July 28, 2011

Live Reading With Author Dr. Tony Youn

Dr. Tony Youn's wrote the book In Stitches, and will be doing a special live reading and Q&A via Livestream.com on Wednesday, Aug 10th at 5:30pm ET.

To ask questions or comment in real time, you can log in through Facebook or Twitter, or just create a Livestream account.  Dr. Youn will read the questions as they pop up on the side bar, and will answer them as they come in.  You can come to this post or go here




Giveaway: Left Neglected by Lisa Genova






The prize is being provided by Gallery Books.

Blog Tour: Left Neglected by Lisa Genova


Sarah Nickerson, like any other working mom, is busy trying to have it all. One morning while racing to work and distracted by her cell phone, she looks away from the road for one second too long. In that blink of an eye, all the rapidly moving parts of her over-scheduled life come to a screeching halt. After a brain injury steals her awareness of everything on her left side, Sarah must retrain her mind to perceive the world as a whole. In so doing, she also learns how to pay attention to the people and parts of her life that matter most. 

In this powerful and poignant New York Times bestseller, Lisa Genova explores what can happen when we are forced to change our perception of everything around us. Left Neglected is an unforgettable story about finding abundance in the most difficult of circumstances, learning to pay attention to the details, and nourishing what truly matters. 

Left Neglected is a touching read that makes you rethink all of your priorities.  It's so easy to get into a routine and forget that you only have one life and it's up to you to live it right.  I will probably think back to this book for the rest of my life. It definitely leaves a lasting impression.  When you are in the mood to read a book, you really should consider this one.




I received a copy of this book from Gallery Books.

Giveaway: Vanished In The Night by Eileen Carr





The prize is being provided by Gallery Books.

Blog Tour Review: Vanished In The Night by Eileen Carr

She doesn't trust cops . . .

Veronica Osborne has had enough problems with the police, thanks to her volatile father. So when tall, strapping Sergeant Zach McKnight shows up at her door, she's prepared for anything—except the news that her beloved missing brother, Max, has been dead for nearly twenty years . . . ever since he ran away. . . . 

until she meets one who'd risk everything to protect her. 

Appalled when the police suspect her father of Max's murder, Veronica begins her own investigation. But as her surprising role in her brother's disappearance surfaces, so do more bodies. The ghosts of Max's past are working hard to hide the truth, while another, more sinister force will do anything to expose it. How far will a killer go to get revenge? And can Zach stop him before he targets the woman Zach's coming to love?

I just finished this Vanished in the Night. Sometimes when I read a book, I have to write my thoughts down right away (or in this case, type).  Eileens's writing style, along with her vivid description, makes for an excellent read!   I have added her to my favorite author's list and can't wait to see what she publishes next!  Grab a copy of this book, you won't regret it!

I received a copy of this book from Gallery Books.

July 27, 2011

Coming Up for Air by Patti Callahan Henry


On the coast of Alabama, there is a house cloaked in mystery, a place that reveals the truth and changes lives...
Ellie Calvin is caught in a dying marriage, and she knows this. With her beloved daughter away at college and a growing gap between her and her husband — between her reality and the woman she wants to be — she doesn't quite seem to fit into her own life.

But everything changes after her controlling mother, Lillian, passes away. Ellie's world turns upside down when she sees her ex-boyfriend, Hutch, at her mother's funeral and learns that he is in charge of a documentary that involved Lillian before her death. He wants answers to questions that Ellie's not sure she can face, until, in the painful midst of going through her mother's things, she discovers a hidden diary — and a window onto stories buried long ago.

As Ellie and Hutch start speaking for the first time in years, Ellie's closed heart slowly begins to open. Fighting their feelings, they set out together to dig into Lillian's history. Using both the diary and a trip to the Summer House, a mysterious and seductive bayside home, they gamble that they can work together and not fall in love again. But in piecing together a decades-old unrequited-love story, they just might uncover the secrets in their own hearts...


For more information about this books, please visit us.macmillan.com/ComingUpForAir



Enter For a Chance to Win 1 of 50 copies of Coming Up for Air by Patti Callahan Henry here.

Review: Siren Song by Stephanie Draven


When the sexy lead singer of an Annapolis indie band is accused of luring midshipmen to their deaths, she learns she’s not the only one with a killer voice…

No one can resist Chloe Karras when she sings—except for the sexy naval officer who is seemingly immune to her sensual allure. Maybe that’s why Captain Alex Shore is just the man she wants to take home after her performance—until he tells her what she thought were imagined powers are real…and dangerous.

Alexandros knows firsthand how seductive sirens are, as well as their potential to destroy. Yet the former sea soldier feels a powerful attraction to the beautiful rock singer that goes beyond her spell. Can he banish Chloe from the town he’s vowed to protect—or will he be drawn into the siren’s bed?


I haven't really read that many books about sirens, so when I found out about Stephanie Draven's new book, Siren Song, I thought it would be a nice change of pace.  As soon as I started reading it, I was hooked.  I had to read it all in one sitting.  I don't know what I liked more, the spicy romance or the plot.  My advice, read this book and read it all at once because you won't want to take a break.      


Visit Stephanie's website.

Author Guest Post: Stephanie Draven



Second Chances in Romance
by Stephanie Draven

The first time isn’t always magical. Not in love, not in life, and certainly not in literature. When I wrote Siren Song, I didn’t want a hero who had never been in love before. I wanted him to have loved, and lost, and been damn near destroyed by it. That’s how I came up with Captain Alex Shore, instructor of history at the Naval Academy by day, secret guardian of the sea by night. He’s been burned by love before, and badly. The mistakes he made in his very long past have caused him to live as an exile. He’s a hard-ass who isn’t about to cut our heroine any slack.

That she’s a siren doesn’t help matters.

One of the themes I played with during this story was bad first impressions. I’m fascinated by people who overcome genuine hatred, loathing or fear of another person to find love. I confess, I wasn’t too impressed with my own husband’s pick-up line when he first hit on me, so I was bewildered when he turned out to be the man of my dreams. Maybe I’m still working out my confusion in my stories.

I suppose this kind of thing happens to me a lot, and not just with people. Sometimes it happens with books as well. I can list a whole bunch of books that I started, only to put down for lack of interest. But somehow, when I picked them up again, they won me over. One such book is Outlander by Diana Gabaldon, which one the RITA for best fiction with romantic elements. It took a while to really grab hold of me, but when it did, it left an impression.

I confess that my interest in J.R.R. Tolkien wasn’t kindled by Lord of the Rings. By Chapter 8 I had met Tom Bombadil and thrown up my hands in despair. But I gave him a second chance with the Hobbit and was won over completely.

What about you? Can you think of a book or author you were slow to warm to, but eventually fell madly in love with?

July 26, 2011

Author Guest Post: Steven S. Drachman



 Watt O’Hugh III is an interesting fellow, or so I am told. A 19th century orphan from New York’s desperate Five Points slum; a Wyoming gunman and dime novel hero; a Wild West showman; a Time Roamer, doomed to know the day of his own death. A superstitious, damaged Civil War veteran who believes, rightly or wrongly, that his tremendous skills with a 45 can be explained only by the ghosts who swarm around him, protecting him from harm and guiding his shots (when his cause is just). And a cowboy still desperately and impossibly in love with Lucy Billings, the New York Socialite-with-a-Past that he loved and lost a decade ago, and who’s vanished somewhere in China.

Watt O’Hugh has been on my mind for a long time.

Back in the 1990s, I was a journalist writing about movies for a number of papers, interviewing film stars (and lots of starlets, mostly from Europe for some reason, with the occasional Jackie Chan and Leonardo DiCaprio tossed into the mix), when my agent asked me to try my hand at a fantasy novel. Before long, the two of us dreamed up Watt O’Hugh. For a few months, back then, I found myself living in the 19th century. In 1874, in New York City (a place and time that, by now, I could lead you through with ease), I rode the El, strolled past the junk shops on Chatham Street and lunched at the Fifth Avenue Hotel, the one torn down in 1908; and in Leadville, Colorado, I peered nervously at State Street’s infamous gambling dens. Various personalities of the age lived at our house, from J.P. Morgan to Oscar Wilde! I spoke to Western historians; one suggested the Wyoming Territorial Prison as a place to lock up O’Hugh when his luck went south; another, Elnore L. Frye, taught me how to break out of the same prison and to swim through the icy waters of the Laramie River.

Other than the Magic – the Time roaming, the women of the dark arts, and a dragon or two – the novel I was writing was really very historically accurate.

Two-thirds of the book spilled out of me like a dream, as quickly as I could type. I skipped ahead to the last scene, a sunset-bathed portrait of tired lovers at the edge of a cliff, storm clouds churning overhead. How did they get there, and what did it mean? I didn’t know. A major publisher came calling. So did a Hollywood producer; in Burbank’s CBS commissary, I joined him for turkey tetrazini. (He has since gone on to great things.) I guess life couldn’t have been better. And the turkey tetrazini was actually pretty good.

But fortune has a way of turning. Business relationships crumbled, friendships ended, and I didn’t finish my book. I stopped writing altogether, moved into an office on Wall Street, negotiated some deals. While there was a certain art to that, over the years (decades, actually!)  I couldn’t quite forget about O’Hugh and his great, tragic love for the New York socialite Lucy Billings, the vast Western landscape that threatened always to swallow him alive, and that last romantic scene, with its unanswered questions.

Well, my wife and some friends who had read my unfinished tome over the years sat me down and told me that enough was enough. Just put this thing on Kindle, and print on demand, one said, and at least I will finally get to learn how the damn thing turns out. My little daughters urged me to write them a book. One friend offered to draw the cover art. What he came up with, in my opinion, is both beautiful and haunting. A real book cover. So I took some time off from work, and Watt O’Hugh came back to visit like an old, long-lost friend and told me the rest of his story.

But what, I wondered, is a self-published book, anyway? Is it really a book? Is it really “published”? An old-school publishing guy, I intended to keep my mouth shut and hope no one noticed that I had a book out there. My friends could have their closure, and my daughters could have a strange fantasy/adventure novel, written by their old man and dedicated to them, to put on their bookshelves, to re-read as old women, and to give to their grandkids. But early reaction – especially a gratifying Kirkus rave -- has been ecstatic. Maybe Watt O’Hugh belongs to the world after all? Maybe he was always meant to be a self-published dime novel hero, to live his marvel-filled life without the oversight of a multinational publishing corporation worried about marketing. Maybe his audience will find him?

Anyway, I hope so, and I hope you will enjoy his adventures, and his romance.

Let me know what you think.

Steven S. Drachman’s novel, The Ghosts of Watt O’Hugh, is available in paperback from http://www.Lulu.com, on Kindle from Amazon, and on Nook from BN.com.  You can learn more about his book at http://www.Watt-OHugh.com, and you may email him at StevenDrachman@aol.com.

July 20, 2011

Review: Driftwood Cottage by Sherryl Woods


Single mom Heather Donovan's dreams of home and family are tantalizingly within reach when she settles in Chesapeake Shores. The welcoming arms of the boisterous, loving O'Brien clan embrace her and her son. But accepting their support seems to further alienate her son's father, Connor O'Brien. His parents' divorce and his career as a high-powered divorce attorney have left him jaded about marriage.

Then everything changes. Will the possibility of a future without Heather make Connor look at love and his career differently? Heather's just about given up on her old dreams—of love, of family and especially of Driftwood Cottage, the home she secretly wishes were hers. It's going to take a lot of persuasion—and some help from the O'Brien family—to make Heather believe that some dreams are worth fighting for.

About a week ago, I was in the mood to read something easy, breezy while laying out at the pool. You know what I mean, one of those books that you get lost in and enjoy without having to think too much. I ended up taking Driftwood Cottage by Sherryl Woods to the pool and it was the perfect book to read on a nice, sunny afternoon.  The characters were very personable, the writing had a certain flow that made it really easy to read and best of all, it has uplifting moment.

Visit the website

I was provided with a copy of this book by Planned TV Arts.

Author Julie Powell Appears On Rocco's Dinner Party


After working her way through "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" and writing the inspiring tale of cooking with great passion, "Julie & Julia," author Julie Powell is expected to have an eye for good food, cooking, and the atmosphere of a lovely dinner party! So who better to join Chef Rocco DiSpirito for a French dinner party with all the fixings! Check out her latest appearance in the next episode of "Rocco's Dinner Party" on Bravo where she'll help Chef Rocco & other celebrity guests critique two "French" style dinner parties!

Also while you're watching "Rocco's Dinner Party," visit Chef Rocco's "Watch & Win" contest application on his Facebook page here: http://on.fb.me/RoccoWatchandWin for your chance to win a trip for two to meet him and assist him at the October 2011 NYC Wine & Food Festival! Experience upscale culinary life in NYC with Chef Rocco himself!

Prizing includes round-trip airfare for two, a two-night stay at an NYC hotel as well as tickets to the Wine and Food Festival! Viewers can tune-in to Rocco's Dinner Party Wednesdays, 10PM ET/9C on Bravo to answer three weekly questions pertaining to each week's episode. Submission form stays open until Saturday at midnight!  After answering all three questions, submit your information to be entered to win.  Enter every week to increase your chances of winning - every weekly submission counts as another entry!

The next "Rocco's Dinner Party" airs Wednesday, July 20th(TONIGHT) at 10PM/9c on Bravo! Watch&Win contest goes LIVE @ 9PM (ET) Wednesday night!

July 19, 2011

Giveaway: Eyes Wide Open by Andrew Gross





The prize is being provided by Meryl L. Moss Media Relations, Inc.




Review: Eyes Wide Open by Andrew Gross


A horrible family tragedy that may not be what it seems . . .

A past encounter with an infamous killer turns deadly today . . .

An ordinary man must risk his own family to find the truth.

Jay Erlich’s nephew has been found at the bottom of a cliff at Morrow Bay. It’s all just a tragic suicide, until secrets from the past begin to rear up again. Did a notorious killer, jailed for many decades, have his hand in this?

I recently read Eyes Wide Open by Andrew Gross and I can't help but think what a great movie it would make.  Of course, I tend to prefer books over movies but it would be really neat to see everything on the big screen.  Uncovering secrets and tracking down a killer is usually a great reading experience but reading Eyes Wide Open makes for a superb reading experience.   If you haven't checked out Andrew's writing, run to the nearest bookstore and pick up a copy of this book.



Visit Andrew's website

I received a copy of this book from Meryl L. Moss Media Relations, Inc.

July 18, 2011

Giveaway: Historical Romance Trio




Blog Tour Review: Historical Romance Trio


It's a mad, ill-advised journey that leads the usually sensible Lady Caroline Blacknall to the legendary isle of Muirin Inish, off the windswept coast of Ireland. Even so, she doesn't expect to find herself shipwrecked and then rescued by a man she believed she would never see again. A man who, long ago, held her life in his hands . . . and with it, her heart.

Reformed rake Sir Grant Dunmore knew he could never forget the beautiful woman he once endangered nor will he ever forgive himself. But history seems doomed to repeat itself, for as long as Caroline stays on the island, she is trapped in a secret plot that could forever free Ireland-or turn deadly for all. And yet, now that she is in his arms again, how can he dream of ever letting her go?



A LOVER'S PROMISE

Connor Grant left his first love in the Highlands, vowing to return after serving in the king's army. Seven years later, he is still fighting for the crown, and his victories are legendary-both in the battlefield and in the bedroom. Yet he's never forgotten his bonnie lass. And he certainly never expected to see her amidst the splendor of the British royal court: beautiful, breathtaking, and tempting him past the point of no return.

A LADY'S DESTINY

The night he left, Mairi MacGregor banished Connor from her life forever. Now her heart belongs only to Scotland. As part of a secret alliance, she journeys to London in search of information . . . only to find herself face to face with the one man she swore she'd never trust again. Though Mairi's body still craves Connor's touch, she can't forgive his betrayal. But a traitor lurks in their midst and to protect her beloved Highlands, Mairi must make a leap of faith and join forces with Connor-even if it means losing her heart to him again.



In TEMPTATION OF A HIGHLAND SCOUNDREL, Kendrew Macintosh's reputation precedes him: he wields an ax with deathly precision, strikes fear into his enemies, and lusts after beautiful women. But Kendrew has never met someone whose passion rivals his own-until an unexpected encounter with a mysterious woman. Unfortunately, he soon discovers that the vixen is Isobel Cameron, daughter of an enemy clansman. Their relationship is forbidden and Kendrew breaks away immediately. Isobel has her own scheme. She has lusted after Kendrew for some time and plans to draw the fierce warrior back into her arms. But in the darkness, villainous forces are at play--an enemy is determined to keep the two lovers apart, even if it means death.

I spent a few days curled up with these books and I was impressed with each one of them.  Normally, I try to mix things up and read a different genre after finishing a book.  Unless, of course, I am reading a series for the first time.  It was refreshing to read three historical romance paperbacks in a row and find that each one is completely different than the other.  When you're in the mood for a hot, heavy, sensual book, I recommend these three.     


I was provided with these books by Hachette Book Group.  All opinions expressed are 100% my own.

July 13, 2011

Giveaway: No Rest For The Dead




The prize(s) are being provided by Simon & Schuster.

Review: No Rest For The Dead


When Christopher Thomas, a ruthless curator at San Francisco’s McFall Art Museum, is murdered and his decaying body is found in an iron maiden in a Berlin museum, his wife, Rosemary, is the primary suspect, and she is tried, convicted and executed. Ten years later, Jon Nunn, the detective who cracked the case, is convinced that the wrong person was put to death. In the years since the case was closed, he's discovered a web of deceit and betrayal surrounding the Thomases that could implicate any number of people in the crime. With the help of the dead woman's friend, he plans to gather everyone who was there the night Christopher died and finally uncover the truth, suspect by suspect. Solving this case may be Nunn’s last chance for redemption … but the shadowy forces behind Christopher’s death will stop at nothing to silence the past forever.
 
In this innovative storytelling approach, each of these twenty-five bestselling writers brings their distinctive voice to a chapter of the narrative, building the tension to a shocking, explosive finale. No Rest for the Dead is a thrilling, page-turning accomplishment that only America’s very best authors could achieve. 

With contributions from:David Baldacci (Introduction)
Jeff Abbott
Lori Armstrong
Sandra Brown
Thomas Cook
Jeffery Deaver
Diana Gabaldon
Tess Gerritsen
Andrew F. Gulli
Peter James
J.A. Jance
Faye Kellerman
Raymond Khoury
John Lescroart
Jeff Lindsay
Gayle Lynds
Philip Margolin
Alexander McCall Smith
Michael Palmer
T. Jefferson Parker
Matthew Pearl
Kathy Reichs
Marcus Sakey
Jonathan Santlofer
Lisa Scottoline
R.L. Stine
Marcia Talley

I was a little nervous about this book because even thought I am a fan these authors, I was unsure how they would be able to tie everything together.  Having twenty-five different authors each write one chapter sounded interesting and because I had never read anything like this, I was excited to see how it would turn out.  I'm really glad I picked up No Rest for the Dead because it had a really great plot and had a nice flow.  This is a book you do not want to miss!

Simon & Schuster provided me with a copy of this book.  All opinions are 100% my own.


July 12, 2011

Review: We All Fall Down by Michael Harvey


Chicago cop turned private investigator Michael Kelly is racing to save his city from a deadly new foe: a biological weapon unleashed underground.

When a lightbulb falls in a subway tunnel, it releases a pathogen that could kill millions. While the mayor postures, people begin to die, especially on the city’s grim West Side. Hospitals become morgues. L trains are converted into rolling hearses. Finally, the government acts, sealing off entire sections of the city—but are they keeping people out or in? Meanwhile, Michael Kelly’s hunt for the people who poisoned his city takes him into the tangled underworld of Chicago’s West Side gangs and the even more frightening world of black biology—an elite discipline emerging from the nation’s premier labs, where scientists play God and will stop at nothing to preserve their secrecy.

It’s a brave new world . . . and the most audacious page-turner yet from an emerging modern master. 


We All Fall Down went above and beyond my expectations.  With an intriguing plot and memorable characters, this book is headed for the bestseller list.  When you are looking for a thought-provoking, action-packed read, grab We All Fall Down and prepare yourself for a great time.

Visit Michael's website

Giveaway: Chosen by Paula Bradley



Blog Tour Review: Chosen by Paula Bradley



Due to a talent she has kept secret since childhood, Mariah becomes reclusive and shies away from lasting relationships. However, one night a man steps out of a hole in space, injects her with an alien substance and her secret – an extraordinary psychic ability – becomes enhanced to the degree that she now can telepathically find abducted children.


Her safe, anonymous world is shattered when one of her Findings is filmed, sold to a news journalist, and blasted on every news media for the world to see.


Chosen follows Mariah's ever-evolving life, both mental and physical. At first, hailed as a hero for her supernatural abilities – possibly a messenger from God? – doubt creeps into the minds of the populace when her ever-increasing talents causes a man to die. Can she be bought by the highest bidder? Can she control her ever burgeoning powers? Can she even be controlled?

Chosen is an extremely unique read that tugs that on your soul.  I couldn't help but place myself in Mariah's position and feel all of her emotions.  Emotionally charged, heart-wrenching and unforgettable, this book is in a league all it's own.  Readers everywhere should pick up a copy.

Scavenger Hunt Excerpt:

Screwing the lid back on the pill bottle, she placed it on the empty twelve-ounce bag of M&M’s. When the coroner examined the contents of her stomach during the autopsy, he would discover her next-to-last conscious act was one of pure gluttony.

The next stop on the tour is Over the Edge Book Reviews

I received a copy of this book from Meryl L. Moss Media Relations so that I could write an honest review.

Blog Tour Review: Creep by Jennifer Hillier


Dr. Sheila Tao is a professor of psychology. An expert in human behavior. And when she began an affair with sexy graduate student Ethan Wolfe, she knew she was playing with fire. Consumed by lust when they were together, riddled with guilt when they weren't, she knows the three-month fling has to end. After all, she's finally engaged to a loving investment banker who adores her, and she's taking control of her life. But when she attempts to end the affair, Ethan Wolfe won't let her walk away.

Ethan has plans for Sheila, plans that involve posting a sex video that would surely destroy her prestigious career. Plans to make her pay for rejecting him. And as she attempts to counter his every threatening move without her colleagues or her fiancé discovering her secrets, a shattering crime rocks Puget Sound State University: a female student, a star athlete, is found stabbed to death. Someone is raising the stakes of violence, sex, and blackmail . . . and before she knows it, Sheila is caught in a terrifying cat-and-mouse game with the lover she couldn't resist—who is now the monster who won't let her go. 

Creep is one of the best thriller's I have read in a really long time.  Not only did it hold my attention, but I found myself so engrossed in this book that I chose to read over doing anything else.  I know, as a readaholic that may not surprise you, but when I have a chance to go to the bookstore, that's a different story.  I loved everything about this book.  I have already added Jennifer to my favorite authors list and can't wait to see what she comes out with next!

Visit Jennifer's website

July 11, 2011

Giveaway: How To Seduce A Scoundrel by Vicky Dreiling




Blog Tour Review: How to Seduce a Scoundrel by Vicky Dreiling


Miss Julianne Gatewick is in a pickle. It started when her brother's best friend-for whom she's long nursed a secret tendre-agreed to act as her guardian for the Season, only to seduce her with a risqué waltz. But when the music stopped and the expectant ton waited for Marc Darcett, Earl of Hawkfield, to claim her as his own, he made his disinterest clear. Rather than succumb to humiliation, Julianne does what any self-respecting, recently discarded young miss with a wicked sense of humor would do. She secretly pens a lady's guide to enticing unrepentant rakes . . . and it becomes the hottest scandal sheet in London.

Every honorable rake knows that friends' sisters are forbidden. But suddenly Julienne has a spark of mischief in her eyes that Hawk can't resist. Try as he might to push her away, he spends his days listening for her laughter and his nights dreaming of kissing her senseless. He's always avoided innocents and their marriage-minded mothers, but has the man least likely to wed finally met his match?


How to Seduce a Scoundrel is in a category of it's own.  I was instantly sucked in and could not wait to find out what was going to happen between Julianne and Marc.  I stayed up really late to finish this book and even though I was tired the next day, I didn't regret my late night one bit. 

Visit Vicky's website
Listen to the playlist

July 10, 2011

Blog Tour Author Guest Post:: Vicky Dreiling



This is a really interesting topic as learning craft and writing for publication does change the way a writer reads. We notice wonderful writing: clever dialogue, breathtaking emotions, and brilliant metaphors. But when it comes to our own work, we tend to view our books as if they’re our children. We can’t possibly view them dispassionately. That’s the reason we need editors! Some writers also have critique partners who review their work.

I’m far pickier in my reading selections than I was before I started writing. Usually I can tell if I’ll like a particular writer’s voice (writing style) after reading as little as one paragraph. That doesn’t necessarily mean that the book is flawed—quite the contrary. In most cases, I’ll recognize the author’s talent, but for reasons that mystify me, I’m not emotionally engaged with the characters. Furthermore, I’ll often see reader reviews that praise the heartrending emotions in books that simply didn’t touch me in the same way. It’s as simple—and as complicated--as personal taste.

We all come to the reading table with expectations, preferences, and hot buttons (issues that we personally cannot tolerate). If an author doesn’t satisfy on those counts for any particular reader, then the reader isn’t likely to be fully engaged in the characters or the plot. In addition, the tone of a book is very reader-centric in terms of preferences. I’ll use myself as an example. A few years ago, everyone was talking about a very dark Young Adult novel. I happen to love Young Adult novels. In this case, the buzz about the book was so strong that it led me to buy the novel, even though I had misgivings about the dark tone. Keep in mind that this book sold exceptionally well. But it was the wrong type of book for me. I prefer a strong dose of humor and hope in the books I read. After slogging through fifty pages, I couldn’t take another minute of it. I concluded I’m the wrong target market for dystopian novels and never opened the book again. Clearly, it is a wonderful novel and well-deserving of the praise it received. It just wasn’t for me.

Overall, I believe my thoughts as a reader have changed as a result of my writing. I think a bit more when I’m reading and tend to speculate as to why a writer took a certain path.  Most of all, however, I try to simply enjoy the experience of a romance novel. There is something especially lovely about a genre that celebrates the strength of women.

May the Magic Romance Fairies be with you!
Vicky Dreiling


July 7, 2011

Review: Overbite by Meg Cabot


Meena Harper has a special gift, but it’s only now that anyone’s ever appreciated it. The Palatine Guard—a powerful secret demon-hunting unit of the Vatican—has hired her to work at their new branch in Lower Manhattan. With Meena’s ability to predict how everyone she meets will die, the Palatine finally has a chance against the undead. Sure, her ex-boyfriend was Lucien Anton­escu, son of Dracula, the prince of darkness. But that was before he (and their relationship) went up in flames. Now Meena’s sworn off vampires for good . . . at least until she can prove her theory that just because they’ve lost their souls doesn’t mean demons have lost the ability to love. Meena knows convincing her co-workers—including her partner, Über-demon-hunter Alaric Wulf—that vampires can be redeemed won’t be easy . . . especially when a deadly new threat seems to be endangering not just lives of the Palatine, but Meena’s friends and family as well. But Meena isn’t the Palatine’s only hope. Father Henrique—aka Padre Caliente—New York City’s youngest, most charming priest, has also been assigned to the case. So why doesn’t Meena—or Alaric—trust him? As she begins unraveling the truth, Meena finds her loyalties tested, her true feelings laid bare . . . and temptations she never even imagined existed impossible to resist. This time, Meena may finally have bitten off more... 

Those of you read my blog, know that I am a bit addicted to books with vampires.  As soon as I read the synopsis for Overbite by Meg Cabot, I knew I had to read it.  I opened up the book and before I knew it, I was halfway through.  I could not put it down.  My husband got home from work and had to make dinner, which has only happened a few times, because I am sick.  Needless to say, this is a must read for paranormal lovers.





Visit Meg's website




Giveaway: Changeling Dream by Dani Harper



Prologue for Changeling Dream By Dani Harper

Author of Changeling Dream
 
Tendrils of smoke rose ghostly white against the night sky like escaping spirits. Two days had passed and the house had collapsed to one side in a heap of charred beams and ash. No human could have survived such devastation.

James Macleod was not human.

Far beneath the blackened beams, he lay burned, bleeding, and broken. Close to death but as yet unable to embrace it. Now and then, he broke the surface of unconsciousness, only to be dragged under again by relentless agony and despair.

The waning moon hid its face as James opened his eyes at last. For a fleeting moment he thought he was blind, then realized night had fallen, although which night it was he had no idea and didn't care. He was still alive -- barely -- and didn't care about that either. His broken ribs screamed at him as he began to cough up more blood and soot, but this time oblivion stubbornly refused to take him back.

Evelyn. He couldn't see her beneath the debris, but he could just reach her delicate fingertips. They were cold and unyielding. He felt again the slash of agony in his heart that was far greater than the pain in his body. She had been human. Vulnerable, both she and the child within her, his child. He had failed them both, failed to protect them, failed even to discern any danger to them. He had been moving the cattle to summer pasture in the deep coulees along the river when a calf blundered into the fast-moving water. Saving the young animal and regrouping the herd had set him back an hour, then two. Just two scant hours in which all that was dear to him was left defenseless.

He'd known at once. James had barely turned his truck for home when cold terror suddenly clawed his heart and his wife's voice echoed briefly in his mind. Gunning the old pickup, he'd kept it on the rough dirt road by sheer force of will. Faster, faster, heedless of the rugged terrain. He had to get home, had to reach her. When an axle broke, James left the crippled truck and raced flat out, first on two legs, then on four.

The house had been strangely dark when he reached the yard.  Evelyn always left a light on for him. Always. And then he had spotted the smoke churning from an upstairs window. He caught no stranger's scent as he ran into the burning house, as he shifted shape and shouted for his wife. He had smelled blood, however, mixed with the thickening smoke. He followed the metallic tang of it straight to the dining room, knowing and not wanting to know that it was her blood. And that there was far too much of it. Dear God. James had squeezed his eyes shut against the ugly gunshot wounds that had stolen her life even as he cradled her small body against him. She was gone. Their child within her, already loved, was gone as well.

It was his fault, all his fault, although James had no idea who had done this. Few people could even find his ranch. It was remote, all but hidden, with the nearest neighbor miles away. He knew no enemies in this country, yet in his shattered heart he also knew it was no random act that had taken his loved ones from him. He should have known better. He should have known. His family's entire sept of Clan Macleod had been forced to leave Scotland more than two centuries earlier, when fear of Changelings caused all wolves to be slaughtered to extinction there. Why had he thought it would be better here, safer now? Why had he assumed humans were any more civilized now, any less driven by fear and hatred of those who were different? But then there had been Evelyn, and she was wholly, completely human. Evelyn, who embodied all that was good about humanity, who knew what he was and accepted him, who loved him with a heart that was bigger than she was. Evelyn who had just paid for that love with her all-too-human life.

Already half-mad with pain and grief, his own human side wanted nothing more than to follow his loved ones. Changelings were long-lived and tough, gifted and powerful. But they were not immortal. And not immune to bullets even if they weren't silver. Evelyn's killer had still been in the house, waiting for James, and James hadn't known. Perhaps he hadn't cared then either. The last thing he saw was his whole world in his arms -- then nothing.

Left for dead. Now, his Changeling nature was automatically trying to heal the horrendous wounds, weakly attempting to regenerate burned skin and tendon, repair and replace broken bone. But with so much damage and so little energy left, the process was winding down before it had really begun. Soon it would stop altogether and he would get his wish.

For one clear moment that wish coalesced in his mind -- a soul-deep desire for death. James embraced it without reservation, forgetting that his inner wolf was driven by a powerful and primitive instinct to survive. Without warning, fresh agony suddenly slammed into him from every direction. His heart was being squeezed through his ribs, his very bones felt as if they were exploding. The animal within had gone completely wild. Unbidden, it frantically clawed its way to the surface.

Dark clouds diffused the moon, hid the massive wolf that crawled out from under the charred wreckage, veiled the singed white fur in shadow. Sides heaving, the creature limped on three legs to the edge of the clearing and collapsed. James lay there for a long time and regarded the wreckage. Fists of sorrow beat inside him, but his lupine eyes could not weep. Instead, a cry of anguish was ripped from his throat, gaining in strength as it sliced through the silence. It rose and became an ululating howl echoing over the ruins of his home, his heart, his life.

As he howled out his grief, the sky cleared. The moon was far from full but still it blanketed him with pale silvery light, lent him its peculiar strength that only Changelings knew. James stood. So his wolf nature wanted to survive? Then it could damn well do it without him. He would set it free and never walk upright again.

The wind picked up. Although only three legs would obey him, the white wolf began to run. Run, to outpace the agony that could rip and tear a human heart. Run, to outdistance the human grief that could not be borne. Run, to be as the moon, a swift white shape gleaming in the night. Run, to be a wolf and only a wolf.

As he raced away into the welcoming arms of the night, James was only fleetingly aware that he had just buried his human self alongside Evelyn.

And then he was aware of nothing.

The above is an excerpt from the book Changeling Dream by Dani Harper. The above excerpt is a digitally scanned reproduction of text from print. Although this excerpt has been proofread, occasional errors may appear due to the scanning process. Please refer to the finished book for accuracy.

Copyright © 2011 Dani Harper, author of Changeling Dream


Author Bio

Dani Harper,
author of Changeling Moon, writes paranormal romance, blogs about the paranormal, watches paranormal TV and movies, and reads paranormal books of almost any kind. So it's only natural that werewolves, faeries, ghosts and other supernatural creatures populate her stories. She lives on an island in Southeast Alaska with her fisherman husband. Her stories get written on land or at sea with the help of her executive secretary, Fiona the Pug.


For more information please visit http://www.daniharper.com/  and follow the author on Facebook and Twitter