Friday, 29 August 2014

*waving*



Hey!
 
It's been a while.
 
But I made it back.
 
Like last time, I have no excuses for not posting an update. But hey, I did post other things. Like, my interview at SF Signal, which was very exciting.
 
I've also been busy updating online stuff, writing guest blog posts for one book, organising promo spots for another, brainstorming two Sierra Fox spin-off novels, and reading.
 
Yes! I'm finally all caught up with my review books, so this week I've been grabbing books that I've been meaning to read for ages from my bookshelf and Paperwhite. It's been a lot of fun. Although it hasn't put much of a dent in my TBR pile, I'm no longer behind on my 2014 Goodreads Reading Challenge. :)
 
The weather here in Sydney has been terrible. We've had rain almost every single day for about two weeks now. The worst part is that the days are mixed. It rains, then it's sunny, then a downpour hits, then the sun comes out again, only to end up in rain again. Grrr. It's really annoying when you're trying to go out for walks, or trying to catch up with the washing. I hope that Mother Nature is throwing some last-minute shitty weather our way because spring is just around the corner.
 
I'm totally ready to leave winter behind and settle in for some nice spring weather. Bring it on!
 
I mentioned that I spent some time brainstorming two spin-off novels set in Sierra's UF world during the last few weeks, and I'm pretty much ready to get started on the first one. I plan to write a Lavie Grye spin-off that takes place a few months after A STITCH ON TIME, and a Willow Moss spin-off that takes place several years later. Willow's book is not going to be YA, it's another adult book. Lavie's book is going to be a road trip story: kick-ass demon hunter with a bunch of issues, hunky demon with mischief on his mind, a gorgeous red and black VW Kombi, and a whole LOT of demonic trouble. I can't wait to get started!
 
I'm very excited about both of them because the ideas are coming pretty fast. That's why I've been taking notes and even researching a bunch of stuff in preparation. I think Lavie's story is SO ready to be told that I'm going to start on Monday.
 
Well, that's it for now. Just thought I'd pop in and say Hi!
 
Have a great weekend.

HEART-SHAPED BRUISE by Tanya Byrne


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My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I was lucky enough to win this book on Twitter a while ago, and although I couldn't wait to read it as soon as I received it, life got in the way. And then every time I organised my bookshelves, I'd spot it and say to myself, I really have to read this.

Last night I finally picked it up and got started.

Wow. I was hooked instantly. Before I realised it I'd read the first 75 pages and then went back for more before going to bed. It's intriguing, addictive, one of those books that grabs your attention from the first line and doesn't let you go until you get to the end.

Well, that's exactly what happened to me because first thing this morning I picked it up again and decided I wasn't going to stop until I got to the end. By lunchtime, I was done. Once again, wow.

They say Emily Koll is evil. While awaiting trial at Archway Young Offenders Institution, she decides to start telling her story. I really don't want to go into any of it here because I think that even a small glimpse into what she writes about would be a spoiler. I went in knowing nothing about what happened in her life to get her imprisoned in this place, and I think it was the best way to approach this story. Go in knowing nothing but the fact that Emily is all sorts of messed up because of something that happened in her life. Okay, it's actually a series of things that tip her over the edge.

This story is addictive, well written, interesting, and a total page-turner. It's a story of loss, anger, betrayal, revenge, and just how far one girl is willing to go to hurt someone. But sometimes, if you go out of your way to hurt someone, it might be you who really gets hurt.

I loved this book, and the cover's awesome too. It's amazing, heartbreaking and sad. But it's also one person's way of confessing all of her sins through the power of words. Like I said, loved it.

Thank you for sending me a signed copy, Tanya! Now that I've read it, it's going on my special autographed-books shelf. :)

Now I'm going to have to buy her next book...


Thursday, 28 August 2014

SAY HER NAME by James Dawson


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My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a book I've had on my Kindle for several months and couldn't wait to get stuck into. I find the Bloody Mary urban legend fascinating, so I was looking forward to reading another spin on it. Not to mention that the cover is all kinds of awesome. :)

As soon as I started, I was hooked. The first chapter in this book is set in the past and is amazing. It's spooky and the suspense is so thick that when it ends, it leaves you breathless.

After that, we're taken to present day, to Piper's Hall School for Young Ladies. A boarding school situated on top of a cliff-face. Yeah, the perfect setting for this story. Here we meet a bunch of girls from the school who have snuck out and are hanging around some local boys. Since it's Halloween, one of them tells them the story of Bloody Mary and because they're kids, three of them actually stand in front of a mirror and say her name five times.

The next day, Bobbie finds a message on the mirror. It says: FIVE DAYS. Now Bobbie, Naya (her bestie), and Caine (the hottie she has her eye on) start seeing Mary in the mirror. They're also having strange dreams about her, and the three know that as soon as the five days are up, Mary's coming for them.

OMG. This was SO darn good. I love a good horror story, and this one definitely delivered. It's set in the perfect location and is a creepy, spooky, chilling, intriguing mystery with a twist ending. The characters were interesting too. I really liked Bobbie and Caine's detective work. Also enjoyed that they found each other during such hard times.

And Mary, yikes. Her story was excellent. I loved how everything was slowly uncovered and how even when her story seemed to be told, it was far from over.

I only had one pet peeve, and that was the overuse of exclamation points. I know it was mostly the teenagers using them because they're either always excited, or distraught, or both... but it still kinda pulled me out of the story. But definitely not enough to lose me.

I loved this book. What a fantastic ending!


Wednesday, 27 August 2014

ETCHED IN SILVER by Yasmine Galenorn


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My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I've been in an UF prequel-kinda mood lately, so I decided to read this novella next. It's set in the Otherworld series world. It's about the D’Artigo sisters, before they came to Earthside.

Camille is a witch, and like her sisters, she works for the Y’Elestrial Intelligence Agency. Her latest case has her on the hunt for a sadistic killer. But it looks like her boss might be working against her because he's got his own agenda. That's when a seductive Svartan enters her life, and might end up being the one who helps her close the case...

This is the story of how Camille and Trillian met. About how instant their attraction was, and what their passionate connection led to.

I enjoyed this glimpse into the lives of the D’Artigo sisters before the first book. I also liked the hints of things to come that were sprinkled throughout the story.

I've fallen behind on this series--I'm up to Book 7--but look forward to getting back into it.

Sunday, 24 August 2014

HEIR OF FIRE by Sarah J Maas

Heir of Fire
Lost and broken, Celaena Sardothien’s only thought is to avenge the savage death of her dearest friend: as the King of Adarlan’s Assassin, she is bound to serve this tyrant, but he will pay for what he did. Any hope Celaena has of destroying the king lies in answers to be found in Wendlyn. Sacrificing his future, Chaol, the Captain of the King’s Guard, has sent Celaena there to protect her, but her darkest demons lay in that same place. If she can overcome them, she will be Adarlan’s biggest threat – and his own toughest enemy.
 
While Celaena learns of her true destiny, and the eyes of Erilea are on Wendlyn, a brutal and beastly force is preparing to take to the skies. Will Celaena find the strength not only to win her own battles, but to fight a war that could pit her loyalties to her own people against those she has grown to love?
 
 This third novel in the Throne of Glass sequence, from New York Times bestselling author Sarah J. Maas, is packed with more heart-stopping action, devastating drama and swoonsome romance, and introduces some fierce new heroines to love and hate.


The first two books in this series were fantastic, so I couldn't wait to read the next adventure.
 
Celaena Sardothien is an assassin, as well as the King's Champion. But she's far from home, living on the streets of Wendlyn and barely surviving. Broken, lost, and alone she spends most of her days on rooftops watching the activity below, or stealing food to eat. She doesn't care about anything--not about her duty, or even about the revenge she wants after the death of her good friend. And she certainly doesn't want to think about the man she loves.
 
It's not until she's approached by the enigmatic Rowan that she sets on the path to her real destiny. This tattooed Fae warrior might belong to the vicious Queen Maeve, but he's been tasked with making Celaena worthy to get the answers she seeks. So Celaena embarks on a new, brutal training schedule. One that nearly tears her apart, but helps her reconnect with the past she's tried so hard to forget. A past that came crashing down ten years ago when her family was killed.
 
Facing these memories is exactly what she needs in order to find her true inner strength and embrace the magic that's rightfully hers. So she can become the one, true power able to go against the cruel and evil King of Adarlan.
 
While she's engaged in the vigorous training and discovering the true extent of her power, there are a lot of other things going on. Back in Adarlan, Chaol is about to leave his post so he can return home with his father, to fulfil the deal he made in order to get Celaena away from the glass castle. In the mountains several covens of iron witches have congregated and are learning how to ride wyverns that will lead them into battle. While the rebels are plotting against the king, Prince Dorian is desperately trying to conceal his magic and in the process might lose his heart...
 
This story is as well written as the two before it. By revealing several POVs, the reader gets the chance to find out exactly how things are moving along from all angles. I especially enjoyed reading about Manon Blackbeak, the Ironteeth witch whose only goal in life is to please her grandmother, but meeting a very special wyvern slowly starts to change her.
 
Heir of Fire is another amazing instalment in this very intriguing series. I was once again hooked from the beginning and couldn't wait to see what was going to happen next. Celaena's an awesome, interesting and well-rounded character. She continually falls apart, every piece of her ravaged by emotion and loss. Life keeps slogging her with hard blows, but she never really gives up. She's a warrior at heart and now that she's accepted these incredible changes and her true name, I'm looking forward to following her into the dark and bleak future that awaits.
 
I loved this story as much as the others, and love how the world is opening up with each new book.
 
Wow, what a ride of emotions!

Heir of Fire, September 2014, ISBN   9781408839126, Bloomsbury Childrens

THE GRAVEYARD BOOK Graphic Novel, Volume 1 by Neil Gaiman, P. Craig Russell & More

The Graveyard Book Graphic Novel, Part 1
An irresistibly-brilliant graphic novel adaptation of The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman, adapted by award-winning illustrator P. Craig Russell. This is the first of two volumes.
Nobody Owens, known as Bod, is a normal boy. He would be completely normal if he didn't live in a graveyard, being raised by ghosts, with a guardian who belongs to neither the world of the living nor the dead. There are dangers and adventures for Bod in the graveyard. But it's in the land of the living that the real danger lurks, for it is there that the man Jack lives, and he has already killed Bod's family.
Each chapter is illustrated by a different artist, with contributions from P. Craig Russell, Kevin Nowlan, Tony Harris and Scott Hamptom, Galen Showman, Jill Thompson and Stephen B. Scott.


I was pleasantly surprised when I received this book for review. The first thing I did was flick through the pages, and enjoyed looking at the brilliant artwork.

This is the first part in the graphic novel adaptation of Neil Gaiman's The Graveyard Book, and contains chapter one through to the interlude.

Nobody Owens is a normal boy living a not-so normal life. His family was killed when he was a baby, and lucky for him he happened to sneak out of the house before it was his turn. Now he's older and has been living in a graveyard, where the ghosts are raising him and a guardian who found out the truth about Bod's family has granted him permission to stay and watches over him.

A graveyard might not sound like the best place to grow up, but there's plenty of adventure to be had and lots of interesting people around. Not to mention that it's safe, because the real danger awaits him in the human world beyond the gates...
 
This book captures the original story very well, showcasing it through a visual medium that definitely works. Each chapter was illustrated by a different artist, and each one puts their own spin on the story. While still managing to make it feel like the same book.

The Graveyard Book Graphic Novel, Volume 1  is a lovely book that enhances Neil Gaiman's story, once again captivates readers, and might even grab a new audience along the way. 

It really is a gorgeous book. I look forward to reading the next one. 

The Graveyard Book Graphic Novel, Volume 1, August 2014, ISBN  9781408858998, Bloomsbury Childrens

Friday, 22 August 2014

CAPTURED by SJ Harper


My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I've got the first book in this series on my bookshelf, but when I grabbed a free copy of this prequel for my Kindle, I thought I'd start here.

Emma Monroe is a Fallen Siren who was cursed by Demeter because she couldn't save Persephone. She's also an FBI agent who investigates missing persons cases.

When she goes to Charleston to help find a missing boy, she meets fellow agent Zack Armstrong. As soon as they meet she can tell he's a werewolf. He's also good at his job, and a total hottie. No matter how hard she tries to avoid the attraction, she can't pretend it's not there. But she can concentrate on her mission. She wants redemption, and this is her way of getting closer to it.

The little boy who's missing isn't the first one. Two more were abducted, but they were found dead. Emma and Zack have limited time to solve the case, but no matter how many questions they ask or how many times they interview the parents, they struggle to figure out what's going on.

Together, they push on because if they don't, another innocent child will be drowned...

I loved this novella! Not only was it fast-paced and hooked me in from the beginning, but I loved Emma and Zack. The mutual attraction is strong, and their separate secrets intriguing. I also love the addition of Greek mythology, and can't wait to find out more about Emma's former existence.

Looking forward to reading the first book! :)

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Interview at the SF Signal!


Hey, how's everyone doing?
 
To help celebrate the upcoming release of RECAST, Volume 1 I'm over at the SF Signal.

Andrea Johnson interviewed me and she came up with some awesome questions. We chatted about my Recast world, my urban fantasy series, my love of horror movies, and a whole lot more.
 
Check it out HERE.
 
It was a lot of fun.
 
RECAST, Volume 1 will be released on September 2 from Samhain Publishing. This is the first print edition featuring any of the books in this series, and includes Wither and Clash.
 

 

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

WICKEDLY MAGICAL by Deborah Blake



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My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I started this prequel novella yesterday and finished it this morning. It was so much fun!

Barbara Yager is one of three Baba Yaga witches living in the United States. She lives in her enchanted Airstream with her pit bull, Chudo-Yudo--who is actually a dragon in disguise. She's a travelling botanist and college professor in the human world. She also helps keep the balance of nature, guards the borders between the human world and the Otherworld, while helping those worthy enough to seek her out.

When Ivan Dmetriev, a distraught father, approaches her with the token that signals a family debt of honor, Barbara has no choice but to help him. This poor man has recently lost his family to another man, and the reason seems to be of a supernatural nature. Jonathan Bellingwood isn't compelling people with his charm, he's in possession of something that cancels out free will. To stop him, Barbara needs the help of her witch sisters...

I loved this story so much that I can't wait to read the first book in the series! Which I already have on pre-order, btw. :)

The use of Russian myth is intriguing, and I like how it's weaved into a contemporary setting. The three Baba Yaga witches and their dragon companions are interesting. I'm looking forward to finding out more about them.

Sunday, 17 August 2014

VISIONS by Kelley Armstrong

Omens, the first instalment in Kelley Armstrong's exciting new series, introduced Olivia Taylor-Jones, daughter of notorious serial killers, and Gabriel Walsh, the self-serving, morally ambiguous lawyer who became her unlikely ally. Together, they chased down a devious killer and partially cleared her parents of their horrifying crimes. Their success, however, is short-lived.
While Olivia takes refuge in the old, secluded town of Cainsville, Gabriel's past mistakes have come to light, creating a rift between the pair just when she needs his help the most. Olivia finds a dead woman in her car, dressed to look like her, but the body vanishes before anyone else sees it. Olivia's convinced it's another omen, a sign of impending danger. But then she learns that a troubled young woman went missing just days ago - the same woman Olivia found dead in her car. Someone has gone to great lengths to kill and leave this young woman as a warning. But why? And what role has her new home played in this disturbing murder?
Olivia's effort to uncover the truth places her in the crosshairs of old and powerful forces, forces that have their own agenda, and closely guarded secrets they don't want revealed.


Since I loved the first book in this series, I couldn't wait to get stuck into the sequel...
 
Olivia Taylor-Jones recently found out that she's not the biological daughter of the successful, wealthy Chicago parents she grew up with. Her birth parents are actually serial killers who are serving time for several gruesome murders. With the help of lawyer Gabriel Walsh, she's met her birth mother and even helped clear the couple of a few of those murders. But there's still plenty of work to do if they're going to help clear their names.
 
When Olivia starts seeing visions of death omens featuring poppies, she knows danger is on the horizon. However, finding the corpse of a young woman in her car, dressed to look like her, turns out to be a lot more. The dead girl is actually someone who went missing days ago, and as Olivia starts to see this poor girl everywhere, she realises these visions might actually be messages.
 
While still working as a waitress at the local diner, she accepts a job offer from Gabriel. Even though she should know better than to get involved with him in any capacity, after yet another betrayal. Yet no matter how much she tries to stay away from the lawyer, she can't keep from calling him whenever she's in danger. Which turns out to be quite a bit.
 
As Gabriel and Olivia try to solve the death of the young girl, they find it's all connected to the secrets of Cainsville. The death of this girl isn't just a message, it's a clue that sets Olivia on the search for what's really going on. With some very bizarre and surprising answers that are both unbelievable, yet directly related to her. Along the way she gets involved with the son of a biker. A gang that is starting to appear as more than just bikers. Her ex also remains on the scene and can't seem to take a hint, becoming a threat.
 
There are a lot of puzzles for her to solve. And Cainsville might not be the safehaven she once thought it was...
 
I was hooked from the very beginning and couldn't wait to find out what was going to happen next in Olivia's unstable life. The main focus of this book lies in her solving a murder to gain several answers about her real connection to the mysterious town of Cainsville. But it also focuses on her relationship with two very different men. The damaged Gabriel, with his harsh exterior and ease to slip into self-serving asshole mode. And Ricky, with his easy-going manner, charming looks and exciting, irresistible ways.

Looks like Olivia, Gabriel and Ricky are connected to the old world via their families, and are obvious pawns in an ancient game they know nothing about.

It was also interesting to spend most of the book in Olivia's POV, but every now and then enjoy a glimpse into the thoughts of another character.
 
Visions is an amazing and very enjoyable book that intrigued me so much I couldn't stop reading. It's fast paced, filled with an interesting cast of characters, and preternatural secrets that are slowly starting to unravel. I love how Kelley Armstrong weaves an engrossing thriller with a taste of the unknown. She's a great storyteller, and has once again created a heroine that keeps you strapped in for the ride. I also love the heroes.
 
This instalment reveals quite a few shocking secrets about the seemingly peaceful town of Cainsville, but there are still plenty to uncover. Not to mention the truth about the Larsens.

I can't wait to read the next book!
 
Visions, August 2014, ISBN   9780751553901, Sphere

Thursday, 14 August 2014

RECAST, Volume 1 is now available for pre-order...

When betrayal, revenge, secrets and lust collide, there can only be chaos.

WITHER
Recast, Book 1

 Wrangling is in Colt’s blood, but the woman he loved wasn’t easily tied down. Now a mysterious client has him wrangling someone who may not be human. Colt doesn’t care as long as he gets paid.
 
Colt could solve or multiply Brynn’s problems. She doesn’t expect him to understand why she left, but she needs his help. Colt looks as good as she remembers, and even after years, their mutual lust is alive.

 Desire strips away secrets. A secret that could be their death sentence…

CLASH
Recast, Book 2

 Half-Recast Ace Abu is determined to get to Fray and destroy the Clash Arena.
When he finds a barstool in Grit, he’s ready for a few beers, but the sexy singer on stage only makes him burn hotter.

 Ely’Shea longs for freedom. When the boss is away she indulges her passions. That night she catches a glimpse of an alluring cowboy.

 Unable to resist temptation, they’re consumed by passion…but once the fuses are set, their deepest secrets could blow any chance of forever to hell.
 
 
Product Warnings
Contains shapeshifters, space cowboys, female sheriffs, singers, double lives, and so many secrets it can only end in total madness.


Available for pre-order from Samhain Publishing and Amazon.
 
This is the print edition of these two stories:
 
http://store.samhainpublishing.com/wither-p-4724.html http://store.samhainpublishing.com/clash-p-6617.html
 
I'm SO excited!

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

THE SILKWORM by Robert Galbraith

A compulsively readable crime novel with twists at every turn, The Silkworm is the second in the highly acclaimed series featuring Cormoran Strike and his determined young assistant Robin Ellacott.
 
When novelist Owen Quine goes missing, his wife calls in private detective Cormoran Strike. At first, she just thinks he has gone off by himself for a few days - as he has done before - and she wants Strike to find him and bring him home. But as Strike investigates, it becomes clear that there is more to Quine's disappearance than his wife realises. The novelist has just completed a manuscript featuring poisonous pen-portraits of almost everyone he knows. If the novel were published it would ruin lives - so there are a lot of people who might want to silence him. And when Quine is found brutally murdered in bizarre circumstances, it becomes a race against time to understand the motivation of a ruthless killer, a killer unlike any he has encountered before...

 
Last year, I really enjoyed the first Cormoran Strike book. So I was really looking forward to reading the next one.
 
Cormoran is no stranger to getting attention. After all, he is the illegitimate son of an aging rockstar and a war veteran who lost part of his leg in Afghanistan. Now he can add something else to the list: solving the Lula Landry case. Being known for that has helped his business. There are a lot of clients wanting to hire him, and even finds himself turning some away.
 
With his trusty and very capable assistant to help him keep everything on schedule, he manages to take on just enough to keep the money rolling in. He's also now living in the recently vacated attic apartment upstairs. It might be too small for a big guy, but it's definitely better than living in his office. 
 
Robin Ellacott enjoys working with Cormoran Strike, but sometimes feels like she's going nowhere. She took a huge paycut to work with the PI and even put a strain on her relationship because of it, but she's determined to show her boss she's got what it takes to become more than just an assistant. She wants to do real detective work, not sit on the sidelines. And even though tragedy strikes on her fiancĂ©e's side of the family, forcing them to change their wedding plans, she's still determined to show what she's worth.
 
When the wife of a missing novelist who often takes off without telling anyone where he's going hires Cormoran to look into his disappearance, he takes on the case. What starts out as the search for a wayward writer with a penchant for the dramatic and a wandering eye for the ladies, quickly turns into a mystery the detective is keen to unravel. It turns out that Owen Quine wasn't considered a great writer, and he certainly wasn't liked by many. The more Cormoran investigates, the more he realises that the answer to Quine's disappearance lies in his latest book. A grotesque novel that no one wanted to publish because all of the characters were people he knew and didn't seem to think much of.
 
Actually, Bombyx Mori might have been enough to get him murdered.
 
This was such an interesting book. I already liked Cormoran and Robin, so settling back into their lives in London was easy. I enjoy Cormoran's approach to investigating a crime, and how he let his instincts help make the decision of whether to take this case on or not. He believed in his client from the beginning, and kept investigating until the bizarre truth was uncovered. No matter what the cops were up to, he never gave up, which makes him a very determined and enjoyable character.
 
The Silkworm hooked me in from the very beginning, and kept me guessing until the big reveal. The mystery of Quine's disappearance was filled with twists and turns, and with enough suspects to make it really hard to solve the case. Which is an awesome thing! I also liked how the changing face of publishing became a theme, and the author observations were clever too. 
 
This is turning out to be a great series. I can't wait to read more.
 
The Silkworm, June 2014, ISBN   9781408704035, Sphere

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