If I Stay by Gayle Forman
“On a day that started like any other…
Mia had everything: a loving family, a gorgeous, adoring boyfriend, and a bright future full of music and full of choices. Then, in an instant, almost all of that is taken from her. Caught between life and death, between a happy past and an unknowable future, Mia spends one critical day contemplating the one decision she has left—the most important decision she’ll ever make.
Simultaneously tragic and hopeful, this is a romantic, riveting and ultimately uplifting story about memory, music, living, dying, loving.”
Mia is a wonderfully written main character and I was totally captivated by her story. (It’s really hard to write a review here without giving spoilers!?) Suffice it to say that I was emotionally caught up and invested in the tale and outcome. I cried like a baby, teared up more than a few times and this is one of those stories that will stay with me for a very long time.
The main characters as well as the secondary characters were all written with a depth and richness of believability, the plot was excellent, the pacing great, and as the book description says: ” Simultaneously tragic and hopeful, this is a romantic, riveting and ultimately uplifting story about memory, music, living, dying, loving.” It was exactly that.
If I Stay was riveting! I was drawn into the story and was completely caught up in it. I read it in one sitting because I couldn’t put the book down. Gayle Forman is a very talented story-weaver and I am definitely keeping an eye out for the next book, Where She Went, which will be out in the spring of 2011. This book delivers and I highly recommend it to everyone!
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Find out more about Gayle Forman at her website!
Black Dust Mambo by Adrian Phoenix
“FIRST IN A NEW SERIES!
“There will be times, girl, when all your magic ain’t going to be enough, times when it will seem to dry up like mud under the noonday sun, or even make matters worse. . . .” Kallie Rivière, a fiery Cajun hoodoo apprentice with a talent for trouble, finds herself smack-dab in the middle of one of those times her mentor warned her about when she visits New Orleans to attend the Hecatean Alliance’s annual carnival: her hard-bodied conjurer hookup ends up dead in her blood-drenched bed. And he was killed by something that Kallie would never dream of touching—the darkest of dark juju, soul-eating juju—a black dust hex that may have been meant to kill her.
Now Kallie has to use every bit of hoodoo knowledge and bayou-bred mojo she possesses to clear her own name and find the killer—even as that dark sorcerer hunts Kallie and her friends. But Kallie’s search for the truth soon leads her in a direction she never anticipated—back home to Bayou Cyprés Noir, and to Gabrielle LaRue, Kallie’s aunt, protector, and hoodoo mentor . . . who is looking more and more like she just might be the one who wants Kallie dead.”
Adrian Phoenix hits another ball out of the park with Black Dust Mambo! 🙂 I was completely engrossed by the characters, the story, the rich atmosphere and the fast pace.
This book is the first in a new series by Adrian Phoenix, author of The Makers Song series, and I am completely hooked. Kallie is a wonderful character who I was rooting for all the way. Layne, well… can I say I want one just like him? *Grins* Anyone who’s been following my blog for a while knows that I am a huge fan of Adrian’s writing and of the lady herself. She has an affinity for creating a world on paper that is so richly detailed that you feel like you are there with the characters, watching things go down like it’s a movie.
Fast paced, wonderful plot, danger, excitement, romance, mystery and a few deaths mixed in with the paranormal, hoodoo, voodoo and a super sexy Nomad, well… alls I can say is I WANT MORE! (And when does the next book come out?) I highly recommend this book to fans of both Urban Fantasy & Paranormal Romance with some New Orleans’/Louisiana spice.
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Find out more about, (stalk) 😀 , Adrian Phoenix, her writing, cool merchandise and other fun stuff at her Website!
My last interview with Adrian.
Honeymoon Of The Dead by Tate Hallaway
“No honeymoon is ever exactly perfect, but mine won’t even get off the ground. Literally! After an extremely eventful wedding—and that’s putting it mildly—Sebastian and I are about to jet set to Transylvania for some quality R&R. Yeah, I know it’s not exactly every girl’s fantasy honeymoon but it suits me just fine.
But thanks to a vengeful frost demon, Sebastian and I—and our plane—are stuck in exotic Minneapolis, Minnesota. And honestly, it wouldn’t be so bad if I wasn’t seeing gods and goddesses everywhere I turn. I’m starting to think my new visions might be caused by the goddess possessing my body, because ever since she moved in I’ve been getting theses weird waves of dizziness and seeing beings of a higher power. And let me tell you, there are plenty in Minneapolis. Go figure.
Now I’m learning quickly that dealing with gods and demons—not to mention running into some people I would have rather left buried in the past—doesn’t leave much quality honeymoon time for me and my new vampire hubby…”
Sadly, this is the last book in a five book series, but that aside, it was a wonderful read! I really liked Garnet & Sebastian. They were both fun, funny, flawed and believable characters set amongst a crazy supernatural background. Great characters, fast paced plot, mayhem and hilarity ensue while Garnet and Sebastian attempt to go on their honeymoon. I was totally satisfied with the ending as well, though I wish there were more books to come. I highly recommend this series to fans of a fun paranormal romance read.
It’s a habit of mine to collect all or several of the books in a series before reading it and I know that I will be going back to read the entire series now that I’ve read Honeymoon Of The Dead. It’s not my usual practice to read the last book first, lol, but I had no trouble following along and it really intrigued me to go back and start from the beginning! So I have to get my hands on one more and I will be having myself a Garnet Lacey read-a-thon. 🙂
Some good news is that Tate Hallaway is hard at work on her new YA series about a Vampire Princess of St. Paul. The first book, Almost To Die For is due to hit the shelves on August 3rd, 2010. You can read a synopsis here.
Buy Honeymoon Of The Dead at:
Find out more about Tate Hallaway and her writing at her website.
Embers by Laura Bickle
Unemployment, despair, anger—visible and invisible unrest feed the undercurrent of Detroit’s unease. A city increasingly invaded by phantoms now faces a malevolent force that further stokes fear and chaos throughout the city.
Anya Kalinczyk spends her days as an arson investigator with the Detroit Fire Department, and her nights pursuing malicious spirits with a team of eccentric ghost hunters. Anya—who is the rarest type of psychic medium, a Lantern—suspects a supernatural arsonist is setting blazes to summon a fiery ancient entity that will leave the city in cinders. By Devil’s Night, the spell will be complete, unless Anya—with the help of her salamander familiar and the paranormal investigating team—can stop it.
Anya’s accustomed to danger and believes herself inured to loneliness and loss. But this time she’s risking everything: her city, her soul, and a man who sees and accepts her for everything she is. Keeping all three safe will be the biggest challenge she’s ever faced.”
I believe that this is Laura Bickle’s debut novel and can I just say WOW!! I was beyond impressed and am totally hooked on this series now. Sparks is the next one forthcoming on August 31st and I want it yesterday, lol. Now I am obviously no expert in how fire and arson investigators work, on how a fire progresses, or on elementals, but I was completely impressed with how knowledgable this author came across in her descriptions. That it was believable was my overall impression after reading Embers.
I loved the Devil’s Night in Detroit setting, it reminded me of how much I enjoyed a similar setting in the original Crow movie starring Brandon Lee. Anya’s familiar, Sparky, is a loveable scamp who I’m looking forward to reading about again! The Ghost Hunter crew is a great group made up of richly detailed eccentric and charismatic individuals. And last, but not least, we come to Anya… she’s a wonderfully written character who’s a whirlwind of strength, vulnerability, unique, conflicted, loyal and brave.
I have three words for this book… I WANT MORE!
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Find out more about Laura Bickles & her books at her website.
Blood Song by Cat Adams
“Bodyguard Celia Graves plies her trade in a world where vampires roam the alleys of Tinseltown, street corner psychics have real powers, and cops use memory enhancement spells. An ordinary human, Celia uses street smarts and charmed weapons to protect the rich and famous from mortal and supernatural threats. She’s protecting the prince of a small but politically vital nation when things go horribly wrong. Bitten by a master vampire, Celia knows she is about to die.
To her shock, she survives. Celia Graves has become an Abomination, neither fully mortal nor fully vampire. Her “master” is hunting her, to destroy her or finish what his bite began. She’s accused of murder, and the cops aren’t sure whether she should be locked up or staked. And then there’s the demon she glimpsed during the vampire attack…
Struggling to cope with her new powers, Celia reaches out for help from her once (and future?) lover, a powerful mage; his warrior priest brother; a handsome werewolf who keeps his lupine nature concealed from the world; an elderly clairvoyant; and one trustworthy cop.
Celia Graves has three days to save the world, her sanity and her soul.”
Blood Song is the first book in the new Blood Singer series and it blew my mind! Awesome, awesome series debut novel. This is Urban Fantasy at its peak. I am dying to read the next book in the series, Siren Song, which will be out September 2010, (just in time for my birthday!).
Celia Graves is a really likeable character and the writing duo of Cat Adams have created an immensely fascinating and entertaining read filled with believable paranormal characters and plotlines. Fast paced plots, heartbreaking scenarios and superbly developed characters had me flipping the pages like crazy! There are so many great places that this story went and so many more great places for these characters to go. Surprise twists in the plot and some great potential oncoming plots have me jumping up and down wanting to read the next installment of the series NOW!
This book will definitely be in my top ten picks of 2010!
Pre-order Blood Song at:
Find out more about Cat Adams and their books at their website.
Twice Dead by Kalayna Price
“Newly undead shifter-turned-vampire Kita Nekai is coming to grips with the reality that her cat has not awakened since her change. What she needs is a little time to adjust to her new liquid diet and the increasingly complex attraction to her sire, Nathanial. What she gets is a headless harlequin. With the body count rising, Kita is dragged into a dangerous game of vampire politics.
Her involvement draws the attention of an ancient vampire known as the Collector who has a penchant for acquiring the unusual – like a pure blood shifter-turned vampire. Kita still has unfinished business of her own and finds herself deeper in magical debt. It’s a bad time to be a kitten who can’t slip her skin.
Kalayna Price’s debut novel, ONCE BITTEN, earned rave reviews and reached #1 on Amazon.com’s “Fantasy Bestseller List.” TWICE DEAD returns readers to a dark, seductive world where magic rules and ancient loyalties collide with modern challenges.”
I jumped into this series with the second book, Twice Dead, and had no problems following along. I definitely want to read the first book, Once Bitten. Kalayna Price has created an interesting supernatural world filled with rich, intriguing characters. Kita is an interesting mix because she was a shifter that was turned into a vampire. Her progress while adjusting to the change in the face of danger kept me reading long into the night!
Filled with action, suspense, danger, and a fascinating relationship. I recommend this book to anyone who is a fan of urban fantasy, heroine’s who grow and come into their own, and characters that come alive on the pages of a fast paced story.
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Find out more about Kalayna Price and her books at her website.
Supernatural: Heart Of The Dragon by Keith R. A. DeCandido
“A “Supernatural” novel that reveals a previously unseen adventure for the Winchester brothers, from the hit CW series.
When renegade angel Castiel alerts Sam and Dean to a series of particularly brutal killings in San Francisco’s Chinatown, they realise the Heart of the Dragon, an ancient evil of unspeakable power, is back. John Winchester faced the terrifying spirit 20 years ago, and the Campbell family fought it 20 years before that – can the boys succeed where their parents and grandparents failed?”
This is my first Supernatural tie-in novel and I was easily pulled right in to the story and caught up in the action. If you are a fan of the show, I highly recommend reading this book to get your Sam, Dean and Castiel fix in between shows! Keith R.A. DeCandido does an excellent job maintaining character integrity and creating a great new story in the Supernatural world.
Bonus scenes for me included a few scenes from the past involving John Winchester, and the Campbell’s, Sam & Dean’s grandfather and mother. I will be keeping an eye out for more books in this series! And if you’ve been under a rock and haven’t yet watched the show, this book is a great read regardless.
Buy Supernatural: Heart Of The Dragon at:
Find out more about Keith R.A. DeCandido and his books at his website.
Lover Mine by J.R. Ward
“In the darkest corners of the night in Caldwell, New York, a conflict like no other rages. Long divided as a terrifying battleground for the vampires and their enemies, the city is home to a band of brothers born to defend their race: the warrior vampires of the Black Dagger Brotherhood.
John Matthew has come a long way since he was found living among humans, his vampire nature unknown to himself and to those around him. After he was taken in by the Brotherhood, no one could guess what his true history was- or his true identity. Indeed, the fallen Brother Darius has returned, but with a different face and a very different destiny. As a vicious personal vendetta takes John into the heart of the war, he will need to call up on both who he is now and who he once was in order to face off against evil incarnate.
Xhex, a symphath assassin, has long steeled herself against the attraction between her and John Matthew. Having already lost one lover to madness, she will not allow the male of worth to fall prey to the darkness of her twisted life. When fate intervenes, however, the two discover that love, like destiny, is inevitable between soul mates.”
I was lucky enough to receive an ARC of Lover Mine. WOW! This is the book I have been waiting for in the series and it totally blew my mind. Don’t get me wrong, I loved every book in The Black Dagger Brotherhood’s series and have been buying them faithfully since the first book came out, but John Mathew’s story? Just AMAZING! J.R. Ward really outdid herself for this book and I am so very grateful and satisfied with the outcome.
Lover Mine can be read as a stand-alone and you will fall in love with the series and rush out to grab the rest of the books, but I personally found it to be that much more satisfying because of the build up and history of the character, John Mathew, from previous books. Kind of like Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Acheron was to her Dark Hunter series.
Lover Mine focuses on John Mathew and Xhex’s relationship, but has so many plot twists and turns along with excellent side stories involving Tohr, Payne, Blay, Qhuinn, some ghost hunters and the Lessers. Great back stories for Xhex, John Mathew and Darius are also skillfully woven into the telling of this tale.
IMO, JR Ward is a master of the weaving of an immensely captivating and fascinating paranormal. I highly recommend this book and series to anyone who loves incredible world-building, steamy romance, action, suspense, a rich history and a dangerously sexy twist on the vampire mythos. At times, dark and gritty and at others heartbreakingly beautiful, these characters blaze to life on paper.
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The Reading Order Of The Series:
Find out more about J.R. Ward and her books at her website.
Master Of None by Sonya Bateman
“ONE UNLUCKY THIEF. ONE UNLIKELY GENIE. ONE VERY ODD COUPLE.
Gavyn Donatti is the world’s unluckiest thief. Just ask all the partners he’s lost over the years. And when he misplaces an irreplaceable item he was hired to steal for his ruthless employer, Trevor – well, his latest bungle just might be his last. But then his luck finally turns: right when Trevor’s thugs have him cornered, a djinn, otherwise known as a genie, appears to save him.
Unfortunately, this genie – who goes by the very non-magical name of ‘Ian’ – is more Hellboy than dream girl. An overgrown and extremely surly man who seems to hate Donatti on the spot, he may call Donatti master, but he isn’t interested in granting three wishes. He informs Donatti that he is bound to help the thief fulfill his life’s purpose, and then he will be free. The problem is that neither Donatti nor Ian has any idea what exactly that purpose is.
At first Donatti’s too concerned with his own survival to look a gift genie in the mouth, but when his ex-girlfriend Jazz and her young son get drawn into the crossfire, the stakes skyrocket. And when Ian reveals that he has an agenda of his own – with both Donatti and the murderous Trevor at the center of it – Donatti will have to become the man he never knew he could be, or the entire world could pay the price. . . .”
An exceptional debut urban fantasy! I really enjoyed the character of Gavin Donatti because even though he’s a thief, he’s a funny smart a$$ with truly rotten luck and he’s a redeemable rogue. This character came to vivid life for me and I was captivated by the story. Surrounded by great supporting characters and a really evil villain, with suspense, great plot twists and a grumpy djinn that you have to love.
I hope that this will be a series as I could definitely get into more stories about Gavin, Jazz, Ian and the rest of the gang. I highly recommend this book as a great fun urban fantasy read!
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Find out more about Sonya Bateman and her writing at her website!
P.S. Sonya, what’s with the hating on Canadian Bacon? LOL 😀
Biting Me Softly by Mary Hughes
“He’s a candy box of sex appeal wrapped with a golden bow. She’s on a diet.
Blood, sex, violence. Blood, okay, but computer geek Liese Schmetterling had enough S&V when her cheating ex fired her. Now security expert—and lip-smacking gorgeous—Logan Steel saunters into her Blood Center, setting fire to her libido. And threatening her job.
Visions of pink slips dancing in her head, Liese tries to push Logan away without touching his jutting pecs…or ridged abs. Or petting the Vesuvius in his jeans. He’s hiding something, but it doesn’t seem to matter when his smiles stun her, his kisses crank her to broiling and his bites rocket her to heaven. Fangy bites which, if she weren’t grounded in science, would make her think ampire-Vay.
Centuries old and tragedy-scarred, Logan’s mission is to fortify the Blood Center’s electronic defenses against his nemesis, the leader of a rogue vampire gang. He’s ready for battle but not for Liese, who slips under his skin, laughs at his awful puns, charges beside him into dark, scary places—and tastes like his true love.
No matter how often Logan declares his love, Liese can’t bring herself to trust him. But when his archenemy comes after her, not trusting him may cost her life…
Warning: contains explicit vampire sex involving absurdly large male equipment (hey, they’re monsters), unbelievable stamina (just how long can he stay underwater in a hot tub?), hide-your-eyes violence and horrendously bad puns. And, just when you think it can’t get any worse, a computer geekette trying to play Mata Hari.”
This is the fourth book in Mary Hughes’ Biting Love series, and it was a blast to read! I absolutely love Mary’s sense of humor which comes out in the richness of her characters. Liese and Logan made sparks fly while battling inner struggles as well as a bunch of rogue vampires who are out to get control of the blood center that Liese and then Logan work at.
A few characters from past books make appearances during the telling of this tale, which I enjoyed. At times, it’s laugh out loud funny and at others, well between all the action, danger, steamy hot hook ups, it’s also a touching renewal of faith in falling in love. Throw Vampires into the mix, both good and bad, and it makes for a roller coaster of a ride! Mary Hughes is most definitely in my “auto buy” author category.
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Find out more about Mary Hughes at her website.