Review & Giveaway: The Shiro Project, by David Khara

Check out the giveaway, below, for your chance to win!

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About the book

When yesterday’s enemies become today’s best allies and when mankind seems on the verge of repeating the errors of the past, what can a lone man do against the madness that is bound to follow? After his mentor is kidnapped, a Mossad agent teams up with his worst foe, but first must face himself. He is enlisted against his will in a fight that’s not his own and takes him from present-day Czech Republic to past Manchuria. He has to put an end to the activities of a mysterious group who have gotten their hands on weapons of mass destruction. What do Japanese war camps, US Army research and an annihilated modern-day Czech village all have in common? [provided by the publisher]
The book contains some violence

My review

Having read Khara’s previous book released by Le French Book (the excellent The Bleiberg Project), I was super eager to get my hands on this one. The blurb is a bit cagey, but be reassured, the reader gets plenty more of intriguing Mossad agent Eytan Morg. In fact, I’d say that this book was more about Eytan than any of the other characters, and I was delighted for it to be so. He was fascinating in The Bleiberg Project, and I said then that I hoped that wasn’t the end of his character. And it wasn’t.

The Shiro Project gripped me from the start, and I read it quickly, wanting to keep turning the pages (and not wanting to put it down to sleep). Immediately, I was swept into the brutal drama of a Czech village’s annihilation being covered up, and from there it didn’t stop. To make things worse, Eytan’s friend Eli is kidnapped by the Consortium, and Eytan has a lot to do to get him back, and is sent on a task to find this group. The plot travels from Tokyo to Prague and all over the world as Eytan (and fellow enhanced human Elena, his reluctant companion, thanks to the Consortium) tries to track down the group responsible for the Czech village’s extermination via biological weapon. 

I don’t know if there will be a third book by Khara, but I do hope so, and that Le French Book will release it soon. I really can’t get enough of Eytan Morg. He’s compelling, and intriguing, and I want to know more.

The Shiro Project

(translated by Sophie Weiner)
Release date: November 18, 2014
at Le French Book
250 pages

ISBN: 978-1939474247
Website | Goodreads

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Shiro project David KharaFrench author David Khara, a former reporter, top-level sportsman, and entrepreneur, has always been a writer. After studying law, he stepped into journalism working for Agence France Press, and then became creative director for several advertising companies. He loves new technologies and started his own company at the age of twenty-four, becoming an online business pioneer for French industries.
He then focused his life on writing fiction.
In 2010, he published The Bleiberg Project, which became an immediate success in France. David Khara is also an accomplished athlete in fencing and rubgy, and he even played football as a linebacker. He acknowledges that his culture is a much American as it is French, since he spent a lot of time in West Virginia and Manhattan, and is an avid fan of writers such as Dennis Lehane.

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ABOUT THE TRANSLATOR

Sophie Weiner is a freelance translator and book publishing assistant from Baltimore, Maryland. After earning degrees in French from Bucknell University and New York University, Sophie went on to complete a masterís in literary translation from the Sorbonne, where she focused her thesis on translating wordplay in works by Oulipo authors. She has translated and written for web-based companies dedicated to art, cinema, and fashion as well as for nonprofit organizations. Growing up with Babar, Madeline, and The Little Prince, Sophie was bitten by the Francophile bug at an early age, and is fortunate enough to have lived in Paris, Lille, and the Loire Valley.
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Digital for all other residents

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One of my favourite quotes…

Self-knowledge is no guarantee of happiness, but it is on the side of happiness and can supply the courage to fight for it. (Simone de Beauvoir)

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It’s been awhile!

I’ve been busy!

Edits on my upcoming novel from Bold Strokes Books, BETTING ON LOVE, have been in the works. And, I went to Toronto over Thanksgiving to visit my brother. I also met a fan, the lovely Irene. :)

But now I am home, and I promise I’m getting cracking on the last bit of THE LONDON GAME, the next in the Le Chat Rouge series. I’m hoping to have it out by Christmas, if not earlier.

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Come visit us at Queerromancemonth.com!

Cathy Pegau and I are posting at Queerromancemonth.com today! Come visit!

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Guest Post & Giveaway from Frédérique Molay, author of CROSSING THE LINE, the new Sirsky novel

Crossing the Line cover

For the giveaway, skip to the widget below. Enter to win a paperback copy of CROSSING THE LINE (US residents only) or an ebook copy (international). And don’t miss Ms. Molay’s guest post, and my review of the book, the latest translated in the Nico Sirsky novels, known as the Paris Homicide Series, from Le French Book.

About CROSSING THE LINE

It’s Christmas in Paris and Chief of Police Nico Sirsky has an uneasy feeling that something is very wrong with the case he’s investigating. He and his team of crack homicide detectives follow the clues from an apparent suicide, to an apparent accident, to an all-out murder as an intricate machination starts breaking down. Just how far can despair push a man? How clear is the line between good and evil?

The Funny Thing About Mysteries
Frédérique Molay

Crossing The Line-Frederique MolayAward-winning novelist Frédérique Molay brings us another mystery in her Paris Homicide series—Crossing the Line, which hits bookstores on September 23. Chief of Police Nico Sirsky returns to work after recovering from a gunshot wound. He’s in love and raring to go. His first day back has him overseeing a jewel heist sting and taking on an odd investigation. Just how far can despair push a man? How clear is the line between good and evil? Here she talks about the mystery genre.

The funny think about mysteries is that although some misguided souls still sometimes consider the genre to be marginal as far as “literature” goes, mystery novels very actively feed all the other art forms from movies, television, graphic novels and plays to painting and so much more. They touch us in many way, have a long history and a bright future.

Traditionally, the genre’s paternity is attributed to Edgar Allan Poe, with his short stories written in 1841, Murders in the Rue Morgue. Some people, particularly the French, like to remind readers that Honoré de Balzac wrote Murky Business the same year. Bets are still open on Balzac vs. Poe, and academics still quarrel over it. What counts though is that the genre has been booming since the nineteenth century and today, authors around the world are inventing their own heroes based on their country’s history, social realities, culture and own literary genius.

Like the genre, heroes in detective fiction have evolved as well, mostly because the world around them has changed. There are more heroines. Macho, die-hard heroes are a thing of the past. Femmes fatales and docile wives are also long gone, and female characters are independent and determined.

Of course, crime novels have changed because crime too has changed. The transformation of heroes is on par with that of the villains. A new kind of criminal has arisen—they are as unpredictable and hard to grasp as the world they reflect. These psycho-killers choose their victims randomly, following their urges. Add to that the wide-spread growth of organized crime to the most unsuspecting places and benefiting from considerable protection and immunity, and there is a lot of inspiration. I could go on. Clearly, the mystery genre has a bright future ahead of it.

My Review

To take a line from Frédérique Molay’s post above, a new kind of criminal has arisen, unpredictable and hard to grasp. The villain in her first book fit this description, as does the one in this novel. But I don’t want to say too much about the villain, in fear of giving something away, so I will leave them be, and talk more about the book itself.

It begins with an anatomy lab and a class of dental students, learning how to do surgery upon cadavers (just the heads). Grotesque, but intriguing, becoming more so when a student finds a head with a very poorly done filling, and brings it to the attention of the prof and the anatomy lab. A closer examination reveals a piece of plastic embedded in the tooth; it reads ‘I was murdered.’ Now, if that doesn’t get your attention, I don’t know what would. ;)

Having been in an anatomy lab, and smelled that smell, the scene was quite vivid for me (though I had been there for an anatomical drawing class, and did not draw heads), and it reminded me partly of the anatomy lesson scenes in Lars von Trier’s ‘Riget’. Crinkling my nose remembering that smell, I read on, and found that I couldn’t put the book down.

The connections between characters and to the finale were artfully done, subtle enough that it kept me guessing. I love mystery novels where it isn’t obvious who the villain is, or how/why they’ve done what they’ve done. Slowly the pieces came together as Sirsky and his team investigated, and though I did guess a couple of chapters ahead of the big reveal, I was still quite satisfied.

I’m looking forward to the next in the series, and hope that Le French Book will continue to put out these fantastic translations.

Crossing The Line
[police procedural / thriller]
(translated by Anne TRAGER)

Release date: September 23, 2014
at Le French Book

224 pages
ISBN: 978-1939474148

Website | Goodreads

Giveaway!

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It’s QUEER ROMANCE month!

It’s finally October, which means it’s finally Queer Romance Month!

On October 3rd, you’ll get to hear from myself and Cathy Pegau as we chat about how we got to writing lesbian and bi romance.

In the meantime, check out the site, read some fantastic posts, and enter some great giveaways!

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Check out the Queer Romance Month site!

Coming in October, there will be a ton of posts for Queer Romance Month!

And, you’ll get to hear from myself and Cathy Pegau as we chat about how we got to writing lesbian and bi romance.

In the meantime, check out the site, and get ready for some fun!

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Book Review: I Looked For The One My Heart Loves, by Dominique Marny (+ Book Giveaway!)

For the giveaway, skip down and use the entry form. One US resident will win a paperback ARC of I Looked for the One My Heart Loves, and an international reader will win an ebook copy. Good luck!

i-looked-for-the-one-coverAnne and Alexis are separated by war as children and reunited later by destiny. A powerful and dramatic love story that spans decades in spite of its seeming impossibility.

Anne, 9, and Alexis, 11, grow up together in the Montmartre area of Paris. While she has a major crush on him, he merely sees her as his friend’s little sister. After WWII begins, the two are separated as their families flee Paris to avoid the German occupation. When they say goodbye, Alexis promises to always protect Anne.

Anne holds on to this promise for years as she constantly thinks of Alexis, wondering where he may be. Anne grows up, finds works in an art gallery, and marries a kind, devoted man with whom she has two children. But her heart still belongs to Alexis and she never stops looking for him. Their paths cross fatefully one day in Brussels many years after they were separated.

Alexis, living in Canada and soon to be moving to San Francisco, has a family of his own; a wife in constant depression and a son. Despite their responsibilities to family and the geographical distance that keeps them apart, Anne and Alexis find a way to love one another, secretly yet passionately.

But after all this time, will they ever manage to be truly together, completely?

My review:

I was intrigued at the premise, particularly the historical Paris, from just before WWII to the early 1980s, though once I did start reading and the book got beyond the war, the era felt like it could have been fairly contemporary, even though it was still the 1950s. But that is a very small thing; the book itself was enjoyable.

My favourite section was when Anne and Alexis first met after so many years apart, and when they first began their affair. There was a certain zing to the scenes, the tension of newfound attraction that came across very well. I cheered for the pair, though both were married to other people. The author built a lot of sympathy for the characters, and what they had in their everyday lives, and how much they wanted to be together.

I would have loved to read more about one of the artists Anne exhibits in her gallery, the Italian Simonetta. I actually am hoping that Marny will write her story, so that I can find out everything about her life. (Please? :-))

By the way, if you’re a reader who prefers books heavy on dialogue, you may have a bit of a hard time getting into this one; it’s very narrative heavy, and while I didn’t find it detracted from the story, it made for a slower, more contemplative read.

Release date: August 12, 2014
at Open Road Integrated Media / Publishers Square

384 pages

ISBN: 978-1-4804-6116-1

Goodreads

About the Author
i-looked-for-the-one-marnyDominique Marny was raised in a family that loves art, literature, adventure and travels.
In addition to being a novelist, she is a playwright, screenwriter, and writes for various magazines.

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The Giveaway!!

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Chapter 1 of my upcoming novel, The London Game

It’s been awhile since the last Le Chat Rouge book, and I thought I’d give you just a taste of what’s coming up soon!

The London Game, Chapter 1

The train glided smoothly away from the platform, sailing past graffiti-covered brickwork and out of Paris. If he didn’t think about it, Marc knew he could pretend it was just another business trip, but with Sera at his side, her fingers clutching his, her lips a thin line, and her eyes brimming with tears she didn’t want to admit to, it was impossible. He lifted her hand, pressing a kiss to the back, and she turned to look at him.

“Think of it as an adventure,” he said, his voice low. “Paris is only a train ride away.”

“I know.” Sera’s chin trembled. “It seems so final.”

“Are you regretting this? Us?”

Continue reading

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Book Review: The French House, by Don Wallace (+ Giveaway!)

french-house-coverWhen life hands you lemons, make citron pressé.

Shortly after Don and Mindy Wallace move to Manhattan to jump-start their writing careers, they learn of a house for sale in a village they once visited on a tiny French island off the Brittany coast. Desperate for a life change, the Wallaces bravely (and impulsively) buy it almost sight unseen.

What they find when they arrive is a ruin, and it isn’t long before their lives begin to resemble it—with hilarious and heartwarming results.

Redolent with the beauty and flavors of French country life, The French House is a lively, inspiring, and irresistibly charming memoir of a family that rises from the rubble, wins the hearts of a historic village, and finally finds the home they’ve been seeking off the wild coast of France.

My review

Oh how I wish that I too could own a house on an island in France. Mind you, I don’t think I’d have managed with as much patience as the author and his family. I might have turned tail and ran at the sight of a near-wreck of a house, and the slow, almost glacial pace of renovations, and the intricacies of island-life. I don’t mind cosily rundown, but a virtual ruin is a bit much.

As such, I was impressed by the fortitude of the author, the dedication among the difficulties, and their gradual immersion into the society on the island. Each interaction detailed was fascinating, from the woman who encourages them to buy the place and stays a fixture in their lives for years, to the children to whom they teach baseball. I felt immersed along with them, albeit from the comfort of my own sofa.

I don’t know that I had a particular favourite part of the book, but as a whole, it was a perfect read for my lazy summer days at the cottage.

About the Author

french-house-don-wallace-600x800Don Wallace has been a magazine writer and editor for 25 years,
and is the film editor for Honolulu Weekly.
He has held a number of senior positions at magazines, including Yachting magazine, SELF,
Golf Digest Woman at The New York Times, and others.
His essays and articles have appeared in The New York Times, Fast Company, E Magazine,
Redbook, Portfolio, Parents, and many others.
Wallace and his wife, Mindy, split their time between Honolulu, Long Beach, and Belle Ile.

Visit his website, and his blog

Follow him on Facebook  | Twitter | Goodreads | Google + | LinkedIn

Buy this book onSourcebooksAmazon (paperback or kindle), B&N (Paperback or Nook), BAMIndieBoundIndigo

The Giveaway!

It’s open to US/Canadian readers, and the prize is a print copy of The French House, as well as a basket of delicious French chocolates! (5 winners total, use the widget below to enter)

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