Tuesday, August 30, 2011

From Assassins to Nuns

Today I have a special post for you, with Excerpt and all!

Today is release day for Skyla Dawn Cameron, with her second book in The Demons of Oblivion series ~ Hunter.  A story of a Demon hunting Nun. 

Skyla talks today of writing Assassins then straight to a Nun!

THEN!  There is one amazing Excerpt at the end of the post.  Man, that woman ends in a very tight spot!  I need to read more!  Please welcome with the warmth you always do, Skyla Dawn Cameron!  (I believe there are drinks on the table, vodka and more. Do enjoy!)

From Assassins to Nuns

“I could so ‘hear’ you telling the story. Her dialogue sounds like stuff you’d say.”

Anyone who knows me and reads Bloodlines inevitably says this. My mother has. My co-worker has. My friends have. My voice comes through in a lot of my characters, but Zara Lain seems to be the one who most sounds like the Skyla people know. I don’t actually know whether to be offended or not—I’m not as quick-witted or funny as Zara, so either they think I’m funnier than I am (I’m okay with this), or they don’t really listen to me to begin with so have no idea I’m not that funny (I am less okay with this). But I digress.

Stepping into Zara’s skin to write from her point of view is like hanging out with an old friend who you know so well, you can finish each other’s sentences.

Zara, however, is nothing like me. She’s confident to the point of arrogant (I lean toward insecure). She’s promiscuous (talking to boys frightens me). She kills people for a living (okay, so do I, but they’re not real people...usually). She can drive and has flashy cars (I can’t even ride a bike). She’s aggressive and extroverted (I’m painfully shy). She doesn’t have five cats (*cough*).

Which could be why I can go from writing a snarky vampire assassin in one book to a demon-hunting nun in the next.

Ryann, the narrator of today’s release Hunter, sounds nothing like me. She doesn’t swear. She doesn’t snark. She’s religious. She navigates public transportation far more successfully than I ever have. She can step in a church without bursting into flame. She also doesn’t have five cats (*cough*).

I’m often asked what made me decide to switch to a different narrator for the second book in the series rather than continue with Zara Lain immediately after Bloodlines. And...actually, I ask myself this as well, as most readers get a kick out of Zara and I now worry they’re going to hate Ryann because she’s nothing like her, and then my series will tank, and then I won’t be able to publish another Zara book (also, neither of my heroines are paranoid; clearly I am).

But where’s the fun in telling the same story twice? Where’s the challenge in taking the formula that worked the first time and just doing it all over again? I think there’s a danger with any long running series. Characters become stale. Storylines become repetitive. I’m not naming names, but I’m sure y’all can think of a few.

I’m nowhere near that point with Zara and I have many more stories of hers to tell, but I want readers eagerly anticipating her next book, not dreading it. I want to have a series with many fleshed out characters who have interlocking stories, not just a repeat of Snark and Violence with Zara Lain. And I want to step out of my comfort zone as a writer and spend 100K words with someone who is nothing like me.

Hunter was a harder book to write. Ryann makes choices I wouldn’t. She believes things I don’t. And, for better or worse, she’s entirely different from Zara, like Hunter is entirely different from Bloodlines, which may disappoint some readers while pleasing others. But it isn’t that difficult to step from writing an assassin to writing a nun when you, the writer, isn’t much like either of them.

One of these days I’m determined to write a crazy cat lady, though.

About the Author: Award-winning author Skyla Dawn Cameron has been writing approximately forever. Her early storytelling days were spent acting out strange horror/fairy tales with the help of her many dolls, and little has changed except that she now keeps those stories on paper. She signed her first book contract at age twenty-one for River, a unique werewolf tale, which was released to critical and reader praise alike and won her the 2007 EPPIE Award for Best Fantasy. She now has multiple series on the go to keep her busy, which is great for her attention deficit disorder.

Skyla lives in Southern Ontario where she dabbles in art, is an avid gamer, and watches Buffy reruns. She’s naturally brunette, occasionally a redhead, and will probably go blonde again soon. If she ever becomes a grown-up, she wants to run her own pub, as well as become world dictator. You can visit her on the web at http://www.skyladawncameron.com/ for free fiction, book news, a community forum, and tons of other totally awesome stuff.

She also has five cats. Here’s the newest:

Hunter jacket copy:

Sometimes natural predators need to be kept in check, and for that, there's Ryann David. Orphaned as an infant and raised by an exiled branch of the church to become a warrior for God, she and her fellow members of Venatores Daemonum have trained all their lives with only one purpose: destroy all demons in the mortal realm.

But when Ryann and her team are sent to hunt down a vampire who has killed one of their own, a new world of danger, betrayal, and conspiracy greets her. Allied with an irreverent psychic detective and the very monsters she was raised to kill, Ryann will risk everything—her life, her faith, and her heart—in pursuit of the truth as the black and white existence she knew turns a murky shade of gray.


Hunter Excerpt (exclusive)

Sweat beaded on my forehead, twisted with my hair, and slithered down my back. I’d shuck off my hoodie but it had kept my arms from being scraped to pieces when I fell before, and I’d likely fall again—plus no way was I taking time to remove the katana. I flexed my fingers, aware of the stake on the ground in my peripheral vision.

I braced. Studied him. Waited. He shifted his weight and movement flickered in his shoulder seconds before two punches came my way. I caught his wrists, directing each blow to the side. When he wasn’t catching me off guard, he was sloppy, either oblivious to his tells or not caring—and it could be the latter, as he was a vampire and few could compete with them so he relied on strength and speed only.

His left leg tensed, weight shifting again. When the kick came, I was prepared; I ducked and spun, pulling the katana from its sheath, feet kissing the cement as I danced around him. The blade came down, artfully slicing through his left hamstring.

The vampire howled as he tumbled forward, and blood sprayed as I cut the hamstring of his right leg next.

He had strength and speed, yes, but I had skill and now he wouldn’t be running far.

A backhand swipe I didn’t see coming struck me across the face, snapping my head to the side so hard my ears rang. I stumbled. Fought to right myself. An instant later, pain pierced my leg as he latched on, teeth sinking into flesh just above my knee. Terror spiked adrenalin through my veins and my heart knocked against my ribs at the sight of the bloodsucker crouched there, bleeding, feeding off of me while I forgot the most important lesson: they didn’t need working legs to be deadly.

I yelped even as I told myself not to—even as I remembered this was little more than a wild animal who would be incited to do worse by any weakness I showed. Blood pooled on the grimy ground around us but it hadn’t slowed him down; he could no longer stand but his teeth tore into my flesh again. I flexed my grip on the katana, swung it up, then he let my leg go and gave me a hard shove.

Balance left me and I dropped on my back, hard, barking my elbows on cement.

And then he was on me, pinning me to the alleyway floor that stank of garbage and urine. Fingers locked on my wrists, squeezing; my katana was lost to me, fallen somewhere as the stake had. His mouth opened, dark and gaping but for those horrible teeth that shone white. I struggled but my legs were beneath his, my arms restrained up near my head. Panic rose, clawing up my throat.

As he neared me, I swung my head forward, the hard bone of my forehead striking his nose which broke with a crack.

Now my head thundered with pain and hot blood sprayed across my face, but I’d broken his attention on my neck. His grip on my wrists tightened and he returned my head butt, smacking my forehead harder than I’d hit him. White hot stars played over my blurry vision, pain shooting straight down my neck when the back of my head bumped the pavement.

I shuddered at the feel of his tongue, warm and wet, dragging up my cheek, and he nipped at my ear.

“Mmm, I like the taste of you,” came his voice, dark and thick all around me, drowning me in terror. “Is it true the blood of a virgin nun is sweeter than all others?”

Dear God, please, dear Lord, I... I couldn’t even form a prayer, tears burning my eyes and tremors rocking me bone deep.

His teeth nicked my shoulder and I let out a helpless, terrified cry that built in my chest before rising, rising, to spill past my lips.


Thank you Skyla for stopping by the blog today!  And man, I want the rest that goes with that excerpt.  She is in one tight position there and I want to know what happens!  :) Thank you for the great post.  That kitten is just adorable.

So, Are you curious about the books?  Well, go check them out:
Skyla's Site and Blog
Skyla's Books (on her site)
Skyla on Twitter

Monday, August 29, 2011

Monday's Beginnings (105)

So it's Monday... again.

I thought I had a really good week last week, until I looked at my reviews and such.  And the weekend wasn't much of a reading weekend as we did the school clothes shopping thing for the kids.  Yuck.  That is one tough trip let me tell you.  But while out with the kids shopping we were at the mall, where my Borders Express is (the one that's closing).  So I did visit on Friday.  Yeah, wait until you see below.  I went on a buying spree with the 50-60% off there.

I'm hoping to get some reading done this week.  I'll be off work this week, except for today.  I'm having surgery tomorrow, nothing that big as I'll be coming home Wednesday morning.  BUT!  I do have a post scheduled to go to celebrate release day with Skyla Dawn Cameron.  I hope you all still stop by and say hello to Skyla and read what she has to say about writing From an Assassin to a Nun. ;) It's great and there is one amazing excerpt from her new release Hunter.

But I did get some reading done this past week...

Currently Reading:
Legends Reborn: The Light of Epertase by Douglas Brown - I will be finishing this one today.  I've been enjoying this fantasy read in between my other reads as well.
Hunter by Skyla Dawn Cameron - I plan on starting this one tomorrow.

To Come This Week:
   Killbox by Ann Aguirre
   Legends Reborn:  The Light of Epertase by Douglas Brown

Last Week:
Books I finished:
Killbox by Ann Aguirre

Reviews Posted Last Week:
The Renfield Syndrome by J.A. Saare

Podcast Reviews Last Week:
Tales from the Archives #9 - Night's Plutonian Shores

I did write a Flash Fiction Friday.  :) I just kept it to a short story type with the picture.  Hope you enjoy it.

My WANT list... I added 11 Books! Yeah! :) This list is really growing to fast with 10 or so books each week lately.

Books Received:
Goodreads Synopsis:
Sometimes natural predators need to be kept in check, and for that, there's Ryann David. Orphaned as an infant and raised by an exiled branch of the church to become a warrior for God, she and her fellow members of Venatores Daemonum have trained all their lives with only one purpose: destroy all demons in the mortal realm.

But when Ryann and her team are sent to hunt down a vampire who has killed one of their own, a new world of danger, betrayal, and conspiracy greets her. Allied with an irreverent psychic detective and the very monsters she was raised to kill, Ryann will risk everything—her life, her faith, and her heart—in pursuit of the truth as the black and white existence she knew turns a murky shade of gray.

Goodreads Synopsis:
For hundreds of years, the bestial Grol have clawed at the walls of Lathah without success. Now armed with O'hra, mystical weapons of great power, they have returned, to conquer.

Witness to the Grol advance, Arrin can abide his exile no longer. He returns to Lathah, in defiance of death, with hopes to save his beloved princess and the child born of their illicit affair. He finds her unwilling to abandon her people. At her behest, Arrin searches for a sanctuary for them only to be confronted by the Sha'ree, a powerful race long thought gone from the world. Through them, he learns it is not just the Grol that threaten the land.

Empowered by a magic never before seen, the savage nations spread chaos and ruin across the realm. With Lathah under siege, and the world on the brink of cataclysmic war, Arrin must strike a deal with the Sha'ree to take the fight to the Grol, or forever lose his one true love: his family.

Okay, I think I'm done with buying books for now... Welllll, maybe not.  But I couldn't pass this up.  Borders Express is going out of business and all is 50%-60% off what I got!  So some books where only $3. Others where $8 and one was $2!  Unreal right!  This was a dangerous place for a book lover.

ALL these books are on my Want list, so I just picked them up. ;)  Now to find the reading time...
Goodreads Synopsis:
Not even death can save her now. 

As a grave witch, Alex Craft can speak to the dead-she's even on good terms with Death himself. As a consultant for the police, she's seen a lot of dark magic, but nothing has prepared her for her latest case. When she's raising a "shade" involved in a high profile murder, it attacks her, and then someone makes an attempt on her life. Someone really doesn't want her to know what the dead have to say, and she'll have to work with mysterious homicide detective Falin Andrews to figure out why...

Goodreads Synopsis:
A demonic serial killer is on the prowl in Beaulac, Louisiana, and psychic detective Kara Gillian is determined to stop him. Kara's good intentions hit a detour, however, with the arrival of an angelic, sensuous creature named Rhyzkahl. Torn between the exquisite pleasures of the heavenly newcomer's touch and her obligation to find the killer, she discovers that alluring attractions can lead you ever deeper into mortal danger. Sexy paranormal suspense.

Goodreads Synopsis:
Cassandra Archer is the Huntress. She has faithfully served the Earth Mother for years, rescuing kidnapped children from monsters-both human and supernatural-dwelling in the ruins of the Barrows District. But when two children are kidnapped under similar circumstances, all clues point to a cataclysmic event on the next dark moon. Now Cass must race against the clock and prevent a sacrifice that could destroy the entire town...

Goodreads Synopsis:
Fallen angels in the form of vampires are infecting humans one by one, creating an army fit for Armageddon. Jesse Burke, driven by vengeance to destroy the vampiric angels, has been protecting New Orleans from the onslaught, unaware that she has a much greater destiny awaiting her in the face of the oncoming apocalypse...

Goodreads Synopsis:
Frey is the captain of the Ketty Jay, leader of a small and highly dysfunctional band of layabouts. An inveterate womaniser and rogue, he and his gang make a living on the wrong side of the law, avoiding the heavily armed flying frigates of the Coalition Navy. With their trio of ragged fighter craft, they run contraband, rob airships and generally make a nuisance of themselves. So a hot tip on a cargo freighter loaded with valuables seems like a great prospect for an easy heist and a fast buck. Until the heist goes wrong, and the freighter explodes. Suddenly Frey isn't just a nuisance anymore - he's public enemy number one, with the Coalition Navy on his tail and contractors hired to take him down. But Frey knows something they don't. That freighter was rigged to blow, and Frey has been framed to take the fall. If he wants to prove it, he's going to have to catch the real culprit. He must face liars and lovers, dogfights and gunfights, Dukes and daemons. It's going to take all his criminal talents to prove he's not the criminal they think he is ...

Goodreads Synopsis:
Welcome to a rip-roaring action-packed story of heists, double-crosses, double-double-crosses, adventure, shoot-outs and a touch of romance along the way. In the first Ketty Jay novel, RETRIBUTION FALLS, Frey and his crew were framed for murder, and had to use all their criminal talents to try to clear their names - and turn a profit! Here, in the second novel in this series of standalone adventures, they're asked to help retrieve a mysterious lost ship full of treasure, which turns out to be slightly more complicated than expected ...

Goodreads Synopsis:
The visionary creator of the Academy Award-winning Pan's Labyrinthand a Hammett Award-winning author bring their imaginations to this bold, epic novel about a horrifying battle between man and vampire that threatens all humanity. It is the first installment in a thrilling trilogy and an extraordinary international publishing event.

The Strain They have always been here. Vampires. In secret and in darkness. Waiting. Now their time has come. In one week, Manhattan will be gone. In one month, the country. In two months—the world.

A Boeing 777 arrives at JFK and is on its way across the tarmac, when it suddenly stops dead. All window shades are pulled down. All lights are out. All communication channels have gone quiet. Crews on the ground are lost for answers, but an alert goes out to the CDC. Dr. Eph Goodweather, head of their Canary project, a rapid-response team that investigates biological threats, gets the call and boards the plane. What he finds makes his blood run cold.

In a pawnshop in Spanish Harlem, a former professor and survivor of the Holocaust named Abraham Setrakian knows something is happening. And he knows the time has come, that a war is brewing . . .

So begins a battle of mammoth proportions as the vampiric virus that has infected New York begins to spill out into the streets. Eph, who is joined by Setrakian and a motley crew of fighters, must now find a way to stop the contagion and save his city—a city that includes his wife and son—before it is too late.

Goodreads Synopsis:
The Myth: Alice was an ordinary girl who stepped through the looking glass and entered a fairy-tale world invented by Lewis Carroll in his famous storybook. The Truth: Wonderland is real. Alyss Heart is the heir to the throne, until her murderous aunt Redd steals the crown and kills Alyss’ parents. To escape Redd, Alyss and her bodyguard, Hatter Madigan, must flee to our world through the Pool of Tears. But in the pool Alyss and Hatter are separated. Lost and alone in Victorian London, Alyss is befriended by an aspiring author to whom she tells the violent, heartbreaking story of her young life. Yet he gets the story all wrong. Hatter Madigan knows the truth only too well, and he is searching every corner of our world to find the lost princess and return her to Wonderland so she may battle Redd for her rightful place as the Queen of Hearts.

So another week is upon us.  How are you looking at the beginning of this week?  Does it look like a good week for you?

And for a little music sharing today...

I enjoyed watching this girl on American Idol, and so glad to see she is doing well in the music industry.  But I think this is one of my favorite songs of hers.  I know she's talking about love, but I felt like she took me back to a fantasy world when I first heard this song.  I know sounds lame as Fantasy books are not big with love, but just something triggered that thought at first, bear with me. :)

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Just For Thought (11)

Ereaders?  What??

Okay, so this week I'm going to as the big question.  Ereaders?  What one to go with?  Do they all do the same anymore?

Let me start at the beginning.  So many of you are aware, Borders is closing their doors.  Shame really.  But to the ereader questions at hand.  I went to the store Friday night and bought books, but my husband noticed the Kobo readers were on sale for a nice price.  A friend purchased one before it was announced that Borders was closing and was told the Kobo was compatible with Barnes 'n Nobles Nook.  When she called Barnes & Nobles they didn't understand what she was saying.  So when my husband mentioned the price I immediately said no.  I would be limited to where I could get my books, and I get loads of books.  I was afraid even my review books would not be able to be open on the Kobo ereader.

But I got home and all weekend I've been thinking on this.  I'm not sure how these ereaders work.  Really, no idea at all.  I have the apps on my cell phone (god is it small) and on the computer so I can try playing with different models to see what I like.  Truth be told.... I can't figure the damned things out.

I hear people say PDF files (or books) can be read on them.  I can't figure out how to open pdf files on the versions I have.  So, if I can't figure it out and use it, I'm not going to spend the money on these things I can't use.

So, my questions fall back to the great community I love and trust.  You.  Can you please give me just a little clue?  I don't know if anything is compatible with anything.  Or if I should be able to do what I think it says I should be able to.  And can I do it on these stupid apps I have?  I want to play with these things and see what works.  So far I'm really not having luck.  I have the Kindle, which wont sink up my computer and cell phone at all, and I have the nook, and Kobo apps.  Will I be limited to who I can buy books from?  And will I be able to read my review copies sent from authors or publishers on it?  What formats are there and what is compatible with each other.

Yes, I'm naive when it comes to technology.  It's a wonder I can blog to tell you the truth. ;D

This technology is just all craziness I tell you!  It's taking over the world, one button at a time... lol.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Looking Forward To...(64)

There are so many amazing books already on the shelves and new ones coming out.

For a list of books yet to be released I'm looking to get, you can also look on my right Sidebar at the ever growing list titled Desired Reads - just scroll down. Of course there are tones of other new books to come out that are amazing as well, but these ones are part of series I have already started or for one reason or another caught my eye (and haven't seen much on other blogs yet). But I will highlight one here each week.

(mentioned in order of Release Date then Alphabetical if there are more than one book coming out on the same date.)

Next Book Is...

Into the Grey
(or in other parts of world called Taken Away)
By:  Celine Keirnan
Due Out:  September 6, 2011

This book caught my eye after reading Celine's Moorehawke trilogy.  This one has a different sound to it, but I really like what I've seen on her blog/site of the excerpts. It sounds spooky, but yet reminds me of the old fey/goblin celtic tales.  I really like the feel of this one.  Now this book will be releases overseas, or overseas to me.  She is in Ireland.  And I don't know if it's coming to the US or not.  But thanks to Book Depository I can still order it. :) YES!

I do have to say Celine is going to be doing a giveaway for this book this week too.  So go check out her blog and see if she has it up yet. :) If not, keep visiting as it will be up soon.

If you would like to read an excerpt, visit Celines blog on this direct link to the excerpt.

Goodreads Synopsis:
A pacy, chilling ghost story from the creator of the internationally acclaimed Moorehawke Trilogy.

I think the fire changed us – me and Dom. I think that’s how the goblin-boy was able to see us. Though he’d been there for every summer of our childhood, we’d only been stupid boys until then. Stupid, happy, ignorant boys. And what in hell would he have had in common with two stupid boys? But after the fire we were different. We were maybe a little bit like him. And so he saw us, at last, and he thought he’d found a home…

And depending on where you live this might be the book and title.

Flash Fiction Friday (19)

Dottie over at Tink's Place have come up with the idea for a Monday Morning Flash Fiction challenge. Each Monday a new picture prompt will be posted and if you choose to participate you post your story on Friday - 350 words, give or take.

I have to thank Blodeuedd at Book Girl of Mur-y-Castell for introducing me to this fun meme. I don't know if I'll be able to keep up with every week, but I'll give it a try from time to time.

The Image This Week:

By:  Melissa

She stood in her deceased mother’s best dress and all fancied up, using the red berry juices to shine her lips and flowers decorated through her hair. And she felt a fool.

She lived in the forest alone, but even being one with nature as she was she ventured close to towns to see and learn. She knew the ways of the women there. And she swore she was not like them. Only fool girls sat waiting for the men of their dreams to come gallivanting to them and whisk them away in their arms to the safe grounds of a castle or large manor.

She is a simple girl, in his eye although she had more power than he knew. He found her as he was lost in the woods. He couldn't even find his own obvious brush hacked trail through and the harsh prints in the ground. He had wondered almost to exhaustion when she found him. She left him feel the part of a hero even though the spites and birds had told her he was here and lost. She never thought she'd lose her heart to any man, let alone him, in that short of time together. But he had to go back to his village to tend to matters. He said as he held her and kissed her lips he would return in a week’s time to take her with him to be his bride and love.

She looked around as the birds weaved around her head playing with the flowers and her hair. She swatted at them chasing them away, ripping the flowers from her hair. He wasn't coming. She had come here every day for the last five, waiting his arrival, hoping.

She was partly glad there were no others with her to laugh at her foolish thoughts, but then half wished she had someone to cry to then maybe she wouldn't feel so lonely and...desperate.

She shook her head and ripped the gown from her body, grabbing the fur hide pants she donned in comfort and the top woven of cotton, climbing the vines into the tree tops.

Never again would she wait for a man, or anyone else for that matter. She would live out her life as a bitter woman aging slowly to feel the pain every day.


Little did she know her all loving nature was jealous of her feelings for this man and played cruel tricks with their hearts to get what she wanted, for now and the future.

The young suitor did return to the forest for his hearts love, but once again lost his way in the forest of ever moving greenery. His trail always covered and hidden from him.

The young man found he wandered aimlessly through the forest for days, not knowing his way to her or to his home. Tripping over a large tree root that mysteriously appeared from under long plant leaves, he fell hitting his temple on a hidden rock with jagged edges.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Guest Post to Come!

Are you an Urban Fantasy fan?  Skyla Dawn Cameron will be here August 30, 2011 to celebrate her release day of Hunter.

I hope you will stop by to check out the Excerpt of Hunter she'll be sharing and chatting about writing Ryann the demon arse kicking Nun, after writing the very...special, Zara Lain.  (have to be nice to the homicidal vampire who happens to be my VBF ~ Vampire Best Friend ~ so don't tell her I called her homicidal... thanks!)

From Assassins to Nuns...

These two characters couldn't be more different from the sounds of it, and opposite sides of the line as well.  (Although might have a same agenda in the end, but see Zara is one of the kind Ryann is killing... sounds like trouble...)

I just love the idea of a demon arse kicking Nun. lol.  Yes, I like saying that.  But please don't ask me why as I don't know, I just enjoy saying it.  You know one of those things that sticks with you.

Throwback Thursday (30)

Let's talk about those books already on the shelves, yours or the stores.

I have a post for books I'm looking forward to coming out;

Looking Forward To...
But what about all those wonderful books that are ALREADY on the shelves.

Whether it be on your shelf waiting to be read or on the shelves in the stores waiting for you to give it a good home.

So, I thought I would share a book a week that is just waiting for me to travel through it's world.

Now... where do I start? Lets go by Published Date on the books...

This Week:

Hmm... I do need to read this trilogy.  I've hear wonderful things about this fantasy read.  I wasn't sure it was the one for me, but the more I learned about the book from others I found I wanted it.  So I got it.  Then I heard of his new series starting with The Black Prism.  And thought that one sounded like me too.  But I do need to get back to this trilogy and start it.

Goodread's Synopsis:
For Durzo Blint, assassination is an art-and he is the city's most accomplished artist.

For Azoth, survival is precarious. Something you never take for granted. As a guild rat, he's grown up in the slums, and learned to judge people quickly - and to take risks. Risks like apprenticing himself to Durzo Blint.

But to be accepted, Azoth must turn his back on his old life and embrace a new identity and name. As Kylar Stern, he must learn to navigate the assassins' world of dangerous politics and strange magics - and cultivate a flair for death.

Blog Book Chat (17) End!

We have finished Killbox by Ann Aguirre. Wow!  When is Aftermath coming out?  5 days you say.  Well, not soon enough.  Can't wait to get into the next book!

Alright, well we need to finish up our chat on Killbox first.  This week is hosted by Robyn at The Bookoholic Zone.  Do come chat the book up with us!  What you thought and what you think will happen.  What are you waiting for?  Jump over now. :)

Hope to see ya there!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Tales from the Archives - Eight

Tales from the Archives - Eight

By:  Pip Ballantine & Tee Morris

Written & Narrated by:  Jack Mangan

Format:  Podcast, 35.43 minutes & 33.49 minutes

Genre:  Fantasy, Steampunk

Series:  8th in Tales of the Archives podcasts, part of A Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences series

Recommendation:  Yes. Nice way to meet new characters in this steampunk-ish world particularly if you enjoyed the book; A Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences Novel, Phoenix Rising. This case involves a gold bug, a flying contraption, and trains.  What a combination in the United States for a case!
Night’s Plutonian Shore

This epic tale opens in 1849 when a poet is murdered in the streets of Baltimore. The man behind the seemingly random murder manages to elude the law until — in 1889 — Agents Bruce Campbell and Brandon Hill track him down. The assassin, Mikael Scharnusser, gives the slip to the agents on revealing his “talent” and the madman’s intentions to bring down the House of Usher.

My Thoughts and Summary:
This story starts in 1849 with the mysterious death of a brilliant poet by a one eyed man with a thing in his right eye socket under his patch.  As this is an unsolved case the agents Campbell and Hill are working on.  The murder has eluded the Ministry for years and the Agents have a lead on the man with code name "The Gold Bug."  The agents track Mikael down to find themselves paralyzed so Mikael can do as he plans... bring down the House of Usher.  The Agents are separated.  Finally getting free with the help of Zachary Amboy, a Yankee OSM ~ a new branch from US Marshells - Office of Supernatural & Metaphysical.  And they find them selves over seas in the Ol' USA.

This is author Jack Mangan's first steampunk work.  And from what I see, he has a knack and should explore it more.  The carriage of Zachary's is amazing!  The tubes and wires we see make us curious, but then when you see what this 'simple' (ha!) horse drawn carriage can do, well you'll be surprised.  These Yankee wild west boys can steam it up wonderfully.  Not only the carriage, but when the weapons present too.  Oh, and we get a locomotive scene!  Yes!  Trains!

The neat connection here to the book of Phoenix Rising is the mention of The Usher House.  Now, that caught my attention.  I always want more of them, well from my curiosity point to learn more of them.  We don't get much in the way of details of them as the case is focused on "The Gold Bug" but we do get to chase them a little. :)

This podcast is two parts.  And I really enjoy the way Eliza and Wellington quickly refresh us with brief details before the second half and that last paragraph is repeated from the narrator to bring the mood right back to us listeners.

This was an enjoyable quick listen for fun.  Hope you give these podcasts a go for quick steampunk fixes with mysterious artifacts.  And there are always teeny tiny doors left open to revisit these places again.  Which I hope some day we do.

Would you like to listen to these? For a taste of the characters or in addition to the book... Visit The Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences.

There are short stories always added to the listing. So keep checking back!

I listened to this short story for my own enjoyment.

Cover Release, Book Description & Excerpt!

Skyla Dawn Cameron has announced the Book Jacket Description for Lineage.

Let me tell you this new narrator, Peri, sounds like oh Hell of a Demon on a vengeful rampage.  Sounds like a fast paced kicking read.

After you read this I hope you click the link below to go read an excerpt where we meet a darker side of Peri.

Due Out:  Early 2012
Family reunions suck.

What's a woman to do when her dad's the antichrist, her grandma's the devil, the end of the world is at her doorstep, and she's out to avenge the murders of her husband and kids?

Kill everything in her way.

Quarter-demon Peri Takata exists with but one goal in mind: annihilate everyone responsible for the death of her family.  Then - her need for vengeance quelled - she plans to take her own life.

Her mission brings her to the vampire Zara Lain, the only known survivor of the event that destroyed Peri's family five years ago.  Hunting down a secret society of those who don't want to be found has its challenges, however, especially when forces are working to keep the antichrist's daughter very much alive.  The apocalypse is closing in and Peri may be playing a role in it whether she wants to or not.

But when a heart long-thought dead begins to beat again with love for another, she's not so sure about anything anymore.

Yeah! She sounds awesome doesn't she!?!  Well, if you would like to meet a deeper side to here go check out Skyla's Excerpt she has posted of the book!  Seriously! Go check it out.  It's a great fight scene.  And I want to know about the head... well, you'll see. ;D

Who? What? Where? (34)

Who are you with? Where are you at? What's happening?

Share with us just a little bit of what is happening in the book you are reading, right where you are now.

Just a tiny taste of what's happening, remember try to not give spoilers of the book.

(This is a new meme I'm going to try and will tweak as I go. And please don't laugh at my lame attempt at drawing. ;D )

I'm with Dillon, his mother, and soldiers leaving the school yard.  His mother just burst into the school house to take us away before they came to get them, but she was to late.  They are already here.  Dillon knocked the superior out, but they have started fire to the school house.  Strange thing, the other kids are brainwashed and never looked up from their books!  They will die without a care.  Even though we made it out, we are under arrest now.  But there is something very, very special about Dillon and his mother.  They aren't from this area of land, and I'm curious what's special about them.

Legends Reborn
The Light of Epertase
By:  Douglas R. Brown

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Book Review: The Renfield Syndrome

The Renfield Syndrome

By:  J.A. Saare

Publisher:  Mundania Press - Now Available

Publish Date:  August 23, 2011

Format:  ARC

Genre:  Urban Fantasy

Series:  2nd book in Rhiannon's Law series; 1st book ~ Dead, Undead, or Somewhere in Between

Recommendation:  What are you waiting for?  Vampires, werewolves, demons, a few ghosts and poltergeists, fighting scenes, love and sex.  What else could you ask for?  Full speed forward with a kick arse woman.  GO GET IT!

Book Synopsis:
Vampires, and werewolves, and demons, oh my.

Rhiannon thought facing off against a deranged child vampire was the most dangerous task she would ever have to undertake, but she's about to discover making a deal with a demon is far, far worse.  Sent forward into another reality, one in which vampires are now dominating nearly extinct humans, she realizes the sooner she returns to her vampire lover Disco, the better.

Unfortunately, time changes a lot of things; including those most trusted around her.  When she's faced with a loss and betrayal unlike any she had ever known, her focus shifts from severing the debt between the demon that wants to kill her, to exacting a revenge that will bring forth consequences she never could have fathomed. But reaching out to the darkness lingering within her, she'll find the strength to push forward despite the circumstances that would see her dead and buried.

After all, when it's all said and done, all that she has left to lose is her soul.

First Sentence:
Rhiannon's Law #22.  You can't lie to yourself, so don't bother trying.

My Thoughts and Summary:
Rhiannon shocked beyond belief, finds herself in a 2112 Hell on Earth version of New York after a deal with the demon Zagan trying to resolve Disco's debt to him.  The sneaky bugger sent her one hundred and one years in the future from her time.  She now has to relay the short message to Disco from Zagan to exonerate her from her deal.  Humans are becoming extinct from the Renfield Syndrome in this future reality were vampires, werewolves, and demons are out in the open and rule over breakable humans.  New York is silent.  Nothing in or on the streets.  The homes are desolate and ransacked, until night falls and the town becomes deadly as sin.  This is a future no one would want for their future children's children.  Zagan comes to Rhiannon again as their is complications with the deal regarding the Amulet and Disco.  Rhiannon has 13 days to give Zagan what he wants or lose her soul.  Werewolves, demons, and ghosts all are after Rhiannon for different reasons in a future that Rhiannon finds is Hell on Earth.

Rhiannon becomes more focused in her ability to see ghosts and talk with them.  Her powers have evolved more here with some unexpected help.  Rhiannon is still the kick arse woman we remember.  She takes nothing laying down, and will gouge out any eyes along the way.  Yet we start to see Rhiannon has a softer side when she starts to realize how much she loves her friends she has, or had.

Rhiannon has so many things happening in this book.  It's fast moving and she never seems to get out from underneath the falling piano.  Everyone wants her for one reason or another; love, mating, to resolve a ghost haunting, or most of all her soul.  And all she wants to do is deliver her message and go home to her love.  But that may not be as easy as she had hoped.

I just have to say Saare takes this series to a new platform with this book.  The first book was a great read for me and it stuck with me long after, even to now.  But this one is beyond that with new pieces to learn; of the new world, and of the vampires Rhiannon loves.  Even the werewolves have things for us to learn.  Oh and the DEMONS!  This book opens up the world greatly.  This book is new and fresh.  This is the wonderful thing with authors who take each book to a new level, to keep the series from becoming boring and stagnate.  This series is far from boring!  This book was a page flipper and kept me wanting more.  This is the way to go with a series, keeping it new all the way.

This book left me feeling okay in the end.  Oh, hell yes I want the next book.  But I'm good with waiting with were we ended here.  It didn't feel like the huge cliffhanger of a lifetime this time.  I want to know what the replications will be!  Also known as The Ripple Effect.

I received this ARC from the author for an honest review.

This book qualifies for the Horror and Urban Fantasy Challenge hosted by Book Chick City.

Teaser Tuesday (89)

Teaser Tuesday

is a weekly event
Sponsored by MizB of Should be Reading

Here's how it works:

Grab the book you are currently reading (anything at all)
Open the book to any random page.
Share 2 teaser sentences from anywhere on the page
Please Make Sure They Are Not Spoilers!
(Don't Give Too Much Away)
Just enough to pique our interests

This Week:

I quickly decided against the caveman theory.  Carter could shift his form into some scary ass version of Beauty and the Beast, but he maintained control of himself.

The Renfield Syndrome
By:  J.A. Saare

(I feel since it is release day for The Renfield Syndrome, why not celebrate it all day with a teaser and a review. Congrats Jaime!)

Monday, August 22, 2011

Monday's Beginnings (104)

It's Monday!  It's Monday.

I'm feeling pretty good this week.  And that's because of the nice relaxing weekend with a book.  I haven't had one of those weekends in some time.  We are always doing something with friends, kids, or working around the house.  But things worked out wonderfully for me to kick back and read.  I finished the whole book too! So I really had the time here. :)

I have big plans this week.  And with the energy I'm feeling for books right now, I'm hoping for a big week in reading.  (that happens when I read a book you enjoy immensely.)  Jaime really got my book reading flowing this weekend with her book.  I'm planning on finishing Killbox here today, as I don't think I can handle waiting any longer.  And I'm looking forward to Aftermath coming out here on the 30th.  And I'm hoping to finish Legends Reborn by the end of the weekend.

So whats been going on and whats in the plans...

Currently Reading:
Killbox by Ann Aguirre - for the Book Chat on Thursdays - Which I WILL finish this week for Thursday's chat.
Legends Reborn: The Light of Epertase by Douglas Brown - I'm planning on finishing over the weekend to come.

To Come This Week:
   The Renfield Syndrome by J.A. Saare

Last Week:
Books I finished:
The Renfield Syndrome by J.A. Saare

Reviews Posted Last Week:
Spectyr by Philippa Ballantine
The Adventures of Dalton Quayle by Paul Kane

Special Posts Last Week:
Tour of the Black with Caitlin Kittredge - this is a tour of sights to visit from the Black London series!

Podcast Reviews Last Week:
Yep, I'm a slacker.  I WILL be getting back to these very soon.  I'm thinking next week might work wonderful.  But we will see.

I did NOT write a Flash Fiction on Friday.  Sorry.  I was a slacker last week.  Things just didn't seem to fall in place very easily last week so I missed it.

My WANT list...well, I'm picking up here.  I added 12 books last week! Yeah! Thank you all.

Books Received:
For Review:
This was a lovely LOVELY surprise to find in my email last week.  An Arc for review.  Which the review will be up this week for celebration of release. :)
Goodreads Synopsis:
Vampires, and werewolves, and demons, oh my.

Rhiannon thought facing off against a deranged child vampire was the most dangerous task she would ever have to undertake, but she’s about to discover making a deal with a demon is far, far worse. Sent forward into another reality, one in which vampires are now dominating nearly extinct humans, she realizes the sooner she returns to her vampire lover, Disco, the better.

Unfortunately, time changes a lot of things; including those most trusted around her. When she’s faced with a loss and betrayal unlike any she has ever known, her focus shifts from severing the debt between the demon that wants to kill her, to exacting a revenge that will bring forth consequences she never could have fathomed. By reaching out to the darkness lingering within her, she’ll find the strength to push forward despite the circumstances that would see her dead and buried.

After all, when it’s all said and done, all that she has left to lose is her soul.

So another week is with us.  And summer is starting to feel as it's coming to a close with schools starting. *sigh*  Where did it go?  But I'm hoping to get into the flowing schedule of school season easily this year.  And it means calming and more relax time for reading.

How are you looking at the beginning of this week?  Does it look like a good reading week for you?

Here's to having a great week in words and pages.

And I figured I'd keep up with the music for you as it's fun.  So lets do another song...
Okay, for me I just listen to the song and not watch the video.  But I get a dystopian feel from the song, as they say we may not be here tomorrow.  But then I get the feel of a man just looking for a reason to take a woman home with him.... any trick in the book. *shacks head*  But still, I do enjoy the song and it's got a wonderful beat for dancing.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Just For Thought (10)

Do you like a new twist?

I read different takes on the over all Fantasy genre.  Thanks to blogging, and meeting bloggers out there, I have learned there is soooo much more in the world of books.  Much more than I would have ever known on my own.  And it's growing.  Great!  I love it.

I read fantasy.  I love the traditional journey and adventures we go on.  I know what to expect.  And that is in part why I love it.  I know I love what I'm going to get.

I read Urban Fantasy.  Now this genre gives a little more leeway in what to expect.  But it has it's normal too.

Then I have found I enjoy reading dystopian, steampunk, and so many new aspects.

I know we (or I do sometimes) mentioning a book is the "traditional" sense of the genre.  And some mention that it was a boring read because it wasn't something new.  But, and correct me if I'm wrong or stepping on toes here, but isn't that why we love the genre we read?  I enjoy my books that are easy to predict as they are what I want.  What I expect.  Why I read it.  Part of the coziness for me is knowing what I'm getting because I enjoy it.  I know I enjoy it. 

Don't get me wrong.  I love the twists and new takes.  At the same time I love my classic feels, I love something new.  The twists that authors throw in there.  You know they take the norm and flip it around and turn it inside out to give you something new and exciting.

I wont fault an author for sticking to the 'traditional' feel of fantasy books or urban fantasy.  And I wont fault an author for making something wondrous out of a new idea or spin.  Both are amazing to me.  And it depends on the mood I'm in on which I grab when I'm looking for my next read.

**Please do not be offended by anything mentioned in the Just For Thought posts.  These are just brief thoughts to start a friendly chat on ideas.  You can comment if you would like to share your kind thoughts, or not. :) I understand either way.

Book Review: The Adventures of Dalton Quayle

The Adventures of Dalton Quayle

By:  Paul Kane

Publisher:  Mundania Press

Publish Date:  March 2011

Format:  Paperback 232pgs, trade size

Genre:  Fantasy

Series:  Stand alone

Recommendation:  Fun short tales of detectives in an Urban Fantasy/Fantasy world; adventure and fighting and humor ~ can't go wrong.

Book Synopsis:
Re-join famous detectives, adventurers and general rum-goings-on putter-stopperers Dalton Quayle and his sidekick Dr Humphrey Pemberton as they embark on some of their best, and most loved, investigations from the past decade.  Thrill as they face giant carnivorous worms and fiercely vicious monster sheep; marvel as they visit far-off lands such as the Island of Haintithot and the sandy dunes of Egypt, coming across magical stones which can summon demons and a Mummy out to take over the world; gasp in disbelief as our heroes set sail to find the legendary lost city of Matalantis - by way of the fishy village of Outsmouth - and get saddle-sore in the Wild West as they attempt to put a stop to a devilish time traveling scheme; then witness the dead coming back to life as the pair tackle their most dangerous foes yet - ones which simply cannot be killed!  Villains, monsters, twisted conundrums, they're all in here: In the very finest Adventures of Dalton Quayle (as previously noted down on the memoirs of Dr Pemberton and subsequently published in Strump magazine).

My Thoughts and Summary:
We see Dalton Quayle and his adventures through his close colleague Dr. Pemberton's journal he keeps to document their adventures.  These stories are nothing short of fun!  Fun in the tale and fun in the play on words, puns on names, movies, songs, you name it.  And the literal meanings of words as well, to make fun and bring enjoyment.

The characters have a formal and proper feel with the way they carry themselves along with the language.  But then the names of the characters make you smile.  And the meanings they draw from words and happenings.  Pemberton always takes his many cherished guns with him everywhere, in the air and under the sea, but seems to never have one on him when the time comes (he forgets to grab one).  And the genius brave and masterful Quayle solves the cases with the help of he trusty friend Pemberton.

Each story grows and relates references back to the previous journeys along with hints of others we don't see here.  As you go through each story you feel closer to both, Quayle and Pemberton, looking forward to the adventures they seek.

I loved the talent of telling the stories and adding in lines or names from movies, songs, and such and adding a new meaning to it with the story.  But also adding more meaning to the story as well.  So many of these lines are easy to place the origination but they fit so well in the stories here.  And I'm sure there are lines I didn't place that you would.  So much here.  I could reread this book and probably come up with more that I missed the first time through.

I enjoy how at the end of each story Quayle summarizes the case and all the details pulled together in detail for us.  They all work out perfectly when I hear him work it out.  And I love the twists to the stories.

Each story has a different theme to it.  So I've listed each story separately with a short description on it.

Master of the White Worms
12 pgs
Mrs. Meadows is extremely worried as her husband has been missing for about a week now and had not told her, like normal, he was leaving for his fishing trips with his boss.  To top it off, his boss refuses to see or talk to her.  So she contacts her last hope, Mr. Quayle.  Quayle takes the case.  And as for the White Worms fitting in... you'll just have to read it.

Oh I enjoyed this little story, and smiled along the way.  The worm jokes and puns knowingly used where enjoyable.  I think one of my favorite comparisons is here in this story ~ "And our Inspector Le Strange is about as much use as thermal underwear in the Bahamas." lol.

Dalton Quayle and the Sheepshank Revelation
20 pgs
Quayle and Pemberton travel to help the Ayker family from a strange unknown beast attacking them and their farm.  The area they live in is known for strange occurrences.  And we come up with a were... well, you'll have to read to see what kind of were it is.

This was a nice little read as it has the feel of the werewolves and vampires theme.  But a cute twist to this one in the end as well.  And a touch of love here for the Ayker family.  And what is out there in those woods?

Dalton Quayle and the temple of Deadly Danger
41 pgs
Quayle is in quite a state of despair on the half year anniversary of passing of his arch-enemy, Siphilati, as a result of a battle between them. Quayle feels he doesn't have the challenge out there anymore or the thrill in the cases as when against Siphilati. Then Quayle reads of a theft at the Museum of Unnatural History in the newspaper and thinks this sounds just like Siphilati.

This one reminded me of a kind of Sherlock Holmes meets Indiana Jones with a twist of humor. We even meet the Wrong Brothers here; yes a play on the Wright brothers. We learn of different cases in the past here. And the end of the cases is the best part as they bring the case together and to a close. This one had a few nice twists to it.  I think this is one of my favorites in the book.

Dalton Quayle's Wet One
42 pgs
Pemberton won a cruise for 2. When he asks his best friend to go, Quayle suggests Mrs. Hudsucker to go with, whom Pemberton has a soft heart for yet always stumbles over the crazy words to her. After hypnotizing Mrs. Hudsucker to convince her to go, she agrees. Pemberton finds himself, with Mrs. Hudsucker, in a fish town when things go a little fishy.

I was afraid we weren't going to get much Quayle in this one as he was working on another case. But all things come together nicely and he appears. This tale takes us into the deep of the sea and so much fun play here.  Could we find a hidden city on this adventure?

Dalton Quayle Rides Out
36 pgs
Weeks after their last adventure at sea, Pemberton has not heard from Quayle.  And is concerned it is because he left him to tend to Mrs. Hudsucker's anger as Quayle brought her back to her rightful mind after what they did to her.  Pemberton feels he'll face the music and visit.  Mrs. Hudsucker's memory is... short?  Quayle has gone on a mission for Inspector Le Strange in Little China and not returned yet.  Pemberton decides to go looking for him taking the Inspector with him.

This one started out with me wanting to say, Big Trouble in Little China.  Don't ask me why, I just got it stuck in my head. lol.  But this tale makes a turn and we take our journey to the Wild West in the good ol' USA.  This one has soooo many western move references in it, you CAN NOT miss one.  I had to laugh!  I think this is a second favorite in the book.

And we get to meet the Inspector more here.

Dalton Quayle and the curse of King Tuti Fruiti
55 pgs
Dalton makes a rare visit to Pembertons' medical practice to announce his brother is coming to town to reveal an amazing archeological find at the Museum of Unnatural History.  Where the unveiling goes wrong, or comes to life...and takes our duo on an adventure into the sandy home of King Tuti Fruiti, Egypt.

This book reminded me some of The Mummy and The Scorpion King.  Really a fun read with new characters.  And more twists to be seen.  This adventure full of sand and family is a tie for the second favorite read in the book.  I enjoyed the Egyptian mystery here.

Dalton Quayle and the Teatime of the Evil Resident Living Dead
15 pgs
Visiting Quayle as it's their golf day, Pemberton finds they are not going as Quayle forgot the date and today is the 10th anniversary of Mrs. Hudsuckers lousy husband's death.  Since she is upset at the passing of her husband they go with her as moral support to Mr. Hudsuckers final resting spot.

This story has a surprise as we get to meet Mr. Hudsucker, and a few others as well.  Nice urban fantasy twist with this one and a few zombies make an appearance.  But in this story is where I wonder if there will be another journal to come to print to enjoy more tales of Quayle and Pemberton.

This book was pure fun and enjoyment.  If you are looking for a fun read with fantasy/urban fantasy twists in the tales, do pick this one up.  But you have to expect nothing but humor and smiles.  You need to be ready to enjoy the tales Quayle and Pemberton have to share.

I received this book for an honest review from the Publisher.

This book qualifies by my Speculative Fiction Challenge hosted by Floor to Ceiling books.