Favorite Quotes on Books and Reading

"A book is a gift you can open again and again." Garrison Keillor

Literature is a textually transmitted disease, normally contracted in childhood.” Jane Yolen

"It is what you read when you don't have to that determines what you will be when you can't help it." Oscar Wilde

"Books have furnished, burnished, and enabled my life." Julia Keller

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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Literary Giveaway Blog Hop - Second Chance!



Mea culpa, mea culpa... My apologies to everyone that is following the Literary Blog Hop. This hop is not supposed to end until midnight Eastern time on 10/31/2012, but due to an oversight on my part (sorry), it has ended early. 

As a result of my oversight, you now have a second chance to win a copy of When She Woke by Hillary Jordan. One winner will be chosen from the initial Rafflecopter and a second winner will be chosen from the abbreviated Rafflecopter shown below. Both winners will be announced on November 1, 2012.





a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Literary Giveaway Blog Hop




The Literary Blog Hop is once again being sponsored by Judith at Leeswammes Blog (thank you Judith), and runs from Saturday, October 27th through Wednesday, October 31st. The giveaway is a paperback copy of When She Woke by Hillary Jordan via The Book Depository

Bellwether Prize winner Hillary Jordan's provocative new novel, When She Woke, tells the story of a stigmatized woman struggling to navigate an America of a not-too-distant future, where the line between church and state has been eradicated and convicted felons are no longer imprisoned and rehabilitated but chromed--their skin color is genetically altered to match the class of their crimes--and then released back into the population to survive as best they can. Hannah is a Red; her crime is murder. In seeking a path to safety in an alien and hostile world, Hannah unknowingly embarks on a path of self-discovery that forces her to question the values she once held true and the righteousness of a country that politicizes faith.





This giveaway is open to international residents over the age of 18; the only limitation is ensuring The Book Depository ships to your country (check here). 

To enter, please go here and use the official Rafflecopter form (comments do not count as an entry). The winner will be announced on Thursday, November 1st.


Psst...You don't want to miss the giveaways at Judith's blog, check it out: Leeswammes Blog.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Book Blast: WAITING BOOTH by Brinda Berry

The Waiting Booth by Brinda Berry
ISBN: 9781937976552 (paperback)
         2940012768070 (ebook)
ASIN: B005D7F7US (Kindle)
Publication Date:  July 15, 2011
Publisher:  Etopia Press
     





The Waiting Booth by Brinda Berry

A missing boy, government agents, an interdimensional portal... Mia has one goal for her senior year at Whispering Woods High-find her missing older brother. But when her science project reveals a portal into another dimension, she learns that travelers are moving in and out of her woods in the most alarming way and government agents Regulus and Arizona are policing their immigration. Mia's drawn to the mysterious, aloof Regulus, but it's no time for a crush. She needs to find out what they know about her brother, while the agents fight to save the world from viral contamination. But when Regulus reveals that he knows Mia's secrets, she begins to wonder if there's more going on than she thought...and if she was wrong to trust him...

Purchase:

Amazon * Barnes & Noble * Book Depository








Praise for The Waiting Booth:
"The book kept me on the edge of my seat with its perfect balance of teenaged angst, interdimensional portals, and a fractured family."
~ Author Christine Ashworth

"The description was so good I could easily see things as they happened...like a movie playing in my mind as I read. I just love Regulus. He's my kind of hero for sure."
~ Author Lynn Rush







Author Brinda Berry

Brinda Berry lives in the southern US with her family and two spunky cairn terriers. She has a BSE in English and French and a MEd in Learning Systems Technology. She's terribly fond of chocolate, coffee, and books that take her away from reality. She doesn't mind being called a geek or “crazy dog lady”. When she's not working the day job or writing a novel, she's guilty of surfing the internet for no good reason.




Links:



Website * Blog * Facebook * Twitter 


Goodreads * Youtube * Google+




The Waiting Booth Book Trailer:














Book Blast Giveaway Details:
$100 Amazon Gift Card or $100 PayPal Cash from Author Brinda Berry
Ends 11/1/12
*You need not enter your twitter name for each entry.  Simply enter it when you follow Brinda and leave the others blank.


a Rafflecopter giveaway



Open to anyone who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent's permission. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

2012 Book 210: 1222 by Anne Holt REVIEW


1222 by Anne Holt
ISBN: 9781451634723 (Paperback)
 9781451634884 (Ebook)
ASIN: B004G5YVSM (Kindle)
Publication date: August 7, 2012
Publisher: Scribner

A train on its way to the northern reaches of Norway derails during a massive blizzard, 1,222 meters above sea level. The passengers head for a nearby hotel, centuries old and practically empty. With plenty of food and shelter from the storm, the evacuees think they are safe, until one of them turns up dead. With no sign of rescue and the storm raging, retired police inspector Hanne Wilhelmsen is asked to investigate. Paralyzed by a bullet lodged in her spine, Hanne has no desire to get involved. But when another body turns up, panic takes over. Complicating things is the presence of a mysterious guest, a passenger who traveled in a private rail car and now stays secluded on the top floor of the hotel. No one knows who the guest is, or why armed guards are needed. Hanne has her suspicions. Trapped in her wheelchair, trapped by the storm, and now trapped with a killer, Hanne knows she must act before the killer strikes again.

A train climbing a steep Norwegian mountain derails moments after the train's engineer dies and close to a station and hotel. Fortunately no one else onboard suffers from any life-threatening injuries and they are all evacuated to the Finse 1222 hotel. The travelers are a motley crew and include a retired police investigator, families on vacation, doctors' on route to a medical conference, and a host of other travelers. Not all of the passengers get along, due to differences in politics and religious beliefs, but all is going reasonably well until a murder. Hanne Wilhelmsen is extremely antisocial but is lured into providing a superficial investigation into the death of the priest Cato Hammer. Nerves are on edge, especially since a rescue cannot be mounted due to severe winter storms. Hanne tries to remain calm and as isolated as possible, until the next murder occurs. Will she be able to determine who is murdering the survivors before there's another death? Will the storm abate long enough for a rescue before another death? Who are the mysterious guests from the private train car and are they the cause of the unrest and murders?

I was initially intrigued by the idea of a murder at an isolated mountain hotel during a severe winter storm. I was further intrigued by the notion of a retired police officer being pulled into the investigation against her will. I wish I could say my intrigue lasted throughout the reading of 1222. I don't know if the suspense simply lost something in translation. Superficially this seemed like a great "whodunit" crime mystery, but there was just too much going on with very little of it being interesting. The subplots seemed to stall and fade in-and-out, leaving unresolved issues and questions until the bitter end. Hanne may have been a capable police investigator, but she is not a likeable character. She seems to be goaded into participating in the murder investigation and appears to remain a relatively unwilling participant until the very end. For me, her personality made finishing 1222 seem more like a chore than a desire to find out who did it and why. If you've read 1222 and enjoyed it, please share your thoughts with us.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book for free from the publisher. I was not paid, required or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Buy the book at:





Thursday, October 18, 2012

2012 Book 204: CREWEL Review


Crewel (Crewel World #1) by Gennifer Albin
ISBN: 9780374316419 (Hardcover)
 9780374316440 (Ebook)
ASIN: B0080K3D10 (Kindle)
Publication date: October 16, 2012
Publisher: Farrar, Strauss and Giroux

Incapable. Awkward. Artless.
That’s what the other girls whisper behind her back. But sixteen year-old Adelice Lewys has a secret: she wants to fail.
Gifted with the ability to weave time with matter, she’s exactly what the Guild is looking for, and in the world of Arras, being chosen as a Spinster is everything a girl could want. It means privilege, eternal beauty, and being something other than a secretary. It also means the power to embroider the very fabric of life. But if controlling what people eat, where they live and how many children they have is the price of having it all, Adelice isn’t interested.
Not that her feelings matter, because she slipped and wove a moment at testing, and they’re coming for her—tonight.
Now she has one hour to eat her mom’s overcooked pot roast. One hour to listen to her sister’s academy gossip and laugh at her Dad’s stupid jokes. One hour to pretend everything’s okay. And one hour to escape.
Because once you become a Spinster, there’s no turning back.

Adelice, and her parents, know that she is special, but they don't want her to become a Spinster. Her parents know that if she is taken by the Guild she'll never return home or see her family again. They have tried to teach her to hide her gifts and expect her to fail her testing. Unfortunately Adelice excels during her testing and knows that she'll be taken. What she doesn't know are the great lengths her parents will go to while trying to save her. Their efforts result in her father's death, her mother is missing, her sister is in custody, and she is considered a runaway. This is not a great way to start with the Spinsters.

After initially being thrown into a cell and treated as a prisoner, Adelice is soon given preferences no other Eligible is shown. She is wined and dined by the Coventry Ambassador, Cormac Patton and hated by her training supervisor, Maela and another Eligible, Priyana. She befriends a guard, Erik, and falls in love with a valet, Jost Bell. Her mentor, Enora, tries to guide her in proper protocol, as well as in curbing her resistance to the rules and regulations. She is also cautioned by Erik and Ambassador Cormac, but Adelice knows that all is not what it appears. She is all too aware that the Guild and the Spinsters control the lives and well-being of all residents of Arras. She quickly learns that the reality of Arras may be defined by the Spinsters but it is the Guild that has total control. 

Adelice quickly becomes the new Crewel trainee under the guidance of the current Crewel, Loricel. The Crewel has weaving skills that no other Spinster has and is given a certain amount of latitude with regards to rules and regulations, or at least Loricel is partially due to her age as well as her skills. But the more Adelice learns about being a Spinster and the Crewel the more she questions. The more Adelice questions the more she realizes she must escape . . . escape not only from the Guild but from Arras. Will her actions cause more ripples in the unrest throughout Arras? Will she be able to successfully escape and leave her sister behind?

Ms. Albin has created a wonderful dystopian tale with Crewel (Crewel World #1). Adelice, Loricel, Jost, and even Erik are all likeable characters and the interaction between them all adds a sense of realism to the story. Maela, and Priyana to a lesser extent, are vindictive and jealous and play the roles of "mean girls" quite well. Cormac Patton symbolizes the power and the corruption of the Guild in their need to control everything, even how people think. Crewel provides a few twists and turns when learning about the responsibilities of the Spinsters and the Guild and just how controlling they are over the reality of Arras. The plot twists at the end (no I won't reveal what it is) provide a glimpse into what may happen with the next book. I eagerly await the next installment in the life and reality of Adelice.

Learn more about Crewel World here.

Disclaimer: I received an advanced reader copy of this book free via ShelfAwareness Pro. I was not paid, required or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Book Trailer:


Buy the book:



Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Excerpt: EXTRAORDINARY RENDITION

Title: Extraordinary Rendition by Paul Batista
ISBN:  9781938231261
Publication Date: July 31, 2012
Publisher:  Astor + Blue Editions, LLC.

When Ali Hussein, suspected terrorist and alleged banker for Al Qaeda, is finally transported from Guantanamo Bay to the US mainland to stand trial, many are stunned when Byron Carlos Johnson, a pre-eminent lawyer and son of a high-profile diplomat, volunteers to represent him. On principle, Johnson thought he was merely defending a man unjustly captured through rendition and water-boarded illegally. But Johnson soon learns that there is much more at stake than one man’s civil rights.
Hussein’s intimate knowledge of key financial transactions could lead to the capture of—or the unabated funding of—the world’s most dangerous terror cells. This makes Hussein the target of corrupt US intelligence forces on one side, and ruthless international terrorists on the other, and puts Byron Carlos Johnson squarely in the crosshairs of both.
Pulled irresistibly by forces he can and cannot see, Johnson enters a lethal maze of espionage, manipulation, legal traps and murders. And when his life, his love, and his acclaimed principles are on the line, Johnson may  have one gambit left that can save them all; a play that even his confidants could not have anticipated. He must become the hunter among hunters in the deadliest game.
Written by no-holds-barred attorney Paul Batista, Extraordinary Rendition excels not only as an action thriller, but as a sophisticated legal procedural as well. Smart. Fast. Heart-pounding. A legal thriller of the highest order.

Excerpt from Chapter 1:


When the guard left, the iron door resonated briefly as the magnetic lock engaged itself. Byron sat in a steel folding chair. Directly in front of him was a narrow ledge under a multi-layered, almost opaque plastic window, in the middle of which was a metal circle.Ali Hussein seemed to just materialize in the small space behind the partition. Dressed in a yellow jumpsuit printed with the initials “FDC” for “Federal Detention Center,” Hussein, who had been described to Byron as an accountant trained at Seton Hall, in Newark, was a slender man who appeared far more mild-mannered than Byron expected. He wore cloth slippers with no shoelaces. The waistband of his jump suit was elasticized—not even a cloth belt. He had as little access to hard objects as possible.
He waited for Byron to speak first. Leaning toward the metal speaker in the partition and raising his voice, Byron said, “You are Mr. Hussein, aren’t you?”
The lawyers at the Civil Liberties Union who had first contacted Byron told him that, in their limited experience with accused terrorists, it sometimes wasn’t clear what their real names were. There were often no fingerprints or DNA samples that could confirm their identities. The name Ali Hussein was as common as a coin. It was as though genetic markers and their histories began only at the moment of their arrest.
“I am.” He spoke perfect, unaccented English. “I don’t know what your name is.”
The circular speaker in the window, although it created a tinny sound, worked well. Byron lowered his voice. “I’m Byron Johnson. I’m a lawyer from New York. I met your brother. Did he tell you to expect me?”
“I haven’t heard from my brother in years. He has no idea how to reach me, I can’t reach him.”
“Has anyone told you why you’re here?”
“Someone on the airplane—I don’t know who he was, I was blind-folded—said I was being brought here because I’d been charged with a crime. He said I could have a lawyer. Are you that lawyer?”
“I am. If you want me, and if I want to do this.”
All that Ali’s more abrasive, more aggressive brother had told Byron was that Ali was born in Syria, moved as a child with his family to Lebanon during the civil war in the 1980s, and then came to the United States. Ali never became a United States citizen. Five months after the invasion of Iraq, he traveled to Germany to do freelance accounting work for an American corporation for what was scheduled to be a ten-day visit. While Ali was in Germany, his brother said, he had simply disappeared, as if waved out of existence. His family had written repeatedly to the State Department, the CIA, and the local congressman. They were letters sent into a vacuum. Nobody ever answered.
Byron asked, “Do you know where you’ve come from?”
“How do I know who you are?”
Byron began to reach for his wallet, where he stored his business cards. He caught himself because of the absurdity of that: he could have any number of fake business cards. Engraved with gold lettering, his real business card had his name and the name of his law firm, one of the oldest and largest in the country. Ali Hussein was obviously too intelligent, too alert, and too suspicious to be convinced by a name on a business card or a license or a credit card.
“I don’t have any way of proving who I am. I can just tell you that I’m Byron Johnson, I’ve been a lawyer for years, I live in New York, and I was asked by your brother and others to represent you.”Almost unblinking, Ali just stared at Byron, who tried to hold his gaze, but failed.
At last Ali asked, “And you want to know what’s happened to me?”“We can start there. I’m only allowed thirty minutes to visit you this week. Tell me what you feel you want to tell me, or can tell me. And then we’ll see where we go. You don’t have to tell me everything about who you are, what you did before you were arrested, who you know in the outside world. Or you don’t have to tell me anything. I want nothing from you other than to help you.”

Monday, October 15, 2012

Guest Author Post by J.S. Watts: "It's A Cover Up"


It’s A Cover Up

By J.S. Watts


As an avid reader I have, from time to time, been surprised by the inaccuracy of book covers. By this I don't mean printing errors or dodgy artwork. Far from it; these can often be quite beautifully designed covers. It’s the content or subject detail that is the surprise. Alluringly put together as these covers are, they entice you, like sirens of the book shelves, to browse, read and buy. It’s only when you have read in full the book that each cover surrounds, you realise that theirs is a hollow promise that doesn’t deliver. The image sprawled across the cover is, at best, an imaginative interpretation of the book’s actual content, at worst, a work of pure fiction in its own right. In other words, the enticing cover image bears little or no resemblance to the book it embraces.

You have to ask, hasn’t the designer read the book they are creating a cover for? In some cases the answer must surely be no.

I have also noticed, with a different type of surprise, the excitement/anxiety with which most authors react to the unveiling of their latest book’s cover. When my first two poetry books came out, I really didn't think that much about cover veracity, or about covers much, at all. My poetry publisher favours artistically austere covers, beautiful in their tasteful, monochrome way, but hardly cause for angst or undue excitement and anyway the black and white cover images were ones I had created myself, so I was happy they were an appropriate and sympathetic reflection of the books’ contents.

With the publication of my first novel, A Darker Moon, it was a different matter altogether. My publisher in this instance, Vagabondage Press, has its own design team and all I had to do was admire their artistic efforts. I suddenly discovered that waiting for someone else to interpret your literary baby is a nerve-wracking business. Would the cover artwork be striking? Would I like it? Would it be a fair and accurate reflection of what I had written?

The day of revelation was upon me. The draft image arrived by email and I clicked on it nervously. And breathed: striking – tick, beautiful – tick, I didn't like it - I loved it, but was it an accurate reflection of both the spirit and the detail of the novel, a dark psychological fantasy? The answer was, breath  again, a resounding, oh yes! I take my hat off to Vagabondage’s Art Director – she had read and understood my novel and rendered its spirit beautifully and graphically.

I tried out the cover on friends and acquaintances. What did they think? I was delighted by their responses: “beautiful”, “striking”, “impressive” and, most important to me, “darkly foreboding”. The novel is a mythical tale of light and shadow and the unlit places where it is best not to shine even the dimmest light: I'm not after pastel pink bunnies and “lightly encouraging”.



I was also impressed by the way the cover doesn't try to tell the complicated story of my anti-hero, Abe Finchley and his search for the woman he has been looking for all his life. Instead, it captures the spirit  and atmosphere of the novel by reflecting three of the key motifs running throughout the story: the owl with its “huge yellow eyes like two full harvest moons” that haunts Abe’s lifelong nightmares, the moon itself, with its evolving phases and apocryphal darker sibling moon named after the goddess Lilith and the darkly flowing water which winds its way through both Abe’s story and London, where the book is set, like a ribbon of night.    

As soon as I saw the cover for A Darker Moon I knew it had been designed by someone who had read and understood the book, both in terms of story and tone. I cannot begin to describe what a wonderful feeling that is; that somebody ‘gets’ what you have spent ages and much sweat producing and has transformed it accurately and effectively into another art form. At last, I have understood why other authors go on at length about their book covers and their excitement at seeing them for the first time. I must also admit that I have rather fallen in love with the glowering and gorgeous owl in the centre of the cover: unlike Abe Finchley, I fortunately don't have “a morbid fascination” with owls. 

Anyway, enough words on the subject of cover design. Covers are visual things, they have to be seen to be appreciated. So here’s an image of the front cover of A Darker Moon. I hope you fall in love with it the way I have.





J.S. Watts is a British writer. She was born in London, England and now lives and writes in East Anglia. In between, she read English at Somerville College, Oxford and spent many years working in the education sector. She remains committed to the ideals of further and higher education despite governments of assorted political persuasions trying to demolish them.

 
Her poetry, short stories and book reviews appear in a variety of publications in Britain, Canada, Australia and the States including Acumen, Brittle Star, Envoi, Mslexia and Fantastique Unfettered and have been broadcast on BBC and independent Radio. She has been Poetry Reviews Editor for Open Wide Magazine and, until its demise, Poetry Editor for Ethereal Tales. Her debut poetry collection, Cats and Other Myths and a subsequent poetry pamphlet, Songs of Steelyard Sue are published by Lapwing Publications. Her novel, A Darker Moon, is published by Vagabondage Press.  Further details of her books can be found on her website: www.jswatts.co.uk. You can also find her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/J.S.Watts.page


Buy your copy of A Darker Moon at:


Saturday, October 13, 2012

2012 Book 203: BONE WIRES Review


Bone Wires by Michael Shean
ISBN: 9781620070703 (hardcover)
 9781620070697 (paperback)
 9781620070680 (ebook)
Publication date: July 13, 2012
Publisher: Curiosity Quills

In the wasteland of commercial culture that is future America, police are operated not by government but by private companies. In Seattle, that role is filled by Civil Protection, and Daniel Gray is a detective in Homicide Solutions. What used to be considered an important – even glamorous – department for public police is very different for the corporate species, and Gray finds himself stuck in a dead end job.
That is, until the Spine Thief arrives.
When a serial killer begins harvesting the spinal tissue of corporate employees all over the city, Detective Gray finds himself plunged into the first truly major case of his career. Caught in a dangerous mix of murder, betrayal and conflicting corporate interest, Gray will find himself not only matching wits with a diabolical murderer but grapple with his growing doubt toward his employers in the dawning months of the American tricentennial. A thrilling mystery set in the same world as the Wonderland Cycle, Bone Wires is a grim trip into the streets of the empty future.

Dan Gray is a homicide detective. His job isn't glamorous but it does provide great perks as you move up the corporate ladder. Dan is currently a Tier 3 with a Blue Badge and he yearns for a case that will take him to Tier 4 or 5 and garner an Amber Badge. Dan is all about the job. His partner, Brutus Carter, has been on the job as long as Dan has been alive. Carter actually worked for the Seattle Police Department before policing went to the private sector. Carter appears to do his job and nothing more, or at least that's how it appears to Dan.

Dan's dreams are fulfilled when he receives not one but three calls for homicides in less than one week. All of the victims have had their spines removed. The first victim is an off-duty CivPro officer, Anderson. The investigation into his death allows Dan to meet the stripper, Angela "Angie" Velasquez. Angie seems to have dirt to dish about the deceased and she gradually spills her information while flirting with Dan. Even though a similar homicide occurs within days of the first, Anderson's case is quickly closed once it is learned he was selling CivPro information to outside concerned parties. And once that case is closed, Dan works fast to become friendlier with Angie. 

Even though Dan seemingly solves the "spine thief" case and ties it to at least a few hundred unsolved cases, he remains restless. Dan is quickly pulled up the chain and receives his Amber Badge. He's at a higher pay grade and receives numerous upgrades and perks, such as a new vehicle, a new apartment, and a bonus for solving the case. He even got the girl, as his relationship develops with Angie, albeit slowly. But all is not what it appears and just when it seems like Dan's life is going full-steam on his desired career track he runs into a major snag that could cost him his life.

Mr. Shean has provided a dystopian mystery thriller with Bone Wires. He paints a haunting picture of a possible future that has suffered the ravages of global warming and numerous wars. The language is often harsh which appears to amplify the dystopian qualities of this not-so-distant future world. The characters are all well-developed, and the action and settings very realistic. The good and bad guys seem to exist in a world filled with not only black-and-white, right-and-wrong but also myriad shades of grey. Dan struggles to remain on the side of right but is pulled into the greyer areas as the story progresses. Mr. Shean has provided a story filled with plenty of twists and turns so the reader is never quite sure what will come next. Bone Wires was a very different mystery-thriller read for me, primarily because of the language (a lot of profanity is used but it adds to the harshness of the story and doesn't really detract). I'm not sure if I would have chosen Bone Wires as a story to read on my own, but I'm very glad I had the opportunity to read it. If you enjoy mystery thriller reads with an edge, then grab a copy of Bone Wires . . . it won't disappoint you.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book free for review purposes via Full Moon Bites Blog Tours. I was not paid, required or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Buy a copy of Bone Wires:



Excerpt: BONE WIRES





Bone Wires by Michael Shean
ISBN: 9781620070703 (hardcover)
 9781620070697 (paperback)
 9781620070680 (ebook)
Publication date: July 13, 2012
Publisher: Curiosity Quills


In the wasteland of commercial culture that is future America, police are operated not by government but by private companies. In Seattle, that role is filled by Civil Protection, and Daniel Gray is a detective in Homicide Solutions. What used to be considered an important – even glamorous – department for public police is very different for the corporate species, and Gray finds himself stuck in a dead end job.

That is, until the Spine Thief arrives.

When a serial killer begins harvesting the spinal tissue of corporate employees all over the city, Detective Gray finds himself plunged into the first truly major case of his career. Caught in a dangerous mix of murder, betrayal and conflicting corporate interest, Gray will find himself not only matching wits with a diabolical murderer but grapple with his growing doubt toward his employers in the dawning months of the American tricentennial. A thrilling mystery set in the same world as the Wonderland Cycle, Bone Wires is a grim trip into the streets of the empty future.

Excerpt:


The scene of the crime was an alleyway behind an abandoned Roziara Deli. Crowding the street outside the deli were a pair of patrol cars, white wedges of steel with ribbon lights that stained the nearby buildings red and blue. Street officers clustered around the mouth, black body armor over blue uniform fatigues; unlike the sidearms that Gray and Carter carried, the streeties carried the blunt, brutal shapes of submachine guns close to their plated chests. A cordon had been set up; the narrow yellow band of holographic tape that stretched across the alley mouth glowed as it cycled through baleful warning messages.

“They used to have good subs here,” said Carter as they pulled up in front of the moldering delicatessen. “Slabs of capicola as thick as Annie Cruz’s ass. Just incredible.”

“Don’t know that name,” said Gray.

“Porn star,” said Carter, who produced his badge and flashed it at a streeter who was approaching them. “Way before your time. Put on your war face, here comes the Pacifier.”

Carter’s Amber Shield glowed like the very words of God Almighty in the low light. “Carter and Gray,” said Carter, keeping his identification held up so that the streeter could see it. “Homicide Solutions.”

“Lem Martin,” replied the streeter. “Pacification Officer, patrol region 927.”

“This is your beat then,” said Gray, who produced from the inside pocket of his suit coat a slim Sony microcomp and engaged its holographic display. Data from the Nexus sprang to life above the palm-sized slab. “What do you have for us, Martin?”

Martin winced a bit at the lack of ‘Officer’ before his surname – you got a lot of that with Pacification Services, of which street patrol was the biggest group. They didn’t like being talked down to. Gray outranked him, however, and didn’t give a shit besides. “Nasty stuff,” Martin said, jerking his head toward the alley mouth. “Victim’s name is Anderson, Ronald P., Administration. His panic implant was set off about an hour ago and flatlined soon after; me and my partner were in the area, and when we found him…well. Real horror show back there, is all I can say. I called for backup. Dunno what they used, but…well. You’ll see.”

Carter and Gray looked at each other – streeters saw all sorts of things. If they said it was a nasty scene, they’d probably do well to get smocks and rain boots. “All right, Officer,” Carter said, at which Martin seemed to relax a bit. “Were there any witnesses, security footage, anything like that?”

“Nothing we could find,” said Martin. “This area’s been abandoned for years. Anyone who lives here cleared out as soon as they heard us coming. You know how it is.”

“Yeah,” said Gray. Don’t want to get arrested for just being around. “All right, thanks, Officer. If you and…”

“Conklin and Peavey,” Martin replied. “In the other car. Patel’s with me.”

“…Right,” Carter replied with a nod. “If you fellas can keep up the cordon on either side of the alley, we’ll have a look. Call the coroner while you’re at it.”

“On it,” barked Martin, who stepped away from the alley mouth while touching the side of his throat where a subvocal mic, standard issue for street patrol, had been implanted. Carter waited until Martin had backed up a few steps and was well into conversation before he gestured for Gray to follow him. The two men passed through the holographic cordon, the barrier no more solid than the air around it, and took a few steps into the feebly-lit alleyway. The space behind the deli was dark and thick with shadows, lit only by the dying bulb of a lamp set over the shop’s sealed back door. A figure slumped or lay in the cone of dim light that spilled across the building’s crumbling facade. The air was faintly tinged with the smell of ozone and cooked meat. The two men approached; Gray held his computer in one hand while Carter fished the flat, card-sized shape of a palm lamp from a coat pocket. Cupping the lamp in his hand, Carter threw a beam of bright blue- white light across the alleyway and clearly illuminated the corpse.

Lean and muscular in life, that which had been Ronald Anderson half-crouched, half-sprawled across the alleyway, his handsome face pointing down toward the filthy concrete. The corpse’s posture reminded Gray of an old girlfriend; she was a yoga fanatic and used to do something similar called the Child’s Pose. Anderson’s formerly clean white dress shirt had been cut open, straight down the back from collar to waist, and his belted slacks had also been cut down to the base of the pelvis. His back had been tattooed with a medieval Japanese wave scene.

Anderson’s flesh had been laid open. Arching upward and away in a v-shaped furrow, a deep channel now butterflied the man’s back half from the base of his skull to the top of his pelvis. Where his spine should have been there was only a bloodless, grayish-red channel. The red and ivory of cleanly clipped bone and cooked organs were clearly visible in its absence, his heart a gray and veined lump. It was as if the tattooed sea had somehow come alive, restless and roaring, and attempted to rise away from its host who could never have survived its rebellion. 

Without the slightest drop of blood, Ronald Anderson had been boned like a fish.

“Damn,” muttered Carter, stepping forward so he could track with his light the awful wound. “Never seen that before. What do you make of it, Dan?” For Gray, who had only experienced the more pedestrian horrors of stranglings, stabbings and gunshot wounds in his brief career, there was no clean reply. “That’s the strangest thing I’ve ever seen,” he breathed instead, staring down at the carved gutter. Gray had said ‘strangest’ – however, what he had truly wanted to say was ‘most horrible’.

Looking down at the murdered man, Gray knew that his ‘sexy’ case had arrived, just as he had wished for it, but the only thing he could wish for now was to be anywhere else.

As if sensing the truth behind Gray’s words, Carter snorted softly. “Lucky you, kid,” he replied in a wry and vaguely weary tone. “Lucky you.”

Friday, October 12, 2012

Excerpt: BLUFF by Lenore Skomal



Title: Bluff by Lenore Skomal
ISBN: 978147819247X
Publication Date: October 1, 2012
Publisher: Lenore Skomal Press


"To the medical world, I was a host body, surviving only to bring a new life into the world. And while I wanted to die more than anything in the world, I never wanted this. No, I never wanted to cease to exist. This was the worst death of all.”

Jude Black lives in that in-between, twilight place teetering on death but clinging to life in order to bring her baby into this world. Only she knows the circumstances surrounding her mysterious fall off the bluff that landed her in the hospital being kept alive by medical intervention. Only she knows who the father of her baby is. In this poignantly crafted literary novel, the mystery unfolds and the suspense builds as the consequences of Jude’s decisions threaten to reveal everyone's deceptions, even her own. Bluff offers a sensitive look at essential questions such as the value of human life, the consciousness of those in a coma and the morality of terminating life support. At the core is the story of a tragically misunderstood woman who finds peace, acceptance, understanding and even love on her deathbed.


Excerpt 1:



I was born a weakling. An infection set in after my mother's water broke and somehow that translated into pneumonia, which settled into my hours-old lungs. It was touch-and-go for several days. As the story goes, my mother Gay found religion, went into hiding in the hospital chapel and prayed like a mad woman. She sought the help of St. Jude. She made a deal with the saint. If I lived, and oh she prayed and prayed I would, she would name me after this mighty and powerful patron saint, the court of spiritual last resort for those with hopeless causes.
Yes, Gay kept her word and named me after the saint who saved my life. I never thought of asking her what she would have named me if I had died. I think a birth name can predestine you for life. I am Jude, the hopeless cause.



Excerpt 2:


It was as if something died in Jude in order to make room for the new life to live. Like she was punishing herself, imprisoning herself in her own personal purgatory and keeping Frances out. Instead of the new life infusing her with a reason for living, it seemed to have become a death sentence. Jude rarely spoke of the pregnancy, took no joy in reporting the results of the doctor's visits when she actually went to them, and rebuffed Frances' attempt to create any happiness around the impending birth. It was as if it were happening to someone else, not Jude.
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