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

Thursday, December 4, 2014

SOME FINE DAY

I first reviewed SOME FINE DAY by Kat Ross over on Stellar Four. At the time, the release of this YA book was cancelled when Strange Chemistry shut down. Luckily, this very fine story was picked up by another publisher, Skyscape. You can get the Kindle book now, and the paperback will be out in February.

Note: There have been some editorial revisions and I haven't read the updated copy, but I really enjoyed it the first time I read it and I plan to read this one too.

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

Here's the review again:

Set in a world where super-powered hurricanes devastated the planet, a highly trained soldier who never saw the sun before gets an unwanted extended excursion on the surface and learns that her life has been a lie in SOME FINE DAY by Kat Ross.

This was a fast-paced, Young Adult read. I got Jansin. For so long she's been going along with the program, enjoying the life as one of the near-elite, but she feels disconnected. She left her family at a young age to go to the Academy, she isn't sure that her boyfriend really likes her or just wants a well-placed connection with her father, the general, and she isn't a diehard believer in the goals of her government. Yes, she is well-trained, but that doesn't mean she wants to go to war. She's at a crossroads, like most of us at graduation, and that is when her father gifts her with a vacation to the surface.

Seeing the sun, feeling the air and the ocean, it makes it hard to go back underground. Of course, then she ends up captured by hypercane survivors and staying alive becomes her goal. Then, as she comes to find her place on the surface world, she has to question where she wants to belong.

I liked that, although as I said this is a fast-paced book, the action unfolds over almost a year, so when Jansin makes friends, she didn't just meet them a day ago and now they are a cohesive team. Jansin is not someone who trusts easily and the story reflected that. The ragtag bunch of survivors was endearing and I wish we got to spend more time with them. 

On the romance front, there is a love interest but no triangle. Also refreshing, said love interest is not a bad boy, nor does he continually push her away because reasons. He's smart and fairly level-headed.

Jansin's home of Raven Rock is a fascist regime and it's easy to on the surface paint the underground societies as evil, that left the rest of humanity to die above. However, we do get at least some hope that not all of the governments are as harsh as Raven Rock. Also, it can't be denied that while life is absolutely not perfect below ground, that living there did save lives. 

The end goes quickly and there are some loose ends, a few that I really wish has been solved before the finish, but overall I liked where it went. I'll be looking for more from Ross.


Thursday, November 20, 2014

A Must for Our Holiday Shelf

Charles Dickens' A CHRISTMAS CAROL is a holiday staple and one that I look forward to sharing with my family. This year, I found the Penguin Chalk edition and I need to have it on our bookshelf.

The Puffin Chalk editions have colorful chalk designs on the covers of select books in the Penguin Classics line. I absolutely adore the one for the venerable holiday tale:


This edition also has a mini biography of the author, a cast of characters list, Victorian Christmas traditions, and a glossary.

Getting it on the shelf so it's ready for our family read-a-long this December.

Available at Amazon | B&N | Powell's | BAM | Indiebound

Monday, November 17, 2014

ALL IN: Back to Sin City with Amanda Carlson

ALL IN by Amanda Carlson is the latest novella in the Sin City Collectors series.

This book stars Ginger, a succubus who is also the head of a supernatural spy ring, and Luke, the werewolf younger brother of Diesel, the lead from ANTE UP. When we start our story, Ginger and Luke have been tracking Ginger's brother, Damien, who is a member of a incubi cult, the Sumerians. Both leads carry a lot of emotional baggage. Ginger loathes that she has to feed off the emotions of others, and has been slowly starving herself. Luke's father was killed by an incubus and he's not completely sure if the feelings he has for Ginger are real or a result of her powers of persuasion.

This story is less action-packed than previous Sin City novellas, but it does open up the world more. Damian's is a piece of work, and the threat of The Sumerians and the extent of their crimes are coming to light. I can see lots of issues for future books to solve.

I liked both characters. As we get to them a month into their time working together, I did feel that we missed some of the banter that got Luke over his prejudice against succubi and Ginger her fear of commitment. We get to meet a new character, Raoul, and I'm very much looking forward to his story.

The pace was right, and since it's a short novel, the angst over whether or not they should be in a relationship doesn't go on too long. We also get to see a different supernatural power in the succubi.

Still really liking this series. A perfect pick me up when I need a quick read. Looking forward to more.

ALL IN: Amazon | B&N | iTunes | Google
International: Amazon UK | Amazon Canada | Amazon Australia

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

[received a review copy]

Monday, October 13, 2014

"Temporarily Out of Order"

"Temporally Out of Order" by Justin Adams of Varia Studio
I'm currently reading CLOCKWORK UNIVERSE: STEAMPUNK VS ALIENS and having a lot of fun with it. The same folks behind that anthology are in the final hours of a kickstarter campaign for another one: TEMPORARILY OUT OF ORDER.

"While sitting at the airport waiting for a flight, I saw a phone booth with a note reading “Temporally Out of Order.” Obviously it was a typo, but the mistake takes on a whole new meaning when viewed from a science fiction/fantasy frame of mind. This anthology will take on the challenge of interpreting what “temporally out of order” could mean for modern day—or perhaps not so modern—gadgets, such as the cell phone, laptop, television, radio, iPod, or even that microwave or refrigerator! Edited by Joshua Palmatier and Patricia Bray, it will contain approximately 14 stories with an average length of 6000 words each. The anthology will include short stories by: David B. Coe, Laura Anne Gilman, Faith Hunter, Stephen Leigh, Gini Koch, Seanan McGuire, and Laura Resnick. Additional authors will be added as stretch goals, including Jack Campbell, Jean Marie Ward, and Juliet E. McKenna. All other slots aside from the named authors will be filled by the open call for submissions following the successful completion of the kickstarter."

This project is already funded (YAY!) but there is still time to support this antho and help them reach some stretch goals. They're a little under $500 away from the first goal, which would give bookmarks to pledgers at $20 and above, but most importantly (IMO) increase the $ for the writers.

At $15 you get a copy of the book. However, if you are a t-shirt fan, then the add-ons might be right up your alley. Take a trip over to the kickstarter page. Just do it now. As of this writing, there are only 35 hours to go. Tick tock, my friends.


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Guest Post: 10 Things about Mandy Baxter

Today Mandy Baxter is here with her new steamy Romantic Suspense ONE NIGHT MORE. She's also sharing 10 things about her and has a GIVEAWAY!

The blurbage: "Savvy, hard-riding, rule-breaking—they’ll go anywhere and do anything it takes to protect and serve. But this U. S. Marshal has just met his match—and playing for keeps is one sizzling game…

Getting saved from disaster by a handsome stranger—Harper Allen has no problem with that. But when he leaves without a word or a clue to his real identity, the newbie reporter writes it off as the best one-night-stand she’ll never have again. Until a year later, when Harper comes face to face with the man assigned to hide her from a senator’s killer…

Galen Kelly hasn’t forgotten a single sensual minute of his night with Harper... or that she betrayed him. But with the FBI also on their trail, he’s got to pretend he’s never met her or risk both their lives. But as danger closes in, Galen may not be able to protect himself from taking the biggest risk of all…"

My take: This was a fun, quick read. You know I usually go for a few more monsters, aliens or fantasy elements, but this one had a lot of action which is generally what I look for when I read contemporary romance. True, there are some misunderstandings, but the dangerous situation as well as the believable trust issues kept it from becoming the annoying BIG MISUNDERSTANDING. It can be a tough balancing act, to keep the miscommunication at a level where it creates drama but doesn't alienate the reader.

Oh sure, I still had moments where I wanted to yell at both characters but thankfully it was at the same time the secondary characters were also admonishing our leads, so it worked out. It was also fast-paced, so the story moved along at a good clip. The burgeoning friendship and the adorable text exchanges were among my favorite parts.

I also loved the easter eggs. Like Harper, I too enjoyed Full Blooded. I also agree with her stance on Marvel superheroes and Supernatural. Like I said, fun read. It's also a little different from my usual reads, so it makes for a good palate cleanser between heavier fantasy works (I'm always on the lookout for those). I liked the supporting characters too, so I'll check out the next book in the US Marshals series.

Now it's time for Mandy to take over and tell us a few things about herself. There is also a GIVEAWAY, so check out the details below.

Ten Things About Me



I’m a rabid soccer mom/soccer fan.
Not the breaking kneecaps or sabotaging referees kind, though I have been known to shout “Go home, ref! You’re drunk!” on at least one occasion. Also, during the World Cup this summer, I might have jumped out of my chair at a local restaurant and screamed whenever Argentina made a goal.

I love the water.
Streams, rivers, lakes, oceans, even puddles. I love the sound, the way it smells. Everything. I even love rain. I once had an astrologer do my chart and he told me that I would always live near water. I think he’s right. I can’t imagine not living near a lake or at least a creek.

I’m a theater/musical/ballet nut.
Even as a kid I loved all things dance/music/acting. I took ballet and drama, sang in my high school choir. I’m lucky that the hubs is a theater fan, too. I can get him to plays and musicals, no problem. I’m still working the ballet angle, though. For those events, I’m usually flying solo.

My ultimate thrill is driving fast.
I’m a super nervous flyer, heights make me nervous, and I wouldn’t go parasailing for a million dollars. Okay, maybe for a million dollars, but I wouldn’t enjoy it. And whereas I’m not much of a thrill seeker, I absolutely love to drive fast. I used to own a Subaru WRX and the first year I got six speeding tickets. I could totally be a race car driver. Vroom!

I’m an animal person.
I love animals. Anything that’s furry, scaly, or covered in feathers is going to get a cuddle from me. I draw the line at insects, though. Particularly spiders. Just…no. We own dogs, a cat, chickens, ducks, and geese. I have a goose that loves to be cuddled and he puts his neck up for hugs. When I scratch under his feathers he throws his head back and howls. It’s totally adorbs.

I’m a canner.
I’m not super domestic but I am a food preserving fool. We have a garden and greenhouse and a very short season to get fresh fruits and veggies. So, in the fall, I’m freezing and canning said veggies and fruits. It’s time consuming, but I figure when the zombie apocalypse hits, I’ll be set!

I sing in the car.
And probably annoy everyone who’s ever had to ride with me. I’m not usually a shy car singer, either. Nope, I belt it out. My current favorite sing in the car song is Amnesia by 5 Seconds of Summer. It’s actually the theme song for my novella, ROCKED BY THE BILLIONAIRE that will be out in December. It was the perfect ballad for the story.

I dance around the house.
In the same vein of singing in the car, I like to bust out a move in the middle of my living room whether there’s music or not. My seventeen year old son particularly loves it when I try my hand at breakdancing. Hehe.

I’m an amateur carpenter.
More to the point, the hubs and I are. Most of our home improvement projects are DIY jobs. Last year we built our greenhouse and this year we’re building a covered patio out back. Next year’s big plan is a detached office for me with a cellar below. I totally think I need a pink tool belt.

I’m a sucker for 90’s grunge and alternative.
How I long for the days of the flannel shirt! It drives the teen and hubs crazy but my radio station is more times than not tuned in to Lithium on Sirius. Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Collective Soul, Nine Inch Nails, Smashing Pumpinks, Bush. OMG, BUSH!! 90’s Gavin Rossdale is my dream man. I could gush for hours about my fave 90’s music.

And there you have it! Tell me one or two interesting facts about you....

Comment below for a chance to win a copy of ONE NIGHT MORE (US/Canada only). Winner announced September 26, 2014.

Thank you so much, Mandy!

ONE NIGHT MORE  Amazon | B&N | Kobo | BAM | Indiebound | Powell's

Mandy Baxter
twitter: https://twitter.com/MandyJBaxter

[received a review copy]

Friday, September 12, 2014

Review: RED BLOODED


RED BLOODED (Jessica McClain #4) by Amanda Carlson

I adore this series. It is action packed, has interesting characters, supernatural politics and an ever expanding universe. We've been all over, the city, a mountain, high-flying road chases, vampiric New Orleans, and now Jessica is on a rescue mission to Hell.

If you aren't up to date on the series you might find some spoilers ahead.

We start this latest adventure with Jessica and her ragtag band of supernaturals in training with Tally, the head witch. At the end of book 3, Tyler, Jessica's twin, was kidnapped by the Demon Prince. Jess and company are planning a rescue mission to the demon underworld and need to be prepared for demon magic. Of course, things do not go as planned. Jessica's magic is something different and neither she nor the witches know how to handle it. Jessica finds herself thrown into the demon world on her own and has to think fast to avoid capture.

I am a sucker for stories set in the demon world (for example, Diana Rowland's Kara Gillian books) and so I was super excited to see how Carlson approached the Underworld. I was not disappointed. It was appropriately icky, creepy & oddly pretty in parts. This is also one of the more action-packed books, closer to book 2's level. As a whole, this series is action-packed, but these two books take it up several notches.

This does mean that it's lighter on the romance angle, but that's fine for me. I like that this is a mated pair that is not attached at the hip 24/7. Jessica has skills and also a lot of learning she needs to accomplish, like yesterday. I like that she has a partnership with Rourke, albeit one that is still new and still needs to be worked on, but Jessica is not a damsel in distress.

We also have more allies and villains. Jessica has been making all kinds of deals, some good, some perhaps not so good. The Fate theme is explored even more here, and I don't want to spoil anything, but I will say that when it was all said and done I'm really interested in the way this story is going. Many possibilities and more challenges, of course.

I also like that although in book one we mostly had the boys club with the wolf pack and Jess, more and more female characters have come into play. Some heroes, some villains, some who knows. It's the variety I like. Of course, my other favs are there too. Ray is quickly becoming all kinds of interesting. A total transformation from his start in book 1.

Jess has been on so many journeys, surviving, fighting, defending, rescuing, and all the while learning and getting a crash course in supernatural politics. This isn't a series where it's a procedural with a mystery to solve. It's more of a step by step progression of a character's journey from more or less ordinary to extraordinary, with all of the bumps, bruises, mistakes and triumphs that come with it. Can't wait to see what happens next.

Buy RED BLOODED:  B&N | Kobo | BAM | Indiebound | Powell's | Amazon

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

[received review copy]

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 clichés 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

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Guest Post: Having a Drink with Malone

Today Carrie Patel, author of THE BURIED LIFE, is here.

The blurb: "The gaslight and shadows of the underground city of Recoletta hide secrets and lies. When Inspector Liesl Malone investigates the murder of a renowned historian, she finds herself stonewalled by the all-powerful Directorate of Preservation – Ricoletta’s top-secret historical research facility.

When a second high-profile murder threatens the very fabric of city society, Malone and her rookie partner Rafe Sundar must tread carefully, lest they fall victim to not only the criminals they seek, but the government which purports to protect them. Knowledge is power, and power must be preserved at all costs…"

You know me and many of my favorite characters, and now we can add Inspector Malone to my list. Tough, kickass, not exactly a people person, but oh so very, very intriguing, tagging along in this thrilling world Patel has created and trying to unravel its secrets was a treat.  I asked Patel to fill us in on the type of drink Malone would choose to unwind. Take it away!

I’ve got a bit of a cheat sheet for this one at the end of chapter three. Inspector Malone breaks the ice with her new partner over a couple pints of pale ale. I couldn’t exactly call it an India pale ale (worldbuilding!), but that’s what I taste every time I read the scene.

A hoppy IPA is a good fit for Malone because, perhaps, it shares so much in common with her; it’s crisp and it gets the job done quickly. Malone’s not the kind of person who particularly enjoys getting sloshed, but alcohol is the great social lubricant, and people skills are not her strong suit. That her new partner is a people person sends her reaching for that second pint.

But if Malone went home for a drink instead of to the neighborhood dive, she’d pour herself a single malt whiskey, neat. Something that can be enjoyed slowly while digesting the events of a day and the details of a case.

Thank you for stopping by, Carrie! I happen to relax with a good IPA fairly often. Excellent choice!

THE BURIED LIFE is out July 29!  Pre-order: Amazon Indiebound

Carrie Patel:

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

What's in a name?

If you follow me here or twitter, pinterest, or goodreads, you might have noticed a little change. "Kindle-aholic" has made way for "Kathy", which I already use for Stellar Four and SF Signal.

To be honest, it was mostly laziness that prevented the change before. However, as time went on, the old moniker that I originally used on Amazon and just carried over to the rest of the internet made me sound more like a pro-Amazon blogger than what I am, a book lover who doesn't care where you buy your books, so long as you are reading.

Review: Iron Night

IRON NIGHT (Generation V #2) by M.L. Brennan

M.L. Brennan's Generation V series quickly made my auto-buy list. I adored the magnificently eff'd up the whole world and mythology, as well as the unconventional hero who has shown fantastic character growth through the first two books.

Over at Stellar Four, I did an interview with Brennan and got to talk about all of my favorite parts from the books, but in going over the ol' review backlog, I see that I never actually wrote a review for this one, so fixing that now.

Note: As always, I'll try to avoid spoilers, but this is book 2, so some spoilers for book 1 are inevitable.

At the start of book 2, Fort has made some changes in his life. He has been working out with Chivalry and has started helping his older brother with some of his duties. He's also getting a crash course in the supernatural, a world that he tried to escape for most of his life. All the while, he is still trying to hang on to his humanity.

Then he finds his roommate murdered, and Fort is back in the shit again. Luckily, he still has Suze, his kitsune friend who delights in antagonizing him, but is also there to kick ass. Adding to his problems, he has to work with his older sister, Prudence. Fort is convinced she hates him, and she is responsible for the most traumatic event in his childhood. Theirs is a complicated relationship, though, and their interaction was my absolute favorite part of the book. The last part of the book, just damn.

Excellent action, character and relationship progression, and a wholly interesting world, if you haven't jumped into this UF series yet, I suggest you give it a try.

IRON NIGHT  Amazon | B&N | Kobo | Indiebound

GENERATION V  Amazon | B&N | Kobo | Indiebound

M.L. Brennan
website: http://mlbrennan.com/
twitter: https://twitter.com/BrennanML



Friday, June 20, 2014

Cover Love: ANTE UP

A couple of weeks ago I reviewed ACES WILD, book 1 in the Sin City Collectors series.

Today, I've got the cover for ANTE UP, Amanda Carlson's second book in this series of paranormal romance novellas.

The blurbage: "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…"

And the cover:


I really love how all of these covers fit together. The colors pop and I love that the models are diverse.

Let's see them side by side:


So very pretty! Can't wait to read more in this series.

Amanda has a giveaway for 5 copies of ACES WILD. Use the Rafflecopter below to enter:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Buy links for ACES WILD:
US: Kindle | Nook | iTunes | Kobo | Google

Amazon UK
Amazon France

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, June 9, 2014

Review: Two Serpents Rise

TWO SERPENTS RISE (Craft Sequence book 2) by Max Gladstone

When I read book 1, Three Parts Dead, I got a story that completely blew apart my expectations. So, when it came to book 2, I was a little more prepared for the world that awaited me. I still was surprised and enchanted by not only how different this series is, but how much it completely works for me.

Take your everyday corporate structure - contract law, risk management, acquisitions, and chuck it into a maelstrom of a world where gods and human mages battled, and the humans won. It is a world still in recovery and still out of balance.

Caleb Altemoc is a risk manager for one of the Deathless Kings, a very powerful mage who slew gods in the war and is now head of a ginormous corporation. He is called in when demons are found in the water supply. His search for answers brings him into contact with the crafty cliff runner Mal and points fingers at his father, one of the last of the gods warriors and a known terrorist. Personal and professional tumble together as danger rises.

I enjoyed the characters and the relationships. It gives a different view of the world than the one we see in book 1 and expands on more of the issues affecting this world out of balance. In no way was life perfect under the old gods. However, it's not perfect under the mages either. There is a lot of room for growth or further despair.

I'm really looking forward to where Gladstone takes us in the next book.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Review: Night Terrors

NIGHT TERRORS (Shadow Watch #1) by Tim Waggoner

Super fast paced but fun urban fantasy read.

Absolutely loved the world, with dreams and nightmares made real, a Shadow-y (Shadow Watch) enforcement bureau made of creators (Ideators) and their nightmare creations (Incubi). Visiting Nod was one of my favorite things in this book. When you are dealing with the creatures of dreams and nightmares, there is really no limit.

Audra is paired with Jinx, a homicidal clown. She kind of loves her job, but isn't 100% happy with working and living with her greatest nightmare. I can relate. I have a deep fear of clowns (thank you Tim Curry and your phenomenal Pennywise performance) and I don't know that I'd want to deal with Jinx 24/7 either.

At the same time, if you are going up against nightmare creations, having a killer clown on your side might not be a bad thing.

Jinx is a force to be reckoned with and I really liked seeing both sides of his personality, his day and his night aspects.

Audra and Jinx uncover a plot that threatens the dream world and the real world, find new friends, old enemies, and in general bring forth mayhem at every turn.

I could relate to Audra. She has issues to work through with her job and with her past. Things are not all resolved, of course, so I'm looking forward to what happens in future books.

This is very much a set the stage book. It did feel in parts that we zipped through areas where we could have spent more time developing characters, relationships and setting, but it wasn't enough to put me off. I still got a really good taste of the world and its denizens.

One thing this book is not is a romancing the clown book. Audra created Jinx, so while they don't really have a mother-child bond, it is close enough that any romance thoughts would be icky. There is a potential love interest but there really isn't time for that in this very quick-moving tale.

I found myself rooting for a freaking clown. And I want to go back.

[received a review copy]

Friday, June 6, 2014

Aces Wild Review & GIVEAWAY


Today I have a review of the first in a new, multi-author PNR series set in the supernatural side of Vegas. Each one a standalone novella, the Sin City Collectors kicks off with ACES WILD by Amanda Carlson.

The blurbage: "Nevada Hamilton has learned a few things since becoming a Sin City Collector, and staying away from vampires is one of them. After botching her first Collection, the vamp getting away after causing as much damage as possible, she hasn’t been assigned to another one since.

But when she receives her next playing card, she’s in for a surprise. Not only is a vampire her next target, but they’ve paired her up to make sure she gets the job done right. Refusing a Collection is not an option, but when she discovers who she’s working with, making the mission as difficult as possible for her new partner becomes her top priority…

Being a hellhound isn’t enough to protect Jake Troubadour from Nevada Hamilton, no matter how thick his skin is. Finding out he has to work with the beautiful dhampir, after not seeing her for three years, is a low blow—but Jake is a professional. He takes his Collections as seriously as he does running his bar. He’ll do whatever it takes to get the job done, but after that, he’s out. No more chances for the girl who wrecked his bike and scarred his soul so long ago. But even with his heart dead set against it, this hellhound quickly finds he’s not immune to love after all."

Supernatural bounty hunters, magical con artists, killers, and a shadowy enforcement agency with a Boss you don't cross, this is the world our heroes call home. Nevada had a messed up childhood. Not only is she half-vampire, but her mother is an addict and Neve learned fast that she could only rely on herself. Jake is pretty grounded, except when it comes to Neve...

Yep, sparks fly, banter is high, and there is plenty of steam in this Romance. I did like that when certain evidence came to light, that Neve didn't dig in her heels and refuse to see the truth. She still stands her ground and is fiercely independent, and I'm always a fan of that.

It's a novella, so I'm not going to go into a lot of detail on plot points. We get a quick intro to the supernatural community and a bit of the workings of the Collectors. My one drawback was there isn't a lot of room to get to know many side characters, but they are introduced and I'm sure we'll see some of them again. The main story comes to a conclusion, and I liked where the relationship stands at the end. The last section was really sweet.

Yes, Romance fans, you will like Jake very much.

As always with Amanda's books, I had so much fun reading this story. Kickass action combined with interesting characters, and I liked the mythology of this supernatural Vegas. If I was a supe and needed to blend, Sin City would be a good choice.

We've only scratched the surface of the Collectors. There is a lot to explore in this world. I'll be checking out QUEEN OF HEARTS by Kristen Painter in July.

Buy links for ACES WILD:
US: Kindle | Nook | iTunes | Kobo | Google

Amazon UK
Amazon France

Amanda Carlson:

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

Now on to the GIVEAWAY. Enter using the Rafflecopter below for a chance at a $100 Amazon gift card (US) and Jessica McClain signed book & swag (INT). Thanks for the giveaway, Amanda!
a Rafflecopter giveaway




[received a review copy]

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Heading Into the Stars with Zenn Scarlett & Christian Schoon

UNDER NAMELESS STARS (Zenn Scarlett #2) by Christian Schoon

It's easy to see why I fell in love with Christian Schoon's Zenn Scarlett series - a young exovet living on Mars, tending alien animals, then throw in adventure, action, some mystery. In book 2, Zenn leaves home, becomes a stowaway, tries to save her father, and still help as many animals as she can along the way. She has old friends, new friends, as well as her share of enemies. She also still has this strange connection to animals that baffles her scientific mind.

Oh, and she is on a starship during a time when ships have been mysteriously vanishing....

Christian Schoon is here today to answer a few questions about Zenn and her latest adventure, UNDER NAMELESS STARS. You can also stop by Strange Chemistry and enter a GIVEAWAY for the blog tour.

KA: Thanks for joining us today! In book 1, we got to meet quite a few alien animals, and a few more sentient (shall we say) alien characters. I loved getting on the starship and meeting more. Especially Jules Vancouver. I loved So Long and Thanks for All the Fish and I liked to imagine that Jules' ancestors were among that lot. :) How much fun was it dreaming up these characters?

CS: Hi and, first of all: thanks for hosting this stop on Zenn’s “Under Nameless Stars Blog-a-thon and Adopt-a-Whalehound-Tour.” (Oh, we neglected to mention that all our book tour bloggers receive a free whalehound pup? Yes. Please be sure and have the Olympic-swimming-pool-size habitat prepped before your ‘hound arrives next week. Thank you and good luck.)

KA: Oh, thank you. I always wanted one of those...

CS: So, assembling the cast list for Zenn’s new adventure. Big fun was had, as you noted. And, as you might imagine, the most enjoyable part of this process is in doing the fiddly detail bits of each character/species/alien race. For instance, Jules’s obsession with classic “antique Earth print-on-paper adventure novels.” I've been fascinated with cetaceans in general since grade school. Dolphins in particular always seemed to me to be the hyper-active kids of the extended family: super-bright, wicked sense of humor, but short attention spans and a tendency to over-focus on whatever does manage to snare their interest. And, since both Zenn and Jules have mysteries to crack in Under Nameless Stars, Jules’s fixation on sleuthing was a fortunate coincidence. I'm just glad he came along when he did. The same thing applies to all the cast members of both books. Having each character emerge from the word-mist to give me a few telling details about their background, their affections, dislikes, societies, evolutionary paths, etc. is, for me, one of the coolest parts of being an author. And I'm pretty sure Slartibartfast would agree, at least where fjords are concerned.

KA: What inspired you?

CS: Well, your “thanks for all the fish” reference and my Slarti name-drop tell the story here. The irreplaceable Mr. Adams is my all-time fave cosmic wise-guy. His style of deadpan description about his characters/ creatures/worlds is an approach that I think I soaked up more or less unconsciously over the years. It just seems so sensible in my case to introduce readers to Zenn’s world and its inhabitants, no matter how exotic, in this straight-ahead, minimal hand-waving way. So, while Eta Cepheians are intriguing to Zenn, it’s really no big deal to her that the females of this species carry their diminutive male mates around with them in transparent, fluid-filled globes attached to the female’s shell. As Zenn recalls, this same strategy is actually used by certain abyssal-dwelling angler fish on Earth who have a similar issue with finding Mr. Right in the largely empty expanses of the deep sea floor. As for other baseline inspirations as a writer, I’d list some the usual suspects of my generation: Asimov, Heinlein, Burroughs, William Gibson and, of course, James ‘Herriot” Wight. Plus, both my mother and older sister were high school English teachers, so there’s that.

KA: Did you have book 2 mapped out when you wrote Zenn Scarlett? Did you approach anything differently when you tackled Under Nameless Stars?

CS: The thing here is that Zenn Scarlett and Under Nameless Stars started life unified as a single, longer novel. I hadn’t been overly concerned with word count as I wrote, but as I learned more about the publishing process, it became clear the book would need to be broken up. The dividing line was easy: Mars/not-Mars. Then there was the educational phase for me: making two shorter, self-contained sub-story-arcs out of the single big one and still have it all make some sorta sense. Like I say, it was a learning experience for me as a writer. Next time, I might wanna pay attention to that word count thing from the start.

KA: What did you learn while writing book 1 that helped with book 2? Also, what did you learn while writing book 2 that will help with future books?

CS: See the above passage re: chopping your beloved, carefully nurtured baby in half… Also, I never wrote up an outline for the book when I began. On the one hand, this left lots of room for exploration and discovery, ie, letting the characters lead me around by the nose. This was great in many ways, but not so cool when it came to time/effort expended to back track when something hit a dead end. So, next time, I'll devise at least a rough chapter-by-chapter outline, but try to leave myself room to roam as the characters demand.

KA: Zenn's inexperience got her into trouble in book 1, and it does again here. A big theme for me with Zenn is that she needs to connect more with others - human, Ascent, and not just focusing on work. It feels like at the end of book 2 she realizes it too. Is that something you would like to explore in future tales?

CS: You picked out a central thread in Zenn’s character and one that really drove much of the emotional “action” in both books. I'd very much like to watch Zenn grow and expand her relationships with the non-critter world and this is certainly on my radar. But I think it’s safe to say she'll always be very Zennish in her approach to others, ie, skeptical and a bit wary, occasionally even dismissive… so she'll need to work hard to move beyond her comfort-zone.

KA: You handled the romance differently than other YA reads, something I did appreciate. It felt right for the character. Was that a tough sell?

CS: You know, it was never really questioned much, and Zenn’s mix of naiveté and coolness in this regard is something that I really like about her. I think everyone involved in publishing my books and giving me feedback saw, as you did, that Zenn would have her own unique responses to emotional attachments. The fact that this sets her story apart from a lot of what’s going on in current Young Adult novels was just a bonus, far as I'm concerned.

KA: Xenophobia is a big theme, with Earth only recently opening its doors to aliens again. How would Zenn fare on Earth? Is Earth ready for Zenn? :D

CS: Good questions! Even though the Temporary Executive Authority on Earth is trying to leave its anti-alien biases in the past, any culture takes time to change a trait this deeply embedded, and Zenn would still be likely to get herself into trouble pretty quickly there. As you know, she can be less than adept when it comes to interacting socially. She tends to say what’s on her mind. OK, let’s be honest, she often just blurts out what’s on her mind. So she wouldn’t be shy about taking Earthers to task for past behavior. Especially when it comes to attitudes/treatment/mistreatment of animals who can't speak up for and defend themselves. But, of course, for an author, this is an invitation to toss your character into the gunpowder cask. So, yeah, I think we can count on Zenn paying a visit to Earth. Then, I'll just get outa the way, stand back and watch the drama-fuse ignite.

KA: Where do you see Zenn heading to next?

CS: Well, other than Earth, I foresee Zenn headed to the twin nature-preserve planets of the Leukkan Kire, where you might recall the native race builds their villages and palaces atop the broad backs of Greater Kiran Sunkillers, floating, pterodactyl-like beasts with wingspans of up to 1,500 feet. I mean, who wouldn't wanna spend some time there?

KA: What are you working on? Any new projects?

CS: Zenn’s next outing is battling it out with a number of other projects, including an animated steampunk TV series and a new novel crawling with monsters that I'm still having fun designing. We'll see which one wins and breaks the surface first.

KA: Buffy, Sherlock, Doctor Who or Firefly?

CS: Tough, but has to be Firefly. How did that ever get cancelled, anyway? Jeesh. I’m still waiting on the announcement that it’s being resurrected.

KA: Thanks so much!

CS: No, no. Thank YOU for letting me drop in and chat. Zenn appreciates! Cheers!

Be sure to checkout the GIVEAWAY

UNDER NAMELESS STARS (Zenn Scarlett #2)  Amazon | B&N | Kobo | Indiebound

ZENN SCARLETT (Zenn Scarlett #1) Amazon | B&N | Kobo | Indiebound

Christian Schoon:

Strange Chemistry:

[received a review copy]

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Review: HANG WIRE

HANG WIRE by Adam Christopher

In between errands I opened my copy of HANG WIRE, thinking I could get a taste of it and then read more that night. I spent the rest of the day cursing myself. This is one of those books where I wanted a pause button so I could shut off the rest of the world while I read.

This is an urban fantasy that starts in San Francisco after the infamous 1906 earthquake then goes forwards and backwards in time, collecting and changing characters, until we get to the action-packed conclusion set in modern time. While it is largely set in San Francisco, this isn't your typical first person POV, powerful character, police procedural with paranormal elements UF. There is a serial killer, but it is not the whole story, not by a longshot.

It's also one that I don't want to describe too much, because I got so much enjoyment from just immersing myself in this world.

There is a deep ancient devourer sleeping underground, and a malevolent force that crashed to earth via meteorite, gods on earth (trying to make their own life or stay somehow connected to this world), and regular people caught in this whole mess. There is also a creepy circus (yes, I am aware of the innate creepiness of all circuses, but this one has the Lord of the Dance from hell, so extra creepy).

There are quite a few characters, and some have some pretty drastic changes happen to them. This was a bit of a problem for me since I had to prematurely put the book down. When I started it again I had to backtrack to verify that a couple of characters were who I thought they were. Not a big issue, and  if I had been able to read uninterrupted it wouldn't have been a problem. However, once you are a quarter in, the players are pretty well set and I didn't have to backtrack.

The pace was quick and I found myself waiting on the edge of my seat for what happens next. Gods from different pantheons do play a role here, but there are real, terrible consequences to the gods using their powers on earth, so I didn't feel like it was an easy deus ex machina resolution.

Not everything is answered, but I was OK with that. I actually prefer it that way, to be honest.

I will be reading more from Christopher.

[received a review copy]

HANG WIRE Amazon | B&N | Kobo | Indiebound

Adam Christopher:
website: http://www.adamchristopher.co.uk/
twitter: https://twitter.com/ghostfinder

Angry Robot:
website: http://angryrobotbooks.com/
twitter: https://twitter.com/angryrobotbooks