Thursday, May 27, 2010

Blog Tour & Contest: Captain Bonny Morgan

Captain Bonny Morgan:
The Cassandra Prophesy
by Robert “Doc” Gowdy
ISBN: 978-1-60047-397-5
Paperback (6x9): 480 pgs.

Called to action by a mysterious ancient Order—an ancient Order in cahoots with the Empress Flaccilla of the First Galactic Empire of Emperor Tulla—to help bring about the fulfillment of a long forgotten prophesy, the beautiful galactic pirate, Captain Bonny Morgan, sets out on her mission to successfully bring the prophesy to reality. By kidnapping the Empress’s daughter, Princess Cosette, Captain Morgan sets into motion an adventure awash in political intrigues, hidden agendas, unexpected revelations, and bold, daring gambits by those involved at every level of the conspiracy. Setting out to find her kidnapped sister, Princess Lysette, joined by her beautiful, mischievous, and extraordinary slavegirl, Tink, crisscrosses the galaxy in a bawdy, erotic, and often hilarious attempt to find Cosette. Along the way, Lysette and Tink fall in with a variety of extraordinary allies in their attempt to find Cosette, meeting the Lady Brit, Jon Black, Pirate Queen Colleen O’Malley, Gunns Mannigan, Buster O’Malley, the beautiful pirates Kana and Blaze, and Bully, the roguish owner of the pirate tavern, the Pretty Red.

I am giving away my copy of The Cassandra Prophesy to one lucky winner:) Leave a comment answering this question:

Do you read Science Fiction on a regular basis? If you do what book really sticks in your head as a "Hey, that could happen?". If you don't read Sci Fi, is there a reason?

The contest will end on June 6, 2010. Leave your email if it's not associated with your profile. The Contest is open to U.S. only.


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Kate & Curran Release Day

Kate Daniels Novels
Author: Ilona Andrews
Publisher: Ace

Series Order:
1. Magic Bites (2007)
2. Magic Burns (2008)
3. Magic Strikes (2009)
4. Magic Mourns(novella in Must Love Hellhounds)
5. Magic Bleeds. (2010)

Summary: Kate Daniels cleans up the paranormal problems no one else wants to deal with-especially if they involve Atlanta's shapeshifting community.

I'm sitting at my desk thumbing through the Kate Daniels Novels I have on my shelf. I've read them twice now, and today is the release of the fourth novel Magic Bleeds. When I picked up the first book in the series, Magic Bites, I didn't know anything about the author, the characters or the world. I was new to the Urban Fantasy genre and thought the book sounded interesting. Four books later and I'm a die hard fan of Ilona and Gordon, the couple who writes the Kate Daniels books. They inspire me as a writer and entertain me as a reader with the dark world of magic they've created.

To be truthful I knew I was going to love Kate Daniels after the first page of Magic Bites when she raises her eyebrow and bets a bottle of Boone's Farm Hard Lemonade that another bulletin was about to be announced on the radio, then she sarcastically cussed. I smiled and knew I'd love her. Later, the authors introduce Curran, the Beast Lord:

A single enormous paw moved into the moonlight, disturbing the dust on the filthy floor. Wicked claws shot forth and withdrew. A massive shoulder followed, its gray fur marked by faint smoky stripes.

Wow, as if that wasn't enough, The Beast Lord turns into an alpha male that makes the reader hold their breath. Don't get me wrong though, this is not a romance. Curran and Kate don't fall into each others arms, but the battle of wills between them is so gripping and intense that I couldn't put the book down when they were together.

I ordered the second book in the series, Magic Burns, as soon as I finished reading the first book. I read the third book, Magic Strikes, when it was released. This was all before I began blogging about books, and I'd never been to the authors' blog or website. Getting to know them has been so interesting as I read about the progress on the next book. Today is the release day of Magic Bleeds:

If you enjoy fast paced urban fantasy with a bit of sarcasm, kick ass heroines, action, and some romance thrown in, then you need to read the Kate Daniels books. They keep getting better with each one, and there are a total of seven contracted currently. Don't wait, pick up the series this week and catch up on the action. You won't be sorry.


Amazon Queen Blog Tour and Contest

Amazon Queen
Amazon, Book 2
Author: Lori Devoti
Mass Market Paperback: 375 pages
Publisher: Pocket
Available at Indie Bound, Powell's Books, Barnes & Noble and Amazon.

Summary: Amazon queen Zery Kostovska has never questioned tribe traditions. After all, these rules have kept the tribe strong for millennia and enabled them to live undetected, even in modern-day America. Zery is tough, fair, commanding–the perfect Amazon leader. At least, she was. A new high priestess with a penchant for secrecy and technology is threatening Zery’s rule. Plus, with the discovery of the Amazon sons, males with the same skills as their female counterparts, even Zery can’t deny that the tribe must change. But how?

I was sent a copy of Amazon Queen by the publisher, and hadn't read the first book, Amazon Ink. Both books revolve around the legend of the Amazon tribe, who worshipped Artemis, the goddess of the hunt, forests, and hills. I love the concept, and what the author has done with it. Zery is an interesting main character because she starts out a rigid keeper of Amazon traditions and laws, never questioning her leaders, until it involves the kidnapping of a child. Zery is the focus of the story, but the other characters really make this story a winner. Her interaction with the Amazon sons, women who have left the tribe, her warrior sisters, and the evil priestess make for a fast paced, action filled read.

Amazon Queen has some unexpected twists and turns, plus a bit of sexual tension that adds to the plot. If you enjoy Seressia Glass, Kat Richardson or Patricia Briggs you will enjoy Lori Devoti.

The publisher has once again graciously allowed me to give away one copy of Amazon Queen. The contest will end on Sunday, June 6th. Please answer the following question for me:

Do you enjoy when when authors use legends and myths as a basis for their book? Do you enjoy historical fantasy or romance more than an urban setting?

Please leave your email if it's not part of your profile. I will pick a winner randomly on June 7th and post the winner on the blog.



Monday, May 24, 2010

Cheat the Grave: Seeing the Big Picture

Cheat the Grave
Sign of the Zodiac, Book 5
Author: Vicki Pettersson
Mass Market Paperback: 368 pages
Publisher: Eos (May 25, 2010)
Available at Indie Bound, Powell's Books, Barnes & Noble and Amazon

Summary: Las Vegas socialite and otherwordly avenger Joanna Archer gave up everything when she embraced mortality—abandoning her powers and altering her destiny to save a child . . . and a city. Now her former allies are her enemies—and her enemies have nothing to fear.

Yet still she is bound to a prophecy that condemns her to roam a nightmare landscape that ordinary humans cannot see and dare not enter. And a beast is on her trail—an insane killer blinded by bloodlust, who's determined to rip much more from Joanna than merely her now-fragile life.

Cheat the Grave is the fifth book in Vicki Pettersson's Signs of the Zodiac, and I am totally in awe of her talent as a writer. It's obvious to me that Vicki has a plan. She knew what her characters were going to do, and she brought the reader along for the wild ride in the fight against evil in Las Vegas.

Vicki Pettersson has taught me a lesson as a reader: trust the authors we love. The fourth book in her series had a huge cliffhanger, which left me stunned and sad for Joanna, the main character. I thought about it, and realized that Vicki must have a plan, and I was not privy to the big picture she had in her mind for Joanna. I put the book aside, and waited. I ended up winning an ARC of Cheat the Grave, and was BLOWN AWAY by the turns in the plot, the new characters, and that "big picture" I mentioned.

There are times, especially with a dark fantasy series, that a reader has to trust the author and look at the series as a whole, rather than one book at a time. When things look bleak, and we fear the characters will never resolve things, we need to remember that the author has a plan. Cheat the Grave is a prime example of this.

Fans of the series will without a doubt LOVE Cheat the Grave. I'm sure many feel like I do, and have been sucked in by Ms. Pettersson's gripping story, her rich characters and the world of magic and mayhem she has created.

You could read Cheat the Grave as a stand alone, but I think the series as a whole is so thought provoking, creative and emotional that I can't imagine not having read all of the books. If you enjoy Marjorie M. Liu, Lori Handeland or Caitlin Kittredge you'll love Cheat the Grave and the other Sign of the Zodiac books.

The Scent of Shadows, the first book in the Signs of the Zodiac, can now be downloaded FREE for a limited time. Bonus material includes the first three chapters of the newest release. It's available for the Sony Reader, the Kindle, Barnes & Noble Nook and iPad.

Signs of the Zodiac:
1. The Scent of Shadows (2007)
2. The Taste of Night (2007)
3. The Touch of Twilight (2008)
4. City of Souls (2009)
5. Cheat the Grave (2010)

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Me, Angry Teen & My Cool Tee

This is my son Mike, who is having his 16th Birthday Party today. Oh, and that t-shirt I'm wearing is the tee I won from Ilona Andrews on her blog. They will have these t-shirts at their signing which is May 25, 2010 at Powell's Cedar Hill Bookstore in Portland, Oregon. Not only will Ilona and Gordon be there, but so will Devon Monk and Lilith Saintcrow. Good times will be had by all! If you go, please take pictures since I live across the country and won't be able to attend.

For those of you who are asking the question "Wow, she looks short, is she?" Yeah, I'm only 5 foot tall, and Mike has been taller than me for awhile now:) Also, his friends bought him that lovely t-shirt, not his mom.


Friday, May 21, 2010

Kick Ass Free Reads

There has been some really kick ass free reads from authors lately, so I thought I would do a wrap up post with links for those who may have missed them.

First off we have a short from Demonica author Larissa Ione that gives us a "now what happens?" called Demonica: Overkill; Snippets of Demonica Life. The first short is about Wraith and Serena and the next one will be about Luc and Kar. You'll find them here:
I loved Larissa's Demonica books and it's really neat that she is going to be sharing more on the characters as she has time. If you haven't read the books you WILL want to soon.

Next, one of my favorite authors, Jill Myles, who writes those rocking Succubus Diaries books, has a new short story entitled FOREPLAY that is a prequel to her books. You can download for free at the Simon & Schuster website. It’s available until June 18th so get it now here. You do have to register, but it's free:)

The Scent of Shadows by Vicki Pettersson is available free now on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. It comes with Bonus Material too. If you have not read Vicki's series, this is the PERFECT time to try it out. It's a dark urban fantasy. It's available for the Kindle here and it's also on Barnes & Noble.

Questing Beast is a free story from another of my favorite author teams, Ilona Andrews.

On a world far far away, where cute things eat computers and the sky is emerald green, a small team of scientists struggles to save the planet and their own careers by mixing genetic engineering and Arthurian legend. Too bad they had forgotten the first rule of planet exploration: Nature always has the last laugh.

You can download it on Smashwords.

"The Day of the Dead" is a short story from Karen Chance that was first published in the Mammoth Book of Vampire Romance and is now a free ebook. It features Tomas, a character from Touch the Dark (2006), the first Cassandra Palmer novel.

It's free for download on Smashwords.

I hope you enjoy these free reads. Be sure to download them as soon as you can because I've noticed they don't always stay available for long periods of time. Enjoy:)


Katie Salidas Blog Tour & Contest

Immortalis Carpe Noctem
Author: Katie Salidas
Paperback: 346 pages
Publisher: Rising Sign Books
Available at Amazon (also on Kindle)

SUMMARY: Bleeding to death after brutal mugging on the campus of UNLV, Twenty-five year old Alyssa, is rescued by the cold and aloof, vampire, Lysander. Taking pity on her, he shares the gift-and curse-of immortality. She awakens as a vampire and is soon devastated by harsh realities of her new way of life: the loss of her friends, her independence, and her humanity. Only by accepting her new-found immortality and seizing the night, will Alyssa hope to survive. She and Lysander will have to fight together against two sets of enemies bent on destroying them.

I received a copy of Immortalis Carpe Noctem as part of the author's blog tour this month. It has to be difficult for an author to come up with a different take on vampires now that there are so many books out there, but Katie Salidas did just that. Her main character, Alyssa, didn't know vampires existed and she certainly didn't choose to be turned into one after being attacked and stabbed by humans. Does she wake up loving her new body and the sudden hunger she can't quench? No, she doesn't and THAT makes sense.

How many of you have read novels about newly turned vamps and thought "Ewww...blood is the new Coke?" I understand the idea that vampires are predators and their instinct is to feed on blood, but I liked that Alyssa needed time to adjust. She didn't fall madly in love with her sire the minute he turned her, and he actually pissed her off more than he nurtured her. This made sense! He's VERY old, and his level of tolerance isn't what it used to be. I get that. Alyssa is young, she misses her friends, her favorite coffee hangout and her old life. I get that too.

Katie Salidas's characters are complex and real. They annoyed me at times, but made me smile too. Life isn't always black and white. Things are not always what they seem, and I like that this is reflected in her characters. Immortalis Carpe Noctem is a darker paranormal romance that doesn't give the reader fairytale vampires that instantly fall in love. Loyalty, love and friendship are things to be earned in a world where truth is not always easy, and trust should not be given lightly.

A Las Vegas native, having grown up in the famed City of Sin, Katie loves to feature it as a recurring setting for many of her stories. You can find Katie at her blog, My Immortal Stories.

The author has graciously offered to allow me to give away a signed copy of her book to one visitor that is a U.S. resident. My question for you is this:

What is your favorite vampire book and why?

Leave your email if it's not part of your profile, and I will pick a random winner on May 28th, 2010. This contest is open for those of you in the US only.


Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Play Dead: Zombies & Unexpected Heroes

Play Dead
Author: Ryan Brown
Hardcover: 344 pages
Publisher: Gallery
First Edition edition (May 4, 2010)
Available from Amazon

Summary: For the first time in Killington High School history, the Jackrabbits football team is one win away from the district championship where it will face its most vicious rival, the Elmwood Heights Badgers. On the way to the game, the Jackrabbits’s bus plunges into a river, killing every player except for bad-boy quarterback Cole Logan who is certain the crash was no accident—given that Cole himself was severely injured in a brutal attack by three ski-masked men earlier that day. Bent on payback, Cole turns to a mysterious fan skilled in black magic to resurrect his teammates.

I received Play Dead as part of the book tour and contest I'm hosting today. Zombies. People either love 'em or hate 'em, depending on the book or movie. I like my zombies with a good dose of humor and suspense. Anyone can write about the undead munching on humans, but it's the creative minds that add a bit more to the mix. Ryan Brown had an idea, and he ran with it, much like a quarterback runs with his beloved football. Play Dead takes the hardcore high school football players, fans, and boosters and poses the question: What will some people do to WIN?

Simon & Schuster quotes Ryan Brown as saying:
"I considered what type of 'monsters' could actually be competitive against the most juiced-up football team I could imagine? Why, zombies of course. I really got excited about the idea of a zombie football team being the good guys...the team to cheer for."

I love that the author starts out with competitive craziness and pranks that go wrong, moves on to the black humor of zombies, then builds to the suspense and horror of a town in danger. I loved the humor, but also appreciated the author making us think about competition and doing anything for the big win. How far is too far?

Mr. Brown threw in some high school romance, teenage angst, abusive parenting, irony and a lesson about "playing God" in our own and other's lives, which made Play Dead much more than a typical zombie story. He attended high school in Texas, which I think really comes through in the book as he describes the town and it's residents in this book.

I really enjoyed Play Dead and would recommend it to fans of Dean Koontz and Stephen King. It's a faced paced thriller with shades of horror. Though the plot involves high school teenagers, the book is pretty gritty, including the language. I would let a mature 16 or 17 year old read the book. They've heard it all at that point in their life as far as language.

The publisher has graciously allowed me to give away one hardbound copy of Play Dead. As usual, I'll ask a question, and you use your comment to answer the question as your entry. Leave your email if it's not in your profile or blog link. I will pick a random winner on June 1st, 2010 and post it on the blog.

Question: Do you have a favorite zombie book or movie? What is it, or why don't you have one?

Zombieland is my favorite movie because I really need humor to offset the grossness of zombies. They are truly gross!



Monday, May 17, 2010

RIP: Ronnie James Dio

Ronnie James Dio's voice, no matter what the song, always conjurs up magic, swords and epic fantasy when I hear him sing. Sadly, he passed away yesterday, after battling cancer.

Message from Wendy Dio from their website ( ):
Today my heart is broken, Ronnie passed away at 7:45am 16th May. Many, many friends and family were able to say their private good-byes before he peacefully passed away. Ronnie knew how much he was loved by all. We so appreciate the love and support that you have all given us. Please give us a few days of privacy to deal with this terrible loss. Please know he loved you all and his music will live on forever. ~Wendy Dio

You can leave messages on their facebook page here.

Man on the Silver Mountain is one of my favorites:

My thoughts are with Ronnie James Dio's family and friends. May his music live on forever.


Sunday, May 16, 2010

The World of Red Rock Pass & Moira Rogers

Sanctuary (Red Rock Pass)
#1 Cry Sanctuary
#2 Sanctuary Lost
Author: Moira Rogers
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Available in Print or e-book

I requested Sanctuary for review to start off the series, so I'll review the two books within that edition first. Cry Sanctuary starts off with a bang as tough werewolf Keith Winston is sent to pick up two werewolves who have escaped a sadistic alpha to ask for sanctuary at Red Rock Pass. He's returned from fighting in a war between werewolves and wizards in Europe and is ready for a break from the mayhem. Abby, and her friend Dylan need more than just sanctuary. Abby was turned into a wolf but has never been taught how to handle the new life she was forced into. Dylan has been living in fear for ten years under the alpha who turned her, but knew he had to get her out no matter what the consequences.

The first book was an introduction for me to the Red Rock Pass world and it's characters. I love were fantasy, and dived right into this first novella. The characters grew on me the farther I got into the book. The wolves are tough, but they are fair and protective of those who need it. Keith goes out of his way to make sure Abby knows what she is getting into and though I loved the gentleman in him, I also wanted to smack him and force him get with the program. I certainly could see she needed him, why couldn't he? Yes, I was a little bit wrapped up in the book.

I wasn't sure if the series would focus more on the romance or if there would be some adventure and action. The authors gave the reader just enough of both. The action was fast paced and exciting. The romance was steamy and fit in with the story. I loved the first book, and read the second one immediately.

Sanctuary Lost is a continuation of the first book, but focused more on Abby's sister Brynn. However, we also get to know Abby and Keith better, and the other characters in the Red Rock Pass world. I don't want to give spoilers to the first book so I can't say too much about the plot, except that I thought this second book really brought the world and the characters alive for me. It sucked me in further to where I couldn't wait to finish because I knew there were more books waiting for me in the series.

I thought I'd take a minute and talk a little bit about the males in the first two books. They are sexy, but a little on the rough side. Intelligent, but men of action, rather than words. They are loyal, passionate, and they talk A LOT during sex. A lot. After I got used to it, I thought it was rather endearing and sexy. I've been married 20 years, and for 15 of those we've had kids. Talking is usually not an option when kids are in the house, at night, when it's quiet, and they are sleeping... if you have kids I know you are picking up my meaning. Ahem...back to the book...I loved the males of Red Rock Pass. Joe, who we get to know in the second book, is former military and likes to blow things up. He's cocky, sarcastic and one of my favorite characters.

I finished Sanctuary, and it left me wanting more. The first thing I did was go to the authors' website and download the two free short stories in the Red Rock Pass series. You can find them here.

Becoming (Red Rock Pass #0) takes place 40 years before the first Sanctuary novella. It's the story of Samantha and Gavin when they first meet. I recommend you read this AFTER the first two books like I did because you get to know the older Sam and Gavin first and can appreciate their back story SO much more. I loved the insight into their characters. Oh, and we also meet a very young Keith, which was so cool.

The Little Things (Red Rock Pass #1.5) is a two part story. The first part takes place 40 years ago as Gavin and Samantha continue to get to know each other with little Keith's help. The second part is a sweet story of the lesson Keith learned so long ago from Gavin as he settles in with Abby.

I loved both of these stories and highly recommend they are read between books 2 and 3 in the series.

Sanctuary's Price
(Red Rock Pass #3)

This weekend I bought Sanctuary's Price, Book 3 in the series, and it was outstanding. I'd gotten to know Dylan, and later Sasha, in the other books. Perhaps I enjoyed this book so much because I felt as if I knew both characters and wanted good things to happen for them. Whatever the reason, I think this is my favorite book in the series.

Dylan has lived from day to day, only thinking of survival for ten years since he was turned into a werewolf. He doesn't consider himself strong or brave like so many people have claimed he is. Sasha watched her mentor die, and has been frightened since that day, never knowing if she would be next. Dylan is one of the only people she feels safe with, but they are both so broken, they may not be able to get past their trauma.

Not everyone in a werewolf pack can be an alpha, or an enforcer, but that doesn't mean they don't have a place or a purpose. I loved that the authors examined this idea through Dylan and Sasha's story. Dylan is smart, loyal and sexy. Sasha is compassionate and much stronger than she realizes. I loved the interaction between them romantically, and as they fought for each other and their friends.

We get to see more of Brynn and Joe in this book, which I really enjoyed. The book also introduces a couple of new characters, including a smart ass vampire who's been hiding out in the woods for a very long time. His story is next, and I already have the book preordered. Sanctuary Unbound, Book 4, comes out June 1st, 2010.

Moira Rogers is actually a pen name for Bree and Donna, two friends and co-writers who live in the Deep South. I think their books reflect a Southern kind of charm, wit and humor. I truly enjoy their style of writing, and will continue to read, not just the Red Rock Pass books, but their other series as well.

If you enjoy Patrica Briggs I think you will enjoy the Sanctuary series. Yes, it has more sex, but it also has alpha wolves, strong female heroines, magic, kick butt fight scenes and characters that keep the reader coming back for more. You can visit the authors at


Saturday, May 15, 2010

Musical Muse: The Black Parade

My Chemical Romance is one of my favorite bands for so many reasons. First, they are theatrical, creative and passionate. The Black Parade CD was a concept album where the guys WERE a band called The Black Parade, and their live show was built around that theme. The songs are about death, life and sickness. The video below, Welcome to the Black Parade, never gets old. I love the details, the photography and look at those characters...I swear I could write a short story about each one of them!


Thursday, May 13, 2010

Where I Write, Review & Tweet

Last weekend I grabbed my kids and made them help me transform a corner of the dining room area into a work space. That is my free purple desk with my trusty laptop and my Kindle. On the desk I have the books I'm reading for blog tours, various moons I've collected, a wax melt burner (lavender vanilla is the current scent) and flowers from my husband. I put up a cork board to hold a calendar, assorted swag from cool people, notes and a Mother's Day card from my daughter. I have more things to add to the board this week.

To the right is my To Be Read Bookshelf. That isn't all the books because I have some fantasy and science fiction in my bedroom as well, but let's not go there. The bottom part of the shelf with the doors is where I'm keeping the books for my Summer Reading Give-Away, which has yet to be named. It will start July 1st after our family vacation to Florida in June. I'm excited because I have some really cool books to share with everyone.

Lastly, on the top of the bookshelf is my miniature fairy tea set and a tea for two set from j. willfred. It's one of my favorites. I bought it when my daughter was small and we started having tea parties. I've been collecting tea sets in all sizes and patterns for about ten years now, maybe a little longer. I've written articles on afternoon tea traditions, children's tea parties, herbal tea and Irish tea time over the years.

I thought you all might enjoy a peek at my writing space, especially now that I've revamped it.


Action & Romance from Kait Nolan

Forsaken By Shadow
First in the Mirus series
Author: Kait Nolan
Novella, Kindle Edition
Publisher: Smashwords, Inc.
Author's Website

Summary: Banished from their world with his memory wiped, Cade Shepherd doesn’t remember his life as Gage Dempsey, nor the woman he nearly died for. But when Embry Hollister’s father is kidnapped by military scientists, the only one she can turn to is the love from her past. Will Gage remember the Shadow Walker skills he learned from her father? If they survive, will Embry be able to walk away again?

I bought Forsaken by Shadow because I'd been following the author on Twitter, and thought it sounded like an interesting read. I wasn't disappointed in Kait Nolan's urban fantasy novella. It's the first in her Mirus series, which I hope to see more of very soon. I love her writing. Her heroine is strong, compassionate, and has some mad fighting skills. The hero, Gage, is equally as interesting and passionate. The group of paranormal characters we are introduced to in this first book make me want her to finish the second book in record time. Ms. Nolan has given readers an awesome mix of romance, magic and adventure in her first book.

The action scenes in Forsaken by Shadow are gripping and fast paced. They had me holding my breath for the characters as they fought for survival. More importantly, Ms. Nolan had me WANTING them all to live and be safe. She has a talent for involving the reader in the lives of her characters, even though we've just met them. She makes us care about them, and the outcome of their struggles.

Forsaken by Shadow is a paranormal romance but also an urban fantasy. Kait Nolan has created a world that is fascinating, magical and dangerous. If you enjoy Jennifer Rardin, Shannon K. Butcher, or Devon Monk you'll really enjoy Forsaken by Shadow.

You can find the novella at Amazon, and Barnes & Noble.


Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Romance Review: The Demon in Me

The Demon in Me
Living in Eden, Book #1
Author: Michelle Rowen
Publisher: Berkley Sensation
Paperback: 352 pages
Available at: Amazon, Indie Bound, Powell's Books, Barnes & Noble

Summary: After her hunky police detective partner guns down a serial killer in front of her, "psychic consultant" Eden Riley realizes that she's no longer alone. A voice in her head introduces himself as Darrak. He's a demon. But not in a bad way. He was cursed 300 years ago and he wants to find a way to break free. Eden's psychic energy helps him take form during daylight, and she's going to have to learn to live with this sexy it or not.

I bought The Demon in Me the week it was released because I loved the author's other books, and couldn't wait to read the first book in her new series. I was not disappointed. I can't tell you how many times I laughed out loud while reading this book. However, it's not all laughs. There is suspense, a little mystery, action, romance and Ms. Rowen even had me thinking philosophically about the nature of good and evil. She rocks like that.

Eden, the main character, is a psychic who doubts her abilities, which are sporadic at best. She simply wants to make a living at something, and takes what comes, even if she doesn't know if or when she'll be able to sense things. I loved Eden. I pictured her as giving off a spunky vibe, but in reality, being sort of doom and gloom, not really expecting good things to happen to her. She's a loner and enjoys her privacy, which makes it all the more hysterical when she ends up with Darrak in her life and sharing her body. On first impression, Darrak reminds me of a frat guy who just got a "Get Out of Jail Free" card after 300 years. He's ready to chat, snack and cop a feel. We find out there is much more to Darrak as the book goes along, but I'll save that for you to discover when you read the book.

The Demon in Me is paranormal romance at it's best. It's an excellent first book in a series that I hope will continue through many books. The author introduces us to some great side characters, and gives us plenty of surprises in this book to keep us guessing and clamouring for the next book. I love paranormal romance that has a good dose of humor without being silly. Michelle Rowen's writing always makes me smile, but at the same time touches my heart.

If you enjoy reading Angie Fox and Jill Myles you'll love The Demon in Me. The second book in the series, Something Wicked will be released in October 2010.



Kitties Dance for the Winner of Firefly Rain!

I used the handy random number generator to choose a winner for Firefly Rain by Richard Dansky.

Cheryl was #27 and the winner! Here is what she said about her choice of scariest movie:

When I was in high school I watched Nightmare on Elm street and that was so scary. Me and my friend wouldn't let each other go to sleep.

You can visit Cheryl at her book blog The Books I Read!


Monday, May 10, 2010

Terry Goodkind & The Sword of Truth

I was catching up on my emails today and the Tor newsletter came in. It seems Terry Goodkind has returned to the company for a three book deal. This is VERY good news! Here is the scoop from Tor:

New York, NY – Monday, April 19, 2010Tor Books is proud to announce the return of New York Times bestselling author Terry Goodkind to their list. The first book in the 3-book deal will be a new Richard and Kahlan novel, due in early 2011. Richard and Kahlan are the principle characters from his previous New York Times bestselling books.

Have you read the Sword of Truth books? I've read and own all 12 books in the series, and it's hands down one of the most awesome fantasy series I've ever read. It's not just a story about Richard and Kahlan, though it is in essence their story, it's a story of hope, loss and victory. Terry Goodkind takes the reader to some very dark places where his characters face death, torture, betrayal and more. I'm not sure how to explain the series because it's so complex, for lack of a better word. Let me try to make a list of the things that stood out to me as a reader:

Love: Richard and Kahlan's love story is heart wrenching, romantic, steamy, and intense. Their love is a power in itself.

Action: The action scenes in the series are kick-ass, take no prisoners fights that involve swords, knives, magical weapons and magic.

The Bad Guys: Darken Rahl is only the beginning, and he is a baby in the evil department compared to the next bad guy. We are talking serious, dark, evil that can never be redeemed.

The Pace: The books are fast paced, especially for an epic fantasy series with so much going on. There will be no skimming of pages in this series. None.

There are so many thought provoking themes in this series. Should each individual make their own decisions, or are there those who have the wisdom to make them for us? Do we blindly follow those who are in authority, or do we question, and follow our own heart? Are people worth redeeming? Can love conquer evil? The themes actually go much deeper than this, but this gives you an idea.

These are the book in the Sword of Truth Series and they should be read in order. The only exception is the Debt of Bones, which is a prequel featuring Zedd as a young man. To really enjoy this novella you need to get to know Zedd first so you can appreciate him as a young man.

Sword of Truth Series
Debt of Bones (2001)(Zedd prequel)
1. Wizard's First Rule (1994)
2. Stone of Tears (1995)
3. Blood of the Fold (1996)
4. Temple of the Winds (1997)
5. Soul of the Fire (1999)
6. Faith of the Fallen (2000)
7. The Pillars of Creation (2001)
8. Naked Empire (2003)
9. Chainfire (2005)
10. Phantom (2006)
11. Confessor (2007)

The Legend of the Seeker series is currently in the midst of season two, and is slated to be cancelled. The fans have rallied and are attempting to keep it on the air, hoping someone else will pick it up or the network will change their mind. The fan forum and website, Legend of the has a special section with updates, and things fans can do to express their feelings about the show. Visit The Renewal Warwagon to find out more.

I love the television series, but I think of it more as Cliffs Notes for the books. The characters are JUST as I picture them in my mind, except for Zedd, who I thought would be shorter:) To see the book come alive on the screen is exciting, even with the changes made to the story. Mostly the changes seem to be made so the main characters don't have to be separated, other than for short periods of time. In the books, they go long stretches where they are in different locations for various reasons. Still, I would love to see the series continue as long as Hercules or Xena did when they were in syndication.

If you haven't read the books, please grab the first one,Wizard's First Rule, and read the story of Kahlan, Richard and Zedd from the beginning. You won't be sorry.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Blog Tour & Review: Blood Soup

A tale of murder, betrayal and comeuppance.

King Theodicar of Borgund needed an heir. When his wife, Queen Piacenza, became pregnant, he’d hoped for a boy. His wife, along with her nurse, Salvagia, knew it wouldn’t be so: with each cast of the runes, Salvagia’s trusted divination tools yielded the same message: “A girl child must rule or the kingdom will fall to ruin.” The women were convinced that the child would be a girl.

When the queen finally gives birth, the nurse and the king are equally surprised. The king is faced with a terrible choice, and his decision will determine the fate of his kingdom. Will he choose wisely, or will he doom Borgund to ruin?

Kelly A. Harmon used to write truthful, honest stories about authors and thespians, senators and statesmen, movie stars and murderers. Now she writes lies, which is infinitely more satisfying, but lacks the convenience of doorstep delivery, especially on rainy days.

Kelly graciously allowed me to ask her a few questions, which I missed in my email program earlier. I'm adding them to post this evening. Please ignore my red face, and the noise of me smacking myself in the head. Thank you:)

Kelly, our backgrounds are similar with a degree in journalism and newspaper writing, so I wanted to ask you about fiction vs. nonfiction. Do you feel working on newspapers helped you with the research aspect of fiction writing? Was the transition from nonfiction to fiction writing difficult?

I don’t think my newspaper experience helped me at all with writing fantasy…but it probably could have.

When I worked for papers, I mostly covered city hall (town meetings, elections, etc.) and the police beat (break-ins, murder, etc.) There’s not really a need there for research.

Perhaps if I’d been doing more investigative journalism, in which I had to actually do a lot of research before sitting down and writing (as opposed to getting documents from the courthouse or interviewing people) than I would have answered differently.

Of course, the interviewing part was helpful. Once you call up the husband of a murdered wife and ask him how he feels about his wife’s murder (as if you couldn’t imagine) you can ask anyone just about anything without flinching. It doesn’t get much worse than that.

So, I don’t have a problem asking questions when I need answers about something.

I didn’t find the transition from non-fiction difficult at all. Perhaps it’s because I continued to write fiction even while I worked at the newspapers. I did have to be alert to what I was writing: there were times when the dialogue in my stories started sounding a little like the “Just the facts, ma’am,” and I had to add more detail and more character point of view. But that kind of stuff is easily caught on the re-write.

What do enjoy about writing in the medieval time period?

The medieval time period lends itself perfectly to fantasy. It’s like having your world mostly created for you. I guess that means I like it because it’s easy.

I’ve written some fantasy in other time periods, in other worlds, like my story “On the Path” which takes place in China, and for which I had to do a lot of research. I spent time researching China’s history, paper, Chinese religions, costume, etc. for a short story. I would rather have spent that time writing.

For me, the medieval time period is something I know, and I don’t have to worry too much about the details. (Unfortunately, when the details are important to the story, I can spend days doing research.)

Were there any scenes in Blood Soup that gave you trouble during the writing?

I had trouble with the birth scene. Queen Piacenza labors all day to give birth to a breeched baby. I describe the steps her nurse takes to turn the child.

It’s graphic, and I wasn’t certain how graphic I should make it. So, I wrote the scene as it came to me, and figured I could cut anything which might be offensive in the rewrite. In the end, the scene remained in tact. I omitted nothing.

Ironic, because it’s usually the scene I read whenever I get an opportunity to do so. I think it’s the most powerful one in the book.

Do you have a favorite medieval or fantasy movie?

Doesn’t everybody? Get ready for the groans: my favorite is Ladyhawke, starring Rutger Hauer, Michelle Pfeiffer and Matthew Broderick . It’s the only movie that I actually own a copy of.

I love the scenery of the Italian country side. They filmed in real castles, which lends it such authenticity.

Ladyhawke is the quintessential fantasy: A handsome knight, his beautiful lady, a wicked curse and a prophesy which sets them free. And, it’s got a great love story to boot. What’s memorable about the movie is the character development: the relationship which evolves between Philippe, Captain Etienne of Navarre and Isabeau d'Anjou is well done; it’s believable. Navarre and Isabeau’s love for each other is a near tangible thing.

Thanks Kelly!

Thanks for having me. This was a lot of fun.

I have to say that I also loved Lady Hawke, so Kelly is not alone in her love of it:)

REVIEW: Blood Soup
Author: Kelly A. Harmon
Publisher: Eternal Press
Kindle e-book/Paperback: 84 pages

I was sent the ebook of Blood Soup as part of today's blog tour, and wasn't quite sure what to expect, but the title was intriguing. I've read medieval fantasy since college, starting with J.R. Tolkien and Peter S. Beagle, moving on to both dark fantasy and lighter books such as Terry Brook's Shannara series. Blood Soup is a medieval dark fantasy novella. The author's writing reflects the darkness of the time period where political interests took precedence over love and family. Marriages were made to benefit kingdoms. Babies were born out of the need for a proper heir to the throne.

This story is one of choices and consequences. One king makes a horrible choice, and has to live with the consequences of that choice until his death over 20 years later. Ms. Harmon has a captivating writing style. She sweeps the reader along as she shows us the circumstances surrounding the king's choice. She horrifies the reader with the cruel consequences of that choice. Lastly, I thought she did an amazing job at giving us a glimpse of what it means to live out one's life watching the ripples of one horrible decision.

Fans of dark medieval fantasy and political intrique will enjoy the thought provoking Blood Soup. Find out more about Kelly on her website. You can read an excerpt here.

If you leave a comment on this post you'll be entered to win a $25 Amazon or gift certificate with all of the blog tour visitors from the participating blogs. Comment once and be sure to leave your email if it's not part of your profile. I'll announce the winner as soon as it's announced.


Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Chaos Bites... Everyone But the Reader

Chaos Bites
Phoenix Chronicles Novel
Author: Lori Handeland
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Mass Market 352 pages
Available at Indie Bound, Powell's Books, Barnes & Noble

Summary: Though Liz Phoenix won the last battle, she's losing the supernatural war and chaos is the result. On the road again, this time with a teenager and a baby that was dropped on her doorstep, Liz is in desperate need of help. She goes to former lover Jimmy Sanducci and together they work to make things right. Of course, with chaos reigning and the loss of too many allies, nothing may ever be right again.

I picked up Chaos Bites the day it was released because I'm addicted to The Phoenix Chronicles. The characters are gritty, imperfect, and often sarcastic, but they work towards the same goal of trying to save the world. For me, the entire series has a theme of sacrifice. What will you do for love? What will you sacrifice to save the world? How much is too much? Liz Phoenix may be the leader of the light with powers beyond imagination but she still has the needs we all do: to be loved and to love in return.

My review of the series is here. Chaos Bites is the fourth book in the series. We meet a few new characters, some good, some evil. The series, and this book is dark fantasy and is not for everyone. The author takes us to places that are uncomfortable, including one scene involving sex that mimics rape. I personally thought she handled it very well within the context of the plot and what needed to be done. I'm sure others would disagree. Heroes are not perfect. They make decisions based on many things, and sometimes they make mistakes, then they pay the consequences. I love dark fantasy, especially when it's as thought provoking as Lori Handelan's books.

Chaos Bites isn't all doom and gloom, however. We meet new characters that reveal much about our heroine and her sidekicks. I'm not going to give spoilers, but I laughed out loud during the first few chapters more times than I can count. Luther, a young shapeshifter is such a cool character. I love his wit and the fact that he's a big ole shapeshifter hidden in a teenager's body with all the angst that goes along with being young. Megan, Liz's human friend, is her usual tough self, calling them as she sees them like no one else can. I love her character too, as well as her gargoyle/bartender guardian Quinn. Sawyer and Jimmy are once again making Liz miserable and aroused at the same time. Even in death Sawyer reaches out to her.

Yes, the author left us with quite a cliff hanger. Somehow though I find myself having faith that it will all work out in the end. Liz and her friends will find a way to save the day. Again.



Winner of Jane Slayre

The winner of a copy of Jane Slayre by Sherri Browning Erwin and
Charlotte Bronte is:

susan, who said...
I've never read a mash up book but would like to try one.

Congratulations Susan!


Saturday, May 1, 2010

Elemental Assassin Goodness

I reviewed Spider's Bite by Jennifer Estep back in February (read here), and loved the book, and the main character Gin Blanco. I'm excited that the second and third books in the series will BOTH be released in 2010, and the author has written TWO more short stories that she is sharing for free on her website.

Web of Lies, the sec­ond book in the Ele­men­tal Assas­sin series, will be released on May 25. Below is the summary for Web of Lies:

You might know me as the Spider, the most feared assassin in the South. I’m retired now, but trouble still has a way of finding me. Like the other day when two punks tried to rob my popular barbecue joint, the Pork Pit. Then there was the barrage of gunfire on the restaurant. Only, for once, those kill shots weren’t aimed at me. They were meant for Violet Fox. Ever since I agreed to help Violet and her grandfather protect their property from an evil coalmining tycoon, I’m beginning to wonder if I’m really retired. So is Detective Donovan Caine. The only honest cop in Ashland is having a real hard time reconciling his attraction to me with his Boy Scout mentality. And I can barely keep my hands off his sexy body. What can I say? I’m a Stone elemental with a little Ice magic thrown in, but my heart isn’t made of solid rock. Luckily, Gin Blanco always gets her man . . . dead or alive.

Venom, the third book in the series, will be out on Sept. 28, 2010.

Here is the summary (From the Amazon site):

It's hard to be a badass assassin when a giant is beating the crap out of you. Luckily, I never let pride get in the way of my work. My current mission is personal: annihilate Mab Monroe, the Fire elemental who murdered my family. Which means protecting my identity, even if I have to conceal my powerful Stone and Ice magic when I need it most. To the public, I'm Gin Blanco, owner of Ashland's best barbecue joint. To my friends, I'm the Spider, retired assassin. I still do favors on the side. Like ridding a vampire friend of her oversized stalker—Mab's right-hand goon who almost got me dead with his massive fists. At least irresistible Owen Grayson is on my side. The man knows too much about me, but I'll take my chances. Then there's Detective Bria Coolidge, one of Ashland's finest. Until recently, I thought my baby sister was dead. She probably thinks the same about me. Little does she know, I'm a cold-blooded killer . . . who is about to save her life.

The descriptions below for the short stories are from the author's newsletter:

The first story is Web of Death and takes place in between the events of Spider’s Bite and Web of Lies. Read Here.

The sec­ond story, Web of Deceit, takes place when Gin is in her teens and focuses on her first solo mis­sion as the Spi­der. It’s told from Fletcher Lane’s point of view.
Read here.

I love when authors give us these fun shorts for free. By the way, aren't the covers kick-ass?