Black Friday Deals! Add Some Suspense To Your Holidays

It’s Black Friday week! I do the majority of my shopping online and this is the perfect time to find great deals. No crowds. No lines. I sit here in my pajamas, sipping tea and listening to music, taking my time while hunting for the perfect gift at the right price. The problem, of course, is I often find irresistible bargains for all the stuff I want – books and music. I have an Amazon wishlist with 139 CDs and 108 books. When I see a great sale, I tell myself it makes sense to buy the book or CD, regardless of the fact that I’m supposed to be shopping for other people. After all, I’m saving money. Right? :)

This week I’m contributing to the shopping frenzy by offering three of my titles as Black Friday deals! First, from November 26 through 29, Into The Light is a Kindle Countdown Deal for just 99 cents. Here’s a look at the book:

Into The Light

Max Paddington refuses to go into the light until he finds his killer. This presents a dilemma, since Max is even less competent as a spirit than he was as a live person. No one sees or hears him and he can’t manage to get anywhere or do anything on his own.

Joe Cavelli is a private investigator, living an ordinary life. Then one day he walks across a parking lot, gets yelled at by a ghost, and his life only gets stranger from there.

Max and Joe team up to find Max’s killer. In the process, they form an unlikely friendship and change each other’s lives in ways they never expected.

Amazon / Amazon UK

 

On Black Friday only, Killing Instinct and The Cutting Edge will also be 99 cents! These two books are part of a promotion with lots of other authors and books, hosted by The Book Enthusiast. Here’s a look at those titles:

KillingInstinctCover -Small

Sandman built his dubious reputation by turning the dreams and nightmares of others into harsh reality. Now he’s pursuing his own twisted dream; the beautiful Maria Milan. But she doesn’t want to become a player in Sandman’s sordid fantasy.

Michael Sykora is a hit man who kills for justice. Sean Riley is a hit man born to kill. Together, they’re out to take down Sandman and his organization. Whether mercy is given depends on who catches him first.

Amazon / Amazon UK

 

The Cutting Edge

My name is Skye Summers. I’m a hairstylist and I can’t stop fantasizing about killing my clients. Not all of them, of course. I only want to kill the ones who irritate me, which, if I’m being honest, is most of them. My occasional fantasies have turned into chronic daydreams. They’re bloody and vivid, like watching a slice-and-dice movie on IMAX.

I also want to kill my husband’s ex-girlfriend. She’s not a client but she tops my list. Eighteen years ago, she gave birth to his daughter and she has tormented him ever since. I should be troubled by this growing desire to use my surgically sharpened shears for more than a haircut. Instead, I wonder how I can get away with it.

Amazon / Amazon UK


Happy shopping!

Thanks for reading. :)

Urban Fantasy Series: The Telepathic Clans Saga by BR Kingsolver

succubus banner

In the world of the Telepathic Clans, the
descendants of the ancient race that once ruled Europe live in a shadow
society…

The Succubus Gift

Title: The Succubus Gift
Series: The Telepathic Clans Saga
Author: B.R. Kingsolver
Publication Date: April 22, 2012
Genre: Urban Fantasy

The transition between teenager to university to graduation is difficult and confusing for everyone. As an orphan and a prodigy who entered college at sixteen, harboring secrets she dares not reveal, Brenna Morgan’s journey is more complicated than most. Then one evening she stumbles across a young man who promises to answer all her questions if she’ll trust him. The history of the Clans, called the Sidhe by the Irish, stretches back to antiquity. The Goddess blesses Her people with 25 Telepathic Gifts. In addition to Telepathy, the Gifts include command over Air and Fire, Telekinesis and Teleportation. In over 2,500 years, She has never bestowed more than 15 Gifts on a single person. Brenna’s life isn’t the same after she discovers her unusual and mysterious heritage. In addition to being a telepath, Brenna learns she has the Succubus Gift. That’s just the beginning of her problems. Someone is stalking her. Then there’s the tall,
dangerous woman who shadows her and hints a Goddess has linked them. And what is she going to do with a handsome, charismatic, womanizing man she knows she should avoid?

Some days a girl just wants to pull the covers over her head and stay in bed — with a willing young man of course. Urban Fantasy with a dash of romance. The Succubus Gift is a completely different take on the succubus myth. Beautiful women and hot men in a world with a hidden telepathic subculture.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes and Noble / Smashwords / CreateSpace

 

Succubus Unleashed

Title: Succubus Unleashed
Series: The Telepathic Clans Saga
Author: B.R. Kingsolver
Publication Date: June 25, 2012
Genre: Urban Fantasy

It’s not easy being a succubus.

Brenna O’Donnell and Rebecca Healy continue their integration into the Clan. Learning more about their Gifts and always seeking someone who will love them. After a crash course in learning about her genetic heritage, Brenna O’Donnell has discovered what it really means to be a succubus and has learned to embrace her strange Gift. Her major concern is whether Collin will accept her for what she is. As she adjusts to telepathic society, others in the Clan have plans that will strip the last of her freedom.

The social season is around the corner, including events that Brenna never imagined in her wildest dreams. The succubi, representatives of the Goddess on earth, are at the center of an ancient worship. And if a girl is going to be the center of attention, then obviously she needs a new dress.

Between the romance and glistening balls of the Clan’s social events, Brenna and Rebecca discover life is not secure. Telepaths from other Clans are kidnapping young girls and selling them into slavery.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes and Noble / Smashwords / CreateSpace

 

Broken Dolls

Title: Broken Dolls
Series: The Telepathic Clans Saga
Author: B.R. Kingsolver
Publication Date: September 29, 2013
Genre: Urban Fantasy

A paranormal thriller set in the world of The Telepathic Clans

Private investigator RB Kendrick makes her living nailing cheating spouses, digging up other dirt to help in a divorce, finding long-lost relatives, and occasionally sniffing out criminal activity and fraud.

When she takes a job to find a missing girl, she has no idea she is headed for the most dangerous case of her career. Usually, her ability to read minds gives her an edge. But when the people she’s hunting are also telepaths, that advantage is limited.

The search takes her into the dark underbelly of telepathic society, where anything, and anyone, is for sale. She discovers that telepathic women and girls are being trafficked as the ultimate sex slaves. With people trying to kill her, she’s on the run, not knowing who she can trust. Will she find the missing girl, or become a victim herself?

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes and Noble / Smashwords / CreateSpace

 

Succubus Rising

Title: Succubus Rising
Series: The Telepathic Clans Saga
Author: B.R. Kingsolver
Publication Date: February 14, 2013
Genre: Urban Fantasy

The Goddess has plans for Brenna and Rebecca, and the Goddess has a wicked sense of humor. Rebecca Healy is a true wilder, growing up with no contact or knowledge of other telepaths. Discovered by a Clan member on the streets of San Francisco, she felt like she’d hit the jackpot. Finally, she knew what she was, or at least she thought she did. When Brenna O’Donnell,
long-lost heir of the O’Donnell Clan, and the strongest telepath in history, is returned to her family, she and Rebecca form a tight bond. Brenna has it all, looks, money, power, and men falling all over her.

Rebecca isn’t jealous, but it would be nice to find someone who would really love her and stick around in the morning. She’s intrigued by a handsome South American general, but of course, he has his sights set on Brenna. Carlos de Vargas wants more than love. His Clan has its back to the wall, and they hope for an alliance with O’Donnell. An alliance that would lead to war.

The story began in The Succubus Gift and continued in Succubus Unleashed. In Succubus Rising, questions are answered and new mysteries are revealed.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes and Noble / Smashwords / CreateSpace

 

Succubus Ascendant

Title: Succubus Ascendant
Series: The Telepathic Clans Saga
Author: B.R. Kingsolver
Publication Date: November 8, 2014
Genre: Urban Fantasy

As the strongest telepath in history, the Irish Clan Chiefs expect Brenna O’Donnell to unite the Clans. Brenna prays that those leaders, her grandfathers and great-uncle, will all live forever, but the Goddess evidently isn’t listening. Some of her relatives have also been waiting for the old patriarchs to die or retire, and they aren’t planning to let Brenna’s inheritances go unchallenged. Facing rebellion and civil war, Brenna turns to her young friends and other succubi, the Irish Druids, for support.

One of those friends has troubles of her own. Irina’s grandfather is also a Clan Chief, in Russia. When he tries to kidnap her, she must find out the truths of her origins. Her search leads her into her ancestral homeland, where she discovers divisions and threats that echo Brenna’s in Ireland.

Whether the Clans are ready for it or not, powerful young women have decided that taking control is their only choice. To save everything they hold dear, and their own lives, they had better be as good as everyone thinks they are.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes and Noble / Smashwords

 

tcs meet button

Amalia Dillin Author I grew up in Santa Fe, New Mexico, among writers, artists and weird
Hispanic and Native American myths and folklore. I’ve lived all over the U.S. and earned a living doing everything from making silver and turquoise jewelry, to construction to computers. I currently split my time between Baltimore and Albuquerque.

I made silver and turquoise jewelry for almost a decade, ended up in nursing school, then took a master’s in business. Along the way I worked in construction, as a newspaper editor, and somehow found a career working with computers.

Website / Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads

 

The Telepathic Clans Saga

In the world of the Telepathic Clans, the descendants of the ancient race that once ruled Europe live in a shadow society, hidden from the human world. Never large in numbers, the ancient Clans ruled Europe through the strength of their Telepathic Gifts. Viewed as sorcerers, they controlled their human subjects through a system of feudal fealty. Their priestesses, called Druids or Succubi, maintained the society as representatives of the Mother Goddess, through whom all offerings to the Goddess were made and who communicated the Goddess’ will.

Find the Entire Series Online

Amazon / Barnes and Noble / Smashwords

 

tcs giveaway button

Prizes:

$10 Amazon/B&N Giftcard or $10 Book Depository Spree (International)
eBook copy of The Succubus Gift or Broken Dolls

Ends 11/28/14

a Rafflecopter giveaway

#MondayBlogs: Sex, Drugs, and Murder! MIAMI SNOW 99 cent Sale

Betrayal. Divorce. Sex. Drugs. Murder.
Nick is on the edge. Which way will he fall?

Miami Snow is part of this week’s Kindle Countdown deals! You can grab it for 99 cents from Monday, November 17th through Thursday, November 20th.

MiamiSnowCover

One day Nick Donovan has it all; a beautiful, pregnant wife, a nice house, a great job. The next day he is on his own, starting from scratch with nothing but a few suitcases and his old truck.

Nick flees to the opposite coast of Florida, trying to leave his ex-wife and the memories behind. But that couldn’t happen. Soon Nick finds that he is tied to Shelley in a way that he hadn’t expected. And, in her bitterness, she does everything she can to ensure his misery.

Brandy is Shelley’s opposite; wild, sensual, free-spirited. With Brandy, Nick is able to rebel against all that Shelley stands for. Brandy quickly leads Nick into a world of sex, drugs, and cash. And now Nick finds himself caught between the two worlds, desperate to stay afloat.

Amazon / Amazon UK / Amazon CA

 

Rain tapped softly against the window. Nick wasn’t exactly listening, but the sound was calming somewhere deep in his subconscious. The room was dark, his body was warm, and he drifted slowly to the elusive land of slumber.

“I’ve been thinking,” Brandy said.

Her voice floated to him as if traveling from a distant cloud. “That’s good,” he muttered.

She wriggled in his arms. “I’m serious, Nick.”

Her movement brought him back from his in-between state and the cloud he’d been traveling on disappeared. He didn’t open his eyes. “About what?” he asked.

“We’re both in a financial mess,” Brandy said. “Our only real problems stem from lack of money.”

The rain tapped harder, almost insistently, against the window. “Yeah…” Nick muttered. Maybe she was going to suggest robbing a bank. Sometimes he thought it was a viable alternative to sorting his clothes into separate cardboard boxes. Reality would return and he’d remind himself that cardboard box dressers were better than prison.

“So I’ve been thinking,” Brandy said. “Aaron hasn’t worked in over a year and the guy has all his bills paid and plenty of extra cash. Why can’t we do that, too?”

Nick opened his eyes, now fully awake. “I’m not selling drugs.”

 

Thanks for reading. :)

Book Review: NOCTURNAL EMBERS by Helle Gade

Nocturnal Embers

Nocturnal Embers is a collection of poetry and poetic images that comes from the heart and soul of the author. It tells about the life of a person who suffers from chronic pain. Of the thoughts that prey on her in the Night. Of the simple joys we must not forget. All with a touch of Nordic mythology.

Amazon / Amazon UK

 

My Review:

When I read, whether it be a poem, a short story, or a 500-page novel, what I want most is to be moved by the words. Helle Gade has a gift for doing exactly that. Her words paint a startling portrait of emotion. Each poem feels both personal and universal, as we are feeling her pain while looking at a reflection of our own.

I run and run
Down empty hallways
Haunted by lost memories

I recently discovered Ms. Gade suffers from a chronic illness, and the perspective she offers here is one that resonates deeply with those of us dealing with similar health problems. To me, it feels as if she has given a voice to all the pain and turmoil associated with a lifetime of illness. But you don’t need to have ever suffered with a lasting health problem to relate to this collection of poems. Helle Gade’s writing goes to the heart of the human condition, which is something we can all relate to.

Cracks form in my frail heart
Threatening to spill all my secrets
To an unprepared world

 

Thanks for reading. :)

New Release: PORTRAIT OF IGNATIUS JONES by Peter David Shapiro

Portrait of Ignatius Jones

In 1896, renowned psychic Ignatius Jones commissions his portrait to be painted by one of the leading artists of his time. He promises his followers that he will communicate with them through his portrait after he passes to spirit.

On the day that he is murdered in 1903, his portrait is stolen.

It turns up more than 100 years later at a church rummage sale in picturesque Tudorsville, Vermont.

Current-day psychic mediums are invited to see the long-lost portrait at the newly-established Ignatius Jones Center for Spiritualist Discovery.

When Boston psychic Dr. Frances Gourmelon (from Ghosts on the Red Line) arrives at the Center, she discovers that things there are very odd, and getting odder.

Charles Philip Tucker, former con man and the Center’s founder, claims that he’s in touch with Ignatius Jones through the portrait. He says that he’s channeling Ignatius Jones when he punishes a visitor to the Center for blasphemy and when he selects an eighteen-year-old girl to bear his children on Ignatius Jones’ behalf.

Frances decides to get involved.

Portrait of Ignatius Jones is a mind-bending story of con artists, psychics, and the paranormal in peaceable Vermont.

Published: October 2014

Amazon / Amazon UK / Barnes and Noble

 

Excerpt
1896

Testimony of Mrs. Eugenia Stephenson Concerning a Meeting at the Boston Spiritualist Lyceum

I was seated amongst thirty others in the audience in a meeting hall of the Boston Spiritualist Lyceum on Tremont Street when Ignatius Jones entered, accompanied by his close friend and tour manager Mr. William Price following several steps behind.

Ignatius Jones seated himself behind a table at the front of the room.

To be sure, I’d heard the whispers emanating from certain quarters in Boston, that he takes liberties with women without regard to their marital circumstances, and that his appetites in that quarter cannot be sated.

They say that unaccompanied women enter and depart his house on Pinckney Street at all hours in plain view of his Beacon Hill neighbors, that they flaunt their identities without shame, even some who are well-known in polite society.

Such calumnies failed to dissuade me. I resolved to see for myself the most renowned spiritualist in Boston and to hear his words directly.

Now that I was in his presence, I had to acknowledge that he was as striking a man as I had imagined, exhibiting no indicia of the horns and tail that might be inferred from the malicious stories about him. Tall, strong featured, and elegantly dressed in a fine wool suit and purple silk cravat, he made a wonderful impression. In particular, his eyes, as dark as coal, which at first glance appeared harsh in their intensity, in truer fact expressed a most powerful empathy once they were met with an open accepting mind.

In short, I cannot deny that my heart beat faster on seeing him in person for the first time.

Mr. Price also offered an attractive appearance, being about the same age and height as Ignatius Jones, and very light complexioned with long blond hair and blond eyebrows. He grasped in his arms a painting that he carried in such a way that we could not see its subject. He carefully leaned the painting against Ignatius Jones’ table so that it continued to face away from us, and then strode to the back of our meeting room where he stood to watch the proceedings.

We remained completely quiet, except for a gentleman behind me who could not control his infernal cough, while Ignatius Jones surveyed each of us, saying nothing. When his eyes met mine, I felt with the greatest certainty that they were penetrating into my very soul.

Finally, he spoke to us in a voice so deep that it rumbled like thunder even while his tone remained conversational as if he were addressing just one other person.

“This evening I will conduct five readings,” he said.

 

Peter Shapiro Peter David Shapiro is originally from Montreal, Canada, and now lives in the Boston area. Portrait of Ignatius Jones is his third novel. His first two novels, Ghosts on the Red Line, about visitations on the Boston subway, and The Trail of Money, about revenge and intrigue in Hong Kong, received rave reader reviews.

Portrait of Ignatius Jones is available in paperback (Amazon, BN.com, bookstores) & eBook (Kindle, Nook, Kobo, iBook) formats.

Website: www.peterdshapiro.com

 

Thanks for reading. :)

Advanced Review: SOUND MAN by Glyn Johns (Music Memoir)

Sound Man

A memoir of a remarkable rock-and-roll career from Glyn Johns, a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame producer and sound engineer whose resumé includes work with the Rolling Stones, the Beatles, Bob Dylan, the Who, the Clash, and many more.

Published: November 13, 2014

Amazon / Amazon UK / Barnes and Noble

 

Someone asked me the other day: What exactly does a record producer do? My answer was: “You just have to have an opinion and the ego to express it more convincingly than anyone else.”

My Review:

Reviewing memoirs is always a challenge for me. Obviously the “story” is personal, and I don’t feel it’s my place to judge the content the writer chooses to include or leave out. That being said, this book wasn’t what I expected. While Johns worked with some of the best known early rock bands, we learn little about what those bands were like to work with or even Johns’ opinion of them and their music.

Before I go further into that, I do want to say the writing itself flows well. Johns’ style is conversational, and reading this book is much like sitting down listening to him talk. There is nothing pretentious here.

Of all the bands mentioned, Johns seems to favor The Rolling Stones. This is the only band that he shares details about beyond the mixing of their albums. We get some behind the scenes insight, as well as a few funny anecdotes. Though even here he stops short of anything too personal. He tells us that Mick Jagger rented a plane to bring Johns and many others to his wedding to Bianca in Nice, but tells us absolutely nothing about that experience.

Mick very generously rented a plane to take us all to Nice, and a couple of buses to take us on to the reception in Saint-Tropez. The trip there and back being the best part. Most of us knew one another and those who did not soon put that right, everyone determined to have a good time. It was a pretty odd collection of people from all walks of life, like any typical wedding except for a couple of Beatles and the odd member of Faces thrown in. Everyone was quite raucous on the way there and mostly asleep on the way back, having been up all night.

Almost every other band and musician mentioned offers us nothing more than a look at the songs and albums worked on, the studio used, and the techniques. For instance, he mentions abruptly quitting his work on Paul McCartney’s Red Rose Speedway album, though he does not give even a hint as to why.

The day after I finished with The Eagles, I went straight in with Paul McCartney and Wings to cut the Red Rose Speedway album, which I quit in a puff of steam after a couple of weeks, and then went straight on to work with Ronnie Lane and Ronnie Wood on the soundtrack to the movie Mahoney’s Estate, with our friend, the actor and director Alexis Kanner.

He worked on Led Zeppelin’s first album, but says nothing about what the band was like in those early days. And despite the information on albums he worked on with the Eagles, all I learned about his experiences with them is that Glenn Frey was irritated because Johns didn’t allow alcohol or drugs in the studio. During a time when alcohol and drugs were in prominent use, particularly within the music industry, I would have liked to know a little more about why Johns made such a stand against using himself and against allowing anyone around him to use.

Glenn Frey was increasingly frustrated by my not allowing drugs or alcohol in the studio, and Randy Meisner told me that he was unhappy with the sound I was getting. When I asked him to explain, he told me that when he heard an Eagles song on a radio station with poor reception and interference with the signal, it did not sound very good. I thought he was joking, but he was deadly serious. That is a difficult one to deal with.

I also never got a clear sense of Johns’ own musical taste, nor did Johns share how or if certain music affected him. His career climbed alongside some of the best, most influential bands in history, but I closed the book without knowing what that was like for the man in the mixing booth. The couple of times he did make a personal observation had more to do with travel than the music. And, given his broad and derogatory remarks, readers in New York and a couple other areas might find his words offensive.

My impression of New York as we left for Los Angeles a few days later was that, although architecturally breathtaking, it was full of the rudest people I had ever come across. And I was quite glad to get out of there.

Throughout this book, I would have liked more substance. I would have liked more personal insight, something that would make this more a memoir and less a chronology of events. But, as I said at the start, this was not my story to tell. While it didn’t quite work for me, I’m sure other readers will find the content fascinating.

 

Thanks for reading. :)

Book Review: CICERO’S DEAD by Patrick H. Moore

Cicero

Cicero Lamont dealt drugs in massive quantities making huge profits and lots of enemies until one night he was introduced to the steel bumper in a hit-and-run and now he’s dead. His daughter, Jade, has also just learned that her mom has committed suicide and now her brother, Richie, is missing. She hires Nick Crane to find him and to track down whoever murdered their father, but as the old saying goes, ‘be careful what you wish for’ because 300 million dollars cuts an awful lot of family ties.

Published: November 2014

Amazon / Amazon UK

 

My Review:

Sometimes an author will come out of nowhere with a debut novel that blows me away. Patrick Moore with his novel Cicero’s Dead is one such instance.

What struck me first was the realism, both with the dialogue and the characters’ interactions. Moore perfectly captures all the nuances. The characters are each unique and well developed, with all the little quirks that make them feel human. The dialogue is perfection. Nothing feels stilted or forced. The flow is natural, always fitting well with the speaker.

He nodded. “It looked like it hurt, but he didn’t move. It was scary, dude. Then Arnold locks eyes with me and says, ‘As you can see, I like handsome young men with sensitive features,’ and squeezes the last remaining drops of blood out of Richard’s mouth, and still he doesn’t pull away, even though his eyes were watering. I knew I was way out of my depth. I got mad. The son of a bitch had no right to hurt him like that, but at the same time, I felt this peculiar terror. You ever felt that, anger and terror, all rolled into one?”

“All the time. Not a good feeling.” To my surprise I realized I was sweating even though the night was breezy and mild. My tape recorder was whirring away in my pocket and I wondered what Brad would think when I played it back to him.

The plot is intricate without being overly complicated. While this is largely a crime story, we’re also given little twists to build suspense.

Brad asked, “What if Jade turns out to be the bad guy?”

“We’re all bad guys. It’s only a question of degree.”

I was hooked from start to finish, and I’m hoping Moore has plans for a second Nick Crane novel.

 

Thanks for reading. :)

#MondayBlogs: The Dirty Little Secret of Abuse

 

Abuse lives in the dark corners all around us. No one likes to talk about it; not their own and not anyone else’s. Abusers count on this. Abuse thrives on secrecy. Let’s turn the light on.

 

Secrets Front

SURVIVAL

Samantha’s monsters aren’t under the bed; they’re the people she calls Mom and Dad.

ESCAPE

She makes it out alive, her sanity barely intact.

LIES

She creates a new past that fools everyone, including herself.

HOPE

A life filled with love and security teeters on its base of lies

SECRETS

Amazon / Amazon UK / Barnes and Noble

 

Snippet from Secrets:

Why couldn’t she get control of herself? She’d escaped her past years ago. For a while, she’d even let herself believe her made-up family was real. Then, recently, the flashes started. Pieces of the past she’d fought to suppress. Why wouldn’t it let her go?

The car got her home on autopilot. She didn’t remember dodging the traffic, sitting at red lights, or whether she had stopped at the stop signs. Her mind had turned inward, battling back the demons of her past.

She sat in her car, staring at the sprawling home that was hers and Jeff’s. Five years ago, she’d have given anything to live in this house and have the fairytale life she believed came with it. She’d foolishly believed escaping her past meant leaving it all behind.

She’d gotten away. She’d gotten the home. Still, the past kept a vice-like grip on her, like she’d been tethered by an invisible cord.

 

Warning: This book might make you uncomfortable. But sometimes discomfort is what prompts change.

Read the prologue and part of the first chapter on my website: www.quietfurybooks.com/secrets.html

Listen to an audio sample on my Audiobooks page or on YouTube.

 

Thanks for reading. :)

Book Review: LOCKED DOWN, LOCKED OUT by Maya Schenwar

Locked Down

Through the stories of prisoners and their families, including her own family’s experiences, Maya Schenwar shows how the institution that locks up 2.3 million Americans and decimates poor communities of color is shredding the ties that, if nurtured, could foster real collective safety. As she vividly depicts here, incarceration takes away the very things that might enable people to build better lives. But looking toward a future beyond imprisonment, Schenwar profiles community-based initiatives that successfully deal with problems—both individual harm and larger social wrongs—through connection rather than isolation, moving toward a safer, freer future for all of us.

Published: November 10, 2014

Amazon / Amazon UK / Barnes and Noble

 

My Review:

Maya Schenwar has written a compelling book that really needs to be read by everyone in the U.S. Our “justice” system has become a for-profit venue for retribution and revenge. There is little rehabilitation or actual justice. By locking millions of people in cages for an ever-growing variety of “crimes”, we have effectively created a revolving door prison culture.

Incarceration serves as the default answer to many of the worst social problems plaguing this country – not because it solves them, but because it buries them.

This book takes us inside and beyond those prison walls. Schenwar’s writing style is conversational, making it an ideal read for people from any educational background. She takes us on a journey, using real and sometimes personal cases to spotlight the cracks, fissures, and major breaks in our prison system.

Even if you believe – or maybe especially if you believe – that at least most people in prison deserve to be there, you need to read this book. Schenwar points out how the prison culture destroys the inmates’ humanity, how merely surviving inside those walls requires a shutdown of the very qualities we should be nurturing. The type of change we are cultivating inside prisons is not what we want to set loose on society when these inmates are released.

Prison doesn’t stop at the barbed wire fence, and it doesn’t end on a release date.

While the first half of this book focuses on the problems of prison, the second half is all about ways to fix the breaks. These are not idealistic, far-fetched dreams, but actual programs that work and should absolutely be implemented everywhere.

Not everyone in prison is a cold-blooded killer. In fact, most are not. Yet we treat them all equally, like rabid animals in a war zone. Isn’t it time we regained our humanity?

It’s like wrapping someone’s head in airtight plastic wrap, then offering to sell them measured sips of oxygen, a little at a time, for years on end. Once those years pass, will that person remember how to breathe naturally, as second nature? And even if they’ve never had the luxury of breathing naturally – if their lives have always been suffocated in one way or another – will their months or years of systematic, supervised suffocation really teach them how to breathe freely?

 

Thanks for reading. :)

Book Review: DEADLY ARRANGEMENTS by Annie Adams

Deadly Arrangements

Flower Shop Mystery #2

All florist Quincy McKay wants is success in business, a happy family and the perfect romance with Alex Cooper, the hottest cop in the state. Not necessarily in that order, of course. Is that so much to ask?

The trouble is, between Alex’s job and planning weddings, it’s getting harder and harder for Quincy and Alex to find any time to themselves. Every time the flames of passion ignite between them, someone or something shows up to fizzle the fire, including her meddling mother, her formerly absent father and even Elma, the handsiest waitress in the West.

Wedded bliss is contagious in small town Hillside. Should be great news for Quincy, except that one groom is missing and another is the prime suspect. Hard for a florist to make a living that way, and even harder for her to stay out of the investigation, especially when the suspect is her sidekick, K.C.’s fiancé.

Just when she thinks nothing else could go wrong, a ghost from Alex’s past comes back to haunt them both, which could keep them apart forever, if someone doesn’t kill Quincy first. She’s stumbled into the clues to solve the case of the missing groom and finds a corpse as well, proving that planning a wedding can literally be murder.

Published: April 2014

Amazon / Amazon UK

 

My Review:

I just did not like this book. I tried to. I wanted to. But, in the end, the only good thing I can say is that the story had a few comical moments.

I lay stunned for a moment, and realized I was pinned to the ground under a tractor load of cow dung.

Let’s start with the broadest issue, which is the genre. This book is marketed as a mystery. If that’s what you’re looking for, look elsewhere. Most of this story concerns Quincy’s relationship with her boyfriend. The mystery is secondary and convoluted. This book is far more romance than mystery.

I was the kind of friend he was ready to sleep with, just not the kind he could remember to mention to an old “friend from work”.

As for the plot, the attempt at mystery becomes overly complicated, the motives questionable, and the characters involved completely one-dimensional bordering on silly. The fact that Quincy even needed to solve this mystery, to me, is ridiculous. In the end, I could only shake my head at the kind of inept police department that would need her to solve this crime.

Now on to the romance. It’s tiresome, repetitive, and immature. This, of course, makes Quincy feel immature. She spends endless pages contemplating whether or not to have sex with her committed boyfriend. Quincy is 30, not 18. This just didn’t feel believable. In fact, their entire relationship felt childish to me. Rather than discussing certain concerns she has, she chooses to ignore them and sulk like a teenager. He is no better. He is supposedly gorgeous to look at. He’s an undercover cop who is certainly experienced in life. Yet he behaves like an overly polite but clueless high school boy. They don’t communicate, other than to talk about whether or not to have sex.

I picked this book to read because I was in the mood for something light and fun. Unfortunately, none of it worked for me.

 

Thanks for reading. :)