Thursday, May 26, 2011

Review: Warm Bodies ~ by Isaac Marion


warm bodies

Review by Shellie for ~ Warm Bodies ~ by Isaac Marion; US|UK|Canada.

A darkly funny yet introspective and mildly gory novel about a zombie who becomes emotionally human and falls in love. And it has a great cover!

About:  The main character, whose name is “R”, has little or no memories of who he was prior to his “death”. So a letter is all he uses as his name. He does know a few things about himself though - based upon the suit he wears he thinks that he must have been a professional. Better yet, he was probably good looking since his appearance is not “as bad” and he doesn’t smell “as much” as the other zombies he knows. Also he has a growing ability to communicate beyond the prerequisite grunt or moan, which continues to improve as he starts to ponder about who he is and his purpose in “life”.

To complicate things more, while out on a hunt with his zombie “buddies” he gets a taste of a young man’s brains which allows him to see and feel this victim’s (or should I say lunch’s) memories. In doing so he begins to share growing feelings for a feisty and pretty young woman who is his dead meal’s girlfriend. As he explores his growing love interest, the two share a common bond - a desire to look beyond their apocalyptic world. As they do so, inner turmoil and growth abound, all mixed with a lot of drama, some violence, understandable campiness, and light romance.

Thoughts:   This novel borders ever so slightly on the literary side, with its interesting and almost too lengthy existential processes – all around R’s personal growth, meanderings, reflections and angst. It is not your usual horror book since it is only mildly scary and delves into the emotional changes of a zombie beginning to remember that he was once a man.

Recommended for readers desiring a “lighter” zombie story, who enjoy some reflection mixed with romance; also for those in need of some farcical fun. It has an unbelievable ending which is also redemptive. I liked this story at 3 stars.

Warm Bodies ~ by Isaac Marion; Hardcover: 256 pages; Atria (April 26, 2011) US|UK|Canada. For more information see our pre-view post including the book.

Appropriate for this book (though it’s almost over) ~ May is Zombie Awareness Month!  How funny is that?  Found via Apex Publications.

This book will be included in a number of challenges – The Basics (where I explore speculative fiction), and I think it can be squeezed into one of the others.

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Incoming Book: Nebula Awards Showcase 2011 ~ edited by Kevin J. Anderson


nebula showcase 2011 (2)

Up for review is this year’s collection of Nebula Award winners and nominees ~ The Nebula Awards Showcase 2011 ~ edited by Kevin J. Anderson; 416 pages; Tor Books; (May 24, 2011) US|UK|Canada.

Published this year by Tor and enclosed in an easy to handle paperback, this  anthology coincides with 2011 Nebula Awards weekend in Washington DC. In  honor of the event included are all 2009’s nominees and winners – the complete set of short stories, novellas, and novelettes in one volume.

It is edited by bestselling author Kevin J. Anderson. Just some of the content includes:  Kage Baker’s novella “The Women of Nell Gwynne’s”, Eugie Foster’s novelette “Sinner, Baker, Fabulist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beast”, Kij Johnson’s short story “Spar”, and Paolo Bacigalupi’s novelette, “The Gambler”. It also includes information about the award and a complete listing of every year’s winners. Included in the lists is Catherynne Valente’s The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making, which won the Andre Norton Award in 2010; I mention this as I’ve just reviewed it!

I’ve started several of the stories included in this book, and skimmed through it all briefly. It is a well organized collection of what is the “cherry“ at the top the veritable mountain of works published in the field. A must read for any writer or reader interested in the modern standard set within Speculative Fiction. I imagine this book will be reviewed in sections, since how does one review a collection like this? Any suggestions?

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Splash into Summer Giveaway Hop ~ 5/25 to 5/31

 Splash into Summer

Welcome to the ~ Splash Into Summer Giveaway Hop!

What is a blog hop?  It’s a link up of a bundle of blogs (via Linky Tools – see below) that have a goal – this hop is for giveaways which involve books, with 313 blogs that you can hop/link to and enter to win bookish stuff. It is hosted by Kathy from I am a Reader not a Writer with Page Turners Blog as a co-host!  The cute badge above links to our host’s site.

We have 5 books (two are sets – one of which there are five on offer) that you can enter to win:

  1. You do not need to be a reader or follower to enter these giveaways.
  2. Each book cover links to the dedicated page for the giveaway where you can fill out the Google forms.
  3. Only requiring ~ a name and email address.

Click on each of the Book Covers to link to each giveaway page where you can access the Google form to enter!



Book Offer #1 ~ One copy for one US address

Willy ~ by Robert Dunbar;  272 pages; Uninvited Books (January 24, 2011) US|UK|Canada.

There you can read an interview with Robert Dunbar and enter the contest. Here is Shellie’s mini blurb:

A disturbing and poignant coming of age story with elements of suspense and psychological terror which verges on the paranormal. (Link to Shellie’s review.)

river kings road

Book Set Offer #2  ~   Five sets of this two book epic fantasy series available for five US addresses:

The River Kings’ Road (book 1) ~ by Liane Merciel;  448 pages; Pocket; Reprint edition (January 25, 2011)  US|UK|Canada.

A fragile period of peace between two eternally warring kingdoms is shattered when there is a surprise massacre at a border village, killing its inhabitants—including a visiting lord and his family—and leaving behind a scene so grisly that even the carrion eaters avoid its desecrated earth.

heavens needle 2


Heaven’s Needle (book 2) ~  480 pages; Pocket Star (April 26, 2011) US|UK|Canada.

The second book in this epic fantasy series ~ The mountain fortress of Duradh Mal was mysteriously destroyed centuries ago. And now, in its shadow, evil stirs. . . .


last snow


Book Set Offer #3  ~ One set for one US address:

Last Snow ~ by Eric Van Lustbader; 528 pages; Forge; Reprint (Marcfirst daughterh 1, 2011) US|UK|Canada.

This series is based upon an intriguing character - top ATF agent, Jack McClure, whose unique dyslexic mind allows him to put together the pieces that others can’t even see.

First Daughter ~ by Eric Van Lustbader; 464 pages; Forge; Reprint (September 1, 2009)  US|UK|Canada.

This hop is now closed stay tuned for the next one coming in the middle of June!

Review: Lost in Shangri-La ~ by Mitchell Zuckoff


lost in shangri-la

Review by John of:  Lost in Shangri-La ~ by Mitchell Zuckoff ; 400 pages;  Harper (April 26, 2011) US|UK|Canada.

An amazing true-life story of a plane crash, survival and rescue from a hidden valley full of stone-age tribes who had had no contact with the outside world.

About:   The Second World War was reaching its final stages. One of the important military bases in the Pacific theatre was on the island of New Guinea – the world’s second largest island whose inhospitable and mountainous interior was covered in dense jungle and was largely unexplored at the time. For staff on the base life was not easy. Even though they were well away from the front lines of the war, the climate was hot and extremely humid, jungle-related disease was rife, and there was constant pressure of work to support the war efforts.

To relieve the stress, local officers would try to arrange occasional leisure activities for their staff, and one of the favorites was to take sight-seeing flights around the island (as one of the main functions of the base was to provide supplies and logistical support via air, there was no shortage of planes and pilots on the island). An earlier flight had stumbled across a huge, hidden and unknown valley high up in the mountains, which was dotted with settlements of primitive people. The valley came to be nick-named Shangri-La.

On Mother’s Day, 1945, a plane took off with 24 military personnel on board, including nine WACs (Women’s Army Corps). Whatever the official paperwork may have said, this was a pleasure trip to fly over Shangri-La. But what ought to have been a relatively routine 300-mile round journey turned into a disaster. Due to pilot error, or freak winds, or some technical problem, the plane slammed into a mountain as they tried to navigate their way into the valley. Miraculously five people somehow survived the crash, though two of those did not live for long, and two more were badly injured and soon became gangrenous.

They found themselves in an awful predicament. While only some 150 miles away from the base, it felt like it could have been another planet. No-one knew where they were, the crashed plane was totally hidden from view by the dense jungle, and there were no roads or trails leading inland from the base. Indeed there weren’t even any accurate maps of the inland areas. And as the three found to their expense, it took hours of pain and enormous effort to travel hardly any distance at all through the terrible terrain of the mountainous jungle.

John’s Thoughts:   What followed was an amazing story of determination, bravery, survival, first contact and ongoing interaction with feuding cannibalistic tribesmen, and an eventual remarkable rescue – carried out thanks to intrepid Filipino paratroopers and some incredible feats of flying. One of the three survivors was a beautiful young woman, and another was a man whose twin brother died in the crash. If you saw this plot in a movie you’d say it was too just fantastic to be true.

Zuckoff is an ex-journalist and it shows in the way that he has pulled the book together. With a mixture of determination and some good luck, he managed to get access to a wealth of personal journals, declassified army documents, personal photos and mementos, news reports from the time and even some original film footage – backed up by a trip to New Guinea and to the crash site, and personal interviews with families of the people involved. He then pulls it all together into a compelling narrative.

It is well done and makes for a riveting read. I suppose you might say that with a story like this he could hardly go wrong, but that would be churlish. He has clearly put a lot of work into researching the book, and the fact is that it’s taken over 65 years since the incident for the story to be told – so kudos to Zuckoff. There is an awful lot to like about the read, but my favorite parts were those dealing with the natives. It’s absolutely fascinating to hear about how they lived and their reactions to the strangers and the strange events suddenly happening in their hidden valley. Zuckoff does finish off the book by covering what has happened to the natives since their discovery, and also what happened to some of the key people in the story. If you are interested in reading about true-life adventures and primitive cultures, this book is definitely for you. I’d rate it 4 stars.

mitchell zukoff

Author Bio:   Mitchell Zuckoff’s honors include the 2000 Distinguished Writing Award from the American Society of Newspaper Editors. His book Choosing Naia: A Family’s Journey was a Boston Globe bestseller and won the Christopher Award.

Part of a book tour, which is hosted by TLC; included are links for several other reviews for this book. To see the entire listing of reviews, click on our host’s badge.tlc logo

John will be addressing all comments on this review, so don’t forget to check the follow up box to get his reply.

Thanks for reading.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

The Nebula Awards ~ winners announced tonight!

The Nebula Award ~ is one of the premiere awards for Science Fiction & Fantasy. The writings from the previous year are nominated by peers within the genre - the members of the SFWA – (Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America.) So it’s a bit like the Academy Awards for speculative writing – including short stories, novelettes, novellas and several other categories. Here is the list of the novels nominated for 2010.

The Native Star ~ by M.K. Hobson  (Spectra)

The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms ~ by N.K. Jemisin  (Orbit)

Shades of Milk and Honey ~ by Mary Robinette Kowal  (Tor)

Echo ~ by Jack McDevitt  (Ace)

Who Fears Death ~ by Nnedi Okorafor  (DAW)

Blackout/All Clear ~ by Connie Willis (Spectra)

If interested link to the SFWA’s complete list of nominees and categories including Amazon links.

I have read one short story from those nominated - ‘‘Ghosts of New York’’ ~ by Jennifer Pelland  (Dark Faith) – links to Shellie’s mini review.

My vote for novel goes for Shades of Milk and Honey and it would be at the top of my list of books to read of those nominated. John’s vote or book that he would choose to read first is Blackout/All Clear. Isn’t interesting that the authors are mostly women!

Which have you read? Which do you want to read and/or which novel do you think will win?

Friday, May 20, 2011

A New Header to honor Summer ~ I wonder how hot it is in this desert?


desert fantasy header

The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science. ~ Albert Einstein

When I found this desert “multicultural” fantasy picture it begged to be made. There are several others which will be shared at some point but this is John’s favorite and fits a summer theme of HEAT. Which is coming for us soon to “Hades-ville”.  It also shares our desire to include a variety of countries and cultural experiences with in our reading materials, in our travels, and more. However, I do not think we will be visiting this fantastical place anytime soon, but what an interesting experience that would be.

Stop by and take a look ~ since you may not recognize the newest version of Layers of Thought.

The picture’s attributions:

  • original image name: 'Travellers
  • by: chiaralily
  • Released under an Attribution-NonCommercial License

I have cropped it and added the lettering to create this header.

Have a fantastic weekend and happy reading!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Giveaway (two books): First Daughter and Last Snow ~ by Eric Van Lustbader


last snow

Two Thrillers ~ for giveaway to one US mailing address!  This series is based upon an intriguing character - top ATF agent, Jack McClure, whose unique dyslexic mind allows him to put together the pieces that others can’t even see.

Last Snow ~ by Eric Van Lustbader; 528 pages; Forge; Reprint (March 1, 2011) US|UK|Canada.

About:   When an American senator who is supposed to be in the Ukraine turns up dead on the island of Capri, the President asks McClure to investigate. Jack sets out from Moscow across Eastern Europe, following a perilous trail of diplomats, criminals, and corrupt politicians. His task is complicated by two unlikely, unexpected, and incompatible companions---Annika, a rogue Russian FSB agent, and Alli, the President’s daughter.

As he struggles to keep both young women safe and uncover the truth behind the senator’s death, Jack learns just how far up the American and Russian political ladders corruption and treachery have reached. 

first daughter

First Daughter ~ by Eric Van Lustbader; 464 pages; Forge; Reprint (September 1, 2009)  US|UK|Canada.

About:   When a terrible accident takes the life of his only daughter, Emma, and his marriage falls apart, Jack blames himself, numbing the pain by submerging himself in work.  Then he receives a call from his old friend Edward Carson.  Carson is just weeks from taking the reins as President of the United States when his daughter, Alli, is kidnapped.  Because Emma McClure was once Alli’s best friend, Carson turns to Jack, the one man he can trust to go to any lengths to find his daughter and bring her home safely.

The search for Alli leads Jack on a road toward reconciliation . . . and into the path of a dangerous and calculating man.  Someone whose actions are as cold as they are brilliant.  Whose power and reach are seemingly infinite.

blood trust

NOT a part of this giveaway is the latest in the series ~ Blood Trust ; 416 pages; Forge; First Edition (May 10, 2011) US|UK|Canada

About:    Alli Carson has been through her own personal hell. With her father, the President of the United States, recently dead and her mother in a coma from a terrible accident, she has poured herself into her training to become one of the best FBI agents at the Fearington Institute. Her inspiration and solace comes from the one man with whom she has ever felt a kinship, National Security Adviser, Jack McClure. But when Alli becomes the prime suspect in a murder at Fearington, a wide ranging investigation is triggered, involving local homicide detectives, the secret service, the FBI itself, and Alli’s own uncle, the billionaire lobbyist Henry Carson.  And yet nothing is what it seems.

    For more on this prolific thriller author visit Eric Van Lustbader's Website.

    Giveaway  ~ Last Snow and First Daughter

    Lets make this one very simple!  You do not have to be a follower to win. But you must leave your name and email address so I can contact you if you win.

    That’s It!    (Please note - if you are reading this in an email or a reader you may have to link to the blog to view and use this entry form).


    Optional ~  keep up to date on our giveaways, reviews, interviews, quirky humor and general geeky nonsense with a subscription to Layers of Thought:

    1. Google: via the blog’s side bar (I will follow back if I can find your blog.)
    2. Facebook: for updates in your feed - add me as a friend.
    3. Twitter (I will follow back, if your account is not protected.)
    4. Your Email Box.
    5. Feed Reader.

    Contest ends Tuesday May 31st, 2011 at 12 pm US Pacific time. Winner will be posted and notified on Monday June 6th, 2011.  

    We use to determine our winners. If you have a question or a concern (a typo or bad link or a problem with this form) please email me via my profile – Shellie

    Good Luck!

    Tuesday, May 17, 2011

    Review: The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of her own Making ~ By Catherynne M. Valente


    girl who navigated

    Review by Shellie of  ~ The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making ~ by Catherynne M. Valente (illustrated by Ana Juan)

    A sweet and whimsical tale with images of strength, valor and courage. It’s a poetic and fantastical hero's journey especially for girls (and some boys too!)

    About:   September is twelve and like many children of that age she is bored and confused about life; feeling stifled by her chores - especially washing the household’s flowery china teacups. It does not help that Dad is off fighting for the country and mom is working in the war efforts; tough times for a young girl, creating the natural desire to escape the perceived drudgery which is normal for all youngsters of that age.

    In her imaginings of something beyond her regular world she is visited by a Green Wind in a smoking jacket and whisked off to Fairyland. There she looses her heart and a shoe while meeting a variety of diverse fairies and fantastical creatures, while learning a thing or two about herself, the true meaning of friendship, and what is truly important in life.

    Thoughts:     With whimsical and imaginative prose akin to poetry (Catherynne Valente has an unusual grasp of language and is actually a poet),  the book has meanderings with deeper archetypal and metaphorical threads creating a story that has wording that is often like a poem.

    Contrastingly the story has “real life” issues placed strategically in it, where the main character faces tough situations which are not glazed over or skirted. There are sections which touched me deeply, creating a giggle or a heart-tug from September’s experiences.

    Perhaps seen as an introduction to fairy lore for the uninitiated, or a revisit for the more advanced reader, the book contains many different fantastical creatures. Since I have never heard of a Dryad, Spriggans, Pukas, Marids, and perhaps a Golem, it was a lesson for me. There is an intriguing theory around the evolution of fairies – from frogs; which I liked so much. (Macmillan has a downloadable document; a bestiary for the book which is lovely and amusing.)

    Will tweens and teens like it? I think most will. However, as one of the “uninitiated” adults (I have not read a lot about fairies), I found the text esoteric in areas - which may have changed since it I read the book in an arc format. So I would recommend it for precocious youngsters beyond their reading level (due to its vocabulary – check out widdershins!), older tweens and teens, children well versed in fairytales and their language, or to teachers and parents to read out loud to students or children. I would have loved having this read out loud to me as a youngster.

    As a story for most age levels, it is a tale about fairies with old fashioned yet relevant ideals which may help solidify and reestablish it - strong girls/children become strong women/adults; perseverance does make a difference; and one’s home is the best place to be (mostly). I loved this whimsical and special book and rated it 4 stars.

    The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making ~ Young Adult - Grade Range: 5 to 9, Age Range: 10 to 14 ; Hardcover: 256 pages; Feiwel & Friends (May 10, 2011) For some brief information link to see our preview for it.     US|UK|Canada.

    Catherynne M. Valente ~ is the author of over a dozen books of fiction and poetry, and is best-known for her urban speculative fiction. This, her first novel for young readers, was posted online in 2009 and won the Andre Norton Award. Cat Valente lives on an island off the coast of Maine with her partner, two dogs, and an enormous cat.

    Ana Juan ~ is a world-renowned illustrator known in this country for her wonderful covers for the New Yorker magazine, as well as the children's books The Night Eater, and Frida, written by Jonah Winter. She lives in Spain.

    More fun stuff:

    This book will be included is a variety of challenges – The Basic Challenge; I think it may fit into the Myth Challenge. (Text links to our current challenge list if you are interested or want to join.)

    Thanks for reading!

    Saturday, May 14, 2011

    Review: WWW:Wonder (#3) ~ by Robert J. Sawyer


    Review by John of    WWW:Wonder ~ by Robert J. Sawyer

    Part three of a clever and highly readable science fiction trilogy about a consciousness that spontaneously emerges on the infrastructure of the World Wide Web.

    Picking up  where WWW:Wake #1 ~ (link here for JD’s review) and WWW:Watch #2 ~ (link here for JD’s review) left off.

    About:   “Webmind” has survived a first attack from the US government, thanks to help from his friend and human mentor, Caitlin Decter. Webmind is determined to prove his altruism by continuing to carry out good deeds - acts that benefit either society at large or specific individuals who are in need. However, elements within the government remain determined to eliminate him,  arguing that his powers are growing so quickly that they cannot wait for incontrovertible evidence of his good intentions. By governmental logic - if Webmind has been trying to deceive them, then by the time that they discover the fact it may be too late and events will have passed beyond the point where he is stoppable; the fact that he is so far innocent of any misdeeds is irrelevant. 

    While the government plans a second and more devious attack that will rely on the best hackers around, Webmind and his growing band of followers develop their own plans to try and protect him and to prove his value. Their “charm offense” seems to be making progress, but political events around the world seem to be conspiring against their efforts. The race is on between Webmind’s allies and those that would destroy him, creating some surprising turns.

    John’s Thoughts:   Within the construct of an easy-to-read novel, this book (and the trilogy as a whole) set out to cover some very ambitious issues – the nature and consequences of artificial intelligence; man’s first contact with an “alien” consciousness; the impact of technology on people’s lives; the consequences of Darwinism; personal power and freedom versus overbearing government; peaceful contrasted with aggressive behaviors; and the nature of humanity’s moral progression.

    Did it work?  Mostly yes, although in this third book some of the content came across a bit as lecturing or sermonizing. Even if I agreed with it (mostly I did), it was a bit much at times. It was also crystal clear early on what Sawyer’s (and Webmind’s) beliefs were, so there wasn’t too much mystery about how the book would ultimately play out – albeit with some intriguing plot twists en route.

    I have to say that Sawyer does have some fabulous ideas and storylines, and the trilogy made for a good and enjoyable read. He has created some complicated characters - Caitlin Decter is a strong young person; in this third book there is more focus on her parents who are also interesting characters; then there is Webmind “himself”. Most of me thinks Sawyer has done exceptionally well here, though a small part of me wishes Webmind had a darker aspect – with some hidden corners or internal conflicts, there could have been more tension in the novel’s climax.

    Overall, I think some tighter editing may have made this a better two-book series. However, as a reader I enjoyed the series and blew through the three books in no time (and I am not a series reader.)  I’d rate this book 3.5 stars and the trilogy as a whole 4 stars. If you are a science fiction fan, and enjoy strong characters, I’d wholeheartedly recommend the first book in the series; then decide whether or not to follow up with #2 and #3.

    WWW: Series ~

    • Wake ~ by Robert J. Sawyer (book 1) US|UK|Canada; 368 pages; Ace Hardcover; (April 7, 2009)
    • Watch ~ by Robert J. Sawyer (book 2) US|UK|Canada; 368 pages Ace Hardcover; (April 6, 2010) 
    • Wonder ~ Robert J. Sawyer (book 3) US|UK|Canada; 352 pages; Ace Hardcover (April 5, 2011)

    As always John will be addressing your comments on this last in the WWW trilogy, so please remember to check the follow up box to read his response.

    Happy Saturday and thanks for reading!

    Friday, May 13, 2011

    Interview (and giveaway): WILLY ~ by Robert Dunbar


    Robert Dunbar is with us for an interview!

    He is the author of a number of dark fiction novels – The Pines, The Shore, Martyrs & Monsters, and his latest work WILLY

    He has also been kind to offer one copy of his latest novel to one US winner! 

    Want to know more about the novel?  Link to read Shellie’s recent review of ~ WILLY.  Here is my mini blurb:

    A disturbing and poignant coming of age story with elements of suspense and psychological terror which verges on the paranormal.  

    Lets welcome an intriguing, and hilarious writer of literary horror. I recommend a tissue for “giggle tears”.  So Robert why write horror? Why read horror?  

    There’s a Carl Jung quote about “owning your shadow.” I always Willythought that was such a delicious phrase, and so reassuring … as though by defining the darkness – or at least exploring it – we gain some measure of control over it. And what did Lovecraft say? “The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.” How could a writer – or any artist really – resist this sort of intensity?

    But there’s another reason I write dark fiction: sheer obstinacy. Critics and readers idolize the Mystery writer with a highly evolved style, and they’ll champion the works of a Science Fiction author who perfects a brilliant technique. But a literary Horror writer will get hate mail. For years, the genre has catered almost exclusively to readers who perceive sophistication as an attack on their lack of standards. That’s all it took really – I never could resist a fight.

    When and why do you think horror was separated from the literary genre? Where do you think WILLY fits in?

    Isn’t it tragic?  This glorious genre, the province of Henry James and Edith Wharton and Shirley Jackson, this genre that used to be about exploring the unknown, devolved into a reactionary morass. How many more plots must we all suffer through in which the vanilla family has to be preserved by repelling some nasty foreign type? Don’t even get me started on the zombie mash-ups or the superhero ‘novels’ or all those embarrassing volumes about Bigfoot. The word “horror” used to be a misnomer, since it describes a feeling of physical revulsion rather than a subtle chill of terror. These days it’s entirely appropriate, I’m afraid. It’s a miracle so many brilliant writers continue to labor within these constraints.

    Have you read Sarah Waters “The Little Stranger” or Sara Gran’s “Come Closer”? We should give thanks for artists like Peter Straub and Laird Barron, Thomas Ligotti and Greg Gifune and T. M. Wright, Andrew Davidson and Jameson Currier and – a new one I’m keen on – Andrew Wolter. And have you discovered Sandy Deluca or Lisa Mannetti yet?  There’s so much sheer talent in the genre right now that I am finally encouraged in the belief that the ‘rule of dumb’ may be drawing to an end. In the meantime, critics keep talking about how revolutionary WILLY is, about how it expands the boundaries of the genre and challenges conventional notions of Horror. You think that won’t draw fire?

    You have theatre experience: Did you do any acting or was it all writing? Any interesting tidbits you would like to share about your experiences?

    I was a terrible actor, but I was the sort of terrible actor who could make audiences applaud, and then people would stand around afterwards talking about how I was the best thing in the show. It’s a gift … or possibly a curse. In retrospect, I think I ruined every production I was ever in, just to dominate the stage. Don’t ask why I was never lynched. (I know other actors discussed it.) It’s not that I did these things on purpose, you understand. During rehearsals, I’d be dedicated and earnest, but the moment the curtain went up … something would happen. I’d immediately start making up dialogue and changing all the blocking, confusing, even frightening the rest of the cast. (In earlier times, this sort of behavior was recognized as being indicative of demonic possession.) And it didn’t end there. I’ve never been able to resist interfering with a production of one of my own plays – it’s the sort of behavior that makes directors speak wistfully of restraining orders. Trust me, the world at large is much happier now that I concentrate on my fiction and don’t drive anyone crazy but myself.

    Tell us about Uninvited Books.

    Every other genre has experienced a literary renaissance, but ours is long overdue. Do you mind if I just quote from our mission statement?

    “All serious fiction deals (to some extent) with dark themes, and many great works of literature have employed supernatural, surreal or existentialist elements. These books have power. They endure, because they appeal to serious readers and provide thoughtful entertainment. On the current publishing scene, however, dark novels of distinction often find themselves unwelcome … and uninvited. At UNINVITED BOOKS, we believe that readers will choose quality, if works of quality are made available. With an unrelenting focus on visionary artistry, skilled craftsmanship and psychological sophistication, we hope to publish books that will transcend genre classifications. Is this a radical approach to publishing? Perhaps. Is it subversive? Even revolutionary? We believe that lovers of intelligent dark fiction have been waiting for exactly this revolution.”

    I think that pretty much says it, but people can always find out more at

    Who is your favorite author and why?

    William Faulkner. No, wait. Henry Roth? E. M. Forster? Umm … Willa Cather? Maybe D. H. Lawrence? No, James Joyce. Virginia Woolf? Hang on. Gustav Meyrink? Kafka? Proust? Wait, I can do this …  Or not.

    But the “why” part of the question at least is easy. It’s because of that combination of craft and dedication, passion and discipline, insight and imagination. Because of genius.

    If you weren’t a writer, what would you be?     Incarcerated.

    How would you define Dark Fiction for an uninitiated reader?

    I think dark literature probably differs from commercial horror because of its focus on craft, on sheer excellence of style, on what I can only call seriousness of purpose. All those the-vampires-and-zombies-are-attacking-yawn-for-your-lives books seek only to provide a momentary thrill. Serious dark fiction must meet the considerably higher standards of art and provide a much deeper catharsis.

    What prompted you to write a novel like WILLY?

    Masochism.  Writing that book entirely in the boy’s voice was the hardest, most painful challenge I’ve ever undertaken. It paid off though – the reviews have been extraordinary. Critic after critic has called it one of the most powerful books they’ve ever read. You can’t ask for better than that.

    Do you have any special rituals or quirks when you write?

    Why? What have you heard?     It’s all lies. I don’t even own a kimono.

    What advice would you give the aspiring writer?

    Read. Read everything. Hemingway and Dostoyevsky, Steinbeck and Fitzgerald. NOT just the best-selling twaddle on the rack at the drugstore. Really, that’s about the only advice one writer can offer another. That and never wear a black bra under a white blouse.

    What is the biggest risk you’ve taken in your life?     Trusting my heart.

    If you were trapped in an elevator for four hours, who/what would you want with you?

    I’m SO taking the fifth on that one.

    In your next life what/who do you want to come back as?     My dog.


    What is your next project? Just a little tease would be wonderful.

    Many years ago, I wrote a novel called THE PINES, and the book has come to be considered a sort of modern classic. But it’s always been something of a cause célèbre. (Or perhaps I mean bête noire. I get my French terms confused.) For every critic who called it a “masterpiece of literature” or “one of the best horror novels of the last thirty years,” another would shriek that the book had no right to exist. It takes place in one of the old, vanished shanty towns of the New Jersey Pine Barrens, and I employed the legend of the Jersey Devil as a metaphor for human evil and debasement. Let me tell you, I hit a nerve.


    But when it first appeared in print, I found myself in the middle of my own horror story. Here I was getting my first novel published by a mass market paperback house, and I opened it to discover that the book had been hacked to pieces. Even my African-American heroine had suddenly become white. (Mercifully, a restored version appeared a few years ago.) Nevertheless, the book attracted admirers. And the sequel – THE SHORE – inspired and provoked just as many people. Apparently, those damn literary qualities are still an outrage.


    My next project?  I’m finally at work on the last entry in the trilogy – THE STREETS – which finds the characters from both earlier books struggling in a very urban environment. In what I laughingly refer to as my spare time, I’m also polishing a nonfiction book called VORTEX, about the influence of folklore on popular fiction, and then there’s a new edition of my collection MARTYRS & MONSTERS due to be released very shortly (with some additional material). Plus I have a new novella called WOOD that should be out quite soon.

    People who enjoyed my WILLY are going to love my WOOD.   Why does that sound so filthy?

    Thank you so much for sharing with us here today Robert. It has been enlightening and * giggling tear wipe*  very funny.

    More about ~ Robert DunbarHe is a playwright, has written for radio, television and theater and is the author of The Pines, The Shore, and Martyrs & Monsters. In his spare time he likes to imagine himself as a professional ice skater, or possibly a trainer of tarantulas for jungle pictures. You can find more about him on his website and blog, Goodreads  (his wonderful and accessible group there – Literary Horror) Twitter, and Facebook. To read an excerpt – see Uninvited Book’s excerpt of Willy.  

    Willy ~ US|UK|Canada; The Pines ~ US|UK; The ShoreUS|UK; Martyrs & MonstersUS|UK|CanadaShadows, Supernatural Tales by Masters of Modern Literature  (Robert Dunbar/editor) ~ US|UK|Canada.

    Now for the Giveaway!

    Lets make this one very simple!  You do not have to be a follower to win. But you must leave your name and email address so I can contact you if you win.

    That’s It!    (Please note - if you are reading this in an email or a reader you may have to link to the blog to view and use this entry form).


    Optional ~  keep up to date on our giveaways, reviews, interviews, quirky humor and general geeky nonsense with a subscription to Layers of Thought:

    1. Google: via the blog’s side bar (I will follow back if I can find your blog.)
    2. Facebook: for updates in your feed - add me as a friend.
    3. Twitter (I will follow back, if your account is not protected.)
    4. Your Email Box.
    5. Feed Reader.

    Contest ends Tuesday May 31st, 2011 at 12 pm US Pacific time. Winner will be posted and notified on Monday June 6th, 2011.  

    We use to determine our winners. If you have a question or a concern (a typo or bad link or a problem with this form) please email me via my profile – Shellie

    Thanks for reading!

    Tuesday, May 10, 2011

    Winners ~ We have four of them!



    Let’s Congratulate Our Lucky Winners!

    What's better than one Winner? ~ Four of Them!

    (Book covers link to the original post for it’s specific giveaway page to find out more about each.)galore

    We have one Winner for: 

    Galore ~ by Michael Crummey  US|UK|Canada.  A historical fiction book with a mythical twist.

     One copy, one winner Annette E! 

    Yay Annette! 


       all the lives he led

    We have two Winners for: 

    All the Lives He Led ~ by Frederik Pohl  US|UK|Canada. A brand new Sci Fi from a grandmaster author!

    Two copies,  2 winners Nicole B. and Melanie D!

    Congrats Nicole and Melanie!


    warm bodies


    We have one Winner for: 

    Warm Bodies: a novel ~ by Isaac Marion  US|Canada|UK. A zombie romance soon to be a movie!

    One lucky winner ~ The Story Queen!



    A Big Yay ~ for all the Winners!

    As always I will be emailing each of you. Please respond back to my email with your contact details and also comment on this post within 72 hours, then I will forward your information onto the publicist and publisher.

    Splash into Summer

    For those of you who did not win there's always more to come so please stay updated. For example the ginormous bookish giveaway hop ~ Splash Into Summer which has 250+ blogs with giveaways attached (badge above links to our host’s site for more information.)

    Happy reading!

    Monday, May 9, 2011

    Review: Wuthering Heights (in audio) ~ by Emily Brontë


    wuthering heights

    Review by Shellie: Wuthering Heights ~ by Emily Brontë

    A classic masterpiece that is an incredible work of horrific and tragic fiction. It is a shocking “page turner” that I could not put  down.

    About:  A tale of a haunting, either imaginary or not. It’s also a story of love and a loss so obsessive that it creates a monster from a man, mangling him into a cruel character that manipulates those around him for revenge, power, and pleasure. His anger seethes into the lives of family and those who he should love and cherish. Sadly, due to the constraints of the time, those around him cannot escape his internal conflict, external tortures, and schemes.

    The story unfolds within and around two houses or manors in the late 1700s/early 1800s, in the English countryside. Wuthering Heights and Thrushcross Grange are the names of the houses where the story takes place, among the rock strewn landscape of the bleak, damp and beautiful Yorkshire Moors.

    The story is told from the perspective of a new border (Lockwood) who arrives to rent Thrushcross Grange in an effort to escape city life in London. Hoping for idyllic countryside and folk, he finds signet wuthering heightsthings are not at all as he had wished or imagined. He is appalled yet intrigued as to the reasons why there is such lack of normal civility at Wuthering Heights, so he consults the household’s servant, Nelly Dean. Through a series of conversations she tells him the horrible and convoluted tale. As they progress, Nelly’s strong character and moral sensibilities come through as she passes along the tragedy of the young Heathcliff and Catherine, spanning their childhood and beyond.

    Thoughts:   Many of you may know that John is from North Yorkshire, growing up only several miles from where the Bronte’s lived, wrote, and died. So naturally I have visited the area frequently over the years. When visiting one can see the landscape is rocky and harsh with its boggy, peaty waters running through its craggy hills. It is generally damp and cold with summers that can be lovely and warm but only for a moment. This description of the moors is also a metaphor used throughout the novel; it mirrors a conflicted passion between the main characters.

    It is accepted that life there was harsh 200 years ago, and still is for farmers working there today. They are known to be surly and cranky, so Heathcliff's temperament was no surprise, yet his extreme cruelty was. He is a character who is sadistic and that overshadows most of the other well fleshed out figures – even the wild, strong-willed, yet spoiled Catherine. I was shocked, thinking the book was categorized as a romance and it that would be light. Boy was I wrong.

    You may think that through my description above that I did not particularly like Wuthering Heights. I loved it and think it is an incredible surprise of a horror story. It’s a harshly “romantic” tale and an enduring historical classic. It has a wonderful and deeply conflicted character with a chafing angst. It deserves a 4.5 stars and gets a big “Wow” in my humble opinion.

    The version I listened to is included below, as is a paperback I used as reference – the Yorkshire accent is difficult even today, let alone 200 years ago when the book was set and written. Even John as a native Yorkshireman had difficulty translating it for me. The best part of the particular version I listened to is that the narrator has a “proper” Yorkshire accent and sounds just like my sister in law (a native). It gives the reading an authentic feel.

    Audio: Naxos AudioBooks; Unabridged; 11-CD Set; read by Janet McTeer and David Timson; 13 hours, 9 minutes; May 15, 2007; US|UK|Canada.

    Paperback: Signet Classic; introduction by Alice Hoffman; copy shown above also includes an afterword by Juliet Barker; 352 pages; March 1, 2011; US|UK|Canada.

    And now for some visuals - all are near Skipton, an ancient market town in the English North Yorkshire Dales and just a few miles away from where Bronte lived.

    These were taken by John and myself in July several years ago:


    You can see the rocky hills although most of the heather has been cleared for the cattle.


    Here are portioned off areas used for sheep grazing. I would estimate the temperature was in the high 60s on the days these shots were taken, which is warm for the locals. Be forewarned that it can change in minutes to a windy rain-soaked downpour, yes even in July. And in winter it is much colder and often icy with occasional snow.

    Author Bio:   Emily Jane Brontë was born July 30, 1818, at Thornton in Yorkshire, the fifth of six children. Both of Emily's parents had literary leanings. Her mother died of cancer shortly after Emily's third birthday. Her primary residence and the rectory where she lived now serves as a Bronte Museum. Emily's only close friends were her brother Branwell and her sisters Charlotte and Anne. She died of tuberculosis on December 19, 1848 at the age of thirty, and never knew the success of her only novel Wuthering Heights - which was published a year before her death. She was purported to be a reserved, courageous woman with a commanding will and manner.

    Wuthering Heights was first published under the pseudonym Ellis Bell, and a posthumous second edition was edited by her sister Charlotte. It met with mixed reviews by critics when it first appeared, mainly because of the narrative's stark depiction of mental and physical cruelty.

    On our last trip to England I read a short bio on the family from one of the books in the cottage where we stayed. From what I read their lives were short and tragic.

    This book will be included in a variety of challenges – The Basics, Historical Fiction Challenges, Fill in the Gaps, and where ever else I can fit it.

    I have to give a big thanks to JoV @ Bibliojunkie for motivating me to finally actually read Wuthering Heights instead of just looking at it on the shelf!  She read it this past April with a group in a “mini- read- a- long”. Now that I am finished (a bit late for the group), I can go and check out the conversations and lurk a little. *big smile*

    Thanks for reading!

    Saturday, May 7, 2011

    Review: All the Lives He Led ~ by Frederik Pohl


    all the lives he led

    Review by John for:  All the Lives He Led ~ by Frederik Pohl

    A thought-provoking futuristic thriller with many twists, from one of the “Grand Masters of Science Fiction”.

    About:   The year is 2079 and the fabulous virtual reality theme park in Pompeii is getting ready for the 2000th anniversary of the eruption of Vesuvius, which buried the old Roman city. Brad Sheridan is an indentured servant working there and trying to pay off his bond; he is a refugee from the United States which has itself been devastated by a giant eruption in Yellowstone Park almost twenty years earlier.

    The world is a troubled place with much political unrest and a continuous stream of terrorist attacks, coming from a dizzying array of different groups of unhappy people. Meanwhile Brad is forced to work hard at grim jobs in order to earn small amounts of money, and his life is not helped by his bully of a boss or by some people’s dislike of Americans – who are somehow blamed for the natural disaster which has devastated many livelihoods all around the world. Despite constant struggles and setbacks, he finally seems to be making some progress and even has a girlfriend (or he thinks he does) who helps to brighten up his life.

    But a horrendous killer disease has started to pop up around the world, which becomes known as the Pompeii Flu when it’s discovered that most sufferers have some link to Pompeii or to people who have visited the city. It becomes obvious to Brad that many people and many things aren’t quite what they seem and he is inexorably drawn into the center of the unfolding drama. Who is his girlfriend? Where did she come from and where has she disappeared to? Why is his friend acting so strange? Who or what is causing the deadly epidemic? And why is Brad in such deep trouble with the dreaded Security forces?

    The answers are complex and most unexpected, and they point to a very different future for Brad.

    John’s Thoughts:   This story starts out in a reasonably straightforward (albeit highly imaginative) fashion, but as it progresses it develops many different layers and threads. There is certainly no shortage of interesting ideas and concepts and Pohl creates a well-imagined near-future world – fantastic for sure but much of it is just about believable; which for me is a great mix.

    The main characters in the story all seem to be twisted in some way or another, ranging from Brad’s history or petty juvenile crime and money-making schemes to some out-and-out evil terrorists – but even the evil ones are often given human faces and characteristics. Ultimately, it becomes difficult to tell the good from the bad. And are the bad things really so bad if they’re being done for good reasons?

    To my mind there are lots of good things about the book, and yet the whole somehow feels like less than the sum of the parts. I found it easy to put the book down and not come back to it for a couple of days, even when I was near the end, and that’s very unusual for me. I think this was something to do with the characters – while the story was complex somehow the characters seemed a bit lacking in depth and not quite believable. I had a hard time buying in to some of the changes that they went through.

    Nonetheless, it is a book with lots of very cool ideas and for that I’d rate it 3.5 stars. If you like near-future thrillers with clever twists on how the world might turn out, you should give it a go.

    US|UK|Canada; 368 pages; Tor Books; First Edition edition (April 12, 2011)

    For more information see our “Release Day and Giveaway” post for All the Lives He Led.

    John as always will be responding to any comments around his review for the book, so don’t for get to check the follow up response box.

    Thanks for reading!

    Friday, May 6, 2011

    Incoming Book Previews: a huge mix of genres ~ May 6, 2011



    Welcome to our ~ Incoming Book Previews:  New books up for review. We have a bundle and a mix of genres to share today.

    I have included the cover, a shortened snippet, book stats, and purchasing links from Amazon. Now ~ the question of the day:  Which book would you read first? 

    As for me I have trouble deciding which underwear to put on in the morning and they are all beige. Such problems.


    Wildefire ~ by Karsten Knight; Young Adult; 400 pages; Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing (July 26, 2011) pre-purchasing - US|UK|Canada.

    Every flame begins with a spark. Ashline Wilde is having a rough sophomore year. She’s struggling to find her place as the only Polynesian girl in school when she transfers to a remote private school nestled in California’s redwoods. There Ash discovers that a group of gods and goddesses have mysteriously enrolled at Blackwood…and she’s one of them. 

    a conflict of interest


    A Conflict of Interest ~ by Adam Mitzner; 384 pages; Gallery  (May 17, 2011) pre-purchase - US|UK|Canada.

    Alex Miller is a criminal defense attorney at one of the most powerful law firms in NYC. He is presented with a surprising request for representation in a high profile criminal investigation. When Alex is catapulted into a bevy of secrets that threaten everything, he has no other choice than to question his beliefs about the law, his family, and himself. 

    ruby red

    Ruby Red (book 1) ~ by Kersten Gier (Author), Anthea Bell (Translator); Young Adult; 336 pages; Henry Holt and Co.  (May 10, 2011) pre-purchase - US|UK|Canada.

    A planned trilogy translated from German this book has been a best seller in Europe. Gwyneth Shepherd's sophisticated, beautiful cousin Charlotte has been prepared her entire life for traveling through time. But unexpectedly, it is Gwyneth, who in the middle of class takes a sudden spin to a different era! Together, she and another cousin Gideon journey through time to discover who, in the 18th century and in contemporary London, they can trust.

    river kings road

    The River Kings’ Road (book 1) ~ by Liane Merciel  448 pages; Pocket; Reprint edition (January 25, 2011) US|UK|Canada.

    The wounded maidservant thrust the knotted blankets at him; instinctively, Brys stepped forward and caught the bundle before it fell. Then he glimpsed what lheaven's needleay inside and nearly dropped it himself.  There was a baby in the blankets.  A baby he knew, even without seeing the lacquered medallion tucked into the swaddling—a medallion far too heavy, on a chain far too cold for an infant who had not yet seen a year.

    Heaven’s Needle (book 2) ~  480 pages; Pocket Star (April 26, 2011) US|UK|Canada.

    The second book in an epic fantasy series, in which the fate of a world rests in the hands of a woman who must rescue the knight she loves… 

    GIVEAWAY: We are currently offering 5 sets of this series for US addresses thanks to the publisher.

    american book of the dead

    The American Book of the Dead ~ by Henry Baum; 248 pages; Backword Books (November 1, 2009)  US|UK|Canada.

    Eugene Myers is working on a novel about the end of the world. Meanwhile, he discovers his daughter doing porn online and his marriage is coming to an end. When he begins dreaming about people who turn out to be real, he wonders if his novel is real as well. An apocalyptic adventure - Eugene may be the guy to save the world.

    Winner: Best Fiction at the DIY Book Festival; Winner: The Gold IPPY Award for Visionary Fiction.

    remaking love

    Remaking Love: a sex after sixty story ~ by Mary L.Tabor; 214 pages; 3ones, Inc. (December 20, 2010) US|UK|Canada.

    This is one of those stories you just couldn’t make up. This memoir transports the reader in a most unusual way through a remarkable journey of redemption after a 21-year marriage crashes and burns when her husband “D.” announces, so Greta Garbo, “I need to live alone.”

    psychopath test


    The Psychopath Test ~ by Jon Ronson; 288 pages; Riverhead Hardcover (May 12, 2011) pre-purchase -  US|UK|Canada.

    In this madcap journey, a bestselling journalist investigates psychopaths and the industry of doctors, scientists, and everyone else who studies them.

    funeral for a dog


    Funeral for a Dog ~ by Thomas Pletzinger (Author), Ross Benjamin (Translator) 322 pages; W. W. Norton & Company (March 28, 2011) US|UK|Canada.

    Journalist Daniel Mandelkern leaves Hamburg on assignment to interview Dirk Svensson, a reclusive children's book author who lives alone on the Italian side of Lake Lugano with his three-legged dog. After stumbling on a manuscript of Svensson's about a complicated ménage à trois, Mandelkern is plunged into mysteries past and present.

    on maggies watch

    On Maggie’s Watch ~ by Ann Wertz Garvin; 304 pages; Berkley Trade; (November 2, 2010) US|UK|Canada.

    Maggie Finley has returned with her husband from the big city to her Wisconsin hometown, where she reunites with her best friend and awaits the any-minute-now birth of her baby. She's determined to create a safe haven on Hemlock Road, a neighborhood that has always meant security, community, and love. One way to do that: resurrect the defunct Neighborhood Watch program.

    sextine chapel

    The Sextine Chapel ~ by Herve Le Tellier (Author), Ian Monk (Translator); 104 pages; Dalkey Archive Press (July 19, 2011) pre-purchase - US|UK- in French.

    A series of short, intimately interconnected stories making up a lively user’s manual to pleasure, relating the various liaisons of couples from Anna and Ben to Yolande and Zach (taking in Chloe and Xavier along the way, as well as twenty others, as you may have guessed), until the criss-crossing of their lives and partners makes up a pattern as intricate as the fresco on the ceiling of a chapel.

    every bitter thing

    Every Bitter Thing ~ by Leighton Gage; 288 pages; Soho Crime; (December 1, 2010) US|UK|Canada.  

    The son of the Foreign Minister of Venezuela is found dead in his apartment in Brasilia. Due to the political nature of the crime, Chief Inspector Mario Silva of Brazil's Federal Police is called in to investigate. As he delves deeper into the murder, he discovers that a chain of murders have occurred throughout Brazil, all with the same MO: victims are first shot in the stomach, then brutally beaten to death, and, even more puzzling, they were all passengers on TAB flight 8101 from Miami robopocalypseto São Paulo.

    Robopocalypse ~ by Daniel H. Wilson; 368 pages; Doubleday (June 7, 2011)  US|UK|Canada.

    They are in your house. They are in your car. They are in the skies…Now they’re coming for you. In the near future, at a moment no one will notice, all the dazzling technology that runs our world will unite and turn against us.

    shadow chaser

    Shadow Chaser (book 2) ~ by Alexey Pehov; 368 pages; Tor Books; (April 12, 2011) US|UK|Canada.

    Saddened because they have left one of their number in a grave in the wilderness, Harold and his companions continue their journey to the dreaded underground palace of Hrad Spein. There, knowing that armies of warriors and wizards before them have failed, they must fight legions of untold, mysteshadow prowlerrious powers before they can complete their quest for the magic horn that will save their beloved land from The Nameless One.

    Shadow Prowler (book 1) ~ 400 pages; Tor Books; (February 16, 2010)  US|UK|Canada.

    After centuries of calm, the Nameless One is stirring. An army is gathering; thousands of giants, ogres, and other creatures are joining forces from all across the Desolate Lands, united, for the first time in history, under one, black banner. By the spring, or perhaps sooner, the Nameless One and his forces will be at the walls of the great city of Avendoom.

    central park knight

    Central Park Knight (book 2) ~ by C.J. Henderson; 352 pages; Tor Books; (May 10, 2011)  US|UK|Canada.    

    Knight receives a chilling message from Tian Lu, a former lover and an agent for the Chinese government. Years ago, they made a frightening discovery at an archeological dig when out of the depths rose… a living, fire-breathing dragon. Now, the dragons are waking from their slumber before their scheduled time.

    brooklyn knight

    Brooklyn Knight (book 1) ~ 336 pages; Tor Fantasy; (November 2, 2010) US|UK|Canada.   

    Professor Piers Knight is the Brooklyn Museum’s very own Indiana Jones. What his contemporaries don't know is that in addition to being a scholar of all these topics, he is also proficient in the uses of magical artifacts. If a mysterious object surfaces, Professor Knight makes it his job to figure it out--and make sure it stays out of dangerous hands.

    A contemporary on an expedition in the Middle East calls Knight's attention to a mysterious object in the collection of the Brooklyn Museum … just before it becomes the target of a sorcerous attack that leads to a siege on a local precinct house by a fire elemental.


    Redheart ~  by Jackie Gamber; 294 pages;  Seventh Star Press, LLC (April 19, 2011) US|UK|Canada.

    Enter the lands of Leland Province, where dragon and human societies have long dwelled side by side.

    Superstitions rise sharply, as a severe drought strips the land of its bounty, providing fertile ground for the
    darker ambitions of Fordon Blackclaw, Dragon Council Leader, who seeks to subdue humans or wipe them off the face of the land. As the shadow of danger creeps across Leland Province, a young dragon named Kallon Redheart, who has turned his back on dragons and humans alike, comes into an unexpected friendship with Riza Diantus - a young woman whose dreams can no longer be contained by the narrow confines of her village.

    music of secrets

    The Music of Secrets ~ by Dave Halpin; Mar. 19, 2011; Kindle ~ US|UK|Smashwords.

    When Simon and his wife arrive on Inis Roane, a western Irish island, they intend it to be a remaking of their failing marriage and a chance to catch up with old friends.

    On the island, a team of scientists are investigating a remarkable discovery they are desperate to protect. As Simon begins to unravel the mystery of the island he finds that the strange behavior of the islands wildlife and the open hostility between his friends and the scientists are connected. Simon discovers that not all languages are spoken in words and that some words should never be spoken at all.

    We have some new books just about to be released, several which have been out for a bit, and a blend of  genres. Including nonfiction, memoir, thriller, crime fiction, young adult, fantasy, women’s fiction, science fiction, and three translations – Wow!

    Until our next teetering pile of wonderful books, I ask you the question: Which book would you read first?

    Happy Reading!

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