Ashes of a Black Frost (11/1) | The Shattered Vine (11/3)
Coming soon:

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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.

Saturday Spotlight: Plum Blossoms in Paris by Sarah Hina...

July 31, 2010
Today's spotlight is on a debut novel from the very lovely Sarah Hina, whom Aerin of In Search of Giants got me in touch with...

plum blossoms in paris

Daisy Lockhart is a searcher. She just doesn’t know it yet.

Burdened with an unlikely name by her father, a preeminent Henry James scholar, Daisy is a tightly wound grad student on her way to fulfilling the American dream. When her boyfriend breaks up with her, though, Daisy succumbs to the vertigo of uncertainty for the first time in a scripted life.

Embracing the plunge, Daisy flees. Her namesake chose Rome; Daisy Lockhart settles on the celestial city: Paris.

There, Daisy finds a soft landing in the arms of Mathieu. An impassioned writer, Mathieu has been rocked by the recent death of his mother, who left him for her American dream when he was a boy. Reeling from the loss, he latches onto Daisy with a fierce commitment that exhilarates, and suffocates, her.

Over a golden autumn day, Daisy and Mathieu clash over religion, art, Iraq, food, the metaphysical possibilities of a good shoe, and the murky memories tunneling up from their pasts. Dancing along a razor’s edge of desire and discretion, the lovers lie to one another in minor and meaningful ways, until finally the deceptions and passion explode.

Torn between her blossoming love for Mathieu and the family and dreams she’s left behind, Daisy must discover if the flickering flame of her self can survive the vacuum of this brilliant, difficult man, who will always take her breath away.

I've heard Plum Blossoms in Paris is good... So I'm adding it to my list. Check out the excerpt of Plum Blossoms in Paris on Sarah Hina's website,!

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

Purchase at IndieBound, Amazon, The Book Depository

86. Once Bitten, Twice Shy by Jennifer Rardin...

July 30, 2010
once bitten, twice shyTitle: Once Bitten, Twice Shy (Jaz Parks #1)
Author: Jennifer Rardin
ISBN-13: 9780316020466
Paperback: 290 pages
Publisher: Orbit, 2007
Purchase at IndieBound, Amazon, The Book Depository

FTC Disclosure: My copy of Once Bitten, Twice Shy was brought home for a lil' while from the library because I thought the cover looked cool... I am an affiliate at IndieBound, The Book Depository, and Amazon, and any purchases made by clicking on the cover or the links provided may result in monetary compensation.

drey's thoughts:
Once Bitten, Twice Shy was a spur-of-the-moment pick that I'm glad made it home with me. Jennifer Rardin's Jaz is a butt-kicking, gun-toting, smash-talking, vampire-smelling, car-crashing, highly-efficient assassin. Yup, you heard me. And, she's hilarious. Excerpt:
No doubt about it, I am the only item in this office under the age of fifty.

You wouldn't know it to look at my clothes, though. I'd come straight from an American Airlines flight during which an aviophobic widow had wadded various handfuls of my blouse and jacket into her fists the entire trip. I looked like a homeless woman. Holy crap. If I lost this job I'd soon be a homeless woman. And that was the good news!

"Look, Pete, I know you told me to cut out the car hits. The repairs are too expensive. You told me that. So I stopped. I haven't caused an 'accidental' crash in three months--you know that! But this last one just couldn't be avoided."

"I understand you took out my counterpart in MI5."

"Well, yeah, but only because his driver was in on the plot. He'll be fine. You heard that too, right? His back will heal in, like, six weeks."
I hope that shows you what I mean, but my fingers got tired and didn't want to type anymore--and this is from the first 2 pages! Her new partner, Vayl, is an awesome foil for Jaz. Even if he's vampire. Even when she used to hunt and kill vampires. And off they go, doing their assassin and apprentice-assassin thing... When their latest target turns out to be more than he seems, Jaz and Vayl get tangled in a web of secret cults and sacrifices. And find out some surprising things about Jaz herself. Once Bitten, Twice Shy was a very quick read that kept me interested all the way through. I cannot wait to get to the next book, Another One Bites the Dust.

drey's rating: 4/5 Excellent

Challenges: 100+, Support Your Local Library


July 29, 2010
I have winners to announce for two giveaways! Yikes!

The first is for Laurie Sandell's The Imposter's Daughter, which goes to...



The next giveaway winner is for an e-copy of Marie Force's Fatal Affair. And the lucky duck is...


All winners have been notified by email. Congratulations, and thank you so much for popping in!

Jackie Lee Miles: The Inspiration for Cold Rock River (& a giveaway!)...

Today, we lucky ducks have author Jackie Lee Miles stopping by to share her inspiration for Cold Rock River, first published in 2008 in hardcover, and now available from Sourcebooks in trade paperback.

About the Author
Jackie Lee Miles lives in Georgia with her husband, where she is a featured speaker at book clubs, schools, and writer’s workshops. Her debut novel Roseflower Creek was Cumberland House Publishing’s lead book when it debuted in hardcover, and it is now available in trade paperback. When not writing, Ms. Miles tours with the Dixie Darlin’s, four nationally published book-writing belles. Her next novel, All That’s True, will be published by Sourcebooks Landmark in early 2011. For more information, please visit

Without further ado, presenting Ms. Miles:
The Inspiration for Cold Rock River

Cold Rock River was inspired by an incident in my own life. Like Adie’s sister Annie, my baby sister Vick choked on a jellybean when she was twenty months old. It was the week following Easter and we three older girls had our little baskets squirreled away. Our mother insisted we weren’t to drag them around the house, but she was gone for the evening and our daddy let us roam about, baskets in hand, to our hearts’ content. I don’t recall that any of us actually gave Vicki a jelly bean. More likely she picked on up off the floor. I do remember I panicked when I saw her put one in her mouth, and I tried to grab her. She started giggling and running as fast as her little legs would allow. The next thing I knew, she was choking and her face was blue. She survived, but as I grew older I was very much aware of how our lives would have changed had she not. One evening, lying in bed, something made me think of it; how fifty years had passed and yet the memory of that night was still as raw as fresh-skinned knees. I closed my eyes, ready to drift off, when I “heard” the opening line of what became Cold Rock River. I got up to write it down, so I wouldn’t forget a single word. I was still at it the next morning. I had forty, maybe fifty pages. I realized then that this young, beautiful, delightful creature, who I chose to call Adie, might have something to tell me worth hearing. And if I was quiet and listened closely, maybe her ghosts would help me purge mine.

The novel is the parallel journey of two women born a century a part. In 1963 rural Georgia, with the Vietnam War cranking up, pregnant seventeen-year-old Adie Jenkins is introduced to the diary of pregnant seventeen-year-old Tempe Jordan, a slave girl, circa 1863, with the Civil War well under way. Adie is haunted by the death of her baby sister Annie. Tempe is grieving the sale of her three children sired by her white master. What’s buried in the diary could destroy Adie’s life.

Initially, Cold Rock River was to be the story of Adie Jenkins, seventeen and pregnant and unmarried during the early 1960’s. I know today if you’re in her condition, they throw you a shower. During the 1960’s the Vietnam War was a major factor in our daily lives, so it naturally came to play a role in the book. As Adie’s story began I decided she would do some chicken farming to feed them when it became apparent Buck wasn’t going to be one she could count on. I went to the library to research Georgia chicken farming and stumbled onto the Slave Narratives. The complete collection—-which contains more than two thousand first-person accounts—-is housed at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC. They were commissioned by President Roosevelt during the depression years, in order to record the journey of those freed slaves still alive. Writers were sent across the nation to search for them. Their accounts are as fascinating as they are poignant. Over the years, there’s been a good deal of controversy as to their accuracy, based on the fact that some of the freed slaves were fearful or perhaps suspicious of the government—-brings to mind “forty acres and a mule”—-and hesitant to speak candidly regarding the treatment they may or may not have received at the hands of their sometimes still powerful former masters. The collective consensus is that somewhere amidst the vast amount of material lies the truth. After months of reading, reviewing, and re-examining all of the narratives I could locate, Tempe’s portion of Cold Rock River emerged. Her story, based on what I found, is remarkable. Everything that Tempe experiences was lifted from the lives of actual people who wore the chains and bore the scars of slavery. I won’t ever forget her; nor am I able to forget those I ‘met” through the narratives, who bravely shared their life stories so that Tempe could tell me hers. Since Tempe’s story begins as the Civil War was well under way, it seemed to be a good parallel to the Vietnam War of Adie’s journey.

The setting of the story required a great deal of research and this novel was a labor of love that lasted five years. Most of the research was in relation to the Civil War and the way of life for the slaves in order to present Tempe’s portion of the story. Since I grew up in the fifties and sixties portraying Adie’s part was not as difficult as I had lived those years.

I hope you’ll pick up a copy!
I really enjoyed reading Cold Rock River, and here's your opportunity to check it out for yourself. Thanks to Sourcebooks, I have two copies for you. The deets:
  • Giveaway is open to US and Canada residents only
  • To enter, comment and tell me why you want this book!
  • Do it before 6:00pm CST August 11th!

Tour: 85. And One Last Thing... by Molly Harper...

Today I'm a tour stop for Molly Harper's And One Last Thing.... I really enjoyed Molly's Jane Jameson series, and figured her snarky dialog would find its way into this newest offering.

FTC Disclosure: My copy of And One Last Thing... was provided by the publisher for this blog tour. I am an affiliate for IndieBound, The Book Depository, and Amazon, and any purchases made by clicking on the cover or the links provided may result in monetary compensation.

molly harperAbout the author:
Raised in Mississippi and Kentucky, Molly Harper graduated from Western Kentucky University with a bachelor's degree in print journalism. She worked for six years as a reporter and humor columnist; her reporting duties included covering courts, school board meetings, quilt shows, and once, the arrest of a Florida man who faked his suicide by shark attack and spent the next few months tossing pies at a local pizzeria. Molly lives in western Kentucky with her husband and daughter. Find her online at

and one last thingTitle: And One Last Thing...
Author: Molly Harper
ISBN-13: 9781439168776
Paperback: 310 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster, 2010
Purchase at IndieBound, Amazon, The Book Depository

drey's thoughts:
Well. If you're looking for a light summer read full of snark and wit, look no further. At least, until after you've read Molly Harper's And One Last Thing...! The first sentence made me laugh:
If Singletree's only florist didn't deliver her posies half-drunk, I might still be married to that floor-licking, scum-sucking, receptionist-nailing, hack-accountant, Mike Terwilliger.
Ok, so maybe I have a unique sense of humor. But I don't think that's the only reason I enjoyed And One Last Thing... as much as I did. Lacey is a girl after my own heart (not that I swing that way!). She's lived the Stepford Wife life, only to find out that her husband wasn't quite as (almost) perfect as she'd hoped he was. Ok, so maybe he wasn't even close. But, this story is more about how she deals with the revelation of Mike's affair (confusion, disbelief, anger, rage, retaliation) along with the resulting consequences (confusion, embarrassment, defensiveness, retreat).

When Lacey runs to hide out at the family cabin, she meets a grumpy neighbor who turns out to be a good friend as well as the rebound guy. Now Lacey has to decide what she wants to do when she grows up, including whether to keep rebound guy around.

Snarky dialog peppered throughout, this is an entertaining romp through the life of a woman wronged.

drey's rating: 3.5/5 Very Good

Challenges: 100+, Pub

July's FEATURED AUTHOR: How Does She Do That?

July 28, 2010
Marie Force, July's Featured Author, stops over to share some thoughts on how she writes... Read on!

How Does She Do That?

One of the questions I’m often asked is, “How do you write a book?” Stephen King says, “One page at a time.” The writers out there will attest that it’s as simple as he suggests—and much more complicated. I’m convinced I could never teach my process because it’s so bizarre. However, as I’ve connected with more and more writers, I’ve decided we’re all a little bizarre, but that quality makes us better writers.

So how do I do it? I’ll try to explain my process using my most recent release, Fatal Affair, as an example. The seeds for that story began in a news article about a congressman who was found dead in his Washington-area home. At first, the police investigated the death as a possible crime because he was found at the bottom of the stairs. Later, it was determined that he’d died from a heart attack and fell down the stairs.

But what, I wondered, if he had been murdered? That was all it took to start my wheels turning. What if his chief of staff finds him? What if the murder occurred on the morning of an important vote? What if the chief of staff’s one-night stand from years earlier was the detective assigned to the case?

That’s exactly how it unfolds in my mind. Then come the decisions about where they’re from, what brought them together, and why they never saw each other again. Often I don’t have those answers before I start a book. I tend to discover these things as my story unfolds, which I’m told makes me a “linear pantser” in writing vernacular. I write the story in chronological order, I edit as I go, and nothing gets in unless it propels Character X or Character Y’s story forward. Because I go back, re-read, and edit often during the writing process, I end up with a pretty clean first draft. In fact, I recently stumbled upon the hand-written opening scene of my first book, “Line of Scrimmage,” and discovered that other than a renamed character, not much had changed.

Since I don’t plot, I spend a lot of time staring off into space when a book has me by the throat. During these phases, my kids often ask, “ARE YOU LISTENING TO US?” at the top of their considerable lungs. I have to confess that Mom just took a brief trip to Pluto, but I’m back now and you have my full attention. I do my best zoning/plotting when I’m driving (watch out for a maroon Honda Odyssey), doing dishes, showering, drying my hair, and vacuuming. I’ve solved a lot of plot issues while sucking up a few days’ worth of dog hair. I’ve run dripping from the shower to the computer to get something down before I forget it. Bizarre? You bet. My friend Chris likes to say that my mind is a strange, scary place. Of course I take that as a compliment!

To the writers out there, are you a plotter, a seat-of-the-pantser, a linear plotter, a linear pantser, an organic or what? To the readers, are you more convinced than ever after reading this that all writers are a little bit nuts? I’ll give away a digital copy of “Fatal Affair” to one commenter, so let’s hear from you!

Thanks, Marie! Well, all y'all out there... What're you waiting for? I never turn down the opportunity to win a free book! So go comment! *grin* And do it before 6:00pm CST August 3rd!

84. Cold Rock River by Jackie Lee Miles...

July 27, 2010
cold rock river
Title: Cold Rock River
Author: Jackie Lee Miles
ISBN-13: 9781402240041
ARC: 304 pages, with another 35 pages of recipes (yum!)
Publisher: Sourcebooks, 2010 (reprint)
Purchase at IndieBound, Amazon, The Book Depository

FTC Disclosure: My copy of Cold Rock River was provided by the publisher for this review. I am an affiliate at IndieBound, The Book Depository, and Amazon, and any purchases made by clicking on the cover or the links provided may result in monetary compensation.

drey's thoughts:
First thing I'll mention (and the only negative about Cold Rock River) is the font used in the ARC to depict entries from Tempe's diary, or letters written by Adie and Buck, is pretty small. Put that same small font into italics, and it made for difficult reading.

BUT. Don't let that distract you from the story itself. Cold Rock River is a story about innocence lost, life's hardships, and love's burdens. All bundled together into prose that sweeps you along until you've passed through the rapids and end up in the quiet pool at the end of the river. Adie is young and impressionable, and easily swept off her feet by the good-looking and sweet-talking Buck Jenkins. Unfortunately for Adie, Buck can't figure out how to not stray, especially with his boss' pretty daughter. Even when he's married and has a child on the way.

After getting married, Adie and Buck move to Hog Gap, Buck's hometown. She finds them a little place of their own so that they don't have to live with Buck's mother Verna and his brother Austin. At their new home, she meets Willa Mae, who has a story of her own to tell, and Murphy Spencer, the neighbor who helps her out, probably more than he should have.

Interspersed with entries from a diary from long-ago, all the characters have a part to play in this story, from the beginning to the very end. A story on how history sometimes repeats itself, and how one person's actions can impact more than just themselves, Cold Rock River is a haunting tale that had me from the first page to the last word.

drey's rating: 4/5 Excellent

Challenges: 100+

83. The Messenger of Athens by Anne Zouroudi...

July 26, 2010
the messenger of athens
Title: The Messenger of Athens
Author: Anne Zouroudi
ISBN-13: 9780316075428
ARC: 322 pages
Publisher: Little, Brown & Company, 2010
Purchase at IndieBound, Amazon, The Book Depository

FTC Disclosure: My copy of The Messenger of Athens was provided by the publisher for this review. I am an affiliate at IndieBound, The Book Depository, and Amazon, and any purchases made by clicking on the cover or the links provided may result in monetary compensation.

drey's thoughts:
When I was twelve, I started reading Agatha Christie. I loved her books so much I think I managed to get my hands on every single one of 'em. Every. Single. One. Why am I talking about Agatha Christie? Because she created Hercule Poirot, of course. And Anne Zouroudi's detective in The Messenger of Athens,  Hermes Diaktoros, reminds me of Hercule Poirot.

Arriving on the Greek island of Thiminos to investigate the death of the young wife of a local fisherman, Hermes brings his peculiarities along with his charming personality and intense questioning. What the local police closed as a suicide, he believes to be foul play. And as he digs around, we meet the usual suspects, along with a few unusual ones. Anne Zouroudi keeps you interested as Hermes unravels the story of Irina's death, not just with the cast of characters in this emotional tangle, but also with the lyrical description of the Greek island.

Definitely worth picking up! Only one question didn't get answered at the end... Who sent the white-shoed Mr. Diaktoros to Thiminos?

drey's rating: 3.5/5 Very Good

Challenges: 100+, Pub

82. Ink Exchange by Melissa Marr...

July 23, 2010
ink exchange
Title: Ink Exchange (Wicked Lovely #2)
Author: Melissa Marr
ISBN-13: 9780061214684
Hardcover: 325 pages
Publisher: HarperCollins, 2008
Purchase at IndieBound, Amazon, The Book Depository

FTC Disclosure: My copy of Ink Exchange visited from my local library. I am an affiliate at IndieBound, The Book Depository, and Amazon, and any purchases made by clicking on the cover or the links provided may result in monetary compensation.

drey's thoughts:
Ink Exchange continues Melissa Marr's Wicked Lovely series, focusing on one of Aislinn's best friends, Leslie.

Leslie has been through quite a lot, since her mother died. Her father's absent or drunk, her brother's a drug dealer who forgets that big brothers are supposed to protect their little sisters. Not being able to do anything about either of them, Leslie plans. And waits for the day she can leave them both behind, for good.

In between the planning and the waiting and the finishing-up-school, Leslie gets a tattoo, as a symbol of the changes she wants--and needs--to make in her life. Unbeknownst to her, however, the pattern she picks out will tie her to the Dark Fae. More specifically, to Irial, their King. Oh, the tangled webs we weave when we're trying our utmost to protect those we love. If only Aislinn trusted Leslie, like she trusted Seth, with the existence of faerie all around them. Then maybe Leslie wouldn't have gotten entangled with the fae at all. But she does. And in doing so, irrevocably changes her own life, as well as Irial's.

I'm really liking this series. Ink Exchange is darker than Wicked Lovely, but while there's angst, there's also a lot of strength in how the characters react to their situations.

The next two books are now on my library hold list.

drey's rating: 3.5/5 Very Good

Challenges: 100+, Support Your Local Library

Tour: 81. Masked edited by Lou Anders...

July 22, 2010
Title: Masked
Editor: Lou Anders
ISBN-13: 9781439168837
Paperback: 399 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster, 2010
Purchase at IndieBound, Amazon, The Book Depository

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

drey's thoughts:
Masked is a collection of short stories about superheroes--the good, the bad, and the ugly. I've never reviewed something like this before, so I hope the format works. The stories (and my thoughts on some of 'em):

Cleansed and Set in Gold by Matthew Sturges
A somewhat-disturbing story about where The Wildcard gets his powers. I'll let you read it to find out for yourself, but, ewwwwwww. However, the story does make you wonder what you'd do in the name of the greater good.

Where Their Worm Dieth Not by James Maxey
A tale of the endless cycle of life and death, misplaced trust, and loss. Along with passing commentary smoking's ills. I felt horrible for the hero in this one.

Secret Identity by Paul Cornell
Superhero in a rainbow costume gets heckled for kissing a woman. Can donning a superhero costume mess with your sexual identity?

The Non-Event by Mike Carey
A heist gone wrong. So bloody wrong.

Avatar by Mike Baron
Newbie do-gooder realizes that actions have consequences.

Message from the Bubblegum Factory by Daryl Gregory
Breaking into prison to break out of prison to save the world. Eh, it's a complicated world, it is.

Thug by Gail Simone
Written without proper spelling or capitalization, I found this journal a bit difficult to read, but I may give it another whirl when my head's not pounding.

Vacuum Lad by Steven Baxter
Launch of a new superhero? Is it a miracle, or just another result of genetic manipulation?

A Knight of Ghosts and Shadows by Chris Roberson
Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery... And provides an apprentice.

Head Cases by Peter David and Kathleen David
Funny short story with a character with my son's name. *grin*

Downfall by Joseph Mallozzi

By My Works You Shall Know Me by Mark Chadbourn

Call Her Savage by Marjorie M. Liu
A futuristic society with echoes of history where the superhero(-ine) is a killer without a cape.

Tonight We Fly by Ian McDonald
So what do superheroes (& villains) do when they "retire"? Alumnus groups? Online forums? Secret messages in the daily paper for secret meetings with your former enemy to relive the good ol' days?

A to Z in the Ultimate Big Company Superhero Universe (Villains Too) by Bill Willingham

drey's rating: 4/5 Excellent

Challenges: 100+, Pub

July's FEATURED AUTHOR: Marie's favorite reads...

July 21, 2010
July's Featured Author, Marie Force, stops by today to share some of her favorite reads! Check out what they are:

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

These Are a Few of My Favorite Things!
by Marie Force

I should have titled that my favorite reads rather than my favorite things, but I couldn’t mess with that classic song. Drey asked me to tell you about my favorite books and why they’re so memorable to me. I told her I have a hard time with this assignment because I often remember authors I really like but when it comes to specifics and book titles, I go stupid in the head. I blame that on the day job, the writing career, the two busy kids, the house, the dog, etc. There’s only so much room on the data chip, and I’m always approaching max capacity. So let me tell you about a few books and series that have stayed with me long after I read them (and why).

The Thorn Birds by Colleen Mccullough
I read this book one summer after 8th or 9th grade when I was probably far too young for such a story. As a young, impressionable Catholic girl growing up in the most Catholic of states (Rhode Island) reading about a young girl who falls in love with a priest and then later has a scorching affair with him when he was a Cardinal no less. . . Well, suffice to say that book left a lasting impression. I absolutely adored Meggie and wanted all good things for her, even if she was destined for heartbreak by loving a man she could never really have.

North and South by John Jakes
Over a high school summer, I devoured this amazing three-part series about two friends divided by the Civil War. I’ve never forgotten Orry Main or George Hazard and the epic struggle they endured to maintain their friendship while fighting against each other in the War Between the States. An amazing story!

Some of Danielle Steel’s earlier books have stayed on my keeper shelf for years after I first read them, including: Season of Passion, A Perfect Stranger, and Now and Forever.

I love Nora Roberts’ work. Her recent Bride Quartet has been thoroughly entertaining, and I look forward to the fourth book later this year. I also love the In Death books written under Nora’s J.D. Robb pseudonym, but I read the early ones years ago and don’t remember much of what happened way back when. I have the series on my keeper shelf to be re-read someday.

Robyn Carr’s Virgin River series was a major find last year. I think I read the first seven books in about 10 days time. I adored Jack, Mel, Preacher and the Virgin River gang from the very beginning, but I enjoyed the earlier books most of all.

I’ve saved my no. 1 top favorite author for last. Lisa Kleypas could write the phone book, and I’d run right out to buy it. Her earlier historicals were fantastic, but her recent Hathaway series was sublime. I’m so sorry it’s done! I also enjoyed her recent contemporary series that began with Sugar Daddy, and included Blue-Eyed Devil and Smooth Talking Stranger. I believe there are a few more stories left to be told in that series, and I’m hoping for more! My other favorite historical author is Mary Balogh, who writes the memorable Huxtable series. I’m looking forward to the next installment!

Well, those are a few of my favorite reads. What are some of yours?

Thank you for sharing your favorite reads, Marie! It's nice to see some of the older books on a list--I'd forgotten all about The Thorn Birds, which I should probably pick up again now that some decades have passed since my last reading... And I just started the In Death series, and I'm hooked! Alas, I have other books that need to be reviewed before I keep going with those. And nothing keeps me going back for more like Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series, if only to see whether she (finally!) ends up with Ranger. Yup, I'm a Ranger kinda girl. *grin*

80. So Cold the River by Michael Koryta...

July 20, 2010
Title: So Cold the River
Author: Michael Koryta
ISBN-13: 9780316053631
ARC: 503 pages
Publisher: Little, Brown & Company, 2010
Purchase at IndieBound, Amazon, The Book Depository

FTC Disclosure: My copy of So Cold the River was provided by the publisher for this review, which I will admit, is late. I am an affiliate for IndieBound, The Book Depository, and Amazon, and any purchases made by clicking on the cover or the links provided may result in monetary compensation.

drey's thoughts:
Oh. My. Goodness. I was completely and utterly sucked into So Cold the River--so completely sucked in that I went to bed absolutely way too late for a work night, could not sleep because I still had the creepy-crawlies from reading so late into the night, and spent the next day only half-awake, trying only somewhat successfully to focus on work.

Eric Shaw is a photographer hired to document the life (& history) of a dying old man. But when he travels to the old man's hometown, he finds himself entranced by the town's history. Shuttling between researching the old man's past and trying to figure out the mystery of the bottled mineral spring water that he drank, Eric's life will never be the same. If he survives this adventure. So Cold the River is layered with plot and character, and peels those layers back one at a time, exposing a sordid past intertwined with a current-day mystery. The question: Who is Campbell Bradford? The answer: Read this and find out. But if you're prone to creepy-crawlies, don't read this at night. Now don't say I didn't warn you!

drey's rating: 4/5 Excellent

Challenges: 100+, Pub

79. Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr...

July 19, 2010
wicked lovelyTitle: Wicked Lovely (Wicked Lovely #1)
Author: Melissa Marr
ISBN-13: 9780061214677
Hardcover: 328 pages
Publisher: HarperCollins, 2008
Purchase at IndieBound, Amazon, The Book Depository

FTC Disclosure: My copy of Wicked Lovely finally got read after patiently waiting--both on the library hold list and on my bookshelf. I am an affiliate for IndieBound, The Book Depository, and Amazon, and any purchases made by clicking on the cover or the links provided may result in monetary compensation.

drey's thoughts:
I read Alyson Noel's Evermore and Melissa Marr's Wicked Lovely back to back. They were both library books that needed to be returned soon-ish, and I was tired of picking up books I wanted to read, but returning them before I got the chance to. Anyway. I picked up Wicked Lovely because I thought the cover was totally cool, and because I'd hard a lot of good things about Melissa Marr. And, I have to say, it didn't disappoint.

Aislinn is a rare young woman--she can see faeries. And her grandmother has cautioned her to not let them know, so she's spent her life ignoring the fae all around--whether glamored or invisible. But one day, ignoring the fae is no longer possible--they are actively seeking her out. Well, one of them is, anyway.

Keenan is the Summer King, bound at birth by none other than his mother, the Wicked Witch of the West. Er, sorry--the Winter Queen. (I had visions of Tilda Swinton as Beria while I was reading.) Anyway. Keenan has spent 900 years seeking out his Summer Queen, and every mortal who fails the test of the Winter Queen's staff is bound to winter, doomed to live with the cold until the next candidate fails the test and supplants her. The current Winter Girl, Donia, still loves Keenan, and is conflicted between hoping for release from winter's grasp and losing Keenan, and watching him lose power the longer winter holds the earth in its grasp.

So. There's a plot--wicked mother reveling in her ill-gotten power trying to stop her son from achieving his potential. There's a triangle--actually, there are two, as Aislinn also has a beau. There's drama--will she consent to the test and help the Summer King? Will Donia help Aislinn and Keenan or bow to the Winter Queen? There's angst--this is a YA novel, after all. And all of it's wrapped up nicely in a tale of faeries, mortals, and choices. The best part of Wicked Lovely? Aislinn is not whiny. She can be melodramatic, conflicted, and confused, but she is never whiny. She is good, though, and that colors her decisions.

Wicked Lovely is a darn good read for fans of the YA paranormal genre. I've got Ink Exchange waiting its turn (hopefully patiently!)...

drey's rating: 3.5/5 Very Good

Challenges: 100+, Support Your Local Library

Saturday Spotlight: The Adventures of Princess and Mr. Whiffle: The Thing Beneath the Bed by Patrick Rothfuss...

July 17, 2010
Today, I have the pleasure of sharing one of my favorite authors with you. Not only does his debut fantasy epic have a whole slew of fans waiting on tenderhooks for the sequel, he's also wickedly funny, and a fellow Wisconsinite!

princess and mr whiffle

This is not a book for children.

It looks like a children's book. It has pictures. It has a saccharine-sweet title. The main characters are a little girl and her teddy bear. But all of that is just protective coloration. The truth is, this is a book for adults with a dark sense of humor and an appreciation of old-school faerie tales.

There are three separate endings to the book. Depending on where you stop, you are left with an entirely different story. One ending is sweet, another is horrible. The last one is the true ending, the one with teeth in it.

The Adventures of the Princess and Mr. Whiffle is a dark twist on the classic children's picture-book. I think of it as Calvin and Hobbes meets Coraline, with some Edward Gorey mixed in.

Simply said: This is not a book for children.

And this is so not a book for children that Patrick Rothfuss has a post about it: Protecting Our Nation's Youth. You'll have to get about halfway down the page to get to the sticker that was designed as a warning that this is NOT for children...

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

Purchase at IndieBound, Amazon, The Book Depository

78. Evermore by Alyson Noel...

July 16, 2010
evermoreTitle: Evermore (Immortals #1)
Author: Alyson Noel
ISBN-13: 9780312532758
Publisher: St. Martin's Press, 2009
Purchase at IndieBound, Amazon, The Book Depository

FTC Disclosure: My copy of Evermore was purchased while on sale (yes, I am a sucker for a sale... or two). I am an affiliate for IndieBound, The Book Depository, and Amazon, and any purchases made by clicking on the cover or the links provided may result in monetary compensation.

drey's thoughts:
Ever is an orphan whose near-death experience made her psychic (a la Sookie Stackhouse), and able to see ghosts (a la Harper Connelly). Apologies for the Charlaine Harris references, I must have her on my brain or something! Well, her sister's ghost, anyway. She tries to drown out the former by listening to really loud music and covering up in sweatshirts and sunglasses, and doesn't do much about the latter because she's feeling guilty that she survived when nobody else in her family did.

After wringing her out, life throws her a curve ball in the form of a new classmate, Damen. Who, somehow, can tamp down her psychic ability with his touch. And (of course) is totally hot. And what do you know? She runs (of course!). Parts of Evermore are so predictable--angsty teenager? Check. Hot guy totally checking out said angsty teenager? Check. Hot guy's gal pal not happy about his checking out angsty teenager? Check. Does this start to sound like a certain popular YA series yet? But, wait. There are no vampires. No werewolves. Just immortals and psychics. A bit of messing-with-Ever's-head. And some payback.

Evermore is an enjoyable enough read, and I'll probably pick up the next one, just to see where it goes from here.

drey's rating: 3/5 Good

Challenges: 100+

77. Shift by Rachel Vincent...

July 15, 2010
Title: Shift (Shifters #5)
Author: Rachel Vincent
ISBN-13: 9780778327608
Publisher: Mira, 2010
Purchase at IndieBound, Amazon, The Book Depository

FTC Disclosure: My copy of Shift was purchased. I am an affiliate for IndieBound, The Book Depository, and Amazon, and any purchases made by clicking on the cover or the links provided may result in monetary compensation.

drey's thoughts:
Well, after reading Prey and being impressed, I had high hopes for Shift. It met my expectations for a good follow-up to the overall storyline, introduced more drama as well as character growth, and definitely tugged on the heartstrings--especially as Faythe's pride deals with the aftermath of Ethan's death.

Apparently taking over as council chairman isn't enough for Malone, as he seems to want to take out Faythe's pride too--except (maybe) for the tabbies, because he's got a plan for the tabbies... I so do not like Malone. He makes my want to bare my teeth and growl, grr! When the sudden appearance of thunderbirds--not seen in twenty-five years--on Faythe's pride's land involves an attack, they're correct in assuming something fishy is going on. Finding out what is dangerous work, but Faythe manages to accomplish it in the end, getting banged up (again, of course) in the process.

The thunderbirds were a cool addition to the storyline, but I wasn't sure how I felt about them. After all, we've only been dealing with cats up to this point. I was happy with Faythe's growth though. She's stepping up, making the hard decisions, and relying on instinct and observation instead of just reacting. I cannot wait for Alpha.

drey's rating: 3.5/5 Very Good

Challenges: 100+, Pub

July's FEATURED AUTHOR: Marie's Books!

July 14, 2010
My guest for July is author Marie Force. And since she's my Featured Author, then you already know she has (wait for it...) books!! *grin*

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.

line of scrimmage

In the Hail Mary play of a lifetime, a sexy NFL quarterback has just ten days to convince his wife to give him a second chance before their divorce is final—and he has to act fast because she’s already engaged to her high school boyfriend. Line of Scrimmage is a story of reunion, redemption, rejuvenation, and renewal. Readers will laugh and cry and hope—that at the end of the day, these two lovers, who clearly belong together, will somehow find their way back to one another.

Read an excerpt of Line of Scrimmage

line of scrimmage

A Baltimore prosecutor set to begin the murder trial of his career and a hair stylist with a dysfunctional family meet in the airport on their way to visit their significant others in Florida. After they each endure a disastrous weekend, they meet up again on the flight home, striking up an unlikely friendship that leads to love.

Read an excerpt of Love at First Flight

fatal affair

On the morning of the most important vote of Senator John O’Connor’s career he is late—again. His best friend and chief of staff, Nick Cappuano sets off to O'Connor’s apartment expecting to roust him from bed and hoping he is alone. But what Nick finds is that O’Connor, the handsome, amiable Senator from Virginia, has been brutally murdered, and Nick’s world comes crashing down around him. Complicating the disaster, the detective assigned to the case is none other than Sam Holland, Nick’s one-night stand from six years earlier, the woman who broke his heart and haunts his dreams. With six years worth of unfinished business hanging between them and more than a few scores to settle personally and professionally, Nick and Sam set out to find the senator's killer while trying—and failing—to resist the overwhelming attraction between them that seems to have only grown over the years.

It soon becomes clear that the senator’s past holds secrets that not only led to his death but now endanger Nick and Sam as well. Working together to find a killer and to rediscover the love they thought they lost long ago, they must put the past behind them and build a future that offers a world of new opportunities for both of them—including an offer from the Virginia Democrats for Nick to finish the last year of John’s term.

Read an excerpt from Fatal Affair

Next up, coming in January 2011, Fatal Justice:
Supreme Court nominee Julian Sinclair has come to Washington for confirmation hearings. When he is found shot to death in a city park, Lt. Sam Holland hunts down the killer while also contending with a hot lead in her father's unsolved shooting. At the same time, Senator Nick Cappuano, rocked by the death his longtime friend Sinclair, is getting used to his new job and contending with the realities of maintaining a relationship with Sam—and her job.

Last, but not least, coming in February 2011, Everybody Loves a Hero:
Everybody loves a hero. That's the problem.

Hero pilot Cole Langston is learning to live with—and enjoy—his newfound fame and the rabid female attention that comes with it until a lucky punch knocks some sense into him and opens his eyes to true love.

When his copilot suffers a heart attack in flight, Cole lands the jetliner in a blizzard and revives the stricken captain. Catapulted to national hero status, Cole has more women vying for his attention than he knows what to do with. They all have one thing in common: they try without success to bring this happy-go-lucky pilot down to earth. Then comes an airport altercation, a punch to the face, and the lovely Olivia—a shy, timid artist who does what no other woman has ever managed to do: steal Cole's well-protected heart. With women coming on to him everywhere they go, Olivia struggles to believe that Cole is ready for a committed relationship. His biggest problem is getting rid of all his extra ladies before the only one he wants figures out that she's one of many.

Check out Marie's website, for excerpts and more!

Giveaway: The Imposter's Daughter by Laurie Sandell...

July 13, 2010
Laurie Sandell's The Imposter's Daughter is out in paperback, and the great folks at Hachette Book Group is giving up to 5 copies to you lucky ducks!

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.

About the book:
Laurie Sandell grew up in awe (and sometimes in terror) of her larger-than-life father, who told jaw-dropping tales of a privileged childhood in Buenos Aires, academic triumphs, heroism during Vietnam, friendships with Kissinger and the Pope. As a young woman, Laurie unconsciously mirrors her dad, trying on several outsized personalities (Tokyo stripper, lesbian seductress, Ambien addict). Later, she lucks into the perfect job--interviewing celebrities for a top women's magazine. Growing up with her extraordinary father has given Laurie a knack for relating to the stars. But while researching an article on her dad's life, she makes an astonishing discovery: he's not the man he says he is--not even close. Now, Laurie begins to puzzle together three decades of lies and the splintered person that resulted from them--herself.

Check out The Imposter's Daughter:

This giveaway is open to US and Canada residents only, no PO Boxes, please! To enter, comment and tell me why you want this. Every 10 people entered gets another copy thrown into the hat. Do it all before 6:00pm CST July 26th!

Don't want to wait? Purchase at IndieBound, Amazon

TLC Book Tours: 76. Not That Kind of Girl by Carlene Bauer...

July 12, 2010
Today's TLC Book Tour stop is for a memoir: Not that Kind of Girl by Carlene Bauer...

tlc tour

FTC Disclosure: My copy of Not that Kind of Girl was provided by TLC Tours 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 Author:
Carlene Bauer was born in 1973 in New Jersey. She earned an M.A. in Nonfiction Writing from the Johns Hopkins University’s Writing Seminars, and has worked in and around New York publishing for this last long while. Her work has been published in The Village Voice, Salon, Elle, The New York Times magazine, and on the website of n + 1. She lives and writes in Brooklyn, and hopes that you don’t hold that against her.

Title: Not That Kind of Girl
Author: Carlene Bauer
ISBN-13: 9780060840556
Paperback: 272 pages
Publisher: HarperCollins, 2009
Purchase at IndieBound, Amazon

not that kind of girl
drey's thoughts:
I'm not usually into memoirs, unless there's something about them that really perk my interest. And Carlene Bauer's Not That Kind of Girl perked my interest. Probably because I wanted to see how someone raised fundamentalist Christian adjusts to a coming-of-age in New York City.

Bauer's writing is at times poignant, at times self-effacing, and witty throughout. It captures her search for self-identity--especially when unwrapped from doctrine and dogma--and the questioning that goes along with the search. Who am I, really? What do I stand for? Who do I want to be? How do I be her, without losing the me that I've been all along? Then again, what part of me do I need to let go of, to get where I want to go? And what if that part isn't a part of me that God wants me to let go?

Immersed in philosophical discussion, Not That Kind of Girl brings you along on Carlene's journey to her version of happiness, from her childhood and teenage years, to college and beyond. I enjoyed its intellectual stimulation, even when I felt that there were gaps that weren't explained to my complete satisfaction. Because it's all about me, right? *wink*

drey's rating: 3/5 Good

Challenges: 100+

What others thought of Not That Kind of Girl:
Literate Housewife
Capricious Reader
The Book Nest
As Usual, I Need More Bookshelves
she reads and reads
Heart 2 Heart
Knowing the Difference
Life in Pink
Suko's Notebook


July 10, 2010
Hoo boy. Am I ever late on this one! I'm so very sorry, y'all!! Anyway, the 2 sets of Joshilyn Jackson's Gods in Alabama and Backseat Saints goes to...

Carol M!!


Congratulations, and I hope you'll forgive me for being so late! Emails are out, please reply with your mailing information before the end of day Tuesday. Thanks for stopping by!!

Saturday Spotlight: Linger by Maggie Stiefvater...

Today's spotlight is on Linger by Maggie Stiefvater. I love the covers of both Shiver and Linger, and have the former on my wait list--I really need to move it up!


In Maggie Stiefvater's Shiver, Grace and Sam found each other. Now, in Linger, they must fight to be together. For Grace, this means defying her parents and keeping a very dangerous secret about her own well-being. For Sam, this means grappling with his werewolf past . . . and figuring out a way to survive into the future. Add into the mix a new wolf named Cole, whose own past has the potential to destroy the whole pack. And Isabelle, who already lost her brother to the wolves . . . and is nonetheless drawn to Cole.

At turns harrowing and euphoric, Linger is a spellbinding love story that explores both sides of love - the light and the dark, the warm and the cold - in a way you will never forget.
A few blogs are holding giveaways for a set of both Shiver and Linger--some are on my sidebar. Go enter!

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.

Purchase at IndieBound, Amazon

75. Kitty Goes to War by Carrie Vaughn...

July 9, 2010
kitty goes to war
Title: Kitty Goes to War (Kitty Norville #8)
Author: Carrie Vaughn
ISBN-13: 9780765365613
Publisher: Tor, 2010
Purchase at IndieBound, Amazon

FTC Disclosure: My copy of Kitty Goes to War was bought because I slacked off on stalking Carrie Vaughn's release schedule. 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.

drey's thoughts:
After the chaos that was Kitty's House of Horrors, you'd think that Kitty would get a break from getting attacked. But no. Oh, no. That would be way too calm and peaceful for our favorite DJ werewolf...
This time it's the government who comes a-calling. Apparently a werewolf soldier decided it would be a great idea to turn his team, while in Afghanistan. After all, wolves are natural predators, and they'd be strong, quiet, and have night vision--all of which help in tracking down the enemy. Unfortunately for his team, he goes and gets himself blown up, before they learn how to behave as a true pack, especially outside the arena of war. Now the military has the remnants of his team back stateside, and they need help figuring out if it's possible to re-condition the weres, or if they're too far gone to help.

And of course Kitty steps up. Because she wouldn't be Kitty otherwise. Kitty Goes to War is pretty tense throughout, as she and her pack try to help the soldiers. To add chaos, there's a weather-manipulator in town, and she also has to figure out what he's aiming to do, before it's too late--for her, for her pack, and for Denver. Running between the two problems, trying to figure out what's going on with Cormac (yay, Cormac's back!), and keeping her pack safe and out of the government's clutches, it's a wonder Kitty hasn't dropped from exhaustion. This is a must-read for all Kitty fans, and if you're not one yet, go pick up Kitty and the Midnight Hour, stat!

drey's rating: 4/5 Excellent

Challenges: 100+, Pub

74. Twice Bitten by Chloe Neill...

July 8, 2010
twice bittenTitle: Twice Bitten (Chicagoland Vampires #3)
Author: Chloe Neill
ISBN-13: 9780451230645
Paperback: 355 pages
Publisher: Penguin Group, 2010
Purchase at IndieBound, Amazon

FTC Disclosure: My copy of Twice Bitten was provided by the publisher when I begged (and yes, I mean begged). 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.

drey's thoughts:
If you haven't picked up Chloe Neill's Chicagoland Vampires books, whyever the heck not? Especially if you're a fan of fangs, wit, and sass.

Twice Bitten continues where Friday Night Bites left off. Merit is still Sentinel of House Cadogan, still hopelessly nuts about that green-eyed specimen of yumminess (aka Ethan), and still (yup, still) a vampire. Her relationship with Mallory is on the outs, and Morgan too (which made me sad *sniffle*). But, Merit being Merit, she keeps on going on.

Ethan, of course, doesn't make anything easy on her. From offering up her services to the wolves to bringing in an old flame to visit, Merit has more than her fair share of Ethan-aggravation in this CV installment. But, as I've come to expect from Ms. Neill, there is quite a bit of character development and growth--along with the requisite sass, of course--and by the end of Twice Bitten, I am on a cloud of satisfaction. Kind of like when you've just inhaled (leisurely, of course, to prolong the enjoyment) a very decadent slice of double-chocolate cheesecake, and while you're so full you could burst, you cannot wait to take another bite. Vamps and secret societies and weres galore... I wonder when #4 will be out? (Please let it be soon... Pretty please??)

drey's rating: 4/5 Excellent!

Challenges: 100+, Pub

July's FEATURED AUTHOR: Marie Force!!

July 7, 2010
Can y'all believe it's July already? I mean, where'd the time go? This year is so half over, and I haven't gotten as much done as I would've liked. *sigh* Anyway. No time for the doldrums. July's here, and so is my Featured Author for the month: Marie Force!!

About Marie:
Marie Force is the author of Line of Scrimmage and Love at First Flight. Of LINE OF SCRIMMAGE, Booklist said, “With its humor and endearing characters, Force’s charming novel will appeal to a broad spectrum of readers, reaching far beyond sports fans.” Wild on Books said, “LOVE AT FIRST FLIGHT by Marie Force is most definitely a keeper. It is an astounding book. I loved every single word!” Her first romantic suspense, Fatal Affair, is available June 21, 2010 from Carina Press. A third contemporary, Everybody Loves a Hero, is due out in the Spring of 2011. Since 1996, Marie has been the communications director for a national organization similar to the Romance Writers of America. She is a member of RWA’s New England, From the Heart and Published Author Special Interest Chapters. While her husband was in the Navy, Marie lived in Spain, Maryland and Florida, and is now settled in her home state of Rhode Island. She is the mother of two children and a feisty dog named Brandy. Find her at, on her blog at, on Facebook and on Twitter. Marie loves to hear from readers. Contact her at

Now, without further ado, let's see what Marie has to say...

Q&A with Marie Force, drey’s Featured Author for July

drey: Hello Marie! I’m pleased to have you visit during the month of July as my Featured Author. Thank you for taking the time to do this! Let’s get started, shall we?

When did you know you wanted to be an author? What were you doing? Was it a gradual realization, or a “big bang” event?

Marie: Hi Drey. Thanks so much for having me. I’m so glad to be your featured author in July! LOL on the “big bang” event. Nothing quite so dramatic. I’ve always been a writer. I knew in high school that I wanted to go to journalism school, which I did. I spent a few years as a newspaper reporter after college and have been a professional writer and editor ever since.

drey: Can you share your first sale experience with us?

Marie: I sold Line of Scrimmage to Sourcebooks in September of 2007. I was with my cousin trying to watch the season premier of Grey’s Anatomy, except our phones kept ringing.

We were getting annoyed by the ringing phones, and then mine rang again. We almost ignored it, but then I thought it could be one of my kids, so I took the call. It was my agent calling to say that Sourcebooks was going to offer on Line of Scrimmage. My cousin and I never did get around to watching Grey’s that night. We were too busy celebrating!

drey: I don't wonder why! Even Grey's doesn't compare to making your first sale!! *grin*

Who and/or what inspires your writing? How do you get from idea to pages?

Marie: I get a lot of ideas from reading and watching the news (somewhat obsessively). Other ideas just appear to me fully formed when I’m doing something menial like dishes or folding laundry or driving. I did a talk at my local library the other day and one of the questions was about where I get ideas. I said that I used to worry about running out of them, but now I worry about living long enough to write all the stories in my head.

drey: What do you indulge in when not writing?

Marie: I read. A lot. I spend time with my family. I love the beach and my dad’s boat. I watch the Red Sox just about every day this time of year.

drey: That's great! I can't wait to find out what your favorite reads are (in a few weeks)!

What is your favorite accompaniment to chocolate?

Marie: More chocolate!

drey: *laughs* Totally true.

Screen versions of your books: Which book(s) would you like to see on screen? TV series vs. Movie? Who would be on your dream team?

Marie: My readers want to see Line of Scrimmage made into a movie with Matthew McConaughey and Reese Witherspoon. I can definitely see that!

drey: Oooh, two of my favorite actors! It'd be fun to see them on screen together!

Electronic readers are becoming more affordable and available. There's been quite a bit of discussion about their impact on paper books, the environment, people's reading & buying habits... What's your take?

Marie: I think e-books are here to stay. I believe they are going to gain a bigger share of the market with every passing year. They give readers what they want when they want it, and in this digital age, that’s critical. A friend of mine is upgrading to the new Kindle and wants to give me her old one—I think because I said I wasn’t going to get one! LOL. I’m looking forward to playing around with it. After seeing an e-book through the publication process, from submission to the digital bookshelf, in seven months has made a believer out of me!

drey: On the publishing side--what do you think publishers and authors ought to do about the digital revolution? Jump in wholeheartedly, and blaze the path for others to follow? Watch from the sidelines till there's some consensus on what the new business model is going to be for the digital age? Cross their fingers that this is all just a fad & will blow over soon?

Marie: I don’t think people in publishing see e-books as a passing fad. The advent of the iPad—on top of the Kindle, Nook, and other devices—definitely signals a sea change in how readers access the written word. If you look at how the iPod changed the music business, you have a sense of what could be ahead for the book business. I’m thrilled to be participating in the digital revolution. It’s an exciting and interesting time to be an author.

drey: What are you looking forward to next?

Marie: I can’t wait to dive into the third Fatal book, Fatal Consequences. I’m also working on a fun contemporary called Posh & Naughty. And, in my spare time, I’ve got a historical going on the side that I’m calling Duchess by Deception.

To bring this to a close, the Proust-lite:
  1. What is your idea of earthly happiness?
    An afternoon with my kids and cousins at the beach.
  2. What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
    The illness of a family member.
  3. Who is/are your favorite hero/heroine(s) in fiction?
    Vivienne and Edward in Pretty Woman.
  4. Who is/are your favorite hero/heroine(s) in real life?
    My parents.
  5. What sound do you love?
    My kids belly laughing.
  6. What sound do you hate?
    Repetitive noises. Tap, tap, tap, tap.
  7. The quality you admire most in a man?
    Loyalty and reliability.
  8. The quality you admire most in a woman?
    Loyalty and reliability.
  9. If not a writer, you would be a ... BORING person. LOL
  10. What is your favorite swear word?
    Duh: Fuck!

Thank you so much for stopping by. I hope you enjoy your visit here this month. Readers, stop by and say “hi” to Marie, and check her out (links above)!!!

Marie is such a dear, she's giving away an e-copy of Fatal Affair to one of you lucky ducks! To enter, comment and share a thought or two with Marie. Do it by 6:00 pm CST July 28th! 

73. Pack Challenge by Shelly Laurenston...

July 6, 2010
Title: Pack Challenge (Magnus Pack #1)
Author: Shelly Laurenston
ISBN-13: 9781599982717
Publisher: Samhain Publishing, 2006
Purchase at IndieBound, Amazon

FTC Disclosure: My copy of Pack Challenge was on sale at B&N. 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.

drey's thoughts:
I will 'fess up and let you know that I bought Pack Challenge because it was (a) on sale, and (b) has a yummy dude on the cover. Yummy, yummy,  nekkidness on the cover. Yup, I'm (sometimes) shallow like that. So there. *grin*

Anyhoo. The shallowness was rewarded (ha ha!) because Shelly Laurenston's characters are wicked funny. Wicked funny. So funny I found myself snorting out loud, laughing out loud, and at points, doing both at the same time. Needless to say the Mr. was amused.

Sara, Miki, and Angie are best friends--they watch out for each other, and beat up on whomever's messing with one of the three. They're sassy, opinionated, and can sometimes be (dare I say it? skip the next few words if you're sensitive) downright bitchy. When Sara meets the man she's meant to be with, her BFFs are there to make sure she doesn't screw this up. Hilarity ensues. Give this a whirl if you like your paranormal with a healthy dose of the lovey-doveys. Or enjoy feeling just a little bad for the poor dude (as you're shaking your head along with him)...

Warning: This is a Samhain offering, which means there's quite a bit of the horizontal (& vertical) tango, along with quite a bit of language.

drey's rating: 3.5/5 Very Good

Challenges: 100+

72. Fatal Affair by Marie Force...

July 5, 2010
Title: Fatal Affair
Author: Marie Force
Publisher: Carina Press, 2010

FTC Disclosure: My e-copy of Fatal Affair was provided by the author 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.

drey's thoughts:
Having read and liked Marie's Love at First Flight, I was happy to peruse a copy of her newest offering, Fatal Affair. The story is pretty simple: a Senator is murdered, and his Chief of Staff (Nick) has to work with the  detective (Sam) responsible for finding the perpetrator. Never mind that Nick and Sam had a one-night stand six years ago. Never mind that Sam has other things on her mind from her last case. Never mind that the Senator has a secret life that his family would prefer to keep under wraps.

The character interaction is deftly written, and I liked both Nick and Sam. The suspense angle keeps the story moving, and the other stuff that pops in keeps the story believable. Because even though this is a romance novel, doesn't mean everything has to be about the boy and the girl. The only thing I didn't care for is the cover. I'm not sure why exactly, but it didn't scream "pick me up!". It didn't even seem to mutter it under its breath. But don't let that stop you from picking this one up if you're looking for a summer romance/thriller. 

drey's rating: 3/5 Good

Challenges: 100+, Pub

Saturday Spotlight: Twice Bitten by Chloe Neill...

July 3, 2010
I don't believe I've gushed enough about Chloe Neill's Chicagoland Vampires series. Nope, not enough. So. Today's spotlight is on book #3 in said series, and should be available in bookstores now, even though the official release date is July 6th.

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, Chicago's newest vampire. 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.

Unfortunately, someone is gunning for Gabriel, 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.

Oooooh, I so cannot wait to read this and tell you how much I loved it. Because I will, I just know it! *grin* If you haven't checked out Chloe's CV series, start with Some Girls Bite and Friday Night Bites.

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.

71. Prey by Rachel Vincent...

July 2, 2010
Title: Prey (Shifters #4)
Author: Rachel Vincent
ISBN-13: 9780778329138
Publisher: Mira, 2009
Purchase at IndieBound, Amazon

FTC Disclosure: My copy of Prey is bought and paid for. 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.

drey's thoughts:
Well. Book #4 in Rachel Vincent's Shifters series sure amps things up a couple notches. Maybe a bit more than a couple notches... Anyway. Now the power grabbing is out in the open, and the factions are building forces. Strays are banding together to attack Prides. Marc disappears. What the heck is going on??

Prey is an attention-grabber, and kudos to Ms. Vincent for keeping everything moving so that you never lose interest. Parts of it are emotionally draining, so have a box by you if you're prone to getting teary-eyed. The best part of Prey? Faythe does a lot of growing up. And y'all know how I am about immature heroines, right? Well, Faythe made me proud with how she handled things, and herself. This installment is the best so far, and I can only hope that Shift and Alpha (coming in October) keep the bar up high. Grab this (start with #1) if you're a fan of urban fantasy. I don't think you'll regret it.

drey's rating: 4/5 Excellent

Challenges: 100+, Pub
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