Thursday, April 28, 2011

Oy vey

Here is a sneak peek, of Harrison's upcoming Graphic Novel - Blood Work, set to be released on July 12th.  Not sure if I'm a fan of these Graphics.  I think Mead's artist has a bit of a leg up.  I'll probably just save my pennies for the next novel.

Blood Work: An Original Hollows Graphic NovelBlood Work
July 12, 2011

This is an illustration of the Hollows series world, but not any book in particular.   It takes place in the golden year where Ivy and Rachel work together at the I.S.  Rachel is the intern, but you can imagine she’s not taking a back seat to her vampire partner. This was done from Ivy’s point of view, and since Kisten was still alive during this time, we get to see him.  In a tub, no less.  This is a series favorite of mine, and one of the most hated and loved by others, I might add.

Top Reads: M.K. Hobson's Witchpunk

The Native StarThe Native Star
A fantasy set in the late 19th century in a world of magic, witches, and zombies. A small town witch finds herself center stage of a national manhunt and adventure with an annoying traveling warlock, after a fateful accident. Not my usual cup of tea. However this fantasy adventure was just different and interesting enough to hold my interest throughout, even with a few sluggish parts at the beginning.

-Spoiler Warning: for those who haven't read Book #1-

The Hidden GoddessThe Hidden Goddess
The Sequel to The Native Star, is unlike its predecessor.  This is not a rehash of the same adventure by any stretch. And unlike the first, this one kept me peeled from start to finish, and flowed flawlessly. I also have to add, that this is not at all the type of book that I usually prefer reading, but I enjoyed it nonetheless.

A month has passed since the adventures that brought Emily from Lost Pine to New York City, but navigating New York magical society is as taxing and treacherous as anything she's faced so far. Emily's future mother-in-law is a sociopathic socialite who is not at all pleased with her only son's choice of a bride. But thankfully, this story is not filled with tea parties and soirées of the upper class.

Dreadnought Stanton--Emily's fiancé--has a dark past which has by no means given up all its secrets. And Emily's own past may hold answers that a shadowy group of Russian scientists will give anything to possess. About halfway through, this adventure book becomes more meaningful, as Emily starts to uncover her family's dark past and Dreadnaught's coveted secrets.

Emily will have to brave all these challenges mostly alone--not to mention an ancient sect of Aztec blood-sorcerers bent on plunging the world into apocalypse--as she attempts to unlock the mystery that will both save her & Dreadnaught's future, not to mention the entire world. Unfortunately, she spends most of her time away from Dreadnought throughout the book, as I do love how they lovingly goad each other. An introspective examination of Might vs. Right, Human Nature, & Love, brings Emily full circle, in this eloquently written and thrilling western-fantasy-steampunk tale.

There is a definite conclusion that could be construed as "The End", but from what the author has stated, this may not be the case if she has her way. I wholeheartedly recommend this well written/edited book, and encourage other prospective readers to read The Native Star prior to delving in.

Light sexual content, Some Violence. Okay for 15+.

"Will there be more books in this series? What is next on your schedule?
Well, I've got ideas for several more books in this series, and I think I might even be able to convince my editor to buy them ... but I have to finish the proposals!

The proposal I'm *currently* working on is for the next 2 books in the series, which jump forward 30 years to follow Dreadnought & Emily's youngest son. It's set in 1911, which was a very interesting time in history. And as much as I love bustles, it will be nice to explore a whole new era of costuming. ;-)"

-Life is too Short to Read a Bad Book-

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

New for Tuesday

Tangled Threads (Elemental Assassin, Book 4)Tangled Threads
Book #4

Already a favorite series, from UF author-Estep.  I enjoyed this book thoroughly, but can't say it was the best of the bunch.  Check out my review here.

Book #2

A semi-steampunk series.  Not my usual cup of team, but I surprisingly really enjoyed the first book, The Native Star.  Just finished reading this book, and it exceeded my expectations.  Read my full review here.

Phoenix Rising: A Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences NovelPhoenix Rising
Book #1/SteamPunk

Okay, not Exactly UF, but this new series has definitely caught my attention. With already glowing blog reviews, I'm looking forward to reading what users think & checking it out for myself. Book #2, Cogs & Corsets, comes out later this year.

Londoners are vanishing, then reappearing, washing up as corpses on the banks of the Thames, drained of blood and bone. Yet the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences- the Crown’s clandestine organisation whose baliwick is the strange and unsettling- will not allow its agents to investigate. Fearless and exceedingly lovely Eliza, however, with her bulletproof corset and a disturbing fondness for dynamite, refuses to let the matter rest, and she’s prepared to drag her timorous new partner, Wellington Books along with her into the perilous fray.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Vamps Out, Zombies In

Vampires will forever be synonymous with the Urban Fiction genre, but for now, a new monster is taking center stage. And thankfully I might add, because one does get tired of reading the same old vamp stories, even with the small plot changes thrown in.  And while, zombies have always been around, even before the cult classic - Night of the Living Dead, they are now just becoming a big trend for UF writers & readers alike.  Below, are a couple of hot zombie books that UF readers have already taken notice of, and a few they should.

Feed (Newsflesh, Book 1)Feed
Mira Grant, or McGuire to Toby Daye fans, is a great writer; which is definitely evident from her eloquently written zombie book-Feed. At 600 pages, the first novel is a bit long, but very strong indeed. Not being a huge fan of its political/news focus, the questionable brother-sister dynamic, or the blog entries for multi-character POV; I can still recognize this book as a must read for any zombie/UF fan.

Twin bloggers Georgia and Shaun Mason and their colleague Buffy are thrilled when Sen. Peter Ryman, the first presidential candidate to come of age since social media saved the world from a virus that reanimates the dead, invites them to cover his campaign.

Aftertime (Luna Books)Aftertime
Littlefield turns what could be just another zombie apocalypse into a thoughtful and entertaining exploration of many themes, including genetic engineering, social collapse, and motherhood. Cass, a young mother and recovering alcoholic, awakens filthy and gashed in the California wilderness, with no memory of the past several weeks. She believes she's eaten a plant that turns its victims into Beaters, or zombies; her recovery is inexplicable.

An enigmatic, charismatic man named Smoke agrees to escort her for the last stretch of her journey home to find her daughter, and what begins as a four-mile hike through Beater-infested terrain becomes an odyssey through fragments of civilization devastated by war, plague, and anarchy. Littlefield has a gift for pacing, her adroit and detailed world-building going down easy amid page-turning action and evocative, sensual, harrowing descriptions that bring every paragraph of this thriller to life.

Allison Hewitt Is Trapped: A Zombie NovelAllison Hewitt Is Trapped: A Zombie Novel
When the zombie apocalypse breaks out, bookstore clerk Allison escapes the titular trap and finds a group of survivors at a community center. In an attempt to stave off her loneliness and connect with the outside world, Allison begins a blog. Like Feed, this book also uses blog entries as a storytelling device, drawing in additional characters and POV, helps enliven what is otherwise an average zombie story, albeit one with plenty of action and a high body count.

Rise Again: A Zombie ThrillerRise Again
In Forest Peak, a quiet town an hour outside of Los Angeles, the crowds at an Independence Day gathering suddenly go crazy, drop dead, and rise as flesh-eating corpses. As the zombies ravage the town, sheriff Adelman, a veteran of the Iraq War, gathers together the few human survivors and they head north, looking for refuge. In San Francisco, Danny discovers signs of a military coverup for the disaster and indications that Hawkstone, a team of paramilitary independent contractors, is taking advantage of the social anarchy.

Working Stiff: A Revivalist NovelWorking Stiff: A Revivalist Novel
Aug 02, 2011
From one of my favorite authors-Rachel Caine. Bryn is new on the job as a funeral director, but even she knows that once you’re dead, you ought to stay that way. But Fairview Mortuary has a hidden backroom business: reviving the dead for profit, at extortionate rates. Finding out may cost Bryn more than her life ... it may just take away her death, too. 

My Life as A White Trash ZombieMy Life as A White Trash Zombie
July 05, 2011
From another favorite UF author-Rowland takes a dip into the new zombie trend.  Teenage delinquent Angel Crawford lives with her redneck father in the swamps of southern Louisiana. She's a high school dropout, addicted to drugs and alcohol, and has a police record a mile long. But when she's made into a zombie after a car crash, her addictions disappear, except for her all-consuming need to stay "alive"...

-Zombies with a bit of Humor-

In what’s described as an “expanded edition” of Pride and Prejudice, 85 percent of the original text has been preserved but fused with “ultraviolent zombie mayhem.” For more than 50 years, we learn, England has been overrun by zombies, prompting people like the Bennets to send their daughters away to China for training in the art of deadly combat, and prompting others, like Lady Catherine de Bourgh, to employ armies of ninjas. Added to the familiar plot turns that bring Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy together is the fact that both are highly skilled killers, gleefully slaying zombies on the way to their happy ending.
In this terrifying and hilarious prequel, we witness the genesis of the zombie plague in early 19th-century England. We watch Elizabeth Bennet evolve from a naive young teenager into a savage slayer of the undead. We laugh as she begins her first clumsy training with nunchucks and katana swords and cry when her first blush with romance goes tragically awry.

Sarah and David, once upon a time they met and fell in love. But now they're on the verge of divorce and going to couples' counseling. On a routine trip to their counselor, they notice a few odd things - the lack of cars on the highway, the missing security guard, and the fact that their counselor is ripping out her previous client's throat. Now they are fighting for survival in the middle of the zombie apocalypse. But, just because there are zombies, doesn't mean your other problems go away. If the zombies don't eat their brains, they might just kill each other.

Breathers: A Zombie's LamentBreathers: A Zombie's Lament
Andy reanimates after the car accident that kills his wife, but is too mangled from his injuries to talk. He lives in his parents' wine cellar, occasionally attending a zombie support group and struggling to rejoin a society that offers the undead no rights, bans them from working and doesn't even punish those who destroy them. When Andy and his fellow zombies—notably Rita, a sexy suicide victim with a lipstick fetish, and Jerry, a Playboy-obsessed stoner—learn why they're so driven to consume human flesh, the repercussions are both tragic and hilarious.

-Life is too Short to Read a Bad Book-


Another great post by Ilona-Andrews. This one is about the pros & cons of e-publishing, from an author's perspective. You know, publishing exclusively in e-format. I always thought it would be easier to do it on your own.  It's always interesting to hear what the true reality of it is, from the POV of a successful author.  A few highlights from their post are below. Go here to read the full monty.

In the current reading environment, ebooks are a topic of hot debate. People are very vocal about prices, DRM, formats, availability of certain titles on some platforms but not the others, and other related issues. Some people are almost fanatically pro-ebooks; others reject them completely. I am in neither camp. I have no emotional stake in the success or failure of the e-format. I think it’s a convenient way to purchase fiction and I own several e-readers; however, for me it’s just a new way to get the content I want.

...when I look at self-publishing e-books and compare them to traditional publishing, I tend to focus on both risks and benefits. Here are some of them, as I see them.

The collection (Curran's POV) is now being updated, but I’ve learned a valuable lesson: never put out anything less than your best effort. You pay for it with your reputation.

So, let’s take a look at how many people it takes to bring the book to publication through a traditional print publisher. These are the acknowledgments for MAGIC SLAYS, the latest book in our Kate Daniels series.

In an ideal situation, each of the people here, including our agent, acts as a quality control, dedicated to making sure the manuscript is turned into the best book it could possibly be. The book you hold in your hand is the product of efforts of a dozen people, each of whom is trained for their job and has experience that the writer doesn’t.

If I choose to self-publish an e-book, I must then wear all of these hats."

So, it's harder to self publish in e-format? They go on to define each job in the process of publishing one book. Go here to read more.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Game of Thrones

I finally got around to watching the 1st episode of this new series, and I can say with all honesty, that I'm thoroughly confused. I haven't read any of the books, and I don't think they are catering to the unread viewers. Most of the dialogue was delivered in hushed accented tones, that I really couldn't make all of it out. My remote has been on the fritz for some time now, and I was too lazy to get up and raise the volume. LoL. In any case, I don't think my                                             neighbors would have appreciated it that late.

I liked the 1st episode, but can't say I really followed everything that was going on or all the characters.  I did enjoy the cinematography and what I did get from the story.  I heart Sean Bean.  I'll probably just record all the episodes during the marathon the week the season finale airs; which should be about the same time True Blood starts.

Having said that, it was a pretty lively & extremely graphic first episode.  I wouldn't recommend this show to anyone younger than 18. I wonder if the books are just as graphic.  New episodes air Sunday night.

Update:  Saw the 2nd episode; now I'm addicted.  Dammit!

Grave Dance ARC & Excerpt

The 2nd book to Price's Alex Craft series is set to release July 5th; but you can enter for your chance to win the ARC now. I'm still a little peeved that she's put her Haven series on hold. I like both series, but I was really looking forward to reading the next chapter in Haven. Oh, well.  Go here to enter the the Grave Dance ARC contest. Contest closes Apr 30th, 12pm EST.  Chapter 1 Excerpt.  More sneak peeks are promised for the 15th of each month.

Author of Once Bitten/Twice Dead (Haven). Alex is a PI Ghost summoner, who finds herself in the middle Fae mystery. A very engaging & sexy series.

1-Grave Witch
2-Grave Dance (July 05, 2011)