Sunday, February 28, 2010

Winner of Spider's Bite

The winner of Spider's Bite by Jennifer Estep is...

Lindsay's Photography

who said...
I REALLY want to win this!
Thankyou!! :D:D:D
I like a ending with a struggle.

I've emailed Lindsay and will let the publisher know:)Thanks for all the great comments on romance and urban fantasy!


Saturday, February 27, 2010

Review: The Nymphos of Rocky Flats

The Nymphos of Rocky Flats
(Felix Gomez Series #1)
Author: Mario Acevedo
Paperback: 368 pages
Publisher: Eos (March 14, 2006)
Available at Indie Bound, Powells, Barnes & Noble

Summary: Back home in the States, the reluctantly undead former infantryman pays penance for his war-time sins—making a living as a private detective able to unravel mysteries that baffle his mortal counterparts. Now an old friend has asked him to investigate a bizarre outbreak of nymphomania at the secret government facilities in Rocky Flats, Colorado.

I picked up my first Mario Acevedo book as part of the NAC Mini-Challenge: League of Reluctant Adults from Literary Escapism this month. First, I must say I was a little bit wary of The Nymphos of Rocky Flats because of it's title and the cover art. Was it going to be loaded with vampire porn and lusty tramps hiding out in a small desert town? My mind works in mysterious ways folks. See that picture on the book cover? For me, it brings to mind a 50's greaser wearing a white t-shirt with a pack of smokes rolled up in the sleeve who thinks he's the Casanova of the Vampire World. These thoughts roll around in my head on a daily basis and as usual, I was wrong with a capital W.

Felix Gomez is a former soldier, a vampire and he is guilt ridden. He's also a man with convictions, and a hot private detective. Felix is called on by an old friend to figure out why several women who work for the U.S. Department of Energy suddenly came down with a case of nymphomania that cost them their families, their lives and possibly their jobs. Hey, too much sex is not always a good thing people. Felix, despite my first impression from the cover, is not a greaser, and does not take advantage of women. Actually, he's one of the good guys, among humans and vampires.

I had to sneak a peak at a few reviews on Amazon and Barnes and Noble before I wrote this blog post to get a feel for what people were saying. I can tell you this: IF you expect Nymphos of Rocky Flats to be a paranormal romance, an Anita Blake book spin-off, or an erotic supernatural tale of lusty sex, you will be disappointed. However, I'm not sure that anyone who actually reads the summaries provided would be led to these conclusions. We could ask Mr. Acevedo, he might agree to whip up a quick erotic short featuring Felix. I'm just saying...

Seriously though, the Felix Gomez books are part urban fantasy, part detective/mystery with a little conspiracy suspense thrown in for good measure. The author doesn't waste time with lavish descriptions, or complex character profiles. Felix is a straight forward guy, a former soldier who lives his life day to day, bending the "rules" of the vamp world to his lifestyle. He doesn't want to play with others; he just wants to do his job and get paid. Sometimes life doesn't give us what we want though, and he has to face some things on this job that he's been putting off dealing with.

I liked The Nymphos of Rocky Flats for it's straight forward "guy" humor, the action and the mystery solving. I've always loved tough PI's in books and television, so it was a fun read for me. I did give a few cringes when the vampires smothered their food in blood, but it added to the gritty feel of Felix's world. The author has a really cool take on vampires that I had to read over twice once I got to the revealing scene. I wanted to grab someone and say "You are NOT going to believe what Felix just did!".

If you are a fan of Rob Thurman, Simon Green, Jim Butcher or Anton Strout I think you will really enjoy Mario Acevedo's books. I'm tickled that so many of the Felix Gomez books are already published so I won't have any wait time. The fifth book, Werewolf Smackdown, is coming out this March.

1. The Nymphos of Rocky Flats (2006)
2. X-Rated Bloodsuckers (2007)
3. The Undead Kama Sutra (2008)
4. Jailbait Zombie (2009)
5. Werewolf Smackdown (2010)

If you want to learn more about Mario Acevedo you can visit the sites below:

League of Reluctant Adults:


Thursday, February 25, 2010

Blog Tour & Contest: Shadow Blade

Shadow Blade
Shadowchasers Series
by Seressia Glass
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Paperback, 352 pages
Available at Indie Bound, Powells, Barnes & Noble

Summary: Kira's day job as an antiquities expert, but her true calling is as a Shadowchaser. Someone is turning the city of Atlanta upside-down in search of a four-millennia-old Egyptian dagger that just happens to have fallen into Kira's hands. Then there's Khefar, the dagger's true owner-a near-immortal 4000-year-old Nubian warrior who, Kira has to admit, looks pretty fine for his age. Joining forces is the only way to keep the weapon safe from the sinister Shadow force.

I received Shadow Blade from the publisher so I could participate in the Blog Tour today. Seressia Glass is a new author for me, and I hadn't heard anything about the book, so I didn't know what to expect. First, I must say I think the book is unique because of the author's use of Egyptian mythology. The main character is aligned with the Goddess Maat, who is known for "regulating the stars, seasons, and the actions of both mortals and the deities, who set the order of the universe from chaos at the moment of creation." (Wikipedia). Because I'm not familiar with these traditions it did take me just a little bit to get settled in to the book, but once I did, it was a fast paced, action filled read.

I would consider Shadow Blade an urban fantasy, though not overly dark. The main characters, Kira, and later Khefar, are both set in their mission, their purpose in life, both assuming happiness is not really part of the program. I love the way the author develops the relationship between them. Though there is sexual tension, it's more complex than that for both of them as they have to learn to depend on one another. The chemistry between the characters is many layered is the best way I can describe it. The side characters are fascinating too, and well thought out. I love the character of Nansee. He offers comic relief, but he's also very interesting as he helps without "interfering", using cooking, stories and humor to guide his friends. All of Ms. Glass's characters are so alive and rich, making the reader want to know more about them.

Shadow Chase, the second book in the Shadowchasers series, will be coming out July 27th, 2010. I think it's going to be even better than the first book, which means it will be phenomenal. If you are a fan of Jessica Andersen, Patricia Briggs, or Kelly Gay I think you will really enjoy Shadow Blade.

I've really enjoyed reading all the comments on the blog tour contests I've been having, so I'm going to continue with asking you a question to answer as your contest entry.

Authors will often write about a supernatural world of their own making or they will base their world on a mythology like Seressia Glass has done. Do you prefer one over the other, or is it the writing and the plot that matters more to you?

If you don't have an email linked to a Google account profile please leave your email in the comments. This contest will end Sunday, March 7th and I'll post the winner on Monday. I will use the random number generator to choose one person who will win a copy of Shadow Blade.


Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Review: Greywalker by Kat Richardson

(The Greywalker Novels, Book 1)
By Kat Richardson
Mass Market Paperback: 368 pages
Publisher: Roc; Reprint edition (June 2, 2009)
Available at Indie Bound, Powells, Barnes & Noble

Summary: Recovering from a near-fatal accident, Seattle Private Investigator Harper Blaine develops the ability to move through the Grey: the realm of ghosts, vampires, witches, and magic that exists between our world and the next. Harper wants her life to return to normal, but when her clients turn out to be paranormal, the reluctant Greywalker is drawn into the affairs of ambitious vampires and angry ghosts. As her cases converge, Harper uncovers a plot that threatens Seattle’s Grey world and must choose between honor and survival.

I picked up Greywalker for the NAC Mini-Challenge: League of Reluctant Adults from Literary Escapism this month. Kat Richardson is a new author for me, but I've been following her on Twitter for awhile now.

Some books are subtle. Greywalker, for instance, starts out as a good solid, PI story with a main character who's tough but likable, and a missing person case. As I got farther into the book I realize the tension was building and I wasn't sure who the main character, Harper, should trust. Sure, she has the unwanted paranormal ability to see ghosts, but I figure she's a private investigator and that could come in handy. Before I know it, I'm on the edge of my seat, I can't put the book down, and things are not as they appear. Creepiness abounds. What the heck is happening? Oh, man, don't let that nice couple she's friends with be evil. I really wouldn't like that. Or, is it the charming, but kind of crazy guy that helps her out with security? can't be the sexy antique auction guy. Say it isn't so. Who IS IT? Yes, those were exactly the thoughts racing through my head as I read Greywalker.

Kat Richardson has an ability to build the tension a little at a time until the reader simply can't put the book down. It's amazing because she lures the reader into this nice steady reading pace at first, letting them get to know the characters and the world, giving them a smile or two along the way, and then BAM, the crud hits the fan. Who knew that was coming? Not me.

I know this review is shorter than my usual ramblings, but I really can't say too much without giving spoilers, and I don't want to do that. The Greywalker novels are mystery/detective oriented, so a spoiler is a bad thing. I can say that the characters are quirky, even the bad guys and I loved the book.

If you are a fan of Jim Butcher, Patricia Briggs, Anton Strout or Dean Koontz I think you will really like the Greywalker novels. Though I wish I would have found Ms. Richarson's books sooner, I am excited that I can get the next three right away, since they have already been released, plus the fifth book in the series will be coming out this year.

2. Poltergeist(2007)
3. Underground(2008)
4. Vanished(2009)
5. Labyrinth(August 2010)

You can get to know the author at the following places:
On Twitter:
My Own Personal Grey (author's blog)
League of Reluctant Adults


Friday, February 19, 2010

Review: Why Anton Strout Makes Me Smile

Dead To Me
The Simon Canderous Series
Author: Anton Strout
Mass Market Paperback: 368 pages
Publisher: Ace (February 26, 2008)
Available at Indie Bound, Powells, Barnes & Noble

Summary: Welcome to the Department of Extraordinary Affairs Other Division- New York's answer to the underfunded world of paranormal investigation. It’s a job caught up in red tape, memos, and office politics, but its becoming par for the course for recent recruit Simon Canderous. After a life of petty crime and twenty four years of watching his power of psychometry—the ability to divine information solely by touching an object—destroy any chance of a real relationship, he’s joined the forces of Good hoping to gain some control.

I picked up my copy of Dead to Me to include in the NAC Mini-Challenge: League of Reluctant Adults from Literary Escapism this month. Anton Strout is a new author to me, which horrifies me to admit, since he is right up my alley. He's a mixture of Piers Anthony (Xanth novels), Douglas Adams and Simon Green, with his own twist on things thrown in the mix. I was chuckling by page 2, and knew I HAD to share Mr. Strout's ability to add a title to the most obscure things. It can't be explained, so I simply have to share:

Ghost of Bruises Yet to Come
Ten Simple Ways Your Job Will Disfigure You!
Witty Banter to Ease Any Paranormal Situation
The Bed That Sex Forgot
Clairvoyance or Clair-annoyance: You Either Got It or You Don't
Directory of the Dearly Departed
Crime & Severe Punishment

The author also endeared me to his character when he made reference to watching all five seasons of Angel, hence the wearing of the black leather knee length coat. In case you are not familiar with said coat I can share this picture:

Simon is in a place in his life many of us have been. He's new to his job, starting fresh after a questionable past, and he's not even close to being lucky in love. The only difference between us and Simon is that he fighting the forces of Darkness and Evil, which just aren't as black and white as he thought they would be. Who can he trust? He's attracted to both a ghost gal and what appears to be a hot agent of evil. His mentor is cranky and keeping him on a "need to know" basis. Plus every stinking time he uses his paranormal power of divining information from an object he become lightheaded and has to pop Lifesavers by the roll.

Dead to Me is a fun urban fantasy with a little bit of light horror thrown in for good measure. I think Simon would be good friends with Harry Dresden once he figured out that Harry really wasn't into black magic. Anton Strout is witty and sarcastic, but his writing also has heart. He makes us feel protective of Simon, cheering him, cringing for him when he makes mistakes and getting angry when someone hurts him. He also makes us want to read his other two books to find out what happens in Simon's life now that he's a bit more broken in on the paranormal investigative front. The second book, Deader Still, is already out, and the third book, Dead Matter is coming out on February 23rd.

You can learn more about Anton Strout and Simon here:


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Spider's Bite: Review & Giveaway

Spider's Bite
Elemental Assassin Book #1
Author: Jennifer Estep
Mass Market Paperback: 432 pages
Publisher: Pocket
Available at Indie Bound, Powells, Barnes & Noble

Summary: The Elemental Assassin series focuses on Gin Blanco, an assassin codenamed the Spider who can control the elements of Ice and Stone. When she’s not busy killing people and righting wrongs, Gin runs a barbecue restaurant called the Pork Pit in the fictional southern metropolis of Ashland. The city is also home to giants, dwarves, vampires, and elementals – Air, Fire, Ice, and Stone.

I received Spider's Bite from the publisher for review and as part of the blog tour, but I had been reading really good things about the book and the author before that, so I was thrilled to take part. It's the first of the Elemental Assassin series, which is a gritty, urban fantasy with some very interesting elements. First off, the main character, Gin, is a stone elemental, an assassin and a mighty fine cook. Yes, Gin has taken culinary classes at the local college for years, when she's not knocking off bad guys. I loved this aspect of the character, especially in a darker urban fantasy. Here is an example:

...I had two turkey-and-Gouda sandwiches on chewy pumpernickel bread. I added a kosher pickle and a couple of baby carrots to each plate, along with some double chocolate chip cookies. Color and presentation were the key when it came to food preparation.

Now, the contrast between that scene and this one is amazing:

I flicked my wrist, and the sharp point of the screw zipped across the room and sank into her throat, puncturing her windpipe. Ace. Evelyn's scream turned into a whistling wheeze.

Gin is not a sociopath. She has rules that she lives by; she doesn't kill the good guys, she never tortures, even when they deserve it. The cooking makes sense to me. Gin needs something in her life that is normal, plus I think it's a way of comforting not only herself, but the people she loves.

Spider's Bite is not a romance; it's dark and it's gritty with a fairly rough sex scene. I love complex heroines who kick butt, and Gin fits the bill. If you are a fan of Caitlin Kittredge, Marjorie M. Liu or Kelly Gay then you will love Jennifer Estep.

You can read a prequel short story from the author for free here:

Leave me a comment with an answer to this question: Do you like your urban fantasy where the heroine has a happy relationship by the end of the book, or are you okay with her struggling with romance?

If you don't have an email connected with your Google profile please leave me one in the comments. The contest will end February 28th, 2010 and I'll announce the winner on Monday.


Tuesday, February 16, 2010

It Came. I Read. I Reviewed

First Drop of Crimson
Night Huntress World, Book 1
Author: Jeaniene Frost
Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Avon
Available at Indie Bound, Powells, Barnes & Noble

First Drop of Crimson (hereafter known as FDOC) has been talked about and anticipated since last summer when many of us read an except from the author. As the release date got closer, and ARCs started showing up, we heard even more about the book. I decided not to read any reviews or excerpts other than that first chapter. I love the author's books, and I didn't want to jump the gun on reading FDOC from start to finish with only my own opinion in my head. However, I did start to hear raves and even grumbles on Twitter. My copy came while I was out of town. I started reading it yesterday, finishing it this afternoon.

Right off the bat, I will say I loved it. Did I love it as much as her other books? Not quite, but only because it was a different type of romance. I would give her other books all a 5, and give FDOC a 4. However, I'm willing to bet than when I reread it in a few months I will love it a bit more. It's going on the shelf with my other five Jeaniene Frost books, right after the fifth one. To me, they should be read in order to really appreciate the characters and what they've been through.

FDOC is a paranormal romance, though a bit gritty, to me, it's more of a love story than an urban fantasy. I think this is due to the characters personalities. Spade, the hero, has been in all five of the Night Huntress books. I think of him as the loyal friend, the calming influence when everyone around him is chomping at the bit, or fighting tooth and nail. He comes in and says "Wait a minute, let's talk this out." His loyalty to Bones and Cat is NEVER questioned because he never gives them reason to question. He's also not a "bad boy" like the other vampires in the Night Huntress books. He was strong, smart, and loyal before he was turned and remained that way afterwards. I find him incredibly sexy.

Denise is Cat's best friend, and a human. She's also loyal, smart and strong, though she doesn't feel that way when the book begins. I love her character with her "human" traits. She's thrifty, has common sense, doesn't want to "owe" anyone. She has panic attacks after a horrendous experience where her husband is killed, and she's been mourning for a year when she discovers she needs Spade's help.

Their story is not as intense as the ongoing story of Bones and Cat, or some others I've read, but I think it's romantic and sweet, despite the danger. To me, it's a story of healing, of acceptance, and love wrapped up in a kick-ass plot with demons and vampires. While it's not an erotic story per se, there are steamy scenes that made me sweat and others that made my heart swell.

I have to comment on how the author kept this story within the Night Huntress world. I wondered when reading if she would have Denise and Spade handle their situation solo, not involving their friends. I don't want to give any spoilers, but she handled it in such a cool way that I wanted to stand up and clap my hands like a little kid. Let's just say, Cat and Bones, always called on their friends when they needed help and they weren't about to let their two best friends go it alone. This really made the book extra fun for me since I love all the Night Huntress characters so much.

I truly loved FDOC. I loved that Ms. Frost kept Denise and Spade in character, not changing who they were just to spice it up or make the book more "hard core". I can't explain that as well as I'd like to, because there was spice, and it was steamy, but in a way that fit with the couple's personalities. I love them even more now, and can't wait to see what Spade and Denise do the next Night Huntress books.

To read my review of the other Night Huntress books go here:


Friday, February 12, 2010

Sentiments From the Dark Side

A little gothic themed Valentine's Love for my paranormal friends!

Take away love and our earth is a tomb. ~Robert Browning

Love makes your soul crawl out from its hiding place. ~Zora Neale Hurston

Soul meets soul on lovers' lips. ~Percy Bysshe Shelley

Keep love in your heart. A life without it is like a sunless garden when the flowers are dead.
~Oscar Wilde

I believe if I should die, and you were to walk near my grave, from the very depths of the earth I would hear your footsteps. ~Benito Perez Galdos

May your weekend be lovely:)


Review: Nightlife by Caitlin Kittredge

Night Life
Nocturne City, Book 1)
Author: Caitlin Kittredge
Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: St. Martin's Paperbacks (March 4, 2008)
Available at Indie Bound, Powells, Barnes & Noble

Summary: In the shadows of Nocturne City, witches lurk and werewolves prowl, and homicide detective Luna Wilder must keep the peace–while living life as a werewolf. Now bodies are turning up all over town, the brutal murders linked by a cryptic message: We see with empty eyes…

I bought Night Life as part of the NAC Mini-Challenge: League of Reluctant Adults from Literary Escapism. I had never red Caitlin Kittredge before, but had heard good things about her books. After reading a few chapters of Night Life I thought to myself "Hey, this could be Law and Order: Special Victims Unit but with werewolves, demons and witches!" However, I think it's much better than SVU due to the snarky main character Luna and the sexy Dmitri with his tough guy charm. He snuck up on me in the book for some reason. At first I didn't appreciate his sexiness, distracted by the serial killing psycho Luna is trying to find and stop. Once I did notice him things became much more interesting for me, and for Luna.

Night Life is a quick read, mostly because the action and plot twists kept me on the edge of my seat, as if putting the book down would somehow hinder Luna's investigation. The end, and especially the final showdown with the bad guy, is amazing with a plot twist I had not excepted.

As far as romance, this is not a Happily Ever After book, but it still made my heart ache for Luna. She's not a happy, "let's look at the positive" person like her sister Sunny, who is trying to influence her in that department. Luna is a good cop, a reluctant werewolf with issues, and a loyal friend. Her life is complicated, which is what makes her story a good read. Happy and simple may be awesome in real life when it's possible, but a good story it doesn't make.

I want to take a minute and address the reviews I saw on Amazon. I was really surprised to see people calling Luna "a bitch", "unlikeable" and yes, someone actually called her a "mean girl". First, I have to wonder if the reviewers truly read the book to the very end. Luna is tough, and yes, she is sarcastic and "in your face". It's a way of protecting herself from the realities of her job, her past and the horrendous murders taking place. The other thing that bothers me is that the book is clearly marketed as a gritty urban fantasy. This genre is not for everyone. I happen to love it, and do not think it would be in the least realistic to have the heroes and heroines too "nice" or too "understanding". Here is an example of Luna's "attitude". A fellow police officer has beaten up a kid when bringing him into the station, and has an attitude about Luna:

He reached around and patted me on the bottom. "Thank that sweet ass."
(skipping a few lines...)

"That's my trigger finger you got!" he yelped.

"Then you shouldn't have put it on my ass." I pinched harder. "I couldn't care less what you think of me. But for the record, I think you are a violent, incompetent psychopath who has no business being a police officer."

Personally, I think he got off light. The other characters in the book are varied; some are likable such as Sunny, Mac, and Dmitri, in my opinion. Some characters are distinctly unlikeable and I found each one had specific reasons for being that way.

If you are a fan of Lori Handeland, Vicki Petterssen, Marjorie M. Liu, Jeanne Stein or Ilona Andrews you will want to pick up the Nocturne City Novels. I will be reading the other three books in the series as soon as I can.


Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Review: Immortality Bites Series

Stakes & Stilettos
Tall, Dark & Fangsome
Author: Michelle Rowen
Publisher: Forever

Summary: Newly-vamped Sarah Dearly wants her normal life back, but fate is fighting against her. She tries to get a nice, regular job and gets staked at the interview, only to be rescued by a masked vampire who calls himself the Red Devil. Then a wallflower-turned-witch curses her, making her a bloodthirsty, sun-allergic nightwalker — the worst vampire there is. As if all that weren’t bad enough, she can’t get married because her 600-year-old boyfriend, Thierry, is in a centuries-long marriage of convenience he can’t escape.

I've had Stakes & Stilettos and Tall, Dark & Fangsome on my To Be Read shelf for a little while now after winning both copies in different contests. A sign, I think, that I was suppose to read Michelle Rowen's books. Sarah Darling is a wonderful, witty, charming character that I will miss since Tall, Dark & Fangsome wraps up her story. I'm wondering if the author will surprise us with a short story in the future. (We could probably beg and/or bribe her.)

The Immortality Bites books can be read on their own because the author gives a quick wrap-up at the beginning of each book. I had no problem starting within the series, reading books three and four. Sarah Darling is a new, reluctant vampire. Thierry is a very old vampire who is tired of his existence, or at least he was, until he met Sarah. Who knew you could meet your true love after 600 years? Sarah tries to see the good in everyone, which means she often trusts those who don't deserve her trust. This trait is part of what makes her so full of life, and so charming. I love that she is a regular gal who became a vampire. She has the same wants, doubts and problems that the rest of us do. She still has to deal with earning a living, facing her parents, and building a relationship.

Thierry, on the other hand, is a Master Vampire, who has lived a long, long, lonely life. People think he is cold, aloof and unemotional, but Sarah knows differently. I love their relationship and Thierry is incredibly sexy. He may not be aggressive in a traditional sense, but he simmers.

Michelle Rowen's writing is upbeat, witty and fun, but she can also keep her readers on the edge of their seats. I felt like I was with Sarah as she tried to keep her friends and Thierry safe, and I wanted to yell out "No, don't trust him!" "Run, Sarah, run!" I couldn't put either book down once I started reading.

Fans of contemporary as well as paranormal romance will really enjoy the Immortality Bites series, especially if you love humor with your romance. I will be adding the other books in the series to my reading list, as well as Michelle's new books. In a little side not, the books take place in Toronto where I went for my honeymoon 21 years ago. It was also where my husband proposed to me, and where we've vacationed since. I love Toronto and hopefully will be going back in the next few years.

This review is also part of the NAC Mini-Challenge: League of Reluctant Adults from Literary Escapism. You can visit Michelle's blog here.



Books & Contests Coming Up in February!

Today I received my copies of Spider's Bite by Jennifer Estep and Shadow Blade by Seressia Glass. I will be hosting blog tours with a giveaway this month for both books. I am really pumped about both tours, and the reading will commence tonight!

I also received a book order from Barnes and Noble today. The awesome UPS man braved the elements to walk up our snowy driveway. I should have held back on ordering but I wanted to make sure I helped Save Amanda Ferel (click to read about it!), so I ordered.

Happy Hour of the Damned by Mark Henry

Pride by Rachel Vincent

Steamed: A Steampunk Romance by Katie MacAlister

Night Life (Nocturne City Series #1) by Caitlin Kittredge

I will be reading and reviewing these this month. Night Life and Happy Hour of the Damned will be part of the NAC Mini-Challenge: League of Reluctant Adults I'm participating in. I also have Dead to Me by Anton Strout and The Nymphos of Rocky Flats by Mario Acevedo on their way for the challenge which is in February.

On the writing front, I'm working on a short story about a vampire and a woman who is a descendant of an Irish goddess. I have over 2,000 words written, and I'm working on it a little each day. I've been listening to Shinedown while writing which provides my inspiration for a tortured hero, which as we all know is very sexy.


Monday, February 8, 2010

Gentlemen Prefer Succubi Winner!

The winner of a copy of Gentlemen Prefer Succubi is:

Number 16: Anne J

Who said...

I like paranormal romance, and I much prefer when it is humorous too. That's one of the reasons I'm not a big Twilight fan, the books are too serious for me.

Congrats Anne!


Thursday, February 4, 2010

Saving Amanda Feral: Snarkiness Reigns

Perhaps you've seen mentions of Amanda around the blogosphere, perhaps not. If you hang around book bloggers, especially on Twitter, you most likely know the King of Snark, Mark Henry. Amanda is Mark's "insane zombie protagonist" from his book Happy Hour of the Damned, which has just been released this week in mass market paperback aka the cheaper version. Mark needs this version of Amanda's story to sell or her fourth book will never be published. Times are tough, and publishers are tougher.

Here is the blurb from Happy Hour of the Damned:

Donuts are deadly. One minute you’re getting your binge on, the next, you’re slipping on the box, cracking your skull, and in the weirdest turn of events, rising as a zombie. That’s just for starters. Now, the recently deceased Amanda Feral is trying to make her way through Seattle’s undead scene with style (mortuary-grade makeup, six inch stilettos, bangin’ Balenciaga handbag) while satisfying a craving for decent vodkatinis and the occasional human flesh—Don’t judge. And no, not like chicken.

Mark explains here (from his website) what the scoop is on his situation:

Lots of people bought and read the book, just not enough to make a dent in my advance, so that zombie chick right there has hit the skids (oddly enough the premise of the 3rd book revolves around a totally crappy lack of funds for poor Amanda), and by skids, I mean that her story might just come to an end with the third book, BATTLE OF THE NETWORK ZOMBIES (coming February 23rd).

You can read an R rated interview with Amanda at Wicked Pixie's blog here. However, don't come crying to me if you are scarred and traumatized by the interview. It's a Reader Beware kind of deal.

The writing and book community is awesome. Authors and bloggers help each other out through encouragement, reviews, contests and sales. We buy, and it supports are favorite authors. There are also some cool contests going on right now to help save Amanda. Check them out:

Mark Henry, the zombie man himself, has a contest for Amanda's second & third book:
Hurry and Stop by before Monday, February 8th

Emma Petersen has a very cool interview with Mark & a Give-away!
Ends February 7th, so hurry.

Dakota Cassidy is giving away book goodness to help out Mark:
Visit and enter before February 14th!

Stacia Kane is offering up some cool cover flats:
Visit her before February 16th.

Michelle Bardsley is having an awesome contest to support Mark!
Head on over before Monday, February 8th

I bought my copy from B&N, plus it's available from & Powell's and Amazon.. Enjoy the read and help out a great author!


Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Review: Madhouse by Rob Thurman

Author: Rob Thurman
Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Roc (February 26, 2008)
Available at: B&N, ABE & Powell's.

Series Summary: In New York, there's a troll under the Brooklyn Bridge, a boggle in Central Park, and a beautiful vampire in a penthouse on the Upper East Side. Of course, most humans are oblivious to this, but Cal Leandros is only half-human. His father's dark lineage is the stuff of nightmares-and he and his entire otherworldly race are after Cal.

I want want to mention that I've read the first two of Rob's Cal Leandros Series, Nightlife and Moonshine, plus I have a copy of Deathwish, signed by the author, waiting on my TBR shelf. The fifth book, Roadkill, comes out this March.

Rob Thurman is the Mistress of Sarcasm. Truly, she can sling the sarcasm hard enough to slice off an arm or leg. Madhouse is no exception, and her wit had me laughing to myself as I read. Here are a few quick examples from the book with the character who is thinking or saying it before the quote:

Cal: Niko was a teacher's assistant at NYU (pity the kid who walked late into one of his classes-decapitation is a big deterrent for tardiness.)

Goodfellow: Gods save us. I haven't seen an expression like that since Medusa went through Menopause.

Madhouse is a dark, gritty urban fantasy with, I think, a touch of horror. I love the relationship between Cal and Niko, the main characters in the book. They are brothers with different fathers, and a mean, uncaring drunk Gypsy mother, who's only lessons to the boys involved lying, stealing, and surviving. She had no redeeming qualities, but somehow Niko became everything Cal needed him to be, including father, mother, brother, teacher, and partner. The world they live in is dark and dangerous and they adapted, trusting no one but each other for many years. Then they met Goodfellow, an ancient, self-absorbed, complex and horny being called a puck. Promise, a beautiful and deadly vampire joins their group as well and now they have more to worry about then just themselves.

Madhouse is not a romance, though love, loyalty and friendship make appearances between fights. You have not seen or read about a true bar fight until it's between a drunk puck and an angel-like peri. Let's just say I envisioned a bloody goose down pillow fight.

Fans of Jim Butcher and Vicki Pattersson will love Cal and Niko. If you haven't read either of those authors try reading this deleted scene from Madhouse that the author posted on her blog. It doesn't giveaway anything and it's a cool example of the banter between Cal and Niko:


Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Review: Truly, Madly by Heather Webber

Truly, Madly
Author: Heather Webber
Publisher: St. Martin's, February 2010
Mass Market Paperback, 305 pages
Available at: B&N, ABE & Powell's.

Summary: Lucy doesn’t have the knack for matchmaking. According to family legend, every Valentine has been blessed by Cupid with the ability to read “auras” and pair up perfect couples. But not Lucy. Her skills were zapped away years ago in an electrical surge, and now all she can do is find lost objects. What good is that in the matchmaking world? You’d be surprised. In a city like Boston, everyone’s looking for something. So when Lucy locates a missing engagement ring—on a dead body—she asks the sexy private eye who works upstairs to help her solve the perfect crime. And who knows? Maybe she’ll find the perfect love while she’s at it…

I've been reading a lot of dark urban fantasy, which I love, but because I read so much I have to insert a cheerful, light read every now and then so I don't start growling at my family. I asked for an Advanced Reading Copy of Truly, Madly from Good Reads back in December because it sounded like a charming mystery romance. It truly is that, and more. Lucy Valentine, the main character, is witty, smart, and has a special gift that has made her feel like the odd woman out since she was a teenager. Her parents, and grandmother tend to make her life crazy, and we learn just how crazy in this delightful read.

The author's writing style is friendly and light, but not over the top or superficial. Truly, Madly is a mixture of mystery, romance, adventure, and humor. Though I wouldn't call it paranormal romance it does have a paranormal element. There are twists and turns throughout the book, and the ending was a surprise, which is always fun for me when I can't guess the mystery. Lucy's love interest, Sean, is a former fire fighter turned private investigator who doesn't want to share his past, but is drawn to Lucy, despite the mystery that also surrounds her. The scenes between them sizzle, even though they both hold back. Yes, it's a PG romance, but it's a good one!

Truly, Madly is the first in a series of Lucy Valentine novels, which I think will all be great reads. Ms. Webber's characters are full of life, and she makes readers want to learn more about them and their lives. Fans of romance and mystery will really enjoy Truly, Madly. It's the perfect novel to read this month, in honor of St. Valentine's Day and all that is love.

Definitely, Maybe- A Lucy Valentine Original Story by Heather Webber. (It's free!)

Enter to win a double heart Tiffany pendant, complete with the little blue box!



Monday, February 1, 2010

League of Reluctant Adults Challenge!

Yes, I'm jumping on the wagon late, but it IS before Midnight and it's still February 1st! I've been following The League of Reluctant Adults blog for quite awhile now and have been reading their books as fast as I possibly can since they are full of paranormal goodness. Today they added one of my favorite authors, Rob Thurman, to The League. I could no longer resist joining the NAC Mini-Challenge: League of Reluctant Adults from Literary Escapism. The challenge called out to me, and dared me to join in a snarky, yet somehow mesmerizing voice(within my mind, of course). "Join you freaking idiot, join! Or I shall rant and rave at you for an eternity or until you lose what little sanity you have left."
Here is the shortened scoop on the challenge, but you can get the details by clicking the above link at the challenge site:

The Challenge will run from February 1st through the 28th. All reviews must have a February 2010 date. The goal is to read up to 5 different authors from the list. (View Here) The idea is to try a new author (it is a New Author mini-challenge), however, if you’ve already read all 20 of them, you can still participant, but don’t re-read a novel. Try something new.

I will update the challenge on this post as I read the books.
I wonder if that voice will stop nagging me now?

(Reviews linked from the titles)
1. Madhouse by Rob Thurman
2. Immortality Bites Books by Michelle Rowen
3. Night Life (Nocturne City, Book 1) by Caitlin Kittredge
4. Dead to Me by Anton Strout
5. The Nymphos of Rocky Flats by Mario Acevedo
6. Greywalker by Kat Richardson


Congratulations to Our Contest Winners!

I determined the winners of the contests for a copy of Veracity and a copy of The Devil in Merrivale by using the random number generator at Below are the two winners, whom I have already emailed. Congratulations, and thanks to everyone for leaving your comments and suggestions!

Veracity Winner:

Melissa (My World) said...
I have to say I thought I would have to read all three of these books in High school when I got there. And to my surprise I didn't have to read even one of them. I was really surprised. I think they were starting to be part of the contraversy everyone talks about so the school stopped before a big deal was made of them.Although part of me wishes I did. This book does sound good!

(Please stop by and visit Melissa at her blog: My Words and Pages.)

The winner of the copy of The Devil in Merrivale:

E.J. Stevens said...
Great giveaway! My favorite mysteries as a kid were the Agatha Christie 'Miss Marple' books. I devoured them. (Everyone should visit E.J.'s wonderful blog From the Shadows!)