Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Human (Arca, Book 2) by Karen Diem

Release date: May 5, 2017
Subgenre:  Superheroes

About Human: 


Death? Acceptable risk. Taxes? No problem. Ancient magical cutlery of mass destruction? Bad, very bad. 

Following a brief foray into the world of superpowered vigilantism, extreme sports enthusiast and halfhearted tax preparer, Zita Garcia, wants her old life, her shiny new abilities, and none of the consequences. She’s even willing to hide her powers since the alternative means endangering her family and living life as a literal lab rat. 

Unfortunately, supervillains are searching for the pieces of a decrepit magic dagger, hurting innocents and fueling nasty anti-super protests. Her close friends, who helped before, are barely speaking to her, and one of them stands in the path of the violent hunt for the knife.

Zita better dig out her mask—fast.

Human is the second in the Arca superhero urban fantasy series, and as a movie would be rated "R" for immoderate language, lame sexual innuendo, and comic book violence. While Human can be read as a standalone, it contains spoilers for the first book in the series.


Once again, a cookie doomed her.
“Save the animals! Sign our petition and get a free giant cookie,” a girl’s voice chirped over a speaker.
Pues, if I had been able to sit still on the bus long enough to reach the auditorium, I might’ve missed out on this treat. After all, the sugar will help me stay awake during the concert, and I would have signed the petition before becoming a teleporting shapeshifter, anyway. Though crossing the grounds of the large university on foot would take up most of the time left before her blind date, Zita Garcia spun on her heel in an abrupt right turn into the wide plaza.
Her muscular legs moved in short, swift strides toward the stately edifice anchoring the opposite side of the plaza. Beneath the broad stone portico engraved with “Biology” and “Psychology,” her target, a table at the base of the entry steps, beckoned. Stretched across a white plastic tablecloth, a maroon and gold banner announced: “Testing Animals Stops Today.”
No students lingered near the protesters. A girl with curly brown hair hoisted a microphone and uttered her siren call again as a gaggle of other demonstrators revolved around the table, waving clipboards in a rainbow of primary colors. For Zita, who enjoyed guessing the sports played by fellow athletes, they held little interest as their movements had the zest of youth, rather than any physical conditioning. The only unusual-looking activist, distinguishable by his wild, ungroomed beard and the two giant tufts of hair that stood out above his ears, glowered and shook his walking stick at those who did not sign. Eyes all but closed in boredom, a campus security guard loitered nearby.
As always, Zita assessed the area and the people in it as she marched toward the promised treat. Like a squished spider, leggy pathways led in every direction from the bare, round center of the plaza. Senseless sets of little stairs erupted up and down along and on the paths. Tall deciduous trees dotted the spaces between the trails, granting irregular patches of shade to black metal tables with attached benches. Evergreens nestled close to the buildings. Scattered throughout, students socialized more than studied, unsurprising given fall classes had yet to start. The occasional bird skittered from branch to branch overhead, and squirrels congregated on the tree trunks a safe distance from humans. When my date ends, I can free-run through here on my way to catch the bus, even if I have to re-wear the dirty workout clothing in my satchel. She smiled, pleased at the promise of fun for later, and planned a challenging route.
With a guilty jolt, she remembered she had promised to give Luis an honest chance. Her brother Quentin had said that her date, a prospective client of his, met her standards. Though Zita hoped that meant he enjoyed climbing and extreme sports, she suspected he was just a gym regular.

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About Karen Diem:


Karen Diem is an independent fantasy author who loves books (not really a surprise), RPGs, animals (especially big dogs and fat cats), music, and superheroes. She's married and lives tucked away with her family somewhere, where they subsist on peanut butter sandwiches far more often than may be healthy. In her previous life, Karen was a nonfiction author and a number of less interesting things.  

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