Thursday, July 22, 2010

Masked Blog Tour & Contest

Edited by Lou Anders
Paperback: 416 pages
Publisher: Gallery
Available from Amazon

Summary: Fifteen original stories and novellas from some of today's most exciting voices in comics, science fiction, and fantasy. Each marvelously inventive tale shows us just how far our classic crusaders have evolved—and how the greatest of heroes are, much like ourselves, all too human.

Superman never faltered, he always knew the right thing to do, and in the end he even got the girl. I like Superman. He's a cool guy. I think however, the imperfections of flawed and sometimes tortured heroes are far more interesting. The popularity of movies like Watchmen, Kick Ass and The Losers makes me think there are many of you who feel the same way. Everything is not black and white because life is complex. I was sent a copy of Masked when I asked to participate in the blog tour for it's release this week. I was only familiar with the writing of Marjorie M. Liu, and I wasn't quite sure what to expect. The stories in Masked are about flawed heroes who want to do what is right, but find it's not as easy as just putting on the suit.

The stories are all worthy of two or three reads, but I wanted to say a few things about my favorites.

Thug by Gail Simone is about a boy with super strength who's brain is not as strong as his body. It's a compelling, sad and dark story that made me think about much more than superheroes.

Avatar is written by Mike Baron, who raises the question: Why aren't there more good guys willing to go out and clean up the scum of an inner city? We learn about one young man that has a plan that he's worked on for a long time. He knows it will work and we follow him during his first night as an avatar come to life.

Head Cases is written by the husband and wife team of Peter David and Kathleen David. I love this story so much. Quirky superheroes are sitting in a pub trying to figure out their place in life and a few other things. I can't give any more details but it's a must read for those who love dark humor and sarcasm.

Lastly, we have Marjorie M. Liu's contribution Call Her Savage about a superhero called back into duty, faced with those from her past who don't understand why she left in the first place. It's a dark, complex story such as we've come to expect from Ms. Liu. She, as usual, tells a heart wrenching tale through the heroine's eyes. Though it's a short story she manages to get in a couple of twists before the end, which is one thing I always love about Ms. Liu.

Masked is an awesome anthology and fans of movies like Watchmen, Hancock and other darker tales will read it again and again.

It's very cool that I am allowed to give away one copy of Masked. To enter, simply answer my question, and leave an email IF you don't have one attached to a google account.

How do you like your superheroes? Perfect like Superman, or flawed like Wolverine or Hancock? Why?

The contest will run through August 1, 2010 and it's open to the U.S. only.


Tour & Contest: Captured by Moonlight

Captured by Moonlight
Author: Nancy Gideon
Paperback: 368 pages
Publisher: Pocket
Available from Amazon

Summary: A mysterious death begins a dangerous chain of events, forcing choices that mean no turning back as Max's past catches up to him. Driven by instincts he can't control, Max fights the need to claim his human mate. How can he protect her when she's not safe with him? She's strong enough to keep his secrets, but can she survive the test of his love?

Captured by Moonlight is the third in a new paranormal romance series by Nancy Gideon. The first two were released earlier in the summer but I'm jumping on her shifter bandwagon for the first time. Sometimes a series, or a stand alone book, will build up to a man and woman becoming a couple. The chase is the basis for the book, and afterwards we only get tidbits of the relationship. No so with Charlotte and Max, the main characters in Captured by Moonlight. They are both independent, stubborn and they share tortured pasts that almost killed them. Charlotte and Max need each other, but it's not an easy road, especially since she is a police detective and he runs a clan of shape shifters. Add in a couple of mysterious deaths and an alpha who can't control his bonding instincts and you've got trouble.

I loved Captured by Moonlight. At first glance you might think it's a steamy paranormal romance, and well, you'd be right. However, the story has an edge to it, a darkness that takes it beyond a romance and brings into play suspense and mystery. To keep it from getting too dark the author has given us characters who banter with the best of them. Sarcastic and witty banter between the two main characters, and many of the side characters, added a cool element to the book. It's a fast paced read that had me staying up until 3:30 a.m. because I had lost track of time while reading.

The author has announced on her website that there will be three more books in the series. I'm so glad her publishers knows a good thing when they see it because the books can only get better with these fascinating and passionate characters.

You can learn more about the author and her books on her website here:

The publisher has graciously allowed me to give away one paperback copy of Captured by Moonlight. This is a good one folks, so don't miss out! Simply answer my questions below to enter the giveaway.

Do you like your mysteries and thrillers with a little bit of romance? Or do you like to keep them separate?

The contest will end August 1st, 2010.