Monday, September 30, 2013

It's Monday, What Are You Reading? (161)

Books I read last week:
Captive by A.D. Roberrson
Shadow Train by J. Gabriel Gates and Charlene Keel {DNF}

The book I’m reading now:
Evie's paranormal past keeps coming back to haunt her. A new director at the International Paranormal Containment Agency wants to drag her back to headquarters. The Dark Faerie Queen is torturing humans in her poisonous realm. And supernatural creatures keep insisting that Evie is the only one who can save them from a mysterious, perilous fate.

The clock is ticking on the entire paranormal world. And its fate rests solely in Evie's hands.

So much for normal.

Books that spark my interest this week:
Winger by Andrew Smith
Touch of Darkness by Christina Dodd

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Shadow Train by J. Gabriel Gates and Charlene Keel {DNF}

Shadow Train:
Middleburg's teen martial artists scramble to reunite the broken shards of the powerful and mysterious Shen ring, in an effort to locate their missing friend Raphael and avert worldwide disaster but it won't be easy.

A pack of government agents, a secret order of Chinese kung fu masters, and a family of vengeful fallen angels stand in their way. Amid the struggle, tensions between the two teen gangs flare once again when one of the Flats kids gets jumped and put in the hospital. Zhai and Ignacio, the leaders of the rival factions, struggle to maintain peace and continue their quest for the ring shards amid the rising tide of confrontation.

Meanwhile, Middleburg's leading ladies Maggie and Dalton put their differences aside in an effort to wrest their friend Aimee from the clutches of the sultry and seductive Nephilim, Orias. But when a powerful fallen angel learns that Orias has imprisoned his father Oberon, a new supernatural menace is unleashed on Middleburg, one that threatens to bring all the conflicting factions together in one final, deadly conflagration.

The only hope is that Middleburg's missing teen hero will somehow reappear and find a way to set things right but he's been gone for over two months, without leaving a single clue as to his whereabouts. As the situation grows more dire, all of Middleburg wonders: where is Raphael Kain? With mighty doses of kung fu, eastern mysticism, and star-crossed love, "Shadow Train" is the most poignant, romantic and explosive book in The Tracks series thus far!

While I enjoyed the first two novels in The Tracks trilogy by J.Gabriel Gates and Charlene Keel, I just cannot seem to connect with this one. Usually I love to read the last book in a series because it answers all my questions, but I just ccouldn't get as immersed in the story as I did previously. In fact, I made it a little over halfway through, and I’m just feeling more and more confused. I lost track of who the characters are and why events are unfolding as they are…simply because I cannot keep my mind from wandering instead of focusing on the story. Don’t get me wrong, the writing was wonderful and the world building was just as vivid as Dark Territory and Ghost Crown; and maybe sometime in the future I will pick this up and finish it, but for now, sadly I’m going to have to put it down.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

My Bookish Wants & Gots (64)

My Bookish Wants & Gots is a feature over at The Book Vixen. I list the books I want - which can be old, new, or upcoming releases - and the books I recently got.

Eve & Adam by Michael Grant and Katherine Applegate
And girl created boy…

In the beginning, there was an apple—

And then there was a car crash, a horrible injury, and a hospital. But before Evening Spiker’s head clears a strange boy named Solo is rushing her to her mother’s research facility. There, under the best care available, Eve is left alone to heal.

Just when Eve thinks she will die—not from her injuries, but from boredom—her mother gives her a special project: Create the perfect boy.

Using an amazingly detailed simulation, Eve starts building a boy from the ground up. Eve is creating Adam. And he will be just perfect... won’t he?

When the World was Flat (and we were in love) by Ingrid Jonach
Looking back, I wonder if I had an inkling that my life was about to go from ordinary to extraordinary.

When sixteen-year-old Lillie Hart meets the gorgeous and mysterious Tom Windsor-Smith for the first time, it’s like fireworks — for her, anyway. Tom looks as if he would be more interested in watching paint dry; as if he is bored by her and by her small Nebraskan town in general.

But as Lillie begins to break down the walls of his seemingly impenetrable exterior, she starts to suspect that he holds the answers to her reoccurring nightmares and to the impossible memories which keep bubbling to the surface of her mind — memories of the two of them, together and in love.

When she at last learns the truth about their connection, Lillie discovers that Tom has been hiding an earth-shattering secret; a secret that is bigger — and much more terrifying and beautiful — than the both of them. She also discovers that once you finally understand that the world is round, there is no way to make it flat again.

An epic and deeply original sci-fi romance, taking inspiration from Albert Einstein’s theories and the world-bending wonder of true love itself.

Winger by Andrew Smith
Ryan Dean West is a fourteen-year-old junior at a boarding school for rich kids. He’s living in Opportunity Hall, the dorm for troublemakers, and rooming with the biggest bully on the rugby team. And he’s madly in love with his best friend Annie, who thinks of him as a little boy.

With the help of his sense of humor, rugby buddies, and his penchant for doodling comics, Ryan Dean manages to survive life’s complications and even find some happiness along the way. But when the unthinkable happens, he has to figure out how to hold on to what’s important, even when it feels like everything has fallen apart.

Filled with hand-drawn info-graphics and illustrations and told in a pitch-perfect voice, this realistic depiction of a teen’s experience strikes an exceptional balance of hilarious and heartbreaking.

Endlessly by Kiersten White
Evie's paranormal past keeps coming back to haunt her. A new director at the International Paranormal Containment Agency wants to drag her back to headquarters. The Dark Faerie Queen is torturing humans in her poisonous realm. And supernatural creatures keep insisting that Evie is the only one who can save them from a mysterious, perilous fate.

The clock is ticking on the entire paranormal world. And its fate rests solely in Evie's hands.

So much for normal.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Captive by A.D. Robertson

The first adult novel set in the world of the New York Times bestselling Nightshade series, Captive delivers a steamy, forbidden romance between sworn enemies drawn together by an irrepressible desire.

Twenty-five-year-old Tristan Doran enjoys a life of incredible power and privilege. As a direct descendant of the Keepers—witches who have embraced dark magic—he defers to no one but his overlord, Lord Bosque Mar. For most of his life, Tristan has been kept out of the centuries-old Witches War, his bloodline too valuable to risk in battle.

But when a beautiful, young human Searcher named Sarah is captured and made a prisoner in his Irish castle, Tristan’s infatuation with her flings him headlong into the fray. Captive and captor, unable to contain their longing, embark on a passionate, forbidden romance together—only to learn that their love is at the heart of a prophecy predicting the downfall of the Keepers’ ages-old reign.

Captive explores the darker side of the richly imagined Nightshade universe, a fantasy world of powerful dark witches, shape-shifting wolf warriors, and fascinating history. The first of three erotic novels, Captive delves deeply into the fiery, illicit romance of two young lovers whose very desires invite their doom.

A.D. Robertson is a pseudonym for Andrea Cremer, I have not yet experienced her previous young adult work, and I’m kind of disappointed that I skipped ahead to her debut adult release. Captive left me feeling a little (ok a lot) lost. While a brief introduction is given to the world Robertson/Cremer has created, it was just that: brief. As a novel on its own, I didn’t feel like I was given enough information about the history of the so-called war going on between the Keepers and Searchers. I think, for me anyway, without reading the Nightshade novels this book falls flat; feeling more like a novella rather than a full length novel, simply because the story and characters seemed so stilted. And while the sex is steamy and heart-pumping, I wouldn’t categorize this as an “erotic” novel, more along the lines of paranormal romance. Now, that being said, what I did enjoy about Captive was the romance between Sarah and Tristan, it was endearing and tender. Two individuals from opposite sides of the war who fall deeply in love, creating a traditional love story, right?  And who doesn't adore a good love story?  At first they disagree and are distrustful of one another, but the more time they spend together, the more heated their feelings become. As the danger surrounding them builds, they finally give into their desires. And with their new connection strengthened by their commitment, they finally escape the island where they are both prisoners.

Forgotten Fridays (71)

I invite and welcome anyone interested to post their own Forgotten Friday and join in the fun! I feature a book that I have read and have forgotten how much I enjoyed it. Some books might recent reads and some might be older reads, but I hope this helps these (sometimes forgotten) books earn a spot on your own TBR pile!

Faithful by Janet Fox
First Published: May 2010
Series: Faithful
My Review

Sixteen-year-old Maggie Bennet's life is in tatters. Her mother has disappeared, and is presumed dead. The next thing she knows, her father has dragged Maggie away from their elegant Newport home, off on some mad excursion to Yellowstone in Montana. Torn from the only life she's ever known, away from her friends, from society, and verging on no prospects, Maggie is furious and devastated by her father's betrayal. But when she arrives, she finds herself drawn to the frustratingly stubborn, handsome Tom Rowland, the son of a park geologist, and to the wild romantic beauty of Yellowstone itself. And as Tom and the promise of freedom capture Maggie's heart, Maggie is forced to choose between who she is and who she wants to be.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Interview & Giveaway with Steve McHugh

1. When did you first start writing, and was there something in particular that inspired you?
I’ve been writing since I was 8 or 9. I always loved telling stories, but I didn’t get really serious about it until my daughter was born 9 years ago. Before then, I’d just dabbled here and there and always said I wanted to write someday. I decided that ‘someday’ was today and never looked back.

2. What first attracted you to your genre when you began writing?
I like reading urban Fantasy and I always enjoy the darker characters, so it was always going to be a given that I would find myself writing in that genre. I do have ideas for stories in other genres, but for the moment I’m a one-genre writer.

3. In regards to your own characters, who is your favorite to write and why?
Nate is the easiest to write. He’s been in my head for so long, I can switch him on without really thinking about it. He’s a lot of fun to write too as he’s very sarcastic and smart-mouthed, so I get to enjoy that. Tommy (Thomas Carpenter in Crimes Against Magic) is a huge amount of fun to write, he’s funny and bounces off Nate very well. There’s a mythological character I enjoy writing too, I can’t say who he is it’s a pretty big spoiler, but he’s introduced in Born of Hatred and is just a complete badass and very different personality wise to his greek origins.

4. What other genres (besides your own) do you enjoy reading?
I read a lot of fantasy, horror and some sci-fi. But I read a load of comics, which encompass a huge number of different genre’s, but I’m partial to the crime stuff by people like Greg Rucka.

5. As a reader I know how difficult it can be to name a ‘favorite’ book, would you mind listing your top three? (Past or present authors)
My top 3 books change daily, so this is probably going to be a different answer every time I get asked.
1. Terry Pratchett – Men at Arms. The first Pratchett book I read and never looked back, it’s funny and silly, but still an excellent crime book. He’s probably one of the best writers in the world.
2. Gareth Ennis – Preacher. A totally different kind of comic that just shows what the medium is capable off. Probably some of the funniest stuff I’ve ever read, but also some of the most serious too. An incredible series.
3. Neil Gaiman – American Gods or Richard Morgan Altered Carbon. This would very much depend on the day. American Gods is a wonderful modern day fantasy book, but Altered Carbon is probably the best Sci-Fi book I’ve read in years.

6. What are some ‘must haves’ when you sit down to write?
I can write in most places, so long as I can block out all the noise around me. I do like a pot of tea nearby and a notepad and pen.

7. If you became trapped as a character in a book or series, which would you choose and why? (Any book, any series, new or old).
I’d like to be trapped as Batman. Although the whole, murdered parents, villains killing those you love thing would be indescribably awful, at the end of the day you can look in the mirror and know you’re making a difference. And that you’re Batman. That last bit is pretty important.

Crimes Against Magic:
It’s been almost ten years since Nathan Garrett woke on a cold warehouse floor with nothing but a gun, a sword, and no idea of who he was or how he got there. His only clue … a piece of paper with his name on it. Since then, he’s discovered he’s a powerful sorcerer and has used his abilities to work as a thief for hire. But he’s never stopped hunting for his true identity, and those who erased his memory have never stopped hunting for him. When the barrier holding his past captive begins to crumble, Nathan swears to protect a young girl who is key to his enemy’s plans. But with his enemies closing in, and everyone he cares about becoming a target for their wrath, Nathan is forced to choose between the life he’s built for himself and the one buried deep inside him.

Crimes Against Magic is an Urban Fantasy set in modern day London with Historical flashbacks to early fifteenth century France. It's book one of the Hellequin Chronicles, a series about Nathan (Nate) Garrett, a centuries old sorcerer.

Born of Hatred:
There are some things even a centuries-old sorcerer hesitates to challenge…
When Nathan Garret’s friend seeks his help investigating a bloody serial killer, the pattern of horrific crimes leads to a creature of pure malevolence, born of hatred and dark magic. Even with all his powers, Nate fears he may be overmatched. But when evil targets those he cares about and he is confronted by dire threats both old and new, Nate must reveal a secret from his recently remembered past to remind his enemies why they should fear him once more.
Born of Hatred, set in modern London with historical flashbacks to America’s Old West, continues the dark urban fantasy of Crimes Against Magic, the acclaimed first book in the gritty and action-packed Hellequin Chronicles.

About the Author:
Steve McHugh lives in Southampton on the south coast of England with his wife and three young daughters. When not writing or spending time with his kids, he enjoys watching movies, reading books and comics, and playing video games.

Find the Author:
Website | Twitter | Facebook


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Spotlight: Unnatural by Leah D. W.

Witches scheming in the night,
Werewolves hunting during a full moon,
A vampires eyes ever watching...
This collection of short stories is filled with the dark tales of the supernatural and the powerful. Roaring dragons wings shadow the skies and ghosts aren't as deadly as rumors may tell.
Enter a world of the paranormal, but be warned: not all fairy tales end in a happily ever after.

Find the Book:
Goodreads / Barnes and Noble / Smashwords / Amazon / Amazon UK


I concentrated, focusing my mind and spirit to the center of my being, near my beating heart and then all at once let myself go.The change always hurt in the beginning. A warm spark flared in the middle of my forehead and then traveled down my body, lighting tiny sparks of heat along my limbs. My scales would sizzle and start sliding off of me in large dark globs of melted armor. I would always close my eyes. To watch the transformation nauseated me so much I would get stuck in the middle of it; between my beastly form and my birth form.

“What is this place?” Zoey asked, holding Percy close.
“Haven’t you seen a dungeon before?” the man chuckled and walked to the far end of the cages. 
Zoey slowly followed, looking at each and every cage she passed. Some had dried blood or even fresh blood in them and on the sandy walls of their backs. Zoey suddenly wished she had turned around and ran for it. She bumped into the man. He had stopped and she had been too distracted to notice. He turned to her and lifted an eyebrow down at her. His dark eyes swam with blue clouds, swirling round and round. Her breath caught in her throat and she stepped back, bumping into Percy. He didn’t seem to find anything at fault. He gave her a smile that came across as friendly and turned his back to her again.  She wrapped her hand around Percy’s collar. Her hands trembled as a single word crossed her mind.

The mark on her forehead pulsed and she lightly touched it. When she looked down at her pale fingers they were stained brightly with her red blood. It was bleeding again. Pain pounded behind her eyes and she fell forward, catching her weight on the window sill.
Anna gasped as she ignored the fresh pain and looked at her hand that had slipped past the shield Haven had put up. She could feel his magic trying to block it, but it only turned cold instead of pushing her back.
She grinned. She let the pain from her mark wash over her and the rest of her hand slowly crept out of the window. Anna clenched her teeth as the pain became like a lick of hot oil over her skin. Soon she managed to slip her entire body out of the shield.
She dropped down to the dew covered grass below the window, her heart pounding in her chest. She let her hands graze over the ground and her lips curved into a smile.
She ran.

About the Author:

I am 21 years old and currently a journalism student at my local university. I live in South Africa in a town called Bloemfontein with my family and two beloved dogs. I have been writing since the age of 13 and my first published work is a short horror story titled Dracula’s Mistress. I am busy working on a number of novels and I am an editor/proof reader for Bayou Brew Publishing.

I love writing in the genres of paranormal romance, fantasy fiction and historical fiction and I am a proud bookworm with a mountain of reads stacked up in my room. I am also studying criminology in order to be able to write mystery horrors.

The book that has been published is Unnatural, a collection of paranormal short stories that are full of action, adventure and amazing characters.

I also have short stories in various anthologies. Love Kills, Unhappily Ever After; fairy tales with a twist and Soul Games. My novel The Runaway’s Secret, a vampire paranormal romance, will be released in May.

Find the Author:

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