Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Midweek already... and the end of the month!

And this is my first real post all week. Yikes!

<--- But I come bearing a Loki pic. lol. Isn't he cute? I took this photo sometime last week, when he was sitting on the computer desk in front of me while I checked my email first thing in the morning.

Well, we got off to a wonky start this week. Hubby hasn't been feeling well the last few days, so he stayed home trying to get some rest. He seems better today but still not 100%. Not sure what it is because I was feeling a little sickish myself on Monday. Could be the sudden change in weather. Not sure, but with the 4-day weekend just around the corner, hopefully we can take it easy for a bit.

Of course, that also means that my daughter's school holidays start next week. But at least they only go for 2 weeks. She's pretty excited about having some time off, and to be honest it'll be nice to have her at home. She's older now and understands that there are certain things I need to do each day. That doesn't stop her from interrupting, but she's much better than when she was smaller. :)

Anyway. This week I'm once again catching up on stuff. Oh, and I'm also sorting out my notes, getting everything ready for the revision I'd like to start next week. This is for the second draft of the 5th book in The Hidden series.

Have a great day!

PS. If you haven't seen it already, you might want to pop in tomorrow... because I'll be posting the first cover for my upcoming urban fantasy series with ImaJinn Books. ;)

Monday, 29 March 2010

THE DEAD-TOSSED WAVES by Carrie Ryan


Gabry lives a quiet life, secure in her town next to the sea and behind the Barrier. She's content to let her friends dream of the Dark City up the coast while she watches from the top of her lighthouse. Home is all she's ever known and all she needs for happiness. But life after the Return is never safe and there are threats even the Barrier can't hold back.

Gabry's mother thought she left her secrets behind in the Forest of Hands and Teeth, but, like the dead in their world, secrets don't stay buried. And now, Gabry's world is crumbling. One night beyond the Barrier...

One boy Gabry's known forever and one veiled in mystery... One reckless moment and half of Gabry's generation is dead, the other half imprisoned. Now Gabry knows only one thing: if she has any hope of a future, she must face the forest of her mother's past...

Last year, I read and absolutely loved The Forest of Hands & Teeth, so when I found out there would be another story set in this world, I was very excited. I've been waiting almost a year to read this, so you can imagine how awesome it was when I got started and absolutely lost myself in Gabry's bleak world.

Gabry lives in the seaside town of Vista with her mother. They live inside the lighthouse and patrol the beach, ready to deal with the dead bodies of the Mudo that continually wash up bloated and ready to infect. Her life has always been filled with security and safety, but the night she ventures past the town's Barrier and into the abandoned amusement park with her friends, her world comes crashing down around her.

The night she shares her first kiss with the boy she likes and finds out that he feels the same way about her was supposed to be a memorable one, not end in horror. But that's exactly what happens when a Breaker appears out of nowhere and starts to attack, infecting as many teenagers as it can.

After Gabry runs, leaving everyone else behind and lying about being there with them, her life is changed forever. Some of the teenagers are infected, others are imprisoned by the Militia, and the boy she likes--Catcher--is missing. The night she sneaks back into the ruins to find out the truth about what happened to him is also the night she meets the mysterious Elias.

The emotional rollercoaster ride that Gabry goes through in this book is amazing. Her life is once again turned upside down when her mother reveals a truth she's been keeping from her. But the secrets of her origins don't stop there. And when she's forced to run from the relative safety of Vista, she finds herself in the same paths that Mary travelled in the Forest, but heading the other way.

This book is as beautiful as the first. As shocking and sad, yet wonderfully vivid. This dead world is frightening but Carrie Ryan is able to deliver such a beauty with her tormented characters that I was consumed by every word. Gabry was a tortured soul who often did selfless things that wound up coming out the opposite way. I also enjoyed learning more about the Mudo/Unconsecrated situation, and how there is so much more to the world--like the Dark City, Soulers, and Recruiters, and why Mary's village had no idea there were other humans out there.

The Dead-Tossed Waves is every bit as brilliant as The Forest of Hands & Teeth, yet stands on it's own as a horrifyingly, haunting tale of survival in a dead world. I loved every minute of it and only have one question now: when's the next out going to be released?

In the meantime, here's the book trailer for this book:



The Dead-Tossed Waves, April 2010, ISBN 978-057-509090-3, Gollancz Paperback

Saturday, 27 March 2010

TWILIGHT: The Graphic Novel, Volume 1


When Isabella Swan moves to the gloomy town of Forks and meets the mysterious, alluring Edward Cullen, her life takes a thrilling and terrifying turn. With his porcelain skin, golden eyes, mesmerizing voice, and supernatural gifts, Edward is both irresistible and impenetrable. Up until now, he has managed to keep his true identity hidden, but Bella is determined to uncover his dark secret...

It looks like Twilight is going to be a story that'll keep coming back in different formats for us to enjoy. Just when I thought I couldn't possibly read/see it again and enjoy it as much as I did the first time, I opened this book and let it consume me all over again.

I picked it up on Saturday afternoon with the intention of looking at a few pages because the art is so stunning, but before I realised it, I was closing it. I'd read the whole thing in one sitting, with the sun setting behind me, just as it did for Bella and Edward.

There's no point in talking about the actual story, everything I had to say about it is here, but I do need to say that this book is a work of art. The way the characters look, the intensity of each frame, the different art techniques used--it's all simply amazing. Inspirational, even.

I'm going to keep this breathtaking graphic novel alongside the Twilight quartet and know that I'll pick it up again, just so I can gaze at the wonderful vision of Young Kim.

Twilight: The Graphic Novel is another wonderful incarnation of this intoxicating tale. Reading and looking at the gorgeous art was like visiting Forks all over again. I managed to get swept up in Bella's confusion and obsession in the same way that I did when I read the book a few year ago.

I loved it. It's an essential book for any true Twilight fan to own. :)

Twilight: The Graphic Novel, Volume 1, March 2010, ISBN 978-190-565466-6, Orbit Hardback

Friday, 26 March 2010

Friday is a good day...

Even when I used to work full time (or especially when) Friday was a day that I didn't mind getting through. It's easier to have a smile on your face and be in a good mood at the end of the working week.

Not when you work on weekends. Which is something I used to do as well. lol. I guess there's an upside and downside to everything.

Anyway. Today was a gorgeous summer day. Seriously, all week has pretty much been summer all over again--in autumn. But hey, I'm not complaining. If we can keep this going until July, I'll be happy. ;) Of course, that's not gonna happen, but I can hope. Not a winter fan.

I had a very productive day. I managed to finish up my upcoming interview with TRS, and even emailed it in. I also wrote one of my guest blog posts for next month. Just need to proofread it before I can send it off. Hoping to do that tomorrow morning. I designed a new cover on Photoshop for another eBook I want to offer as a free read, and have got a brand new *gorgeous* cover that I will be sharing very soon...

Oh, and last night while hubby and I were lifting weights, I pulled out my notebook and started listing actual chapters in (one of) my current WIP. I managed to get through to the end of chapter four, which is awesome. Since I never do this type of thing. Mostly I go in with an idea, a clue, a bunch of connections... but I think my writing technique is morphing again. That's a cool thing, btw.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, 25 March 2010

Y'know, stuff

Today has been a lot about updating stuff.

Yeah, especially my USB memory stick. The one that I carry with me everywhere. I never leave the house without it. And because I've made so many changes, dragging and deleting files and folders all over the place, I decided the best thing to do would be to just delete everything and start from scratch... which didn't turn out to be such a great idea because it's taken hours to do. Heck, I'm still waiting for everything to be copied over.

Gee. It makes me wonder if there's maybe something wrong the actual stick. It wouldn't be the first time one of them died on me. :( I'll have to keep my eye on it, just in case.

So, that means that what I wanted to do today--write a guest blog post and finish interview questions--didn't quite happen. But I have been reading a lot of this awesome book! I'm loving it as much as the first one, and just love how the world is slowly opening up. I can't even imagine where it's going to lead Gabry, Elias, Catcher, and Cira...

I'm currently sitting at page 258. And I'm taking my time with it. Don't want to miss a single moment of it. Such a haunting book.

Okay, maybe it's time for me to attempt to get that interview done after all. ;) Hubby should be back within the next hour, but that'll hopefully be plenty of time. Unless I'm tempted by the book... just to read one more chapter, and another after that. lol.

See ya tomorrow!

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

LEX TRENT VERSUS THE GODS by Alex Bell


Law student Lex Trent's world is inhabited by fearsome magicians, ageing crones and a menagerie of Gods and Goddesses. And while Lex is seemingly dedicated to his legal studies he's always enjoyed a challenge - which is why he leads a double life as the notorious cat burglar 'The Shadowman' who has been (luckily) evading capture for years.

But Lex's luck is about to run out because the Goddess of Fortune has selected him to be her player in the highly dangerous Games. Losing is not an option for Lex (particularly as it so often involves dying) but can he really win each of the perilous rounds?

Given that the reward for doing so is money, fame and glory - all things that Lex is quite keen on - he's going to do whatever it takes to make sure he will... and he's certainly got good experience of cheating.

I'm a huge fan of Alex Bell's other books--The Ninth Circle and Jasmyn--so I was looking forward to reading her latest. Which happens to be a YA.

Lex Trent is seventeen and lives in a world that's very different to ours. I think the world building was great in this book. The concept of the Globe, and the Gods separating themselves from the common people, and toying with them is very well explained. Not to mention all of the other weird and wonderful things in this bizarre mythological place.

Anyway, Lex is a thief and a cheat. He's selfish, arrogant, and is also convinced that he's pretty much the best thief (ever). I have to admit that he's good and knows how to get out of sticky situations, but he's not a very nice guy. Not really. Though, when you consider that he's at an age where most believe they are invincible, it's not hard to accept his self-involved ways.

When Lex is caught and his identity as The Shadowman is discovered, he decides to leave Wither City--mainly to escape Mr. Schmidt, one of the partners in the law firm he's been working in. See, Mr. Schmidt, unlike the other lawyer, Mr. Lucas, hasn't fallen for Lex's charm and has been waiting for the moment to prove he's a scammer. Actually, that's pretty funny since he ends up crossing paths with Schmidt again and (almost literally) gets stuck with him once the Goddess of Luck chooses Lex to take part in the Game. lol. And what follows is a very quirky adventure that takes the reader through a very imaginative world. That's one of the things that I love the most about Alex Bell, she's got such a wonderful imagination and an awesome way of unleashing it on the page.

Lex Trent Versus The Gods is a fun and quirky read. I really enjoyed the pace, the world, and although I found Lex to be a little more than annoying at times, I think that's a good thing. Not everyone's cut out to be a hero. :)

Lex Trent Versus The Gods, March 2010, ISBN 978-075-535518-1, Headline Paperback (B)

Monday, 22 March 2010

New template & a new pile o' books!

There's an awesome mix of books in my April pile, that's for sure. As you can see, I've already finished one, and am currently reading LEX TRENT VERSUS THE GODS.

So, what do you think of my new blog template?

I've been wanting to change/update it for a while now but kept putting it off. Then yesterday, while I was browsing for a new design, I found this one and decided to try it out. Just wanted to see what it would look like... and, um, I ended up with this. Loved it!

I actually spent a big chunk of yesterday updating the sidebar and stuff. Still haven't figured out how to add pages, though. I'd like to add a WIP page, but not sure how yet. I should do a search to find out how. I did look at a few instructions already but they sounded a little confusing. lol

Anyway. Another week, another set of goals. Of course, I've changed my goals for the next few weeks. Instead of focusing on starting a new first draft and then having to put it aside during Easter, I've decided to leave the first draft writing until after my daughter's school holidays are over. If I start my Sci-Fi story mid-April, I can then get started on the book that follows straight after that one. Since they're both going to take place at the same time, yet seen from the POV of different characters in different places, that'll probably be a cool thing.

What am I going to do this week, then? Well, for the rest of the month, I'm going to keep taking notes for the book that's coming together inside my head at the moment, write a few more guest blog entries, keep reading my review books, and I'd also like to make a list of projects that need to be revised. Two of those projects are already-contracted novels, so I'd like to allocate a time for second and third drafts. Preferrably way before their due dates. :)

But for now, I've got some more brainstorming to do. I also want to put together a little excerpt PDF for my eBooks. A little sampler. Speaking of which, if you enjoy urban fantasy like I do, you might want to check out this PDF: Spring 2010 Urban Fantasy Sampler. Thanks to The Book Smugglers and the SciFiGuy, I got my hands on it.

Well, have an awesome day!

Sunday, 21 March 2010

Check this out:

All of the March books have been crossed off the TBReviewed pile. Tomorrow, I'll be posting a new photo with a new lot of books to review. :D

Saturday, 20 March 2010

THE GIRL WHO CHASED THE MOON by Sarah Addison Allen


Emily Benedict came to Mullaby, North Carolina, hoping to solve at least some of the riddles surrounding her mother's life. But the moment Emily enters the house where her mother grew up and meets the grandfather she never knew, she realises that mysteries aren't solved in Mullaby, they're a way of life. Here are rooms where the wallpaper changes to suit your mood. Unexplained lights skip across the yard at midnight. And a neighbor, Julia Winterson, bakes hope in the form of cakes, offering them to satisfy the town's sweet tooth - but also in the hope of rekindling a love she fears might be lost forever.

Can a humminbird cake really bring back a lost love? Is there really a ghost dancing in Emily's backyard? The answers are never what you expect. But in this town of lovable misfits, the unexpected fits right in.

This is a book that grabbed my attention as soon as I read the blurb. I also thought the cover was charming and wanted to know more.

Emily's just a teenager, but her mother (Dulcie) recently died. Now she's moved to the town of Mullaby to stay with her grandfather. A giant of a man she's never met, and lives in an enchanted house all alone. This is the same house where her mother grew up, the town that holds a secret strong enough to drive Dulcie away and never return. Actually, she never spoke to her daughter about the town, her past there, or the father she hadn't seen in years.

Julia lives next door, and is a woman with a two-year plan. She wants to get out of Mullaby as soon as she can, and only has six months to go. She bears a lot of emotional and physical scars from the past, and the life with the father she could never impress enough to actually see her. No matter what she did or how bright she made her hair, he'd never had enough time for her while growing up, he was too busy with his wife. Julia loves to bake cakes, and sells them at the restaurant to very eager customers, but is filled with ambition of her own. She's also keeping a secret that might actually be a blessing in disguise.

Although this story at first glance appears to be set in a real-life setting with secrets, misfits, and mystery, it's a lot more. It's a place filled with magic. A place where wallpaper changes designs on its own, a place where dancing lights haunt the night, and a place where a cake can lead someone home. It's a magical town, and every person in it possesses their own type of magic.

I loved this well-written and enchanting tale so much I devoured it within twenty-four hours. I enjoyed all the characters because each had their own quirks and touch of magical air, but I found myself developing a soft spot for Julia and Sawyer. Their story was heartbreaking and I couldn't wait to find out if they'd work the past out, so they could get on with the present. Or if they'd just allow circumstance to push them apart. It's why I loved the ending, it brought a tear to my eye.

The Girl Who Chased The Moon is a wonderful and magical story that was filled with hope. A story that'll make you hold your breath as you wait to see what will unfold next. It's a story about the sins and mistakes of the past. A look at what happens when one doesn't know the whole story and simply assumes, letting the years slip away. It's also a beautiful tale about lost souls finding their way to each other.

This really is an unforgettable tale that's earned a place on my keeper shelf.

Also, check out the book trailer, it really captured the essence of this story...


Girl Who Chased the Moon, April 2010, ISBN 978-144-470662-8, H&S Fiction Paperback (C)

Friday, 19 March 2010

NOTHING TO FEAR by Karen Rose


Sue Conroy is out of control. Recently released from prison she is determined to find the people responsible for putting her there and to give them a taste of what she has had to endure. When Sue kidnaps an eleven-year-old deaf boy it's only the first stage in an elaborate plan.

Running to Chicago, Sue poses as a battered woman and it leads her to Hanover House, an inner-city women's shelter, run by Dana Dupinsky. Dana safeguards many secrets in her own life and in the lives of those around her but she would never harbour a murderer, that is if she knew that one was living at the shelter. Distracted by the presence of a new man in her life, Dana only realises the danger when those around suddenly start dying and she is thrust into the middle of Sue's dangerous and evil game...

After reading the excellent, I CAN SEE YOU by Karen Rose, I was interested to read more about Eve, and what had happened to her before ICSY.

But this isn't her story, Eve just happens to be one of the many victims of a vicious killer who's hellbent on revenge. A woman willing to do just about anything to get what she wants.

Sue's been in jail and has now kidnapped a twelve-year-old deaf boy from a rich couple. She wants them to pay five million dollars to get him back, and not tell the police. She takes the boy and escapes to Chicago. Here she seeks shelter in Hanover House, a women's shelter. Where she poses as an abused woman with a son.

Dana runs the shelter and is more than eager to help every abused woman who comes to her, but she also tries to help them get on their feet. So when she starts talking to Sue (who goes by the name of Jane) and notices that something's not quite right, she starts to worry.

This is another non-stop thriller that keeps the reader on their toes, and features a chilling, demented, and truly evil villain. Sue's a horrible person.

Nothing To Fear is another great story that slowly unravels and is told in the point of view of a variety of characters. It focuses on a truly scary woman, but also offers a taste of some wonderful people trying to help others, as well as a nice romance angle. I enjoyed this one too. :)

Nothing to Fear, September 2008, ISBN 978-075-533703-3, Headline Paperback (A)

Thursday, 18 March 2010

NAAMAH'S KISS by Jacqueline Carey


Decades ago a sacred oath was broken. And as it broke, the magic held by the oldest tribe in Alba was shattered. Their power over the natural world lost, the gift of foretelling gone, now only the small magics are left to Moirin and her people: the ability to conceal themselves from sight and a skill to coax plants to grow.

But Moirin also has strange gods in her life, who hint at another part of her heritage. While Moirin's mother is of the tribe, her father was a priest dedicated to the service of Naamah - the goddess of desire - and as Moirin undergoes the rites of adulthood it become clear that an unexpected destiny is unfolding at her feet.

Moirin's path lies across the ocean, past the elaborate dazzle and intrigue-filled courts of Terre D'Ange and up into the unknown land of the Ch'in. But, even gifted as she is, how can her destiny be linked with that of the blindfolded Ch'in warrior-princess and how can Moirin's small gifts ever hope to stand against a powerful mage?

I have to admit that before this one, I'd never read anything written by Jacqueline Carey. I'm not sure why, but when I got this book for review, I decided to give it a go.

Moirin is of mixed blood and spends most of her early life living in the wild--inside a cave--with her devoted mother. But her mother is full of secrets, including who Moirin's father really is. Yet, when she befriends a young boy called Cillian, and starts to grow into a woman, her mother has no choice but to let her spread her wings, as well as explain a few things. Starting with the fact that her father was a D’Angeline priest.

What follows is an adventure through Moirin's life, because her destiny lies elsewhere, away from the natural life she'd known and loved as a child. It takes the reader through the many loves and heartaches that follow her as she moves from one place to another, allowing Naamah's gift of desire to lead her.

I found the characters to be interesting. The writing intoxicating. It moved at a slow pace, revealing Moirin's very sensual journey.

Naamah's Kiss is a memorable story with a lush and vivid world. It's filled with interesting characters and very complicated relationships. Yet, as much as I enjoyed this book, it took me a while to get into the swing of things after she left the wild. The instant intrigue that sucked me into the beginning of the story began to fade with every new chapter.

Still, I have to say that the writing was wonderful, it's what kept me reading to the end. It's always great to get caught up in a nice, fluid character voice, and this author certainly has that.

Naamah's Kiss, March 2010, ISBN 978-057-509357-7, Gollancz Paperback

Monday, 15 March 2010

A MATTER OF BLOOD by Sarah Pinborough



Detective Inspector Cass Jones has enough on his plate without worrying about the world at large. His marriage is crumbling, he's haunted by the deeds of his past and he's got the high-profile shooting of two schoolboys to solve - not to mention tracking down a serial killer who calls himself the Man of Flies.

Then Cass' personal world is thrown into disarray when his brother shoots his own wife and child before committing suicide - leaving Cass implicated in their deaths. And when he starts seeing silent visions of his dead brother, it's time for the suspended DI to go on the hunt himself - only to discover that all three cases are linked...

As Jones is forced to examine his own family history, three questions keep reappearing: what disturbed his brother so badly in his final few weeks? Who are the shadowy people behind The Bank? And, most importantly, what do they want with DI Cass Jones?

This is the first book in The Dog-Faced Gods Trilogy, and I consider myself very lucky to have gotten an ARC.

Detective Inspector Cass Jones lives in London. In a world where the financial situation is so bad that most people (including the police) accept bribes from someone. It's a hard place to live, and is made even harder by a huge financial institution known only as the Bank. The Bank pretty much calls the shots, all around the world. Everyone's doing it tough, but Cass has a knack for trouble and a past that won't leave him alone. His marriage is falling to pieces and his younger brother keeps calling him.

But he's got enough to worry about with two big murder cases to solve. One involving what first appears to be the drive-by shooting of two kids who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. And the serial murder of women left with messages written on their bodies in blood, along with fly eggs. Yeah, that's enough to ruin anyone's day. But when his brother is involved in a murder suicide that implicates Cass as well, his whole life gets turned upside down.

All three cases seem unrelated at first, yet the deeper he digs and the more he searches, the more Cass realises that they're as connected to each other as they are to his family. Because Cass is about to find out a few family secrets that will only confuse him and lead him to the mysterious Mr. Bright, as well as the killer he's been searching for.

In this book, nothing is as it seems. There's an enigma at every turn, and the body count doesn't stop until the end. The mystery of the Dog-Faced Gods sucks you in until you find yourself so caught up that you can't put the book down. It's what happened to me. I spent most of the weekend going back to the story because just like Cass, I had to know. But this being a trilogy, I got a taste that left me with many more questions.

A Matter of Blood is an amazing piece of storytelling. The way it starts out in a seemingly real life situation, soon throws you askew. It's a well written thrill ride that'll keep you guessing along with the characters. As the pieces are all thrown at you from different angles, you try your best to solve it, but only manage to get a piece of the big picture. And I have to admit, that I absolutely loved that about this book.

This is a gritty and very bleak story that swept me away as soon as I started it. I felt every bit of desperation as hard as the characters did, and could even taste the darkness of a world with no hope. I really need to find out when the next book comes out because I can't wait to read more about how Cass fits into this bizarre world. Awesome!

A Matter of Blood: Book One of The Dog-Faced Gods Trilogy, April 2010, ISBN 978-057-508946-4, Gollancz Paperback

Friday, 12 March 2010

The draft is done!

Yay. I'm so excited. It's done.

My NaNoWriMo novel's third draft is d-o-n-e. That means that it's ready for submission. Awesome. I can't wait. I'm aiming to have it subbed my sometime next week. I think that's doable.

Anyway, here are the stats: 140 (1.5 line spacing, TNR) pages, which is 60,455 words. That's another awesome thing, I managed to cross the 60k mark. :)

Of course, even though it's done, there are a few teeny-tiny details that I want to double check tomorrow. The main thing's the timeline. Because it's set in a world that already has three stories written in it, and they all follow after each other, I need to make sure that I get the timeline right. It all has to match up, especially since some things happen at the same time as others, and even a few before.

I know it sounds confusing, but I want to have this all cleared up.

Last night I started to read a new book. It's an ARC of A Matter of Blood by Sarah Pinborough. I've read the first 50 pages and I'm really enjoying it. It's a little different, but certainly has subject matter that has sucked me in. I want to know what's going on. I like it when a story starts out grounded in real life but then spins around to become more. I'm waiting for that moment. I know it'll come soon...

I better get back to that timeline. Have a great weekend!

Thursday, 11 March 2010

ZOMBIE: An Anthology of the Undead edited by Christopher Golden


The 21st century has brought an explosion of interest in zombie stories. George A. Romero may have spawned the last century's 'modern' zombie story with Night of the Living Dead, but four decades have passed since then. So what accounts for the current zombie craze? That is the question that the contributors to Zombie were asked to ruminate upon while writing the stories in this volume. Do we turn to tales of intimacy with death to deal with its constant presence in our media and our lives? Do zombie stories provide a way to process our feelings about the horrors of war and torture? Or is it merely that death is the final frontier available to us in this new millennium, and we cannot help but explore?

Stoker-award-winning author Christopher Golden has assembled an all-original anthology of zombie stories from an eclectic array of today's hottest writers: this is a wildly diverse and entertaining collection - the Last Word on the Undead.

Let me start with this: I'm a huge zombie fan. I love all-things zombie. So, as soon as I saw the cover for this book online, I knew it was a book that I desperately wanted to read. Don't you just love that creepy, cool, and gross cover? It certainly captures the essence of this wonderful collection of stories.

LAZARUS by John Connolly is a zombie short of biblical proportions. It's a quick, well-written, and totally engrossing tale that I found to be a nice nibble-bite introduction for this very cool anthology.

WHAT MAISIE KNEW by David Liss: Wow, what an amazingly haunting story! This is the tale of a man who keeps a secret reanimate stashed away. Sounds pretty simple, right? Well, it's not. But it is a page-turner. I hung on every word and didn't want it to end. But when I got to the end, OMG... what an amazing way to end it. I should've seen it coming. The hints were there--amongst all that gross, intense awesomeness.

I LOVED it! Utterly brilliant.

COPPER by Stephen R. Bissette is a fragmented story told through the eyes of a very confused man. As the story progresses, he reveals enough for the reader to put the story together. But what actually happens isn't something I expected.

IN THE DUST by Tim Lebbon: Here's another amazing story. Toby, Jamie and Bindy are trapped inside their town. High fences keep them inside their dying town as the military and scientists keep an eye on them, to make sure they can keep the plague contained, as well as figure out how it started. Of course, they hate being trapped inside. After all, they haven't done anything wrong.

What I loved the most about this story--asides from the excellent writing and storytelling--was that their entrapment ends up being their salvation. Another brilliant tale!

LIFE SENTENCE by Kelley Armstrong is an awesome addition! I love Kelley's Otherworld series, and it was great to see that this story is set in the same world. I love how she does that. Anyway, this story's about a very powerful but sick man who is trying to cheat death and will do whatever it takes to do it. Another story with twists, turns, and an ending that satisfied my wicked side.

DELICE by Holly Newstein: Happens to be another delightful tale. I knew there had to be a voodoo zombi in this anthology and this one didn't disappoint. It's a revenge story. Even if that revenge is taken by someone else, but on behalf of tortured slaves.

THE WIND CRIES MARY by Brian Keene is a short and wonderful story with a twist ending. I enjoyed how quick, yet sharp it was. It captured the emotion of a powerful love that defied death. Great story.

FAMILY BUSINESS by Jonathan Maberry is an outstanding, well-written, and very sad story about a young boy and his older brother. A brother who people say is a killer in a world where zombies live outside the fences surrounding the town. When it's time for Benny to find his own job, he finds he has no other option but to go out with his brother to learn the business, and finds out the truth. A truth that leads to a very sad ending. This story made me cry. I loved it!

THE ZOMBIE WHO FELL FROM THE SKY by M.B. Homler: A hilarious tale that weaves an intricate tale where everything that happens is connected. Of course, you don't realise that at the beginning, but by the time you're reading the last word you just can't help but stare at the page in amazement. A story that starts with a zombie falling from the sky and getting stuck on the town's spire turns into one loser's struggle to survive with a chihuahua by his side. I did a lot of LOLing with this one.

MY DOLLY by Derek Nikitas. I don't know what to say about this one. I enjoyed the writing and couldn't wait to see where it was going... but in the end, I didn't like it as much as I thought I would. It was pretty average, to be honest.

SECOND WIND by Mike Carey: Oh, I loved this one! Nick's tale was an awesome adventure, and a totally different look at the zombie genre. Who would think to become a zombie by choice? And go through everything he does. I loved that in the end, he might be totally alone, but manages to hold onto some of his humanity.

CLOSURE, LTD by Max Brooks: I don't know if it's because I haven't read any stories in the World War Z world, but I just couldn't get into this one. The writing style kept jolting me out of the story. :/ Maybe the novel's better. I don't know.

AMONG US by Aimee Bender isn't really a story, but a collection of observations, really. I didn't enjoy this one. I'm glad it was short, because I was getting ready to skip ahead. :(

GHOST TRAP by Rick Hautala is a very interesting tale about a man who thinks he's helping to rescue someone he finds beneath the water, but actually turns into a nightmare. A nightmare that the residents of this town were positive had been buried beneath the water years ago. I particularly enjoyed that a zombie outbreak had already happened in the past, and had been cleaned up. Awesomely gruesome ending.

THE STORM DOOR by Tad Williams is another one that made it onto my favourite list. Instantly. I got caught up in the story as soon as I started it. What an amazing tale Tad manages to weave with this character, which I was hoping we'd get to read more stories about. But, um, I don't think so... not after what happens. Still, brilliant!

KIDS AND THEIR TOYS by James A. Moore: This is another excellent story. It's actually quite horrific. It's gross, and I found myself feeling sorry for the poor zombie that this group of boys find and decide to torture. And the ending, I'm still thinking about it. Poor Jack. :(

SHOOTING POOL by Joe R. Lansdale: Uh, next story.

WEAPONIZED by David Wellington is a story set in the near future, when the army has found a new solution to save lives and money on the frontline. A journalist initially sent to investigate one thing, winds up stumbling on these new soldiers--zombies. I'm usually not a fan of war stories, but I really enjoyed this one!

TWITTERING FROM THE CIRCUS OF THE DEAD by Joe Hill: While I enjoyed the uniqueness of this... story. Can I really call it a story? lol. I think it's great in a way that all of us who love to spend time on Twitter can appreciate. It was a fun, quick read.

Zombie: An Anthology of the Undead offers a fantastic mix of zombie stories that will satisfy any zombie lover. I think this is one of the best anthologies I've ever read, simply because I absolutely LOVED so many of the stories. There were only a handful that didn't satisfy my zombie itch, but that didn't matter because the other fourteen did! And that's an amazing accomplishment.

I think Christopher Golden did a great job at selecting and editing this gem of a book. This one's a definite keeper. I know I'll be picking it up again to re-read a bunch of these stories. :)

Zombie: An Anthology of the Undead, March 2010, ISBN 978-074-995293-8, Piatkus Fiction Paperback

Keeping busy with the words...

Speaking of which, the novel revision is moving along quite nicely. I've stopped at page 120, which means I have 20 pages left to get to the end. Yay! I'm still debating whether to try and tackle half of that tonight, or whether I should just leave it for tomorrow... still thinking about it.

The word count's gone up a tiny bit again--59,611. My gosh, I don't know if I'll make it to 60k. But I'm not worried. It's not a priority. Getting the story revised and ready for subbing is. And I want it to be the best that it can be. :)

Did you all hear about Corey Haim? It was one of the first things I saw this morning when I checked my emails. He passed away. He was only 38 years old. So young. Though I wasn't as surprised as I should've been. See, I was a huge Corey Haim fan. From the time I saw him in The Lost Boys, I rushed out to watch anything else he made. Especially if it was with Corey Feldman. They were fun to watch, and real friends off screen. Which I thought was super cool. I was a teenager, after all. But I also knew that he had a drug problem, and it slowly killed his career. It's really sad that it eventually caught up with his life, too. :( RIP, Corey Haim.

It's really sad that so many of the people that I used to like when I was a kid and teen are slowly passing away. Too many of them left us last year, I hope it's not the same this year.

Well, it's time I head out. Have a good day!

Monday, 8 March 2010

Here we are again

Welcome to a new week!

As you can see from the pic on the left, I've gotten two books off my TBReviewed pile. Yay! Actually, I've got about 100 pages of Zombie: An Anthology of the Undead left to read. So, there's another reason to yay! But my gosh, this is going to be one book that I'm going to miss when I'm done with it. Seriously, there are some awesome gems in this anthology. To be honest, I've only read about two that I didn't think were awesome. The rest--so far--are brilliant.

I'm havin' a zombie good time, that's for sure.

Well, asides from the reading, I've got another goal I'd like to meet this week. That's doing the third/final draft of my NaNoWriMo novel. That's right. I'm hoping to have it in shape for submission by the end of the week. I'm up to page 33 at the moment. Today's goal is page 37, so as long as I stick to that, I'll be able to do it. Fingers crossed.

That means it's going to be a busy week.

Oh, and before I forget, my interview at Fallen Angel Reviews is now live. :)

Well, I better get back to it.

Friday, 5 March 2010

Some days...

...I wish I had straight hair.

Today's one of those days. But I have naturally wavy hair, and if I don't blowdry it--which I didn't have time to do this morning--then it dries all curly in the wrong spots. lol.

Oh well. What can you do?

This morning hubby and I popped into my fave bookstore in the city and I picked up two books. We also popped into a shopping centre on the way back, where we picked up a few bargains and enjoyed a lovely lunch.

Now he's gone to work and I'm back home with Loki. Who was a little upset that I didn't come right back. He likes to do that. An hour or two away from home is fine with him, any longer he doesn't like. But he's gotten over it now and is sitting on the couch closest to me. He's such a cutie!

Anyway. Today I'd like to write one more blog post that I've got scheduled for next week, and also finish reading the second story in this zombie anthology. Not much more planned. Although I do want to get into the right state of mind for my revision next week. Or, actually, tomorrow. I'd like to get started on it tomorrow while hubby and daughter go off to the pool. If I can get one chapter revised, that'll help me get through it by the end of the (next) week. Yay!

Well, that's it for now. I'm going to see if I can enjoy this overcast day. :/

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

MASQUERADE by Melissa de la Cruz


Preparations are under way for the ball of the century. But as any true Blue Blood knows, it's the after-party that counts. And the cunning Mimi Force is getting ready to make sure her masquerade ball is the place to be for the Young, Fabulous and Fanged.

But Schuyler Van Alen has more on her mind than fancy dresses, even if her crush Jack Force, is sure to make an appearance. She's getting closer to finding out what's been preying on the young vamps and discovering the deadly secrets hiding under the masks...

Rich with glamour, attitude and vampire lore, this second instalment in the Blue Bloods saga will leave readers thirsting for more.

After reading the first Blue Bloods book the other day, I was excited about getting stuck into the second one in the series.

Schuyler Van Alen has decided to go to Venice--with Oliver--in search of her grandfather. Before her grandmother was killed in the first book, she mentioned that Lawrence Van Alen was the only one who could help her get to the bottom of the Silver Bloods mystery. But when Schuyler meets him, he tells her she's wasted her time. So, she heads back to New York. Where the preparations for the Four Hundred Ball are in full swing.

Now that Schuyler knows the truth about Jack Force and his sister, Mimi, she's trying hard to convince herself that she no longer has a crush on him. But he confuses her by paying attention to her, as well as flirting. Luckily for her, her exiled grandfather decides to surprise her by returning to New York. He moves into the mansion that her grandmother let go for so long and is keen to help her. Now that he's here, she's able to spend a lot of time with him, learning a bunch of vampire powers that The Committee doesn't want the younger Blue Bloods to know. He's a great teacher, and she's a very powerful student, but she's still a half-blood and it slowly takes a toll on her.

Meanwhile, Bliss Llewellyn is suffering through her own problems and confusion. She keeps blacking out and wakes up in places she doesn't remember going to. She also gives into the temptation of taking a human familiar. Mimi Force is as bitchy as ever, and when she teams up with a mysterious newcomer with his own agenda, she sets her sights on getting rid of Jack's distraction--Schuyler. With devastating results to herself.

I love the tangled web of these characters' lives. Because of the many lifetimes they've each lived and where they originated, many of them find themselves being parents, sisters, brothers, and even lovers in different lifetimes. It's quite an unconventional thing to get your head around, but as soon as you stop looking at it through human eyes and through the eyes of the mythology Melissa de la Cruz has created, everything starts to fall into place and makes sense.

Masquerade is a nice addition to the series, and has thrown me further into the mystery of the Silver Bloods. Also, the author's laid-back writing style gives this book a feel that turns serious subjects into a fun and easy book to read, while still keeping me intrigued every step of the way. Not to mention the little twist she threw in right at the end! Now the third cover makes sense.

I can't wait to see what happens next...

Masquerade: Blue Bloods Bk 2, March 2010, ISBN 978-190-565477-2, Orbit Paperback

Monday, 1 March 2010

BLUE BLOODS by Melissa de la Cruz


They're Young, Fabulous and Fanged...

And they rule Manhattan from the trendy uptown clubs to the downtown boutiques. Fifteen-year-old Schuyler Van Alen has never quite fit in at her exclusive prep school, she's more of a vintage than a Versace girl, but all that's about to change...

Because Schuyler has just found out she's a Blue Blood. The Blue Bloods are the city's glamorous and secret vampire elite. They're young, beautiful and powerful. But now they're being murdered. And Schuyler must find out who or what is behind it before she's next.

This is the first in the Blue Bloods series. It's a YA series that I've had my eye on for a while, so when I found out it was being released in Australia, I couldn't wait to put my name down for a review copy. I'm a sucker for vampires.

Schuyler Van Alen might attend a private school for the rich and live in one of the greatest cities in the world, but she's never truly fit in. But that's fine, because she's got her best friend Oliver by her side. And together they hang out and manage to ignore all the other teens who are so unlike them. That is, until Schuyler finds out that she's a Blue Blood--a vampire. And not only that, but she's surrounded by them.

As if that's not hard enough to deal with, she's got a crush on one of the most popular guys in school, and is about to find out the real reason why her mother's in a coma, while Blue Bloods are being murdered by a creature more powerful than vampires. With so much going on, even her friendship with Oliver takes an unexpected turn.

Of course, there's a lot more to the story. And it's not just told in the point of view of Schyler. We also get into the head of the very obnoxious, Mimi Force. As well as the Texan, Bliss Llewellyn. As they each go through their own transformations and problems. Out of all of them, I found Mimi to be the hardest to enjoy and relate to because of her bitchiness. Bliss made a welcome change, but of course, Schuyler's story is the one that I enjoyed following the most.

She's the one caught up in the middle of something she had no idea even existed. As she slowly accepts what's going on around her, she also starts to understand things a lot better. And because of her, as a reader I got to delve deeper into the mythology of the Blue Bloods. I really like the new twist the author has given to vampires. I also found that because of how these vampires exist, the the book has a more adult feel. There's certainly not much innocence left in these teens.

Blue Bloods is an interesting book that introduces the reader to a world that at first seems as if it's just filled with spoilt rich teens, but soon opens up to a lot more. The mystery of who is killing these vampires and why, had me guessing the whole time. I can't wait to get all the answers...

And because I've got the next book on my TBR pile, I can at least get a few more answers and get more involved with the Blue Bloods right away.

Blue Bloods: Blue Bloods Bk 1, March 2010, ISBN 978-190-565474-1, Orbit Paperback

 
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