat Martin is joining us to celebrate the release of her newest novel "Against the Mark," the ninth book in her Raines of Wild Canyon series. We have an interview, guest post, and a GIVEAWAY! Plus, stay tuned for my review of "Against the Mark" coming up tomorrow (8/21!)

** Make sure to check the bottom of this post for information about the giveaway!!**

Up first: Interview!

1) Are you a plotter or a pantser? Or maybe a mix of both? 
     I used to be totally a plotter.  Then  I ran out of time.   It takes months to completely plot a book, so now I do a little of both.  I know my basic story line, but I move forward as I write, working to figure things out as I go.  I prefer being a plotter.  A lot less stress. 

2) What does your perfect writing day look like? 
    Get up casually around seven thirty...watch the news and have coffee, shower, then sit down at the computer.  I do my email, go to my current novel and backtrack from where I ended work the day before.  I re-read what I wrote, make necessary changes, then charge forward.  I usually end my day between five or six and start over again the following day.

3) This is the 9th book in the Raines of Wind Canyon series - did you expect it to go this far, or did the characters take over?
    I intended to write a Romantic Suspense trilogy about three brothers, but Dev Raines needed help to rescue a little girl in Mexico and he called on Trace Rawlins, Johnnie Riggs, and Jake Cantrell.  They were such great heroes I had to give them a story of their own.  By then I was hooked on the series.  Since Trace owned a security firm in Houston where Alex Justice and Ben Slocum worked, they had to get their own stories.   Ben needed help--Ty Brodie showed up and now he has his own book.  That book is AGAINST THE MARK.  Of course in MARK, Ty’s cousin Dylan shows up and now I’m working on Dylan’s story, AGAINST THE WILD.    It’s been a crazy ride, but I love these guys.  I’ve got at least two more books planned.

4) I just have to ask - out of all of your books, do you have a favorite hero? 
    I have several favorites...  I love Chance McLain, the Montana cowboy in THE SECRET.  Dev Raines in AGAINST THE LAW.  I really like all my AGAINST heroes,  particularly Jake Cantrell and Alex Justice.  Of course I fell a little in love with Ty Brodie...  Oh, I am just so fickle. 

5) What inspired you to write this story? 
     Ty Brodie showed up as a friend of Johnnie Riggs in AGAINST THE NIGHT.  He was just so cute, kind of funny and clever, yet a total macho man.  What could I do?  I had to give him a story, thus AGAINST THE MARK.

6) And finally - readers love your books, and eagerly anticipate the next one, who is on your "instant buy" shelf? 
   Laura Griffin for suspense, Joanna Bourne for historical.  M.L. Buchman is a new find.  None of them write fast enough for me.    I love Nora Roberts for her big romantic suspense novels. 

I appreciate your time, and thank you for letting me be involved in your promotion!
Amanda Toth

  Thanks for having me, Amanda.  Hope readers enjoy AGAINST THE MARK!

Next up: Guest post!

COVERS--CURSE OR BLESSING

The cover of a novel is the single most important factor in the success or failure of a book.  It’s not something authors want to believe and it’s not always true.
If the book is special enough and it gets loads of word-of-mouth, even a bad cover can’t stop the book from being a success.  Also, if the author’s name is well enough known--and I’m speaking here of New York Times bestsellers with very large print runs--a bad cover can’t stop the novel from being a hit.  Books like Di Vinci Code, where a bad cover wouldn’t matter.
However most of us fall in the category where the cover of the book can be the difference between strong sales and failure. 
For the past eight of my AGAINST books, starting with AGAINST THE WIND, I’ve had phenomenal covers.  Gorgeous men on the front, interesting backgrounds that hint at the story line. 
With my new book, AGAINST THE MARK, the publisher decided to make a change.  It’s an interesting cover, but a little too comic book for me.  The book is out the end of August, Tyler Brodie and Haley Warren’s story.  It’ll be interesting to see what readers think. 
Ty Brodie first appeared in AGAINST THE NIGHT, working with Johnnie Riggs.  He also made an appearance in AGAINST THE EDGE with Ben Slocum.  It was past time for Ty’s own story.  In AGAINST THE MARK, he meets Haley Warren, a sexy blonde from Chicago who hires him to help her uncover the truth about her father’s death.
Was the explosion that killed him an accident?  Or was it murder, as her stepmother believes? 
Fighting a fierce attraction neither of them wants to feel, they follow a trail of clues that takes them into the art world, where old master paintings sell for tens of millions of dollars--plenty of motive for murder.  
Over the years, I’ve had good covers and bad.  One of the prettiest covers I ever had was on an historical called MIDNIGHT RIDER--just released as an ebook.  The problem was the cover was completely white.  The lovely embossed bird on the front didn’t show up until the reader picked up the book.  Not many did! 
A cover is always a risk.  I’d love to know what you all think of the cover on AGAINST THE MARK.  I hope you enjoy Ty and Haley’s story, the ninth book in the series.  And that next year, you’ll look for Ty’s cousins, the Brodie brothers, starting with sexy, ruggedly handsome Dylan Brodie, in AGAINST THE WILD.
Tell me the types of covers you like? Feel free to name the book!
Till then happy reading and have a great summer.   Kat 

P.S. Visit my website www.katmartin.com. Or join my Facebook page.  

And next: An except from "Against the Mark!"

“I’ve got another client for you.  Tyler Brodie, I’d like you to meet my grandniece, Haley Warren.  Haley’s out here from Chicago.  Her grandmother was my sister.”
Just to regain a little of his dignity, Ty let his gaze roam over her, starting at the frosted-pink toenails peeking out of strappy high-heeled, open-toed sandals, sliding up a pair of long legs in snug fitting jeans, across that bare midriff with its glittering bellybutton ring over a set of nicely rounded breasts to a pretty face framed by long, softly curling honey blond hair. 
She had big blue eyes, and an Angelina Jolie mouth that made him think of dirty sex.  Maybe she read his thoughts for a faint blush rose in her cheeks.
Good.  A little payback only seemed fair. 
Besides, she was a real pleasure to look at.  Not beautiful in the classic sense like some of the women he knew, but with those dimples and big blue eyes, she was way beyond cute.
“Nice to meet you, Ms. Warren.”
The smile was gone and she assessed him coolly.  “Aunt Ellie tells me you’re a friend, as well as an investigator.”
“I like to think that’s true.”
“Of course it’s true,” Ellie said.  “That’s why I know we can count on Ty to help us.”
Wariness slid through him.  Ellie had a way of bringing him clients who were nothing but trouble.  “How’s that?”
“Well, you see, three months ago Haley’s father died when his power boat exploded.”
“I’m sorry for your loss,” he said to her.
Grief flashed in her eyes an instant before she glanced away.  “Thank you.”   
“At the time everyone thought it was an accident,” Ellie continued, “a gas leak of some kind that turned deadly.  Haley’s stepmother doesn’t believe it.  About a month ago, Betty Jean started emailing Haley, trying to convince her to come to Los Angeles and help her find out the truth.”
Ty focused on the leggy blonde.  “And you think she’s right because...?”
“I don’t know if she’s right or not.  I’ve never met her.  Before he died, my father and I had been estranged for nearly five years, ever since he left my mother and ran off with another woman.”
“Betty Jean,” he said, just to make sure he was getting this straight.
“That’s right.  After he moved to L.A., Dad tried to mend our relationship, but I just...I couldn’t get past his desertion.”  She glanced down and her eyes misted.  “Now my father’s gone.”
Ty nodded, beginning to get the picture.  “So your dad’s dead and you regret not mending your fences.”
“Yes, I do.  Very much.  But the thing is, some of the things Betty Jean says make sense.  I owe it to my father to find out what really happened.”
He flicked a glance at Ellie, whose features looked a little too bland to suit him.  “I take it you’re here to convince me to help her.”
“That’s right.  You know how good you are at these things, Tyler.  Johnnie’s out of town on some case or other.  And Haley will be helping you.  That’ll save you from having to do everything by yourself.”
Haley would be helping him.  He could think of any number of things he’d like her to do for him, but none of them had anything to do with business.  The fact was Haley Warren was Ellie’s niece.  Seducing her probably wasn’t a good idea.
“Have you talked to the police?”
“Betty Jean has,” Haley answered.  “The police said there was nothing to indicate any sort of foul play.  But my stepmother isn’t convinced and if she’s right--“
“I’ll tell you what.  I’ll look into the circumstances of the accident, see if anything looks suspicious.  I’ve got friends in the department.  If something’s not right, I’ll talk to them myself.”
Haley reached over and caught his arm.  He felt a little zing of awareness and figured she must have felt it too since she stepped back as if she’d been burned. 
She glanced away, took a deep breath and forced her eyes back to his face.  “I want to be involved in this, Mr. Brodie.  I need to find out for myself.  I owe it to my father to find out the truth.”

About author Kat Martin:

New York Times bestselling author Kat Martin is a graduate of the University of California at Santa Barbara where she majored in Anthropology and also studied History.   Before she started writing in 1985, Kat was a real estate broker.  During that time she met her husband, L.J. Martin, author of thirty western, non-fiction, historical, and suspense novels.  A resident of Missoula, Montana, Kat and her husband spend their winters in Ventura, California.  She is a currently writing her next Romantic Suspense. 

With fifty five novels to her credit and more than fifteen million copies of her books in print, Ms. Martin has been published in twenty-one foreign countries including France, Japan, Greece, Argentina, Russia, Sweden, Turkey, China, and Spain.

And now, this is your chance to WIN a copy of "Against the Mark!" Kat Martin is offering one copy of the new release, be it print or eBook - winner's choice! To enter, be sure to fill out the form below. The winner will be picked via random generator on 8/31! Make sure to read the rules before entering.

GIVEAWAY! One print or eBook copy of "Against the Mark" by Kat Martin
RULES and GUIDELINES:

~ Fill out the form below to enter. Comments are always appreciated, but do not count as an entry.
~ There will be ONE winner.
~ Contest ends SATURDAY, AUGUST 31st, 2013 at 11:59 PM. Winner will be announced sometime thereafter.
~ You must be at least 13+ to enter. This book is of a romantic nature, and is therefore suggested for someone 18+
~ Novel Addiction is not responsible for items lost in the mail or publishers failing to deliver prizes.

*** Giveaway has closed, the form is no longer open for entries. Thank you! ***

Thank you so much to Kat Martin and her promotion team for visiting! 
Happy Reading!
~!~ Amanda ~!~