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Jumped In

Orca Book Publishers | Rapid Reads


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.

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William Kowalski is the author of the international bestseller Eddie’s Bastard, winner of South Africa's Ama-Boeke Award, and, more recently, The Hundred Hearts. His work has been translated into fifteen languages. Two of the titles William wrote for the Rapids Reads series have been nominated for the Ontario Library Association's Golden Oak Award. He lives with his family in Nova Scotia. For more information, visit www.williamkowalski.com.

 
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Cover zur kostenlosen eBook-Leseprobe von »And Everything Nice«

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And Everything Nice

Orca Book Publishers | Rapid Reads


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?

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"Mortisugu's characters are genuine and believable. The reader won't be able to help cheering on the characters in their quest to find the notebook and solve "The Mystery of the Missing Notebook." Even with the book's having an ending too perfect to be true, readers will share the joy of success with Stephanie and Anna. Recommended."

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"[I] read the first few sentences. That's all it took, and I was hooked. This book was quick and easy to read, but strangely gripping from the first page."

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"Even in this short work, we get to inhabit the quite witty viewpoint of a young woman named Stephanie...Moritsugu's characters are always so wonderfully flawed."

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Kim Moristugu's novel The Glenwood Treasure (2003) was shortlisted for the Arthur Ellis Best Crime Novel Award. She leads a walking tour for Heritage Toronto, teaches creative writing at the Humber School for Writers, writes a food blog called The Hungry Novelist and sings in a community rock/pop choir. And Everything Nice is her fifth novel and first book in the Rapid Reads series. For more information, visit www.kimmoritsugu.com.

 
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Cover zur kostenlosen eBook-Leseprobe von »Best Girl«

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Best Girl

Orca Book Publishers | Rapid Reads


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.

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"As the main character moves towards the truth, Warsh creates many twists and turns to mimic Amanda's confusion. Best Girl is a novel that addresses many themes including the value of family and the quest for identity. Highly Recommended."

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"This novel packs a lot of suspense into a mere 121 pages. For new adult readers, or readers short on time, this novel fits the bill. The fast paced action keeps the reader on edge for the duration of the story."

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"Well-written...this novel features believable characters, a taut plot and a satisfying ending. A quick read, and a book the reader will not be able to put down."

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"Functional dialogue and short, colloquial sentences—perfect for its intended readership. It skips along rather quickly, with enough psychological depth to keep young people interested in the character."

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"This engaging, quick read is aimed at adult reluctant/struggling readers, but may find appeal at the upper high school level."

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Sylvia Maultash Warsh is the author of the Dr. Rebecca Temple mystery series set in 1979 Toronto. The first book, To Die in Spring, was nominated for an Arthur Ellis Award in 2001; the second, Find Me Again, won an Edgar Award in 2004; the third, Season of Iron, was shortlisted for a ReLit Award in 2007. Sylvia lives in Toronto with her family. For more information, visit www.sylviawarsh.com.

 
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Cover zur kostenlosen eBook-Leseprobe von »Cleanup«

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Cleanup

Orca Book Publishers | Rapid Reads


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 undocumented immigrant 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?

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"Would have appeal to reluctant readers of any age who like a quick who-done-it...Cleanup delivers an action packed, easy to read, attention getting plot."

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"An intriguing, well-written murder mystery by an accomplished author...It will appeal to older teen and adult reluctant readers."

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"This title is from Rapid Reads, a line of shorter books targeted to adult learners, reluctant readers and others seeking high-interest reading material. With a fast-paced plot and simple narrative, this story fits the bill. Connie is a likable and smart protagonist who uses her abilities in unusual ways. It also includes a rather nuanced look at the challenges faced by Latinas, whether they are in the country legally or illegally. Weighing in at just 128 pages, this solid mystery is good for both the series' target audience and readers who don't want a long-term commitment."

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"Many readers will enjoy the fast pace and conflicts...A good choice for middle school and high school libraries. Due to its size and fast plot development, the book will find a niche with reluctant readers as well."

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Norah McClintock won the Crime Writers of Canada's Arthur Ellis Award for crime fiction for young people five times. She wrote more than sixty YA novels, including contributions to Seven (the series), the Seven Sequels and the Secrets series.

 
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Cover zur kostenlosen eBook-Leseprobe von »That Dog Won't Hunt«

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That Dog Won't Hunt

Orca Book Publishers | Rapid Reads


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...

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"[Allin] unveils a noir staccato to bring this little story to life. It really works... Since the classic noir voice is long on pathos but short on syllables, Allin's simply told tale works well in the Rapid Reads format. Though it's not a long journey, you don't get the feeling that anything is lost. Nor is Allin talking down to her readers…That Dog Won't Hunt is good storytelling in a tiny package."

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"Should entertain both the emerging reader…and the more sophisticated reader who is looking for a quick reading escape…A clever tale that offers enough intrigue to hold a reader until its ironic conclusion."

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"The ranching, automotive, carpentry, and hunting references, as well as the references to drinking and women, will interest readers who are often overlooked by writers. The first person narrator is clearly a "bad boy," yet the reader both identifies with him and hopes for his success even while yearning for the universe to be just. The suspense is gripping...A very compelling and well-written read...Highly Recommended."

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"Cooper is a thoroughly unlikable narrator, but readers comfortable with antiheroes may find his unabashed opportunism intriguing, and the grisly conclusion to this tense thriller brings a satisfying comeuppance...With rare voices and taut suspense, these titles provide accessible choices for struggling and strong readers alike."

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"The characters are strongly portrayed and the book is compelling and gripping."

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Lou Allin was the author of the award-nominated Belle Palmer mysteries set in Northern Ontario. Formerly an English teacher, Lou held a PhD. in English literature. Her Rapid Reads Contingency Plan won the Arthur Ellis Award for Best Crime Novella in Canada and has been shortlisted for the Golden Oak Award from the Ontario Library Association.

 
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A Winter Kill

Orca Book Publishers | Rapid Reads


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?

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"A fast-paced, easy-to-read, contemporary story...Although plot driven, the story manages to touch on contemporary issues, like the casual cruelty of teenagers, dysfunctional families, teen pregnancy, and parental ambitions. Complete with a thoughtful and observant protagonist, a sympathetic victim, varied supporting characters, a snappy 'whodunit' plot, short, easy-to-read sentences (RL 2.8), some graphic yet realistic language, and enough detail to engage readers, this quick read fits the series well and should appeal to an audience accustomed to the pace of television crime dramas. Highly Recommended."

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"This quick read will grab the reader's attention from page one...As the case unfolds, the reader is drawn into the life of Nicole the investigator...A very satisfying read for reluctant readers."

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"Intended as a hi-low option for adults this title could certainly be read and enjoyed by teens as well...Though the sentences are short...and the vocabulary simple, this is a very readable mystery which keeps the reader hooked as to the true murderer until very close to the end. This would be a useful purchase for schools and libraries where items are needed for students with low reading levels as well as ESL students."

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Vicki Delany is one of Canada's most prolific and varied crime writers, and a national bestseller in the U.S. She has written more than twenty-five books: from clever cozies to Gothic thrillers, gritty police procedurals to historical fiction, and novellas for adult literacy. Under the name of Eva Gates, she writes the Lighthouse Library cozy series for Penguin Random House. Her latest novel is Elementary, She Read, the first in the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop series from Crooked Lane.

Vicki is the past president of the Crime Writers of Canada. Her work has been nominated for the Derringer, the Bony Blithe, the Ontario Library Association Golden Oak, and the Arthur Ellis Awards.

 
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Cover zur kostenlosen eBook-Leseprobe von »When I Kill You«

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When I Kill You

Orca Book Publishers | Rapid Reads


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.

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"A frothy and breezy read...It's the kind of book that would be easily brought with you on a trip."

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"Through Wan's storytelling, the reader is drawn into Gina's story of hard luck and battles alongside Gina as she tries to do what is right. Suspense is built throughout as Gina struggles with her inner demons...A good read, well written. Highly Recommended."

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"This engaging, quick read is aimed at adult reluctant/struggling readers, but may find appeal at the upper high school level."

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"The murder attempts will keep readers on their toes and [the novel] comes to a surprise ending."

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Michelle Wan is the author of the Death in the Dordogne murder mystery series set in southwestern France, which has been published in the United States, Germany, Italy, Holland and Japan. She and her husband Tim live in Guelph, Ontario. For more information, visit www.michellewan.ca.

 
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Cover zur kostenlosen eBook-Leseprobe von »Gail Bowen Ebook Bundle«

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Gail Bowen Ebook Bundle

Orca Book Publishers | Rapid Reads


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.

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Winner of both the Arthur Ellis Best Novel Award and the Derrick Murdoch Award for Lifetime Achievement from the Crime Writers of Canada, in 2008 Bowen was named Canada’s Best Mystery Novelist by Reader’s Digest. She was selected as one of The 100 Most Popular Contemporary Mystery Authors for a Library Unlimited reference book.

 
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Cover zur kostenlosen eBook-Leseprobe von »William Kowalksi Ebook Bundle«

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William Kowalksi Ebook Bundle

Orca Book Publishers | 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.

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William Kowalski is the award-winning author of four previous novels, including the international bestseller Eddie’s Bastard. He also teaches communications skills to adult learners at Nova Scotia Community College. He lives on the South Shore of Nova Scotia with his wife and children.

 
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The Innocence Device

Orca Book Publishers | Rapid Reads


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.

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"[A] thought-provoking, quick-read, thriller...Chago, although simple and unassuming, is a character that many readers will cheer on to due to his familiar struggles with bullying, fear, authority, and love for family...This book will engage young adult readers, and certainly be a popular addition to any school library."

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"An exciting and thought-provoking novel that low literate readers would likely enjoy very much. Even adults looking for a quicker read will be captivated by this exciting narrative."

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William Kowalski is the author of the international bestseller Eddie's Bastard, winner of South Africa's Ama-Boeke Award, and, more recently, The Hundred Hearts, winner of the 2014 Thomas H. Raddall Atlantic Fiction Award. His work has been translated into fifteen languages. Four of the titles William wrote for the Rapids Reads series have been nominated for the Ontario Library Association's Golden Oak Award. He lives with his family in Nova Scotia. For more information, visit www.williamkowalski.com.

 
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