Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Bargain Kindle books! (Wednesday Oct 30)

Alex, by Adam J Nicolai. (Still 0.99?)

This full-length ghostly thriller has over 450 five-star reviews.

"Devastating. Intense. Brilliant. This book had me hooked from the first moment I started reading. Any person, even if you don't have children, can easily slip into the shoes of the main character and experience his anguish while he tries to come to terms with his child's murder, and the horror he feels at reliving his memories of Alex. It is absolutely brutal in the best kind of way. You want him to find answers, to know for sure if he's losing his mind, or if all of this is happening for a reason. Because deep down, we all want to believe that things happen for a reason. Even the worst of things. Will be recommending this heartily to everyone I know! Should not be missed!" -- Amazon reviewer

Alex was Ian's five-year-old son: brilliant, earnest, and compassionate.
He is dead now, but Ian can't let him go.

When his wife urges him to move on, he drives her away. His performance at work collapses; his friends leave him. Six months later, alone in an empty house, Ian starts to see his son again.

Every vision is a repeat of something the boy said or did in life: aching memories replaying themselves for Ian's eyes alone. Are these images of Alex real? Has Ian's son found a way back, to forgive or condemn his father?

Or has Ian's sorrow metastasized into psychosis?

With a masterful hand, bestselling Kindle Horror author Adam J Nicolai paints a picture of grief, madness, and the furious strength of a father's love for his son.

Amazon readers are saying:

"Mr. Nicolai maintains a sense of creeping disquiet and uncertainty throughout the narrative; I was unsure whether Ian was haunted by his son or slowly going crazy until the last few pages of the novel." -- Uncle Progress - 5 stars

"I ... found myself marveling at how well-crafted many sentences are. I would find myself stopping and re-reading them, just so I could savor their beauty a little longer." -- Basil Owen - 5 stars

"Mr. Nicolai uses language beautifully. He paints very vivid images in very few words and he does so brilliantly." -- Tifainé N. Highly -- 5 stars

"Mr. Nicolai's brutally straightforward prose and clear love for his characters... combine into something vital and hungry (like the early works of - dare I speak his name' - Stephen King)." -- Ryan J. Holthaus - 5 stars

"[O]ften it is easy to see why any given writer had to self publish (and often seemingly without any editor). That is definitely not the case here. The writing was intense, compelling and intelligent." -- Beth C - 4 stars

"[T]he ending was nailed perfectly." -- Jason Plowman - 5 stars

"For anyone who has been near people in the depths of horrific and insatiable grief, Ian's hundred mile an hour flight into emotional and physical self-destruction rings true." -- Shawna B. - 5 stars

"During the climax of the story my 1.5 year old daughter read my emotions and instinctively curled up in my arms and remained there [for the] rest of the book. This was not just a story for me - it was an experience." -- Ben - 5 stars

"If Alex [is] a sign of things to come, keep your eyes on this author. You will not regret it." -- Grace McDonough - 5 stars

Alex, by Adam J Nicolai. You will not sleep tonight.

304 pages, with a 4.6-star rating from 654 reviews.

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The Privateer Clause (Marsha & Danny Jones Thriller), by Ken Rossignol. (Still 0.99?)

A great price for this e-book. And, if you buy (or already have) the printed book, the e-book is free through Amazon's brand-new Matchbook program.

"This novel is centered around a husband and wife with very interesting backgrounds in law enforcement and the Secret Service. The interaction between them and the other characters is interesting. They remind me a little of the old Nick and Nora mysteries of the 30's and 40's but more down to earth and deadly professionals. The pace is fast and the threats unceasing from beginning to end. The action occurs on and around a US cruise ship out of Florida down in the islands. Just when you think the threats have finished another one appears that is even more dangerous until an ending that will surprise you! If you like fiction, the sea, mysteries and terrorists then this book will be a very enjoyable read for you and it all takes place in our current period of time." -- Amazon reviewer

The first in the Marsha & Danny Jones Thrillers series.

My wife just shot our waiter between the eyes when he came in with breakfast...
 

But, he had it coming to him as he had a gun on the tray and was going to give us Eggs Benedict with a Glock!
 

Join Marsha and I as we work really hard to protect the Sea Empress and her passengers from threats from every direction. There have been so many shots taken at this ship by terrorists that the cruise line thought their business would sink. That is why we were hired to provide security. Things go so bad that the passengers were taking photos and video and emailing the explosions and hostage scene to CNN and Fox News. Instead of scaring off passengers, bookings for the ship went through the roof. The Seven Seas Company caught the spirit of the passengers and even set up a special for the ship theatre with a pirate theme!
 

Finally, my wife and I needed a break and took a week off to sail on a private charter at the Grenadines and wouldn't you know, two local thugs dressed up as pirates tried to rob us while we sat at anchor for an intimate dinner for two. Well, our cook was great at other things besides her lobster spaghetti.
 

WARNING: In case you heard those pronouncements from the politicians that the war on terror was over and now you want to book a cruise...breeze along with us for a few voyages. We promise the ship will not visit Egypt or anywhere in the Middle East. Yet.
 

Welcome Aboard!

204 pages, with a 3.7-star rating from 32 reviews.

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SOMEWHERE MY LOVE (Somewhere In Time), by Beth Trissel. (Still 0.99?)

99 cents... or FREE if you buy (or already have) the printed copy.

"A beautiful love story with plenty of suspense and mystery. With a murderer on the loose and a house haunted by the ghosts of the past, can William and Julia figure everything out and survive? Visit Foxleigh Hall and find out." -- Night Owl Romance, a Night Owl Top Pick

"As I read Somewhere My Love, I recalled the feelings I experienced the first time I read Daphne DuMaurier's Rebecca long ago. Using the same deliciously eerie elements similar to that gothic romance, Beth Trissel has captured the haunting dangers, thrilling suspense and innocent passions that evoke the same tingly anticipation and heartfelt romance I so enjoyed then, and still do now." -- joysann for Publishers Weekly

Fated lovers have a rare chance to reclaim the love cruelly denied them in the past, but can they grasp this brief window in time before it's too late?

Two hundred years ago Captain Cole Wentworth, the master of an elegant Virginian home, was murdered in his chamber where his portrait still hangs. Presently the estate is a family owned museum run by Will Wentworth, a man so uncannily identical to his ancestor that spirit-sensitive tour guide Julia Morrow has trouble recognizing Cole and Will as separate. As Julia begins to remember the events of Cole's death, she must convince Will that history is repeating, and this time he has the starring role in the tragedy. The blade is about to fall.

Excerpt:
 

Lord, give him air. Julia had engulfed him in an irresistible tide. Her mouth...he must stop eyeing her enticing mouth. "Let's see the gardens now."

Like a soldier on drill, Will turned and walked swiftly out of the hall and into the passage that led to the front of the house. Julia practically had to sprint to keep pace with his ground-covering stride. The gentleman in him took over on autopilot and he stopped in the worn flagstone foyer before the paneled entrance.

He pushed open the white door embellished by the carving of colonial craftsmen and beckoned to her. "After you."

"Thank you." She walked across the threshold and onto the circular brick porch ringed with an iron railing.

The breeze had picked up with the approach of evening and lifted lengths of her long hair. Her already short skirt danced in the wind. The green-gold light spilled through the trees overhead and down across her blowing mane. His artist's eye took in the glossy sheen of red, copper, and ginger reflecting the rays. As if this weren't torment enough, Will glimpsed even more of her shapely legs, almost to her thighs with one gust.

Julia pushed the fabric back down, seemingly too absorbed in her surroundings even to notice. "Just smell that," she sighed, inhaling deeply.

The warm scent from an avenue of ancient hedges filled the mild air. "Yes. I love the scent of Old English boxwood," he said.

She flung her arms wide at the green expanse, knotted with herb gardens, and stretching down to the gently lapping river. "Magnificent!"

Will felt weak and emboldened in one, as if he wanted to lunge with a sword and stagger from a punishing blow.

An inner voice whispered, Julia's back.

What did that have to do with him, he argued.

Everything.

264 pages, with a 4.1-star rating from 79 reviews.

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Propinquity, by John Macgregor. (Still 4.99?)

This thought-provoking, groundbreaking book was released 25 years ago. Did it serve as the basis for Dan Brown's Da Vinci code? You decide.

"This novel was a good read for me. And this was a week when I also read novels by major American writers Don Delillo and Louise Edrich, and my current favourite Englishman Julian Barnes... I find this spiritual idea behind the book most beautifully and subtly worked out. Macgregor is rediscovering, behind the centuries-old dogmas of romantic love, another kind of connection between human beings: the rather antique term 'propinquity'. What seems to be a preposterous plot involving the resurrection of a female Christ figure thus contains a profound core. -- Dr Barry Westburg, Radio 5UV

Despite the many plot parallels between these two detective mystical conspiracy thrillers, before sitting down to write The Da Vinci Code, Dan Brown likely didn't read the more literary Propinquity (published 1986) - for hardly anyone has read it. Thanks to a crash-and-burn by its publisher that same year, Propinquity is a collector's item.

The Da Vinci Code was dissed by many heavyweight reviewers, but sold 80 million copies. The critics were lavish with Propinquity - comparing the then youthful John Macgregor with some of the world greats.Propinquity sold (count 'em) 600 copies.

Nonetheless, the story coincidences are startling:

At the center of Propinquity is the secret tomb of a medieval French princess - carrier of the same gnostic illumination dispensed by Christ. Deep under Westminster Abbey, the tomb contains documents on the life of this female avatar, and speaking of a feminine divine power. A male doctor is shown the crypt by a young, female medievalist, fluent in Old French. As a child she'd witnessed her father visiting the crypt - he being a high-ranking cleric set on keeping the secret secret.

Like The Da Vinci Code, Propinquity has a long timeline:

2,000 years back, Joseph of Arimathea had brought the Holy Grail to England - and set up a monastery where Westminster Abbey now stands. The Roman state later appropriated Christianity, and redesigned it in its own image. But the Westminster monks acted as a secret society which kept the gnostic teaching alive. After twelve centuries, into their midst walked Berengaria, Richard the Lionheart's Queen - herself a gnostic.

Berengaria was presently done away with by the Church. For centuries it kept her tomb, and history, secret: if word got out, "Christianity would come down like Wall Street in the Great Crash". But now our heroic couple - the Church hierarchy and police on their tails - are in a race to reveal all.

Sounding familiar so far?

The difference is that The Da Vinci Code is a best-seller, whilst Propinquity - also quite a page-turner (see Chapter 13's ritual sex among the tombs at the heart of Christendom) - is more thoughtful and exploratory. The novel, which laid the foundations for the modern conspiracy fiction genre, begins with a half dozen leisurely chapters looking at the hero's early life. It then quickens the pace and gets down to the mystery, which takes us to London, Oxford, Haiti and the Australian bush. This builds a nice familiarity with the characters, but it's not out of your usual how-to-write-a-pot-boiler manual.

Notwithstanding the 1:133,000 sales ratio, Propinquity did something The Da Vinci Code never did: it won a major literary prize. That would be the 1986 Adelaide Festival Biennial Award for Literature. It was also shortlisted for The Age Book of the Year in 1987 - but was beaten out by Robert Hughes' The Fatal Shore.

Macgregor went on to a journalism career, writing for the New York Times, and winning a major investigative journalism award for unravelling a real-life conspiracy by the FBI. He has been generous about Dan Brown's book, saying, "The Da Vinci Code is a nicely constructed novel. Sometimes critics don't realise how hard good structure is." Propinquity contains more elegant language than Brown seems capable of; its pacing may be less even than Da Vinci's.

However Propinquity contains one plot twist unthought-of by Brown: Our modern heroic couple discover that the entombed queen may not actually be dead, but in a centuries-long coma induced by herbs. So there is a thrilling quest (spanning several continents) to find the antidote, lost to science for centuries, and bring her back to life...to watch those blue, medieval Saxon eyes open, to behold the modern world. And perhaps change it irrevocably.

I won't spoil the plot... But I'm glad John Macgregor has decided to unearth Propinquity from its crypt after so many years.

366 pages, with a 4.4-star rating from 18 reviews.

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