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1. Spotlight and Giveaway: Pocket Star Gives You Rock Stars, Vampires, and Geeks

This week Pocket Star-E has rock stars, geeks, and vampires to choose from as their latest digital releases hit stores.  I have excerpts to share from each of the new titles, as well as a giveaway for each book! Check out Pocket Star’s online community at XOXO After Dark.

HOW TO REPRIMAND YOUR ROCK STAR by Mina Vaughn

SUMMARY:

In this fun and saucy romance novel, all-star college basketball player Thea dominates on the courts—and off—with a rock star who is determined to win her over.

Thea is a star basketball player at UConn on track to be Rookie of the Year. That is, if she can stay focused on the game. Lately that hasn’t been going so well, as her knee has been bothering her. But that’s not the only thing on her mind…

Ever since rock star Keaton Lowe surprised her in the girl’s locker room, Thea can’t stop thinking about him. On top of his status and enticing ways, he seems to know everything about her. But some of his actions cross the line, and Keaton needs to be punished. Will Thea keep her head in the game, or get distracted by her other favorite pastime—reprimanding her rock star?

EXCERPT:

The locker room welcomed me with the smell of freshly washed uniforms and leather workout equipment. The familiar scents tickled my nose and I envisioned my locker room back home. I remembered giving speeches to my team, rallying them against our foes. I felt like a general

sometimes. Here, I just listened. Sure, I liked everyone, but I really wished I could just be myself. I rolled my stiff shoulders and decided that tape wasn’t all I needed—a long hot shower would do my body a world of good. And I didn’t want to let the guards have the satisfaction of getting me out of their hair so soon.

I dropped my clothes at the threshold of the locker room and the adjoining shower room. I was never weirded-out by the team showering together. It was what athletes did. When you’re there, making jokes under the steaming water, splashing and commiserating, it was almost better that you were naked. It showed your trust. The team saw you at your most vulnerable. I wanted them to know they could trust me, so, therefore, I let them see my boobs. Common sense. It did kind of make me sad that even though we’d been playing together since September, I couldn’t really call many of them my friends. Except for my roommate, Callie.

The weirdest thing was the only person I had met besides Callie that I really felt a connection to was the team’s landlord, whom they had nicknamed the Red Devil. Her real name is Scarlett. I had actually never spoken to her, but something about her drew me in. She was intimidating as

hell—tall like us basketball folk, flaming-red curls that hung to her waist, and heels that could kill small animals that skittered into their path. The team hated her strict curfews and neat- freakery. I liked her. Powerful women were cool, and it pissed me off when they were labeled “bitches” just because they knew what they wanted. Plus, I liked that she owned a little new-age shop in town that, rumor has it, has a secret back room. So yeah, Scarlett was cool. Scary, but cool.

I made my way across the white tile floor, dodging cold puddles, and cranked my lucky showerhead number thirteen to a scorching blast. Every time I had picked this one, we won, so I never showered anywhere else. Except at home—my real home, that is. I stood under the scalding deluge and tipped my head up to feel the hot spray in my mouth. I had to

singe off the thin layer of failure from last night’s game. I grabbed a loofah and scrubbed my skin to a near polish. Rolling my shoulders, I took a squirt of the lavender-scented shampoo and worked it into my long curls.

Sighing, I let my naked back slouch against the cold tiles as I worked my scalp. My ex, Ty, had loved giving me massages. But that was all he wanted, touching. College was supposed to be a fantastic dating scene, but all I ever got were guys who wanted me for the wrong reasons. Boys

who were lazy and easy. Not that I had an ideal guy in mind, but I just wanted to work for it. I wanted the hunt. Lamenting my permanently single status, I watched the last few soap bubbles drop from my hair to the floor. Absentmindedly, I turned and reached for my towel and found

nothing. I glanced around the empty room. Always, without fail, I’d put my towel within arm’s reach of my lucky showerhead. How could I forget that today? I really was off my game on several levels. Padding wetly, dripping like a mermaid, I made my way toward the locker room’s entryway where my clothes sat.

Only, my clothes weren’t there either.

I took a tentative step into the locker room and turned toward my locker, where at least a practice uniform would be waiting for me. Or maybe I left my clothes there. Get your head together, Thea.

Every time I saw that locker, I’d chuckle. My obnoxious Greek last name was too long to fit on the nameplate, or my jersey for that matter, so instead of reading PAPASTATHOPOULOS, it just said PAPAS. That’s why the team had taken to calling me “Pops.”

But instead of seeing my truncated name or a pile of clothes, I saw a guy.

Link continuing the excerpt to XOXOAfterDark:

http://xoxoafterdark.com/2014/07/14/pocket-star-e-nights-reprimand-rock-star-mina-vaughn/?mcd=z_140721_RockVaughn_PSEN

US residents only, please

a Rafflecopter giveaway

————-

ATTACK THE GEEK by Michael R. Underwood

SUMMARY:

A side-quest novella in the bestselling Geekomancy urban fantasy series—when D&D-style adventures go from the tabletop to real life, look out!

Ree Reyes, urban fantasista and Geekomancer extraordinaire, is working her regular drink-slinger shift at Grognard’s bar-and-gaming salon when everything goes wrong. The assorted magic wielders of the city’s underground have come to test their battle skills via RPGs like D&D, V:TES, White Wolf, and the like. All the usuals are there: her ex-mentor Eastwood, Drake (the man-out-of-time adventurer), and, of course, Grognard himself (her boss and a brewer of beer that act as magic potions). However, it’s the presence of these and other “usuals” that makes all the trouble. For, a nemesis from Eastwood and Ree’s past decides to finally take her revenge not just on those two, but on every self-styled “hero” in the city who happens to have crossed her at one point or another. When wave after wave of monsters besiege Grogrnard’s store, if Ree & Co. are going to survive, they’re going to have to work together. And avoid the minotaur. That’s always a good rule of thumb.

EXCERPT:

The mass of gnomes looked like a beehive. They were stacked on top of one another, falling and scrambling over one another to get to the group.

Uncle Joe raised several cards over his head, tore them with a whoop, and a wave of fire pushed forward, enveloping the gnomes. They screamed and scuttled backward, and the group stepped forward into the sewer. Eastwood tossed out a handful of industrial-grade glow sticks, which filled the tunnel with yellow light.

Ree did her best Steve Ditko Spidey-fingers, unleashing a net of webbing that pinned a handful of gnomes to the far wall. She jumped forward and swung up, the blue blade strobing across her vision. She caught two of the gnomes, but several more leapt out of the way. As soon as her blade swung past, more of the miniature monsters scuttled forward. Their nails clicked on the concrete floor with the strange familiarity of her golden retriever, Booster, trying to get purchase in the linoleum kitchen back at her dad’s place.

She let loose another dose of webbing, then jumped and stuck to the ceiling, leaving her sword arm free to continue swinging.

Ree’s spider-shtick attracted a dozen of the gnomes’ attention as they tried to climb over one another to get to her. Even with their considerable ups, they fell short, putting them just in range of her lightsaber.

From her vantage point, she saw the rest of the group as they fought, each in their own style.

Out front, Grognard tore through the creatures, swinging the glaive-guisarme around as easily as a broom at closing time.

Talon covered Grognard’s back, following his movements and keeping the gnomes from sneaking through legs and flanking the group as they formed a semicircle out from the door. She fought with practiced efficiency, the longsword always striking and blocking at once as her hands moved in concert, levering the pommel around for maximum precision.

On the other side of the group, Eastwood fought with lightsaber and blaster in perfect harmony, managing not to chop his hand off even as he wove and dove through the crowd at a breakneck pace. He was a jerk sometimes, but he’d earned his Badass bona fides years ago. Gnomes jumped at him by the dozen, like they’d all decided he was the most delicious dish on the menu.

Drake stood back, picking his targets quickly but deliberately, squeezing off shots that thinned the herd rushing at Eastwood.

Wickham hugged the side of the door, taking shots where she could. She wasn’t comfortable in a fight, but she’d logged plenty of practice time somewhere—range or arcade—so her shots connected more often than not. Trouble was, her peashooter only seemed to stun the gnomes.

A musty wind hit her cheek, and Ree looked down to see that the gnomes clustered beneath her had started to get smart. Two gnomes held their hands together, boosting up the others. Ree wanted to know where they’d picked up cheerleading techniques, but that would have to wait. She flattened against the ceiling to avoid a tall gnome’s swipe, which fell just inches short.

The magical energy from Spider-Man was waning, as she’d only gotten a quick dose of the film. Rather than spending the energy on another burst of webbing, she cut the arm off the next gnome that got a boost. The gnome crashed into its accomplices, which would scatter them for a bit. Ree pulled out her phaser and zapped a few more, then turned and dropped one that had managed to Xenomorph its way along the ceiling, just a few feet from Wickham’s head.

The sizzling gnome fell to the sewer ledge in a heap at Wickham’s feet, and the model looked up to Ree, who saluted.

“That’s two you owe me,” Ree said with a grin, then turned back to her cheerleader gnomes. She picked off the two boosters, hoping that they were the bearded brains of the operation. If Wickham responded, the sound was lost in the din. Gloating was hard to do when you were dead, so she could wait.

“How you feeling, boss?” Ree asked, her voice echoing in the sewer over the sound of clanging metal, exertion, and snarling.

“They don’t seem to be running out of friends! Somebody pour on the AoE!” he called.

“On it!” Uncle Joe flipped through a card binder, then pulled out several cards, which he tore in half and then threw, Gambit-style. The card shreds flew true, exploding on impact. The blasts engulfed a dozen gnomes, but as the dust settled, more had filled the space, hopping over their charred compatriots.

“I didn’t think there were that many in the whole city!” Ree said.

“Recent surveys put their numbers at under a hundred. We’ve seen at least twice that,” Drake answered, his voice level even as his firing routine had become more harried. He stopped as one of the crystals in his aetheric rifle went dark, and cleared the gem, replacing it with a ruby red one that Ree knew as his flamethrower mode.

“Clear!” Drake called, and Talon cycled right, opening up a space. The inventor knelt forward and the rifle belched a cone of flame that took another cluster of the gnomes. The repeated blasts turned the sewer into a sauna, including the concrete she held on to with Spider-fu. It was either burn her ass off or lose the higher ground, so she dropped from the ceiling, cleaving through several gnomes as she landed.

When she hit the concrete pathway near the group, the sewer shook.

“Someone needs to lay off the lagers,” Wickham said.

“That wasn’t her,” Grognard said, looking down the tunnel.

A roar shook the walls of the sewer, making it very apparent that the gnomes were no longer the worst of their problems. If possible, the smell in the tunnel got worse.

That’s never a good sign. In her nine months of hero-ing, she’d noticed a clear correlation between “smells bad” and “likes to snack on humans and suck the marrow from their bones nom nom nom” types of creatures.

“Boss?” Ree asked, closing ranks with Drake between one of the adventurer’s bursts of flame. The gnomes on the roar side of the tunnel parted. Even worse sign.

Grognard buried the head of his blade in a gnome’s shoulder, the butt of the haft held down with his foot. Then he used the weapon like a lever, slamming four gnomes into the wall with one heave. “Anyone got a land mine?” he asked.

“Let me check!” Uncle Joe said, flipping through his binder. “I just had a big order for a Direct Damage deck, haven’t had a chance to restock.”

A second roar gave way to the sound of charging and splashing sewage. The gnomes on the far side vanished into the shadows.

On one hand, it gave them a breather. On the other hand . . . “Faster would be better!” Ree said, quoting her favorite space cowboy.

Eastwood holstered his blaster and leveled his Green Lantern ring at the right side of the tunnel. Ree pointed her blaster in the same direction. The group formed their best imitation of a pike formation, reinforcing their position in the direction of the oncoming . . .

. . . Minotaur.

Really? Just what I fuckin’ need.

Link continuing the excerpt to XOXO After Dark:

http://xoxoafterdark.com/2014/07/14/pocket-star-e-nights-attack-geek-mike-underwood/?mcd=z_140721_AttackGeek_PSEN

US residents only, please

a Rafflecopter giveaway

—————

DRIVING MR. DEAD by Molly Harper

SUMMARY:

A standalone novella introducing a new side of Half Moon Hollow—featuring a freewheeling courier and the stuffy vampire she has to transport.

Miranda Puckett has failed at every job she’s ever had. Her mother just wants her to come home, join the family law firm, and settle down with Jason, the perfect lawyer boyfriend. But when Jason turns out to be a lying cheater, Miranda seizes on a job that gets her out of town: long-distance vampire transportation. Her first assignment is to drive vampire Collin Sutherland from Washington to sleepy Half Moon Hollow without incident—no small feat for a woman whom trouble seems to follow like a faithful hound dog! And she has to do it without letting her passenger—the most persnickety, stuffy, devastatingly handsome vamp she’s ever met—drive her crazy. As she and Collin find disaster on the roads, they also find an undeniable spark between them. Could Miranda have found the perfect job and the perfect guy for her?

EXCERPT:

I was used to far more pleasant interactions with vampires. I’d worked as a waitress at a vampire bar called Bite for six months. The nonbreathing clients were a lot friendlier than those with pulses, and they left better tips. And in the days after I’d accepted the assignment, Iris, an old high-school classmate, had had me do a series of test runs, ferrying local cross-country to drive her friend Jane from Half-Moon Hollow to Nashville for a booksellers convention. Jane had been downright sweet, keeping me entertained on the brief drive through Tennessee with her absurd life story. None of these experiences had prepared me for Mr. Sutherland’s hostile, monosyllabic reception.

In his absence, I saw that the house was comfortable and quaint. The open floor plan gave visual access to nearly everything, including the spectacular view afforded by the back windows. Rough-hewn polished pine stairs led to a bedroom loft. Comfy-looking leather chairs the color of melting caramel flanked a river-stone fireplace. Bookshelves stocked with leather-bound editions stretched floor to ceiling on the opposite wall. There was no stuffy furniture, no

useless dust catchers beyond a red and gold military insignia framed and displayed on the  mantel. A lion devouring a snake.

A thump from above snapped me out of my decor ogling. I focused on the little pile of luggage near the foot of the stairs, and I slung a dark leather designer overnight bag onto my shoulder.

When I bent to pick up a sleek silver suitcase, there was a blur of motion, the force of which swept my wet hair over my eyes. I lurched to my feet, pulling the damp strands out of my face, just in time to find Mr. Sutherland snatching the case out of my hands.

“You do not touch this case,” he said sternly, shoving a pristine white towel into my hands. He swept across the room to blot my puddle from the floor with a clean cloth. “I am responsible for transporting this case to Ophelia Lambert at midnight four nights from now—a deadline that your tardiness has put in jeopardy, I might add. Therefore, only I touch the case.”

“But—”

“Only I touch the case,” he said.

I was starting to suspect that he had unnatural feelings for that case.

I raised an eyebrow. “Are you going to be handcuffing it to your arm?”

“Very amusing, Miss Puckett,” he said, looking me up and down. “Of course, I’m forced to assume that you are the Miss Puckett described in Miss Scanlon’s correspondence, since you have not, in fact, introduced yourself to me.”

Something about the way his silky voice slid over my skin triggered my “authority figure” complex. And suddenly, I was having some very unwelcome, very naughty images of Mr. Sutherland and his hypothetical handcuffs.

“Oh, right, sorry. Hi, I’m Miranda Puckett. I’m the driver for Beeline.” I reached out my hand to shake, a hand that he pointedly ignored as he swept past me.

Shocked by his rudeness, I merely followed in his wake, muttering to myself. “Nice to meet you, too. Oh, yes, I’m sure we’re going to end up lifelong friends after this road trip. We’re off to such a great start. Feel like I’ve known you my whole life,” I grumbled, toting the bags to the car while he checked and rechecked the locks on his front door. “And I’m talking to myself again. Super.”

I stared at the warm, dry house with longing. A kinder client might have offered me use of the restroom or even coffee. But I was hardly in a position to ask for perks.

To add insult to injury, my tardiness and the weather ruined my plans to introduce Mr. Sutherland to the fabulous features of the Batmobile, which I’d thoroughly rehearsed with a very patient Jane. A decommissioned Council vehicle that Iris had purchased for a song at auction, the Batmobile was built for comfort and safety. While it looked like a mild-mannered SUV from the outside, the Batmobile boasted a light-tight cubby that took up most of the

rear compartment’s floorboard, like a compact coffin, allowing the passenger to ride comfortably while I drove us in full sun. Tucked between the front seats sat a cunning little cooler/warmer for blood. It worked a bit like a bottle steamer, using hot water on a timed switch to bring the blood to an even 98.6. The windows were tinted with SPF 500 film so that he would be safe inside the cab if necessary.

I’d become familiar with those features on the three- (OK, four-) day drive to pick up Mr. Sutherland. I’d planned to make him familiar with them before we started the drive back to Half-Moon Hollow so he could deliver a parcel to an official with the World Council for the Equal Treatment of the Undead. But clearly, Mr. Sutherland preferred that we just get on the road. I couldn’t blame him, I supposed. We absolutely, positively had to be back on time, or

Mr. Sutherland would not be paid . . . which meant that Iris would not be paid . . . which meant that I would not be paid . . . which would be upsetting.

Using the boatload of upper-body strength it took to close the rear door, I slammed it down. I noticed a pale flash out of the corner of my eye at the last minute. The gate came crashing down on Mr. Sutherland’s fingers with a sickening crunch.

This was a hallucination. I could not be looking at a vampire’s hand caught in a car door, crushed like something out of an Itchy and Scratchy cartoon. I clapped my hands over my mouth and let out a horrified shriek.

“Open the bloody gate!” he roared.

I scrambled for the key fob and clicked it, popping the door open. Mr. Sutherland groaned and flexed his mangled fingers, bent at bizarre angles, obviously broken in several places. Sure, they would fix themselves rapidly with his vampire healing, but it would hurt like a bitch.

“I’m sorry!” I cried, rushing forward to help him. He hissed like a cat and turned his back on me. “Shit! I’m so sorry!”

“Language, Miss Puckett,” he growled over his shoulder. “Did you not see that my hand was in the way?” He grunted as his fingers stretched and snapped back into their proper places.

“Not until the last minute,” I said. “Why didn’t you move your hand when you saw I was closing the door?”

“I thought you would stop the door,” he shot back.

“How was I supposed to do that? I don’t have vampire reflexes!”

“From now on, I will keep your limitations in mind,” he seethed, and pivoted on his heel toward the car door.

Link continuing the excerpt to XOXO After Dark:

http://xoxoafterdark.com/2014/07/14/pocket-star-e-nights-driving-mr-dead-molly-harper/?mcd=z_140721_MHarp_PSEN

US residents only, please

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The post Spotlight and Giveaway: Pocket Star Gives You Rock Stars, Vampires, and Geeks appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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2. Guest Post with Sara Humphreys, Author of Vampire Trouble and Giveaway

 

Special guest Sara Humphreys shares five reasons why vampires are hotter than werewolves.  What do you think?

 Why Vamps are Hotter Than Werewolves by Sara Humphreys

Trying to choose between vamps and werewolves isn’t easy, especially since I write about and like both. But since the hero of VAMPIRE TROUBLE is a vampire…I’m playing on Team Vampire today.

Here are my Top 5 Reasons Why Vamps are Hotter Than Werewolves.

1. Flying: The vamps in my paranormal world can fly and if I could have a supernatural power, that’s the one I’d want. You never have to sit in traffic again or pay outlandish airline fees. It’s a win.

2. Immortality: While the werewolves in my world live an exceptionally long time and age almost imperceptibly, they aren’t immortal. Vampires live forever and they don’t age. Not a bad gig if you can get it.

3. Bloodmates: I adore the idea of true love and fate. It’s a romantic notion to think that we all have one perfect person out there who is exactly the right fit for us. A lid for every pot and all that jazz. Werewolves mate for life but it’s not quite the same thing as having someone who will literally blood-bond with you. Not only that, if a vamp finds their Bloodmate then both become Daywalkers. Bonus!

4. Having a Maker: The bond between a maker and their progeny is unique and unbreakable. They say that you can’t choose your family but a maker actually does exactly that. They take great care in deciding who they will turn vampire and bond to them forever. A maker will do anything for their progeny–including lay down their life. When you are made vampire, you have someone who will always have your back.

5. Telepathy: Other than flying, I think telepathy would be a badass supernatural power. Vampires can communicate telepathically with their maker, siblings, and progeny but if they bond with their Bloodmate…then they can only telepath with them. Being able to secretly communicate with your lover in the middle of a crowded room is a sexy scenario. Oh the possibilities…..

 

About the book:

“Sara Humphreys has taken the vampire mythology and truly made it her own.” —Romancing the Dark Side

A fledgling vampire ignites a war…

Maya remembers the last moments of her life as a human with haunting clarity, and every man she meets pays the price…until Shane. Finding herself in the middle of a bloody fight between vampires and werewolves, Maya has no choice but to let the devastatingly sexy vampire guard get close to her.

And that’s not all that heats up…

Shane Quesada, a four-century-old vampire sentry, is known for his cold, unemotional precision, but once Maya begins to invade his dreams, his world is changed forever. His job to protect her is swiftly replaced by the all-consuming need to claim her as his own.

Praise for Tall, Dark, and Vampire:

“Shines with fascinating new characters… from the very talented Humphreys!” —RT Book Reviews, 4½ Stars, Top Pick of the Month

“Laughter, action and a steamy love story.” —Long and Short Reviews

“Riveting, outstandingly written… A must read for all vampire lovers.” —Bitten by Love Reviews

“Engaging… Humphreys skillfully blends intrigue and romance.” —Publishers Weekly

US addresses only, please

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The post Guest Post with Sara Humphreys, Author of Vampire Trouble and Giveaway appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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3. Review: Fireborn by Keri Arthur

May Contain Spoilers

Review:

ZOMG! I loved this book!  It’s got a more than capable protagonist, an ill-fated love interest, and, quite possibly, a world ending plague.  Yeah!  I can’t resist this stuff.  There’s great action, three sexy guys, and an interesting murder mystery.  The only thing it doesn’t have?  An ending.  So, yes, it got a knock for that.

Emberly is a phoenix.  She’s working as a secretary at research lab, deciding that in this lifetime, she’ll take things easy.  No derring-do or premature death for her this time around!  She wants to life her normal 100 year lifespan, without the unpleasantness of an early, painful death.  This time, her soul mate, Rory, is the thrill seeker, and they’ve agreed that one risk taker in the family is enough.  If they both die prematurely, that’s it.  No more rebirths, no more re-dos, and no more life.  If both of them are killed, they cease to exist, so they’ve made a pact.  Only one of them is allowed to be reckless per lifetime.

Heh.  Only trouble follows Em like a swarm of mosquitoes on a hot, humid day.  She can’t escape it.  After having a dream that her former lover, Sam, is murdered in the shadiest part of town, she can’t help but go and save him.  While she doesn’t have premonitions very often, and she’s learned the hard way to ignore them, she just can’t sit back and let Sam die.  He’s the love of this lifetime, and even though there are still bad feelings between them, five years after their breakup, she is compelled to save him.  This selfless act hurls her into so much danger that I think she should immediately form a new pact with herself – don’t rescue ex-boyfriends, because the only reward you get is trouble!

Sam and Em broke up because he caught her with Rory, and not understanding her nature, he accused her of cheating on him.  Phoenixes are cursed.  They journey from lifetime to lifetime with their soul mate, but they are destined to never, ever love them.  Instead, they have a love of each lifetime, but those relationships are fated to end miserably.  Sam is Em’s once in this lifetime, and she’s never going to get over him.  I don’t want to give away all of characteristics of the phoenixes, because I enjoyed learning about them so much, but I will say that if Rory and Em part permanently during one of their lives, they simply fade away, so the other is essential to their very existence.  Sigh.   What a major bummer.  Always finding that one perfect guy for yourself, but then always losing him because he can’t deal with what you are and what you need. 

Sam is a cop, and he’s investigating a deadly virus that either kills victims outright, or turns them into murderous monsters.  When Em’s boss is murdered, she’s drawn further into the case.  Her boss, Dr Baltimore, was working on a cure for the virus, and Em was transcribing his notes.  A boring job, but one that paid well.  With a darker, more sinister Sam leading the investigation, Em can’t help but get tangled up in the search for the murderer, especially when the murderer thinks she might have the professor’s missing notebooks.  Soon all kinds of nasty things are after her, but she’s determined to find out who – or  what – is behind the virus and the murder of her boss before they murder her too.  With the help of a private investigator, the lascivious fire fae, Jackson, she’s on the fast track to an extremely short lifespan. 

I could not put Fireborn down.  I even got a little resentful when I had to put down my Kindle to run errands.  I thought the pacing was spot on, and the world-building seemed natural and I found it interesting.  I enjoyed getting the story from Em’s POV – she’s got a great voice and made an entertaining narrator.  The only reason Fireborn isn’t getting an A is because it doesn’t have an ending, and you all know how much I hate that!  I am looking forward to the second book in the series, because this was a winner for me.

Grade:  B+

Review copy provided by publisher

Be sure to check out all of the stops on the tour.

Here is yesterday’s stop – ON STARSHIPS AND DRAGONWINGS

And here is tomorrow’s stop  FANG-TASTIC BOOKS

From Amazon:

 

From New York Times bestselling author Keri Arthur comes a brand-new series featuring heroine Emberly Pearson—a phoenix capable of taking on human form and cursed with the ability to foresee death….

Emberly has spent a good number of her many lives trying to save humans. So when her prophetic dreams reveal the death of Sam, a man she once loved, she does everything in her power to prevent it from happening. But in saving his life, she gets more than she bargained for.

Sam is working undercover for the Paranormal Investigations Team, and those who are trying to murder him are actually humans infected by a plaguelike virus, the Crimson Death—a by-product of a failed government experiment intended to identify the enzymes that make vampires immortal. Now all those infected must be eliminated.

But when Emberly’s boss is murdered and his irreplaceable research stolen, she needs to find the guilty party before she goes down in flames….

The post Review: Fireborn by Keri Arthur appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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4. Wolves at the Gate

Wolves at the Gate (Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Eight, Volume 3) Joss Whedon, Drew Goddard, Georges Jeanty and Jo Chen.

Buffy left TV after Season 7, but Season 8 (and 9, and soon, 10) exist in comic form.


Weird vamps that can shift into fog and werewolves attack the slayers and steal the scythe. The Scooby gang quickly figure either Dracula’s behind it or someone’s stolen his powers.

I like this one because it takes the slayers to Japan and it involves lots of werewolves Also, DRACULA. I love Dracula and Xander together--they are hilarious. A very unlikely Bromance. That works really well. Plus, some interesting developments on Buffy’s love life and Dawn puts her giantness to good use.

It doesn’t really advance the overall plot arc, but it’s a really fun diversion. (Seriously, the banter between Xander and Dracula alone makes it more than worth it.)

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5. Spotlight and Giveaway–Redemption at Midnight by Mary Moriarty

Redemption at Midnight

My Beloved Vampire Series

By: Mary Moriarty

Blurb

Bella is the only daughter of former Vampire King, Cormac O’Heachthanna. She spent the first four hundred years or so in peace, happiness and love. Surrounded by her loving and strong father and brother. Then came the 1900s and with that women demanding their rights… and Bella starting to spread her wings.

By WWII Bella was in the thick of it. Working for the British as a spy. She goes to Germany where she would fit in to try and persuade top officials to come to the Allies side. No one prepared Bella that her objective was a dashing, German Aristocrat. Pictures didn’t capture his charm and personality.

She falls and falls hard but that is not suppose to happen. So her father orders the love of her life’s death.

Brent O’ Hara has been a Marine for almost half his life. He lived to go to battle. He was finally called up for a Special Ops unit with none other than Cormac O’ Heachthanna. Both he and his brother joined. After three years his brother is mortally wounded and changed. Seven months later without the backup of his brothers in arms he is on a mission, doing a sweep of a village when an IED kills four and severely wounds Brent. He wakes up to the bottoms of his legs missing and his left hand also gone. He then knew he would never be good for anything again… or so he thought. He needed to heal and Cormac knows just who would be the one to help. His daughter Bella… only she hasn’t spoken to him in sixty years.

Can Bella and Brent find the healing and love they so desperately need and want before it’s too late?

Link to Follow Tour: http://tastybooktours.blogspot.com/2014/04/now-booking-tasty-blurb-tour-for.html

Buy Links

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Redemption-Midnight-My-Beloved-Vampire-ebook/dp/B00JTD9B72

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/redemption-at-midnight-mary-moriarty/1119315935?ean=2940045844581

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/431046

Author Info

I grew up in New England surrounded by a lot of history and story telling by my father who was from the Mid-Coast of Maine. What I remember of my mother was her love of fairy tales, the wee people and poetry. So it’s no wonder I would one day write.

When I am not writing, I read. Of course I love Romance but can’t read the same genre that I write so I read mysteries, memoirs and history… I love history, especially Medieval and WWII.

I don’t generally watch TV but I love Downton Abbey.

My favorite authors… Mmmm, well let me see. Jane Austen, the late Elizabeth Peters, LM Montgomery, Loretta Chase, J.R.Ward , Sharon Kay Penman and Pamela Kaufman to name a few that come to mind.

What do I do when I am not writing? I am a mother of seven, four still at home. I have a home filled with pets, four dogs and six cats. I write seven days a week.

Author Links

http://marymoriarty.com/

https://www.facebook.com/Author.Romance

https://twitter.com/MaryMoriarty1

http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6457449.Mary_Moriarty

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6. Spotlight and Giveaway – Don’t Blackmail the Vampire by Tiffany Allee

 

NEW RELEASE:

DON’T BLACKMAIL THE VAMPIRE

A Sons of Kane Novel, Book Two

Genre: Light Paranormal Romance

Print Length: 156 pages

Publisher: Entangled: Covet

Publication Date: April 28, 2014

ASIN: B00JI0KDXM

Rachel Davis will do anything to get her sister out of a bad relationship with her fiancé. Even if it involves a few fibs, a little breaking-and-entering, and blackmailing the fiancé’s potential boss, Charles, for his help. So what if the handsome Charles happens to be a vampire?

Charles Wright has found the perfect way to trap the man threatening his brother’s wife: cozy up to him, get invited along on the skiing trip, and then search for incriminating evidence. How much better that audacious but gorgeous Rachel is just as eager to nail the bastard. As far as he’s concerned, there’s nothing wrong with a little blackmail between two consenting adults. Especially when it’s time for Rachel to pay up.

Amazon http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00JI0KDXM/

B&N http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/dont-blackmail-the-vampire-tiffany-allee/1119127241?ean=9781622665624

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Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/21854382-don-t-blackmail-the-vampire?from_search=true

DON’T BITE THE BRIDESMAID

A Sons of Kane Novel, Book One

Genre: Light Paranormal Romance

Publisher: Entangled Publishing (Covet)

Length: Novel

Release Date: May 27, 2013

Alice Shepard needs one thing: a date for her sister’s wedding. And not just any date. A hunk who will make her fiancé rue the day he left her for her best friend. Her drop-dead gorgeous neighbor fits the bill—even if he is a bit quirky and never comes out during the day—and Alice has downed just enough appletinis to ask him. But she makes it quite clear that there will be no funny business.

Spending a week on a cruise ship full of humans while sleeping close to his sexy next-door neighbor sounds like a helluva bad idea to vampire Noah Thorpe. But his friends need time to get him out of a shotgun wedding—a vampire bonding that will tie his fate to a female vampire he’s never met. And Alice’s offer comes at just the right time.

What could possibly go wrong?

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00CNTSVZM

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/dont-bite-the-bridesmaid-tiffany-allee/1115250849?ean=9781622668045&isbn=9781622668045

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Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/don-t-bite-the-bridesmaid

ARe: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-don039tbitethebridesmaid-1192092-143.html

About Tiffany:

CPA-turned-romance-author Tiffany Allee used to battle spreadsheets in Corporate America, and now concentrates on her characters’ battles to find love. Raised in small-town Colorado, Tiffany currently lives in Phoenix, AZ, by way of Chicago and Denver. She is happily married to a secret romantic who tolerates her crazy mutterings.

She writes about ass-kicking heroines and the strong heroes who love them. Her work includes the suspense-driven From the Files of the Otherworlder Enforcement Agency series which revolves around a group of paranormal cops solving crimes and finding love, and Don’t Bite the Bridesmaid, a lighthearted paranormal romance (Entangled Publishing).

Tiffany has an MBA in accounting and nearly a decade of experience in corporate finance. All super useful stuff for a writer who spends far too much time trying to figure out fun ways to keep her characters apart, and interesting ways to kill people (for her books—of course!).

Connect with Tiffany:

Website: http://tiffanyallee.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authortiffanyallee

Twitter: https://twitter.com/TiffanyAllee

Blog: http://tiffanyallee.com/blog/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5420367.Tiffany_Allee

Excerpt

Don’t Blackmail the Vampire by Tiffany Allee

“Getting your sister free of him is important to you.”

Charles’s scent seemed to fit the mountain. Woodsy and natural, yet somehow smoother than the real nature surrounding them. She wanted to lean in just to inhale more of his smell, breathe him into her lungs. Just barely, she resisted. “Yes.”

“Then I’ll help you.”

A thank-you was on her tongue, but she bit it back. He’d already agreed to help her, right? But somehow, this promise felt more real. Solid.

“Good,” she murmured, staring at his chest.

His finger slid under her chin, and he tilted her face up.

Icy blue eyes met hers, and her skin tingled where he touched her. It didn’t seem like she should be able to see the color so clearly under a single, half-snow-covered lamppost, but she was able to, just barely. A woman could drown in eyes like that. Especially a woman who wasn’t used to swimming.

A tiny part of her mind told her to look away. That danger lay ahead. But she couldn’t seem to drag her gaze from his. Was unable to summon her normal defenses.

His hand slid up to cup her cheek, and he leaned closer. His mouth only a breath away from hers, he murmured, “I swear to it.”

Then his lips touched hers, so softly. A sizzle of recognition arced through her body, and a need coiled inside of her. Then just as quickly, he stepped back. She could have almost convinced herself she’d imagined the press of his lips against hers, if not for the slow, clear wink he gave her.

She touched her lips, unable to form a thought, let alone speak one aloud.

With vampire speed, he was gone.

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7. Review and Giveaway–Vampire’s Thirst by Cynthia Garner

Today I have a review of Vampire’s Thirst, as well as an ebook giveaway, and an awesome tourwide giveaway.  Check it out!

May Contain Spoilers

After reading Vampire’s Hunger, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on Vampire’s Thirst.  I’m pleased to report that my harshest criticism of the book is reserved for the cover, which I can’t stand to look at, and  I was so glad I read this on my Kindle so I didn’t have to gaze at all.  Maybe I am jealous that the guy has bigger breasts than I do.  Maybe it’s the weird shadows that make me want to give this guy a support bra.  And what is up with the complete lack of chest hair on cover models?  Bleh!

 

Moving right along, Vampire’s Thirst did not suffer from the awkwardness that is the cover.  This book rocked!  Better still, I read part of it during a power outage, and was scared to death when Dean suddenly loomed out of the darkness in front of me.  Needless to say, even the neighbors heard my shriek of fright.  Sorry!

While the book isn’t really that frightening, the threat of a zombie horde lurking outside Duncan’s vampire enclave made for tense reading.  The story picks up shortly after the events in Vampire’s Hunger.  Duncan is the vampire king, Atticus is his second in command, and the vampires are sheltering a small band of human survivors.  There is dissention in the ranks, and some of the less intelligent humans are resentful that they aren’t allowed to go to the park to toss a ball around.  Instead, they are confined in the vampire enclave, where they are feed, given numerous outlets for entertainment, and have access to all of the comforts of home.  Their only expected payment – they have to give blood to an assigned vampire partner once a week.  Sounds like a deal to me!  The vampires are in charge of security, scavenging for food for their human guests, and even locating doctors just in case one of the humans gets sick.  Duncan is learning that being the vampire king is a huge headache, especially with the rebellious humans giving everyone a hard time.

Kimber is struggling to contain the darkness that has slipped inside her.  A malevolent thread of the Unseen is giving her no end of grief.  It thirsts for power, and she fears that she won’t be able to contain it.  After a near disastrous encounter with a group of zombies, where she leaches away some of Atticus’ power, she finds herself the object of fear as the vampires realize that she could quite possibly suck away their life essence.  Whoa!  I thought it was so cool that Kimber was so strong, and so unpredictable.   The Unseen wrecks havoc for her, and she finds it both empowering and frightening.  What if she accidently kills Duncan because she can’t control the hunger inside of her?

Despite her reservations, Kimber is certain that she can end the zombie apocalypse with her new power.  She just has to convince Duncan that she can keep herself and her ever increasing flares of aggression under control.  To test her theory, she’s going to need the help of other necromancers, as well as a someone to channel their powers.  Can she convince anyone to risk their lives to help her end the zombie apocalypse, a plague that she, and everyone else,  believes she started in the first place?  Ugh!  Poor Kimber!  The guilt was driving her just as crazy as the nasty bit of Unseen hitchhiking inside her.

While there is a lot of zombie fighting, most of the story is character driven.  The small group of survivors has to learn to get along, and more importantly, learn to trust each other.  After Kimber’s accident with Atticus, even Duncan is leery of her.  With a heavy heart, Kimber has to win back Duncan’s trust, as well as put an end to the zombies.  She doesn’t want to live her life trapped in the vampire enclave, constantly worrying about finding supplies or being overrun by the walking dead. She’s incredibly brave, always willing to put herself at risk to save everyone else.  I really liked Kimber, even when the Unseen was scrambling her emotions and making her act out of character.   I loved the tension her unpredictability created.

If you enjoy paranormal romances, Vampire’s Thirst might be right up your alley. I admit that I am biased because I love, love, love zombie apocalypse stories.  I don’t get sick of them, and constantly seek new ones out to read.  If I have one minor complaint about Vampire’s Thirst, it’s that the sexy times started to seem like filler, and I got tired of those scenes after a while.  I would have rather read more zombie battles than one more bedroom tango, but your mileage will vary.

 

VAMPIRE’S THIRST by Cynthia Garner (May 6, 2014; Forever Yours E-Book; $3.99)

THE FEEDING
In a post-apocalyptic wasteland, civilization no longer exists, and only the strongest survive. The few remaining humans must band together with supernatural beings to battle unspeakable evil-or all hope will be lost.

After accidentally starting the zombie apocalypse, Kimber Treat now lives with her vampire lover in a compound where humans and vampires live together peacefully. A gifted necromancer who can summon the dead, Kimber is beyond happy when she learns she’s pregnant. But as her body changes, Kimber fears that her powers are being influenced by evil, a fact she must keep from everyone, including Duncan . . .

Duncan MacDonnough is preoccupied with his new role as leader of the local vampire conclave, but not so preoccupied that he doesn’t notice that Kimber is acting strangely. She’s grown distant, and Duncan is convinced she’s hiding something. Duncan knows the key to stopping the apocalypse is Kimber’s powers, but using them puts her life at risk. With the threat from the Zombie outbreak looming, will Kimber and Duncan learn to trust each other once more to save themselves, their unborn child, and the rest of the world?

About the author:

Cynthia Garner discovered her love for writing when her sixth grade teacher told the class to write a story that began “It was a dark and stormy night…” With that Cynthia’s love for all things paranormal was born.  When she’s not working her day job as a mostly mild-mannered Human Resources Manager, she’s on her laptop writing or playing way too much Solitaire. Originally from Northeast Ohio, Cynthia now lives in the desert Southwest.

Social Media Links:

Website

Facebook

Twitter

Goodreads

Buy Links:

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

iTunes

Excerpt

Duncan watched Kimber tend to the wounds she inflicted and wondered at her attitude. This was the second time they’d made love in the last few days, and both times he’d seen her struggle to contain a new level of aggression. She wouldn’t talk to him about it, though, and it was making him crazy. How could he be an effective leader if he couldn’t even help his own lover?

He waited until she’d capped the bottle of peroxide and set the first-aid kit on the bedside table before he said, “Talk to me, Kimber. Tell me what’s going on with you.”

She heaved a sigh and got to her feet. Going over to his dresser, she pulled out one of his T-shirts and slipped it over her head. She usually wasn’t uncomfortable being nude around him, so her action told him what they were about to deal with wasn’t going to be pleasant. Was she tired of being with him? Had he been too dominant in their lovemaking?

“Kimber?” The waiting was hell on his nerves.

“The day before yesterday, when we went out for tampons?” She glanced at him. When he nodded, she went on. “You know on our way back we were attacked by zombies.”

“Yes, Atticus told me. I came up here to see how you were doing, but you were already asleep. I didn’t want to wake you. Then you were gone later that night when I woke up.” He watched her to gauge her reaction.

She gave a slight wince. “Yes, well, I had things to do.” She waved one hand in the air. “That doesn’t matter. What does matter is that when we were fighting the zombies, I stumbled, and when I flung out my arm to try to keep my balance, I ended up grabbing hold of Atticus.” She looked at him. “Atticus didn’t tell you any of this?”

He frowned. “He told me you had to fight zombies, that you were successful, and everyone was all right. Was there more he should have told me?”

She shook her head. “No. I mean, there was more, but I asked him to let me tell you.” She blew out a breath. “When I grabbed him, I drew energy from him and it allowed me to push the Unseen out of the zombies. You should have seen them drop to the ground.”

“You did what?” He straightened from his slouched position against the headboard. He couldn’t have heard her right. She attacked his second-in-command?

“I didn’t do it on purpose,” she said. “He must have seen me stumble and reached out to help me at the same time I flung my hand out. Once I had hold of him and the power transfer started, I couldn’t let go. I tried, Duncan.” Her eyes went round and pleading, and her lower lip got a slight tremble to it. “It hurt, just like before, but it…” She clamped her jaw shut.

“It what?”

“It felt good, too. It was power, and it was mine.” She began to pace the room, her hands gesturing wildly. “This could be something big, Duncan. If all necromancers have this ability, we could end the apocalypse.”

He got off the bed and pulled on his jeans. “And just how many vampires do you propose we sacrifice?”

She came to a stop and stared at him. “It wouldn’t have to be a sacrifice. I didn’t kill Atticus.”

“But you came close, didn’t you? Or you could have,” he amended. At her stubborn expression, he said, “I know you, Kimber. I know the kind of power you have. Plus you have some of the Unseen in you. How did that affect what happened with Atticus? Or did it happen with Atticus because of the Unseen in you?”

Her shoulders slumped. “I don’t know.”

He studied her for a minute, then left the bedroom. He strode through the living room and yanked open the door to the hallway. “Find Atticus and bring him here,” he said to the guards. Without waiting for a response, he closed the door. When he turned around, he saw Kimber standing in front of the sofa, twisting her fingers together. She’d pulled on her jeans but still wore his T-shirt.

Her auburn hair, tousled and silky-looking, cascaded around her shoulders. “I didn’t do it on purpose, Duncan,” she whispered. Her teeth dug into her lower lip. “I wouldn’t do something like that. You have to believe me.”

“I’d like to believe you, sweetheart. I would.” He walked over and put his hands on her shoulders, giving them a slight squeeze. “But I’ve seen how you’ve changed. I’ve seen you fight whatever is rising in you. I think if a situation presented itself and you believed taking energy from a vampire was the only solution, I’m not sure you could stop yourself.”

A knock sounded on the door, and it swung open to reveal Atticus.

“Come in,” Duncan invited. When the door closed behind his second-in-command, Duncan said, “Kimber just told me what happened on your way back from the drugstore.”

Atticus shot a glance her way but said nothing.

“This is a serious development,” Duncan went on, “and poses a potential threat to all vampires. I want all necromancers under guard until further notice. Let everyone know they’re considered dangerous and should not be touched under any circumstances.”

Atticus inclined his head. “Understood and agreed.” With another glance at Kimber, he departed.

“Does that include me?” Kimber asked, her voice hard. “Am I to be kept under guard? Am I not to be touched?”

He clenched his teeth. “If you’re not with me, then, yes, you will have a guard. And anyone else will be advised not to touch you, but you and I will definitely be skin to skin, sweetheart. You can count on that.”

“Don’t be so sure,” she said. “I’m not just any other necromancer, Duncan. I’m the woman who loves you. The woman you claim to love.” Her fists clenched at her sides and he had the distinct impression she was fighting throwing a punch at him. After a few seconds she let out a little growl and headed back toward the bedroom. Over her shoulder she threw out, “You’re treating me like a monster. The way I’m feeling right now, that might be an accurate assessment. You might not be safe from me.”

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8. The Color of LIght by Helen Maryles Shankman

It is 1992 and postmodernism is the dominent art movement of the moment.  Rafe Sinclair, founder of The American Academy of Classical Art in New York City, is a classicist through and through, but now he is facing grumblings from some of his board member who think other art forms should be introduced, a board that wouldn't mind removing Rafe as head of the Academy.

But his Board isn't the only problem Rafe has.  First, Rafe is a vampire and is trying desperatgely to hold on to his sense of humanity even as he is forced to kill in order to live.  Second, Rafe was an art student in the 1930.  He had met and fallen in love with a young Jewish woman, a fellow artist, just before World War II began, and he is still in love with her, although he believes she had perished in the Holocaust.

Tessa Moss is a young art student at the Academy, talented but naive and involved in an unhealthy relationship with another artist, the very narcissistic Lucian Swain.  Rafe never really noticed Tessa's work until one day when he notices a sketch she has done of a woman with a child by a suitcase that has the name Witzotsky written on it.  The woman is covering the eyes of the child with her hand.  Rafe begins to take a special interest in Tessa and her work.

Witzotsky is a familiar name to Rafe and it turns out that Tessa has sketched a picture depicting a relative of hers named Sofia Witzotsky.  And, in fact, Sofia is the very same woman that Rafe was involved with, the same woman he thought he had lost in the Holocaust.  Or had he?  After all, he never really knew what Sofia's fate had actually been?  Before long, Tessa and Rafe are involved with each other, which is against school rules and just the kind of infraction the board could use to remove Rafe from his position as head of the Academy.  But if Tessa can help Rafe discover what really happened to Sofia, maybe it was worth the risk.

Helen Mayles Shankman has written a long, complicated book encompassing two time periods, and a fair amount of different characters.  It is very well written, engaging, compelling and I actually enjoyed the intricacies of the plot twists and turns.  Rafe and Tessa are believable (well, except for the vampire part), well defined, likable characters, each carrying a lot of baggage that goes back to the Holocaust: Rafe may have lost the love of his life, and Tessa has lost one whole family line on her father's side.

The Color of Light is a novel that will definitely please your romantic sensibilities, and your penchant for historical fiction and has all the elements of a good mystery novel all in one long (574 pages) story.   Shankman has a MFA in painting, so her art/artistic descriptions are pretty spot on and you will have no trouble picturing works of art that don't really exist.

My vampire fan days are long behind me and vampires are certainly not something I expected to read about when I started this blog.  And yet, I have certainly read my share of fantasy and science fiction here, so why not vampires?  But the fact that  Rafe Sinclair is a vampire is only a plot device allowing the narrative its dual time frame with him in both time periods as a man his age and it worked.

And generally the YA/Adult books I review here are of the cozy type, but variety is the spice of life and The Color of Life is a spicy novel that could be classified as New Adult/Adult.  What I mean is that it has more sexual content than most of the YA/Adult I review.

My friend Zohar over at Man of La Book recommended The Color of Light to me and I am so glad he did.  And I am paying it forward.

This book is recommended for mature readers age 15+
This book was sent to me by the author

A Reading Group Guide for The Color of Light is available HERE

0 Comments on The Color of LIght by Helen Maryles Shankman as of 4/18/2014 10:51:00 AM
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9. Review: Turned by Virna DePaul

May Contain Spoilers

Review:

I picked up Turned because I was in the mood for something a little different, and because it’s the first book in a new series.  I don’t intentionally read a lot of vampire books because I prefer a good zombie apocalypse to torment my protagonists, or werewolves, because they just kick butt.  All of that Mine, Mine, Mine, the snappy teeth, and the pack dynamics just work for me.  But I decided to venture into the dark world of vampires, which, in the case of Turned, includes gangs, cults, and rogue vampires.  Oh, and lots of sexy times.  Fun!

Ana is a former gang member.  She has recreated her life, leaving behind the gang and opening a coffee shop in Seattle.  She served a two year prison sentence, and she’s still haunted by the events that caused her incarceration.  On the day she was going to leave the gang and take her younger sister as far away from the crime-seeped life they were living, a rival gang interrupted her jump out ceremony, guns blazing.  When the smoke cleared, Ana was arrested, and her sister disappeared without a word.  Having searched fruitlessly for her for years, she’s approached by a dark, dangerous man who promises that he’ll hook her up with Gloria if she agrees to work for Belladonna, a covert branch of the FBI.

What Ty doesn’t tell her is that he’s a vampire, and that he needs Ana’s help to crack a crime ring that is selling Hispanic immigrants as blood slaves to other vampires.  Ty was turned against his will six months ago, and now he wants the Rogues responsible to pay.  They turned him, turned his friend, and killed his sister.  Struggling to keep his lust for blood and sex under control, he considers himself a monster.  He failed his sister and his friends, all because he thought he was a badass.  He had no clue that there were real monsters lurking in the dark, and now that he’s one of them, he’s searching for a way to return to what he was – human. 

Both Ty and Ana are damaged.  Ty because he was turned against his will, and Ana by a lifetime of being spit on by the people she loved.  She’s only ever been able to count on one person, and she will do anything to ensure that Gloria is safe and happy.  Ty and Ana are both are suffering from tunnel vision as they seek to achieve their goals.  Ana finds it so hard to trust anyone,  or count on anyone, so she is used to doing things for herself, so she doesn’t give Ty much of a chance to prove himself to her. Ty thinks he’s a monster, not fit to be loved, so he denies his feelings for Ana, thinking that he’ll soon be tired of her.  Ha! Foolish vampire!  Once Ana gets under his skin, there is no getting rid of her!

I felt that the pacing faltered near the end.  Ana and Ty find themselves in grave danger, they receive assistance from a surprise source, and then BOOM!  Book two is set up as the attention is shifted from Belladonna busting the masterminds behind the blood slave ring, to busting up a sex ring.  Events at the compound happened so quickly, and the villains were dispatched with equal speed, leaving me feeling a bit let down.

Turned is a gritty vampire yarn, packed with action, blood, and seduction.  It kept me reading late into the night.  I enjoyed the introduction to Virna DePaul’s dark and sensual world, and I’m curious to read more.  I’d really like to learn more about the full-blood vampires lurking in the background, hiding among the humans while manipulating them at the same time.

Grade:  B

Review copy provided by publisher

From Amazon:

Perfect for fans of J. R. Ward, Nalini Singh, and Lara Adrian, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Virna DePaul’s new series of paranormal romances introduces readers to a thrilling world where vampires secretly co-exist with humans, seduction rules the night, and the stakes are nothing less than life and undeath.

Welcome to a mesmerizing world where vampires hide among humans. This centuries-old species has its own rules, code of conduct, and taboos. Only the FBI knows that vampires exist—and although the Bureau agrees to keep their secret, it also plots to give humans the upper hand.

Turning mortals into vampires is forbidden.

But there are creatures who refuse to play by the rules.

Ever since he was turned, FBI special agent Ty Duncan has had one mission: bring rogue vampires to justice. As a recruiter for Belladonna, a shadow agency formed to keep vampires in check, Ty must tap Ana Martin, a troubled ex–gang member and one of the few mortals who can infiltrate places that his kind and the law cannot. From their first encounter, Ty fights a hunger to make Ana his own.

When Ty claims to have information about Ana’s missing sister, Ana has no choice but to trust this captivating stranger who awakens her deepest desires. But as she and Ty climb the heights of pleasure and passion, an enemy is conspiring to destroy them both.

Can Ana help Ty find his humanity in a love that could heal them both, or will their passion lead them into a darkness impossible to escape?

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10. Cynthia Garner’s Top 5 Items in a Post-Apocalyptic Woman’s Survival Kit and Giveaway!

Cynthia Garner dropped by the virtual offices to share her Top 5 items every woman needs to pack in her post-apocalyptic survival kit.  See if you agree, learn about her latest release, Vampire’s Hunger, and then enter the giveaway!

Cynthia Garner’s Top 5 Items in a Post-Apocalyptic Woman’s Survival Kit

1. Chocolate

2. Tampons

3. Pain reliever

4. Lip balm

5. Fabric refresher

What do think?  What would you add to your post-apocalyptic survival kit?  Maybe the guy on the cover of Vampire’s Hunger??

 

VAMPIRE’S HUNGER  by Cynthia Garner (April 1, 2014; Forever Yours E-Book; $3.99)

In a post-apocalyptic wasteland, civilization no longer exists, and only the strongest survive. The few remaining humans must band together with supernatural beings to battle unspeakable evil-or all hope will be lost.

Kimber Treat is an ordinary woman with an extraordinary gift: she can raise the dead. As a necromancer who works with the police, she communicates with murder victims to bring their killers to justice. But after a normal session goes horribly wrong, Kimber realizes she’s summoned something dark and sinister. She’s unwittingly unleashed the apocalypse, and everyone blames her…except Duncan MacDonnough, the devastatingly handsome vampire she can’t stop fantasizing about.

As society shuts down and flesh-eating hordes close in, Duncan vows to protect Kimber. He can keep her safe from others-but not from the insatiable carnal hunger he feels for her. Now racing to reverse the chaos she’s unleashed, Kimber can’t afford any distractions. But even as she succumbs to Duncan’s seduction, she fears that he has a hidden agenda. And with the line between life and death starting to blur, his secrets might kill her-or worse…

About the author:

Cynthia Garner discovered her love for writing when her sixth grade teacher told the class to write a story that began “It was a dark and stormy night…” With that Cynthia’s love for all things paranormal was born.  When she’s not working her day job as a mostly mild-mannered Human Resources Manager, she’s on her laptop writing or playing way too much Solitaire. Originally from Northeast Ohio, Cynthia now lives in the desert Southwest.

Social Media Links:

Website

Facebook

Twitter

Goodreads

Buy Links:

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

iTunes

Excerpt –

Two nights later Duncan answered the knock on Kimber’s door. Murray stood there, just as fragile looking as ever. “What now?” Duncan asked.

The other vampire lifted his chin, motioning toward the inside of the apartment. “Maddalene wants to see your little necromancer again.” His face was expressionless but Duncan caught the smirk in his voice.

He clenched his jaw. No way in hell was Kimber going back there until he and Maddalene came to an understanding. The fact that Maddalene had overridden him and allowed hungry vampires into his living quarters, to threaten Kimber and her friends, had driven home the point that the sense of loyalty he felt toward Maddalene was a one-way street.

“Tell Maddalene to forget it,” he told Murray.

“I’m not your messenger boy, MacDonnough.” The skinny excuse for a vampire gave a grunt and pointed to his head. “Still attached, the way I like it. You got something to say to Maddalene, you say it yourself.” He gave a sardonic salute with two fingers and sauntered off.

Damn it.

Duncan closed the door and turned to face the other inhabitants of the apartment. Natalie stood in the kitchen, leaning back against the counter, her hands braced on either side. Aodhán was kicked back in the recliner, his gaze steady and calm. Kimber, his lovely Kimber, stood beside the sofa, arms crossed and one foot tapping on the floor.

“I am not going back there,” she said.

“No, you’re not.”

“I mean it, Duncan. Maddalene wants the impossible, and I won’t do it.”

“I agree.”

“No matter what you…” A frown dipped between her brows. “Wait. What?”

He couldn’t stop the small grin that quirked his lips. She was adorable when she was confused. It wasn’t a look he got to see very often because she had such a sharp mind. “I said I agree. You’re not going to see Maddalene.”

“Oh.” Her hands dropped to her sides. “Um, why not?”

Ignoring the interested gazes of Aodhán and Natalie, he walked over to Kimber and took her face in his palms. “Because I don’t trust her right now, and I mean to keep you safe.”

Her lips parted and he couldn’t stop himself from dipping his head to press a soft kiss against her mouth. When he drew away, her lashes fluttered and swept up to show slightly dazed eyes. That was a good sign, anyway. He knew she wasn’t indifferent to him. If he could prove to her that he wouldn’t lose control and drain her, maybe one day she’d trust him enough to let him close again. To let him love her.

He took a step back. Where the hell had that come from? He didn’t love Kimber. He couldn’t love her. She was mortal. He was not. He didn’t deny he wanted her—his lust for her was nearly a living entity on its own. But love?

No.

He didn’t have the time for love. He didn’t have the luxury for love.

He didn’t have the right. He’d done things he wasn’t proud of. Kimber deserved better than him. She certainly didn’t deserve the danger he’d be putting her in if Maddalene found out he had a soft spot for Kimber. And he deserved…

He firmed his jaw. He deserved only what she gave him. But that didn’t negate the fact that she had something he wanted—well, actually, two things he wanted: the ability to contact the Unseen and a body he wanted to lose himself in. Both might be within his reach if he could just get Maddalene to back the hell off.

Yeah, Duncan. Just keep telling yourself all you’re interested in is her body. You might really believe it someday.

He turned away from Kimber. Grabbing up the tire iron from where he’d placed it underneath the coffee table, he headed toward the front door. “I’m going to talk to Maddalene.”

“Wait.” Kimber’s soft voice stopped him. When he looked over his shoulder at her, she said, “Be careful.”

He gave a nod and pulled open the door. As he closed it behind him, he heard Aodhán say, “He’s strong and he’s fast. On his own, he’ll be able to get around any zombies out there. He’ll be fine.”

Fine against zombies, yes. Against his own heart? He wasn’t so sure.

5 print copies of VAMPIRE’S HUNGER, Grand prize: Twilight Saga White Collection

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11. Review: Vampire’s Hunger by Cynthia Garner

May Contain Spoilers

Review:

It seems as though I have fallen into a zombie rut again.  I don’t know why I keep turning to these books, because they are starting to give me nightmares.  Seriously!  Vampire’s Hunger isn’t even that graphic, and I woke up during the night after I finished it from a scary dream.  Heart pounding, can’t fall back asleep nightmare.  Good thing the puppers were there to cuddle!  I am taking a little break from zombies, but I bet it won’t last long!

 

Kimber is a necromancer.  She works with the police, raising the dead to find out who murdered them.  After a summoning goes wrong, she discovers that she’s unleashed the zombie apocalypse.  In addition to fending off zombies, she has to deal with the threats of the rest of humankind who also blame her for bringing doom upon the human race.  I would so not want to be in her shoes.

Duncan is the second in command of the local vampire clan.  He has been lusting after Kimber for years, but she keeps rebuffing his advances.  She doesn’t trust vampires after they murdered her family, and she’s not about to get close to Duncan.  He vows to protect her and her friend Natalie as society takes a nose dive.  Along with the fairy Aodhan, Duncan has his work cut out for him.  His queen, Maddalene, wants Kimber to raise her consort from the dead, and she just won’t take no for an answer.  Sworn to obey her every command, Duncan is torn between his growing feelings for Kimber and his loyalty to his queen.

Vampire’s Hunger is a fast, sexy read.  I liked the setting – the world has just ended, and Kimber is still adjusting to her new normal.  She blames herself for the zombie plague, and she is determined to figure out a way to put an end to it.  The day she brought Richard Whitcomb back to life something went wrong, and she is going nuts trying to understand why the Unseen, the source of her power, has changed.  The day she called Richard back, something felt wrong and evil, and when she tried to release him back to death, he fought back.  The entire episode was a complete disaster, challenging Kimber’s skills to keep him under control.  It also marked the start of the zombie apocalypse, leaving one unfortunate observer bitten and infected.  Yup, Kimber’s slip up resulted in Patient Zero and the end of the world.

I originally started reading this book because I saw the word zombie in the blurb, but I think it was more focused on the vampires.  I felt that the zombies were more of an obstacle for Kimber and  her friends to get around than an actual threat.  There were a few battles with them as they traversed from Kimber’s apartment to Duncan’s vampire enclave, but it was the vampires that were the real danger in Vampire’s Hunger.  Duncan’s queen is a nutbag, and she is going to force Kimber to raise her dead consort, come hell or high water.  Kimber knows that the attempt will kill her; it’s hard enough raising someone who just died, let alone someone whose original death was a hundred years ago.  The Unseen isn’t being very friendly to her, either.  Something dark, evil, and dangerous keeps lurking in it’s depths.

The main conflict between Kimber and Duncan is Kimber’s distrust of vampires.  She is afraid that Duncan will lose control and drain her of every drop of blood in her veins, leaving her a lifeless husk.  Her family was murdered by vampires, and they haven’t done much to gain her trust since then.  Duncan, however, has been nothing but protective of her, watching over her and Natalie and working with Aodhan to keep them safe.  Still, with the insane Maddalene threatening everyone she cares about, it’s no wonder that Kimber has no love for vampires.  Duncan refuses to go against his queen, even though he knows that she is off her rocker and that she is becoming increasingly unstable.  I was disappointed that it took him so long to decide to do something about her, but once he makes up his mind that Maddalene is too much of a liability to keep her power over the clan, he quickly moves against her.

The book ends on a cliffhanger, but Vampire’s Thirst comes out in May, so I didn’t give it a ding for that.  I enjoyed Vampire’s Hunger, and I am looking forward to book 2.

Grade:  B

Review copy provided by publisher

From Amazon:


In a post-apocalyptic wasteland, civilization no longer exists, and only the strongest survive. The few remaining humans must band together with supernatural beings to battle unspeakable evil-or all hope will be lost.

Kimber Treat is an ordinary woman with an extraordinary gift: she can raise the dead. As a necromancer who works with the police, she communicates with murder victims to bring their killers to justice. But after a normal session goes horribly wrong, Kimber realizes she’s summoned something dark and sinister. She’s unwittingly unleashed the apocalypse, and everyone blames her . . . except Duncan MacDonnough, the devastatingly handsome vampire she can’t stop fantasizing about.

As society shuts down and flesh-eating hordes close in, Duncan vows to protect Kimber. He can keep her safe from others-but not from the insatiable carnal hunger he feels for her. Now racing to reverse the chaos she’s unleashed, Kimber can’t afford any distractions. But even as she succumbs to Duncan’s seduction, she fears that he has a hidden agenda. And with the line between life and death starting to blur, his secrets might kill her-or worse . . .

Approx. 50,000-60,000 words.

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12. Spotlight and Giveaway-Sex & the Single Vamp by Robin Covington

Sex and the Single Vamp by: Robin Covington

Release Date: 3/24/14

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Synopsis:

Cici Trent, vampire and media darling, spends her days finding true love for humans and supernaturals (the “Others”) at her dating agency. But someone is trying to sabotage her business and she needs help. Unfortunately, the best man for the job is the one who broke her still-beating heart two hundred fifty-four years ago.

Deacon is a patient vampire. He’s only loved one woman in over three hundred years— CiCi— and she chose another. So when she shows up in his office asking for help, he finally has the chance to lay that demon to rest. He’ll help her, but for a price—a night in his bed.

Adrenaline, mischief, and a little late-night B&E light the passion that even a couple of lifetimes couldn’t put out. But Deacon has a secret and when Cici is suddenly mortal, his deception might be the only way restore her immortality. Can love bridge the gap between a heartbeat and forever?

Tagline: Love. Sex. Eternity. Dating never gets easier.

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20944668-sex-and-the-single-vamp

Entangled Book Link: http://bit.ly/1oi65kF

Author Bio:

Robin Covington, who NYT Best Selling authors, Robyn Carr and Carly Phillips, said was their new “auto-buy author”, writes sizzling hot contemporary and paranormal romance.

A Night of Southern Comfort, her best-selling debut novel was named a 2012 finalist in the RT Book Reviews Reviewers Choice Awards, earned 4.5 stars and was touted by RT Book Reviews as bringing a “fresh, modern feel to the genre while still sticking to the things that get our adrenaline pumping — sex and danger”. When she’s not exploring the theme of fooling around and falling in love, she’s collecting tasty man candy, indulging in a little comic book geek love, and stalking Joe Mangianello.

Robin is a member of the Romance Writers of America, the Washington Romance Writers, a faculty member at Romance University, a member of the Waterworld Mermaids, and a contributor to the Happy Ever After blog at USA Today. You can find Robin on her website, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter (@RobinCovington).

Email: robincovingtonromance@yahoo.com

Website: http://robincovingtonromance.com/

Blog: http://robincovingtonromance.com/burning-up-the-sheets/

Twitter: @RobinCovington

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RobinCovingtonAuthor

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5812874.Robin_Covington

Newsletter: http://averyflynn.us6.list-manage2.com/subscribe/post?u=86d6422aba38201281a747f83&id=a525b102ea

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13. Release Day Spotlight and Giveaway-Turned by Virna DePaul

To celebrate today’s release of Virna DePaul’s Turned, I have compiled a handy list of places where you more than likely will NOT meet a hot vampire.  Please add additional places in the comments.  Thanks to the uber awesome peeps at Random House, I also have 5 copies up for grabs, so enter away!

Top 5 places you are guaranteed to NOT pick up a vampire:

Pool Party

Beach Volley Game

Church Service

Golf Tournament

Tanning Salon

Also avoid Italian restaurants, your local tent stake factory, and the Vatican.  I will bet dimes to dollars that you will never find a vampire hunk there.  Where else would you be wasting your time seeking your vampire soul mate?

Welcome to a mesmerizing world where vampires hide among humans. This centuries-old species has its own rules, code of conduct, and taboos. Only the FBI knows that vampires exist—and although the Bureau agrees to keep their secret, it also plots to give humans the upper hand.

Turning mortals into vampires is forbidden.

But there are creatures who refuse to play by the rules.

Ever since he was turned, FBI special agent Ty Duncan has had one mission: bring rogue vampires to justice. As a recruiter for Belladonna, a shadow agency formed to keep vampires in check, Ty must tap Ana Martin, a troubled ex–gang member and one of the few mortals who can infiltrate places that his kind and the law cannot. From their first encounter, Ty fights a hunger to make Ana his own.

When Ty claims to have information about Ana’s missing sister, Ana has no choice but to trust this captivating stranger who awakens her deepest desires. But as she and Ty climb the heights of pleasure and passion, an enemy is conspiring to destroy them both.

Can Ana help Ty find his humanity in a love that could heal them both, or will their passion lead them into a darkness impossible to escape?

Order your copy here:

Buy Links: Amazon, Amazon Kindle, Amazon Audio, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, iTunes

   

Virna DePaul is a former criminal prosecutor and bestselling author of steamy, suspenseful fiction.  Whether it’s vampires, a Para-Ops team, hot cops or swoon-worthy identical twin brothers, her stories center around complex individuals willing to overcome incredible odds for love.  She loves to hear from readers at www.virnadepaul.com | www.facebook.com/booksthatrock | www.twitter.com/virnadepaul

Giveaway!

Win a print copy of Turned by Virna DePaul.  US addresses only, please!

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14. Virna DePaul’s Tips For Dating a Vampire and Giveaway

Virna DePaul dropped by this morning with a couple treats to share.  First, she has useful dating advice if you have a sexy vampire in your sights, and next, she brought a copy of Turned for one of you to win!!

Virna DePaul’s Tips for Dating a Vampire

First, thank you so much to Julie and Manga Maniac Café for having me at your blog. I am very excited to share a little of my upcoming release Turned with you! In Turned my alpha hero Ty Duncan, a special agent with the FBI, is just getting used to life as a vampire and all of the urges that come with it when he must recruit Ana Martin to join the Belladonna Agency. Ana, a former gang member who’s trying to live a quiet life in Seattle, isn’t keen on joining an organization whose purpose is to bring down vampire criminals, but Ty makes her an offer she can’t refuse. When business turns personal, Ana decides she needs a crash course on dating a vampire and all things supernatural! What tips would I give her and any other woman dating a vampire?

  1. Attitude – When dealing with an alpha vampire it is always important to stand your ground. You want to be able to give as good as you get. You want to let him know that just because he’s packing fangs that doesn’t mean he gets to have his way all the time!

  2. Diet – It is important for all vampire-dating girlfriends to maintain a diet rich in foods that increase the production of red blood cells. After all, we can’t have our man going hungry. ? Grains such as cereals, leafy greens, dairy products, oranges and proteins are a must!

  3. Exercise – Staying in shape is a priority when dating a vampire because you never know when you are going to need staying power. Whether in the bedroom or out of it you want to be able to keep up with your man.

  4. Clothing – Vampires aren’t known for their subtlety. Every girl should know to keep an extra set of clothing on you at all times because you never know when your man is going to ravish you, which usually ends with your clothing in tatters.

  5. Extrovert – This one kind of ties in with Clothing. Vampires are constantly fighting their urges and sometimes they lose the battle in public places! A vampire-dating girl should know there is always a chance of public sex, public fighting and public fanging (a guy’s got to eat). A woman needs to be able to handle these instances with ease and pride. No need to be embarrassed; it’s always a good thing when your vampire gets so carried away with lust for you that he can’t control his feelings.

What advice would you give Ana? Comment below to win an autographed ARC of Turned.

Virna DePaul is a former criminal prosecutor and bestselling author of steamy, suspenseful fiction.  Whether it’s vampires, a Para-Ops team, hot cops or swoon-worthy identical twin brothers, her stories center around complex individuals willing to overcome incredible odds for love.  She loves to hear from readers at www.virnadepaul.com | www.facebook.com/booksthatrock | www.twitter.com/virnadepaul

Romance at Random is featuring my hero for a special column called #TyOnTuesday. If you have a chance, stop by and read some exclusive excerpts from Turned! There will be a new #TyOnTuesday every Tuesday until Turned hits bookshelves 04/01/14!

About the book:

Welcome to a mesmerizing world where vampires hide among humans. This centuries-old species has its own rules, code of conduct, and taboos. Only the FBI knows that vampires exist—and although the Bureau agrees to keep their secret, it also plots to give humans the upper hand.


Turning mortals into vampires is forbidden.

But there are creatures who refuse to play by the rules.
Ever since he was turned, FBI special agent Ty Duncan has had one mission: bring rogue vampires to justice. As a recruiter for Belladonna, a shadow agency formed to keep vampires in check, Ty must tap Ana Martin, a troubled ex–gang member and one of the few mortals who can infiltrate places that his kind and the law cannot. From their first encounter, Ty fights a hunger to make Ana his own.
When Ty claims to have information about Ana’s missing sister, Ana has no choice but to trust this captivating stranger who awakens her deepest desires. But as she and Ty climb the heights of pleasure and passion, an enemy is conspiring to destroy them both.
Can Ana help Ty find his humanity in a love that could heal them both, or will their passion lead them into a darkness impossible to escape?

Buy Links: Amazon, Amazon Kindle, Amazon Audio, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, iTunes

Giveaway!

Leave a comment answering this question:

What advice would you give Ana?

Earn extra entries by Tweeting and following!

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15. REVIEW: A Driven Man in BALTIMORE: THE WIDOW AND THE TANK

TweetLord Henry Baltimore, Vampire Hunter, is more strictly speaking the hunter of a specific vampire, as THE WIDOW AND THE TANK one-shot reminds us. For such a goal-oriented guy, he certainly leaves plenty of ash-piles along the way, not to mention the corpses of other creatures he may happen to encounter. Writers Mike Mignola and [...]

3 Comments on REVIEW: A Driven Man in BALTIMORE: THE WIDOW AND THE TANK, last added: 2/24/2013
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16. Excerpt: Edge of Dawn by Lara Adrian

Random House has another excerpt to share! This time, check out a sample from Lara Adrian’s Edge of Dawn.

 

Edge of Dawn by Lara Adrian (Excerpt) by

If you enjoyed reading this excerpt, you can order Edge of Dawn from your favorite bookseller or by clicking the links below.

 

About the Book:

In this pulse-pounding and thrillingly sensual novel, New York Times bestselling author Lara Adrian returns to the mesmerizing world of the Midnight Breed, following new characters into a dark future where an uneasy peace can unravel into war—and a great betrayal can mask an all-consuming love.

Twenty years after the terror of First Dawn—when mankind learned that vampires lived secretly among them—the threat of violence reigns as the two species struggle to coexist. The only group preserving the fragile harmony is the Order, an elite cadre of Breed warriors dedicated to protecting humans and vampires alike. And in this precarious world of torn loyalties and shattered trust, Mira, a fiery squad captain, finds that every fight bears an intensely personal cost.

Raised among the Order, Mira has always believed in the warrior’s code of swift—and even lethal—justice. But the one thing she desires more than the Order’s hard-won acceptance is Kellan Archer, a sexy but troubled Breed fighter. In love with him since childhood, Mira once broke through his tough exterior during an unexpected night of rapture, but the next day he mysteriously disappeared, never to return.

Kellan didn’t think he would ever see Mira again—or have to confront the truth of why he left. After abandoning the Order years ago, he now leads a band of human rebels intent on carrying out their own vigilante rule of law. Yet a high-profile kidnapping assignment brings him face-to-face with the past he sought to avoid, and the striking woman he has tried desperately to forget. And as tensions mount and the risk of bloodshed grows, Kellan and Mira must take sides—between the competing missions that dominate their lives, and the electrifying passion that claims their hearts.

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17. Meet Katie From Laura Bickle’s The Outside

Please welcome special guest Katie to the virtual offices! Katie is on the run for her life, hiding from the undead.  Hopefully, they haven’t followed her here.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Describe yourself in five words or less.

[Katie} Faltering, but not yet broken.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What’s your typical day like?

[Katie} Before the end of the world, I had a peaceful Amish life. I worked on my parents’ farm. I raised Golden Retriever puppies and helped take care of my little sister, Sarah. There was plenty of work to be done: tending the garden, working the crops, feeding the cattle, cooking, laundry, and cleaning. But it kept me busy, and for the most part kept my mind from wandering to all the interesting things that must be in the outside world: comic books, Coca-Cola, jeans, and make-up.

But after…after the end of the world…I am on my own. I’ve been exiled from my community. With my two friends, Alex and Ginger, we search for other survivors by day. By night, we try to fight and outrun the vampires. We eat whatever we can scavenge and try to find safe places to sleep. Winter’s coming, and there’s less and less food as it grows colder.

I miss home.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you could change one thing you’ve done in your life, what would it be?

[Katie} I know that my parents would want me to regret being shunned in the first place. Fearing contagion, the Elders made a rule that no one was to come in our community, and no one was allowed out. But I found Alex, an injured man, just beyond my fence. I brought him into our barn to heal.

I know that my parents would want me to say that I regret this, and that I regret falling in love with him. But I don’t.

The thing that I regret is not being able to make my family and my community understand what terrible evil was coming, that it could affect us just as much as it has the outside world. They didn’t believe me then. But I know that they do now.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What’s the one thing do you prize above all others?

[Katie} Of all things, certainly my faith. Though I wrestle with knowing that God has chosen not to intervene in this evil that has spread over the earth, I still treasure it.

In terms of material things? The only thing I really have is the Himmelsbrief my village Hexenmeister created for me. It is a letter to God, a beautiful and powerful thing. It deters the vampires, and I credit it with my survival so far.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Why do you think the world has become such a dangerous place?

[Katie] I have heard many explanations for this. My village Hexenmeister has said that the Darkness has always been with us. He says that it was with us even in the Old Country. He remembers the old ways of dealing with the Darkness: with stakes and fire and sunlight. People believed in it then, and struck it down before it had the chance to take root.

Others tell me that it is a scientific evil. That something has crawled out of a radioactive experiment in a place half a world away. Chernobyl? I can’t remember what it was called. Some think that a meteor fell. Others think that it is a virus.

I don’t know the answer. All I know is that there is Darkness and light, and that one must choose a side.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Why do you think you have survived, while so many others have not?

[Katie} Alex says that it’s because I’m used to being without modern conveniences: that I know how to make my way without electricity, cars, and telephones. I know what’s edible in the forest and which animal tracks to follow and which to avoid.

I think it’s partially because of the Himmelsbrief. Without it, I would have been devoured long before.

And it’s also because I am not truly alone. I have my friends, Alex and Ginger. We have a horse and have just been joined by a wolf. The wolf is good with hunting…more dog than wolf. He is good with finding chickens, and he shares what he finds.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you share your dreams for the future in five words or less.

[Katie} No more blood and Darkness.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Thank you!

[Katie} Thank you so much!

Purchase link:

About the book:

One girl. One road. One chance to save what remains…

After a plague of vampires is unleashed in the world, Katie is kicked out of her Amish community for her refusal to adhere to the new rules of survival. Now in exile, she enters an outside world of unspeakable violence with only her two “English” friends and a horse by her side. Together they seek answers and other survivors—but each sunset brings the threat of vampire attack, and each sunrise the threat of starvation.
And yet through this darkness come the shining ones: luminescent men and women with the power to deflect vampires and survive the night. But can these new people be trusted, and are they even people at all?
In this edge-of-your-seat thriller, it’s up to one Amish girl to save her family, her community, and the boy she loves . . . but what will she be asked to leave behind in return?

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18. Review: The Outside by Laura Bickle

 

Title:  The Outside

Author: Laura Bickle

 

May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

 

After a plague of vampires was unleashed in the world, Katie was kicked out of the safe haven of her Amish community for her refusal to adhere to the new rules of survival. She enters an outside world of unspeakable violence with only her two friends and a horse by her side

And yet through this darkness come the shining ones: luminescent men and women with the power to deflect vampires and survive the night. But can they be trusted, and are they even people at all?      In this sequel to The Hallowed Ones, it’s up to one Amish girl to save her family, her community, and the boy she loves . . . but what will she be asked to sacrifice in return?


Review:

Last year, I read The Hallowed Ones, and it totally creeped me out.  It was scary and suspenseful, and protagonist Katie was brave, level-headed, and firmly grounded by her Amish beliefs.  I eagerly awaited The Outside, the next book in the series, which picks up right where The Hallowed Ones left off.  The end of the world has come, in the form of a terrible sickness that turns its victims into blood sucking monsters.  Katie, her English boyfriend Alex, and Ginger are trying to stay alive after being expelled from Katie’s Amish community.  They have no shelter, dwindling provisions, and the vampires are dogging their every step.  Only sacred ground is keeping them safe at night, as they trek north to find Alex’s family.  Winter is coming (sorry GoTs fans!), and the odds of their continued survival are bleak.

While I didn’t think The Outside was as suspenseful as the previous book,  I still had a hard time putting it down.  This outing is all about the running.  Running from vampires, running from the weather, running from the knowledge that the world has ended and there few survivors of whatever horrible virus has turned humanity into monsters.  Along the way, they meet some of the desperate survivors, and Katie and Alex are at odds about what to do with the weapon they receive to alter themselves to survive the fight with the Darkness.  Alex jumps at the chance to save himself and have a better way to protect Katie, but Katie struggles with her decision about what to do.  She has already gone against her belief system so many times, and she’s afraid that this measure of self-defense will steal away whatever humanity that she has left.  I thought that this method of battling the vampires was genius, in a Ha! Take THIS evil vampires!! kind of way. 

What I enjoyed best about The Outside was Katie’s struggle to accept the bad things that had happened to her.  She made some choices in both books that had very serious repercussions for both herself and for Alex and Ginger, and while she regretted some of the outcomes, she never regretted the initial decision to save Alex.  That one choice was the catalyst for everything else that happened; being shunned, being forced from the protection of her community, seeing the terrible things she saw while she was Outside.  She is angry with the Elders for not believing the Hexenmeister, and for how their treated Ginger.  She’s hurt that her parents did nothing when she was kicked out of the community, yet she can’t stop worrying about them.  Even though her friends and everyone she knows have turned their backs on her, she is still willing to give up her life to save as many of them as she can.  She’s a very admirable character.

One quibble with the book, and it’s the same quibble I have with most post-apocalyptic/dystopian novels, is how quickly they start to feel repetitive.  The steps are always similar to this – travel as far during the day as possible, forage for food and water, seek a safe place to sleep, encounter monsters and life-threatening events along the way.  Stop to rest after finding a safe haven, then gear up and get back on the road, facing even more danger than before.  The pattern and the pacing occasionally frustrate me.  Katie was an interesting enough character that I remained engaged in this story.  With her Plain upbringing, she’s even better prepared for the end of the world than most heroines.  Katie hasn’t been exposed to modern conveniences, so she’s used to a more rugged life-style.  She knows the land, and knows how to forage.  She hasn’t had a cushy life, but instead had chores and obligations to her family and her community.  I thought this gave her a huge advantage that made her survival more believable.

I enjoyed Laura Bickle’s foray into YA, and look forward to her next project.  I like her voice and I really like her characters.

Grade:  B/B+

Review copy purchased from Amazon

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19. Black City (Black City, #1), by Elizabeth Richards

Release Date: November 13th, 2012
Age Group: Young Adult
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons BYR
Source: Bought
Overall: 5 Monkeys
Interest: Dystopia, Paranormal, Series
Categories: Dystopia, Paranormal, Vampires, Romance
Read in August 2013

Summary:
A dark and tender post-apocalyptic love story set in the aftermath of a bloody war.
In a city where humans and Darklings are now separated by a high wall and tensions between the two races still simmer after a terrible war, sixteen-year-olds Ash Fisher, a half-blood Darkling, and Natalie Buchanan, a human and the daughter of the Emissary, meet and do the unthinkable—they fall in love. Bonded by a mysterious connection that causes Ash’s long-dormant heart to beat, Ash and Natalie first deny and then struggle to fight their forbidden feelings for each other, knowing if they’re caught, they’ll be executed—but their feelings are too strong.
When Ash and Natalie then find themselves at the center of a deadly conspiracy that threatens to pull the humans and Darklings back into war, they must make hard choices that could result in both their deaths.
My Opinion:

I'm so glad I paid attention to the many reviews for Black City! If you think like I do, that there are so, so many new dystopian books coming out and you're getting a bit tired of them, and why don't authors just write something other than dystopias, thank think again about reading Black City

This is a book that can be qualified as Dystopia/Paranormal (much like the Juliette Chronicles by Tahereh Mafi), a genre on the rise. 

Black City is told from the two alternating POV's of Natalie and Ash (it's got to be at least the fourth book in a row I read with multiple POV's). Like any other dystopia, it's got its over-domineering government and the growing resistance, but what makes it so unique are the characteristics of both sides.

Natalie is the youngest daughter of the city's Emissary, something much like a mayor. She is human, and she's been brought up to believe that Darklings are bad creatures. Ash is a Darkling stuck on the human side of the town. He's what they call a twin-blood, the son of a Darkling mother and a human father. 
They meet under some very stressing circumstances, but through the book they manage to make it. Kinda.

We're told from the start that Natalie's got a scar along her chest, and it's this simple detail what will help Richards give the story a really great turn and closure. I won't say more about it, but that it was very well thought out.

This is a dark book, and I mean dark. The human government uses its power (and here I couldn't help but compare its Purian Rose to TGH's President Snow, they're so similar) to slowly wipe out the Darkling population. There are some pretty gruesome scenes, but it just makes the book that much better.

I just have one complaint: Somewhere to the third quarter of the book we're introduced to a new character, Evangeline. And she's a pretty important character. So much so, that it's her intervention what manages to twist the future of our characters in a significant way. I just wish we could have known about her sooner, or in a different way. Her appearance just felt too out of the blue to me.

There's a big secret surrounding Natalie's family; I loved learning it and can't wait to see how it influences the next books! Ash's secret is pretty big too, and it definitely helps make his story really interesting.

Black City's secondary characters enjoy the spotlight a lot too, so kudos to Richards for making intriguing secondary characters that readers will remember.

The book's political plot is very nicely built. Natalie will learn a lot, being the Emissary's daughter, and she'll have her own opinion made out by the end of the book. Beetle, Ash's best friend, has an important role in the Humans for Unity resistance. Even Beetle's aunt, Roach, is a character with a little of backstory.

All in all, a great read. For its 374 pages, I read it in two sittings. It was that great.
Happy reading,
Ella

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20. Review: Midnight Secretary Vol 1 by Tomu Ohmi

 

Title: Midnight Secretary Vol 1

Author:  Tomu Ohmi

 

May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

 

Mad Men meets Vampire Diaries

Kaya Satozuka prides herself on being an excellent secretary and a consummate professional, so she doesn’t even bat an eye when she’s reassigned to the office of her company’s difficult director, Kyohei Touma. He’s as prickly—and hot—as rumors paint him, but Kaya is unfazed…until she discovers that he’s a vampire!!Kaya quickly accustoms herself to scheduling his “dinner dates” and working odd hours, but can she handle it when Kyohei’s smoldering gaze starts turning her way?!


Review:

Midnight Secretary is a very fun, fluffy read.  I wasn’t expecting much from it, and I wasn’t really in the mood for it, so I kept shuffling it from the top of my reading pile, and now I’m sorry I did.  Once I got it in my hands, the cover kind of turned me off.  I don’t find it appealing at all, so here is another instance where I misjudged the book by it’s cover.

Kaya takes pride in her job, and she wants to be the best executive secretary possible so she can get a great job, and so her mom won’t have to work so hard.  After her father died, her mother got a job at Tohma Corporation, and she worked hard to put Kaya through school.  She even helped get her a job at Tohma, and now that Kaya is getting her big break, she’s going to make her mother proud.  The big break turns out to be a mixed blessing.  She’s assigned to be Kyohei Tohma’s secretary.  Kyohei is the younger son of the senior director, and he’s a jerk.  He is a demanding boss, who works long hours, and his exacting expectations have caused countless secretaries to quit.  Kaya is determined to succeed, though, but his dismissive attitude is hard to deal with.

Kyohei has a reputation for being a ladies man, and Kaya quickly discovers that this is true.  He juggles the ladies with consummate skill, arranging meetings with them in his office after dark.  He is quick to disparage Kaya’s looks, and he grumpily complains that she’s not good looking enough to work for him.  Kaya ignores every complaint and quickly proves that she is efficient and dedicated to her job.  When she suspects that Kyohei and his girlfriends are using drugs in the office, she doesn’t hesitate to get to the bottom of her suspicions.  She’s afraid that if there is illegal drug use going on that he’ll get caught, the company will suffer, and she’ll lose her job.  What she discovers is that he’s a vampire, and that the hanky panky in his office  is Kyohei drinking the blood of his beautiful lady friends.  The illegal drug use would probably have been more welcome than working for a blood-sucking playboy!

I enjoyed Midnight Secretary because Kaya is so unflappable.  She takes the discovery that her boss is a vampire in stride, and quickly decides that she’s going to defend his secret and make sure that he is taken care of so that he can continue to perform his job duties.  Well, that and he’s threatened to have her mother fired if  Kaya quits, so she doesn’t really have much choice.  Meeting every challenge that he throws at her head-on, Kaya quickly proves that she is indispensible.  Despite Kyohei’s gruffness, she can’t help but find him attractive, especially after his secret weakness is revealed and he is forced to drink her blood.

The art is very attractive and reminded me of Mayu Shinjo.  The delicate lines are expressive, and the characters are attractive, even Kaya, who hides her baby face behind ugly glasses and a severe hair style.Midnight Secretary is fun and flirty, and I can’t wait to read the next volume. 

Grade:  B+

Review copy provided by publisher

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21. DNF: The Children of the Mist, by Jenny Brigalow

Release Date: September 1st, 2013
Age Group: Young Adult
Publisher: Walker Books for Young Readers
Source: Publisher through NetGalley
Overall: 2 Monkeys
Interest: Vampires, Werewolves, Aussie Lit
Categories: Paranormal, Romance, Series
Goodreads / Amazon/ Jenny Brigalow's Website 
Read in September-October 2013 

Summary:
An original paranormal YA about an unconventional girl, an unconventional boy, their extraordinary transformations, and the secrets of the Scottish Highlands.

When skater girl Morven Smith turns sixteen, she develops boobs, acute appendicitis...and a pair of pointy teeth. While she is stunned by her metamorphosis into vampire, her best mate, the enigmatic Zest, is not. For the young werewolf, Morven’s transformation is an answer to his lonely prayers. 
But they are unable to celebrate their mutual paranormalcy for long — there are too many dangers, too much suspicion, and too many questions. It’s only in Scotland that Morven can learn the truth about her past. But she discovers more than she bargained for when she meets her birth family — an ancient feud between vampires and werewolves. They may both be Children of the Mist, but only one species can survive.
My Opinion:

I first decided to read this book because I really like aussie books, I like their cool idioms and reading about places that I'd love to visit someday, in this case, Australia and Scotland. 

So I met Morven, a skater girl, 16-year-old and with a penchant for adrenaline. The first couple of chapters introduced her and her friend Zest. I read about them skating, trespassing private property and freeing a lively Dog, but I still couldn't feel anything for them. 

I couldn't tell you why, but I couldn't bring myself to care for these characters. Sometimes I'd get excited about a situation, like when Morven starts to transform, to Become, and nurses and doctors try to pin her down and stop her from escaping. 

But then the book would go back to its previous slow pace and lost its grasp on me. I read half of the book and still, I couldn't get into it. I really tried to finish it, but it's been a long while and I need to read the other books on my Review List. 

Maybe the book will make up for these things I'm listing here in its second half, but I'm not tempted to read it any time soon. Sorry, Jenny! I really hate it when I can't even finish a book. 

If any of you have read the whole thing, let me know how it ends!
xo, Ella

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22. Welcome KC Blake–vampire fighter, werewolf hunter and creature of the night stalker (in a good way, not in that creepy way everyone else stalks creatures of the night)

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This Fun Friday The Society of YA Storyteller authors are all interviewing fellow authors! I’m the lucky one who hosts KC Blake today. Interested in stories that will keep you up long into the night? Just read one of KC’s books and you’ll see why you’ll want to read them all. When you get to the end of the interview and want to read more, there’s links to all the author interviews. Stop by each of the blogs and read about one of your favorite or future favorite authors. Click here to check out the The YA Society of Storytellers website and check out the game zone, online book club, trailers and giveaways too.

Any works in process that you are passionate about?  I am working on Warrior right now.  It is the third in the Order of the Spirit Realm Series, and I’m having a blast because I know these characters so well.  It will be hard when I finish and have to say goodbye.

Werewolf or Vampire? Vampire or Zombie? Aliens or Mole People?  Werewolf (pasty white boys don’t do it for me).  Vampire (easier to kill).  Aliens (the other is too weird).

Which of your characters is most like you?  Bay-Lee Van Helsing from Bait.  I don’t give up no matter what (I’m just stubborn that way), and I keep going no matter what life throws at me.  I’m also driven (to write, not to kill werewolves).

Which of your characters is least like you?  Lily from Witch Hunt. The girl never knows when to shut her mouth. She is constantly talking about stupid things and doesn’t notice when her friends want to slap her.

Which of your characters would you like to be friends with?  Kristen from Crushed because she is a witch with crazy powers, but she isn’t irresponsible so I don’t have to worry about her turning me into anything weird.  She would use her magic to help me out.

Which of your characters do you like writing about most?  Nick Gallos from Bait because he was an undercover rock star slash vampire slayer.  He’s angry and bitter, until he falls for Bay-Lee.  Definitely my favorite.

Tell us about your favorite Christmas tradition.  On Christmas Eve we drink hot cocoa and open up one present.  We also watch a Christmas movie.  Then on Christmas morning we eat breakfast before opening presents.  The rest of the day is spent visiting family, maybe watching another Christmas movie, and playing in the snow if we are lucky enough to have some.

Paperback or eBook?  Depends.  I love my Kindle, but I want my books in print if they are keepers.

Future plans?  After I finish up the Order of the Spirit Realm series, I am going to finish my vampire series.  Then I would like to move on to a series about other worlds and dragons.

Check out the other YA Storyteller interviews:

K.C. Blake
Bryna Butler
Heather Hildenbrand
Patti Larsen
Quinn Loftis
Liz Long
Melissa Pearl
L.M. Preston
Stacey Rourke
Christy Sloat
Heather Sutherlin
Suzy Turner


0 Comments on Welcome KC Blake–vampire fighter, werewolf hunter and creature of the night stalker (in a good way, not in that creepy way everyone else stalks creatures of the night) as of 12/13/2013 3:26:00 AM
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23. Review: Night Owls by Lauren M Roy

 

May Contain Spoilers

Review:

While I love Urban Fantasy, I don’t often have the opportunity to read much of the genre because so many of the titles currently being released are part of a longer, multi-volume series, or, when a book comes along that I think is interesting, I just don’t have time to fit it into my jam-packed reading schedule.  I had seen several positive reviews for Night Owls, so I determined to make the time to read Lauren M Roy’s debut novel.  I’m so glad I did!  This is such a fun read, and it clicked for me within just the first few pages.  I couldn’t put it down and finished it in just a few hours.

 

Valerie is a battle weary vampire, who has settled down as far away from California and the terrible memories that still  haunt her ten years after a monster hunting mission gone bad.  Now the proprietor of a late night bookstore, Night Owls, she’s made herself comfortable in a small college town, making a new life, and new friends, for herself.  When Elly races into town, she destroys the peace that Val has built around herself.  After one of her most loyal customers is murdered, Val is determined to find out the reason for his death.  What she does is open a whole giant can of worms that threatens everything and everyone she loves.

Wow!  I loved the characters!  Val is a total badass, when she finally gives in and starts fighting the supernatural enemies plaguing her small town.  Elly is, too, but she has to rely on her wits and her training to get out of her scrapes.  She’s only human, after all, even if she has been taught since childhood how to track and neutralize Jackals, scary flesh eating monsters that prey on humans.  Cavale rocked, too!  I want him to have his own freaking book!  I wish he had had a larger role in the story – and don’t get me wrong, he had lots of page time, but I liked him so much I wanted to know more about him.  Val’s friend (he’s more like a vassal), Chaz was adorable, even though he has a lot to learn about fighting and slaying monsters. 

Things go to crap for Val after Justin, one of her employees, takes a peek inside the ancient book Professor Clearwater sends to her for safekeeping.  Justin’s been given strict instructions that no one is to open the book without Professor Clearwater there.  Oops!  Curiosity really does kill the cat! Kind of serves Justin right to trigger a ward on the book and have all of its magic jump right into him.  That is one complication that Val didn’t need, and when a pack of Jackals come to Night Owls, demanding the return of the book and its magic, she knows that they are in for the fight of their lives.

I am trying very hard not to gush about this read, but I can’t help myself.  It is FUN with all capital letters, and I can’t wait to read more by Roy.  The fight scenes are exciting and kept me on the edge of my seat, the paranormal characters are blast – I enjoyed being introduced to all of them, the good, the bad, and the indifferent to Val’s dire problem.  The story takes place over only a few days, but what a danger, adventure filled period that is!  Because Val is a vampire, her fatal flaw, as well as the Jackals, is that they can’t be out after sunrise.  That’s what makes loyal humans like Chaz so valuable.  There are many tasks that need to be completed during the daylight hours, so Val has a trusted agent take care of them.  When Chaz ends up a pawn in the quest for the magic in Justin’s head, Val becomes a very grumpy, and very anxious, vampire.  The Jackals will do anything to get back their book, and Val knows that there’s a deadline to rescuing Chaz.

If you are in the mood for a fast, action-packed read, filled with things that go bump in the night, look no further.  Night Owls is a blast, and I can’t wait for more adventures with Val, Elly, Chaz, and Cavale.

Grade:  B+/A-

Review copy provided by publisher

From Amazon:

About the book:

Night Owls bookstore is the one spot on campus open late enough to help out even the most practiced slacker. The employees’ penchant for fighting the evil creatures of the night is just a perk…

Valerie McTeague’s business model is simple: provide the students of Edgewood College with a late-night study haven and stay as far away as possible from the underworld conflicts of her vampire brethren. She’s experienced that life, and the price she paid was far too high for her to ever want to return.

Elly Garrett hasn’t known any life except that of fighting the supernatural beings known as Creeps or Jackals. But she always had her mentor and foster father by her side—until he gave his life protecting a book that the Creeps desperately want to get their hands on.

When the book gets stashed at Night Owls for safekeeping, those Val holds nearest and dearest are put in mortal peril. Now Val and Elly will have to team up, along with a mismatched crew of humans, vampires, and lesbian succubi, to stop the Jackals from getting their claws on the book and unleashing unnamed horrors…

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24. #FollowFriday Interview with Virna DePaul, Author of Turned and Giveaway!

 

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Good morning, Virna!  Thank you for stopping by!

[Virna DePaul] Thanks so much, Julie and Manga Maniac Cafe, for having me here today!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Describe yourself in five words or less.

[Virna DePaul] Driven.  Passionate.  Shy.  Quiet.  Complex.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about Turned?

[Virna DePaul] Yes!  Turned is Book 1 in the Belladonna Agency Series.  The hero in Turned is Ty Duncan, an FBI special agent who was forcibly turned into a vampire.  The FBI uses Ty’s misfortune to its advantage, forming the Belladonna Agency, a black ops organization that tracks down vampire criminals.  Ty recruits a human female, Eliana Garcia, aka Ana Martin, who is a former gang member.  The hero and heroine are both wounded individuals who are fighting inner darkness.  Ana’s darkness comes from her past.  Ty’s darkness comes from his turning.  But in the end, love saves them both.  

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?

[Virna DePaul] It started with the idea of female spies with a Charlie’s Angels feel.  Then I added a touch of Underworld with the paranormal element—beautiful human females recruited to bring down rogue vampires.  Finally, it morphed slightly because I wanted to write a prequel to my already published Para-Ops series.  The Para-Ops series began with Chosen by Blood, five years after the second civil war, after the US battled with vampires and other paranormal creatures.  Turned jumps back in time, starting at the time vampires were first discovered by the FBI.  What bridges the two series is a continuing exploration of the idea of “monster” and how being a monster is a character trait that plagues humans just as much as vampires.  And of course, both series have plenty of sizzling hot romance. 

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

[Virna DePaul] As a former gang member, Ana is extremely tough and guarded.  She spent time in prison and she did things in her past to survive that, on the surface, make the idea of her being sexually innocent ridiculous, but yet that’s exactly what she is.  I enjoyed writing a female character that is so complex, and pairing her with a hero that fears he’s lost his humanity and is unworthy of love.  They truly heal one another in the best possible ways. 

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you had a theme song, what would it be?

[Virna DePaul] I Want It All by Queen

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What’s one thing you won’t leave home without.

[Virna DePaul] An open mind.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Name three things on your desk right now.

[Virna DePaul] My new Apple desktop.  LOVE!  Notes from a screenwriting class.  A speaker that plugs into my iPhone so I can play my favorite music. 

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are some books that you enjoyed recently?

[Virna DePaul] I continue to re-read Law Man by Kristin Ashley.  Wanted by J. Kenner was awesome.  I’ve read the novels written by my fellow Lucky 7: Bad Boys Boxed Set authors, Tawny Weber, Caridad Pineiro, Sophia Knightly, Kristin Miller, Susan Hatler, and Nina Bruhns.  They are all fabulous storytellers!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?

[Virna DePaul] Watch movies and Broadway musicals.  And read…I love to read!  Never enough time for that.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?

[Virna DePaul] They can always reach me through my website or social media!   I love to hear from them!

www.virnadepaul.com

www.facebook.com/booksthatrock

www.twitter.com/virnadepaul

Thanks again for having me here today.  I really appreciate it. :)

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Thank you!

About the book:

  

Perfect for fans of J. R. Ward, Nalini Singh, and Lara Adrian, bestselling author Virna DePaul’s new series of paranormal romances introduces readers to a thrilling world where vampires secretly co-exist with humans, seduction rules the night, and the stakes are nothing less than life and undeath.

Welcome to a mesmerizing world where vampires hide among humans. This centuries-old species has its own rules, code of conduct, and taboos. Only the FBI knows that vampires exist—and although the Bureau agrees to keep their secret, it also plots to give humans the upper hand.

Turning mortals into vampires is forbidden.

But there are creatures who refuse to play by the rules.

Ever since he was turned, FBI special agent Ty Duncan has had one mission: bring rogue vampires to justice. As a recruiter for Belladonna, a shadow agency formed to keep vampires in check, Ty must tap Ana Martin, a troubled ex–gang member and one of the few mortals who can infiltrate places that his kind and the law cannot. From their first encounter, Ty fights a hunger to make Ana his own.

When Ty claims to have information about Ana’s missing sister, Ana has no choice but to trust this captivating stranger who awakens her deepest desires. But as she and Ty climb the heights of pleasure and passion, an enemy is conspiring to destroy them both.

Can Ana help Ty find his humanity in a love that could heal them both, or will their passion lead them into a darkness impossible to escape?

Advance praise for Turned

“If you’re looking for a hot, sexy, emotional read, Virna DePaul delivers!”New York Times and USA Today bestselling author J. Kenner

“A captivating start to a fascinating new series with a hero that’s to die for.”—Bestselling author Rhyannon Byrd

“Virna DePaul creates yummy alpha heroes.”New York Times bestselling author Tina Folsom

“With Turned, Virna DePaul delivers a sexy and exciting new take on the vampire novel, one that comes complete with a kick-ass heroine and a to-die-for hero. I can’t wait for the sequel!”—Tracy Wolff, bestselling author of Ruined

Turned is intense, intricate, and insomnia inducing (plan to stay up way too late!). Virna DePaul puts the awesome in the awesomesauce of paranormal romance.”—Joyce Lamb, curator, USA Today’s Happy Ever After

“The chemistry between the two was great and made for some very sexy scenes.”Fresh Fiction

“This book has everything you could want and so, so much more!”Guilty Pleasures Book Reviews

Turned is an intriguing story with flawed characters who I connected with immediately. Fans of paranormal romance rejoice, here’s a compelling new series to sink your teeth into.”Harlequin Junkie


TURNED by Virna DePaul – Excerpt:

Take him.

“I want to take you,” she blurted out, her chin held high. “I want you to lie on your back and let me do whatever I want to you. Will you do that?”

He held out his hand. With a small frown, she slipped her hand in his. He pulled her to her feet but didn’t kiss her as she’d expected. Instead, he took her place on her bed.

Lying back on the crisp white sheets, he folded his hands behind his head so his biceps bulged and his abs rippled. The light dusting of hair on his chest arrowed down his torso and disappeared into the waistband of his sleep pants. At his groin, his cock pushed against the cotton seam as if straining to reach her, and her mouth went dry at the evidence of his girth. As she continued to watch, his hips arched, tempting her to action.

Her gaze shot back to his face. She expected him to be smiling again. Maybe even watching her with an arrogant look of triumph. Instead, he looked hungry. Famished. Ready to break down and beg if she didn’t touch him.

She knew exactly how he felt.

With more bravado than actual confidence, she stepped closer to him and pressed her palm against his chest. The strong thud of his heartbeat echoed the throbbing need between her legs. A slight hiss escaped him as her hand made contact. “Yes,” he groaned. “Touch me. Please.”

“I—I am touching you,” she whispered.

“Touch me with both hands. With your mouth. With your body. I need you, Ana. I need you so much.”

The naked vulnerability of his pleas made her breath catch. He needed her?

“Yes, I need you,” he said, making her wonder if she’d voiced her thoughts or he’d somehow read her mind. “And once we begin training, once you learn more about your mission, things are going to change. The way you feel about me is going to change.”

“Why? Are you going to be mean to me?” She pouted, skimming a nail across his nipple as if to punish him for any future transgressions against her.

He jerked. “I’m going to push you, and you’re not going to like being pushed. But more than that, you’re going to see me for who I really am. What I really am. And you’re not going to want me any longer. Not the way I want you.”

Instinctively, she pulled back at his pain-filled words. She had no idea what he meant, but when she opened

her mouth to question him, he shook his head wildly. “Don’t ask me to explain because I can’t. Just know that I want you and need you, Ana. Here. Now. I need you to take me, just like you said. Do what you want to me. Do anything. Do everything.”

Anything. Everything.

Most of the time, sex had always been about what someone else wanted to take from her. On the rarest of occasions, it had been about what she’d been willing to give up. She’d never thought of sex in terms of taking for herself. But now here was Ty, every luscious inch of him, begging her to do just that.

Her fears. Her insecurities. Her questions about what he’d said. They all disappeared as a maelstrom of desire overtook her. For once, she was in charge. For once, she had the power to take what she wanted.

She wanted him. She wanted to take from him. Anything. Everything.

And she was going to.

Faster than she’d ever thought possible, she stripped them both naked. His gaze devoured her bare flesh, but he kept his hands pinned behind his head, giving her total control.

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25. The Book Review Club - MidwinterBlood

MidwinterBLOOD
Marcus Sedgwick
YA

It's one of my favorite times of the year - kids' book awards! I waited with baited breath for the new Printz and Newbury winners and the resulting pile of spanking new stories to discover.  I started with the Printz winner, MidwinterBLOOD, by Marcus Sedgwick, and oh, what delicious fun!

Multiple, seemingly unrelated tales spanning thousands of years but that nevertheless all take place on the same island with two repeating character names slowly reveal themselves as the stories of the multiple lives of two star-crossed lovers that culminate in their final breaths. And even throws in a vampire and a WW II aviator.

Yum.

This sort of storytelling mesmerizes me. It takes the short story and incorporates it into novel length. It's a two for one that cleverly takes short stories arcs and layers them into a longer, overall novel arc.  It's pretty cool how Sedgwick pulls that off. How he takes elements in one story and reworks them, nevertheless expanding and revealing backstory in another about those elements, and the two characters they revolve around.

There were a few stories in the set that I understood less quickly and had to reread, but I'd say this is a reread all the way around, it's that rich with story and new author tools to tell story.

For other stories that will put a spring in your step before we tumble forward this weekend (hopefully out of the snow and into the flowers!) check out Barrie Summy's site. Happy reading!

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