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Archive for May, 2015

Dark City Lights

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Dark City Lights (Have a NYC – 4) by Lawrence Block

4 stars

(Excerpt from Goodreads) Famed detective and mystery writer Lawrence Block (A Walk Among the Tombstones, 8 Million Ways to Die) takes the helm as guest editor for DARK CITY LIGHTS, the fourth edition of the Have a NYC series. Twenty-three thrilling, hilarious and poignant short stories—all based in New York City—written by new and acclaimed fiction masters, including Robert Silverberg (Hugo and Nebula Award multiple winner; grand master of SFWA); Ed Park (author, Personal Days; senior editor, Amazon’s literary imprint, Little A); Jim Fusilli (rock and pop music critic, Wall Street Journal; author, Closing Time and A Well-Known Secret); Parnell Hall (author, Last Puzzle & Testament); SJ Rozan (Edgar, Shamus, Anthony, Nero and Macavity award-wining author); Brian Koppelman (co-writer, Ocean’s 13 and Rounders); Elaine Kagan (author, No Good-Byes; actress, GoodFellas), and more. A brilliant book that redefines the New York of today—and tomorrow.

Dark City Lights is a compilation of 23 short stories based on New York City with lots of diversity between the authors. The stories range from every day events that you might find in New York to the strange and bizarre like alien invasions and goddesses. There is a little bit of everything that will appeal to everyone.

I like reading anthologies because you get introduced to many different authors and you get a variety of styles. I also like the short stories to pass time between appointments and errands without the risk of reading until all hours of the night and not accomplishing anything. Some of the stories range from a couple pages to upwards of 20.

I admit that I’m bias and liked Lawrence Block’s story Keller the Dogkiller the best. But I really like Lawrence’s stories and this was just as good. I loved how his assassin gets himself out of a strange situation. Plus Lawrence does a great job selecting all of these stories for this collection.

I admit some of the stories were better than others, but that is what you get with an anthology. The best part is I got to learn of new authors that I’m going to check out more of there work. Over all this is a great compilation. If you like stories based on New York this would be a great book for you.

For more information or to purchase this book be sure to check out Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Goodreads.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

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I have some great news. The new spy thriller They Call Me Alexandrea Gaston launches Wednesday May 20. But here is a sneak peak at the book.

Also, there is the YA Dash giveaway going on where you can win up to 13 books including They Call Me Alexandrea Gaston. Follow the link below to get all the rules and start your hunt.

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They Call Me Alexandra Gastone

When your life is a lie, how do you know what’s real?

Alexandra Gastone has a simple plan: graduate high school, get into Princeton, work for the CIA, and serve her great nation.

She was told the plan back when her name was Milena Rokva, back before the real Alexandra and her family were killed in a car crash.

Milena was trained to be a sleeper agent by Perun, a clandestine organization from her true homeland of Olissa. There, Milena learned everything she needed to infiltrate the life of CIA analyst Albert Gastone, Alexandra’s grandfather, and the ranks of America’s top intelligence agency.

For seven years, “Alexandra” has been on standby and life’s been good. Grandpa Albert loves her, and her strategically chosen boyfriend, Grant, is amazing.

But things are about to change. Perun no longer needs her at the CIA in five years’ time. They need her active now.

Between her cover as a high school girl—juggling a homecoming dance, history reports, and an increasingly suspicious boyfriend—and her mission in this high-stakes spy game, the boundaries of her two lives are beginning to blur.

Will she stay true to the country she barely remembers, or has her loyalty shattered along with her identity?

YA Dash Giveaway

The YA DASH Book Prize Pack

The YA DASH will run from May 18th to May 20th and features 10 YA suspense authors.

The winner of the DASH will receive a signed hard copy of 14 books for hours of reading fun! Open to U.S. and Canada residents only.

All those who participate in the DASH and successfully unlock the rafflecopter will receive a PDF packet featuring CLASSIFIED, never before seen material, from each author. The CLASSIFIED material is exclusive to those participating in the DASH.

For more information check out this link.

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Dystopian/New Adult
Date Published: April 15, 2015

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Twenty years after The Great Global Riots and the collapse of humanity, Alex Locke struggles to save his family, and his home colony of Pena, from starvation. When a letter from the corrupt Govern arrives dictating a game of survival penning local colonies against each other, Alex must trust a childhood friend, and seven others, on a certain death march to win the bounty or lose the only hope left in a war-ravaged world.
Excerpt
Beads of sweat rolled into Alex Locke’s eyes as he stared at the man before him crouched in the chair, weeping, gasping for breath. The left side of his face was swollen where a cheekbone had been fractured. A urine stain dampened the front of his pants.
Alex swallowed the lump in his throat, sickened by the stench. “I want to be reasonable here, Ernie,” he said. “I really do. But I know what you are.” He lowered his mouth to the man’s ear. Heat radiated off Ernie. “And I know you have information for me.”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” the nomad stuttered back, squinting up at Alex with his one good eye. His wrists and ankles were torn and bleeding from the rope binding him to the chair. He jolted once, twice, before giving up.
“I think you do. I’m a patient man, Ernie. I can stay here all day.”
Thump. Alex turned to find York Holt, his best friend brandishing a machete. Sun rays filtered through a broken window, giving York an aura.
“York, come ‘ere,” Alex ordered. “You need to persuade this man.”
As soon as Ernie saw the dirt-encrusted blade, he jerked up in his chair, so high that two legs left the ground. “Don’t hurt me! I’ll tell you. What do you need to know?”
Alex smiled gleefully. After two hours of integration, he was finally getting somewhere. He crouched to one knee and hooked an arm over Ernie’s armrest, his face inches from his own. “Ernie, you’re a Treme, right?”
The man’s head bobbed up and down.
“I know what your kind is like. You travel the wastelands of this state, wandering in and out of colonies, taking what you please.” His gaze crossed to Ernie’s armor lying in a pile in the corner of the room, fashioned from scrap metal, car parts and animal hide. It glistened under the sun’s rays.
“Th-That’s true,” Ernie stammered. “But we only take trash. We never steal purposely.”
“What’s that?” Alex slammed his fist onto the wall beside him and pointed to the armor. “These parts weren’t trash. They belonged to people, Ernie. You can’t steal, no matter if the world ended or not!”
“I’m sorry. It won’t happen again.”
Angered by this blatant lie, Alex withdrew a knife from his back pocket and thrust it into Ernie’s right thigh. The man howled in agony and squirmed violently in his chair.
Alex didn’t budge to release him or the knife protruding from Ernie’s flesh. They were ten miles outside of town, free of interruption. There was nothing out here but barren farmland and abandoned homes.
About the Author

Born in Sydney, Australia Kellie Wallace developed a love for the written word early in life, recalling her earliest memory when she was three years old. Her father used to read to her when she was a child, establishing a deep love and respect for books. Kellie wrote a bit in high school, most memorably her first fantasy book called Giblin the Conquer, an X Files fan fiction and a military fiction. She didn’t write another word until 2007.
After finishing high school, Kellie moved to the sunny Northern Beaches from the Central Coast and carved a successful career in the media/advertising industry writing for numerous Sydney based publications.
An aspiring novelist, Kellie fulfilled a dream in 2008 having her first book All She Ever Wanted published by Zeus Publications at the age of 22 years old.
In 2013, Kellie released her newest catalogue of books Darkness before Dawn and Skylark. In her spare time she loves to write, game and draw. Her first crime fiction novel To lean of falling men and EarthWalker are out now. She currently resides in Sydney with her husband.
Author Links
Purchase Link
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Arc of Edge of Tomorrow
 
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KIDNAP: Part 1 of Guy Erma and The Son of Empire goes on sale today! Read on for more info on how to win a $100 Amazon gift card.
 
 

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Cold Heart

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Cold Heart by Chandler McGrew

5 stars

(Excerpt from Goodreads) The shooting has started. For the next four hours a killer will stalk the inhabitants of a remote Alaskan village hidden in a wilderness of awesome beauty. And Micky Ascherfeld, a burned-out ex-cop, is the only person who can stop him. Without a gun, cut off from the outside world, Micky plays a deadly game of hide-and-seek with a man on a killing rampage.

Moving from cabin to cabin, she finds her once-familiar world turned into a landscape of sheer horror. To survive, she must confront the demons in her own past, even as she becomes the focus of a madman’s sick obsession and a terrified girl’s only hope. With another life to save besides her own, Micky has found a new reason to endure…if only she can.

The story starts with a deadly shoot out with robbery gone wrong. Micky barely survives but her partner/lover getting killed. This and other events in her past has Micky going to Alaska to spend some down time with her friend. The town of McRay is very small, very secluded, almost all transportation is done by foot, and there is only one phone. What better setting for a psychopath to start killing his neighbors.

Micky will have to use her police training to stop the killer and save the residents of McRay. But she has more baggage than just loosing her partner/lover. She is fighting against time and her memories. The real challenge will be if she can hold out long enough for help to get to her.

This story starts out with a bang and just keeps going. I felt for Micky, she had been through so much but she didn’t give up. I also liked who the killer was, I didn’t expect that one. The story was fast paced and I had a hard time putting the book down.

This is a great mystery that you need to read. I can’t wait to read other books by Chandler McGrew.

To purchase Cold Heart or for more information be sure to check out Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Goodreads, and Chandler’s website.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

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Before the Fairytale: The Girl with No Name by Iscah

3 stars

(Excerpt from Goodreads) Banished from her village, a young shape shifter sets out on a journey to find her place in the world…

The first of four “Before the Fairytale” stories, “The Girl With No Name” is told in a deceptively simple storybook style with the flavor of an original Grimm’s fable, but don’t expect your typical once upon a time scenario. This is a coming of age tale humorously interwoven with social commentary.

This story is recommended for older children to adult readers (9 & up) but may not be suitable for younger children.

A young girl learns that she is a shape shifter and can use magic. Since she had no parents she was never given a name. But she did have a caregiver that did his best to raise her with what he had. But upon his death the villagers learn about her secret and banish her.

The girl goes on a variety of adventures throughout her travels. She meets all kinds of people and has many adventures. She also learns many things from magic, her family, and most of all what people want and what they are will to do to get those wants. Some of this journey is hard but in the end these lessons guide her to find a place for herself.

This is one of those stories that kind of rambles from one point to another. The girl has some hard times and she has some good ones. But all of these shape her into the young lady she becomes in the end. Wasn’t really a fan of the ending but I did understand her choice. This is not one of those happily ever after endings.

This is a good story. It is geared toward mid grade readers. I think that kids would like it because it teaches them to embrace their differences and to make their own path.

For more information or to purchase Beyond the Fairytale: The Girl With No Name be sure to check out Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Goodreads, and Iscah’s website.

I received this book for free a long time ago in exchange for an honest review.

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Descent of the Gods by Mark Cosman

(Excerpt from Goodreads) In their self-indulgent realm, the gods know no suffering until the end of their time. Compassion is the only portal through which they can escape the self and its eventual demise, but without suffering, compassion cannot be recognized. Thus they seek compassion in the human domain where happiness and sorrow abound.

Once there, they engineer a superior humanoid race and are soon distracted by the delight they find in the daughters of men. The gods become the extraterrestrial visitors of our collective memory.

The ageless story follows the adventures of the god Quay, his love of Daya, a humanoid, and their entanglement in the eternal web of impermanence, unrelenting consequences and death amidst a background of war, famine and geologic cataclysm.

Mark Cosman

Author

Mark Cosman’s writing began when his daughter, Berlyn, was murdered at her high school prom party. His book, “A Flower in the Snow” contains the searing personal account of his daughter’s murder and its heart wrenching aftermath. His odyssey in search of answers to the most profound questions we ask ourselves brought Mark to also write “Descent of the Gods” and “The Kids from the River.” Fiction novels, the works dramatize the hidden consequences of our actions we unknowingly enter.

Excerpt

Then, to my surprise, she gently placed her lips against my cheek. A tingling feeling where her lips touched ran all the way down to my toes. There was something special about her kiss. It reminded me I am her very best friend. I guessed it was what a kiss was supposed to do.

She looked down again before glancing up at me with a grin. I could tell she was happy again. Happiness is what best friends give each other. She taught me that, too.

*****

I thought of how pitifully tragic these humans are, trying to survive in a universe that seems not to want them.

Saddened by the cruelty their persistence brought to them, it could be I was feeling compassion once again. I looked up at Father from a lowered brow. His face was eclipsed the sun, creating a halo of blinding white light.

“Are you searching for compassion or spectacle? Which is it, Quay?” I could not behold Father’s face for the intense light. His voice seemed to thunder from the sun.

Perhaps I really did not have compassion for the human after all. Maybe feeling important by rescuing him was what I really wanted. Frightened into honoring Father’s warning, I submissively prostrated on the sand.

*****

Gradually, my brothers and I became conditioned by material nature, he wrote. We found it ruled the domain of happiness and sorrow. Our senses, spurred by concoctions of our minds, became attached to the gratification we found here. These senses of ours took us by surprise. They were so strong they carried our minds away. Now, I realize why Father was adamant about avoiding the lure of sense gratification.

“When one’s mind fixates upon the objects of the senses,” he told me once, “one develops attachment for them. From such attachment, desire is born. When impermanence prevents desire from being fulfilled, anger visits to take its place.”

 Review

5 stars

The gods are beings that can perish in one of two ways. They can let their dark sides take control which will destroy them. Or they can learn compassion from humans to survive. Descent of the Gods follows Quay, a god that has descended to earth. He is paired with Daya, a humanoid that is designed to serve the gods. The book follows their adventures through different events.

I really liked this book. It combined several different religions, mythology, and even aliens. I also liked how both Quay and Daya grew through their travels. Quay started to understand the human suffering and Daya great from a naive young lady to a strong woman. I loved all the different religions and myths. It really added to the story and was so fun trying to figure out where they came from.

I couldn’t wait to find out what was going to happen next with Quay and Daya. I don’t want to give too much away because it will spoil the book but I will say make sure to check out this book, you won’t be disappointed.

For more information on Descent of the Gods or to purchase the book, be sure to check out Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Goodreads, and Mark Cosman’s Facebook page.

Reading Addiction

I received this book for free from Reading Addiction Virtual Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.

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