Burning Sky by Weston Ochse

Rating: 4/5 stars

Published: 25 September 2018 by Solaris

Genre(s): Horror; War; Military fiction

Pages: 393 (eARC)

Everything is dangerous in Afghanistan, nothing more so than the mission of a Tactical Support Team or T.S.T. All veterans, these men and women spend seasons in hell, to not only try and fix what’s broken in each of them, but also to make enough bank to change their fortunes. 

But seven months later, safely back on American soil, they feel like there’s something left undone. They’re meeting people who already know them, remembering things that haven’t happened, hearing words that don’t exist. And they’re all having the same dream… a dream of a sky that won’t stop burning

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The Peithosian Gift by Cristina Archer

Rating: 3/5 stars

Published: 31 July 2018 by Rowanvale Books

Genre(s): Supernatural fiction; Fantasy

Pages: 420 (eARC)

The Peithosian Gift is a speculative fiction novel about two warring clans with the power to control the minds of others. 

Since ancient times, the Morgans and the Kanes have violently disputed the right to use their gift. The present-day Morgans are outnumbered and persecuted by the Kanes for using their gift; most are in hiding, while others avenge the slaughter of their kin. The Kanes hunt and assassinate Morgans to prevent a mind-controlled world. While one clan seeks a ‘saviour’ to restore the imbalance, the other fears the birth of a too-gifted child. 

Radha, born of a third, lost clan, has superior powers that she is scarcely able to control. Events lead to a clash of clan leaders and key players, forcing Radha on the run with both sides hunting her.

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Livestock: Food, Friends, & Fiber by Erin McKenna

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Goodreads

Rating: 3/5 stars

Published: 15 March 2018 by University of Georgia Press

Genre(s): Non-fiction; Agricultural & food industry

Pages: 264 (eARC)

Most livestock in America currently live in cramped and unhealthy confinement, have few stable social relationships with humans or others of their species, and finish their lives by being transported and killed under stressful conditions. In Livestock, Erin McKenna allows us to see this situation and presents alternatives. She interweaves stories from visits to farms, interviews with producers and activists, and other rich material about the current condition of livestock. In addition, she mixes her account with pragmatist and ecofeminist theorizing about animals, drawing in particular on John Dewey’s account of evolutionary history, and provides substantial historical background about individual species and about human-animal relations.

This deeply informative text reveals that the animals we commonly see as livestock have rich evolutionary histories, species-specific behaviors, breed tendencies, and individual variation, just as those we respect in companion animals such as dogs, cats, and horses. To restore a similar level of respect for livestock, McKenna examines ways we can balance the needs of our livestock animals with the environmental and social impacts of raising them, and she investigates new possibilities for human ways of being in relationships with animals. This book thus offers us a picture of healthier, more respectful relationships with livestock.

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The King of Con by Thomas Giacomaro & Natasha Stoynoff

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Goodreads

Rating: 5/5 stars

Published: 25 September 2018 by Benbella Books

Genre(s): Biography Memoir; True Crime

Pages: 305 (eARC)

As a teenager, Tom Giacomaro began working in the mob-laden New Jersey trucking industry. A charming, brash-talking salesman, he climbed the ranks, and let his lust for money and relationships with New York and Philadelphia crime families send him spiraling into a world of drugs and violence. Forced to go on the lam in South Africa and Europe he returned a year later, with millions of dollars, worth of diamonds stuffed in his underwear. And that’s only the beginning.

In his memoir, Tom details how he eventually hashed out a deal with the FBI, agreeing to become a special crime informant to avoid jail time, only he somehow manages not to rat anyone out and, incredibly, continues his high-finance, shady dealings, luring celebrities and other high-profile contacts to invest millions in his new business ventures. When it all inevitably comes crashing down, Tom is thrown in prison for over a decade, yet, even behind bars, he’s able to get what he wants from anyone: the warden, the doctors, the guards, and his fellow inmates . . . and finds a way to get released early.

Cowritten by Natasha Stoynoff, The King of Con is the true story about a smart, streetwise Jersey boy who talked his way to the top and became richer and more successful than his wildest dreams. It offers an unforgettable look into the life of a man who became hooked on living life to thrilling and dangerous excess, rubbing elbows with celebrities and crime bosses, until he was humbled by the FBI, by the US Attorney, and by life itself.

Now, Tom is back in his old New Jersey neighborhood. His mob cronies are calling, his palms are itching to make billions again, and the US Attorney’s office is watching. Will he stay on the straight and narrow, or will he return to his old ways and steal back his crown of crime as the King of Con?

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How Hard Can It Be (Kate Reddy, #2) by Allison Pearson

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Goodreads

Rating: 4/5 stars

Published: 5 June 2018 by St. Martin’s Press

Genre(s): Contemporary Women’s Fiction

Pages: 384 (eARC – Kindle)

Few sequels beat the original, but How Hard Can It Be? does so hands down.

Kate Reddy’s comeback as a pushing-50 “Returner,” re-entering the workforce after a spell on the mommy track, is zesty, razor-sharp, and hilarious. With a robust absence of self-pity, she has defined the humiliating onset of “invisibility” that coincides with the onrushing pressures of parents, teenage kids, and a marriage gone flat, all while attempting to reinstate her perilous professional worth. It’s full of such quotable casual profundity on the female condition I couldn’t read it without a pencil to underline the abundance of great lines. Get ready for Kate!” —Tina Brown

Allison Pearson’s brilliant debut novel, I Don’t Know How She Does It, was a New York Times bestseller with four million copies sold around the world. Called “the definitive social comedy of working motherhood” (The Washington Post) and “a hysterical look―in both the laughing and crying senses of the world―at the life of Supermom” (The New York Times), I Don’t Know How She Does It introduced Kate Reddy, a woman as sharp as she was funny. As Oprah Winfrey put it, Kate’s story became “the national anthem for working mothers.”

Seven years later, Kate Reddy is facing her 50th birthday. Her children have turned into impossible teenagers; her mother and in-laws are in precarious health; and her husband is having a midlife crisis that leaves her desperate to restart her career after years away from the workplace. Once again, Kate is scrambling to keep all the balls in the air in a juggling act that an early review from the U.K. Express hailed as “sparkling, funny, and poignant…a triumphant return for Pearson.”

Will Kate reclaim her rightful place at the very hedge fund she founded, or will she strangle in her new “shaping” underwear? Will she rekindle an old flame, or will her house burn to the ground when a rowdy mob shows up for her daughter’s surprise (to her parents) Christmas party? Surely it will all work out in the end. After all, how hard can it be?

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Map of Shadows (Mapwalker, #1) by J. F. Penn

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Goodreads

Rating: 5/5 stars

Published: 12 December 2017 by Curl Up Press

Genre(s): Fantasy Thriller

Pages: 210 (eARC – Kindle)

A map of skin etched in blood.
A world under threat from the Borderlands.
A young woman who must risk the shadows to save her family.

When her Grandfather is murdered under mysterious circumstances, Sienna Farren inherits his map shop in the ancient city of Bath, England. Once there, she discovers that her family is bound up with the Ministry of Maps, a mysterious agency who maintain the borders between this world and the Uncharted.

With the help of Mila Wendell, a traveller on the canals, Sienna discovers her own magical ability and a terrifying place of blood that awaits in the world beyond.

But when she discovers a truth about her past and the Borderlands begin to push through the defenses, Sienna must join the team of Mapwalkers on their mission to find the Map of Shadows – whatever the cost.

In a place written out of history, a world off the edge of the map, Sienna must risk everything to find her father … and her true path as a Mapwalker.

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Stowaway by Pam Withers

74.stowaway_pam withersGoodreads

Rating: 2/5 stars

Published: 11 September 2018 by Dundurn

Genre(s): Fiction; Young Adult; Adventure

Pages: 200 (eARC – Kindle)

Owen’s plan to sail away on an adventure puts him on a collision course with some very dangerous people.

When Owen’s parents leave him on his own for a week, the sixteen-year-old gets bored and hatches a crazy idea: sneak onto the yacht that’s visiting the sleepy Pacific Coast island where he lives and stow away on an adventure! Once on board the vessel, Owen quickly finds out this is anything but innocent fun. The ship is packed with teenagers from Central America, and it looks like Owen has stumbled into a people-smuggling operation.

Complications pile up and as things head from bad to worse, a haunting incident from Owen’s past tightens its grip on him. There’s only one way to break free and make his way home. Owen and the first mate, Arturo — a former street kid — must work together to commandeer the boat and win the trust of those on board. But who’s friend and who’s foe in the shifting tides?

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