My Bookish Ways

Tsunami Blue (Tsunami Blue #1) by Gayle Ann Williams

Tsunami Blue (Tsunami Blue #1) by Gayle Ann Williams
Publisher: 
Irene Goodman Literary Agency
Paranormal Romance/Fantasy
Tsunami Blue series
4/5
Kind thanks to the author for providing a review copy

Welcome to the near future, where our blue planet has been forever changed by a series of deadly tsunami waves…

With her badass rain boots, her faithful dog, and the ability to predict the monster tsunamis that have reduced the Earth to a series of islands, Kathryn “Blue” O’Malley isn’t afraid of much. Cut off from all society, she takes to the airwaves as Tsunami Blue, hoping to save something of humanity as the world around her crumbles. But Blue should be afraid, because her message reaches the wrong ears. . .

Now she is the target of ruthless pirates known as Runners who want to use her special talents for their own profiteering – as soon as they can find her. Blue’s only shot at survival lies with the stranger who washes up nearly naked on her rocky beach. A man who might just be working for Runners himself. Torn between suspicion and attraction, the two will have to navigate a surging tide of danger if they hope to stay alive.

REVIEW
It’s 2023 and the world has been devastated (and reduced to mostly islands) by killer tsunamis. 24 year old Kathryn O’Malley (aka Tsunami Blue), lives by herself with her dog Max and takes to the airwave where she uses her gift to warn whoever is listening, when a tsunami is on its way. You see, the ocean speaks, and Blue can hear it. Her hopes of saving as many lives as possible keep her going in a world that’s seemingly gone to hell. Constantly on the lookout for pirates (aka Runners) who would capture Blue and use her for her gift (to pillage and plunder), Blue is always on alert, and knows how to protect herself, so when a handsome stranger washes up on her shores, all her barriers come crashing down. Gabriel Black looks like an angel, albeit a dark one, and at first, Blue takes him for dead. She manages to get him back to her cabin and eventually nurses him out of hypothermia, only to find out he’s a dreaded Runner. Or is he?

I was so surprised at how much I enjoyed this little gem! I kinda fell in love with Blue, in spite of myself. She’s stubborn, untrusting (for good reason), and often bites off a little more than she can chew. But! She’s also refreshingly innocent (having been by herself for so long), is killer with a knife, and has a heart as big as the tsunamis that she predicts. A big part of the appeal of Tsunami Blue is the playout between Blue and Gabriel. In spite of his seemingly sinister background with the dreaded Runners, he’s determined to protect Blue at all costs, and seems to already harbor a serious crush on her. Blue, in spite of the undeniable attraction, is just determined to steal his boat and escape. Gabriel, excruciatingly so, manages to hold on to his mysterious origins, and the reasons for kidnapping Blue, for almost the whole book. So frustrating!! Yes, but it’s totally worth the payoff. Trust me on this one!

Tsunami Blue’s world is a cross between Mad Max and Waterworld (yes, I liked that movie, feel free to comment on that below), and I thoroughly enjoyed the engaging, fascinating characters that the author populated it with. The Runners are absolutely terrifying, and Blue is not afraid to get her hands dirty when engaging with them. She fights for her life right along with the best of them, and is a force to be reckoned with. The sweet romance with Gabe makes a nice counterpoint to the relatively dark world and that our hero and heroine are living in. However, Tsunami Blue is no frou frou romance. The worldbuilding is great, the fighting is fierce, and the perils are terrifying. You’ll zip through it wanting to know what happens next right now, not to mention wanting Gabe and Blue to get together already! Loved this one, and hope you will too!

Purchase Tsunami Blue: Amazon | Barnes and Noble
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Interview: Kendra Leigh Castle, author of the Dark Dynasties series!

I’m very excited to have the lovely Kendra Leigh Castle on the blog today! Kendra is the author of Dark Awakening, and the recently released Midnight Reckoning, both in her Dark Dynasties series, and both books I adore. She was also kind enough to answer a few of my questions, so please welcome Kendra to the blog!

Kendra, the second novel in your Dark Dynasties series came out in early January. Did you always know you wanted to be a writer? Can you tell us a bit about your journey to publication?
I’ve always written, though I didn’t specifically want to grow up and be a writer. I spent a lot of years wanting to be on Broadway, actually! But when I think back, I was always writing something…stories, poems, plays. And when I wasn’t doing that, I was reading. I think I was just afraid that nothing I could ever think to write would measure up to the stories I loved. I felt like that for a long time, in fact. But in the back of my mind, I was always kicking around the idea of writing a book of my own. What finally got my butt in the chair was our 2005 move to the Nevada desert (my husband was a Navy fighter pilot at the time…he’s still in, but driving a desk these days because of a bad back). I looked around this dusty, remote place with nowhere to shop but a run-down Walmart and thought, I will write my book now. It might just keep me from losing my mind out here. So I wrote my 110,000 word magnum opus of a fantasy romance, which…did not sell. Um, shockingly. BUT, I got some good feedback on my voice, so I tried again. That second book was Call of the Highland Moon, which got me my lovely agent and did, ultimately, sell. That was the beginning!

What are some of your biggest literary influences?
Stephen King, Julie Garwood, and Nora Roberts. I grew up on King and Garwood, and came to Nora a bit later, but I know I was heavily influenced by all three. All of them have a gift for making their characters live and breathe on the page, and all three have a wry sense of humor. They also have strong, unique voices…I want readers to be able to “hear” me like that when they read one of my stories. They also each write stories that I can just fall into. I love that.

What’s on your nightstand right now?
A towering stack of books I have to judge for the RITA awards! But before I dug into that I finally started Lara Adrian’s Midnight Breed series and read Kiss of Midnight on my iPad. Now I want to read the rest! I’m also dying to read Angel’s Flight by Nalini Singh. I have a serious addiction to her Guild Hunters series.

If you could read a book again for the first time, which one would it be?
The Bride by Julie Garwood. I first read it back in junior high, I think, and I just fell in love with it. It was as though someone had taken one of my favorite fairy tales and turned it into this fabulous full-length novel. I’d enjoyed a couple of other romances at that point, but reading Julie Garwood was a revelation. It was funny, and touching, and I adored all of her characters. I finally ruined the paperback from reading it so many times. Nothing beats that first read, though.

Have you ever “faked” reading a book, and if so, which one was it?
Yes, but only because it was for an assignment in college. I think it was “The Heart is a Lonely Hunter”. From skimming and taking notes in class I managed to write an “A” paper on the book anyway, because…well, spinning fiction is what I do I just couldn’t get into the book, and for whatever reason I gave up on actually reading it. I didn’t like faking it, but I guess I didn’t like reading it more!

When you’re not busy writing, how do you like to spend your free time?
My life is full! I have a husband, three kids, three dogs, and a cat, so I don’t actually have a lot of free time. But I do like to hang out with my family. I also like chilling out with a good video game…I’m currently playing Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, and it’s SO much fun.

If you could pack your bags and travel anywhere in the world tomorrow, where would you go, and why?
Hmm…Scotland. Full of beautiful scenery and that incredible accent. There’s a reason a lot of my heroes are Scotsmen! I hope to get there someday.

What’s something that makes you laugh out loud?
Watching my two Newfoundlands playing with one another. It’s like Clash of the Titans, but with more drool.

What piece of advice would you give a struggling writer?
To always stay open and receptive, and always be looking for ways to improve. The learning in this business never really stops…I’m working on my eighth book, and I’m definitely still learning things! Also, I think it’s important for any struggling writer to understand that there is no “secret” to getting published. Sheer stubbornness counts for far more than I ever thought it would!

Is there any other news of upcoming projects or events that you’d like to share with us?
Of course! I have a novella with Harlequin Nocturne’s digital Cravings line, Reflected Desire, that will be available for download March 1st at Amazon, B&N, and eHarlequin. It’s a modern day tale of the slave in the magic mirror. I also have a novella in Harlequin’s Vacation with a Vampire anthology, coming out July 1st, called Vivi and the Vampire. That story features the vampire king from my book Renegade Angel, and was a lot of fun to write! Finally, the third Dark Dynasties book, Shadow Rising, hits shelves August 1st, and I’m very excited about that. The hero of the story is Damien, the assassin from books 1 and 2. He is…so very yummy. And we’ll leave it at that! Thanks so much for having me here today!
Keep up with Kendra: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

*Read my reviews of Dark Awakening and Midnight Reckoning!

Interview (& Giveaway): Robert Jackson Bennett, author of The Troupe

Today I’m thrilled to have the awesome Robert Jackson Bennett on the blog! Robert is the Philip K. Dick and Edgar nominated author of Mr. Shivers, The Company Man, and The Troupe (out tomorrow!!) If you’d like to read my review of The Troupe, go right ahead, we’ll be here when you get back. Anyway, he was nice enough to answer a few of my questions, and there’s also a pretty killer giveaway, so be sure to check out the details at the bottom of the post!

Please welcome Robert to the blog!

You’ve got two frankly awesome books, Mr. Shivers and The Company Man (which has been nominated for the Philip K. Dick Award), under your belt, and The Troupe is coming up tomorrow (the 21st). Have you always wanted to write?
I think so. When I was about nine, I wrote short stories accompanying many of the Chronicles of Harris Burdick images. I can also remember rewriting movies or comics when I felt like they didn’t “do it right.” I think I realized I needed to be a writer when I would think up books I wished such-and-such would write, but they never did. So I would have to do it.

So, did you happy dance when you found out about the Philip K. Dick nom? Because I would have totally happy danced. And there may have been some squeeeing.
I believe I immediately asked my publicist if it would be okay if I said “holy shit” to her in an email. I think this to be a perfectly valid response.

There are some pretty big themes explored in your newest novel, The Troupe. What kind of research did you do for it, if any?
I did quite a bit of research, mostly because it was so fun. Vaudeville was an immensely popular period in American entertainment, and since many of its actors segued into movies fairly fluidly, there were quite a few famous people everyone wrote about, so their vaudeville experience got written about, too. It was actually immensely easy to do research about – the circuits made a lot of money, and things that make a lot of money get recorded in detail.

But theme and research are two different things. Doing research is getting the right tires on the car, and making sure its oil’s been changed and it’s all been properly checked; theme, however, is the road you want to drive it on, and where you are going to go. That’s something that often gets decided before you even choose which era or which characters you want to write about.

The Troupe also packs quite an emotional punch. Is it hard on you to write such emotionally charged material?
Not really. It’s actually quite exhilarating – at least, when you do it right. Taking an emotionally-loaded image or scene, and realizing it in the most effective manner, is probably better than most drugs, or at least I would imagine it to be, having never personally tried most drugs.

What are some of your biggest literary influences?
This is a terribly difficult question, I find. I can only cite those I like, and those that inspire me; but as to whether or not they’ve had any effect on my writing, or if my writing has any similarity to theirs, I’m completely blind to that.

I love John le Carré, Susana Clarke, Neil Gaiman, Nabokov, David Mitchell, David Foster Wallace, Madeleine L’Engle, Diana Wynne Jones, Terry Pratchett, Cormac McCarthy… Mostly, I love authors who explore big ideas in interesting ways using interesting voices. I find that if an author doesn’t explore something I think to be “big” or important, I’m much less likely to like their work.

If you could read one book again for the first time, which one would it be?
Well, I’m one of the people who finds themselves liking books the more they reread them – I like to look at the whole, and keep the whole in mind, as I explore something. So the initial surprise and intrigue of a novel has less attraction to me than to most, probably.

That said, reading Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell for the first time was utterly wonderful. Never before has a 500-whatever page novel felt like a fifty page one. It was also the book that got me married, in a way. So there’s that.

What are you reading now?
I’m reading Pym, by Mat Johnson, about Poe’s one and only (and horrible) novel. It is an extremely amusing and enlightening look at American race through sort of a speculative fiction lens. It’s delightful.

When you’re not busy writing, how do you like to spend your free time?
I have a ten-month old, so I have no knowledge of this “free time.”

Is there any news of upcoming projects or events that you’d like to share?
Sure. I’m putting the finishing touches on my fourth book, American Elsewhere. It’s sort of a mix between Twin Peaks and H.P. Lovecraft, about an ex-cop named Mona Bright who finds herself inheriting a house in Wink, New Mexico, a town nearly every map claims does not exist. Yet it does exist – and it seems queerly perfect, as if it’s been waiting for her for years, a home she never knew existed.

Of course, not everything is what it seems. Wink is a very different place – and soon Mona finds herself wondering how different she is, as well.

There is also a fun short story of mine about how to mix cocktails out of emotions in Broken Time Blues, an anthology of speculative fiction set in the 1920’s. I quite enjoyed that, and it was written while I was writing The Troupe, so it is a bit colored by that.
Keep up with Robert: Website | Twitter

About The Troupe:
Vaudeville: mad, mercenary, dreamy, and absurd, a world of clashing cultures and ferocious showmanship and wickedly delightful deceptions.

But sixteen-year-old pianist George Carole has joined vaudeville for one reason only: to find the man he suspects to be his father, the great Heironomo Silenus. Yet as he chases down his father’s troupe, he begins to understand that their performances are strange even for vaudeville: for wherever they happen to tour, the very nature of the world seems to change.

Because there is a secret within Silenus’s show so ancient and dangerous that it has won him many powerful enemies. And it’s not until after he joins them that George realizes the troupe is not simply touring: they are running for their lives.

And soon…he is as well.

**GIVEAWAY DETAILS**
1. You MUST fill out the form below (lots of chances for extra entries!)
2. Giveaway is for 5 copies of The Troupe by Robert Jackson Bennett to 5 winners
3. US/Canada ONLY
4. Must include a valid email address
5. You must enter on or before 2/27/12
6. Please see my Giveaway Policy.
7. Book kindly provided by the author and Orbit Books.

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Giveaway Winners: Pure, A Town Called Valentine, and Valentine’s Giveaway

I’ve got 4 winners to announce today! Congrats and thanks so much to everyone that entered! Remember, please add me (mybookishways at yahoo dot com) to your contact list or check your spam. I’ve had lots of folks miss out on books lately!

Pure by Julianna Baggott

Congrats to Marthapao

A Town Called Valentine by Emma Cane (2 copies)

Congrats to Mary Reiss and Maureen Carol

Sexiest Vampire Alive by Kerrelyn Sparks and A Girl’s Guide to Vampires by Katie MacAlister

Congrats to Lisa Richards

*Winners were chosen by Rafflecopter, have been notified via email, and have 48 hours to respond. Thanks again to everyone that entered!

Midnight Reckoning (Dark Dynasties #2) by Kendra Leigh Castle

Midnight Reckoning (Dark Dynasties #2) by Kendra Leigh Castle
Publisher: 
Forever/Jan. 2012
Paranormal Romance/Urban Fantasy
Dark Dynasties Series
4.5/5
Kind thanks to Hachette/Forever for providing a review copy

Two separate worlds . . .
One passion that binds them
Wild and passionate by nature, Lyra Black is not just any werewolf. She’s the future leader of the powerful pack of the Thorn-if she can stay alive long enough to inherit the title.

One of the Cait Sith bloodline of vampire cat-shifters, Jaden Harrison has no interest in the wars plaguing the world of night. But when he rescues Lyra from a violent attack, they’re both captured by an insatiable desire that threatens to overwhelm them and bind them together for eternity . . . just as ancient enemies prepare to strike. And when they do, the Thorn and the Cait Sith-and Lyra and Jaden’s love-may never recover from the deadly blow . . .

REVIEW
I should totally be ashamed. I read Midnight Reckoning before reading Dark Awakening, the first book in the series, but it turns out that’s ok! There are characters in Midnight that are from Dark Awakening, but the book certainly stands on its own, so no worries. The stars of Midnight Reckoning are Jaden Harrison and Lyra Black. Jaden is a Cait Sidh and a vampire, so yes, that makes him a shape shifting vamp who spends a bit of time as a rather large cat. Purrrrr. Lyra, on the other hand, is a werewolf. So, both are shapeshifters, but that’s where the similarities end. When Lyra is attacked by an overly amorous were with a mean streak, Jaden happens to be on hand for a rescue, but Lyra is less than thrilled. See, it’s time for Lyra to be matched to her mate (weres bond for life), and her dad, the Thorn Pack’s Alpha, is determined to find her the perfect strong match, but Lyra has other ideas. Lyra is determined to compete in the Proving, which could give Lyra a chance at Alpha. However, were packs aren’t so forward conscious in their thinking where women are concerned, and the chances of this happening are slim to none. Lyra is stubborn though, so her father hires Jaden to teach her his fighting moves, in order to give her a better chance of survival. I think we both know where this is going, don’t we?

I loved this book. Flat out loved it. I couldn’t stop thinking “Romeo and Juliet” while reading it, and I fell in love with both Jaden and Lyra’s characters almost immediately. Jaden is a 200 year old vampire that cooks, and there’s a vulnerability about him that is just heartwrenching, especially since he’s spent quite a bit of time as a slave in the hands of the Ptolemy. Speaking of which… There are hierarchies of vamps, with each being able to change into different animals (cat, bat, etc), and the leader of the Ptolemy, Arsinoe, is one mean mamma, and she’s a little ticked that a bunch of her cats have run off with a new leader (Book 1 covers this, I promise). She’s not above sending assassins out for any wayward kitties that she may want back, and this provides a nice subplot (not to mention some pretty nifty fighting scenes.) Lyra is stubborn, smart-mouthed, and strong of will, but there’s something about Jaden that she just can’t resist (this won’t be hard for you to believe, trust me), but it’s kind of like that line in Ghostbusters, remember? Something about dogs and cats living together? In the world of the weres, it’s Just. Not. Done. Vampires aren’t so picky about it, but if Jaden and Lyra’s relationship is revealed, she pretty much might as well sign her own banishment papers. Kendra Leigh Castle creates a fascinating world populated by some of the coolest cats (literally), the toughest weres, and the wiliest vamps that I’ve read about in a long time. She keeps the pace up, and you’ll keep wanting to read “one more chapter.” I mean, come on…shape shifting vamps? Yes, please!! Like I said, I started with this one first, and the author does a great job of bringing you up to speed on the events so far, but it never hurts to start with Dark Awakening. I finished this one, and immediately reached for it-that’s how much I wanted to dive back into Kendra Leigh Castle’s awesome world. Paranormal romance fans will love this, but urban fantasy fans will like it too, I think, since it has enormous crossover appeal (in my opinion). Snag a copy as soon as you can, seriously, and grab Dark Awakening while you’re at it!

Purchase Midnight Reckoning: Amazon | Barnes and Noble
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Early Review: A Sliver of Shadow (Abby Sinclair #2) by Allison Pang

A Sliver of Shadow (Abby Sinclair #2) by Allison Pang
Publisher: 
Pocket/Feb. 28th, 2012
Urban Fantasy
Abby Sinclair series
5/5
Kind thanks to Pocket for providing a review copy

REVIEW (no major spoilers, but assumes you’ve read A Brush of Darkness. If not, you can read my review here)

Abby Sinclair has her hands full. She’s taking care of Moira’s half angel/half faerie son Benjamin while Moira is off on the Queen’s business, her bodyguard Talivar (also Moira’s brother) is showing more than a passing interest in doing a little more than just guarding Abby’s body, she’s becoming more and more proficient in the Dreaming, while also fielding “Dear Abby” letters from the OtherFolk of Portsmyth. See, Abby is Moira’s TouchStone, which gives Moira the ability to stay in the mortal world without limitations and travel the CrossRoads of Faerie at will. Abby is also a KeyStone, which means that she can be TouchStoned to someone without a contract, just by physical contact. Abby’s also still reeling a bit from her breakup with Brystion (incubus and full on hottie.) Full plate! Things start getting really weird when a kidnap attempt is made on Benjamin by a woman claiming to be the new Protectorate of Portsmyth. That’s a big problem, since the current Protectorate is Moira. So, where exactly is Moira?

Unfortunately, that’s not all that’s gone wrong. The Queen is not acting like herself, and some pretty severe steps have been taken, which are taking their toll on Faerie, and war may be brewing between daemons and faeries. I really enjoyed A Brush of Darkness, but Allison Pang really brings the awesome with this one. Still have questions about Abby’s past ( I know I did)? Don’t worry, lots of those will be answered here, and then some. Were you hoping for a sweeter love story for Abby, as well? Talivar certainly fits that bill. I could go on a bit about Talivar…but I digress. I mean, Ion was hot, but fickle, and sometimes a bit of a jerk, but what do you expect from an incubus? If you love Faerie, again, you’ve come to the right place. The author’s world building is nothing short of excellent. Seriously, it was good in the first book, but it’s awesome in this one. Abby will not only have to navigate her new and delicate relationship with Talivar, but she’ll also have to do it while navigating the labyrinthine intrigues of Faerie, including a rather memorable trip through the outskirts of Faerie and some sticky negotiation with the Unseelie. Court intrigue abounds, and the author is expert at weaving in some pretty cool pop culture references while tying together multiple plot strings with some pretty intricate knots. I mean, she references Portal…how cool is that?

Abby is one of my favorite characters in urban fantasy right now, and her supporting cast is almost as awesome. Phin, your favorite wee, ass-biting, panty wallowing unicorn is back in all his glory, and shockingly enough, you get to see a more serious side of that rude little guy in this one. It’s kind of…disconcerting, yet also very cool. Allison Pang actually takes the time to really flesh out her minor characters and you find yourself caring about them almost as much as her major players. How she does it, I don’t know, but she’s captured magic in a bottle twice, and I’m also counting on the third time being a charm. Trust me, at the end of this one, your jaw will drop and you’ll begin the countdown for the next book. Very, very highly recommended!

Pre-order A Sliver of Shadow: Amazon | Barnes and Noble
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Giveaway: How to Be Death (Calliope Reaper-Jones #4) by Amber Benson

In the mood for a giveaway? Hmmm, that’s funny, so am I! How about a copy of How to Be Death (Calliope Reaper-Jones #4) by Amber Benson? The book comes out on Feb. 28th, but you can enter to win one here! Check out the book and the giveaway deets, and good luck!

About How To Be Death:
All Calliope Reaper-Jones ever wanted out of life was a fabulous job in New York City and a really hot boyfriend. But now, she’s the brand-new President of Death, Inc. With the Board of Death breathing down her neck and her dad’s copy of How to be Death (A Fully Annotated Guide) unopened, Callie’s really feeling the tension. And when the guide book is stolen at a fancy formal dinner, Callie has to figure out how to be the boss–before the powers held within the book get out and destroy humanity forever…

**GIVEAWAY DETAILS**
1. You MUST fill out the form below (lots of chances for extra entries!)
2. Giveaway is for 1 copy of How to Be Death by Amber Benson to 1 winner.
3. Giveaway is open to US/Canadian addresses only
4. Must include a valid email address
5. You must enter on or before 2/22/12
6. Please see my Giveaway Policy.
7. Book kindly provided by ACE.

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Knight’s Curse (Knight’s Curse #1) by Karen Duvall

Knight’s Curse (Knight’s Curse #1) by Karen Duvall
Publisher: 
LUNA/August 2011
Urban Fantasy
Knight’s Curse Series
3.5/5

A skilled knife fighter since the age of nine, Chalice knows what it’s like to live life on the edge—precariously balanced between the dark and the light. But the time has come to choose. The evil sorcerer who kidnapped her over a decade ago requires her superhuman senses to steal a precious magical artifact…or she must suffer the consequences.

Desperate to break the curse that enslaves her, Chalice agrees. But it is only with the help of Aydin—her noble warrior-protector—that she will risk venturing beyond the veil to discover the origins of her power. Only for him will she dare to fully embrace her awesome talents. For a deadly duel is at hand, and Chalice alone will have to decide between freedom and the love of her life.

REVIEW
Knight’s Curse begins when Chalice is just a young girl, living with Maronite monks in a Lebanese villages. Orphaned, this is the only family Chalice has ever really known, and not only have they raised her, but they’ve also taught her some rather unusual skills. When a man thought to be her father comes to claim her, Chalice knows something is wrong, but is forced to go along with this menacing stranger. She is taken to live with the Vyantara, a group of magic users who use Chalice, and others, to steal cursed and magical objects for their own nefarious means. Chalice has become a skilled thief, but she’s got a secret that tethers her to her kidnapper, Heinrich, and the Vyantara, and she’s desperate to be free.

Knight’s Curse was not what I expected! I expected pretty run of the mill urban fantasy, but the characters and world that Ms. Duvall has created really are rather unique and refreshing. The curse in the title refers to Chalice’s binding to a gargoyle (foisted upon her by Heinrich, to keep her under control). They must maintain close contact or Chalice will actually turn into a gargoyle herself. It’s not a pleasant situation, especially since her particular gargoyle was once a human, who also happened to be a psychopath. Aydin, the handsome sorcerer that is also a member of the Vyantara (but on her side), is also bound to a gargoyle, but theirs is a very different relationship. Knight’s Curse is told from Chalice’s point of view and is very much a tale not only of magic, but of self-discovery. She discovers that she is descended from an ancient order of female Knights (the Hatchet Knights), and may be destined for greater things. First she has to escape her curse and her evil captor. This was such a fun book, and Chalice and Aydin’s love story added a certain sweetness. Loved the magic and otherworldly creatures in this one and can’t wait to explore Chalice and Aydin’s romance and adventures further in the next book, Darkest Knight!

Purchase Knight’s Curse: Amazon | Barnes and Noble
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Paranormal Valentine’s Day: “Dating the Undead” by Gena Showalter and Jill Monroe!

It’s a Paranormal Valentine’s Day on MBW, and I’m so thrilled to have a guest post by Gena Showalter and Jill Monroe detailing the Top 10 Things You Should NOT Do When Dating an Immortal, which goes right along with Gena and Jill’s brand new release “Dating the Undead: Loving the Immortal Man”. So, check out the list, then be sure to check out the giveaway at the bottom of the post!

Happy Valentine’s Day, gang!

Dating an immortal is definitely an adjustment. Thankfully, we’ve compiled a “top ten” list of things NOT to do when dating an immortal:

1. Desperation is not attractive – don’t draw your own blood to lure in your Vampire.

2. Maintain boundaries – especially with Werewolves (as they run in packs), make time for your friends separately. Invading his pack with your posse is not sound protocol for dating success.

3. Keep your hands to yourself – don’t try and make the first move with Dragons. They consider touching – including a handshake – to be a privilege. Wait for permission before leaping into a public display of affection.

4. Be sensitive – Zombies tend to be easier going than other immortal groups, but they’re sensitive when it comes to their flaws. Keep your criticism constructive . . . or avoid it all together.

5. Guard your heart – Don’t expect commitment from a Demon. It’s not their style. If you’re looking for undead monogamy, try your luck with Vampires or Angels.

6. Slow and steady wins the race – When dating an Angel, show your love for his virtues. Make him feel comfortable and then ease him into the sensual side of your relationship.

7. Pick your battles – Dragons are known for having quite the temper. To avoid a bad burn, try providing balance to your mate, instead of fuel to the fire.

8. Avoid the Age Game – The undead may be immortal, but that doesn’t mean they are immune to ageism. Avoid hurtful slang like “hatchling” and “vampling” when referring to your immortal.

9. Position of Power – If you’re a power-player interested in dating an angel, let them take control. It’s a well-known fact that Angels can’t resist a damsel in distress.

10. Fashion Forward – Turtlenecks are a bit dated, and if you want to date a Vampire, it’s certainly not the way to go. Plan an outfit that shows a little skin – like something off the shoulder – he won’t be able to resist.

About Gena:
Gena Showalter is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of Paranormal Romance, Contemporary Romance, and Young Adult novels from a multitude of publishers. She has appeared in Cosmo and Seventeen magazines, on MTV, and has also been featured on many regional and national news programs. Visit Gena at her website!

About Jill:
Jill Monroe is an award winning author of 10 novels. She lives in Oklahoma with her husband and children. When not writing, Jill spends her days thinking of ways to avoid cleaning, and finding the recipe that will please everyone in the family. Visit Jill at her website!

About Dating the Undead:
They’re Drop-Dead Handsome—and We’re Not Kidding!
Welcome to the first and only magazine devoted to loving the immortal man in all of his furry, feathery, fiery glory. As always, this month’s issue is a forbidden-fruit salad of features, fiction, fashion, and more, including:

• Blood Stains on His Collar, Doritos in His Bed: Is Your Immortal Just a Little Bit…Immoral?
• A Kiss is Not Just a Kiss: Immortals We Crave Divulge Their Lip-smacking Turn-ons
• Off the Set with the Real Vampires of Vegas: Your Favorite AfterLifetime TV Vamps Let Their Hair Down
• Killer Cocktails to Slay Your Dragon, Slake Your Vampire, or Singe Your Angel

Plus your favorite columns and departments:
• Ask Gabrielle: Angelic Etiquette for Modern Gals and Ghouls
• A View from a Guy: Zombie Jack’s Turn
• Undead and Well-Read: What’s Hot Between the Covers This Month
• Angel in the Kitchen: Heavenly Dishes That Don’t Take an Eternity to Prepare
There’s even a page-turning, strange-but-true paranormal romance that’ll keep you up all day!

Don’t get caught UNDEAD without it!

**GIVEAWAY DETAILS**
1. You MUST fill out the form below (lots of chances for extra entries!)
2. Giveaway is for 1 copy of Dating the Undead by Gena Showalter and Jill Monroe to 1 winner.
3. Giveaway is open to US/Canadian addresses only
4. Must include a valid email address
5. You must enter on or before 2/21/12
6. Please see my Giveaway Policy.
7. Book kindly provided by Harlequin.

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Nice Girls Don’t Have Fangs (Jane Jameson #1) by Molly Harper

Nice Girls Don’t Have Fangs (Jane Jameson #1) by Molly Harper
Publisher: 
Pocket/March 2009
Paranormal Romance/Urban Fantasy
4/5

Maybe it was the Shenanigans gift certificate that put her over the edge. When children’s librarian and self-professed nice girl Jane Jameson is fired by her beastly boss and handed twenty-five dollars in potato skins instead of a severance check, she goes on a bender that’s sure to become Half Moon Hollow legend. On her way home, she’s mistaken for a deer, shot, and left for dead. And thanks to the mysterious stranger she met while chugging neon-colored cocktails, she wakes up with a decidedly unladylike thirst for blood.

REVIEW
Jane Jameson has just been fired from her job as a children’s librarian and handed a gift card to Shenanigan’s (beer and flair!) for her severance. If that isn’t insulting enough, her car breaks down after her Shenanigan’s bender (don’t worry, she sobered up before driving), and while walking home, she trips and falls in a ditch, is mistaken for a deer, and shot by a drunk hunter (you’ve got to love that). Luckily, the tall, dark, and handsome stranger that talked her up in the bar decides to follow her home. Turns out this hottie is a vampire, and he turns Jane in order to save her life. So now, losing her job isn’t her biggest problem. Now Jane is a vamp, a fact that she’s eventually going to have to explain to her nosy family, and in a small town like Half Moon Hollow, her secret is bound to come out sooner or later. Then there’s that vamp that attacks her and ends up dead. The Council is blaming Jane, and if she doesn’t find out who the culprit is, she may be dead for good.

I LOVED this book, just flat out loved it. Jane reminds me a bit of Stephanie Plum with fangs, and her insecurity and little quirks make her one of the most lovable vamps you’ll come across in paranormal romance/UF today. She shares a rambling, very old farmhouse with her Aunt Lettie (who’s dead, by the way), has a best friend who’s a guy (and who the author compared to Steve Zahn, which I loved), a car she calls Big Bertha (held together by duct tape and a prayer),and is quite inexperienced in the sexy times department. Not to worry, though! That’s where her sire, Gabriel Nightengale, comes in. He’s old fashioned, kinda stuffy in a charming way, and totally smitten with Jane. He’s charmed by her sarcastic mouth and innocence, and will do anything to protect her. While the romance is certainly a major theme here, the author builds tension between the two like nothing else, and trust me, you’ll be rooting for them to “get it on already!!”. Well, at least, I was. They keep getting interrupted by the unfortunate goings on in Jane’s newly undead life. The harassment is escalating, she desperately needs a job, her best friend is acting strange, and dealing with her family is a constant worry. Each chapter begins with an excerpt from The Guide for the Newly Undead, and made me laugh (and snort) more than once. In fact, the whole book made me laugh, and I zipped through it in no time. I can’t wait to dive into the next Jane adventure, and suspect I’ll be reading the next 3 right after another. If you love quirky characters, witty writing, and a fun, supernatural filled world you can sink your teeth into, this series is for you!

Purchase Nice Girls Don’t Have Fangs: Amazon | Barnes and Noble
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