Monday, November 23, 2015

#BlackFriday shopping list -- here we go again

Well, at least this year, Christmas decorations went on sale in September...

Yes, last year, they were in August.

Yes.  August!


Anyway, black Friday is coming, and we must be prepared. This is yet another list to make your shopping lives easier -- for Black Friday, or for the upcoming Cyber Monday. I've reviewed some of these books (links attached), and others are new even to me, but have come recommended to me. You might want to try some of these items below.

In short: give the gift of books to people you care about. They're cheaper than iPods. Heh.

As with last year, I will start with suggesting my own novels. Not even all of my own novels, just some of them. The newest ones, for starters.

To start with, there's Honor At Stake.  Because everyone loves this novel. Is it because it's romance? It is because it's vampires? Urban Fantasy? A little YA-ish? A little Christian-fic?

I have no idea.

But if you're new here, it's about a boy meeting a girl.  One of them is a homicidal monster. The other's just a vampire. It has Vatican Ninjas, and holy water burning vampires, and sunlight killing unholy monsters AND NONE OF THE VAMPIRES SPARKLE, DAMNIT.

Ahem. Anyway.

People like it. If you look at the Amazon reviews, everyone likes it. Everyone. Even people I don't know like it. I'm not sure why, but there you go.

Another newcomer on the scene are the anthologies.

Pius Origins blows up stuff.

Pius Holidays blows up even more stuff with Christmas lights and the accompanying music.

And Pius Tales gives you all that and more.

Yes, Pius Tales is actually out now.


What can I say? It's been a LOOOOONG week.

If you're new here, there are the usual suspects.

A Pius Man: A Holy Thriller -- It's surprisingly well reviewed, no one hates it (yet, give me time), where I take the war to Dan Brown, and every other nimrod who thinks they can write bad history in a thriller and get away with it.

A Pius Legacy: A Political Thriller -- The villains who survived A Pius Man have decided that some payback is involved.  Step one? Kidnap the Pope. Then the fun really starts.  Surprisingly, this one had better reviews than the first.... also fewer. Anyway, please buy the book already. Thank you.

A Pius Stand: A Global Thriller: The end of the trilogy. Saving the Pope has consequences.  And army. A war. And no quarter given. It's time to finish the fight.

And, while I"m doing this.....

Codename: Winterborn .... the "other" novel, also strangely well reviewed. Genre: character-driven scifi espionage. While on a mission to the Islamic Republic of France, Lt. Kevin Anderson's team is betrayed by the politicians who sent them. As the only survivor, Anderson must stop the senators involved before the next team is slaughtered on the altar of political greed. He's certain he won't survive, but he will make this sacrifice, for his Codename is Winterborn. I recommend this for all fans of Baen novels -- like John Ringo, David Weber, and even your straight up thriller writers, like Vince Flynn, Brad Thor, et al.

On with everyone else.

Several of the following books you may have seen before. Trust me, there's a reason they made one of my top reading lists.

Murder in The Vatican: The Church Mysteries of Sherlock Holmes -- if you've been reading my blog for a long time, you know that I loved this one, and I can't possibly recommend it enough.... and then there's The Watson Chronicles, which is even better.  The only books I will recommend over my own, and I'm told my books are pretty awesome, so, yeah...

The Book of Helen -- dang, this was a kickass little novel.  The West Wing meets the Trojan war, this novel goes beyond the "they all lived strangely ever after" of Helen of Troy, and follows the rest of her life after she came home from Troy.  Yes, Helen did have an "after Troy."  You know the mythology, and now, this is the rest of the story.

Ordinance 93:  I've reviewed this book, I've interviewed this author, and I somehow still haven't mentioned her on the blog yet. Ordinance 93 is a thriller that sort-of centers around abortion. It's not really a pro-life book, despite how I referred to it in the Examiner posts.  It's a very long story, but if you're interest, check out the review. It would take too long otherwise.

Infinite Space, Infinite God II .... a Catholic scifi-anthology, so,

Greater Treasures -- Imagine the Maltese Falcon with dragons. Nuff said.

Stealing Jenny, by Ellen Gable: After 5 miscarriages, Jenny is about to have a pregnancy come to full term... until a psychotic woman kidnaps her and chains her in her basement with the intention of taking the child for her own. I liked this one.

Amy Lynn: You can read my review right here.

Night Machines by Kia Heavey .... this one was interesting.  Almost Doctor Who-ish by way of Rod Serling.

And, of course, there is an endless list of books I can recommend, which happen to be a different tab at the top of the page -- includes Flynn, Ringo, Weber, Thor, etc, etc.

Tears of Paradox, by Daniella Bova.

In the not so distant future, Michelle hides in the shadowy cornfields of rural Pennsylvania, waiting for her unborn child, targeted by the untouchables who have assumed absolute power . Michelle’s husband, Jason, remains in their hometown, struggling against overwhelming odds to keep his wife and child from being found.
The blue-collar Catholic couple have already endured numerous losses, including that of a baby son, born under mysterious circumstances. This pair of childhood sweethearts and their family and friends have always stuck together, but the storms of transformation turn everything upside down. Friendships disintegrate, fathers and sons become enemies, and trust is a thing of the past. The ways of traditional America have gradually become what those in power term evil. What used to be evil is now the law, strictly enforced by the bureaucracy, and for ordinary people there is no middle ground; you either play or pay.
Deviation from government policy will land you in jail… or worse. Media figures who aren’t part of the power structure begin slowly disappearing, and Jason must depend solely on God to help him save his wife and baby. 
My review here.

And then there are the Jack July novels I reviewed.  Amy Lynn and Amy Lynn: Golden Angel.  Just buy them. Read them. The first one could be dark YA.  The second ... yeah, for adults only. One's a solid novel, the second one is a solid thriller. Just go with me on this one, okay?

Now, as far as books I haven't looked at yet.... [Below the break.]

Fast Cars and Rock & Roll  -- American Graffiti, the book.

The Boys Upstairs: A jaded cop needs to save three homeless children a few nights before Christmas, with temperatures below zero and falling, but the only one he can ask for help is his estranged brother, a crippled priest.

From Roundheel To Revolutionary: Linda Franklin After "Campus Sexpot" by Susan Kaufield
From the author:
Set against the civil rights, antiwar, and feminist movements of the 1960s, From Roundheel To Revolutionary: Linda Franklin After Campus Sexpot follows Linda Franklin as, having in a previous novel renounced the promiscuity of her teen-aged years, she becomes a prominent advocate for women's rights.
She does not have an easy time of it. Her husband, who loves her steadfastly, is nonetheless unconvinced that women need "liberating". When she then publicly rejects U. S. involvement in Viet-Nam, he and his father, who work for a company benefiting from Defense Department contracts, are especially upset.
She is also opposed by some feminists for her focus on individualism, and must contend with the mockery of those in her hometown who remember her wayward period.
The novel is 65-66 thousand words long. It is set in the fictional town of Wattsville , California (near Sacramento ). The book is written in the voice of Susan Kaufield, the older daughter of one of Linda's "conquests" -- the affair which, in the earlier book, was the catalyst for Linda's metamorphosis. There are a few interjections by Betty, the younger daughter.
And this one comes from my acquisitions editor at Damnation: Anarchy Zone Time Yarns
the process must re-examine his religious and ethnic heritage

Chasing Liberty:  Chasing Liberty is a dystopian fiction that explores a future where the government has grown too strong. The traditional family is nonexistent, human life loses value, and the earth is elevated above man. It is meant to encourage reflection on what we have, what we stand to lose and why it's worth fighting for.

Pilot Lannis Parker’s carefully constructed, sterile life is upended when her small plane is hijacked before dawn on a wintry Louisville morning. Her captor does more than force her to fly him to the Appalachian wilderness, though. He resurrects memories she’s tried to bury, memories of a brutal attack she’d survived four years earlier, an attack she didn’t report and tries to pretend didn’t happen.
Wounded, and losing strength by the minute, Ben Martin knows he has no choice but to commandeer a plane before he’s set upon by a ruthless band of drug dealers intent on wiping him out, along with the information he’s acquired. He’s horrified to discover the pilot is a woman—but once his plan is launched, there’s no turning back.
During a week in the wilderness, Lannis learns her hijacker is fair and honorable, compassionate and insightful—strange attributes for a criminal. And when he discovers her secret, he vows to be the friend she desperately needs but refuses to accept.
Will she come to terms with her past? And will he be part of her future? 
And a collection by a friend of mine.

Trusting God with St. Therese: Are your fears, weaknesses, doubts, and anger keeping you from intimacy with Christ? Do you struggle with despair? Let St. Therese teach you perfect trust. Learn how Therese of Lisieux trusted God through tragedy, scruples, spiritual darkness, and physical suffering. Connie Rossini pairs episodic stories from the saint’s life with memories of her own quest to trust. With Sacred Scripture, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and insights from psychology, Rossini leads readers to surrender their lives completely to Jesus. Practical and accessible, Trusting God with St. Therese includes questions for reflection that make it perfect for book clubs and faith-sharing groups. The Catholic Writers Guild awarded it their Seal of Approval

A Special Mother is Born: Parents Share How God Called Them to the Extraordinary Vocation of Parenting a Special Needs Child ... yeah, I think that explains itself.

End of the road, by Amy Bennett: This looks like a fun one, a straight up, old fashioned murder mystery......

Corrie Black, owner of the Black Horse Campground, hopes for a successful start to her summer season but the discovery of Marvin Landry, a long-time guest, shot dead in his own RV, along with $50,000 in cash missing, does not herald a good beginning… especially since the victim’s handicapped wife and angry stepson seem to have little interest in discovering who murdered him. Was Marvin’s murder planned or just convenient? And is the appearance of a mysterious biker with a shadowy past that includes a recently deceased wife merely a coincidence? Despite opposition from former flame, Sheriff Rick Sutton, Corrie is determined to find out who murdered her guest. But will she find out who is friend or foe before the murderer decides it’s the end of the road for Corrie?

Palace of the 12 Pillars -- Short version: YA Christian fiction. The long version .... is really long, please follow the link.

Fools, Liars, Cheaters, and Other Bible Heroes... I think the title is self explanatory, don't you?

Hope for the Workplace - Christ in You by Bill Dalgetty. Drawing from extensive experience in business and workplace ministry, Dalgetty examines the challenges faced by Catholics seeking to live out their faith in today's workplace. Readers will discover practical tips for:
  • Dealing with a difficult colleague or boss 
  • Maintaining integrity and ethics in business decisions 
  • Seeking Excellence in one's work 
  • Balancing family and career 
  • Caring for co-workers 
Relying on Scripture, Church teaching, the writings of both Catholic and Protestant leaders, and fifty real-life stories of people in the workplace, God's solutions to these common workplace issues are set forth in a straightforward, conversational style. The author shows how we can accept God's offer to dwell in us and allow the Holy Spirit to empower us to bring hope and transformation to our workplaces. "A very readable and inspiring book for busy Christians who need to overcome a compartmentalized life." Dr. Michael J. Naughton, Moss Chair in Catholic Social Thought, University of St. Thomas Christmas Special Price of $12.95, $2.00 off the regular price of $14.95 on

The Life I Dreamed is a Catholic, pro-life novel about a young family living out their faith and their beliefs despite many challenges. It is a story about the struggle to live out one’s faith and values, and about the importance of standing up for them as well. It is truly Catholic and truly pro-life, but at the same time it is a story that mothers the world over can relate to. The Life I Dreamed has been featured in Catholic Digest, on Catholic Lane, and has received the CWG Seal of Approval. This uplifting, yet realistic tale of living an authentically Catholic life in a harsh, difficult world is the perfect gift for any mother in your life. It is a story that entertains and at the same time builds up women in their vocation by honoring and valuing the true blessing that mothers are to their families and to the world.

White Seed. What really happened to the Lost Colony? One of the most haunting mysteries in American history - The Lost Colony of Roanoke - comes roaring back to life in White Seed!

By the Hands of Men, Book One: The Old World. As the Great War rages around them, wounded Lt. Robert Fitzgerald falls in love with Russian nurse Charlotte Braninov. Torn apart by illness and betrayal, they pursue separate quests that take them across a world convulsed by change. From the trenches of France to revolutionary Russia, they learn that hands of men can create a hell on earth – or, through the redemptive power of love, a heaven in which to truly live.

If you have something you'd like to suggest for gifting opportunities, please feel free to mention it below.

Good luck with shopping, everyone.

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