Monthly Archives: October 2011

Review: Hexbound by Chloe Neill

Lily Parker is new to St. Sophia’s School for Girls, but she’s already learned that magic can be your best friend…or your worst enemy.
They say absolute power corrupts absolutely. Turns out, even a little magic can turn you to the dark side. That’s why Lily has to learn how to control her newly discovered paranormal abilities, on top of avoiding the snobs who think they run her school, nursing a crush on a cute sophomore with a big, werewolf-y secret, and fighting the good fight with her best friend Scout as they take on Chicago’s nastiest nightlife—including the tainted magic users known as Reapers.

Then Lily’s invited to a private meeting with Sebastian. He’s hot, powerful, and offering to help her harness the magic flowing in her veins in a way no one else can. He’s also a Reaper. Lily can’t hide her suspicions. But she’ll soon find out that the line between good and evil isn’t always clear…

Hexbound (Dark Elite #2) by Chloe Neill

Release Date: 7 Dec 2010
Read Date: 6 May 2011
Rating:

Hexbound picks up where Firespell left off. Lily is still learning about her powers and that of the Adepts. “As Adepts, we promise to give up our magic, to give it back to the universe before it turns us into soul-suckers. Reapers don’t. And in order to keep their suddenly hungry power from devouring them from the inside out, they have to feed from the souls of Adepts or humans.” They believe that after twenty-five years, “the magic begins to degrade you, to devour your soul like some kind of rangy tentacle monster.”

Lily and her friend Scout are trying to avoid the “brat-pack drama”, but unfortunately it’s ever present. I do like Lily and Scout, but at times the story seems to be weighed down by too much angst for me. That’s the risk I take when choosing to read YA. I do enjoy the different types of powers Chloe has created in Lily’s world. Some can touch buildings to “read the history”, manipulate fire or ice and some are wicked fighters.

I’m also intrigued by Sebastian. He’s a Reaper who appears to be trying to help Lily. Lily is attracted him and visa versa, but he’s the bad guy. Or is he? We can’t really get a lock on him. I’m looking forward to learning more about him and whether or not everything he’s told her is true.

As Sebastian tells Lily, “…things are rarely as simple as they seem. Sometimes you don’t figure out how the story is supposed to end until you’ve read it.”

I’ll be continuing the series with Charmfall, which is due in Jan 2012.

Review: Kiss and Kin by Kinsey W. Holley

Brotherly love? Oh hell no…

A Sexy Shifter story.

On the surface, court reporter Lark Manning looks like the luckiest girl in the world, blessed with great friends and a wonderful family. Underneath, she harbors a hopelessly unrequited love for the sexy werewolf everyone thinks of as her cousin. Taran rarely notices her except to condescend or lecture. He’s treated her the same way since she was eight years old, and there’s no reason to think he’ll ever change.

Taran Lloyd, a detective in the Houston Police Department’s Shifters Investigations Unit (SHIU), lives for those rare moments he gets to spend around Lark, torturing himself with what he can’t have. Kin only by marriage, she thinks of him as her big brother. He couldn’t bear her pity—or her disgust—if she learned he wants her for his mate.

When weres from a rival pack attack her, Lark screams out the first name that comes to mind—Taran. Only this sexy alpha can keep her safe until they find out who wants her dead, and why. But keeping her safe means keeping her close. And the closer they get, the harder it gets for these not-really-cousins to honor their commitment to keep their paws off.

Kiss and Kin (Werewolves in Love #1) by Kinsey W. Holley

Release Date: June 2009
Read Date: 7 May 2011
Rating:

Kiss and Kin is the first book in Kinsey W. Holley’s Werewolves in Love series. It was also my first introduction to Kinsey’s books.

In Kiss and Kin, we meet Lark Manning who has been hot for cousin (by marriage, not blood) for as long as she can remember. That cousin is a hottie, were, Taran Lloyd. He’s a detective in the Houston Police Department’s Shifters Investigations Unit (SHIU).

Cue couples row down d’Nile. She believes he still sees her as the the cute little girl he’s known forever and he believes she sees him as the brotherly type. But, when she’s attacked and calls out his name, he rushes to her rescue and throughout her recovery, neither can resist the heat between them or the fact that Taran’s known she’s his mate. Oops! Did he forget to mention that?

The baddie was kinda predictable, but, hey, the sex was smokin’. >;) I will be continuing the series and look forward to reading more by Kinsey.

Series Order:

Kiss and Kin (Werewolves in Love, #1) Yours, Mine and Howls (Werewolves in Love, #2) Ready to Run  Werewolves in Love story

There is also a Yours, Mine and Howls prequel (Werewolves in Love #1.5) called The Nanny Years available at Smashwords.

Review ~ Queenie’s Brigade by Heather Massey

Queenie’s Brigade by Heather Massey

Captain Michael Drake desperately needs an army to save Earth after a crushing defeat by alien invaders. When his damaged starship docks at a remote prison colony, he discovers Earth’s last best hope—an army to replace the one he lost.

But, Queenie, the feral goddess ruling the prison, has other plans for the rugged star ship captain. After imprisoning Drake and seizing his ship, she prepares to lead her blood-thirsty band to freedom before the invaders track them down.
Despite her intentions, Queenie secretly falls for the sexy, hotshot captain. Drake makes it plain he wants to win back Earth with her by his side. But is following her heart worth betraying her people?

The author provided some great bullets to pique your interest:

*a smart, charismatic, and honorable Alpha hero with a touch of angst
*a kick-butt Latina anti-heroine in search of redemption
*a biracial romance (of the enemies-to-lovers/opposites attract variety)
*high stakes & high-octane action-adventure space opera featuring underdog heroes (Think: THE DIRTY DOZEN in space.)

Heat Level: Sexual tension; one steamy love scene
Tone: Dark and edgy; strong language; graphic violence

She offers a free-preview of the first three chapters.  Once you read them, you’ll want to finish the story!

(PDF) (ePub) (Mobi)

The eBook is available for purchase from: (Red Sage) (Amazon) (Barnes & Noble)

You can visit the author at her website or check out more from Red Sage Publishing.

Release Date: 1 October 2011

Read Date: 19 October 2011

Rating:

Queenie’s Brigade introduces us to Michael Drake and Queenie.  We meet Starship Captain Drake when he’s retreating from a losing battle against a Calithian invasion against Earth. The last thing he wants to do is flee, but he does so because they may just be Earth’s only chance.

He and his remaining crew dock the damaged ship, Relentless (love the name) at a prison colony called Hades Station.  Queenie rules colony. When Drake’s ship lands, she quickly captures him and his men, then takes control of his ship. He begins to see an opportunity to rebuild the army he lost while she wants to free her people.  Will Queenie’s people and Drake’s space soldiers be able to work together?

Queenie’s Brigade was a good mix of sci-fi action and romance.  I read the three-chapter preview and couldn’t wait to read the rest.  I immediately liked (Michael) Drake.  The flashbacks of his loss were touching and helped the reader relate to him early on.  Queenie, while not blessed with the best name, was a wickedly fierce heroine who is strong, yet vulnerable and always looking out for her people.

I would like to follow these two as they continue their battles, if the author plans on turning this into a series.

Review: Frostbound by Sharon Ashwood

Every dog might have his day, but the hellhound guards the night . . .

As a snowstorm locks down the city, more than the roads are getting iced. Someone’s beheaded the wrong girl, and vampire-on-the-lam Talia Rostova thinks it was meant to be her. Now she’s the prime suspect in her own botched murder—and the prisoner of her smoking-hot neighbor.

Lore is a hellhound, bred to serve and protect, so he’s not freeing Talia until he’s sure that she’s the prey and not the hunter. You’d think a beautiful woman in his bedroom would be a good thing, but trouble-prone Talia has run afoul of someone more sinister than your average lunatic killer. An ancient Undead is wreaking vengeance on the city—and on her—and Lore will have to go far beyond a stake to put him back in his grave . . .

 

 

Frostbound (The Dark Forgotten #4) by Sharon Ashwood

Release Date: 7 Jun 2011

Read Date: 20 Jun 2011

Rating:

I have always enjoyed Sharon Ashwood’s Dark Forgotten series. Frostbound was no exception. I think she does a great job of blending UF and PNR. Like a PNURF, paranormal urban romantic fantasy.

This book focuses on one of my favorite characters so far in the series, Lore, a hellhound who managed to escape from the the Castle. He’s acting sheriff during a time when supes are on edge. Why? Because the first supe election is only a month or so away. Supernaturals have only been out of the closet for a short time and the humans are still adjusting.

Talia, a newly turned vampire/former hunter, has been running from her abusive sire and is staying with her look-a-like cousin. When her cousin is murdered Lore investigates, Talia freaks and the who-done-it begins.

While I thought I’d be more drawn to Talia, seeing as she was turned against her will, grew up killing “monsters” and now is having to adjust to being that which she’s always hated … I was only partially interested. I was more interested in Lore, Hellhound Alpha. I did feel like they were a good fit though.

Definitely continuing on with the series.

Series Order:

Ravenous (The Dark Forgotten, #1) Scorched (The Dark Forgotten, #2) Unchained (The Dark Forgotten, #3) Frostbound (The Dark Forgotten, #4)
EXTRAS offered on the author’s website include a book video & excerpt for Frostbound, including excerpts for the previous books as well.  Frostbound was Nominated for Romance Reviews Today Best Book of the Year 2011.

Review: The Ghost Shrink, the Accidental Gigolo, & the Poltergeist Accountant by Vivi Andrews

It’s bad enough to be sexually frustrated. But as a medium, it means until Lucy Cartwright gets some, she’s doomed. Oh no, not to death. Worse. To nightly visitations by recently deceased, wanna-be Cassanovas without the bodies to back it up. Then a living, breathing fantasy arrives on her doorstep, and Lucy thinks her dry spell is at an end. Much as he would like to be Lucy’s personal gigolo, PI Jake Cox has a job to do. He’s been sent to prevent her from getting laid until a particular horny phanto–and key witness in his mob investigation–pays her a visit. The real challenge? Keeping his own hands off Lucy long enough to get the job done. Or the lonely, geeky ghost of a murdered mob accountant could rip a hole in the fabric of the universe…

The Ghost Shrink, the Accidental Gigolo, & the Poltergeist Accountant (Karmic Consultants #1) by Vivi Andrews

Release Date: 17 Feb 2009
Read Date: 23 Jun 2011
Rating:

The title of this one is almost as long as the story, but this little book is packed with laughs. Lucy is the Ghost Shrink, or so she considers herself. She “helped the deceased work through their issues and move on to the next plane. The white light. Whatever.”

Her boss just happens to be Karma, “pure sex. Walking, talking sensuality.” Lucy classifies herself as the girl next door and she’s having a bit of dry spell in the sex department. To top off that bitter piece of cake, her sexual drought seems to attract the ghosts of horny businessmen. The first one we meet, the Larrinator was a riot in his ghostly and ghastly attempts to seduce Lucy.

Karma advises her to change the energy she puts out into the world, if she wants to change the type of ghosts that pop in. She can’t believe her luck when “Jake Cox walked through her door that afternoon like a walking, talking gift from Cupid.” When he tells her that Karma sent him, she’s a bit mortified, and more than a bit Thank.You.God. She’s convinced her boss has sent (the Accidental) Gigolo to help her “change her energy”.

Jake’s a PI and he needs to talk to the Poltergeist Accountant who should be arriving at Lucy’s very soon. There have been a series of murders and he’s investigating them. Who better to help him that the girl that talks to dead people.

I could go on and on, but really, at this point I’ve already told you too much. The story is short, so take your time reading it. I promise you’ll be drawn to these adorable, sexy, funny characters just like I was. I look forward to continuing with the series.

Karmic Consultants Series:

The Ghost Shrink, the Accidental Gigolo, & the Poltergeist Accountant (Karmic Consultants, #1) The Ghost Exterminator (Karmic Consultants, #2) The Sexorcist (Karmic Consultants, #3) The Naked Detective (Karmic Consultants #4) A Cop and a Feel

Plus an eFreebie, Love Potion #9, short story offered by the author HERE.

A Valentine’s Day Free Read | A Karmic Consultants Short Story

It’ll take a helluva love potion to make Lara – practicing witch, potion
expert and Valentine Scrooge – fall head over heels. Luckily, bar-owner Connor mixes a mean Cupid Cocktail…

What’s in a Name? {Pseudonyms, Pen Names & Nom de Plumes}

“What’s in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet” ~ William Shakespeare

pseu·do·nym | noun |ˈsoōdn-im| a fictitious name
* Geisel was best known by the pseudonym ‘Dr. Seuss’

* Synonyms & related words: pen name, nom de plume, assumed name, false name, alias, professional name, sobriquet, stage name, nom de guerre.

* ORIGIN mid 19th cent.: from French pseudonyme, from Greek pseudōnymos, from pseudēs ‘false’ + onoma ‘name.’

I have always been a bit confused by the reasons behind a pseudonym.  But, then I realized I have several myself.  We all do, probably.  We have screen names and avatars for different sites scattered around the WWW.  Hopefully not for any nefarious reasons, but sometimes it’s nice to go unnoticed by those who know you best.

During my search for not only which authors use a pseudonym, but the reasons for them, I found several interesting articles and a YouTube video that helped clear up my confusion.  The first article I found, 9 Reasons Why You Should Use a Pseudonym, was written by Carmela for the Huffington Post.  It showed some of the more odd reasons an author would use a pseudonym such as when William Sydney Porter was released from prison in 1901 and wanted to reinvent himself or Fernando Pessoa, who apparently had multiple personalities and wrote under 70 different names.

Nah, make fun, but that's typically NOT the reason

There were others, but the one that really helped clarify it for me was the YouTube video discussion between Brian Felsen of BookBaby and author Jennifer Ashley at the 2011 Romantic Times Convention.  Jennifer explains her reasons for writing under four different names {Jennifer Ashley, which is her real name, Allyson James, Allison Gardner, and Laurien Gardner}.  It started when she was trying to get published.  She was submitting different stories, in different genres, to different publishing houses.  Two houses wanted to publish her writing, but they asked her to use two different names –

hence the creation of her first two pseudonyms.  She explains that the differences in her writing styles {POV, tone, and genre} were good reasons for the different names.  It was a way for fans to distinguish between the different types of writing and therefore know what to expect from her books {under each name}.  When she decided to write some spicier, erotic novels, she felt the use of a pseudonym offered her some protection and anonymity in case she wasn’t any good at it.

The way in which Jennifer explained it helped me better understand why an author may choose a pseudonym.  It’s a way for authors to establish different writing styles within different genres without confusing their fans.  It’s a way to be carefree when you write about steamy, hot sex without worrying about offending the family, your friends, or fan base.  I’d love to hear from authors about why they chose their pseudonym(s), if you’d like to share.  🙂

Additionally, I found some good reference sites when trying to hunt down who’s who.  Sometimes you may think you’ve found a new-to-you author, when in reality, it’s an author you’ve already been reading and following.  Here’s a list of some authors I follow and their pseudos, plus some websites to help you on your hunt.

Author Pseudos

Tessa Adams = Tracy Deebs = Tracy Wolff

Ann Aguirre = Ava Gray = Ellen Connor (with co-author, Carrie Lofty)

G.A. Aiken = Shelly Laurenston

Jennifer Ashley = Allyson James = Ashley Gardner = Laurien Gardner

Julie Kenner = J.K. Beck

Laura Bickle = Alayna Williams

Jessica Bird = J.R. Ward

Jayne Castle = Jayne Ann Krentz = Amanda Quick = Stephanie James

Maureen Child = Regan Hastings

Dawn Cook = Kim Harrison

Sydney Croft = Larissa Ione & Stephanie Tyler

Kristina Douglas = Anne Stuart

Mira Grant = Seanan McGuire

Sherrilyn Kenyon = Kinley MacGregor

Jill Myles = Jessica Sims

Savannah Russe = Lucy Finn

And, my favorite writing duo, husband and wife team, Ilona & Gordon make up Ilona Andrews

There are many, many more.  Here are some links to sites that can help ya out:  A-Z Pseudonyms | Mystical Unicorn’s Pseudo List | Wikipedia’s List

Get Ready for the Return of The Walking Dead

WooHoo, Baby!  Are You Ready for Season 2?!

 

If you just can’t wait until Sunday, there are other ways to get your zombie fix:

  • Catch the latest trailer with the Sheriff bustin’ some zombie heads like coconuts
  • Design your own zombie avatar with AMC’s ‘Spread the Dead’ application on Facebook
  • Check out their Sneak Peek (US only, unfortunately) video
  • Or the daily Webisodes
  • Pop over to HalloweenCostumes.com and find a wicked zombie getup for this year’s tricks-and-treats day
  • Try your hand at AMC’s ‘Ultimate Fan Trivia Game
  • Or crack some skulls in one of the games at ZombieGames.net
  • And, if you missed out on Season 1, don’t despair, you can catch up here
  • Finally, check out the new book!

The Walking Dead: Rise of the Governor  

In the Walking Dead universe, there is no greater villain than The Governor. The despot who runs the walled-off town of Woodbury, he has his own sick sense of justice: whether it’s forcing prisoners to battle zombies in an arena for the townspeople’s amusement, or chopping off the appendages of those who cross him. The Governor was voted “Villain of the Year” by Wizard magazine the year he debuted, and his story arc was the most controversial in the history of the Walking Dead comic book series. Now, for the first time, fans of The Walking Dead will discover how The Governor became the man he is, and what drove him to such extremes.

The Walking Dead: Rise of the Governor by Robert Kirkman, Jay Bonansinga,  Published October 11th 2011 by Thomas Dunne Books, is available for purchase at Amazon | BookDepository | B&N

Freaky Friday ~ True Blood(y) Fondue?

Anyone up for some bloody fondue?

Check out the True Blood(y) fountain!

The beautiful Janina Gavankar, who plays Luna on HBO’s True Blood series, posted some wicked TB fountain pics on her website.  She references two sites, which I checked, but one is in Italian.  I ran the text through Google’s translator and it came up with this:

It was October of 2007, the Trevi Fountain was red around the web, some “time” talking about the fountains wrote bloody guerrilla marketing to promote the television series Dexter.

At a distance of 4 years back to talk of fountains that gush blood and specifically in the land of Dracula and Transylvania to promote True Blood ‘series focuses on the adventures of vampires in the fictional town of Bon Temps.

Gotta love it!  That’s some serious series love right there!

 

Ref: Janinagavankar.com & Bloguerrilla

Review: Shadowflame by Dianne Sylvan

Spread throughout the dark corners of our world lies the Shadow World, a society of vampires who feed off the living. In Austin, Texas, one woman must find her place within that world, before she loses everything…

It’s been three months since musician Miranda Grey became a vampire and married David Solomon, Prime of the South. As Queen, Miranda must quickly come to terms with her new role and learn how to negotiate the treacherous waters of Signet politics, inevitably making dangerous enemies along the way.

As if complicated vampire politics and a rising music career weren’t enough, an enigmatic but powerful force from David’s past appears, leaving a wake of chaos and uncertainty for the Pair’s fledgling relationship. Miranda begins to realize how little she really knows about her husband. But when an assassin begins targeting her friends and allies, the Pair must track down the killer, even as their lives hang in the balance…

Shadowflame (Shadow World #2) by Dianne Sylvan

Release Date: 26 July 2011
Read: 16 Sept 2011
Rating:

Everyone who read Queen of Shadows knows that this series is dark. Miranda’s ability and what she experienced (in QoS) could have completely wrecked her. Instead, she overcame her fears, learned to control the powers that had her believing she was insane, and found a man who to care for her while giving her the space she needed to heal. As it happened, that man was her Signet-chosen Mate. The darkness of the Shadow World, Miranda’s new world, doesn’t end there.

”Blood, chocolate, and a hot shower.” That’s how I felt after this roller-coaster ride. Well, okay, minus the blood. 😉

Shadowflame picks up three months after Queen of Shadows. Miranda is David’s mate and the ninth Queen of the Southern United States. She’s venturing out at night to make her presence known. David tries to reassure her by saying, ”Right now you’re being tested in the eyes of our kind. They want to see how you handle yourself, how tough you are. The longer we stay in power, the fewer fools will try to take us down.” She’s also learning how to deal Signet politics and the “Magnificent Bastard Parade” of Primes as they come to Austin to offer their congratulations and pay their respects to the new couple.

Miranda … well, she wasn’t the type of woman to keep her mouth shut when angry. She spoke her mind, was smart and observant, and David knew that the very qualities he loved about her were going to get them in trouble if she didn’t learn quickly that these old, hidebound men of privilege were not all going to like the fact that David treated her as an equal. During the MB Parade, she’s able to learn from him. Watching his demeanor around the other Primes and learning how, no matter what, he sticks to his beliefs when it comes to what’s best for the vampire society as a whole.

When Prime James Hart of the Northeast visits, things get ugly. Seems this Prime likes to travel with a harem of girls. Wouldn’t be a big deal except these girls aren’t with him of their own free will. Hart is a sick bastard and Miranda has been told she cannot interfere without having it turn into a declaration of war. But, when one of Hart’s “girls” finds the strength to go to the Queen, well, that’s something else entirely.

While out one night, Miranda rushes to the rescue of a human woman. There she meets Prime Deven O’Donnell of the West and its adjacent territories.

Shortly after, the pair learn that Miranda’s body guard, Jake, is missing … well, his body is missing, but Faith and her team have found his hand. Leaving a hand behind is the trademark of the Red Shadow, a secret group of vampire assassins. The couple quickly realizes the group is targeting them. But, why?

Miranda’s singing career continues to prosper. Her best friend, Kat is her much-needed sounding board, allowing her a safe haven where she can vent about the dramas of Signet life. Kat’s life is about to take a change.

Over the last three months, it’s clear these two have truly bonded. Miranda is well and truly in love. He alone could touch her. In all of eternity, all the world, there would never be another man – she didn’t even feed on them. Her time in hell had made sure of it, and the amulet around her neck sealed it. He alone … he alone… Forever. Will this fated mated pair manage to survive the “powerful force from David’s past”? Will he “{leave} a wake of chaos and uncertainty for the Pair’s fledgling relationship”? More importantly, will they be able to survive the assassin targeting them and those they hold dear?

The storyline about the Red Shadow was very interesting. The “Wizard” (of Oz – behind the curtain) was a surprise. So was the last line of the book. Definitely piqued my interest further.

And now, onto what reviewers have termed “The Event”…

**spoilers removed**

With that, I come back to my original thought … Everyone who read Queen of Shadows knows that this series is dark. So, who knows what to expect. Either way, I am looking forward to reading it.

This is the 2nd book in the series. This series should be read in order.

Queen of Shadows (Shadow World, #1) Shadowflame (Shadow World, #2) Shadow's Fall (Shadow World, #3)

This review has quite a few spoilers. For this blog review post, I have removed those spoilers. If you wish to read my full review, please refer to my Goodreads review HERE.

Freaky Friday ~ I Thought Vamps Didn’t Like Water …

… but they apparently like cruises!

Harriet Backas with MSNBC reported on the Vamps at Sea cruise which offers passengers a vampire-themed costume ball and film festival, “scareoke” nights and presentations by celebrity guests such as Nelsan Ellis, who plays Lafayette Reynolds on the HBO vampire series “True Blood,” and Dacre Stoker, the great grand-nephew of author Bram Stoker, who wrote the now-classic “Dracula” in 1897.

Passengers are encouraged to dress as their favorite vamps or vamp authors, but everyone should know, “Whether you are Team Glitter [Edward of Twilight] or Team Goth [Anne Rice’s Lestat and True Blood’s Eric] – We are all Team Vampire.”

[Learn more at Vamps at Sea]