Archive | May, 2007

Let Us Play by Karen Magill

21 May




Here’s what I want you to do:




Go to your CD collection and pick a CD. I want it to be good and loud, a rock ‘n roll CD with beat, with a pulse, with life. Maybe some Aerosmith. What? No Aerosmith? Okay, how about The Rolling Stones? What? No Rolling Stones? You have to be kidding me? Okay, how about someBoston? Some Led Zepplin? Some ACDC? The Doors, maybe?




Whatever the CD, I want it to be rock n’ roll. I want you to put it in your stereo and press pick your favorite song off the album. Doesn’t matter what song really as long as you put the volume up and play it loud. Really loud.




Is it playing? Are you listening?




Do you remember the first time you heard that song? The first time you heard that music, felt it blowing through you, blowing into you? Do you remember where you were when you heard that song?




Now I want you to do something else: press stop. And then I want you to listen. Hear the silence. What would happen if something, or someone, silenced rock n’ roll music forever? What would happen if rock n’ roll music would cease to exist?




This is exactly what happens in Karen Magill’s fascinating new novel Let Us Play. It’s an uncertain time in the future and the world of music is suffering.




After a horrible accident at a concert for the band Mystique, rock n’ roll music is silenced forever and the world is quiet. The People Against Rock and Roll (PARR), led by Peter Neils have stamped out the sounds of rock n’ roll. Feeling that the music is sent from Satan to encourage people to riot and act horribly, Neils will not be satisfied until all music, not just rock n’ roll, is quieted to a whisper.




But the people of the world will not take this sitting down, however. Where there is an action, there is an equal and greater reaction. The reaction comes in the form of the Let Us Play Organization (LUPO). Led by Kaya Moore, LUPO fights against the rulings of the evil PARR, knowing that in music, there is freedom.



Moore uses her gift of second sight to lead LUPO and fight for the rights of people everywhere. But their organization hides a secret: several members of LUPO are descendants of Mystique, the band that caused the ceasing of all rock n’ roll music and became the stuff of urban legend.



But the fantastic thing about legends is that they are quite often true. And even more wonderful: with legends, good always triumphs over evil.




On a whirlwind adventure, Kaya and her team of LUPO members will have to face personal triumphs and failures. If they hope to get out of their battle alive, they will have to believe in each other and in the people of the world…..




With one incredible twist after another, Magill leads us through an adventure that tests our emotions and makes our hearts race. It’s a fun tale that is perfect for a relaxing afternoon when you want something different, inventive and gripping to read.




It’s also a social commentary. The novel is really a look at the problem with censorship. There have been lots who have been quieted so as not to offend the masses. What’s interesting about Let Us Play is that it could, theoretically, happen. What would the world be like if censorship went that far and music was gone from us forever? Let Us Play makes you take a deep look into the censorship of the world and haunts you well after you turn the page.




While Let Us Play could do with a bit of editing, it’s still a fantastic read. It clips along at a frantic pace and you’re held breathless until the gorgeous, surprising ending. Why not go out and play and pick yourself up a copy of this fun, frantic futuristic adventure.




It’s for music lovers everywhere!


Once a Brat by Marilyn Celeste Morris

20 May


Life is not easy for an Army Brat.



After losing her father, Marilyn Morris is shocked to learn that he won’t be buried in his military uniform. Have spent more years retired than in the US Military, he would be buried as a civilian. For her entire life, her father lived and breathed the US Military; and, consequently, so did she.



From 1938 up until she finished college in 1958, Morris lived the life of a military brat, whether she wanted to or not. Always on the move, never able to make close friendships, never staying in one place for a long time. Such was the life of a military brat and Morris had no choice but to live in it.



Her father had called them gypsies; able to move at a moments notice to parts unknown, able to adapt to any given situation; able to survive. That is what life is for a military brat: survival. Morris was taught lessons in life that others never learn and she knew that these events shaped her, molded her into what she is today.



After her father’s death, these lessons, these memories, started to come to her, to come out from behind the locked doors of her mind. And so Morris had no choice but to write them down, to put pen to paper and let the memories come out.



Having never been a military brat, the scope of this book is incredible. It shows just how much will humans have to survive in any given situation. Not so much a memoir but instead a patchwork quilt of memories, Morris’ Once A Brat is a testament to the power of the human heart.



I found as I was reading this incredible piece of work that I would be pulled into the story, pulled into the life that Morris had to live because of her father. Then I would sit back and have to remind myself: all of this happened. All of this is real.



The concept was frightening to me, shocking. That a family could stick together and indeed become stronger for living a military life was incredible. Morris was taught values and morals that most don’t learn until well into their adult years.



When Morris talks of living in Korea, of having to learn to adapt to a whole new culture, a whole new way of life, you can feel her anguish pouring out onto the page. But you can also feel her wonder, her sheer delight at discovery of all things different.



Morris shines brightest, of course, when she talks of life then and compares it to life now. It’s as if she’s talking right to you, right into your heart, and you can do nothing but read her words and absorb them. They are not merely words, but true pieces of wisdom, pieces of knowledge that speak to your heart and spark your soul into being.



I am not normally so drawn in by non-fiction. I find that most memoirs are dry as day old toast and boring. I’ve tried to read several memoirs and failed mostly because there is no story, there is no life. With Once a Brat, Morris doesn’t just tell me a story; she helps me live her life while I read it. I felt, saw, experienced everything she did as I read one gorgeous page after another.



Once a Brat is no mere book. It is a case study of human strength, of the willingness to survive and the ability to love beyond all reason. It is a testament to the fact that, though the present seems bleak, there is hope in the future. I can’t stress how wonderful this memoir his; how, in its simplicity, it accomplished what so many memoirs fail to do. It helped me feel.



And it helped me believe that anything is possible. If you haven’t read Once a Brat yet, you have no idea what you’re missing.

Blood Calls by Caridad Pineiro

15 May


Diego Rivera is no stranger to loneliness.


Alive for thousands of years, he has denied himself the one thing he has always craved most: the love of a woman. After his wife’s betrayal, and his vampire lover’s demise, he knows that there is no love for him in the world. There is only pain; darkness.


There is only Blood.


Until he Diego finds himself involved with Ramona Escobar. A talented artist, Diego offers Ramona a show at his gallery while trying to ignore the growing passion between them. Diego knows that he could not watch another he loved die. The only way for Romano to be with him forever is to bite her, to turn her.


To answer the call of the Blood.


But the situation changes when a crisis comes to light: Ramona is in trouble. Desperate for money to care for her ailing mother, Ramona took a job for Frederick Van Winder, reclusive millionaire. What he wanted her to do was simple: paint copies of masterpieces. What she didn’t count on was having him pass her copies of as originals.


Ramona turns to the only person she can think of to help her. Diego. But there is one thing she does not tell him: that she is dying. Now Diego is faced with a choice that he does not know he can make. Whether to let Ramona die or to turn her into a vampire.


But when Ramona is kidnapped, Diego must fight to save the woman he loves, or risk losing her forever.


Blood Calls…


This is without a doubt the most sensual vampire novel I have ever read. Period, end of story. Pineiro is a million times better than Anne Rice. Being a huge Anne Rice fan, I obviously don’t say this very lightly.


Pineiro does something that Anne Rice can’t do: she gives life and depth to her vampire characters. There is such depth that they are almost human. In fact, Diego is a constant struggle between good and evil, between giving into what he wants and running away from it.



There is such flow in the prose in Blood Calls that it goes beyond your normal vampire novel. It evokes grace, beauty and wonderment as you are pulled deeper and deeper into the world around Ramona and Diego. I can’t stress how amazing this book is. It’s erotic, sensual and a downright fantastic read.


Though this is the sixth book in the series, seven if you include the current online read, the book stands alone and you can read it without any prior knowledge of Pineiro’s vampire world or her characters.


I couldn’t be more thankful for this as it gives me more to go back and read, more to explore. If Diego and Ramona’s story was any indication, you’re in for a treat no matter what Calling novel you pick up. The book was beauty itself with a touch of hot fire that made the love scenes steamy, the book hot and the pages fly.


I flat out loved this tale and I’m hooked! I can’t wait until the next novel! Heed the Calling and join the hunt for blood.


You won’t regret it for a moment.

Circle of Assassins by Steve Rigolosi

1 May


Revenge is Sweet 

Every day we are brutalized by those who hurt us, take advantage of us, steal what is ours, mistreat our loved ones, destroy our property, terrorize us psychologically, criticize and condemn us, or trample our self respect. Enough is enough! It’s time to turn the tables. Write to A care of

Box 270

. (For entertainment purposes only) 



When five people answer the above ad, they have no idea that they have started a chain reaction that will result in the ultimate revenge: death. Each answers the ad in hopes to rid their life of an unwanted person. Someone known only as “A” offers to help them, if they kill someone else.


The deal is simple: Five strangers each assigned a letter and a colour. Each will receive details in the mail about the person they are to kill. Each of them must be careful to leave no paper trail and to destroy any and all communication.


Co-ordinated by “A”, they are each sent letters, pictures and address information in order to more effectively murder the person their contact has chosen. But why must these people die? There are all sorts of different reasons for someone to die; maybe this person is a drug dealer. Maybe he is a pedophile. Maybe he is not who he seems on the surface.


They become a circle of killers, a circle of assassins. Their identities are hidden, even to themselves. But, as with most secrets, something goes horribly wrong.


Each of them must reach deep down into their hearts, and their souls, in order to survive…


To tell you any more of the plot would be to ruin what is without a doubt the most engaging and ingenious mystery novel I have read in years. Make no mistake; this is not your ordinary mystery novel. Told in a series of letters, emails, book proposals, prose, newspaper articles and anything in between, this novel really makes you consider the question “What if?”


What Rigolosi has done is turn a mystery novel inside out. Through the correspondence, we get inside the characters heads. We know WHY they have chosen their particular person, what has driven them to such extremes. Normally, you don’t feel sympathy for a killer in a mystery novel. Circles of Assassins is the opposite of this; I felt nothing but sympathy for each of the characters driven to commit murder.


Because it’s told from each characters point of view, you get to see them, really know them, and this makes Circle of Assassins different from anything you have read before. I found myself rooting for the murderers, hoping that their killings would go off without a hitch. Because you know the killers, you’re involved with them. It’s an emotional, page turning adventure that will leave you breathless.


Rigolosi has given us a case study of five people who are willing and able to commit murder. No other book I’ve read before has been able to see into the heart of a killer so effectively. He also shows us that even regular people, not just psychopaths, can be driven to kill.


What really threw me were the multitude of twists thrown into the novel. Nothing happened the way I expected it to, nothing went according to where I thought it should. And the twists are HUGE. I can’t tell you what any of them are but, suffice it to say, they will have you looking at the book in a new, frightening light.


This book is so good that I’m reading it for a second time, just to pick up everything I missed the first time. Circle of Assassins is an incredible read that sucks you in from the first page and then doesn’t let go until you’ve finished the last. If you haven’t read it yet, pick it up. It’s liable to be the best mystery you’ll read in years.

Reviewed for The Gotta Write Network. CLICK HERE to visit their site.