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Cover Shot! is a regular feature here at the Café. I love discovering new covers, and when I find them, I like to share. More than anything else, I am consumed with the mystery that each new discovery represents. There is an allure to a beautiful cover. Will the story contained under the pages live up to promise of the gorgeous cover art?
What a cool cover! Seven Kinds of Hell by Dana Cameron even has a cool name! I love the thought of an archeologist heroine, too. This will be in stores next week.
Hits stores March 12th.
Archaeologist Zoe Miller has been running from a haunting secret her whole life. But when her cousin is abducted by a vicious Russian kidnapper, Zoe is left with only one option: to reveal herself. Unknown to even her closest friends, Zoe is not entirely human. She’s a werewolf and a daughter of the Fangborn, a secretive race of werewolves, vampires, and oracles embroiled in an ancient war against evil. To rescue her cousin, Zoe will be forced to renew family ties and pit her own supernatural abilities against the dark and nefarious foe. The hunt brings Zoe to the edge of her limits, and with the fate of humanity and the Fangborn in the balance, life will be decided by an artifact of world-ending power.
By: alethea aka frootjoos,
Blog: Read Now Sleep Later
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Today you can win a copy of indie author Tammy Blackwell
's book, Destiny Binds
, Book 1). OR if you have already read Destiny Binds
, you can have Time Mends
, Book 2) instead.
The winner also gets to choose whether they get a paperback or Kindle copy.
Why did I pick Tammy Blackwell
and her books to feature for the Indie Author Giveaway Hop?
- She's a librarian.
- Her books are laugh-out-loud funny!
- Look at those covers. There are some "real" publishers whose covers aren't as good as these!
Seriously, even if you don't win my giveaway, if you love YA paranormal romance (and laughter) you should give these a go. The third book is due out later this year! You can find out more about Tammy at her blog, www.misstammywrites.com
Remember to check out all the other great blogs on this hop for more chances to win!Rules:
Open internationally. To enter you must be over 13 years old or have the permission of a parent/guardian since you may be sharing personal info such as your email address. The winner will be chosen randomly via Rafflecopter. The winner gets to choose either a paperback or a Kindle copy of the book, Destiny Binds, by Tammy Blackwell. Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
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Title: The Half-Breed Vampire
Author: Theresa Meyers
Available in both print and eBook
May Contain Spoilers
Ignorant of his true heritage, half-breed Slade Donovan is fated to feel like an outsider among his clan. Until a mysterious woman arrives with the ability to unlock his secrets—and make him crave a future he never believed he could have….
As a game warden, Raina Ravenwing has only one mission in the Cascade Mountains: to hunt down a pack of rare wolves that is terrorizing her tribe. Her instant attraction to Slade is a distraction the beautiful wolf whisperer can’t afford, unless she agrees to let him help her. Yet working so closely together only intensifies their passion…even as the unfolding truth of Slade’s identity threatens everything Raina holds sacred.
The Half-Breed Vampire is the second of Theresa Meyers’ books that I have read. I found both stories to be fast-paced and fun reads, with likable characters that I wanted to see together. Though both couples seemed so wrong for each other at first, it quickly became apparent that they needed and completed each other. I love a story that makes me want the protagonists to overcome all obstacles and find their HEA. Slade and Raina have so many issues to work through, but with the support of their friends and a fierce sense of belonging, they manage to defeat their own objections about being together.
Slade is a vampire, and he’s been recruited to help game warden Raina Ravenwing track a bunch of wolves. The wolves are harassing her tribe, and Raina needs to study them to discover why. What she doesn’t know is that they are a pack of werewolves, and they are plotting a coming out party. Vampires made their presence known a year ago, and the weres don’t like that their hated enemies are enjoying the spotlight in the mortal world. As Slade assists Raina in her mission, he begins to discover some unsettling truths about himself, and the past he can’t remember.
First off, let me say how much I enjoyed Slade. He’s one of those characters who manages to pull off tough and tender at the same time. But only tender for the woman he’s slowly falling for. His fellow vampires and the embattled weres don’t get the benefit of his softer side. Only Raina brings out a fierce protectiveness, even when she’s a tight ass and totally rubs him the wrong way when they first meet. She is uptight and she adheres to the rules, which drives him nuts. It was fun to see them annoy each other, and then slowly begin to accept each other. As Raina comes to trust Slade, she lets down her guard, too, and they begin to form a highly effective team. I loved that. As the story progressed, I couldn’t imagine them not together, because they really did prop each other up and offer strengths when the other faltered. I believed in their teamwork and their togetherness, so much so that the flimsy plot and one-dimensional villain did not bother me.
I found the world of the Cascade Vampire Clan very interesting, and I want to know more about Achilles, Slade’s commanding officer. The vamps probably have it a little too easy, though, as they can teleport, materialize objects, and survive grievous injuries with only a few hours rest. They can even be out in
Stephanie Tyler is the best-selling author of several romantic suspense series, as well as a veteran series romance author. Her brand new paranormal romance series, The Eternal Wolf Clan, kicks of with Dire Needs. Stephanie recently dropped by the virtual offices for a chat – check out what she has to say!
[Manga Maniac Café] Describe yourself in 140 characters or less.
[Stephanie Tyler] Wife, Mother, Writer. Lover of Weimaraners & wolves. Sydney Croft co-author. Currently looking 4 sum1 2 go find Big Ang’s bar w/.
[Manga Maniac Café] Can you tell us a little about DIRE NEEDS and your new Eternal Wolf Clan series?
[Stephanie Tyler] The Eternal Wolf Clan series is all about the last surviving Dire Wolves and how they’re tasked with helping Weres and humans alike, saving them from evil – and sometimes, from themselves. Dire Needs is Rifter’s story – he’s the reluctant leader of the Dire Wolf pack and he believes he’ll never find a mate, as no female Dire wolves survived the extinction. But when he meets Gwen, a dying human doctor, he finds himself inexplicably drawn to her, and refuses to let her go.
[Manga Maniac Café] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?
[Stephanie Tyler] The concept came from several places – my daughter and her medical issues are always a source of inspiration for me, as odd as that may sound but if I tell you more I’ll give some of the story away. And the wolf thing, well, hey, I read Twilight and couldn’t understand why Bella wouldn’t pick the wolf! I mean, come on, the wolf was the obvious choice and he got screwed at the end of that series!
[Manga Maniac Café] What was the most challenging aspect of writing the story?
[Stephanie Tyler] Balancing the beginning of a series, talking about the world so the reader understood things without giving too much information. The first book is always hard when you’re introducing a large cast of characters, but it was necessary. These wolves work as a team so the reader needs to meet them all.
[Manga Maniac Café] What are three things Rifter would never have in his bedroom?
[Stephanie Tyler] A cat, a book on dream symbolism and a witch.
[Manga Maniac Café] Why do you think paranormal romance is so popular?
[Stephanie Tyler] I think for the same reason romance in general is always popular – it’s the ultimate escape. With the paranormal aspect, it just adds to that feeling of, this could never happen but OMG, what if it did? What if supernatural creatures really do exist around us? And I think most of us do tend to believe that there are things out there that go bump in the night – so it’s taking something that might have once scared us – or that still might – and making it exciting instead of frightening.
[Manga Maniac Café] Which of your characters is most like you?
[Stephanie Tyler] I’d have to say Isabelle, from Hard to Hold, the first in my Hold romantic suspense trilogy. She’s solitary, needs a lot of time alone but she’s not lonely, per se. I can relate to her. But I really never base my characters on me or anyone I know – they kind of arrive in my mind, fully formed, so it’s really one of those, any resemblance to any person living or dead is merely coincidence…
[Manga Maniac Café] What are your greatest creative influences?
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Title: Dire Needs
Series: The Eternal Wolf Clan #1
Author: Stephanie Tyler
May Contain Spoilers
Feared by humans and envied by werewolves, the Dire Wolves are immortal shifters, obeying no laws but their own bestial natures.
Rifter leads the pack, and his primal instincts have led him to claim Gwen, a woman seeking solace from the chronic pain that has wracked her body her entire life.
But whatever future Rifter and Gwen have is threatened by an enemy of both humanity and the Dire Wolves…
One of the most exciting aspects of jumping into new genres of fiction is discovering new-to-me authors. I have been reading more paranormal and urban fantasy, so I was curious when I came across Dire Needs. Stephanie Tyler has several best-selling romantic suspense series under her belt, as well as several series romances, so I was chomping at the bit to start reading this book.
I love werewolves; they are one of my favorite paranormal beings, and they are so much more exciting than vampires. To me, a good depiction of a werewolf captures that edgy, dangerous side, and shows how little control they can have over their inner beast. The more unpredictable the werewolf, the better. They should be always teetering on the brink of losing control over their human side, and in this respect, Dire Needs excelled. Rifter is the alpha over a small group of alpha dire wolves. He is one tough M-fer, and he is swift to mete out punishment over what’s left of his pack. The great Extinction wiped out most of the Dires. After they turned on humans, going on a murderous rampage, the Elders punished them harshly; every Dire was killed, except for Rifter and his small group of Dires. There are no females, so they have no hope of ever finding a mate. Oh, and they are immortal, so they have plenty of time to reflect on the sins of their ancestors while protecting the humans their kind once slaughter indiscriminately. These are some tortured heroes, without hope of ever finding a happy ever after.
When Rifter meets Gwen in a were bar, she latches onto him and takes him home. She is dying, and for one uninhibited night, she wants to let loose and revel in being alive. She wants to forget about the seizures that have invaded her life, that are pushing her to the brink of death. Her medications are no longer suppressing them and she has lost all hope for survival. If ever two unhappy people needed each other, it is Rifter and Gwen. Both without hope, both willing to throw caution to the wind to squeeze some kind of enjoyment from their hopeless existences. The chemistry between Rifter and Gwen sizzles. Rifter is at first reluctant to give in to his attraction for a human female, because he is so badass he’s afraid that he’ll hurt her. Always skating on the edge of violence, he’s even more dangerous during the full moon. The beast within demands that he give in to the animal inside, and so he finds it impossible to resist Gwen’s advances.
I enjoyed the interaction between Rifter and his Dires. They are always one word or gesture from tearing each other apart. Vice is my favorite, and I can hardly wait to see him achieve his HEA. Now, while I liked the Dires, I was o
Tess, in servitude to a rich, unfeeling matron, plans to escape once the Titanic lands in New York City. The night before boarding, she is bullied by a frightening man on the streets of Southhampton, being saved by an equally unsettling, but handsome, young man. As bad luck would have it, both were in first class on the gigantic ship’s maiden voyage. Without much fanfare, Tess finds herself in the middle of a werewolf supremacy battle, and in love with one of them, mysterious, handsome, rich Alec. Paralleling the amazing Titanic movie, these star-crossed lovers transverse 1st to 3rd class navigating the tense war between werewolves. Tess is saved from death, even her beautiful BLONDE locks, which the cover does not depict. (Old cover, new cover seen here is correct. But does she looks like a servant?) Though Alec and his nemesis lie with the dead for identification, can she be sure of their state? I can see another series brewing. Gothic/ supernatural/love fans will enjoy the book.
ENDERS' Rating: ****
Chinese Werewolves? Really?
A bit about myself before I start rambling away: I am from Singapore (born and grown-up), a medieval history major and a gardening fanatic. Likewise, I have two girls and I herd cats. I write SFF under my normal name and urban fantasy under a pseudonym. So, yes, I am a SFF writer from Singapore.
Why Chinese werewolves? Uhm, why not?
There are many urban fantasy series out there in the publishing world. Fantastic series, by the way – I love Charles de Lint’s complex worlds as well as grimmer ones like Jim Butcher’s and Simon Green’s. Yet, I found myself wanting more: a world I could resonate with and understand.
Cue 2009. I was pregnant with my second girl and brimming with ideas. I was already toying (and building a world!) with the concept of Chinese werewolves, set in Singapore. The main character would be a woman. She would be a mother with children. Her pack was central in her life. The wolves (Lang – Mandarin Chinese for ‘wolf’) followed the Chinese calendar, as much as their human counterparts. Twist: she was an ex-teenage vigilante. I have always wondered how Buffy would turn out, when she became an adult. What happens to heroines when they are past their ‘hero’ days?
So, come Nanowrimo 2009 – I was writing that novel.
I tried a few publishers before Wolf At The Door finally found a home at Lyrical Press. Then I started writing Obsidian Moon, Obsidian Eye – and suddenly, I have a series!
Southeast Asia is a perfect region for urban fantasy (and epic fantasy, by the way). Singapore is an island-state who prides herself as a cosmopolitan city with many races and cultures converging there for commerce and for personal reasons. Each race has its own unique mythology and legends – great source material for an urban fantasy different from the usual North American or British ones.
Take a walk on the wild side, Singapore-style. Mingle with the Myriad. Who knows, you might be walking beside a Lang.
Joyce Chng can be found at A Wolf’s Tale: http://awolfstale.wordpress.com where she blogs about things SFF, writing, YA and urban fantasy.
Her alter ego – J. Damask – has her author page at: http://www.lyricalpress.com/store/index.php?main_page=authors&authors_id=165&zenid=andqadld2v33eskrbb45mgc9s3
Her SFF and YA stories are easily downloadable from Smashwords:
She tweets at @jolantru
And the 3rd book in The World of Fae, THE WINGED FAE is available!
I'm working on another couple in the series, and also Tom's story of the wolf fame! :)
The Winged Fae
Ebook By Terry Spear
Published: Sep. 02, 2011
Category: Fiction » Young adult or teen » Romance
Category: Fiction » Young adult or teen » Fantasy
Serena, a royal member of the Mabara winged fae, has one goal in mind. Stop an impending marriage with a dark fae. As the fae are known to do, she stirs up trouble that she hopes will make her point and get her off the hook. Only nothing goes as she plans.
Niall, a royal member of the Denkar, aka the dark fae, is visiting South Padre Island when he catches a winged fae painting graffiti on a wall on the island claimed by his people. He is at once fascinated with the lovely girl and intrigued by her audacity, but as one of the Denkar, he must take her to task. Yet she's armed with a sleeping potion that makes his life intolerable. Between freeing her from his people's dungeon, her own tower, and fighting a knight in her honor, he wonders if he's lost his mind over one beautiful winged fae--when she's betrothed to his cousin!
Available at these fine stores:B & NAmazonAReSmashwords
In The World of Fae, I have also highlighted a location I love--South Padre Island, Texas. It's just as magical a place as Salado is to me.
What do you think of the trailer?
So where do you get your ideas from?
I know we all dread the question and, even though I know I’m going to be asked it, I still haven’t come up with a sensible answer. Philip Pullman (note name dropping ) told me and two hundred other people that he bought them at ‘Ideas R Us.’ I want to say that elves leave them on my desk in return for chocolate crumbs, but the truth is I often lack for any ideas at all.
I rarely think to myself: ‘I want to write a story about...’ That’s not how it works for me. I can’t wait for inspiration. I haven’t got the patience to wait for a bus I always set off walking so why would I wait for inspiration? Instead I start writing and hope the idea bus will catch me up.
Often an idea will emerge within a paragraph, sometimes within a first line. Most of the time characters, places, situations, rebound like snooker balls on a billiard table and I discover that they have all arranged themselves in such a way that I can pocket the lot. Sometimes sadly, that doesn’t happen and it takes a lot of work and a lot of miscuing before I get to that point, indeed to any point that might count as a desirable destination.
My new book (out today as it happens) is one of those latter books where the ideas didn’t all come together either by happenstance or by gargantuan subconscious effort; they resolutely refused to arrange themselves within potting distance of a plot resolution. ‘Wolf Blood’ was the result of more of my blood, sweat, tears and foot stamping than is usual. It was not high concept.
Give me credit. I tried to make it sound like it was (Oh - did I try!) ‘Roman werewolf meets warrior seeress with bloody consequences?’, ‘Roman werewolf meets Celtic firestarter?’ Nah. It really isn’t that kind of book. It is hard for me to sum up because it isn’t one big idea, delivered neatly packaged by elves on a sugar high, but lots of little ones, colliding tangentially until somehow the game got resolved. ( I hesitate to say won.)
I do not give good elevator pitch. I don’t work like that. I can’t get to the point, the point of the book until after I’ve written it and sometimes not even then.
What I’ve learned is that you don’t need a big idea to write a novel, but you do need the confidence to carry on regardless, in the hope that one will arrive. Someday, eventually, it probably will.
That small (and possibly inconsequential) message of hope to those lost in plot pits is the point of this blog.
Nightshade (Witches' War, #1), by Andrea Cremer on GoodreadsRelease Date:
October 19th, 2010Age Group:
Overall: 4 MonkeysChallenge: 100 Books in a Year Read in May 2011Summary from Goodreads:
Categories: Paranormal, Werewolves, Magic, Romance
Calla Tor has always known her destiny: after graduating from the Mountain School, she'll be the mate of sexy alpha wolf Ren Laroche and fight with him, side by side, ruling their pack and guarding sacred sites for the Keepers.
But when she violates her masters' laws by saving a beautiful human boy out for a hike, Calla begins to question her fate, her existence, and the very essence of the world she has known. By following her heart, she might lose everything— including her own life. Is forbidden love worth the ultimate sacrifice?
When this book came out last year, everyone was talking about it. Everyone. But since it's about werewolves, I wasn't very intrigued, despite the 5-star-reviews. Now that I've read it, I can honestly say that I really liked it. Not loved, but liked.
Cremer does a very good job with her characters, but the beginning of the book was a little confusing to me. I don't know if it was because I listened to the audiobook and maybe missed something, but at first I didn't know if the humans knew about the nature of the pack, and were afraid because of that, or if they were ignorant of it, and were scared of them because of how the pack acted. It took me a long while to get that they didn't, in fact, know their classmates were wolves. (Maybe this happened only to me, or maybe to someone else too, I don't know.)
And there were other things that felt a bit forced, clichéd too. Like the incident in Haldis Cavern that led to... that thing you know if you read the book. It was way too obvious to me. I would have liked -maybe, loved- this book more if that hadn't happened.
What I did love -and the reason I'm giving this 4 stars- was the characterisation of the different characters. There were like ten wolves in Calla's pack, and all of them had a different and unique personality, which was brilliantly written. So, congrats Andrea for that!
Bryn and Ansel were terribly sweet! And the loyalty of the pack towards their alphas was great too. They may had had differences with them, but the pack certainly had no doubts when it came to protecting them.
I loved how Cremer wove the wolves' history with magic! And I cannot wait to learn more about Shay's place in all of this!
Shay was great. Romantic, strong, a bit shy... he was a brilliant char
Reading level: Ages 9-12
Mass Market Paperback: 160 pages
Publisher: Scholastic Paperbacks (October 1, 2009)
Goosebumps Official Site: http://www.scholastic.com/goosebumps/
Buy the Book: Amazon
There is something weird happening in Fever Swamp. Something really horrible. It started with the strange howling at night. Then there was the rabbit, torn to shreds. Everyone thinks Grady's new dog is responsible. After all, he looks just like a wolf. And he seems a little on the wild side.
But Grady knows his dog is just a regular old dog. And most dogs don't howl at the moon. Or disappear at midnight. Or change into terrifying creatures when the moon is full.
Or do they?
This is my second Goosebumps book and I really liked them both, but I liked this one SO much more than the other.
What's it about?
This one is about how Grady and his family move to Florida because his mom and dad are scientists. His dad caught some swamp deer and so he took them there to experiment and see if they could survive in the swamp. Grady decides to explore the swamp with his sister, Emily, and while they were there, they were looking around and found a bog. As they went farther in, they discovered a small, old hut where a hunched man lived. When he opened his mouth, he had really sharp teeth. They ran away as fast as they could, but ended up getting lost. They told their parents about the Swamp Hermit, but their parents said it was nothing to worry about. When Grady started hearing howls and scratches at night, during the full moon, he began to suspect that the hermit might be a werewolf. But things aren't always what they seem, and Grady (and I) were very surprised by the outcome!
What I thought:
I LOVED THIS BOOK!! My favorite character was Grady. He's the main character and I learned the most about him. I liked how this book was a mystery, and it was really dangerous for Grady. I love how everything was connected and how it all came together in the end. The book was scary for the characters, but it didn't scare me. My sister's friend thinks these books are too gross and scary, but I really like them! So, maybe these books aren't good for girls!! These books are pretty easy to read, and I like that because I got through it really quickly. I'll be reading more of these books!
Parents: This book has no bad language, but it can be a little scary and gross.
0 Comments on The Werewolf of Fever Swamp (Goosebumps) by R.L. Stine as of 1/1/1900
By: Mary Cunningham
Blog: Cynthia's Attic Blog
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In 2004, fresh off the excitement of my first 2-book publishing contract for Cynthia’s Attic, I began establishing an online presence at my publisher’s request, uh…insistence.
One of my first tasks was to explore author websites and chat groups. Believe it or not, I didn’t find one blog! Blogging had not reached the manic stage of today, with most bloggers simply writing online journals; but networking sites were hot.
I joined a children’s chat group in order to schmooze with other young reader (‘Tween) authors and immediately related to one particular author. Both of us had first-time multi-book contracts, the idea for our series’ sprang from recurring dreams, and our stories were fantasy/fiction. A perfect networking match.
We chatted, online, for several months, and then lost touch. I can’t quite remember why, but I’d guess it was because I was in the middle of editing my first book, The Missing Locket, deadlines approached, and time management was crucial. I’m sure it had nothing to do with Stephanie Meyer’s schedule. Wonder what ever happened to her? I do hope she had some success with her series about…vampires, I think.
Speaking of vampires, I was recently asked why I chose to write books for ‘Tweens that are lighter; vampire-less, werewolf-less, zombie-less…you get the drift. I can’t really say. It just happened. Cynthia’s Attic does delve into magic and spells and such, but the scariest monster, so far, is Stony, a rock monster who attacks twelve-year-old Gus, in an enchanted garden in The Magician’s Castle. Other than that, a nasty, bad-breathed clown, a sinister stranger on horseback and a friendly alligator are as menacing as Cynthia’s Attic gets.
Until Book # 5.
Yes, I’m crumbling. In the next book (title TBD), a werewolf pops into the lives of best friends, Cynthia and Gus. Not your typical werewolf, mind you…a more congenial, helpful type, but a werewolf to be sure. Stay tuned!
Cynthia's Attic Series
The Missing Locket
The Magic Medallion
Curse of the Bayou
The Magician's Castle
Blurb: The Magician’s Castle
In trying to escape the boring summer of 1964, the adventurous twelve-year-old girls discover a trunk in Cynthia’s attic that her family has possessed for three generations.
Cynthia’s Attic: The Magician’s Castle (Book Four): Sebastien the Great, a magician whose fiancée, Kathryn, disappears through the magic trunk, vows revenge. If Cynthia and Gus don't find a missing page from the “Book of Spells,” Cynthia’s family could face financial and personal ruin.
The twelve-year-old best friends walk through miles of tree tunnels, stumble on an enchanted garden ruled by a cranky rock monster, and receive clues from an eccentric fairy named Eloise Elloway. They get the surprise of their lives when they're sent fifty years into the future, have a shocking encounter with another set of best friends, and gather a fresh set of clues that could lead to breaking the magician’s spell.
Mary Cunningham Books
YouTube code for video: Cynthia’s Attic Series
I’ve always liked history - reading historical novels, studying it ( in moderation) and now writing it ( in slightly modified form.)I’m not a real historian - not remotely - and even when I studied it, I liked the ‘what if’ questions much more than the facts. I’m not that keen on facts to be honest. They are generally inconvenient and gritty; lumps in the smooth cake mix of my imaginary confections. Fortunately I write historical fantasy or sometimes alternate history, (depending on who is writing my book blurb) so you would think I could discard them at will. I can’t. Unfortunately, it’s the grittiness of fact that keeps my fiction grounded and authentic and I am just as bound to the damn things as if I were writing real history.
This might be mad. I mean if a story is going to feature were wolves or magic perhaps angsting about the exact type of helmet a soldier might wear is a little neurotic. But I do angst about that. I am currently battling a major panic that my current story, set in AD 50, has my main character ( a seeress) too ignorant of battles down south to be believable. (She’s a seeress, Nicky, she can see the future she’s never going to be ‘believable’.) I am also worried that her companions would be wearing lorica segmentata rather than, the altogether more convenient, mail shirts. I pore over maps to try to work out how far my heroes could realistically cover in a day and track down details of the kind of provisions you might be expected to find in a first century Roman’s pack in mid winter. OK one of the Romans then turns into a wolf, but at least he eats the right kind of food.
I have of course rationalised this absurd incongruity - an obsession with this small stuff and a tendency to rewrite the really big stuff - the laws of physics for example: I believe that when I am asking readers to suspend disbelief and accept the impossible, it helps to go the extra ( Roman) mile to establish credibility, to build a story world that is grounded in verifiable truths. I also believe that I cannot write any other way. My perfectionist streak, which is otherwise indiscernible to the naked eye, will not allow me to just make everything up.
I am occasionally urged to write stories set in other times and places and I wonder if the people doing the urging appreciate how much time is involved in researching a book. I don’t particularly like research, I don’t get lost in it, I do it with a clear purpose in mind and only cope with it at all by choosing periods about which little concrete is known so that even being picky about the facts leaves me vast amounts of interpretive wriggle room. I don’t think I could write a story set in well documented periods because I would be paralysed by the vastness of what I don’t know.
I have tremendous admiration for people who write real historical novels, who take me to another place that is as tangibly foreign and bizarre as the past would have been.The past is not like the present without lycra and with poorer hygiene, it should feel like another planet not just another country.
For me the research is worth while when one small discovery brings that strangeness home, because fact is stranger than even fantasy fiction and nothing I can write can ever do justice to real history. I love it that the Romans had a tradition of were-wolf stories and that the condition of my poor benighted character was understood. In honour of that delightful fact my new book is called ‘Versipellum’, skin changer, or at least it will be when
By: Becky Laney
Blog: Becky's Book Reviews
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Sisters Red. Jackson Pearce. 2010. June 2010. Little, Brown. 328 pages.
He's following me.
Scarlett and Rosie are sisters with more than a few secrets. Sisters with a (relatively) unique mission in life. To fight, fight, fight. To rid the world--well, maybe not the whole world, but their community at least--of Fenris (werewolves). You might say their introduction to this real world--the world of monsters--was quite brutal, both girls witnessed the death of their grandmother--Oma March--and this attack left Scarlett scarred inside and out. Joining them in their mission is a young guy (one that Rosie finds oh-so-dreamy), Silas. He comes from a long line of woodsmen.
But though these three fight together as a team--and are quite close in many ways--some things are changing, for better or worse. Silas and Rosie, well, they are changing. And Scarlett may have to deal with that.
I liked having both Rosie and Scarlett as narrators. When I was reading Rosie's chapters, I felt connected with her. I loved her. I could completely sympathize with her. See things from her perspective, see her side of things. Her need for her life to be more than just fighting, to be more than just battling evil. Her love for Silas. When I was reading Scarlett's chapters, I felt connected with her. I could see things from her side. Her passion--her obsession--to do anything and everything to protect people from the Fenris threat. The world may not know it's in danger--but for Scarlett, it's all too real. She can't forget for a moment, for a day, that she has a responsibility to protect others. She's a driven young woman, strong and powerful in many ways. And I have to respect that. Scarlett's choices are her own. Rosie's choices are her own. These two sisters love each other deeply, need each other deeply. But they want (and need) different things from life.
I thought Sisters Red was well-written. I would definitely recommend this one.
What do you think of the cover? I really liked this one. Though I must admit (a bit sheepishly) that it took me a few days to see the wolf on the cover!
Other reviews: A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy, Lauren's Crammed Bookshelf, Sarah's Random Musings, Tales of the Ravenous Reader, I Just Wanna Sit Here And Read, Extreme Reader, Bookworming in the 21st Century,
© Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews
Soulless by Gail Carriger. 2009. Orbit. 384 pages.
Miss Alexia Tarabotti was not enjoying her evening. Private balls were never more than middling amusements for spinsters, and Miss Tarabotti was not the kind of spinster who could garner even that much pleasure from the event. To put the pudding in the puff: she had retreated to the library, her favorite sanctuary in any house, only to happen upon an unexpected vampire.
I wanted to love this one. I did. I wanted to feel something close to love. But I didn't. That's not to say I thought it was awful--it wasn't. I think the very things that I didn't enjoy will be the very things that other readers will love most.
Soullless and I got off to a good start. I loved the early scenes in the novel: Alexia in the library confronting the vampire, Alexia dealing with the aftermath of the vampire's death, Alexia battling it out verbally with Lord Maccon. I enjoyed the world-building of the first hundred pages--seeing how Alexia fit in (and didn't quite) with London society, and not just Alexia, but how vampires and werewolves fit into London society. I loved the writing too. There were places in the text where I felt certain that this would be a book I loved.
Alexia doesn't quite fit in with the mortals or the supernaturals. She's soulless; her soullessness neutralizes the "superpowers" of vampires and werewolves. (Her touch can take away a vampires fangs, or change the werewolf back into human form. Temporarily of course.)
There is a mystery to be solved. There is danger too. But for me this danger, this threat, almost takes a backseat to the romance. Because a little over hundred pages Soulless turns into a romance book. You know, a romance book.
For readers who love romance novels, for readers who really love romance novels--especially paranormal romances--there is much to love in Soulless. And this new direction will probably be a very welcome one. You may even think, finally, this story is getting somewhere. It's about time.
It becomes more about how long can Alexia keep her hands off a certain someone--or a certain someone keep his hands off her--than anything else.
After Alexia is caught in a compromising situation, it becomes the oh-so-familiar story of:
Well, I don't want to force you to marry me against your will.
You're not forcing me to marry you.
No, you're just saying that, you don't really want to marry me.
Yes, I do.
No, you don't.
Yes, I do.
No, you don't. I'm not beautiful enough.
Yes, you are.
No, I'm not...
And, for me, once it goes there...it doesn't really matter that Alexia has fallen for a supernatural. Soulless could be one of a hundred romances. Not that Lord Maccon is like every other hero in a romance novel, he's not. He's Scottish. (A plus in my books). And he's a werewolf. (I'm indifferent to werewolves, so no plus for me. But hey, for some readers, maybe this appeals?) And Alexia isn't quite your typical heroine. She is brave and fierce in some ways. But why does she have to be so dow
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You know, I've read about 20 books since the last time I did a full-fledged review post. The list is here. I almost feel like I can't go back and review them all because the sheer volume of catching-up-to-do makes me want to quit reading and make knitting my one and only hobby. (Just kidding. I love knitting, but I don't think I could ever actually quit reading. Or meat-eating. Or cookies.)
So, I'll give you a quick one on my latest book, and then pick up from there.
Sisters Red by Jackson PearceCategory:
Publication date: June 7th, 2010 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
ISBN 10/13: 0316068683 / 9780316068680
Young Adult Paranormal FantasyFormat:
Wolves, Sisters, Family, Secrets, Action/Adventure, Romance
Find the synopsis on goodreads.com.How I found out about this book:
Started following Jackson Pearce
Wolves, weapons, and an eye-patch-wearing heroine. Who can stay away?My review:
I've been burned by a lot of pretty covers with nothing between the boards but a flaccid romance, an over-reaching plot and wispy, if at all present, themes. So when Sisters Red
hit the shelf I borrowed it and let it sit around for a week before I made a commitment to read a few pages. I mean, look at that cover! Eye candy, but what's in it?
By page 22 I had made a buying decision, returned my loaner copy, and brought my very own book home. By page 77 I had forgotten I had a headache. By page 259 I was biting the nails off the hand that wasn't holding the book. Trust me, this one's a keeper--the insides as beautiful as the outside. Meaty plot, scorching-hot romance, and fiesty female protagonists make Sisters Red
The imagery, intricacy, and the subtle, but not-so-subtle construction of this story made me wish I had written it. Come on: Scarlett, scarred, inside and out, trying to shelter her little sister and make her grow up at the same time. Rosie, trying to be brave, training to hunt, trying to be just like Scarlett, and still wondering who she would be without the wolves. Silas, cut off from his family, wedged between two lovely, if bloodthirsty girls--well, you can see where this is going? Or can you?
I loved the trio of main characters, the tension between sisters and would-be-lovers, the truly terrifying natures of the evil creatures they hunt (and strangely more unsettling, the real-world evils that they don't touch). This was a well-balanced, expertly conceived YA novel, and the first to make it to my Top Ten of 2010 list.
I have more to say, but it's almost 2 am and you're going to read it anyway, aren't you? For more comments, visit my Goodreads.com review
. Sisters Red
is Jackson Pearce's second novel.
Find the author at http://jacksonpearce.com
, on Twitter @jacksonpearce
I found Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce during one of my bookstore browses — pleasantly surprised that I found it out in the wild before the actual pub date. I already knew that it was a retelling of “Little Red Riding Hood” — and after reading the prologue in the bookstore, I was hooked. Scary, suspenseful, and edgy — a great combination for a fabulous read.
The story centers around two sisters. Brooding Scarlett who saved her sister’s life when a murderous Fenris (aka werewolf) invaded their grandmother’s house. She was horribly disfigured and now has made it her mission to kill every Fenris she can. Loyal Rosie is grateful for her sister’s sacrifice and joins in the hunt to lure and kill the Fenris despite that she yearns for a normal life.
I love how Jackson Pearce portrays the sisters. Scarlett was my favorite — she knows her role and she is laser-focused on killing the Fenris because she knows first hand of their dangerous cruelty. Make no mistake about the Fenris — they are ruthless, deadly, and will feast on innocent lives if left unchecked. Younger sister Rosie is fiercely loyal but she is also falling in love with the woodsman’s son who’s returned from the West Coast. Rosie is also realizing that there could be more to life than hunting the Fenris.
I also really loved that the story is set in rural Georgia and later in midtown Atlanta. I recognized several of the locations, which are not far from my office. It was great seeing Atlanta being almost another character in this novel.
This book is filled with dramatic action scenes and suspense. As a writer, there is a lot to learn from the structure. I enjoyed this retelling a lot and I will probably never look at a red cape the same way again.
Curse of the Wolf Girl
by Martin Millar
Curse of the Wolf Girl is the sequel to Lonely Werewolf Girl. Kalix, the depressed and laudanum addicted werewolf girl is now attending a remedial college, along with the unbearably perky young fire elemental, Vex. Both Kalix and Vex are living with the humans Daniel and Moonglow. Daniel still pines with unrequited love for Moonglow, who can't reciprocate (and isn't even sure she would if she could) because of the curse placed on them by fire elemental Queen Malveria, in payment for saving Kalix's life. Malveria has her own problems, which include pressure by her ministers to produce an heir, and a desperate need for a pair of limited edition, exclusive designer shoes.
The book is a little slow at first; it takes about 50 pages to really get rolling. Then a murder, an obsessed werewolf hunter, and a plot for revenge by Princess Kabechetka kick the book into high gear. There's a lot at stake here: the imperial succession of two fire elemental kingdoms, the success of an opera event, the love lives of the MacRinnalch werewolves, and the secret of long-lasting lip color.
Curse of the Wolf Girl is just as outrageously enjoyable as Lonely Werewolf Girl. In his trademark style, Millar sets a dizzying array of characters and situations into play like a deranged game-master, then proceeds to bring them together through a series of outrageous coincidences and unlikely connections. It's quite a ride, and great fun. The book is laugh-out-loud hilarious, but it also has its serious side, too. Kalix's anxiety and panic attacks are portrayed with sensitivity and realism, and there are several heart-wrenching scenes.
Curse of the Wolf Girl will be published on August 15, 2010.
FTC required disclosure: Review copy provided by the publisher to enable me to write this review. The Amazon.com links above are Amazon Associate links, and I earn a very small percentage of any sales made through the links. Neither of these things influenced my review.
Never Cry Werewolf Heather Davis
After getting caught out after curfew, Shelby's evil stepmother sends her off the brat camp-- where the children of the wealthy go to fix their problems, both real and imagined. Shelby thinks her stepmother is just out to get her, but she does have some issues with rules and knows she needs to shape up, or things are about to get a whole lots worse. Then she meets Austin, the son of a notorious rock star. Austin's a werewolf who needs her help. Austin wants her to trust him. The only problem is? Trusting cute guys with outlandish stories is how she ended up in this mess in the first place and Shelby doesn't want to keep repeating her mistakes over and over again...
A quick and fun read, here's why I liked this even though I'm starting to burn out on paranormal romance: Austin's dark and mysterious (with a British accent!) but he's not that moody and where he looks like a bad boy, he's not. He's just a lonely kid with a huge secret that would ruin his family if the press ever found out. Shelby's made mistakes and does some stupid stuff, but she's not weak-willed and spineless. Also, while the attraction between then is pretty instantaneous, it's not love at first site. More like "dude, this guy is seriously hot and I want to make out with him" that then grows into something deeper and more meaningful. I also really liked Shelby's growth. At the beginning, everything is all her stepmother's fault. Through the book she realizes that while her stepmother is pretty evil, Shelby still needs to take responsibility for her actions. I also like how, at the end, not everything's resolved. I think there could be a sequel here, there are some unfinished things and hints that would make a good second book, but there doesn't need to be one.
Book Provided by... my local library
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Chloe, a fifteen-year-old necromancer, balances trying to understand her relationship with Derek, a werewolf, and his brother Simon, a sorcerer, while she tries to enter the nefarious lair of the Edison Group to rescue her aunt Lauren and friend, Rachelle. All this to wrap up in the final novel of the Darkest Powers trilogy! Adult supernaturals taught the teens how to manage their powers and search for a way to bring down Edison Group. One of my students torn the book away from me to devour it, her pulse already accelerating. She said it was her favorite of the three because everything was tied together, and there was even more action in the third book. The story still seems purposefully unfinished. Wait until I tell her a companion series is being released in April.
ENDERS' Rating: ****
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How often can you meet authors who write about outer space, werewolves, dystopian societies, fairies, and reincarnation in the same event?
The Breathless Reads tour featured Beth Revis, Andrea Cremer, Ally Condie, Brenna Yovanoff, and Kirsten Miller.
We caught up with the five authors for advice on writing, getting published, and more. Highlights from the interview follows below.
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