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Sunday, January 30, 2011

In My Mailbox (70)

Thanks to Kristi at The Story Siren for hosting In My Mailbox every week.


Darkness Dawns by Dianne Duvall ARC
Thanks to Abigail of All Things Urban Fantasy!
Taken by the Others by Jess Haines (signed!)
Thanks to Jess Haines!


The Iron Queen by Julie Kagawa
The Iron Witch by Karen Mahoney
A Brush of Darkness by Allison Pang
Bloodshot by Cherie Priest

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Red Riding Hood by Sarah Blakley-Cartwright

This was originally going to be a review of Red Riding Hood by Sarah Blakley-Cartwright. But it has now become a bit of a rant. It has been brought to my attention via the reviews on Amazon that I have not finished this novel. I read it front to back, every single page, and yet I still have not finished the book. How is this possible? It was published without it's final chapter, which will not be available until the book hits theaters.

Don't get me wrong, I thought the ending was a bit abrupt, but it didn't bother me all that much because it still wrapped up the story in a satisfactory manner. It was an average ending for an average book. I was going to give it 2.5 stars, which is a bit generous considering the very slow pacing and shallow characters. I would have been perfectly fine with the book ending the way it did. I probably would've brought my copy with me to the used book store the next time I made the trip, but the ending didn't bother me. And I also made the mistake of assuming the page after the end of the story was just a ploy to get me to visit the book's website. It says something along the lines of "Is this really the end of Valerie's story?" and then gives a link to the book's website: I've read other books with links to their websites at the end, so I thought nothing of it.

That was last weekend. Tonight, I logged on with the intention to write my review. I was on the book's Amazon page to get a copy of the back cover when I decided to browse the reviews. This is where I learn that I have in fact NOT finished reading this novel. The final chapter will be posted when the movie hits theaters, in roughly 40 days and three hours. I understand that they don't want the end of the movie ruined. But if it was that big of a deal, maybe the book should not have been released until after the movie released.

Then there's the fact that I probably wasn't going to see the movie anyway. I don't go to the movies a lot, and I often don't have the attention span to sit down for two hours and watch anything. So reading the final chapter now wouldn't ruin anything for me. Instead, I'm stuck waiting over a month to finish reading this novel.

But the part that bothers me the most is that I own an incomplete copy of a book, and yet I paid full price. This novel wasn't any cheaper than other Young Adult paperbacks. I shelled out ten dollars and change, and I don't even have a complete book to show for it. If I want to re-read this novel in the future, I would have to find the last chapter on the website again. There's no way to attach the last chapter to the book once it's released. It won't magically be ten or fifteen pages longer when I wake up forty days from now.

I will read the final chapter when it is finally posted. Had I never found out about this crazy scheme, I wouldn't have a problem. But now that I know, I have to finish it. So, if you still want to read this novel, I'd suggest waiting about a month or so, that way you won't have to wait forever for the ending.

Title: Red Riding Hood
Author: Sarah Blakley-Cartwright
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Release Date: 01/25/11
The body of a young girl is discovered in a field of wheat. Her flesh mutilated by telltale claw marks. The Wolf has broken the peace.

When Valerie learns that her sister has been killed by the legendary creature, she finds herself at the center of a dark mystery, one that has plagued her village for generations. It is revealed that the werewolf lives among them, and everyone in the village immediately becomes a suspect. Could her secret love Peter be behind the attacks on her town? Is it her betrothed, Henry? Or someone even closer to her?

As the men in the village hunt for the beast, Valerie turns to her grandmother for help. She gives Valerie a handmade red riding cloak, and guides her through the web of lies and deception that has held her town together for so long. Will Valerie discover the werewolf's identity before the town is ripped apart?

Disclosure: I bought this book for my own enjoyment.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Review: Grave Witch by Kalayna Price

Title: Grave Witch
Author: Kalayna Price
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Release Date: 10/05/10
Not even death can save her now.

As a grave witch, Alex Craft can speak to the dead -- she's even on good terms with Death himself. As a consultant for the police, she's seen a lot of dark magic, but nothing has prepared her for her latest case. When she's raising a "shade" involved in a high profile murder, it attacks her, and then someone makes an attempt on her life. Someone really doesn't want her to know what the dead have to say, and she'll have to work with mysterious homicide detective Falin Andrews to figure out why...

Plot: 5 Stars
I absolutely love a novel based around magic in which the use of magic extracts a physical price from the person performing it. In the case of this novel, the use of Alex's grave magic affects her vision afterwards, to the point where she needs light up stones to get to her apartment door after a normal ritual, and is basically blind after a stronger than normal ritual. Another aspect to this novel I really enjoyed was the different kinds of magic, and how the fae were weaved into the supernatural world. It's not very often a novel has only witches and faw; it was a very interesting combination. The twists and turns in this novel kept me guessing until the very last second. And the ending didn't disappoint. It's not very often (knowing there's at least another book in a series) that I seriously don't know how a main character is going to make it out alive.

Pace: 5 Stars
This was one of those awesome novels that I just could not put down. I read at least two-thirds of the book in just one afternoon. And I could barely put it down to watch some of my favorite tv shows. I would pick it up again at every commercial, just for those couple pages I'd be able to read in the break. Every scene in this novel flowed together very well, and all of the crazy events that took place wrapped up very nicely in the end. Time also passed in a very realistic, but still hectic, amount of time. Alex didn't have a lot of time between each crazy twist and turn, but it didn't feel like forty hours worth of mayhem was crammed into a day either.

Characters: 5 Stars
Alex was a very likeable and interesting heroine. Her family was all kinds of crazy, but that didn't keep her down. Plus, she really loved her little dog. Her grave magic was interesting and unique, and the author really did a great job weaving all of the little details of her magic together. Although I wish we could've seen a bit more of John and her roommates, they seemed like great characters and I hope to see more of them in future novels. Detective was fun to hate in the beginning, although I think he grew on me as much as he grew on Alex.

Cover: 4.5 Stars
Normally, I find black and white covers to be a bit boring. But this cover had just enough color splashed onto the cover model's face, hair, and shirt to stand out. Although the scene depicted on the cover takes place during the night, it wasn't too dark. The contrast between all the black, gray, and white layers was enough to keep the details crisp. I also liked the scene depicted on the cover. It doesn't depict an actual scene from the novel, but it still gives a good idea as to what Alex does for a living. The graveyard is a great setting for a Grave Witch, although Alex does a lot of her jobs in morgues and funeral homes. And although Alex doesn't make her ritual circles out of candles, like on the cover, she uses a wide variety of means to make circles throughout the book, so one could assume that a circle of candles would also work. Lastly, I want to point out that I think the cover model looks a bit likea slightly younger Chelsea Handler, but that could just be because I watch Chelsea Lately every night before bed.

Overall: 5 Stars

Disclosure: I bought this book for my own enjoyment.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Review: Amazon Ink by Lori Devoti

Title: Amazon Ink
Author: Lori Devoti
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Release Date: 05/26/09
Meet Mel: Business owner. Dedicated mom. Natural-born Amazon.

It's been ten years since Melanippe Saka left the Amazon tribe in order to create a normal life for her daughter, Harmony. True, running a tattoo parlor in Madison, Wisconsin, while living with your Amazon warrior mother and priestess grandmother is not everyone's idea of normal, but Mel thinks she's succeeded at blending in as human.

Turns out she's wrong. Someone knows all about her, someone who's targeting young Amazon girls, and no way is Mel going to let Harmony become tangled in this deadly web. With her mother love in overdrive, Ms. Melanippe Saka is quite a force...even when she's facing a barrage of distractions -- including a persistent detective whose interest in Mel goes beyond professional, a sexy tattoo artist with secrets of his own, and a seriously angry Amazon queen who views Mel as a prime suspect. To find answers, Mel will have to do the one thing she swore she'd never do: embrace her powers and admit that you can take the girl out of the tribe...but you can't take the tribe out of the girl.

Plot: 3.5 Stars
The Amazons in this story were very interesting. I liked that they all had different abilities, although I wish some of the abilities had been discussed in a little more detail. My favorite part of the whole story was that the main character was a tattoo artist. I love body modification (I have 11 piercings and 5 tattoos), so I was really excited for two of my favorite things to be come together in a novel: tattoos and urban fantasy. I was a little let down in the fact that the tattoo aspect of the story was only a small part, especially considering the title, but it fit with the Amazon storyline quite well. The end of the novel was a bit confusing. Mel spends the majority of the novel bouncing from one suspect to another, constantly changing who she her top suspect for the murders. As the final showdown comes around, she puts a lot of random pieces together really fast, and I'm still not sure exactly how she figured it out.

Pace: 3 Stars
This book was a bit of a slow read. As the story progressed, the pace picked up a little as well. But it definitely wasn't a fast-paced story. The ending was the only part of the story that I wouldn't describe as "slow" but it was a bit to fast-paced. Mel put things together too fast, too quickly, and before I knew it she was racing off to save the day while I was still trying to put things together. While the rest of the book could've used a little bit of a pick up, the ending needed a couple more pages to help walk the reader through all of the relevations leading to Mel figuring out who was behind the murders.

Characters: 3 Stars
Mel was a very interesting and complex character. Throughout the story, I really got to know who she was and how she would react. I enjoyed that she was a working mother and trying to keeps things as normal as possible, consider her and her family were all Amazons. But other than Mel, none of the other characters were developed all that well. Mel's mother and grandmother lived with her and her daughter, but you never learn too much about them. Mel hires a new tattoo artist, but doesn't know anything about him until he drops a bomb near the end of the novel. A whole parade of Amazons move into Mel's crazy old-school-turned-house, and the few who actually stand out still come across as a bit flat.

Cover: 3 Stars
The cover model was exactly how I pictured Mel. I really liked that they didn't choose some barely legal model, because Mel is the mother of a teenager. I liked that they kept the cover realistic. The color palette of the cover was also a good choice; the magenta catches the eye, while still giving off a bit of a darker atmosphere which fits the novel. I wasn't a big fan of the tattoo sign in the background. It leads you to believe that that aspect of the story is going to be a little bigger than it actually was. And it was very bright, which dragged your attention away from the cover model and her awesome sword. I just wish there was a bit more detail in the background, like something reminiscent of the setting.

Overall: 3 Stars

Disclosure: I bought this book for my own enjoyment.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

In My Mailbox (69)

Thanks to Kristi at The Story Siren for hosting In My Mailbox every week.


Bonded by Blood by Laurie London


Who Fears Death by Nnedi Okorafor
Thanks to Kevin Hearne!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Review: Unearthly by Cynthia Hand

Title: Unearthly
Author: Cynthia Hand
Genre: Young Adult
Release Date: 01/04/11
Clara Gardner has recently learned that she's part angel. Having angel blood run through her veins not only makes her smarter, stronger, and faster than humans (a word, she realizes, that no longer applies to her), but it means she has a purpose, something she was put on this earth to do. Figuring out what that is, though, isn't easy.

Her visions of a raging forest fire and an alluring stranger lead her to a new school in a new town. When she meets Christian, who turns out to be the boy of her dreams (literally), everything seems to fall into place -- and out of place at the same time. Because there's another guy, Tucker, who appeals to Clara's less angelic side.

As Clara tries to find her way in a world she no longer understands, she encounters unseen dangers and choices she never thought she'd have to make -- between honesty and deceit, love and duty, good and evil. When the fire from her vision finally ignites, will Clara be ready to face her destiny?

Plot: 4 Stars
I really liked the angel lore in this novel. Too often (in YA, UF, and PNR) the angels end up being fallen angels, so it was great to read about angels and angel bloods that weren't corrupt. I enjoyed the different levels and how each got a purpose. I just felt like there were moments when Clara seemed to forget about her purpose for a bit too long. I understand wanting to be a normal teenager, but there was a span of a couple chapters in which I wondered if the idea of the purpose was just gone. Then the ending happened. It's not quite a cliffhanger, but it's close. The ending cuts the novel short, in my opinion, and doesn't wrap things up like one would think an ending should. There are definitely a number of questions left unanswered about the future.

Pace: 3 Stars
This novel had a slightly slow, but steady pace. Nothing was too rushed, or too drawn out. The only issue I had with the pacing, was the timeframe involved. The timeframe of the novel seemed a touch disjointed. Nothing would happen for weeks or months at a time, and then a couple of days would take over two or three chapters. In between the action, there seemed to be a lot of sitting around, waiting for her purpose to come around. There were a couple scenes that could've been cut because they didn't seem to add much, and just dragged the pace down a little (unless they were setting something up for the future).

Characters: 4 Stars
Clara was a good main character, but I thought her friends outshined her a bit. I was much more intrigued by the people she surrounded herself with throughout the novel. Wendy was a very sweet girl, and I loved her immediately. Angela was a bit of an oddball, and definitely had her secrets, but I loved her too. Clara had moments in which she was a bit wishy-washy and mopey, but then she'd make a complete 180. I couldn't always follow her change in mood, but she never annoyed me. Now, her mother did annoy me. She's supposed to be there to help Clara with her purpose, but doesn't answer the majority of her questions. Christian, for being such an important part of the plot, doesn't get that much face time in the book, which seemed a bit weird. And I couldn't wrap my mind around Tucker. He bounced back and forth between nice and mean, annoying and sweet way too much. He made my head spin.

Cover: 3.5 Stars
Although the cover definitely looks better in person (it's really shiny and not quite as oh my god purple!), it somehow doesn't fit the story. The monochromatic purple color of the cover doesn't really fit with the mood throughout the novel. It seems a bit more dark and depressing than the novel ends up coming across. Plus, without any other colors, you don't get a good idea about how the cover model looks becuase she's just purple. I do like the fact that it's shiny though, because it really jumps out to grab you when sitting on the shelf. And the title is very simple yet intricate as it flows across the cover.

Overall: 3.5 Stars

Disclosure: I bought this book for my own enjoyment.

Review: Hunted by the Others by Jess Haines

Title: Hunted by the Others
Author: Jess Haines
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Release Date: 05/04/10
In a Town Like This, Being A P.I. Can Be Murder

Shiarra Waynest’s detective work was dangerous enough when her client base was strictly mortal. But ailing finances have forced her to accept a lucrative case that could save her firm -- if it doesn’t kill her first. Shiarra has signed on to work for a high-level mage to recover an ancient artifact owned by one of New York’s most powerful vampires.

As soon as Shiarra meets sexy, mesmerizing vamp Alec Royce, she knows her assignment is even more complicated than she thought. With a clandestine anti-Other group trying to recruit her, and magi being eliminated, Shiarra needs back-up and enlists her ex-boyfriend -- a werewolf whose non-furry form is disarmingly appealing -- and a nerdy mage with surprising talents. But it may not be enough. In a city where the undead roam, magic rules, and even the Others aren’t always what they seem, Shiarra has just become the secret weapon in a battle between good and evil -- whether she likes it or not...

Plot: 4.5 Stars
What a great book to start the new year off with. It had been sitting on my massive TBR pile since May, and I really can't believe it took me so long to read it. I liked the idea of the Others, and really enjoyed that mages were added in to the mix of werewolves and vampires. I, of course, enjoyed the fact that all of the Others were scary, especially to Shia. And the contracts that humans signed to interact with the Others was a very interesting twist. This book kept me on my toes with it's twists and turns. Although I saw a few of them coming, most caught me by surprise. I think my favorite part of the whole novel is that Shia is a human mixed up in the world of the Others. She didn't really have any superhuman strengths, but played to her human strengths along with the help she got from friends and collegues.

Pace: 4 Stars
This book made me very happy because it was the first book in a couple months that I seriously couldn't put down. There were some pacing issues along the way. There were times in which there was a bit more talking than action. And there were also a few spots that just didn't move as swift or smoothly as the rest of the book. But it's been a long time since I've had to keep reading, keep reading, keep reading. Usually, I'll read a bit here and there around everything else I'm doing. So although there were a few bumps in the road in regards to the pacing, the novel was a fun and interesting ride.

Characters: 5 Stars
Shiarra was a very likeable main character, and definitely showed growth throughout the novel. I really enjoyed her crazy family, even if they were only around for a couple chapters. Sara, her friend and business partner, was the voice of reason while Shia ran around making decisions without completely thinking them through. They made a really interesting team. Alec was a tiny bit scary, but I do look forward to seeing more of the vampire. Arnold, the mage that helped Shia out a lot with all the tricks he had up his sleeve, was a bit nerdy, but a bit lovable as well. Although they didn't play a big part, I loved to hate the White Hats, the anti-Other group. They were definitely creepy in their attempts to sway Shia to their cause, but I see a showdown of some sort in the future.

Cover: 4.5 Stars
This cover immediately attracts the eye. The dusky orange of the background is a very interesting and not a very common color, so even the spine stands out. For such a long title, the text didn't get in the way of showing off the cover model, and it was shiny. The cover model was a great choice for Shia, and they dressed her appropriately to the plot. The trenchcoat she's wearing is definitely badass, along with the weapons. I was a little thrown off by the pose the cover model took at first, since it looks like she floating slightly Matrix style, but it definitely grew on me.

Overall: 4.5 Stars

Disclosure: I bought this book for my own enjoyment.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

In My Mailbox (68)

Thanks to Kristi at The Story Siren for hosting In My Mailbox every week.


Ascension by Caris Roane


Matters of the Blood by Maria Lima
Bond of Blood by Diane Whiteside
Tempting Danger by Eileen Wilks

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Review: Fallen Angel by Heather Terrell

Title: Fallen Angel
Author: Heather Terrell
Genre: Young Adult
Release Date: 12/28/10

Ellie was never particularly good at talking to boys -- or anyone other than her best friend and fellow outcast, Ruth. Then she met Michael.

Michael is handsome, charming, sweet. And totally into Ellie. It’s no wonder she is instantly drawn to him. But Michael has a secret. And he knows Ellie is hiding something, too. They’ve both discovered they have powers beyond their imagining. Powers that are

Ellie and Michael are determined to uncover what they are, and how they got this way... together. But the truth has repercussions neither could have imagined. Soon they find themselves center stage in an ancient conflict that threatens to destroy everything they love. And it is no longer clear whether Ellie and Michael will choose the same side.

In this electrifying novel, Heather Terrell spins a gripping supernatural tale about true love, destiny, and the battle of good versus evil.

Plot: 4.5 Stars
I really enjoy a good fallen angel book, and this one didn't disappoint. The only real negative I have plot-wise is that I hate when a book is named or described in a way that tells the reader without a doubt what supernatural creature is involved, but then it takes the main character at least half of the book to figure it out. It was amusing that Ellie and Michael thought they were vampires, but a bit annoying that I was sitting there with it already figured out due to the title. Other than that, this was a very interesting take on fallen angels. You could tell the author did her research when shaping her fallen angels, while still making them fresh and fun.

Pace: 4.5 Stars
This novel read like a breeze. There was a large number of short chapters, which somehow always tends to read quicker for me. There was a great flow throughout the novel. Time goes by, events happen in a realistic timespan. There was never a time when the story slowed down to that dreaded point where the action lags and the mind wanders. There was a moment in which Ellie and Michael went off to fly one too many times, but crazy things often happened during those adventures, so it evened out.

Characters: 3.5 Stars
I enjoyed reading about all of the characters in this novel. Ellie was a likeable main character, and I really enjoyed her best friend, Ruth. I didn't have a problem with Michael either. But there were times in which the interactions between Ellie and Michael seemed a little off. I didn't always believe that their feelings for each other were so strong and real. A bit of the relationship seemed forced. But in the end, it didn't ruin the novel for me and I look forward to future novels. Hopefully they're relationship will progress in a more believable fashion. I also enjoyed how frustrating and cryptic Ellie's parents were about the whole situation.

Cover: 3.5 Stars
My favorite part of this cover is the shockingly white title. It really stands out against the darkness of the rest of the cover, and therefore grabs your attention. The feather added to the title is a nice touch that will hopefully tie future covers to this one. Other than that, the cover seems a bit drab. The cover model doesn't really stand out, and her expression is a bit confusing. I can't tell if the look in her eye is a depressed look, a I-know-something-you-don't-know look, or just a spaced-out look. The tree bark takes up the majority of the background, which could've used something with more detail that would add a dimension to the cover that possibly describes the setting better.

Overall: 4 Stars

Disclosure: I bought this book for my own enjoyment.

Giveaway Winner: Helforged by Nancy Holzner

There were a total of 9 participants. Using, I randomized the list of entries, and then random selected the winner. The winner of a signed copy of Hellforged by Nancy Holzner is...


You have 72 hours to respond to my e-mail with your mailing information, so I can pass it along to Nancy. Congratulations!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Most Anticipated Releases of 2011 (the first half)

I have split my most anticipated list into two: Debuts/New Series and Continuations. I kept this to only the first half of 2011 (January through June) because there are just SO many. Plus, I figure there are going to be plenty of books I'll be anticipating for the second half of the year that haven't even been announced yet. Anyway, enjoy the lists. I hope you find something new to add to your TBR lists!

Top 12 Must Have Debuts/New Series of the First Half of 2011:

1. A Brush of Darkness by Allison Pang 01/25/11
2. License to Enscroll by Katharine Kerr 02/01/11
3. The Demon Trapper's Daughter by Jana Oliver 02/01/11
4. The Iron Witch by Karen Mahoney 02/08/11
5. Darkness Becomes Her by Kelly Keaton 02/22/11
6. The Iron Thorn by Caitlin Kittredge 02/22/11
7. Steel by Carrie Vaughn 03/15/11
8. Dark Descendent by Jenna Black 04/26/11
9. Hounded by Kevin Hearne 04/26/11
10. Graveminder by Melissa Marr 05/17/11
11. Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini 05/31/11
12. Dead on the Delta by Stacey Jay 05/31/11

Top 8 Must Have Continations of the First Half of 2011:

1. Desires of the Dead by Kimberly Derting 02/15/11
2. Darkest Mercy by Melissa Marr 02/22/11
3. Iron Crowned by Richelle Mead 02/22/11
4. Demonglass by Rachel Hawkins 03/01/11
5. Betrayal by Lee Nichols 03/01/11
6. Huntress by Malinda Lo 04/05/11
7. Tangled Threads by Jennifer Estep 04/26/11
8. Shift by Jeri Smith-Ready 05/03/11

Saturday, January 8, 2011

In My Mailbox (67)

Thanks to Kristi at The Story Siren for hosting In My Mailbox every week.


Killing Rocks by D.D. Barant
The Lost Saint by Bree Despain
Unearthly by Cynthia Hand
Once in a Full Moon by Ellen Schreiber


California Demon by Julie Kenner
Demons are Forever by Julie Kenner
Fangs for Freaks by Serena Robar


Carpe Demon by Julie Kenner
Black Blade Blues by J.A. Pitts
Braced to Bite by Serena Robar
Archangel's Kiss by Nalini Singh
Beyond the Night by Joss Ware

Review: Sleepless by Cyn Balog

Title: Sleepless
Author: Cyn Balog
Genre: Young Adult
Release Date: 07/13/10
Eron De Marchelle isn’t supposed to feel a connection. He is a Sandman, a supernatural being whose purpose is to seduce human charges to sleep. While he can communicate with his charges in their dreams, he isn’t encouraged to -- after all, getting too involved in one human’s life would prevent him helping his other charges get their needed rest.

But he can’t deny that he feels something for Julia. Julia, with her fiery red hair and her sad dreams. Just weeks ago, her boyfriend died in a car accident, and Eron can tell that she feels more alone than ever. Eron was human once too, many years ago, and he remembers how it felt to lose the one he loved. Eron has always felt protective of Julia... but now, when she seems to need him more than ever, he can’t seem to reach her...

Sandmen are forbidden from communicating with humans outside their dreams. But will Eron be willing to risk everything for a chance to be with the person he loves?

Plot: 4 Stars
I have never read a book about Sandmen before, so this was a very refreshing novel in the world of Paranormal Young Adult. And it did not disappoint. The lore behind the Sandmen was very interesting and thought out. There was more to being a Sandman than I thought there would be before I read the novel. I really enjoyed how the relationship between Eron and Julia grew and changed over the course of the novel. The author balanced Julia's disbelief of the Sandmen with the facts laid out in front of her. I felt like Julia came around to believe him in just the right amount of time; she fought against what she thought was crazy, but came around as the facts started lining up.

Pace: 4.5 Stars
This was a very short novel, but it didn't feel rushed or cut short in anyway. It was the right length for the story that was told. It was a quick read, but still flowed very naturally. The chapters alternate between Eron and Julia's points of view. The alternating between the two worked really well, and gave a more rounded picture of the events happening throughout the book. The jumping back and forth didn't feel forced, and there was never any retelling of events through the other's eyes.

Characters: 4 Stars
I absolutely adored Eron. His character was so positive and kind, and although he was a Sandman, he seemed real and down to earth. He dealt with the issues he came across very well, without getting angry. And it was fun to see him try to interact in a new world. Julia was a very likeable character as well, although I wish her past hadn't been hinted at so many times before being explained. She was a very strong person, considering what she had been through. Griffin was a piece of work. I really disliked his character, although I think that's what the author was going for on some level. He was headstrong and didn't want to listen and caused a number of problems.

Cover: 3.5 Stars
As beautiful and striking as the large flower on the cover is, it really has nothing to do with the story at all. I like covers with dark backgrounds and a large, colorful object as the main focus, but it's got to be relevant to the plot. Otherwise, it just seems random. The moon in the upper-lefthand corner of the cover is the only part that is relevant, and it seems out of place and much too small. But I do like the simplicity of the text chosen for the title. With such an intricate and colorful flower, a more complex text would've drawn attention away and really clashed with the flower.

Overall: 4 Stars

Disclosure: I borrowed this book from my local library for my own enjoyment.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Pocket Books: Dec2010 & Jan2011 Releases

Title: Arcane Circle
Author: Linda Robertson
ISBN: 9781439190258
Format: Mass Market Paperbound
Price: $7.99/$9.99 CAN
Imprint: Pocket Books


Even magic can't solve everything. . . .
After facing down the forces of Fairy in mortal combat, Persephone Alcmedi still must deal with the aftermath. Not only does Seph now possess deadly secrets she must hide from the arcane and mundane world alike, but the dozens of magical creatures who've taken up residence behind her cornfield need food and shelter, and there's still her foster daughter Beverly's tenth birthday party to plan.
And that's not all. . . . Seph's boyfriend Johnny has revealed himself as the wÆrewolf Domn Lup, and the ruler of the wÆre world is en route from Romania to make sure Johnny really is the "king" he claims to be. But Johnny's hiding a dangerous secret: his magic is locked in his mysterious tattoos. He and Seph must find a way for him to reclaim it—fast—despite those who have no intention of letting Johnny gain his full powers. Seph knows that, in the arcane world, strength is always a necessity and power must be constantly proven, but how far is she willing to go to succeed . . . and at what cost?

Click on the link here or Visit

Become a Member on An Online Community of urban fantasy and romance readers and where top authors share exciting new content.

Title: Crimson Wind
Author: Diana Pharaoh Francis
ISBN: 9781416598152
Format: Mass Market Paperbound
Price: $7.99/$9.99 CAN
Imprint: Pocket Books


Max knows what trusting the wrong person can cost you. Her former friend Giselle, a powerful witch, enslaved Max years ago, turning her into a Shadowblade—a deadly warrior compelled to fight for Giselle. But there's more at stake now than Max's thirst for revenge. The Guardians, overseers of the magical world, have declared war on humanity and on any witches not standing with them. Max and Giselle have come to an uneasy truce in order to protect what's left of Horngate, their coven's home. Max would do anything for Horngate—even give herself over to a mysterious otherworldly creature in the nearby mountains in exchange for his help. But first, she intends to save the mortal family she left behind. And Alexander, the Shadowblade warrior who could be her closest ally or her deadliest enemy, is going with her.
On a road trip into the unknown, Max and Alexander face wild magic, desperate enemies, and battles that bruise both body and soul. But the greatest challenge will come from unexpected revelations that test everything Max believes about who she is—and where her loyalties lie. . . .

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Title: Vicious Grace
Author: M.L.N. Hanover
ISBN: 9781439176290
Format: Mass Market Paperbound
Price: $7.99/$9.99 CAN
Imprint: Pocket Books


When you're staring evil in the eye, don't forget to watch your back . . .
For the first time in forever, JaynÉ Heller's life is making sense. Even if she routinely risks her life to destroy demonic parasites that prey on mortals, she now has friends, colleagues, a trusted lover, and newfound confidence in the mission she inherited from her wealthy, mysterious uncle. Her next job might just rob her of all of them. At Grace Memorial Hospital in Chicago, something is stirring. Patients are going AWOL and research subjects share the same sinister dreams. Half a century ago, something was buried under Grace in a terrible ritual, and it's straining to be free. JaynÉ is primed to take on whatever's about to be let loose. Yet the greatest danger now may not be the huge, unseen force lurking below, but the evil that has been hiding in plain sight all along—taking her ever closer to losing her body, her mind, and her soul. . . .

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Title: Silver Zombie: Delilah Street: Paranormal Investigator
Author: Carole Nelson Douglas
ISBN: 9781439167816
Format: Mass Market Paperbound
Price: $7.99/$9.99 CAN
Imprint: Pocket Books


Zombies and Witches and Vamps . . . Oh, My!
What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas—at least that's Delilah Street's hope. With Sin City's vampire and werewolf mobs wanting to cash in her chips once and for all, she's retreating with her partner Ric Montoya and half-wolfhound Quicksilver to her Kansas birthplace. Unfortunately, when it comes to finding trouble, there's no place like home. . . .
It doesn't take long before Delilah realizes she's not in Vegas anymore. Zombie cowboys and spectral cattle drives are kicking up dust, the local weather girls are total witches who forecast perfect storms, and some Hollywood fanatic is recasting zombies as the greatest stars of the silver screen. And speaking of silver, Delilah's special affinity for the all-purpose monster-repellent leads her posse straight down a silver brick road—and into a notso- fun house of mirrors—putting her face-to-face with her dicey past and a mystery woman named Lilith, who's a real dead ringer for Delilah. The key word being dead.

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Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Guest Blog + Giveaway: Nancy Holzner

Today I'd like to welcome back Nancy Holzner, who is stopping by to promote her new Urban Fantasy release, Helforged, the second novel in her Deadtown series, which released on December 28th. You can see my 4.5 Star review here. Her topic for this guest blog is . I found it very interesting, and hope you do to!

A Night in Deadtown

If you want to take a look around Deadtown, the cordoned-off area for Boston’s paranormal residents, there’s not much point in going during the day. Even if you made it through the checkpoint, during daylight hours you’d find that Deadtown is more or less a ghost town—its streets empty save for the occasional werewolf or a bundled-up zombie working the day shift. The silent buildings could belong to any city’s downtown: concrete skyscrapers mingling with old brick buildings and the huge plate-glass windows of former stores.

Deadtown comes to life, or unlife, after the sun goes down. Not long after darkness has settled, the zombies begin to venture out, heading for work. Thanks to their superhuman strength, most zombies do manual labor. Three years ago, after a localized plague killed two thousand Bostonians in a matter of hours (and resurrected them three days later), the quarantine zone became Deadtown. At the time, office buildings, stores, and banks had to be converted to residences, and the resulting construction boom employed many zombies. With time, though, Deadtown has become a city-within-a-city, and zombies provide most of the services you’d find in any town. There are zombie bankers, zombie teachers, zombie mail carriers, zombie grocery store owners, zombie hot-dog vendors, zombie chefs (any business related to food is a good bet in Deadtown).

As you’ve probably noticed by now, Deadtown’s zombies aren’t your average, run-of-the-mill, horror-movie brain munchers. They’re a lot like people who haven’t gone through the experience of being dead for a few days and then waking up. In fact, the politically correct term for zombies is “previously deceased humans,” or PDHs. Deadtown’s zombies have thoughts and personalities. They also have spongy, greenish-gray skin and blood-red eyes. They move stiffly, but they’re incredibly strong. They’re nearly impossible to kill (maybe because they’ve already been dead once), but they don’t heal when injured. And even though they’re always hungry, usually they’d rather snack on junk food than on human flesh—unless they catch a whiff of blood. When zombie blood lust gets stirred up, they can’t help themselves. So if you’re prone to sudden nosebleeds, visiting Deadtown isn’t a great idea.

Around ten o’clock, the vampires emerge to go hunting. They don’t hang around Deadtown for long. Zombies taste bad and shapeshifter blood does strange things to a vampire’s system, so the vampires slink off to the human parts of Boston or one of the monster bars in the New Combat Zone, the no-man’s land between the checkpoints into Deadtown and human-controlled Boston. The Zone is where humans go when they’re craving a walk on the wild side. A norm can venture into a monster bar like Creature Comforts and gawk at vampires, zombies, and other creatures of the night in relative safety (as long as they don’t get caught in the middle of a werewolf fight). Axel, who owns Creature Comforts, is seven feet tall, bearded, with a hook nose and tiny eyes—nobody quite knows what he is, but he’s definitely not human. Axel usually opens up around ten, because that’s when the norms come. Humans tend to be a bit nervous in the Zone; nervous customers drink, and drinking customers make Axel happy. But the bars don’t really get busy until most of the norms are gone, tucked into their warm, safe beds at home, dreaming about how brave they’ve been.

Victory Vaughn, Boston’s only professional demonslayer, also heads out around ten. A shapeshifter descended from the Welsh goddess Ceridwen, Vicky exterminates other people’s personal demons for a living. Since demons can only materialize after dark, she works the night shift. Most of Vicky’s clients need help with one of the three main kinds of personal demons:

• Drudes, dream-demons that feed on fear and cause nightmares
• Eidolons, guilt demons that gnaw at people guts when they can’t sleep
• Harpies, revenge demons conjured by an unscrupulous sorcerer for cash

Fighting demons can be dangerous, but it pays well—people who are desperate for some peace will pay pretty much whatever they can afford to get it. Vicky’s no mercenary, but she makes a decent living. After she’s shot a flock Harpies out of the sky or chased the Drudes out of a client’s dreamscape, she usually stops by Creature Comforts on her way home. There she might meet Juliet, her vampire roommate, who’s sipping a Bloody Mary and ignoring the vampire junkies begging her to take a hit from them. She probably won’t see Kane, the lawyer she sometimes dates, because like most werewolves he works norm hours—eight-to-five, Monday through Friday—except for the three days around the full moon, when he reports to one of the state’s three werewolf retreats.

As the sun comes up, most Deadtown residents, including Vicky, make their way home for the day. The checkpoints get crowded with paranormals waiting to show their IDs. Zombies pull on hats, scarves, gloves, sunglasses—sunlight causes permanent damage to their skin and eyes—before they venture outside. Vampires sleep the sleep of the dead behind black-out shades. For the next several hours, Deadtown will be quiet, until the shadows lengthen and the night calls to its creatures once again.

Thanks for stopping by Nancy!

When a mysterious plague hit Boston, turning two thousand of its residents into sentient zombies, the quarantine zone became Deadtown, home (by law) to Boston's paranormals. It's also home to Victory Vaughn, a shapeshifter who kills other people's personal demons for a living. In Deadtown, Vicky does battle with the Hellion who killed her father. In Hellforged, Vicky struggles to protect her friends and prevent a long-lost relative from unleashing an ancient power more terrifying—and deadly—than anything she's encountered before.

You can read the first chapter of Deadtown here and the first chapter of Hellforged here.

I also have a signed copy of Helforged to give away, courtesy of Nancy. All you have to do to be entered is answer the question: What's your favorite thing about your town's nightlife? The giveaway is for US only, and will last until midnight Wednesday 01/12. I'll announce the winner on Thursday 01/13.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

In My Mailbox (66)

Thanks to Kristi at The Story Siren for hosting In My Mailbox every week.


Shadowspell by Jenna Black
Red Riding Hood by Sarah Blakley-Cartwright
Hexbound by Chloe Neill
Secrets of the Demon by Diana Rowland
Fallen Angel by Heather Terrell
My Soul to Steal by Rachel Vincent

Credit Card Rewards:
I had enough points to get a $25 Amazon gift card. So, of course, I spent it on books. Mostly ones I hadn't been able to find in stores.

Black Magic Woman by Justin Gustainis
Sea Lord by Virginia Kantra
Dog Days by John Levitt
Alpha by Rachel Vincent


Ghost Town by Rachel Caine (from Dad)
Perchance to Dream by Lisa Mantchev (from Dad)
The Chosen (Embrace the Twilight/Edge of Twilight) by Maggie Shayne (from Dad) told me this was books one and two, so I bought it. I got home and searched the web to find out they are not books one and two, but since it was only $4 I figured it would be ok.
Deadly Little Lies by Laurie Faria Stolarz (from Zack)


The Man with the Golden Torc by Simon R. Green