Debut Showcase – Week of June 28 (and Earlier)

I included publisher’s links on this edition because most of these publishers are either small presses or are significantly discounted at the publisher’s site. Enjoy!


The Loving Dead

by Beamer, Amelia
Night Shade Books
Trade Paperback – 14.95

Girls! Zombies! Zeppelins!

If Chuck Palahniuk and Christopher Moore had a zombie love child, it would look like THE LOVING DEAD, a darkly comic debut novel by Amelia Beamer.

Kate and Michael, twenty-something housemates working at the same Trader Joe’s supermarket, are thoroughly screwed when people start turning into zombies at their house party in the Oakland hills. The zombie plague is a sexually transmitted disease, turning its victims into shambling, horny, voracious killers after an incubation period where they become increasingly promiscuous.

Thrust into extremes by the unfolding tragedy, Kate and Michael are forced to confront the decisions they’ve made, and their fears of commitment, while trying to stay alive. Kate tries to escape on a Zeppelin ride with her secret sugar daddy — but people keep turning into zombies, forcing her to fight for her life, never mind the avalanche of trouble that develops from a few too many innocent lies. Michael convinces Kate to meet him in the one place in the Bay Area that’s likely to be safe and secure from the zombie hordes: Alcatraz. But can they stay human long enough?

And the zombie craze goes on! I imagine this novel will be very popular, but zombies aren’t for me. I do find the concept of zombification as a sexually transmitted disease an interesting concept, but that incubation period would probably set me over the edge.

~*~


Redemption in Indigo

by Karen Lord
Small Beer Press
Trade Paperback – $16

Karen Lord’s debut novel, which won the prestigious Frank Collymore Literary Prize in Barbados, is an intricately woven tale of adventure, magic, and the power of the human spirit.

Paama’s husband is a fool and a glutton. Bad enough that he followed her to her parents’ home in the village of Makende, now he’s disgraced himself by murdering livestock and stealing corn. When Paama leaves him for good, she attracts the attention of the undying ones—the djombi—who present her with a gift: the Chaos Stick, which allows her to manipulate the subtle forces of the world. Unfortunately, a wrathful djombi with indigo skin believes this power should be his and his alone.

Bursting with humour and rich in fantastic detail, Redemption in Indigo is a clever, contemporary fairy tale that introduces readers to a dynamic new voice in Caribbean literature. Lord’s world of spider tricksters and indigo immortals, inspired in part by a Senegalese folk tale, will feel instantly familiar—but Paama’s adventures are fresh, surprising, and utterly original.

I reviewed this last week and found it wonderful.

~*~


Meeks

by Julia Holmes
Small Beer Press
Trade Paperback – $16

No woman will have Ben without a proper bachelor’s suit . . . and the tailor refuses to make him one. Back from war with a nameless enemy, he’s just discovered that his mother is dead and that his family home has been reassigned by the state. As if that isn’t enough, he must now find a wife, or he’ll be made a civil servant and given a permanent spot in one of the city’s oppressive factories.

Meanwhile, Meeks, a foreigner who lives in the park and imagines he’s a member of the police, is hunted by the overzealous Brothers of Mercy. Meeks’s survival depends on his peculiar friendship with a police captain—but will that be enough to prevent his execution at the annual Independence Day celebration?

A dark satire rendered with all the slapstick humor of a Buster Keaton film, Julia Holmes’s debut novel evokes the strange charm of a Haruki Murakami novel in a dystopic setting reminiscent of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale. Meeks portrays a world at once hilarious and disquieting, in which frustrated revolutionaries and hopeful youths suffer alongside the lost and the condemned, just for a chance at the permanent bliss of marriage and a slice of sugar-frosted Independence Day cake.

Small Beer Press sent this along with Redemption in Indigo, and I’m reading it now. It’s rather dark and grim so far, but I have not been put off by it and I’m looking forward to those humorous moments promised in the blurb. I love a good dystopian novel.

~*~


Dark and Disorderly
by Bernita Harris
Carina Press
eBook – 4.79

“I was standing there naked when my dead husband walked into my bathroom…”
Lillie St. Claire is a Talent, one of the rare few who can permanently dispatch the spirits of the dead that walk the earth. Her skills are in demand in a haunted country, where a plague of ghosts is becoming a civic nuisance.

Those skills bring her into conflict with frightened citizens who view Talents as near-demons. Her husband comes to see her as a Freak; so when Nathan dies after a car crash, she is relieved to be free of his increasingly vicious presence. Lillie expects to be haunted by Nathan’s ghost, but not to become Suspect #1 for her husband’s murder and reanimation.

But what’s most surprising of all is the growing attraction between her and psi-crime detective John Thresher. He thinks that Lillie killed Nathan—and Nathan must agree, because his zombie is seeking revenge. Now she and Thresher must work together to solve her husband’s murder—before his corpse kills her…

If I didn’t already have seven other brand-new ebooks on my brand-new nook waiting for my attention, I’d probably try this out. In fact, I probably will try it. It looks fun.

~*~


Scene Stealer

Elise Warner
Carina Press
eBook – 3.59

“For a moment our eyes met; his were frightened, seeking help. Was it my imagination gone wild? No. After all those years of teaching elementary school, I knew this child was afraid.”

After a chance encounter on the subway, Miss Augusta Weidenmaier, a retired schoolteacher living in New York’s Greenwich Village, is determined to help the police in the search for missing nine-year-old child actor Kevin Corcoran. Never mind that she has no training in law enforcement—she spent decades teaching. She knows when someone is lying.

Once set upon a course of action, the indomitable Miss Weidenmaier cannot be swayed—or intimidated. Facing down megalomaniacal business executives, stuck-up celebrities, pushy stage mothers and a rabble-rousing talk show host, Miss Weidenmaier will stop at nothing—not even the disapproval of one Lieutenant Brown of the NYPD, who does not take kindly to amateur sleuthing—to bring young Kevin home.

I already have this on my nook. I love a cozy mystery every now and then and the excerpt at Carina Press’s website is promising.

~*~


Captive Spirit

by Liz Fichera
Carina Press
eBook – $4.49

Sonoran Desert. Dawn of the sixteenth century.

Aiyana isn’t like the other girls of the White Ant Clan. Instead of keeping house, she longs to compete on the Ball Court with her best friend Honovi and the other boys. Instead of marriage, she daydreams of traveling beyond the mountains that surround her small village. Only Honovi knows and shares her forbidden wish, though Aiyana doesn’t realize her friend has a secret wish of his own…

When Aiyana’s father arranges her marriage to a man she hardly knows, she takes the advice of a tribal elder: run! In fleeing, she falls into the hands of Spanish raiders and finds herself being taken over the mountains against her will. Now Aiyana’s on a quest to return to the very place she once dreamed of escaping. And she’ll do whatever it takes to survive and find her way back to the people she loves.

Here’s a familiar refrain–I have this on my nook. (Why do so many of the electronic devices shun uppercase names? I now have a “nook” and an “iPod touch”, all capitalized just like that.) I’m almost finished reading it and it is utterly gripping.

Any of these look good to you? Discuss in the comments!

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12 thoughts on “Debut Showcase – Week of June 28 (and Earlier)

  1. I’ve got SCENE STEALER in my nook and I’m very intrigued by REDEMPTION IN INDIGO. Love the unusual storyline.

  2. Tia Nevitt

    Thanks for recommending the nook. It was on the strength of your recommendation that I bought it instead of the Kobo. That and the touchscreen. I’ll be reviewing my nook here this week.

  3. Glad you like it, Tia. Now that I’ve read about a handful of books on my nook so far, there’s no going back. AND it fits inside my purse. How cool is that?

    1. Tia Nevitt

      I bought one of those folders for it, so it’s now too large for my purse. But that’s ok; I never intended to carry it around. I have the same ebooks on my ipod so I can always get to them in an emergency.

      I love the folder, though. It protects it and makes it very book-like. I have a similar folder for my ipod.

  4. Well, Redemption in Indigo looks really good, but more because of your recommendation than the blurb. I also find zombification as an STD to be an interesting concept, but zombies are not for me. Nothing else here jumps out at me, which is really a good thing because I have way too many books to read!

    1. Tia Nevitt

      I have 4 out of these six titles, so that’s a lot of reading!

  5. Of the ones that are new to me (i.e., haven’t been reviewed here yet), Meeks sounds intriguing. I enjoy a good dystopia. Scene Stealer also sounds fun, and for $3.59 I might just have to download it and read it on my computer. I’ll have to go check out the excerpt.

  6. Deborah Blake

    Ugh. Zombies. I confess, I just don’t understand the attraction. Other than Nancy Holtzer’s DEADTOWN, which I really liked, I haven’t come across any books with zombies in them that tempted me at all. I will be SO glad when this particular trend passes.

    I don’t have an ereader, and really dislike reading books on my computer (I even tend to print out my CP’s mss, unless I am doing major edits), so none of the ebooks are options for me. Probably a good thing, considering the size of my TBR pile, and the fact that I just got C.E.Murphy’s new book, and Jim C. Hines’ newest is on its way.

    1. Chicory

      Whenever I hear the word Zombie I always picture Herman Munster, which may be why I have trouble taking the idea of zombies seriously.

      1. {lost-in-thought}

        Herman Munster is more of a Frankenstein’s Monster type, complete with squared-off head and bolts in the next. A better pattern for zombies would be Lurch from the Addams’s Family. They don’t have to be as tall as he is, but he’s got the slow, jerky walk, the lask of chattiness, and the general look down pat. {wink, Smile}

        Anne Elizabeth Baldwin

  7. JenM

    I just bought Dark & Disorderly today. I read the excerpt on Carina’s website and it’s just the kind of book that I like. I’m not wild about the whole “ghost as a romantic lead” trend, but otherwise, I love paranormals where the lead characters can see and interact with ghosts.

  8. I have just ordered Redemption In Indigo because you made it sound so good, and I HIGHLY recommend Dark & Disorderly. Disclosure: I’m a friend of the author. But it’s a great read. 🙂

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