Friday, 31 December 2010

DEADTOWN by Nancy Holzner

Vicky’s demanding job keeping the city safe from all manner of monsters is one reason her relationship with workaholic lawyer (and werewolf) Alexander Kane is in constant limbo. Throw in a foolhardy zombie apprentice, a mysterious demon-plagued client, and a suspicious research facility that’s taken an unwelcome interest in her family, and Vicky’s love life has as much of a pulse as Deadtown’s citizens.

But now Vicky’s got bigger things to worry about. The Hellion who murdered her father ten years ago has somehow broken through Boston’s magical protections. The Hellion is a ruthless force of destruction with a personal grudge against Vicky, and she’s the only one who can stop the demon before it destroys the city and everyone in it.

Technically, I actually finished reading this book a few hours into the new month/year, but because I read the majority of it on Friday, I'm going to add this as my last-book-read-during 2010. :) And what an awesome way to finish the year! I absolutely loved every minute of this fast-paced, well written book. So much that I ordered the second one in the series before I'd even finished it.

Firstly, I just want to say that there are no words to capture just how much I enjoyed this book. It was fantastic. Seriously, this is one awesome book. Vicky's an awesome character and the world she lives in is absolutely amazing.

Victory 'Vicky' Vaughn is Cerddorion (Welsh shapeshifter) and also a kick-ass demon hunter with a lot of survival skills, as well as one particularly dark mark that came about after her father's tragic death. She lives in Deadtown, and has a roommate who happens to be a vampire. Deadtown is where Boston's paranormals live. She's kept very busy with her job of exterminating demons from people's lives. She gets paid well, and is even considering taking on an apprentice--a teenage zombie with a knack for trouble.

However, when a Hellion arrives in Deadtown, her life becomes one big mess. See, she's got a past with this particular Hellion, and she's determined to do whatever it takes to stop him from executing his plans. With so much on the line, she finds herself in one problem after another, leading to an outstanding conclusion.

I know I've already said it, but I loved everything about this book. Even the subplots and love interests--I believe I've got a soft spot for Daniel--added to the overall story. And the worldbuilding's amazing. Pure brilliance.

Yep, this is probably going to make it on my fave-urban-fantasy-series list. :) 

Thursday, 30 December 2010

Thoughts & Plans

So much for taking it easy this week, lol.

I've spent the last few days updating my website, which included changing the template, deleting & adding back the same content but in a different way. Not sure if that makes any sense, but I think it's a lot neater and simpler too. If you want to check it out for yourself, you can HERE

I'm actually quite happy with it. The new template actually gives me more room to add things. I think it maximises the space, where the previous one kinda kept everything in the center and a little too narrow. Anyway, I think it's better now. :)

Also, from now on I've added the book I'm reading to the sidebar here on my blog, I think it makes more sense. Since the blog is where I talk about my reading, post reviews, etc.

Oh, I also wanted to mention that Evernight Publishing has 25% OFF ALL Holiday/Seasonal ebooks from Dec 29 to Jan 7. Sounds like a great deal, especially since my four novellas happen to be in that bunch. ;)

This year, I've decided not to list my achievements. Let's just say that it was another very busy year. It also turned out to be the year where I did so much revision and editing, that I can't wait to devote much more time to actual writing in 2011. That's my writing goal for next year: write, write, write! But also, keep up with the revision side of things. The last thing I want to do is come out at the end of 2011 with a whole bunch of first drafts and nothing revised, lol. Balance, that's it.

That's it for today. It's time to have some lunch! Bye.

Wednesday, 29 December 2010

TOUCHED BY AN ALIEN by Gini Koch

Marketing manager Katherine "Kitty" Katt steps into the middle of what appears to be a domestic dispute turned ugly. And it only gets uglier when the man turns into a winged monster, straight out of a grade-Z horror movie, and goes on a killing spree. Though Kitty should probably run away, she springs into action to take the monster down.

In the middle of the chaos a handsome hunk named Jeff Martini appears, sent by the "agency" to perform crowd control. He's Kitty's kind of guy, no matter what planet he's from. And from now on, for Kitty, things are going to be sexy, dangerous, wild, and out of this world.

Wow, is this cover awesome, or what? I love that it captures the romance in this story, as well as the violence and insane alien situations the main characters get themselves into. It's absolutely gorgeous, and so are the next two covers. :)

Anyway, it's no secret that I enjoy alien stories, right? So I couldn't wait to get stuck into this one, and was not disappointed. Boy, did it deliver + a little more on the side, too.

Kitty's getting off jury duty when her life changes in a matter of seconds. As she watches a human morph into some sort of alien creature, she doesn't think twice about reacting. With her pen. Yeah, she takes out the creature by stabbing its most vulnerable spot with her Mont Blanc pen. But that's not the end of it. Actually, it's just the start because very attractive men start showing up and whisk her away to their secret facility.

Here, she meets the very alluring Martini who's quite open about his interest in her, as well as a bunch of other 'agents' from Alpha Centauri. Along the way, she finds herself caught up in the middle of their latest operation, and even discovers several family secrets. This is one action-packed story filled with one surprise and secret after another. It was way cool!

I loved Kitty. She's quick-thinking, has a sharp tongue, loves rock music, finds a new and dangerous way to use hairspray, has a great relationship with her parents, and accepts every new challenge as it pops up--including Martini. Although, I have to admit that I had a soft spot for Christopher, and really liked her rapport with Reader.

This is a series I'm more than willing to get stuck into. Loved this book, it was so much fun! Oh yeah, I just ordered the second book. Can't wait for it to arrive.

Bring on 'em aliens, I say. ;)

Well, it's Wednesday...

Yep. That means that half of the week is already gone by. Yikes, huh?

How was your Holiday break? Ours was great. We had hubby home for five whole days and it was awesome. We did a lot of walking, hanging out, enjoyed some lovely meals, got the chance to sleep in, and caught up on several shows. We're now up to date with DEXTER (it was awesome!), watched the whole of DEAD SET (shocking, gory, and great), and the Doctor Who Christmas special, which was shockingly bad and boring.

It's back to work today, though. Hubby works three days, before the three-day weekend.

I don't think I'll be getting stuck into anything too involved during the rest of the week, though. I'd mainly like to update my website, read, and catch up on some things. I already know what my first writing goal for 2011 is: the second draft of The Hidden #6. If I can get that done in the first few weeks of January, and then put it aside until my daughter goes back to school, I could have it finished and subbed to my editor before the 1 March deadline. At least, that's the plan. :)

But for now, I'd really love to finish TOUCHED BY AN ALIEN, which is so awesome that I've already ordered the next book in the series!

Have a great day!

Tuesday, 28 December 2010

The Secret Hour by Scott Westerfeld

They're the Midnighters. By day, they're teenage outsiders, dressed in black coats and bad attitudes. By night, they just might be our last hope...

As the new girl at Bixby High School, Jessica Day expected some unwelcome attention. What she didn t expect was to feel an instant connection to a stranger in the corridor...

Who is this boy dressed in black? And why can she feel his eyes following her wherever she goes?

The answers will have to wait until the sun goes down, for here in Bixby, midnight is the time for secrets; secrets that Jessica is going to find out, whether she wants to or not.

Jessica has just moved to Bixby with her family. Back in the big city, she was just another number, but here, being the new girl means that she's become quite popular. It's a nice change of pace, but as she tries to settle into this new home of hers, she finds herself drawn into a strange and mysterious hour that not many people have access to. Actually, there are only four other people that can stay awake during the midnight hour--an extra hour in the dead of night.

Three of those people--Dess, Melissa, and Rex--have powers, and all dress in black, plus look like outsiders at school. The other, Jonathan, seems to be a bit of a rebel, but he's actually the one that draws her into this strange and wondrous nights. But there's a problem, other people aren't awake, but the darklings are. And for some reason, they want to kill Jessica. It's not until they figure out what her talent is that it all comes together.

The Secret Hour was an interesting read, but not my fave from Scott Westerfeld--I loved his Uglies series, as well as his Peeps series. Still, it's a nicely and unique written addition to the YA genre filled with sympathetic characters, weird creatures, and a very strange place.

The Secret Hour: Midnighters: Book 1, September 2010, ISBN 9781907410031, Atom Paperback

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

PRETTY LITTLE LIARS by Sara Shepard

Aria, Emily, Spencer, Hanna and Alison have been best friends since the third grade. They go everywhere together, thinking no-one can come between them. If anyone is the ringleader of the group it is Alison, and the other girls cannot help but confide all their secrets to her.

One night, during a sleepover, Alison goes missing. Her body is never found. The girls mourn her death but move apart after time, assuming their secrets have disappeared with Alison too.

Three years later and Aria is having an affair with her teacher; Emily is questioning her sexuality; Hanna is a thief; and Spencer is flirting with her sister's fiance. They all think their secrets are safe, until they starting receiving messages from the mysterious A - who knows exactly what they are all up to, and is threatening to spill the beans . . .
I have to admit that I'm a sucker for a story that contains some sort of secret, or secrets. So it's no surprise that I was very interested in reading this book. :)

Alison, Spencer, Emily, Aria, and Hanna used to be a group of tight-knit friends. They hung out together, got up to mischief together, and were starting their teenage years together. However, when Alison disappears one day, their group falls apart. Now, three years later, each of the girls belongs to a diferent group of friends and try to avoid each other as much as they can.

Spencer is looking forward to moving into the barnhouse at the back of her parent's house, but when she meets her sister's boyfriend, she can't keep her eyes off him. Emily is on the swimteam and has a boyfriend, but when a new girl moves into Alison's old house, she can't help but find herself being attracted to her. Aria has just returned from Iceland and is settling back into the old suburb, when she meets her ideal guy... only to find out he's her English teacher. Hanna has lost all of her chubbiness and has become one of the prettiest girls in school, though she has an appetite for breaking the law and still craves junk food.

Each of the girls has their own troubled and very twisted complication to deal with. But when they each start getting emails and texts from someone calling themselves A, their lives get turned upside down. See, A knows all of the individual little secrets, things that each shared with Alison. So, when they start to wonder if Alison has somehow come back, that theory gets tossed out the window when the missing girl's body is finally found in her former backyard.

Paranoid and distraught, the four friends wind up coming together. Now that they know it can't be Alison who's taunting them, they can't help but wonder who is... and why? That's a great question, because I can't wait to find out myself. 

Told in the POV of each of the girls, this book is so well written that I got totally caught up in each girl's life without losing touch of each one's details. Also, although each girl gets caught up in their own sinful situation, I still liked them. It's not that they're evil, they're just young and complicated. This is a fascinating story told in such a unique way that I can't help but be hooked!

Pretty Little Liars is a scandalous rollercoaster ride of actions, entanglements, emotions, friendship lost and found, as well as a tangled web of secrets. It seems like every single character in this book has a dirty, little secret hidden away, something they're terrified someone else will find out. And the strange thing is that A seems to know all of them. But you know what? In spite of everything that's going on, this book was a lot of wicked fun, and for that I enjoyed every second of it.

This one's a keeper, and I'm afraid that I'm already hooked on this series. Loved it! I. Must. Find. Out. What's. Going. On. And what is The Jenna Thing? :)

Pretty Little Liars: PLL #1, January 2011, ISBN 9781907410871, Atom Paperback

Just, stuff

I'm over at Watch Out with Savannah Chase today. This interview was a lot of fun!

I also got a new and great review for CHRISTMAS DAY OF THE DEAD from Horror Addicts. You can read it here. And don't forget that if you're interested, you can get a copy for 99c from Damnation Books.

Well, I've been feeling a little crappy during the last few days. I've had a constant pain on my left side (from top of arm to the ribcage) for several days now, and it's been making me sluggish and sore. It's an awkward pain, and because of it, I haven't been able to lift any weights or do any yoga. I've been resting and napping a lot. :/

It seems to be a lot less painful, but I still need to be careful so that I don't make it start to hurt all over again. :( I'll probably have to put off any weights until next week, but would like to tackle yoga at the end of the week. It always helps stretch the muscles and get a little more energy. I'll see how I go.

I haven't done any other writing stuff since Monday. *gasp*

Well, I've been thinking about it. A lot. And I've been reading heaps. I finished an awesome urban fantasy book yesterday (check below) and got stuck into PRETTY LITTLE LIARS by Sara Shepard right away. I'm really enjoying it. Seriously. I haven't read a story about teenage girls behaving this badly for a while now, and I'm enjoying every moment of it, lol. It's a lot of wicked fun!

I'll probably spend the rest of the day reading, and might even decide to watch The Nightmare Before Christmas with my daughter, which is a bit of a tradition for us. We watch it every year.

Oh, and before I go, Michele Hauf--who happens to be an awesome author--is giving away a PDF copy of her short story, THE SIN EATER'S PROMISE. You can get it from here.

That's it for today. Check back in tomorrow, when I'll be posting my newest (and most awesome) Sci-Fi cover! ;)

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

AFTERLIGHT by Elle Jasper

Savannah's most unconventional tattoo artist, Riley Poe, lives on the edge. Now she's put over the edge when her younger brother is taken by a sinister cult led by vampires. Her only ally is the hot-tempered vampire Eli Dupre, attracted to Riley's beauty and rare blood type. To save her brother from certain un-death, Riley faces dangers she's never dreamed of, ruthless bloodthirsty enemies, and an evil of endless hunger that wants to devour it all...

Let me start by saying how much I love this cover! It's absolutely gorgeous, and I think captures the essence of both Riley, and the feel of the book. It's no secret that I'm totally addicted to urban fantasy... I mean, I really enjoy reading a variety of genres, but UF is my weakness. Love it!

So there's nothing better than picking up an urban fantasy book and getting caught up in the main character's life instantly. Which is what happened to me with this book. I was only a few chapters in when I decided to head over to TBD to preorder the next book in The Dark Ink Chronicles. Yeah, I'm a little nuts like that. ;)

Anyway, Riley lives in Savannah--a place that fascinates me, btw--with her teenage brother. She's a respectable adult, running her own successful business called Inksomnia. She's got an eye for art, which comes across in every one of her tattoos. She stays out of trouble, even if trouble is the only thing she knew when she was younger.

However, the day something dark and otherworldly happens to her brother, something that can change the very essence of him, she gets caught up in a hidden world she had no idea about. All of a sudden, she's aware of the existence of magic, and vampires. One in particular--Eli Dupre--sets her heart racing, and it's not just because he's a creature of the afterlight.

This was one seriously AWESOME book. I loved spending time in this dark world, and Riley's a great narrator to follow down this dangerous path. I also think that Riley and Eli are a grea mix, but I can sense a lot of trouble brewing below the intense passion between them. 

Can't wait to read more books in this series!

Check out the book trailer:

Monday, 20 December 2010

It's the week before Christmas...

...and I'm really excited because hubby only has to work four days this week, and then has five days off. Awesome! I'm really looking forward to it. :)

So, what's new? How was your weekend? Mine was cool. I spent a lot of it chilling, reading, hanging out, and watching stuff. We went to watch TRON: Legacy on Saturday and I absolutely *loved* it! Hubby and I are also catching up on The Walking Dead. We watched  three eps during the weekend, and have only two eps left. Man, I'm loving it. I've been in a total zombie-goodness mood. As you can probably tell from the last book I read, lol.

At the moment I'm reading AFTERLIGHT by Elle Jasper. Now, this one's filled with urban fantasy-goodness. Another one of my fave things to read/watch. Actually, I'm lovin' it so much that I already preordered the second book in this series. And it doesn't come out until June, lol. The covers in this series are gorgeous, btw.

Well, as far as writing is concerned, I had a few things I wanted to do today: read through/prep that UF novel I mentioned the other day so I could sub it and finish off the NotB blurb/excerpt form. I got stuck into it really early this morning and managed to get both things done & emailed before lunch. Phew. Very happy about that. Now, the waiting begins... 

I hope you have an awesome week! Looks like I'll be posting my latest cover later on this week. I got to see a draft of it over the weekend and fell in love with it. This morning, I received the final version and it's beautiful! I'll post it soon. See ya!

Saturday, 18 December 2010

Married With Zombies by Jesse Petersen


Meet Sarah and David.
Once upon a time they met and fell in love. But now they’re on the verge of divorce and going to couples’ counseling. On a routine trip to their counselor, they notice a few odd things – the lack of cars on the highway, the missing security guard, and the fact that their counselor, Dr. Kelly, is ripping out her previous client’s throat.

Meet the Zombies.
Now, Sarah and David are fighting for survival in the middle of the zombie apocalypse. But, just because there are zombies, doesn’t mean your other problems go away. If the zombies don’t eat their brains, they might just kill each other.

This is the first book in the Living With The Dead series, and it was so much FUN. I loved it.

For me, nothing says Happy Holidays like getting stuck into some good ol' zombie fiction. So when I received this book the other day, I couldn't resist it. I got stuck into it right away and couldn't stop reading...

Sarah and David's marriage hasn't been good for a while now. Actually, they've been going to marriage counselling for six months already, but it doesn't seem to be making much of a difference. They're always bickering, and just can't seem to spend a single moment together without resentment taking over.

Yet, the day they head into the city for their latest appointment and find their therapist eating the couple before them, they're thrust into the middle of a zombie apocalypse. All of sudden, everywhere they turn, there's a zombie or two (sometimes even much more) and the survival and teamwork skills they didn't know they had in common, kick into gear.

Together, Sarah and David decide to get out of Seattle and head for his sister's place. However, along the way they find themselves in one horrible situation after another, constantly having to kick zombie ass (or blow zombie heads off), while finding out that depending and trusting each other isn't as bad as they thought it would be.

I absolutely LOVED this book. It was funny, sharp, interesting, and had a LOT of zombie goodness in it. I also enjoyed the thick tension, as I kept wondering who was going to get bitten next. It's also got one of my fave things in zombie stories--humans behaving badly.

This one's a keeper! And lucky for me, I've already ordered the next book. Can't wait to get my teeth stuck into that one too. No pun intended!

If you want to sample it for yourself, read the excellent first chapter here.

Friday, 17 December 2010

Well...

...we've reached the end of another week. Which only means that we're getting closer and closer to the end of the year, lol. I really can't belive that 2010 is so close to ending. Yikes! The older you get, the faster the time goes. Shouldn't it work the other way? ;)

Anyway. I survived my daughter's first day of shool holidays. Nah, it wasn't so bad... which is a good thing, since we've still got six weeks of it left.

Today, I don't have too much planned on my to-do list. I wanted to post another book review (already done below), read a little more of the hilarious book I started last night (I'm absolutely lovin' it), and take care of a few bits & pieces. Then next week, I might get that UF novel I want to sub to one of my editors sorted out. I'd really like to do that before the end of this year. Oh, and I might brainstorm a little more about the follow-up idea I had set in the Antichrist world, but featuring a different narrator. :)

Well, that's it for now. 

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Daniel X: The Manga Vol. 1 by James Patterson

James Patterson's bestselling science fiction franchise for younger readers is given the manga treatment with this lavishly illustrated adaptation!

With supreme abilities, like being able to shape-shift and move objects with his mind, Daniel is strong enough to take on anything in the world. It's the things from beyond this planet that are the real problem. Daniel possesses a coverted List - that belonged to his father, before he was brutally murdered - targeting intergalactic criminals preying on the human race. Now, Daniel vows to take on his father's dangerous mission as the Alien Hunter. In the first book of the series, Daniel must conquer the deadly Ergent Seth. The fate of the world rests on Daniel X, and he will have his revenge, whatever the cost.

I have to admit that I've never read a James Patterson book before, so I was curious about this Daniel X character. :) 

This is a beautiful book. The art is lovely, the frames action-packed, and the story interesting, yet a little sad. Daniel is a sympathetic young boy who has several strange abilities, a vendetta he wants to fulfill, and a list full of aliens that need to be captured. His loneliness makes him use his gift in a bizarre way--he actually creates his parents, and his friends, so that he's not on his own, has some help, and is able to have a cover story.

However, when he sets his sights on the sixth deadliest alien--Ergent Seth--Daniel finds himself in a surreal and very dangerous situation. Pursuing and finding this alien is going to be hard. He ends up becoming a captive and is taken to a foreign world that might end up being more familiar than he thought...

Daniel X: The Manga is an interesting YA story that has a little bit of everything. I felt so bad for him, losing his parents at such a young age and now wandering across the country in hopes of wiping out the many aliens that are a threat to humanity and the universe. His vulnerability and youth actually work to his advantage, and I have no doubt that most of these badass aliens will underestimate him as much as Seth did.

This is a cool addition for any fan of this series. Also, for anyone who likes manga and/or graphic novels. I absolutely loved the art, it's gorgeous!

Daniel X: The Manga Vol. 1, November 2010, ISBN 9781907410529, Atom Paperback

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

THE BODY FINDER by Kimberly Derting

Violet Ambrose is grappling with two major issues: Jay Heaton and her morbid secret ability. While the sixteen-year-old is confused by her new feelings for her best friend, she is more disturbed by her "power" to sense dead bodies or at least those that have been murdered. Since she was a little girl, she has felt the echoes the dead leave behind in the world...and the imprints that attach to their killers.

Violet has never considered her strange talent to be a gift, but now that a serial killer is terrorizing her small town Violet realizes she might be the only person who can stop him.

Despite his fierce protectiveness over her, Jay reluctantly agrees to help Violet find the murderer and Violet is unnerved by her hope that Jay's intentions are much more than friendly. But even as she's falling in love, Violet is getting closer to discovering a killer...and becoming his prey herself.

This is a YA book that I've been wanting to read for a while, so as soon as I received my review copy, I couldn't wait to read it. And it didn't disappoint, that's for sure.

Violet has a really strange gift, or maybe it's actually a curse. She can feel and see the echo of dead people and animals, as well as read it off the people who actually do the killing. She discovered the body of a young girl when she was only eight, and now gets caught up in the middle of another murder mystery when she finds the body of a dead girl dumped in the nearby lake.

As more girls go missing, it soon becomes obvious that there's a serial killer loose in the small town of Buckley. A horrible man who hunts, takes, and then kills teenage girls, before dumping/burying them where he's sure no one will ever find them. The killer might think he's covering his tracks, but he didn't count on someone with Violet's skills to be on the case.

However, with her personal problems of the heart almost superseding everything else, could she actually be putting herself at risk and calling attention to herself? Well, at least her best friend Jay's always there to help comfort and keep her safe, especially now that the dynamic of their friendship is shifting...

I really enjoyed the mystery of finding out who the deranged killer was, as well as reading the killer's anonymous POV  peppered between Violet's. The tension slowly builds to a heart-pounding crescendo that had me quickly turning every page, eager to read what was next, and ending with an explosive scene that actually had me holding my breath until I got to the end of the book.

The Body Finder was an engrossing and intelligent story about a sixteen-year-old girl with a unique talent she can't help but want to put to good use. She has good intentions, and wants to help, but eventually finds out that sometimes, that can actually work against her.

Oh, and I also particularly liked the friendship between Violet and Jay, and how it goes from something safe and familiar, into a passionate, mutual attraction that messes with both of them.

This one's a total keeper, and I can't wait for the next one in this series...

Check out the book trailer:

The Body Finder, March 2011, ISBN 9780755378951, Headline

Sunday, 12 December 2010

THE AURORA TEAGARDEN MYSTERIES #4: The Julius House by Charlaine Harris

THE AURORA TEAGARDEN MYSTERIES:
An omnibus edition of Roe Teagarden's adventures!Aurora Teagarden loves reading about famous murderers - until she finds herself investigating a real-life killing spree!Lawrenceton, Georgia, may be a growing suburb of Atlanta, but it's still a small town at heart. Librarian Aurora Teagarden - Roe - grew up there and she reckons she knows everything about her fellow townsfolk, including which ones share her interest in the darker side of human nature...

Okay, I started reading this series exactly a week ago... and I haven't been able to stop. As I've already mentioned, I loved the first, second, and third books, so I couldn't wait to get stuck into this one!

So much has happened in this former librarian's life. She's helped solve several mysteries, inherited quite a lot of money from a friend, had several disastrous relationships that haven't lasted, and is slowly trying to find what she wants to dedicate her life to now that she no longer works at the library. But one thing she didn't expect (and neither did I) was to be married.

That's exactly what's happened. Roe is now a married woman. She married the mysterious and very alluring Martin Bartell. He's given her the Julius House as a wedding present--the only house in Lawrenceton, and it's outskirts, that vaguely interested her--and she surprised him with an equally thoughtful present herself. The only problem is that the Julius House has been empty for a while because the occupants simply vanished one day. No one's ever found their bodies, no one has any idea what happened to them. They simply disappeared!

Naturally, Roe becomes consumed by the story and before long finds herself looking into it, trying to figure out what happened to the Julius family. Which involves asking all the wrong questions and making herself a target for more violence. Of course, that's not the only mystery in her life. An even darker and more personal one is that of her new husband. Just what kind of secrets is he hiding from her? And who is the Youngblood couple, really? Martin obviously wanted Shelby and his wife Angel to rent the tiny apartment over the garage, but won't tell Roe why...

Before long, Roe is once again deep in the middle of several mysteries that will more than likely solve the six-year question of what really happened to the Julius family? And along the way has to deal with some very serious issues, involving past and present secrets that her husband is keeping from her. Is this relationship doomed as well? Or will Martin end up being completely honest with her?

The Julius House is another fantastic addition to this series. Is it just me, or does this series seem to get better and better? Seriously, it's grabbed me pretty tight and refuses to let go. I really like Aurora, and enjoy seeing how much tougher she's becoming after all of the horrible experiences that are piling up behind her. She's fearless, and a cool narrator to follow around.

Well, I'm absolutely lovin' this series, but am very sad that I have to wait several months for the second (and final) omnibus...

The Aurora Teagarden Mysteries: Omnibus 1, December 2010, ISBN 9780575096479, Gollancz Paperback

A second Noel & Natala Excerpt

Noel curved the front of his body closer to Natala’s, spooning himself around her. He tightened his arms, determined to never let her go. Now that they’d found each other under such odd circumstances, he wanted to wake up beside her every morning for the rest of their very long lives.

Before Natala had entered his life, the prospect of a new day had filled him with sadness. Every morning a struggle he didn’t want to face, especially when December rolled around. Nowadays, however, everything felt different, the complete opposite. If it were up to him, he would spend every minute of every hour lying naked beside her.

“Good morning.” Natala stretched her arms above her head and shifted her position, slowly rolling onto her back, before settling onto her side.

He smiled, staring into her lovely eyes, so dark they seemed to hold an endless amount of mystery. Of course, she’d shared a lot of that mystery with him, and he would never tire of listening to her talk about her home and her people. He knew she’d seen a lot of things he couldn’t even begin to imagine, still, just seeing the gleam in her eyes made his ears perk up a little more. He enjoyed sharing details of her life in the Wilds, the true home of all imps.

Natala didn’t admit she missed her real home, but he knew she wanted to see her cousins again someday—to ensure their lives were back to normal and they were comfortable with their newfound freedom.

“Noel, what’s wrong?” she asked, touching his lips with her fingertips.

“Nothing’s wrong,” he whispered. Noel had a lot to be thankful for this year. The bleakness the festive season usually brought with it was forgotten, now replaced with joy. He caught her gaze, about to say more, when she replaced her fingers with her lips, lightly pressing them against his.

She pulled back. “That’s good to hear, because I’ve got plans for you this morning.”

He smiled, because he had plenty of plans of his own. Later on today, after surprising her with a romantic, candlelit dinner and settling beside her in front of the tree, he had a special gift for her. One he hoped would sparkle perfectly on her finger. He couldn’t wait to see her face, couldn’t wait to spend an eternity together.

Sometimes, he almost forgot they could. After Nick had granted him immortality last Christmas, it was a real possibility.

Why in hell was he thinking about that old kook right now?

“Oh yeah, care to share these plans?” He yawned and willed all thoughts to leave his mind. He wanted to do only one thing right now.

“I see you’re wide awake already.” Natala’s small fingers caressed his erection with feathery motions. “Or at least, he’s awake.” Noel closed his eyes to enjoy the sensations she aroused with her touch. “Oh, he’s been awake for a while…”

“Ah, sorry to interrupt...” A cough followed the words that had come out of nowhere. “What the hell?” Noel groaned, throwing his side of the sheet over his nude body. Now that Natala’s hand had fallen away, his erection pained him. Almost as if it knew release was no longer within grasp.

Natala shrieked, pulling the sheet up to her neck.

“So sorry to interrupt, but I didn’t see anything. I promise.” Nick had closed both of his eyes, but now opened one of them.

“What on earth are you doing here, Nick?” Noel didn’t understand the sudden intrusion, until a horrendous thought struck him, making his pulse quicken. I hope he’s not here because it’s time, I’m not ready yet. “I thought you said I had years ahead of me before it was time to—”

Nick held up his palm. “Calm down.” Worry lines etched his face. Clothed in his bottle green pants, white tie, and red shirt, he looked like a damn clown, but Noel wasn’t about to voice his opinion. He knew just how tough Santa Claus could be, thanks to what he’d experienced firsthand last Christmas.

“Then what’s so important you had to barge in here like this?” Noel threw a protective arm over Natala’s shoulders and settled her against his side, tucking the sheet tightly around her.

“I’m really sorry to do this to you, but I have no other choice. You two are the only ones who can help me.” His eyes had a faraway look. They glistened, and were as bright as a cloudless sky. When he moved forward, sunlight caught his dark hair, causing the few strands of gray in his sideburns to glow. He lowered himself onto the edge of the bed and rubbed his palms against his thighs. “I really need your help.”

Noel couldn’t help but soften at the obvious misery on Nick’s face. He literally softened, everywhere. Nothing like Santa dropping in on you to ruin a damn good erection.

He took a deep breath and exhaled all of his anger and frustration. “What happened?” he finally managed to say. What could be so important that Nick couldn’t wait? What could make him look so miserable?

“Is it another demon?” Natala spoke for the first time.

Nick took a deep breath and let out an exasperated sigh, avoiding their gazes. “It’s not a demon exactly, but there is trouble.” He sighed a second time. “At least, I don’t think it’s a demon…you just never know what’s hiding in the shadows this time of year.”

“Are you going to keep us guessing until we get it right?” Damn, his problem sounded serious. Noel hadn’t counted on seeing Nick again so soon, or on being swindled into helping him fight off another bad guy. He still had nightmares about the demon Decarabia. So much had gone wrong with that situation. He’d almost lost Natala after the demon devoured her shoulder. Thinking about it now, he tightened his protective hold around her. I won’t let anyone hurt her like that again.

“No, of course not, it’s just…” Nick paused, “…a little embarrassing, that’s all.”

“Are you sure we can help you, then?” Noel asked, doubtful they could do anything about this mysterious situation. He’d only crossed paths with the magical man once before, but it had impacted both him and Natala deeply. They were together now only because Nick saved her by healing her life-threatening injuries.

The timing might be wrong and Nick might be taking his time to spill the beans, but Noel knew he wouldn’t hesitate to help if he could. Judging by the look in Natala’s eyes, he knew she felt the same way.

They owed him their lives.

Nick shrugged. “I hope you can do… something.”

“Please tell us what happened,” Natala whispered.

“Okay.” Nick nodded, yet looked defeated and pale. “I suppose I’ve laid on the suspense thick enough.” He met Noel’s eyes and then shifted to meet Natala’s. “My wife left me.”

Demon of Christmas Present is now available in eBook and Kindle.

The first installment, Demon of Christmas Past is also now availbale in eBook and Kindle.

Saturday, 11 December 2010

THE AURORA TEAGARDEN MYSTERIES #3: Three Bedrooms, One Corpse by Charlaine Harris

THE AURORA TEAGARDEN MYSTERIES:
An omnibus edition of Roe Teagarden's adventures!Aurora Teagarden loves reading about famous murderers - until she finds herself investigating a real-life killing spree!Lawrenceton, Georgia, may be a growing suburb of Atlanta, but it's still a small town at heart. Librarian Aurora Teagarden - Roe - grew up there and she reckons she knows everything about her fellow townsfolk, including which ones share her interest in the darker side of human nature...

As you (probably now) know, I've been having a great time getting stuck into this series. I really enjoyed the first and second books, and have become very fond of Roe. As well as her town of Lawrenceton, and the strange mix of people who seem to have so many secrets.

Since Roe quit her job at the library, she's got a bit of spare time on her hands, so she decides to hang around Select Realty, which happens to be her mother's business. She wants to see if she likes it, and maybe then she can pursue a career in the field. This makes her mother very happy.

Roe's love life seems to be stable. She's been dating the minister, Aubrey, for a while now and they've settled into some kind of a routine. One that lacks a little excitement and has her more frustrated than anything else.

When her mother asks her to show a house to a prospective buyer, two things happen that'll change the path of Roe's life: (1) she finds a corpse lying naked in the empty house, and (2) she meets Martin Bartell. After this, she decides that the realty business really isn't for her, and that she wants Martin in a way she's never wanted anyone before. Is it love at first sight? Or just a matter of lust at first sight because things aren't going as well with Aubrey as she likes to make herself believe?

Not only does she eventually work through the matters of the heart--in an unexpected way that I really didn't see coming--but when a second female Realtor is killed and dumped in a different empty house, she finds herself in the middle of yet another murder mystery. Who's killing these female realtors and then dumping them inside these houses, and why?

When Roe eventually puts all the clues together and actually figures out who did it, she puts her own life on the line... and once again comes out hurt at the end.

Three Bedrooms, One Corpse was as much fun as the other books in this very cool mystery series. Charlaine Harris sure knows how to write--not only a good and interesting mystery book--but also an intriguing series that has me totally hooked. I love how she puts poor Roe through so much. I also like that this former librarian seems to fall in and out of love, only to throw herself into another doomed romance.

Will Martin, the older and very mysteries man who gets her blood pumping, be the one to tame her heart? Or will things once again come to an abrupt end? And where's Robin Crusoe? I can't help wondering if he'll ever return to confuse her all over again...

I've now started the fourth (and final book in this omnibus) but I'm really glad that there's still a second omnibus coming out early next year. Can't wait!

The Aurora Teagarden Mysteries: Omnibus 1, December 2010, ISBN 9780575096479, Gollancz Paperback

Friday, 10 December 2010

THE DEMON OF CHRISTMAS PRESENT is now available!

This is Noel & Natala's second (and final) novella.

It takes place a year after they meet. But instead of spending it at home, they head to the North Pole to help Nick with a personal problem that leads them to some demonic danger...

Darkness is cheap, and demons like it…

Noel is actually looking forward to Christmas this year because it will mark the first anniversary since he met Natala. Plus, he has a big surprise for her and knows just how he wants to celebrate afterward. But when Nick drops in and asks them to help find his missing wife, they agree to go back to HQ in the North Pole with him.

While Natala attempts to use her knowledge of demons to track Nick’s wife down, Noel is forced to wait helpless inside HQ. And what lays waiting at the end of the line only puts Natala in the clutches of another demon.

This time, Natala is the only one who can take down the dark threat, while Noel wonders if she’ll make it back in time for Christmas.

Demon of Christmas Present is now available.


Wednesday, 8 December 2010

THE AURORA TEAGARDEN MYSTERIES #2: A Bone to Pick by Charlaine Harris

THE AURORA TEAGARDEN MYSTERIES:
An omnibus edition of Roe Teagarden's adventures!Aurora Teagarden loves reading about famous murderers - until she finds herself investigating a real-life killing spree!Lawrenceton, Georgia, may be a growing suburb of Atlanta, but it's still a small town at heart. Librarian Aurora Teagarden - Roe - grew up there and she reckons she knows everything about her fellow townsfolk, including which ones share her interest in the darker side of human nature...

Well, after reading the first book in this series and enjoying it so much, I decided to get stuck into the second one right away. Actually, I think I'll probably end up reading the whole omnibus, one story after another. I've really been hooked into Roe's world.

Over a year has passed since the murderous events of Real Murders, and after the fiasco involving two of its members, the crime group has disbanded. That doesn't mean that Roe's life is any easier, though. She's attended two weddings--her mother's and her ex-boyfriend's--as well as a funeral. The funeral actually brings about a turn of events that has her going from stuggling librarian to well-off home owner.

See, the elderly Jane Engle, who was a member of the Real Murders club, passed away and left Roe almost everything she owned--which includes a fully furnished house, plenty of money in the bank, a pregnant cat, and a human skull. Uh, yep, that's right. Not only has Roe inherited enough wealth to help her live a happier life and consider quitting her job as a librarian (which is now part-time, anyway) but also throws her in the middle of a very old (secret, and unsolved) crime.

She's also seeing a new man, an Episcopalian minister by the name of Aubrey. Life is slowly coming together... well, almost. Making a decision on whether to keep/sell the house is complicated by her ex and his new pregnant wife moving in across the street. Oh, and that skull she found hidden in the window seat--who's is it? Who killed someone only to separate the skull from the rest of the body? And where is the body? 

With Aurora Teagarden on the case, an answer is sure to be found sooner, rather than later.

A Bone To Pick is a great and interesting book, a very cool addition to this awesome series. I love how it expands Roe's life, the town of Lawrenceton, and also introduces a new host of personal problems. All of them putting her in the middle of another unsolved crime. She might no longer be part of a real crime group, but her love for it hasn't faded. And getting the slew of Jane's books is also a cool thing.

I get the feeling that situations of the heart are going to keep turning up in this series, to confuse and torture poor Roe. Personally, I think that's super cool and can't wait to see who else she dates. Remember how I wondered if she'd pick the blond detective or the redheaded writer at the end of the first book? Turns out she picked the wrong guy and things didn't work out, which also means the other guy actually left town. I wasn't expecting that. Which is a good thing, I like unpredictability.

Well, since I've already read the first chapter of the third book, I guess we know what I'm reading next... ;)

The Aurora Teagarden Mysteries #2: Omnibus 1, December 2010, ISBN 9780575096479, Gollancz Paperback

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Not enough sleep...

Isn't a good idea when you intend to get up super early! lol.

Anyway. I'll survive. I think if I can squeeze in a yoga workout sometime this morning (maybe even before my daughter wakes up) I might be able to get a little bounce back into the day. We'll see. 

As I mentioned yesterday, this week's going to be made up of random stuff on my to-do list. I managed to get the book I was reading finished and reviewed. Yay. And have now decided that I will read the next one in the omnibus too, before squeezing in a different book.

Oh, and I also started writing the first chapter of that futuristic novel idea that I've mentioned a few times. Only to realise that I need to go back to it and add/change a few things that I decided (much later) would need to be altered. Cool.

BTW, if you use this code: V40T412S2 at Evernight Publishing, you can get 25% off THE SOUL DEALER: Deception and/or Redemption. So if you'd like to get these two novellas for a bargain price, now would be an awesome time to get a copy/ies. Come on, you know you want to read a PNR featuring demons, a scary entity known only as the Soul Dealer, and a bit of spice. ;) 

Well, see ya later!

Monday, 6 December 2010

THE AURORA TEAGARDEN MYSTERIES #1: Real Murders by Charlaine Harris

THE AURORA TEAGARDEN MYSTERIES:
An omnibus edition of Roe Teagarden's adventures!Aurora Teagarden loves reading about famous murderers - until she finds herself investigating a real-life killing spree!Lawrenceton, Georgia, may be a growing suburb of Atlanta, but it's still a small town at heart. Librarian Aurora Teagarden - Roe - grew up there and she reckons she knows everything about her fellow townsfolk, including which ones share her interest in the darker side of human nature...

It's no secret that I'm a Charlaine Harris fan. I love the Sookie Stackhouse series and the Harper Connelly one, too. I think I just added another one of her series to my 'fave' list. :)

Aurora 'Roe' Teagarden is a single, twenty-eight-year-old librarian who lives in the small town of Lawrenceton. She lives in an apartment by herself--which happens to belong to her mother, so she also manages it--and has an odd interest in true crime. Actually, she's part of a little group called Real Murders. They meet once a month in the VFW Hall to discuss famous crimes, and share their strange interest in this subject.

Nothing out of the ordinary usually happens, though. It's all a very theory-based interest for all the members. They know their crimes, murderers, motives, speculations, and dates. Well, that changes the night that Roe finds the dead body of one of the club's members bashed to death and left lying in the kitchen. What's weird about the whole thing is that it's been set up to look just like a much older crime. A crime all the members of this macrabre club are very familiar with 

And this isn't the last time it happens.

Now, Roe and the other members of Real Murders find themselves either victims, or made to look guilty by the murderer, as he goes about copying a whole bunch of other famous murders. Leaving a body count that has the police running around in circles and Roe getting caught up in the mystery. 

Only Roe doesn't know just how close she'll come to being another one of those victims...

Real Murders is another Charlaine Harris gem. It's narrated by a very likeable character. I enjoyed seeing the world through her eyes, and going through the bizarre experiences she's forced to deal with too. Oh, and it's got a very cool love triangle. I wonder who Roe will eventually choose: the blond, stocky cop who's determined to do things the right away, but took some time to let his intentions be known... or the tall, redheaded crime writer who's very open about his interest in her? Either way, this is a killer of a book!

It's the first book in the series, which is very exciting because I've still got three more left in this volume. Can't wait!

The Aurora Teagarden Mysteries #1: Omnibus 1, December 2010, ISBN 9780575096479, Gollancz Paperback

Hey, Monday!

How's it going? I hope you all had an awesome weekend!

We did, although the weather wasn't ideal. :/ That's becoming the story every single day this summer. So far. Let's hope that Mother Nature plans to get all the shitty, rainy stuff outta the way this month and then let's us settle nicely into a sunny summer. Fingers crossed, and wishful thinking.

Well, there's a whole new week ahead of me... and I haven't figured out what to tackle. There are several things I'd like to do: start writing that futuristic that keeps hounding my brain and has already presented the first chapter to my brain, read through that UF novel that I want to send to one of my editors before the end of this month/year, or just dawdle around until I get the next round/s of edits that I'm expecting any day now, or just sit on the couch and read the first book in this omnibus that I'm really enjoying...

Decisions, decisions.

Except, I know that I can't bring myself to waste time. I like to use every available moment I have, especially since my daughter will go on holidays in about a week-and-a-half. Yeah, gotta maximise my time. So, maybe I'll take a little from column A, and a little from column B. Yeah, that would be cool. Then if the edits do come this week, I can put everything else aside and concentrate on them. Thanks, Blogger. ;)

Oh, and speaking of cool, you know what we did over the weekend? My daughter has been growing her hair out for a while now, with the goal of donating most of the length to Locks of Love when it was long enough. And, it was. So, hubby cut about 12" off her hair the other day. It's now really short, like a cute bob. I packaged the hair (which I braided before cutting) and we're going to send it out today.

She's so excited, and I'm so proud of her wanting to help other kids in need. She's a good girl. :)

Okay, time to get on with... something. See ya later!

Saturday, 4 December 2010

THE KISS OF DEATH by Marcus Sedgwick

Venice and vampires. The Shadow Queen has retreated to her lair to gather her strength and recruit a new army of the Undead for a final confrontation.

Marcus Sedgwick’s tale of Venice and vampires is a captivating companion volume to the bestselling My Swordhand is Singing. Marko and Sorrel meet in Venice for the first time. They must uncover the mystery of what has happened both to Sorrel’s father, plagued by a strange madness that prevents him from sleeping, and to Marko’s father, a doctor, who has mysteriously gone missing after travelling to Venice to help his old friend.

Years on from My Swordhand is Singing and Peter is still on the trail of the Shadow Queen. His search leads him to Venice, a city whose beauty disguises many ugly secrets. The Shadow Queen is there, gathering strength, recruiting a new army of the Undead for a final confrontation. This fabled city with its lapping waterways, its crumbling magnificence, dark, twisting alleyways and surprising piazzas is the perfect setting for Marcus’s captivating gothic novel of love and loss in C18th Venice.

After reading several Marcus Sedgwick novels, I couldn't wait to get stuck into this one. And when I found out that it's a companion to MY SWORDHAND IS SINGING, I was very excited. I love vampires, and absolutely loved the different take in that book.

Marko is a young man who leaves his home to go to Venice in search of his father. When he gets there, he meets up with a young girl called Sorrel. She's not very happy to see him, because when she sent Alessandro's letter to the doctor's house, it was in hopes of finding someone who could help her. She's convinced that Marko won't be able to do that. But she's wrong.

Together, Marko and Sorrel manage to find their way around Venice and the surrounding islands, slowly being led from one dangerous situation to another. They're actually able to discover a much deeper and darker plot than they expected. Something that will not only help cure Sorrel's father's madness and lead them to Marko's missing father, but also help the whole of Venice escape the clutches of a very dangerous threat.

I got a real kick out of seeing Peter again, too. He was the main character in MY SWORDHAND IS SINGING. In this book he's a lot older--actually, he's an old man--and is pretty much all alone in the world, with only his sword and the ambition to track down and destroy the Shadow Queen. He's still in pursuit of ending her reign of terror.

The Kiss Of Death was another intriguing and wonderful book by this very talented author. I really enjoyed finding out the truth behind the sword that Tomas tried to keep hidden for so many years. Also, the Shadow Queen's story is finally revealed and we not only get to meet her and find out what she's been doing, but also how she became this horrible dark figure in the first place. Oh, and I loved the ending.

This one's another keeper!

The Kiss of Death, June 2009, ISBN 978-1-84255-689-4 , Orion Children's Books

Friday, 3 December 2010

So, here we are again... Friday!

It looks like the weather's going to change for the better. Or maybe I'm just hoping that it does because I'm so darn sick of the rain.

Seriously, it's rained most of the week. :( And I really want to straighten my hair today. lmao.

Rain + straightening = waste of time.

So, let's hope I'm right and the rain is indeed gone for a bit. It's supposed to be summer! I can handle thunderstorms and rain in the afternoon, but continuous rain, not so much.

Anyway, enough about the weather.

I found out this morning that THE SOUL DEALER: Deception is up for November Cover of the Month at Happily Ever After Reviews. It's a lovely cover. Dara England did a great job, so if you have a sec to vote for it, that would be awesome. Thanks! :)

Well, today I'm hoping to have another semi-day off. In which I tackle a bunch of smaller things, squeeze in a little yoga (which I didn't do yesterday) and reading. I'd also like to (maybe) write the first chapter for that strange futuristic novel idea I got last week, I think it was. The first chapter kinda hit me upside the head yesterday afternoon. I had to pull out my phone and started typing away on Quickoffice.

It's all getting very vivid in my head now, so I have to get some of it outta there before the next lot of edits come my way. Which could be any day now...

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Save Yourself, I'll Hold Them Back

That happens to be the song I'm listening to at the moment.

It's a good thing that I'm not working on any edits today. There's someone nearby doing renovations (as they've been doing for what feels like forever, but might actually be two months) and it helps to blast the music to drown it out. :/ And this is great music.

Anyway, how's everyone today? I'm catching up on some bits and pieces. I finished off an interview for my (most) excellent Evernight Publishing editor, which she'll post over the weekend. Yay. I like doing interviews.

Other than that I've been updating... stuff, and will probably pop into my website later on so I can remove all the NaNoWriMo icons and post my WINNER badge. *beaming* It's just so cool to have done this for five years in a row. It's become a tradition.

Now, I just need to really sit down with a calendar and slot certain goals into the upcoming months. I've been meaning to do this for a while now, but really need to do it ASAP. My daughter only has a few weeks of school left for the year, and then she'll be home for almost six weeks. And we all know what that does to my productivity, lol.

Have a great day!

 
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