Wednesday, June 30, 2010

On My Soap Box...

I would like to apologize to any bloggers out there that might have felt a bit neglected by me lately. I've been dealing with a problem with my doberman. He had a couple of bouts with gas (although at the time I didn't know that was all he had).

During the second bout with gas it was Sunday morning (why these things don't happen under normal vet working hours/days I'll never know). He woke me up and couldn't walk. Scared me half to death. Notice that it wasn't pain in any specific place, nor was it unilateral. As I sat in the emergency vet's office explaining what I thought it could be (he was acting normally at that point) I realized my other dog was having some small problems as well. As I kept talking it dawned on me that it must be the food! I had gone through this once before with my dad's dog trying to figure out what was wrong and it was the dog food. Ah HAH! Looked up to see if the food had been sold to another company and found that other people have had the same question. The dog food I had selected was at one time very open about it's sources, but had become very tight lipped. Plus the food had been getting cheaper and cheaper.

Well, as soon as I had stopped the food and put him on a bland diet, my doberman rallied. I have selected a new food and I am now slowly adapting him to it. I'm adapting my other dog to the food and noticed that things I've been questioning (like her weeping eyes and ear infection) have been clearing up. I've also noticed that my doberman's skin quality has improved. I have researched this food and they are clear as to where their sources come from and I have found that they seem to be also concerned about it's quality as well.

I have found that whenever a dog food company sells to another it seems that the quality goes down. I didn't put any brand names down because I don't want to unduly influence people into changing what is working for them at the moment. I will say this... I will not buy from any dog or cat food company who's production company comes from Menu, Mars or Diamond. Diamond is the least of the 3, but they ruined one of my favorite dog foods. Sometimes you have to research a lot to find out who the production company is, but usually if you look around you can find it. Usually someone will post from the Whole Dog Journal as to what company produces what on their private blog. Just a hint. ;)

I also know about home-made raw food diets. They are really good especially when you find recipes that are endorsed by nutritional vets (not all vets have this speciality as an fyi). If you want a list of good books for this, just e-mail me and I'll try my best to get a good list of books for you. Anyway, I have done the raw food diet for my shelties because they both had health problems. They really lived very healthy lives despite their problems. I do attribute it to the diet. I am using a prepared diet now because of the ease. It's easier to have a diet that I can leave with a sitter in case I have to go somewhere in a short notice... like a family emergency. It's also a bit cheaper at the moment to do a prepared meal. However, if it comes down to it, I would do a raw diet again.

I guess I am now down off my soap box. I guess I just wanted to put it out there about how disappointed and upset I've been at these dog food companies. "sigh" Sorry for the long speech. :) Back to your regularly scheduled book reviews. :D

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Transformation of Bartholomew Fortuno by Ellen Bryson

The Transformation of Bartholomew Fortuno: A Novel
From Goodreads: Water for Elephants meets Geek Love in this riveting first novel, an enchanting love story set in P. T. Barnum's American Museum in 1865 New York City
Bartholomew Fortuno, the World's Thinnest Man, believes that his unusual body is a gift. Hired by none other than P. T. Barnum to work at his spectacular American Museum—a modern marvel of macabre displays, breathtaking theatrical performances, and live shows by Barnum's cast of freaks and oddities—Fortuno has reached the pinnacle of his career. But after a decade of constant work, he finds his sense of self, and his contentment within the walls of the museum, flagging. When a carriage pulls up outside the museum in the dead of night, bearing Barnum and a mysterious veiled woman—rumored to be a new performer—Fortuno's curiosity is piqued. And when Barnum asks Fortuno to follow her and report back on her whereabouts, his world is turned upside down. Why is Barnum so obsessed with this woman? Who is she, really? And why has she taken such a hold on the hearts of those around her?
Set in the New York of 1865, a time when carriages rattled down cobblestone streets, raucous bordellos near the docks thrived, and the country was mourning the death of President Lincoln, The Transformation of Bartholomew Fortuno is a moving novel about human appetites and longings. With pitch-perfect prose, Ellen Bryson explores what it means to be profoundly unique—and how the power of love can transcend even the greatest divisions.
This book had me interested in what was going on right up to the end of the book. The main character and narrator, Bartholomew Fortuno believes that his extreme thinness as a gift, one that elevates him above the masses of "normal" people. His sense of who he is and how he has become so thin is a sense of pride for Bartholomew and it is reinforced by the reactions of the audience. When he meets another fellow performer, a new act in Barnum's museum, he finds his world changing. He starts to question things he never thought he'd ever question. So certain as he was to his world and the world around him. As he starts to venture outside his comfort zone, his perceptions start to change. As his perceptions change, his world starts to transform. Instead of gifts he sees the world is really of our own making. He also sees that the world changes no matter how hard we try to make our own world stagnant.

The mysteries of the self of each of the players in this book have you guessing as to who is hiding what and who is loyal to whom all set in a place that is at once open to the "normal" as it is closed. The climax of the book is not without it's surprises and it is quite shocking. The book in itself is a show and one that is well done and deserves it's own applause. The transformation is not of just one character, but of many. I recommend this book and give it 4 stars. This is one show you are invited to really know the characters.

I'd like to thank the Henry Holt and Company for providing me with the ARC.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

CSN Product Review

Here is my CSN review. Instead of a needed bookshelf, I got something else instead. The bookshelves I was considering, at the time, unfortunately were sold out. Instead, I decided to get something else I've been needing. I've been wanting to put both my cable box and my dvd player under my tv. That way a huge doberman couldn't block my signal when standing in front of me and I'm trying to either change the channel or do something on the dvd. Therefore, I chose...

AVF Nexus AV Component System Wall Mount - NXS200

Of course I only got one... and in black. One holds 30 pounds and should accommodate both of my units onto one shelf. I ordered it and quickly received the package. I haven't put it up yet, because I need some help and I also need to get a cable extender for my cable box. However, I am quite pleased with the package and the sturdiness of the product. Too bad it doesn't come with a hunky werewolf or vampire to help me put this shelf up (and you thought I couldn't make this post paranormal... ha!). Oh well, I guess you can't have everything in one store. ;)

So, I found this website very easy to use, quick delivery, and I am very satisfied with the product. I do recommend going to a CSN store on-line. Good products and good service. Also, during Blogmania CSN has graciously allowed me to giveaway a gift certificate to a lucky person. So, do be around for that and enter to win. 

Saturday, June 26, 2010

On My Wishlist...

Masques by Patricia Briggs (in print Oct. 2010)

This is a re-write from Patricia Briggs. It was published in the early 90s.

From Patricia's Web siteMasques was the first book I ever attempted to write. I'd never read any books on writing, nor talked to anyone who knew the first thing about constructing a novel. All I had was a life spent reading obsessively and the conviction that I knew how to tell a story. Wolf was the first character I drew up, mainly because he had starred, in one form or another, in many of the stories I'd made up through the years. I knew I wasn't skilled enough to take upon myself the task of writing a believable male viewpoint character, so I needed a female lead. I tried several of them. The innocent young miss so beloved by the series romances of the late seventies, early eighties was mincemeat when confronted by Wolf. The hardened warrior maid clashed with him horribly. Humor, I thought, was the only way to deal with a man scarred inside and out the way Wolf was. Aralorn had humor and toughness with a dash of competence and some real limitations to play off of Wolf's impressive, if almost uncontrollable abilities.
There are, of course, things I would change about Masques, explanations I'd clarify, scenes I'd add to improve the overall pacing. I wish my writing skills had been up to the level of the characters; in fact I wrote a sequel, just so I could do them justice. The sequel hasn't yet seen the light of day, but I don't intend for it to stay locked in my trunk forever.

Wolfsbane by Patricia Briggs (to be published in Nov. 2010) 

This is the long awaited sequel to the first book. Gotta love that cover!

So, what have you been wishing for? :)

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Paul is Undead by Alan Goldsher Blog Tour

Paul Is Undead
For John Lennon, a young, idealistic zombie guitarist with dreams of global domination, Liverpool seems the ideal place to form a band that could take over the world. In an inspired act, Lennon kills and reanimates local rocker Paul McCartney, kicking off an unstoppable partnership. With the addition of newly zombified guitarist George Harrison and drummer/Seventh Level Ninja Lord Ringo Starr, the Beatles soon cut a swath of bloody good music and bloody violent mayhem across Europe, America, and the entire planet. 

In this searing oral history, discover how the Fab Four climbed to the Toppermost of the Poppermost while stealing the hearts, ears, and brains of smitten teenage girls. Learn the tale behind a spiritual journey that resulted in the dismemberment of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. Marvel at the seemingly indestructible quartet’s survival of a fierce attack by Eighth Level Ninja Lord Yoko Ono. And find out how the boys escaped eternal death at the hands of England’s greatest zombie hunter, Mick Jagger.

Through all this, one mystery remains: Can the Beatles sublimate their hunger for gray matter, remain on top of the charts, and stay together for all eternity? After all, three of the Fab Four are zombies, and zombies live forever. . . .
This book is another mashup, this time of the Beatles themselves. It is a humorous book in the vein of all those humor movies and books on zombies. It is written like a tell-all biography endorsed by the Beatle zombies themselves (oh, and Ringo who is a living Ninja Lord). You also get some insights into other icons of the Rock era like Mick Jagger, Roy Orbison, and even Elvis. There is a story within all the "revelations" and humor which moves the book along.

I do caution those that are die-hard Beatles fans. If you cannot see your fab 4 "messed" with, do not pick up this book. Even though it is told with humor, I do believe that those fans might be horrified that Lennon is angry and a warmonger. Paul, and George who also believes as Lennon (it's the zombie nature as is often quoted). Those that can find humor in seeing their idols in a completely different and humorous light, go for this book. You might find a good laugh in it. Also, knowing this is a zombie book understand that it is also a violent book with lots of brain eating and mayhem. So, those that like their humor in a more gentle light might also look elsewhere.

I give this book 3 stars. It was a fun and humorous book with lots of zombie goodies to keep you interested. I only gave it 3 stars because I also think it was one that is more for a specific audience instead of a wide ranging paranormal audience.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Moonshine by Alaya Johnson

Moonshine: A Novel
From Goodreads: Imagining vampires at the heart of the social struggles of 1920s, Moonshineblends a tempestuous romance with dramatic historical fiction, populated by a lively mythology inhabiting the gritty New York City streets 
Zephyr Hollis is an underfed, overzealous social activist who teaches night school to the underprivileged of the Lower East Side. Strapped for cash, Zephyr agrees to help a student, the mysterious Amir, who proposes she use her charity worker cover to bring down a notorious vampire mob boss. What he doesn’t tell her is why. Soon enough she’s tutoring a child criminal with an angelic voice, dodging vampires high on a new blood-based street drug, and trying to determine the real reason behind Amir’s request—not to mention attempting to resist his dark, inhuman charm.
This book is set in the 20s. Not exactly the roaring 20s we usually are privileged to have in our movies, but more like the social problems of the 20s we rarely see. This book, of course, goes further and has another group of people who suffer the injustices of prejudice. "The Others" are any groups of people who aren't human.

Zephyr is a "do-gooder" with a heart of gold. She doesn't blindly try to help anyone in need (but she does what she can for those who ask) and sees the hypocrisy of some of the groups she has joined. She understands there is no perfect situation but also believes that everyone has a right to be treated as equals. It's not about saving everyone or that even that everyone needs saved. It's more about the fact that no one is above another. She knows who she is and is willing to suffer for that knowing. These are reasons why I just loved this character.

Amir, her mysterious student and counterpart proposes an offer she can't refuse. As she tries to discover what he is hiding and helping him catch the biggest mob boss on her side of town she starts to fall for him. Although this attraction seems mutual, there is no easy way for them to be together. They do make a good pair as they both challenge what they believe is true in their lives and why. However, as Zephyr's inquiry starts to get more dangerous, Amir tries to pull her from the fray even though he knows it is an impossible task. He respects her independence but needs her help desperately.  In the end they are both torn as to what is the right thing and living with the consequences.

Although this didn't end in a cliffhanger, it does have an open ending. I want more! I am so hoping that this is a series. I give this book 4 1/2 stars. It is a wonderful read and I recommend this to anyone looking for a different type of vampire read. Love that it was set in a specific time period.

I received this signed book as part of the Goodreads First Reads program.

Moonshine by Alaya Johnson -- book trailer from Alaya Johnson on Vimeo.

In My Mailbox!

Normally I don't do this meme and was planing on doing a review, but I just received this in my mailbox today!
I just got this signed hardback book from Cindy Pon! I also got two of the cutest cards from her Etsy shop

Aren't those just the neatest cards? And those that have never tried this type of painting, I can tell you that it is a very hard to master. There are certain strokes for certain types of items (like the bamboo leaves). Plus, these cards are much nicer in person. :) I won these as part of the Supernatural Underground giveaway from the author. If you'd like to learn more about the author just go to her website, or find her on twitter

Thank you Cindy Pon! 

Friday, June 18, 2010

Hope You Have a Great Weekend!

Shadow BoundA chance to read the prologue of this book and then answer a question gives you a $5 coupon at Dorchester Publishing! I read the prologue and I tell you this is still SO much on my wishlist (I think this was the first book I officially blogged as my wishlist too). Just go to this LINK to read it and get your $5. Pretty good especially if you were considering buying a bunch of books this weekend. ;)

I also wanted to share this video with you. I thought it was too funny. I did tweet it, but in case you missed it, I wanted to post it here. Apparently, Snoop Dogg is a big fan of the HBO show, True Blood and made a video. I think it would be such a hoot to see him in the show officially. As a shapeshifter or were of course. :)

Everyone have a great weekend!

Upcoming CSN Review

I've been contacted by CSN to do a review on a product. I happily complied. I really have needed to get some of my books in order and thought that it would be nice to have them right on hand. The headboards they have are wonderful. Loved this one:
However, as lovely as it is (and useful), I'm not sure if this will fit in my room. So, therefore, I think I'll have to put a bookcase in the room and sadly walk a step or two to get my book. ;) Something like:

So, what do you think? :D Na, don't think it will fit either, but hey, one can dream right? Plus, why would someone put nick nacks in this? It would look better filled with books. :D

Enough kidding around. I'll be doing my review soon and let you know what I got and how the process had gone. Thanks for the opportunity, CSN. :)

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Masked by Moonlight by Nancy Gideon Blog Tour

Masked by Moonlight

New Orleans homicide detective Charlotte Caissie is dedicated to bringing down the crime boss responsible for her father’s murder. Using Jimmy Legere’s mysterious and irresistible right-hand man is a dangerous gamble, and not only due to his reputation as more monster than man. Because her feelings for Max Savoie are . . . complicated.
Rescued from the swamps as a child, Max exists silently in Legere’s shadow, heeding only his voice—until Charlotte Caissie awakens his emotions and tests his loyalties. Stepping outside his cautious rules threatens more than just his heart. He could expose his darkest secret.
Testing boundaries they weren’t meant to cross means facing the truth about who and what they are—and what they need from each other. If Max is the murderer she seeks, Charlotte could be his next victim. She can’t afford to trust any man. Good thing Max isn’t one.
I will admit that when I agreed to review this book, I thought it would be a light and sometimes sexy type of book. While I was correct on the second part of that assumption, I would exactly call this very light. That is a good thing. In fact, this book was written in a way that kept my interest and I even thought would be good for men to enjoy. Unfortunately, I don't think you'd get a guy past the cover, but if you did, I think he would be pleasantly surprised in how fun this book is to read.

Max is a part of the head mob in NOLA. In fact, he is the reason his mob boss is number one. Detective Caissie is a beautiful creole woman who's life is been police work. These two on opposite sides find that they both have one fear in common. A true connection with someone. Both had been through horrible things and both find it hard to trust others even though they have true loyalty to the jobs they hold. So, in a way this seems like the perfect set up to a typical romantic novel, however, things are anything but typical. Max's connection and involvement in the mob becomes the central theme in which the book revolves. It actually becomes so compelling that I think that even men could enjoy this book. You get to not only see inside the heads of Max and Charlotte, but in the mob bosses' head as well. So, there is a bit of everything. Romance, paranormal, sex, mystery, murder, and love.

I give this book 4 stars. It lost it's star due to the ending. All I will say is that Charlotte had good questions left in her head, but pushed it aside too easily. In fact, I think this book would have been better without this kind of "closure". Especially because this is book one in a series and it would have been better to have seen this part left open. So, despite the ending, I did feel this was a pretty good book.

This book is a part of a book tour. Check out some of the other opinions of this book:

The Book Lush 
The Bibliophilic Book Blog
Starting Fresh 
Eclectic Book Lover 
Book Junkie 
Books, Books Everywhere
Rex Robot Reviews 
What Book Is That? 
Books and Needlepoint 
Patricia’s Vampire Notes 

Monday, June 14, 2010

The Strangely Beautiful Saga by Leanna Renee Hieber

Leanna Renee Hieber as Persephone Parker

The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker
From Goodreads: What fortune awaited sweet, timid Percy Parker at Athens Academy? Hidden in the dark heart of Victorian London, the Romanesque school was dreadfully imposing, a veritable fortress, and little could Percy guess what lay inside. She had never met its powerful and mysterious Professor Alexi Rychman, knew nothing of the growing shadows, of the Ripper and other supernatural terrors against which his coterie stood guard. She saw simply that she was different, haunted, with her snow white hair, pearlescent skin and uncanny gift. This arched stone doorway was a portal to a new life, to an education far from what could be had at a convent-and it was an invitation to an intimate yet dangerous dance at the threshold of life and death...
This first book in the series had me captured pretty quickly. You can tell that Leanna Hieber has done her homework as the book really does capture the essence of those 18th century romantic novels. In fact the prose was quite poetic. She was also able to fully introduce the paranormal aspects within the book while keeping to the time period. Persephone Parker is true to her name and what happens within the book keeps pretty true to the mythical story. There are a few twists and turns within to make it it's own mythology to be explored and learned, but just enough left over to keep it honest. Alexi makes a great counterpart for Percy. I love that you also get to see a bit into his heart in this voyage as well. The other characters consisting of the guard do not play a big role within this book, but yet they play an important one. I knew they would play a bigger part as the saga moves on in the stories. 

I give this book 5 stars and really don't want to say much more about the book. Reading it is it's own reward! Those looking for a true romance really need to look no further and pick up this book. Those looking for a great PNR also need to look no further. This one is it. It is full of romance of a time gone by with lots of mystery in the paranormal added to it. 

What is great is at this time Barnes and Noble have the ebook for FREE! Either go to the site and click on free ebooks area or just click HERE.

The Darkly Luminous Fight for Persephone Parker
From Goodreads: With radiant, snow white skin and hair, Percy Parker was a beacon for Fate. True love had found her, in the tempestuous form of Professor Alexi Rychman. But her mythic destiny was not complete. Accompanying the ghosts with which she alone could converse, new and terrifying omens loomed. A war was coming, a desperate ploy of a spectral host. Victorian London would be overrun. Yet, Percy kept faith. Within the mighty bastion of Athens Academy, alongside The Guard whose magic shielded mortals from the agents of the Underworld, she counted herself among friends. Wreathed in hallowed fire, they would stand together, no matter what dreams or nightmares—may come. 
This book is the second in the series. And so, when the first one ended, I knew I'd want to read more, so I had already purchased this book and I started it immediately! This is also why I decided to review them together.

If the talk of war in the first book made you think, "that was it?" then you know you are in for a huge ride with this book. In this one you also get to meet more of the guard in a more personal way and also see what is in their hearts they so badly hide from one another. The question with these little secrets becomes is this what can tear them apart? Can this be a betrayal not only of the heart, but of the guard or even Percy? 

You also get more romance with Percy and Alexi. Lot more of Alexi's Darcy-esque manner and steamy looks he only gives Percy. Not to mention you get a little more action than you would have in those 18th century novels. ;) They do explore their relationship and what her past and his possession means to one another. I felt it was dealt with in a very adult manner which I enjoyed. All of these characterizations are important in understanding how the Guard and Percy stand a chance to beat Darkness. The question remains. Are they able to see past their own mortal hearts? Are they able to stay true to one another? Can they stand a chance against Darkness? Guess you'll have to read the book to find out.

I give this book 4 stars. It is a great companion to the first and really finishes up aspects of the first book that might have lingered. Leanna Renee Hieber has really made a great saga with these books alone. I do so hope you get a chance to read them.

Also, I came across this video interview of the author. I thought you'd enjoy. You can also find her on her web site and on twitter. The first book has also been optioned to be a part of a musical theater production! 

Winner of Web of Lies!

The winner has been chosen and it is:
 Melissa (My words and pages) said...
Great post! :) I like the idea of this post. It gives me a little bit more of a feel for the characters.

I was wondering with Gin loving to cook so, do you enjoy it as much? I am definitely going to check out the site for Gin's Recipe Box though. Thanks! :) That is a neat touch with the food on her shirts.

Some of my Favorite UF books... Well, I have started following Kelly Medings series of Evie - Dreg City. She only has the first book out and the second will be out in July. I have heard wondrous things of Patricia Briggs, but I have not read any yet. I need to start that series too. :)

Thanks for this great giveaway! I am tweeting about it now to help spread the word for you.

Congrats! Get back to me within the week or I'll have to chose another!

This one was very fun and I'd like to thank Jennifer again for doing an excellent and fun guest post! I personally can't wait until September for Venom!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Winner of Bitter Frost!

Bitter FrostThe winner of the signed book is:

Michael Antonio Araujo said...

The cover looks amazing and it all sounds interesting. Count me in!

Congrats! You should have an e-mail. Get back to me within the week please or another winner will have to be chosen.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Wishlist: Haunted by Your Touch by Jeaniene Frost

"Haunted by Your Touch" by Jeaniene Frost, Shayla Black and Sharie Kohler (due to be published Oct. 26, 2010)

From Goodreads: Enter the dark realm of Nocturna in Jeaniene Frost’s red-hot tale, where blisteringly sexy Raphael dominates the demons of a lawless dimension and tries to help a beautiful young woman avenge her cousin’s disappearance. Shayla Black’s gorgeous Doomsday Brethren hero, Raiden, vows to fight for his magical lover and their unborn youngling—no matter the cost—after he drives her into the arms of another man and she falls under attack. Lycans rule the night in Sharie Kohler’s suspenseful story, as a fiery woman stalks mysterious Luc, the undeniably hypnotic being she believes can save her from turning . . . if she kills him. Danger beckons in these captivating paranormal tales that will tempt readers to the edge and leave them begging for more.

So, what are you wishing for this week?

Friday, June 11, 2010

Kindle Giveaway: Team Bootlegger Werewolf!

I’m on Team Werewolf. Find out more.

This is a contest by Moira Rogers. A throwdown between whiny vampire lumberjacks (please!) and those hunky well toned and handsome bootlegger werewolves! Yum. :)

Now, I do have "Sanctuary Unbound" on my tbr and can't wait to read "Safe Harbor" which goes on sale July 13th. However, I still have an opinion on this issue.

Just thinking about it... really how could one like a lumberjack vampire over a bootlegger werewolf? Lumberjacking is usually done in the day (not good for the average vamp) AND just think of the splinters! Talk about playing with fire. No wait... that's another danger. I was just thinking about the vamp tripping and falling on a stray branch or sharp piece of wood and I find another reason it just won't do for a vamp to go lumberjacking. Not too many love fire either.

Now, I know that people didn't like the idea of a possibly drunk werewolf. Uh, now how is that possible with their unusually high metabolism? Drink doesn't affect them, therefore, they don't have to worry about dwindling stock. Oh, and don't forget, once they found their true mate, they are true to the end. All steamy looks are for you alone! Not to mention all that exercise they get while running around the forest (which would be so much safer for them, btw). Yum. Team bootlegger werewolf? Oh yea... ;D

(oh, and I know I'm a bit late with this since the contest ends on the 14th, but now I had some time to have some fun with it)

So, what do you think? Those scared vamps or those handsome weres? Leave a comment to enter. :)

Disclaimer Text:
This post is a part of Moira Rogers’ Creature Feature Kindle Throwdown Contest. By leaving a (meaningful) comment, you will be entered to win a Kindle from, or an alternate grand prize of $275 to spend at an online book retailer. For a full list of rules and more ways to win, visit the contest page.

Winner has been chosen. Go HERE to find out who!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Jennifer Estep Guest Blog Post and GIVEAWAY!

Greetings and salutations! First of all, I want to say thanks to Melissa for inviting me to blog today. Thanks so much, Melissa!
I’m the author of the Elemental Assassin urban fantasy series. The books focus on Gin Blanco, an assassin codenamed the Spider who can control the elements of Ice and Stone. When she’s not busy killing people and righting wrongs, Gin runs a barbecue restaurant called the Pork Pit in the fictional southern metropolis of Ashland. The city is also home to giants, dwarves, vampires, and elementals – Air, Fire, Ice, and Stone.
The first book in the series, Spider’s Bite, was released in February. Web of Lies, the second book in the series, just came out on May 25. Venom, the third book, will be released on Sept. 28.
Today, Melissa suggested that I share some fun tidbits about the books, so here goes:
My favorite character to write in the series: Finnegan Lane. As much as I love writing my heroine, Gin Blanco, I love writing Finn even more. Finnegan Lane is a charming, shameless womanizer and an investment banker who loves money and all the pretty things that he can buy with it. It’s always fun to write a character who is so passionate about something, who knows all his flaws, and revels in them. Finn knows that he plays the part of the comic relief in many cases, and he’s okay with that.
My least favorite character to write: Background characters. You know the ones I’m talking about. The characters who maybe have one or two lines of dialogue, if that, but have to be included to keep the story moving forward. Mostly, these are the minor bad guys that Gin kills or people eating at the Pork Pit. Coming up with throwaway names for those folks is really tough sometimes. 
Yes, most of the recipes are real: Gin loves to cook, and I mention a lot of different dishes that she makes in the books. Most of these are tried and true favorites that I’ve found and made myself over the years from friends, family, magazines, and more, like the chocolate chip pound cake. I’ve posted some of the recipes on my Web site. Here’s the link (scroll down until you get to Gin’s Recipe Box):
Pay attention to Gin’s T-shirts: Most of the time, Gin is wearing jeans, boots, and a T-shirt, and most of her T-shirts that I describe have some kind of food item on them, like cherries, blackberries, etc. I thought that was another clever little way that I could bring out her love of cooking.
I like to think my books exist in the same world: I’m also the author of the Bigtime romance series, which focuses on sexy superheroes, evil ubervillains, and smart, sassy gals looking for love. Books in that series are Karma Girl, Hot Mama, and Jinx.
In every one of my Elemental Assassin books, there’s a small reference to one of my Bigtime books. For example, in Spider’s Bite, Finn mentions that someone is wearing a Fiona Fine suit. Fiona is the fashion designer heroine of the Hot Mama book in my Bigtime series.
As an author, I like to think that my characters all live in the same world -- that a character from one series could walk down the street and bump into a character from a different series. These references are just a little something extra and fun that I include for folks who enjoy both my series. 
So there you have it. Some fun facts about the Elemental Assassin series. Happy reading! ;-)
What about you guys? What are some of your favorite urban fantasy books? Share in the comments.

Jennifer is also giving away a signed copy of "Web of Lies" to a lucky poster (US only). All you have to do is answer her question, post one of your own (she'll be around the first day to answer questions), or just comment below! Also, please include an e-mail addy if you do not have one connected to your profile. I'll end the contest on Sunday night of this week and pick a winner and list them on Monday! Good luck everyone!
Giveaway is now closed.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Bitter Frost by Kalin Gow + GIVEAWAY!

Bitter Frost
From Goodreads: All her life, Breena had always dreamed about fairies as though she lived among them...beautiful fairies living among mortals and living in Feyland. In her dreams, he was always there the breathtakingly handsome but dangerous Winter Prince, Kian, who is her intended. When Breena turns sixteen, she begins seeing fairies and other creatures mortals don t see. Her best friend Logan, suddenly acts very protective. Then she sees Kian, who seems intent on finding her and carrying her off to Feyland. That's fine and all, but for the fact that humans rarely survive a trip to Feyland, a kiss from a fairy generally means death to the human unless that human has fairy blood in them or is very strong, and although Kian seemed to be her intended, he seems to hate her and wants her dead.

In Breena's world dreams and reality are mixed. In fact her dreams are so real that it haunts her until she can express it on canvas. Even though her best friend, Logan, is the hottest guy in school, her high school experience is not pleasant. Her dreams and her art is what gets her through the day. On her 16th birthday, things start changing. First she starts to see faeries around town and Logan gets very protective of her. When she sees Kian, the fae prince of her dreams, and is kidnapped into Faerie, she finds that sometimes dreams hold the key to reality.

The adventure continues in Faerie with Breena finding herself a huge political asset to those wanting to capture her. Not to mention other creatures just bent on destroying anything in their path. Breena grows up quickly and finds strength within herself that she never knew she had. Unfortunately, as this story reaches a pinnacle, it suddenly stops. It's more than a cliffhanger... you sort of fall off the cliff. However, it does make it so you really want to find out what happens in the next book, due to be published in September 2010. I for one, will have to read this one to find out what happens next. :)

I give this book 3 1/2 stars. I do recommend it for those looking for an interesting YA faerie read! I'd like to thank the author  and Pump Up Your Book Promotions for providing this book for an honest review. I received no compensation for my honest review.

The author via the book promotion is also giving away the PDF book CORRECTION physical book of Bitter Frost (the author is requesting that it is a actual book. Good news for those w/o an e-reader!) In fact, I'm going to make it very simple to enter. Just post a comment below and if your e-mail is not connected to your profile, just add it in with your comment. I'll pick the winner on Saturday of this week.
Giveaway is now closed.

As added incentive for this book, I give you the trailer:

Thursday, June 3, 2010


I recently received this award from the fabulous Chas of Livin' and Lovin' Life in the 808. She is such a sweetie, so I'm sorry it took me this long to acknowledge this award.

I am to pass this onto 7 prolific bloggers. The one's I've chosen are:

  1. Trini at a Book Lover's Review
  2. Book Chick City
  3. Dark Faerie Tales
  4. Fiction Vixen Book Reviews
  5. Froggarita's Bookcase (Welcome Back!)
  6. Melissa (great name) from My World in Words and Pages
  7. Parajunkee's View
Please visit those blogs!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Sand Dragon by Michael F. Stewart

The Sand Dragon
From Goodreads: The discovery of an immense pterosaur skeleton lures paleontologist Kim Axon to the tar sands near her childhood home of Fort Mic. But Kim’s not the only one drawn to the find’s siren call, and the others are coming for a very different reason. 

Fort Mic, where Kim’s father was murdered long ago, is both blessed and cursed by the shadow population who gravitate to the area for cheap trailers while they mine the sands for oil. Townsfolk begin to fall sick. Fearing the spread of the strange disease, the new doctor quarantines the town. 
Now alone, the broken community must rise above its past to battle outsiders who do not fear the return of an ancient evil, but worship it.

This book took me a couple of chapters to really get into, but when I did, it became a very action packed, mystery type of horror book. In fact there were times when I wondered if I needed a seat belt because so much was happening. Not that it was a bad thing. In this case it's actually a great thing especially when looking for a good horror story.

A discovery of an intact pterosaur skeleton becomes the center of attention to paleontologist, Kim who is known to the locals and another "outsider" and cryptozoologist, Dr. Bythell. When the skeleton is stolen and Kim suspects Dr. Bythell, things in the story really start to heat up. We really start to learn more about the mystery surrounding this find and start to sense the horror of the book as we get to know Jamie, Alice, Sandy and especially Patrick, who are the other main characters. What unfolds as we go along with their adventures becomes very creepy and we are left wondering exactly what is going on. Why are people changing? Why are they dying? Is it a toxin? Is it a disease? Something more? We find these answers and more than what was expected as we keep reading.

Even though this is primarily a horror book, there are some historical facts I was glad that was handled in a pretty frank manner. In this area described, the aboriginals are a part of the Cree nation and the past sins of the area also rear it's ugly head within the story. The anti-native schools and the way many were treated have an impact on the area and, deservedly so, present a big aspect to this story. One way in particular which became an interesting twist. Some Cree/Native folklore is also mixed into the story. I love it when books do this and it was done well.

I give this book 4 stars and recommend it to anyone who is looking for a good horror story. Hope I didn't leave too much out as I wouldn't want to spoil this story for anyone. It is a good read and I love how you figure things out as you go along in the book.

I'd like to thank Michael Stewart for presenting me with his ebook for review. No compensation of any kind was received for my review.

Welcome to June!

Julie Kagawa's novella, "Winter's Passage" is published today and is FREE! Unfortunately, the regular haunts do not list it as free (a glitch Harlequin is trying to remedy). I have already downloaded it and you can too at this LINK. It's at Harlequin's site. You can choose from different formats. Other places should have it fixed shortly.

I also want to announce that the Supernatural Underground is officially opening today. They will have lots of great giveaways! You can find them at the blog, facebook, and Twitter. Each one of those links I've posted should take you directly to their pages. 

"Bloodrush" is the official soundtrack to her "fever" series. She is giving away one of the songs on this soundtrack called "Jericho Rain". You have a choice of MP3 or M4a. Go HERE for details.

Glimmerglass (Faeriewalker, Book 1)

A short novella called "Remedial Magic" which is a part of Jenna Black's "Glimmerglass" faerie series (my review is here for Glimmerglass). It's free to read on-line (it's VERY short) at the publisher's site. Just go to the link I just published.

Hope you are enjoying the beginning of this new month with all these freebies! :)