Monday, June 6, 2011

SUMMER Reading Queue: Books In Review. The List is Growing!

Want to know what I'm reading this summer?  Here is a look at my reading queue.  This list features books that have been accepted and recently arrived in my mailbox or are snugly settled on my Kindle.  If I have accepted your book, but do not have it virtually or physically in my possession it will not YET appear on my list --- but will be added when delivered. All images are direct links to Amazon, please click through if you wish to order or explore further. I deeply encourage readers to check out these books!

Books that make my list are considered for a variety of reasons and span a number of genres.  I like to remain eclectic in my reading habits and as advertised, I've added a number of 'indie' and small press books.  This is not because I do not get a number of requests from large publishing companies, but because I'm continuing my mission and promise to provide book reviews for independent authors. I support a wide gamut of authors and consider all works equal in creative value.

Still Life With Brass Pole
Still Life With Brass Pole
Author Craig Machen
FINISHED Review Post
Craig is 16 when he returns from a drug-fueled visit with his dad in Miami to find his mom leaving town with her 23 year-old boyfriend. In the same moment, his dreams of settling down with his pregnant girlfriend are dashed when she is moved off to Texas by her parents. Left alone in small town Oklahoma, he embarks on a deranged, cross-country quest for a family of his own. STILL LIFE WITH BRASS POLE is Craig Machen’s funny, debauched and heartfelt memoir about young love and coming of age in the titillation business. And how a roaring White Knight Complex, an eccentric comedy club owner, and a trio of unpredictable striptease artists conspire to help him achieve his aims. Praise for "Still Life With Brass Pole" by Craig Machen "Still Life With Brass Pole" is the product of a great story teller with a great story to tell. Craig Machen’s earnest and brutally honest recounting of his teenage search for love and family is weird, hilarious, fast paced, upbeat and straight from the heart. An absolute joy to read." Curtis Grippe, The Arizona Republic Praise for WASTED, written by Craig Machen: "The film's interesting look is complemented by Craig Machen's script, which has a real-deal sound..." -- Mike McDaniel, Houston Chronicle "Of course, good acting can only take a film so far. Wasted succeeds largely because of Craig Machen's compelling script, in which kids talk like kids — not like adults think kids talk..." -- Jeff Gemmill, TV Guide "In short, Wasted is an excellent film that brings heroin addiction and the difficulties of recovery into sharp focus. Never condescending, always honest and very powerful, the movie neither lionizes heroin addicts nor strips them of their humanity..." -- Jeff Gemmill, TV Guide "There's no easy road to recovery for a drug addict, and it's easier to go back to the drugs than to face life. But despite its short-term relief, that choice can mean death. That lesson is taught with honesty in Wasted." -- The Detroit News ABOUT THE AUTHOR Craig Machen wrote the movie WASTED for MTV, and for the Zac Efron show SUMMERLAND. In 15 years of writing for Hollywood, he has worked for Ben Stiller’s Red Hour Films, Ivan Reitman’s Montecito Picture Company, Jim Henson Pictures, The WB, Paramount Television, Warner Brothers TV, Tollin-Robbins Productions, VH-1, Viacom, Spelling Television, 20th Century Fox, DreamWorks, and others. This is his first book.

Chasing AmandaChasing Amanda
Author Melissa Foster
FINISHED Review Post
JULY 26 - Book Blog Tour at Bitsy Bling Books
WOW! Women on Writing
Nine years ago, Molly Tanner witnessed a young girl’s abduction in the busy city of Philadelphia, shifting her occasional clairvoyance into overdrive. Two days later, the girl’s body was found, and Molly’s life fell apart. Consumed by guilt for not acting upon her visions, and on the brink of losing her family, Molly escaped the torturous reminders in the city, fleeing to the safety of the close-knit rural community of Boyds, Maryland. Molly’s life is back on track, her son has begun college, and she and her husband have finally rekindled their relationship. Their fresh start is shattered when a seven-year-old girl disappears from a local park near Molly’s home. Unable to turn her back on another child and troubled by memories of the past, Molly sets out to find her, jeopardizing the marriage she’d fought so hard to hold together. While unearthing clues and struggling to decipher her visions, Molly discovers another side of Boyds, where the residents--and the land itself--hold potentially lethal secrets, and exposes another side of her husband, one that threatens to tear them apart.

What You Will (Twelfth Night)What You Will 
(Twelfth Night)
Author Lily White LeFevre
Viola Gardener is tired of living in the shadow of her vivacious twin. When her parents host a Twelfth Night masquerade, she decides to dress up as the one thing sure to catch the attention of the man of her dreams: her sister!

The Twisted Thread
Twisted Thread
Author Charlotte Bacon
Amazon Vine Review
Release Date: June 14, 2011
FINISHED Review Post
When beautiful but aloof Claire Harkness is found dead in her dorm room one spring morning, prestigious Armitage Academy is shaken to its core. Everyone connected to school, and to Claire, finds their lives upended, from the local police detective who has a personal history with the academy, to the various faculty and staff whose lives are immersed in the daily rituals associated with it. Everyone wants to know how Claire died, at whose hands, and more importantly, where the baby that she recently gave birth to is a baby that almost no one, except her small innermost circle, knew she was carrying. At the center of the investigation is Madeline Christopher, an intern in the English department who is forced to examine the nature of the relationship between the school s students and the adults meant to guide them. As the case unravels, the dark intricacies of adolescent privilege at a powerful institution are exposed, and both teachers and students emerge as suspects as the novel rushes to its thrilling conclusion.

Zombie MageZombie Mage
Author Jonathan J. Drake
Life isn't too grand for Olligh Selthnik. When he awakens, all he can remember is his name. With his memory vague, and now having to live life in a decrepit body, he doesn't envision things could get much worse. Join Olligh as he begins his journey on a quest for knowledge. A horrifying adventure of intrigue and deception awaits but, will he find the answers (and the soap) he so dearly requires? With black humour from the off, prepare to be taken on a ghastly, stench-ridden journey into the unknown. This is Jonathan's first book edging on the darker side of fantasy and, as such, it may not be suitable for children.

Felix and the Sacred ThorFelix and the Sacred Thor
Author James Steele
JUNE 30 - Twisted Tales Feature
FINISHED Review Post
HUMANITY'S FATE IS IN THE HANDS OF HE WHO WIELDS THE SACRED THOR! "Epic quests don't involve the internet or TV! They involve sex toys and manly, hard-bodied, larger-than-life heroes defying physics, logic and insurmountable odds, spitting out quotable, highly marketable catchphrases all the while!" -The Sacred Horse Felix might not quite fit this description, but he's trying. After retrieving the most powerful weapon in the world from the Sacred Horse and proving himself a pervert of the purest heart, he sets upon an epic quest to destroy the kamikaze alien invaders poised to eliminate the entire human race. Invaders have implanted themselves in the college graduates standing in unemployment lines-the very backbone of the nation's economy. They've positioned themselves in the city's grease transmission system, without which America will starve to death in minutes. They threaten the digital children, who cannot survive without their Internet connections. They even threaten Bob. College taught Felix how to please a horse. It didn't prepare him for the challenge of using an upgradeable horse dildo as a weapon to free himself from his tyrannical bosses at work and become a warrior for humanity.

Black Hole BluesBlack Hole Blues
Author Patrick Wensink
JULY 28 - Twisted Tales
J. Claude Caruthers is country music's biggest star and Kenny Rogers' worst nightmare. Now, J. Claude hasn't slept for weeks. His insomnia comes courtesy of his quest to complete Nashville's most ambitious project: Caruthers is writing a love song for every woman's name on Earth. But since getting stuck on the last name in the book, Zygmut, Caruthers' life has been miserable. Life gets much worse when his estranged brother, Lloyd, inadvertently creates a black hole in a top-secret physics lab. Lovesick and lonely, Lloyd sets out to reconnect with his brother and find love before the world ends.As the black hole swallows the planet, the brothers discover that only one person who can stop the apocalypse and help J. Claude finish his songwriting odyssey is their missing sister, Zygmut. Told through a kaleidoscope of perspectives that include the Caruthers brothers, J. Claude's guitar, a club sandwich, and even the angry, foul-mouthed particle that birthed the black hole, Patrick Wensink's Black Hole Blues is a hilarious double helix of country music and physics.

The Eyes of the Dead (A Vetala Cycle Novel)The Eyes of the Dead
Author G.R. Yeates
FINISHED Review Post
Vampires are loose in the trenches of the First World War. Passchendaele, 1917. Private Reg Wilson is a man with a name but no memories. A soldier who remembers nothing of life before the fighting began. Until he comes to Black Wood, a tainted place that knows him intimately. There, he will discover a darkness buried long ago by time and dust. An appetite that has been awoken by war. A hunger that will feed upon his blood, his regrets and his worst fears. It will show him what he has forgotten. It will show him nightmare made flesh. And, before he dies, it will make him look deep into the eyes of the dead.

Blackbirch WoodsBlackbirch Woods
Author meredith Anne Devoe
FINISHED Review Post
At false dawn, Willis set the silent dove down among the fir branches. Then he sat back down and bowed his head to his knees, awaiting the agonizing moment when daybreak would again be denied him..." Seven-year-old Violet Aubrey has no idea that the young man she meets in the woods at night is over two hundred years old. Years do not change him, but as Violet grows, so does her bond with him. But Willis is trapped in the dark... will love be enough to bring them out of the woods?

Reluctant QueenReluctant Queen
Author Geraldine Hartnett (Evans)
Mary Tudor discovers a less than loving side to her elder brother, Henry VIII, when she refuses to marry the aged King Louis XII of France. Mary is in love with Charles Brandon and longs to marry him. But after being alternately cajoled and threatened, Mary gives in to Henry's wishes. In France, Louis' heir, Francis, ardently pursues Mary. But when Louis dies, Mary, in widowed seclusion, is at the mercy of a Francis heedless of the dangers of fathering his own usurper. Then Henry plans another match for her...This impressive and moving novel sheds light on a little known royal figure manipulated like so many others by the despotic Henry VIII.

Baby JaneBaby Jane
Author M.A. Demers
There’s more to good and evil than meets the eye... When human remains are found in her pre-war fixer-upper in an east Vancouver neighbourhood, Claire Dawson’s grand plans to fix the house—and her life—take a disturbing turn. Suspicious there might exist a relationship between the discovery and her own tragic past, Claire insinuates herself into the investigation, unknowingly placing herself in harm’s way and Homicide’s Detective Dylan Lewis in an impossible conflict of interest. And when Dylan’s grandmother, a Coast Salish medicine woman, wades into the mystery, challenging the demon whose earthly form is behind the murder, the three find themselves embroiled in a high-stakes battle where lines are blurred and worlds collide—but souls are ultimately freed.

Author Karina Halle
FINISHED Review post
There’s always been something a bit off about Perry Palomino. Though she’s been dealing with a quarter-life crisis and post-college syndrome like any other twentysomething, she’s still not what you would call “ordinary.” For one thing, there’s her past which she likes to pretend never happened, and then there’s the fact that she sees ghosts. Luckily for her, that all comes in handy when she stumbles across Dex Foray, an eccentric producer for an upcoming webcast on ghost hunters. Even though the show’s budget is non-existent and Dex himself is a maddening enigma, Perry is instantly drawn into a world that both threatens her life and seduces her with a sense of importance. Her uncle’s haunted lighthouse provides the perfect catalyst and backdrop for a mystery that unravels the threads of Perry’s fragile sanity and causes her to fall for a man, who, like the most dangerous of ghosts, may not be all that he seems.

The Night CircusThe Night Circus
Author Erin Morgenstern
Amazon Vine Review
Release Date: September 13, 2011
The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night. But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway—a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them, this is a game in which only one can be left standing, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will. Despite themselves, however, Celia and Marco tumble headfirst into love—a deep, magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands. True love or not, the game must play out, and the fates of everyone involved, from the cast of extraordinary circus per formers to the patrons, hang in the balance, suspended as precariously as the daring acrobats overhead. 

Death by ZamboniDeath by Zamboni
Author David David Katzman
JULY 14 - Twisted Tales Feature
Finished Review Post
A sweeping American romance spanning five American generations in America. Oh, wait, that's some other crappy novel. In Death by Zamboni, you'll follow our anti-hero Satan Donut through a world of mimes, TV stars, zombies, blockheads, mad scientists, riot grrls, and werewolves. This genre-busting satire shish kabobs the commericial-entertainment state which degrades our lives and makes everyone stupid. But on a happy note, at least you've got your health.

Author Esmeralda Santiago
Amazon Vine Review
Release Date: July 12, 2011
FINISHED Review Post
An epic novel of love, discovery, and adventure by the author of the best-selling memoir When I Was Puerto Rican. As a young girl growing up in Spain, Ana Larragoity Cubillas is powerfully drawn to Puerto Rico by the diaries of an ancestor who traveled there with Ponce de León. And in handsome twin brothers Ramón and Inocente—both in love with Ana—she finds a way to get there. She marries Ramón, and in 1844, just eighteen, she travels across the ocean to a remote sugar plantation the brothers have inherited on the island. Ana faces unrelenting heat, disease and isolation, and the dangers of the untamed countryside even as she relishes the challenge of running Hacienda los Gemelos. But when the Civil War breaks out in the United States, Ana finds her livelihood, and perhaps even her life, threatened by the very people on whose backs her wealth has been built: the hacienda’s slaves, whose richly drawn stories unfold alongside her own. And when at last Ana falls for a man who may be her destiny—a once-forbidden love—she will sacrifice nearly everything to keep hold of the land that has become her true home.This is a sensual, riveting tale, set in a place where human passions and cruelties collide: thrilling history that has never before been brought so vividly and unforgettably to life.

Michael Jordan and the Slam Dunk Suicide CultMichael Jordan and the Slam Dunk Suicide Cult
Author Nick Vandermolen
FINISHED Review Post
Its been called "...The most wildly offensive book of 2011," for its themes and dialogue. Its mere plot summary has been labeled truly "dangerous territory," by fellow authors and sports fans alike. Nick Vandermolen's Michael Jordan and the Slam Dunk Suicide Cult will test your boundaries, force self-exploration of accepted racial and cultural taboos, and might even release these tensions with laughter at the absurdity of it all. From page one of Michael Jordan and the Slam Dunk Suicide Cult readers are thrust into a strange and grotesque basketball camp for boys. Forget dribbling. Throw lay-ups out the window. The "Monster Dunk Basketball Camp for Kids" teaches young ones only the "fundamentals" of basketball – Slam Dunking. However, it doesn't take long before the true nature of this evil camp is revealed. When the boys show a lack of star-power because they can't dunk, the camp counselor Darko Milicic takes matters into his own hands. Darko throws the children down a well. His theory is simple; extend a rope ladder down the well and raise it to the exact height of a slam dunk. If the children can jump and reach it, they can also slam dunk. But it is within this imprisonment of inability that we get a fresh look at race, exploitation, and the power of a modern day sports icon; Michael Jordan. This story examines racism, hero worship and sports in a way most authors are too afraid to tackle. Vandermolen, having worked with disenfranchised youth in the inner city of Chicago for nearly three years, gives us an authentic look at the culture of "street kids," without a chaser. He emulates the rough dialect perfectly, highlighting its uniqueness as well as its vulgarity. To many readers the story's speech and themes may seem crude and off-putting. But this urge to shun what is uncomfortable, and the distillation of such a culture is ultimately what Michael Jordan and the Slam Dunk Suicide Cult is all about. This modern fable shows the danger of culture as commodity, and the theft of meaning from those who created it.

Raven (The Raven Saga)The Raven
Author Suzy Turner
After the inexplicable disappearance of Lilly Taylor's parents, she has no choice but to move to Canada where she unravels some frightening yet intriguing family secrets...Her whole life had been based on a lie. Lilly had grown up in a loveless home with a father who she had barely ever seen and a mother who was... well, not very motherly.After they mysteriously disappear without a trace, Lilly is sent to Canada where she finds a whole new way of life. A life filled with love and people who care for her. But that's not all she discovers, Lilly also finds out that she isn't who, or what, she thinks she is.

Author Jason Beymer
FINISHED Review Post
One suburban night. One stubborn corpse. One golden opportunity. Burklin had it all: a spacious two-story house, a shapeshifting wife, a wide open future. That is, until his father ripped out his soul and trapped it inside an opinionated dachshund. Now he's lost everything, leaving him a slave on mop-up duty for a homicidal teenage demon. His father is sleeping with his ex, the possessed dachshund won't stop talking, and the cleanup jobs keep getting messier. Burklin would give anything to have his life back--even if it means turning against his manipulative father and destroying their chance of winning the Nether's Demon Lord Sweepstakes.
Opportunity knocks with a dead woman's hand. When the demon's latest victim won't stay dead, the rules of life and death change. Freedom lies within Burklin's reach, but to get it he'll have to defy his father, the ex-wife he still loves, and the Nether itself. Just how far is he willing to go?
Warning: This title contains sex, violence, human cuisine, a smart-ass dachshund, teenage demons, and fun with corpses.

Double Play: The Hidden Passions Behind the Double Assassination of George Moscone and Harvey MilkDouble Play: The Hidden Passions Behind the Double Assassination of George Moscone and Harvey Milk
Author Mike Weiss
After assassinating San Francisco Mayor George Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk, killer Dan White was given only a mild sentence for manslaughter. This true crime thriller explains why White killed the two politicians, and how he got away with murder. This new expanded edition reveals for the first time how after his release from prison White confessed his true murderous intent and his secret plan to kill two more politicians. A companion DVD provides unseen television interviews and the never-before-available recording of White's gut-wrenching confession.

Dreams Unleashed (The Prophecies)Dreams Unleashed
Author Linda Hawley
Finished Review Post
It’s the future year of 2015, where technology governs life. No one on the globe is free from being tracked through government RFID. The worldwide underground organization, GOG, is the one group equipped to fight against citizens’ loss of privacy. Ann Torgeson is a technical writer working for a tidal energy company—living a seemingly normal life in the Pacific Northwest—when her vivid dreams turn real. Is her training as a paranormal CIA agent when she was nineteen years old now altering the doorway between her subconscious and reality? When Ann starts to dig into her past, her present begins to unravel, leading the reader through events that twist and turn everything upside down. Question everything you know is essential in this dystopian (light) science fiction trilogy.

Wahoo RhapsodyWahoo Rhapsody
Author Shaun Morey
Amazon Vine Review
Release Date: July 5, 2011
FINISHED Review Post
Take one sea-loving captain, a drug-smuggling first mate, and a novice deckhand with a secret, and you have the motley crew of the Wahoo Rhapsody, a ramshackle fishing charter plying the Pacific’s waters off the coast of Cabo San Lucas. Captain Winston Weber makes an honest, if lean, living running fishing charters between Mexico and California, with no inkling of the fact that his first mate, Weevil Ott, is smuggling marijuana inside the yellowfin tuna stacked in the boat’s hold. But when Weevil decides to skim a small fortune for himself, goons under orders from the mysterious drug lord known only as “La Cucaracha” descend upon the Wahoo Rhapsody. What ensues is a madcap romp that will catapult readers from Cabo San Lucas to Tucson and San Diego, as Winston, Weevil, and an expat American lawyer by the name of Atticus Fish try to outrun La Cucaracha’s bloody reach. Fans of Carl Hiaasen and Elmore Leonard will relish this rollicking satirical adventure from award-winning writer Shaun Morey.

Author Amy Tupper
Jules is running. With the death of her mother behind her, she arrives at college in Chapel Hill ready to focus on friends, classes, and Andrew, the sweetest guy a girl could crush on. But Nick, the campus rock star, is always around, pressing every last one of her buttons. Things get strange when Nick plays his guitar, and even stranger when Jules discovers he wears a pendant identical to her dead mother’s. She wants answers. When her family’s secret is revealed, Jules must choose between running away from the one person she has opened up to or running with him toward an unknown future.

Take the All-Mart!: Reprobates of the Wasteland Book One (Volume 1)Take the All-Mart!
Author J.I. Greco
JULY 21 - Twisted Tales Feature
The world's been flattened and rebuilt a dozen times over -- but not the Wasteland. It stayed flattened, the perfect place for a couple of cyborg reprobates on the run. Reprobates like Trip, with a head full of mind-machine interface gear, and his brother Rudy, his gut home to a checmical factory constantly pumping THC directly into his bloodstream. Fleeing to the Wasteland in their two-hundred-year-old mind-controlled Dodge after Trip left a warlord queen on the altar and Rudy almost killed her cat, they need to score big to keep the cannibal bounty hunters off them. And what better way to do that than by robbing the beer capital of the Wasteland blind? It's a great plan, as long as Rudy can stay sober and Trip can keep himself from being distracted by the locals -- one sexy, orgy-loving cybergal local in particular. 

* In addition, if a book does not appear on this list and you know you have sent it and I've received it, it means I have already read it and review is forthcoming -- I do have five or more books that I've recently read, reviewed and are holding in draft posts due to courtesy for release date or features.  There is usually a reason to my madness and it always works to the authors advantage. :)


  1. Hmm. None of my books are on your list. How shall we rectify that?

  2. Susan's book is now on the list. I think I am going to have to make a mid-summer post lol

  3. I've just downloaded iStripper, and now I can watch the hottest virtual strippers on my desktop.

  4. You could be qualified to get a $1,000 Amazon Gift Card.