Apr 30, 2012
We don’t normally do this, but since this was the book of the month for February, we thought it would be kind of cool. Here’s the new cover for Susan Kaye Quinn’s next book in the “Mindjack Trilogy”: Closed Hearts
Closed Hearts (Book Two of the Mindjack Trilogy)
When you control minds, only your heart can be used against you.
Eight months ago, Kira Moore revealed to the mindreading world that mindjackers like herself were hidden in their midst. Now she wonders if telling the truth was the right choice after all. As wild rumors spread, a powerful anti-jacker politician capitalizes on mindreaders’ fears and strips jackers of their rights. While some jackers flee to Jackertown—a slum rife with jackworkers who trade mind control favors for cash—Kira and her family hide from the readers who fear her and jackers who hate her. But when a jacker Clan member makes Kira’s boyfriend Raf collapse in her arms, Kira is forced to save the people she loves by facing the thing she fears most: FBI agent Kestrel and his experimental torture chamber for jackers.
Release Date: May 23rd, 2012
Click Here to sign up for the Virtual Launch Party on May 23rd! There will be prizes, reviews, bonus content, did I mention prizes? Come join the fun!
Open Minds (Book One of the Mindjack Trilogy)
“Being a fan of dystopian and sci-fi in young adult books this was exactly the type of book I was hoping to fall in love with and absolutely did …YA readers who love authors like Ally Condie, Veronica Roth, Lauren Oliver and others would be missing out if they failed to pick up Open Minds by Susan Kaye Quinn. Join Kira on her journey to save her fellow mindjackers and potentially change the landscape of her world forever.”
— Danielle Smith, book blogger at There’s a Book
“Susan plunges readers into a compelling and frightening world where nearly everyone can read minds when they come of age. The very idea makes me shudder. This is easily one of the best books I’ve read not only this year, but in recent years.”
— Heather McCorkle, author of The Secret of Spruce Knoll
“Susan Kaye Quinn’s Open Minds is an edge-of-the-seat YA sci-fi, where 16 year-old Kira dodges psychological bullets from all sides.” — Catherine Stine, author of Fireseed One
Susan Kaye Quinn grew up in California, where she wrote snippets of stories and passed them to her friends during class. She pursued a bunch of engineering degrees and worked a lot of geeky jobs, including turns at GE Aircraft Engines, NASA, and NCAR. Now that she writes novels, her business card says “Author and Rocket Scientist” and she doesn’t have to sneak her notes anymore.All that engineering comes in handy when dreaming up paranormal powers in future worlds or mixing science with fantasy to conjure slightly plausible inventions. Susan writes from the Chicago suburbs with her three boys, two cats, and one husband. Which, it turns out, is exactly as much as she can handle.
Mar 13, 2012
Yes, it is mid-March. Yes, I realize I am just finishing the nominees for February. Today, I will be reviewing “Diary of a Small Fish” by Pete Morin.
I’ve never enjoyed the culinary delight known as Osso Bucco and don’t care for golf. The latter is an unpardonable sin to power-lunching social climbers everywhere.
My opinion of state legislators is colored by the situations I encountered while serving as a legislative page during my high school years.
I know plenty of, and am related to quite a few lawyers. I’ve read my share of contracts, wills, and titles.
As usual, feel free to read any book you like, while completely disregarding my opinion.
When Paul Forte is indicted by a federal grand jury, everyone suspects prosecutor Bernard Kilroy has more on his mind than justice. The FBI agent in charge of Paul’s case gives him a clue to the mystery: Kilroy is bent on settling an old family score, and he’s not above breaking the law to do it.
Paul is already dealing with the death of his parents and divorce from a woman he still loves. Now, with the support of an alluring grand juror, Paul must expose the vindictive prosecutor’s own corruption before the jury renders a verdict on his Osso Buco.
I like this book. It’s an enjoyable read, with a well thought out plot. Very few books defy categorization. Usually, those books end under the all-encompassing label of “literary fiction”.
Small Fish is technically in the Thriller/Suspense genre. If I had to chose, it would probably end up on the Suspense side of the fence. The problem — if you can call it that — is the fact that there are two strong love stories woven throughout, along with a healthy helping of drama.
If it were a movie, it would be closer to my wife’s favorite (City Island) than Pelican Brief. This story has plenty of interesting people who you grow to enjoy more as the book moves on. Sure, there’s an interesting plot, but that’s a backdrop to what is taking place in the daily lives of the characters.
My one sticking point for this book is the character of Paul Forte. Your opinions of this book as a whole will hinge entirely on how much you like him.
Paul’s a pretty good guy. He looks out for the best interests of the taxpayers. People consider him the life of the party, even if he can’t do that much for them. He’s a great golfer, who has a respect for the game. In fact, golf is a sort of religion to him: Green fees and country club dues serve as his monthly offerings to the church that Arnold Palmer built.
He has a cushy, government job. He lives in a better-than-decent neighborhood. The family he comes from is politically well-connected. He has what upwardly-mobile parents from Manhattan strive to give their children : Good connections. Good school. Good jobs. Good life.
Frequently, he has champagne for breakfast, or opens a bottle of exquisite wine. He’s a subset of the overbearing legion of foodies who let you know everything they ate, with a bit of hipster-esque relish. Lamb, duck and veal are present on a regular basis. He imbibes alcohol with the frequency and relish of the polished gentlemen of the ’60s: Don Draper made flesh.
I don’t dislike Paul for the life he leads. Rather, I dislike him because he is privileged, and refuses to admit it. In the beginning of the book, he infers that he barely qualifies as upper class, despite being a member of the club where JFK played a round of 18, or the fact that he has $3M in the bank.
Paul Forte: Master of the HumbleBrag.
As his love interest points out, it wouldn’t be hard for the prosecution to paint him as a “spoiled white boy”. She isn’t that far off.
He drives drunk and plays more than a little dirty, yet he still has the nerve to argue shades of grey when it comes to influence peddling.
So why did I keep reading?
Because the rest of the characters were likable. Rex and Amelia, the Assistant Prosecutor, Cruddy, and the remaining cast were likable. Lovable, even.
The city of Boston, the grace of Kate, and the quirky nature of a certain juror/artist/lover make this a story worth hearing the end of.
Diary of a Small Fish is worth the read. You may love or dislike Paul Forte, but you won’t want to leave the city or the people that make up his daily life.
This book receives four stars.
Read an excerpt from Diary of a Small Fish
Buy Diary of a Small Fish at: Amazon, Smashwords, Barnes and Noble
About the Reviewer:
One time I had a friend who asked me if I’d like to play the piccolo, but I said “No.”
Mar 5, 2012
Welcome to the review I’ve looked forward to writing. I’ve been cruelly detained from my task by other labors.
Today, we’ll be looking at The Philanthropist’s Danse by Paul Wornham.
I love mystery, mansions, and mid-sized groups of people with deep, unspeakable secrets. In addition, I have a working, practical knowledge of estates and how the super-rich seek to control their empires from beyond the grave.
Twelve people. Five days. One fortune.
Johnston Thurwell, one of the world’s richest men, dies unexpectedly. His family expects to inherit his wealth, but instead discover the dying philanthropist has spent his last days planning something called The Danse. The twelve most important people in his life are brought together to decide the most important question at the end of it. Who will inherit his fortune?
The family is sequestered in the philanthropist’s remote country mansion with a group that includes his best friend, his most loyal servants, and his greatest rival. They must agree who among them will share the fortune, but they must do it against the clock. Every twenty-four hours, the fortune is reduced. In just five days, it will all be gone.
The thin veneer of civility among the twelve is ripped away by naked greed as their lust for money drives them into betrayal, blackmail and violence.
The desperate family will do anything to save their inheritance. Except share it.
People like stories about wealthy people. My particular affinity for lifestyles the super-rich is not based on the things they own, or the power they possess. I am more interested in the psychology of the rich: The mindset and choices that brought them to, and kept them at the top.
The Philanthropist’s Danse delivers smart, psychological drama of the type I haven’t seen in quite some time.
Take “12 Angry Men”, the psychological gymnastics of ”The Game”, add a little sexual innuendo, and tie it all together with 12 personalities that clash incessantly. Then, let an impartial lawyer lay out and enforce the ground rules with the assistance of a highly skilled majordomo.
With that, the Danse is off to a smashing start, full of arguments, tantrums, and a fair bit of grousing about who “deserves” the money. The question is a legitimate one, as many in the room don’t even know why Mr. Thurwell summoned them posthumously.
Johnston Thurwell continues to assert his control through carefully planned contingencies that give us some insight as to why he was so wealthy to begin with. All of his commands are executed with swift and exact justice. His wishes are honored exactly.
People may dismiss this scenario as far-fetched. They would be wrong. One of the things I find engaging about this book is its realistic portrayal of the ultra wealthy.
Individuals who possess a great deal of money, respect, and power attempt to keep that once they are dead. The Pharoahs did it? Why should this aspiration be beneath your common, modern-day billionaire?
The author gives us ample detail as to Thurwell’s motivations and machinations. Every twist is worth the wait.
The crew assembled in the mansion is textured and diverse, with a spattering of family, business associates, servants, and those of indefinite categorization.
Familiar jealousies and tenuous alliances form quickly, as money forges and breaks the most fragile of bonds. Fraternal rivalries soon surface, along with marital quibbles and relationship issues.
This turmoil, along with the pressures of time keep the situation quite fluid. Just when you think you have the motives and arc of a character nailed, a deft twist comes along to destroy your theory entirely.
These people all have secrets. Some are sinister, others are pleasant. It will be your pleasure to uncover most of them.
William Bird is Thurwell’s handsomely paid lawyer with an equitable disposition. The fascinating bit is that he’s in the dark as to what is taking place. Some of his instructions are activated quickly, other scenarios make you wonder “What if?”.
He’s part referee and part player, except he has no stake in the game.
Jeremy, the majordomo is well used throughout. He displays noble character, and the utmost in humility and kindness. He restores balance and order in the middle of raging, emotional tempests.
A Perfect Blend
I personally haven’t read a better book in this genre. It’s an atypical “whodunnit” containing characters with realistic flaws and virtues. All are adequately exposed for scrutiny.
Page-turner is a cliche I happily give to this particular novel, although “button-masher” may soon take its place.
The language in this novel is realistic, and one particularly hot-tempered misogynist in the bunch uses the full vocabulary of profanity when proffering his opinions. It fits the character, and the situation.
My only complaint with regard to this novel is that Mr. Wornham didn’t have second novel that I could purchase. Hopefully, he will remedy that situation quickly.
The Philanthropist’s Danse is a brilliant mystery, chock full of smart dialogue and plot twists that will keep you intrigued until the last page.
Because of this, I happily award “The Philanthropist’s Danse” five stars. Buy it or borrow it(if you are a Prime Member). If you can’t afford that, email me, and I’ll happily use the single lend Amazon has given me so I can loan it to you. First come, first served.
About the Reviewer:
Jack Martin is a renowned lover of the game “Foodie Clue”. ‘Twas he who killed off the remaining Roast Pork with Mango Chutney, at midnight, in the kitchen, with a spork.
When he isn’t updating this blog, he also serves as the co-owner of Gossamer Publishing.
Read an excerpt from “The Philanthropist’s Danse”
Buy The Philanthropist’s Danse at Amazon
Music you should listen to while reading this book:
Money, by Pink Floyd
Related books you might find intriguing:
Disintegration, by Scott Nicholson