Talking Story

Book Reviews

Ever wonder how Zader became part of the Westin family? Birth is a novella about the day Uncle Kahana found Zader abandoned on the reef at Piko Point. There are two versions in the eBook–one told with Pidgin and one told with standard American English.

Check it out on Amazon.

aloneAuthor J.F.R. Titchenell, Confessions of the Very First Zombie Slayer (That I Know Of), asked what scares me. Here’s my response.

Picking up The Niuhi Shark Saga, you’d think I was afraid of sharks. It’s right there in the title of the series. In the books people get stalked by sharks, bit by sharks, and die because of sharks. As an island kid growing up in the ocean during the 1970s—the premier Jaws era—it would make a lot of sense.

But sharks don’t scare me.

Being alone and misunderstood does.

You don’t have to be Sigmund Freud to figure out the sub-text of The Niuhi Shark Saga. I grew up a part-Hawaiian, but perpetually sunburned haole-looking girl in Kahului, Maui. From kindergarten through fourth grade, I was the only person with blond hair and blue-eyes in the entire school district, including the staff.

This didn’t change until my family moved to Kalama Valley on Oahu, where in 5th grade at Kamiloiki Elementary there were more kids who looked like me. But nobody spoke Pidgin, which I thought was the language of school. You can imagine my surprise when my teacher, nose in the air, told my mother I needed remedial English lessons and she was recommending me for Resource, which was code for special ed and not in her classroom. I didn’t need English lessons. I just needed to speak as I spoke at home at school.

The shock on Mrs. Goo’s face when I switched mid-sentence from Pidgin to perfect English was almost worth the hell of being in her class.

Almost. I won’t say more, except that when you’re a kid, being good at sports is crucial to overcoming prejudice. That, and a great right hook.

Consequently, a lot of my fiction involves a character that is isolated from others, usually for a reason he or she has no control over. In The Niuhi Shark Saga, Zader is isolated because he’s allergic to water. He’s the weird kid that others put up with because of his popular surfing star brother, Jay.

In One Boy, No Water, Zader fears being left behind if Jay and Char Siu get accepted into Ridgemont Academy for ninth grade. Without Jay around, there’s the real possibility that Zader will be the Blalah’s perpetual punching bag. But as the story progresses, Zader discovers that Jay needs him too, and that being different can be a source of strength.

In One Shark, No Swim and One Truth, No Lie, Zader and Jay learn that anything they love can be taken away. Because of love, Zader sacrifices himself and travels the world alone, wary that he will turn into the monster everyone thinks he is. Jay becomes consumed with revenge, loses his golden boy status, and has to humble himself and learn from others before he can find peace in the ocean again. Both Zader and Jay reject what others think are their destinies, and prove that family are people you choose and not necessarily related by blood.

The Niuhi Shark Saga takes place in modern Hawaii where all the Hawaiian myths, legends, and gods are real, but under the radar of most humans. It’s my hope that readers come away with a deeper understanding of island life than what’s reflected in Hollywood movies and shows like Hawaii 5-0.

And there are sharks. Did I mention the sharks? Monster-sized Niuhi sharks, with mouthfuls of teeth, all-consuming hunger, and extra-sensory perception. They are apex predators without a lick of human remorse or conscience.

Oh, and Niuhi sharks? They can appear in human form. Unlike Jaws, if a Niuhi shark is interested in you, even on land, you’re not safe. There is no bigger boat.

Sleep tight.

True_Heroes_finalOpportunities to be part of something this special are rare in life. Back in December Jonathan Diaz approached me and several other authors about participating in his quest to help pediatric cancer patients. He had the deceptively simple idea of taking photos of kids living lives far away from the realities of hospital corridors–dreams of being a mermaid, a bull rider, a dancer, a baker, more than twenty in all–and pairing each image with a short story.

I wrote The Mermaid‘s Tale for Caimbre, four years old at the time of her photo shoot and with a smile that makes you want to take her home in your pocket. It was without a doubt the hardest thing I have ever written. How could I possibly come up with words to do justice to her photo, to her smile, to her dreams? I couldn’t, not really. I’m just a writer.

caimbre2She and other kids are the TRUE HEROES, a collection of modern-day fairy tales about real kids who are fighting cancer. The book is available now in major bookstores and online through Amazon. All proceeds go to support the Anything Can Be Foundation in its mission to help pediatric cancer patients see themselves as the TRUE HEROES they are.

If you’re in the Provo, UT, area on Saturday, Sept. 12, at 3 pm, stop by the Provo City Library to meet some of the authors and kids. Pick up a book and support something truly special. Let’s show cancer how strong dreams can be. ‪#‎TrueHeroes‬ ‪#‎ShowYourGold‬ ‪#‎hope‬

cover This spectacular cover was created by Lyndsay Johnson for Christine Haggerty’s Pretty Things. From the back of the book.

When Maddie’s father catches her with a boy, he hauls her into town in a pig wagon and finds her a husband. But Peter’s cabin in the woods promises something very different than Maddie’s happily ever after.

Pretty Things, a retelling of “The Robber Bridegroom,” is the first novella in the Grimm Chronicles series. Warning: not your granny’s fairytales!

Fairytales with an attitude. What’s not to love? Pretty Things is published by Crimson Edge Publishing and is available as an eBook from Amazon.

christine_authorpicConnect with Christine Haggerty

Website: www.christinehaggertyauthor.com

Wattpad: www.wattpad.com/ChristineHaggerty

Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/author/show/7468114.Christine_Haggerty

 

coverDisturbing,  intriguing, and definitely going on my to read list, L.K. Hill’s newest novel has a cover I can’t stop thinking about. From the back of the book:

In the heat of the desert, Detective Cody Oliver inadvertently stumbles upon a strange garden adorned with exotic flowers. Upon closer inspection, he finds the garden is but a cover for the scores of bodies buried below. Soon, the small town of Mt. Dessicate plunges into chaos as journalists, reporters, and cameramen from across the nation descend upon the tiny, desert town to get a piece of the action.

Along with the media, a mysterious woman appears—she may be the only person who has come face to face with the killer, dubbed the Botanist, and lived to tell the tale. If Cody can’t piece together a timeline of the land the crime scene is located on, decipher how the woman’s mysterious past is connected to the killer, and bring the Botanist to justice, he may lose the people he values most. 

Published by Jolly Fish Press, The Botanist will be available March 31, 2015 from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other fine retailers.

Liesel_HillConnect with L.K. Hill

Facebook: facebook.com/lkhill

Twitter: twitter.com/lkhillbooks

Pinterest: pinterest.com/lkhillbooks

Goodreads: goodreads.com/authorlkhill

G+: plus.google.com/+LieselHill

 

Tourists_lehua_parker

When a young location scout from Hollywood dashes into a local Hawaiian bar, she bites off a little more than she can chew. Set in Hawaii with a hint of ancient mythology, Tourists is a companion story to the Niuhi Shark Saga and is intended for adults.  Like the woman in  the story, there’s no long-term commitment here. Tourists is a quick coffee break and dessert read.

Available in eBook from Amazon.

SD_web_coverSecrets & Doors is an anthology of science fiction and fantasy stories by the Secret Door Society, a philanthropic organization of amazing people who also happen to be authors, editors, illustrators, and publishers.  All of the proceeds from this book are going to benefit the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation in their quest to cure Type One Diabetes (T1D).

The cover was designed by Faun Jackson, a fine arts photographer who moonlights as a librarian. Published by Crimson Edge Publishing, Secrets & Doors is available in paperback and eBook from Amazon.

From the back of the book:

Open the door and unlock the secrets in eleven short stories from The Secret Door Society, an organization of fantasy and science fiction authors dedicated to charitable work. All proceeds from this anthology benefit the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation in their quest to cure Type One Diabetes (T1D).

In these pages you’ll discover a modern woman trapped in an old fashioned dreamscape, a futuristic temp worker who fights against her programming, a beautiful vampire’s secret mission disrupted by betrayal, a sorcerer’s epic battle against a water dragon, the source of magical mirrors—and more. There are tales for every science fiction and fantasy taste, including new works from award-winning authors Johnny Worthen, Lehua Parker, Christine Haggerty, and Adrienne Monson.

Join us in the fight against T1D as you peek into a world of magical and mysterious doorways—if you dare.

Quick note: while all proceeds benefit children, this one’s for adult readers of science fiction and fantasy.

Front Cover-Old Scratch

I wrote a gritty short story called Red. It’s published in a collection of western horror by Griffin Publishers and available as a trade paperback and eBook through Amazon and other retailers. It’s not for the faint of heart–my son refused to read past the opening paragraphs because–well, he’s a gentle soul and at first this story is shocking and raw, but there’s a pay-off that puts the whole thing in a different light. I’ll be signing copies in February at LTUE and advanced copies will be available in January at FanX in Salt Lake City, UT.

From the back of the book:

The West has always been a symbol of the wild frontier, rugged adventure, and dangerous exploration. However, if it wasn’t for fear of the unknown, the West would just be another cardinal direction. Old Scratch and Owl Hoots delves into that fear and captures it in fourteen tales of terror set in the West ranging from the 1800s to the present day. Take a gander inside and you’ll find stories dealing with… …a strange creature on Antelope Island that can never satisfy its hunger… …a young girl kidnapped by highwaymen; but she carries a dangerous secret… …a woman’s vacation to Zion National Park that takes a dark turn when she can’t stop hearing the cries of a newborn baby… …an outlaw on the run from Porter Rockwell who finds more than he bargains for in the Utah wilderness… …a war veteran who carries a darkness inside him that threatens his very own family. Experience these stories and more in Old Scratch and Owl Hoots. All the stories in the anthology are written by authors with Utah connections. Some are veterans at the craft, while others are making their debut. Cozy up next to a campfire and delve into these fourteen stories and find out why it’s dangerous to be out and about in the West when the sun goes down.

ha_cover (1)

Heart of Annihilation by C.R. Asay is an electrifying military black ops thriller with a sci-fi twist that challenges ideas of nature vs. nature and cold war politics.

It’s a little complicated, so bear with me. U.S. Army Specialist Kris Rose has her own hidden agenda when she’s plunged into a military secret. She discovers that our world is home to several societies living in different dimensions with different technologies and philosophies. The most advanced is 13 and it’s been known not to play well with others. Someone in  number 12 has developed a weapon—the Heart of Annihilation—that has the potential to take care of number 13’s proclivity to end other dimensions.

12’s a mannered, pacifist society, so there’s some (ahem) disagreement between factions about whether or the Heart of Annihilation is a good thing. Most of the time, 12’s solution to conflict is a quick serenity break. For those who can’t chillax, 12 relocates them to a penal colony more their speed—our everyday world. Medium bad guys keep their memories. Really bad ones gets the ultimate reboot with their memories wiped and are regressed back to infants. They aren’t human, but can usually pass.

Did I mention the Heart of Annihilation is lost?

You can see where all of this is heading.

C.R. Asay’s own military experience shines as so many of the details from wounds to the interior of a C-130 to tactical mind-sets are spot on. Lovers of stories within stories will find much to enjoy here along with a lot of shoot-‘em-up-cloak-and-dagger action. As fun as the guns and camaraderie are, it’s really a story that explores the nature of evil and questions how much a person can be nurtured away from destiny.

With such big concepts and worlds to explore, Heart of Annihilation is the first in a series. Looking forward to the next book!

Heart of Annihilation by C.R. Assay is published by Wido Publishing and is available in trade paperback and eBook from Amazon and Barnes & Noble

cr_asayConnect with C.R. Asay

Blog/Website: http://www.crasay.com/

Facebook: C.R. Asay

Twitter: @Stauna

eyes-final

Eyes of Persuasion by Adrienne Monson is an afternoon’s escape into a world of dressing for dinner, marriage as high finance, and a lady who intends to stay that way despite her uncle’s gambling debts. It’s a romp through polite English high society that isn’t afraid to take a side trip down the steamier side of the docks.

Lady Isabeau Maybrick’s got a deeper secret than playing detective or dress-up—a paranormal superpower that would put her life in jeopardy if anyone knew about it. She’s a modern thinking woman in a repressive historical past, so it’s no surprise that the unconventional Everette Radcliff turns her world upside-down.

Eyes of Persuasion is the kind of book that’s best read with a hot beverage and a plate of cookies. It’s an easy, entertaining read that will leave you wanting more. Readers who like historical romances are sure to enjoy the paranormal twist on an (almost) bodice ripper plot.

Eyes of Persuasion by Adrienne Monson available as an eBook or trade paperback from Amazon.

 

Authorpic smallConnect with Adrienne Monson

Web site: http://www.adriennemonson.com/

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/adriennemonson

Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/adriennemonson

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6584385.Adrienne_Monson

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/author/adriennemonson

 

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Click here to go to
The Niuhi Shark Website.
Get the Books
One Boy, No Water

When you’re allergic to water, growing up in Hawaii isn’t always paradise.

One Shark, No Swim

Because even out of the water, no one’s safe.

One Truth, No Lie

Everything I thought I knew is a lie.