This Week’s Read: Beneath the Surface by Mike Martin

BTS_Front_highResBlurb: Sgt. Windflower is back and as usual he’s loving life on the east coast. He may be a long way from his home in Northern Alberta but he has been adopted by the locals as almost one of their own. He has a good life, good work with the RCMP, and a good woman that he has grown closer to in his years on the southeast coast of Newfoundland. But trouble is brewing just beneath the surface of this calm and charm-filled existence.

It begins with the discovery of a dead girl’s body in St. John’s, the capital city of Newfoundland and Labrador. The girl is from Grand Bank where Windflower has been stationed for the last few years. Sgt. Windflower and his associate Corporal Eddie Tizzard are pulled further and further into the case. The situation also grows to include a whole array of criminal activities from human trafficking and even the Russian Mafia.

Along the way Windflower not only has to deal with this crime wave operating all around the region, but with some challenges in his own life. He has to go back to his Aboriginal roots to find the answers to some very deep and disturbing questions. But nothing seems to bother his appetite and joy for life, especially his appetite. He continues to sample traditional Newfoundland dishes like fish and brewis but he also expands to include pan-fried sea trout and baked salmon, along with a range of desserts from blueberry buckle to his all-time favourite, peanut butter cheesecake.

His faith in the police force, that has become his life, is also threatened by a series of events that he becomes aware of that are certainly immoral if not even illegal. He is forced to face not only his own personal demons but those in real life that are lurking all around us. Sometime they are right in front of our face, but at other times they are hiding deep beneath the surface, waiting to be resolved.

Snag your copy at:

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Kobo

Author Bio: 

I have always been a writer, even as I have earned a living doing many, many other things. For the last 15 years I have been a freelance writer, specializing in workplace and social policy issues. I have been published in newspapers and magazines across Canada, the United States and New Zealand. My first published book was Change the Things You Can: Dealing With Difficult People, published by Booklocker in 2011. The Walker on the Cape was my first published fiction book although I have published a number of short stories in periodicals and on-line. The Body on the T is the second book in the Sgt. Windflower Mystery Series

I am a member of Ottawa Independent Writers, Capital Crime Writers, the Crime Writers of Canada and the Newfoundland Writers’ Guild.

Review: Gifted by HS Stone

Rating: Maybe

Perhaps it’s because I’ve seen several variations on this theme, but this story, for all of its promise, felt flat. Which is a shame, because I really enjoyed Stone’s other novel, In The Hands of Children. After reading this, I think it probably should have been labelled as middle grade rather than young adult, and a few tweaks would have kept it perfectly in line with this.

Gifted-cover2This young adult fantasy follows twins, Voima and Vennd, who are quite different. Voima is a giftless young woman, while Vennd is gifted with the power of nearly-instant healing (Think Wolverine pre-adamantium skeleton). This story bounces between their POVS and the king’s, who is capturing all Gifted people and making them fight to the death. We don’t really receive a clear explanation why, but power-hungry as he is, it’s self-explanatory.

The twins have a close relationship, and it’s obvious as the story unfolds that they’ll do anything to save each other. The stakes become clear when Vennd is discovered and captured by the king’s men.

This leads on to what made the story flat to me. Rather than experiencing the ensuing drama through Voima (or Vennd), most of her POV is spent reacting to things, rather than the story coming alive. I very much felt, at one point, that she was a character going through a plot rather than a person experiencing a horrifying, life-changing event. Part of it is because of how the scenes play out, with her reacting constantly without significant, real change from beginning to end. Part of what plays into this was constantly being told about her emotional state rather than experiencing it with her.

Having said that, the plot is fun to read through. We watch Gifteds struggle against the king and his sister’s tyranny. We get to experience life as Gifted’s on the run and how they manage to survive in a world which hates them. The cast is lively, and with more space or in future novels, would really shine on their own.

If you enjoy a quick, good read with an adventure fantasy plot, then this book would definitely appeal to you.

Gifted can be purchased at Amazon.

This Week’s Read: Gifted by HS Stone

In a kingdom where the Gifteds are captured and thrown into fights to the death, Voima is fortunate that she is just a Regular. However, her brother, Vendd, isn’t so lucky. Since his Power started manifesting itself, the siblings have lived a life on the run, barely escaping the king’s soldiers. Just as Voima and Vendd have settled into a new home, a fleeing Gifted enters their lives, begging for help Gifted-cover2but bringing soldiers after him. Despite the siblings’ efforts, the soldiers discover Vendd’s Power. Now Voima, an outmatched Regular girl, must find a way to defeat the kingdom’s most dangerous Gifteds in order to save her brother from certain death.

Gifted can be purchased at Amazon.

 

Even before he could read, H.S. Stone wanted to write a book. Fascinated by the stories that seemed to leap from his kindergarten teacher’s books, he went home and wrote his own book, with illustrations and bound by staples. Of course, since he didn’t know how to read or write yet, the book was full of gibberish. Undaunted, H.S. eventually mastered the ABC’s and continued to write throughout his grade school years, adolescence, and into adulthood. Despite earning a degree and working in a field not related to writing, he continued to pursue his writing passion. H.S. Stone’s publications include novels aimed at Young Adult and Middle Grade readers as well as several short stories. He currently lives with his family in the San Francisco Bay Area.

 

 

 

Review: Restless in Peaceville

Rating: Yay!

Genre: YA Paranormal

It’s all downs and downs for Luke, who’s been kicked out of the waiting line for heaven because of his choices in life. Instead he gets shipped back to Earth and his reward is becoming a zombie.

I’ll admit I’m not a zombie fan, but Pippa Jay did an amazing job of breathing a new kind of life into paranormal stories, zombies included. A quick read, Restless in Peaceville became a book I couldn’t put down.

There’s some tension, some crazies, a Voodoo Queen, a paranormal killer called The Peacemaker and so much more. Luke also has a sidekick in Annabelle, another zombie. They team up to find a solution that doesn’t involve consuming human flesh, though the choices aren’t easy ones.

This is a first person POV story, set in the town of Peaceville in swamp-filled New Orleans. For an author from across the pond, Pippa did an amazing job of embodying the creole/Cajun South of the area. From the language to the food and the visual imagery. I enjoyed being immersed in the environment and honestly loved the story.

If you’re looking for a good paranormal YA without love triangles and just so good, down home horror monsters overcoming the horror of their situation I highly recommend Restless in Peaceville.

Get your own copy:

Lycaon Press

Amazon 

Amazon UK

This Week’s Read: Restless in Peaceville by Pippa Jay

Restless in PeacevilleWelcome to Peaceville, population 2067 and rising…from the grave…

Luke Chester has had enough. He’s the school geek, the girls laugh at him, he’s lost his dead-end job at the pizza place, and in the midst of the world’s messiest divorce his parents don’t even know he exists. An overdose of his mom’s tranquilizers and a stomach full of whiskey should solve all his problems…

But they don’t. Instead, Luke finds himself booted out of the afterlife for not dying a natural death, with nowhere to go but back to his recently vacated corpse and reality. How the hell is he going to pass for one of the living without someone trying to blow his brains out for being one of the undead?
And it just gets worse. He’s got to fight his own desperate craving to consume the living, evade the weird supernatural hunter who’s having a field day with the new undeads rising, and there’s this creepy black shadow following him around. Add to that the distraction of female fellow undead Annabelle burning to avenge her own murder, and clearly there’s no rest for the wicked. Jeez, all he wanted to do was R.I.P.

 

 

Want your own copy before the review?

Lycaon Press

Amazon 

Amazon UK

Author Bio:

After spending twelve years working as an Analytical Chemist in a Metals and Minerals laboratory, Pippa Jay is now a stay-at-home mum who writes scifi and the supernatural. Somewhere along the way a touch of romance crept into her work and refused to leave. In between torturing her plethora of characters, she spends the odd free moment playing guitar very badly, punishing herself with freestyle street dance, and studying the Dark Side of the Force. Although happily settled in the historical town of Colchester in the UK with her husband of 21 years and three little monsters, she continues to roam the rest of the Universe in her head.

Pippa Jay is a dedicated member of the Science Fiction Romance Brigade, blogging at Spacefreighters Lounge, Adventures in Scifi, and Romancing the Genres. Her works include a YA science fiction novel—Gethyon—published through BURST (Champagne Books), a scifi romance novella—Tethered—published by Breathless Press, three self-published short stories (Terms & Conditions Apply, The Bones of the Sea, and Reboot), and she’s one of eight authors included in a science fiction romance anthology—Tales from the SFR Brigade. She’s also a double SFR Galaxy Award winner, been a finalist in the Heart of Denver RWA Aspen Gold Contest (3rd place), and the GCC RWA Silken Sands Star Awards (2nd place).

You can stalk her at her website http://pippajay.co.uk, or at her blog http://pippajay.blogspot.co.uk, but without doubt her favorite place to hang around and chat is on Twitter as @pippajaygreen.

Review: Missing, Presumed Undead by Jeremy Davies

Genre: Fantasy Noir

Rating: Yay!

Holy smokes, readers, we’ve got a winner here.

This story follows a minotaur detective named Frank and his trusty side kick. And here is why I got hoomissingfin-SW300ked – the story is from the sidekick’s POV. And his helper? None other than an enchanted blade named Rhys, who, if it wasn’t obvious, is also a self-aware blade. It’s such a fresh, different POV that I was immediately intrigued.

It wasn’t just the POV. The story, which follows the disappearance of a young lady’s body (presumably through someone with necromancer skills), gives us a delicious mix-up of noir-style mystery with action-packed situations and an urban fantasy setting, this book beautifully ties all three into an engaging story.

Snarky Rhys the blade can’t help but add his digs in, proverbial and physical, along the way. We snake through Necromancers and attempted suicides, and up through GAOL and through Hightown, which is suffering all sorts of ills thanks to a murderer on the loose.

I don’t want to give too many details away, as it’s how all the bits tie together that make this story really good. In fact, the only quibble I have is that there were a few times where I wish the noir voice had been let up for the sake of simplicity/clarity. I love reading noir, but there were a few times where the character had to go out of his way to explain something that in theory, he shouldn’t have had to, or I had to reread a few times to make sure I understood exactly what was going on.

These were really minor moments in an otherwise stellar novel. I’d happily read more in this world/series. If you like unique voices, or want a fresh take on noir/urban fantasy, then definitely take this book out for a spin.

Missing, Presumed Undead can be found at the following retailers:

Amazon

Satalyte Publishing

This Week’s Read: Missing, Presumed Undead by Jeremy Davies

missingfin-SW300Welcome to the world of Casablantasy, where shining kingdoms are certainly not spread like blue mantles beneath the stars. Instead, the City: where corporate greed meets foul necromancy; the unrelenting advances of Maginology and the subtle menace of the Guilstapo exist beside squalid City breed cut throats and ogres with exaggerated axes.

Here, the legend of Franklin ‘Stubby’ Mynos begins: a be-spectacled minotaur with a mind for Kryptic Krosswords and a stomach for Hurghian coffee. There’s a killer on the loose, which is hardly news in a City crawlin’ with killers; but this killer—The Hightown Hacker—is killing the wrong kinds of people, in the wrong kinds of places. City commerce is suffering. Rich and powerful people are getting scared. The City Watch’s Magicrime Analysis Division (MAD) can’t buy a trick, and the Body Politik Registry wants to pay Frank a stack of Swine to do the deed.

It’s his first big case, the one that would put him on the map, but he’s not interested. He’s more into some dead body swiped from the Embalmers’ Guild and the ever-burgeoning zombie workforce: how they’re recruited and have they got a Union?

Forget what you’ve heard. This is the truth … or, at least, the facts strung together in a meaningful way.

You want the truth? Go see a poet.

Jeremy Davies is made of ink, but don’t dip a feather in him. It tickles. He is also an editor, a religious atheist, a liker of strong coffees, a Shakespeare-lover, a political anarchist and someone who rarely has a pen when he needs one. He has been a PhD candidate, a personal trainer, a life model, a bouncer, an infantry soldier and someone who rarely had a pen when he needed one. He has had words published in a variety of places, in a variety of publications, in a variety of forms, in a variety of moments: Canada, Wet Ink, SMS and twelve minutes past three in the afternoon being some of these. He lives in a ‘leafy’ area of Melbourne, Australia, that resembles City Eastside (a little).

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