Contest Alert--at Literary Escapism


Over at Literary Escapism is a contest to win Chloe Neill's books, both Some Girls Bite and Friday Night Bites!

There is a wonderful interview with Chloe and the chance to win the books plus her special prize package of Cadogan goodies!! Hurry contest ends midnight October 6, just before FNB releases!!

Review--Personal Demons


Megan promises listeners to her new radio call-in show that she'll "slay their personal demons", and they believe her. So do the personal demons. Although she doesn't know it, Megan is the only human without a personal demon on her shoulder. This, coupled wither her psychic abilities, makes her a valuable weapon for any demon "family" that can gain her allegiance. It also makes her a serious threat--not just to the personal demons, but a soul-sucker known as The Accuser who has an old score to settle.

Megan and her allies--a demon lover who both protects and seduces her with devilish intensity, a witch with poor social skills, and three cockney guard demons--have to deal not only with The Accuser, their personal demons, and the ghosts of Megan's past, but with a reporter who threatens to destroy Megan's career.

I thought I would try a new author, at the time I needed something to read, but then came some new releases and then school came along so I got behind but I left this on my TBR pile, trying to keep the books in order, for some reason. All I can say is I am glad I did.

Stacia Kane writes a very interesting novel, her writing style is different than others that I read. I find myself at loss to explain how exactly, not only is it third person--which isn't something I see a whole lot, but there is just a different quality to it. It is easy to follow I guess. There is no confusion or anything negative to be seen.

Her characters are equally likable. Megan definitely has spunk and a lot to like about. She is very relate-able to readers. To some extent at least. She has quite a mind to her, very independent and doesn't really care for having a demon helping to protect her from other demons. She keeps thinking that he has other plans in mind for her. Some of those plans include getting her into his bed, which he clearly states!

The cockney demon guards are also entertaining! Their accents seem so real. You can actually hear the flare to their words! They were entertaining too! They each have a unique flavor to their personality.

The "witch" wasn't around for much of the book, but when she was, she was definitely interesting. She seemed so unsure of herself at times, yet she was full of power. You could tell that she wasn't someone you wanted to piss off. Great combination!

The storyline itself was entertaining as well. As the cover jacket describes Megan is being hounded by demons and personal demons alike for her practice. These guys take things a little too literally! So she has to accept the help of the demon who she is attracted to against her will while trying to maintain a normal interview with the reporter who has secrets of his own.

There are a few secrets going about in the novel, which were surprising. Maybe I'm just too open-minded when I read, when I read, I don't want to think too much so I'm not looking to see if someone is being deceptive. I might briefly think oh that's odd, but not too much. Reading is for my pleasure, so I say the secrets are surprising but that's just my opinion. If you pay close attention you might pick up on them or suspect some things. That's something I also do, if something seems to have a lot of emphasis I note that for later analysis and later on I discover that I was close to my guess!

Overall a great read! Eventually when I have the time I will read the next book in the series Demon Inside, maybe in December, once the semester is over. For now I have to start studying for a test as my "reading" and then work on a few papers. But since a new release comes out Tuesday, that might be my next read followed by Jeanne Stein's Retribution. Until next time readers!

Interview with Chloe Neill



As I said before I've been trying to find the time to contact some authors and do interviews via email with them about their writing. Chloe Niell was gracious enough to take the time and answer some questions I came up with.









Where did you get your idea for your books?

Generally, I knew I wanted to write an urban fantasy about a female heroine. But specifically, on a scene-to-scene basis, they come from everywhere. Conversations I hear, interesting news stories, song lyrics. I try to keep a notebook nearby so that I can jot down information, ideas or phrases that might be fun additions.

Why Chicago?

I wanted to set the books in a city with an interesting political and social history that hadn't previously been used in the vampire context before.

What can you tell me about Friday Night Bites?

Not much. :) Friday Night Bites takes place a couple of weeks after Some Girls Bite ends. We know Merit has been working to come to terms with being a vampire; but now her Master, Ethan Sullivan, asks her to take a trip back home and pretend that she's on friendly terms with her father. She's not thrilled, as you might imagine.

When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?

I've only been writing for a few years now, so it's definitely something I came to later in life. I've always had a good imagination, and I've always been crafty, but I kind of fell into writing after I went through a stage where I read a ton of books. I felt like I'd exhausted everything I wanted to read, so I started writing something I wanted to read.

I heard you're a part-time writer, how challenging is it to do both jobs and balance in things like family/friends and other daily tasks?

It's definitely a challenge. Keeping a calendar is the biggest key for me--knowing when my deadlines line up, when my guest blogs are due, etc. But I don't have much free time, especially if I'm on a tight deadline. But I wouldn't change it for the world.

How many books will there be in the Chicagoland Vampire Series?

There are four books currently under contract. I have ideas for a handful more, so we'll have to see how much readers enjoy them! :)

What can you tell me about Firespell, the first book in your new YA series?

Firespell tells the story of 16 year-old Lily Parker's first week at St. Sophia's boarding school in Chicago. She learns that things aren't what they seem, especially where magic is concerned.

How many books are planned for the Dark Elite series?

There are currently three books in the series. Ditto on my answer for the Chicago series. :)

When you have free time what do you like to do?

I love to read, bake, watch 30 Rock and play with my dog. LOVE to bake. Mostly very, very unhealthy Southern-style desserts.

As an aspiring author myself, what do you recommend finding first, a publisher or an agent?

Wow, tough question. I found a publisher first, then got an agent after I'd secured the contract for Some Girls Bite and Friday Night Bites. (So it is possible to make the leap from slush pile to store shelves--that's how it worked for me.) You might check Writer's Market for thoughts about simultaneous submissions to both. But the first step is the most important--finish the manuscript, edit it, and ensure that you have a high-quality product to send out.

Any advice for other aspiring writers?

WRITE. Everyday, at least a little. Don't worry about whether it's good or if it will end up in the final product--you can always edit what you've written later on. That feeds into the second tip--treat it like a business. Being published is a great first step, but there are other things to consider--marketing, publicity, social media, interviews, etc.

Thanks for your time Chloe!

Thanks for having me, Jessica!

Friday Night Bites comes out October 6 2009 and Firespell comes out January 5 2010

Also be sure to head to Chloe's blog for a contest! She has a nice little prize package filled with Cadogan goodies!

Back to add more, another blogger has another interview with Chloe up and she has a contest running as well. Me--I'm just a poor college student so I don't have enough income to run any contests, sorry! Maybe some day...

Anyway at Amberkatze's Book Blog, she has a contest to win either of Chloe's books, so hurry on over!

Review--Hunting Ground


Cry Wolf unlocked the doors to a unique urban landscape in "a great...new werewolf series." Now Patricia Briggs invites readers to follow her even deeper into that seductive realm of the unknown...

Anna Lantham didn't know how complicated life could be until she became a werewolf. And until she was mated to Charles Cornick, the son--and enforcer--of Bran, the leader of the North American werewolves, she didn't know how dangerous it could be either...

Anna and Charles have just been enlisted to attend a summit to present Bran's controversial proposition: that the wolves should finally reveal themselves to humans. But the most feared Alpha in Europe is dead set against the plan--and it seem like someone else might be, too. When Anna is attacked by vampires using pack magic, the kind of power only werewolves should be able to draw on, Charles and Anna must combine their talents to hunt down whoever is behind it all--or risk losing everything...

Patricia Briggs latest new series is definitely a fave! It is just as entertaining as the Mercy Thompson series, but this one is just different somehow. We have a new set of characters and Anna is completely different than Mercy.

Anna is an Omega and is able to keep calmness throughout the pack. But mostly she just lives with Charles and tames his inner wolf if things look a little shaky. This predates the Mercy series, if I remember correctly, for the wolves have not announced themselves to the public yet, as the back of the cover describes. If I remember right, Bran had brought the wolves to the public by the time the Mercy series started.

The way Briggs writes when these different packs get together is amazing. Her writing is spectacular, vivid descriptions. You can actually sense the different cultures that are represented among the wolves. You can hear their accents when they talk.

The story line itself was good too. Simple enough as the cover describes. From Cry Wolf, we saw that Anna was still unsure of herself and her wolf, and some of that uneasiness is still present in Hunting Ground, but not as much. She is getting used to herself and her wolf. Her relationship with Charles is growing as well.

There are many enemies to uncover in this book. A lot of death occurs, and it's up to Charles and Anna to figure out what's going on before it's too late. But then the "top suspect" is murdered and it throws the 'mystery' aspect of the story through a loop towards the beginning. Anna and Charles will have to rethink who they can trust at this summit, for any one of these angered wolves could be the killer.

The story line was pretty simple. There wasn't too many subplots, which wasn't a bad thing either it was a great story. But I feel like I can't divulge too much into it since it's harder to describe the book without going into the spoilers. Overall a great read! I look forward to reading more about Anna and Charles, they have a sweet kind of relationship. A first love kind almost. They are mated, bonded and all so their love feels real and Briggs shows this to us through her writing by their actions! Complicated little sentence I know! If you've read Cry Wolf or any of the Mercy books, this is definitely one you will want to read as well!

Did you hear?

I just read on Jeaniene Frost's Live Journal account that Melissa Marr's Wicked Lovely is going to be made into a movie!!! Here is a link to an article that Jeaniene linked onto her journal.

http://hollywoodcrush.mtv.com/2009/09/16/wicked-lovely-adaptation-confirms-fairies-as-next-fantasy-film-trend/

I think this would be a great movie because out of the three books Melissa had, this one was my top fave! I am also excited to see what her new adult series will be like. Still haven't come across much info regarding that one.

This movie according to the article will be made by Universal Studies. The article was a good read, questioning as to see if Faeries are the next big hit since vampires, since the storyline vaguely-VAGUELY resembles Twilight.

But really this is all the same in a way, we have a high school girl who ends up getting involved with something supernatural. Blood and Chocolate predates both of those BOOKS and in its BOOK form, it's about a high school girl who's a werewolf dealing with werewolf things and falling in love with a human. So the whole theme shouldn't be a tired one, since it's been around for awhile before Twilight.

And the emphasis on BOOKS is because the movies and the books differ in great amounts, especially concerning Blood and Chocolate. ;)

Review--Night's Cold Kiss

For centuries war raged between the humans and Aeternus vampires--until courageous efforts on both sides forged a fragile peace.

But the rogue Necrosdreniacs will never be controlled--addicted as they are to the death-high...and bloody chaos.

Since witnessing the murder of her mother, Antoinette Petrescu has burned with fiery hatred for the vampire race--even for Christian Laroque, the noble, dangerously handsome Aeternus who rescued her. Now an elite Venator, Antoinetter must reluctantly accept Christian's help to achieve her vengeance--even as he plots to use the beautiful, unsuspecting warrior as bait to draw out the bloodthirsty dreniacs.

This new series by Aussie writer Tracey O'Hara was phenomenal! It was a sensational new thrill ride into the urban fantasy genre! Humans and vampires coexist with two kinds of vamps, as the back of the cover explained. They're are the good guys and bad guys. And now vampire hunter Antoinette must team up with the "enemy". But there is so much more involved than that!

Antoinette is going to have to let go of her prejudices if she ever wants to find her mother's killer, who may not have been killed by her father years ago after all! That's right, the murdering fiend still lives...or does he? Antoinette is convinced that she is seeing him amongst the crowds as she is out and about, but is she really seeing him or is it her mind playing tricks on her?

There is a new set of "politics" that must be learned and understood in this series, but O'Hara writes them in simple terms, so it is not overly complex to grasp. The language is easily followed and written wonderfully! [Although, as someone who wants to be a copy editor for a publishing company or anywhere, I did notice a few errors here and there, about 4. Simple misused words, that can easily be fixed in your mind while reading]

Her characters are fresh and engaging! Antoinette's hatred for Christian is sensational as there is history [very-very slight] between them and their interactions are entertaining. There is definite fire between them. Viktor is a beloved character and friend of Christian who has a quirky personality, Christian's mother, Lilijana is full of surprises. Every character has a reason for you to love or hate them, they are so full of depth!

The ending while it wrapped itself up nicely, with several plot twists that left my mouth hanging open--enough said there--there was still a bit of a potential unsolved mystery with a lead up to another novel! I have not been able to find any confirmation of said 2nd novel, but I feel confident that there will be another one possibly next year. When I find out I will try to remember to post the info!

There are definitely some exciting things that happen in Night's Cold Kiss that I can't divulge in--more than I have already! There's something in here for every kind of urban fantasy lover--lots of mystery, betrayal, discoveries, murders, revelations, and oh so much more! I hope that wasn't too much of a spoiler, but I have to give you some sort of hook to want to read this sensational new debut to the urban fantasy genre! Tracey O'Hara is definitely an author I will be keeping my eye on!

NEW LOOK!

I'm still in the midst of reading Night's Cold Kiss by Tracey O'Hara and it's really good so far. But as I've been looking at other blogs and stuff in between the reading, the working, the going to school and all the homework, I thought my blog could use a new look. So after some massive tinkering and some help from Jessica Kennedy over at http://bookreviewsbyjess.blogspot.com/, I have finally been able to get everything to work out right! Trying to find the right spot in the html of the background to place my widgets was a pain! But I finally did it!!

I'm still sort of tinkering with things, I might try to get the pictures to not be on a white background, but for now, I'm just going to leave it. As I've mentioned I am not technology-apt, so it was a long struggle to get this far! Thanks again Jess, for all your help!

I hope to post a review of NCK soon. I have about 72 pages left. Be back soon!

Review--Unbound


FIVE MASTERS OF DARK FANTASY CROSS THE BORDERS BETWEEN OUR WORLD AND OTHERS.

Not all hunters are bound by human laws...

Revisiting the paranormal realms they've made famous in their wildly popular fiction, New York Times bestselling authors KIM HARRISON, JEANIENE FROST, VICKI PETTERSSON, and JOCELYNN DRAKE--plus New York Times best selling YA author MELISSA MARR with her first adult supernatural thriller--unleash their full arsenal of dark talents, plunging us into the shadows where the supernatural stalk the unsuspecting...and every sould is a traget.

Get ready for the ride of your life--because the wildest magic has just been unleashed...and evil is about to have its day.

This is the BEST anthology of novellas ever!! Not 2 or 3, but 5! 5 GREAT authors are in this book with short stories! I was thrilled upon hearing about this book earlier this year and loved reading it! Of course I read it while in school so it took longer than it should, but the stories were great!

I'll break this review down by stories, Kim's was first and it was astounding! Ley Line Drifter, was from Jenks' view, well third person point of view, but it's still Jenks story. Jenk and his gargoyle friend, Bis, must help another pixie to rescue his endangered daughter from a psychotic nymph with "delusions of goddesshood". This was a verrrry interesting story. Definitely one that you won't want to skip. We finally get to see how Jenks sees things, his worries that were semi-present in the Hallow series, worries over his wife, his son Jax, they all come up. Also the ending leads to believe that there might be more to see in the Hallows series itself! That's just a guess on my part and that's all I can and will say for fear of leading to a spoiler!

Moving on next to Jeaniene Frost's Reckoning was a story about Bones before he met Cat. Not so long later, he'd meet her. Bones is in New Orleans tracking down a pair of "famous" killers, but there are extenuating circumstances to why he's there in the first place. Also there is a hitman who's out for Bones himself. And he has formed an attachment to a young woman who might know something about the murders that are going about town. And Bones is on a very strict timeline, it's Mardi Gras, and he has until its end to catch the killers before they leave the city yet again. This was an incredible story. I love Bones in the Night Huntress Series and to see him before he met Cat was great! I love his personality and his little quirks. We also see him get his new color dye in this book, the one he has when he meets Cat. I found Jeaniene's writing to be AMAZING in this novella. It's a third person point of view, yet we're still seeing things from Bones' perspective. Incredible!

Vicki Pettersson's Dark Matters is another prequel like story. This story tells the tale of J.J., agent of Light and how his life was in the beginning (think real hard Zodiac fans and you'll know who it is, if you've read City of Souls). J.J.'s parents were murdered in front of him when he was a small child and one of the members of the group that killed them spared his life. He remembered her name for the next several years. Years later he meets her again, but yet can't bring himself to do the deed that must be done. But if he doesn't commit the deed soon, terrible things will happen. This all takes place before The Scent of Shadows, and it was just fascinating to finally learn a little about the history in the Agents of Light's history. This was definitely a fun read, I almost need to go back and re-read City of Souls to put the rest of it all together back to back, but first I must find the time for that. Unlikely. :)

Jocelynn Drake's The Dead, the Damned, and the Forgotten is another prequel story that doesn't have Danaus, but Mira herself. Who's about to get into a whole lot of trouble unless she can solve the murder of a nightwalker in time. A nightwalker was murdered in her city and now she has to find out who killed him before the sun rises. But along the way more trouble occurs that makes her day--err, night a living a hell. There was tons of action in this short story that I found myself craving for more. The twist at the end was definitely a shocker as well. I so didn't see this angle coming! Jocelynn really knows how to surprise her readers.

Melissa Marr makes delights us with her debut adult short story, Two Lines (Word has it that she will soon be publishing an adult series as well, not sure if this is a prequel to it or not. As soon as I find anything out I will be sure to post info here!). There is a sense of strangeness in this story, we have the Other--it's kind of undefinable. Eavan does have a vampire friend, but her identity herself is a little peculiar. It's something new for me in the urban fantasy world. Eavan is set out to get a local drug dealer who is mixing Haitian zombie powder and selling enslaved woman. She has a sort of attraction to him as well, but she fights it. Apparently killing and having sex will "damn" her in some way. A way that will make her a full Glasitig. This is what she is, which is still a little unclear to me. But still interesting enough. The ending was great too! It might just be the basis of Melissa's soon to see adult urban fantasy series. That's just a guess on my part, no confirmation whatsoever! Very entertaining story!

Overall a very wonderful anthology!! I enjoyed the prequel stories, I find that variety to be entertaining to a story. Even with movies, but that's a different topic. And the two tales that weren't prequels were still equally grand! This is a must have for the urban fantasy lover.

Interview with Jocelynn Drake

As promised I started talking/emailing some authors, well started with one so far, and Jocelynn was kind enough to answer some questions I came up with about her writing. This interview was done via email on September 5 2009.

Where did you get your idea for your books?

My ideas come from many hours of daydreaming. Nightwalker was started as a short story, which was nothing more than an experiment in writing. I had been playing around with point of view and a couple characters that had been running around in my brain. I had never intended it to become as big as it has become. But the new characters kept coming to me with their interesting personalities and personal agendas. A good friend read the short story and demanded more, so I kept writing and writing and writing. Now I’m five books deep in the series with the hopes of several more waiting in the wings.

What can you tell me about Dawnbreaker?

Dawnbreaker takes place a couple months after the conclusion of Dayhunter in Savannah where Mira is being hunted by the naturi. They are desperate to capture and destroy the vampire, as she and Danaus are the only ones that could potentially stop the naturi from freeing Aurora, Queen of the naturi, and the rest of the naturi people. While fighting the naturi, Mira is lucky enough to take a hostage that could help her turn the tables on the naturi when she and Danaus finally go to the final showdown at Machu Picchu, Peru. The dawn lies just over the horizon and Rowe is desperate to finally free his wife-queen. The time has come to face the past.

In the series you have a lot of different settings--different countries that the characters travel to, what made you have your characters travel to these places?

A number of books in the urban fantasy genre had their characters focused in a central city, which they were determined to defend. I wanted something grander in scope. I was accustomed to reading fantasy novels, where the characters frequently traveled to distant lands and strange, foreign continents. I thought that my character should be able to do the same thing. The naturi weren’t going to just stay in one location. They were going to travel and cause chaos around the entire earth, so my characters would have to chase after them as well.

Another reason is slightly more selfish in that I like to travel and research places that I have never been. I like the idea of taking my readers on trips to distant cities, and exploring all the interesting little places. Though, I like to think that Savannah will always be home to Mira.

I hear the publishing world is very hard to get through, what was your experience to getting published like?

Getting published is very hard. It takes a lot of patience and a thick skin. It took me two years of steady queries to agents before I was finally given an offer. There were a number of close calls and lots of rejections before I finally located someone who liked my work as much as I did. We were lucky in that we were able to locate a publisher soon after I found an agent. You have to stick with it, keep writing, and keep trying no matter how daunting the process becomes.

When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?


I started writing stories when I was 12 years old. I spent that summer rewriting the story of Robin Hood so that it now included a stronger female character that could hold her own with the other boys in Sherwood forest. From there, the stories kept coming. I wrote in all different genres and points of view. I never questioned that I would always write stories. It was a part of who I was. But I honestly never considered writing as a career until I was actually published. I knew that it was extremely hard to become published and never got my hopes up about it actually happening. I just wrote my stories for fun and dreamed about the rest of the world reading them. I never honestly thought it would become a reality. I’m a very lucky person.

Are you a full-time or part-time writer?

I consider myself a full-time writer based on the hours that I put in every week.

If part time, what else do you do? If full-time, what is your average work day like?

I still work a regular dayjob part time. In the morning, I am a financial analyst, writing article about the stock market with a specialization in options. After noon, I grab lunch and update my blog, answer emails, contact my agent and editor as needed, and complete other tasks that are simply business related. This usually takes me 1-3 hours depending on how close I am to a book release or a book deadline. After that, I write until I reach my word count writing goal for the day. The word count goal depends on how close I am to my deadline and how much of the book is already finished. I have a minimum word count goal of 2,000 words, but it has stretched up to 4,000 words per day due to me running behind. I frequently work weekends.

What are the benefits of your choice?

One of the key benefits of my choice is that I get to spend a great deal of time with my characters. They are my best friends and my family. I love writing my books and living in the Dark Days world. Every day is a new adventure.
Bold
When you have free time from writing, what do you like to do?

During my free time, I like to hang out with friends and family. I go to see action movies and watch TV, such as Ghost Hunters, Mythbusters, and Top Gear. I don’t get to read as much as I would like. I don’t like to read while I writing books and my publisher has kept me on a very busy writing schedule.

Who are your favorite authors to read?

There are a lot of authors that I love and couldn’t possibly name them all here. Some of my top favorites include Kim Harrison, Vicki Pettersson, Rachel Vincent, Charlaine Harris, Christine Feehan, Raymond Feist, Neil Gaiman, Simon Green, and Jim Butcher.

What's the strangest thing about yourself? Any odd hobbies, or strange favorite food?

Strangest thing? Wow. I don’t know. I love to travel, do landscape photography, and go hiking in the woods. However, I would have to say that I am a video game addict, with role-playing games being my favorite. I am a Final Fantasy fanatic and I’m dying for the release of the next game. I am also a Batman fanatic. I’ve written several pieces of Batman fanfiction that will never see the light of day and I dream of one day adding my voice to the Batman pantheon of stories.

Any advice for aspiring writers?

Don’t ever give up. It’s a hard road, but it’s all worth it in the end. Just keep writing. Even if it will never be published. It is all great practice in the end that will help to improve your writing skills.

Dawnbreaker is set to release on September 29 2009!

Contest Alert--at Fantastic Book Review

Over at Fantastic Book Review Blog there is a contest to win the first 3 Vampire Academy books. In order to give new people a chance to read the series. Tina is going to give away the first 3 books! How awesome is that? All you have to do is follow some real easy instructions, nothing too strenuous. So have at it!

Here's the website again: http://fantasticbookreview.blogspot.com/2009/09/review-something-extra-blood-promise-by.html?showComment=1252066046305#c7467385354466044177

You have until midnight (CST) on September 19 2009. Open only to US and Canada residents only.