Saturday, March 30, 2013

0 F.R.E.E. Book Alert!




‘The Venus Club’ and ‘Song of The Moth’ (2 Fairy Tales of horror) are available FREE on Amazon over the Easter weekend FRIDAY - MONDAY


Also Available on all International Amazon platforms.

Winner of the indie horror spring 2011 award, ‘The Venus Club’ is a dark little tale about revenge. When Eleanor flees the horrors of her upbringing in a violent and brutal abattoir based in the London The Rookeries, she is saved by a mysterious woman, Kate, who offers her riches beyond her wildest dreams; all Kate’s establishment caters to almost every possible taste, including the bizarre and the weird, but nothing tastes quite as sweet as revenge.

‘The Song of the Moth’, set in Edwardian London is a twisted tale of obsession and desire. A traditional style fairy tale is given the high gothic treatment. With Nemo’s mother incarcerated in London’s infamous ‘Bethlam Hospital’, the strange young boy is raised amongst the squalor of the poorhouse until he ‘accidently’ bumps into the wealthy gentleman Edward Smithe-Williams. Edward offers Nemo a new life in return for one small favor. Little does Nemo know that Edward’s kindness is a thin veneer that hides his true nature as Prince of a realm that only exists in the imaginations of the insane.

As an extra bonus, the first four chapters of Katie’s novel ‘Beautiful Freaks’ are also included. The short story ‘The Venus Club’ was the genesis for ‘Beautiful Freaks’ after several readers wrote to Katie to ask her to turn the darkly, decadent world of Victorian London into a full length novel. ‘Beautiful Freaks’ explores the dark and destructive relationship between Evangeline Valentine (Owner of No.7, a Gentleman’s club and home to The Palace of Beautiful Freaks’) and Kaspian Blackthorne, an impressionable and doomed young man. Their love affair is set against the backdrop of the violent underworld of Soho and The Haymarket at the time of a series of terrible, paranormal murders. Weaving classic feminist fairy tales into a classic Holmes style detective story, ‘Beautiful Freaks’ is a delicious mash-up of genre, style and stories.

AUTHOR BIO

Katie lives in the London suburbs.  Her time is divided between writing, teaching English to teenagers and being mummy to two daughters. She started writing seriously after the birth of her first daughter five years ago. She has gone on to have four of her YA novels published and numerous short horror and fantasy stories published by several press houses, including Nexus Press and Winter Goose.

Her series ‘The Knight Trilogy’ is an Amazon.UK number one best selling Fairy Tale series and has been consistently in the top 100 of several categories.

In October 2012 she released her fourth novel, ‘Beautiful Freaks’,  a gothic paranormal detective novel set in Victorian London.

She is currently working on a seven book series called the ‘Meadowsweet Chronicles’, a series about witchcraft in a sleeping English village. Book One is due for publication in the summer of 2013. All of her books are available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Waterstones and WHSmith.

LINKS
Follow Kate on Twitter @KnightTrilogy







Friday, March 29, 2013

0 Review: Resolution by Brian Libby

Title: Resolution
Author: Brian Libby
Publisher: Avid Readers Publishing Group
Published: December 6, 2010
Paperback, 542 pages

ISBN13: 9781935105817
Genre: Fantasy
Source: Author





Goodreads Summary:
The third volume in the Mercenaries seriesThe storm arrives: the Calamian Islands are invaded by powerful forces of an alien civilization abetted by suborned mercenaries. The Pelicans Mercenary Regiment, part of the outnumbered troops available to resist the onslaught, must try to stem the tide until the New Empire can intervene-if, indeed, the Empire itself is not overrun.

My thoughts:
Resolution is the third book in the Mercenaries series and picks up right around the time that Gold and Glory left off. The Saris have invaded the Calamian Islands and the Pelicans have joined the forces opposing them. The main cast of characters are back. Although in this installment you really get to know many of the commanders from the other regiments. I really like the character of Andiriel/Anashla, while she grows in her abilities and confidence as leader of the Pelicans; she never wavers in her convictions. There is action, kindness, ruthlessness, and spirit in this book. There is great detail in the descriptions of the battles, but it flows in a way that it is a natural part of the story. It doesn’t read like a textbook battle, it is a great storyteller presenting it to you. I have completely fallen in love with this series. I really liked the first book Storm Approaching, then Gold and Glory was even better, now the final installment is by far the best of the lot. Libby’s character development, world building, and storytelling are excellent. I have become a big fan of his work and cannot wait to read more from this outstanding author.


My rating:

Other books in this series:
Storm Approaching (1)
Gold and Glory (2)



Thursday, March 28, 2013

0 Q&A with Kenechi Udogu


1. Please tell our readers about Aversion.
Aversion is a paranormal story about a girl, Gemma Green, who has the power to push thoughts into the minds of her assignees to stop them from carrying out acts that will affect their futures. She is not alone in her vocation as an Averter but she is unique because she is the only female Averter she knows of. Unfortunately Gemma runs into trouble after carrying out her first Aversion and she has to make some big decisions that will affect both her life and that of her first assignee, Russ Tanner, her school’s tennis champ. Aversion is not intended as a simple romance story; it is one of discovery, change and acceptance for the two main characters.
 
2. Why did you choose the fantasy/paranormal genre to write in?
I was a huge fairytale and epic fantasy tale fan in my childhood and I pretty much fell in love with any story that had some form of well-developed mysticism to it. As I grew older and started to expand my writing field, leaning towards magical beings and objects was a no brainer.
 
3. If you could have any paranormal power, what would you choose?
Easy. Time manipulation. I’m obsessed with time and never think I have enough time to do the things I want to so it would be great to be able to slow down time to suit my needs. I’d especially love to be able to catch that elusive train/bus that I watch take off just as I arrive at the platform/bus stop. Or add another hour of sleep to my week day morning. Bliss!
 
4. Do you ever wish you had the ability to change someone's life?
I can be a bit of a klutz so I’m sure I’d mess up something that important. I really don’t envy Gemma’s responsibilities. The pressure would drive me insane.
 
5. How many books do you have planned for this series?
At the moment I’m thinking the series will have no less than four books to complete the story but, I’m hoping that as the story unfolds, the characters and their journey will dictate the length of the series.
 
6. What's the best compliment that you've received?
My favourite compliment by far is one I received for The Other Slipper. A reader said he thought my retelling was more interesting than the original Cinderella story. After reading that, I couldn’t stop smiling for days.
 
7. You've written several books. Which book was the most challenging? Why?
The Other Slipper was probably the most difficult story to get through because I changed the story from how it was originally intended to pan out. Then I spent a long time worrying about how to end it. I was pleased with the end result though so it was worth it.
 
8. What would your protagonist think about you?
She’d probably not pay much attention to me, unless she had to carry out an Aversion on me. Like Gemma, I find it easy to fade into the background when I want to.
 
9. What book do you recommend everyone should read?
I found the original Grimm fairytales fascinating as they were quite different from most of the modern interpretations we’ve become accustomed to in the last few decades. I’d recommend everyone reads at least one or two of the original stories to get a sense of the intended message they were meant to convey.  
 
10. How do you take your coffee/tea?
A dash of milk and one teaspoon of sugar = a perfect cup of tea.

Connect with Kenechi Udogu here:

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

0 New Suspense/Thrillers you should check out + a give@way


New Suspense/Thrillers you should add to your TBR
978-0-307-88878-5THE DOLL: A Vanessa Michael Munroe Novel
by Taylor Stevens
Hardcover | On Sale June 4, 2013
Born to missionary parents in lawless Africa, taken under the tutelage of gunrunners, and tortured by one of the jungle’s most brutal men, Vanessa Michael Munroe was forced to do whatever it took to stay alive and has built a reputation on doing whatever it takes to get the job done.
On a busy Dallas street, Munroe is kidnapped by an unseen opponent and thrust into an underground world where women and girls are merchandise and a shadowy figure known as The Doll Maker controls her every move. While trusted friends race to unravel where she is and why she was taken, everything pivots on one simple choice: Munroe must use her unique set of skills to deliver a high-profile young woman into the same nightmare that she once endured, or condemn to torture and certain death the one person she loves above all else.
Driven by the violence that has made her what she is, cut off from help, and with attempts to escape predicted and prevented, Munroe will hunt for openings, for solutions, and a way to strike back at a man who holds all the cards. Because only one thing is certain: she cannot save everyone.
In this high-octane thriller for fans of Lee Child, Stieg Larsson, and Robert Ludlum's Bourne trilogy, Vanessa Michael Munroe will have to fight fast, smart and furiously to overcome a dangerous nemesis and deliver her trademark brand of justice.
“A heroine every bit as provocative as Stieg Larsson’s Lisbeth Salander.” –The Dallas Morning News

978-0-307-98576-7A STUDY IN REVENGE
by Kieran Shields
Hardcover | On Sale January 8, 2013
In 1893, a trail of ashen footprints leads Deputy Archie Lean to the body of a murdered thief. The man’s exposed flesh has been horribly burned and occult symbols mark the nearby walls. Most troubling of all is what Lean witnessed two days earlier: this same man being lowered into his grave without a burn mark on him.  Once again, the Portland, Maine, police deputy must turn to the brilliant criminalist Perceval Grey for help.
Grey, a half-Abenaki Indian detective,  faces problems of  his own after agreeing to an elderly tycoon’s death-bed plea to find his long-lost granddaughter. The dying man’s family is less interested in the missing heiress than with the recent theft of an obscure heirloom carved with curious symbols. As the family’s shadowy history is revealed, the three mysteries intersect to draw Lean and Grey into a maze of murder, deceit, and revenge. Each deadly new clue points toward an even greater puzzle—one that will pit Grey against a devious murderer in a race to unlock an ancient and mysterious power.
"A compelling story that will take readers from the dreary streets of Portland to the upscale parlors of Brahmin Boston. A fine historical mystery." - Booklist

978-0-307-72029-0THE TRUTH OF ALL THINGS
Also by Kieran Shields
Paperback | On Sale February 5, 2013
When Deputy Marshal Archie Lean is called in to investigate a prostitute's murder in Portland, Maine, he's surprised to find the body laid out like a pentagram and pinned to the earth with a pitchfork.  He's even more surprised to learn that this death by "sticking" is a traditional method of killing a witch.
     Baffled by the ritualized murder scene, Lean secretly enlists the help of historian Helen Prescott and brilliant criminalist Perceval Grey. Although skeptical of one another's methods, together the detectives pursue the killer's trail through postmortems and opium dens, into the spiritualist societies and lunatic asylums of gothic New England. Before the killer closes in on his final victim, they must decipher the secret pattern to these murders--a pattern hidden within the dark history of the Salem witch trials.
“This is a book that will appeal to readers who relish the intricacies of a Sherlockian plot….Strong characters and convincing historical detail make the novel work.” --Hallie Ephron, Boston Globe

978-0-307-40665-1THE BEDLAM DETECTIVE
by Stephen Gallagher
Paperback | On Sale February 5, 2013
From a basement office in London’s notorious Bethlehem Hospital, former policeman and Pinkerton agent Sebastian Becker is sent to interview Sir Owain Lancaster at his country estate. They wealthy industrialist returned alone from a disastrous scientific adventure in the Amazon, claiming that wild beasts killed his family and colleagues. He tells Becker that the same dark creatures have followed him home and are responsible for the deaths of two local girls and rumors of beasts on the moor. But while madmen may see monsters, some monsters hide in plain sight.

As a bonus, you can download a free e-copy of Stephen Gallagher’s novella In Gethsemane here.

"A thriller, but with a literary depth unusual in the genre, and fascinating in the complexity of its construct. Gallagher’s prose is swift, sure, and occasionally darkly comedic…Three words of advice: read this book.” Historical Novel Society, Editors' Choice


Thanks to Crown and Broadway, One of my lucky readers will get to pick one of the books listed above for their very own. This giveaway is open to US residents only. You must be at least 13 years old to enter. 
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4 Review Finn Finnegan by Darby Karchut

Title: Finn Finnegan
Author: Darby Karchut
Publisher: Spencer Hill Press
Published: March 12, 2013
Paperback, Arc, 200 pages
ISBN: 9781937053321
Genre: Young Adult, Fiction, Fantasy
Source: Publisher




Summary:
Finnegan MacCullen: a thirteen-year-old apprentice with the famous Irish temperament.
Gideon Lir: a legendary Celtic warrior with a bit of a temper of his own.
Secretly, these blue-collar warriors battle the hobgoblins infesting their suburban neighborhood...when they are not battling each other.
Finn (not bleedin' Finnegan) MacCullen is eager to begin his apprenticeship. He soon discovers the ups and downs of hunting monsters in a suburban neighborhood under the demanding tutelage of the Knight, Gideon Lir. Both master and apprentice are descendents of the Tuatha De Danaan, a magical race of warriors from Ireland. Scattered long ago to the four corners of the world, the De Danaan wage a two thousand year old clandestine battle with their ancient enemy, the Amandán, a breed of goblin-like creatures.

My thoughts:
I'm a huge fan of Darby Karchut's Griffin series. so I jumped at the chance to read Finn Finnegan. Karchut did not disappoint with this new series. Once again she pulls you in with action and adventure as well as gives her characters strength and depth. 
Finn Finnegan is the first book in The Adventures of Finn MacCullen. In this book we meet Finn and Gideon. Finn is training to be a knight and is an apprentice to Gideon to fight goblins. They are a secret, ancient order who have vowed to protect the world from those fearful beings.The order is searching for an ancient weapon that could help the knights defeat the goblins.
One of the things I love most about Karchut's book is the relationship between the characters. She always manages to write characters that make you want them to succeed. The way the characters interact with each other is often hilarious as well as heartwarming. And speaking of characters, two of my favorite characters from her previous series make a guest appearance in this book. 
So why should you read this book? If you're into action and adventure, love sword-wielding, magical warriors that kick goblin booty, and a bit of mystery thrown in, then Finn Finnegan is the book to read.
*Parental note: this book contains violence associated with battles, along with the death of a character. The language is clean. I think it would be suitable for kids ages  10 and up.





My rating:

Other books by Darby Karchut:
Griffin Rising
Griffin's Fire
Griffin's Storm


Tuesday, March 26, 2013

0 Review: The Real Jane Austen: A Life of Small Things by Paula Byrne

Title: The Real Jane Austen: A Life of Small Things
Author: Paula Byrne
Publisher: Harper
Published: January 1, 2013
Ebook, ARC
ISBN 13: 9780062199065
Genre: Nonfiction
Source: Edelweiss




Amazon Summary:
The Real Jane Austen: A Life in Small Things offers a startlingly original look at the revered writer through a variety of key moments, scenes, and objects in her life and work. Going beyond previous traditional biographies which have traced Austen’s daily life from Steventon to Bath to Chawton to Winchester, Paula Byrne’s portrait—organized thematically and drawn from the most up-to-date scholarship and unexplored sources—explores the lives of Austen’s extended family, friends, and acquaintances. Through their absorbing stories, we view Austen on a much wider stage and discover unexpected aspects of her life and character. Byrne transports us to different worlds—the East Indies and revolutionary Paris—and different events—from a high society scandal to a petty case of shoplifting, She follows Austen on her extensive travels, setting her in contexts both global and English, urban and rural, political and historical, social and domestic—wider perspectives of vital and still under-estimated importance to her creative life.

My thoughts:
I don't think I'll ever tire of reading about Jane Austen. There's something about her that captivates me. I've read several biographies about Austen, but I couldn't stay away from this one. Byrne writes this book, not about the things most of her audience are familiar with, but on the things in her life that seemed to have the biggest impact on her that made her the author that we fell in love with. This book is very untextbook-like and really easy to read. Byrne goes over in great detail, but without boring her audience, the life of Jane Austen. The author opened my eyes to many aspects of her family life that transverses into her novels. How the influence of her favorite authors inspired her work. After I finished this book I wanted to go back and reread not only Austen's books but also read the authors that Austen adored. The Real Jane Austen has made me appreciate Austen on a whole new level.
My rating:


Monday, March 25, 2013

8 Hidden Under Her Heart Guest Post and Give@way by Rachelle Ayala



Why I wrote about Abortion and Rape
 by Rachelle Ayala

Hidden Under Her Heart is a very personal book. I didn’t originally intend to capture  the heart-wrenching and divisive issues of abortion and rape . I was inspired by Matt Patterson, author of My Emily, to come to terms with the death of my son Ross in 1995. I told him I was in awe of his ability to look back through the years and write a memoir about his daughter Emily, her birth, illness and death. He said I could do that too, someday. At the time, it was unfathomable. I could not view my son’s pictures without crying and didn’t think I could relive those days in the NICU.
My friend Melisa Hamling, author of Twenty Weeks, encouraged me to use Ross’s life in a positive way. I remember a scene at my kitchen table shortly after Ross died. My two friends, avid pro-lifers, were sitting around criticizing second trimester abortions. I was in a fog and refused to think about these things. But it dawned on me that Ross was born at 26 weeks and would have been no different than a baby who had been aborted. I pulled out his pictures and looked into the face of a “fetus”, as the medical community would call him, but I knew in my heart he was a baby—my baby.
The story dawned on me quite easily. My characters, Maryanne and Lucas, sprung to life naturally. She’s a compassionate nurse with a troubled past, and he’s a nice guy with a warped sense of humor. They hit it off well, but while writing the book, I decided to up the stakes and have her pregnant by rape. I had at some point considered her threatening the rapist that she’d expose him by keeping the baby, but that theory was shot down by prenatal testing, and even testing the DNA of the aborted fetus. I know, gross.
So the story took a turn where it focused on the worth of a child, an unwanted child, even the product of rape and incest. I included a subplot of children with Down Syndrome and those with special needs, who I believe God places on this earth to teach the rest of us how to love. I didn’t want the story to come off preachy and aimed for a neutral ground. Maryanne is pro-choice and believes abortion is a personal decision. Lucas is pro-life and unable to personalize the political rhetoric to a single woman and her life.
The interesting thing is that I never really truly examined my own beliefs on abortion. Most pro-lifers easily concede the rape and incest exception. It’s a great sound bite and seemingly solves the problem by brushing it under the carpet. I can never underestimate how difficult it would be for a woman to bear and give birth to a baby resulting from acts of violence or abuse. I know what it’s like to be pregnant and feel attached to your unborn child, but do not know how it feels to give a baby away.
It was not until after I wrote Hidden Under Her Heart that I met Rebecca Kiessling, a pro-life speaker conceived in rape, on Facebook. She’s the one with the smiling face and the disturbing message “Did I Deserve the Death Penalty?” Suddenly everything made sense. Behind all the rhetoric and positions, there’s one little person who has no say, no choice, and no protection. And I knew then that I had found the purpose for my book.
I hope it ministers to women considering abortion as well as those who’ve had them, but most of all, I hope it saves the lives of the little human being who God created to show us how to love in the most trying situations. The real heroine in my story is not Maryanne, but Emma Faith, the little girl who brought everyone together and gave them hope for the future.

Author Bio:

Rachelle Ayala is the author of dramatic fiction crossing genres and boundaries featuring strong but flawed characters. She writes emotionally challenging stories and is not afraid of controversial topics. However, she is an optimist and laces her stories with romance and hope.

Rachelle is currently working on a romantic suspense that touches on disability. She is a very happy woman and lives in California with her husband. She has three children and has taught violin and made mountain dulcimers.

Visit her at: Website: http://rachelleayala.me Blog: http://www.rachelleayala.com or follow @AyalaRachelle on Twitter.



Stalk the Author



Buy links for Hidden Under Her Heart




Book Blurb:
Maryanne Torres is a compassionate nurse who fails at relationships. After a string of losers, she swears off premarital sex, hoping to land a marrying type of man.

Lucas Knight, a law-school dropout, moves to California to train for the Ironman Triathlon. He's smart, sweet, and everything Maryanne wants in a man, but their relationship suffers from his dedication to the sport. Seeking consolation in the arms of a handsome preacher's son, Maryanne attends a church party where she is raped.

Maryanne is pregnant from the rape and plans to abort. But the identity of her rapist is hidden in her baby's DNA. Lucas asks Maryanne to seek alternatives and pledges to support her through the pregnancy. When Lucas becomes the prime suspect, Maryanne must clear his name and make a life changing decision.

The rapist has other ideas. In order to destroy the evidence, he offers Maryanne an illegal offshore abortion. With Maryanne's life in danger, Lucas races to save her and her baby. However, Maryanne hides a secret that threatens to tear them apart forever.
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Friday, March 22, 2013

2 Review: The Wonderful Wizard of OZ

Title: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
Author: L. Frank Baum
Illustrated by: Michael Sieben
Published: February 19, 2013
Published by: Harper Design
Hardback, 224 pages
Genre: middle grade, fantasy
Source: Publisher




Goodreads Summary:
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is the first book in the Land of Oz series although Baum did not originally intend for Oz to be a series. The story chronicles the adventures of Dorothy Gale in the Land of Oz, after being swept away from her Kansas farm home in a storm and deposited in a field in Munchkin Country. The falling house kills the evil ruler of the Munchkins, the Wicked Witch of the East. Lyman Frank Baum was an American author of children's books, best known for writing The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. He wrote thirteen novel sequels, nine other fantasy novels, and other works.

My thoughts:
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum is timeless. Even if you haven't read the book, you've probably watched the movie. I know I've watched more times than I can count. The book was first published in the early 1900's. Since then it's been re-printed numerous times as well as become a Broadway musical and a very popular film. I don't think I can really say anything new about this amazing book except if you haven't read it, you should. It's different (no spoilers) from the what you've seen on screen, and it's definitely worth it.
Instead I'd like to talk a little bit about this newest edition with art work by Michael Sieben. I absolutely love it. The book jacket really pulls you in. It's brightly colored with a bit of a cartoon feel that will appeal to all ages. Every chapter is filled with Sieben's artistic vision. It really makes the book come alive even more. I think this is one book that everyone should read. L. Frank Baum said it best, "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was written solely to please children of today. It aspires to being a modernized fairy tale, in which the wonderment and joy are retained and the heartaches and nightmares are left out."

My rating:


Thursday, March 21, 2013

0 Review: One Direction: A Year With One Direction

Title: One Direction: A Year With One Direction
Author: One Direction
Publisher: Harper Collins
Published: January 2, 2013
Paperback, 64 pages
ISBN: 978-0-06-222317-3
Genre: Non-Fiction
Source: Unsolicited from Publisher



Goodreads Summary:
One Direction are the biggest band on the planet. Celebrate their story with this official guide crammed full of exclusive interviews and never-seen-before photos.

My thoughts:
One Direction is very popular among the teen set these days. The band has been everywhere from concerts to award shows, from television appearances to magazine covers. One Direction: A Year With One Direction takes a look at their lives from their beginning on X-Factor to where they are today. This book includes interviews with each member, articles such as how they feel about their fans, and their personal style.
This book is something that every One Direction fan will want to own. It's full of fun facts, quizzes, and insight to this boy band. It also includes many pictures that girls will drool over. On a more serious side, One Direction talks about their friendships with each other and what's next for them. I don't think there's a topic that this book didn't cover. It gives you full access to the band. This is a great book for anyone who loves One Direction.
My thoughts:

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

2 Q&A with Viola Ryan


1. Describe The Mark of Abel in three words.
Lucifer - Redemption - Heart

2. Lucifer has a starring role in The Mark of Abel. What made you choose him?
He chose me. National Novel Writing Month 2007 started with a scene I wrote in 2003. A vampire bites the woman he loves in order to turn her, giving her the greatest gift he knows. She doesn’t understand, is abhorred, and rejects him. The original title was Rejection: A Vampire’s Tale. As things progressed, Lucifer decided he wanted to be the hero. The biggest rejection in all stories is Lucifer’s expulsion from heaven. As I thought about it, it made sense. Fallen angels are seen as demons and vampires are demons. According to math, if A=B and C=B than A=C. Making Lucifer a vampire made sense. I was surprised no one had done it before.

3. Why did you decide to give Janie the gift of painting?
I love art, but I can’t draw a straight line with a ruler. I initially made her a painter to differentiate her from me. That’s also why she is part oriental. To write her scenes, I took a painting class to understand the terminology. I ended up being pretty good at it. My paintings are at my site: http://www.violaryan.com

4. How did music help influence you while writing?
I use music to set a tone, for example Duran Duran for sexier scenes and Def Leppard for fight scenes. When I get in the zone, I need the music off.

5. What was the most interesting historical fact you came across while writing The Mark of Abel?
That’s tough. There were so many because of Janie’s past lives. I’d say the fact that inspired Janie’s initial death, the Second Dacian War in 107 CE. The Roman’s basically exterminated the Dacians (present day Romania) because Emperor Trajan wanted their gold. This victory is depicted on Trajan’s Column.

6. You're a huge fan of Urban Fantasy. Which author has influenced you the most?
Neil Gaiman hands down. When people tell me I write like him, I smile. There is a lot of American God’s in The Mark of Abel, but instead of Norse Gods, I use Judeo-Christian stories.

7. The Mark of Abel was born from NaNo. What was it like to participate in NaNo?
I love National Novel Writing Month. I  just wish it was at another time. November is too hectic. It really gets you writing and then writing becomes a habit. It’s hard to keep that up during December with the holidays. NaNo turned me into a writer. For Thanksgiving we went to my in-laws. I got the flu and had a 102 degree fever. I still drove myself to the library day after Thanksgiving to get some work done.

8. Who is your favorite supporting character in Buffy and Angel?
At first I thought, “That’s too hard,” but then I realized it’s not. There is a lot of Willow in me, but also Fred. Can I pick 2? I tend to go with smart, crazy characters.

9. Whom would you rather have dinner with: Mark Twain, Shakespeare, or Dr. Suess? Why?
Dinner with Mark Twain would be amazing. I’d love to hear him go on about the state of the world. Heck, I’d love to hear his take on The Mark of Abel. His Letters from Earth have greatly influenced The Mark of Abel.







Bio:
A very good friend of Viola Ryan in high school said, “You don’t think outside the box. You blow the thing up.” Sometimes boxes need exploding. That’s why she’s here. She has a whole bag of C4 and isn’t afraid to use it. She’s blessed with people who treasure her eccentricities or at least put up with them.

Sometimes the box can be a cozy place. Without some sort of stability, her two daughters’ and her life would be unmanageable. That stability comes from her husband. He’s the rock holding her family together.

On the flip side, his career is anything but stable. He’s a Chief Marine Safety Technician in the US Coast Guard. They’ve lived from Kittery, Maine to Yorktown, Virginia. Fortunately, the moves have all been on the east coast. Then again, the Coast Guard tends to guard the coast.

Her oldest daughter (16) was born on Cape Cod, not far from Plymouth. Massachusetts. Her youngest (12) was born in Yorktown, Virginia, down the road from Williamsburg. Viola jokes they’re doing the colonial America tour.
Social Media Links:

Website: http://www.violaryan.com
Blog: http://violaryanauthor.blogspot.com/
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/jeanie.ryan.9
pinterest: http://pinterest.com/violaryan/
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6922260.Viola_Ryan
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/author/violaryan

Current Release: The Mark of Abel, Book 1 of The Mark of Abel series
Release day: Ebook - December 21, 2012   Paperback - September 2013



Tuesday, March 19, 2013

0 Audio Book Review: Crash by Lisa McMann

Title: Crash: Visions, Book 1
Author: Lisa McMann
Narrated by: Allyson Ryan
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Audio
Published: January 8, 2013
Length: 5 hours 18 minutes
ISBN13: 9781442357587
Genre: Young Adult
Source: Publisher



Goodreads Summary:

Jules lives with her family above their restaurant, which means she smells like pizza most of the time and drives their double-meatball-shaped food truck to school. It’s not a recipe for popularity, but she can handle that.
What she can’t handle is the recurring vision that haunts her. Over and over, Jules sees a careening truck hit a building and explode...and nine body bags in the snow.

My thoughts:
I've enjoyed several books by Lisa McMann, so I was excited to read Crash. Though this story was good, it was not great. The story line is easy to follow but it failed to captivate me. The story centers around Jules. She's a normal teen in every way except she has visions of a crash that involves her families nemesis and the boy she's had a crush on for the longest time. She struggles with telling anybody less they think her crazy. However the more she tries to ignore the visions the more intense they become.
Jules is a good character. She has a difficult situation. Jules's relationship with Sawyer kinda reminded me of Romeo and Juliet minus the poison and dagger. Their families have a tumultuous history with each other that leaves you wondering what exactly happened. The whole story centers around Jules trying to figure out a way to save the people in her vision. There were times that the book was rather slow, but the last few chapters of the book were really excited and had me on the edge of my seat. In fact it was the last half of the book which saved it for me. Overall it I liked this book, but it wasn't my favorite by this author.
I listened to this on audio. It's read by Allyson Ryan who did a great job. I thought she found her inner Jules really well.
My rating:


Monday, March 18, 2013

0 Life, Liberty, and Virus Thirteen


Life, Liberty, and Virus Thirteen
by Joshua Alan Parry

Controlling medical costs in the United States, to put it kindly, is a work in progress. If I was a pessimist, I might liken our current situation to a runaway train dragging us all towards financial ruin, but I am more of a "cup-is-half-full-of-crippling-debt" kind of guy.
In my novel, Virus Thirteen, I delve into a universe where the United States’ medical system is vastly different than it is now, where ever-increasing medical costs and insurance premiums have left the majority of Americans without any health care at all. The U.S. government, saddled with the medical bills of the uninsured, is bankrupted. Subsequently, the greatest depression the country has ever known follows. From the ashes of this economic collapse, the Department of Homeland Healthcare is formed, an organization whose sole purpose is to provide medical care to all and, more importantly, to control its costs...by any means necessary.
A totalitarian health care system is born. The Department of Homeland Healthcare's answer to medical costs is simple: eliminate the causes of disease and you won’t have to pay for it. For instance, according to the CDC's website, between 2000 and 2004, cigarette smoking was responsible for $193 billion in annual health-related economic losses in the U.S. In 2008 alone, medical costs associated with obesity were estimated to be $147 billion dollars. Thus, obesity, smoking, and all other things detrimental to people's health have been made illegal in this fictional universe.
In the opening scenes of Virus Thirteen, libertarians everywhere will shudder with horror as Homeland Healthcare thugs arrest smokers with contraband tobacco and send the obese off to gulag-like health care "retreats" that would even make The Biggest Loser sadists blush. In this bleak future, Americans have been given the cure, but have forfeited the choice. The decision to be healthy, or not, is the question we must struggle with as individuals and as a society. Can we draw a line between the ultimate liberty of having the freedom to choose harmful lifestyles, even when the repercussions are so damaging to the country as a whole? If we are able to draw this line, will we then take a one massive step over it, suffering under an oppressive system like the characters of Virus Thirteen?

Click here to enter to win a copy of Virus Thirteen

0 Give@way: Virus Thirteen



Scientists James Logan and his wife, Linda, have their dream careers at the world’s leading biotech company, GeneFirm, Inc. But their happiness is interrupted by a devastating bioterrorist attack: a deadly superflu that quickly becomes a global pandemic. Linda’s research team is sent to underground labs to develop a vaccine, but security is soon breached and Linda is in danger. To save her, James must confront a desperate terrorist, armed government agents, and an invisible killer: Virus Thirteen.

Thanks to Tor, I have a copy of Virus Thirteen to giveaway to a lucky reader. This giveaway is open to US addresses only. You must be at least 13 years old to enter.


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Sunday, March 17, 2013

0 Manuscript Found of Accra

This April, Knopf will publish Manuscript Found In Accra, the new novel by internationally bestselling author Paulo Coelho. Set in the heart of Jerusalem on the eve of certain invasion in the year 1099, Manuscript Found In Accra continues Coelho's unmatched ability to reveal the essence of who we are, what we fear, and where our hope for the future comes from. To pre-order the book click here. If audio books is your thing, Manuscript Found in Accra is read  by Jeremy Irons. How great is that!



Friday, March 15, 2013

0 Jessica Shirvington Q&A and Give@way


1. Emblaze is the third novel in the Embrace series. How many books do you have planned for this series?
I think it is now safe to say there will be five books in the series. I was never sure and didn't want to over commit or restrict the story so I have been taking it one book at a time. But I do feel that book 5 will be the end. 


2. You have some great characters. Which character is your favorite and why?
I tell the story in Violet's point of view so I am most definitely closest to her. I feel all of her heartache and emotion so I am also most invested in her. That said, I don't know...it is like asking a parent to pick a favorite child. I love the three main characters - Violet, Lincoln and Phoenix the most. But it wouldn't be the same without Steph's logic, Spence's humor, Onyx's bite, or Griffin's morality. They all work together.


3. What is your favorite scene in the series so far?
There is a chapter in EMBLAZE written in Phoenix's point of view. I love that scene. I also love the final scene in Emblaze (but I will not be saying what it is!)


4. What do you do when you're not writing?
Spend time with my beautiful family - we are currently very addicted to skiing! And I read - it keeps me sane.


5. What are you working on next?
Book 4, ENDLESS, will be out in the US in October and we are just tying up the American edit. I also have my first stand alone novel coming out in Australia in May (release dates in the US coming soon!) called BETWEEN THE LIVES and I am extremely nervous and excited about that! Also, I am drafting the fifth book in the EMBRACE SERIES so things are pretty busy.

Thanks to Sourcebooks, I have one copy to giveaway of EMBLAZE. It's open to US/Canada addresses only. You must be 13 years old to enter.

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Thursday, March 14, 2013

0 Q&A with Susan Mallery


Q&A WITH SUSAN MALLERY, AUTHOR OF THREE SISTERS


With more than 25 million books sold worldwide, New York Times bestselling author Susan Mallery is known for creating characters who feel as real as the folks next door, and for putting them into emotional, often funny situations readers recognize from their own lives. Susan’s books have made Booklist’s Top 10 Romances list in four out of five consecutive years. RT Book Reviews says, “When it comes to heartfelt contemporary romance, Mallery is in a class by herself.” With her popular, ongoing Fool’s Gold series, Susan has reached new heights on the bestsellers lists and has won the hearts of countless new fans.

Susan grew up in southern California, moved so many times that her friends stopped writing her address in pen, and now has settled in Seattle with her husband and the most delightfully spoiled little dog who ever lived. Visit Susan online at www.SusanMallery.com and www.facebook.com/susanmallery.


1) You’ve lived in many places across the country—out of all the places you’ve lived, which has given you the most inspiration for your writing? How deeply does your location influence the setting of your books?
I grew up in California, and I’d say that is the state that has inspired my writing more than any other. My fictional town of Fool’s Gold is based on many of the lovely, small towns I’ve visited in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada on the California side but of course has taken on a life of its own.

That said, Seattle, my current hometown, has influenced my writing quite a bit. All that rain keeps me at my desk! And of course, Blackberry Island, the setting for Three Sisters, is near Seattle.


2) What inspired you to create a fictional island off the coast of Seattle for the setting of Three Sisters? How did you come up with such a detailed history about the island (as posted on your website)?
Seattle and the islands in the Puget Sound are breathtakingly beautiful, especially when the sun shines. When you’re out on the water, the sunlight sparkles in the waves, and each inhale feels cool and fresh and liberating. A weekend getaway inspired Blackberry Island, which is both an island and a town, dotted with wineries and quaint B&Bs. (Every getaway should include wine!)

The island has a very interesting history, inspired by real-life events in Seattle and the Puget Sound area. I created the website to enrich the experience of reading the books, as bonus content for my readers. In addition to the island history, there’s a map and lots of great blackberry recipes, including a recipe for Blackberry Chipotle Chicken Tacos that will change the way you look at the world. www.blackberryisland.com


3) Who or what in your past made you decide that you wanted to become a writer?
I majored in Accounting in college. For months, I had been intrigued by a flyer for a night school course called “How to Write a Romance Novel.” I was an avid romance fan, so that class sounded like a lot more fun than my Accounting Theory class. (Columns of numbers weren’t boring enough – now we had to talk about the theory behind them.) Although I was taking a full load of regular courses, I couldn’t resist signing up for the fun class, too. Within a couple of weeks, I knew this was what I wanted to do with my life. I was a good girl and finished getting my degree, but I never worked as an accountant.

4) How do you come up with such dynamic characters? Do you base the characters in your books, like Andi, Deanna and Boston, on people you know in your real life?
I think my characters feel real to readers because they feel so very real to me. Makes for some confusing dinner conversation. At times, when I’m ranting about something someone said that day, my husband has to clarify, “Is this person real?” (I bet that question doesn’t come up in most marriages!)

No, I don’t base characters on people I know in real life. Part of my job as a writer is to torture my characters, to put them into uncomfortable situations and then ask myself, “How can I make this worse?” I’m too nice a person to do that to people I really know!

Most of them, anyway.

5) What’s the last book that kept you up all night to finish reading?
Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins is a terrific young adult novel. I’m not normally into paranormal, but I gave this a shot because a friend recommended it. I loved it. The book has all the wonderful angst of growing up – the issues of trying to fit in, the cute crush, the awkwardness of making friends, along with the trauma of coming to terms with who we really are.

Check out http://blogtoureditors.booktrib.com/2013/02/28/blog-tour-three-sisters-by-susan-mallery/ to check out more stops on the tour.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

0 Review: Emblaze by Jessica Shirvington

Title: Emblaze (The Violet Eden Chapters #3)
Author: Jessica Shirvington
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Published: March 5, 2013
Ebook, ARC
ISBN-13: 9781402268465
Genre: Paranormal
Source: Publisher




Goodreads Summary:

Once again Violet Eden faces an impossible choice ... and the consequences are unimaginable.
Violet has come to terms with the fact that being part angel, part human, means her life will never be as it was.
Now Violet has something Phoenix - the exiled angel who betrayed her - will do anything for, and she has no intention of letting it fall into his hands. The only problem is that he has something she needs too.
Not afraid to raise the stakes, Phoenix seemingly holds all the power, always one step ahead. And when he puts the final pieces of the prophecy together, it doesn't take him long to realize exactly who he needs in order to open the gates of Hell.
With the help of surprising new allies, ancient prophecies are deciphered, a destination set and, after a shattering confrontation with her father, Violet leaves for the islands of Greece without knowing if she will have a home to return to...

My thoughts:
This is a series that I've come to really enjoy. Violet Eden is a force of nature that has a lot going against her. In the last book, she learned that having an intimate relationship with her partner, Lincoln, can have dire consequences. Violet struggles with her feelings toward Lincoln. I'm going to go out on a limb here and say, I wish they would just go their separate ways. I know he's the main love interest for Violet, but I just don't think they have great chemistry together. I really want Phoenix and Violet to get together. They have a love-hate thing going on, but it works. The best part of the books for me, is when they're together.
The story line is compelling too. Violet and the other Grigori are on a race against the clock to stop Phoenix from unleashing hell on earth. This book has some exciting twists and turns. Shirvington also introduces some new characters that add an interesting mix to the story. The ending was a major cliff hanger as well. I really can't wait to read the next book.

My rating:

Other books in this series:
Embrace
Entice
Emblaze



 

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