Give me magic, gadgets, monsters, zombies, everything that seems impossible, and throw in some tough chicks with swords. That's the stuff.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Joining the Pile on Tuesday

I was checking my pre-orders and noticed that four are coming out on Tuesday, September 2. These aren't the only books released that day, nor the only ones I want in September, but all of these were ones I knew I had to have.

FORGED BY DESIRE (London Steampunk #4) by Bec McMaster
This is one of my favorite paranormal romance series. The world is fantastic and I love how McMasters uses the vampire and werewolf myths. Dark, gritty, so good.

Blurbage: "Captain Garret Reed of the Nighthawk guard has a deadly mission: capture a steel-jawed monster preying on women. He hates to put his partner, Perry, in jeopardy, but she’s the best bait he has. Little does he realize, he’s about to be caught in his own trap.

Perry has been half in love with Garrett for years, but this is not exactly the best time to start a relationship—especially when their investigation leads them directly into the clutches of the madman she thought she’d escaped..."

Amazon | B&N | Kobo | Indiebound | BAM | Powell's

ACCEPTANCE (Southern Reach Trilogy #3) by Jeff Vandermeer
I spent part of my summer in the Southern Reach, and it was creepy, intriguing, kept me up at night, kept me wondering who to trust. I can't wait to see where we go next and to what end.

Blurbage: "The final installment of Jeff VanderMeer’s Southern Reach Trilogy

It is winter in Area X. A new team embarks across the border on a mission to find a member of a previous expedition who may have been left behind. As they press deeper into the unknown—navigating new terrain and new challenges—the threat to the outside world becomes more daunting. In Acceptance, the last installment of Jeff VanderMeer’s Southern Reach Trilogy, the mysteries of Area X may have been solved, but their consequences and implications are no less profound—or terrifying."

Amazon | B&N | Kobo | Indiebound | BAM | Powell's


HOUSE IMMORTAL (House Immortal #1) by Devon Monk
Frankenstein with a twist, you say? And by Devon Monk? Why yes, please sign me up.

Blurbage:  "One hundred years ago, eleven powerful ruling Houses consolidated all of the world’s resources and authority into their own grasping hands. Only one power wasn’t placed under the command of a single House: the control over the immortal galvanized....

Matilda Case isn’t like most folk. In fact, she’s unique in the world, the crowning achievement of her father’s experiments, a girl pieced together from bits. Or so she believes, until Abraham Seventh shows up at her door, stitched with life thread just like her and insisting that enemies are coming to kill them all.

Tilly is one of thirteen incredible creations known as the galvanized, stitched together beings immortal and unfathomably strong. For a century, each House has fought for control over the galvanized. Now the Houses are also tangled in a deadly struggle for dominion over death—and Tilly and her kind hold the key to unlocking eternity

The secrets that Tilly must fight to protect are hidden within the very seams of her being. And to get the secrets, her enemies are willing to tear her apart piece by piece.…"

Amazon | B&N | Kobo | Indiebound | BAM | Powell's


MAPLECROFT (The Borden Dispatches #1) by Cherie Priest
From the moment I read "Lizzie Borden and Lovecraft" I was, shall we say, screaming "HELLS YES!" I can't wait to read this book.

Blurbage: "Lizzie Borden took an axe and gave her mother forty whacks; and when she saw what she had done, she gave her father forty-one....

The people of Fall River, Massachusetts, fear me. Perhaps rightfully so. I remain a suspect in the brutal deaths of my father and his second wife despite the verdict of innocence at my trial. With our inheritance, my sister, Emma, and I have taken up residence in Maplecroft, a mansion near the sea and far from gossip and scrutiny.

But it is not far enough from the affliction that possessed my parents. Their characters, their very souls, were consumed from within by something that left malevolent entities in their place. It originates from the ocean’s depths, plaguing the populace with tides of nightmares and madness.

This evil cannot hide from me. No matter what guise it assumes, I will be waiting for it. With an axe.

Amazon | B&N | Kobo | Indiebound | BAM | Powell's

Friday, August 29, 2014

Guest Post: RIVER Blog Tour

Today, Skyla Dawn Cameron is here as part of the RIVER blog tour. I loved her UF vamp story BLOODLINES. RIVER is an older young adult werewolf tale that has an very cool twist.

The blurbage: "Description: Defiant, nocturnal, moody–though River sounds like a typical teenager, she’s anything but. She’s a werewolf.
The life of an alpha female wolf was irrevocably changed the night she was attacked and bitten, and awoke confused, alone, and human. Three years later, thrust into a world where she doesn’t belong and living in foster care, River barely tolerates humanity and still doesn’t know who bit her or why.

But River isn’t as alone as she previously thought; someone’s been watching her, someone who holds the answers she’s been seeking. Though the human who changed her seems to be a step ahead of her at every turn, River is determined to beat his game and return to her pack and mate.

And as if being stuck in a world she hates, with a life she never asked for, and faced with a destiny she doesn’t want wasn’t bad enough, River still must find a way to survive every human’s greatest challenge: high school."

Oooh, werewolf tale where the wolf is cursed to have to live as a human? I'm in.

I asked Skyla to talk about one of her favorite werewolf stories. Be sure to check out the GIVEAWAY too!

A Werewolf Twist: Ginger Snaps

You’ll notice the big prize in the River giveaway is a DVD/Blu-Ray combo Collector Edition of the film Ginger Snaps.

It’s an indie Canadian horror film from 2000, with a stellar cast and a smart script that twists a lot of typical werewolf tropes into something that’s darkly funny, horrific, and ripe for conversation.

Lycanthropy as a metaphor for losing control isn’t new—it’s explored repeatedly in films and literature, usually centered around a male protagonist. But when else do we feel less in control than during puberty? Right off the bat, Ginger Snaps tackles the metaphor head on, with two sisters as protagonists who are three years behind getting their periods and the night one of them surfs her first crimson wave, she is bitten by a werewolf. Talk about cursed.

The transformation, of course, follows a twenty-eight day lunar cycle, as the bitten sister Ginger grows more and more bold, irritable, violent, and...furry. This leaves her sister Brigitte to battling to save her.

Horror as a genre—one I love—is unfortunately one often seeped in misogyny, which is refreshingly not present in this film. The story is firmly placed on the shoulders of two sisters, their friendship, the strain of growing up and changing, and the promises they’ve made to each other all being given thought and weight. Female bonds are important, the film reaffirms, even if they’re fraught with problems. T&A is in the form of a tail and...um...well, picture a female animal’s torso, and you get the idea. And also? Practice safe sex. Viruses get passed when you don’t, even lycanthropy. And none of this sacrifices the psychological horror present in the movie or truly tense final showdown between a werewolf and the human sister trying to save her.

There have been some lengthy essays written on the movie, much more detailed and academic than my quick review here, but it all boils down to: horror fans tired of the usual clich├ęs and sexualized violence against women, you need to check this film out. (Bonus: any Orphan Black fans? You need to see Ginger Snaps II: Unleashed for a young Tatiana Maslany.)

So what’s your favourite werewolf movie?

Now on to the GIVEAWAY. (ONLY for US & Canada (due to the movie being Blu-Ray and the regions of Blu-Ray's and shipping costs over seas). The prizes are listed below. Use the Rafflecopter to enter. Thanks, Skyla!

- DVD/Blu-Ray combo of Ginger Snaps
- River poster print
- River tote bag
- wolf charm bookmark
- River postcard
- wolf charm necklace
- Animal Speak pocket guide version by Ted Andrews

The Rafflecopter code is:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Buy RIVER  Amazon | B&N | Smashwords | iTunes | All RomanceAuthor's Site

You can read the first seven chapters of RIVER now at: http://skyladawncameron.com/river/

Links to Find Skyla:
Twitter: @SkylaDawn
Site/Blog: SkylaDawnCameron.com
Facebook: Skyla Dawn Cameron
Book Design: indigo chick designs

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Ever After Excerpt and Giveaway

Today the Book Pile is a stop on Kate SeRine's EVER AFTER blog tour. This action packed fairytale/legend based series has been a favorite of mine since book 1. This time around we have a gender-swapped Robin Hood, Arthurian legends, the Seelie court, old friends, and one of my favorite supporting characters from books 2-3, Gideon. Kate has also given us an excerpt from EVER AFTER and there is a giveaway too!

Unseelie, the inspiration behind Little John, and Robin Hood's lover, Gideon has been in the service of the Seelie king since the day his love perished in a heist gone wrong. We've known him as the stoic, lonely knight in shining armor who has been a very helpful ally to our friends from previous books. Now he stars in his own tale and I am so very happy. Apart from the Nate novella, this is also a romance from the male characters POV only, something that is a bit different, but I really liked it.

Any time you have an abandoned love theme, it takes awhile to get on the side of the abandoner, especially when the abandonee is your only narrator. Arabella worked though. She had good reasons for what she did. Thankfully, there aren't any BIG MISUNDERSTANDINGS. Just hurt feelings and time needed to sort things out. It helps that Arabella fits right in with the kickass ladies of the Transplanted Tales.

I did like the relationship and of course the action. I also liked the introduction of Merlin. Another fantastic addition to a great series!

On to the GIVEAWAY! The blog tour prizes are: Grand Prize ($50 gift card to Amazon, B&N, or BAM - Winner's Choice); signed paperback copy of EVER AFTER, and Transplanted Tales swag. Also, two winners will receive an e-book copy of the Transplanted Tales novel of his/her choice. The giveaway is international, but the swag may differ slightly for an international winner due to shipping costs.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Now for the excerpt!



Excerpt from Chapter 6 of Ever After… 


"I kept my gaze straight ahead, trying to ignore the images her words brought to mind and wondering just where the hell Merlin’s hotel was anyway. I wasn’t exactly eager to see my old pal again now that I knew what he’d been up to with Arabella, but I’d kiss that bastard on the mouth if it’d get Arabella to change the subject. A subject that was torturing me with erotic images of us together that I had no business thinking about just then.

“Are you always this serious?” she asked, polishing off her chili dog. “You never used to have that perma-frown going.”

She was right, of course. I hadn’t been nearly as serious or severe when she’d known me. Not externally anyway. But what she didn’t realize was that any light-heartedness she’d witnessed had been more her doing than any inherent trait of mine. Her smile, her fearlessness, her brash eagerness to embrace every experience as an adventure—it was contagious.

And I’d craved it. Arabella had been a breath of fresh air to a dying man. Quite literally. The path I’d been walking had had only one destination. But she had offered me a detour that led me away from certain damnation and into her arms, giving me a glimpse of what the Ordinaries would call heaven. The memories of that happiness and the pure hell I’d experienced after I thought she’d died came back to me in a painful rush, making me wince.

“Oh, and there’s another scowl brewing, just there between your eyebrows,” she teased, wagging her index finger at my forehead. When I frowned at her, fulfilling her prediction, she gave me a playful smile, genuine this time. “Although, I have to say, you’re quite handsome when you’re worried about me.”

“Handsome?” I grumbled, letting her drag me along behind her. “I’d rather never have to worry about you and you think me repugnant.”

She sent a flirty grin over her shoulder. “Never happen.”

“You not giving me cause to worry? Oh, yes, I’m well aware that you take great delight in tormenting me with your antics. You always did.”

She laughed. “I meant, you’d never be repugnant to me—even if you were old and grizzled and all those gorgeous red-gold curls fell out, I’d still think you were the most handsome man I’d ever seen.” She abruptly stopped and spun around to face me to say something more, but having not anticipated her sudden halt, I slammed into her, my arms going around her to keep us both from stumbling. Laughing, she grabbed onto my jacket to steady herself.

I cursed under my breath and took a step back, putting her at arms’ length. “Sorry, lass,” I threw over my shoulder as I strode away, walking ahead of her now.

“Gideon!” she called, jogging to keep up with my long strides.

Fortunately, at that point we finally arrived at the hotel and casino where Merlin was staying and performing his act. I strode into the lobby, making a beeline for the elevator. As luck would have it, the doors happened to open just as I pushed the UP button. Not so fortunately, Arabella and I were the only passengers.

“I’m not gonna be just another one of yer games, Arabella,” I muttered. “Not this time.”

She pressed the button for the penthouse, then stepped directly in front of me, crossing her arms over her chest. “For the record, you were never a game to me. And you’re not a game now.”

I studied her for a long moment, wanting to believe her. “You have chili on your mouth,” I told her, avoiding the conversation about us.

She swiped at the corner of her mouth. “Gideon—”

“You missed it,” I said. “It’s the other side.”

“Bugger all…” She huffed and wiped the other corner. “Listen, I—”

“It’s still there.”

“Oh, for fuck’s sake!” she grumbled, throwing her arms up in the air as we jolted to a stop and the doors opened. A man in a loud silk shirt started to get on, but Arabella threw a glare at him over her shoulder. “Take the next one.”

The guy grunted and started to get on anyway, but Arabella blocked his path. “Oi!” she snapped, giving him a shove back into the hallway. “Hop it, mate!”

As soon as we were on our way again, she turned back to me, her lips pressed together in an angry line. But before she could take the piss out of me, I cupped her cheek and pulled her toward me, wiping the smudge from the corner of her mouth, letting my thumb pass over her lips more than was necessary.

“There,” I said, my thumb now smoothing over her cheek as I marveled at the softness of her skin. “That should do it.”

She shook her head. “No. I don’t think so.” With that, she grabbed my jacket and pulled me down to receive a hard, hungry kiss. I wanted to resist her. I knew I should push her away. But I was far too weak. I kissed her back, lost in the sweet taste of her. I snaked an arm around her waist and pulled her hard against me, lifting her up on her toes. When she released me and took a step out of my arms, she closed her eyes for a moment. “I’m sorry, Gideon. I shouldn’t keep doing that, but—bloody hell, I’ve missed kissing you.”

I wanted to tell her how much I’d missed kissing her, too. I wanted to drag her back into my arms and capture her mouth again, show her just what we’d missed out on all these years. But I didn’t. I shoved my hands into my pockets to keep from peeling off her clothes right then and there and caressing every inch of her body, and took a step back, putting a safe bit of distance between us."

Monday, August 18, 2014

Review: ANTE UP

The latest novella in the Sin City Collectors series is out today. ANTE UP by Amanda Carlson features Diesel and Sofia, two characters we met in ACES WILD.

The blurb: "Diesel Jones is a shifter who has issues with the moon, but he quickly finds that Sofia Cabrera, a clever witch who just moved in to town, is his only hope to reach his goal of becoming a Collector. When they pair up to take down an incubus, she not only saves his life, but wins his heart in the process…"

My take: I really liked ACES, but this one I loved even more. Amanda has definitely "upped the ante," laying the foundation for more action and enemies, as well as more couples and fleshes out the world and various supernatural factions a little more.

Diesel is a werewolf who has trouble keeping control around the full moon. Sofia is a witch who first worked for the bad guy in ACES, but now wants to make a home for herself in supernatural-friendly Vegas. Sofia is definitely attracted to Diesel and vice versa ever since they met in book 1. They are still in the getting to know each other stage when Diesel gets a trial run job for the Collectors. Meanwhile, Sofia has been getting cryptic messages from an old friend, and then suddenly, someone is trying to break into her mind. It will take all of them working together to get out of this one.

I liked that this was no insta-love relationship. They've been getting to know each other and then when they are thrown together in a dangerous situation, they learn they make a great team, in a fight as well as in the bedroom. The romance totally worked.

Great action. Diesel's condition made him even more sympathetic. I loved Sofia's confidence. She is at the top of her game and knows it. I really liked how magic was used here. It made sense and was well thought out.

Looking for a quick, action-packed paranormal romance? Definitely visit the Sin City Collectors.

[received review copy]

ANTE UP:  Amazon | B&N | Kobo | iTunes | Google

Amanda Carlson:
website: http://www.amandacarlson.com/
twitter: https://twitter.com/amandaccarlson
facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authoramandacarlson

Sin City Collectors on facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sincitycollectors

Monday, August 4, 2014

Shadow Hunter Review & Giveaway

If you haven't read Shadow Hunter, the prequel to the EXECUTION UNDERGROUND by Kait Ballenger...NOW is the time for ONLY $0.99 cents!

ShadowHunter_FINAL

Shadow Hunter (Execution Underground 0.5)
by Kait Ballenger
Release date: August 4, 2014


Blurb:
See where it all began in this exciting prequel to The Execution Underground, Kait Ballenger’s sexy paranormal series about the men who hunt evil and the women who love them.
Vampire hunter Damon Brock’s first assignment with the Execution Underground is Rochester, New York. But he isn’t the only hunter in town gunning for vamp blood. Tiffany Solow is ruthless when it comes to slaying the monsters that destroyed her family—and she works solo. But when she meets the mysterious hunter who wants more than just her turf, the line between good and evil blurs as they must decide between their lifelong beliefs…and their newfound desires.
Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22299907-shadow-hunter

My take: You know I love those action-packed romances. Execution Underground has been on my radar, and I thought that the prequel novella would give me a good taste of the series. Loads of action, so yay. The romance in this one is of the "younger sister of the hero's dead best friend" variety. While not always my favorite trope, it worked here. Damon is in town to kill the vamp that murdered his best friend. Tiffany has the same goal. Throw in some freaky vampire-zombie hybrids along with the attraction and romance and you have a good PNR. I do have to say, though, that Ballenger is not afraid to pull out all the stops. That end! It is a cliffhanger. Made me look up the other books in the series to see when we might get this one resolved.

We get a little peek at the other members of the team. I was happy to see that it looks like there is a ghostbuster in the bunch. I read a lot of vamps and shifters. I'd like to read a romance dealing with nasty ghosts. I'm on board. I'll be moving these up the list.

Be sure to check out the giveaway of the first two books in the series. Enter using the Rafflecopter below.

Buy LinksAmazon | B&N | Kobo 

About Kait:
Kait Ballenger is a full-time romance author, wife, a former professional bellydancer, and soon-to-be-professor. She is the multi-published author of the Execution Underground paranormal romance series about an international network of supernatural hunters who fight to protect humanity.
With a B.A in English from Stetson University (2011), Kait is graduate of Spalding University’s M.F.A in Writing for Children and Young Adults program (2013), where she studied dual-genre in screenwriting.
When Kait’s not preoccupied with paranormal creepy-crawlies, she can be found spending time with her family or with her nose buried in a book. She lives in Florida with her husband, their doggie-daughter Sookie (yes, like the heroine in Charlainne Harris’ books), and two mischievous cats Elliot and Olivia (yes, like the Law and Order characters), near the love and care of her supportive family. Kait believes anything is possible with hard work and dedication. One day, she will be a bestseller and have people name their pets after her characters too.
She is represented by Nicole Resciniti of The Seymour Agency.

Website: http://www.kaitballenger.com
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/kaitballengerauthor
Twitter: www.twitter.com/kait_ballenger
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kaitlynschulzromanceauthor


a Rafflecopter giveaway