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Kylie Brant and (98.) Deadly Sins, a lil' good-bye, and a giveaway!

July 29, 2011
Kylie Brant visits us today to share a lil' something with us. Deadly Sins--the sixth and final book of her Mindhunters series--comes out next week, so she's here posting about goodbyes. Not only that, she has a giveaway for you too!

Sayin’ Goodbye to Characters

Deadly Sins is released on August 2. It’s book six in The Mindhunters series and will likely be the last in the series, although I never say never. And it still hasn’t quite hit me that my current project doesn’t have Adam Raiker whispering insistently in my ear. Doesn’t have one of his compelling employees trying to get me to throw the man a curve ball. I’ve been writing Mindhunter books for three years. That’s longer than I’ve spent on any series I’ve ever created. That’s longer than I stuck with yoga and it was supposed to be life changing. (Perhaps it would have been if classes hadn’t met at 5:30 AM.)

Goodbyes are hard. And forever (?) goodbyes are the hardest. It doesn’t make it easier that the people I’m saying so long to are fictional story people who I created. That should—if anything—make it harder. They were borne solely from my imagination, developed in the corners of my mind. There were days I had more conversations with these people--albeit silent ones-- than I did with members of my family, especially during deadline times. And I know them as well as I do family. If you ask me which of them eats the most pizza, which is likeliest to show a little thigh to get her way or which malecharacter exudes the most charm, and which is the most annoying… I can name them off just like I could with personal friends. And the fun part is that readers probably can, too. That’s what makes this so special. To have created something that I can share with others.

Prior to The Mindhunters the longest series I had ever written was four books. That particular experience taught me just how very short my attention span is. :) I learned after it that three connected books were all I could do before boredom set in. So three books was what I’d planned for this series. I hadn’t counted on the reader mail I received demanding to learn more about Adam Raiker, the head of The Mindhunters. And I certainly hadn’t expected my editor to request the same. I realize now it would have been a waste of one of my most compelling characters had Raiker not gotten his own story. His backstory, his very personality demands it.

Prior to beginning Raiker Forensics (The Mindhunters) Adam Raiker was a legendary profiler for the FBI. His last case for them ended spectacularly when he was captured, tortured and nearly killed by the child killer he was tracking. That case not only ended his career with the bureau, it ended his relationship with FBI agent Jaid Marlowe, the only woman he had ever allowed close.

It’s eight years later and a DC killer is targeting high profile targets for execution. Jaid and Adam are brought together on the same task force tracking the offender. But the deeper they look the more this case seems all wrapped up in the one eight years earlier. And when suspicion falls on Adam, Jaid has to decide whether to play it safe and risk everything for the one man she’s never forgotten…or stopped loving.

deadly sins
Title: Deadly Sins (Mindhunters #6)
Author: Kylie Brant
ISBN-13: 9780425242704
ARC: 339 pages
Publisher: Penguin, 2011
Purchase at IndieBound, Amazon, The Book Depository
Source: Kylie Brant
An unknown assassin has appointed himself judge, jury, and executioner, brutally taking out high-level human targets citywide. And the list of suspects is a sensitive one: an Iranian diplomat, a U.S. senator, and a vengeful priest. It's just the kind of case to test the resolve of tough FBI agent, Jaid Marlowe. Especially when her new partner is Adam Raiker, Jaid's former colleague and ex-lover. But that's history—and it left scars.

Determined to leave it behind them, Jaid and Adam dive into the most shocking investigation of their careers. But when Adam himself becomes a suspect, Jaid must choose between past and present. Her choice plunges them into a far-reaching, high-level conspiracy of shadows—and on the run not only from secrets and lies, but for their lives. Now, despite their history, they have only each other, and the desperate hope that love can keep them alive.

drey's thoughts:
I can't decide if my favorite romance sub-genre is historical romance, contemporary romance, or romantic suspense.  Right now romantic suspense is winning, because Deadly Sins is so engrossing and its characters captivating.  

The hero and heroine have a history, both professionally and personally. Which means that working together on this case isn't the easiest thing ever, but then again this is Adam Raiker we're talking about.  Indestructible super-profiler with the heart of stone (or so everyone thinks).  While I liked Jaid, Adam carried this book for me...

I thoroughly enjoyed this final installment of Kylie Brant's Mindhunters series.  The plot has twists and turns to rival that famous street in San Francisco, yet every road meets up at the end.  I can't wait to see what else she has up her sleeves for us.

drey's rating: Excellent!

Have you read Deadly Sins? What did you think? And if you haven't, well... Read on!

Kylie has one copy of Deadly Sins for you, and this one has NO geographic limitations!! To enter, fill out the form below before 6pm CST August 18th. Duplicate entries will be deleted--leave a comment so you know you've filled this out. *wink* Good luck!

Review: 97. The Last Four Things by Paul Hoffman...

July 28, 2011
Paul Hoffman's The Left Hand of God introduced Thomas Cale to us, and threw him for a loop. Now let's find out where Cale goes from there...

the last four things
Title: The Last Four Things (Left Hand of God #2)
Author: Paul Hoffman
ISBN-13: 9780525952183
ARC: 420 pages
Publisher: Penguin, 2011
Purchase at IndieBound, Amazon, The Book Depository
Source: Penguin

drey's thoughts:
When we last saw Thomas Cale, he'd just gone through battle and heartbreak, then was handed over to the Redeemer who made Cale's life at the Sanctuary positively miserable. He learns that Redeemer Bosco actually has a plan for him--to mold him into the Angel of Death.  And as it happens, so far Cale has been pretty darn good at bringing chaos and ruin wherever he goes...

Now, to say that Cale is an evil mastermind is completely overstating it--he's just had a combination of (mostly) bad luck and overconfident ego.  Which doesn't change in The Last Four Things...  He's still a cocky teenager, only now he has the Redeemers behind him.  He's still furious at Arbell's betrayal--though what else was she to do?  And he's still a teenager, thumbing his nose at the Redeemers when he doesn't think they'll get it, and even sometimes when they do.

So then are we surprised that calamity and glory meet Cale in equal increments in this sequel?  Why, of course not.

I expected Cale to do a little growing up here.  Yes, I know he's had fifteen years of indoctrination by the Redeemers, but he's had time--and he's smart enough--to figure out that not everything they say is truth.  So I was a little disappointed when he mostly reverts to his former self (though he's verbal now) and nurses resentments that he might not if he'd just grow up a little...

There's a lot of tongue-in-cheek humor in The Last Four Things, as well as a lot of needless bloodshed.  Of course, all bloodshed is needless (in my opinion), but even more so when it's the result of mostly stupid actions.  As my little man will tell you, I do not like stupid.  Excessive stupidity even less so.  And while I enjoyed the overall plot I did wonder where all the smart people went.

drey's rating: OK

Want to know where the author got the idea for this alternative world?
Much of this trilogy was inspired by the author’s own life, which he quips is “like a realistic fairy tale or bad Hollywood film.” Born in a house with no running water or electricity, Paul Hoffman grew up as the impoverished son of a British soldier and saw his first violent death at the impressionable age of four. Later, Hoffman was enrolled at a severe Catholic boarding school. What he learned could barely be considered an education, but it would later provide him with the foundation for the theology of The Sanctuary and the ruthlessness of The Redeemers featured in THE LEFT HAND OF GOD trilogy.

The publisher has very graciously offered up a copy of The Last Four Things for you, if you live in the US. To enter, fill out the form below before 6pm CST August 10th. Good luck!

July's FEATURED AUTHOR: Something a Little Different...

July 27, 2011
Our Featured Author for July, Kelly Meding, stops by this lovely Wednesday to share a lil' something with us... Read on!

And Now For Something A Little Different…

First, I just wanted to extend another thank you to drey for inviting me to the blog this month. It's been a blast, and I hope everyone reading has enjoyed my ramblings. I have one more for you, in the form of this post.

Since the majority of my blogging this month has been about my Dreg City series and the 8/2 release of ANOTHER KIND OF DEAD (#3), I wanted to use this time to chat a little bit about my brand-spanking new series coming out in the fall.

The MetaWars series is a combination of sexy urban fantasy and superhero fiction. The first book, TRANCE, finds the now-adult children of the world's last superheroes living powerless and alone—until all of their powers suddenly return. And it's not just the heroes who get their powers back, it's the villains, as well. These newly-activated heroes must come together again to find out who stole their powers in the first place, why they were given back, and thwart the plans of an old enemy who seeks to destroy them. Plus, they are dealing with an un-trusting public, feds who don't always tell the whole truth, and more than their fair share of repressed emotional baggage.

Instead of rambling on about the series and how I came up with it (I did that in a post on my own blog back in June), I thought I'd offer a nice little snippet of the book, instead. The selection is from Chapter Five. Our heroine, Teresa, and hero, Gage, have made their way to the old hero headquarters in Los Angeles, where everyone is beginning to assemble. On the journey to L.A., they survived their first run-in with a super-villain named Specter, and the fight landed Teresa in the Medical Unit.

In the scene, Teresa and Gage are talking with another old classmate named William, who was already at the HQ when they arrived.


I asked, "Who is Dr. Seward?"

"He's on the MHC's payroll." [William replied]

Figures. MetaHuman Control was a self-contained subdivision of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, or ATF, specializing in (according to them) monitoring the most dangerous "firearms" in the world. Currently defunct, MHC had been organized over a century ago, in the 1960s, and had bankrolled the Rangers for decades, providing us with the finances to police the Banes, information on their whereabouts, and a pretty nifty HQ. Throughout the Meta War, they stood by the Rangers. After the war and the loss of our powers, they hid us to protect us from an angry public. Or so they said.

William continued. "After what happened on Wednesday night, ATF called in some of the people who used to work for MHC. The ones not retired or transferred out of ATF, anyway, which is only a handful. They're also working on locating the rest of the us."

Us. The others were alive. Or suspected to be alive. So far, we had three out of the twelve of us who'd survived the massacre in Central Park. My mind swirled with the new information, trying to store the important bits away for later scrutiny. I was too hungry to concentrate right now. And I still didn't recognize the name Seward.

"I don't suppose this Dr. Seward has a theory on why I've got different powers?" I asked.

"I'm sure he has a theory," William said. "He won't say anything until he's certain, and in this business—"

"It's hard to be certain of anything." Great, I got the dubious honor of being the group oddball. "Is anyone else here?"

"Renee Duvall and Marco Mendoza have found their way," William said. "We're having trouble finding the other seven."

Okay, five out of twelve. And Renee was one of them. I couldn't help a small smile and a pang of curiosity about my old friend. How had she managed for fifteen years? Blue skin is a lot harder to hide than purple hair.

"How about a theory on why we all reactivated in the first place? Does Dr. Seward have one?" I didn't have one of my own, so I wanted to hear what the eggheads thought. They were paid to analyze, not me. I wasn't being paid at all, and after missing three days of work, I was certainly fired from my two remaining jobs.

William and Gage looked at each other. I couldn't read their expressions, just that they'd had this conversation before. "No one is sure," William said. "Right now it's all theory, since we don't know why we lost our powers in the first place."

"Lost implies that they were misplaced, or that we were somehow active in their removal, which we weren't. They were taken, not lost."

William nodded, but didn't reply. An awkward silence fell over the room, interrupted only by the bleep of the pulse monitor.

"Are you hungry?" Gage asked.

"Famished. How's the room service around here?"

"It's decent," William said. "I'll go see what I can scare up for you. Just try not to get out of bed until Dr. Seward comes to see you. Okay?"

I snapped off a mock salute. He departed, pulling the door shut behind him. Gage perched on the edge of the bed near my knees. "Thank you, Teresa."

"For what?"

"For saving my life."


I hope you enjoyed the snippet! It was hard deciding on one particular scene, but I liked this one because it gives you a bit of background information on the world and its history. TRANCE releases October 25 from Pocket.

Thank you so much for visiting us this month, Kelly!!  I hope you've had a good month here...  Y'all, I hope you enjoyed the snippet from Kelly's Trance!

96. Paranormalcy by Kiersten White...

July 26, 2011
The first thing I noticed about Kiersten White's Paranormalcy was the cover.  So I added it to my library hold list.

Title: Paranormalcy (Paranormalcy #1)
Author: Kiersten White
ISBN-13: 9780061985843
Hardcover: 335 pages
Publisher: HarperCollins, 2010
Purchase at IndieBound, Amazon, The Book Depository
Source: Waukesha Public Library

drey's thoughts:
Evie is a typical sixteen-year-old.  She's sassy and snarky, carries a pink Taser around, and works for the International Paranormal Containment Agency tackling and tagging paranormals.  She's also the only one who can see past the glamour that paranormals wear.  Makes her pretty handy to have around, especially if you're ICAP...

One day, someone breaks into the ICAP facility where Evie lives.  He's captured, but won't say why he's there.  Evie's intrigued, naturally.  And then she starts dreaming of words, words from a prophecy unknown to her.  Then something starts killing the paranormals, and next thing you know Evie's on the run for her life.  Who can she turn to?  Where can she go?  What can she do?  She's not going to just roll over and die--she just met a boy for crying out loud!

Paranormalcy is cute and fun, because Evie is cute and fun.  Never mind that there's actually a plot and tension and action, everything flies quickly and flows nicely because the characters and their interactions are smooth and interesting.  You'll enjoy hanging out with Evie as she figures out that special is totally overrated, real-life boys are much more fun than TV characters, and siblings can be a total drain.

drey's rating: Excellent!  I can't believe this is a debut, but hey book #2, Supernaturally, is out soon!

Have you read Paranormalcy?  What did you think?

95. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins...

July 25, 2011
This one's been on my TBR for a while, and I finally picked it up from the library.

anna and the french kiss
Title: Anna and the French Kiss
Author: Stephanie Perkins
ISBN-13: 9780525423270
Hardcover: 372 pages
Publisher: Penguin, 2010
Purchase at IndieBound, Amazon, The Book Depository
Source: Waukesha Public Library

drey's thoughts:
Anna and the French Kiss is a lovely story about a girl who meets a boy and how their friendship evolves into something more.  Of course, this being set in a high school (even if it is in Paris), there's the requisite angst and my-friend-also-likes-the-same-boy drama.  Not that it's drowning in angst and drama, because if that were the case I wouldn't have liked it as much as I did.

I liked the cast of characters in Anna and the French Kiss, especially Anna.  She's bright, funny, and nice.  Etienne is witty and charming, and such a romantic.  The two make a lovely couple, if only they could just get to the point where they were a couple.  Then again, if it was that easy, this would be a novella instead of a heartwarming romantic read.

drey's rating: Excellent!  Add it to your summer reading if you like a good boy-meets-girl story.

Have you read Anna and the French Kiss? What did you think?


Yup, it's past time (again) for some winner announcements... The first is for Gwendolen Gross' The Orphan Sister, which goes to...

Colleen Turner!!

Colleen has already won The Orphan Sister from another blog, so Randomizer went back to work and picked someone else to receive a copy: Nancye Davis! 

The next is for Sara Grant's Dark Parties, which goes to...

Melissa V. from Coffee, Books and Laundry!!

Marg K. from Clockwork Reverie!!

Marg is also a duplicate winner...  There must be something in the water or something! Anyway, Randomizer went back to work (again), and picked Tiffany Drew! 

Congratulations, you guys!! Thank you so much for visiting, and I hope you stop in again. :)

Review: 94. Darkness Becomes Her by Kelly Keaton...

July 22, 2011
I'd wanted to pick this up since I saw the cover, and it's been waiting patiently on my shelf since it came from the library... I'm glad I got to it before it had to go back.

darkness becomes her
Title: Darkness Becomes Her
Author: Kelly Keaton
ISBN-13: 9781442409248
Hardcover: 273 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster, 2011
Purchase at IndieBound, Amazon, The Book Depository
Source: Waukesha Public Library

drey's thoughts:
I really enjoyed the combination of mythology, paranormal, and post-apocalyptic New Orleans in Kelly Keaton's (aka Kelly Gay) first YA urban fantasy. The heroine, Ari, is a seventeen-year-old orphan looking for answers--who's her birth mother? Why did she give Ari up? And what exactly is it that makes her so weird?

What she finds takes her to "New 2", the now privately-owned former city of vampires and magic where misfits gather and an ancient Goddess lurks. And Ari discovers there's a curse on her line that is passed from mother to daughter, from forever and a day ago. Determined to be the one who beats the curse, Ari makes a stand.  Only, is she strong enough to win?  Especially when she doesn't know what she is, and her opponent is a very very strong Goddess?

If you're a fan of the genre, you'll love Darkness Becomes Her.  Ari is stubborn and headstrong, and refuses to budge on her principles.  The band of misfits she finds in New 2 are basically background, except for Sebastian (the boy--there's always a boy) and Violet, a little girl with fangs and a pet alligator.  Or was it a crocodile?  I forget.  But I love Violet.

The action starts at the beginning, and doesn't stop till the end, when Ari once again stands up for herself--and makes enough sense to sway the adults to her way of looking at things.  Along the way she learns a bit about trust, and a bit about love.  I will definitely pick up the sequel--A Beautiful Evil comes out in February 2012.

drey's rating:  Excellent!  But what else would you expect from the author of the Charlie Madigan series?  *wink*

Have you read Darkness Becomes Her?  What did you think?

More stuff:
Kelly Keaton's website

Review: 93. The Left Hand of God by Paul Hoffman...

July 21, 2011
I saw this title last year, and added it to my wish list. Luckily for me there's a sequel coming out this year, because Penguin sent me both to review! *grin*

the left hand of god
Title: The Left Hand of God (Left Hand of God #1)
Author: Paul Hoffman
ISBN-13: 9780525951315
Hardcover: 384 pages
Publisher: Penguin Group, 2010
Purchase at IndieBound, Amazon, The Book Depository
Source: Penguin

drey's thoughts:
Thomas Cale has only ever known one reality--that which the Redeemers provided in the Sanctuary, with the daily abuse and revolting food. You learn two things quickly there--keep your head down and your mouth shut. Unfortunate for Cale, who doesn't seem to possess either skill in any quantity... Then he discovers there's a whole world outside Sanctuary.

Cale reminds me a bit of Kvothe, star of Patrick Rothfuss' Kingkiller Chronicles. They're both smart, brash, and just a wee bit too full of themselves. And they just can't seem to not do that last little thing that crosses the line. Which, as you can imagine, doesn't quite make them many friends... They're also both young, so nobody listens to anything they say, even if they could be right. Poor things... I do wish though, that Cale was just a bit more real--I don't quite understand his thoughts or actions where it regards Arbell, and I sometimes wanted to smack him on the head for his infantile behavior.

Paul Hoffman has created an intriguing world for The Left Hand of God, and interesting characters to inhabit that world. I enjoyed the story even if parts of the plot slogged and other parts raced through, and I was sometimes in the dark as to the characters' motivations. Overall, though, this is a pretty good debut effort and I will have a review of its sequel The Last Four Things up for you soon...

drey's rating: Pick it up!

Thanks to the publisher, I have one copy of The Left Hand of God for you, if you live in the US. To enter, fill out the form below before 6pm CST August 3rd. Good luck!

July's FEATURED AUTHOR: Kelly's top 5 books...

July 20, 2011
Today, our Featured Author Kelly Meding stops in to share some of her favorite reads with us...

Trying to narrow down a list of favorite books is like trying to choose between Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup and Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough as my favorite ice cream.  I can't pick between them!  The list is also ever-evolving, I think, as my tastes change and I read new things.

However, in the interest of brevity, I think I've managed to narrow it down to five books.  And at least one reason why it's a favorite (plus some additional rambling).

Watchmen5. WATCHMEN, by Alan Moore.  This is a new addition to the list, because I only read it last year for the first time (I know, I know).   And I can see why this graphic novel has earned its place on various Best Novel lists.  Anyone who dismisses it as just a comic book is an idiot, because it is so much more.  It's more than a book about superheroes, too.  It's a lot of things, and "amazing" is definitely one of those things.

Different Seasons (Signet)4. DIFFERENT SEASONS, by Stephen King.  This collection of four novellas include the stories that eventually became the acclaimed films "The Shawshank Redemption" and "Stand By Me."  Trust me when I say the stories are even better, and the other two offerings ("Apt Pupil" and "The Breathing Method") are worthy reads, as well.  Of all of King's work (and I've read a good chunk), it's this collection that I always return to as my all-time favorite.  The novellas display King's ability to showcase human nature and tell enthralling stories, minus the blood and horror that he's regularly known for, and I think this shorter format is where he really shines.

The Golden RoadThe Story Girl (Classic Reprint)3. THE STORY GIRL/THE GOLDEN ROAD, by LM Montgomery.  I always put these books together, because they are a duology that just have to be read as a unit.  More than the Anne Shirley books, I adore these stories about Sara Stanley and her friends/family in the small town of Carlisle, Prince Edward Island.  They are full of love, laughter, drama and heartache.  They inspired me to keep my own dream journal, and to try and see the story in every situation.  My copies are so worn the covers are flaking off, and it's about time I gave them both another reread.

The Outsiders2. THE OUTSIDERS, by SE Hinton.  Like many kids, I first read this in English class.  This was one of the first books to make me want to be a writer.  I was enthralled not just by Ponyboy and his friends, but also by the fact that the author wrote this book when she was sixteen.  Sixteen!  While my own thinly-veiled attempt to write my own version of this book is forever hidden away in my office, never to see the light of day again, I'll never forget the feeling I got reading that book for the first time.  Or how much it made me want to be like SE Hinton and publish that young.  It's another book I reread on occasion, and has one of the few movie adaptations that does the book justice.

Watership Down: A Novel1. WATERSHIP DOWN, by Richard Adams.  Okay, so maybe choosing one all-time favorite book isn't impossible, because if I had to pick one book to take with me to a desert island, it would be this one.  I read it for the first time in seventh grade.  Then I read it again right away.  I must have read it at least twice a year through high school.  It's been a few years since I've reread the whole book, but it's one that has always stuck with me.  And I don't care that it's basically a quest novel featuring rabbits.  It's an amazing novel, full of drama and hope and love and mythology and terrific characters (and any novel that can make me like a seagull gets extra

So there they are.  My five favorite books (six, if you want to get technical about number three).  If you haven't read them yet, then get thee to the library and check them out.  I can't promise that you'll love them just because I love them, but you never know until you try, right?

I won't get technical about number three... *grin* I have to admit that none of these are on my read list, but that's something I'll rectify as soon as I can! What about y'all? Have you read Kelly's top five?

TLC Book Tours: 92. Keith Donohue and Centuries of June...

July 19, 2011
Today's TLC tour is for Keith Donohue's Centuries of June...

TLC Tours

About Keith Donohue:
Keith Donohue is the Director of Communications for the National Historical Publications and Records Commission, the grant-making arm of the National Archives in Washington, DC. Until 1998 he worked at the National Endowment for the Arts and wrote hundreds of speeches for chairmen John Frohnmayer and Jane Alexander. He has written articles for The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and other newspapers. Donohue holds a Ph.D. in English from The Catholic University of America. His dissertation on Irish writer Flann O’Brien was published as The Irish Anatomist: A Study of Flann O’Brien (Maunsel Press, 2003).

Connect with Keith on his website, on Facebook, and on Twitter.

centuries of juneAbout the book:
Keith Donohue has been praised for his vivid imagination and for evoking “the otherworldly with humor and the ordinary with wonder” (Audrey Niffenegger). His first novel, The Stolen Child, was a national bestseller, and his second novel, Angels of Destruction, was hailed as “a magical tale of love and redemption that is as wonderfully written as it is captivating” (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette). Centuries of June is a bold departure, a work of dazzling breadth and technical virtuosity.

Set in the bathroom of an old house just before dawn on a night in June, Centuries of June is a black comedy about a man who is attempting to tell the story of how he ended up on the floor with a hole in his head. But he keeps getting interrupted by a series of suspects—eight women lying in the bedroom just down the hall. Each woman tells a story drawn from five centuries of American myth and legend in a wild medley of styles and voices.

Centuries of June is a romp through history, a madcap murder mystery, an existential ghost story, and a stunning tour de force at once ingenious, sexy, inspiring, and ultimately deeply moving.

Read an excerpt.
Title: Centuries of June
Author: Keith Donohue
ISBN-13: 9780307450289
Publisher: Crown Publishing Group, 2011
Purchase at IndieBound, Amazon, The Book Depository
Source: Crown

drey's thoughts:
Keith Donohue is a new-to-me author, though I have The Stolen Child sitting on my shelves (and it's been sitting there for a while now).  But I couldn't turn down the opportunity to check out his latest, Centuries of June.  I mean, the blurb had me at "black comedy about a man who is attempting to tell the story of how he ended up on the floor with a hole in his head"...  How do you turn down something like that?

I will admit to reading this slowly at first.  Really slowly...  In fact, it probably took me a good 3-4 days to get through the first two stories, which is unheard of in my reading. And here I will state that while I thought those two stories were entertaining, I didn't quite get the whole picture then. In fact, I didn't even get a glimpse of what might be the whole picture.  The parts involving the guy-with-the-hole-in-the-head were hazy and confusing enough, and then all these other characters showed up.

Then I picked it up again--because, hey, I had to read it and review it--and started really getting into the stories.  Which is where Donohue shines, because the women and their stories were something I really enjoyed.  Each character was interesting, each story had a different style about it, and it all wrapped up nicely at the end...  And now that it's done, I think reading each story and savoring it slowly is the way to go here.  But don't take my word for it, enter the giveaway to win your own copy.  *grin*

drey's rating: Excellent!

There's one copy of Centuries of June up for grabs, US/Canada only (no PO Boxes, please). To enter, fill out the form below before 6pm CST August 1st. Good luck!

Review: 91. Crescendo by Becca Fitzpatrick...

July 18, 2011
It took me a long time to get to this, but I had to--Silence is coming out soon! *grin*

Title: Crescendo (Hush, Hush #2)
Author: Becca Fitzpatrick
ISBN-13: 9781416989431
Hardcover: 427 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster, 2010
Purchase at IndieBound, Amazon, The Book Depository
Source: Waukesha Public Library

drey's thoughts:
Nora Grey is not having a good summer.  Sure, her boyfriend Patch is pretty awesome (even if her mom or her bff don't think so), but not only does she have to go to school, she's paired up with her arch-enemy Marcie Millar in class.  Then her mom tries to set her up with her childhood friend who's moved back into town.  And she's seeing her father around town.  Definitely weird--he's dead, after all.

When Patch starts distancing himself from Nora, she can't figure out if it's because of the archangels' threat, or because he's dumping her for Marcie.  Not that she knows why Marcie hates her guts anyway.  Confused and emotional, Nora decides to break off with Patch and starts hanging out with Scott (the childhood friend), only to find out that there's a gang of Nephilim who're up to no good...  And Scott's one of them.  Not only that, but she also finds out that her father's not who she thought he was.

There are a lot of twists and turns in this follow-up to Hush, Hush.  And quite a few revelations as well.  Along with the cliffhanger ending, I'm sure you'll be waiting to pick up Silence with me if you read this (or have read it)...

drey's rating:  Excellent!

Have you read Crescendo?  What did you think?

Winner!! S.J. Watson's Before I Go to Sleep...

July 17, 2011
I have a winner announcement!! This one's for S.J. Watson's thriller Before I Go to Sleep, courtesy of the publisher... The lucky duck picked by Randomizer is...

Meredith Miller!!

Congratulations, Meredith! Email's on its way, please respond before the end of day Wednesday.

Thanks to everyone who stopped by to enter!

A wishlist for my NOOK...

July 16, 2011
I've had a NOOK for almost 2 years now. My first was the NOOK 1st Edition, which was a Christmas present. Now I also have the NOOK Simple Touch Reader, which was my birthday present. And I love love love them. There is NOTHING like the ability to haul however many books I want with me, especially when I travel, all in this one little package.

That said, there are some things I wish were done better. B&N, I hope you read this wishlist. And to be fair, it's a wishlist of functionality I want to work better on my NOOK, the NOOK app, and the "My NOOK Library" site... ;-)

  1. Shelving my NOOKbooks
    You gave me the ability to "build" shelves on my NOOK, which I love. Now please give me the ability to do the same online, and have it sync to my NOOK and the NOOK app. I don't know about other users, but I get irked at being able to only scroll thru 5 books at a time to add something to a shelf. Sometimes by the time I scroll down multiple pages, I've forgotten which book I wanted to add to a shelf.

    No, I don't want to hear anything about my faulty memory... Besides, I type much faster on the computer, which is something I wish for every time I switch the shelf names around because I've come up with a better (bigger! faster!) way to shelve my books.
  2. Viewing my NOOKbooks
    This one specifically applies to the My NOOK Library site. Why oh why am I only allowed to view 25 titles at a time? Please give me the option to list up to 100, like you do throughout the rest of the site. And while you're at it, add checkboxes, and the ability to archive / unarchive / download multiple books at a time.

    Let me view covers only if I'd like to, like I can on the NOOK and the NOOK app. Sometimes there's nothing more satisfying than looking at a whole lot of covers...
  3. Searching my NOOKbooks
    I want to be able to search for a title in My NOOK Library, like I can on the NOOK and the NOOK app. Basic.
  4. Navigating my NOOK library
    This one's for the NOOK. Please give me a way to get to the top of the list, without having to scroll through each page. This is especially helpful if I switch views and want to start at the top, but now I'm buried on page 27 of 32. Grrr.

I guess what I really want is something that works seamlessly between web, app, and NOOK. Show me covers (tile vs. list) on the NOOK, the app, AND the web. Let me search, shelve, tag, and download multiple books at a time, and wherever I did it, sync it to the others. I know I'm not the only NOOK user out there, is anyone else as frustrated as I am or am I just demanding?

Review: 90. Pale Demon by Kim Harrison...

July 15, 2011
I've had Pale Demon sitting on my shelves for 3 weeks, and thought I'd better pick it up before it makes the return trip to the library unread...

pale demon
Title: Pale Demon (Rachel Morgan #9)
Author: Kim Harrison
ISBN-13: 9780061138065
Hardcover: 439 pages
Publisher: HarperCollins, 2011
Purchase at IndieBound, Amazon, The Book Depository
Source: Waukesha Public Library

drey's thoughts:
Well.  Rachel starts out this installment neck-deep in doo-doo, as she has to head to San Francisco to plead against her shunning.  But can she trust the Coven members to live up to their end of the bargain?

None of her cohorts think so, but all Rachel has at this point is hope.  And then Trent comes bearing an offer--get him to Seattle in three days and he'll help her through the trial.  Can she trust him?

The better question would be:  Can a demon-witch, a pixie, a vampire, and an elf survive a road-trip together?  Especially when there are day-walking demons about, assassins on their trail, and wickedly devious goings-on?  I guess you're going to have to read Pale Demon and find out.  Poor Rachel.  All she wants is to be left alone.  And alive, of course.  Getting to that point in one piece wouldn't be too much to ask for, would it?

drey's rating:  Excellent!  Loved this latest installment--lots of action, and definitely a ton of character development.  I wonder where Ms. Harrison's going to take Rachel next?

Have you read Pale Demon? What did you think?

Review: 89. Silver Girl by Elin Hilderbrand...

July 14, 2011
I've been meaning to pick this one up all of June (because that's its release month) but hadn't gotten around to it till now... You'll want to add this to your summer reading.

silver girl
Title: Silver Girl
Author: Elin Hilderbrand
ISBN-13: 9780316099660
ARC: 417 pages
Publisher: Hachette Book Group, 2011
Purchase at IndieBound, Amazon, The Book Depository
Source: Hachette Book Group

drey's thoughts:
Elin Hilderbrand's Silver Girl is the story of a woman whose life is turned completely upside down by her husband's actions--and of friendship, redemption, and love.

Meredith Delinn faces complete ostracism from society when her husband Freddy's financial ponzi scheme is busted wide open.  Needing to hide her face (and shame) from everybody, she calls up her childhood best friend and is whisked off to Nantucket for the summer.  Not that everything's great between Connie and Meredith...  And Connie has her own turmoil to lay to rest.

I did not like Freddy--and maybe it's by design.  After all, by the time we meet him, he's being sentenced for ripping off millions and millions of dollars from investors.  And, the flashbacks down memory lane don't really paint a picture of someone I would like.  Which begs the question--why did Meredith end up with him anyway?  A boy, of course.  Because we make wonderful life-altering decisions while nursing a broken heart.

Connie is someone I'd want to have as my childhood BFF.  Yes, she has her own set of problems, but who among us doesn't?  Yet she's loyal enough to say "yes" when Meredith asks.  That is a friend.

And Meredith.  From shock and denial, to anger and worry, Meredith is a rock whose husband definitely does not deserve her.  She is torn between staying loyal to her husband, and cutting all ties to start over.  And when her high school boyfriend shows up on Nantucket, she wonders if she can start over.

Silver Girl is an emotional read, and you feel for both Meredith and Connie as each deals with their own problems while trying to help the other through.  The threads of friendship shines brightly through, even over rocky roads.  A good addition to the summer reading pile.

drey's rating: Excellent!

Have you read Silver Girl? What did you think?

July's FEATURED AUTHOR: Kelly's bibliography!

July 13, 2011
Today we showcase Kelly Meding--our Featured Author--and her books...

The Dreg City series:

three days to dead#1: Three Days to Dead
They’ll never see her coming. . . .

When Evangeline Stone wakes up naked and bruised on a cold slab at the morgue—in a stranger’s body, with no memory of who she is and how she got there—her troubles are only just beginning.  Before that night she and the two other members of her Triad were the city’s star bounty hunters, mercilessly cleansing the city of the murderous creatures living in the shadows, from vampires to shape-shifters to trolls.  Then something terrible happened that not only cost all three of them their lives but also convinced the city’s other Hunters that Evy was a traitor—and she can’t even remember what it was.

Now she’s a fugitive, piecing together her memory, trying to deal some serious justice—and discovering that she has only three days to solve her own murder before the reincarnation spell wears off.  Because in three days Evy will die again—but this time there’s no second chance. . . .
Purchase at IndieBound, Amazon, The Book Depository

as lie the dead#2: As Lie the Dead
Evangeline Stone, a rogue bounty hunter, never asked for a world divided between darkness and light . . .

. . . or the power to die and live again in someone else’s borrowed body.  After a murder plot meant to take her out leaves an entire race of shapeshifters nearly extinct, Evy is gnawed by guilt.  So when one of the few survivors of the slaughter enlists her aid, she feels duty-bound to help—even though protecting a frail, pregnant shifter is the last thing Evy needs, especially with the world going to hell around her.

Amid weres, Halfies, gremlins, vamps—and increasingly outgunned humans—a war for supremacy is brewing.  With shifters demanding justice, her superiors desperate to control her, and an assassin on her trail, Evy discovers a horrifying conspiracy.  And she may be the only person in the world who can stop it—unless, of course, her own side gets her first.
Purchase at IndieBound, Amazon, The Book Depository

another kind of dead
#3: Another Kind of Dead
She can heal her own wounds.  She can nail a monster to a wall.  But there’s one danger Evangeline Stone never saw coming.

Been there.  Done that.  Evy Stone is a former Dreg Bounty Hunter who died and came back to life with some extraordinary powers.  Now all but five people in the world think she is dead again, this time for good—immolated in a factory fire set specifically for her.  Evy and Wyatt, her partner/lover/friend, can no longer trust their former allies, or even the highest echelons of the Triads—the army of fighters holding back from an unsuspecting public a tide of quarreling, otherworldly creatures—they can trust only each other.  Because when the Triads raided a macabre, monster-filled lab of science experiments and hauled away the remnants, they failed to capture their creator: a brilliant, vampire-obsessed scientist with a wealth of powerful, anti-Dreg weaponry to trade for what he desires most of all—Evy Stone: alive and well, and the key to his ultimate experiment in mad science.
Purchase at IndieBound, Amazon, The Book Depository

#4: Wrong Side of Dead (coming in January 2012)
Monster hunter Evangeline Stone woke up on the wrong side of dead this morning—and now there’s hell to pay.

Barely recovered from her extended torture at the hands of mad scientist Walter Thackery, Evy can use a break.  What she gets instead is a war, as the battered Triads that keep Dreg City safe find themselves under attack by half-Blood vampires who have somehow retained their reason, making them twice as lethal.  Worse, the Halfies are joined by a breed of were-creature long believed extinct—back and more dangerous than ever.  Meanwhile, Evy’s attempts at reconciliation with the man she loves take a hit after Wyatt is viciously assaulted—an attack traced to Thackery, who has not given up his quest to exterminate all vampires . . . even if he has to destroy Dreg City to do it.  With Wyatt’s time running out, another threat emerges from the shadows and a staggering betrayal shatters the fragile alliance between the Triads, vampires, and shapeshifters, turning Evy’s world upside down forever.
Purchase at IndieBound, Amazon, The Book Depository

The MetaWars series:

#1: Trance (coming in October 2011)
The first in a new series by popular urban fantasy author Kelly Meding, featuring an X-Men -like group of young people with superpowers who must find a way to work together.

After years of bouncing aimlessly from one dead-end job to another, Teresa “Trance” West’s superpowers return in a moment of blinding pain and panic.  Inexplicably stolen at the climax of the devastating Meta War, the handful of surviving Rangers had been powerless for fifteen years—only Teresa’s powers came back wrong.  She used to be an average telepath.  Now, her eyes are purple, her hair is streaked violet, and she can create powerful energy orbs by snapping her fingers.  Plagued by headaches, cramps, and violent energy bursts, Teresa seems to be allergic to her new powers—and if that’s not bad enough, now there’s a killer after her…
Purchase at IndieBound, Amazon, The Book Depository

Have you read any of Kelly's books? Which one(s)? What did you think?

Review: 88. Black Heart Loa by Adrian Phoenix...

July 12, 2011
I had to pick up Black Heart Loa, especially since it so handily showed up on my NOOK...

black heart loa
Title: Black Heart Loa (Hoodoo #2)
Author: Adrian Phoenix
ISBN-13: 9781439167922
Publisher: Simon & Schuster, 2011
Purchase at IndieBound, Amazon, The Book Depository
Source: Purchased

drey's thoughts:
After Black Dust Mambo, I knew I had to pick up Black Heart Loa to find out what happens next.  After all, we left with Kallie finding out a lot of things about herself, her aunt, and her family; and she still has to find out if anyone else was involved in the crud that happened.  And Layne--well, he has a dead man's spirit inhabiting his body.  

Then Kallie goes home, only to find her cousin's gone.  As in taken.  And she's got a real bad feeling about his disappearance...  But before she can go looking for him, Kallie and her aunt figure out that the magic is backfiring.  Something is messing everything up--including the wards protecting southern Louisiana from the storm that's turning into a hurricane heading their way.  Even worse--could that something be her?

There are a lot of characters in this installment.  Kallie & Bell feature prominently, as they go haring off into one adventure after another.  Layne and his visitor as well.  And then there's  a few new bad guys, a whole town of loup-garous, and more family secrets to uncover.  The action never stops, and I wondered more than once how Kallie keeps going.  She does get a bit whiny at times, but Bell's there to smack her upside the head and set her straight.  I love their interactions, they make me laugh.

drey's rating:  Excellent! This installment is more convoluted than the initial,but I'll keep reading to find out what's up next for Kallie and gang...

Review & Giveaway: 87. Dark Parties by Sara Grant...

July 11, 2011
Today's post is for a book release & giveaway for Sara Grant's debut novel Dark Parties!

sara grant
About the author:
Sara Grant is an American living in the UK.  Born and raised in Washington, Indiana, Sara graduated from Indiana University with degrees in journalism and psychology. She now works as a freelance writer and editor for Working Partners, a London-based company creating series fiction for children. She lives in London with her husband. This is her first novel.  Find Sara online at her website,

dark parties
About the book:
Sixteen-year-old Neva has been trapped since birth. She was born and raised under the Protectosphere, in an isolated nation ruled by fear, lies, and xenophobia. A shield "protects" them from the outside world, but also locks the citizens inside. But there's nothing left on the outside, ever since the world collapsed from violent warfare. Or so the government says...

Neva and her best friend Sanna believe the government is lying and stage a "dark party" to recruit members for their underground rebellion. But as Neva begins to uncover the truth, she realizes she must question everything she's ever known, including the people she loves the most.

Title: Dark Parties
Author: Sara Grant
ISBN-13: 9780316085946
ARC: 308 pages
Publisher: Little, Brown Young Readers, 2011
Purchase at IndieBound, Amazon, The Book Depository
Source: Big Honcho Media

drey's thoughts:
Sara Grant's Dark Parties takes place in a world under a bubble. The Protectosphere has erased everything that signifies individuality and uniqueness, and everyone pretty much looks alike. Barred from the Outside by lies and propaganda along with a force field barrier, Neva's expected to live her life as expected--including which job, whom to marry, and how many children she's supposed to have.

But she's a rebel--what teenager isn't? She sports a tattoo, and her best friend Sanna brands her cheek. And as Neva notices that people are going missing, she starts collecting their names--and if it's unknown then their descriptions--in a journal she hides from everybody. Neva is sure that the government is not quite as benign and kindly as they'd like you to think, and together with Sanna decides to stage a protest. It doesn't take long before things get out of hand, and Neva and Sanna both make it on the government's watch list.

Neva is your typical teenager rebelling against the world as it is. She's also strong and courageous, and cannot imagine living the life she's been told to live. Sanna is a bit more outrageous when we meet her, but has her needy side show up--of course, it concerns boys. I like the story Sara Grant has spun within this world-in-a-bubble, and definitely wouldn't mind more Neva.

drey's rating: Excellent!  Want more? Read an excerpt...

Thanks to Big Honcho Media, I have two copies of Dark Parties for you lucky ducks who live in the US! To enter, fill out the form below before 6pm CST July 24th. Good luck!

NOOKbook deal: ShapeShifter: The Demo Tapes: Year 1 is $0.99!

July 9, 2011
Today, I thought I'd highlight another $0.99 NOOKbook for you...  This one's by my blogger buddy Susan Helene Gottfried, so give it a whirl, k?  After all, who doesn't want to hang out with a rock band?

shapeshifters the demo tapes year 1
click on cover to head on over to B&N

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.

Susan's online at her website, her blog The Meet and Greet, twitter, and facebook.  Check out her books at

Giveaway: Barry Hoffman's The Shamra Chronicles!

July 8, 2011
Here's a giveaway for y'all from Media Masters Publicity on this Friday... One lucky duck will receive a copy of Barry Hoffman's YA fantasy series The Shamra Chronicles, along with a Shamra journal and pen set. Sorry, folks, but this one's for US residents only.

About the books:
Curse of the Shamra: Book One of the Shamra ChroniclesIn the first book, Curse of the Shamra, a girl named Dara's peaceful and isolated land of the Shamra is invaded and its people enslaved, and she finds herself in the very unfamiliar role of leading a ragtag resistance to defeat the enemy. But even as she fights the invaders, Dara grapples with self-doubt and is criticized by her own people for being outspoken and different. Venturing into uncharted territory to seek allies, Dara encounters unusual creatures and dangerous lands and is forced to come to terms with the fact that she alone is the only hope the Shamra have to regain their freedom.

Shamra Divided: Book Two of The Shamra ChroniclesIn Shamra Divided, the second book in the series, Dara has managed to save her people from one enemy but the cost has been high. While Dara struggles to come to terms with the loss of beloved friends, she finds herself thrust into the leadership role of an improbable army and learns that it is her destiny to unite her people as one, even as she faces her biggest challenge: Chaos. Dormant for almost two hundred years, Chaos has returned, intent on destroying Dara.

Chaos Unleashed: Book Three of the Shamra ChroniclesIn Chaos Unleashed: Book Three of the Shamra Chronicles nothing is as it seems in a world where the living mingle with the dead and dreams can turn into frightening reality. Chaos is beginning to spread across the land. Together with friends from past journeys and new allies who may not be what they seem, Dara must build an army to confront Chaos. But as she and her army prepare for the final battle, Dara realizes that the only person she can really count on is herself. Chaos Unleashed also includes an original bonus novella, SAFE HAVEN, following the adventures of Dara’s family.

More Shamra Chronicles:
* The Shamra Chronicles website
* Information on Barry Hoffman's passion project "The Giveaway"--he has already given away more than 11,000 books to students across the country!

To enter, fill out the form below before 6pm CST August 4th. Good luck!

Optional for extra entries:
Follow Barry Hoffman's blog
Sign up to receive the bi-monthly Shamra Chronicles newsletter

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