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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Book Blitz+Giveaway: The Line



Title: The Line

Author: William L J Galaini

Genre: Sci Fi

Book Blurb: 
Suspended in the nothing between timelines, the station Janus is an unseen marvel: the greatest technological achievement in human innovation. From Janus, Gustavo and his hand-selected team of historians and engineers venture into the past and observe history, unseen and unnoticed. 

But they are not alone.

Another traveler is shattering history. Unhindered by desires to remain scientific and uninvolved, the intruder’s technology is far advanced with methods more brutal and a present more terrifying than anything Gustavo and his team are prepared for. As they apply their intellects and skills towards solving the mystery of the ferocious interloper, they discover than they have its full attention.



About the Author
William Galaini grew up in Pennsylvania and Florida. His mother gave him an early love of reading, especially when it came to the great classics of science fiction. He is also a history buff and fascinated by mythology and folklore. His various vocational pursuits include being a singer in a professional high school choir, manager of the call center at a luxury resort, U.S. Army medic, prison guard, and middle school English teacher. As such, he is perfectly suited to breech a solid metal door, humanely restrain the enemy within, and politely correct their grammar all while humming Handel’s Messiah and drinking a lovely cuppa tea.

He currently hangs his hat, rucksack, and tweed smoking jacket in Northern Virginia.


The Line by William Galaini

Excerpt

1.

Mary wasn’t certain what woke her up. Her body was long and taut like a firm rubber band, and in a sleepy haze she stretched out with a prolonged groan. Soon after, she pulled her tangled hair from her face and first one eye was purged of morning crusties, then the other. Curling her toes, tensing her calves, and stretching again, she placed her bare body on display. A childhood of ballet had carved her and leaned her down and now at college in her second year, she discovered her interests to be in the humanities, to the dismay of her mother’s expectations and her father’s bank account.

Flopping a clumsy, sleepy arm to her side, she felt the pillow next to her and found it to still be warm, but vacant.

Last night had been simply amazing and even the dreaded thought of calling her parents with the news couldn’t dull her elation. She and Trevor had spent yesterday afternoon studying on the dormitory lawn, sprawled out in the fat blades of the Florida grass, and as the sun went down he had handed her a book out of his backpack.

“I know you like dark stuff,” he had said. “It’s by Victor Hugo. About a kid who is kidnapped, his face cut up, and raised as a circus freak. Don’t worry, though. He kills everyone.” Trevor presented it with his usual musing grin and Mary rewarded him with a snicker at his description.

“Well, the French love this writer so there it is,” she said as she took the hardback novel from him. Quickly she realized it had a small lump in it. Shaking it upside-down, something fell out and glittered in the grass between her feet. Instantly Mary knew what it was and hesitated for a moment before digging for it frantically, tearing up green blades, dirt, and thick roots. Her fingers halted when she found it.

“Go on…” Trevor encouraged from somewhere above her. Mary lifted a simple gold band with a small solitaire diamond; a visually sad offering of a ring but the loveliest thing she’d ever seen. She began to cry.

“I read in one of your magazines that crying can be the best sign or the worst . . .” Trevor said, seeming anxious. “And don’t worry about it being so small. I figured after we’re married for a few years and have saved up I can buy you a new one and that little diamond there can be on the side or something.”

Mary was crying full bore now. “Shut up,” she squeaked as she grabbed him around the neck and held him in a loving grip. “Yes. Dear God, yes. Always yes. Yes a long time ago.” After a few minutes of holding each other and rocking back and forth she added, “The ring is perfect. It’s just perfect. I’d rather you save your money for down the road or something.”

“My car needs brakes,” Trevor confessed. His car was notorious for announcing its presence to every stop sign and stop light with a loud screech.

“Yeah, get your brakes.” She laughed, trying to salvage her makeup while wiping tears away. Finally, she looked him dead on in the eyes. “Really?”

“Really. Marry me.”

She bit her lip. “Okay, but I so have to fuck you like, right now.”

Trevor mock sighed, and pretended to look about in search of a bush or trash bin to hide behind. After his pantomime was played out, they went back to her dorm room. Sometime between the giggling and the orgasms she managed to call her roommate and ask her to sleep elsewhere.

Pizza was ordered. His parents were called and they were delighted. The TV was on but was never watched. Drinks were mixed. Futures were discussed. Music was played and sung along to. And eventually they both slept naked, curled up in her small bed intended for only one occupant.

Mary rubbed her eyes while blinking against the morning sun that sliced through the blinds. Then she heard the shower, and assumed it was Trevor closing the bathroom door that had awakened her. She smiled, and pushed the thought of calling her parents far back into her mind. Sitting up, she looked about for her coffee that was left from the night before. “Trevor, have you seen my coffee? I had half a cup left somewhere around here.”
There was no answer.

She started to wrap herself in the sheets to look around for her coffee, but with a whimsical chirp she stood out of bed, naked. “This is how I will dress when I’m walking around the house.”

The dorm room was actually two rooms; essentially a sleeping area separated from a study area with two computer desks, a micro fridge, and a second TV. Mary stepped out of the bedroom into the study and gasped at how cold it was. She scampered back into bed with a squeal, her teeth chattering.

“Trevor, when you get back, bring me my coffee, it’s in a mug on the fridge! From last night!” she called out. A muffled ‘okay’ came from behind the bathroom door while the shower turned off.

Mary’s mind drifted toward more serious things. Would her parents pull her out of school because of Trevor? Where would they live? Who would actually pay for the wedding? Her parents certainly could, but would they? Who would the bridesmaids be? What kind of home could they afford? She felt the stress mounting, and wished Trevor would hurry out of the bathroom so that he could make everything better.




2.

Wyatt looked to the heads-up display that covered his face and saw that he was standing in Sierra Leone, West Africa, thirty miles northeast of Freetown. The year was 1994 and the sun stabbed spears of light through the leafy canopy overhead. The common thunderstorms of October had already passed, and the drier air made the leaves vibrant and the breeze less suffocating.

There was a serenity to the wilderness around him that was betrayed the moment he looked at the surrounding carnage.

Wyatt’s feet were silent, even to the birds and insects about, and he softly toed his way among the spent shell casings and strewn viscera toward the table at the center of the abandoned rebel camp. Not a soul breathed except Wyatt and his partner, Rupert.

“We’re clear,” Wyatt said after clicking his com on with his tongue. Despite Rupert being a mere twenty feet away, it was the only way for them to verbally communicate. “I’m not seeing anything breathing within sixty yards of camp. What have you got there?”

With the hints of a crisp West Indies accent, Rupert responded. “I have a trophy table. I count twelve among the dead, but there are more trophies here than that number…so I suspect either prisoners were taken post-amputation or we’re missing a stash of bodies…”

“There are tracks leading out of camp in several directions with blood and tar on the leaves. Maybe the assailants diced them and then dipped the wounds in one of the tar buckets and sent them on their way. Old Navy trick.”

“Maybe …” Rupert replied skeptically. Wyatt looked about some more. Several of the shelters were built into half-dug mounds for keeping them temperate as well as disguised from the air, so he decided to explore one of those. Careful not to slip in the blood pools on the dirt-ramp that led down, Wyatt disappeared into darkness. “Looks like a makeshift armory,” he said, as much for Rupert’s ear buds as Wyatt’s own records. “The usual. Some surface-to-air, AK’s, kids’ versions of AK’s, mines, a lot of Russian made ordnance, but hardly from Russia … most likely diamond-bought from neighbors who in turn got them from the Ukraine…” Wyatt put his face as close as he could without touching the leaning rifle in order to try to read the serial number. “Yep, Ukraine. Made post-bloc and second or third hand.”

Looking further, Wyatt found maps of the region on the wall as well as photos of various local women being gang-raped or beaten to death. A few pictures were of both at once. “These guys were RUF.” Wyatt added finally.

“Clearly, given the year,” Rupert said. “Check out the tent next to that building you’re in and tell me what you think. After that, you’ll really want to see what is on this table I’m looking at…”
“Wilco,” Wyatt said, not unhappy about leaving the armory and its garish photography. Stepping back into the shafted sunlight, he could stand his full height, and spent a moment taking in the camp, as a whole, before moving on.

There were bodies everywhere. The black skin of the Sierra Leone rebels, in some ways, hid how much blood there really was. Blackened and baked, the bodily fluids had soaked into the ground and saturated the torn uniforms and casual clothes the RUF had worn. Some of the dead had their heads literally crushed into the dirt, collapsed with eyes bulging and tongues bitten off into the dust. Others had crumpled sternums, ribs crackled into spider-leg compound fractures jutting up from their chests toward the peeking sun. One man had his pants around his ankles with his genitals torn off and shoved into his mouth. It was clear that while under attack, they were in various stages of dress and preparedness. They had been taken completely off guard.

Wyatt was a veteran of many military and government sanctioned conflicts. Some of those conflicts never even had names. He had seen enough bloodshed and violence that he stopped wondering where his tolerance for it would stop. What he witnessed here was something entirely new. Trying to form  the words to explain how astounded he was, Wyatt found that adjectives failed him. So he moved on to the tent that Rupert had indicated prior.

Instantly it was clear what the tent was. In the far back, at the center, was a small television. There were two rows of twig and straw beddings that lined the whole tent and all about were pornographic magazines, board games, empty wine bottles, and drug paraphernalia. Toeing around the bedding, tossed clothes, and bottles, Wyatt made his way to the TV and looked at the VHS cassette tapes. Rambo 2, various Jason and Freddy horror movies, and a few unlabeled tapes were present.

It was clearly a tent for training child soldiers, and at the center of it was a body crushed to the limit of human recognition, its spine bent almost ninety degrees.

Wyatt was familiar with the ‘recruitment’ process of snatching up refugee children, making them think their families rejected them, and desensitizing them through drugs, porn, violence, and cruelty. “Okay, but there are no bodies of kids anywhere.” Wyatt walked through the back of the tent nearest the jungle’s brush line and found a whole row of tiny tracks leading into the darkened depths of the distance. He was about to comment on how they clearly weren’t running given the length between each footprint when he saw a new pair of footprints. They weren’t boots. They looked more like bare feet. And the distinct prints were massive and deep compared to the small march of children’s tracks. All led to the jungle.

Wyatt crouched down at the large prints to make sure his recording devices would pick up everything possible. He switched his HUD to heat vision, cycled through electromagnetic fields, and took a near-silent sonic ‘ping’ that would map out the dimensions of the print. The on-board computer displayed across his vision that the footprint had been pressed into the ground by over three hundred pounds of pressure at a whopping shoe size of eighteen or beyond.

Wyatt gazed out into the jungle, to wherever the large-footed person had guided those children, and wondered where and if he could see someone looking back. He allowed himself a moment.
“Okay, let me see this trophy table.” Wyatt walked around the tent, always cautious of where he was stepping and how hard. To disturb anything whatsoever was a major concern. On his way, Wyatt found another print … large, perfect, and deeper in the front – as if the owner had stomped on the ball of their foot and pivoted… but there were no accompanying prints near it.

Mind still aflutter with the mental sketch of these large assailants, he wasn’t quite ready for what Rupert had to show him. He stood across the table from Rupert, looking down at the large arranged pile of collected hands on top of it. Rupert was constantly tilting his head to allow his eye pieces to take detailed measurements and readings. Some fingers were broken and twisted, but nearly every hand was cleanly severed, some prior to death and some after. Wyatt sighed.

“This is the single largest act of anger I have ever seen. It’s a bloody marvel.”

He had finally found the words he had been looking for.


Monday, February 23, 2015

Book Blitz+Giveaway: The Apollo Academy



Book & Author Details:

The Apollo Academy by Kimberly P. Chase 
(The Apollo Academy #1) 
Published by: Harlequin
Publication date: February 22nd 2015
Genres: New Adult, Science Fiction


Synopsis:

Take off with this dynamic, thrill-seeking, sexy New Adult Science Fiction series debut. Welcome to the exclusive Apollo Academy, where Aurora is about to discover that achieving her dream is only the first step towards her future.


As the heiress to Titon Technologies, eighteen-year-old Aurora Titon can have whatever she wants—clothes, expensive gadgets, anything money can buy. But all she really wants is to escape her pampered, paparazzi-infested life for the stars. Becoming the first female pilot to train as an astronaut for the exclusive Apollo Academy is exactly the chance for which she has been waiting.
Flying is everything she ever dreamed, her best friend also got into the Academy, and the paparazzi is banned from campus. Everything would be perfect, but for her unreciprocated crush on a fellow student, the sexy astronaut bent on making her life hell, and the fact that someone keeps trying to kill her.



The most important education doesn’t happen in the classroom…


Early Praise:
"I am obsessed with this book! Suspenseful, sexy, and just a great read!" - Cora Carmack, New York Times Bestselling author of LOSING IT.


“Exquisite worldbuilding, thrilling suspense, and a sexy flight instructor! Chase’s exciting debut novel is one you don’t want to miss.” - K.A.Tucker, Author of Ten Tiny Breaths and One Tiny Lie


Purchase:



AUTHOR BIO:
Kimberly P. Chase holds a Bachelor's Degree in Aeronautical Science from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University, which basically means she's kind of a geek and loves flying airplanes. Naturally, her books tend to include aviation, hot flight instructors, aviator glasses, and—let's not forget—kissing! When Kimberly's not writing or reading, she's hanging out with her husband, five-year-old son, and two dogs in Charleston, SC.


Author links:


Monday, February 16, 2015

Book Review: Allouette’s Song


Title: Alouette's Song

Author: Andrew Jonathan Fire

Genre: YA/NA Romance

Reviewer: Aly

Book Blurb: 
A lonely young sculptor first tries to escape his abusive father through his talent. When that avenue is closed he chooses to throw himself before a subway train. His moment is interrupted by a desperate cry for help from below, near the lethally electrified third rail...

A college freshman from an upper-class family has a knack for building and for staying centered in a confusing world. His best friend is about to yank his life far off center completely by surprise...

A musical superstar holds God close to help her cope with coming from two very different heritages. She will find then lose her one hope for true love. Regaining him will stain her pure hands with many peoples' blood ...

A girl who should still be in high school is already well on her way to a master's degree in mathematics. Her mind holds the key to the stars. It also holds a horrifying secret ...

Her academic adviser and personal mentor is a professor in astrophysics. He can't tell her he's now received orders from the blackest agency to exist in their country's government, that her discovery must never see the light of day ...

Their struggles against themselves and each other, plus uncanny coincidences, cruel choices, breathtaking valor, and agonizing sacrifices for love's sake, will test everyone's limits during their journey across the Milky Way and back!

Review:

There are several different perspectives in Allouette’s Song. It allowed each person to have their say and to connect with each character while also providing their back story in order to better understand their motives. At times it almost felt like it was jumping around which I wasn’t a huge fan of but to each their own. It was first person as well which I’m not a huge fan of.  Although the characters seemed to be all interconnected and I really enjoyed finding out those connections and seeing the different connections growing.

The plot itself was interesting. I really enjoyed the different motives each character had and how each character contributed to their joint effort. Especially one or two who you didn’t expect to help. The idea behind the story was also unique. Outer Space travel is always an intriguing plot and this book was no exception. I did find that some of the characters( Margaret especially) would be explaining something and I’d get lost. Which made for a very boring experience at times. I understand why the explanations were there, I just couldn’t understand them or really find myself finding them something that was really easy to read.

It was a good book but it couldn’t hold my attention for long periods of time. I had to cut it into sections and read it that way. It might have just been the explanations that I didn’t understand or the fact that while I found the different characters lives interesting I just couldn’t connect with them. Either way there wasn’t anything that was really wrong with this book, it just didn’t seem to be my cup of tea even though I really thought the synopsis made it sound so interesting.

Rating: