Wednesday, December 30, 2009

My Kindle is Here!

The Kindle I won from the generous and kind J.T. over at Bibliofreak arrived Saturday while I was at my in laws for our Christmas celebration. Our post office kept it safe until my husband picked it up for me. (Who then pretended he couldn't get it to see how disappointed I would be, so he could whip it out afterwards. Hmmm...not funny.) This is me cuddling with my Kindle in my favorite chair (I know it's ugly, but it's comfy!):

So far I've downloaded 10 books for free to test it out. I'm reading Kiss Me Deadly by Michele Hauf right now, plus I have:

Once Bitten by Kalayna Price
Already Dead by Charlie Huston
Conspiracy in Kiev by Noel Hynd
The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells
The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
Edgar Allan Poe's Complete Poetic Works
Vanish by Tom Pawlik
Wit'ch Fire by James Clemens

My 16 year old son helped me pick most of the books. He wants to read The Invisible Man and The Picture of Dorian Gray plus he's a big fan of Edgar Allan Poe. I think you can see why I call him Psuedo Emo Teen.

The Kindle is pretty easy to use. I think it would have really benefited from a touch screen option, especially when choosing books. Once you get into your book to read it the large button for "next page" is wonderful and works really well. It's easy to bookmark your page too. The little square that selects items isn't quite so handy, and to me it's a little awkward when searching for books. Here is a picture my son took of me actually reading with it:

The size, the screen, the weight etc. are all great and make it really easy to use when reading. I'm sure I'll have more thoughts as I use it longer.

Thanks again to J.T. for the awesome prize. It would have easily been next year before I could have purchased a Kindle myself, and it's going to be super helpful in my reading and writing.


Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas to All...

I couldn't just post any old message to my book blogging peeps. You are a special, unique group of people who are witty, and often warped, but I love you. I hope your Christmas is wonderful and full of humor and love. I give you the "silent monks" preforming a classic Christmas song:

Thank you for all of your support for my blog and my writing journey!


Tuesday, December 22, 2009

My Book Challenges for 2010

First, let me say that I have never participated in a book challenge. I still can't believe I didn't find the book blogging community until September of 2009. I have missed SO many cool things, and I'm just amazed at all the cool book bloggers out there. You all are awesome. So, it's time to pick a few book challenges for 2010. I have no idea how you all choose them. I'm guessing the idea is to challenge myself:) First, I choose The HMS Challenger over at Word for Teens. Nicole explains the challenge:

Way back when, the ocean had yet to be explored. We knew nothing about it. Then, the HMS Challenger was sent out - its challenge? To scope the ocean and learn it's secrets.

With that in mind, readers, I challenge you to read (or reread) ten books between now and September 19th of 2010. But not just any ten books. These books must involve water - be it about pirates, mermaids, or the coast of California, fiction or nonfiction.

Isn't this a cool idea? Wow, and some good books come to my mind!

Lost Journals of Ven Polypheme by Sara Douglass
Ship of Magic by Robin Hobb
Ilse Witch by Terry Brooks

Those are off the top of my head. I'm also excited because I can also reread Tempest Rising by Nicole Peeler AND include the second book Tracking the Tempest due out in the spring or summer of 2010. Awesome.

My next challenge is the 100+ Reading Challenge from J. Kaye's Book Blog. The rules are as follows:

1. The goal is to read 100 or more books. Anyone can join. You don't need a blog to participate.

2. Audio, Re-reads, eBooks, YA, Manga, Graphic Novels, Library books, Novellas, Young Reader, Nonfiction – as long as the book has an ISBN or equivalent or can be purchased as such, the book counts.

What doesn't count: Individual short stories or individual books in the Bible.

3. No need to list your books in advance. You may select books as you go. Even if you list them now, you can change the list if needed.

4. Crossovers from other reading challenges count.

5. Challenge begins January 1st thru December, 2010. Books started before the 1st do not count.

This will be my "big" challenge. I constantly have a book that I'm reading, and now and then I read two at a time, so 100 books shouldn't be a problem at all. Reviewing each of them will take motivation on my part, but I really want to do this. So, I'm in!

Lastly, unless another challenge grabs me and hauls me into it's clutches is the 451 Challenge, which is based on 451 Fridays, a weekly feature hosted at As Usual, We Need More Bookshelves.
The Rules:

Between January 1, 2010 and November 30, 2010, participants are challenged to read books on the 451 master list. There will be several levels of participation:

Spark - read 1-2 books from the master list
Ember - read 3-4 books from the master list
Flame - read 5-6 books from the master list
Blaze - read 7 or more books from the master list

Re-reading is acceptable, as are crossovers with other challenges. Audio, print, and e-books are all acceptable. Each month, participants will be encouraged to post their reviews on the challenge blog, and each review posted will be an entry into a grand prize drawing for a $25 gift card to the online bookseller of the winner's choice.

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury was one of the first science fiction books that I read when I was a teen, and last year my teen read it for the first time, loving it as much as I did. He, like me, loves books and reading with a passion. So, I am going for the Blaze level and reading 7 or more from the list, which has some awesome selections!

I will post an individual post for each challenge in January. Have you chosen a book challenge for 2010?



It's 6:35 a.m. and I haven't even had coffee, but look what I won:

The masterminds behind Bibliofreak went to and entered 1 on the low end and 4416 on the high end (we had a total of 4416 entries).

We ended up with 3476.

And that person is Brenda Hyde.

Brenda, congratulations, and I’ll be e-mailing you to get your info. I still hope to be able to get it to you by Christmas.

THIS is the prize:

Yes, I won a KINDLE from J.T. Oldfield over at the awesome Bibliofreak Blog! Is this the most awesome Christmas surprise ever? Yeah, I thought you'd agree!

Thank You J.T.


Monday, December 21, 2009

Deep Kiss of Winter Blog Tour

Deep Kiss of Winter
Authors: Kresley Cole, Gena Showalter
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Pocket Books/2009
Hardcover: 336 pages

Tempt Me Eternally Summary:
Aleaha Love can be anyone—literally. With only skin-to-skin contact, she can change her appearance, assume any identity. Her newest identity switch has made her an AIR (alien investigation and removal) agent and sends her on a mission to capture a group of otherworldly warriors. Only she becomes the captured. Breean, a golden-skinned commander, known for his iron-will, who is at once dangerous and soul-shatteringly seductive, threatens her new life.

Untouchable Summary:
Murdoch Wroth will stop at nothing to claim Daniela the Ice Maiden--the delicate Valkyrie who makes his heart beat for the first time in three hundred years. Yet the exquisite Danii is part ice fey, and her freezing skin can't be touched by anyone but her own kind without inflicting pain beyond measure.

I've been a fan of Kresley Cole since last summer when I started reading her Immortals After Dark Series, so I was looking forward to reading her story in the Deep Kiss of Winter anthology featuring one of the Wroth brothers, who are full of vampire warrior goodness. Her story in the book, Untouchable, didn't disappoint with it's steamy romance, adventure and cameos from the other Immortal book characters popping up. Ms. Cole got pretty dang creative with the love scenes involving Murdock and Danii since they can't touch each other skin to skin. The word erotic comes to mind, as well as the phrase "hot damn".

I'm a newer reader to Gena Showalter, having read only the first book in her Lords of the Underworld series. Her story in Deep Kiss of Winter, Tempt Me Eternally takes place in her Alien Huntress world. It's erotic and fast paced with characters who are beautiful, alien and often harsh because it's all they've known. The story was fascinating right from the start, even though I was not familiar with the world Ms. Showalter had built.

I recommend Deep Kiss of Winter for not only fans of Gena Showalter and Kresley Cole, but also J.R. Ward, Lara Adrian and Jeaniene Frost. If you know a reader who loves these authors, Deep Kiss of Winter would make the perfect Christmas gift!


Saturday, December 19, 2009

Review: The Phoenix Chronicles

The Phoenix Chronicles
Author: Lori Handeland
Publisher: St. Martin's Paperbacks

I've read:
Any Given Doomsday
Doomsday Can Wait
Apocalypse Happens

Summary: Elizabeth Phoenix once used her unique skills as a psychic to help in the Milwaukee Police Department's fight against injustice. But when Liz's foster mother is found viciously murdered—and Liz is discovered unconscious at the scene—her only memory of the crime comes in the form of terrifying dreams...of creatures more horrific than anything Liz has seen in real life. What do these visions mean? And what in the world do they have to do with her former lover, Jimmy Sanducci?

The Phoenix Chronicles are gritty, dark, fast paced and thought provoking. I know many readers shy away from dark urban fantasy, and after you read my review you may well decide to skip this series. Lori Handeland deals with a lot of difficult themes in her fictional world. How far will a heroine go to save the world from evil? How much sacrifice can a person endure before snapping and going over the other side?

Elizabeth Phoenix has never had an easy life, but she's felt protected and loved by two people for a short time before it was snatched away. Afterwards she was able to pick up the pieces and build a life until even that is taken away from her. Liz is a strong, cynical character thrown into a life of darkness and evil. She has to make choices that no one should have to make. Sacrifice becomes a way of life for her.

The Phoenix Chronicles are a fast paced, but often difficult read. The thing is, some of the best books tackle subjects that make us uncomfortable: betrayal, violence, forgiveness and rape. Liz is constantly aware that her decisions could make a difference between stopping the Apocalypse or allowing it to happen.

Yes, there are difficult sexual scenes that will make some readers uncomfortable, including rape. The scenes are crucial to the plot though, and are not there just for shock value. For me, they are part of what makes Liz who she is, and are important to understanding her relationship with the other characters in the book. I normally try not to read reviews of a book before I review it, but I couldn't help but notice the reviews on Amazon for Any Given Doomsday. One reviewer claimed "rape is not romantic". I'm not sure this person actually read the book all the way through, or even that carefully. At NO point does the author even hint that those scenes were romantic. Readers of this review need to note that this series is NOT paranormal romance. It's dark, gritty urban fantasy that tackles difficult themes.

I really liked The Phoenix Chronicles and I'm looking forward to the fourth book in the series, Chaos Bites, which will be coming out in Spring, 2010. I recommend this series to fans of Vicki Pettersson, Jocelynn Drake, Jim Butcher, Sarah Douglass, or Jennifer Fallon.

In The Beginning is a short story that kicks off The Phoenix Chronicles series and it's free for download here.


Friday, December 18, 2009

Blog With Bite Review

Some Girls Bite: A Chicagoland Vampires Novel
Author: Chloe Neill
Trade Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: NAL Trade

Summary: Sure, the life of a graduate student wasn’t exactly glamorous, but it was Merit’s. She was doing fine until a rogue vampire attacked her. But he only got a sip before he was scared away by another bloodsucker—and this one decided the best way to save her life was to make her the walking undead.

NOTE: This is my second group review for Blog That Bites. Read the other reviews and discussion questions here.

I've been following Chloe Neill's blog for a little while now, but I hadn't been able to pick up her first book until last week. I knew it would be witty and entertaining, but I didn't expect it to be thought provoking. I'm not sure if the cover mislead me, or if it was something I may have read about the book along the way. Some Girls Bite IS witty, but it also has elements involving friendship, loyalty, family, love and desire. We meet the characters, make a few guesses and then find out we are SO wrong. I laughed a lot, but my heart also broke for Merit, and I was on the edge of my seat as her decisions were made. The author made her characters come alive for me.

Merit is her own person because she's had to fight against family expectations her entire life. Her grandfather, a retired cop, and her roommate are really her only emotional support. Her life is turned upside down, and shaken up like a chocolate malt, but without the malted goodness. Suddenly she's got vamps who want her body, her loyalty and her frig is stocked with bags of blood. She's not having a good time, and the surprises just keep coming.

I highly recommend Some Girls Bite for fans of urban fantasy and paranormal romance. I can't wait to read the second book Friday Night Bites and see what happens to Merit and her friends next. (Note: I finished Friday Night Bites and reviewed it here.)


Warning: Some spoilers in the discussion questions!

1.Obviously the issues of social status and class are used in this story, do you feel Merit is above the simplistic ideology in this book, or is she the typical character: shuns away from the idea of being better than others but loves her status, in both the vampire and human worlds?

I don't think she's typical at all. She doesn't love her "status" in either world. Merit fought against her family's attitude and social status, wanting to live her own life, not believing that they were better than others. As far as the vampire world, she didn't want that either. She wasn't given a choice. When she is given responsibility as she joins her house, she reluctantly does what she is asked, or really told, to do because she wants to do what is right.

2.What motivations do you believe pushed Amber to behave the way she did? Her cattiness seemed rather shallow, but could it only be cattiness that had her acting the way she did in the end?

I'm not sure she was shallow as much as she was convincing. In order for her to fool Ethan she had to appear shallow and completely obsessed with him. It was important that he saw her as loyal to him above all else and jealous of anyone that might take his attention away from her. Celina had convinced her that she would have a future with her house once her plan worked. I'm sure she believed she would be part of the leadership in this new "society".

3. Do you see a House of her own in Merit's future?

No, I really don't. She wouldn't want that kind of responsibility. It would mean she would have to deal with the politics of society. She had enough of that growing up in her family's home. I think she will always protect Ethan, regardless of what happens in their relationship.

4.Which vamp are you hoping Merit ends up with?

I'm not sure, but there is a part of me that thinks she would be good for Ethan. She would bring out his "humanity". Then of course there is the fact that he is hotter than hot. Whew.


Thursday, December 17, 2009

Kelly Gay Blog Tour Interview & Contest

I am especially excited today because this is my FIRST Blog Tour and my first Contest! I have a review, interview questions and then a giveaway below.

The Better Part of Darkness
Author: Kelly Gay
Publisher: Pocket Books
Mass Market Paperback, 416 pages

Summary: Divorced mother of one, Charlie Madigan, lives in a world where the beings of heaven and hell exist among us, and they aren't the things of Sunday school lessons and Hallmark figurines. In the years since the Revelation, they've become our co-workers, neighbors, and fellow citizens. When a new off-world drug is released in Underground Atlanta, her daughter is targeted, and her ex-husband makes a fateful bargain to win her back, there's nothing in heaven or earth (or hell for that matter) that Charlie won't do to set things right.

I signed up for Kelly Gay's Blog Tour because her book was urban fantasy and sounded like something I would be interested in. When my copy arrived I set it aside while I finished another book. The night I started it I opened it to the first page, read the first sentence and KNEW I was going to love it. How, you ask? Read this first bit of dialog:

"You told a two-thousand-year-old oracle to prove it".

I was not disappointed because it only got better after that sentence. Charlie, the main character is a kick-butt heroine with a daughter, an ex-husband, and an attitude. One reason I love urban fantasy is that it gives me an outlet of sorts for my frustrations at the world. How many times have you heard of an injustice and wish you could find the responsible party and kick their butt? The Better Part of Darkness is a story about a woman who just wants to do what is right for her, for her daughter, her partner and her city, and she gets to kick ass while doing it. Doing the right thing is never easy, though, especially when supernatural forces are set against you at every turn.

The Better Part of Darkness is an urban fantasy, but I wouldn't consider it a paranormal romance. Now, that's not to say that there aren't some very interesting males in Charlie's world, just the opposite. However, finding a Happily Ever After when you are simply trying to survive and protect your family is not a given. Charlie's world is dark with twists and turns that throw her for a loop when she least expects it. I was on the edge of my seat, never guessing what was going to happen next. What a ride!

I highly recommend The Better Part of Darkness for fans of Vicki Pettersson, Lori Handeland, Rob Thurman, and Jocelynn Drake.


Since it's a busy time of year I didn't do a full interview with Kelly, but asked her two questions that had popped into my head. I hope you enjoy her answers.

Kelly, I loved your characters, but I especially liked how you showed Charlie's relationship with her daughter. Were those scenes easier to write because you do have a daughter yourself, or did it make it harder, more emotional, to write them?

Thanks! I think it was definitely easier to write those mother/daughter scenes.This was one area of the book that I felt really comfortable writing. When I was writing those scenes, I was actually eager to dig deep because those types of emotions are ones I know firsthand, ones I can relate to, and ones I can easily envision if I were in Charlie's shoes. There were some strong emotional moments for sure -- one that stands out and I remember getting a little choked up about is when Charlie links hands with the others around Bryn's kitchen table -- but as a writer, I live for that kind of stuff. Those are some my favorite scenes to write.

I see so many possibilities for the men in Charlie's life. Without sharing any spoilers, can you just give us a hint of the possible turn on's, I mean, happiness that could be coming her way?

LOL. I do see some happiness coming Charlie's way . . . eventually. There *cough* might be a few 'turn on's' before that, though. :D There are a few guys in BPOD that could qualify in both areas, and I can tell you that things get a little bit hotter in THE DARKEST EDGE OF DAWN, but I can't give you any hints, other than you'll be surprised. ;-)

Thanks Kelly!

Pocket Books has graciously allowed me to give away TWO copies of The Better Part of Darkness to my readers. Here are the instructions:

1. Leave a witty comment about the book, Kelly or how you feel about urban fantasy. You pick.

2. Follow my blog on the Google Friend Connect thingy.

Both things are mandatory for entry. I'll use the random number picker (yes, that might be it's technical name) to choose the winners on Monday, December 31st, 2009 at 9 a.m. The books will be sent out from the publisher after the winners are chosen. IF you don't have a blog please leave your email in the comment you make.

(US mailing addresses only and no P.O. Boxes please)

Thanks everyone for joining me on my first blog tour:)


Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Review: Friday Night Bites by Chloe Neill

Friday Night Bites: A Chicagoland Vampires Novel
Author: Chloe Neill
Publisher: NAL Trade
Trade Paperback, 357 pages

Summary: "So now my "master," the centuries old, yet gorgeously well-preserved Ethan Sullivan, wants me to reconnect with my own upper class family and act as liaison between humans and vampires—and keep the more unsavory aspects of our existence out of the media. But someone doesn't want people and vamps to play nicey-nice—someone with an ancient grudge." ~Merit

Note: To read my review of the first Chicagoland Vampires book, go here.

I want Merit and Mallory to be my best friends. They have the kind of friendship every girl wishes for in life. They are sisters of the heart, kindred spirits and nothing can come between them, not even vamps or magic. Reading Friday Night Bites, the second Chicagoland Vampires book, was like visiting old friends again. I was able to catch up on Mallory's hot romance with uber sorcerer Catcher, and her adventures in magic. I caught up on Merit's struggles to figure out how she feels about Morgan, the funny, warm and sexy master of the Navarre House and Ethan the sexy, hot, stick up his butt, master of the Cadogan House.

Friday Night Bites is another great read from Chloe Neill that makes me want to kill for the third book in the series. Really, Ms. Neill, did you have to leave us hanging like that? That's okay though, because you gave us new friends, new enemies and some surprises along the way. What more can we ask for in a book? You even gave us some hot, steamy scenes that had me yelling "Come on Merit, JUST DO IT". I get a little wrapped up in your books, as you can tell.

Who do I recommend should read Friday Night Bites? I first must clear up a misconception that it's a young adult novel. Ms. Neill does have another series that is YA and starting in 2010(Firespell January 2010), but the Chicagoland Vampires series is an urban fantasy. I recommend that fans of Patricia Briggs and Ilona Andrews read the Chicagoland Vampires series. One quote I ran across compared it to an urban fantasy Nancy Drew and this is so true, if you add in the hot vampires and sorcerers. Merit can sniff out a devious plot and catch the perpetrator in a few fell swoops. Lastly, I must say one of my favorite things about Merit is her love of food; fast food, fancy food, comfort food, or just plain ole pizza. She's a girl after my own heart.


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Hot Review: Burning Alive by Shannon K. Butcher

Burning Alive: The Sentinel Wars
Author: Shannon K. Butcher
Mass Market Paperback: 368 pages

Summary: For too long, Helen Day has been haunted by visions of her own death, surrounded by flames as a dark-haired man watches her burn. So when she sees the man of her nightmares staring at her across a diner, she attempts to flee--and ends up in the man's arms. There, she awakens a force more powerful and enticing than she could ever imagine.

I bought a copy of Shannon K. Butcher's book Burning Alive because I had heard good things about her, and it was a paranormal romance, which I love. To start off my review, I want you to read the first sentence of Chapter 1:

The man who was going to stand by and watch while Helen burned to death liked his coffee black.

Burning Alive starts off with a bang, no waiting around for the heroine to meet the main characters, no back story, or prologue. It's right from the frying pan into the fire, and we do have fire. A lot of fire. Then we have the simmering heat between the hero Drake, and the heroine Helen. The author had me sweating and they hadn't even kissed yet! The amazing thing about this book is between the action, the hot romance and the twists in the plot, it never slows down, but the author has still given depth to the characters. In other words, the character development didn't suffer because of the action or the romance. It was a perfect mix of all three components, and a great read.

I have to say a little bit about the characters in Burning Alive. Besides the two main characters I just loved these characters and I think you will too:

Miss Mabel: She's a Senior Citizen with a feisty sense of loyalty and a walker that makes grown men run in terror.

Lexi: Smart and sexy with a secret to hide.

Zach: Wise cracking and intense.

Thomas: Brooding, sad and angry but protective.

Logan: Beautiful and manipulative with an agenda of his own.

Keep in mind, these aren't even the main characters, who are equally fascinating. I really loved Burning Alive and would highly recommend it to fans of J.R. Ward, Lara Adrian, Gena Showalter or Kresley Cole. I am looking forward to more books in the series, and I have the second one, Finding the Lost, on order already.

Burning Alive: The Sentinel Wars is available from Amazon.

You can read Chapter One of Burning Alive here:



Teaser Tuesday: Friday Night Bites

I've been meaning to join in on this meme from Should Be Reading for awhile now because I am always reading a book, and love to share. For this meme I am suppose to do the following:

-Grab your current read
-Open to a random page
-Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page

I am reading Friday Night Bites: A Chicagoland Vampires Novel. I loved the first book in the series and reviewed it here. I opened FNB to page 78:

"Merit, any truth to the rumor that you're seeing Morgan Greer?"

Okay, now we were back on track. Justice be damned if there was sex to discuss.

*snicker* As you can see Merit is still getting into trouble:) If you'd like to read more teasers head on over to MizB's blog here.


Monday, December 14, 2009

Christmas Quotes & a Spike Fix

Ah, we are in the midst of the Christmas season, and I thought "What could I share with my paranormal buds?". First I have some snarky and odd quotations, then I have a Buffy & Spike montage to the song Our Love Will Dry Out on Christmas by the group The Electric Diorama. Enjoy:)

Once again we find ourselves enmeshed in the Holiday Season, that very special time of year when we join with our loved ones in sharing centuries-old traditions such as trying to find a parking space at the mall. We traditionally do this in my family by driving around the parking lot until we see a shopper emerge from the mall, then we follow her, in very much the same spirit as the Three Wise Men, who 2,000 years ago followed a star, week after week, until it led them to a parking space. ~Dave Barry

Tom Servo: A pentagram, and reindeer laughing. YOU figure it out.
~Mystery Science Theater 3000" Santa Claus (1993)

THOUSANDS OF YEARS AGO, before the dawn of man as we knew him, there was Sir Santa of Claus, an ape-like creature making crude and pointless toys out of dinobones and his own waste, hurling them at chimp-like creatures with crinkled hands regardless of how they behaved the previous year. These so-called "toys" were buried as witches, and defecated upon, and hurled at predators when wakened by the searing grunts of children. It wasn't a holly jolly Christmas that year. For many were killed.

~Robot from Aqua Teen Hunger Force- Cybernetic Ghost of Christmas Past from the Future (2002)


Saturday, December 12, 2009

Christmas Coolness

I realized today that I haven't posted anything at all about Christmas. This is odd since I am a twinkle light lover. My tree is in front of me as I type this with four strands of white lights and ornaments I've had 25 years or longer mixed with handmade ornaments, gold pinecones and golden apples. I love the holiday season. I thought it would be fun to list some cool holiday contests around the book blogging world. (Each link opens a new window.)

The Twelve Blogs of Christmas
From The Neverending Shelf Ends 12/31
Enter Here

A Paranormal Christmas Contest
From Book Bound, Ends 12/24
Join in on the fun with a scramble game-
Enter Here

12 Dayz of Blogmas
From JoJo's Book Corner, Ends 12/23
12 Authors Interview and 12 giveaways!
Enter Here

Twisted Christmas Contest
From The First Novels Club, Ends 12/25
Win Hush, Hush and Fallen!
Enter Here

I'll post more later, but everyone is yelling at me to get out of my pajamas so we can go Christmas shopping!


Thursday, December 10, 2009

Review: Bitter Night by Diana Pharaoh Francis

Bitter Night: A Horngate Witches Book
Author: Diana Pharaoh Francis
Publisher: Pocket
Mass Market Paperback: 400 pages

Summary: Once, Max dreamed of a career, a home, a loving family. Now all she wants is freedom…and revenge. A witch named Giselle transformed Max into a warrior with extraordinary strength, speed, and endurance. Bound by spellcraft, Max has no choice but to fight as Giselle’s personal magic weapon — a Shadowblade — and she’s lethally good at it.

I won a my copy of Bitter Nightin a contest last month. I didn't know anything about the book, but I loved the cover, and it was endorsed by Patricia Briggs and Rob Thurman, two of my favorite authors. I finished it today and was it ever a page turner, to put it mildly. The author has the action scenes written so well, that I couldn't think of putting the book down in the middle of one. "What did you say? You're hungry? Where's dinner? It will have to wait til the end of this chapter. Have a cookie!" Yes, it was that good.

Max is a female warrior who protects the witch who binds her. She's the best at what she does. Her team is devoted to her, and the witch needs her. Max only wants one thing: revenge. She feels trapped and considers her job as a warrior to be slavery. Though she is bitter,as the title suggests, she's also loyal to those around her, not wanting anyone to suffer needlessly. The book could have been very dark and without hope, but it's not. The author has created a unique world and presents it to us along with Max's story. She weaves it together in such a way that we learn about the world and Max at the same time without any confusion.

The characters in Bitter Nightare not predictable, and they are described so well that I could picture them in my mind clearly, quirks and all. In some series it takes awhile to understand the characters, to identify with them and their place in the bigger picture, especially when it's a new and unique world. Bitter Night sucked me right in from the start and made it hard to stop reading. Of course, sarcasm was rampant. As I always say, a good warrior has to have a wicked tongue and butt kicking weapons.

I would recommend Bitter Night to fans of Jim Butcher, Ilona Andrews, Patricia Briggs and Jocelynn Drake. It's a fast paced urban fantasy with a lot of great action, rich characters and a unique world of witches, angels and warriors.

You can read the first chapter here:

Diana also has a slew of short stories that I'm reading right now on her website. You can read them here:


Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Hard Part of Writing?

I've been playing around with fiction for a few months now, since starting this blog. Deep down I know that I can do it. I've been writing for a very long time, and I've been told over and over that people can identify with me. I don't talk down to my readers and they appreciate it. That feedback has been the same for over twenty years, but it pertains to my non-fiction writing. I love that people can relate to me, and like me. So, what's the problem? I'm still not sure I can write the type of fiction I love. Why can't I write a story about afternoon tea in the garden, or a mother and daughter growing an herb garden together? Some days I feel like I'm two people. There is the down to earth, gardener, cook and mom who loves tea sets, roses, herbs and country living. I like her. But then there is this other person inside me. The one who owns the Buffy the Vampire Slayer DVDs. The one who's read every Terry Goodkind book, and loves to see good kick evils butt all the over the place. The one who loves those sexy vampire warriors J.R. Ward writes about, and the one who wants to hang out with paranormal romance writers and readers.

I'm wondering if there is a way to join my two halves so I can write something with the style my non-fiction readers love, but use the ideas in my head that involve kicking butt and taking no prisoners. Is that even possible?

What do you think?

Friday, December 4, 2009

Review: Tempest Rising by Nicole Peeler

Tempest Rising(Jane True)
Author: Nicole Peeler
Publisher: Orbit Books
Mass Paperback, 346 page

Summary: Living in small town Rockabill, Maine, Jane True always knew she didn't quite fit in with so-called normal society. During her nightly, clandestine swim in the freezing winter ocean, a grisly find leads Jane to startling revelations about her heritage: she is only half-human. (Amazon)

I started reading interviews with Nicole Peeler last month, and was fascinated with her book, partly because of the fantastic cover art (Yes, I am often mesmerized by shiny, pretty things.), but mostly because of her sense of humor and the promise of hot, sexy stuff in the book. Hot, sexy, vampire stuff. I couldn't find her book locally, so I ordered it from Amazon.

Where do I start? Jane is cute, petite, lives in a small, everybody knows your business town, works for a bookstore and she lives with her dad. I love Jane, and not just because I'm only 5 foot tall and grew up in a small town. Okay, that's part of it. She's quirky, funny and a survivor. She doesn't seem to feel like one, but she is. I don't want to give away anything from the book because it needs to be read page by page, no skimming, no skipping ahead.

Tempest Rising is an adventure, a mystery, a romance and a fantasy. It's not like any book I've read previously, because Nicole Peeler gives us twists and turns on what we may have thought we knew about supernatural beings. The back cover compares Jane to Sookie Stackhouse, but she's so much cooler. Her friends are also quirky, funny and some of them are down right dangerous.

I want to say that in some ways this book is like an adult fairy tale, but with a little blood, some guts and quite a bit of sex thrown in the mix. I giggled a lot, but also found myself nervous for Jane along the way, wanting her to be happy, but cautious.

I would recommend Tempest Rising to readers of fantasy, urban fantasy, and paranormal romance. It's a great read that left me REALLY wanting to read the next book, but yet the author doesn't leave us with a horrible cliff hanger either. I'll be reading it again, and again because it's a keeper.

You can read Chapter One of Tempest Rising here

You can also read this VERY funny "chat" between True and Alexia from Gail Carriger’s book, Soulless here. This will give you a really good idea of Nicole Peeler's humor.

You can also see the awesome cover and information on the next True book called Tracking the Tempest on the Orbit site.

If you love the cover of Tempest Rising visit the artist's website here.



Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Review: The Cassandra Palmer Series

Cassandra Palmer Series
Author: Karen Chance

I've Read:
1. Touch the Dark
2. Claimed by Shadow
3. Embrace the Night

Summary: Cassandra Palmer has been in hiding for three years since she escaped Antonio, the master vampire who raised her after he had her parents killed when she was only four. A gifted clairvoyant, Cassandra was Antonio's useful tool until she discovered his complicity in her parents' deaths and fled his estate. Tony has finally caught up with her, but he isn't the only one.

I bought my the first Cassie Palmerbook this summer, then the next two in the fall. Since then I have ran across some odd comments about the books ranging from "boring" to "too complicated". I can only imagine that these readers picked up the book but weren't fans of the genre perhaps? I'll give you my opinion and you can be the judge.

I would consider the Cassie Palmerbooks Urban Fantasy, a little like Jim Butcher's Dresden Files. Yes, a lot is going on from page one of the first book. Cassie's life is complicated. Karen Chance has created a world for her that is full of dangerous and sexy good guys and bad guys, some whom you can't really tell which side they will jump to at any given moment. Black and white are not often the colors of choice in her world. That would be too simple and much less fun.
Elvis has performed at Dante's, a club we experience with Cassie many times in the books. No, the books don't take place in the 1960's or 70's. Elvis is a zombie entertainer at the club. Go figure. Shrunken heads call out food orders in the restaurant too. All is never as it seems. There are ghosts, vamps, mages, zombies and fae, among other things. Some real. Some fake. These books are fast paced with action scenes galore, including time travel.

Cassie is a reluctant heroine who is only now learning what she can do with her mad skills. She doesn't know who she can trust because it changes in a split second. She's creative, kind-hearted, loyal to those who earn it, and has a sarcastic wit. She takes things as they are thrown at her and uses whatever and whomever she can to get those around her out of harm's way.

I will say that you DO have to pay attention when reading these books. There are a lot of details, but that's what makes Cassie's world so cool. It's never dull. I would recommend this book to those who love urban fantasy similar to the Dresden Files or Kim Harrison's books. It's a fast paced, fun read with a lot of action.

Extra Notes: Yes, there is sex, but it's not over the top or excessive for those who like to be forewarned. Reading the books in order is a must.

To Read Chapter One go here:


Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Review: Ecstasy: The Shadowdwellers

Ecstasy: The Shadowdwellers
Author: Jacquelyn Frank
Publisher: Zebra
Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages

Summary: Among the Shadowdwellers, Trace holds power that some as willing to kill for. Without a stranger's aid, one rival would surely have succeeded, but Trace's brush with death is less surprising to him than his reaction to the beautiful, fragile human who heals him. By rights, Trace should hardly even register Ashla's existence within the realms of Shadowscape, but instead he is drawn to everything about her - her innocence, her courage, and her lush, sensual heat.

I bought my first Jacquelyn Frank book because of recommendations from fans of J.R. Ward. I like stories of tortured heroes and heroines who heal each other through their love. I'm a sap like that. I also enjoy erotic scenes within this context. Before I go on, I would like to say that perhaps I should have started with her earlier series, The Nightwalkers. I did find out that one of those characters showed up in this book, so their is some connection.

I had a hard time getting through this book to my dismay. I wanted to like it. Oddly, I found myself liking the side characters more than Trace and Ashla, the main characters. The erotic scenes seemed to pop up almost as if plugged into the plot, rather than working within it, if that makes sense. The world of the Shadowdwellers was interesting, but I felt it was confusing at times, almost as if there weren't enough details in the beginning.

Towards the end of the book I did start getting more of a feel for the characters and their personalities. I felt Ashla wasn't developed enough. She went from shy, confused and beaten down to feisty and sarcastic a little too quickly.

I don't think I will continue this series, but I do have to admit I wish I'd started with her Nightwalkers series first. That may have been part of my problem with this book. If anyone has feedback on this please leave a comment.

You can read Chapter 1 on the author's website here.