Sunday, February 20, 2011

Letterbox Look-see (Feb 2011, Part I)

Phew! What a month! February has been full of additions to the review queue, so I decided to split it into two parts. Here's what I received in the first two weeks of February:

RACE by Mobashar Qureshi

RACE (Radical Association of Criminal Ethnicities) is a dangerous and violent group on the verge of creating an illegal drug.

Parking Officer Jon Rupret wants desperately to move up from handing out parking tickets. An impulsive act from his past throws him into Operation Anti-RACE—a unit set up to stop RACE. He is partnered with veteran detective, Phillip Beadsworth, a mild mannered Brit who doesn't much like Rupret and knows more than he reveals.

Along the way Rupret encounters Mahmud Hanif, a qualified engineer, who drives a taxi to pay his bills; DJ Krash, the second best disc-jockey in the world; Cal Murray, the owner of the House of Jam, the hottest club in Toronto; and of course, his mother, a grade school teacher in Guelph, who thinks Rupret is a financial advisor working on Bay street.

RACE is a compelling mystery and a humorous look at Toronto through Jon Rupret’s eyes.

Chromatics Attack by Karen Carr

Twelve-year-old Emison prefers reason over impulse, but when her mom turns into a shadow and vanishes through their apartment wall, Emison’s well-ordered reality changes. She embarks upon a journey into a mysterious shadow world, where she encounters an evil gang of color scientists called the Chromatics.

Emison must navigate the strange new world and her own insecurities to rescue her mom from the evil gang. Emison’s plan unravels when she changes into a flat-black shadow, and descends into the pitch-black land of darkness. To succeed in her quest, she must trust her friends and follow her instincts, which have always been wrong.

Death Has a Name by Jerry Hanel

There is a Truth that exists. It is active. Alive. Fighting to make itself known. It's not my truth. It's not anyone's truth. It is The Truth.

Brodie Wade has been able to see and interact with it since he was a child, and it has scarred his mind and body. But it also gives him the ability to know things that he shouldn't know by nature, thus he has taken employment as a psychic detective.

Working together with Detective Phil Dawson, Brodie must summon all of his will to go head-to-head with The Truth to solve the latest string of murders. It appears that Dominick Fredrickton -- the Midnight Killer -- has returned from the grave, beheading the unfortunate few that get in his way.

Can Brodie stop the Angel of Death before he is freed from eternal bonds?

8: The Previously Untold Story of the Previously Unknown 8th Dwarf by Michael Mullin, illustrated by John Skewes

This is the previously untold story of the previously unknown 8th dwarf, named Creepy. He was banished to the basement for being different and , well, weird. Yet he played a vital - and of course previously unknown - role in the popular tale of Snow White (whose title character is an intruder Creepy refers to as "the Maid").

All Torc'd Up by Nell Gavin

In 1973 Holly’s life consists of chasing cockroaches, working at a low-paying job, and sleeping. Her apartment is an area of devastation. She has no money for food, so she typically goes to bed early to escape the hunger.

She hopes to understand why her mentally ill mother committed suicide long ago, and how to overcome the panic attacks, the periodic rages and the depression that plague her. Thus far, her psychiatrist offers no answers. The textbooks she reads on Abnormal Psychology contain no insight either, because she suffers from a condition that will not be recognized for another 10 years.

Holly unexpectedly falls in love with a roadie for a famous English rock band. Dreams of marriage and children and a “normal” life are suddenly within her grasp, when Trevor takes her with him on tour and introduces her to the very "un-normal" backstage world of Rock and Roll. She urgently must conceal her problems and symptoms from Trevor if she is to keep him. But as their relationship gets progressively more serious, her illness gets increasingly more difficult to hide.

Funny, sad, and bittersweet, ALL TORC’D UP is the story of a girl who is trying to survive, and the rock band that takes her home.

Promise Kept by Brandy Hunt

Set in Macon, GA, this novel occurs in the post apocalyptic remains of a dystopic America. The city is divided into old buildings completely covered in kudzu and rotting from the inside out and new areas of growth built by a new government called the New Dawn.

Lila Howell is a psychic historian. Her job is to interview people who still remember how America ended. Because of her ethics, she has refused to work for the Security Ministry, but this does not mean the Security Ministry does not try to manipulate her.

She has been ordered to interview Susanne Newton in order to find out the identity of someone from Ms. Newton's past. While the work order shows signs of Security Ministry manipulation, Lila must obey her contract and interview Ms. Newton.

Will Lila Howell be able to keep to her contract, complete the work order, and remain ethical?

Kissing Kelli by Kathy Carmichael

Rodeo champion and wealthy rancher, Bobby Gray Nelson, is used to women setting out to lasso him. But when he meets feisty Kelli Palmer, she refuses him on every count. He's always up for a challenge and is determined to woo this beautiful veterinarian who he thinks could be his soul mate.

Kelli Palmer doesn't believe love is in the chute for her. She's devoted herself to the animals she cares for and the family she adores. So when her sister claims dibs on the handsome cowboy, Kelli reins in her attraction and tells him to skedaddle.

Losing is not an option for this gorgeous cowboy. He comes up with a 5-step plan to place his brand on Kelli's heart.

The problem is, he can't even make it to the first step. Never fear, though. He's got a Plan B.

Can Kelli stand her ground -- even after his toe-curling kiss?

Steam Queen by Jack Hessey

Europe is a dangerous, virtually lawless place. Armed bandits prowl the railway lines in their armed Steam Locomotive looking for easy marks, and heavily armed mercenary engines travel from town to town looking for work in a world where every day is a struggle for its civilians.

Erica, an emotionally disturbed girl from England finds herself joining one of these mercenary teams. What follows is a trek across Europe to where two mighty cities, each representing a different way of life, stand on the verge of a war which will shape the way Europe develops.

On one side are the Steam using traditionalists of St Vith, led by the charismatic and cunning General Roosje Cuvelier. On the other, stands the mighty Winterscheid Diesel Empire under the iron fist of the merciless Kaiser Sigmund Eisenburg.

Two vicious armies, treachery from her own allies and the world’s deadliest super-weapon are just a few of the dangers that Erica must face in her journey.


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