Ta Da! And the Winners Are…

Congratulations to these winners! The ARCs/books
will be mailed out this coming week. Those who
didn’t win will have another chance soon 😉

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Allison Herndon— Cat Got Your Diamonds by Julie Chase—Grandeur and opulence are everything in the famed New Orleans Garden District where pets are family and no bling is too big. Opening Furry Godmother, pet boutique and organic treat bakery, is Lacy Marie Crocker’s dream come true–until the glitter gun used to make her Shih Tzu tutus becomes a murder weapon. And Lacy becomes public enemy #1. Now Detective Jack Oliver is hounding Lacy, and her Furry Godmother investor wants out before his name is tarnished by association. To make matters worse, a string of jewel heists with suspicious ties to the murder case has New Orleans residents on edge. To save her dream, Lacy must take a stand, put her keen eyes to work, and unravel what really happened at her shop that night. But can Lacy sniff out the killer cat burglar in time to get her tail-raising designs on the catwalk?

Patrick Murphy— Secondhand Souls by Christopher Moore—Something really strange is happening in the City by the Bay. People are dying, but their souls are not being collected. Someone—or something—is stealing them and no one knows where they are going, or why, but it has something to do with that big orange bridge. Death Merchant Charlie Asher is just as flummoxed as everyone else. He’s trapped in the body of a fourteen-inch-tall “meat puppet” waiting for his Buddhist nun girlfriend, Audrey, to find him a suitable new body to play host. To get to the bottom of this abomination, a motley crew of heroes will band together: the seven-foot-tall death merchant Minty Fresh; retired policeman turned bookseller Alphonse Rivera; the Emperor of San Francisco and his dogs, Bummer and Lazarus; and Lily, the former Goth girl. Now if only they can get little Sophie to stop babbling about the coming battle for the very soul of humankind . . .

Carolyn J. Rose—  Phantom Limbs by Paula Garner—Otis and Meg were inseparable until her family abruptly moved away after the terrible accident that left Otis’s little brother dead and both of their families changed forever. Since then, it’s been three years of radio silence, during which time Otis has become the unlikely protégé of eighteen-year-old Dara—part drill sergeant, part friend—who’s hell-bent on transforming Otis into the Olympic swimmer she can no longer be. But when Otis learns that Meg is coming back to town, he must face some difficult truths about the girl he’s never forgotten and the brother he’s never stopped grieving. As it becomes achingly clear that he and Meg are not the same people they were, Otis must decide what to hold on to and what to leave behind. Quietly affecting, this compulsively readable debut novel captures all the confusion, heartbreak, and fragile hope of three teens struggling to accept profound absences in their lives.

fuonlyknew/Laura Thomas—  Dying for a Taste by Leslie Karst—After losing her mother to cancer, Sally Solari quits her job as an attorney to help her dad run his old-style Italian eatery in Santa Cruz, California. But managing the front of the house is far from her dream job. Then in a sudden twist, her Aunt Letta is found murdered in her own restaurant, and Sally is the only one who can keep the place running. But when her sous chef is accused of the crime and she finds herself suddenly short-staffed, Sally must delve into the world of sustainable farming–not to mention a few family secrets–to help him clear his name and catch the true culprit before her timer runs out.

John Smith—  Emperor Mollusk Versus the Sinister Brain by A. Lee Martinez—Emperor Mollusk. Intergalactic Menace. Destroyer of Worlds. Conqueror of Other Worlds. Mad Genius. Ex-Warlord of Earth. Not bad for a guy without a spine. But what’s a villain to do after he’s done . . . everything. With no new ambitions, he’s happy to pitch in and solve the energy crisis or repel alien invaders should the need arise, but if he had his way, he’d prefer to be left alone to explore the boundaries of dangerous science. Just as a hobby, of course. Retirement isn’t easy though. If the boredom doesn’t get him, there’s always the Venusians. Or the Saturnites. Or the Mercurials. Or . . . well, you get the idea. If that wasn’t bad enough, there’s also the assassins of a legendary death cult and an up-and-coming megalomaniac (as brilliant as he is bodiless) who have marked Emperor for their own nefarious purposes. But Mollusk isn’t about to let the Earth slip out of his own tentacles and into the less capable clutches of another. So it’s time to dust off the old death ray and come out of retirement. Except this time, he’s not out to rule the world. He’s out to save it from the peril of THE SINISTER BRAIN!

Anne—  A Life Rebuilt by Sylvia Ruth Graham—A Life Rebuilt: The Remarkable Transformation of a War Orphan chronicles an odyssey that spans sixty years, three countries, and thousands of miles. Remarkably, at age sixty-two, Sylvia developed a relationship with a young man, forty years her junior, and against all odds she moved to Germany to live with him. Here she began to share the story of her family’s fate with German students, senior citizens, and even neo-Nazi groups. By doing so, Sylvia reconciled with the people she had feared and loathed, and resurrected the lives of the parents she cannot remember, and cannot forget. Heartbreaking and ultimately inspiring, this memoir of loss, love, resilience, belonging, identity, and authenticity has a surprising resolution, told in an intimate voice with candor, substance, and heart.

Darlene Owen—  Life & Death in Old Peking by G. D. Sheppard—note: this will be published in September 2018 as A Death in Peking by Graeme Sheppard but the content is the same. The brutal murder of Pamela Werner sent shockwaves through the streets of pre-communist Peking in 1937. Outraging the population inside the walled capital, the killing baffled the local police, becoming one of the most mysterious unsolved crimes in the history of modern China. But while investigations have returned to the cold case over the years in an attempt to provide new insight into the perplexing killing, none have come close to joining the pieces of the infamous crime, until now. With renewed interest in the murder stemming from the discovery of new evidence, Life and Death in Old Peking uses a range of primary sources to delve into the historical context of early 20th century China to dissect the many facets of the crime itself. Scrutinising the named suspects, analysing potential political motives and implementing newly discovered evidence gathered from the British Embassy, Life and Death in Old Peking uncovers the untold story of not only Pamela but also the lives of the many foreigners living in a war-torn China that have all but been forgotten.

Caryn—  Miss Julia Raises the Roof by Ann B. Ross—With her husband Sam off on a trip to Europe, Miss Julia reckons it’s about time to roll up her sleeves and be of some use to her community. It’s then that she hears that the nosy do-gooder Madge Taylor and the new pastor Rucker are embarking on a mission to buy up the vacant house next door to Hazel Marie and establish a group home for wayward teenagers. No stranger to taking in the down-and-out herself, Miss Julia is shocked to learn Madge and the pastor are keeping the project a secret. When Miss Julia and Hazel Marie start investigating, though, they uncover a far less philanthropic plot for the house that even Madge doesn’t know about–one that could change the quiet, peaceful neighborhood forever.

Advertisements

Tired of Hiding the Bodies

“Matthews’s intricately plotted fifth Dinah Pelerin mystery…may expose her own dark secrets.”

Say WHAT?

That quote appears on the front cover of Where the Bones Are Buried.  It was condensed from a Publishers Weekly review and contains what those of us in the writing biz call an ambiguous antecedent.  Does that pesky “her” refer to Dinah or to Matthews?  It certainly makes the reader wonder.  Does a real-life authorial confession lurk beneath that lurid dust jacket?

Technically, those three little dots between “mystery” and “may” are an ellipsis, which Lynne Truss, author of Eats, Shoots, & Leaves, describes as the black hole of the punctuation universe.  A black hole has to be one of the better places to hide a dark secret, right?  Known in earlier times as “an eclipse,” the ellipsis indicates that words have been intentionally left out.  The quote above has caused embarrassing conjecture.  Curious readers ask if Dinah’s hidden offshore account in Panama is a thinly veiled admission that I have such an account?  Am I the one on tenterhooks because I didn’t report my secret millions to the Internal Revenue Service?  And what about all those awful things Dinah discovers about her mother?  Is my mother like that?

Fitting a blurb onto a book’s cover in an artistic way is no doubt a challenge.  I understand the need for economy.  Even so, the person who butchered that Publishers Weekly quote had no understanding of the dangers of ill-considered omissions.  Admittedly, Dinah has gotten up to some pretty serious hanky-panky over the past five books, but I…

Those last three dots are not an ellipsis.  According to Mark Forsyth, (The Elements of Eloquence), they are an aposiopesis, which is Greek for becoming silent.  The aposiopesis is used a lot when writing dialogue.  The dots suggest that the speaker is overwhelmed by emotion – faltering, confused, insecure, distressed, or uncertain.  The speaker simply can’t go on, or doesn’t need to go on, or wishes to imply something without spelling it out.  An aposiopesis comes in especially handy in a whodunit.  The victim staggers into the library with a knife plunged to the hilt in his back.  He falls to the floor and gasps, “It was…It was…” before death renders him conveniently and permanently silent.

In the 19th Century, publishers encouraged authors to leave punctuation marks to the printers.  Jane Austen made extensive use of dashes and dots in her handwritten manuscripts, but it’s not clear if their appearance in her printed novels was her choice or the printer’s.  Among writers, the aposiopesis has proponents and detractors.  Umberto Eco despised those “ghastly dots,” whereas F. Scott Fitzgerald relied on them to add suspense and James Joyce sprinkled them like tacks in the road to break up dialogue.  P.G. Wodehouse, a master of rhetorical tricks, turned a two-letter conjunction and three little suspension points into a gem of wit.  “‘So…’” said Mr. Carmyle, and allowed an impressive aposiopesis to take the place of the rest of the speech.”

Unlike the aposiopesis, which causes the reader to pause and contemplate the unspoken, the em-dash tends to jolt him forward.  It occurs when speech or thought has been interrupted, or when the writer wishes to emphasize a particular word or phrase.  I love the em-dash, although it’s been slammed as “over-casual and ill-disciplined.”  Punctuation is a matter of personal preference and it brings out a surprising degree of passion in writers.  Kurt Vonnegut abominated the semicolon; Gertrude Stein held both the comma and the question mark in utmost contempt; and George Bernard Shaw denounced the apostrophe as an “uncouth bacilli,” a pestiferous infection sneaked into the language by the French.

We all have our own notions about punctuation.  But unless you’re e e cummings, you can’t just throw a batch of words onto the page willy-nilly with no organization whatever.  There have to be some traffic signals.  As Lynne Truss reminds us, “We have a language that is full of ambiguities; we have a way of expressing ourselves that is often complex and elusive, poetic, and modulated; all our thoughts can be rendered with absolute clarity if we put the right dots and squiggles between the words in the right places.”

Which brings me back to the ellipsis in that blurb for Where the Bones Are Buried.  I had one reader, intrigued by Dinah’s crazy Georgia relatives and somewhat overly impressed by the Southern Gothic song, “The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia,” ask me – in what seemed all seriousness – if I based my fictional murderers on real-life family members.

I…I…Well, okay.  Sure.  Why keep denying it?  Anyway, those bodies will never be found and we’re tired of hiding them.

Jeanne Matthews is the author of the Dinah Pelerin international mysteries published by Poisoned Pen Press. Like her amateur sleuth, Jeanne was born with a serious wanderlust. Originally from Georgia, she enjoys traveling the world and learning about other cultures and customs, which she incorporates into her novels. She currently lives in Renton, Washington with her husband who is a law professor. Where the Bones Are Buried, the fifth book in the series, is in bookstores now . You can learn more about Jeanne’s books at http://www.jeannematthews.com

Book Review: Behind Closed Doors by B. A. Paris

Behind Closed Doors
B. A. Paris
St. Martin’s Press, August 2016
ISBN: 978-1-250-12100-4
Hardcover

Some have labeled this novel noir domestic fiction. I found it darker and more dangerous than that. The novel is also brilliant, in its structure, its characteristics, descriptions and stunning in its conclusion.

Grace falls in love with a slick, handsome well-educated lawyer. Jack is highly trained careful in his preparations and courtroom tactics and had never lost a case. He is also arrogant, cunning, manipulative and consummately evil.

The structure of the novel carries readers from present to past and back again several time. The story explores the marriage of Grace and Jack and details their relationship and its change over time, in a London suburb and in their travels to Thailand.

Grace has a younger sister, Millie, who is developmentally damaged and Jack cleverly manipulates the girl to maintain his control over his new wife. The relationship between the married couple forms the core of the story, but as the tale unwinds, it is an acquaintance named Esther who ultimately becomes the rock on whom Grace is able to secure a real future.

Well-written, intense, and elaborate, author Paris is destined for wide readership and many discussions.

Reviewed by Carl Brookins, June 2018.
http://www.carlbrookins.com http://agora2.blogspot.com
The Case of the Purloined Painting, The Case of the Great Train Robbery, Reunion, Red Sky.

The Laura Ingalls Wilder Controversy

The you-know-what hit the fan the other day when word got out that the The Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association, had changed the name of the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award to the Children’s Literature Legacy Award because of some of the content of the Little House books. Opinions have been, well, very opinionated but author Judy Alter has put into words what I feel on the subject. Judy has graciously given me permission to reprint her post and you can also find it on her blog, Judy’s Stew

Monday, June 25, 2018

Did you read Little House on the Prairie?

Big flap today in an online listserv to which I belong but which I won’t name. It seems that the American Library Association has voted to rename what was previously the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award as the Children’s Literature Legacy Award, because the Little House books contain racial stereotypes and slurs. Well, I never thought about it before, but yes they do: most Indians are bad (and they’re never Natives) and blacks are highly suspect. No, there’s no suggestion of censoring the books—except that changing the name of the award is in itself a form of censorship.

Folks wrote in to passionately attack of defend that decision. So I can’t resist chipping in with my two cents. First of all, the new name is institutionally dull, while naming the award for a beloved children’s writer gives it a certain vibrancy.

Beyond that, I have watched with dismay as favorite books were removed from some school library shelves—most of the Twain canon, To Kill a Mockingbird, and others. I was once told that one of my young-adult books would be removed if the superintendent of a certain school district knew it contained the ethnic slur, “kike.” Which brings to mind what a historian and beloved friend of mine, C. L. Sonnichsen, always claimed a book had to be—appropriate to time and place. Writing in the late nineteenth century, I would never have used the term kike in a contemporary book, but mine was a historical novel. The term was common, if deplorable, in early nineteenth-century East Texas when many Jewish immigrants landed at Galveston and made their way north into East Texas. To disallow it is to change history—and we can’t do that.

There’s that old saying, “He who doesn’t know history is doomed to repeat its mistakes.” By sanitizing literature, we rob out children of the rich history that books provide. The canon of literature has created the culture we enjoy today—you cannot understand slavery or the American South today without reading Twain. You really cannot understand the western settlement experience without reading Wilder—yes, settlers were invading lands held by the Native Americans, but they didn’t know better. The concept of manifest destiny was alive and well, and they thought they were fulfilling the promise of the new land. Can we not let children read that and help them through the difficult passages?

One story circulated today was of a eight-year-old Native American girl who read Wilder and burst into tears because of the attitude toward her people. Instead of damning the books, could we not explain to that child that was the attitude of the day and we have made much progress to overcome it, but we still have miles to go? Put it in context. Ah, there’s the key—context.

And in this rush to sanitize Wilder, critics overlook the positive values of the Little House books—the emphasis on fortitude, self-reliance, persistence, all those values American are supposed to cherish.

I am afraid in our zeal for political correctness we will sanitize all of western civilization’s literature and rob it of it richness and glory. No, I wouldn’t use such terminology in a book set in today;s world, but neither will I condemn the writers who came before me and on whose contributions to tradition I build my works.

A little common sense, please.

Book Review: Beyond the Pale by Clare O’Donohue

Beyond the Pale
A World of Spies #1
Clare O’Donohue
Midnight Ink, May 2018
ISBN 978-0-7387-5650-9
Trade Paperback

Hollis Larsson is a tenured university professor married to her college sweetheart.  She has a comfortable middle-class life in Michigan and she is bored senseless. Her husband Finn is an internationally recognized expert in European literature. He enjoys interacting with his students and watching baseball more than spending time with his wife, who keeps trying to reignite his interest in her. When a former friend from her brief fling with the CIA shows up and asks them to go to Ireland to buy a rare manuscript to save the life of a U.S. agent, it seems just the break from monotony she’s been looking for. Her husband is not interested but eventually agrees to the trip with the understanding that the task is a fast and simple one and they will be home again after a long weekend. Oh, and Holly owes him big time.

Once in Ireland, equipped with a large amount of cash, Holly and Finn approach the store to make the purchase, only to find their designated contact has disappeared. They retreat to regroup and quickly discover that they are being followed by competing CIA and Interpol agents who plan to take the manuscript as quickly as it can be acquired, followed by an unfortunate accident for Holly and Finn. Their search for the manuscript while eluding the agents who all claim the others are part of a criminal gang takes them across much of the country with wonderful descriptions of the scenery and history. The verbal sniping between Holly and Finn that opened the book vanishes as their teamwork kicks into gear to keep them both alive.

O’Donohue’s previous books include five mysteries in the Someday Quilts series. This title is the first of a new spy series that will take occasional agents Holly and Finn around the world.

Reviewed by Aubrey Hamilton, May 2018.

Let’s Have a Giveaway!

I need to let loose of some old ARCs
(AdvanceReading Copies) so take a
gander at these and leave a comment
below to enter the drawing. You can name
your top choice but I make no promises 😉

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Cat Got Your Diamonds by Julie Chase—Grandeur and opulence are everything in the famed New Orleans Garden District where pets are family and no bling is too big. Opening Furry Godmother, pet boutique and organic treat bakery, is Lacy Marie Crocker’s dream come true–until the glitter gun used to make her Shih Tzu tutus becomes a murder weapon. And Lacy becomes public enemy #1. Now Detective Jack Oliver is hounding Lacy, and her Furry Godmother investor wants out before his name is tarnished by association. To make matters worse, a string of jewel heists with suspicious ties to the murder case has New Orleans residents on edge. To save her dream, Lacy must take a stand, put her keen eyes to work, and unravel what really happened at her shop that night. But can Lacy sniff out the killer cat burglar in time to get her tail-raising designs on the catwalk?

Secondhand Souls by Christopher Moore—Something really strange is happening in the City by the Bay. People are dying, but their souls are not being collected. Someone—or something—is stealing them and no one knows where they are going, or why, but it has something to do with that big orange bridge. Death Merchant Charlie Asher is just as flummoxed as everyone else. He’s trapped in the body of a fourteen-inch-tall “meat puppet” waiting for his Buddhist nun girlfriend, Audrey, to find him a suitable new body to play host. To get to the bottom of this abomination, a motley crew of heroes will band together: the seven-foot-tall death merchant Minty Fresh; retired policeman turned bookseller Alphonse Rivera; the Emperor of San Francisco and his dogs, Bummer and Lazarus; and Lily, the former Goth girl. Now if only they can get little Sophie to stop babbling about the coming battle for the very soul of humankind . . .

Phantom Limbs by Paula Garner—Otis and Meg were inseparable until her family abruptly moved away after the terrible accident that left Otis’s little brother dead and both of their families changed forever. Since then, it’s been three years of radio silence, during which time Otis has become the unlikely protégé of eighteen-year-old Dara—part drill sergeant, part friend—who’s hell-bent on transforming Otis into the Olympic swimmer she can no longer be. But when Otis learns that Meg is coming back to town, he must face some difficult truths about the girl he’s never forgotten and the brother he’s never stopped grieving. As it becomes achingly clear that he and Meg are not the same people they were, Otis must decide what to hold on to and what to leave behind. Quietly affecting, this compulsively readable debut novel captures all the confusion, heartbreak, and fragile hope of three teens struggling to accept profound absences in their lives.

Dying for a Taste by Leslie Karst—After losing her mother to cancer, Sally Solari quits her job as an attorney to help her dad run his old-style Italian eatery in Santa Cruz, California. But managing the front of the house is far from her dream job. Then in a sudden twist, her Aunt Letta is found murdered in her own restaurant, and Sally is the only one who can keep the place running. But when her sous chef is accused of the crime and she finds herself suddenly short-staffed, Sally must delve into the world of sustainable farming–not to mention a few family secrets–to help him clear his name and catch the true culprit before her timer runs out.

Emperor Mollusk Versus the Sinister Brain by A. Lee Martinez—Emperor Mollusk. Intergalactic Menace. Destroyer of Worlds. Conqueror of Other Worlds. Mad Genius. Ex-Warlord of Earth. Not bad for a guy without a spine. But what’s a villain to do after he’s done . . . everything. With no new ambitions, he’s happy to pitch in and solve the energy crisis or repel alien invaders should the need arise, but if he had his way, he’d prefer to be left alone to explore the boundaries of dangerous science. Just as a hobby, of course. Retirement isn’t easy though. If the boredom doesn’t get him, there’s always the Venusians. Or the Saturnites. Or the Mercurials. Or . . . well, you get the idea. If that wasn’t bad enough, there’s also the assassins of a legendary death cult and an up-and-coming megalomaniac (as brilliant as he is bodiless) who have marked Emperor for their own nefarious purposes. But Mollusk isn’t about to let the Earth slip out of his own tentacles and into the less capable clutches of another. So it’s time to dust off the old death ray and come out of retirement. Except this time, he’s not out to rule the world. He’s out to save it from the peril of THE SINISTER BRAIN!

A Life Rebuilt by Sylvia Ruth Graham—A Life Rebuilt: The Remarkable Transformation of a War Orphan chronicles an odyssey that spans sixty years, three countries, and thousands of miles. Remarkably, at age sixty-two, Sylvia developed a relationship with a young man, forty years her junior, and against all odds she moved to Germany to live with him. Here she began to share the story of her family’s fate with German students, senior citizens, and even neo-Nazi groups. By doing so, Sylvia reconciled with the people she had feared and loathed, and resurrected the lives of the parents she cannot remember, and cannot forget. Heartbreaking and ultimately inspiring, this memoir of loss, love, resilience, belonging, identity, and authenticity has a surprising resolution, told in an intimate voice with candor, substance, and heart.

Life & Death in Old Peking by G. D. Sheppard—note: this will be published in September 2018 as A Death in Peking by Graeme Sheppard but the content is the same. The brutal murder of Pamela Werner sent shockwaves through the streets of pre-communist Peking in 1937. Outraging the population inside the walled capital, the killing baffled the local police, becoming one of the most mysterious unsolved crimes in the history of modern China. But while investigations have returned to the cold case over the years in an attempt to provide new insight into the perplexing killing, none have come close to joining the pieces of the infamous crime, until now. With renewed interest in the murder stemming from the discovery of new evidence, Life and Death in Old Peking uses a range of primary sources to delve into the historical context of early 20th century China to dissect the many facets of the crime itself. Scrutinising the named suspects, analysing potential political motives and implementing newly discovered evidence gathered from the British Embassy, Life and Death in Old Peking uncovers the untold story of not only Pamela but also the lives of the many foreigners living in a war-torn China that have all but been forgotten.

Miss Julia Raises the Roof by Ann B. Ross—With her husband Sam off on a trip to Europe, Miss Julia reckons it’s about time to roll up her sleeves and be of some use to her community. It’s then that she hears that the nosy do-gooder Madge Taylor and the new pastor Rucker are embarking on a mission to buy up the vacant house next door to Hazel Marie and establish a group home for wayward teenagers. No stranger to taking in the down-and-out herself, Miss Julia is shocked to learn Madge and the pastor are keeping the project a secret. When Miss Julia and Hazel Marie start investigating, though, they uncover a far less philanthropic plot for the house that even Madge doesn’t know about–one that could change the quiet, peaceful neighborhood forever.

Just leave your comments below—
the winning names will be drawn on
Friday evening, June 29th.

Book Review: Velocity by Chris Wooding

Velocity
Chris Wooding
Scholastic Press, March 2017
ISBN 978-0-545-94494-6
Hardcover

With an almost-manic-joy bubbling beneath the determined calm needed for navigation, Velocity takes off; tearing through teeth-rattling turns and bone-jarring twists. The tale of the unprecedented quick-track that takes Cassica and Shiara from racing the “unofficial boondocks circuit” to a qualifier for the Widowmaker, “the most hotly contested rally in the world”, flies faster than Maisie. Try not to take it too quickly though, lest you miss the interspersed clever, cutting humor and gradual growth of the girls, both as individuals and as a team.

Admittedly, I was seriously psyched to be reading about a female rally-car team. Being familiar with rally racing because it was something that another author I admire, Maggie Stiefvater, participated in; I believe her words describe it best, “…when the co-driver and driver are working perfectly together, you can hurtle along blindly, much faster than a) someone without notes or b) someone with common sense.” Certainly, Cassica and Shiara are tighter than twin sisters.

Shiara’s family had taken in Cassica when the girls were very young and while Cassica didn’t share Shiara’s fondness for tinkering and building cars, such as their beloved mongrel of so many different parts, Maisie, she happily hopped behind the wheel. While they shared so much, each had her own dream. One would be more than content to continue racing the tracks here in Coppermouth while the other yearns for…so much more.

Sometimes, helping your best friend achieve her dream means more than anything, even if the effort is not wholly altruistic. So, in spite of her skepticism, Shiara agrees to accept an unsolicited offer for sponsorship and management for a chance to qualify for the pinnacle of Maximum Racing season. Cassica is quickly dazzled and swept up in the glamour while Shiara is surlier than usual and even more suspicious than her teammate can stomach. It’s soon apparent that the terrifying tracks are only a small part of the danger that the duo will face. Suddenly, the girls are in so deep that no one can help them. They truly only have each other—or maybe not even that, anymore.

Reviewed by jv poore, December 2017.