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Monday, January 31, 2011

Social Media with Sasha Soren, Episode 2!

Please help me welcome back Sasha Soren with more thoughts on social media and book blogging!  This episode's installment: Twitter!

Ways to use Twitter for event promotion
Weekly hashtags
Do you have and the author both have Twitter accounts? Then you can shout out the book in any of the
weekly hashtags that run on Twitter for now, like a Follow Friday (#FF) or Writer Wednesday (#WW).

Mentions, shouts and props
If you don't participate in weekly hashtags, can still mention that particular author if you've noticed someone else has done a cool feature about the book.

That way, you’re helping to share info about the book, but also shouting out a fellow blogger, which is a nice gesture.
Community, book-related blog events
Actually, a news feed for Random Magic( http://tinyurl.com/yl26xwa) is already onTwitter - if someone would like to visit, feel free: @RandomMagicTour (http://tinyurl.com/2597jl8).

Along the way, I do try to mention other authors and bloggers and events on the daily feed, as a courtesy but also because there are actually some interesting book blog events and features out there, and I feel sure people might like to know about them.

They don't necessarily have to be Random Magic-related events, quite often I will mention something just because it's intriguing or fun or unusual, and I just think it'd be nice to know. But I always do take time to look up any associated Twitter name to include in the tweet, also.

See, there really are lots of cool book blogs, and so there's always something interesting going on. But to continue with the subject.


Tune in tomorrow when we'll be exploring ideas for features and interviews!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Sneak Peek (4)- And the Green Grass Grew All Around!

The weather outside right now is positively gorgeous, and this weekend has been an exceptionally productive one so far!  The first month of 2011 is almost over, which for me is hard to believe, but there it is!  Bewildered Time Traveler syndrome strikes again!

Anyway, here's a look at the goodies that are coming up this week here at What Book Is That?:

First off, I have a winner to announce! The winner of the ARC of Nocturne by Syrie James is...Teresa W.! She has been emailed and has 48 hours to respond. Thanks for the entries everyone and watch for another giveaway soon!

Monday will bring the first of (hopefully) 12 monthly reflections on good stuff that's happened here over the previous month.  We've had the start of Off the Path, some linkworthy excitement, and all kinds of other good stuff! This will be a chance to relive it all over again.

Monday is also the second installment of the miniseries on book blogging and social media featuring Sasha Soren- get ready for Twitter madness!

But wait, there's more!  Over at Blog with Bite on Monday I'll have not one, but two reviews:
Brightly Woven
Succubus Blues

Yep, Brightly Woven by Alexandra Bracken (a blast from the past for me) and Succubus Blues by Richelle Mead.

The Sasha Soren social media train rolls on with thoughts on features and interview- maybe there are some new ideas waiting here for folks to discover!

Tuesday also bring my review of When He Was Bad, which features two novellas, one by Shelly Laurenston and one by Cynthia Eden.


Blog With Bite

eBites shakes things up yet again this week with...what's this...a CONTEMPORARY?! Be still my heart!

Magic Strikes (Kate Daniels, Book 3)

Magic Bleeds (Kate Daniels, Book 4)
Thursday brings a double shot of Kate and Curran with reviews of Magic Strikes and Magic Bleeds.

Hibernation Station

This week's installment of Illustrated Friday features Hibernation Station, a perfect book for when a long winter's nap is just what the doctor ordered.

Saturday is the grand finale of the miniseries on social media from Sasha Soren, and we wrap things up with thoughts on book mentions, name dropping, and other sassy sassiness. Don't miss it!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Review: Vixen

Vixen (The Flappers)Title: Vixen
Author: Jillian Larkin
Page count: 432 pages
Publisher: Delacorte
Genre: young adult, historical romance
Copy for review provided by Around the World Tours in anticipation of an honest review

50 words or less: Set against the backdrop of 1920s Chicago, Vixen has all the makings of luscious drama- cute heroines, dastardly villians, romance, exciting costumes, and lots of smooching.  Just goes to show you I guess!

Wow, I haven't written one of these in quite some time.  For those that don't remember, a Don't Panic! book is a book that I freely admit that I did not finish, but that isn't necessarily one that is deserving of a poor rating.  Vixen is a perfect example of that- I can totally see myself picking up this book at a different time or when I'm in a different move and totally loving it.

The setting and time period of the book and the author's obvious love for everything about it are evident from the first page.  This devotion to detail, from the fashion to the jargon to the social vibes of the time is a huge strike in this book's favor.  I'm a total sucker for detailed historical fiction that shows not only research, but passion for the time and place, and Vixen fits the bill on both counts.

Where the book didn't grab me this time around was in the characterization and in the drama of the book.  The story is definitely soap opera-esque, but that isn't necessarily a bad thing! I can totally see myself on a rainy Saturday absolutely gobbling this book up.  After dealing with drama all day, though, it wasn't the best choice, although through no fault of the book's.  Lots of character names and interactions and side plots and nefarious schemes means that this book needed me to pay attention, and I was looking for something else in a book I guess.

Will I pick this book up again in the future? It's a distinct possibility.  It definitely is a book I have to be in the mood for, and while it didn't grab me this time, the future is an entirely different story and at this point I wouldn't discourage anyone from picking it up.

Illustrated Friday: Old Bear and His Cub

Old Bear and His CubThis is such a cute book! It's the story of (as you probably guessed) Old Bear and Little Cub, and the love they have for each other.  They love each other enough to remind each other to eat breakfast, wear a scarf when it's cold, go to bed when they're sick, and it's just a sweet, sweet story about caring about another.  Reading it made me want to go call my parents.  Happy Friday!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Off the Path Guest Post: Social Media with Sasha Soren, Episode 1!

Please join me in welcoming back Sasha Soren, author of Random Magic, for some thoughts, ideas and inspiration regarding Social Media and Book Promotion!

Twitter followers and others familiar with Sasha's presence on various social networking sites know that she's no stranger to pounding the pavement to get the word out about books, events, and opportunities for authors, bloggers, and fans of good books in general.  When I pitched the idea of a guest post regarding book promotion and social media, Sasha provided me with enough ideas, insight, commentary, and other good stuff for not one, not two, but five guest posts on the topic!  That's why, for the next week, you'll be getting an almost daily dose of ideas and ways to not only promote books and authors whose work you enjoy, but also to create interesting content for your own blog as well.  Here's what the schedule looks like:

Today (1/27)- Memes and Features- not just the same old same old!
Monday 1/31- Twitter- hashtags, related events, shoutouts, etc.
Tuesday 2/1- Features and Interviews
Thursday 2/3- Videos and Podcasts
Saturday 2/5- Book Mentions (Tuning into the News)

Why is this important?  First off, it's only natural that this miniseries on book promotion was spawned from the Off the Path feature, as indie authors (and most traditionally published authors too, let's face it) are doing the bulk of the promotion of their books themselves.  In many cases, they come home from a day job, greet their kids/loved ones/pets/chores, and when they have time or when they make time, they work on getting the word out about their book, trying to get it some recognition when there are thousands and thousands of other authors and books out there gunning for the same thing.  If the reception I've gotten from my inquiries related to Off the Path is any indication, many authors are game to anything that will promote a book in a positive light that also fits with their schedule.

Second, creative book promotion is a huge asset for a blogger to have in their posting arsenal.  I think we've all had those days/weeks/months (fill in the blank appropriately here people) where we can't for the life of us think of anything to blog about. Sasha is here with ideas for how to chase away the writer's block, get your posting schedule moving again, and help out authors/promote your favorite books in the process!

And with that, which is enough of my prattling for now, I'm turning things over to Sasha Soren!

Let's say, for an example, you have X title that you really like, and you'd like to help publicize the book, there are some simple but useful ways to help out:

photo credit: http://tinyurl.com/4e8f8c3

Does the book have an associated trailer? Then can include the trailer in a Trailer Tuesday or Trailer Thursday (like this one at Book Lover- Book Chicks), with a book summary and book link below.
Here's another great example: Random Magic Trailer Thursday at The Bookworms.

Memes - Fave quotes, teasers, and other tidbits
Do you have a weekly meme about book quotes? Then can include a quote from that book, with book summary and book link (a link to author's home page or blog or Twitter, and so on).

While memes are definitely something to consider using sparingly (I know personally my favorite parts of book blogs are always the reviews) you could definitely take a weekly feature and make it monthly, or occasional, or focused on a book that you especially enjoyed.  

Tune in on Monday for more social media ideas from Sasha, and thanks again to Sasha Soren for being a part of this extravaganza!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

eBites: Link Rodeo!

Blog With Bite

I'm a liberal user of the star feature for items in Google Reader, especially things that pertain to ebooks, Kindle, e-readers in general, and digital publishing. For this week's eBites installment, it's time for another Link Rodeo!

Complete with Link Rodeo cowgirl!

Tanya over at Among the Muses always has the scoop on great ebooks, and her post on ebook bundles will make you want to drop some serious dough.  Check it out!

For those who are wondering what DRM is and whether or not it's important or something we as readers should care about, Apprentice Alf brings us Ebook Formats, DRM and You: A Guide for the Perplexed (obtained via BoingBoing.)

If you're like me and just can't seem to get enough indie author/publishing success stories, check out this post over at Babbling About Books and More, where KB gets the scoop from Amanda Hocking on selling 100,000 ebooks, self publishing, and more!

If you're still confused by all of the hullaballoo surrounding Amazon's Kindle lending feature, or about digital book lending in general, Dear Author has the answers in an appropriately titled post: Digital Lending: How it Works and Who Allows It.

Moira Rogers wades into the digital fray with a really interesting post entitled Lending vs. Downloading vs. Pirating: The Fine Lines.  It's a very thought provoking read.

If you have an Android phone and are new to the world of Android reading apps, Dear Author is here to help with Reading with Android 101: A Reading App Guide.

I hope everyone is having an excellent week so far, with plenty of good reading!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Off the Path Author Interview: Sasha Soren!

I'm pleased as punch to welcome Sasha Soren, author of Random Magic, back to What Book is That?!

Sasha is no stranger to these parts, having been a frequent visitor in the past (check out her last WBiT? interview, the Random Magic Halloween Tour, or the Winterlong Reading Circle) and I'm so glad she's joining us today!

Random Magic

WBit: First off, updates, updates, updates! What's gone on in the world of Random Magic since your last visit to What Book is That?

Sasha: Two adorable tours, and if someone happened to miss them, they should definitely check out the archived tours because there are some really interesting, informative reviews about the book, and some cool special features to enjoy:

Random Magic Tour: Winterlong - Dec. 10 - Dec. 23, 2010 (check out the tour archive here.)

Random Magic Halloween Tour - Oct. 24 - Oct. 31, 2010 (check out the tour archive here.)

Apart from reviews of the book, there were also all kinds of interesting features, performances and events which made the tours fun for everyone.

WBiT: How have book blogs influenced the way you publicize your work? How can book bloggers be better prepared to help with publicity for an indie title?

Sasha: Book blogs are really cool! Everyone has their own style and personality, and it's just interesting to see how someone handles a particular book. So, it's fun to work with bloggers because everything is so personalized, you can think of things that that person enjoys and try to find a way to share info about the book that's actually fun, instead of a chore.

For example, know it's hard sometimes for people to just keep writing review, review, review. I can totally understand and sympathize with blogger burnout.

Well, then - perhaps along with a review, you can do something fun, like a video or a quiz or some sort of feature about something they particularly enjoy.  If someone likes music, then you can come up with some music feature sparked by the storyline of the book. If they like movies, you can do a casting session of the characters in the book. If they like fashion, you can find some way to have a feature related to that topic.  It's more creative and engaging for everyone than just sending out a book and waiting for a review to show up, you can actually find ways to complement the review with other interesting features.

By the way, this really applies mostly to bloggers who’ve already reviewed the book. If someone’s doing a review, then I just try to stay out of their hair and let them get on with it.

But if they’ve already reviewed the book and there’s a tour or some other event coming up, then there’s a chance to work on some other special features related to the book, and that’s always fun.

But on the question of how book bloggers can be better prepared to help with publicity for an indie title - just feel welcome to be creative. Indie authors don't have a whole publicity juggernaut to handle their publicity, they have to be inventive and creative, and so might as well have fun with it.  That is, a book blog is an individualistic endeavor, in that the blog is a reflection of a blogger's personality, and they have much more freedom to be inventive, compared to media outlets, where there's some particular format.  That's totally familiar territory to an indie author. So if the author and the blogger are both open to coming up with some interesting feature, some cool things can happen.

To actually help a little with publicity, it's also nice when a blogger thinks up some smaller items that also mention the book.  Including an indie title in a weekly meme like Trailer Thursday or Teaser Tuesday is quite nice, and gives the book a little bump, apart from an actual review.  Including an indie title in any kind of round-up or reading challenge or themed feature, also helpful.

For example, if someone's doing a feature with their picks about kick-ass heroines or the most fantastical fantasy stories (fantasy stories that completely break the mold), then featuring Random Magic (http://tinyurl.com/yl26xwa) as a pick would be a natural fit, and more people would learn about the book, in the context of a list of titles they might also like.  By the way - anyone who’s thinking about doing a feature or event or reading challenge about kick-ass heroines or offbeat fantasy titles, feel free to give a shout, definitely interested.

Indie titles don't have huge publicity budgets, so it might be hard for people to even hear about the book, in the first place.  So, the more mentions that a blogger can make of a particular book, the more helpful and thoughtful that is, which is why including the book in memes or general-interest features is always appreciated (and, yes, will usually notice and try to link to that blogger's post on Twitter, by way of saying thank you for the mention).

If there's a tour or special event for the book, it's really helpful if a blogger can quickly mention the tour or event on Twitter, with a link for info.  People might not notice the event the first time, or the second time, or the third time, but then suddenly, they notice it and might check it out or share a link.

So, yes, definitely, if you're a book blogger and want to help publicize indie books, or a particular indie book you love, then definitely quantity is as important as quality.  If you really enjoyed such-and-such book, then definitely say something, and it's even better if you say it a few times, although not to the point that everyone is sick of hearing about the book.

WBiT: As an author, what do you consider to be a good interaction between a blogger and an author?

Sasha: Probably the same between any two people, really. I tend to have a distinct preference for smart, nice people who are also trustworthy and efficient.  So, if there's a smart person who's also very nice, polite, courteous, and so on, I would consider that blogger to be good company, and if some event or tour idea comes up, I will automatically think of him or her and potentially extend an invite, because it's just nice to spend time with interesting and pleasant people.

That’s just common sense. Who’d actually want to hang out with stupid and mean people? That doesn’t sound like a good time at all.

So, maybe the short answer to the question, 'What would you consider to be a good interaction between an author and a blogger?' would be:

* Mutual respect and courtesy
* Mutual inventiveness and creativity
* Mutual attention to craftsmanship
* Mutual reliability and dependability
* Mutual frankness and integrity
* Mutual lookout for details and deadlines

And, finally, just be good company. Then of course it will be much easier to run up some cool ideas and suggestions or observations or invitations.  They don’t necessarily even have to be Random Magic-related, just something that might be useful or fun, because I can definitely appreciate quality craftsmanship. If you care about your blog, then so do I.

WBiT: Have you encountered negative viewpoints from people regarding indie books?  If so, how do you address these viewpoints?

Sasha: Not really. Well, not in relation to Random Magic anyway. People don't usually even realize that Random Magic is an indie title, the reaction's more like, 'Oh, cool. How’ve I never heard of this book before? It sounds like fun!'  You know, like they just assume it's a book published by a mainstream publisher, just maybe a smaller imprint, so there isn't a big publicity push behind it.

I can definitely see why a lot of people are attracted by independent projects of all kinds, though.  I do tend to prefer indie music and movies, also, because I've noticed that they're usually much better than mainstream music or movies.

This makes sense, if you think about it - mainstream music and movies are typically uninventive and pretty bland, because they're geared to appeal to everyone, they have to be predictable.  Whereas with indie music and movies, anything goes. There’s no committee to make decisions, so it’s a much more individualistic and creative type of endeavor.  A mainstream project is like an assembly line, whereas an indie project is more like a talented but temperamental chef. Unexpected things can happen and often do.

Also, with an indie movie, the producer can't rely on a $60 million budget to hire well-known actors and have lots of special effects.  So, the script has to be good. The actors have to be good. The cinematography has to be good. There's just nothing to hide behind; in a big budget film, maybe you can cover a bad script with a lot of car chases and explosions and so on.

In an indie film, if the dialogue is atrocious, there's nothing else to distract the viewer. The movie has to stand alone and deliver a good story, good performances, good sound quality and music and inventive cinematography.  Maybe it's due to getting around the restrictions of budget, or maybe it's just because quite a few stories told by indie filmmakers are too offbeat to appeal to mainstream sensibilities in the first place, but there are some really inventive and kick-ass indie films out there.  You do have to look for them, though, they're not just going to show up being advertised on television or radio or in a trailer at the latest cineplex.

Of course, there are some indie films that are just as bad as mainstream films, because they're like bad imitations of a low-quality product. Just because a film is an independent film, that doesn't guarantee that it's going to be a good film.  But the odds are much greater that you're going to be in for a treat if it's an indie film, vs. a mainstream film, because indie films can take more gambles with story, character, even the way they shoot the actual film.  They just tend to be much more creative, unexpected, honest, poetic, hilarious, thoughtful, all kinds of things that you just can't find in a summer blockbuster.

Same thing with indie music. The best music is nearly always something you'll find way off the radio dial. Because the artists are working on their own, and don't have to appeal to everyone and are usually rebellious and won't conform just to get music deals, you're guaranteed something much more personal.  Now, it might still be a boring track or album, because someone is trying to mimic mainstream music. But if someone is genuinely talented and just out there doing their thing, and you take the time to hunt around and see what's out there, you'll find some amazing music.

It's all out there waiting for you, right now. You only have to get sick of being spoon-fed the same stuff on the charts, and do a little peeking, here and there.  Music blogs can spot some really good music artists, or you can sort of hunt around on YouTube or check out music streaming sites, or just ask around - there are lots of interesting people making good music out there, but you won't hear them on a local or national radio station.

Actually, interestingly enough, on the Winterlong tour there was a blog hop featuring music, and, come to think of it, I would say more than half of the tracks featured are actually by indie artists! If you have a listen, fairly sure you'll like most, or at least, many, of these songs.

I kind of feel the same way about indie books, also - I'm willing to go out of the way to find something cool and interesting. If it's a good book, I'll read it.  There is a bias against indie books, but I can see why that's so. Sometimes people who have no experience in writing at all will put together a book, with absolutely no thought about quality, and the results are disappointing - typos and grammatical errors and unnatural dialogue, indecipherable fonts and so on.

That's not to say that just because someone spells words incorrectly, they can't spin a good story - everyone knows at least one good raconteur who can stand up at a pub or party and keep everyone entertained.  Telling a good story on paper takes a separate set of important skills, though. You have to acquire the correct tools and learn how to use them properly.

To illustrate, we can compare writing to another creative art - some craft that requires natural creativity but also technical proficiency and patiently acquired expertise.  Pottery, for example. You can’t just hurl a batch of clay at a wheel and poke and prod and expect to come up with a priceless vase.  You might have a natural aptitude for shaping clay, but you’ll also have to work day in and day out to acquire exactly the right technique needed to make a vase, a plate, a cup, a series of ornaments. It doesn’t just happen. Even if the natural gift is there, it’s useless without the supporting framework, like a flame without a candle.

So, just like there are indie films that are poor quality, there's indie music that's poor quality, and the same goes for indie books. Every element has to be there - creativity, craftsmanship, originality, and so on. If something is lacking, then the experience won't be a satisfying one.  If every element is there, though, the experience can be really wonderful. As with indie films and indie music, you just have to have a look around.  There are some nice indie books out there, though - you just might not have heard of them, so it's worth asking around. There are only a handful of bloggers who actively review indie authors, but they might be able to help you find some fantastic reads. 

WBiT: 2011 has just begun! What are your plans for the new year?

Sasha: Oho!

Er, that is - one never knows, does one? Let's say that a new year is a new opportunity to make mischief in the most delightful way, and the odds are good there might very well quite possibly be a bit of random magic about this year.

Any new bit of frivolity is always announced first at http://tinyurl.com/2597jl8> @RandomMagicTour, so please feel free to visit (or can just click 'follow,' if you like, which is the easiest option, since the info will just show up on your screen without having to make any effort to go look it up).

All Random Magic tidbits show up there, first, and I also try to mention other interesting events on book blogs, so it's a nice daily read, in any case, and everyone is certainly welcome to come chill out there if they find the atmosphere agreeable.

If you're a blogger who enjoys indie titles, or are planning an indie author event, please feel free to link up or leave a comment - word of mouth is usually the best way to find good indie films or indie music, and the same is true for indie books.  So if you have some interesting indie feature or meme or title you'd like people to know about, feel free to share, and I will check it out if it sounds interesting.

In the meantime, here's a cute and innovative blend of indie music-indie book-indie film - a nice video performance of a charming song, inspired by the book Random Magic!:


Is your mind blown?  My mind is blown. Check back on Thursday for a further education from Sasha, who has more knowledge, expertise, and insight to share!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Off the Path Review: Random Magic

Random Magic
Title: Random Magic
Author: Sasha Soren
Page Count: 420 pages
Publisher: Beach Books
Genre: Fantasy
Copy for original review provided by the author via Other Shelf Tours in exchange for an honest review

50 words or less: Alice (of Wonderland fame) is missing, and it's up to Henry and Winnie Flapjack to find her. All hell (literal, figurative, and otherwise) breaks loose from there.

First off, and this should definitely count as fair warning; this is not a book to read when you're tired, or when your brain is not functioning at maximum capacity. There is a lot of doublespeak, entendre, verbal acrobatics, and general mayhem woven into each and every page. No element of a published book is safe from the author's wacky sense of humor- even the blurbs at the beginning of the book get the once-over. Readers need to take time to digest what each sentence says, to let the world of the book kind of unfold and percolate, and to absorb what each character is and what he/she represents. This isn't a book you can skim and expect to get the full experience.

It's difficult to get into a lengthy discussion of the different elements of the story without giving something away; there's plenty to go over and to digest, and the only advice I can give is to read the book and then you'll get what I mean. The two main characters, Henry and Winnie Flapjack, are thrust into one misadventure/less-than-desirable situation after another and, whether through intuition, magic or sheer dumb luck, they survive. Mythological creatures and popular story characters lurk within every page; if you blink you might miss a reference or a play on words. I'll say right now- the Prologue is easily my favorite section- the verbal acrobatics really shine here, and the story hasn't even started yet!

And yet, within that same realm lies one thing that I didn't enjoy about the book. I did feel, at times, that the pace of the story suffered for the humor, and there were certainly times when I was hoping the witty banter would end and that we could just get on with it and move on to the next event. By that same count, Henry spends a lot of time in Too Stupid to Live territory, and Winnie spends a lot of time saving his ass; I admit there were many points where I was kind of hoping Winnie would relieve Henry of the responsibility of the adventure they were having and just let something eat him.

All things considered, though, this was an enjoyable book that falls decidedly off the beaten path of what's out there in fiction right now. There's plenty of fantasy and adventure to go around, wordplay that makes you think, and lots of twists and turns in the plot to make everything jive together nicely.

Overall Grade: B+

*This review was originally posted at What Book is That? on December 7, 2009.*

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Review: Nocturne + ARC Giveaway!

NocturneTitle: Nocturne
Author: Syrie James
Page Count: 267 pages
Publisher: Vanguard Press
Genre: paranormal romance
Copy for review provided by Wunderkind PR in anticipation of an honest review

50 words or less:  Nicole Whitcomb's car going off the road in a blizzard is a pretty accurate metaphor for her life, which is unfurling randomly with no direction or passion.  When Michael Tyler rescues her from the cold and snow, she's in for surprises that she could never see coming.

A very wise man (Albus Dumbledore) once said that it does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live.  If I had to sum up the theme and the central thread of Nocturne, then that would definitely be it.  While the book is definitely a paranormal romance with some definite Lifetime movie elements thrown in, ultimately, it's a story of building a life and a destiny for oneself and the sacrifices that might be needed to arrive at that destiny.

Nicole Whitcomb was in Steamboat Springs for a wedding, where all of her Seattle friends would be gathered.  She had a nice time and deftly avoided questions about when she would come back to Seattle, as at the time she was hiding from her past by living in California and working as a medical biller.

When she attempts to drive to the airport and finds herself in the middle of a blizzard, she doesn't expect to be rescued by Michael Tyler, hottie extraordinaire and resident mountain main and jack of all trades.  He takes her in, patches her up, and offers her a place to stay until the storm blows past and the pass is clear.  This is all against his better judgement, as Mister Michael is hiding a whopper of a secret.  Actually, a couple of secrets, some much more devastating than others.

Watching Michael and Nicole slowly fall in love and discover all they have in common was a joy to read.  It was like being able to tag along on a really, really successful series of dates, so you know how exciting the people involved are going to be when they call you to tell you all about it.  Love is just what the doctor ordered to help these two people get back on their feet and back in life's saddle, and if that were all there was to it, this would be a fairly standard contemporary romance with nothing terribly remarkable about it.

Except for one thing.  Michael is a vampire.  He's a vampire with a conscience, having figured out that drinking directly from people is a bad idea, but he can't put the idea out of his head once Nicole is staying under the same roof as him.  As they fall in love at the speed of light (the whole book takes place over the span of four days) he has to reconcile the fact that he eats critical parts of people to stay alive and that Nicole is most thoroughly a person.  Talk about a conflict of interest!

As romantic as this book is, the ending is really not what I expected at all. Is there a happily ever after? Sure, but it's not the one that longtime fans of paranormal romance might expect.  Professor Dumbledore himself would have approved of the ending, and of the results of the ending, but if you're having a sort of blue day then the end will make you bawl your eyes out.  This is not a failing of the book, though!  It's merely evidence that the author had a trajectory in mind for the story and stuck to it, and the characters were forced to grow and adapt as a result of it.

I don't think Nocturne would be a hit with all readers; it's not afraid to be different, not afraid to be a cup of tea in an espresso genre (there are no gunfights or chasing after superevilbadguys here, just two people snowed in and falling in love, thank you very much) and like I said, the ending might just tear your heart out.  In that lies the strength of the book though- the fact that it's different.

Overall Grade: A

ZOMG, how could I forget the giveaway?!  I'm offering up my ARC of this book to one lucky commenter! That's it- all you have to do is leave a comment with a way to contact you and you're entered!  And just to be even more fun, this is open internationally!  Please have your comments in by Friday, January 28th at 11:59 EST to be entered.

Comment away!

Sneak Peek (3)- That's So Random!

Another week is about to start here at What Book is That? and there's lots of important news to announce!

First, I have the winners of two giveaways to announce!

Rider: Spirals of Destiny: Book 1
The winner of Spirals of Destiny: Book One by Jim Bernheimer is...Barbara Elness!

Hexbound (Dark Elite, Book 2)
The winner of the swag pack from Chloe Neill is...latishajean!

The winners have been emailed and have 48 hours to respond.  Thanks to everyone who entered and be on the lookout for more excellent giveaways in the near future!

Now, it's on to the goodies for this coming week!

Later today will be the unveiling of my review of Nocturne by Syrie James, with a giveaway to boot! (Hey, I wasn't lying when I said there'd be more giveaways in the near future, was I?)

This week is the second installment of Off the Path, which spotlights indie and self published authors of paranormal romance, urban fantasy, science fiction, and more!  This week I'm pleased to be spotlighting the often imitated, but never duplicated Sasha Soren, author of Random Magic!

Random Magic

On Monday, check out my review of Random Magic, a blast from the past when What Book is That? was in its awkward toddler phase.  No, that is not Nicole Kidman on the cover, to the best of my knowledge.

Random Magic

On Tuesday, Miss Sasha will be stopping by for an interview, and we'll be talking past achievements, future plans, good karma, bad juju, and who knows what else!  This is not to be missed.

Blog With Bite

Wednesday is eBites day, and I have a special, hopefully educational, definitely entertaining post lined up.

 Thursday will be the first in a miniseries of posts from Sasha about Social Media and Book Promotion.  I got quite an education from all of Sasha's insights and I'm excited to share them with all of you as well.

Old Bear and His Cub
On Friday, Illustrated Friday is all about inter-generational cuteness with an adorable story about (you probably guessed) an old bear and his cub.

Vixen (The Flappers)

And on Saturday, stop by to check out my review of Vixen by Jillian Larkin. Thanks to Around the World Tours for a chance to read this book!

That's what's in store from me this week- what are you all up to? Stay warm!
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