Thursday, November 24, 2011

David Baldacci's Zero Day

Zero Day by David Baldacci

The blurb:
John Puller is a combat veteran and the best military investigator in the U.S. Army's Criminal Investigative Division.  His father was an Army fighting legend, and his brother is serving a life sentence for treason in a federal military prison.  Puller has an indomitable spirit and an unstoppable drive to find the truth.

Now Puller is called out on a case in a remote, rural area in West Virginia and country from any military outpost.  Someone has stumbled onto a brutal crime scene, a family slaughtered.  The local homicide detective, a headstrong woman with personal demons of her own, joins forces with Puller in the investigation.  As Puller digs through deception after deception, he realizes that absolutely nothing he's seen in this small town, and no one in it, is what it seems.  Facing a potential conspiracy that reaches far beyond the hills of West Virginia, he is one man on the hunt for justice against an overwhelming force.

Zero Day is the first in David Baldacci's newest series with introducing John Puller, an Army investigator with larger than life strength and skills.   John Puller, reminds me a bit of one of my favorite detective heroes,  Lee Child's Jack Reacher.  There are obvious similarities between the two. Both are large, exceptionally strong and powerful men -- likely in the top 1 percentile in physical strength.  Both are well trained investigators with a strong sense of justice. They have faith in their country even as the people and institutions that they trust and rely on let them down.  They are both highly decorated soldiers -- just the type that the Army needs and wants to promote.

Neither John Puller nor Jack Reacher are interested in becoming generals or career officers.  They are disillusioned by the Army and they respond in different ways.   While Reacher leaves the U.S. Army to travel the world without a suitcase, John Puller has strong ties.  Remember that Reacher refuses to be tied down by a home, family, mortgage or even a suitcase and a change of clothes.    Instead he buys something new and disposable each time.  In contrast, John Puller  -- he has been shaped by his father and his brother.  The two most important men in his life were highly respected and decorated Army men.  And while Puller's brother is now in prison for treason and his father the two star general is suffering from dementia, Puller spends time with both of them every week.

Puller conducts both the investigative work and the CSI work when he handles an Army investigation.  As Puller performs these investigations for the Army, he works within the system and is deeply sensitive to its hierarchy and bureaucracy.   Puller faces greater restraints than Reacher  as he follows the government's strict rules, but Puller respects these constraints and shows his ability to read a situation and the people around him. Puller has a strong moral center - and it comes out in the best possible way.  Puller is the sort of detective hero that you can't help but root for. 

In Zero Day, David Baldacci introduces a new hero and an investigator that will surely capture the hearts of readers everywhere.  John Puller is on my top ten list of investigators - can't wait until the next Jack Puller adventure.

ISBN-10: 0446573019 Hardcover $27.99
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing (October 31, 2011), 448 pages.
Review copy provided by the publisher.

About the Author:
David Baldacci
is one of the world's favorite storytellers. His books are published in over 45 languages and in more than 80 countries, with over 110 million copies in print.  David Baldacci is also the cofounder along with his wife, of the Wish You Well Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to supporting literacy efforts across America.  Still a resident of his native Virginia, he can be found at and his foundation at  and to look into its program to spread books across America at

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Great Scots and HIghland Heat Blog Tour

Welcome to the Great Scots & Highland Heat Blog Tour! If you enjoy love stories of feisty independent maidens and powerful Scottish warriors, read on.  Forever Romance is sponsoring a giveaway of these two romances.

Highland Hero by Amanda Scott
The blurb:
Lady Marsi Cargill refueses to marry a man who wants her land rather than her love.  To escaper her lineage and accompanies her young cousin -- the future King of Scots - on a secret journey across the Highlands.  Their guide is a mysterious knight known only as Hawk.  Heat flares between the beautiful maid and the brooding warrior, but when Marsi's true identity is revealed, Hawk's desire gives way to fury.

Summoned by the King to guard his son, Sir Ivor "Hawk" Mackintosh now has two royals to protect.  This daring, willful woman has invaded Hawk's every thought, and laid siege to his heart.  Soon the solitary soldier is yearning for a life with Marsi at his side and in his bed. But as their passion grows, so too does the danger surrounding them.  Powerful enemies watch their every move, and to survive, Hawk and Marsi must fight for Scotland's future - as well as their own new-found love.

Highland Hero gives us a likable hero in Hawk.  One of the bravest and most skilled warriors of his generation.  Hawk is deeply loyal to his King and agrees to hide the young prince to protect him from the the King's younger brother, the Duke of Albany.   As Hawk risks everything to protect the young prince, his attraction to the mysterious Marsi adds just enough humor to the story.

Highland Hero delivers politics, intrigue, and romance.  With Hawk and his circle of Scottish warriors Amanda Scott begins a new series of exciting romance.

ISBN-10: 0446574309 - Mass Market Paperback $7.99
Publisher: Forever; Original edition (October 1, 2011), 400 pages.
Review copy provided by the publisher.

The Sinner by Margaret Mallory
The blurb:
Four fearless warriors return to the Highlands to claim their lands and legacies.  But all their trials on the battlefield can't prepare them for their greatest challenges yet: winning the hearts of four willful Scottish beauties.

Alex MacDonald is knownn for his skill as a warrior, his prowess with women, and his vow to never take a wife.  But now his chieftain has asked him to make the ultimate sacrifice:  wed Glynis MacNeil, a lass famed throughout the Highlands for her exquisite beauty -- and defiant ways.

Familiar with heartbreak and betrayal, Glynis refuses to fall for another handsome scoundrel. Yet when Alex's past sins force their unlikely union, Glynis gives in to temptation and becomes his wife.  Will their newfound passion be strong enough to fight the enemy that threatens their home, their clan, and their very lives?

While Highland Hero  mixes high politics and the struggle for the Scottish crown, The Sinner focuses on the two romantic leads.

Alex is forced to ally himself with a powerful family to protect his clan.  Glynis's family is pressuring her to do the same.  But Glynis is young and high spirited and determined to marry for love.  So, she plays tricks to discourage her suitors, tries her best to avoid Alex.

Alex is attracted to Glynis's spirit, humor and beauty. It is clear from the start that Alex and Glynis are destined for each other. The obstacles, uncertainty and misunderstandings only add to the fun of their love story.  Margaret Mallory gives us another fun escape in The Sinner.

ISBN-10: 0446583103 - Mass Market Paperback $7.99
Publisher: Forever; Original edition (November 1, 2011), 416 pages.
Review copy provided by the publisher.

Forever Romance and the Hatchette Book Group is generously sponsoring a giveaway of both books.  To enter the giveaway, just share why you'd like to win these books.

1. Please include your email address, so that I can contact you if you win. No email address, no entry.
2. You must be a follower to join the contest.
3.  One winner per household.

The contest is limited to US and Canada only. No P.O. boxes. The contest ends at noon on Dec. 15, 2011. 

Lady Sophie's Christmas Wish by Grace Burrowes

Lady Sophie's Christmas Wish (Windham Sisters, #1)
Lady Sophie's Christmas Wish by Grace Burrowes

The blurb:
All she wants is peace and anonymity. . . Lady Sophie Windham has maneuvered a few days to herself at the ducal mansion in London before she must join her family for Christmas in Kent.  Suddenly trapped by a London snowstorm, she finds herself with an abandoned baby and only the assistance of a kind, handsome, stranger standing between her and complete disaster.

But Sophie's holiday is about to heat up. With his estate in ruins, Vim Charpentier sees little to feel festive bout this Christmas. His growing attraction for Sophie Wiindham is the only thing that warms his spirits.  But when Sophie's brothers whisk her away, Vim's most painful holiday memories are reawakened.

It seems Sophie's been keeping secrets, and now it will take much more than a mistletoe kiss to make her deepest wishes come true. . . .

A duke's daughter with a heart of gold, Sophie's grown up protected by privilege, wealth and her loving family.  She's also a bit of soft touch. When their maid runs off leaving her baby with Lady Sophie at a stagecoach station, Sophie is at a loss.  It's fortunate for her that the young Vim Charpentier knows quite a lot about babies and helps her.  Sophie somehow invites him to her family London home and as he helps with the baby Kit, Sophie offers him shelter from the storm.  Without having made arrangements for a place to stay in London, Vim agrees against his better judgment. He finds himself drawn to the mysterious Sophie who appears to be a trusted servant, possibly a housekeeper.  As he teachers her how to care for the baby,  they fall in love.

Add to the mix a mutual desire for anonymity,  a case of mistaken identities, lack of caution and judgment.  Things take a turn when Sophie's three brothers appear and Vim learns her true identity.  Though Vim has a title of his own, he never expected to woo a duke's daughter.

Full of missed chances and misunderstandings, these star-crossed lovers make for a fun read.

ISBN-10: 1402261543 - $7.99
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca (October 1, 2011), 416 pages.
Review copy provided by the publisher.

About the Author:
New York Times bestselling author Grace Burrowes's debut novel, The Heir, was named one of Publishers Weekly's Top Five Romances for 2010, and the sequel, The Soldier, was named one of Publishers Weekly's Top Ten Romances for Spring 2011.  Both are New York Times and USA Today bestsellers.  As the final book in The Duke's Obsession trilogy, The Virtuoso, hits the shelves, Grace will be hard at work in the remaining stories of the 5 Windham sisters, of which Lady Sophie's Christmas Wish is the first.

Grace is a practicing attorney specializing in child welfare law.  She lives and works in rural Maryland.  She loves to hear from her readers and can be reached through her website at or through email at graceburroughs at or her fan page on Facebook.