Saturday, 31 December 2011

Books Read in 2011...


 
JUST ANOTHER JUDGEMENT DAY (Nightside #9): Simon R. Green

HUNTED BY THE OTHERS (H&W Investigations #1): Jess Haines

A KISS BEFORE THE APOCALYPSE (Remy Chandler #1): Thomas E. Sniegoski

GREYWALKER (Greywalker #1): Kat Richardson

SHAKESPEARE’S LANDLORD (The Lily Bard Mysteries #1, Omnibus): Charlaine Harris

FLIP THIS ZOMBIE (Living With The Dead #2): Jesse Petersen

SHAKESPEARE’S CHAMPION (The Lily Bard Mysteries #2, Omnibus): Charlaine Harris

DELIRIUM: Lauren Oliver

SHAKESPEARE’S CHRISTMAS (The Lily Bard Mysteries #3, Omnibus): Charlaine Harris

ROSEBUSH: Michele Jaffe

SHAKESPEARE’S TROLLOP (The Lily Bard Mysteries #4, Omnibus): Charlaine Harris

DANCING ON THE HEAD OF A PIN (Remy Chandler #2): Thomas E. Sniegoski

SHAKESPEARE’S COUNSELOR (The Lily Bard Mysteries #5, Omnibus): Charlaine Harris

THE LILY BARD MYSTERIES OMNIBUS: Charlaine Harris

THE IRON WITCH: Karen Mahoney

NIGHT AND CHAOS (The Deva Chronicles #1): Naomi Clark

IF I STAY (If I Stay #1): Gayle Forman

PAST MIDNIGHT (Past Midnight #1): Mara Purnhagen

RAISING THE DEAD (Past Midnight #1.5): Mara Purnhagen

BONES OF FAERIE: Janni Lee Simner

THE HUNGER GAMES (Hunger Games #1): Suzanne Collins

PERSONAL DEMONS (Personal Demons #1): Lisa Desrochers

CATCHING FIRE (Hunger Games #2): Suzanne Collins

PARANORMALCY (Paranormalcy #1): Kiersten White

MOCKINGJAY (Hunger Games #3): Suzanne Collins

*WAKE: Lisa McMann

HOWL’S MOVING CASTLE (Castle #1): Diana Wynne Jones

RED-HEADED STEPCHILD (Sabina Kane #1): Jaye Wells

LIFE AS WE KNEW IT (Last Survivors #1): Susan Beth Pfeffer

TAKEN BY THE OTHERS (H&W Investigations #2): Jess Haines

CUCKOO: Julia Crouch

*ENTICED (The Violet Eden Chapters #2): Jessica Shirvington

SILVER BORNE (Mercy Thompson #5): Patricia Briggs

RED RIDING HOOD: Sarah Blakley-Cartwright & David Leslie Johnson

DESIRES OF THE DEAD (The Body Finder #2): Kimberly Derting

I DON’T WANT TO KILL YOU (John Cleaver #3): Dan Wells

WILD GHOST CHASE: Ericka Scott

UNGRATEFUL DEAD (An Ethan Banning Case): Naomi Clark

SKULLS: Tim Marquitz

THE GUNSLINGER (The Dark Tower #1): Stephen King

ALLISON HEWITT IS TRAPPED: Madeleine Roux

DEAD OVER HEELS (Aurora Teagarden Mysteries #5, Omnibus 2): Charlaine Harris

DEAD RECKONING (Sookie Stackhouse #11): Charlaine Harris

A FOOL AND HIS HONEY (Aurora Teagarden Mysteries #6, Omnibus 2): Charlaine Harris

DIE FOR ME: Amy Plum

THE TWILIGHT SAGA The Official Illustrated Guide: Stephenie Meyer

CLAN RATHSKELLER (Iron Druid Prequel Short Story): Kevin Hearne

LAST SCENE ALIVE (Aurora Teagarden Mysteries #7, Omnibus 2): Charlaine Harris

THE MAGE IN BLACK (Sabina Kane #2): Jaye Wells

POPPY DONE TO DEATH (Aurora Teagarden Mysteries #8, Omnibus 2): Charlaine Harris

THE AURORA TEAGARDEN MYSTERIES, OMNIBUS 2: Charlaine Harris

HOUNDED (The Iron Druid Chronicles #1): Kevin Hearne

WARM BODIES: Isaac Marion

HEXBOUND (Dark Elite #2): Chloe Neill

AFTERTIME (Aftertime #1): Sophie Littlefield

THE SHADOW OF THE SOUL (The Dog-Faced Gods #2): Sarah Pinborough

UNCOMMON CRIMINALS (Heist Society #2): Ally Carter

RED GLOVE (The Curse Workers #2): Holly Black

ONE HUNDRED CANDLES (Past Midnight #2): Mara Purnhagen

THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EMILY: Robyn Bachar

SHADY LADY (Corine Solomon #3): Ann Aguirre

SMOKIN’ SEVENTEEN (Stephanie Plum #17): Janet Evanovich

VENGEANCE MOON: Savannah Jordan

DEAD, UNDEAD OR SOMEWHERE IN BETWEEN (Rhiannon’s Law #1): J.A. Saare

ULTRAVIOLET: R.J. Anderson

ALIEN TANGO (Alien #2): Gini Koch

SPIDER’S BITE (Elemental Assassin #1): Jennifer Estep

POISON (Elemental Assassin #0.5): Jennifer Estep

WEB OF DECEIT (Elemental Assassin #0.6): Jennifer Estep

THE PEOPLE NEXT DOOR: Christopher Ransom

SPIDER’S BARGAIN (Elemental Assassin #0.7): Jennifer Estep

WEB OF DEATH (Elemental Assassin #1.5): Jennifer Estep

SURVIVORS (Aftertime #1.5): Sophie Littlefield

EAT SLAY LOVE (Living With The Dead #3): Jesse Petersen

MATTERS OF THE BLOOD (Blood Lines #1): Maria Lima

THE FIRST DAYS (As The World Dies #1): Rhiannon Frater

THREE DAYS TO DEAD (Dreg City #1): Kelly Meding

STREET MAGIC (Black London #1): Caitlin Kittredge

DEMON BOUND (Black London #2): Caitlin Kittredge

WORKING STIFF (The Revivalist #1): Rachel Caine

BLOCKADE BILLY (including MORALITY): Stephen King

SHELTER: Harlan Coben

THE SOOKIE STACKHOUSE COMPANION: Charlaine Harris

A BRUSH OF DARKNESS (Abby Sinclair #1): Allison Pang

KINDLING THE MOON (Arcadia Bell #1): Jenn Bennett

THE BROKEN ONES: Stephen M Irwin

BLACK BLADE BLUES (Sarah Beauhall #1): JA Pitts

MILE 81: Stephen King

SOMETHING SECRET THIS WAY COMES (Secret McQueen #1): Sierra Dean

THE RENFIELD SYNDROME (Rhiannon’s Law #2): J.A. Saare

DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE: Laini Taylor

IRON KING (The Iron Fey #1): Julie Kagawa

THE BUSINESS OF DEATH (The Death Works #3): Trent Jamieson

FORGOTTEN: Cat Patrick

WINTER’S PASSAGE (The Iron Fey #1.5): Julie Kagawa

JUST AFTER SUNSET: Stephen King

WHERE SHE WENT (If I Stay #2): Gayle Forman

IMAGINARY GIRLS: Nova Ren Suma

THE GIRL WHO LOVED TOM GORDON (A Pop-up Book): Stephen King

THE SECRET GUIDE TO DATING MONSTERS (Secret McQueen #0.5): Sierra Dean

THE LAST DRAGONSLAYER (Last Dragonslayer #1): Jasper Fforde

*THE SONG OF THE QUARKBEAST (Last Dragonslayer #2): Jasper Fforde

MISERY: Stephen King

HAUNTING THE NIGHT (Past Midnight #2.5): Mara Purnhagen

THE STRANGE CASE OF FINLEY JANE (The Steampunk Chronicles Prequel): Kady Cross

MIND GAMES (The Disillusionists #1) Carolyn Crane

EXPLOSIVE EIGHTEEN (Stephanie Plum #18): Janet Evanovich

A BLOODY GOOD SECRET (Secret McQueen #2): Sierra Dean

SECRET SANTA (Secret McQueen #3): Sierra Dean

COMPLETED THE FOLLOWING READING CHALLENGES:

H&UFRC books read: 54/24

M&SRC books read: 18/12

SKC Books Read: 6/6

 
Books Read in 2011: 109/100

*DNF

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Happy post-Christmas to ya!

I hope you all had an awesome Christmas break. I know I did. :)

Hubby was home for five days and we made the most of it. There was much hanging around, walking, some workouts, a lot of yummy meals, some reading while hubby played PS3/Xbox games, and we even managed to squeeze in a few movies.

We each picked one.

My choice was DYLAN DOG: Dead of Night. It's actually an urban fantasy-type movie about a PI who specialises in the supernatural. There are vamps, werewolves, zombies, and a few twists along the way. I actually thought it was a lot of fun. It hasn't gotten very good reviews, but I enjoyed it!

Hubby's choice was HORRIBLE BOSSES. OMFG. This is one of those totally-out-there comedies where the worst thing you can think of actually happens. There's a lot of swearing, vulgar situations, people with no morals, and plenty of laughs.

Asides from the movie watching, we also caught up on a few of our favourite shows--Burn Notice and Hot in Cleveland. Plus, we watched the AMERICAN HORROR STORY finale. I love this show! I really enjoyed the first season, and the way it finished up was great. Now, I can't wait to see what else they come up with. Apparently, it's going to feature a new family and location every season, so I can't wait to see what happens next. :)

I also caught up on a bunch of reading. Which is always cool, right? ;) Now, I need to go through my huge TBR pile and figure out what I'd like to read next...

Also, while lounging in front of the TV one morning, something struck me. An idea that seemed to come out of nowhere, but actually fits in perfectly with my latest novel idea. A story that has the concept, characters, storyline, and every day becomes a little clearer inside my head. I need to write everything down in the one place, because right now I have it on scrap pieces of paper. :/

Well. That's it for now. I had a great festive season with my family, and I hope you did too. Now, there's not long to go until the end of the year. See ya soon!

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

SECRET SANTA by Sierra Dean

’Tis the season for ho-ho-homicide.

Secret McQueen, book 2.5

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. The season for mistletoe, Christmas lights…and a killing spree. When Secret’s friend, Detective Mercedes Castilla, asks for help to solve a series of murders longer than a string of lights, Secret resigns herself to the fact her holidays will be anything but peaceful.

It seems someone is killing New Yorkers in an unusually gruesome way, and as the bodies pile up faster than presents under the tree, the police are no closer to finding the killer than Secret is to finding the perfect present for one of her boyfriends, Lucas.

Tracking down a monster in Manhattan the week before Christmas is almost as difficult as shopping for her ever-expanding collection of loved ones. When tragedy strikes close to home, Secret must do everything in her power to put an end to the horror in time for Santa to come down the chimney.


Warning: Contains a less than merry McQueen with a sword and a reason to use it; a festive new use for mistletoe; and a promise that will haunt Secret like the Ghost of Christmas Future.



I'm really enjoying this series, and because this novella is set during the festive season, I wanted to read it before the new year ticked over. ;) And I wasn't disappointed.

Secret's getting ready to enjoy her first Christmas with a new host of friends... but while she's trying to figure out what presents to buy, there's an insane killer loose in New York. And when the killer starts leaving dismembered limbs inside newspaper and police offices, her detective friend, Mercedes, calls her in for some help.

Tracking this killer isn't going to be easy, but Secret's determined to put a stop to it. And as much as she tries to figure it all out, it's not until the killer strikes really close to home that she's finally able to figure things out--with a little help from her friends.

I loved this story! Not only because it fit so well into the rest of the series and intensified her relationship with Desmond, but also because she finally had to face some of the feelings she now has for Holden. Poor Secret, I don't think she's ever going to be able to settle on the one guy. ;)

I'm really lovin' this series.        

H&UFRC books read: 54/24

Monday, 26 December 2011

A BLOODY GOOD SECRET by Sierra Dean


You can’t keep a good Secret for long.

Secret McQueen, Book 2

After cheating death twice in one night, confessing her true nature to her werewolf soul mates and being asked to kill one of her closest friends, Secret took a much-needed vacation. By running away.

Now she’s back in town—dragged kicking and screaming—determined to clear Holden Chancery’s name. Right after she finds out what he’s accused of. It shouldn’t be hard—Holden has a habit of using their new and scintillating psychic bond to break into her thoughts and dreams at some very, shall we say, awkward moments.

Just a few things stand in her way: a secretive Tribunal leader, a group of would-be vampire slayers and two werewolf boyfriends who refuse to let her operate in her customary lone-wolf style. Even less amusing are the terrifying creatures that someone is using in an attempt to gain control of the council. Even for this out-of-the-ordinary bounty hunter, it’s a challenge with potentially deadly teeth.

Warning: Contains an ever-plucky heroine with no shortage of weapons, super-hot mind games, an ever-complicated love triangle and one hell of a creepy amusement park.



I really enjoyed the first book in this series, as well as the prequel novella, so I was looking forward to getting stuck into this one.

After the Tribunal gave Secret her latest assignment, she took off. How can she kill Holden without knowing what he's accused of? So, she's gone to spend a bit of time with her grandmother. But when she's forcibly taken back to New York, Secret has no choice but to face everyone and everything she ran away from.

Now, she's determined to clear Holden's name. Which includes finding out why the Tribunal wants him dead. But this will lead her to an unexpected discovery, as well as some truly horrible creatures hiding out in an abandoned amusement park.

Oh, and let's not forget her very complicated love life--she's got two werewolf boyfriends, and a pesky vampire that seems to be consuming her fantasies lately.

This was another very exciting, action-packed installment and I can't wait to read more... especially after the unexpected ending. Lucky for me, I have the next novella already waiting for me on my Kindle! ;)        

H&UFRC books read: 53/24

Thursday, 22 December 2011

EXPLOSIVE EIGHTEEN by Janet Evanovich

Bounty hunter Stephanie Plum is used to danger and adventure; they follow her at every turn. But when international murder hits dangerously close to home, this could be more explosive than exciting...

Once Stephanie steps on the plane from Hawaii to Newark, she hopes to put her hellish holiday behind her. But when her seatmate mysteriously disappears during the stopover in LA - to be found later in a garbage can - things are only going to get worse.

Only one other person has seen the missing photograph the dead man was supposed to be carrying - and it just so happens to be Stephanie Plum. Now she's the target, and she doesn't want to end up in a garbage can...

More to the point, she still has to deal with the fallout from Hawaii. Both the men in her life refuse to talk about it and all Stephanie will say is... It's complicated.


This is one of my favourite series. I always look forward to getting stuck into a new Stephanie Plum book, and this was no exception.

Stephanie's life is always full of danger and relationship troubles, but this time things get really bad. The two men in her life have made things very complicated. So complicated that not even a vacation in Hawaii works out for her, and she runs away from both Morelli and Ranger.

But the complications don't stop there. The man sitting next to her on the plane didn't get back on at LAX, and he's later found dead. Oh, and he left her a little souvenir--a photo she quickly discards. As soon as she gets home, strangers are popping up out of nowhere, all wanting the photo she doesn't have. Before long, the FBI, the fake FBI, a hairdresser, and a deranged killer are all after her. Everyone wants the photograph, and if she's not careful, she'll be the next one to be found stuffed into a garbage can.

Not to mention that her arch-nemesis--Joyce Barnhardt--is staying in her apartment, and needs her help. Yeah, poor Stephanie can't seem to catch a break. And she still managed to make me LOL all over the place. :)

Explosive Eighteen is another awesome addition to this very fun and exciting series. Stephanie's always an excellent character to catch up with, as she accidentally gets herself into more trouble than she can handle. Yet, she always manages to make things work, somehow. In her typical bizarre and hilarious manner, she solves the mystery that threatens her life.

If only she could solve her relationship troubles as well...

I can't wait for the next book!        

Explosive Eighteen, December 2011, ISBN 9780755384969,  Headline Fiction Paperbacks

M&SRC books read: 19/12

It's Thursday...

... and hubby's last day of work until next Wednesday.

Yep. This festive season, he gets five days off with us. So we're all very excited, and looking forward to hanging out together, catching up on some TV shows, going for walks, working out, enjoying some nice meals, getting some extra sleep, and relaxing.

The last two days have been a little blurry. We've gotten up at 3AM both days. When you get up that early, as soon as your head hits the pillow you're pretty much out like a light. As I was last night. At least it meant I got a good night's sleep and slept all the way through. :)

So, what's new?

I'm just hoping to stay awake today, lol. I think my daughter and I better go for our daily walk pretty early this morning, otherwise I might not have the energy to leave the house. Though we do have to do some grocery shopping this evening. Might have to squeeze in a nap in there somewhere.

Around this time of the year, my brain's usually winding down and all I feel like doing is catching up on my reading. And as you can probably tell from the reviews I've posted this week, it's what I'm doing right now as well. I'm really enjoying it. I think I've worked pretty hard this year on a whole bunch of edits, revisions, even writing new stories, and deserve the break. ;) Of course, this won't last for long. I'm already itching to take notes and get planning on what I'd like to work on during 2012...

Though I'm only going to allow myself to think about scheduling. Nothing deeper than that. I need the mental holiday. I'm expecting some edits real soon, and already know what my next revision project is going to be in January. So that's cool. :)

Well, my blogging from now until the end of the year is probably going to be all over the place, but I hope you all have a wonderful festive season. No matter what you celebrate, I hope you all have a blast!

Speak to you soon. Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

MIND GAMES by Carolyn Crane

Justine Jones is a hopeless hypochondriac whose life is crippled by fear…until one day when a handsome, tortured mastermind named Packard peers into her soul and invites her to join his psychological hit squad.

Justine resists until she gets a taste of the peace Packard can promise. At first, Justine enjoys being part of the thrilling world of neurotic vigilantes who battle Midcity’s paranormal criminals. Things get complicated when she uncovers certain secrets…and falls for one of her most dangerous targets.


It's no secret that I love urban fantasy, so I'm always looking for new books to get stuck into. I love discovering new worlds filled with interesting characters and intriguing situations. And this is the latest gem I've discovered in this wonderful genre.

Justine Jones is a hypochondriac. She's also a neurotic mess who is convinced she's got vein star syndrome. She spends most of her time freaking out about it, analysing the symptons, and visiting the ER to make sure there's nothing wrong. But even then, she's still convinced she could die at any moment and lives in constant fear.

A chance meeting inside a Mongolian restaurant changes the path of her condition. For the first time in her life, she's able to see that all this stored fear she carries around can be turned into something else. Or rather, can be 'pushed' into someone else to help rehabilitate their evil ways. Meeting Packard and his disillusionists helps her discover a lot about herself and what she can really do to others, but it also messes with the 'normal' life she's always wanted.

This book was an amazing ride filled with action, tension, twists and turns. I absolutely loved the concept. And there are plenty of possible love interests for the heroine. I really like this twisted and dark world of highcaps and disillusionists Justine lives in. It's awesome to see something so negative be used for long term positive results.

Yeah, I believe I'm hooked and can't wait to read the next two books in this fascinating trilogy. Luckily, I have both books already. ;)        

H&UFRC books read: 52/24

Checking in

Hey! How are you today? Can you believe we're only days away from Christmas? Oh, and the new year is just around the corner too. O_o

So, this is my daughter's first week of school holidays and so far it's been going great. She's just started reading The Hunger Games and seems to be as addicted to it as I was when I was reading the trilogy earlier this year. She's almost halfway through already, and it's really cool chatting to her about it. :)

I've been busy trying to schedule some guest blog posts for next May. Yeah, I know, sounds like I'm thinking ahead. And I am. I really want to get word out about my Sierra Fox urban fantasy series.

Asides from that, I've been reading a bit. I'm currently reading MIND GAMES by Carolyn Crane, and can't figure out why it took me so long to get started on this trilogy. Oh well. That's not important now. I'm almost finished the first book, received the second one the other day, and have the third on my Kindle. Awesome!

It feels great to get back into reading. I really missed it during the last month. I've even managed to squeeze in some novella reading during the last few mornings--as you can see below. ;)

Well, we've finally upgraded our main PC. The one we had before was temperamental and a total pain in the ass. Sometimes it would work, others it wouldn't. I hated going through its mood swings. Though, I have to admit that it was over four years old, and did what it was supposed to for several years. It's only during the last year that it started going totally nuts and we knew that one day it just wouldn't work at all. So, we got in before that happened. And the new PC tower is red and black, shiny, fast, and lovely.

I love it. It's also fun setting things up again. :D

Hubby went into work super early this morning, so I did a yoga workout. I'm hoping that it helps keep me awake, because I feel so tired. *yawn* But knowing that he's only got tomorrow left to work this week, makes it that much better. He doesn't go back until next Wednesday. That's five whole days together. It's like a mini-holiday. Yay. Looking forward to it.

Okay, that's it for now. I hope you all have a great day!

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

THE STRANGE CASE OF FINLEY JAYNE by Kady Cross

Finley Jayne knows she's not 'normal'. Normal girls don't lose time, or have something inside them that makes them capable of remarkably violent things. Her behavior has already cost her one job, so when she's offered the lofty position of companion to Phoebe, a debutante recently engaged to Lord Vincent, she accepts, despite having no experience. Lord Vincent is a man of science with his automatons and inventions, but Finley is suspicious of his motives where Phoebe is concerned. She will do anything to protect her new friend, but what she discovers is even more monstrous than anything she could have imagined…


I wanted to read this prequel novella before The Girl in the Steel Corset--which I already have on my bookshelf--and I'm really glad I did!

Finley Jayne isn't like other girls. She seems to have another side, and is very strong. She also likes to think for herself and doesn't take any crap from anyone. That's probably why she keeps getting fired. Still, she's got a supportive mother and stepfather.

The day Lady Morton approaches her to become her daughter's companion, Finley can't believe her luck. The job pays well, she has a lovely room, plus Lady Morton and Phoebe are great. Her friendship with Phoebe grows very quickly, which makes it that much harder when Finley finds out that the man her friend is engaged to isn't quite what he seems.

Soon, Finley finds herself in the role of bodyguard as she tries to get to the bottom of what this inventor of automatons really wants with young Phoebe...

I actually read this novella in one sitting and had a blast with it! Seriously, it's awesome. I loved the main character, and the steampunk world she lives in is fascinating. I can't wait to read more.

Monday, 19 December 2011

HAUNTING THE NIGHT by Mara Purnhagen

Charlotte Silver has been through hell.

Her mom’ s in a coma. She may have caused the death of a young man. And now her friend Avery wants her to tackle going to Prom? Not going to happen, even if she is dying to spend some alone time with her boyfriend, Noah. Instead, Charlotte needs to find some answers to a few nagging questions—why was her family attacked? Will her mother survive? And is there a creature from the Other Side coming for her? Soon enough, Charlotte's search for the truth becomes a race against time. But she may just find the sign she's been looking for all along....


I've had the third/final book in this trilogy waiting to be read for about a month now, but I didn't want to get stuck into it until I read this novella. It fits between the second and third Past Midnight books.

A month after what happened in One Hundred Candles, Charlotte's life is not a happy one. Sure, her best friend is supportive, she's got a very understanding boyfriend, and a bunch of people willing to help out... but her mother's in a coma. And her father is keeping a bedside vigil at the hospital.

Then there's the strange shadow that appears across the street every single night. A creepy shadow creature that seems to be growing and getting closer. As Charlotte struggles to understand what it is and why it's there, she's determined to put an end to it. Even if it means facing the heavy guilt she's been carrying around.

This was another awesome novella. I loved it! I really like Charlotte's world, and can't wait to see how everything works out at the end of the trilogy.

H&UFRC books read: 51/24

Friday, 16 December 2011

The end of a wonky week

Yeah, this week has felt so disjointed that most of the time I didn't even know what day it was. Like yesterday, I was convinced it was Friday. Obviously I was wrong, because it's Friday today. O_o

The reason I'm feeling this way could be for several reasons:

* My ususal post-restless stage after finishing a novel,
* The fact it's my daughter's last week of school,
* Realising that 2011  is only weeks from being over,
* That I have so many awesome books on my TBR/Kindle pile I don't know which to grab first...

Then again, it could be a combination of everything. We're so close to the end of the year that I'm starting to feel the exhaustion of everything I've done. Phew. I really do feel so tired lately.

Anyway. I've managed to get a few things done, and even read/reviewed two Hachette books (see below) and I'll have to get myself a small to-do list for what's left of this month and for January. Realistic projects I can do while having my daughter home. Also, things that can be put aside if/when edits hit my Inbox.

But today, I don't think I'll do much. :)

Oh, and before I go, I'm now a member of the SFR Brigade. Check me out! ;)

Well, catch'a later.

Thursday, 15 December 2011

MISERY by Stephen King

Introducing the Flipback: Excellent pocket-size edition of Stephen King's all-time classic - a must for both collectors and newcomers alike.

Paul Sheldon used to write for a living. Now he's writing to stay alive.

Misery Chastain is dead. Paul Sheldon has just killed her - with relief, with joy. Misery made him rich; she was the heroine of a string of bestsellers. Now he wants to get on to some real writing.

That's when the car accident happens, and he wakes up in pain in a strange bed. Annie Wilkes has pulled him from the wreck, brought him to her remote mountain home, splinted and set his mangled legs.

The good news is that Annie has pain-killing drugs. The bad news is that she has long been Paul's Number One Fan. And when she finds out what Paul has done to Misery, she doesn't like it. She doesn't like it at all . . .

I'm a huge Stephen King fan. I've got every single one of his books. Some, I have in multiple editions. This is one of those. I wanted to sample the new Flipback books from Hachette, and was lucky enough to get a copy of this awesome book.

First, let's talk about the actual story...

Paul Sheldon is the popular author of the Misery Chastain books, featuring a character he has a love/hate relationship with. So, after he finishes her off--literally--he's spent some time writing a new novel. Something fresh and different. A story he's looking forward to sharing with the world, so he can leave the characters of Misery behind. However, on his way home, he gets caught up in a bad storm, loses control of the car, and winds up in a ditch.

Lucky for him, he wakes up in the 'safety' of a house. Annie Wilkes happens to be a nurse and rescued him from the wrecked car. She's taking care of him. Oh, and she also happens to be his "number-one" fan. She loves the Misery books. But when she reads the latest one, she's not satisfied with the ending and demands Paul write her a special installment of Misery. One that brings the character back to life.

As Paul struggles to bring back to life a character he was happy to say goodbye to, he finds his own life being threatened at every turn. Because Annie's not well. She's unstable, cruel, and truly psychotic. Not only does he find himself writing a novel that doesn't cheat and satisfies Annie, but he becomes the tortured, immobile captive of a psycho who slowly starts to cut into him. And I don't mean just his sanity and endurance, either.

Now, let's talk about the format...

This is the first Flipback I've ever read, so it was quite an experience. This book is compact--actually, it fits in the palm of your hand, and in your pocket--so you can take it anywhere with you. It's cute and very well made. I also love that cover! The writing inside is clear and easy to read. It has sideways-printed text, which means you read the book the opposite way you would a paperback or hardback.

The only problem I had with it was that because the pages are thin, they stuck sometimes, making it hard to turn the page. And when you're reading a Stephen King book, you really want to turn those pages quickly. ;) 

Also, it reminded me of the small Bible I got from scripture class when I was a kid. Which is not a surprise, since they were invented in Holland by a Bible publisher.

Personally, I started out feeling a little skeptical about this format... but I have to admit that I really liked it. I love books, no matter what the format, and as long as the story I'm reading captivates me, I'm all for every type of format. And this one is a pretty cool and unique one.

The final word...

Misery is another page-turning, horror-filled, amazing book by the artful Stephen King. Not only did it keep me on the edge of my seat because I couldn't wait to see what was going to happen next, but it made me cringe. It made me angry, sad, and even happy when Paul experienced even a little bit of hope. I became as haunted by Annie as he was, and kept expecting her to do something crazy to someone at every turn. Which she does. Many times.

When I finished Misery, I was exhausted! I was glad to have finally gotten to the end of Paul's nightmare, but also felt sad because I didn't want the book to end.

As uncomfortable as this book made me in many places, I truly loved it!

Misery, July 2011, ISBN 9781444730074,  Hodder Paperbacks--Flipback edition

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

I think summer's decided to skip us this year...

Seriously. That's what it feels like around here.

We have one or two hot and sunny days, then spend the next few weeks drowned with rain. Saying I'm sick of it doesn't actually capture how much I wish summer would just settle in. I feel like I'm in a constant state of winter, and I can't stand it. :(

It's kinda depressing, but I'm determined to stay positive.

This week is the last week of school for 2011. Starting this weekend, my daughter will be on summer school holidays for about 6 weeks. She goes back on January 30, 2012. Yikes. That sounds like a long way away, huh? Still, she's older now and has some stuff planned during her time off. Which reminds me, I need to schedule what I'd like to work on during what's left of December and the whole of January...

I'll do that sometime this week. Unless I get edits in my Inbox during the next few weeks, I don't have any other solid project deadlines for myself. I've managed to meet my two big ones: revising Recast #3 and Sierra Fox #2 before the end of this month. I'm still very excited about these two. Though I will be biting my nails until I hear back from my awesome editor!

So, as far as this week goes, I'm using it to relax, sort, file, think, take notes, and catch up on my reading. I've got so many awesome books to read, and have totally fallen behind. It's time to sit on the couch with Loki and catch up on it. At the moment I'm reading the Flipback edition of Misery. I'm almost halfway through and can't believe how awesome and distressing it is. lol.

I've also updated My Reading page and added a bunch of 'Up Next' books. :)

Today, I've already sorted through some of my computer files. Whenever I'm working on something, I make such a mess of the Desktop and my USB drive.

Have a great day!

Monday, 12 December 2011

THE SONG OF THE QUARKBEAST by Jasper Fforde

As the background Wizidrical Power slowly builds after the Big Magic, King Snodd IV of Hereford realises the man who controls Magic controls almost anything.
 
But one person stands between him and his plans for power and riches: Jennifer Strange, sixteen-year-old acting manager of Kazam.

It may involve a trip on a magic carpet at the speed of sound to the Troll Wall, it may involve a second Quarkbeast sniffing around town. It might also involve the mysterious Transient Moose, and a powerless sorceress named Once Magnificent Boo. But one thing is certain: Jennifer Strange and her faithful assistant Tiger Prawns will not relinquish the noble powers of magic to big business and commerce without a fight.

This is the second book in the Last Dragonslayer series.

Jennifer Strange is still running Kazam, an employment agency for those who can perform magic to help others with mundane problems. She's always got something going on, and this time is approached by the peculiar Miss Shard, who wants a lost ring that might not want to be found. Then there's King Snodd. He's decided to make Kazam and iMagic go up against each other by rebuilding Hereford's old bridge. They will each start at one end, and the winner will takeover the loser's company.

Oh, and then there's a new Quarkbeast in town...

The Song of the Quarkbeast is another quirky story. I have to admit that although I enjoyed most of it, I still felt mostly disconnected from what was going on, and what the characters were going through. And even found myself skimming forward a bit. :( Also, the random footnotes didn't help.

The concept of this series has certain appeal, but I just can't get hooked on it.

The Song of the Quarkbeast: A Last Dragonslayer Novel, November 2011, ISBN 9781444707236,  H&S Fiction Paperbacks

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Excerpt from Sinful...

As soon as Abe stepped out into the bright sun, she felt the intensity of Sebastian’s gaze on her. It itched at her skin until she couldn’t help but roll her shoulders. If he stayed this close to her, they’d never make it out of this without hitting the wall she so desperately wanted to avoid.

Sometimes, she wondered why the hell she listened to Liv in the first place. Maybe her older cousin’s control over the organization had started to blind her in other departments. As much as she loved her, things had always come so easily to Liv. That she’d offered up Sebastian so quickly for this endeavor should’ve roused Abe’s suspicion, but she was beyond desperate. If Lloyd didn’t completely disappear from her life soon, she would go insane.

There are already too many things on my plate to add insanity to the mix. Not that the authorities wouldn’t label her delusional and completely insane, already.

“Hey,” Sebastian said casually as he took a drag from the cigarette between his fingers. The soft, warm breeze swept those long strands of dark hair off his forehead long enough for her to gaze into his eyes. He closed one eye as he exhaled some of the smoke.

She crossed her arms and faced him, trying very hard not to give in to the urge to tap her foot or to think about just how stunning his eyes were. She lived in a damn mansion, but everywhere she went, Sebastian happened to be there. Was it pure coincidence, or was he going out of his way to corner her?

Knowing what she’d become, she couldn’t help but feel like it was the latter. Did he have to make smoking—something she usually abhorred—look so sexy? Standing against the wall and wearing his bright red T-shirt and faded jeans showed off just how fine a male specimen he was.

She needed to get her mind out of the gutter before she did something stupid.

Abe took a shallow breath. “What are you doing up here?”

“It’s nice to see you, too,” Sebastian said with a grin. He flicked the cigarette over the side of the roof, making some of the ash fly into a swirl in the air. “Did you get your business all taken care of?”

“Not exactly.” Shit, why had she admitted that?

He took a step forward, interested. “Really? Anything I can help you with?”

If you’ve got a magnet strong enough to lure spirits that refuse to abide by the rules, then sure. By all means help me. Of course, she couldn’t say that. “No, I’ll work it out.”

Eventually.

“You’ve got a lovely garden up here.” He motioned at the many rosebushes crowding the other side of the roof.

They were her pride and joy, roses in every color. All perfect and beautiful, even when their cycle of life was complete, and she used them for other things. A way to recycle or reincarnate living things, just as she hoped was the result of her intervention with human spirits.

“Thanks. This is where I find my solace.” She unfolded her arms. “It’s where I come to get away from everything and everyone.”

“Oh, right. I understand.” He threw the cigarette on the stones near his feet, squashed it with his shoe, picked it up, and slung it over the side of the roof. Sebastian’s legs were so long that one more step, and he’d almost reached her. He never took his eyes off hers. “Let me get out of your way, then.”

Abe sighed as he walked past. She hadn’t wanted to but caught his hand before he left. An electric shock ran up her fingers, and she dropped it. Shit he’s so cold. “You don’t have to go.”

As Sebastian turned to look at her, he rubbed the hand she’d touched against his jeans. “Are you sure?”

She shrugged. “It’s refreshing to see someone else up here. Ryu and Kimi don’t like to leave the house much.” That they preferred the darkness and isolation this place offered seemed to be an understatement. The truth was much more sinister. Neither of the twins could just up and go anywhere—not without being properly released first. When Haru passed away, he’d given Abe everything he owned. His children had been part of his property. If she hadn’t laid ownership to them, someone else could’ve taken them. Haru hadn’t wanted their custody to fall into the wrong hands.

“This is the second time I’ve been up here. It’s peaceful.” A cloud of darkness crossed over his eyes for a split second and faded just as quickly.

“Oh?” She raised an eyebrow in question. Most of the time she locked the roof door, even if the key was easily accessible in her office. That it had been open when she’d gotten up here hadn’t even occurred to her until now. Maybe Kimiko had unlocked it for her. It was the kind of details she took care of. “Was the door open when you came up?”

He nodded. “It was open last night, too.”

Now, she had no idea what he meant. If there was one time when access was locked, it was during the night. In spite of the wards and guards she’d paid dearly to have installed around the grounds, other things could still manipulate their way in. The Crosse Funeral Home attracted a lot of attention. Mostly from those in need of their specialized skills, but there were others who lurked nearby for malicious reasons. Lloyd had been one of those.

“You were up here last night?”

“Well, technically I suppose it was this morning.”

Abe couldn’t stand the buzz his proximity roused along her skin. She headed toward the roses, instantly inhaling the precious, sweet scent of them. The smell calmed her nerves and momentarily made her forget about all of the problems needing her attention. She had to get Jack Kowski back to perform her duty before his burial the next morning, had to keep her distance from Sebastian, ensure Lloyd was gone once and for all, and of course needed to get into the right state of mind to perform the ritual that would ease the chunk of her problems.

She closed her eyes for a second, swaying when an undercurrent of rotten stench raced up her nose. Where the hell’s that coming from? She took a quick step back. Her eyes flew open, but she nearly collapsed to the ground. A sharp pain pierced her chest, as if someone had just taken a piece of her heart. If strong hands hadn’t wrapped around the back of her arms, she’d have gone down for sure.

Her breath came in spurts. Quick breaths helped her calm down long enough to whisper, “Thanks.”

Sebastian’s grip on her arm was firm but gentle. He stood so close behind her, she could feel his chest against her back. His breath was warm on her neck, and that electrifying sensation rocked her body. She couldn’t resist his touch, not even with the clothes between them. The thorns beneath her skin moved in fast succession. So quickly that if she looked down at the fitted sleeves, she knew the spiked ends would already be piercing the fabric. If the thorns pricked Sebastian and drew blood, they’d be headed for disaster.

“Are you okay?”

She nodded. “Sure. You can let go now, but thanks.”

“You’re welcome.” Sebastian stepped closer. His hands lingered on her arms, while his smoky breath sped up. “If you ever need my help, just call on me,” he whispered near her ear.

A shiver of delight raced down her spine. “I’ll remember that.” Abe wanted—no, needed—to push him off her. The sensations he roused would soon manifest in the swirl of uncontrollable lust already winding up from her lower abdomen. If he didn’t get away from her soon, she’d have no choice but to throw herself at him. Then, her desired plan wouldn’t happen, because once she got physically involved with this man, she wouldn’t be able to force the horrid plan she intended for him.

He suddenly yanked both hands away from her and swore.

Abe looked over her shoulder. Sebastian was staring at his fingers, raising one to his mouth. She spun around and smacked it away before he could taste the blood. “Don’t lick it!”

“Shit, what the hell just happened?”

She sucked in a breath that almost winded her. If the thorns didn’t dissipate soon, he’d know something terrible was going on with her. “Did you skim one of the thorns?”

His brow creased, and he looked from her to the roses and back again. “I suppose…though I wasn’t standing that close to the bushes. What happened to you? Are you sure you’re okay? Why the hell did you just hit me?”

“I’m sorry, but if you were scratched by one of the thorns and licked the blood, you might get sick. I use powerful stuff to keep the pests away.” There, that wasn’t such a stretch. She did use powerful pesticide, though the thorns that had broken his skin were from her body and not the flowers.

He gave her a quizzical look. “Are you sure you’re okay? You looked like you were about to pass out.”

She nodded, widening the gap between them and reaching for the comfort of a pink rose petal. “I’m fine. Sometimes, I get a little woozy after I…” What was the point of finishing the thought? If Abe wasn’t careful, she’d be spilling all of her secrets to him. “You said that you came up here last night? Why?”

SINFUL is now available in eBook, Kindle and paperback.

::: If you enjoyed this excerpt, be the first to send me an email (click on the Contact Me tab) to let me know... and I'll send you a copy of the whole eBook. But you have to be quick, this is only for the first person who contacts me :::

Saturday, 10 December 2011

An exciting steampunk announcement from Heather Massey...

Greetings!
Yolanda has kindly given me time on her blog to tell you about The Watchmaker’s Lady, my forthcoming erotic steampunk romance e-novella from Red Sage Publishing. In this story, a watchmaker in 1840 New England falls in love with a beautiful clockwork automaton, but how long before the townspeople discover his forbidden affair?

Here’s the (unofficial) story blurb:

Matthew Goddard is a lonely watchmaker in 1840 New England. One fateful day, he discovers the lover of his dreams in a dusty corner of the local general store—Isabel, a bisque porcelain mannequin head with mesmerizing, smoky blue eyes. When Matthew invites her to come live with him, she eagerly “accepts.”

The couple embarks on a lust-filled affair, one fueled by Matthew’s wild imagination. In order to provide Isabel with a brass body and pretty clothes, he begins a secret side business selling clockwork sex toys to his wealthy female customers.

Danger, however, threatens their idyllic romance when a disgruntled customer exposes Matthew’s forbidden business to the townspeople. Despite the growing menace, Matthew will stop at nothing in order to save his soul mate—and protect their love.

***
The Watchmaker’s Lady is a tale of two soul mates who fight to keep their romance alive despite overwhelming odds. The story combines clockpunk, a hero with an unusual occupation, an unconventional heroine, steamy love scenes, and a surprise twist that I’m not going to spoil for you!


Look for The Watchmaker’s Lady from Red Sage Publishing in Spring 2012. You can also visit my site and blog for developing news.

Thanks for reading! 

Friday, 9 December 2011

Today, started out well...

Yeah. It did, because the sun was shining first thing this morning. I couldn't believe it, and am really hoping that it sticks around for a while. I am so over the rain. Seriously over it.

Anyway. I had certain goals that I wanted to achieve today... and I did! I'm so happy to have finalised Sierra Fox #2. I also got the synopsis cleaned up. And even managed to email everything to my editor before lunchtime. Now, I've gotta cross my fingers and toes. I really hope she likes it.

Well, that's really all I wanted to say today. :D

I'm feeling a little giddy with excitement at the moment. I also can't wait to get stuck into the next Sierra book. I know, weirdo, right? LMAO.

Well, have an awesome weekend!

Monday, 5 December 2011

Ready for the new week...

With only two weeks of school left, I have to be ready to seriously tackle what's left of my self-imposed deadlines for 2011. And what exactly is that?

Well, I want to finish the third draft of Sierra Fox #2 before my daughter's last school day for this year--which happens to be the 16th of this month. After that, she won't go back to school until late January. Of course, I'll still be working on other projects, but I want to have this one done by then.

Fingers crossed.

Oh, and by the way, see this awesome pic on the left? Well, my daughter made it for me on one of the doll maker apps on her iPad. It's actually Sierra Fox. Doesn't she look cool? She made a bunch of these awesome dolls for me, for characters in Sierra's world and those in Trina's. Very cool.

How was your weekend? We had another great one. Although I was terribly disappointed when I read the online results of The Ultimate Fighter 14 Finale and found out that Mayhem Miller didn't win. :( I was hoping he would, because he rocked so much as a coach on the latest season. Oh well. He still rocks, and I can't wait to see him in action again.

Okay, you know how I mentioned my goal for this week? Well, I actually cheated and gave myself a head start on Friday. And even managed to squeeze in a little revision over the weekend. So instead of starting on page 1 this morning, I'm already sitting on page 68/236. Awesome, right? Now, instead of having 236 pages to revise by the end of next week, I have 168. Sneaky, huh? But cool, I reckon. ;)

Today's goal is to get as close to page 100 as I can. That'll bring me up to my Thursday goal. lol. I think this sneaking in revision whenever I can is a great thing. Even if it does cut into my reading time. But it doesn't matter, I'll be rewarding myself with plenty of reading after I reach this personal goal!

Speaking of reading. I've pretty much reached my 2011 reading challenge goals... except for the Stephen King Challenge. I have one book left to read on that one, and it's MISERY. :D

Oh, and remember how I mentioned that I've had a sore left heel for several months now? Well, I finally went to the doctor on Friday and had him check it out. Turns out I needed to take some anti-inflammatory pills to help with the swelling, and not walk for a while. At least, not the kind of walks I love doing. *cries* After taking the pills over the weekend, the pain has almost subsided. I also didn't go for any strenuous walks and will have to take it easy this week. Which means I'll probably miss out on most of the week's walks, but at least I can do yoga and weights.

If I don't do this, the injury won't heal completely. It's just that not going for my daily walks makes it feel like something is missing from my days. Sigh.

Okay, time to get on with the day...

Thursday, 1 December 2011

THE LAST DRAGONSLAYER by Jasper Fforde

In the good old days, magic was powerful, unregulated by government, and even the largest spell could be woven without filling in magic release form B1-7g.

Then the magic started fading away.

Fifteen-year-old Jennifer Strange runs Kazam!, an employment agency for soothsayers and sorcerers. But work is drying up. Drain cleaner is cheaper than a spell, and even magic carpets are reduced to pizza delivery.

So it's a surprise when the visions start. Not only do they predict the death of the Last Dragon at the hands of a dragonslayer, they also point to Jennifer, and say something is coming. Big Magic . . .


When I first heard about this book, I was intrigued. I love dragons, so I wanted to know more...

Jennifer Strange is fifteen years old and is a foundling in the Ununited Kingdoms. She also runs Kazam, which is an agency for those who can perform magic to help others. However, magic isn't as powerful as it used to be and a lot of places are ending their contracts with the company. Not to mention that the boss is missing and no one knows where he is, which leaves her alone to take care of things. Luckily, The Blessed Ladies of the Lobster have sent an orphan to help her out.

However, when pre-cogs start having visions of the last dragon dying at the hands of a dragonslayer, things get interesting and confusing for Jennifer. Because she just happens to be in the middle of everything and soon finds herself in an unexpected situation.

The Last Dragonslayer is a quirky story filled with strange and colourful characters. It's also set in a world much like ours, but completely different. It was quite an experience. Although I did enjoy it, I often felt a little disconnected from what was going on. I'm not sure why. Maybe it's because things moved a little too fast sometimes, or it could just be because Jennifer and the Quarkbeast were the only characters I really found myself caring about...

Still, it's a fun read!

The Last Dragonslayer, September 2011, ISBN 9781444707205,  Hodder Paperbacks

 
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