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Sins of the Flesh by Caridad Pineiro

27 Oct

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Caterina Shaw is fighting for her life.

A talented cellist, she is quickly going blind. With no options left to her, she agrees to undergo a highly experimental gene treatment. The treatment restores her sight and turns her into someone she barely recognizes.

The experiment also turns her into a supposed murderer. Accused of a viscious murder she knows she didn’t commit, Caterina takes her life into her own hands.

On the run for her life, Caterina tries to piece together what happened to her and come to grips with her new life. She knows that she will have to prove her innocence, that she will have to fight for her life, if she has any way of figuring out who the murderer really is.

She doesn’t know that someone has been hired to find her.

Mick Carrera is a mercenary and has been hired to find and capture Caterina Shaw. He’s been told that she is a vicious killer and that she must be stopped at all costs. But when Mick does track Caterina down, the description of her he has been given does not match what he sees.

Caterina is wounded and vulnerable and an incredible mystery. She heals quickly, more quickly than a normal human should. And her skin can take on any hue to camouflage herself. Mick knows that something horrible has been done to Caterina and before he can decide if she is a murderer, he must first find out what was done to her.

Normally he stays emotionally distant from captives in order to finish his mission, but there is something about Caterina that pulls at him and at his heart. Soon, the two are giving into the passion that consumes them even as a dangerous group is plotting their next move, with Caterina as the pawn…

Sins of the Flesh is a flat out incredible read. I was pulled into the story from the first page and kept enthralled until the last page was turned. My meagre plot summary can’t even come close to the emotion, thrills and passion that Sins of the Flesh contains. It only scratches the surface.

Sins of the Flesh has something for everyone: passion, lust, romance, science fiction plot lines that tangle the reader up in its spell. It has engaging characters with depth and emotion and more thrills than a novel three times its size.

It takes a very talented writer to find the perfect balance of all these elements and Caridad Pineiro manages this with aplomb and flair. She has created the beginning of a series that can only get better. And that’s saying something as Sins of the Flesh is the best romantic suspense novel I’ve read in years. It truly is her best book yet.

What I love most about Sins of the Flesh is that nothing is what you think its going to be. Caridad keeps the reader constantly on the edge of their seat with more twists and turns, thrills and chills than a roller coaster. Sins of the Flesh is a wild ride from start to finish that leaves you wanting more.

Caridad’s strength lies not only in her writing, but in the incredibly real characters she creates. You become emotionally involved with Mick and Caterina and the secondary characters of the novel. These are people you care for, people you root for.

It’s sometimes difficult in the romantic suspense genre for writers to create believable characters with depth, but Caridad has created a whole cast of characters that seem to live and breathe off the page. By the end of Sins of the Flesh, you know these people. She has created a world and its people that you would swear really exist.

Thankfully, Sins of the Flesh is the first in a series. The book had a satisfying ending but it did leave a few strings dangling to tempt me with more. I can’t wait to find out what happens and what sinfully delicious story Caridad will give us next.

This is the best romance I have read in years. If you read one good book this fall, make it Sins of the Flesh by Caridad Pineiro. After the first sinful bite, I can guarantee you’ll want more.

 

The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood

13 Sep

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The earth as we know it no longer exists.

The world is an empty place, destroyed by the Waterless Flood. It is a world where gene spliced animals now roam free; animals like liobams (a lion and lamb hybrid) and Mo’Hairs (multi-coloured sheep used for growing hair replacements) and rakunks (racoon and skunk hybrids).

It is no longer a world for humans.

But yet, two people have survived the Waterless Flood: Toby is holed up inside of AnooYoo, a health spa that catered to the rich and Ren, locked inside a safe room inside Scales and Tales, a high end sex club.

While both continue to fight the land and the animals in order to survive, they both reflect on how they arrived at their places in life. Through a series of flashbacks, we’re shown Ren and Toby’s story and we learn about the Gods Gardeners.

Both were involved with The Gods Gardeners, a religious sect that preached love for everything, every plant and every animal. They are a religious sect that is separated from regular life and shunned by society at large.

But The Gods Gardeners is also a sect that hides secrets. People do not have a past, only a future. But secrets, even if they are not spoken, have a way of breaking free, despite our wish to keep them silent…

My meagre plot summary in no way comes close to covering the entirety of the plot in The Year of the Flood. It is an epic, sprawling novel that moves back and forth between past, present and future effortlessly.

There is no way I could convey to you everything that is in this novel. The Year of the Flood touches on a multitude of subjects including science, religion, the environment, love, desire, cannibalism, war and so on. It would at first glance that there is too much that is covered in The Year of the Flood, that Atwood has filled it too full.

But it is not too full; Atwood manages to pull of the impossible and creates an incredible novel that speaks to the heart, to the mind and to the spirit.

I was incredibly excited when I learned that Atwood’s new novel would be a sequel to Oryx and Crake, perhaps my most favourite of Atwood’s novels. I wondered if she’d be able to write as good a novel as Oryx and Crake a second time. Thankfully, The Year of the Flood is better.

Though the future she presents is grim, there is a dark humour present. Her characters are also incredibly realized and well developed. You care about these people from the first page. It is almost impossible not to.

In the end, though, The Year of the Flood wasn’t a sequel. It is more of a companion book to Oryx and Crake. In fact, The Year of the Flood covers the same time period and overlaps with the plot of Oryx and Crake.

Also, there is a balance between the two. In Oryx and Crake, we focused a lot on the relationship between men: between Snowman and his father, Crake and his father, between Crake and Snowman themselves. In The year of the Flood, the characters that Atwood focuses on and develops are female: Toby and Ren, Amanda Payne and more.

It is a story of the love between daughters, between young girls and elder women, a story of friendship between girls that grow into women. Where Oryx and Crake was inherently male, The Year of the Flood is inherently female.

Though The Year of the Flood is told from Ren and Toby’s point of view, the novel is really about the story of three women (Ren, Toby and Amanda) and their will to survive in a cruel and harsh world. It is a story of hope, despite all odds. A story of the power of love.

Once again, Atwood presents us with a dark novel tinged with humour that is unclassifiable. Despite the darkness, I did not want The Year of the Flood to end. Part parable, part science fiction, part speculative fiction, part literary tale, part cautionary myth, The Year of the Flood is Atwood at her most dark and her most incredible.

Atwood shows us that even in the darkness there is light. And even in the most cruel of situations, there is beauty.

Generation A by Douglas Coupland

10 Sep

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I always await the publication of a new Douglas Coupland novel with something approaching the anticipation of Christmas morning. I need it now now now and I can’t wait to open it and see what’s inside.

Thankfully, Generation A by Douglas Coupland is the greatest of gifts and one of the best books I have read in a long time. It may even top my current Coupland favourite, JPod.

Generation A is set in a world that is incredibly familiar to our own. But clearly quite a few things have changed. There are drugs we can take to slow down our lives. Things like apples are incredibly hard to come by. And bees are extinct.

That is, until five people, in different corners of the world get stung by five separate bees. The Wonka Children, so they call themselves, struggle to live in a world after they have become celebrity/freaks where, because of a bee sting, they become famous.

If it sounds bizarre, that’s because it is. And delightfully so.

The novel is told from the five points of view from the five sting victims. Don’t worry, the chapters are told in delightfully short bursts (no chapter over ten pages here, folks) to fit into our high tech life-style. When you’re on the run, your reading time is quick.

Coupland manages to cram some incredible things into those short chapters. After reading Generation A, I’ve been exposed to nakedness, religion, voyerism, different religious beliefs, call centres, references to the Simpsons (Mmmmm….honey), parody’s of American culture, the point and purpose life, whether it is better to believe in a higher power versus not, the ideas and fundamentals of what makes people real.

I could go on.

It is a delightful mental marathon that makes me want to keep up. It is such an intelligent piece of writing and it reads like Dan Brown on crack. I mean that in a very good way. Think of Hunter S Thompson mixed with Oscar Wilde, Margaret Atwood, Carol Shelds and Jack Kerouack.

It is an incredibly environmental book, but it is also a very intense look at our culture and our dependence on media and media devices. It is about our dependence on a lot of things. It is wonderfully funny and humorous and at the same time rather grim and mysterious.

In short, it is a joy.

Prelude to a Super Airplane by Brian Spaeth

22 Mar

 

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Almost everyone has flown on an airplane at least once in their lives. They are huge and intimidating, able to conquer the skies and the power of flight. Everyone has fantasized about being able to fly, about being able to fly through the clouds.

But none of us have flown on a super airplane: 47 floors high and able to fly at incredible speeds. But it is the people concerned with the airplane that are our focus here, the ones that think about airplanes constantly that draw our attention.

The year is 2012 and America is on the verge of Civil War. One side wants flying cars to be the main method of transportation; the other wants the new super airplane to be the only method of transport. At stake in this war? The entire future of transportation.

Our world as we know it will be forever changed…

Prelude to a Super Airplane is unlike anything you have read before. More literary experiment than a novel, Prelude to a Super Airplane is essentially one hundred and seven little stories about airplanes. Some follow the plot that you’ve just read above.

Others, well…did I mention that this was unlike anything you’ve read before?

Spaeth wrote Prelude to a Super Airplane over a period of seven days. And man what a ride! Though the book zooms along and sometimes you’re wondering who you’re reading about, it doesn’t matter.

This is a book with a sense of humour that never takes itself very seriously. It’s a quick, roller coaster of a ride that is anything but boring.

In fact, I laughed out loud several times and enjoyed every word. It really is unlike anything ever before attempted and this is part of the novels strengths.

Though sometimes the stories of the characters get lost amongst the more autobiographical portions of the book, you’re holding on for sheer life as the pages seem to flip themselves.

Even though Prelude to a Super Airplane is more literary experiment than a novel, it’s one hell of a good time. I’ve never had so much fun reading a book. From the first page, I was intrigued and, by the third page, I was hooked.

Prelude to a Super Airplane promises to be the first comedy-political thriller – mystery- drama-romance-action/adventure-science fiction-showbiz insider- horror-family energy drink- industry insider- holiday autobiography, Prelude to a Super Airplane is one hell of a great ride.

At times confusing, intriguing, hilarious, bizarre and all kinds of wonderful, Prelude to a Super Airplane is THE beach book for this summer.

Read it and feel like you’re flying.

Let Us Play by Karen Magill

21 May

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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!

A Touch of Magic by Cassandra Kane

12 Mar

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Beginnings: A Touch of MagicCassandra Kane  Samhain Publishing  October, 2006Romance/Science Fiction Reviewed for The Gotta Write Network at www.gottawritenetwork.com/

The year is 2561.7 The planet Samhain has been home to mystery for years. Apparently habitable, several scouting missions have been sent to the planet on the edge of the Ekabadian solar system only to disappear and never return.  

Heading the latest reconnaissance mission, Tirana Albaster has two directives: inspect the planet to see if it is ready for colonization and find the missing scouts from the previous mission. This being Tirana’s first time heading a mission, she wishes for as little as possible to go wrong.  She does not count on Colonel Stodd Orsen, however. A womanizer and a man with a love for violence, the mission soon goes array. When Tirana and Orsen stumble upon a group of robed people surrounding a fire and holding a gorgeous man captive, the last thing Tirana wants to do is disturb them. But Orsen opens fire, scattering the robed figures.  

Tirana is hurt in the crossfire but she is saved by Lorne, a man more beautiful than she has ever seen. His eyes seem to look right into her soul and when he kisses her, sparks fly between them. He takes her into the centre of the planet and tells her of his people. They worship the Goddess Lilath but there are others, the Priests, who threaten the world and worship an untrue God.  Tirana listens with rapt attention unable to ignore the love that is growing in her for Loren. She is shocked to learn that others are alive, from previous scouting missions, and that she can join them; but she must become one of the True People and become touched by Magic.  

Will Tirana give into her passion and love Lorne? Will she dance with magic and become one of the True People? Before she can make her choice, Orsen finds her and threatens all that she holds dear. She will need all of her strength if she and Lorne are to survive…. I am normally not one for science fiction. I find the genre tired and dry and little has been done to revive it. It’s as if the computer just keeps playing the same old program. Well, with A Touch of Magic, the genre just got a whole new boot disc! This novel was fantastic and, coming from someone who doesn’t like science fiction at all, that’s saying something.  

It breathes fresh life into a genre but also into an old myth as well. The followers of Lilith have been in myths and legends since the beginning of time. Now their story, their spirituality, are given a new spin that is so believable, you could swear that Kane was there to witness everything.  Tirana and Lorne are great leading characters. Tirana is tough and no nonsense but she does have a heart to. Her internal debate about whether or not to trust Lorne was so wonderfully written and heartfelt, you will ache with her. Lorne is equally amazing as the leading man; mysterious and full of myths and legend, the mysteries surrounding him will make you fall in love with his character.  

A Touch of Magic is a wonderful story. It’s sexually charged, passionate and incredibly lyrical. It’s also beautifully written. I give the story 4 out of 5 Lilath’s. The only reason it doesn’t get full marks is because it was too darn short.  I could have lived in this world forever.