Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Readers' Choice Spotlight (Humor/Satire, Literary Fiction, Memoir)

Remember to vote for your choices on this page and don't miss the other entry options for the giveaway.

Humor and Satire

I Coulda Caught that Pass! by John Pearson

"There is something to be said about fantasy football. That something is that it is not for everybody. Those who love it, love it. Those who hate it, hate it. Those who don’t care are called spouses. 

The name alone conjures up a hybrid image of ESPN and late night Cinemax. But no, this fantasy is not of the erotic type. It is fantasy in the sense that it is the only way most of us would ever be even remotely involved in professional athletics. 

The first recorded season of fantasy football occurred in 1976, when a young man named… 

OK, you know what? I have no earthly idea when fantasy football officially started, and I really have no inclination to look it up. That’s not what this book is about. You aren’t going to find the history of the game here. You won’t find advice for how to start your own league or tips for drafting a dynasty. You definitely will not find any ways to sharpen your managerial skills. In fact, there’s a good chance you won’t find any skill at all in this book. 

Instead, what you will find is an inside look at one fantasy football league. A fly-on-the-wall perspective of ten scrappy managers/everyday Joes – more obsessive than some, less obsessive than most. A touching story of one triumphant champion and nine complete losers. 

Prepare to step into history. 

And by 'history,' I mean 'completely unspectacular events that have happened in the recent past.'"

The Liar's Guide to South America by Michael Delwiche

"Andrew Mozart is in love. He fell for Sarah the first time they met, but he could never find the courage to tell her. When she leaves work on a gap year adventure to South America, he thinks he has missed his chance. Until he moves desks, and finds her computer still logged in to her email account.

Sarah’s old emails reveal that she thought more of him then he believed possible. Armed with intimate knowledge of her secret desires, Andrew takes a risk for the first time in his life and boards a flight to Brazil.
But when he arrives in Rio, Sarah has already moved on. Using only her emails home and the information he can gather from those who have met her, he sets off in single-minded pursuit of the girl of his dreams. 
For the unwitting traveller, danger lurks around every corner and a life-threatening encounter with train bandits forces Andrew to rely on the kindness of a stranger. Caustic Irish girl Kerry couldn’t be more different from Andrew’s dream woman, and yet for the first time in his life he begins to appreciate reality. That is until a journey to the end of the world ends in revelations that threaten to destroy everything Andrew believed was true.

With Sarah always just one step ahead, fate seems determined to stop Andrew from finding love. When he becomes tangled up with guns, drugs and the Bolivian police, only his reckless determination and an unlikely friendship can save him.

The Liar’s Guide to South America. Don’t believe a word of it."

The Obituarist by Patrick O'Duffy

"What happens to your Facebook account when you die?

Kendall Barber calls himself an obituarist – a social media undertaker who settles accounts for the dead. If you need your loved one’s Twitter account closed down or one last blog post to be made, he’ll take care of it, while also making sure that identity thieves can’t access forgotten personal data. It’s his way of making amends for his past, a path that has seen him return to the seedy city of Port Virtue after years in exile.

What if cleaning up your accounts could get you killed?"

The Secret Files of Hugo and Victoria by J.E. (Buck) Buchanan

"At last, a novel that seeks to answer the age-old question of whether a hardboiled private eye writer and a goody-two-shoes vampiress-in-denial can find redemption and true happiness.

Can our intrepid hero Hugo Rongg pull it off?

Sure, you think it’s easy being a private eye writer – dames hanging all over you, good booze, cool guns, hot cars like my classic Yugo. Well it’s not all roses, or even Four Roses. It’s walking down dark alleys, stumbling over corpses, and, oh yeah, solving mind-bending case stories, some that rip your guts out. It gets worse when a babe like Victoria knocks you off your feet then worms her way into your heart and your private eye writer business.

Can the equally intrepid Victoria Station, our girl next door, get the job done?

My Hugo – so handsome, so strong, so… so… everything. Just thinking about him makes my knees all melty. Pardon my whisper but I have a secret. The Curse of the Curse, the source of my Little Genetics Problem, an inconvenience that causes me to crave male blood when I have PMS. Soooo yucky. I must rid myself of the Curse before Hugo finds out and must do so while I’m learning to be a private eye writer to help him with his case stories. Sometimes I give him more help than he realizes because mutants from my Transylvania side of the family are involved and I have to use my special powers and knowledge.

Laugh-out-loud satire and twisty mysteries will keep you guffawing and guessing."

The Sparrow Conundrum by Bill Kirton

"Chris Machin isn’t his name, not to the bottom feeders in Aberdeen squabbling over North Sea oil and gas contracts. He has a code name – Sparrow – and when his garden explodes, he takes flight, plunging the power struggle into hilarious chaos and violence.

A sociopathic cop and a shady ex-girlfriend aren’t much help. The cop thinks that arresting suspects (innocent and guilty) must always involve violence and the ex turns out to be deeply involved in the events which are making Sparrow’s life so complicated.

The bodies pile up—some whole, some in fragments—and two wrestlers join the fray. A road trip seems just the solution, but then so do Inverness, a fishing trawler and a Russian factory ship as the players face … The Sparrow Conundrum."

Literary Fiction

A Kiss Before You Leave Me by James Hulbert

"Three master manipulators--and a woman in love--clash in the worlds of surveillance, voyeurism, and art.

Miranda Kincaid used liquor and other men to flee the control of her husband Vince and his mother Kathleen. Now divorced, sober, and man-free, she's putting her life back together. Vince, now her friend, wants her back--and his mother will stop at nothing to keep them apart. Kathleen's secret weapon? A new man: a seductive, married misfit, a once and future painter with demons of his own--and his own plans for Miranda.

Equal parts moral tale and 'guilty pleasure', 'A Kiss Before You Leave Me' is plotted like a thriller, but its most memorable violence is emotional--and all the more disturbing because it's done in the name of love."

A Lighter Shade of Gray by Devon Pearse

"What does it feel like to stare into the face of madness? Or to anticipate your own? Would you drive away your only love? Could you pretend it didn't matter? How far would you go to protect a friend, or to avenge a death?

Ten years ago, Devon gave up the love of her life, fearing she would one day fall victim to the mental illness that has slowly ravaged the mind of her mother, who is now being cared for in a private facility.

Just when it seems Devon might have a chance to make up for past mistakes, her best friend Cass becomes a suspect in the murder of her sister's drug-dealing boyfriend. Devon knows Cass is lying about the details of her involvement and the lead detective on the case, convinced that Cass is guilty, is relentless in his pursuit of justice.

When her mother's young, emotionally disturbed roommate insinuates she knows something about the night of the murder, as well as details from Devon's own life that no one else is privy to, Devon becomes desperate to uncover the truth before Detective Lake does. As the investigation continues, Devon is led down a path she never expected and forced to face her greatest fears of life and love.

Tangled in a web of lies, regrets and questions, can she find a way to let go of the past and start again? And, once the mystery is solved, can she live with the secrets she's uncovered?

Join author Devon Pearse in this semi-autobiographical journey through the most heartbreakingly beautiful and deceptively mysterious events of her own life and the lives of those closest to her."

Being Light by Helen Smith

"Richly praised for her first cult novel Alison Wonderland, Helen Smith's second novel, Being Light will delight those readers who admired the elegance and deadpan surrealism of her debut novel. In the weird world of Helen Smith, Being Light begins straightforwardly enough. Roy Travers is setting up a bouncy castle in Brixton, south London, when a freak gust of wind carries him far off into the sky. Roy plummets back to earth after a puncture to his castle. As he hurtles earthwards "dying and falling are indistinguishable to Roy in his final moments. He wakes in the arms of an angel. She isn't beautiful, although she is wearing white and she's soft and comforting". But all is most certainly not what it seems--least of all Roy's 'angel'.

The consequences of Roy's disappearance immerse the reader in a complicated and zany cast of characters, that includes Sheila, Roy's wife, who is convinced that aliens have kidnapped her husband; Mrs. Latimer, an animal trainer planning to use experimental drugs on the male population to turn them into pets, and the angelic eco-warrior Jeremy, with his mantra, "I'm going to stop the traffic". This is just a taste of the wacky characters assembled by Smith in a novel that is simply indefinable. At one moment it's a comedy of urban London people and manners, at the next moment a surreal mystery, and at other times a parody of urban environmentalism. Its parts do not necessarily lead up to a truly satisfying whole, but Smith is a wonderfully original and inventive writer who never bores her readers." --Jerry Brotton

Hammon Falls by Dave Hoing & Roger Hileman

"When George Hammon's teenaged wife dies in childbirth in 1914, he flees small-town Iowa for Europe and the horrors of the Great War. Surviving battles, homelessness, and disease, he squanders his days on women and wine, trying to forget his lost love. But life is not idle in Iowa during his absence, and when a bitter and weary George comes home twenty-two years later, he finds a web of murder, suicide, and shocking revelations. The future of his family rests on one terrible choice...but is he prepared to make it? Spanning the years 1893 through 2009, "Hammon Falls" weaves a tapestry of estrangement, loss, love, sacrifice, and redemption."


Dissolute Kinship: A 9/11 Road Trip by David Antrobus

"This is what can happen when a personal story of trauma meets the collective horror of an apocalyptic, true-life event: in this case, 9/11. No doubt many people who intended visiting NYC at that time must have circled September 11, 2001 on their calendars (it's just a random date, after all), but how many of them had a) been diagnosed with PTSD that same year, b) planned to drive from the Pacific Coast of Canada all the way across the continent, and c) were willing to do it alone? This fairly brief (approximately 6,000 words) account of one man's solo journey is exquisitely personal yet undeniably universal in its haunting first-hand observations of the monumental changes wrought by the terrorist attacks. An acute loneliness is transformed into something which, if not outright beautiful, can surely pass as inspirational."

Hieroglyphs by Shana Hammaker

"Words are puzzles. Words are lies. Words are power. Words are hope.

Hieroglyphs is a dark and unique coming-of-age story.

Shana Hammaker was the second of three girls born to young and ill-equipped parents. She and her sisters grew up under some of the most harrowing conditions you’re likely to encounter in print.

Shana spent her formative years dueling against a drug-addicted mother, an uncaring father and a cruel stepmother. She lost her virginity to a trusted family friend before she could ride a bike. And she was ultimately abandoned by her family and the child welfare system. At seventeen Shana’s childhood ended on the street.

Through it all Shana found strength and comfort in words. Words are everything. Words can uplift and they can condemn. Words can name you and give you strength. Words are puzzles. Words are power. Words are lies. Sometimes words create. Other times they destroy.

Words can turn a rape victim into a whore.

But words are also HOPE."

Mormon Diaries by Sophia L. Stone

"Brought up in a religious home, Sophia believes the only way to have a forever family is by following church leaders and obediently choosing the right. She goes to the right school, marries the right man in the right place, and does the right thing by staying home to raise her children. But when she starts asking questions about grace, love, and the nature of God, she realizes her spiritual struggles could rip her family apart."

The Way of the River by Randy Kadish

"The Way of the River is a collection of memoirs and autobiographical stories that reflect Randy Kadish's long journey of fly fishing and spiritual recovery. The journey, often difficult, often gratifying, began when he finally admitted to himself that he couldn't communicate, and that his life had become unmanageable. Then, after he asked for help, he looked back into his life and relived the deep pain and loss that began during his very traumatic childhood. To soothe himself with the beauty of the outdoors, he turned to fishing. As he struggled to come to terms with his past, and then with the loss of his parents, he wrote about his journey of recovery, especially of how he was made better by many of the people he met along the way, like Carlos, an immigrant and bait fisherman who seemingly appeared out of nowhere, and then helped Randy see people in a more sympathetic light."

Wing Wife by Marcia J. Sargent

"Marcia never flew high performance aircraft, yet she learned to appreciate and maneuver through the irreverent, technical, and dangerous world of the Marine aviator--at and under her husband's wing. In WING WIFE: How to Be Married to a Fighter Pilot, a memoir of the first few years of her marriage to a Marine jet jockey, Marcia navigates the unfamiliar skies of officer's wives, military expectations, and the loss of loved ones. Over time she has to realize what she risks by loving a man who flies. WING WIFE brings the reader intimately into the bawdy, comedic, and tragic world of the Marine Corps aviator and the aviator's wife."

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