Tuesday, June 29, 2010

I Have Returned From the Rain Forest

Well, I guess technically it was Florida, but it felt like the rain forest. They had record temperatures at least one of the days we were there, and the rest were hot and humid. Yikes, I thought I was going to melt, but I didn't. We spent 7 days at Disney, and then drove up to Pensacola and made our way home from there. It was a lot of fun, and I'm glad we went.

This is Emily and I in the Honey, I Shrunk the Kids play area. That is a bug belly or something bug related. I was delirious from the heat and can't remember.

This is my husband Chuck and I on the Dinosaur ride. See, I have vertigo, so it's a no go on the roller coasters. However, I managed to ride the flying carpet, the dinosaurs, and of course the teacup ride (below), though the spinning on that did bother me. I was a brave soul and managed to smile and have fun. *snort*.

I really enjoyed the Mexico area at Epcot with the cool Day of the Dead puppets and dolls and the Mexican pottery:

Lastly, here are my three kids on our last day at Disney. Tired, cranky and yet they managed a smile for mom. Angry Teen is on the left, then Emily our Fairy Kid, and finally 17 year old Psuedo Emo Teen who will be graduating next year. The time has flown by since the three of them were born:)


Friday, June 11, 2010

Gothic Goodness from Apocalyptica

I've featured Apocalyptica on the blog before. They are a Finnish orchestral rock band that plays cello unlike you have ever heard before. Their music is awesome to write to, very inspiring in a gothic sense:)

7th Symphony, the new album from Apocalyptica, is set to be released August 24th, 2010 in North America. The cover is absolutely stunning!

From the Apocalyptica newsletter:
The first single, “End Of Me”, is featuring Gavin Rossdale, best known as vocalist of the British alternative rock band Bush. The album also features a number of other notable guest performances: Slayer drummer Dave Lombardo plays on "2010", "Bring Them To Light" features Joseph Duplantier, singer and guitarist of the French death metal band Gojira, "Broken Pieces" is a cooperation with Flyleaf singer Lacey and "Not Strong Enough" is sung by Brent Smith (Shinedown).


Thursday, June 10, 2010

Reading on the Road: Day One

We left for Florida this morning around 8:30 after staying the night at my in laws, so we are officially "on the road". I figured out something very cool a couple of months ago. I've never been able to read a book while riding in a vehicle, but I discovered that reading my Kindle does NOT bother me! The last few weeks I've loaded it up with e-books to entertain me on our Road Trip. I thought it might be fun to blog each day on what I'm reading and the music we are listening to on our trip. My husband and I are in our van with Angry Teen and Psuedo Emo Teen. My in laws are in their car with my ten year old who has the back seat to herself and has proclaimed herself Princess of the Road. (This, by the way, is NOT a good thing.).

Today I started off Crux: Southern Arcana, Book 1 by Moira Rogers. I finished it somewhere in Kentucky (our road trip started off in Michigan). I was able to read a lot today because until we got farther into Kentucky the scenery was much like Michigan. Tomorrow I'll watch out the window more often. Today though I was sucked into Moira Rogers world of Southern Arcana and loved it. If you all have not read this series, you need to because it's paranormal romance with fast paced action, amazing characters and steaminess that had me captivated. Seriously, the ride seemed SO much shorter while reading...amazing. I read about 5 chapters of the second book in the series, Crossroads, and so far it's just as good!

Road Trip Playlist for Today:

Self Titled Red Album

Foo Fighters:
Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace

Led Zeppelin:
Early Days

My Chemical Romance:
Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge

Good Charlotte:
Young & The Hopeless

Us & Them

A Day to Remember:
Since U Been Gone:
Awesome Cover Song & Video!
(Off Angry Teen's iPod Touch)

I'll try to post every day, or every couple of days depending on the connection, time, etc.


Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Radiant Shadows Contest & Review

Radiant Shadows
A Wicked Lovely Book
Author: Melissa Marr
Reading level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 352 pages
Publisher: Harper Collins
Available at Indie Bound, Powell's Books, Barnes & Noble

Summary: Half-human and half-faery, Ani is driven by her hungers. Those same appetites also attract powerful enemies and uncertain allies, including Devlin. He was created as an assassin and is brother to the faeries' coolly logical High Queen and to her chaotic twin, the embodiment of War. Devlin wants to keep Ani safe from his sisters, knowing that if he fails, he will be the instrument of Ani's death.

Ani isn't one to be guarded while others fight battles for her, though. She has the courage to protect herself and the ability to alter Devlin's plans—and his life. The two are drawn together, each with reason to fear the other and to fear for one another. But as they grow closer, a larger threat imperils the whole of Faerie. Will saving the faery realm mean losing each other?

I was sent a copy of Radiant Shadows for review after having read and reviewed the first book in the series Wicked Lovely (review here). In some ways, I enjoyed this book even more than I did the first one. Devlin is a fascinating other worldly character who struggles to understand human emotion as he gets to know Ani. She, on the other hand, is learning about her fae side, and what that means. In many ways they are opposites, and yet they need each other. Melissa Marr has this extraordinary voice in her writing that somehow makes me feel as if I'm in the world she's created and part of it. Though the characters are foreign to me, I can relate to them and feel their emotions along with them. Her books really are breathtaking.

Radiant Shadows, for me, was about acceptance, forgiveness of others and ourselves, and learning to appreciate the differences in those around us. We are not all the same and that makes life so very interesting. I loved that Devlin and Ani both had to look inside themselves for the solutions to problems within their worlds. This book is a love story but it's also filled with action, adventure and magic, which makes it so much more.

I've already picked up Ink Exchange which has many of the characters that are in Radiant Shadows, so I can get to know them better.

I did want to mention, as I did with Wicked Lovely, that the books in this series are more mature than some Young Adult titles. I would recommend it for teens perhaps 15 and older.

Melissa is going to be at these locations this summer. If you live in the area stop by and be sure to take picture!

Saturday, June 19
2 pm Borders Bookstore
Fredericksburg, Virginia

June 25-27:
American Library Association Conference
Washington, DC

Saturday, June 26
7:00-9:00 am
Harper Collins Fiction Breakfast

Saturday, June 26
2:00-3:00 pm
Signing in Harper Collins booth

Sunday, June 27
8:30-10:00 am YALSA Coffee Klatch

The publisher has graciously allowed me to give away one hardbound copy of Radiant Shadows. I will be on vacation much of June, so the contest will end on July 1st, 2010. My question:

Do you like characters in a book to be either completely good vs. totally evil, or can they have shades of grey?

Please leave your answer in a comment, and if your email is not on a Google profile leave it in the comment so I can get hold of you. The contest will run until 7/1/2010 when I will use the handy random number generator to pick one winner, and email them plus post it on the blog.

Thanks! ~Moonsanity


Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Dancing With Our Contest Winners!

I have randomly chosen the winners of Amazon Queen and The Cassandra Prophecy, plus I've drawn a new winner for the signed copy of Immortalis Carpe Noctem!

First, the winner of Amazon Queen by Lori Devoti is:
Robin K who said...

I do enjoy when when authors use legends and myths in books. They are fascinating and add a whole world of possibilities to books. I also always wonder if parts are real or not.

I prefer historical just slightly more. But it really depends on the book. Some books are made for urban settings.

Robin is a blogger and talented graphic designer. You can visit her at http://intensewhisper.blogspot.com/ and follow her on Twitter here.

The winner The Cassandra Prophecy is:

April Ash who commented:

Depends on what you consider SciFi...if you go by the Syfy channel, all paranormal seems to be there. I guess The Time Machine by H.G. Wells has to be my all time favorite...and both movie versions I've seen were good. I like the idea of time travel, so enjoyed reading this years ago.

April is a wonderful author and blogger. You can visit her at http://romancebooksrus.blogspot.com/ or http://sevensexyscribes.blogspot.com/

The NEW winner of Immortalis Carpe Noctem by Katie Salidas is heatwave16!

Thanks again for entering the contests. You guys are great:)

Monday, June 7, 2010

Magic Bleeds: The Best in the Series?

Magic Bleeds
Kate Daniels, Book 4
Author: Ilona Andrews
Mass Market Paperback 384 pages
Publisher: Ace (May 25, 2010)
Available at Indie Bound, Powell's Books, Barnes & Noble and Amazon

Summary: Kate Daniels cleans up the paranormal problems no one else wants to deal with-especially if they involve Atlanta's shapeshifting community. And now there's a new player in town-a foe that may be too much for even Kate and Curran, the Lord of the Beasts, to handle. Because this time, Kate will be taking on family.

While waiting for my copy of Magic Bleeds by Ilona Andrews I stayed away from blogs and forums that would give spoilers, but I noticed many readers and reviewers praising the book as "the best one yet." I thought a lot about this, especially as I read the first three books again while waiting for my copy to arrive. Some books have a kind of instant gratification. Many series feature a couple per book and their struggle to find that elusive Happily Ever After. The reader knows they will get together before the book ends, and that can be a good thing. Other series, like the Kate Daniels novels, take the reader on a journey with the main character through their struggles with love, friendship, and finding their place in the world that doesn't always take the easiest path. I think Magic Bleeds gives the impression of being "the best book yet" because the reader is so involved in Kate's struggles at this point that they feel like they are there with her as she kicks evils butt, and starts to find her place in the world. For me, all four books are equally as well written and gripping.

Looking back over all of the books in the series, I think the writing has always reached out and grabbed the reader with the fast paced action, emotion, and humor. The authors have the ability to make the reader feel Kate's emotions with her, whether it's fear, anger, love, compassion or frustration. After finishing Magic Bleeds I had to go back to a few of my favorite scenes and read them again. I realized that they would not have had the same impact if they had come any sooner then they did. THAT to me is a sign of a talented writer. A good book, or series, doesn't always give you instant gratification. It makes you invest time and emotion in the characters and the world so when the good things happen you feel like you somehow had a part in it.

Magic Bleeds is everything readers have come to love about Ilona Andrews. I want you to read it, but I also want you to read the first three books beforehand so instead of peaking at the gift ahead of time, you wait and feel the full effect of the surprise when it happens. No peaking. Trust me, it will be worth it.

The books in the Kate Daniels series are:

Kate Daniels Novels
1. Magic Bites (2007)
2. Magic Burns (2008)
3. Magic Strikes (2009)
4. Magic Bleeds (2010)

Go. Buy. Read.


Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Trina Lee Packs a Punch with Once Bitten

Once Bitten
Author: Trina M. Lee
Kindle Edition, 258 pages
Publisher: Liquid Silver Books
Available at Amazon

Summary: When her former lover and Alpha pack member Raoul is framed for murder, he comes to her for help and Alexa is forced to face past emotions and betrayals that were never laid to rest. As the murders continue she is torn between past hurts and present loves. Amidst the rush of power and the struggle for control, Alexa must dig deep within herself to discover where her heart truly belongs. As secrets are revealed and lies exposed, she comes to discover that not everyone is who you think they are and the greatest loves are undying.

I won a copy of Once Bitten on the author's blog after getting to know her on Twitter. I started reading it this last weekend and couldn't put it down. Don't let the cover fool you, this isn't just another erotic romance. It's a mix of urban fantasy and paranormal romance with some mystery thrown in for good measure. Yes, there are steamy scenes, but the author works them in with the plot, not as the focus of story. The main character, Alexa, is strong but not bitchy, and she kicks supernatural butt with the best of them. She's drawn to Shaz, a werewolf and a friend who can comfort her own wolf and offer support in her chaotic life. Too bad she can't shake an attraction and the lure of power from Arys, a vampire who reaches out to her vampire nature. Once Bitten gives us the background we need on the characters while moving the story along at a fast, exciting pace. Alexa's friends and co-workers are fascinating, snarky and don't hesitate to be there for her when she needs them.

This exchange between Alexa and Jaz, her friend and co-worker gives a good feel of the book's characters:

“Too bad we couldn’t go in during the day.” Jez stirred more sugar into her already sweetened caramel coffee, and I shuddered. “But, I guess I’d rather have the bastard awake while we gut him.”

“We’re gutting him now?” I asked as I pulled a strand of gold-streaked ash blonde hair from the corner of my mouth.

“Why not? If we’re lucky, he’ll live through most of it.” She smiled then and narrowed her eyes on the hotel door.

I shook my head and laughed. “You can do whatever your little heart desires, Jez. Just let me know when to stake him.”

If you are fans of Keri Arthur, Devon Monk or Cynthia Eden you'll enjoy Trina Lee. She's told me that the second book in the series, The Wicked Kiss, is a bit steamer, so I'm loading up my Kindle to take on vacation!

Learn more about the author's books on her website, including a free read.


Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The Winners Are...

I consulted my oracles today and they randomly chose the winners of Play Dead by Ryan Brown and Immortalis Carpe Noctem by Katie Salidas.

The winner of Play Dead is:

Misusedinnocence who said...
I've never read a Zombie Book before but I really liked the movie Sean of the Dead. :)

The winner of Immortalis Carpe Noctem is:

tetewa, who said...
I can't pick just one but I'm enjoying The Dark-Hunter series by Sherrilyn Kenyon!

Thanks for entering everyone and congrats to the winners!


Unholy Ghosts Delivers Action & Suspense

Unholy Ghosts
Downside Ghosts, Book 1
Author: Stacia Kane
Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Del Rey

SUMMARY: The world is not the way it was. The dead have risen and constantly attack the living. The powerful Church of Real Truth, in charge since the government fell, has sworn to reimburse citizens being harassed by the deceased. Consequently, there are many false claims of hauntings from those hoping to profit. Enter Chess Putnam, a fully-tattooed witch and freewheeling Debunker and ghost hunter. She’s got a real talent for nailing the human liars or banishing the wicked dead. But she’s keeping a dark secret from the Church: a little drug problem that’s landed her in hot and dangerous water.

I bought a copy of Unholy Ghosts because I love Stacia Kane's writing. I didn't know what to expect of her new book because there has been much made of the main character having an addiction to drugs. I personally think it's a case of "much ado about nothing". Stacia's new book is a gritty, original urban fantasy with characters that live in a world turned upside down when the spirits of the undead rise with a vengeance, killing and wreaking havoc until the Church of the Real Truth makes it all "right" again for the citizens who have lost friends, family, their government and their way of life.

Chess, the main character, is a witch working for the church debunking those who claim to be harassed by ghosts, which if true, will gain them some righteous bucks since the church has guaranteed a ghost free world. Is it no wonder that Chess is addicted to pills, smoke and powder? The author doesn't glorify drug use. This isn't a case of drugs, sex and rock roll for entertainment. It's Chess trying to cope with her past and her present in the only way she knows how. I've never been addicted to drugs or alcohol, but I want through a period in my life where getting up in the morning was no easy task. I look back at that time and realize it's rather fuzzy to me because I was moving from day to day but not really living. I think the author portrays Chess and her additions with uncanny realism.

The characters in Unholy Ghost are vivid and fascinating. First impressions are at times correct and at other times dead wrong. Terrible is an enforcer for one of the local drug lords. When we first meet him in the book he gives the impression of a typical mafia goon with more muscle than brains. As I got farther in the book he became one of my favorite characters. His outer shell serves a purpose in the world he lives in, but he's so much more. Lex is another local drug lord that wants something from Chess. He's a mystery in some ways, but doesn't pretend to be something other than he is. He's sexy and badass. I found myself fascinated with him, but at the same time wanting to yell at Chess to run fast and far.

Unholy Ghost has mystery, fast paced action, magic gone wrong and it takes a look at all sides of human nature. There is evil and then there is what appears to be good, but may be something else entirely. The book has more than a little horror thrown in the mix, along with suspense. I loved it, and can't wait to read the next two books in the series, which will be coming out July 6 and July 27th, 2010.

You can read the first five chapters of Unholy Ghosts here.