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FTC Disclosure: I am an affiliate at IndieBound, The Book Depository, and Amazon, and any purchases made by clicking on covers or links here may result in monetary compensation.

TLC Tours: Ben Kane and learning from history...

January 28, 2010
Today, I'm pleased to have Ben Kane swing by with TLC Book Tours, for his latest offering, The Forgotten Legion. Ben shares with us his thoughts on whether we learn from history...

About the author:
I’ve always had a passion for history, and military history in particular. As a boy, I devoured anything to do with soldiers and war, from the Romans to the Vikings and Crusaders. More modern conflicts weren’t excluded either, so I read all about the Napoleonic wars, the American civil war and World Wars One and Two. Growing up in a home without a TV, books became my escape into the world of imagination. Although all periods interested me, I always had a ‘thing’ for the Romans. And the purpose of writing Roman military fiction? Apart from putting bread on my family’s table and paying the mortgage of course! It’s simple – because I find the world of the Roman legionary endlessly fascinating, and I hope by writing gripping stories about them, full of accurate detail, that I can carry readers off to an exciting world where they can forget for a while the worries and strains of ‘normal’ life.

Find Ben online at

Ben's words...
We are all familiar with the expression ‘History repeats itself’, but like so many common phrases, I hadn’t really given it much thought before. Four years ago, however, as I did the research for my first novel, The Forgotten Legion, I quickly realized that things didn’t just happen once or twice as time passed. Instead, they kept reoccurring over millennia! The example which sprang out at me was the way in which civilisations in the west have repeatedly clashed with those in the east, perhaps more than in any other part of the world.

One of the most famous war-bringers was Darius, the Persian emperor, who attempted to invade Europe in the 5th Century BC. A century later, the assault was reversed when Alexander the Great rampaged with impunity across Persia, all the way to modern day Afghanistan and India, subjugating vast areas of land. The empire Alexander established did not linger, except in Egypt, and by the time of the late Roman Republic, the Parthian kingdom had united most his former lands in Persia and beyond. Parthia encompassed much of modern day Syria, Iran, Turkmenistan and Afghanistan, controlling and taxing the lucrative trade in silk and spices from India and China.

It was at this wealthy but sparsely populated region that Marcus Licinius Crassus, one of the three rulers of Rome in 53 BC, cast covetous eyes. His military credentials, the most prized quality in a Roman leader, were nowhere nearly as grand as his co-rulers, Julius Caesar and Pompey Magnus. So, desperate for public approval, and sure of success, Crassus led a huge force composed mostly of foot soldiers (legionaries) into Parthia. His lack of cavalry was a terrible error. The Parthian army was almost entirely composed of horse archers, men who had learned to ride and shoot their bows from early childhood. Their saddles were not unlike those of Western style, and kept them from falling off. They were thus able to guide their mounts with their knees while turned backwards, loosing arrows – the famous ‘Parthian shot’, later corrupted to ‘parting shot’. The shrewd Parthian general brought to the battle a train of over 1000 camels which carried spare arrows, and when Crassus’ horsemen were driven off or killed, the Romans’ fate was sealed. In one day, more than 20,000 legionaries were killed, making it one of the greatest defeats suffered by Rome.

Time passed, and civilisations rose and fell in the west, and in the east. Although the peoples involved were different, conflict still erupted. Notable among these were the wars of the Turks against the eastern Roman, or Byzantine, empire, which went on for hundreds of years, until Byzantium/Constantinople/Istanbul fell in 1453. Intermingled with this prolonged conflict were the Crusades, which lasted for two centuries or more, and which cost the lives of hundreds of thousands on both sides.

Sadly, it didn’t stop there, and readers will be familiar with the more modern struggles in that region, leading right to the present day, and the invasion of Iraq in 2003. It’s tragic really, that more than 2,300 years after Alexander the Great led an army of hoplites eastward, history is still repeating itself.
Thank you, Ben, for swinging by and sharing your thoughts with us. I think that we sometimes rather easily, and purposefully, forget... Forgetting things or events that did not have the desired outcome means we don't have to stare failure in the face. Whether this is at an individual level or a group psyche doesn't seem to matter. And so we find ourselves going around and around in an already-trodden path. Because until we can face events that we'd rather forget, we will never learn.

Thanks also go out to TLC Book Tours for organizing this tour!
tlc tours

12. The Forgotten Legion by Ben Kane...

January 27, 2010
FTC Disclosure: My copy of The Forgotten Legion was provided by TLC Book Tours for this review. I am an IndieBound and Amazon affiliate, and any purchases made by clicking on the cover or the links provided may result in monetary compensation.

the forgotten legion
About the book:
Romulus and Fabiola are twins, born into slavery, and then later sold; Romulus to gladiator school and Fabiola into prostitution, where she will catch the eye of one of the most powerful men in Rome.

Tarquinius is an Etruscan, a warrior, born enemy of Rome and trained in the forgotten arts of divination. He has a long-foretold destiny that will take him to the ends of the known world.

Brennus is a Gaul whose entire clan was killed in a battle against the Roman army. After being sold as a slave he rises to become one of the most famous and feared gladiators of his day.

In a story that ranges from a Rome riven by corruption, violence, and political enmities to very edges of the empire, The Forgotten Legion is a novel of the most powerful empire in history told from the perspective of the lowest rungs of its society.

drey's thoughts:
While I normally immerse myself in the paranormal world, or women's literature, or romance, every once in a while I do like to browse through a good historical novel. The Forgotten Legion perked my interest because the Mr. is a huge fan of the Roman Legionaires' fighting strategies. And the idea of reading a story from the viewpoint of the plebs and slaves is a big draw for me.

The Forgotten Legion is a long and involved book. At 508 pages (not counting the author's note or the glossary--which I was grateful for!), I took a while to meander my way through the intertwined characters' stories. What I appreciated, if not quite enjoyed, was the description of the lives of those lower on the rungs of Rome's citizens--Ben's descriptions are vivid and real. Now when I hear "when in Rome," I sincerely doubt I'd want to do as the Romans do, especially if I'm not a member of the ruling class!

I didn't quite get why Fabiola's a part of the story, other than the man whose attention she attracts. Romulus, Brennus, and Tarquinius' stories were a lot more interesting and involved. You'll enjoy this read if you're a fan of historical fiction. Check it out.

tlc tours
drey's rating: 3/5 Good

Title: The Forgotten Legion
Author: Ben Kane
ISBN-13: 9780312601249
Paperback: 508 pages
Publisher: St Martin's Press, 2010
Purchase at IndieBound, Amazon

Challenges: 100+

January's FEATURED AUTHOR: Susan says a thing or two...

Oh Happy Day! Susan's back... And today she's got a post for y'all, about--who else--Trevor and his personal armor. Check it out!

I need to thank Drey for having me back yet again. I love guest blogging! I always get to meet neat people -- that's you cool readers who I haven't gotten to meet yet via either my blog, the Meet and Greet, or else through my promotions blog, Win a Book.

My main character, Trevor Wolff, loves to meet new people, too. Especially women. Trevor's as much a hound dog as he is a Wolff -- and yes, I love these puns. So does he, in fact.

That's part of the magic of Trevor. He lives life with zest, and has little patience for anyone who doesn't. That doesn't mean he's all bright and shiny, happy every moment.

In fact, Trevor's the opposite. He comes from a dark place, a household that was full of alcohol and physical abuse. He sniffs at people, shows obvious disdain, puts on a holier-than-thou show. Until you look beneath the surface, it turns a lot of people off; with Trevor, your first impression is usually wrong.

It's hard to overcome first impressions. We hear often that they matter more than anything else, that they can make or break any number of relationships you will have in your lifetime. Going to hit on that hottie across the bar? Picking your kid up after the first day of preschool? Walking into a job interview? Make sure there's no spinach between your teeth because you won't get a second chance to make that all-important... yep. First impression.

So how do you overcome this stigma, when you're someone like Trevor?

By not caring that it exists in the first place.

It's through this feigned disinterest that Trevor hooks you. He knows you're not going to like him, in his leather pants and unbuttoned silk shirt (in a solid color, usually grey or brown). He knows you'll turn up your lip at his black motorcycle boots and his insanely long hair. So he beats you to the punch. He doesn't like you. And you're the one who gets greeted with a sneer. The patented Trevor Wolff sneer, of course.

This is his safety zone. The people around him see it (although they pretend they don't); they know it for what it is. It amuses them, even.

The one thing it doesn't do is turn them off. Because, you see, the magic of Trevor is that zest for life I mentioned up at the top of this post. Trevor demands that life be fun -- but also that it be honest. Honesty never killed anyone, he says. Lies do.

Perhaps he has a point. It's hard for me to judge, since I'm the creator of the Indomitable Trevor Wolff. I do know that the people who love Trevor, even the ones who decide his sidekick, Mitchell, is more their speed, keep on coming back for more.

That's how we like it. It makes Trevor fat and satisfied: he's living his life just right, thankyouverymuch.

As for me? It inspires me to bigger and better. Stay tuned; there's a lot more of Trevor to share with you.
lol Susan... Trevor is such a hound dog... =P But he's welcome 'round here any time, just don't mark my furniture. *grin* I'll take his feigned disinterest along with his leather pants and silk shirts, lol!

Tour: 11. A Black Tie Affair by Sherrill Bodine...

Tour day!! Today, Sherrill Bodine's A Black Tie Affair is touring... Read on to see what we have for you!

a black tie affair tour button

FTC Disclosure: My copy of A Black Tie Affair was provided by Hachette Book Group for this blog tour. I am an IndieBound and Amazon affiliate, and any purchases made by clicking on the cover or the links provided may result in monetary compensation.

sherrill bodineAbout the author:
Sherrill Bodine won her first writing award in the seventh grade in a statewide essay contest about a television broadcast of Hans Brinker and the Silver Skates. She followed that with stories sold to Fate Magazine, Home Life Magazine and True Confessions. Her first novel sold in 1988. Sixteen novels later, The Other Amanda won the Wisconsin Romance Writers of America Write Touch Readers’ Award and Talk of the Town was chosen by Cosmopolitan magazine as its “Red Hot Read” for February 2009. Find Sherrill online at

Sherrill shares her thoughts on New Years Resolutions:
Thank you for asking me to visit with you and discuss New Year’s Resolutions. This is the perfect time to let all of you in on my secret -- this year I DIDN'T declare to anyone who would listen "I'm going to lose ten pounds!" or "I'm joining a health club and exercising one and one half hours every day!" or "I'm going to learn how to fly!" Obviously none of the above are essential to my happiness or I would have achieved those goals since I've been making the same declarations for years.

This year I took the advice of a friend who is a Life Coach. She told me to make a list of the things I do every day which makes me happy, content, fulfilled. So I did and I discovered a surprise I'll share with you.

1. Really kiss my husband. Not the peck on the lips as he walks out the door in the morning and back at night kind of kiss. But a real honest-to-goodness "you still give me the chills, let's go upstairs" kind of kiss. I'm not a kiss and tell kind of gal but I will admit his reaction is quite satisfactory to put it mildly.

2. Talk to each of my four children -- all grown up and long gone from the nest. Even if the conversations are as brief as they often are with my youngest son. They go something like this, "Hi Mom. Yeah, I'm fine. Busy though. Gotta go. Love you lots." They still make me smile.

3. Talk to my mother. She has a button she pushes to call me. She usually pushes the button at 6am or earlier. It's a wonderfully reassuring way to start the day.

4. Write. It totally fits my friend's criterion- it makes me happy, content, fulfilled. I read that life is a square and the four sides are Health, Wealth, Love, and Perfect Self Expression. Writing is my perfect self expression.

Now here is the surprise and I have all of you to thank for this amazing discovery! But first I must let you in on another secret -- I'm looking up at being a techno subzero. I'm not a quick study with anything technical -- not even the remote and certainly not the DVD player.

So when I was asked to do this blog tour I was terrified. But I'm also tenacity so I declared with feeling, "Yes. Thank you very much!" I've been at it very day for the past few weeks -- doing guest blogs, Q & A's, commenting on reviews of A BLACK TIE AFFAIR - and I LOVE IT!

I did a Chatroom on Sunday night for two hours and the time flew. I couldn't believe I had to sign off. So I'm NOT signing off with visiting blogs, talking to other readers and writers.

5. Staying connected with all of you makes me happy, content and fulfilled!

Happy New Year!

xo Sherrill
Sherrill, thank you so very much for such a lovely post. I love your friend's advice to make a list of the things that make you happy, content, and fulfilled! I'm also glad that you decided to jump in with both feet into the online world of blog tours and chats. I'm sure you've made a lot of readers happy by giving them the chance to meet and talk to you!

black tie affairAbout the book:
Fashion curator Athena Smith will do anything to get her perfectly manicured hands on the Clayworth family's celebrated couture collection for her exhibit. So when she's called in to make sure the gowns are the real deal, she's ecstatic... until a dress she's examining turns out to be loaded with toxins (talk about killer threads!) and Athena faints, only to wake up face-to-face with the One That Got Away, notorious Chicago bachelor Drew Clayworth.

Drew still believes Athena betrayed him all those years ago, and he's sure he can't trust her. But when the priceless gowns go missing, she offers to help track them down. Reluctantly allied in the quest, Drew and Athena are soon stunned by the barely restrained passion still sizzling between them... and memories both bitter and sweet. Is their new partnership just a business arrangement? Or is this something more than...

A Black Tie Affair

Check out this way cool trailer!

drey's thoughts:
A Black Tie Affair is a quick and easy read. There's a group of sisters, one of whom is the heroine. There's a group of cousins, one of whom is the hero. There's a quartet of beautiful dresses that poison the heroine then disappear. There's a chase to find the missing dresses before they poison anyone else. All wrapped up in a nice and pretty package.

I didn't quite get why Connor was so antagonistic towards the Smith sisters. Ditto for Venus. And there's no clear explanation on the thing with the girls' father and the Clayworths (unless I completely spaced out). Which only means one thing... Sequel!! All in all, an entertaining book for fans of the romance genre.

drey's rating: 3/5 Good

Title: A Black Tie Affair
Author: Sherrill Bodine
ISBN-13: 9780446618595
Paperback: 220 pages
Publisher: Hachette Book Group, 2010
Purchase at IndieBound, Amazon

Challenges: 100+, Pub

Y'all are lucky today... I have for you (if you live in the US or Canada), up to five copies of A Black Tie Affair, courtesy of Hachette Book Group! To enter, fill out the form below. And then comment and share if you like to get all dolled up for a formal event or not, and why... I'd love to, I think. But I'm not much of a girly-girl, and I'd probably fall on my tush from tripping over my own skirt, lol!! Oh, and do it before 6:00 pm CST February 9th!

I met Chloe Neill!!

January 26, 2010
My very first successful author-stalking event, lol! I found out from a friend that Chloe Neill was going to be kinda-sorta in my neck of the woods Saturday evening. So, what's a fan supposed to do? Why, show up, of course!

This being the very first time I've ever gone to an author appearance, I wasn't sure what to expect. Needless to say, I was late (of course)... The Mr. decided to go get groceries, and didn't get home till 5, which is when Chloe was scheduled for. I was cranky... =P

But I made it, and there she was! Lovely, witty, and with fans who drove up from Chi-town to see her. How could they not? It's Chloe Neill!!

The best part? She knew who I was!! *squeal* I had a very nice time meeting you, Ms. Neill. Come back again, and I promise to be there early so I don't miss anything!

Proof I met Chloe Neill!! *grin*

Chloe Neill writes the Chicagoland Vampires series (Some Girls Bite, Friday Night Bites, and the to-be-released-midyear Twice Bitten) and has just released a new YA book, Firespell. Check them out!

My review of Some Girls Bite.
My review of Friday Night Bites.
A roundtable interview with the Chicagoland Vampires characters...
Firespell is on my nook, and I cannot wait to read it...

Winners!! Amanda Scott's Seduced by a Rogue!!

January 25, 2010
seduced by a rogueIt's winner time! The giveaway for Amanda Scott's Seduced by a Rogue is over, and here are the 4 winners...


Congratulations, y'all! Emails have been sent, please reply with your mailing information before the end of day Thursday! Thank you for swinging by!

Want the book? Purchase at IndieBound, Amazon

FTC Disclosure: I am an IndieBound and Amazon affiliate, and any purchases made by clicking on the cover or the links provided may result in monetary compensation.

Tour: 10. Gentlemen Prefer Succubi by Jill Myles...

Today Jill Myles' Gentlemen Prefer Succubi is touring... Read on!

FTC Disclosure: My copy of Gentlemen Prefer Succubi was provided by Pocket Books for this blog tour. I am an IndieBound and Amazon affiliate, and any purchases made by clicking on the cover or the links provided may result in monetary compensation.

About the book:
Jackie Brighton woke up in a dumpster this morning, and her day has only gotten weirder. Her familiar B-cups have somehow become double Ds, her sex drive is insatiable, and apparently she had her first one-night stand ever... with a fallen angel. All she remembers is gorgeous Noah's oddly hypnotic blue eyes... and then a dark stranger whose bite transformed her into an immortal siren with a sexy itch. With help from Noah, Jackie begins to adapt to her new lifestyle--until she accidentally sends Noah into the deadly clutches of the vampire queen and lands herself in a fierce battle for an ancient halo with the queen's wickedly hot right-hand man. Who just happens to be the vampire who originally bit her. How's a girl supposed to save the world when the enemy's so hard to resist?
drey's thoughts:
Public service announcement: Ok. If you don't like s*x in your books, stay away from this one. Why? Because there's quite a bit of it. Not Laurell-Hamilton's-Merry-Gentry lots, but lots. But what else would you expect from a title with succubi in it?

Anyway. I had a good time reading Jill Myles' new book. The premise is intriguing, the dialog is sassy, and the attraction is palpable... between Jackie and both yummy hotness'... Some parts are laugh-out-loud, some are just corny, but you're entertained throughout. A nice, sizzling hot read from Jill Myles.

drey's rating: 3/5 Good

Title: Gentlemen Prefer Succubi
Author: Jill Myles
ISBN-13: 9781416572824
Paperback: 329 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster, 2009
Purchase at IndieBound, Amazon

Challenges: 100+

Today must be a lucky day for y'all... *grin* Thanks to Pocket Books, I have one copy of Gentlemen Prefer Succubi for you, if you live in the US (sorry, international folks!). To enter, just fill out this handy-dandy form. And share your thoughts in the comments: Vampire vs. fallen angel? Don't forget to do it before 6:00 pm CST February 7th!

9. Truly, Madly by Heather Webber...

January 22, 2010
FTC Disclosure: My ARC of Truly, Madly was provided by the publisher via a random drawing on LibraryThing. I am an IndieBound and Amazon affiliate, and any purchases made by clicking on the cover or the links provided may result in monetary compensation.

truly madlyAbout the book:
Lucy hails from a long line of matchmakers known as Valentine, Inc. According to family legend, the Valentines have been blessed by Cupid with the psychic ability to help couples find true love. Trouble is, Lucy's powers were zapped away by an electrical surge and now all she can do is find lost objects. What good is that in the matchmaking world? You'd be surprised. In a big city like Boston, love is a mystery--and Lucy's upstairs neighbor, Sean Donahue, is a hot private eye whose job is murder. With a little luck, she can help solve the perfect crime and find her own perfect match--with Sean.

Filled with romance, a little mystery, and a whole lot of fun, Truly, Madly is the perfect gift for readers looking for something truly special.
drey's thoughts:
Truly, Madly was a LibraryThing win, and I was going to hold off on reading it until it got closer to February. But I was in the mood for something light, and picked this one up. And it fit the bill perfectly! Lucy is adorable, her parents are kooky, and Sean is yummy. Add in a meddling (but loving!) grandmother, a suspicious client, a diamond on a skeleton's finger, a lost boy, and detectives from two different precincts trying to figure out how Lucy does what she does, and you have an entertaining mix on your hands.

The pace moves along at a pretty nice clip, and before you know it, it's time to get out of that comfy reading chair to put the book down. There are laughs and snickers along the way, and everything eventually falls into place. What else would you expect? It's a romance novel!

drey's rating: 3/5 Good

Title: Truly, Madly
Author: Heather Webber
ISBN-13: 9780312946135
ARC: 305 pages
Publisher: St. Martin's Press, 2010
Purchase at IndieBound, Amazon

Challenges: 100+, Pub

Giveaway: Veracity by Laura Bynum...

January 21, 2010
Well, I was really trying to get this organized for Monday's tour post, but didn't get my act together in time. Better late than never, is what I say! So... I'm happy to say that I have for you, courtesy of Pocket Books, 2 (yes, two!) copies of Laura Bynum's Veracity! This one's for US residents only.

And just in case you missed Monday's tour post, here's the blurb:

veracityAbout the book:
Harper Adams was six years old in 2012 when an act of viral terrorism wiped out one-half of the country's population. Out of the ashes rose a new government, the Confederation of the Willing, dedicated to maintaining order at any cost. The populace is controlled via government-sanctioned sex and drugs, a brutal police force known as the Blue Coats, and a device called the slate, a mandatory implant that monitors every word a person speaks. To utter a Red-Listed, forbidden word is to risk physical punishment or even death.

But there are those who resist. Guided by the fabled "Book of Noah," they are determined to shake the people from their apathy and ignorance, and are prepared to start a war in the name of freedom. The newest member of this resistance is Harper -- a woman driven by memories of a daughter lost, a daughter whose very name was erased by the Red List. And she possesses a power that could make her the underground warriors' ultimate weapon -- or the instrument of their destruction.

In the tradition of Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale, Laura Bynum has written an astonishing debut novel about a chilling, all-too-plausible future in which speech is a weapon and security comes at the highest price of all.
How do you get your hands on a copy? Read on...

To enter, fill out the form below. Easy peasy. Just do it before February 3rd!

Winners!! Lucky and Kitty books!!

January 20, 2010
I'm late! I'm late! I'm sorry! But I'm here now, and there are winners to announce!! Also, I'd like to say THANK YOU for using the form! You cannot believe how much easier it is to tally all the entries!

Ok, ok, I'll get to it...

First up! ONE lucky duck is getting Carolyn Brown's Lucky series--Lucky in Love, One Lucky Cowboy, AND Getting Lucky... And according to Randomizer, that lucky duck is...

delilah0180, who said "I haven't read a good cowboy romance in a while, this looks good!" for her why answer...

Next up! ONE lucky duck will get all seven (7!) Kitty books! And that is...

lisaglidewell, whose favorite werewolf is "Jacob Black played by Taylor Lautner from New Moon!"

And I'm not done yet! Three other lucky ducks will get a copy of Carrie's Kitty's House of Horrors, and they are...

kkhaas, who picked "Will Randall as played by Jack Nicholson in the 1994 film 'Wolf'"...

jennsicurella, whose fav is "Richard from the Anita Blake series. I think Hugh Jackman would make a nice Richard."..

... and ...

rexreadingrobot, whose vote is for "David from American Werewolf in London"

Congratulations, all of you! Emails have been sent--please reply before the end of day Saturday! And THANK YOU for stopping by! Come back soon...

January's FEATURED AUTHOR: Susan's favorite reads...

Today we have Susan back (yes!) to share her favorite reads, as part of my Featured Author series. Read on to see what Susan has to say, and feel free to share some of your favorites...

Thanks to Drey for having me back ... and back... and all back all month long! She's asked me to talk about what sorts of books I, as an all-powerful author, like to read.

I think it's easier to say what I don't like to read, and that's non-fiction (usually including memoir). Oh, I'll happily sit down with a narrative non-fiction book like Seabiscuit, but otherwise, forget it. I need storyline, dialogue, characters. What can I say? I'm wired for the form we call fiction.

The other genre I generally don't read is Christian fiction. Go figure, since I'm not exactly Christian. Yet... once again, I'll gladly fess up to reading -- and liking -- authors such as Lisa Wingate. I can do wholesome. I can't do preachy or faith-based.

Romance? Steamy, chaste... it's all good. I gravitate toward the fun, like Lisa Marie Wilkinson. Or the funny, like Christie Craig. I love historicals; anyone who knows me knows I'm a fan of Carrie Lofty for that reason. And I'll gladly grab a Lauren Dane, an Anya Bast, and a couple of hand-held fans for when they get hot.

Back to historicals, though. I am a sucker for a good historical novel. Throw in some Biblical women and we are set. If you've yet to encounter India Edghill's novels, please fix that. Rebecca Kohn's The Gilded Chamber was every bit as wonderful.

It almost makes you wonder why I don't write Biblical historicals, myself.

Others have wondered the same thing about me and mysteries. I gravitate toward them, for some reason I can't figure out. The early entries in Jill Churchill's Grace and Favor series are among some of my favorite cozy mysteries, although I'll pretty much stop anything for one of Nancy Atherton's Aunt Dimity books. Yet I don't shy away from the darkness that Cody McFadyen brings, either. And there aren't many darker than McFadyen. Or if there are, they haven't come to my attention yet.

Can I do middle-of-the-road? You betcha. Linda Fairstein, Lisa Scottoline, Marcia Muller, Kathy Reichs. All are more middle of the road than the cozies or the gories (I once called them the Sick Shit. The name fits, even if it offends), yet I love them just as much. While I generally shy away from police procedurals, there are always exceptions... both Jonathan and wife Faye Kellerman can attest to that.

And don't forget science fiction and fantasy. I'm a sucker for a great dystopia -- ask my SciFi/Fantasy professor from my graduate school days. I tried to write one, myself, instead of a final critical paper. I still have it... maybe one day it'll come out from under the bed. Robin Hobb is another auto-buy. The Tour Manager and I share her books, in fact.

What have I forgotten? Oh, yeah. The stuff we call literature. As well as urban fantasy -- shapeshifters and vamps and the fey. Love it, love it, love it. If you've seen any of my book talks over at The Meet and Greet (more commonly called my blog), you know I have favorites in all these categories. Young Adult? Yep, I'll read that, too.

But at the end of the day, you guys know what my favorite type of book is: rock and roll fiction. I've made a list of books that fit this loose mold at my website ( and am slowly working my way through the list and reviewing them at my new (and totally off the radar. For now. Rocks 'n Reads blog). Too slowly, but then again, I'm not one to limit myself to one particular genre for too long -- and with a wish list that's now over 2000 titles long, I'm not about to start. There's just too much good stuff out there. I can't limit myself. I don't think you should, either.

Help expand our horizons. Leave me the name of a favorite book in the comments. Let's see if I've read any of them! (or if they're on the wish list. With over 2k titles, they very well may be).

8. Magic Strikes by Ilona Andrews...

January 19, 2010
FTC Disclosure: My copy of Magic Strikes hopped by for a visit from the local library, and went back in one piece. I am an IndieBound and Amazon affiliate, and any purchases made by clicking on the cover or the links provided may result in monetary compensation.

magic strikesAbout the book:
When magic strikes and Atlanta goes to pieces, it's a job for Kate Daniels...

Drafted to work for the Order of Knights of Merciful Aid, mercenary Kate Daniels has more paranormal problems these days than she knows what to do with. And in Atlanta, where magic comes and goes like the tide, that's saying a lot.

But when Kate's werewolf friend Derek is discovered nearly dead, she must confront her greatest challenge yet. As her investigation leads her to the Midnight Games--an invitation-only, no-holds-barred, ultimate preternatural fighting tournament--she and Curran, the Beast Lord, uncover a dark plot that may forever alter the face of Atlanta's shapeshifting community...
drey's thoughts:
I'm a big fan of Kate and Curran. And how they interact. And how they skirt around the "them" thing... =)  Magic Strikes has plenty of Kate and Curran. Not what Kate intended, she's been doing her best to not run into him. But when Derek needs help, she has to (a) find out who hurt him, and (b) keep the Beast Lord from finding out. So in this installment, she's back to working with her prior-to-the-Order partner Jim, and lech-admirer Saiman, while keeping secrets that will come back to bite her in the tush.

The Midnight Games is a winner-keeps-their-life competition that Saiman wants Kate to check out. Seems one of the teams may not be playing fair, but nobody can figure out how or why. And how does it happen to be that one of the members of that team is who got Derek in trouble anyway? So Kate gets to kill two birds with one stone. Only she finds that she may need a bigger stone that she has in her sling to take down this giant, and that stone will expose her for who and what she really is...

I really enjoyed the references to the Hindu gods, and to Hindu mythology. It's been a while since I read the stories (a long long while!), and Ilona Andrews does a nice job of incorporating the myths and legends into this paranormal outing. I cannot wait for installment #4, especially to see what Kate does with her losing bet. Oh, and if you're a Kate-Curran fan, the scene in the hot tub will make you groan... I will not tell you why. *wink*

drey's rating: 3.5/5 Very Good

Title: Magic Strikes (Kate Daniels #3)
Author: Ilona Andrews
ISBN-13: 9780441017027
Paperback: 310 pages
Publisher: Ace, 2009
Purchase at IndieBound, Amazon

Challenges: 100+, Support Your Local Library

Tour: 7. Veracity by Laura Bynum...

January 18, 2010
Today's tour is for Laura Bynum's Veracity, which I wanted after reading the first line of the blurb, "In the tradition of Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale..." I'm a sucker for a good warning on what the world could be like if we're not mindful of the decisions we make today.

FTC Disclosure: My ARC of Veracity was provided by Pocket Books for this blog tour. I am an IndieBound and Amazon affiliate, and any purchases made by clicking on the cover or the links provided may result in monetary compensation.

veracityAbout the book:
Harper Adams was six years old in 2012 when an act of viral terrorism wiped out one-half of the country's population. Out of the ashes rose a new government, the Confederation of the Willing, dedicated to maintaining order at any cost. The populace is controlled via government-sanctioned sex and drugs, a brutal police force known as the Blue Coats, and a device called the slate, a mandatory implant that monitors every word a person speaks. To utter a Red-Listed, forbidden word is to risk physical punishment or even death.

But there are those who resist. Guided by the fabled "Book of Noah," they are determined to shake the people from their apathy and ignorance, and are prepared to start a war in the name of freedom. The newest member of this resistance is Harper -- a woman driven by memories of a daughter lost, a daughter whose very name was erased by the Red List. And she possesses a power that could make her the underground warriors' ultimate weapon -- or the instrument of their destruction.

In the tradition of Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale, Laura Bynum has written an astonishing debut novel about a chilling, all-too-plausible future in which speech is a weapon and security comes at the highest price of all.
drey's thoughts:
Veracity cannot be a debut novel... Really, it can't. It dragged me in and didn't let go, not even after I'd read the last word. Laura Bynum's world is disturbing, for the single reason that it is entirely possible. Maybe not in its exact incarnation, but definitely possible.

The story weaves between different timelines... One from Harper's past, and one from the current day. The historical timeline covers Harper's growing up, how she got to be a Monitor, and what she did prior to the current day. It's not a character study, but more like a synopsis. They're short and sweet, and tell you exactly what you need to know about how she got to here.

The one disappointing thing about Veracity, for me, is the war and its conclusion. It doesn't seem like a "war" actually happened, but all of a sudden the resistance is in control. I guess if Harper successfully took down the redactors, then that's possible, but to me that's still stretching it quite a bit. However, all in all, Veracity was a very good debut novel from Laura Bynum.

drey's rating: 3.5/5 Very Good

Title: Veracity
Author: Laura Bynum
ISBN-13: 9781439123348
Hardcover: 376 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster, 2010
Purchase at IndieBound, Amazon

Challenges: 100+, Pub

Tour: 6. Deadtown by Nancy Holzner (and a little bit more)...

January 15, 2010
Today, we have the lovely Nancy Holzner stopping by to share some thoughts on zombies. Yes, I said zombies. Because guess what? She's got zombies in her book, Deadtown! Welcome, Nancy!!

FTC Disclosure: My copy of Deadtown was provided by the author for this tour. I am an IndieBound and Amazon affiliate, and any purchases made by clicking on the cover or the links provided may result in monetary compensation.

nancy holznerAbout the author:

Nancy Holzner grew up in western Massachusetts with her nose stuck in a book. This meant that she tended to walk into things, wore glasses before she was out of elementary school, and forced her parents to institute a “no reading at the dinner table” rule. It was probably inevitable that she majored in English in college and then, because there were still a lot of books she wanted to read, continued her studies long enough to earn a master’s degree and a Ph.D.

She began her career as a medievalist, then jumped off the tenure track to try some other things. Besides teaching English and philosophy, she’s worked as a technical writer, freelance editor and instructional designer, college admissions counselor, and corporate trainer.

Nancy lives in upstate New York with her husband Steve, where they both work from home without getting on each other’s nerves. She enjoys visiting local wineries and listening obsessively to opera. There are still a lot of books she wants to read.

Find Nancy online at her blog,

Now, a lil' something from Nancy, for you...

Why Zombies are NOT the New Vampire

I first heard the murmurs last spring, with the releases of Carrie Ryan’s The Forest of Hands and Teeth and Seth Grahame-Smith’s Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. It built through the summer and into the fall, as more books came on the market and movies like Jennifer’s Body and Zombieland appeared in cinemas. Zombies were hot. Zombies, people were saying, are the new vampires.

Cute phrase. 

Except it’s wrong—you could even say dead wrong.

Saying that zombies are the new vampires is like saying that apples are the new oranges. The two don’t compare. Even though they’re both undead monsters, vampires and zombies hold such different places in the worlds of fantasy and horror that one can’t take the place of the other. Here are some reasons why:

  1. Vampires are sexy. Zombies are, well, gross. Google “sexiest vampire” and you’ll get over a million results. Then try Googling “sexiest zombie.” Not so many. There’s a reason teenage girls swoon over Edward Cullen and adult women go weak at the knees for characters like Jeaniene Frost’s Bones or Charlaine Harris’s Eric Northman. It’s a lot harder to imagine kissing a zombie. I mean, what is that black stuff they spew? (Um, please don’t answer that.)
  3. Vampires are orgasmic. Zombies are apocalyptic. Building on the idea of vampiric sex appeal—vampires tend to seduce their victims. The relationship between vampire and victim (or vampire and human lover) feels intensely personal and intimate, and novels are full of scenes testifying to the erotic rush of a vampire encounter. Zombies, on the other hand, attack not because they want you in particular but because it’s the end of the world. Zombies are all about hordes of the rampaging undead. The zombie apocalypse means the breakdown of society and the toppling of humanity as the dominant species. When the zombies are coming for you, the last thing you’ll be thinking about is sex.
  5. Vampires want your blood. Zombies want your brain. Although vampires and zombies both use humans as food, there’s a world of difference in how. When a vampire bites you, it’s a kiss. When a vampire sucks your blood, it’s a drawing out of your life force, your soul. In contrast, a zombie just wants to smash open your skull and gobble your brain. If you’ve gotta be somebody’s dinner, which would you choose?
  7. Vampires are subtly powerful. Zombies use brute force. Zombies and vampires are both relentless, but in different ways. Vampires are masters of manipulation. They’re often adept at using flattery and psychological maneuvering to get what they want. When a zombie sees something it wants (like your brain), it makes a grab for it. And the zombie keeps trying and trying and trying until you either kill it or escape.

    Vampires sometimes have other cool powers, like shapeshifting, superfast speed, or the ability to levitate. Not zombies. They’re usually slow, always earthbound, and rather than changing their shape they’re lucky when body parts don’t fall off.
  9. Vampires are intellectual. Zombies are instinctual. Vampires are known to be calculating and rarely do anything without a reason—usually a reason that benefits the vampire. Zombies are driven by unthinking hunger. While it’s not unusual to see a vampire control a zombie horde in horror fiction, it’s almost impossible to imagine things the other way around. Can you picture a zombie mastermind training and unleashing a horde of vampires? Didn’t think so.
  11. Vampires represent dangerous pleasures. Zombies symbolize the things we fear most. If vampires are all about sex appeal and going too far with pleasures of the flesh, zombies are all about fear. That’s why they’re so effective in horror. They’re the perfect symbol of whatever it is that scares us, whatever it is we can’t control.

    Admittedly, I’m dealing with stereotypes here. Not all vampires are sexy. For example, Ilona Andrews’s Kate Daniels series turns that convention on its head with ugly, shrunken, brutal—and incredibly dangerous—vampires that have to be piloted by a necromancer controller. And not all zombies are shambling, inarticulate brain-munchers, either. In my novel, the zombies who populate Deadtown have been physically changed by dying and coming back to life, but they can think and talk and they retain their prezombie personalities.
Even so, vampires and zombies each occupy their own niche in fiction. If you’re in the mood for a sexy, dangerous monster who’s seductive but deadly, you’ll reach for a vampire novel. If you want to be scared by a relentless, mindless monster with an insatiable appetite that just keeps coming no matter what you do, it’s time to hang out with some zombies. These are two kinds of monsters that are not in competition. There’s room on your bookshelf for both.

Wow. How cool is that?? And I agree, there's definitely room on the bookshelf for both!!

deadtownAbout the book:
They call it Deadtown: the city’s quarantined section for its inhuman and undead residents. Most humans stay far from its borders — but Victory Vaughn, Boston’s only professional demon slayer, isn’t exactly human…

Vicky’s demanding job keeping the city safe from all manner of monsters is one reason her relationship with workaholic lawyer (and werewolf) Alexander Kane is in constant limbo. Throw in a foolhardy zombie apprentice, a mysterious demon-plagued client, and a suspicious research facility that’s taken an unwelcome interest in her family, and Vicky’s love life has as much of a pulse as Deadtown’s citizens.

But now Vicky’s got bigger things to worry about. The Hellion who murdered her father ten years ago has somehow broken through Boston’s magical protections. The Hellion is a ruthless force of destruction with a personal grudge against Vicky, and she’s the only one who can stop the demon before it destroys the city and everyone in it.
drey's thoughts:
When Nancy approached me about reviewing Deadtown, she mentioned there were zombies in the book. Now, so you know where I was "at", I'm not a big fan of zombies. The only ones I've ever "met" were in games where they're all kinda dead and draggy and yucky and ... You get the picture. But she thought I might like her zombies...

Well, I read Deadtown. And I liked it. Vicky is a really cool character. She hunts demons haunting people's dreams. She has a zombie apprentice, Tina. She has a way cool sword. She has a busy boyfriend, and a cute detective showing interest. And she has one very very nasty Hellion coming after her...

The action moves quickly. The characters are a mite predictable at times, but they fit the storyline. And you will want to get to the end to find out who the bad guy is, and whether Vicky survives saving the day, intact. Because you KNOW she's going to save the day, right? Like, hellooooooo! Cool sword!! *grin*

drey's rating: 3.5/5 Very Good

Title: Deadtown
Author: Nancy Holzner
ISBN-13: 9780441018130 
Paperback: 374 pages
Publisher: Penguin, 2009
Purchase at IndieBound, Amazon

Challenges: 100+


You know you want to check Deadtown out! So... Here's your chance! Nancy is giving away one SIGNED copy of Deadtown to a lucky duck. US and Canada only, please. To enter, tell me which paranormal creature you think is the new vampire? AND fill out the form. All before January 28th!

First Loot of the year!

January 14, 2010
Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Eva and Marg that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post-feel free to steal the button-and link it using the Mr. Linky any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries!

FTC Disclosure: I am an IndieBound and Amazon affiliate, and any purchases made by clicking on the cover or the links provided may result in monetary compensation.

I haven't been to the library in quite a while, with the hustle and bustle of the holidays and year end, etc. So I was really glad that I'd put some books on hold, but "held" the hold till the new year. On Tuesday I took Hush, Hush and Magic Strikes back, and picked these up. Unfortunately, I hadn't gotten around to actually reading Hush, Hush, so I'll have to re-hold it. Is "re-hold" even a word?? I'll have to check...

catching fire
Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen has won the annual Hunger Games with fellow district tribute Peeta Mellark. But it was a victory won by defiance of the Capitol and their harsh rules. Katniss and Peeta should be happy. After all, they have just won for themselves and their families a life of safety and plenty. But there are rumors of rebellion among the subjects, and Katniss and Peeta, to their horror, are the faces of that rebellion. The Capitol is angry. The Capitol wants revenge.

julie and julia
With the humor of Bridget Jones and the vitality of Augusten Burroughs, Julie Powell recounts how she conquered every recipe in Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking and saved her soul.

Julie Powell is 30 years old, living in a tiny apartment in Queens and working at a soul-sucking secretarial job that's going nowhere. She needs something to break the monotony of her life, and she invents a deranged assignment. She will take her mother's worn, dog-eared copy of Julia Child's 1961 classic Mastering the Art of French Cooking, and she will cook all 524 recipes -- in the span of one year.

At first she thinks it will be easy. But as she moves from the simple Potage Parmentier (potato soup) into the more complicated realm of aspics and crepes, she realizes there's more to Mastering the Art of French Cooking than meets the eye.
And somewhere along the line she realizes she has turned her outer-borough kitchen into a miracle of creation and cuisine. She has eclipsed her life's ordinariness through spectacular humor, hysteria, and perseverance.

With the stunning revelation surrounding Bliss's true identity comes the growing threat of the sinister Silver Bloods. Once left to live the glamorous life in New York City, the Blue Bloods now find themselves in an epic battle for survival. Not to worry, love is still in the air for the young vampires of the Upper East Side. Or is it? Jack and Schuyler are over. Oliver's brokenhearted. And only the cunning Mimi seems to be happily engaged.

Young, fanged, and fabulous, Melissa de la Cruz's vampires unite in this highly anticipated fourth installment of the Blue Bloods series.

January's FEATURED AUTHOR: Susan's books!

January 13, 2010
Today's feature is on Susan Helene Gottfried's books! She's my January Featured Author, by the way. If you missed it, there's a link on the right sidebar to the interview that posted last Wednesday.

So, Susan's books... She's written two, and that doesn't include all the fun that she puts up on the Meet & Greet! What are they, you ask? Well, keep scrolling down (yeah, past the pesky FTC disclosure)!!

FTC Disclosure: I am an IndieBound and Amazon affiliate, and any purchases made by clicking on the cover or the links provided may result in monetary compensation.

shapeshifters year 1

ShapeShifter : The Demo Tapes — Year 1
A band’s demo tape is intended to introduce listeners to their music. Likewise, this collection of short pieces allows readers into the fictional world of Trevor Wolff and his band, ShapeShifter.
Originally published online between April 2006 and March 2007, The Demo Tapes — Year 1 brings together the moments that parallel — but never encounter — Susan Helene Gottfried’s debut novel, Trevor’s Song. Arranged chronologically and with introductions to each, this is a must-have volume for anyone who’s ever wanted to hang with a rock band.

ShapeShifter : The Demo Tapes — Year 2

The Demo Tapes: Year 1 introduced the reading public to ShapeShifter and the two men behind this fictional band: Trevor Wolff and Mitchell Voss. The Demo Tapes: Year 2 brings you more of the short fiction that brings these people to vivid life.
Year 2 delves more deeply into love, friendships, and the inside workings of ShapeShifter. New faces have arrived as the band tours and climbs the ladder of success, but most of all, Year 2 puts you square in the lives of Mitchell and Trevor, just where you like to be. Vive la Trevolution!

Update: Susan is going to donate all royalties between now and January 31st to the Red Cross (see comment below)! So if you're going to buy a book or two, do it now!

Tour: 5. Seduced by a Rogue by Amanda Scott...

January 12, 2010

FTC Disclosure: My ARC of Seduced by a Rogue was provided by Hachette Book Group for this blog tour. I am an IndieBound and Amazon affiliate, and any purchases made by clicking on the cover or the links provided may result in monetary compensation.

About Amanda Scott:
Amanda Scott, best-selling author and winner of the Romance Writers of America's RITA/Golden Medallion and The Romantic Times' awards for Best Regency Author and Best Sensual Regency, began writing on a dare from her husband. She has sold every manuscript she has written. More than twenty-five of her books are set in the English Regency period (1810-1820), others are set in fifteenth-century England and sixteenth-and eighteenth-century Scotland. Three are contemporary romances. Amanda lives with her husband and son in northern California.

seduced by a rogueAbout the book:
A fair-haired beauty at 19, Lady Mairi is heiress apparent to her father Lord Dunwythie's rich barony. He has carefully taught her how to manage their estates, but a feud between his clan and the Maxwell clan is brewing as the two families edge toward a clan war - their dispute over money owed. Mairi's father believes he owes nothing, and of course Mairi sides with him.

When the impulsive and blue-eyed Rob Maxwell chances to meet Mairi in a barley field, they feel instant attraction, despite their families' antagonisms. Knowing he must put his clan first, Rob enacts a plan to force Dunwythie to pay his debt: Rob kidnaps Mairi, making the abduction appear the work of a stranger; then he and his sheriff-brother offer to help Dunwythis rescue his daughter IF, and only if, he will pay them the monies due. Yet after Rob captures Mairi's body, she captures his heart. When Dunwythie summons the aid of the most powerful clan in all Scotland (the Douglases), clan-tensions rise to a fever pitch. Love takes its own feverish course, as Mairi and Rob join forces to prevent a clash between hot-headed clans, and to protect their budding love.
drey's thoughts:
Ok. I read and reviewed Amanda Scott's Tamed by a Laird last year, and enjoyed the story, so when Seduced by a Rogue showed up on the radar, I signed up for a review copy. And after reading the book, I wish I could say I enjoyed it as much as I did the predecessor... But I thought Seduced by a Rogue, while having pretty interesting characters, was a little more heavy on description and light on action.

Robert Maxwell has younger-brother identity issues, which I guess makes him a little more sympathetic to readers, but I thought he was acting like a brat at times (which his grandmother called him on, too). Kidnapping Mairi was an impulsive action, even if he was planning something kinda like it. And then he's trying to keep her hidden from his people, to not ruin her reputation... Um, you think you might have considered that before you picked her up and threw her in the boat?

Anyway. Mairi is pretty cool, and was strong and level-headed. I liked Gibby, and Robert's grandmother, as little as she showed up. However, they still didn't make up for the slow pace of the story in my opinion. All of the interaction between Robert and his brother ate up quite a few pages that could've been used for more Robert-Mairi storyline.

But don't let my opinion sway you, give it a try for yourself! Keep reading to find out how...

drey's rating: OK

Title: Seduced by a Rogue
Author: Amanda Scott
ISBN-13: 9780446541343
Paperback: 375 pages
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing, 2010
Purchase at IndieBound, Amazon

Challenges: 100+, Pub

It's a lucky day for you romance fans! Thanks to Hachette, I have up to 5 copies (every 10 people entered gets another copy in the hat!) for y'all, so come one, come all! Let no one be left behind, lol...

PLEASE REMEMBER, giveaways are only open to followers. Read my "changes for 2010 giveaways" post for details on how to make sure you're one.

Fill out the form below before 6:00 pm CST January 25th! And leave a comment if you like highland romances ~ why do you like 'em? (This is optional, by the way!)

Winners!! The Little Giant of Aberdeen County!!

January 11, 2010
FTC Disclosure: I am an IndieBound and Amazon affiliate, and any purchases made by clicking on the cover or the links provided may result in monetary compensation.

little giantI owed y'all this yesterday, I'm sorry I slacked off... But I got it as soon as I could, and according to Randomizer, the lucky ducks getting a copy of Tiffany Baker's The Little Giant of Aberdeen County are...

Comment #60, Lacey!!

Comment #23, Jaime!!

Comment #44, Karen H in NC!!

Congratulations, y'all!! Emails have been sent, please reply with your mailing information before the end of day Thursday... Thank you for stopping by and entering! Statistics: out of 46 people, 33 of you do not currently (or have never) belong to a book club.  =)

Want it? Purchase at IndieBound, Amazon

4. Almost Home by Pam Jenoff...

FTC Disclosure: My copy of Almost Home was on loan from my local library. I am an IndieBound and Amazon affiliate, and any purchases made by clicking on the cover or the links provided may result in monetary compensation.

almost homeAbout the book:
Ten years have passed since American Jordan Weiss, a State Department intelligence officer, lived in Cambridge, England, where she suffered the loss of her gifted rower boyfriend, Jared Short, in an apparent drowning. After hearing from her former roommate and best friend, Sarah Sunderson, who has terminal ALS, Jordan transfers from Washington to the London office. She has a surprisingly quick reunion with Jared's friend Chris Bannister, a journalist who asks for her assistance in proving Jared was murdered. In a harrowing series of events, Jordan discovers Jared's death might be connected to the State Department's investigation of American and British companies that are laundering and funding Albanian mob activities. Jenoff keeps the pace brisk and the plot tight, flipping smoothly between Jordan's past and present while concluding with a jaw-dropping cliffhanger.

drey's thoughts:
When I finally got around to reading Pam Jenoff's The Diplomat's Wife, I couldn't believe that I'd never read her books before. And I wanted more. Luckily for me, I'd picked up Almost Home at the same time as The Diplomat's Wife when I was at the library. It took a while to get to, but I finally did.

Almost Home is not similar to The Diplomat's Wife. For one thing, it's not set in wartime, and it's not about someone who's been uprooted and displaced by war. But it is similar in that the main character is someone who has a past to face, and has a hard time doing it. 

Jordan has spent her adult life trying to forget the little corner in her mind where she's stuffed all the memories associated with Jared, and therefore, her time at Cambridge. And she's been successful so far. Until she gets a letter from her BFF Sarah, and asks for a transfer to the London office. 

Once in London though, it seems like everything and everyone is conspiring together to make Jordan relive her past. And yet, there are people who do not want her looking into Jared's past. But once she finds out that Jared may have been murdered, she cannot help opening that Pandora's Box of memories and events. And now, who can Jordan trust?

I thought that Almost Home was very well-written. The characters are well fleshed-out (though I thought that the Jordan-Sarah relationship would've taken a bit more than it did, considering that she went to London for Sarah), the plot is pretty tight, and the surprises are surprising (lol). It'll keep you reading until you get to the end, which I didn't think was quite that jaw-dropping. But I want to find out more, because this is one of those books that leave you wondering about the end--the real one (as real as fiction can get, that is).

drey's rating: 3/5 Good

Title: Almost Home
Author: Pam Jenoff
ISBN-13: 9781416590699
Hardcover: 374 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster, 2009
Purchase at IndieBound, Amazon

Challenges: 100+, Support Your Local Library

I want it!!

January 8, 2010
Books I added to my wish list this week:

Charlaine Harris' Dead in the Family (May)  ISBN-13: 978-0441018642
Book #10 in the Sookie Stackhouse series is coming out in May. I couldn't find a blurb for it though, so you'll just have to be happy with the cover, and an excerpt at Charlaine Harris' website:

Ilona Andrews' Magic Bleeds (May)  ISBN-13: 978-0441018529
magic bleeds
Couldn't find the blurb for this one, either, but it's got Kate and Curran, and where they go from here. Check out Ilona Andrews' website for more info.

C.E. Murphy's Demon Hunts (June)  ISBN-13: 978-0373803149
Can't find a "proper" cover image for this one, but go to C.E. Murphy's website to see it--it's gorgeous!!

Seattle police detective Joanne Walker started the year mostly dead, and she's ending it trying not to be consumed by evil. LITERALLY.

She's proven she can handle the gods and the walking dead. But a cannibalistic serial killer? That's more than even she bargained for. What's worse, the brutal demon leaves no tracks. So if Joanne is to stop its campaign of terror, she'll have to hunt it where it lives: the Lower World, a shamanistic plane of magic and spirits.

Trouble is, Joanne's skills are no match for the dangers she's about to face--and her on-the-job training could prove fatal to the people she's sworn to protect...

Chloe Neill's Twice Bitten (July)  ISBN-13: 978-0451230645
Merit, Chicago’s newest vampire, is learning how to play well with others. Other supernaturals, that is. Shapeshifters from across the country are convening in the Windy City, and as a gesture of peace, Master Vampire Ethan Sullivan has offered their leader a very special bodyguard: Merit. Merit is supposed to protect the Alpha, Gabriel Keene—and to spy for the vamps while she’s at it. Oh, and luckily Ethan’s offering some steamy, one-on-one combat training sessions to help her prepare for the mission.

Merit must accept the assignment, even though she knows that she’ll probably regret it. And she’s not wrong. Someone is gunning for Gabriel Keene, and Merit soon finds herself in the line of fire. She’ll need all the help she can get to track down the would-be assassin, but everywhere she turns, there are rising tensions between supernaturals—not least between her and a certain green-eyed, centuries old master vampire.

You just KNOW that time is going to drag s.l.o.w.l.y. until these come out, right? *sigh*

3. Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger...

January 7, 2010
FTC Disclosure: My copy of Her Fearful Symmetry was on loan from my local library. I am an IndieBound and Amazon affiliate, and any purchases made by clicking on the cover or the links provided may result in monetary compensation.

her fearful symmetryAbout the book:
When Elspeth Noblin dies of cancer, she leaves her London apartment to her twin nieces, Julia and Valentina. These two American girls never met their English aunt; they only knew that their mother, too, was a twin, and Elspeth her sister. Julia and Valentina are semi-normal American teenagers -- with seemingly little interest in college, finding jobs, or anything outside their cozy home in the suburbs of Chicago, and with an abnormally intense attachment to one another.

The girls move to Elspeth's flat, which borders Highgate Cemetery. They come to know the building's other residents. There is Martin, a brilliant and charming crossword puzzle setter suffering from crippling obsessive-compulsive disorder; Marjike, Martin's devoted but trapped wife; and Robert, Elspeth's elusive former lover, a scholar of the cemetery. As the girls become embroiled in the fraying lives of their aunt's neighbors, they also discover that much is still alive in Highgate, including -- perhaps -- their aunt, who can't seem to leave her old apartment and life behind.

drey's thoughts:
I hate to say this. I really, really do. But, I couldn't get into the story, and I didn't finish the book. For me, this was a disappointing follow-up to The Time Traveler's Wife, which I loved.

The twins are interesting, and the inhabitants of Highgate too. But the story lost me when Elspeth and Valentina conspire to have Elspeth inhabit Valentina's body. Like, *shudder* ugh. I can understand why Elspeth would want to--she's a ghost haunting her own apartment, watching the twins living, and watching Robert. But why on earth does Valentina? And when the story of Elspeth and her twin, Edie, comes to light, I'm even more baffled as to why on earth Elspeth would do such a thing. And that's where I put the book down.

I did think that Martin and Marijke are wonderful characters--and how they still loved each other, even when apart.

Did you read this? What did you think?

drey's rating: Meh (did not finish)

Title: Her Fearful Symmetry
Author: Audrey Niffenegger
ISBN-13: 9781439165393
Hardcover: 416 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster, 2009
Purchase at IndieBound, Amazon

Challenges: 100+, Support Your Local Library
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