Sunday, December 26, 2010

SFR Holiday Blitz Ends Tonight

Scroll down to the post and comment to enter the drawing!

What I Got For Christmas

Books:
MAIL-ORDER GROOM by Lisa Plumley  Dang, why didn't I think of that?
MONTANA CREEDS: DYLAN by Linda Lael Miller  He's BLOND!  And he's on the cover!  Even though it's a Harliquin!

SASHA'S DAD by Geri Krotow  They hated this one over at Dear Author, so I knew I'd love it and picked it out myself.  Book reviewers are so subjective, you know. 
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SELF-SUFFICIENCY by Abigail R. Gehring
Movies:
JUMPER, starring Hayden Christianson.  Okay, I confess, I bought this one for my husband for Christmas.  But, but, it's a blond!

ROBIN HOOD MEN IN TIGHTS, starring Cary Elwes  And another blond!  This one's in tights!
Yes, my husband's a blond.  He says these guys are all just glorifications of him.  Happy New Year!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas

My favorite Christmas movie.

The Muppet Christmas Carol
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What?  This is me we're talking about here.  You didn't really expect something more dignified, did you?
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P.S. If you're last-minute shopping, I might remind you that eBooks can be bought and sent to your loved ones instantly.  Pop over to eBooks at Amazon

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

My Interview at Saige-Advice!

Kimber An at Saige-Advice  I got to talk about Brandon!

Don't Forget the Teens!

Yesterday, I noticed almost all the paper stars left on our community gift-giving tree were for teens in need. Guess it's more fun to buy toys for little kids.  Please remember the Teens this holiday season.  A good book can help a teen believe he or she can triumph over the adversities in their young lives. Here's a link to all the YA and MG books we're reviewed here to give you ideas!  Young Adult at ER  and  Middle Grade at ER

Review: Immortal Champion by Lisa Hendrix

Immortal Champion
by Lisa Hendrix

Genre: Paranormal Historical Romance
Publisher: Berkley
Cost: $7.99
Release: January 4, 2011 (available for preorder)

What I Liked:
Two words. Viking shapeshifter. Um... I promise to finish the review as soon as I stop fanning myself. Still fanning. Oh, and did I mention it's also medieval? AND set in Yorkshire? I am an absolute sucker for books set in the North of England, to begin with. And then add my complete adoration for were books, and my love for Vikings. Lisa Hendrix couldn't possibly have hit it more perfectly if she'd been writing this book specifically for me. It was an absolute masterpiece.

And Gunnar. Oh, my beloved Gunnar. The hero. My hero. The man is an absolute hunk of burning love, from the first line, to the last. He's defintiely going on my short-list of favorite heroes of all time. He has the tortured soul thing, but also the hope thing, and the honor and loyalty. And of course, the mystery. Adore, adore, adore this man. Seriously, Jamie Fraser ain't got nothin' on Gunnar.

And the heroine! I'm actually a bit shocked as I type this. I typically hate heroines, but Eleanor was spunky, and not at all annoying. She was brave and intrepid and exciting. I looked up to her, and best of all, I wanted her to be with Gunnar, desperately. She made the whole chase worth the time reading. What an intriguing woman.

But the best part, by far, was Hendrix's voice. She's got a great flare for the historical paranormal genre. Just enough irreverance to remind us that we're in a magic land, but enough solid historical detail to delight even the most stringent historical fan among us. Fan-frickin-tastic. I'm immediately going to purchase the other books in the Immortal series, and I can only hope that she comes out with even more. This book was far too good to be the last.

Book Blurb:
He faces a future of cold uncertainty, until her warm embrace…

Part of a Viking crew of warriors cursed by an evil sorceress, Gunnar the Red must toil through eternity as half-man, half-beast, living out his days as a great bull, while his nights are spent in human form. And though he keeps mostly to the wilds, his heart yearns for the simple comforts of man—and the chance to redeem a tragic past…

Seeking refuge from a bitter winter in the welcoming hall of Richmond Castle, Gunnar rescues two maidens when a blaze erupts—and his destiny is forever altered. For one of the young women is Lady Eleanor de Neville, who is immediately entranced by her rescuer. Her kiss of gratitude—the brief touch of her lips against his cheek—awakens a longing in her soul. And even when she is betrothed to another, Eleanor never forgets her courageous knight.

When Gunnar rides back into Eleanor’s life, she is consumed by undeniable passion. And though his body surrenders to her every touch, Gunnar’s heart remains imprisoned by the curse—and only the magic of the truest love can save him…

Monday, December 20, 2010

The SFR Holiday Blitz is Here!

Welcome to the SFR Holiday Blitz!

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This holiday season, you could win over 50 science fiction romance books! 33 authors teamed up with 15 bloggers to give you a taste of the adventures the subgenre has to offer.
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Entering is free and easy: Just leave a comment. Then visit the other participating blogs, which are listed below for your convenience. The deadline to enter is midnight at EST on Sunday, December 26.
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A print copy of THE STAR KING by Susan Grant. Author will ship internationally.  This copy will have the new cover, not my favorite cover which is posted at the top.  Same awesome story though!  Here's the new one-

An e-copy of The PHOENIX REBELLION Book One: Revolution by Gail R. Delaney
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An e-copy of A LIFETIME AGO by Gail R. Delaney
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Author Contact info
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Susan Grant
susan@susangrant.com
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Gail R. Delaney
EditorInChief@desertbreezepublishing.com
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To check out the other authors and books, visit each of the following blogs:
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The Galaxy Express




Spacefreighters Lounge



SFR Brigade



GeekMom



Lisa Paitz Spindler



Alien Romances



Enduring Romance



Smart Girls Love Sci Fi & Paranormal Romance



SciFi Guy



Dirty Sexy Books



Love Romance Passion



Panic in the Lingerie!



Queen of the Frozen North



vvB32 Reads



Corrina Lawson



Flying Whale Productions

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Kimber Jr.’s BOOK OF THE YEAR!!!!!!

Well, okay, that title isn’t totally honest. I’m actually doing my whole Top Ten, but my Number One is my Book of the Year, OK? .
What a year for books, too! Scott Westerfeld’s Behemoth (sequel to LEVIATHAN), Suzanne Collins’ Mockingjay (the conclusion to the Hunger Games trilogy,) and Rick Riordan’s Lost Hero, (The new Percy Jackson series, called the Heroes of Olympus) came out this year, just to name a few. There is also a bunch of movies based on books- Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief, The Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole, and my personal favorite, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I, just to name a few.
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So here’s my Top Ten. Some are true newbies; others are old favorites; but all are worth the read.
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In the Number One Place and also taking my Book of the Year honor is…..
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(Drum roll please!!)
HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS BY J.K ROWLING!!!
Bet you saw that coming, huh? This is my absolute favorite book of all time and I seriously doubt that will ever change!!
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One of my favorite things about this series is that it seriously keeps you on your toes with plot twist and villain redemptions and stuff like that. Deathly Hallows is even more so. For one thing, you don’t have the stable platform that is Hogwarts anymore. Anything can happen, and in general, everything does. Hermione and Ron have their traditional fights, and Harry contemplates the problem of Horcruxes vs. Hallows. Professor Umbridge reaches new heights of pure nastiness, Luna is her usual helpful self, and Ginny wants to get together with Harry again. Not to mention the movie’s out and it’s probably the most accurate-to-the-book one yet!!
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This is perhaps the most explosive Final Battle I’ve ever read. I won’t give away the ending, though. But I promise, this book did not get my Book of the Year honor for nothing!!!
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And now for the rest of my list. In Number Two place I have-
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PENDRAGON NUMBER SIX: THE RIVERS OF ZADAA BY D.J MACHALE
This book is my favorite in the Pendragon series for several reasons. First off, this one you see a lot of Loor, who is my favorite heroine in this series and had been practically absent in the last book. Second off, Loor and Bobby have that…..thing…..I was telling you about in my review. Third, there are at least two HUGE mysteries in this book. I figured them out, of course, but it took a while.
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Fourth, something I never, ever, in a million years expected to happen happened. A bad guy saved a good guy’s life!!! I’ll tell you, I had a time figuring out that it WAS the bad guy, but when I did I was literally reeling with shock. I’ve heard of good guys saving a bad guy’s life, but never the other way around!!!!
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I think of the Rivers of Zadaa as a bit of a transitioning book. Before, Bobby was saving worlds to keep Saint Dane at bay. The end wasn’t in sight. Also, Saint Dane had weird powers that the rest of the Travelers didn’t. What was up with that?
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Now, we find out something else is going on. Strange things are happening, not the least of which is Saint Dane saving Courtney’s life. Bobby is beginning to realize something bigger than anything he can imagine is going on. But what?
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That’s for you to figure out.
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And that’s why PENDRAGON # 6: THE RIVERS OF ZADAA is my number two favorite book!!!
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And in third place we have-
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BRIDGE TO TERABITHIA BY KATHERINE PATERSON
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This book is really sad but wonderful. There’s also a movie, so it’s pretty cool. The main characters are Leslie and Jesse, two fifth-graders who band together in the face of school bullies and other threats. They create their own fantasy world called Terabithia, which they rule together as they become closer and closer. But when an unforeseen event forces Jesse to stand alone, will he realize what he’s really learned from Leslie?
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I almost cried when I first read this. It’s weird because I knew it was coming. I even had a rough guess where it would be. But when it actually happened, it caught me totally off guard.
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And that’s why Bridge to Terabithia is my number three favorite book!
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And scoring an honest fourth is-
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ANIMORPHS NUMBER NINETEEN: THE DEPARTURE BY K.A APPLEGATE
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Animorphs #19: The Departure is my favorite Animorphs basically because I think it’s the funniest and it stars my favorite of the crew, morphing extraordinaire Cassie.
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Animorphs is this cool series where these five kids-Jake, Rachel, Cassie, Marco, and Tobias-have the ability to turn, or “morph”, into any animal they can touch. This power was given to them by a dying Andalite prince because the evil Yeerks are coming. Yeerks are these really weird aliens that literally slither into your brain and possess you. They have come to take over Earth. And the only thing standing in their way is-you guessed it-the Animorphs.
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In The Departure, peace-loving Cassie has reached the end of her rope. She’s had it with battles and lies and all the things that come with war. So she quits the Animorphs.
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But no sooner has she done that then she meets Karen, a small girl infected with a Yeerk named Aftran. Aftran now knows Cassie is a human, not an Andalite like the Yeerks currently think. If she tells, it’s all over. But will Cassie’s gentle ways be enough to change Aftran’s mind?
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And that’s why ANIMORPHS: The Departure is my Number Four!
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Scoring Number Five is:
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PERCY JACKSON AND THE OLYMPIANS NUMBER THREE: THE TITAN’S CURSE BY RICK RIORDAN
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Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Titan’s Curse is my favorite of this series because it introduces three of my favorite heroines: Thalia, daughter of Zeus, Bianca, daughter of Hades, and Zoe, huntress of Artemis.
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In The Titan’s Curse, fourteen-year-old Percy Jackson is gearing up for battle. The evil Kronos is rising thanks to Percy’s old friend-turned-enemy, Luke. He is getting stronger.
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Then one day, Annabeth is captured and forced to take the Titan’s Curse. She is imprisoned along with the goddess of the hunt, Artemis, and must be rescued.
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Percy, Grover, and their new friends Thalia, Bianca, and Zoe must rescue them, but will the uneasy alliance between the campers and the Huntresses be enough to save the world?
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That’s why The Titan’s Curse takes the number five spot!
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And in number six we have:
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THE 39 CLUES BOOK SIX: IN TOO DEEP BY JUDE WATSON
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I’ll admit, I first got this book only because it involves Amelia Earhart. But now I’ve been reading the others in the series and they’re pretty good.
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The two heroes, twelve-year-old Dan and his fourteen-year-old sister Amy, have been looking all over the world for the clues to the mystery of the Cahills, a family whose branches have been collecting the Clues to a thing that will help them rule the world. Now their search has pointed them to Australia and the mystery of a famous philosopher. But when they are trapped in a fire very much like the one that killed their parents, who will save them?
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It’s no one you expect, I’ll give you that!!
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In number seven, we have-
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THE INHEIRITANCE CYCLE #1: ERAGON BY CHRISTOPHER PAOLINI
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This series is as epic as Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings. Actually, I think it’s closer to the Lord of the Rings because Christopher Paolini literally made up languages for each of his peoples. It’s awesome.
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The story is about a common farm boy (or so he thinks) named Eragon who finds a strange rock in the mountains near his home. When it hatches into a baby dragon he names Saphira, it brings the forces of the dark king Galbatorix (who, in my opinion, bears a distinct resemblance to Voldemort) down on him. With the help of his new mentor, Brom, he must battle the forces of evil and save the world.
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Sound like your regular fantasy novel? It isn’t. Not by a long shot.
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In Number eight we have-
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THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA NUMBER FIVE: THE VOYAGE OF THE DAWN TREADER BY C.S LEWIS
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I chose this for number eight mostly because of the fact that its movie also came out this year, sometime this month in fact. It’s going to be awesome!!!
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It starts with the two eldest Pevensies, Peter and Susan, heading for America while their younger siblings Lucy and Edmund stay with their annoying cousin Eustace. But no sooner than Eustace gets on their nerves are they catapulted right back into the magical land of Narnia.
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They find themselves with their old friends Prince Caspian and Reepicheep on board the Dawn Treader, bound for lands unknown. Their mission: find seven missing lords that King Miraz exiled during his reign. What they find is far different: many magical lands with equally magical peoples, some friendly and some hostile. Will they be able to reach Aslan’s country, or will they founder on the way?
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I have three words for you: Read the book.
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And in Number Nine is-
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THE OPHELIA DAWSON CHRONICLES BOOK NUMBER ONE: SUGAR RUSH BY KIMBER AN
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I’m not biased at all for or against this book, so nobody yell when I say it’s cool. Not the most awesome book I’ve ever read in my whole entire life, but pretty good nonetheless.
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It stars Ophelia Dawson, a high-school diabetic in the remote town of Togo, Alaska. She’s one corner in a brutal love triangle involving her, the resident super-spoiled jerk boyfriend Martin Brynner and a yet unknown secret admirer. Her twin sister Bianca tries to help her, but there’s just no shaking Martin. But why is he holding on so tightly? Is he just your usual jerk boyfriend who is absolutely unable to get a hint, or is there some diabolical plot going on?
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Turns out it’s both. Sure, Martin is the ultimate jerk boyfriend. But he’s also a vampire,
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(((Kimber An here:  "Alien-Human Hybrid!"  Kimber Jr says: "If it quacks like a duck, it's a duck.  If it sucks blood...")))
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 no kidding. And he wants Ophelia for his own. Can Ophelia’s secret admirer, the secretly cute Adrian, and her new friend Brandon protect her and her family from the resident vampires?
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In short, a pretty good book of romance and vampires.
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And finally, in number ten, we have-
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THE TWILIGHT SAGA BOOK NUMBER ONE: TWILIGHT BY STEPHENIE MEYER
These books are awesome! Everybody’s so negative about them; they never get around to actually getting to know them. Though I will admit, if this was just a pure romance and it didn’t have the whole good vampire vs. bad vampire thing I wouldn’t read it. But the action is good in three out of four books, and the good vampires, the Cullen family, is awesome.
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It stars seventeen-year-old Bella Swan who’s had to move to rainy old Forks from her old home in sunny Phoenix. There she meets the charming Edward Cullen and immediately falls in love.
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As things go on, she meets the rest of the Cullens, including the true kick-butt heroine of this series, Alice. Bella’s no wimp, that’s for sure, but Alice is the true kick-butt heroine, period. Then there’s the jealous-of-Bella’s-still-being-human Rosalie, the tough brothers Jasper and Emmett, gentle Esme, and the head of the family, Dr. Carlisle.
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There’s also the nice guy Jacob, but he really only gets super-important in the next book.
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But then she meets the bad vampires, led by James, a super-mean vampire with a deep-set grudge against the Cullens. He is followed by Victoria, a rare female villainess, and Laurent, their henchman. Together, they trap Bella. Will the Cullens be able to rescue her? Or is it the end of the line for everyone?
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Oh, yeah, and there’s also a movie, and it should be good because the guy who played Cedric Diggory in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Robert Pattinson) also plays Edward. I can’t wait to see it!
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There’s my Top Ten, everybody! But before I sign off, I’d like to do an Honorable Mention of the TV series:
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BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER!!!!!!!!!!
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This is possibly the coolest vampire series out there. It stars Buffy Summers, a sixteen-year-old girl who just happens to be the Slayer, a person who has to fight vampires. Along with her Watcher, Giles, her vampire boyfriend Angel, and her buddies Xander and Willow, she protects her home town of Sunnydale against the forces of evil. But will it be enough?
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Though the vampires aren’t the coolest-looking, overall it’s a really cool series and deserves its spot as an Honorable Mention!!!!
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Until next year, good-bye and happy hippogriffs to you!!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Nayuleska's Book Recommendations for 2010

I'm taking my cue from Kimber An and not creating a 'top ten' list. I look at books as belonging to levels, rather than lists. There are numerous levels, and the following books are only a handful that I believe everyone should read this year (or next year...two of the books aren't out until Jan/Feb). I've included links to my reviews for further


First up on the list I am quite happy to put first (only because she put it last on her list). I genuinely adore SUGAR RUSH by Kimber An. This Young Adult book has everything that's cool for me. Go and read it to find out about the sewing machine incident. This is Kimber An's awesome year!


Next up is THE MOCKINGBIRDS. I read this as part of blog tour, and will definitely be getting my own copy. It's a powerful Young Adult book, and hands down is at the top level of books. It's a tough read, and quite emotional, but explores a sensitive subject in a way that can hopefully help other victims cope.



Now I have a joint entry, WHEN I WAS JOE and ALMOST TRUE by Keren David. These children's books deal with inner city knife crime well, as well as self-harm. Like Kimber An, this was Keren's debut year as a published author. A third book will be out in 2011 - but not the third in the series, it's a standalone book.


I'm majorly cheating on this book - it isn't actually out until 20th January 2011, but I have already read it. It is an awesome Young Adult Paranormal book. THE IRON WITCH by Karen Mahoney, is about a girl who has magic infused in her body. This affects how she lives, for she tries to hide it from the world. A faerie world where she has to face the monsters that killed her father and gave her her gift. It is Kaz's debut novel, and she is also an awesome person.


I stumbled across this next Young Adult book, IT HAPPENED TO NANCY by Anon when a friend asked if I wanted to review something for World AIDS day. I said yes, and this book has really touched my heart. Nancy gets AIDS after being raped (she was seduced first). This is her diary, transformed so other teens can learn from her mistakes. It deals with every single symptom and feeling she endures as the disease progresses.


Although this next one can be classed as Young Adult (although I'm not sure how since the protagonist is 26 years old...) it is predominantly a Dark Urban Fantasy. It is super awesome, and the first in a trilogy. BLACK SWAN RISING by Lee Carroll ticks every box for me. If you love books with a strong female lead, secondary characters whose loyalty is often debatable, great plot twists and scenes of magic that take your breath away, then go read this book.


Time for a Paranormal Romance novel, BOADICEA'S LEGACY by Traci E Hall. I loved Traci's WILD MAGIC, (part of a series), but her latest book rocks! Imagine being given a gift/curse from an ancient warrior queen, which affects who you can marry. Ela spends most of the novel running away from a creep who has serious possession issues. It has the right mix of action, a strong willed protagonist, laughter, danger, a hero with faults to work on and a sleazy villain.


Coming up next is a Graphic Novel (aimed primarily at girls, but it appeals to all ages). MO-BOT HIGH, book 1 (yes, there is another coming!!) by Neill Cameron. Asha starts a new school, where students battle each other using robots conjured up from mobile phones. Asha has to learn how to use the Mo-Bots because a bully is eager to put her through her paces. I want every girl in the world to own this book, it's that good. It's even got a character with my real name - and her Mo-Bot is really cool!


I love all of Maria V Snyder's work, but her latest one is her first Young Adult, dystopian book. Get ready to be surprised by INSIDE OUT. This unputdownable book ticks many boxes on my What Makes A Great Book List, and adds boxes that I never knew existed. It comes out in January 2011, with the sequel coming out in February so you won't have to wait long to find out what happens next. (I read the ARC really early - the day it arrived.)

Eeek, I really need to wrap things up now. I wish I could list every book I've read, but I can't. I'd like to thank Kimber An for inviting me for a regular review slot this year, it's been so much fun, especially with her own novel coming out. I look forward to an equally awesome 2011, and I hope you've all read great books this year.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Writing Stories and Resolutions

   So part of being a writer, it seems, is making goals and deadlines. But for new authors like myself, the idea of producing a lot of writing relatively quickly is very daunting. I've been asking myself whether or not "write another novel" is even something I should consider adding to my list of New Year's Resolutions for 2011.
  But I think it's important to note that big challenges (like writing an entire novel) don't have to be quite so imposing. If you're going to write a novel, I think the key thing is to write each day, even if it's only a sentence. Constant progress is the key, especially if you're like me, and the muse only visits about once a day for about forty minutes or so worth of good, solid writing.
  If writer's block is your Achilles' heel, I would highly recommend using a kit of games called The Writer's Toolbox. There are four games in all, and personally, I use the Sixth Sense cards the most by far. I don't know why they work - something about stimulating other parts of the brain or whatnot - but they really do work.
  I've found that having my short story "The Devil's Bidding" published has been great because it's giving me valuable experience in contacting and finding review sites, seeking out promotional opportunities, and running contests. I would highly recommend that new authors get a short story published as an e-book, because it's a great tool to use for getting a feel for the writing market.
  Also, I would suggest carrying a mini notebook and a pen around with you if possible (this is easier for ladies with purses) because you never know when inspiration might hit.
  Good luck in the New Year with your writing. Make resolutions for yourself and your writing, keep growing, and don't give up!
  Guess that means I'm going to jot down "write another novel" after all...

Kimber An's Book Recommendations for 2010

 
Good morning, Blog Buddies!  Since I stopped reviewing about half way through 2010, I decided not to do a Top Ten this year.  Instead, I'll provide you with general book recommendations for your holiday shopping lists.  It'll give you some variety for different age groups anyway.  On with the show!
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SURE BLOOD by Susan Grant.  This one's not for the kiddies and I haven't finished reading it.  Despite the cover, it really is not Contemporary Erotica.  It's Science Fiction Romance with a Hot Mama Space Pirate.  How cool is that?  Very cool, I say.  Give this one to your friends who never got over Han Solo.
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HARRY POTTER Everything!  Oookay, if I have to nail down my favorites, they would be THE SORCERER'S STONE for the books and THE GOBLET OF FIRE for the movies.  (Robert Pattinson is adorable as Cedric Diggory even though he's not blond, much cuter than in Twilight, although he's handsome in that movie too, but too pale.)  I'm American so I don't worry about being thrown in the Tower for saying J.K. Rowling is the right Queen of England, do I?  These books are instant classics and great for all ages, genders, and are generally loved by all genre of readers, except for those who can't see past the magical metaphors.
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FIX IT AND FORGET IT COOKBOOK and CHEAP FAST GOOD!  These are cookbooks for the insanely busy parents you know.  If there's a DVD, CD, or audiobook version, get those so the people you give them to can just collapse and listen to it on television, computer, or iPod.  They'll appreciate this a lot, trust me.
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HALF WAY HOME by Hugh Howey.  This is the most awesome Young Adult Science Fiction I've read this year, except for my own SUGAR RUSH, of course, and PEEPS.  A group of teenage colonists land on a planet, a bunch burn up in an abort program and the rest wake up, and suddenly have to fend for themselves with an indecisive controller who does not have their best interests in mind.  Here's My Review of HALF WAY HOME   P.S. Don't give into cultural attitudes that non-geeks and girls don't like Science Fiction!  This is more psychological than technobabble.

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LEVIATHAN by Scott Westerfeld.  I was ho-hum on this one, but it is Young Adult and my daughter loved it, although she complained about the lack of romance. (That's my girl! Brings a tear to me eye.)  Here's Her Review of LEVIATHAN  Get it for the Steampunk fans.  There's a sequel, BEHEMOTH.  Also of Steampunk goodness, DREAM OF PERPETUAL MOTION, INCARCERON, and BONESHAKER.  We haven't had the chance to read these, but they sound excellent.
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STOLEN INNOCENSE by Elissa Wall and Lisa Pulitzer   This is a good true-crime non-fiction, but, seriously, everyone ought to read it.  Americans tend to think *forced marriage and rape of children* only happens in other countries far away.  Well, the religious leader who coerced this young lady into an arranged marriage at the age of 14 right here in the United States is awaiting trial in Texas on charges of sexual assault of TWO of his own 'brides,' one of who was only TWELVE years old.  Right here in the United States right now.  Makes me want to throw up.
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WHITE HOUSE NANNIES by Barbara Kline  This non-fiction is a lot more fun.  If you know someone who needs a nanny or wants to become a nanny, this is a gripping, yet good-humored story of a nanny agency owner helping out politcal parents.  I also recommend THE NANNY TEXTBOOK.
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TAMING HER IRISH WARRIOR by Michelle Willingham  This is for the people on your list who love Historical Romance.  The title is typical Harlequin.  It was actually the hero who had to convince the lady.  Also, the Hero was BLOND. 
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STAR WARS DK Readers   DK puts out some excellent readers in a huge variety, so you can buy them according to your child's interests.  They come in several different reading levels from absolute beginner to the totally proficient.  Here's my take on them-   How to Think Like a Homeschool Mom
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AKIKO AND THE PLANET SMOO by Mark Crilley   You love Science Fiction and you want to bring up your girl to love it, right?  Get her this series.  My girl loved it and continues to love Science Fiction even though she's entered the age when it's generally considered 'not cool' for girls to love science or Science Fiction.  Boys like these books too.  They're great for about age 8 to 10
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GUARDIANS OF GA'HOOLE THE JOURNEY by Kathryn Lasky  This is for your 8 to 12 year olds or thereabouts, depending on reading ability.  The movie version comes out on DVD on the 19th and it is so going into my...I mean...my daughter's Christmas stocking.
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PEEPS by Scott Westerfeld   My Review of PEEPS   I don't often connect, emotionally, with this author's characters, even though the plots and world building are always excellent, but I very much enjoyed the hero of this story.  It's a scientific take on vampires, awesome.
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XOMBIES Apocalypticon by Walter Greatshell   I liked the first book in the series more, but this one was very good too.  The boys escaping the blue-skinned Xombies on their bikes is still vivid in my mind after so many months!  This one is not officially Young Adult, though there are teenage protagonists too.  This one's good for 16 through adult, I think.
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ATLANTIS RISING by Alyssa Day  This Paranormal Romance novel is great for readers who enjoy mythology and ancient history too.  There's also some blood-sucking dead guys in it, if I recall correctly.
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For the expectant or new parents on your list, SECRETS OF THE BABY WHISPERER and YOUR SELF-CONFIDENT BABY are my favorites as a nanny and a mommy.
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For parents of older kids, two and up, get them 401 WAYS TO GET YOUR KIDS TO WORK AT HOME.
They'll love it, although their kids might hate you for life.
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For the little kids on your list, HAND, HAND, FINGERS THUMB, and GOING ON A BEAR HUNT in board book format.   HOW TO MAKE AN APPLE PIE AND SEE THE WORLD and ABIYOYO for your three to eight year olds.
 
and MAMA, DO YOU LOVE ME?    and IS YOUR MAMA A LLAMA for the expectant mothers and mothers of young children to read out loud to them.  My babies wore these ones out and we've had to buy several replacement copies.  They come in board or picture book formats.
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And last, but certainly not least, SUGAR RUSH by that brillient new author, what's her name?  Oh, yes, Kimber An!  Me! 
 
SUGAR RUSH at Decadent Publishing
This one's tagged as YA Paranormal, sometimes with Romance added.  So far, young people and adults alike enjoy it, but for different reasons.  Although there's a strong romantic element, I should probably warn you that it is not a Romance genre novel and that it is the first book in a series.  There are several elements missing which adult Romance genre readers expect, such as the standard Happily Ever After.  (Believe me, I love the HEA too.)  This book was written for teenagers.  Do you really want me to glamorize a seventeen year old girl getting married and making babies?  Can you imagine the hate mail from parents if I did?  I have daughters and a college plan too, you know.  Don't worry, Ophelia eventually matures into a kick-butt heroine who strolls off into the sunset with her true love in the very end.
;)

Friday, December 10, 2010

"Reading With Our Blinders On" My Guest Post at Lisa Shearin's Blog

Good morning, Blog Buddies!  Pop on over to Lisa's blog and help us brainstorm how to coax the blinders off.  Also, if you comment you can win a free copy of Sugar Rush.   Kimber An at Lisa Shearin's

Thursday, December 9, 2010

PENDRAGON #1: The Merchant of Death by D.J. MacHale

These books are awesome!! On my top ten favorite books list, it’s second only to Harry Potter. You’ll see why…..right now!



The story opens with a kiss. That’s right, a KISS! Now, that’s uncommon! It’s between our hero, Bobby Pendragon, and his girlfriend, Courtney. It’s right before the big game that Bobby is a big part of, blah blah blah.

But then, right in the middle of Bobby and Courtney’s kiss, Bobby’s Uncle Press shows up and tells Bobby that he needs his help. A bunch of people are in trouble-no kidding-and he needs Bobby’s help for some reason.

Bobby tags along somewhat reluctantly to a deserted subway, where we meet our villain-Saint Dane.

I just want to say something about this guy. Saint Dane is about the smartest villain I’ve encountered so far. Compare him to Voldemort. Voldemort is smart enough, but he focuses on the big huge take-over-the-world plot rather than work out all the kinks in his kill-Harry plots. Saint Dane isn’t like that….mostly. Sometimes he’s stupid and Bobby is able to use his mistake so to speak, but he does it a lot less often than Voldemort and the rest of them. Bobby and his friends have their work cut out for them with this guy!

Then Bobby gets flumed. Literally. See, Uncle Press and Saint Dane decide to duel it out. Saint Dane, naturally, decides to get a start on his kill-Bobby plot and tries to do just that. Just in the nick of time, though, Bobby jumps into this thing called a flume and gets transported to another dimension.

That dimension just happens to be called Denduron. Bobby finds himself dumped there, alone. Luckily, Uncle Press soon drops in and they set off.

Unluckily, Saint Dane has a little surprise for them, in the form of these creatures called quigs. They take different shapes on different territories, but for now, on Denduron, they’re these weird bear-dog beasts.

The only way to get past them is to sled. Luckily, Bobby is able to fend them off with a very high-pitched dog whistle thingy. Unluckily, though, almost as soon as they reach their destination, Uncle Press is captured by these guys called Bedoowan knights. As he gets dragged off, Bobby blacks out and the journal ends.

But the adventure isn’t over just yet. Back on Earth-actually, it’s technically Second Earth-, Bobby’s best friend Mark is having adventures of his own. He is visited by a mysterious woman who gives him a weird ring with equally weird powers-it delivers Bobby’s journals from Denduron straight to him!

However, there are even more pressing problems than oddly magical jewelry on Mark’s mind. The Pendragons have literally gone missing-not just Bobby, his mom and dad and sister Shannon too! It’s downright abnormal, provoking the police into mounting a full-out search for the missing Pendragons. They find-nothing! Literally. It’s as if the family never existed. No records, no grades, no nothing. It’s truly mindboggling.

Meanwhile, Mark confronts Courtney, who hasn’t seen Bobby since Uncle Press walked in on their kiss. The two go to Bobby’s house, only to find that it’s gone too! Weird. And, as if to underline it, Bobby’s next journal arrives and the adventure continues.

Back on Denduron, Bobby wakes to find himself in the company of two of my favorite heroines anywhere anytime, Uncle Press’s buddy Osa and her daughter, Loor. They may be a mother-and-daughter duo, but these two have complete flip personalities. Loor constantly wants to beat up on anything and anyone who strays in her way-including Bobby. (Don’t worry-they get along later. It even gets interesting at one point, to say the least. But forget I said that, OK?) Osa, on the other hand, is much calmer and constantly wants to stop Loor beating up on Bobby. They both have one thing in common with Bobby and Uncle Press, though-they’re both Travelers, though they aren’t native to Denduron, but another territory called Zadaa.

We then get to see what, exactly, is up on Denduron. The problem is the Bedoowan-remember the guys who took Uncle Press? They’re not the only people on Denduron. There are also the Milago, who are very good at mining a certain material-a mineral called glaze. The Bedoowan have enslaved the Milago, forcing them to mine more and more of the stuff, while they live in luxury.

And that isn’t the least of it. Saint Dane has taken over as the chief miner and has begun a very cruel practice-he force the Milago to mine enough glaze to balance a guy on a scale. If it’s enough, good for them. If it’s enough, the poor guy doesn’t live to see the sunrise.

Fortunately, not all the Bedoowan are bad. After an embarrassing episode involving Bobby, Loor, and a river, we meet the Traveler from Denduron-the Bedoowan knight Alder. And it’s just in time, too-not long after, Bobby, Loor, and Osa are pursued by more of the Bedoowan, and Osa is shot to death with a bunch of arrows.

That’s right. Osa is dead.

And that’s just the beginning.

The battle has barely started, and already Bobby has had second thoughts. All he wants is to go home. He isn’t even sure if he wants to try and save Uncle Press.

But Osa’s death has put things back into perspective for him. He can see that it’s not just Uncle Press’s life at stake. It’s all of their lives, from the highest Bedoowan to the lowliest Milago. You don’t know it yet, but it also has at stake the fate of everything, everywhere, that has ever been or ever will be. That’s the whole basic plot of the Pendragon series, essentially. But that gets explained later. In the meantime, it’s time for some action!

However, Bobby can’t save everything everywhere all on his own. He enlists Loor and Alder to help him rescue Uncle Press. He also enlists Mark and Courtney, who send him a bunch of stuff from Second Earth that Bobby uses to set Uncle Press free.

I have two words for you, Bobby: Bad idea!!

And boy was that a big bad idea. See, you’re not supposed to mix things between territories. We find out why when one of the Milago gets hold of one of Bobby’s batteries and uses it to set a time bomb.

On Denduron, the Milago have one big weapon: an extremely volatile mineral called tak. They were planning to use it to defeat the oppressive Bedoowan once and for all, but there’s a problem: when it explodes, it blows up just about anything, including the nearby Milago village. But thanks to Bobby, the Milago now have a way to time the bomb so the Milago can get away in time.

It’s about to get messy. Bobby, Loor, Alder, and Uncle Press get caught by the Bedoowan and sentenced to death by quig. In the middle of the execution, though, one of the Milago show up hauling a bunch of tak-rigged glaze, prepped and ready for explosion.

Will Bobby be able to figure out a way to deactivate the tak, get the Bedoowan and the Milago to work together again, defeat Saint Dane, and get all his friends out alive to boot? That, my friends, is the question. I know, but I’m not going to tell. You’ll just have to make like Hermione and get the book!



Well, that’s why I like the Pendragon series! And this isn’t the only one, either-it’s got a full ten books! The next one is called Pendragon Book #2: The Lost City of Faar. I’ll probably review it next, OK? Hey, I never said I was going to abandon you until next July! Well, see you then and happy hippogriffs to you!

SUGAR RUSH is Reviewed!

Thanks, MightyJesse!  Here's the link-  SUGAR RUSH at Amazon  You have to scroll down the page a little to find it.  And here's my post of gratitude- SUGAR RUSH Gets Its Second Amazon Review

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Review: The Keepers by Heather Graham

The Keepers by Heather Graham

Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Harlequin Nocturne
Cost: $3.89 on Kindle!

What I Liked:
Well, I'd been a Heather Graham since I was a kid. But her most recent stuff left me a little cold. In fact, I haven't read a book of hers that I've liked in years. Until now! I don't know if it's the fact that I read books 2 and 3 in the series and already loved them, or if it's just that this was a great book and happened to be part of a great series as well. But this was really a great book.

Book one (Keepers) was a vampire romance, book two (Shifters) a shifter romance, book three (Wolven) a werewolf romance. Book two was my favorite, and this one (book one) was my least favorite. But still, I loved them all! So to be my least favorite in one of my favorite paranormal trilogies in a long time is a very good thing.

The hero in this book, Jagger, is the kind of vampire I like. Stoic, realistic, kinda edgy. Not too broody, not too dark. In other words, not a caraciture. He was real to me, which is unique. But I liked him a lot. And Fiona, the heroine in this book, was my favorite of the three sisters. The scene where her sisters burst in on her after she's just slept with Jagger is priceless. Loved it.

Aaah, Heather Graham, I am back to being a fan. Looking forward to more books like this.

Book Blurb:
At the core of New Orleans lie the otherworldly vampires and shape-shifters that hide in plain sight among mankind. As one of the Keepers, an elite group possessing superior skill and strength, Fiona MacDonald's duty is to maintain peace in a place where one vampire's bite could ignite war. When Detective Jagger DeFarge, a vampire, is called in at the discovery of a body drained of blood, both the detective and Fiona must join uneasy forces.

Jagger will stop at nothing to find the murderer— including working with the sensual and suspicious Fiona. As more die, it becomes clear that this isn't the work of an ordinary vampire. No one is safe. So when the killer's attention turns to Fiona, will Jagger risk destroying his own species to protect the woman he so passionately desires?

The Keepers: Three extraordinary sisters, balancing the duties of their birthrights and the yearnings of their hearts…

~ Rebecca Lynn

Review: The Shifters by Alexandra Sokoloff

The Shifters
by Alexandra Sokoloff

Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Harlequin Nocturne
Cost: $3.89 on Kindle!

What I Liked:
First, I have to say, you can totally tell that Alexandra Sokoloff started off writing scripts. She is a master plotter and has fantastic, poppy dialogue. Fantastic.

Then, I had no idea this was part of a trilogy, except that I'd just read the third book, and recognized the characters! Then, I got way more excited about the book. I'd also never read a true shifter romance before, so this was a new experience for me. But it turned out very well. Loved it.

I know this was Alexandra Sokoloff's first Harlequin Nocturne, but I hope she writes more. It was the best of that trilogy. Fantastic characters, snappy plot, great dialogue, excellent sexual tension and sexiness. The hero was hot, and I didn't want to plant the heroine under a ton of concrete, which is a vast improvement for my reading experience lately.

After The Shifters, I will be looking for many more of Alexandra Sokoloff's books. You have to pick this up now. Really. Especially given that you can get a full-length novel for $4 on your Kindle. This one is worth every penny and then some. Fantastic book. Looking forward to more.

Book Blurb:
Caitlin MacDonald is Keeper of the New Orleans shapeshifters, a race of beings whose power lets them take on the form and voice of anyone they choose. Even their fellow paranormals are distrustful of their abilities, and Caitlin knows better than to take any shifter at face value. Then shapeshifting bounty hunter Ryder Malloy comes to town, claiming to be on the trail of a group of malevolent entities called walk-ins, and suddenly a city already reeling in the wake of a string of serial murders is under siege once again. Caitlin finds herself right in the middle of the danger—but with Ryder fighting by her side, the biggest threat to her wellbeing may be the threat he poses to her heart.

~ Rebecca Lynn

Review: The Wolven by Deborah LeBlanc

The Wolven
by Deborah LeBlanc

Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Harlequin Nocturne
Cost: $3.99 for Kindle!

What I Liked:
As an admitted werewolf romance lover, I have to say, my favorite part was the wolven! :-) Okay, after I've settled down enough to talk about the book, I will say that there were some slow parts for me, and I wasn't crazy about the setting of the book. But other than that, I really enjoyed this book. The heroine was interesting, the hero hot, the plot thoroughly engaging.

There is something unparalleled about the way an alpha wolf cares for his pack. And something SO hot about the way he enfolds an outsider heroine into his life. It's just incredible. Every time I read a werewolf romance, I think I'm not going to enjoy this, because I've read it all before. So not true! This one had a unique twist on the dynamic of the pack which I really enjoyed. And seriously, people, this hero. Just mouthwatering.

In short, if you like werewolf romance, you have got to check out this book. It's going to stay on my Kindle for a long time! Please, people, write more books like this.

Book Blurb:
Someone—or something—is systematically murdering the members of Danyon Stone's werewolf pack. As Alpha, he knows that finding and punishing the murderous entity is his responsibility, and he's not about to rest until he sees justice done. But to stop the slayings he has to accept help from the most unlikely source—a wickedly sensual mortal woman.


Mystic-shop owner Shauna MacDonald has a special interest in the recent string of otherworldly deaths. As the Keeper of the werewolves, it's her duty to guard and protect the packs. Working by Danyon's side to stop an unknown killer—and trying to deny the potency of their illicit attraction—poses a threat to her heart unlike any she's ever known, ;and if she becomes the killer's next target, it could be the death of her….

~ Rebecca Lynn

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Organizing - or a Writer’s Worst Nightmare


I know you’ve all heard it before – you should be more organized. And I think most writers are, to an extent. Sometimes only we understand the order things are in, but they do have an order. At least, that’s how I was up until about two weeks ago.
Then I found OneNote. Normally, I don’t endorse any one software. And OneNote is definitely not the only software of its kind. Scrivener is a different one that does basically the same thing. It’s a virtual notebook. You can update it in one place, save to your LiveID account, and work on it from somewhere else. I can let specific people have access to show them something or to get their opinion. (I don’t, but it’s a nice option) I can even drop photos, videos, web addresses, screenshots, make my own audio notes.
I like it because it lets me drop all those snippets of stories that I write into one place. I can mark where I might want them to go, but I don’t have to leave them hanging out at the end of the document. I’ve deleted more things by accident that way….
I’ve also started to keep character sketches there. I put pictures of people that look like them, I write their likes and dislikes, favorite foods, songs, etc.  Before, I would write it down on a post its and stick it with the millions of other pieces of paper and post its in a folder. Or on the desk. Or in my work bag. Never to be seen again.
So if you’re looking for something to get you organized and make life a little easier, try it out! Some people go the traditional way and keep everything tucked in a spiral notebook. I’m a teacher. I carry enough paper with me everywhere, and I already carry my idea notebook. This, on the other hand, fits on my jump drive and I can take it anywhere.
What other ways do you keep organized?

Friday, December 3, 2010

My Guest Post at a Screenwriters' Blog

Kimber An at Blake Snyder's Blog

Blogging for Aspiring Authors

A lot of aspiring writers are bloggers. A LOT. And I think it’s a good idea. Why? Here are five reasons:

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1) It might help. You never know. If your blog catches on, you could become a minor celebrity. And that certainly can’t hurt. Unless you are a celebrity for making an idiot of yourself. Don’t do that.
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2) It gets you used to writing for an audience. If you say something boneheaded, someone will let you know, either in your comments or by blogging about you elsewhere. You will learn from this. Also, when you know people are going to be reading your stuff, you’re going to be more careful. Those spelling and grammar errors will start becoming embarrassing, and you’ll make an effort to write better. Even if it’s nonfiction, an improvement in your basic writing skill is always desirable.
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3) It (might) get you readers, otherwise known as a platform. If people like reading your nonfiction, chances are they’ll be willing to read your fiction, too. (For getting readers, see below.)
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4) It gets you a leg-up on publicity when your book does sell. A lot of my fellow Carina Press authors started from scratch when their book first came out. I already had hundreds of blog subscribers, plus, I knew what I was doing, and I knew people. Why did knowing people help? Because many of them were willing to read a review copy of my book.
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5) It gives your personal website a reason to exist. Many aspiring writers feel funny creating a website that features their fiction when it has not sold yet. I did not. Why? Because by the time I started my site, it had a reason to exist: my Debuts & Reviews blog, which grew out of Fantasy Debut, my original Blogspot blog. Give your site some other reason to exist and you’ll feel a lot better about letting people know about it.
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And now the big question: how do you get readers? Here are five ways!
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1) Be a reader. You can’t get readers until you become a reader. The hands-down best way of finding readers for your blog is to comment on other blogs. If your comments are interesting enough, people will click through to your blog to see what else you have to say.
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2) Be interesting. The best way to be interesting is to be yourself, and to write about things that interest you. Really, you are more interesting than you think! But most important, don’t be long-winded. If every post is 1000 words or more, people are going to find you tiresome. Don’t rant. Compose your posts like those essay assignments you did in college. An introduction, paragraphs on 3 to 5 points, and a conclusion. It really is a good form to stick to.
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3) Be helpful. List posts like this one are popular. Try to think of things that you know, that other people might want to know. And write about it in a handy list form. Also, every once in a while, do a link-up post where you point your readers to all those interesting online places you found lately. Occasionally, those places will notice you and maybe they’ll link back! It also helps to maintain a blogroll. Once you add a blog to your blogroll, click it. This way, you will generate a referral on the blog to which you linked, making it more likely that the owner will notice you.
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4) Be friendly. Some bloggers don’t participate in the comments. If you are someone like an agent and need to keep some distance between yourself and your readers, this is understandable. But for everyone else, don’t be aloof. Engage! Respond to comments on your blog. Visitors don’t like talking to themselves. If I start to get the impression that the host is one of those bloggers who never comment, I’m less likely to comment as well.
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5) Use Twitter and Facebook. Yes, use both. Some people like one, and some like the other, so you want to be in both places. They are my top referrers, outside of Google and my old Fantasy Debut site. It is not difficult to set up your Twitter to feed into your Facebook. Follow people in both tools, get followed in return, and most important, tweet your posts. If your tweet feeds to Facebook, people will comment in both places plus your blog.
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And finally, here are three other pieces of advice:
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1) Use Feedburner. This will allow you to carry your subscribers with you if you change blogs. I was able to do this when I moved from Fantasy Debut.
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2) Publish your full feed. The point of your running a website is to build an audience. Nurture your feed subscriber number. It is the most important number for you, not the number of clicks you get (unless you run ads). The best way to nurture your subscriber number is to publish that full feed for your readers’ convenience. It will also help your posts get read. If you publish only an abbreviated version, fewer of your posts will get read, and your comment numbers will plummet.
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3) Use Google Analytics and Google Alerts. Google Analytics shows you where your traffic comes from, and how much. If you get an influx of traffic from Joe Blough’s site, click it and see what he said about you, and then thank him (if appropriate). Google Alerts will tell you whenever anyone is talking about you. Set up an alert for the name that you are known as online, and for the name of your blog.
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I hope you found this useful! If you have any other suggestions or questions, please leave them in the comments, and I’ll try to help.
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Kimber An here.  Thank you, Tia!  To learn more about Tia and her books, please click on over to Debuts & Reviews  She just had Writer Wednesday with a post by Leanna Renee Hieber, author of The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker.  Miss Hieber talked about how to write a series, which I found very helpful.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

'30 Days of Decadence' Continues

with recipes for Irish stew and egg nog and more prizes. Scroll down to last Saturday, if you want to read mine 'The Christmas My Sister Blew the Head Off Malibu Barbie' 30 Days of Decadence

Harbor Moon: Summer Romance Book 1 by Traci Mitchell


September 2010, kNight Romance Publishing Teen Bites
E-book & paperback, review copy
Young Adult Paranormal Romance

Summary from kNight Romance Publishing

Ordinary 16 year old Deanna Langsford was prepared for another boring summer with her parents on Leech Lake, but things soon changed when she met Eric Matthews. 
Her life revolved around reading paranormal romances, but never did she dream of actually meeting a wolf shapeshifter, and not to mention one so hot. 
Deanna discovers a secret about herself...one of which could cost Eric his life.


Yet another good read from a publisher I've recently discovered. Deanna really is very ordinary - at least that's how she looks on the outside. On the inside, changes occur in the fateful summer, changes which warrent a lot of time in hospital. Doctors can cure a lot of illnesses. For some there is no cure, only treatments. Yet what Deanna suffers from isn't a well known disease. Nor is it contagious. It is something she is. It's something that when she first finds bout about Eric, she wouldn't mind what the future holds. She's dead scared of him being a wolf shapeshifter, and understandably so. It wasn't as if he was saying he had a fake leg. Being a predator is something different. But Deanna learns that different doesn't mean dangerous. Slowly she overcomes her fear, and that's when the truth about her comes out. I'm really liking paranormal books where the protagonist isn't an ordinary human, where she (or he, but it's mostly she in the books I read) is something that can threaten the species of the one she loves, or could threaten another species (and thus people want to kill here)  I really enjoyed how her family paid an important role in the story. It makes Deanna easier to relate to than if she was an orphan (although I enjoy those stories too). The progression of the plot from liking Eric, to hating him, to loving him, to then be afraid to hurt him was expected, but nonetheless still an enjoyable read. I was swept up in the action scenes, and really wish that Deanna wasn't such a danger. However Eric gives her hope, and I'm looking forward to see what the future holds for the pair in book 2.

Heat wise this is a mild read.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Deena Starts Off Chanukah

Pop over to 30 Days of Decadence for ongoing holiday celebrating.