Rapid Reads

  • This ebook bundle offers three gritty urban tales by William Kowalski. In The Barrio Kings, Rosario Gomez struggles to stay out of the gang life that killed his brother while finishing his high school diploma and preparing for the birth of his first son. But when his old friend Juan gets out of jail, his past returns to haunt him. In The Way It Works, A young bi-racial man who suddenly finds himself homeless, struggles to maintain his dignity and to make his own place in the world. In Something Noble, a single mom must try to convince a selfish drug dealer to donate one of his kidneys to his half-brother.

  • Three compelling mysteries in one ebook bundle that includes the first three novels by Gail Bowen featuring the successful talk-show radio host Charlie D. Charlie D's listeners have a particularly intimate relationship with him and often reveal much about themselves, confident that he will honor their trust and that he can save them. But Charlie feels he's something of a fake. His easy confidence on-air belies the reality for a man born with a wine-colored birthmark that covers half his face. The first novel, Love you to Death, covers one hour on "The World According to Charlie D"--an hour during which he must both discover the long-time listener who is killing the people who trust him and attempt to come to terms with the man behind the birthmark. In the second novel, One Fine Day You're Gonna Die, events on Charlie D's radio show take a bizarre turn when one of his callers threatens to kill not only himself but also the young daughter of Charlie's on-air guest, who happens to be an expert on death and dying. And in the final novel in this bundle, Charlie D has only two hours to find a troubled young boy and then convince him not to kill his father and the rest of his family.

  • Kat is a tough, independent woman who makes her living as a professional poker player. She is single, childless and happy about it. But when her best friend, Josie, commits suicide, she names Kat as the temporary guardian of her ten-year-old son, David, until his father can come for him. In the few weeks that David is with her, Kat finds herself changed in ways she had never thought imaginable. With the old poker adage "bet with your head, not your heart" ringing in her head like a warning bell, Kat nevertheless finds that all the money and success in the world don't mean a thing unless you have someone to share it with...and that maybe there is more to life than winning after all.

  • Sixteen-year-old Rasheed is smart, tough and a survivor. In his neighborhood, he has to be. The streets are run by a gang called the E Street Locals, and they've been trying to jump him in since he was a child. So far, he's managed to escape their clutches. But the gang is not his only problem. Rasheed's sister, Daneeka, was paralyzed in a drive-by shooting, and now she's confined to a wheelchair, mentally frozen at the age of nine. His mother is an addict. His father hasn't been heard from in years. High school is no safer than the streets, so Rasheed seeks solace at the local university campus. There he meets a young woman named Lanaia who takes an interest in him. He also bumps up against a police officer who he thinks at first is hassling him just because he's black. But eventually Rasheed realizes that the officer is only pushing him to become a better person. Though he can't escape his home life, or the gang, as easily as he'd like, Rasheed does learn some valuable lessons in his struggles: you and you alone are accountable for the decisions you make in life; even though the world is not a fair place, you can still accomplish whatever you set your mind to; and we all become stronger when we admit we need someone to lean on.

  • Nicole Patterson is a young, green and very eager probationary constable with the Ontario Provincial Police. Although she spends much of her time breaking up bar fights, giving out traffic tickets and finding lost kids, she dreams of one day becoming a detective.
    Late one bitterly cold winter night, she comes across the body of a young woman lying on the edge of a snow-covered field on the outskirts of town. The girl appears to have been strangled. Nicole recognizes the victim as a local high school student with a somewhat sullied reputation, the daughter of the town drunk. Though both under-qualified and unauthorized, Nicole feels compelled to throw herself into the murder investigation.
    Was the murdered girl really as promiscuous as her classmates described or the victim of bullying? What was her relationship with the star of the football team? And what is the significance of the ring with the large blue stone found near her body?
    Is Nicole Patterson herself heading for trouble by pretending to be a detective?

  • Rosario Gomez gave up gang life after his brother was killed in a street fight. Now all he wants to do is finish night school, be a good father and work hard enough at his job at the supermarket to get promoted. But when an old friend shows up to ask him why he left the gang, Rosario realizes he was fooling himself if he thought his violent past would just go away. When his pregnant girlfriend is hit in a drive-by shooting, Rosario has to make some hard choices. Revenge means a return to his old ways, something he swore he would never do. But unless he takes action, his enemies will not rest until they've settled the score against him.

  • Cree Thunderboy wants nothing less than to be the next great blues man. But, playing to tiny audiences in shabby rooms like Shelly's Crab Shack, his career is stalled. Then at the race track he meets Win Hardy, a seemingly charming rogue who spots Cree's knack for picking winning horses. He offers to record his first CD and send him on tour, as long as Cree can keep coming up with the hot tips at the track.
    Things are looking good for Cree until he discovers Win's connections to the mob and his violent response to anything that doesn't go his way. And when things inevitably go bad, Cree discovers that in life and in gambling there is never really the next sure thing.

  • December 20, 1943. Two Canadian infantry battalions and a tank regiment stand poised on the outskirts of a small Italian port town. They expect to take Ortona quickly. But the German 1st Parachute Division has other ideas. For reasons unknown, Hitler has ordered Ortona held to the last man. Houses, churches and other buildings are dynamited, clogging the streets with rubble. Germans with machine guns lie in ambush. Snipers slip from one rooftop to another. The Canadians seem to have walked into a death trap. This is a battle fought at close range, often hand to hand. Casualties on both sides are heavy. In the end, raw courage and ingenuity save the Canadians.
    Ortona Street Fight is a riveting telling of what is considered one of the most epic battles that Canadian soldiers have ever fought.

  • Mother Anqelique runs a shelter for homeless mothers and their children in a run-down inner-city area, where drug addiction, prostitution and random acts of violence are facts of life. One day, newly orphaned Jamal and his sister Chantay arrive at the shelter, hungry and scared. As Angelique tries to find a new home for them, she develops a fascination with seven-year-old Jamal, who seems to inhabit a world of his own. Jamal tells her fantastic stories of a man named Jacky Wacky, who protects the poor children of the city and punishes the adults who harm them. A God-fearing woman, Angelique doesn't believe his stories at first. But strange things begin to happen whenever Jamal is around, and Mother Angelique is forced to admit that the world may contain stranger truths than her faith can explain.

  • Twenty-four-year-old Stephanie manages a clothing store and lives with her mother in the townhouse where she grew up. Her life isn't in a rut exactly, but it's not headed where she'd like it to be. At her mother's suggestion, she joins a community choir. Soon she's singing rock songs in four-part harmony and has met a completely new group of people, including Anna Rai, a local TV personality. When Anna's private journal goes missing, she confides in Stephanie that she feels terribly vulnerable. What if the notebook falls into the wrong hands and her secrets are made public? She hints that such revelations could be devastating to her and other public figures. When a blackmailer demands cash in exchange for the notebook, the two women lay a trap to snare the crook. But will Stephanie use or abuse the information she now has?

  • When detective Rick Montoya returns to the city to try to clear his name after being accused of taking a bribe, he discovers someone is living in his apartment. Before he can find out who it is, the apartment house goes up in flames. Rick watches covertly as the police remove two bodies. Was the firebombing meant for him? Who exactly was killed in the fire? And why? What was his landlady Cheryl doing at home in the middle of the afternoon? And why is her daughter Susanna acting strangely? Then his estranged wife arrives at the scene of the fire. The questions mount up, along with the suspects.

  • Cleanup

    Norah Mcclintock

    Connie Suarez, downsized from her job as a legal secretary, is working as a maid. She's getting used to picking up after people and putting their lives in order. But she is not prepared for the mess that awaits her when she arrives at work one morning to find her employer dead on the floor of his bedroom. Connie's co-worker Maria, an illegal alien from Colombia, quickly becomes the prime suspect in his murder.
    When Maria begs her for help, Connie cannot refuse. As she tries to discover what really happened, she learns that Maria has been keeping a number of things from her. Now Connie can't decide who or what to believe. And that's not the worst of it. Connie soon realizes that she herself is also a potential target for violence. The question now is, will she be able to clean up the mess that Maria is in without getting killed herself?

  • Walter Davis is young, handsome, intelligent, dynamic and personable. The product of a bi-racial marriage but abandoned by his father as a young child, he prides himself on three things: his drive to succeed, his fine clothes and never having been late for anything in his life. Walter is also homeless. The medical expenses that came with his mother's brief and unsuccessful battle against cancer have left him destitute. Still, ever the optimist, Walter believes that if he lives in his car for a few months, he will have the time he needs to find a good job in the business world and turn his life around. His situation gets more complicated when he finds himself attracted to a girl he meets at the mailing center where he keeps a post box. But trying to impress a girl when you have no fixed address proves difficult, and when he's caught in a lie, she shuns his company. Walter's struggles grow when his car is impounded and he can't afford to pay the fine. Only resilience, ingenuity and his drive to succeed can bring Walter back from the brink of despair.

  • The year is 2147. Chago, twenty-four, is a prisoner in a world made up only of prisoners and those who guard them. The only bright spot in Chago's life is his son, Jim-Jim, whose mother is a guard. In an effort to resolve overcrowding in the prison, the warden introduces the Innocence Device, a high-tech machine he claims can determine innocence or guilt. Prisoners are encouraged to walk through the Innocence Device and experience its rewards: immediate freedom or death. When they discover the machine is rigged, the prisoners riot and take over the prison. After witnessing the execution-style death of the mother of his son, and surviving a brief stint outside the prison walls, Chago ends up in a position of power. But he soon finds the new regime little different from the old, and he sets out to save the only thing he values—his son.

  • In clear and accessible language, Generation Us explains the phenomenon of global warming, outlines the threat it presents to future generations and offers a path toward solutions to the problem. The reality of global warming has long been accepted within the scientific community, yet it remains a hotly debated topic at the political and social level. Why is this? Is it the fact that the ultimate effects of global warming will not be felt in our lifetimes? Do we really feel no moral responsibility for future generations? Dr. Weaver, one of the world's leading experts in the field, contends that, just as humans have been responsible for creating the problem of global warming, we must also be the solution.

  • Gwen Lake is a forty-five-year-old police officer with a desk job, an ex-husband and a future not even close to the American dream. A year after her divorce, and more out of boredom and curiosity than anything else, she agrees to a meeting with her ex's new wife. She has no idea that the encounter will lead to murder. And she has decidedly mixed emotions when her ex-husband is arrested for the crime. Instead of accepting the lead detective's advice to book a Club Med vacation and leave the investigation to the professionals, Gwen decides to work the case on her own. Her life is about to get a lot less predictable and a lot more dangerous.

  • That Dog Won't Hunt

    Lou Allin

    Cowboy drifter Rick Cooper is on the run in the California desert when he meets Gladys Ryan, an eccentric widow who offers him a ride in her classic 1970 Mustang. Before long she convinces him to accompany her to Northern Ontario to help refurbish her hunting lodge, promising him a share of the upcoming season's profits and hinting at more. The offer is too good to pass up. Rick takes to life in the bush, working hard to make the lodge successful. In his free hours he hunts birds, reluctantly taking Bucky, Gladys' ancient golden retriever along with him.
    But when the lucrative season comes to an end, Gladys refuses to share the profits, instead offering the hired man a few thousand dollars in wages. In the middle of a drinking bout, an argument ensues. Rick shoves Gladys and she falls and hits her head and dies. He takes her body into the remote bush and disposes of her trademark Mustang, telling anyone who asks that she has gone off on her annual snowbird vacation. No one seems suspicious and it looks like the perfect crime. Rick seems to have it all figured out...except what to do with Bucky...

  • Best Girl

    Sylvia Warsh

    Amanda Moss is a young hairstylist with ambitions to become a musician and play in a band. She was adopted at age three after her parents were killed in a car crash. At least that's what her adoptive mother Shelley has always told her. Shelley is also a hairdresser. But beyond that, mother and daughter don't see eye to eye on much.
    Then one day Amanda's life changes dramatically when a stranger shows up and tells her a very different story about her parents. Her real mother has just died of cancer while serving a life sentence for the murder of Amanda's father. Suddenly Amanda feels her whole life has been a lie. Was her mother really guilty? When she also discovers that her father was in a successful rock-and-roll band when he was killed, she goes looking for former band members to try to find out what really happened so many years before. In the process she learns some unpleasant truths about her family. She also learns that you can love and hate someone at the same time.

  • Missy Turner thinks of herself as the most ordinary woman in the world. She has a lot to be thankful for: a great kid, a loving husband, a job she enjoys and the security of living in the small town where she was born. Then one day everything gets turned upside down. She loses her job, catches her husband making out with the neighbor and is briefly taken hostage by a young man who robs the local café. With her world rapidly falling apart, Missy finds herself questioning the certainties she's lived with her whole life.

  • Gina Lopez is twenty-six, a postal worker during the week, a mud wrestler on weekends. She's also a recent widow, though she is not exactly mourning the death of her abusive husband Chico. Instead, she's anxiously awaiting the life-insurance settlement that will pay off his gambling debts. After that she's hoping to take her mud-wrestling skills out of small-town-Ontario bars and down to the more lucrative US circuit.
    And then Marcia Beekland enters her life. Marcia has video evidence that appears to implicate Gina in Chico's death. Faced with the likelihood of a jail sentence and the certain loss of the insurance settlement, Gina succumbs to Marcia's blackmail demands. And what Marcia wants is that Gina kill her husband Stanley.
    /> What follows is a comic mystery caper that will keep readers both laughing and eagerly reading to discover what is really behind Marcia's increasingly crazed demands.

  • Contingency Plan

    Lou Allin

    When Sandra Sinclair, recently widowed and the mother of twelve-year-old Jane, meets wealthy lawyer Joe Gillette, he wins her over with his kind and conscientious attitude. Falling in love faster than she ever thought possible, Sandra agrees to marry. But soon after they move into their new home, things begin to change, and Joe's controlling behavior causes her to question her decision. When her new husband becomes seriously abusive, Sandra decides that she and Jane must leave.
    When Joe makes it clear that he will not just let her walk away, Sandra discovers that it's quite likely that he arranged his first wife's death, and that she is now part of his "contingency plan." She soon realizes that even the law is no defense against this meticulous and egotistical man. Fleeing to an old family cabin on a remote lake, mother and daughter prepare to live off the grid. And when Joe tracks them down, Sandra must come up with a contingency plan of her own.

  • Dawn, June 6, 1944. Off the Normandy coast 6,500 ships carry 150,000 Allied troops. This is D-Day, the long-awaited Allied invasion of German-occupied Europe. The Allies will storm five beaches. One is code-named Juno Beach. Here, 14,500 Canadians will land on a five-mile stretch of sand backed by three resort towns. The beach is heavily protected by a seawall, barbed wire, underwater obstacles and hundreds of mines. Behind these defenses a heavily armed German force waits inside thick concrete pillboxes and deep trenches that bristle with machineguns and artillery pieces.
    About 3,500 Canadians will lead the way. The fate of the invasion is in their hands. They either break the German defenses or die trying. Piling out of small, frail landing craft, they struggle through bullet- and shell-whipped water to gain the sand. And the bloody battle for Juno Beach begins.
    With his trademark you-are-there style, acclaimed military historian Mark Zuehlke plunges readers into a vivid and powerful account of the day-long battle that put the Allies on the march toward victory in World War II.

  • When Lucas Smoke learns the Ojibway art of carving from his grandfather, he proves to be a natural. He can literally make people come to life in wood. Then Lucas's growing reputation attracts a mysterious stranger, who offers him a large advance to carve a spirit mask.
    This mask is to represent the master, but Lucas must find its face in his dreams. As his dreams become more and more disturbing, he feels himself changing. And the mask takes control of his life. Then a chance encounter with an old woman introduces him to the identity of the master. He is an ancient sorcerer named Him Standing, a powerful and dark wizard. The more Lucas works on the mask, the closer Him Standing comes to emerging from the dream world to walk the earth again. What follows is a race against time and the forces of evil in this supernatural thriller.

  • Linda is a young, hardworking single mom struggling to get by from paycheck to paycheck. When she learns that her son Dre needs a kidney transplant, her family's already precarious financial situation takes a turn for the worst. Then she discovers that the only one who can help Dre is his half-brother LeVon, a drug-dealing gangbanger who thinks only of himself. Somehow Linda must get through to LeVon in order to save her son.
    Though she is deathly afraid of LeVon and the world he lives in, Linda knows she must conquer her fear and meet him on his own turf if she is to have any hope of success. Linda is finally able to teach LeVon the value of doing something noble with his life. And to her surprise, she learns she has room in her heart for one more kid, a boy from the streets who never had a chance.

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