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Thursday, November 27, 2014

Throwback Thursday: Home in Time for Christmas by Heather Graham


by:  Heather Graham
published by:  Mira
publish date:  October 27, 2009

 Melody Tarleton is driving home for Christmas when a man--clad in Revolutionary War-era costume--appears out of nowhere, right in the path of her car. Shaken, she takes in the injured stranger, listening with concern to Jake Mallory's fantastic claim that he's a Patriot soldier, sentenced to death by British authorities.  Safe at her parents' house, Melody concocts a story to explain the handsome holiday guest with the courtly manners, strange clothes and nasty bump on the head. Mark, her close friend who wishes he were more, is skeptical and her family is fascinated--though not half so fascinated as Melody herself. Jake is passionate, charming and utterly unlike anyone she's ever met. Can he really be who he claims? And can a man from the distant past be the future she truly longs for?

If you're a fan of the TV show Sleepy Hollow, I think you'll like this book.  The plot lines are quite similar.  A revolutionary war soldier is transported, by magic, from his time to our time.  Melody ends up running into him with her car.  She thinks he's a reenactment actor and is crazy so she takes him home with her.   Surprise, surprise, her house ends up being his old house.  How crazy is that??  

It's a nice little Christmas story with a historical angle.  I liked how the characters were able to compare and contrast the past and the present.  It was more history heavy and not so much a real Christmas story.  At least not in my opinion anyway.  It's more like it just happened to take place at Christmas I guess.  

Anyway, it was a romance that I tolerated.  So that was something right?  I would recommend this book.  It had a little bit of everything in there so I imagine it would appeal to a wide variety of readers.  The fact that it's a little bit older didn't take away from anything.  

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Resistant by Michael Palmer

by:  Michael Palmer
published by:  St. Martin's Press
publish date:  May 20, 2014

When Dr. Lou Welcome fills in last minute for his boss at a national conference in Atlanta he brings along his best friend, Cap Duncan. But an accident turns tragic when Cap injures his leg while running. Surgeons manage to save the leg, but the open wound is the perfect breeding ground for a deadly microbial invader committed to eating Cap alive from the inside out. The germ is resistant to any known antibiotic and the government scientist tasked with finding a cure has been kidnapped. Turning to the Centers for Disease Control for help, Lou Welcome uncovers a link to a shadowy group known as One Hundred Neighbors that has infiltrated our society and is using our health institutions as hostages. Like the deadly germs they can unleash, One Hundred Neighbors will stop at nothing to further their agenda. From the hospital corridors where anything you touch can mean your end, to the top corridors of power in this race against time, Lou must stop an epidemic, save his best friend, and face even his own most terrifying demons.

This was Michael Palmer's last book before his untimely death last year.  It was the 3rd book in he Lou Welcome series.  I like Michael Palmer's books and I was saddened by his death.  I haven't been a really big fan of the character Lou Welcome though.  He seems to be kind of unrealistic.  I can suspend disbelief for the sake of a novel, but the capabilities of Dr. Lou Welcome are fantasy land material, especially in this book.   In Resistant Welcome, an ER doctor, started battling rogue FBI agents and terrorists.  Because, you know, any fit ER doctor could pull something like that off.  It was getting a little crazy up in here.  The medicine part of the book was really fascinating though, that part was interesting.   Overall, I was a little disappointed in this last book by a favorite author, but it won't ruin things forever.  I'm hoping they'll find some other books he had going and maybe get those released.



Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Interview: Slow Hand by Victoria Vane

We are excited to welcome author Victoria Vane.  She is joining us to day with an interview as she promotes her latest book Slow Hand.  

Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Date of publication: November 2014

In rural Montana…
Wade Knowlton is a hardworking lawyer who’s torn between his small-town Montana law practice and a struggling family ranch. He’s on the brink of exhaustion from trying to save everybody and everything, when gorgeous Nicole Powell walks into his office. She’s a damsel in distress and the breath of fresh air he needs.

Even the lawyers wear boots…
Nicole Powell is a sassy Southern girl who has officially sworn off cowboys after a spate of bad seeds—until her father’s death sends her to Montana and into the arms of a man who seems too good to be true. Her instincts tell her to high tail it out of Montana, but she can't resist a cowboy with a slow hand…



Kari& Autumn: What inspired you to become a writer?

Victoria: Writing is not anything I ever intentionally set out to do. It just sort of happened.  I have always envied writers who walk around with their heads constantly filled with fantastic ideas for books. It took me forty four years to come up with what I thought was a worthy premise to write about - a historical novel Combining thwarted love, blind ambition, political intrigue, and horse racing!  The idea just kept churning around in my head during the day and invading my dreams at night, until I actually dared confess it to a good friend of mine, while we were riding up a mountain on horseback.

A few days later (coincidentally on my birthday), I found a package on my front porch.  Inside was a book on how to publish a book.  I don’t even remember the name of it now, but it was all the extra push I needed. After fourteen months of blood, sweat and tears, (well…not so much blood… unless you count paper cuts) I completed my first draft of THE HIGHEST STAKES, a Georgian era drama/romance set against the backdrop of early Thoroughbred horseracing. At the time I didn’t know a single writer. I had no literary contacts so I then set out to find a literary agent (thus began the sweating part).
Thirty-plus queries later, with as many rejections, (This is where the tears actually came in.) I finally decided that none of these agents were worthy of representing my masterpiece. I then set out to find a publisher that did not require an agent. I queried Sourcebooks and Kensington, both of whom to my shock expressed interest in my book. Sourcebooks offered me a contract. I cried again but these were tears of joy.
Fourteen months later (and after much more profuse sweating throughout the editing process) The Highest Stakes (writing as Emery Lee was published. That was April of 2010.  I later moved into historical romance (writing as Victoria Vane) and now have thirteen published novels and novellas.  

Kari& Autumn:  Where do you come up with the ideas for your books?

Victoria: Mostly from things that I read. I am a true research geek so I am constantly web surfing anything that strikes my fancy. All of my stories, whether historical or contemporary, contain various elements of reality. In my upcoming contemporary Western series I feature the struggles of modern day cattle ranching, as well as the wolf and wild horse controversies.

Kari& Autumn:  What exciting projects are waiting in the wings?

Victoria: I am happy to say readers will be seeing a lot of me as I have eight books coming over the next 18 months.  Ironically, I am currently under contract with BOTH of the publishers who first expressed interest in my debut historical novel.  My first hot contemporary cowboy series launches November 4 with SLOW HAND, book #1 in Hot Cowboy Nights from Sourcebooks and then I have a Las Vegas set cowboy series coming from Kensington in early 2016. The first book is called HELL ON HEELS.

Kari& Autumn: Who is your favorite literary character and why?

Victoria: My favorite literary character is probably Rhett Butler from Gone with the Wind. I love that charming rogue! He seems perfectly feckless but then surprises us with a noble side when he join a lost cause and again later with how deeply he loves his daughter and how affected he is by her death. He’s a fabulous character.

Kari& Autumn:  Just for fun, if you could be any animal, what would it be and why?

Victoria: That’s a no brainer- a horse. I have loved them my entire life and have owned thirteen of them. I currently own a gorgeous and sweet grey Arabian named Princeton.



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About the author:

Victoria Vane is an award-winning author of smart and sexy romance. Her works range from historical to contemporary settings and include everything from wild comedic romps to emotionally compelling erotic romance. Her books have received more than twenty reviewer awards and nominations to include the 2014 RONE Award for Treacherous Temptations and Library Journal Best E-Book romance of 2012 for The Devil DeVere series.Look for her hot new contemporary cowboy series coming from Sourcebooks in Fall of 2014.

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Monday, November 24, 2014

Review & Interview: Lady Elinor’s Wicked Adventures by Lillian Marek

Welcome author Lilliam Marek.  She joins us today as she promotes her debut novel, Lady Elinor’s Wicked Adventures.  Enjoy her interview after my thoughts on the book.  

Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablance
Date of publication: November 2014

Harry DeVaux, Viscount Tunbury, loves Lady Elinor Tremaine, but is convinced that his past makes him unworthy of her. He agrees to accompany the Tremaine family to Italy to explore Etruscan ruins, even if it chips away at his resolve to stay away from the delightful woman he loves.

Amid the sightseeing and treasure hunting, Elinor comes to realize that she wants far more from Harry than friendship, but when a dangerous discovery leaves them fighting for their lives, it might just be too late..


My thoughts:

I thought Lady Elinor’s Wicked Adventures was a very good debut romance.  The characters were interesting and engaging.  I loved the friend to lovers relationship between Elinor and Harry.  They were a good match for each other.  Harry has had no family love in his life except for the love he has received from Elinor and Pip's family growing up.  I was rooting for them to finally express their feeling for each other and see they were perfectly matched.  One of my favorite parts was the epilogue!  It was so very sweet.

There is also some intrigue and action in the book that involves Elinor's brother Pip and his beautiful Italian hostess Lissandra. I liked that story line.  My only regret is that their romance was kind of boring.  I wish that it had been explored further so I could believe they were a good match.  I also enjoyed the parts about the Etruscan tomb excavations.  Those were very interesting.


As I said, I think this is a good debut novel and one I recommend trying out.  I see a bright future for this author and I look forward to reading more from her.

Kari& Autumn: What inspired you to become a writer?

Lillian: Oh goodness, I don’t know that I’d call it inspiration. It’s more like a compulsion. I love words. It’s almost as if they are jewels that you can pick up and roll around in your hand to admire. Then there are all those stories and characters crowding around in my mind, clamoring to get out. So I give in and enjoy myself.

Kari& Autumn: Where do you come up with the ideas for your books?

Lillian: Everywhere. I’ll be reading a book, and one of the characters will do something that strikes me as foolish. I’ll think, “No—she should have done X instead.” First  thing I know, I’ve put the book aside and I’m working out an entirely different story with different characters. Or I will be minding my own business and a couple of characters will pop into my mind and begin acting out a scene. Then I have to write it down and add it to my list. The list is up to 75 ideas at this point, but not all of them will pan out. Thank goodness! I would never get away from my keyboard.

Kari& Autumn: What exciting projects are waiting in the wings?

Lillian: The next book in my Victorian Adventure series, Lady Emily’s Exotic Journey, takes place in the Near East. Lady Emily—Lady Elinor’s sister—and her family travel through the Ottoman Empire to visit the excavations of Nineveh at Mosul. It was quite a shock to have the monstrous events of recent months explode in the headlines just a few weeks after I’d sent the manuscript to my editor at Sourcebooks. I’m hoping readers will realize that part of the world wasn’t quite the horrendous battleground in 1861 that it is today. Lady Emily manages to have quite a few adventures, but they are not gruesome ones.
Right now I’m working on the third book, which is set in a tiny principality in central Europe. It’s full of masquerades and dastardly plots, and the heroine is a third Tremain sister.

Kari& Autumn: Who is your favorite literary character and why?

Lillian: That depends a lot on my mood at the time. It could be Becky Sharp from Vanity Fair, or Rebecca from Ivanhoe, or Lizzie Bennett from Pride and Prejudice, or Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple. But it ‘s never a wimpish creature who sits around waiting to be rescued or feeling sorry for herself.
I’ve just realized that I was only thinking of female characters, and you didn’t specify that, did you? Then maybe Robin Hood, standing up to protect the powerless. Or Rafael Sabatini’s Scaramouche. I love the opening line of that book—“He was born with a gift of laughter and a sense that the world was mad.”

Kari& Autumn: Just for fun, if you could be any animal, what would it be and why?

Lillian: I suppose you want a real animal, so I can’t say a mermaid. But for me it would have to be a water creature, so I’d pick a porpoise. When I was a child, I used to see them from time to time in Long Island Sound and they always looked so happy, frolicking out there in the water.

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About the author:

Lillian Marek was born and raised in New York City (the center of the universe). At one time or another she has had most of the interesting but underpaid jobs available to English majors. After a few too many years in journalism, she decided she prefers fiction, where the good guys win and the bad guys get what they deserve.

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Sunday, November 23, 2014

Things Good Girls Don't Do by Codi Gary

Author: Codi Gary
Publisher: Avon Impulse
Date of publication: August 2013

Good girls don't steal.
Good girls don't visit sex shops.
Good girls don't have one-night stands.

For Katie Conners, being a good girl just isn't worth it anymore. It used to mean getting the life she always wanted. But that was before she got dumped and her ex got engaged to his rebound. So, after a bad day and one too many mojitos, Katie starts making a list of things a girl like her would never do, not in a million years . . .

As a tattoo artist with a monster motorcycle, Chase Trepasso isn't the kind of guy you bring home to mom and dad.

And when he finds Katie's list in a bar, he's more than happy to help her check off a few items. Especially the ones on the naughtier side . . .


I found Things Good Girls Don't Do a refreshing read.  Not only is is a cute yet steamy romance, it features a "bad boy" who is not all too confident about himself.  You don't see that much so it was a nice change.  Katie is tired of being the good girl who always gives in and lets people walk all over her.  When she is caught making a list of things a good girl wouldn't do, Chase become intrigued by her.  He sets out to help her cross things off her list.

I thought that these two were good for each other.  Chase helped Katie get in touch with her wild and outspoken side.  Katie helps him see that he is "good enough" for someone to love.  I kind of liked that Chase was a little low on confidence. All too often the bad boy is a confident alpha who I don't really like.  Chase grew up on the wrong side of the tracks and has never felt loved by his mother.  My favorite part of the book was when he returns to town after leaving Katie without a goodbye. His own list that he uses to apologize was perfect!  I was really rooting for them to get their HEA.  

I'm a little behind on this series as the fourth book, Return of the Bad Girl comes out next month. But, while I wait, I look forward to visiting with Rock Canyon again in the next book, Good Girls Don't Date Rock Stars.




Saturday, November 22, 2014

The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith

by: Robert Galbraith (psuedonym JK Rowling)
published by:  Mulholland Books
publish date:  June 24, 2014

When novelist Owen Quine goes missing, his wife calls in private detective Cormoran Strike. At first, Mrs. Quine just thinks her husband has gone off by himself for a few days—as he has done before—and she wants Strike to find him and bring him home.

But as Strike investigates, it becomes clear that there is more to Quine's disappearance than his wife realizes. The novelist has just completed a manuscript featuring poisonous pen-portraits of almost everyone he knows. If the novel were to be published, it would ruin lives—meaning that there are a lot of people who might want him silenced.


This is the adult series written by J.K. Rowling in case perhaps you missed all the hoopla surrounding the release of the first book The Cuckoo's Calling.  I liked that book, particularly the characters of Cormoran Strike and his assistant Robin.  

The Silkworm took me awhile to get into.  I had trouble with the story line for some reason.  I have this issue with books about authors for some reason.  There seems to be a lot of them lately and I'm just really tired of reading about authors and what a quirky lot they are.  Yeah, I get it, y'all are so tortured and no one gets you or your work or the deeper meaning of it or whatever it is you're trying to say about constantly writing about writers.  Anyway...enough about that quibble, I think what drew me into The Cuckoo's Calling was the character Robin.  She's Cormoran's assistant/secretary.  I really like her character and she seemed to take a bit of a backseat in this book.  I hope in the next book she's featured a bit more prominently, because her she's very enjoyable to read.  The tension between her and Cormoran and her fiance is good stuff!

I assume there will be a 3rd Cormoran Strike book at some time in the future.  I will definitely be reading it.  This is a great detective series by a great writer.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Blog Tour: The Silent Girls by Eric Rickstad

Author: Eric Rickstad
Publisher: Witness Impulse
Date of publication: October 2014

With the dead of a bitter Vermont winter closing in, evil is alive and well …

Frank Rath thought he was done with murder when he turned in his detective's badge to become a private investigator and raise a daughter alone. Then the police in his remote rural community of Canaan find an '89 Monte Carlo abandoned by the side of the road, and the beautiful teenage girl who owned the car seems to have disappeared without a trace.

Soon Rath's investigation brings him face-to-face with the darkest abominations of the human soul.

With the consequences of his violent and painful past plaguing him, and young women with secrets vanishing one by one, he discovers once again that even in the smallest towns on the map, evil lurks everywhere—and no one is safe.

Morally complex, seething with wickedness and mystery, and rich in gritty atmosphere and electrifying plot turns, The Silent Girls marks the return of critically acclaimed author Eric Rickstad. Readers of Ian Rankin, Jo Nesbø, and Greg Iles will love this book and find themselves breathless at the incendiary, ambitious, and unforgettable story.

I was in the mood for a good horror novel since I haven't really read a good one since Bird Box.  I had high hopes for The Silent Girls.  Sadly, it didn't live up to its expectations for me.  I got about halfway through and decided to give up. I'm not saying it was badly written, it just never seemed to get off the ground.

It started out promising with a gruesome and eerie opening.  In a flash back, a woman is brutally murdered on Halloween.  Fast forward to the present and private detective Frank Rath has been called to consult on a missing teenager's possible disappearance.    He has his own dark past since his sister and brother-in-law were murdered years before.  But then the book kind of seemed to move at a snail's pace.  I like my horror/thrillers to be fast paced and keep me on my toes.  That wasn't the case for me here.

I have included an excerpt from the book below.  It has gotten other great reviews.  I encourage you to try it out for yourself. Just because it wasn't for me, doesn't mean you won't like it!



Excerpt:

The child stepped into the house and shut the door with a soft click. Its face hovered above the woman's. The woman reached up, clutched the mask's rubbery skin. Pulled. The mask would not come off. She dug her fingers in. Clawed. The mask stretched. The knife sliced. She tore at the mask, gasping. The child had been right.

Monsters did exist.



About the author:


Eric Rickstad’s taut, chilling literary crime novels strip back the bucolic veneer of rural America and root around in its tragic underbelly. His first novel Reap was a New York Times Noteworthy Book first published by Viking Penguin. His novel THE SILENT GIRLS, from HarperCollins, was published October 28, 2014. His short stories and articles have appeared in many magazines and been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. He holds an MFA from the University of Virginia where he was a Hoyns Fellow and a Corse Fellow. He lives in Vermont with his wife and daughter, and is represented by Philip Spitzer of the Philip G. Spitzer Literary Agency.


Thursday, November 20, 2014

Throwback Thursday: Seduction by Design by Sandra Brown



Author: Sandra Brown wroiting as Erin St. Claire
First published in 1983 by Silhouette

Hailey Ashton projects an image that she's on top of everything, but no one realizes that she lives a life of quiet emptiness -- not ready to have a relationship, not willing to give herself body and soul to a man.

Never able to compete with her younger sister, the thoughtless beauty of the family, Hailey opted to be the "good girl." But when she meets Tyler Scott -- her rich, attractive new boss -- she longs to be anything but good. She wants to be chic, smart, and savvy.

Tyler is self-assured with women. But when it comes to being a father, he's got a lot to learn. Hailey Ashton seems perfect. His attraction to her is so powerful he wants her in his arms -- as well as in his daughter's life.


Seduction by Design is one of Ms. Brown earlier romances that she wrote under the alias Erin St. Claire.  For me, it was just an OK read.  I actually thought it could have been a cute story. I liked Tyler and his take charge personality.  I liked the way he wormed his way into Hailey's life.

I would have liked this book more had I liked the heroine.  I found Hailey to be annoying after a while.  Her insecurities really grated on my nerves. For every time that she seemed to be making progress, she would take something the wrong way and slide right back into her insecure self.  I got to the point where I was almost rooting for Tyler to dump her.  Of course, they get their HEA, but it took too long for them to get there for me. 


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Blog Tour: The Red Book of Primrose House by Marty Wingate

Author: Marty Wingate
Publisher: Alibi
Date of publication: November 2014


Pru Parke has her dream job: head gardener at an eighteenth-century manor house in Sussex. The landscape for Primrose House was laid out in 1806 by renowned designer Humphry Repton in one of his meticulously illustrated Red Books, and the new owners want Pru to restore the estate to its former glory—quickly, as they’re planning to showcase it in less than a year at a summer party.

But life gets in the way of the best laid plans: When not being happily distracted by the romantic attentions of the handsome Inspector Christopher Pearse, Pru is digging into the mystery of her own British roots. Still, she manages to make considerable progress on the vast grounds—until vandals wreak havoc on each of her projects. Then, to her horror, one of her workers is found murdered among the yews. The police have a suspect, but Pru is certain they’re wrong. Once again, Pru finds herself entangled in a thicket of evil intentions—and her, without a hatchet.

The Red Book of Primrose House is the second in the book in the potting shed series.  Once again, the author has given us a good solid mystery with a great amateur detective.  This time around, Pru has taken the job as head gardener at Primrose House.  She has been given the task of restoring the gardens to their former glory.  Someone keeps sabotaging her work and then one of her employees is murdered.  As in the first book, Pru puts on her detective thinking cap and sets out to solve the mystery.

I enjoyed this one.  While I wasn't too surprised at who the murderer was, I still had fun watching Pru figure it all out. She is just such a likable character. We also learn a bit more about Pru and her background.  I won't spoil it, but she gets a big surprise that affects her family tree in a big way.  We are also treated to more of Pru and Christopher together.  Their relationship is really sweet.

Even though this is the second in the series, you could read this one as a stand alone. I do hope more books featuring Pru Parke are planned for the future.  I look forward to reading them!

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About the author:


Marty Wingate is the author of The Garden Plot and a regular contributor to Country Gardens as well as other magazines. She also leads gardening tours throughout England, Scotland, Ireland, France, and North America. More Potting Shed mysteries are planned.


Purchase Links


Marty Wingate’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS:
Monday, November 3rd: Bibliotica
Tuesday, November 4th: No More Grumpy Bookseller
Thursday, November 6th: A Bookish Way of Life
Thursday, November 6th: Luxury Reading
Friday, November 7th: 5 Minutes for Books
Monday, November 10th: Reading Reality
Monday, November 10th: A Chick Who Reads
Tuesday, November 11th: Kahakai Kitchen
Wednesday, November 12th: Patricia’s Wisdom
Thursday, November 13th: Under a Gray Sky
Friday, November 14th: Back Porchervations
Tuesday, November 18th: Dwell in Possibility
Wednesday, November 19th: From the TBR Pile
Thursday, November 20th: Open Book Society
Friday, November 21st: 2 Kids and Tired Books
Monday, November 24th:  A Book Geek
Tuesday, November 25th: Brooke Blogs
TBD: Omnimystery News - guest post


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Veronica Mars: The Thousand Dollar Tan Line by Rob Thomas & Jennifer Graham

Authors:Rob Thomas & Jennifer Graham
Publisher: Vintage
Date of publication:  March 2014

Ten years after graduating from high school in Neptune, California, Veronica Mars is back in the land of sun, sand, crime, and corruption. She's traded in her law degree for her old private investigating license, struggling to keep Mars Investigations afloat on the scant cash earned by catching cheating spouses until she can score her first big case.

Now it's spring break, and college students descend on Neptune, transforming the beaches and boardwalks into a frenzied, week-long rave. When a girl disappears from a party, Veronica is called in to investigate. But this is not a simple missing person's case. The house the girl vanished from belongs to a man with serious criminal ties, and soon Veronica is plunged into a dangerous underworld of drugs and organized crime. And when a major break in the investigation has a shocking connection to Veronica's past, the case hits closer to home than she ever imagined.
 

 
I am a huge fan of Veronica Mars.  I loved the TV show and was sad when it was canceled.  I also loved the movie.  So, I was excited to read the first in a new series by the show's creator, Rob Thomas and author Jennifer Graham.  The book picks up right after the events of the movie, so if you haven't seen that yet, watch it first.  In fact if you haven't seen the show at all, I would get caught up first.  This book kind of assumes you know all about Veronica and her past.

For the most part, I liked the mystery  There was a lot of the humor from the show.  There was also a couple of twists that surprised me.  I liked the older and wiser Veronica as much as the high school student.  She is still her usual snoopy sarcastic self.  What I was surprised at was the change in the way the story was presented. The book was in third person and not narrated by Veronica as it is in the show.  That was a bit strange.  I had to wonder why the author chose to write the story this way.  I think what threw me even more for a loop was the audiobook was narrated by Kristen Bell who plays Veronica Mars.  It was just weird to hear her read a book and not "talk" to me like she does in the show.  Fans of the show will know what I mean.

Anyway Mr. Thomas has said that these books will be written within the continuous world of Veronica Mars.  I assume that means any more potential movies will take place after the books.  The next one, Mr. Kiss and Tell comes out next year.  I look forward to reading it!