Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Blogging Hiatus ~ a death in the family

yellow hand holding

Blogging hiatus due to the sudden death of a well-loved family member.

It’s been more than a crazy 2011 to date, since we have had a handful of unexpected illnesses within our respective families. Yesterday we were confronted with the worst news and most unexpected this year.

Please bear with us in our time of sadness, devastation, grief and specifically around our updates for Layers of Thought. Also a request for kind thoughts toward a peaceful passage for our dear, strong, and stoic brother in law.

We love you Bob. We’re going to miss you more than you know!

photo credit  ~ by rogiro

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Interview: Glenn Kleier author of ~ The Knowledge of Good and Evil

glenn kleier full body shot

Interview with Glenn Kleier author of ~ The Knowledge of Good and Evil (August 2011).

Welcome Glenn!  Let’s begin with a few questions about your recent book, its theme and your writing process. 

How would you define your book’s genre for your readers?    I'd classify it "spiritual suspense thriller," in that my books explore subjects of faith and morals.

Why write spiritual suspense thrillers? Why read them?   Regardless of your spiritual beliefs, or lack thereof, in America today you function under heavy Christian influence. However you view that, it effects your life on a personal level. Complicating matters is the fact that while all Christian denominations use the same bible, there's great inconsistency among their positions. Ideologies run the gamut from staunch fundamentalism to New Age liberalism, and it creates a lot of discord. If we're going to progress as a society, it's something we need to better understand. The genre of spiritual suspense offers both writer and reader a means to examine, and perhaps reconcile those differences.

What prompted you to write a novel about heaven and hell?  Walk by a Christian church on a Sunday morning and you're apt to hear sermonizing about the rewards of heaven and damnations of hell. Vivid descriptions of horned devils vying for your soul; Seven Deadly Sins and their commensurate punishments; pearly gates and choirs of winged angels in a pastoral paradise, et al. Only one problem. The bible mentions none of that. Virtually no details of the afterlife beyond a few nondescript "heavenly mansions" and "eternal fires." In fact, most images of heaven and hell that people take for granted today have no basis whatsoever in the bible. I thought it might be fun to pull the rug back on all this and present a revamped perspective of the Great Beyond.

How did you find the process of writing a fictional story around heaven and hell?  I spent six years researching the sources of afterlife theology that inform current thinking. The origins began 6,000 years ago with the ancient Egyptians and their Book of the Dead, moving forward through Mesopotamia/Gilgamesh, classical Greek and Roman mythology, the Judeo-Christian era and early Doctors of the Church, Zoroaster, Buddha, Mohammed, on to contemporary Christian theologians. Out of that emerged a giant mosaic of heaven and hell that eventually resolved itself into the arc of the book.

As your second published novel, has the process for - The Knowledge of Good & Evil - been any easier?knowledge-or-good-and-evil_thumb[5]  Yes, in the sense that I could work at it full time (unlike first book's catch-as-catch-can process). But it took a while to find a topic that excited me as much as the first book's, which had been incubating for some time. It meant I didn't begin the second with as much a running start.

Do you have a favorite character in the book and if so why?   I have several. I'm partial to the main character, Ian, the young ex-priest. Ian's a troubled man of strong convictions, integrity, faith and courage, beset by crippling flaws. He helps convey the book's points, often at great physical and psychological cost. Then there's Ian's fiancee, Angela. Smart, level-headed, pragmatic, loyal to a fault--and agnostic--a foil to Ian on many levels. And finally, I have soft spot for the irascible, jaded Zagan. Despite his evil nature, Zagan commands respect. And due to his circumstances he possesses surprising wisdom, which is revealed over the course of the story with irony, passion, even humor. My kind of guy.

Now a few questions for the writers in our audience. What advice would you give the aspiring writer?  Pick a topic that's fresh and speaks to your soul, research it thoroughly, write in a succinct and clear voice, and don't give up. It's a crowded literary world out there, but if you've got something to say, persistence finds a way.

What about tips for the process of writing and getting their work published? Create a schedule and stick to it. Write, no matter how hard it is for you, even if you end up tossing it all the next day--the more you write, the better you'll get at it. Get an agent. Even in this age of self-publishing, most writers will benefit from the editorial eye and connections of a good agent (Writers Digest books, "Guide to Literary Agents" is a great source for matching your work to reps who handle your genre--a vital step. "Guide" also offers other salient tips).

Now for some silly fun for curious minds. Do you have any special rituals or quirks when you write?   All I require is some peace and quiet and lots of strong iced tea.

What book do you go back to re-read over and over?  The one I'm currently writing. No matter how many times I re-read, I find ways to cut and improve.

What new cool thing have you learned recently?     That the popularly accepted Higgs boson particle apparently doesn't exist. (Does stuff like this make me a nerd?) 

Sorry Glenn, but we are thinking “yes”. So what’s in your fridge right now and what do you think that say about you?     Lots of wholesome foods, fruits, veggies. Says I've got a great wife.

If you could attempt anything and know you wouldn’t fail, what would you do? Take a self-induced near-death-experience to the Other Side, see if it really exists.

If you were trapped in an elevator for four hours, who/what would you want with you?  Bottle of Hendricks, bucket of ice, tonic water, bowl of cut limes, Kindle, iPod with Rolling Stones greatest hits. 

Sounds wonderful, more like a party than a trap. So in your next life what/who do you want to come back as?     As the son of one of my sons. I'd love to see how it all turns out (and payback would be fun!).

A premise for a novel we are thinking? Now for a bit more serious. What is your next project? Just a little tease would be wonderful.    Since The Knowledge of Good & Evil is mid book in a trilogy, to be release 2-3-1, I guess I'd better get going on the sequel.

What is it that you’d like us to know about you?  That I write with my tongue planted firmly in my cheek.

Thank you Glenn it has been a pleasure working with you!

About Glenn Kleier:   An English major intent on a career as a novelist, who upon graduation found no positions available for aspiring authors. Earning his living in an alternative field of fiction - advertising - he never lost his initial passion. After seven years working on the side, he produced The Last Day. Now, after many years of research and writing, he presents a second effort, the first in a trilogy, The Knowledge of Good & Evil. Kleier resides in Louisville, KY. Goodreads; Twitter; Website; Facebook.

About: The Knowledge of Good and Evil by Glenn Kleier US|UK|Canada. 416 pages: Tor Books; (July 19, 2011)  ~ In 1968, theologian Father Louis Merton visited the ancient Dead City of Polonnaruwa, in Ceylon where it’s claimed he found a backdoor to the Afterlife. Years later, psychologist Angela Weber and her fiancé, Ian Baringer, are on the hunt for Merton’s long-lost journal and its door to the Afterlife. Together, they plunge into a global chase, pursued by a shadowy cult, dead bodies and destruction.

For more information on the book take a look at our preview page where it is featured.  For John’s review of the book - link to this text.

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

A Seasonal Event ~ with fun and prizes!


Come Celebrate the Season with ~ The Witches Yuletide Ball on December 10th at On The Broomstick and Witch of Howling Creek

I helped create this cute button for the event. Between myself, Dana (On The Broomstick),  and the artist who provided the artwork - Moonlight Journey, we ended up with what you see to the left.

Stop by and check out the event’s sign-up post (badge links to On The Broomstick), perhaps join in the fun, or just lurk and enter the contests.

Feel free to “snag a button” link it to our host’s blog and share the fun with your friends and readers! (To get your button – [right click] on the image and [save as] to your computer.)

Goodness we can’t believe the holidays are descending upon. Can you?

Monday, November 21, 2011

Review: Banksy: Locations and Tours vol. 1 and 2 ~ by Martin Bull


Reviews by John for: Banksy: Locations & Tours vol. 1 and 2 ~ by Martin Bull

A guide to the mysterious appearances (and less mysterious disappearances) of street art and graffiti by the renowned “guerilla art icon” Banksy.

About:   Banksy is a street artist who has become increasingly famous. Some of his works have now become iconic, though he personally remains determinedly anonymous despite the international recognition of his artwork. His art and graffiti appear overnight and very few know who he is or what he looks like. Most of his work has appeared in London.

These two books are essentially guides to Banksy’s work, including photos and detailed descriptions of where they can be found. The books are organized by location, so determined readers can use them as tour guides to take in Banksy’s work. Sadly, however, as this is street art, much of the original work has disappeared so the photos are all that is left behind. Bull is clear about what was still visible at the time the book was put together, but unfortunately things change on a regular basis. Most local councils or landlords are not friends of street art, however skillful it may be.

Bull describes himself as “just a big geeky fan of Banksy’s work” and he basically catalogs all the work he can find, adding some tidbits, chit-chat and commentary on the condition of the work. He is disdainful about “pseudo-intellectual ramblings” on graffiti, street art, and what it all means; he just likes the work and wants to share. He is even more vocal about those who have attempted to remove and sell the artwork.


John’s thoughts:  These are not really reading books; they are essentially a guide to art and graffiti by Banksy – simple as that. If you like his work, you’ll like the books; if you don’t like his work, the books aren’t for you. Me? I think he’s great. The subject matter ranges from fun doodles to biting social commentary, but whatever the topic he has a lot of talent, a great imagination and tons of chutzpah. And you have to respect someone who has decided to stay anonymous and “underground” despite the opportunity to go public and to make lots of money. Street art indeed.

Even if you are unaware of Banksy, there is a fair chance that you’ll recognize some of his work. Some of his more well-known pieces include “sweeping it under the carpet”, “cave painting”, “snorting copper”, “parachute rat”, “no ball games”, “London (call centre) calling” and “petrol vulture”. He is an excellent artist. Period. His graffiti is also clever and often wryly humorous.

The final word goes to Banksy himself. “I try and deal with lots of different ideas but I guess the underlying message is always the same – You say the city belongs to you and your laws? Well then, how come it’s got MY name written all over it?”

The art gets 4 stars, so the two Locations and Tours books get the same 4-star rating. If you like fun and clever art that has an edge to it, you’ll like these books.

These two books will be include in Graphics Novel Challenge 2011.

As always John will be addressing comments. Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Gratitude Giveaways ~ November 17th to 27th


Welcome to: Gratitude Giveaways ~ November 17th till 27th!

This hop is hosted by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and All-Consuming Books. To link to our main host’s site link via the badge above. There are approximately 300 other blogs included in this hop which was created in an effort to thank friends and follower for their readership and support.

For this giveaway Layers of Thought is offering:

  1. The Black Shard ~ a children’s/tween book; it is a second in a series. For US|Canadian readers only.
  2. Killing Rites series ~  a four book set that is an adult urban fantasy. For US readers only.


  • You must be a Google follower to win. Sign up in our side bar.
  • Leave your real and complete name, mailing address, and email address in the Google form. Your information is used for this contest only, incomplete entries will be deleted.

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

  1. Facebook: for updates in your feed - add me as a friend.
  2. Twitter (I will follow back, if your account is not protected.)
  3. Your Email Box.
  4. Feed Reader.

Giveaway 1 – a tween fantasy sequel (US|Canada)


The Black Shard (book #2) ~ by Victoria Simcox; December 2011. Kristina’s stay at summer horse camp is horrible to say the least, when Hester’s cruel prank goes terribly wrong, it’s actually what sends them back to the magical land of Bernovem. In Bernovem, Kristina is very excited to see her former friend, Prince Werrien and reunited with her gnome, dwarf, animal, fairy friends … and best of all, Werrien. But when Werrien becomes fascinated with an unusual seeing stone, the “Black Shard”, Kristina is haunted by a ghostlike old hag. Struggling against suspicion, guilt, illness, and ultimately the one who wants to possess her soul, Kristina will see it’s in her weakest moment that she will encounmagic warbleter more strength than she has ever known. http://www.theblackshard.com/

Not part of the giveaway! 

The Magic Warble (book 1) ~ (cover links to review.)   http://www.themagicwarble.com/  

Giveaway 2 – adult urban fantasy 4 book set (US)

killing ritesdarker angelsvicious graceunclean spirits

Killing Rites| Darker Angels| Vicious Grace| and Unclean Spirits ~  by M.L.N. Hanover

Shortened blurb for ~ Killing Rights:    JaynÉ Heller has discovered the source of her uncanny powers: something else is living inside her body. She's possessed. Of all her companions, she can only bring herself to confide in Ex, the former priest. They seek help from his old teacher and the circle of friends he left behind, hoping to cleanse JaynÉ before the parasite in her becomes too powerful.

Now for the other blogs offering bookish stuff up for giveaway. Have fun hopping and good luck!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Help Japan (with a purchase) ~ Fables for Japan

fables for japan1
Fables for Japan (#1) ~ various authors and artists;
This is the first in a trilogy; the second book (cover below) is scheduled for release in a few days with the third to be published in 2012. All proceeds go to the Red Cross in the effort to help Japan in its recovery from recent catastrophic events.
For more information take a look at the press release for the series:   

Top Writers and Artists from around the world join forces to raise money for Japan.
September 10, 2011 - FABLES FOR JAPAN
On March 11, 2011, one of the largest earthquakes in recorded history struck near Honshu, Japan, triggering a 23-foot high tsunami that devastated the coastline and the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear plant. Hundreds of thousands of Japanese lost their lives, their homes, and their livelihoods.
This terrible catastrophe has inspired many in the art community to help. FABLES FOR JAPAN is a collection of stories and artwork donated by writers,Fables_2_cover artists, animators, and students.
These talented people from around the world, ranging in age from fifteen to eighty-six, have come together to raise money and help rebuild Japan. The book brings together a fascinating mix of styles - fiction, poetry, painting, illustration, and comic book art - all connected by the theme of Japanese Folklore.
FABLES FOR JAPAN, BOOK 1 (of 3) is now available as an e-book download. 124 pages! 28 contributors! 24 amazing stories, all for $4.95!  Now $2.95!
All Proceeds will be donated to the Red Cross in care of Japan.
For additional information, please check out our website, www.fables4japan.com, as well as our Facebook page, www.facebook.com/Fables4Japan

Thanks for reading.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Review: The Faster I Walk, The Smaller I Am ~ by Kjersti A. Skomsvold

the faster i walk

The Faster I Walk, The Smaller I Am ~ by Kjersti A. Skomsvold; translated by Kerri A. Pierce

A “literary tragicomic” that is translated from Norwegian. It’s a short but challenging read  which is at times brilliant, heart-wrenching, sadly funny, and with some interesting bits which require mathematical knowledge to fully understand their references.

About:   It is told in the first person by an aging woman Mathea Martinsen. She is a cerebral individual, currently obsessed with death, and perhaps possessing a social anxiety disorder. She stays in her apartment with little desire to connect with anyone other than her husband. With no children, her life consists of the television and going to the store, while simultaneously trying to avoid and connect with her neighbors.

When she finally realizes something is missing from her life – that she wants to be and feel important - she attempts to set things right in a dilapidated series of too-late actions. It seems the harder she tries to be someone, and to connect with others, the worse things become. While she remains oddly positive, as the title suggests she only feels smaller. As her muddled attempts become more desperate, her descent leads to a culmination which is not entirely expected and completely heartbreaking.

Thoughts:   One of the reasons I love translated literature is that it helps me to think differently. This book definitely did, and then some. It pushed me to re-read passages, research references, and to do quite few “Googles”. I would even say that with so many looking up of references while reading this ARC, it felt like it was not completely finished.

However, many of the analogies were brilliant and curious. The author has a variety of these interesting tidbits scattered through the story line coming directly from Mathea’s thoughts and actions. An example is that Mathea puts many thing into numerical concepts and theories, speaking to her connection with the world and her relationship to her husband – his nickname and even the title is a reference to a numerical theory.

So, I was a bit conflicted about this book. But remembering it is an ARC I will be searching for a finished copy to compare the two. Perhaps footnotes for the Norwegian cultural references and math connections would help? I don’t always want to stop reading to find an answer to a question.

Recommended for readers that enjoy translated fiction, mathematical logic, and for those looking for a much deeper read. I give this short and intellectually intense book 3 stars as it is in its ARC format; more if my concerns have been addressed in the finished copy.

112 pages; Dalkey Archive Press (October 25, 2011)

Kjersti A. Skomsvold was born in 1979 in Oslo. The Faster I Walk, the Smaller I Am is her first novel.

Kerri A. Pierce is a translator focusing on German, Danish, Dutch, Portuguese, Spanish, Norwegian, and Swedish. She is the translator of Lars Svendsen’s A Philosophy of Evil, Mela Hartwig’s Am I a Redundant Human Being?, Kjersti A. Skomsvold's The Faster I Walk, the Smaller I Am, and other novels.

Dalkey Archives Press’ The Norwegian Literature Series is supported by the Royal Norwegian Consulate Generals of New York and San Francisco, and the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Washington D.C. The series began after Dalkey Archive had already identified major writers in Norway who were being overlooked in the English speaking world, such as Jon Fosse and Stig Sæterbakken. Funding for this Series will allow for multi-year planning and marketing initiatives to bring books in the Series to a broad range of readers throughout the English-speaking world.

Thanks for reading.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Review: Those Across the River (audio) ~ by Christopher Buehlman

those across the river best

Review by Shellie for: Those Across the River (audio) ~ by Christopher Buehlman; read by Mark Bramhall

A historical gothic thriller set during the great depression in the rural south. It has a thread which links to the US Civil War. Readers won’t guess what the source of the horror is until two thirds through the book; be prepared to linger at the edge of your comfort zone and have a hard time putting this book down.

About:  Main character Frank Nichols is a WWI vet turned college professor. His girl friend Eudora and he have decided to marry after a several year affair which has destroyed her marriage and his career.

Against the advice of his deceased aunt they move into the house she has given him in her will. The small Southern town where the house is located (near the river) is where Frank plans to write his historical book. It will be about his notorious and cruel ancestor whose plantation was also located “across the river”, where he was horrifically murdered at the hands of his slaves.

Our narrator, Frank, and his young wife do not recognize what lurks just beyond the river, even though he has been warned by a variety of sources not to venture into the woods. But soon they and the entire town will be caught in a tangle which will alter their lives and the landscape completely .

Thoughts:   I found Those Across the River in audio at our local library, and think it is a perfect read for Fall since the climax for the novel is set around Halloween. The reader has a slightly sad and light southern accent – perfect for Frank. Interestingly he also has a variety of deeper accents which are effectively used for the other Southern characters in the novel. All work very well in helping make this book a heartbeat-increasing pleasure to listen to.

With its dark historical thread I was thinking that it was going to be a realistic thriller, but after finishing think that I would define it as horror. I liked the dark paranormal aspect and consequently would not recommended it for “sensitive readers”. There are some interesting and gory scenes - one in particular a graphic sexual encounter which may shake up some readers; it did me.

I would recommend it for those who enjoy Southern gothic stories, thrillers with a paranormal edge, horror aficionados, and anyone with an interest in the US civil war (sadly only a too short thread as I found myself wishing for more). I liked that everything did not end up in a “traditional story tied bow”, and give this audio book 4 stars. I will be watching for more from this author since it did surprise me.

Blackstone Audio; 9 hours, 7 minutes; ISBN: 9781455109883; Sep 6, 2011

This book will be included in two challenges:  Shellie’s - Basics Challenge (where I explore speculative fiction) and War Through the Generations 2011 – US Civil War challenge.

Thanks for reading.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Regal Literary Holiday Sweepstakes ~ win books!


Holiday Sweepstakes to Win Books!

Regal Literary - which we support at Layers of Thought, is offering nine books to win for the holidays! 

If you like a variety of literary reads link on the badge to the left to find out more about the books on offer – then pick which book(s) to sign up for.

Here is the list of books you can win!

  1. A Scary Scene In A Scary Movie ~ by Matt Blackstone
  2. The Legal Limit ~ by Martin Clark
  3. Don't You Just Hate That? ~ by Scott Cohen
  4. The Eyes of Willie McGee ~ by Alex Heard
  5. Warm Bodies ~ by Isaac Marion warmbodies
  6. Her Fearful Symmetry ~ by Audrey Niffenegger
  7. He Was My Man First ~ by Nancey Flowers and Courtney Parker
  8. Funeral For A Dog ~ by Thomas Pletzinger
  9. The Oregon Experiment ~ by Keith Scribner

Warm Bodies ~ by Isaac Marion was read and reviewed here (book cover links to Shellie’s review). We also have several others on the to be read and reviewed list.

I am thinking what a great way to start the holidays; winning a book for yourself or perhaps finding a gift for a friend or loved one?

About:  Regal Literary Inc., a full-service agency with offices in New York and London, was founded in 2002. We represent works in a wide range of categories, with an emphasis on literary fiction, outstanding thriller and crime fiction, and serious narrative non-fiction.

Contest is open until December 1, 2011 for addresses in the US, Canada and the District of Colombia.

Have fun perusing and good luck!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Review: The Windup Girl ~ by Paolo Bacigalupi

windup girl

Review by John for:  The Windup Girl ~ by Paolo Bacigalupi; 2009 Night Shade Books.

Wonderful and highly imaginative, it’s a dystopian novel set in a world-gone-wrong that is both crazy and disturbingly believable. All wrapped up into a complex and many-layered story, this book was a delight to read.

About:   It is the 23rd century, the world has been ravaged by global warming and most traditional carbon fuels have been used up. With oil and electricity now almost non-existent, biotechnology is the dominant force in the world – and not in a good way. A few biotech firms (known as calorie companies) essentially rule the world. While competing fiercely with each other, they tightly control food production, use bioterrorism to destroy competitors’ foodstuffs and natural plants, and strive to replace all natural seed stocks with genetically modified seeds engineered to be sterile. As the calorie companies use their huge private armies to help achieve dominance, much of the world’s population is close to starving and is ravaged by plagues and diseases, mostly caused by genetically modified crops or by mutant pests.

Thailand has striven to isolate itself from the rest of the world and from the calorie companies, by putting up strong barriers, fiercely guarding its natural seed stocks, using its own gene hackers to create new food supplies, and using the Ministry of the Environment to enforce harsh laws protecting Thais from disease and from outside interference. But selfishness and natural greed are now putting Thailand at risk as powerful politicians start to push back against the Ministry.

Jaidee Rojjanasukchai, known as the Tiger of Bangkok, is a captain of the White Shirts – the pseudo-military wing of the Ministry. Courageous, fearless and unwilling to take bribes, he is an icon among the White Shirts and fights to keep Thailand free of foreign influence. But he is making powerful political enemies and is being betrayed by someone within the Ministry.

Meanwhile Anderson Lake, a secret agent for one of the most powerful calorie companies, has set up a local factory in Thailand to act as a cover to hide his real goal. But life for Lake becomes a lot more complicated when he becomes involved with Emiko, a beautiful windup girl – a Japanese-designed, genetically engineered, humanoid slave. Emiko has been abandoned by her Japanese master and now lives as an illegal alien, being forced to work at a seedy night club in exchange for having the club owner pay police bribes.

With the future of independent Thailand at stake, things come to a boil as corruption, greed, politics, revenge and self-preservation push the characters towards a thrilling climax.

John’s thoughts:   While set in the future and classified as science fiction, essentially it’s a people story about the things that shape and motivate people. And in this story there are no heroes. When I was about two thirds of the way through the book I wondered how it was going to end and asked myself how I wanted it to end – and I couldn’t answer the question. It was like everything and everyone was corrupted somehow and a good ending to the story just wasn’t possible. There wasn’t anybody that I really wanted to “win”. I guess that is part of Bacigalupi’s message; when it comes to global politics, corporate economics and profit-driven technology development, we are in a world of hurt. There isn’t going to be a knight on a white charger to lead the way for us, so we’re dealing with shades of grey and trying to figure out what is the least worst outcome that we can aim for.


Jaidee comes close to being a hero, but the White Shirts enforce a brutal regime and his naivety dooms him to personal failure. In many senses Anderson Lake is the central character, but as the story progresses and you find out more about what he’s trying to achieve and who’s he’s trying to achieve it for, I went from a supporter to thinking “how could he?”. None of the characters surrounding Jaidee and Lake are very appealing, and many are repulsive. It turns out that the most moral and genuine person is the windup girl who is, essentially, manufactured.

Does that make it sound like a depressing read? It certainly isn’t. It’s an entertaining read with some fascinating ideas. Bacigalupi has imagined a world where the oil has run out and global warming has run amok, and he’s done a tremendous job of envisaging what weird technologies will crop up and how civilization might develop. While not complimentary – he’s pretty damning about “the west“ and man’s ability to direct technology in a positive way – it’s wonderfully imaginative and makes for a thought-provoking read. It’s also a damned good story with lots of twists and turns and an ending that will keep you guessing right up to the final pages.

This is Bacigalupi’s first full-length novel, which is truly impressive. It is an excellent book and I’d rate it 4.5 stars. It is highly recommended for all lovers of science fiction, anyone who likes to think where our crazy world might end up and, indeed, anyone who likes a good, well-written story.

A multiple award winning book, this novel won the 2010 Nebula Award for best novel published in 2009. The Nebula Award is the best in Science Fiction and Fantasy - chosen by peers from the SFWA –Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America. The cover for the Nebula Awards Showcase 2011 links to a review for the nominated short stories, novelettes, winning novella and more.

This book will be included in a variety of challenges – The 2011 Global Reading Challenge – Asia, Dystopia Challenge 2011, 42 Challenge, Mind Voyages, and LGBT Book Challenge (minor character).

As always John will be addressing any comments on his review so don’t forget to check the follow up box.

Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Incoming Books: November 9th ~ 2011

old books

Incoming Books ~ November 9, 2011.

Welcome to our listing of books that we’ve received for review.

It’s our fun feature where we ask a very important question for all those bibliophiles out there in internet land - since we have some incredibly wonderful books to share. All are listed with truncated blurbs and some book data all leading us to ask you the most fun question of the day: Which of these books would you choose to read first?


Kafkaesque: Stories Inspired by Franz Kafka ~ edited by James Patrick Kelly and John Kessel;  (Slip Stream); November 2011;    This anthology explores fiction from writers and artists who have drawn inspiration from Franz Kafka's writings. Including Philip Roth, Jorge Luis Borges, Carol Emshwiller, Paul Di Filippo and R. Crumb. Each author also responds to the question Why Kafka?


Endurance (Green Universe #2) ~ by Jay Lake;  (High Fantasy)  November 2011;            A stand alone second in a series novel - Green is back. Purchased from her father in sunny Selistan when she was four years old, she was harshly raised to be a courtesan, companion, and bedmate of the Immortal Duke of Copper Downs. Yet she is still claimed by the gods and goddesses of her world, and their demands are greater than any dgreenuke’s could have been.

Green (Green Universe #1)June 2009;     She does not remember her mother, she does not remember her own name. She calls herself Green. The world she inhabits is one of political power and magic, where Gods meddle in the affairs of mortals. At the center of it is Copper Downs, which controls all the trade on the Storm Sea where Green has made many enemies and has become a very dangerous woman indeed.


Fighting to Survive (As the World Dies: A Zombie Trilogy #2) ~ by Rhiannon Frater;  (Horror/Apocalyptic) November 2011;        Picking up where The First Days ends, this sequel features the further zombie-killing, civilization-saving adventures of a pair of sexy, kick butt heroines and the men who love them. Now the hard work of survival begins—finding enough food; creating ‏first dayssafe, weather-resistant shelter; establishing laws; and fighting off both the undead who want to eat them and the living bandits who want to rob and kill them.

Fighting to Survive won the Dead Letter Award for Best Novel from Mail Order Zombie. The First Days, the first book in the As the World Dies trilogy, was published by Tor Books in the Spring of 2011.

fallen queen

The Fallen Queen ~ by Jane Kindred; (High Romantic Fantasy)  December 2011;        Heaven can go to hell. Until her cousin slaughtered the supernal family, Anazakia’s father ruled the Heavens, governing noble Host and Fallen peasants alike. Now Anazakia is the last grand duchess of the House of Arkhangel’sk, and all she wants is to stay alive—even if it means saving the man who murdered everyone she loved.


The Hermetica of Elysium ~ by Annmarie Banks;  (Historical Fantasy)  December 2011;      1494 Barcelona - as fires of religious fervor spread throughout the cities of Spain, accused heretics are not the only victims. Thousands of books and manuscripts are lost to the flames. Nadira lives a dreary life as servant to a wealthy spice merchant until the night a dying scholar is brought to the merchant’s stable, beaten by mercenaries who are on the hunt for The Hermetica of Elysium. Will she escape the fires of the Inquisition, the clutches of the Borgia pope, Alexander VI and the French king, Charles VIII?


Cloudburst (Storms #2) ~ by V.C. Andrews; (Horror/Urban Fantasy) October 2011;    High school senior Sasha Porter is in search of her sister—but instead she learns secrets that could tear her family apart.

family storms

Family Storms (Storm #1) February 2011;     Living on the streets with her destitute mother, selling knickknacks and trinkets just to survive, Sasha Porter dreams of someday having a normal life, with a real house and family. But she never dreamed a devastating tragedy would bring her those very things.


Three Weeks in December ~ by Audrey Schulman;  (Literary Fiction) February 2011;     Told in alternating perspectives that interweave the two characters and their fates.

In 1899 Jeremy, a young engineer, leaves a small town in Maine to oversee the construction of a railroad across British East Africa. He becomes the reluctant hunter of two lions that are killing his men in nightly attacks on their camp and he takes increasing solace in the company of an African man who scouts for him.

In 2000 Max, an American ethnobotonist, travels to Rwanda in search of an obscure vine that could become a lifesaving pharmaceutical. Stationed in the mountains, she shadows a family of gorillas. But soon both are threatened as a violent rebel group from the nearby Congo draws close.


The Conference of the Birds ~ by Peter Sis;  (Literary Fiction); October 2011;       Based upon a foundational Sufi poem, it is the story of an epic flight of birds in search of the true king. Drawn from all species, the band of birds is led by the hoopoe.

The voyage to the mountain of Kaf, where the king lives, will be perilous and many birds resist, afraid of what they might encounter. Others perish during the passagewhisperer through the seven valleys – which are named quest, love, understanding, friendship, unity, amazement, and death.

The Whisperer ~ by Donato Carrisi; (Literary Thriller); January 2012;     The severed arms of five girls who vanished in broad daylight are discovered buried in a clearing in the woods. Alive or dead, the remainder of the girls' bodies are nowhere to be found. At first, the case seems simple. A series of clues leads investigators Mila Vasquez and Goran Gavila, but when they begin to follow the leads for the second missing child, it points in a vastly different direction.

So dear friends and readersWhich of these books would you choose to read first?

Happy reading!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Harvest Header ~ 2011

harvest goddess 921 header

We have a new header posted in honor of ~ The Harvest Season! ……. just in case you stop by and don’t recognize Layers of Thought.

For those of you that are new readers (there are quite a few from the Halloween giveaway hop), we change our header seasonally, and occasionally on a whim, because it’s intriguing and fun.

Attributions for the gorgeous artwork will be added when we arrive back home since the information is on the good blogging computer and we are currently traveling. California wine country is exceptional this time of year, and the ripe grapes are hanging on the vine.

We adore this beautiful harvest goddess and are honored to have her oversee our celebrations of thanks for the upcoming seasonal events!

Happy harvests everyone!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Winners ~ two of them!

balloon guy

We have winners for:

Eyes to See ~ by Joseph Nassise

Blood Song ~ by Cat Adams


**Drum Roll**

Chosen by the Random.org fates, the lucky winners are:

Krysta B. from West Virginia for Eyes to See!


Martina K. from Bulgaria (A Little Bit of Everything) for Blood Song!

Congrats to our winners!

*Showers of Applause*

For more information please see our giveaway post (now closed).

Our next giveaway is coming up very close to Thanksgiving. The book we have on offer is the second in a series and is a young adult/tween fantasy written by an indie author. The book and its predecessor will be a perfect Holiday gift for some youngsters. Hang tight as it will be here so very soon.

Thanks for reading!

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