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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Let it Snow- Snowed In With Indie Authors Review and Giveaway Festival Starts TOMORROW!

festival button


It's hard to believe that December is almost here, but that's the truth, and that means the Snowed In with Indie Authors Review and Giveaway Festival starts tomorrow! I have a ton of great giveaways and promotions on tap and I'm super excited- I hope you are too!

With that said, here are a few things to keep in mind throughout the festival:

This part is the same as the giveaway carnival in July- for each giveaway, please be sure to read the terms carefully. Some giveaways are for print books, some are for digital books, some are open internationally, some are not. Following the directions will give you a better chance of winning! Also, please make sure to read the WBiT? Giveaway Policy prior to entering any giveaways here.

Due to the business of the holidays, I will be collecting shipping information and digital format preferences as needed as a part of the giveaway form.  Only the winner's mailing address and/or digital preferences will be shared with the person shipping the prize and the form will be deleted as soon as the festival is over. With that said, if a giveaway asks for shipping information and you opt to not include it with your entry, your entry will be deleted in the interest of fairness to everyone. Thanks.

Please consider leaving a comment on each giveaway you enter so you know if you've entered already. Duplicate entries will be deleted.

All giveaways will end on Friday, January 6, 2012 at 11:59 EST so that everyone gets a shot at all the great prizes.

If you haven't already, take a moment and blog about the Snowed In With Indie Authors Review and Giveaway Festival and add your link to the linky for a shot at the $25 Amazon gift card!  Spread the word and win- what's more fun than that?

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Review: Demon Bait

Title: Demon Bait
Author: Moira Rogers
Page Count: 242 KB (Kindle format, novella length)
Publisher: Samhain
Genre: post-apocalyptic, first in a series
Copy for review obtained from the author in anticipation of an honest review

Synopsis:
His mark could bind her forever—or finally set her free.

Children of the Undying, Book 1

Fifty years after a demon apocalypse devastated the world, summoners still bear the bulk of the blame. Marci lives in secret, hiding the gifts that could cost her a secure spot in one of humanity’s underground cities, and access to their virtual world. After all, her chances of avoiding the genetic-testing lotto are better than her chances of surviving topside.

The bastard son of a terrifying incubus, lust heats Gabe’s blood and sex fuels his magic. Innate charm and charisma help him navigate the cultural gap between the outcast town he calls home and the human settlements he infiltrates for trade. His latest mission nets him an unexpected asset—a summoner strong enough to soothe his darkest needs.

Trust a half demon, especially one who uses a lockdown to trap them together? Not in this lifetime. Yet Marci can’t resist Gabe’s offer to see her safely to a selective outcast settlement where she can live without fear. The journey alone is as dangerous as the way Gabe makes her heart race, but it could be her one hope of a real life.

If only she could be sure Gabe’s telling her the whole truth…

Warning: Contains a virtual world where humans flee to escape the demon-infested earth, a dangerously seductive half demon with sex magic to burn and a network-hacking summoner brave enough to make herself vulnerable to him.
*****

Yum yum.  This is a brief story but sucked me right into this new series.  There are plenty of details here to explore and lots to be excited about, and a leading couple that I hope we see more of in future installments.

I'm ahead of myself though.  The main details are this:  Demon Bait is the first in the Children of the Undying series, a fusion series if ever there was one that brings together cyberpunk, post-apocalyptic drama, paranormal romance, urban fantasy elements, and the end result is a unique world that's going to serve as a great setting for an ongoing series.  There are techno elements that lend ambiance and details that will hopefully get explained more fully, as I'm a nerd for world building elements like that, but the brief introduction here didn't detract from the story.

Gabe and Marci are an interesting couple for whom the sparks really fly, and they cover a lot of emotional ground in a relatively short number of pages.  A lot of explanation isn't really given for the situation with demons and how that came to happen, but suffice it to say, they are bad news, and a being a halfblood is no easy task.  Gabe falls for Marci hard and early, and desperately wants Marci to feel the same way; Marci is much more tentative, and it was interesting to see the stereotypical roles be reversed like that.

If you're looking for something new to read that will grab your attention, definitely give this one a go.

Overall Rating:

Gratitude Giveaway Hop WINNERS!


Thank you to everyone who entered the Gratitude Giveaways here at What Book is That? and welcome to all of you who've signed on as followers- I hope you like what you see!

I have two winners to announce:

The winner of Pumpkin Roll is...Gloria!

The winner of the two Laurel Dewey books is...Annette!

Thanks again to all who entered and remember, the Snowed in With Indie Authors Review and Giveaway Festival starts this Thursday, with new giveaways every day!  Stay tuned!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Author Guest Post: Please Welcome Nicholas Carter!

Remember how I read and loved Jam Don't Shake? Well, Nicholas Carter, the author, has graciously agreed to be a guest poster here on WBiT! Prepare to be dazzled, and please join me in welcoming Nicholas today!

*****
It’s been years since I was afraid of that unknowable horror that lurked beneath the bed, just waiting to reach up and tear away my arm if I happened to dangle it over the side for even an instant. I’m a modestly well-adjusted adult now; thirty-one years old with a wife and (soon) a job and all of my fingers. I’d like to think that pretty much covers where society is these days.

We’ve grown up: we’re no longer afraid of things with fangs and claws because we’ve done a good job of pushing those things outside of our sphere of influence. Nowadays when you see something capable of crushing your larynx in its jaws or disemboweling you with the swipe of a paw, odds are good that that creature is trapped in a zoo or, more likely, a photograph. The real monsters are all gone. Oh, we’ve come up with some pretty nifty ones over the years, like creatures with acid for blood that want to have sex with our faces, but for the most part, creature-based fear is a thing of the past. Many of the monsters in our movies are now just things for a protagonist to kill in entertaining ways.

I think we’re a few tentative steps into a paradigm shift. Over the past few
decades many of our monsters are (or were) human. Bad guys like Nightmare on Elm Street’s Freddy Krueger, or Friday the 13th hockey enthusiast Jason Voorhees, are both people over whom we layered The Beast. There’s a sort of subconscious acknowledgement that those things we used to fear in the jungles and plains aren’t really what we’re afraid of anymore, but it’s like we weren’t sure what to replace them with so we merely added the savage aspect of those old fears to a humanoid shape and called it a day.

Now, I’m not going all in on the “we are the true monsters” schtick. Often when that gets used it’s packaged with a lot of finger-pointing. The truth is though that we’ve moved away from the capriciousness of nature and her many beasts, and into a world where it feels like we’re inadvertently trying to kill us. So many of our environmental dangers come from one another these days. You don’t take candy from the guy with the big van and the bigger mustache. You don’t cross the road at the corner of Oak and Main because people drive like maniacs at that intersection. And you don’t let Andy give the presentation, because he’s gunning for that promotion you deserve. Screw you, Andy.

Let me reiterate that I’m not pointing the finger: there’s no moral here. I’m not saying that there is a defect in the human condition that causes us to be harmful to one another and that this is something we have to work hard to vanquish, which is a pretty pretentious theme. It suggests that individuals are all flawed variants on some platonic ideal, and that if we all pitched in and came together all the shadows would vanish from under the metaphorical bed. Instead, I’d put forth that a human being is a perfect, crystallized ornament of odd that occasionally crashes into the others hanging by it, and that the occasional shattering of such an ornament is as dazzling as it is terrifying.

We’re a social creature that is simultaneously its own biggest predator, and the chaos this causes is absolutely breathtaking. But even that isn’t entirely new. Stories of man’s hubris in tinkering with nature have been around for nearly two centuries now, taking root most evidently in science fiction. We’re starting to move past even that, however. New technology always has a bogeyman period, but we’ve integrated so much technology that much of its danger has become a low-level, background hum, or disappeared entirely. Our neuroses, foibles, quirks, traits and idiosyncrasies though, those seem to be getting a lot of attention these days. There’s this anxiety about what’s wrong with us individually, and we’ve turned the focus on our own internal monsters rather than any external environmental danger. Stories about people going to psychiatrists and fixing these troubles aren’t necessarily interesting though, which makes it necessary (and fun) for fiction to incarnate them. I don’t care if Andy McTagonist gets over the smoking habit that’s causing a rift between him and his wife. I would find it interesting if a barrel-bodied creature made of roiling red and black ash, its smog-spewing mouth crowned by a line of slim, cylindrical teeth all stained grayish brown, attacks him on his way home.

Apropos of nothing, one of the biggest compliments I ever received on a story was that there was “so much going wrong that a reader can’t possibly think of a way to make it right.” I love stories where everything is in such chaos that only a pyrrhic or small personal victory is possible. It probably shows.
*****

Apparently this post was inspired by the review of Jam Don't Shake that I posted here on WBiT- I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did and thanks again to Nicholas for stopping by!  As an unrelated aside, there are only a few more days until the Snowed In With Indie Authors Review and Giveaway Festival, so strap in for the awesomeness that's in store!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Guest Blog Alert!

Check me out!  I'm guest blogging as a part of the Apocalyptathon hosted by Moira Rogers! Click on through to find out what five things I think you'll need to survive the apocalypse and enter to win a $10 Amazon gift card!

Special Guest Post: Julie from My Five Monkeys!

As we all gear up for more holiday cheer than we know what to do with, please welcome my good friend Julie from My Five Monkeys to the blog! I know I'm trying to figure gift ideas for the people on my list, so Julie's stopping by with some suggestions!

Books and Christmas



I love to give them and receive them . My dear husband isn’t a fan of giving me books any more. I do like to make sure that my kids get them for Christmas.I do find books in my kids reading range or something that interests them.


For a while one of my kids was into Hello Kitty, and most of my girls have been interested in the Disney princesses books. My son was into Ben 10 for a while , so I got him some books.


I don’t usually buy my DH books but his mom has bought him some church books for him for Christmas. I like both cooking books and reading books so if I usually just ask for a gift card so I can pick my own books.


There are always good deals for books through Scholastic for kids. I also now have my kids on the Barnes and Noble kids program. My dd who celebrated a birthday, she got a dessert from BN. There are some great programs for kids.


Julie@my5monkeys 
*****

Thanks Julie!  Having used the Scholastic book order in the past to get gifts for folks I can say that that is an awesome resource, and supports a classroom at the same time!  There's usually a special gift catalog that has boxed sets and other cool stuff, so if you're participating in a gift drive at church or work or wherever that's a nice suggestion too.

Friday, November 25, 2011

AAD Author Spotlight: Tilly Greene!


My internal clock is all screwed up from the holidays, but today is indeed Friday which means it's time to feature another author! This week's featured author is Tilly Greene and she's taking on the Five Question Quiz!




Five Question Quiz from Tilly Greene

1. Introduce yourself, Twitter style! Describe yourself or your books in 140 characters or less.
@TillyGreene writes scorching romances in various genres, full of twists and occasional turns into BDSM and/or ménage on path to each other.

2. Tell us a little bit about your latest release, or your upcoming projects if you'd prefer.
My latest release is called “Missing in Paradise” and coming out very soon is a short called “Konnichiwa Cowboy”. “Missing in Paradise” is a contemporary erotic romance with bondage and is about a couple who are about to crumble under the strain of keeping their relationship private, which is nearly impossible to do in Hollywood. There’s a bit of surfing, a hint here and there on how to reuse a treasured item that’s seen better days, and some seriously hot bound up loving everywhere but on a bed. While the couple in “Missing in Paradise” have a week to fix things, “Konnichiwa Cowboy”, a contemporary/light western erotica, takes place in one night. A cowboy is in Japan sharing a desk with a woman who doesn’t know how much he wants her. He believes for the trip to be successful, he must leave Japan without telling her of his feelings. On his last night, he arranges for the woman of his sexual fantasies, a submissive and open lover, to share his bed. By dawn, he gets what he asked for and some of what he didn’t think was even possible.

3. What books (your own or others) do you recommend most often?
That’s actually a difficult question to answer. You see, I take recommending a book to someone very seriously and don’t want to waste their time or money by suggesting something they aren’t interested in reading. That said, I always have ideas in mind. If someone likes sexy cowboys, then Cat Johnson is for them. If the want to read dark alternative romance, then Stella and Audra Price are the most do’s, especially their Djinn gang in their Duvall Inc series - love those books! Selena Illyria is my go to for sexy shifters and vamps. When I’m in a historical romance frame of mind, Johanna Lindsey and Stephanie Laurens are my favorites and as for mysteries, lately I’ve been enjoying Linda Fairstein and Tarquin Hall. The last time I recommended one of my own to a reader who just wanted to read one of mine it was “Highland Heat” , “Hephaestus Lays Down the Law” , and “Call Me Lucifer”. Sorry, I can never suggest just one book, not when there are so many good ones out there.

4. What part of Authors After Dark 2012 are you looking forward to the most?
The people - they are fabulous! Often this is the only place I get to catch up with some folks and then there are others I meet for the first time, and it’s all good! The panels are interesting as well, although the direction they take is always up to the audience. Then there are the parties and from what I’ve heard about the NOLA events, these are going to be spectacular.

5. If you've been to AAD before, do you have any advice for first time attendees?
Let your hair down and enjoy! You want to wear your pj’s all day and even to dinner, go ahead, plenty of others do exactly that. As for the masquerade, think big or minimal and have fun! Raise your hand in a panel, ask that dying to know the answer or just curious question, there are no bad ones. Always wanted to meet and get a picture with a particular author, seek them out - they won’t bite, unless you want them to. As soon as you drop your luggage off in your room, leave all the stress and must do’s of life behind, grab your camera and step freely into the whirlwind of fun.

Where to Find Tilly Greene Links
Website - http://www.tillygreene.com
Hot Thoughts Blog - http://tillygreene.blogspot.com
ARe Café - http://www.arecafe.com/members/tilly/profile/
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/tilly.greene
Twitter - http://www.twitter.com/tillygreene
Pinterest - http://pinterest.com/tilly_greene/

Buy Links for eBooks Mentioned Above
Missing in Paradise

Konnichiwa Cowboy

Highland Heat

Hephaestus Lays Down the Law

Call Me Lucifer

Many thanks to Tilly for stopping by today!  Due to the epic amount of indie awesomeness that will be going on here at WBiT in December I'm putting author spotlights on hold until January, but fear not! They will resume as soon as the giveaways are over and 2012 has started.  It's going to be excellent, I kid you not.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Author Interview: Please Welcome Kersten Hamilton!

I may be up to my eyeballs in work trying to keep my classroom boat afloat before the Thanksgiving holiday, but I'm pleased to welcome Kersten Hamilton back to the blog! Kersten is the author of Tyger Tyger and In The Forests of the Night, which I'll be reviewing here ASAP and am really excited about.  Take it away Ms. Kersten! 

1. How did writing the second book in the series differ from writing the first?
It was very, very difficult. Second books in trilogies are always tricky. They are essentially the middle of a story arc—and no one reads a story to get to the middle. So, I had to make In the Forests of the Night bigger. Wilder. I needed to be faithful to the characters people loved so much in Tyger Tyger. I had to make the stakes for Teagan and Finn much, much higher. And I had a deadline. But that all comes with the territory—I knew it was coming and had planned for it.

What I couldn’t plan for was life. The very short version is: I wrote in the ICU watching over my new grandson. I wrote in hospice while my father died. I wrote through pain and worry as my niece, who is as dear to me as a daughter, was diagnosed with cancer, and my nephew who lives with me developed a tic (he has Tourette’s Syndrome) that caused a spinal lesion and almost paralyzed him. I cried and fought for my family and my career, and…I wrote. I wrote through it all, wrote to prove to myself and the universe that I am a writer.

If it hadn’t been for readers who’d loved Tyger Tyger (and didn’t even know what was going on in my life) writing to encourage me, I don’t think I would have made it. If it hadn’t been for my daughter and husband reading over my shoulder and cheering me on, I know I would not.

But I did. And I love In the Forests of the Night!



2. How would you describe this series to folks who are newcomers to it?


I am not only really, really bad at describing my own books—I never can get those one sentence pitches right—I am still a little emotional about this one. So I am going to cheat. I’m going to let my readers describe the series for me, and I’m only going to blush a little because I fought hard to make these books for my readers and I’m thrilled that they love them!


Tyger Tyger:


“…a fast-paced adventure with a backbone of Celtic myth and heart of romance.” Pat Esden


“One of my favorite things about your book is Teagan and Finn and their relationship. Teagan is smart and brave and doesn’t do dumb things that make you want to pull your hair out. Meanwhile Finn is absolutely sexy and cocky and sexy and brave and sexy… They’ve got great chemistry.” Ello, The Inkpot


“I loved the characters, the dialogs that had that witty and quirky feeling I adore, the world-building…. I loved it because it was so utterly different from other YA fantasy novels. It was all at once touching, hilarious, action-packed and fast-paced.” Roxanne, The Honeyed Knot


In The Forests of the Night:


“Every character in the novel (and there are many characters) is distinct and well created and let me tell you, in a book with many characters, this is a feat worthy of genius. And they all come together with their distinct personalities to create enervating chaos. A chaos that will have you giggling at times and thinking at others. The atmosphere, the camaraderie is beautifully done.” Nafiza, Bibliophilic Monologues


(Okay, that did make me blush. But after fighting so hard to make this book right, it made me really happy, too, so I wanted to share it.)



“I believe Kersten Hamilton is filling a void left by Diana Wynne Jones--with her own unique voice and point of view, of course. Many of the things I love about DWJ's books I find here: a large cast of characters, a sense of mutual love and affection among the characters, an unexpectedness of plot, joyful and surprising magic, and a sense of barely controlled chaos which makes her books such a fun rollercoaster to read. If you haven't read Tyger Tyger yet, move it to the top of your to-read pile so you'll be ready for book 2 when it comes out.” Amanda Coppedge, young adult author



(That one brings up a very good point—like the Lord of the Rings, the Goblin Wars books are one story in three parts. You really need to read book one to understand book two.)


3. Any teasers for where the series will go from here?


Only this: Teagan and Finn are going to need all the courage they can muster to get through. This is an Irish story, after all!


4. What other projects are coming up for you?


I’m currently putting the finishing touches on the fantastic finale of the Goblin Wars! I also just sold a MG—I liked the notice from Publishers Market:


TYGER TYGER and RED TRUCK author Kersten Hamilton's steampunk chapter book THE MESMER MENACE, set on the eve of the Great Mesmer War of 1901, featuring a boy inventor, President Teddy Roosevelt, evil hypnotists, robots, a lightning harvester, and a dashingly brave and loyal dachshund named Noodles, to Lynne Polvino at Clarion, by Erin Murphy of Erin Murphy Literary Agency (World English)


My November project will be finishing a “Holes”–esque older MG dealing with suicide, Catholicism, immigration issues plus one undead school administrator.


And then, I have a TOP SECRET YA project in the works…


Thank you for having me on your blog, Emily!
*****


Many thanks to Kersten for her insightful answers.  Here's hoping everyone has a safe and happy holiday tomorrow!

Friday, November 18, 2011

AAD Author Spotlight: Kristen Painter


It's Friday, which means another AAD author is here to tackle the Five Question Quiz! Please join me in welcoming Kristen Painter to WBiT!

The Five Question Quiz

1. Introduce yourself, Twitter style! Describe yourself or your books in 140 characters or less.

A vampire courtesan gets tapped for the murder of her patron and runs into the arms of another vampire who might just kill her. Or help her.

2. Tell us a little bit about your latest release, or your upcoming projects if you'd prefer.

See the answer above. ;o) That pretty much describes Blood Rights!

3. What books (your own or others) do you recommend most often?

For romantic suspense, Roxanne St. Claire. For fabulous, sexy contemporaries, Louisa Edwards. For naughty romances, Elle St. James.

4. What part of Authors After Dark 2012 are you looking forward to the most?

Besides being in New Orleans, mostly just hanging out with readers! That's the best part really.

5. If you've been to AAD before, do you have any advice for first time attendees?

Do as much as you can, but not so much that you wear yourself out. Have fun and don't be afraid to approach your favorite authors. They want to talk to you!

For more good stuff, follow Kristen on Twitter (@Kristen_Painter) or on Facebook.

Check out the synopsis of Blood Rights:
The lacy gold mapped her entire body. A finely-wrought filigree of stars, vines, flowers, butterflies, ancient symbols and words ran from her feet, up her legs, over her narrow waist, spanned her chest and finished down her arms to the tips of her fingers.

Born into a life of secrets and service, Chrysabelle’s body bears the telltale marks of a comarré—a special race of humans bred to feed vampire nobility. When her patron is murdered, she becomes the prime suspect, which sends her running into the mortal world…and into the arms of Malkolm, an outcast vampire cursed to kill every being from whom he drinks.

Now Chrysabelle and Malkolm must work together to stop a plot to merge the mortal and supernatural worlds. If they fail, a chaos unlike anything anyone has ever seen will threaten to reign.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Gratitude Giveaway Hop- Open Internationally!


Welcome to everyone stopping by as a part of Gratitude Giveaways!  The purpose of this hop is to say thanks to all those awesome people who make blogging as fun as it is- the followers!  To that end, I have two excellent prize packs up for grabs this time around, and both will ship internationally!

Prize Pack #1

I really enjoyed Pumpkin Roll by Josi S. Kilpack, and here's your chance to enjoy it as well with this SIGNED copy!

Prize Pack #2:

These two books introduced me to a new detective and a new author, and I enjoyed this as well.  These are print copies.

How to Enter:
Fill out the Google form!  I ask for your address exclusively for the purpose of shipping your prize, and the form will be deleted once the prizes have been shipped.  This way there are no emails to answer, just prizes to collect! 

Thanks again for all of your support for this blog and for books and reading.  You guys are the best!


Be sure to check out the rest of the giveaways on the hop- lots of chances to win great prizes!

Review: Beauty Dates the Beast

Title: Beauty Dates the Beast
Author: Jessica Sims
Page Count: 384 pages
Publisher: Pocket Books
Genre: paranormal romance, first in a series
Copy for review was purchased by me

Synopsis:
WANTED

Single human female to join charming, wealthy, single male were-cougar for a night of romantic fun—and maybe more.

Me: The tall, sensuous, open-minded leader of my clan.

You: A deliciously curvy virgin who’s intimately familiar with what goes bump in the night. Must not be afraid of a little tail. Prefer a woman who’s open to exploring her animal nature. Interest in nighttime walks through the woods a plus.

My turn-ons include protecting you from the worst the supernatural world has to offer. Ready for an adventure? Give me a call.

Vampires and doppelgangers need not apply.
*****

This book appeared on my radar after lots of glowing reviews from other bloggers, and I decided to get in on the fun myself.  This was definitely a fun book, on the lighter side of the paranormal romance spectrum (still a spicy read though!)  The characters were fun and engaging, and while the book wasn't without its flaws, I'm totally on board for book two when it comes out next year.

Our intrepid heroine is Bathsheba Ward, whose life revolves primarily around two things- her job at Midnight Liaisons, a dating agency that caters to an exclusively supernatural clientele, and protecting her younger sister Sara from discovery, as Sara was turned into a werewolf by a douche of an ex-boyfriend and would definitely be assumed into one of the werewolf packs if her existence was ever discovered.

These two projects mean that she doesn't really have much of a love life, or any life to speak of, until Beau Russell, leader of the local werecougar clan, walks into the office after a scheduling snafu leaves him high and dry for a date.  Beau likes what he sees in Bathsheba and immediately volunteers her for the job of stand-in date.  This kind of an arrangement is a big no no but when no other options present themselves, Bathsheba figures she'll go on the date, keep it on the down low, and everyone will leave happy at the end of the night and her boss will remain blissfully ignorant of the whole situation.

Suffice it to say, that doesn't happen; Beau decides that he's in this situation for the long haul and Bathsheba is falling hard for him right back.  Add in the constant fear of someone discovering Sara's true nature and the creepy nonsense that's injecting itself into their lives from other sources and there are bad guys on all sides just waiting to be discovered.

I really enjoyed the humor in this book as well as Bathsheba's down to earth personality.  She's a loyal, honest, and true person who protects those who are most dear to her, and it was really sweet when Beau decided he wanted to be one of those people and started courting her in earnest.  We get a brief introduction to other characters who are going to play more central roles in future books, and we also get a chance to see that all may not be as it seems with the werewolf packs (meaning they may not all be abusive, chauvinistic assholes.)  It's an avenue that I hope gets explored more fully in future books.

This is definitely a story where you have to buy into the circumstances of the plot; you have to be willing to accept that even though working in an office that's frequented exclusively by people who could discover her, Sara chooses to work there as opposed to in a bank or some other thoroughly non-supernatural environment.  You also have to be willing to accept that there wouldn't be an option of seeking out a non-psychotic werewolf pack to help guide Sara through the challenges of being newly turned and that somehow Bathsheba and Sara have been lucky so far and not been discovered.  I will say that reading the excerpt of the second book in this series sheds a lot of light on why approaching the werewolves for help wasn't an option, but I feel like that information would have been helpful to include in this installment as well.

Overall this was a fun opening to a new series and a great way to unwind after a long day.  Sara and Ramsey's book is next in the series, and I personally am super excited and will be reading it when it comes out next year.

Overall Grade:

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Please Welcome Derek Clendening + A Chance to Win a KINDLE FIRE!

Please join me in welcoming author Derek Clendening to the blog today! He's on tour promoting his work, and I'm thrilled to be hosting today's tour stop! Every comment on this post is an entry to win a KINDLE FIRE. What's not to like?

Take it away Derek!


Jo Godwin said “A truly great library contains something in it to offend
everyone.” I agree. But I feel the same way about fiction. Even the light-hearted
fiction we read for fun can stand to push a few boundaries. In fact, I relish that type of book as long as boundaries aren’t pushed just for shock value.

My young adult novel The Vampire Way pushes several boundaries. Would someone be offended? There’s always the possibility but I hope readers and their parents will see the method behind my madness. The novel deals with some serious issues for teens and does so in a fairly frank manner. I would like to think I trust a young reader’s intelligence in being able to handle those issues while
enjoying fiction.

What place does such a book have in a library? I hope it’s a fairly secure one. As a library professional by day, I believe in the freedom to read and that very few topics are off limits. And again, I draw the same parallel with fiction. Topics considered to be taboo by some should be open for exploration by curious and
inquisitive minds. That’s how I feel, at least.

As you can probably tell, the library has influenced my life significantly. Having lived in the same town my whole life, I have numerous childhood memories in the very library that has been my workplace since high school. To me, the library is a central place and should be significant for all members of a community. Good libraries strive to keep up with the curve and know how to
remain relevant in an increasingly electronic society.

In The Vampire Way, two central characters work as pages at the Fort Erie Public Library, just as I had as a teenager. The library influences them just as it did me. But it’s more than that. It can serve as an anchor for a smaller community and I hope that it helps to create a believable small town atmosphere in the novel.

As for boundary-pushing, I hope it’s okay to consider real life trials and tragedies such as death, teen alcoholism, teen suicide, teen pregnancy and eating disorders in young people. As a man influenced by his library, and who supports the freedom to read, I hope that the topics explored in The Vampire Way will enlighten young readers about the reality of these things in their lives.

Buy The Vampire Way
Check out Derek's blog

To enter to win a Kindle Fire, leave your name and e-mail address in the comment
form below. You can enter once per blog stop. Visit each blog stop to increase your odds of winning. If I crack the Kindle Top 100, I will give away another Kindle Fire. E-mail me for the tour newsletter including a full listing of tour stops at derek (dot) r (dot) clendening (at)gmail (dot) com.

Monday, November 14, 2011

WBiT Giveaway Winners!


Just a quick note to announce a couple of giveaway winners:

The winner of the romantic suspense trilogy by Brenda Novak is...KC1!

The winner of the signed copy of Monsters Don't Eat Broccoli is...J.R. Tomlin!

This adds to the pile of giveaway prizes I need to mail this week, and I need to get on that soon, because another awesome event is coming to WBiT:

Stay tuned!

Review: Adam

Title: Adam
Author: Jacquelyn Frank
Page Count: 354 pages
Publisher: Zebra
Genre: paranormal romance
Copy for review was purchased by me

Synopsis:
Hunted by magic, beset by evil, the Nightwalkers face their darkest hour yet. And when the unthinkable happens, only one legendary male has the power, the will, to save them: Adam. . .

For 400 Years He Was Lost To Her, But He Is Hers Tonight. . .
From their first tantalizing touch, Jasmine knows he is different. What other lover could unlock her tight control, flood vampire senses jaded by a lifetime of decadent self indulgence? Centuries ago, when he disappeared without a trace, she had given up hope of ever fulfilling the promise of incomparable passion. But here he is, against the very laws of nature, ready to bring down their most vicious enemy, ready to bring her blood to the boiling point. . .if she will only let him.

Pleasure rules the night.
*****

Jacquelyn Frank is one of my favorite authors, and one of my favorite things about her work is the diversity that's present- although all of her books have strong threads of romance running through them, some are fantasies, some are traditional paranormal romances, some are hard to categorize; this is an author that's not afraid to take risks with a story and to take things in an unexpected direction.

Doing those things with a well-established series that was originally believed to have ended (at least for the time being) takes a lot of guts, and many authors would not have been able to pull it off.  While this wasn't a grand slam for me, it was an enjoyable story and resolved many loose ends that were present at the end of the last book.

The opening of this book is grim, that's for sure.  There was a bit of a kerfuffle where parts of this book were leaked online without the required context and it made a lot of people feel all sad inside; that's the point of these sections of text, although I admit I was totally bummed out.  When you grow attached to a cast of characters, it's hard to fathom anything bad happening to them, you know? Likewise, it's hard to imagine characters that seem totally capable in every respect getting the crap kicked out of them by the bad guys with no relief in sight.

This depressing opening segment is necessary though, to introduce the role of Leah as the first Time Demon.  She's dealing with a horrible burden and decides that if she can't use her powers to change her world, there's no point in having them.  As a result, she decides to seek out and introduce into the game the one Demon who can defeat the super evil Ruth; Adam, her long lost uncle.

In order to bring a warrior that supposedly disappeared without a trace centuries ago onto the playing field in a modern day conflict, she'll have to start screwing around with time.  I'll be honest and say that the whole changing the past to affect the future thing was a little too Back to the Future for Me; I understand why that element was there in the story but I confess myself disappointed. This was one of those times when deus ex machina just didn't work for me I think.

Another side note, before we get to the main event- what's up with Seth (Gideon and Magdalegna's son, who is the first Space Demon?)  He actually gets a speaking role in this book, but we don't have any more information about what his powers might be or how they would manifest.  We get some adolescent angst but that's about it.  Could this be addressed in a future book perhaps? Only time will tell, but I'm hoping there's more to him as a character than just a stand in so that Leah has one friend in this book.

The main event is definitely the blossoming romance between Adam, the super warrior and older brother to Kane and Jacob, and Jasmine, the bored vampire who's also a strong warrior and master strategist in her own right.  I've read other reviews that said that this relationship felt a little too pat and came about almost too easily, and I agree with that assessment.  I'm not saying that there needed to be a ton of drama and self-searching and doubt and all that jazz but it felt like there were a lot of story elements present that had to be shoehorned into the narrative any way they would fit.

I feel like the tone of this review is making it sound like I didn't enjoy this book, and that's not the truth; reading about how the characters are doing now and how they ultimately defeat the bad guy (Ruth) was excellent, and I always support authors taking risks with the story instead of going for what one might normally expect, but I think this is a case of my expectations just being too high going into the story.  I'd been anticipating this book for a long time so when I got to sit down and read it, I was just expecting something different.  It absolutely will not deter me from reading more future titles from the author though.

Overall Grade:

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Review: Jam Don't Shake

Title: Jam Don't Shake
Author: Nicholas J. Carter
Page Count: 126 KB (Kindle format)
Publisher: Vagabondage Press
Copy for review provided by the author in anticipation of an honest review

Synopsis:
They seem so innocent: jars of jellies and jams. But the inhabitants of the town of Goodman know better.

An additive in Auntie Goodtimes Jams and Jellies turns good people into rioting murderers when their supply is cut off, the factory burned to the ground, and the National Guard closing in.

Doug is trying to survive in this post-Goodtimes world, sating his addiction with a carefully dosed tablespoon a day of jelly. And, when supplies get low, Doug, like others, finds that cravings can be quelled with the blood of fellow addicts.

Is it really murder when it’s a matter of survival?
*****

Soylent Green is made of people, soma makes it all okay, and Auntie Goodtimes jelly is bringing about the end of the world through condiment addiction.  This story is short but packs a punch, with a view into a world that has been turned upside down by that most innocent of sandwich ingredients.  

The story opens with carnage at the grocery store, as Goodtimes addicts fight their way through the grocery store to try to find jars of jelly to keep their addictions at bay. It's kind of like Mad Max goes grocery shopping, with blood and guts everywhere and fights to death breaking out in the jelly aisle, and I admit that I was immediately reminded of this song:




Yes, what would we do if there was no more food? Or rather, what would we do if we didn't care if there was food if there wasn't any JELLY?  Dystopian and post-apocalyptic stories don't seem to lend themselves well to parody, but Jam Don't Shake does an admirable job of making such a thing possible.  The desperation and the fight for survival that characterize those genres are here in force, but the laughable reason that those things came about is what makes the story unique.  It's the kind of story that you have to roll around in your brain for a few minutes to get the full effect.  Addictive additives in jelly turning people into slavering zombies on the hunt for a fix? You get the idea.

Don't get me wrong- this story isn't all giggles and laughs.  There's a lot of violence and bloodshed, most of it senseless and graphic and in your face.  There are plenty of sobering moments where the characters realize that they are truly monsters, no better than beasts, and yet are powerless to do anything about it without outside intervention.  That intervention does come, in an unexpected way, and the characters who are left standing at the end of it have to figure out for themselves if they can learn to adapt to a new world and new rules- again.

Like I said, for being so short, this story packs a punch.  It's a great example of story elements being brought together in new ways, and it asks a lot of questions that are funny at first and not so funny as the story goes on.  I recommend checking this book out (only if you're not squeamish though) to experience the chutzpah for yourself.

Overall Grade:

Friday, November 11, 2011

Happy Veterans' Day and Score a TON of Free Books with Tour de Troops!

Felicia at The Geeky Blogger's Book Blog gave me the heads up on this awesome event!

From today through November 14th you have the chance to participate in an awesome blog hop where you not only grab a free book at each stop, but every comment you leave means that a copy of the book will be donated to troops serving overseas as well!  There are lots of different genres represented so there's something for everyone!  The list will change every day so make sure to stop by each day to grab yourself some new books. I love me some indie books so this is an awesome opportunity as far as I'm concerned. Start at the Tour de Troops blog and let the fun begin!

AAD Author Spotlight: Stacey Kennedy


Today's featured author is Stacey Kennedy, author of Supernaturally Kissed and Werewolves be Damned! She's here to tackle the Five Question Quiz and to spill the beans on her books:



1. Introduce yourself, Twitter style! Describe yourself or your books in 140 characters or less.

My novels are lighthearted fantasy with heart squeezing, thigh-clenching romance, and even give a good chuckle every now and again.

2. Tell us a little bit about your latest release, or your upcoming projects if you'd prefer.

I’ve got two new releases coming out soon that I’m really excited about. The first is SUPERNATURALLY KISSED, releasing with Ellora’s Cave.
Tess Jennings has the ability to see and talk to spirits. On a daily basis, they harass and annoy her to save their souls. Sometimes she helps, other times she ignores them, but one ghost will give her no choice. Kipp McGowan, a cop with the Memphis Police Department, uses his ghostly charms to gain her attention and forces her to expose herself to his partner.

As she’s pulled into the five year old cold case of Hannah Reid she wants no part of, she finds herself in more than one precarious situation. But that’s the least of her worries―Tess begins to have a serious problem on her hands. Kipp might be dead, but he’s drop-dead gorgeous and she’s beginning to forget that he’s a ghost.

Murder and corruption has brought Tess and Kipp together. But as her feelings for Kipp deepen, she suspects she just signed herself up for a one-way ticket to the nut house, and can only hope, straitjackets come in a size four.

The next is WEREWOLVES BE DAMNED, releasing with Entangled Publishing.

In Carson City, Nevada, a werewolf attack awakens Nexi Jones to the existence of the Otherworld. She must reconcile this hard truth, and her heritage as guardian/witch, while she trains to join the Council’s Guard. But the combat training is only half of her worries. Her biggest concern is keeping her cool around her mentor, the luscious guardian, Kyden.

Before long, the werewolf attacks are escalating, Nexi’s personal life is in chaos, and someone from her past has returned to stake his claim. Soon, she’s dodging werewolf bites and avoiding the vampire who’s issued a bull’s eye on her back. She’ll have one chance to save the worlds, the ones she loves…and herself.

Both books are urban fantasy romances that are the first books in the series. I’m more than excited for release days…and am counting down the days!

3. What books (your own or others) do you recommend most often?

I don’t think there is enough space here for me to list my all my recommendations. But I’ll stick to my three favorite series, that if you haven’t read, you need to check out…NOW.


Katie MacAlister’s Dragon series, Jeaniene Frost’s Night Huntress series, and Keri Arthur’s Riley Jenson Guardian series.


I’ve loved every book in these series, and if you like hunky men, adventure, humor, and strong heroines, then you need to read these books!

4. What part of Authors After Dark 2012 are you looking forward to the most?

I’m so thrilled to be attending Authors After Dark to be able to meet everyone I’ve gotten to know on Facebook and Twitter. In addition, this will likely be my first ever book signing, so I’m excited to sit down with readers and talk books!

5. If you've been to AAD before, do you have any advice for first time attendees?

I’ve never been to AAD before, or any conference for that matter, so all I can say is…let’s make this first experience a great one!

~*~

Stacey Kennedy’s novels are lighthearted fantasy with heart squeezing, thigh-clenching romance, and even give a good chuckle every now and again. But within the stories you’ll find fast paced action, life threatening moments and a big bad villain that needs to be destroyed. Her urban fantasy/paranormal and erotic romance series have hit Amazon Kindle and All Romance Ebooks Bestseller lists. If she isn’t plugging away at her next novel, tending to her two little ones, she’s got her nose deep in a good book. She lives in Ontario, Canada with her husband.

Be sure to drop her a line at www.staceykennedy.com, she loves to hear from her readers.

Many thanks to Stacey for stopping by today, and don't forget to check out both books for yourself- Supernaturally Kissed and Werewolves be Damned!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Author Guest Post: Please Welcome Jon Hartless

Today on the blog I'm happy to welcome Jon Hartless, author of Jack the Theorist! He's here with some book recommendations that will get your brain working. Say hi everyone!


I’m fascinated by the Victorian period. In some ways it is as alien and different from our time as the ancient Aztecs, yet its influence is still felt on us today. It is therefore no surprise that some of my favourite writers should have sprung from the nineteenth century, so here, in no particular order, are some of my preferred authors and books.


Firstly, for pure fun, there is the Sherlock Holmes canon, and in particular The Hound of the Baskervilles. The windswept, desolate moor, the spectral curse that haunts a family, Watson at the scene reporting back to Holmes who sifts the essential from the romantic to arrive at the truth... It’s a great read, evocative, atmospheric, conjuring a world of adventure and romance which probably never existed. But we can suspend disbelief, jump into a four wheeler, and be carried away by the story and characters. Perfect reading when the wind is howling and the rain lashing against the window on a dark night.

Moving backward in time, we have Charles Dickens. Dickens is an odd author in that I either love his work or loathe it. In the latter category you’ll find Little Dorrit, Martin Chuzzlewit, David Copperfield, and The Old Curiosity Shop. In the former category are Hard Times, A Tale of Two Cities, (often referred to as the least Dickensian of all his works), Bleak House, and my favourite, Our Mutual Friend.


Why is OMF my favourite? It is no more powerful than Bleak House, no more evocative than Hard Times, no more moving than any other of his works. The usual criticisms can be made against the book concerning Dickens’ views on women, or how realistic his characters are. So, why favour this novel?
For me, the reason is psychological. The key symbols of OMF are water (mostly shown as the filthy river), and the ‘dust’, meaning the refuse collected and stored by dustmen. What these symbols seem to represent in Dickens’ last completed work is a bleak, existential despair about humanity. We come from the dust and water which, taken together, seems to be the primordial soup of creation, and we can only rise so far from our base beginnings. 


I’m going to cheat with my next recommendation and have an author instead of a novel. Or, at least, I’m going to have one facet of an author. EF Benson wrote around one hundred books, ranging from family drama to biographies, but today he is remembered for his horror stories, (found in many a modern anthology), and his Mapp and Lucia series, in which he mercilessly pilloried the snobbery and pretensions of the upper middle classes.

Although the Mapp and Lucia series is excellent, I want to draw attention to another work in the same vein, Secret Lives. In this, a set of characters who have no real purpose in life except to fill their days with the latest fads, gossip, and neighbourly warfare, are depicted with a scalpel wit. All the trademark Benson elements are present; the hypocrisy, the snobbery, the long empty days that have to be filled, yet his exposing of his characters’ frailties is always done with humour and believability – especially as nothing ever really changes by the end of the book.

Finally on Benson, his observations on the Victorian period in As We Were and As We Are are a treat for those who enjoy fine prose, mordant wit, and an observing eye which moves from rose-tinted nostalgia to sharp social commentary and back again. It’s a peek into a world now gone, in which stately aristocratic ladies hold a variety of social events, whirl through London society, and elegantly avoid anything that could be considered coarse, from social climbers to evidence of their husbands’ infidelity.


My last choice is Bram Stoker’s Dracula, the most famous vampire novel of them all. The book itself isn’t that good; after a strong opening it tails off badly when the action moves to London, especially as the heroes spend an inordinate amount of time chasing Dracula around the city, though the pace eventually picks up again for the conclusion.

What is of real interest is how much the novel reveals about the fears of the author and his times. Dracula is an immigrant, an immoral, sexual, financial predator, invading the West to leech off weak-willed degenerates, wicked women, and the capitalist system, thus reducing Britain’s moral, financial, and political stock.

Depressingly, these themes are still the obsessions of the British press today. The racism, insularity and sexism of Stoker’s time is alive and well, and like Dracula himself, seems to be invulnerable to any attack of rationality.

Those, then, are my recommendations for a good, or at least an interesting, read. I could have mentioned Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray, or John Polidori’s The Vampyre, which kick started the literary vampire, but space is against me. So I’ll finish by hoping that you enjoyed the article, and in wishing you all happy reading.

Jon Hartless 


For more information on Jack the Theorist, check out my review. A big thanks to Jon for stopping by the blog today!
 
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