Sunday, March 31, 2013

Giveaway Ended: The Angelaeon Circle by Karyn Henley

Oops, I messed up!  This giveaway was supposed to end tomorrow, but instead it ended a day earlier than I planned.  My apologies if you missed your chance to enter, but there are always giveaways happening around here, so better luck next time!

Anyway, the winner of the trilogy in paperback is...

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Book Review: "The Shadow of Gods": Book 3 of the Godling Chronicles by Brian D. Anderson

The Shadow of Gods review
Author: Brian D. Anderson
4 out of 5 stars

Book Info: Genre: Epic Fantasy
Reading Level: Young Adult
Recommended for: fans of epic fantasy
Trigger Warnings: a person determined to split up a pair of lovers, murder

My Thoughts: Like the 2nd book in the series, this is much better edited than the first one, but there are still some issues that remain, mostly having to do with the tense. Here are a couple examples to illustrate the problem that was throughout the book: “Selena sat in her chair and motion for Salmitaya to sit across from her.” and “I simply did not want to cause you more grieve so soon after so much tragedy and bloodshed.” These sorts of issues were throughout the entire book. That said, the story is engaging and fast-paced enough that I didn't end up overly distracted by it, instead shrugging it off and moving along to see what would happen next.

Aaliyah really upset me. Like many people, the idea of infidelity is anathema to me, and her initial attempts to come between Gewey and Kaylia had me infuriated. She had noble reasons, but still. She reminded me of the character Mata Hari from Scott Rhine's book The Redemption of Mata Hari.

One thing I've never understood is villains that want to destroy the world. At one point, someone says that the Dark Knight wants to “see the world burn.” I have never understood why these sort of maniacs want to take over the world just to destroy it—like bringing eternal winter or whatever—because what is the point of putting in all the time, effort, and power to take over the world simply to rule over a barren wasteland? Even villains have to eat, and if they've destroyed everything, on what will they survive? What is the point? Am I the only one who is driven nuts by this question?

Well, I'm really rambling on this one. This is my final day on the Godling Chronicles' blog tour—and my final post—so be sure to check all the links below to see what you've missed. This is not the end of the series, but I'm not certain how many books the author ultimately intends to write. Things are kind of drawing to a head here, but I imagine he could string things out for a few more books if he really wanted to. This is the sort of epic fantasy that I tend to really enjoy, so I'll likely be watching for future stories in the Godling Chronicles to see what happens next. If you enjoy epic fantasy, then you should take a look and see if this might be a good choice for you as well.

Series Information: The Shadow of Gods is book three in the Godling Chronicles.
Book 1: The Sword of Truth (or on Smashwords here) (review here where formatting allowed)
Book 2: Of Gods and Elves (or find it on Amazon here) (review here where formatting allowed)
Also, see this author's guest post on my blog, linked here (where formatting allowed).

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from Great Minds Think Aloud Publishing in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Synopsis: Valshara has fallen, and the forces of Angrääl are advancing. For the first time, human and elf must shed blood as one, in order to stem the tide of evil. But new hope has arisen. across the Western Abyss, a people long forgotten have returned. However, hope comes at its own price. Gewey must choose between his bond of love, and his duty to the world he is struggling to save.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

"Gateway to Reality" Scavenger Hunt!

The Gateway to Reality Scavenger Hunt begins on Monday. My stop on that tour will be the 12th, so be watching. The guest post on which the giveaway is included can be found at this link. I just wanted to let you all know the upcoming stops so you can gather all the clues and receive all those extra entries! I'll post the rafflecopter form again on the 12th just to help you find it. In the meantime, here is the schedule for the upcoming Scavenger Hunt. Have fun!

April 1st     Paranormal and Urban Fantasy Reviews
April 2nd     The Peasants Revolt
April 3rd     Catharsis of the Bogue
April 4th     The Pen and Whisk
April 5th     Write for Life
April 6th     S.M. Boyce
April 8th     Paranormal Lounge
April 9th     Lisa Is a Bookworm
April 10th     Jade Kerrion
April 11th     Paper Book Princess
April 12th     Now is Gone
April 13th     Worlds Away Book Blog
April 15th     FU Only Knew
April 17th     Sarcasm and Lemons
April 18th     Brandon R. Luffman

Follow Becca J. Campbell on social media...

Find me at Inspiration for Creation:
Twitter: @beccajcampbell
Want to write a novel in June? Check out

Review: Teacher's Pest

Teacher's Pest
Teacher's Pest by Charles Gilman

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Book Info: Genre: MG Fantasy
Reading Level: Middle Grade (12 and up)
Recommended for: Fans of Middle Grade fantasy, Lovecraftian fiction, the series
Book Available: May 7, 2013 in hardcover or Kindle format
Trigger Warnings: Insects. Lots and lots of insects.

My Thoughts: I really like this series; it's just so much fun! Karina, Glenn and Robert never know what will go wrong next or who will be lost next to the sinister forces of Crawford Tillinghast.

These books are fast and fun reads for the adult reader (it took me just a bit over an hour to read my copy), but are entertaining, and I think readers young and old will enjoy these stories. I'm definitely keeping my eyes open for the next, scheduled for release this fall!

Series Information: Teacher's Pest is the third book in the Tales from Lovecraft Middle School series of fantasies.
Book 1: Professor Gargoyle, reviewed October, 2012, linked here where formatting allowed
Book 2: The Slither Sisters, reviewed January, 2013, linked here where formatting allowed
Book 4: Substitute Creature, scheduled for release in September, 2013.

Disclosure: I received a review copy of this book from the Amazon Vine program in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Synopsis: DON'T BE FOOLED by his friendly smile, his perfect manners, or his shiny red apple. Student council president Howard Mergler is actually a sinister bug-monster in disguise—and he's summoning swarms of roaches, wasps, fleas, and head lice into the corridors of Lovecraft Middle School!  Twelve-year-old Robert Arthur is the only student who can stop him—but he'll need help from his best friends: the school bully, the school ghost, and an extremely courageous two-headed rat.

View all my reviews

Reblog: "DeadRoads" delayed: Ooga Booga Boo: NEWS: Tricky Business

If you saw my review of DeadRoads here, then you know I have been really talking this awesome book up.  Unfortunately, publication has been delayed.  Follow the link below to Robin Riopelle's blog to learn more.

Ooga Booga Boo: NEWS: Tricky Business: If you’ve tried buying a pre-order of Deadroads from Amazon in the last few days, you may have noticed what you thou...

Of Gods and Elves review
Author: Brian D. Anderson
4 out of 5 stars

Book Info: Genre: Epic Fantasy
Reading Level: Young Adult
Recommended for: Fans of epic fantasy
Trigger Warnings: murder, violence, fighting to the death

My Thoughts: The editing in this book is much better. While I still noticed a few, minor things, they were indeed very minor and hardly noticeable for the most part. So, much better! My copy had some formatting weirdness, but hopefully that won't show up in the ones that are for sale, since mine is a review copy.

We learn a lot more about the elves in this book, which is fascinating. We also have further interactions with some of the more interesting bit players, such as Felsafell, and learn more about the elf Elders. Like the first book, this one ends on a cliffhanger, so be sure to have the third one handy when you're finished, as you'll want to move right on to it. This is a very fast-moving series, and each of the books so far has held a very strong momentum, so you'll be turning the pages quickly. Check it out if you like epic fantasy.

Series Information: Of Gods and Elves (or find it on Amazon here) is book two in the Godling Chronicles.
Book 1: The Sword of Truth (or on Smashwords here) (review here where formatting allowed)
Book 3: The Shadow of Gods (or find it on Amazon here), to be reviewed next.
Also, see this author's guest post on my blog, linked here (where formatting allowed).

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from Great Minds Think Aloud Publishing in exchange for an honest review. I am doing the review now in conjunction with a blog tour set up by JKS Communications. All opinions are my own.

Synopsis: Armies gather for war in the frozen land of Angrääl threatening to set the world ablaze. The elves are divided and scattered and humans fall prey to the dark influence of the Reborn King. Now, Gewey is faced with his greatest challenge yet. Unite the world of elf and human before it is too late...

Friday, March 29, 2013

Book review: "The Sword of Truth" (Godling Chronicles #1) by Brian D. Anderson

The Sword of Truth review
Author: Brian D. Anderson
4 out of 5 stars

Book Info: Genre: Epic Fantasy
Reading Level: Young Adult
Recommended for: Fans of Epic Fantasy, those who enjoyed stories like the Chronicles of Prydain, stories about the fight between good and evil
Trigger Warnings: murder, violence

My Thoughts: I used to read a lot of epic fantasy, sword and sorcery, all that sort of thing, but in recent years my tastes have turned more toward urban fantasy. Still, it's fun to read one of these once in awhile.

The editing was pretty bad, honestly. Lots of the wrong homonyms being used (passed for past, bare for bear and so forth) and extra words, missing words, randomly added or missed punctuation. But if you're willing to look past that, the story is enjoyable enough. It certainly held my attention!

In the end, I found it to be a quick and enjoyable read, and if you're able to ignore the problems with the editing and enjoy epic fantasy, stories about the ultimate fight between good and evil for the ultimate survival of the entire world, you should enjoy this book. I found it somewhat reminiscent of the Chronicles of Prydain, at least at a certain level, with the farm boy going out into the world to fight evil. A lot of fun, and a series I want to finish. I believe I'll be asking if I can't have a review copy of the third book as well!

Series Information: The Sword of Truth is book one in the Godling Chronicles.
Book 2: Of Gods and Elves (or find it on Amazon here), to be reviewed next
Book 3: The Shadow of Gods (or find it on Amazon here), just released, I do not have

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from Great Minds Think Aloud Publishing in exchange for an honest review. I am doing the review now in conjunction with a blog tour set up by JKS Communications. All opinions are my own.

Synopsis: It has been five hundred years since the Great War between Elf and Human ripped the world apart, and the Dark Knight of Angrääl has stolen the Sword of Truth. With it, he has trapped the Gods in heaven. If left unchallenged he will kill the Gods and reshape the world into an unimaginable hell. The only hope for all of creation is a boy named Gewey Stedding, the only being born from the union of two Gods. Aided by Lee Starfinder, the son of Saraf, God of the Sea, and a mortal woman, he must discover the true nature of his power. However, this will not be easy. He is bound to the earth a mortal man, and in many ways is very human. When Kaylia, a young elf woman, joins their party, Gewey discovers that perils of the heart can be as treacherous as any sword. Gewey, Lee, Kaylia and other friends they meet on their journey, must battle the Dark Knight, find a way to heal the hatred between elf and man, and restore heaven itself.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Guest post from Brian D. Anderson, author of The Godling Chronicles

To kick off my reviews of the Godling Chronicles in this blog tour, hosted by JKS Communications and Great Minds Think Aloud Publishing, today I have a guest post by Brian D. Anderson. Watch this blog for the next three days as I bring you the reviews for the first three books of the Godling Chronicles, The Sword of Truth tomorrow, Of Gods and Elves on Saturday and The Shadow of Gods on Sunday (all links are for Smashwords; you can also find the books on Amazon).

Without further ado, here is Brian!

Why Fantasy?

When I tell people that I write fantasy, often their first question is, “why fantasy?” I suppose I could write suspense, mystery, or even contemporary fiction. It isn’t such a stretch for me to imagine myself seeking a story beyond the fantasy genre. But to me, fantasy brings to light the very things that make us who we are.

The ability to contemplate fantasy, is what makes us human. Even as small children, once we’ve learned who mommy is and how to crawl, we are exposed to the fantastical realm of the imagination. Our first stories are of magical creatures, gallant heroes, beautiful maidens, and far away kingdoms. Through fantasy, we learn honor, perseverance, bravery, and love. The noblest aspects of the human character is taught to us through make-believe and flights of fancy.

As adults, we often times forget these beginnings, and choose to leave “childish” things behind. We ground ourselves in stark reality, and set in our mind the bare facts of day to day living. We no longer believe that Snow White was brought back to life by the kiss of true love. We understand that dragons are not real. We fail see the magic that once was as factual as the air we breathe. 

With fantasy, we can revisit the part of us that still wants to believe. Sure, I could choose a different genre, but for me, the wonder I find in fantasy fills my heart with delight. And when I am able to share it with others, I feel as if I have made the magic of childhood come back to life. For a few hours, I have rendered the wicked world of adulthood powerless, and allowed someone to forget how cruel life can be.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Guest Post by Schledia Benefield, author of "Wildflowers" plus book info

Wildflowers 99 Cent Tour

Today I'd like to welcome author Schledia Benefield, who wrote Wildflowers, to Now is Gone.  Part of the reason for this tour is to let folks know that the e-book edition of Wildflowers is currently on sale for only 99 cents through the end of the month (normally $4.99, so a great deal!).  If this book sounds like something you would enjoy, be sure to go and grab your copy before the end of the month by following this link!  There will be more info about the book, the synopsis, and links after the guest post.

Now, without further ado, here is Schledia Benefield to discuss outlining.

To Outline or Not to Outline

Thank you, Katy, for inviting me to your blog.

To outline or not to outline? That is the question. All authors have a different method to the madness of their writing, but for me the answer is to outline. It helps me to keep the madness and chaos of my mind in an organized fashion. I’ve never been diagnosed ADD, but my middle son has been, and he reminds me of myself. My mind wanders all the time. I have to try to live by a schedule, or I will forget the things that need to be done. I could attribute that to having five children, but if I’m honest, I’ve been that way since childhood.

There are many times that my mind wanders and jumps ahead of the game in my writing plans, so I always try to write down ideas for the future. Sometimes a sentence or even an entire paragraph for the ending will come to me. I don’t want to forget it, so I make notes, but at the same time I don’t want to get off on a wrong tangent, so I’m careful not to actually write that chapter; I simply take notes. Sometimes when I get to that chapter, I’m able to add it as is, but there are times when I have to alter it because of changes in the flow as I’ve written.

I create character maps with detailed descriptions of my characters, their personalities, their birthdates (if necessary), and any other information about them that is important for me to remember as I write, and I’m always faithful to go back to my character map in order to make sure that I’m not messing anything up as I write.

I make a chapter outline with titles and a brief overview of what is to take place within that chapter. I’m never so rigid that I do not allow changes to my outline though. Chapters are always added in as I write. Wildflowers started off with twenty chapters in its outline, but the final draft included twenty-five chapters.

From my chapter outline, I create a separate timeline. It’s important to make sure that you don’t mess up your timeline when writing, so it is a vital part of an outline in my book.

Some authors can sit down and start typing away without anything to guide them; I applaud them. It is something that I cannot do!

For those interested in romance, the kindle version of Wildflowers is on sale this week from March 25-31 for 99 cents!

Thanks again, Katy, for inviting me to share.

And thanks for dropping by! Now, here's a bit more information about the book, and how you can contact Schledia Benefield if you wish, as well as links to the rest of the tour.


Have you ever feared what may be hiding deep within you?

Darkness often skulks in the blood of unsuspecting victims, but Aster McGrath is acutely aware of the violence coursing through his veins. After all, he is the son of a murderer, and everyone in the town of Bayville, Mississippi says he will end up just like his father.

When Susan Blackman moves into town, Aster has already embraced his brutal nature, but her gentle spirit draws him in and slowly melts the icy exterior of his heart. Taming his savagery, she professes her love, but will the good within him be able to overcome the evil lurking deep inside? Or will the fiend break free of its fetters and seek blood?

About the Author:

Schledia Benefield is the author of Plain Jane, Pretty Boy, and her recently released novel, Wildflowers. She attended Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College but chose to be a stay-at-home mom for many years. She devoted eight years of her life to working with youth as a youth minister and has been invited to speak in a rehab to hurting and wounded women, giving them hope for a better future. She was the Keynote Speaker for Division 14 of the Key Club International’s divisional rally.

Born and raised on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, Schledia holds a sense of pride in her southern heritage. She presently lives in Big Point, Mississippi with her husband and four of her five children. On top of writing novels, she writes youth and children’s church curriculum, and she works as a substitute teacher at East Central Middle School. In her spare time, she reads, sews, and spends time with her family.

Social Media Links:

Buy Link:

Amazon (ebook & paperback)
ebook 99 cents March 25 - 31 *regularly $4.99

Tour Schedule

March 25
[YA] Between the Lines Author Guest Post
Ohana Day Academy Review
The avid Reader  Book Promo
Brooke Blogs Character Guest Post

March 26
Rayborn Rambles Review & Book Promo

March 27
Now is Gone Author Guest Post
Lubs Book Chatter Author Guest Post

March 28
Library Girl Reads & Reviews
Sab The Book Eater Top Ten Favorite Books EVER

March 29
Pieces of Whimsy Author Interviw
Curling Up With A Good Book Top Ten list
Alli's World Character Guest Post

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

"Gateway to Reality" by Becca J. Campbell GIVEAWAY and BLOG BLITZ

Gateway to Reality: A Mind-Bending Urban Fantasy Tale by Becca J. Campbell

I’m thrilled to announce the publication of my second novel, Gateway to Reality, now available at Amazon US and Amazon UK. Keep reading for a chance to win one of three prize packs!

Gateway to Reality

Here’s a little more about the story:

Talented artists shouldn’t be waiting tables, scraping by, and living mediocre lives. But that’s exactly what art school graduate Wes Teague is doing.

Then he wakes from a bizarre dream, haunted by the sense that his life isn't real. A harrowing truth presents itself—the real world lies in his dreams, not when he's wide awake.

The dream world he enters each night is rich and vibrant. Chicago appears the same on the surface, but chaos runs rampant as gravity, physics, and other laws of nature become fluid, changing unexpectedly. There, Wes's parents, brother, and sister are strangers. His girlfriend Emily doesn’t recognize him. Wes longs to return, to unlearn the truth about his dual reality.

Wes would sacrifice almost anything to get back to blissful ignorance in a false world.

But now he has feelings for the real Emily.

The Matrix Meets Inception

This book explores ideas similar to two of my favorite movies, though it wasn’t directly inspired by either. Dreams are key in the story, as is the idea of two worlds—one that’s real and one that isn’t. Gateway to Reality merges the two concepts and fuses them together with good dose of romance in a way that is fresh and vibrant.

Genre-wise, Gateway to Reality is a New Adult novel that walks the line between Urban Fantasy and Science Fiction. It is a topsy-turvy, reality-bending, relationship-driven tale that explores the relationship between truth and fantasy.


I’m giving away several prizes to celebrate the book’s release. The Grand Prize is a Chicago-theme prize pack and it will include:

·         An autographed paperback of Gateway to Reality
·         A journal with an artistic representation of Chicago on the cover
·         A Cloud Gate button
·         A Gateway to Reality button
·         Three postcards: Gateway to Reality, Cloud Gate, and Crown Fountain

The Second Prize is:

·         An autographed paperback of Gateway to Reality
·         Gateway to Reality postcard

The Third Prize is the full Becca J. Campbell ebook library (your choice of Kindle or ePub version):

·         Gateway to Reality ebook
·         Foreign Identity ebook
·         Not the Norm (Sub-Normal #1) ebook
·         Unmasked Alloy (Sub-Normal #2) ebook

Scavenger Hunt Blog Tour

You can enter the giveaway now, but to really amp up your odds at snatching one of these prize packs, bookmark this page and come back in a week to check out each site along the blog tour. Follow the schedule below: collect a clue at each stop on the correct day and put them all together to reveal the answer. Plug that into the giveaway below to win TEN BONUS ENTRIES.

April 2nd     The Peasants Revolt
April 3rd     Catharsis of the Bogue
April 4th     The Pen and Whisk
April 5th     Write for Life
April 6th     S.M. Boyce
April 8th     Paranormal Lounge
April 9th     Lisa Is a Bookworm
April 10th     Jade Kerrion
April 11th     Paper Book Princess
April 12th     Now is Gone
April 13th     Worlds Away Book Blog
April 15th     FU Only Knew
April 17th     Sarcasm and Lemons
April 18th     Brandon R. Luffman

Good luck!

Where to find Becca

Monday, March 25, 2013

Guardians of the Word giveaway winners

The giveaway for the Guardians of the Word series is now ended.  The Grand Prize winner is Chuck (who forgot to tell me if he wanted Amazon or B&N gift certificate/format for his e-books; an e-mail has been sent to request this information), whose name came up first.  The 2nd prize winner, who will receive the entire series in Kindle format, is Pragya, of the Reviewing Shelf blog, who has been a supporter of my blog almost since the beginning, so I'm very happy for her!  Her name came up second.  (See what I did there?)

Congratulations to the both of you!  I hope you will enjoy this series as much as I did.  Just a reminder, if you missed them, all the reviews are linked in the original giveaway post, which is linked above.

Thanks for visiting Now is Gone, and stay tuned for more great giveaways!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Angelaeon Circle GIVEAWAY!

When I posted the review for Throat of the Night (here), I mentioned it was part of a blog tour and there would be a guest post by Karyn Henley on Saturday.  However, there was a mix-up and that didn't happen.  So, to make up for it, I've been offered a full series, all three books, to one lucky winner from the US from JKS Communications to give away!  That includes Breath of Angel (review here), Eye of the Sword (review here) and Throat of the Night!  There are paperback copies, and postage costs means I can only offer this giveaway to people who live in the US (sorry about that), but... that's an awesome prize pack!  These are family-friendly fantasy, Christian fiction, and books that I enjoyed immensely, so I'm very excited to be able to share them with one of my US followers!  Just fill out the requested information on the Rafflecopter form below, and next week I'll draw the lucky winner.  Best of luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, March 24, 2013

ChiZine Presents Cover Reveal "The Warrior who Carried Life" re-release!

Originally published in 1985, this fantasy novel by Geoff Ryman is scheduled to be re-published by ChiZine on April 15, 2013.  You can pre-order the print edition of the book at a 30% discount (and receive the e-book version free) at ChiZine right now at this link.  Isn't this new cover absolutely stunning?

General book information:

Trade Paperback Info

300 pages
ISBN-10: 1927469384
ISBN-13: 978-1927469385
Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 1 inches

This book is a re-write of the Gilgamesh epic, and I'm very excited to read and review it (I have an ARC) as soon as I have the chance to do so.

In the meantime, here's the synopsis, so you have a feel for the book.

To defeat her enemies . . . she must make them immortal.

Only men are allowed into the wells of vision. But Cara’s mother defies this edict and is killed, but not before returning with a vision of terrible and wonderful things that are to come . . . and all because of five-year-old Cara.

Years later, evil destroys the rest of Cara’s family. In a rage, Cara uses magic to transform herself into a male warrior. But she finds that to defeat her enemies, she must break the cycle of violence, not continue it.

As Cara’s mother’s vision of destiny is fulfilled, the wonderful follows the terrible, and a quest for revenge becomes a quest for eternal life.

Review: Mind Games

Mind Games
Mind Games by Nancy M. Griffis

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Book Info: Genre: Speculative Fiction/Paranormal Police Procedural/Science Fiction
Reading Level: Adult
Recommended for: People who enjoy police procedurals, a lovely F/F romance, mysteries
Trigger Warnings: Murder, violence, discrimination

My Thoughts: This book has so many levels and ideas it's almost dizzying, but at the same time it's very well done and easy to read. On the one level, you have a police procedural where the main characters are trying to track down a dangerous murderer. On the next level you have a slow-building partnership that leads to friendship and then, maybe, something more. And then you have the whole underlying theme about humans and how they are always threatened by new and different things they consider “scary” and seek to destroy them. Here the discrimination is against telepaths, and the sort of horrific cruelty—mental and physical—that is directed toward them. Telepaths have been added to the list of people against whom discrimination is a hate crime; they are known as “mind-sluts” and people are afraid telepaths will read their mind and control them... you know, the typical sort of irrational nonsense that occurs when someone is “diff'ern't'n' us”. On the other hand, it's just lovely how in this world two women in a relationship is completely normal.

There were a number of editing errors, though. Since this book is (I think) out of print (which is a pity, because it's a good book), I don't think a new edition will be forthcoming any time soon, but if the author decides to republish this, say in e-book format (hint, hint), I would strongly suggest having it carefully edited first to clear these out.

At any rate, I really enjoyed the story. I loved the quiet, slowly building romance (nothing overt), and I was completely unable to guess who might've be responsible (red herrings all over the place!) for the murders. Very nicely done! I recommend this to those who have been seeking something a little different in a paranormal police procedural with a mild romance in the background. Terrific book, and I do hope the author will consider republishing this in e-book format so more people can enjoy it.

Disclosure: No disclosure is really necessary, since I purchased this book for myself after finding I liked the author's style. All opinions are my own.

Synopsis: In 2081, Washington, DC is one of the most violent cities in the world, despite an age of unprecedented, worldwide political peace. Dealing with this excess is the Violent Crimes Division of the 31st Precinct, located in the heart of the city. One of the few telepaths in law-enforcement, Detective Rebecca Curtains was recruited by the VC Captain and signed on with very little persuasion. Despite her exceptional record, the other detectives view her with suspicion and she struggles to keep a balance in the face of their hostility. Detective Genie Marshall has seen some of the worst that life has to offer and keeps coming back for more. Driven by a dark past and a need to set things right, she gives no quarter and expects none from those she brings to justice. Partnered together, the two women quickly become embroiled with a killer who stays a step ahead and uses Becky's psychic abilities against her. Can the two women form a true bond to protect one another before the serial killer destroys Becky's very sanity?

View all my reviews

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Book review: "Mind Games" by Kiersten White

Mind Games (Mind Games, #1)Mind Games by Kiersten White

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Book Info: Genre: Urban Fantasy
Reading Level: Young Adult
Recommended for: Those who like YA urban fantasy, especially darker stories with very damaged people
Trigger Warnings: (essentially) slavery, murder, self-harm, suicide attempt, attempted assault/gang rape

My Thoughts: Holy cow! This was a very, very dark story, but utterly and thoroughly engrossing. I literally could not stop reading until I had finished it. Fia is so utterly damaged, Mr. Keane is so utterly immoral and cruel, James... Well, James is an enigma wrapped in a riddle. Annie is impossibly naïve for way too long, but then also damaged. The things that this school does to these girls is horrible! But the story... wow, the story is mind-blowing and I absolutely loved it!

It is very dark, but at the same time by the end you start to see a bit of light at the end of the tunnel. How long will it take before we know if that's the end of the tunnel or an oncoming train? I have no idea but I know I will want to be along for the ride. If you're interested in the story you should definitely do yourself a favor and read it as soon as possible.

Series Information: This is the first book in the Mind Games series. A second book, which is not yet named, is scheduled for publication in 2014.

Disclosure: I received an ARC paperback from Amazon Vine in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Synopsis: Fia was born with flawless instincts. Her first impulse, her gut feeling, is always exactly right. Her sister, Annie, is blind to the world around her—except when her mind is gripped by strange visions of the future.

Trapped in a school that uses girls with extraordinary powers as tools for corporate espionage, Annie and Fia are forced to choose over and over between using their abilities in twisted, unthinkable ways…or risking each other’s lives by refusing to obey.

View all my reviews

Review: Dead Spots

Dead Spots
Dead Spots by Melissa F. Olson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Book Info: Genre: Urban Fantasy
Reading Level: Adult
Recommended for: Fans of urban fantasy, especially with damaged heroines.
Trigger Warnings: Murder, graphic description of disemboweled and hacked-up corpses, (implied) child molestation, violence against women and children

My Thoughts: From the three blonde, sorority-girl-type witches, I knew this book had promise. I loved how Jesse Cruz reacted to everything; I think I would probably react in a similar fashion. I was also very amused by his story about how he was so scared of vampires when he was a kid, and he hid garlic cloves in his pockets, and put empty wine bottles all around his room, because he figured since Dracula didn't drink wine, he wouldn't like to see the wine bottles all over the place! That really made me laugh!

There were a few weird inconsistencies I noticed, though. For instance, at one point Jesse goes and has a big breakfast with his mother, but then in the next scenes, described as “an hour later,” he's described as having an empty stomach. When Olivia is first described, the first sentence in the paragraph calls her “a pretty woman” and the last sentence in the same paragraph describes her as “neither pretty nor ugly.” Then there is a place where Scarlett texts Will to ask exactly when Ronnie had texted him, but when I looked back, it was only mentioned that Will had received “a weird text,” and not that it was from Ronnie. There is also a lot of mixup and confusion over when the deadline is that Dashiell gives to Scarlett. Initially he tells her Friday at 6 a.m., but then the next day Jesse's boss says it's Sunday. The next day is the showdown, and three days later it is Wednesday. So that's a mess. And there are a couple other little things like this where the timeframe is mixed up. However, I read this book as an ARC, so there is a possibility that these things were noticed and fixed for the final copy, so it has not affected my rating.

While not a fan of love triangles, I think the developing triangle in this book is very realistic. I know I've been in a similar position many times. I also really liked Scarlett herself generally. She's in a tough situation, but she keeps trying to do the better thing. I think fans of urban fantasies will enjoy this story—the first book in a series—very much, and I'll definitely be watching for future books in this series to see what happens next. The ending has a huge twist that has left me wanting to know what happens next.

Disclosure: I received an ARC paperback from Amazon Vine in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Synopsis: A woman with the ability to counteract magic is in a race against time—and the supernatural underworld—to catch a killer before another body drops. 

Scarlett Bernard knows about personal space: step within ten feet of her, and any supernatural spells or demonic forces are instantly defused—vampires and werewolves become human again, and witches can't get out so much as a "hocus pocus." This special skill makes her a null and very valuable to Los Angeles's three most powerful magical communities, who utilize her ability to scrub crime scenes clean of all traces of the paranormal to keep humanity, and the LAPD, in the dark. 

But one night Scarlett's late arrival to a grisly murder scene reveals her agenda and ends with LAPD's Jesse Cruz tracking her down to strike a deal: he'll keep quiet about the undead underworld if she helps solve the case. Their pact doesn't sit well with Dash, the city's chief bloodsucker, who fears his whole vampire empire is at stake. And when clues start to point to Scarlett, it'll take more than her unique powers to catch the real killer and clear her name.

View all my reviews

Book review: "Shattered Souls" by Delilah Devlin

Shattered Souls review
Author: Delilah Devlin
3 out of 5 stars

Book Info: Genre: Urban Fantasy/Romantic Paranormal Thriller
Reading Level: Adult (lots of explicit sex and sexual language)
Recommended for: Fans of Paranormal Romance, paranormal romantic thrillers, urban fantasy
Trigger Warnings: alcohol abuse, murder, sex between 17-year-old girl and adult man

My Thoughts: I hadn't realized when I selected this book that it would be considered romance, since it was under thrillers, but reading the synopsis made me realize my assumptions were incomplete; so I was, needless to say, a bit uncertain when I started reading it.

Truth to tell, I enjoyed the story, but had to skip huge swathes of nothing but sex. I'm not a prude, but it felt really gratuitous to me. I would have enjoyed the mystery and thriller aspects of the story more if the sex parts had been more fade-to-black in nature, rather than explicit. I was also annoyed by Cait's constant thoughts of sex: “oh, he's bruising my arm, that gets me hot; oh, he's growling at me and looking angry, that gets me hot; oh, he's being gentlemanly, that gets me hot.” Yuck.  So that's why it's rated the way it is. If you like sexy paranormal thrillers, urban fantasy with lots of sex, romantic paranormal thrillers, then you'll really like this book, which is the first in a proposed series. Me? Nah, I won't be continuing.

Disclosure: I received an ARC copy of this book from the Amazon Vine program in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Synopsis: When her mentor is brutally murdered by a supernatural force, an alcoholic former cop turns to her past lovers—her ex-partner and a powerful sorcerer—to help her hunt down a demon terrorizing Memphis.

Caitlyn O’Connell had it all: a career with the Memphis PD, a passionate marriage, and the satisfaction that her work made a difference in the world. But she also had a secret, a supernatural “gift” that cost her everything. Now she scrapes by as a private investigator, taking cases the cops won’t touch and counting down the minutes until happy hour. But when Sam Pierce, her former partner and estranged ex-husband, comes to her for help with a bizarre murder case, Cait can’t say no. And not just because Sam is still as irresistibly sexy as he was on the day they met. Something sinister—and demonic—is terrorizing Memphis, leaving a bloody trail of bodies and clues only Cait can read. Together she and Sam will venture into a dark world of magic and unholy terror, hunting a killer who will lead them to the brink of reality as they know it—and back into the thrall of their stormy past.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Announcement! New Layout, check every day!

Just wanted to let folks know that I've just added a gadget to the right of the page that will change to a new story from This is True every day!  It's right under my quotes, so check back daily to see a new article featured from This is True every day.  You can also subscribe to this great newsletter or learn more about it here, or you can subscribe to the free newsletter right from here by using the widget.  There is a free newsletter, or an expanded newsletter for $24/month.  I've been on the free newsletter for well over a decade, and was even on the premium edition for awhile.  So, check it out, and come back every day to see something new!

Review: Dust Angel

Dust Angel
Dust Angel by Jutta Profijt

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Book Info: Genre: Humorous Mystery/Chick Lit
Reading Level: Adult
Recommended for: Those who enjoy a fun story with a realistic female protagonist and lots of humor

My Thoughts: Well, I didn't mean to stay up all night and read the book in one go, but I just could not help myself! Although this is not the sort of book I normally read, Jutta Profijt has a fun and engaging writing style that draws in the reader and holds them captive until the final page. Corinna is a tall, somewhat overweight woman who has worked her entire career in one job, only to lose it all in a single day. Watching her bloom out of her shy, introverted life and take control of her own circumstances was fabulous. I really liked so many of the characters: Tabea, Grandma, Lisbeth, Lauenstein. Profijt has a way with characters, creating fun, quirky yet realistic characters that you enjoy meeting and learning about, and enthralling stories that you want to read over and over again. Highly recommended!

Also by Jutta Profijt: I discovered Jutt Profijt—who is well-known in Germany—through her hilarious “Morgue Drawer Four” series featuring a forensic pathologist and the ghost of a criminal. Translated into English so far are:
Morgue Drawer Four, with my review here where formatting allowed
Morgue Drawer Next Door, with my review here where formatting allowed
Morgue Drawer for Rent, with my review here where formatting allowed

Disclosure: I received an ARC copy of this book from the Amazon Vine program in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Synopsis: Losing her posh advertising job, her boyfriend, and her apartment all in the same morning has left Corinna Leyendecker with a massive mess where her life should be. She tries to get things back on track, but with a mountain of red tape between her and unemployment assistance and a string of disastrous job interviews under her belt, it's clear that following the rules is getting her nowhere. So she decides to start doing things her way! With the help of a quirky friend—and some unconventional branding—Corinna launches her own business: an elite cleaning service for wealthy men. And business is booming—until the day she finds a dead homeless man in the house of a fussy new client. As usual, Corinna's instinct is to clean up, but body disposal isn't easy, especially when you're juggling work, friendships, media attention, and a nasty flu. It's going to take more than a little elbow grease to finish this dirty job and come out clean.

View all my reviews

Review: The Eleventh Plague: A Novel of Medical Terror

The Eleventh Plague: A Novel of Medical Terror
The Eleventh Plague: A Novel of Medical Terror by John S. Marr

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Please note: I read and reviewed this book in 2006 from a copy of the book I probably picked up at my favorite tobacco shop, or Borders or something. I'm just adding in some formatting.

My Reaction: I read this book just this year - several years after it was initially written. Absolutely chilling, especially when I can see that "progress" is moving faster than thought, and something like what is outlined in this book could indeed happen.

My Synopsis: A brilliant toxicologist, after being denied funding and having his life basically destroyed (and apparently going just an eensy bit crazy) has decided to reenact the Biblical plagues. He has discovered the biological causes of all of them and sets out to unleash them upon an unsuspecting public - starting with those whom he feels have destroyed him. An equally brilliant virologist is brought on board after a child becomes mysteriously ill with strange symptoms that cannot be tied to anything specific. Thus begins a deadly game of cat and mouse that leaves the bodies stacking up behind and the clock running out ahead. This story is highly suspenseful and kept me turning pages well beyond when I should have called it quits each day.

A Few Issues: However, I did find a couple teensy factual errors - because I'm a nitpicker. ONE: the author ties the tarantella in to ergotism, as people dancing madly due to the "Devil's spiders," a symptom of ergotism where one feels like one has spiders running up and down one's body. Although there is little evidence to point out the origin of the tarantella, most historians agree that is actually has something to do with an attempt to cure spider bites - the dance was an attempt to work out the venom. TWO: In one scene, the toxicologist is described as caring for his rats, some even becoming pets and having names. Then he picks one up by the scruff of its neck! Now, anyone who knows anything about rats knows that they cannot be lifted by the scruff of their necks - they do not have the right sort of build and being lifted and/or held like that can lead to damage to their throats, choking and/or death. If a scientist cared at all about his rats and had worked with them (and they were as calm and tame as described in that scene), he would only need to reach in and scoop them up by putting his hand under their torso and lifting them out by supporting their belly. That is the proper way to lift a rat.

My Recommendation: But, outside of that - everyone should read this book, think carefully about it - and be afraid. Be VERY AFRAID.

View all my reviews

Review: London Falling

London Falling
London Falling by Paul Cornell

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Book Info: Genre: Dark Urban Fantasy/Police Procedural
Reading Level: Adult
Recommended for: Fans of police procedurals, dark urban fantasy, noirish stories
Book Available: April 16, 2013 in Hardcover and e-book; previously released in December 2012 in paperback, which edition is no longer available
Trigger Warnings: Drug dealing, use and abuse; murder (including children); organized crime
Animal Abuse: Sacrifice of pigs, cats, and dogs; while Mora's cat is just a construct made from a dead cat, it is treated roughly

My Thoughts: This is a very weird book. At times the narrative almost feels like a drug trip, especially when the main characters first develop their Sight. I really enjoyed the fact that this is very strongly a police procedural with the fantasy elements intruding, which made for a really fascinating read.

It's fairly obvious to me that Paul Cornell writes for TV. There is very little in the way of physical description of the main characters, and the same can be said of much of their surroundings, because on TV you see them so there is no need to explain. This sometimes made me feel like I was reading from inside someone's head, out of which I could not see. This was disconcerting at times, but the structural narrative was enjoyable and interesting. However, this overly “in the head” aspect of the story was distracting at times and slowed my reading pace significantly, so if that's an issue for you, it's something to consider.

While this is primarily a dark urban fantasy, there are many elements of police procedural in it as well. I was very amused by this description of the sorts of things people tend to say about serial killers.
The neighbors... hadn't, thankfully, done the usual by saying that Losley was a pleasant neighbor who'd kept herself to herself. (Always delivered in a tone of voice that suggested that, since keeping oneself to oneself was the single greatest thing one English person could do for another, the suspect ought to be excused whatever psychopathic shit they'd visited on other people.)

And continuing on the topic of Britishness:
...[his] opinion seemed to matter more than other people's. Oh, very British.
I just love this blend of wry humor, darkness, and generally weird ideas blended together.

It was fascinating to watch literal-minded police officers try to look at the metaphysical around them analytically, such as when they saw a phantom bus.
“You hear stories like that all your life and think: cool, a ghost bus. But now we have to look at this stuff analytically... a ghost bus?! The “ghost” of a motor vehicle? A public conveyance, presumably, which didn't head towards the light, move on to join the choir invisible in... bus heaven, the great terminus in the sky, where all good buses go when they... I don't know, break down, but instead is doomed to … drive eternally the streets of Earth! How can there be a ghost bus?!
To which my husband commented, “Buses don't leave ghosts, they leave fumes.”

Or the note to self that Sefton makes: “I was proceeding in a mystical direction when I encountered a six-foot-two Roman male, with whom I shared a certain sexual tension.
The bits of police process make this more realistic and entertaining to read.

But, overall, an enjoyable read. If you're the type to enjoy police procedural, darker urban fantasy, noirish-type stories, this wonderful cross-genre mishmash should definitely appeal, so be sure to check it out once it's available.

Disclosure: I received an ARC from the Amazon Vine program in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Synopsis: The dark is rising . . . Detective Inspector James Quill is about to complete the drugs bust of his career. Then his prize suspect Rob Toshack is murdered in custody. Furious, Quill pursues the investigation, co-opting intelligence analyst Lisa Ross and undercover cops Costain and Sefton. But nothing about Toshack’s murder is normal. Toshack had struck a bargain with a vindictive entity, whose occult powers kept Toshack one step ahead of the law—until his luck ran out. Now, the team must find a 'suspect' who can bend space and time and alter memory itself. And they will kill again. As the group starts to see London’s sinister magic for themselves, they have two choices: panic or use their new abilities. Then they must hunt a terrifying supernatural force the only way they know how: using police methods, equipment and tactics. But they must all learn the rules of this new game—and quickly. More than their lives will depend on it.

View all my reviews

Book review: "Throat of the Night" by Karyn Henley and JKS Communications blog tour

Throat of the Night review
Author: Karyn Henley
5 out of 5 stars

Book Info: Genre: Fantasy/Christian fiction
Reading Level: Young Adult
Recommended for: People seeking family-friendly fantasy, those who enjoy epic fantasy
Trigger Warnings: Murder, violence

My Thoughts: As far as I'm aware, this is the final book; I believe this is a trilogy. And it is a most satisfying ending. This is a very fast-paced book, and we're presented with the answers to a number of questions, and a number of secrets are exposed.

I was really enthralled throughout this whole series, which is what enabled me to read all three books in about a 2 ½ day period. I think a wide range of readers will enjoy this family-friendly epic fantasy, which has great character development, an intricate plot, and an uplifting and joyful overall message. I really do recommend it highly, and hope you'll give this great trilogy a chance.

Disclosure: I received an e-galley of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I am part of a blog tour hosted by JKS Communications for this book. A guest post by the author will be posted on Saturday, March 23, 2013. All opinions are my own.

Series Information: Throat of the Night is book 3 in the Angelaeon Circle, published in March, 2013.
Book 1: Breath of Angel, published in June 2011 (review linked here where formatting allowed)
Book 2: Eye of the Sword, published in June 2012 (review linked here where formatting allowed)
More information can be found at Karyn Henley's website, linked here where formatting allowed.

Synopsis: Melaia sends Trevin into enemy territory to retrieve the third harp she needs to restore the stairway to heaven and free the angels trapped in a human world. But an assailant wants Trevin dead, an unknown traitor is passing information to the invading enemy army, and the Firstborn immortal has vowed to destroy all three harps, along with anyone who stands in his way.

Separated, Trevin and Melaia try to keep their faith, hope, and love for each other alive. From the land of Windwing horses to the mountaintop lookouts of Stargazers, from the blight-ridden fields of the Camrithian homeland to the night-dark caverns of the Under-Realm, they face the ultimate test: What are they willing to sacrifice to restore the stairway and save their world? Will they lay aside their love for each other? Will they give up their future together?

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

New from Scott Rhine: "Clean and Floss"

New from Scott Rhine (and edited by me), Clean and Floss, a comedy-horror/urban fantasy set in the same world as Foundation for the Lost (review here) and The Redemption of Mata Hari (review here) but featuring different characters.  This is a high-octane, non-stop, thrill-a-minute story featuring zombies, energy vampires, dwarfs, Sidhe, a Rennaisance Festival, aliens and much more!  We learn more about the Secret Branch, and meet some great characters along the way.  You won't want to miss it!  Check out Scott Rhine's other books here.  I've loved them all!

It appears a new book in the Jezebel series will be coming out in the late summer.  I'll keep you up-to-date on that!  Meanwhile, be sure to grab this one as soon as you can!

Sharon Bayliss, author of "The Charge" guest post and giveaway: Write Like a Man

 photo 1f05a5bc-4ea0-4fe5-8c0b-f9f487086b90_zpsf1319e8a.jpg

"Write Like a Man"

Please welcome Sharon Bayliss to Now is Gone today.  You may remember my post on Sunday about her book The Charge, currently on sale, recently published by Curiosity Quills.  If not, go and look at it, it's linked above; the sale lasts until Saturday!  Anyway, I asked her: how do you manage to write as a male protagonist?  In response, I received the following guest post.  Be sure to check the bottom, where other tour stop links and other links in general are included, as well as the trailer AND  a giveaway!.  And now, without further ado, Sharon Bayliss, to tell us how to "Write Like a Man"!

I have often pondered why I prefer writing from the male POV. That has to be weird, right? As a woman, shouldn't I feel more comfortable speaking as a woman? Shouldn't I be more versed in what women think and feel?

Although quite girly in real life, for some reason in fiction, I'm a tomboy.

I can write from the female POV, and do in The Charge, which is told from multiple POVs. As a matter of fact, the original draft of the novel that would become The Charge was written from Lena's perspective, the leading lady in the story.

Deciding to change my main character from Lena to Warren was a big decision, namely because it meant re-writing most of the novel. But also I didn't trust that I could master the voice of an 18-year-old guy, especially one like Warren, who is not that much like me. However, I decided to make the change at the suggestion of some astute critique partners.

From a plot perspective, writing the story from Lena's perspective had been a mistake. She's deeply involved in the story, but it's not about her. It's Warren's story, and should be told by him. Honestly, I think I was stuck in the female-focused mentality of the YA/NA genre. I naturally started writing from the female perspective, just because it seemed like the normal thing to do, even though it wasn't right for my story.

When I stated writing the story from Warren's POV, it felt like fireworks erupted in my head. It worked better partly because it made for a better plot, but also his voice flowed so naturally. The prose came to life with color and texture.

My leaning toward the male POV didn't stop with Warren. The exact same thing happened with my next novel (which I hope to publish later this year). When planning the story in my head and in outlines, I fully intended to write from the perspective of the main female character. But when I actually sat down to write, the main male character took the helm. I just started writing a scene from his perspective and he tumbled out for a whole novel.  In retrospect, I am very glad I chose him as a MC. He's a deeply flawed character and making him into a likable MC added much more complexity than I would have had otherwise.
Who knows, perhaps I do have some deeply seeded gender issues, but my guess is that something else is going on here. I like writing from the male perspective because the voice is less like mine. When you're attempting to write from the perspective of someone who is not like you, you have to make a more conscious effort to create a strong and consistent voice, which at least in my case, improves the quality of my writing.

In addition, I find it more enjoyable to write as a character unlike myself. Don't get me wrong, I'm a huge Sharon fan, but I live in my head 24/7. Stepping out of myself adds fire to my writing because it's fresh and different, and I enjoy the challenge. So, at the end of the day, I don't think it's that much about gender. I enjoy writing as someone different from me. 

If you often write from the POV of your own gender, or as characters otherwise similar to you, I challenge you to a few exercises where you write as someone unlike you. If you're like me, hopefully it will help to enhance your voice and add fresh color to your writing.

So, what about you? Do you usually write MCs of the same gender? If so, why do you lean towards one or the other?

Thank you so much for having me here, Katy!

And thanks for dropping by, Sharon! Now, some links!

Info for The Charge:

The Charge

NetGalley (free review copies):


When King of the Texas Empire kidnaps Warren's brother, Warren embarks into a still Wild West to save him. On his journey, he makes a discovery that changes his life forever—he and his brother are long-lost members of the Texas royal family and the King wants them both dead. 

He gets help from an activist Texan named Lena, who's itching to take on the King and happens to be a beautiful firecracker Warren can't stay away from. Convincing her he's not one of the bad guys becomes harder when a mysterious energy stirs in his body, turning his brain into a hive of emotions and memories—not all his own.

A legacy of violence is not all he inherited from the brutal Kings of Texas. The myth that the royal family possesses supernatural powers may not be myth at all.

Gone are the days when choosing a major was a big deal. Now Warren must save his brother and choose whether or not to be King, follow a King, or die before he can retire his fake ID. 

Some more links:

An audio recording of me reading from The Charge:

And the trailer:

Giveaway here:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Finally, some info about the author and more links:

About Me

Bio: Sharon Bayliss is a native of Austin, Texas and works her day job in the field of social work. When she’s not writing, she enjoys living in her “happily-ever-after” with her husband and two young sons. She can be found eating Tex-Mex on patios, wearing flip-flops, and playing in the mud (which she calls gardening). You can connect with Sharon at and

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