White Sun Press

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White Sun Press is a new, independent press designed to publish fiction and nonfiction books.

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Nine by Night: A Multi-Author Urban Fantasy Bundle of Kickass Heroines, Adventure, & Magic
By , , , , , , , , &
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 435,660. Language: English. Published: August 3, 2014 by White Sun Press. Category: Fiction » Fantasy » Urban
Nine by Night: A Multi-Author Urban Fantasy Bundle of Kickass Heroines, Adventure, & Magic. Nine books. Nine bestselling authors. Nine heroines that take names—and chances—while confronting dark foes, whether by force of arms or magic, that threaten their entire world. Over two thousand pages of epic reading await! Let the adventures begin.
Allie's War Collection: Early Years 1-4 Plus Bonus Story
By
Price: $6.99 USD. Words: 233,210. Language: English. Published: July 19, 2014 by White Sun Press. Category: Fiction » Fantasy » Contemporary
The first four prequel novels in the gritty, unique, new adult urban fantasy series, Allie's War, with an ensemble cast centering on Allie Taylor, the mythological “Bridge” and her antihero partner, Dehgoies Revik. Also includes bonus story, THE MAGIC MAN, previously appearing in a professional anthology.
 Other prequels include: NEW YORK, REVIK, TERIAN and BIRTH.
Birth: Allie's War Early Years
By
Series: Allie's War, Book 42. Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 75,290. Language: English. Published: May 21, 2014 by White Sun Press. Category: Fiction » Fantasy » Contemporary
Even hidden away in caves, surrounded by kind-hearted monks, the shadow of the Rooks hangs over Revik’s head, a constant reminder of the dark warrior he once was. When strange, militant Seers appear, asking for his help, Revik’s first impulse is to say no...until they tell him it is Kali who needs saving, the Seer who helped Revik escape the Rooks. Because of what he owes her, he can't say no.
Double Dare Rabbit
By
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 9,990. Language: English. Published: March 12, 2014 by White Sun Press. Category: Fiction » Fantasy » Contemporary
Dare is a rabbit. Following a fantastic day of robbing the nearby human’s vegetable garden, Dare’s luck turns sour when he encounters Osprey, a sadistic ocean bird with a penchant for gambling on other animals’ lives. Osprey forces Dare to make a choice––run in his sadistic games over the asphalt river, or lose everything (and everyone) Dare cares about.
Terian: Allie's War Early Years
By
Series: Allie's War, Book 41. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 70,390. Language: English. Published: February 13, 2014 by White Sun Press. Category: Fiction » Romance » Sci-fi
Quay joined the Org, a secret society of seers working to control humanity from behind the scenes, to protect his race from the humans, who enslave and abuse his kind. Then, while on a mission in Brazil, he encounters Terian, an incredibly powerful and charismatic seer who drags him on a mission against his old friend Dehgoies, a mission involving a mysterious birth, one certain to end in disaster
Ryūjin vs. Mister Stompy Pants
By
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 12,940. Language: English. Published: January 13, 2014 by White Sun Press. Category: Fiction » Science fiction » Utopias & dystopias
In a post-apocalyptic world, a version of The Olympics survives, using genetically-augmented creatures from a device left by the aliens who destroyed human civilization. The remaining nation states each advance their own champions, coming together year after year in a kind of primitive yet futuristic potluck where their favorite monsters battle to the death, fighting for the coveted gold medal.
Revik: Allie's War Early Years
By
Series: Allie's War, Book 35. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 43,140. Language: English. Published: August 12, 2013 by White Sun Press. Category: Fiction » Fantasy » Contemporary
Prior to meeting Allie Taylor in San Francisco in 2012, infamous seer and infiltrator, Dehgoies Revik, lived as a Rook. By 1974, he’s worked for Galaith for over 30 years, since they pulled him out of that Nazi prison in 1942. Revik believes he’s helping his people, working for ‘the Org,' until a strange female seer shows up in Vietnam, and begins making him question everything he's told himself.
The Image of My Own Death
By
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 6,960. Language: English. Published: April 24, 2013 by White Sun Press. Category: Fiction » Horror » General
What if you could re-experience the life of anyone you wanted, just by looking at a photograph? What if the last person who should ever have that gift uses it to re-experience gruesome murders? Meet our not-hero. He claims to never kill with his own hands, but when he meets Jack, who shares his 'peculiar interests,' it might be a marriage made in heaven...but what does Jack want exactly?
The New Order (Alien Apocalypse Part III)
By
Series: Alien Apocalypse, Book 3. Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 79,170. Language: English. Published: March 11, 2013 by White Sun Press. Category: Fiction » Science fiction » Apocalyptic
(4.00)
Jet finds herself going from slave owned by the Royals to honorary member of the Royal family, pretty much overnight. It doesn't take her long to figure out this is hardly a prize, and that her new role as Laksri's official consort is likely to get her killed. Meanwhile, the Ringmaster Trazen seems more determined than ever to put Jet in her place as a 'mammal' and a slave.
On Individualism and Conformity: Borat, Wall Street and the Problem with Cults
By
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 9,090. Language: English. Published: February 12, 2013 by White Sun Press. Category: Nonfiction » Philosophy » American philosophy
This essay embarks on a discussion of the current conceptions of individualism and identity in the United States, and how this gets warped in such a way as to actually reinforce conformity and compliance. Part of The Brain Trust series, by Jules Okapi, a series of philosophical and political essays.
The Royals (Alien Apocalypse Part II)
By
Series: Alien Apocalypse, Book 2. Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 85,070. Language: English. Published: July 5, 2012 by White Sun Press. Category: Fiction » Science fiction » Apocalyptic
Now a slave of the Nirreth Royals, Jet spends her days babysitting the heir to the alien throne and her nights training for the Rings, the Nirreth televised sport where humans navigate perilous courses, trying to stay alive. As the first female ever to run in the Rings, everyone expects Jet to die in the first round…but the way things are going, Jet will be lucky to make it to the match at all.
Maya Papaya
By
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 64,780. Language: English. Published: December 19, 2011 by White Sun Press. Category: Fiction » Children’s books » Fiction
(5.00)
11-year-old Maya Papaya has a tail. That’s right, a tail...and stranger still, it seems to have a mind of its own. Maya's tail is a big secret and she has to wear these itchy tail pants and can’t have sleepovers or go swimming like the other kids. She still lives a fairly normal life with Mr. Norbert, though...until a knock on the door puts events in motion that send her across the world.
Jack Dervish, Super Spy
By
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 69,180. Language: English. Published: November 11, 2011 by White Sun Press. Category: Fiction » Children’s books » Fiction
(4.67)
Four-year-old Jack Dervish's super spy parents disappeared without a trace. Now, at twelve, and after years of living in his parents’ super-spy lair, training in every manner of super-spy skills, Jack decides to attend school. After all, how will he foil the international crime syndicate and fight global evil if he can’t even pass as a normal, youngish Londoner?
New York: Allie's War Early Years
By
Series: Allie's War, Book 16. Price: Free! Words: 37,520. Language: English. Published: November 5, 2011 by White Sun Press. Category: Fiction » Romance » Sci-fi
Allie calls it her New York jinx. Already she’s had to deal with her boyfriend’s obnoxious band groupies, a stalker leaving cryptic notes, having to watch a seer get tasered. She also keeps running into this weird cop who’s got some kind of issue with her. But when she’s targeted by a religious cult for an end of the world ritual, her visit goes from annoying to quite probably fatal.
The Alien Club
By
Price: Free! Words: 19,210. Language: English. Published: October 12, 2011 by White Sun Press. Category: Fiction » Literature » Visionary & metaphysical
Suki thought she knew what she’d signed up for when her pal, Rishi, invited her to a corporate party at one of the new alien fetish clubs. The new “must have” experience for the uber-rich and uber-bored supposedly involved sex-starved aliens who could give orgasms just by looking at a person. But when Suki arrives, she soon finds out that the clubs are really about something else entirely.
The Culling (Alien Apocalypse Part I)
By
Series: Alien Apocalypse, Book 1. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 49,590. Language: English. Published: September 1, 2011 by White Sun Press. Category: Fiction » Science fiction » Apocalyptic
(4.50)
Jet is a 19-year-old skag, one of the humans still living free on Earth following an invasion of creatures called the Nirreth. Squatting in the ruins of Vancouver, Canada, Jet and her family eke out an existence underground, hiding from the culler ships. No one knows where the ships take the people they grab, but they never return. When a culler finds Jet, she may discover the truth the hard way.
The Box: An Indian Tale
By
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 10,140. Language: English. Published: August 24, 2011 by White Sun Press. Category: Fiction » Literature » Visionary & metaphysical
Priscilla putters along in her usual life of bridge and gossip and coffee shops and shopping at the local markets in the small Indian town where she lives, until one morning, the mysterious man known only as the Pharsee gives her a box. The thing is filthy, twitchy and just plain wrong…but no matter what Priscilla tries, or how many cleaning boys she fires, she simply cannot get rid of it.
Elephant: An Indian Tale
By
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 12,760. Language: English. Published: August 3, 2011 by White Sun Press. Category: Fiction » Literature » Visionary & metaphysical
Didier lives life as a normal, largish elephant in Mumbai, India with his mother and the rest of the herd owned by Mr. Rahol. Discontent with his elephant life, Didier wonders if he’d prefer to be another animal, instead. His mother tells fantastic tales of the wild, before humans turned her into a domestic animal, but neither she nor the rest of Mr. Rahol’s herd understand Didier's need for more.
Marla the Lemur
By
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 12,980. Language: English. Published: July 31, 2011 by White Sun Press. Category: Fiction » Literature » Visionary & metaphysical
Marla’s boyfriend, Billy, lives a little too much in a fantasy world. Then again, Marla sees lemurs in the apple tree outside and wonders if the little man screaming at her from Billy’s shoulder is really there. Insanity might be one way to get out of a bad relationship. Following your abusive boyfriend into his imaginary world to duke it out with him there might be another.
The Black Men and Steven Spielberg
By
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 9,970. Language: English. Published: July 30, 2011 by White Sun Press. Category: Nonfiction » Biography » Personal memoir
Semi-autobiographical but mostly fantastical essay on growing up in the outdoors of California in the 1970s, and the importance of having family just as quirky and not-quirky as you are. A coming of age story not really about adolescence, but maybe about being an oddball among oddballs.
The Vampire Market
By
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 12,140. Language: English. Published: July 29, 2011 by White Sun Press. Category: Fiction » Fantasy » Urban
Bored, irritated and stuck in San Jose, California, Vlad feels pretty disenchanted with his vampire existence. Tired of the neverending parade of life, cable television and boring food, he lets his friend, a flatulent demon named Roz, talk him into a night on the town at the monthly Vampire Markets at the Winchester Mystery House, a night that changes Vlad’s life forever.
Daydreams of the Apocalypse: A Collection
By
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 50,060. Language: English. Published: July 12, 2011 by White Sun Press. Category: Fiction » Fantasy » Contemporary
Nine stories of the apocalypse, from the point of view of an ex-stock broker, a crow, a young girl, a soldier turned holy warrior, a club-going hipster, a nerdy street punk, a beige-wearing businesswoman, a sentient automobile and a being who incarnates every few centuries only to be killed and have to do the whole thing all over again. Extended version includes the novella The Alien Club.
Monkey: An Indian Tale
By
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 13,770. Language: English. Published: July 10, 2011 by White Sun Press. Category: Fiction » Literature » Literary
(5.00)
Tugli lives happily in a metal box on a friendly street where vendors hawk wares and a Buddhist stupa sits at his back. Everything pretty much goes the same way for a long time, until one day, the pickle lady stops delivering the pickles. After that, a disgruntled monkey, a three-legged dog and a kindly old woman pretty much disrupt the course of Tugli’s life forever...
Snowfall
By
Price: Free! Words: 10,500. Language: English. Published: April 21, 2011 by White Sun Press. Category: Fiction » Science fiction » Apocalyptic
After volunteering for a recon mission, the girl finds herself on a planet long abandoned following the devastation of her own species. Given the disease and war wreaked on Earth, creating a dystopia of endless winter, she is shocked to discover survivors, even after so many years. The world these strangers built comes with rules she can't comprehend, however...rules that might get her killed.
Bird Magics
By
Price: Free! Words: 4,820. Language: English. Published: March 2, 2011 by White Sun Press. Category: Fiction » Fantasy » Contemporary
(4.50)
Ulak is a crow. A berry addict and eccentric in the crow community living in the courtyard behind a row of white houses, he decides one day that the humans have to die. Convinced he knows the secret to making this happen, he shares his ambitions with his two friends, Fark and Jaak. They, of course, think he’s nuts...at least until the white lights begin to appear in the sky.
He Lacks Utility
By
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 9,750. Language: English. Published: February 27, 2011 by White Sun Press. Category: Fiction » Fantasy » Contemporary
Reggie Brinks just wanted to ride out the deadly virus that threatened to kill the world. A few months in cryogenic freeze while they came up with a cure, and he’d be right as rain, back to his previous lifestyle. But the civilization that greets him on the other side no longer resembles anything he knew…and infuriatingly, he finds his opinions and and money don't have the same pull they once did.
Dirt
By
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 6,360. Language: English. Published: January 13, 2011 by White Sun Press. Category: Fiction » Humor & comedy » Black comedy
Due to an untimely mishap with a runaway piano, a thief and a homeless lady with a very pointy umbrella, Harold meets an unusual segment of the neighborhood, all of whom live inside a single tree planter box on a New York City Street.
New Girl
By
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 4,400. Language: English. Published: October 13, 2010 by White Sun Press. Category: Fiction » Literature » Visionary & metaphysical
Calling the new girl, Lucy, odd ends up more than a tad bit of understatement. In a short period of time, she frees Amber of her inhibitions, her prestigious corporate project, her teeth, her sense of style…and her sanity. A bizarre tale of corporate cannibalism…or a generous sacrifice for a fellow human being? All depends on your perspective.
Jabberwock
By
Price: Free! Words: 10,060. Language: English. Published: October 13, 2010 by White Sun Press. Category: Fiction » Fantasy » Contemporary
(5.00)
A squad of soldiers takes a ride out to the middle of nowhere, thinking the Lieutenant sent them out there as punishment for posting pictures of his old lady. But in an empty stretch of desert lives a cave where they stumble across a man whose presence they can’t explain...who speaks in riddles and seems to know them. Before they can bring him back to base, an ancient evil marks them for its own.
Organic
By
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 6,980. Language: English. Published: October 1, 2010 by White Sun Press. Category: Fiction » Science fiction » Utopias & dystopias
What if in the future your car contained as many animal parts as machine? What if it became self-aware…and in the process, less and less enamored of toting you and your family around, getting its seats covered in ice cream and being left in parking lots for hours on end? What if your car and some of its friends decided to do something about it? In Organic, meet your car. And be very nervous.
A Letter to the Establishment: The Cautionary Tale of Hunter S. Thompson
By
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 3,940. Language: English. Published: July 18, 2010 by White Sun Press. Category: Nonfiction » Biography » Literary biography
Drug-crazed, iconic, outrageous--Hunter S. Thompson’s own reputation as the rock star writer of the 1970s obscured the meaning behind much of his work, even for many of his fans. An essay on Hunter S. Thompson as a journalist, and the implications and intention behind his style of “gonzo journalism” on current day media…as well as what set him apart.
Journey Into Jung's Red Book: Liber Primus
By
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 6,520. Language: English. Published: July 17, 2010 by White Sun Press. Category: Nonfiction » Philosophy » New age philosophy
A personal and theoretical look at “Liber Primus,” the first of the collection of books written by psychologist Carl Jung that were collectively entitled “The Red Book.” Unpublished until October of 2009, “The Red Book” is considered by many, including Jung himself, to be the foundation of all of Jung’s groundbreaking theories and writings to follow.
The Program
By
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 3,070. Language: English. Published: July 12, 2010 by White Sun Press. Category: Fiction » Humor & comedy » Black comedy
A successful, beige-wearing businesswoman makes an art of minding her own business, blending in, not making waves. But after hundreds of identical business motivational conventions, each with their own system for getting ahead, maximizing her potential, executing success, demonstrating excellence…she meets someone who offers to show her the evil pattern behind it all. Sort of.
Karma
By
Price: Free! Words: 6,390. Language: English. Published: July 12, 2010 by White Sun Press. Category: Fiction » Science fiction » Apocalyptic
What if Hitler and Churchill fought on two different sides of a long-standing war, playing out generation after generation, over and over again across time? One of these beings seems destined to destroy the other, no matter how the world changes around them, with the stakes growing ever higher with each generation.


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White Sun Press's favorite authors on Smashwords


Smashwords book reviews by White Sun Press

  • Crow's Nest on Jan. 30, 2011

    Irene Watts' writing always seems to transport me into a mythical world, with odd and neurotic creatures somehow endearing in their vulnerabilities and inherent humanity. Fragments of a whole, her Appetite and Sentiment in the Crow's Nest seem to make up the primary characters of a single being lurching through the vast ocean of a wider consciousness, occasionally boarded by a blind and malicious being like Montag, or watched carefully by the more compassionate birds. I find her work charming...and the visual accompaniment only lends to the poetry.
  • To Inhabit on Feb. 06, 2011

    Irene Watts' writing is more like entering a state of mind, an existential moment. There is an element of being lost inside a deconstructive haze. And, if you're anything like me, there's humor there, in the dark corners. Kind of Edward Goreyish, "To Inhabit" is like the Doubtful Guest only with the protagonist as her own suspicious intruder.
  • The Bizarre Tongue on Feb. 06, 2011

    Irene Watts' "The Bizarre Tongue" takes the reader on a journey through the birth, cycles of life and discovery and realization (or ideation) of a consciousness to a form of enlightenment...but it seems to me that is not the crux of the story. Instead, it is how the world responds to different forms of beauty, missing the core of experience living inside that transformation as they try to make it manageable, marketable, attainable, material...classifiable. Written as a bird-filled poem, rich with imagery and quirks of humor covering over a deeper sadness at the blind groping of most "seekers" and marketers of seeking, this story stays with you, poignant and haunting.
  • The Sun Shone on Feb. 06, 2011

    A quirky, odd, disjointed tale, "The Sun Shone" features homicidal yet sympathetic bulls, back braces, snot, gods and goddesses, vitamin packs, angry pharmacists, Jesus and GI Joe. The images are difficult and visceral. The humor jabs out of nowhere, at times making me laugh aloud. Makes Woody Allen's tales of neurosis in New York seem tame in comparison.
  • Cold Comfort on Feb. 06, 2011

    Interesting story, more about the changing of consciousness and its vessel, combined with an almost humorous view of the randomness of coincidence than about cryogenics per se. Some interesting ideas in here (the image of robots "cavorting in caves" will stick with me for some time), and moves quickly, almost Asminov-fashion in terms of style and sparse, dialog-heavy style. A very good read.
  • Dead Letters on Feb. 06, 2011

    A dark, twisted tale of death, office fires and spam from beyond the grave. Eerie tone, well-written. Brilliant.
  • After on Feb. 07, 2011

    A sweet, well-written pondering around death from the perspective of an artist and free spirit.
  • Firebug on Feb. 07, 2011

    Great story - very well written with a visual, in the moment style, believable dialogue and characters. It's also extremely creepy (in a good way). Has a bit of the Butcher Boy vibe to me, only with a great twist at the end. Definitely worth a read!
  • Sharpest Tool in the Shed on July 04, 2011

    Really great short story - in fact one of the best I've read in a long time. The characters are well drawn and I got sucked in enough to be at the edge of my seat by the ending, as there's a strong thriller component in addition to the humor. Surprisingly touching ending too, given where it starts - strong recommend!
  • The Taste of Shrimp on July 04, 2011

    Very sweet short story, with a lot of heart like all of Laura Ware's work. I'll read pretty much anything by her, because there's always such a sincerity to her characters and situations. This is about the compromises one has to sometimes make to keep a marriage intact.
  • Afterburn on July 04, 2011

    Really fun and original urban fantasy novel, with a tough heroine and one of the most fascinating worlds I've read about in a long time. Once I got past the initial confusion as to Karen Abrahamson's version of Seattle, I was completely hooked on the world and its characters, and read the entire story in 24 hours. The idea of redrawing the "map" of the world in kind of a cold war stalemate occurring between and within countries totally fascinated me. Rather than a "magical" world, this felt very grounded and real to me...I found myself sucked into the power struggles between this off-shoot of Homeland Security and the rest of the agency, as well as between the different characters within the branch itself. The main character, Vallon Drake, is an agent of the GSA and one of the "gifted" tasked with holding the nation's boundaries and correcting accidental changes to the landscape by nascent gifted who are unaware of their abilities. In her world, if one is gifted they can access an ability to remake the physical...erase a house or change a building into a parking lot with some basic tools and their inherent abilities. But woe to the person (or people) who happen to be inside the building being redrawn! The story opens with Vallon looking for a colleague of hers who is caught in just this predicament. While trying to save his life, she ends up a murder suspect, and in the course of trying to clear her name uncovers a wider plot to destroy the NW coast of the United States. It's a fun ride, and I'm really looking forward to more books in this world!
  • The Bikini Wedding on July 04, 2011

    I don't normally read a lot of Christian fiction, but I enjoyed this. It's a sweet story and the characters and situation were well drawn and touching, with a quirky yet uplifting ending.
  • The Society of Secret Cats on July 04, 2011

    I really enjoyed this - kind of like "Where the Wild Things Are" mixed with a bit of Lewis Carroll and a dash of J.R.R. Tolkien with the scary spider creatures. My only complaint really is that it seems almost like too big of a story for a short story...would love to see a novel with this world, or even a novella. It reminds me of those dark yet whimsical stories I loved most when I was a kid (and still do!)
  • Skin and Bone on July 05, 2011

    Fascinating world with a tough and very authentic heroine whose gift as a "storyteller" is what both gives her power and also marks her for death. I found myself drawn completely into this world and its characters pretty much from the beginning, when Sally stumbles in to find her grandmother murdered on her own kitchen floor. She manages to pass Sally a final story as she dies, about a creature called a "Bone Collector" who hunts storytellers like the two of them. From that moment forward, Sally is both chasing and hunting one of the more frightening villains I've read in a long time, who eats the bones of storytellers to take their stories into himself. He hunts her friends, her father-figure, Doc, her lover, Rafe, all in an attempt to collect on the deal her grandmother made with him many years previous. In the process, Sally is forced to brave the void to other worlds, and to do whatever she can to kill the Bone Collector before he kills her. It's difficult to summarize this story, as so much of it is in mood and feel, which alternates between darkly poetic and gritty and very urban/real feeling. The characters are sympathetic and multi-dimensional as they struggle with the multiple realities they are facing. The world which Sally inhabits used to be a part of our world, but for reasons unknown "drifts away" from the world we knew, until no one there needs to eat, and there is no contact with anyone past the void at the edge of town. That alone forms such an interesting backdrop...this fading world and how the people of the town cope with their situation. It actually at times reminded me of the Gunslinger stories by Stephen King, part mythos and part reality...or some of Neil Gaiman's work. A very unusual voice and world, and one that will stay with me probably for quite some time.
  • Chasing the Minotaur on July 10, 2011

    The opening sequence of the book is really evocative, and pulled me in immediately to want to know more about the mystery of the painter, Emery Lake, and his work about to be unveiled in NYC after years of producing nothing. I really enjoyed the interactions with the famous, long-dead painters when Lake and his daughter travel to Provence and he "meets" (or creates?) Renoir, Cezanne, Picasso and Van Gogh...although I admit they worked for me better as characters sometimes more than others. I really loved the main characters throughout, particularly that of Emery Lake himself. Overall, this was a great read and I found myself being pulled back to it, again and again. Much of it is about grief and moving on, especially as an artist...and finding a new foot forward from which to create after the tremendous loss of a loved one. It's also about being a parent, and how sometimes you have to make it through not only for yourself but for those who love and need you. All in all, a great book, and one that really showed a tremendous knowledge and appreciation of the subject matter by the author, including the historical periods demonstrated and the personalities of the artists portrayed. Will look forward to reading more by Terry Hayman for sure!
  • Monsoon on Aug. 01, 2011

    Too funny. Definitely captures, err...something...in the experience of attending retreats during the monsoon in the land of monkeys, dal and the Dalai Lama. Worth a read if you enjoy laughing at the absurdity of culture clashes and spiritual seekers who take themselves too seriously.
  • Fires of Alexandria on Aug. 10, 2011

    Really fantastic alternate history/historical novel with an excellent lead character in the form of Heron, a mathematician and "miracle inventor" in the time of the Roman occupation of Alexandria. Heron, a real historical figure, is portrayed with a twist in Carpenter's book as a woman (the twin brother to the male Heron, who takes his identity when he dies, as she is the real mastermind of the pair, as portrayed in this novel). The main premise surrounds the mystery surrounding the cause of the fires that burned down the Library of Alexandria...but the novel takes us through numerous other political intrigues happening at the time, as well as other historical figures Heron interacts with. There is also an interesting (fictional) character in the form of "the barbarian" from the North, who hires Heron to fashion for him a mechanical army from her "miracle" technologies, and in the process she prematurely invents the steam engine. Speaking of steam, in terms of the miracles themselves, there's a bit of a steampunk flavor the book at times, even without the actual steam power. Overall, a huge recommend for strong characters, a believable alternate history (and interpretation of real history) that is completely fascinating and compelling. Add to that strong action, mystery and intrigue throughout the course of the novel, and it's a tough one to put down.
  • Three Scars - J.D. Cutler and Michael Angel on Nov. 23, 2011

    Three ways a person can scar themselves...all of them very different, and told with both heart and a wry sense of humor. The last story in particular was really visceral, and definitely squirm-inducing, (but in a good way), as well as being the funniest of the three. A well-written and interesting collection of tales that definitely stay with you. Recommend, especially if you like stories that sit somewhere between black humor, memoir, drama and horror.
  • A Road Painted in Scarlet on Nov. 23, 2011

    Really great vignette about a real-life incident on the dangerous Ortega Highway in southern California. The outcome manages to shock even as the author conveys its near-inevitability...as well as its greater significance. To me, the story is more about the humanity of the narrator himself, and the combination of guilt and horror that accompanies those thoughts that arise in all of us from time to time, whether we admit it or not. The honesty of the writer and the dark humor mixed with real regret, really serves almost as a dual warning...about our mortality in those tin-can devices we tend to treat as indestructible, and how easy it is to wish ill on others we don't know, especially when they scare the pants off us. Highly recommend!
  • The Fiddler's Talisman on Jan. 10, 2012

    This review is from: The Fiddler's Talisman (Kindle Edition) Really cute, fun story with endearing characters...I love the fairy godmother in a bar scenes, really funny and the voice of Evie, our fairy godmother narrator, makes the book just fly along. Great blend of magic and fantasy and absolutely grounded reality, along with history and classical music and everyday relationship woes. The love story is refreshingly innocent, too, and doesn't insist on the kind of cynicism common in a lot of similar fare. I also thought the book gave a nice take on New York itself, almost an "old fashioned" view of the city, like used to be portrayed more in movies a few decades ago, that I found faintly nostalgic. The setting and how it is experienced through the characters grounds the book even further, blending fantasy with reality in a convincing and almost seamless way. Definitely promises to be a great series - I look forward to more!
  • Nate Rocks the World on Jan. 22, 2012

    A cute middle grade story about a boy named Nate who lives in his own world, at least part of the time. He struggles with school, a bratty older sister, and the daughter of his mom's best friend, who rats him out on everything and takes credit for their partnered projects at school...and ends on a sweet note where a lot of those struggles are (mostly) resolved. A cute, light read, fun for kids...it almost reminded more of books that were around when I was a kid, without a lot of modern bite to it at all.
  • Gamers on Jan. 25, 2012

    I loved this book...to me it was one of those books where you think it's going to be about the premise (which was cool in and of itself), but it really ends up being so much more than that, not only in terms of plot but in the people. The characters really got under my skin and felt very realistic to me, which isn't always the case in books of this kind. In terms of the premise, Gabby's world is pretty much of the logical extension of where we are heading now. It's a virtual reality type landscape, where instead of attending school the way children do now, they essentially are playing one giant video game in order to earn point thresholds that might allow them to make it into university. Carpenter does a great job setting up the world in the first part of the book, and establishing the main character, Gabby, as one of the ambitious overachievers in her class...yet also hinting she's not above a little hacking and game manipulation to help out her friends...especially those who struggle to maintain the high scores that come so easily to her, due to her high thoughts per second (TPS) scores. But then the story goes into a totally different direction, with a mystery thrown Gabby's way about the true purpose of the game, and what's really at stake for those who don't make it to "university." Wrapped into all of this is a lot of action and quirky characters, especially the frags who live outside the society, and the surprising depth behind one of the "mean girl" characters who seems totally different when you first meet her in the book. A really great read, and I'll definitely be looking for the sequel. There is still so much I want to know about the world. While it resolved well for a book one, a ton of mysteries remain as to who really runs the world and what will happen with the frags and the other kids who don't make it into university (and those who do). There are also a lot of great villains and potential villains...one character in particular who could go either way...so really left on a highly suspenseful note.
  • Blind Veil on Jan. 29, 2012

    I really enjoyed this book, and it is a fast read. It starts out with a very likeable character, Emmett, an older, African-American man who owns a farm in a time and a place where that didn't happen very often. When a crime is committed on his land, he is forced to cover it up because of who and what he is to the other ranchers, but it haunts him until the day he dies, and pretty much tears his family apart. The story starts there, but then fast-forwards about forty-odd years to his nephew, who is a NYC beat cop and a lot more affected by those past events than he knows. What follows from there is one of the most intriguing plot lines I've read in a long time...it reminded me of "They Live," a movie I really loved when I was younger, only without the dark humor of that movie. Instead it carries a far more serious tone, one somewhere between the X-Files and a police procedural. Simms, the main character, has a pretty normal life for a cop, until one day he is kidnapped by a bizarre and seemingly scientist who tells him a fantastical story about a conspiracy threatening to annihilate the human race. In the process of his kidnapping, the scientist shoots Simms up with a substance that he claims will allow him to see the "truth." After that, Simms' life is never the same...as a reader you're put through the wringer with him as he starts seeing things he can't explain, ends up in a mental institution and then on the run, all the while caught up in a conspiracy whose players he can only guess at, some of whom appear to be friends he's known and trusted for years. If I had any gripe at all (and it's a small one), it was only that it ended a little abruptly, and I would have liked more regarding the final payoff where the reader finally learns the true extent of what's going on and Simms' connection to all of it. But I really hope Lorde is planning a sequel, because I definitely want to read that book! Strong recommend.
  • The Very Thought of Him on March 01, 2012

    A fun, erotic short story about an older businesswoman and a tryst she has with a younger man she meets online. Better written than most in this genre, with a lot of hot scenes and an interesting glimpse into the character's motivations more at the end. Well worth it if you like short erotic fiction.
  • The Goat and the Heathen, 2nd ed. on March 01, 2012

    I really liked this story...really well-rounded characters, and I liked the relationship between the two college roommates as much as I did the relationship between the main character, Aja, and Hayden, the boy with whom her roommate arranges the tryst. Kind of a sweet romance meets erotica, which I wish there was more of, frankly. Well written and hot, sensual scenes. Well worth the read!
  • Family Care, 4th ed. on March 01, 2012

    While this is a story premise I've seen a lot of, I thought the author did a really good job of making it fresh, mainly by giving the characters and the situations more depth. It's as much a coming of age story as it is erotica, and while there are definitely lots of steamy sex scenes, there's also an ending that makes it feel a lot more about how all three of the main characters figure out what's missing in their lives. The main character is really likable, and the couple she babysits for is really sympathetic too...you really want their marriage to work, which to me, added a lot to the overall story. Well written and executed, and actually almost a novellette, rather than a short story.
  • Jeremiah Quick on March 04, 2014

    Wow. What to say about this novel. It's...intense. I highly doubt people will have a "neutral" reaction to this book. Personally, I loved it. It felt real on a deep level, even if that reality was in part symbolic. It also totally resonated with relationships I had in my own high school years, in particular with a very close friend who struggled with a lot of the same issues, in terms of feeling forever out of step with the world, and needing an intensity of feeling and connection with others to counteract that in some way, or maybe just to bear it. Flirting with the dark but loving and being drawn to the light was a component in our relationship, as well. I don't want to say too much about the plot itself, because 1) I don't want to spoil it, and 2) more than anything, it served for me as a psychological journey and deconstruction. Primarily among the latter, it was like witnessing the systematic removal of all of the social "niceties" to reveal a kernel of raw truth underneath. Or, it was a highly skilled exercise in brainwashing by an incredibly brilliant and manipulative sociopath...you decide. Of course, I'm somewhat biased because I absolutely love this writer, and pretty much love everything of hers that I read. She captures spaces with her words like no other writer I know, and makes her characters so real I feel almost like I know them. Moreover, she has that gift of making sympathetic those situations and people who, on their face, might seem like they shouldn't be...which is a particular weakness of mine anyway. Not for the faint of heart, however...or for those who like their morality in neat, succinct, black and white boxes where some things are always "good" and some people are always "bad" regardless of their life situations and the depth of feeling inside their hearts.