Nightshifted by Cassie Alexander

Nightshifted by Cassie Alexander Nightshifted by Cassie Alexander

Book Stats:
Reading level: Adult
Genre: Urban fantasy
Mass market paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Release date: May 22, 2012

Series: Edie Spence #1

Source: Review copy from author

Reviewed by: Jenn

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository

From debut author Cassie Alexander comes a spectacular new urban fantasy series where working the nightshift can be a real nightmare. Nothing compares to being Nightshifted.

Nursing school prepared Edie Spence for a lot of things. Burn victims? No problem. Severed limbs? Piece of cake. Vampires? No way in hell. But as the newest nurse on Y4, the secret ward hidden in the bowels of County Hospital, Edie has her hands full with every paranormal patient you can imagine—from vamps and were-things to zombies and beyond…

Edie’s just trying to learn the ropes so she can get through her latest shift unscathed. But when a vampire servant turns to dust under her watch, all hell breaks loose. Now she’s haunted by the man’s dying words—Save Anna—and before she knows it, she’s on a mission to rescue some poor girl from the undead. Which involves crashing a vampire den, falling for a zombie, and fighting for her soul. Grey’s Anatomy was never like this…

I was very excited when NIGHTSHIFTED showed up in the mail. (Thank you, Cassie!) I think it has an excellent premise – a secret hospital ward for supernaturals – that is just rife with possibilities. And the fact that Cassie Alexander is a registered nurse gave me hope that the setting would be exploited to the fullest. To a certain extent, it was, and I greatly enjoyed the scenes at the hospital. Edie works with an interesting team on the night shift and many significant events take place in Y4 and the rest of the hospital. There’s a really great scene with a dragon shifter and we see some truly interesting patients in Y4. These were probably my favourite scenes in the book because it offers us a perspective we don’t often see in urban fantasy or paranormal romance.

The bulk of the story, however, involves Edie’s promise to the dying man mentioned in the cover copy. Edie quickly finds Anna but the events surrounding her success lead Edie further down the garden path and she’s quickly sucked into vampire politics. (That pun was very unintentional, I promise you.) Cassie Alexander has created an interesting world and I enjoyed learning about the different supernatural races and hierarchies. She’s populated her book with a wide variety of supernaturals and it made the novel a lot of fun. I thought the Shadows and Anna were the most interesting and I hope to learn more about them in future stories. And I absolutely need to know what’s going on with the German-speaking CD player. (You’ll feel the same way after you finish reading, believe me.)

I also really liked the fact that Edie is just a regular person. She doesn’t have powers but she’s doing the best she can. Most of her decisions – even the ones that end badly – are made with other people’s welfare in mind and it’s nice to see a selfless heroine. (As an example, she took her job in Y4 because the powers that be promised to stop her brother’s drug addiction.) As a human surrounded by supernaturals, it would be easy for her to feel overwhelmed, which does happen, but she does her best to get through life and build relationships.

On the downside, there were a couple moments where the book fell flat for me. It’s hard for me to pinpoint why but NIGHTSHIFTED didn’t suck me in the way some of my favourite books do. I was reading it while travelling and I could put it down and go about my business without regret, which isn’t the case with some of my faves. On the other hand, though, I was happy to get back into the story when I had time and I was curious to see what would happen to Edie and Anna. I also wasn’t sold on a zombie for a love interest at first. Maybe I’ve been watching too much Resident Evil? Don’t get me wrong, Ti (the zombie) is a well developed character with all the makings of a great love interest but I guess I’m more inhibited than Edie because I don’t think I could kiss a guy who can put himself back together with replacement parts. Intellectually, I know it’s probably no grosser than kissing a vampire, who’s also undead, but it took a while for me to come around to the idea. But I think it’s a very original idea and I love writers who do the unexpected.

Before I close, I’d like to take a moment to admire the cover. It really captures the spirit of the novel (complete with the dragonshifter I mentioned!) and so I wanted to heap some praise on the artist, whose name I can’t find. Kudos, anonymous artist. (Does anyone know who did the cover art? I’d really like to know.)

All in all, NIGHTSHIFTED has a lot of promise. It’s not a perfect novel but the trilogy’s world and characters have so much potential that I look forward to seeing what Edie gets up to next in MOONSHIFTED, which comes out in November.

Read an excerpt

Jenn

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"When I’m not writing" by Marissa Meyer

Marissa Meyer This week, we are delighted to have the talented Marissa Meyer joining us for “When I’m not writing”. She’s the author of the young adult sci-fi-spin-on-fairy-tales Lunar Chronicles quartet, which kicked off with the amazing CINDER and its sequel SCARLET. Stéph has reviewed both books and she really enjoyed both books. She says that the “merging of a fairy tale within a science fiction realm is original and refreshing”. Needless to say, we’re quite excited to have Marissa joining us today!

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I like food.

I mean, I really like food, with an obsession I suspect borders on unhealthy. (Luckily, I like both healthy and unhealthy foods, so I can attempt to bring some balance into said food obsession.)

I like the how some flavors combine to be greater than the sum of their parts, and I like that anticipation when you enter a very fine restaurant or a fancy chocolatier, and I like the unexpected craving when you pass a street-food vendor and encounter the smell of simmering onions and roasted meat wafting toward you. I like how a great meal is a delight to all the senses—taste, of course, but also sight and smell, and even touch, such as how an element of crunch might meld with a silken creaminess to form one perfect sensation in the mouth.

I even love reading about food. As a writer and reader, food descriptions have long been one of my guilty pleasures. I think it’s the adjectives. Buttery, tangy, crisp, succulent, smooth, aromatic, doughy, melted creamy gooiness…

The subject of the sentence is unnecessary. My mouth is already watering.

For the past five or six years, this love of all things delicious has begun to translate into a love of cooking. It isn’t a great passion—for me, that honor seems to be strictly reserved for writing—but it is a fairly regular delight. I suspect it started when I moved in with my boyfriend-now-husband, who’s a contractor and built his house with a big, gorgeous kitchen. A dream come true! Suddenly having acres of counter space and an honest-to-goodness pantry, I started to experiment with cooking in a way I never had before.

I’ve since found that I enjoy every step of the process. From tearing out recipes from magazines or hunting them down on Pinterest (seriously, what did we do before Pinterest?), to planning the meals and going grocery shopping, to the actual chopping, seasoning, and execution of the meal. Well, except when it comes to chopping onions. Ugh, how I loathe chopping onions.

I also love experimenting with new ingredients. Rarely a week goes by that I don’t add something to the shopping cart that I’ve never purchased before, and over the years I’ve experimented with everything from caviar to squash blossoms to carrot greens, which it turns out taste kind of like parsley. (This week, the experimental ingredient is pearled barley, which will make its way into a barley-mushroom-dill salad tomorrow afternoon. We’ll see!)

So when I’m not writing or reading (my top two activities of choice), I’m probably eating. Or thinking about eating. Or cooking and then eating and then thinking about what I’ll eat next, or some combination thereof. It might be a bit obsessive, but at least it’s an obsession that comes with a bit of nourishment and its own brand of creativity.

Now if only I could get half so excited about my next trip to the gym…

Jenn’s note: Check out this video from Marissa’s CINDER tour:

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Thanks so much for stopping by, Marissa!

For more information about Marissa and her books, check out her website or follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

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Here’s the scoop on SCARLET:

Scarlet by Marissa Meyer (Lunar Chronicles #2)Cinder returns in the second thrilling installment of the New York Times-bestselling Lunar Chronicles. She’s trying to break out of prison—even though if she succeeds, she’ll be the Commonwealth’s most wanted fugitive.

Halfway around the world, Scarlet Benoit’s grandmother is missing. It turns out there are many things Scarlet doesn’t know about her grandmother and the grave danger she has lived in her whole life. When Scarlet encounters Wolf, a street fighter who may have information as to her grandmother’s whereabouts, she has no choice but to trust him, though he clearly has a few dark secrets of his own.

As Scarlet and Wolf work to unravel one mystery, they find another when they cross paths with Cinder. Together, they must stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen who will do anything to make Prince Kai her husband, her king, her prisoner.Cinder, the cyborg mechanic, returns in the second thrilling installment of the bestselling Lunar Chronicles. She’s trying to break out of prison–even though if she succeeds, she’ll be the Commonwealth’s most wanted fugitive.

Stéphanie’s thoughts

Read an excerpt (scroll down)

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository

Here’s the scoop on CINDER, where it all began:

Cinder by Marissa Meyer (Lunar Chronicles #1)Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless Lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl…

Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.

Stéphanie’s thoughts

Read an excerpt (scroll down)

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository

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Do you guys have suggestions for who you’d like to see featured on the blog? If so, you can make your suggestions on this page. No guarantees that your favorite authors will be able to participate but we’ll try!

Authors, would you like to visit and share with us? Please email me at jennblogs (at) gmail (dot) com and we’ll set it up!

Jenn

Daring You to Read … In A Fix by Linda Grimes

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I’ve been awaiting weeks for the 6 months rule so I can finally dare you to read In A Fix by Linda Grimes. It was one of my favourite reads in 2012, quite a feat for a debut author, and I must urge you to pick up this title as the second book, Quick Fix, releases this summer! I was lucky enough to be sent an ARC by the author and I can’t wait to dive into it! Now… back on topic… You have to read In A Fix because it’s an highly original urban fantasy with captivating characters. The humour and the action will keep you riveted to the pages late into the night, beware!

Miss Grimes blessed us with a very unique lore. Her main characters are called adaptors. Their particular talent lays in an ability to touch one’s aura and mimic it to perfection. They become an exact copy of their target, right down to their voice and physical abilities. How does it differ from a “simple” shape shifter you ask? First of all, it’s instantaneous, as opposed to a long and strenuous process and the adaptor need to have a direct or indirect contact with the desired aura to be able to change into it. Quite fascinating!

The highlight of this novel for me was the characters. Right from the start I felt a connection with Ciel and the two men of her life, Billy and Mark. The three of them are unbeatable and their affectionate banter provides a light spirit in life or death situations. This action-packed story features Vikings, no less, and around the world travelling.

I truly enjoyed every moment of this exciting and engrossing instalment so I am daring you to read it to!

In a Fix (In a Fix, #1)

The start of an original new urban fantasy series starring human chameleon Ciel Halligan

Snagging a marriage proposal for her client while on an all-expenses-paid vacation should be a simple job for Ciel Halligan, aura adaptor extraordinaire. A kind of human chameleon, she’s able to take on her clients’ appearances and slip seamlessly into their lives, solving any sticky problems they don’t want to deal with themselves. No fuss, no muss. Big paycheck.

This particular assignment is pretty enjoyable… that is, until Ciel’s island resort bungalow is blown to smithereens and her client’s about-to-be-fiancé is snatched by modern-day Vikings. For some reason, Ciel begins to suspect that getting the ring is going to be a tad more difficult than originally anticipated.

Going from romance to rescue requires some serious gear-shifting, as well as a little backup. Her best friend, Billy, and Mark, the CIA agent she’s been crushing on for years—both skilled adaptors—step in to help, but their priority is, annoyingly, keeping her safe. Before long, Ciel is dedicating more energy to escaping their watchful eyes than she is to saving her client’s intended.
Suddenly, facing down a horde of Vikings feels like the least of her problems.

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository

Sequel:

Quick Fix (Paperback)

Daring You To Read is a weekly feature here on Tynga’s Reviews where we dare you to read some of our favorite older releases (at least 6 months old). All the books/series we choose to feature are titles we adored and think you should give them a shot! We think it’s a super awesome way to discover that special book who might have slipped off your radar!

You’ve already read the book? Let’s us know what you thought!
You are accepting the dare? We’d love to know!
Have a dare of your own? Leave a comment ^^

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Unremembered by Jessica Brody

Unremembered by Jessica Brody Unremembered by Jessica Brody

Book stats:
Reading level: Young Adult
ARC: 302 pages
Genre: Science Fiction
Publisher: Farrar, Straus, & Girouz (BYR)
Release date: March 5, 2013

Series: Unremembered #1

Source: Trade

Reviewed by: Lili

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository

The only thing worse than forgetting her past… is remembering it.

When Freedom Airlines flight 121 went down over the Pacific Ocean, no one ever expected to find survivors. Which is why the sixteen-year-old girl discovered floating among the wreckage—alive—is making headlines across the globe.

Even more strange is that her body is miraculously unharmed and she has no memories of boarding the plane. She has no memories of her life before the crash. She has no memories period. No one knows how she survived. No one knows why she wasn’t on the passenger manifest. And no one can explain why her DNA and fingerprints can’t be found in a single database in the world.

Crippled by a world she doesn’t know, plagued by abilities she doesn’t understand, and haunted by a looming threat she can’t remember, Seraphina struggles to piece together her forgotten past and discover who she really is. But with every clue only comes more questions. And she’s running out of time to answer them.

Her only hope is a strangely alluring boy who claims to know her from before the crash. Who claims they were in love. But can she really trust him? And will he be able to protect her from the people who have been making her forget?

From popular young adult author, Jessica Brody comes a mesmerizing and suspenseful new series, set in a world where science knows no boundaries, memories are manipulated, and true love can never be forgotten.

It is very hard for me to put my thoughts regarding UNREMEMBERED into words. I was very much looking forward to this book after reading Brody’s 52 REASONS TO HATE MY FATHER. So, when I was able to trade for this one you can easily imagine my excitement. However, I was still somewhat apprehensive about diving into this book because it explores a concept that has been done many times before in young adult literature. As impressive as a story evolving around an amnesiac main character can be when done well, it can be incredibly disappointing when executed improperly. Unfortunately, this is one of those cases where the overall story is disappointing.

What this book reminds me of is a cross between EVE & ADAM by Michael Grant and Katherine Applegate and LEVEL 2 by Lenore Appelhans. Admittedly, I struggled with both of the aforementioned books as well. If you take the concept of a perfect human being and all the implications surrounding it and the question of what exactly makes people human from EVE & ADAM and combine it with an amnesiac character struggling against her mind-controlling captors while gaining her memories back all too quickly and unrealistically with the help of a boy from her past from LEVEL 2, you have this book. Again, at least it feels that way to me. Add in an oddly important Shakespearean sonnet, the repeated question as to what exactly classifies an organism as human, and a little foster brother that keeps getting in trouble for taking you on wild adventures and you have the equation that makes up UNREMEMBERED.

Violet was found as the only survivor of a plane crash floating in the ocean completely unharmed with no recollection as to how she got there, thus igniting a media firestorm. Whenever her picture showed up on the news or the Internet with a location linked to it, a mysterious boy who refers to himself as Zen shows up wanting to help her, just as evil guys dressed head to toe in black give chase. This starts a huge domino effect starting with Violet trying to uncover her lost memories and ending with way more than she bargained for. All in all, a really fascinating concept that fell flat due to lack of sufficient details and constant frustration with Violet on my part. It’s all to convenient that while she can’t remember her own memories and her own hints to herself, she can remember to speak pretty much any language in the world without realizing it, how to execute awesome self-defense moves, and literally the definition of every word. I am not kidding you, she’s referred to as a walking dictionary several times in the book and I couldn’t say it any better myself. The idea of an amnesiac perfect human being was cliché in all aspects of her creation and her lack of understanding of simple terms and food was not entertaining the way it was intended to be. Apparently, grilled cheese is a delicacy in the eyes of the “hot and insanely smart amnesiac supermodel” that can prove unproved scientific theories. Excuse me for my ranting, but all of this frustrated me because everything was so perfect. There was no imperfections, which made the entire tale seem fake to me.

All in all, I recommend this book to readers new to the scientific genre. It makes you question what, exactly, makes us humans? If someone has to replace all their limbs with prosthetics are they still human? Take it one step further, what about their organs? It gets you thinking along those lines and will satisfy those who have yet to read the best books this genre has to offer. However, its flaws will radiate to common science fiction readers like myself. I don’t think this book needs to expand into an entire trilogy because the ending is fine and book one did not leave me desperately wanting more. So, while this book wasn’t for me, I urge those looking for a fast read to pick it up. Despite all of my qualms, I got through this book in about two hours because it was paced well enough for me to keep on going. That, in itself, does express that there is some potential to this tale, it just wasn’t for me. I was left with too many questions and not enough answers.

Read an excerpt

Jenn

Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

meyer - scarletScarlet by Marissa Meyer

Book Stats:

Reading level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 454 pages
Genre: Sci-fi/Paranormal
Publisher: Macmillan (Feiwel & Friends)
Release date: February 5, 2013

Series: The Lunar Chronicles #2

Reviewed by: Stéphanie

Source: Personal shelf

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository

Cinder, the cyborg mechanic, returns in the second thrilling installment of the bestselling Lunar Chronicles. She’s trying to break out of prison–even though if she succeeds, she’ll be the Commonwealth’s most wanted fugitive.

Halfway around the world, Scarlet Benoit’s grandmother is missing. It turns out there are many things Scarlet doesn’t know about her grandmother or the grave danger she has lived in her whole life. When Scarlet encounters Wolf, a street fighter who may have information as to her grandmother’s whereabouts, she is loath to trust this stranger, but is inexplicably drawn to him, and he to her. As Scarlet and Wolf unravel one mystery, they encounter another when they meet Cinder. Now, all of them must stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen Levana, who will do anything for the handsome Prince Kai to become her husband, her king, her prisoner.

Oh my… wow! I have no words to describe how much I adored this book. I can’t believe I enjoyed SCARLET more than CINDER, the first book of The Lunar Chronicles. CINDER was my favorite YA book of 2012 so it’s not surprised that SCARLET was one of my most anticipated YA books of 2013. And after reading more than half the book on release day, I knew even then that it would make one of my top 10 lists of 2013. I have only one regret: reading it too quickly!

I’m glad the author stuck with the theme of reworking fairytales to suit her needs. While I wouldn’t qualify these books as retellings, Marissa Meyer does inspire her books from themes of the famous fairytales. As you can imagine, CINDER is based on Cinderella, while SCARLET is inspired by The Little Red Riding Hood.

When I first realized the sequel to CINDER wasn’t going to concentrate on Cinder and that we would be introduced to another main character, I was a little disappointed. Since Cinder was such a wonderful character, I wanted/expected the whole series to be about her and Prince Kai, and not just have bits and pieces of her story in the sequel. However, now that I’ve finished, I wish we could have had more scenes with Scarlet and Wolf. Their chemistry is absolutely perfect and the secrets in their relationship makes it so much more interesting. Wolf might or might not be the Big Bad Wolf of the story but his duplicity will no doubt bother you as much as it bothered me. Their ancestry might be very similar, but I think what makes their relationship so attractive is the fact that they are from two completely different worlds.

The quasi-relationship we saw bloom in the first book between Cinder and Kai is sidelined in SCARLET because the two never come in contact. Cinder is a fugitive on the run and Kai is responsible of capturing her, in order to ensure the safety of his country. I hope we see them reunited in the next book because their relationship is without a doubt the most important one in this series.

I’m glad the author decided to “resurrect” Iko, Cinder’s robot friend/side-kick, no matter how large her new “body” may be. The comic relief Iko provides is, in my opinion, necessary, because this book is more somber and has some graphic and gory scenes. Of course, a sci-fi book is never complete without some sort of artificial intelligence and the fact Iko plays the role of fairy-godmother in book one, she couldn’t have been killed off so easily.

While book one centered on New Beijing (the capital of the Eastern Commonwealth, one of the 5 countries of this new version of Earth), in this book we are privileged to a wider view of the world. Scarlet’s story is mostly held in what used to be France, a dramatic change in setting from book one. Despite learning a lot about this world, I think Marissa Meyer has a lot more to reveal in the next two books. Of course, Luna still remains quite a mystery despite the new revelations in SCARLET.

If I still haven’t convinced you to read this series with this review, then just take my word for it. SCARLET will take you on an adventure where darts coming out of fingers can almost be considered normal and where the little red riding hood isn’t as gullible as we thought she was. I simply adored this book and I hope you will too!

Read an excerpt

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"When I’m not writing…" with Angie Fox + giveaway!

Angie Fox Our last “When I’m not writing…” guest post for the month is by Angie Fox! You may know her from her Accidental Demon Slayer series but she’s here today to promote IMMORTALLY YOURS and the upcoming IMMORTALLY EMBRACED, the first two books in her new Monster M*A*S*H series. It’s set in a paranormal M*A*S*H unit and is sure to appeal to fans of Molly Harper and Kerrelyn Sparks.

Enjoy the post and make sure to stick around for the giveaway to win your own copy of any one of her Accidental Demon Slayer books!

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Thanks for having me on the blog! I’ve enjoyed reading the other “When I’m not writing” posts and am glad to join in. My name is Angie Fox and I write paranormals that feature demon slayers and biker witches.

In my spare time, I get to research all the fun things I write about in the books. Let’s just say it’s been an adventure. I’m a wife, a mom and one of those people who can be a little shy at times. To the point where I never predicted my writing would put me on the back of a coal black Harley Davidson, with an Irish Setter in tow.

Angie Fox Harley Dog 44

I’d set out to write a paranormal about a straight-laced preschool teacher turned demon slayer who has to run off with a gang of geriatric biker witches. But my heroine has a smart-mouthed dog that, thanks to her new powers, can talk…and talk…and talk. And I really loved that dog. What’s a writer to do? Well, I went online and learned that there is a nationwide club of Harley bikers who ride with their dogs. So my heroine could have her pink Harley, and her Jack Russell Terrier too.

Angie Fox Biker Dog 37Angie Fox Biker Dog 39

And of course I had to meet these Harley riding dog lovers. I called up a few of the members of a Biker Dogs Motorcycle Club and the fun began. They’ve invited me into their homes, introduced me to their dogs and, like my heroine, the bikers have hoisted me up on the back of their Harleys, with dogs in tow.

Things I learned right off the bat:

1. After an hour on a Harley, you’ll walk like John Wayne for a week
2. Helmets hurt when they are worn backwards
3. Dogs love riding motorcycles

Stone, the biker who has spent the most time making sure I don’t fall off his hog has even invited me to some biker rallies (note to self: don’t wear pink next time). Another one of the bikers I’ve met has a wife who is a biker witch. (And here I thought I was making this stuff up). Every time I go out with the bikers, I find fun little touches to add to the books. Plus, it’s a blast.

So if you ever see me heading down the highway, wave. And I’ll do the same.

Angie Fox Biker Dog 39

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Thanks for stopping by, Angie! What a great post!

For more information about Angie and her books, check out her website or follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

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Here’s the scoop on IMMORTALLY YOURS:

Immortally Yours by Angie FoxIN THE WAR BETWEEN THE GODS…
No one patches up the incoming wounded like Dr. Petra Robichaud. Recruited by the gods for her uncanny medical skills, she’s the best M*A*S*H surgeon in the army. Along with a nosy guard sphinx, vegetarian werewolf, and other paranormal paramedics, she bandages soldiers who are built like Greek gods (literally.) But when one sexy immortal ends up on her operating table—half dead and totally to-die-for—Petra’s afraid she’ll lose her patient and her heart…

NOTHING IS MORE DANGEROUS THAN LOVE
Commander Galen of Delphi is one gorgeous but stubborn demi-god. When his spirit tries to slip out of his fatally wounded body, Dr. Petra has to slip it back in—unwittingly revealing her ability to see ghosts. Now that Galen knows her secret, he’s convinced she’s part of an ancient prophesy. If the oracles are right, Petra could lead Galen’s army to peace. And if he seduces her on the way to hell and back? Heaven knows—all’s fair in love and war…

Read an excerpt

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository

Here’s the scoop on IMMORTALLY EMBRACED:

Immortally Embraced by Angie FoxIN THE BATTLE OF THE SEXES…
Even during a truce, Dr. Petra Robichaud has her hands full as the M*A*S*H surgeon to an army of warring gods—especially when Medusa herself turns up pregnant. Petra has no idea what to expect when a gorgon’s expecting, but she won’t let it turn her to stone. As the healer-hero of an ancient prophesy, it’s Petra’s job to keep the peace. But as the lover to a warrior demi-god, she knows how impossible some jobs can be…

IT’S EVERY GOD FOR HIMSELF.
Commander Galen is sexy, strong, and sworn to lead his team to hell and back. But when he announces to Petra that he can no longer risk her life for his love, the doctor is on her own… Until a mysterious new entity—in the form of a hot-blooded male—enters the picture. Can he be trusted? Can he be resisted? Meanwhile, an oracle delivers another prophesy that places Petra back on the frontlines with the man she may be bound to for eternity—in love, or in war…

Read an excerpt

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository

Click on the covers to learn about the Accidental Demon Slayer series:

The Accidental Demon Slayer by Angie FoxThe Dangerous Book for Demon Slayers by Angie FoxA Tale of Two Demon Slayers by Angie FoxLast of the Demon Slayers by Angie Fox

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giveaway

Angie is graciously providing one (1) lucky winner with a copy of his or her choice of a book of her Accidental Demon Slayer series!

To enter the giveaway, obey the Rafflecopter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Do you guys have suggestions for who you’d like to see featured on the blog? If so, you can make your suggestions on this page. No guarantees that your favorite authors will be able to participate but we’ll try!

Authors, would you like to visit and share with us? Please email me at jennblogs (at) gmail (dot) com and we’ll set it up!

Jenn

River Road blog tour: Preternatural Noshes, New Orleans Style by Suzanne Johnson + giveaway!

River Road blog tour

Today we have a special visitor: Suzanne Johnson! I adored ROYAL STREET, the first book in her urban fantasy series, the Sentinel of New Orleans, and so I jumped on the opportunity to be a part of her latest blog tour. She’s here today to talk about a holiday gathering with characters from the series, New Orleans style. It’s a really fun post that I’m sure you’ll enjoy!

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Preternatural Noshes, New Orleans Style
(c) Suzanne Johnson

It’s that time of the year—you know, when everyone gets together around a table of people with whom they might not normally fraternize. In New Orleans, we call it Reveillon. In the 19th century, New Orleans families would gather for a big meal after breaking their post-midnight mass holiday fast. Today, Reveillon lasts for most of December, with restaurants offering special holiday menus so theoretically you could have a Reveillon meal at a different restaurant every night of the holiday season.

Suzanne Johnson Royal StreetIn the spirit of Reveillon, and with much trepidation, I rented a banquet room in Jax Brewery on the New Orleans riverfront and invited some of the characters of River Road to join me for a holiday meal. It was with even more trepidation that I asked each one to bring a favorite dish.

The undead pirate Jean Lafitte arrived first, looking sexy as hell in a fine indigo-colored suit that was the height of fashion about 250 years ago. He only had to walk a few blocks from the Hotel Monteleone, where he has been ensconced in the swank Eudora Welty Suite ever since the borders between the modern world and the Beyond came down.

I had thought Jean would bring some brandy or some seafood grilled on a plank (you know…walk the plank?), or maybe sea biscuits, but no. He’d been totally lazy and stopped in Criollo, the hotel’s restaurant, and sauntered over trailed by one of his pirate flunkies from Old Orleans. Said flunky was laden down with what has become in recent years a New Orleans dining tradition—a soup trio. Three demitasse cups are filled with soups…well, except since this was take-out, Jean’s flunky arrived toting three fancy cardboard containers with a rich turtle soup swimming in sherry; a seafood gumbo swimming with crab; and an Andouille and sweet potato bisque.

While Jean busied himself pouring brandy and berating his flunky about how to arrange the soup on the banquet table, merman Rene Delachaise arrived with a boxful of dishes he finally admitted had been made by his stepmother Michelle. “She stays up in da parish, babe,” he told me (which in the local vernacular means she lives in St. Bernard Parish, east of New Orleans).

Michelle had made a feast of traditional South Louisiana dishes. We had stuffed merliton (a locally grown, mild winter squash, baked and then stuffed with the squash and shrimp and crab); oyster dressing (made with day-old French bread and seasoned with oysters, onions, celery, parsley); and, finally, a platter of gator bites (cut in meaty chunks, battered, and fried).

Being old buddies, Jean and Rene got rid of the flunky (they didn’t kill him but just sent him back to the Beyond clutching a fistful of gator bites), then huddled at the end of the table to talk business. I heard something about slot machines before I was distracted by Alex and Jake Warin, who arrived toting desserts and making bets on the chances of the New Orleans Saints making the playoffs.

Suzanne Johnson River RoadWhen I asked if they’d actually MADE the desserts, they both gave me blank shifter/loup-garou face. “Yeah, we used the same kitchen as the pirate,” Alex said, nodding at Rene and giving Jean a cool, scornful look. Jean grinned at him, and though I heard some muttering about “le petit chien,” I decided to ignore both of them and help Jake unpack the goods.

As soon as I saw the coconut cake, I knew one of the guys had made a trip to Mississippi. Jake’s mom does a mean coconut cake, and Alex’s mom, Norma, had contributed a rich bread pudding heavy with raisins and bourbon.

Alex and Jean spoke at the same time. “There’s DJ” and “There is my lovely Jolie!”

“Well, crap. I didn’t know they were ALL going to be here or I’d have gone to see Lincoln.” DJ’s voice beat her up the stairs from the Napoleon House courtyard a few seconds before she appeared, carrying her contribution to the dinner. I eyed the giant plastic bag from Popeye’s Fried Chicken in one hand and the box of Aunt Sally’s pralines under the other arm, and remembered why I like this snarky little wizard.

A crash from behind us drew our attention. The pan of oyster dressing lay on the floor, minus most of its contents, which now adorned the front of Alex’s sweater.

“Pardon, Monsieur Chien. My hand slipped.” Jean Lafitte tossed a linen napkin at Alex and was too busy smirking to notice Jake until he upended the bread pudding over the pirate’s head.

“I bet that bread pudding was great,” DJ said, stepping back as Rene launched himself at Jake and sent the platter of gator bites flying.

“Yeah.” I eyed the overturned soup dishes regretfully but shifted my gaze to the bag of spicy fried chicken. “Bet we could eat that in the car on the way to the theater. Where’s Lincoln playing?”

“Elmwood.” DJ handed me the Aunt Sally’s box. “They’ll never miss us. Who’s going to pay for the damages?”

A chair collapsed between the combined weight of Alex and Jean with a crack of splintering wood. One was choking the other, but I couldn’t quite tell which was which.
“Whoever has the most cash or gold on them.” I followed DJ down the stairs. “My money’s on the pirate.”

From the cast of River Road, happy Reveillon! What’s your favorite family holiday dish?

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Thanks for visiting us and giving us a peek at your characters over the holidays, Suzanne!

Want more Suzanne? You can find her online at her website or on Facebook, or Twitter.

You can also see the rest of her tour by clicking on the tour button below.

River Road blog tour

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More about RIVER ROAD:

River Road by Suzanne JohnsonHurricane Katrina is long gone, but the preternatural storm rages on in New Orleans. New species from the Beyond moved into Louisiana after the hurricane destroyed the borders between worlds, and it falls to wizard sentinel Drusilla Jaco and her partner, Alex Warin, to keep the preternaturals peaceful and the humans unaware. But a war is brewing between two clans of Cajun merpeople in Plaquemines Parish, and down in the swamp, DJ learns, there’s more stirring than angry mermen and the threat of a were-gator.

Wizards are dying, and something—or someone—from the Beyond is poisoning the waters of the mighty Mississippi, threatening the humans who live and work along the river. DJ and Alex must figure out what unearthly source is contaminating the water and who—or what—is killing the wizards. Is it a malcontented merman, the naughty nymph, or some other critter altogether? After all, DJ’s undead suitor, the pirate Jean Lafitte, knows his way around a body or two.

It’s anything but smooth sailing on the bayou as the Sentinels of New Orleans series continues.

Jenn’s thoughts

Read an excerpt

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository

You can see what I thought of ROYAL STREET by clicking on the cover:

Suzanne Johnson Royal Street

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giveaway

One (1) tour-wide winner will get his or her choice of Kindle Paperwhite or Nook Simple Touch (or $100 gift card for Amazon, B&N, or Book Depository)
and five (5) lucky people will win a $10 gift card for Amazon, B&N or Book Depository

To enter the giveaway, obey the Rafflecopter!

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Jenn

River Road by Suzanne Johnson

River Road by Suzanne Johnson River Road by Suzanne Johnson

Book stats:
Reading level: Adult
Trade paperback: 360 pages
Genre: Urban fantasy
Publisher: Tor
Release date: November 13, 2012

Series: Sentinel of New Orleans #2

Source: Review copy from Bewitching Book Tours

Reviewed by: Jenn

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository

Hurricane Katrina is long gone, but the preternatural storm rages on in New Orleans. New species from the Beyond moved into Louisiana after the hurricane destroyed the borders between worlds, and it falls to wizard sentinel Drusilla Jaco and her partner, Alex Warin, to keep the preternaturals peaceful and the humans unaware. But a war is brewing between two clans of Cajun merpeople in Plaquemines Parish, and down in the swamp, DJ learns, there’s more stirring than angry mermen and the threat of a were-gator.

Wizards are dying, and something—or someone—from the Beyond is poisoning the waters of the mighty Mississippi, threatening the humans who live and work along the river. DJ and Alex must figure out what unearthly source is contaminating the water and who—or what—is killing the wizards. Is it a malcontented merman, the naughty nymph, or some other critter altogether? After all, DJ’s undead suitor, the pirate Jean Lafitte, knows his way around a body or two.

It’s anything but smooth sailing on the bayou as the Sentinels of New Orleans series continues.

Three year have passed since the events in ROYAL STREET (which I talked about a little while ago) but some things remain the same. New Orleans hasn’t fully recovered from Katrina, though things are better than they were. DJ and Alex are still co-sentinels, policing the prete (as in “preternatural”) world. They’ve developed a good working relationship but their attraction simmers underneath it all, though they haven’t acted on it *too much* because of their friendship and work relationship. Jean Lafitte, the dead pirate who likes to visit from the Beyond, is still very interested in DJ and she often finds herself drawn to him despite her better judgment. Jake, Alex’s cousin who went loup garou in the last book, is also still around but he and DJ haven’t seen each other since the events in ROYAL STREET.

Something that has changed: the scope of the series. Suzanne Johnson really expands DJ’s world with RIVER ROAD, as we venture further afield from New Orleans and meet new species of pretes: merpeople and nymphs! It’s an exciting development because we’re seeing more of the physical world and because we’re seeing DJ grow as a person and a sentinel. In ROYAL STREET, she had a lot to adjust to but now, in RIVER ROAD, she’s a bit more confident, even when the problem goes from being just a dispute between two families of merpeople to something with a greater scope. DJ and Alex also have to solve the murder of two Green Congress wizards that are discovered early on in their work with the merpeople, so the investigative and problem-solving aspects of the book are on full display.

Of course, DJ also has to grapple with the three men in her life. Jake is no longer human so dating him comes with a new set of rules, Jean Lafitte is interested and has some redeeming qualities, to DJ’s dismay, and Alex is, well, Alex. He’s attractive and capable and off-limits, which makes some of his behaviour confusing. It just breaks my heart, her being desired by these three interesting characters. 😉

Also in play in RIVER ROAD is DJ’s elven heritage. She learned about it in ROYAL STREET and she’s still learning how to use her abilities, particularly the wooden staff she’s named Charlie. There are some very interesting developments, including a character who enters later in the book that will remain nameless in this post (and of whom I am very suspicious). I hope this is something that Suzanne Johnson will explore in future books in the series because I’m very curious about elves and the Elven Synod.

RIVER ROAD is a strong sequel to ROYAL STREET sure to please existing fans and win new ones. Suzanne Johnson takes us on quite an adventure and has me eagerly anticipating ELYSIAN FIELDS, due out in August.

Read an excerpt

Jenn

Monument 14 by Emmy Laybourne

Monument 14 by Emmy Laybourne

Book stats:

Reading Level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 295 pages
Genre: Sci-fi, Dystopian
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Release Date: June 5, 2012

Series: Monument 14 #1

Source: Personal Shelf

Review By: Lili

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository

Your mother hollers that you’re going to miss the bus. She can see it coming down the street. You don’t stop and hug her and tell her you love her. You don’t thank her for being a good, kind, patient mother. Of course not—you launch yourself down the stairs and make a run for the corner.Only, if it’s the last time you’ll ever see your mother, you sort of start to wish you’d stopped and did those things. Maybe even missed the bus.But the bus was barreling down our street, so I ran.

Fourteen kids. One superstore. A million things that go wrong.

In Emmy Laybourne’s action-packed debut novel, six high school kids (some popular, some not), two eighth graders (one a tech genius), and six little kids trapped together in a chain superstore build a refuge for themselves inside. While outside, a series of escalating disasters, beginning with a monster hailstorm and ending with a chemical weapons spill, seems to be tearing the world—as they know it—apart.

I was lucky enough to meet Emmy Laybourne several weeks ago. She was the first author I have ever met, and, boy, can she tell a unique tale. Her debut novel has a Lord of the Fliesfeel to it as many kids of varying ages fight to survive in a superstore while an apocalyptic event is literally occurring outside. I don’t know about you guys, but I’ve only ever read books that describe an event that happened in the past. Reading the event as it happened was equal parts captivating and terrifying.

I really enjoyed watching them fend for themselves. As a reader, you learned a lot about the tendencies of different individuals to react in certain situations and I truly did enjoy the amount of characters in the book. There was everything from a few stupid jocks (sorry to feed into that stereotype, but that’s how they were characterized) to a Boy Scout who knew how to survive anything; a gorgeous champion swimmer and a girl who wears her hair in giraffe braids; a bible-thumper elementary schooler who is an amazing cook and a set of twins that just wants their Mommy; a set of brothers who do nothing but write and show their technological genius while another elementary schooler can barely speak any English. And not to mention the thirteen year old that just wanted to impress the big kids, but we all know is really a little kid. The array of characters was endless and enjoyable since everyone legitimately brought something different to the table, but it also proved to be problematic. It took a solid third of the book for me to connect all of the distinct attitudes with the right person because there was such a huge cast. I’m hoping that perhaps book two can be slightly more organized in this sense.

The plot in this book is incredibly imaginative. In less than three hundred pages, I was taken on the survivalist journey of a lifetime. I never saw any of the plot twists coming, though I had gut feelings about a select few of them. Some were so completely unexpected that my mouth literally dropped open Jake near the end, anyone? but, again, it took me a little while to get into the book. After I was a third in, this book was a breeze. The large troop of characters combined with the incredibly unique writing style that Laybourne uses made focusing on the beginning of this book rather hard. At times, I wished she could add more detail because everything was simply. But hey, I guess everything’s supposed to be as simple as possible when the world is apparently ending.

Just a warning, there is not much gore in this novel, but there is a few deaths, violence, some cuss words, underage drinking, and the mention of using pharmaceutical products to get high. I would not recommend this book to anyone that is younger than fourteen.

With all of that being said, I really did enjoy this book. For such a bubbly person, Laybourne can write a tale that is wonderfully twisted, dark, and extremely complex in her unique and simple writing style. I would recommend this to anyone looking for a unique post-apocalyptic book that is a quick read, but I would be in no rush to get it. The ending is absolutely killer and leaves you begging for more. If you are anything like me, I would wait to read this book once the release of book two, SKY ON FIRE, is closer, because I can honestly say that I’m slowly going to go insane with anticipation.

Read an Excerpt

 

"When I’m not writing…" with Darynda Jones

Darynda Jones

Today’s guest is Darynda Jones, author of the Charley Davidson series. It’s a fun, snarky series that Lili and Christine (a previous contributor) have raved about so we’re very excited to have Darynda visiting the blog! She’s joining us today as part of her blog tour for the newest Charley Davidson book, FOURTH GRAVE BENEATH MY FEET, which came out on October 30.

Keep reading to find out what Darynda Jones does when she’s not writing!

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Hmmmm, when I am not writing, I am usually thinking about writing. However, there is this little thing called life that I have to deal with on a daily basis, oddly enough. Thus, other stuff creeps in. Like laundry. And dishes. *shutters*

Still, putting housework aside, there always seems to be about 137 things that need to be done daily. Even if I am not writing, I am at my computer for more than 75% of my day. I do lots of guest blogs. I do the social networking thing, which I love WAY too much. I am slightly addicted to Pinterest and searching out pictures of Jeremy Renner. Darn that man.

Also, a very important part of my day is my morning workout. It lasts anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour and a half. I am very committed to getting into shape, not just for my shape but for my health. I have the strangest things wrong with me, half of which would be solved by shedding the saddlebags. So that is a new-ish goal. So far I’ve lost 23 pounds, lol. That new wardrobe is THIS close!

In my free *snort* time, I love to read or watch TV. I love watching seasons of TV series so I can study all the different arcs the writers have weaved in. Buffy is a prime example, as is Firefly, Castle, The Gilmore Girls, Supernatural, Game of Thrones . . . there are so many. But I love studying the character, episode, season, and series arcs. They are all so fascinating and each serve a completely different purpose. I believe that if I can understand and incorporate all of those arcs into my work, I can write a better book, a goal I strive for always.

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Thanks for visiting us, Darynda, and have fun with the rest of your blog tour!

For more information about Darynda and her books, check out her website or follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

For more information about Darynda’s tour, click on the banner below:

4th Official BlogTourBadge3

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Here’s the scoop on FOURTH GRAVE BENEATH MY FEET:

Darynda Jones Fourth Grave Beneath My FeetThe fourth in this fun and sexy New York Times bestselling paranormal series: “If you enjoy Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum, you will certainly enjoy Charley Davidson!” —Suspense Magazine

Sometimes being the grim reaper really is that. Grim. And since Charley’s last case went so awry, she has taken a couple months off to wallow in the wonders of self-pity. But when a woman shows up on her doorstep convinced someone is trying to kill her, Charley has to force herself to rise above. Or at least get dressed. She quickly realizes something is amiss when everyone the woman knows swears she’s insane. The more they refute the woman’s story, the more Charley believes it.

In the meantime, the sexy, sultry son of Satan, Reyes Farrow, has been cleared of all charges. He is out of prison and out of Charley’s life, as per her wishes and several perfectly timed death threats. But his absence has put a serious crimp in her sex life. While there are other things to consider, like the fact that the city of Albuquerque has been taken hostage by an arsonist, Charley is having a difficult time staying away. Especially when it looks like Reyes may be involved. Just when life was returning to normal, Charley is thrust back into the world of crime, punishment, and the devil in blue jeans.

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository

You should also check out the rest of Charley Davidson series.
Click on the cover for our thoughts.

Darynda Jones First Grave on the RightDarynda Jones For I Have SinnedDarynda Jones Second Grave on the LeftDarynda Jones Third Grave Dead Ahead

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Do you guys have suggestions for who you’d like to see featured on the blog? If so, you can make your suggestions on this page. No guarantees that your favorite authors will be able to participate but we’ll try!

Authors, would you like to visit and share with us? Please email me at jennblogs (at) gmail (dot) com and we’ll set it up!

Jenn