Tuesday, March 30, 2010

New and Upcoming Releases and Signing Updates

First let me say, IT'S OUT! IT'S OUT! IT'S OUT! Ok, I'm good now. I've been waiting ever so patiently (you know, for me) as I can for this book to come out and TODAY'S THE DAY! Bet you can't guess what I'll be doing between dishes, laundry and kid's dental appointment today. Bet ya can't. I'll give you a hint: It involves me and this book and reading. :P

Today is the official release date (so don't even talk to me those of you who got a copy early *sniff*), so go forth and order!

On the same topic of Silver Borne, Patricia Briggs will be doing some signings this year and the list of her appearances are here.

She'll be coming down to San Diego on April 7 and I'm going to go to the signing! Can I get a squee?! I'll be sure to let you all know if I passed out or how big of a dork I was (it's kind of a guarantee that I'll do something embarrassing *sigh*).

In other release news, Inside Out by Maria V. Snyder is officially released April 1, but it looks like Amazon and Barnes and Noble are shipping. If you missed my review, it is here.
Over at All Things Urbanfantasy they're talking about the launch of the Inside Out trailer and website where you can take cool quizzes and find out more about the book. Check it out.
Also, order here.

Her Vampire Husband by Michele Hauf also officially releases on April 1, but is shipping from Amazon.

My review for this book is here.

You can order from Amazon right here.

Or from Barnes and Noble here.

Last, but not least is Rampant by Saskia Walker.

My review for this book can be seen here.

You can order from Amazon.

Or from Barnes and Noble.

That concludes my updates. I know I probably missed a bunch. Sick kids and dental appointments are sucking up my brain cells. If you know of anything else interesting coming out today or this week, please let me know in the comments.


Monday, March 29, 2010

Happy Birthday Mandi!!

Today is Mandi's birthday over at smexy books.
HAPPY SMEXY BIRTHDAY SMEXY!!! I wish you all the hot hot hairy Brandon Flowers lurve you can handle today. We love you smexy lady. You make 21 look good ;)

Ooh, it looks like Brandon's ready for us to serve you up for him right on that table. I could be mistaken, but I don't think that's birthday cake he's hungry for ;)


Saturday, March 27, 2010

Review: Rampant by Saskia Walker

Note: I received this to review from netGalley.

Title: Rampant
Publisher: Harlequin
Imprint: Spice
Pub Date: 04/01/2010
ISBN: 9780373605422
Category: Erotica

The moment she arrives at her rented vacation cottage nestled in northern Scotland, Zoë Daniels feels it—an arousal so powerful she’s compelled to surrender to the unusually forceful carnal desires…with nearly anyone who crosses her path.

Zoë knows she’s not quite in control of herself and begins to wonder if there’s any truth to the legend of Annabel McGraw, a powerful, promiscuous 18th century witch who once owned the cottage, and whose spirit is rumored to affect anyone who stays there. Zoë doesn’t believe in anything that even hints at the occult, but now strange visions are turning frightening… and only one man’s touch can bring her back to earth.

First off let me say that I love this cover. You know how I'm a cover whore, yes, yes, I know. I just loved the earthiness and the beauty of it. It strikes me as both sexual and pure and yes folks, I believe you can be both ;)

The setting for this story is a small coastal village in Scotland and I do love those kinds of settings. The fact that the plot involved a rather heavy portion of magic did help to add to the ambience of the story.

I liked Zoe, our heroine, she's a city girl hailing from London who's come for a vacation and to unwind from her hectic job in the city. The minute she enters the village, odd sensations and things begin to happen. What I liked about Zoe is that she's practical. She's a skeptic and doesn't give into flights of fantasy, but as the evidence stacks up that something magical and supernatural is going on she doesn't freak out and go running into the hills. What irritated me a little about her was that it did take quite a lot of freaky stuff to happen for her to fully admit that ghosts are real and even after she became convinced she was somehow communing with a dead woman she had the devil of a time accepting that magic is real. However, she didn't dither too badly and she had a good sense of humor which were definite points in her favor.

Grayson, our hero, was handsome, powerful and intelligent. I had a little bit of a hard time with him in the respect the he seemed clinical and detached, even during intense sexual or emotional encounters. Now, don't get me wrong, I lurve me some cold and emotionally unavailable types (don't get me started on my massive crush on Mr. Spock) but I just didn't always feel that he was having sex with or interacting with her as much because he wanted her or that he wanted answers. Plus the fact that the spirit of a long dead promiscuous woman was influencing everyone made it hard sometimes to suss out his real feelings and motives, at least for me.

The story itself is a little heavy on magic and mostly on negative magic, though there are a few nicer practitioners, it felt like it was hard to tell if a lot of the people were supposed to be good or bad. I wasn't always sure if I was supposed to root for them or against them, like them or hate them or pity them at times. It made it hard for me to get a firm bead on an emotional response to the story.

Also, I have an issue with the fact that every woman who owned her sexuality either was a witch and/or prostitute or was under the influence of a witch and/or prostitute. I would like to see us move beyond the need for justification in erotica and romance for a strong heroine to just own her sexuality without being a bitch, ho, or possessed by one. Just saying. Zoe did come to grips with the fact that she's always had a sexually vibrant nature that was hidden under the surface and brought out by Annabelle but it then came with the proviso that it ultimately would only have come out because of her one twu wuv, Grayson. Ladies, hear me on this: YOU DO NOT NEED A MAN'S PERMISSION TO OWN YOUR SEXUALITY. I'm waiting for Romancelandia to catch on to this. I do give Zoe credit, she noticed that she was aroused a lot more than usual and doing things she wouldn't normally do, but at no point did she freak out to the point where she started losing her self-worth and thinking that she'd been somehow soiled by her experiences. I respected that, a lot.

Ultimately, the romance between Grayson and Zoe was nice, but there was always magic somehow involved and it felt at times like it was either pushing them together or pulling them apart. For a lot of the book, even Zoe wondered if she and Grayson had anything real.

The side story of Annabel and what had happened to her was fascinating. I didn't always know if Annabel was someone I should really root for, she wasn't always a nice person and she kind of invited the problems that came her way, but I found her so vibrant and mischievous that I couldn't help but fall under her spell and like her a lot by the end.

At times the book felt longer than it needed to be, but overall it was enjoyable and an interesting story of the beauty and ugliness of passion and love.

My final grade is a C+

You can purchase this book here

Or here

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Review: Inside Out by Maria V. Snyder

Product Details

* Pub. Date: April 2010
* Publisher: Harlequin
* Format: Paperback, 320pp
* Age Range: Young Adult

* ISBN-13: 9780373210060

Disclaimer: I received this book to review from the lovely people at netGalley.

Keep Your Head Down.

Don't Get Noticed.

Or Else.

I'm Trella. I'm a scrub. A nobody. One of thousands who work the lower levels, keeping Inside clean for the Uppers. I've got one friend, do my job and try to avoid the Pop Cops. So what if I occasionally use the pipes to sneak around the Upper levels? The only neck at risk is my own…until I accidentally start a rebellion and become the go-to girl to lead a revolution.

Let me start out by saying that the premise for this story is fascinating and a wonderful idea. I give the author full credit for this and for taking on a challenge like this. This book is very much scifi which, in my humble opinion, is more difficult to write than many other types of fiction. You are trying to build a specific alternate world that has precise rules and reasons for these rules and science and technology that fills this world and makes it run that isn't tech we're used to so you have to explain it well, you have to be consistent. Just a few small discrepancies can become huge bumps and holes in the narrative and plot. I commend Ms. Snyder for her imagination and guts for taking this all on. Now, I'm going to explain to you why, for me personally, this book was an exercise in torture.

First, let me say that I don't understand why the author beat the reader over the head with the social and moral lessons of the book. I GET IT. I have read scifi and post apocalyptic stories before. I DON'T NEED TO BE BLUDGEONED UNTO DEATH WITH IT.
An example of my beef, is the overly obvious and simplified version of who was the "better race" and who was "the lesser race." Excuse me whilst I cringe. Ahem, moving on, the "Uppers" ,obviously enough, live in the upper two levels of Inside and are the ruling race. They also seem to be paler, blonder and have blue eyes (not always but enough to make my ass friggin uncomfortable cuz I CAN READ BETWEEN THE LINES) whereas the poor lowly "Scrubs" live in the cramped, overpopulated two lower levels of Inside. They have been so inbred and oppressed that they all have brown eyes and brown hair, all uniqueness bred out (correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think that's a genetic possibility, but I digress). Inside is a huge cube (rectangle, I suck at geometry), the exact measurements of which are unknown to our heroine (and I use the term loosely) but she estimates it to be approx 2000 meters long by 2000 meters wide by 25 meters high. For those of you who are dumb Americans like me and dont't do meters let me break it down, she lives in a box that's about 1 1/2 miles by 1 1/2 miles by 82 ft, give or take. Now there are something like 18,000 scrubs in the lower two levels. It's very crowded. Conditions pretty much suck. The Uppers supposedly live in lovely little family units and have ALL THIS SPACE, The Bastards! Right there, I lost faith in the intelligence of our intrepid heroine. You live in a box. They have the same space you have. They may be less numerous but where the hell does all this fabled extra space come from? But we learn quickly that our heroine doesn't need to make sense or even possess any.

I should mention at this point a problem I had with the world and trying to understand it. The author uses the metric system for all measurements, which I completely admit would not be a problem for others since a lot of other readers will be more familiar with the metric system so I didn't let that bother me, I just googled a lot. What was harder was the time system. There are no years or months. It's all broken down to weeks. What's harder still is that the weeks aren't like our weeks. They break days down into 20 hours and I think weeks into 100 hours and then there are groups of 100 weeks which are centiweeks.....at this point my head started hurting. All ages of people are spoken of in weeks and when I tried to convert them into years, I had a problem because of the different day and week measurements. The author must have known this would cause confusion because at one point Trella, our heroine, helpfully says that she's so many weeks old or if she used "the old system" she was approximately 17 years old. Funny because earlier she didn't know what a year was when she mentions that some "old timers" referred to their coming of age as sweet sixteen. So, there are people old enough to remember a different time system but no one knows what's Outside the cube and why they're there? Interesting.

Trella, the heroine (sigh), is one of the most unlikable protagonists I've ever encountered. Let me be clear and say the only reason I finished was because I wanted to know what was Outside. Not because I cared what happened to Trella, but because I was fascinated with why they were in this totally self-sustaining cube and what it all meant. Trella despises the Uppers because they have it so much better than her and she disdains ALL the other scrubs because they're all stupid sheep, unlike her *eye roll*. Trella comes off at first like she's street smart (for lack of a better term) and savvy and doesn't fall for any crap. The truth is, she swallows the most obvious lies like honey, but if you try to tell her something even marginally good or hopeful EVEN IF IT MAKES SENSE homegirl aint gonna fall for that crap. Le sigh again. The book on my computer came to 316 pages. She never fully pulled her head out of her ass until about pg 250 and by pg 265 she had firmly reinserted it. Everytime something got hard or went wrong (you're leading a revolt honey, it's gonna) she would immediately slip into, OMG! THIS WAS ALL AN ELABORATE SETUP BY THE MAN! HOW COULD I BE SO STUPID? This happened A LOT. Then people would come to her to help and it was always a huge inner debate, Can I trust them OR IS IT ALL JUST AN ELABORATE SET UP BY THE MAN TO BE MEAN AND GET MY HOPES UP? The author constantly had to force obstacles. It was one step forward and three back. Then I loved this little gem, It's bad for the Uppers to think they're better than the Scrubs. No one should treat other people like they are less than equals, but WAIT Trella is super speshul because she WAS BORN AN UPPER!!! I kid you not another character called her a "Thoroughbred" among the scrubs. That's why she was so much smarter and speshul and the Savior. KILL. ME. NOW. The only people I cared about were side characters. Riley, the love interest and nice Upper boy, that shows her that HELLO WE LIVE IN A BOX! UPPERS DON'T HAVE IT THAT MUCH BETTER THAN YOU. And wants to be her boyfriend. And a cast of really interesting characters from the lower levels that jump at the chance to stick it the The Man. I seriously got so sick of Trella that I hoped she would find the fabled Gateway that would lead to the Outside and when she opened it the monster from the Star Trek movie would promptly eat her. Yeah, I'm a bad, bad person. Then, Trella actually talked some sense and all the people that had been the voices of reason turned and looked at her like she was a moron and said, why do we need to know what's on the other side of the door? Let's just pop that bitch open and waltz on through. KILL. KILL. KILL.

I had so many issues with this book, and I think what was really tough was that there was so much potential that it was tough to see it sink under the heavy handed writing and unlikable protagonist. Also, the fact that the author made the heroine deliberately obtuse and willfully ignorant to seemingly stretch out the "suspense" and "mystery" (and I mock those b/c the only person it was a mystery for was the protag. Irony, you gotta love it) and that just felt insulting.

The villains were so comically and over the top horrible and stupid that I'm amazed they hadn't been overthrown long ago. Every time someone would mention something technical, they'd find a reason to not explain how it worked, because I don't think even the author could be bothered with these details. And so many questions went nowhere. Trella bumbled about and survived on a combination of dumb luck and other people (whom she has disdain and/or despised forevah) saving her ass CONSTANTLY.

The horrible part is, I will probably pick up the sequel just because I want to know what will happen with this society and I'm hoping (please God) that now that some things have been resolved and Trella has learned how to interact with people, she won't be such a whiny, unfeeling, 2 dimensional, HEARTBURN TO READ. Hope springs eternal.

I give this book a D. It's the first book I've given such a low grade to and I feel a bit bad about it, but I can't justify a higher grade. The only reason it wasn't a DNF is because the concept intrigued me and I wanted to see what happened. Even if I wanted to pull a Prince Humperdinck and skip to the end.

You may buy this book here

P.S. I really enjoyed Ms. Snyder's Study series and I do recommend it to anyone who enjoys a fantasy that's slightly dark and very entertaining.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Contest at Ilona Andrews' Blog

Go here for a chance to win a signed ARC of Magic Bleeds. Contest ends Fri, 3/26, so hurry! :)

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Review: Brandy Alexander Mystery Series by Shelly Fredman

Meet Brandy Alexander, a young woman from South Philadelphia, with a big mouth, an even bigger heart and a little problem with impulse control. It's not her fault trouble seems to follow her around. Okay, it is her fault, but why quibble over details? When Brandy (a puff piece reporter for a local Los Angeles TV news station) returns to her hometown, after a four year absence, she is thrilled to be reunited with friends and family. But her joy is short-lived when her best friend, John, becomes the victim of a tragic accident. Brandy is alone in thinking that the death is no "accident," and as she sets out to prove her theory, she stumbles upon a political scandal of major proportions. Things begin to heat up when it appears that her former boyfriend, police detective Robert Anthony DiCarlo, is involved in sabotaging the investigation. The one thing Brandy knows for sure is that people keep turning up dead, and if she doesn't get some answers, fast, she could end up on the short list. As Brandy searches out the truth, she gains some unexpected allies, including sexy, dangerous, street-savvy Nicholas Santiago, and the now-married Bobby, who still holds a torch for his former girlfriend. With humor, guts and determination Brandy tackles each challenge, be it dodging a bullet or resisting that box of Tastykakes in the cupboard. Murder, mayhem and romance abound in Shelly Fredman's novel, proving there really is No Such Thing as a Secret.

I've been pimping these books for awhile and I always use the same description: They're kind of like Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series except with a plot and character development. Shocking, I know.

I would really like to see this series get looked at more. Ok, so the cover of the first one is kinda blah. And I think the author started out with a publisher but I do know that the last was self published so that may make it harder to promote, but it kills me because this is a good series and yet so many other books that are published and getting more notice are, well.....not.

Brandy is a great character. Yes, she wears her heart on her sleeve and there were times I was blushing for her and wishing she could act more cool, but she's honest and real and has a heart of gold. Also, she doesn't hesitated to ask for help when she's in over her head (which is a lot) and as the series progresses she actually starts working on self defense because she knows she's gonna keep getting in trouble so she may as well be prepared. Boy, I sure wish another lead female character would try that *coughstephanieplumcough* And don't get me wrong, I love Stephanie Plum. It's one of my shameful addictions and when the next one comes out, I will be getting it. *sigh* But it's just a nice change of pace to actually feel like the lead character learns from her mistakes and the plot is moving forward. Imagine that.

Now, Brandy's love interests are pretty darn hot. We have her ex-boyfriend and cop, Bobby and then we have the new man in her life, total hottie and bad boy, Nicholas Santiago. Yum. Bobby and Brandy have baggage to work out, but guess what, over the course of the books they actually do. And Nick, well Nick is just dreamy. He's a tortured soul, but he and Brandy have an almost instant bond and he's always got her back......and then some.

The other characters are all vibrant and wonderful and you feel like you've been plopped down in a large extended family that's loud, demanding, embarrassing and totally wonderful.

I really recommend this series to people who like mysteries that are heavy on humor, a bit of suspense, romance and a character's journey to finding what she wants and how she's gonna get it.

You can buy the books in the series at Amazon

Or you can order them through B&N.com

Unfortunately, you can't get them at stores, you have to order online, but I personally don't want to let that stop me with an author. If I like them then I want to support them. Also, a little warning, the last one was definitely self-pubbed and the editing isn't great, but honestly I've read books published by big name authors that were worse so I didn't let that take away from a great read.

Overall grade is a B+


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Review: Under His Spell by Kathy Lyons

Nicky Taylor is a driven executive. A total control freak. And magician Jimmy Ray has loved her forever. When he spots her in the audience, he realizes he finally has a chance to fulfill his own lifelong fantasy. With a little help from Dr. Mesmer, that is...

Who'd have guessed that a little hypnotism would unleash Nicky's wildly sexual nature? Or that Jimmy's powers of persuasion would encourage her to burn up the bedsheets with him that night...and the nights after. She's the perfect woman.

Unfortunately Jimmy's pretty sure Nicky's still under his spell. And he has to change that. Because he's quickly falling under hers...

Ok, so I started reading this book one night and it had been a crappy day for me so I was looking to unwind and de-stress. Well, the book starts out with this workaholic stess bag of a woman who almost gets in car accidents on a regular basis cuz she's checking e-mail and talking on her phone and thinking about the million and one things she has to do for work. She's so stressed that she regularly has panic attacks that are pretty bad. I could almost feel her stress and I just couldn't read anymore that night, because I wanted to unwind not get tied in knots of tension.

Well, I picked it up again and decided to give it one more go and see if it would work when I was in a different frame of mind. I'm so glad I did.

Nicky is kind of wound a bit tight, to put it mildly. She breezed through high school and thought she'd have the real world eating out of the palm of her hand. After graduating she hit real life and real life hit back. She had to struggle through college, made some really bad relationship choices, got mired in debt and worked her butt off to get a good job. Now that she has it, she fears daily that she's going to let her guard down for a minute and lose everything she's worked so hard to build for herself.

Enter Jim, or Jimmy as she likes to call him. Jim was the high school geek that loved Nicky from afar. He rescued her after a bad date and the two shared sundaes and secrets and the memory is precious to them both. Jim is now the genius that invented...something....and made millions. You know? That guy. Plus he's worked out a lot so he's waaaay hotter than he was in high school. Oh, and he's a magician on the side. Yeah, it could have been cheesetastic, but oh, Jimmy, I wanna take you home. Rawr!

Jim was so great. Both he and Nicky are a little hung up on the labels they received in high school and have a hard time seeing themselves for the people they've become. But that's ok, because they see each other pretty well and don't hesitate to point out each other's strong points. And the sex? WOW. I want my own hot nerd. Seriously, my birthday is coming up and I either want a hottie with nipple piercings or a hot, hot nerd. There is just something about a smart guy and the way they can be so....focused. And boy was he focused on doin' her every which way he could, but what was even hotter was that he wanted to give her everything she needed emotionally, sexually, and physically. And when he gets possessive? Yum. I kinda fell in love with Jim, so Nicky better watch herself. I'd steal him in a heartbeat. What can I say? I love alpha geeks.

The story was a little twisted in some ways and almost took me out of my comfort zone a few times, but yet I couldn't stop reading and that's just hot. It was actually a pretty intense story at times with the right amount of humor and tenderness to balance it out.

I give Under His Spell a B+ and really recommend it for a sexy and fulfilling read. But just a heads up, Jimmy's mine. Just sayin.

You can order as an e-book here

Or as a print book here


Saturday, March 13, 2010

The. Best. Damn. Thing. Evah. Amen.


This is teh awesome. I am so in love with Occupation: Girl blog, it's ridiculous and unhealthy.
I want to marry her. I want to have her growth-accelerated-half-vampire-mutant babies. I read her movies in 15 minutes and die. Just die. Her recaps of the Twilight books and movies are just, so, so awesome. There are also other fun things she links to like this goodness here. I have literally spent hours of my life reading this shit. AND I DON'T REGRET IT. It's so awesome. Anyway, tell me Russell isn't lookin at K-Stew like, "Imma rape you." Tell me that. Also, if I had mad photoshop skillz I would totes make an icon of one of those pics sayin, "Imma rape you." Poor K-Stew. She was startin to look kinda freaked out, like Russell's internal monologue of bondage fantasies were leaking into her head and R. Patz and Taylor and the other nameless guy were too busy in their mutual love fest to notice. HA!
Anyway, just had to share all the goodness that this is. Truly. Good times. I cannot wait now for Midnight Sun. Cannot wait.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Rock On

So, this song is kinda cheesy, but JT's vocals are actually really good and frankly, I just love the chemistry between Timabland and Timberlake. This is the 1,000,000,000th vid/song that they've collaborated on together and you can see the easy way they move together and feed off each other's energy. Plus the vid is kinda sexy. And can I just say that I want those girls' job? I mean, I get to wear kick ass boots and eat cake AND get paid for it? Sign my ass up.

Here we have the awesome/terrible mind of Gaga. This just has to be experienced at least once. You know, so you can say you rode that ride. Also, I watched it before they bleeped and cut it. Yeah. I still love it. And speaking of BFF's, Beyonce and Gaga are totally rockin the industry with their mad IN YO FACE girl power, psychoness and I'm diggin it. Plus, the Pussy Wagon. God Bless Quentin Tarantino. You know he's the only male, evah, that could ride around in the Pussy Wagon and totally not get his ass handed to him by a mob of angry/scary dominatrix type women. You know they see a guy pull up in that thing and they're all, "Ahhh, Hell No." And they get ready to put the hurt on him when out steps Quentin. And he's all, "Hey ladies, waz up?" And they're all, "Shit, it's just Quentin. Hey Baby, how you doin?"
Yeah, my brain goes places without me sometimes. Anyway. I present the awesomeness that is Gaga Feat. Beyonce---- Telephone.

And to end on a high note (heh) here's a lil linky to a vid of a song that is a total earworm. It doesn't matter that her songs are jibberish or that she's a total poser. You will listen, you will mock, and then you will purchase it anyway.

I was told that this song reminds someone of me. What do you think?


Thursday, March 11, 2010

Review: Sexy Beast by Sherri L. King

Be careful what you wish for…

When Angel’s car dies at a crossroads, during a full moon, at midnight no less, she fervently wishes the clunker will restart and wheeze the few remaining miles to her home. And along comes Otto, a sexy beast who “fixes” the car and takes his payment in trade—Angel’s body, naked and ready on the hood of her old Diablo. That’s what devils do, after all. Trade. But Angel learns of her mistake too late. While a supernatural car with a permanently undying engine is great and all, her body is a pretty steep price to pay.

Too bad that’s not all Otto wants.

So, this book has a lot going for it. We have psychedelic sex, growly, biting hot ass demon lovin and a chick named Angel. No Shit.

Otto was hot, in a bi-polar, mercurial- one minute I'm totes charming the next I may kill yo ass- kinda way. And that worked for me, it really did. I like that he was exactly what he claimed to be. He's a demon of chaos, an imp, as it were. And he's verra impish and hung like a.....well lets just say that I think he could give Kresley Cole's lykaes or that crazy ho....er I mean the nice lady that writes the Black Dagger Brotherhood's hung ass vamp posse a run for their sausage sticks. And again, this worked for me. I do have to admit to one lil pet peeve, even though I was totes down with Otto's bi-polar, capitalistic (hey someone's gotta keep this girl in style), havic-wreakin, stalkerish obsessive ways, I kinda feel like the author punked out on him at the last minute. It was all, "Oh, he's too dangerous to know, blah, blah, that old chestnut." But, lo! Do not fret, he totes never kills nobody. That was kinda a let down. I'm just sayin. Don't get me all worked up about how psycho my lover is and then say, well really, he talks a good game but he doesn't ever DO much. That's a turn off for me. Though, I do freely admit to being nutty that way.

Anywho......Angel. Angel, Angel, Angel. How can you have the name of the bestest broodiest vamp evah, and let me down? HOW CAN YOU DO IT? Angel wasn't that bad. As a matter of fact she starts out pretty cool. Her gf is engaged to a used to be zombie, but he's totes reformed and human now, and she's ok with this. She's a mechanic which gave her points in my book. She's hot, also points for that (sorry, I'm shallow) and she's a good friend. All this is awesome. She gets down and dirty with Otto and is a demanding lil Minx in bed....er I mean...THE HOOD OF HER CLASSIC CAR. Yeah, I fell in love with her a little right there. But then, she got whiny and emo and jumped to all kinds of conclusions and ceased to be rational, like, I don't know, maybe the magically delicious fizznucking killed all her brain cells or something. Whatev. I didn't really care for her again until the end of the book, but that was ok. Once she screwed her brain cap back on, we were good to go.

Overall, it's a quick and hot read that I found very enjoyable and just a bit frustrating. I give it a solid B and recommend that all my Ellora's Cave lovin girls (you know who you are *coughKCcough*) should give it a go. Take Otto for a ride, I think you'll like him ;)

You can buy this e-book here

P.S. How hot is that cover, btw? I just love it. Kudos for not being another cheesetastic mess of an e-book cover.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Interview with Skyler White, author of and Falling, Fly

The lovely Skyler White whose debut novel, and Falling, Fly just released this month has graciously agreed to answer a few questions about her new book as well as future plans and what it was like writing these fascinating characters and the world they inhabit. I reviewed this book awhile back and if you need a refresher on what I had to say here it is.

So, without further ado, here is my interview with Ms. White:

1) ‘and Falling, Fly’ is your debut novel; have you always wanted to be a published author?

No, I’ve wanted to be a whole list of things. All about equally unlikely. ‘Published author’ is a fairly new ambition for me.

2) The story is a fascinating blend of neuroscience, psychology and mythology. What inspired you to attempt a story with these ostensibly opposing elements? Did you find it difficult to blend the science and the myth parts into a cohesive whole?

Thank you, I’m glad you enjoyed my crazy salad! The inspiration came from a single starting place. I wanted to get as much of a three-sixty view of desire as I could. I wanted the neuro-chemical and the mythological angles, and well as the psychological and the economic.

3) The hotel, which is such a focal point of the story and is affectionately (or not :P) known as hell by the "guests" there, is a rather intriguing character all on its own. What was your inspiration for this part steampunk and part gothic place?

::grin:: The hotel evolved as a place where the damned would feel most at home. The steampunk elements aren’t actually steam-driven; they’re powered by inertia. It was important for me to create an ecology for Hell that was more environmentally conscious than our world and that also made sense on both a metaphorical and a literal level. Hell is powered by people. All the energy that is used in Hell comes from people in Hell. The mechanisms that capture the excess human energy and re-purpose it towards the upkeep of Hell are all mechanical: they’re cogs and ball-bearings and wheels. And Hell is without plastic or electricity. There’s a story reason for that, but it’d ruin Book Two to explain it now.

4) Dominic and Olivia are two very tortured souls just looking for some peace in life, and both are so sure they know how to achieve it – one through legends and loopholes and one through science and medicine. They are alike in their quest and need for peace, but they are also very different people. Which character was easier or more fun to write, and which was a little tougher?

Olivia is more like I am, so she was easier; but Dominic is more like I’d like to be, so I enjoyed writing him more. But you’re picking up on something that nobody’s asked me about yet, which is how anchored each is in their own world-view. I’m very interested in that. Romance novels used to get a lot of mileage out of ‘love vs. honor’ or ‘love vs class’, but there’s not a lot that can really get in the way of love anymore. Except maybe world-view.

I’m fascinated by what it means to love someone whose way of understanding the world is not only dissimilar to yours but mutually exclusive. To accept Olivia for who she is would require Dominic to sacrifice who he is, because they cannot both exist in the same universe. It’s the ‘immovable object vs. unstoppable force’ question, but in people.

5) Who was the most interesting/fun/difficult character to write in the story? There were so many interesting ones and their personalities all seemed so strong.

Thank you! Gaehod is the most difficult. Madalene and Alyx were probably the most fun. Although Ophelia and the vampire sisters are fun too.

6) Did you always know where the story was going to go, or did it ever take you by surprise?

I do a lot of pre-writing, so by the time I started writing proper, I knew basically where it was going. I still found myself in trouble a couple of times; and several times, I’d go into a scene knowing exactly where it was supposed to come out, and it’d take a sharp turn in the writing that I had to correct for later. And I re-worked the ending a couple hundred times. I knew where I wanted Olivia and Dominic, but everyone else moved around a lot before I found their final positions.

7) Is this a stand-alone novel or can we expect this to be the beginning of a series?

My second novel, ‘In Dreams Begin’, comes out in December. It belongs to the same story-universe, but they aren’t technically a series. In the book, a contemporary graphic artist falls asleep on her wedding night and wakes up channeled into the body of Maud Gonne, the famously beautiful, possibly part-faerie, Victorian Irish revolutionary. In Maud’s body, Laura meets WB Yeats, the very active occultist and dramatically romantic Irish poet.

The story lets me play again with world-view, European Victorian vs. Contemporary American, with questions of body image and fidelity, and with history, which was amazingly cooperative. History gave me an on-again-off-again relationship between the real Yeats and Maud Gonne, which included what they both referred to as a “spiritual marriage”, the bizarre history of the Golden Dawn occult movement to which they both belonged (along with Aliester Crowley), and the belief amongst the Irish peasantry that Maud was at least part Sidhe, a sort of Irish faerie famous for stealing the souls of brides.

8) Is there anything in particular that you hope readers will walk away from this story with? Other than having enjoyed it, obviously ;)

I hope readers will walk away from this story with bits that stick. Ideally, they’ll have images and ideas lingering around in their minds to play with beyond the story. I realize I ask rather a lot of readers. But I hope I can replay the extra effort with extra images and ideas.

I'd like to thank Ms. White for her time and the interesting look into the world she's created and I look forward to seeing what the next book will bring. Thanks to all you guys for checking us out and hearing what we had to say. If you're interested in learning more, then check out the author's website at the link below.

Skyler White is author of dark fantasy novels ‘and Falling, Fly’ (Berkley, March 2010) and ‘In Dreams Begin’ (Berkley, March 2010).She lives in Austin, TX.


Saturday, March 6, 2010

Cover Snarkage

Wow, check out this goodness right here. Seriously, was this "pay street people with 20 bucks and a burrito" day? Are these models familiar with showers? Maybe they're European? Wait, I'm pretty sure showering isn't just an American oddity. Hmmm....nope, they just seem kinda greasy and porn rejecty to me. What do you guys think?

Oh, and by the way, I'm still totally reading this book. What?

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Review: Black Magic Sanction by Kim Harrison

In New York Times bestselling author Kim Harrison's most complex and nuanced adventure yet, bounty hunter and witch Rachel Morgan fights a deadly battle—mind, body, and soul

Black Magic Sanction

Rachel Morgan has fought and hunted vampires, werewolves, banshees, demons, and other supernatural dangers as both witch and bounty hunter—and lived to tell the tale. But she's never faced off against her own kind . . . until now. Denounced and shunned for dealing with demons and black magic, her best hope is life imprisonment—at worst, a forced lobotomy and genetic slavery. Only her enemies are strong enough to help her win her freedom, but trust comes hard when it hinges on the unscrupulous tycoon Trent Kalamack, the demon Algaliarept, and an ex-boyfriend turned thief.

It takes a witch to catch a witch, but survival bears a heavy price.

So, this is the 8th installment in the Rachel Morgan series and it's pretty action packed. What keeps me coming back to this series is the growth of the characters, especially Rachel, the lead character. She's always been a fly by the seat of her pants kinda girl and she's always tended to make snap judgments about people and situations. While these tendencies have served her in some situations, in others they've led to trusting the wrong people, alienating people she shouldn't and getting herself in a boat load of trouble at every turn.

In this book we find Rachel really having to lean on her friends and some of her possible enemies for help. We also see her doing a lot of soul searching (HA) and questioning her motives and decisions before she acts. In some ways it hurt to watch her doubt herself, but I could also see that she was being less apt to just write people off because she realized that it could just be an immature impulse and not the fact that they're actually bad that's driving her actions. The relationships continue to grow in this one, which is good to see. I'm glad that Ivy and her relationship is less angsty and destructive. There were times in the beginning when Ivy was emotionally and physically abusive in my opinion. I got irritated because I felt that if Ivy were a man more people would have been upset by her behavior instead of laying it all on Rachel's door. Now, they seem to have more boundaries (though it's still annoyingly open ended in some ways) and they coexist better. It's great how Ivy and Jenks always have her back, no matter how many scrapes she gets in.

Can I just take a moment to gush over two characters that I love and was so glad to see more of in this book? Trent. I love the interaction between Rachel and Trent. Somehow they always bring out the inner 12 year old in each other and it cracks me up. Yet, they also have been known to work really well together when they can scrap all the baggage and pissing contests they have going on. Trent was great in this one and I loved every scene he and Rachel shared.

Al. Al the awesome and wicked demon. He cracks my ass up in this book. He totally made me break out laughing at 1:30 in the morning before I could stop myself. The fam might not share my humor when I wake them with my middle of the night cackling. *sigh* Fascists.

Ceri was in this one, but too briefly. I love her. I have to admit that I wish Rachel could be a little more pragmatic and tough like Ivy and Ceri and even Jenks. Her whole squeamishness to kill people kinda drives me nuts. I know, I shouldn't want the lead character to kill things (though I've been known to cheer for the killing of things before) but ya know, when these people are bad and trying to hurt you and your friends, you can't be afraid to get your ninja assassin on. I'm just sayin.

Nick was also in this one and all I have to say is, why can't he have died? I mean, really. This dude is a piece of work. He definitely brings the drama in this one.

Overall this was a solid entry in the series. I do kinda resent the perpetually AWOL status of David, but that's just me. There was action, suspense, character development and humor in this one and I really enjoyed it. If you haven't read this series, I recommend that you do and if you have read the previous books then what are you waiting for? Go get this one. Seriously.

Final grade: B

Happy reading!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Review: Heart of a Huntress by Crista McHugh

A legend…a myth…a high stakes game that could shatter them both.

The Kavanaugh Foundation, Book 1

As one of the oldest surviving vampire hunters in the Foundation, Lana has learned the toughest lesson: success comes at a price. So while the yummy stranger she bumps into at Caesar’s trips all her temptation switches, duty comes first. Better to be alone than to gamble with someone else’s heart—or her own. Although maybe a one-night stand won’t hurt…

Byron has set a one-way course for revenge against the Vegas vampire who murdered his uncle. When he collides with Lana, though, her scent calls to him like a potent aphrodisiac. The only explanation: she’s his true-mate. And the timing couldn’t be worse. He can’t afford any distractions—not to mention it’ll be hell convincing her to love someone who sprouts fur and fangs every full moon.

One drink together turns into a daring night of passion. Their erotic interlude ends abruptly with the news that Lana’s partner has been abducted by the very vampire Byron seeks. Now Byron has no choice. He must reveal what he is and risk a rejection that could spell his own destruction…

The author kindly sent me a copy to review.

Lana is one of the oldest living vamp slayers. Not that she's really that ancient, but the life expectancy of slayers isn't exactly long. She's lost someone she cared for to vamps and she doesn't want to get close to anyone again in the fear that when she inevitably meets her demise at the hands of the undead, she doesn't want to leave someone grieving for her. Also, she's become a bit of a workaholic, you might say.

Byron is the new alpha of his pack. He has a lot on his hands dealing with pack politics and succession issues and he really doesn't need the added issue of finding his mate. If she rejects him it could spell disaster.

Throw in some evil undead bad guys and Byron and Lana have their hands full.

I liked the humor in this story and who doesn't love a hot alpha wolf with the name Byron? That's a win right there. Lana was tough and capable and the chemistry between the two of them was undeniable. The secondary characters were interesting and added to the story.

The issue I had was Lana's complete inability to believe Byron was what he said he was. The woman hunts vamps for a living and gets patched up by witches on a regular basis and she couldn't quite swallow the whole werewolf thing. It made me slightly annoyed with her for part of the story.

The romance was sweet, the villain was slightly cheesy, and the side characters were fun to meet.

Overall, it's a fun, romantic and quick read. I had some annoyance with Lana at times and the bad guys could have been done better, but it was enjoyable and I give it a C+. I hope to see more from this author in the future. I think she has a lot of talent and I'd definitely read more from her again.

You can order this as an e-book here

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