Sunday, June 30, 2013

Video: "I'm Reading a Book" by Julian Smith

If you've been following along, you know I'm an obsessive bibliophile, so this video tickled me pink. If you're a reader, I think you'll like it too. Have fun!

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Caffeinated Book Reviewer: How the Heck Did You Do That?!? Blogger Tips & Tri...

I couldn't have said this better myself (and I tried over at Nick Wastnage's blog earlier this year).  This is an outstanding piece, and I STRONGLY urge all reviewers to go read this excellent piece!

Caffeinated Book Reviewer: How the Heck Did You Do That?!? Blogger Tips & Tri...: Writing a Negative Review  and Dealing with the Fallout A blogger emailed asking for advice about writing negative reviews.  ...

Book Review: "The Wrong Stuff" by MT McGuire

The Wrong Stuff (K'Barthan Trilogy, #2)The Wrong Stuff by M.T. McGuire

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Book Info: Genre: Science Fantasy Epic Thriller
Reading Level: Adult
Recommended for: Fans of British comedy AND epic fantasy AND science-fiction/fantasy thrillers AND good stories! Well... most people, I think.
Trigger Warnings: violence, repression, torture and murder (implied/offscreen as well as actual/onscreen)

My Thoughts: Based on the page count on my Nook, this second book in the K'Barthan trilogy is about twice as long as the first.

I managed to go through the whole first book without really noticing it, but then Corporal Puneschment showed up, and I suddenly realized that General Moteurs was a pun. As well as Sir Robin Get, and DI Phillip Softone. I think DC May Gurney might be, too, but I'm not sure. As should be well obvious by now, I'm sort of dim about things like that.
Don't always catch really subtle things. And of course we don't learn General Moteurs' first name until this book (it's Ford)... Anyway, there were times during the book when I wanted to shake The Pan for his obstinate inability to see the obvious... and then I would remember General Moteurs, and realize The Pan and I are really two of a kind... Alas, The Pan is for Ruth, and what an adorable couple they make!

Anyway, I loved this second book in the series. The Pan really comes into his own, and while we don't have quite as much of the delightful Ava and Gladys and Their Trev, Lucy was a great addition, and we had more Big Merv. Not to mention we learn a lot more about him, and about the Grongles and Grongolia in general. I can really see the growth of the writer here, and can not WAIT for book 3! This is like if a heroic epic fantasy were mixed with a science-fiction thriller, and I just love the dry British humor intertwined. Really, very highly recommended.

I have a number of McGuire's short stories I would like to read, but because I'll be in and out all day, and it will be difficult to do the reviews properly, I'll have to put those off for another day. However, watch for my reviews of those soon.

Series Information: The K'Barthan Trilogy
Prequel: Unlucky Dip, review linked here where formatting allowed.
Book 1: Few are Chosen, review linked here where formatting allowed.
Book 2: The Wrong Stuff
Book 3: One Man, No Plan tentatively scheduled for Christmas 2013

Disclosure: I received a copy of this e-book from the author in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Synopsis: The Pan of Hamgee is not a natural knight in shining armour. Yet he has escaped from police custody in K’Barth, switched realities and foiled Lord Vernon’s attempt to kidnap Ruth, the Chosen One from the Festival Hall. Pretty good, he thinks.

However, Ruth thinks otherwise. Being pursued by Lord Vernon is bad enough. Now, thanks to The Pan, she’s on the run. They are both alive, of course, but with Lord Vernon on their tail neither of them can be sure how long for.

To save her life The Pan must introduce Ruth, the woman of his dreams, to the person prophesied to be the man of hers. And he knows he must do it fast. Before Lord Vernon finds her. But the gentleman in question is in hiding and no-one knows where. Can The Pan find him? And if he does, can he bring himself to unite them?

View all my reviews

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Review: The legend of the glorious adventures of Tyl Ulenspiegel in the land of Flanders & elsewhere

The legend of the glorious adventures of Tyl Ulenspiegel in the land of Flanders & elsewhere
The legend of the glorious adventures of Tyl Ulenspiegel in the land of Flanders & elsewhere by Charles de Coster

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Please note: I read this book probably in 2003 or so, and wrote the review a long time ago, so please don't judge by my current standards, but I'm wanting to get this book "out there", so am reposting this review.

How I Came to Read This Book: My husband had this book and recommended that I read it. It is a large tome and I approached it with a bit of trepidation, expecting something Dickenson, but I was very pleasantly surprised. It is very approachable and highly readable.

My Synopsis: This book is, basically, about the life of Tyl Ulenspiegl, from his birth, following him as he grows into manhood. He is a highly charismatic person and, although it is a bit of a detriment in the times he lives in (set in the earliest years of Christianity, when it was most set on wiping out any vestiges of Paganism using the most ghastly means possible, and upholding "holiness" using those same means), quite the ladies' man. The story follows him as he is banished from his home village in Belgium (I think - it has been a couple years since I read it and it is a bit hard to excavate from where it is right now) for many years (as well as keeping us updated on what is transpiring back home) and he keeps running across many of the same characters in his travels. He unfortunately arrives home just in time for a gross miscarriage in justice; but I do not wish to ruin the story by providing any spoilers, so I will not go into any specific details.

My Thoughts and Review: This book provides many moments of laugh-out-loud hilarity; it also has just as many moments of somber sorrow. It provides ghastly horror as well. The overall message of the story seemed to be that when the Men in Black Robes (religion) were given too much power over the people, then destruction of their lifestyle was sure to follow; however, life would go on, because humanity could rise above any circumstances thrown their way. In the end, it is a message of the triumph of humanity over the pettiness of religious dogma, I felt. I should also point out that not all religious persons were painted in negative light - only those who were extremeists. Many were true Christians, willing to follow the examples set by Christ of true love for their neighbors. I don't want to put off people from reading this book, thinking that it slams all religion, because it doesn't - it just speaks very strongly against dogmatics who attack that which they don't understand and thus feel they must destroy it. This is an amazing book and I am very sad that is is no longer in print - I hope that people can get their hands on it and read it - it is very worthwhile.

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Review: Unlucky Dip

Unlucky Dip
Unlucky Dip by M.T. McGuire

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Book Info: Genre: Science Fantasy
Reading Level: Adult
Recommended for: Fans of Douglas Adams, Terry Pratchett, those interested in learning more about the author
Trigger Warnings: stealing

My Thoughts: A fun prequel to the K'Barthan trilogy by M T McGuire, this short story tells how The Pan met Big Merv... and showcases his (lack of) pickpocketing skills. A must-read for fans of the series!

Series Information: Unlucky Dip is the prequel to the K'Barthan Trilogy
Book 1: Few are Chosen, review linked here where formatting allowed.
Book 2: The Wrong Stuff
Book 3: One Man, No Plan tentatively scheduled for Christmas 2013

Disclosure: I received a copy of this e-book from the author in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Synopsis: The Pan of Hamgee, starving outlaw, bumps into Big Merv; the meanest, scariest gangster in the City and without thinking what he is doing, steals his wallet. When Big Merv realises what has happened our hero's future looks short. Will he talk his way out of it or will he be 'recycled' into a stanchion of the Outer Ring Road extension.

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Book Review: "Few are Chosen" by M T McGuire


Few Are Chosen (K'Barthan Trilogy, #1)Few Are Chosen
by M.T. McGuire

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Book Info: Genre: Science Fantasy Thriller
Reading Level: Adult
Recommended for: fans of Monty Python, Douglas Adams, Terry Pratchett and other zany British comedy
Trigger Warnings: violence, murder (implied)

My Thoughts: Do you like Monty Python, Douglas Adams, Terry Pratchett and the like? You do! *gasp* So do I! That's awesome, call me, let's do lunch.

Now, as to this book. It's quite a crazy quilt. You have parallel universes, gangster Swamp Things, a Hamgeean with eyes on the back of his head, snurds (like flying cars), and all other sorts of things.

Speaking of, have you ever wondered what a snurd chase would look like? Wonder no longer.

Anyway, the book is completely full of absolutely ludicrous nonsense, like this: “He'd told her his name was Robin Get, 'like Stan, only without the z'.” And of course you have to love Ada and Gladys, the Grongles, and the K'Barthans idea of religion, which is basically “Be decent to each other.” (Now that's a religion I can get down with...)

At any rate, if you like absolutely ludicrous nonsense all tied up in a most interesting story of alternate worlds, parallel dimensions, fight for freedom, and a hero that would much rather just live in peace with a nice ale and hot supper, then you really need to read these stories. Really fun stuff!

Series Information:
Prequel: Unlucky Dip. I thought I had this, but it turns out the version I downloaded actually contained the wrong file. I have the corrected version and will read it next!
Book 1: Few are Chosen
Book 2: The Wrong Stuff
Book 3: One Man: No Plan, tentatively scheduled for release around Christmas 2013

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

Synopsis: The Pan of Hamgee isn't paranoid. There must be some people in K Barth who aren't out to get him; it 's just that, right now, he's not sure where they are. His family are dead, his existence is treason and he does the only thing he can to survive: getaway driving. As if being on the run isn't bad enough, when he finds a magic thimble and decides to keep it, he unwittingly sets himself on a collision course with Lord Vernon, K Barth's despot ruler. Unwillingly, The Pan is forced to make choices and stand up for his beliefs; beliefs he never knew he had until they were challenged. But faced with a stark moral dilemma, will his new-found integrity stick? Can he stop running?

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Discrete has nothing to do with Discretion...

So, time for another editing lesson!  This week: discrete vs. discreet!  I see this all over the place, and I can actually understand where the confusion comes from.  After all, "discretion" has only the one "e" there all by itself, so logic says it should be "discrete."


Okay, so "discrete" means (according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary):

: constituting a separate entity : individually distinct <several discrete sections>
a : consisting of distinct or unconnected elements :noncontinuous
b : taking on or having a finite or countably infinite number of values <discrete probabilities> <a discrete random variable>
— dis·crete·ly adverb
— dis·crete·ness noun

Whereas "discreet" means:

: having or showing discernment or good judgment in conduct and especially in speech : prudentespecially : capable of preserving prudent silence
: unpretentiousmodest <the warmth and discreet elegance of a civilized home — Joseph Wechsberg>

I hope that helps!  Please be sure to review earlier editing tips We Gotta Get Out of This Habit and Department of Redundancy Department.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

No-words Wednesday - SNAKES!!

Today I thought since I'm busy editing and don't have any reviews or guest posts or anything, I'd share some pictures of some beautiful snakes with you all.  I think 'Wordless Wednesday' is someone's meme, and I don't want to step on any toes, so I hope "No-words Wednesday" is an acceptable alternative.  Now, some lovely snakes!  Oh, and if you have any idea what type of snake any of these are, please post in the comments!  I'm just trying to find pictures of pretty snakes that are uncopyrighted, and they aren't always labeled!  See also the 10 Most Beautiful Snakes in the World.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Guest Post (JKS Communications Presents) by Kathi Baron, author of "Shattered"

Please welcome Kathi Baron, author of Shattered, to Now is Gone!  I have linked the title above to go to Kathi's page where you can go to buy the book.

Cassie’s Cat

I have a fascination with cats. I love their cute tiny pads on the bottom of each “toe.” I think of them as mini ballet slippers for the paw. I love their little heads. And their fur! I especially love the variegated blending of black and gold and white on the back of a calico cat.

It’s always interesting to get to know a cat. Especially strays. I’m never sure if they’ve experienced some trauma or if they’re weary from life on the street. But it’s beautiful when they settle in to my house and begin to let me know them. And they get to know me. It’s amazing how you can have such a deep relationship when no words are said.

So, of course, a cat made it’s way into my debut novel, Shattered. Princess, Cassie’s cat, arrived on the page in a taken-for-granted sort of way. And she became a calico, like my sweet KitKat who had recently died. All the descriptions of Princess are taken from KitKat. Once Shattered was published, I happily realized that KitKat’s spirit lives on forever in Cassie’s cat.

Princess eventually was re-named as Calliope. One of my critique buddies, author Lynn Hazen, suggested that Cassie would have a cat with a more intriguing name than Princess, given that she’s precocious. Lynn recommended naming Cassie’s cat after one of the nine muses.

Agreeing with Lynn about Cassie and being intrigued by Lynn’s idea of naming her cat after one of the muses, I did some research. The muses are Greek goddesses who ruled over the arts and sciences, offering inspiration in those subjects.

Specifically, Calliope is the Greek goddess/muse of epic poetry. This name seemed like a right fit, since Cassie has a poetic point of view of the world. When said out loud, “Calliope” sounds musical, tipping my vote in favor of it as the perfect name for a cat of a violinist.

In figuring out the plot, I realized that Cassie’s attachment to Calliope was central to all things working out. If something (bad) happened to Calliope in addition to Cassie’s dad breaking her violin in the same scene, Cassie would rescue Calliope and run out of the house with her. And if Calliope got away outside and then became lost, it would increase the tension and put Cassie into more conflict. (In story terms, this is a good thing.)

Not only that, Calliope would give Cassie a reason to eventually come home. Without Calliope, she has no motivation to come back home, since she wants to avoid her house because her scary dad lives there. But if Calliope goes back to the house, she’s at risk for being mistreated again. Calliope is the draw for Cassie to make herself to face her dad.

And so I did it. I took a deep breath and forced myself to write Cassie’s dad hurting Calliope. It made me sick to my stomach and after it was on the page, I pushed back from the keys and that was the end of writing on that day. I knew in my head that this wasn’t real—that no cats were harmed in the production of this novel--but in my heart, because cats are central to my life, it felt wrong.

It took time to understand that this is story working. That if a girl returns to a difficult situation to protect her beloved cat, that this a right motivation and also, is a noble thing. A hero thing. And so I went with it and eventually got to the joyous day in which it was time to write the chapter in which Cassie brings Calliope home and they are both safe.

All of our cats have been strays and each one that we take in teaches me a lesson or two or three. Cassie’s cat, Calliope-who-was-once-Princess-who-was- once-KitKat, taught me lesson, too. We are all connected on this big, beautiful planet and it’s the right thing to do to care for and protect each other.

"The family drama will grab readers, but just as enthralling is the story of a young person devoted to her music, note by note."                                                            --Booklist

"Baron successfully uses musical metaphors in the structure of the novel--short chapters with staccato action and slower cadences reflective of the family's struggle to work their way through this situation...a moving story..."                                                               --School Library Journal

"...a compelling read." --Kirkus

Contact Kathi:

You can reach me

My blog:

Follow me on Twitter: @KathiBaron
On Facebook: Shattered 

Monday, June 24, 2013

Review: Black Magic Woman

Black Magic Woman
Black Magic Woman by John G. Hartness

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Book Info: Genre: Urban Fantasy
Reading Level: Adult
Recommended for: Fans of the series, urban fantasy
Trigger Warnings: violence

My Thoughts: So, I started reading this series on a Sunday morning, and here it is about 24 hours later and I'm about to begin this final novella that I purchased to complete the series. Or it was complete as of the time I bought this book, about a year and a half ago. A book of short stories has been released since then, but the last word I saw on the next book in the series was late in 2012, saying “book 4 early in 2013”, which has come and gone, sadly, with no new Black Knight Chronicles. Nonetheless, here we go. What did I think of this second novella related to the series?

Well, if you haven't read anything of the series, you won't quite catch all the subtle undercurrents in the story. It'll just be a story about a couple goofy guys at a con. However, for the fans of the series, this will be another little story that will be fun and interesting, and I think there might be some foreshadowing going on, something to do with Sabrina, that we will only find out for certain in the next book, whenever it shows up. So, fans of the series should definitely not miss this short; those who have not yet experienced the Black Knight Chronicles might want to start nearer the beginning.

Series Information: Black Magic Woman is the second novella in the Black Knight Chronicles.
Book 1: Hard Day's Knight, review linked here where formatting allowed
Book 2: Back in Black, review linked here where formatting allowed
Novella 1: Movie Knight, review linked here where formatting allowed
Book 3: Knight Moves, review linked here where formatting allowed
There is also a book of short stories called Knight (un)Life - Black Knight Shorts Vol. 1, which I do not currently have. He has a number of other books, including his Bubba Monster Hunter books, a number of which I currently have as well.

Disclosure: I bought this book for myself. All opinions are my own.

Synopsis: It's the annual comic convention—what can go wrong?

You just had to ask, didn't you?

The boys from Black Knight Investigations get tangled up in more than they ever bargained for when they try to help a lost kid find his dad. Hilarity does not ensue when an ancient soul-sucker shows up to drain the local nerd population of vitality and life energy.

If you've ever wondered who would win in a knock-down, drag out fistfight between Jimmy Black and Greg Knightwood, here's your chance to find out!

View all my reviews

Review: Knight Moves

Knight Moves
Knight Moves by John G. Hartness

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Book Info: Genre: Urban Fantasy
Reading Level: adult
Recommended for: Fans of urban fantasy
Trigger Warnings: violence, killing

My Thoughts: This third book in the Black Knight Chronicles is a darker book than the previous ones. Jimmy and Greg discover they are not, in fact, the only vampires in town, and they meet a werewolf, which makes Greg very excited. The characters are developed quite a bit more in this book, although the action is still very fast and furious.

In an almost comedic continuity error, the reflection that was there in the first book and gone in the second book is back in this third book. Hartness really needs to write this stuff down somewhere and keep track of it! Also, when they pull over Bobby with Abigail in the ambulance, it specifically says that he was running with lights but no siren, but not a page later Sabrina is “yell[ing] over the blaring siren”. Really sloppy editing.

However, fans of the series won't want to miss this book. I have no idea if there will be any more books in this series. This one was written a couple years ago, and the shorts compilation that I do not yet have was published a year ago. An omnibus edition of the first three books is scheduled for publication from Bell Bridge Books, and I found a note from 2012 saying “early 2013”, but that deadline has passed with no further words. Still, I have enjoyed this series immensely (and it's not quite finished—still have that novella to read), so I hope they'll be out soon. I know I'll be watching for any new stuff. If you like urban fantasies, be sure to check this one out.

Series Information: Knight Moves is the third book in the Black Knight Chronicles.
Book 1: Hard Day's Knight, review linked here where formatting allowed
Book 2: Back in Black, review linked here where formatting allowed
Novella 1: Movie Knight, review linked here where formatting allowed
Novella 2: Black Magic Woman
There is also a book of short stories called Knight (un)Life - Black Knight Shorts Vol. 1, which I do not currently have. He has a number of other books, including his Bubba Monster Hunter books, a number of which I currently have as well.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book through the LibraryThing Members Giveaway program in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Synopsis: In the third installment of The Black Knight Chronicles, vampire private investigators Jimmy Black and Greg Knightwood find another vampire (or more) playing in their sandbox, and the boys are NOT happy about it.

While tracking down the killer of a young college student, they encounter boobytraps, defenestration, coeds, a hirsute bounty hunter with a moon fetish and a bad attitude, and worst of all—game night at a comic shop!

View all my reviews

TeamNerd Reviews - I Heart YA Promotion - calling all YA authors and readers for nominations!

Annabell Cadiz and Bridget Strahin over at TeamNerd Reviews HUGE fans of the Young Adult genre and they decided they would like to dedicate an entire month to their obsession with the genre they love and the authors they love to stalk *hehe*

If you are a Young Adult author, whether you are traditionally published, Indie published or Self-Published, they are offering a number of ways to get your work promoted on TeamNerd Reviews! Just fill out the form below and they'll make sure to add you to the schedule!

They're also hosting I HEART Young Adult Nominations where fans can nominate their favorite author, favorite bad boys, heroines, boy next door, kickbutt heroines and more!

They will also be putting together a BIG giveaway and are adding to it as they go along setting everything up! Here are some of the goodies they have so far to giveaway!!

** 3 Ecopies of Lucifer (Sons of Old Trilogy, #1) by Annabell Cadiz

**Signed copy of Monument 14: Sky on Fire by Emmy Laybourne which also includes 3 wristbands and a tote bag

**Signed copy of Interred by Marilyn Almodovar and an e-copy of Interred also with two Interred magnets and two wristbands for each winner

**Ecopies of Forged by Greed and Forged by Magic by Angela Orlowski-Peart

**Ecopy of Life, Love & Lemons by Magan Vernon

**Ecopy of The Puppet Spell by Emma Adams

**2 ecopies of Fire (Elements of Power Series, #1) by Heather James

**2 ecopies each of Book of Lost Souls and Don't Fear the Reaper by Michelle Muto

**Paperback copy of Cold Kiss by Amy Garvey

**Paperback Supernaturally by Kiersten White

**Paperback of Angelfire by Courtney Allison Moulton

**Paperback of Legacy by Cayla Kluver

**Paperback of Kiss by An Angel (which includes two additional books in the series) by Elizabeth Chandler

**The Trinity Pact by E.M. Shelton

**Paperback copy  of Nightshade and Paperback copy of Wolfsbane by Andrea Creamer

**Paperback copy of Weather Witch by Shannon Delany

**Paperback copies of book 1 and 3 in the Morganville Vampire Series by Rachel Kaine

Let the fun and nominations commence!

~Annabell & Bridget

Giveaway: Karen Amanda Hooper "Grasping at Eternity" book 1 in the Kindrily series

I have a real treat for the giveaway today, folks!  Those who know me, know that I don't like paranormal romance, generally speaking, and especially young-adult paranormal romance.  The exception to this rule is Karen Amanda Hooper.   I first ran across one of her stories a couple years ago when I read and reviewed her book Tangled Tides, dealing with merfolk.  Since I loved it so much, she was kind enough to send me a copy of Grasping at Eternity to read.  I read and reviewed that one last week.  And wow!  (Just click on the links to read my reviews for details)  It's some really powerful stuff, well-written and most importantly, I loved it!  So you know it has to be something special.

The second book in the Kindrily series has just been released, Taking Back Forever (which I'll be reading and reviewing soon), so to celebrate that release, Karen Amanda Hooper has let me host a giveaway for Grasping at Eternity here at Now is Gone!  That's right - five e-book copies will be given away, in the format of the winner's choosing, so please in addition to your e-mail address, be sure to provide what format you prefer: .epub, .mobi, or PDF.

Without further ado, here is the giveaway.  It will end in one week.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Review: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Please note: Read and reviewed in July 2007.

An experience: Let me start by relating a small anecdote: the other night a few of us at work were discussing Harry Potter - one of my co-workers had seen people lining up to get the book and thought this exceptionally foolish behaviour. I said, yeah, they should have done like my husband and I and gone to Wal-Mart - get a better deal, too (have you SEEN the cover price on this thing??). One of my co-workers then said, with a small disdainful sniff, that she had neither read the books nor seen the movies, she simply wasn't interested. Well, yes, I said, I suppose they weren't for everyone, but I thought they were brilliant... at which point she interrupted me to point out that the REASON she did not read the books or see the movies was because Harry Potter was full of Wicca.

Dead silence.

Wicca? I asked. What are you talking about, Wicca? There is no Wicca in Harry Potter. Yes there is, she said - from her vast knowledge of an additional 5 years of living and never having read the books nor seen the movies *sigh* Well, I said, I just don't see it - I know a thing or two about Wicca (not mentioning that I myself am a witch and therefore fully conversant with Wicca, witchcraft, magic-users and the differences there-between). Well, she says, perhaps YOU have been exposed to different ideas of Wicca than I. Not wishing to begin a rancorous debate at work, I sat for a few moments thinking on this, then cautiously asked her in what way she felt Harry Potter was associated with Wicca. She responded that, in order to do that she would have to talk about Wicca, which she did not do anymore. Well. Drawing a blank here. People, you know? Goddess bless them - how can they be so damn blind to their own prejudices?

Hard Truths, Unlikely Heroes, Revelations and Death Death Death: At any rate, to the book. I was delayed in finishing the novel by a bout in the hospital; but wow. First of all, Hard Truths: whose side was Snape really on? Why? What made Snape the way he was in the first place? Unlikely heroes abound as well - I don't believe it will be a spoiler to say that Neville Longbottom really comes into his own. Revelations: What happened that night on the tower when Snape killed Dumbledore - why did he do it? Where are the rest of the Horcruxes? What are the Deathly Hallows? And deaths - my my my the deaths! It's almost like Rowling was thinking "OK, last book, don't really need these characters anymore anyway - check check check check." Damn. I spent a good bit of the book either cold with shock or on the verge of tears. So many of them were so . . . arbitrary.

Was this really necessary?: Like other reviewers, I thought a bit too much was made of the extended wandering and travels around the country. That could have been cut a bit; of course, then what would have justified that enormous cover price, eh?

Final Thoughts: I'm leaving this spoiler free as possible, obviously. I was very pleased with the ending, I will say. Then again, I'm a bit of a romantic sucker (just don't like romance novels - isn't that weird?). I loved the little epilogue, it was somehow fitting. If Rowling wants to milk this, I can see a series of children's books still continuing from here - there are still stories to tell about Hogwart's, if not necessarily about Harry Potter himself.

View all my reviews

Review: Movie Knight

Movie Knight
Movie Knight by John G. Hartness

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Book Info: Genre: Urban Fantasy
Reading Level: Adult
Recommended for: fans of UF looking for something lighthearted
Trigger Warnings: babies in danger

My Thoughts: I enjoyed this fun short story. We meet up with Bobby again, hear from Anne the witch, and meet the very nasty Kunz (pronounced like Koontz) demon. It's short, fast, and funny. What more could you ask for?

Series Information: Movie Knight is the first novella in the Black Knight Chronicles.
Book 1: Hard Day's Knight, review linked here where formatting allowed
Book 2: Back in Black, review linked here where formatting allowed
Book 3: Knight Moves
Novella 2: Black Magic Woman
There is also a book of short stories called Knight (un)Life - Black Knight Shorts Vol. 1, which I do not currently have. He has a number of other books, including his Bubba Monster Hunter books, a number of which I currently have as well.

Disclosure: I bought this book for myself. All opinions are my own.

Synopsis: There's a demon on the loose in the hospital. 

Jimmy and Greg have to kill it before it decides the nursery is a buffet.

So much for a relaxing night at home watching movies.

In this Black Knight Chronicles short story, Jimmy Black, Greg Knightwood and Sabrina Law must race against time to defeat a nasty chihuahua-demon before it decides the hospital nursery is an all-you-can-eat buffet. 

This short story takes place between Back in Black and Knight Moves.

View all my reviews

Review: Back In Black

Back In Black
Back In Black by John G. Hartness

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Book Info: Genre: Urban Fantasy
Reading Level: Adult
Recommended for: fans of Urban Fantasy looking for something lighthearted
Trigger Warnings: violence, killing, homophobia

My Thoughts: Another great story in this fun UF series, in which we meet some new creatures (fairies, trolls, dragons) and find out how to make vampires sparkle (fairy blood, who'da thunk it?). I was a bit perturbed to already find a continuity error, in that the first book specifically stated they were able to see themselves in the mirror, while in this one they cannot, but overall the editing was better. Not perfect, but better.

Fans of more lighthearted UF should enjoy this series, which I am enjoying reading a great deal.

Series Information: Back in Black is the second book in the Black Knight Chronicles.
Book 1: Hard Day's Knight, review linked here where formatting allowed
Novella 1: Movie Knight
Book 3: Knight Moves
Novella 2: Black Magic Woman
There is also a book of short stories called Knight (un)Life - Black Knight Shorts Vol. 1, which I do not currently have. He has a number of other books, including his Bubba Monster Hunter books, a number of which I currently have as well.

Disclosure: I bought this book for myself (yes, I paid cash MONEY for this one). Later I saw it on NetGalley and added it there, since I planned to read it anyway. All opinions are my own.

Synopsis: In the second volume of The Black Knight Chronicles, vampire detectives Jimmy Black and Greg Knightwood investigate a series of assaults plaguing the alleys of Charlotte. Along the way they battle trolls, bigotry, fairies, dragons and small minds on the way to a knock-down battle royal inside a steel cage. The boys find themselves fighting evil in alleys, trolls in bars, dragons in FairyLand, and trying to scrub the sparkle off after a battle with vicious Fae in the hall of the Fairy Queen.

Yeah, really. All that and vampires, too.

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Review: Hard Day's Knight

Hard Day's Knight
Hard Day's Knight by John G. Hartness

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Book Info: Genre: Urban Fantasy
Reading Level: Adult
Recommended for: Fans of urban fantasy who've been looking for something a bit less serious
Trigger Warnings: violence, children being kidnapped, and in danger, killing

My Thoughts: I came to urban fantasy through a series by Glen Cook, then Simon Green, and finally Jim Butcher, so I've been reading urban fantasy since before the genre was named. I love the stuff, so I was so excited to grab these books when I noticed them. I just love the fact that the vampires are the good guys in this book (although I have some friends for whom that will turn them away from the book).

Something I've been wanting to read for awhile is more-or-less silly urban fantasy, and that's what we have here. While there is a real Big Bad, at the same time Jimmy and Greg are more bumbling then heroic, and more antiheroic than heroic. They are trying to be the good guys, but Jimmy is willing to do pretty much whatever it takes to make his goals, while Greg wants to think he's Batman. It's hilarious. This is a great example:
Greg realized that he had an audience, and sprang to his feet, swirling his cape dramatically.

At least, that was the idea. It's hard to swirl properly when part of the cape is tangled around your feet and another corner is draped over your head, but he gave it a hell of a try.

Then there is the fact that being a vampire has left them the same as when they were turned.
I've never been what anybody would call smooth, and turning into a vampire, much to my disappointment, didn't turn me into some super-suave sex machine...”

All in all, I enjoyed this book quite a lot. It loses one star just because of the really bad editing. But if you've been looking for an urban fantasy that doesn't take itself quite so seriously, this is a good place to find it. Lots of fun!

Series Information: Hard Day's Knight is the first book in the Black Knight Chronicles.
Book 2: Back in Black
Novella 1: Movie Knight
Book 3: Knight Moves
Novella 2: Black Magic Woman
There is also a book of short stories called Knight (un)Life - Black Knight Shorts Vol. 1, which I do not currently have. He has a number of other books, including his Bubba Monster Hunter books, a number of which I currently have as well.

Disclosure: I picked this book up for myself on free promotion on Amazon. Some time later (almost a year I think?) I noticed it was on NetGalley and accepted it there, since I already planned to read it. All opinions are my own.

Synopsis: Children are missing.

The police are stumped.

Halloween is coming, with an ancient evil on the horizon.

The vampires are the good guys.

This is not your ordinary fall weekend in Charlotte, NC. Vampire private detectives Jimmy Black and Greg Knightwood have been hired to keep a young client from being cursed for all eternity, but end up in a bigger mess than they ever imagined.

Suddenly trapped in the middle of a serial kidnapping case, Jimmy and Greg uncover a plot to bring forth an ancient evil into the world, and enlist the help of a police detective, a priest, a witch, a fallen angel and strip club proprietor to save the world. This unlikely band of heroes battles zombies, witches, neuroses and sunburn while cracking jokes and looking for the perfect bag of O-negative.

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Review: Playing with Fire

Playing with Fire
Playing with Fire by Coral Russell

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Please Note: I have heard the latest edition of this book does not have all these stories. My review, done in March of 2012, is of the original, multi-author edition. It is my understanding that the latest edition includes only Coral Russell's stories. So please be aware of that when reading this review.

My Thoughts: Susan Evelyn - Best Served – a tale of revenge – justice or vengeance?
Robynn Gabel - Widows of the Night – will give you a whole new impression of spiders!
Nomar KnightBitten – a sort of zombish tale
CAV Laster - Playing with Fire – science fiction becomes science fact and the world changes irrevocably, thanks to scientists going too far.
Coral Russell - Devil of a Ghost Tour – see my review on the book’s page on Goodreads here.
Coral Russell - Key to a Haunting – see my review on the book’s page on Goodreads here.
Coral Russell - Amador Lockdown (excerpt) – ghosthunters get more than they bargained for; an awesome tale! And I don’t just say that because I edited the final edition, either!
Brian Fatah SteeleFlawed – a house that brings the inhabitants a personalized madness – wonderful!!
Brian Fatah Steele - The Stuff Dreams Aren’t Made Of Dark, wonderful; dreams aren't what they are supposed to be ...
Chryse Wymer - This Dark Magic – a reporter gets mixed up with dark magic from a most unusual source – a wonderfully quirky twist to the end!
Chryse Wymer - Living with Murder (excerpt) – an interesting start to a story, set in the future, where technology allows you access to the memories of those lost, and a father seeks answers in the loss of his son.

Some really great stories here – fans of horror and dark suspense, ghost stories and the macabre should all find something to love.

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this ebook in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis from Goodreads: Scare easily? Are you often frightened out of your sleep? Does the mere mention of ghosts prickle your skin? 

These seven authors' imaginations are fired up by the scariness of the unknown.  Find a comfy spot, sit back and enjoy nine tales to tickle your taste for terror:

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Review: The Gravedigger's Brawl

The Gravedigger's Brawl
The Gravedigger's Brawl by Abigail Roux

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Book Info: Genre: PNR M/M (ghosts, haunting)
Reading Level: Adult
Recommended for: fans of PNR, esp. M/M, who enjoy historical aspects to the story, and ghosts
Trigger Warnings: physical assault, violence, murder (historical), torture (historical), slavery (historical)

My Thoughts: An enjoyable book. I loved the easy banter between Wyatt and Noah, their sweet flirtations with Ash and Caleb; it was all very fun. I also very much liked Ryan and Delilah. Roux does a good job of creating interesting characters and giving them an individuality. The vast majority of the story I really enjoyed. The vast majority of the story was sweet and lighthearted, which just the occasional creepiness thrown in. Overall I liked it, and I was set to give it 5 stars until the ending.

The ending felt really rushed. It felt to me as though the author realized she had reached a certain word count and suddenly realized she needed to reach the main event, and just threw us in there. While there had been some foreshadowing, the abrupt change in flavor to the story was jarring and hard to adjust to. From about 91 percent to about 97 percent the book felt like horror, while the rest was fairly lighthearted, standard PNR. That alone would have probably left the book at a 4-star rating, but there were a couple issues with the plot flow that threw me off as well.

For instance, several times it is mentioned that Noah believes in ghosts and hauntings, while Wyatt does not. However, when the group came over to cleanse the building, Wyatt was the one who was thinking to himself he didn't know if this would actually remove the ghost while Noah was suddenly saying he didn't believe in any of it. The time frame between when Gravedigger's closes and Halloween feels off as well. They say they decide to close it on the “third week in October”, and then the renovations take several days. Ash and Ryan are gone for three days (after spending at least three or four days working on the renovations). That is one week. Now it is the fourth week in October. Halloween is at most a few days away. Then Ash has his break-down and is out for a week. It has to be November by then, but he still recovers in time for Halloween? The time doesn't line up.

So, while I overall really enjoyed the story, the ending and those issues with inconsistencies dropped the rating to three stars. Still, I will definitely be looking into reading more books by this author, whose style overall I really enjoy. I see she has written a number of books featuring a Madeline Urban, so I'll be checking those out. If you like M/M PNR, you should definitely check out Gravedigger's Brawl.

Disclosure: I received an e-galley from Riptide Publishing via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Synopsis: Dr. Wyatt Case is never happier than when he’s walking the halls of his history museum. Playing wingman for his best friend at Gravedigger’s Tavern throws him way out of his comfort zone, but not as much as the eccentric man behind the bar, Ash Lucroix.

Ash is everything Wyatt doesn’t understand: exuberant, quirky, and elbow deep in a Gaslight lifestyle that weaves history into everyday life. He coordinates his suspenders with his tongue rings. Within hours, Wyatt and Ash are hooked.

But strange things are afoot at Gravedigger’s, and after a knock to the head, Ash starts seeing things that can’t be explained by old appliances or faulty wiring. Soon everyone at Gravedigger’s is wondering if they’re seeing ghosts, or just going crazy. The answer to that question could end more than just Wyatt and Ash’s fragile relationship—it might also end their lives.

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Saturday, June 22, 2013

Review: Night Chill

Night Chill
Night Chill by Jeff Gunhus

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Book Info: Genre: Horror
Reading Level: Adult
Recommended for: Fans of horror who don't have children
Trigger Warnings: danger to children, dying children (due to illness), kidnapping (young women and children), apparent murder attempts, actual murder attempts, murder, torture, mental torture

My Thoughts: Wow, this was a seriously messed-up book! It is absolutely full of triggers to freak out parents, so be warned: if you have children, this will probably freak you out more more than it did me. It is very fast-paced, and absolutely full of misdirection. Gunhus is always fooling you into making the wrong interpretation of events, and is very good at it.

I had just read his second Jack Templar, Monster Hunter book, and while I enjoyed this book, it wasn't quite as good as that one. The problem I had is that many of the characters in this book were sort of flat. A lot of character development was sacrificed to plot pace. I am no writer, so I have no idea how I would have developed the characters any better, but to me the story would have been better if the characters were a bit more rich. Don't hold it against the book! I enjoyed the book a lot, and if you like horror, and don't have children to freak out about, you should enjoy this story.

This is listed as being the first book in a series. I'm not sure where he plans to go with this, but I will certainly be along for the ride. Gunhus is a good writer, and I look forward to whatever comes next.

Disclosure: I was given this book as a gift from a friend. All opinions are my own.

Synopsis: Jack Tremont moves his family to the quiet mountains of Western Maryland hoping to leave behind a troubled past and restart his life. Instead, he finds himself caught up in a nightmare when his daughter Sarah is targeted by Nate Huckley, a mysterious and horrifying stranger driven by a dark power that will stop at nothing to possess Sarah. When Sarah goes missing, suspicion falls on Jack and he must uncover the secrets of the small mountain town of Prescott City and face the evil secret hidden there. As he digs further, he learns the conspiracy reaches more deeply than he could have imagined. Finally, he will have to face the question: What is a father willing to do to save his child? The answer? Anything. Anything at all.

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Review: The Book of Shadows

The Book of Shadows
The Book of Shadows by James Reese

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Please note: I read and reviewed this book in June 2011 from a copy I purchased for myself. I'm just adding some formatting.

My response to negative reviews: I'd like to address the various negative reviews I've seen; many people have complained about the eroticism of this book. While there are indeed some sensual scenes, they are much milder than in many books I have read. I think the main problem that people have is with the bisexual aspect of it. If that will bother you, then this is obviously not a book you should read. (You should also avoid anything by Gary Jennings) Other people complained that the book was too long, too detailed, boring. This dumbfounds me - the details bring this book to life; the story flows smoothly and I was not ready for the book to end. True, those with the shortened attention span brought on by watching too much TV would probably have trouble with this book, but I expect more from readers.

Nevertheless, each person is entitled to his or her own opinion, so let me give you mine - it's better than yours ... ;-)

My Synopsis: "The Book of Shadows" is a voyage of discovery for young Herculine, who was orphaned at a young age (she thinks she was 5 or 6) and raised in a convent/boarding school by nuns and among the young ladies being trained there upon the wishes of their families. Herculine never felt a sense of belonging - instead, feeling like an outsider. Shy, withdrawn, and quiet, Herculine had few friends. Then the arrival of Peronette, the Mother Superior's niece, threw everything into disarray. Soon Herculine is accused of witchcraft. Locked into one of the convent's libraries overnight, Herculine is close to despair when a group of people - a succubus, an incubus, a demon and a witch - arrive and help Herculine to escape. Herculine IS a witch, and Sebastiana D'Azur - the witch who rescues Herculine - starts to instruct Herculine on some of the aspects of the Craft.

The Characters: I won't go any more into the story than that, so as to avoid any spoilers. Herculine is a very complex character and one I enjoyed getting to know. Sebastiana is a somewhat mysterious character - we learn much of her, but there is much we do not know. Father Louis and Madeline are incubus and succubus, and dis-incarnate. They can take form, but it takes energy to do so. Finally, Asmodei (who is really quite a jerk) is believed by Sebastiana to be a descendant of the demon Asmodeus.

My Review: As I stated above, the story flowed smoothly and, for me, it was a relatively quick read. I'd have been done sooner if it weren't that I've been feeling poorly and had to spend so much time sleeping. I found the details to be lush and vibrant, the story coming alive for me in a way few stories have. If you do not feel you would be offended by the few sex scenes (which, again, are pretty tame compared to, say, a romance novel - the only difference is the occasional bisexual aspects of it) and you enjoy a tale of growth and self-discovery, I think you'd like this story.

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Friday, June 21, 2013

Review: Jack Templar and the Monster Hunter Academy

Jack Templar and the Monster Hunter Academy
Jack Templar and the Monster Hunter Academy by Jeff Gunhus

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Book Info: Genre: Fantasy
Reading Level: MG
Recommended for: EVERYBODY OMG!!!
Trigger Warnings: violence, fighting

My Thoughts: This is the second book in the Jack Templar, Monster Hunter series, following Jack Templar, Monster Hunter, which I read and reviewed in February, 2013 (linked where formatting allowed). Book three will be called Jack Templar and the Lord of the Vampires and I can't wait!

Holy cow, this book was amazing, just amazing! I seriously became all choked up before the final fight scene when everyone was turning to everyone else and saying “The honor was all mine” I just... wow. I don't even know what else to say other than to fangirl all over the place, because this book was just phenomenally amazing. You have to read this book. Just … read it. There is nothing I can say that will prepare you for these books, other than you just reading them. Wow.

Disclosure: I picked up a copy of this book on a free promotion on Amazon. All opinions are my own.

Synopsis: After barely surviving the onslaught of monsters that tried to kill him the day before his fourteenth birthday, Jack Templar leaves his hometown on a quest to rescue his father and discover the truth about his past. Joined by his friends Will and T-Rex, and led by Eva, the mysterious one-handed monster hunter, Jack sets out for the Monster Hunter Academy where he hopes to find answers to his questions. Little does he suspect that the Academy is filled with dangers of its own, many of them more terrifying than anything he’s faced so far.

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Review: Grasping at Eternity

Grasping at Eternity
Grasping at Eternity by Karen Amanda Hooper

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Book Info: Genre: YA PNR (ParaNormal Romance)
Reading Level: Young Adult
Recommended for: Fans of YA PNR, even those who do not normally like PNR
Trigger Warnings: attempted murder, suicidal ideation, murder (past lives)

My Thoughts: Usually romance makes me crazy, especially the type of romance where the hero and heroine are constantly clashing over silly things. However, I really enjoyed this author's previous book, Tangled Tides (review linked here where formatting allowed), so was willing to give this one the benefit of the doubt. I was very glad I did.

Karen Hooper is a writer whose romance I actually enjoy, especially when it addresses things like this one that I find interesting. The characters are realistic in many ways (other than the powers and such). I felt so bad for Maryah, losing her whole family and trying to cope, and then to have learn things that make the family you're just starting to fit into seem like they are complete lunatics must have been hard. I don't blame her for her reactions to Nathaniel (Nathan), because of course she had no idea what was going on.

Still, I was so heartbroken for Nathan. To have your soul mate, someone you've loved for centuries, deliberately choose to forget? That must be devastating. I felt so badly for him. I'm certain a lot of people will roll their eyes over the eternal soul mate thing, but I personally think that reincarnation and soul mates explains a lot of things that I've experienced in my life that are otherwise inexplicable. I believe in both soul mates and reincarnation, as well as the fact that we often choose to remain in certain company from life to life.

I could go on and on about all the different characters (Amber and her critters, Sheila in general, Carson, Dakota, Louise, Anthony....) but this is already becoming a rather long review, so I'll leave off here. I think a lot of people will enjoy this book, even those who, like me, do not normally enjoy romance. I definitely want to continue reading this series, to find out what happens next. Highly recommended.

Note: I'll be giving away five e-book copies of this book on my blog starting Monday, June 24, so watch for that! The second book in this series, Taking Back Forever was released in late May.

Disclosure: The author sent me a copy of this book in gratitude for reviewing her other book, Tangled Tides. She specifically absolved me of any need to write a review, but I'm happy to provide an honest review nonetheless. All opinions are my own.

Synopsis: Leave it to Maryah Woodsen to break the one rule that will screw up eternity: Never erase your memories. 

Before entering this life, Maryah did the unthinkable—she erased. Now, at seventeen years old, she’s clueless that her new adoptive family has known her for centuries, that they are perpetually reincarnated souls, and that they have supernatural abilities. Oh, and she's supposed to love (not despise) Nathan, the green-eyed daredevil who saved her life.

Nathan is convinced his family’s plan to spark Maryah's memory is hopeless, but his love for her is undying. After spending (and remembering) so many lifetimes together, being around an empty version of his soulmate is heart shattering. He hates acting like a stalker, but has no choice because the evil outcast who murdered Maryah in their last lifetime is still after her. 

While Maryah’s hunter inches closer, she and Nathan make assumptions and hide secrets that rip them further apart. Maryah has to believe in the magic within her, Nathan must have faith in the power of their love, and both need to grasp onto the truth before they lose each other forever—and discover just how lonely eternity can be.

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Thursday, June 20, 2013

Fiction Review: "Interview with a Vampire Hunter" by John Abramowitz

Interview with a Vampire Hunter review
Author: John Abramowitz
5 out of 5 stars

Book Info: Genre: Flash fiction—Satire of PNR
Reading Level: Any
Recommended for: Those who are sick of vampire PNR

My Thoughts: This flash fiction story is available to read free on Wattpad (just follow the link).

Not only does this fun little story make fun of paranormal romance (specifically vampire fiction), but it also throws in a little nod and a wink toward Buffy: The Vampire Slayer. I'm not a fan of PNR (ParaNormal Romance), so I was really amused by this. I would love to see this expanded into a novel, or maybe even a series. We can always hope!

If you like John Abramowitz's style after reading this story, be sure to check out his excellent books Atticus for the Undead (review linked here), Identity Theft (review linked here), Weaver (review linked here) and The Void (haven't read yet), available in all the normal places.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this story from the author in exchange for a review/feedback. All opinions are my own.

Synopsis: According to the author, this is a Cabin in the Woods-type deconstruction of paranormal romance.

It's paranormal romance gone wrong as jaded investigator Fiona Christensen is called to a local high school to investigate a young woman's murder. The principal's suspicion? The crime was committed by a vampire passing himself off as a student... or maybe even as a teacher. But at this school, everyone's got secrets--including Fiona herself!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Some Fun with M.T. McGuire

Lo, many moons ago, I did talk to and accept from M.T. McGuire a fun little tome called Few are Chosen, book 1 in the K'Barthan Trilogy. Then, because it was also part of the series, I took Unlucky Dip (free on Smashwords!). Then I took hundreds and hundreds more, and poor M.T. McGuire ended up buried in the onslaught....

Well, enough is enough! I now have the next book in that series, The Wrong Stuff, and a couple random shorts, so I'll be doing my best to have a marathon of M.T. McGuire stuff soon! But until then, I thought it would be fun to share some cool pictures with you related to the K'Barthan Trilogy!  So., here you go, some pictures related to the K'Barthan trilogy and the books therein.  You can find out more by following any of the links!  Books available on Smashwords and any other places e-books are sold.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Review: Tangled Tides

Tangled Tides
Tangled Tides by Karen Amanda Hooper

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Please note: I read and reviewed this book in November of 2011 from a copy provided by Rhemalda Publishing in exchange for an honest review. Updating this review to add that disclaimer and formatting.

My Synopsis: The day before Yara’s 18th birthday, her guardian – who she calls Uncle Lloyd – has gone to the mainland from the Florida Keys to have kidney dialysis, and a hurricane is blowing up. While she struggles to cover the windows, a stranger appears, offering to help her. He says his name is Treygan and somehow he makes her feel safe and warm. He offers to take her someplace safe, if that is her wish, and she makes the wish. The next thing she knows, she’s waking up a mermaid. What has happened to her? How can she go back to the way things were? And most importantly – why has all this happened right now?

My Thoughts: Releasing 11/25/11 from Rhemalda, “Tangled Tides” is a wonderfully fun YA paranormal fantasy with strong elements of romance. While it makes use of the typical triad and oodles of problems getting along between the romantic leads, it all fits in the story and makes sense – unlike many where there is no particular reason. I found it quite refreshing and enjoyable for the plot to be so well-developed. Also, there are a lot of great suspense elements, and plot twists and turns – while I caught a few of the hints far enough ahead of guess what was coming, there were many I didn’t. This story will definitely keep you guessing! Merfolk aren’t the only paranormals to make an appearance, either – there are sirens, gorgons, selkies, sprites … it’s a wonderfully diverse cast. I can say that this is a book I would definitely recommend to people who enjoy romance, fantasy, paranormal and magical reality stories – don’t miss it – available 11/25/11.

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Review: Divine City: Bangkok Fantasies

Divine City: Bangkok Fantasies
Divine City: Bangkok Fantasies by Scott B. Robinson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Book Info: Genre: Short-story anthology/Magical Realism
Reading Level: Adult
Recommended for: those who enjoy magical, lyrical short stories
Trigger Warnings: murder

My Thoughts: First of all, my apologies to the author. I've had this book for almost two years and just hadn't read it yet. I had originally planned to take these books as I received them, but found that just wasn't realistic, as I would find myself just not in the mood for something, which can adversely affect my opinion, so I gave myself permission to just read what appealed to me at the moment. So, sorry it's taken so long!

At any rate, like the previous book I read, this was an anthology of short stories. Each takes place in Bangkok. The language is lovely, lyrical and beautiful to read, although any plot is mostly hidden underneath symbolism and subterfuge. The underlying theme is a set of strange and mystical boxes; they spread through all the stories in the set.

There's not much I can say about the book because with short stories you can't really discuss the plot or story arc or character development. But if you enjoy stories that blend beautiful language with mysterious symbolism, you should like this book. I certainly enjoyed reading it.

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this e-book from the author in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own.

Synopsis: Supernatural forces and secret societies descend on modern Bangkok as a series of mysterious black boxes surface into the lives of five remarkable individuals in this magic realism collection of five short stories. As this cross-genre piece modulates through elements of the psychological mystery, horror, the thriller, the detective mystery, adventure and romance, it explores classic Western themes—the Fall, the Temptation, Pandora’s box—in an Eastern setting. The book is ultimately a study of the human obsession with the unknown.

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"Minion of Evil" winners selected

Congratulations to Michael, Tabitha and Heather, this week's winners of Shannon Ryan's Minion of Evil.  Another giveaway will be up next week!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

JKS Communications and Cheryl Rainfield presents (new) Cover Reveal for "Stained" plus Info, links, Excerpt and VIDEOS!

Some time ago I did a cover reveal for Cheryl Rainfield's Stained.  Well, it's being updated and changed.  Apparently the original cover was declared "too graphic" by Barnes & Noble.  Here's some information about the book, and a couple of videos!  But first, I did want to let you know that today, June 18, 2013, you can pick up her book Parallel Visions for free on Amazon (my review here).  Just follow the link on the book's title and pick up your free copy.  Okay, without further ado..


“Powerful. I raced through it, wanting to know if Sarah would find a way to escape both her captor and her self-doubts. A real nail-biter! “
 - April Henry, New York Times-bestselling author of The Girl Who Was Supposed to Die

“A compelling, gutting, and ultimately triumphant read. You won't want to stop turning pages -- Or blink. Or breathe. -- until you reach the very last one.”
-Jennifer Brown, award-winning author of Hate List

“STAINED is dark, tense and gripping; a triumph of one girl's heart, soul and will to survive. Sarah's strength during her descent into terror kept me reading way past bedtime! “
-Laura Wiess, critically acclaimed author of Such a Pretty Girl


Like I did with SCARS and HUNTED, I drew on some of my own experiences of bullying, abuse, and trauma to write STAINED and to give it greater emotional depth. Like Sarah in STAINED, I experienced abduction, imprisonment, periods of forced starvation, mind control, and having my life threatened. And like Sarah, I tried hard to fight against my abuser, keep my own sense of self, and escape. I hope readers will see Sarah's strength and courage, and appreciate her emotional growth as she reclaims herself.
Tagline for STAINED:

Sometimes you have to be your own hero.

You can buy STAINED on:  (just link to the ones you want to):
Amazon (hardcover): (well, it says you can get an email when avail)

Excerpt from p. 2

Today is the day I’ve been waiting for my entire life—the beginning of normal.

I reach for the latest Seventeen and flip through its glossy pages until I find the perfect face. The girl is pretty, with wide green eyes, hollow cheekbones, and full, pouty lips. But what I notice most is her smooth, unblemished skin. It’s perfect. I cut the photo out and stick it above my bed, in the last of the space. Now I can’t even see the sunlight yellow of my walls—but the confidence that shines in these faces is even brighter. And today I’m going to get so much closer to that. I don’t care how much the treatments hurt; it’ll be worth it. It can’t hurt as much as the stares and rude comments I get every day.

I know I shouldn’t let people’s ignorance get to me. Mom’s always telling me I’m beautiful; that it’s what’s inside that counts. But she’s not living in the real world. Sure, whether you’re kind or good matters. But pretty people automatically get better treatment. Ugly people get ignored ... if they’re lucky. And me, I get stares, taunts, or people going out of their way to pretend they don’t see me.

I try to think of it as fuel for my comic scripts. All heroes have to go through personal trauma before they find their true strength—and most of them feel like outsiders even after they do.

And finally, the videos!

Book Trailer:

Why the author wrote the book: