23 April 2012

ABNA Books Make Good!

So I have a one-track mind right now—tomorrow they announce this year's Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards semi-finalists. I made the list last year (different book) but am NERVOUS about tomorrow. BUT... I thought a good way to channel that was to share a list of published books that are former ABNA entrants. Some of these were written by good friends, some by people I don't actually know, but know someone I know, so all are at least 2nd degree friends. There are a TON more, but this list is pretty large already. I'm not going to make an attempt to order them by genre or anything, or this would take all day... just listing them in the order I either thought of them, or was reminded of them...

The Tree Soldier by Janet Oakley: This historical romance is set in a CCC camp in the Pacific Northwest and is an award winner for best self published book.
Hard Copy  Kindle  (Free today!) 

One mistake can ruin a life. One mistake can transform it. A government forestry camp set deep in the mountainous forests of the Pacific Northwest might not seem the likely place to find redemption, but in 1935, Park Hardesty hopes for just that. Blaming himself for the fiery accident that caused his brother's disfigurement and the death of the bootlegging woman he loved, planting trees, building bridges and mentoring tough, homesick New Jersey boys brings him both penitence and the renewal of his own self-worth. When he wins the love of Kate Alford, a local naturalist who envisions joining the Forest Service, which allows only men, he also captures the ire of a camp officer who refuses to let her go. Just when he is ready to seek his brother's forgiveness, he is falsely accused of rape. Every aspect of his life he has tried to rebuild is put in jeopardy. In the end, the only way he can defend himself is to tell the truth about his brother, but he risks being kicked out of the camp. Worse, he could lose Kate's love forever

Shattered Seeds: Sofia's Story by Clu Gallagher:
Hard cover  Kindle

If heirloom seeds are shattered before planting, they will never grow. In the 20th Century biographical fiction, SHATTERED SEEDS: “SOFIA’S STORY” CLU Gallagher draws a unique comparison to the seeds of humanity. Sofia is a German woman whose life had been destroyed by war. Now, she is eighty-nine years old and facing death, worried about how she should dispose of the one article in her vast estate she values most, a tattered old quilt, a legacy from her grandmother. She is haunted by a decision she’d made to her beloved Oma to make Germany proud of her, a task that proved difficult after she’d run away from the evils of her Nazi husband and had denounced all connection to Germany. Beginning anew in America and in a world that despised Germans, she overcame her tragic past by becoming a published author and utilized her wealth to establish a chain of adoption centers. The story opens with Janene McDeenon (An-Ly Tai) traveling to Pittsburgh for a meeting with Sofia. Janene is writing an article for a women’s magazine on “Adoption", but is hoping to find information about her own adoption in the process. The two women form a bond that transcends time and distance as they both explore the answers to the mysteries of their heritage. Before the meeting with Janene, Sofia had willed that the last remaining relic of her shattered German family (her Oma's quilt) be buried with her. After the meeting, Janene gains a new appreciation for the loss she’d suffered when war in South Vietnam had taken away her heritage. Clu Gallagher has given the readers a compelling account of war in the 20th Century and its lasting effects on those who had endured it. It is difficult to believe that the story is fiction.

The Silk Weaver's Daughter by Elizabeth Kales

The year is 1685 and when King Louis XIV of France, threatens death to all Huguenots, a silk weaver and his family flee the country only to discover that nowhere is life without danger. Pierre and Jacques Garneau are cousins, brought up together by their grandfather in a small Huguenot village. At a family reunion, Jacques warns the devout Pierre that he must soon make the decision to revoke his religion or risk death. Pierre decides that, with Jacques' help, he will try to get his family to England. But Pierre's beautiful daughter, Louise and Jacques' son, Marc are in love, and they have their own ideas of what their future will hold. Set in this turbulent time in French history, how will the choices each family member makes, weave the tapestry of their lives? "The Silk Weaver's Daughter" is partially based on the author's twenty years of Family History research, as well as her travels to France and England investigating her Huguenot Heritage.

The Night Watchman Express by Alison DeLuca
Each night, thirteen-year-old Miriam hears the eerie whistle of the Night Watchman Express. The sound of the train gives her visions of an underground factory and a terrifying laboratory... Miriam has only her guardians' son for company, and she and Simon dislike each other from the start. But they must find a way to trust each other, or they will end up on the sinister Night Watchman Express. Full of danger, suspense, betrayal, and a hint of romance, this steampunk adventure is for readers of all ages.

The Last Good Knight by Connie Jasperson

Swashbucklers, pirates, sword fighting courageous Knights and Fair maidens abound in The Last Good Knight. In the tradition of a Wilbur Smith and Michael Crichton's Medieval block buster Timeline. Action abounds, it this historical fiction account. From slaying dragons, to rescuing the King's Whore, to secret missions for good King Henri, no job is too big or too small for the Great Knight, Sir Julian Lackland. But what happens when the only one still willing to take on the bad jobs is too old to be doing them? How does a hero retire from the business of saving people? Here begins the tale of the life and adventures of the peoples Champion. Invincible on both the field of battle and the bedroom, Lackland is a man of intense passion, the highest honor, and deepest loyalties. A mercenary, a bold warrior and a brilliant tactician, he is at times reckless beyond comprehension, and often suicidal; throwing himself into both battle and love with his entire being. His heart is forever given to one woman, but she will never give up the sword, not even for him and her choices leave Lackland with no choices whatsoever. Despite the lack of resolution in his personal life, he somehow endures; his innate sense of the ridiculous, wry wit and humor concealing the fragile man that is Julian Lackland. From his days as a mercenary to his years as the arms-master of Waldeyn, obsession and honor rule his life; these two things both make him and break him. But for all that Julian is the invincible Great Knight, he eventually becomes the Lost Knight. An incident occurs that changes everything and begins his descent into madness. Two great loves form the framework of his life anchoring his sanity and making a love triangle unlike any other. Yet, even in the depths of madness Lackland remains the very soul of knightly courtesy and true nobility; seeking that which was lost, and as always, making the world a safer place.

The Prospect of my Arrival by Dwight Okita, 2008 Finalist

"Prospect's strong, innocent voice carries the novel as it ranges from touching to satirical in its exploration of the nature of humanity." -- Publishers Weekly, referring to the novel as it appeared in the 2009 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards A human embryo is allowed to preview the world before deciding whether to be born. The embryo, named Prospect, is given a starter kit of human knowledge, and his consciousness is inserted into a synthetic twenty-year-old body. To help him make up his mind, he will meet a range of people. Among them, a greeting card writer who excels at sympathy cards, and Prospect's very own inscrutable parents. Trish Mesmer is the scientist charged with counseling Prospect, though she has more hidden agendas than a centipede has legs. At the same time, Trevor Grueling grows increasingly committed to derailing the bio-experiment all together. This cautionary tale is served up with equal helpings of whimsy and dread, with just a dash of hope. In the 2008 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards, the book was selected by Penguin editors as one of the top ten books out of five thousand. To learn more about the author's work, and to view the author's unique book trailer, please visit dwightland.homestead.com.

Losing Beauty by Johanna Copeland Garth
Paperback  Kindle
Persey is Alone
Experience has taught her that solitude is best. At any rate, it’s better than hearing everyone’s worst secrets. Daniel Hartnett is a lawyer who has it all. But no one really has it all. Daniel’s never experienced surprise, anticipation or what it feels like to fall in love. When Daniel meets Persey he discovers the first girl who is immune to his special talent. The only problem is someone else discovered Persey first and is hell-bent on claiming her as his own. Haden is the king of the Underworld with a plan to make Persey his immortal queen. What Haden doesn’t plan on is Persey’s ability to compel secrets and how far the people who love Persey will go to protect her from the darkness that threatens to destroy her soul.

Dead Eye: Pennies for the Ferryman by Jim Bernheimer

My name is Mike Ross. I'm a Ferryman. I help people with ghost problems, or ghosts with people problems. Funny thing, no one ever helps me with my problems. Civil War ghosts bent on killing me, Skinwalkers who just want my body, and a vindictive spirit linked both to my bloodline and my destiny... It turns out the dead still hold a good deal of influence over the world, and they don't want to give it up. I'm in way over my head. Fortunately, I'm too stubborn to quit.

The Lollipop Club by J Darroll Hall

In The Lollipop Club, the Halland family has been lucky, the family (AJ and Tess) are car dealers taking a break from that business. Now running a home based business and have become bored with it. AJ seeks a new challenge, a new business venture. His vivacious wife of twenty-five years is also bored even though they have a raucous sex life and seeks her own new adventures. A swinging lifestyle on her birthday soon opens their marriage to multiple sex partners. Both are soon seduced by the lifestyle as Tess befriends several exotic bi-sexual dancers pulling her into the dark world of sex for money and the strip club business. AJ Halland the husband has other ideas, now that his new car business has failed. Why be a stripper when you can own the club. AJ set's out on a course to do just that with an old acquaintance and former customer and quickly takes over his own strip club. Gus Lawson is a oddball who fits in no where, a mystery man who stalks the strip clubs of a small Midwest town. Wherever he goes stripper are found dead. Now a new guy is taking over his favorite stalking ground and Lawson finds his wife appealing and now Lawson wants both the club and the hot wife, and will do whatever it takes. He knows he can dispose of the wife later at any time her freshness fades. In Washington an old lover of AJ's from the late 70's, is now married to a powerful senator with three daughter. Victoria Markland's life will change forever, when one of her daughters die's while in the dark world of stripping. The FBI is called in to put a lid on the senator’s problem, at the expense of finding the daughter's killer if in fact she did not overdose by her own hand. Now the lives of all these characters will converge in a small Midwest town in this explosive erotic thriller. Can AJ find the real reason his girls are turning up dead as he and Tess delve deeper into this dark seedy world. It turns into a life and death race to find the killer and save his own wife. Will his years of addiction finally catch up before he can? Tess and AJ play right into Lawson's hand as more women die.The race in on!

Brother, Betrayed by Danielle Raver
"One brother will betray the others with such treachery that it will change the destiny of Miscia forever." The three princes hear this prophecy, and they will discover how far it will drive them to explore love, loyalty, and their own souls. The princes are bound by loyalty to each other and their kingdom. When conflict comes to their land, their ascension into power is darkened by betrayal. Oman, eldest and Anteria's promised king, leads his brothers on their journey through Arnith. Fasime, driven by passion, seeks a life of romance and adventure. Syah, born the ailing youngest brother of these two outgoing princes, endeavours to overcome his bleak destiny through pursuit of knowledge and magic... a quest that may reveal unknown power within his own soul. A tale woven with deception, war, sacrifice, and magic, BROTHER, BETRAYED takes readers to a troubled kingdom surrounded by barbarians, magical races, and forbidden boundaries.

Land of Nod, The Artifact by Gary Hoover
Hard cover  Kindle
Jeff Browning is a teenage boy who, following the mysterious disappearance of his father (a brilliant physicist), finds a portal in his father's office that transports him to another dimension. The dimension is populated by fantastic and dangerous creatures and also an advanced society of humans. That society, while very different from those on earth, is oddly similar, in some ways, to the society in which Jeff grew up. As Jeff looks for clues regarding what may have happened to his father, he is accused by some of being a spy while thought by others to be a prophesized figure . . . who may be the key to victory in a developing war.

Black Numbers by Dean Lappi
In a land where magic is based on advanced mathematics, Sid is something special, for his awakening sexuality and genius-level understanding of mathematics combines to create a power beyond anything ever seen in the world. Sid’s journey propels him into the center of a 1000-year-struggle with an outcome obscured by a darkness known as Black Numbers.

Ednor Scardens by Kathleen Barker
When the boob fairy makes an early visit in sixth grade, eleven-year-old Kate Fitzgerald is unprepared for the repercussions. Her puppy-love relationship with classmate Gabe Kelsey quickly blossoms. But her carefree days in Catholic school darken with the arrival of Father John O'Conner, a predatory priest with a hidden past. Life becomes even more tangled when Kate falls hard for Gabe's darkly handsome older brother, Michael. The Kelsey boys couldn't be more different: one is shy and self-effacing; the other is tall, athletic, and confident. As the brothers battle for Kate’s affections, how will she choose without tearing their family apart? When she silently witnesses a frightening scene between Gabe and Fr. O'Conner, Kate is unaware that she is O'Conner's intended next victim. With her mother distracted by the strain of providing for her daughter, and a grandmother uncannily tuned in to her feelings, Kate struggles to navigate the unwanted attention from older boys and men, while trying to sort through the questionable counsel of her too-worldly best friend, Anita. Comical adventures lend relief to Kate’s dark struggles, especially when friends share their refreshingly naive observations about growing up. The tragic death of a classmate brings the group face-to-face with mortality, shattering their facade of invincibility.

Children of the Elementi by Ceri Clark
The powerful Elementi Empire spanned over a thousand years, its kings and queens loved and revered by their people and their elemental powers feared by their enemies. One fateful night almost a century ago, the Empire was destroyed by treachery and Magi illusion. All five heirs were thought to be lost... until now. On present day Earth, Jake has an ordinary life, school, bullies, parties... until he stumbles on an ancient crystal and discovers his adoption and a royal past. As Jake touches the pendant, the Magi Emperor in Eleria is alerted that not all the Elementi were killed all those years ago. The Emperor summons an evil fire demon and sends him across the dimensional barrier to hunt and kill the last of the Elementi. Can Jake learn to control his growing elemental powers and reunite the other lost children in time?

A Beautiful Chill by Stephen Swartz
Born and raised in Iceland, taken to Toronto by her mother, Iris discovers a talent in art and an escape from a world she hates. At a college in Kansas, she meets Eric, the new professor. Their dalliance one snowy weekend sparks an obsession in him, while she returns to her modeling and painting - until an awkward reunion forces them to become a couple. Eric is different; he actually cares about her. He wants her to be the proper woman she was meant to be, but all she knows is how to be outrageous. As they struggle to compromise, the battle of wits escalates until the only solution is betrayal. Cleaning up the consequences will test their desire not just for happiness but even their will to survive.

Joe Peace by Kerry Dunn
Paperback  Kindle
Twenty years ago, Joe Peace was an ace homicide investigator for the Austin Police Department, until his penchant for cocaine and a disastrous affair with his partner Cassie buries him at the bottom of the APD's burnout brigade. In Austin, Texas, the psychotic founder of the most powerful drug cartel convinces Joe the cash is greener on the other side of the fence, and Joe becomes a player in the drug scene, buys a mansion, and collects beautiful coeds like butterflies, but the party ends when new details of Cassie's death surface, opening wounds long scarred over. Other crews muscle in on Joe's operation, and he's trapped in the twilight between the cops-who want to take him down-and the kingpins of the street-who want to take him out. JOE PEACE is a gallows-humored tale of revenge and redemption with noir-like dialogue and slippery morals, along with action, suspense, and soul.

Emaline and the Mutants by Rachel Tsoumbakos
At first, no one noticed the changes. A few more dead bodies, a rise in dog attacks. Then people started to mutate... Emeline Hart is left to survive in the world with only her brother by her side. The small community they have joined is their only shelter from a world that has morphed beyond recognition after an AIDS 'cure' goes horribly wrong. Together they help rid the world of vampires, werewolves and trolls, the shells of people left after the world mutated en masse. Then her brother goes missing, presumed dead. Emeline and the Mutants brings together all the elements of fantasy, science fiction and post-apocalyptic fear to create a novel that will have you perched on the edge of your seat!

Bring Me One of Everything by Leslie Hall Pinder
Paperback  Kindle
Everything is a novel which weaves real-life facts and fiction into an eloquent tale of suspense and intrigue. The title of the book is based on what the management of the Smithsonian is said to have demanded when sending ethnographers to native villages to gather artifacts for its collection: "Bring me one of everything." The novel is several layered stories centered around a troubled writer, Alicia Purcell, who has been commissioned to create the libretto for an opera about an anthropologist named Austin Hart. He earned fame in the 1950s for cutting down and bringing back to museums the largest remaining stand of totem poles in the world. They belonged to the Haida tribes who inhabit the Queen Charlotte Islands in British Columbia. Hart's subsequent suicide creates the mystery Alicia attempts to solve as she consults present-day tribe members, Hart's friends and family, and his personal journals. Added to the complications of her search are Alicia's imperious though ailing mother, a cast-off lover, a narcissistic composer, and her own demons of disaffection. But an overarching question dogs her and the reader: why she is so obsessed with Austin Hart and this quest?

Greyhound by Steffan Piper
Paperback  Kindle
12-year-old Sebastien Ranes is taking a trip. He doesn't exactly understand why, but he accepts it. His mother often seems too emotionally detached to care for him. Her latest boyfriend Dick takes cruel pleasure in mimicking the boy’s stuttering, and wants to live his life without "somebody else's kid" getting in the way. So it's no surprise when they pack his bags to send him away. It is a surprise when they send him alone. Ushered from his Stockton, California home, Sebastien must fend for himself and travel two thousand miles across the country to live with his grandmother and sister in Pennsylvania. Along the way, he learns that sometimes caring, guidance and understanding can come from some unlikely people. Marcus is a man who has been neglected more by society than his family. As a young black ex-con, he is not the epitome of the person most would pick as a chaperone for their child's cross country trip. Yet rather than be held apart by their differences, Marcus and Sebastien are drawn together by the things that make us all alike. As both guide and protector, Marcus imparts his own style of wisdom while showing Sebastien that, despite the darker side of the human condition, people can and do care for one another. Greyhound is the story of the journey taken by a young boy into manhood, and by the reader into his world. Like every trip, there are many stops along the way. But this journey differs in the way young Sebastien arrives at his destination.

Russell Wiley is Out to Lunch by Richard Hine (only $1.99 this month!)
Paperback  Kindle
Russell Wiley is in deep trouble. A media executive for the failing Daily Business Chronicle, his career is teetering on the brink of collapse, and his sexless marriage is fast approaching its expiration date. With his professional and personal lives floundering, it’s no wonder Russell is distracted, unhappy, and losing faith in himself. Making matters worse are his scheming boss, a hot-shot new consultant determined to see Russell ousted, and the beguiling colleague whose mere presence has a disconcerting effect on Russell’s starved libido. Disaster seems imminent…and that’s before he makes a careless mistake that could cost the paper millions. Russell realizes he must take drastic action if he is going to salvage his career, his love life, and what little remains of his self-respect. Sardonic, edgy, and true to life, this gripping novel offers an insider’s view into a newspaper's inner sanctum and the people who oil the wheels of the "old media" machine.

The Bum Magnet by KL Brady
Paperback  Kindle
[note:  this is one Karla self-published, but reviews and awards earned her attention for a traditional publisher]
Sassy and successful real estate agent Charisse Tyson has it all—the stately, three-story colonial, a dream job, and a 7-Series BMW. After two decades of tumultuous relationships with cheating men, she’s ready to overhaul her life and make some lasting changes. Charisse swears off dating and sex until she feels ready for a healthy relationship—but unfortunately stunningly sexy, charming Dwayne, a client of Charisse’s, comes along and her plans change. But can she learn from her past mistakes and learn to trust men—and herself?

The Odds by Amy Kinzer
Odds of dying in a plane crash: 1 in 20,000.
Odds of dying in a motor vehicle accident: 1 in 256.
Odds of living a normal life for Ethan Sorenson: impossible.
Fifteen-year-old Ethan Sorenson lives life on the periphery… and it’s not intentional. A scholarship student at the prestigious Evergreen Preparatory Academy in Seattle, all Ethan wants is to fit in with his prep-school classmates. But Ethan’s divorced mother – a senior actuary at Northwest Life Insurance who calculates insurance risks – is convinced he is going to die. The most mundane moments pose a risk of death according to Ethan’s mother. Life is even worse for Ethan’s four-year-old brother who still wears clothes with snaps and rides in a stroller. When Ethan befriends the school’s star baseball player he gets a chance to break into Evergreen’s elite social circle. He sneaks out at night, he goes to parties attended by his love interest, and his new friend teaches him to drive. But then his crush starts dating someone else and his mom calls the cops when she finds his bed empty in the middle of the night. Desperate to escape his mother’s strange rules, Ethan kidnaps his brother and goes to Oregon on a search for his dad. But Ethan’s father’s not in Oregon. Instead he uncovers a family secret that explains his mother’s odd behavior, finds out the truth about the disappearance of a childhood neighbor, and gets a chance to repair his family before it’s too late.

Prince of Bryanae by Jeffrey Getzin
Paperback  Kindle
After over a century of valiant service, the elven soldier Willow has buried her past so deeply that even she has forgotten it. But it hasn't forgotten her. Now old enemies have found her and have kidnapped the Prince of Bryanae before her very eyes! Considered by most of Bryanae to be a traitor and coward, Willow must confront her fears and plunge headlong into the heart of the enemy empire to rescue the Prince and return him safely home. An army of fierce warriors stands in her way, led by the mad and seemingly immortal Warlord. Willow must use every resource at her disposal if she is to save the Prince, even if that means relying on the headstrong and lovesick Private Tamlevar, the inscrutable winged mage Suel, or the dashing but devious Captain Snyde. Willow has been honing her combat and weaponry skills for over 150 years. Now it is time to put that practice to good use. The fates of four races and two kingdoms hang in the balance.

Catcher Caught by Sarah Collins
Paperback  Kindle
From Publishers Weekly A few months after doctors tell him he has only a year to live, a precocious 15-year-old from a small town in Virginia has an intense reaction to “The Catcher in the Rye.” Deriving inspiration from Salinger’s narrative, Daniel Landon questions peoples’ intentions and authority (asking himself, “What would Holden do?”), all while experiencing moments of pure pleasure (especially with his new girlfriend). Daniel makes bold choices in what he believes to be his final year, but also sympathizes with how his hippie parents have struggled with the news of his illness. Not “rule followers themselves,” they decide, without consulting Daniel, that he should forgo chemo and use herbal remedies instead. He does as he’s told and, as a result, is confined to their small houseboat most of the time, reading, doing homework, and pondering teenage stuff (“Parents should never discount the social pull of being physically present at school”) and non-teenage stuff (“I know she’s going to fall apart when I die because our sleeping together was the first time”). Despite the countless references to Holden and Catcher, the narrator’s engaging voice and his quirky family make this a poignant story for young adults and for adults who have forgotten what it’s like to be a teenager. --This text refers to the manuscript reviewed as a part of the 2009 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest.

Last Kiss in Tiananmen Square by Lisa Zhang Wharton
Paperback  Kindle
"Last Kiss in Tiananmen Square" is a novel based on the 1989 Tiananmen Square Pro-democracy movement. The novel follows a young woman, Baiyun, a junior in college, trying to reconcile her upbringing while in the midst of the rising political movement in Beijing, China. Baiyun grew up in a strange and cold household: her mother, Meiling, brought her many young lovers to their home while Baiyun was a small child. Often, Baiyun could hear her sad father, drunk and listening by the door. In order to cope with her dysfunctional family, Baiyun worked as hard as she could, eventually getting herself in the prestigious Beijing University. But even away from her parent's madness, she was unable to escape her haunting memories. A distraction was right outside her dorm room window. Baiyun joined the Pro-democracy movement to vent her frustrations. While protesting, she met the man of her dreams, Dagong, a handsome and charismatic factory technician who was orphaned at birth and lost his only relative during the Cultural Revolution. But even Dagong couldn't fully take Baiyun away: his face reminded her of one of her mother's lovers, both attracting her and drawing her back. Eventually Baiyun and Dagong were bonded by their troubled pasts. Amidst the backdrop of the escalating unrest on the streets, they faced violence and were eventually made to question their true loyalties, especially after Baiyun had discovered that Dagong was married with a son. "Last Kiss in Tiananmen Square" is a coming-of age story set against the historic and devastating era in Chinese history.With the cultural significance and family bonds of "The Kite Runner", this book explores the way in which one's past is never forgotten.

Requiem for the Widowmaker by Blackie Noir
Nadine Kozok was a child of five when she killed her first man. The man? Her father.

Twenty-five years later, Long Beach PD patrol-officer Nadine Kozok has taken another life. Knife wielding carjacker Chuey Medina, cop-killer twice over, gave his all in a vicious attempt to make Nadine his third badge wearing victim. Bloodied but unbowed, Nadine survived the battle. Chuey didn’t.  The doctors hadn’t finished tying-off Nadine’s sutures before she had achieved celebrity status due to the TV news video of her violent encounter.  Fame had its rewards. A gold-shield. . . Detective Nadine Kozok. The title was almost enough to ward off her demons. Demons left by Medina. Older demons, relics of a more terrifying confrontation. Twenty-five years and still those phantasms drifted in, like fine sand, filling the cracks and crevices of Nadine’s nightmares.  The Widowmaker didn’t have nightmares. He was a nightmare. Long Beach’s primo vigilante-killer was out there, murdering with impunity. Once, he’d left notes with the bodies. He no longer left the notes . . . just the bodies. Five years, thirteen bodies.  Nadine’s traumatic and violent childhood, specifically the night that had left her orphaned, is taken as a morbid credential by her superiors, they assign her to the foundering Widowmaker task-force.  Following the Widowmaker’s bloody footprints over an ever widening gyre of homeless enclaves, industrial badlands, crank-fueled strip-joints, and dirtwater trailer-parks; Nadine finds her present path intertwining with her past. Her salvation, along with the possibility of her destruction, lies in her violent history. She is taking a jolting, uncompromising, noir trip to the darkside of devotion, where truth gives testimony to the strength of sacrifice, trust must serve as her sword, and victory constitutes a paean to the power of unconditional love.

Van Diemen at 17 by Jeania Kimbrough (Moonbeam Children's Book Award Winner)
On the edge of adulthood, idealistic Kara Jagger has high hopes for a year-long high school exchange in the land of "Aus," where she seeks personal growth and adventure on an island over eight thousand miles from home. Everything she wants comes easily to Kara until she arrives in Tasmania, where she feels stuck in a situation that draws her down. Her exchange program assigns a counselor, Ben, to help her get back on track, but her emotions and misadventures only become more tangled as their romantic attraction ignites. Set in mid-eighties Australia, Van Diemen at 17 is a novel about dealing with the unexpected, moving forward, and bittersweet love. "A true page turner! Few works of fiction portray realistic exchange students, and even fewer place these characters at the epicenter of a human drama. Kara is a compelling character facing a range of both ordinary and extraordinary issues as she attempts to live with a family of strangers and adjust to the demands of a new school in Tasmania. Although Kara's exchange story is atypical, her story is a realistic portrayal of the kinds of situations and personal reactions to them that do crop up every year for a few students. The sympathetic rendering of a conflicted young woman is heartfelt and will resonate with anyone who has struggled to make sense of life in another culture." -- Bettina Hansel, Ph.D., Author of Exchange Student Survival Kit, 2nd Edition

In addition to those listed here, I've previously reviewed ABNA entrants Megan Bostic's Never Eighteen, Gae Polisner's Pull of Gravity and Harry Dolan's Bad Things Happen.(Very Bad Men review here)


Diana Wilder said...

Impressive listing of titles and some of them sound like ones I need to read.

Dwight Okita said...

Hart, thanks for including me in such fine company. You are well-connected in the blogosphere, so I'm happy to be even a small part of it. Good luck to you all on Tuesday for the Semifinals.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I know Johanna!

gae polisner said...

Great post, Hart. Isn't it heartwarming. It's like seeing our old elementary school classmates succeed.

Of course *we* know all the winners - top three, like Bill and Jim and their books... and of course Harry... such huge success.

There's also Megan's Never Eighteen (was Mending Fences) and, maybe one of the most impressive, was John Corey Whaley whose Where Things Come Back (in the first ABNA as something with the Lordgod Bird in it) won BOTH the two major coveted awards for teen fiction this year: the Morris AND the Printz.

Good luck to you tonight! Will be crossing everything to see you and others I love there.


Hart Johnson said...

Diana-I know, right?

Dwight-Happy to include you! I'm not sure how 'connected' but I do know some nice people, so hopefully they will see!

Alex-Hey, I know MANY of these people! That is one of the perks of FOMS.

Megan Bostic said...

Such a long list that continues to grow, which is awesome. Thanks for sharing Hart!

Blackie Noir said...

Hi Hart,

I've published two of my former ABNA entries on Kindle. Any chance of getting them on your fine list?

Best, Blackie Noir

Unknown said...

All of them sound like intriguing books...

Hart Johnson said...

Megan-I was happy to!

Blackie-I'm happy to add you, though have limited to one book per person on this list. I will give it a looks.

Hart Johnson said...

Ha! Damyanti-you snuck in there! They do, don't they?

Alison DeLuca said...

Thanks so much for including me, Hart! I'm thrilled to be in such wonderful company.

Blackie Noir said...

Thanks Hart,

Requiem For The Widowmaker is the one I'd like to go with.

If putting the link on your ABNA thread would help, I'd be happy to.

Ed Varga said...

Best of luck to you tomorrow - I will be watching as well as my novel Vanity is in the 1/4 finals too!

Hart Johnson said...

Alison and Blackie-happy to include you!

Ed-good luck to you, too!

JK said...

Thanks for including me Hart! Kudos to you for blogging a list!

Shaharizan Perez said...

Wow! Did you read all of these? You are awesome. I barely have time to finish a novel. *cries*

ryan james said...


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