Monday, April 27, 2015

Finishing a deadline, reading for fun, and J.R. Ward

My April reading for RT included some fantastic titles and I cannot wait to share my reviews with you once the July issue of RT Book Reviews magazine comes out! It's something new that I thought I'd add to the blog since my review reading will be done primarily for the magazine from now on and I can only read so many books in a given month. I'll still review the occasional book that's sent my way, but not nearly as often as I used to.



So here's what I was reading this month (no ratings since they haven't been published yet):

Falling For Her Husband
A Matter of Sin
Escaping Reality- Lisa Renee Jones (Yes, it was as amazing as I had hoped!)
The Silenced- Heather Graham (I love the Krewe of Hunters!)
Knight on Ocean Lane
The Wrong Hero

Plus, my monthly Harlequin Desire series, which featured some excellent choices this month:

The Billionaire's Daddy Test
Seduced by the Spare Heir
Pregnant by the Cowboy CEO
Lone Star Baby Bombshell
Claiming His Secret Son
A Royal Amnesia Scandal

I highly recommend that you give these titles a try, and if you haven't already...get a subscription to RT or stop by the website. Hands down the best way to keep track of what's new in the world of romance.



Since I was able to finish my deadline early I picked up a few books off my TBR pile. Yay! The first book was The Shadows by J.R. Ward and let's just say that it had been awhile since a booked completely wrecked me so I must have been long overdue. At times, I wasn't even aware I was crying until giant tears hit the page, and at other points I just sobbed like my heart was being ripped away. Only Ward can create characters that are so truly alive with a vividness that makes their heartache and pain feel just as real as their love. The BDB are forces unto themselves and each person in her world has a history with so much depth that a reader can't help feeling connected somehow. Every emotion feels so very real and picking up one of her books guarantees you the best kind of reading roller coaster ride, complete with the sexiest alpha men surrounded by the brightest strong women, plenty of ass kicking action, and the sweetest demonstrations of love and family. Nothing is ever easy and it's impossible to predict exactly what will happen in each book...I love every single minute!



Next up on my reading list is The Liar by Nora Roberts, my beloved go-to author when I want a beautiful romance that will leave me feeling refreshed and smiling when I'm done.



After those I plan on Beauty's Kingsdom by Anne Rice, a sentimental choice since once upon a time Flyboy bought me the original trilogy (long before erotica and retelling fairy tales became popular) and I'm curious to see if Rice can recapture the magic and allure after all these years.

What are you reading?


Thursday, April 23, 2015

It's all about the books


One of these days I'm gonna get to one of these conventions, especially since I've been reviewing for them for a couple of years now, and the more I hear the more jelly I get about missing out. Not flattering, but true all the same. So many books and authors all in one place! It's almost too much to hope for!

My other drawback to attending, besides trying to leave town during the school year, is that I am incredibly shy around strangers which makes talking to authors an awkward experience all around. Seriously, it's quite an overwhelming idea for me which is probably why I blog and review, if you think about it. I get to talk with people about books without managing the crowded rooms that come with book signings and conventions. I would just hate to embarrass myself by going all fangirl or not knowing what to say. Anyways...I'll get over it because I really, really want to go!

The 2015 Convention is only a few weeks away and I would love to hear from anyone that plans on attending. Feel free to share your expert tips or talk about the authors you're most looking forward to.

All the deets can be found here.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

It's Our Turn to Lead

I'm lucky enough to live in a state that gets plenty of sunshine, yet I'm always surprised at how long it took for the solar movement to take hold, and at how hard electric companies work to convince consumers to stay firmly attached to the grid. More baffling are the folks that water sidewalks and run faucets when we are living in a desert that faces horrible drought conditions. Politics aside, caring for planet earth is our responsibility and I hope you'll take a moment to learn more about how easy it is to get involved and make one small change towards saving the planet.


Here's an interesting article from my local paper about the relationship between the rise in population and the many endangered species on our planet, and the creative way they've chosen to get that message out on college campuses. Hint: involves sustainable condoms.

For more information about how you can get involved or to find events in your local area, click here.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

A Terrible Beauty

In A TERRIBLE BEAUTY (1996), Canadian vampire author Nancy Baker adapts "Beauty and the Beast" with the sexes reversed in a modern setting, the wilds of Canada. A dying professor, Simon Donovan, gets a letter from Sidonie Moreau, a woman from his past whom he hasn't seen in decades. She wants restitution for the wrong he did to her. Simon confesses to his sons that Sidonie had served as his research assistant on a project involving esoteric documents. They had shared a brief love affair, while she did most of the work in unraveling the scholarly puzzle that had baffled him. Then she had mysteriously vanished from the university, with no record of ever being enrolled. Simon published the work without giving her credit, and now she demands that he visit her to deliver some unspecified compensation.

Simon's youngest son, Matthew, a penniless artist, makes the journey in his father's place, just as Beauty in the fairy tale offers herself to the Beast to save her father. Matthew travels to the distant northern forest, where Sidonie Moreau lives on an isolated island. There he meets a young woman who claims to be the daughter of his father's old lover. She dwells in a huge mansion with many locked doors and no mirrors. Inhabitants of the nearest village, two of whom work for her, avoid answering his questions. Soon enough, of course, his hostess reveals herself as the original Sidonie—a vampire. Two thousand years old, she is the only surviving native speaker of the language she helped his father translate. In payment for his father's betrayal, she requires Matthew to stay with her until she chooses to let him leave.

Each night, she will ask him the same question: Will he give her his blood, even though the donation might kill him? He wonders, since she can feed on the blood of animals, why does she need his? Eventually scenes from her viewpoint reveal to the reader (but not to Matthew) that she cherishes a secret belief about the benefits of blood freely offered, not taken by force or seduction.

Although a figure of allure and pathos, Sidonie also projects an aura of danger. She has killed human victims in the past, and she doesn't let Matthew forget what she could do to him and his family if he defied her (though at first her threats focus more on disgrace and ruin than physical violence). Once she allows him to see her true self instead of the human mask, her beauty has an alien quality he can't ignore. After futile attempts to find her daytime resting place or to escape, he resigns himself to remaining her prisoner until his death. When a small group of other vampires comes to visit with their mortal slaves, Sidonie appears benign in contrast. Little by little, as she and Matthew learn about each other's lives, his fear, revulsion, and hostility transform into friendship. He spends his free hours painting, his creativity flourishing under her influence. When he gets a letter announcing his father's imminent death, the tale plays out as we'd expect from the "Beauty and the Beast" parallel, yet with a surprise or two.

This enchanting story is guaranteed to enthrall fans of either vampire romances or fairy-tale retellings.

Margaret L. Carter

Carter's Crypt

Monday, April 13, 2015

Zombies meet Mad Max

Our friend Angie has reviewed a couple of Wellington's books in the past, so for those of you that enjoyed his work, here is a new title that releases later this month. Of course, since this combines two things that scare me to death, the apocalyptic Mad max environment and a zombie outbreak, I'm going to hold off on reading this until Flyboy can hang around to protect me. But for all you crazies out there... Happy reading! ~Anna




POSITIVE (on sale in hardcover from Harper Voyager April 21, 2015) mixes the explosive action of Mad Max with sweeping storytelling, engaging human characters, and incisive social commentary

Finnegan’s life is nothing special. Living in the ruins of New York City, he spends his days scavenging for food and supplies, respecting but not really understanding the First Generation’s fear of the threat of zombies and longing for their old way of life. As a Second Generation citizen, born after zombies overran the country and then were beaten back, he has only known the world as it is: devastated. But New York hasn’t seen a zombie in years.

Until one day the infection rears its ravenous head and Finn learns in the most horrible way possible he is a carrier for the virus. Marked with a tattoo on his hand identifying him as a “Positive,” he is exiled from the city, sent to a special facility in Ohio for those like him while he waits out the viruses incubation period. If he’s still human in two years, he can return.

But Finn’s escort is attacked before he can even reach them. He is left alone to find his way across an America transformed, populated by heroes, villains, and madmen. And though zombies are everywhere, Finn discovers that the real danger may be his fellow humans.

David Wellington was born in Pittsburgh, PA, where George Romero shot his classic zombie films. The acclaimed author is most famous for his online serialized zombie novels, the “Monster Island” trilogy, then published by Three Rivers. In 2006 he began serializing 13 Bullets. He lives in New York City.

More info:


Thursday, April 9, 2015

The Need to Feed guest post with Robyn Bachar

Some of my favorite sexy reading has been courtesy of Samhain Publishing and Bite Me looks to be another paranormal goodie. How can you go wrong when you've got vampires, demons, and a little bit of kink? You can't! This promises to be one super hot read, and just perfect for thawing out after months of freezing temps. Don't say I didn't warn you! Happy reading, my friends. 

Don't forget to click this rafflecopter link for your chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card. ~Anna


The Need to Feed 

What happens when you cut off a vampire’s food source?

Modern vampires have it easy—plenty of people to feed from in the big city, and they can always get take-out from a blood bank. The urban vampires in my Bad Witch books never have to worry about where they’re getting their next meal, and my evil author brain began pondering ways to change that. I couldn’t end the world in that series (yet), so Bite Me was born.

It sucks to be a vampire during the end of the world. After the zombie apocalypse wiped out most of humanity, vampire Lizzy Addams is faced with a serious food shortage. She never really liked people and preferred to feed from blood bags, but the blood banks are no longer delivering. 

Lizzy needs to find survivors to drink from, or die trying.

Of course it’s not that simple. If someone came up to you and claimed that they were a vampire would you believe them? Would you trust them? Could you put your life in their hands? Lizzy has a long way to go to win over the survivors she rescues, and as an evil author it was my duty to make that journey as hard as possible. Cranky werewolves? Check. Evil vampire brother? 

Yup. Zombies, zombies, and even more zombies? Oh yeah.

Bite Me was a ton of fun to write, and I hope that readers enjoy it. 



Consumed by the need to feed…
After an out-of-control spell triggers the zombie apocalypse, Lizzy Addams is left in the ruins of Chicago with only the slightly unhinged commentary—and endless erotic appetites—of her inner demon for company. Her blood supply dwindling, she is forced to find survivors to feed from, or die trying.
Officer Angela Kinney was on duty when hungry corpses overwhelmed the city. The survivors look to her for leadership, but nothing prepared her for a beautiful monster who offers safety in exchange for blood.
Sean MacMillan never expected to see Lizzy again after she rejected his attempts to lure her back to the vampire fold. But with his flock threatened by the horde and his murderous vampire brother, Lizzy is the only one he can trust to keep them safe.
The veil of secrecy shrouding the supernatural world torn apart, humanity’s only hope is to forge an alliance with vampires, werewolves, and things that go bump in the night. Though accepting their aid could be a devil’s bargain that puts humans at the bottom of the food chain.
**Product Warnings**
Contains vampire orgies, angsty demon sex, a frisky lesbian werewolf, light kink, and enough sex toys to start a store.


Buy the book:

Amazon    BN    iTunes    Kobo   Samhain Publishing

About the author:

Robyn Bachar enjoys writing stories with soul mates, swords, spaceships,vampires, and gratuitous violence against the kitchen sink. Her paranormal romance Bad Witch series, historical paranormal romance series Bad Witch: The Emily Chronicles, and spicy space opera romance trilogy Cy’ren Rising are available from Samhain Publishing. 

Her books have finaled in PRISM Contest for Published Authors, the Passionate Plume Contest, and twice in the EPIC eBook Awards. As a gamer, Robyn has spent many hours rolling dice, playing rock-paper-scissors, and slaying creatures in mmorpgs.

Author info:

Website   Newsletter    Twitter     Blog     

Excerpt:

I opened my mouth to ask for a volunteer, and noticed just a fraction too late that a priest’s collar peeked out from under Manuel’s overcoat and that he was eyeing me in an unfriendly manner. 

He spat at me in Latin and pulled a cross that exploded with blinding light. The image seared into my retinas as holy fire hit me full blast.

I’d rescued a damn priest. What a fucking way to die.

My inner demon shrieked, and I hissed like a pissed-off alley cat and bolted. I slammed against the roof ’s edge and toppled over it like a drunk after the bars close, then crashed through the plastic top of a Dumpster in the alley. For a moment I was relieved to be out of the burning, but it was quickly followed by the sudden onset of the what-the-fuck pain of my landing.

The world had ended before garbage day, so I was up to my ass in trash bags that stank like rancid vomit. Mobs descended on my Dumpster in a sea of arms outstretched to grab and devour me. Like sharks in a feeding frenzy, they were programmed to bite first and ask questions later. My pink Chucks had no traction as I tried to climb atop the Dumpster, and I slipped and struggled. Ugh. Death by fashion. I should’ve gone for the Doc Martens.

Mobs weren’t good at ladders, but they could handle climbing short distances, and two toppled over the edge and into the garbage. I tried to kick myself into flight, but my magic fizzled and refused to cooperate. No fuel, no magic. One of the trash zombies’ rotted teeth sank through my jeans and into my leg, and I screamed at the top of my lungs.

I ripped my leg away, losing a chunk of flesh and muscle in the process, and with a rush of pure terror I vaulted out of the garbage and into the alley. When I hit the ground my wounded leg buckled and I collapsed. The dead closed over me like an ocean wave and clawed at my cashmere coat with frostbitten fingers until I wriggled out of it and broke free. I booked it as best I could, ducking and weaving through the crowd.

Despite my fear, I had enough sense left to run down the alley away from the spot the humans had been. I emerged into the street opposite, found it likewise occupied by mobs, and cursed as I headed into the next alley. A metal fire escape clung to the side of the building to my right, and leapt, pulled the ladder down and hustled up it as my wounded leg fought me the whole way. 

When I reached the roof I sighed with relief and lay flat, staring up at the full moon as hunger raged through me like a slavering, rabid dog.

I needed to feed, and the only living humans in Chicago were traveling with a priest with a grudge. I wouldn’t make it home without blood—hell, I wouldn’t make it off this rooftop. In a few hours the sun would rise and I’d be Lizzy Addams flambĂ©.

It sucked to be a vampire at the end of the world.




Wednesday, April 8, 2015

For all you writers out there



“FROZEN FAIRY TALES”
OPEN TO SUBMISSIONS
THROUGH MAY 15, 2015

Alpena, MI (March 10, 2015) – World Weaver Press (Eileen Wiedbrauk, Editor-in-Chief) and Enchanted Conversation: A Fairy Tale Magazine (Kate Wolford, Editor and Publisher) have announced the anthology Frozen Fairy Tales will be open to submissions through May 15, 2015.

In the bleak midwinter, the call of fairy tales can be especially irresistible. After all, fairy tales both take us out of our humdrum world and into the possibilities of what can be--or maybe even is. A fairy tale read in winter can help us dream through the the cold days and nights. Yet, surprisingly few fairy tales are specifically set in winter. With Frozen Fairy Tales, we're hoping to remedy that.

For full submission guidelines and details, visithttp://www.worldweaverpress.com/submit-anthologies.html

Kate Wolford is editor and publisher of Enchanted Conversation: A Fairy Tale Magazine at fairytalemagazine.com. She teaches first-year college writing, incorporating fairy tales in her assignments whenever possible.

World Weaver Press is an independently owned publisher of fantasy, paranormal, and science fiction. We believe in great storytelling.

# # # # #
@WorldWeaver_wwp

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Epic fantasy, anyone?

Hello fellow readers! This bit of upcoming book info found it's way into my inbox, although I'm not sure that I'll get to read it right away, so I thought I'd share since I'm adding it to my virtual Mt. Everest of books anyway. Fantasy titles are a fairly new genre for me to read because for whatever reason my brain is hardwired to get hung up on all the fictitious names and places, but it's a habit I'm trying  to break. This little bit of OCD has caused me to miss out on a number of good books, or so I'm told, and since I have no idea where to start I figured I'd try a completely new series from an author I'm unfamiliar with. 

What are some of your favorite fantasy titles or authors? I'd love to know so I can create a solid reading list for my summer adventures by the pool. ~Anna



Kelley Grant
Harper Voyager Impulse
E-Book
Fiction / Fantasy / Epic
$2.99 USD, $2.99 CAD, £2.99, €2.58

About the book:
"It frightens me, knowing the One has called up two such strong individuals. It means that there are troubled times in our future, and you must prepare yourselves."

The Temple at Illian is the crown jewel of life in the Northern Territory. There, pledges are paired with feli, the giant sacred cats of the One god, and are instructed to serve the One's four capricious deities. Yet Sulis, a young woman from the Southern Desert, has a different perspective—one that just might be considered heresy, but that is catching on rather quickly …
Sulis's twin, Kadar, meanwhile, is part of a different sort of revolution. When Kadar falls in love with a woman from a Forsaken caste, he finds he's willing to risk anything to get these people to freedom. But with Sulis drawing a dangerous level of attention from the deities, and war about to break out on two fronts, change may not come as easily as either twin had hoped.

An astonishing debut, Kelley Grant's Desert Rising brings to life a powerful new epic fantasy tale of determination and self-discovery.

About the author:
Kelley Grant grew up in the hills of Ohio’s Amish country. Her best friends were the books she read, stories she created and the forest and fields that inspired her. She and her husband live on a wooded hilltop and are owned by five cats, a dog and numerous uninvited critters. Besides writing, Kelley teaches yoga and meditation, sings kirtan with her husband, and designs brochures and media.

More info:

Friday, April 3, 2015

changes in the wind



I know it's been a really, really long time since anything new popped up on the site, with the exception of the fabulous Margaret Carter and her midmonth posts about some of the best older vampire titles available, but beginning this month I will begin putting new content up with increasing regularity.



One of the biggest changes that I plan to make, for my own sanity, is to cutback on the number of reviews that get posted because as some of you may know I've been reviewing for RT Book Reviews Magazine the last couple of years and quite honestly, I am burned out with having to write an opinion for every book I read. It takes a great deal of time to read/review, plus blogging adds to that and what I found was that I prefer the way it used to be when the blogging community talked and discussed more. The intention of this blog wasn't to review books at all, and I miss the way we did things back in the Bite Club days. I'll still review the occasional book for the blog, and I will begin sharing my RT reviews as they become available, but I'd like to add more unique content as well.


The plan is to have 2-3 posts a week, with more regularity as the month progresses, that may or may not include: TV discussions, movie posts, any book tours that catch my eye, books that I pick up for fun and want to talk about, contests from around the web, author news, and any other piece of information that I think you might enjoy.

I'd also love to get a few more people on board as contributors, but we'll see how that goes. Look for a help wanted style post in the coming weeks.

I'm thankful for those that have stuck around over the years and I look forward to growing the blog once again.

Cheers and Happy Reading!

~Anna

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Vampire Hunter D

Published in Japan in 1983 and in the U.S. in 2005, VAMPIRE HUNTER D, by Hideyuki Kikuchi, launched a long series of novels, of which over twenty have been translated into English so far. Kikuchi openly celebrates his inspiration for the series, the classic Hammer vampire movies, especially HORROR OF DRACULA. The villain of VAMPIRE HUNTER D is even named after Christopher Lee. The story takes place in the post-apocalyptic world of 12,090 A.D. In the past, the Nobility—vampires—ruled over the human population. Nobles enforced their authority with futuristic technology. Since the fall of the Nobility, humanity has lived amid the ruins of their civilization with the remnants of their fantastic machines and genetically engineered beasts. Vampires haven't gone completely extinct, though, and still inspire fear in less settled parts of the world. On the frontier, human communities struggle to survive in a monster-haunted wilderness.

In the setting of the first novel, a cross between the typical frontier town in a Western movie and the besieged village of a Gothic horror story, an orphaned young woman, Doris Lang, runs the family ranch with the help of her kid brother, Dan. No helpless damsel in distress, she wields a whip against monsters and stands up against the harassment of the mayor's son, who tries to use his wealth and status to take possession of her. She can't save herself, though, when the local Noble, Count Magnus Lee, bites her. It's only a matter of time before the vampire lord claims her as his bride. She turns to the archetypal wandering fighter, a young-looking Hunter known only as D. Hired to kill Count Lee for her, D establishes something of a bond with Doris and Dan, who idolizes the Hunter. D infiltrates the Count's castle, where he confronts a monstrous version of Dracula's brides, three vampire women fused into a hydra-like creature with three heads on one body. He also meets Larmica, the Count's daughter, a more ambiguous, even potentially sympathetic incarnation of vampirism. D himself is a dhampir, a vampire-human hybrid. Throughout the series it's hinted that his father was the "Sacred Ancestor"—in other words, D possesses supernatural gifts, even beyond the typical dhampir, because he was begotten by Dracula. D has another unique feature, a symbiotic or parasitic organism manifesting as a face in the palm of his left hand. This creature, whose nature and origin are never explained (not in the translated volumes of the series so far, at least), displays extraordinary powers that augment D's invincibility. The left hand (which can detach itself and act independently if necessary) doesn't seem to think much of D; it constantly argues with the Hunter in a grumpy, cynical tone.

This book reads as a cross-genre mix of horror story, Western adventure, and post-apocalyptic science fiction, with an element of romance. Doris quickly becomes infatuated with D, who seems genuinely drawn to her. He also appears to care for young Dan. Yet at the conclusion of the story, as we'd expect of a wandering fighter in a Western, he rides off into the wilderness alone on his cybernetic horse. One reviewer describes D as a tragic figure of "a man dedicated to fighting darkness but unable to express love." It's hard to judge the accuracy of this characterization, because the omniscient narrator never gives us much access to D's thoughts. Throughout the series, we're constantly told how "gorgeous" the Hunter is and how everyone finds him fascinating on sight, but we don't know how he feels about this reaction. He remains an enigma. Two animated films based on this series have been released, VAMPIRE HUNTER D and VAMPIRE HUNTER D: BLOODLUST. While both are worth viewing, I like the art of the second movie better than the first.

Margaret L. Carter

Carter's Crypt